Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

This has been a week of fluctuating weather in our parts, but you didn't stop by to hear about the weather, or maybe you wanted to compare your weather to mine. However let's get past the warm up. Literally we got past the warm up here yesterday when the temperature dropped about 25 degrees from the previous day. I'm linking my Ten Things of Thankful post over at Josie Two Shoes blog hop once again. By the way she had a fabulous vacation, and no doubt will say a little bit about that with her blog readers, so click the link to see what she and others are sharing this week as their thankful items.

1. The sound of singing white-crowned sparrows in the trees

A white-crowned sparrow sitting on a branch in one of our maple trees

2. Apple blossoms, and lots of them this year

A completely open white apple blossom surrounded by five buds with their outer curved petals of pink encasing the unopened blossoms

 3. A huge bee population that is visiting the blossoms on our apples trees!

4. The sugar water recipe that we use to make sure our hummingbird friends have sufficient to drink even though we have plenty of flowering natural habitation plants for them to visit as well

This little ruffled, sopping wet humming bird just could not seem to get enough of the syrup. It was a cold, windy, pouring-down rain day. I love that little cross-eyed look he has with his entire beak completely inserted into the hole in the red feeder.

5. I'm still learning how to use my little camera and hadn't really used the continuous feature until this week. Since humming birds are a bit challenging to photograph, at least for me, I decided to try the continuous setting where it takes five photos in one shot. I also played around a bit more with zooming in to get a better in-focus picture. I just have to remember to watch my own progress and not compare my photos to that of my husband's photos. 

6. A friend who texted me this week to let me know that a lazuli bunting had showed up at her place and she knew that I would enjoy seeing this beautiful little bird 
Note: By the time I noticed I had a text message, the little bird had flown away.

7. Places to donate used, but still in good condition, clothing, that not longer fit us

8. Hard workers who came for a few days this week to clear out our  bamboo except for a row to use as a screen between our property and the neighbors

The workers left our screen of bamboo and prepared a wider ditch between the bamboo and the fence so they can come in every other year and make sure none of the rhizomes are escaping. The brown earth shown in the photo had several areas of different types of bamboo before being cleared. There was just a little pile left for us to burn after the workers left. We are just trying to make our work load lighter.

9. My husband spotted an alligator lizard under a board this week on our property. Although I haven't seen it yet, I'm thankful it (or a relative) is still hanging out. I'm also thankful for my husband sharing his discoveries with me!

10. The rainy, cooler days that came right after the workers finished the bamboo clearing, because that weather change made it possible for my husband to do the burning that was necessary

Two beautiful English Daisies with pink outer petals, and a yellow center encircled by a row of white petals. A deep rose colored unopened daisy can be seen in the center at the bottom of the photo, giving the photo an appearance of two eyes and pursed lips below on a background of green grass and clover. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - Photo Share Friday

Photos can be very powerful, in that they can play upon our emotions, sometimes moving us to tears, other times causing us to laugh, or propelling us to action such as donating funds to a cause, or giving of our time to volunteer work. Sometimes photos will pull us back to a certain place and time in our lives or in the lives of others. Looking back is good as long as one is still able to look forward and not get stuck where one doesn't want to be. 

Each week on the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop we have a different prompt depending on which Friday it is in the month. On the fourth Friday, our host, Kristi Campbell, of Finding Ninee and our co-host, Kenya G. Johnson, of Sporadically Yours invite us to Finish the Sentence Friday - Share a photo and the story behind it. If you click the link, you will be able to see other photos and read the stories behind the photos.

My mother's hands are resting partially on a lavender napkin placed upon her  lap. She is sitting in a wheelchair and is wearing a multicolored bib of purple, mauve, and white daisies printed on a dark blue background. Part of her long-sleeved blouse with a multicolored print on a medium blue background is visible as is portion of her Micky Mouse watch with the large numbers. Her hands are sans wedding rings because the rings no longer fit over her swollen knuckles.

These hands have served her and others well 

With these hands she brushed her curly hair and rubbed hand cream on her hands, cold cream on her face, and a rub-on deodorant under her arms before more convenient deodorants became available. She applied a skin cream with a strong medicinal smell to remove her makeup. (Later on that brand of skin cream had a much milder smell.) With her hands she applied a bit of makeup using the pan-cake compressed type followed by a just a touch of moist rouge on her cheeks and some red lipstick on her lips. She never did use any kind of eye makeup.

