• Field trip Boyce Thompson Arboretum

    Field Trip: Boyce Thompson Arboretum

    You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but right in the middle of the desert, in the midst of Picketpost Mountain, lies a place of profound peace and beauty. With its countless plants and trees, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the ultimate oasis in the Arizona desert.   WHAT IS BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM?   According to Wikipedia, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the state of Arizona. It is one of the oldest botanical institutions west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1924 as a desert plant research facility and “living museum”, the Arboretum is located in the Sonoran Desert on 392 acres along Queen Creek and beneath the towering volcanic remnant, Picketpost Mountain. Over 2600…

  • An afternoon in the park poetry flower bee

    An Afternoon In The Park

    As one who is passionate about genuine connection, I found it impossible to hide my delight recently while spending an afternoon in the park. Children were seen everywhere–on the playground, at the ball courts, barefoot in the grass. But what really made my heart smile was the sight of the parents who, without any visible sign of technology in hand, were laughing with their children and visiting face-to-face with other parents. The weather was beautiful and everyone seeemed extraordinarily happy. As I sat on the grass enjoying the moment, I felt an unusual desire to jot down some poetry. Reaching for a scratch piece of paper from my purse, I penned a few lines about what I was seeing take…

  • Serenity word of year 2018

    Happy New Year! (My One Word)

     A NEW YEAR   A ten second countdown, the drop of a crystal ball, and just like that, one year is over and another has begun.   Turning the page on one’s life brings with it a mixture of emotions. Some good; some bad. As I turn from the dimly-lit past to focus on a bright tomorrow, a similar mixture of emotions sweep over me.   CREATING A BEAUTIFUL LIFE   American sculptor and musician, Thomas Ball (1819-1911), penned poignant words to describe his feelings of inadequacy as an artist. His description is a beautiful representation of the feelings I have about my own personal efforts to create a beautiful life. “My most bitter tears have been shed at the…

  • Broken Things To Mend I Don't Trust God

    Broken Pieces To Mend: I Don’t Trust God

    Crackle. Crack! Crunch… Shards of nut shell fall to the table as my child giggles in delight. He reaches through the broken pieces of shell to retrieve his reward–a round, crunchy hazelnut, perfectly-sized for his small mouth. Crunching the nutty morsel between his tiny teeth, he gives little thought to the broken pieces surrounding him as he reaches for another nut to crack. Gathering around the table to crack fresh nuts has been a long-standing Christmas tradition in our home. Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts–each unique; all delicious. Our family has discovered that some nuts are hard and smooth and more difficult to crack, while others are large, more textured, with a softer shell to break through. If a nut seems…

  • Grace and Mercy

    The Bonds We Share: Grace and Mercy

    The apostle Paul knew what it was like to be bound. He was familiar with physical bonds and prison walls. So he was qualified to speak something on the matter. He taught: “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13:1-3)   That third verse keeps going through my mind. “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body”.   We all, at times, feel bound by the mistakes we make. We all face adversity.…

  • Simplify the season

    Restore The Wonder

    The holidays are approaching—a time for family togetherness, love, laughter, wonder, and the making of special memories. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! Not long ago, however, I made a surprising discovery—the wonder of the holiday season was missing from the eyes of my children. This discovery saddened me and I immediately set myself on a mission to restore the wonder—the sense of anticipation and joy—to the eyes and hearts of my children. To read more about my mission to restore the wonder of the season, CLICK HERE to visit the Simplify The Season Blog Party where I am guest posting today and sharing some of our family’s favorite holiday traditions.    What holiday traditions bring…

  • Profound impact of one's name

    The Profound Impact Of One’s Name

    Have you ever stopped to wonder about the beauty and power of a name?   Each name has a story.   Perhaps you were named after a grandparent, your moms’ best friend, or a character in your dad’s favorite movie. Or perhaps you weren’t named after anyone at all. It could be that your name came after months of debating seemingly countless options or in a pressured moment of decision a day or two after you were born. Perhaps your name’s origin is largely unknown, its significance lost to you. Regardless of the details of the story, your name and its story are uniquely your own.   The Sound Of One’s Name   Just the sound of one’s name commands immediate attention.…

  • life changing shared stories

    The Life-Changing Effect of Shared Stories

    Our Beautiful And Painful Stories   Some time ago, a friend mentioned that she loves sitting with people who are authentic and vulnerable, showing her what love looks like. I soon found myself doing exactly that, and loving every minute of it! It was a weekend of authenticity, connection, shared stories, and vulnerable confessions from the heart with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers. One of my favorite moments of vulnerability from the weekend was when a woman I’ve known for many years shared with a large group of women a few of her past personal struggles. Over the years, I’ve often driven by her gorgeous home and thought to myself, “She has the perfect home and the perfect little family.…

  • The actions that define us refugees

    Refugees: The Actions That Define Us

    Some time ago I found myself in the company of twenty-one refugees, and individuals who, in one way or another, are assisting refugees. Being a refugee may be a defining moment in the lives of those who are refugees, but being a refugee does not define them. Like countless thousands before them, this will be a period—we hope a short period—in their lives. Some of them will go on to be Nobel laureates, public servants, physicians, scientists, musicians, artists, religious leaders, and contributors in other fields. Indeed, many of them were these things before they lost everything. This moment does not define them, but our response will help define us. ~ Elder Patrick Kearon   What a blessing it was to sit in council…

  • recycle gratitude

    Recycled Gratitude: Thoughts On Recycle Bins and Authenticity

    It was a typical fall morning in my neighborhood as I walked to the curb to retrieve our recycle bin. I paused for a moment, noticing a simple note taped to the top of the bin. “What’s this?” I wondered. Removing the note from the green bin lid, I began to read, Great job! When it comes to recycling, you don’t monkey around and we are impressed! Thanks to residents like you, last year our city recycled more than 32,000 tons of material that would have otherwise been sent to the landfill. We appreciate all of your recycling efforts. Thanks for helping to keep our city clean and green!   Something inside of me began to swell, and a smile…