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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Shopping in the 60's...Downtown

Once upon a time...long, long ago; before the days of malls, black Friday, cyber-shops and revolving credit cards...

There was Downtown. That's where we shopped for Christmas.

Going downtown was a big event. There would be a visit with Santa Claus at the J.C. Penneys store followed by a ride on the escalator up to the second floor. Penneys had the only escalator in town. My first escalator ride was terrifying. I stood there at the bottom for a long time, trying to jump on the moving step at just the right time. When I finally did, I made the serious mistake of grasping a part of the hand rail that didn't move so my feet were swept  up with the moving steps, but my hands and torso remained stationary at the bottom. I couldn't let go, lest I fall flat on my back! A nice gentleman heard my hysterical screaming and rushed over to pluck me off of the diabolical contraption. To this day whenever I have to take an escalator, my hands get all clammy and  I still shuffle about as I try to put my foot on the step at exactly the right time. 

Our Christmas shopping usually began sometime around the last payday before Christmas. I don't remember anyone using credit cards, but certainly we did not. All of our Christmas presents had to come out of that paycheck. And our Christmas list was small by today's standards, just one modest gift for immediate family members. Grandma Cline would receive  a pair of nice silk nylons or Emeraude dusting powder with a fluffy powder puff; and Grandpa would get a small can of Prince Albert pipe tobacco. (The thought of which causes fond recollection of a childhood prank we used to play...You call the local store and ask, "Do you have Prince Albert in the can?" The clerk replies yes, to which you yell, "Well go let him out!" Then you hang up and laugh hysterically with your friends. Another variation is to call KFC and ask, "How big are your breasts?" Of course we only had party-lines back then, so you always ran the risk of a neighbor listening in on your prank and telling the folks.)

We always got Dad a warm plaid Pendleton wool shirt, usually in deep shades of green or blue. Our presents for Mom varied, but the one I remember most distinctly was a fancy new G.E. electric hair dryer with a pink plastic bonnet. That year that Dad and Mom were both out of work; Mom had a broken ankle with a bad ulcer on it that took a whole year to heal; and Dad had been diagnosed with emphysema. That was the year I emptied all of the pennies from my piggy bank to help pay for the hair dryer.  I'd been saving those pennies since I was five. Mom cried when she opened her present. I thought she didn't like it, but Dad said we did good.

Mom used the portable hair dryer for years and years. I guess Dad and I did 'do good'.

Dad had a shirt just like this. If I close my eyes I can almost feel the softness of the wool and smell  him...all earthy and woodsy.

No Christmas shopping expedition downtown would have been complete without stopping for a burger at Woolworths luncheonette. It was set up like a big soda fountain with chairs that  you could spin around on until you became so dizzy you toppled right off! The burgers were sloppy-greasy and loaded with fried onions. I always ordered a fizzy drink called Green River. It was lime flavored and oh, so refreshing!

photo from newraleigh.com

 Wahls and the Bon Marche were the two fanciest department stores in town. We were too poor to buy much from them, but they had pretty rose-colored lounges in the ladies restroom. Sometimes Mom and I would scale the stairways, arms laden with packages, just to sit on their cushy divans and rest our aching feet. Oh the days of ladies lounges! A place where harried women took their cranky children, teenage girls experimented with new shades of lipstick, and white haired grandmothers smelling of lavender rested from their shopping before hoofing it down the stairway and back into the city streets.

a Macy's window display
And how festive the city was at Christmas! Storefronts were elaborately decorated--not with the latest Michael Kors designer dress or Coach handbags, but with sweet images of the season...giant nutcrackers and sugarplum fairies, santas and elves, and trains that whistled. Even though I'm sure these sumptuous storefronts were meant to draw customers into the store, they also provided holiday entertainment to shoppers and especially the children...and they were free for the looking!

It was ever-so-delightful to stroll down Cornwall Avenue on a chilly winter's eve, so much the more if  it was snowing. Into one store, then on to the next, with our new-found treasures stashed securely in beautifully printed shopping bags...not at all like the flimsy ones you see today. Woolworths, The 88 Cent Store, Newberry's, Pay n Save, Wahls, the Golden Rule, Mode O Day, Sears Roebuck, Gallenkamps, and the Bon Marche were some of the places we stopped. Sadly just a few of those old names remain...Penneys and Sears. Macy's bought the Bon Marche and they all moved to the mall. Oh yes, there are other stores at the mall, and now you don't have to go outside to shop...but that was what made it fun...and and adventure. Now, instead of enjoying a brisk winter's walk while shopping, weary consumers trudge doggedly down the mall corridors, listening to music in a can and breathing recirculated air. They cringe as they purchase more than they should on their Visa Gold card, and regret their expenditures with every 24 percent interest payment in the year to come.

