Leah riding the KC Streetcar for the first time

Earlier this summer I rode the Kansas City Streetcar for the first time with our daughter Heather. It was such a blast, and I wanted to do it again and take our daughter Leah, who had never ridden it.

Kansas City Streetcar
Kansas City Streetcar

Although summer is the peak time, especially for the Kansas City Market with its bounty of fresh produce, beautiful flowers, and vendor tables, the streetcar runs all year long. It is also free and so much fun!

When I asked Leah what she thought of the ride, she said in her calm, easy-going, non-emotional, Leah-like way: “It’s a streetcar.” LOL! But she said she liked it. 

Leah riding the KC Streetcar
Leah riding the KC Streetcar

Leah recently had her hair cut in a modified pixie. She said it took her a long time to decide to cut her hair short, but she’s so glad she did. Here’s a better picture of her than the one above. She’s so beautiful!

Beautiful Leah with her pixie cut
Beautiful Leah with her pixie cut

The KC City Market was surprisingly empty, compared to this summer when I went with Heather, although there was some fresh flowers, produce, and the international restaurants (Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese) open.

KC City Market looked bare!
KC City Market looked bare!

These giant daisy flowers were gorgeous and unique at one flower vendor!

Giant daisies
Giant daisies

 

Flower vendor
Flower vendor

 

These tall, colorful giraffes and big zebra at the flower vendor were unique! I asked Leah why anyone would buy these, especially since the smaller giraffe cost $150. She said, “Because it’s artsy.” (She’s an artist.)

Tall giraffe
Tall giraffe

 

Zebra
Zebra

 

A Marine (Navy corpsman) for over 14 years in the military and gifted in spiritual warfare, I thought my husband Ray would like the medieval knight. He’s always been fascinated by this time period in history.

Medieval knight
Medieval knight

The market had some fresh produce, although not nearly what there is the summer time, such as pumpkins, peppers, and strawberries. 

Pumpkins
Pumpkins

 

Peppers
Peppers

 

Strawberries & cilantro
Strawberries & cilantro

An animal lover, Leah enjoyed seeing a variety of dogs at the market. (You do have to keep them on leashes!) We both enjoyed talking with the funny, chatty streetcar security guard named Sierra, which is also the name of a calico cat Leah used to own. Sierra the guard is a single mom of a one year old daughter, and has a fiance’ in prison. She said she told him if this relationship doesn’t work out, she’s finding a new man. 

When Sierra found out where Leah lived, she told her about the Salvation Army store which has a 50 cent sale each Monday. She’s bought her daughter lots of clothes and toys there. She was so surprised to find out that Leah was almost 23 years old, thinking she was still a teen living at home. We laughed at Sierra’s expression of shock, and she reassured Leah that when she gets older she will “look good and much younger.”

Jazz player
Jazz player

 

Couple at cafe table
Couple at cafe table

You can see all walks of life in Kansas City, like this senior citizen woman with heavily-tattooed arms. 

Tattoo lady
Tattoo lady

There’s lots of international restaurants at the City Market and cute coffee cafes, but Leah didn’t want to try them. So we had Mexican for supper, which is a favorite for both of us. (I’m addicted to chips and salsa!)

We usually go to Jose Pepper’s for lunch every couple of weeks for a “mom-daughter” date, but this time we ate at another Mexican place in Raymore, MO.

I’m so glad we did this, as it wasn’t very crowded and it enabled us to talk (without having to shout to each other and we could hear). The salsa was also delicious!

Chips and salsa
Chips and salsa

 

As we ate, Ray texted me that the weather prediction was a severe thunderstorm with winds up to 60 mph and to be careful. He had just worked a rollover car wreck. Thinking of the recent hurricanes (although we don’t have hurricanes in the mid-west, but we do have tornadoes!), I asked our other daughter Heather if I could spend the night, as we were close to her house. I hate driving in storms, but it wasn’t a good time then for me to stay over.

My own daughter didn’t care if I was driving into a tornado? Just kidding. Heather thought I’d be okay if I left then; she wouldn’t really refuse if she thought I was in grave danger!

