Sunday, May 31, 2009

From the Heart

Ahh, sunny days. Taking a trip down memory lane of summers past: Makes me think of catching lightning bugs in the yard at sunset - I'd place them in some grass in an old clean jelly jar with holes punched in the lid. Makes me think of catching June bugs - I'd tie a string to one leg and it would fly around in circles. Makes me think of buttercups making my nose yellow. Makes me think of playing hopscotch on chalked sidewalks. Makes me think of eating popsicles and playing Frisbee. Makes me think of laying out in the sun hoping to tan, but only burning. Makes me think of sitting around a campfire at night. Makes me think of eating ice cold watermelon and spitting seeds on the ground. Makes me think of homemade ice cream. Makes me think of fresh strawberry pie. Makes me think of a pitcher of homemade lemonade. Makes me think of swinging on the porch swing. Makes me think of painting my toe nails on the front porch. Makes me think of running through the water sprinklers. Makes me think of staying up late and sleeping in. Makes me think of blowing bubbles and wearing shorts and going barefooted. Makes me think of riding my bike without a helmet down hills. Oh, to be a kid again! As you can tell, I love sunny days.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


The definition of shindig: a large and noisy party of people; a group of people gathered together for pleasure; informal festivity often with dancing; social occasion; celebration; merrymaking affair; commotion. For five years, we watched The Apprentice series. It is a reality T.V. show run by Donald Trump giving advice on how to succeed. Candidates are given a task each week, then their efforts are judged. The team challenge may be to create a product, market, create ideas, run a business, or lead. As the weeks go by, the pressure increases and deadlines get more aggressive. The overall winner becomes an employee of one of Trump's empires. Four of the seasons, we hosted a "party" at our house each week to watch the television show. My son's friends would come over and I provided food and drink. At the very beginning of the new series, each person would pick a candidate they believed would win in the end. Each person put $5 or $10 in a sealed envelope with their choice. Whoever was right, got all the money in all the envelopes. This kept the show more interesting, because we would cheer for the team with "our" player in it. As the show started playing its theme song Money Money Money, we "danced" in the living room. It was considered bad luck for your player if you didn't get up and dance. We had lots of fun and learned a few business things along the way while watching the show. Once it changed to Celebrity Apprentice, we didn't get together like that anymore. Good times, I miss it! Enclosed are some photos taken during that time. The following people participated (at least once): Dale, Nina, Jordache, Bria, Michael, Jeff, David, Chris, Amanda, Joyce, Will, Joe, Ben, Jen, Quint, Dacia, Cydnie, Jessica, Travis, Maria, James, Brandon, Jody, Drew, Jazz, Daniel, Linzy, Tony, Justine, Geoff, Melissa B., Jeremiah, Kristin, ... Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, May 29, 2009


For the past five years I've gotten into scrapbooking. I love creating intriguing designs on pages. It gives me a chance to make remembering today with memories for tomorrow. Many photos are seemingly insignificant moments of life, often overlooked as we hurry through daily routines, yet those snapshots of day-to-day living are the essence of memories I hold most dear. I stumbled upon scrapbooking at the time of the birth of my first grandchild. I was looking for a way to corral and organize pictures and soon realized that I'd found a new hobby, a passion. I'd like to consider myself a scrapbook artist. Yes, there are others who are better than myself, but I enjoy making interesting graphic collages. The best part of scrapbooking is there is no wrong way and no right way to do it. For me, it's a personal expression. I don't have to please anyone other than myself. I find that it's useful in keeping a written journal of life events. My most recent endeavors have been making greeting cards. If you've never tried it, I encourage you to give it a stab. Start simple, pick a theme, choose colors, collect stuff, and begin arranging items until the layout is cohesive and pleasing to the eye.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Natural Beauty

