Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thnapshot Thursday

I'm going to take you from the idyllic, serene and oh-so-utopian world of catalog pictures to my garden. 
(Read this post if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

My garden is where chaos reigns.

These are my weeds.

Some are blooming, making them prettier than the others but also more deadly, because this is how they multiply. 
Plus, when weeds bloom, this means they have
been around for a while.

This is my nemesis. It is taking over the yard.

I do enjoy the purple tones in the clover.

Now, I need to explain something. 

These weeds DRIVE ME CRAZY
But my husband?  Not so much. 

Oh, he notices them sometimes and he's definitely the one who pulls them up whenever I ask him to.  (I use my bad back for an excuse and it's still working so I'm sticking with it.)   I have never heard one word of complaint from him when I ask.   

But I hate asking - I really do. 

I was thinking, if we lived in a catalog...

Becky brought in samples of the weeds she wanted Jeff to remove and was thoughtful enough to label them!

Becky cleverly left an intricately handwoven with sustainable white vine garden tool basket in the middle of the entryway so she wouldn't have to ask Jeff to pull weeds.  He would simply kick the handsome but durable rattan basket every time he entered the house and it would serve
as an earth-friendly reminder.

Of course Becky kept an eclectic galvanized metal planter filled with Pellegrino, an expensive brand of lemonade and chipped ice on the terrace so Jeff wouldn't become dehydrated while working in the garden.

Ah-hem.  Back to R-E-A-L-I-T-Y.

I do have a lot to love in the backyard right now...

The hydrangea are absolutely stunning!

These two flowers are from the same plant.  The pink one is a cutting that I stuck in the ground in a different part of the yard.  The soil is more acidic where the blue one is planted and more alkaline for the pink one.  This amazes me.

Clematis reminds me of my mom.
Do you have any plants that bring back memories
of someone you love?

The dahlias are so happy and it tickles me that these were all moved at the wrong time of year, yet they've flourished.

The center of a rose is a miracle!

So, I wrote this post just like David wrote a psalm - honest whining at the start, turning to gratefulness and praise in the end.  But I have no one to blame for the Pottery Barn humor but myself!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Catalog Living

I have to admit to a strange fascination with catalogs.  Something about curling up with a cup of coffee and a new catalog just says "Relaxing."  I usually can't buy one single thing in them but I like to get ideas for decorating or simply drool over something I can't have.  Come on... you've done it too.

I found a website yesterday (via another blog, of course), that made me laugh out loud.  It's called Catalog Living.  The subtitle reads:

A look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs.

Molly Erdman, an L.A. based actor, writer and comedian has created an imaginary couple - Gary and Elaine - who live with their children in the pages of many of the catalogs we like to browse.  It sort of brings a shot of reality to the daydreams we might have about reproducing the beautiful, serene and very expensive lifestyles depicted at Pottery Barn or Ethan Allen. 

Here are a few examples...

Sure Gary’s out of town, but I’m perfectly capable of starting a fire in the fireplace by myself, thank you very much.

Not only are they super-cute, but ever since we installed these nets our household cases of malaria are down 75%!

Our entryway set-up is great! Now I never forget my hat, burlap satchel, or life preserver.

Last year at the 4th of July party, Karen shattered Gary’s ship-in-a-bottle. This year Gary felt it
appropriate to remind her.

While Gary and Elaine were in the kitchen getting popcorn, the brave yellow sweater attempted its escape.

If you go to Game Night at Gary and Elaine’s, you can count on playing at least a few rounds of Wood Fish.

Gary, we were having such a lovely afternoon with the Andersons until you decided you just had to
show off your string ball.

Gary got the idea from a parking lot in New York. Sure the kids get rope burns climbing into bed, but their upper-body strength is amazing.

Elaine finally found a place where Gary wouldn’t find her prized albino apples.

Gary Jr. painstakingly straightened his Star Wars figures after once again catching his dad playing with them.

Gary, I can tell you’re chewing something and I told you the mossballs are for our guests!

Gary, have you finished writing that song for me yet?
Gary? Gary?!?!?!

Okay, I'll stop.  But you really must go check out "Catalog Living" for yourself.  Only if you share my weird sense of humor, that is.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Day at the Stables

One thing my daughter Lisa is doing this summer, as she did last year as well, is volunteering at an awesome program for developmentally disabled young adults.  Michael's Place was created by a dad for his son and his peers as a way to provide meaningful work and to help them grow in self-esteem and confidence.  The 'kids' work with miniature horses, Shetland ponies and rescue horses - cleaning stalls, brushing and walking the horses, etc...  It has been such a blessing in Lisa's life - and in ours because Lisa is a fantastic sharer of stories.  These kids love Lisa and she's able to be an encouragement, a listening ear and give some practical help and guidance in their work. 

