Sunday, May 31, 2009

a living dream

Rhondi is having a porch party. I don't often participate in "blog parties" but could not resist this one. Stop by her blog if you love porches, and want to see more!

I grew up with a back porch, and took it for granted. And my entire adult life I have dreamed of having a back porch again. I love to be outside, but bugs love me too much. So a screened porch would be just great, I thought to myself, year after year.

The Gardener had some serious health scares a couple of years ago, reminding us to be grateful for each and every day we have together. Around that time we were given a big gift, enough to build a porch. I'm not one to spend money easily, but knowing that life is short, we put two and two together and decided it was time to enjoy a porch. 
It took a long time to build it, and we found one thing leading to another, as happens with construction, but eventually it was finished. We found the couch and coffee table on Cr*ig's list, the table and chairs at the Salv*tion Army, the wicker chair at Ha*itat for Humanity, and the bench and rocker have been in the family for years. Talented friend Susanna made me the quilted table runner.

And what a wonderful thing it is for us. It's like having a mini vacation every day. Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for our screened porch.  Our friends are drawn to it, we eat out on it, we take naps there, we read there, we sit and talk there ... we love our porch and are forever grateful to the dear friend who gave us such a gift.

Friday, May 29, 2009

i took a vow

Some things just stick with you. I remember the first lecture in nursing school. It was about contamination––a black and white film. Everything carelessly contaminated became red. I still think about it when I work. I also have not forgotten a vow I took years ago at a women's meeting. The fire department did a presentation on infant burns. We saw slide after slide of tiny charred babies--from hands or feet to major portions of their bodies.  Such burns are easily avoided. Most occurred from spilling a hot drink. How many times, while holding a baby, are we tempted to pick up our cup of tea or coffee? We just  never know when a child is going to make a fast move. Do we think we have steady hands when a baby is wiggling? Just a dollop of a coffee spill on a wee one can be a significant percentage of his or her body. 

Not a pleasant subject? It made its impact and I've kept my vow and  haven't held a baby with a hot drink since. If this makes you think twice about sipping your drink while holding a baby, then it's worth my time writing!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ants in our mail

I could tell by the Gardener's voice that something was "off" when I phoned him the other afternoon. Actually he sounded irritated more than anything else.

"There's ants all over the mail," he exclaimed as I could hear shuffling around. "I just brought it in and they are going everywhere. I have to hang up."

It's those little irritating things that come up out of the blue that can really hinder a good outlook, isn't it? So small (especially the size of the ants :-) but so powerful in affecting us. 

Today I found some small flowers ready for picking. It's not all that often that fresh flowers come from our yard. I picked them and sat them next to my kitchen angel, who makes me smile and remember a good friend. It's those little things that come up out of the blue. They grab our focus, either brightening or dimming our day.

And, by the way, our mail now has the scent of bug spray. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

elegant solemnity

It was a hushed, most significant moment in a beautiful old church abounding in stained glass. The signing on as man and wife. Solemn vows gracefully said to the witness of  friends and family. Vows they will cling to when tough times come (and they will, don't we older folks know.) Beloved and familiar words, elegant in simplicity and solemnity. An exchange of rings, a prayer, a kiss, a pronouncement--a new family begins. After photos taken to remember the day, a party begins to celebrate the moment and to celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs.

I watched my friend dance with her first born, the groom. A poignant few moments, mother, head on tall son's shoulder, whispering farewell. No doubt in her heart she was thinking of all that had been poured forth into his life and all that had transpired to bring him to this marvelous moment.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Red is the Color

Red is the color of the poppy flower that I remember sticking on my shirt as a child. I knew it stood for Fla*ders Field in WW I (where many poppy flowers grow) and the soldiers that gave their lives there. Over time Memori*l Day has come to be a time to remember all our fallen soldiers, not just those from WW I.

