Monday, August 30, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook ~ August 30, 2010

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So, For Today...Monday, August 30, 2010

Outside my window...once again it looks like a cool San Francisco morning. We have overcast that will burn off by mid morning. For whatever the reason the fog no longer banks along the hills of the tunnel but just come right over the top and into the east bay. It has kept us a lot cooler this summer. We are thankful for that.

I am thinking...that when Jim goes into the Temple on Monday mornings it feels like the old days with a 5:30 a.m. departure. He is really enjoying it and that is great. He just loves to work and now he is looking for fun opportunities to do new things. When he arrives they have a devotional and then off to work at whatever needs repairing~he loves not knowing what the morning will hold. He enjoys the newness of doing something other than teaching for the first time in many years. Sometimes I wonder if there is anything that he cannot do? And the best part other than being able to serve for him is being home by lunch time!

I am thankful for...the new routine we are settling into.

From the learning room..Expending effort on something is almost proportionally equal to the enjoyment you receive from it.

I am reading...Lots of travel books right now about the New England States.

From the kitchen..Things are looking a little empty so time to go shopping again. We do have enough for a few days worth of meals which will conveniently last until pay day rolls around.

I am wondering...what to do about our flowers when we travel. I cannot just keep asking people to water so I though maybe we'd try just putting the pots out in the yard and letting the automatic sprinklers do the job. It could work, no?

I am hearing...You are The Sunshine of My Life...Stevie Wonder. I never get tired of this song. It would be in my top five all times favorites.

Today if I could change one level of enthusiasm for the "have tos" in my life.

I am quoting...Robert D. Hales...this is sweet!

Around the house...dust bunny invasion, vacuuming needed, and a few closets are starting to get to me.

I am going...write to some people whose e-mails have been sitting in my inbox for sometime now. I am bad at e-mail anymore it has morphed into snail mail.

I am missing...going to plays and concerts, it seems we haven't done it in years. Some friends went to see Norah Jones the other night...I was a little green with envy I have to admit.

I am hoping...we all have a good week, filled with good health, no worries and some relaxation. I hope it is filled with peace and nothing but happy news. I hope we all accomplish our goals.

One of my guilty shopping for things we need but do not want to go to the mall to pick up.

One of my favorite things...the creativity of other bloggers.
Have you ever been to
Her recipes are amazing. The photography alone is worth the visit. How she has time to do anything but her blog is my question.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...I am finishing up The Gilmore Girls so I haven't watched many movies lately.

I am curious long it will take me to get the vacation itinerary under control.

A few plans for the rest of the week...meeting with Jim's mom today on her remodel, paperwork which has increased over the last two months with retirement paperwork being sent here nearly every single day. Hello, how hard can it be? Farmer's market tomorrow, pay bills, church work to get done, cleaning. Planning a day trip for Thursday. Jim wants me to surprise him by planning it and then entering the destinations into the GPS but not telling him where we are going. OK then, something like an old-fashioned car rally...without looking for white paper plates with clues on telephone poles! Get more info for the is hard to make the plan!

Here are some pictures and thoughts I am sharing with you...

Piper in the Canyon last Fall

One thing I am looking forward to is stopping in Utah on our way to Rhode Island. We only have a few days there but I am hoping we can drive up into this canyon as a family and enjoy this spectacular autumn view. Can New England really be prettier than this? I cannot imagine such a thing.

I am thinking my love for this color is going to
last for a long time.
I still just feel happy whenever I see it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Buy Don't Rent~Curtain Call

For those of you enjoyed a recent post entitled, Buy Don't Rent, I thought you might be interested in seeing the flier that landed on the doorstep of Ross' neighbors in Rhode Island this past week. The notice was delivered as is, except I did remove his contact info which gave his phone number and an invitation to stop over if they'd like to work out a deal in person. The fliers were printed on 9 1/2 x 11 card stock.

I seriously wonder who entertained us before Ross came along? We do love this little guy to the hilt!! He has such a creative and enterprising mind. Sure hope someone in the neighborhood gives it a whirl!

Ross Boss Apple Sauce!

2nd post for today!


Portraits of the Savior by Liz Lemon Swindle

This morning I woke up needing to write. That happens a lot but this morning I am feeling worried and discouraged and "needing" to get to the bottom of it. Do you ever just get that feeling that your worrying is getting the better of you? Do you feel helpless and hopeless and that lack of peace that wears you down? I feel that way right now.

I am so concerned about several really good friends that are suffering. Some are seriously ill, some struggling in relationships, some struggling financially, some with huge burdens that seem insurmountable. When you are close to people you feel their pain and the pain of their families too. The rippling effect touches a lot of lives because we are all in this earth life together.

