Friday, June 26, 2015

A Broken Wall

broken retaining wall behind the grocery store 

And I went out by night 
by the gate of the valley,
even before the dragon well, 
and to the dung port, 
and viewed the walls of Jerusalem,
which were broken down,
and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.
Nehemiah 2:13

We had a lot of rain in April, May and June -- more rain than Seattle -- that's what they said on the TV news. We found that to be very interesting since we lived in Seattle years ago and got very well acquainted with the weather. This area is considered semi-arid most of the time. All this rain is very unusual.

Last week one of the many large retaining walls here in town gave way. They said it was due to all the rain that loosened the soil. It looks like the repair work will be a big deal.

* * * * * * *

I think about our nation with its crumbling morals and ungodly decay eating at our character and reputation with the rest of the world. It's going to be a big deal to fix that. 

But all is not lost. Holy God is waiting for us to cry out to Him. 

For the eyes of the Lord
run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to show himself strong in the behalf of them
whose heart is perfect toward him...
II Chronicles 16:9

How do we get God's attention so that He will bless us?

If my people,
which are called by my name, 
shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14

We need to be in earnest prayer for our nation, for our leaders, for ourselves. We need to humble ourselves before God, confess our unscriptural ways, take responsibility for our sins and repent (to turn away from) the actions that have separated us from Holy God. 

If we do not, our foundations will crumble and things will only get worse. Our sins separate us from the protective hand of God.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Celebrating a Birthday

100,000 miles on the Ford

My eldest is celebrating a birthday today. While it's not one of "the big ones," I am marking it with this picture he sent me last weekend of the odometer in his car, which had reached its own  milestone of sorts. 

Let me just put it this way, I think I'm too young to have two sons who both have gray in their beards! 

My paternal grandmother used say that when we watch little children closely we can get an inkling of what they will do with their lives. That has turned out to be fairly accurate for all of my kids. 

This son was about 2 weeks short of his fourth birthday when he accompanied his dad, his little brother and my mother to the hospital to bring me home with his newborn sister. After getting settled into the front passenger seat with babe in arms, I turned to give her two brothers a good look at her face. They both leaned forward over the car seat and the older of the two pretended to speak for his baby sister by saying, "You guys are ugly!"

We all laughed at his sense of humor and then we settled into our seats for the ride home. I was a little surprised at his wit at the time, but that was only the beginning. He has since then, many times, made me to laugh so hard I thought my skull would crack open.

His love for little children was obvious, and especially when it came to his baby sister. He enjoyed helping me with her and his assistance came in handy many times. 

Now back to what my grandmother said about children giving an early indication of what they would do with their lives... this same son has proven that to be true. He and his wife love children and wanted a large family. A couple of  months ago the Lord blessed them with baby number nine! My son's love for children continues!

Happy Birthday, Son!

He loves children but he was reluctant to share his Easter basket with little brother!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Pink Hodgepodge

Petunia flower box in Historic Castle Rock

1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something in pink?

me 'n Denise
Pink clothes. Recently I was noticing that there are lot of pink tops and jewelry in my closet.  In the spring/summer months, I wear it often. Pink is cheerful!

2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least? 

My favorite thing about gym class was when it was over and I could go on to my next class. The worst part was when they took roll to see if everybody took a shower. C'mon!!!

3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

Gregor's roses

Weddings and funerals. Roses are perfect for any occasion.

4. Do you prefer to read or write?

Writing is my preference because I always have SOMETHING to say!

5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, 'Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.' Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

Hmmm. This is a tough one for me to address because I don't tend to be lazy. (just sayin'!) I like the feeling of accomplishment and often I try to do the hardest thing first so I can get it out of the way for more fun activities. 

As for Sam Keen's quote, if I were in the deep South where it's hot and humid, then yes, I would move slower, if at all. Blessedly, I live in a part of the country where the altitude is high, the air is dry and generally cooler, so it's easier to feel invigorated.

6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast...which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

Funny you should ask that ....  Of the 3 options, I will be enjoying one of them this summer, surrounded by all of my children and grandchildren!

7. What question do you hate to answer?

"Penny for your thoughts." 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

One of my favorite quotes is by Charles Dickens:

While there is always much about which to complain, gratitude is in short supply. It saddens me when people choose to overlook the abundant blessings God has given them and gripe about every little thing that comes to mind.

