Spending Time With Cool People


I’ve been enjoying time with my daughter and her family in the sunny weather around the Bay Area!  This is my daughter, Hayley, pushing Matilda on the swing!


Matilda playing in the plastic tube!


Matilda at the steering wheel!

15-2-22 Tilda 1

15-2-22 Tilda 2

15-2-22 Tilda

Pictures of Matilda on the slide were taken by Hayley.

Hope you’re having a great day!

Visiting The Bay Area


 A Tangerine Tree

I saw this little tangerine tree while on a walk with my daughter, Hayley, and her family. Although many parts of the United States are battling snow and cold temperatures, the Bay Area is sunny and warm. The size of the tree with  eight or more pieces of fruit on it reminded me of the verse in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers…”  Many young people are successful and produce good work!  I admire the work of the youth today!  I look forward to seeing the fun things my grandchildren will be doing as they continue to grow!

Seeing the Beauty


 A Peony Flower

I took this picture a few years ago of the bud of a peony flower found in our family garden.

Seeing the beauty in a moment requires simply slowing down and noticing what is going on around you.

Yesterday, I was caught in rush hour traffic on Marion Street in downtown Salem, Oregon.  Marion Street is a one way street with three to four lanes of traffic headed west with what feels like fifty lights, but in actuality it probably only has eight or more.  As only one or two cars moved forward with each light, I became lost in the time warp of standing traffic. While I was stopped at a light waiting for my turn to go forward, I began  wondering if my car was compact enough to pass through an intersection without blocking a crosswalk. Just at that moment, the driver of the car to my right caught my attention. The man at the steering wheel had drumsticks in his hands. The driver was probably listening to music, but instead of gripping the steering wheel, he was moving the drumsticks with great rhythm on the dash board of his car, his torso moving side to side; his head was focused, yet lilt and relaxed…like drummers move when they’re playing their instrument. Seeing this, I instantly smiled, and thought to myself, “What an interesting idea, I would have never thought of using the time sitting in traffic to practice an instrument.”   I found the driver with his fast moving drum sticks very relaxing to watch.  In the flash of a second, the light turned green, the cars got reshuffled, and the driver with the drumsticks was gone, but the joy of the moment is still with me.

Something on My Heart


I was thinking about a post I read recently on a blog written by Pete Earley. These words have come back to me several times since I read them a few weeks ago, because I think they are so true. The title of the post was: The More Sensitive, The More Susceptible: A Son’s Words.

I (Pete Earley) am drawn to what Sander Pick, the son of Jessie Close, said during a speech a few years ago.

“I’ve always thought that the more sensitive a person is, the more susceptible they are to mental illnesses. A sick joke in our universe is that the more it allows a person to see its beauty and deep connectivity, the more difficult it becomes for that person to maintain good mental health.

     “In our culture, we tend to treat this tradeoff with a fierce double standard. As long as they are sharing with us beautiful insights into humanity, we will love and cherish them as heroes, but if they fall into substance abuse, depression or any other form of mental illness, we tend to say, ‘It’s not our problem.’

     “Classically, these are artists, musicians, writers, etc., but, of course, they come in all sorts, unsung or not. These people tend to add value and meaning to our lives. At their best, they are the types who make us laugh and cry, to learn and to take risks and to love. They are brave and it angers me that as a society, we abandon them when their skies darken.”  -Jessie Close

It would be so good to know what to do when another person’s “skies darken.”  There is a lot to learn on how to help someone in their time of need. I feel I have so much to learn.

To find this post and other things written by Pete Earley click here:  Blog: Pete Earley

Hidden Pictures


A Hidden Picture Challenge


Can you find these 15 pictures in the classroom drawing above?

Hint:  The shoe is the hardest to find.

Several years ago, my daughter, Hayley, drew the above picture and made a key of items for me to find as a Christmas gift. This drawing is made with several shades of black and grey markers and has been a special item to me ever since. Hayley’s goal was to create the ultimate classroom.

The saying on the wall of the classroom is, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”   This famous line is attributed to Songwriter Eden Ahbez and found in the movie Moulin Rouge!

Happy Searching!

