Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful

1.  Ripening blueberries.  Gardening has taken a back seat the past couple of years, so it is amazing that there is a crop at all.  There are some other bushes next to the two which are producing, but since the deer seemed to do quite a good job of pruning the tender new growth, we likely will see very few berries on those bushes this year.  We were given these plants about 35 years ago.  I'm not sure how long blueberry plants live, but I'm thinking this is a long life for them. They are taller than me, so I mostly reach up and through, but not too much down.  This works just fine for where I am in my recovery from my back surgery.

2.  Beautiful sounds.  I love waking up to the chirping of birds, although I think some of them are "night owls."  Four o'clock in the morning seems a bit too early.  The sounds of the different birds chirping throughout the day is delightful, and I'm thankful that there is the kind of habitat here where they like to be.

Another sound I enjoy immensely is hearing my aging mother laugh.  I'm glad that there are still things that people say to her that cause her to laugh.

3.  Learning new things.  This week I learned some more things about using my camera and also how to put a watermark on my photos using iPhoto.   I had been told I'd probably need another application to do that, but with some googling, I learned how to do it without needing another application. (See Yeah!

Thank you to all those who are posting things on their blogs about how to blog.   With their help, I hope to keep learning new skills in this area.

4.  Enjoyable movies.  My husband and I watched a couple of movies this week that we both really liked.  Today I decided to read what reviewers had said about these movies.  One movie in particular didn't have very good reviews, BUT those who had made comments on Amazon gave it a much higher rating.  I'm glad we hadn't seen the reviews by those who do that for a living, because we might have missed out on a movie we both really liked.  One movie is called, The Cobbler, and the other is called Northern Borders, in case anyone is interested.

5.  Finding exactly what I needed.  Somehow the strap on my camera bag broke this week.  I thought perhaps I could just go find the kind of strap I needed, but I wasn't successful.  Today I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and found what appeared to be a brand new, or possibly never used, camera bag.  It was just the size I needed and is actually better than the one I had. The price was right too.

Ten Things of Thankful6.  Fans.  The northwest has been heating up this past week, and more hot weather is on the docket for this coming week.  I've never really enjoyed hot weather.  Temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees would suit me just fine, but I really enjoy the changing of the seasons.  I guess I'd better not complain about a little heat in the high 90's.  We do not have an air-conditioned home, and most of the time we really don't need air conditioning.  Our earth sheltered home keeps our home fairly comfortable most of the year.  When we get a couple of weeks of hot weather, things do begin to heat up inside, and we drag out a fan.  At times like these I'm thankful to have a fan!

7.  Those who respond to emergencies.  There have been a number of highway accidents, house fires, and field and forest fires lately.  Those who respond to these emergencies often put their own lives in danger.  I am thankful for all that they do.

8.  Bamboo wind chimes.  My husband doesn't like the sound of tingling wind chimes, but he does like the sound of bamboo wind chimes.  So do I.  There is something so calming in listening to them.

9.  To live in a country where we are free to choose.  I believe we are responsible for the choices we make and that sometimes making good choices can be challenging and quite difficult.  Freedom is a very precious thing for which I am thankful.  I think we must always remember each person is free to choose his/her own path in life, even if we might not understand that path.

10. Reconnecting with friends and making new friends.  Friendships can be nourished by a visit, a phone call, a letter, or an invitation to do something together.  I'm thankful for the many ways to reach out to others and the ways others reach out to me.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Finish the sentence Friday: Everything felt perfect the time that

Today I'm linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday:  Everything felt perfect the time that...

Everything felt perfect the time that our family was on their way moving from drought stricken California north to a place that had more rain.  It didn't start off feeling perfect though.  I'm not even sure I grasped that we were moving and why.

On moving day I'd been dropped off at school the same as usual.  My second grade teacher had been notified that my Dad would be picking me up a little early, so I didn't need to ride the bus home.  When Dad got there, he told me to tell my teacher goodbye, because we were moving!  There were no individual goodbyes to any close friends, just out the door and on our way.

