Monday, February 28, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook~February 28, 2011

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So, For Today...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Outside my window...It is the blue hour. The sky is dark with a touch of blue. I can see the black skeletons of the trees without leaves on them in the darkness. It is going to be sunny today. That is always nice.

I am thankful for...sleep and the new beginning of each day. Unfortunately we woke up at 2:51 am this morning so I have a feeling there may be some serious naps today.

From the learning room...that some cliches are really good, like, "A stitch in time saves nine, Nip it in the bud, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...Old habits die hard!

I am reading...The Sweet By and By...So far it is a little too much like what I lived through with my mom in a rest home. But I have just barely started it, so we will see.

From the kitchen...we are out of many things we need, for me to do a good job on the program this week, so off to the store I go later today.

I am wondering...if Jen and Lowell will actually be getting on a plane for Edinburgh next weekend. Hazie, please stay well! They need this break so badly. Grampa camp starts next Tuesday if all goes well.

I am hearing...
It's Only Make Believe, Conway Twitty. Very mo
ldy oldie!

Today if I could change one thing...everybody's health issues would vanish into thin air.

I am quoting..."Every moment I live I am bowed down to something. And if i don't see God I will bow down before something else." Ann Voskamp

I am some projects around the house this week and get some cleaning done. When you have white kitchen cabinets, one day they just look spotted and need a good cleaning. That day was over the weekend.

I am gray slacks. They have vanished into thin air. How does this happen? Seriously I have looked every conceivable place a piece of clothing could be in this house more than once in the last many weeks. Simply....G O N E!

One of my guilty pleasures...Day dreaming about far away places. Time to plan another trip some place we have been wanting to go. Eastern Canada has come up in conversation a few times. Would also like to return to Victoria, The Empress Hotel for High Tea and Bouchart Gardens. When Jim returns from Utah in a few weeks we are going to check into going to Palm Springs for a few days. They are expecting 81 degrees this week..I am there!

Pet Peeves...The Oscars Show. Ho-hum! Watched some of it on Not exactly gripping or anything. The best part was Jim and I looking at the dresses afterward on the Internet and then reading some of the funny comments that viewers made on the outrageous ones.

One of my favorite things..Anything summery right now. I am freeeeeezing!

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...Revisited Leap Year in honor of the February 29 that will not be happening this year. Cute movie.

I am curious big charities get any research money to cure diseases when they spend all their money on postage, stickers, calendars, note books and personalized note pads and begging for money?? So annoying when charities do that!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Meeting this afternoon and shopping for groceries, bills tomorrow and work. Class on land records for genealogy tomorrow night. Rain predicted for Wednesday and Thursday, so not sure where we will go this week for fun.

Checking in on how I can help a friend whose husband has been ill and my brothers' mothers-in-law who have both been ill. We are planning a dinner for friends this coming Friday night. Saturday, clear so far.

So March will be out of the starting gates with just a pretty routine kind of week.
I keep looking at the backyard and thinking it might be time to start doing a few things out there. I want to wash the windows but it's kind of pointless with four days of rain predicted for next week.

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

Scouter of the Year for our Unit

Jim recently received this Scouting award at a special dinner we attended with our friends Dave and Lee. David is Jim's really good buddy and they do a lot of things together like camping, hiking, biking, working and now they are serving on the Scout committee together in our ward.

Jim and Dave

This is the pair of them working on Dave's new shop in their backyard. It just brings me such joy to know Jim has such a great friend and they now have more time to do things together. Most of Jim's life he has been working so hard he hasn't had as much time for these kinds of fun things with his friends. I see it brings him such happiness and for this I am grateful. They just love working together and are always helping each other with something. These two are so much alike, the farthest thing from couch potatoes there ever were! Lee and I just shake our heads and sigh! (But we are smiling when we do it!)

(New this week)

Most Uplifting Blog Post this week...From A Holy Experience

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One of My Gifts~ Nellie!

It has been a little crazy over here but I am finally getting this post done about what was in the box that celebrated our friendships and the 1300 posts I had done. Thank you to all of you that participated. I wish I could have sent a box just like this to each of you.

One reason I was so thrilled when Nellie won this give away is that it is right up her alley. Nellie is a deeply spiritually person with a list as long as your arm every week of the things she is grateful for. Every Thursday she does her Thankful Thursday post and I am borrowing her thankfulness here to give you a sampling of who she is.

