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 28, 2012

The Owl Who Came to Eagleridge School

It was a busy day. The first week back after the Thanksgiving holiday. The students at Eagleridge Elementary were a little cranky, probably from too much pumpkin pie and too little sleep. I rushed past the office waiting area toward the playground...recess would be in just a few moments and I had to get out there before the kids. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some visitors sitting in the lobby...an elderly Native American couple. The woman was beautiful. Her hair was long and thick, and as white as the snow. It lay softly about her earthy, crackled skin and framed her deep set eyes. Her face was kind and wise. Serene. I smiled as I hurried past, and she returned my smile.

"Probably here for the assembly," I mumbled to myself.

Outside, the sun was shining brightly. That's unusual in November here in Washington State. Here came the kids...all 500 of them, spilling through the double doors like a bursting dam. They scattered happily in every direction...laughing; tagging one another,  and racing for the monkey bars. I noticed a group of them clustered near the building. They were pointing at the roof and yelling.

"Lookit the owl!" they exclaimed to one another. Sure enough, right there on the rooftop sat a huge snowy owl. He seemed impervious to their shouts. His stunning white feathers were ruffled by a stiff autumn wind and yet he himself seemed quite calm. Serene.

 "Go get your camera!" my friend and coworker Michelle yelled. (I'd brought it to work to photograph some Native American dancers who were performing in our assembly for Native American Heritage Day.)

"It never works that way for me," I replied. "Every time I see something spectacular and run to get my camera, it's gone when I get back."

"Just go!" she urged, "I'll make him stay."

Was she kidding? I was skeptical, but then I thought, "Michelle's a Canadian... from the Great White North, home of Canadian geese...maybe she knows something about snowy owls. Or not. I decided to believe her and ran for my camera. And the owl did stay. Just long enough for me to snap a few photos. Then he was gone.

Now recess was over and Michelle and I strolled back inside together. We wondered why a snowy owl would be visiting our school in the middle of the day. After all, aren't owls nocturnal? And whatever would make him choose a playground full of  noisy, boisterous children as a place to perch?

Michelle looked at me with a quiet smile and with an air of mystery said, "Maybe they brought him...I'm just sayin..."

 The bell rang and the loudspeaker announced the beginning of the assembly. Children were making their way to the auditorium. In the midst of them, I spotted once again that snowy white-haired woman. She was one of the dancers.

The dancers danced and the elders spoke of respect and love and the old ways. The dances depicted creatures...animals and birds. The old woman shuffled past me with her arms raised toward the sky...Wings.  Her downy white hair...Feathers. Her deep, wise eyes... Owl.

"Maybe they did summon the owl," I mused. "Maybe they brought him. Or maybe she is the Owl, or He is she..."

I don't know. I only know that on the very first Native American Heritage Day the sun was shining in November and a Snowy Owl came to Eagleridge School.

(I've requested permission to share my photos of the dancers with you and am waiting for their reply. They are a private people, and their dances and songs are highly personal. I will respect their answer either way.) In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos  and story of the Owl who visited Eagleridge.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Back in the 50's; A Nostalgic Walk Down Memory Lane

Cars were classic!
Today's my birthday. November 21, 1955 to be exact. I've been thinking about all of the changes I've seen in the past 57 years. Remembering simpler times. Perhaps you'd like to join me as I recall how things looked the year I was born...

A little more meat on the bones was considered beautiful.

Elvis was king.
Here's how we listened to him, scratches and all. No headphones, mp3s or pandora.

Women dressed with elegance---mostly in dresses. 'Casual' was a housedress.

We wore these to bed. And sometimes to the market, if we had to. Painful!

This was every woman's dream.

She was every man's dream.
You could become a secretary if you could type and take shorthand. Not too many women were bosses.

Or you could sell a little kiss for charity.

Our classrooms had order. You'd better straighten up or it might mean a swat on the hand with a ruler or worse. Loved those lift-up desks!

And the telephone was connected to the wall. You shared a line with the neighbors...called a party line. Your phone number might have a name; like 'Flanders 4-2254.' No cells, answering machines, voice mail, or faxes. You had to talk to people...if their phone wasn't busy.

On Saturday afternoons you might go down to Woolworths or Newberry's or the 88 Cent Store and have lunch at the luncheonette.

And on Saturday night your boyfriend might take you to the dance. Gosh, he was dreamy!

And back in those days, Father knew best.

No, life wasn't perfect back then. We didn't all have a 55' Chevy or a dreamy home. Dad certainly didn't have all of the answers and the tv was on the blink more often than not. Women couldn't get great jobs. Often they didn't want them. The economy permitted many of them to be housewives (which back in the day, was an honored profession, and still is, to my way of thinking.) Music was upbeat. Movies usually had happy endings where the good guys always won. And the luncheonettes had the best darned greasy burgers with fries that you've ever eaten! Nope, life was far from perfect, be gee, it was swell!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Returning to reason and faith

"In the woods we return to reason and faith."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This weekend is predicted to be rainy and chilly. Nonetheless, I will take Baron to these woods, where he will run free and easy, and I will return to reason and faith after a season of despair. I desperately need the stillness of the trees.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Flanders fields the poppies blow...

My mother used to recite this poem to me. I always found it hauntingly beautiful. I was reminded of it today by a photograph of poppies on my blogger-friend, Ellen's site.
I think it an appropriate tribute to brave soldiers everywhere, who have fought valiantly for our freedom. And I especially remember my brothers who now lie in "Flanders field" along with many others of my family.

Below the poem is a short Wikipedia excerpt which explains the circumstances that inspired John McCrae's words...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

McCrae fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium where the German army launched one of the first chemical attacks in the history of war. They attacked the Canadian position with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915, but were unable to break through the Canadian line which held for over two weeks. In a letter written to his mother, McCrae described the battle as a "nightmare": "For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds ..... And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way."[7] Alexis Helmer, a close friend, was killed during the battle on May 2. McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he noted how poppies quickly grew around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem while sitting in the back of an ambulance.[8]   

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I'm reading a nice little book called "The 50 Best Ways to Simplify Your Life". It has some good ideas. In the Spirit section there's a chapter that encourages you to create an acronym all for yourself; one that represents exactly what you want your life's focus to be. For example, one of the people mentioned in the book, Dave, has C.R.E.W.  written on the corner of his planner. CREW stands for Create, Read, Exercise, Write. Every night he underlines the letters representing what he accomplished that day. He notes that when he feels stale and depressed, it's usually days that he hasn't been able to underline his acronym letters.

So I got busy and created my own acronym:

S: Spirit (spending time in prayer, meditation, Bible study, worship--it could be as simple as revelling in the beauty of autumn and being thankful to God for his creation)
H: Heart (loving those around me...and showing it in tangible ways.)
A: Art (this one's for my photography...taking pics, learning about photography, or just       
     enjoying others' artwork.)
P: Pen (writing.)
E: Exercise and Eating right.

Now every evening when I retire, I spend a moment reflecting on SHAPE. Was I able to accomplish the things I want? Did I notice God in my everyday? Did I demonstrate love today to my family, friends, or students? Was I able to eke out a little time for art and pen?
What did I eat today--was it healthy and nourishing? And finally, did I at least find time to go for a walk with my buddy Baron?

These goals aren't earth-shattering; and  may not be yours, but to me, if I am true to them, I think I will have lived well on this earth.

If you had a personal acronym, what would it be?



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