Do you know what this writer most often found under the tree on Christmas morning as a child? A simple dolly. Not Chatty Cathy or one who walks or crawls or poops in their diapers...just a doll. Maybe a puzzle or a picture book. My Christmas stocking contained a shiny apple, a fresh orange, some jacks and an Old Maid game. Grandma always gave me a pair of sensible flannel pajamas, and my sister sewed pretty outfits for the doll. My brothers' families often gave me stocking hats, knitted slippers or a teddy bear.  And it was wonderful! Because Christmas is wonderful.

Even though Christmas is vastly different these days, it still can be wonderful if you make it so.

A little Christmas advice... Put on your parka and stocking hat. Leave your credit cards at home and go outside. Look at the lights. Sing carols with your little ones-teach them all the words to Silent Night and We Three Kings. Then go back home and drink hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows on top and eat sugar cookies laden with frosting. Turn off the Wii-- play checkers. Get out your Bible and read the story again. The one about Mary and Joseph and the angels who announced the birth of Jesus to lowly shepherds. Lay aside your sophisticated skepticism and allow yourself to once again become a child and believe.

Just believe.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


What a lovely Thanksgiving weekend we had; spent in the bestest way ever...with family. There were so many special moments; sweet images that I've tucked safely away into my heart. There were laughing moments--smiling moments--and eye's welling with thankful tears moments. The photo I've used for my blog header was a smiling, thankful, teary moment for me; as I watched my son John, his wife Karen, and their two sweet children decorate their Christmas tree. Karen has seen to it that every event of their marriage and family has been commemorated with a special ornament--there was a bride and groom, photos of the children as babies, ornaments from sporting events, family vacations, ballerinas and footballs, and even puppy Millie's first collar! And so as each ornament was carefully placed upon the tree, the children recalled all of the happy moments that they have spent together as a family.  Seven-year-old Ana wanted to place the star atop the tree, as did little brother Dane; so they decided that it would be done by all...as a new family tradition.

My daughter Heather, her husband Edgar, and their four gorgeous children also live in the Portland area. They drove Kelly and I downtown on Saturday to look at the sights of the big city. Portland was all a-sparkle for the holidays. Much fancier than our little one-horse town! We went to Pioneer Square Mall. The younger children, Sophia and Isabella, got to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. (3-year old Sophia confided to me later that Santa has stinky breath and that he needs to brush his teeth. However, she was kind enough not to tell the old gent! Definitely a laughing moment!) Thirteen-year-old Jordynn did some browsing in her fav store. I think Junior's favorite part was lunch--Chinese. Of course we went to Powell's Bookstore. We HAD to. I may read piles of books, but my daughter Heather reads MOUNTAINS of books, so every trip to Portland must include a bookstore stop! Then we all went over to Icebreaker, the store my son John manages. Everything in the store is made of merino wool. Everything. Even the underwear. It's high end stuff. Check it out: http://www.icebreaker.com/

  Can you see my grand-daughter Isabella in the ornament? (That's me in the background.)

Did I mention the birthday party? They had a little party for my 56th birthday. It was sweet, very very sweet.

This whole wonderful weekend has put me in the mood for the holidays. Let the decorating begin!

(BTW; I still plan to write about shopping downtown in the good ole days, as promised. Real soon, I promise.)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas As It Used To Be...The Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting

I woke up this morning with thoughts of old-time Christmas's on my mind. The days before malls and Amazon.com. Simpler times. So I'm going to take the next few posts to share with you what Christmas was like in the late '50s and early 60s. So put on your scarf and mittens; we're going to an old school Christmas-Tree-Lighting...Bellingham style!

Christmas in Bellingham always began with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. I'd sit in the back seat of our old blue and white Ford Fairlane as we drove downtown to see the Christmas tree, and listen reverently as Dad retold the story of  how in 1949 we had the tallest Christmas tree in the whole wide-world, right here in Bellingham! It was 153 feet high.

 "Why that's as tall as a 15 story building!" he'd exclaim with pride.