As I drove the 50 miles to my house, God encouraged me with a “sign” of His protection and promise: not only a rainbow, but a double rainbow, which I’ve never seen before!

It really blessed me. Thankfully, although there was bad lightning, I arrived safely home. It’s a little hard to see the double rainbow in the second picture, but I did get it on camera.

Rainbow
Rainbow

 

Double rainbow
Double rainbow

Then today, Ray went out of town for a dental appointment and brought me home Mexican wedding cookies and milk chocolate from the International Market store. The chocolate is divine!

I’m allowing myself just a couple of the cookies and sending them with him to his work for others to eat!

Mexican wedding cookies & chocolate
Mexican wedding cookies & chocolate

It was so much fun riding the streetcar with my daughter Leah on her day off work.

You can easily explore Kansas City riding it. It has 16 platform tracks and 2 miles of track. There’s plenty of places to park along the way, although in some places you have to pay to park. I don’t advise using the parking meters on the streets if you want to spend a lot of time at the market. (I paid $10 at a parking garage that day.) I used my iPhone’s GPS to get there, as I’m very directionally challenged!

You can find out more information about it here.

What is left on your bucket list this year? Keep adding to it and doing fun things! Leave your comments below.

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When everything around you is falling, and all else fails, eat chips and salsa

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

Today I made a mini-escape from hurts this week and I drove to Harrisonville, Missouri, which is a bigger city north of my tiny, rural town (meaning out in the sticks!) of Butler, and ate Mexican. 

I posted the pic on Instagram and Twitter with the title, “When everything is falling apart around you, and all else fails, eat chips and salsa. I could eat it every single day!” I love them so much, and my husband Ray jokes that when the Mexican waiters see me coming, they hide the salsa because I always ask for two bottles. I add salt to the salsa, because I seem to crave the salt.  Today’s seemed especially satisfying.

Afterward, I went to the Harrisonville Lake and park, where I often took our children when I homeschooled them to play, for picnics, and to walk the nature trail. Today was a beautiful, sunny, spring day. It was peaceful and relaxing.

Harrisonville Lake
Harrisonville Lake

A man was fishing at the lake, and it reminded me of my hard-working husband Ray, who loves to fish and who desperately needs to fish sometimes.

“And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19, AKJV)

Two geese were near the fisherman and I saw numerous geese at the park.

Fisherman and geese
Fisherman and geese

Going to the lake and walking the nature trail was a much needed, healing balm to my soul. God spoke to my heart in many ways while I was there. Some of this I will share about here,  and some I will continue to reflect on and ponder.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the park were the beautiful flowers. Our beautiful daughters Heather and Leah especially love fresh flowers, and I thought of them.

beautiful flowers
beautiful flowers at park entrance
daisies
daisies
fuschia colored flowers
fuschia colored flowers
flower garden
flower garden

As I got out of my car to admire the lake, I noticed an older woman sitting at a bench with a dog on a leash. I wondered about her, and thought I could write about her in a future fiction book. For writers, anything is fodder. My family knows by now that anything they say or do may wind up as content for one of my speaking presentations, books, or blog posts!

woman with dog at park
woman with dog at park

Who was she? Why was she alone at the lake, except with her dog? Had her husband of many years died and she was a lonely widow? Had her children forgotten her or no longer wanted her involved much in her lives any more?

Was she a bitter, sad, depressed person, or was she simply happy and content being alone, being with her dog who was her best friend? (Maybe she was glad her husband was dead as they had a terrible marriage, and that her kids were all grown; it was time for a new chapter and do other things now!)

I watched as a grandpa who was wearing  a jacket with a veterans logo showed his granddaughter the lake and pointed to the geese, and her daddy skipped stones across the lake with her. What a precious memory. After awhile, they started to go to their car and asked the little girl, “Are you ready to go and eat now? Want a hot dog?”

