Monday, March 30, 2009

A little More of Spring

Aren't these beauties precious to behold? I have to add my crocuses to the photos Julie posted last week. Crocuses in both Oregon and West Virginia! You just can't see these vivid colors without smiling....and marveling anew about God's handiwork in renewing the earth each spring.
These crocuses look like they are in a little nest....but they are in front of my still brown lavender, and in the middle of a patch of 'snow in winter' that will bloom later this season.
Spring is the least season where I live in Central Oregon. Winter keeps a tight grip on things until mid-May and it can freeze or snow right up through the 4th of July some years. It takes a long time to get green growing things around here, and then BOOM we are right in the middle of our hot summers. So...not much spring. I enjoy each and every little bit that comes my way however....and these crocuses are the first very cheery bit.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One Of My Favorite Objects

I have always thought that pitcher and basin sets were so romantic. I'm pretty far removed from the era when they were in use and don't necessarily know that much about their history. But, I love them for several reasons. They instantly remind me of the past and of another time when things were done so differently. A different pace and a different set of values. I also just love their elegant shape. A curvy pitcher thrills me. White is one of my favorite colors, especially for decorating, so this pitcher below is the ideal in my mind. It sits on my dresser in my room. It's an original that was used in an ancestor's home in the family of a friend of mine. The basin has been cracked and so no one in her family wanted it and it was offered to me. I have one other set that is not antique. It is off-white with a magnolia painted onto the front of it. It was a gift from my sister-in-law, Anna. It presides, modestly, in my dining room.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dainty Embellishments

This little blouse I bought at a children's consignment sale has the sweetest little embroidered flowers on the collar. When I was dressing Amelia today, I was enjoying them very much and thought I'd share a peek.

Made by Janie and Jack, it's all-around dainty, but the flowers are the crowning touch.

Lavendar and blue, perfect for Spring!

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Signs of Spring

My kids are so overjoyed to see the first flowers of the year! This is our second Spring in this house. Whoever lived here before us planted a whole lot of bulbs that we enjoyed last year and are looking forward to again. The first are these purple crocuses. They are so cheerful and refreshing. We have a stretch of woods adjoining our property. The mini-daffodils are from the woods. They are exquisite!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Weather

In like a lion and out like a lamb....that's March! I looked up the origin of that saying and it was like this:
"The phrase apparently has its origins with the constellations Leo, the Lion, and Aries, the ram or lamb." It surely comes in like a lion around here, but not too often does it go out like a lamb....
Last week-end we had a beautiful mild sunny Saturday, when my insurance man went out and pruned the rose bushes. Then Sunday it was rainy, windy and stormy all day. Monday morning we woke up to life that looked like these photos. 3-4 inches total, and snowing most all day. But by late afternoon it was all gone once again. March gets it all! I love spring snow. Since I have to sit (and for the moment once again lay) I can watch this panorama going on outside. I'm so glad that God made weather and has control over it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rag Quilting

One of the things I can do now (while sitting) is sew. So I took up a project that I started a couple of years ago, and that is a rag quilt for JoAnn. She picked out the fabrics, helped me cut squares and I agreed to sew it up. This type of quilting is much easier than the traditional. There are two sized squares in the photo above, one large size in 5 different colors, and 4 smaller sewn together to make a square the same size as the large. In the stacks above I have sewn the squares together back to back with a light batting in between. They are now ready to sew together.
Here is the top of the quilt, strange looking I know. Yesterday JoAnn laid out all the squares then piled them up for me to sew together. I got 2 out of 11 rows done today. You sew the squares together with a large 1 " seam, and when sewn together you clip all these seams. After washing (in a commercial washing machine) these seams all fray out and make a pleasing fuzzy effect between the squares. One nice thing is that the quilt does not have to be bound as you fray out the sides as well.
Here are the two rows I finished today, front side up. There is going to be a lot of clipping, but I have lots of time to do that! JoAnn picked a large throw blanket size to make. I like her choice of red and red plaid, oatmeal, navy and white.
Here is the back of the two rows...looking like the front right now. It is nice not to have to worry about a backing, it just makes it as you go. I will post a picture of the finished project when we get it done. For now it's nice to get back to a project I started a long while ago.

