Still Waters Run Deep

Still Waters

Sometimes this space doesn’t accurately reflect the amount (or variety) of “writing, music, and photography” I actually do. (Or my love for long sentences…) My clipboard, college-ruled notebook paper, and favorite pen are constant companions — not to mention my camera — along with a stash of notebooks dedicated to ideas, to-do lists, poetry, musings, letter-writing, scribbling, and attempts at journaling. (My piano is also mere steps away.) Not so coincidentally, the aforementioned notebooks are color-coordinated and/or have hand-picked covers to match my wordy moods… writers are entitled to their quirks.

Currently I’m editing an amazing cookbook (more on that in a future post); last week I jammed with my fiddle-playin’ buddy, Joe, twice (we’re also playing for a cancer fund-raiser this weekend); and I was recently humbled and honored to have one of my photos published in an esteemed international literary journal. There’s often more going on in my life than meets the eye — or blog — and I apologize for my frequent lapses.

One of my ongoing writing projects — my “Dear Friends” letters — began over a decade ago. I was employed as a church secretary and each week I’d mail copies of Sunday’s sermon to ten or twelve elderly ‘shut-ins’ or folks who couldn’t attend church. (I’d also include a handwritten note of encouragement, but a sentence or two quickly became a paragraph or two, and finally a page — or two.)

When my tenure was done, I couldn’t help but keep writing to my Dear Friends (some of them tell me it’s the only letter they receive) and through the years my ‘list’ has grown from the original dozen to over 50 folks around the U.S. — often at the request of loved ones: “Mother so enjoys your letters… would you please keep sending them… and could you send one to my Aunt?”

What began as a simple act of kindness through ‘writing’ evolved into a passion for keeping the art of correspondence alive and well.

I used to write my Dear Friends letters by hand (back when I only wrote 10 or 12), but due to the increased volume I finally had to resort to a computerized version — which turned out to be easier for everybody over age 70 to read — my penmanship is nearly microscopic. Did you know it’s easier for the aging eye to discern Sans Serif fonts than Times New Roman? (I do my research.) That aside, I still insist on addressing every envelope by hand and signing each letter personally… and, I often include a handwritten note of encouragement.

Frequency-wise, my letter writing has slowed down a lil’ since moving to the lake, not counting the ones I regularly pen to my family (gotta have ‘deck time,’ not that I need an excuse!) — it’s just that I don’t have as much to write about as I did during the “trucking years.” What used to be an every-other-week travelogue gradually reduced itself to a life-on-the-lake update once a month — then every other month — and now four or five times a year.

Rather than regale you with further ‘hows’ and whys, here’s a (slightly revised) version of the latest edition:

Canoe 2

“God blesses us with His presence in so many ways, from the tiniest miraculous garden sprout to a sky-full of majestic panorama…”

In between, it’s the ordinary moments that bless us: simple things like food on the table, a roof over our heads, a better-than-usual cup of coffee, and the comforts of home. Day to day ‘ordinary’ gives us a deeper appreciation for the extraordinary.

This past Fourth of July, Russ and I opted to stay ‘home for the holidays.’ (Our usual modus operandi involves packing up the Jeep with a week’s worth of clothing and food, driving 24 hours up & back, and shuttling between our families in southern Minnesota.) This year our plan — or rather God’s plan — was to stay put! After the years we spent over-the-road (a transient ‘home’ at best), it was glorious to wake up in our own bed.

Ironically, we both woke up at 3:30 a.m. — don’t ask me why. But, it wasn’t too far off from our usual 4:30 a.m. start to the day, and the coffee and companionship made up for our lack of sleep. Of course, we were missing our families! Sometimes you have to make ‘the hard decision,’ but we knew in our hearts God meant this one just for ‘us.’

Once the sun got up over the hill, it became apparent that it was an ideal morning for canoeing. Earlier this year we’d acquired an ol’ ancient canoe full of dents and patches (still seaworthy in spite of its forlorn appearance) and this was the first time we’d ever taken it out on the lake together. It didn’t take long for us to resume our mutual cadence — Russ at the stern, me at the bow — slicing our oars through the water as though we’d been canoeing every day, instead of for the first time in almost a decade.

We paddled about two-thirds of the way across the lake, then let a light breeze turn the canoe so it drifted slowly back toward the bluff, and Russ spent the entire time casting and ‘trolling’ (of sorts) while I alternately closed my eyes and basked in the sun or scanned the scenic shoreline. (“Don’t ask me why” #2 — I didn’t get my fishing license this year, so I didn’t have my pole along.) Somehow I suspect we might have fared better fish-wise with two hooks in the water instead of one, yet I was content to observe — and he caught a keeper.

