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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For Sam

Today marks the 36th birthday of my second child, Sam. This post is dedicated to him.

Dear Sam,

Today is your 36th birthday! I don't know where the years have gone! Wasn't it just a few days ago that you were starting kindergarten? Why I recall so vividly on that day how you cried when I left you-and how I held back my own tears until just outside the classroom door. And if I listen really hard, I'm sure I still hear the thump of the basketball hitting the rim outside my kitchen window; you practiced for hours out there, even in the dark. But when I look-I see that you aren't there any longer. Where did those priceless hours go? Those turnouts and games when I sat on the bleachers watching and cheering for you seemed like they would go on forever and yet they've vanished before my very eyes, Poof! And your high school years-were those really years that flashed right past me? It's now a blur of cars and friends, sports and jobs, your graduation day and then - you were gone. And then-so suddenly- you were a man. And now- you are a man. A man that I am proud to call my son. Now you may find yourself standing outside the classroom door and wiping away a tear. Or sitting in a the bleachers, cheering for Kyle and Ivan. And believe me when I say that soon you'll be watching those boys walk up the aisle to accept their diplomas.

And so my birthday wish for you, my son, my Samuel, is the gift of living in the present. May you savor every moment, because all of your moments strung together comprise your life. Make the most of them-for they will become your cherished memories. Like the ones I have of you.

Happy Birthday, Sam. Happy, Happy Birthday! I love you with all my heart.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Heritage Laces

Stuck on the sofa with lozenges, hot tea and tissues. Passing the time looking for the perfect curtains for my dining room. A trip through http://www.heritagelace.com/ is just what the doctor ordered. These airy panels with the tiny roosters are somehow taking me back in time to my Grandma Cline's little cottage-style home. It was always so pretty and clean, smelling of fresh-baked sugar cookies; with the afternoon sun filtering softly into her living room through old lacy curtains...wish I had a sugar cookie right now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reading Dylan Thomas in Nooks and Crannies

I finally got it! A Nook- Barnes and Noble's electronic book. I've been debating getting one of these for a while. I love everything about books- from their beautiful covers to the yellowed, musty, dog-eared pages of my favorite antique copies, to the stateliness they lend to my bookshelf. But I am suffering from a problem common to all book-aholics; no space. There are books on shelves, books under tables, atop refrigerators; on the counters under the beds and tucked away in closets. I finally reasoned that until we can buy a home big enough to house my collection; I can store books on a Nook and save my shelf space for my most precious copies. Why, I can even buy a book on Nook, and if I really really really love it; I'll buy a hard copy. My hubby really liked this idea so he bought it for my birthday. It is one of the most awesome presents I have ever gotten. I can download literally millions of free books; I can request samples of books to purchase; read reviews, highlight my favorite passages, create bookshelves, and best of all; read. Yesterday was cold and gloomy, the perfect day to read. So I downloaded this classic into my nook and settled myself into hubby's comfy recliner with a flannel quilt and puppy Koda lying beside me. And since I want my dog to have a well-rounded education-I read the story aloud to her.

I think this was Koda's favorite part:
It was snowing, It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, although there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold, and callous, our hands {himself and Jim Prothero's} wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats.
I'm sure Koda snickered at this part.
My favorite passage reads:
There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths, zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us.
Yes, I laughed out loud as I read this passage! I must admit that I have been the giver of Useful Presents more than once; and I have made mittens that would fit a giant sloth before-along with other ill-fitting Useful Things! I think this part was lost on Koda, as she doesn't knit; and I haven't had a chance to knit a sweater for her yet.
This book only cost me 99 cents to download! How great is that! This is the first book on my 'Christmas Book' shelf in my Nook. And to quote Dr. Suess, 'Oh the places I can go!'

So here's Koda today. We had a White Thanksgiving. She wants me to snowball cats with her!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's My Party and I'll Be Grateful If I Want To...

