Monday, June 22, 2009


Well, we haven't posted much lately. Mom is travelling. Thankfully, she is on her way here as of tonight. We hope to do some posts together while she is here. Recently she sent me this picture over email. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would put it on here. Pictured here are my great-grandmother, Martha Louise Brown, and her four children with their families. Great-Grandma had 3 daughters and a son. One of the daughters is my dad's mom. On the far right is Aunt Wilma. Next to her is my Grandma Bethel and her family. She had two sons and a little adopted daughter from Korea. My dad is the shorter of the two boys and he's standing in front of Great-Grandma Brown. The next over is Uncle Art and his family. Last, is Aunt Elna with her husband and newly adopted baby. My dad said he was 6 when this picture was taken and that the whole family was at the beach together. He says he remembers it very well. It must have been about 1956 then. My mom sent me the picture because she thought that my dad at age 6 looked so much like my third son, Benjamin, who is 6 right now. But when I got it, I just loved this group picture and since Grandma, Aunt Wilma and Aunt Elna read this blog, I thought it would be fun to post it here. It would be fun to know their comments about this picture sometime!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lovely Homemade Gift

Some young ladies from church, Theresa and Hannah Moss (ages 17 & 14), worked together to make and frame this and present it to me on my birthday this year. I've been meaning to post a picture to share because I really do treasure it when people take the time to make something for me themselves. Blue happens to be my favorite color and I love the cute little girl with the ribbon in her hair. Don't you think that's a sweet thing to have hanging in my kitchen?

After I took the picture to share of the birthday gift, I remembered that previously Theresa Moss had presented me with a drawing she did of my daughter. It's really special and worth sharing so I'm including a picture of it as well, though it doesn't do it justice. She drew it by looking at a photograph of Amelia. When she was done she thought I might like to keep it. It might be one of the neatest things anyone has ever given me. It's the only hand-drawn portrait I have of any of my kids. Really something to treasure.

Such talented and sweet girls!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Thursday in June

Thursday morning, and time for another bike ride. This time I made it the whole way without getting off (just made it though) and glad for the exercise. We even extended the ride a little. It would be good to do that once each week, until we are riding further and further.
I spent the morning doing small errands, groceries etc. One of the errands was a fun one, as I took the CD's that Julie had sent and made some copies of photos of the children. I will post one especially cute one of Cecily the baby tomorrow. When I got home to fix lunch it was an hour later than I thought it was. The insurance man walked in right behind me, and when I told him he was a little early he looked at his watch and laughed. He was actually later than usual. I'm just always behind it seems.
After lunch I settled down to get some things done on the computer. Some items ordered etc. I fixed up a couple of cute photos of our 2nd youngest granddaughter, Macy Hope. The photos had a lot of red eyes, so I edited them and posted them for you to see. They came to see us recently and on Sunday morning, fresh from the shower she came out in a new 'twirly' dress. Here she is in the kitchen, just starting to twirl so I could see her twirly skirt
billow out. After trying to twirl she sat down with a thump! She hasn't really been walking all that long.

When she got all righted, she had a big happy smile and a twirly skirt on the ground. It was a delight to have her visit and I look forward to getting to know this precious little girl. We will be visiting her family in a little over a week, so I will get to hug her again.
After our week-end visit to Macy's house, her big sister Kory and I will be catching a flight from Portland to Pittsburgh to go visit Julie and her family. Kory, Julie's family and I are all counting down the days. With each day that goes by I am getting more and more exited...and can hardly stand the wait.
One other thing I did today was to get outside in between storms and clean up some of the debris from the hail and rain storms. We have been having several severe storms, and it has left a lot of Juniper 'duff' on our driveways, and leaves, twigs and dirt everywhere else. I used the blower from the insurance man's garage vac and it looks a lot better. I hope most of it came out of the trees, so the next storm won't make such a mess. My poor rhubarb looks like someone shredded it...and just a few days ago it was so big and tall, in it's glory. It made me think of the farmers, and what damage a storm like that could do to the crops. It would send them to the bank for a loan I think. I mourn for my flowers and plants, but at least they are just decorative and will bounce back.
We had a quiet dinner tonight of leftover grilled hamburgers. I tried something new though for a vegetable. Fresh green beans are not very good this time of year and yet I love to get the fresh. So I found a bag of French Cut Beans (sealed) but fresh and followed the directions tonight to cut a corner of the bag off and cook in the microwave for 4 minutes. I was sceptical to say the least, but they cooked and were terrific with a little garlic powder for seasoning. The insurance man is watching the NBA play-offs tonight and rooting for the Orlando Magic.
I am going to settle in with 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quiet Day

Tuesday was a quiet day and I needed one after a busy week-end and Monday. I spent the morning just catching up on a few items. I got a package in the mail from Julie...always a treat. There were some new portraits of the children, and the discs to make copies of other views. There was a wonderful letter from Will- age 8, and pictures from Sam, Will and Ben for Mothers Day (just a little late). Here are those pics: This is Samuel's drawing. He really likes to draw, and this is his first 'western' picture I have seen. He is getting much better at the dimensions and distances...Sam is that the Cascade Mountains? Wonderful job Sam, and I really like your elk!

