Archive for the 'Intentional Day-to-Day Life' Category

The Book Signing

Let me just say it up front, our family is full of Chicago Cub fans. For generations. Tom has a brick at Wrigley Field, we have a W flag, our grand kids know the names and stats for the players, etc. Those kind of fans.

So, when I noticed that David Ross, the recently retired catcher, was signing his new book, Teammate, at a nearby Barnes and Noble, the event got a spot in our calendar for last Thursday, our set-aside family night for 40 plus years.

Turns out it was a two-part deal. I needed to stop by the store in the morning to buy the book, pick up a ticket for the signing and then return later that evening. I thought it would take just a few minutes for that first part. Wrong. More like 105 minutes.  The line snaked all around the mall just to get a ticket. I was already committed, so settled in.

The long line.

Funny how these lines work but at the end of the wait, I knew parts of the life story of my little section of the fans. The story of the four-year-old IVF twins, the son who was moving away and taking the only grandchildren with him, the tennis player who would now be late for a match. Like women at the well, our chit chat revealed a lot.

Community can form anywhere.

Tom and I both returned in the evening and even though he now had a number and a time to show up, the line looked about the same. Fortunately, it was a lovely evening and they were passing out free Cubs chocolate 😊 I took walks around the area to get my steps and Tom stayed put and engaged with his slowly moving section, exchanging more stories.

Once inside, another hour lapsed. Tom kept his steady place and I wandered around the store. A conversation I had with a woman in the travel section about God was quite fun. You just never know!

Tom’s turn finally came and he had a tiny slice of time to thank David Ross for the “decency he brought to the game.” He reported that David was very kind and humble and seemed genuinely happy to meet his fans.

Total time investment, including the driving, was about five hours but the memory is priceless. Not just of the meeting and book signing but of the conversations, the chance to act like a kid again waiting to meet a sports hero, to say yes to a fun opportunity that might not come along again.

Brick at Wrigley.

Who would you wait in line for?

Hope for the best,





Splendid Summer: Make it Count*

Spring 2013 001

My husband commented last evening as we sat outside in the lovely dusk, “We’ve waited all year for this.” I don’t want it to slip away, do you? I didn’t think so.

I’m inviting myself to spend at least a short time each day of these 99 days of summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) to engage in something that can only be done in the summer. Want to join me?

Some of my favorite summer activities easily fit around a work day like taking my basket of books Books for a Summer Morning outside in the morning instead of staying in my living room chair, enjoying dinner on the patio table instead of the dining room one, reading outside at lunch time, taking a short walk outside after sunset instead of hanging around the computer. Do any of those work for you?

Summer Breakfast

I hope to get some splashier summer events in like outdoor music, movies in the park, an afternoon at the beach, long bike ride (Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Summer) but this summer I’m focusing on the daily delights of my favorite season.

Taking a hike!

As a reminder, I will daily post on Facebook which day of summer it is…

Today is 4.

Make it Count.

Hope for the best,


*Popular repost

“A Mess of Mushrooms.”

Do these look familiar? Just seeing the box brought up so many memories of chilly early mornings in May, traipsing out in the country with my dad looking for these elusive gems: morel mushrooms. I looked forward to it all year.

Mushroom hunting was a top-secret venture in Quincy. You took no one with you and told no one where you were going. Neighbors would talk about bring home a “mess of mushrooms” but I knew better than to inquire where they found them. It was impolite even to ask.

So, I was thrilled to find this box at our local Farmer’s Market last Saturday. Tom’s Czech grandma lived in Cicero which has an annual 3 day festival and parade to honor the lowly Houby (mushroom in Czech.) He was definitely in for the purchase.

On the way to the stand, Tom and I wondered how high the price would be and decided how much we were willing to spend, $10.

“$50 a pound” the guy pronounced. I have never purchased any food item for anything close to that price.

“But you can just buy a few if you wish” he offered. I pulled out my $10 and he put three in the bag, 3!

The adventure was on!

Cut in half and soaking.

We came home and watched five you-tube videos on how to prepare them. Didn’t want to risk ruining any sliver of the golden fungi. Good thing we did as Tom was ready to sample a tiny bite raw. “Eating them raw will send you to the hospital.” An important fact to keep in mind.

Tom started the soaking process, crucial for eliminating bugs. The videos had different opinions for how long this was to go on. Salt or no salt? Hot or cold water? Each one offered a different method.

Then the choice of: flour/egg/dry/lard/butter/oil. Each recipe had variations. Cooking our three morels was getting so complicated.

Options for coating the gems.

Houby master at work.

“Cook for one minute on each side” said one script. “Cook for seven minutes on each side” announced another. Keeping the threat of the hospital in mind, we decided to go with more like five.

Sizzlin’ in the skillet


Finally they were done. I decided to try to get as many minuscule bites out of my 1.5 as I could. Still didn’t take long to wipe them out.

A tad crispy!

Not quite like I remember from back in the day but the same could be said for a lot of things. Of course, we didn’t just buy the mushrooms but the culinary experience and certainly the nostalgia. I don’t think I’ll find another patch under an old tree like before so this will have to be it.

