Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Share an image you really love right now.....wow.

AN image....I can't.  There are multiple images that I love and keep with me, Snapshots of moments in time that I can picture in my head.

Pictures are so very important.  Somewhere in my possession is an old black and white photo of half of my dad.  That was part of the first roll of pictures I ever took.  When they were developed, either my mother or father questioned why I didn't take my time to focus.  I did....I just couldn't see what to focus on, and soon after I had my first pair of glasses.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mother.  A very independent woman to the end. I miss her.

This is still how I see myself.....  this is my first car.  I will never forget how I felt when I got it.  $297.  The drivers window wouldn't roll up, the trunk wouldn't open unless you "thumped" it, and when it rained (which it did a LOT in Southern Illinois) the carborator stuck.  But that feeling owning your first car!

I still remember taking this picture.  I was driving back from a 10 day job at the Illinois State Fair.  That 10 day job paid for a semester's tuition.  As I was driving, a rainbow appeared.  The one way sign was just serendipity, but I always feel like I am headed to the pot of gold when I see this picture.

This is my beloved.  It was a big road trip to Maine, from Texas.  This is a cool morning in West Virginia.  Forever will I remember that trip, and someday, we might do it again.

This is from our first road trip together to Big Bend.  I knew I loved him, but this trip just sealed it.  The vistas you could see made you think in terms of "forever".

When my son was younger, one day he took my camera outside and played at taking pictures.  I have NO IDEA how he took this one, but it is a favorite of mine.

This is from my first road trip alone with William.  We went to a place that I remembered as a child, Elephant Rocks, and played in the rocks.  Its so special because he saw the place as I did as a child, and it made me childlike again.

 This is my wonderful Grace.  She has grown into the most awesome adult.  I am so proud of who she has become.  Words cannot express it.

I LOVE these images.....and they can bring tears to my eyes and make my heart happy.

I am curious as to what images the others in our group love:

Kathleen Krucoff: http://wp.me/pA5jX-Qw

Saturday, August 20, 2016

know yourself

When I saw the topic for the month, I thought, "oh, this will be easy".  I mean, we are getting ready to host the homeschool "back to homeschool" party, and I am in charge of it, and I tell new people to look for me ".....look for the very short woman with long grey hair and glasses".  But, then I thought, yes, that is what I look like, but not who I am.

I am John and Nida's daughter, farm raised and George and Marie's sister.  In the town I was born, I was part of the "Moses" family.....I would have old people stop me on the street and say "you is a Moses, I can tell....how is so and so".

Then, at one point, I defined myself as a student, then a very unhappy air force lieutenant who was also a chemist.  I was very happy to re-define myself as a field investigator for the state of texas, who was protecting the environment.

But , back to the topic.... how DO I define myself?  ..... I mean, I am a very happy mother of two, delighted to be the wife of an amazing man. I have chickens and a dog and a cat.....or maybe they have me.

I have my own business and am the manager of the farmers market in which I participate.  I am a library volunteer, I am a teacher, I am the crone in our homeschool group.

I am old enough to know things I don't care to have in my definition of self....  I will never be beautiful in the classic sense, too short, with a ski slope nose, chunky, not thin. But, I am comfortable with my looks.  I will not be rich, although I tend to be generous.  I don't care for cities but someday I would love to travel.  Technology is fun, but I have no desire to be an expert.

But, in some way, I feel those things are only who I am, they don't define me....  I talked to a friend of mine, a wonderful woman, who teaches yoga, among other things (but that does not DEFINE her) about this topic.  We talked about how yoga teaches that if you define youtself, then does that make you that person.....is it better to not define one's self so that you can change, don't put yourself in a box. And don't we change who we are every day, as we learn and grow.  There are some definitive things, personality traits that are with us all our lives.  I have taken various personality tests over the years in my jobs.....and the traits that have stood the test of time for me are loyalty, loving and steadiness. I think admirable traits. So, I guess I am a german shepard (ha!)

So, lets see if the other bloggers in this group know themselves:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What am I good at?????

This is difficult.  Because one is taught not to talk about one's accomplishments without sounding like one is bragging.  I mean, it is easy to tell other people what they are good at, or give them compliments.....  encouraging my kids or my husband.... supporting my friends.  And I don't like pictures of myself, but I am going to try not to cringe when I see these pictures.......

But, I have given this a lot of thought.  And I came up with a few things I am good at (I think).

1) independent thought and problem solving (science and cooking)

No, that is not Princess Leia, its "Lt. Bell" in the military as a chemist
When I was in graduate school, I really liked field work, mostly because I was independent and could plan my own work.  Then, when I was in the military, and worked as an environmental chemist, I was called a "self starter".  Of course, my independent nature meant I was pretty much as odds with the hierarchy of the military.