A few years ago, we were in the mood to go somewhere. We didn't have the time to get far away so we decided to visit the quaint 8-mile long Anderson Island. It's the southernmost island in the sound. It is only accessible by boat or a 20 minute ferry ride. To get there, you exit I-5 near Fort Lewis and head west to the historic charming town of Steilacoom located on the shore of Puget Sound. You catch a ferry on the local dock. From the ferry, there is a panoramic view of Mt. Rainier, Cascades, and Olympics. Anderson Island has one general store, one restaurant, a clubhouse, a few churches, freshwater lake, and a golf course that serves all 1000 residents. There is one school serving kindergarten through 5th grade. The older students must attend on the mainland. The island has one tiny museum and a dozen historic buildings. The island offers experiences for outdoor enthusiasts (kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, whale watching). While there, we hiked and explored serpentine nature trails and beachcombed the driftwood coast. We drove all around the island through park-like settings, climbing rolling hills, winding through mature trees and foliage. There is a great deal of wildlife near the saltwater marina (cranes, eagles, geese, ducks, heron, seals, otters, seagulls, deer, raccoon). We ate dinner at a lake-front restaurant. We enjoyed the small town atmosphere, both clean and safe. It's like a journey back in time. The quiet secluded island is a dose of tranquility, perfect for a summer day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Countryside Hideaway

A couple of years back, we took a trip to Redding and Lake Shasta CA. In Redding, we stayed at a hotel with a pool. The weather was warm and dry. Of course, our first stop had to be eating at In & Out Burger. If you've never tried it, you've got to! We visited the 700 foot Sundial Bridge, a green pedestrian cantilever cable bridge. The bridge deck is surfaced with translucent lit glass. Then we visited Lake Shasta. The lake is a reservoir created by the damming of the Sacramento River. We crossed the lake in a catamaran ferry and boarded a bus which took us up the ridge on a narrow winding road 800 feet in elevation. The natural limestone and marble caverns have beautiful formations of crystallized stalagmites and stalactites. They grow approximately one inch every 100 years. So if you're driving through on I-5, be sure to stop, it's worth the visit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lake Escape

Since my husband works at R.E.I., he can "check out" equipment. So, he reserved a kayak for Memorial Day weekend back in 2006. Our son Michael, his wife Bria, and my granddaughter Keziah joined us. We took a picnic lunch and had a relaxing day at the Riffe Lake park located in Lewis County.

Monday, May 25, 2009

By the Sea

In July 2006, we purchased a 2 bedroom 2 bath shared ownership condo in Ocean Shores WA. We get five weeks per year. It's located near the jetty. Our kids come join us often when we're there and we usually invite a friend or two to come over. It's comfortable and sits as close to the beach as you can get (legally). Below are pictures from September and November 2006 to view.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Showers

As I get ready for a baby shower for my grandson due to be born in July, I thought I'd share some past baby shower pictures.

One shower was for my granddaughter Keziah who will be five years old in June. Of course, we used a "pink" theme. After having two sons, I was ready for all things pink, lace, and ruffles. The shower was held after the baby was born. She's in the picture held by friend of the family Jody. New mom & dad are opening presents while guests look on.

The other shower was form my granddaughter Jazlyn who turned one in February. This shower was decorated in hot pink. We had a great turn out and she got lots of presents as you can see. My other daughter-in-law Bria made a special "diaper" cake to display. As you can see, we had no shortage of food.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Church Summer Camp

For years, I attended church summer camp growing up, from the time I was about six years old. It was always part of my summer vacation experience. The first couple of years were at Camp Cook Springs in AL. This summer outdoor recreational center had 18 wooded acres with an artesian spring-fed lake and pine needle cushioned trails. You slept in a crude cabin lined with cots while listening to crickets and batting chiggers. You ate in the dining hall filled with rows of wooden tables and birch tree benches. Evening services were held outdoors, each cabin sat on a blanket.

I always looked forward to the fun and entertainment. Activities were organized by a loving group of volunteers and parents. I remember over-scheduled days (7:00am - 11:pm non-stop activities) designed to create order by wearing out the campers. I remember the event signals: clanging bell, taps, and revele. Thoughts that come to mind: swimming, forced hiking, music, arts & crafts (lanyards, macramé, leather wallets), games (4 square, kickball, tag, water balloon toss, pillow fights), drama (improv skits, kangaroo court, "Doctor Doctor"), group discussions, talent shows, mess hall duty, devotionals, chapel, worship, and bible classes. Each day an award was given to the cleanest cabin, the reward was having possession of the coveted stuffed mascot. On the last evening of camp, we had a banquet. A boy could ask a girl to attend and you were allowed to sit by him (it was a big deal). Campers had voted during the week and awards were given: king, queen, prince, princess, most talented, camp comedian, etc... On the last day of camp, we would have our friends sign our autograph book with their address so that we could write to them when we got back home.