First we stopped at a nearby town to say goodbye to my grandparents.  This is when it got even harder.  My Grandma had taken care of me different times when my Dad had farm related errands to do, and my Mom was at work.  I think Grandma probably took care of my younger brother also.  Grandma had no daughters, so I suspect she may have been partial to me, or at least that was the feeling I had.  Now her only grandchildren were moving to another state.  My grandparents were getting up in years and unable to travel and knew it would be quite a while before they saw us again.  I had never seen my Grandma cry, but I saw her tears that day as we departed.

We were traveling  northward in the Spring, a nice time of the year to be traveling.  It wasn't too cold or too hot, and I'm sure that my parents were hoping they wouldn't have to drive on snowy roads.  Dad drove the pickup and was hauling a small two-wheeled cattle trailer behind him.  The trailer was packed not with cattle, but with things that couldn't be put in the Bekins Moving Van.  Mom drove the car.  I was in the car with Mom.  I think that my brother may have been riding in the pickup with my Dad, but I don't actually remember.

After we got on our way, everything felt perfect, kind of exciting and adventurous, especially as we got out of the very flat land where we had lived.  As we began navigating up the mountains on the very winding road north of Shasta Dam, I was kind of scared looking out the window and seeing a river far below.  In that period of time, there was no freeway, just a two-lane narrow road without painted lines on the shoulders.  There are more protective railings now too than there were then.  We had to drive a lot slower as we tried to drive through the mountainous area.  Suddenly, as Dad went around a curve, he blew the right tire on the trailer.  The tire headed directly toward our car before careening down the side of the mountain!  Dad was somehow able to safely come to a stop, as did Mom.  Both were visibly shaken.  What could have caused a very imperfect ending was not to be.  We were perfectly watched over, and I think we all realized what could have happened, but didn't.

Six Sentence Story: Park

The challenge from the Six Sentence Stories blog hop this week is to write a story using only six sentences.  The word  prompt this week is "park."

Pointing to the old pickup on the dirt driveway on the north side of farm house, he said, "Go park the truck next to the car."  

The car was only a short distance away, but on the west side of the house.

She, at age 16, had already driven the tractor quite a bit, but the truck, not so much.

He thought she would be capable of parking the truck next to his recently purchased two-toned blue Buick.

She proceeded with caution, but when she turned to pull up alongside the car, she cut the turn a little too sharp panicking as she stepped on the brake.

The sound of metal upon metal caused her father to curse with anger when he heard the sound and then saw the first dent!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Flowers

Wordless Wednesday

Lovely flowers are the smiles of God's goodness.---William Wilberforce (1759-1833)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teachers who made a difference in my life

The very first teacher in my life was my Mother from whom I have learned so much, including a desire to study hard in school.  

Mother, age 98,  enjoying the sunshine and flowers at the nursing home today.

School teachers can be remembered in a positive way or a negative way, and unfortunately some may only be vaguely remembered by a student.  As I was driving to visit my Mother today, I thought about some of my teachers who made a difference in my life.  Certain interactions stood out and I am grateful for the things I learned from them.

As a first grader standing in the cafeteria line with a full tray of food, a boy ahead of me made a sudden move which caused me to drop my tray.  The bowl of hot soup which had been on my tray was now spilled all over my socks and shoes.  My teacher quickly came to my rescue and had me walk back to the classroom with her.  She hurriedly removed my socks and soaked leather shoes.  She cleaned off my shoes, rinsed out my socks and laid them on the radiator heater by the classroom wall.  She made sure someone brought me some lunch, and then the two of us just visited while my socks dried.  I have always remembered her kindness to me that day.

When I was in the third grade at a two room school, our teacher liked to crochet during the lunch time.  She asked some of the girls if they would like to learn to crochet instead of going out to recess.  Several of us were interested.  She gave me my first crochet lessons, and I crocheted a lot of caps that year.  I always thought that was nice of her to use her precious time to teach us something that I'm sure wasn't in her contract to do so.  Of course at that point in my life, I knew nothing about teacher contracts, just that she wanted to help us learn how to crochet.  While I don't crochet all the time now,   I did expand on my crocheting skills as an adult.