With her hands she lifted me in my preschool years into a metal wash tub on a counter so I could receive my weekly bath. There was no bathtub in the house where we were living at that time. It wasn't uncommon in that day for a child to just have a bath once a week with spit baths (common term for a quick sponge bath) in between.

She used her hands to lift sopping wet clothes from the wringer washing machine by using a sawed off broomstick and then carefully feeding them between the two rollers to squeeze out the dirty water. The clothes dropped into a sink filled with clean water. After draining the dirty water from the tub, it was refilled with clean rinse water and she fed the clothes that had been soaking back into the washer for the agitating rinse. Then it was time for her to feed the clothes back through the rollers.  They dropped into a now drained sink where they waited to be hung on the clothes line. With all that bending, she often used her hands to rub her lower aching back.

Many of the clothes that the family wore were made of cotton, so there was lots of ironing that needed to be done. The steam iron hadn't been invented yet, and there were no spray bottles, so mom just dipped her hands in a pan of water and sprinkled each garment with water before rolling it up. There were some sprinkler bottles available to buy, and sprinkler tops that could be placed on an empty pop bottles, but I don't recall her doing anything other than using her wet fingers to sprinkle the clothes. Once the clothes had been sprinkled, it was important to get the ironing done soon, so the clothes didn't get moldy.

This 10 year old girl with the really short bangs is me standing in front of the kitchen table piled with sprinkled clothes ready to be ironed. Mom had written on the back of the photo "Big ironing to do on the farm." Perhaps adding my name was an afterthought. 

Mom got on her hands and her knees to get the floors clean using a wet rag and some piney smelling cleaner. Later on she started using some of the sponge mops that had come on the market, but for many years getting on her hands and knees and using a rag was how she approached getting the linoleum floors clean. (She laid the linoleum tile floor as well as the rolled linoleum floors in the house.)

Since mom worked outside the home most of her life in order to support the farm, she used many skills she had learned in high school that involved using her hands: taking dictation using shorthand, typing, on-the-job training of operating the telephone switchboard in a large furniture store, operating a bookkeeping machine and other office equipment.

Because of the abundance of fruit and vegetables in our area as well as on the farm, mom used her hands often late into the evenings to preserve food for the winter by either canning it or packaging it for freezing and then transporting the items to be frozen to a freezer locker. (We didn't have a freezer, nor was there room for one.)

Like most girls of my mom's era, she learned skills such as embroidery, crocheting, and sewing and made things to put into her hope chest. Doilies were commonly used on top of furniture pieces then, so she made a lot of them. Much later on, after she retired, she learned to quilt, and made quite a few of them.

One of mom's doilies embroidered with a wicker basket filled with blue and red flowers and green leaves. The doily is crocheted with a variegated lavender and white edging. For the photo the doily is placed on a purple blanket shown on both sides and the bottom.

Never one to be stopped by a lack of knowledge, mom used the local library to learn how to put wiring into the attic so her children could have lights in what would become their bedrooms. When typewriters were becoming a thing of the past, even though she was now retired and a widow, she took a course at a community college to learn how to use a computer and then proceeded to use those skills as she served in church responsibilities and as she pursued an interest in family history research. Mom learned later in life how to reupholster some furniture when the furniture started looking worn. When she was a little girl, she learned to play a little bit on a pump organ her mother played by ear, but after she retired she decided to purchase a piano and take piano lessons. She later used those skills while serving a church mission. Both she and her mother like the song Danny Boy. I'm not sure if she practiced this on the piano, but I know she tried to play many of the pieces of music she liked. The following is an especially beautiful a cappella rendition sung by Libera.

One time mom used her hands to help as a sow, possibly a gilt, delivered her piglets. Dad was working an evening shift and wasn't home. Mom went to the barn off and on during the evening to see how the sow was doing. The piglets began coming and mom got a heat lamp set up and made sure they were safe and tended to as the sow continued to deliver her piglets. (Occasionally a sow will accidentally step on a piglet especially if it is a gilt giving birth for the first time.) I think the sow below just wanted to rest her head for a moment, and her little piglet didn't realize he should have stayed where he was. We never saw a sow on our farm behave like this one.

There were times when mom's hands and body should have been resting from a busy day of working, but instead she would be found painting a room of the house when the kids were asleep and her husband wasn't home yet from an evening shift at work.

