Friday, October 30, 2009

Just Half Way Across

"Louis Aggasiz, H*rvard's renowned biologist, returned one September to his classroom and announced to his students that he had spent the summer traveling. He had managed, he said, to get halfway across his backyard. To those with eyes to see, that's enough. Everywhere we turn, wonders never cease." (Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God.)

More: "... Calm, unhurried people who live in a moment fully, savoring the simple things, celebrating small epiphanies, unafraid of life's inevitable surprises and reverses, adaptive to change, not chasing after it ..."

We are reading The Rest of God for our bookclub next week ... there's so much to savor and think about. Looking forward to discussing, and feasting on fall soups, salad, and bread, and to a new blogging friend joining us! More later!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a window view

This is a good day to be thinking about windows, for that's the best way to view the outside world on such a rainy day as we are having here! This window is in church parlor up in Winston-Salem, NC where we attended a beautiful wedding. If you love windows (or doors) as much as I do, check out Window Views.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

lady in black

A visiting preacher at our church shared this story. This is a paraphrase of what he said, and the story is sticking with me.

Five hundred or more years ago, Martin Luther fell into a depression and discouragement. From what I understand, that was not all that unusual. He noticed one morning that his wife was wearing black. “Who died?” he asked.

“God,” his wife replied.
“God isn’t dead!” he exclaimed.

“Well you’re acting like He is,” came his wife’s humble answer.

From Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength …. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea ….The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Which makes me think of the great hymn he wrote, “A mighty fortress is our God …”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A little visit

I enjoyed Little One's first solo visit to our house. She was in town for the weekend without her parents, and her other grandma dropped her off at our house for a visit. She enjoyed playing with "Lydia Grace," who lives at our house (and also happens to be the pen name of a good friend of mine.) Little One spent a lot of time happily naming and examining the real-looking eyes, nose, ears, teeth, toes, fingers, belly, and head of the baby doll.

As a grandma, it just does something to me to see my grandchild happily playing with the toys her daddy played with and listening to the music he listened to. Sort of like a brief step back in time, bringing a catch to my throat. Such a good time we had together!

For more Mosaics on Monday click on Little Red House.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cream Anyone?

My mother had a beautiful dark blue Hall teapot when I was growing up. That's how I learned that if it's a "Hall" piece of pottery, it's good. Hall was known for it's teapots back in the day, until serving tea took a back seat to coffee drinking.  I read a little about Hall china and learned that it was the first china to be lead free, because they developed a very hot kiln that allowed brilliant colors (like in fiestaware), and thereby killed all the lead. I have always loved going to antique shops or flea markets, and therefore I began to notice Hall china. One day I happened upon a huge shop that had a whole section made up like a 50s kitchen (yes, even black and white tiled floors) completely filled with all kinds of Hall. I have always collected/been attracted to little pitchers, and that day my love for Hall creamers began.

Since then it has been fun to have something to look for when I go antiquing, since I usually can't afford to buy much else.  There must be plenty others collecting these as they are very hard to find now. A couple on these shelves may be "knock offs," and a couple obviously aren't Hall at all (can you guess which two aren't?), but there are several with the famous Hall stamp on the bottom.

The Gardener came upon this old brown shelf (now painted black) that was perfect for my little collection, which I now consider complete as the shelves are filled. (Well, I guess I could make it 100% Hall, but I do love the sweetness of the  other creamers too.) Even though I have enough, I still enjoy the "hunt" of looking for them.

I've joined up with "Show and Tell" today. Click on that name to see more. Such a cute title ... how well I remember those "Show and Tell" days at grade school.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cherishing Thankfulness

A blogging friend usually writes a "Thankful Thursday" post. I thought today, then, was a good day to share how Amy C*rmichael talks about cherishing thankfulness. It causes me to stop and ponder. I try to be thankful, but do I really cherish the concept, and make it so much a part of my life, that it is dear to me?

Amy frequently gives a good illustration of small things to be thankful for. I do cherish the little things in life. "I have come more and more to watch for those minute touches of the love and forethought of our Father which are shown in the smallest things of life, such as the coming of a flower, a message, a picture, a letter, a book; the touch of a loving hand, the look in loving eyes, the tones in loving voices--things too small to tell, but making such a difference in our day."

Don't they?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

like old friends

This sudden burst of unseasonably cold air here in the normally sunny south has caught me with very few warm clothes near at hand. Too cold for sandals. How comforting to at least dig out my old shoes. Maybe they need replacing (I do have a better pair I wear to the office and to church), but who can let go of old friends? Not me! They still work and are the most comfortable shoes I own. Over the years they have conformed to my feet and when I wear them it's like walking on air, or something.

