Saturday Sursee :: May Graduations and Seeing that Nest Empty

empty nest thoughts for pinterest


Are you there?  Are you about to enter the Empty Nest?  Are you looking at your son or daughter as they graduate and realizing this is it?  Maybe you are Wondering, What Next?

I was thinking about this today as I thought of friends who are entering this next stage of life- we all enter it, right? May is the month. Differing levels of our nest being rustled and blown and changed.

Baby sleeping through the night and crawling to freedom.  Toddler climbing up and over and under.  Kiddo running through elementary school.  Tween Getting Through middle school.  Almost adult rounding the last corner of the track that is high school.  And then bam.  You are done.  The nest is empty.

We really can’t prepare so much.  But we can trust that He who is faithful will meet us and walk the path with us.  

I wrote some thoughts about the path through and in the Empty Nest.    Wondered if you needed to be reminded that He is able and more than sufficient for all of our needs.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. II Corinthians 12:9

I need to say that outloud.  I need you to say it outloud to me.  We need each other, for sure.  If you have a friend who is turning one of life’s corners, might you share this SURSEE with them?

On this Saturday, remember that His grace is sufficient for whatever nest you find yourself in today. xoxo

Sursees Galore :: Smoked Paprika, Alstroemeria and Snow Days

There are a few things around here that I have been digging.  I few things I wondered if you knew about or would want to know.  I often think you gals already know about x or y but was reminded this week that sometimes, Sursee Gal just needs to share her Sursees and let the chips fall.  Some of you need to hear and learn and some need to be reminded about what they already knew.  None of this stuff today is particularly earth shaking, but it is fun and will bring a smile.  Two jobs of Sursees.

So first off, I love this spice.

Smoked Paprika Sursee

Smoked Paprika.  It is Paprika with Punch.  It has a smokey scent to it that makes everything taste like you spent hours smokin’ your dish in a big ‘ol metal cooker.  It is best used in small amounts.  I use it when the recipe calls for plain Paprika.  It is also good as part of a rub mixture for your meat.  Or use it to season your pork when you make Pulled Pork tacos.  It adds a yummy depth to whatever you got cooking.  I found this one at Target.


Next Sursee– Alstroemeria- the Flower of all Flowers.

Alstroemeria Sursee

I love this flower.  I just buy it at the grocery store.  The first time I ever heard about it was when I was picking out flowers from this hipster florist I used when I got married.  She just brought out buckets and buckets of flowers and let me pick and build my wedding bouquet.  I used these and other flowers and I have always loved them since.  The best thing about these is they last forever. And  I mean 4 Evah! Which is great because then you have a Sursee that brightens your counter or bathroom for more than a week.  They also come in so many gorgeous shades. There is no really strong perfume smell with these which is nice.  Get some today, gal.

Last Sursee is a Snow Day.

We have had several of those these past two weeks and they are like little magical gifts.

Snow Day Sursee


They look beautiful.  You get to slow down and savor the morning.  Your sweetie gets to stay home.  When we had kids at home, they got to stay home.  I get a fire.  And cocoa and marshmallows.  And soup.  And a fun little day of staying in that I wasn’t planning. A day with possibilities.  Almost like an extra day in the month.  A day for adventures or movies or book reading.  AHHHH, I love ’em.

Snow Days are the ultimate Sursee because you have absolutely no control over when it comes, if ever.  A magical surprise when you  wake up and see the yard blanketed in white frosting.  I love the gift of a snow day.

What is your favorite new spice?  Or flower that you splurge and buy for yourself?  Or  the best way to celebrate a snow day?  Do tell.

Missionary Care :: Sursee Gal Goes Abroad

welcome sign

Craig and I recently were sent on a Missionary Care trip.  What is that you might ask?   Well, we were sent by our church to go visit two different missionary couples that our church supports.  We spent time with them listening and encouraging. We saw where they worked and lived.  We ate with them. Prayed with them.  Were loved on by them, too!   We were so blessed by the trip and learned mucho about loving on people.

