Archive for the ‘life’ Category


I think maybe I am not cut out to be a blogger.  I’m certainly not as prolific as I was in a former life.

There is sideways rain this morning.  Light and misty, bearing in from the ocean with a vengeance.  The four days of sunny spring weather we had before this, was really nice.  I don’t think we’ve ever had more than 4 days of nice weather in a row.  No matter the season.  The joys of coastal living in the Pacific Northwest.

We’ve had a bird house hung from the large fir tree in the front yard for years.  Chickadees check it out every year but never move in.  This year hubby moved the house to the birch tree next to the garden, and the chickadees are happily nesting.  I guess it proves the old adage:  LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

Had three books come in from the library on Friday.  Feast or famine.  Now I must read like mad to finish them in the three weeks allotted.  One of them is a John Sandford (and none of them are heavy reading….) novel…a Virgil Flowers novel.  Virgil is a cop…described as a country boy with shoulder length blonde hair.  I’ve never seen Virgil this way.  I see…and hear…him as Nick Cannon.  I KNOW.  It must have been something in the writing that brought Nick to mind, and so it’s his face I see when I “read” Virgil. 

I googled my maternal great-grandmother’s name the other day, just for fun, and bingo….all sorts of information from rootsweb.com popped up.  I have never played around with the geneaology stuff, so was delighted that all of this information was there without any effort on my part.  I was able to trace all the way back to 1690 when my 6 greats grandfather was born in Ulster, Antrim county, Ireland.  His parents came there from Scotland in some mass migration of Scots to Ireland in the late 1600’s (I’ve yet to read more about that), and apparently there was a mass migration of Scots/Irish to Virginia in the early 1700’s…which would explain why the rest of my ancestors were born there.  HOW INTERESTING.  I think I will have to dig a little more.  I’ve always known my grandmother was Scots….I guess that explains why I’m now so comfortable in the Presbyterian church….LOL!

On another note:  One of the things I learned when checking out this genealogy stuff is that my grandmother had been married before!  If my mother and her sisters knew this about their mother, they kept quiet about it.  And I’m not sure why they would…so I’m really thinking they didn’t know.  Unfortunately, none of them are alive to ask.  According to these records, grandma was married at 17 to a distant cousin (from what I could tell), in 1916.  Three years later she married my grandfather, and there’s no record of what happened to poor Jackson.  Did he die in World War 1?  Or of pneumonia or flu?  Killed in a fight at the local bar?  Did they DIVORCE?  That would be practically unheard of in rural Arkansas in that day and age.  Rootsweb showed no death records for him….but I’ll search a little more.  I have to chuckle…thinking that our relatives could have intentionally kept secrets like this, never dreaming that one day that information would be out there for any and all to see.

We are going to Walla Walla next month for the annual W2 Hot Air Balloon Stampede.  I guess you ain’t seen nothing still you’ve seen stampeding hot air balloons!  Apparently there are hundreds of them launched into the skies each morning for three days, and they are lit up at night.  There is also a horse race, crafts fair, car show…something for everyone.  My only regret is that because of liability issues, they no longer offer rides in the balloons.  I’m SURE I would have been brave enough to try that.

The arthritis in my hands continues to worsen, and the days after I’ve spent a few hours working on a new quilt top (cutting, ironing, sewing the pieces), my hands will barely move.  It saddens me…and scares me more than a bit…that I am going to have to give up the one thing that’s given me such great pleasure over the years.  Turning out hand crafted and hand quilted treasures for all the family occasions has given me such joy.  I’m trying Capzasin topically, and even Absorbine Jr. (which I can recall my father rubbing into my legs at night…I used to get horrible leg aches as a child).  Both work somewhat.  I see ads on TV for different drugs, but when they tell you “may cause tuberculosis, lymphoma or lung cancer”…I shy off. 

It’s Italian day on The Chew. I love Italian.  My husband is Italian.  Well, half.  Unfortunately for me, that half is his father.  His father doesn’t cook.  His aunts all live on the west coast, so I’ve not been able to benefit from cooking in the kitchen with Frances or Mary.  Such a shame.  So I buy cookbooks.  And watch the cooking channel.   Mario Batali and Lydia Bastianich are cooking up something delicious as I type.  The recipes are all available…as well as video clips…online at The Chew.

