Friday, December 16, 2011


Oh, the many WEEKS since I have blogged!! I have missed it. The problem is that I couldn't put together the time to *really* say what I wanted to say about things going on in my life. But, since I can't stand it any longer, I'll give you a little "digest:"

Charming's mother, my dear "Queen Darl," passed away early in November. We thought she was going to leave us in July, but the Lord spared her for a few months to us. We had a wonderful week with family, saying goodbye.

I finished my semester today! Looks like all A's for me. Next time: Anatomy & Physiology II, (medical) Office Admin. II, Basic (medical) Insurance Coding, and Interpersonal Communications. Spring Semester begins January 9, so I've gotta blog, blog, blog on break!!

Christmas. Decorating, except for the Tree. Charming works retail, so it's about all he can do to work, work, work. I'm 'bout to get a tree without him. Let's everybody stop shopping for about a week, so he can spend some time at home, okay? ; )

Today my sweet Forget-me-not turns 30! That makes five of my children in their thirties, one in their 20s, and two still-teens.

My daughter was named after a James Taylor song. I couldn't find a YouTube of J.T. singing it, but here is a good version:

Maybe I can get her Daddy to sing it to her, the next time he sees her...

I'm sure there are tons more things happening in my life, but my kitchen counters are piled with dishes (casualties of Finals Week), and I need to tend to them. I *promise* I'll be back soon!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Getting off the Wheel.

Here I am, finishing my ninth week of a sixteen-week semester. It is Kickin'. My. Behind.

Oh, I'm doing well--I have an A in every subject so far. This past week I had four tests, three of which I have grades for: 92, 92, and 92. (I'm in a rut, but a *good* rut!) But I can't seem to get the hang of doing school and doing home along with it. I can do dishes and laundry. And supper about twice a week. But forget dusting and bathrooms. I do have two teenagers, but they are working alot, and I don't see them--I think we need a family meeting or something!

I've heard this is normal for non-traditional students. After all, it's been a long time since we've been the ones studying this hard. I expect next semester to go a little more smoothly. One of my profs says we are looking toward the goal, keeping our eyes on the prize: December, when we have three weeks off. That's when we can go to coffee with a friend, fold laundry, whatever. That made me feel so much better--others are in the same boat as I am!

Still, I feel as if I was on a giant hamster-wheel. I really needed *something.* And yesterday one of my friends on facebook posted this Bible verse:

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Ps. 90:14

Man. It doesn't take much to get me right back on track. I really need to "sing for joy" and be "satisfied with His love." And it is there for me, for the taking. Do we really realize that? I think I want to say that again:

I can have that (being satisfied). Just for the taking.

I am "singing for joy" today.

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Birth, A Wedding, and a Death...

"'When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding, and a death . . . . "

--L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

Anna shared this today over at Pleasant View Schoolhouse, and it made me think about the home I grew up in. My first thought was that it might be difficult to find many "homes," with the way our culture makes families move over and over, through the years. Charming and I had ten homes by the time we had been married ten years. Now it is up to twelve, but next month we will *celebrate* twenty years in this house!

My parents lived in their last home for 42 years. There were two births (one a stillbirth), two deaths, and five weddings from that home, as well as four First Communions and Confirmations. Toward the end, there was a grand 50th anniversary celebration.

Remember the old poem? "It takes a heap o' livin' in a house to make it home?" by Edgar Guest?
The poem sounds kinda corny nowadays, but the sentiment is good. It seems that today "home" is a place to change your clothes on your way from here to there. Even homeschoolers joke that they are "car-schoolers," going from one enrichment activity to another.

We have had two births and two weddings in this home of ours. Thankfully, no deaths, unless you count my parents. But we did most of the raising of six, and all of the raising of our last two, here. I have several neighbors that have been here longer than I. I am a blessed woman.

Will share more on this later. Gotta run for now...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Enzymes, and other Oddities.

So, are you getting tired of me talking of scientific things? There was the paregoric/heroin thing, followed by the ionic/covalent bonding thing. But I have been in love with biology, and especially human biology, since I discovered it. And now I'm taking Anatomy and Physiology--well, you can put up with me, or ignore me till I *recover.*

I'm still in Chapter 2 of the book, the one about body chemistry. Good GRIEF, the chapter goes over so many things--matter, atoms, molecules, elements, and compounds; ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonding; acids, bases, and pH; sugars, complex carbohydrates, proteins, lipids; enzymes and ATP...all, absolutely all, fascinating, and makes you in awe of the One who created us and the world in which we live. But let me share two more things from this chapter--on molecular chaperones and one on enzymes.

Molecular chaperones are a class of globular proteins contained in all cells, which help proteins achieve their three-dimensional structure. Here's a quote from the book:

"Apparently, molecular chaperones have numerous protein-related roles to play. For example, specific molecular chaperones:

1) prevent accidental, premature, or incorrect folding of poly-peptide chains or their association with other poly-peptides
2) Aid the desired folding and association process
3) Help to translocate proteins and certain metal ions (copper, iron, zinc) across cell membranes
4) Promote the breakdown of damaged or denatured proteins
5) Interact with other cells to trigger the immune response to diseased cells in the body"

Human Anatomy and Physiology, Marieb and Hoehn, ninth ed., p. 51.

And, about enzymes...

Enzymes are proteins that act as biological catalysts, substances that regulate and accelerate the rate of chemical reactions, but are not used up in the process. For instance, you can accelerate the rate of a chemical reaction using heat: the more heat, the faster it will go. However, the human body runs on a delicate balance, heat-wise. If your temp. goes up too high, cells (and you) die. That strategy won't work for the chemical reactions that go on inside us. But, without enzymes, biochemical reactions would happen so slowly that for all practical purposes, they would not happen at all.

"Each enzyme is chemically specific. Some enzymes control only a single chemical reaction....the presence of specific enzymes determines not only which reactions will be speeded up, but which reactions will occur--no enzyme, no reaction. This also means that unwanted or unnecessary reactions will not occur...Some enzymes are produced in an inactive form and must be activated in some way before they can function [such as a change in pH]. For example, enzymes produced in the pancreas are activated in the small intestine, where they actually do their work. If they were produced in active form, the pancreas would digest itself." and, finally,

"Because enzymes are unchanged by their catalytic role and can act again and again, cells need only small amounts of each enzyme. Most enzymes can catalyze millions of reactions per minute."

Marieb and Hoehn, pp. 52-53.

Now, probably the language is a little tough for you to follow. That's okay, it is for me, too! But what I wanted to point out, and what I am sure you *can* understand, is how incredibly ungrasp-able our Creator God is. The more you learn about how the body works, the more you understand how ridiculous the notion of "creating life" in a laboratory would be. My textbook says over and over, "still we don't know the exact function" of this or that thing. Or "exactly how it does its function."