And shouldn't we be proud? After all, Dad was a lumberman; so to my way of thinking that connected MY DAD to that mammoth tree...and every Christmas tree thereafter. Plus we're from Washington--the Evergreen State. It's just natural that we'd have the tallest trees--and Daddy's too! Now if my Dad had been a tree, he'd have been an old-growth cedar. He towered above me with those long, lanky legs and angular body.  His grey eyes were quiet and kind. Even his woolen plaid shirts smelled of cedar and pine. Folks often said he looked like Abe Lincoln. So naturally Honest Abe was my favorite president!

Everybody came out for the tree lighting. It was hard to find a good parking spot. We'd drive around and around the loop on Railroad Avenue, looking for tail-lights, hoping in vain that someone would be backing out. It never happened, so as usual, Dad would park in some restricted area, like in front of a fire hydrant or in a loading zone out front of Clarks Feed and Seed. (Railroad Avenue is really two streets with train-tracks that run between them. Back in those days the train actually drove right through the middle of town via Railroad Avenue. Not fast, mind you...in fact, it shuffled through the center of town so slowly that one time my Grandma got exasperated waiting for the train to pass. So she closed her eyes, grabbed the steering wheel real tight, and put the pedal to the metal on her little blue sedan. She sideswiped the train! Didn't get hurt...but I think they took her license away after that. But I mustn't get sidetracked...Grandma Cline is a story all her own!)

"Ray, you can't park here...your gonna get us a ticket, or worse yet--towed!" Mom would chide.

But Dad was never one to worry about warning signs, tickets or towaway zones.

"Aw, Simmer down, Ruby," he'd grin as he backed right up against the "Loading/Unloading" sign in front of Clarks. "This is a good spot; besides, I know old man Clark!"

Once we were properly illegally parked, I'd scramble from the back seat and fidget as mom tied my white rabbit fur cap about my chin and buttoned my winter coat. Then off we'd go; Mom's high heels clickety-clacking on the cobblestones and me running to keep in stride with Dad's long legs. (I think that Mom was in as big a hurry to get away from our illegally parked car--hoping not to see anyone we knew-- as she was to see the Christmas tree!)

Finally we reached the tree. As we stood there in the chilly night, waiting for the tree to light up, my folks invariably saw old friends or family. They'd laugh and chat about the holidays, and everyone always remarked about how I was growing like a weed. I politely tolerated their remarks, but kept my eyes on the tree. I didn't want to be looking at Marge or Al Haynes when the lights went on--no, I was waiting for the magic.

And just when I thought that my fingers had frozen solid, and that my neck was broken from gaping up to the top of that tree, and when my knees were about to buckle from standing around for an eternity...at that precise moment- the tree would become ablaze with a million-jillion Christmas lights. Not with your hoity-toity Macy's/Goldman Sachs/Pottery Barn white boring lights; but with lights of every color...like the fresh box of Crayolas I received every Christmas morning kind of colored!

Yes, the magic had happened! The tree was lit and now Christmas would come. Christmas...with carolers singing Silent Night and friends stopping over for coffee and a slice of Mom's home-made pumpkin pie. There would be fine dinners on white linen tablecloths at Grandma's house and an ever-so-carefully placed star atop our Christmas tree. A time when, though our life was sometimes hard, Mom and Dad smiled at one another more and even hummed a carol or two. And a time to hear the stories of angels visiting shepherds and about how a sweet little baby, lying in a manger would somehow change the world.

That Christmas Tree was the start of it all.

Next post we'll talk about shopping downtown; an experience I fear has been lost to a generation.

Free Vintage Christmas Clipart - Spring of Holly

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How I've Managed to Lose 8 Pounds

I've probably lost and gained 500 pounds over the course of my adult life. I know all about all of the weight loss plans out there because I've tried most of them and found that they work...as long as you stay on them. I've done Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, low-carb, hi protein, all natural,  1000-calorie, and vegetarian diets. I lost 35 lb on Weight Watchers, 55 lb on O.A., 50 lb on all-natural, 30 lb on a 1000-calorie diet; and the list goes on. I've done aerobics, jazzercize, yoga, water aerobics, cycling, jogging, swimming, walking, and body-building. (Yes, in my 30's I had rock solid ab's and bulging biceps.) The problem is, and always has been consistancy. So this time I'm using a new approach. I'm combining bits of everything I've learned over the past few years. This is a very long-term approach--it won't get you into that sleek little cocktail dress by Christmas.

1.  Visualization and the Law of Attraction

Spend time imagining yourself as a fit, healthy, svelte-looking woman. I have a mental picture of myself  walking on a grassy trail by the beach with my dog. I am slender, muscular, and fit. I imagine how I feel as I breath in the fresh salt air while walking briskly without being winded. I go back to that mental picture several times a day.

