Saturday, November 28, 2009

8 Things


8 Things that have made this one of the best Thanksgivings ever

1. The excitement of having the college kids arriving home.

2. Going out to the movies with C and K. (The Blind Side, which we really enjoyed) It’s always nice to do things with just one or two, and it’s rare that it is C, K, and I.

3. C and my nephew making the road trip to Columbia to pick up S. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall to see all the fun that the three of them had.

4. The banter around the table on Wednesday night. For a moment I just mentally pulled away and watched the scene from a distance and it made me want to cry it was so sweet. The kids were just so so happy to be together and of course DH and I were happy as could be.

5. Our traditional Thanksgiving meal with our friends and family in the neighborhood. I think this is about the 13th year that we have eaten there at lunch time on Thanksgiving. There is always an interesting collection of folks. I think our neighbors started out doing it to host a place for a number of folks who didn’t have anywhere else to go, but we just elbowed our way up to the table and we have never left. They are able to set up one long table for all of us, even when there have been 35 or more of us. The food just never stops passing, each dish better than the last. The crowning touch is (for me) when the host brings out hot from the oven his persimmon pudding and starts slathering on the homemade whipped cream.

6. Gathering with our family for the dinner meal. My mother’s stewed tomatoes and stuffing and until recent years dumplings. Pure heaven! Last year was our first year without my dad, and the way we chose to honor him and not be so focused on our sadness was to do a family service project, and we continued that this year by all bringing toys to take for the santa shop at the Portland Center that Dad loved so much. The kids had so much fun in the toy department picking out the toys that they bought with their own money to contribute, and we all enjoyed seeing what we each brought.

7. I’ve loved being at home, anchoring the kitchen while the kids are in and out with friends and each other. When they leave on Sunday they will have a stash of homemade goodies to take to tide them over until Christmas.

8. Anticipation of an even longer time together for Christmas in a very few weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday Link Love

nutella swirly goodness.

So, my friend Suzanne was in Rome this week and in her blog entry made mention of having had Nutella Pie for dinner……and it really didn’t matter what else she said. Off I went on a search for a recipe. Who knew there is a World Nutella Day? I’m writing it in my calendar. February 5- see you there!

I sooooooo want a set of red shutters like these for my Christmas cards! I miss my “junking” days.

There are some fine looking cookie recipes in this Virtual Cookie Exchange.

My good friend Donna has introduced her 7 year old grandson to the world of blogging, and what a lovely perspective he brings! Check him out at Diary of a Coo Coo Kid. Be sure to leave a comment and tell him where you’re from.

The wonderful folks at Kind Over Matter have some nice printables. Check out their Thanksgiving fortune cookies while you’re there.

The one and only redeeming thing about my recent stay at the Dreamland Motel was that they had cable tv so I got to watch all of those fun shows on HGTV. I particularly like the one where they go and look at several houses and then make a choice. So, have a look here- which would you choose?

I always think of this Michael Feldman piece at Thanksgiving time.

If there is a lull in the conversation at your place tomorrow, maybe you would want to pull out this Thanksgiving Trivia game.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

StopMotion Retreat

My very cool friend Dan did a session at the retreat making a stop motion video which I think was pretty fun for the people in it AND for the people who watched it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Edit, Add, Appreciate


Edit-  This is a picture of my sweet church family.  You may not see any gaps, but a few of my very favorite family members are not in the picture.  Of course we can never find a date that works for everyone, but any one of us that doesn’t make it is sorely missed.

I always get a major case of melancholy as we pull away from the retreat.  The kids have grown used to me shedding a few tears as we leave the church retreat, as well as when we used to go to Barrren River ever year.  Like clockwork, we go.  But each time I pull away I am keenly aware of the possibility that it might be the last for any one  of us to be there, or for all of us to be there as we are now.  A lot can happen in a year.  Not all bad things either- I was keenly aware this year of how wounded and sad I was this time last year.  I’m also aware that as a family, this is our one “vacation” together each year, and I keep bracing myself for the year when one of my grown    kids won’t want to or not be able to come.   I will say that this seemingly maudlin perspective also serves to make me appreciate every moment of the times we do have there. 

