Monday, May 24, 2010
Ha! Laughing at my inspired title. I am sitting here thinking how in the world did it get to be Memorial Day already? (I remind myself of my nan who can't believe it got to be any day already.)
Now that I have confessed that Memorial Day has taken me quite unaware, I'll wish you a blessed day with family and friends. Hopefully, our day here will include a quickly planned bbq, a drive through the cemetery, and an ice cream cone at the local custard shop and a goodly amount of remembering.
I've reproduced last year's library photo only with better results...maybe...and a picture of the town square.
Happy Memorial Day!
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posted using new editor
posted using old editor
posted using new editor
(Pardon my experiment and on a holiday, too. That settles it for me. All pictures will be posted using new editor from now on; although, I am especially fond of last year's library picture.)
Sunday, May 23, 2010
After the rain, the flowers were so beautiful and that fresh scent of green things and earth filled the air.
As one who has watched depression/mental illness affect my family, I find myself fearing the affliction. It snakes its way through both sides of the generations of my father's family. This form of illness can be hereditary and no generation has completely escaped. Of those family members who are ill, some live more or less successfully and others struggle. Some fail. Miserably. Heart-achingly. This is true of each generation we (the family) know of.
Yes, I have feared it. It is a thief and a robber. Sometimes I've looked back and panicked for there has been a lot of pathos; sometimes I've looked ahead and crumbled. I've worried about the generation behind me and the generations ahead of me and I have worried about those beside me. Silly me. There is always something to worry over, but we're expressly told not to give in to fear and worry.
That's why reading Elizabeth Goudge books and especially The Scent of Water has meant so much to me. Elizabeth Goudge herself was no stranger to depression. She shares marvelous insight and comfort with her readers. Her overall message is one of hope. But not hope for hope's sake alone, rather a placing of one's very life in the hands of God where "there is always a way of escape so long as it was to the heart of it, whatever it was, that one went to find Him." p170
The characters of The Scent of Water are many. They exist in the past, the present, and the future. Goudge has many writer's tricks up her sleeve, but I never felt that her story was machinated, well crafted, but not cranked, if you know what I mean.
Finishing the story, I was surprised that Goudge had not used this very familiar verse: God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7
Instead her theme verse was one from Job:
For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. Job 14:7–9
This verse is all the better for it gives hope to those who have already suffered with depression or mental illness. It says that there is hope for renewal. Depression is usually not a choice one makes. What it is is a chemical imbalance in the brain no more a person's fault than if he broke his leg by being hit by a truck. Rarely is it a desire to wallow in misery, wrapping oneself up in sorrow and shutting oneself off from others on purpose no matter what the pastors say.
If you or anyone you know deals with such things, Victory Over Depression by Bob George has been especially helpful and instructive. And I'd also like to say that medical science has come a long way and there is no need to give mental illness more power than it has. The giving of that power has happened in my own family and it has caused some to run and hide rather than to run and "find Him." Proper medication is a very good thing. Being willing to yield to the good judgment of loved ones when one's own is impaired is vital. Pride is most definitely an issue where mental illness is concerned. People do not want to admit that they may be in crisis. As Goudge writes: "I can't talk to people because this illness isn't like other illnesses; all that's worst in it you have to keep buried so as not to distress people, for you must not spread fear." p110
(Some fine day, perhaps I'll write about the nightmare that is mental health care in this country and why it is next to impossible to get anyone help and what perhaps can be done to change it.)
I never thought I'd be writing about this topic here; it's a good thing that I'm putting it on a Sunday post where no one needs comment. ;>
Let us remember to run to the Lord and not from Him...
Friday, May 21, 2010
God shares the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther
Love is like the clouds that are always reshaping themselves... a paraphrase of an Elizabeth Goudge quote from The Scent of Water.
Yes, I am in the thick of it and about to come out on the other side. Ahhhh, sweet respite. Hope that you are all having a wonderful day and looking forward to a refreshing weekend!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
On Monday morning, during our morning devotions, I sneaked a peek during prayer and saw the most vile vulture sitting on that very branch looking right at me. I let out an ackkkkkk that would've stopped a freight train (not to mention providing John a jolt) and sprinted for the door to shoo the thing away. It has no business being there! Did I think of grabbing my camera to capture the moment? No, I did not. That would've been an entirely too sensible a thing to have done and I am not sensible when being stared at by a vulture. After all, I was only semi-comatose and nowhere close to death yet.
