October 28 2017

What happens when I decide to write


Droopy Chiltepin plant

I was going to work on my novel after I got home from work this evening. But first, I started a load of dishes. Then I walked downstairs to the basement to start a load of laundry and get a fire going in the woodstove. While the tiny flame was burning, I I decided to call one of my sons. The fire went out, so I put some more newspaper under the kindling while I was talking with my son. I hadn’t talked with him for a while, so it was nice to interact. It helps me feel a part of his life.

After that, I walked up the stairs from the basement and started to sit down to write. That’s when I noticed the chiltepin plants.

The chiltepin plants had been tenderly started from seeds by one of my other sons. I had been nurturing them and watering them for months. But, I hadn’t re-potted them yet, so they needed water every few days.  They’re not doing so good now. You see, I got too busy  and I finally forgot to water  them. The healthy, happy plants are now sad. The 2 smaller ones are crispy and the larger one is droopy.

On the positive side, I have a new avocado plant. About 2 months ago I had put a seed in an empty pot of dirt that had been the home to another poor plant that died. About a week ago, I saw something that looked like a stick growing out of the pot. Then I remembered planting the avocado seed! In a few days, the stick started sprouting leaves. Now it has 5. I’ve grown 2 others in the past. They usually do well for a few months, then the leaves start curling and get crispy, even though I water them. I don’t know what I do wrong.

If the chiltepin plant looks better by tomorrow, I will be happy. If not, it’s time to try to sprout more seeds in damp paper towels. I’ll plant some straight in the dirt to see if they grow. “When you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Not sure where that came from, but that’s what I have to keep doing.

Maybe I’ll work on my novel tomorrow.

Here’s some information about the chiltepin. We used to buy them when we lived in Mexico.

Food Worth Growing: Chiltepin Pepper



August 10 2017

My Heart to Yours

This is really hard to write, but I need to find a way to express to someone how I feel. Maybe a blog is not the place to do it?

I just looked at my blog and realized I haven’t written since February 27th! I know I don’t have to explain, but I’ll  try.

The beginning of May of 2016, I fell on the cement and hit my head. I never got knocked out, but felt spacey for a few days. Yes, I should have gone to the doctor, but I didn’t.

Then, at the end of May, my 16-year-old daughter left home when I was out-of-town. I won’t go into details, except to say it hasn’t been easy for me to deal with. She also went through some hard stuff and is coming out on top. If you’re wondering, no, it wasn’t drugs.

Now it’s only my husband & me home. We do have a dog and a recently acquired cat, but no children. I’ve felt the loss and emptiness since my last “kitten” left,  I’m thankful when I can make trips to spend time with her. We want to stay close in our hearts and that is the most important thing.  She’ll be 18 tomorrow, but I think she’ll always be sweet 16 to me.

A month after C. left, I was visiting her, and I either had a mini-stroke or complications from when I hit my head in May. I now have a lisp, which no-one notices but me, but I can tell. The other thing is I lost almost all my desire to write. My ambition was gone. I did some research and it appears that a brain injury on the left temple can do that. I have asked a doctor about it, but because I didn’t go in right away, there’s nothing they have to compare my normal brain.

As far as life is going… it’s busy. I’m still cleaning houses and we also clean offices in the evening. We’ve been training employees the last couple of months, which has been quite a journey. Our oldest daughter plans on getting married in October, so we need good help trained by then.

As for my possible mild brain injury: they say it takes a year for it to heal and it’s been 15 months. I still have that lisp that no-one but me notices, but I’m wanting to write more. I’m still working on the novel I started in 2012 and I WILL finish it.

I’ve been told I should only write about 1 thing or no-one will want to read it. The problem with that is I started out with cleaning tips… After awhile, I just didn’t want to write about it anymore. I plan on periodically posting cleaning articles and things I’ve learned and  am working on a cleaning tip e-book, which I’ll offer for free after it’s finished.

I’ve been told by some that I only write about myself.  I think maybe I need to do at times,  so I can let you know who I am and why I write. If I’m ever to write on this blog again, I need to do this. I cannot be a phony.

Last but most important is, I’m starting to spend time with the LORD again in prayer. I’ve neglected my prayer time. My excuses have been many … but I’m through with excuses and ready to go on with life again.


February 27 2017


Don’t waste your time

You only have this day…

These hours

Are a gift to you

From the Giver of Love.

Make them count

Don’t let the minutes disappear…

Like sand through cracks of wood.

Be delighted

Like a child

Living full and free

In this moment

We call time.