"I am thankful
for this lovely book Bonnie sent me,
Called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.
I have never heard of her before, but from the 3
chapters we have read already, I feel like It is
really speaking to me and I feel like she is talking
about the same things the Lord has been teaching
me in the last almost 2 years since I have been
blogging and doing Thankful Thursday.
What an affirming book for me!!
Bless you Bonnie
for this sweet gift!

I am thankful
for these absolutely delightful and delectable
chocolate covered cherries!
Now these are not those typical chocolate
covered cherries with the creme in the middle.

These babies
are big, and delicious with real dried cherries
at the center covered in chocolate and a
burgundy red coating of yogurt or something!

Hubby is always so happy when I offer him one!! lol

I am also thankful
for these wonderful cheese sticks.
OH MY, are they the yummiest and sooo crispy!!
I love love love crispy foods, so they were perfect
as well. They actually remind me of some hor'derves
that an old friend used to make using Stella Dora
bread sticks, bacon, and Parmesan cheese.

I am thankful
for the beautiful birds nest on the front of the
book jacket, because it reminds me of the
time we had a nest with birdies in our shed,
and it was so sweet to go out there and see
the cute lil eggs and then later those lil babies
chirping for their Mommy to bring them food.
So Adorable!!

and what is it about birds nest anyway???
they just thrill us so................
Maybe it is the Mom in us that likes to
feather and build our nest, who knows,
all I know is a birds nest is tops in my

So that is Nellie just so bright and cheerful and fun to know!
Click here for view her blog and the remainder of this post.

I am so glad that Nellie enjoyed the treats, trust us these cherries are to die for! But mostly the gift was One Thousands Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book has just astounded me with its concepts, insights, and the joy of reading such beautiful prose, or is it poetry? She just has such a beautiful and unique way of sharing her thoughts and feelings about gratitude and makes you see things with eyes wide open and a heart full of love and thanks for life, the individual moments and God. You can find Ann's blog and information about the book and how to get it here.

This is a book to be savored, marked, and kept nearby for easy reference and as a reminder. To say I love it is the best recommendation I can give it. I am still not finished reading it completely because it requires thoughtful meditation about every two sentences. I bought several copies and need to do that again. The truth of what she is saying is in the assurity that you have always known this on some level. And it increases your desire to live it more fully through the simple exercise of naming your gifts, one by one on paper. It will open your eyes in ways you cannot imagine until you actually do it.

Love and a happy Sunday to you all. If you missed our day trip from this week, it is just below this post. I found that even though I posted it pretty early it is did not hit the blog rolls and Google reader until quite a bit later in the day yesterday. I particularly enjoyed the photos from this week. So scroll down and join us on the adventure if you haven't already!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chasing The Sun

Three mornings ago I woke up and looked out my office window and this is what I saw! Blossoms over night! I looked out in the back and saw many more. I always marvel at the timing of things like this. The trees know the exact hour of their blooming. I feel the joy of God being over all. Down to the tiniest blossom, He is the overseer. I am feeling a contentment in our lives I don't ever remember being so vivid before. I ask myself have I finally discovered the hour of my own personal blooming?

Maybe this is why we cannot pay nearly $600.00 to see Celine Dion even though I love her talents. I am finding such joy in the things that are ours for free. Things that last, things that create a heart print that is not easily forgotten at the curtain call. Things that deeply impress the eye, heart and soul. The beauty of this earth that does not have a price tag on it. Is it in this way that men are created equally? It is the man made things and situations of this world that make us balk at that phrase, but in God's creations it is made perfectly clear.

Our day trip this week was right in our own backyard. We drove around Mt. Diablo and viewed it from every compass point. We traveled the back roads chasing the sun. I wish we had two hundred words to express varying degrees and kinds of beauty. I just cannot explain the reverential awe we felt as we went and looked with eyes wide open at our gifts.

Being outside and focusing on the land is so refreshing
and elevating and we felt so joy-filled.

The sky was a real show all day. The clouds were moving constantly and the display and variations were amazing. Sometimes it was raining, sometimes it was white marshmallow puffs, other times misty and mysterious. We were supposed to get snow. This is a big deal at sea level. I think it has been over thirty years since snow fell on the ground here and stuck even for a nano second. So far no snow, the sun had other plans.

