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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meet Koda

We have a new addition to our 'pack'. Koda is a 1 1/2 year old yellow lab mix. She's been with us for just one day. So far, she can sit, heel, fetch and stay. She came with some skills, and has already learned some. She's a smart girl. And she loves her ball!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scrumptious Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Chicken Sausage

About 6 months ago I had a hankering for sweet and sour cabbage. Which is kind of odd since I'd never really eaten sweet and sour cabbage before. But it just sounded good! (Sometimes I think our body craves what it needs.) The recipe I chose to make is one by Rachel Edelman from her "About.com" video. http://video.about.com/southernfood/Sweet-and-Sour-Cabbage.htm . I've made this recipe a couple of times and it is always great, but today I just threw in some sausage for good measure. The result was fabulous! I'm just sorry I didn't think to photograph it before we gobbled it up!

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

For this recipe you will need:
•1 cabbage
•salt and pepper
•2 tart apples
•2 tablespoons butter
•2 tablespoons flour
•4 tablespoons brown sugar
•2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

First, put 2 cups of water to boil in a tea kettle.
Prepare the Cabbage
Now prepare the cabbage. First, remove the outer leaves. Then cut the cabbage into quarters. Remove the core of the cabbage. Continue to cut the cabbage so you have pieces small enough to fit into your food processor.

Place the cut cabbage into a food processor. Using the slicing blade, finely shred the cabbage. If you don't have a food processor you can also do this by hand.
Slice the Apples
Next, peel the apples. Cut them into pieces, slicing around the core. Then, slice the apples using the food processor.
Heat the Apples and Cabbage
Heat the butter in a large skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cabbage and apples. Add the apples and cabbage to the butter in the pan.
Cook the Sweet and Sour Cabbage
Next cover the mixture with the boiling water. Cook until the cabbage is tender. Then sprinkle the pan with flour, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Preserving a Bit of Summer

Jack Frost will be nipping at our noses before we know it. I don't want him ruining my herbs, so I snipped the last of my sage, italian oregano, rosemary and lemon thyme. And I cut one of my sunflowers! It's time to dry them out for winter. Earlier this summer I shared how to dry herbs by tieing them up in a bunch, putting them in a paper bag with holes in it, and hanging them. It worked very well. Last month I took the bags down and stripped the stems of their leaves, placing the herbs in some nice spice jars I found at Fred Meyer. With this batch I'm trying a little different method. I washed them and patted them dry with a paper towel, then spread them on a plate. I've tucked them away into a cupboard that I never use, so it should be plenty dark and dry in there. I'lll let the sunflower dry for a few days, then remove the seeds and bake them in the oven with a little salt. Preserving herbs is so much fun, and they are so much tastier than the store-bought ones.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some Girls Buy Shoes; I Buy Books

When I go shopping with women friends, we often wind up in shoe stores. For hours. It's all about strappy straps and pointy toes and how high the heel should be. I'm good-natured enough about it, but really I don't care much about shoes. I know this is downright sacreligious to some of you.
Shopping heaven for me is having a minimum of 2 hours to spend by myself in a bookstore. Give me Village Books in Fairhaven or a comfy chair in Barnes and Noble. I do believe I could settle in for winter in either location. Tonight was such an evening. Hubby was bowling; leaving me the entire evening to entertain myself at the bookstore. Now I can spend all day in the mall and leave without a single bag. Not so in the bookstore. This is where I toss all frugality out the window and indulge myself. I don't set out to buy so many books-it just sort of happens. I had recently finished reading a borrowed copy of 'The Art of Racing in the Rain.' I was so impressed I decided to buy a copy as a gift for a relative. But, as luck would have it, this wonderful book was on a sale table-buy two, get one free. So I bought myself a copy as well, then chose 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' as my free book. AND....how could I pass up that beautiful Sara Wilkins book bag with the picture of the pretty girl reading as she walked through the autumn leaves? Well, I just couldn't. I just couldn't!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn; Feast for the Eyes and the Soul

It's Monday afternoon and I should be at school. Right about now I would normally be helping Mrs. Ross show her brood of kindergarteners how to count blocks and explain how a rectangle differs from a square. Complex stuff when you're only 5. But instead I am nestled in hubby's cozy recliner sipping tea from my newly-thrifted corningware ivy teapot and blogging away. Somehow I pulled a muscle in, well, there's no delicate way to say it...my groin. Ouch! It's been bothering me for several days, but like any good superhuman; I've tried walking it off, ignoring it, stretching it; basically everything but the practical, time honored remedy-rest. My early morning walk to the loo this mornin' convinced me. I realized that limping to the bathroom was one thing, but getting up and down on my knees all day so that I can look my students in the eye is quite another. And I must say, this rest thing is under-rated. I feel pretty good! Steamy hot tea, my newly painted olive green kitchen, a bunch of autumn flowers on the desk, and our backyard squirrels are all keeping me quite entertained and feeling very mellow.
And since I've got the time; I thought I'd load some new autumn-inspired photos for you to enjoy. (I took them while 'walking off' the pulled muscle!)