The "scientist" seining for fish

When I worked for the state, they made us all take personality tests.  Not so much for self enlightenment, I realized, but so the bosses could "manage" us better.  My "outstanding characteristics" were loyalty and dependability.  It made me sound like a St. Bernard. I did not excel in leadership, in fact, at one point, I was passed over for a management position.  It took me a long time to get over that, and to realize my boss really did know me (thanks, John) and I was much better as a field investigator than as an office bound manager.  I liked the fact that they gave me a year's worth of work, and I could plan how to do it and how to get it all done.

When I worked for the state, I did a number of jobs, including taking samples of unknown drums which were
 dumped along roadsides

Soap on drying rack

So, now, I have my own business and can plan my own time.  I usually have multiple tasks and orders going at once, and deadlines for them all.  And I love it.

Soap making in the "Bell Springs Laboratory"

2)  I am good at teaching.

I discovered this in grad school.  I taught 4 labs a semester (and made $272.27 a month).  Later, I got to teach chemical methods to some waste water plant operators when I worked for a year in a civil service job.  I had to put the "science" into terms they could understand, when some of them barely spoke english, or finished high school.  I did a lot of educational programs for school kids when I worked for the state and talked to them about careers and how to protect the environment (a young girl in the far side of our district told me that she never knew women could be scientists before I came to talk to her class).  And now, I homeschool and have done some classes for the teens in our homeschool community.  Every summer, I get talked into teaching a science camp (or some kind of camp) at our local library. I like sharing science concepts with kids, and I think, I HOPE, my enthusiasm helps them to understand and like science.

3)  I like to think I am a good momma.  My husband and kids seem to think so.

So, I asked my husband what I was good at.....and he said "singing.....and being a good wife and mother....and solving problems..... and being a good friend".  My daughter said "being a mom".  My son said "getting me ice cream out of the freezer" (guess what he wants?).  I'll just add, that being momma, is some ways is "momma to the world".  My children, my animals, my farmers market vendors (I am market manager), my friends.....  I find time for them all and listen to them and support them in their world.

Since I often post pictures of "the cat", I thought I would add a "selfie"
with Cocoa for a change.

So, since this was so difficult for me, I wonder what the rest of our blogging group has to say?

Monday, June 20, 2016

What I want to learn

WOW.....  there are so many things I could say about what I want to learn.

A real physical thing I want to learn is to play my mandolin.  I bought one, several years ago when I received a couple of gift cards.  I have always wanted to play one; especially after I learned my grandfather played.  As a guitar player of 45 years, I thought it would be easy to pick it up and play.  Sadly, I haven't even played the guitar in a year or so.  Just don't have the time.  Yes, I have read all the inspirational blogs about making time for the things you love, take time for yourself, etc.  But, I still homeschool one child and take an interest in listening to and helping my adult daughter.  I spend time with my husband.  I help make this a home, working on chores both inside and out.  I have my own business. I am the primary caregiver to our dog and cat.  I am the volunteer market manager for our farmers market.  I am active in our homeschool community.  I am a volunteer in the summer for a library program......  and I enjoy it all......  however, there are only 24 hours in a day, and I do require some sleep.....

However, I am taking steps in the right direction.....Tuesday, I am getting my 12 string guitar restrung.  I have made that decision.  And yes, I could buy the strings and do it myself.  But, time vs money comes in and I think, no, I KNOW, if I just buy the strings, it will never get done.  And then, after I get my mind wrapped around making music again, I can think about new music.....

Our Farmers Market
The non-physical thing I want to learn is how to back away from situations that will eat up my time and my energy.  Balance.  And I am starting.  But, I see things that need to be done, or should be done, and I just have to do it. Thus, how I ended up at the volunteer market manager.

One thing I should learn is how to declutter....... If you hold it in your hands and it doesn't give you joy, give it away, I have heard......  but, that makes no sense to me, and made me laugh.  Do my socks give me joy?  Not really, but I need them.  Do the old documents that I have to keep for tax purposed give me joy.  Definitely not.....but the I need to keep them, too.  I don't have room for the two gallons of apple juice I bought because it is cheaper, but does it give me joy?

So, much to learn.....and although some days I feel like the proverbial old dog, much of the time I feel young (until a new mom at the homeschool group says incredulously "your're HOW OLD?").  And able to change and grow and learn.....

So, lets see what our other bloggers want to learn!

Kathleen Krucoff ~ http://wp.me/pA5jX-PR

Friday, May 20, 2016

What I am looking forward to....

I've thought a lot about this.  From a "world" point of view.  From a local point of view.  Spiritual.  Physical.  A purely mental, "high plane" point of view.....

And then, it was really down to the wire.  What do I look forward to?

