Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spring Cleaning ; a Rite of Spring

The sun is finally shining after a long hard winter here in the Pacific Northwest. For those of us who don't have the luxury of year round sunshine, the advent of sun streaming through our windows is muy bueno indeed! Now while some may well say that spring is when a young man's heart turns to love, this older woman's heart turns to spring cleaning. I'm sure it is a rite of passage passed on from my mother. As certainly as the pussywillows bud and the crocus bloom in the spring, you could find my mother washing windows with vinegar water, hanging freshly bleached and laundered sheets out on the clothesline, and scrubbing walls until her knuckles turned raw. Dad and I weren't exempt from this frenzy of activity. No one was permitted to be idle. I was handed a rag and some Pledge with firm instructions regarding the importance of proper dusting. My 6 foot tall Dad was given jobs that utilized his height; sweeping cobwebs from the ceiling, removing light fixtures for cleaning and washing the high parts of the walls. I dreaded spring cleaning! But here it is 40 years later, and I am beginning this important rite of spring with enthusiasm! However, unlike my mom, I don't try to accomplish everything in one weekend! (She always complained that I was slow-moving, like Grandma Cline (dad's mom.)

No, for me, spring cleaning is to be savored over several weeks, done room by room; so as not to work ones' self silly. This week I will begin with the bathroom; the smallest and easiest room to clean in a day. Here's the list of tasks:

Remove shower curtain and liner. Wash them and hang them on the clothesline. (Ladies, do yourself and family a favor. Buy a fabric liner. You can wash it and it won't emit those lousy chemicals that vinyl ones now are known to do.)

While you're at it, remove the curtains and wash them also. This goes for bath mats too, which in my opinion, should be the small hotel style ones that don't have rubber backing. It's more eco friendly, and you won't have crumbling rubber pieces all through your clothes dryer.

Spray down the shower with a good cleaner and allow it to sit for awhile to kill germs. (I like Green Works because it's earth friendly. But if things are really grungy, it may call for Comet.)


Empty the medicine chest of all old medicines and dispose of them.

Get rid of all of those old shampoos, lotions, and bubblebaths that you will never use. I know that Aunt Mabel was nice to give you that stinky rose scented hand lotion; but if it makes you sneeze get rid of it! (One of the kindergarteners I work with once asked me if I was a doctor. When I replyed no, and asked him why he thought this; he said, "You smell like a doctor!". I had just used some cheap, alcohol-filled hand lotion. It went straight to the trash can after that!) Today I am dumping the lotions down the sink and recycling the plastic containers.

Wash the walls from the top down. If there are fans or filters that need dusting; now's the time!

Clean light fixtures. This includes dusting off those big light globes over your sink if you're like me and haven't changed out your old school lighting to a more modern type. But be smart; don't electrocute yourself with water or burn yourself by touching them when they are hot. Use a duster girls.

Scrub the woodwork with an appropriate cleaner. (Mine is painted so I can use most anything. I like a mild soapy solution.)

Clean the inside of the medicine chest and drawers. This is a particularly lousy job if you keep your toothbrushes in a drawer. It should be enough to make you run out and buy a holder for your toothbrushes. I hate cleaning toothpaste out of drawers! And while I'm thinking of it, clean that toothbrush holder, inside and out. Have you ever looked inside of one of these?

Wash windows, sills and window gutters with vinegar and water. Dry with a clean towel or old newspapers.

Reorganize your linen closet. Fold towels uniformly and stack by color. Hint: If you use only one color of towels or at least color coordinated, your closet will look better. Stack hand towels next to them in the same order. Make sure the folded edges are facing out. It looks better. Relegate shoddy towels to the ragbag. (Note, I have a penchant for white in the bathroom. Not all of my towels are white, but I am leaning toward it. Reason is simple: I can bleach them and they look wonderful!)

A tip from Meredith at http://www.likemerchantsships.blogspot.com/; get a pretty open wire container that allows air, unwrap your soaps and display them. They last longer when they are allowed to 'cure'. And they smell nice. It's Ivory soap all the way for me. Fit's my simple white decor.

Now go back to that bathtub that's been soaking in cleaner with a good brush or scouring pad and clean the daylights out of the tile. Scrub the tub and rinse. Open the window and let the air dry it out.

Clean the sinks and make the fixtures shine. You might have to take the plastic disc off the top off of the sink (where it says hot or cold) to get mildew out of there. If you don't understand this part, you don't have the problem. If you can see green growing in there, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Wash and dry mirrors.

Clean the toilets. (I know you've been looking forward to this part, especially if you have little boys who 'miss the mark' a lot. ) Get down there and clean around the bottom of the toilet too!

