Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Gathering

It was a delight to have a meeting of the clan (most of it) over the weekend.  Note to self: It is always more fun to have these gatherings at someone else's place. In this case, someone else's place was my sister's. The pictures I am sharing today are of her flowers, her yard, her deck, her cars, her trees. Should I include my brother-in-law in this possession list?

Of course, you know that I loved seeing this bright yellow Adirondack chair first thing. The peonies weren't bad either.

These huge hostas line both sides of the drive. Note the steep stairs on either side. Fortunately for Nan, we were able to drive around to the back of the house as seen in the first picture so she stepped from the car directly to the deck.
My grand listens amused to his mother's discussions of why he should eat something besides his shoe. Goodness, I remember those days so well and both my kids lived to tell about it so I'm hoping that Sam gets hungry one day soon and eats a hamburger.

Sis does have a little red house and she also has a little red shed right behind these bleeding hearts. I think that it would make a cute playhouse for her grands some day. (Are you listening, dear nieces?)

So many good things to eat, but this was my favorite — a rhubarb square. This recipe has been on my blog before right *here.*

(This new editor drives me foolish. I have been trying to create this post for the better part of an hour and my brain and patience are scrambled. If I had a computer program that worked this poorly, it would be history. I'd smash it to smithereens with a hammer. Then I'd jump on what remained. There! I feel better now. )

Oh, it worked that time. Where was I? Oh yes, Jake enjoyed looking at all the flowers and so did I. Here's a nice batch of flower pics without comment.

(Forgive me for not being able to scoot in between pictures with my text.) And we played. We played roll down the hill (yes, I played that one), and we played tag (yup, me too), and we played hide n' seek (you betcha! my favorite spot was behind a big old oak tree), and we played golf (sure did, hit every golf ball, two). John was especially impressive and I didn't get one picture of him. Darn! Apparently, my sis and her hubby practice on "their private fairway" quite often. She is getting ready to tee off on the left while her daughter and mine watch.

Thank you for taking the garden tour through my sister's yard. Many of the pictures featured in yesterday's mosaic were of my sister's town as well.

I'm sure that lots of bloggers have their stories to share today after the holiday and I want to read them all!  Enjoy a wonderful Tuesday.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Mosaic for Mosaic Monday

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~Galatians 5:1 NIV

Blessings to you this Sunday!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Home is Where the Heart Is Pt. 2

Still sitting with it trying to decide how rash I've been. It may not be all that it was chalked up to be!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Home is Where the Heart Is

First of all, thank you so much to all those who offered a suggestion on yesterday's post. Yes, we'd love to have it sided in a different color, but it's not going to happen this year. Discussions have already begun about trellises; unfortunately, there's no room for flowers. Not only that, but they'd have next to zero sun. Birdhouses! I'd love them but they'd have to be fake. This spot is very small and I don't want to share with that many birds. You've definitely sparked my imagination!

Remember the tip from Penny yesterday about carrying color through? Here's a little picture story that will tell about my current project.

home is where the heart is sign (a gift from my mother at my aunt's suggestion and I've always loved it)

We have a lot of black about and I do like it a lot. Should I carry it through to the sign?

Please forgive the laundry on the backs of chairs, but a better overall view.

Just in case I'm going to redo the same font...

Too late now!

Check back tomorrow and I promise I'll show you what it looks like. It may be vile.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Garage Wall

This morning, John and I were sitting on the deck looking around and trying to figure out what we'd do about flowers, whether to cut back the lilacs or transplant them, who would mow the lawn today (I vote for John!) and so forth. We were just enjoying a moment while Nan was visiting with her PCA (personal care assistant). I seated myself at the table and looked up at what you see below. Now it's always bugged me, but today it really bugged me. Ever get that way?

I remembered an old mirror purchased years ago. They were ubiquitous and cheap and were made to look like windows. Perhaps you remember them?

One of the things that I love about my husband is that he's always willing to go along with one of my crazy plans. And, even better, he improves upon it. This idea has been gelling for a while now after seeing Manuela of The Pleasures of Homemaking do it in her own indomitable style right *here.*

And it was Penny of The Comforts of Home who shared a tip about carrying color beyond right *here* so I knew that that green paint around the mirror had to go. I picked up the deck color instead as you can see. Now this is nowhere near as impressive as what Penny is suggesting, but it does make a big difference. Perhaps you'll just have to trust me on this.

Now we have a wall with a view!