He did leave his mark behind... The two tell-tale streaks. The only good thing about vultures is that they do not do their business while flying. Can you imagine? *shudder* They do their business to warm their cold-blooded
It is here that John has taken up the challenge. He installed this concrete wall to shore up the entire back lawn and does not take kindly to it being sullied in this manner.
As is our habit, we went from devotions to breakfast. I to the pouring of orange juice and the dispensing of vitamins and John to his paper. He laughed so when he got to the comics page that I couldn't imagine what possibly was so funny. (Wish that I could describe John's laugh because I love it so. It's deep and rumbly and ends with a little sigh.) Seems that John thinks that C*harles S*chulz wrote it just for me.
So, with all due apologies to the memory of the amazing Mr. S*chulz, we're renaming this one.
* * *
We're enjoying a lovely, old-fashioned Nor'easter today along with a lot of folks...you too? I told John awhile ago that I had dibs on the next rainy day as we would be washing windows. He has just informed me that it's going to be kinda tough for me to get out there on a ladder in all this rain. ;> And, no, he won't have to either. Gheesh. I'm not that tough. (Thanks for the head's up yesterday, Vickie!)
Have a great day, everyone!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I love how my yellow roses have faded to the color of the roses on my tea cups. (I've had so much chamomille tea in the past twenty-four hours that I've practically become a slug. It might have something to do with getting involved with Blogger in Draft and not knowing what I am doing anymore. I am terribly out of my comfort zone for sure!)
Would you let me know if you've tried it and if you like it and how long did it take to get used to it?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Over the past week, we've had frost three consecutive nights. These photos were taken to show the damage in my little garden, but I was surprised how attractive "damage" can be. The wild strawberry plant was touched as was the little red azalea. You will note that I am very good at using a photo multiple times. I'm in my matchy-matchy phase. :D
To see many more wonderful mosaics, visit Mary at Little Red House!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Yesterday was a tease! I'm so bad and how well I know it. I got caught up in the busyness of afternoon company and never got back to my project even after permission had come in. My apologies, truly.
This Dandelion Wishes Jar is a fun and simple project found in Sharon Lovejoy's book Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars on page 6. I've been thinking about it as I've watched the dandelions sprouting up all over the lawn. This may be the one year that I don't wage war against them.
Sharon describes the jar this way:
When your visiting grandchild feels homesick or unhappy, open the lid and offer him one big wish, then let him blow.
Doesn't that sound like just the thing? I'm going to collect a lot and I may blow them all over the neighborhood. And why exactly is it that we get our knickers into such a knot over dandelions anyway?
I decided to attempt a simple little tag that turned into a four-hour project. Don't ask and I'll not tell. It involved learning some new tricks on Photoshop and playing with the camera so that's not time wasted, right?
Next time the grands arrive, I'll have a handy little diversion ready for them when they grow weary or bored. This nonni is going to need a whole truckload of tricks for those precious boys!
Please visit Sharon Lovejoy and thank her for allowing me to spotlight this nifty idea on my blog. (Yes, I requested and received permission to feature this idea on my blog.) Thanks so much, Sharon! You won't want to miss Sharon's California garden and her Maine cottage while you're there. Lovely!
Enjoy this wonderful day...
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Next I added yet another vintage linen tablecloth. This white number had been left behind when I bought my first home back in 1980. The sellers had run a restaurant at one time and they had oodles of these. (It was also badly stained with lots of holes.)
I have something that looks like this. It will be suitable for picnic tables at least! The white tablecloth on top looks like a big table topper, but it is stitched to what remains of the flowered tablecloth.
Two Mary Cassatts — Caresse Maternelle painted around 1902 and Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa Reading painted around 1876. My refrigerator is going to be so well dressed! (Thank you, Kea, love you!!)
As for the "Shalom" pillow...some day. Yes, Someday is coming.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
You know me. I get a lot of mileage out of the simplest things. Currently, it's my one, lonely lilac branch. Vickie had asked me what the flower in my header was. The lowly lilac and nothing more. Obviously, I gave it a hard pruning last year and it is holding it against me. Can't wait to see what my azalea thinks of me after similar treatment a few days ago. I'll have to wait until next spring for certain, but just now she's looking pretty miserable.
All this mileage on simple things is all in the photographer's technique don'tcha know. I, being poorly self-taught, am like the lowly lilac branch. Very little substance here.