Category: Poem | 1 Comment on Time
January 31 2017

You Can’t Fix Anything

Doesn’t seem right
It drives you crazy
That you can’t fix
That’s all you want to do
Make things better
The problem is
No matter how hard you try
You cannot do it
Not at all
Then you start feeling a hopelessness
Seep in
It’s like smoke
That fills the room
In layers
It’s hard to see the truth
It’s hard to see what to do
It’s hard to do anything
You realize
That maybe
Just maybe
Things can change
Things can get better
You can’t fix
But it’s OK now
There’s someone who knows
He knows how you feel
Even when you don’t
He cares about you
He cares about the ones you love
You finally give it all
It was never yours to carry in the first place
You know
Now the weight is getting lighter
The haze is dissipating
Hope is returning
All will be well again
Until then you
Keep on hoping
Keep on praying
Keep on believing
Keep on seeking the truth
The truth will find you
It will set you

January 7 2017

Goals and Mini-Habits

I read over the blog I wrote in January, 2016 about goals. I listed the goals I made in 2016. The results are in bold.

Goals for 2016

• Spend more time with God, which includes Bible reading, prayer and worship. (I am reading the Bible more)
• More quality time with family and friends. (This summer I spent a lot of time with adult children)
• Go to the athletic club once a week (to start). (ha-ha)
• Start walking with a friend or my daughters (again once a week to start) (I don’t have anyone to walk with, so did not do it)
• Spend more time with our horses and start working with them, training and riding. (after the weather is better) (very little)
• Keep doing lessons in Tribe Writers and Intentional blogging (no)
• Start working on my Nanowrimo novel I started in 2013 and finish it! (yes, I am still working on this and I will finish it!)
• Get more organized and get rid of the clutter in my house (baby steps)
• Start writing more, including journaling, blog posts and letters (I write something in my journal every day, but the blog-posts have gone by the way-side. I blame circumstances, but mostly it’s my desire.)
• Give myself “margins”. Try to have time to enjoy the moment. Space and Quiet sometimes. Enjoy nature. Camping. Vacations. Road Trips! (May, June, July and August I made many road trips to see adult children. I also went camping with my 3 daughters.)

Here are some goals I am making for 2017. The mini-habits are listed in bold. They are the first baby-steps of a habit that are so easy, you cannot fail. A mini-habits is meant to be the bare minimum and a start. The idea is to trick your brain so you will realize how easy it is and do more.

A few of my Goals for 2017

o Drink 3 Quarts of water a day
mini-habit: start with 16oz.
o Write a blog article once a week.
Mini-habit: Write 50 words on a blog article every day (the same one until it is finished)
o Write 1,000 words a day on my book.
Mini-habit: Write 50 words a day on my book.
o Private time with God each day.
Mini-habit: same
o Exercise at Athletic club, for a walk or at home.
Mini-habit: Do 1 push-up, or walk around the block each day.
o Sort 1 box of papers/stuff once a week.
Mini-habit: Sort 1 box of papers once a month.

I could write more, but I want to keep the most important ones as a priority, so I actually do them. These are the ones I want to start out with.
If you are interested in mini-habits, you can go to the link: mini-habits . You don’t have to buy all his material (unless you want to), but if you read some of his articles you can understand the concept of mini-habits better.
I welcome comments of what goals or habits you want to gain in 2017. What are 3 goals for 2017 you have?

December 27 2016


I’m reading a book called, Mini-Habits by Stephen Guise. Some of it is boring to me because of the technical stuff, but it’s worth reading and I’m learning a lot from it. The basic theme is if you want to start a good habit, start with a mini-habit, that is so “stupid-small”, you can’t fail. Hopefully, you exceed the minimum requirement, but there’s no pressure to.

An example would be, to write a minimum of 50 words a day on a blog article, a book or in a journal.

Another example, drink one 16-oz glass of water daily. It’s not enough, but some days I go all day and think, “I haven’t had any water today!”

Before I read this book, I started what I call “baby-steps” for de-cluttering and cleaning. It is the same concept and really helps me to get going.

I recommend trying mini-habits. If you want to read the book, here’s the link to his website: minihabits .Even if you don’t read the book, it’s so simple anyone can try it. Start with one push-up like the author did. That’s what got him started with an exercise routine.

What mini-habits do you want to start? Try something so easy, so small, that you cannot fail.

Category: Goals | LEAVE A COMMENT
October 13 2016


I have put it off too long… writing. I’ve made excuses and let circumstances become obstacles. Then the obstacles have become overwhelming and I’ve lost my confidence.

