color my world

Nobody comes back from a journey the way they started it.  Unknown

Earlier today, I read that quote.  It has since swirled around in my brain, finally taking root.   Huge, involved, expensive trips…to far away lands,  have of course, changed who I am.

I came back home from Karlovy Vary a more grateful person.  Once home from a trip to Poland, my attitude shifted to that of yet more grace and gratitude.  After Verdun, I knew what humble and enlightened really meant.  I can still remember what the souls of my shoes sounded like walking across the new wooden bridge in Switzerland.  The taste of that fondue on a rainy night was memorable, expensive and somehow, I came home different.

DSCN5060Come to find out,  I don’t have to journey  far to feel a change.  I live a little more than an hour south of Seattle, Washington.  Right smack dab in the middle of city life is a stunning garden oasis.  Peace and quiet that will astound you.  Color that will tickle your fancy and make your soul dance.  DSCN5090 I am fortunate enough to hail from the same area as glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  While we may get “used” to seeing his pieces of art in train stations, universities,  or waiting areas,  I never get tired of catching a glimpse of saturated color through glass.  I never tire of the way I feel after drinking in all that glorious color and movement.  I am almost exhausted after taking in such beauty all at once. DSCN5100

DSCN5114Last week, a friend, Mr. Right and I went to our own “garden party”.   The garden of color and shapes dazzled our senses and filled our souls with enough. DSCN5124 More than enough to help us on our own personal journey’s.   Traveling to, taking in something glorious and breathtaking somehow, solidifies relationships like nothing else can.  Experiencing something new together, most certainly is  life changing. DSCN5118 DSCN5121

Nobody comes back from a journey the way they started it.  Unknown

amber waves of grain

DSCN5023Now and then we are reminded, that, indeed,  America is Beautiful.  When friends come to visit, we find reasons to revisit places of significance.  Yes, we have toured (hey kids, a free tour, ever hour on the hour at the Washington State Capitol) our state’s capitol and grounds, many, many times.  It is stunning, quiet, reflective, meaningful and beautiful.  You will find something that will take your breath away.DSCN5022

Yes, I have a favorite monument.   However, when you bring someone who has not seen the area before, you give them time to soak it in.  That gives you the “tour guide” time to reflect and learn more about your favorite piece.  Dig a little deeper for more secrets or facts.  Read more of the stones, engraved with prayers that surround the piece.  Touch the names, feel the wheat, listen to the mournful sounds of the metal against metal.


The WWII Memorial on the Capitol grounds has touched my heart, over and over and over.  This time I learned a snippet of history about the artist, Simon Kogan a resident of Olympia, Washington.  He is a Russian immigrant of Jewish descent and had a dream of creating a commemorative work about a war that affected him so personally.   His design was inspired by the first stanza of the song, “America the Beautiful”.

The field of wheat (that moves and you can hear the echo of the metal against metal) collectively represents nearly 6,000 Washingtonians who were killed in the war.   The monument was dedicated in May 1999.

“When my country called, I answered… When my country asked, I gave… Reach out now, across the years and through the tears… Remember me.”

- A WWII Veteran.waves of grain 2

The wheat stalks were made from melted torpedo railings used on old US warships donated by the Bremerton Naval Shipyard.

waves of grain 3May I gently suggest that you come visit and stand with me, listening to the sound of the Amber Waves of Grain?  The tone is beautiful and will stay with you.  The meaning is deep and rich and of value.  The sounds somehow sing out the grateful that you feel about living in this country.

It is a stunning tribute to those who gave their lives for our state, our country, our freedom.waves of grain

Once you learn it was created and made by an American citizen, a Russian immigrant of Jewish descent…………you will understand the meaning of Grace and Gratitude.

America is indeed Beautiful.

God Shed His Grace on Thee. 

the weather is here, wish you were fine

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”   Terry Pratchett said that.

I adore and find a deep connection to how Terry explained travel.  The line, “so that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors” gives me the chills.   I also love what Anita Desai says, “Wherever you go becomes a part of you.”

When we travel, one of the first and foremost things I make sure and remember are postcard stamps.  On the back of the sheet of stamps, I write five or six addresses of folks I want to intentionally share my trip with.  I always slip the stamps into an outside pocket of my carry on or suitcase.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have been waiting for a rental car or a plane .  More than enough time to jot down a few lines to a loved one.  I don’t have to go digging through bags to find the addresses.  I can easily find them each and every time.