My favorite cookbooks

Currently, these are my favorite cookbooks. I'm very partial to these four and have them singled out on my shelf and the rest are in a drawer. Actually, I just got Joy of Cooking for my birthday and have only made one recipe from it so far. I've heard really good things about it though and am excited to discover its treasures! If you've seen the recipes I've shared on here, then you already know that I like these books. Hot Providence is out of print. I don't know if it will be re-printed or not. It's a church cookbook from Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. My husband got it for me and we have truly found some favorite recipes in there. I'm currently in a phase of trying a lot of new things. My taste and interest in cooking has changed a lot over the course of my marriage. I now love, love to try new and interesting ingredients and gourmet methods of cooking. There's so much fun variety in food! With six small children, I don't have a lot of time to devote to creative expression. I try to find ways to be creative in the tasks I already have to do, like meal preparation. This book took me a while to get into. Lately, it has been a staple. It has become highly favored and is now highly recommended by me. Since my family is so large, I love the large quantities that the recipes are designed for. I love that the emphasis is on simplicity, but not sacrificing quality. The author put a lot of time into doing this book well. She includes a number of fancier recipes such as the stuffed pork loin pictured on the cover, which I have yet to try. I've done a lot more of her "homestyle" recipes. Last night I made some homemade macaroni and cheese from this and we are anticipating tasting it tonight as a part of our Sabbath feast. It has a little dijon mustard and some parmesan in the sauce and it looked like it was going to be fabulous! Can't wait to try it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

God's Stars

I have been thinking about ways God is so much MORE...more than I could ever comprehend or understand. I've been looking up what God has to say in his Word about stars.
"To whom then will you liken me, that I should be his equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars. The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of his power not one of them is missing." Isaiah 40:25-26

"He counts the number of the stars, He calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength. His understanding is infinite."

Psalm 147: 4-5

"There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory." I Corinthians 15: 40-41

Some of the ways stars are mentioned in the scriptures:

  • God created the stars in Genesis...'the moon and the stars to RULE by night.' "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth...when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:4 & 7 "Who gives the sun for light by day, and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night?"
  • God called them all by their names
  • God likens His Son to a star

A star shall rise forth from Jacob...(Numbers)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star." Rev. 22

"Until the day dawns and the Morning Star arises in your hearts." II Peter 1:19

  • The sign of the birth of God's son was the sign of HIS star in the heavens Matthew 2:2
  • A description of ungodly persons: "Hidden reefs, clouds without water, autumn trees without fruit, wild waves of the sea and wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever." Jude 13 (Interesting that these 'stars' are not fixed in their order)
  • Signs of God's judgement "Darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars from the sky" Matthew 24:29

The seven stars of Revelation are the seven churches in His right hand.

The judgements in Revelation: "a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch...and the name of the star is called Wormwood (bitter). Rev. 8:10-11

"a star from heaven which had fallen to earth. And the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. And he opened the bottomless pit and smoke went up out of the pit and the sun and the air were darkened."

Interesting isn't it? God has numbered all the stars, given them all names and talks with them in calling them by their names. They seem to have different degrees and possibly differing jobs. They have relational personality in these verses...are some of the stars or all of them angels? There is no answer to this question, just conjecture. But the bottom line is...our God is amazing! He is so much more than we can ever ever comprehend, and I'm so glad to have a God to worship who IS more than I understand.