But let me back up.  Before I left, I tried to make contact with the gals and find out a little bit more about them.  Things like what is your favorite candy or music? What is going on in your world and shared a little about my world.  We traded stories and photos of our families and made the first connections.

Packing up for the trip included purchasing some special Sursees to stuff in my suitcase for my new friends.  That was a fun assignment…picking  Sursees that were packable and that would also be an encouragement to the gals and the guys.  Remember, a Sursee is  an unexpected surprise that brings joy. Usually something little.  Perfect for packing on an overseas trip.

Pecans made the list for one couple.  I took several bags of nuttiness. Yum-oh.

A special dark chocolate candy bar.  My favorite pen.  A journal. A lego set for a little guy. Fun! Easy. Little things to brighten their day.

I also packed an Ann Voskamp devotional book for each of the gals.   A friend had given me this book for Christmas last year and I have so enjoyed it.  The chapters are  numbered 1-31 and it is just the right amount of reading for a devotional.  This book is basically Ann’s One Thousand Gifts book broken into bite sized chunks.  The book also has numbered lines in the back, a handy dandy place to add your daily thankfuls.  I wasn’t sure if the gals knew about the book but figured it would be a blessing either way.

I arrived at my new friend’s home with Sursees galore and we had fun each day as I handed out the little surprises.  The second gal was also intrigued with the ideas of Sursees and by the end, both were giving me a little Sursee  or two to take home.

International Sursees

Sursees go International!  Woo-hoo! For me the Sursees served as a way to connect.  And everyone wants to feel connected and none more so than those far, far away from home.

I learned that taking care of missionaries is about connections and relationship.

Taking care of missionaries is about listening and listening and then listening some more.  And then, not trying to fix.  I really asked the Lord to help me with this one and found myself growing in this area.  Was I perfect?  Not so much, but gals we are looking for progress not perfection.

So friend, here is the Sursee for today. Let’s all do some missionary care.  You don’t have to travel halfway across the world like I did.  I am sure you have a missionary in your church that you know.  If not, could you make a connection this year with a missionary from your church?

Once you have the initial connection with the gal,  then start connecting.

We can stay connected  through letters, emails, phone calls, texts, Skype. I learned that there is a free App called, WhatsApp that allows you to text internationally for free over wifi! Woo-hoo.

Maybe if we each reached out to the missionaries that God has placed in our path, we would reach them all.  Kind of like the starfish story where the daddy and child walking along the beach and see all the starfish that are washed up on the shore.  The starfish need to be in the water to live but there are so many- it seems impossible to the child to make a difference.  The daddy starts to throw one starfish back into the gentle waves.  Then another. He tells the child, hey, I can’t save all these starfish, but I can toss one at at time and make a difference.

Serving in a foreign country, being far from extended family, living in different culture are all hard.  Connections to home feed the soul and are life giving  Can you be the connection? The one here who prays and writes and checks in?    Let’s be the kindred spirit who cares to stay connected. Let’s encourage one another to reach out and make a new friend who is being sent out as a missionary and then keep up with them over the miles.

Do tell how you are doing that in the comments below.  We all need to hear the stories and see the Sursees you are seeing.


Funky Flowers in Bandung

These plants were in the house in an atrium area. Amazing.



Tips for Saving Money :: Make the Call


call your service providers

Hey y’all.  I have to tell you my exciting news about the money I saved yesterday.  Now if you are under 35,  you will not be impressed with this first tip.  So bear with me.

Tip #1. I cancelled our home phone yesterday.  EEEP!  I was a little nervous, polled loads of people and finally did it.  And it feels good.  We are now saving around $40.00 bucks a month. Yes!  I know that you are laughing at me if you are under 35 as you have not had a land phone for years, but it was a little sad for me to think of not having a phone.  What if someone can’t find me?  What if someone else gets my phone number and uses it for their Tom Thumb card?  What if there is an emergency and I need it??   So many things are tied to that phone number- reward cards, pharmacy account, library card, doctors call back numbers,etc.  I guess it will take a little time to ferret all that out, but others counseled me that we will be fine and can still use that number for our reward programs.  Shwoo!