At bedtime when I was very young, my mom taught me to say Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and how to clasp my hands. She also held me on her lap and read me a story about when and how Jesus was born. Although her own parents were a little fractured in what they considered appropriate Christian behaviors, and her own marriage was not bound by religious beliefs in common, I felt that what she read to me when I was that little girl, she believed, and I remember that special feeling I had when she read to me and held me in her arms.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Six Sentences Stories - Track

Railroad tracks often come to mind when I hear the word track, but that is not where my post for the blog hop Six Sentence Stories - Track took me. Denise selects word prompts that can be used in many different ways, so the stories that are shared by the bloggers who participate bring lots of variety as to the use of the word. Be sure to click the link to see which tracks their creative talents took.

The cars flowed smoothly in the riverfront traffic, kind of unusual considering some people were no doubt on their lunch hour headed to the shoreline park to eat lunch and enjoy the beauty of the cherry trees in bloom.

It was as though her tires were being pulled along the familiar track where they had treaded many times before when she had taken this short cut to get her mom's home quickly.

Although her destination in this familiar area was different this time, the previous site associated with multiplicities of journeys was the beginning of what would become a painful descent.

After making her delivery, she continued further along the same route as memories of what had once been and were no more seemed to stop and start again like the traffic lights.

As she left the city and drove eastward toward the nursing home, through the panoramic well-kept farm lands bordered by the snow- capped mountains in the Cascades, her spirits lifted although she knew that one day this drive too would be a reminder of a beginning and an ending of another chapter, the last one, in her mother's earthly life.

For someday, this would mean she would rise to the next existence and no more be bound by body parts that didn't work as they were fashioned to do, and at last being released from the pains associated from an aged body and a deteriorating mind.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Does one need to wear rose colored glasses to be able to write a post for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop at Josie Two Shoes' site? If it means seeing the world not quite as it is, then no, because I believe it is possible to realize that all is not perfect in the world, and still be able to recognize what is good. To see reminders, even signs, of what are important to remember, of what brings us joy, and of what helps us to want to keep on striving and living life in a wholehearted way is a quest we can all pursue. 

Some views as seen through the lens of my camera brought me these thoughts of gratitude this week. (Be sure to click the link above to see what others are grateful for this week.)

1. I am thankful for things that remind me of the past, like old farm machinery and the labors of those who tilled the earth and planted and reaped the crops so those who lived before us could survive, that we might even be.

Old tractors on display at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

2. Snow covered mountain peaks are reminders that there is a better probability that the reservoirs will be full and there will be enough water for those at lower elevations this summer.

Mt. Hood as seen behind a rows of trees, and a field of green grass with a white fence edging a broad field of red, yellow,  white, and orange tulips

3. I am thankful for those who accept those who are different from them and appreciate them for who they are, just as they are.

A mass planting of reddish-orange tulips with one single yellow tulip among them

4. Everyone needs a friend. I am thankful for those who are willing to be a friend and who are loyal friends.

This is a black mouth cur that I met a few days ago. It is said that the dog in the book Old Yeller may have been a black mouth cur.

5. Sometimes it is time to shed what is old, like old clothes that no longer fit. I am thankful that I am making time to do that.

A fence lizard that appears to be shedding part of its skin on the right arm

6. Inner beauty is not always as easily seen, but by paying attention to the how people act in their everyday lives, one can often discover their inner beauty. I am thankful for opportunities to discover the goodness in others.

Yellow ruffle-petaled tulip with broad red stripes in the middle of each of the petals with the dark, almost black anthers and bright yellow stigma seen deep in the middle of the tulip

7. I am thankful for discovering that has a newspaper called The St. Paul Journal (St. Paul, Kansas) in their database. I love the feature that allows me to attach articles to my tree.

8. I am thankful for all the exercise I got this week by just trying on old clothes to see if they still fit, and repeating those actions over and over again.

9. Watching young people, and older people share some of their talents tonight at a church activity was an enjoyable way to spend on hour. I am thankful for those who plan, prepare, and practice in order to bring enjoyment to others.

10. I am  thankful for how my husband quietly did things here at home, and encouraged and allowed me to get away to go to a tulip festival with a friend this week.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - Stream of Consciousness, Home

The challenge this week is to write a post for the Finish the Sentence Friday - Stream of Consciousness, Home within five minutes. I'm thankful that there seems to be a little leeway given as far as the five minute limit, as I seem to struggle with that. Thank you Kristi Campbell, host, at Finding Ninee, and Kenya G. Johnson, co-host, at Sporadically Yours realizing that this is a challenge for some.