Last Saturday, Marvin had a potluck lunch and 'horse show' for all of the families represented so we got to tag along.  What a fun day and it made my heart swell with pride to see Lisa's interaction with the 'kids.' 

All of the guests sat on bales of hay at one end of the main arena and each participant walked a pony in front of us, brought them to a halt and had them stand in their 'show stance' (or whatever it's called!).  Then the awards were announced.

Stephanie won first place with her horse, Checkers!
Lisa handed her the blue ribbon.
The crowd cheered and Stephanie was elated!

What?  Another first place?
More wild clapping.
Do you see that rack of ribbons in the background?
A sign of things to come...

And another!

Then it was time for the obstacle course...

This was tricky as you had to walk your horse through the cones, between the rails, around a hoop and through a ladder on the ground.

This required a lot of concentration and remembering what came next.

The greatest part of it all was the reaction of those winners - HUGE smiles, bowing, waving to the crowd and posing for pictures with their ribbons.

Look Mom!!

I am just so impressed with this program!  The 'kids' are learning they can be productive and independent away from home.  They feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in working for a small salary while interacting with the horses and learning new skills.  I just love that Lisa has chosen to give her time to such a great program.  Kinda makes me proud.

A few random shots taken at the stables that day...

I'm probably living vicariously through Lisa - when I was growing up, there was nothing I'd rather have had than a horse of my own.  Nothing.

There were several babies - a few weeks old.

And I had to show you this one.
Do you see our dog Bonnie on the flank of that horse?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

If I'm honest...

You know those songs we sing at church about surrender? 

All I have is Yours.

Take all of me.

With one desire we come - that You would reign in us.

I offer this heart completely to You.

I surrender all.

Today I sort of choked on those words.  And it's not because I don't want them to be true of me.  It's because God has been urging me to be completely honest with Him. 

And if I'm honest...

I really have trouble surrendering. 
I like to be comfortable.
I like to get my way.
I'm all about being in control.
That is my M.O..
Standard operating procedure.

This picture of me - age 5 - sort of sums it up. 
(BTW, do you like that my zipper wasn't even zipped? 
I must have been having a B-A-D day.)

It's actually been a really good season for me.  I am - for perhaps the first time - realizing that I'm not who I've pretended to myself to be.  It's humbling to acknowledge you're a pharisee.  But it also means a whole new sense of hope about what God could do in me if I finally cooperate. 

Surrender brings hope because, if I'm honest, I don't do things very well on my own. 
My way is not the best way. 
I'm not wise enough, good enough or powerful enough to be in charge.

He is.

Lord, I'm going to trust in You and Your will
for me - not my own. 
Help me surrender.  Help me want to give You control. 
You love me more than I can comprehend. 
You are smart enough to know what's for my very best. 
You have the ability to do something I could never do - make me fulfilled and at peace. 
That's not going to ever happen because of me
getting my way.
Thank You that there's a way to live beyond myself.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You couldn't get more scatterbrained than this

Don't you love a good cliché?

These are the good old days.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

It's not the years in your life that count,
it's the life in your years.

Life is 10% what happens to you and
90% what you do with what happens to you.

Those are all good reminders and are probably all true.  But they all seem to center on ME. 

Much better are the verses I looked at this morning:

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over
a multitude of sins. 
1 Peter 4:7-8

There are no guarantees about having tomorrow. 
What if this is my last day on earth? 
All the worrying I do is a waste of time. 
How can I get my mind set on what God's concerned with?
What are His priorities? 

Loving people.  Pretty basic.  Also really hard sometimes. 
To love deeply costs me everything. 
It's completely unconditional. 
Doesn't matter how the other person responds - or even if they do.
Not always pretty or fun.

Above all.  More important than anything else. 
More important than my agenda, my time or my comfort.

Lord, help me love others deeply the way You love me - above all.


Here are a few things I found today on the world wide web...

16 minute meal - Mexican Flatbread Pizza
We can always use a good idea for summer meals! 
And this one looks like a winner.

Salad Party
Salads are the perfect summer dinner!

Banana Monkey Bars
Maybe BMB's are the perfect summer dessert?

Balloon Wreath
So cute... and you could reuse this for every family birthday!

Top 20 Unfortunate Lessons Girls Learn From Twilight
Here are the first three
(and I think you should read the rest):

•If a boy is aloof, stand-offish, ignores you or is just plain rude, it is because he is secretly in love with you — and you are the point of his existence.

•Secrets are good — especially life-threatening ones.

•It’s OK for a potential romantic interest to be dimwitted, violent and vengeful — as long as he has great abs.


And that ends my random post full of unrelated stuff.
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