Saturday, December 31, 2016

Someone To Watch Over Me

A number of years ago, Jen Fulwiler created the Saint's Name Generator website.   Say a prayer, click on a button, and a saint is randomly selected for you.  Is it really random or is it who our good Lord thinks we need in the coming year?
Some people like to do this at the beginning of the liturgical year at the start of Advent.  Others prefer to find their new saint for the new calendar year.  Me?  Usually it's when I remember, and there's no rhyme or reason as to when that is. 
Other than Our Lady of Guadalupe, I have known nothing about the other saints that I have been given - St. Cajetan, Blessed Titus Brandsma, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
For the coming year, I received a saint that I have heard of but know little about - St. Mark the Evangelist.  He was one of Christ's original twelve disciples and author of one of the books in the Gospel.  He is also patron saint of lions, lawyers, notaries, opticians, pharmacists, painters, secretaries, interpreters, prisoners, and people dealing with insect bites.  I am curious as to how St. Mark fits in to my 2017.
 Did you get your saint yet? 
St. Mark, pray for us!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thanks, Mom!

One of the many things that my mom taught me was how to sew.  She was an incredible seamstress.  She sewed her own wedding dress as well as those of her bridesmaids.  Growing up, we always had beautiful, handmade clothes, including our First Communion dresses.  I don't have half the talent nor the precision and patience she had.  But, I'm working on it.

Since Sis doesn't sew at all, I inherited all of mom's machines and material stash when she passed.  One is a very finicky embroidery machine.  For me, it's hit or miss getting it to work properly.  Usually it take me multiple attempts to get it right.  Either the thread breaks or the bobbin runs empty or the material rips, or, or or.  You get the idea. 

I mentioned in a post that I was making a quilt for Aunt Paulette.  We had made plans to visit a couple of Fridays ago and surprise her with it.  The night before I had one thing left to finish on it - the label.

When I took a quilting class many years ago, the teacher told us that we should put a label on every quilt we made.  It is like an artist signing her work.

So, Thursday night, out came the embroidery machine.  I had a quick "chat" with mom, asking her to help me make this label go smoothly.

One time.

That's all it took.  Just one time and it looked good.

I "talk" to my mom a lot.  This is probably the first time I got such a quick answer.

Thanks, mom!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Where There's Smoke . . .

. . . there's tasty beef!

We host Christmas every year.  The number of people changes year to year, but usually there is a dozen of us.  I like to cook and have gotten pretty adept at making a nice meal.  I used to make a turkey for dinner, but the last few years we've had beef tenderloin.  It's easy and fancy all at the same time.

The day before, I get all the food prepped so that all I need to do is put things into the oven an hour or so before we're going to eat on Christmas.  The corn pudding and Catholic potatoes go into the warming drawer.  The beef and the veggies roast in the oven.  Simple.  

Until the smoke started.  

I opened the oven door to see what was the matter.  Apparently the butter I put on the tenderloin to hold the seasoning on doesn't do well at the high temperature at which the meat is roasted.

I started the vent.  And opened windows.  Himself opened doors.  

The smoke alarm chirped.  There was a foggy haze in the living room and it was even worse upstairs.

Finally, the meat thermometer showed that the tenderloin was ready.  I should have taken a photo, it was picture perfect.  And, it tasted even better than it looked.

I think next year, I'll skip the butter!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Worst Christmas Present, Ever??

I listen to talk radio on the way to work each morning.  I like getting the news, weather, and traffic reports.  Some of the commercials, however, leave a bit to be desired.

There have been a few that are played over and over and over again.  It got to the point that when the baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuit commercial came on, again, I would change the station.

This latest commercial, though, has me wondering.

Give your loved one the gift of health.  Squatty Potty will help them have better elimination.

I don't know about you, but if I found that under the tree, I would think you hated me.

Worst present ever.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Winner, Winner! Candlelit Dinner

Thanks for all the comments on my last post.  The winner is Susan Kolosionek

I'll be in touch shortly.