As if that is not enough, then there is the worry about the world in general. It seems to be slipping into a downward spiral of endless evil and war, ridiculous politics, selfishness and greed. People are working less and feeling more entitled, decent morality and values are slipping away and becoming clouded with the notion that anything goes. Things that have always been a good part of our lives and culture are being changed and denied and violently threatened. The world says what used to be wrong is now right, what use to right is now wrong.

I have to wonder if my perceptions are a symptom of getting older. Does every generation feel this way as they come to a point in their lives where they have had enough of life's experiences to feel that earth life is going to the dogs? Even Plato felt the rising generation had it all wrong. Have I just had enough things happen in my own life now that I am feeling more empathy for those who are sick and otherwise afflicted or is it really getting so much worse?

It may be that lots of people I have known have gone through horrendous things and I have just been unaware and involved totally in my own little world. But to me it feels like it is getting a lot worse in spite of the blinders I might have had on in my younger years. Right now we know more than a half a dozen people that are seriously ill with cancer alone. That seems like a lot, doesn't it? I try to be really positive about life, but that is getting me down. Add to that those that are struggling with other illnesses, infertility, sick children, rocky relationships, aging parents, etc. etc.

So what I am trying to figure out is how I let myself get into this total worrying mode. Part of it is just love and concern for these wonderful people and wanting the world to be a better place to live. I think we all feel that way, right? We all want everything to be great all the time. No one chooses to be sick, afflicted, or other wise burdened with hard things. No one wants to feel helpless in helping others. We all have that "I want to fix this" mode of thinking in us, don't we?

God does not cause our problems but He allows them to happen so that we can grow. He allows them to happen sometimes so we can and will come to Him and and seek His comfort and help. He has given us so many tools to help us through this life, we have faith, prayer, knowledge of His plan, His love and His promise. We have the hope of His grace in our lives. We have the fellowship of our loved ones and those who follow Him. We have the comfort of our scriptures.

But sometimes when we are in the thick of this life, struggling with our own problems or someone else's, we forget who is over all. We forget it is not our stewardship to fix, we forget our worrying does not get us anywhere. We forget that our own understanding is so limited. We forget that He wants us to reach out to Him and let Him carry us. We forget how to Let Go and Let God...take care of it. Isn't this very essence of our mortal testing? We forget to ask for His will to be our will. We want it to be the other way around. So we ask incessantly for Him to do what we want Him to do. Sometimes that reminds me of how little kids ask their parents to do things that are completely unrealistic, or not for their best good. He alone knows the end from the beginning. We forget to ask Him how we can really help another. Since we cannot seem to figure it out on our own, we worry.

We need to turn back to God and let Him do His job. We need to pray more and trust more. We need to never say, "All we can do now is pray" as though it were a flimsy, last resort, kind of thing. It is the total opposite and the finest thing we can do for another. It is a privilege to pray for others and like all things God asks of us, brings us great comfort personally, as well. It is easy to have faith when all is well, but it is better to have faith when things are difficult because we grow from it.

This is how we are refined and defined over time. We don't want to struggle but we need to struggle. When just trusting Him doesn't seem like enough, we have to do it anyway. We need to stretch out our hand and let Him take it. Faith precedes every miracle.

I wonder why I often forget these things and the symptom of it is always....worry. I am glad I have been able to think this through this morning with you. I am feeling more faith already.

If only faith and spiritual things could be learned and remembered like riding a bicycle. But it is not that way. We have to keep relearning, keep searching and keep praying. My favorite scripture is "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not fear not." Fear and faith are polar opposites. God is over all and I am going to just be still and know that He is God.

Writing this has once again brought me to remember how blessed we are to have such a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who will never change, never leave us alone and never forget the prayers we say. What more do we need, really?

We, after all, are not in charge...what a relief!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Julia!

One of the biggest blessings in my life was to be present when Julia Mae was born ten years ago today! I bought this little picture frame in the hospital gift shop and put this adorable little photo in it. I thought I would just change out the pictures as new babies were born. But nope, it was made for her and she is still there!

4th Grade Photo
I think Julia is so photogenic.
She is very relaxed in front of a camera.

With Piper in Moab at the art festival.

Playing with the kittens and Anyslee

All the Sisters

Sporting around Edinburgh this year!

A Bird's Eye view of Scotland on the open air bus top.

Summer Photo Shoot with Kate Benson

First Day of School this week!
Big 5th grader now!

There are so many things to love about Julia Mae. She is such a fun-loving enthusiastic girl about everything. She has so many interests and loves to do so many different things. When I think of her life it is a verb, not a noun. Julia is so sweet and loving and so funny too. She loves her family and helps Mom and Daddy so much. She sends me lots of fun e-mails and we miss her so much. Julia is a good girl and loves the Lord. We wouldn't trade her for anything in the whole world. Would love to be with you today, Miss Jewels. Have a very Happy Birthday, Honey!