Friday, March 6, 2009

An insignificant, but unique occurence

I'm not sure that you can get the full effect from this photograph, but try to imagine that you received a VERY ancient, about to fall apart, dilapidated envelope in the mail. If you're like me, you would be a bit baffled. What is this? Uniquely enough, the card inside was the original that is the mate to this envelope. It too, looks extremely old.
Our family belongs to the medical sharing group called Samaritan Ministries. We have recently been receiving checks from individuals all over the country to pay for our medical bills for the birth of our daughter. Most people send a card when they send their "share" of money. So...this was a baby card. The person who sent it didn't write on the card, but they included a little note that congratulated us on the birth and said that they thought we might enjoy this old card. We have.Ta-dah! Here's the card.

This is the text on the first page of the inside of the card. If you can't read it and would like to, just click on the picture to enlarge it. I thought the text was quite funny. Obviously, the card was from some kind of business. I guess this was the way mothers were advertised to in the past (pre-formula propaganda?). I just wish there was a date on it.
The next page contained a poem by George McDonald. It's in two line segments with a question about babies and then an answer from the baby in each segment.
"How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.
But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today a story....

With a nod to Aunt Elna, who asked me to write this story down.

The Snake Story

I stared at the gray road and white stripe hypnotically. It had been a long and tiring day and although I was barely awake, I was slumped over in a trance watching the road. Kory and Kendall were both asleep in their car seats behind me and John was seemingly alert as he drove us closer to Burns, then on home to Bend. The road in the flats was monotonous, especially at night. It was a hot summer night and we had the air conditioning going, keeping us somewhat comfortable. I had cooled sweat, felt sticky and was looking forward to a long shower. The tires made the same soft sound going round and round.
Out of the silence John turned to me.
“We have a snake in the car”, he oh so calmly reported.
My trance immediately gone, I looked over at him to see if he was joking to wake me up.
“What in the world are you talking about?”
He didn’t look upset or flustered in any way and the tone of his voice was the same as always. I started to turn back to the relative comfort of my hypnotic state.
“I just felt something around my foot, so I put my hand down to see what it was and a snakes tail went through my hand” he explained coolly.
My mind went in a thousand directions while my feet flew up to the dash.
“How could a snake get in our car? That’s impossible!”
“Uh, I’m not sure but there is one.”
I peered over in the direction of his legs but it was too dark to see anything.
“Why aren’t you stopping this car?”
“I want to wait for a pull out.”
“Are you crazy? Pull off this minute or I’m going to jump out!”
By now my voice was getting higher and louder, while he remained his usual calm self.
“I can wait because it isn’t a rattler.”
“How can you tell since you can’t see it?” I all but yelled.
“There were no rattles when the tail went through my hand.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel any better? Pull OVER!”
About then our headlights picked up a road sign out in the desert and John pulled over. I didn’t even wait for the car to stop before pulling my legs from the dash and jumping out without touching the car floor. I ran down the side road yelling into the black night, to put some distance between ‘it’ and me. I even left my poor granddaughters to their fate in the car. I ran quite a distance before I calmed a little, then my curiosity won out and I turned back to see what was happening. I couldn’t see anything in the dark so returned to where I could make John out.
“Can you see it?”
“Yes…. it’s a bull snake.”
“Is that poisonous?”
“No, but it’s a big one.”
Shudders went through me with those words.
“It was wound around my foot, and I had to pull it free to get out. I’m trying to figure how to get it out of there,” he told me indistinctly. I still couldn’t believe he could take all this so calmly.
“Are Kory and Kendall awake?” I was worried I would have to go and rescue them from the snake.
“No, they’re still asleep” he told me as he bent and looked into their seat.
“What are you going to do?”
“Find a stick.”
“In the dark?”
Actually I was glad for the darkness so I couldn’t see the snake. It was bad enough just picturing it in my imagination. After a few minutes of John making noises walking, he was back at the driver’s side.
“What are you doing now?”
“Trying to lift it out.”
