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, July 31, 2011

A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step


 Chinese philosopher Laozi said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Another translation of the same quote is "Even the longest journey must begin where you stand." 

    Last week Aunty Belle wrote a piece about her life-altering pilgrimage to Santiago. I want to to that. Or something like it! Maybe walk across the moors and seacoast of England, or trek St. Olev's Way in hubby's ancestral home of Norway. Here's Aunty's inspiring post: http://abporkrinds.blogspot.com/2011/07/santiago-ya-changed-mah-life.html

     But first, to achieve such a goal, there are a couple of obstacles to clear away. The first is time. Unless we come into money (and I'm definitely open to this idea), hubby's job would prevent him from taking a month off for the journey. Now as I write this, I'm not so sure this is a true obstacle. We haven't asked for the time off. Sometimes you just have to ask! Once I applied for a job as Materials Manager and Purchaser for a company. They hired me and offered to pay me the middle of the salary range. I countered by asking for higher than the salary range. They were shocked...but they figured anyone with that kind of chutzpah would probably negotiate very aggressively for the company. They agreed to my terms. When they called to say they'd agreed to my terms, I could scarcely conceal my surprise...but I learned something important...ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT, maybe even a little more!  

     The other obstacle is that of conditioning...my lack of it.  If I'm going to walk all day, every day for almost a month; I need to get into shape. I figure I should lose about 35 pounds and work on muscle tone + stamina before beginning this undertaking. And yes Laotze, that journey can begin right where I stand.

     Here's my plan... I'll buy a pedometer and start walking; every day if possible...even if it's not that far. Every Sunday I will report to this blog how many miles I walked the previous week. I'll tell you if I've lost weight, or heaven forbid-gained weight, and let you know what is working-and what isn't.
     Here's the method to my madness... I figure if I link my walking and conditioning efforts to my blog I'll be more likely to keep my focus. After all, I've been blogging for over 2 years pretty faithfully because I love to write. So if I commit to writing about walking...I'm more likely to follow through.

NOTE: Here's what I'm NOT going to do. I'm not going to beat myself up for not walking far or fast enough. It is about the journey, and I plan to enjoy it. Nor will I quit because the scales aren't reflecting my effort like I want them to. And since this is my journey, I won't flaunt my success in the face of those who are on a different path.

Here goes! Just put one foot in front of the next...

My Walking Journal for the Week of July 23

July 29th.    I started walking. Walked about 1 mile. (I've yet to buy the pedometer.)

July 30th.   Today I walked 1 mile on the beach, came home, and walked another mile and a half. However, my diet was abominable today. Ate coffee cake for breakfast, peanut butter sandwich, chips, apple and M&Ms for lunch. Threw a pizza in the oven for dinner, but my oven caught fire because I spilled turkey grease all over it last week while cooking a turkey. Put out the fire and threw the pizza away. Ate 2 slices of raisin bread, a slice of cheese, 2 glasses of lemonade, and another bag of M&M's for dinner.  I felt so lousy from eating all of that sugar, I walked that 1 1/2 miles afterward, just to shake off the sugar buzz. Tomorrow I plan to buy a pedometer. Probably oughtta clean my oven too.


Friday, July 29, 2011

What's Blue With You?

This week I got blueberries and blackberries...I feel a pie coming on

Got my blue jeans filthy workin' in the garden

Gave the lobelia in my planter a drink of water

Tried unsuccessfully to remember what this plant is called...do you know?

So that's what's blue with me this week...what's blue with you?

Walking in the Woods on a Summer's Day

     Tuesday was warm and sunny...a perfect day in Lynden. Koda loves sunny days, but they make her very tired. So she went to Mama and asked a favor.
     "Can we go to the roods today?" she asked.
     "A walk in the woods would be nice and cool," replied Mama. "We'll take some water for you and some iced tea for me. You get your leash and I'll get my camera. We'll want to take some good pictures for our blogger friends to look at."
     "Ro-kay!" Koda replied, happily wagging her tail.
     When they got to Berthusen Park, Koda's nose was pressed up against the car window and she was barking with delight.
     "Ret's ro!" she yipped.

     So they set out on a trail beneath the old growth evergreens of Berthusen Park.
     "Koda," said mama, "This park was homesteaded by Hans and Lida Berthusen in 1883. That means that there might be trees here that are nearly 130 years old."
     "Dog- years or people years?" Koda asked.
     "That's people years, Koda. I guess they'd be about 700 dog-years old."
     "Roh, row!" exclaimed the pup.

     The air was cool in the woods. It smelled like cedar and ferns and other green things. The trail they followed was dappled with rays of sun that shone through the forest canopy.

