Sunday, November 30, 2014

When Holiness is Tested

scripture verses in my pocket

Over the years it's been my privilege and blessing to be a part of several Bible studies written by Beth Moore, popular author and Bible study teacher. Her book and study titled, Believing God, has been my favorite thus far. 

However it was in her study,  Breaking Free, that Beth shared a very helpful tactic that has been beneficial to me.  The book is based on the battle she experienced to get past painful experiences, memories that tried to pull her down and destroy her emotionally. She learned that Scripture, God's inspired and written Holy Word, would guide and get her through the tough times when her past threatened to undo her.  

She went on to share that her desperation to be focused on the saving power of Bible verses was so strong that she would write them down on spiral-bound index cards and carry them in her purse, even hanging the verses on the grocery cart to keep them before her as she shopped. She reviewed them over and over.

There are times when all of us are troubled by things. Sometimes we struggle to be free of poor choices made in the past, or we can't seem to shake the memory of critical words hurled at us, or we have worries that sap our emotional strength. 

I have found that when I am having my daily morning quiet time with the Lord, it is helpful to write on a small piece of paper a single verse (or several) that ministers to me, something that applies to where I am on that particular day, something that if I would meditate on it, could make a positive difference in my attitude and choices.

Since I live in a dry climate, I carry my tube of moisturizing lipstick in the right pocket of my jeans at all times. Throughout the day as I need it, I reach into that pocket to grab that tube.  Now I keep that special scrap of paper in there, too. I often will pull it out along with the lipstick to review the scripture I've written.  

It's such a simple act and yet it can call my mind back to where I am supposed to be during the busyness of the day, when circumstances threaten to break my peace. Often, when my holiness is tested, I will pull out the verse and spend a moment meditating on how I should apply it to what has just been said or done to me.

God's Word does not return void; it accomplishes what He desires and achieves His purposes (see Isaiah 55:11). When we chew on what He has said to us, we are helped.  At the end of the day, I pull the scrap of paper out of my pocket and read it again, thinking about how the Lord has indeed been faithful through His Word to me. I have a small pile of those papers on a shelf in my closet because they have become sacred reminders to me of how my Heavenly Father has blessed me.  

Wherewithal shall a young man
cleanse his way?
by taking heed thereto according 
to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mind heart,
that I might not sin against thee.

Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.
My soul cleaveth unto the dust:
quicken thou me
according to thy word.

Psalm 119:9-11, 24-25

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Tardy Wednesday Hodgepodge - Volume 199

Since I was busy with family and friends up to and on Thanksgiving Day, my submission to the Hodgepodge is late this week...  But now that the busyness is behind us, here are my answers to questions supplied by Joyce. Happy weekend, everybody!! To see how others have replied to these same questions, click here: From This Side of the Pond

1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week... what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week? 

While visiting at the home of one of my sons earlier this week, I helped two of my grandchildren assemble wood puzzles I brought with me. I also played with puzzles provided for my great-nieces at my sister's house.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?

I am thankful for my memories of the years we lived in Rapid City, South Dakota (1972-1976). While I did not enjoy the harsh winters and summer heat, those years were in my early adulthood and I learned valuable lessons.

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores ... which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving Day? For those of you playing along who aren't in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal. 

Watch football -- although it's more to be with those I love and not because I'm wild about football.

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal?

My favorite home-cooked meal has changed drastically since I began eating a gluten-free, mostly vegan, plant-based diet. My fav now is seasoned tofu meatballs with a crusty baked surface served over a non-dairy cashew-based alfredo sauce atop baked spaghetti squash. This is accompanied with a salad of mixed greens with dried cranberries toasted pecans, and a gluten-free honey mustard dressing.

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?

Uh... nothing comes to mind. I don't give in to hype much at all. I just don't trust it.

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

Yes, I have begun my Christmas shopping and have just this week delivered some of the packages while visiting family (to save postage). No I will not did not shop on Black Friday. 

As for stores opening for sales on Thanksgiving Day, I am grieved (that's the right word) that our nation can't stop for a full 24 hours to spend time in dedicated thankfulness to God for the abundant blessings He gives to us so faithfully. 

