Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.
 - Edward Sanford Martin
Thanksgiving is a day on the calendar,
 but it is also an action word.
It is spinning and twirling in wonder at the world around you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010




Last night we attended an adorable musical called The Turkeys Go On Strike.  Each of the three 2nd and 3rd grade classes at our school were assigned to be, Indians, Turkeys, Pilgrims, Football Players, TV Reporters, or Cranberries.  A synopsis of the show is this:  

The newscasters report that there is trouble at the Gobble Gobble factory.  The turkeys have gone on strike.  Thanksgiving must be canceled!  The turkeys revolt.  The football players protest the cancellation.  The cranberries are thrilled to lose their side dish status and offer to be the new main course.  The indians and pilgrims are interviewed.  In the end the true meaning of Thanksgiving is discovered and everyone breaks out in song.

All very cute!

However there was an unplanned side show going on.  One of the adorable little turkeys in Ellie's class threw up on stage.  Midway through the performance adults start peaking through the curtain.  The turkey section is moved off the risers and shuffle down onto the floor.  The reporters never break stride.  Next, the cranberries and turkey section seem to be holding their noses while performing.  A few are even pulling their shirts over their noses.  Hands reach through the curtain and start wiping up the mess.  All while the cranberries are jamming to Everybody Dance Now.  A few minutes later another hand reaches through with a can of Lysol.  In the bright stage lights you see a cloud of disinfectant billowing over the turkey section.  And still the show goes on!  It brought tears to my eyes.  

(I'll leave it to you to determine if they were tears of a proud mama or the tears produced when you want to laugh so hard but are trying to keep composure.)

Here is a clip.  The unfortunate turkey who stole the show is the cute tall boy behind Ellie in the back.  He made it through his song then exited stage left.  You will also notice Jack, our indian on the screen. It was a fun evening.

Monday, November 22, 2010


There is a funny Sandra Boyton song called "BUSY BUSY BUSY" that my kids love.  They call it Daddy's song. But lately it's my theme song.  I wish I knew how to attach music to my blog so you could hear this hilarious song... but alas I'm too busy to figure it out.  Here are the lyrics which are sung at breakneck speed like one long run-on sentence.

"We're very very busy and we've got a lot to do and we haven't got a minute to explain it all to you for on SundayMondayTuesday there are people we must see and on WednesdayThursdayFriday we're as busy as can be with our most important meetings and our most important calls and we have to do so many things and post them on the walls.
THEN...we hurry to the south and then we hurry north and we're talking every minute as we hurry back and forth and we hurry to the east and then we hurry west and we're talking every minute and we don't have time to rest and we have to do it faster or it never will be done ..."

 It goes on and then ends with a funny,
  "and we think there is a reason to be running neck and neck and it must be quite important but we don't have time to check.  And if not...well, what the heck."

So I'm busy, painting, and carpooling, Christmas shopping, and dog walking and there's no time to update my blog.  Here are a few quick takes in the life and times of our household.

1.  Tonight we will attend the 2nd and 3rd grade musical called "The Turkeys Go On Strike" .  There will definitely be pictures to come because Jack is playing an Indian and Ellie (much to her dismay) was assigned the role of a turkey.  She wanted to be a pilgrim and she is mortified to wear a beak and "gobbler thing".  I told her that if she is going to be a turkey she should be the best turkey she can be!

2.  Saturday I went with E.J.'s class on a field trip to the Operation Christmas Child's processing center in Denver.  It was amazing!  E.J. is doing a great job with his 5th grade service project and has collected over 50 boxes.  The school's goal is over 4,000!

3.  We are doing a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year.  We head to Las Vegas on Wednesday.  I'm sure there will be many photo opportunities there!

4.  I'm a painting machine.  It's amazing the change a $20 can of paint can make.  So far I have rid the pantry, Molly's room and now the dining room of the dull tan color that covers the entire house.  Jack's room remains tan but we painted his ceiling dark blue and attached glow in the dark stars.  We also have plans to paint Ellie's room, the girls' bathroom, and the master bedroom at some point.  