I kind of like the fact that they are old. It sort of "goes with the times." Aren't we recycling a lot more now? Making do with what we have in order to conserve for what may lie ahead? Many times I smile to see what the younger generation is doing, for it reminds me so much of our early married life. Not that we don't still live on the cheap, but I can give a long list of conservation measures we practiced then. It feels good to do with aging, worn things that still do well what they were made to do.

Old shoes, old friends. Welcome back to another winter season. Maybe I'll do you a favor and try a little polish. :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the old cabinet

When you move this cabinet it's so wobbly you are just glad when you can set it down again. We've had it for years and I don't remember where we got it--probably some junk shop or garage sale. Let's hope we didn't pay much for it. It is great for storage though.

 When I got some new green pillows to add some splash to our den, I suddenly knew that some green paint would do a lot for our old cabinet. It took some time to persuade the Gardener, but eventually he was happy with the plan.

I still am wondering if I should distress it a bit, but that will take another conversation!

I have to say painting this took me back many years to a visual of my mother painting a chest of drawers this same sort of color. Except she had this "antiquing kit" they called it, and painted something else on at the end that gave it a sort of whitish gloss here and there. It was all the rage back then, as was an olive green color, which this is not, quite ...

Small changes like this bring smiles to our house!
For more smiles (before and after) see Between Naps on the Porch.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

wanna buy a goat?

H-v and A-ds breaks up families, destroys communities, and takes away hope. I was interested to learn recently about how goats and H-v are related.  A colleague from Zim-bwe, a country located in southern Africa (where one-third of the population is H-v positive), works with people who have the disease. When new mothers die or are very sick from the disease, milk from goats is used to feed their babies. Some researchers have concluded that goats' milk is similar to mothers' milk. How interesting to know that buying a goat ($10 for a baby goat, and $20-30 for a nursing mother goat) is one way to save lives and to give hope.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tucked in Our Sleeves

"Dame Beatrice wrote to that girl every day: 'We have you tucked in our sleeves ...' and it was true. Every nun had a personal post, and a continual stream of letters went out, 'lifelines,' many people called them, each anchored in the strength of prayer." (In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden)

So was written on a postcard from my friend Boniface
who writes real letters to me! Even though we live near each other, see each other at church, email and read each other's blogs, we still write "real" letters, for there is nothing like a hand written letter. Often the letters or notes --or in this case, a postcard--include something we are thinking about, or sometimes just a quote from a book or something else we've read. But, they are always encouraging.

When I receive hers, or a letter from anyone, I feel honored that someone would take up pen, paper, find a stamp, write, and then go to the trouble of mailing it (and in these days it's difficult to find a place to mail a letter). It's definitely a dying art, but one that I hope will be revived. It's nice to be able to keep letters and reread them later, to be blessed all over again ... or to remember a bit of history. I am so thankful for the letters I have from my grandparents and from my father. And for those my mother saved that I wrote the years we lived in Africa.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

fall beach

Fall at the beach ... warm sticky air, quiet peacefulness in spite of
an impending storm ... nearing dusk ... silence broken by seagulls and the
echoes of summer fun ....

 A good time for a walk before the rain.

For a glimpse of some delightful mosaics, see Mosaic Monday at Little Red House!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I won, but more, be aware

"I never win anything." I hear lots of people say that, and it certainly is true for me––or was. Today some nurses came to where I work with pink bags and lots of information about breast cancer (October is the pink month.) It's interesting that there is new technology (only one place in town offers it now) that is so much more accurate at picking up tumors. We were reminded about all the risks and good things to do to prevent breast cancer. There were candy kisses of varying chocolate choices, and mini donuts to entice us to listen to their five minute inservice. The fatty sweets were a humorous mixed signal. And we wrote our names on scraps of paper for a drawing.

Not long after the nurses were back with a pink package for ME. I actually won something. I think it was that fact more than what the package contained that added a small inner smile to the day. My name actually came forth out of a drawing bag. What did I find when I tore the pink tissue away? A tiny pink ribbon pin, and a pair of sox with pink writing that said, "Awareness." That's what this month is all about. Be aware, check yourself, and be knowledgeable about this killer disease.

Reposted with a new photo from three years ago this week. For more Sunday favorites (blog reposts) see Happy to Design!

it's coming

Fall is definitely here--a little early I think, maybe because of all the early cool weather we've had. Two colorful leaves seen in our driveway this week.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Story Glued

I've been dropping things a lot lately. Precious things that mean a lot to me seem to go crashing to our tiled kitchen floor (who was it that said never tile a kitchen floor?) I'm not sure what it means (such as, am I losing my grip on things?) but it is a reminder to "hold possessions with an open hand." Some wise person said that. So I've been learning about gluing pottery, but not doing a very good job at it. Seems the fingers get almost as much and it's very adhesive glue. Very.