All of these words beginning with the letter P are reflections of our home. You might wonder why I chose the letter P. Perhaps it was because I just saw so many things right in front of my eyes that started with the first letter of my name.

Plants - African violets, Christmas cacti, begonias, mother-in-law plant, peace plant, orchids, coffee plant, rubber plant, aloe vera plant, jade, Norway pines, and a few other plants, air ferns, and a few other plants

Piano and piano music - Our old upright piano is the one on which I learned to play the piano when I was a child. 

Prints - A couple of watercolor prints, one of birds, and one of an old New England scene with many of the same colors seen in our home

Pinewood - Our ceilings are made of knotty pine and a file box my husband made before he left for college is made of knotty pine. That box now has Christmas cacti sitting on it.

Ports - For charging various devices

Pumped up exercise ball - This ball is often seen resting on top of the exercise bike, both of which await me using them, separately of course.

Pillows - A few pillows make sitting, or lounging, on sofas more inviting and also comfortable.

Papers - These include bills waiting to be paid, papers to be filed, and junk mail to be recycled.

Publications - Scriptures, a few magazines, collection of cookbooks, lots of reference books and materials, and so many more, too numerous to name.

Pellet stove - We got rid of our wood stove when it became physically too difficult to get wood, and chop and stack it. The pellet stove is a cleaner burning stove too.

People - My husband and I and those who come to visit

Photos - Hanging on the walls are blown up photos that we have taken of birds, flowers, and wildlife. We also have photos of our extended family and one picture of some ancestors in which they are standing in front of a covered wagon. Photos of our children standing in front of the temples where they were married is a reminder of beautiful memories.

Portrait - A portrait of the Savior hangs above our piano. Having His picture there is a daily reminder of His example of the type of people we should try to be.

Peaceful colors - Soft blue/green carpet and a couple of chairs in variations of the same colors, as well as light cocoa colored sofas 

Place of refuge - I believe and strive to make our home a place of refuge, where it feels good to be.

Click link to see source

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Hatch

At first I thought the cue for this blog hop was a joke. Could it possibly be that a word we hear so often in the blog hopping world could be the one presented? Denise at Girlie on the Edge wasn't kidding after all it turns out. So this is it. Six Sentence Stories - Prompt. So click the link and see what other bloggers did with the word prompt in their six sentence stories. 

WELL, I'm not sure where  my focus was when I checked  to see what the prompt word was early in the week, but when I went to link up, I discovered that the joke was on me. The prompt word wasn't prompt after all. It is Six Sentence Stories - Hatch. So let's see what creative thing I can do to make my six sentence story still work. Feel free to laugh at my error. I did!

She wondered why he wanted to be so prompt that first day there. After all, they planned to be there, just the two of them, for a week celebrating her birthday and their 50th wedding anniversary, a month early, and there would be many days they could watch that phenomenal act of nature.

The night before arriving they stayed in Jackson Hole where they took time to browse in some of the tourist shops and visit the town square with the famous Antler Arch. Driving to the National Elk Refuge framed by the Teton Mountains was a must see early the next morning before continuing their journey.

The conversation during the drive from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone National Park was interjected a few times by him inquiring as to what time it was and how he would need to find the perfect site for setting up his tripod and camera before Old Faithful erupted. 

They made it was a half hour to spare, so she decided to walk down a boardwalk as he set up his camera gear, but then as she walked back toward him, she was shocked to see almost their entire family practically hatch out of nowhere approaching her singing  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

It may have seemed like I was ducking out on writing my post for Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, and in a way I suppose I was, as can be seen below. Click the link to see who else decided to share their thoughts of gratitude this time around.  

1. I am thankful for trips to the park.
My husband and I went to the park this afternoon to see if we could see any ospreys doing their incredible plummeting dives into the lake to catch fish. While he was zooming in on the ospreys, I was snapping photos of ducks, including these two. They are called Indian Runner Ducks. I suspect they were unwanted pets that were dropped off at the park. They do not fly and are not native here, nor for that matter to this country. Today both of these ducks seemed to have a little bit of an attitude and bullied the other ducks in the area. As you can see they are very "upright" birds otherwise.

Indian Runner Ducks

2. I am thankful for signs like this.
I'm not sure if the owners have always grown daffodils strictly for u-pickers, or if at one time they had grown them for florists, but I love the idea of u-pick daffodils!

