noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Just Say No To Edward Scissorhands January 20, 2013

Filed under: Change,Hair Cut,new places,South Florida,White House — lauradegroot @ 6:57 am

I mean it.  Just say no.  Even if he says he is a well-known salon owner and pretty well know instructor.  Even if he hands you a magazine that has an article published about his patented cutting style.  EVEN if he recently cut ladies’ hair at the White House (including President Obama’s secretary) who then modeled for a fundraiser. Please, don’t give in when he says “trust me” and opens a very fancy case of scissors.  Did I mention he is from Turkey?

The first sign of panic begins when he takes my shoulder length hair and cuts 3 inches from my scalp.  “Trust me”, he repeats.  Edward speaks fluent Turkish, not English.  Should I have wondered if these words made up the foundation of his vocabulary?  A few times I said “you are funny” and he replied, “I’m sorry.”  My confidence is headed downhill, but the cut was already in progress.

The shortness of breath, hard to swallow panic takes over when the Turkish stylist takes out his scissorhands.  Not Kidding.  He slips these claws onto his first 3 fingers and starts sweeping them through my hair.  Running out of the salon screaming would have been understandable.  BUT NO…I have slipped into the default of giving someone a chance, being taken in by their story and wanting them to be successful.

Did I mention  blow drying/styling your haircut costs extra?  So when the cut is over I am asked if I want a blow dry I am finally able to use the word ‘no’.  Unfortunately, another Turkish stylist is commenting on Mr. Scissors’ artwork, my “sexy hair,” and suggests a volumizing cream.  He then communicates in turkish/english to Mr S. that the  blow drying should happen free of charge this time.  It doesn’t make things better, nor does the cream.

Edward ends the cut with the flair of a painter unveiling his newest watercolor.  I smile and get a Turkish kiss on the cheek.  I have to pay, I will NOT cry in the salon.

New discovery:  One person washes your hair, a different one colors it, a different one cuts it.  Apparently you are expected to tip each separately.  Does anyone know how much to tip the hairwasher?

Lyndsay thankfully has the turkish(?) girl who gives her a darling cut.  Free blowdry/style as well.  I bet they don’t charge for that in Turkey.

I am quiet in the car, then we laugh about the experience.

Today I am not laughing.  I keep passing the mirror and feel teary.  I think Edward Scissorhands gave me a mullet.  It’s not funny.

“Can you imagine life without taking risks”, Lyndsay asks me.  Well…no.   Risk is part of our theme: Adventure On.  I need to hold my risk expectations loosely.

But really, just say “NO” if you get seated in Sir Scissorhands salon chair.

Monday, I am getting another haircut.


Better is Better January 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 1:32 am

Little things matter.

If you’ve ever  received a little encouragement, a small piece of really great chocolate, a short note in the mail,  brief comic relief in the middle of a tough day, then you might agree that little things matter.

New Discovery:  Woolite Dry Clean at Home.    In just 20 short minutes, you too can have affordable dry cleaning at home for just a couple of dollars.  Rumor has it that good dry cleaners in S Florida are hard to find.  So this little product, that costs just a little, that takes care of one more new place to find, has been a little gem.

Little things go a long way.

My husband can win big points with me just by buying me  for ice cream.

New discoveries:

#1  Kilwains Ice Cream store.   It began in MI, but there are the most stores in Florida now, one being right downtown Delray Beach.   It’s convienetly close to the beach.   For my Colorado friends, this would compare to Glacier Ice Cream.   But just a little better.   Favorite flavors:  Traverse City Cherry and Salted Caramel.  (my mouth is watering).

#2  Blue Bell Ice Cream.  This doesn’t require a trip to Delray, just to a nearby grocery.  My friend Retta who is Texan born Colorado livin, has always told me this is the Best ice cream there is.    Our relatively inexpensive first purchase of  Homemade Vanilla/Dutch Chocolate combo didn’t last long as the truth of Retta’s claim inspired our daily consumption!  Such a little thing to look forward to at the end of the day!

A Little Progress

The  bedroom furniture  went on a trek through the apartment yesterday.  It resettled in different rooms.  When all pieces landed safely  in their new location I stated our new motto, “That’s better, and better is better.”  Before you poo poo that sentiment – think about a time in your life where circumstances, relationships, jobs, health changed significantly.  Change unsettles us.  It takes time to acclimate to what is different.  We have found through our adventure to Florida that any improvement or movement forward makes us feel a little better.  Therefore we say, better is better.  The improvements and progress are baby stepish, but that may be the perfect pace for now.

