Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Setting a New Tone

As women, we set the tone for our homes. This I firmly believe.

And it's some tone that I am setting of late. I do not wonder why my beloved is stressed or why I am stressed or even why my grandmother is stressed. It's my fault. All my fault.

Why does it seem as if every little thing she does is aimed at creating maximum annoyance...from the bathroom visits that last over an hour to the scraping of her breakfast bowl dozens of times? This morning, I asked her to please stop. "It's getting on my last nerve. It's unnecessary because it's not helping. You're not getting any more oatmeal that way. I'll make you another bowl if you want more." She was offended; I was irritated: Great combination.

So today I will call a support group. A social worker who visited last fall thought I'd be a candidate one day. I loved that social worker. She was the one who said, when Nan shared that she worries that her cat will smother itself, "You can't possibly believe that your cat would be that stupid!" Actually, she slipped and said something even more to the point, but that's my little secret.

And in other news, my mother is having a port placed today for nutrition and hydration purposes. She is in jeopardy just now in that regard and so we are praying that this will tide her over until she is able to have surgery next week. Lots of things going on all the time around here.

Anyway, back to Nan... One day, if we are blessed, we shall live to be old. Actually, my opinion of living to be old has changed drastically since caring for my grandmother. I'd rather not live to be old thank.you.very.much. (Well shoot! It's already too late for that.) And even saying that is putting my will first and that is the problem in the first place. It is not about what I want. It is about what the Lord has planned. Surely, I can rest in that.

For now, I need to realize that it is important to treat the aged with the respect that they deserve and with tenderness...great tenderness. I am standing in the need of providing both. Today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Head for Margo's

Since I've got nothing, I'm sending you to Margo's for a laugh. It's probably only funny to those who weren't nailed with that big snowstorm last Friday and Saturday. This guy missed his calling...he might be better suited for a pulpit somewhere. :D Oh, and be grateful if he's not giving the warning to your corner.

(I'm still much too busy fluffing in here. How many changes does this make so far? At least 27. Aren't you glad that you didn't see all of them? No voting allowed. ;>)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Does the Lord Require?

From time to time, I find myself pondering what it is that God wants of me, where He wants me to go, how I should have reacted in any given situation (yes, it's always after the fact), what words I should say, what I should do. Pondering isn't exactly the correct word, although I do think on these things. Usually, this could be better (and more honestly) described as fretting, stewing, churning.

It's part of the human condition. And just when I believe that nothing else could possibly happen to stir my world up any more, something always does. The enemy of our souls is like that.

This time it involves the youngest member of my family...questions and deep concerns. And so I've been pondering, fretting, stewing...praying. One day, prayer will top the list and remain there, I hope! Prayer does change things even when it is the calming of the churning. Of course, we yearn for more.

In the end, what will matter? What will stand alone as the single most important thing? Thankfully, I don't have to come up with that answer. It's already been provided in the Word of God. The Word has always proven true in my life and it can be proven true in all our lives and throughout our lifetimes as we yield our very selves to Him.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

(P.S. No sooner had this post been finished [I am writing on Friday, February 5], than I found myself at Suzanne's. She's always good for a cup of coffee and food for thought. This is what I found: The Firestorm. It blessed me and I'm pretty sure that it will bless you, too.)

Peace, Dear Ones.

photo source

Friday, February 5, 2010

Slipping Zoom Settings

Zoom level: 100%

Got myself quite an education yesterday when my zoom settings slipped. I saw what some of you have been privately complaining to me about. Hmmm... Well, I still like my background and will keep it *through Valentine's Day, but I admit that it's busy when you see that much of it. Personally, I can't handle the zoom level at anything less than 160%. What do you keep your zoom setting on?

Zoom level: 160%

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl, if you're planning to watch. Are you?

