Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's a day to talk about ...

Interesting how we talk so much about the weather, for it's rather out of our hands, isn't it? Something we can do nothing about, except accept it with an open hand. Maybe that's why we discuss it. It's unpredictability and sometimes sensationalism are worth mentioning from time to time.

Today is a day to take note of. Anyone who slept in too late may have missed it, but it was a wonderfully clear, cool, and dry (not humid) morning. Spectacular. We drove to work with the windows open, thankful for this gift of a morning after a stiflingly hot, hot, humid week! Grace wrapped up in the weather.

Photo by lulu

Monday, June 29, 2009

eating cake

We had some cake eating up in the mountains last week. Hard to believe that Little One has reached the age of one. She had a fish-themed birthday party her mom brought along so we could celebrate with them. Little One was not too crazy about her special party hat, but she did eat some of the cake! What fun to see her walking!

Friday, June 26, 2009


I love heirlooms (a valuable object that has belonged to a family for generations.) I grew up with a love of history, handed down from my parents, and cemented by my historian husband. Most of the things in my home have a historical story attached to them, and therefore are treasures. But maybe the best heirlooms are the people themselves, or the memory of them. And so, old photos have great meaning for me. Those people that I knew, I remember with joy, and those that I didn't know, I think of with curiosity, wondering just what in me may have come from them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

by request

It seems that Little One has taken a fancy to this project that I worked on last year in loving anticipation of her arrival. She likes to have it nearby for comfort, and hold it as she goes to sleep. It may be called "blankie"--I'm not sure. My kids and their cousins had similar ones I made that they hauled around when they were her age. Theirs were called "bobbies" for some unknown reason.

So, the request has come for a duplicate. You know, in case it gets lost. Or too dirty to get clean enough. I remember that panic feeling if the bobbie or the paci (believe it or not we called that a "buck") was missing. So I'm knitting again ... a pleasure always working with pink, but the icing on this cake is that it is again for Little One!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

4 good wheels and a list gone missing

We're heading up to a mountain house a dear friend is giving us for a week's use. Believe me, it's nicer than the mountain house on the above photo. Various family members will be coming and going. It's been awhile since I had to gather together the fixings to transport somewhere for a week of meals for from 5 to 10 people at any given time. So I spent a long time on my meal plans, their ingredients, and then a master grocery list--all typed as it was easier that way. Then, feeling fairly organized, I headed to that huge store with a big sigh and a prayer, and a thanks for finding a cart where all four wheels worked.

I started in the card section looking for two anniversary cards for sister and niece. Got the same card for both and then realized I was putting out 6 dollars for two cards; no wonder I make cards whenever I can. So put them back and went to the 88 cent section. I think I placed my mega list in my empty grocery cart. There was another woman with an empty cart also looking at cards. Well, my list disappeared. It either went in what became her cart (and her cart then became my cart), OR, ... puff ... a gremlin stole it just like that.

I felt slightly sick and very stupid. But I winged it. Immediately saw a guy from our church and laughingly told him my predicament. He told me I could do it. And I did. I went up and down the aisles just looking the trying to remember the list. Later I called those aisles "streets" when telling The Gardener my woeful tale. He tries to encourage me to slow down enough to use the correct words. And I replied, "Well, they were streets! They were so crowded they needed a cop to control traffic or at least a yellow yield light." And when I went to check my mega list on the computer I was surprised to find I had only forgotten one item on that long list! There must have been angels helping me.

And, again, so thankful for four wheels that worked on that cart. It was a heavy load by the end!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

beauty inside beauty

Each of these random photos I have taken represents a memory. That's the beauty inside the beauty of a photograph! See the Little Red House for more mosaic photographs!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Today I remember with a heart full of gratitude my mother's father, my father's father, my father, and my husband's father; and I think today, with thankfulness, of my boys' father, my daughter-in-law's father (who raised a wonderful wife and mother to my son and granddaughter), and my granddaughter's father. I could go on to my nieces' and nephews' fathers, but I'll stop and wish everyone on the family tree a Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

the little yellow chair

This adorable little yellow chair landed on our porch last week. I just love its charm. My friend who gives me clothes for my nieces, and sometimes for me, was getting rid of it and offered it to me. Could I say "no?" No way!

