A Few Sips of Wine

Meanwhile back at the ranch. It’s early evening. Sparkling sun rays beam through the whispering oaks, beckoning us to sit amongst them on the deck.

There, engulfed in nature’s green vibrancy, we relax with a small glass of juicy wine, gleaming deep red in the stemless glasses. Not a full glass, not even half full—just a few flavorful sips to awaken the taste buds.

So grateful for simple pleasures in life. Time to just be. Meaningful moments with my love. Small chunks of quiet togetherness carved from the distractions of a noisy world. Stillness. Sounds of nature. Serenity. A heart full of gratitude and a soul that sings. 🎶🎶

A few sips in my glass, yet my cup overflows. Find joy in the moments. What simple pleasures fill your cup?


Simply Content

See here’s the thing! You may attain a certain stage of life where you are simply content. You are comfortable in your own skin, at peace with who you are, and proud of how far you’ve come. You are satisfied with all you’ve accomplished in life to this point. You are happy with your choices. You’re calm, clear and confident in the reasoning that prompted those decisions.

You feel content and serene. 

You realigned priorities in your life. You’ve acquired a deeper understanding of your reason for being. You no longer dance the steps forced on you by parents, well-meaning friends, or by that annoying inner voice—your guilt-producing conscience. You feel no need to please and appease everyone. You understand that some people will like you and some won’t and you’re okay either way. You’ve learned that showing love and kindness to others does not include sacrificing yourself. You cherish grace and you exemplify graciousness. 

You’ve tamed your wild A-type personality and curtailed the frenetic struggle of striving for one lofty goal after another. Any deadlines set by others, or time frames created by you to increase performance, are not as motivating as they once were. You still push some self-imposed boundaries, but you acknowledge there are limits and limitations to consider. You factor those into the equation. Success and recognition are not flagged urgent, nor are they found in the immediate attention file. After all, you’ve been there and done that in the past. Nowadays, you beat your drum to a tune and rhythm designed uniquely for you, and by you! 

Don’t misunderstand my meaning. It’s not a stage where you throw in the towel, or where you have no dreams, goals or hope for the future. Far from it. It’s more about knowing precisely where you’ve been, what you’ve contributed, how you’ve lived your life, and who you’ve become in the process. It’s a smarter you with a powerful impact, embracing a new stage in your journey. You’re steeped in wisdom from your past experiences. A stronger and more confident you from years of lessons learned. You are guided by present circumstances, but you focus on a clear vision and plan for your future.

Am I making sense? Who catches my drift?  

Notice I didn’t tie this stage to a particular age because we are all uniquely different. Some people arrive here earlier than others regardless of the years they’ve lived. Perhaps some people will skip this stage, or have no desire to embrace its pleasures and advantages, but I’m grateful to have attained this satisfying and more serene stage of life as I carry on, doing what I do, and being who I am.

It’s a beautiful and fulfilling place to be. Life is more balanced. You know who you are and whose you are. You feel God is leading you. You hear His voice directing your steps. Isn’t it wonderful that passion burns as brightly in this stage of life as at any other time. Contentment is the prevailing wind in your sail. You truly love life. Gratitude is an ever-present source of happiness. Peace reigns in your heart.

Your soul sings for joy. 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. —Philippians 4:11-13 

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Higgledy-Piggledy Thoughts and Words!

I know this sounds strange but this actually is a very profound statement. It’s so true of me.

Let me ask you a question. Do you ever have a rush of thoughts that flit around your mind like a flurry of snowflakes whirling in the wind on a wintry day? Such flashes of elusive thoughts are hard to capture in your head, so I find it helpful to write them down and organize into some form of meaningful expression.

As a writer, I do it all the time! I call it creative writing!! I convert higgledy-piggledy thoughts from my head into written words to make more sense of them. Then, after reading those words, I can clarify precisely what I was thinking. Make sense?

Try it sometime!!

A Dream Within a Dream

Tony Shipperlee 2008, at the Fleet Air Arm Museum beside a Supermarine Walrus.

Perhaps the only thing more rewarding than fulfilling your own dream is to bring the dreams of another to fruition. A generational dream—or a dream within a dream.