In fact, this morning, I discovered that my camera settings have been on the lowest quality. That can't be good. In an effort to remedy the situation, somehow I made a huge mess of everything. Finally, I discovered the trick, which I share with you below.
Typically, I can't even get that right. It is not a "sytem restore" it is a
"resetting settings to their default values." Whatever! The problems righted themselves and I am no longer concerned about photo quality. Head to Ree's for that!
After rescuing my camera settings, I am now in hopes of rescuing some linens. Here are my three projects.
1. lower left corner -- napkin made from ratty old tea towel
2. top right corner -- two ratty vintage tablecloths melded into one...maybe...with luck and a prayer
3. lower right corner -- A crewel wall hanging turned into a crewel pillow...maybe...you know the drill
Check back tomorrow for the results...
(I'm sorry if I've led some to believe that I'm away this week. Not at all. Probably next week. I'm very happy to have the book from Aunt Amelia, but I have already read it. This one is for my shelf and to reference from. The new books will be here soon enough.)
Have a terrific afternoon!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Look what John brought in when he came home for lunch. Yes, he's having chips, egg salad sandwiches, bread and butter pickles, and coffee. Did you know that egg salad sandwiches are in my top five favorite sandwiches of all time? Did you know that sandwiches are in my top five favorite foods of all time? I could eat a sandwich every single day and never tire of it. Oops, pardon moi, this is not a meme.
It's my book from Aunt Amelia!
I'm very excited that I won't have to use my glasses to read this one! And look! It's come full circle sorta.
I've already visited Thorndike Press to see if they have any other books I'm interested in. They don't. But if you ever need a source for large print books, this is a great place to look.
Perhaps one day I'll find something besides Elizabeth's books to think about. Until then, it's over and out for now...
Monday, May 10, 2010
The books went back to the library this morning and I ordered two more, both Elizabeth Goudge books: The Dean's Watch and The Scent of Water. Funny how I can go for weeks without reading anything more than the newspaper or the morning devotional and then I can't read enough. Escapism. I obviously need some.
Speaking of escapism, this week I hope to visit blogs and blog a bit myself before those books come in and I sink out of sight into the sofa cushions.
We had a lovely Mother's Day Tea here on Saturday. The entire house looks like a florist shop because of all the bouquets. That's what happens when two mothers are in the house. We have roses yellow and red, carnations of all colors, two azalea plants pink and coral, hanging petunias and a sage plant, too. It's been so bitterly cold that I haven't dared to put any flowers out. I hope that your Mother's Day was wonderful as well.
Here's Nan's bouquet of carnations, a gift from my daughter to her great-grandmother. Gosh, I love these things as they are so colorful and not one bit fussy like the roses have been.
I redid my little banner after I saw *some that Becky had done* at Sweet Cottage Dreams. John was forever bumping into the first and knocking things about. It's not fair to expect men to put up with fussy things so I set about to fix it. This is how it turned out.
Now to check in on some blogs... Yay!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday night as I was at the checkout, the cashier asked if the items I was purchasing were a Mother's Day gift for my mom. Whyever would a tea cup, tea, marmelade, a Ritter Sport, stationery, a candle and a list book look like Mother's Day gifts? I smiled and said that they were. She said, "I lost my mother this year. You are so blessed to still have yours." I nodded. Oh, yes, I am blessed! At a loss for words, I couldn't say what a year it's been for my family. And, too, I wanted to somehow comfort her in her loss. In the end, she comforted me by saying, "She is always with me."
And that's how most of us experience our mothers. She is indeed always there. Her voice is heard long after the actual sound of her voice is forgotten. We remember how she would have reacted in this situation or that. Her admonishments and encouragements are with us. I know these things because my grandmother tells me how much she longs to see her mother again; yet, her mother has always been with her. Isn't God good to give us mothers? And isn't He good to remind us that even if our fathers and mothers forsake us, He will be there?
You've always been right there for me;
don't turn your back on me now.
Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
you've always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in. ~Psalm 27:10 The Message
Friday, May 7, 2010
The inn itself was a fair-sized old house with bulging white-washed, buttressed walls...
I've been having some fun while away. Today I find myself missing Blogdom so am back. Not really back, back, but a skipperty-lippertish kind of back.
