Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Off the top of my head

  • Have you noticed a new strategy being employed by door-to-door sales people?  Twice in the last month, we’ve had a knock on our door that sounded like
    tap tap taptap tap” 
    – you know, the way a family member might give a friendly greeting before they walk in.  If we don’t answer right away, they proceed to ring the doorbell several times in succession – another sign of someone who knows you, right?  I fell for it once and was surprised to see a guy on the porch selling windows.  Today it happened again – the happy knocking and the bell ringing.  I made myself wait to see who walked away and sure enough, two strangers who probably wanted me to buy steaks from their truck parked down the street.  I never buy anything from someone selling door-to-door and I almost never answer the door to sales people… unless they trick me into it.
  • We’ve had so much rain lately that the peonies are either rotting or laying on the ground.  I could almost cry.  I wait for these beauties all spring.  I did save quite a few, though.  I ran outside during a break in the clouds…

It’s hard to be a peony in Oregon.

  • One of my friends (who is in her late 70’s) and I were talking over lunch recently about perspective.  She whipped out a piece of paper from her purse and made a mark in the center with her pen. 
    She asked me, “What do you see?”
white paper
       ”A black dot.”
       Then she said, “Isn’t it interesting that nobody ever says ‘A white
       space’?  I am definitely one who sees the black dot in my
       circumstances and I want to start seeing the white spaces more.
       I pinned the slip of paper to my bulletin board to remind me.  
       Nothing quite like getting a slap upside the head from a good friend.

  • The older I get, the more I talk to myself when I’m alone.
    What happens when I start doing it when I’m not alone?  Help me.

  • It’s almost berry season… just FYI!

  • Posts written off the top of my head could use some inspiration... just FYI!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


In my never-ending search for fun stuff to do when my two nieces come to stay with me (that is, until they’re teenagers who want nothing to do with their old auntie and only want to text their friends), I found a great project that is simple, inexpensive and fairly un-messy (unlike this one we did last fall). 

Gak HaveACupWithMe

To make Gak, all you need is
  • Two 4 oz bottles of Elmer’s glue
  • 1 tsp Borax (found in laundry detergent section)
  • food coloring

Have your two nieces pour the glue into a large bowl.  I'm pretty sure it is impossible for kids not to get glue on their hands when they do this but I'm not sure why.  Then they can fill the empty glue bottles with warm water and shake them (tops on first!!).  Empty the glue-y water into the same bowl. 

Add some food coloring.  (Don’t argue about which color.)

Use lots of color for a brighter result.  I’ve read that neon colors are really fun to use but I didn’t have any of those.  Stir this up and set it aside.

Next, thoroughly dissolve 1 tsp of Borax into ½ cup of warm water.  Pour the warm water/Borax mixture into the glue and start stirring.  This is when the magic happens!



It becomes stringy almost instantly, which is very fun to watch!

Keep mixing using your hands and squishing it around.  After a few minutes of this most excellent fun, it will become firm and a perfect consistency to play with!

This can provide hours of fun (or minutes depending on age)!

A few side notes:  The gak does leave something on your hands – not gluey but just needs to be washed off when you’re done playing.  I had the girls play with it on the counter and in the bowl.  And someone did get some on their t-shirt… I couldn’t scrape it off but with a little Dawn treatment, it washed right out.  I also wouldn’t use gak with kids under 5 in case they just had to taste it.  I don’t know what Elmer’s would do in your tummy but it’s not worth the risk.

This was a really big hit with these 9 and 10 year olds! 


Gak.  Make some soon!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Need a smile?

I thought so!

erik johansson photography1

When you see a typo in the worship music lyrics
I wish I couldn’t relate to this at all.

A Public Service Announcement
One glance up her little nostril and I knew we were in trouble.

And this one made my day...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Phone Photos

Here is a very random assortment of pics found on my phone today, in no particular order, which tell the story of my life…

Have you seen these in the dollar bin at Tarjay?  They make great ‘props’ for a photographer in Ethiopia to use to get babies to look at him and smile for a picture instead of burst into tears because he has a strange white face!  They light up and blink when you shake them and they’re made of that squishy rubbery stuff that’s fun to play with.  I had a terrible time getting them all to light up at the same time for this picture.  As soon as three were blinking and I shook the fourth, one would stop or fall over.  It was like trying to get four kids to look at the camera and not tussle with each other!  Just look at those mischievous expressions.

This is an envelope stuffed with old tubes of paint.  I found it in a box of my mom’s art supplies.  It’s a perfect example of how utterly organized and funny my mom was.  But the question remains: why did she save the ones that wouldn’t open?