I see the doctor next month for my 6 mos. checkup.  I’ve gained 5 pounds in the last 6 months.  (Not ALL of it from Italian cooking.)  I am wondering about Weight Watchers online.  Thinking that if I don’t have the discipline to go to actual classes here in town, will I go online?  I don’t know.  Jury’s still out.

My husband built a raised bed for the garden this year.  We usually just stick a few squash plants in the ground and try to keep the slugs away.  I’m not a gardener.  The dirt around here is a hard, packed clay, and unless you improve it with compost or peat moss or something, you’re not gonna get a spade through it.  Hence the raised bed, filled with bagged dirt from the local Home Depot.  Now…what to put in it?  And do we need more than one bed?  Lettuces for sure…and raddishes….green beans….cabbage….maybe some beets….kale.  Squash can still be planted outside the bed(s).  We’ll see.  It’s time to get going on it…that much I know.

And I also know that I need to get back to my housework.  Floors to mop…rugs to vacuum….laundry to fold…sheets to change.  It’s Monday!


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I recently wrote a post about “the search for church.”  We were finding more and more issues with the last church we attended, and really concentrated on praying about it and  rethinking our attitudes.  A few weeks ago we decided to return to the church that we had liked except for the pastor’s sermons.  What is more important?  The ability to worship in a meaningful and beautiful manner, to share communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to share each other’s burdens by sharing prayer requests…..or having a really exciting, stimulating message each week?  We opted for the former.

We felt good from the moment we walked in the door.  The people were friendly, the music was beautiful, AND the pastor’s sermon was very good too.  We left that day, eager for next Sunday.  And that week we weren’t disappointed either.  Or the next.  We were finally feeling like we belonged there…that it was the right place for us.  Our search was over.

As we left the sanctuary this past Sunday, the pastor hurried over to greet us.  He extended his hand…”Welcome home” he said.  I almost cried then and there.  We chatted a few minutes –long enough to verify that he didn’t think we were some long lost members of the congregation who had, indeed, “returned home.”  We felt like our decision had been confirmed, and left with a real peace in our hearts.  It feels good to be home.

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We are still enjoying perfect December weather.  Cold nights, cool sunny days.  Would like to have some snow, but be careful what you wish for, eh?  It always feels more like Christmas when there’s some white around.

Tomorrow is the 12th, and I am finally of the realization that I need to get off my duff and get some baking and candy making done.  I have all the ingredients stocked, so I am my only roadblock to creative bliss.  I DO have all the gifts purchased AND wrapped…well, all but 6 of them, but that’s nothing.  I do have to make two batches of those durn crescent rolls that no one in this family seems to want to let go of.  C’mon, you guys!  They are little mounds of unwanted/unneeded calories….like we don’t get enough of those during the holidays.  And it is an all-day job to make two batches.  One batch is no longer enough for this ever-growing, roll-living family of mine.  Ever-growing in more ways than one, if you get my drift.  🙂  

Had a wonderful advent service at church this morning.  Even the gospel message was shared, so now I have to bite my tongue when it comes to complaining about that.  Next Sunday the kiddos will be presenting a Christmas pageant, and that’s always lots of fun.  I remember my participation in those when I was a child….the darkened sanctuary filled with doting relatives, the candlelight and spotlights, memorizing lines and the costumes we got to wear.  My two cousins and I sang “O Holy Night” one year…that was kinda scary, but we survived.  There was cocoa and cookies after the production, and we all went home with net stockings filled with hard candies, an orange, and nuts.   Wonderful memories.

Hubby and I celebrated an anniversary this past Friday.  Twenty-two years of wedded bliss!  We went out to the beach for dinner, and enjoyed the ride very much.  A huge full moon was lighting the way…very nice.  I guess there was a lunar eclipse that next morning, but we had cloud cover and didn’t get to see it. 

Have you seen the ads for the Dragon voice activation software…where you can talk and your computer types?  I am thinking I need to get me some of that!  However, I understand it is made for Windows 7 and I don’t have that yet.  So, with the next computer, I am getting that program.  Won’t it be fun to just sit and talk these posts….or letters…or whatever?  A friend who works in a doctor’s office says the doctors use it, and some hate it and some love it.  Their main complaint is that it doesn’t correctly spell or interpret all that medical terminology correctly.  I can understand that.  But for someone like me….it sounds like a really fun tool.