I was out in the country this past weekend and spotted an elderly lady selling poppy flowers outside a store. I hadn't seen that in a long time. I dropped some money into her box and tucked the bright flower in my shirt button. It brought back childhood memories when Memori*l Day was a bigger deal. But I also bought it to remember something much bigger. I'm remembering in gratitude those that lost their lives defending our freedom.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
                ~Lt. Colonel John McCrae

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Little One and I had a sleep over. Her house. I woke to the sound of a little voice. Sunshine and smiles filled the room. And yes, she is saying her favorite word, "baby" which I possibly heard 10,000 times on my visit with her.

Note: Sorry the little video is not the best quality as I wanted to upload it without taking up a lot of "space." 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pray, Dad, Pray

The shrill sound of a siren caused me to swing over to the edge of the road. I watched the fire truck weave it's way through vehicles scrambling to get out of the way. I found my eyes misting. I wondered what emergency the first responders were headed to. But it was thinking of my niece that really brought the emotion.

My brother got a thing started with his kids. When they are driving and hear a siren, they pray for the emergency. Now their youngest reminds her dad whenever she hears the sound of a siren. They live in an area where they hear sirens fairly often at their house. My SIL tells me that whenever there's the sound of one, they hear a little voice calling from somewhere in the house, "Pray, Dad, pray!" She doesn't let him miss a one. Not one. Today I could hear the echo of her sweet voice calling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ask the world

"Ask the world to reveal its quietude--not the silence of machines when they are still, but the true quiet which birdsongs, trees, bellworts, snails, clouds, storms become what they are, and nothing else. " 
From Sabbaths 2001, by Wendell Berry
A quote sent to me by my good friend B.  After hearing so much about this author, I am finally reading one of his books.  But I must say, I'm so used to associating his name with B, that it sort of startles me to see his name on a book in my house. At the outset, it looks like I'll be enjoying a good read.

Monday, May 18, 2009

only a sister

A round cylinder arrived in the mail the other day. Inside I found this among other things. Only a sister knows so well just what you would like!  Ahh!

Friday, May 15, 2009

wait and see

The Gardener got wind of a way to make a new rosebush from friend Barbarino the other night. He stuck a cutting from her bush in a pot, created a green house or hot house of sorts, and we'll see what develops. Our friend's roses from this procedure are stunning. So, we have a lady in waiting in our garden right now.
This one also waits ... what color will she bloom this year?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


a) Note new hair growth
b) Where'd the doggie go?
c) ?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a simple phrase

Just a simple phrase in our pastor's prayer Sunday burrowed into my heart. "According to His riches." He was speaking about how God can answer our deepest heart prayer ... the one we don't think could have an answer. Another pastor spoke later about practical atheism ... how we say God can do anything, but when it comes to our own seemingly insurmountable burden, we don't really believe He can. Or at least it's hard to keep up at that level of faith without falling into despair on occasion. Lack of faith in an all-powerful God? That's not believing He is who He says He is.  Is. 41:10 paraphrased: "Fear not ... be not dismayed ... I will help you ... I will uphold you."  Powerful words we can believe.  And all because of His riches.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the answer

My first (and only other) boyfriend picked a daisy from a meadow and handed it to me. It was the late sixties and daisies were popular then anyway, but it became my favorite flower. Maybe it's the simplicity of the flower, or the "he loves me, he loves me not" charm of it. So when friend Susannah brought daisies to swim in the centerpiece for our table last Saturday, I was pleased. 

I guess no one knew my favorite flower, or my all-time love of green, for there was no suggestion of #8 as the correct answer. The favored choices, with their simplicity and blue do look like me, I agree. I also thought the 70s era china (daisies again) might give it away. Thanks for the guesses, and for reading my blog.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

which one?


Our DIY day at church Saturday was full of inspiration. It nourished our souls, bellies, imaginations, eyes, and minds. I hope I'll make a better cupcake now, and use my camera more creatively. About ten women hosted tables that they had set with their best china and superb artistry. Mine was a cooperative effort which made it more special to me. But it all was such a feast to the eyes! Can you guess which table setting is mine?