Russ has such a natural grace about him when he’s fishing. The way he holds his fishing rod and the rhythmic way he reels in or ‘jigs’ borders on art! I derived more satisfaction out of watching him ‘at work’ than if I’d been handling a pole myself. (My attempts at fishing usually involve hooking every ‘snag,’ tipping over the tackle box, and spending more time with my hook out of the water than in to replace lost lures…)

After we reached the ‘driftwood trees’ in front of the bluff, we paddled between those massive petrified ‘ghosts of a forest’ from days gone by. Their weathered trunks and branches are much larger than they appear from our deck and I enjoyed getting ‘up close and personal’ with them. They must have hundreds of stories to tell — in fact, they do! Dozens of fishing line remnants dangle from their gnarled, silver-gray grip where anglers have lost their lures. (Made me smile; at least “I’m not the only one.”)

An added bonus was seeing the Great Blue Herons perched on random stumps. Slipping by in the canoe with no motor to startle them, we got close enough to see just how large those majestic birds truly are. Numerous cranes also glided back and forth to wherever a beak-sized breakfast could be found as their white wings blazed in the sun against a backdrop of aquamarine lake and azure sky.

Not quite ready to go in, we paddled westward along the rugged shoreline. The wind picked up a bit (not enough to swamp the canoe) so we paddled to the next bay and back — about an hour ‘by water.’ Just then, a bald eagle suddenly took flight, soaring above the treetops in singular, spectacular glory. Moments like those make your senses come alive… seeing that regal bird leading the way overhead, feeling the steady strokes of our paddles, hearing the rippling water caressing the canoe. It wasn’t just a blessing, it was a hug from God!

Our other senses were blessed, too — following this adventure, I grilled some mighty-good-smelling burgers and topped ’em with tomatoes right out of the garden. (You just can’t beat that ‘fresh tomato taste’ on a sizzling burger!) It was a wonderful holiday for both of us.

Sometimes I think Jeremiah 29:11 has become ‘popular’ because of the “implied” blessings in the NIV translation (no disrespect intended) and our inflated expectations of what they might be. Per the King James version (vs. 11-13), there’s more involved than God simply doling out His goodness and grace. He does intend to bless us, and He will — when we seek Him with all our heart.

I’ve come to believe that God’s greatest blessings are His peace and presence. They turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

Enjoying doing what I do,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Friendship Renewed (Rhapsody In Blue IV)

It’s been awhile since Old Boy and I spent a morning together.

Friendships are like that sometimes, advancing and receding like waves along the shore.

Thankfully, good friends understand and good friendships withstand undulation.

When I heard Old Boy’s familiar aaawwwkkk sounding low across the water, I grabbed my camera and headed for the bluff.

He settled onto a branch and I settled onto a boulder.

We eyed each other tentatively.

Then, as good friends do… we picked up where we left off.

Comfortable in each other’s presence…

Happy to be ourselves.

“Birds of a feather flock together.” ~ Aristotle

Friendship renewed is a sweet thing indeed.

Enjoying the prospect of reconnecting with you in the coming weeks,

~ Kim

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Everything But The Kitchen Sink

Good morning (or afternoon or evening), wherever you are.  Thought I’d start your week with a sunrise from my recent mini-vacation.  Take a moment to enjoy…….

Okay, back to business.  (I know you’re busy — I am, too.)

First, hearty thanks to Mike at The Culinary Lens for “tagging” me.  His website is a treasure — food, photos, travelogues, restaurant reviews, creative get-togethers, you name it!  (Do yourself a favor and click on his links.)  I feel honored to be among Mike’s “tag-ee’s” — thank you, friend!

Let the games begin…  Since I’ve only been blogging a few months, it was difficult to select The Magnificent Seven.  (Or at least that’s the idea behind this venture.)  I’ll cut to the chase.

Note:  For your viewing pleasure (and expediency), I’ve linked the photos to the respective posts, too.  Click away!

Most Beautiful Post.  Last Of The Magnolias (Flowergram III) ~ Fiction, flowers, and a few thoughts about aging gracefully.

Most Popular Post.  Granita ParfaitThe little champagne flute that could.

Most Controversial Post.  Alright.  I’ve posted everything from “Close Encounters” to “Cow Tipping,” so I had to think about this one for a moment.  In the end, it boiled down to “credibility,” which my last post surely jeopardized…  Who in their right mind would admit to eating __________?  (Click the link if you must know.)

In my defense, I’ll answer that question with a question.  Why do folks drool over Red Velvet Cake with more food coloring than my afore-hinted-at choice (not to mention 2 pounds of cream cheese and powdered sugar), or vinaigrette sweetened with sugar or honey liberally drizzled over a perfectly good plate of arugula?  Because sometimes ya just gotta.

Food is supposed to make you smile, yes?

Most Helpful Post.  I submit a recent post, with this summary:  Don’t hurry, be happy. 

Post Whose Success Surprised You.  My very first post, Almost…  (Thank you, friends, for your comments.)  Any post that generates comments is a success to a novice blogger.

