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, August 29, 2012

Dilly dallying in the dahlias

Love dahlias.
the golden sunbursts... 
and shocking pink spikes
all the colors in the rainbow...except for blue. Hubby's Grand-dad was the President of the local Dahlia Society. Grand-dad always said, "If you can grow a blue dahlia, you'll become a rich man."

 Every dahila grower wants to grow a blue dahlia. Nobody's succeeded yet.

Oooohh-la-la...cherry flavored!

Grand-dad used to grow dahlias all over town. If somebody had an empty lot, he'd fill it with flowers.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

My heroes have always been cowboys...

I love cowboy hats and the folk who wear them. You might say, "Anybody can wear a cowboy hat."
Sure, anybody can wear a cowboy hat; but not anybody can WEAR a cowboy hat. Cowboy hats fit best on hard-working, and straight-forward heads.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Hors doeuvres, not Horse Devours!

I was a-huffin' and a-puffin' -- a-strainin' and a-sweatin- as I dragged my excess 30 pounds up the 600+ foot trail to Thunder Knob last month. Whew!! Well, whatdayaexpect when you're toting an extra 30 pounds around? It's like carrying a suitcase around with you everywhere you go. To be fair, in my defense, I have been losing weight; just very slowly. About a pound a month. Which is good, right? But kinda slow, nonetheless.

Maybe thats why this little book caught my eye while I was flipping through magazines in the book section down at the Rite Aid store... "The Small Change Diet" by Keri Gans. It's loaded with creative ways to trim the fat from your plate and your derriere.

Here are a couple of tips I really like...

* Mentally divide your plate into 4 equal parts like a pizza. One fourth of your plate should contain protein. (A piece of meat about the size of your cell phone.) One fourth should have starchy carbs like bread, potatoes, etc. This means 1 slice of bread OR 1 small potato OR 1 helping of rice. The other half of the plate is reserved for fruit and veggies. Period.

* When attending a celebration, don't loiter by the food. Hang out with the people instead. Remember that the party is about people; not the food. So go have a little chat with crazy Aunt Marge or cut a rug on the dance floor instead of pigging out at the hors doeuvres table. Just so were clear here...hors doeurves roughly translated means 'little snacks' in French. It's not Horse Devours like we once thought or behaved...capish??? Nuff said. If cake is offered, go ahead and accept it, but try to eat only half. And do not starve yourself ahead of time in an effort to compensate for overeating at the wing-ding. You're setting yourself up to fail.

* Love french fries? Go ahead, but eat 1/2 of a small bag.

* Instead of thinking, what will I serve with my chicken or main dish tonight; plan a wonderful salad or veggie dish first. Then complement the veggies with a small main dish. It's just a subtle way of thinking...but it makes you begin prioritize veggies in your brain.

*Good news...Pasta is just fine to eat in moderation. Bad news...That means only 1/2 cup of noodles. Good news...You can slather on all the marinara you want. Go ahead, douse that plate with red sauce. Bad news.. No french bread for you!!! (the noodles are your one starchy choice.) More bad news...Stay off the sauce...the white stuff, that is; it's just too darn fatty. More good news! You're gonna be svelte and slim in no time!

There you have it! See, you can have your cake and eat it too. In moderation of course. Now get out on that dance floor and show those young-uns how to do the Funky Chicken!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mirror, mirror...

Sofie and Isabella got their faces painted at the county fair. Here they are, gazing at their newly painted faces in the mirror...

My title for this image would be..."I See Myself as a Butterfly."

What image do you see when you look at yourself? Black and white...or Butterfly? 

"Behold thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair..." 

from the Song of Songs; which is Solomon's. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Life is Just a Chair of Bowlies...

They're coming today, and I'm almost ready. Just have to go to the fruitstand, smash out some burgers and make my special spaghetti sauce. Oh, and pitch a tent in the backyard for the kiddies to play house. Yep, we're all ready for company for the next couple of weeks. First my daughter and her brood, then my daughter-in-law and her two. (I feel special that my daughter in law wants to come, even though my son is working out of town. I mean, how many daughters-in-law want to visit mom-in-law for a whole week?) Soon we'll be riding the ferris wheel at the county fair, scouring the beach for pretty shells, walking the Boulevard to Fairhaven, and playin' in Fishtrap Creek down in the city park. Life's gonna be a Bowl of Cherries around here!

So the guest room is made up. My guest room is far from something you'd see in a magazine. Even though I'm moving toward modern in my decorating esthetic...this room seems to be stuck in a time warp. But I rather like it, so as Dad used to say, don't fix somethin' that taint broke!

The pretty duvet was a thrifted find for a buck!  Embroidered pillowcases, some made by moi, some from local antique stores.

