Monthly Archives: June 2015

Watching the Signs


one world cafe

If you’ve read most of the posts prior then you know I have a penchant for missing the real physical signs that are placed in front of me.  Last Monday though as I was making the turn at the bottom of the lake in our little mountain community, I noticed the chalkboard sign in the cafe in the end building second floor.

It read:Chalkboard don't die


I smiled and thought it was perfect as I had just had my first day of the four day journaling course which had me thinking of expressing myself.

Tuesday, I got up and took the puppy out for his morning relief and sat on one of the deck chairs and just enjoyed the morning.  The elk were passing through and there is what we fondly call a gang of magpies that have been hanging around – always six of them – that I watched hang around each other with minor mayhem.

I was meant to start something for the blog that day and was meant to do the day two writing exercise but that dawn drew me into it and I did none of my activities.  As I drove past the cafe I notice the chalkboard once more and today it read:

Chalkboard-Nobodys perfect

Another good smile as I just realized I need not fret and indeed no one was expecting me to be perfect.  I’ll get around to the tasks sometime.

Wednesday, I was reading some of the shared posts from some of the other women participating in the writing exercises and their feedback and was so impressed by the openness and honesty with which they were sharing.  Thinking about it so much as I started out for work, that I missed looking at the chalkboard sign.

Lucky for me, I have my good friend that drives right by and works at the bank just buildings from the cafe.  I called to see if I could catch her.  Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t answer or ever charge that cell phone that she uses! (Yep, that’s me throwing you under the bus Beth).  So I sent her a Facebook message hoping she would at least see that and check the blackboard for me.  At this point, it is a bit of an experiment for me and I really must know what it says.

She messages back a bit later that the board reads:

Chalkboard-shown the light

Okay, I like it.  Not sure how that feeds into the week at this point directly, but it’s a good one.  Maybe that sign was a precursor to me seeing the “Sacha’s Light” story come about.

Thursday’s was something about all being welcome who might be visiting for a concert nearby.  Unfortunately, there are some bands with groupies so avid that some establishments are not so welcoming.  I was happy to see they not only make great food, but they have open hearts.

Friday I went in thinking about asking for help or assistance.  As I passed by, I saw:

Chalkboard-open your hand


It was a good week to read the physical signs.

Love Sally

Sacha’s Light


This is a story inspired by one of the amazing folks in the writing exercise I took part in this week.


There once was this little girl who lived mostly alone.  She had no mirrors to see what she looked like so she imagined what she might be.  There was a glow from her that she could sometimes see ever so vaguely in the eyes of the bugs that would venture within view of her so she thought she must be a candle.  She felt she was probably a beautiful candle because she felt pretty, but the things that were coming toward her and then diverting away never got close enough for the clear reflection from their eyes to let her know for sure.

She had heard from the wind that there would be ones who wanted to douse her flame by throwing themselves at it so she should be wary and to not let her glow be too bright.  They never really seemed to reach her so she thought it best to keep the glow low although she secretly wished to shine brighter.  Each time she raised her light level though, the wind would whisper that she had better be careful because soon things would be coming toward her with intentions to extinguish her light again.


For years she listened each time the wind told her to not get too bright.  The wind seemed to know when the things that made her feel uncomfortable were coming her way. So she listened.  Somewhere though, she felt she had a purpose that the wind would not let her hear.

One night as she listened to the waves crash against the shore near where she lived, she could feel the sea changing.  It was dark and storm clouds were overhead and she could feel the churn of waves splashing near her.  Normally by now she would hear the wind talking but tonight the turbulence seamed to come from below and did not include the wind.

stormy sea

The moon was now setting and the sky was heavy with clouds.  The clouds became heavier than she ever remembered.  Soon she could only feel the agitation of the sea but could not even see the rocks below her.

She was not sure what she should do.  Normally the wind would have told her to be careful of being too bright about now but somehow she felt that if she would just turn up her light this one time that maybe the icy particles in the heavy clouds would be enough for her to just this once see herself in at least a translucent form.