*Edited to Add: Oh my! I had no idea the can of worms this would open. I hasten to add that I decided to change it rather than risk losing readers. Not over some silly background. This still isn't what I want, but I'll have to check into it further. Tried doing my own background and nearly lost my blog. Yikes! Closing comments for now and DON'T email me either. ☺

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kathy's Gift

What a nice surprise! Noooo, it really was more than that when I received an unexpected package earlier this week. It was more like a reminder...just a little something to say I'm thinking of you and wanting to encourage you. In fact, those were the kinds of words that Kathy used in her email later. It worked.

It's a vintage book of essays by Helen V. Taylor about growing up in Maine. Kathy suggests that my family may want to read the book aloud...true, but I've been doing some advance snooping and I've found a paragraph that could be written about my life here at Haven.

As an old lady she was like a little sparrow. She chattered and chattered and much of what she said was about herself. She was curious about everything and when a team went by the house she quickly went to the window and stood to one side and told us details about the passerby...her gentle voice flowed on and on, around us and beside us, and she didn't often expect a response.

Yes, this could have been written about my grandmother, perhaps about many grandmothers. Nan has, given her front room location, the job of town crier. She is quick to let us know when the mailman has delivered the mail or the plow is making another sweep. She doesn't think that I can hear these things without her announcement. Too cute! Her favorite announcement is that John is home. Mine, too.

Mostly, it reminds me of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book being from the same genre. And the illustrations are so sweet. The chapter called "Maine Winter" describes nearly every winter I've ever known...

Winters in Maine were long and severe. Snow usually fell in early November and the ground was not bare until late March.

But my favorite is a little recipe from the same chapter. Next time it snows I'll try this and report back...

When soft clean snow had just fallen on the kitchen windowsill, Mother would let me open the window quickly and fill a bowl with snow. Then I sprinkled it with sugar and the juice of an orange. It made snow ice cream which had to be eaten fast before it melted.

You will find Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread and you'll be glad that you did!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Search of Built-In Beds

How do ideas come to you for posts? They often come to me from other bloggers. (Ibloggers!) For example, I have always appreciated Swedish architecture and Swedish homes. I've told you about my love of Carl Larsson and all this before I married a Swede. So when I read Judy's post and found her little grandson cozily tucked down in Judy's closet, euphemistically described as "the other guest room," I thought about built-in Swedish beds and how much I've always wanted them and how perfect it would be for my grandsons. And I wondered if my Swede could be talked into creating some and on and on.

Let's begin with a photo of Carl Larsson's bed captured from my little book on Sundborn...

Although it appears to be a built-in as in up against a wall, it's really centered in the room. You can see another view of it here at Adventures in Daily Living. Though it's not up against a wall, it has those features that charm such as the curtains, which can be drawn and the curved lines.

Then, as it happened, I read Melissa's post about Winter Bliss(dom) and found the most perfect built-in situation, which sent me searching further.

Funny thing about this "searching further" as it often brings one right back home. And that's what I found in my search for built-in beds — a Maine architectural photographer and his amazing work — Brian Vanden Brink. You are in for a treat if you visit his web site. So much to see there...much more than beds! If the name sounds familiar, it's because his work has been featured in many books and magazines.

And I found what I think would be the perfect built-in for little boys, though mine would have to include a window. Those confined spaces get quite stuffy.

Or perhaps this...

maybe something like this, which is so charming again because of the curtains...


No, I think the first, which I learned was created in Norway for an American ambassador now living on the coast of Maine. How interesting! The wave flourishes are a nod to the sea, of course. You can read more about the design *here.*

If you require beds using very little space thereby saving room for work or play or if you just think being cocooned in such a cozy spot would be bliss, perhaps you'll be thinking about built-ins, too.

A happy day to you!

Monday, February 1, 2010



Such a great resource for vintage kids' Valentine cards. They take me back...way back and are, in my opinion, far more charming than the Valentines of today.

(Oh, and for those who may not know and wish to...Alt and 3 equal a heart symbol.)
(Edited to add: Mac users? & hearts ; is the formula minus the spaces. Oh, and would a Mac user please let me know if that works? One more thing, Mac users have an options key instead of an alt key???)

