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

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Tale of Sad Puppies and Haughty Kitties

Son John and his family left this morning. It's very quiet in the house. I think that Baron is a bit depressed--he's been having a marvelous time with the grandkids.

Before they left...

after...big-doggy sigh!

Poor Baron is really down-in-the-dumps!

 So I reminded him that Dane and Ana need to go home to see Miss Millie, their Aussie. They were missing her, I think. Ana even purchased a stuffed Aussie on our shopping excursion in Fairhaven. Ana LOVES stuffed toys...and Grandpa's reclining chair...and Cartoon Network! Baron told me that he understood, but he still seemed pretty sad.

Posie, on the other hand, was most helpful. She agreed to do a glamour-shoot for me with my fancy new camera, using some of the techniques I learned in my new photography book...

Baron got a little jealous over all of the attention Posie was getting during the glam shoot. He didn't think that she should be so happy--seeings how Dane and Ana had gone away and there is no one to play with. This angered Posie.

She hautily replied , "I am just as upset as you that the children are gone. But Mama asked me to do a photo shoot...and a professional model, as myself, is quite able to disguise her feelings."

To which Baron responded, "Are you saying that I am not a professional? Mama, take another picture of me...it'll be twice as good as Posies!" Posie glared at him.

Tempers were flaring. I agreed to take another photo of Baron, just to sooth his hurt feelings. Posie watched with disdain."That clumsy oaf will never be as photogenic as me," she huffed.
 I tried to be encouraging. "OK, Baron, smile, buddy!" But try as he may, the poor fellow could not muster even the tiniest little grin. His photograph was solemn indeed. I tried to console him. "It's OK Baron; you'll feel better tomorrow. Maybe we'll go for a walk later...to the park. You know how you love the park!" Nothing. No tail wag. No smile. He quietly walked over to his bed and lay down with a thud.

Posie was not a gracious winner in the least bit.
"I am the prettiest pet in this house," she proclaimed with smug satisfaction.

 Then she stuck her tongue out at Baron.

Oh Posie, wait until Papa gets home. Baron's gonna tell on you. Then it'll be out to the garage with you! You shouldn't pick on puppies who are 10 times your size!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Wishes, Poetry and Thanks

Hello friends,

Christmas is less than one week away. I suppose that you are bustling about your homes, busy with last minute preparations. I will soon be off to visit my son Samuel for a few days, followed by a visit to my house from son John and his family, and daughter Heather and her brood. In between will be gatherings with hubby's clan and my wonderful stepchildren.

 It's about Jesus. It's about family. And about friends like you, who for some unexplicable reason visit my little spot in the cyber-universe. Thank you! Your visits and thoughtful comments have warmed my heart all year long.  I'll leave you with two reposts, poems by meself-- and my fondest wishes that you have a Merry, Joyful, and Meaningful Christmas...and that the New Year be filled with Peace and Happiness, and that you will ever keep your sense of awe and wonder.

A Christmas Greeting
by Debora Rorvig

On this wintry Sunday eve
I'm nestled in my cozy old
well-worn chair
by the fireplace;
Watching raindrops slowly drizzling
down the windowpanes
and reveling in the luxury
of Quiet.

The Christmas tree twinkles brightly in the corner near the fire,
it's boughs are fragrant fir.
I yawn a bit and sigh
and sip my chamomile tea
from my favorite flowery mug,
And reminisce of Christmas's past
And firelight
And mistletoe...

and You.



How must you have felt

the day You tenderly wrapped

Your only Son

in Human flesh

and laid him on a bed of straw

at the doorstep of this world?

Who am I

that You would give your precious Child

to me?

Debora Rorvig

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Outdoor Christmas Picnic on Tartan...Oh My!

Winter Tablescape traditional dining room
Fabulous idea and photo by Michelle Edwards of sweetsomethingdesign.blogspot.com
As seen on Houzz.com
For more wonderful pics of this beautiful setting, go to http://www.houzz.com/photos/94703/Winter-Tablescape-traditional-dining-room-kansas-city

So I was looking through my latest Houzz.com installment and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a series on using tartan in holiday decorating! Be still my heart!!! I always have tartan in my house at Christmas, even if it's just bows on the trees. I always have tartan in my house period. After all, I am the great-great grand-daughter of Alexander Laughlin McKinnon!

I must admit, it has never once entered my head to use a tartan blanket as a tablecloth...now I can't get it out of my head. I'm having visions of a late lunch in the winter woods with my nice dishes on a tartan blanket, hurricane candles a-flickering! My menu would be a hearty, home-made beef stew with flaky baking powder biscuits. Or chili and cornbread. After a dessert of shortbread and wassail we'd take a brisk walk in the woods, perhaps sing a few Christmas carols. I feel a new tradition coming on!

