It’s All There In Black and White . . .

November 19, 2008


. . . and, in the case of these pictures, sometimes in sepia too.

Some pictures from the trip had interesting lines going on in them that I liked best as black and white or sepia.






I like my new “favorite” in sepia tones too.


 We make faith so complicated sometimes.  But, if we faithfully study the word of God, it’s all there in black and white too. 

He said it.  I believe it.  Amen

One Photo Was Worth 356 Tries

November 17, 2008


I took 356 pictures on our trip to Tulsa.  Lots of them were throw aways, but I got some that weren’t too bad so I’ll share them on posts later.

Ah, but there was one picture.  One picture out of 356 that is my favorite, and made all the picture-taking worth it for me.  I hope you like it too.

Man In The Clouds seems like an appropriate title for it.




In case you wonder how “I did that.”  I didn’t.  It was an accident.  This is the original picture.


I was taking pictures of clouds, as I like to do.  And, one of the problems of taking pictures from inside a car is that sometimes I get a reflection off the window I’m taking the picture through of things inside the car.  So, when I got home and was editing the pictures, the first thing I thought about this one was, “Shoot, I got a reflection.”  Hubby’s reflection in the window had “spoiled” the cloud picture.  Then, it occurred to me that that reflection might be the best part of the picture!  So, I cropped it to just that and enhanced the color a little.  And got a picture I love.

I’ve come to believe that photography, for me, is a combination of opportunity, luck, fresh batteries and the law of averages — the more pictures I take the more chance I have of getting a good one!

Want to Be Part of a Christmas “Walk?”

November 17, 2008



I have participated in and also been just a viewer in many Christmas home tours or “walks” over the years, and they fascinate me.  It is so much fun to see how others have decorated their homes. 

But now there is an opportunity to tour homes decorated for Christmas — on your computer.  How cool is that!  Unlike “real” tours, you don’t have to commit a Saturday during the season that you are busiest.  Instead, you can just “visit” a few homes whenever you have time.  It doesn’t get any more convenient than that.  

For the last two years, Boomama has hosted an internet Christmas home tour.  I really enjoyed looking at many of the homes last year, and this year I plan to actually participate.

So, go here, and read about it, and maybe you’ll want to participate too!

Is Today Like Any Other Day?

November 16, 2008


I had a little bit of a scare yesterday.  Hubby started getting some bumps on his face yesterday morning that we were pretty sure were hives.  For most of the day, although they were gradually getting worse, we kept thinking the Benedryl he was taking would kick in at some point, and they’d start going away.  But in the evening it seemed like they were getting worse more quickly, and by midnight he was swollen all over — even his ears — and his eyes were in danger of swelling shut.  I kept asking him if he was having any trouble swallowing or breathing, but he said he never did.  Thank you God for that.  But, at midnight he had to decide whether to go th bed or go to the Emergency Room to see what exactly was going on and if they could give him some relief (besides the discomfort of the swelling, the hives itched like crazy).  So, we decided it was prudent to go to the Emergency Room, because, frankly, the swelling had gotten so bad that I was afraid for him to go to bed, for fear the swelling would hamper his breathing while he was sleeping! (Side note: Yes, he did insist that he could drive to the hospital.  It’s such a guy thing.) 

Long story short, the doctor at the ER said that the antibiotic (amoxicillin) that Hubby had been taking for the last week for his cold/flu/whatever had caused the hives.  In fact, she said that antibiotics are one of the most frequent causes of hives!  Who knew?  They gave him a 10-minute IV and we could actually see the hives getting better before we left the hospital.  This morning he is 99% better, with just a little swelling left under his eyes.  He just has to take a couple prescriptions for the next few days to finish off the treatment.  Thank you, God.

100_1125 Hubby a few months ago when he didn’t have hives!

Even when an event like this is as minor as this one turned out to be, it reminds us how quickly a happy, healthy life can change.  It also reminded me of an e-mail I received from a blogging friend a few days ago.  In it she told me about the serious illness of a man who is very dear to her. 

“Last week he suffered a massive stroke in his brain stem which caused a rare condition called Locked-in Syndrome. He is paralyzed from the neck down, but his mind is fully functioning. He can communicate with his eyes. Sandra, he’s the smartest man I know and to think of him in this condition is heartbreaking for all who know him. I don’t mean to burden you with this sadness, but I know you, like me, believe in the power of prayer and in miracles. If you could say a prayer for him, I’d be so grateful.”

