A Haven for Vee

Thursday, July 31, 2014


I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
~E. B. White


July has been a pleasant enough month. I had three outings: the 4th of July with family at the ocean, a Portland Headlight Day with my daughter and grands, and a day with my sister searching for that elusive four times great-grandfather.

This is my favorite photo of July and may become my favorite photo of the summer and may even become my favorite photo of 2014. 

Here lies the 
multi-great-grandfather with his second family. He and his second wife lost all three children before they turned five. What a heartbreak. His first wife (my four times great-grandmother)died young. I think we'll be looking for her grave next. (I'm not as interested in the other graves here since they are the second wife's family.)

There were only three truly hot days. About half the days in July we ran the AC; the other half have been temperate and pleasant, more like early autumn.

Documenting only...it was an awful month for Japanese beetles. No roses, no astilbe, no mallow, no strawberries, no blueberries. Hope that I can rescue the phlox.

And I celebrated seven years of blogging this month. Hmmm...gives one pause. Wish I could give you a prize for reading this long. You certainly deserve it!

Oh well, it is time to focus on the good and lovely things and leave the rest behind. It's really the only way to live!

Thanks to Cheryl at Thinking About Home who hosts this monthly gathering of moments. You can link up right *here.*

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hodge Podge Wednesday

1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon."~Kellie Elmore  
Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.

Whether I agree or disagree depends entirely upon the summer. This year, I think I'll be agreeing. 


The thing I loved about summers of my childhood was the freedom, not only from school, but also from the constraints of
home. We had the freedom to roam the woods and have adventures. (Yes, there was even a stream.) It was a different time and my parents were not overly 
concerned if we didn't arrive home for lunch. Supper was different; we'd better be home for supper!

2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix, etc?

No I am not a fan. I don't dislike it; I just don't have an opinion about it either way. Sometimes I watch because someone else in the house does have an opinion.
Ever been to a race in person? 

Yes, my hometown is next door to a race track that has hosted many events, including rock concerts. I used to attend 
stock car races as a teen when my mother worked the concession stands.

Any desire to do this? 

Not one 

Do you know a lot about cars? 

Almost nothing 

Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about? 

No, the only thing I notice is that when 
a friend or family member gets a new car, suddenly, I see that model all over the place.

3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? 

There are many things too serious to be joked about —
the death of innocents comes to mind. 
Or do you think anything and everything is fair game?
No, not everything. That said, I'm not a PC kind of gal and I can find humor in many things that others might find offensive.
4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? 


Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come 

I do have a great recipe and it came from my Aunt Jan. I had never eaten lasagna before 1970 and had no idea what it was until that first delicious bite.
If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or 
a plate of spaghetti? 

Depends, however, I think lasagna would be my first choice.
5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life? 

Morning devotions with John

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose? 

Oh no. I have no desire to be a CEO of any company. If
the question is which company am I a fan of then I have a number. I am a fan of Hobby Lobby. I am a fan of Chick-fil-a. I am even a fan of Wal*Mart because their prices have made a profound difference in my budget.

7. August is just around the bend...bid farewell to July in exactly seven words.

Goodbye, July, it's been nice knowing you.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
My readers, trying to give my gloomies a boot in the ask, gave me many
ideas for beating the blues. Here they are in no special order:

— Read a Book
     -Tudor History
— Play Music
     -Sunshine Songs like Here Comes the Sun
     -soft piano music
     -Irish music
— Take a Nap
— Bake
     -a new recipe
     -apple pie
— Drink
— Talk
     -call someone
     -chat with a stranger
     -give yourself a good talking to
—Sew or Craft
     -look through craft supplies
     -make an apron
     -make some cute napkins
     -make some greeting cards
— Take a Walk
     -around the house
— Geneaological Research
— Watch a Movie
— Eat
     -cherry ice cream cone
     -36¢ worth of chocolate
— Introduce Variety
— Make a List
— Plan a Trip
— Do something for a friend
— Write
     -send a card to a friend
     -a letter
— Redecorate or spiff up the house
— Turn on All the Lights
     -burn candles
— Count Blessings
— Pamper Oneself
     -bubble bath
— Imagine
     -being an Austen character
—Create a tea tray 
    -add a bit of greenery to it
— Visit a library and sit near a window with a view
— A drive in the country
— Get some vitamin D

Thank you! I might have been a bit confused doing all of them, though I did take a walk; I did stay outside for a lot of the day; I did spiff up the house; and I counted my blessings and you were right there on the list. 

Please check in with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for more Hodge Podge Wednesday offerings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not Feeling So Chatty

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
 ~Psalm 42:11
There's just so little to chat about. I usually can count on a posy or two so I went out to take photos of the garden. Beyond sad. It is. That's because the hordes of Japanese beetles descended and have pretty much wiped out any hope I had of roses or mallow or astilbe or anything. I didn't even plant morning glories this year. So the garden is out; here's a windowsill instead.
Then there's the house all dark and gloomy and rainy for days on end. Out.

