Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Digging Out the Tree (Christmas Tree, That Is)

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There I was. Putzing around while my honey worked up a sweat digging out a fresh little Christmas tree. I couldn’t really help him, one shovel and all.

In our area, we can purchase a tree permit from the forest service and dig or cut a tree up to 15 feet tall. As long as we follow the rules of where and where not, we get to choose whichever tree we love!

The first tree ‘we’ loved was a beauty! Between 5-6 feet tall, symmetrical, gorgeous. Plans were changed and we decided to dig up this pretty baby (by we, I mean he) and immediately plant it in the pasture before the ground froze.

Uhm. 5-6 foot evergreen trees do not come with short and easy-to-remove-from-the-dirt roots. After probably 25 minutes of heavy duty grunt work, we told the tree we love you and grow well and strong and shoveled all the dirt back and tamped it down. The tree would not budge. It loved where it lived.

The results from this attempt made us decide to dig up a smaller tree. MUCH smaller.

We found a lovely, adorable little tree stuck on the side of a hill. It called out to us – “Take me home!”

So my honey started digging. We had expectations for a shorter dig time. This prediction did not account for the rock. We also planned on potting this cutie and enjoying it inside the RV and planting it later in the spring.

Except for the rock. And the huge curvy taproot wrapped around the rock that would have forced us to use a pot the size of a small car in order to cover it with soil. That sort of container does not fit in the RV.

Plan C. Bag up the cute tree which still required 15 or so minutes for extraction, and immediately introduce it to the new home in the pasture.

Our second tree, originally planned as a larger cut tree, then switched to “Let’s dig out 2 trees,” was then maneuvered back into the original plan after the digging marathons. A stately and fragrant tree became our cut tree.

One can never tell what is lurking below the surface. Rocks, roots, acres of soil – depth of stability, secure anchorage, ablility to withstand hurricane force winds or mountains of heavy snow. Baby trees face all sorts of dangerous conditions out in the wild. And each one causes the tree to grow stronger and more resilient, develop even deeper roots, and hang on tight.

I should have taken a picture of that root wrapped rock. As a reminder. But the mushrooms were calling and I didn’t realize the significance of the rock. It’s like that sometimes. Upon later reflection, insights swivel my viewfinder to see what’s truly important.

Sometimes I feel like a baby tree, stuff coming at me from all directions. I bend, shudder, and quake, tossed like a dandelion puff on the wind. But as long as my heart roots are wrapped around the Rock, I am safe and can rest in His care and protection. I can continue to grow and become stronger as I sink my roots deep and wrap them ever tighter around my source of strength.

The Rock.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

– Colossians 2:7


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Learning to Write from Learning to Read (plus a giveaway!)

  by Dev Petty My first book, I DON’T WANT TO BE A FROG, came out last February and it’s been a wild ride this year publicizing and reading my book across the San Francisco Bay are…

Source: Learning to Write from Learning to Read (plus a giveaway!)

This blog post is super full of wonderful tips about reading books aloud as an author and ways to engage the audience! Thanks, Dev and Tara! Excellent!


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5 Ways to Play the Hidden Mickey Game

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Can you spot the hidden Mickey?

My husband and I recently enjoyed an anniversary trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. We enriched our experience (and even discovered new areas of both parks) by playing the Hidden Mickey Game. Here are 5 ways to play the Hidden Mickey Game.

1. There is a Hidden Mickey Game? Check this off the list! Now you KNOW there is a Hidden Mickey Game. You can’t play if you aren’t aware of the game.

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2. Imprint your brain with the image of Mickey’s head and ears – very recognizable. There are also other full body images and side profiles of Mickey, but we spent our time hunting the head image. Train your brain to recognize this shape and you will discover it everywhere. Disney does this well.

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3. Go Mickey Hunting. Look at fine details of hotel rooms (especially at the resort hotels), decor, carts, rides, artwork…every scene you see is a possibility. Even before you get in the front gate, you can find Mickeys in the central plaza. Document your finds! When we got home and looked at the photos I took, they were mostly hidden Mickeys!

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4. Ask. Nearly every attraction or ride or area has an intentional hidden Mickey. We found cast members to be very knowledgeable and helpful in our hunt. Some told us exactly where to look while others gave hints. Some Mickeys are very easy to spot, others we searched and searched for on multiple attraction rides and could not see them.

