Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful

Some weeks are better blogging weeks than others, or so it would seem the case with me this past week. This is the end of one week and the beginning of another, and although I failed to keep up the momentum of blogging last week, Ten Things of Thankful is an important part of my life.

This weekly blog post is a time when I consider the things that have transpired this past week, or the thoughts I have had that help me to realize how very grateful I am for the big things and the small things in my life.  There is quite a community of bloggers who link up to Ten Things of Thankful each week.  If you have a blog, and need a little jump start in your thinking or attitude, take some time to consider some of those things for which you are thankful. Post them on your blog and link up to Ten Things of Thankful.  When you read the things others have posted on their blogs, your eyes will be opened to the many possibilities, and you will feel even more grateful.  Each post has a place where you can comment.  Maybe you learned something from the post, or maybe you might be able to add a voice of encouragement, or a "hooray for you."  Comments are always welcomed.

Here is my list for this week.

1.  There is something to be said about making a commitment.  I want to stay healthy, so eating right most of the time is important to me.  Logging the things I eat and the calories helps me stay aware of what I am doing to my body.  I've completed week two on this log.

2.  Walking on the treadmill and using the stationary bike hasn't been quite daily, but my goal for the year is to walk or pedal 1000 miles.  I'm ahead of where I thought I would be by now.  Because I'm using this time to also do my scripture reading, I'm staying on course there too.

3.  This past week there was a need for some fabric pieces to use to make sleeping bags for the needy.  Since I had some pieces being unused I was able to clean our a little space in our closets by donating some fabric for this cause.

4.  It was time to have our car serviced this past week.  The place that does the servicing also sells auto parts, and some miscellaneous items such as greeting cards.  I really like the Leanin' Tree cards, so I stocked up while waiting for my car.  It was also a good time to read a book someone loaned me. If it hadn't been pouring down rain, I would have taken advantage of the 1-mile hiking area around the auto service and adjoining properties.

5.  This was another of those weeks when I said a very specific prayer, this time before going into a Goodwill store.  My Mom needed some larger clothing.  Within a very short amount of browsing time, I was able to find two articles of clothing, that appeared to have never been worn, from Buck & Buck which sells adaptive clothing.  I have never seen adaptive clothing in there.  This was a considerable savings and a blessing.

6.  Lori Henriques album, How Great Can This Day Be, is a nominee for the 58th Grammy Award for Best Children's Album.  I'm thankful to have had the joyful experience of hearing this on the radio this past week.  The song, by the same name as the title of the album, is one for all ages.  I'm thankful for Lori's amazing musical talent!  When I first heard this song, I didn't know it was on a children's album.

7.  My husband and I enjoyed exploring the John Neal Memorial County Park outside of Lyons, Oregon this week.  Thanks to reading an article in the newspaper about this park, we decided to see for ourselves.  It has a great trails around several beaver ponds and streams.  We were able to enjoy several hours of walking and taking photos of birds, reflections, beaver dams, etc., and it wasn't raining!

8.  After our morning walk around the ponds we stopped at the Gingerbread House to have lunch and of course one of their gingerbread cookies.  My husband had a bison burger with home fries and I had a chicken fajita salad.  A good lunch after a good morning!

9.  Yesterday my husband and I went to see the movie, Joy, based on the story of Joy Mangano, the home-shopping pioneer.  Since I don't watch the home shopping shows, I wasn't familiar with her.  This is quite the story of someone who had to pull herself up by her bootstraps!

10. After seeing the afternoon movie, we went to McGrath's Fish House for some clam chowder and also shared a small flat bread pizza that was lightly covered with some hot creamy crab mixed with artichoke spread.  This was very yummy.  I must try this at home some time, but not too often.  I don't want to log that very often.  This next recipe was shared on a Facebook closed group.  This will probably just remain on my wish list, unless I can figure out how to make just a very small portion.  There are several recipes online with slight variations in the ingredients.  It is a flourless chocolate cake using coconut oil and bittersweet chocolate chips.  It is baked in a springform pan.  It is very rich.  Any chocoholics will love this.