There was a Christmas play that I was in the year I was in the fifth grade.  I was kind of embarrassed when I learned I was to play the part of a Grandma in the play.  All I had to do was read a poem I had written for a classroom assignment.  It had been included in the script as a poem Grandma had received from someone. I think that may have been the first poem I had ever written.  To this day I still dabble in writing poetry and still think that there is a season and a time for poetry in our lives.

By the time I entered seventh grade our two room school was consolidated into a larger school district, and I attended a large junior high school.  If I remember right, we all had one term of art.  One of the assignments we had was worth quite a bit of our grade.  We were using poster paints.  Just as I was completing my painting, I got more paint on my brush than I should have and a drop splatted on the painting.  I was very upset, because I thought there was no hope of getting a good grade now.  My teacher came to my rescue and made a suggestion.  She said that I could try to turn it into a balloon and paint a string on it.  So in my finished painting of a street scene, there was a balloon floating in the air.  A few weeks later, my teacher asked me if I had seen the display cabinet in the hall.  At the end of class, I walked by the display cabinet and was surprised to see my painting displayed for all to see.  By that experience, she taught me that things are not always as bad as they first appear, and that when life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Green Smoothie to start the day

Sometime during this past year I began to occasionally make a green smoothie to drink with my breakfast.  It is quite filling, so a sunny side up egg and a piece of whole grain bread is more than sufficient to complete my breakfast.

It wasn't until the last few months that I started to really get serious about the idea.  Although I have a huge collection of cookbooks, I also enjoy just trying my hand at making my own recipes.  Since smoothies definitely allow for my style of cooking, I've been  trying different combinations of foods in my smoothies.

Included here is my Green Smoothie #7 recipe.  It makes about 20 ounces.  I drink 10 oz. one morning and save the rest to drink the next morning.  I use my Cuisinart Smart Stick to make my smoothies.

The Cuisinart Smart Stick can also be used to make creamy soups.  One of my daughters introduced me to this great kitchen tool when she was trying out a lot of different soup recipes.

Pat's Green Smoothie #7

1 C spinach
1/2  C kale/spinach/chard mix
1 mango
1/2 banana
1 avocado
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/4 C frozen raspberries
1/4 C frozen blueberries
1/4 C frozen dark sweet cherries/tart red cherries mix
1 t chia seeds

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday, a time to ponder

Today as I have pondered things I have experienced this past week, some verses from the Old Testament in the book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 have come to mind.  I'm thankful for the things that I experience, because those events often remind me of things I have read in the scriptures.  At other times when I am reading scriptures, things come to mind that I have experienced at one point or another in my life.  It is so interesting how that works.

In verse 3, it mentions "a time to heal."  Healing continues to be important to me, and I continue to be grateful for the progress.

In verse 4, it says there is "a time to mourn."  With the senseless deaths that happened in Charleston, S. C. this week, as a nation we shared in the mourning of these innocent people.

In verse 4, it states "a time to laugh."  In an attempt to pick up some dry beans that had dropped on the floor, my husband and I found ourselves jovially laughing when we attempted to get back up to a standing position.  We cracked jokes such as, "And they were both found on the kitchen floor among the some spilt beans...."  Moral of the story, when one has bad knees and the other a bad back, one of them needs to remain in a standing position.

In verse 7, we read "a time to rend."  It felt so good to do some decluttering and recycling of some things in my home one day this past week.  It is amazing how quickly papers can accumulate if not taken care of on a daily basis.  I'm trying to do better in this regard.

In verse 7, it mentions "a time to sew."  One evening I went down to the church to help with a sewing project.  There was a need to replenish the supply of baby blankets and burp cloths at a local shelter.  It was fun not only to "sew blankets," but to "sow friendships."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful

1.  My husband has diligently prepared sugar water, almost on a daily basis now, to feed the many hummingbirds that have taken up residence here year round.  As a result, the hummingbirds have come to recognize him.  Yes, they really can recognize people!  He was pretty excited this week when he held one of the feeders in his hands and one of the hummingbirds landed on his finger to drink from the feeder!  He invited me to try, but I was a little doubtful it would work, because I knew they were partial to him.  Our plan was for me to sit next to my husband on the porch.  I would hold the feeder, and we would just wait.  As the birds began getting closer and closer to me, my husband got up and got his camera and captured the moment when a hummingbird landed on my finger and supped from the feeder!  What a thrill!  I'm thankful for my husband and all the thrilling moments he has brought into our lives.