If you are learning something new or pursuing a goal, working on a project or overcoming an obstacle, practicing your skill/trade/sport/expertise or tackling the hard stuff, when you experience progress, even just a small amount  is better than no progress at all.  And so Better is Better.

I’ve struggled with the ‘not enough’ syndrome. It  had plagued me in the daily and in the big scheme of life.   A simple gift – ‘it’s not enough.’  Something I make – ‘it’s not good enough.’   An idea I have, work I do, actions I carry out – the ‘not good enough’ seeps into personal critique.  Who I am – ‘not  smart enough, not creative, strong, persevering, funny, wise, hardworking, neat, compassionate, humble,  helpful, patient, coordinated….enough.’   I’ve struggled, but I am finding relief from believing this internal falsehood.

What I do, how I do it is a natural extension of who I am and what motivates me.  When I cultivate a belief that I live and breathe and work and serve and play to please the Almighty One who knew me as He formed me and loves me like crazy rather than trying to please people, there is progress away from ‘not enough syndrome’.  Belief is transferred toward living abundantly, freely, joyfully, patiently, gratefully, kindly, lovingly.  This kind of Better is a lot Better.

What better do you see in your own circumstances?  Try inserting ‘better is better’ into an outloud statement of the little bit of progress you see.   After you try it out on yourself first, (genuinely), try it out on someone else (genuinely).

A Little Upgrade

I’ve been trimming my own hair while I’ve been here.  However, the locks are getting pretty frumpy.  A haircut here is #1 expensive and #2 ala carte.  You pay for the person who washes it; there’s price for the cut, for the blow dry and for the cut and style.  Sheesh.  There are haircutting salons everywhere.  Here’s another change; another new place and person to pick.

Today I picked one close by and I’m now off to upgrade my home style haircut.

Hopefully better will be better.

Laura…taking babyish steps and hoping for the best.


What’s So Funny? January 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 9:14 pm


New Discovery:

Laughter in the morning, laughter at night.

Morning has never been my favorite time of day. Nor have I  been anyone’s favorite person first thing in the morning.  But this middle age dog is learning a few new tricks.  Because of our dog Calvin, I am required to get up and get outside first thing every morning.  He’s never demanding, but has sweet pleading eyes requesting the leash and my presence out to the grass without too much delay.

So I dress first thing and head out for Calvin’s potty walk.  Once that business is over, we continue on a stroll and sniff.  Calvin isn’t the morning athlete type either.  You would guess based on his morning pace, that he is nearly 11 or 12.   You would be wrong.  His old soul personality translates into an older soul walking pace both in the morning and when its hot.  He’s been that way since youth!

So what’s so funny?

Our morning stroll and sniff takes us around the “lake”.  And on the lake there are ducks who are the unlikely source of laughter every single morning.  They sound funny, their bathing rituals make me laugh, the pecking order in action is comical.  Yesterday another water bird of some sort was diving under and then popping up some distance away from where he went down.  That went from fascinating to funny when he went down, and then popped up right under the behind of a lone female duck.  She was startled and I laughed out loud.

All this before my first cup of coffee.

What’s so funny at night?

Sheldon Cooper.  Sheldon and his friends on the Big Bang Theory are hilarious.  Though this is one of the most watched shows on TV, has won all kinds of awards, and is on it’s 6 season, we had never seen it until the move into our Florida apartment.  Now we’re hooked.  Because of the magic of DVR, we’ve recorded an episode or two to watch every night before bed.  I’ve never watched one without laughing out loud.  They are just funny.  Sheldon reminds us (in all the good ways…) of our  previous next door neighbor Alex who also is incredibly smart and used to make us laugh out loud!

Bless the Lord for His good gift of beginning and ending the day with laughter.

Here’s hoping you can laugh at least once today and a little something to aid you…

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad.”

— Miles Kington

laughing Laura
p.s.  the laugh word is hanging in my kitchen – a good reminder!



Adventure On January 11, 2013

Filed under: Adventure,Change,Food and recipes,Writing — lauradegroot @ 1:05 am




So its been a while since I’ve posted.   Many weeks in fact.  I know because each day of each of those weeks I have thought these thoughts:


“Write About This!;  Just a short post today; It’s ok to blog when you are very unhappy , scared, confused, angry, overwhelmed, uncertain, discouraged; Today I Will start     writing again; I’ve got time and something to say and a place to say it; This is worth sharing…”


Those thoughts were clearly not compelling enough to make follow-though happen.  Does anyone else out there struggle with follow-through?  I am full of ideas.  In fact just this morning I came up with some doozies.  Those ideas appear to be magnetic to this monster with stealthy powerful venom that quickly, quietly injects itself into said ideas and poof, they lie flattened by the poison of why that can’t and won’t happen again.   Sheesh.


