Internet bullies vs the people who really count

When I blog, I learn more about the important things – family, friends, community, faith – by reflecting on life’s pleasures – gardening, music, running, travel.

Writing here has brought me joy and clarity, many times over. Last night, though, it delivered a nasty little shock.

From the admin panel of my blogging software, I can tell at a glance what words people type into Google to find my blog. My name (and misspellings of it) are the most common. Other common search terms include topics I’ve written “how to” posts about: i.e., “how to make window frame pictures”, “test tube holders for flower arrangements” and “best way to see Taj Mahal”.

I have a working understanding of Search Engine Optimization, the science of making it easier to find stuff via Google, so none of this is surprising.

What did startle me are two phrases someone Googled in the past week:

Continue reading

The Lesson of the Thermostat

My thermostat started clicking over and over again a couple weeks ago. Not the kind of clicking a thermostat makes when it’s switching from heat to cool or fan to not-fan or whatever, but the kind of clicking a thermostat makes when it’s broken and needs to be replaced.

Google it. That’s what I did.

If you want confirmation, head to Facebook.

“Replace it”, was the general consensus among people who seemed to know what they were talking about. Or at least conveyed the confidence that comes with brevity. (“It’s broken. Replace it.” That’s way more authoritative than, say, “Hmm. How old is it? Gas or electric system? Heat pump?”)

Whatever. I digress.

In short, enough people on the Internet gave the impression this was an easy thing to handle myself that I said the hell with Saturday night and drove to Lowe’s for a replacement.

What follows is a single woman’s step-by-step guide to replacing a faulty thermostat – complete with playlist, cocktail selection, conversation starters with bored girlfriends, and applications to the finer parts of life.

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Why we plant in Fall

Fall gardening could very well be the perfect object lesson in faith.

Also – patience, love and … what’s the word for when you need to let go and just give it to God, Nature or Happenstance?

I asked my mother to help me put my finger on it.

“Trust, surrender, submit, release,” she said.

Ah, yes.

Fall gardening is about deep roots. Continue reading

Home school

Pruning echinacea

Lily and I have needed some time for just the two of us.

So I took the day off work, and she took the day off fifth-grade, and the two of us took to the garden.

We planted 275 tulip bulbs, divided purple irises, pruned the echinacea and pulled up a bunch of weeds.

Here is what she learned, in her own words:

Three Things Learned About Gardening

1. With gardening, you have to have more topsoil to put atop the bulbs.

2. Inside a bulb, there is a smaller version (of the flower) that grows larger.

3. You must cut off parts of certain plants to make them grow back.

Three Things Learned From Gardening that Relate To Life

1. You have to have hope and faith that the flowers will grow along with (resolution to) many other sticky situations.

2. We are sort of like bulbs when it comes to being a small one and growing larger.

3. You should separate Lilys and irises and give them to friends as well as many other things in life.

Awesome kid. Beautiful day. Wonderful life.