Home. It’s Real. We Planted a Tree..

Joy is Free, The Blog, is back!

We have a home of our own now. Planting a tree was on my bucket list for when we put our roots down. We, and when I say we I mean my children and I, decided to plant a desert willow.

I went alone to pick up the tree. On my way, I called my kids to ask what we’d call it. Their response was decisive–Gladys, after Grandma’s dear friend who’s passed on.

Gladys, memorialized by a desert willow, seemed so fitting. The tree has flexible, delicate limbs that dance in the wind. Vibrant pink flowers add to it’s elegance. Yet this tree is not to be confused with something fragile. This tree, like Gladys, is fortitude enveloped in beauty and grace–flourishing on little water. A much-needed shade in the desert, thornless and welcoming, this tree’s fragrance lingers in the air…just like our memories of Gladys.

Grow, little tree, grow. Your name makes you strong and beautiful.


Gas stove, electrical fire

The gas stove ticked while it was off.

The kids ran outside.

They listened.

I turned off the gas.

Small electrical fire grew from a spark.

With the knob turned back to ON, the fire went out.

I went out.

Called 911.

We’re alive.

I ran out when the Fire Capt. turned the knob back to ON.

The kitchen didn’t blow up.

The stove knob caught fire again.

They told me everything is okay.

I laughed at myself for running out afraid while five fire firefighters were in my kitchen.

The house is undamaged.

We’re unharmed.

The stove died.

We ate.

We had no stove, no oven, and no kitchen for six days.

We still ate.

I still had coffee.

While I fussed in my head about not cooking for five nights, I remembered right before I fell asleep that night…

I don’t cook well.

I remembered Grandma.

She told me that after the old farmhouse burnt down when dad was small….

things just didn’t matter to her anymore.

Her kids were alive.

Her husband was alive.

They were unharmed.

The neighbors helped rebuild.

We ate out the morning of the sixth day.

We’re alive.

On the 7th day, we had a new stove.

I cooked well that night.


Peach-faced Lovebirds

We woke to a new sound, birds with a chatter unfamiliar to us, at least in these desert places.

Just birds.

…Yes, but these parrots in the desert left us breathless and took us running from back to front yard to catch

a glimpse of them. One unfamiliar sound at dawn can hold your delight in the moment…