Several years ago, I read Chase the Lion, an inspirational book by Mark Batterson, where he introduces the concept of generational dreams. His words are compelling. The concept he shares lodged deep-down in my memory bank, and only surfaced when a set of circumstances aligned, reminding me of his words and bringing them to life.

It always amazes me how orderly life is. Even amidst the chaos, time and sequence of events are relevant. Let me put it another way—God’s plans and his timing are always perfect. We may be perplexed. He is not.

Over a period of years, my father, who rarely spoke of WWII, wrote stories about his wartime experiences, and mailed them to me, one by one. On receipt, I filed them in a folder, some I read immediately, some I set aside to read later, others I quickly glanced over and filed away for future scrutiny.

As the years passed, and Dad retired from teaching, he added one or two more rather compelling stories, typed out on his old typewriter but, in his later years, his focus was on his art, and caring for my mother who was struggling with dementia. He sometimes mentioned writing a book about his WWII experiences, and I encouraged him to do it. I even volunteered to help type the stories into a Word document. He already had a couple of friends who were publishers, both urging him to publish but I think when his dream became strong enough to motivate him, his mental and physical energy was insufficient to tackle the task. After my mother passed, his friends continued to encourage him to write his memoirs, but he would just smile and say,

“My daughter and grandchildren have the stories, they can do it!”

As I was in the throes of writing my own book, the thought of tackling my father’s manuscripts was overwhelming and intimidating! Sadly, Dad died in Jan 2018 but at his memorial service the subject of his memoirs arose. I was urged by many in attendance to publish his memoirs. Once again, I was confronted with a challenge. Time and inclination were lacking as I was deep into my own manuscript, which finally published in 2019.

My conscience would nudge me at times filling me with a sense of regret that I hadn’t been more receptive to the idea of publishing Dad’s memoirs while he was living, but the timing was not right. My heart was not in it, life was happening all around me, the Pandemic kicked in, we purchased the ranch and renovated the house. I was somewhat weary and worn. I knew I was not up to publishing any book, let alone my father’s.

Suddenly it happened! I found myself assembling Dad’s manuscripts, digging through old letters, and setting aside documents from Dad’s enormous WWII folders. Excitement stirred in me as I mused on how wonderful it would be to tie up all the loose ends. It was a huge challenge but the truth is we don’t grow if we’re not challenged. We must leave our comfort zones.

I decided to complete the first daft by Father’s Day 2022. I would compile Dad’s stories into a Memoir Book, and I would write expansion chapters before each of his stories to add clarity and interesting insight into the man he was.  As I dived deep into his writings, and the research documents necessary to add credence to the expansion chapters, I realized that publishing his memoirs was most certainly more important to him than he had portrayed to our family.

That’s when the concept of a dream within a dream surfaced—at just the right time. In God’s timing. Dad’s dream would become my dream, and the desire to fulfil it propelled me into action to complete the task at hand. He was not destined to publish them in his lifetime, but I would.

Planes, Trains, and War Games, A Fleet Air Arm Pilot’s WWII Memoirs, will be released the first week in August. Meanwhile, I rejoice that it is done. I am overjoyed to have had the honor and privilege to fulfill my father’s dream—truly a generational dream because this book became a Tripp Family project. Three generations have contributed to the fruition of Dad’s dream. Dad wrote the source material, I wrote the expansion chapters, son Stephen and daughter Chandra typed thousands of words into MSWord documents from their grandfather’s typed manuscripts, while son David edited the final draft. Our son-in-law Dany translated a passage of Greek into English that accompanied Dad’s picture in a Greek book about WWII, and Chuck put up with all my shenanigans along the way. Lol!

I self published with Amazon Pro Publishers who assisted with the cover and formatted the book for publishing.

As a side note, I can confidently add that I never would have been able or fully equipped to publish this book while Dad was alive, at least not as it currently exists. In my heart I believe he’s proud of the accomplishment and cheering that his stories are in print for the world to read. My mother will surely rejoice that some of his beautiful paintings made the book cover and are included inside the memorabilia chapter. She always dreamed that his artwork would be widely seen, as she would often say,

“Tony, these paintings are too beautiful to be hidden away! They need to be seen.”

What I do regret is that my dad is no longer here. As I researched and read letters and documents from long ago, many questions surfaced—ones that remain unanswered. However, the reality of life is ever that way. We will always have unanswered questions. Therefore, I am at peace, knowing that all will be revealed in God’s timing, whether it be here or in the hereafter.