My all time favorite house in our town.
I go by hoping some day it will
be for sale but so

We have all that we want and
wouldn't be moving in reality,

but this is my total day dream house.

The grass is like apple green velvet
and I am loving that orange tree.
A bit of heaven on earth!

Be still my beating heart~
I am not coveting I really am not!
Just enjoying the view at my dream house.

Up the road a piece,
I just had to walk under this canopy
of pink blossoms.

Across the street even more pinkness.

Was the inspiration for the pink and blue
80s decor found right here?

Mt. Diablo behind the misty clouds.

Peaking out to give a photo opp.

If your eye could see this for real, it was just breathtaking.

One of my favorite vista points in the area.
Again not fully captured in two dimensions,
it needs 3D 360 surround for the full effect.

For Jim, he loved this sinking tractor.
He is such a boy! (Thank Heavens!)

Who can find anything wrong with
their life when gazing upon this?

The creeks were filled with muddy
water from the rain soaked banks.

Our view of the south side of the mountain as we ate lunch~
dashboard dining, it was freezing out.

It is in these moments I feel the most companionship in our marriage. I feel it is just us, no interruptions, no ringing phones, no computers, just us. No one tapping on our shoulders or knocking on our door for something, no household hassles, just us. Stripping all that other stuff away gives me 20/20 vision for the man I married and the happiness of it. I love that! It is in these moments that I love us and what we have together. All the challenges, the memories, the spiritual oneness, the babies, the grandbabies, the home...all of it. All worth it, all of the most value, a great and simple life.

Cotton ball clouds dwarfing the mighty oak on the hill.

Back lit by the sun! We found it!

We traveled some very tiny one lane roads,
no room to pass and this guy was not budging.

This one looking at the other one as if to say,
"Get out of the road, Bird Brain!"

Rusty countryside charm.

Cattle grazing and lazing in the sun.
What a spectacular day!

People are constantly asking us how we like our new life and being retired. I wish there were more expressive words, at least 200 of them, that could express our thoughts of love and family, contentment, gratitude, peace and happiness. That could express how we love the big and small things of it, the time we have to enjoy and serve others, the way our testimony of God grows daily, the way work is so enjoyable on your own time clock and terms! It is just all good.

The things that use to just whiz by at high speed now just wait and linger and fill us up. It like sprinkling MSG on your life. Everything seemed enhanced and delicious. It is just being high on life and we love it. And these little day trips we take seem to be very instrumental is making us see and appreciate what has always been here. So it looks like they will continue as long as there is some place to explore and enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's a Matter of Principle

Celine Dion's astounding kitchen!

Yesterday I was reading a few of my favorite blogs and came upon a wonderful post on Celine Dion and her amazing home on Jasper Island in Florida. She has those two beautiful little babies born in November and a bigger boy who must be thrilled to no long be an only child. She appears to have a devoted husband too, what a great family. I was happy to see their home on Julia's blog, Hooked On Houses. It has some amazing features like a tree house that has a slide down into the man made river on their property.

Ariel view of Celine's home

I am a fan of Celine's. I think I discovered her rather late compared to most people when I listened to her beautiful album, Miracle last year. Of course I had known of her, heard her music long before that, but the album really changed my fan status. I was really touched by her talent and the beautiful lyrics describing the joys of motherhood so eloquently. I thought Jim and I would go and see her in her new show in Las Vegas this spring.

Seeing the post, I was reminded I better start looking for some tickets. I was absolutely blown away with the fact that 2 mediocre tickets on a week night will cost nearly $600.00. Hello! Call me a person who leads a sheltered, uninformed life...but, really? To get a seat in the orchestra circle is over $1300.00 for two. I'm stunned....almost speechless.

How long can that show be, 90 minutes? I think I'll look up the highlights of the show on the Internet and continue to enjoy her beautiful voice on iTunes. Or maybe I'll buy last year's DVD for sale on Amazon for under $15.00. But one thing is for certain, we will not be crossing the threshold of the concert venue at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas any time soon.

I don't blame her for this, nor do I begrudge her that gorgeous (albeit a little over the top) home. We live in a country that thrives on capitalism, it you can earn it, good for you! She is incredibly talented, she works very hard and she is entitled to be the huge success she is. Even if you are blessed with this God given talent, it takes a tremendous amount of work and effort to succeed. A lot of people can sing beautifully but there is only one Celine Dion.

