Cheap Thrills


Not working these days, I’ve had to be a little more careful with the budgeting, which in turn has made me appreciate the inexpensive little things that can really brighten your day. I call these things “cheap thrills”! I’ve enjoyed setting a pretty breakfast tray in the mornings and have found that for about $2 each, I can pick out pretty fabric at JoAnn’s and easily turn it into a tray mat. Also for February, I picked up this cute heart plate at Hobby Lobby.

Nature’s Beautiful Snow Sculptures


Driving home from my weekend in Peoria at my sister’s proved to be quite a challenge last Monday. When I hit Iowa City, Interstate 80 turned into an icy washboard with bumper to bumper trucks driving 2o mph. I learned how to drive on snowy roads in northern Illinois and just couldn’t see any reason to be going so slow, so I headed off to the north, taking the country roads and was rewarded with some beautiful scenery. I also got to check off something on my life list: visit the town of Belle Plaine. I love the area on I80 around the exits for Belle Plaine and What Cheer and have wanted to see these Iowa towns ever since I first drove to Ames from Indiana. The farmland here is so sensuously rolling, dotted with grazing cows and sculpted with contour farming. Not far from Belle Plaine, I even saw a winter rainbow to the side of the setting sun!


Networking and the Big World Out There


On January 31st, I attended the ISU Study Abroad Fair. (check out the Study Abroad web page)

One of my goals for 2008 is to expand my horizons and do some major networking. I like to meet new people and connect people with each other. It’s something I am good at and I want to do more of it! Above is Shelley Taylor, Director of the Agriculture Study Abroad program at ISU. She is an old friend from Slow Food Ames and one of those wonderful ISU women it is a joy to know. She married an Iowa farmer AND she travels widely AND she has small children. She’s a renaissance lady in my book! Here she is on the Ag Study Abroad page

While at the fair I looked for opportunities that might bring me closer to my son who is now living in Poland. I also did some reminiscing about my dreams for the Peace Corps back in 1977 when I graduated from Purdue in agronomy.


Sustaining Life


Wednesdays are the days I’ve chosen to really focus in on my professional life.  I am working on a masters in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on sustainability.  So, I think a lot about what it takes to sustain natural life.  Food, water, shelter/clothing, health…food in, waste out….and where does our energy come from, not the energy for our cars, which is a luxury, but the energy for our bodies?

Today it is easy to forget where our food comes from.  We feel dependent on the grocery store, which makes us feel dependent on our jobs and our money, rather than feeling dependent on the land and the environment.  Instead of a life based on physical effort, connection with our surroundings and humility about our place on the earth, our lives have become a game of numbers, kind of like gambling.  We make wild choices, betting on the future through credit, thinking we can beat the house, even when the numbers don’t add up.

Above are my friends Lois, Jacob, and his baby Joshua, sustaining life by having relationships with the land and other people.  We can’t all do that these days, but maybe we can do a little better job of balancing the numbers, playing by nature’s rules, humbly accepting less, in order to sustain future life.

2008 and Weekend Reflections


Ok, well then…it’s 3 AM and I am wide awake, how was your weekend? Evidently I had too many naps and not quite enough weekend! And yes, this is my face, for the first time evar on my blog. (the handsome guy? my son – Ian – who might be sipping coffee in Poland about now!) Do you think 2008 will be my “year of risk taking”?   I have some changes planned (just another way of saying new year resolution), so hold on to your hats.

We all know it is cold and snowy moving right along….I had a nice weekend. Sunday was especially nice. I was glad to hear about what we have on our hearts. Sometimes people say they wear their hearts on their sleeves, but I think our hearts are more hidden than that. We have things in our heart, both good and bad, but what we have ON our hearts, that’s more planned, even if  it’s somewhat hidden. In Exodus (28) it tells how God planned that Aaron would bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart when going into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. I can’t begin to touch the depth of all that that means, but it was good for me to think of bringing the names of our friends before God when we are in the secret, holy place of prayer, to have my friends and my loved ones “on my heart”. Thanks Lani!