A favorite necklace my oldest gave me on another Mother’s Day.

A beautiful lattè.

These are some cinnamon buns we made with my nieces a few weeks ago.  And below is the art project we did… 3D handprints.  Very cool and super easy!  Directions here.


Snapped a photo to send to our youngest of one of our favorite games to play when she’s home, letting her know that we were missing her.  I think I just made her more homesick.

Taken at my friend’s cabin in Washington a few months ago.  Sigh.  Wish I was there right now, don’t you?

I hope you had a good Mother’s Day.  Mine was without any of my girls at home (boo hoo) but they each called and I got some sweet cards in the mail.  I don’t think there is anything I appreciate more than a note written by my kids.  We had Jeff’s mom over for a yummy dinner that Jeff made.  And he spoiled me with beautiful flowers and some bamboo boxes I’ve been wanting for organizing – so happy!

And there you have it.  My life.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


If you are a mother, I hope this weekend is full of expressions of love and thanks for all you are as a mother.  But even if it’s not, I hope you make it a day of thanksgiving.  I ache for the women who long to be mothers and have a difficult time facing this holiday.  For those who feel like they have failed at being a good mother.  For those who grieve the loss of a mother or a child.  If that is you, join me in going right to God and get what He is so ready to give us - His mercy and His help.  Hebrews 4:16 

Here are some links that I hope you enjoy, including two from right here…

The photos on this first one are priceless!

Some things I have learned about being a Mom
* dark colored boys’ underwear is your friend.

Avoiding Disappointment This Mother’s Day
Commercials tell us that we’ll get flowers, and chocolates, and pampering, and kisses.  But what if we don’t?  What if we wake up on Mother’s Day and no one is whispering at us to stay in bed so that we can await our breakfast? What if people are yelling about, “what is there to eat?”, and “where’s my other shoe?”, and “Johnny’s bugging me.”

Mother's Day for the Brokenhearted
This Sunday we will see women who are suffering because they have not been able to become mothers and there is severe aching in their hearts. What we may not see are the women who have children in prison, those who are walking the long journey of mental illness by their children’s sides, and mothers in the midst of painful struggles with children who have rejected the family, or forsaken the faith they once held dear.

To be a mother means having your heart stretched beyond what you think is possible.  It’s facing up to your short-comings, finding out you know nothingand leaning heavily on God’s grace. 

Learned from my mom
There are many things I learned from my mom - mostly by example rather than words.  I've spent the last few days trying to make a list (in no particular order of importance) of some of these bits of her legacy to me.

Why Mothers Cannot Give Up
We are amateurs in this teen mother-daugther world, she and I. We are learning how to dance through hormonal highs and lows, clothing battles, friendship heartaches and messy rooms. It’s not easy.

Tear-Stained Words of a Mother
@onethankful mom
When a family member has cancer, people surround you with love, they bring meals, send flowers, set up websites to assist you; they do anything to show they care. When your family member suffers from mental illness, no one brings you meals, or flowers or sets up websites to support you; they just stop talking about your son and they never mention his illness.

The Mystique of Older Motherhood or What A Crock
Sometimes y’all? The word Mom is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.  It tickles my ears like no music ever has. I remember how I longed and yearned to be called Mom for so long and it makes my heart melt like a popsicle on a summer day.  But then other times, after a long day, ‘Mom’ is the last word I want to hear.

And because I'm thinking lots about a precious baby on the way...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My adolescent hanging baskets

I do love a pretty hanging flower pot.  Does your town have hanging baskets along its main streets in the summer?  Ours does and they are so beautiful.

I’ve shared before about the hanging pots I bought with holes for planting flower starts.  I confessed that I almost killed the first batch I inserted a few years ago because I crammed them into the holes roots-first.  I am much wiser now and carefully wrapped the part above the dirt in a paper cone, then inserted it through the hole from the inside.  I'd recommend that plan instead of the mashing technique.

When you make hanging baskets this way, you’re in for an ugly season until they fill out and cover the entire pot.  It's kind of like that awkward phase when I was 13, mortified about my freckles and the space between my front teeth.  Of course it didn't help that most of my best friends were teeny little things under 5' tall and I felt like the Jolly Green Giant walking down the hall of my junior high school.  A giant with freckles and that space.