I have not done any online Christmas shopping yet this year, but I'm not done yet, so I may be contacting Amazon. Most of what I give is bought locally or is a  cash gift.

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life? 

My family, both near and far -- by far!!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Winter has without a doubt arrived, even though by the calendar it's got several more weeks to go. I snapped this picture of a cornfield from our hotel room in northern Illinois on Thanksgiving morning. 

I love winter with the thick warm socks, colorful scarves, quilts,  roaring fireplaces, spicy foods, comforting mugs of hot tea, and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although my snapshot looks bleak, it's just the earth taking a long winter's nap, which is necessary for a beautiful spring and summer!

Goodbye Pilgrims...

the Pilgrims begin their departure to the basement store room as Christmas starts to appear

While some enjoy the horror thrill of "Black Friday" shopping, I purposely stay home to put away the extra platters, pots, and pans from the Thanksgiving feast, to shepherd the Pilgrims to their resident boxes for the next 11 months and then to pull out Christmas.  

Thanksgiving is such a gentle time of year, and although I love Christmas as much as the next person, I am always sorry to see the season that is specifically dedicated to gratitude depart.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Food for the Soul November 25, 2014

pre-printed apron panel from JoAnn's Fabrics and Crafts in 2008

An apron in my pantry that always speaks to me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Anticipating the Thanksgiving Holiday

the Pilgrims who come to my house every year

As may be the case for many of my blogging friends, my posts will be brief for the next several days as the pilgrims gather for the big Thanksgiving holiday. 

Have a wonderful holiday. Be safe, and no matter how that turkey comes out of the oven, we will remember there is always a reason to be grateful.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Beloved

the appliqu├ęd and quilted birthday banner we use every year

Today is the birthday of Beloved (the pseudonym I've been using for my husband on my blogs). I won't tell you his age but will say that he and I have been celebrating his birthday as a couple for 46 years. He was a college freshman when I gave him the first of many birthday cards!

Beloved in 2012
I've collected a few snapshots from recent years to give you an idea of how we party around here.

Beloved and Grandad Bear
As the long-time fans of my blog already know, Beloved has an 'alter ego,' Grandad Bear, who is also celebrating his birthday today. Just as Beloved can often be found sitting in his dark red recliner in the family room, Grandad Bear spends a lot of time in his own special chair, too.

2011 in our previous house; a birthday party with our staff in 2012;  and celebrating in our new house in 2013

Both Beloved and Grandad Bear like to celebrate with a party, whether small or large, and there is always plenty of curly ribbon that's been stored up over the years and kept in a special box for festive occasions such as this.

me with Beloved at Red Robin in 2011 
The birthday dinner is usually at a restaurant, Texas Roadhouse or Red Robin. Now that we are much more diligent to watch our waistlines, a simple cupcake (ha-ha!) takes the place of a large layer cake with ice cream.

You understand, of course, that the ideal cupcake has more frosting than cake

I love to honor my dear husband with whimsey and he falls for it every time. He is a good sport with his own pleasant sense of humor. Nobody can make me laugh, or can put a smile on my face during hard times, quite like he can. He is God's gift to me.


Happy Birthday, Beloved! You light up my life! I love you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions - Volume 198

The Hodgepodge is on today with question topics ranging from gratitude to feminism, to gift-giving. To link up with other bloggers who are responding to Joyce's questions, click on this link: From This Side of the Pond

1. What's something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for? 

Heat, electricity, running water, traffic signals, law enforcement officials ..... I cannot narrow it down to just one!

2. The color brown - love it or not? Yes! What's your favorite shade of brown? Dark chocolate brown. Most loved something in your home or closet in a shade of brown? We have had white walls in most of our apartments and houses over the years of our marriage. I get along well with white, and although I would have enjoyed more color, I really dislike painting.  So when our newly-built home came with a warm tan paint on all the walls, I was thrilled. 

entry hall and dining room of my home

It's just dark enough to contrast nicely with the white woodwork, but light enough to not make the rooms too dark. It's "Macadamia" by Sherwin Williams.

3. What's something you're looking forward to today?

Supper! I made some tofu meatballs and divided them into individual servings and froze them. They were baked with some oil and seasonings so they have a nice crust on them. They taste great with a cashew "alfredo" sauce over spiral-cut zucchini (or gluten-free pasta).