So she allowed her light to shine. She sent out her radiant energy like she had never dared before.

All at once she heard yelling and screaming. First she wasn’t sure if it was her or something else.  She didn’t immediately realize that it  was one of the creatures the wind had told her about that was nearly upon her.  Before she could even lower her light the beast had come withing splashing distance to her.

The clouds had lightened and had raised up and it started to rain. She could now see so much clearer than just moments ago.

To her horror there were things rushing around the skin of the beast pulling at it’s hairs and yelling to one another.  Part of it’s skin seem to be loose and flapping loosely  in the wind.  Just as she was about to lower her light in self preservation, the thing turned and the eyes reflected back on her.

ship with windows


She could see her glow from the reflection in those eyes.  She didn’t see a candle. She saw a strong fortress with rays of intense light.  This wasn’t a flicker that she thought she must have been.  She was beacon.  She didn’t know if it was the rain or if she was crying to realize that she had this incredible light within her all along.  All at once she realized that it was in her allowing herself to shine that had saved her.  Had she not glowed in her brightest, the creature surely would have crashed into her.  It was her shining that allowed them both to go unscathed.

From then on, it mattered not what the wind would whisper or howl at her, she allowed herself to shine at her brightest.

And once she did, she found that she too was noticed more and soon was visited by all sorts of beings who wanted to be in her glow.  Soon, she noticed that the beasts the wind had warned her of were not trying to harm her. In fact, now that her light was always bright, more came to pass by her on the ocean side.

On the land side, people started to come and visit from there also as her light was seen and spoken of from all around.

Sachas lighthouse

If you visit, you will see a plaque near the end of the parking lot that was made for all the visitors.  It will tell you of “Sacha’s Lighthouse” and how it was the first unmanned solar powered lighthouse of the region.  But it was not a common route for ships to pass, as the light in the early days was not consistent.  In fact, when the wind was blowing the most, the light was the dimmest.  Ships for many years took alternate routes for fear of running ashore.  The cause for the lights dimming could never be found, but since the night of an epic fog where one ship came within moments of smashing right into the point where the lighthouse stood, the lights have never since dimmed.

Love Sally







Where do they get that from?


For a lighter side today I thought I would share a few tid bits from the youngest son.

He is a great listener:  The words “put your bottom in the chair and sit still” has never been forgotten.

butt in the chair

He was tired from the long hours spent with friends.

He helped as a counselor helper at church day camp all last week.  We were discussing it on Saturday and he mentioned that there was a boy there named Fred.  In case you don’t know, we sometimes call our youngest son “Fred”.

So I asked if the young Fred at day camp was cool (making reference that Devin is cool and called Fred, so other child must be cool too)!

Devin looks at me and says “Why you gotta make it about looks Mom?  I’m not superficial like that.”  I know he is being coy and knows what I mean but I reply, “I didn’t ask if he was good looking, I asked if he was cool looking as we know I think Bill Murray is very cool sexy but not a GQ candidate. (More from the Stripes and ghostbuster years)

He nods and smirks and states, “well of course Bill Murray is sexy.  You know that I have an eleven inch sense of humor”

“Wow”! I say, ” you must be adopted”

“What are you saying about dad?” he responds

I chuckle and say, “I’m saying he is half as funny as you are”

“Well, you know that is normal right?” he quips and pauses, “We are still talking about humor right?”

children's twisted humor


Welcome into a glimpse of our conversations.

Love Sally

Four legged Family


dogs make our life whole

Today a very dear friend learned that they will be saying goodbye to one of their beloved dogs tomorrow.  It has had me tearing up all day.  Partly because I know how hard it will be to say goodbye for my friend and partly because it is hard not to think that we will have to do the same sometime soon.

