Thursday, October 10, 2013

mustard seed

I guess today's happy moment comes down to an interesting statement about myself and about our relationship with God.  Today my faith is the size of a mustard seed but my dreams are as large as the tree itself.   I cannot think of a better way to say it.  I cannot think of what else to say, but even with faith the size of a mustard seed God can help us attain dreams from and with that seed.  Dreams as large as the tree.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The details

I took this picture months ago and I don't remember a bug in the picture when I took it.  However today when I was looking through my pictures I saw this picture again and noticed the bug.  It reminded me of Ansel Adams photo of the rose and drift wood, focusing on God is in the details.  The details of this bug and this rose also reminds me that God is in the details of our lives, and how beautiful those details can be.  I see it in where I am in life, in the people I am blessed to get to know and serve, in the answer to small prayers like "please help me to quickly find this shirt so I can make it to the meeting on time," and in the other small beautiful details of our lives.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

breath, it is ok to be imperfect

So there are several smiles.  The first was a delightful time on antelope island with a friend.  I have to share two of the photos of the wild sunflowers.  They made me smile (as did the great company).

The second smile came as a small reminder to breath.  I have been feeling rather inadequate about teaching, while I enjoy it, I still don't feel intelligent enough for it.  I have to try and remember things from YEARS ago and try to understand the why that I didn't think about before, or at least I may have but frankly I don't remember now.  So today I have been struggling remembering and understanding thoroughly something I haven't used in YEARS.  I have been praying about it.  Well I had the quiet inspiration to look at a specific book.  As I pulled out the book there was a letter written to me by my psuedo brother over a year ago.  In his letter he mentioned to look up two songs.  One was just breath and the other was freckles.  Both songs were what I needed to hear.  The first was a reminder to breath.  I need to take a break and BREATH.  The other was a great reminder that it is our inperfections that make us who we are.  It is ok to be imperfect.

I just need to breath and it will be ok.  It is ok that I am imperfect, I am who I am.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

simplistic beauty and quiet delight

I wish I could write some deep thought and inspirational moment, but I have none today, all I have is the delight of this moment.  The delight of quiet reflection sitting outside in the late summer/early fall weather, while listening to Celtic music.  Today I spent time walking with a friend.  Her cooking and garden inspire me.  The delightful people her and her husband are bring a smile to my face.

Do I need to actually write out why these quiet moments of reflection and the friendship with good people, and this wonderful weather are happy moments.

I really wish I could write some great philosophical statement about life and the importance and beauty of these moments, but it is in the simplistic beauty of these moments and who I am and want to be and how I wish to live my life that makes them what they are in my eye, a simplistic beauty and quiet delight.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The broken road

There is a great country song that says God blessed the broken road that led me to you or something along those lines.  I feel that that is true in my life, but not in the sense of bringing me to someone at this time but rather to where I am today.

In my working career I have gone through a lot of jobs, largely due to the economy.  And let me tell you, regardless of the reasons I lost my jobs it was rough.  It was a broken road.  It led to feelings of inadequacy and self doubt.  Well today I am teaching and the combination of all those jobs have helped me become a better teacher.  I can teach based off of experience, and while my experience was "short" it was broad.  The broken road led me to here.  God prepares us for our destinations through "broken" paths.  We become broken that we can become strong and whole and far better.  I am who I am today because of the broken road I have taken.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


So generally I have been placing my happy moments on things that haven't really been thoughts or inspiration or spiritual insight, but today is different.  Today I shall share the spiritual insight that has given me pleasure today.  It seems that different times in our lives, our lives seem to focus on different principles of aspects.  For me the most recent one has been patience.  To say the most recent is slightly deceiving since we all know that patience is not a lesson we learn overnight, in fact the word patience screams TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have been learning patience, or more specifically God has been trying to teach mes patience and I have been a very SLOW learner.  But here comes a portion of the insight I have gained regarding this particular virtue.

