Friday, May 18, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Here it is a Friday night. The link to the blog hop Ten Things of Thankful that Josie Two Shoes hosts every weekend (shortly after midnight Thursday, Central Time, until Tuesday evening) for those who want to share their comments, lists, ramblings, etc. as to what makes them feel grateful is open. Oh, I know, one only needs to listen to or read the news to know that not everything is going well in the world, nor even necessarily for ourselves every minute of the day, but there is much that can be seen and heard all around us individually and collectively that we can think of that makes us feel happy and thankful. So embrace the better part. I believe the apostle Paul said it quite well. 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovelywhatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

Other participants of this blog hop may have other favorite quotes or passages of favorite writers, wise words of a parent or an inspiring teacher that guide their thoughts and help them not get weighed down by the negative aspects in the world. Who inspires you to remember to be thankful?

Click the link to read the posts of other bloggers

1. I found my last Fitbit when I had to move a suitcase the other day. My Fitbit has been missing for several months. I felt pretty sure it was in the house, but I couldn't find it, so I went back to wearing my old watch, which of course had none of the advantages of a Fitbit. 

2. There was a very good Focus meeting at the nursing center this week with the new nurse leading the meeting. It is always helpful to be able to meet with the staff to hear what changes they are seeing in my mom and to have a chance to share any insights I might have with them. They welcome my input and make me feel a part of the team.

3. There were a few stressful situations this week for me to take care of and it was good for me to be able to see my own personal growth in dealing with difficult things. Perhaps participating in the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop helped me to keep a positive outlook.

4. Being around a couple of very young children happily interacting with each other and seeing some baby bluebirds makes me smile.

5. Being able to use a recently learned sewing skill involving one of my presser feet to do some mending.

6. Being able to participate with several women in preparing some rooms for some challenging escape room activities. I enjoyed getting to know the other women better as we worked together.

7. Having a fan I could turn on when the temperatures climbed to the high 80ºs F for a couple of days this week.

8. Having an opportunity to go with a friend to visit someone who needed a listening ear and people to care.

9. Beautiful flowers.

Yellow and white iris in our yard

Combined purple, lavender, and gold iris on our neighbors' property

10. My husband who spent a lot of time with a weed whacker this week. Walking over uneasy terrain ever ladened by gopher holes and mole mounds, all the while using the weed whacker isn't the easiest of jobs especially when the years catch up with us. He also picked up the slack when I was out taking care of some other matters. I appreciate that we are a team taking on whatever may come our way.

And last of all this, because it is!

Finish the Sentence Friday - Food

After taking a little time to let my conscious self ponder the subject of food, I jotted down some thoughts that came to mind and am sharing them in a post to be linked to the blog hop Finish the Sentence Friday - Food. The host is Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and co-host Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours. This is a stream of consciousness post since it is the third Friday of the month. Click one of the above links to see what streamed through the minds of my fellow bloggers when they thought about food.

For many years our family drove up to a campground in the Cascades for a family reunion of many descendants of the first ancestors of my mother-in-law to settle in this state. Some family members camped out the night before to make sure they could get the best picnic area which meant the one with plenty of room to play softball and to throw horse shoes, and of course a covered area to spread out all the potluck dishes everyone brought. The covered area also had a fireplace which was nice in case there was unusually cold weather that weekend. Even though it was a potluck, people looked forward to the certain dishes from some of the relatives. One of my husband's uncles always brought fresh picked cherries so he could send some home with other relatives. My mother-in-law was known for her delicious sourdough chocolate cake. 

Food reminds me of the various kitchens in the apartments or homes where we have lived. Two apartments were on the second floor of a home. In each of those kitchens it was impossible to stand  completely straight in parts of the room. 

In another apartment, which was a one-room efficiency apartment, the kitchen was basically behind a sliding partition making it impossible to be in the kitchen with the partition closed. We ate our meals on TV trays. It was in this kitchen where my very young scientific minded husband/science teacher wanted to prepare a badger skull for display in his classroom. (Badgers are listed as one of the unprotected animals in our state.) He needed to boil the head and remove any flesh. Just so you know, the smell of a boiling unseasoned badger head is not a smell I'd wish on anyone. Unfortunately some of the neighbors probably felt sorry for my husband, knowing his new bride was still learning to cook, and not knowing he was the one tending the kettle this time.

One spring morning when I was starting to heat up the griddle on one of the stove burners, a mouse popped up from under the burner. In case you are wondering, I screamed. Breakfast preparation went on as planned, after a short delay to trap the mouse. That was many years ago after we had become first time home owners. Fortunately, we have never had a repeat performance of a mouse under the burners.