For those who aren't too sure about tofu, you should know that this very versatile food is bland enough to take on the flavors of whatever you put with it, so it's a really handy item to have in the vegan kitchen.

4. The word "feminism" is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months. What do you think/feel when you hear the word? If you're a woman, do you want to be described as a feminist? Why or why not?

Feminism (to me) is an overt effort on the part of women to make men and women equal in areas where we were designed by our Creator to be different. No, I don't want to be described as a feminist because I take pleasure in being female and enjoying the differences of the opposite sex. 

5. What's something you personally can't eat without making a mess?

Everything. Tacos.

6. When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or  when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift? What was it?

Sue and Mary surprised me with a cute pumpkin dish towel when I invited them over for dessert to celebrate Mary's birthday.

7. Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric or scripture relating to gratitude.

Psalm 103: 1-2 (the King James version of this psalm is my favorite, but all the translations say it just as well)

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits...

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Simple pleasures ...

Last Thursday we bought a car late in the day when there were snow flurries and it was about ZERO degrees outside. On our way back home we stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Colorado Springs for dinner. While the food was wonderful, the huge burning fireplace was really great! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thanks for Ordinary Days

Note: Today's article is a re-post from this same blog on March 1 2014. Time is short for me this weekend so a "re-run" is my solution. 

I, along with most people, need to be reminded occasionally of the blessings that come with 'ordinary days.' In retrospect, they weren't the dreary thing they seemed at the time and were in actuality building blocks to where we are today.

Blessings to my readers,

Sue gave Mary and me each a little solar-powered sun flower. I keep mine in the guest room because the sunshine coming through the window is the fuel that makes the little blossom swing back and forth and the leaves to pump up and down. The sunnier the day, the more it moves.  I am always happiest when the flower is bobbing around.  Today was one of those days.

It is Thursday as I type, although this post won't be ready for my reading public until Saturday.  On Thursdays I usually do the grocery shopping. I am a list-maker and before that, a menu planner.  If I don't have structure, I don't function very well at all.  People may think I have it all together, but I don't. Like most people, I  don't like to be at loose ends before my public. 

I tried a different (for me) grocery store that's on the far end of the Interstate from where I live.  The few times I've happened to be in there, it seemed so spacious, well-stocked, and not crowded.  I attribute that last description to it's location, at the last freeway exit before leaving town.  The other grocery shopping options are centrally-located and always bustling. 

What I found in this new place was that the aisles were pretty narrow  for passing shopping carts and they don't carry some brands to which I am devoted.  I got what I could easily find and decided the place (although very clean, orderly and polite) did not meet my other druthers. The extra miles to get there were not worth the difference to me.

One thing in its favor, however, is that from the parking lot one gets a really good view of the cowboy-western landscapes for which Our Town is known. I do appreciate getting to see things like this on a daily basis since we moved out of Metro City.

When I got home, Beloved had a few spare minutes between conference calls, so he helped carry in the grocery bags.  I put things away (one of my least favorite tasks in the entire week) and then sat down for a lunch of leftover baked salmon served cold over leftover green salad with a lemon vinaigrette dressing.  

By the way, when I make my menu plans, I try to use up leftovers for lunch as much as possible, giving us a break from the usual soup or sandwich rut.  

Then it was time to get back out to finish the grocery shopping. Walmart.  Some people don't like to shop at the big box stores, but Beloved and I find most of what we need at this local retailer.  And ours is a big one.  It even sells fish for pets! That was something I noticed last year when we decided to move to Our Town and I was surveying my shopping options.  Not all Walmarts sell fish.  

I have to tell you that I don't have a fish tank and don't want one.  I don't even go look at the fish very often. But the fact that my store has fish is an indicator to me of how large it is.

Anyway, at this store I can buy the brand of coffees that Beloved needs to jumpstart his brain every morning.  (Just so you will know, I'm not being disrespectful when I put it that way.  That's his phraseology.) He starts out with Hazelnut for his first cup with breakfast. He follows that up with Breakfast Blend as he heads toward his office at the front of the entry hall. Then if the mental cobwebs still persist he will sometimes have a third (and final) cup of coffee for the day, Chocolate Glazed Donut. 