The hot dog remark reminded me of my mother’s eyes lighting up when she saw me and asking me that same question many years ago, when I visited her in my college years. My mom and I weren’t close, so this is a happy memory for me. I don’t eat them much now, but kids love ’em.

The veteran grandpa reminded me of my husband Ray, who is “Papa” to our four precious grandchildren, with one on the way.  I prayed that Ray would be able to do things like this for many years with our grandchildren.

Our kids and grandkids
Our precious 3 daughters and 4 grandkids

Next, I drove over to where the nature trail was. Perfect day for a walk. I noticed the staff had put up something new on the Natural Trail sign: “Watch out for snakes.” That was almost enough to make me turn around, but I put my brave on.  If I hadn’t gone on the trail, I would have missed God’s blessings–the beauty and how He spoke to me personally.

sign about snakes
sign about snakes

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I watched carefully for snakes, because I am terrified of them. However, I did think seeing one (from a very safe distance) might make a good picture for my blog. That didn’t happen, although I did see what I thought might be a “snake track” (a big S on the dirt trail) a couple of times.

I did notice right away in the lake what seemed to be a family of turtles sunbathing on a log.  One was swimming in the water nearby. Two bigger ones were on one side of the log, and seven others were on the other. It reminded me of our family, who has this exact number of people right now–with one grandbaby on the way in November.

turtles
turtles

The nature trail is so beautiful. I felt refreshed, while at the same time my heart was still hurting about some things that happened this week. I know healing is a process and takes time. The good news is that we are all walking on this journey of life, and God will never leave us or forsake us.  He is our healer, including our family’s. 

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

nature trail

I soon came to a fork in the road on the trail. We all have a choice as to how we will live our lives–to follow Jesus and God’s loving, good ways, or not. Which path will you choose today?

The fork spoke loudly to me about how I needed to change some things in my life and choose a different path…as well as others I love. 

fork in the trail
fork in the trail

I felt myself relax as I walked the trail. I intentionally breathed in the fresh air, tried to fully use my senses, and paid attention  all around me to the beauty of God’s creation.

I stopped when I saw two bees drinking nectar from a white flower bush. I wish I knew the name of the flowers; they resembled azaleas in south Georgia, where I grew up.

“One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees…”–Leo Tolstoy

I tried to capture a picture of them, but they were flying too fast. Probably a good thing that I went on, as I”m highly allergic to bees! As a child, I was stung by one on the bare foot, and my foot swelled up twice its size! However, I think bees are cute (when they aren’t stinging!)

bees
bees

This fork on the trail led to a bridge over the lake into a more remote part of the woods. A mom and her daughter were having a picnic in the middle of the bridge! It was so cute.  Another sweet memory. I remembered picnics Ray and I had with each other and our kids.

I didn’t want to interrupt their fun, or make them have to move by crossing the bridge, so I turned around and walked on the other path. When I saw the bridge, I thought again of the fork on the trail and the choices we have in life, and took my pic by it as  a good reminder…also of the eventual, eternal bridge we’ll have to cross one day when we die.

bridge
bridge

Later I saw the mom and the little girl, and chatted a minute with them.

She apologized for being on the bridge having the picnic, blocking my access to it, but I said, “Oh no, you were fine! That looked really fun. They grow up fast,” I said to her, and we looked at her child together, smiling.

The mom said, “Oh, I know! I have a teen now!” she said that her little girl had been a “surprise baby,” and was now 5 years old.  I said I hoped they enjoyed their picnic and to have fun. To my amusement, as I walked off, the little girl said, “I want to go with her!” and started following me. Her mom called her back to look at the turtles again.

This spoke to me about how we are to follow Jesus, and make disciples. 

As I continued on the trail, I looked up hearing birds singing, and the sunlight shone through the tall trees. The canopy of trees, their emerald green leaves dipped in sunlight, made beautiful pictures.

sun through the trees
sun through the trees

 

canopy
canopy

I was disappointed to not see a deer, rabbit, fox or other wildlife, but Harrisonville isn’t a rural town, so the animals are either not there or they hide well. I did see a couple and their child with a dog on the trail, who they said was a service dog in training for the man’s dad who was in the Army and now has PTSD. I stopped a minute to pet the dog, smile at the little girl, and tell them that service dogs are a good thing and I hope he helps his dad.