One thing I do know is that I will not miss the robo calls, the political calls, the calls looking for LaShondra Johnson.  We have been stalked for years with those .  Will not miss.  I realized that no one I knew was really calling me on the home phone. Now, it is gone!  Are you needing to do that?

Second tip.  Ask if there is a better deal that your phone company can offer you for your mobile plan.  I saved some bucks there, too, and received more data for less money. Hello?  Why didn’t I know about this deal?  Well, it seems like you have to call and ask about this deal.    I am thinking you can get a better deal.  I read an article a  few years back about calling all your service providers and asking for a better deal.  That year I saved money on my newspaper, gas, and phone bills.  Who knew?  The Sursee here is you’ll never know, unless you call, and they know you probably are not going to call.

But now, you know, and you are going to call.  And you will probably get a really nice young man on the phone who will be very patient with you as he explains about the gigabytes and minutes and rollovers and blah,blah that make your eyes glaze over.

Tip #3.  I also got a better deal on my cable service- just by asking if there was a better deal.  And there was! We are saving money, plus receiving faster speed for our internet.  Again, you have to call and ask if there is a better deal.  I guess they know that we are not going to do that, and so the deal goes undone.  But not you. You are going to make the call and save some dough.

A few months ago when I called the newspaper it took around three times of me asking, “Is that the best deal you can give me?” before I landed the best price.  Gold Star for me!  I kind of felt like I was on Let’s make a Deal or  The Price is Right.  We all love game shows, right?

So the Sursee for today is for you to make a few phone calls.  Get some deals.  And save some moolah!  What a Deal!  Would love to hear what deals you get in the comments below.


Sursee Saturday :: A Great Red Lipstick

a great red lipstick


I am always inspired by those little beauty articles that tell me what shoes to wear with skinny jeans or what  face powder, eye shadow or nail polish is awesome!  I like when someone else does the work. Today the inspiration is all about Red Lipstick.

A little back story.  I always think that the models who don red lipstick look so glam- but I am fearful of trying it. I also felt like finding a Red Lipstick was a rite of passage- a grown-up dealie.  But how to find one?

Sursee Gal did the work for you. I scoured the shelf at Target for about a minute and found you don’t have to spend a ton for this fun Sursee.  This here lipstick is a tiny investment that packs a big wallop.

I wanted to find the perfect red lipstick and really just accidentally found this one. I think I scored.  A beautiful red that looks fallish and rich. A Sursee for the lips.  If it is too dark, you could tone it down by blotting some off and adding lipgloss on top.  I have been having such fun wearing it and feeling so grown up!

 The details: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick/ 740 / Certainly Red

I found mine at Target.  Natch.

What are your thoughts about RED lipstick?  Is it for you or not?  Do tell.

Happy Sursee Saturday!


What’s Up and What I Am In To Right Now

Hey there,

Just a note to say life has been busy.  You, too?

Reminds me of the Mary Englebreit quote:

.  Life is just so daily

But I want more.  Not just the daily.  I want more of Him, not more of busy.

The other morning I was starting my day and was feeling a little overwhelmed.   A little discontent.  Not feeling it.  This gospel.  The trusting.  The good news.  Giving Thanks.

Then I ran across this quote:

We give thanks to God not because of how we feel but because of who He is.

Ann Voskamp

Yes. Now that is a quote to sink your teeth into and live!  I want to thank Him for who He is.   Not how I feel. Yeah, baby.

This is what I want my mind to rumble tumble around on.  Who He is.   Not the daily-ness of life.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,

Psalm 92:1-2

How about you?

Talk soon,

PS  Oh, before I go, here are a few Sursees I have found in the past two weeks.  These are what have been holding me captive and keeping me from writing. Ha!