By the time I got the second shopping trip  done, returned home, and put it all away, I was tempted to spend some time in my recliner. But I was afraid it would swallow me up and nothing more would be accomplished for the rest of the day.

A better use of my time would be to sew in the basement for a while on my current project. Also, Beloved was taking a break in the same area by walking on the treadmill.  So although we were in the same room, we were very involved with our own pursuits.  If we were to try to carry on a conversation, it would be useless since we can't hear each other over the motors on our machines --  the joys of aging!

Tomorrow is trash day, so late this afternoon I kept a little pledge I've made to myself to see if there is a drawer, a closet, or some files I can clean out with stuff to go into the garbage can.  I chose to look at my file cabinet.  In the process of that, I came across a collection of 33 year's worth of Christmas newsletters we have sent out (since 1980).  I scanned through many of them and was struck with all the wonderful people, places, and things that have made up my life as a wife, mother, and keeper of the home. (and no, I most certainly did not throw them away!)

At the end of the afternoon, I did finally have to seek refuge in my recliner. Weariness had caught up to me.  At the same time, Beloved (who takes hints pretty well most of the time) decided this was a good time to suggest dining out with the big red bird.  I did not turn him down.

Although I have lost 10 pounds over the last four months with my gluten-free, mostly raw vegan eating, I still require an occasional shot of B12 in the form of a juicy hamburger. 

Experience has taught me that most gluten-free breads (and hamburger buns) taste like wallpaper paste, so I opt for a lettuce wrap. Let me tell you, when they encase the whole thing with paper, it's for good reason.  The sandwich is wonderful but messy, so that paper holds it all together (pretty well, anyway).  

This has been an ordinary Thursday for me, and I am not complaining. While I didn't win a million dollar jackpot and my kids still live entirely too far away, there are many disasters that did not befall me.  It's been a day of blessed peace.  

A lot of ordinary days can add up to a wonderful life when one stops and looks back on them. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembering Our Veterans with Hodgepodge

Flag flying from our front porch 

Welcome to Hodgepodge Questions - Volume 197

Last week we took a break from the Hodgepodge because Joyce was oh-so-busy with wedding plans for her daughter. But she is back today and has given us questions that start off with the Veteran's Day theme and goes on from there. To see how other bloggers have responded to this question click on this link on Wednesday November 12.

Since I have been preoccupied with an involuntary detox exercise (a nasty stomach bug), I did not have a blog post prepared specifically for this holiday. Hodgepodge usually shows up on Wednesdays but since it's got a Veteran's Day theme, I'll post mine today, Tuesday November 11th.

1. We celebrate Veteran's Day in the US of A on November 11th. When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)? Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a soldier, said an unprompted thank you for a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? 

I live with a former military member, this past weekend I texted back and forth with a current military member, and today I'm sending that same person an email of thanks for service. I have also personally thanked current younger military personnel so they will be encouraged to know they have made a good choice to serve our country.

2. You can have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)... what would you choose? 

Hmm. I have 9 grandchildren, so whichever one of them weighs 50 pounds (or close to it!), I'd like to spend time with them, in person.

3. When did you last receive an invitation in the 'real' mail? What was it for and did you attend? When it comes to RSVP-ing, are you an 'early responder' or a 'last minute, barely-under-the-wire' kind of guest?

The last invitation I received by mail was for a fund-raising campaign for an institute of higher learning. Let's say that doesn't count (along with invites to make-up, jewelry and kitchen utensil parties).  In that case, the last real (fun) invitation I think I've received is to attend my niece's wedding, 2 years ago. Sadly, we could not attend.  I appreciate the consideration of guests who respond sooner rather than later, so I do the same. 

4. What's something you really don't like to waste?

Time and money. Money and time. Both!

5. Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld ...of the ones listed, your favorite long-running sitcom?

Call me a spoil sport, but I never watched an entire episode of any of these shows except MASH and by and large, I did not like that one, either. I did enjoy The Bob Newhart Show and Carol Burnett.