This is Williams original drawing of a Red Crossbill. He is getting very good at drawing birds. I also like how he used the whole paper and put the bird in the middle.
Very good artwork William, I am amazed! This is Ben's coloring page of a Pileated Woodpecker. Excellent coloring Ben! You are getting so much better, and more careful. Good job!
A little after lunch we had another thunderstorm, this time with a serious hailstorm with it. It left my blooms, shrubs and trees tattered and shorn, and put down 6 inches of hail some places in Bend. We have an underpass in town that always floods, and the front page photo this morning in the newspaper shows someones car all but submerged...really over the windows. We are going to have similar weather for the next few days, so not much going on in yard work!
When it came time to cook dinner I tried out a new recipe from Julie for grilled pork chops. I always sear mine on the grill and then finish in the oven for tenderness. But she told me about a recipe that comes out tender and juicy on the grill, and it did! I thought this would be great in the hot summer months when I don't want to use the oven much. The secret was to soak the chops in a salt-water brine first, then use a spice rub and sear as usual. But then I put down the lid on our gas grill and let them roast for about 9 minutes and they were great. I added some chopped green, yellow and red peppers, 1 zucchini in rounds and some mushrooms in a wire basket with olive oil and Italian seasoning and dinner was really delicious. It was still wet and raining, with the accumulated hail trying to melt off, so we ate inside by the stove. Bedtime came early tonight.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blog Use

Today I am just writing...with only 1 photo. I have decided to use the blog for a daily journal of sorts...keeping track of my many or few activities and thoughts. I think I will benefit from this in two ways: 1) There will be a record for me to look back on and re-read later 2) I won't be trying to keep up a journal and a blog at the same time, but will combine them into one.
Hopefully, this won't bore I keep track of a very ordinary 58 year old. Of course I will still add photos as I take them and record the beauty God has surrounded me with. It's just that today, I don't have any...and might not from time to time.
After being gone to Burns for a good week-end, yesterday we got up and were ready to tackle a new week. We dusted off our bicycles and rode several miles around the neighborhood. I was pleased to find that my indoor bicycling had helped strengthen my leg muscles and I could do better than the last time we rode. I only had to get off and walk towards the top of one hill. The insurance man does much better than I do at climbing hills, but I'm faster on the straight stretches. We are hoping to continue this 2-3 times a week through most of the summer/fall. I am still unable to walk very far, so this is a good solution.
We came home and with a cup of coffee and tea each, drew out a plan for a portion of our yard that needs some renovating. Our raised vegetable beds are falling apart, so we are slowly going to dismantle them and build smaller, lower beds out of rock. We are also adding an arch and seat, a fire pit, some flower beds and a rock garden. We've been collecting rocks for years and never had a place for them. This is the insurance man's way to shine in his he makes up all these and just goes out and builds them. We are in no it's a big project.
After the insurance man left for work, I settled in for my time with the Lord. I am reading in Joshua right now, and usually read a prayer from Valley of Vision...a collection of Puritan Prayers. I also read a chapter from J.I. Packer's 'Concise Theology'. This morning the chapter was about the N.T. Church, and the role of Elders. Later I did laundry and caught up from the week-end.
My insurance man came for lunch about 1 pm, and around 2pm my friend Melanie came for afternoon tea. The weather was beautiful but just a little on the cool side. We sat in my new Adirondack chairs on the deck in the sunshine, and enjoyed tea served in my silver teapot and drank from two of my china teacups. What could possibly be finer than tea with a friend on an early June summer afternoon? We visited for over an hour, then came inside to play a game of canasta. She left after 5:00 and I scrambled to get dinner ready and eaten before my writing group arrived at 7:00. This is a group of five of us, that meet together every other week. We take turns bringing writing prompts, and do one free write then several writing prompts (that do stretch us). I love this group, and love the writing. It's always so much fun and creative and I feel so good when they leave and energized. I have learned much in the last several years, and mostly have really pinpointed my gifting and writing style. We each read and share what we have written, and get feedback. Last night was no exception, and it was just pure fun. Here is an example of my writing:
The prompt was to write about your dream home....