My favorite definition of science is "discovering what God has already done." We will never get to the end of it, I'm sure. The minute you learn one thing, the next is already upon you, and it is a mystery. I have heard many, many times that "one cannot be both a scientist and religious." Baby, I don't know how you can be a scientist and *not* be a believer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marriage as Chemistry.

I am back in school, after a 37-year hiatus. This is Week Two. I'm behind-er than I want to be with my homework (READING), but if I look at it objectively, I think I'm doing Just. Fine.

I was reading in my Anatomy and Physiology book about the chemistry of the human body, and came across something I have learned several times in my life (high school chem, college chem, homeschool chem, you get the picture...) but which always fills me with awe at the incredible Creator God that we serve.

God can take a silvery-white metal (sodium) and bond it with a poisonous green gas (chlorine) to make a white, crystalline substance that has healing properties, preserves food, and makes food taste better, as well.

A. Mazing.

Two completely unrelated things, and one of them poisonous to humans, to boot. (tho' does pretty well at bleaching your white things...) He designed their outer valent shells (think back, your chemistry is still in your brain somewhere!) to "desire" to have the full allotment of eight electrons. Sodium has one electron in its outer shell; chlorine has seven. Sounds like a "match made in heaven," right?


"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." --Gen. 2:24a

When sodium and chloride get together, that's called bonding (ionic bonding, to be specific). There's another type of chemical bonding called covalent bonding. This is where the two elements share electrons. An example of this is two hydrogens sharing with one oxygen to make water. Since we are 60% water ourselves, we have a lot of covalent bonding going on already. But that "two become one" thing--always difficult to grasp, though with a marriage of almost 36 years (so far), I can "apprehend" it. God takes two different things, putting them together to make something strong and beautiful. Somewhat different from the original parts (tho' a marriage is not as drastic a change as sodium chloride, right?) but better, stronger, and with a shared purpose.

"Ye are the salt of the earth." --Matt. 5:13. Salt has so many beautiful properties. It is healing. It preserves things. It tastes good! My pastor says that we should work to make our marriages the very best they can be, because Christian Marriage is the best picture God has, to show Himself to the world. So I can say the same thing about marriage: it is healing. It preserves things. It tastes good!

I suspect that marriage is an example of covalent bonding--the "shared electron" thing. My textbook says that "the shared electrons orbit and "belong to" the whole molecule, ensuring the stability of each atom." Isn't that beautiful?

Whew. I'm glad we're not ionic bonding. Then one of us would have to be the "silvery white metal," and the other would have to be the "poisonous green gas." And I'd be a little afraid to ask God which one I am...

Textbook quote taken from Human Anatomy and Physiology, Marieb and Hoehn, ninth ed., p. 34.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paregoric, and other pleasures.

In one of my online Scrabble games, my plate had these letters: P A G O R I C. It made me think about Paregoric, an old-timey medicine for diarrhea. It was in a brown bottle in our medicine cupboard, and I used to love to open it up and smell it. It smelled like licorice, and when you took a whiff, it was very...oh, I don't know what word to use...maybe refreshing.

In fact, when I thought about it, I could smell it! (I love the way memories can be attached to smells.) Of course, because we live in this internet age, the first thing I did was to look it up on wikipedia.

Sure enough, paregoric contains honey, licorice, flowers of Benjamin, camphor, oil of aniseed, (two licorice-smelling ingredients!) salt of tartar, and spirit of wine. And,


Yep. Heroin. In fact, the proper name of Paregoric is "camphorated tincture of opium." It was also used for asthma. It remained available without a prescription in Indiana until 1970 or so, when it became available only by prescription. As of 2010, it is not available, but only because it has never been tested by the FDA.

Also for diarrhea (and Mother generally gave the children this one), was a chalky, probably-related-to-milk-of-magnesia medicine. It had a yellow label, and was "supposed" to be chocolate flavored. It was called Diamagma. Nothing tempts those taste buds like chocolate chalk, especially when you have intestinal distress. I think I would have chosen paregoric every time.

Man, I wish I still had a bottle of heroin paregoric. It smelled really, really good. . .

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Changes. All Good...

Well, time has gotten away from me AGAIN! The first news to share is that the Lord has spared my dear mother-in-love Darl to us, for a time yet. She rallied from her very-near-death state. At first, she was strong enough to leave her bed for periods of time, and sit in her recliner. A few days later I got a call saying she had walked to the kitchen, and was complaining that things were out of order. (Her exact words: "Get this [stuff!!!!!] out of here!!" ....tho' she used a more *colorful* word...)

She has recovered enough that my sister-in-law Winnie has returned to work. I understand that this is common with COPD--a huge downturn followed by a period of recovery--but I know that Queen Darl is still quite ready to make her journey Home. I am delighted beyond measure, however, that we have her for a little while yet.

Other breaking news is that, after a season of 37 years, I am going to school!

I may have blogged here before that, because of the economy, Charming was out of work for eight months in 2009/10. When he went back to work, it was with a $20K pay cut. You can understand that things have been a tad bleak on the financial front. I have been looking for a job since 2009, and have only gotten one interview! Let me put that in perspective. When Charming got this job, his was one of 130 resumes submitted. Out of that, they gave seven interviews. I think I am always in the "stack" of 130 resumes! (always a bridesmaid, never a bride...)

I'm sure that the reason I'm never at the top of the pile, is that I have been out of the workforce since I was pregnant with Alvin Fernald, who will be seventeen in a couple of months. And, my last computer class was WordPerfect 2.1...

So, I have taken Find-Your-Skills classes and resume-building classes, and interview classes, and umpteen Microsoft Office classses, and so I'm much more marketable than I was. But still not getting any bites. So last fall, when we were talking about filling out FAFSA's for Blackeyed Susan, I decided to fill one out, as well, knowing that you get bunches more financial aid if there are two of you in the family going to school. I said to the fam, "I'm going to apply for school, but: if I get a job in the meantime, I'll drop school--Money has to come first.

I considered going back for the degree I started in 1973--medical technology (that's a lab tech for any of you who aren't medical geeks). But the only things that would transfer would be my gen eds--all of my major work would be too old. So, it would definitely take me four years to finish. I'll be 56 in a couple of weeks--hmmm, I'd be 60 when I finished, and probably with school loans to pay back--who wants to work till they are 70 just to pay back loans? That's...Stupid.

So that left me with our state-wide Community College, which has the lowest tuition in the state--$3000 per year. A good beginning. I wanted to take Medical Lab Tech, natch--but it isn't offered at our local campus. I could move in with Queen Darl, cause it is offered in her town, but then I'd have to live away from Charming for two years...I guess not. Then I saw Surgical Tech--Cool!! Also only at Queen Darl's town. I landed on a Certificate in Medical Coding. Hey!! I've done this in real life! In fact, these are the jobs (medical billing) that I have applied for for two years. The applications always ask, "do you have a certificate?" The certificate is for, like, 27 hours of credit, which sounds like two semesters, but I have to take Medical Terminology as a prerequisite of Basic Coding, which is a prerequisite of Advanced Coding, so it looks like a three-semester dealie.

