Monday, October 31, 2016

Waving Goodbye to October

Redwork embroidered pillow
Ahhhhh! Sigh! Finally, November is just hours away.  Now if we just had some snow...

Grandson #4 as a Transformer

We always breathe a sign of relief when the candy bowl empties and we can turn out the lights, officially signaling the end of Halloween.

Granddaughter #5 as Little Lamb

With a couple of very minor exceptions, the Trick or Treaters were mannerly and we got a lot of "thank yous."  That part is okay.   We also love seeing the costumes of our grandchildren on Face Book. 

It's the zombies and goblins that I have no use for, along with the haunted houses and witchy shows on TV. Good riddance. 

If any of our grandchildren lived nearby, October 31st would be different for us but they all live way beyond the Mississippi River.

Our Halloween was one of the warmest on record here in the Rocky Mountain West.  Usually the kids have to figure out how to wear their costumes over heavy coats due to the cold, and sometimes, spitting snow.

This year we gave consideration to just sitting on the porch to hand out the candy, but we didn't. (all those scary creatures out there can be frightening!)

Our last afternoon in October found me in the sewing room, putting the finishing touches on a piece of redwork embroidery. It's a small pillow of Mrs. Snowperson hanging candy canes on her clothes line.  She's taken her place in the laundry room.

Laundry room (aka my needlework gallery)

Now to focus on the lovely aspects of autumn with beautiful table settings, wonderful food, good people, and an attitude of thankfulness. 

And the elections.  

Well, just a week more and the voting will be over.  Only the Lord knows what will follow that -- I pray the count of the ballots is overwhelmingly clear and that we can move on with no violence or problems with "hanging chads" and such.

Welcome November! Let it snow!

a hand-painted pin from a craft show

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Talkin' About Homey Things

a homey habit: starting my day with coffee
The inspiration for today's Hodgepodge questions stems from our hostess' planned move into her new lake house. I'm answering the questions from her blog and linking up with other bloggers at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most 'at home'?

I feel at home in my mother's house, although I've never lived in the house she owns now. She has things in her current home that I grew up with, this sign being one of them.

2. When did you last 'hit a home run' with something? Explain.

Dinner this past Monday night was a 'home run' for me. I made a lemon chicken recipe with a side of crispy smashed potatoes and a green salad.

3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is 'homemade.'

quilt I designed and made for our kitchen breakfast area in 2013

4. 'A man's home is his castle'...which of the world's ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why --

With the world as it is these days, I don't have any desire to travel outside of the USA. But there are castles on our own soil and one of my favorites is Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs.

photo from Glen Eyrie website

5. What's a recent or upcoming plan or project that's required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?

We've got two baby boys to be born early next year to my sister's family members. I'm currently working on a quilt for one and then will begin work on the next one. My patterns tend to be simple so success is fairly easy. (I'll post pictures of them when I announce their births, probably in February and March.)

6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not?

I think homework is necessary and not evil. My personal learning style is that I absorb more in the quiet of home than in a classroom, so study at home works for me. Book reports and term papers can't really be done in a classroom setting where others are moving about, talking, and providing a myriad of distractions. Also, homework is a good way to practice and reinforce concepts taught in the classroom, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, etc.  I do think, however, that teachers should not load the students with so much home study that it's a burden.

7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown.

My family moved a lot when I was growing up (state-to-state and cross country), but with that said, I do consider one of those places my 'home town.'  I was born in Tulsa and we moved away just a few months later. We returned to Tulsa when I was about 3 years old and stayed there long enough for me to complete Kindergarten before moving out of state again. We went back to Tulsa when I was half way through my junior year of high school and stayed until I graduated a little over a year later. 

Due to some unusual circumstances of my father's career, that year in high school had been very hard on me.  In less than 12-month's time, we lived in California, British Columbia (Canada) and New Jersey, then Tulsa. Those changes were a lot for a sixteen-year-old. 

When we got to Tulsa we were greeted by my grandparents (who had been living there all along) and the school was just especially welcoming -- more so than any place else I had ever been. A Youth for Christ club met weekly before classes that filled a hole in my heart. Those factors warmed my heart greatly and had a lot to do with my success in graduating on time.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm not sure I have anything left to say after sharing my soul with Question #7. Here's a nice picture to close out today's Hodgepodge:

from our travels this past summer

* * * * * * *

I'm linking up with other bloggers today at 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up Photo Journal

ready to deliver

In the spirit of journaling, today I'm posting pictures from my weekend. Our ballots for the election arrived early last week, so Beloved and I promptly set aside some time one evening to study and mark our ballots and get them into the mail. Done!  