U-Pick daffodil patch with a bright yellow flag to catch the attention of drivers who are zipping by on the highway

3. Colors brighten our world, and fluorescent colors intensify the colors. I'm thankful for discovering this beautiful beetle one morning this week. Since he wasn't where he should have been, we took some photos before departing ways with him. We have no idea where he came from and neither one of us had ever seen a beetle like this. Thanks to the internet, we were able to identify him.

We placed this Golden Jewell Beetle (Buprestis aurulenta) on a spent Christmas Cactus blossom while we took some photos.

4. To see the first of something usually takes some planning, but in this case it was purely happenstance. While watering my plants this week I noticed a tiny blossom emerging on a coffee plant we have had for years. The plant has not really thrived under my care, maybe because I'm not a coffee drinker, but it should have known that there was at least one coffee drinker in our house. Anyway, I was very surprised to see the first ever bloom on the plant! I had assumed it just wasn't ever going to bloom for me. I am thankful for even a very brief appearance of this surprise blossom. (Two days later the blossom had shriveled and dropped off.)

Emerging white blossom on a coffee plant

5. It has taken a while for this little orchid to decide to grow a new leaf and hopefully the beginning of another spike.  I had cut off the old one after the blooms had dropped off, and then decided that was probably a mistake. I'm thankful for new growth on my orchid plant.

New orchid leaf coming forth from the center of the other leaves.

6. When I was given another orchid plant I decided not to cut the spike when the blossoms dropped. After a period of time more blossoms appeared on the spike. I so glad we can learn from our mistakes.

This beautiful fuchsia colored orchid blossom appears to be nodding to the Christmas cactus below. I love how the five petals appear to be a mass of tiny fuchsia dots on a background of pure white, with one small pompon-shaped dot in the center of the blossom.
Speaking of learning, this is what I should have watched when I received my first orchid.

7. I am thankful for radio stations which read books that the entire family can enjoy, and I am thankful for the influence Patrick McManus's books had on our family. We gathered together each week to sit and listen as a chapter from one of his books was read on the public radio station, and often laughed until we cried. Rip, Patrick McManus.

8. I'm thankful for those little promptings I receive, you know the kind you have and sometimes ignore only to think later, I wish I had done that, or I wished I hadn't done that, depending on the situation. We had turned in our tax papers to the accountant at the beginning of the last week in March. When at the beginning of this week we still hadn't received a call saying the return was ready for us to pick up, I thought I should give her a call. There had been a mistake in leaving a message, so someone else had received our message. I'm glad I decided to call her.

9. I'm thankful for prayer, because there have been so many times the past couple of weeks when people have asked for others to pray for them and for those in their families when the the future is unknown, or when the outcome is heartbreaking, or when bearing something alone is nearly impossible. Even when people can't gather together, they can be united with and through their prayers and feel His strength by doing so.

10. I'm thankful for things that were not our fault. (1)Just this week I noticed a discrepancy on our bank statement. The amount of one of the checks I'd written showed up as a different amount on the statement. When I followed up on it with the bank, I learned it was an error the bank had made. (2)A few days after the first item, we received an email stating our internet usage was unusually high and that we had used up almost our entire allowance for the month after just a few days into the next billing cycle. After checking into this, we learned that the internet service company had made a data entry error. They quickly correctly the mistake. I'm thankful that both of these errors were easy to correct.

Last of all, I am thankful for beautiful music which comforts and reaches the heart and the soul.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday: Listicle - 10 things I don't like or wish I could change

There are four (or five, if there are five Fridays) writing challenges each month for the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop hosted by Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours. This second Friday is a listicle where we are given the challenge to list 10 things, exactly what is given to us a few days before we post and link up. Some bloggers may this time refer to 10 things that they hate more than anything. Others may list items they don't like, or things they wish they could change. Click the link to see what bloggers are writing about this week.  Finish the Sentence Friday: Listicle - 10 things I don't like or wish I could change

I do not like

1. Hard rock music and heavy metal music

2. Riding on roller coasters

3. Ferris wheels stops when people are being unloaded and you are in a seat at the top or near the top

4. Hot temperatures, i.e. above 90ยบ F, nor heat combined with high humidity, nor very cold weather accompanied by wind chill that makes it seem much colder

5. Such fine print on labels that it makes it impossible to read unless one uses a magnifying glass

6. Very loud previews of movies in theaters and very loud commercials on TV, i.e. louder than the full length movie that follows the previews, and louder than the scheduled show that follows the commercials