What would your menu be for a Christmas picnic in the woods?

PS. If you love decorating you've just gotta check out Houzz and Michelle Edwards' blog!

Friday, December 9, 2011

December's Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my window it's dusky and chilly and the moon is already out. Hubby and puppy are playing ball in the backyard. I can see their breath as they race across the frosty ground together. Hubby waves at me to watch them...Baron has learned to leap like a deer and catch the ball mid-air. Out front the neighbors Christmas lights are lit and giving the frozen evening a cheery glow.

I am thinking about Nativity Scenes. On my way to work yesterday I drove past a shoddy house with a poorly-painted plywood nativity scene in their front yard. My first thought was, "How crummy looking!" But at the same time I felt happy that this family was celebrating the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Then I started thinking about how almost bizarre it is that we decorate our lawns and mantles with  images of a newly delivered baby in a bed of straw. I mean, what other religion does that? But then, what other religion claims that GOD has visited this earth in the form of a man? The GOD of the universe, naked, lying in itchy hay, crying and wetting and needing someone to feed him. It boggles the mind! The Divine Condescension!

I am thankful that it's real. Christmas. It really did happen.

In the kitchen under the window sits my pink Thanksgiving cactus; still blooming. It's in an old- fashioned planter...a ring of white geese. Somehow they reminds me of Grandma's house.

I am wearing skinny jeans under a wheat colored cable knit sweater-jacket. I have a soft camel, red, and black plaid scarf about my neck. My brown, knee high boots have three buckled straps on them. I fancy that they look like riding boots.

I am creating a more modern and comfortable bedroom. I took out the old Victorian bed and replaced it with a simple boxed spring and mattress on a frame. The old headboard partly covered the window and blocked the light; now I awaken to soft, filtered light streaming into the room. Since getting rid of the old footboard, hubby can sit on the end of the bed in the mornings and chat with me while he drinks his coffee and I struggle to wake up.  I've replaced my brightly colored quilts with a fawn colored quilt and an ivory fake fur throw. The walls are fawn colored and the woodwork is ivory. It's all very monochromatic and restful. The only artwork is a black and white charcoal piece I drew in college-- a picture of an English chap walking his corgi along a country lane. Very appropriate for Kelly and me. Soon I will paint the side tables ivory, replace the dresser with a very simple, modern one, and sew a new bedskirt by taking an old one, ripping the skirt part off of the part that goes under the mattress, and replacing the skirt part with fabric of my choice, perhaps a linen color with a small repeated, diamond-shaped print--like you see on men's pajamas. What do you call that pattern anyway?

I am going to see my friend Michelle's daughter Breton, in a production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" tomorrow afternoon. Breton is playing Schroeder. He's my favorite Peanuts character, him and Snoopy. Who doesn't love Snoopy?

I am wondering if there are any new episodes of "Parenthood" on our DVR. Kelly and I both love that show. Will Crosby and Jasmine get back together? Kelly says yes, but I have my doubts.

I am reading books I've already read. I like to do that. And I like to read several books at once; so when I become bored with one subject, I just hop over to a new one. This month I'll re-read "Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power",  "A Child's Christmas in Wales", "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Day", "An Altar in the World", "The Heart of Abundance", and I hope to check out "Shepherds Abiding". (Brenda, over at It's a Wonderful Life mentioned this book. I think I've read all of the 'Mitford' books, but I can't remember.) In case you're wondering, this is a lot to read in a few weeks, so I probably won't read these books in their entirety... just my favorite parts. It's OK to do that...really!

I am hoping that my friend Tammy remembers to give me an invitation to Pinterest. Or that somebody does! Pinterest has a waiting list, and the only way to get on right now is to be invited...anyone out there on Pinterest...?

I am looking foward to spending a Christmas with my son Sam and his family in Las Vegas. We haven't had Christmas with Sam for over 15 years. We do see Sam in the summer, but it's been way too long since I've sat across a Christmas meal with my son. Actually, we're celebrating on the 23rd. Sam drives a limousine for a living; and Christmas day through New Years are his busiest work days of the year. I can't wait to take the boys shopping for their presents. I'm sure the malls in Vegas will be decked out to the hilt! I'll take plenty of pictures.

I am hearing the Heismann trophy presentations on ESPN. (Hubby and puppy dog have come in from the backyard and are settled in the family room with me.) Hubby says that the finalists are Andrew Luck, Montee Ball, Trent Richardson, Robert Griffin III, and  Tyrann Mathieu. Do I really care about this? Nope. But hubby does, and he tolerates my ramblings about ivory-painted side tables. So I listen when he tells me about football stuff. The compromises of a happy marriage.