Today I watched the movie “Nim’s Island” again. I’d been thinking about it for several days and finally had the time to relax and watch it. I came away with some great lines that you might like too:

“How did Alex Rover get to be Alex Rover? Was he born with all that courage?” Nim asked.

Her Dad Jack replied, “The thing about courage, is that it’s something that we have to learn, that we learn our whole lives. It’s not just in you, it’s in every choice we make, each and every day.”

When I think about it, courage is something we all need. All the obstacles and problems in my life take courage to face and overcome. I can’t do it on my own though. That’s where God comes in. He’s the one I should turn to in everything. When I do, peace comes in and everything isn’t so overwhelming.

I’ve been trying to read my Bible more regularly again. It’s still hit and miss though. Today, one of the verses I read really stood out to me. I’ve read so many times before. But, I really want to DO it and not just read it.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;

and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways

acknowledge him,

and he shall direct thy paths.

Be not wise in thine

own eyes:

fear the Lord, an

depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:6-7 KJV

 Another quote I came away with from the movie I watched was this:

“It’s time to finish the book.”

Yes, it is about time to finish my book, the one I started in 2012. The one that I also worked on in 2013. It has over 120,000 words and I couldn’t finish it. I couldn’t come up with an ending. So, this year I am reading the whole thing and editing as I go. When I get to the end I will finish it!

Maybe I’ll make it in time to work on it during National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). It’s worth a try.

This is the plan:

  1. Get over my fear of what others think of my writing
  2. Write in my blog several times a week for awhile, to accomplish this.
  3. Realize there will be some people that can relate to what I’m saying and it helps them.
  4. Also realize there are some people that don’t like my style or what I write about. They won’t read it, or will and be critical.
  5. Start a writing schedule to work on my blog or book. Daily if possible.
  6. Accept imperfection and just do it!

OK, so that’s it for today. If you’re reading this and it encourages you in any way, I’m thankful. You’re awesome! If you’re reading this and it doesn’t, that’s OK. You’re awesome too!


September 2 2016

Travels and Experiences in Jordan



My 22-year-old son, had the opportunity to visit Amman, Jordan and a refugee camp in January, 2016.  This is his story:


                                            by Marianne Wilke

                                                         …Gideon Wilke’s Story…

Amman, Jordan

I flew to Amman, Jordan in January, and was able to stay there for 2 months. When I first got there, I stayed at a hostel. It was pretty easy to find online and was centrally located in the tourist area. The hostel was a 4 story tower. My room was a dorm that held 6 bunks.  I like staying at hostels, because I can meet a lot more people that way.

At the hostel, they served the best breakfast in all of Ammon! It consisted of eggs, bread with olive oil, cheese, olives, hummus, and cucumbers. The coffee was American brewed Folgers, which I also liked.

At the hostel I met a girl from Tunisia who lived in France. She spoke English, Spanish, Arabic, French and Italian.  I also met Koesma, a travel agent from Indonesia and Kai Schnier, a German journalist. The journalist was going to the refugee camp called Zaatari the next day. Then Koesma got really excited, because he said he wanted to see his Muslim brothers and sisters. He was up for an adventure.

The manager of the hostel got us a driver to camp Zaatari. The journalist got a pass from the media office in Jordan. When we got to the 1st checkpoint, they passed the car through, but, when we got to the 2nd gate, they told us to go to the police station at the camp. Our passports were scanned and they talked with us. The pass was only good for the journalist.  Koesma and I had to leave the camp. We left and took selfies and hung out at a town next to the camp. It was very small with only a few houses, a restaurant and a grocery store.

We waited there for about 5 hours until the journalist was finished and came out. After that we went back to the hostel.

I found out that my new friend, Koesma, the Indonesian travel agent, was going to the ancient city of Petra. I asked him if I could be his travel buddy.  So, the next day, we traveled together on a very nice bus to see the ruins of Petra.  Even though it’s one of the 7 wonders of the world, I think it’s a little over-rated. I’m not really into architectural stuff.

After the trip to Petra, Koesma had to leave. His trip was over.

Wadiram National Park:

The next day I went to Wadiram, which is 4 hours from Petra. I got a tour package for 2 days and a night. Wadiram is a National Park where the movie “The Martian” was filmed. They didn’t have to do anything to the area where it was filmed. It looked the same as in the movie.

The tour had the best dinner of baked chicken with potatoes and onions, cooked in an underground oven.

After that I went back to Ammon on a bus and stayed in the hostel 1 more night. I met George Meegan, He’s pretty famous I guess.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Meegan

He told me that the doctors have been telling him for 20 years that he’s crazy.  He wanted to get into camp Zaatari to implement the teaching curriculum that he designed himself and then to film and broadcast the kids using his curriculum on you-tube. I told him I also wanted to see camp Zaatari, and he said he’d keep me in mind for the filming.

