Tuesday, June 29, 2010

wishing for blue

Whenever she looked into a mirror, brown eyes looked back out at her. How she wished they were blue.

I knew the story about Amy Carmichael wishing her brown eyes were blue, but had forgotten about it until I recently reread it in a little article written by Chr*stin D*tchfield. As a little girl,  Amy begged God to change her eye color to blue, believing He could do anything. But He chose to keep them brown. Years later, as a missionary in India, Amy dyed her skin with coffee, and with the gift of her brown eyes, blended in well with the people with whom she had come to live, to serve and to share God's love.

I believe in God's providence, as Amy did. Her brown eye story is a good one for me to remember. How often do I wish that certain things about my looks, my work, or my house, for example, were different?  But I can trust in God's loving providence, knowing it's all in His plan for my good (even though it may not seem like it now.) Some day I'll understand a whole lot more, just as Amy did about her brown eyes. And, by the way, my eyes aren't brown or blue.

Amy worked with orphans in India for 55 years without going home to England for a break. Following an accident, she was bedridden there the last 20 years of her life.  It was from her bed that she wrote many of her books, some of which are my favorite treasures.

(not my photo) 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tale of a Whale of a Sale

Youngest son says I'm the most sentimental person he knows. That may be the reason I keep this little cigar box year after year. We used it for the money box with our very first garage sale, and have continued with every garage sale since. I found it again for our garage sale this past weekend so we could continue that tradition.

This may be the best garage sale for us yet. It seemed fairly painless. I began purging, pricing and packing into boxes quite awhile ago, so it wasn't all there to do at the last minute. Two other good friends joined with me (and we had so much fun). We each grabbed a part of it, our spouses helped set up and take down, and we had fun "staging" our wares. The Gardener stayed with us the entire morning--he's so good at math "in his head" and helped to keep it all straight when we had "surges" of customers. And he likes to visit anyway.

But without a doubt, the most fun of a such a sale is the people that come by. It gives me such a charge to watch my junk become someone else's treasure. And when that person tells you why he or she is buying it, it's even sweeter. For the briefest of time, a small community forms on our driveway. We tell snippets about ourselves, and we laugh. I admire twins stopping by in their stroller during a run with their mom, or we pet dogs with their owners who come by on a morning stroll. A little non-English-speaking boy bought a small toy car, saw my little American flag perched near it and asked if he could have that. He went away waving it in the air.

An old woman rolled up the driveway on her motorized handicapped scooter, dog perched at her feet and a multi colored umbrella protecting her from the intense sun. She stopped to give her pup a drink and visit with us after looking around. Her coins were precisely rolled up in wrappers. She can go 20 miles on her cart before she has to recharge the battery.

Towards the end a beautiful mid-age woman came and looked around. She bought some Christmas-colored napkins and spoke of how, even with a messy-eater old dad and two sons, she loves to set a beautiful table at Christmas. She bought $2.50-worth and reached into her purse to bring out three dollars. "Here's your change," we chorused. She shook her head no, and headed down the driveway. "I don't want change," she said, "you keep it." She turned back to look at us as I called out, "Obviously you've seen the movie Pay it Forward."

"Oh yes," she replied with a huge smile.  "I am blessed, and have no doubt I will be again."

Connecting to Little Red House ...please visit there for more Monday Mosaics.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Six Cent Lesson

I needed to mail a letter to Australia. I stuck an 84-cent stamp on but knew it needed more after the postal increase, so made my way to the post office. I looked in vain for some notice about postage increase numbers. If I knew the amount I could use the machine to buy the addtional postage. And of course the line was long, but I joined it. It's a pretty uptight place and dead silent, so I didn't have the nerve to force my way to a window to ask the simple question. Most likely it would not have been simple as there would be a discussion about the weight of the letter.

As I waited in line I was simply sizzling inside, fussing to myself about such a huge waste of time for one letter.

Wait! "Remember," I asked myself, "the times when I was in the habit of considering such lines and other unexpected 'wastes of time' as unclaimed opportunities?" It's all in the attitude, and I reprimanded myself. And then my eyes and ears opened wide. The music playing in the background became a melody. I studied the people around me. Did the woman two ahead of me pay a high price for her hair highlights, and did she know it was time to refresh the color? The heavy set weather-beaten man at the counter sounded so irritated that something wasn't working right. I wondered what all these things were that people were taking care of...so few were simply buying stamps or mailing packages.