2.  Commitment to Exercise

Know thyself. I know that I will exercise like a banshee for a few months, then the first or second time I have to miss it because of the sniffles or a vacation, I fall completely off the wagon. We've had a gym membership for about 18 years. Over the past 2 years I've only used it a half a dozen times. But I know my co-dependent nature. So after mulling it over for about a year, I decided to get a dog as a walking partner. I know that I cannot look into the pleading eyes of my canine friend and say "Sorry, we can't walk today because it's raining outside." I can tell myself that..and I can tell my girlfriends that; but not the dog. So just like the mailman, in rain or shine, wind or sleet, the dog and I are up and out at 6:30 am, then again at 7:00 pm. This week Baron and I have walked about 18 miles.

 NOTE: DO NOT GET A DOG UNLESS YOU ARE TOTALLY 100% COMMITTED TO BEING A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER. This means walking him, professional training, having an adequate yard, adjusting your schedule to accomodate him, spending tons of money at the vet, and committing to 10-15 years of making this animal a priority in your life.

3.   A Combination of Sensible Eating Guidelines

     a.   The One-Helping Rule. I tend to binge on foods I love. Now I allow myself to have them occasionally but one helping. That means 2 cookies, not 10. One scoop of mashed potatoes, not half a plate buried in gravy. A handful of Frito's instead of the whole bag.

     b.   Loosely Counting Calories. As a veteran dieter, I pretty much know the calorie content of most foods by heart. So I keep a loose tally in my head. I try to keep it under 1500 or so--and once or twice a week I drop it to 1000-1200.

     c.   Eating Healthy.   This means including lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I've forced myself to learn to cook some very healthy meals, and try to make them a few times a week. I like the Mediterranean diet, so I make Mediterranean Rice with Spinach, Chicken Marsala...things like that. We primarily eat fish and chicken for meat, and occasionally eat red meat. I try to make fish once per week, chicken twice or more, and vegetarian twice or more per week. Lots of soups in the winter, salads in summer.

     d.   Limit bread. Breads and pastas are my weakness. I rarely have sandwiches for lunch these days, and if I do, I only use one slice of bread. Toast and jam is a treat reserved for weekends. My breakfasts are mainly oatmeal with nuts, honey, and fresh blueberries, or Cheerios with sliced banana. No sugar. Always eat whole grains instead of highly processed.

     e.  Use Honey Instead of Sugar whenever possible.

     f.  Pick a Day to Splurge.  Saturdays are reserved for tea and scones or muffins. I enjoy them without guilt. Period.

     g. Don't Go There!   Our Teacher's Lounge is a food-lover's mecca. Somebody's always bringing donuts, pastries, banana bread, etc. I try to stay out of there. If I must try something, it's a little tiny piece.

     h. Think About What You CAN Eat, Not What You Can't.  It's a subtle mental shift-- but very important.
Remember how carefully you packed lunches for your children...how you tried to give them all of most nutritious foods you could afford? Do that for you. Go to your local natural food store or to farmer's markets and buy the most wonderful, nutritious things you can for yourself. Take time to cook something lovely for yourself. There are so many wonderful things to make, like fresh vegetable soup, marinated tomatoes and basil over pasta, sweet and sour cabbage, lentil soup with chicken. I know from experience that your often too tired to cook; but truthfully, that's because your overweight and overloaded with carbs. Force yourself to cook from scratch. Soon it will be a joy, not a chore.

     i. Split Meals at Restaurants  Order 1 meal to split, and a side salad. Drink water. It's healthier and cheaper. After all, do you REALLY need to eat a whole rack of ribs, 1/2 a chicken, or 2 lb of greasy fries??? I thought not.

4.   Have A Big, Longterm Goal

I plan to walk the Camino de Santiago when hubby retires...about 5 years from now. The walk is arduous...about 400 miles. That's about 20 miles a day.  So I need to lose about 25 lb and do some serious toning to be ready for that walk.

5.  No Self Flaggelation

Love yourself like you would your children. No self-deprecating talk. No beating yourself up over a piece of cake. No silly pictures on the fridge. No saying that you can't buy something nice to wear until you reach a certain weight. Get your hair colored or your nails done. Do your makeup. Buy some nice, flattering outfits. If they become too big, you can have them altered or wear a belt around them.

6.   Take Time

See this as a life change...not a diet. What if it takes a year or more to lose the weight? Isn't that better than gaining 5 lb a year? Every pound you lose is a victory in itself.