Forget-me-not, who has a degree in psychology, wanted to go back to be a nurse. So she has signed up at the same college. She has to take Anatomy and Physiology I and II before she can get into the two-year nursing program, so she's up for a three year hitch. Blackeyed Susan, who loathes anything academic, and was feeling like college was a prison sentence, landed on Massage Therapy. Now, she could get an associates degree, OR a certificate, which means very little academic work. (you know what she chose...) Hers will be a three-semester dealie, as well.

Well, Susan has a job to supplement her financial aid, but I do not, so it came down to I-can-go only if the aid pays for all of it. Period. So we have waited to hear until this week.

drum roll please...I'm going! Both Susan and I have enough in Pell grants to cover tuition *and* books!!

Now this is the fun part. Forget-me-not and I are taking the same A&P I class on Tuesday nights. She and Susan are taking two online classes together. Susan and I are taking the same Medical Terminology class (tho' not at the same time), and since mine is on Monday morning and hers on Thursday, we're going to try to share a book. Also, since both Forget-me-not and Susan have to take A&P I and II, but Susan will take hers a semester behind FMN, they can share books! And, if Susan wants to keep her A&P books, I'll already have number I, so she'll only have to buy number II.

The rest of my schedule, besides A&P and Medical terminology, is an online Psych 101 class, and this lovely thing called Administrative I. It is a medical office procedures class, things like dealing with patients, confidentiality, scheduling, etc. Since I have Run a medical office before, I'm hoping it will be an easy A.

I'm a tad apprehensive--it has been awhile since I've had college homework. And this online class thing--weird, right? But I took the placement tests: 99 in writing, 99 in reading, 86 in algebra (then there was the 32 in college algebra, but we won't talk about that, especially because my certificate does not require math!).

I. Still. Got. It. Thank you, homeschooling.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Preparing for the Journey

My dear mother-in-law, Queen Darl, is at the end of her journey here on earth. She has been in hospice care for about four months, after a loose prognosis of "months" to live. The grandchildren have been coming in for several weeks for a last visit. A week-ago-weekend, Charming and I went for a visit. Last Wednesday, I went with Blackeyed Susan, Alvin Fernald, and Don Quixote. Forget-me-not also came with one-year-old Tiger Lily, whom Grandma had never seen.

Grandma held court from her recliner. We gave her the news of the summer. She shared her peanut-butter and jelly sandwich with toddling Tiger Lily. We watched the Cubs game for awhile. Every once in awhile she would mention her situation, saying things like, "can you believe we're here already?"

By Friday she had taken a turn. A hospital bed was brought in, along with other equipment. Her episodes of incoherency were a little more frequent. We decided to come up again Saturday evening.

I was reading a Family Manual, published by the Hospice people. It told what to expect between three months and one month before death; then between one month and one week; and then in the days before death. I wanted to tell you two things I learned, that were so, so beautiful.

"You may notice your loved one often dropping off to sleep. However, they may not be sleeping. They are "doing business" with themselves." They are getting their life in order, assessing their life, determining if it was what they wanted their life to be, preparing for the journey to come. And later...

"You will notice that your loved one eats less and less, and eventually may stop eating altogether. But do not confuse this with starvation." Especially if they are a person of faith, their spiritual beliefs are becoming the focus of everything, and they no longer need food: their body is being sustained by their faith. They are literally "more there than here."

Aren't those beautiful thoughts? God made us so that we can be perfectly prepared to make the journey home. So many times people are sent to the hospital at the last, and medicated and fussed over so much that the person can't be alone with their own thoughts. This is why the hospice experience is so wonderful--it is truly "death with dignity."

Darl is going through some of the things on the last list, the one called "in the final hours/days." We had good, good visits this weekend, so if we don't quite make it when we're called again, it will be okay. We are just two hours away, and get almost hourly updates from her daughter Winnie.

One more thought: remember I told you that Charming was reading Plato on our vacation. One thing Plato wondered. If so many people believed that there was an afterlife, why, when the time came to face it, were people uneasy? Death should not be an enemy. Of course, we know that Jesus conquered death for all who believe. We have no fear of death. Our dear Darl says that she is ready for "the next phase of her life." Like I said, more "there" than "here."

How beautiful.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This is Lake Huron, from the tippity-top of the Thumb of Michigan. A perfect view for thinking in the morning, and an unhindered view for God's Sunset Show every evening.

I'm more the morning-type. The colors are "cool"-er. Most everybody is still in bed, so the thinking is better. (tho' we never miss the Sunsets--all evening activities are scheduled around it.)

The wonderful cabin, just a little slope-y hill and eleven steps down to the beach. One of the grandfathers built it in the late 40s or early 50s. Completely knotty pine inside, with all of the dressers and beds built-in. Lots of cupboards and crannies to make it oh-so-cozy.

My favorite place, the yard-swing, in the yard in front of the year-round house Grandpa built, I'm thinkin' in the 70s. The house is next-door to the cabin.

Never saw these before. They are like reverse-anthills. Funnel-shaped, they were most often found next to an anthill, but these were all around the base of an oak tree. Charming says they are home to spiders that trap unsuspecting ants on their way home from work.

The view of the Lake from "my" swing. See why I love to think here?

This is the deck which is actually the roof of the boathouse. These are front-row seats for the sunset. And for the fireworks show that Alvin Fernald put on, down on the beach.

What can you do to pass the time while in the Thumb of Michigan? Thumb-wrestle, of course! Here are Blackeyed Susan and Violet, who was able to join us this year.

The Grand Idea that didn't work. Charming proposed that we play EuchreForDishes every night. The losers would have to do dishes all the next day. Only we never got to euchre until the last night!

Violet and I spent hours--simply Hours--talking. And never got half-done. (do women ever get "done" talking? I don't think so!) We went three times to the next-town-over for ice cream at the general store. They are known for the biggest ice cream scoops. I had the "baby" size, and it was softball sized. I almost couldn't eat it. How Alvin got through the "single" (three scoops) I'll never know...

I took books along, natch. A Grace Livingston Hill romance, old and familiar. A find-a-word puzzle book. A book about Haunted Tales of the Great Lakes. That fizzled--the stories were not very good and the writer not very good, either. A book I got from the library: Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. You know, books you take on vacation. Do you know what Charming took? Plato on Immortality. (1873)

Beach reading? Really?

The beach campfire didn't happen, unfortunately. Too much wind on the two nights we had left it open for. So I brought home the s'mores stuff, and Alvin and Susan will have a few friends over and use our little backyard fireplace. But not this week--near 100 all week. I will miss those 70's from vacation.

