Friday, July 29, 2011

Yes.....I needed that.....

A week at the lake. Yep....I needed that. My favorite part was waking with the sun, drinking morning coffee and smelling fresh air coming in through the screen door. Marc and I had a few days to ourselves and a couple of the boys came for the rest. There was time for a lot of walking, quite a bit of daydreaming and simply savoring not doing much. It was nice.

I'll keep it short today because we just got home. It's late and I'm bit tired, although refreshed. I will leave you with these pictures, however, and the hope that they will somehow refresh you, too.

Wishing you a peaceful evening and weekend,


PS. I would just love it if you would check out my blog, Visit Missoula, at the website Make It Missoula. I'll be writing about our frequent visits to Missoula, MT on that site. Here is a link to my first post called Welcome To Visit Missoula.

Monday, July 25, 2011


We were so fortunate this past weekend to have been invited to celebrate with my friends for their 25th wedding anniversary. Fortunate that it provided us with a fun weekend away. Fortunate because we were able to partake of their gracious hospitality. That they are our friends and have been for so many years. 

There were many highlights to the evening, not the least of which was how thoughtfully it was put together. Drinks on the patio that took advantage of a serene and beautiful view. Dinner in their orchard that stretched into sunset. It was festive, casual, fun.  

I came away with a renewed appreciation for staying in touch; remaining in touch. An appreciation for those I've met but a handful of times who have enriched the layers of my life. The entire evening was warm and meaningful, but perhaps the best moments were when my friend held the microphone for her 94 year old mother as she read a couple of handwritten pages she had prepared on the topic of marriage. She spoke slowly and clearly so that we all might hear and understand her, pausing occasionally to look up at her daughter, her son-in-law and their guests. Her words were wise as she spoke of what marriage and other relationships take to survive. They were fair, not sugar-coated and real. She encouraged those listening to understand that difficulties are part of the process and that each relationship will encounter its own unique set. She also stressed that many times, most times, the difficulties are not insurmountable. I hope I've done her words justice. 

Wishing you a wonderful week,


Friday, July 22, 2011

I'll pass?

A couple things I've come across lately have had to do with the topic of commitment. Of deciding to do something and feeling strongly enough to follow through. It is a word and a concept that speaks of yourself, to other people and it has really got me thinking. And I like that.

Earlier this week I read about a painter who is committed to his art, finding bits of time to work on it in between relationships and the job he works to support himself. What struck me most was that it doesn't seem to matter what others think, whether he sells anything or if he becomes well known in the art world. I got the impression that he paints because he knows it is inside of him; finds the time because he has a commitment to himself. This is someone who enjoys what they do, believes in himself and honors what he knows he is..... a painter.

Yesterday my sister, Michele, spoke of something similar: a couple of artist's......also painters....'who worked with no regard for the spotlight'. I like how she put that. That she was impressed by these artists who stayed true to a personal vision or version of their art.

Recently, I read an article in Montana Magazine (written by Alan Kesselheim) about Jack Horner, a Montana State University Professor who said, " As far as I can tell I was born a Paleontologist." I came away from it feeling like this guy knows who he is, what he was born to be and was committed to living it. It is the second account I've read lately about someone who hurdled many obstacles along the way in order to pursue something they wanted to do.

When Marc and I became engaged, one of the things he said to me was that he liked the feeling of our commitment to each other.  How fortunate for both of us. It's been nearly 26 years and that thread has run through our marriage for each of them. It has allowed and encouraged us to approach both hard work and obstacles with dedication.

I have a friend who often posts inspiring quotes on facebook about commitment to yourself, to a dream, to something you chose to do. I enjoy her helpful hints and need to let her know how encouraging they are to me on days when I want to remain anything but committed to something I need to do. Here are a couple of her recent ones. (Sorry...but I don't know who to attribute them to.)

"Too often we see only the things that stand in our way. Instead, we should look for all the ways we can go over or around."

"We can be impressed by people who do something big, but we’re inspired when they can do it over and over and over. Be a person who cares to inspire rather than impress."

I certainly have had to learn balance where commitment is concerned. Sometimes there are simply too many things to choose from and sometimes they all seem to be of equal importance. Throughout the years however, I have learned that the truly important ones have sifted out. Thank goodness......