Music was a large part of camp. We sang silly fun songs and we sung sacred Christian songs. Fun songs like: Do Your Ears Hang Low, Found a Peanut, B-I-N-G-O, Out in the Woods, Boom Boom Ain't It Great to be Crazy, On Top of Ol' Smoky, My Hat It Has 3 Corners, Head & Shoulders Knees & Toes, and Yes We Have No Bananas. Church songs like: Kumbaya, Joy Down in My Heart, Praise Ye the Lord, If You're Saved & You Know It, Do Lord Remember Me, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, I Am a C I Am a Ch..., Pass It On, So Rise & Shine & Give God the Glory, King of Kings and Lord or Lords, He's Got the Whole World, and This is the Day.

Originally, church summer camp was created to nurture the body, mind, and spirit of youth in a natural setting. It was a setting to teach about Jesus and deepen our walk with Him. Concentrated blocks of time were provided to establish and grow a relationship with the Lord. It gave kids the chance to make new friends, discover interests, and learn about life. It gave a chance to develop personal strength and self-confidence.

It was a period of time away from home, a time to learn from other influences: teachers, counselors, ministers, and friends. For me, it was an enriching childhood experience that contributed to the person I have become today. I have fond memories that I cherish.

For your enjoyment:

Hello Muddah, hello Faddah
Here I am at Camp
Camp is very entertaining
And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining

I went hiking with Joe Spivey
He developed poison ivyY
ou remember Leonard Skinner
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner

All the counselors hate the waiters
And the lake has alligators
And the head coach wants no sissies
So he reads to us from something called Ulysses

Now I don’t want this should scare ya’
But my bunkmate has malaria
You remember Jeffery Hardy
They’re about to organize a searching party

Take me home, oh Muddah, Faddah
Take me home, I hate Grenada
Don’t leave me out in the forest where
I might get eaten by a bear

Take me home, I promise I will
Not make noise, or mess the house with
Other boys, oh please don’t make me stay
I’ve been here one whole day

Dearest Fadduh, Darling Muddah
How’s my precious little bruddah
Let me come home if you miss me
I would even let Aunt Bertha hug and kiss me

Wait a minute, it’s stopped hailing
Guys are swimming, guys are sailing
Playing baseball, gee that’s bettah
Muddah, Faddah kindly disregard this letter.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Great Outdoors

Back in 2005, my husband and I visited the beautiful Multnomah Falls (near Troutdale OR) on our way to Boise ID. We drove along the winding Interstate 84 that goes along the Columbia River to get there. It's the 2nd tallest year-round waterfall in the U.S., dropping crystal clear water 620 feet into a mossy forest cavern. The stunning falls are fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain. A hiking trail leads to the stone footbridge, allowing you to cross the lower cascade. The path continues on switchbacks to a platform at the top of the falls which has a great birds-eye view. At the base of the falls is a 1925 lodge with a restaurant and gift shop. We had breakfast there in front of a wood-burning stone fireplace before our moderate 2.3 mile trek. It was great to breathe the fresh scent of evergreens, hear birds sing, and experience some real peace.

Strolling along in nature is therapeutic for me, makes me slow down. It seems like nature makes my stress reduce and my blood pressure lower. Spending time in the open air somehow makes me feel more alive and healthier. For me, being outside has a way of improving my overall mood. Try it, take some time to escape to the great outdoors.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Of course with my daddy fading away, I've been giving a lot of thought to him that I'd like to share. He is quite a complex person, so he may be hard to describe, but I'll give it my best attempt.

He's not a tall man, standing at 5'10." Once, he had brunette hair, but now it's almost all gray. Growing up, I always thought he was quite handsome. He always dressed well and carried himself with assurance, that made me proud.

