Monday, June 30, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

keeping up appearances . . . or not . . .

 We live in a city where appearance seems to be very important.
People show their money by how they live. Moving "up" happens
a lot, and updating or remodeling homes, upgrading furniture,
and the latest decor designs seem to have high value.
 It's easy to fall into that mindset. Our house does not have an "open plan."
(I rather like all the separate areas.) So should we tear down a wall to
make the house more sellable? (no, we won't, but those thoughts do come.)
 Comfort, coziness and family heirlooms/history are high on my house values.
We stay with the old, the things we love, but the update question tempts us
because of the "brainwashing" we get from things like home
improvement shows, blogs, or magazines filled with sparkling homes ...
 I have to admit, I feel a sense of relief and comfort when I see homes of my peers that 
aren't updated, that are filled with furniture from when they began "housekeeping," 
or beloved antiques or consignment purchases that are sturdy and speak 
of being loved and used. They may cook on an old but perfectly functioning
stove, turn on, not tap on, their kitchen faucet, and seem happy and content
to be what they are.
 It's something I ponder on occasion.

And then Eldest Son brings along a scrap piece of gorgeous granite.
What can we say? What can we do? In the artful act of balance,
a little updating comes our way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the day the music played

Our nieces always favor us with their current piano recital pieces when they visit. They both are doing well; the oldest now ending her 5th year, and the younger more at the beginner level. As S. played, I found myself so familiar with the music, even though I may not have heard it for many, many years.

When she was finished I jumped up, "S, I think maybe I played that piece!"

I ran over to examine her music. The book looked familiar. I dug through the piano bench filled with sheet music and sure enough found my book. We compared. Exactly the same book, except, mine was yellow with age, and cost so, so much less. Like exactly a dollar and 25 cents for the whole book.
Sure enough, there were Miss Hamner's pencil markings. I can just hear
 her saying "One and two and three and four and …"

So  . . . I sat down and tried to play it. Not so great. 
The fingers don't work like they used to on the runs. 
But, I guess I love a challenge, and rose to it. Now I practice it each day.
My fingers are starting to behave, and it's coming back to me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

nap time

At the end, the ice-cream filled cone squished in her little hand, oozing it down her arm.
Messy, messy. But this littlest  one didn't miss a beat at her big brother and sister's
birthday party, trying her best to keep up with the big kids.

Upstairs for a mini bath we went. She loved the novelty of the sink bath 
as she screeched "Ba! Ba!" (bath) As she lay on the changing table while I diapered her, 
the towel touched the side of her face. Her fingers popped into her mouth and her eyes 
got heavy, starting to close. Time for a nap, all fresh and clean. 
A tuckered out little party girl.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

tea for vee

 It's time for Vee's notecard party, which means that another month has flown by.
But it appears that I haven't read well, and Vee's cardshop is closed for the summer.
So we'll just call these framed photos rather than "notecards," on a tea theme.
And it looks like I've had some milk and sugar in my tea.
 I'm thinking back to a trip to the Kenya highlands and a walk among the tea fields.
Tea as far as the eye can see.
 After an inspiring walk, it's time for a cup of locally grown tea.
Let's have a seat and a cuppa. The weather here in the highlands is
pleasant so a hot drink is welcoming even on a warm afternoon.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kati's Photo Challenge Week 2

upside down

red, white and blue.
Happy Flag Day! (thank you Betsey Ross)
Please visit Kati's blog to see others who have joined in

Friday, June 13, 2014

stormy weather

I just happened to take photos of a big storm we had last week,
though I had forgotten the subject of Donna's next photo challenge.
Here's my two views of the rain, captured as dusk began to fall.
Then we had another afternoon storm … actually we have one nearly every day now.
This was taken during torrential rain, though you would hardly know!
I especially love looking at the rapidly changing sky as the storm advances.

Please go visit Donna's Monthly Photo Challenge.
You might like to join in!

Monday, June 09, 2014

the gift of giving

A firm knock sounded at the office door where I worked in a hospital baby nursery. A well-dressed, good looking young man of 10 stood at the door grasping a huge basket filled with gifts.

His mom and siblings stood at a distance as he announced to us that he had been born in this hospital that day, in the morning, 10 years before. He was on the way to his birthday party and would be getting presents, but first he wanted to give somebody else a gift. Could we find a baby boy who had been born between 8 am and noon and please give the basket to him?

We had just the right baby, one whose family could really be helped by such a gift––a basket filled with baby supplies, a soft blanket and a baby boy outfit. I wish I could have told the birthday boy of the delight on the faces of that baby's parents when I walked into their room with the overflowing basket, and the gratitude they expressed to an unknown friend.

If I could find him, I'd also thank his mom for teaching him the joy of giving. He's probably 20 by now, and my guess is he still has the gift of giving. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old[er]  he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

week 1 photo a day challenge

Kati's photo challenge for this week:
(in order:) leaf, favorite color (green and pink), weather, 
on the wall, sunglasses, dot, and water.
Please visit Kati's blog to see other photos for this fun challenge.

Friday, June 06, 2014

powered down

I guess the older we get, the more there is around us to trigger memories.
Such as the other night when we had an intense summer storm. A big one.
The power went off. Our years living in Africa where that
 happened almost daily has made that not too big a deal for us.
I went into the dining room and lit the oil lamp. I thought I might write a
few notes. The soft glow of the lamp, one we actually had taken to
 and brought home again from Africa many years ago, reminded 
me of a photo we have of me writing by the light of that very lamp.
Memories flowing, I sat down to play the piano. Something I rarely take the
time to do in spite of good intentions. Time slowed down. I wondered about reading
a book on my iPad.  But really this should be a technology free evening.
I looked at the rain pounding against the windows. I looked around at the
warm light from candles and the oil lamp softly reflecting shadows.  
I felt my brain clearing, slowing down. I started to reflect, as in to "think deeply." 
Just as I was about to get my pen and paper, the lights flickered on,
the sound of the AC started up, and suddenly the stillness was gone.  
The tyranny of the urgent sauntered back into the house.

I sometimes regret how quickly life continues to change. So much of our lives has to be
done online now. Going "paperless." Automated phone calls. Emailed invitations.
Efficient . . . possibly. But I feel like we lose some good things in all that efficiency. 
I would have enjoyed a whole evening without electricity. 
But probably not much more …

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

photos of the past

I recently found this photo of my maternal grandparents. Check out how big the 
front of this vehicle is. And how they both point their toes out as they pose for the
photographer. My grandpa seems to have his hat at a jaunty angle.

Old photos fascinate me. I like to scan them and look at them on the computer. 
When I then enlarge them I see all kind of details I would not have noticed otherwise.
That often brings questions. Like in this photo, I wonder where their four daughters are.
As time passes, there are fewer and fewer who can answer my questions.
But it's still fun to guess.

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