Eat Cake!
chalk greeting and cake~flickr

Friday, August 27, 2010

Parkinson's Law And Finding The Balance

Parkinson's Law...You know it, right? "Work expands so as to fill the time available!" Jim and I are trying to regulate and balance our time now that we have an abundance of it, for the first time in our lives. We know this about ourselves...we need a plan.

Spontaneity is not our middle name. We like our little routines and these last two months we have been working on refining them. A good example of how we roll goes like this. We use to read our scriptures every morning before Jim went to work. I'd get up with him and make his breakfast and lunch while he was getting showered and dressed, and I'd read to him while he was eating. I didn't eat, I didn't spend time getting dressed, etc. When he would leave, I would do my daily blog post. Simple and easy, it worked.

Now we gets up later, we both need to eat and get dressed, he likes to eat right away, I like to wait. It takes him 10 minutes to shower and get dressed, it takes me longer. All that was equaling hit and miss on the scriptures reading and my blogging. Not good. So we have tried different things and now we do the scriptures at lunch when we have put in a half a day of getting ready for the day and doing our morning chores and started on our projects for the day. It works so much better.

I am still struggling with finding the time to blog but I am working on it. One thing I am trying is working on the post the day before, kind of piece meal, when I can and using the post options to have it publish at 12:01 am the next day. It is far from ideal, but it is helping me at least get some writing in.

One thing we really need to guard against is the Parkinson Principle taking over our lives. I think we both have a pretty good work ethic and we both like to get things accomplished, so if we do not schedule in some fun and recreation we tend to spend most of our time working here at home or some place else.

So little by little we are fixing that by scheduling time to just be together and enjoy life and the beautiful places we have around us.

So every week on Thursday when we can or another day if that is filled with something else, we are going on these little day trips.

Last week it was my turn to plan the day and that was the day we went to Filoli Gardens.

This week was Jim's turn and he picked a day in Marin County. We started out in Mill Valley and this little bakery called The Champagne Bakery. Five *****. Looking at us, you would never believe that Jim really is the lover of good pastries and I could take it or leave it but...This place was outstanding. Our new routine on these day trips is stopping for a pastry that we share.

The Champagne Bakery

We like to beat the crowds and
so we usu
ally go early.
We were here a little after 7:00 a.m.

I got to choose and I chose this one that was a savory
pastry with cheese and ham. It was perfection.

The flower stand on the other side the
street was just setting up for the day.

It is the tiniest place just a little covered walkway
for arranging their flowers
beside this building overlooking the creek.

The flowers made me happy!

Next we drove to Muir Woods~
one of our favorite places on earth.

Arriving around 8:00 we only saw one
other person for the first half hour.

We did see a little family of deer having breakfast.
She was about four feet from us just off the trail
and completely fearless.

Muir Woods is a forest of redwood trees
and it is so quiet and peaceful.
You just naturally feel the presence
of God
and a feeling of reverence here.

There are few things God has created
more beautiful
that this little wooded area
where the redwoods
tower hundreds
of feet above you and
sun rarely touches the forest floor.

The forest made us happy!

They have benches for weary Grandpas.

An wonderful flat paths for weary
grandmas with bad knees.

Near the Forest is the Muir Beach.
Also very pretty, and the roar of the waves is deafening.
Again no crowds. Yay!

Afterward we went back to Mill Valley
and walked around the town square.
The little old man had put out more pretty
flowers in his little flower stand.
The shops were underwhelming
and over
-priced but
we enjoyed the flowers once more.

The flowers made us happy again.

Next we headed further
north to Tiberon and Belvadere.

Sitting on a park bench on the shore at Tiberon
we saw this.

Fog trying to burn off on the bay and a little
glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.
This view made us happy and feel a true
sense of freedom to be able to enjoy it .

In this shot you can see San Francisco
in the background.

We had never been to Tiberon before except to drive through. What a fun place and the most beautiful panoramic view of the bay, bridge and city and Angel Island can be had there. Sitting on the shore boardwalk we had front row seats.

Across the little inlet you can see Belvadere.
Beautiful, quaint and picturesque
and it reminded
us of Italy.
Particularly the Amalfi coast.
on the other side of this
you can see Sausalito.

Always thinking, they also have park benches
for weary Grampas that have just eaten
picnic lunch and need a little snooze.
It turned out to be a nice and
warmish day here in sun.