Friday, May 08, 2009

My mom is almost 88. I don't take lightly the blessing it is to still go to her house, feel at "home," and gain from her wisdom. A privilege I realize others do not have. What a treasure she is to all of us, and how I wish I could be half the woman she is. Soft spoken, rarely a complaint, serving us all her life without a murmur. When I think back on her life, she is a prize among women. Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Photo: check out the bobby pin rosebud!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

dish detail

Such beauty and art I see in dishes of all sorts. I could get a new set at least once a month. Half the fun (or more) of getting ready for guests, for me,  is setting the table.  These photos are not all of my table settings, by the way. Four are mine, two are from home tours, two are friends', and one is a spectacular gala I caught sight of  before it began. 

This Saturday women from our church are gathering to take classes on interesting topics (such as cupcake making, photography, running marathons, etc.) and in the middle we'll break for lunch---served on beautiful china. Various women are bringing their china and setting pretty tables for us to enjoy. I am looking forward to seeing them all.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

a word about fb

So the other night I was on FB  ( f  *    c    e     b  o   o  k  ). It was a kind of active night--my cousin wrote something, an old friend did as well; new baby pictures to gaze upon--

I decided to pull up the "online friends" screen. I looked at it and started to process who was on--who I was at that moment connected to--who I "know what they are doing at this moment, because, uh, they are on their computer." Who was I connected so nonchalently with?

Two dear nursing school friends who I could pick up with as if we hadn't been apart--though we haven't seen each other in at least 25 years; my earliest childhood friend (from birth); my niece; my cousin's daughter; two cousins; an old homeschooling friend; two current-day friends; current work colleagues, a friend from our days in Africa; a young man who was in our youth group (well, he's not young anymore); a new missionary friend who just killed a snake in her kitchen in far away Africa; the son of a former boss; an old friend who handed down her baby boy clothes to us; and a college friend who I used to work with in the college kitchen before his draft number came up so low he quit school and joined the navy (I found that out on FB). That's it for the moment, but more names jumped on and off even as I was collecting these. 

Kind of a weird thing. It brings together the past and the present, connections from all aspects of my life. I saw photos of new dogs, new grandbabies, Easter photos, mother-daughter banquets, family photos ...

This is all on a random evening--just 15 minutes of my time. Maybe its just too much connection... too much information.... Probably.  But it is such fun.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Father to Son

Who would have thought a simple book  filled with a letter from a elderly, dying father  to his young son could stir so deeply a conversation as we had the other night at our book club? Maybe it was the make up of who was there, the fact that several canceled so our numbers were smaller. Maybe because we have shared life on and off together for many years.  For whatever reasons, it was what it was.
A leisurely book would be one way to describe the musings and remembrances of this preacher son of a preacher. The book walks us  back and forth throughout his life and that of his father, as he tells his son life lessons that he will not be there to teach him. Interspersed is the great love he has for the boy's mother, the young wife of his later years. Reading of the love of his parents will bring the young man  joy someday.
We talked about the book but somehow veered off on a tangent that brought us to talk about our lives. The pain we feel, the challenges we face, and how we feel like we never get it quite right. We encouraged each other in our faith and in the grace that God gives us so freely.
We talked late in the candlelight, the scent of freshly picked roses serenading us. We knew something special was happening, and we were grateful.
Also, it was Boniface's birthday. A good time to honor our leader, and eat some gourmet cupcakes.  It didn't matter that we all hadn't finished reading the book. We will in time, and then look for the author's other books. This one read like a slow walk in the park. Sometimes it's good to saunter, isn't it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

just a normal day

The other day my SIL and I were talking about life, and about how we know so many friends who have major heartaches/challenges of one sort or another going on in their lives right now. K concluded,"Wow, when we have a boring, mundane day, we should be so thankful that it is boring and mundane." So very thankful. Her words ring in my ear; a good focus.

Photo: A mundane peek into a not-boring glass shop in an upscale shopping mall outside Nairobi.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...