Category Archives: Home Front

Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words. Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. But difficult times are not the only times…

A Few Encouraging Words

Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words, eh? Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. It’s part of this mortal journey, but it is not all. Difficult times are not the only times. Maybe we have to look a little harder through the gloom, but the good things are still there: love and joy, successes and accomplishments, celebrations, dancing, and lemonade.

Our family is going through some terrifically trying times right now, but somehow there is still laughter, people bringing ice cream—Chocolate. Dark. Because milk chocolate is a color, not a flavor—unexpected hugs or phone calls, little things that remind us that there is joy.

Because I need it, because everyone needs it, here are a few reminders, a few encouraging words to help us see the good things and help us to keep our chins up and our smiles at the ready.

Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words. Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. But difficult times are not the only times…

Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words. Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. But difficult times are not the only times…

Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words. Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. But difficult times are not the only times…

Thank you for being there—for me, for each other. Keep up the good work.

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Have you got an inspirational, uplifting quote that has helped you get through hard times? A story about someone who’s done something amazing for you or someone else?

Share in the comments below!

Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash

Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words. Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. But difficult times are not the only times…


101 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lake Tahoe: Had a *glorious* week at Lake Tahoe. Such breathtaking scenery! And when I say “breathtaking,” I do so with all the words my thesaurus can list in mind: spectacular, awe-inspiring, magnificent, sensational, wondrous, and all the rest.

101 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lake Tahoe

I just spent a glorious week at Lake Tahoe.

Okay, I wasn’t that thrilled with the snow, but it was an overnight thing, soon melted, and it did make for some lovely scenery. Mostly, though, I prefer my snow in pictures.

My hubby and I arrived at Lake Tahoe right after most of the parks and historical sites shut down for the season (sad!), but just in time to enjoy all the breathtaking fall color—without the congestion of all the Summer Folk. And when I say “breathtaking,” I do so with all the words my thesaurus can list in mind: spectacular, awe-inspiring, magnificent, sensational, wondrous, and all the rest. Continue reading 101 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lake Tahoe

Fantasy Oasis

Home garden and decorating magazines—and the fact that I live in a desert—long ago inspired in me a yearning for a fantasy oasis. Oh, nothing excessively artsy-fartsy, but I dreamed of a private, lush garden to relax in. Lots of greenery. Trees to enfold our little house and obscure those surrounding us. Perhaps a little artwork tucked away here and there to liven the view and add a little whimsy…

In the Beginning

When we moved into our new house three years ago, there was grass from the street all the way to the back fence. Luckily, there were three mature trees, too. Well, they were advertised as mature, but they were more like adolescents. Maybe I’m being a snob, but I think a mature tree should actually provide some shade! Where was my fantasy oasis? Continue reading Fantasy Oasis

It’s Been a Busy Week!

Hello, faithful readers!

This is not the post I’d planned for today, nor the time I meant to post it (oops! I’m late!), but it’s been a busy week, so what I have for you is a quick update.

On May 21, grandchild #3 came into our lives. We are smitten. He is adorable.

Then, on June 7, grandchild #4 appeared. She, too, is adorable and instantly melted our hearts. We have such cute grandchildren! (No, really!)

Between those two amazing events we began a super-sized yard makeover: taking out a big chunk of sod in the back yard and putting in a flower bed, a little patio, (hopefully) a big patio (but we’re still waiting on the Patio Dudes), and repairing the insane sprinkling system we inherited when we bought our house. (Who puts sprinkler heads meant for the entire yard behind trees? Three out of four across the back fence, and don’t get me started on the rest!)

AND… it suddenly became summer here. We’re having temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s, which would be great if we were sipping cool drinks on the patio, enjoying the new scenery, but it is not very fun to work in!

Backyard Makeover 2017
The west corner of the back yard… and it looks pretty much the same all the way to the east corner, so I’ll spare you more pictures. For now…

Wish us luck! And stay tuned for more interesting things to read soon… Er… eventually?!

