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, March 25, 2012

Let's Go Fly A Kite

Sunday. Sunshine...finally!


Textures... rough, sun-washed, weather-beaten.

Blue skies. Ocean. Sand. Shells. Eagles and Heron. Pinecones and fancy shells. Rocks. Driftwood. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Brightly colored kites. Salt air. Happy smiles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More of the Best things in Life

Nonfiction shelves at the Bellingham Public Library
A library full of books for the borrowing...

Changing seasons...

The best seat in the house....a log on the beach

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Best Things in Life...What are some things that you enjoy freely?

Bird on a tree

My wise blogger-friend Rebecca, after reading my post "Sunflowers, Spinach, and Community", commented that ''...you don't have to own something to enjoy it."

My dear Rebecca, I can't get your comment out of my mind! Lately I've been noticing so many wonderful things that I enjoy...gratis!

I thought I'd start a list; and I'm hoping that you'll send a little note with a few of your favorite undeserved pleasures.

Here are a few things that I've enjoyed this week...

Cookies and goodies! Paraeducators were honored at my school last week. Every day people brought us the loveliest goodies!  Food is so plentiful here in the U.S. that I fear we are often ungrateful when someone shares a plate of yummy cookies or a nice casserole. And yet, just think of how that same food might be received by a hungry child in the third world. Should I be any less grateful when someone takes the time to cook something for me?

Music. I love listening to all kinds of music while driving my car. It's free, and so uplifting!

Encouraging words. Last Sunday our pastor talked about taking risks. Just the thing this aspiring author needed to hear.

Birds Singing. Baron and I (yes I think I can speak for Baron in this case) have been so enjoying the songs of birds on our morning walks. There's one  in particular that sounds something like "Seee-sawww, seeee-sawww". It's hauntingly beautiful. Baron and I keep gazing up into the branches of the giant firs, but we have yet to see who's singing to us! 

Family. I so appreciate my husband, children, and grandchildren. Their love for me is unmerited and worth more than words can express. I cannot imagine my life without them.

There are so many other things I could list; but I'd like to hear from you. What have you enjoyed freely recently?

Note: Legalists need not respond. In other words, if you want to split hairs and insist that you deserve such things as libraries, roads, etc because you pay taxes, you are missing the point... and you will rob yourself of the pure joy that comes from true gratitude.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunflowers, Spinach, and Community

Have you ever wished for something, but never really pursued it becaused it seems frivolous?
 I've always wished for a greenhouse. But with all of the practical things that we need to do...I've never even put a greenhouse on our list.. Besides,  our yard is very shady,so a greenhouse seemed out of the question.
 But sometimes our wishes come true in ways we could never have imagined. It all started when we began  attending a new church...Methodist.. That's a long way away from this girl's Pentecostal roots. But it felt right. It so happens that this church hosts a community garden spot. (I've always thought that churches should use their grounds for community gardens, their classrooms for all kinds of education, their kitchens for feeding the hungry, and their libraries should be open to all. Why oh, why, should a lovely facility sit idle for most of the week when it could be used for so many purposes?) So I joined the community garden group. Then at our first meeting I discovered that our local middle school had offered space in their greenhouse for our gardening group to start plants. Just think...a church and a school, working hand in hand for the good of the community.
How lovely is that?

 So this afternoon I took my seed packets down to the local middle school where Alyce showed me the finer points of greenhouse gardening.
 That's Alyce.
 Some of our members planted seedlings two weeks ago. Look what sprouted!

 Pamela stopped in to plant her sweetpeas! She'd gathered the pods from last year's crop. Alyce stayed busy separating and transplanting starts while I planted Walla Walla sweet onions, wild Kale, Sunflowers, Zinnias, spinach, lettuce and lettuce. Next week...tomatoes and peppers.

This experience is teaching me that we needn't always strive and struggle to obtain things we long for. Jesus says that our Heavenly Father knows what things we need, before we ask him. I never asked for a greenhouse. And though I still don't own one, I have access to one...and it cost me nothing.

