Wednesday, November 30, 2011

90th birthday brunch

When my mother turned 90, we celebrated. My sister was in town so it made it all the sweeter. 
When you get to her age, you miss a lot of friends.
 I'm so thankful for some sweet women from my church who visit with my mom, 
take her out for ice cream or lunch, and to get her hair done. 
They are the friends that gathered at the table to enjoy brunch and celebrate Mom's life.
Since mom is in assisted living, her things now have been absorbed into the homes of her kids. 
Everything I used on the table was either hers or her mother's. 
I made sure to use her engraved napkin ring and napkin at her place.
I put her locket around my neck, even though none of us could see too well the images inside...LOL!

It was a day to remember, and we are thankful for her life!
See Between Naps on the Porch for more Tablescapes!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the nuts and bolts ...

... of giving thanks in celebration with family and feasting.
See Mary's Little Red House for more Monday Mosaics!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Corrie ten Boom's book  The Hiding Place is worth a second or third read. Just to remind ourselves. And if you haven't read it, let me tell you about a part that impacted me. When Corrie and her sister, Betsey, were in a Nazi concentration camp (Ravensbruck), the conditions were dreadful, of course. Not only were they cold, hungry, dirty, and in way too overcrowded conditions, they were also infested by fleas. They had managed to snuggle in a Bible, and as they read it, they realized that they should be thankful for all things. When Betsey decided that meant to thank God for the fleas, Corrie had a problem with that and found it very difficult to do.

Eventually she gave in and joined her sister in thanking God for this miserable part of their lives. But it was amazing to see what God had planned about the fleas. Apparently the guards didn't like fleas either. So they stayed away from the barracks that the women were in. Therefore the women had a lot more freedom––freedom from assault, and freedom to cluster together to study the Bible and to pray. Yes, in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.

I too find it difficult to give thanks for the hard things, albeit nothing quite so drastic. But so often God eventually allows me to see through the hard things and find the good.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I was home for two days trying to get over this virus I've been playing with fighting for over a week. The third morning I grabbed my purse and headed for the door while I fished out my keys. Or tried to. They weren't there. It was a sort of sinking feeling, like they were really, really gone. I quickly looked everywhere they might be, borrowed the Gardener's set of car keys and headed out. All day I had that sick feeling you get when you know something is not right. I earnestly prayed. I was confident that God knew where they were. I called the places I had been the day before I hibernated. One was a picnic area, the ground  c  o  v   e   r   e   d   with leaves. Sinking feeling.

Being a control-type of person, I have a hard time letting go. Then I was afraid I would find them in the freezer (that is a symptom of Alz. you know) Finally I took courage and looked there, the one place I hoped I would not find them. Nope, they weren't there.

The Gardener grew concerned thinking this might be a "serious loss." And we might need to make some new keys. I had a long talk with God. I knew I had to give up my control and give in to the possibility I may not find them. The next day I went grocery shopping, clutching ever so carefully the borrowed set of keys. After I got home I took our turkey to the deep freeze in the outdoor storage room. There they were, not IN the freezer, but ON the freezer. I raised my hand with the keys and sailed into a meeting the Gardener was having with some colleagues in our living room. Such good news to share, and very thankful.  And so happy they were ON the freezer, not IN it! At least I think that's better. :-)

Photo: our first fire in our refurbished fireplace! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

going bananas

 I wonder if I inherited a gene for going loving bananas. Because I do. 
And something I care a lot about is this banana boat that has been 
passed down several generations. Obviously others in the family also enjoyed bananas.
I love the glass work. Beautiful detail. It looks best when filled with bananas (of course)!
It came "on the boat" from Holland with my great-great grandmother and
 her young girls in the last quarter of the 19th century.
That sounds like a long time ago and it was. 
Sometimes I'm fearful that I will be the one to break it. 
Many a banana has rested here ... for I'm not sure what else would rest there as nicely.
Maybe other fruit would manage there as long as not too close to the edge.
Now I'm suddenly remembering my mother had a milk grass banana boat.
I wonder where it is now. Or was it my grandmother's?
Funny how one memory can lead to another.
And we may not get answers to some of these questions we are curious about--too late in life.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

tea for three by the sea-shells

Several years ago we had a teaparty for my great nieces on my sister's porch.
 Since then when they are at their grandma's (my sister) they ask for a teaparty. 
My sister sent me this collage of their latest teaparty which looks to be full of goodies! 
I love it when little kids associate things such as teaparties with certain places, and ask for traditions!
On the other side of my sister's porch is her collection of sea shells. 
Their muted colors attracted my camera!.