Generally I am a very positive thinker, someone who sees the glass pretty full.  I’ve even been accused of ‘Pollyanna’ style reality.  (the girl with the infectious optimism).   I can authentically encourage others, find the good in situations, make lemonade out of lemons.


The shadow side to that strength is that darn monster that throws these hopeless wet tents on my optimistic thoughts.  Shuts me down every time.  So it’s been a while since I’ve posted due to the energy required to get out from under the wet tent.



Enough of that whiny rambling. But its true.



Here we are in Florida where the heat and humidity actually irritated me for the first time yesterday.  I think our bodies are still waiting for the rhythm of the season of cool and winter and warm clothing.  It is rare for me to wear closed toe shoes here except for when I put on tennis shoes to go for a walk.   Many of you my dear friends in Colorado, have sent winter pictures of snow on your decks, kids on sleds, frosty trees, and the low temp on your dashboard thermometers.   I don’t miss the freezing cold or driving on slippery roads.  I do miss going for a snowshoe out the backyard in my new red boots (which Lyndsay insists are hers now to take to Michigan!),  or sipping hot drinks under a warm blanket.  A weather report issued a “snuggle alert” weeks ago and we got so excited.  It was actually cool enough for a sweatshirt and long pants.


I am often asked, “Are you settling in?  Are you settled yet?”  I suppose it is a common question.  I’ve probably asked other people the same thing.  If it means – do I have a lay of the land, then yes, I am doing some settling.  I have a sense of where I am going from my house to the  beach in Delray, to the airport in Ft Lauderdale; to JR’s work in Boca; to Barnes and Noble in Boynton Beach and to some great fresh fruit/veggie markets.  That’s a big deal as I was very concerned about getting lost.  No problem so far.



If settling means feeling familiar, acclimated, at home, then no.  But I am not sure anyone would this quickly.   Initial newness has softened and the missing of familiar, acclimated, home in Colorado has risen to the surface.  “What the heck are we doing here?;  Where in the world are we?” are signs of missing our settledness back home.  Saying no to your settled question is honest.  Saying yes, means I am helping you feel better about us being in Florida.  That said from my realistic, vulnerable self.


But wait…there’s ‘pollyannalaura’ who wants to tell you about what’s good.  Storage shelves from Ikea are good.  Time with our girls and their friends in December is good.  Lauren making it to rural India is good.  Lyndsay’s being my companion for 3 more weeks is good.  Talking with the ladies who are also walking their dogs is good. I have been cooking all kinds of new recipes (very good) and have decided that may be my focus for a while – simply sharing some simple new things that I’ve discovered here on this journey.




January 1st, JR and I and decided “Adventure On” would be the theme.  Rest, refreshment, recreation and regrouping helped us point in that direction once again.  We will take a risk, be courageous.   We will make an effort to experience people places, culture.  We will undertake possibility, hit milestones, marvel at miracles, trust Jesus.



And we will discover new things, like sour pickles from the pickle man outside the Carnival Flea market where I bought a very large bag of fresh fruits and veggies for only $15.00. The pickles were a perfect side for some sloppy joes and sweet potato mash.  Both new recipes to me which I will share as promised.


Sloppy Joes:





  1. 1 lb beef (my new favorite is the organic beef from Costco)
  2. 2. 1 medium onion chopped
  3.  1 Tlb cider vinegar
  4. 2 Tlb brown sugar
  5. 1 Tlb Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2 T yellow mustard
  7.  1 C ketchup
  8.  2 Tlb lemon juice
  9.  Salt and Pepper
  10.   1 C water



Brown beef and onion.  Drain off excess fat.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 30 min.  Really….simmer it that long.  It’s worth it.


Sweet Potato Mash


  1. 3 C mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 very large sweet potatoes or yams, cook in microwave for simplicity)
  2. 1/4 C light brown sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. tsp lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1 tsp nutmeg
  7. 1 Tlb softened butter
  8. 1/2 milk











  1. 1/2 C chopped pecans
  2. 4 Tlb brown sugar
  3. 2 Tlb softened butter


Mix mashed potatoes with the next 7 ingredients.  Put into greased baking dish.  Mix topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle all over the top.  Bake at 350 for 20 min – then can turn up oven to 425 (or even broil, but be careful) to toast the top for a couple of minutes.

(recipes adapted from Recipes on the Pond, Cooking with Covenant Women)




















































wa·ter·shed (noun) 1. an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 2. an event or period marking a turning point, a change of course.

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noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

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