frustration, grace

something we can agree on

heart crossMy heart hurts.

I can’t stop thinking about the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.  I woke up this morning at 3:14 am thinking about them.  Thinking about the mom’s, the wives/husbands and the families.  My mind wouldn’t stop swirling.

I will freely admit, I am tired of just sending my thoughts and prayers to victims of unspeakable violence.

I think we can all agree, the time has come.  We need to do more.

The very reason I started this blog was so I could leave my heart on the page and sleep through the night.

Our church sings a song with the words, “Let peace begin with me“.  I have always loved that song, memorized the words, sang with gusto, the melody sounded so smooth and easy.   La, la, la…. look at me being peaceful.  In my nice dress and high heels, so nice and clean and calm. 

Move over Blue Haired Methodist Ladies!

The new younger, more vocal “Medium Golden Brown” with Cappuccino highlights” lady is ready to speak up.

Never in a thousand years would I have believed that “peace” would begin with me by contacting my congressman/woman.

This morning while listening to a fellow cross stitcher, Bendy Stitchy aka Michelle Garrett (a wonderful stitcher, kind soul, giving, nurturing spirit, open-minded)  in amongst talking and sharing about stitching, she shared a brilliant idea.

I liked her idea.  It’s the first time I have thought of it this way.  It is not huge, it is a teeny, tiny step.  Maybe, fingers crossed, an idea in the right direction?

This is NOT about gun laws, gun sales, taking away hunters rights, questioning the Second Amendment.   This is not to ban fertilizer sales or knife sales, this is not a never-ending circle of red-faced, screaming loud, ranting and raving.

THIS IS ABOUT the people who were injured or killed and their families. 

I repeat.

THIS IS ABOUT the people who were injured or killed and their families. 

This is something we can actually do.  Physically write, email or phone your congressman or the white house.  Yes, we can do this.

Allow me to paraphrase her thoughts:

Back in the early 80’s then-President, Ronald Reagan asked the CDC to study why so many Americans were dying in their cars.  The CDC takes a long time to study things, however, in the end, what they deduced is:   car restraints were needed.

That study resulted in a seat belt law.

Do people still die in car accidents?  Yes, of course, every single day. Did the study reduce the number of deaths due to seatbelts?  Yes.  The study was worth it.

Let’s ask our congressmen/women or President to have the CDC  commence a study of multiple deaths by gun violence or other lethal means (fertilizer, knife, car etc) by one individual.

This could very well be a step toward the “WHY” question we all have.

Just take a look at it.  No political slant.  Just take a look.

It is a beginning…….a place to start…….at the very least a jumping off point to try and figure out the “why”.

As the victims and their families, walk through this horror,  May God cover them with a blanket of Love & Grace.

May we all be bathed in Grace as we AGREE.

YES, we can all agree, WE CAN AND SHOULD ALL DO BETTER.

In this together friends, chat soon.

 

 

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beauty, friend, friendship, grace, grateful, haPPY

spinning soul sisters

I hobbled across the street and up a block from my junior high school.  I had a full-length leg cast.  (Back in the olden days’ casts were plaster and boy howdy were they heavy.)  I was back at school after weeks at home.  I missed my friends.  I was more than happy to hand over saved babysitting money (my portion of some salty, greasy fries)  and willing to use those ugly crutches if it would get me where I wanted to be.

The promises of a pile of french fries we all shared and the latest gossip were more than enough of a carrot to get me moving towards the “Herfy’s” fast food joint.  I wanted to hang out and fit in.  Golly, I wanted so badly to be a part of the “gang”.  I wanted to have real grown-up conversations and figure out where we each stood on vital and important topics.

I  remember the noise of all of us talking at once.  I can recall the sound of laughter.  Talking with mouths full, talking over each other, talking…… it was the sound of friendship.  Somehow we all felt a bit important.  We each had something to share.

Yesterday, while having coffee with a friend we noticed a group of 8 junior high school friends.  They each had a coffee drink in front of them.  They all sat at a table 4 facing 4.  Each had either a cell phone, laptop or a tablet they were individually engrossed in.

They were silent.

Each absorbed in their own world of technology.  I wanted to tell them, put down your phones, close your laptops………your friends are right before your very eyes.

I kept my lips sealed, however, my heart cracked a little.

Spinning Elementary school

I was very grateful to be sitting with a friend from Kindergarten.  Neither of us could actually pinpoint when (at least 35 years ago) we actually last saw each other, face to face.   We have reconnected via social media (yes, we are mighty grateful for technology)…. however, we needed to sit and be in the same place.

