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

Day 29: Good Things in Stinky Cans November 6, 2013

Final Button 3Part of  today’s post is another repeat from 4 years ago, but it applies to this day, this moment and I needed the reminder. It is more about cat food than people food.

When we moved to SoFL we knew there would be surprises.   We did not expect them to come in the form of real estate.  I know that in the big scheme of life this is minor and momentary, but JR reminded me that I don’t have to deny that it’s discouraging.  Closing on the little townhouse by the sea was set for tomorrow.  That’s not happening.  “Temporary setback;  a minor hiccup; an unfortunate delay” are the sentences I read from realtors and mortgage brokers today.  Hopefully that is true.  Today though, the emotional pot got all stirred up and it just smells stinky.  I will therefore share this earlier post as it was helpful to me.  And when, yes WHEN something good happens, I will report that too.

I will also provide pictures of Pekoe this time.  She is good for a laugh if anyone out there needs that today besides me!

Pekoe is our cross-eyed cat.  She is also cross-bred Siamese & Russian Blue which makes for a super soft, significantly shedding cat coat.  She only likes canned cat food.  She would rather starve than eat that crunchy stuff.  Have you ever smelled a can of cat food?  Stinky!  Pekoe loves it, lives on it. 

Yesterday, I was opening a can of tuna for lunch and started laughing at the realization I too eat stinky food from a can.  A tuna sandwich is a good thing, but the smell of it strongly resembles cat food. 

There are moments in my days, days in my months, seasons in my years that have really stunk.  Circumstances with loss; situations of change; episodes of aggravation;   happenings of hard times; matters of adversity;  scenes of stress and strain; conditions of complication; occasions of anxiety; cases of crisis.  I do not live for them. I do not love them.     

I have found good things in all these stinky cans.  Although the discovery of good isn’t always immediate, it’s always there.   I am often slow to embrace the gifts that are found in the seasons, months, days of what seems repulsive and rotten. I want simplicity and strength.   I need comfort and kindness & encouragement.  I want peace and contentment.  I crave perspective and perseverance and progress.  I hope for wholeness.  These are what I love, what I live on. 

Maybe Pekoe has a cross-sense of smell.  Maybe she knows that the great things in life don’t always smell like it. 

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Day 25: Help My Heart November 1, 2013

Final Button 3First of all, I know that it is not October 25th today.  It is the 31st, but I am finishing my challenge of 31 days even if I spill into November.  This is Grace to me and bending the un-stone-like rules.  I had to pause for travels in soup country where the colors were brilliant and the weather required shoes AND socks every day.  And yes, I did eat Reuben soup at Russ’ restaurant. I was unable to get a recipe from them, but found one online by Taste of Home.  One reader said this recipe reminded her of Russ’ so it might be worth a try.

Celebration and food making happened in soup country, including  cooking with college kids and nearly failed chili, but more on that another day.

I’ve been stressed to the point my chest hurts.  It may be due in part to trying to keep up with all the people, paperwork, decision-making and deadlines required to buy property in South Florida.   Add a dose of worry about friends and family who are working through illness and recovery; a dollop of slow re-entry; a dashed hope of Thanksgiving in MN and a bit of being plain old tired and crabby.  On top of chest pain, some organ of mine under the ribs, twitched all day.  Deep breathing helped.  A long walk and a long night of sleep helped.  Holding my baby friend Emma today helped.  Prayer helped and so did food.

Last night I made a new cookie recipe, put a new chicken recipe in the crockpot and pulled out the rice cooker for my favorite short grain rice.  I chopped up a wok full of fresh veggies from The Boys.   Today I use many of my thinking moments deciding what I want to make for a One Year Celebration meal tomorrow night.  Food thoughts displace stress with anticipation.  Food’s preparation and planning are positively distracting and that helps my heart.

Less stressed thoughts are that no one is being mean or unreasonable and its ok if we close on the 7th or 8th or the 10th.  Calm thinking allows me to boldly bring my family, my friends near and far to the Throne Room and I’m reminded I am not God, but God is in charge and He is good.  This helps my heart.