7.   Don't Let the Scale Dictate Your Mood

My weight loss usually goes like this: Stuck for 3 weeks-- Down 1 lb. -- Up 2 lb. -- Down 1 lb.-- Down 2 lb.-- Up 1 lb.-- Stuck for a week -- Down 3 lb.  What if I allowed my attitude to go up and down with the numbers on the scale? Not pretty. Been there. Done that. So over it!

So that's the plan. I've lost 8 lb so far. It's taken about 5 months. I plan to lose about 25 more. It may take a couple of years... and that's okay!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Remedy for Decorating Doldrums

Good morning! I have today off, and though I planned to sleep in, there were just too many ideas buzzing through my head. You know what I mean...you get a day off and there are more things that you want to do than you can possibly accomplish.

The first order of my day was to do a bit of rearranging. I've been in the decorating doldrums for quite a while now...feeling pretty dis-satisfied with the way my home looks. That's partly because I'm in the middle of a 'style identity crisis.'  My tastes have changed but my furnishings haven't.

Sometimes though, small changes can assuage the urge to splurge. I bought this beautiful wool scarf to wear with my brown corduroy jeans and beige tee shirt; but it's been too warm to wear a heavy scarf indoors. So I put it on the coffee table. 

When I moved the cactus from the top of the refrigerator  to the coffee table, I noticed that it's about to bloom-- just in time for Thanksgiving. What a hardly little plant!  I've neglected it terribly, but bless it's heart, it's still going to bloom. (BTW, did you notice the pot it lives in? Its a garage sale find, an antique...around 100 years old!)

So am I going to bloom this Thanksgiving? Are you? Can we find things to be grateful for in spite of having been  metaphorically 'stuck on the top of the refrigerator'? I think it's time to begin meditating on all of the things I'm thankful for, instead of focusing on the things I don't have.

My Gratitude List for November 11

  • health and the ability to get out and walk
  • my good neighbors on all sides
  • a soon approaching birthday...56 years strong!
  • tea and scones
  • the loss of 8 lb. which has nothing to do with tea and scones or pumpkin pie
  • my loving, faithful husband
  • my beautiful, beautiful children and grandchildren--all healthy and happy
  • the fact that Christ is with me every day, even when I'm at my worst
  • my sister
  • pumpkin pie
  • being debt-free in a world that's drowning in debt
  • clear sinuses

AND...all of the lovely things in this world, like music and art and pretty yarn and fluffy kittens, snow-capped mountains, sparkling Christmas trees, full-moons, pine trees with owls in them, wagging-tailed dogs, embroidered tea-towels, sweet-faced children, and pumpkin pie. (I've mentioned the pie again...I'm really craving pumpkin pie!)

My list could go on forever.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

If You Let it Happen

'Andy' struggles. He struggles with school. He struggles with life.

 He's my reading student--a sixth grader. Sometimes he tries really hard. Sometimes he acts like he doesn't care...but I know he does.

He lives in poverty; as so many Native American children do.  I know he feels unloved and neglected by his family, and he thinks he's a nobody. But I know he's not.

When Andy came to class with a book of poetry under his arm, I was curious. It was called "My Heart Soars" by Chief Dan George.

"Where'd you get this, Andy?" I inquire as I examine the contents of the book.

"I dunno. I just picked it off the shelf of free books in the foyer 'cause I knew I was s'posed to bring somethin' to read."

The words on the pages of the book were stunningly beautiful. Some of the finest poetry I'd read.

"Andy, Chief Dan George is a great man, a great poet. May I read some of his work to you?"


Andy settles into his chair and looks intently at me with those beautiful, soft, searching brown eyes. I clear my throat and begin to read.

"Words to a Grandchild, by Chief Dan George," I begin.

Perhaps there will be a day
you will want to sit by my side
asking for counsel.
I hope I will be there
but you see
I am growing old.
There is no promise
that life will
live up to our hopes
especially to the hopes of the aged.
So I write of what I know
and some day our hearts
will meet in these words,
--if you let it happen.

I feel tears coming to my eyes as I think of my own grandchildren, and my hopes that someday their hearts will meet with mine through my writing. I blink back the tears and proceed. Andy is aware that I am moved. He leans forward to listen more intently.

In the midst of a land
without silence
you have to make a place for yourself.
Those who have worn out
their shoes many times
know where to step.
It is not their shoes
you can wear
only their footsteps
you may follow,
--if you let it happen.