I know there are folks out there who don’t care for dogs or are fearful of them but for many of us, a dog is the companion who always has a smile, an untold story in those loving eyes and a wag to let you know they care.

happy dog

They sense our moods but don’t match the occasional negative emotions with their own and it has even been shown that they can move us beyond deep emotional pain.

There are programs that match service veterans with dogs to help with their post traumatic stress disorder.   It is shown that dogs can create the bridge helping children with autism connect and improve social skills.  The array of service dogs for all types of needs is getting to be nearly endless.

They get you out walking and connecting with nature when you might not think you had the time otherwise.

dog hike


Sure, they can drive you nuts and make you laugh, but what family member doesn’t.

dogs exploding sofa

The space they fill in your life is not measured by the size of the animal.  When they are gone, you realize the energy that filled the entire room when they were with you was wall to wall and floor to ceiling.

My friends have shared a good many years with this loveable beast and can say goodbye with hearts filled with the joy and memories of how great he was  to be part of their family.

love a dog like a family member

Goodbye Moses, you will be fondly remembered.

chris and moses

Love Sally


It could be confusing


All I can be is me

Someone recently recommended a short little journaling  course and thought I would benefit. Well, it is only to be short exercises for just a few days so I figured why not. It is an online activity hosted by an acquaintance she knows.

I filled in the box for the name as my Facebook name as it said we would need to join a private group through our facebook and it would benefit to use our facebook name.

I filled in the email address as my address as it is new and doesn’t get any spam yet so I felt secure that I wouldn’t have emails lost in the myriad of junk and spam that arrives in the main email that I use.

today you are you

I have corresponded a few times, and the poor woman has addressed the  emails to SJF and Betty.  I should probably let her know that it is really just Sally but where to start with the explanations?  This isn’t going to sound like I have mental issues at all.

Lets see, I could start that I really only signed up for Facebook to be able to follow my children on an out of the country mission trip and I didn’t want my married name on there as I work in online customer service and don’t care to have just anyone looking me up and delving into my life.  That pretty much explains the SJF.

Then I could go on to explain that the friend that she knows who recommended the jounaling exercise to me also inadvertently got me to start a blog about supporting a friend and heading to Australia.  And once again, a little nervous in showing full identity I wrote the blog as Betty.  Thus the email

I now envision she is googling the definition of paranoia to see if I am clinical.

Truth be told,  I just googled it as well.  For the record, I don’t feel people are out to get me. I was more afraid that people would discover who I am and judge the simple posts in ways not meant to be.

closed minds

Lucky for me, it doesn’t matter how I sign the end of one of my posts as the people who read it know and support in any name.

Thank you all for that.

Love Sally




Lunch Surprises all week


You already know that Monday started not so great and I had an incredible walk during my lunch to help change my mood.

I thought you might like to hear about the rest of the lunches as everyday provided it’s own gift.

Tuesday, work hadn’t been quite so bad so I didn’t set off needing an entire mind overhaul but still needed a good walk.  I stopped my route in the park for a pit stop noticing how lush the grass was. It was due to be mowed so a little bit longer and lusher than it sometimes is.

I decided to take my shoes off and just walk barefoot for the next twenty minutes.

walking barefoot

When it was time to head back to the office, I leaned up against a tree to put my socks and shoes back on and there in front of me:

patch of clover with four leaf clover

Can you find it? This is the one your looking for:

four leaf clover

I took it back and gave it to my good friend.

On Wednesday, I decided  I would walk the same route as Monday and see if all of the flowers were still there.  There were more of some, less of others.  It’s crazy how quick some come and go.

As I was coming through the final field where I cross a small stream, I see a bright object.  Just to me left is a near new albeit very wet softball. Something found yet once again.



Thursday was a day.  I checked into some issues that were to have been taken care of and not only had they not, the progression of having not taken care of them was more dire than I had imagined.  I was livid. Hot. Spitting Nails. Mad. Furious.  I sat at my desk with my hands upon my head and another manager asked if I was going to sit that way in contemplation for a while.  I replied that I was merely holding my head on so it wouldn’t explode.