I hope you weren't hungry when you read this post.  :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful

Well, like so many people all those good intentions of starting the new year out with a bang brought me back to the reality of what I could realistically handle this week.  Now that doesn't mean that there won't be other weeks where I'll just buzz right along accomplishing everything on my list, but this week it didn't happen quite as I'd planned.  I think I just got caught in the vines as I was trying to get to get to the light.


I'm linking this post to The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

1.  A very huge thankful for being able to have a blood test this week and also getting the results by the end of the week telling me that something spotted on a CT scan and an ultra scan recently was benign.  I'm thankful for the power of prayer.  I still have some follow-up appointments, but I'll take them as they come.

2.  The beginning of the week was a continuation of the cold snap begun on Sunday, so we stayed in all day hoping that the freezing rain and fog mixture would thaw. We needed to wait until midday on Tuesday to see that happen and to feel safe enough to make the trip to see my Mom to celebrate her 99th birthday with her, a day late.  There is one good thing to be said about Alzheimer's.  Even though we weren't there the day of her birthday, she had a birthday crown the staff put on her head when they celebrated her day.  The next day she'd forgotten that she'd had a birthday or why we were bringing her presents and cake.  It was truly more of a birthday week for her.  Some flowers even arrived for her on Friday.  I'm thankful for my Mom, and I'm thankful for all the people who try to make her life as pleasant as possible.

3.  I'm going forward getting exercise on the treadmill and the stationary bike, although I've been lax the last two days.  I'm thankful for the group that helps motivate me to keep at it.

4.  Wednesday I was able to go up to the temple with a couple of friends.  Because of a report of some slick spots and possible freezing fog we thought we'd leave mid morning instead of first thing.  As it turned out there had been a traffic accident and backup of traffic for several miles.  It had cleared by the time we left when things were starting to warm up.  I'm thankful we didn't get stuck waiting in a big long line of cars nor having to deal with road conditions that caused the accident.

5.  I've started tracking the calories of everything I eat.  I've done that in the past, but stopped doing it for one reason or another.  Since we hardly eat anything prepackaged, I can't just look at a box and write down the calories I see listed.  A lot of time, I don't use recipes, so it basically means referring to charts to see how many calories are in a given item of food and then doing the math to determine how many calories I'm consuming of what I have prepared.   There are newer cookbooks and recipes online which also post the calories for the recipes.  That is convenient if one can find recipes using the food items which are on your diet and adhere to your tastes.  I'm thankful for all the resources available to help us make good choices in taking care of our bodies.

6.  This week I attended the memorial service of a young woman who died suddenly of a very short illness.  She was a friend to many, including two of my children when they were in school.  The example of how she lived her life was exemplary of one who was ready to meet her maker.  She touched so many lives in her short life.  I'm thankful for her family and how they taught her, and how she lived her life.

7.  Sometimes getting older is just funny!  For instance, why did my hair decide it was okay to put a
cowlick on top of my hair, instead of what once was a wave?  Now this isn't just an occasional unruly cowlick, but one that apparently has taken up residence.  Hair spray might help, but I really don't  want to use that, for various reasons.  I suppose I should be grateful that I have hair!  That's it, I am grateful I have hair.  In the grand scheme of things, having a cowlick is so NOT important!  Who we are inside is really what matters.

8.  Speaking of hair, I got my hair cut this week.  I'm thankful that I am able to feel pretty confident that no matter which of the beauticians I get in the place I go for my haircuts, that they will do a good job.  My curly hair isn't very easy to manipulate into just any old style.  It mostly has a mind of its own.  Getting it cut and thinned is what I do.

9.  I've joined up with a FB closed group of friends that share "What's Cookin?"  It is a great way to expand one's horizons in the kitchen.  All that one does is tell and/or show what they are fixing for dinner.  Those in the group are varied in age, diets, and family size.  I'm glad that there isn't pressure in anyway.   People are totally honest.  Any parent who has had to be "taxi" for several kids for a number of after-school activities, and possibly evening ones, has probably succumbed to picking up some hamburgers or a pizza instead of cooking something that night.  That is okay.  I love honesty in people!

10. My online gospel study course is going well.  I'm finding it very helpful in understanding my Sunday School gospel course this year.