“The Lego Movie”

This is super fun.  Whether your kids are big or small, it is fun!  Made me laugh out loud a few times.  Loved the humor and the song- “Everything is Awesome.”  It is super fun to see Lego sets that our kids had- brought back tons of memories. A very clever movie.  Rent it or watch on Amazon Prime tonight!  A fun movie you can watch with your kids or not.

These browniesOutrageous Brownies

WOW! are these good.  Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies.  Some gal pals and I are having a big wedding shower soon and I was experimenting with a dessert for the party. Something that would be easy to prepare and feed a bunch.  These are the IT dessert for me! Chocolatey.  Rich.  A small bite is enough for happiness which is good news for my waist!  Make them for your next get together.  You will be glad you did.

Clean out your garage

We did this over the Labor Day weekend.  Not really what I wanted to do, but we did, and I love it!  I can get my car in there now and we donated a bunch of stuff. Feels good to get rid, pare down and clean out.  Walk, don’t run and do this!  Very freeing.

Watch the movie, “That Thing You Do”

Watched this with the youngest guy before he went back to college. A great movie.  Great music.  Makes you want to be in a band.  Real Bad. This movie doesn’t get old, and I get teary-eyed every time when the kids hear their song on the radio for the first time, “You, doin’ that thing you, Do!”

Talk soon,

Sursee Gal

Mentoring Matters :: A Reminder to Moms Taking Kids Off to College

mentoring,school starting

Hey Moms out there,

I know that it is back to school time which means some of you are sending your babies off to Kindergarten.  Middle school.  High school.  It always a little bittersweet isn’t it?

Some of you are even taking your kids off to college.  Yikes!  Time flies.  The days are long but the years are short.

I wanted to encourage you with a post I wrote awhile back about taking my kids off to college.  This is a hard thing, Moms.  Give yourself some grace.  Be your own best friend.  Know that you will get through it and that you are not alone.    Read more here for some encouragement when you send your baby off to school.

The Sursee for today is to send this on to another mom who needs to hear and be encouraged.



Declare Conference Here I come

I am going to a writing conference  next week called Declare and in order to get to know the others attending we were asked to answer these four questions.  I thought you guys might enjoy reading a little more about me, too.  Of course, I didn’t mention my love for the Lord, my fantastic sweetheart or my awesome guys here- you can read about them here.

Below you can find out my 4×4’s- things that are above and beyond those basics about Sursee Gal.

I would love to hear more about you, dear reader, if you want to answer any of these questions in the comments that would be a super Sursee for me!

Declare peeps, can’t wait to meet you soon.  So many great speakers and stuff going on- will be such fun.  Yay!


4 Things About Me

*I recharge in the mountains and am always enchanted with the rain clouds far off in the distance.  Never tire of watching the beauty God created in a thunderhead’s hazy curtain of water falling from heaven to the earth.Rain clouds

*I need chocolate covered almonds.  Has to be dark chocolate though.  Better brain food for sure.  Enjoying some even now whilst I write this.

*I dig mentoring.  And connecting people.  This counts as one thing.

*I love music.  Any kind.  Especially live performances.  I always cry at the beginning of a live production or concert and am giddy to be there.  Would love to be in a musical theater production again.

4 of My Endearing Quirks

*I love, love, love Big Tex at the Great State Fair of Texas and wept when he was destroyed recently.  I have loved him ever since I was a little girl and have to greet him when I first enter the fairgrounds every October. I try to pass on this love to all I know.

*Watching cooking shows makes me happy.  I like seeing the process begun and finished in 30 minutes in their magical kitchens, and I talk back to Ina, Giada and Ree like they are my friends.  Wait, are they not?

*I have a collection of small chairs hanging on my wall. Love them.

Sursee Gal Chair Collection

*I love the word ”gal” and will probably call you that when I get to know you.  I’m thinking that if you hear someone call you gal they know me. 

4 Things About My Blog and Writing

* I Love writing snail mail letters and receiving them in my own mail box.  There is just something warm and cozy about receiving a real letter in this day of digital.