As you can tell, it's been all about playing in here with color and what-not. My sincere apologies for not having a real post, but it's been great fun to goof around.

Enjoy this first February day of 2010...
(And it's true, you know: You do suit me to a tea!)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't Worry

(Imagine a black and white photograph of a country road where two roads have recently converged. Newly fallen snow shows sets of tire tracks. There are trees overhead creating a canopy. Although I thought it best to remove the photograph, not having had permission to use the photo, you can see it by following the former photo source.)

On this final day of January...

Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow's going to come and take care of itself in its own time. Embrace this day even with its troubles; pay attention to this day. (my take on Matthew 6:34)

...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5&6

Have a wonderful day!

Photo Source

Friday, January 29, 2010

Coldest Day of the Year

...so they tell us. That'd be good as another day like this wouldn't be much fun. The furnace has run all day long and still I can feel the chill about my feet.

It looked like this with the wind howling and blowing up puffs of snow. All pictures look as if patches of fog are drifting across the landscape, but it's really a fine snow powder.

We had company for lunch — my mother and sister. It was too bad that they chose this day to get out and about. My mother looked so small and cold when she came in that I wanted to gather her in like a child and wrap her in a cozy blanket. Instead, I served her tea right away and had her sit nearest the heat.

This afternoon while taking care of emails, the view beyond my window was this...

Inside it was this...

my nan's bed. I seriously considered asking her if I could climb in there and take a nap. She didn't need it...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grandson and His Pirate Snowman

A Hat on Backwards works just as well, if you don't mind not being able to see

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Could It Be Any Easier?

No, I think not.

And it's delicious, too.

You can take my word for it.

What you ask?


We had it for supper last night. Three thumbs up.

And what's easier than a skillet cake? I've mentioned the recipe that I found at Cherry Hill Cottage. This time I substituted a cup of walnuts for the fruit and used chocolate cake mix. It's quite good. And easy. And easy is what I'm looking for these days.

This is one of those cakes that gets even better with time. A generous dollop of whipped cream or some ice cream doesn't hurt either. Hope that you'll give it a try.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Being Present Through January's Final Week

It occurs to me that I should apologize for the quality of the photos here lately. It's either the camera, the photographer or the dreary days...

Dreary days require some warmth so I've been glad that I left some Christmas color around this January. I'm still celebrating winter though celebrating is much too strong a word; it's really more that I'm not anticipating spring yet. There's still this last week of January to live and I want to be like Teresa @ Plumwater Cottage who is working on being present.

The little snowman above is the direct result of visiting Dawn at The Feathered Nest and a blogger named Kerry whom she featured. *You must see Kerry's bottle,* if you've not already...such a good idea! I need to make a little quote for my snowman.

Last, I'm still playing with the centerpiece. This is where it is so far. Hope that it's done now, but I never know.

Oh good heavens! I now see that I am a total sham. Look at those roses! Nothing very January about those now is there?!

Have a great Tuesday, Dear Ones...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Up to Somethin'

Been thinking about this trouble spot since I visited Margo's Junkin' Journal a few days ago. The solution had been brewing and I knew that I had just the thing...just exactly "the thing," but where was it?

Not there...

Not there...

Not there...

Not there!

Bravely, I struck off after it...

twice! (This was a reenactment for blogging purposes don'tcha know.)

Much better! What's that? Yes, I was in my nightie. Doesn't every gal scamper about her backyard in January this way?

Yes! This will work...

if I don't get carried away with the cleaning

and leave just the right amount of dirt and mold. Gotta love those nice chippy cracks, too.

Determined to achieve my goal of creating a new centerpiece similar to Margo's, I decided not to even sneak a peek at the original.

Still no peeks, obviously... :-/

Had to peek

Calling it quits for today, though I'm going to try again soon. Stay tuned for further developments.

