Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Unpacking the Patriotic and Summer Decor

our porch puppy welcomes you

Memorial Day is special for many reasons and is a signal for the homemaker to transform her home from winter to summer.

The Brown Bungalow on Memorial Day

Decorations outside and in...

patriotic floral pick

Here is a close-up of the above floral pick:

closeup of patriotic floral  pick

This pinwheel design could be made with colored papers, too.

Sue's Whabbit

You may remember just a couple of weeks ago when Beloved gave me a new bicycle for Mother's Day.  All of my staff and other creatures have been taking turns with it. (those whose legs don't bend have been dismally disappointed)

Raggedy Ann and Andy

On a whimsical note we have residents in this household who rightfully belong to our daughter, Surfer Girl. She lives in the land of perpetual warmth and palm trees, but some of her childhood friends have chosen to remain with us in the mountains. They are wearing their summer clothes, so they are doing their part to bring on the season.

homemade flag quilt

This little miss had to vacate her seat recently when a princess of a poodle came to visit and just assumed all chairs were hers for the enjoyment... Fortunately, her 6 pounds of cuteness warmed our hearts so that she could do anything she wanted and we didn't mind.

purchased flag from years ago

The USA flag and its many variations lends itself so very well to quilting projects.

all projects by blog author except for lower left flag pillow

I am probably safe in saying most quilters enjoy working with stars.

Cactus dish garden on the coffee table

We enjoyed dining off these melamine dishes in red-white-and-blue. 

This metal wreath from Kohl's is on our porch year-round except for Christmas. In spite of its weight, we had to wire it to an eye-screw to keep it from blowing off during the strongest of winds that tend to sweep across the porch. 

I love the reminder that we need the LORD and hope those who see this decor will be reminded as well.  

Okay. The house is ready for summer. Now I need to pull out my sandals and capri pants!

Monday, May 30, 2016

When Words Cannot Express

To watch this musical tribute, click on the link above.

May God bless those who have willingly 
put themselves in harm's way for my freedoms.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Thoughts on Retirement

Beloved in Georgetown, Colorado

As of this writing (on Wednesday night), Beloved has 36 days till he retires. We are easing into it mostly with joy and some understandable trepidation as we make decisions about healthcare, hoping our financial preparations have been adequate, and giving a lot of thought to what we will do with ourselves, both as a couple and individually. And there's a bucket list, too, of course.

checking out Clear Creek as it flows through Georgetown;
the water is swift and high due to snow melt 

Beloved is using up his remaining vacation days (which he will either "use or lose") so staying busy at the office is not a big factor in the sunset of his corporate job. You could say we are 'practicing' for retirement!

Georgetown post office, an important location in
John Denver's 1986 movie, The Christmas Gift*

Earlier this week, we took a day off to drive into the mountains. We are thrilled that we can take day trips like this on weekdays when the traffic on I-70 is light, not the heavy congestion of the weekends.

looking up the main street of Georgetown
which literally terminates at the base of a mountain
To prepare for this big life transition, Beloved's employer has offered a workbook-guided course of study to help him define to himself who he is, what he would like to do with his retirement years and think about ways to accomplish those dreams.

antiques for sale in a Georgetown yard
This has been such an eye-opening course for my husband that he shared it with me. Now I'm working on the same pages and discovering things about myself that I sort of knew and sort of didn't!

the business is not as old as the building
We are encouraged to answer the workbook questions with complete honesty -- nobody else needs to see what we've written. The point is to come to an understanding of who we really are, what makes us get out of bed every morning, what motivates us and what gives us satisfaction in life.

Georgetown's First Presbyterian Church
built of native stone in 1874

My faithful blog readers know that I am a deeply spiritual person, so it follows that my answers to some of the workbook questions would stem perhaps more out of "what am I supposed to say" as opposed to how I really feel.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Georgetown, Colorado

But there is truth to be learned about ourselves when we are completely honest. In the process of such openness, we discover that our tendencies can be honed for good, even if at the outset they may smack of selfishness. Our Creator has known that all along and with this set of questions, we are finding it out for ourselves.