A blessed respite. Refreshing and renewing. All the good stuff. Thank you, Father, for all Your blessings to us!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

new obsession.

My honey thinks I spend 'way too much time on Facebook. I don't really think so. I think it's because I'm "on" when he gets home, or in the evening. Then he imagines I've been on it all day, as well.

We go to a large church, so that when someone new comes on, my notification says "93 mutual friends" or "104 mutual friends"--all from church. So I do have a lot of posts in the newsfeed that either want prayer or relate funny things that happen to the family, whatever. When our special-needs baby Nettie was born almost two years ago, with Apgar scores of 0, 1, and 2, that prayer network on facebook was phenomenal.

Well, then there is Scrabble.

My favorite game, and Facebook has a version of it! I am currently playing 28 games, but only with about seven people. You can't just play one game at a time! Each "turn" takes one or two minutes, sometimes less, but not everybody plays every day. I try to play my games twice a day, morning and night, but like I said, sometimes I only have six or eight games running. Fifteen minutes, tops.

Until last Friday.

My sister had told me that one of my cousins had joined facebook. Although I had seen her a couple of times a year growing up, it has been at least thirty years since I had seen her. I "friended" her, and she told me that she had gotten a new computer and was going to upload my Grandma's photo albums to facebook. Her mother was Grandma's oldest daughter, so she got the albums before Grandma died, then when she passed, Jill got them.

So I decided to take an idea my sister had, and Just. Do. It. A number of years ago, my sister and sister-in-law were visiting my dear Auntie M in Washington State. The movie, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was popular at the time. They decided to form a group called the Yo-Yo Sisterhood, and all of us who were Plasterer women, or married to a Plasterer man, could join. We have quite a number in my own birth family already, so when Auntie M would visit, we would go out to dinner and call it the Yo-Yo convention. She has passed, as has my other aunt (Jill's mom) and my own mother. My sister called me last week to talk about how all of our mentors are gone, and now *we* have to be the mentors. Not a bad thing, but even us Titus 2 types need Titus 2 women, you know?

So last Friday I made a Facebook Group called the Yo-Yo Sisterhood of Plasterer Women. I invited all the sisters and cousins and nieces I could find on facebook. If you are on fb, when you get invited to something, you get a notification, so all these girlies were aware that I started the page. WELL. Jill found me right away (within minutes) and so did Cheryl, another cousin whom I only see at funerals and such. My sister and my daughter Violet joined us moments later, and we Spent. The. Morning. on facebook. Jill was loading scores of photos, many from 1900-1920. Violet, who has scanned many of our own ancient photos, uploaded hers.

We also Spent. The. Afternoon. on facebook. Then, Saturday morning, I made a photo album of my great-grandmother's quilt. Sunday, I photographed all of my grandmother's quilts I own, and made another album. My sister made an album of Yo-Yo brides--I have my own, Forget-me-not's, and Lily's photos here on my desk, ready to scan and upload.

Well, the upshot of all of us looking and identifying photos, commenting on each other's posts (Cheryl's parents divorced during her childhood, and she had never seen her parents' wedding photos, and my sister's had been destroyed, but Grandma had some!) and catching up with 30+ years of history (yeah, we were all kids when we were last together, and now all of our kids are raised!!), well....

I Need To Get Some Housework Done.

But this all happened the day after my sister had called me. God answered immediately. We are re-connected with cousins that share the same blood, have had the same experiences, and we can share our wisdom not only with our children, but with each other.

Thank you, Lord, for this gift. (now, give me Supernatural Speed for the work I have to do!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quilt Projects Update.

I had written before about the four Sassy Girls quilts. These were four similar quilts for Blackeyed Susan and three of her friends, featuring the Sassy Girls fabric. I quilted Susan's, and tied the other three.

For Afro, Susan's boyfriend, I had an idea for more of an artsy quilt. A little black boy with a handful of balloons, who is out on a windy day, and gets caught up in a gust of wind. One of his balloons gets away from him, and he himself is beginning to be lifted off the ground:

The balloon that gets away is made of "ivy" fabric, which, if you have been paying attention lately, is symbolic of the high school that Afro graduated from. I also have a Pokemon balloon, and a patch from the Wildcat Baseball League. Susan and Afro actually played on the same team in sixth grade. Of course, I can't remember back that far, but Charming remembers Afro as a great pitcher. Notice also the "grass." The fabric is from Alexander Henry and is called "Everglades." The colors are absolutely astoundingly cool. I went back to the fabric store, and bought more fabric for the binding for the quilt.
If you can see it, click on the photo and look at the "swirls of wind" quilting I did.

Here is the back of the quilt, continuing my ongoing effort to Use Up Pieces of Fabric From My Stash. Here I used three pieces, and I used them all up! Altogether, with the five graduation quilts, I got rid of twenty-five yards of fabric out of my stash. The very, very sad thing, is that it hardly made a dent. Sigh.


Here we have a (Finally!! Finished!!) quilt that has been in the works for, oh, ten or twelve YEARS. I wrote about it already, as well, only I had underestimated the time I had been working on it.

Now, I gotta say, it looks really spiffy all quilted and stuff. And I really like that checkerboard border. But it still isn't me, you know?

So, it is a gift for a friend of many years, who has wanted one of my quilts. The pattern is called Rosebud. So I thought I maybe would name it Citizen Kane--you remember his sled was called Rosebud. Or, after the Dick Van Dyke Show episode about Richie's middle name being Rosebud. I couldn't find a YouTube for that episode, unfortunately. Poor Richie finds out his middle name is Rosebud, and is in despair until his Dad explains why. Now, I'm a little hazy on the details, maybe seven men help Laura get to the hospital or something. Anyway, there are seven men who are instrumental in Richie's birth, and Rob and Laura need to honor them for that. Their initials are R, O, S, E, B, U(llyses), and D(avid--thank you, Don Quixote, for that info!). Instead of seven middle names, Rob and Laura light on ROSEBUD.

Instead, since I took ten or twelve years to make this quilt, I'm just calling it Rosebud Journey.

Now, I'm in a pickle. I don't know what I'm doing next! I have a quilt that is in a "sandwich" (ready to quilt) but I don't feel like doing that one. I have a set of blocks that I made nine years ago, twins to MacGuyver's grad quilt, that I could put together. I could make a "mess" of dolly clothes--lots of ideas there. I know that Rocky Balboa and Tiny Dancer don't even have a Barbie-quilt yet. So, I guess the next thing is to Decide.

But first, I'm going to eat Lunch.

Update 10/11/11: There was a Dick Van Dyke Show marathon on tv last week, and they showed the Rosebud episode! The names were all grandfathers' names, and the names of their fathers and such. The names are Robert, Oscar, Sam, Edward, Benjamin, Ulysses, David--ROSEBUD!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Finally, Graduation Day! Because of extra snow days, graduation was postponed a week. Many of the parties (including Blackeyed Susan's) were last weekend. But the Day had finally come:

ready to go to the ceremony.