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5. Buy the book! Yes, there is a book. I didn’t want to purchase a book, as I felt it was cheating. But I finally caved and grabbed it. There are so many planned Hidden Mickeys, but also others that can be discovered. The book is older, so some Mickeys are gone due to new construction. And new Mickeys are added every time they create new attractions or remodel or update areas of both parks. The book was a huge help. On the plane ride home, I went though it page by page and jotted down the date we discovered each Mickey.

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Extra Tip: Listen and watch. There are others searching out Hidden Mickeys. You can help each other once you are aware there is a game going on!

Adding the Hidden Mickey Game to our Disney adventure was fun, fun, fun! People looked at us as if we were a bit odd, but that only added to our excitement!

Happy Mickey hunting!


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Tea with Me

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Special Mickey dessert we enjoyed after a delicious lunch.

Let’s catch up! It’s been that busy lately.

Blog? What blog? It’s more like suitcase? Where did I put my travel bag? Where are the luggage tags? Gotta do the laundry so I have clean undies. Need to remember to pack this and that necessity. Unpack, repack. Lists, lists, and more lists.

Pause. Bring out the teacups. Heat the water. Squeeze in a bit of honey. Choose a teabag. Pour. Steep. Relax.

How has life been treating you? Are you enjoying fall (or spring, depending on your hemisphere)? What plans do you have for the holidays?

We thought life in an RV would be simpler, less to care for, smaller requirements of energy, more free time.

That has not happened. Yet.

Indeed, it seems to take longer to live. Less stuff, but more thinking and decisions to be made regarding purchases, storage options, and mulitple use items. But enough about that for now. More later.

Life has been busy, so having a small space to place our heads at the end of the day has been wonderful. A few things we have been enjoying:

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We found Chewbacca!

Disneyland. Happy anniversary to us! I’m sure I have everyone confused about the date of our actual anniversary, but we have gotten out of the habit of celebrating it on or even near the 22 of June. November? Sure, that’s a great time to head south with thousands of our best friends (and we thought we had an original idea – nope – crowd factor was quite high).

Rubber stamping. I know – hand crafts are fabulous! I decided to make our Christmas cards this year, since my stash of every day cards is quite high and I need to use some of them up before adding more. So off I went to meet the girls and co-conspirators. 94 Christmas cards ready to be used. Merry Christmas!

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The leaves win!

Grandkids. One of my favorite hobbies. I love seeing them and spending time with all 5 of our precious jewels. Photos have been taken, treats given, hugs and kisses enjoyed. Every day is an adventure with grands!

Amplify. We are headed into the busy season, as most churches are right now. Harvest Party, Thanksgiving baskets, Caroling and nursing home visit, Candlelight Service, and so on. Despite the bustle of the season, I adore this time of year.

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Writing. Deadlines are among us. If I disappear for a few days (or weeks) and forget to answer emails or phone calls, it’s the deadline factor. I am blessed to have quite a few on my master schedule, so off to work I go.

Walking. Not so much when I’m home. But if I’m in, let’s say Disneyland, I’ve enjoyed upwards of 8-10 miles a day. Or with friends, 2-3 miles is a nice happy medium. At home, we are still working out the kinks of safely reaching a good walking location (without having to drive somewhere to walk).

Family. Keeps us busy. Grands, siblings, children, parents. It’s lovely to have all of our family close. That doesn’t always translate to seeing them often, but if something pops up, we are near and can help or attend an event or gathering. I don’t know of many families that have so many members this close. For that, we are grateful.

And coming up soon – birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the new year – the seasons of the year. Each is a gift from God.

How about you? Refresh your cup and fill me in. What plans are on the calendar? What’s been going on?

Have a blessed day.

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Winnie-the-Pooh: The Forgotten Connection

Special thanks to CBC Radio for an interview that resurrected this little known story about the origins of Winnie-the-Pooh. Here’s a summary.    Winnie-the-Pooh was born in Canada! Well, sort of. I…

Source: Winnie-the-Pooh: The Forgotten Connection

We are just back from a vacation at Disneyland and encounters with the very famous descendants of Winnie-the-Pooh! The Winnie-the-Pooh attraction has always been one of my very favorite rides! Wonderful!