Georgetown eye candy for historians

I have discovered, for example, when I admit I am not a good "team player," that is not all bad. Yes, it means I don't work well with others and reveals my tendency to be bossy as I insist things go according to my ideas.

quilted decor on private home lamp post
But it also means my inability to concentrate with a lot of noise indicates I work well by myself and can be surprisingly productive in a short amount of time. Or as Beloved jokes with our friends, "She doesn't need a supervisor." (call me "a good self-starter")

heading west on I-70 out of Georgetown

This upcoming retirement is going to be a game-changer in many ways, but I think it will be fascinating to learn more about ourselves and how we best fit in today's world for both service and enjoyment.

my study today

I do intend to continue blogging...


*To see more of Georgetown, Colorado in John Denver's movie, you can watch the entire movie for free! click here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Shine Wherever You Are

Solar Lighthouse

For Mother's Day this year, my brother-in-law gave my sister this solar lighthouse. It marks the grave of their Basset Hound who died a few years ago and was lovingly buried on their property. 

To quote Sister:, "It's a solar lighthouse. And when it lights up at night, that shiny thingie in the top spins around, shining light for all the little ships out at, er ... in the lawn in the dark. It's really cool!"

(Disclaimer here: Sister had no idea that I would be quoting her on my blog, hence the casual way of phrasing her description. But as I tell everybody who knows me, and most casual bloggers like me will agree, just about ANYTHING is potential blog fodder!)

Lighthouses hold a fascination for many of us. The spiritual application is so obvious, shining a light on the direction we should take, sparing us from disaster, setting a good example for others, and so forth.

But one more thought came to my mind as I thought about this lighthouse located away from water, in the middle of a huge lawn of grass --  we must be sure to shine our light for Jesus at all times, when we are in the presence of souls on the brink of disaster and also when they seem to be no where in sight. We never know who might be helped by our presence or influence. 

We have all observed people when they did not know they were being watched. We are under scrutiny, too. We are accountable at all times.  May we remember that.

Ye are the light of the world. 
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, 
and put it under a bushel, 
but on a candlestick; 
and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 KJV

Monday, May 23, 2016

The One Who Sees

Castle Rock, Colorado with Pikes Peak on the horizon
(left of center, mixed in with the clouds)
Beloved and I often walk through model homes, and there are a lot of them in our area -- more opening up all the time.  We consider it to be free entertainment, unless of course, we decide to buy one!!

This photo was taken with my iPhone yesterday from the deck of a super-expensive model home (the lots alone are $300,000!). I'm just grateful we can enjoy such breath-taking beauty for free, albeit briefly. 

Shots like this thrill me to my core. There is so much to see and study, and it changes as the sun moves across the sky.  Then at night when it's lit up with city lights, the view is completely different.

I am reminded of our Heavenly Father who sees everything with perfect vision and perspective. Nothing escapes His notice. He is described as El Roi, "the God who sees" in Genesis 16:13. Hagar had been mistreated by her mistress Sarah and as a result, ran away. 

God saw her distress and dealt kindly with her, giving her an amazing promise regarding her future. 

I wish I could see better. I wish I understood all that goes on around me. But I can see well enough. God is my Heavenly Father. Because I belong to Him, He's got all that concerns me in His blessed control. I am learning to trust Him with everything, most especially what I cannot see or understand.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Speaking Out

While I would love to escape the harsh realities of the world with cheery, whimsical blog writing and leave the tough stuff to the more educated and experienced, there are times when a quiet homemaker just has to speak up for what is right. 

Many of us are consumed with our responsibilities and may be unaware or purposely ignoring current events with the assumption such matters will not affect us personally. We like to think that maybe these ugly problems will just go away if we keep our heads low and mind our own business. 

But no, that's not the way it works. I have learned that the  issues I choose to ignore are often the ones needing my diligent, dedicated prayer and personal attention. Choosing to be oblivious to the obvious leads to great heartache and even bigger problems.

I am pretty sure I am "preaching to the choir" here with those who frequent my blog. Let us all continue to be diligent to pray, vote, support those who speak out for all that is holy, and do all else we can to uphold godliness in our nation.