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It’s been almost a year since we left the church we’d been attending for the last 13 years.  You would think that it would be easy to walk out of one church and immediately find another one to call home, but that has not been the case.  We have currently “tried out” four churches, plus attended a couple others just one time.  Either I am too picky, or there really is something seriously lacking in the churches we’ve been. 

Church number one had a lot of good qualities.  The message was good, the gospel was explained, the music was singable.  But after 6 weeks, no one had really made an effort to engage us in conversation or acknowledge that we were even there.  It wasn’t a huge church, so that wasn’t the problem.  Everyone just seemed wrapped up in themselves and not interested in a newcomer.  When you are coming from an extremely friendly and outgoing church, this seemed like a major drawback.  So we moved on to church number two.

Church number two was a large congregation, had the most beautiful worship service before the sermon began, and there were people there that we knew, who were very welcoming.  The pastor and I got into a lively discussion on the church’s position on Israel (I am pro-Israel), and I decided I liked the man and maybe we could call this church home.  But week after week his sermons were so empty….the Bible was never opened, scriptures were never mentioned, there was no preaching of the gospel, the need for salvation, just happy little stories about this and that that were supposed to brighten our day and encourage us in our walk.  Fluff.  Mindless fluff. 

Church number three was of the same denomination that we left (the previous two weren’t).  It was shocking the first morning to walk in, find no one there, and that the 10:45 start time apparently meant 11:00 to those in the know….for by then 12 people had wandered in, and the service began.  Twelve people…and 6 of them were from the church we left…others looking for a new church home.  Believe it or not, we stuck it out there for a couple of months.  In spite of lack-luster preaching.  In spite of music that was led by the pastor’s wife, chosen by the pastor’s wife, and only known by the pastor’s wife.  She would pick the most obscure choruses and praise songs that no one had ever heard.  When asked why, she said she liked it.  Never mind that the 12 people in the congregation were aged 55 and up…except for one couple….and these older people were begging for some of the older hymns so that they could worship in song too.  She’d smile but wouldn’t agree to any changes.  After one particularly boring sermon, we decided to keep looking, and left. 

Church number four was extolled by several friends of ours who go there, and we’d visited from time to time in the past, so we’re giving it a go.  It’s a good-sized church, two morning worship services, lots of teenagers and kids, and some really good preaching.  What I’m hearing IS good….it’s what I’m NOT hearing that has me upset this week.  Because it just dawned on me that it was missing.  The salvation message.  When you’re saved already, I guess you don’t need it….but if you’re not….you don’t KNOW you need it, and if you’re not hearing it, how CAN you know?  In all the time we’ve been there, NOT ONCE has the pastor mentioned the need to confess that one is a sinner and is in need of the saving grace of Christ.  That’s what the gospel is about!  That’s why there are churches….no???  I called my dear friend Nancy (hi, Nancy!) who goes there, and told her my concerns.  She said she couldn’t recall a time when pastor presented it either….and she’s been going there almost 3 years.  THAT IS NOT RIGHT!!!  That is SO not right. 

I don’t know what we’re going to do now.  I intend to talk to the pastor about it….ask why he doesn’t present the gospel.  I can’t imagine what he’ll say….but I’m thinking the answer is not going to be satisfactory to me.  How can you defend NOT teaching salvation??  Is he just blind to the fact that he’s been neglecting this most important area of the Christian faith?

I tell my husband we need to find another church.  He just looks at me with these eyes that say, again?  Where?  And that’s a good question.  Where.  We don’t live in an area where there is a church on every corner.  Still, there are others out there that we can try.  There is a local church that meets on Saturday nights that is the same denomination as church number one.  Maybe the people there are friendlier….and maybe we could get used to going Saturday nights instead of Sunday mornings.   OR….there is a wonderful church (so everyone says), in the next town over, and we could give it a try.    A very dear friend of mine goes there, and I value and trust her opinion, and she says we would be very happy there.  It will mean a longer drive, but maybe that’s what it is going to take. 

I am being prayerful about it.  I would have thought by now that the Lord would have plopped us down in the place He wants us, for it’s not like we aren’t trying!  I know the right church is out there, and eventually we’ll find it.  In the Lord’s time.

