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50 Things

August 26, 2014

I wrote this over the summer…someone somewhere issued some kind of challenge – I don’t remember – but it was rather fun, so here you go.

I bet you didn’t know that…(or maybe you did. Did you?)

1.    My favorite color is orange.

2.    I love dogs, but really, I only love big dogs. Small dogs don’t count as dogs. If you can’t use them as a pillow, what’s the point? Or, if my cat can beat up your dog, that’s not a dog. That’s a wind-up toy.


3.    I clean and organize when I’m stressed out.

4.    I used to struggle with anorexia. Anorexia often stems from a need to control your situation.

5.    For me, cleaning and organizing is sort of like “environmental anorexia.” It gives me a sense of control when things are out of control. So on a bad day, you’ll often find me cleaning the edge of the sink with a q-tip or organizing my underwear drawer into color order.

6.    I love to iron. Iron is bringing order from chaos. It is a lovely thing.

7.    I keep an iron and ironing board out at all times.

8.    I love to host parties. Dinner parties, BBQs, showers. I love to throw open the doors and fill the house up with people.

9.    I used to hate gardening. Now, I love it. I feel lost without it. A weekend is not a weekend if the yard-waste can is still empty by Sunday night.

10.   I am energized by feeling productive. Accomplishing tasks drives me forward.

11.  I might sometimes put things down on a checklist just for the satisfaction of immediately crossing them off.

12.  I have worn contacts since I was seven years old.

13.   I love California wines, all sorts, as long as they aren’t too sweet. Not big on dessert wines. Except port. Port in the winter, by a fire, is a lovely thing.

14.  I love to bake but I’m not a very good cook.

15.  I married a really good cook who likes to cook.

16.  I used to be ashamed that I’m not a very good cook.

17.  Then I woke up and realized that being married to a good cook who likes to cook is AWESOME.

18.  I conned my husband into learning how to make bread from scrtach.

19.  I gained ten pounds the year my husband learned to make bread.

20.  I like to bake cakes from scratch. Big layer cakes with homemade frosting. But my attention span is too short to be good at applying frosting beautifully, so I mainly go for haphazard swirls or ganache or drizzle.

21.  I make a really good maple cheesecake.

22. I have also perfected the World’s Most Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookie.

23. I don’t like the color pink. Coral is as close as I get.

24. Shoes make the outfit. But I still have plainy-old rubber flip flops…I’m not above flip flops.

25. I’m scared of birds.

26. Birds have evil-looking eyes. I think chickens secretly want to peck your eyes out.

27. I used to torture Daddy Long Leg spiders as a kid.

28.  I try to avoid handling raw meat. Ever. But I don’t mind eating meat.

29. I love sushi, in limited quantities, but it can’t be super cold. I have texture issues with cold and slimy.

30. I absolutely loathe custard and pudding. Aforementioned texture issues.

31. I never drink soda of any kind, except for Fresca, on occasion, in the summer.

32. I know how to tie a monkey fist sailor’s knot.

33. Both of my pinkies curve outward at the middle knuckle, just like my mother’s did.

34. I am a descendant of THE Johnnie Walker.

35. I think scotch tastes like dirt. My husband loves scotch. The more it smells and tastes like dirt, the more he likes it.

36. My preferred wine is chardonnay, as long as it’s nice and buttery.

37. You can never have too much cheese.

38. I think basil is one of God’s greatest gifts to the world. Second only to that is feta.


Just a few of the gorgeous goodies from my garden…

39.  I am a foodie. I love food. I love new foods and fusion foods and funky combinations and flavors that are outside the box.

40. I used to turn up my nose at spicy food as a kid. My parents loved spicy food. I missed out on a lot of awesome food.

41. When I was pregnant the second time, I craved spicy food. I had terrible heartburn, but I ate it anyway.

42. When I was pregnant the first time, I craved salt to such an extent that I would eat it straight out of the container. No joke. French fries were simply a means to salt.

43.  My favorite flowers are Gerber daisies. They are just such happy flowers. They smile.

44. I love knowing the Latin names of all my plants. It makes me feel brainy. Agapanthus, Heuchera, Coreopsis, Camellia Japonica, Fatsia Japonica, Alyssum, Lobelia, etc.

45. I have 16 roses in my yard and I know the name of every one. Gertrude Jekyll, Graham Thomas, Pat Austin, Abraham Lincoln, Sharifa Asma… all weirdly wonderful and unique.

