“One small crack does not mean you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.” –Linda Poindexter

Almost two years ago I found this chunk of wood washed-up, discarded, and soaked throughout with many splintered pieces. To many it would likely be dull, ugly and meaningless appearing. To me, the brain began churning. It really was just simply an ugly chunk ~ good for nothing but to wash back out into the water, weather more storms, only to be forced back onto a desolate area by another storm, then walked over and around by animals and people. And it really was seriously ugly with several partial branches still intact ~ a real mess….. but kind of interesting at second glance.

So, making three return trips I finally devised a way to single-handedly bring this really ugly heavy treasure home with me.

I took it to the cabin of a neighbor who loves to do woodworking projects, and he was glad to add it to his ‘to-do’ list. The first issue was allowing the wood to completely dry throughout. About a year ago he began the sanding process, which turned out to be stop and go, as he would hit spots which were still moist….so back to allowing the chunk to sit and attempt drying. The issue is here in our area, we seem to have more rainy days than dry, sunny ones. So, this process drug into the second year ~ all the while me running over to his cabin on sunny days, opening the garage and placing the chunk out in the sun ~ my neighbor travels a lot, but when he returned home he would go back to his hit and miss sanding attempts.

I finally took a long look at the chunk one day and told my neighbor I’d be satisfied to just take it ‘as it was’ at that point. He adamantly insisted I leave it and allow it to continue drying and he would keep sanding and tweaking its imperfections, then finish it off with the stain and polyurethane process. At the completion point he’d be happy to present it to me free of charge.

Into two years……okay, I was ready to bring the Chunk to my cabin regardless of how it looked. It had a pretty smooth finish at this point, but during the drying process it had cracked and still could literally use a little more drying and a tad more tweaking on the sanding. Regardless, I made a decision one day when my neighbor was out of town, off the mountain or whatever you call it-to kidnap the Chunk. I recruited another neighbor to help me move the Chunk to its final home.

We got it in my garage so I could begin the stain and polyurethane process ~ which took me about a week, working on it at intervals.

So now the Chunk will be a special part of the cabin’s big porch ~ a foot stool to be used when in the hammock swing or as a beverage table, a book or laptop stand, a flower pot holder or most likely just something else the squirrels enjoy, or the Westies hike a leg on ~ oh well, I’m at least glad Chunk has found a home and got spiffed up in the process ~ his grains really are beautiful now and his little arms very unique.

“The whole world is, to me, very much "alive" - all the little growing things, even the rocks. I can't look at a swell bit of grass and earth, for instance, without feeling the essential life - the things going on - within them. The same goes for a mountain, or a bit of the ocean, or a magnificent piece of old wood.”
Ansel Adams

From a mountain girl’s heart


“It’s the simple and little things in life that bring happiness.”

I had someone once tell me they’d come to understand “God wasn’t ultimately concerned with our happiness”….. hmmmmm. Why were we given the ability to smile and erupt with laughter ~ to see, hear, read and experience things to give us wonderful moments of happiness?

“And Psalm 126:2 says, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.” In fact, God tells us to be happy more times in Scripture than any other command.”

This last weekend as I was driving through the mountains and began to see the incredibly beautiful signs of spring evolving, those words came back to me. Happiness was mine to accept at most every turn and over each hill as I saw buds opening, colors popping and what was just days ago withered and dried trees and bushes now coming to life again in lush greens with blue mountains as a backdrop. Although not anywhere near being in full awesomeness of color, I smiled and felt happy just seeing Mother Nature coming back into color. Surely if one believes in a Master Designer one must feel happiness in seeing His ongoing canvas as it’s carefully painted with each new season. Happiness.

“Laughter is the best medicine” 

Joy is embedded deep within, unmovable. Agreed, happiness is fleeting as our lives create circumstances and emotions to where at times we feel as though we’re riding a roller coaster, but what would our days be without sprinkles of happiness throughout? I think the God I know must certainly be happy Himself to know my heart is happy among the times of sadness which is inevitable in all lives.

