Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Good Friday Service at Sacred Heart

An Easter Vignette

A Carpet of Blossoms

Our Double Weeping Cherry

Can you feel him kick? (at the baby shower)

Tulip Tree at John and Emily's

Our Cherry Tree

Blessings to you! Holly

Bundles and boxes and biscuits, oh my

Well, dear readers, I hope this finds you fine. I haven't written a real blog in quite a while, not because I haven't had any events but because it is hard to pick and choose. Some of life is dead boring and doesn't make interesting reading. Some is routine, in fact frightfully, exhaustingly busy with routine, but its hard to take pictures of that. Then sometimes life is just plain hard, either with grief over a death or sorrow over someone's troubled marriage, and you can't put it into words.

Along the way there are always joys if we can see them. I rejoice with you all over the coming of spring—unless you happen to be an Aussie and you can't imagine what a red tulip does for the spirit after the unusually long and hard winter we've all seemed to have. (It's so amazing to me that the crazy weather this winter has been world-wide and so many bloggers mentioned the coming of spring in the same week from the Netherlands to England to Portland, even Texas.)

But what I am pondering is this: do we only share the bright and happy side of life? It seems that most of the posts speak of beauty in nature or handmade things, fun activities and things that cheer. Maybe that is the point: to speak of things that cheer. Maybe it's one way we can encourage each other, with the pretties and the joy of antique finds and home d├ęcor and gardens. I don't know: is there an understanding among bloggers?

Well, my news in brief: In an effort to clean things up I have made greater messes than ever. Two rooms are engulfed and I'm working on another. In the basement, which we are trying to make into living space, the sorting process has gotten to the finer distinctions of “Save—But Where?” from the more satisfying larger categories of “Pitch It Out—Give It Away-- or Save.” One night while my darling son was constructing bookshelves under the vent pipes (much better than his teenage solution of painting the vent pipes hot pink) I sat on the floor to sort.

All I had was one box, but it contained all the little “saves” that I wasn't sure what to do with . I hear voices saying “If you don't know what to do with it, pitch it out.” I'm not listening to those voices. There were greeting cards from my son's high school graduation, tributes, and a note I had written to him about how much he meant to us. Don't say “Give it to him”; he's the one that pitched it out. There were dinner menus and guest lists from memorable parties we've had, and kids' report cards, and travel maps from our trip to Charleston and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and thank you notes that were especially meaningful.

Arghhh. So now I have 6 boxes spread around the floor, each with a little bit of something in it. Next time I get to it there will be a layer of sawdust on it all.

In the library (sounds fancy, doesn't it, but it's just a bedroom converted to our books and computer) I had stashed all the treasures I brought home from the big garage sale for camp. I told you about all my treasures and I was going to photograph some of them for you. Well, then Easter came and I had to hurriedly move the boxes to the library 'cause company was coming. So now I have bundles and boxes there, and every once in a while I pull something out and things topple over but I am in a hurry so....

In the past week I have had 3 baby showers, two at work and one my daughter gave for my niece which was very fun. It involved me getting out my serving dishes and paints and brushes so now I have the borrowed items returned to me on my kitchen counter. I chose to make duck shaped cookies for the party so I also have about 37 cookie cutters to put away in the basement. (Rarely used but can't pitch out, duckie showers being a case in point).

I do have pictures to show you of some uncovered treasures in the basement and the garage sale items and a new purse a friend made for me which deserves its own post. A thing of beauty, and so is my friend.

See you before long.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Go, Girl

To all of my English friends, and to middle-aged women everywhere, Congratulations Susan Boyle for having a dream and for going after it. What a treat that song was. If I knew how to link to YouTube, I would, but maybe someone else will. Don't let middle age cause us to devalue ourselves or our dreams.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter to you all !

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunshine and Shadow, Light and Darkness

Yesterday was Sunday, Palm Sunday, the promise of Easter. We went to church as usual and then to dinner in a pancake restaurant with my brother and his family and my dad. It was the first warm day we have had in months--we have seen the sun occasionally, but it always comes swirling in with cold winds. Saturday was sunny but required a sweatshirt; Sunday was just lovely. It got to 72 degrees I believe, and the contrast to the months of gray skies has people exuberant outdoors.

