U Pick Blueberries


Mom left to visit the family in Maryland for the week and the first thing Dad wanted to do was take Zachary fishing. We went to the Wacissa River which is 10 miles from my house. Right before the Springs, at the end of Gamble Road, is a little U-Pick Blueberry farm called Blueberry Springs. Zoe and I picked 6 pounds of blueberries while the guys fished. Zoe is listening to Huckleberry Finn via Audible.


Smile Zoe!
Smile Zoe!


We got there around lunch time, so it was pretty hot but there were no mosquitos. It is early in the season so most of the berries have not yet ripened. By next weekend the berries should be sweeter and bigger.


Happy Bluberries!
Happy Blueberries!


I think Zoe ate most of her berries and she forgot to wear shoes, but we managed to pick about 6 pounds in 45 minutes. Blueberries freeze well and a handful of frozen blueberries cool off hot oatmeal nicely. 🙂 The owner lent Zoe’s his crocs while she picked berries.


My Cup Overflows!
My Cup Overflows!

We also bought fresh cucumbers and some handmade “spicy” blueberry jelly!


Picking Out Cucumbers
Picking Out Cucumbers


When we were leaving a saw rows of well manicured tomatoes growing as single vines up buried bamboo stalks in back of the house.  I met Andy who told me how to grow tomatoes up a vine. I did not know that I had to prune the sucker out of the axil. He said you could pinch the sucker off, bury it and soil up to the leaves, and it would grow a whole new tomato plant.


tomato sucker


So if the stem and the leaf roughly make a 90 degree angle the space in between is called the leaf axil. The sucker is the piece growing at 45 degrees in between the stem and leaf. That’s the part you can cut off and plant. If you leave it there is just saps nutrients away from the fruit.

Tomato Vines
Tomato Vines


The Dad and Zachary caught some bass with earthworms. (Andy said the best bait to use in the Wacissa is crawfish. He did not tell me where he fishes though!!) Then we went swimming. You can’t go to Wacissa in the summer without swimming!


Rope Swing!
Rope Swing!


Dad found a baby bat in the grass while we were watching the kids. We picked him up with a juice box straw and put him on the tree.


"I Has A Juicy Juice Straw"
“I Has A Juicy Juice”

I do not usually find baby bats laying around in the lawn….

Here is a video of the rows of blueberry bushes!






Attack of the Killer TV


Okay. I admit it: I have these weird mini panic attacks when I try to watch television. I don’t have a TV on in my house but they keep popping up in public places like doctor’s offices and even at some gas stations. The repetitive recap of reality TV, and the incessant news panic are only annoying, but the expertly curled shining toothpaste tail and the ubiquitous gecko commercials seem like the nonsensical apparitions of deep insanity.

I think these mini panic attacks stem from a deeper fear. My absolute biggest fear in life is the thought of wasting my life. I am not so scared of dying – I have seen plenty of people go through that phase – but the thought of not squeezing every bit of light out of my allotted moments tears at my core fiber. I feel like time is rushing past me like a heavy current, an unstoppable deluge, and I feel a desperation to harness the power of that energy and not be drowned in it. I am not in the ‘various shades of gray’ life philosophy camp. I believe that things are or they are not, and so I see time as a force that I can either harness its power or be crushed by it.

I dichotomize everything. I believe in absolutes: specifically absolute right and wrong, but many humdrum activities of daily living are not so easily categorized. So in an effort to harness the power of the flow of time, I have dichotomized various activities as either “valuable” or “less valuable” and wrote them out in a convenient table for comparison.

Valuable Things

  • Healthy food.
  • Handmade Christmas presents.
  • Cleanliness.
  • Sit-down family dinner.
  • Sunshine after a thunderstorm.
  • Serious conversation.
  • Flexibility.
  • Craft projects with children.
  • Hot coffee in the morning on the porch swing.
  • A walk in the woods.
  • Bible reading.
  • Writing a poem.
  • Having a best friend.
  • Bedtime stories.
  • Clean water.
  • A good reputation.
  • Reconciliation
 Less Valuable Things

  • Prime time television.
  • French fries and soda.
  • Name brand clothes.
  • Accolades.
  • Social media.
  • Doing things faster.
  • Alcohol tolerance.
  • Talking cool.
  • A good selfie.
  • Eating out.
  • Diamonds.
  • Drugs.
  • Diversified portfolio.
  • A clear complexion.
  • Big television sets.
  • The corporate ladder.
  • Status updates.
  • Mowed lawn.


Sometimes I hear people talk about “saving time” and I think that they mean, “If I can find a way to accomplish things faster, I will have more time for other more enjoyable endeavors.” This just does not work. There is no such thing as a time bank that we can go to make a withdraw of all the time we saved while rushing around. We are forced to live our lives inside of every breath. We have to spend the time as we receive it. What better way to spend it than on something we have previously deemed to be valuable?

If the spirit is defined as the life force occupying the mind, then what happens to the spirit if the mind is constantly preoccupied with incessant-repetitive-nonsensical suggestions. Does the spirit start to die out like an endangered species disappearing from habitat loss? For me, physical death wields no terror like that of spiritual death. Most of all, I want to be a thought producer and not just a thought consumer. I want to build habitat in my mind for creativity and not force creativity out with ready made plots and drama.

For me it is important to write down what is valuable, to really evaluate priorities in the light of the rest life. The written word breathes life into the dry bones of swirling personal thought. If dreams are not written down they are forgotten, this is true of both waking and sleeping dreams. If I live to be 85 like my great-grandmother Violet I will have 51 years left. So I have roughly 10 more opportunities to lay out my 5 year goals. What specifically do I want to accomplish? I have resolved that every season I will write a quick paragraph about what my life will look like in 5 years. I write it as if I was doing a quick character sketch for a novel. In the morning, over my coffee, I write out a few things that I can do during the day to reach my longterm goals. What does your character sketch look like? Here’s mine:

Amanda has a vegetable garden with lots of tomatoes.

She teaches a free yoga class at the local church.

She is working on a children’s story.

She will win a Newbery Award for children’s literature.

She is writing her journal out as a blog.

She runs in the woods with her dog.

She can do handstands.

Summer has us in a head lock here in Florida. My kids are going to be home with me… all summer long. I need to approach it with a plan so at the end of summer:

The children will know how to:

1. make a loaf of yeast bread from scratch

2. sew a pair of elastic waist shorts from a pattern

3. write in cursive

We will have read:

1. The Hobbit

2. The Chronicals of Narnia

We will have worked through:

1. the Algebra book

2. the Biology book

So there it is. I’m not going to just avoid death, I’m going to go to war against death, and kill it by inviting as much life into my life as I can fit into this habitat.


If you love life don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of. -Bruce Lee

In truth, people make time for what they CHOOSE to do; it is not really the time but the WILL that is lacking. -Sir John Lubbock

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12 NIV


Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day


My tomato garden blossoms bloom

from seeds planted with a kitchen spoon


My puppy sniffs a slinking snail

climbing over the garden rail


My brothers eyes are laughing doves

observing the changing skies above


Where bouncing clouds ride and roam

the blue like swirling ocean foam


The sun reflects my sister’s hair

like a shining golden Asian pear


My door frame shows I’m growing tall

like the grandfather clock in the hall


But I’m still small this Mother’s Day

I’m still young and love to play


So hold me now in this moment

To joyfully use the time we’re lent


Please kneel down and see my world

while I am still a little girl


Come and sit and hold my toy

while I am still a little boy


The time comes soon when I am grown

and holding children of my own


The tomato blossoms round and ripen

from humble green to redly brightened