I am teaching a class at the university and I am actually a little ahead of my schedule.  While I was thinking about what to do, I felt inspired to provide a real world building example for my next lecture.  So I contacted several friends to see if they could provide me with the necessary drawings.  They responded that they would send me some.  Well I teach in 2 days and I don't have the drawings yet.  Here is where my ah ha of patience comes in.  First I was inspired.  Than I acted upon that prompting and did all I could do. And then I trust God that it will work out in His timetable.  I want to worry, I want to try and "force" the drawings into my lecture notes, but that is not how it works.  Nothing I can do will get them here any sooner.  If God inspired me on how to teach, than I have to trust that He will help me achieve that inspiration.  Often we get mixed up in all we can do and the more than we should do.  We try to think that we can cause a seed to grow by opening it up and yanking out the plant so that we have a fully grown tree just by our forced actions.  In reality, that is NOT how a seed becomes a tree.  All we can do is plant it, water it, give it sunlight, etc. and trust that it will grow.

Patience seems to be a combination of trusting, and doing all we can truly do (not the extreme).   A portion of that trust can be described as faith and obedience. We faithfully obey God and have faith in Him and have faith in what He has promised us, if we keep His commandments He will help us.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

surgery and recovery

My pseudo mom had surgery today.  It was a day surgery and I have to admit that one smile for the day was watching as she did make quick improvements in her recovery.  No she is not back to normal, it has been a few hours, but it is amazing how our bodies work.  Our bodies are amazing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

love, prayer and friendship

Several years ago, while living in Vegas my friend gave birth to a beautiful little girl.  As I held this little baby in my arms my prayer was that I would have a close relationship with her.  A few months later I lost my job and moved states.  I rarely saw her and when  I did, it was like a child seeing any adult they really didn't know.  Well about a year ago they moved to my neck of the woods.  And I have seen the answer of that prayer.  So today's smile is the answer of a prayer and the love and friendship of a little girl.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Erasmus quote and Sinatra

A delightful quote I enjoy is

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” 
― Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

This quote definitely describes me.  I think books may be more tempting to buy for me than food sometimes. I bought I book on Monday, started reading it Monday night and finished it at 7:45 Tuesday morning.

So today's smile is the good book and working on my PhD while listening Frank Sinatra.  I love Frank Sinatra.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I have spent the last few days reading the Hunger Games trilogy.  I have to admit there is one character in that series that truly makes me smile.  I love Peeta, I love his goodness, his devotion, and his consistency.  But I think one of my favorite aspects of Peeta is the calming strength he gives Kat.  I guess today's smile is just these good attributes in people, I realize that Peeta is a fictitious character, and no one is perfect, but even seeing a fictitious character with good attributes is a beautiful thing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

beauty all around

Today was a busy day of smiles: running, the zoo, hot chocolate, old friends, and time with my cousin. What beauty there is to be around those we love, doing things we enjoy, having friendships that feel like no time has passed, and also just the beautiful world around us.  .

We don't have to do big things to enjoy life. We don't have to go far to see beauty.  Beauty is in the world around us, it is in the friendships we have, it is in those small moments that make us smile, it is in a song we enjoy, it is around us.

While I have all these small wonderful moments of beauty, I would like to share some pictures of the small beauty of the day.

(mamma jaguar)

(baby jaguar)

(baby jaguar)

(ain't he cute)

(yes the lion)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love is....


Today was a great day.  I was so glad to meet my family.  I feel a loss at not having known them (or of them for that matter) for the majority of my life so far.  They are incredible people and I feel that I can truly be myself around them, which is amazing because sometimes with family you can’t even be yourself.  I realized that I have been focusing on the wrong things recently.  I need to focus on what matters most, and frankly calories do not matter most.  Life matters most.  Love matters most.  I went to a cousin’s wedding today (a cousin I didn’t even know about until very recently) and during the ceremony the minister said love is when you try and want to make the other person happy or something along those lines.  I wish I had remembered it because it was beautiful.  I love these members of my family, I love my family. 

