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short and sweet

One tricky part about having grandchildren in different states, is figuring out sweet and fun ways to tell them that we love them.

Oh sure, we send post cards, pictures, presents.  We Skype and chat on the phone.  We send greeting cards that are silly.

When visiting them, one thing I loved was going out to enjoy Frozen Yogurt.  Here is a secret, Papa and I did not get yogurt, we had our hands full trying to help two little girls.  You’d think we never raised kiddos?  Get the yogurt, choose the toppings, get napkins, pay, find a table, get more napkins, get another spoon,  help rearrange the chairs.   Gee, when did we fall out of practice?

I liked helping them maneuver their bowls and wait patiently while they chose the perfect toppings.  Sprinkles and blueberries, awwww, perfect choices.  20150920_184616-1

I made these felt piggy banks.  Flat, easy to mail.   The googly eyes make me giggle.

Papa filled the flat banks with paper money.

We wrote a note.

Please ask your parents to take you out for Frozen Yogurt.

…this little piggy went to market get frozen yogurt.

Goodness sakes I am grateful for grandchildren.  They make the world a better place.

kind secrets

I have been stitching with my hands for about 43 years now.  For some reason, I am drawn like a magnet to a huge chunk of metal to fabric & thread.  My heart and soul is drawn magically to the fiber arts.

I am not sure if it is the complete control over how I will change a blank piece of fabric or a skein of thread and turn it into something glorious or if it is just to keep my hands busy.  Maybe it is the excitement as I begin a new project or the thrill of putting in that final stitch?  Maybe it is the feeling of accomplishment?

Side note:  I have stuck to my New Year’s Resolution.  I have had a completed piece framed each month.  Instead of the pile of unframed projects, the pile has dwindled down to 2.  Feels wonderful to place value on each piece and walk it through to completion.


A general rule of thumb is that I stitch 6 days a week for about 50 minutes. (That would be the amount of time it takes Mr. Right to make our daily juice.)  Oh sure, I stitch more on some days or if the sun is shining and I sneak outdoors for 30 minutes and add a few letters or a leaf on a vine.  Once in a while, I stitch for 30 minutes when Mr. Right watches Jeopardy.  I listen as my fingers and needle fly.

Over the years, I have heard family members get into nasty altercations about what they “deserve” when someone older moves into a care facility or have passed on.  If the person didn’t leave specific wishes, then I guess it is a mystery. “She would have wanted me to have this.”   Notice how there are no fights or discussions about Uncle Gary’s stacks and stacks of National Geographic magazines?

Samplers are by far my favorite counted cross stitch item to work on.  The hobby of counting stitches has fallen by the way side.   So I seek and find comradery of fellow stitchers on-line.  Yes, the great big technology world we live in, actually connects me with others who value the fine art of stitchery.  Oh sure I would adore having a “sew and tell” in person with hot cups of coffee.  However, it is just not in the cards.

Oh sure, Mr. Right listens with what looks like real interest.  However, I have this funny feeling he is thinking, what the20150923_115023-1 heck do I know about 1/2 stitches or hand dyed threads?

I do think things through & of course solve the world’s problems while adding a stitch here or there, sometimes however,  my mind wonders.  I figure out little ways to add secrets to my pieces.  Sometimes, I stitch one child’s birthday as the date I place upon the piece.  Sometimes, I use another person’s initials instead of my own.  Sometimes, I stitch into the actual design the year of one daughter in law’s birth year. 20150922_175709-1

Yes, I give a few as gifts.  Once in a while I add a special charm to the back or I include a hidden favorite animal in the finished piece.  There are a few special people in my life that I like to mark in my heart.  I have stitched a beach scene for a friend who finds peace near the water’s edge.  I have stitched a beautiful heart for a friend who, well, has a beautiful heart.  Yes, for each of our grands I have stitched a birth sampler.

I would like to think, instead of a heated discussion or gasp, one of my pieces being tossed into the “give to Charity” box…. I would like to think that my family will discover the secret codes and figure out the pieces that were made with them in mind.

“Be to others kind and true as you’d have others be to you.”

6 words

I have talked about it before.  You know that weird green and white afghan I have in my linen closet?  I wouldn’t part with it for a million dollars.  When someone says, “can you please get me the sick blanket?” everyone in this family knows exactly what blanket they are talking about.

The weird “limey” green colored blanket.  My grandma made it for me.  She made one for each of my sisters and cousins as well.  Each in our favorite color.

I was in love with that limey green color.  My mother was always quick to point out a pretty pastel pink or salmon color.  Isn’t that nice?  Yes. It is nice.  However, it is not lime green.

I was over the moon thrilled when I opened my afghan.  My grandma got me!  My Grandma listened to my choice.  What I chose mattered to my Grandma.   She made what I would like.  One of my sister’s received a bold orange & white afghan.  The other received a shocking purple & white afghan.