46. I am most self-conscious of my stomach.

47. I like my shoulders.

48.  I have had short-short hair since 1995.

49.  I have short hair because I am lazy.

50.  I do not color my hair. I did once. It was bad.

Your turn: Can you relate to any of my weirdness?


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Five Minute Friday: Change

August 22, 2014


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – don’t edit; don’t second-guess.
2. Link back The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!


Change, like the snap of fall, is in the air. School’s begun, our summer routine of swimming and lounging replaced with bell schedules, lunch boxes, and homework.

I’ve never been good with change. I like the status quo. I drive the same routes, a creature of habit and structure. Change is hard. Change requires that I adapt – new routines, new routes, new car line procedures.

Change means I might get it wrong. I don’t yet know all the rules. My fallback “if I can’t win I won’t play” doesn’t work here. They need me to adapt. They need me to lead, show them the way.

I put on my smile and tell them this is FUN! It’s exciting! New and different! Awesome!

Inside I quake, but for them I wear my bravery and put one foot in front of the other. Change is good, I tell them and myself. Change is good.

We can do hard things.

Walking into the school yard yesterday, we were both the new kids. He with his backpack and me, my shivering pride. Knowing no one, knowing nothing, we are at their mercy, all the others standing in clusters, coffee mugs in hand, laughing, talking, re-connecting. He scampers off, coolly confident, choosing his own seat in the center of the room. I slip out the door with a small wave, his head already turning away from me, engaged in his new life.

Standing outside the room, I watch as other parents slip in and out. It is a quieter scene that I am used to, these middle schoolers barely throwing us, their parents, a backward glance. I take a picture, and with a grin, briefly he turns his head toward me.

On the sidewalk, I stand alone in this new world, watching and listening to the foreign sounds of changed life. For a second, I am swallowed up in loneliness, but it is brief, for in another instant, a woman nearby turns to me, smiling, and extends her hand.

And I am no longer alone.

Your turn: head on over to the Gypsy Mama’s blog and link up!


The conversation continues!  For more insights and resources about living a shiny, abundant and beautiful life, join me over on Instagram, on Pinterest and on Twitter and on Facebook

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First Day of School (And yes, I’m still here!)

August 20, 2014

Not exactly Pinterest-worthy, but, as my husband pointed out after I erased the “6” for the third time, it doesn’t have to be perfect, does it?

Happy start of school!

We began a great new adventures this morning with our first day in 6th grade, at a new school. As I dropped him off, I whispered: “It’s the first day of school for me, too, buddy! I don’t know anyone either!” Delightfully, I found the other parents to be more than welcoming and friendly. Phew.

I’m still around, still writing. I took the summer off of blogging because well, I was just burned out. Blogging is tough, especially when you think (or realize) that no one is really reading! But you all surprised me with the kind words and reaching out over the last few weeks. Thank you! Your notes and comments are, as always, a gift. I’m still writing for LifeWay’s ParentLife Magazine; watch for articles this Christmas and next spring. I’m elated that I finally got to write about gardening and kids and how they are MFEO! You can read that one next March.

Lots of love and hugs. Grace and peace to you in abundance! More boy-love and mama-drama will be coming your way, soon. ‘Cause we got plenty around here.

photo 2

A Half-Day In My Life: The Last 12 Hours

June 4, 2014

I know all you girl-moms out there wonder what it is that we boy-moms are always complaining about.

You have your own drama, of that I’m certain. Here’s a little peep into our world, just an average snippet of my every-day life. Now you know…

6pm: I look out the front window to see one of my sons standing at the curb, loading up the recycling can in broad daylight, for all the world to see…in his underwear. And no, it was not boxers, or even boxer briefs.

2:21am: Woke up to hear the door from the garage slamming shut. Frantically woke Gabe, who leapt from bed, simultaneously running and climbing into a pair of shorts, before plunging out the front door to the driveway, ready and prepared to tackle whatever bad guys were in the process of stealing his brand-new mountain bike. Or so he assumed.

I cowered at the front window in terror, when from behind me, a small voice came out of the darkness from the direction of the garage: “Why is daddy in the driveway? I just wanted to get my blanket out of the dryer.”

6:30am: In the middle of the morning rush-get-ready-for-school, somehow forty gallons (or so) of water were dumped on the kitchen floor in a dog-water-bowl incident. Noah’s flood required six bath towels and four hand towels to sop up, but on the bright side, the kitchen floor is nice and clean.

Is this normal? Does this ring familiar? Oh, do tell. Please say I’m not alone…


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Gratitude Monday: See how the flowers of the field grow?