     Koda, who'd been sniffing the trail intently suddenly started barking wildly. She raced toward a cedar tree pulling Mama along behind her. 
     "Rook, Rook," she wailed as she leapt toward the tree trunk. She tried her best to climb that old tree; but try as she might, she just kept sliding to the ground. Mama shielded her eyes as she gazed way up into the branches of the trees. There was a rustling on one of the limbs as a squirrel leapt from one branch to the next.
     "Oh yes Koda, I see the squirrel. No wonder you were so excited. But next time, please don't drag me through the ferns!"
     "Rorry Mama," Koda replied with chagrin. She didn't mean to disobey Mama; but sometimes she just got all aflutter when she saw another creature.
     "It's O.K. girlie-girl. Just wait a minute while I take a picture..."
     Mama has many special names for Koda; but girlie-girl is her favorite. It's what Grandpa Youngedyke used to call Mama's mother, Ruby. So when Koda hears Mama say 'girlie-girl', she knows that Mama isn't mad.

     "O.K., we got that picture, now let's get going my friend, we've got lots more to see. Hans and Lida left 236 acres to the city of Lynden back in 1944...and we've only gone a few yards!"

     Ever deeper they ventured into the woods. It was very still. The only sound was a robin calling "cheer up, cheer up, cheer up". 

 Some parts of the trail were very dark. It felt to Mama at the same time peaceful and eerie. Primeval. Once she thought she heard a rustling in the bushes behind them. She turned but saw nothing.There'd been talk from time to time of cougars prowling around these parts, so she picked up a stick, just in case. She knew though, that Koda would protect her from any creature, even if it cost her life. She looked down at the dear dog and silently prayed, "Lord, please never let it come to that."

      She shook off her gloomy thoughts and set about to look for interesting plants.
      "Look at the buttercups Koda. Aren't they much prettier here than in my garden?"
      Koda didn't answer. She was busy trying to catch a fly. Besides, she wasn't much interested in buttercups.

     Ferns were abundant in the woods.

     Delicate flowers bloomed from the forest floor.

     After walking for an hour or more, the trail led Koda and Mama back to the part of the park for picnics and children. They found a nice picnic bench for Mama to sit on while she poured a bowl of cold water for Koda and opened herself a bottle of iced tea.

     Koda lapped her water while Mama sipped her tea. Then they rested in the shade for a little while. Neither spoke. Good friends don't need to talk all that much to enjoy one another's company.
     When it was finally time to leave Koda said "Ranks Mama, for the walk and the water."
     "You're welcome girlie-girl," Mama replied.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Your Kitchen is a Beautiful Place

The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.                Thomas More

Your kitchen is  a beautiful place...full of lovely things. You just have to know where to look.
Open the towel drawer and see a delightful composition of  color and pattern and texture. Remember to enjoy them the next time you dry dishes.

Pretty, vintage pictures are hiding behind your cupboards...
why it's almost reason enough to remove the doors altogether!

Your favorite apron hung on the wall becomes a still-life.

 A broom of wood and straw like Grandma used is propped in the corner...functional beauty. 

A thrift-store tumbler and a measuring glass on a contact paper lined shelf...a lovely combination!

A bowl of fruit as a centerpiece, as lovely as any floral arrangement. How thoughtful of God to make our food, not just pleasing to the palate, but pleasing to the eye!

Your kitchen is a beautiful place!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Silly, Nosy Family

These are some of my grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. There's a strong family resemblance...don't you think?

 Everybody wears the nose...from the youngest to the oldest, from the most serious of us to the zaniest!

It  started at Kelly's 40th birthday party. I bought some fake
noses. We put them on; we snickered, we chortled, we guffawed and hooted til our sides ached.  Soon we were taking the noses everywhere... birthdays, weddings, even to church. Our family now has a box of about 100 noses. You can't have too many noses.

A laugh is a smile that bursts. ~Mary H. Waldrip


Monday, July 25, 2011

So Begins My Path

Ever since we've lived here I've wanted to build a path out under the fir trees. Last fall I went out with a ball of twine and some sticks and laid out the general direction; then planted some hosta and iris along the twine. But I didn't have any brick. Then last winter our roof started leaking. Turns out that our old brick chimney was the cause. When the roofers came to demolished the old chimney, I told them I wanted to keep the brick. They looked at me sideways-thought I was nuts;  but they politely complied with my wishes and stacked the old bricks next to the house. You know the old saying, when life hands you lemons...make lemonade? Well, when life hands you a leaky, broken chimney...make a path!