Around the house things are in a pleasant disarray. They've been that way since we got a dog. I think it's an improvement. Things used to be almost too clean around here. Now the little braided rug by the front door has a pair of boots sitting on it; in anticipation of the next walk--and a few leaves and twigs from the last walk. The slipcover on the sofa is rumpled and the Chrismas quilt that I tossed haphazardly over the back of it has been claimed by Posie cat for her evening nap. Adjacent the fireplace is Baron's bed, where he is presently lying...contentedly chewing on a bone.

I am pondering how to be a true servant of Christ, how Christ was a servant-king, and how that would look in my everyday life. I know that serving Him does not mean being a doormat or saying yes to every time someone asks you to do something. It's a poor analogy, but I look at my dog. He knows that I am his master. He should prefer my voice to anyone elses. Do I prefer His voice to my own? Would I rather listen to people than to Him? I have such a long way to go in this area of my life! But I'm not discouraged. I have come long and far from where I started in my walk with Him.

One of my favorite things is writing this blog. It's relaxing and very cathartic. I love mixing words in much the way a painter mixes color. Words are colorful. They are powerful. Soothing. The can be  anything you want them to be.

A few plans for the rest of the week--Oh I hate to think of it! It's the last week of school before winter break. I'll be trying to insert information into the heads of children who's brains have turned to cotton fluff in anticipation of Christmas! There are presents to be purchased and sent to Oregon. Plans must be finalized for the Las Vegas trip--what to wear, boarding the dog, printing the airline tickets, etc. Ah well, I won't worry about it now.

Here's a picture for a thought I am sharing

My charcoal drawing. I copied this off of a photograph from an old calendar. Sadly, I don't recall the photographer's name.

Prompts courtesy of : http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What to Keep and What to Eliminate at Christmas

I've been a little preoccupied these days. Hubby bought me a shiny new toy for my birthday...a SLR camera...a big girl toy! So I've been pouring over manuals and websites and tutorials, learning all about shutter speeds and aperatures and such. Boy, it's a lot to learn, but it will be so much fun! Remember those beautiful wreathes that Starbucks had a couple of years ago...the ones with the balls that look like yarn on them? One of my sons worked for them back then, and when he heard me raving about how beautiful the wreathes were, one magically appeared on my porch! The photo above is a close up of that wreath. Love that wreath!

I haven't even really decorated for Christmas...just a few favorite things in the family room; the place where we spend most of our time. As you can see, it's pretty casual. I don't think I'll ever be a fancy girl. Things always turn out this way for me...homey.

A few winters ago we spent a few days after Christmas at Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia. We love it there...that's where we spent our honeymoon eons ago. Well, not too far from Harrison is a little town called Harrison Mills. It's situated on the river. It's not really a town. More like a whistle-stop. One of the residents there has a quaint little Christmas shop in a cabin next to her home. That's where this little snowman came from. He reminds me of so many happy times spent at Harrison.

I was messing with lighting on this photo. Don't you love those newfangled battery operated candles? I can now 'burn' candles all over the house without having to breathe in the smoke, which my nosey finds irritating.
This is a closeup of a Christmas pillow that my mom made. She passed away a few years ago, so you can just imagine what this pillow means to me. For the first 12 years of her life, back in the early 1900's Mom was raised on a farm back in Michigan. She used to tell me stories of skating on ponds, skiing on home-made skis made from barrel staves, and riding to school in the winter on the neighbors horse-drawn sleigh. I imagine that she dreamed of those childhood days as she stitched this scene.

Yep, it's fake. I love real poinsettias, but our new puppy dog might decide to munch on a leaf. And that would not make for a Merry Christmas! This year the flowers will be fake and the tree will sit atop the fireplace, 'cause we love our puppy more than our traditions. ( Hmmm, guess I'd better be a little pickier about my subjects with this new camera...just look at that thread on the flower petal. You can see that I'm a rank amateur!)

Oh well, it's all a learning process, isn't it?

On a personal note, I'm really forcing myself to scale back this year.  We're doing some traveling over the holidays, so the grandkids are likely to find checks in their stockings. I'm considering not sending out Christmas cards, and I probably won't make the usual iced sugar cookies. I'm not channelling Ebenezer Scrooge, but this year, I want to get out of the house and see people. Go to concerts. Look at lights. I'm attempting to see what Christmas would be like without all of the self-imposed obligations. Of course we'll keep the most important traditions...but honestly, how many things do you at Christmas that have become burdens? I'm not asking hypothetically, I'd really like to know...are there things you plan to eliminate from the holidays this year? Things you started to do years ago, but maybe are no longer important to you or your family?


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