Thursday, May 31, 2012

a hundred years from now

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was,
 the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world
 may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” 
(Forest E. Witcraft, American Scholar, Teacher and Scout Leader, 1894-1967)
My cousin is packing up her home of 39 years and she and her husband are heading 
out to new adventures. One of their goals is to pour their lives into their 
grandchildren by living closer to them. She put the above quote on her FB page
 as a sort of theme explaining their new life! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hope Springs Eternal

I've been robbed before, but never from right under my nose. And so it happened on a quiet road on the university campus in our adopted West African city. Our country was at one of its lowest points economically––ever. There wasn't much to buy to eat, and there was rarely gas in the station pumps. In fact we never found it except the time I remember the Gardener spending a day and a night in a gas line. I think he got maybe a half a tank.

But hope springs eternal and the Gardener was always hopeful that one day we'd find gas available (called "petrol" there). And he wanted to be ready, so he drove around close to "E" and carried a geri tin of petrol in the back of our pick-up truck. He also carried some empty ones ... just in case there was extra gas (there's that hope!)

So one day I drove our double cab pick-up over to the university to buy some eggs from a chicken farm there. Sputter, sputter. The car went dead. Just as I was thinking some not-so-pleasant thoughts about the Gardener and his stubborn optimistic spirit, along came two young men. I asked if they could syphon some fuel for me from the geri tin into my gas tank. They did so and I hopped in the car to continue my errand. But it wouldn't start.

"Let me try," the kind young man offered. I got out to let him in the driver seat. He got it started and promptly drove away. And didn't come back for a  l-o-n-g  time. Standing there on the tree-lined college campus road, I felt very sick to my stomach. I thought our truck was gone for good. While he was away he rifled through the glove compartment and must have thought more seriously about what he was doing as he did bring the vehicle back. So I guess I was only temporarily robbed––but it was one of those moments etched in memory. I skipped buying the eggs and tore home, ran into the meeting my husband was in, and immediately burst into tears. I guess the stress had been great.

And I insisted that I learned to syphon. From then on whenever I took the truck, I first syphoned to a quarter of a tank. It's amazing how much more secure I felt once I had developed that (choking) skill.

(not my photo)

Friday, May 25, 2012

breakfast brigade

Seems like I've been posting mainly photos lately. My creative juices are just about spent doing 
other things. We've had several rounds of house guests this past week, with more to come,
while trying to keep up with our regular lives, too. It's been challenging but great fun. 
Especially since they are all old friends from years gone by ... we had
our babies together, we went to college together, etc., and we "take up where we left off." 
One morning we had one of our favorites: what we call a European breakfast. 
--At least this is what we experienced many mornings in Europe--.  
Hard boiled eggs in pretty egg cups, assorted breads or bagels, jam, cheese, meat, and 
fruit and the regular stuff––coffee, tea and juice. We could have added yogurt but we had plenty already. 
It's such an easy breakfast to make as we can get it pretty much ready ahead of time. 
The only challenge might be the peeling of the egg. 
But we were probably so busy talking we barely noticed the effort.
This pic is for a bloggy friend of mine ... I think she knows who I mean!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

when the sun is at its best

There's something about mornings ... I've always said in my mind that mornings are "when the sun is at its best." I love driving to my job that starts in daylight ... for there seems to be stir of anticipation and expectation in the air as I look around at the traffic flowing along. And we enter the office, crisp and scrubbed, smelling the aroma of fresh coffee ... and ahead of us is the promise of a new slate. At home, I often put off a chore from the evening to the morning when I have more energy. The sun is newly risen, not yet with the intense heat that comes later in the day ... and chores just seem more manageable. It could be that I simply love mornings. If I sleep in too late (which is hard to do for someone who has worked shifts for years) I feel like I've wasted the "best part of the day."

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day.

                                                                 -Eleanor Farjeon, 1931

                                                                      (Photos from along my drive to my nursing job ...
                                                                                       most of the year seen only in the dark!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Their faces are shining!

 They are here! And their colors are so different this year. 
It's always fun to see just what colors will come.
 There are quite a few dark purple this year, but we saw these on a walk 
in the city and they were all pastels.
These are either beginning or all we get, but so lovely and delicate!

See Little Red House for other Monday Mosaics.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Finding pink

When I was looking at photos from our recent trip further south it was interesting how the photos with
pink popped out just like the color red does. In fact either color makes a photo somehow look better.
   Have you ever noticed that in a photo of a group of people --- if someone is wearing red or pink?
Pink walls in a Ringling Art Museum room.
Pink shops !
Homemade pink mother's day cards in my mom's room ... Little One made the one on the far right!
She's learning how to be thoughtful of others.