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I must apologize for another post without any real content.  I am trying to keep to my 30 days/30 posts schedule, and almost forgot today.  It’s been one of those days where I’ve been busy since my feet hit the floor this morning.  I think it’s the gloriously beautiful weather that has me so motivated and up and running.  This is most unusual for November around here, and I am taking advantage of it.

The house smells good this evening.  Have a pan of pork chow mein on the stove.  Not something I make often, but we always enjoy it when I do.  Hubby called to say he is working late, so I may be eating my meal without him.   He also tells me that he has to work tomorrow (Saturday), so there go any plans we might have formulated over a leisurely breakfast.  Ah well….before you know it, his work will have pretty much shut down for the winter, and we’ll have more than enough free time on our hands.  I’m already makings lists of things to do and places to go!

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I love that it is 2011…I much prefer years that are oddly numbered.  Just a quirk I guess, preferring odd to even.  2010 wasn’t so bad, but I expect this year to be better.  It’s good that we have expectations and a positive outlook, dontcha think?

Resolutions?  Well, if I have any they are the same as always.  Wanting to eat better, and exercise more.  Yada yada yada.  I’d also like to be more organized with my quilting, and hopefully get more projects done.  I would LOVE to remind myself that if you want a Christmas wall hanging done in time for the holidays, you need to start in JUNE.  I get to October and wish that I had a cute fall table topper, or something cute for the kitchen wall, and it’s too late.  I need to remember that designers put their seasonal fabric lines out 6 months before the season.  Look for fall and Christmas-themed fabric in February. 

I have lots of unfinished quilt projects too.  Maybe this year is a good time to wrap those up.  Hubby continues to look for his quilt under the Christmas tree, and every year I have forgotten ALL ABOUT IT, and it remains unfinished in a box somewhere.  Maybe I can surprise him this year.  He’d really like that…..that, and a drill press.  Which he tells me when we are returning some stuff to Sears AFTER Christsmas.  For months before he hadn’t a clue what he wanted for Christmas, and so he got a gift card to his favorite store, Cabelas.  Well, they don’t sell drill presses…only sporting goods and camoflauge clothing (and really decent fudge).

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a feast of bubbly wine, shrimp and red pepper sushi, cream cheese, shrimp and cocktail sauce “dip” for crackers, and little artichoke spinach bread bowl appetizers.  To follow all this gluttony, I took home-made chicken noodle soup out for a late “supper.”   We managed to stay up til midnight, and slept in this morning.

January 1 is a beautiful day.  The sun is shining, it’s not as cold as it has been the last few days (a mere 33F), and we’re just lazing around and thinking about cleaning out all the storage closets before we strip all the holiday trimming down and pack it away.  I think that’s a noble idea.  Will it actually get done?  Stay tuned!

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NOVEMBER 20, 2010

Good morning!  It’s a foggy one here.  Or maybe just plain overcast with lots of rain in the future.  And cold.  We are supposed to get really cold weather this weekend, and maybe even snow at sea level come Monday.  Snow for Thanksgiving….wouldn’t be the first time.

Our church is having it’s big Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and I will be preparing candied yams and fresh cranberry sauce this afternoon before we run up to Olympia for the family November  Birthday Bash and Soup Party.  That’s always a fun time.  We have 5 family members with November birthdays ( and you know who you are!), ranging from 4 years to 54.  There will be 4 different pots of soup to choose from, and almost always include a taco soup, a chicken noodle soup, and a vegetable beef soup.  My nephew will bring something more exotic…like butternut with green curry paste, hazelnut butter, and coconut milk.  I’m bringing a cheesecake (thank you, Costco), and making a mixed berry compote to serve with.  Compote….it’s such an old-fashioned word, isn’t it?

To work off the cheesecake, a friend has given me her grandmother’s stationary bicycle.  Well, I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s mine for the taking.  She says it is a really nice one, with  resistance bars you pull for arm toning.  My research says that a bike like this is good exercise for my arthritic knees, and much better for them than using a treadmill…which they don’t encourage at all….and always causes swelling in my left knee. 

Are you ready for the holidays?  Because they’re here!!  We’ve done a bit of shopping.  Gift cards, and presents for the little ones.  I’ve GOT to get started on the fruitcake for my FIL.  Remind me to go pick up the rum. 

I think I will get hubby a GPS this year.  Maybe he’ll take me on a road trip if I do.

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