I feel Ted Cruz has worded it well at a time when the liberal news media chooses to ignore the real issues at stake.

”Having spent many years in law enforcement, I've handled far too many cases of child molesters, of pedophiles, of people who abused little kids. The threats of predators are serious, and we should not facilitate allowing grown men or boys to be in bathrooms with little girls... I encourage every school superintendent, school board, and parent across this nation to disregard this barely veiled threat from the White House aimed at overturning the utterly reasonable practice of preventing men and boys from entering girls' restrooms and changing rooms. As a father of young girls, I wouldn't want my daughters being forced to change in the same room as men and boys. It's that simple. And parents across this country shouldn't have to tolerate it either."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Git Along Lil' Doggies!

We were taking it easy, enjoying a relatively quiet afternoon with the exception of one nagging problem. 

One of the guests in our Bed and Breakfast was staying longer than we had expected.  If that wasn't enough, I was irritated that he continually forgot to remove his muddy boots when inside the lodge.

Beloved decided it was time to speak privately to our rude guest in an effort to find out how long he intended to stay. His story was that he was waiting for the herd to hit town but they had been delayed due to inclement weather.

We decided it would be better for business if we would just stick it out with our guest and soon enough he would be on his way.

Sure enough, it wasn't long after that when our property was invaded with plenty of raucous action. The thundering herd was fast on their feet and friendly to humans. 

Amazingly tame, they proved to be very entertaining to all of our other Bed and Breakfast guests....

... although one of them took it upon himself to sniff out everybody's shoes.

Then, all too soon, it was time for the cowboy to ride out of town with the herd and our guests had to bid them all goodbye.

It was a wonderful time for all of us, although I don't miss the muddy boots on my bedspread.

This is just a whimsical little story written with the unsolicited help of both family and friends, and their pets: (in order of appearance) Cody, Cali, Max, Maggie, and Shimmy.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Loved in His Arms

Granddaughter #5

By day the LORD directs His love,
at night His song is with me--
a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8

Motherhood, and now, being a grandmother, continues to teach me about God's relationship with me, and mine with Him.

When I see pictures like this of my grandchildren, I just want to scoop them up into my arms and hold them close, doing all I can to help them feel loved, cared for, and protected. 

I want them to know that I desire only the best for them, and even when I may have to let them "cry it out," it is only because their best interests are in my heart.

I will instruct you and teach you
in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8

The LORD directs His love to me all through the day, allowing only what will conform me to His blessed image. He has lessons for me, instruction, reliable guidance that reflect only love.  

Then at night He sings His love to calm me into restful sleep. 

If I wake in the darkness, all I need do is ask Him if there is a matter I've left undone that needs my attention. So many times whatever comes to mind immediately is exactly what I need to address.

Have I handled it poorly? Do I need to change my direction? Have I forgot to include my LORD in it? 

I am a grown woman now. The elderly years are approaching my horizon and yet the LORD still loves me as tenderly as if I were a newborn. He longs for me to reach to Him for a trusting relationship.

That is how He feels about you, too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mother's Day Weekend Reprise

our breakfast room
Sometime in the past I have written about how much I enjoy dappled sunshine streaming in through the windows.  Well admittedly, the sunshine in the picture above is not "dappled" but at least we have sunshine and no snow. For that, I  am so thankful. We've had rain, but at least we don't have to shovel that. 

So much for the weather report. I wanted to share some pictures from Mother's Day weekend:

My table at the tea. My tea pot is under the pink-and-white cozy
Our church held its Annual Ladies' Tea on Saturday and this year I hosted a table. The Women's Ministry Team supplied the glass dishes and cups, along with plastic 'silverware' that looked like real metal. Very nice. 

Hostesses were to supply a 'tablescape', cloth napkins and a tea pot. I made beaded bracelets for the napkin rings and then told the girls at my table the bracelets were theirs for a keepsake.

another quilted table topper
I took snapshots of all 18 tables but am sharing just a couple of pictures here. Everybody did a wonderful job of it. We had over 100 ladies in attendance. Our Women's Ministry Team really knows how to put together an occasion!

the Tea was held in the huge foyer of our church
We had a wonderful speaker, one of our own members, who shared a riveting story of a devastating experience she had and how the LORD has brought her through. It was very sobering and inspiring.