Of Ocean Breezes and Green Gomboo…

Original plans called for me going through vacation pictures and making witty captions to post about my recent vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. However… The Green Gomboo came along for the trip. I spent half my would-be gorgeous vacation in the sun and sand sick as a dog. (Ever wonder where that term came from? Me, too. Read about it at World Wide Words. Luckily, I am not sick as a cushion.)


My sister has a time-share in Myrtle Beach—and it’s Continue reading Of Ocean Breezes and Green Gomboo…

Spelunking for Fun and Research

SpelunkingForFunAndResearch_pinI have a WHOLE lot more sympathy for Crow’s experience in caves after spelunking (read: “crawling on my belly”) through part of Mammoth Caves…

Last weekend was the annual family reunion. 30 people in a 3-bathroom cabin in Brian Head, Utah. Yikes. Sounds cramped—but what a great group of people for making the best of things! I didn’t hear anyone complaining (except maybe about crickets… and spiders… and perhaps a mattress or two…!). There was bike-riding, hiking, tram-riding, fishing, games, s’mores, great food, stories, coloring, and… spelunking.

Driving to Panguitch Lake on Saturday, we passed the sign to Mammoth Springs. Hubby says, “I want to take you to see Mammoth Caves.”

“Okay. Let’s!” says I.

So we did. Check this out! Continue reading Spelunking for Fun and Research

Landscape Elves Garden Gate

A Visit from the Landscape Elves

Landscape Elves are awesome.

Let me tell you, today has been one of those days. I’ve been thwarted at every turn!

There were the bed sheets that don’t actually fit; we have to tie the bottom sheet down with sheet fasteners and even that doesn’t really work. The sheets have developed strange runs in them. I have been cursing the darned things since the day we bought them. What the heck are they made of, anyway?

Cuisinart Ice-Cream MakerThere was the ice cream. We are big into homemade ice cream and this batch is the first one we’ve made this year. However… the recipe makes a little more than fits in my very beautiful Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker. I held back some it but, as you can imagine, it still overflowed. I had a mess to clean up, and they don’t make the beater very easy to lick! (Wasn’t gonna waste it, yo!)

There there was the hose. We have some frustrating dry spots in our yard where apparently the grass isn’t getting enough water. Someone stole our hose last year and the replacement doesn’t reach all the way across the yard. Oops. So I have to hook one up in the backyard and run it under the gate. A nuisance, but not impossible. Unless I’m feeling really lazy. Well… the sprinkler absolutely refused to stay flat.

Crazy WomanAnd then there’s the computer which, because I have a lot to do today, ran more slowly than cold tar. Even after I restarted it and (reluctantly) shut down some a few applications. Am I the only one to have five or six apps open? And 15 or 20 tabs in my browser? And this stuff is important, I tell you!

This kind of nonsense continues throughout the day. So right when I am thinking about throwing a temper tantrum, the doorbell rings.

It’s my son…

With hugs! And help! It was a good break. 🙂

BUT, I bet you’re wondering about the Landscape Elves, right…?

Wall-to-Wall Grass, or A Dreary Yard

When we moved into this house two years ago, we moved onto a blank canvas. Seriously. There was a tree in each corner of the back yard (still fairly young) and one tree on the side of the backyard. And two weeping mulberries—also in the back yard, and not centered on anything. There’s maybe twenty feet between them. About every other day, my husband threatens to rip them out. “But sweetie, they’re actually grown! They take up space in the utterly flat green carpet of fence-to-fence grass!”

We put in some Spartan Junipers, and they’re growing wonderfully fast. It won’t be long until they’re actually providing privacy, but they no longer look like funny little dots of afterthought. We also installed a couple of yews and put two trees in the front yard: an Autumn Blaze Maple (reputedly good in alkaline soil) and a Shademaster Honeylocust (ditto).

Landscape Elves to the Rescue!

This year, the Landscape Elves have been so busy! They added a lovely new flowerbed to the front of the house.

