Bib Overalls

This is my grandma Winnie in her bib overalls.  She not only has bibs on but if you look closely you will see she also has her

high heels on. 

And I’m pretty sure if you look even closer you will see she has

her earrings on too. 

She was a classy gardener.  I do have to say, no matter what both of my grandma’s were doing, they ALWAYS had some level of make-up and jewelry on.  They set a pretty high standard for all of us granddaughters that followed behind them.  Spending time with them growing up I knew what I saw on the outside was just a mirror for what was on the inside of them. They were strong women with kind and gentle spirits.

She passed her love of gardening down to me.

And to that I nod and say, “thank you”!

I just can’t figure out how to do the high heel thing in the garden.

When I spend hours in my garden with my own bib overalls on I feel the spirit of my grandma smiling over me. 

My friend Ruthie and I.

I’m sure somewhere behind that smile she’s thinking,

“girl, get your high heels on”!

When I step into my garden, I step into a peace I find no where else.  The collection of birds that make our yard their home serenade me with their morning song, the squirrels that live in our trees scamper around me chattering and reminding me that their peanut stash is low.  Maybe I’m a one focus girl, because when I put my hands in the dirt all the chaos and noises that fill the world outside my garden gate are non-existent. And if you pay really close attention to nature you will find that hour by hour she’s ever changing.

Last week a friend came by for tea under the red umbrella.  She was facing up the yard and I was facing down the yard.  As she got up to leave (after 4 hours of chatting) she said, as she sat there she noticed how the sun came and went in the upper garden  continually changing the view she was looking at.  She doesn’t know that before she arrived I actually had a talk with Mother Nature asking her if she could

please -

out do herself a little for my friend and -

showcase her creativity. . .

which of course,  she did. . .

and of course,

I thanked her. . .

Out in nature is where I like to spend my free time.  Give me a salt water beach or a country road.  And this girls happy.  A couple of weeks ago we were invited to have dinner with our friends at their home on Camano Island.  As we drove home later, in the quiet of the night, over hill and over dale through the green lush countryside, windows cracked, breathing in the fresh night air and stopping along side the road to take in the big yellow moon overhead that was lighting our way, I was reminded of the beauty that surrounds us every day if we just take time

to notice.

So as I take a stroll one last time through my backyard to make sure all the new plants are in the ground, the dirt is fluffed and ready for the 3 backyard party’s that are lined up back to back like tin soldiers, to take place the next 3 weekends, my bibs are hung by the back door, and my thoughts turn to party napkins, fancy drinks, is there enough seating for everyone?  Well, maybe a few could stand while they eat.

And of course, hoping there is enough food for everyone who enters the garden gate.

If you’re ready to party -

Come sit by me. . .


Sometimes Forgotten - But Never Too Late

 My hubby and I were married on Dec. 18th right in the smack dab middle of preparation for the

Christmas holidays. 

Need I say more. . . 

So every Dec. we have the same discussion about when should we celebrate?  Sometimes it falls on our friends annual Christmas Party - 

that we for sure wouldn’t miss. . . 

Then there’s the week before Christmas with all the busyness of shopping and decorating and getting the guest room ready for the arrival of overnight guests - 

or. . . 

the week after when we’re really just ready to do nothing after all the entertaining and eating and

and company and cleaning up -  

or. . . 

maybe we could just wait until January when the world feels too quiet after all the hustle and bustle. 

And so here it is January 28 and somewhere in all the excitement of the New Year and putting things back

together and thoughts of the arrival of spring - 

our anniversary was forgotten. 

I came into my office this morning, sat down at my desk, opened a drawer and as I was moving papers around not even sure what I was looking for - 

there in the middle of all the drawer chaos lay this card - 

that I had totally forgotten about. . . 

and as I turned it over this is what I read -  

Sometimes “right back where you started from” is right where you belong.   

The anniversary card I had bought my hubby months before Christmas was even in view, but never signed and gave to him. 

You see, my hubby is a romantic and things like special dates and cards and old memories and new memories are really important to him.  He still makes me feel like I’m - 

on a date. . . 

when we go out together. 

He does special things - 

like opening my car door or pulling out my chair in a restaurant. 

When we cross a street together he always puts his hand on my lower back and I always feel so protected by him.  It’s his way of saying I’ve got your back. 

If I fall asleep before him he still wakes me to - 

kiss me good-night - every time. . . 

You see, many years ago there was this 19 year old boy and an 18 year old girl who met on a blind date three thousand miles from their homes and after much dining and laughing and getting to know each other - she went here and he went there and then 25 years later - 

fate brought them back together. 

And now as we begin our 25th year of marriage I know we need to make a special date and celebrate the 24th year that we just left behind in 2016. 

Because. . . 

it’s never too late to celebrate.   

it’s just that we remembered.



"the life-changing magic of tidying up"


 “The best way to get something done, is to begin”. . . 

As much as I love the decorations and atmosphere that fills our home at Christmas, I equally love the
week after Christmas when I help my hubby drag the tree out the front door instructing  

my hubby - 

to please keep the tree on the sheet that is cradling it so the falling pine needles don’t make a home in the carpet on their way out that - 

will  . . . 

for sure 

randomly show up for the remainder of the year. 

And please don’t walk so fast - 

And who’s going to shut the door behind us so our kitty Abby - 

doesn’t escape. 
sigh. . .