 Made these cute little pillows a few years back for the family room. My tastes have since changed; but they seem quite at home in the guestroom.
 Our little town was settled by dutch folk. Every year we have Holland Days Festival; and of course, there are commemorative prints. The 2002 one makes me smile. Look at the scale of the people compared to the building! They look like the dwarves in Sleeping Beauty! I guess this must be the artists' style...but why?
 I like this one. We have a little Dutch mall downtown that looks like this. It has a canal inside with koi fish. That's the good news. The bad news; it was purchased by some big city bigshots who jacked up the rent so high that every little shopowner moved out. All that's left in the building is the hotel.The owners don't care. It's a tax write off.  This print was done in better days.
 This lamp has been in my family since I-don't-know-when! It's hand painted and I think that's real gold-leaf paint on it. It used to sit by my old iron bedstead when I was little. I remember sitting on the bed and running my fingers over the shape of those flowers as I daydreamed about many things.
 No childhood is complete without Raggedy Ann and Andy. I don't care how hip or expensive a doll is; nothing compares to a dolly that has "I love you" embroidered on it's heart.

 Mr. Teddy, you have been well-loved!
Baron has staked his claim at the foot of the bed on the fancy oriental rug we inherited from Uncle Myles. Dear me, Uncle Myles would not be thrilled to see a dog lying on such a fine antique. But Baron isn't just any dog. He's family. Patience, my puppy...the children will be here soon; and then life will be Bowl of Cherries...or as Mary Engelbreit puts it; a Chair of Bowlies!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Refrigerator Pickles; Easy peasy!

I planted cukes, pumpkins and nasturtiums all in the same row. Now I have a jungle of green leaves with bright orange and yellow blossoms everywhere. Quite charming! A day or so ago I decided to peek beneath the leaves and see what was happening down there. To my surprise there were 10 chubby little cucumbers lying there in the shade! Hmmm, what to do with 10 cukes? I gave a few away, but that left me with 6. Too few for a batch of pickles. Too many for hubby and I to eat. Then it came to me...surely there must be recipes for pickles that you don't can...that you just make and refrigerate. A little search of the web, and sure enough; refrigerator pickles! I made a couple of jars today...it was as easy as pie! I'm thinking that I'll probably keep making little batches as long as I can get cukes that are fresh and small enough. Why not? Have you seen what they charge for pickles in the stores these days? Highway robbery! Last time I checked they wanted about $7 for a large jar of pickles in my local market. That's crazy. What does your store charge for dill pickles these days?

The recipe is from a nice blog called 'A Couple Cooks.' I liked it because it is simple, straightforward, and a small batch. Refrigerator dills last a month. I mean, realistically, how many pickles can an empty nester couple eat in a month. Two jars is probably fine.
I checked out their list of recipes, and I'm going back for more. These folks cook my kind of food! 

Voila, finished result! Took maybe 20 minutes or so. 
A little advice about this recipe;  Two widemouth pint jars will hold about four sliced cukes. That is, four small to medium-ish sized ones. You don't want them too long or they won't fit into the jar. (You could slice them crosswise, but I prefer larger, crunchier chunks.) I bought a dozen jars with the intent of using the rest for freezer jam. Widemouth is the way to go for freezing jam in jars. Expansion during the freezing process can cause the curved narrow mouth jars to break--not good!
I got my coriander seeds and peppercorns in the bulk section of the store. Much cheaper for a little batch. And since my garden cilantro aka coriander is going to seed anyway, I'll for sure be collecting the seeds and drying them for future recipes. Why not? Red peppers look pretty in the jar, but they don't agree with me, so I didn't include them. But wouldn't these jars be gorgeous with some yellow and red pepper slices in them? What a nice gift they'd make!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

From my journal: It's OK!

An entry from my journal dated 6/1/11...

Looking at past entries in this book I'm amazed that the subject doesn't change much--either that or I don't learn much! Last week was Oprah's final show. She talked about a guest who challenged her to BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENERGY YOU BRING TO YOUR DAY AND TO OTHERS.

Energy--Spirit--Words--Deeds     Each leads to the next. I think this is so important. I've been working on it for a few days with very positive results.

In times past I guess that I thought that my attitude was a product of events in my life and that I had to struggle to overcome negativity. Now I see that the events in my life are effected by the attitude I bring to them and apply to them.

Oh Lord Jesus; only You can give me strength to have an excellent spirit!

I feel content tonight; more so than in the past. Content with my work, my marriage, family, home; but mostly...content with myself. Comfortable in my own skin. Finding my way and even enjoying the view along the way. It's OK to be happy. It's OK to be me..imperfect, beautiful me. Flawed but WABI SABI! I am the object of Jesus' passion...sin purged and reconciled to Him.

It's OK

It's OK to be happy
while your working on your stuff.
To be a little silly,
have a little fun.
Throw off your shoes and dance.
Wave at airplanes.
Pet dogs.
Read novels.
Laugh out loud.