* * * * *
Today I am linking with other bloggers over at Joyce's blog, 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Father's Day to my Husband

Beloved - photo taken just a couple of nights ago

This dear husband of mine never knows when something he's said or done will become "blog fodder," although probably not much surprises him anymore.

In years past I have saluted my father in June blog posts but this year I'm writing the praises of my husband. Long-time readers know that my pseudonym for this man is Beloved, which indeed he is, although I seldom refer to him that way around the house. Honey is his real name. (smile)

We were married while he was still a college student, so we waited until after his graduation to expect children.  He was sort of an only child since his two step-brothers were older teenagers when he was born and most of his growing up was done with just his parents around. 

Just six months after our wedding, my mother-in-law died.  Then it was exactly two years to the day after her passing that Beloved became a father for the first time. God had a very special way of redeeming that date on the calendar for us!

Many years later that son of ours also became a father in the month of June. Our first grandchild's birthday this year falls on Father's Day! (Happy 15th birthday, Grandson!!)

Beloved has been a wonderful father to our two sons and one daughter, and as Grandad to the next generation, he is dearly loved.  Before the summer is over, he will get to embrace all eleven of our grandchildren at a big family gathering.  Who would have ever thought.....?

I am a strong believer that "opposites attract" because my husband truly fills in the gaps where my personality, skills, and intelligence falter. His methodical way of processing things has pulled me back from the brink of poor decisions.  When our children were small and "tested my holiness," Beloved would take over and give me a break. 

For several years it was our habit to have homemade pizza (from a boxed mix) for supper on Saturday nights. While I prepared that, Beloved would oversee everybody's baths, making sure their hair got washed and they were clean behind the ears. Then we would gather around the television to eat the pizza at the coffee table while watching The Muppet Show together. That is a fond memory for all of us.

As kids will do, when unwelcome surprises hit us, Beloved was the calmer of the two of us. When the teen years arrived and every 2 years somebody was learning to drive with their learner's permit, it so happened Beloved was at a place in his career where he had to work out of state quite a bit. So it fell to me to teach the boys to drive. The first one caught on very quickly because he'd been flying aircraft on our home computer for quite some time. 

The second son was devoted to artistic expressions and therefore did not have as much confidence behind the wheel at first. My fears came to the surface way too many times. Thankfully, we survived that with our relationship in tact and he is a good driver.

By the time our daughter got her learner's permit, I was done with that task and told her she would have to wait till dad was home to practice. It was a relief to see how calmly he sat in the passenger seat and rode off down the street with our daughter behind the wheel.

We have both done our best to teach our children about God and salvation through Jesus Christ. Each of them has sought the counsel of their dad when the challenges of life got sticky. 

Beloved has been a strong (and I mean strong!) fan of Apple MacIntosh computers since the beginning. He taught everyone in the house how to use the computer and made sure each of the kids had a brand new one to take to college. 

But as kids will often do, they questioned their father's judgment in that area and two of them "went to the dark side" (Beloved's words) and used PCs for a few years. However I am glad to be able to report that these two rebels eventually saw the benefits of Apple and have returned!

Happy Father's Day, Beloved! I am so thankful YOU are the father of our children. It has been a delight parenting with you these past forty-some years!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Remembering a Good Influence

Elizabeth Howard Elliot and Jim Elliot
I was about five years old when five American missionaries were speared to death in the jungle of Ecuador. As I grew up the story of these men's heroism for their faith in Jesus Christ occasionally came to my attention but it wasn't until I was in my forties that I became much more interested in the wife of one of those men.

My job as a receptionist at a Christian radio station allowed (even encouraged) me to listen to many conservative spiritual preachers and teachers throughout the day. I grew to love many of them and hoped my phone would not ring too much during some of the broadcasts so I wouldn't miss anything.

Hands down, Elizabeth Elliot was my favorite. Her radio program, Gateway to Joy, aired for 13 years, but I didn't become acquainted with her until about 1994. I quickly learned to have a pad of paper and a pen handy for those 15 minutes every weekday so I could record the pithy wisdom from this woman of God's Word and rich experiences.