Poor thing.  You can try to tell it that one day this stage will pass and it will look radiant but it won't believe you.  It will be too self-absorbed and focused on those ugly spaces that don't have flowers in them because the gardener was too cheap to buy that many. (There are 29 holes in each pot... that's 58 plants if you filled each one!  Plus you won't even see these blank spots in a few weeks. There, now that I've explained myself I don't feel so cheap.)

I’m sure if you had a greenhouse and started them much earlier in the year, you could avoid this look.


But since I don’t have a greenhouse and since I spent the money on these pots, we're hanging them on the back patio until they fluff out a little bit. Then I (by which of course I mean Jeff) will move them up onto the deck where we see them every day.


I wanted to keep a list of the plants I used this year… this is more for me than for you because I’ll know right where to look at planting time next year.
  1. bidens – Aloha yellow
  2. calibrachoa – (Million Bells) double magenta
  3. helichrysum – (Licorice vine)
  4. brachyscome – (Rock daisy) blue-purple
  5. wave petunia – purple and pink
  6. bacopa – white trailing
  7. lobelia – blue trailing

These pictures were taken a week ago, right after the pots were planted.  The poor things are drooping and in shock at being wrapped in paper and shoved through a little hole.  


You can see how my handy husband has a drip system for the pots.

After only a week, the plants have perked up and are turning their faces upward instead of hanging pitifully.



With a little Miracle Gro and these warm spring temps, it won’t be long at all before…

No more ugly!  No more comparisons to the other hanging pots.  No more worry about where to stand at the sock hop.

PS.  I am already trying to decide if I’ll do these next year.  If I factor in the soil and the number of plants I have to buy, I might be ahead in buying an already full and blooming hanging basket. 

I might be past the teen-aged mothering stage.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On my nightstand

I know I need to write something here because my last post has the word ‘Sunday’ in it, which makes it glaringly obvious that it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  A good blogger I am not.

I am a good reader and I just finished a couple of books…

Have you read this series?  This one, the third in the political thriller trilogy, came out recently and I’ve been on the library wait list until it came in for me this week.  It’s fiction but based on biblical prophecy.  Each of Rosenberg’s novels eerily match up with what’s happening in our world, though they were written prior to those events.  Start with the first in the series, though! 

This book won’t interest too many but I saw that this man lived through the period of Ethiopia’s history in the 1970’s and 80’s when civil war, famine and mass executions were widespread in that country.  {I remember first hearing of Ethiopia on TV when I was a teenager.   We often saw pictures of skin-and-bones children, covered in flies, with appeals to send relief money to help those starving people across the world.  I am really beyond amazed that God has called us to be working there.  It’s incredibly humbling and makes me know God is completely and wildly unpredictable!}  Our in-country staff have all lived through this tumultuous and dangerous period.  Although I still don’t understand all the factors that created that horrible situation, I learned a lot reading this book.

There are times when you really appreciate learning something.

Then there are times when you just want to be taken away.  So coming up next…

I read this description and thought it sounded just right:  “Miss Julia, a recently bereaved and newly wealthy widow, is only slightly bemused when a woman appears at her door with a youngster in tow and unceremoniously announces that the child is the son of Miss Julia's late husband. Suddenly, this longtime church member and pillar of her small Southern community finds herself in the center of an unseemly scandal - and the guardian of a wan nine-year-old whose mere presence turns her life upside down.  Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last.”

No recommendation, though, until I’ve read it!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday gratitude


Today I am thankful for…

  • daylight before I wake up
  • the auto-timer on my coffee maker
  • a reminder to look for the good (a grocery clerk who I noticed was suffering from terrible allergies who sincerely said with a smile, “But it’s only my nose, my eyes and my throat!”)
  • a husband who does so much for me, even if I’m bossy
  • the power of a kind word

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A good TIME

Last weekend I got to go to Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live event in Eugene, OR with my jubilee sisters.  (note to self: I need to write a post all about us.)  It was held on campus at the University of Oregon in the fairly new Matthew Knight Arena (because I think Nike owns UO).  The LPL events take place on Friday night through Saturday noon and there were 7300 women at this one.  I think this was my fourth LPL.


This is a blurry picture taken with my phone (but without my glasses on so I could tell if it was in focus or not).  Friday night we sat in seats that made you feel like you were perched on the edge of a cliff when you stood up.  We thought this was way high – little did we know that the next day we’d be sitting in those empty seats up in the upper left of this photo at the approximately 10,000 foot elevation level. 