My daughter posted this picture of me, on Facebook and asked, "Are you still this excited on your birthdays?"
54 years later my answer is "No, I am not that excited about my birthday." Truthfully, for many, many years my birthday was a really hard day and I never looked forward to it. 'Dread' would be the more descriptive word for it, and often by the end of the day on November 21 I was in tears.
I was born on November 21, 1955 to Ray and Ruby Miller. An afterthought...many would joke. Mom was 40 years old and Dad was 45. My nearest sibling, Linda was 14; and my 3 older brothers had already grown and moved away. Two of them had already started their own families.
My one year old picture shows a child that is full of joy about her birthday, but this didn't last long for me. You see, it started with a story; sort of a script if you will, that my mother recited often to people concerning me. I'm sure she meant no harm. It's just that it's a little awkward having a baby at 40; and I suppose their were some terrible people who may have even suspected that I was really my 14 year old sister's child. (Not that she deserved this judgement at all; with my sympathies to Sarah Palin's family for their similar situation.) Anyhow, when asked about her 'late in life' baby, this is what Mom always said...
"I was so surprised to find out I was expecting when I was 40 years old. It was a real shocker to me. I didn't want to be pregnant. After all, my youngest child was alread 14 years old. I cried and cried when I found out. I cried for months. But then after we had Debbie, it turned out to be really fun. We're glad we had her."
I heard this story year in and year out. For me, the end of the story never justified the beginning. I heard from others that I was a surprise, just an afterthought. And at some point I started believing this. That's when birthdays became dreadful to me. Long after my mother stopped reciting the 'didn't want this baby' story; it played over and over in my brain; and especially on my birthday. And if this weren't enough, it happens that one of my brothers' have a birthday exactly one week after mine. And for some reason, after I was grown, Mom would forget my birthday until my brother Allen's, arrived on the 28th. Then she would remember mine and give me a call; asking me over to dinner on Allen's birthday to celebrate them both. This just reinforced the afterthoughtedness of my existence in my mind. Every year became a sick game for me where I anticipated that I would be forgotten on my birthday. And every year, Mom forgot. My poor husband and family could do nothing to help me. Try as they would to make a special day for me; it always ended painfully and with tears. And with no phone call and no acknowledgement from my mother. If they called her to remind her, I felt hurt that she had to be reminded. And the more that other people remembered, the more painful it felt to me that my own mom forgot when even casual friends could remember. It was all I could focus on. And yes, if you are wondering, I did confront her one time about it. When I told her how hurt I was, she agreed that 'that must feel terrible.' But she was very old and continued to forget.
At this point, you need to understand that my mom did love me. She was, for some reason, unable to express her emotions very well and seemed distant. But she often did wonderful, kind things for me. But they never happened on my birthday. And nothing, absolutely nothing could make me have a Happy Birthday.
Mom passed away several years ago. I no longer play the 'will she call, won't she call' game on my birthday. And that script that used to play in my head; that erroneous old story has become like a faint voice, calling from a long distant past.
Time and faith and family has replaced the old story with a new one. I have learned some wonderful things about myself over the past several years.

*I am not an afterthought. The Bible says that I have been wonderfully and carefully made. And that God knew me from the beginning of the world. Before He created the earth and all of it's glory, He had a picture of me in his mind. The date of my birth, the era and generation were chosen specifically by God. I was born for such a time as this.

*God has a plan for me; and it is wonderfully. In Jeremiah it says that He knows the plans he has for me, plans to do me good and not evil, to bless me and give me an expected end. I like that!

I have seen some of these good plans unfold before my very eyes. Like carefully and beautifully wrapped gifts from my Father.

Health A Wonderful Family A Fulfilling Career A Husband Who Loves Me
Financial Security Friends
The Goodness and Grace of God
Talents and Gifts that are Uniquely Mine Joy Laughter Ever - Increasing Wisdom

And so now, the week or so before my birthday, I am not excited. I am grateful. As I drive through the countryside to work every day; past the golden, autumnal cornfields filled with hundreds of feeding snowy geese or graceful trumpter swans; when I look into my students eyes and see that instantaneous moment that they caught on to what I said and learned something forever; when I watch my beautiful grandchildren running on the beach and digging for clams -the very same beach that I ran and played on- and I hear their squeals of delight as they find treasure buried in the sand; when I hear "Hi Mom!", on the other end of the phone line; while sipping tea at the Dutch Mother's with my sister and giggling about some crazy thing; as my husband and I stroll through a golden path of autumn leaves, hands held and quietly discussing our lives together; when I watch my new pup leap for joy in the snow, trying to catch snowflakes in her mouth; and when I kneel before my Heavenly Father---I feel gratitude. Overwhelming gratitude.

I am so glad to be here with you all! Grateful for 55 years of life- good life. And looking forward to many, many more.

After all, "It's my party and I'll be grateful if I want to...grateful if I want to...grateful if I want to... it's my party and I'll be grateful if I want to...You would be grateful to...if it happened to you!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Greater Love Hath No Man...

(photo from Smithsonian.com)
Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man, than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
(John 15:13)

Thank you to every man and woman who has show the ultimate love for our country, by commiting their lives to defend it. We humbly honor your service today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Getting to Know You

Koda pup has been with us since Saturday. We are learning all about her and she is learning all about us...so I'm dedicating this song from the King and I to our new doggy...

It's a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you'll be taught.
As a teacher I've been learning
(You'll forgive me if I boast)
And I've now become an expert,
On the subject I like most.

Getting to know you.
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.
Getting to know you, putting it my way,
But nicely,
You are precisely,
My cup of tea.


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