* I started a “blog” that I sent through the mail back when my kids were little.   My two friends and I would write down on paper our thoughts and musings on life, attach recipes and fun things we were doing with our kids and then stuff it all in a brown envelope and mail it to the next gal.  Then she would write on it including her thoughts and ideas and mail it.  It was a great way to stay in touch and I consider it prehistoric blogging.

* I enjoy writing for gals my age and the ones coming behind.  I feel like I can mentor and encourage through my blog and that makes me happy.

* I love collaborating, having others to do things with me and am trying to figure out what that looks like in my bloggy world.  I think it would help keep me accountable and write more which is a good thing.

4 of My Favorite Things

* Gathering people together at my home, at the pool, for a creative day or on an adventure.  I like to plan things.

* Celebrating.  Anything.  Especially with food involved.  Good food, of course.  Often includes dancing.

* A good book to read.  So good that you parcel it out and read slowly so it won’t end too quickly.

Sursees.  Giving and receiving.  Love both kinds.

So that is my 4 x 4- would love to hear yours in the comments…xoxo




Take Before Photos of the Quirky

In life we tend to just take the after photos.  Rushing to get to the end, we miss documenting where we began.

Recently we had our handyman come and install a light for our closet.  We did have a light: a rickety old pull chain hanging down from a bare light bulb.  Like you might see in a prison.  Or an interrogation room.  Like what you see in the drug lord’s abandoned house where nothing good is going down and Jack Bauer from 24 is about to rush in guns blazing.  Yep, that is my closet!

Twenty three years we entered the closet, arm held high and yanked that chain to let there be light.  Sometimes the chain would get gunked up  in the workings and Craig would have to be Mr HandyHubby and get a new  light bulb fixture-base thingey and our closet was lit again.

This week though we had had enough. On my list of Empty Nest redos was a dolled up closet like I had been seeing on Pinterest. So much coolness out there.  Wallpaper in beautiful botanical. Shelves for handbags.  A mirror above velvet lined drawers for accessories.  A new glam light fixture- and oh wait, with a pull chain? No.   I didn’t see any pull chains out there in Pinterest World.
So we decided to fork over the bucks  and have a light switch installed with our new light fixture.  Man is it awesome!  It is the simple things, people.

Light switches and the quirky


I can’t believe how great it is to turn on a light with a light switch and not grab for a swinging pull chain. WOW! It is also funny how simple it really was to do.  And we waited 23 years to do it. Hello!  Why do we build up things in our minds and not do them?  I know I have more examples of this, just can’t think of them.  Progress is the word, people.  An action step.
It usually doesn’t take as long or cost as much as you think it will.  I have had material draping a bench for months before I  stapled it on for a new look.  Didn’t take long at all.  I have had pillows languishing in the closet that needed a cover and this week, I sewed up some envelope covers for them for the front porch chairs.  Didn’t take too long, and I used fabric that I had been saving for just the right project years.  I get a gold star for that project.

But back to the awesome closet light and switch.  I want to show you the before pic, but I don’t have one. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of that.  But why would I?  It is just one of those things in our house that was kind of quirky and we just dealt with it.  But oh how I wish I had the pic.

Like the pic I have of Kevin’s gash on his leg from his ski trip accident that won us a ride in the ambulance.  (No pic of the ambulance ride- I was too embarrassed to take one, but now  I WISH I had that!)

I have  photos of  a tree that we planted, and now I look out and see a massive trunk!

I have photos of Lego creations built.

Huge Backpacks that were carried.

Beards that were grown.

All the renovations and progress during the growing up of boys to men. Thankful for these memories.

What before pics do you need to document?  Go take one today.

The SURSEE is the BEFORE  photo.  An unexpected surprise that accepts the quirky!

Pull chains and the quirky

Here is a photo of the hall closet Pull Chain Magic!




What I am thinking about today :: Mentoring Moment

Sunset over the Sea of Galilee

I am thinking about this verse today.

The wise woman builds her house,

but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Proverbs 14:1

Can you rest today and think about it, too?

Photo is a sunset on the Sea of Galilee.