See Mary's Little Red House for other Monday Mosaics.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

hoping for a red Letter mail day

And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?"
~W.H. Auden

Seems that every day I look forward to the mail. Even in these days of email, there's a slight rise in suspense as I walk to the box. I just don't know what all might be in it when I pull down the lid. Junk mail is a given; some can be recycled on the way back into the house. The credit card offers can be torn in half; the bills piled high; and the endless catalogs can be recycled or looked at. 
But very occasionally ... out falls a treat ... yes, a REAL, handwritten letter or card.

The first clue is the hand written address. True, it could be an invite, but honed detective skills quickly rule that out. The envelope can be a gift in itself. I have one friend who makes envelopes from magazine pages that picture something I love. Others adorn an envelope with a sticker. 
And I always know an intentional letter writer when the stamp is above average. 
Obviously serious about their correspondence, they looked for nice stamps, not just the usual flag stamp.

When I get mail like this, it's a "red letter mail day."* If I have the time, I'll make a cup of tea
 before I sit down to open the letter, which I consider a true gift.

And why is it a gift? Because someone cared enough to get out pen, paper, envelope, a stamp, look up my address and actually write some thoughts down on paper. Something for me to think about, delight in, etc. Letters can be saved ... and read again and again. The handwriting might even tell us 
something ... was the writer feeling happy, writing in leisure, or stressed and dashing off a missive?

The other day I got such a letter from a very old friend. In fact, we didn't know each other all that well as we sat side by side in choir practice so long ago. She was expecting her first child and we connected in many ways. Somehow we kept in touch because we both cared about such a thing. When her kids were old enough to homeschool she asked me advice and I tried to encourage her. 
Even though it's easy to dash off an email, she took the time to write. And ... she has nine kids! 
 I figure if she can find the time to write ...

... So can I. Because I know how nice getting a letter can be, I do my best to write them when I can ... not only to people far away but even to friends who live locally. 
Because there's just something about getting a letter ...

("Red letter day" comes from the practise of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red, way back in the 1500s--i.e., a special day.)

Connecting to Chari's Happy to Design  for Sunday Favorites. Published four years ago this month.

Not my photos; photo on left of a rubber stamp my sister used on a card to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I planned to mow the lawn and clean up leaves today, but instead a slow, steady, gentle rain arrived. I am delighted to be home today. I got the porch cleaned and ready for winter, but as I did so I could not help but marvel at the beauty of the leaves on such a gray day. I've always felt they are maybe even more striking when the sun is not bright. Out came my camera. It's been such a beautiful autumn, but I'm guessing the leaves will begin to fall quickly now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

our boy

"Littlest One" is growing so quickly, now at 4 1/2 months. 
His sweet personality is shining and making us smile.
 It's hard to keep up with current photos ... this was almost a month ago.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Sitting around our bookclub brunch table, we all concluded that "Janet" 
was Mr. Rochester's "pet name" for his beloved Jane Eyre.
In a beautiful setting on a lovely fall morning, we talked about a book many of us had first 
read in our younger days. Personally, I found reading it again at this stage of my life was so good.. 
I don't remember being so struck back then with the wonderful nuggets of truth and 
human nature tucked everywhere in the rich writing of Charlotte Bronte.
For example, Helen Burns, Jane's school friend who died too young said to Jane, 
"Life to me is too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs."
And, when Mr. Rochester chided a young Jane on advising him, she chimed back with pithy words: 
"I only remind you of your own words, sir: you said error brought remorse, 
and you pronounced remorse the poison of existance."
Our hostess and discussion leader suggested that, "Literature is human experience in written form."
And one can't get much richer literature than digging into the depths of Jane Eyre. 
If nothing else, the shining example of deep and abiding love is something to pause and consider. 
If you haven't read Jane in awhile, I recommend it. We only got through
 half of the book that morning. It's the first book we've read that we've had to call a second 
round of discussion. We're looking now for a date for Part II. We've been having
 our book clubs on Saturdays this year so our friend in Austria (six hours ahead) 
can join us. Can you find her in the photo above?

Lastly, if you take a photo of a shiny carafe, you see yourself in it.

Connecting to Little Red House and Monday Mosaics!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

around every corner

I read somewhere recently this quote by Albert Camus:
 "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
And another quote by an unknown author: "Autumn is a season 
of transition and transformation. Beauty and wonder are around every corner."

This is my favorite neighborhood view, and it's around the corner from our house where 
I walk or drive  almost every day. The de-leafed tree on the left is the first to show color 
and my sign that fall is approaching. I'm not sure why it's always so far ahead of the rest.
Such beauty!  (and enhanced by the recyle cans! LOL).

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