We both felt an invisible thread tugging at our hearts.   I liked seeing her beautiful hair glimmer in the sunshine.  I needed to touch her bracelet, smell her perfume and hear her story.  My heart raced as I listened to her talk about her husband with respect and love.

We both played the “dance”.

Oh, you know?  The dance where you gently slip in little thoughts to see how the other reacts.  Religion, politics, television, hobbies, food……polite yet very interested and you actually care if it is all well with her soul.  You gingerly talk about the miracle love affair of your life and see where it lands.   When I caught a glimpse of a sparkle in her eye, my heart swelled.  I knew in a flash she had long been with someone who had loved her and held her heart.    During my turn, I could share how Mr. Right is my world and how well I am loved and cared for.  I could tell her and not hold back because she was telling me the same story.  We were speaking the same love language.

You don’t share sweet secrets like that via technology.   You just don’t.

Over the years, of course, we have both been forced to our knees with tragedy.  We shared our lost parents, our concerns, our troubles, our sickness, our fears as well as our glories and triumphs. We discussed new things we were trying on for size.   We asked about mutual friends and each other’s siblings.  Oh yes,  we shared how AMAZING our grands are.

WAIT  

Imagine for a moment, what if, when we were young school chums we didn’t talk about life and who we wanted to marry, our ridiculous siblings, or mean teachers?  What if after school, we didn’t sit and talk about the world, how we stood on issues, what we wanted to be when we grew up?  What if we didn’t say much?  What if we sat and ate french fries (or drank coffee) and did our own private thing on an electronic device and we never actually connected on a personal level? What if we had not shared our souls even before we knew what souls were?

Would any of us now be curious enough or feel the pull of friendship to contact our old school chums?  Would we make an effort and carve out time to reconnect?  Would we just check the box  (yes, I accept you as a “friend”)  or would we thirst for personal time together? Would the ties that bind us, hold our hearts and souls together while we went out into the world and came back again?

friendshipThe thing about childhood friends…. they know you.  They were part of you when you were still trying on who you were.   They are woven into our hearts from a very young age.

We were five or six when we met.  We didn’t know we were being given a gift.  It felt like the luck of the draw.  Our parents happen to live in the same school district, by chance we ended up in the same schools.

It didn’t seem serendipitous or magical.   I just knew her as my schoolmate, tall, pretty, a twin.  It wasn’t until we talked more and grew through the years that I figured out she was also kind & smart.  Part of being young friends is learning & listening & then borrowing the good parts we see and hear in our friends and tying them to our hearts.

I never dreamed she would be part of the thread that made up part of who I became. When you are with a lifelong friend, somehow you feel safe and comfortable.  You feel accepted because we already accepted each other back in 1967.  You open your mouth and spill things you don’t share with others.

Here’s the inside scoop:

She is much prettier than I remembered.  She has a beautiful spirit and soul.  She is kind-hearted, loving and smart.  She turned out to be an amazing wife and mom and mother in law and grandma.

She has always been part of my circle.  My chatty, talkative, opinionated, giggly, serious, thoughtful, tricky, hard, glorious circle.

Without end.

TeresaGentle suggestion?  use technology to find an old friend.  Figure out a way, make an effort to have coffee or french fries with that friend, in person.

You owe it to yourself and to her, turn off your phones and then talk, hold hands, giggle and talk some more.  Talk for 4.5 hours over coffee.  Yes, yes, everyone in your life will worry and fret because you didn’t answer your phone.

Tell them the truth.  “I turned off my phone because I was TALKING with my friend.”

I am here to tell you it is good for your soul.  

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

friendship 2

 

blendtec, fresh, garden, gardening, grateful, pure goodness, recipe, summer, vegetables, wellness

tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.

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Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)

 

or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.

 

 

Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

Chat soon.

crafts, cross stitch, cross stitching, haPPY

and a forest grew

This morning it is pouring down rain with dark clouds all around me. To me, the ideal morning for stitching & drinking steaming hot coffee.  The sound of the rain, the aroma of dark, rich coffee, the feel of the fabric, and thread in my hand……doesn’t get much better.

Today I wanted to share my latest counted cross stitch project.  I made the first stitch on August 16, 2017.  The fabric is 28 count, cream-colored linen.  I stitch 2 threads over 2 threads.  I use a size 26 needle by Bohin.

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I will share updates now and then.  This piece will most likely take quite a few months to complete.  I work on several different pieces at once.  It is such a pleasure to work on, I will venture a guess and predict this will come up in the rotation more often than not.

This beautiful piece designed by Karen Kluba will be my biggest project to 20170616_100630-1_resizeddate.