” Give your husband a big hug just as soon as you see him next. One thing I’ve learned from this situation is that life can change in an instant. We mustn’t take anyone for granted.”
I am sharing my friend’s message in hopes that you will say a prayer for her and her friend too, and also so that her healt-felt words will remind us all to appreciate the relationships around us each day.
We can learn from our yesterdays, but we can’t relive them. 
We can plan for and pray about our tomorrows, but we can only live them when they become “today.”
This is a day like no other.  It is the only one we can live.  
May God grant us His grace and faith and humor and love to make TODAY the best it can be.  And give us peace that He will guide our tomorrows.

Two Milestones in Tulsa

November 15, 2008


We had a great time with Gunny’s family in Tulsa last weekend, and there were two milestones to celebrate.

First, it was Nikki’s 15th birthday. 

Let me just insert here that I have always loved red hair, so I think it’s wonderful that each of our children has one redheaded daughter — Gunny’s Nikki and DD’s Coco.  And I’m sure the girls would want me to say, “Redheads rock!”  Here’s a picture I took of the two of them a year ago last summer.  I believe that’s their Charlie’s Angel pose.  I think it’s interesting that when Nikki was little, her hair was very, very light red — more of a strawberry blonde.  And, Coco, had very, very dark red hair when she was little.  But now, one has darkened, one has lightened, and they have hair that is very similar in color!

100_0797 Coco and Nikki striking a pose.

But, I digress.  Here’s Nikki with the birthday cake I took to her.  You’ll notice I kept the picture focused on Nikki and hardly at all on the cake.  That’s because while the fudge cake I make is, in my estimation, the best recipe for chocolate cake ever, this one’s “looks” suffered from being transported.  Luckily, that didn’t hurt the taste!


And the other milestone, was that for the first time, one of our grandchildren is taller than me!


Jay will turn 14 in January, and he is about 2 inches taller than my 5’7″, and way taller than Nikki.  Hard to believe that Nikki is 15 months older, isn’t it?  But, that doesn’t bother her.  She loves her brother and can still verbally cut him down to size, if necessary! 

Congratulations Nikki and Jay!  To Nikki for being “old” and to Jay for being “tall.”  I love you both, and Grandpa and I both really enjoyed the time we got to spend with you last weekend! (and, of course, with your Mom and Dad too — just in case they’re reading this!)

Love, Nana

If You Hate Green Bean Casserole . . .

November 15, 2008


. . . then here are a couple of vegetable dishes that you might like for Thanksgiving.

This was inspired by a blogging friend who said she finds the traditional green bean casserole gross.  Hope you like one of these, friend!

 Baked Broccoli

2 (10 oz.) boxes frozen chopped broccoli, cooked as directed

6 eggs, slight beaten

24 oz. small curd cottage cheese

6 T. flour

1 stick butter, softened

8 oz. grated cheddar cheese

While broccoli is cooking, mix together other ingredients.  When broccoli is done, add it to the mixture.  Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges.

 Bohemian Salad

Use a large bowl for this.  It makes a bunch.

Combine 1 can each:   corn, drained (white shoepeg, if available)

                                    baby peas, drained

                                    red beans, drained and rinsed

Plus 1 cup each:          chopped celery


                                    red or green bell pepper

Plus 2 cups each:        cauliflower


For dressing, bring to a boil: 1 C. sugar, ½ C. vegetable oil, ½ C. vinegar, ½ t. salt, ½ t. pepper, ½ t. celery seed

Pour dressing over vegetables.  Refrigerate.  Will keep in frig. for approx. two weeks, or can be frozen.

Quilting is Just One Little Letter Away from Quitting!

November 13, 2008


I tried quilting one time and it didn’t work out very well.  But, something has happened recently to renew my interest in the subject, and possibly help me to go from being a quitter to a quilter!

Quilting — what a big subject.  And one I don’t claim to know alot about, but here’s what I do know about the subject.