I won't tell you exactly how we voted, but I will say we voted for the platforms represented and not because we favor certain personalities. God knows our heart.

Saturday we did some gardening, pulling up and cutting back of plants in anticipation of winter's snow. I didn't take any snapshots of that activity because it was enough to get used to breathing with one of those white paper masks over my nose and mouth.  Since we are both recovering from colds (well, I am, anyway), we thought it best to protect ourselves from the dust and pollens we were stirring up.  

I say I'm recovering, and I am. However, Beloved is still beset with a bothersome cough from his bronchitis diagnosis. He intends to call the doctor today for a check on that.

Saturday afternoon I left Beloved at home in front the the Alabama football game so I could wander about the mall. Recently our Apple store moved two spaces down into a much larger place.  I was delighted to find this in its former location:

Christmassy and winter home decor items in abundance!! While I did not spend a dime in there, I'd love to go back another time and show my support for this business. 

The Brown Bungalow plans for Christmas

At dusk on Saturday, Beloved pulled out our new Star Laser set to see how it looks on the front of the Bungalow. I snapped this picture but since the sun had not set yet, you have to use your imagination to even see the myriad of tiny red and green laser dots that are flowing all over the front of the house. It's much better when the sky is dark. (note: the link I've provided is from Bed Bath and Beyond for $39.95.  We bought ours at Walmart for $25)

We decided that since we both have joint replacement parts,  we need to avoid climbing ladders and working around icicles to hang Christmas lights. This laser light show calls for one stake into the ground and one extension cord trailing from the porch outlet out to the unit. 

presenting flowers

This weekend my church had the wonderful distinction of honoring TWO couples who have been married sixty years. In the morning worship service I attended, a bouquet of flowers was given to one of the couples. When our pastor asked them what was their secret to success, they replied having the same religion and just being kind to each other -- those two factors made the difference.

decorative grasses

Sunday afternoon Beloved grilled steak for his lunch and salmon for me. We took a short walk in the neighborhood, not too long since we didn't want to get Beloved's cough going, if possible.

Now this morning as I contemplate a new week, I'm enjoying some photos from Martingale Publishing in an email they send out about 5 days a week. Their work inspires me!

Aunt Bea quilt and pin cushions using
the same block pattern as the quilt
Stepping Stones quilt pattern

Have a good week, everybody!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Harvest Homily

Cornstalks blowing in the breeze
Sometimes Sister accompanies Former Farmer when he oversees the harvest of corn by his customers. A few days ago she sent me snapshots of the process. I'm sharing some of those pictures with you today and have inserted a few Bible verses that include the word 'harvest' for a simple weekend meditation. Be blessed!

dark skies before the work began

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest,
and cold and heat, and summer and winter,
and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22

looking down between the rows of corn
Six days thou shalt work, 
but on the seventh day thou shalt rest:
in earring time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
Exodus 34:21

Combining corn

And when ye reap the harvest of your land,
thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field,
neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
Leviticus 19:9

Cornfield partially harvested

When thou cutest down thine harvest in thy field, 
and hast forgot a sheaf in the field,
thou shalt not go again to fetch it:
it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless,
and for the widow:
that the Lord thy God may bless thee 
in all the work of thy hands.
Deuteronomy 24:19
Loading corn

And Ruth the Moabitess said,
He said unto me also,
Thou shalt keep fast by my young men,
until they have ended all my harvest.
Ruth 2:21

Recording data while transferring from combine to the weigh wagon

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son:
but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that 
causeth shame.
Proverbs 10:5
field after the harvest

And another angel came out of the temple,
crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud,
Thrust in thy sickle, and reap:
for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Revelation 14:15

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Fan Letter to America

Ann Voskamp
On this 'morning after' the last presidential debate for 2016 (thank the Lord!!), this uplifting and fun-to-read article was brought to my attention.  I am calling on Ann Voskamp to be my guest blogger today. I hope you will take the time to read her delightful writing style and be encouraged in these days of trouble.

Ann Voskamp: America, it's undebatable: Why the world thanks you and loves you

Ann Voskamp is a wife, mother and New York Times bestselling author. She is a Canadian who lives in Ontario. This column originally appeared on her website, A Holy Experience. Her new book, “The Broken Way” will be published by Zondervan on October 25.