7. The smell of eucalyptus, although I am told the oil is used for aromatherapy

8. Seeing the consequences that addictions have on families and in turn on society

9. Violence and war although I realize that because of man's inhumanity against man and unwillingness to cease, violence and war becomes the vehicle to protect and defend 

Fallen military remembered by their boots displayed on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 

10.I prefer Red Vines to Twizzlers' strawberry or cherry flavored candy (Note: Some people really don't like the taste of cilantro because for them it tastes like soap.  I don't have quite as drastic a reaction to eating Twizzlers, but it does make me feel a teensy bit nauseated.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Wake

There may be some serious writers who hope to someday be able to  exclaim like Lord Byron, the renown British poet, "I woke up one morning and found myself famous." The only thing I am claiming here is how much fun it is to try to assemble six sentences using a prompt word to write a story. Each week Denise at Girlie on the Edge provides a cue. We bloggers never know exactly what is coming, so we often go scratching our brains before we can even begin this little writing exercise. Click the link, Six Sentence Stories - Wake, to read the other stories on this blog hop. If you have a story just itching to be composed using this cue, post it and link up. You are invited.

As she sat on the rustic bench at the edge of the dock watching the boat's wake ebb and flow, she shivered from the cool morning breeze. She put on her royal blue, cat eye sunglasses to block the glare of the sun's rays reflecting off the water, and scooted closer to him for warmth. In another hour or so they would be getting on the boat they had chartered, so she poured a cup of hot cocoa from her thermos to wash down the pill the doctor had prescribed, just in case she needed it. She would have enough new adventures just learning to deep sea fish, without discovering she might be one of those who gets seasick, to boot. As the hour went by, a sense of queasiness emerged and increased within her making it difficult to concentrate on the friendly banter among the men about the kind of fish they hoped to catch. She glanced in the direction of the restrooms and quickly excused herself thinking, I thought it was supposed to keep me from getting seasick, not make me seasick!

A picture of some fishermen in seven small boats near the foundation of the 3,261' long Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport, Oregon. Passengers on deep sea fishing charter boats often see sites like this as they head for the deeper water.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

How important do you think it is to be thankful, and not only to be, but to express it? Has this been a difficult lesson for you to learn, or has this always come naturally for you? Why do I ask, you might be thinking. 

Well once a week some of us write a post about those things for which we feel thankful, and then we link our post to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. 

After linking up we visit the sites of some or all those bloggers who shared their thoughts on this subject. By the time we finish reading, we understand this group of individuals, our sameness and a little of the ways in which we differ. We need more of this in our world, more attempts to communicate, more trying to understand the feelings and beliefs of others, and more strengthening others in ways we can. Good things can come from small, individual efforts, even if it is in a comment to a blog post.

1. Being able to finally feel up to resuming my life, i.e. going grocery shopping, running errands, and visiting my Mom, etc. yesterday. I love feeling well again, and I love seeing my Mom's smile.

2. Having a beautiful sunny day yesterday for my re-entry into the outside world again. Being home is nice, but being able to get out energizes me.

3. Having someone contact me telling me we are connected through our DNA. I believe he is my second cousin once removed. I remembered hearing of his mother when I was a little girl, although I'm not sure if I ever met her. If I needed to stay home and rest this past week, it was nice to have this exciting news and to be able to share information.

4. Being able to do some online shopping for birthday gifts. I was a little late for some these, but glad I was able to get caught up.

5. Thankful my husband was able to get another load of wood pellets and get them inside our house. It is a lot of lifting, and I am grateful he is able to lift all these bags. There have been some years when buying another load of pellets wouldn't be needed this time of year. (Having an earth sheltered home provides more insulation than other types of homes, and so we do not need to heat the home to the extent other homes might need to be heated.) With our very strange weather changes this month, we wanted to have pellets on hand. There is lots of snow forecasted in the mountains this weekend and rain and high winds here.

6. Noticing new life and continued life. We now have at least three fence lizards near our home. My husband just spotted a young one sunning the other day. It may seem strange to be thankful for fence lizards, but I enjoy seeing different kinds of creatures and am thankful these lizards survived the winter.

7. Youtube for learning and relearning the proper way to do things. It is important to be able to retain one's ability to squat and to be able to rise again. Just saying.