But I do question how our society, in this economic recession can fill that huge concert hall every single night to capacity for months on end. As an example, I looked up tickets for our anniversary... a week night, June 15th, SOLD OUT blinked and flashed across my screen.

It brought back memories of an article I had read recently that can be found here about the Rising Cost of Entertainment. This article is found in AAA's Via magazine and is written by Steve Rushin. Here is a sampling of it's contents:

"As a father of four, I may as well stuff all my cash in a confetti cannon and fire it into the air on arrival at the next ballpark, theme park, or movie theater my family visits, simply to expedite the inevitable process by which my wallet is drained of every last dollar for the sake of entertainment. When did family fun become so expensive?

VIA’s analysis of ticket prices at major theme parks between 1965 and 2011 shows an increase of more than 2,200 percent—and that even figures in the AAA discount, which has become a saving grace for card-carrying families. By comparison, since 1965 the price of gasoline has gone up 658 percent and milk is up 371 percent. Even before setting foot in most theme parks, the modern parent can feel taken for a ride. And theme parks seem a bargain next to ballparks. Watching a game played by the Boston Red Sox, the Major League Baseball team nearest to my home in New England, cost a family of four an average of $335 for tickets, parking, food, drinks, and merchandise in 2010."

I think we can safely add the cost of live concerts to Steve's list. For me it is a matter of money AND principle. I just cannot see spending that kind of money for something like a concert no matter how much I enjoy a person's talent. I am a fan, but not an idolater. There is no entertainer that is worth that kind of money to me.

So I am staging my own little personal protest against this sort of thing. I seem to remember this same sort of dilemma over a much less expensive James Taylor concert last year. I guess our concert days may be over.

If more people just quit paying the price, even if they can afford it...things might change. Who knows? Going to the concert would not empty our bank account but it would make me feel a party to something I just cannot condone. I think we feel a lot happier when our principles govern our actions .....even if we don't get all the goodies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Yesterday Hazie got to go back to school for the first time after her battle with RSV. She goes to school in the afternoon. So Piper often brings her lunch over to the adjoining school to eat with her mom and little sister. So over she comes with her fish sticks from the cafeteria and they enter the elevator like they always do!

Without warning there was a malfunction and they were trapped inside the little tin box! For about an hour they waited for the rescue. Jen said it was worth it when she saw the six hot fire fighters that came to get them out! And the one school custodian came to0, but I don't think she was counting him among the hotties. (Who hires firemen anyway? Why are they always so darn cute?)

I love our daughter, she has such a tremendous sense of humor and can turn just about anything into an interesting experience with the way she looks at it. The elevator was tiny and crowded with the wheel chair and the three of them, but she managed to see the highlights. Her biggest fret was that the fish sticks really added to the hideous stench of the elevator, which is much more noticeable when spending an hour in close quarters.

When I asked her today if she still smelled like fish sticks she said...and I quote," No, the elevator is from 1959 though and already smelled like mold, urine and mothballs, so combined with the 4 stick-up air fresheners I put up in there, it was quite a concoction of smells." Don't you just love how mothers of small children carry everything they could possibly ever need in those big bags?

In the picture above Piper is covering her eyes to show her mom that she thinks taking a photo at a time like this is really uncool. My favorite part of the photo is the plasticware sitting on the carpet. Yikes!

I told her she was lucky I wasn't there as I have always had a fear of getting stuck in one. I guess she never saw the movie Speed! Anyway, I have to take my hat off to her once again for being so brave and not becoming easily unraveled, like her mother. Yesterday when we went to the Family History Center I have to admit I hesitated getting into that elevator! But I did take note it smelled just fine, and so reluctantly took my chances.

On a more serious note, I became mindful of how each and every morning we pray for the safety and well-being of our children and grandchildren and I am thankful for a Father in Heaven that hears every one of those heartfelt prayers for each of them.

Julia, Jen and Piper!

Never a dull moment in the life of Miss Jen
and her entourage of little girls, is all I can say!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

At Seventeen~Reprise

Now no mean comments on the cat glasses, OK? They were the height of fashion in 1964! This picture was taken just a month or so before I met James.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook~February 21, 2011

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you can click here.

