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, January 31, 2012

Simple Pleasures: Little winter pick-me-ups

It's been a drab, gloomy old winter. What we need is a little pick-me-up; a little color in the midst of all of the dreariness.  Something red! Something fresh! A little reminder that spring is just around the corner.

Isn't it amazing what a bunch of flowers can do for your spirits?
I'm so tired of my old brown sofa, but when I place a vase of tulips in front of it, they seem to bring vibrance and life to the place!

I prefer simple, inexpensive posies; like tulips, daisies, or a sunflower or two.  Even a bouquet of greenery will do. Just something to bring the outdoors inside.

Is there some little thing that gives you a boost in the winter months? Perhaps a manicure, searchings for treasures at the thrift store, or knitting a cozy scarf?

In the midst of winter, I found there was within me,
 an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

Friday, January 27, 2012

He's One Year Old Today!

Today's a big day...our 'baby' Baron turns one. Weighing in at 80 lb, he's big for his age. Big, loveable, and cuddly. Happy Birthday Dear Doggie...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lullabies for Mothers

One of the loveliest moments of motherhood is that quiet hour after dark when no one is awake but mother and child. Do you remember those times in the dark, wee hours, when you cuddled your sweet  baby in your arms and sang softly in time to the squeak of the old rocking chair? No matter the quality of a mother's voice; when she sings her child to sleep, her voice is as sweet as the angels...and her child as lovely as a cherub. Nightime feedings are holy moments...times when bonds are made forever.

I put together my most recent songlist with this thought in mind. A compilation of lullabies to remind us of those sweet, fleeting moments of motherhood. Turn up your speakers, close your eyes and reminisce.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Frosty KOA

We have a beautiful KOA not far from our house. We decided to drive over in the snow last weekend to see how it looked...

Frozen Ponds

Frozen Pool

 Frozen Ice!

I'm thinkin' that ice sales are down this time of year...


Friday, January 20, 2012

Whadda Ya Want?

Over the past few years I've been on a 'road less traveled'... at least for me.

 The path of simplicity.
 Less is more.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

It's a satisfying way to live... not succumbing to the pressures of advertising, the Joneses and the dictates of my own fluctuating emotions. Oh yes, there are still plenty of things that I want; I'm not without goals...but the reason for those wants are different. For example, I wanted a little conversion van, and got it.. Reason: So hubby, me, and doggie-makes-three can travel together. We love to hike with our pooch-and we're not all that interested in 4-star hotels with fine linens and truffles on the bed; so this purchase makes sense for our lifestyle. It's simple.

I've learned from personal experience that consumerism, overspending, and hoarding stems from some kind of fear. It may be fear of lack. I was raised pretty poor. We'd drive past beautiful new homes and I'd dream of what it would be like to live there. I thought that people who live in pretty houses had pretty lives. So it's easy for me to go overboard on buying stuff for my house, still thinking that pretty house=pretty life. But it doesn't.  Others might fear failure; so they buy the best and most expensive equipment available to make them succeed. I know some golfers who fit this description. Fear of growing old might cause a person to spend inordinate amounts of money and time in spas, gyms, getting tucks and lifts, or just buying tons of makeup. How many homes do you visit where the fridge is absolutely crammed with food that cannot possibly be eaten before it spoils? I wonder what motivates that kind of waste? How about children who have so many toys that you can't walk through their bedroom without stepping on them? Hmmm. Is someone afraid that their kids might have an unhappy moment?  Newsflash: It's not your job to keep them happy every minute. They'll become spoiled brats if you do...and they'll grow to be unhappy adults with the unrealistic expectation that happiness can be purchased at Costco.

So the question is not only, 'what do you want?'  When trying to simplify your life, it's good to ask, "Why do I want this?"  

Please don't feel guilty. Living simply isn't about guilt. It's about doing things for the right reasons, and then being happy about it. If you choose to buy the sailboat--enjoy it. But for heaven sakes, use it! If you don't use it, sell it, or better yet; tell everybody in the family that it's there for them to use too! Life's too short for sailboats to sit idly in the harbor, meals to rot- uneaten in the fridge, or toys to be without laughing children. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Speak to your mountain

...If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. Matthew 17:20

My Kitchen's All Sparkly...Thanks FlyLady!

We have about a foot of snow. It's 11 degrees and the Northeast Wind is biting cold. I need to take a break from taking a break! There's a marvelous site called FlyLady  http://flylady.net/  that I've been visiting. FlyLady helps you get your house (and life) in order.

We're planning a kitchen remodel in the near future, so I've gotten a little slack about cleaning it. But the FlyLady advises not to do a remodel until you de-clutter. Good advice, FlyLady!

So I spent my snow day sprucing up the kitchen.

I scrubbed the cupboards and counters.

Cleaned the canisters.

Organized the cookbooks. (I've decided to have a special shelf made just for cookbooks when we remodel.) I know you can go on line or get little computers for recipes, but I love my cookbooks! This stack is only of few in my collection.