I was tempted to go running down the road again. But by now logic had re-asserted itself and I didn’t know how many other snakes might be out in the dark.
“Is it out yet?”
“Did you have to touch it?”
“Where is it now?” I started peering at the road around my feet.
“It’s on the highway, on this side. It’s OK, get back in.”
“What if there are more snakes in there? How did it get in anyway?”
“I don’t know.” I suspected the laughter I heard in his voice was on account of me.
The last thing in the world I wanted to do was get back in that car, but the second last thing was to stand out there in the dark with a snake. So, I quickly moved and sat in my seat, this time glad to get my feet in and off the road. I was still worked up. John backed up a short ways and our headlights caught the small road sign.
“Do you see that?” I asked unbelievingly.
“Yes” he answered choking while laughing. “We stopped at Rattlesnake Lane, the only side road in sight!”
I was not amused. He drove back onto the highway, and we both felt a big bump as he did.
“Well, I guess I ran over him. He was probably about 3 feet long.”
“I could have lived the rest of my life not hearing that.”
I turned and checked the girls, marveling that they had slept through the whole thing.
“How far is it to Burns?”
“Just a little ways. Do you want to stop?”
“I am not going all the way home in this car tonight! Let’s go to Cliff & Peg’s. That way we can search the luggage tonight and the car tomorrow morning.”
In a short while we were climbing the hill to their house and I couldn’t wait to get me and the girls out of that car. What if that snake was a she and her mate or her babies were still there? It was a creepy feeling and I was still shaking.
“There was a snake in our car” I shouted as soon as I had the back door to the house open.
“What?” They both came running.
We told the story (and several more times over the next few days) as I moved the girls from their car seats into a bed.
“That car would have a new moon roof if that had been me!” my sister-in-law sympathized. John and his brother laughed about the snake and us girls.
Thinking back the next morning I had to laugh at the picture I must have made running madly down that little country road in the dark, yelling. Oh well, it worked for me! The girls didn’t remember a thing about it, and were kind of disappointed to have missed the excitement. Cliff and John checked the car, from the roof to the chassis as I asked, and they reconstructed what must have happened.
The day before we had been in Ontario all day participating in a family sale after the death of John’s grandma. We purchased several things, including a couple of cots in their canvas bags. John had loaded up the back of our red Caravan and filled it. The bull snake must have been cozily napping in one of the canvas bags when loaded into the car. It’s nap being interrupted, it was hot in that bag…and felt the cool air coming from the front. It must have made its way to the air conditioning along the floor, and feeling cooler coiled up. John later told me that the snake filled the entire floor around his feet, and it looked like the whole floor was writhing when he pulled his feet out. Good choice to not tell me at the time, or I might still be running through the desert.
I am very thankful Kendall did not wake up during the snake’s journey under her seat to the front, and especially glad the snake picked John’s seat as its goal. Otherwise John might have gone off the highway when I first discovered it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More sweet portraits

Here is a reasonably good photo of all 6 children...really a miracle in itself!
Samuel is the first-born, eldest at 9 years old.

William, second-born at 8 years of age

Our bright-eyed Benjamin, age 5

And sweet Calvin at just turned 4 years of age

They look like they are having fun putting their heads together!
Lucky grandma that I am!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sweet Portraits

This week my very brave daughter Julie took all 6 of her children to get their portraits taken. Surprise...they all turned out very nicely. She says it was a good experience which is quite a change from some of these excursions in the past.
This is Cecily at 4 months old. I decided to post the girls photos today for our family, esp. Grandma Bethel, Aunt Wilma and Aunt Elna. Isn't her fuzzy red hair adorable with those blue eyes??
This photo is very good of a baby, and the photographer caught such a sweet smile.

This is Millie at age almost 2....and I just love this photo. Wish I could reach right through the computer to give her a big hug. When Julie asks her to say 'Grammy' she pretends to hold the phone up to her ear (it's only her hand) and says "Hi, Grammy!" I'm known as the lady on the phone..or video cam these days. I will post the portraits of the boys tomorrow.