There are many Amish in this area, and quilting is something that is done by all Amish women.  I was told one time that an Amish girl needed to complete 13 quilts before she married.  When I heard that, my first reaction was, “I’d definitely be a spinster if I were Amish.”  Another interesting tidbit I’ve heard about Amish quilters is that sometimes they will purposely make a small mistake in one square.  It is called a “humility square.”  Now that I could buy into!  I feel confident I could make the humblest quilt of them all.

There are lots of kinds of quilts.

There are the most traditional quilts, that depend on creative material selections and variations of traditional patterns for their beauty.

And there are the fairly new “artistic” quilts that look like a field of flowers or a stained glass window or ocean waves.  They are truly works of art.

And there are cross-stitched quilts.

My mother-in-law enjoyed making cross-stitch quilts.  She came from a long line of quilters.  In fact, maybe because we lived in a rural farm community, many women there, especially the older ones, quilted.

When we were young marrieds, Hubby’s mom decided to make a quilt for each of her children and their spouses, maybe hoping to inspire us younger women in her family to become quilters.  She started from oldest to the youngest of her five children.  When it was your turn, the daughter or daughter-in-law, would select a pattern and size for a cross-stitch quilt from a pattern book.  Mom would order the pattern and then make the cross-stitch quilt top.  When she had completed it, she would baste it to the filling and backing and set it up in the quilting rack in the “front room” (a seldom used parlor) in the farm house.  Then she would invite all of the daughters and daughters-in-law over (for as many evenings as it took to complete it) to help her quilt it.  I think it was a wonderful idea because that way we each had a quilt that not only she had made, but also that all of our sisters-in-law had helped quilt.  Here is the one she made for us.  Lots of loving stitches went into that quilt.  A wonderful reminder of her whenever I look at it. 


After Mom passed away and some of her things were divided among us, this next quilt was one that was given to me because my sisters-in-law knew that I had always had a special fondness for it.  They are nice like that.  It is still one of my favorite keepsakes. 


Hubby’s older sister had a friend named Ardis when she was growing up.  Ardis was an only child and lived in town, so she loved coming to the farm to visit, where there was always something interesting going on, especially since Sis had three younger brothers.

During Ardis’ many years of visiting the farm, she became interested in Mom’s quilting, and asked Mom to teach her.  Now, Mom was a very humble lady and I can just imagine that she probably told Ardis that she wasn’t really that good a quilter and that Ardis could probably find a better teacher, because that’s just the way Mom was.  But, in reality, Mom must have done a pretty good job as a teacher, because Ardis, all these many decades later, is a well-known and award-winning quilter and has taught quilting classes for many years.  After Ardis became an accomplished quilter, Mom was actually the one who told me that it was she who first taught Ardis to quilt.  So, I think that even my very humble mother-in-law felt a little pride in Ardis’ quilting accomplishments.

So it was only natural that about 15 years ago, when I decided that I would like to try quilting, I signed up for one of Ardis’ classes.  It was a class designed for the novice, so the goal was to make a lap quilt, done in small sections and all by hand.  The only real “equipment” you needed was a hoop you could hold in your lap to quilt your squares.  We made an individual square each week, and then in the end we would sew them together to make the lap quilt — in theory.

The kind of quilts we made in Ardis’ class were appliqued quilts.

I loved picking out the materials.  Because Mama loved to sew, I had spent alot of time in fabric stores, and had really developed a love of beautiful fabrics.  And, cutting out the different fabric pieces and sewing them together wasn’t bad, in fact that was kind of fun too.  But, when it came to the quilting, I found out that I was a “nervous quilter.”  When the other students and I would return to class with the square that we had made that week, all the other squares were nice and flat, while mine were “puckery.”  Ardis told me I had to relax and not pull my stitches so tight, but I never was able to relax enough to make my squares lay as flat as the other’s did.  So, I have to admit, even though physically I completed the class, I mentally quit before the class was over.  I decided quilting just wasn’t for me, and the quilt pieces and all the quilting “stuff” ended up in a box in the attic.

Here are the pieces that I’ve kept all these years from that class.  They are in varying stages of “doneness.”  


But, now I live next door to the multi-talented Belinda!  When she came over to help me learn how to use my sewing machine, and the conversation turned to quilting, I told her I had these squares, although, at the time, I couldn’t remember exactly where they were.  And, she told me that she would help me finish my quilt!  Yahoo!  One-on-one instruction!  It is sooo much easier, in my experience, to learn anything, if you have someone who is willing to take you on as a “project” and I think that’s how Belinda sees me and quilting!  So, after the first of the year, I’ll present myself at Belinda’s door with my little squares, and see if she can help me complete this quilt.