5.  I'm 90% finished with Christmas shopping.  I love being finished early so I can actually enjoy the season and skip the chaos.

6.  Dr.  Seuss has amazing insight and so does my 4 year old.  We were reading about the Star-Bellied Sneetches and Molly declared at the end.  "I would kept my money and just be'd friends in the furst place mama."  She is wise.

7.  Word to the wise - If you have a dog and a zhu-zhu pet in the house you must be sure to keep them apart.  We had a very gory incident in which the zhu-zhu pet didn't make it.  I will spare you the photos.  It was a scene of destruction, plastic bits, wires, batteries, and a ragged piece of pink and white fur with only 1 remaining eyeball.  

That's all I've got today.  We're off to school for a Thanksgiving lunch feast cafeteria style.  Yum!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The trip to Durango was beautiful.  It was wonderful to familiarize ourselves with the Colorado mountains again.  Up narrow roads, lined with golden aspens, and steep cliffs, through tunnels, then up past pines frosted with snow and finally to the top of the pass with snowcapped mountains peaks and then back down again.  We must have gone over a dozen passes to get there.  The scenery kept us captivated.
Colorado is a great place for train lovers and we have a few in our family.  One of the highlights of the trip was the Durango-Silverton steam train.  We have ridden it several times in years past.  This time we decided to drive up to Silverton and watch the steam train roll into to town.  It is quite a sight, chugging into town, wheels screeching, steam bellowing and whistle blowing.  
E.J. has been fascinated with trains since he was tiny.  We have watched hours of I Love Toy Trains video, and built Thomas train layouts that stretch from room to room.  At age 2, when we were potty training, he would sit on the toilet making chugging noises.  The biggest attraction at the zoo wasn't the animals but the train that slowly made it's way around the park.  For years his favorite ride at Disneyworld was the Tomorrowland People Mover train.  We have been fortunate enough to ride several actual trains over the years and the fascination never wanes.
We spent quite a bit of time in the Durango Train Museum.  This part of the country has a past filled with adventure.  The road from Durango to Silverton and then further up to Ouray  was called the Million Dollar Highway because of the gold and silver mining in the area.  Tim met a man on a recent sales call that grew up working in the gold mines.  His father was a sheep farmer above Silverton.  He provided us with the photo below.  It is the same road we took in our SUV only slightly wider.  Amazing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've been reading and hearing a lot about "making a difference" lately.  I'm a few chapters into The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns and I have been listening to the Outlive Your Life video series at

Richard Stearns says that "poverty is rocket science".  It is so complex an issue and I agree with this as I pass the man on the corner with the "hungry" sign.  Shouldn't this man get a job?  If I give him money will he blow it on drugs or alcohol?  Didn't Jesus say to feed the hungry?  What would I say to him?  What should I say to my kids when they ask what he wants?

In the video series Max points out that much of our success in life is due to our birthplace. "In the game of life many who cross homeplate were born on third base and many others, who are just as willing and capable, weren't even born on a team."  So I'm a 3rd baser and that man on the corner, maybe he doesn't have a team.  Or maybe he isn't willing and capable.  I do not know, but I do know that I have be given much and much is expected.

Several years ago I was on my way to pick up my kids from school in Rochester NY.  I got off the highway and stopped at a red light.  Across the intersection is a man with a sign.  I want to help.  I have only change in my purse but sitting on the passenger seat is a loaf of banana bread that I had just baked.  On an impulse I wave to the man.  The light changes and he can't cross.  I have to move because I am blocking traffic.  I circle the block and come back.  I tell him that I have no money but that if he really is hungry he can have my bread.  I hand it out the window.  Our eyes meet and I think he is ashamed or perhaps disappointed.  He mumbles no thank you and heads off in the opposite direction.  I am sad for him and for me and for circumstances.  I threw my banana bread back on the seat and went to pick up my kids.  On the way back home I notice the corner is empty.

