Category Archives: Quiet Times

Good Morning Sunshine




When I went to bed Friday evening I was excited to wake up Saturday morning for the sunrise.  I woke up several times during the night because I was sleeping away from home from unusual sounds like a train whistle in the middle of the night and sirens.

I woke up well before sunrise.  I got showered, dressed and camera in hand to sit by the lake waiting for the sunrise.  I was excited because where I live I don’t see sunrises over the lake because of the terrain around the lake and our home.

While I was sitting on the shore I watched as the ducks on the lake were swimming past and diving below the surface to feed.  They were busy for over half an hour in front of me.  I loved watching them disappear below and trying to predict where they would surface.  In the distance I could hear gun shots.  The ducks by me seemed oblivious to the fact that there were duck hunters at the other end of the lake.

It was a beautiful unseasonably warm sunny weekend.  Perfect for walking, sitting and just being outdoors. Hope your weekend was as delightful as mine.


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I’m Guilty, I Confess







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Easter Sunrise


“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”

 Luke 24:5-6


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Daily Blessings


While we often spend our days



The past and the future,

We often miss 

The beauty

Each day has to offer

Just outside our tattered windows.


Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Photography, poetry, Quiet Times, Reflections


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Is it a feeling, a look, an emotion that we think of when we speak of ambiance?  Each of us have a place we go to or a specific area in our homes or surroundings that make us feel warm, welcome and relaxed. 

For some, ambiance requires color, soft and warm.  Others require candle lite rooms with fragrance filling the air and soft music playing in the background.  My adult children need a technology infused room to have the perfect ambiance whether in a group or alone.  They don’t like quiet. For some the perfect ambiance is a place you can be alone and for others they require companionship.

For me the place with perfect ambiance depends on the season.  In winter the place with the ambiance that draws me in is a room with a fire burning in the fireplace with a cozy chair pulled up along side it with an ottoman to prop up my feet while I read a good book.  There is a table nearby with a good reading lamp and a place for my hot cup of coffee.

Summertime, ambiance is a whole other feeling.  I take in the soft gentle breezes off the lake as I sit in my Adirondack chair and watch the water gently coming ashore and then retreating.  The rhythm of the waves is therapeutic. 

The garden in the springtime provides an atmosphere of anticipation.  I watch daily for the emerging perennial flowers as the sun gently warms the earth and everything is a different shade of spring green.  There is a hopeful ambiance in spring.

Ambiance in fall for me is elusive.  I am drawn in by the changing colors in the trees only to discover the temperature is dropping and the cold winds chasing me indoors.  On the perfect sunlight warm fall day I could stay outdoors for hours walking and listening to the crunching sounds beneath my feet and watch as the birds start gathering for their trip south.  As the leaves lose their colors and the grass it’s green I know it is time to put the summer to rest and start pursuing a cozier place indoors.

What ambiance calls you to a quiet place where you can wind down from a busy paced life?  For me it usually involves quiet and nature.  If water is available nearby all the better. My kids would tell me that I am getting old and spend too much time thinking.

I haven’t clued them in on the fact that some days I like to just sit, listen to my surroundings and shut off all this world’s thoughts.


Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Quiet Times, Reflections


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Bridge or Barrier Builder?

This past week as I was driving in my car I listened to one of my favorite cds by Phillips, Craig and Dean.  It’s the live version and I got it from a friend a few years ago for a birthday gift. 

One of my favorite songs on the cd  is Build a Bridge of Love.  On the live version of the cd one of the artists tells the story of his grandfather being a bridge builder.  He said that his grandfather told him that the same materials to build bridges can be used to build barriers, it’s a choice of how you use the materials.

Yesterday morning on one of our coldest days of the year I was in town and took this picture of an old train bridge in Little Falls, Minnesota.  It has always been a favorite bridge of mine because of the architectural detail and its age.

Build a Bridge of Love by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Isn’t it crazy, we haven’t spoken in years
We were the closest friends
Where did we part, when did the love disappear
We thought it’d never end
Just a causeless separation
A turn in the road of life
But now we’re nothing more than strangers
Don’t you think that it’s time to

Let’s build a bridge of love together
One stone of hope at a time
Let’s span the sea that comes between us
So join your hand and heart with mine

The timing is right for our differences to cease
O Father make us one
Let’s join in the fight to love all humanity
Our time has just begaun
We can use these precious moments
To tear apart dividing walls
And with those stones of separation
Build a bridge for all
Every race and every nation
United and unique
We’re all just links in a chain of love
I need you, you need me

The past week I’ve had a lot of time to think about relationships.  I’ve been home sick with the flu.  Relationships are hard work.  It is much easier to build a barrier one piece at a time with each hurt or misunderstanding until the barrier is so large you cannot see over it or too long and can not walk around it. 