It would be great if Belinda could help me go from quitting to quilting Hubby’s mom would have been so happy.  And, let me just say, I’m pretty sure Ardis would be realllly surprised!


Things You Don’t See Any More

November 12, 2008


While going through a box of old photos this morning, looking for a picture to go with the quilting post I’m writing, I came across this picture that Hubby took in the 70’s on the family farm.  


When I saw this picture, I was so glad to have this record of haystacks, since they are now a thing of the past. 

I saw lots of the rolls of hay that are the haystack’s replacement on our trip to Tulsa, but I don’t think I took even one picture of them, because, well, they just aren’t “pretty” like haystacks were.  It just doesn’t have the same ring to it to say, “It’s like finding a needle in a hay roll.” does it?

So, I guess haystacks are just a pleasant memory.  Which brings to mind some “just a memory” jobs too:  soda jerks who made us fountain cherry cokes to go with our french fries that we drenched in catsup; gas station attendants who happily filled our gas tank, washed our windshield and checked our oil without ever expecting a tip; pin boys who sat on a perch above the bowling pins and jumped down and re-set the pins manually; and the guy who came door-to-door with a pony and took pictures of us city kids sitting on the pony’s saddle, wearing the cowboy hat and chaps he supplied!  Ah, for the old days.

p.s.  I took lots of pictures out of the window of a speeding car (although never more than 5 miles over the speed limit) on our trip to Oklahoma last weekend.  But, I have no idea if I got any good ones.  If you never hear about them again, you’ll know I didn’t!

So, next up will be, “Quilting is Just A Few Letters Away From Quitting” 

Don’t turn that dial!

A Resourceful Child

November 6, 2008


Note: We are leaving this morning for Tulsa to spend a long weekend with Gunny’s family.  I won’t be posting again until Tuesday.  May God keep you safe, until we meet again. 

I went back to work when my youngest, DD, started school.  It started out as a part-time job, so that Hubby could quit the part-time job he was working, in addition to his full-time job as a police officer.  But, one thing led to another and I ended up with a full-time job.   

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was part of a huge movement of mother’s going back to work.  In retrospect, I second guess whether that was the right decision.  It did work fine for our family, but I might not have done it if I had realized that the result of all of us mothers going back to work would be an expanded economy that would make it necessary for some mothers who came behind us, who didn’t want to go back to work, to have to do it anyway!

So, I went back to work, and it really worked out pretty well, because we had a great babysitter who was like a third grandma to our kids, and both of our sets of parents lived in town, so they were always there to help when needed.  And, I enjoyed working, so I was a happy working mom.

One result I noticed from me being  a working mom was that our kids became more responsible and self-reliant than I had been at their ages.  And, one particular time, when Gunny was in, I think, third grade, he very clearly demonstrated his self-reliance.


When I came home from work one day, Gunny told me that he needed a patch sewn on his cub scout shirt, so that he could wear it to the meeting that evening.  I had already started mentally fixing supper as I walked in the door, but now here was another thing I would have to find time to do, right away.

But, then Gunny surprised me.  With a big grin, he told me “the punch line.”  He proudly told me that I didn’t have to worry about the patch — he had sewn it on himself!  I was shocked he had figured out how to do that.  Definitely one of the many benefits of spending time with talented sewing grandmas.

He went to his room and proudly brought me the shirt to see.



He was very please with himself, and especially enjoyed how shocked I was.  I was so impressed with my little boy’s resourcefulness.  I guess that’s the reason I still have that shirt hanging in the back of a closet 30+ years later.

Good job, Gunny.  I’m sure that resourcefulness that you demonstrated at such a young age is one of the things that made you a great Marine.

Gut Check Time for Conservative Christians

November 5, 2008


Okay.  The election didn’t turn out the way many conservative Christians prayed that it would.  But do we really believe the words we say? — that God is in control?  If we do, then God’s hand is in this too.

Our job, as Christians obedient to God?  To respect Barack Obama and the office he will now hold.  And, to constantly pray that God will guide him and give him humility, discernment and wisdom as the most powerful person on earth.