2.  One day this week I had a short amount of time to do some errands.  I was walking rather quickly  from a store to the parking lot when I heard a lady say, "Someone ought to give you a ribbon."  When I turned and looked at her, she commented that I was fast.  I had to smile, because my ability to walk at a faster pace is because I am continuing to heal following my back surgery.  I'm thankful for words from others that make me smile.

3.  This probably wouldn't have even made such a list as this at another point in time.  Are you ready?  I'm thankful that I can cut my toenails again.  The last time they needed cutting, one of my daughters did it for me.  Back surgery recovery takes time, so I had to rely on others for some things, well a lot of things.  I'm thankful that I am more self-reliant again.

4.  There are so many ways people can brighten the lives of others.  I often visit my mother in a nursing home.  She, along with others there, suffers from varying degrees of dementia and Alzheimer's.  Fortunately there are people in the area who regularly go to the nursing home and share their musical talents.  Many times, "the lights come on" when people with dementia hear music, especially musical pieces they may have heard earlier in their lives.  This week a woman in her 70's went to the nursing home and played music on her accordion.  One of the residents asked if she could play any Lawrence Welk type music.  She promptly started playing one of the signature pieces that was often heard on his show.  To see the absolute joy and enthusiasm on the face of the man who had made the request was just priceless.  I'm thankful for those who bring joy into the lives of others as they share their talents.

5.  Earlier this week I decided, upon the encouragement of my daughter and other bloggers, to take up this adventure of blogging again.  I had just barely begun to do so back in 2011when life got in the way.  A day after beginning to consider this possibility, but having some doubts, I watched a Roots Tech 2015 video online.  This particular video was about tech tools.  One of the things that was addressed in the video was about blogging sites, and was another helpful prod for me.  I'm thankful for the ways we receive help when we least expect it.

6.  Do you like to sing or hum when you work?  My husband has often referred to me as his "little hummer," because he can hear me humming as I work.  I'm not exactly sure when I stopped humming, but I suspect it was somewhere during this past year when there was a degree of pain and stress in my life.  I didn't even recognize that I'd stopped humming, until one morning this past week I recognized that I was humming.  Immediately, the thought came into that my mind, that I hadn't done that for months!  I'm thankful to feel like humming again!

7.  I'm sure that all are aware that when life stands still, weeds continue to grow!  It is too bad that they couldn't at least pause, until you are able to tackle the job.  I was hoping I could get to them before they got completely out of hand, but such hasn't been the case.  (Dr.'s orders not to do gardening yet)  I'm thankful for a dear neighbor who got up early one morning to come do some hand weeding for me (not a project my husband can do these days either).  She worked for two hours as I watched.  When I tried to pull a weed, she kindly said, "You probably shouldn't be doing that."  So I would stop.  I'm thankful for my neighbor's kindness and conversation at the beginning of a summer morning.

8.  Having a make-shift birdbath and some feeders around attract birds that perhaps we might not easily see, such as a Western Tanager.  They are such beautiful birds, but they aren't here in this area for long before they continue their migration.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to see a glimpse of one in the fir tree.  Late in the day yesterday I saw one at the birdbath!  I'm thankful for all God's creations and that I can sometimes see one up close.

9.  Do you sometimes have a prompting to do something, like call someone, or do something for someone, etc.   I do.  Sometimes I talk myself out of the prompting, and other times I follow up on the thought.  This week I was reminded of how important it is to listen and to follow up.  I'm thankful for those promptings of the Spirit that help us be an instrument in His hands.

10.Lastly, but not least, I am thankful for my husband and father of our children.  He is amazing and makes me feel amazing too!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A time to try blogging again

To get back in the groove of trying my hand at blogging.

Well this was easier than I thought it was going to be!  I went to my bookmarks and recognized what I had named my blog several years back, and I was able to get in and I think be able to post this remark.

Since I already posted something on my daughter's blog today, I'm not going to repost here now.

My next step will be to learn more about using this site.