Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunny blue sky Sunday

What is it with boys & their climbing trees?

I love this trail because there are so many different parts to it that are interesting to look at.

Boys seem to like carrying sticks too.

I like moss in general but I especially love the way God put this moss in with these pretty white rocks. I recreated this nature scene in my garden at home.
These roots cutting across this path seem like steps made by mother nature to accommodate us humanoids.
A row of trees along this ridge serve as a canopy au naturale.

Every time I get to this part I feel like this is where the fairies live. These small trees are low & twisted to the ground. They are on either side of the trail almost like a fence type barrier- where the elves live too...

Peaceful, isn't it?

Part of the old farm.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.-Anne Frank

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour

If you could do just one thing for one hour one day a week that would help sustain human life on this planet, would you do it?
So last night at 7:55 I realized I wouldn't be finished making dinner until about 8:10 which posed a big problem since I cook on an electric oven! Oh no! & Ian was just finishing watching the classic movie Aliens. We decided to shut everything off in the house except the oven & the TV. Lame I know, but then everything was officially shut off by 8:20 PM.
I asked Ian to look out the front window to see if we were the only people on our block doing this. It actually looked like there were a few houses completely dark!
We ate dinner by candlelight which was pretty cool. It was definitely a fun thing to do with our son. I can tell he really enjoyed it. Kids are like that you know, they are so easily up for anything seeing new experiences as a big adventure. I kind of liked the idea. How cool it would be if people could make a big difference just by making a small change together.
I have been noticing other changes too, like our supermarket recycles plastic bags now. I actually bought a special shopping bag but I forget to use it a lot. Last week I felt better when I brought about 100 plastic bags back to the supermarket to be recycled. I noticed Sears recycles their hangers now too. I remember watching them get thrown out at other stores.

By 8:46 we were counting the minutes while finishing our candle lit dinner when my husband inquired, "Now what is this supposed to be showing us?, oh I know, how we should stretch our arms out in front of us when we walk around the house in the dark."- as my son piped in," yeah while we stub our toes trying to navigate around the furniture." Funny guys those two they are.
This is one of my most favorite things to do- is hike around this old farm with people I love. When I think about the earth I worry that we are doing irreparable harm to it & ourselves. What a pity it would be if future generations wouldn't get to spend a Sunday doing something so simple like this.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Like George W. would say, go to the Google...

Google is doing a wonderful thing today-go check out "the google" now or you may miss out on being a part of it!
When I come across some
one taking a positive action I find it both hopeful and inspiring. Perhaps you will too-go check it out -now!

If you missed this on Saturday, google earth hour & you will find out what happened.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Just for today...

I will live up to being the person my dog thinks I am. Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8

The above sounds just like our dog Priscilla-except for the rude part, ok & the self seeking too I must admit she is very self seeking at times.
I don't understand how anyone can have a dog and fail to recognize that they have feelings similar to our own. My husband has been sick & Priscilla found it necessary to sleep next to him when he was hurting. She has done this with me in the past too. When my son leaves for school in the morning Priscilla gets frantic. She literally sounds as if she is trying to tell him, goodbye Ian! The other day I was holding her so she could look out the side door window & when she saw my husband pulling the car into the driveway her entire body shook with glee as she wagged her tail 100 mph.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

All I can think about is food lately...

it's horrible, relentless thoughts. I'm not gorging myself but I just feel like I am constantly hungry. Maybe I need more sleep. The Babka we had with our Easter meal was sublime. I wish I had a photograph of it so you can see. Thankfully I gave a lot of it away. Otherwise I would be in serious trouble with the scale. I do need to get my mojo back though.

I love watching them hunt for eggs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Into The Wild

Wow...what a movie. After watching this perfect story-I felt like I just finished reading a good book. I found it totally absorbing. Watch this movie if you are in the mood to settle in for a couple of hours of intense thought provoking drama. Based on a true story, this is a movie about an intelligent innocent on a spiritual journey to Alaska.
It was beautifully breathtakingly done. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.
The soundtrack was pretty great too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Last night at midnight as I lie in my bed, I heard the church bells ringing...

What a beautiful sound. Thank you Jesus. Alleluia, Alleluia!
This is what I see on my way to church on Sundays. I walk under a grapevine to get there. It transports me to Italy as I prepare myself to worship.