8. Discovering that my eyesight has not changed for the worse. A week or so ago, I decided to wear my backup glasses which I bought at a big-box membership type store, not at the eye clinic where I bought my original pair. I'd noticed the past couple of weeks that I was having trouble reading smaller print. I'm not sure what made me think to compare the glasses, as the backup pair supposedly was made using my original prescription I'd given them. Anyway the lens for the right eye does not allow me to see nearly as well as the lens for the right eye of my original pair! I'm so glad that my vision has not changed.

9. Discovering, sooner than later, that a set mouse trap in a closet had a dead mouse. Every spring, we usually have a mouse that makes its way into the house so we set a trap just in case. This week what appeared to have been a pregnant mouse had been trapped. 

10. Cherry blossoms. Seeing these blossoms make me feel happy and peaceful. They are so beautiful and there are so many trees in bloom in the northwest now as well as in Japan as depicted in the following YouTube video. Japan has a lot of sister cities in our state too. Enjoy. 

As always I am thankful for my husband and our family.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - This time of year

There are countless ways bloggers might choose to respond to this Finish the Sentence Friday prompt. This is the prompt that Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee and Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours, host and co-host respectively, have thrown our way this week: This April's fool and/or Easter.  That being said, we were given license to write about pretty much whatever we wanted to regarding this particular time of year. Be sure to click the link to see what interpretation of this prompt others have taken.

Like spring weather which seems to all over the map, so are my thoughts for this prompt. Thoughts landed briefly in my mind and then fleeted onward only to be replaced by others, mostly past memories, but not all.

Watching my paternal grandmother clip purple and white lilacs by the back steps of her house and then placing them in a large black vase that cast a maroon glow when the sun shown on it

This is the large black vase that once belonged to my grandmother and was handed down to me after I was married. In another month we will probably have some lilacs in bloom that I can put in it, instead of the arrangement of daisies shown here.

Carefully treading around large mud puddles in the lane from the farm house to the bus stop all the while trying not to get my white buck shoes dirty. . .Thank goodness for my bunny bag (Even though other white shoes were worn beginning on Easter or after Memorial Day, depending on where you lived and then not worn after Labor Day, it was a different story when white buck shoes became popular.)

Spring break and going to the beach with some friends, one of whom had her license, and feeling so grown up

Easter dinner at my paternal grandparents house (A few of the things that I looked forward to were the simple lettuce salads with a few pieces of small shrimp, pieces of tomatoes, avocados and a simple lemon juice and salad oil dressing; eating the fried chicken feet that only my Grandma and I liked; and the yummy angel food cake with the icing so thin one could almost see through it.) Note: Several adults gathered around to help my grandmother devein the shrimp, kind of an arduous task. Watching my grandmother make cakes captured my attention. She would sit on a chair with her legs spread apart so she could rest the bowl on her house dress and hold it in place with her knees while she rapidly beat the cake batter to the right consistency with a spoon. I loved watching and hearing beat of the spoon against the sides of the bowl. My mother had a mixer and rarely made cakes in the same way as my grandmother.

Going to Disneyland with the family 

New Easter dresses, purses, lacy socks, Easter baskets filled with a hollow chocolate rabbit, a few other pieces of candy, and pastel colored Jordan almonds (my favorite)

Going to my first Easter sunrise service when I was in junior high

Rainbows that appear with the fickle spring weather 

Bluebirds and robins arriving

This male bluebird landed on a metal rack near our house. His colors of orange and blue are so vibrant.

Lambs, kids (the baby goats type), piglets, calves, bunnies and kittens which are all soft and new and appreciative of attention 

The growth of new moss and ferns brightening up tree limbs and forest floors

Budding trees and flowers painting a new spring scene every day

A clump of narcissus in bloom on our hillside

These chartreuse yellow buds on this maple tree just started popping  out this week.

Family birthdays (Here is one for the "what are the odds" books. One of my grandparents on one side of the family was born on the same day as another of my grandparents on the other side of the family, except for the year being different.)

Cotton Day at my high school when the girls wore cotton dresses, usually new, and quite often dresses they had sewn themselves

As a young child making Easter and May Day baskets by weaving construction paper strips

Being baptized by immersion as a 27-year-old pregnant mother in the church I belong to now and several years later having a child born on that same day/different year

There is so much to enjoy about this time of year!

What are your thoughts about this season? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Limb

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering the method by which the administrator of a blog hop decides what the prompt will be each week? For the SSS it is usually a single word. Denise of Girlie on the Edge has given us Six Sentence Stories - Limb this  time. 