Yeah, sure, there’s another debate to take the airwaves Wednesday night, but there’s really no debate:

You’re the people who gave the world Broadway and Google and delivery pizza and YouTube and the best road trips on the planet. You’re the people who gave the world the internet, the language the whole world now speaks in. Who gave us the Wright brothers and the whole world wings, who gave us Thomas Edison and the light bulb and ignited something in all of us.

You gave us all lemonade stands and apple pie and Tex-Mex and Wrigley Field and Fenway Park and wheeled suitcases and the RV and the NFL and the glory of KFC. The people who gave us lasers and calculators and the Commodore 64, gave us all washing machines and Facebook and photocopiers and popcorn makers and the jukebox to crank out the best tunes.

And you may be a family hashing things out right now and but the world thanks you for hanging in there because you do the greatest things.

You’re the people who propelled us off the planet, who put footprints on the moon, who are shooting to get humankind to Mars, and America, you are the people who never stop shooting for the stars and will not let the best vision of humanity be shot down by divisions or politicians or opposing positions.

You’re the country that welcomed in a six year old boy from Russia, Sergey Brin — who would one day co-found Google.

No debate or vote or campaign can undermine it, because it’s undeniable and all of you, America, hold these truths to be self-evident — that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happinessand you will hold on to each other no matter what because you not only believe these things, you aim to live these things no matter what.

Because America? You’re a great incubator of dreams, a lab for human possibilities, a seedbed for visions of hope to grow, a beacon of refuge and liberty to the tired and huddled masses and an election doesn’t change the DNA of who you are, a campaign season cannot undo the heart of you that beats from the winding sublimeness of Highway 1 to the general stores of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and no vote can derail that you’re a family who knows that if an election is allowed to destroy friendships, then it’s America that loses.

If an election is allowed to destroy friendships, then it’s America that loses.

Thank you, America, for being the people who know that —- no matter who takes the White House in November, there are people in God’s House who will keep taking hope into the streets.

Thank you, America, for knowing that ultimately good news isn’t the wheelhouse of the government —- it’s ultimately the reality of the gospel.

Thank you, America, for being a pioneering people who believe in Seed Lives, who believe in breaking hard ground, who aren’t afraid to plow deeper to grow greater, who believe that the smallest seeds of kindness can begin to break the worst kind of brokenness.

The smallest seeds of kindness can begin to break the worst kind of brokenness.
The world thanks you, America — for believing in liberty, for hoping in possibility, for fighting against poverty, and bigotry, and misery, for living neighborly, and choosing unity and accepting diversity and being grace in community.

America, the world thanks you, for not only being a land of great people, but for being one of the greatest ideas of the world.

And there is nothing that can destroy the strength of an idea that never stops believing.

Ann Voskamp's the wife of one fine, down-to-earth farmer; a book-reading mama to a posse of seven; and the author of the New York Times bestsellers "The Greatest Gift" and "Unwrapping the Greatest Gift," and the sixty-week New York Times bestseller "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are," which has sold more than one million copies and has been translated into more than eighteen languages. Her latest book "The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life" (Zondervan). Voskamp has been named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today. Follow her on Twitter @AnnVoskamp.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Good Sense Hodgepodge

our front porch pot has become a "hodgepodge" of
sweet potato vine, green onions, snapdragons, pinecones and a small scarecrow
The days have been sunny with clear blue skies. Orange pumpkins and scarecrows decorate porches. For many of us, this is our favorite time of year because there is much to anticipate, taste, smell, hear, see, and do. Our Hodgepodge Wednesday hostess has come up with good questions (as she always does).  I've answered them below and will be linking up with other bloggers at her blog.

1. What would you say is your strongest sense? 

Well, it isn’t hearing!! Most of my peers have some degree of hearing loss and that most surely includes me. My strongest sense is probably touch. I am a tactile person, which has a lot to do with why I enjoy fabric, sewing, and holding Beloved's hand wherever we go.

2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?

Maybe. Some people seem to have an extra perception (or expectation) about things, like being able to sense the good or bad intentions of strangers, sensing good or bad coming their way — things like that.

3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.

one of my many clocks

I do most things by the clock so I know how much time I can spend on a project or activity. When I’m deprived of easy access to a clock (and calendars, too), I am sort of at loose ends. 

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? 

My jobs as a waitress were years ago as an older teenager and I’ve not had to return to that line of work since then.  It was hard work, the tips were good and I learned some needed life lessons. People tend to be very particular about their food. Hunger makes them demanding. I wouldn’t own a restaurant for those reasons -- although I have written fictitious stories about being the owner   of Grammys Place, a bed-and-breakfast in the mountains.