Have a wonderful weekend,


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Little Bits of Summer

A few summer things:

As of last week I have a new oven; the old one had been acting up for awhile. It's a wall unit and when the original one was removed, the contractor found it had been wired incorrectly in the first place. Yikes! The new guy has a cobalt blue interior. Don't know why but that makes me happy every time I open it. The first thing I made was a pan of Butter Tart Squares....which......if you have any Canadians in your family, you'll know what I'm talking about and why they were what I chose to initiate my oven with.

Peter and his dog, Lewis, walked through the door at 10:30 last night. I had no idea they were coming to town. Of course, a coffee cake was in and out of my new oven with the cobalt blue interior early this morning.

Joey has a summer job working in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant where he stands for hours at a time making ravioli and tortellini. Yesterday he told me he gets lost deep in his thoughts while he's preparing food. I get that.

I spent this past Saturday inside and Sunday outside getting quite a few chores taken care of. So many little things that were adding up, weighing on me and making me anxious to get them out of the way. It was a rainy, cloudy weekend, which made the sunny day I had planting flowers yesterday that much more enjoyable.

Last evening was the first dinner this season that we've eaten outside on the patio. Grilled steaks, grilled corn and baked potatoes with an arugula, tomato and feta salad. Worth waiting for.

Today......a day with our whole family under the same roof.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Power Of Nature

Last week I had the privilege of watching an evening thunderstorm travel through a mountain valley. Lightning strikes flashed while the smell of electricity hung heavy in the air. Thunder echoed deep and low and loud against surrounding rocky faces. A train whistle added interesting layers to the noise.

I watched as a mama Grizzly and her two cubs played on a snowbank across a least that's what it looked like they were doing. It was close enough to be thrilling; far away enough to be safe.

I hiked a trail I'd been on many times before only to find that this time, at a certain point, trees were strewn every which way on either side like a pile of old fashioned pick-up-sticks. I noticed the strong, sweet splintered-wood perfume before I made it to the spot of the avalanche swipe.

I hope that I'll always be in awe of the power of nature to provide, to astonish, to tear down, to rebuild, to amuse, to soothe. To encourage wonder and understanding and peace. To give places from which we can look deep within. Places where we feel real connection to the earth and to those around us.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Missoula Saturday Morning

One of the things I love about Missoula is the town's seemingly endless variety of food, art, music, people watching and ways to spend time outdoors. We spent Saturday morning strolling downtown with Peter and his dog, Lewis. After a stop at the Missoula Art Museum to view a ceramic exhibit, we sipped coffee in the warm sun outside of Hunter's Bay and listened to music. The brew was deep, dark, aromatic and wonderful. The music, a soul filled concert on lap slide guitar and churango by a musician who I had heard play around Missoula in the past.

There are three separate Saturday Markets that span several blocks (The Clark Fork River Market, The People's Market and The Farmer's Market) so we made the rounds. Unfortunately, we had to pass on the  many fruits, veggies and other fresh offerings, because we weren't sure about them surviving the long drive home. We did end up with some yummy apricot pepper jelly and a couple of CD's, however. And a rocking chair. I deliberated for awhile about the chair and loved that while I was deciding, the artist sat down and played a tune for us on one of the cigar box guitars which he also makes and sells. I was tempted to get one of those as well, just because I thought they were so interesting and couldn't get over the fact that he made a guitar with amazing sound out of a box. But I passed. I don't even play the guitar yet. Luckily, the chair fit in the car with everything else we thought we needed to bring on this road trip.

I think Marc was seriously concerned I would bring this chicken home, too......although I'm pretty sure it was for display purposes only and not for sale.

We're back home now and looking for a place in our house for that chair, carrying it from room to room and up and down the stairs until I find out where it was meant to be. It was a good break and a great visit with Peter. I'm so proud of him and of all my boys. I could go on, but will save that for future posts.

Hope you're enjoying summer now that it's here!

Friday, July 8, 2011

R and R

We  recently took a week off for some much needed R and R. Good to clear the brain every once in awhile in order to be effective for what lies ahead. When I find myself a bit sluggish, taking too long to complete simple tasks or uninspired...I know that it's time.

One of the things I love to do is immerse myself in a good book; live in the world of  its author for awhile and let my imagination take off. I enjoy time on vacation where I can manage a few good hours with book in hand and no distractions. My choices may or may not be a little lighter and often are affected by what's on display at the local bookstore where ever we decide to visit.  When possible...and it usually is....we're able to find small independently owned bookshops where the owners or employees are available to chat and give a couple of recommendations. Whitefish has one such store and we make it a point to stop in each time we pass through.