After that, I got an apartment and started taking Arabic classes. 2 weeks later George Meegan asked for a scanned copy of my passport, because he said he got passes for all of us.  (He, a British Iraqi doctor and me).  The passes were for 2 days, 6 hours each day. George told me he didn’t have as much time as he needed to film, so we’d just see the camp and look at their educational system.

I rented the car that we drove to the camp. The police there escorted us around the camp. Camp population is 80,000 people and it takes 20 minutes to drive around it.  The 2nd day the police let us go by ourselves.

There are about 4 other camps in Jordan. Camp Zaatari is the nicest camp and they want as much media coverage as they can get so they can get more funding. They have some electricity, playgrounds, schools, and stores. The camp is very clean, well organized and well managed. A lot of the main roads were paved.

The kids seemed very happy and had really good schools. The adults, most of them, the ones that I talked with, had been in there 3 or 4 yrs. They weren’t working and that made life hard for them, even though they had a money-card for each family member. They got 20 Jordan dollars a month, worth about 30 American dollars. You couldn’t survive in Jordan for $30 a month, but the prices at the camp are really good, because it’s subsidized.

They also have shops. There’s a famous street with 3000 shops. The shops include: hardware stores, dress rentals, hookah bars (flavored tobacco), food street venders, household supplies and tea shops,

They also have a few covered, playgrounds for the children. A guard is always posted watching the kids.

On the edge of town there are many murals. I Had tea with a family. They have the camp fenced off with patrols on the outside. The US manages the security there. They have big trucks with big machine guns on top.

Everything seemed clean, organized, well managed. A lot of the main roads were paved.

There are about 80,000 people living in the camp!

I was able to practice the Arabic I learn

Everyone wanted to know if I was Muslin and they wanted to know if I was married.

A mom brought her daughter to meet me and she was very shy. She was literally hiding her face from me.

The lady told the journalist that he was a very beautiful German, and asked, “Do you want to marry my daughter?” He said thank you, but no.

There were less girls than boys, because a lot of the girls had been married off. The families will marry their daughters off because they want their daughters to get out of the camp.

The doctor Interviewed a lot of people. He said that 4 out of 10 had mental instability.

It was cool to see older people having fun doing simple things like flying kites.

They could understand my Arabic, but I could not understand a lot of their Arabic.

I felt more like a tourist at Zaatari than anywhere else in Jordan. I heard stories about the wedding shop store. I felt like a tourist looking at all the sights there.

The street food was inexpensive and good.

I was taking pictures of a hotel and the police picked me up and he said I couldn’t take pictures of the hotel. I was stuck in the police station for 4 hours while they filled paperwork out. They were talking with me and joking. They said I was a good person. I got a lot of 2nd hand smoke in their station. The room where they do the fingerprinting had dirty walls. The whole wall was black. It looked like a haunted house.

When I left Jordan, I flew into Massachusetts, where they asked me a bunch of questions. They took me to a special area where they went through all my stuff and took my phone. They interrogated me long enough that I missed my next flight.

Angelina Jolie, an actress, visited Zaatari refugee camp. Here are some links on you-tube about her story if you want to see videos of the camp. She visited the camp on September 11th, 2012. Since then the camp is larger, more organized and developed.

Angelina Jolie Meets Syria’s Lost Children:

Angelina Jolie visits Syrian refugee camp

Angelina Jolie: Syrian Refugees – Za’Atri Camp,Jordan

Here are some other links about the Zaatari refugee camp:



Life in Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan’s fourth biggest city

Behind the fences of Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp

Inside the largest Syrian refugee camp

Tweets on Zaatari refugee camp


Information on the film, Salam neighbor

Salam neighbor, a film about a Syrian refugee camp on Netflix

Father and girl.
Father and girl.






Kids of Zaatari

Category: travel | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 31 2016

A Walk on the Beach

Today was a beautiful day at the beach! I enjoyed the cool breeze, warm sun, invigorating fresh air and a REAL sound machine for my tinnitus.

As I walked the shore-line, I asked God that I might find a special rock. Shortly after, I looked down and there was an amazing rock full of barnacles stuck in the sand. I dug it out before the tide came out again. It was a little larger than a softball, heavy and sharp. I didn’t want to put it down because I might forget where I put it, or someone else would find it, so I carried it the whole way. I walked about 1 ½ hours finding many small agates and other rocks for my collection.

The best way to tell about my experience is to show it in pictures.(Click on the photo for full-frame.)