Alvin Fernald and Cheergirl.

Susan and Afro with Mr. Smith, their beloved principal until this year when he was transferred. Mr. Smith is an incredible man, and he goes to our church.

Susan and Mr. Holmes, the most incredible teacher ever. I blogged before about him here. Do you know the "Chuck Norris" jokes? Here's the latest: Do you know what happened when Chuck Norris went with the Navy Seals to root out Bin Laden? He found Mr. Holmes sitting there, drinking a Diet Pepsi. Yep. The stuff of Legend.

Best friends forever.

Next year will be the first time they have ever been separated since they started homeschooling together. Even the past two years in public high school, they shared teachers and friends. The very first day of school junior year, which was so difficult for Susan, she came home and ran to Alvin's room. She wanted her Buddy. An incredible blessing!

of course, we need yet another photo of Susan and Afro!

Congratulations, Norah.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ivy Day.

Well, as you can see, I haven't posted for weeks. But that is how it is when we have a graduate--May and early June simply rush by with no time for anything but the baseball-six-days-a-week for the sophomore. And for the senior? The Awards Ceremonies. The Banquets. The Practices. The Thises and Thatses of Senior Year.

So let me tell you about Ivy Day. Ivy Day is unique to our high school, and there is nothing else to compare in our city, or our county. It has been celebrated since our high school opened in 1921. Each year, the police block off the street in front of the school. The seniors, in caps and gowns, parade around the school to the music of the marching band. They are preceded by the Ivy Queen and her court, in formals. They walk to the auditorium entrance, where the Ivy Day ceremony takes place. The Ivy Queen is crowned, and a pot of ivy is presented to the school, to (hopefully) grow up the sides of the school for a remembrance of this senior class. The senior choir members sing "The Halls of Ivy," and everyone sings the alma mater. Then we are dismissed to the cafeteria for breakfast (read: photo op for parents) before the seniors are dismissed for the day.

This year, it rained for Ivy Day, so everything was in the auditorium. Since there was no parade (although the seniors marched in to the music of the band, anyway--rah, rah, RAH!!) the seven girls on the Ivy Court did not know who had been chosen Queen. (tho' we who had programs knew because it said, Ivy Queen: Norah Kell*gg!!)

here is the Queen and her court.

my beautiful Royal Daughter.

Norah (Blackeyed Susan) and Alvin Fernald's girlfriend Hannah.

one of her besties, Megan.

one of Norah's first friends at public high school, another Hannah.

Being Ivy Queen is one of the highest honors bestowed for a senior. It is more prestigious than Prom Queen, because of the ninety-year tradition. And it is especially poignant to me, because Norah only began public high school as a junior. It is a blessing to me, that she has made her mark on the school.

I had thought Norah would wear her prom dress, but after discussion with the other girls, decided a different dress would be more appropriate. Fortunately, J.C. Penney's had a lot on their Clearance-Prom-Dress rack. Forget-me-not took her sister shopping, and found this beauty for $51.00:

and the back:

This will be a dress that she can wear for four years at college, for Christmas Banquets and other formal occasions. A good investment. And hand-washable/line dryable!

"The Halls of Ivy," sung by the Notre Dame Glee Club:

Well, this proud Mommy will sign off for now, and will post more Graduation Stuff later this week!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beautiful Prom People.

Prom was last night! The last week 'bout to drove me crazy, as every "prom" week has. Ordering flowers, then *remembering* to pick up flowers--hard for me this year--hair appointments, and on and on. But, of course, it was all worth it--we girls love us some prom stuff!!

Alvin Fernald and his girlfriend Cheergirl. Sorry 'bout Alvin's goofy grin--I was only able to grab two quick photos before they were off to the park to meet friends for another photo shoot.

Okay, Cheergirl's dress was incredibly fantastic--and in charcoal grey, no less! Fabulous. I wish I had noticed that her orchid wrist corsage was not visible--I could have had them turn the other way. By the way, did you notice that Alvin is wearing a suit and not a tux? I am on a big campaign of Poor High School Boys Should Not Have To Rent A Tux, It's Not Their Wedding. They already have to do a corsage (3x the price of a boutonniere) and dinner. The girls argue, "but we have to buy an expensive dress!" But, girls, you get to Keep the Dress.

Okay, I'm putting my soapbox away.

Here are Blackeyed Susan and her boyfriend Afro (no, that is really his nickname). I made his vest and nifty bowtie from the leftover fabric from Susan's dress. It [the dress] is made from a 1950s pattern, and is in orchid taffeta. When Susan tried it on, she said, "Mom, it makes noise when I walk." Exactly. The. Point. Taffeta was perfect for this dress.

Rustle, rustle.

I made last year's prom dress for Susan. This year I paid our beautiful friend Esther to make it for me. You must, Must, MUST check out her blog. She comes from a family of artists, and has already won awards for making a prom dress from paper bags and one from aluminum foil. Designer, seamstress, she is the whole package. She did change the neckline on Susan's gown from simply "draped" to sweetheart.

Aah, the flowers! Afro's mother got these gorgeous orchids made into a barrette. Can I let you in on a little secret (don't think me tacky.): These were "day-old" orchids, that retailed for fifty dollars, and she got them for fifteen.

I know I've never worn fifty dollars worth of flowers in *my* hair!

Happy couple, beautiful smiles.

Susan wavered between wearing rhinestones and pearls (I was leaning toward pearls, as we had a pair of my mother's pearl screw-on earrings--remember those?) But she landed on the butterfly necklace that was a gift from Afro.

kinda neat: they wore matching Toms shoes. You may know Toms as the company that gives away a pair of shoes to a child who has none, for every pair you buy.

I'm sayin', Hooray for flats! I'm going to suggest them for her wedding, as well.

of course, granddaughters Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea *had* to come over and share in the Princess fun. Decorum was not part of the program, however.

Today's plan is Rest. Recuperation. and Dishes.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Apron Memories: Tie One On - An Apron Of Course !

Just a reminder that next Monday is

Wear Your Apron Day!!!

To get you in the mood, check out an older post about Apron Day Fun.

See you there for Apron Day!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

It all depends upon your point of view.

My son Joe Hardy posted on his facebook page on Monday:

"One of the craziest, busiest, and most impactful weekends in (recent) history! A royal wedding, beatification of the late Pope John Paul, and what happened with Osama bin Laden...all in one weekend! Let us not let these things distract us from the truth: Jesus is coming soon! Stay awake, Church!"

This was Charming's reaction to his post:

"Wow. I went to work Friday, woke up Saturday and went to work, woke up Sunday and went to work [he works one Sunday a month], woke up Monday and went to work. I didn't even hear about the Pope thing."