Monday, December 12, 2016

A Timely Visitor, A Blogiversary, and a Giveaway

Socrates and Sophia came over for dinner on Saturday night.  As they walked into the house, Sophia told me that she hoped I didn't mind, but she had brought an extra guest along.  She was sure that the guest wouldn't eat much.

When Sophia handed me a cloth bag that contained the framed icon, I saw that the surprise guest wouldn't be eating anything.  But, she would be feeding us, our souls.

Our Lady of Guadalupe has long been my favorite depiction of Mary.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's because the way she appeared to Juan Diego.  Maybe it's because of the roses she gave him in the middle of winter.  Or how she pops into my life at different times - the start of this blog and my patron saint one year.

To celebrate my favorite lady's feast day and blogiversary, I have a gift certificate to my favorite online candle shop, Quick Candles, to give away.  Just leave a comment and Saturday evening the hairy beast will determine the winner.

“Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. be assured that he is now cured.” 

St. Juan Diego, pray for us!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Advent Wreath 2016: A Time for Hope

"There is no more dangerous or disgusting habit than that of celebrating Christmas before it comes, as I am doing in this article. It is the very essence of a festival that it breaks upon one brilliantly and abruptly, that at one moment the great day is not and the next moment the great day is. Up to a certain specific instant you are feeling ordinary and sad; for it is only Wednesday. At the next moment your heart leaps up and your soul and body dance together like lovers; for in one burst and blaze it has become Thursday. I am assuming (of course) that you are a worshipper of Thor, and that you celebrate his day once a week, possibly with human sacrifice. If, on the other hand, you are a modern Christian Englishman, you hail (of course) with the same explosion of gaiety the appearance of the English Sunday. But I say that whatever the day is that is to you festive or symbolic, it is essential that there should be a quite clear black line between it and the time going before."
- GK Chesterton "All Things Considered"

Check out Catholic Mom to see more Advent Wreaths.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

First Photo: December 2016

December, at last.  I have to admit I am glad to see November end.  It's not that anyting bad occured.  We celebrated my birthday and Thanksgiving, so there was good to be had.  We had some remarkably good weather, bookending the snow that arrived mid-month. 

It was dark, very, very dark.  The shorter days are so noticble, especially with the time change.  When I get home from work, all I want to do is either curl up under a blanket with a good book or go to sleep.

I know December brings more of the same.  But, somehow it's different.  I think observing Advent helps.  We are in a time of both preparation and contemplation.  We start out in the darkness, and week by week another candle glows bright. 

“Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.”


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Daughter She Didn't Have

When we married eighteen years ago, I gained a great extended family.   My mother-in-law is one of six siblings and all but one had children.  Her youngest brother, Al, is married to wonderful woman, Paulette Rose.  They had five kids, four daughters and a son. 
I love all my family, but there's something special about Aunt Paulette.  She has a goofy sense of humor and is kind and generous.  She makes the best deviled eggs and has been known to bring a plate of them just for us to family gatherings.  She shares a name in common with my mom, Rose.
She has seen more than her share of hardship.  She and Uncle Al lost their son just a month after his  twenty-first birthday.  She's battled lymphoma several times.  And then there was the huge oak tree that crashed through the roof of her newly remodeled bedroom just has her family began to sing "Happy Birthday" to her.
And, on top of all that, she has four daughters that don't sew a stitch!  Not a bit. 
Aunt Paulette is one of the craftiest and most creative people I know.  She sews and crochets and embroiders.  For a while she had her own craft store, Colorado Rose, in which she sold all sorts of beautiful and interesting things that she made.  She worked at a quilt shop, had a machine embroidery business, and frequently sold at craft fairs.  She crochets baby blankets for a local hospital's NICU patients.
When we get together we can talk for hours about what we are working on and creating.  She quite kindly oohs and aahs over whatever my latest project happens to be. 
Remember I mentioned not one of her daughters sews?  Well, that's been lucky for me.  She has been thinning out her stash and I've been the recipient of two trunk-loads worth of material and notions and even a sewing dummy. 
I have already put some of the material to good use, making a baby quilt from a sweet green and yellow vintage print.  And, don't tell Aunt Paulette, but she's getting her own quilt for Christmas this year!
So much material, so little time!
D's baby quilt

Monday, November 14, 2016

Advent Prayer Buddies

In just a couple of weeks we will be starting Advent.  I don't know about you, but I haven't given a whole lot of thought yet about what I want to do.  The one thing, I do know, is that I am looking forward to increased, focused prayer for my Prayer Buddy. 

During Advent, you can say prayers, novenas, and rosaries, light candles, and offer up suffering for your secret Prayer Buddy and whatever intentions he or she specifies.  On Christmas, or shortly thereafter, you will let your assigned person who you are and how you remembered them.

Those interested in participating, please email me at:
I will need from you is:
Your first name or first initial
Your blog address (or email address if you are not a blogger)
Your intentions
Your full name
Your address
(Address can be provided if your Prayer Buddy plans to send you a small remembrance at Christmas)
DEADLINE FOR SIGN-UPS IS: Wednesday, November 23rd


Monday, November 7, 2016

A Time For Choosing

While on Pinterest this evening, I ran across a quote that was attributed to Ronald Reagan.  He was an eloquent and powerful speaker, so I wanted to learn more about where and when the quote originated.  From what I can gather, the only thing accurate about the Pinterest quote was the title. 
In October 1964, Reagan gave a televised speech endorsing Barry Goldwater for President.  A Time For Choosing was this speech.  Given fifty two years ago, so much of this is valid, maybe even more so, today.
You can read the speech here or watch the video below.  The thirty minutes it lasts is very much worth your time.

"For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.  The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks.
  And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed."
* * * *
"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so." 
* * * *
"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.  So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."

 * * * *
"Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment."
* * * *
"They say we offer simple answers to complex problems.  Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right."


Thursday, November 3, 2016

They Done Us Proud

If you look outside in northeastern Ohio today, it is gray and dull.  There is a light misty rain falling and the sun isn't anywhere to be found.  It's appropriate.  I think that's how all the fans of the Cleveland Indians feel today.  Dull and gray.

In the Spring, like most years, we were hopeful.  We had a lot of great players and a bunch of young ones that showed so much potential.  As the summer went on, it seemed like a good, decent season and the playoffs were a definite possibilty. 

But, then the injuries started.  Two starting pitchers and the primary catcher were injured.  One of our best outfielders tried, but wasn't able, to come back from last year's shoulder injury and subsequent surgery.   I have to admit, some of us started writing off this season.  The playoffs just couldn't possibly happen with all that. 

The players, thankfully, thought differently.  The Tribe showed us that working hard, acting as a team, and making good decisons can bring you farther than you ever thought possible. 

These last few weeks have been exciting.  The team didn't act like the underdogs that much of the sportsworld seemed to think they were.  And that attitude was contageous.  We all thought they were going to do it.  As the t-shirts said, we were going to Party Like It's 1948, the last time they won the championship.

The World Series was just what it ought to be - two very good, evenly matched teams fighting to the bitter, wet, rain-delayed, extra inning, late end.  Unfortunately, our Indian Summer ended at about ten to one this morning.

And if it matters, I couldn't be more proud to be called their fan.  Thanks for a great, exciting year!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

First Photo: November 2016

Gold Leaves
G. K. Chesterton

Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

Something to ponder on this Feast of All Saints.  God Bless!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2016) - Water - by Me

 I loved this month's theme - Water - and had fun with it.  See for yourself!
I attended a conference near St. Louis for work late last month.  On the second evening there, the vendor who organized the conference hosted a dinner and cocktails at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I was in heaven!  Perfect weather, flowers, an adult beverage and my camera.  The reflecting pool above was just one of the many water features there, but one of the prettiest.
 We took a morning hike in a park near where we used to live.  It was a beautiful day!
At the beginning of October we went to an art show at a local historical property.  It's a trip we make every year.  Usually the weather is cool and rainy, but this year we were treated to sunshine and blue skies.  We had more fun wandering the grounds and taking picture than we did looking at the art being sold by the many vendors, as you can see from the view of Himself on the other side of this fountain.  I took a number of pictures of it, trying to catch the drops of water from above.

I love the water droplets on our "Roisin", a shrub rose my sister and brother-in-law gave us when we became our niece's God-parents.  Roisin is Irish for "Rosie" or "Little Rose". 
Across the road from where I work is a river with a number of decent sized waterfalls.  The bridge downstream provides a great spot for snapping a few photos of it.

To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa


Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2016) - Water - by Himself

I enjoyed the pictures featuring water that Himself took.  Since he doesn't have a blog of his own, I decided to share them here. 
 Hunting Chipmunks At The Watering Hole

Petal Puddles
 Sun Tea

 Three States of Water

Drops of Water and Light
To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Friday, October 28, 2016

No Pink for Me

I began writing this last year, but never managed to finish it.  It seems appropriate, still.

It seems October has competing colors – orange and black for Halloween and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  To tell you the truth, I’d much rather see the former rather than the latter.

This morning I went for my annual mammogram.  It’s not the most pleasant experience but not the most horrible either.  But, as a woman, it’s just one of those things you put on your to-do list and check it off, hoping that “no news is good news” afterwards.  Last year the initial results were questionable and the events following were trying, to say the least, but in the end all was well.

The technician that performed the  exam was kind and accommodating.  She had seen from my records last year’s results and asked if a marker had been placed at the biopsy site.  Yes, it’s a titanium top hat.  She looked at me oddly.  Well, that what they told me after the procedure. 

I didn’t have time to eat breakfast before the test and was hungry.  I stopped at Panera’s on the way to work.    As I walked through the door I was greeted with bouquets of pink balloons and pictures of ribbon shaped bagels.  I almost walked out. 

This year, the amount of "pink" seems to have grown exponentially.  NFL players are wearing pink shoes, sweatbands and towels.  News websites are basking in a new rosy glow.  A local radio station is selling pink rubber ducks.  All sorts of products in the grocery store sport pink labels and pink ribbons. 
How many people and corporations are making money off a disease that effects so many people, women and men?  Awareness of this cancer is great, but it has become almost cultish.  It's the politically correct disease to get behind and eradicate. 

I have seen no attention given to risk factors such as abortion and diet.  Mention those and you are treated like a heretic, particularly by the businesses that have a lot to lose financially if people change.

Cancer is scary.  I get it.  We have it in the family.  It is something my sister and I need to take seriously.  But, there's also diabetes, arthritis and a whole slew of other ailments.  I'd like to see those get equal attention.

Thankfully, November is just a few days away!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Swimming Upstream

I have yet to venture into politics in my little bitty part of the blogsphere.  Until now.  Unless you’re a Luddite or living off the grid, by now you have heard about the eleven year old recording of Trump’s “vile” bragging about his prowess with women.

Please, don’t tell me you were surprised by that.

We have known all along that what we were getting in this candidate was a man who is lewd, crude and rude.  Our other choice is a woman who is corrupt and crass.   Rules don't apply to her.

Take your pick.

Himself and I often talk about politics and the state of our world.  Long ago, we have come to the conclusion that politics is downstream from culture.

In "The Everlasting Man", GK Chesterton tells us that “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

Many years later, St. Pope John Paul II warned us “This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the "culture of death" and the "culture of life".  We find ourselves not only "faced with" but necessarily "in the midst of" this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” (EVANGELIUM VITAE 28)

If things are going to change, we need to be among the living, part of the culture of life, and swim upstream.  We have to work to change the culture.  And in doing that, maybe then, and only then, can be get leaders, not politicians, that are worthy of the job.

I have come to the conclusion that it is going to be painful.  Going against the current culture may cost us friends, family, jobs, and more. 

But, that is better than losing my soul.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Walking the Labyrinth

Back in August, I was on the west coast for work.  On my last evening there, I spent some time in a local quilt shop.  I still had several hours before I had to be at the airport for my red-eye flight home.   I had read about The Grotto in Portland, so I decided to visit.
The property was bought and developed as an answer to a promise Fr. Ambrose Mayer made as a young boy.   His mother was near death after giving birth to his sister.  He prayed for their survival and vowed to do a great work for the church.  He found a large plot of land that, with help, he purchased and built a tribute to Mary.  A large grotto was hewn out of the cliff left behind when the land was quarried by the Union Pacific Railroad for their rail beds.
An elevator ride to the top of the cliff leads to a second part of the property that was developed as parkland with areas for reflection and prayers.  There are areas dedicated to St. Joseph, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, various saints, and, of course, the Virgin Mary.
Tucked away in a secluded spot is a labyrinth.  Designed as a replica of the medieval labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France, this is supposed to offer an opportunity for meditation and contemplation as one walks to the center and back out again.

I have to admit I was a bit dubious about the whole thing.  It always seemed contrived and gimmicky, verging on new-agism, to me.  But, since I had time, and no one was around, I figured I would give it a try. 
I walked it slowly and deliberately, saying a few prayers, thanking God for productive trip and asking for a safe journey home.  I don't remember everything I thought about as I moved through it.  I had a few insights to some personal situations with which I have been struggling. 

For someone who is not good sitting in quiet prayer, I can see how the labyrinth could be helpful.  Moving through the path helped me quiet my mind.  I don't think I need a labyrinth to do that, though.  Our local parks provide an opportunity to walk, enjoy peaceful surroundings, and have prayer time with our Lord. 



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Funny Foto #19: Baby on Board?

Last week at lunchtime I made a quick stop at Home Depot.  As I got out of my car, I noticed the vehicle across from me not only had the yellow Baby on Board sign, the same message was on the license plate frame.
I was tempted to wait for the owner to come back.  I  wanted to find out if the very loud German Shepard or the Doberman that had laid down was "baby".

Monday, October 3, 2016

eighteen: Endearing and Enduring

Eighteen years ago I said I do.  I am not certain I grasped the full extent of that little phrase.  All I knew was that I was marrying the love of my life.  How little that love then is compared to what it is now!
We are frequently amazed that it has been, in fact, eighteen years.  It seems like yesterday and it seems like forever.  I don’t remember what life was like before him.  It’s as if he has always been a part of my life.
I love how we can know what the other is thinking with just a look, no words needed.  But when we do use our words, we  have our own jokes, our own “isms”, our own sayings.  Things that make us “us”.
We often say that we have both endearing qualities and enduring ones.  The endearing ones are the those traits that are sweet and kind and good.  They are the ones that probably attracted us to the other in the first place.  But, when one of us does some lame or annoying, we often joke “that’s just one of your enduring  qualities.”  It’s just something that we just put up with, probably not one of our best moments.
Although it wasn’t one of the readings at our nuptial mass, I reread one of the more popular wedding readings, 1 Corinthians 13, today. 
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In a sermon, our pastor once suggested replacing the word “Love” with our own names.  I tried it and found that as I go through all those qualities that love is supposed to be, my tone changes.  They start out as statements but quickly turn to questions.  Am I patient, or kind?  Do I rejoice in the truth? 
Those are the qualities I see in Himself and the ones I hope he sees in me.  They are ones the are durable and lasting.  And, hopefully we'll have eighteen or twenty-eight or a whole lot more years together to work on our enduring qualities!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

TToT(18): It's Fall!

one:  It's Fall!!  I am certainly loving the weather that comes with it. 
two:  I finally am enjoying my gardens.  Other than watering them in the summer's heat, I didn't spend too much time in them this year.
three:  The new dahlias that we purchased and planted are doing well, at least two of them are.  We picked out three new ones, but the tubers of one just rotted in the ground.  The other two, however, are doing great as you can see below.
four:  The pot on the patio turned out great, if I must say so myself.  And, even better, it was cheap.  The only thing bought was the curly grass.  The ivy was started from a clipping of a house plant that I have.  The zinnia profusion was started from seed which I "obtained" last year by deadheading a plant at a local historical home.   
five:  I had another work trip this week.  All went well, and it was quick - leave Monday morning and home on Wednesday evening.  And, we had an evening of site-seeing.  More on that later in the month.
six:  We had new backyard visitors.  Although we know turkeys are in the area, in the twelve years that we have lived here, we have never seen them in the yard.  I still haven't, but Himself did and got a few shots of them.  Thanksgiving anyone??? 
seven:  Did I mention that the weather has been great?  We've been enjoying the hammock a lot these last few weekends.
eight:  The Hairy Beast has been a good dog, except when he isn't.  But most of the time good, so we'll count that as a plus. 
nine:  Said Hairy Beast requires lots of walks, which is probably a very good thing.  I get out to our local parks and I get exercise. 
ten:  The little, local airport has a "wings and wheels" event a couple weeks ago.  People park their planes and old cars on the tarmac for viewing.  A number of planes that aren't normally in the area come for the event.  As they come and go, they usually fly over our house, a nice view from the hammock. 

Check out more goodness at one of these hosts:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

First Photo: October 2016

I waved the white flag last month, admitting that the heat of summer had gotten the best of me.  We endured a couple more weeks of unseemly heat.  I wanted so much to just hide in the cool recesses of the air conditioned house. 
And then it changed.  Glorious, wonderful, sweet cooler temps.  Oh, Fall, you are my favorite!
"How shall I show my love is proved by deeds? Well - the little child will strew flowers...she will embalm the Divine Throne with their fragrance, will sing with silvery voice the canticle of love.
Yes, my Beloved, it is thus that my life's brief day shall be spent before Thee. No other means have I of proving my love than to strew flowers; that is, to let no little sacrifice escape me, not a look, not a word, to avail of the very least actions and do them for Love. I wish to suffer for Love's sake and for Love's sake even to rejoice; thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without shedding its petals for Thee...and then I will sing, I will always sing, even if I must gather my roses in the very midst of thorns - and the longer and sharper the thorns the sweeter shall be my song."
Story of A Soul, Chapter XI
St. Therese Lisieux

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Getting Out of the Weeds

I looked at this poor little blog the other day and noticed how neglected it appears.  It's not much different than this year's vegetable garden.  Started with good intentions and then pushed aside. 

Not gone.  Not forgotten.  Just not a priority at the moment.  I'm not sure what is. 

From a distance, it doesn't look like much but weeds and grass.

Close up, however, there are a few things growing.  We managed to gather a few peppers and tomatoes recently, and wax beans early on.  We often say that it is a good thing that we don't live or die by how the garden does. 

That is how I've felt lately.  My mind, and thoughts, are in the weeds.  But posts are growing, bit by bit, on scraps of paper and Word documents here and there.  It's just a matter of knocking down what shouldn't be growing, like all that grass in the garden, and focus on what is good.

I recently saw a link for the Write 31 Days challenge.  Have you ever done that?  I'm not sure what category I'll fit into, but I think I am going to give it a try.

It certainly beats looking at all the weeds.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Photo: September 2016

At the beginning of summer, on a warm, no, hot day, I would often remark "I refuse to complain about the heat.  In just a few months we will be complaing that it is too cold."

I give in.  I'm waving the white flag.

I've had enough of the heat. of the humidity, of the scorching sun.

Bring on autumn's cooler temperature and softer light.  Give me oranges and yellow and reds decorating the trees.

I'm ready for the soft end of the year.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (August 2016) - Black & White

This month's theme, Black & White, intrigued me.  I initially thought about taking pictures of black and white items only, but that was easier said than done.  There was still too much color in the photos.  So, with Himself to the rescue, I used photos we took and then made b&w. 

I only did a couple of the photos below and found the process more complicated than I thought it would be.  Not that the acutal physical process was difficult, but deciding contrast and gradients, and shadows and highlights were far from black and white decisions!

I took this picture on our second trip in which we played tourist in our own hometown.  At first the original looked almost b&w, that is until you compare it to one that has been converted.  The gull posed for me for quite a while and was probably sorely disappointed when I didn't reward it with a treat.

It seems one of our all time favoriate places to photograph is the local county park.  It was once owned by a farmer who still owns the barn in the background.  The county harvests the grass for feed of animals at its other parks.  Himself took this on a beautiful, sunny day.  Changing this photo to b&w certainly changes its mood.  
One of my favorite places when I travel to the west coast for work is Portland's International Test Rose Gardens.  Oh the colors and the scents!  
Lunchtime?  Dinnertime?  He doesn't seem to care.  We seem to share that bench with a lot of critters.
Multanomah Falls, about a thirty minute drive east of Portland, is absolutely stunning.  In b&w this photo seems timeless to me.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Material Girl

At the beginning of the month, I was in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area for work.  Since I was traveling by myself, my evenings were my own.  Yeah!  It's not that I don't like my coworkers, but going out to eat and sitting in a bar every night is just not my cup of tea.
I had received the monthly newsletter from my local quilt shop.  They are participating in the Row by Row Experience.  Quilt shops in the US, Canada, and Europe create patterns for a quilt rows and make them available for free in their shops.  The idea is that when you travel you should find the local shops and stop in for their patterns.  Once you've collected a few, you stitch them and put together in a quilt reminding you of your travels.
I had time to kill my last night before I hopped on the red-eye home, so I checked out one of the local stores.
Oh my!  I was in heaven! 
Fiddlesticks in Vancouver, Washington is my idea of the perfect quilt shop.  The owner, Cheran Bee, made an old workout facility into a cozy, artistic, delightful place for me to spends wads and wads of money.  She uses old, antique furniture to display both bolts of fabric for sale and quilts, showcasing what can be done with it all.
That wall of fabrics in the first photo below is all batiks, my favorite, and that wasn't all of it.  Did I mention I was in heaven?  'Cause I was. 
If you saw my basement, you know I don't need fabric.  But really, I just had to have those three purple and teal batiks.  Besides,  that's all the I could fit in my suitcase.  I'll save the rest for another trip!
'Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Sunday, August 14, 2016

TToT(17): Quick Takes Version

I know it is often said, but where is this month going?  We're almost halfway through it.  Considering I have spent two thirds of the month away from home, I guess I understand why it seems to be flying by.
one:  I'm home.  We attended the Chesterton Conference, spent a night at Sis's house and then I flew out to the west coast for work for the better part of a week.  It's good to be here.

two:  Thank you to all who kept our friend, K, in prayer.  The surgery went well and K is recovering.  God is good. 

three:  Sis and her family watched the Hairy Beast while we were at the conference.  It was good to know he was being well taken care of.

four:  The conference was awesome!  More about that in another post. 

five:  The conference was close, only a two hour drive.  After the drive two years ago, it was a welcome ride.
six:  My work trip went well.  All flights were on time, and even a bit early.  Other than the dweeb that made me toss out my face soap because it was more than three ounces, getting through security was a breeze.
seven:  A couple of weeks before all of this traveling, I found out that I won a local garden center's photo contest.  I now have a $40 gift card to spend on whatever I want at their place.  Decisions, decisions! 
eight:  Speaking of gardens (we were, weren't we?), the vegetable garden isn't doing well this year.  It's mostly due to a lack of attention, which is due to a lack of time, energy and interest.  Although that sounds bad, it means I won't be canning and freezing this year.  And that's good.
nine:  We're doing some re-landscaping in front of the house.  There were two Yews that had to be removed.  We dug out the first stump together.  One night I was bored, so I worked on the second one.  Two hours later, I had it out myself.  There was something oddly satisfying about that chore.
ten:  I either inherited or was given a lot of fabric.  I've been able to make use of some of it lately by sewing quilts.  I'm on my fourth one for the year.  Fun!