Beloved on Mother's Day morning
Saturday afternoon Beloved and I went to the mall. He had a gift card from Christmas and I wanted him to use it for some clothes. He used the card to buy this sport jacket and shirt to go with khaki Docker slacks he already had. The jacket was on sale and has colors in it that match with at least three different pair of slacks already in his closet. It was a very good buy!

Recently we had dinner in the home of a new friend at church who has a collection of Teddy Bears, several of whom sit on her fireplace hearth on bicycles. On our way home from the dinner, I mentioned to Beloved that although our bears have several nice chairs to sit in that are just their size, none of them have a bicycle.

Grandad Bear tries out the bike

Nobody can say that my husband is deaf to a bold hint. For Mother's Day he gave me a very nice bicycle from Pier One Imports and here you see one of our bears giving it a try.

son #2 and me after lunch

We left him to figure it out and went on to church. We had lunch with one of our sons and took the usual pictures afterwards to remember the occasion. Of my three children, probably this one looks most like me. Love my kids! They all got in touch with me that day.

Grammy Bear
When we got home from church and lunch, we saw that Grammy Bear was taking a turn on the new bicycle.  I'd say the new toy is a hit with all of us!

Monday, May 9, 2016

God Speaks in the Silence

wreath at my church

Sometimes it seems that God is silent when we pray, and it's true. 

But I also think He is speaking to us a lot more than we realize. As I age and reflect on how walking with God works, I see that He often has put the very answer I need smack dab in front of me, even in my own hands, but I don't recognize it as His answer.

Or if I do, I argue within myself that I can't do that, it doesn't make any sense, it's too hard, and surely something else is a better solution.

THEN God is silent. I don't think He's in the business of trying to convince us. We ask. He answers. There it is.  Take it or leave it.

There are times when voicing our complaints is of more comfort than obedience to His answer. Maybe we are seeking attention more than solutions to the problem.

This has been true of me. I have been known to wallow in my misery, sharing my woes with any and all who will listen. I had a solution in mind. Things had to be done my way or the problem would not be solved. 

At one particular season of my life, the problem went on for one full calendar year. I was miserable and as a result, anyone who spent any measure of time with me was miserable as well. 

Finally, the LORD brought a godly stranger into my life who recognized the symptoms of deep self pity that manifested itself in unreasonable over-reaction and anger over a small matter. 

As Beloved would say, this person "took his life in his hands" (smile) by gently confronting me and probing to discover the source of my great unhappiness. 

By God's grace, I responded well to this person's tactics and spilled out my hurt.  He sympathized with me that some unfairness had happened but then helped me to realize I was suffering while the person who I was holding responsible for the offense was free as a lark, in no way harmed by the situation.

(I will insert here in the story that the offense was nothing of a criminal or immoral harm. Not at all.)

The light began to dawn on me that I was holding onto the hurt by my own choice, not taking the help, the answers, the LORD was making available to me. I was my own worst enemy by not taking God's solution to my problem.

I confessed this to the LORD in front of my husband and this godly stranger and then put down the offense and moved on with my life.

The change in me was so dramatic that people told me it  really showed on my face. I was immensely happy, relieved of the burden, and free to let the LORD deal with the entire matter. 

Yes, there are times when the LORD is silent. He has already given us the answer we require and now He waits quietly for our obedience.

Friday, May 6, 2016

It's All About the Girls!

This weekend I am sharing random memories, all having to do with motherhood, grandmothering,  sisters, daughters, and aunts. Obviously, I'm not posting all that I have, but just some favorite selections over the past year or so that each tell their own story. It is my hope, in sharing these pictures, we are reminded of the blessings of motherly love and how it influences all of our other relationships with women.

There is no narrative with these pictures and they are not in any particular order. Names have been omitted for reasons of security. Enjoy!














Happy Mother's Day to all of my readers.  Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to capture your memories this weekend!