Sooooo I’d like to take my editing tools tonight and photo shop in the friends who weren’t there, and I’d like to have one more year to look forward to.


Add-  I went to a session on mandala making this morning and now I really want to add mandala making  into my routine.

Appreciate-  My sweet DH and kiddos gave me a netbook for my birthday!  Yay!  It’s so cute.    It’s so helpful!  I loved being able to skype my mom at the usual time last night, just in a different location.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

8 Things

Since we are headed out in the morning for the annual church retreat, I am thinking tonight of 8 Things I Look Most Forward to At Retreat.

1.  This is something I used to look forward to- we have historically had a two night retreat that began on Friday evening.  I LOVED getting out there early before others arrive and getting settled in my room.  I loved laying on my bed with the door or the window cracked and listening to my friends arrive.  I loved every detail- the crunching of the gravel, the family jumping out excited to find out their room assignment, getting settled in their rooms.  I sort of visualized gathering them all in.  Due to financial constraints, we have to have a one night retreat, at least for a while.  Getting there early on a Saturday morning doesn’t appeal so much to me!

2.  My very precious friend Terri and her family come in from Mars Hill, NC most years.  Ours is the kind of friendship where she hops out of the car, we hug, and we pick up where we left off.  I always say that with a good friend like Terri,  we can go a year without talking to each other but when she gets out of the car we just pick up in the middle of the sentence we left dangling when we parted.  “ So then………”

3.  Alone time-  my kids scatter like the wind the moment we arrive.  I may catch  sight of them in the dining hall, but no real contact until they return to our room exhausted late at night.

4.  My rituals.  I always take some art supplies and make a little journal of some sorts for retreat and work on that in my room during free times.   I like to have soft music playing in the room at night, even when I go to sleep.

5.  Free time- We try to have a very loose schedule of things, and really do “retreat”.   Especially when the kids were younger, I loved knowing that I had this nice big chunk of time to take a nap confident that they were having a blast and were out of harms way.

6.  The talent show (and talent is not a prerequisite. ) There are generally a few really funny skits done by the adults, and then a showcase of talent by our kiddos –piano solos, jokes,    etc.

7.  Getting to know people better in such a relaxed place.

8.  The fire in the fireplace that burns from the time we arrive until we leave. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The prognosis is poor……

Thankfully, I have found a huge and amazing support group…..


by Sharon Olds

One Secret Thing) --

By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me,
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She’s doing it now! Look!
She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense
of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.

"Diagnosis" by Sharon Olds, from One Secret Thing. © Random House, Inc., 2009. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Wednesday Link Love

Something happened this week and I became paralyzed and just could not  put fingers to keys to update my blog or do much of anything but play Bejeweled and watch As The World Turns.  I’m back.  If anyone is even still checking my blog…….

So, first off, how about these Christmas trees from old felted sweaters?!  And I’d love to make an art kit in one of these cans for the service project our family is doing for Thanksgiving.

This looks simple enough…..

I think it would be great fun to do this with a friends, or a group of teens, or a Mother/Daughter get together.

How about this beautiful advent calendar?!

What fun! 

A good read for the upcoming holidays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cover your right eye…..


Oh, can’t we have some fun with this little custom eye chart maker!

This would POSSIBLY make me consider taking up coffee….

I run with a tough crowd.  There are a group of us who get together as often as we can make it happen and we call ourselves the Mean Moms.  I’m seeing some potential to do something fun for one of our rumbles with some of this.

Ohhhhhhh I love these journals!!

And I’ll leave you with two great reads- The first is a sweet word from our student intern at church…..

and the second is a wonderful essay written by my friend Suzanne about her dad who was every bit the great man that she says he was.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Edit, Add, Appreciate


Edit-  My old friend Faye called on Thursday night and we had such a nice time catching up.  For years, she and I talked every night at 11.  We were both single, both living in town.  After we married, DH was very respectful of that 11:00 standing phone call- he knew I was a better person for that time processing my day with Faye.  I’m not sure where it fell off- she moved to Nashville, I became a mom, she became a wife and then a grandmother, we converted over to email.  And emails are great, and amazing, and so fast and so available when I have a quick minute to jot a note……but nothing can compare with hearing the voice of a friend.   I need to make a point of hearing the sweet voices of friends who have been my touchstones over the years more often. 