We then decided to drive across to explore Belvadere. Not for the Faint of Heart! In the shot above it does not look nearly as daunting from the shore as it did up close. This was not my favorite part of the day. It was exactly like Amalfi. Tiny, one lane, hairpin, curvy road to the top with two way traffic. I wanted to scream more than once.

At one point we landed up going up hill and around a bend and were suddenly nose to nose with a Fex-Ed truck. Holy Cow! He must have seen the sheer terror on my face with someone's roof a foot from the cliff next to us and a driveway that went straight down, looking like the only place for us to back up he backed up the hill for us to get by.

Jim later said, "Why didn't you take pictures of that?" Are you kidding me? I was frozen in terror and had my hand on the door handle like Meryl Streep in "The Bridges of Madison County", trying to decide if I should bolt outta the car or stay... and the other hand over my mouth so I wouldn't swear!!

Yes, that is a roof I am shooting over!
The street was that high and
the one laner was that close to the house below.

Now this doesn't look like we are that high but,
let me just say that we were!

And this is Sausalito from a vantage point
I will never see again!

Jim's words when we got down from the treacherous ride..."Wow that was way cool!" And that is why we can never truly be one flesh! My brain says "No flippin' way" and his says, "Bring it on!" Figuratively speaking...we are one! And when we are not I'm glad he is there to protect me!

This part of the day did not make me happy,
but when we got down to sea level,
it did make me thankful if that counts!

Aside from the terror, it was a fabulous and memorable day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Master Plan is Underway

New England in the Fall

I have to admit that trip planning is not my favorite thing to do. I love to go but the actual planning is difficult. I want to be able to read a book that just says, "Go here and do this, you"ll love it. This is the very best fun for your time and money this place has to offer." I know I am living in Fantasy Land but it is what I want when it is time to do the planning.

Jim and I both hate the idea of being someplace and spending all our time trying to find places of interest. So we love to have a major plan in place, with the idea that deviation from it is OK. By the same token, we love to explore the back roads of places and factor that in. But we don't want to be wandering around wondering what to do. Does that make any sense at all? We have learned over time that planning two things per day is best with lots of free time in between.

But between guide books and the Internet it can get pretty confusing. There is just too darn much information to digest. We like to see things in a narrative form not just tables of places to see and prices and hours operation, etc. We like to read other people's opinions of the places. We both like Rick Steves' books and videos. Too bad he does Europe and not the USA (unless someone knows something I don't??)

Add to all of that, that Laura and Robert have planned two amazingly comprehensive trips for us to Italy in the past few years and I am feeling very inadequate at this juncture. But today I began my search. I am feeling very excited about the things I have read and researched so far. Newport, Rhode Island looks fantastic all by itself! And the fact that that general area is our home base makes it all very exciting.

Rose Island Light House, Rhode Island

We have been to the east coast but not in the autumn. And not to New England which has always been someplace we have wanted to go. I have visions of Vermont after spending just one afternoon there once and Connecticut and Massachusetts must be incredible as well. And we want to see New Hampshire and Maine too. We have a little goal of seeing something of all the states in our life time. I think we are around 32 right now.

Skipping NY (been there) would be fine with me but I wouldn't mind seeing The Hamptons and we'd love to hear our nephew play his base in NYC at one of the many clubs where he performs in Manhattan. So we will see.

Scott many decisions yet to be made. We leave at the end of September so I am cutting it pretty close but until now there hasn't been time.

So I am on it finally...any suggestion would be so greatly appreciated. I have put a little box at the top of my sidebar with specific questions for anyone who knows that area. You can just add your answers to any blog post comment section and I will see it. I'll probably have new questions everyday for awhile now. Thanks in advance for any clarity you can give us.

Summer Days

Jen's Summer Craft Project

Beautiful Summer Mornings

Gorgeous Flowers

Sounds and Sight of Children
Swimming and Splashing in a Pool

Potato Salad and Watermelon

Cooking Outside

Warm Summer Evenings

(for Linda Ann!)

The Smell of Freshly Cut Grass

Delicious Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Fireworks on The Fourth of July

Sandals and Pedicures

Wearing White

Open Windows

Air Conditioning in the Car

Screen Doors Slamming

The Sound of the Sprinklers


Memories of the Drive-in Movies
When I Was a K

Corn on the Cob

Road Trips

Garden Tomato Sandwiches


Lots of Daylight

Ice Cream Cones

Picnics and kicking back!


A couple of things thing I really dislike about summer...
Being Hot and Sticky,
Sunburns, Mosquitoes, and Yellow Jackets
Long Lines at fun places you visit!

How about you? What do you love or
not enjoy so much about the summer?

It's almost over for this year already...
can you believe it?

If you want to get another fun thing in...hurry!
School starts today!