Oh the Things Time has Taught US


I never judged other moms, a least I never judged other moms “out loud”.  When I was raising my Littles, they went everywhere with me, the grocery store, restaurants, church, even the library.  Never a problem, my little ducklings followed along and all that was needed to rein them in was that “look” out of the corner of my eye.  I refused to look twice at a struggling mom or tantrum throwing rebel, knowing all that Mama needed was a wee bit more training in Mama School ~ After all, if she was consistent, loving and didn’t think more about herself than he wee charges, she would be a tad more successful in this high calling we deem Motherhood… OOPS!  Everything I have ever secretly thought about another mom’s lack of skill or any judgement I made of a bratty child has come back to bite me 10 fold (how much is that exactly?).  I guess some might say, “I got mine”.   As an older Mom if a little, I have learned a few things, okay a great many things.  I have changed and I am sorry.



I have a ton of stuff to get done over the next few days ~ the task is overwhelming, so I am taking a deep breath, spending time in prayer and quiet contemplation, as I get ready to get in gear.  Funny how time gets away from you isn’t it?

Here’s to the Holidays!


Recently I “liked” a few pages on FB ~ “Old Fashioned Christmas”, “Santa is Coming to Town”, “Holiday Happy”, you get the idea.  I was looking forward to my inbox being inundated with sparkly lights and cozy cabin scenes as opposed to all the negativity I have coming through in the aftermath of the election.  I have by choice chosen to keep silent on the subject, as far as commenting on FB or responding to comments and I’m glad I have.  It amazes me how much one’s personality can change when disappointment floods in.  I have heard words I have never expected come from those who I have admired for their peaceful vibes and love for supposedly “everyone”.   There is a difference between living authentically and one’s “true colors”.    I understand passion.  I understand disappointment, I understand the feeling of “having to stand up” for what you believe in”, but I don’t understand some things apparently.  I read a post from a friend who lost her teen daughter in a terrible accident at home, a not fault, fluke,  sad,  destroying accident.  She was disheartened that people were comparing her loss with that of their loss of Hillary.  I felt very sad for her.  I read about young girls who have not stopped crying…  I am sure they have never experienced grief in the manner as some.


THAT all being said (and there is much more in this brain of mine I am choosing to leave there), I am throwing myself into Christmas cheer!  Holiday fun and positive thinking!


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

~Clement Clark Moore


For those of us who enjoy the peaceful zen of coloring, here is a great site to print out some CHRISTMAS MANDALAS (click here)


Wait… What?


I’ve recently heard, yet again, chatter concerning some of my friends and acquaintances who are living off- grid.  It seems there is more and more criticism over the fact that those who “claim” to live off-grid are not and those who are in the city and suburbs are becoming annoyed about it.  This is so funny to me.  Mostly, because those who are criticizing have no idea what it even means to live off-grid and more than that, are not willing to listen to those who do for explanation.  Don’t ya just love when people know exactly what you are doing and why?  Insert snicker here.  My children and I have been collecting data for a book we have had in the works for years, decades, it remains unfinished, mostly due to the fact that the content is forever growing.  It is titled, The Stupid Book.


 Off-the-grid homes are autonomous: they do not rely on municipal water,sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services. A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services.


That being said, yes, power is an option, hot water, flushing toilets etc… Many options are at the disposal of the creative “homesteader” (that’s a term I like), one is just not connected to a local supplier/service (public or private).


                                                                                                                    ~ Cabin site pic from a neighboring mountain ~

When we lived at the cabin we had no public utilities of any kind.  Zip.  Yet, we had a toilet, sinks and even a show, all gravity fed from a holding tank; this was also true also, at the Castle. At the Cabin we drew water up from one of the creeks via pump and fire hose (operated by generator power), at the Castle we had a well that pump water also via the generator ~ although it was sulfur water ~ Yuck!  Yes, even out in the middle of nowhere, we managed to have Christmas lights on our little home, even though it was only a few hours out of the year.  Some have managed the internet, all while remaining off-the-grid.