But, he went on to say:

"But there is another Royal Wedding coming, and I am part of the Bride! And, at that time, we will all be "beatified." And, at that time, the worst terrorist of all time will be chained forever!"

Look at the three points of view, here. The World was watching all of these events, and calls them Important. World-changing. The news networks have never-ending stories of every conceivable twist and turn of each event. Yet, the entire worldwide panorama happened, and not one event impacted Charming's life, personally. Most of our lives went on without interruption (after the wedding, of course!)


When those Final Events happen, the World will stop and notice. Every single life will be affected. It will be of greatest importance with which side you are aligned. Truly, truly, "life or death" will be decided.

Because of our busy lives, and the inundation of media 24/7, we sometimes do not see things as they really are, in relation to our own lives; I'm speaking of our "real" lives. That's another thing we need to re-examine, perhaps: of what does our "real" life consist?

Can we take a few minutes this week, to Stop, Look, and Listen? Stop and Look at our lives, and how we are filling them. Charming has a great saying: We need to learn to Live Deliberately. And then we need to Stop and Listen to our Father, for He can tell us how to change our lives. He is the One who is "conforming us to the image of His Son." Is our non-stop life getting in His way?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sassy Girls Quartet Finished.

This is sort of an odd photo. I laid my finished quilt out across the couch, and took a photo from farther away. It didn't look right, so I "turned" the photo on my computer. Now it still looks wonky-jawed:

...but you can see the entire thing.

I call this quilt (and three others that I made for Blackeyed Susan's friends) Sassy Girls. That is the name of the cute fabric here. Click on the photo to see it more easily.

(it is the fabric that is not the horse fabric.)

"Sassy" describes Susan and her friends perfectly.

*and* Susan loved horsies and horsey books when she was smaller.

Here you can see, not quite so large (photographer I am *not*) a gorgeous ballerina fabric, some music fabrics (Susan wanted "lots of ballet and lots of music" in her quilt), and a fabric commemorating September 11, which is unfortunately part of our children's lives. All of the Sassy Girls have a piece of that in their quilts:

(even though Susan does not play piano, she loved the "keys" fabric.)

Our high school, which opened in 1921, has celebrated "Ivy Day" every year since it opened. All of the seniors parade down the street in front of the school, and the Ivy Queen and her court present a pot of ivy to the school, to be planted and (hopefully) begin climbing up the sides of the building. So I put ivy fabric in two corners:

Love tradition. South Side is the only high school in town that has any tradition this cool. They also have real-live china that is embossed S/S that they use, with a silver punch bowl, for special occasions.

I have two "nutcracker" fabrics in the quilt, commemorating Susan's six or so times she participated in our city's production:

More ballet fabric, and some baseball fabric, on top of which I sewed the patch from her baseball hat. I don't remember this, tho' everybody else in the family does, but Susan played on the same team as her boyfriend in fifth and sixth grade:

... and check out that Kellogg's fabric. How cool to have a fabric with your last name on it?

The fabric on the left below says Gracie (Susan's real middle name is Grace. I found a "blackeyed Susan" fabric just before I quilted this section, so I ripped out a square and replaced it. She shares that nickname with her grandmother:

Cubs. 'nuff said.

The "roses with stripes" in the top of the photo below is left over from a dress I made Susan when she was a baby. The red and white "how do I love thee? let me count the ways" fabric is what I used to back Johnny Tremain and Lily's wedding quilt. I love putting the same fabric in lots of things, just as my Grandma did. I used to love finding them in different quilts in our home.

I found three yards of a cute pink ballet fabric at the store. That is enough to cover half of the back of the quilt, so it does.

Another fabric on the back is ballet tutus with the names of famous ballets: Swan Lake, Coppelia, etc. On the left, the purple and green diamonds fabric was the backing to Rocky Balboa and Forget-me-not's wedding quilt:

...and more soldiers because of the Nutcracker thing.

Susan's quilt is quilted, and her three friends' are tied. And now, all they need are their labels:

Sassy Girl: Norah

Sassy Girl: Maddi

Sassy Girl: Hannah

Sassy Girl: Brittany

I really, really had fun with these. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A red-letter day.

Oh, my.

Norah Grace

I had such a hard, hard time yesterday morning.

I woke up crying, and cried all through the morning. All because my sweet Blackeyed Susan turned eighteen.
When we had six-in-eight-years, then almost ten years later had Susan and then her brother Alvin Fernald, I figured the last two were supposed to go more slowly. So that I could savor each and every day. Well, darn it, time didn't slow down. Susan's childhood went just as quickly as the others.

What a precious privilege it is to be her mother. So many things stored away in my heart that I can remember and laugh or cry over. Even the fight we had the night before her birthday will be softened when next I think of it. (it wasn't a biggie...)
I bought a beautiful card with sappy sentiments (yeah, I cried through the entire card display--possibly not a good time to buy a card, kinda like "don't go to the grocery when you're hungry" sort of thing), and then forgot to give it to her! We watched some trash-tv together (Say Yes to the Dress, Cake Boss, Project Runway) and that evened me out, emotionally. We looked online for fabrics for her prom dress. We had steak-and-mushrooms for her birthday dinner. (She's an expensive girl: her brother MacGuyver always wanted pancakes for his birthday dinner.) We had all the grandkids over to sing Happy Birthday and have a piece of cake. Alvin bought Susan her junk-food trifecta: Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and a Reese's pb cup. Her boyfriend bought her two lottery tickets because she was 18--hey, she won 50 cents! Kind of a quiet day, and that was okay for me. I still have to endure graduation!
I'll leave this with the sentiment on the card I did *not* buy:

It's your 18th birthday!

Now you can Vote!

Now you can sign a Contract!

Now you can get Married!


Looks like you've got a very busy day ahead of you!

Friday, April 01, 2011

April is Poetry Month

I kinda planned to post a poem today, being the first day of Poetry Month, but I found a wonderful link from The Common Room. So go there, be blessed, and I'll look for something to share next time!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nothin' much.

I see that it is many days since I have blogged. I keep waiting for something interesting to happen to me, to write about. Of course, when nothin' much is happening, that's okay, too. "No news is good news," you know.

I've spent the last ten or eleven days suffering with a lower back problem. This is not something I am used to--bless the Lord, I have not had the lower back problems (or other things, such as migraines) that plague so many people. Chronic pain? Not a part of my life.

I did something biggie to my back, tho'. I went to the chiropractor, who predicted four visits to get this in order. My first visit, I rated my pain 8-9, on a scale of 10. Yesterday, I told him it was down to a 3, with about 85% improvement. Praise the Lord for chiropractors! Non-invasive treatment, with alternating heat and ice did the trick. (okay, I did 'bout go through a bottle of ibuprofen..) My sister, who does essential oils, told me to rub lavender oil on the places where I had spasms. All good stuff! Today, I'm doing laundry--what a treat when I have been unable for going-on two weeks.