Since moving to Colorado I see these these men up and down the interstate or in the Wal-Mart parking lot almost daily.  Last week I read a lovely post entitled "The Man On The Corner" at the blog Graceful and I was inspired to try again.  I didn't plan anything I just knew at some point it would happen.

Thursday we woke up to snow, and gray skies.  The kids were thrilled.  It was beautiful.  The first snowfall signals the approach of a season I love.  But then, I have a warm coat, a cozy house and heated seats in my car.

After having a lovely morning at Ladies Bible class I head up an exit to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple things.  And there he is.  A man on the corner with a sign that I do not bother to read.  It is cold and windy, he must be frozen.  We enter through the garden center which is filled with Christmas displays.  I quickly collect the items I need, a bag of flour, snacks for the kids' lunchboxes, and some toilet paper.  I wonder if he will still be there and determine what I will say.  At the Subway behind the checkout I purchase a cup of coffee and stuff a bag full of creamers and sugar packets.  We load the car, my 4 year old, completely unaware of her mama's conflicting thoughts and plan.  We reach the corner and I roll down the window.  "You must be cold" I say and "I wanted to give you this and tell you that God loves us all and offers everyone a chance to change."  I hand him the coffee.  His eyes look vacant.  I hand him a $5.00 bill, hoping it isn't spent on pot.  He says "Thank you and God bless."  And I roll up my window and drive home.  

I don't know whether I helped or enabled this man.  Maybe a seed was planted.  At the very least I shared a hot coffee on a cold day.  To be honest the passing of a $5.00 bill out the window was easy, the coffee was a nice touch but it's the words I wonder about.  It's the eye contact and the having to say something that was hard.  But it was a good lesson for me in being bold with compassion.    I won't be handing out money at every corner but I am keeping my eyes open.  

Friday, November 12, 2010


The kids had a fall break from school a few weeks ago we so decided to head into the mountains.  We crossed several mountain passes, a splendid drive that brought to mind Romans 1:20.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities
 - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen,
 being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Our destination was a cabin in Durango that we had visited several times when we lived here before.  The usually bustling campground was in its last week of the season, the temperatures were cool and it was deserted and quiet except for a few hunters in for elk season.
The kids had fun exploring the campground. They were so excited to unroll their sleeping bags and bunk together in the loft.  We had declared this vacation technology free so although the cabin had a television, it never once was turned on.  No games were played on the iphone either.  We brought board games, a puzzle and lots of good books.  
The cabin next door had a group of hunters that we saw coming and going in the dusk and dawn, outfitted in camouflage and carrying menacing weapons.  One morning the kids peaked through the checked curtains to see them obviously butchering something on the deck.   I could hear a horror soundtrack playing in my head.  We were disgusted yet fascinated at the same time!  

Little did we know, we would need those hunters and perhaps they were not as menacing as we imagined.

The kids really wanted to enjoy a campfire so we purchased, hot dogs, and goodies for smore-making, a bundle of firewood and a starter block.  E.J.  set to using his cub scout knowledge and got a roaring fire going with Daddy.
 The temperatures were cool but the skies were clear and the fire warm.
As often happens in the mountains the clouds started rolling off the mountains and in a matter of minutes our once clear skies were looking ominous.  As we moved onto the smores course we were beginning to see snowflakes.
We laughed that we were enjoying this summertime tradition in a snowstorm.  It was the first snow we had seen this season and the kids were thrilled dancing around the fire...until...
Someone just locked us out of the cabin!
And now the snow is really falling, and the fire is dying, and the night is coming.
Now it's not so fun!

We looked over at the cabin next door.  The hunters.  Tim went to borrow their cell phone to call the campground manager.  A few minutes later these good old boys were insisting,  "Ya'll get in here!  It's too cold to have them kids outside."  Now I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma.  I went to college in Arkansas.  I am no stranger to a southern drawl.   But when these men from the West Virginia mountains spoke, I really had to pay attention to understand what they were saying.