When I came to the end of the trail, I thought, “At the end of the trail. Now what?” I felt it applied to my current situation, kind of at a loss as to what to do or say.  I would have to turn back around. I also feel it applies to the end of our journey here on earth.

end of trail
end of trail

I looked around and saw a set of steps on a hill. I’d never seen them before.  Curious, I went up the stairs to see what was up there. It was a different lake, or perhaps the same lake, divided by the road. But you couldn’t see it until you went up the stairs. This reminded me of heaven.

The lake where the stairs were
The lake where the stairs were

When I turned around and walked back, this is when I saw the mom and her daughter, who had the picnic on the bridge. A few minutes later, as I went to my car, I saw them crossing the road, hand in hand. The little girl was carrying a walking stick in the other hand. I looked at them, thinking again how quickly time flies and that my children are now grown. 

The mom and the daughter went to the park area, where the little girl got on the slides, and her mom sat on a bench watching her. 

mom & child
mom & child

As I drove home, I noticed a truck in front of me with this sign: “You’re needed.” That was a great note to go home on.

You're needed
You’re needed
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Be salty

Please read this blog at your own risk. DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this blog post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various spiritual and practical topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

salt
salt

My husband Ray loves salt. He puts salt on everything.  No matter what dish I cook, even if I salt it or it has salted ingredients, he adds salt to his food at the dining table. 

He loves pickles, because of the salt: pickles, pickled okra, pickled asparagus. The first thing he does when his paycheck hits the bank is to go to Walmart and buy his pickles to eat. One year as a joke, our daughter Heather and I bought him a pickle Christmas ornament decoration for our tree. We laughed so hard when he opened the present and stared at it.

Ray's pickle Christmas ornament deco
Ray’s pickle Christmas ornament deco

Salt has so many benefits! The following information is from this website’s article: http://empoweredsustenance.com/salt-is-good-for-you/

 It preserves food. It aids blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity. It’s a natural antihistamine.

Your body needs salt to maintain proper stomach ph. Salt lowers adrenaline (stress hormones) spikes.

woman sleeping
woman sleeping

Salt improves sleep quality by suppressing stress hormones and increasing the metabolic rate. (If you’e having trouble sleeping, mix a pinch of salt in a little honey.) 

Adequate salt consumption encourages a healthy weight and a fast metabolism. It leads to an increase in the elimination of cortisol and lower blood cortisol levels. Salt supports thyroid function by reducing circulating stress hormones. It balances hormones.

Slender girl looking in mirror
Slender girl looking in mirror

Most importantly, salt makes food taste good and enjoyable!

Jesus had something good to say about salt in Matthew 5:13-16, NLT:

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one hides a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

I want to be a salty girl, sharing the salt of God’s word with others, benefitting them and bringing good flavor to their lives.

Beth Jones Women's Conference Speaker & Author
Beth Jones
Women’s Conference Speaker & Author

One thing I love and could eat every day of my life is chips and salsa. It’s the wonderful salty flavor in the salsa, especially at my fave Mexican restaurant El Charro in Butler, MO, where I live. They have the very best salsa I’ve ever tried! In fact, I made Ray go get me some today!

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

I love this quote I found online by Michelle Pfeiffer and really relate!

“My favorite food in the world is Mexican food. I’m not a dessert person. I’m more of a crunchy, salty girl. I could live on chips and salsa. I would take a Mexican meal over some fancy French cuisine anytime.”

What about you? Are you salty? Please leave your comments below.

(Medical Disclaimer: If you are experiencing any type of health issue such as hypertension or liver problems, or on prescription medication, please see your doctor before adding more salt to your diet. Please see the medical disclaimer at the top of this blog post.)

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Need a salty girl for your women’s conference or retreat? Contact me here about speaking at your event!

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