Joining with Beverly's Pink Saturday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

find a pen

This week I took a stroll through past blog posts and just pulled 
photos off without searching out a larger, original image.
I did a little playing in a photo editing program.
One reminded me of spring that left not long ago.
I wrote a thank you note this week on a real photo notecard made by 
someone else. The recipient emailed me how much she appreciated it 
and how rare a thing it is.
Does anyone hand write notes or letters anymore?

Joining  A Haven For Vee   for "Photo Note Card Wednesday!"

Friday, May 11, 2012


On this Mother's Day weekend I'm thinking of all the women who have gone before me and influenced my life.  
And those that are yet to come. On both my mother's side and my father's side, 
I'm grateful for godly women who have taught me much through their lives. 
They (aunts, great-aunts, grandmothers and mother) were well educated and involved in many things,
but for the most part chose to work at home while they raised their babies.
And they ran their homes with great skill. 
(Photo above, my grandmother's kitchen; my mother on left.)
They all were excellent cooks. Except maybe my great-aunt, 
above on the lower left. She worked in an office and took care of her mother in later years. 
I don't think I ever had a meal she made! But what a great influence she had on me. 
Now I'm enjoying her tiny diaries that tell small details of her daily life. 
My dear mom, above, blossoms at ninety! How grateful I am to have been (and still am) 
mothered by her. To me she is perfect. No harsh words, no complaining, even when life 
brought her less than desirable circumstances. Mom loved my dad deeply and has accepted 
widowhood with great grace. I am still learning from her! I feel so privileged to still be able 
to call her every day, to hear her ever-cheerful voice, and to visit her often during the week.
 I am blessed.  
Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Letting our Hair Down

Years ago my little boys and I were perched on a bench looking up at the turret of a Salzberg castle on a sunny summer day. It seemed the perfect time to tell them the story of Rapunzel. Being boys, they weren't that impressed. Little One, on the other hand, delights in princesses, castles, and stories told as well as read. Her imagination seems endless. When I told her the "Princess and the Pea" we piled up pillows for mattresses. And when I told her Rapunzel, we initially found long necklaces to stand in for the very famous braid. 

When Little One comes to my house all by herself, we have such fun. She has all kinds of ideas, including acting out stories over and over.  One day we used a bunch of my long scarves tied together to make "the braid." And the stairway was our turret. Over and over we played that game until I finally diverted her into something where Grandma could sit down for awhile. On an earlier visit I took her to my grandmother's cedar hope chest that sits at the end of our bed, thinking she could see a real braid. Inside are all kinds of family treasures including my braid from when I had my very long hair cut short at the age of 35. I'm not sure why I still keep it, but I think I forget it's there for years at a time. But Little One doesn't forget now. Of course she found it quite interesting. Every so often she'll say, "Let's have a look at your braid, Grandma," and she'll head for the hope chest, lift up the lid, and we'll have a look!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

the old girls

I call these the "old girls." I love crusty old pots, and at the Ringling Museum there were 
plenty lined up in a curvaceous manner, just begging me to take out my camera.
They looked old; I wonder just how old. 
They seem to be guarding young David, not that he'd need it
(yes, Michelangelo's David, a copy from the original.)
Such simple beauty.

Sharing with Little Red House's Monday Mosaics.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

a solemn joy

God! Thou are Love! I build my faith on that!
I know Thee, Thou hast kept my path and made
Light for me in the darkness––tempering sorrow,
So that it reached me like a solemn joy:
It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love.

   ... a favorite poem from Robert Browning

Linking to With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart...Think on These Things # 12 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

flying saucers

The other day I decided to get out all my saucers without their cups.
 I wanted to try and take an ariel view photo in the light of an early morning.
It's not like I was bored or had nothing to do, but sometimes 
I get an idea in my head and simply have to try it out.
 Further in my defense for this seeming waste of time, if I don't do something 
creative every so often, I just don't feel so well.
While my creative juices were trying to stir, I got it in my head to
 try an undershot of this stack of saucers.
That was harder than I thought.
This shot plays tricks with my eye, especially the front yellow and white saucer.
It and the others look inverted, or a better way to explain it, puffed up from the underside.
I do enjoy my eclectic collection of cups and saucers.
As you might guess, each one has a story to tell.

Joining Kathleen's Let's Dish on Wednesdays!
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