Thursday, January 28, 2016

heart sights

We had a "good storm," if there is such a thing.
After the snow, sleet came down rather than the freezing rain 
that would have caused power outages.
We were thankful.
We stayed in for two whole days and didn't mind a bit.
Sunday we carefully made our way to church as the ice and snow melted.
Meanwhile I enjoyed some time to putter and put up small
heart tokens to enjoy as Valentine's Day approaches.
Not that buttons have anything to do with hearts, 
but whimsy is always nice.
"In this is love, not that we loved God,
but that He loved us . . ."


Monday, January 25, 2016

one at a time


I make one cup of real coffee in the morning while the Gardener may or may not make a full pot of decaf. For years I used a plastic cone found at a yard sale. The coffee dripped quickly throughout the filter and I knew just how much hot water to pour over the grounds. Eventually I got a ceramic cone. The hole is a bit smaller so it takes longer for the water to run through. I can either stand there and watch the process, or run and do something and come back, hoping the cup hasn't overflowed.

I have the "gift" of multitasking. It seems that I often do more than one thing at a time, if not three. And there's so much I want to do in a day, that it seems hard to stand still for however long it takes for the coffee to filter through.

But I have determined to do just that. I force myself to watch and wait. 
It's a good discipline for a ditsy multi tasker. 
And it's a sort of relief to focus on just one thing.
The traffic in our city is a somewhat related topic. I was talking to a friend recently about 
how we both notice how cars hesitate when the light turns green, resulting in more traffic. 
We think it's people on their cell phones--texting or checking emails or reading Facebook. 
Have you noticed?
Some of our traffic lights hold excessively long, so I have been known to check my email 
or dictate a text while constantly watching for the light to change. 
But more recently, as with the coffee making above, I'm trying to keep 
my phone in my purse and focus on only one thing. 
Well ... maybe two if I have the radio on.

How about you?

Joining Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

milk and eggs, blue skies and traffic jams



I decided to join the crowds in the store this morning. Everyone was getting "milk and eggs" (I really saw several leaving with just those two items in hand), but I think we used to say "Bread and milk." (Maybe everyone is low carb these days). Sure enough, when I got to the milk shelf, it was empty. There were a few cartons of eggs left. Snow was a regular non-event when I was growing up in a suburb of Chicago, thus it is amusing to see how much of a deal it is in this southern state.

Meanwhile our sky is a deep blue and cloudless. You'd never know a huge storm of ice, sleet, rain, wind and snow is on its way. "They" say this is the real deal and I guess we'll know tomorrow.







Traffic is unusual for this time of day as people prepare to "hunker down."

I'm guessing the roads will be empty tomorrow. I've already had two things canceled.

I did find some almond organic milk on the shelf, and even though I paid more for it, we'll have milk for our traditional "snow day corn chowder."


Monday, January 18, 2016

a collection


Once when we were taking our son to college we stopped in an antique shop in Lancaster, PA.  And there I saw a whole room turned into a 50s kitchen with black and white checked flooring and filled with pieces of Hall pottery. Since my mom always used a Hall teapot, I knew the name and the quality.

I came home with a few pieces and so began my collection of Hall creamers. I've always loved pitchers or "jugs" and their varied shapes, and I now had my love in miniature.

Looking for Hall creamers became our mission 
when visiting antique or thrift shops.
They aren't easy to find.
Here are some of my favorites for their color or unique style.
I love the tiny ones without handles.
These remind me of what you might find when having 
a cup of coffee in a diner up north.
I have two or three that obviously aren't Hall, and a couple don't have
the marking but are "cut from the same mold."
The Gardener found me the perfect shelf,
and I'd say my collection is complete!
They do make me smile.

and


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Helping

"I know it's hard but you'll get through it."
"I know how you feel."
"She's in a better place."
"Let me know if I can do anything."

At our mentor group last week, after we talked about writing letters and notes, 
we switched gears and talked about how to help someone get through suffering.
A whole different ball of wax.
I wish I knew when I was younger what I do now.

It's always hard to know what to say. But the quotes above are NOT the
best way to express concern.
Rather, "I'm sorry" is always a good thing to say.

And instead of "Let me know if I can help," it's a whole lot better to say something like:

"I have Saturday morning free and would like to help you in whatever you need."
or
"I know you could use a break. Can I bring your kids to my house for a few hours?"
or
show up with food
or
organize others to bring food.
Food always seems helpful.

There's so much more to say about helping when someone is hurting. 
We long to fix things but what we need to do is to just be there, to walk with 
with them through the pain and sorrow, And we don't always need to use words. 
Sorrow doesn't leave after the funeral, it's with us for a long time.

We all have been through hard times or have helped others. 
This may be what you do, or you may
have better ideas. At least we got our
girls thinking about how to help.



Sunday, January 10, 2016

m a i l

I love a scene in an Austen movie where two girls are pouring over a letter from the morning's mail.  
  They discuss the nuances of what is implied as they “read between the lines” as well 
as examine the penmanship and what it says about the mood of the person writing. 
While the emails received in another movie, You've Got Mail, may be just as exciting to read, 
there's something lost without paper to hold and penmanship to enjoy, 
not to mention the little piece of art affixed in the upper right corner of the 
envelope that arrives tucked in between bills and flyers.

Virginia Wolf said, "I like opening an envelope and thinking myself loved." 
At our recent mentor meeting I tried to instill some enthusiasm for letter writing, 
sending cards and thank you notes 
to our young women––millennial texters every one of them.
So much of the history we know is because of letters people wrote. 
(We certainly aren't going to print all the emails we receive.) 
I'm so thankful for the letters my parents kept––to me they have become
stories between them and their parents, siblings and friends. 
Reading them is a step back in time, 
and I'm even learning some things about myself.
I showed the girls some of the cards and notes I've received from one friend
in particular who loves to create cards or embellish them. 
She finds an inspiring quote to include in the note, or
a verse of scripture. They are always uplifting.
We talked about how encouraging a note can be to a sick friend or a discouraged friend.
Or just a note to say why we are grateful for a friendship.
Taking a little time to find pen, paper, a stamp and writing a note is hugely encouraging. 
And at only the cost of a stamp and a little time.
We gave the young women a set of notecards and stamps to 
help them on their way.
I think they caught the vision.
Some texted me the next day that they were writing a note or two.
Here's a stack of letters I haven't read yet. His and hers.  
My parents' love letters.
Maybe you can read the note my mother, as a young bride,
left for posterity under the pink ribbon.
If she had known what her second daughter 
would be like, she may have added, 
"And that means you, Podso!"





Monday, January 04, 2016

January is here

The rains have stopped, the soupy humidity went away, and the sun came back. 
The calendar page is fresh and new and almost empty.
 I stepped outside this morning and took a deep breath of cold, crisp air. 
My bronchitis is almost gone. 
January, it's good to see you!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Layered success

 It's the time of year when we bring out the new calendar, exclaim
over the passing of time, and think on some resolutions for the new year.
 I remember writing my list of goals for the new year 
when I was younger, but I haven't done it in many years.
Maybe because after a week or so they were always forgotten.
A scrap of paper buried deep somewhere never to be seen or thought of again.
 I've been sick since Christmas and have tried to slow down.
Which brings opportunity to think. And wonder about changes.
I've done some reading about change and the idea of small goals.
Reachable and manageable, bite-sized.
Keeping a journal with goals written and progress reported on
is of course far better than a lost scrap of paper with bold monumental goals.
When one little bit is accomplished,  another goal can be focused on.
It's certainly nothing new, not rocket
science, but it spoke to me.

Little layers of success to celebrate.

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