Then there's picnics and bbqs and fun summer activities. Not so much.

Retail therapy. Nope.
I can see that I am going to have to change my attitude right off quickly — Little Susie Sunshine I am not. 
What do you do on days when it's dark or gloomy and it seems as if the sun will never shine in your spirit? I think I'll go for a little walk. The air is fresh and fine and cool. The humidity is very low. I'm off to the river and I promise that I'll not throw myself in. 
So what I'm looking for are little cheery day brighteners that require going nowhere, doing nothing special, and that are absolutely free. Have one?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Our Hope is in Him

When life is going swimmingly — the bills are paid, one's health and the health of one's family and friends is good, the tomatoes are ripening, relationships are peaceful, the weather holds, and there's food in the pantry, it is easy to praise God and thank Him for everything. If life is going less well, then where is God? Is He still in His heaven and all's right with the world? 

God is forever the same. He loves us with a never ending love no matter what we are experiencing today. He is working everything out for our ultimate good. Every day and each circumstance is a wonderful time to praise God.

We must put our hope in Him. 

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given us the ministry of reconciliation...

II Corinthians 5:18

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stuff and Things

In the spirit of sharing and paying tribute to the theme of Enchanted April, I thought I'd link to some of the tricks/tools I use. There may be no cohesiveness in these offerings at all so prepare yourself for whiplash.☺

  Every now and then I need a photo not having one of my own that'll work. I go to Photopin and usually find just what I need. One still needs to check for licensing, but this one was free to use without constraints as long as there was a link back.

This has been shared here before but it was so long ago and I love how fun this is!

This is another resource of books that I sometimes don't remember: Source — Oh look — The Enchanted April!

A teaser...

Frederick had been the kind of husband whose wife betakes herself early to the feet of God. From him to them had been a short though painful step. It seemed short to her in retrospect, but it had really taken the whole of the first year of their marriage, and every inch of the way had been a struggle, and every inch of it was stained, she felt at the time, with her heart's blood. All that was over now. She had long since found peace. And Frederick, from her passionately loved bridegroom, from her worshipped young husband, had become second only to God on her list of duties and forbearances. There he hung, the second in importance, a bloodless thing bled white by her prayers. For years she had been able to be happy only by forgetting happiness. She wanted to stay like that. She wanted to shut out everything that would remind her of beautiful things, that might set her off again long, desiring . . .
~Mrs. Arbuthnut (chapter 1)~ 

Have a favorite author? You may just find wonderful resources containing his/her advice. In this case, the advise comes in the form of letters from one of my favorites: Letters of Note~C.S. Lewis on writing.

Here's some practical stuff like knowing how to create en dashes, em dashes, fractions, and ☺: Source 

That should keep you plenty busy for now. Have a blessed weekend and I promise never rarely to mention Enchanted April again.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Books Can Be a Problem

Yes, well, moving right along... Kinda. This is what I should be doing today...

Sprucing up Gull Cottage
from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

 The Ghost and Mrs. M is also on my Netflix these days. What fun! I love that movie!

So I'm not scrubbing floors...I got sidetracked by books. It's always the books!

When I got to the library I came to a standstill, — ah, the dear room, what happy times I have spent in it rummaging amongst the books, making plans for my garden, building castles in the air, writing, dreaming, doing nothing.
But it is impossible, I find, to tidy books without ending by sitting on the floor in the middle of a great untidiness and reading.

(Both quotes are from Elizabeth von Arnim books) 

Did you ever get in on that color coding thing for your books?

Foolish me. I did. I don't care for the look now; John doesn't either. (I messed with his books and he has a perfectly good method understandable only to him.) I would mess them all up all over again, but I'm going to allow them to drift naturally. John has already set plenty adrift, believe me. This used to annoy me. Now I see the error of me ways.

 Here's a cozy living room with lots of books. The child's chair is loaded with books. 

What I like best is that poster!


A classic New England library...white and blue with a punch of red for good measure.

Which room would you prefer to read in or are you an outdoor under the tree reader? 

I'm thinking this would work well for me. It is the best of both worlds and when, after I've read a page or two, I feel the need of a nap, I'll be all set.

(If you are a pinner, please pin from the original source. Thanks!)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Of Olives and Things

Before we leave off discussing Italy and France, I thought I'd mention this series of books. What? We weren't discussing the south of France? No mention of an olive farm? Well we are now!☺

Brenda and Kitty both have reminded me that many good books are inexpensive or even free for Kindle reading. As you can see, I've got my wishlist all lined up. I've nearly finished reading The Enchanted April and I'm well begun on The Olive Farm. This series of books is written by Carol Drinkwater whom you may better remember as the first Helen Herriot of the tv show All Creatures Great and Small (based on those amazing books by James Herriot...my all-time favorites).

