The Mississippi and the Train

The Mississippi and the Train

It’s the kind of river that shows up often in books you read as a child,

Wide and significant,

An  adventure.

But then you look across the road and there it is,

Full of history, but so very present.

Ordinary and mysterious.


Loud things always affect me.

They fill me

Or they make me feel sick

Or they make me want to curl up and escape.

A train woke me up the other night.

Its horn was so loud that I thought this train was going to come straight in through our open window and split


This house

The world


It wasn’t just the horn I heard.

There was a gentle musical sound wrapped around the harshness of the horn. It sounded absolutely heavenly.

Turns out the train wasn’t going through us-

Just beside us, over by the Mississippi.

In the morning, out on the deck,

I listened to a train run by on the same tracks.

I was glad to hear the same thing I’d heard in the night-

the painful loud layer and the beautiful musical layer.

I am glad that I heard the train in the night without seeing it the first time.

If I had seen it, I might have missed the music.

There are layers to be discovered in the Unseen.










Ketchup Time

It has been awhile since I have blogged. I do hope that you found other ways to occupy yourself and did not sit around waiting for me. The extra words for blogging just weren’t in me. There have been many factors involved- physical, mental, spiritual. Maybe someday I will attempt to explain some of those things, but for today, I am going to ease myself back into this space with a simple, fluffy post.

Winter has ended and spring is here. And with that thought… forward, MARCH!

I have chosen to share some photos from my phone that I have taken in the past few weeks, along with a caption of explanation. The quality of the photos is not great, and for that, I apologize. (Are you allowed to get a new phone just because the quality of your phone’s camera has gone down? Are you are you?)

Two of my students got the same fortunes in their fortune cookies one day at lunch time. I thought that was humorous, but that fact that both these students are under three years of age made me chuckle even more. What old business could they possibly have?
There’s nothing like a best friend getting married to give you all the feels. March 16 was a truly beautiful day.
My family came to our house to celebrate Wendy’s fourteenth birthday. It was fun to make some special food and do some special decorating for the party.
I do not know what exactly caused the halo to show up above Wendy’s head in this photo, but it seems fitting.
Oh, my babies. I love them so much. I love to have a lapful of squashy, cuddly, brilliant little ones. And yes, we have goggles, because that’s the way we roll at our school.
One evening, I ordered Chinese food for us online, and was pleasantly surprised when I received this fortune cookie at the end of the process. However, they did not give us any actual fortune cookies with our order, which was obviously disappointing.
Parks and Rec might just be the funniest thing ever. Even when watching episodes for the second time.
My tennis husband. I’m so thankful that he teaches me and is patient with me. In tennis, but in other areas, too.
Tiny new student.
We attended the play “The Horse and His Boy” this past weekend. (A Christmas gift from Ricky’s dad.) It was delightful. As I sat and watched, I felt my eyes keep wanting to fill with tears in a most familiar way. It’s something that always happens to me in plays, and it doesn’t always have to do with what’s happening in the story. I’m realizing that these tears are connected to seeing people singing, dancing, and being free with their character. These tears are connected to the beautiful costumes and the thousands of details that bring the story to life. These tears are connected to the curtain call, where the audience gets to catch a glimpse of the actor as their character, but also just as their very own self. I don’t know what this all means exactly… just that I have decided to pay attention to these feelings and to explore what they mean about myself as a creator.

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to. Any tidbits- highlights or low points- from the past few weeks that you’d care to share? 

Hiking Philosophy

I have always liked the idea of hiking, but haven’t always liked the actual hiking.

The idea of traipsing through nature was appealing, but my legs… they’d get so tired, and it wouldn’t take long for me to just wish to be done with the hike. It always felt like, in order to hike properly, one must move briskly towards the end point. To me, taking breaks felt like a shameful thing that revealed my weakness.

I have a new hiking philosophy now.

And it is this:

For me, hiking is not about how far along the trail I make it.

It’s not about moving quickly.

It’s about stopping to sit in the places that are beautiful. It’s about sitting there for as long as I want to, without feeling guilty about not making any headway on the trail.


Come to think of it, for me, hiking is mostly about sitting.

(Now I’m just making fun of myself.)

(But it’s true.)

The following photos were taken at Rattlesnake Point on Saturday, October 20, by myself and my fellow sitter/hiker, Ricky.













Photo credit: Ricky Martin


storm clouds
Photo Credit: Ricky Martin
Photo Credit: Ricky Martin
Photo Credit: Ricky Martin

Notes from the Cottage 2018

At the cottage, you can’t worry about wet dresses and frizzy hair.

You can’t even worry about that strip of your leg that you apparently completely missed while shaving. (How does that always happen?)

You can’t feel worried about moving or new jobs. (You may think about these things, but not in an obsessive, anxious way.)

It is not resting to worry about these things.

At the cottage, you can sit with your toes just-so in the waves and notice how the water brings plain old ordinary rocks to life and think about Jesus and Living Water.

Photo credit: Ricky Martin

At the cottage, you can go down to the beach early in the morning and feel envious of the nearly seamless transition from the rocks to the water. I handle transition a little bit more… choppily. But then again, water usually does too.


At the cottage, you can watch the blue jays, chipmunks, squirrels, and bunnies.

And if you happen to get sick, and spend the better part of three of your precious cottage days on the couch, well- I guess that’s just the way it is that year, and at least you have such a lovely family who take your turns doing dishes and go to Walmart to buy you apples and billions of probiotics and write you nice notes and draw you wonderful pictures.


Not all of life is brilliantly beautiful, and that’s okay. Calm and ordinary can be beautiful too.