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.

I have not traced my family tree, but my mother has. On her side of the family, I am related to Martha Washington, Robert E. Lee, and possibly Helen Keller. I have no strong desire to pursue genealogy. I am a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That’s good enough for me.

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?

Most of my childhood was spent sharing a bedroom with my sister. As little girls we had twin beds that were never bunked. Our family moved many times, so a couple of times we had our own room. We kept our dolls and toys in our room and although my mother might disagree, it seems to me that our room was usually pretty neat.  That was due, I am sure, to the requirements of our mother, who was a good housekeeper.

7. Anyone who knows me knows I love_______________________?

Pal and Buddy (RIP)

Dolls, teddy bears, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, quilts, Bible study, traditional church music, and grilled salmon.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

the maple tree in our front yard

Our nighttime temps this week are in the low 30s, so yesterday Beloved blew out the sprinkler system, putting it all "to bed" for winter. We've had strong winds as well. The colorful trees are becoming bare and the leaves are blowing out of sight! There is no need to rake them up!

* * * * *

Monday, October 17, 2016

This 'n That Yakkity Yak -- Don't Talk Back!

me in my sewing room this afternoon

Sometime in the past I think I used this same title for a post but it's probably been long ago enough that I can get away with it again.  

Times are so strange right now -- not telling my readers anything they don't already know.  Not to worry, I won't get into politics today. What can anybody say that has not already been said, except maybe a sincere eyeball-to-eyeball, "I am so sorry. I have said and done things that were clearly wrong. I have offended many. I regret it so much. Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?"

Nope. That's not going to happen. And even if it did, most of us have become so cynical that we wouldn't believe it.

Anyway, there is life besides politics. I'll yak a little about my day and then call it a night. 

Beloved and I have both been pitifully sick with colds. His is actually bronchitis with all the coughing that goes with it. Mine is just a lot of nose-blowing and getting up at night to deal with all the fluids taken in during the waking hours.

Along with the usual cold remedies, I have found that preparing a cup of hot water in the microwave (tea bag is optional) and then cupping my hands over it so my nose inhales the steam does wonders for the sinuses. Then sipping the VERY HOT liquid soothes the throat like nothing else. 

A grateful prayer has been whispered every time this simple procedure has eased the discomforts of this cold.

Over the last two days we have taken some short drives in the car, just to get us out of the house into the sunshine. That has been helpful, too.  We have had to miss church and back out of a dinner invitation so as to not spread our germs, so short rides in the car have brightened our spirits.

I've been able to spend time in my study and sewing room and dozed through some TV shows.... but one of the most special delights was texting with Grandson #4.  When he gets his homework done in his after-school program, if he has time on his hands before his mom shows up, he has discovered he can text us.  We love it. He initiates it all on his own!!

Today he said this to Grandad (aka Beloved):

#4: So, how's retirement going? Keep in mind this is a 9-year old.

G-Dad: It's going very well. Thanks for asking. I get to do pretty much what I want to do. How is school going for you this year?

#4: Good why don't you go skydiving.

G-Dad: Well, buddy, Grandad is just a bit old to go doing that sort of anything. Actually, I never wanted to skydive. What would you most like to do?

#4: I always wanted to visit space and go scuba diving...

And so the conversation went on from there. Just cheery guy stuff between the two of them. Warmed my heart. It really did.

Well, this is it for today's Yakkity Yak. We need to turn off our televisions, pray for our nation, and get back to enjoying the family and friends around us. Our God has got this. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Some Thoughts for Today ...

Fort Pickens, Florida 

"Civility has suffered as election nears" -- Castle Rock News Press

The above is a headline from our local weekly newspaper.  Many of us have had that very thought. Decency, manners,  politeness and self sacrifice have been decreasing in recent years while outrageous self-promotion is the norm.

I can't see it coming to an end any time soon, if ever, on this earth. Ugly behavior multiplies itself. It is hard to stem once it's begun. 

We need to be vigilant to not perpetuate the discord. We can't do it alone. I know I can't. 

Of late I've been making a more conscious effort to not only pray about those things that trouble me, but then to wait to see how God answers. When I quiet myself and just listen, His answers come. Oftentimes it's something small He's directing me to do, but it's His instruction and that's what I had asked for.

Don't we wish more people in the public eye would do the same? 

Our private habits make us into who we are in public. They betray us when we behave badly; they bless us when we are about what is honorable. 