(side note) Stephanie Webb of Lindy Stitches on Etsy charted different words.  I prefer her more uplifting and happy word selection.

“You will go out in Joy and be led forth in Peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song before You, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!”

 

By using one of the trees, a bird and a bunny from this pattern, I stitched & traded a pincushion for her graph of the new charted words.  I really enjoy the graceful art of bartering. We both felt like we got a good deal so we were equally pleased and happy.

For this piece, I am learning and trying a new method.  Whereas I split apart the threads of each stitch with my needle before making the stitch.  This causes the threads to lay flat and not be twisted. 20170919_075412-1_resized

I really fell head over heels in love with this design.  All of the whimsical birds and animals tickled my fancy right away.  The trees are unique and just different enough to hold my interest.  Up to and to include several shades of green, there are 105 colors of thread that will be used to complete this piece.

 

As my forest begins to grow, here is a picture from this morning.

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I love share ‘n tell.  I’ve been brave enough to share and talk about my current work in progress.  I would really appreciate and enjoy seeing what handwork you are working on.

Yes, I know you are “busy”.  However, it does your heart and soul such good to make something with your hands, then share the beauty.  So whether it is baking or knitting, card making or quilting, by sharing our solitary craft endeavors, the journey will feel less lonely.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

cooking, goodness, grace, grateful, recipe, recipe comfort food, vegetables

Brilliant Sunday Supper

Last night, the rains started, it cooled way down and seemed like the perfect Sunday evening for comfort food.  You know?  The warm feel of soup in your belly.  The blend of flavors in a well planned out sandwich……oh baby, so good.

Wait.  I will explain what I made, then I will share a picture or two.

The soup.

Hang on to your cute beanie. This savory soup is Sunday dinner, Easy Peasy.

20170917_143546_resizedCut up some beautiful (homegrown if you have them) potatoes and a couple of leeks (remember to wash the dickens out of those leeks).  Drizzle with olive oil and S & P.  Roast at 425*for 50 minutes.  Next put them into the Blend-tec with some vegetable broth.  We’re blending, we’re blending………………  and we are done.  That was easy.20170917_172055-1_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sammy.

20170917_170912-1_resizedCaramelize an onion.  Roast a red pepper (then put into a zippy bag and take off the brunt outer skin).  Also, have in the lineup and ready to go:

Tapenade, fresh pesto & shred some beautiful Fontina cheese.  Assemble and grill.

Say Grace and just like that, A brilliant Sunday supper is toasty and ready to enjoy. 20170917_172332-1_resized

I ask you, who would not be grateful and find comfort in this beautiful meal?

We need to cook like this for our families/ourselves more often.  We are all worthy of simple, satisfying food layered with love.

I gotta say, the flavor of that combination was brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed a savory Sunday meal, certainly a lovely way to begin the week.  Or might I suggest this meal as a solution to what to have tonight?

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

product review, travel, vacation, vacation tip

2 travel goodies

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N….in the summer time…..  can’t get that song to stop looping in my noggin.

Vacation is exciting and different and wonderful.  However……  by the sheer fact of the exciting and different part….our  “normal” comfortable routine is mixed up patty whacked.   Today, I wanted to share two things that might make your next trip a bit easier and happier.

I found a lush creature comfort that I knew I wanted to share.  (Side note:  don’t you just slump in your chair and throw your arms up when someone says, “Oh, I’ve been using that for two years now, you didn’t know?”  Urgh.)button scarf

Right, this minute, as I type, my lush, dreamy soft, Scarf/Poncho/Wrap is rolled up and stored in my carry on satchel for use next trip.

The store that I purchased it from is called Lace & Grace.  Quick service and quite a large variety of items.

http://www.graceandlace.com/

These are my own opinions & sadly, no, I was not paid to endorse my new favorite travel items.

First the details.  It is huge and yet manageable. Excellent quality, reversible with substantial buttons and rich saturated colors.   The fabric is soft, you sort of want to pet it, but that would be weird.  By the way, this company has several colors and patterns to choose from.

I have a tendency to get cold on the airplane.  Out came the scarf.  I had it rolled up inside my carry on bag, easy to get to.  button scarf, lace and graceI wore it like a poncho so it covered my shoulders and kept the chill at bay.   It looks great with jeans and a t-shirt, however, I did wear it one evening with bold jewelry and as a scarf, it looked rather fetching, if I do say so myself.

Next option,  I just buttoned only one of the buttons, turned it a couple times and wore it as a scarf through the airport as we caught our next flight.