There are two messages from Mrs. Elliot that have stayed with me the most:

"Do the Next Thing" is a poem of unknown origin that Mrs. Elliot quoted often. The idea comes through that when you don't know what to do, just do the next thing.  That next thing might be to stir the soup, change a diaper, or fold the laundry. It could be anything that needs to be done. Just do it and stop moping about. It is simple counsel and at times, just the right impetus to get us out of a blue mood and on the right track to healthy thinking.

The other message that has stayed with me is the title of one of her many books, this one, a biography of missionary Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die.  For a long time I resisted buying the book because the title depressed me. But eventually I read it and learned that we should all be looking for a chance to die in the sense that we need to die to our selfish desires and live for the good of others. That was exactly what Amy Carmichael did. It was an inspiring and very interesting book.

Much is being written and said about Elizabeth Elliot this week, since her death just this past Monday.  I need not go on except to say that it was my privilege to meet her in person years ago, probably in about 1999. She came to Denver to help a local Christian radio station celebrate it's 75th anniversary of broadcasting. She was lovely both inside and out. I knew I had come in contact with a most dear servant of the Lord and wanted to be at least a little bit like her.

When her radio program came to an end in 2001 due to health reasons, she bid us all farewell and tears slipped down my cheeks. I missed her but realized it was time to put into practice what my teacher had shared with me.  

Elizabeth Elliot

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hodgepodge Wednesday Volume 224

Changing Things Up 

For those who only catch my blog on  Hodgepodge Wednesdays, I changed my blog title and header late last week from My Journal Reflections to The Brown Bungalow. There is more about that at the end of this blog post.*

Today I am participating in the Hodgepodge Wednesday  Volume 224. How Joyce can fit in the time to come up with all these questions while she's moving from one state to another, I surely do not know! 

Read my answers to her questions and then click on the link at the end to see how other bloggers responded. 

1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not, do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns.  

Elephant Rock in Monument, Colorado

When you live in Colorado, the Great Outdoors calls to you every day! We often take a drive on Sunday afternoons. This past Sunday we found Elephant Rock. Can you see the trunk and the eye of the elephant?

2. What's a current hot button issue for you? 

Politics, and I'll leave it at that.

3. What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house?

Fresh cherries!

4. How hot is too hot?

When the outdoor temperature gets to 87 degrees, we turn on the air conditioning (unless there is  a nice breeze).

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?

I try to be artsy.

In my younger days I did some crazy stuff. In our first house I used Modge Podge to adhere nursery story pictures to our baby son's wall. My husband was decidedly NOT happy with that.

I have stenciled ivy vines above the baseboard of staircases and around door frames.  I loved that.

Six years ago when I fell off the kitchen counter and shattered my shoulder while decorating above the kitchen cabinets, well, let's just say that I took that as a cue from the Lord that I needed to cut back on my home decorating ideas. I'm not as adventurous anymore.

6. What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?

What is it really like to be in the physical presence of Jesus Christ? (my daddy died in 1986)

7. Something you learned from your father?

My father was a very good man and I learned many, many things from him; but right now I am thinking about how he impressed upon me the importance of memorizing the multiplication tables when I was in the third grade.  (I didn't want to apply myself. I won't go into detail except to say the matter escalated to weeping and gnashing of teeth on my part.)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Elizabeth Elliot passed away earlier this week at the age of 88 after suffering for about ten years with severe dementia. While I was saddened to read of her death, I know she is with the Lord in a wonderful place. Like so many other women, I was greatly influenced spiritually by Mrs. Elliot. She has left a fine example for us all. To read more about her, click here:

To see how other bloggers have responded to these same questions, click on this link: From This Side of the Pond

* Click here for the explanation as to why I changed my blog title and header to The Brown Bungalow.

Monday, June 15, 2015

This'n That, Yakkity Yak (don't talk back)

What we've been up to ...

blue flax in my yard at The Brown Bungalow

Our summer thus far has been blessed with an abundance of rain (too much in some areas) and we daily thank the Lord for our well-working sump pump. The local TV news said that since May 1st we have had only 7 days of sunshine without rain. We are reminded of our years spent in Seattle, where the rain makes everything so lush and green. The hills surrounding Castle Rock are gorgeous these days.