Ahhh, yes, she is my favorite in the role because, well, just look at those lovely connections between the characters/actors. One got the sense that they were crazy about each other, which is something seriously lacking between the second Helen and James. But that is neither here nor there because we're talking about the south of France and growing olive trees. 

There you go, in this short video, Carol describes it all so much better than I ever could.

Thank you for adding your comments for good movie viewing and great books. I appreciate them. Perhaps I'll put together a list for August based on your suggestions.

P.S. Just a little disclaimer about Under the Tuscan Sun. It'll not be every gal's cup of tea. Yesterday, Brenda and I were even chuckling over how racy we thought Enchanted April was when we first saw it. It seems very tame these days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Enchanted Movie

Last Wednesday, I lied to you. I told you that Under the Tuscan Sun was the first movie that made me want to visit Italy. It wasn't. I didn't remember that I was lying to you until I found Enchanted April on Netflix and watched it again in the intervening days. I loved it more this time than I did in 1991. It's odd, too, because Enchanted April is listed in my profile as one of my favorite movies. That's because I have thought about its themes often through the years.
~The changes in Rose (and all the women) are quite remarkable~

The premise is that four women rent a small castle (San Salvatore) in Italy and, leaving husbands and responsibilities behind for a month, begin a process of delicious discovery and healing (physical and emotional). Interesting to note that Salvatore means Savior. As I said, I've thought about this movie many times through the years in terms of stinginess and generosity of spirit, mostly my own. Yes, it's on Netflix now.


For those who wanted to see what was in the gift shop...sorry...didn't take photos inside. It's a sweet little shop using a part of the main home — the dining room with built-in china cupboard surrounds, the parlor, and a small former bedroom. 

My sister purchased a dish, a tea towel, and some other little things that I don't recall; I bought a card. 

We did see these things outside for sale.

The bluebird would provide a bright spot in the garden.

They were selling succulents in hollowed out stones (not shown) for a price . I would have liked one if I were in the chips. ☺

They had lots of darling garden statuary, also for a price. 

So that's my offering for Wednesday... Have you seen Enchanted April? How long ago? Perhaps it's time to put it in the queue.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Adventure

My sister and I have been on a few adventures through the years searching for the relatives. These usually involved day trips that took us to Moncton, New Brunswick, Hopewell Cape, NB or Gloucester, Massachusetts. We would have more questions at the end of the day than when we started. This has been going on all our adult lives.

Yesterday, my sister contacted me to say that she had the day off...what did we want to do? She was quite surprised to learn that I had a plan involving yet another search for a relative that would take us just minutes down the road. Oh the irony!

Over the weekend, I had been looking online again for more information. (I am simply amazed at how 
often new information is added to the family files. Jill was right. Look often! [You may remember Jill's and my connection mentioned back in November.])
Would we find this four times great-grandfather of ours? We have yet to find his daughter, though we have found her son, our Nan's beloved grandpapa.

Past the lake and up the hill...now the road becomes a dirt road and still we forge on.

Our first glimpse. How odd to find a graveyard right in the middle of the woods.

I am grateful that Sis can get down and crawl around a bit. I sure can't.

Did we find him? We sure did and it adds another bit of closure. His time and ours on this earth are only separated by 75 years. I find that interesting to think about.

Then we went out to lunch, walked through the garden, shopped at the gift shop. It was a lovely day.

A good one to you...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Simple and Sweet

In the shade of this old tree
In the summer of my dreams
By the tall grass, by the wild rose
Where the trees dance and the wind blows 

As the days go oh so slowly
And the sun shines oh so holy
On the good and gracious green
In the summer of my dreams

By the banks of this old stream
In the summer of my dreams
By the deep pool where the fish wait
For the old fool with the wrong bait

There's a field of purple clover
There's a small cloud passing over
And then the rain comes washing clean
On the summer of my dreams

~from Summer of My Dreams 
by David Mallett 

A sweet song to honor a lovely summer day... 
Enjoy yours!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More Light Less Heat

Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody's power and is not easy. ~Aristotle

Be ye angry, and sin not...

~Ephesians 4:26

Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change. ~James Russell Lowell

And they came to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 
 ~Mark 11:15–16

My prayer? More light. Less heat.

A wonderful day and a blessed week to you!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Rest of the Story

In the summer of 1962, my paternal grandmother and her youngest daughter made for me and my cousins a playhouse in the small barn behind her home. I was most charmed by the white lace curtains at the windows, but there was also a kitchen, a table and mismatched chairs, an old sofa, and a wasp's nest of mammoth proportions. 