We all crowded into their cabin.  Dinner was on the stove, drinks and pictures of the cook's grandchildren were passed around.  And then the hunting stories commenced. We learned that they were here to hunt elk and that they were lucky enough to get one their first day out.  And unlucky enough to have shot it 3 miles off the trail.  They had to cut it into quarters and carry it out. That morning they "got smart" and had hired a local ranch hand to go in with his horse and pack out the rest.  I asked how they insured that the portion left overnight didn't get eaten by other animals.  "You don't." was the answer.

Then show and tell began and we learned about field bags and hunting licenses, and we gazed at the rack, still a little bloody, that was hanging in the loft.  We exchanged stories of bear sightings in New Hampshire and the Great Smoky Mountains.  We had seen moose, they had seen mountain lion.  

Dinnertime!  We were offered fresh sauteed elk meat (the very same we had seen butchered that morning).  Some were more eager than others to try.  It was certainly the freshest meat we had ever eaten and pretty tasty.

Finally the camp manager showed up and we said our thanks and goodbyes.  It was now dark and our cozy cabin was waiting.  This was not the evening we expected but it was an evening to remember and we learned a lesson about first impressions!  I just wish I had taken pictures of our hosts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

GIFTS 416-440

416.  a slow change of season
417.  bread rising in the oven
418.  successful high altitude baking
419.  doggie daycare
420.  having a tired pup napping at your feet
421.  visits from family
422.  neighborhood parties
423.  timely knitting advice
424.  fabric swatches for girly rooms
425.  5th grade service projects
426.  Operation Christmas Child boxes stacked on our table
427.  a bold new painting project - did I really just paint that blue on a whim?
428.  field trips
429.  trips back in time
430.  a boy's fascination with chamber pots, and "cool chickens"
431.  an appreciation of the ease of modern life
432.  the strength and determination of the pioneers
433.  aquariums
434.  fancy desserts
435.  art projects
436.  Christmas shopping, mostly finished
437.  a new babysitter
438.  3-D glasses
439.  pumpkin carving

440.  grace, grace and more grace, overflowing

Thank you Lord for blessings overflowing,
lists never ending,
promises forever kept,
goodness surrounding,
 magnified by the light of gratitude.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I love the light in Colorado and although I have simple equipment and no training, I love taking pictures of  "the glow".  I do a double take and pull out my camera when I notice the golden light on things.  Every time I walk the trail behind our neighborhood, the mountains create a different scene.  Things are always changing, the light, the cloud formations, the colors of the sky.  It's a wonder of God's creation.

It strikes me as funny that Colorado is known as "Colorful Colorado"  because coming from the East Coast where things are lush green, and my favorite, peonies, azaleas, flowering trees, wild violets and daffodils burst forth with little effort, Colorado is a place of brown and gold with blue skies.  But there is something about the light here that makes everything beautiful.

I am loving our new life here.  Maybe that's why things are glowing.  We are busy, but a good busy not a hectic busy.  I have been absent from my blog and I miss the communication but I don't find it as necessary as when I was so isolated and my blog was my link to society and sanity.

I learned from another blogging mom that there are companies that will publish, in hardcover book form, the contents of your blog.  She does this instead of scrapbooking.  I think this is a fabulous idea.

When you have babies everyone tells you "write it down, those milestones and cute stories, or you will forget".  And you do ... forget.  You forget to write it down, you forget those moments you think you won't.  So I have a new goal here at Yellow Shoe Day - to preserve those moments and thoughts I want to share with my children.  Since I do not have the discipline to stick with a pen a paper journal, that may or may not be appreciated, or even remembered, many years down the road, I will choose the method that gives me instant gratification, pretty pictures and the occasional feedback.  
Hope things are glowing in your neighborhood.