Oh how this dear boy needs a place for himself...and footsteps to follow. My voice cracks as I continue.

You come from a shy race.
Ours are the silent ways.
We have always done all things
in a gentle manner,
so much as the brook
that avoids the solid rock
in its search for the sea
and meets the deer in passing.
You too must follow
of your own race.
It is steady and deep
reliable and lasting.
It is you,
--if you let it happen.

You are a person of little,
but it is better to have little
of what is good,
than to possess much
of what is not good.
This your heart will know,
--if you let it happen.

I am in awe. Chief Dan George is speaking directly to this child...calling out his gentle nature, his shy ways, and his meager circumstances...and I, well I have become an oracle of his words. Andy is rapt with attention, hanging on every word.

Heed the days
when the rain flows freely,
in their greyness
lies the seed of much thought.
The sky hangs low
and paints new colors
on the earth.
After the rain
the grass will shed its moisture,
the fog will lift from the trees,
a new light will brighten the sky
and play in the drops
that hang on all things.
Your heart will beat out
a new gladness,
--if you let it happen.

Each day brings an hour of magic.
Listen to it!
Things will whisper their secrets.
You will know
what fills the herbs with goodness,
makes days change into nights,
turns the stars
and brings the change of seasons.
When you have come to know
some of nature's wise ways
beware of your complacency
for you cannot be wiser than nature.
You can only be as wise
as any man will ever hope to be,
--if you let it happen.

 Our ways are good
but only in our world
If you like the flame
on the white man's wick
learn of his ways,
so that you can bear his company
yet when you enter his world
you will walk like a stranger

Guilt overwhelms my heart as I read this. How often have I seen our native students feeling strange and foreign in my world. I pause, but I cannot bear to look into Andy's eyes. It is I, at this moment, and not Andy who feels foreign. Who am I, a white woman, that I should be reading these wise words, this prophecy of sorts, to Andy? And yet...I am here and I am willing and I am all that is available to this boy right now, and so I read on.

For some time
bewilderment will,
like and ugly spirit
torment you.
Then rest on the holy earth
and wait for the good spirit.
He will return with new ways
as his gift to you,
--if you let it happen.

Use the heritage of silence
to observe others.
If greed has replaced the goodness
in a man's eyes
see yourself in him
so you will learn to understand
and preserve yourself.
Do not despise the weak,
it is compassion
that will make you strong.
Does not the rice
drop into your basket
whilst your breath
carries away the chaff
There is good in everything,
--if you let it happen.

When the storms close in
and the eyes cannot find the horizon
you may lose much.
Stay with your love for life
for it is the very blood
running thorough your veins.
As you pass through the years
you will find much calmness
in your heart.
It is the gift of age,
and the colors of the fall
will be deep and rich,
--if you let it happen.

Yes dear Chief, and now you speak to me! I am finding much calmness and richness in this autumn of my life. Now tears are streaming down my face. Andy is staring at me...quietly waiting for me to continue.

As I see beyond the days of now
I see a vision:
I see the faces of my people,
your sons' sons,
your daughters' daughters,
laughter fills the air
that is no longer yellow and heavy,
the machines have died,
quietness and beauty
have returned to the land.
The gentle ways of our race
have again put us
in the days of the old.
It is good to live!
It is good to die!
--This will happen.

I wipe away the tears.

"Andy, are you going to keep this free book? Because if you are not...I will take it-but if you want it, I will buy my own copy."

His eyes meet mine.

"I will keep this book. I will show it to my grandfather."

Yes Andy, you keep the book.
Grace has ordained that you find the book
and that you share the words
with your Grandfather.
It is meant to be,

--if you let it happen.


Note: I've changed Andy's name to protect his anonymity...but he is real--and he matters.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My New Companion

Meet my new walking partner--Sir Grizzley Bear Newton 1st! (We didn't give him this high-falutin name, but I do kind of like it.) Hubby has re-named him Baron. I just call him Bear. He's still a baby, just 9 months old...all 84 clumsy pounds of him. We think that when he grows into his frame he'll weigh in at around 110 lb or so.

This handsome fellow loves long walks, tender caresses, gazing soulfully into your eyes, big sloppy kisses and playing keep away. And how he enjoys a fine meal.

I'm pretty smitten with this big galoot! He's a gentle giant.

We could use a little advice with this boy. If you have a big dog who's a big chewer, can you tell me what kind of toys you give him? He's got the Kong of course, and the Kong ball and a huge synthetic bone of some kind, but he needs more things to keep him occupied. Any suggestions?


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