Bill and Mary Jane's Anniversary cakes

We were so pleased to be invited to the golden wedding anniversary of friends in our Sunday Bible study class. For two hours we visited over good food with the companionship of friends and laughter.

Add caption
We were reminded that longevity in a marriage does not happen automatically and we have to work at it to keep it fresh and alive. Through their testimony it became clear that hardship can make or break a relationship and when we ask the Lord's help, victory is ours.

a new light fixture in the sewing room
With that said, I have to compliment my Beloved who once again saw an opportunity to 'make the lil' woman happy' when he bought a hanging light for my sewing room in our unfinished basement.

You see, I am not a basement person. While his childhood bedroom was in a basement lined with knotty pine, I crave light (preferably sunshine). When I spend hours in a darkish basement, my spirit slumps. This man has spent no small amount of money bringing in electricians to install more lighting to satisfy me. 

But there remained one more dark corner that was bringing me down. I tried brightening it up with more of my quilts, but that just wasn't doing it.  So he brought in a hanging light and I have felt remarkably better.

a Double Irish Chain quilt in progress on the design wall
After that brightening addition, I was able to spend two days in the basement, sewing to my heart's content, listening to my local Christian radio station and having a wonderful time of it.

me in the kitchen of a model home
One of our past times is to get in the car and quote a line from the Toyota commercials, "Let's go places!" Last Sunday our town was overrun with bicyclists on an annual marathon trip of some kind. Navigating around them was terrible, so we took off up north of Denver to see what we could find. We came across some gorgeous model homes and had a good time wandering through them. Beautiful as they were, all of them cost more than we want to spend and had more square footage than what I would want to vacuum.

Casual dining in our home
We had dinner guests on Wednesday night. Friends from Campus Crusade for Christ (now called CRU) came to visit over my chicken stir-fry menu. Just before they arrived we had the closest thing to a hurricane that land-locked Colorado will ever see, but both our guests and our house survived just fine.

lunch on the front porch
One of the most dear benefits I enjoy with Beloved working from home is that we get to have lunch together. Some days we eat on the front porch and some days we eat on the back deck, under the umbrella.

Luncheon for the Seniors under the leadership of Don
So much of my writing seems to focus on food! It was time for the monthly dinner for senior citizens, sponsored by our church. The worship center was transformed into a dining room for some 30 seniors who came from all over town. 

Beloved with a gift of appreciation from the diners
We had not been a part of this effort before but it was fun for the most part. We learned that the elder set can be pretty discriminating about their beverage choices, so Beloved was kept hopping with trying to satisfy everyone. However,  his efforts did not go unnoticed and he was presented with this plaque of appreciation at the end of the meal.

So that's my Yakkity Yak for now. Sometimes life just whizzes by so fast. I need to collect and record the snapshots in one place before I forget what we've been doing with our time!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How to Thrive

goodbye, tree!
Both soil and climate are hard on trees in our part of the state. With that in mind, it doesn't help when the home builders included in our landscape package a tree that was "mostly dead." (think of the line in "Princess Bride"*).

That's what we got stuck with two years ago and in spite of a lot of complaining from us, we lost that battle.  So after giving the tree two full years to show us what it could do, Beloved pronounced it "all dead,"* bought a new tree, and called somebody to remove the bad one.

Of course there is a spiritual application here.  We need to abide in Christ Jesus or we will not thrive nor bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine;
no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me,
and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, 
he is cast forth as a branch, 
and is withered;
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned.

John 15:4-6 KJV

the very-much-alive new tree (an Autumn Blaze Maple)

*to see the reference to the lines in Princess Bride, click here:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Explaining the New Name and Look

my alter ego, Grammy Bear
Not to worry, dear readers, you are at the right place. I had mentioned earlier this week that I was giving thought to redesigning my blog header and giving the blog a more appropriate name. The previous title, "Journal Reflections" really didn't describe this blog very well because I don't tend to write pondering thoughts on my blogs. I keep those things to myself. So although I do journal about quilts, food, travel, books, relationships, home decor, and my faith, I don't offer much in the way of actual "reflections."

Also, I've been intrigued for years with the word "bungalow." Now that Beloved and I have downsized from the traditional two-story house with a full finished basement to live in a ranch-style home, the word "bungalow" fits us well.  And yes, we do live in a brown house. 