Happiness is taking a drink of crystal clear pristine mountain water pouring from the side of a mountain or dipping a foot into a chilled mountain stream in the warm summer, feeling a crisp breeze blowing across a sweaty and heated body as one trudges a steep trail, seeing the smile on someone’s face as they caress the beautiful fur of my dogs, the childlike fun of splashing through a puddle of water, opening the door at dawn and being slapped in the face with pristine chilled air and being able to fully inhale and exhale it, a new pair of shoes on the feet, the excitement of seeing an incredible display of color as I round a corner on a mountain or as I view the vastness and beauty of a mountain range laid out before my eyes. Happiness.

Satisfying, refreshing, and enough ‘push’ to keep us going. Happiness is.

Happiness ~ a zillion forms it may take in our lives. A quick interspersed boost of fuel to keep us moving and hoping.

Happiness shines, relaxes, encourages, lifts one’s self and others, calms an environment, creates beauty. Happiness is found in the simple, in child-like discoveries, in imagining, in creating. Little happies are good.

Giving or receiving a smile, a basket of fresh fruit or vegetables, a cool breeze, a romp through an apple orchard, waking-up to rain pounding on the roof, strolling the empty sidewalk at night peering into the merchants’ gorgeous windows, a conversation or just a check-in with a friend, a new jar of local honey, doing something kind for another, cuddling in a big soft chair by the fireplace or swinging on the porch with the mountain air stirring, the sound of a generator cutting-on when the power inside has gone off, the smell of fireplaces burning in the cold months, walking in a chilled stream on the rocks, sitting on the bank of a river and doing absolutely nothing, the divine smell of a bar of locally made soap, the sight of a bright green pasture enveloped with blue mountains and fog, a pot of soup simmering on the stove. Chocolate. Eyes to see, ears to hear, legs to walk. Happiness.

A dear friend who recently had to let two of her long-time rescue fur kids go to the Rainbow, told me this week: “I told my husband all it takes to make me happy is a couple of dogs.”

I had to laugh as I agreed with the simplicity. Yes, they’ve already brought in another rescue fur baby to join the one they still have. The point ~ happiness.

A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart produces a broken spirit. Proverbs 15:3

  • “There are three main things that make people happy: close relationships, a job or past-time that they love and helping others. On the other hand, money and material things do not have a lot to do with happiness, and people who emphasize them are less happy than those who do not.”

Little, individual minute by minute happiness ~ ultimately make up a lifetime. What little things make you happy? Grab all you can and fill-up your bag.

From a mountain girl’s heart


Normal ~ how many have ever truly known normal? Where and when is one’s normal established and by whom?

Who would’ve imagined this time last year normal as we had known it, would, as it appears now, be gone forever. ‘Normal’ as a world, a nation, a state, a county, a neighborhood, and ultimately down to our individual homes. Are we now enveloped in a new normal with no ending?

Even if we 1-2-3-x-y-z —— it appears we may never get back to the normal we once knew without ongoing restrictions, requirements and induced fears. If one is locked into a ‘must do’ list, is normal truly attainable? Is our country going to end up with two columns of people: the ‘we’ll do as you say’ folks and the ‘we’ll do as we want’ folks.

Will I resign to a new normal or will the normal it’s taken almost a lifetime to create be mine to keep and protect? Is my normal God and self-created or created by man?

What does normal cost and must I change and have a new normal to survive in today’s world?

“Normal is how you perceive normal, not what others tell you is normal.”
Sean Thomas
“To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.”   William James

Once one’s escaped abnormal, normal is waiting to be created and lived. It’s a gift we give ourselves, unfortunately many times with great pain involved. Sifting through is a tedious and ongoing work….a work few will ever choose to journey through. It’s during this process one acknowledges and faces what was the abnormal and then tackling the daily intentional work of creating a normal for one’s self, to the degree it’s possible.

Normal ~ a potentially dangerous and lethal box to jump in and stay in…depends on whose normal one is in. Life circumstances change and adjustments abound, but one’s core normal, once found is immovable.

Are you normal? If you’ve ever found yourself in abnormal and worked your way out, you’ll understand….it can be on a personal level or world level ~

From a mountain girl’s heart