Here are some of my guesses for how she picks a cue.

1. She closed her eyes and opened the dictionary (book with paper pages) and randomly pointed to somewhere on the page. The word where her finger landed was it.

2. The cue was the second word in the title of a book on her nightstand.

3. It was a word on the first bumper sticker she saw that day.

4. It was the fifth word on a Chinese fortune cookie.

5. It was something she saw outside that morning.

Okay, enough of my ideas and on to my Six Sentence Story, a little historical fiction, with emphasis on "little."


Her four-year-old self was very thirsty, and her shoulder length hair was sticking to her forehead and the back of her neck. As she stood impatiently watching her dad place the last metal siphon pipe into the irrigation ditch, her little brother was trying to twist away from her grip on his sweaty hand. During the tussle she stepped back and the surprise poke of a cocklebur on her ankle caused her to let go of his hand. He laughed, knowing he was free, and started running alongside the ditch as she tried to catch up with him. Since he was only two, he wasn't as sure footed as she was and stumbled, propelling himself head first into the water-filled ditch. She rushed to grab his slippery muddy lower limb and pull him back onto the bank to console him before taking his hand and heading for the house to get some dry clothes, and some lemonade. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

At the beginning of the week I quickly wrote one blog post to have ready to post later in the week, and then worked a bit on another that involved sharing something I'd posted or written in the past. When the actual days came to post, they were pretty much ready. Then as the week progressed, I was unable to get things ready for the Ten Things of Thankful post, so I'm dragging in a bit late, but not too badly. This is a very understanding group of bloggers that usually link up to Josie Two Shoes' site, so I don't expect any tongue lashings from my slight tardiness. We actually are given time to post from Thursday evening (shortly after midnight Central Time) until the following Tuesday evening. So check out her site and see who these other bloggers are and then read what they have shared. Maybe their thoughts will stir up some feelings of gratitude within you too.

While many people have been laid up by the flu this winter, I had managed to escape it until this past week. I knew last Saturday, that all was not right with my body. I'll skip all the details, but as the week wore on, and my body became more and more worn out, I put on a mask and saw the PA Friday afternoon. An antibiotic and some over-the-counter meds hopefully will get me back to normal in another week. Big thanks for herbal cough drops, tissue, herbal lemon/ginger tea, and also for a thoughtful card and little plate of cookies from a friend who was on the mend from something similar. My husband made several trips to the store and drove me to the clinic on Friday. I'm also grateful that this wasn't the intestinal flu, because I really do not care to go through that. Being able to be seen by a PA on Friday and not having to go through the weekend sounding like a seal was greatly appreciated too. In another week I hope that my coughing will have quieted considerably, or maybe disappear.

This last Monday morning I faced a couple of early morning challenges.

Challenge #1. The iPad sometimes zooms into an extremely large screen (I don't know why.) and it is quite difficult to get out of it. Sometimes I can just shut everything down, and it will be okay when I start up again, but not Monday morning. I'm feeling grateful for having a desktop computer and an iPad. I was able to use Google on the desktop computer and find out what to do. It seems others have had that same problem on occasion, so there was an answer to be had. 

Challenge #2. We use for making long distance calls on our landline. This has been a very inexpensive way to make long distance calls. Monday, after we made a couple of long distance calls, it became impossible to make any more long distance calls. When we tried we got a message that our number was temporarily locked. In all the years we have been one of their customers, we've never had such a problem. I'm so grateful that I was able to reach their customer service line in a matter of a few minutes and was able to get our number unlocked.  It was such a quirky thing that caused it to happen in the first place and probably won't happen again. 

When I was growing up I collected picture postcards for a while. I didn't pursue that hobby into adulthood. I learned something interesting this past week about how to date the old postcards that people used to make using a family photo on one side of the thin cardboard like postcard. Just in case you ever have a similar puzzle and need some kind of a timeline for when a photo might have been taken, click on the following link. I'm thankful for being able to learn this family history research skill.

Music that teaches important truths touch my heart and mind. I'm thankful for this one that I listened to this week.

I'm thankful for quotations that cause me to pause and to think.

I'm thankful for Easter, and since we do not live very close to our children, we will probably talk with them on the phone and catch up with what is going on in their lives. Although we do that rather frequently, holidays are special. My church has its General Conference the first weekend in April, so being able to listen to speakers talking about ways to live a life that more closely resembles the manner the Savior taught us to live makes it even more special when the conference coincides with Easter.

Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend.