Monday, October 31, 2011


Some of the changes that have come to my nursing job include having to work 12-hour shifts. When I work two days in a row, as I did this weekend, I miss being home. And it occurs to me that I didn't see daylight between Friday afternoon and this morning. Inside our unit there are no windows, and the patients' rooms often have the shades drawn. I can go all day and not know what kind of a day it is outside!

Therefore I am so happy when I have a day at home and can enjoy the daylight (sun or cloudiness) streaming inside the windows.

Seems the older I get, I feel "out of sorts" if I don't have "home time"-- the opportunity to pull my nest together, tending to little things the very capable Gardener, as a man, may not have noticed; planning to prepare a good meal for us, and mostly, time to reflect and have some quiet. There's "no place like home" in my life manual!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Wall of Grace

When we were working on "freshening up" our den and doing some reorganizing, I found myself with some wall hangings that were an odd bunch looking for a home. I was not ready to get rid of them as, when I studied them, I realized each one told part of our family history.

I decided to take them all up to the blank wall in the upstairs hallway. Then I wondered if I needed to do that fancy laying them out first, with measuring and pencil lines, or could I just "wing it"-- start hanging, and just see how it all turned out?

I started with an old mirror I had almost taken to GW. And the display grew from there (and there's even more now than when I snapped this picture.)

These are the instructions for family members who view it: put your face in the mirror and see yourself surrounded with parts of our life story. Each hanging represents a part of our life, and is a reminder of God's faithfulness to us.

I've decided to name it "The Wall of Grace."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

autumn soup

I often see butternut squash soup on shelves of certain grocery stores, especially one with
 the initials of TJ.  I decided to make it myself instead of buying what appeared to 
be a fairly small box for its price.I checked out recipes (online of course, while 
feeling sorry for my neglected cookbooks). I found mostly recipes that seemed to 
present a sweeter side, and then along came a wonderful one that looked savory.
My choice flavor, especially in soups, is always savory. 
So I got the idea and then proceded to "wing it" 
(which is an expression we use around our house but now I'm 
wondering if anyone else knows what it means.)
It not only smelled good, it was pretty. And delicious. 
Recipe: I wrestled one butternut squash into submission of peeling, de-seeding, and 
chopping into small chunks. After cooking one chopped onion in  olive oil to a softness,
 I added the chunks along with about 5-6 cups of chicken broth (I make my own with paste) 
along with 2 tsp of curry, a shake or two of cinammon, and some garlic and white pepper. 
Once the butternut is a bit tender, I cooled it a bit and then popped it into the blender to puree. 
I warmed it all together, tested it for taste and it was ready.  Just spicy enough to bring a little 
comfort on an autumn rainy day. Serve with a dollop of sour cream (missing in photo.)
Autumn flowers from our garden! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the little creamer collection

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 (even black and white tiled floors) completely filled with all kinds of Hall stuff. 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, but the majority have 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.
Reposted from two years ago today. See Chari's Happy to Design for  more Sunday Favorites!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

pocket change

When I first started blogging almost six years ago, life around me was changing at a frantic pace. Our nest emptied, my father died, all his sibblings and spouses died, my mother downsized again, our dog died, our church was going through difficult times and dear friends were moving to other places . . . and then there were the dramtic changes at both of my work places. Changes so many and coming so quickly I often wondered if I could keep up. I think blogging helped me as a place to express myself creatively, and gave me a quiet room in my life where I could focus on something else for a few minutes. It became a hobby.

Around that time I remember reading an article written by a 50-something woman who was expressing similar feelings about the significant transformations in her life. She gracefully was accepting a new stage of life, but I'll never forget how at the same time, she expressed that she had reached the age where, should she die, no one would gasp in shock and say she was too young.

I was just learning how to incorporate photos into my posts and mentally began to compose a post about change. I decided to call it "pocket change" and carefully practiced on my camera's little close up lens to get a good image of coins. I decided to put the post off until things settled down a bit.

Now, nearly six years later, you can probably guess that nothing has settled down. Change has become the new constant of my life. I put off writing this post as everywhere I looked, life was transforming. I believe it is somewhat unique at this time in our world, partly due to technology. I don't think my mother experienced anything quite like this when she was my age, though of course she has plenty to adjust to at nearly ninety, and she does so with such grace and contentment I am in awe and thankful for her example.

Since this is my 1000th published post, I decided to dig up the coin photo and go ahead and write the post about change. There's not much more to say except this: my prayer is that I will always adjust to change with joy and grace, knowing each one that comes along is part of God's plan for me. He gives me strength for each new learning curve in my nursing career, for each glitch or new element in my computer design program and for each new "whatever" that arrives in life,

I find myself sighing a lot, which may be a way of whining. I'd rather not sigh, but instead find joy in each moment of being alive, find gratitude for having the ability to work, and find delight in each experience that comes my way. And as for the changes? May I accept them as part of life and tuck them away ... like "pocket change."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

route 66

As we left the Grand Canyon we heard from many that it would be worth taking a two-mile detour off the interstate to visit the little town of Williams. It's main focus seems to be that it is along the famous historic Rt. 66, which travels from Chicago to LA. It's largely ignored today as a major route, and rather has been labeled a scenic "by way."
Williams is a bit touristy but in a "down home" kind of way. A talking bear greeted us as we passed by, Elvis was there, as well as a store full of coca cola memorabilia. And lots about Rt. 66 and therefore, cars.
It was a fun quick stop with a lot of weather. A storm blew in, left, the sun came out, then a fierce wind came up and the temperatures dropped. I never thought of Arizona as a state with weather worth talking about, but we certainly experienced a fair share during out days there.
See Mary's Little Red House for more Monday Mosaics

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the challenge

It's amazing how difficult it can be to get four or five friends together.
We lead such busy lives ... appointments, work, going out of town, babysitting 
grandchildren, picking up kids from activities ... and so the list goes.
But we think it's worth trying ... and try we do. Birthdays are a good excuse reason to 
connect around a cup of tea and some goodies. (These cupcakes are really chocolate 
chip muffins, and doesn't the word "muffin" for some reason sound 
healthier than "cupcake?" Even if iced?)
It was a cool, very rainy afternoon and it was so cozy to be inside with a 
hot "cuppa," celebrating a birthday.
Good times, good friends ... it's always worth the challenge to get together.
This particular goodie was purchased at this exceptional bakery! Thanks Boniface!!

Connecting to Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Sunday, October 09, 2011

the grandness of the canyon

When the Gardener suggested I go along with him to his business meetings in Arizona, and that afterwards we visit the Grand Canyon as a sort of 40th anniversary trip, I agreed with the proposal. I have to say I wasn't all that enthusiastic ... for some reason the Grand Canyon has not been on my list of places to see before I leave this earth. I always assumed my great love is the gentle beauty of our mountains here on the east coast.
So off we went--and I had never been farther west than Colorado. I agreed it would be interesting to feel the dry heat of 102 (Phoenix) and to see if my lungs still allowed me to exercise at 7000 feet and above. And would the vertigo I experienced several times this year come back when I stepped out over the great expanse?
 Can you guess? Yes. We had a wonderful time, in spite of a monsoon type rain both afternoons we were there. The mornings were cool, crisp, and clear. We got going early, knowing the rain would be coming. Watching the storm come in was breathtaking in itself. Of course I learned that photos and films cannot show the beauty that being there allows you to see. We had to stop and be still while we tried to take in the majesty all around us. It was not a place for yelling and joking. We noticed that others, if talking, were doing so quietly. We know all the explanations for how such a place came to be, but there is no doubt the Creator had His hand in it. We were in awe.
Only blogger knows why this post is all in caps tonight. Connecting to Little Red House for Monday Mosaics.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

a collection

When we were wandering around Charleston a few months ago we found ourselves on "Lawyer Row." I snapped tons of photos as my sister collects names of legal firms. She has them all written down in a little notebook. Reason being--some are unique names and the combinations of names can also be humorous or at least interesting. I found only a couple of spectacular ones, but most were fairly normal names. I post this picture primarily for the color of the building and the exquisite architecture. Always a treat in that city!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

to glove or not to glove

Little One and I had fun playing princess dress up the other day. I gave her the gloves and shoes for her birthday but I don't think she's been that interested in them. And when she initially tried the gloves on, she found them too confining I think.

Well now her world is full of princesses. She has a little collection of princess figurines she plays with a lot.

And they wear gloves.

So on went the gloves when we dressed up. And they stayed on quite awhile! The tiara was a bit more challenging but thankfully we found something that worked.

 The wonderful world of make-believe knows no boundaries!
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