Monday, April 30, 2012

*Life is in the journey!* ~ Whatever It Takes!

Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors
~ Whatever It Takes! ~


We, the storytellers, delight in bringing illumination to the greatest of lies, and when we’re feeling particularly disagreeable with the way of things, as we are sometimes wont to feel, we especially find our peace in the unraveling of those festering subtleties of truth. And though we accomplish this by introducing our own truth, our own voice to the page, our actions offer the same to those who do not have a voice or are, not-so-simply, afraid to use it.

I think often about the subject of my writing, whether it serves as entertainment (I can dream) or even for the purpose of raising awareness, but never do I wonder about the reasons why I write. There is only one answer to that question, and it sure doesn’t feel as though it’s of my own making. Though, I often wish my inner voice was more prolific on the page, I realize, it just is what it is. Or is it? The thing is – I don’t know the answer to that question.

Today, I find myself wondering who does. Writing certainly does take a heaping heart full of stamina. Well, and the capacity for boldness, restraint when it’s called for, and a whole lot of mettle.  As writers, we know this. But what they don’t tell ya when you first pick up a pen to write your story, is that you’ll more than likely experience more than your share of heartache, leaving you with – and to steal a most famous line – the audacity of hope.

This past Saturday, April 28th, was a birthday of note. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Harper Lee, turned 86. Her novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is not only my all-time favorite but it remains for me after all these years, a beacon of hope…yes, but more so, of faith; the belief in myself that I can achieve in my writing, what I long for in my dreams – To make a difference and to be heard. 

Nelle Harper Lee is, no doubt, a tough act to follow. What set her "coming-of-age" story apart from the rest was that it didn't end with her characters, Scout or Jem, Atticus or Boo Radley. She had something spectacular to say, and boy did she say it; dropping out of law school, devoting eight years of her life to finishing the story inside of her. 

I guess in the end, that is the answer to my question. Do I have what it takes to drag my story out of me, kicking and screaming like the child that it is? It's soul-stirring questions like these that my great grandfather's words come back to me, gently nudging me forward, with a boot in my rear! 

"Whatever it takes, I happen to have it!"
~ Grandpa Willie Ball 

Now, that's some mettle I'd like to wrap my brain around!

Peace My Friends!

“The best way out is always through.”
~ Robert Frost

Thursday, April 19, 2012


... and you will be heard.

Love! and Peace.

~ Sexual Assault Awareness Month ~

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ Summer Pork BBQ

Barefoot Love!

April Showers Bring Summer Barbeque!

I saw my first firefly of the season tonight.
They lit out over the yard; pint-sized orbs of light just out of reach.
It's early. April, ya know.
I'm not ready.
We're still busy gearing up for baseball season,
cleaning out gutters, tilling the garden, making way for Spring... 
singing, "Adios, Winter! It was nice knowing ya! Don't be so shy next year!"

But, Summer is practically on our doorstep.
Ready or not, Here it comes!
Cool green grass and kids running with jars across the lawn.
It makes my mouth water just thinking about what's cooking in the kitchen!

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Homemade Potato Salad
(with the skins on!)
Devilish Eggs
Roasted Ears of Corn and Asparagus
Fresh Fruit Salad
Sweet Cornbread 
(with honey butter)
 Homemade Salsa
Fruit Pies and Cobblers
Marshmallows on a stick
Sweet and Spicy Summer Barbeque!

Well maybe, 
just maybe...
I am ready.
Summer Pork BBQ
2 boneless pork loin roasts
1 cup of water
2 tsp. salt
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup steak sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tsp. lemon juice

Cook roasts in crock pot on medium low heat,
till tender and falling apart.
Sprinkle roasts with salt.
Add water.
Shred with fork and set aside.
Skim fat and drain all but 1 cup of broth.
Add meat back to pot, along with
ketchup, steak sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and lemon juice.
Cover and cook again over medium low heat for 1 to 2 hours.
Serve on kaiser rolls.

You want reviews?
How 'bout...
"That'll do. That'll do."

How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...
Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen 

Monday, April 16, 2012

*Life is in the journey!* ~ The Wings of Life

Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors
~ The Wings of Life ~

"A Love Story That Feeds The Earth"

We, in our attempts to keep our children safe, 
our own bodies relatively free of painful venom and mad dashes to the ER, 
our lawns immaculate,
and our homes, literally, from falling in around us,
have become accustomed to guilt-free, justifiable extermination.
I will be the first to admit,
 my number one priority on my Spring Cleaning list is 
to stock up on Wasp, Hornet and Ant spray!
There is no love lost there, nor really, blink of an eye. 

I'll step over an ant hill in my front yard...
"Live and Let Live", I preach to my kids,
taking a knee for further investigation and awe.
I'll shoo a wasp out the back rather than swat them into oblivion
as they stumble indoors, effectively dazed from the Spring thaw.
I'll even show the appropriate amount of respect for the tenacity of a yellow jacket,
having arrived at the watering can first, waiting patiently for him to move on.