Whilst I wax thoughtfully, I shall include that this month of putting  words about the love language of food on virtual paper has also helped my heart.  Now, off to feed the dog (he just reminded me that it’s 5:03, just 3 min late for dinner), and make Massaman Curry for the first time, with my planned over chicken from last night.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Interview with Mother Mary.”  I can hardly wait to share!

PS…opening this out of the blue gift from Tammy P. last night also helped my heart.  A reminder that when you cook tasty food, you will also dry the cooking dishes and that is part of the love.






Day 10: The Best Room In The House October 11, 2013

Final Button 3It’s the Kitchen.  That is the best room.  I am pretty certain there is no house without a kitchen.  There are houses without laundry rooms.  Seriously, they put those in the garage here in Florida.  My non negotiable in this house hunting adplease let it end-venture is that I am not washing undergarments where we park the car.

I’m looking for a kitchen where food can made and so can friendships.  I care most of all that people are in the kitchen with me when I am cooking, doing dishes, or eating Saint Andre’ Brie andstandre2 drinking wine.  Today I had the privilege of helping a friend put the best room in her new house together.  She is someone who got to S. FL 6 weeks ahead of me.  She moved today.  I got to unpack pots and pans, find homes for knives and china, make space for spices and lots of pepper.  We talked about life and laughed.  Her kitchen gadgets had stories of aunts, grandma’s, & special events.  Her coffee mugs told vacation stories.  And she had the COOLEST salt holder I’ve ever seen.   I looked it up and its called a SALT PIG.  Isn’t that is hilarious!  Life on life happened in that new kitchen of hers.  I needed that today as last night I hit the wall with my kitchen hunt.    Tonight ended in our apartment kitchen with the newly moved sharing a bowl of 5 way Cincinnati Chili.  Somehow that helped a bit.

Thanks friends for letting me help christen your new best room in the house!


Where Are You From? September 13, 2013

How many times have you been asked that question?

How do you answer? I never know if I am from where I was born, where I’ve lived the longest, where I liked living the best, or where I currently get my mail.

I arrived at my  Florida address about 1 in the morning yesterday.  That evening someone asked how my trip to Colorado was.  Another person asked, “is it nice to be home?”    Answers:  Fantastic.  Where is home?

I think home is where your people are.  In 11 days vacationing at “home” I saw as many people as the hours in the day allowed.  I still didn’t see all my people.   I’ve never enjoyed Boulder Colorado so much as I did staying in a friend’s loft on East end Pearl Street.  I spent mornings on the sunny terrace taking in the foothills, listening to the city wake up, breathing in co-mingeled scents of fresh air and coffee brewing.  Tahoma, The Laughing Goat, Arabasque, Illegal Petes, Snooze, Moongate Bistro, Walnut Cafe, Southside Walnut Cafe, Nick n Willies, and Lucky’s Market hosted and provided a Colorado taste of home for gatherings.  (A rousing shout out for each of those restaurants – fantastic food and drink!)  And so did the kitchens,  counters and backyard mountain porches of family and friends. I’m so full…I didn’t want it to end.   My jeans did though.  Alright…honestly I did run low on energy and JR said he missed me!

Discombobulated:  A whimsical way of communicating the state of  feeling confused, perplexed.   Today I wear this emotion on my short sleeve.  Is it because of the rich, satisfying face to face time with my people is over?  Or is it due to the disappointment that I didn’t seem them all?  Did I inhale too much thin air, pine, familiar? Am I missing the green chili already? Or could it be because my Colorado dear friend is in surgery today and I can’t be in the hospital waiting room?

There are developing “my people” relationships in the place I get my mail.  But, today I feel a long ways from home.

Love you my Colorado people.  Thanks for pouring so much home into me that I miss you all over again.



Top Ten List of Things I Didn’t Expect July 24, 2013

Filed under: Change,Dogs,Fun in Florida,moving,South Florida,Tennis,Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 3:44 am

I have a very active imagination.   Maybe that is why I dream so much.  I don’t use it all up during the day, so it continues into the night.