What fun you may wonder. Reading fun! I've been reading The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn. (It's my goal to have the final one finished in time for a Saturday return, though I do have another week to fall back upon. The sooner I finish, the sooner I will be back to visiting you. Yay!) These are such delicious books that I've even been writing down my favorite passages to savor later; these are the kinds of books that one wishes to read again so I will continue to look for them at flea markets. (Thank you, sweet M-N, for your kind offer.)
I'd like to thank those who've read Elizabeth Goudge and shared your love of her books. Brenda's Warm and Cozy Book Recommendations comes to mind and so many others in Blogland have mentioned this author.
The two I have read are about the Eliot family who own homes on England's Hampshire Coast located in the southwest corner. The homes are named Damerosehay and The Herb of Grace. (Herb of Grace is actually the British title of Pilgrim's Inn.) About 80 pages into the first book, I couldn't stand not knowing how to pronounce Damerosehay another minute. Thankfully, someone on the net had already asked and received an answer. You can find it *here.*
These are good old-fashioned reads. There may be undercurrents of sordid details, but goodness, love, and morality always prevail. I may be somewhat at odds with the family matriarch Lucilla concerning the benefits of living in a loveless, hollow marriage, but then I must consider the time in which Goudge was writing. The descriptions of home and garden were so beautifully and lovingly crafted...pure delights. I'll share a few of the excerpts I saved and hope that you, too, may be bitten by the desire to find these treasures at your local library or flea market or on the shelves of a friend's bookcase.
...She spent her whole life in terror of disturbing people when they did not want her and so catching was her frame of mind that they too, when she entered anxiously upon them, were inclined to agree with her that, no, they did not want her...she held aloof always, afraid to give herself lest her gift should be scorned, and possessions that she most deeply prized...slid away from her. ~from The Bird in the Tree describing Margaret Eliot
The thought came to her that though she herself had done all she could, there was upon her side other strength than her own. The universe was planned as an orderly thing, and those forces that try to wreck its order are always on the losing side...
~Ibid describing Lucilla Eliot
"One's real self gets very sharpened when one is unhappy. It gets able to pierce through and make peepholes in the stuff of everyday life. It's practically the only advantage of being unhappy." ~Ibid David Eliot
...beauty and shabbiness are quite compatible. The great thing...is to start well. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but it must be a costly and strong beauty, purchased at a high price of service or sacrifice. ~Ibid Lucilla's opinion
"To a gardener...any garden is home. It's home and work together. It's not any one garden...it's the earth and things growing in it that one loves." ~Ibid Margaret Eliot
Ben decided, not for the first time, that all his family were quite mad, and turned his attention, as Grandmother had advised, to the view.~ IbidJust like Ben, I've been turning my attention to the view quite a lot recently. So much in these books resonates with me from "advice" on how to cope in trying times to thoughts on home and garden and family.
There have been times when separate events come together in my life in striking ways or perhaps it's just because I have a mind always seeking to make connections. I have often been told that I make "unusual" ones. Whatever it is, my gifts from Robin arrived this week and have become one of those striking ties for I will remember this delicious week of reading ever so much better as a result of Robin's thoughtfulness. I don't know if she planned it this way having learned that I was going to read the aforementioned books or if it was a God breeze, but it's wonderful. Just see what I mean...
My gifts and their connections:
The sweet little bird...birds feature prominently in both stories, but especially in the first
The watering can charm...gardening connection
Flower magnets and notepaper...ditto
Verbena soap and lotion...The family matriarch Lucilla uses verbena as her signature scent
Candles...English hyacinth...story set in England and Flowering herbs..."The Herb of Grace" is the home from Pilgrim's Inn.
Vanilla Pear Butter...such a tasty treat for a proper English tea! And how did Robin know that my favorite fruit is pear?!
"Praise God" tag...there's a profound spirituality in these two Goudge books and a message of yielding oneself to God. Love those sweet colors of binding tape to use in tag making. (My mother will benefit first.)
Robin, thank you so much! I was and am blessed!
So what do you think? Were those connections too far-fetched?
Thank you for all your kind comments and prayers for my mother. She is doing quite well, everything considered, and we are all so grateful. At this point, I'm sending a cyber hug to my Aunt Ess and Uncle B. They are the best! I don't know what my family would do without them. God does not leave us comfortless and they have been God's comfort to us in recent days. Hope to have an update on "Behind the Scenes" soon.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. ~Romans 8:26–28 The Message
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My mother's surgery lasted hours longer than we were told with a number of complications and then she was in recovery until evening. It was a very long day. The good news is that once she has recovered, she will be able to do so much more than she has been able to since last October. Thank you for your prayers. They mean more than you may realize. At some point in time, I'll update the little corner with my mother's story called Behind the Scenes. As some of you know, I do talk about it, just not always on the front page.