Hotel space in Eugene was at a premium – partly because of this event and partly because there was also a marathon on campus that weekend.  So Karen found a house on VRBO that was actually cheaper to rent for one night than a hotel room!  It was a little two-bedroom that worked out just perfectly.  Except that the hide-a-bed I slept on felt like there was nothing but a wash cloth between me and the metal frame.  But for one night?  I can do it.

Saturday morning we got a late start and ended up having to pay to park in the structure under the arena.  We dropped Liane off to get seats (she’s the one who found the prime seats in the clouds) and got in line to enter the parking lot.  Then something really cool happened.  The attendant taking our $10 said that she couldn’t believe it but someone in the line ahead of us had paid for the person’s tab behind them and that everyone following had also paid it forward.  I loved that this made a big impression on this woman in an orange vest who probably deals with all kinds of folks – maybe she’ll think about the women who came to see someone called Beth Moore and find out what it was all about.  Or now that I think about it, I’m sure someone probably told her.

So we paid for the person behind us, parked and found Liane’s phone laying on the back seat - the phone she was going to use to let us know where she found seats.  But she was very resourceful (as she always is) and borrowed some kind person’s phone to call us.  Isn’t it amazing that she has my cell # memorized?  I don’t even know what my cell # is. 

Karen and I decided to take the stairs because we could use the exercise.  We only had to rope up twice and use the ice ax once but we finally found Liane. 

Being very careful to hold hands when we stood up to sing, we had a bird’s-eye view of everything and everyone.  Beth never made it up to our section (as she did in 2009) but I loved so many things about this event.

The theme of the weekend was ‘Time’ and it was a truly thought-provoking series for me.  I know you kind of had to be there to get the real impact but, in a nutshell, she reminded us that time is not running out for us who know Christ but time is coming.  He is returning.  There are certain affixed times that only God can appoint or change (sabbath is one, the day we are born and the day we die, the day Christ returns).  Then there are 'apportioned' times - time God gives us to use as we choose.  God has given us the days and hours we have and we are to use them for His purposes.  To redeem the time - make the most of every opportunity we have.  There are seasons in our lives (Eccl 3 - a time to sow, a time to reap) and we were encouraged to discover what season we're in.  Are there things we need to 'kill'?  Sin that needs to be crucified?  Are we in a season of healing?  And perhaps the most mind-blowing of all... time is one day going to end.  God started time 'in the beginning' and time will end when Christ returns.  So what am I doing with the time He's given me?

That’s a really lame description of a very impacting message series.  I came away knowing that I need to look at my time differently.


There is an outlet mall on the way back to Portland and Liane dragged me into the Gymboree store where these precious little items were calling out to me.  My first Grammy purchases.  {grin}

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lotsa Links

Happy May Day!  I hope you either receive a bouquet as a gift or buy/cut one for yourself.  Either way, be sure to celebrate May with flowers!

lotsa links

This is certainly a wild assortment of topics, issues and fun stuff too…

How to make sure you SEE all the Facebook Pages you like
Have you wondered what has happened to all the pages/blogs/brands you have “LIKED” on Facebook – but are no longer seeing them in your feed stream?

9 Reasons You Can Face Anything
The natural, fallen response to hearing we aren’t the ones in control is to white-knuckle our will and refuse to bow. Humans tend to like the idea that we are the captains of our own destinies.

The Socially Acceptable Sin
Most Christians today like to say that all sins are “equal” in the eyes of God, that there is no scale of less or worse sins, that a white lie or a homicide alike would have been enough to require Christ to die on the cross. We say this in theory, but in practice, we know that a white lie won’t get you kicked off the church leadership team. And a homicide likely will… There’s one sin in particular that has pervaded our society and churches so silently we hardly give it a second thought.

Let the Game Changer Change the Game
Okay, friends, today I’m really getting bare here and showing you the beginnings of a pretty intense process. I’m doing it because I feel like some of you may need to join me in it, so here goes …

On School Shooters
My junior year in high school, I was caught with a loaded, stolen handgun on school property at my school in East Tennessee.

10 Famous Tree Tunnels
A tree tunnel is a road, lane or track where the trees on each side form a more or less continuous canopy overhead, giving the effect of a tunnel. The effect may be achieved in a formal avenue lined with trees or in a more rural setting with randomly placed trees on each side of the route.

10 Tips For Taking Better Photos With Your Smartphone
There’s a large contingent of photo enthusiasts online who will dismiss a photo straight away if they find out it was taken with a smartphone.  We think everyone should have a dedicated camera, but a good photo is a good photo, regardless of the gear used to take it… Here are some things to keep in mind when firing up the photo app on your iPhone, Droid, Lumia or whatever.
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