Plus 1 - My husband who is so supportive.  He has decided that vacuuming is HIS job!  How can I not like that kind of help.  It kind of started back when I was having a lot of back problems and then surgery.  That has been months ago.  Love him!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge: White Flowers

Since we have received some white snow in this state recently, somehow the blog hop challenge at  Cee's Fun Foto Challenge:  White Flowers seems appropriate, if not seasonal.  Here are my three photos taken in other climes.  I think just a little color sets them off.

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #78 Vast&Clear

There has been some major flooding because of heavy rain fall in many parts of the country this winter causing rivers to overflow their banks.  The prompts this week at Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #78 Vast&Clear made me think of some of these flooded areas.  My photo is of one of the swollen rivers in this area.  Be sure to click the link to see what other haiku have been written using these prompt words.

turbulent waters
vast, not clear, the river roars
exceeding its banks

The Pudding River in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Dec. 2015

Monday, January 4, 2016

Share Your World - 2016 Week 1

These questions required some deep thinking in order to respond and link my post to Cee's Share Your World- 2016 Week 1 blog.  You'll see what I mean as you read my responses to the four questions posed by Cee this week.  I think it is really going to be interesting to see the answers give by other participants for these.  My answers are in bold print.

1.  As a child, who was your favorite relative?   Without knowing if child means below the age of puberty, or if a child means before the legal age of majority,  I guess my favorite would be my paternal grandmother, because she is the first relative other than my parents I remember knowing.  She took care of me sometimes too.  What I enjoyed about her was her laughter, even giggling.  She was in her late 60's when I was about three, and old enough to have some early memories of her.  As I sit here considering my interactions with her, I muse as memories float through my mind, more than should be shared here for the short answers we are meant to write.
This is a photo of my maternal grandmother when she was very young.

2.  If you could be a tree or plant what would you be?  There is a plant that I really like, but apparently so do the deer.  We planted a daphne odora when we moved here, but the deer nibbled it to almost nothing.  The very sweet smell is delightful.  I think I would like to be planted by someone's entry to greet those who come and go.

3.  What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?  Most of my life I have been an early riser, but as I get older there are days I occasionally sleep longer and wake up about mid morning.  Now I must set an alarm to make sure I wake up on time, if I have an early morning appointment.  Trusting my inner clock to awaken me first thing in the morning doesn't work anymore.   I still prefer having my mornings to accomplish things.  Please, no noon awakenings for me. 

4.  Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?   Being in a human size nest in a tree where I could be sheltered from the heat in the summer and perhaps feel a breeze sounds inviting, but only if the nest wasn't too high from the ground.  I also wouldn't want to be in such a nest in the winter.  If it was winter, perhaps snuggling in a burrowed spot underground might be better, so long as the spot was relatively protected and there was lots of insulation for me.   I probably would just need to hibernate, as getting down to the ground and getting into the burrowed spot would be a trick in itself.  For that matter if I needed to climb a tree to get in the human size nest, that definitely would be a problem too.  Maybe I'll just continue to sleep where I do.

Too high and too precarious

Too hard for me to get into

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  Please see my newest post of Ten Things of Thankful I wrote this weekend.  It lists things for which I was grateful last week.  This week I look forward to another short two-three hour road trip with my husband, going to the temple with a couple of friends, and visiting my Mom to celebrate her 99th birthday!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful

Well it is the beginning of a new year of posting Ten Things of Thankful.  I'm sure there will be some new "thankfuls" as well as some returning ones.  Those things which are near and dear to our hearts should never be overlooked.  This is a blog hop that has a growing group of followers, so be sure to click the link, Ten Things of Thankful, to see things for which others are thankful.

Let's get started on my list.

1.  For many years I've written in my journal, but kind of slipped away from doing that when I started blogging.  I've discovered that although blogging is fun and to a degree is kind of like writing in a journal (especially with participation in the Ten Things of Thankful postings), it doesn't entirely replace writing in a journal, at least for me.  So this week I wrote in my journal too, and that makes me feel happy and thankful that I realized that was a piece of my life that I needed back in my life.