                                                                                                           ~Big Daddy and the kids out tracking an a sunny day~


Let’s be clear, when one chooses this lifestyle it does not necessarily mean they never frequent a grocery store (this is something I hear a lot, “So and so is living a lie ~  I saw them eating cheese!”).  One of my children’s favorite events was to pile into the Beater and head down the mountain to get supplies.  Yes, we had a need for bandages, lamp fuel and the occasional Hershey bar and marshmallows. Not to mention, soya sauce… One needs a good soy sauce when making squirrel stir fry! So unless you have a great homemade Hershey bar recipe (and trust me I know some of you do) please show some mercy, lol.  Keep in mind, the term self-sufficiency can be added to the off-the-grid lifestyle, the two do not HAVE to go hand in hand.  Now, to tickle your funny bone…





Fight or Flight

Much has been said about the very human response of fight or flight, I have read much, been told much and pondered… much.  There have been many times in my life I have had to stand my ground and fight, its tough.  It is exhausting.  Sometimes the very thing you are fighting for is worth more than gold.  Sometimes not.  I have learned something very crucial about myself in the last year.  I cannot fight anymore, I choose flight.  


I have realized I have most all of my decisions in life based on fear rather than love.  Fear of rejection, fear of not living up to others expectations, fear of disaster and harm, fear of failure.  Remaining silent about my feeling and refusing at times to stand up for social injustice because of the fear I have allowed onboard.   This is so unlike me.  On the outside it may seem I am always involved, but really no.   All the while clinging to and telling myself this is love, love is fighting, love is keeping on no matter what you have to tell yourself.  Some would say the “fake it till you make it” lie is a lie worth telling.  Not me.  Done.  I am putting this out there as part of my own affirmation, that I have a need for healing.  Even blogging puts a fear on me… What if someone reads something that disturbs them?  What if there is a crack in my exterior that someone sees as a failing, what about judgment?  The list goes on and on… Enough.  I am not writing this to get attention or pity, I am writing because I love to write, I love to create, I am learning to love myself (I know gasp!  People tend to shrivel their nose at this).  My life has been off balance, full of negativity and really bad situations that I have not equipped myself to handle.  I am learning.  Authenticity is not something that has been in my environment for a long time ~  I feel the need (again a fear issue) to say this is not directed at anyone, any thing or any past issue… This is about living, being real and saying it outloud, for me, for healing, for peace.



I encourage you, to feel, to be real about what you are feeling and present in your life, whether that be eye contact and really talking with your children, giving over to vulnerability and letting it flow through you, laughing because you want to laugh, crying because you want to cry, being happy even when you feel you have no right to be happy ~  This is a learning experience for me, no I have not checked out on life as you know it, I have not left behind my Heavenly Father for other things, I am not leaving the country… I am learning to be human and for me its a process.  Its new, its raw and its needed.



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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

By Maya Angelou

Mr. Intensity


“If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11

Recently my husband retired from a lifetime of toil in the building industry.


Throughout the years we have moved to where the “work was” building new homes and an occasional commercial structure but the last decade the work seemed to dwindle leaving us to remodel and creating  outdoor structures etc. Between the shift in available work (remember we are in Cali so the red tape of contracting has its own set of headaches), and the wear and tear on my man’s body we have crossed over the divide from the self-employed contractor to the retired. For the record, he isn’t going quietly. Once a workaholic always a workaholic. They may sit with you through your coffee and toast, but are never fully in the present. This is something I’ve had to learn. Funny thing is, it’s not personal, its business. Why did I ever think that would change?
I am learning new things about my husband everyday, the first one being, he is INTENSE! My oh my is he intense! I never ever thought this about him but now that I see him more often and observe him when his wheels are turning l-o-n-g p-a-u-s-e ~ download-17


Lately he has been making wooden treasures for our Nature Table and Sam’s room and have decided to share and see what happens at some of the local craft fairs, time will tell.  Right now the creative juices are flowing and Big Daddy seems to have found his niche in this whole new world.