So while I waited for word from the hospital, I read a wonderful book just arrived from Amazon. A fun book. One filled with super ideas and such easy-to-do ideas. It was the perfect way for me to spend two hours because my mind was focused forward on the grands and not back on my mom and my nan. The two generations ahead of me take up much of my thought life so this was a special treat from the Lord via A Woman Who Is at In a Garden. (Thank you, my friend!) I'm referring you to the post Cindy wrote about *Sharon Lovejoy* who just so happens to be the author of this neat book. Perhaps all of us blogging grandmothers who are reading Sharon's books and going to try some of these ideas with our grands will be talking about them on our blogs. That would be cool!
While I'm away, I'll be imagining you in your beautiful garden tending your flowers and herbs, some veggies, maybe chickens, too. :> Or perhaps you're in your craft room creating delights. Whatever you do, whatever you enjoy, until we meet over that proverbial back fence, be good and be blessed. (Yes, I'm taking a little break.)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
So there's been snow on the forsythia and now there'll be snow on the azaleas. (This will be something I've never before seen so if it does happen, I'll be documenting with another photo.) Good thing that I took lots of photos of happy azaleas yesterday.
Let's see, what else, Dear Ones. Oh! I do want to thank those who said that they'd read a book I wrote. That's just so sweet. I don't imagine that you'd be too terribly impressed however. If you've been reading this blog for any time at all, you know the gist of it for, like most first novels, it is autobiographical in nature. Oh, yes, and I'll ponder whether to share a bit from what John read. I did share some *here* from another story I was working on back in 2007. A few of my current readers commented at that time. Would you believe that I have since lost those chapters? You would? Go figure! You'll laugh to see how I ended that post. The word becalmed comes to mind. < insert wry grin >
I'm having a waiting kind of Wednesday, waiting for word, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting... (My mother is having more surgery today.)
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
1. I wash my dishes in bleach water. (One must be careful as bleach and soap can be a toxic combination. Just don't use a soap with phosphates. I can safely use Palmolive and bleach. I think. Don't do as I do. Do your own research. I use a teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of water or a TBS for the entire dish bucket. Why? I'm blaming my Aunt Ess for this one! She got me started about 32 years ago and I've been at it ever since. Plus, I may have OCD.)
2. If yellow didn't exist in this world, my favorite color would be... I'm sure you can guess!
3. Last Saturday morning I ordered two books by Elizabeth Goudge from the interlibrary loan program. I've given up on finding them at a flea market. So it'll be The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn by week's end. Maybe.
4. As of Tuesday last week, I am without an excuse to finish writing my own book. The missing chapters have been found and John has read them and given them a good report. Well, he would have to, I suppose. But he did sit right down to read them and did so until finishing and gave me this interesting compliment: "It kept my interest." Okie dokie then!
5. One of my secret wishes is to hire some Merry Maids. I haven't been able to give the upstairs, basement or garage the attention that they deserve since Nan arrived.
6. Right behind the Merry Maids, comes a landscaper. John is way too busy at "The Pondersosa" to give our little yard much attention. I want the lawn re-seeded and the garden made larger, and some raised beds built. No time for any of that either.
7. Both of my children have applied for better-paying jobs. I'm praying a lot.
8. I hate to sweat. I could not be like Judy and all you gals who enjoy a mountain climb. Despise climbing, but love to see the views. Yup, I'm one of those — I want to enjoy the reward without doing the work.
9. I've been missing A LOT of my blogging buddies lately. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Kari and Kijsa? I hope that they're busy writing a book.
10. Can you believe that I've made it to ten? Hey! Wake up! I'm getting to the best part: The Winner of the Giveaway is Donna at Cottage Days and Journeys. Congrats! I'm eager to see this tote "in person." One thing's sure, Donna will take an excellent picture of it.
As you know, I don't tag folks these days, but if your brain is ever empty, you can't go wrong with a good meme and I'll certainly allow you the use of this one.
Enjoy your Monday...
roses source: some free gif site somewhere...