I like brown. It brings to my mind dependability, adapting well to items it is paired with. Like green, brown tends to look good with anything. 

Okay, maybe it's not real good at Christmas but it's still speaks to me of stability.

As for the pictures in the header, all of them are from my camera (my phone camera) and are, to quote Julie Andrews, "a few of my favorite things." I designed the entire thing myself with the use of Printshop, a program I use literally every single day on my MacBook Pro computer. (it's that useful!)

So with that said, this is the explanation for the new title and header. Nothing else as far as blog content is changing.

Thank you, as always for stopping by. 

P.S. Grammy Bear did not write this blog post. This is the real me.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Time to Say 'Farewell'

Minnesota Table Runner

In some respects this is a bummer of a month because we have two sets of friends moving out of state. Our very good neighbors next door are leaving us, and don't we all know that good neighbors are a special blessing from the Lord! These people have been kind, generous, and very pleasant. They are taking with them their very cute little dog who closely resembles our granddoggie...

Also my very long-time friend Sue and her hubby are moving to be closer to their children, which means the new home has to be in Texas. I will miss her so much but truth be told, with our husband's careers, we have leap-frogged with them across the country and back since 1988, so no goodbye has been permanent.  It's just a 'farewell' for now. While we have no children in Texas and no plans to follow our friends there, in God's way of doing things, one learns to "never say never."

book cover (front on the left; back on the right). Copyright is 2000
As a parting gift, I made Sue a table runner using a pattern from Minnesota Hot Dish by Atkinson Designs. They have disposed of much of their furniture, planning to downsize and start over fresh, so I didn't know what colors to use to make the runner. I finally decided that one can't go wrong if using Christmas colors.

one of the blocks; 3 are required to complete the project
Some of the fabrics used are by Kaufman. There is a green holly fabric for the borders and binding that was specially designed by JoAnn Fabrics (see the photo below).

close-up of the machine quilting
My free-motion quilting skills are not very sharp right now, so for this project I chose to do a straight outline stitch in the white areas around the colored parts, which made them to look more dimensional, or as Beloved likes to say it, "That design really pops!"

handmade quilt label
I hope all of my quilting friends make a label for their quilts. (I know some who never do)  In the future people will want to know the history of this handwork.

Over the years I have seen that the recipients of my projects have always delighted to see their names and a special Bible verse printed on the back of their quilts. (I always include last names, but for reasons of security and privacy I blocked out our last names in this picture.) 

the completed runner measures about 19 inches x 43 inches
In sewing circles there is a tongue-in-cheek variation of a quote made famous by Maya Angelou, 

People will forget what you said, 
people will forget what you did, 
but people will never forget the quilts you made for them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook for June 10

There is no Hodgepodge this week because our hostess, Joyce, is in the process of moving from one state to another. Some of the Hodgepodge people are doing a "Simple Woman's Daybook" instead, and that includes me. 

For today …. June 10, 2015

Outside my windowthe usual late afternoon storm clouds are gathering over the Rocky Mountains, preparing to move out over the plains to dump rain (and sometimes hail) on all of us. I enjoy this as long as I don't have to be outside. Watching it through the windows is very pleasant.

I am thinkinghow good it feels to sit down. I've been on my feet all day. Sitting at my desk to peck out a blog post is very restful to me.

I am thankfulfor so much, but I guess for the sake of brevity I'm supposed to narrow it down to just one thing. I am thankful for my computer. For all the bad press our electronics are getting of late from the Christian community, I do a lot of reading this way and that's not bad.

I am wearingblue denim capri pants, a red-and-white striped knit T with a navy zip-up-the-front-with-several pockets-and-a-hood vest. Also black sandals and silver hoop earrings. Allow me to put in a plug here for my Mary Kay lady. I fix my face and hair every morning. I don't look that good without my props and Beloved appreciates the effort.

I am creating …(in my sewing room) a table runner with this block:

I'll write more about it in another blog post later this week or next.

I am goingto the eye doctor next week for my annual exam. We're keeping watch on at least one cataract.

I am wondering if our dinner guests will be delayed by our weather.  Just since typing that last sentence, the rain blew in with hurricane force.