Does anyone have an idea about what to do with a huge expanse of wall that borders a pathway between the deck and garage? The mirror is a good start, but I don't want any more mirrors. It's a bit of a dilemma. Thanks for any suggestions you might have!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Following Brenda's Prompts

I found these prompts at Brenda's It's A Beautiful Life and thought they'd be fun to try.

1. I never thought... I'd remarry after sixteen years of being single. It's been one of the best choices I've ever made. Never thought I'd blog either.

2. I don't really enjoy... terribly warm days. Terribly warm days are any over 80°F.

3. I like to eat... lots of things. Currently, I'm on a tortilla chip kick.

4. I cannot... enjoy discussing politics with those of the opposite persuasion.

5. I have... been looking for more help from several agencies on aging. It looks pretty bleak just now, but we will soon have a personal care assistant to help with Nan for two hours a week. Woo hoo!

6. I do not like... teenagers. I didn't like them when I was one. I didn't like raising them. I didn't enjoy teaching them. They really are in a challenging stage of life. That's why I'm in total awe of those who relate well to teenagers. God bless them!

7. I'm going to... go to Wal*Mart today. And I will enjoy every precious second of it and milk it for all it's worth.

8. A book I'm enjoying these days is... Laura Bush's memoir Spoken from the Heart.
(Why, yes, that is a diet soda with the tortilla chips.)

9. Some advice I'm going to take is ... {chill}. Just }}chill{{. Gonna allow a few things to go in one ear and directly out the other. Gonna shake things off like water from a duck. ;>

10. I haven't figured out... how to run the tv yet. The antenna is particularly fussy. Guess that after Evan came in second on Dancing With the S*tars, I won't be watching tv this summer so it won't matter. Now don't hate me, but Evan exudes such charm and grace whereas the winner is exuberant and joyful, but somewhat lacking in the classic good manners I love (but don't myself have). She sure can dance though, but I thought Evan was a better dancer as well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Disappointed in LOST

Oh my! That holiday was exhausting. It really was. I was running around like a house on fire getting the deck set up and pulling together the plants and the cushions for the chairs. So it was a nice reprieve.

John will never be able to live it down, but he tells me that if he had known that it was not a holiday, he would not have stayed up to keep the antenna working in order to pull in the finalΓ© of LOST. Nor would we have slept in by two extra hours, which was very pleasant indeed.

So... LOST is now about 30 hours in the can and I've had time to think about the six years of my life that I've devoted to it. I may be the only person in the world to be disappointed with LOST's ending. That's because I had such high expectations and for a long time considered it to be a Christian allegory. It was not. Though highly allegorical, its roots were not based in any one faith over another.

If I can set my expectations aside, I can enjoy it for what it was...a little bit of something for everybody. Very few of my questions were answered. For starters... Exactly when did each character die? If it weren't for the change in Jack's clothing, I'd think that it may have happened at the moment of impact away back on that first show. Then again, Christian (if we can believe him) said that some died before Jack and some died after. Where've they all been while they were waiting to meet again in that church? I need to see a photo of that last scene for sure! Who was there and who was not... Was Richard reunited with his wife? Was he in that room? Some things just don't get answered now do they?

Perhaps now I'll be appreciating LOST most for all the tricks that the writers employed to advance their story: time travel, flash forwards, flash sideways, extra unexplained characters, and on and on. Very well done on that level. How else do you tell a one-hour story that lasts for six years?!

I loved the comments from the viewers, which was a clever idea on someone's part to include. I like the one that said that he was looking for answers but didn't realize that when they came it would be the end. I particularly appreciated the one that said, "I never understood Trekkies until I became a Lostie." As for me, I was a Lostie and am no more. That is unless they announce a follow-up show!

(Just popping in *this link* for myself if no one else. This gal really did a lot of thinking and I very much enjoyed reading the article.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

ETA 9:30 a.m. Thank you, Diva and Lovella! No one is more surprised than I that today is not Memorial Day. Somehow I believed that tall, handsome guy who told me it was! Now I know why I must verify, verify, verify. Consider this one a Happy Memorial Day in advance! :D

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!

* * *

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

Depression and The Scent of Water

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

Me and the Vultures

It's getting to be entirely too pretty in here and I am not all about pretty. :D

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 little big, ugly feet while they perch. Perch being a pretty dainty way to describe it. These things crash land in the trees eventually destroying the crowns.

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

Yellow Roses

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

Flowers and Frost

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!

The Lily of the Valleys

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dandelion Dreams Become a Dandelion Wishes Jar

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...