"I used to dream of a big house, with lots of places to be alone, places to hide, places to read. Now I dream of a little house, just a place for two. A cozy cottage, simple and easy. A space to fill with heirlooms and love. A braided rug, a real wood fire in winter and a rose arbor in summer. A white picket fence to hold the blowing flowers in. A ticking clock and a solid roof, a comfortable chair next to a wide window. A couple of dormers too if you please. Nothing fancy, just my dream of a place called home, very sweet home."
It was interesting that none of us wrote of fancy houses, a dream kitchen or furniture...but about the people, the happiness and the love. Very revealing in this culture of prosperity and divorce. We only have 10-15 minutes to write, so not very long to develop thoughts or stories, but enough to get some feelings out on paper. We have some very talented people in this group, and I love hearing their writings. While we were busy writing the insurance man was busy building his first flower bed, one for iris's as we need to divide and replant the ones we have. It's beautiful and ready for planting. After that time for bed...another very good day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Amazing Cactus

I think cactus is an amazing plant, whether in the deserts of Arizona, or in my kitchen. I don't know the official name of this one, but my neighbor calls it a dinner plate cactus (because the blooms are about that big I'm guessing.) My Dad saw the bloom somewhere he was visiting, and soon a little shoot was given to me to start. And from there look what has happened!
During the rest of the year, the not-so-pretty plant sits in an easterly window and sort of hibernates...not needing much water. But in the spring it really outdoes itself. I brought it down to the kitchen last week to a place of honor so we could enjoy it. There must have been about 20 of these beautiful red blooms. Spring in another's good in all forms.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Crabapple Blooms

Before this last week of hot steamy rain showers and thunderstorms, we had spring burst out gloriously. We had beautiful blue skies with crab apple trees blooming riotously, white and pink. I just had to take some photos to savor later this winter.
We have 3 white trees and 4 pink ones in our yard, and our neighbor has 3 pink ones too of a little different variety.

I think my favorite part is the buds that promise so much and then deliver!

Here is a close-up of one of the larger bloom varieties. Isn't God's palette amazing?

This is one way I brought the loveliness indoors. This cute little dutch boy and girl were given to me by an aunt of my Moms, when I was just a girl. She lived in Victoria, British Columbia...and I still remember how charmed I was by the gift. I love the way he is just peeping out from among the blooms. Hooray for Spring...and now summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yummy Asparagus

Right now the asparagus is extra good and reasonably priced at our super market. I ran across this little recipe and thought I would post it, as any recipe that is very easy and tastes this good is worth a post!

This recipe is enough for two just double accordingly for the size of hungry people you are feeding.

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, divided to make enough for two servings. (In one bunch of asparagus this usually is enough for three meals for us).
Wash asparagus in a sink of cold water, then snap off 1/2 to 1 inch of the woody bottoms of each stalk. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until desired softness. Meanwhile in a saucepan, melt 1-2 Tablespoons butter, and brown the butter just a little. Add 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and 1 t. balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine and drizzle over asparagus as you serve it.

This is just delicious and I could eat a whole bucketful of it, and so simple to prepare. This summer, if asparagus is still reasonable, I will be grilling the asparagus after rolling it in the sauce instead of using the oven. Much cooler! Enjoy...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Loving and Polishing Silver

I am a lady that loves silver things, and the way they shine in sunlight or candlelight. I don't mind polishing it, as I like to see the tarnish vanish and sparkle restored. I have several items, mostly inherited and I cherish each. Above is a christening cup presented to the family upon the birth of the insurance mans' grandfather, Otto Asmussen. They were a German family, and so the cup shows his name as: Otto Detlef Cesar Asmussen, but generally he just went by Otto Carl. I keep it on top of my silverware chest with a few miscellany silver spoons inside. The silverware chest holds a set of Sterling Silver for 10, inherited from my Aunt Minnie. I believe she purchased it in the 1920's. It is always so much fun to set the table with it, and when I keep it in it's box, there is hardly any tarnish to be dealt with.
A few years ago my mother-in-law gave me this teapot, which was handed down in the Asmussen family and brought from Germany. The silver is thin, much more so than my other pieces, but so ornate and pretty.

No, this is not silver...your eyes are not deceiving you! I just snapped this photo, because I keep it next to the silver. The tray I got from Julie one year for my birthday, and I chose to fill it with sand dollars and sea shells. I will wait for another day to tell you the story of Happy Camp and finding all those wonderful whole sand dollars. All the white just sets off the silver so nicely.
And last but not silver tea service. The actual service is the coffeepot and teapot in the back along with a sugar and creamer, front sides, and the tray. The insurance man and I found this one summer in Aloha, Oregon and decided to purchase it for our 25th (silver) anniversary. I have so enjoyed it...and it has had an honored place at family weddings and anniversary celebrations. After I got it home I found that not all the pieces match....they are from two different patterns, but it didn't matter because I loved them both. Also in the center of the tray is a sugar bowl that matches the teapot from Germany. The creamer was lost in the days of John's grandma Addie Asmussen. Center front is a little silver 'baby' cup that was given as a gift on the birth of my insurance man...(back in the day when silver was a special gift). All of these pieces get used, and that means tarnish...but it's not a bad chore on a rainy afternoon, and then to see them glow in that evening's candlelight is a true blessing. It made me think this morning of how God polishes the 'tarnish' away from us, to reveal not our own sparkle...but the sparkle of His Glory. I'm so glad He doesn't mind the work....