I soon realized that I was relaxed and enjoying the time to look around and study people. I thought maybe I should spend some time praying, when the line moved quickly and I found myself at the counter. The lady charged me six cents while she excitedly showed me the new 90 cent overseas stamp. Just arrived that morning.

Will I ever learn? What a difference in my attitude and countenance as I sailed out of the P.O. ... not frustrated and angry, but actually a bit refreshed! And I only spent six cents for this lesson!

Reposted from two years ago. I'm still learning this lesson! See Chari's Happy to Design for more Sunday reposts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We might just break a record with this heat ... this high, this long, and in this half-spring, half-summer month of June. Who would have guessed it after such a moderate spring? "Beastly," everyone is saying.

The humidity sneaks inside the house in spite of air conditioning and zaps away at our energy. The garden suffers and asks for water twice a day. We've had to move the "full-sun" flowers into some semi shade or we fear losing them.

On such a hot afternoon some friends met in a lovely blue dining room inside a cool house for both hot tea and iced tea and conversation. We have to work at making a time to be together. Seems in our scattered, busy lives, such gatherings have to be intentional and worked at, or they simply don't happen. We are just that busy and time slips by as we go about doing what we do. We don't want to lost touch now that what connected us before no longer does so much. So we try hard, knowing we are blessed with friendships spanning 20 years. That's not a record, but for us, it's pretty special.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

she turned and saw blue

My sister recounted a funny story. She was out with a group of girlfriends for the evening and they were driving home through the countryside rather late at night. Suddenly there was a strange sound under the car. Flat tire. As soon as they had figured it out, my sister, who must have been in the front seat, turned around to say something, and noticed the whole back of the van was a blue glow in contrast to the dark night. Every last woman had her cell open and was phoning home. Now is the time to say, "It's a whole new day isn't it? We are so in touch."

 My sister said, "This would make a good blog post." Have you noticed your friends or family saying similar things? I hear: "Oh no, I feel a blog coming ..."  or "You should blog this..."  or  "I'll look for this on your blog ..." or "Don't your dare blog this!"

The only thing the image above has to do with the story is that it is ... blue.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

porch time

Rhondi is having a "porch party" today and since I love porches, I just had to join in.
  (Visit her blog if you want to see more porches in celebration of the first day of summer.)

I grew up in a house with a screen porch, but it wasn't until three years ago, through a friend's generosity, that we were able to have a porch on our own house.

We enjoy our porch so much and not a day goes by that I don't stop and think about how blessed we are.

Even when it's dreadfully hot and humid we can manage to sit out at least in the evening and early morning.

Of course the friends that join us on our porch are the best part of it all!

Friday, June 18, 2010

knock knock

Our assignment was to provide two watermelons for the Little One's birthday picnic. We took it in stride, but then realized we rarely buy watermelons. At least whole ones. How were we going to find good ones? I have choosing cantelopes down to a science, but not watermelons. Seedless was suggested, but when we got to the store and saw the little round balls called "seedless" and their price tag, we opted for some seed-spitting.

We didn't have a clue what to do when we got to the big box of green watermelons. "Remember greasing these things up and playing catch with them in the pool when we were kids," I reminded the Gardener. I tried knocking on them as I've seen others do. I asked a young man who apparently works in produce. He didn't know. Next thing I know he's over at a shelf where they are cut in quarters. "Let's see what color the outside is since these look good, and then go find similar depth of color on a whole melon. Maybe that's the trick."

I wasn't impressed and asked some others passing by. No one seemed to know.  As I checked my watch, noting a tiny sliver of panic beginning deep inside, I turned and saw a woman looking at the melons. I asked if she knew how to find a good melon.

"Well," she replied with a smile, "I should know. I grew up on a watermelon farm. You knock and listen for hollow."

"Could you find us two good ones?" And she did. And I declare, they were about the tastiest watermelon I've ever had. And barely any seeds.

I see glimpses of God in many ways throughout a day.  On this particular afternoon, I have no doubt he showed up in the produce department.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

seeing red

I've learned in studying photos, and in taking photos, that when there's a little red in the picture, it somehow is a better picture.

It's just a sense I have. If you're taking a family photo, be sure someone wears red.  I call it the
"red factor."

Somehow the photo seems more alive.

Don't you agree?

Connecting to Ruby Tuesday!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

how can it be?

It hardly seems possible that "Little One" turned two this weekend!

What joy she brings to us and to many others!
Happy Birthday "Little B!"