I dreamt about this list – even the title.  I saw the list in the dream but have no idea what it said.

In one of the thousands of conversations we had leading up to our move from the 303 to the 561, I remember saying “we don’t know what we don’t know.”   At 8 months, 23 days and 7 hours and 44 minutes after arriving in tropical south Florida, here is a no-particular order list of a what I do know now.

1. I like the weather.

2. JR and I spend a lot of time together, and like it.

3.  Tennis Rocks.

4. Delray Beach is a long way from everywhere else we go to visit.

5. It rains here A LOT.

6 . I am barefoot 90 percent of the time.

7.  I’ve celebrated 7 holidays at the beach.

8.  I miss my daughters tremendously, and when they visit I am tremendously happy.

9. Calvin our lab has lost weight and eats twice as much as he did at a mile high.  I contribute this to the 4-5 walks he gets a day instead of his slow wandering in the backyard.  Most people ask if he is a year  or two old.  When I tell them he is 6, the common response is “WOW he looks so young and handsome.”  I however, am on all of those same walks, have not increased my food intake and  not lost a pound.  I have been carded at a restaurant, but  rather than checking to see if I was legal drinking age, I think it was to see if I got the 55 plus discount.

10. Seagulls will snatch the best bite of your peanut butter and pickle sandwich right out of your hand if you’re eating it on “their” beach.


The First Trip Back July 19, 2013

Filed under: Home,Joy,moving,Peace,Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 12:49 am

Home…Colorado still feels like that.  When the tires hit the tarmac my whole body burst into a noticeable smile.  The flight attendant commented that I looked excited to be in Colorado.  She had no idea…

Pat picked us up and I smiled the whole way to Niwot.

Deep Breath…


Smelled like fresh-cut hay…

And the mountains were right where I left them and showed off with their soft layered look…


I could have held on tightly to each person, each place, each experience I had there as they all made me so happy. But I knew they could not come with me to Florida. (important note:  they are most welcome to come to Florida).   I intentionally enjoyed being present with each person, each place, each experience, but didn’t cling.

Seeing the unpleasant color the new owner painted our previous residence, effectively established that “home” as: Not Mine Anymore.  In an odd sort of way, I am thankful for that.

The first trip back to Florida from Colorado resulted in peace.  And readiness for setting up a place to call home.  And a gentle eagerness to engage in what’s next with people, places, experiences here.

Perhaps people make a place feel like home more than furniture or where you get your mail delivered.  So, no doubt – Colorado people, I miss “home” because you are there.  It was great to feel like myself from the moment I landed in Colorado.

I may just have brought a little more of myself on this first trip back.


“DISH HARDWARE” March 23, 2013

Filed under: Discouragement,moving,real estate,selling a house,Uncategorized — lauradegroot @ 10:18 pm

Its time to hit the boxes again this week.  10 are waiting in the garage.  This unpacking/repacking task is comical.

This  box is labeled “DISH HARDWARE – FRAGILE”

I thought we already opened the box with the hardware from our Dish TV, and sure enough we had.  This box was full of my Christmas dishes.  Next I opened a box labeled “hats” which JR had been hoping I we would find soon.  Sorry dear – it contained 4 straw hats, not your ball caps.    I’ve also opened a box with one lamp shade; unwrapped a paper full of rocks; and the best so far has been a thickly wrapped single chip clip.

So I don’t understand the packing world.

I also don’t understand the real estate world.  One more time we had an offer and one more time (last night) the buyers backed out.  Each time it has been for a completely different reason.

I thought a ‘contract to purchase’ meant we would discontinue owning a house we are still paying for though we are not living in.    “That’s it’s purpose”, you might say.  Well so far, those contracts are more like a tease than a truth.

Maybe I will box JR and I up and write on the outside:  HOME SELLER HARDWARE – FRAGILE.  Then I will ship us back to Colorado.



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

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