Hmmm ... to paint, or not to paint. And if to paint, what color would I choose? It may stay just the way it is. Thanks, friend, for bringing sunshine to my porch!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

cousin time

We really enjoyed a visit from my cousin this week. It's always good to catch up on family, discuss family history (always a new perspective to think about), and just enjoy being together. We picked some hydrangeas off a huge bush outside the apartment where my aunt, Barb's mom, last lived before she went to Glory. They added a special touch to our table.

Normally blue, this year they are a deep purple color. Breakfast on the porch on a cool, rainy morning will be a memory. Thanks, Barb and Chuck, for coming by! As Barb said, "Family is a wonderful place to be."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Delight, Joy, and Bliss

"...Fix your eyes, like a little innocent child, upon the face of God, steadfastly and joyfully; and He in return ... will keep His eyes upon you ... All your delight, joy, and bliss will be in God, and God, in return, will have His joy and good pleasure in you.  --Gerhard Tersteegen, in the early 18th century (language updated)

I wonder about odd things sometimes ... such as, do you think Gerhard, when he wrote this about 300 years ago, had any idea his thoughts would be blogged someday?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

'fore and aft'

My sister has been doing a lot of work on her house and I just love what she's done to her bedroom. So I asked if I could do a blog post on her bedroom change. Since she, like me, enjoys taking photos, of course Lulu said "yes!" See "Metamorphasis Monday" to see other "before and afters."

Her old headboard was ready to be changed when she came across one in the trash. Painting it white transformed it. When we visited in February she asked what we thought of her new red spread. She was tired of a dust ruffle and wanted a straight forward bedspread. We voted thumbs up.

Sewing machine (newly painted white) moved across the room, replaced with bedside tables found at an antique store (along with dresser and chest of drawers) ...

New headboard in place, but still needed to paint plate holders and get new bedside lamps positioned. New picture placed over bed.

The final product is very soothing to the eye, don't you think?
Photos: not mine and used with permission.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Little One

It's totally hard to believe that Little One, who entered our lives and wrapped herself totally in our arms, came into this world a year ago today. I got into a habit of creating a magazine cover every month during her first year. Here is the final one at 12 months.  How wonderful it has been to watch her grow this year. Happy Birthday sweet little granddaughter! We'll celebrate with you soon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

abundant grace

My mother put the book she was reading up to her face and giggled in her shy manner. We were laughing together at something funny one of us had said––mother and daughter just having a  conversation. I looked over at her smiling face. She looked happy enough.

Ever since I was old enough to observe my parents' marriage, I dreaded the thought of one or the other dying. I could not imagine either one living without the other. Probably, and especially, my mother. It seemed inconceivable, and I wasn't the only one to think that.

God gave my parents 62 years together. My father's move to a care center the last year of his life granted mom a gradual ascent into living on her own. He's been gone four years this summer. 

As I looked over at my mother laughing, surviving life without my dad and even doing well at it, I had an epiphany. She is living on her own. I continued  thinking about that realization as I drove home from her house. Granted she says she misses dad more and more as time passes, but Mom has done what I never thought she could. And she is doing just fine. It's all due to God's abundant grace.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

pitcher stories

As I looked at the two pitchers (or jugs as they say elsewhere) in my photos of a previous post, I thought I'd mention where they come from, since it's a bit unusual. I love to collect pitchers, by the way, particularly small ones, and very particularly, H*lls creamers. My most favorite large pitcher, a pink depression glass, passed on to me from my grandmother, I dropped into a million pieces. We've moved on. The green pitcher is now my favorite.  Ten years ago when we took girls to work in Romanian orphanages, my cohort bought it for me for 50 cents in a Romanian antique shop. I wrapped it carefully in bubble wrap and it made it home. I use it all the time and love it. The other one, with the silver rim that requires polishing, came from my mother's house recently ... and was given to my father, the preacher, from a funeral home director, thanking him for his business. It could be close to 50 years old. Now I once more have two again, for two kinds of tea. But still not quite adequate on a really hot night!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