Today was a fascinating day.  I went to church with my Grandma Sharon and her son and daughter in law.  (Debbie and kurt).  It was an interesting experience. One thing I found interesting and enjoyed was the pastors approach at discussing addictions in our lives.  He specifically talked about addictions were when we placed pleasure before God.  He tied it into the higher step of being called.  We are not just saved by God but we are called of God and when we have purpose, namely God’s purpose we change our behavior.  It is not necessarily that certain things are bad but when they take a precedent over God they are a problem.  It is the problem of focusing on the less important things.  I realized I was doing this with my life.  I was counting calories and focusing on that and missing other more important things in life like love and family. 
Today I also got to enjoy spending time listening to Gumpa and Sharon sharing family stories. 
A few weeks ago (a day before I left for Seattle) I received a blessing.  I am seeing the answer to that blessing now when it comes to being drawn to my family and getting to know them better.  This week long trip to Yakima is a miracle trip.

Today was such a blessing just being around family.  I got to sit and watch as my grandfather spent time with his sisters and listen to them sing.  What a blessing it is to be around this family.  They are such incredible people.  Family can truly be the richest of blessings.

There are so many smiles and blessing for today.  I enjoy just being around my family, what a rich blessing it is.  I was able to spend time with Gumpa and his sisters Arlene and Pat along with Sharon, Shanna (Arlenes daughter), Robert (Shanna’s husband), and Molly (Shanna and Roberts daughter) as they talked and sang old songs.  What a delight.  I was later able spend time with Debbie and Madison.  Madison and I colored together and played games like memory and math games.  It was so delightful.  One of my favorite parts was when we both went up to hug Gumpa.  I love them, they are FAMILY.  I was so proud of Madison as well, at 6 years old she was doing multiplication.  At one point during a fun math game we did to help with the cleanup I had asked her to do 3x6.  I was so proud of how she found the answer.  It wasn’t just something that she had memorized.  She did something like this 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18.  She could figure out 3x5 but had to use her logic/analytical skills to figure out how to find the next number.  She had also surprised me with a cross that she had colored just for me.  We had only really met 5 minutes two days before and yet she wanted to make it for me.  I love it.  After all that joy I also got to enjoy talking with Grandma Sharon until 1:30am again.  I love just talking with her, and I love her.  What a rich blessing.  I can truly admit that this trip was meant to be.  I wish I could describe what it means to me.  I never want to forget this trip and more importantly than not forgetting, I want it to be more of a part of me.  I want to remain close to them.  I want to be better (in so many aspects). 
One truly beautiful parts of this trip, it is love.  That is what matters at the end of the day.  That is the beauty of this life.   It isn’t the loud love of Hollywood, but the pure love.  I don’t know if I would say simple love, but yet there is a simplicity in it.  I would not say quiet love, because there are moments when you simple want to get up and say I love you.  I would not say loud love either, because there are moments that it is felt in the quiet moments of just sitting near each other or thinking about each other, or doing the dishes for another.  But I would say it is the love you can see in the ordinary life.


Today’s thoughts may be a lot on the philosophical side.  I would have to say that sometimes the hard times of a day do overshadow the smile part.  I could say I had several good parts to my day: I spent time with family, I got to get to know my Aunt, I got to spend time with extended family, I got to experience the service part of love (the quiet part of helping another by doing dishes etc.).  All these are beautiful and good, but sometimes it is hard to look for the happy moments when there are some pretty blatant rough ones, like those you love going to the emergency room. 
Maybe my blog for this week should be titled love.  I once heard “you cannot have sorrow without love” or something along those lines.  The truth of the matter is when you care about someone you can hurt (or feel sorrow) for them or by them or with them.  Love does not come sunshine and flowers every day all day.  But it does come with the greatest rewards and return value.  So I don’t know if I will necessarily post today as a “happy day” etc. but rather a day on the reflections of love. 
A dash of love makes any meal taste better.  To be liked and loved makes any day better. To have someone you love near makes life better.  And to have a Sharon return home makes the fourth of July even happier.

Today’s smile is expressions of love.  One expression of love came from Mackenzie (8 year old granddaughter) to Sharon.  “My love for you is out of control”


There are so many things to add to this blog on love especially for these days.

I guess I will sum it up in what love is

Love is the song from Fiddler on the Roof,
Love is doing the dishes for someone,
Love is caring,
Love is respect,
Love is the sorrow of saying good-bye
Love is the smile of a memory,
Love is being willing to look the fool,
Love is ....