This was the kitchen where a mouse came for breakfast, but thankfully not for this Christmas dinner.

In our younger years, my husband went elk hunting a few times. He and a friend shot an elk and shared the meat, but we weren't sure where we were going to be able to put it. Our friend had a large freezer that was like the kinds one would have seen in grocery stores back in the 40's and 50's. You could lift up the the lids on top and reach down and select an ice cream bar or popsicle or a quart of ice cream. He loaned the freezer to us to use. There was plenty of room to store the elk meat and other frozen foods.

When our children were growing up, we did our share of gardening, canning, freezing, and drying food. My husband even built a very large wooden food dehydrator.

As much as I love food, there have been times in my adult life when I have had reactions (allergies) to eating and/or touching certain foods. It is not anywhere as much of a problem these days. Yeah!

I have enjoyed trying out so many different recipes over the years, and amassed more cookbooks than I really need, especially now that recipes are so easy to find quickly on the internet. It is easy for me to still get a lot of enjoyment from thumbing through cookbooks, and seeing how the recipes and trends have changed through the years, and boy have they!

I wonder what kind of dishes were served at this family reunion at Mooney Grove Park in the late 30's, maybe early 40's. (This was my mother's side of the family.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Constant

An elderly woman I know may have been an entertainer, or a singer at the very least in her younger years. Often a single word overheard in a conversation will bring to her mind a song that has that particular word in the title or the refrain, and she will begin to sing. When so many things from her past have slipped from her memory, songs she knew have stayed a part of her much longer than one would have expected. Perhaps when she passes from this life to the next, I'll learn more about her younger self as I read her obituary.

The Six Sentence Stories blog hop prompt is usually a single word. Sometimes that lone word will immediately bring to mind an experience, or a way to write a story based around the word. If you like to write, and find yourself making associations to a single word, you might enjoy writing a story for this blog hop. Our administratrix, Denise at Girlie on the Edge gave us Six Sentence Stories - Constant as our challenge for this week. Click the link to see the other blogger's stories written using only six sentences.

The shell of a house with bedrooms divided by kraft paper stapled to the studs was only meant to be for a temporary time during their lives, so it was like a camping adventure to them.

Being welcomed to the area by the neighbors bringing meals or plates of cookies eased some of the oddity of their new adventures.

After days of exhausting work getting settled in during one of the hottest Augusts on record in their area, her body craved for a good night's sleep and a cool breeze to flow through the screen of the bedroom window.

They found it to be a novelty at first to say, "Good night, John Boy," knowing the child four rooms away would have no difficulty hearing his parents' or sibling's remarks, but the lack of privacy was also a challenge.

Finally everyone settled down for the night when it was too dark to read using the last of the dimming rays of the sunset to see the print.

She closed her eyes, but her aspiration to slumber was disturbed by a nocturnal visitor's constant loud stridulations, bouncing off concrete and wood, doing his best to impress a female of his species at the other end of the house.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Some things on my to-do list got accomplished this past week, but as usual there are some that got pushed back to be done later. That is typical for me. I take a few breaks to do totally unexpected things which makes life so much more interesting.

So getting down to the nitty-gritty, I'm here to write my Ten Things of Thankful post so I can link it to Josie Two Shoes blog hop. I could even postpone this a couple of days since it is Mother's Day. She is just nice that way, but really she allows a couple of days into the new week every week! Be sure to click the link to get an idea of how very accommodating she is and, of course, to read the posts of the bloggers participating. Comments are always welcome, as are adding an item or two for which you are thankful. If you really get into the spirit of this blog hop, maybe we will see you linking up in the future. Hope so.

1. The other day as I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink, something caught my eye up in one of the big fir trees outside. We have been seeing Lesser Goldfinches lately, but this appeared to be a bigger bird. I quickly went to the other room to grab the binoculars, and patiently waited to see if I could see the bird again. After a few minutes I confirmed what I thought it might be. It was a Western Tanager. They are a beautiful birds and striking because of their yellow and black bodies and red heads. They show up here very briefly this time of year during their migration. What a nice break from my kitchen chores, and it did make the start of my day so much more interesting.

2. Good news from family members is very high on my list of thankful items. There will no doubt be more to add to this in a few months, but for now, I'm just feeling very happy.

3. When I make a mistake, and know fixing the mistake is going to be a pain to resolve, I just want to put it aside and come back to it later, and sometimes, much later. Such was a case with making these sweet little burial gowns for stillborn baby boys. These will be given to a local charity to give to local hospitals to make available to the bereaved parents. I'm thankful I could finally undo my stitching error and get these finished. 