My mother's little brown betty English teapot lid was one on the disaster list. I remember the sunny day we had tea in Charlie's tearoom. For a brief couple of years we had a little "Mitford" right there on the main street of a little town our house borders. We saw friends there. And we would linger over our tea. Charlie had all kinds of teapots lining the shelves way high up on his walls. Fun to see and all for sale. My mom bought a little green brown betty and after she enjoyed it for a few years, she passed it on to me. I have loved it's small size and it's inner strainer that holds tea leaves while they steep. And I loved its shape. So much about a teapot is in it's spout and handle, don't you think?

The glue job was not all that great. But I'm learning. And I used it this morning when I served breakfast to a tea-drinker who lives in Johannesburg (you know, tea is important in places like that). I kind of liked the fact that it was worn and tired looking and not so perfect. I think when someone serves you out of something that has been mended, you know it is a very loved piece. And most likely carrying a story.

And was I relieved that my glue job held together when on the pot of steaming tea. In a small way, my worn little teapot reminds me of a lovely post I read about an older kitchen. This young lady has a good view of things, and she writes it down very well. It's worth a read.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

No Calamities

"Some have been puzzled because good things earnestly prayed for have not been [granted]. What is happening is quite a different kind of answer. We do not feel like calling it wonderful. We feel like calling it disappointing. And yet we know that it would not have been allowed to happen if it had been what it looks like, simply a calamity. 'I know the plans which I'm planning for you, plans of welfare and not of calamity, to give you a future and a hope.' These words are true, however things appear; and faith lays hold upon them, and refuses to be discouraged. The thoughts of our God are thoughts of peace and not of evil. So even now, let us trust and not be afraid."

from Amy Carmichael in Thou Givest ... They Gather

Monday, October 05, 2009

miles, not worlds apart

It's amazing how you can connect with people via blogs. I got this sweet little card and cup of tea from a blogging friend who I've gotten to know only through blogging, email exchanges, and fb photos, etc. What a smile she sent me through the mail! I've enjoyed the delicious cup of tea, and would only enjoy it more if we could have shared a pot together.

It's a whole new world of communication, isn't it? I find out news not only of distance friends, but of local friends as well, through their blog posts, their fb comments, and their emails. It's not as good as being together, but at this busy stage of life, it does help to keep us connected, even if only by "sound bites" at times.

Sometimes I forget where I heard what, but since friends are high on my list of priorities, I'm just glad we're keeping in touch. And, it's really not so new. Did any of you have pen pals when you were kids? I remember one that lived far away. I never met her, but got to know her a bit. Our electronic way today is really a form of "pen pal-ing" isn't it? But, when possible, real pen and paper work too. More on that another time. Thanks, friend, for the cuppa!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

be warned

This is a bit of a warning. When you read others' blogs, which is often as good as reading a magazine, you sometimes get ideas. Tucked away in in the back of your mind, these ideas can come forth at the oddest times. This little white shelf unit in my kitchen always seemed a bit stark to me ... just a nagging bother that something wasn't right with it. I was in a closet the other day and noticed some wallpaper I had found for a dollar at Good Will. Instantly an idea flew into my mind that I had seen on more than one blog. About twenty minutes later, my shelves looked a whole lot warmer.

For more transformations, see Between Naps on the Porch.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

before I needed it

The last time I remember putting a glass pan on an electric burner it blew up. Everywhere. In small pieces coated with gravy. So when a Korean friend gave me a glass teapot, I was a bit leary. Further, the instructions were all in Korean. I put it aside for a (short) time. And one day I realized my old kettle was starting to rust! (I always keep a kettle on the stove top, ready to boil tea water.)  I tossed it immediately and then remembered I had the glass one.

Upon examining it further I realized there were some English directions printed right on one side of the kettle. I love the English ... it makes me smile. Especially "discard if it is cracked." They get their point across. I keep the burner low, and so far no explosions. It will do for now.

I've always loved daisies, and I like the way it looks like a teapot with its sweet little spout.

Two lessons here: I could say God knew before I did about my need for a new kettle. Sound trite? Maybe, but maybe not. After all, He cares about all kinds of nitty gritty daily details--He could care about teakettles too. And the second lesson this little glass teapot/kettle is teaching me is patience ... and slowing down. For when you can't put the kettle on "high" heat, but only medium to low, it takes awhile for the pot to boil!

For more "Show and Tell" see Cindy's blog, My Romantic Home.
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