I'm also learning some things about  gardening...and about community.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Of Salty Dogs and Salmon Woman; and a Sacred Spot named Semiahmoo

We went to Semiahmoo today. (Pronounced Sem ee ah moo). I have been to Waikiki, Kailua Beach, Paradise Island, Shi-Shi Beach, Cannon Beach, Daytona Beach, and countless other beaches. For this Northwestern girl, Semiahmoo is the most wonderful beach in the world. It is my quiet place...a sacred spot in this sometimes not-so-sacred world. I almost hesitate to share it because it is 'my place.' It's a place of weathered wood and colored rock; of painted daisies in the summer; eagles perched on gnarly trees; of seals and seagulls who fly high above--dropping clamshells onto the beach below so as to break them open. It's where the Semiahmoo tribe lived happily in days gone by, fishing in the ocean and gathering mussels and clams from the bountiful beaches. It's where I go to think. To cry. To fly a kite then give it to a passing child. To read. To pray.

Today was Baron's first visit to the beach. It's important to me that he become a 'salty dog'. Because I am a salty girl; and he will no doubt spend many hours walking with us along some shoreline or another. Long before we actually reached the beach, he was excitedly sniffing the salt air from the car window. I was almost giddy for him to see this new place.

A first look

Taking it all in

He loves it! Yes, he will be a 'salty dog!'

A long time ago there was a fish cannery on this beach. It's now a county park.

This totem, carved by Morrie Alexander in 1962 tells the story of Raven and Salmon Woman.

"Once upon a time Raven became lost in a dense fog. Just as he thought he would never find his way out of the fog, a beautiful woman appeared beside him and offered to help. 'Give me your hat', she said. Raven handed her his spruce root hat. As she held it, the fog disappeared into it. Pleased with the woman, Raven took her home and married her. One day the woman ordered one of Raven's slaves, a grizzly bear, to go to the river and fill Raven's hat with water. When the slave returned with the water, a bright fish was swimming in the hat.The woman spoke to Raven, 'build a large smokehouse, wait for 4 days, then look for more fish.' Raven did as he was told and on the 4th day the waters were filled with them. 'These fish arecalled Salmon,' said the woman. 'They will bring you food and wealth.' 'I shall call you Salmon Woman and because you have brought me these fish,' said Raven. Raven worked hard. He caught,smoked, and sold his fish. Soon he became wealthy. As his wealth increased, he ignored Salmon Woman and forgot that he owed his good fortune to her. One day she ran away. As Raven went after her, she was caught in a wisp of fog that drifted over the water. She disappeared, never to return. Just then, the fish in the smokehouse came alive, swarmed down to the water and swam away, leaving Raven as poor as he had been before he met Salmon Woman. But Salmon had been created and ever since return each year as a source of food and wealth."

I took 'pictures of the pictures' hanging in the Inn at Semihamoo. (Yes there is a hotel here, if you are thinking you'd like to visit. ) Sorry for the reflections in the pics. That's me with my phone/camera. All of these pictures were actually taken on the beach at Semiahmoo. I'd like to imagine that the beautiful young girl is Salmon Woman. If I were an art thief I would not go to the Louvre or Smithsonian...no, I would slip into the Inn and wisk away the picture of the old woman on the beach, gathering mussels. I would take it home and place it somewhere that I could gaze upon it every morning before my day began. It gives me peace every time I stand before it. It is, in a word, Serene. And no, I will not steal it...except to take a poor photo of it for you to enjoy.

May you break every chain that holds you back...

...and may your heart soar high this week!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Help! We're remodeling the kitchen and I'd love your input!

The kitchen remodel planning is in full swing. We learned a ton after the bathroom remodel, but this kitchen thing is much bigger. Just measuring the cabinets is a major undertaking. I hope to create a Northwestern Style kitchen with lots of natural elements. I want you to feel like you've been out for a walk on a rugged, rain-stormed Northwestern beach...and that you've come in to a cozy and inviting place to warm up with a cup of home-made chowder. I want a transitional/modern feeling, but with a soul! The countertops, backsplash, and cabinets are pretty well chosen. The appliances will be stainless steel. I could really use your input on some things though...