Other than that, we are at the time of year when things start to heat up, as far as the schedule goes. Blackeyed Susan's graduation, Alvin Fernald with his newly minted driver's permit. I have a huge problem with my new cellphone account, that I will have to fix face-to-face with someone. A flat tire on my van that I need to take care of today. All those things that take me out of the house anyway, and I'd rather be "spring cleaning."

But I've had my coffee, checked my facebook, and am ready to go! Have a wonderful Tuesday!!

Friday, March 04, 2011

My Daddy can fix anything.

I stole this facebook post from my friend Wende, who had spent some time in our church's prayer room:

"Comfy couch, soft fuzzy blanky, quiet prayer room and the best part: the Lord wrapping His arms around me, whispering to me to rest in Him. Just letting ya know the Prayer Room is all prayed up for those who are weary! Run to Him and He will give you rest."

Isn't that sweet? I especially love the phrase "the Prayer Room is all prayed up." Imagine if I get up extra early, with my coffee and my Bible, and have a precious time with the Lord. Then, when Honey gets up, I say, "the couch is all 'prayed up.' Come, and welcome!"

I had a dear friend many years ago, who told me that she always pictured herself climbing up into her Father's lap, in a big rocking chair, sharing her highs and lows, as well as her requests. Our four-year-olds have this down pat: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! and running into his arms. Whatever the boo-boo, whatever the crisis, whatever the need, our little ones know where to run. And they don't waste any time doing it.

I know I'll be running to Him today. How about you?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow day.

Another snowstorm today. It began about 1:30 am, as predicted, already four inches on the ground. Wind will make it worse, but we are snugged in tight. Charming is on vacation, schools are closed. I am sorry that Blackeyed Susan is ill; Alvin Fernald is finally over it. It is running rampant through the schools, a combination of sore throat and chest cough.

(I wish I could have slept past 5:30 am, though.)

I took a free Word 2007 class this week, and got a 96% on the test. I'm trying to update my computer skills, to make me more marketable, job-wise. Not that I desire to work outside the home; I am completely satisfied to be Suzy Homemaker. But since Charming is making $20,000 less than he was five years ago, we have to hold out my working as a possibility. *If* I can get a job!

I have finished one of four "Sassy Girls" quilts I'm making for graduations this spring. Susan's will be quilted; her three friends' ones will be tied. I've finished one of the tied quilts, and am basting Susan's. The other two are ready to lay out, to make the quilt "sandwich." But I do that at Lily's house, and, well, the'll wait!

Still working on re-organizing my Fabric Mountain. Since much of my fabric is in my basement, it is easy to leave, and go back to as is convenient. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and am anxious to get the rubbermaids stacked up against the wall, all nice and neat!

But before that, COFFEE. Sorting laundry. Writing a letter to my sister. My "normal" Friday stuff. I'm thinking bean soup and cornbread for supper. Maybe some Waltons on the dvd player. A quiet Friday night will be a novelty!

Hope you have a nice "snow day," if that is happening where you live. And "someday," we'll see spring, right?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cornflake S. Pecially for Violet


Isn't it *wonderful* how hearing a certain song can take you right back to a particular place in your life? Most of the time it is a happy place. The other night, I was driving home with Blackeyed Susan, and listening to the Oldies (70's) station on the radio. "Reelin' in the Years" by Steely Dan came on. All of a sudden I threw the volume button 'way up: Susan! This was my favorite song in the spring of my senior year! In fact, it was *everybody's favorite song!* Everybody rolled down their windows and sang along when it came on!

[I could say the same thing about food. Just thinking about my grandma's chicken and noodles takes me right back...but that is a discussion for another day. This is about Music.]

We also learn things through music. I don't think we could begin to count how many things we have learned through a song. ABC's--hello. But this morning I was thinking about a Special Song by a Special Man--Mr. Rogers.

You are my friend
You are special
You are my friend
You're special to me.
You are the only one like you.
Like you, my friend, I like you.
In the daytime
In the nighttime
Anytime that you feel's the right time
For a friendship with me, you see
F-R-I-E-N-D special
You are my friend
You're special to me.
There's only one in this wonderful world
You are special.

You are Special
by Fred Rogers

Besides being an awesome song, it was also a teaching song. My daughter Violet (who has not only a Masters degree in English, but also placed third in a national spelling bee), not only learned to spell the word "friend" with the song, but still sings the song every time she writes the word...Friend.

I have to admit, I do, too. Thank you, Mr. Rogers.

Here is a link to a video. Just click on the little tv icon:

You are Special

Have a Special Day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

an Uncommon book.

"Every family ought to be...a little church, consecrated to Christ and wholly influenced and governed by His rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual."

--Jonathan Edwards

I am reading Marriage to a Difficult Man: the Uncommon Romance of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. I don't even have any words to describe how much I am loving it, and I'm not even to page 100 yet. I'll be writing more about it in the days to come, but I wanted to share this quote today.

The concept of "family education and order" being a "chief means of grace" is one that I could meditate on for years. I used to hear about something being a "means of grace," during my Catholic-upbringing years. Grace, of course, being God's "unmerited favor." Now, if I had to choose anything that my home has *not* been, it would be one of Order. Probably my biggest struggle, nope, Definitely my biggest struggle. But I think we did pretty well on the "family education" front. I look at my six grown children (really, people, there are eight--the last two are almost-eighteen and sixteen) and am pleased at how they turned out. But I readily admit that I am too-much married to the world and not to the Kingdom. Lots of work to do there. I really do need to take down all those "no trespassing" signs I've put in God's way.

I am thinking that this book is very timely for me. Sarah Edwards managed to raise eleven children while being married to a famous preacher, with all that entailed. (for instance, before the days of reputable inns, travelers preferred to stay at the homes of the local preachers. Many times Sarah hosted multiple guests at once, and often. There is no complaint of "busyness" I could manage to use as an excuse that would come close to what she had in her life, to account for my lack of discipline.

So, it's back to the book, and I will share as I go along!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Busy today...

I have not worked outside the home for sixteen years, so I am eligible to avail myself of some state-sponsored classes, at no cost. My last formal computer class was WordPerfect 2.1 (with white letters on a black screen), so the opportunity to take all of the Microsoft Office Suite is exciting.

Today's offering is PowerPoint. I've only done one powerpoint in my life, and that was with a tutorial (add photo NOW, click here NOW, you get the picture). The class is all-day, 8:30-4:30.

Next week I have a class, "Navigating the 2007 Ribbon." I'm told it's the "new toolbar." My PowerPoint runs with the Ribbon, so I will have some experience already. On the 21st I have Excel. I have never ever made a spreadsheet; should be interesting. The 23rd is Word--a place with which I'm much more familiar. The week after that I have Publisher, and then Access (don't even know what that is for!) is in several sessions through the end of the month.

Then I'll be ready for a new computer! Honey?