Lunch was going to have to be really special to knock the current storm of frustration out of me.

I decided to walk to a park that is just a few picnic tables at the end of a vacant parking lot that also borders a small wetland area.

I had taken my headphones and listened to music on the way.  When I got to the picnic tables, I decided I would really love to sit next to the water so I found a semblance of a path and then found a decent size rock that I could sit upon.

I put on a meditation clip that I had been wanting to listen to while quieting myself.  It was an Aboriginal man playing the didgeridoo.  The ancient sounds seemed to go well with the mud cracked bank I was on.  I closed my eyes and when I opened them later, there were dragonflies around and a nearly fully developed bullfrog under the water on his own rock.  He still had a tail that looked to be five or six inches long.  I have never seen a bullfrog tadpole of that size. I couldn’t capture a photo, but a smaller version is below.

bullfrog tadpole


I left the park and dialed up Aretha Franklin on my tunes for the walk back.  A woman singing with attitude was the completion to another amazing lunch that I needed to face the  rest of the day.

Friday I brought in a better mind set determined not to let it be swayed by what I could not control.

Just before lunch Jasmine texted asking if I was free for a lunch talk.  I was going to run an errand or two but I’ll always take a joyful voice over errands any time.  I drove to the park, put a blanket under the tree and chatted with my friend for the entire hour. Unexpected stories from a friend was an awesome way to round out the week of lunches with surprises.

Here’s to hoping your lunches this next week provide a surprise for you every day.

Love Sally

Early Morning Visit and Chase


First thing I saw outside this morning was an elk in the yard.  A solitary gal looking to taste as much of the bushes and trees she could reach over the fences we use to offer a semblance of protection.

We try very hard to plant and get many flowers, shrubs and trees to grow in our short season environment.  Keeping elk and deer from decimating the foliage is imperative to the success of the the flora.

So I let the puppy down into the yard to chase away the offender.

They jockeyed for position around a row of fenced aspen before I thought to grab my phone.  If all works correctly, you can see it below.


I had filmed the first portion of the elk chasing the dog and then turned my phone to landscape mode to capture a wider view not knowing that the video would be half sideways as it doesn’t correct in the video.

I downloaded a movie app and was able to correct it. Count new skill.

I went to load it here and at first it was an attachment that had to be downloaded by the viewer.  I didn’t want that as I wouldn’t download something I didn’t know the content so would not expect anyone else to either.

So guess who also learned how to upload a YouTube video today!  If nothing else, this blog endeavor has taught me many new little skills.

Tonight when I came home I wanted to get a few photos of a some of our flowers in our gardens.  I won’t include them all today, but keeping in the animal theme, the purple iris photo I took looked like a Chinese Dragon or lion cartoon style faceto me.  See if you can see it too.

purple iris



Love Sally

Mother Nature’s Pep Talk – 2


On my walk yesterday, I had started down the road, then down the railroad tracks to the next road parallel to the first and down that road to the park.  I took the outer paths around the park and when I got to the far corner where I normally would follow the main path, I noticed some very bright pink flowers just across the way a bit.  It looked like I could make it there if I circumvented the ditch and a few obstacles.

I made it to the fuchsia beauties and found a new path.

fuchsia flowers


There were spots you could see that large animals had laid in the tall grasses.  Here they had knocked down the grass but not the individual flower stem.

purple flower stalk alone

So many of the blossoms had that snap-dragon type look to them.

bright pink snap blossom

A Yucca was even blooming on the other side of the bridge.

Yucca blossom

It was then that I realized if I didn’t giddyup, I would be late coming back from this walk that was a truly powerful walk but not the power walk I had thought it was going to be.