During the driving….. Mr. Right logged 1,873 miles during this vacation…… I folded the scarf/poncho/shawl over my legs and was nice and cozy without blasting the heater.

I must say this garment construction is beautiful and the reverse color of soft gray and white herringbone complemented several outfits.

Overall, extremely pleased with this piece.

Next:

berkey water bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other best travel piece is my Berkey travel Water Bottle.   http://www.getberkey.com/

It has the filter right inside.  I pack it empty in my carry on and once past airport security, I can fill it up using a water fountain or any tap water.  (Note:  It does not filter out fluoride. I keep a list of bottled waters sans fluoride and when available I purchase those. Then I pour those into my bottle. )  Travel choices are not perfect, we do what we can.

When not traveling, I store this item alongside my travel satchel and suitcases.  A quality product that works very well.  I can’t imagine traveling without one.  I highly recommend.

I hope these gentle suggestions will make your next trip ( you are planning your next adventure, right?) a bit smoother.

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

beauty, friendship, good marriages, good times, goodness, haPPY, travel, vacation

empty envelope

7 states, 2 provinces, 1 salt cave, 1 aero car, 1 boat, 4 airplanes, 1 rental SUV, 2 Ubers, 1 Buddist Temple, 1 Greek Orthodox church, 1 beach wedding, 1 Big Fat Greek wedding, 1 Great Lake, 1 Lighthouse, 5 hotels, 26 restaurants, 2 home cooked meals, 2 catered meals, 2 foxes, 1 beaver, 5 pheasants, 2 deer, 2 t-shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 2 pieces of Polish pottery and one empty vacation envelope.

I have been quiet as a church mouse. The reason?

 VACATION!

You read that correctly, for the first time in ages and ages (read that as 17 years) Mr. Right and I took off on a couple of weeks vacation.  No, not stay home and heal kind of vacation.  An actual pay way too much for a breakfast in a resort town, pay the toll twice in 2 minutes because you get turned around, buy a banana at a gas station for .99 cents kind of VACATION!!!!

As much as I enjoy writing, I/we also need to go out into the real world with real people and experiences. We needed to jump in and learn, giggle and come home plum tuckered out.

Mission accomplished.

We experienced so much good,  my mind is still swirling.  I want to sit on the porch and drink coffee (oh, I’ve missed you dark, rich, bold, Italian Roast from the Pacific Northwest, with cashew cream) and tell you about our adventures.

I’m guessing, for days to come,  I will slip in little moments of vacation happy, here and there.  You know the stuff you never dreamed about, however, somehow managed to make the hit parade of goodness when you think back?

Noticing the first leaves changing for fall in Northern Vermont.

Hands down, the best Italian meal we have ever enjoyed.

The moment you sit with your friend and her family around the kitchen tables with different colored Fiesta ware plates.  You eat, listen, giggle and share. Wishing you could already come back and you haven’t even finished your plate yet.

The exact moment, while standing next to your niece as she shares her completed piece of crochet work.  Stunning, inspiring and privileged that she shared with me.

Sitting in a hotel room, doing nothing, goofing off with your family, drinking Ginger Ale and eating a sinful, delicious piece of chocolate.

Shopping in the flagship April Cornell store.  I know, I know, I always say I don’t like to shop……….I mean I don’t like to shop unless it is one perfect shop in Burlington, Vermont.  Then….. actually standing there when April Cornell comes in and walks around like she owns the place  Wait!  She does own the place.   Something happened to me in that place.  Instead of me agonizing over one new blouse to buy……..I kind of lost my mind.  I bought 2 new gorgeous blouses, 1 beautiful, special dress, 1 lovely tablecloth and a grown up, beautiful pair of pajamas,  just like that.

Riding shotgun in a rental car for 1,873 miles.  Read that as talking time, singing time, eating snacks time and reading the map time. Yes, an actual paper map.

The feel & sound of your feet the moment you step on 4,000 pounds of ground salt inside a salt cave.

The water dripping off your face, on “the” (bucket list) boat ride.20170831_191906_resized

Opening your hotel door, to see your brother-in-law, waiting patiently outside, because YET AGAIN, I can’t seem to get my hair to do what I want and be early to breakfast in the same morning.

Meeting table mates at a wedding that you connect with seamlessly and want to be friends for life.

Drying dishes, while sis in law washes……….like we do it every day of our lives.

Maybe for today, I will stop talking and share some pictures?  They might speak more eloquently than typed words.

It was a beautiful thing to anticipate and save for a holiday.   The adventure will bring color to our lives for days to come.

Grateful for an empty vacation envelope.