He is a man of integrity, having high morals, and expecting the same from others. He didn't drink, smoke, lie, cheat, or steal in my lifetime. My father was an avid bible scholar. He knew God's word backwards and forwards. Not only could he quote scriptures, he could tell you the book and chapter to just about any verse. He could tell you a bible patriot's name, the father, the mother, the sons/daughter, and the residency. I always admired this ability.

He was the type of man who had plenty of practical know-how and knowledge, but at times, he could have a know-it-all attitude. He's mostly known to others by his occupation (minister and mechanic), hunting, friendships, and church affiliation. He always had a bounty of energy, few people could keep his pace. For most people, working forty hours a week is adequate. My father only knew to work most all waking hours.

He was a realist, driven to speak the truth as he saw it. Most people prefer to leave well enough alone, but not my dad. He was sure to make his opinion known.

Like all people, he had his strengths and weaknesses. As a loved one nears the end of their life, you tend to want to dwell on their goodness. I appreciate my father for caring, protecting, and providing for his family. I know that God will richly reward him in heaven for his faithfulness.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Easy Breezy

Warm weather draws me outside to enjoy the pleasures of my new porch/deck, which is partially covered. It is almost done. Can't wait to fluff up the pillows on the porch swing and sit a spell drinking sweet ice tea whittling the time away. I will cherish the time spent in my new outdoor space , a fresh-air extension of my home. I look forward to making the space comfortable and gracious with some decor. I anticipate spending time reading books/magazine, and listening to music. I expect to sip lemonade and make homemade ice cream. I hope there will be plenty of storytelling and much laughter flowing as the sun goes down. Sounds I will hear: crickets chirping, swing creaking, frogs croaking, and kids playing. I intend to spruce up the place with maybe a rocker, swing, wicker, cushy pillows, plants, etc... As summer ushers in, my number one goal is to provide some easy-going entertaining with my friends and family. You know what I mean, gatherings that are relaxed and simple, needing minimal work to achieve. Someday, part of the space will be screened-in. But for now, I'm satisfied to slip off for an afternoon of pure tranquility on the porch.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vision of White

Never had the guts to do it, but I've always admired white rooms inside magazine pages. First of all, I never could have a white room whenever I had kids living at home. And now that I'm a grandmother of three and probably more to come, I wouldn't dare try it at this phase of my life. In fact, I don't buy or wear white much because when I do I inevitably stain it. But I do truly love the monotone look with various shades of white together. You know what I mean: ecru, pearl, beige, ivory, tan, snow, antique white, alabaster, cream, eggshell, linen, taupe, vanilla, blush, bone, chalk, sugar, champagne, winter, oyster, seashell... I'd love to be in a room surrounded by a soothing white palette. It looks so airy, breezy, cool, and fresh. Makes you feel like you can breathe a sigh of relief and relax. It seems to give you mental clarity. The color white makes one think of purity and innocence. Imagine a white cast iron bed or maybe a hand carved white bed. The fresh linens are embellished with white-on-white embroidery and lace, covered by soft down-filled pillows just waiting for a weary head. The walls are whitewashed or covered with painted wainscoting and decorated with vintage ivory purses. On the dresser there is cut crystal and white porcelains sitting on delicate lace reminiscent of a more genteel era. Inside the vase are fresh cut white flowers from the garden. Hopefully, you can daydream about such a room, but I've also provided you with some images to enjoy. Trust the pictures bring to mind fond thoughts and perhaps even provide you with a little inspiration for creating your own enchanting space.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Of Faith & Love: Outdoor Baptism