Loving Another “Within Its Unique World”

P1030147Beautiful Women I Met In Vientiane, Laos

“In love, it (the subject-subject model) takes the Other seriously and strives to know it as it really is “in itself.”  In humility, it opens itself to learn from the Other those realities only the Other can teach.  Far from romantic sentimentality, it requires us to pay loving, detailed attention to the Other within its unique world.”

P1020433A Dock in Laos

“A subject-subject model is embodied, rooted in touching and being touched.  It “rests on the assumption that the world is composed of living, changing, growing, mutually related, interdependent entities, of which human beings are one”.”

P1020446Dinner with Friends in Vientiane, Laos

“The subject-subject perspective is profoundly relational, and signifies that the other has value, in and of itself.”

P1020704Collecting the Boats After A Group Trip Floating Down the River in VangVieng, Laos

“The process of adopting a subject-subject mentality demands maturity, fearlessness, and discipline.”

I believe this subject-subject concept is true in relating to people and is also true in caring for the environment where we live.  How we care for one another and for our environment matters.

All quotes were found on page 40 of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology:  Foundations in Scripture, Theology, History, and Praxis by D. Brunner, J. Butler, and A.J. Swoboda.

Pictures taken by my son, Ben, and me.

A Functional Tension


A Tension Wire Used To Keep the Gate Together

When I took this picture of the tightened wire on the hook keeping the gate together, I was reminded of the value of healthy tension.  Every four or five years, the fences on our property lean and become out of shape. Of all the things we’ve tried to keep the gates upright, the tension wire has worked best to keep the larger pieces of the fence sturdy and useful. I am thankful to be reminded of a level of tension that makes life function well.  The right tension with the wire serves a great purpose, because it helps hold things together.

I began thinking of other situations where tension helps life run well.

For instance:

*A sewing machine stitches perfectly when the tension is at the right setting for the specific fabric being used.

*The resistance, or tension, when using weights in weight training helps to strengthen muscles by keeping them healthy and in turn revving the body’s metabolism.  Without resistance of weights there is no strengthening of muscles.   Due to a lack of resistance, astronauts who spend a long periods of time in space are susceptible to their muscles atrophying. The absence of the force of gravity on the body has a negative effect on a person, because the human body does not have to work as hard without the tension of gravity to move.

*The sound of the beautiful notes and chords of the violin are caused by the tension of strings being pressed, strummed, and plucked by the violinist.

*To tune a guitar, or any stringed instrument, the right tension is created by tightening and loosening the wire.  Without the right tension, the instrument is out of tune.

*A bicycle chain needs the right tension to stay in the spokes and to keep the gear set moving smoothly. If the tension on the chain is too loose, the chain will fall off.  If the chain is too tight, pedaling the bike will become stiff and difficult.

*Suspension bridges, like the Golden Gate Bridge, use the balance of compression and tension to keep them in good use.  The compression and the tension in the wires ‘suspend’ the bridge above the water creating a roadway where otherwise there wouldn’t have been one.

So, if tension works in a physical realm of life, can the right amount of tension be a good thing in how we choose to live our lives also? I would argue there is a tension in life that holds us together and can show us what care about and who we care about. Having pressures like, earning a living, paying bills, using our talents and gifts to provide for ourselves, choosing activities to do with our time, and having people in our life to interact with, all motivate us to find a healthy balance with time and energy. The tension of working and caring for ourselves and for others gives us purpose; it tethers us to those we care about.

It is important to find the right balance of tension between work, activities, caring for ourselves, and spending time with others. Some call it a rule of life.  It all takes time and adaptability to adjust to what is happening in life.

I’m finding it’s worth the effort to find the right balance between a healthy tension and the areas of frustration, or resistance.  Knowing what to hold on to and what to let go.  It is a constant struggle to find what works best for me.

blessings on your day,



Flowers in Winter


This wall hanging is called Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt. Even though it is winter, this top is bringing color and flowers to my day!


This top is from my collection of antique pieces.  It is all hand pieced and is 42″ x 48.”  When it is finished being quilted, it will be for sale by clicking the STORE button found at the top of this post.


If you’re interested in this top, email me at marionberryquilts@gmail.com.

Hope you’re having a great day!