The table in our kitchen

I am readingA Time for Remembering, the story of Ruth Bell Graham by Patricia Daniels Cornwell (a large print edition found at the Good Will store).  

I am hopingour dinner guests enjoy the menu I've got planned for them: chicken stir-fry over brown rice, a green salad with a Honey Lime Vinaigrette, and a Peach-Apricot Pudding Cake for dessert (with Cool Whip for those who want it).

I am learning there is a time to speak and a time to wait for a better time.

Around the house we've now got the TV news turned on because the storm moving through here is violent. We have a lot of locally heavy rainfall with lots of lightening. If I can add one more thing for which I am thankful, it's our sump pump!!!

In the kitchen I've got everything prepared for dinner as much as I can and will get back to it in about an hour. The dessert is ready ...

Gluten-free Peach-Apricot Pudding Cake

I am ponderinga redesign of my blog header and a new  (more appropriate) name for this blog.  My long-time readers are used to me changing things up from time to time.

A favorite quote for today"With every breath I suck in mercy." I heard this on KPOF [Christian] radio yesterday.

One of my favorite thingswaking up to a new day.

A few plans for this weekI'm helping serve lunch to the seniors at church this Saturday. There's always grocery shopping to do, and I hope to get more time in the sewing room.

A peek into my day I'm sharing a link of a YouTube video of a song that I just love for both the message and the harmony.  It's a trio of men called The Guardians singing "Somebody Prays."'

To see how other bloggers have responded to these same questions, click here:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Letter From My Dog

Basset Hound Sculpture at the Highlands Ranch Public Library
In Memory of Elmer and Patches

Today I am indulging in whimsey and I hope you will enjoy it. But first I need to give you a little background information. 

In 1988 we moved from Virginia to Colorado. At the time we were "between dogs" but my family of 5 (Beloved, me, and our 3 teens) wanted a dog again. 

We bought a Beagle that I named Patches,  and I have to tell you, she was the ditziest animal I had ever encountered. As all puppies are, she had a strong bent on destroying anything that was nice, including our beautiful new furniture and carpet.  I had no peace when it came to that dog and numerous times I wanted to get rid of her. Of course that was a losing argument so I learned to make the best of her. 

That's the background information. In one of my attempts to cope with the circumstances, I asked her to write our annual Christmas newsletter, but I did not tell anybody. People began to figure out, as they read the letter, that it was the family dog who had done the writing. 

As you will see, by year's end, she was not the only canine in the house.

* * * * * * *

Last year at this time Mom took snapshots of me beside the Christmas tree and called me things like "adorable" and "sweetie." My little heart overflowed with love and I knew 1989 was going to be a great year for me!

Well, it has been quite a year, although it didn't go quite like I expected. As a matter of fact, only a few days into the new year my personal needs became overwhelming on numerous occasions. I found it difficult to effectively communicate with Mom on a one-to-one basis. She usually wasn't nearby at the exact moment that I needed her, but she had an amazing ability to appear from out of nowhere once my needs had been satisfied. On more than one occasion during the winter of '89 there was talk of me leaving the family!

Dad is my hero! He loves me truly. He stuck up for me through thick and thin and even paid to have a private tutor come into the house weekly to teach me manners. He gives me little treats when Mom isn't looking. One of my very favorite parts of the day is to line up at the door with the rest of the family to greet Dad when he comes home from a long hard day at work.

With the arrival of spring my young life began to improve -- how I love the great outdoors of Colorado! One evening there was a birthday slumber party and guess who was put out on the porch! But I let them know that I am a 'party animal,' too.  I called to them for so long that one of the neighbors telephoned Dad and told him to pay more attention to me!

In June the family gave me an all-expenses-paid trip of 7 days and 7 nights to a motel with a view of the freeway! Unfortunately I don't think they missed me very much. I hear they went to Disney World...

When school started in September I got so lonely. Mom was real busy with volunteering at the junior high. And the kids -- well, they were busy too. The eldest drives a car now and he also goes on dates! When the second one isn't busy winning art contests, he plays basketball with his friends on the driveway. I can hear him but I can't see him and it drives me wild! The youngest usually goes right up to her room to do homework and I like to go up to visit her. She always stops whatever she's doing and give me hugs and kisses and says sweet things in my ears. 