Update: I had to make a seven-slide PowerPoint presentation and "pass" to get a certificate. I got a 95%!! Yeah for me!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Five years.

Today marks five years since my precious Mother went home to be with the Lord.

Oh, how I miss her! She was my Mommy, after all, and how do you live without your Mommy? I remember, after getting married, calling her every time I got sick. I wished she could come take care of me, but knowing that she couldn't, I wanted her to *know,* anyway. She was always sympathetic, and told me to rest and drink plenty of liquids. Yeah, I already knew that, but needed to hear it from her.

One post would not be adequate to write my feelings about her, of course. Her love, her wisdom, her love of Scrabble (which I share!), her faith--all so much a part of my life, a part of who I am. I know that many women don't have a good relationship or any relationship at all, with their mothers; that makes me sad. I had the most wonderful mother! What an incredible blessing from the Lord!

So, if you still have your mother, give her a hug and kiss for me today, won't you?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Great Snowstorm of '11, in which we dodged the bullet....

It looks like we dodged a bullet with the great snowstorm. Yesterday, they were predicting 8-15 inches of snow overnight. By the time I went to bed, they had lowered it to 1-3 inches. And I'm not sure we got even that. We *did* get the "wintry mix" of snow and freezing rain, with high winds, starting about 4pm, through the evening. I was happy to see Charming get home safely!

This morning, we are under a Level One snow emergency, which means that only emergency vehicles are allowed to be on the roads. So Charming will not be going into work, at least "on time," this morning.

I got up too early this morning, so "going back to bed" is definitely on the list. Or maybe just a long nap...I would also like to get back to my "organizing my fabric" project. I started it three weeks ago, and never got back to it. Being in the basement, I can leave-it-and-come-back-to-it, but I can't seem to get back to it! I think it will be a nice project for a Snow Day.

I'd love to share a link from Little Jenny Wren. Beautiful thoughts for a Slow-down Day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Relationship evangelism.

"Grace was no insistent evangelist, flinging her message out and demanding an answer. She breathed the fragrance of Christianity in her smile, and her words came involuntarily from a heart that thought much "on these things."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Re-Creations.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


At every Super Bowl time, the governors of the states of the two contenders will make friendly wagers. But for this weekend's Bears/Packers game, librarians in Chicago and Green Bay are getting into the act with their own wagers.

If the Packers win, the Chicago Library will be the happy recipients of the following books:

Little House in the Big Woods

Old Bear

Quickie Makes the Team (by a local Green Bay author)

When Pride Still Mattered (about Vince Lombardi)

and, finally: We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

If "da Bears" are victorious, the Green Bay Library will receive extra copies of:

Meet the Bears, and

The Stinky Cheese Man.

How darn cute is this?

Monday, January 10, 2011

I love Men.

I get so, so tired of tv shoes and movies that make men look moronic. I think I first really noticed it when the show Home Improvement was on the air. It was funny, for sure, but Tim was always the one with the Idea that Wouldn't Work, or Messing Up everything so that Mom or Wilson or one of the boys had to straighten it out.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand men. But they don't understand us, either. We have a joke around here: if women weren't around trying to "civilize" men all the time, they'd just stand their jeans up in the corner of the cave every night. Saves on laundry, right? And I've laughed at my share of oh-my-goodness-MEN! jokes. But I notice from time to time that it gets to be a habit. A habit that definitely needs adressing.

I like to look at Charming's hands. They are what he calls "ping-pong paddle" hands--as wide as they are long. No long fingers as would befit a guitar player of more than forty years. But I love to watch them as they move along the strings. I love those hands when they are holding mine. When they comfort one of our children or grandchildren. When they are fixing the toilet at 11 at night, or changing the taillight on the car at 10 degrees outside. Things that he doesn't ask me to do. We actually had an agreement: I wouldn't make him change diapers if he didn't make me "wrestle" a toilet (changing the wax ring). I know, I know, you have to do that about three times in your lifetime, but still...

My sister lost most of the men in her life last year. My father passed away in March, and her father-in-law in November. And in August, she lost her dear husband. But she still has her two strong sons to stand by her side, and wrestle that toilet if need be.

I know that women are as capable as men at doing just about anything. But I think the Bible teaches that that Protector/Provider role is a good thing. My "knight in shining armor," as Kate Hepburn said to Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond.

Maybe this post doesn't make any sense. Maybe it's just where my mind is wandering this afternoon. But I think maybe I need to do a little less man-bashing, and a little more appreciating these days.

Love you, honey. Thanks for doing that toilet thing.

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Ponderings

I didn't have any real New Year's plans, except for catching some of the Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy channel. Blackeyed Susan commented, "so many of them are about outer space!" Certainly the America *I* lived in in the late 50s and early 60s was obsessed about space! We were in a race with the Soviet Union. They won the first two rounds, the first artificial satellite, and the first man in space. But we caught up with the first man to Orbit the earth! President Kennedy vowed that we would have a man on the moon by the end of the decade. And the wondering about whether there was life on other planets pervaded our television programs. Why we assumed that those life forms were always more intelligent or technologically advanced than Earth's, I don't know. Why couldn't we be the most intelligent, and find lesser life forms on other planets? Oh, well, I don't make these decisions...

I went to the grocery on New Year's Day, and found an incredible bargain. I bought two four-packs of New York strip steaks for about $2.60 per 12-ounce steak! We put away the two biggest ones for a later date-night, and invited Susan's boyfriend and Alvin Fernald's girlfriend for dinner. Yummy-yum yum! I baked my favorite pie (Marie Callendar's Razzleberry) and vanilla ice cream for dessert. We had dessert in front of...more Twilight Zone. It was an impromptu party, and very, very fun! One of the things Charming wants to do this year is to do more things with our youngest two children, who, at 17 and 16, usually can find something else to do besides spending it with parental units...

I'm not good at resolutions. But, going along with Jen at The Pause That Refreshes, I wanted to make a personal goal of sorts. So here it is:

No Barb-bashing this year.

This is extremely personal, as it is something that only I do. I can get to feeling worthless faster than breathing, almost. Listing all of the things I've been a failure at. All of the things I need to do that I'm not doing. BUT...since God thinks I'm fabulous just the way I am, and my family loves me *anyway,* then I am doing nothing but wasting precious time, taking this responsibility on myself. Or listening to the Enemy, if that is what it is. He is the "accuser of the brethren," and the "Condemner." So if I am hearing negative things about me, they are going to have to be shucked into the garbage where they belong. Let me know if I'm falling down on this, okay?

I will also continue to read some of the classics that I've missed along the way. Last year I read Dracula, completing my Monster trilogy (in 2009 I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein) and the unabridged Little Women (562 pages!)

Well, I am off for Monday Morning Errands. I'm jealous of Jen, who is going. nowhere. today.

(maybe tomorrow!)