So down through the field I headed so that I could catch the path back to the road.

purple delicates

A huge bumble bee was enjoying these yellow flowers.

yellow flowers with bee

And these were my last bouquet of the wild.

last wildflower bunch of the walk

I got back to work and my boss asked how my walk was since I looked calmer.  I handed him my phone and let him see all that had been provided to change my mood.  I think it helped him a bit too.

every walk with nature


Love Sally

Mother Nature’s Pep Talk


Work has been stressful lately.  I am a customer service escalation manager and it drives me nuts when people get to me spitting mad about something that we as a company caused.

Today started with several like that and by my lunchtime, I needed a power walk.  I was sure with the amount of steam I needed to release that I could easily go the three mile loop.

But as I started walking with determination to think through all of the negative issues on my mind, a beautiful hawk flew overhead and I was suddenly reminded to instead focus on the positives that can be enhanced instead of the negatives that may not change soon.

So as I began counting blessings instead of criticisms I also began to notice all of the beautiful plants and flowers I was passing.

A giant ball of fluff.

giant fluff

some purple and yellow wildflowers

purple and yellow wildflowers


some Gaillardia or Indian Blanket Flower and Poppies

poppies and daisy

When I got around by the park, there was a summer day camp crew of guys who brought kids and bikes to teach the kids to ride through all terrain.  Probably so they could head down the path to the bmx portion of the park.  I thought that was a good thing too.

kids biking in field

Then I came upon a wild Iris/orchid looking flower that was almost 4 ft. high sticking it’s lovely head up above all the other shrubs and weeds.

Iris type flower

Then the little yellow flower among the tall grasses.

yellow flower in tall grass


And some wild Lupines along the canal bank.



At this point in my hour walk I had hadn’t traveled far in terms of miles, but had spanned the huge chasm between my earlier angst and my current happy anticipation of finding my next flower to enjoy.

I’m going to have to leave the rest of the finds for tomorrow or the page might never load for some of you with the size of the photos.

Until then.

Love Sally

Paula’s Lighthouses

In keeping with cousin inspired stories this past month: This is my story about my cousin Paula.

If you are friends on Facebook with Paula then you have seen the many lighthouse photos she has shared.  The beacon of safety and guidance resonate with her as does the solitary beautiful settings.  She feels drawn to them as a symbol of faith and that is true but is not all.

She chooses many of the photos showing the changes of the day or weather – the beautiful sunset or sunrise or the fog covering the landscape.  Some of the photos show birds flying nearby.

What she may or may not realize is that these lighthouses hold more than the light of faith for her. They have stories that she has heard or felt relayed in a tune.  Oh, not the lyrics in a song on the radio or choir hymn at church, no these are the tunes the birds have been singing and calling to her.

Those quiet moments on her deck in the morning with a cup of coffee, she has heard the warbles and chirps of stories.  The times at night sitting around a crackling fire outside when the owl or other night feathered Aves would call out their song of narrative. She was hearing the legends and memories of these solitary places and how the birds would watch over the people stationed alone or as a secluded family.  How the birds would drop a feather to use as a quill so that the lonely folks could write their far away friends, lovers or family.

They told stories of the changes the lighthouses had endured. Of seeing the children play in the surf and building their stone castles and fishing for sea creatures.  Harrowing tales of storms and near shipwrecks.  Chronicles of gentle old couples struggling to maintain the lighthouse when no one else would come to take over the job in their declining years.

Paula can look at the photos she pulls up of the lighthouses and feels the faint knowing of it.  It is like seeing a photo of a place you have been told about for years and recognizing the nuances of the spot described.

When I see a new lighthouse photo being posted, I wonder if she remembers the story that goes with that one.

So, what I would like some (or all) of you to do is this:  Take one of the photos below or choose a lighthouse photo of your own (link of images below as well) and tell the story that comes to you when you see it.  It can be a few words, a poem, a short story, a novel or tome of any length.  Lets see if we can get enough stories or chapters to fill a week or month or volume of lighthouse stories shared here between us.  What say you?  I think it could be fun.

lighthouse 7

lighthouse 6

lighthouse 5

lighthouse 4

lighthouse 3

lighthouse 2

lighthouse 1