This is my week to deep clean and freshen up our home for the coming New Year.  It’s kind of like preparing for a coming out party.  You want everything to shine and sparkle and have a place to greet this New Year and dazzle your friends when they come to visit. 

You wait with anticipation for their arrival when all the ooohs and aaahs will begin and questions like
how did you? and say things like where did you put? or how different it looks or I can’t believe you thought!


But in reality we all know that probably nobody will be - 

dazzled. . . 

or notice the hours and energy and thought that went into this coming out party - 

but - 

you. . . 

And that’s ok.   

sigh. . . 

 I’m also continuing on a project my friend and I began together in October.  It all started with a book her friend in California sent her called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.  We both love organizing and simplifying our lives and surroundings so it seemed only natural that we’d love doing this project together.  I love organizing and am always moving objects into the garage and then back into the house and then 

of course 

back into the garage. 

Or going to my closet and taking clothes off the hanger and then putting them back on the hanger and then ultimately thinking I have - 

nothing to wear. . . 

As I went from room to room, filling box after box I noticed something begin to shift inside of me.  As
my house became free of objects that I no longer valued or needed and that took up space in my mind -

mostly on an unconscious level -  

I felt emotionally lighter.  

And I know that the spaces that held all these objects will never again be used for a holding space.  Because -

I feel - 

so much freer. 

I’ve read about clutter and how even when it’s not visible to us, it’s visible in our mind and affects our - 

peace of mind. 

I was born a natural homemaker.  What some women call chores, I call puttering which in the end still means vacuuming and dusting, cleaning and washing.  But I believe in daily maintenance and spending -

as little time as possible doing this - 


My home is my sanctuary and I love spending time here.  Here is where I close the door to the outside noises and chaos that often fill the spaces outside our doors.  Puttering is never an all day event, but is tucked in little pockets of free time.  Being a nature girl at heart I bring nature into our home in the form of indoor trees and plants and water fountains that are present throughout our home and great you at our front door. 

I find serenity in these simple objects that fill our home with peace. 

As I read and pondered this book I learned that clutter is not only in our physical objects that surround us, but also in our thoughts.  Most of us at some time or other have been visited by this little gremlin that sits in our brain and waits for the most opportune moments to fill our mind with negative chatter that travels throughout our body depositing things like headaches, anxiety, stomach aches and fatigue.  Just like de-cluttering our homes we need to de-clutter our mind.  I do this in the form of audio meditation.  
After 20 minutes of meditation my mind is clear and happy -  

And my body feels healthy.  

So as I enter this New Year I’m excited about traveling lighter, bringing less in and taking more out. 

And remembering -  

to -  

Not say “yes” to everything I'm asked to do. . . 

to -  

Define my own road in life. . .  

And to -    
“Bloom where I'm planted” 

And to know I'll pretty much always -
be happy!
One more for the road.
As I'm walking through the world this year over hill and over dale, all hither and yawn,
and to and fro -
I have decided to just be me. . .
It's so much easier. . .






"The Christmas Letter"


I came into my office this morning to clean up my desk and there tucked in among all the papers was our Christmas letter addressed to one of our friends that got lost in the clutter.  Of course then I had to make the decision - 

mail it or toss it.   

I decided to mail it.   

So in the middle of January -  

Merry Christmas - 

again. . .
                                                                                                                          Christmas 2016  

A white Christmas - and for a moment the world falls silent as snowflakes quietly fall to the ground.  On their way down some tuck themselves away on tree branches while others cover the ground in a perfect sheet of flawless white. 

Inside we’re wrapped in the warmth of this Christmas season. Grape wreaths wrapped in white lights sparkle in the windows, the scent of the freshly cut tree fills the air, greens grace every flat surface, and the bells on the front door keep jingling with the arrival of family.   

Followed by -  

Much snuggling and cuddling in front of a warm crackling fire under fuzzy throws, much story telling and making new memories, singing Ho Ho Ho The Mistletoe and Fa La La La La-ing, and where’s the hot chocolate and do we have whipped cream?, and wrapping paper scattered everywhere. 

Many sweet and beautiful memories are made sprinkled with “The Family Stone” moments. 

Sigh. . .

And then as we gather on Christmas Eve. we remember another time so many years ago on another Christmas eve when a man and a woman traveled by donkey on a journey to deliver the most precious gift of all -  traveling in the most primitive of ways over hills and through valleys - not knowing when they arrived in a town unfamiliar to them in the middle of the night - the only place to lay their head that night would be in a stable nestled among donkeys and sheep - filled with the anticipation of the gift they were bringing to the world in the form of a tiny baby boy who would spend his first night in a lowly manger -

And who would one day be called our - Savior.  

His name is Jesus. . .

As I turn out the lights and lay my head on my pillow with the smell of hot chocolate still hanging in the air I know - .

“Even when you don’t know the magic is happening. . . it is happening”.  The magic of family, of grace that covers all our imperfections and the miracles that God tucks into our everyday lives.  Sometimes without us even noticing.

With all our adult children asleep here and there - and our Niya Lilly snuggled in with grandpa and grandma -   

I am grateful. . . 

Grateful for family because that’s where it all begins and ends. . .  

Grateful for my hubby, our four children, our beautiful granddaughter and most importantly - 

All our friends who form an invisible circle around us with their love, who become family.  

Grateful for the memories of this past year -   

For the special moments - 

For the ordinary moments.  

And grateful of course, that I love the smell of fresh falling rain. . . 


Phil & Sandy