(and Behold the Underlying Truth)
 by the time the dog days of Summer arrive
and the little tiny ant army has set up camp on my kitchen counters,
and those confused little wasps have begun an all out attack
on any human body part waving about the water's edge of our pool...
and that lone, thirsty, insignificant little yellow jacket
has laid claim to that hole in the ground beneath the Redbud tree,
all jacked up on hummingbird nectar 
and hanging out on the corner with his no good warrior-ing friends...
Well then, the kid gloves come off!
Even those pesky little honey bees are obnoxious
with their cute little fuzzy butt stingers,
 and their super sweet golden honey,
and their unnaturally industrious work habits.
I mean, whichever one of those little over-achievers
 came up with the genius marketing ploy 
to Save The Earth One Flower At a Time...
well, maybe they should rethink their strategy of World Domination.
Who needs flowers anyway?
And all-natural sugar in a cute little plastic bear... who needs that?
And pollination, 
And protecting 1/3 of our world community's food resources...
Yeah. Who needs that? 
Why should I have to wear shoes in my own backyard?
I'm hopscotching my way, barefooted, around the clover
to get to the clothes line and the garden and the mailbox!
It's a wee bit ridiculous, don't ya think, 
worrying over mowing twice a week,
and all to save the cute little bees and the cute little environment?
Who needs the environment?
Ummmm... yeah.
I'm having to think twice about spraying my roses and my lawn with pesticides.
And now, 
in addition to feeding the hummingbirds and songbirds, 
and keeping the squirrels busy with ears of corn on a stick,
I have to be picky about the plants I choose to plant in my flower garden.
Why should I care about planting 
to conserve our water resources or feeding the starving bees? 
It's just not right.
Now... C'mon.
( I remind my bad habits, my melodramatic tendencies, my inborn traditions...)
Where's the love for our planet, for our future?
Seriously, how hard can it be 
(pun intended)
to pour a little milk on your roses to cure black rot and other mildew,
or soapy dish water on aphids and Japanese beetles and slugs and spider mites,
or to simply ask to see the *Native* flowers section in your local nursery
to cut down on the need for watering, 
while also providing the most beneficial flowers for your bees?
Where's the hard in that?
We can all stand to take a closer look this year at how we're harming... or helping.
The simple truth is... 
We *Need* Bees
Bees *Need* We... The People!
So, look into your heart and your garden sprays
and see what you can do about saving the little Bees knees!

Want to join your world community in doing your share?
Well then, take a look at:

Louie Schwartzberg,
the award-winning, cinematographer, director and producer of 
and see what he has to say about "rediscovering your sense of wonder".
And when you've found it...
Don't stop there. Please. 
What's "Easy", isn't always what's Right.
Can make a difference!

Wisdom, Honor & Passion 
My Friends!

"The best way out is always through."
~ Robert Frost ~


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ White Chocolate Fruit Tart

Barefoot Love!

 Can you feel it?
*Give me an... H*

Kids gettin' restless.
*Give me an... E*

All hopped up on sunshine and daisy chains.
*Give me an... L*

That look in their eyes,
spring in their step,
your money in their back pocket.

Visions of...
summer camp, roller coasters, and swimmin' holes.
*Give me a... P*

*What does that spell?*

It's right around the corner.
Are YOU ready?

The days of hectic class field trips to the zoo, 
followed by picnics in the park
and mom caravans trailing behind school buses 
filled with noisy kids smelling of goat,
have passed for our family.

Our school year's end
is no longer filled with last minute 
homemade Teacher gifts, 
Teacher appreciation snack days
and Teacher hugs.

Once our kids were unleashed 
onto Junior High
children's laughter gaily filtering through the halls
turned a corner somehow, to a raucous 
Game of Thrones;
complete with feuding 'clicks' in the pursuit of power,
tales of frayed loyalties
and general teen-angst carnage.

So, teary-eyed, I find myself this year
bearing no offerings of
White Chocolate Fruit Tarts
for our grade school teachers; 
no glowing faces to greet me in the doorway 
of my child's *other* life; 
no opportunity to simply say, Thank You,
to those people who have helped raise our children.

It's sad leaving their childhood behind. I know.
But standing here now on the other side of that fence...
that cute little play-yard fence...
I can honestly say, watching them as they
learn from their mistakes and grow in their triumphs
 can be just as rewarding now,
in these rascally years
(yep, I said rascally), 
if not more so.

The way I see it,
it's a good thing I shared some Tart Love.

Happy Teachers
Happy Students
Happy Parents
Happier Children.


Barefoot Love!

White Chocolate Fruit Tart
¾ cup butter, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 ½  cups flour
1 10 oz. pkg. vanilla baking chips, melted
¼ cup whipping cream
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, undrained
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
2 kiwi, peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. lemon juice
Reserved pineapple juice

Cream butter and sugar.
Gradually add flour; mix well.
Press into ungreased 11 inch tart pan or a 12 inch cookie sheet with sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or till lightly browned.
Beat chips and whipping cream.,
Add cream cheese and beat till smooth.
Spread over entire crust.
Chill 30 minutes.

Arrange fruit over filling (reserving pineapple juice).

In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon and pineapple juice.
Boil over medium heat for two minutes or till thickened.
Stir constantly.
Brush over top of fruit.
Chill 1 hour.
Store in fridge till ready to eat!

You want reviews?
How 'bout...
“And YOU my dear, get an A!”


How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...
Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen 

Monday, April 2, 2012

*Life is in the journey!* ~ Poetry In Motion

Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors
~ Poetry In Motion ~

A Brave and Startling Truth

We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.

Love costs all we are and will ever be.
Yet it is only love which sets us free.
A Brave and Startling Truth.

It is possible and imperative that we discover
A brave and startling truth.

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
And without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it. 

~ Dr. Maya Angelou ~

Dr. Maya Angelou will celebrate her 84th birthday 
on April 4th, 2012. 
A woman of great wisdom, beauty and courage, 
she is a most beloved poet and spiritual teacher of
love, family, humanity, hope, peace, and joy;
she who believes... 

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. 
Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. 
We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

Her triumphs make me proud, 
her beginnings bring tears to my eyes, 
but it is the resounding spiritual vibration of her voice 
carried through to the center of my being 
which stirs my soul.
True poetry in motion. 

"We have to cease the polarization and include ourselves. 
If somebody draws a line, a circle
and it excludes you...
You draw a bigger circle
and you include him."

Courage My Friends!
"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer,
it sings because it has a song."
~ Dr. Maya Angelou ~

"The best way out is always through."
~ Robert Frost ~