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Oldies and Goodies

In the “stats” portion of this blog, I noticed someone had clicked over by way of one of the OLD blogs on WordPress.  Just out of curiosity I skipped over there and had a look around.  I found a few things I thought I would repost here… enjoy.




dads phone to 1-29-13 1211




PongSat Video!

Air and Space Magazine has posted a pongSat video!




If you would like to know more about PongSat experiments or information about America’s OTHER Space Program, go to www.jpaerospace.com


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For more updates, follow on Facebook!



#thatsmybrojp     #thatsmydadjp


colorfullpongsats insidepongsat1 pongsatbannerwithtext

Student experiments flown to the edge of space by balloons and launched in rockets.

A PongSat is an experiment that fits inside of a ping pong ball.

These ping pong ball ‘satellites’ are flown to the edge of space by balloon or launched in sounding rockets.
The PongSats are then returned to the student.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get students excited about science and engineering.

There are endless possibilities for experiments that can fit inside a ping pong ball. PongSat’s can be as simple or complex as
you want them to be. Experiments can be as simple as comparing how high a ball bounces before and after being exposed to vacuum.
The PongSat can carry seeds to see if exposure to cosmic rays effect their growth. Several small inexpensive computers and other
electronic can fit inside a PongSat. These can be used to create a wide range of experiments. Whether carrying a marshmallow to
see if it puffs up in the vacuum of near space or an entire sophisticated satellite in miniature, PongSat can create motivation, drive
and passion in the classroom.

PongSats are flown at no cost to the student or school. 




A Boy and (another) Frog

IMG_4615Little Big Boy has managed to find several hoppers in our yard this summer.  At first the mere thought of “catch and release” opened flood gates that took hours to close, but now that he has a little more experience under his belt and has confidence that frogs do indeed live here, he is happy to say hello and watch them hop away.

Right click, save and print coloring page below ~


CLick HERE for your free printable Frog Life Cycle page


frog to lily pad maze bl wh dover

To Everything There is a Season

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To everything
There is a season
And a time for every purpose under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weepTo everything

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracings

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

To everything
There is a season

 Lately I’m not sure what season it is.  It seems I am stuck in the season of weep, war and rending.  I cannot tell you why.  I feel as though the effort to transport myself into a different season is too big.  The gap between too wide.  Overwhelmed?  Maybe.  Self-pity?  Probably.  Depression?  Most likely.  Then the question I have to ask is why?  The logical side of me says, the reasons are simple.  Most of my children are grown and my identity as “the mother of wee ones” is no longer.  Of those grown children, their lives include others; new friends, reconnecting with loved-ones, growing independant… Their attachment to me is waning.  I get it.  I understand.  The emotional side of me screams… “WHAT ABOUT ME!?!”  insert some sort of laugh track here ~ because those of you who know me understand that I use humor as a coping mechanism.   MY entire life has revolved around the role of wife and mother.  A role that did not include too much time for thinking about me, and now that I find myself really thinking ABOUT me, I wonder who I am and sadly, even WHY I am.  I have allowed my value and self-worth to be solely reflective of my past role.  Again, the logical side of me says, no problem, this is normal.  If someone were to poder these same thought to me about themselves, I would take a stand against their wavering.  Tell them they ARE valued, the ARE a necessary cog in the wheel of life, the ARE enough.  Isnt it funny, how hard it is to speak to ourselves and actually listen?
I suppose the hardest part of it all is actually convincing myself that is IS okay, to be me.  To take time for me, to be reflective, even sad.  To process and ponder my life in ways that others may not understand.  It is hard.  Change is always happening, some of that change is grieved over, some is rejoiced.  There is balance to the equation, of this I am sure, but for now, I am still working the math.
~ Ecclesiastes 3 KJV