Marriage Monday–Camping Edition

*missing camping…

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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Just last week, I blogged a Praying In Color entry.


When I started praying, I had no clue it would end up to be a picture of a canoe camping trip, but subconsciously it must have been on my mind. I know that getting Phil to relax was weighing on me. I’d been trying not to nag him so I’d say, “I’m worried you’re not getting enough rest.”

“Got things to do.”

“They can wait, they’re not as important as your health and you need to rest.”

“When I’m done.”

“You’ll keep adding to your list.”

“What do you want me to do? Things got to get done around here.”

“I want you to at least take Sunday off.”

“How about Sunday afternoon?”

So I compromised for a few weeks. Phil works from seven in the morning until nine or ten at night five days a week. Then on the weekend, he’s out mowing the lawn, fixing the cars, and tending to all of the other mishaps that inevitably happen. We’re Murphy’s red-headed step children. Seriously. Ask people who have seen the chaos in action.


For the last few weeks, I haven’t had to beg Phil to relax, he’s taken to enjoying an entire Sunday off. Except cooking. But cooking is one of those activities that bond and solidify our relationship. I’m his perfect sous chef.

We took a two day float trip last summer on the Tippecanoe River. We camped at Tippecanoe State park. I don’t necessarily enjoy the work-out a canoe trip on a windy weekend gives me, but it melted my heart to see Phil truly relax, fish, and enjoy himself.


He doesn’t do well relaxing at home. I think all of the things to do dangle in front of him and taunt him. I know, they do that to me too, but mothers have the ability to tone out frequencies that are annoying. Sure dads tune out things, but typically if they’ve tuned one thing out they’ve tuned everything out. Moms can tune out the irritating stuff. Tell me I’m wrong!


So we go camping.

I love, love, love campfires. Cooking breakfast over a fire brings out the maternal in me. Who knows why. I don’t care why. I know I’m up at the crack of dawn wrapped up in a flannel shirt, throwing another log on the fire. I get the water boiling for the coffee and sip it while I add bacon to the cast iron skillet. Phil gets up, drinks my (by then) cold coffee and I make another steaming cup for myself. We take turns flipping the bacon and Zane yells from the tent, “I smell bacon!” and we sit by the fire waiting.

So I prayed for some extra money and for Phil’s boss to let him have a weekday off and I planned another float trip for our family. Next year, my goal is for more than one camping trip.

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*originally posted August 4, 2008

He Writes

My eleven year old son who breaks my heart daily telling me he hates reading (who can hate reading???) —my son who breaks my heart when he tells me he doesn’t want to write a short story

was forced today to start a short story.

Yes. I forced him.

And I read these two passages and my heart swelled (like almost out of my chest.)

My name is Jack S. Walton.  I was in the U.S. Navy. Someone called professor Johnson asked me to do some underwater research. Who was I to deny?

and this

When I came aboard he greeted me and said, “Hello Jack. Our destination is the gulf of Mexico or somewhere near it.”

My heart swelled and tears welled up in my eyes because he can tell me he hates writing–but the kid has got voice down and I didn’t teach him voice.

and that makes my soul sing.

Zane and Justin Vining

Justin is painting a mural at the Valparaiso International Center (the VIC) and we stopped by today to watch. My plan was to have Zane see someone (other than me because I don’t count right now since I’m mom and teacher) working on their art and to hopefully inspire him to want to move away from video games and TV and computer.

My plan worked better than I thought. I handed Zane my camera and told him to get up next to Justin and shoot. He did a fabulous job! Justin then decided it was time for Zane to paint. Justin set Zane up with the tools and a few pointers, then he grabbed my camera and spent quite a bit of time with Zane as the star artist.

It takes a special person to turn things around like Justin did for Zane. I can only imagine the ripples this will have in Zane’s life.   Thank you, Justin. From the bottom of my heart–thank you. You’ve made a difference.

You can see more pictures here on my Facebook page.

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Popinjay–ADORABLE

The challenge word issued last week is: ADORABLE.

It’s my birthday and I can cheat if I want to.

At least that’s the story I’m sticking with this week. Because I really did have other plans for the word adorable.

But then I walked by Zane’s room today while he was doing school and I saw this:


And that, my Lovies, is adorable.

* * *

Next week’s word is: LOST

You have from now until next Monday to take your photo, post it and you’ll be able to link it next Monday. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

* * *

Also, since the first word ever was so challenging for me, I thought I’d give you a head’s up on a month’s worth of words so that I you can have some more time to get just the right shot.

Week #12–Lost
Week #13–Accomplished
Week #14–Bitter
Week #15–Funny


pop?in?jay–noun–a person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter.

In other words, blogging. 😉

Isn’t that what this personal blogging is all about? Me. Me. Me. For this photo challenge, that’s perfect. We’re going to dig inside of ourselves and do some “concept photography.”

I’m going to give you a word and you’re going to take a photo of something that describes the concept of the word.

  • You CANNOT take pictures of your kids or your pets for this challenge. Or anyone else’s kids or pets. I know they’re precious, but they make your creative bone lazy. Let’s get outside of the box. Let’s be challenged.

Please leave the link to your post (not the link to your website or blog.) For example:

Right: http://michellependergrass.com/week1_photo

Wrong: http://michellependergrass.com

So–Let’s see your photos for ADORABLE.
Link up and don’t forget to visit the other participants!

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