And I guess it is the fact that this month, I will be married to the love of my life for 20 years that finally decided it.  I am looking forward to more time with the ones I love.  My husband is the most amazing, caring man.  A good father, hard worker, he inspires me, makes me think, we work well together and I can't imagine my life without him.

Not everyone can say they like their children.  But, I am fortunate that I can say I do.  My daughter is talented and kind and just a wonderful young woman.  

Our son is equally wonderful.  He is full of life and energy and love.  His smile is the best thing on earth.
And then there are the animals.  I have to include them, as they make our life fuller and lend humor to our world. 

 And our businesses.  Recently, Steven and I did a show together.  
And the other aspects of our simple, yet full life....eating good food, gardening, playing and just being together......that's what I am looking forward to.

 So, lets see what our other bloggers are looking forward to:
Kathleen Krucoff: http://wp.me/pA5jX-Pv

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Favorite Songs

WOW......  I started thinking about this one at the beginning of it being posted, and the more I thought, the more songs I felt as though I had to include..... You see, I love music.  Used to love playing music.  Ok, still do, but not as much.  Love it that my daughter is a musician/songwriter (http://hubbellwoodstudios.wix.com/gracehubbell#!music/ck0q).  And do we love the music we love because of our past or what we hope for our future.

My first song I remember learning was "the Battle of New Orleans".  I was probably around 3.  I still remember most of the lyrics.

"we fired our guns till the barrel melted down, then we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round, we filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind, and when we touched the powder off, the gater lost his mind".....wow, what a song.....

There are songs I love because they remind me of where I have been and who I no longer am:

"I guess I'll go out to the edge of the earth
But don't you come looking for me until you hear these words 
'cause out on the edge, see the long way down, 
Baby I'm thinking 'bout jumping 'cause it's easier then turning around 
I've been too long locked in shackles and chains 
Too long lost in the driving rain" - Darden Smith

"She wants to run away, But there's nowhere that she can go
Nowhere the pain won't come again, But she can hide, hide in the pouring rain
She rides the eye of the hurricane" - David Wilcox

Or crazy parts of our life like the time I was asked to play for the first Martin Luther King Day Celebration while I was in the military.....I played a 60's peace song (Blowing in the Wind) without a second thought.  It didn't go over well.

There is music I love because the artists were so much a part of my life, like Dan Fogelberg whose life was cut short by cancer.  Who else could write such a magnificent song like "To the Morning" - "watching the sun, watching it come up over the rooftop, cloudy and warm, maybe a storm, you can never quite tell from the morning"

Or James Taylor, whose music has followed me all my days with never a bad song (except maybe candy man). 

Lyrics from some musicians are never far from my heart because of their meaning.  I want to help change the world and music could be the way:

"I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people leading ordinary lives
Filled with love, forgiveness, compassion and sacrifice" - Tracy Chapman

"It's a hard life, it's a hard life it's a very hard life
It's a hard life wherever you go
If we poison our children with hatred
Then, the hard life is all that they'll know" - Nanci Griffith

"Was he thinkin' about my country, or the color of my skin?
Was he thinkin' 'bout my religion, and the way I worshipped him?
Did he create just me in his image, or every living thing?
When God made me, when God made me" - Neil Young

There are songs that make me feel good:

"When I grow up a want to be a tree, I want to make my home with the birds and bees" - John Gorka 
"If all my luck ran out tomorrow, I would say that I have had my share...... all the rest is just like gravy on the table, I will pour and pass as long as I am able" - John Gorka
(note....Gorka has some of the most clever lyrics I have ever heard.....  I love all his songs...if you like well written lyrics, definitely look him up.)

"Cause I'm the son of a 3rd generation farmer, I've been married 10 years to the farmer's daughter
I got 2 boys in the county 4-H, I'm a lifetime sponsor of the FFA
Hey that's what I make, I make a lot of Hay for a little pay, and I'm proud to say
I'm a God fearing hardworking combine driver, Hogging up the road on my p-p-p-p-plower
Chug-a-lug-a-lugin 5 miles an hour, On my International Harvester." -  Craig Morgan
(note....having grown up in farm country, this makes me smile every time I hear it)

And the ones that make us cry.  I remember having to pull over on the side of the road and cry when I first heard this song:

"Saints preserve us, Wherever we might fall
This is all too big a mystery
I remember I was standing in the corner of the room
Saying "Look at how she's leaving us, So quietly so soon" " - Marc Cohen

I also love songs about farming and about how the lives of farmers are changing and how hard that life sometimes is:

"Some people pray for victory, Some people pray for peace
Some people pray for extra time, Some pray for sweet release
Some pray for health and happiness, For riches and renown
But none of this will matter much, If the waters don't come down" -  Don Henley


"There's houses in the fields, No prayers for steady rain this year
Houses in the fields, There's houses in the fields
And the last few farms are growing out of here" -  John Gorka