I guess my biggest news is that one day Mom surprised all of us in a most unexpected way. She went to a city adoption bureau and brought home this handsome but obnoxious fellow they called "Elmer." He's about twice as heavy as me, and twice my age, and has a serious drooling problem. And what hormones! Mom would tell people Elmer thought I was "the cutest thing he'd even seen!" That was an understatement! Fortunately the big "galoot" was sent to see my personal surgeon for a couple of days and he's been almost gentlemanly ever since.

Mom takes pictures of the kids and us dogs all the time. She keeps saying that these days won't last forever because college catalogs are coming in the mail. I'm not sure just what that means. But I know that it's great to be loved and to be able to love in return. My family joins me in wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a New Year of Peace!

Patches the Beagle (age 15 months old)

                                              * * * * * * *
Note: Unfortunately, as of this writing, I cannot easily get my hands on snapshots of Patches and Elmer. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Food for the Soul

Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
"Be Still My Soul"
Hymn lyrics by Catharina von Schlegal, translated by Jane Borthwick
Lutheran Hymnal

Like naughty little children, the forces of nature misbehave, thinking they are getting away with something. But at the same time, they know their parents can put a stop to their behavior at any time. 

I am reminded of when Jesus was asleep in the boat while a raging storm terrified his disciples. After they woke Him and asked for help He, the Creator of all weather, rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. They ceased and there was calm. (see Luke 8:22-25)

Our hardships can shove us around and make life very hard, but we must remember they can only go on as long as our wise and loving Heavenly Father allows them. These storms are in actuality His divine tools to carry out what He deems must be done for His purposes and our ultimate good. It all comes down to trusting Him through everything.

The key to understanding our circumstances is to
focus on Christ rather than our circumstances.
Henry and Richard Blackaby

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Hodgepodge on Wednesday

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Today I'm linking up with Joyce's Hodgepodge Wednesday. See how I've responded to her questions, then at the end you can click on her link to see the answers of other bloggers.

1. What’s something you’re looking forward to in the month of June?

June is turning out to be a time of challenge for me with 2 sets of good friends moving away (one set being a very dependable pair of neighbors just next door). But July promises to be much better when we will get to see all of our children and grandchildren.

2. In what way have you come full circle?

This summer my three children will celebrate their birthdays (42, 40, and 38). It just doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was those ages. I feel I’ve come full circle to see them experiencing similar stages of family life and adulthood that I was feeling at that time.

3. Lonely Planet lists 10 spots in America you should see in 2015 and the reasons why. How many on the list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

Queens NY, Western South Dakota, New Orleans, Colorado River Region, North Conway NH, Indianapolis IN, Greenville SC, Oakland CA, Duluth MN, and the Mount Shasta Region CA.

I’ve highlighted in blue the places where I’ve been (have lived in some of them and others I may have just passed through). I would love to visit the lovely charm of the deep South --Greenville, South Carolina sounds like a good starting point.

4. A song that describes your mood right now?

I Love You Lord. Here’s a Youtube video with the song by the Maranatha Singers: 

5. Strawberry ice cream, strawberry short cake, strawberry pie, or strawberries right off the vine … your favorite?

Strawberries right off the vine (rinse them off first, please).

6. Aesop’s birthday is celebrated on June 4th, although there is some disagreement as to whether or not that’s accurate, or if he was even a real person. Regardless, the name Aesop is associated to this day with many well know fables. Which of the following best applies to something in your life right now?

The Tortoise and the Hare (slow and steady wins the race)
The Ant and the Grasshopper (be prepared)
The Fox and the Goat (look before you leap)
The Crow and the Pitcher (necessity is the mother of invention)

Hmmm… (drumming my fingernails on the desk here) … I’ll go with ‘slow and steady wins the race’ because I need to focus on enduring more than running.

7. The answer is yes…what’s the question?

Shall we go to Texas Roadhouse for supper tonight?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

More guests have come to Grammys Place Bed and Breakfast (click here to see what that’s about). These guests hail from the other side of town where their former hostess is preparing to move to The Lone Star State and there just isn’t room in the buggy for them to go. They were awaiting their room assignments when I snapped this picture of them.

Click here to see other bloggers who have linked up on Wednesday Hodgepodge.

Thanks, Joyce, for the fun questions!