Friday, June 28, 2013

happiness is love

Today I got to meet my uncle's fiance.  She is a delightful lady (I use that word a lot).  I enjoyed meeting her, and I must admit I already love her.  A lot of that probably has to do deal with the fact that I know that she loves my uncle.  I also saw my cousin and his girlfriend.  It definitely made me smile.  They definitely made me happy.  I love them all so much.  So happiness is being around those you love and that love you or those you love.  Happiness is love.

As much as that is happiness I also saw a sign that gave another great description of happiness today!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

naps and cats

So as silly or maybe as typical as it is, I enjoy naps.  Today's smile is the fact that I actually got one, and not only a nap an almost 2 hour nap, with dreams!!!!!

The other smile was just sitting on the couch with both my sister's cats resting on my lap.  There is something comforting and delightful about pets.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TOP 10 smiles of the day

There are soooooooo many smiles today where shall I begin

1) A ferry ride:  I love the Northwest and the Puget Sound and what says the Puget Sound better than a ferry ride.  I enjoy the water, wind and the idea of the ferry.

2) OK silly I know but I still wish on stars, eyelashes and wishing rocks (don't ask me how seriously I do wish on them).  So today I found the perfect wishing rock.  I guess with wishing rocks you make a wish and toss it or something like that.  Maybe you are supposed to keep it.  All I remember is that a wishing rock is one with a ring that goes all the way around and you wish on it.  Do I believe that the rock will grant my wish, NO, but the bigger question is why not make a wish?

3) Whidbey Island - I spent most of my day on Whidbey Island.  It was so delightful and pretty.  I am not one to cry over pretty things, and so I really didn't cry but it was definitely an emotional moving beauty.  

4) Hiking/walking:  I LOVE to hike, especially in the Northwest.  We did not go far but it was beautiful.  I do enjoy the big scene and the little things.  I enjoy the beauty of the whole experience. I enjoy the exercise.  I enjoy the fresh air.  I enjoy the beauty of the BIG beauty around me and I enjoy the beauty of the small flower.  Here are some pictures of the BIG and little beauty around me.  

5) Unintentional beauty.  So I do enjoy photography.  I am not the best photographer and what you can do with a point and shoot is hardly photography, but while trying to take a picture of a rose I accidentally left my camera setting on panorama and got the pretty picture I wasn't expecting.  It actually may be my favorite picture from today and I really did not plan it this way.

6) CHEESE!!!!!  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE cheese.  I want to go to Europe one day and try different cheeses and bike.  Whidbey Island has a delightful little cheese store which definitely made me smile.  

7) Lighthouses - I love lighthouses.  I saw two today.  

8) Small improvements- I am terrified of heights.  The hike I went on today was along a bluff.  Most of the hike the drop was covered by tall plants so I couldn't see.  There were a few lookout places along the trail.  I went closer to the edge than normal because I am slowly facing parts of my fear (granted I was still chickened out on the ladder at one of the light houses).  So I am happy for small improvements on facing my fear.

9) Daisies and Lavender- Daisies are my favorite flowers and lavender is my favorite smell.  There was a delightful little place that had both.  It also had a little art garden as well.  This picture of the daisies reminds me of how I would like my gravestone to look.  

10) Loganberry Pie-  So I am not a pie person.  If someone offers me pie I generally say "no" because I don't like pie, specifically I don't like the crust.  I had the best fresh loganberry pie today.  I think it may have been one of the best 3 pies I have ever had.  ALL of it was good (the crust too)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

clear running skies

Today's smile is the rain.  My friend and I went running this morning.  It was down pouring just before we left.  Stopped raining while we jogged.  And then just after we got back it started to rain again.  My friend made the comment "someone loves us"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just a little bit more

One thought that goes through my head when I do some things is "I am not doing this to do the bare minimum."  This thought was a part of my PhD.  I wanted to make it something I can be proud of (though there are more focused efforts and less focused efforts at times).  Today's smile was the point that I pushed myself a little bit further with my running.  I came to a point in today's jog where I could have rested or pushed it a little bit and made it across the street in time.  I was tired at this point and did want to rest but I did not I chose to push it because I did not want to do the bare minimum.  Also when creating this route I could have chosen to turn right and make for a slightly shorter run, but again that defeated the purpose, I did not want to just do the bare minimum, I wanted to do a little bit more.  Yes it was a slow jog, no my body is not what it was 15 years ago, but yes I can still push myself a little bit more.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Old friends