See Little Red House for some more interesting mosaics!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Grace of Patience

We generally buy a flat or two of impatiens each spring for our rather shady yard, and did so again this year. But not quite so many. After so many years, even though we pull them out when the first frost kills them, seedlings must get around and pop up from time to time really anywhere in the yard. Last year we made several later-in-the-summer pots of impatiens harvested from some that just showed up in the yard.

So this year the Gardener says, "Let's not buy so many and just wait..."

Here you see a magnified view of the tiniest of leaves, the beginning of some impatiens popping up in our yard.

We already planted one small plant from a random growth and it's doing well, waiting for others to join it.

And these gorgeous hydrangeas have taken at least three or four years to reach this beautiful peak of beauty. The photo doesn't do their deep purple justice.

And after a three-year wait, our peonies bloomed a good show, and then disappeared.

Someone said patience is a virtue. It's not always easy, but in the case of our yard, has certainly been worth the wait. I have some other things I've been waiting for for many years, not always so patiently, but I know it works best to let patience play the bigger role. Much grace arrives when we do. 

The Lord's mercies are new every day. Great is His faithfulness.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


A simple but yummy bunch at Robyn's the other day. I loved her summery tablecloth. Looking good with her white dishes.

 I know "someone" says no candles til after 5 or something like that, but to me there is nothing more elegant for the center of the table, any time of the day. Besides, if there was no candle, how would we enjoy the flame's reflection in the silver?

Pretty food is always worth a look:

Missing from view is the wonderful hot chicken salad main dish. Yum.

Best "scape" of any table, though, are the friends or family sitting around it!

See Between Naps on the Porch for other interesting Tablescapes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

another sad farewell

Soiled blue jeans with holes in the knees and other boy clothes, sweaty wrestling practice clothes, baseball uniforms, shirts stained with jeep oil, red clay covered no-longer-white socks, pretty new curtains, tablecloths and napkins, sheets and towels, and more sheets and  towels ... I look at the knob on this machine and get nostalgic thinking about all the stories and memories I could connect to this knob that I have pulled out, twisted and turned and pushed in a thousand times or more. And now after 26 years of faithful service, wash load after washload, with NO repairs (thank you Kenmore), my wonderful washing machine has to be replaced. I knew she was living on borrowed time, and for the past two years I would often say a prayer as I began a load of wash, requesting more time with her.

I know new machines don't last as long so I was a bit fearful to think about purchasing a new one after all these years. But I'm actually a little excited now that the new machines are on their way. They are very straight forward with no bells or whistles to play with––I'm just so glad to tackle the mountain of laundry that has piled up and have some clean clothes.

It seems to be that time of life. Lots of changes everywhere you look.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

because we're friends

I was at a lovely little brunch at Robyn's the other day, and this time I remembered to take along my camera. She has a large built in cupboard in her dining room and had these dishes from her husband's mother nicely displayed. Her mother in law died this past year and I know these dishes mean a lot to Robyn. I couldn't help but take a few photos; I love green so much.

I've been seeing postings in "blogland" about where you keep all your dishes. That must have been in the back of my mind when I opened one of the dining room cupboards (with a glass door, mind you) and snapped a photo of the beauty inside. ONLY because we're such good friends did I know I could do that. And post this.  :-)

And I'm connectingto Mosiac Monday at  Dear Little Red House.  If you go to her blog you'll see some beauty!

Friday, June 04, 2010

doll babies

Little One is sitting in her great-grandma's lap and having a look at her doll (which I figure is at least 80 years old or older.) My guess is she is captivated by the real-looking eyes in the doll's china face. This doll has been in the doll hospital many years ago, and later my sister, the seamstress, sewed beautiful new clothes for her. We still think of them as pristinely new, but my guess is that the garments are 30 years old at least! Little One happens to be holding one of her dollies that she likes to sleep with, and it happens to be the one her great-grandma gave her.

Connecting to Cindy's My Romantic Home today.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

a nurse and a sailor

Alfred Eisenstaedt of Life Magazine took the famous photograph (below) of a sailor kissing a nurse on August 15, 1945 at the end of the second World War, in Times Square. There's a huge statue right now in a Sarasota (FL) park that is a replica of the photo. Since we recently celebrated nurses' week, and now Memorial Day, I thought it would be nice to have another look at this famous image. You can tell from the statue that she is wearing stockings, or "hose" as they used to be called, but the photograph tells the real story of the seams in those stockings. 

How many are still alive that remember having to be sure those seams were straight?

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