What food item would you pay $50 a pound for?

Hope for the best,


Set the Table

My dining room table ready for women’s group.

My Mom used to have this “trick”: Five minutes before my dad was due to come home from work (you could set your watch by his arrival, it was so predictable,) she would quickly set the table for dinner and put empty pans on the stove.

“You need to give the impression dinner is on the way.” Was her explanation. Sure enough, it worked. Dad seemed satisfied by the hope of dinner and one task was already done.

I still use the same principle. Not to “trick” Tom or anyone else but to still announce, Something good is on the way!

There is something about a table set to serve that wakes up more than appetite. A feeling of invitation, welcome, careful preparation, and honor are some of the things I feel when I see a table set for me.

What is your response to seeing a table set for you?

Table on the island.

A breakfast table can have the same effect.

Come and get it!

Or an outdoor one.

Feast in New Mexico with my son and daughter-in-law.

Somehow, once again, it’s the little props, the candle, type of napkins, the choice of color, arrangement of plates that paint the picture. Nothing costly or elaborate, just a bit of forethought to elevate eating to dining.

Feed your spirit as well as your body. Set the table, for your family, your friends, yourself.

Bon Appetit!

Hope for the best,


Do You Believe in Signs? (Part 2)

Have you noticed any signs lately? Here are a few more that have piqued my interest! This one to the left showed up on a back road in Michigan. I wasn’t riding a bike at the time but am familiar with “drifting sand” across my path.  I would appreciate the caution sign, say, in my office where I can get distracted or sidetracked by little stuff that slows me down.

Have you experienced “Dangerous Intersections?” We usually don’t see signposts around when we are heading for one. Would often be helpful.

I saw this one last week, do you ever feel like you need to put your voice in a closet? Give it a time-out? Listen more than talk?

Would appreciate knowing when something hard is coming?

Or when it was time to get out of the way?

This one is just fun!

What are signs saying to you these days?

Hope for the best,


Beauties and the Beast

My film companions through the past 25 years!

Let me just say I have never been a cartoon fan. Back in my girlhood, every movie opened with at least one animated short film and I wasn’t crazy about any of them. Ditto with my long Mommy-hood season, I managed to see a couple of feature animated films with my four kids but I squirmed more than they did.

Until Beauty and the Beast. I really don’t remember if we ever saw it in the theater. Probably not as the kids were quite happy to watch a rare movie on the VCR in that crazy time of life. I could dig deep in my journals and find out when it hit our home screen but I’m sure it was in 1992, twenty-five years ago.

From the first time I watched it, sitting on the my living floor with the crowd, I loved this movie. No other animated film caught my heart like this one. (I haven’t seen Frozen yet.) Over the years, when one of them wanted to watch it, I would pop in for any or all of it, especially at the end when the Beast transformed back to a prince. I usually cried through that part.

The first appetizer for the new Beauty and the Beast movie came last May right after Mother’s Day. My youngest daughter send her sister and me a trailer (I still call them previews.)

It looked so tantalizing and we put it on our calendars for “whenever it comes out.” It finally did.

After about seventeen emails, we finally found a date that worked for the three of us, last Thursday night, the evening before the official release. I may or may not have sent them an evite about it. (They are used to, shall we say, my occasional exuberance.) The day felt like Christmas Eve to me, I couldn’t wait to get there.

We bought our tickets ahead of time for the 3 D version and I arrived at the theater 90 minutes before the film started. I’m learning to make lots of room for events important to me. Crowding them squishes out some of the delight.

I had fun engaging with the other B & B devotees until the girls arrived. They scooted into the seats I carefully reserved and from the first note of the fabulous score to the last, I sat spellbound. Tears slipped out at several points and flowed at the end. Like I said, I love this movie.

I haven’t quite figured out my fascination, not that I need to, but I do wonder. Maybe I have felt like both Belle and the Beast at different points in my life. The powerful transformation scene at the end also seems like a foretaste of heaven when all creation is restored.

Or maybe it was watching it with my daughters. The first time they were little girls, enthralled with the idea of fairy tales. Later as teenagers, watching it together fuzzed the lines that sometimes separated us. Now we are all grown-ups and each have our own tales of wandering in forests and dancing at balls. Sitting between them last Thursday felt strong and solid and full of joy.

Next season, I’ll watch it with my granddaughters, we’re all the same age while the film is rolling.

The critics can say what they want, I give it a zillion stars.

The “Tale as old as Time” worked it’s magic again.

Hope for the best.


Do you Believe in Signs? (Part 1)

Don’t you just need to STOP sometimes?

I’ve always been a kind of “signs and wonders” girl with plenty of room for both in my theology and day-to-day life.

But I have run into some real road signs posted around my world that might be just the message someone’s looking for or at least will entertain you!

Check these out…

Definitely times in my life when I could have used a sign like this and turned around! Sometimes we need to climb a steep hill but not when it’s the wrong way.


Multi-tasking over-rated? One thing at a time often works best.



There are times it is important to stand out in the crowd!

Is there an area of your life where you need to “Stay On Trail?”

Signs are everywhere, look for the ones that speak to you.

More next week!

Hope for the Best,


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