6. What decision are you glad you made? *Wink! I'm putting THREE!

#1 to secure my eternity by trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. (see my link to Heavenbound, above)

#2 to marry Beloved, my husband of nearly 44 years

#3 to buy a house with all the bedrooms and bathrooms on the same floor

7. In this month of Thanksgiving, what is one thing that's different today than it was a year ago that you're grateful for? 

Two more grand babies are on the way, due to be born in the first half of 2015.

8. Insert your own random thought here:

The questions Joyce sends to us are always thought-provoking. I like to ponder them before submitting my responses. This week I brought my laptop into the guest room, which is where I fold laundry. I could glance at the Hodgepodge questions and then think about them while folding Beloved's T-shirts. After the folding was done, I brought the computer into my study and prepared this post!

Yes, yes. I know. I could have read her questions on my cell phone, but this way makes for a more interesting picture!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Prayer Retreat

Recently the women of the church I attend had a 6-hour prayer retreat at a secluded home located on the edge of town. 

With Election Tuesday just a few days before us, we wanted to separate ourselves for a time to pray, as we are directed to do in II Chronicles 7:14.

We brought our Bibles, wore comfortable clothing, and fasted for six hours so the focus would not be on food but on seeking the Lord.

Although we had a printed schedule, our leader stressed at the beginning that we would follow the Lord's leading over strict adherence to our plans.

One of the many advantages of a prayer retreat like this are the helps we are given to prompt our intercession, to keep us on point. We prayed for our family members...

... and we meditated on the names of God that both describe His character qualities and help us to understand how He relates to us, His people.

We spent time praying together in one large room and we had times of private prayer when we could wander all over the property. One of my friends found the chickens outside the barn and sang to them! 

Some of us hiked a deer trail to a high point that gave us the awesome vistas we love in this area. 

It is so good to separate ourselves for a time to be alone with God our Maker, to quiet ourselves before Him, to listen for Him, and to make our requests.

We ended the retreat with prayers for revival within ourselves, our church, our nation, and our world. 

Although that day took us away from our responsibilities for a time, and I'm sure many had to play 'catch-up' later, it was time well-spent.  I felt refreshed and encouraged to put into practice what was shared.  I knew I had heard from God.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This 'n That Yakkity Yak

antique family quilt made with upholstery fabrics

While we put away the jack o'lanterns and savor this month of Thanksgiving, little hints of Christmas are popping up. Actually, we have this plaque up year 'round because I love its homey message.

the parking lot at Walmart 
Not many of my blogging buddies post a snapshot of their Walmart parking lot.  I'm sharing with you my J.O.Y. and thankfulness that the repaving of a portion of the parking lot is finally done! Last fall they did the north end and this year it was the middle. Next fall I expect they'll repave the south end. The traffic consternation this causes is awful. But when it's done, it's  a beautiful thing.

My 'to do list' took me several places today. At Walmart I had a most pleasant conversation with a senior lady who needed my help getting something off the top shelf -- a real confidence-booster for me at 5 feet 1 inch tall!  Through the course of our visit we learned we are both Christ-followers, so we shared about our respective churches and she told me how the Lord healed her adult son after a terrible motorcycle crash. What an inspiring testimony she was to the Lord's mercy and goodness.

Snowmen outside the grocery store
I bought my groceries at Walmart and then, as is my usual habit, I stopped in at King Soopers to buy what Walmart didn't have. The  big pile of orange pumpkins has been replaced by snow people.  If I felt tempted to buy one of them, my mind was quickly changed when I tried to gently lift one up by the brim of his top hat.  Solid concrete, I do believe! No, I won't be taking any of these characters home with me! (at least one can be sure they won't blow away in the winter wind!)

snow blowers
My next stop was Lowe's where the new line-up of snow blowers was on display on the sidewalk.  For my southern friends, this is what we use in winter when our lawns are covered with snow!  Beloved has ours ready and waiting in the garage, fueled with a gasoline-and-oil mixture.  We live on a corner, so our snowblower is no frivolous expense when cleaning twice as much sidewalk as most of our neighbors! 

the Christmas display inside of Lowe's
I went to Lowe's in search of lamp harps and finials for two lamps I had bought at Walmart. This display begged for a snapshot.  I see Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen  up on the top left shelf. He's my current infatuation when it comes to snow people. But I'm not into the blow-ups and won't be buying one.