A view of the back yard from my newly painted kitchen

Luscious grapes at Homestead Farms

Walking through the arbor

Crimson vine maples

and crimson winter apples on the espalier (from a neighbor's home, I dream of espaliered apples in my garden one day)

Taking a break from our walk at the 2nd tee box

A view of the 8th green
Last roses of summer
Peeking at the old John Deere through the golden leaves

Shadows on our pathway.
A fall feast for the eyes and soul.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Down by the Bay; Out in the Country

Here in the Pacific Northwest, you can go to the beach, to the country, and even to the mountains all in one day if you wish. Today was a glorious autumn day, so Kelly and I headed for one of Whatcom County's premier spots...Boulevard Park. There is a long boardwalk that spans the water in places, allowing you to get right out over the water. The walk extends from the historic city of Fairhaven to the center of Bellingham.

There were so many sailboats anchored in the harbor today.

The pilings beneath the boardwalk have their own kind of beauty.

The fishing vessel Winnie was busy checking her crabpots.

Families enjoying the beach.

A little history. Fishing was (and is) a major local industry.

Strolling along the boardwalk.
Now, back home to the country; in the small town of Lynden.

I treated myself to a pumpkin from the market today. Those cornstalks are from my garden. The corn crop was terrible this year; but I was pleased to at least have some great stalks for my autumn-scape.

My little dirty-faced garden angel is taking a little break from his summer work.

The coleus in my planters is going to seed. I know I should pinch those flowers off; but I can't bear to do it. That diminutive periwinkle flower is so pretty!

Despite the over-abundance of rain; my sunflowers have finally bloomed.
The Northwest. There's no place like it. I love my home!

The Hand of God

An autumn leaf sits on my desk; I picked it up today, a memento from a stolen morning walk. So many things I should have done; but lovely it was, and the the sunlight streaming through my window beckoned me, "Come out!" So I cast my chores aside and donned my walking shoes. The path I chose was carpeted with fallen leaves and the air was thick with a potpourri of maple birch, and fir. So quietly a golden maple leaf drifted down and touched my face-so softly that I could think that God himself had touched me with the palm of his hand.
Debora Rorvig

Monday, October 4, 2010

Belly Laugh!

Make yourself at home...clean my kitchen.
My husband is known for his unique laugh. On one of our first dates we watched a funny movie together. He laughed so hard and long I thought maybe there was something seriously wrong with him! His laugh is like an automatic machine-gun...and it's loud. So loud that when we go out to movies or for dinner; people who know him can identify him by just hearing his laughter. Isn't that really a wonderful thing to be known for? It's part of what makes me love him. Sometimes I wonder how he was ever attracted to me. I am quite serious most of the time. I'm quiet, perhaps even melancholy. And there's nothing wrong with being quiet. But lately I've been analyzing that melancholy side of me. (Kelly would laugh at that last sentence; because truthfully, I analyze EVERYTHING.) Here's how our conversations generally go:

Me: I was just reading this book that's told from the family dog's point of view.
Kelly: That must have been a challenging read. Did chapter one say, 'bark, bark, bark...barkbark?'
Me: No really it was very moving. The dog's owner was accused of some terrible things and the dog was his only witness.
Kelly: Did the dog testify in court?
Me: He wanted to; but he couldn't talk.
Kelly: (laughing) Sure he could...'bark bark bark bark bark bark...'
Me: (exasperated) Very funny. You should read the book.
Kelly: Maybe you can just bark it to me...

But seriously; I've been doing some research on the benefits of laughter and have discovered that it can be very beneficial to one's health. Here are just a few of the benefits:

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.

Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.


So I've realized that I need to lighten up. It will take some work on my part. I've nurtured this sense of melancholy for most of my life. It's true; there have been some tough things that were contributors; my father's death in my teenage years; being the child of an alcoholic... I could go on. But here's the point: I think that over- seriousness is a learned behavior-a compensatory reaction to one's environment. Well if it's learned-it can be unlearned. So I've asked my cheerful husband to help me. When something is funny and I'm trying to be serious, he looks at me and says 'belly laugh!' At first I just started doing a fake laugh. But that was so awkward that it was funny; and it made us both laugh! Now I really laugh. And it feels great.

I'm learning to take the time to look at the funny side of things. It's very similar to going for a walk and stopping to admire the autumn leaves or a constellation on a starlit evening. You just have to take time to notice them.

The Bible says that a merry heart does us good like a medicine. (Proverbs 13:22). So I challenge you to join me and start taking this wonderful medicine every day...BELLY LAUGH!

I'm not tense, I'm just terribly, terribly alert.
A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.
A fool and his money are a girl's best friend.


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