In the meantime, check out *Margo's Junkin' Journal Giveaway*

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Project Story Mosaic

Playing along with Mary at Little Red House...

Have been experimenting with repeating pictures in mosaics. Perhaps I'm getting ready to move on to my next kick — quilt making.

Comments are off so that you may enjoy visiting without pressure. My next post will tell the rest of this story: plenty of pictures minus the mosaic.

Enjoy your day and thank you for your visit!

God Leads

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.

Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads His dear children along.

~George A. Young

I've always liked this song and most especially the chorus. It reminds me that there is no parity with God and what is one person's story will not be another's.

We lost two family friends unexpectedly this week. One was a woman my mother's age who had never missed a day of work, until that last day. She was always asking John how my mother was doing and telling him to let us know that she was praying. The other was a gentleman who had befriended both my mother and grandmother and who often sent them beautiful roses. He had been ill, but no one expected him to fall in the night, hit his head, and go home to Glory just like that. As John prayed that first morning,"Thank you, Lord, that I could call her my friend." And again just Friday morning, "Thank you, Lord..."

We'll see them both again one day and that is great comfort. Even Death will not have his way.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~Romans 8:37

And in the meantime, we'll trust God knowing that He has our lives and times in His hands. He will do the leading and the deciding. It's only up to us to follow.

Photo Source

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In a Jam

Have you ever been like Old Mother Hubbard who went to the cupboard? I'm beginning to look more and more like her, too. Not only am I ransacking the cupboards, I'm growing ever more rotund. It's true what they say about those macaroni diets.

Yesterday as I was scrounging about in the fridge, I realized that a lot of excellent real estate was being taken up by jam. There were seven jars of jam...homemade jam...good stuff...not a lot of protein, but still, you know, good. And maybe even great if your mama made the jam the way my mama made this jam.

I remembered an old bar recipe that she used to bake...my mama, not Old Mother Hubbard. As I recalled, the bars were easy, quick, and tasty and they would take care of at least one jar of that rhubarb jam.

Well shoot! What do you suppose are the chances of my ever turning back into my former svelte self? Hahahaha, I crack myself up.

Oh! The recipe!

Jam Bars


* 1½ cups flour
* 1½ cups quick oatmeal
* smidge of salt
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp baking powder
* ¾ cup butter
* 1 cup jam (I give you permission to cheat on this one way or the other)


* Mix together dry ingredients.
* Work butter in until the mixture is crumbly.
* Save a third of the crumb mixture for the topping and place the remainder in the bottom of a 13×9½×2 pan.
* Press in firmly.
* Spread jam evenly over the top.
* Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining crumbs.
* Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.

Did your mama ever make this for you?

Mother Hubbard source

Friday, January 22, 2010

An Experiment With Pattern

That "quilt" mosaic on Wednesday sparked something. I've always been interested in pattern and design and have actually written about it before in a post titled Fractals.

Have you ever heard of a Sierpinski triangle? It is a formula that repeats over and over again in what some might initially consider randomness or chaos, but which ultimately turns out to be design. (Course you know what I think about design.) The triangles are fun *to make; children who reach a certain age love them; and they can be colored to create all sorts of delicious designs.

Well thought I, why not try it with photo mosaics in squares and see what happens. Now I don't know if this can be considered "Sierpinski" though it looks "Sierpinski-ish" enough to me.

(Any reason at all to feature the grands, both of whom have had a birthday since last they showed up here. Four and three — what delightful ages to be!)

A friend purchased a somewhat expensive computer program to help her design quilts. I think I might show her this and see what she thinks. She's going to say,"Muddy." That much I do know. ☺

*To make a Sierpinski triangle:

1. Draw a large triangle
2. Draw a triangle within the triangle where the points touch at the midpoints of each of the original's sides...that's three. ;>
3. Continue in this fashion for each newly created triangle.

Go ahead and try it; you know you want to!!

Happy Friday, Everyone...