Add-  Kashmir, Kashmir….where have you been all my life?  I’ve seen Kashmir a zillion times as it’s right in the middle of my primary routes to many things, but for some reason had never had a meal there.   I ate there last week for the first time, and then again today.   I’m not sure whether or not it’s great, or if it was just the wonderful company I was in each time, but it sure has seemed mighty great to me! Hoping to make more good memories there.

Appreciate-  S. was nominated for homecoming queen at her college, so I made the trek there to take her dress and be present when they announced who had made the court.  First of all, I thought since it was a beautiful day and I wasn’t pushed for time that I would take the scenic route.  It was a bit more scenic than I bargained for, and I got hopelessly lost in Marion County, as the road became more and more narrow and not a soul in sight.  I soooooo appreciated the great timing of a call from C.  Something about having him on the phone made me feel so much less alone, and I was struck with the sweetness of one of my children providing comfort to me. 

What should have been a two hour drive became four, but worth it because S was at the other end of the line.  I loved seeing her among her peers and the ease and poise she exhibits.  She was truly the prettiest girl there, and I’m pretty sure that even people who weren’t her mother thought so.  She was just happy to be there, and although she was not chosen, she was completely cool with that.  Her escort was the cutest boy there, I’m sure of that too.  He was kind and fun and they both made me feel so happy that I floated back to my motel.  (The motel…….another day, another story.)  

K stayed home to help DH sell the pottery that he and his clients made at an arts and crafts fair.  They work very well together, and I don’t work particularly well with either of them, so it was a truly good set-up.  I am sure though that there were many more fun things she could have been doing on her two days out of school. 

So, tonight my heart is full of love and admiration for the amazing big folks that my little ones have grown into.  I’m sort of crazy about those three!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday Link Love

Not sure why, but you’ve probably noticed that these beds built into the wall really call to me.  Hey…..I had a bed built into the wall as a teen.  Wonder if it’s some nostalgia thing? Anyway, cool farmhouse here.

I go back and forth between knitting and crocheting, and mostly it’s all about something to do with my hands and not about a finished product.  Come to think about it, what have I ever finished?  Well, if I DID finish something, there are a couple of things I would like that to be…….a rainbow scarf looks easy enough.  And then there’s this little cutie……

If you’re not counting Weight Watchers points and if you aren’t afraid of a little     butter, you might want to give these rolls  and this bread a try.

Try serving these cupcakes in the same meal…….

Continuing in the fattening food category, here’s a lovely substitute…..

And since it’s been at least a couple of weeks since I referenced this site, and since it made me laugh out loud……

This gave me a good chuckle too……

So,  I’d love to get together with a group of friends to make some of these.

I think I would like an adult sized  one of these  to go into to read a book .

And finally, how cute is Shelby in her Halloween costume?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Music Monday

Please tell me why Kina is not a full out star? I think she's just great!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Edit, Add, Appreciate

Edit-  Could it be Saturday morning again, please?  The whole day was so delicious, I’d like to have it one more time!  Time with a good friend over Indian food was just what my soul needed.  Book group with the best of the best and a good book to chat about.  Seeing This Is It with friends and family.  Oh, that dancing!  That singing!  Neighborhood kids trick or treating and taking the annual photos on my front porch.  A night with an extra hour!  Now, that’s what I call one great day.

Add-  What would I need to do to add some of those same elements into every Saturday? !  Must do!

Appreciate-  Today we celebrated All Saints Day, taking time to celebrate Saints of THE church, Saints of OUR church, and Saints who have passed on.  I was blessed to be asked to honor one of our church Saints, my friend and our church visionary Mike who has coaxed us away from the familiar on many occasions, and whose passion it is to bring hope into hopeless situations.  Thanks be to God for the Saints who forged our way, and the ones among us.  May we have eyes to recognize them.