Two burial gowns for stillborn baby boys

4. One of our daughters preceded a question this week with, "It might be a long shot, but do you still have. . ." Sometimes I'm thankful that I tend to save things, and even more thankful that I knew where to look and was able to find a 45-year-old pattern.

5. While I was working inside the house and my husband was working outside, he spotted several wild turkeys in our neighbors yard. He came in to tell me to grab my camera, but the turkeys were faster at navigating the hillside than we were, and had escaped from view. I'm thankful for our neighbors a couple houses away that did see them later and shared their photo of three turkeys eating bird seed under their bird feeders.

6. In the spring there are so many sweet smells to enjoy or maybe to detest if allergies are problematic for an individual. At the edge of our property there are a couple of hawthorn trees in bloom now. I personally like the smell of the hawthorn blossoms, but I may be in the minority, according to some articles I've read. Do you like the smell of hawthorn blossoms?

Clusters of white blossoms on a hawthorn tree

7. Both tulips and irises are in bloom here now and I love the way these two colors offset the other. Like people, it is good to have some friends who are not exactly the same as you are. Are there people you really enjoy being friends with because they add variety to your life and offer new perspectives?

Pink tulips arranged with purple irises

8. Learning that something I did beginning as a young mother had some value that I didn't realize at the time, other than the obvious one. Have you sung lullabies to children?

9. I'm thankful for time: time to go eat lunch with friends, time to go to the fitness center, time to enjoy warm weather outside, and time to attend a Mother's Day activity with my mom at the nursing center.

Mom (age 101) and I enjoying a vase of peonies and irises

10. To think that my husband and I could become one in purpose in building a family and that the children born into that family grew and formed families of their own, and so forth is such a beautiful blessing. It is beyond me to be able fully express that gratitude, but I know it is real, and I will be eternally grateful. I also am very appreciative for the love I felt from a couple of aunts and uncles who were not able to have children, but reached out in loving ways to their nieces and nephews. They too influenced me for good.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - Listicle: 10 things people don't know about me

Since I tend to be somewhat of a list maker, I find this second Friday of the month blog hop enjoyable. It requires making a listicle using whatever prompt is given. This week I'll being linking my post to Finish the Sentence Friday - Listicle: 10 things people don't know about me. The host is Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee. Wendy G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours is the co-host.
Be sure to click any of the above links to see what the other bloggers have shared about themselves and also check out what things happen on the other Fridays at this blog hop.

While making lists is what I do, making ones of things people don't know about me is a little difficult, because usually there is at least someone who might know or remember one or more of these things I'm going to share here. 

1. The first instrument I learned to play in grade school was a harmonica. Our teacher had been in the Marine Corps, as I remember. At that time I incorrectly assumed the name of the instrument was somehow connected to the Marine Corps. The parents bought their children harmonicas, and as part of our music instruction we were taught how to play. We performed at a school program later in the year.

2. I stood on a stage attempting to sing Rusty Old Halo with three other girls when I was 11. We got the giggles and I was the only one unable to stop. Three girls sang and one girl giggled.

3. The first oral report I gave was in the sixth grade and it was about the cotton plant. Our family was going on vacation to visit relatives and the teacher said he would excuse me, but I would need to give a report when I got back and it would need to be about cotton. I brought back some cotton I picked from my aunt and uncle's farm. Most of the kids had never seen a cotton boll.

4. When I was about four my mother was pointing to some falling stars in the sky, I began to cry because I didn't want the stars to fall. I imagine she wished she had phrased that differently.

5. The first time I remember anyone wanting to know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied I wanted to be a missionary in Africa. I was about 10. 

6. It is extremely hard for me to name favorites of anything. I tend to find something to like about a lot of things.

7. The first library book I ever read was titled John Paul Jones and was about the Naval Commander in the Revolutionary War. For the first time, a few library books were brought to our little two-room school for us to check out. By the time it was my turn to select a book, ones that I would have preferred were already taken. The teacher selected the one about John Paul Jones as a possible option for me. I obediently took the book and was surprised to find I actually enjoyed the book. I was in the fourth grade.

8. I once thought I would never get married, because no one would ever ask me. Silly me.

9. A favorite snack I enjoyed when I was growing up was a piece of white balloon bread with mayonnaise spread on it. That was it, and it was delicious.

10. When my husband and I were dating, we would often sing along as the radio was playing. He started laughing when I sang, "Oh, a tree in motion," and I couldn't understand why.