We have been fortunate enough to travel and send postcards from Paris and Poland, The Netherlands and Austria.  We have been lucky enough to visit Quebec and explore Washington D.C.   We have also visited the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon and Gator land in Florida. DSCN4074 As a family, we have dipped our toes into glacier feed streams in Alaska and eaten fresh roasted peanuts at a flee market in Texas.  We have climbed over 400+ steps at Mount St. Michelle in Northern France.  A pilgrimage for many, there was a line to buy postcards.  People were bathed in Grace by being there and were bound and determined to share that experience with their loved ones.

When our boys were little, we traveled extensively.  Every single gift shop we went in, they chose a postcard for their scrap books.

We live in the Pacific Northwest.  Yes, it is home, however, sometimes, while visiting a local museum, we send out postcard to family and friends far away.  Just to share, part of our weekend.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. “ Augustine of Hippo

Here is the BEAUTIFUL part of my story.  Because we send out postcards.  We receive them.

DSCN5013This past week alone, we received some great post card souvenirs.  I have never traveled to Lake George.  However, I now can see the river boat in which my brother and sister-in-law relaxed upon.  I have not been to the Museum of Art at the University of Florida.  However, because my friend Miss Florida shared her visit, I too, got to experience one of the displays this season.

This coming week, we are headed to Mt. St. Helen’s (yes, the volcano),  Mt. Rainier (actually another volcano which hasn’t danced yet), our state capital, Olympia and the new major exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s in downtown Seattle.

You can be assured that I will indeed be buying postcards and share my adventures with friends and family.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

The very next time you head out to explore, near your home or far away, I would LOVE a post card. Cross my heart, I promise to share one with you.  Do you send and share postcards?  Do you think it is old fashion?  Would you rather just post a quick picture on face book?

Just for a moment, close your eyes, and remember that little thrill you get, when you go to your mail box and there is a post card from Ireland, or Sri Lanka?  That small cardboard picture has come a very long way, just for you.

This past weekend we traveled 4 hours north of our home, to the Bellingham Ferry Terminal.  20140719_154508The view was stunning.  Through the glorious dome window and between raindrops and clouds, I could see majestic water and mountains  and Mr. Right standing right smack in the middle of all that goodness.  (Geesh, that man still gives me goosebumps.  Jeepers, I love that man with my whole spirit and soul.)

Yes, I purchased a post card in the gift shop.

Our aunt used to travel quite a bit.  She had a wicked sense of humor.  She always signed her cards, the weather is here, wish you were fine, Love Aunt Pat & Uncle Bob.

Please, please, please buy and send a postcard.  You will double the joy to get from visiting a new or old place.  Summer isn’t over yet, get out there and explore and don’t forget to send a postcard or two.  Happy Trails, friend, Happy Trails.

jingle, jingle, jingle

DSCN4994You know every single time I sew a little dress or jumper, I stitch a jingle bell inside.  Those grands love to swirl and twirl and make that bell jingle.

While making three, (yes, by Christmas we will have THREE GRANDS) elephants…I had to figure out the jingle.  The most important secret step.  While filling the elephant bodies out with lavender and stuffing, I tossed in a jingle bell.

What happened?  not much. sad face.  The stuffing actually muffles the jingle.

Put on thinking cap.  (read that as search the internet for ideas)

Came up with a terrific solution.

20140716_172438Steal 3 practice plastic golf balls from someone.  Oh, thanks Papa Bruce.

Cut open, insert jingle bell.  Stuff into elephant.

It worked!!!

Three elephants, with a little sassy jingle.  Three books to go with.  Book written by Grandma, illustrated by Papa.

“everyone knows, elephants don’t eat peanuts”

Love how this Christmas in July thing is shaping up.  I adore the polka dots.  I swoon over the red tails.

Certainly puts a jingle in my step.  This is pure and simple, HAPPY.

What are you making for Christmas in July?  Won’t it be fun to open up that box in mid November and have a few things already to go?

new again

33 years ago, I needed a changing table.  The tables we found seemed rather shaky.  No, there was not a Babies R Us around the corner.

Then we discovered an unfinished furniture store.  I found the solution.  I found a dresser with a little edge that I could paint and put a padded (later learned water-resistant fabric) cushion on.   So for a few years, I changed babies on that “changing table”.

It started out white with baby decals.  Dang.  No picture.  You see kids, 33 years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone with a fancy schmancy camera built-in.  I actually didn’t give one thought about , HEY, I should take pictures of where I change this fussy, crying, upset, not happy, I mean passionate baby.

Then baby number two arrived on the scene.  Before he made his debut, I painted the changing table yellow.  You see kids, back 30 some years ago, most of us didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl.  So yellow paint it was.    Yellow paint with stenciled hot air balloons painted on each drawer.