Each day I have to make an effort to make the choices that will create healthy relationships.  I’m not talking about becoming a doormat but keeping the lines of communication open even when I don’t agree with someone’s choices. My usual way to deal with conflict is to run the other way.  I just don’t like it and I don’t seek it out.   But that in itself can be a barrier between me and another. 

I don’t want to start building a barrier so that if in the future someone feels like talking about something they can still find me accessible instead of locked up in my castle with the drawbridge drawn up and the moat full of crocks.  Not a pretty picture but it can happen one piece at a time until we have secluded ourselves from the very people on this earth who were put here to enrich it.


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10 Lessons Learned in 2010

1.  Sleep is necessary…I used to be able to stay up late at night and get up early running on 5 hours of sleep night after night but not any more.  I function better with a good night’s sleep.

2. Stuff is overrated…This past year I have worked on downsizing, thinking about each purchase before I make it and analyzing its importance and necessity.  I have purchased less stuff by asking myself  “What do I really want?”  Definitely less stuff!

3.  Overeating doesn’t make me feel any better..I’m up about 10 lbs in the past two years.  It’s not where I want to be but after working a long day and coming home late, I’m hungry.  I’ve overeaten instead of taking the time to eat healthier.  I definitely don’t feel better for eating the way I have in the past couple of years.  Time for change.

4.  Quiet is EssentialMy home is busy with two grown children and a grandson.  The TV is on almost from the time everyone gets up until the last one goes to bed.  The only way I can keep my sanity is to get up early before everyone else for some quiet or retreat to my bedroom for some quiet.

5. Laughing is good…My  job is crazy and can be really stressful some days but if I take time to laugh about things that I find funny I can make my day and others better. I’ve learned to laugh at myself.

6.  Learning something new makes you smarter…I am stating the obvious here but if you to learn something new you are smarter and you may just learn something new about yourself in the process.

7.  I am not a better person for watching TV…We have DirectTV with over a hundred channels.  Most evenings after work I find very little interesting to watch on tv.  Spending my time reading a new book , time spent writing or diving into a DIY project around the house makes me feel better or at least more productive.

8.  Less is definitely more…The less stuff I have the more room I have to be creative.  When my kids were little their favorite place to play was the room I had just finished cleaning and decluttering.  They would play for hours in a clean room.

9.  Hard work makes me feel better…I love the feeling of a completed project or finishing something that just required putting one foot in front of the other and sticking with it to completion.

10.  Life with a toddler is always full of surprises…My grandson lives with me and it is always a daily adventure with him.   There are times when all you can do is laugh like when the toilet was plugged 10 minutes before Thanksgiving dinner and you find what plugged it was his pacifier he flushed.


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Unassaulted Time…Early Mornings are worth it

I love early mornings.  A quiet mind within a quiet house not yet awake.  It’s a great time to read, think, and write.  I enjoy sitting in the quiet and thinking about the day that is just beginning and its possibilities with a cup of hot coffee in hand.

Some mornings like the past week have been dreary and rainy making it hard to get moving.  This time of the year it is difficult to force myself out of bed in the dark.  It takes so long to see the early morning sun which is another motivator for me.

I love to listen as one by one the others in my home wake up and join the day.  Each in their own way.  My oldest son jumps to meet the day and hops instantly into the shower to get ready.  Not late, it’s just how he starts his day.  My youngest daughter greets the day slowly and slumbers later into her morning.  She takes it slowly never in too much of a hurry.  It’s always been that way since they were born. 

My youngest son used to greet the day screaming as a baby.  He was hungry.   Now!  Feed him and everything was right with his world.  He’s mellowed a bit in that department.  My older daughter always greeted her new day with delight and still does.

Throughout the day at work so much of the day is spent in the reactionary mode or as my husband likes to put it “Putting out fires”.  When you deal with customer service you drop what you are doing or planning to do to meet the needs of the customer  your day becomes fragmented.  It ends without a feeling of accomplishment because not one thing was finished to completion on your list.  Many things may have moved forward with some progress but not entirely finished.

Even on the most stressful days at work if there was time in the morning for quiet before the chaos the day seems to go better.  If there was none because I started the day racing through it and there was no time to relax in the morning,  things just don’t go as smoothly.  Unassaulted time has its benefits even in the dark.


Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Quiet Times


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Quiet Evening at the Lake…Not quite

Last evening I spent some time with my book and coffee on the dock.  It was quiet when I first sat down.  I noticed a pair of loons off to the north and decided to get my camera in hopes of getting a picture of the pair. 

When I returned a waterskiing boat entered the scene and was doing laps around the lake with a skier behind.  They kept getting closer and closer to the loons.  The loons kept diving and moving farther west so they were out of my range with my not so great camera. 

I love evenings by the lake and the sounds you hear especially if there is a breeze of any kind blowing in the trees.  Last evening as I sat I could hear the trees and I heard the fish as they came to the surface for an insect or two.  I watched as two bass came and circled in front of the dock and then slowly swam away.  In the distance I could hear the voices of the campers at the local bible camp singing “I’ve been working on the railroad.”   Not the usual bible camp song but it was fun to hear it in the wind.

I finally settled in with my book when someone nearby started with firecrackers.  I nearly jumped into the lake from the unexpected sound.  Started to read again and I heard the familiar buzz of the incoming mosquitoes.  Time to head indoors way too early.

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Posted by on July 2, 2010 in Nature, Quiet Times


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I feel invaded, the garden used to be my territory

On the Porch

This past weekend my two daughters , 21 & 19, decided that they wanted to plant a vegetable garden.  I don’t have one due to past problems with trying to grow one.  I do have a flower garden.  “Mom, where can we put a vegetable garden?”  they asked.  I suggested the most sunny location in the yard and recommended that they not start too large this year.  They measured and marked off a 10′ by 12′ plot and started removing the sod.  Then my husband got into the act and took out my small garden tiller that I bought a few years ago and started to use when he remembered that it quit working for him last year when he was seeding in some grass in an area where we had done some construction.  He started taking it apart in the driveway.  He ordered the part on the internet to fix it.  He’s a mechanic so I know it will eventually make it back together and work when its done.

Up until last weekend not one of my family members has shown any interest in the yard or gardening.  I’ve done all the yard work and gardening.  It has been my sanctuary.  I love mowing the lawn, good thinking time and no phones.  When I feel a little crowded inside, I head outside to my garden.  I came home on Monday to find my oldest daughter in the rhubarb.  She asked if she could cut some and I said “Go ahead.”   She cut it all.  She spent hours washing, cutting and freezing the rhubarb.  It seems that her new boyfriend’s mother loves rhubarb and she has decided to bring her some.  The things we do for love.  Now my husband is complaining because he has to dig under all the rhubarb in the freezer to get at what he wants.

We had a pine tree go down in some strong winds last week and I came home to my oldest son cutting it up in the yard with the chainsaw.  He’s helping, I know but what is up with my family?  They have never spent as much time outside in the yard as they have in the past week.  Maybe I should be concerned.  Maybe they think I’m getting old and can’t handle the yard anymore.  Perhaps they are feeling as crowded in our home as I have and are seeking a sanctuary of their own. 

On Memorial Day I was out trying to water my garden because it was extremely dry so I set up the sprinkler and went inside to set up some coffee.  I came back out and it was gone.  Apparently my daughters decided the ground was too hard where they were trying to dig for their garden and moved the sprinkler to their location.  After they were done using it I put the sprinkler back in the original location and went to hang some clothes out to dry on the line.  I came back and it was gone again.  I looked toward where my daughters had their garden, no sprinkler.  Then I followed the hose to the other side of the house to where my husband thought that the new grass seed he planted could use some water.  I gave up and decided to sit on the porch and read a book instead.

While I was sitting on the porch reading my book at a table I had just placed there this past week soon I was joined by one daughter, then my other daughter with my grandson, my husband, my youngest son and finally  my oldest son.  Apparently I made my new table too inviting because they all surrounded me there.  I know I should feel flattered that my family wants to be near me but a little alone time is good for the soul.

Today is Thursday and I will probably cut the grass before the weekend unless someone else beats me to it.  I’m not quite sure these days what might happen.  As I survey my yard I will have a lot of obstacles to cut grass around because as excited as everyone was to be outside and start on things, not one of managed to finish what they started or clean up their individual messes. 

What’s next?  Perhaps all their enthusiasm was short-lived for the garden last weekend and it will once again be mine this weekend.  If not,  I will have to learn to share with my new friends in the garden just like we were taught in kindergarten.


Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Life Happens, Nature, Quiet Times


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