So begins my path. The process is teaching me some lessons. At first I was in a hurry to get the thing done. I hurriedly scraped a little dirt and randomly set the bricks down. They weren't very level and the pattern wasn't too pleasing; but I wanted to get'r done. That's how I approach most projects. Hurry, hurry, hurry. But I'm making a conscious effort to slow down and be in the moment.  I stopped and took a slow breath. "Slow down, Debbie; do this the job the right way and you'll be happier with it in the end."  So I got out the shovel and dug a nice level 4" deep section of path.
                       Museum Craft Collection - Gees Bend Log Cabin Quilt traditional quilts
traditional quilts design by potterybarn.com

Then I sat down in the dirt and played around with the brick; laying them this way and that, trying to create a pleasing pattern with them. I found that building a path and sewing a quilt are similar undertakings. Can you see the log cabin design in my path? (My first attempts looked more like the 'drunkards path' quilt design.) Anyway, there's a certain irony- no, it's really serendipity- that this passage under the evergreen trees is in a 'log cabin' design. I like that! The whole scheme; the plants, colors, and the trees are all taking on a quilt theme in my head. Now if  I could just climb up to the top of one of the trees and to get a bird's eye perspective of it all! 

Do you see all of the 'gravel' at the beginning of my path? That's mortar. Those old bricks have lots of mortar stuck to them. You have to take a hammer and chisel and chip it off. If you pound too hard, the brick cracks in half. If you don't pay attention to what you're doing, you'll smash your finger. Then the whole process stops while you go inside to pour rubbing alcohol over your bloody finger and bandage it up. More lessons learned the hard way.

I'm not real sure where this path will end. There will be a spot between the trees with a hammock, where one may stop and rest. And I did notice a nice area between the plantings that would be perfect for a little pond. So the path will certainly wind past these spots. From there, I don't know. That's the fun of it, isn't it...not being exactly certain how our paths will turn out...craning our necks to see what's around the next curve...the anticipation...

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

                                Robert Frost

Just Peachy Iced-Tea!

I love peach-flavored iced tea; and in hot summer months I drink it by the bucket...but my body's not so happy when I drink caffeinated beverages. Recently I've been purchasing the bottles of Lipton's green iced tea with peaches or citrus; which is yummy- but it's spendy and I don't feel very environmentally savy when I buy all of those plastic bottles! So instead of breaking the bank on my iced-tea obsession and in the process using way more plastic than one person should; I experimented with making my own. I have to say I'm pretty tickled with the result. I've created a tasty drink that's relatively inexpensive, caffeine free, and environmentally conscious. Home Run!!! (Now I know that some very righteous folks will criticize my use of sugar and the un-localness of the ingredients...Well hey; I'm working on it-I'm not perfect here...but I've got some good iced tea to sip while I ponder these things!)

Debbie's Peachy Green Iced-Tea

2 green teabags--I use Trader Joe's brand
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups Jumex Peach Nectar
Sugar to taste
Lemon slices or a twist of lemon if you prefer

Pour 3 cups boiling water into a teapot with 2 green teabags. Allow to steep for 7-10 minutes. 
Add peach nectar.  Pour mixture into a pitcher. (Be sure it's cooled down, so it doesn't crack your nice glass pitcher!) Refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour into tall glasses, 3/4 full, and add sugar to taste. I added 2 tbsp-but you might like more or less sugar than I do. (If you don't want to fuss with adding sugar by the glass, just stir it into the pitcher before you refrigerate.) Fill glass with ice and garnish with a lemon slice. Very refreshing!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Big Thanks and a Woof-Woof To Wally and Delores

If you've read my blog much at all, you're aware of my love for the beach. Our Pacific Northwest beaches, as you can see, are rugged and beautiful...full of driftwood, seaweed and grass, rocks and shell. And though in our travels, Kelly and I have been to some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet; including Waikiki, Kailua, Paradise Island, Oahu's North Shore (Bonzai Pipeline), Cannon, Cocoa Beach, and Shi-Shi--some of my fondest memories have been made at Birch Bay; right here in Whatcom County. As a child we went there often...we picnicked, gathered shells, dug clams, skipped rocks and swam in it's salty waters. I still go there to play... to weep... to pray... and to relax.

 The wonderful thing about our Northwest beaches, is that there is always something interesting to look at.
 The water.
 Sea life.

Today we had a wonderful day at Birch Bay. Some very kind friends; actually family by marriage; have a home at the Bay. They graciously consented to let us take our dog Koda to their beach for a swim. It's a perfect place for our lab mix to work off some energy.

What a glorious day!

We had a great time...and so did Koda. So Wally and Delores;  Kelly and I want to say thanks...and a great big Woof Woof from the Koda dog!


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