dinner is served

We suddenly realized that friends of our were moving back to Singapore next month and if we were going to have them over for dinner it had to be this past weekend. I don't mind impromptu if I have time to cook, and I did on Saturday. I actually enjoyed spending time in the kitchen.  Strawberries and blueberries were reasonably priced and as sweet as could be. I decided to make a fruit tart.
The Gardener wanted me to make things simple. Buy potato salad to go with the grilled chicken. That was not on my agenda. Roasted potato salad is just the best, especially if you throw in a little bacon. It turned out well.
As did the tart. I was admiring it so much I almost forgot to put the glaze on. This was a glaze using limeade. I thought the lime taste may have made it too "tart" (no pun intended), but it did mellow the sweetness.
What a looker! The glaze is like putting on lip gloss, eh?
I've started making my niece's recipe of "Patience Iced Tea"--sort of a take off on the sun tea we used to make. I usually change the recipe a bit, but I've included it for those interested. This time I made both peach and blueberry tea (both without caffeine) and I did not use any citrus with the blueberry.

Patience Peach Iced Tea (no heat)

1 pretty pitcher (necessity)
2 quarts water 
6 peach tea bags
2 Tb raw honey (I left this out)
1/8 orange slice, squeezed (can use OJ in a pinch)
1/3 C sugar
1 Tb lemon juice

Let teabags steep unheated for 30 minutes, then carefully drain liquid from teabags and toss.
Add honey and sugar and stir vigorously
Place in frig to serve chilled
May garnish with lemon rings or orange rings floating in pitcher

It was perfect weather for an evening on the porch. The hydrangeas were starting to bloom and just happened to match the mix of blue and green dishes.
A good time was had by all, but I admit I fell into bed exhausted later that evening!

Friday, June 05, 2009

diner dining

A large wooded area at the edge of our little neighborhood was suddenly cleared and in no time a small shopping strip appeared. We watched with interest, of course, what businesses would take up residence. Eventually an "old fashioned" diner appeared. The owners are Greek and from New York. How good can it get? They serve breakfast all day. And we can walk there.

We went, and have gone again. Their motto is "uniquely distinct and undoubtedly familiar." Its the "familiar" that gets me. Even after 20+ years of living in the south, I still feel like a northerner and love diners (especially those in a real train car).  And for 8.95 you get so much food you can eat it there, take it home for another meal, and still have enough to make soup. Delicious. It's funny how we have sort of become part owners of this place. Well, not really, but you get attached to something local, especially when it's not part of a chain. You want to see it do well, especially starting up in hard times. When we drive past it going out of our neighborhood we always check to see how many cars are parked there. We were there last week and noticed how people are sort of becoming community there and how some folks had to wait for a table. There was even talk of expansion to the empty store next door. Good news for a regular place for regular people in these tough times. 

Thursday, June 04, 2009


We were talking with some friends last week over dinner on our porch. We discussed how life had not turned out the way we had planned. You know, as children we read storybooks and somehow assume that the life ahead of us will be like one. But deep disappointments, hurts, adjustments, all kinds of twists and turns arrive at the doorsteps of our lives. Last weekend our newspaper had a feature article on Ruth Gr*ham. The headline described what she said about her life with a husband away much of the time. "It's not easy. But God never promised easy."

Note to the younger generation (and myself): Be flexible. Don't be disappointed when roses don't always grow in your garden. Accept what comes with grace. Remember, God never promised easy, but He did promise to be there in the journey with us, helping us place one foot in front of the other. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

little chatter

Another package came from Lulu ... they are such fun to open. This time it included some mystery Dutch figurines ... we're not sure whose they are but I did buy them in Holland and am glad to see them again. But also included was another little journal book. Since it was a "Dick and Jane" theme, she suggested I use it to collect funny things Little One says. I remember wanting to write down so many things our kids said, but then forgetting to. I promise if Youngest and DIL send them to me, I will write them down.

So far the funniest things I think Little One says are:  when she sees a flower, it's a sniff. She wrinkles up her little nose and sniffs as hard as she can. Sometimes we hear her sniffing and look around as we know there's a flower somewhere nearby. She learned this through the Pat the Bunny Book. Remember the page where you sniffed the lovely (?) scent of the flower? The other funny thing Little One "says" is a high, tiny shriek whenever she spots a photo of her mommy's sister. Obviously that means "fun." It makes us laugh. We also hear "Daisy" (for dog) and "Baby" a lot, as well as "mama" and "dada" and some other things sounds that are beginning become clearer. Not bad chatter for almost a year old.

Speaking of funny things, my mother was describing a man she knows who had just come back from being away. "He looks a bit different," she stated, "His hair is pasted in a different direction."
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