all that glitters is not gold
I did, however, buy these glittery gold stems that I intend to attach to a new Christmas wreath I am working on.  There will probably be gold glitter in the back of my car clear into summer! 

the dining chandelier on the left; the breakfast room chandelier on the right
One other purchase made today was artificial greenery for the light fixtures. The one on the left is a 12-foot garland intertwined and the one on the right is a 12-inch wreath that fit over the tops of the glass fixtures to rest on the supporting arms. I think I'll leave these up year 'round because I love them and they look so Colorado! Seasonal embellishments will be added later.

shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child

I probably I don't need to explain what these boxes are for. It's that time of year when kind-hearted people fill these boxes for underprivileged children in faraway places all over the globe.  Beloved and I like to make a date of it. We go to Walmart and part ways for about 20 minutes while he fills his box with boy toys and I fill mine with girl goodies.   Then we meet up again to compare what we've collected and go through the check-out line. We turn in our filled boxes at church the next Sunday.

Of course we get more than just toys: a comb, toothbrush, wash cloth, soap, a T-shirt, small toys, hair bows, a book, crayons -- fun things like that.  

Samaritan's Purse, headed up by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, sends us pictures of children opening their boxes. It's very gratifying to see the thrilled facial expressions of the children.

The old song says "Yakkity yak, don't talk back," but if you'd like to leave a comment below about what you've been up to, I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook November 2014

Usually when mid-week comes, I respond to Joyce's question-prompts from her blog, From This Side of the Pond.  However, she is very busy moving her daughter and getting ready for a wedding, so she is taking a break this week.

With that in mind, I am visiting The Simple Woman's Daybook, another meme with questions and a link-up. To see those who have linked up, click here.

Outside my window... 
It is dark. We changed our clocks to Standard Time this past Saturday night and are seeing the results with darkness before we sit down to supper.

I am thinking...  
I am listening to FOX news' election reports while trying to focus on replies to these questions, so I'm hoping my candidates are winning. At this point in time, it's looking real good...

I am thankful... 
that the TV political commercials have come to an end [finally] in my state because we are 14 minutes past closing time at the polls. 

I am wearing... 
blue jeans by Gloria Vanderbilt, a navy long-sleeved crew-neck T-shirt from Christopher and Banks, black knee socks from Kohl's, and black slip-on shoes from Walmart.

I am creating... 
a hand-quilted star wreath design with many scraps of green fabrics to be used as a candle mat during the Christmas holiday.

I am going... 
to stay home tomorrow to clean house, wash towels, and then attend a neighborhood meeting in the evening.

I am wondering... 
how my next 6 months will come together with regard to travel. My family is spread out across the country and we expect more grand babies to be born.

I am reading... 

"The eerily prophetic New York Times bestseller that predicted an attack on the U.S. and the war in Iraq ... but was written before any of it happened."

I am hoping... 
the candidates for whom I voted WIN!

I am learning... 
to listen more and speak less. It gives the impression of intelligence and I don't get into so much trouble!

Around the house... 
we have a new pink geranium potted and sitting on a table in the guest room where it gets a generous amount of direct sunlight through the plantation shutters. It is not in bloom right now, but the leaves are healthy and it's my goal to keep it healthy all through the winter months.

In the kitchen...  
the supper dishes are in the dishwasher and I have just now realized I forgot to turn it on before I sat down to write this blog post. For supper Beloved had beef meatballs in a bacon-Alfredo sauce over boiled rotini. I had tofu-baked "meatballs" in a Pecan Sauce (a vegan version of Alfredo sauce) over spiraled zucchini pasta. We both had a large green salad, too.

I am pondering... 
what to give Beloved for Christmas, but that's still many weeks away, so I've got time to give it more thought.

A favorite quote for today... 

One of my favorite things... 
A green smoothie for breakfast at least 5 mornings every week.

A few plans for this week: 
wrapping some Christmas gifts, menu planning, grocery shopping, meeting some family members who are passing through and taking them to a  restaurant that reflects our town's cowboy history.

A peek into one of my days from last week... 

from a late Saturday afternoon drive ...

the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, as seen from the town of Castle Rock;
note the "layered look" of the mountains