This time I picked up a copy of The Reading Promise, by Alice Ozma when I noticed two or three stacked on a table near the front of the store. I scanned the cover and leafed through the pages, then asked the woman behind the counter what she thought. She confirmed what the book jacket said, that it is about a father who made a pact with his young daughter to read to her each and every night without fail for as long as they could both keep it up. Loving books, this piqued my interest. The fact that the sweet lady who works in the shop teared up when she spoke piqued it even more.

At this point, I won't tell you much more about it except to say that it was written in the honest voice of  a very bright 22 year old girl. It is her true story and about so much more than the fact that her father read to her every night without fail until the day she left for college.  A great pick for anyone who loved to be read to as a child or anyone who has the opportunity to read to a child. It is for those who look forward to curling up with a good book and who nurture their love of reading.

I loved this book and am happy I walked through the door of that shop and picked it up. I'll be passing it on to others, and brought tears to my eyes as a really good way. 

XO Happy Reading!

PS. One of the best parts is that Alice Ozma shared the list of books and their authors that her father read to her from the time she was in third grade throughout high school. As many as they could remember anyway. What a gift!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This weekend we went fishing on a small lake outside of Kalispell, Montana, just Peter, Marc and I. The other two boys had to work. Typically we choose a driftboat on a river to cast our fly rods from, but they are running high and muddy this year in western Montana, so we found a nearby lake instead. The mosquitoes were thick, hungry and ready to bite outside of our car, but as soon as we hit the water they stopped and the fish started and kept us busy for quite a few hours. Always a friendly competition in our family in which we are required to practice skill and patience. It follows this general pattern: Cast, wait, wait, cast again and again, wait some more, set the hook if you're lucky, eyeball length and weight, release and keep track. Do I have to say who won? (Not me....)

What a peaceful, billowy cloud and blue sky day. A bit breezy and the perfect temperature. So much quiet broken only by the cast of a rod, the creak of an oar, water lapping against the boat, the occasional  fish surfacing and the haunting calls of the loon on the lake.

I appreciate and know the value of this time. We've fished together since the boys were pretty young. Soaking in the simplicity of our surroundings. Focusing on the spot where the line meets the water. Enjoying each others presence. Talking or not.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Within the past couple of years I've been a part of an 85th and a 90th birthday party and have attended celebrations honoring a few other ages as well. I've been to both high school and college graduations. Planned gatherings celebrating our children and attended ones that celebrated their friends. Been a part of events centered around family, good friendships, a Football Championship, the birth of a baby.

Sometimes I've been a part of the planning and sometimes lucky enough to simply show up. I've put cards in the mail, wrapped gifts, made food, set tables, arranged flowers and cleaned up. Bought new clothes, found accessories and fixed my hair. Charged my camera battery and checked for space on the memory card. I've met new friends and reminisced with old. Realized how past events helped my current life to fall into place. I've stayed up too late. Fallen into bed. Put my feet up. Been too excitied to sleep.

In my last post I shared a picture of a sign that has  an arrow pointing to the 'M' trail, a short trail we like to hike. It is steep and has several sharp turns. How easy or difficult it is depends solely on the shape I'm in and my attitude at the moment. The view from the top is beautiful and changes with the seasons, so climbing that hill is always worth the time. I love the sign at the bottom and am almost always moved to take a picture of it. It reminds this 'M' to pay life, to relationships, to putting time in, to what might be around the corner. There have been many signs I've paid attention to and some I haven't. Sometimes I've asked for a sign, sometimes they've been right in front of me and sometimes, in retrospect, I've understood that one had been there all along. I've had a few 'aha' moments along the way.

Marc and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this fall with the trip of a lifetime.  We're making plans to attended an anniversary dinner for good friends next month. Last weekend we went to a wedding reception for a couple who obviously and unabashedly showed their love for one another. This week I'm starting a sweater for a new baby.

I love these markers; what they signify and what they celebrate. I feel strongly about honoring both the people and events that shape our lives. They help me remember to pay attention to where I've been and the choices I've made. To recognize the important people folding in and out of my life. They are fun and perspective and reality and sweetness. They recognize hard work. They wrap me in warm appreciation and knowledge. They nudge me toward an intentional future.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend with something to celebrate.

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