Six Sentence Stories - Echo

It is time to link up to the that great blog hop that Denise hosts at the Girlie on the Edge site. We can depend on the link being available assuredly as knowing that if you are in a canyon and yell, you will hear your voice coming back via an echo.  Oh, by the way that reminds me of the new prompt. Click the link to see all the new posts at Six Sentence Stories - Echo. Mine will show up there too. 

There was a fantastic challenge Clark at The Wakefield Doctrine gave to Lisa at The Meaning of Me last week. Lisa took on the task and wrote a fabulous companion piece to Clark's SSS titled Single. Some very creative things happen on these blog hops.

She wondered when the aching would stop, that pain that seemed to be as a wedge right through her heart, when so much of what once had been their life was so neatly bound all about her, from the beautiful surroundings they had built together that reminded her not only of all the good things they had achieved, but also the downward spiral of his health and all they had done to plan ahead.

Through the day, and often way into the night, she tried to converse with him about what she should do concerning certain matters, but she only heard her own pleadings reverberating within the fragile casing of her soul.

He had loved her dearly, protected her and even shielded her, when possible from what might make her feel less than what he knew she was.

The responsibilities that had once been his and the unexpected challenges that seemed beyond her capabilities made it difficult for her to be able to stay calm during the day and caused her to toss and turn during the night.

Will I ever see the light of day through all this paperwork with so much legal terminology, she wondered, and can I ever be happy again?

One early morning when she finally was able to think clearly and be still, she felt comforted by what seemed to be his hand on her shoulder accompanied by his voice in her mind saying, I will love you always.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop feels like my wrap up post each week and what a great way to end the week. Josie Two Shoes' provides a place for us to link up each weekend, well actually, clear until Tuesday evening. Click either of the links above to read more about this blog hop and to read the posts of other bloggers. As always there is just so much for which we can each be thankful. That doesn't mean that we each don't have our share of challenges from time to time, but that we are willing to step aside from them to reflect on what makes life worth living and to express thanks.

By the way, it is okay to share more or less that ten items. The rules for this blog hop truly make participating easy peasy. We'll see if I make it to ten.

1. I'm feeling grateful for the nurse at the nursing home where my mom stays. She will be leaving the middle of the month. I will miss her and the service she has given there. The nurse who will be taking her place will do a good job too, I am sure. After so many visits there, I not only get attached to the other residents and their family members, but to the many nurses and aides.

2. It was good for me to finally get back to a sewing project this week. I'm thankful for that boost of energy to get in there and do it! Although it is not finished yet, I did take out an area of stitching that I was really dreading, because of the type of fabric. Does anyone else dread undoing a mistake to the point of postponing the project way longer than one should?

3. Speaking of projects, my husband and I did a we project this week. We went together to pick out some flowers for some planters on our ramp, worked side by side to get them planted, and then followed up with setting up an automatic watering system for them.   Usually we have just hand watered them, but this is going to make things more convenient when we are gone a day or two on hot days. 

4. It was fun to go with a friend to The FarmHouse Show that was held locally. This is the kind of show that has lots of old/antique items, some of which might have been found on farms or in farm houses. There were quite a few craft items for sale, including a huge assortment of things made from old rusty corrugated roofing materials. We had a great time looking, and I managed to make it home without buying anything, so yeah for me!

5. I'm thankful that another grandson graduated from a university this week. It will be interesting to see what he does from this step forward. There are so many options in one's life.

6. Exploring some mixed up family history records presented a challenge for me this past week. When one has a great uncle who was married several times, and one or two of the wives had previous marriages, the children listed on census records can easily be confused as children of the parents shown on that census. Anyway, it  takes some untangling to straighten things out, and I think that I did it, I guess until proven differently.

7. There are some other blog hops in which I participate for which I have been thankful for the prompts these past few week. Check out Six Sentence Stories at Denise's Girlie on the Edge's blog, and Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours. It is good for me to explore some of these other writing avenues. 

8. I am thankful for this little reminder of some northwest history. A few years ago a friend gave us one of his Lewisia plants. This is one of many kinds of native plants that were encountered by Merriweather Lewis in 1806 when he and William Clark were on their expedition traveling in Oregon Country. Merriweather named it after himself.

A fuchsia colored Lewisia with a darker fuchsia color toward the center of the flower.

9. Our blueberry blossoms are a hopeful sign there will be blueberries to pick in the future, if the deer decide to share. 

A cluster of blueberry blossoms

10. I am thankful for the very air we breathe, and for this beautiful piece composed by Bach.

I hope that you have a very peaceful week and take time out to just breathe and relax if things do get stressful. I am grateful for my husband, family, and friends, including those of my blogging friends.