Today I was able to see an old friend I haven't seen for a long time.  She is a delightful lady.  There is something about true friendships that lighten our souls and bring sunshine to our lives, a sense and force of strength and comfort.  Friendships can be one of God's richest blessings for us in this life.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A list of smiles

So today there were several smiles that I can't claim one but must claim several.  I hope you don't mind a list of today's delights.

1) Sister time: I got to spend several hours with my sisters today.  They are such wonderful women.  So my first smile is the smile of time with my wonderful sisters.
2) Waterfront/Pike Place market:  Today's weather was AMAZING and I got to enjoy several hours on the waterfront and Pike Place market today.  It was beautiful and delightful.  I was able to purchase a shawl, a pendant, a beautiful hand painted pie pan, honey and a delightful clock out of recycled bike parts.  I was so excited about my purchases.

(yes remember to keep clam and breath)

3) Doughnut:  I have been wanting a particular doughnut and since today was my personal allotted sweet tooth splurge day.  So today we stopped by the doughnut shop and guess what my favorite doughnut was all sold out and not on the shelf.  Upon hearing how I was hoping for my favorite doughnut the owner of the doughnut shop "found" me one last of my favorite doughnut.
4) My cousin:  It was nice to spend a little time with my cousin today.  She is a fun lady.
5) Jog:  I know, I think jogging is a love/hate relationship.  Sometimes I love it and hate it while I am jogging or just after.

Friday, June 21, 2013

my aunt

Today's smile was the visit to see my aunt I haven't seen in several years.  It was simply nice to see her and also share with her my passion for family history.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

laughter and personal celebration

Yet again today's smiles are several.  Today I was able to sit with my mom's daycare children during a magic show.  I think my favorite part was hearing the children's laughter.  There is something about children's laughter that warms the soul.

The other smile was a moment of personal triumph.  It was sticking with my latest "dieting rules" today when it was very tempting to eat otherwise.  It reminded me of a commercial.  There is this commercial whenever someone refuses the temptation to take a cigarette while they are striving to overcome the addiction, there is this little band that busts out in song singing "I just want to celebrate."   So it is the little moment of celebration.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

wammy of delight

You may wonder at this point if I enjoy many other things besides running and eating/cooking, but if you do wonder the answer is yes I do enjoy other things but at the moment my focus seems to be trying to become healthier and any enjoyable step in that direction has double happiness.  So yes today's blog is courtesy of running and eating/cooking.

Have you ever read any of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques?  I read several of his books a few years ago.  They were delightful tales about mice, squirrels, otters, rabbits, etc.  One added delight to the books were the description of the meals the animals ate.  My breakfast this morning was delightful in that it reminded me of this series.  I had cornmeal mush with honey, cinnamon, fresh raspberries right off the vine and milk.  It was a triple wammy of delight - delicious, pretty, and reminiscent of a delightful tale.  Maybe even a quadruple wammy of delight since I am fairly sure it was one of the healthier breakfasts I have had.

The other delight was the fact that I ran further than I have in 2 years on my own without walking.  I guess I should say I jogged further and while the distance of 5 miles is not nearly as good as I would like, it is in the right direction so I am proud of myself for my own personal improvement.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Big and Little Things

Ansel Adams has a picture of a rose with a piece of wood that he took in black and white.  He did so because "God is in the details."  I think God can have a hand in both the big and the little things in our lives and we can have enjoyment in the big and little things.

I went on a wonderful hike today.  It was somewhere between 6 and 7 miles (but we don't really know how far we went).  I found delight in the large beauty around me and in the small beauty.  It was the beauty of the waterfall to the beauty of raindrops on a plant.  It was the beauty of the lake and mountain scene to the beauty of the small plant trying to grow in the rock cracks.  

Here are some of the small beauties.

Here are some of the larger beauties.