It's OK to miss it
once in awhile,
just get back up and dust yourself off;
Walk on. It's OK.

Hold your head high
you imperfect one--
you are glorious
He says you are.
Don't ever forget that.

It's OK to cry
when you feel sad.
It's OK and it's gonna be OK
He promises you that.

It's OK to pray
for anything and everything
and everyone...
for broken hearts and broken nails,
for water bills and spotted leopards,
He cares about it all--
He hears it all,
He'll sort it all out.

Don't worry--It's OK.
It's OKAY.

I had this day;
a perfect day,
when everything was


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy Trails, Isabella!

Our grand-daughter Isabella is wild about horses. It must be genetic...I was a horse-crazy little girl too! A horse's musky smell, their velvet muzzles, the soft neigh--it's just intoxicating! I was almost giddy with excitement to watch Isabella's reaction to her parent's wonderful birthday gift...an afternoon at a stable with a riding lesson. Isn't it fantastic to see a child so happy--so over-the-moon? She was just basking in her special day. 

Happy Trails, Lala! May every one of your dreams come true!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hoofing it up the mountain; Valderie, valdera...

While on our camping trip in the North Cascades, we took a trail up into the hills called Thunder Knob. I can walk for miles on level ground, but inclines are tough for me. So even though the internet data on Thunderknob calls it an easy walk, I beg to differ. And how they can say that it is wheelchair accessible is beyond my comprehension! I mean really, before you start to climb you have to forge two running creeks on logs and walk up a rocky dry creekbed! Wheelchair accessible? Really? Well anyhoo, we did the walk hike and even though I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely, getting to the top was worth it. It's about 4 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of 635 feet. The elevation at the top is about 1875 feet.

 Pretty scenery. I have to boast here that I've worked at it and pretty much overcome a fear of heights. I won't stand on ledges or anything, but 5 years ago, I never would have gone up this hill. If you're afraid of heights and wondering how I did it; here's my process.
1. I stopped labeling myself as afraid of heights. If you insist on wearing a label; you shall have it.
2. I prayed about it.
3. I bought some good boots that have good traction. They make me feel steadier on my feet.
4. I went where I was afraid to go; resisting that erroneous voice that says, "You're scared. You're gonna fall. Go back!" It's a lie. Just thoughts, nothing more.
 Hmmm, these two don't look that tired...
 I sat on this log for some time when we reached the top. We'd been hiking in the midday sun, about 80 degrees, but here at the top it was much cooler and a stiff, pine scented wind was blowing.
 A nice view of Diablo Lake, the reservoir behind Diablo Dam. FYI, most of our electrical power flows from the 3 dams up here.
Here I am, all red-faced and perspiring; but I made it! Tip, wear a bandanna when you hike...it's great to mop up the sweat. Then when you get to water, you can soak it up and drip it all over your face and neck. Once I got to the top and sat down, I gave some serious thanks to God and to my body for getting me there. I told my body that I would take much better care of it, so that on future outings, things would go easier on it. I must get into better shape if I'm going to do the Camino de Santiago in 5 years! So girls; this will serve as my 'before' picture. I've been eating well, walking, biking, lifting light weights and doing yoga since that day. Keeping my vow to me!

This childhood song kept running through my head as we walked  (I was too winded to actually sing it);

I love to go a-wandering,

Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.


My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
"Come! Join my happy song!"

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o'er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From my journal: Be lavish with others

I've been reading out of some of my old hand-written journals. Most of them are about spiritual truths I've learned. Funny how I've almost forgotten some of the most striking thoughts that I've ever had! I thought I might share them with you from time to time...

From my journal dated 8/19/07...

A thought--Be as lavish, generous, and over the top with kindness to others as you want God to be with you.

Think of the story of Haman and Mordecai in the Book of Esther. Proud and evil Haman advised the king that he should lavish honor on the man that pleased him [the king]; and give him a fine horse, a crown, and the king's own attire. Haman fully expected that this honor would be conferred upon himself. To his astonishment; Mordecai, his enemy, was given all of the lavish treatment that he wanted for himself.  Later, when Haman built gallows upon which to hang Mordecai; he himself was hung on those very gallows.

Essentially, what Haman wanted for himself was given to others, and what he wanted for others was given to him.

We must be careful not to build gallows for others lest we be hung on them. Instead, we must look for ways to honor others.

Jesus taught this over and over--the Golden Rule is one example. He told us to bless them that curse you and do good to those who despitefully use you.

Every day I must think..."How can I honor someone else?"

Today's Post Script: Hmmm, I need to remember this. It's so easy, especially when gossiping to 'build gallows' for somebody else. I need to practice wishing good upon others, even if I don't particularly like them. Please help me with this, Father.



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