Perhaps my cousins and I should have learned to coexist with those wasps. Instead, we felt it necessary to clean house. And so it was that on a warm summer morning, after finding a great long stick, we began poking at it...slowly at first and then with more vigor. 

The rest of the story goes by in a bit of a haze, but you may imagine three little girls tearing across a back lawn making a beeline (every pun intended) for the safety of their nana's big kitchen. The wasps were in hot pursuit (every pun...oops...used that line already). I remember getting stung over and over. They were trapped in my clothing. What happened to my cousins must have been something similar, though I really don't remember.

All I could think was that everything would be okay when we made it to the house. You may imagine my shock when we were quickly ushered right back out the door. My mother rescued me as best she could, but she could not prevent the stings that had already happened nor could she prevent the final stings even though she had me in hand and was trying. 

And that, friends, is the rest of the story...almost.

My grandson was stung when a wasp got trapped in his sock. I think his experience is what brought my own floating back to the surface. My grandson is no longer certain that I should have this on the beam ledge.

He may be right because wasp nests are very difficult to keep tidy. I think I'll toss this one and look for another. And now I must get back to cleaning house in earnest. (Would you believe that I thought I'd be all finished by this time? Sigh.)

A happy weekend to you...

ETA: John tells me that we have a hornet's nest on the ledge. I was stung by hornets, not wasps. My grandson was stung by a wasp. I think. Don't hold me to any of this. ☺

Friday, July 18, 2014

Two Mug Morning

Well this post will only prove that everything around here is subject to change — time of posting for example. 
< insert wry, sheepish grin >

John has just left, kissing me lightly on the forehead as he always does before walking out the door. I thanked him for our time together. It was a two-coffee mug morning while we sat here discussing what God has been showing us, Israel, children on our country's doorstep, and now on New England's. There were some weepy moments and a prayerful attitude. We don't know the answers to all these dilemmas, but we know The One Who does. We have to leave it with Him and do what He says in any given situation. We find our hearts softening even as our resolve hardens. We are no fans of the current administration and think that much of the chaos goes on by intent and design. Yet we know that God Himself is in control.

Watching tv with John is interesting. He makes me laugh (I like gallows humor). Last night, we were watching C-SPAN when someone commented that Honduras has the highest murder rate on the continent. John said, "No, that would be Chicago." Amusing unless one lives there.

We are blessed to live in a relatively calm area of the country. Aside from the difficulties that go on with an imported group of people who have no intention of assimilating, we are "out of the fray." We choose not to subject ourselves to that corner so what was once "ours" has become "theirs."

Scripture asks us this: Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (Proverbs 6:27) I'd add, can a country? Praying for those in responsible positions to make the right choices and praying for the children caught in the middle — it's the best thing we can do. (We also support those whom we trust, write letters, educate ourselves [hence the tears this morning], and make phone calls.) And we are listening for that trumpet! 

I am closing comments today as I do when I discuss anything political. The reason? I don't want anyone to become a target for anybody or thing. It's really that simple. If you have any comments, feel free to email me. 

A blessed day to you...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Adjusting the Sails

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
~C.S. Lewis 

We can not control the wind, but we can adjust the sails. 

Love that! I'm adjusting my sails this morning.

Create a lovely day...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hodge Podge Wednesday

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things." 
So what has experience taught you lately?
Experience has taught me, time and again, to keep my mouth shut. Too bad that I'm such a slow learner.

2. Where did you last 'roam'? 

Forty miles south
3. Speaking of 'Rome'...pizza, pasta, gelato...you can only pick one, which would you choose? 


4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently 
encountered? Explain. 

When in Rome... I believe that assimilation is a good thing so this 
phrase comes up from time time in discussions about becoming a citizen, learning English, dressing in Western style, which does not necessarily entail wearing a cowboy hat (though that is very good), getting a job, holding a valid driver's license, understanding the Constitution, registering to vote, etc.
5. What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy? 

Under the Tuscan Sun was 
the first movie that ever made me want to visit Italy. Three Coins in a Fountain just didn't do it. 

6.  Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955 


 Have you ever been to the California park? 
How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?
No, I have never had the pleasure of visiting any of the Disney parks. I tend not to be a fan of amusement parks, though I am a huge fan of Mickey and all the gang.
My favorite memory of an amusement park ride was a roller coaster ride (years ago) at the Tulsa State Fair in Oklahoma.
7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung? 

Knocking on wood here...haven't been stung in so many years
that I've forgotten the last time. Now I could regale you with the first time, but the rules don't allow it. (My grandson was recently stung repeatedly by a wasp so I know that stings still happen.)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
I hope that it's not too hot in the sewing room today. 

Please join Joyce and all her guests *here.*