2.  There is a group I've joined that is called the 1000 Miles in 2016 Running and Walking Club.  It is exactly that.  We can participate by ourselves or with others, but the goal is to run or walk 1000 miles this coming year.  We can also count miles on treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines.  As you can see this allows more inclusiveness and yet gets people actively involved and feeling some camaraderie.  I will accomplish most of my miles via the treadmill and stationary bike.  At the end of the year those who can will walk together for the concluding run/walk.  I'm thankful for this group and the person who is spearheading it.  She has been such an inspiration to so many.

3.  This week I used a Christmas gift for the first time, and was absolutely delighted with the results...  being able to cook a whole chicken in 20 minutes! 

4.  I bought a keyboard for my iPad.  I'm not sure how often I will be using it, but I think there are going to be some times in the future, where this will be handy to have.  The good thing was I was able to take advantage of a sale to get it.   

5.  It was good for me to be taught, or reminded, this week that not everyone interprets things in the same way.  It is easy to offend sometimes when that was the last thing you had in mind to do, and would never had known had the person not said something to you.  Thankfully with a little more communication, things were peacefully resolved.

6. With some encouragement from my husband, I was able to get in to see the doctor the same day I called this week.  (The doctor had a cancellation, just at the moment I called.)  After being seen, she sent me over for a CT scan.  I hadn't even made it home, before she had the results.  She said  that she wanted to do some further testing.  The day before New Years Day, I had an ultra sound, but my doctor was out of the office, so I have to wait to call her tomorrow.  Hopefully the results reported on the CT scan turn out to be benign.  The ultra sound I think will show what needs to be seen to confirm that.  I'm thankful that I have complete trust in my doctor.

7.  My husband and I took a little road trip on Saturday.  It was a gorgeous day.  It was one of those sunny clear-blue sky days.  The air was crisp, yes very crisp indeed.  The temperatures were in the 30's, but felt 10 degrees cooler.  We took photos.  We saw all kinds of birds in and above the green fields where sheep were often grazing and where they weren't.  We saw trumpeter swans, bald eagles, lots of killdeer, red tailed hawks, robins, shore birds, and others I'm failing to remember.  In addition to the driving, we stopped at a historic little town and walked around taking more photographs.  I'm thankful we could enjoy such a beautiful day together.  There are some interesting mounds in the area were we were driving.  It was hard to believe that the weather changed so drastically the next day.  (See #10 below.)

8.  This item is related to #6, but deserves a number all to itself.  Many farmers around here have guard llamas with their sheep.  We got to see a guard llama in action.  The sheep and the llama were a ways out in the field, so my husband got the better shots with his camera.  First of all, a couple of bald eagles flew down by the sheep so they could eat the afterbirth from one of the newborn lambs.  Immediately the llama started toward the eagles causing them to fly away.  The llama noticed the newborn who was standing and very wobbly.  The ewe seemed oblivious to her newborn and was walking away from it.  The llama went nose to nose with the little lamb and then got behind it and nudged it toward the ewe.  The ewe didn't accept the lamb, so the llama just continued following the lamb and nudging it gently toward the ewe.  Finally the lamb and the ewe stayed together, at which point the llama dropped back and didn't stay right with the little lamb.  It was so endearing to see this association between the llama and the lamb.  Not only did this llama protect the lambs from the eagles, who have been known to not only eat the afterbirth, but also newborn lambs, but the llama was an encourager, making sure the family unit got off to a good start.

9. I had another instance this week of learning something I had not purposely sought out, but was very informative and timely.  I'm so thankful for instances like that.  It always is a reminder that someone is watching over me.

10. I'm thankful church services were cancelled today because of the treacherous road conditions. I love going to church, but I do not like risking driving on icy roads.  I'd already made up my mind that I didn't want to drive on hilly roads covered in ice, but it was nice to receive word that the local leaders had decided to cancel church.  We live on a hill, so the weather up higher isn't always an indication of what is happening at lower elevations, but as it turned out almost the entire valley is encased in ice.  Combine that with a little snow that fell during the night on top of frozen ground, some hail, and a continuing fall of sleet the rest of the day, I was more than glad to stay home.

Cee's Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 1

Thanks to a recent road trip I took with my husband I was able to come up with a few odd ball photos for the blog hop challenge at Cee's Odd Ball Photo Challenge:  2016 Week 1.