The first goal FlyLady gives you is to shine the kitchen sink and to keep it that way. I've been shinin' the sink for a couple of weeks now.  A shiny sink makes you feel so good! This is a habit I'll keep. Not shining the sink is like not brushing your teeth!

The basket next to the coffee pot holds mail that I haven't dealt with. I'd rather not have it there, but it beats having junk lying around on the counters.

Good thing that ivy topiary is fake. I had enough dust on top of the fridge for cuttings to take root! Yuk!

My kitchen's sparkling clean. And even though it's old, it's pleasant.  Thanks for the inspiration, FlyLady!

(Yes, we're still going to remodel. I'll keep y'all posted!)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Consult not your fears...

My doctor said I had anxiety. Imagine that! Ya think?

Looking back over my life I can say with some authority that I have had reason for anxiety. There was the dysfunctional childhood, the early marriage and subsequent divorce, the remarriage and blending of a family that blended about as well as oil and water, jobs that sapped every bit of energy, going back to college and starting a new career in my forties-I joke about being the only student in my math class who was having hot flashes while sitting in the front row on finals week...I could go on.

But God. The divine conjunction...but God. He has been with me through every season of my life. He's been there when my life has been so glorious that I've felt like racing to the top of a mountain and dancing on it's pinnacle. And He's been there in the darkness of my bedroom when I've been crumpled on my bed like a piece of discarded paper, sobbing until I thought my eyes should swell shut. And yes, I survived and lived to see another sunny, glorious day.

Do you know what this friend, this God, this Jesus is to me? He is my ALWAYS. My constant. He is the land I see on the horizon when my ship is tossing wildly in the storm. He never leaves me, know matter how crazy or stupid or stressed or fabulous my life becomes. And it has surely been all of those things...sometimes all at one time! Yes, he is My ALWAYS.

Today I previewed a lovely book by  Angela Thomas called "When Wallflowers Dance".  There was a quote on one of the first pages that I know was placed there just for me.

"Consult Not Your Fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do." 
Pope John XXIII  

How about you? Are you consulting your fears or looking at what is still possible for you to do. I pray that if you've 'happened' upon this post, you'll know like me that the words were placed there just for you!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow Day!

It's a lazy day. Nothing I have to do. Well, almost nothing. Trucked on over to the Rite-Aid store to pick up a prescription, some goodies for hubby, who's under the weather today, then went outside in the snow with Baron for a bit. Oh yes, almost forgot, I got some new scuffy slippers today! Woo-hoo! The old ones were looking pretty ratty. Now that I'm back inside, all curled up on the sofa and stylin' with my fuzzy new scuffys, it's time to get out the Nook and finish that Joseph Prince book; which by the way, is way cool! Then maybe I'll do a bit of knitting, or just take a little snooze...

my funny Valentine

...snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes...

the old...

the new


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stopping by Woods...

All of our plans were turned upside down and topsy turvy this weekend. We were supposed to have dinner with son Tyler and his family on Friday evening, but Ty had the sniffles and had to cancel. On Sunday we were going to have my sister and hubby over to celebrate her birthday, but my hubby woke up with a sore throat...another cancellation. Thus, a very social weekend turned into a very quiet one.

 I took Baron over to Berthusen Park for a walk in the woods. It was a lovely January day, cold and sunny. The silence in the park was glorious. As we walked beneath the firs, the only sound was the crunch of my boots in the crusty snow. Once well into the wood, I allowed Baron to run free. My great black dog seemed more shadowy spirit than creature as he raced silently through the wood; disappearing behind trees and into shadows, then suddenly reappearing at my side.  The woods are bordered on one side by a field with tree plantings, and on another by the old farm buildings from the original homestead. 

Snowy wood scenes as these always bring to mind one of my all-time favorite poems by Robert Frost. I hope you enjoy the words and the scenery...

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are, I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
to watch his woods fill up with snow.

 My little horse must think it queer
to stop without a farmhouse near
between the woods and frozen lake
the darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
to ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep
of easy wind
and downy flake.

The woods are lovely,
dark and deep..

But I have promises to keep.

And miles to go before I sleep...

And miles to go before I sleep.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Contemplative Photography...Assignment: Color

I went to the library and came home with a stack of books on photography. One in particular caught my eye..."The Practice of Contemplative Photography" by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. I had never heard the term 'contemplative photography' before, but I knew intuitively that such an art existed. Contemplative photography has been described as pure perception...seeing the world with fresh eyes...seeing combined with mindfulness...and so on. It's easy to recognize but hard to describe. There's an honesty and freshness to it...uncontrived. It's the antithesis of the department store portrait.

Anyhoo, this book has some fun exercises, the first of which is to shoot color. Not form, not items, not things...just run around and look for color and then photograph it. No blacks, greys, whites or beiges. No text or graphics. 

Now I admit to being a rank amateur at this, but even I could appreciate what happens when you get your mind off of composing a shot. Other things show up. Like letters reflected in water bottles.

Unimportant things find meaning.

Try it, it's kind of fun!


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