The elections are just weeks away. I hear some people have already cast their votes. I think it's time for the rhetoric to stop. Most people have made up their minds. The best action to take now is to pray for people to be still long enough to think straight and vote with wisdom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Moving Hodgepodge

On the front porch of The Brown Bungalow

Today I'm linking up with Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond, and my Hodgepodge friends.  Since I was out of town for the past two weeks, I look forward to catching up with everybody!

1. What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving to a new residence?

Unpacking and putting away the kitchen stuff is the worst for me. I want to put things where they make the most sense and enhance the "flow" of kitchen work, hoping I won't have to re-do it later. 

The best? Starting over, new beginnings, a chance to do it better this time, get it right. Often a new home means we're able to meet our needs better than in the previous location.

2. What's moved you recently?

My readers know how much I love Colorado, but there are other parts of our country that are also very beautiful and move me to thankfulness to the Lord for His creation. Here are 2 examples from my recent vacation:

3. Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?

My life is definitely moving forward into a new season of Medicare, Social Security, supplemental insurance, and wondering what the upcoming election results will bring for all of us.

4. On the move, move mountains, get a move on, it's your move, or bust a move...which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.

Since Beloved and I got home just a few days ago from 'being on the move' with a 4,000-mile road trip, just 'staying put' sounds pretty good to me right now.

5. What song makes you want to get up and move?

Oh my. I love Rockin' Robin. For many years, when that song comes up on our playlist, unless I am ill, I jump up and begin to dance with all kinds of silly hand motions and jumping around. Sometimes Beloved will bestir himself to join me in the dance. I love the cheeriness of this song. It's clean and wholesome. Here's a Youtube video of the version I like:

6. Your favorite snack to grab when you're 'on the move'?

Grapes and pistachio nuts (roasted and salted, please). My version of 'grape nuts.'

7. What one accessory makes your house feel like a home?

Quilted appliqué wall hanging in my laundry room

Quilts! I decorate with quilts (or at least something hand-pieced like a quilt) in nearly every room of my house. Quilts communicate warmth, coziness, comfort. After the upheaval of a relocation (cross town or cross country), I love pulling out my quilts to put on beds, drape over bannister rails, and hang on walls.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Often "leaning on my own understanding" is what gets me into trouble. When I submit my thinking to the Lord, He directs me in the ways I should go.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Scrapbooking Our Trip

Trinidad, Colorado at sunrise on September 26th en route to Raton Pass

I’m baaaack! Did you miss me? (no need to comment on that).  Beloved and I have been gone on a long road trip (long for us, that is). 

Around the time my husband retired (June 30th) we decided it would be a good idea to enjoy our new-found freedom by visiting friends and family, some of whom we had not seen in YEARS. And it was, indeed, a very good idea.  Traveling after the hottest of weather but before the snow flies seemed the best timing.

We touched eleven states via the US highway system, stayed in the homes of two couples, supported Holiday Inn Express in 3 locations in two states, and traveled 4,235 miles in our Ford. We hugged 2 of our children and their spouses and all eleven of our grandchildren, plus the grand puppy (who is 6 years old but will always be a baby dog to us).

As if that hasn’t been enough, we also experienced the Lord’s mercy in directing us to change some of our original plan before we even left home. This resulted in our departure from the path of Hurricane Matthew even before we knew the storm was in the works! Had we not shortened our trip, we would have been caught in the traffic of a major evacuation route. 

As is my way of doing things, I won’t be completely specific with all the details, but here are some scrapbook-style pictures from our grand adventure.  I know some of the pictures are small, but they are large enough for you to get a glimpse of the trip.

crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis


Beloved with our Staff Handyman, Spud!
Much of our trip went just as we had planned with one notable exception.  My longtime blog readers are well aware that I have a 'staff' who help us out at home, even getting some press in an occasional blog post -- see the one titled, "Staff Meeting" by clicking here:

When we left home a week before, we had no idea we might run into some of our staff members during our travels. But sure enough, while at Disney, Beloved found Spud, his handyman, albeit with a few changes from his usual appearance. He has had some vacation days due him, so apparently he decided to take them while we were gone!



Our visits with each group of people were only a day or two and then we had to move on. We don't like to travel in wintery weather, and sure enough, during our absence, snow came to the high country of Colorado and a hard freeze to our neighborhood.

We got home just this afternoon, but late enough that Beloved had to take us out to eat just one more time, since the pantry and refrigerator were (smile) empty! 

P.S. I know my trip took me a little close to some of my blogging friends. I want you to know that I gave serious thought to contacting you to maybe meet for coffee, but unfortunately, we just couldn't swing it this time.