The first photo gives one an indication of how cold it was on that sunny day.  Depending on which way you view it, you might see some kind of a ice drawing.


The second photo shows some very interesting brick work on the upper part of a business as well as quite a menagerie of plants on the upper floor of that building.

The last photo is what I thought a very unusual tree, but after doing some research discovered it to be an old wisteria plant!  It is on the grounds of the Moyer House in Brownsville, Oregon.

TJ's Household Haiku Challenge- Containers

Containers sometimes hold plants or objects, but the photo of a container I've chosen for this haiku blog hop at TJ's Household Haiku Challenge - Containers is one that holds a kind of mammal.  Although these mammals occasionally find their way inside a house, a public park put one of these containers on a long pole on their grounds.  The mammals, though feared by some, actually do a lot of good.

in narrow spaces
bats find containers to rest
and escape daylight

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge: Any kind of bricks or stone walls, walks or roads

This post includes some photographs that I took on one of our road trips.  Since many the buildings in this little historic town are built with bricks, I decided to turn my photos into black and white images and post them here to link up to Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge:  Any kind of bricks or stone walls, walks or roads.  I love the varying colors of the brick buildings too, but I'll have to share those another time.

Wooden sculpture of 1846 pioneers of Brownsville, Oregon,  Hugh L. and Clarissa Brown

Friday, January 1, 2016

Cee's Compose Yourself Challenge: Week 12 Critique My Work

Cee wants to see what we have learned from her Compose Yourself Challenges, so this week she shows us some of her uncropped photos.  We are to select two or more of them and tell her what is right and what wrong with them.  She really wants this to be a fun adventure, and for me it is a great way to review some of the things she has taught us.  I'm linking this post to Cee's Compose Yourself Challenge:  Week 12 Critique My Work.

I like the contrast of the red umbrella against the white background and subdued surrounding tones.   
The dark baseboard on the left and the angle of the wall and pavement on the right  lead the eye to the umbrella.   That is good. 

  • I would want to crop the photo a little so the dark wall at the very left is cropped out so it isn't distracting.  
  • By cropping some of that left yellow wall, it would move the umbrella more within the left third of the image making it a more appealing photo.
  • I would also crop the bottom of the photo so the drain isn't showing in the right lower corner.  It also is distracting, taking one's focus away from the umbrella.  The eye doesn't know whether to leave the umbrella and go there or to follow the line of the wall.
  • A little more cropping at the top would also help to remove the line on the wall at the upper right.  It isn't needed and doesn't add to the photo.
  • It looks like a tiny bit of straightening would also help, but I can't tell without trying it.

This is a nice marina shot, but I think it would be good to straighten the horizon a tad.  I also think that waiting to take this photo a few more minutes might give you a nicer sunset shot and not so much glare from the sun.

I love this assortment of old chairs, but the distraction of the car, the linens, and the buildings in the background take away from my being able to focus on the chairs, even though that green one would like me to keep looking at it.  Perhaps by taking the photo from a different angle, one wouldn't pick up the scene outside.  If that doesn't work, I'm not sure how to fix this photo, unless don't, and post it on your odd ball post.  :-)

This post was recognized with a Gold Star Award on January 6, 2016.  Click here to see two others who received the award that day.  Thank you Cee!

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge: Red Flowers

Sometimes the color red might be used to capture your attention,  such as the red lights flashing on a patrol car, or an emergency vehicle.  For this blog hop, I perused my photos to see the red flowers on which I had focused.  I'll share a few here, and link up to Cee's Fun Foto Challenge:  Red Flowers.

Red Penstemons

Red Fuchsia

Red Azalea

Red Ranunculus

Red Christmas Cactus

Cee included me as a featured blogger for this blog hop challenge, Red Flowers.  Thank you, Cee.

Cee's Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #52

Here I am still trying to wrap up 2015 when 2016 has opened the door.  This post is one to finish up my year's links to Cee's Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #52.  One photo is an indoor one and the other an outdoor scene that caught my eye.

I thought this quaking aspen appeared to be the beautiful, but odd ball in this grove.

I took this photo of a badger hair shaving brush one day when I was just playing around with the camera.  Who knew it would end up on this blog?

Hope you have a happy New Year and have fun enjoying the oddities of life!