June 2, 2014

Gratitude Monday


Los Gatos Creek Trail, Sunday, June 1

Los Gatos Creek Trail, Sunday, June 1

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

Matthew 6:27-29, MSG

Your turn: What are YOU thankful for on this March Monday?


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The Illuminated Life: Two Kinds of Bright

May 28, 2014

You know those people who come into your life unexpectedly and just change everything? Patty B. snuggled up to me when I was a raw, aching, motherless first-time mom. I didn’t know just how much pain I was in until Patty began to help me heal, smoothing my rough edges and loving me through some of the darkest days of my marriage, life and motherhood. She continues to shine on in the lives of others, here, there and around the world.

The Illuminated Life Series

Two Kinds of Bright

by Pat Brockman

I believe that the One who said “Let light come from darkness” was as intent on creating light in me as He was in His universe.

He could have done it with just a command, “Let there be light in Pat!” and it would have been so!   Light in me, derived from heaven, could shine!  Likewise, He could have performed a powerful deed and with Light in me done  moved on to other things . Instead He chose to bring me light from Heaven through precious people that He carefully selected and placed along the way.  Then the Creator of the universe, my Heavenly Father, stuck around to lovingly and purposefully direct my path so I would encounter them.

Scripture tells us it is not in a man’s way to direct His steps. I never could have laid out the path my life has taken or imagined the stops along the way. I know “relocation” is a noun, but it is the word that best describes  my childhood and married life. My dad was in the Navy and there were at least nine or ten moves  along the coast or from coast to coast during my school years. Forty-one years of married life has seen us in ten different cities in four different states and two different countries. It never occurred to me to not make friends in the places we lived because of the sadness of one day having to say good-by.  I was like a salmon swimming upstream to connect and belong because I was lonely and needed community. God, rich in mercy, went ahead to provide. From the day I was born, there were gracious, amazing Christian people who I loved, and who loved on me and my family. Any brightness I have comes from the illumination of being lit by them.


I have spent an inordinate amount of energy and emotion starting over in each place we have lived. The will to do so has been a gift of the Spirit.

…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13 NIV

The reward has been blessing upon blessing of people who are priceless treasures in my life. I thank God for each of them and as I do, I beg for forgiveness and grace in my shortcomings to maintain contact and express  my love and appreciation in ways they might need when I have moved on. I know when it comes to friendship it is harder to be left behind than to leave. I miss my friends in other places and I know they miss me. My intentions and desire to pour in and still be a part of their life is strong. As they say, the spirit is willing but flesh is weak. In each new place there is work to do, labor prompted by love as Paul describes in Thessalonians.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

1 Thessalonians 1:2 NIV

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV

In thinking about the illuminated life and God’s admonition to“Shine!”, I want my old friends to know that through them, I was lit, and I have taken the glow from having been so to try and bring brightness wherever I go.

My prayer is that the glow is strong enough through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to brighten their lives still, as they brightened mine.

To Him be the glory!


my_picturePat runs with perseverance the race set out before her both literally and figuratively. She and Bo, her husband of 41 years, encourage others through their leadership roles at Oakhills Church Westside Fellowship, and Downtown Run Group in San Antonio, TX. After raising three sons she delights in being in touch with her inner girly girl through two daughters-in-law and two granddaughters. The fun of being a Boymom continues since she also has two little grandsons to remind her of those days.

You can put on your running shoes and catch her on the Riverwalk training for her next half marathon orjust go to where she is training herself to sit down long enough to write!

Over here…The Moms of Boys Society

May 23, 2014

Practicing Perseverance

“Check out these GUNS!” My eight-year-old raced into the room wearing nothing but flannel snowman pajama bottoms, and proudly posed for me, arms bent tight in a classic body-builders stance. Little sinews and bones so lean that the muscles, while still tiny and childlike, stood in sharp definition. His four-year-old brother trotted behind, trying to do the same, chubby belly pooching over his bedtime pull-up. They turned circles, grunting and growling, before tumbling into the floor in a tangle of testosterone and legs.


Little men, longing to be big ones, strong and capable. The toddler’s battle cry: “I can do it!” howled  long before they really can. As they’ve gotten older, life has gotten bigger, and the battle cry begins to change. “I can’t!” they cry before they’ve even begun. “It’s too hard!”

It might be homework. It might be the sea of fallen leaves on a lawn. It might be emptying the dishwasher or carrying groceries in from the car. Life is full of challenges. Life is full of resistance.

Read the rest of this post over at The MOB Society! 


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