City churches had baptisteries, but outside the cities, churches held baptisms in a creek, river, pond, or any natural body of water that was closest. They'd wait until the weather cooperated. They also needed a number of converted souls before scheduling a baptism. The entire congregation would gather on the banks of the water and watch as the preacher waded out to a spot where he could stand a little over waist deep, followed by a line of people waiting to be baptized one at a time, youngest to oldest. The minister usually would retell the story of John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 3. He instructs "repent and be baptized." Believers were dipped into the water as these words were spoken: "In obedience to the command of God, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." The participants often shed tears as they recalled what the Lord had done for them. The witnesses would sing hymns like "Shall We Gather At the River" and "I Shall Not Be Moved." Many churches had baptismal white cotton gowns to wear over clothing. The white color represented a cleansing of the soul. As each one came out of the water, the ladies were there to offer dry towels. Afterwards, there was often a time of fellowship. The Bible states Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, I guess being baptized in nature made the experience as true to that experience as possible. Baptism has been part of Christianity from the start. I, myself was baptized at the age of eight when I had reached the so called age of "accountability." The water was freezing cold, so much so that I had difficulty catching my breath. Of course the waters don't wash away sins, it's simply an expression of faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. You were declaring to others you'd walk in newness. For me, this was one of my life rituals, a glorious memory. The heritage lives on, I've watched both of my sons become baptized. Now they have children of their own, I trust the heritage will be passed.

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fabulous Finds

It's been a while, but I love to browse through antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, and 2nd hand stores. It's the "thrill of the hunt" and the certainty of finding at least one very special item among the mass of stuff/junk. Sometimes it's totally worth the time. An old picture frame in a box of junk might catch my eye. Maybe I'm not quite fond of the artwork, but I know I could take the frame apart and replace the art with a piece more to my liking or perhaps I could "doctor up" the frame a little bit to make it more appealing. It's not that I do much buying, mind you, it's just that I love looking. Anything from delicate crystal to stuffed wild turkeys intrigues my interest and complels to to take a second look. I spot architectural pieces (old doors, stained glass windows, ironwork, columns...), furniture dating from the 1940s back to mid 1800s, old postcards, dishes (china, porcelain, pottery...), vintage linens (chenille bedspreads, doilies, quilts...), depression glass, oil paintings, furniture, silverware, lace (Battenberg, Irish, French), old magazines, baskets, doorknobs, cabinet hardware, light fixtures, old photographs, books, jewelry, hats, purses, and old signs. I like this type of shopping over "mall" shopping because you get to see so many unusual pieces, things you don't see every day. It has a different atmosphere, including much friendlier clerks. Funny how I sometimes have nothing in mind when I go shop, and yet I'll come home with something in hand. I'm really not a collector of anything, I just like to have maybe one item to represent what could be a collection. However, I do collect milk glass. Luckily, I live in a town known for its antique stores. Whenever I get the urge to stroll through shops, I don't have far to go. When you're traveling down Interstate 5, stop by our town of Centralia Washington. There are plenty of "must haves" to see.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Savannah & Charleston

Back in the Spring of 199?, I flew to AL and joined my sister Kaye and a family friend Carol to take a road trip vacation to visit the cities of Savannah GA and Charleston SC.

First stop was Savannah, a stunningly beautiful place, that has managed to hold on to its gentility. Inside the historic district, there are 24 "squares" lined with churches, moss-draped trees, architectural homes, cemeteries, fountains, and cobblestone/oyster shell streets. We spotted the bench where they filmed Forest Gump (life is like a box of chocolates). We toured the Mercer-Williams House made famous by the book and movie Midnight Garden of Good and Evil. We also toured the home of Juliett Gordan Lowe (founder of Girls Scouts of America). We did some antique shopping in the City Market. Downtown shops line the riverfront where we browsed and ate lunch (Po Boy sandwiches). Nearby, is Tybee Island where we walked the beach and ate at a Jamaican restaurant with a unique atmosphere and cuisine: jerk chicken, fried plantain, pole beans, slaw, coconut rice, and a mango dessert.

Next day we took in the picturesque city of Charleston. We took a horse-drawn carriage ride to see Rainbow Row, antebellum pastel row homes with narrow facades and balconies. They line the beautiful waterfront. Downtown is charming with cobblestone streets, gift shops, and eateries offering low-country cuisine. At the open-air market we saw many local craftsmen and their wares including Gullah women making had-woven sweet grass baskets. We cruised around in order to see more revived plantation homes, gracious gardens, live oak tree, and elaborate church buildings. Lastly, we visited the famous Citadel (military college). We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I can't wait to return someday. If you've never been, consider vacationing in the region, especially if you're a history buff. I promise you won't regret it!