Lately, I have been listening to a local radio station that plays a very eclectic mix.....and I heard a  new to me artist.  Tim Chauvin.  I bought his CD, he is an independent artist, and really liked all his songs:

"and you will wake up every morning, to a life you know so well, 
to the hope in every row depending on yourself.
Farming's in your blood, like your dad and his dad, too.
And just as they did, you know, you'll just make do"

And I found a new to me Jackson Browne CD, that spoke to me and to my times RIGHT NOW, even though it was written almost 30 years ago:

".....And I ain't no communist, And I ain't no capitalist
And I ain't no socialist, And I ain't no imperialist
And I ain't no democrat, And I sure ain't no republican
I only know one party, And it is freedom" 

So, I couldn't ever pick a favorite song...or even  five.....no more than I can pick a favorite flower.

And now, lets see what the others in our group have written:
Andes Cruz: https://andescruz.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/sing-with-me-april-blog-o-sphere-think-tank/
Robyn Hawk

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Five Things On My Mind

1)  My children:

I have two children, 19 and 9.  They are great kids...almost all the time.  They are two different people, not just because one is a girl (woman almost) and one is a boy, one a young adult and one a child.  No, they are different personalities.  So different.  So, parenting them has made us use different techniques.  I worry about them.  I worry that I am being a responsive, responsible, loving parent.  That I am doing right by them.  They are on my mind all the time.

2)  My business:

I have been in business for almost 20 years now.  It started small with four soap scents, a lip balm and a body balm.  Now, I have multiple scents, in different formalae and a plethora of products.  It is getting harder to compete in this crazy world.  For example, I am looking at a new ingredient for one of my product lines, and asked the vendor if it was "all natural".  He sent back to me a chain of emails culminating in one that was a long paragraph, with lots of technical terms, explaining how the product was "initially" from macadamia nut oil, then they "blah, blah, blah" to it, so yes, it is naturally derived and "natural" is hard to define.  I responded to my first contact, that if it takes a paragraph to answer a yes or no question, the answer was no.   However, it is hard to compete in a world where people travel down a slippery slope to make money.  Other companies in my area are talking how their products are "all natural" using "naturally derived" ingredients.   (yes, I will actually use the ingredient, but my information to my customers is that it is NOT all natural)

3)  My town:

I moved to Dripping Springs almost 22 years ago.  It was a sleepy small town.  I moved here because it was.  It was 15 miles down a state highway to the edge of Austin.  Then, they voted to make our county "wet" (you could sell alcohol).  Then they got a new wastewater plant.  Now, we have big box stores galore, a well lit night sky, and three bars on the old main street plus a dance hall.  At last count, 8000 new homes to be built.  And the wastewater plant wasn't big enough,so now they are building a BIGGER one, which will discharge its effluent to a waterway that replenishes an major aquifer.  This week, we went to the park, and I was SHOCKED.  A new subdivision is going in next to the park.....high density.  They RIPPED out all the trees of the acreage next to the park, put in a construction entrance and bulldozed down the vegetative buffer between the park and the construction.  All day at the park, we heard heavy equipment and the sky was hazy with dust.  And there is nothing anyone outside the city limits can do about it all.

4)  Society:

WOW.....every day I am amazed.  Used to be, there were the "seven words you can't say on TV".....  now, they have movies, geared to young people where those words are used and used again.  We have lost our genteel nature.  We have lost being polite. Obscenity, violence, cussing....its everywhere!   Its on my mind a lot as I preview the movies, books and music my 9 year old can view/read/listen to.  "But everyone talks that way" I am told.  No, I don't talk that way, my HUSBAND doesn't talk that way, my DAUGHTER doesn't talk that way.....

5)  what else:

As if I could worry more?!?!?!?!   However, a new thing that I discovered recently and I have been thinking about, not a major issue, but one that caught my thought was old music vs new music.  I haven't really found a new artist I like as much as I liked old musical artists.  And, as I was listening to an old Loggins and Messina (WHO? I had several moms ask me today at the park) CD, I had a flash as to why I like old music.  As a musician, I listen closely to the guitar and harmonies.  Harmonies now are not a "close" as they used to be, if they even exist.  And in the "old days", as you listen to older cd's you can still hear the slight scratch of fingers on strings as they change chords.  Now a-days, all that is "cleaned up", digitized, and the bass or percussion is not even a live instrument.  Just something less critical on my mind......

And, now lets see what is on the minds of the other bloggers in this group:

Andes Cruz: https://andescruz.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/thoughts/

marie bell :: http://www.pencilfox.com/2016/02/five-things-on-my-mind-february-blog-o.html

Kathleen Krucoff ~ http://wp.me/pA5jX-OB

Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/

Beth Cyr: http://BethCyr.com/blog