Landscape Elves 01
Before (March 2016)
Landscape Elves 02
During (April) — The elves hard at work.
Landscape Elves 03
After (Jun 2016)

There is a lot more we want to do, but it will have to come in stages. It is amazing how much this single flowerbed changes the feel of the house. Curb appeal increased by about a million percent!

The bed goes around the side of the house, where we transplanted some mums we rescued from the pathetic little bed near the front door. There’s now a lilac in the corner with lily-of-the-valley planted beneath. Every time I see them I think of my sweet mama and how much she loved them…

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What outdoor projects have you been working on this year?
What’s your favorite plant, and why do you like it?

photo credit: Magic gate via photopin (license) and photo credit: Hahaaa via photopin (license)

You Had Me at “Aloha”

Does everyone dream about going to the beach, soaking up the sand and the sea? I have splashed in the surf of the east coast and the west coast, but never Hawaii — until now. My husband won a ticket for a free flight to anywhere the airline flew, and he (we!) elected the longed-for but never-before-realized dream to finally visit. Where did we go? Lovely, green Kauai.

We rented a go-cart (my husband’s term for the little Nissan Versa) and went sight-seeing, hiked, swam, snorkeled, walked on the beach, got sunburned, and took a million pictures (okay, only about a thousand between the two of us!). A week was too short. Much to my relief we managed to miss Hurricane Ignacio. (Whew! I wasn’t stressing out about that. Much.) The natives told us that our week was unusually hot and humid, encouraging us to make a return trip. I was told the water was cold; it was not, it was lovely. But salty. Really, really salty… There were chickens everywhere, which I found enormously amusing (along with all the variations of signs telling folks not to feed them or leave cigarette butts on the ground for them to smoke). Everyone was wonderfully friendly. The island was fantastically beautiful. The sunsets were spectacular. Even the rain was pretty!

I am lucky my husband is a photographer. Look at these pictures! (Some of my favorites from the trip!)

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Would I go there again? You betcha! There is still SO much more to see and do!

Pioneer Day and Finish Lines

In my neck of the woods, today is a Big Deal. Pioneer Day is an official holiday for the state of Utah, and some of the regions in surrounding states originally settled by Mormon pioneers have celebrations, too. The holiday commemorates the arrival of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Between Pioneer Day and Independence Day, we pretty much party all month. There are parades, concerts, barbecues, pancake breakfasts, reenactment treks, retail sales, and rodeos. And fireworks. Oooooh, yeah. Once upon a time folks would just set off their fireworks whenever they pleased  during the month. Local ordinances have changed. Now we are only jolted awake in the middle of the night for the three days before and after the holidays and 11 a.m. to midnight on the actual days. See? We get to sleep in so we’re well rested for the Event-with-a-capital-E.

The 4th of July is like a warm-up for the 24th. Yeehaa!

Naturally, this gives me more ideas for fictional holidays (they’ve appeared here and here before.) And that makes me want to take the rest of today to play in the world-building pool. But… as fun as that is, I really need to focus on my current Work In Progress. The Fantasy Sci-Fi Network group has been running a challenge for its authors. 100 words per day, 7 days per week. Easy peasy, right? It is! Better yet, it got me back into the habit of writing every single day. Soon my word count was at 500 per day. Now it’s closer to 2,000.


Woot! I like that! I’m in high gear, racing toward a finish line I can actually see in my handy-dandy Scrivener doc. It is the first draft, yes, and there’s still a lot of work to do after, but it’s a stage that is nearly finished. Another week or two (I’m feeling that optimistic), and then I am going to celebrate with something dangerous like Pomegranate Häagen-Dazs (Soooo yummeh…)


R&R For the Win!

Guess where I’ve been?

On vacation!

Spending a week with my sister in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been so fun and so relaxing. I’ve hardly looked at my computer, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty. We all need a little time to disconnect, reconnect with what’s important (Hello, sis an fam!), and recharge.

Gotta jet, but here’s a peek at a few pics!


What do YOU like to do to regenerate? Where do you like to go?