Somewhere along the way, my “babies” are both now well over 6 feet tall.  I am pretty sure, I could not lift them up on top of said changing table.  Nor do I think they would fit up there.

20140705_100253That changing table morphed into a dresser.  Seven moves later and multiple coats of paint…………I will admit it was looking rather sad.  Somehow what I thought was a beautiful raspberry color, really wasn’t that beautiful after all.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?20140706_173107

The time had come to either say good-bye or get a face lift.  The dresser not me.  ha

So I give you the before and the after.  Oh, I love a good before and after.  I wish I could remember to take a “before” shot , sigh.  The before all sad, dinged up, dull, not gussied up with accessories. Old Lamp, just before she went to Goodwill.    The new & improved ( I know you can’t have both.  Did you hear that product marketers?  You can not have new AND improved.), after version.    New hardware, better lighting, new lamp, Golly Molly, looks to me like we can live together in harmony for at least another 30 years.

Every barn can use a little paint now and then.

Nest up, the guest room chair.  Fingers crossed I can remember to take a “before” picture.

DSCN4969

 

 

to love and to cherish, over and over and over

lavender bundlesMarriage is choosing someone again and again to love and to cherish with each new dawn. 

 Last night before licking the envelope shut,  I  wrote that quote on a first year Anniversary card.

We all know the amount of work, time, energy, money, stress, choices and planning that goes into a wedding day.  For Pete sakes, I meant to say we all understand the ENORMOUS amount of thought and planning and effort that goes into making one day of celebration happen.  The money spent on some of these parties is breath-taking.  The people involved and invited count in the hundreds per event.  Not only do the bride and groom take a honeymoon, I have heard of Mothers and Fathers of the happy couples taking a holiday after, to rest and recover.

What if? 

What if, all the people who actually attended the celebration were called upon to lift up the couple each year ever after?  Oh wait, in some ceremonies they are.  Will you support, lift up, pray for and encourage this couple for all the days of their lives?  We will!

What if that meant, each of us who had a part in the wedding, either by cutting cake or sewing a dress or sitting in the congregation or sending a simple card were expected, yes expected, to hold the newly wed couple up and honor their commitment?

What if every single couple celebrating their anniversary, got as many cards on their anniversary as they did on their wedding day?  Today, July 15th would have been my grandparents 77th wedding anniversary.  Will we place so much importance on our anniversary that others will remember the date, long after we are gone?

What would happen, if you looked up their bridal registry and purchased a small plate or dish, brought it home, cooked a really thoughtful meal, invited the young couple and served cookies on their “pattern”.  A surprising and thoughtful take home gift.

Now, I am not saying that if we all gave out that much good karma and energy that there would be fewer divorces and happier couples………..but on the other hand………..there is power in numbers and the positive energy certainly couldn’t hurt.

On the flip side of this conversation, I am having with myself….. What if the couple placed as much value on the 1st, 3rd, 22nd or 32nd anniversary as they did on the wedding day?

What if each couple, saved up vacation time and took a half a day off of work, early on their anniversary?  What if for that one day a year, each polished the apple a bit?  She has her nails done, he gets a fresh haircut.  What if they planned an overnight somewhere new and refreshing?   What if they made their own cards for each other?  What if they came up with sincere and heartfelt small gifts for one another?  What if for just that one day out of the year, they made the celebration of pure importance?  To the exclusion of all other invitations.  Sorry, we can’t come to your BBQ, it is our anniversary and we will be celebrating.  AND the others, would nod understanding the importance and value that the couple has placed on their union.

I am not saying that every couple should rent a tuxedo & shoes or put on an ivory dress and invite 200 people to their first anniversary dinner.  I was just toying with some thoughtful and planned out ideas.  Say for instance while talking and test tasting food with the caterer, how kind and thoughtful would it be to plan that first anniversary dinner?  Maybe if they enjoyed huge, sumptuous steak sandwiches in their hotel room after the big day, every year to follow they enjoyed steak sandwiches?   What if the couple wrote down the name and address of the wedding planner and sent her/him a thank you note a year later?  What if they had a copy of their wedding ceremony and re-read it each year?

I find it interesting, that young couples are willing to spend hours planning for one single day and then somehow in the “busy” and hustle and bustle of everyday LIFE, they fail to celebrate and place value on their commitment to one another, on “their” special day.  NO, not two weeks from now, when we have time.  THE DAY!  Remember they had several and I am sure some heated discussions about what day they should get married.  Apparently, they chose that date for a reason.