So, For Today...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Outside my window...The sun is shining, but not brightly. It must be hovering behind a big white fluffy cloud at the moment. It is cool but not freezing like yesterday. Everything looks freshly washed after the rains.

I am thankful for...that God knows us all so intimately and knows our motives for everything we do. He is acquainted with the things we need and wants us to make the choices that will bring those blessings, if they are for our good.

From the learning room...that life is a continual learning process. We are never "there" in terms of what we need to know. To think otherwise proves us foolish!

I am reading...The Sweet By and By. I just ordered it for the Kindle and finished The Glass Castle als0 last night. What an amazing and curious work and a true story. That is the unbelievable part to me. How anything good grows out of a childhood like Jeannette Wall's is inspiring.

From the kitchen...soft tacos tonight for dinner and that always makes Jim happy. Have you ever noticed how food seems to multiply when you put it in a tortilla? I put little bowls of lettuce, onions, tomatoes in the center of the table with some salsa. Warm up some tortillas and add hot refried beans and a little cheese and it feeds us for a few days. It a miracle and reminds me of feeding the five thousand with a few fishes and loaves of bread. (On the smaller less important scale, of course!)

I am tired I will be by the weekend with something going on every day and night this week. Not a night out kind of a girl anymore. Actually I never really was. That comes from early rising and being a home body.

I am hearing...
Garth Brooks singing "I Am Much Too Young To Feel This Darn Old." Ha funny! Wondering whatever possessed me to add a country station to my Pandora radio has me curious. I wanted to hear a few Kenny Rogers songs but they have a mix going on here. About time to switch it to my James Taylor or my Kenny Rankin station.

Today if I could change one thing...that I could see all the blessings in my life continually without taking any of them for granted or forgetting to give thanks in each.

I am quoting..."Hurry is the death of any prayer!" Chadwick. I think a lot of them done in haste bounce right off the ceiling. Sincerity and from the heart count, big time.

I am get the house picked up and in order and start cooking soon.

I am missing...mommy/daughter one on one time. I am missing the ease of it, the flow, the comfort, the openness of loving and and being loved unconditionally. And the days when I had that with them and Chris every day. Rarely get time one on one with our son...I deeply miss that too.

One of my guilty pleasures...reading all kinds of books because I know it is not a lazy pass time even though it sometimes feels that way. It is such an enriching and broadening experience to learn from others in this way. It makes you more tolerant of people that are different, it breeds compassion in your heart and understanding.

Pet Peeves...the media that is forever producing alarming reports about the calamities of the world. Case in point... I am really concentrating of getting enough fruits and veggies in my diet and then I read the report out this past week about how many pesticides are in each fruit and vegetable at the market. It is not that I do not want to be informed because I do, but it peeves me that there seems to be a barricade everywhere you turn when you try to do what is right. Solution, grow your own; barricade living with a herd of hungry deer.

One of my favorite things..peace of mind. The ability to truly relax in spite of it all and know that the Lord will watch out for us, if we but ask, because He is our loving Father in Heaven..

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...The Winds of War with Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen. It is a mini-series made for TV and well worth the time invested in it. Yay, for Netflix where I first saw it. We are blessed with our own copy of it and War and Remembrance from our sweet kids one Christmas.

I am curious Google does it? Aren't you?

A few plans for the rest of the week...tomorrow WW meeting and work and family history classes, Wednesday morning paint consultation and kitchen remodel planning with a client and friend and then to lunch with her, visiting teaching Wednesday night, Thursday day trip to SF with my brother, his wife and grandies, that night Relief Society Annual enrichment night; classes and light dinner, Friday date night and a movie, Saturday Temple with a good friend and Jim is going to PT Reyes with my brothers if it doesn't rain. If it does he'll come with me. Those are the big rocks in the jar and the rest will be filled in with the sand till it is completely full.

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

Today I have been surrounded by the herd. Out every window I see them. Seriously it is getting epidemic around here. Every spring all the babies are born and they keep multiplying. I told Jen today they are eating our yard one ivy leaf at a time. They eat the flowers, they even are caught gnawing on the dried flowers near our glider out side the big window in the family room. The doe in the photo from this morning is working her way to them now. See how she is eying them?

Pets for sale or rent.
Free...You Haul!

They are cute but a big nuisance sometimes.
They are bit like goats and gophers if the truth be known.
Don't call the SPCA on me now...just sayin'....