Meanwhile, if you choose to read the book check back here and stay tuned to my FB/IG pages. I will announce the release date and where to purchase as soon as the date is firm.

Our dreams predate us.
They were born long before we were.
Our dreams postdate us.
They make a difference long after we are gone.     
Mark Batterson

Photo Credits: David Tripp who captured the photograph during a tour of the museum, led by his grandfather, Tony Shipperlee, at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, UK.

Cotton Candy Skies

We sit outside at dusk by the spreading oak tree. On the deck, beneath its canopy of gnarled boughs, we savor quiet moments to unwind after a busy day at the ranch.

Rustling leaves seem to sing in concert with whispers from the oak’s branches, as they sway softly in the evening air, lulling us into a sense of calm.

Across the meadows, long shadows announce the sun is quickly sinking below the horizon, in readiness to rise and shine in another hemisphere. A soaring hawk, silhouetted against the pale pink hues of a cotton candy sunset, swoops by before retiring for the night. The scene is breathtaking. I am grateful for the beauty of nature, and the constancy of a loving God.

It’s a good time to reflect on life. I recall my mother’s words. “Be grateful for today Anthea, as tomorrow is not promised!” True words indeed. One day, all is well. The next day all of hell is unleashed. A gripping sense of melancholy creeps in as I reflect on so much suffering across the globe. Dear Lord, please wrap your arms around those souls yearning for peace.

I hope all is well with your soul today. ❤️

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name —Psalm 103:1

What Calms Your Soul?

I snapped this scene with a screen shot from my iPhone. It’s the view of our sunny deck at the ranch, as revealed by my security camera app. A sense of calm rushes through me at the serene sight. Though not physically there, the image helps me recapture the sense of peace I feel whenever I am at Whispering Oaks Ridge. There, nestled away in the countryside, surrounded by nature’s beauty, my soul rests. I find solace. An unspoken assurance conveys a clear message that all will be well. Continue reading →

Light in the Darkness

Happy beautiful Sunday!

In times such as these, darkness has a way of creeping into the world—black shadows that encircle our lives, flooding our souls with foreboding.

I shot this photo at the ranch a while back, while star gazing on a cold night. As I marveled at the strange cloud formation, in the frostiness of the eleventh hour, an eerie chill swept through me, and I shivered.

Then, quite suddenly, as I moved toward the warmth of our cozy house, bright moonbeams broke through the mottled dark clouds, bathing the sky in brilliant light, reminding me that clouds do have silver linings. Continue reading →

Through the gloom, a ray of sun

I awaken this morning at dusk to a steel-grey sky that shrieks of icy coldness. It’s dull and dreary, and as I approach the back door, the frigid temperature from outside permeates the glass, wafting me with a blast of cool air. The patio, clothed in a fresh layer of ice, confirms Winter is with us still. I shudder as a deep sense of impending gloom steals over me.

With a steaming hot cup of tea in hand, I settle in to read my daily devotional, but am immediately chilled by the opening sentence. “You will be wounded” says the author, referring to spiritual warfare—not a new concept to me, I’ve faced those attacks in the past. Nevertheless, a clear reminder that evil is an ever-present danger in our world. Continue reading →

Veiled in the Mist

I LOVE beautiful things from bygone days. Weathered things that have withstood the test of time—antique clocks, vintage china, old buildings, ancient trees, and historic places. The mystery encircling them simply enchants me.

I miss my frequent trips to Dorset.

I am especially drawn to old cobblestone streets like this one. Four years ago today I meandered up and down the oh-so-familiar Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. The old cottages, enshrouded in morning mist, stood stark white against the bubbled, brownish cobblestones, wet with dew, and covered in a velvety green moss. The memory lingers to this day. Continue reading →

As Morning Breaks

Good morning! As daylight breaks and brightness fills the lower meadow announcing morning has broken, the waning moon fades into the frostiness of a pale sky. I never tire of the beauty of nature, the contrasts of morning and evening, and the freshness that accompanies each sunrise and sunset, especially those at the ranch. I recall this beautiful passage …….

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.  —Psalm 143:8

We live in troubling times. I pray today your heart is filled with eternal hope.