Now, I know, there are some that say, we don’t exchange gifts.  We don’t do cards.  We don’t make a big deal out of it.  WHY NOT? 

You expected me to buy a shower gift & give it, plan to take your special day off,  pull on undergarments that take an enormous amount of effort, have my nails painted, buy a pretty dress, find matching earrings to go with said pretty dress, slap on some make up, fluff up or calm down my hair, lay out cuff links & matching socks for my better half, buy a gift, buy or make a card, drive hours or fly, find parking, walk in very high heels,  sit like a lady in 95* weather or freeze under a beautiful but useless pink wrap, raise my glass to your “special” union, wait 2 hours to see you cut into that delicious smelling cake, drive home, fill up the car with gas, take off before mentioned undergarments…………………..and YOU DON”T WANT TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT?

WHY NOT?  Why was it so important for you to pay thousands, yes, thousands for a photographer, pay for an event planner, research & sample food, look for the perfect shoes to get married in, view and judge florist after florist and yet, 364 days later……………you DON”T DO GIFTS!

Big news flash, IT IS A BIG DEAL.  I used to say to young couples you are of value and your marriage is worth the effort.  Or is it?  Maybe I see it as a sacred and sincere celebration of two people.  Maybe you do not. Maybe it was all just an illusion.  Maybe you just wanted a party and you really didn’t place as much value on the union as I did.

Was it just a big party?  Was it just for show?  Was the food important for your guests or for you?  Were the wedding favors you gave away, thoughtful, kind and charming or did you see them in a bride magazine and thought they would go with your “theme”?  Yes, I was once a 12-year-old girl, who brought home grooms cake tied in tulle and tucked it under my pillow for sweet dreams and wishes for my Prince Charming.

With all that said, I for one love the celebration year after year.  It feeds our souls.  By celebrating with Mr. Right, we add layers and layers and layers to something that is already grace filled and good.  Really good.

I am truly happy to plan out anniversary gifts or cards to help others celebrate.  I get a giddy feeling in my stomach when I wish another couple, warmest congratulations on year, fill in the blank.

It is not the love that sustains the marriage; it is the marriage that sustains the love.  bonhoeffer

In a few days, a wonderful young couple will be celebrating their first anniversary.  We lift up our glass to you K & S.  May you celebrate with reckless abandon!  You have many, many people lifting you up and standing in your corner.  (They may not have read my blog yet today and don’t know they NEED to join with you in celebration.)  May you have a million more good days than bad in your fresh young marriage.

Here’s to you both and your celebration of love.  May you continue to cherish each other for all of time. May your anniversary celebration be worthy of your love.   We are in your corner.  We are waving our sticks with ribbons and jingle bells on them, celebrating you!  lavender 2

 

 

 

Sweet Home Alabama

DSCN1027In the beginning there was color.  I was drawn to the oranges and patterns printed on those inspiring swatches of fabric.  I found jelly fish, hedgehogs, paper clips, numbers and commas.  I over use the comma.  I fell in love when I spied commas printed on fabric.

Then I had to find a way to line them up and give them some type of order and somehow pleasing to the eye.  I found some aqua that would give my eye a rest from all that juicy orange.

The more I danced with the colors, the more I wanted to button it all together with buttons of course. DSCN1026

One afternoon, a quick, off the cuff comment “oh, I love those colors” directed my path.

That afternoon, the quilt name was born.  Sweet Home Alabama was to become a house-warming gift for part of our family.  I sewed and ironed and re-arranged over and over.

Ah, thanks  Lynyrd Skynyrd……………….Sweet Home Alabama, Where the skies are so blue, Sweet Home Alabama, Lord, I’m coming home to you.   Now that is a welcome to Alabama song for sure.

I found a new to me, machine quilter.  Connie who does amazing and wonderful work, was originally from Alabama.  She moved to Washington.  The quilt was born here, machine quilted in her studio,  then sent back to her home state. Our collaboration was meant to be.

I drew a beautiful Magnolia flower on the label.

No, I was not thrilled that part of our family moved to Alabama.  However, when you hear them talk about their new home, you know it was a gift.  I wanted to send them with love and pure goodness.  I wanted a splash of color to warm their hearts and souls and new home.

DSCN4789D,G,Z and A ……..may your sweet home be filled with laughter (belly laughs), great food, prosperity and may you bathe in the Grace of  pure family goodness.

No matter where you roam, you are loved and of value.  I hope the wall hanging reminds you of that every single day.

Love, Mom

ps.  in the beginning, there was color and it was good.