The Post That Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved.  A Tribute To Trees.  “The Lightning Tree” is worth the look alone — probably the most dramatic photograph I’ve ever taken.  So far.

The Post You’re Most Proud Of.  Boy howdy, aren’t we proud of all of our posts?  It’s why we blog, right? — to give others a glimpse of our corner of the planet?  Or, at the very least, the inner workings of our __________minds?  (Feel free to insert your own adjectives…)

I’m downright proud of Encouragement: The Ripple Effect (thanks, Isabelle!) — not only for the encouragement, but because you meet some of the nicest folks in that post (tee hee) — and Gumby, too.

Tag, you’re it!

1)  Food Served With Love and Calories

2)  An Italian Cooking In The Midwest

3)  Cooking With Books

4)  Running With The Devil(ed) Eggs

5)  Welcome To Shirley’s Luxury Haven

Go!  Play!!!

NOTE:  Due to the length of this post, highlights from the mini-vacation will be coming soon to a blog near you.  As for the title of this post… please disregard.  I’m including the kitchen sink.

Kim’s Kitchen Sink Biscuits

2 c. flour

4 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. cream of tartar

2 t. sugar

1/2 c. shortening (or butter, chilled and cut into small pieces)

2/3 c. whole milk

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

*4 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled

*1/4 c. green onions, sauteed in bacon drippings (drain on paper towels before adding)

*1/2 c. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Additional butter, melted

Garlic salt

Preheat oven to 425°.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut in shortening (or butter) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Fold in garlic, bacon*, onions* and cheese* and stir gently to coat with flour.  (*Measurements are approximate — it’s a Southern thang — use your judgment.)  Add milk all at once; stir just until moistened.

Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  (I generally check them around 9 minutes; if the bottoms are browning too quickly, move them to the top rack to finish baking.)  Remove biscuits to a cooling rack; brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt to taste.  Serve warm.

Enjoying all things Southern, and tag, too!

~ Kim

Rhapsody In Blue

Herons are never in a hurry.

When Old Boy took up his post on Saturday morning, it was my cue to watch and see how things are done around here.

The buzz of a boat motor diverted his gaze.

Nothing to get flapped about.  Just a lone fisherman on a quest for a lunker.

Clouds passed and so did the time.

But, it wasn’t time wasted.

Somehow I think Old Boy knew that all along.

Enjoying life’s little rhapsodies,

~ Kim

Last Of The Magnolias (Flowergram III)

Oh, she was magnificent.

There were only a few of her kind left, in the unlikely event that you could group her into a category.

Most days, she was singular.  Spectacular.  Or at least she used to be.  But, as the full sunlight and the mirror in front of her illuminated the truth about her fading beauty, she stared.

“Who is this woman?” she wondered.

Gone was the glow of her once-radiant skin — skin that used to outshine the string of heirloom pearls that graced her neck and the teardrop ear-bobs dangling from once-creamy lobes with their subtle luminescence.

The wrinkles startled her.

They were familiar, but today they seemed foreign.  She tugged at the neckline of her dress.

“Chin up,” she reminded herself and involuntarily straightened.  (Mindless adages such as this had once been a daily mantra in the days gone by, when posture and perkiness went hand in hand.)  She didn’t even have to think about it back then…

“I was beautiful once, wasn’t I?” she asked of no one in particular.

The sun was unmerciful in it’s reply.

She knew full well that she could never return to the glory days… days of handsome young men vying for her attention… and nights of even more attention.

Still, she smiled.

“Ah, youth…” she mused out loud, again to no one in particular. “Enjoy it while it lasts.”

The End.

(This little bit of fiction was brought to you by someone who has finally grown comfortable in their skin, wrinkles and all.  It’s a nice place to be.)

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Here are some of the flowers that brightened my world recently.  Enjoy!

Courtesy of Russ’s sister’s flower garden.  (Whatever they’re called.)

Here’s another one… I do know they’re irises.

Beautiful, brilliant lilies.

Another shot for your viewing pleasure.

Don’t have a clue what these are, but they hold such promise.  As do we all.

Untangle that joy!

(In yourself… and in your beauty!)

Finally… one last look at the blossom that inspired this post.

They may be done for the season, but I’m not.

Embracing beauty at every age,

(I hope you do, too!)

~ Kim

A Happy Little Post

Hi!  Just wanted to extend an invitation to a Blog Hop over at basilmomma’s this week.  (Didn’t have a clue what it was, but it sounded fun!)

What I discovered was a spirit of camaraderie and easy access to over 50 blogs!  (No need to spend precious time searching — summer’s short enough.)

Please join me at basilmomma‘s where you’ll find a colorful variety of blogs to pick from!

Enjoying life one blossom (and blog) at a time,

~ Kim

P.S.  Please leave a comment — I’d love to meet you!