So Ron and I wandered around the yard a bit before even going into the house from dinner. We decided where to plant our 3 new trees. I took pictures of the blossoms which have just suddenly popped out. We decided that nothing on our to do list was as urgent as luxuriating in the sunshine with the lawnmower =). We came in and got our gardening clothes on.

The phone rang: 3 of our young friends, a married couple in their 20's and his brother, had been injured in a rock-climbing accident in the Columbia River Gorge. One of the brothers had already been been pronounced dead, and the girl, Laura, had been life-flighted to the nearest hospital. Pray!! was the urgent request. So we prayed and called all our children who have worked for many summers at Eagle Fern Camp with Bobby and Laura. The anguished phone calls circulated and then came the stupefying news that Laura had died, too. By now we knew that it was Tony, Bobby's brother, who was gone. He leaves a wife and 2 children, parents, and a community of fellow police officers.

Laura! I just kept thinking of the pictures I have of her at camp, wrestling with our Emily in a kiddie pool filled with Jello. Their laughing. Joy.

Bobby --losing his wife of just a few years and his brother as they were out enjoying a day in the sun. Just the day before, Laura had told a friend at a wedding shower how excited she was with their life and ministry, with the plans they had, with their future goals. My friend at the shower said Laura was just "lit up".

We are all reeling. There is no one to blame, no explanation, no way to make sense of it. We know that Tony and Laura are secure with their Heavenly Father and we do not grieve as those who have no hope, but we do grieve, especially for Bobby and Tony's wife and kids and the parents on all sides. The two families went to the same church, too, so it has been very hard hit.

As I sat looking outside the window with the phone in my hand I saw the bright scene splintered with shards of black. I told my husband my brain couldn't handle the beauties of the day and the darkness of death.

I am not going to philosophize or make any lightweight platitudes. All I know is, I know the One whom I trust and I have to trust Him for Laura and Tony and Bobby, too.
Asian pear

the promise of lilacs

what those weird kernels of Witch Hazel turned into :

Acer Palmatum something from Korea

from last year's sale

from last year's camp sale

new Viburnum from this year's camp garage sale
(Carlesii Compactum V.)

(we also came home with a pink dogwood and a Burning Bush shrub)

Camp Garage Sale

Rummage Sale for Eagle Fern Camp

This past week I have been busy with a big sale for Eagle Fern Camp. Proceeds go for scholarships for kids to get to summer camp. Several congregations support the camp and work together for the sale. It was no mistake that last week when I was cleaning out the basement I had the garage sale in mind. We took a trailer full of stuff!

However, so did a lot of other people and their stuff was cooler than mine. So I had to bring some of it home with me.

The daintiest shopper

Honestly, I've been so envious of you girls over there in England with your boot sales. When you show pictures of vintage things it can be hundreds of years old. Do you know that Oregon wasn't even settled until 150 years ago--barely--and we are seriously lacking in the charm I see in your pictures. We do not have stone cottages tipping sideways and narrow cobblestone streets and we don't even know here about buntings. But I am a quick learner!

I have been buying embroidered pillowcases when I find them, but its not easy to find shabby chic that isn't really shabby. I'll show you what I found at the sale later.

And oh, the fabric! I found some nice long pieces--12 feet or more--that will be useful for backing banners. I got new material for the basement curtains that I just love (of course, the basement painting needs to be finished first.) I got upholstery fabric to recover the footstool that I was going to take to the garage sale but when we brought it upstairs we started using it again and it's still here... And I got lots of fabric just because I liked it and it was too wonderful not to rescue. I have so many ideas!

I should tell the background story, though, of how the fabric came to the sale. It was all new, from the garage of a woman who couldn't get her car into the garage because of the fabric. (They had built shelves in rows in the middle of the garage). She had an embroidery machine and did patchwork quilts of clowns, St. Nicholas, and Peanuts (the cartoon). These quilts were pieced and backed but the edges weren't finished. The workmanship was amazing. There were 2 knit afghans still on the needles, half done.

Sadly, this woman had died unexpectedly and her husband brought over 12 boxes of material to the sale. We wondered why so many things were started but not finished. I don't know what her dreams were but I hope I will bring some of them to fruition in the fabric I brought home.

And I will try to finish one project before I start another one...