This is what I see as I sit in my regular spot inside our church. Of course today the glass was luminous.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The following quote is dedicated to anyone who dares to dream.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can be great."

-Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Mark Twain, photo portrait by Mathew Brady, 7th February 1871
Cick on Mark Twain's photo to find out more.

Please note I have added a free mammogram link on my sidebar. Every time you click on this site & click on the pink box in the middle you help raise funds to provide free mammograms for women who cannot afford them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Mommy!

The day I was born my mother said the DR who delivered me thought I was so beautiful he asked her if he could take me home. My mother couldn't believe she had a girl after just having two boys. She was very happy.'s my mother's birthday today-not mine!
This memory my Mother has shared with me has made me wonder what my Grandmother thought after my Mother was born. Did she have any idea what kind of effect her daughter would have on the world and those around her? Did she know how smart & talented she would be, how she would marry later in life (compared to her counterparts-she was actually older than me when I got married) & wouldn't get married until she fell in love? This was fairly revolutionary back then when you consider most people got married when they were much younger. Flash forward thirty something years later and it amazes me that despite the fact that her parents never encouraged higher education she studied for her GED & graduated when I was in grammar school. Soon after I believe she took every art class available at the local college. She accomplished this while having three kids & always working some job, either her own or when helping to support my Dad's business.
& it wasn't like she was ignoring us while she pursued these other activities. I felt very much like I had the classic stay at home Mom. In fact she would make Martha Stewart pale by comparison. Back when designers first started putting out patterns for people who could sew she decided to make up a nice Calvin Klein woolen suit for me when I was in High School. She could sew anything. When my aunt got married, she made her wedding dress & the bridesmaid dresses. They were so stylish-especially for the seventies & we all know that it wasn't easy to look cool in the seventies!
My Mother is also expert at working with all things miniature. She could paint model cars and houses & buildings for my brothers train sets. She especially loved to paint those tiny little people that were less than an inch tall. She would even paint faces on them. My brothers had a train set complete with a layout of a town & neighborhood. It looked like something you would see in the Sears Christmas wish book. The cool thing about my mother is that she is always creative. This really comes in handy when you have children. Without her realizing it she was a constant source of inspiration for us. Later when my brothers kind of lost interest in the whole train set thing she laughed when she saw how they used it as a prop for a town getting blown up in a film they were making.

Her cooking and baking is a whole other story. She made homemade gingerbread men at Christmas along with gingerbread houses. She used licorice for the bricks on the chimney & special icing that made it look like snow on the roofs. My cousins still talk about her gingerbread till this day. Her Easter cookies were another holiday favorite. In fact one of those very cousins made them using my mom's recipe this past Sunday in preparation for their Easter celebration.
Our birthday cakes were always homemade. My birthday falls around Valentines Day so when the new cake decorating supply shop opened up in our town my mother went & bought special heart shaped baking pans & made me a three tiered heart cake blowing my best friends mind when I invited her over to celebrate. She actually made my wedding cake too-it was beautiful.

One of the greatest memories though is when she would make homemade pizza for us. Often times my best friend would be there too. My friend still talks about this pizza. Recently I told this friend how I had started making homemade pizza. I explained how I use organic olive oil & fresh mozzarella with shredded parmigiana & organic sauce & whole wheat flour. I told her I'd make some for her when she comes to visit. She looked at me & said, "Oh that's OK, I really want your Mother's pizza."
My dear & generous Mother made her famous pizza when my nephew came home for his spring break recently. My Mom & Dad invited us over so we could all be together a couple of Sundays ago while partaking in this family tradition of enjoying my Mom's good food. If you look at the photo you can get a glimpse of my Mom's beautiful hands. She has created many wonderful memories with them over the years. I am sure my Grandmother is proud.

Happy Birthday Mom, I love you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A New Earth

-Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. This is the title of Eckhart Tolle's book. Tonight at 9PM Oprah has her third class with Eckhart via a free live web cast you may access through her website. I happened upon the book at my local Costco for $7.99. Oprah has also created a workbook that you can download & print out to use as you study along with Eckhart's book.
The first week I signed on at around 8:45 PM thinking I was early only to find out cyberspace was in a bit of a traffic jam as everyone tried to get to class. The second week I had other plans that conflicted with class time so I missed it again. No worries though if you start late-Oprah has made it very easy to catch up so I was able to easily do so at my convenience. If you are interested you may start the class from the beginning which may make it easier to understand or you may watch the third installment tonight. I advise getting there early to get logged on & such.
What an inspiring hopeful class! Eckhart Tolle is a great spiritual teacher. For anyone who is the least bit concerned with their own spiritual path as well as the planet & how we as humans are affecting it-you may find this fascinating.
After living with depression & anxiety for years Eckhart was on the verge of suicide when he came to a realization that there was a consciousness far deeper than his ego that recognized he could no longer live with himself the way he was. He describes it fully in his class with Oprah as the moment he realized there was another presence inside him that acknowledged this. The awareness of that presence is what saved him. He talks about how we all have a story & how vital it is to detach from that story so that we can simply be in the present. The class is far more interesting than what I am describing here so if I have peaked your interest the least bit, go check it out on-

"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge."-Eckhart Tolle

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"I mean more to me than I mean to anybody else."

-Margaret Brown, AKA The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She survived the Titanic sinking & was also an actress, activist & philanthropist.
Every time I read this, it makes me laugh because it really should be true of everyone in a way. It makes me think of how wonderful the world would be if we all would truly and unconditionally love who we are right at this moment recognizing all the good that is inside us, all the good that God has given us & wants us to acknowledge- like Molly did.

So Sat. morning at 6AM after a mind bending Friday night performance by my son & his fellow actors performing "Once On This Island" I drove myself to my weight watchers meeting. I lost 1.4 pounds. Alleluia, Alleluia. Seriously, it is only by the grace of God that I am willing. Thank you God. The last few weeks in WW haven't been first & foremost in my mind as they were in... hmm...since January! I know I will succeed through these less triumphant times because I will not give up. I may linger in stagnation here & there but I guess that is to be expected. The main thing I feel is that I will continue to lose until I have lost it all-and that is a promise to myself because I am doing this for me. Like my favorite Father Todd would say, Amen I say to that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why I write

Saturday I had the fortunate opportunity to hear the author Joan Bauer speak at my local library. I've never read any of Bauer's books but I enjoyed the last author I heard speak at the library so much, I thought why wouldn't it be interesting? I am so glad I went! Joan Bauer was not only interesting but extremely inspiring-& from the energy in the room I could tell I wasn't the only one who was being inspired. Bauer's smile & presence filled this rainy March afternoon with a positive light bringing out her audience's curiosity. This is no small feat when you consider the audience was largely 10-13 year old children. It turns out she writes for the young adult & the audience at the library was filled with this age group which was very cool to see. Many of the kids there had competed in our towns writing competition at our local library. Participants had to write a poem, essay or story that completed the sentence "I will always remember a time when I put my best foot forward and..." This sentence was inspired by Joan Bauer's book, Best Foot Forward.
Can you imagine how thrilling it was for the children there to see & hear the author share her personal story about what it is like to be a professional writer?

Joan Bauer also kept the adults interested as well. She spoke about character development & the basic structure of a novel. She gave us tips on how to do research- a valuable one being how important it is to be interested and informed about what you are writing about. When Joan talked about becoming a writer she told us how it was crucial to surround yourself with people who will encourage you, like a writers group. She said when writers gather to share and learn from each other the dialogue is amazing. She also referred to herself as a "new" writer in her early days. I loved hearing all this stuff because as a "new writer" myself I find it very encouraging-especially when she spoke of writing for the love of writing.
The best part was hearing her read excerpts from her books. You could tell she was a great writer because her story drew you in right away transporting you to the place she was reading about. I love that when that happens.
I came away from her talk feeling like a "new writer" who is on the right path. Thank you Joan Bauer.
Check her out at:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Don't quit before the Miracle...

Every Saturday morning when I am getting ready to go to my weight watchers meeting I put on the same outfit, then I weigh myself. I do this to insure my scale is still working properly. There is nothing worse than losing weight and then finding out your scale is off by ten pounds-trust me, this happened to me once & it's a real downer!
This morning when I looked at the number on the scale I nearly fell over. I really felt like I had a good week-though my scale said otherwise. "Uhh what a drag, what a waste of time & money, why am I failing at this?" If I could write all the negative thoughts that went through my head this morning it would just be depressing so I will only share the main idea. If I gave up and didn't go to my meeting, what would happen? Yes I could go back to sleep for one thing, but then what? Recently when I told my life long friend & cousin how I had gained 2.8 pounds back she reminded me that if I quit weight watchers it would probably be a lot more than that. So this morning I dragged my sorry butt to the meeting feeling like, OK this sucks but I have to do it because what's the alternative?
An amazing thing happened when I got to my meeting & stepped on their scale-I actually didn't gain any weight! I know-it's not exactly a miracle but it is still very wonderful and I guess that means my scale is broken.

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see ." -C.S.Lewis

Friday, March 7, 2008

Closet Space

Yesterday I finally cleaned out my half of the closet. I would say it took me 2 hours to complete the task. I usually clean my side of the closet in the Spring & the Fall. I don't even look at my husbands side. As long as his stuff isn't infringing on my space I have no need to worry about what's happening over yonder.
Let me just state for the record that our closet is fairly pathetic. Mostly I am talking about it's structure & dis-functionality like a few holes, lack of proper shelving, & the air conditioning duct running down its back wall. It also doesn't have any insulation or heat & being that I usually dress in there, I've learned to dress quickly on a cold winter morning.
I would have taken a picture of my closet to show before and after shots documenting my cleaning but I decided I would wait until I actually renovate it- lest I fully acknowledge just how bad it is in print! Ideally we will be building a new closet this year at some point. Until then I thought cleaning it would be the first step in gaining some sense of peace & tranquility since I use it on a daily basis.
Besides, anyone who owns a house knows the list of home improvements are endless & our closet unfortunately, isn't high on the list of priorities.
A girl can dream though, can't she?
With all the press on the importance of de-cluttering one's life & Oprah's recent show on clutter & big butts and everything - thought what I discovered while I cleaned must have some important significance or special meaning-something along the lines of a dream interpretation for the closet challenged soul such as myself.

In the cleaning out I took the standard advice of sorting into piles what I would throw out- three long ago expired prescriptions, a pair of mangy slippers, five bras & other assorted under garments along with a pair of prescription eyeglasses I can't imagine ever having worn.
My "save" pile included good batteries, leather gloves, a brand new razor still in its packaging, & 2 fairly new brassieres-pretty cool huh? It was like going shopping without having to leave the house.
The really good news is I wound up with a substantial give away pile that I could donate to The Society of Saint Vincent De Paul.
Oh I almost forgot to mention something very important-I threw out four pairs of 15 year old socks. Up until yesterday I felt like since they didn't have any holes in them, I should keep them. But you know, they were so uncomfortable!
Ahhh...sweet freedom.
"Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own."-Bruce Lee

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Doomsday Vault Protects Seeds of Life


"Let me learn to keep peace with silence when it is not the right time to say what comes to mind."
"...There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak' -Ecclesiastes

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"It takes a long time to grow young."-Picasso

I just can't seem to move as quick as I need to get all that I want to get done before winter is over & then I'll never finish the inside house projects until next winter sometime & that will not be a good thing...

Oh woe is me, we all should have such problems. So I leave you with these gifts I received on my birthday I celebrated almost a month ago. I woke up on my day of days thinking hmm...if I could do anything I wanted today on my birthday, what would it be? Then I thought of all the days last Fall I had wanted to take some cloud photographs & never did. So I made sure I had my camera with me the entire day & I felt like my wish was granted.



There is always one...

God is on the expressway.
To be continued...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bathing Priscilla

So innocent, so unassuming as she perches,
relaxing on her favorite chair.
Little does she know, but wait that left paw
goes up as she sees me approach with camera
in hand... "The water is nice and warm, I could just stand
here for awhile & soak my butt a bit."
"Hey, this isn't too bad this warm bath she's giving me-I
could even lick the water too. " "OK, now I'm getting bored...what's up with this. Uh-oh ... this is not good."
" If only I could lick the soap off of my back."

"I think I have had about enough of this." "I am sooo out of here!"
" How do I get this water off of me?"
" Maybe if I keep running back & forth against the wall
-that should help."

"Wait...I'm smelling something. Hmm, it smells!" "Ahh this is so good, I love this bed spread. The texture is perfect for this."

"I think I can actually get all the water out of my ears if I just keep rubbing them over & over,
& over again. Yes, this is better now."
" A shake right here is very invigorating."
" Just one more."
"Now I'm good!"