Empty trash cans. Wash them if necessary. It won't be if you line them with something. My frugal self only allows me to use old plastic shopping bags for this, despite the unsightly printing on them.

I recently bought myself a new sponge mop after years of 'hands and knees' scrubbing. I love my mop. But for spring cleaning, especially in the bathroom; this one time ladies, hands and knees it the only way I know to really get the floor around those toilets clean. While your down there, give the baseboards a good swipe.

I think we're done! Doesn't that feel better? Next week we'll tackle the bedroom.

A final thought: Your house will never be perfectly clean. That's not the goal. Don't be like Martha in the Bible, who was so encumbered with her housekeeping duties that she lost sight of that which is really important. A clean bathroom won't give you peace. But a clean heart will!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Midwinter Break

A Basket of Spring From My Sister!

Breakfast fit for a Queen
I'm off to a great start on my day off!
For those who feel that eating healthy is too expensive or cumbersome; take heart! Here's what is in my healthy breakfast:
  • Organic Old Fashioned Oatmeal (99 cents a pound in bulk foods)
  • A teaspoon of honey (bought at Costco, really inexpensive)
  • About 7 raw almonds, chopped (another Costco deal)
  • 1tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • A handful of frozen unsweetened blueberries (I like Trader Joe's for these)
  • fat free milk
Cook the oatmeal and add everything else.
The oatmeal keeps the cholesterol in check. The honey keeps you from overdoing it with sugar and takes more effort for your system to digest. Almonds are heart healthy and so is the flax. Plus the flax is a phytoestrogen (take note you hot flashers!). Blueberries are a powerful antioxidant and brain food. The milk helps the bones. This is powerful stuff!
And the combined cost is about the same as that sugary processed junk they call cereal in the grocery store!
Its all a matter of choice.
Now it's time for a walk!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Don't You Love Getting a Handmade Valentine?

This one's from 2 of my sweet grandchildren, Ana and Dane. (I'm sure mom helped!) Thanks guys; I love you!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Well Done Gene, Well Done!

I have been putting off writing this post for a few weeks. The reason is, I don't think it will be good enough. How can I possibly write something that will adequately describe my dear late father-in-law? So instead of clever adjectives and flowery descriptions; I have decided to just describe some of the things that Gene did that endeared him to me.

Almost 21 years ago Kelly and I were married. Kelly's folks had built a beautiful new home so we decided to say our vows in their home. Upstairs, off the master bedroom was a gorgeous, huge bathroom suite. Karia, my maid of honor, and I were in that bathroom getting ready for the wedding. Karia was a Mary Kay rep; and she had tons of makeup. She brought it all up into the bathroom and set about to try to make me look beautiful for my big day. Gene came up to retrieve something from the bathroom. When we allowed him entrance, he stared with disbelief at the hundreds of tubes, brushes, compacts, etc strewn all over the counter. He looked at me gravely and said, "Nobody's that ugly". And he left.

One Valentine's Day Gene invited all of his sons and their spouses for an expensive dinner at an upscale restaurant. When we showed up, there were roses at each place setting for the ladies. During dinner, Gene had arranged for a barbershop quartet to serenade us.

When we were first married, Kelly and I lived very near Gene's office. Almost every day and sometimes more often, I'd see his truck driving past our house. He rarely stopped by, but was always making sure everything looked safe and sound at our home.

Kelly and I have a blended family. My children from my first marriage are all grown with children and have moved out of state. Yet every time we visited him, Gene made a point of asking how the kids and grandkids were; and always remembered birthdays. Along this same line, when my oldest son John was married; Gene and his wife Virginia attended the wedding. This was special to me because the wedding was in Portland; about a 5 or 6 hour drive from our state. Many of John's biological relatives didn't make that trip because of the distance-but Gene did.

Every time Gene visited our home, he would look around and say, "Your house looks nice, Debbie."

Every time Gene had dinner with us, he'd comment on how good the meal was.

At every birthday party Gene would sing the loudest and longest.

At every meal Gene asked the blessing; then urged the ladies to be served first.

When I was grappling with a tough career decision; I went to Gene. He listened and encouraged me to follow what my heart was saying. I did; and I am so glad I listened to him.

For 20 years I watched Gene treat his wife with the greatest kindness and respect. I saw him run a business with integrity; turning clients into lifelong friends. His sons respected and sought out his wisdom in all matters. His daughters -in- law loved him as they loved their fathers. He was dear to all of his grandchildren. Gene always had his priorities straight; and his priorities were other people. I wish I had been given 20 more years to watch Gene and learn from his example.

My sense of loss is immeasurable. But I know that Gene has gone to heaven and has heard the words that every Christian longs to hear; "Well done, good and faithful servant thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matt. 25:23

Well done Gene; well done!



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