  • Apron sink: Yea or Nay?

  • What kind of kitchen faucet do you have...do you love it or not? I just don't know about these new-fangled faucets with only one arm, seems like it'd be hard to get the water temperature right. What's your experience?

  • I want to warm up the room with some pendant lighting over the bar and I can't decide between art-glass or barrel shaped fixtures. This is my one chance to add a splash of warm color, and I'd like to go with amber or orange-y hues. Which picture below do you like?

  • How do you feel about extending the backsplash all the way up to the base of the wall cabinets? Is it too busy...should I stick with a 4 or 6 inch backsplash or take it all the way up? Or maybe just run the slate tiles up the wall behind the range...

  • The floor...oh what to do with the floor! We have wood laminate throughout the rest of the house. I know it would be pretty in the kitchen, but I don't think it'd hold up. Suggestions anyone?

  • Above the fridge: that no-man's land that is impossible to reach. I'm planning to have our contractor build me shelving for my cookbooks. Right now they're taking up space on the countertops. I don't think I'd mind using a stepstool to access them. Is this a mistake?

Vigo VG15005 Farmhouse Kitchen Sink, Faucet and Dispenser in Stainless
Apron style stainless sink, 2 two basins

Mixed Up 12" x 12" Random Linear Mosaic Slate Accent Tile in Pikes Peak
Random linear mosaic slate backsplash. I couldn't find our exact choice, but it will be all slate, no glass (hubby's request). The slate will be rough and in varying gray tones with touches of brown to complement the cabinets.

Tile countertops that will look like concrete. This is because I don't like the busy patterns of granite for large spaces and I don't want to fool around with concrete. The grout lines will be very thin and exactly matching the tile for continuity.

maple spice shaker cabinets

LANSA handle, stainless steel Length: 9 5/8 " Depth: 1 5/8 " Hole spacing: 6 5/16 " Length: 245 mm Depth: 41 mm Hole spacing: 160 mm
simple hardware from IKEA, to match the stainless appliances

simple style, staggered for interest

from lightingcorp...adele


from Plushpod
bamboo...Moso Endgrain from Branch

Handwoven Rag Rug - sunny yellow orange 2.43' x 5.77'

I would love to toss this woven rug on whatever flooring we use. It speaks to my 'homespun' roots. So if you have ideas about my flooring, please bear in mind that I'll probably be using throws. This rug is from Etsy, by dodres.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

For Broken Lamps and Burned-Out Souls

This is my lamp.
I have it for two reasons.

I only turn it on at night, when it's dark.
The rest of the time it sits idly in my living room. 
 I don't mind that it's idle.
I enjoy looking at it.

We inherited this pair of oriental lamps from Uncle Myles when he passed away.
There was just one thing about them,
one tiny little problem...
They were broken.
All in pieces.
So we gathered up the pieces and painstakingly glued them back together...piece by piece.

I don't mind the fact that my lamps have cracks running all through them;
that just makes them more precious to me.

Jesus said, "You are the light of the world."
Weren't we broken in pieces when He found us?
I know I was smashed to smithereens.
He glued us back together. Piece by piece.
Our flaws are beautiful to Him.

Do you really think that you must be 'on' 24/7 to please Him?
Must you have impossibly long 'to do' lists and be all things to all people?
Busy, busy busy,
Night and day.
You're burning out, my friend.

Maybe He wants you to sit.
Just be there for Him to look at.
Trusting that, when it is time, He'll turn on the power
and you will cast His light
upon those who need it.

But for now, could you just take a moment...
 15 minutes or a half an hour
just to 'be'?
Find a quiet little corner
where no one is around
and rest awhile.

Don't talk.
Don't eat.
Turn off the tv
 and the music
and the i-phone
and the nook
and the washing machine
and the computer...

Close your eyes and listen.
Then open your eyes and look around.
The world is still spinning
even though you are still.

It's all in His hands.
And so are you.
And you are beautiful to Him,

just sitting there.



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