Grandmas are like that.  They don’t care if you want a fox or an owl.  They just make what you want.  What will make you happy.  They put your name on things.  That makes every kiddo happy.20150901_171816

They use high quality wool felt not the 25 cents a sheet “felt” to make their grands ornaments.  They choose the best quality yarn, fabric, thread, beads she can find.

20150901_133154-1Here is the fascinating thing about grandmas.  They will draw a pattern and spend 2 or 3 hours hands sewing a little 3 inch Christmas ornament, just because you like foxes.

They will hand sew on mini ric rack that takes forever and she has to use a thimble because it is tough to pull the needle through, just because you like owls.

Grandmas will mark their thumbs with ink pen, 1/4″ marks, so the stitches turn out even.  20150901_171956-1

Grandmas are willing to spend money, talent, love and about 6 hours making 3 ornaments.

20150901_201419-1Grandmas are magical people.  They will do all that knowing the grand will know.

They will know the moment they open it.  They will know that grandmas’ don’t judge nor do they suggest something other.  Grandmas respect their grands choices.  They will make with their very hands exactly the thing the grand would love.

6 stupendous, magical, love filled words:

My Grandma made it for me. 20150918_111243-1

Fair date


You know, when the teacher calls out your name (and inevitably pronounces it wrong, again, sigh) you raise your hand politely and say, here?   There would always be one smart alack boy who would say, “present”.  Once or twice someone trying to be “kewl” would answer, “Yo”.  Back in the day, the teacher would look over their glasses and give the “teacher stare”.  It usually didn’t happen twice.

Yes, I am here, present and accounted for.  Fall has finally shown up in neck of the woods.  I am roasting vegetables for our hippie bowls tonight.  Ah, the flavor and aroma of fall.

Oh, I have been writing every single day.  However, just not feeling the vibe of pushing that “publish” button.

Writing helps me work through the days.  The last couple weeks have been full of stuff.  You know, the stuff that happens with twists and turns and we call it life?

“The Truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.”  C.S. Lewis

People in my circle are hurting.  Change is in the air.  I am here to tell you change is tricky and a fickle gal.  Being a friend who is a better listener than “you should do this” type of friend, takes will power on my part.  Oh, I have brilliant ideas!  I want to help and fix and share.  This season we call life, it is best if I just fine tune my listening skills.  Nobody likes a know it all.  sigh.  In case anyone out there really LIKES a know it all,  I am really good at it.  Just whistle.

I needed a break, we both needed a break.

I was asked on a date.  Yep, Mr. Right said those magical words any girl who grew up a couple blocks from the State Fair will tell ya……………Would you like to go to the Fair?

Boy howdy!  Boyfriend asks girlfriend on a date to the Fair?  Yes please.   Hand holding and eating and walking and giggling.

I have to eat and drink to stay well, so we had a home cooked meal prior to going to the Fair.  (very responsible of us, uh?)scone booth

I really don’t know what happens.  Why on earth you are hungry the moment you step sconeon those Fair grounds.  We headed straight to the Scone booth.  Fresh hot, burn your hands hot,  biscuit dough stuffed to overflowing with butter and raspberry jam.  Yes, it was a treat for me.  Yes, I will have another one next year.  Yes, it was worth the wait.

Then we “did” the Fair.  You know, Pig Palace with 1 day old piglets and mom.  Not sure what a mom pig is called.  Um, We got to see them all sleepy and happy.  pig palace

We did a few cow barns and then went into the “Animals of the World”  building , not sure what the heck that even means.  I saw my first Zedonk.  Zedonk 1Really, I had to look really close at his legs.  They sort of looked painted on stripes.  Nope, they were real.  Along side 12 or 13 other little short people who were pointing and asking questions, I was right there.  It is super easy to blend in with kids.  They don’t question anyone looking and learning.  Ever notice, kids don’t judge?  Everyone is learning and figuring it all out.  Yes, even the cross between a half donkey and half zebra.  um.

The Hobby Hall called to us.  I am always intrigued and fascinated about what people collect.  Oh sure, there was the usual owl collection, salt and pepper shaker collection. I think there has been someone collecting Troll dolls ever since I started going to the fair 49 years ago.  Or maybe it is the same person?  This year I saw a corn on the cob collection.  Seriously.  A laundry detergent box collection.  wow.  There was the usual Barbie doll collection, nativity collection and the clock collection.  What caught my eye and interest was hanging on the wall.  All behind glass, pinned and properly aligned….. a Pendleton Wool plaid shirt collection.  Seriously.  Oh, I have so much to say.   However, I am the girl who collects rolling pins and flying pigs and white animal creamers so, best just to keep my mouth closed.  The uniqueness (is that even a word?)  makes it so, we can’t stop smiling through the entire stroll through the building.

Hungry?  Why yes, yes I am.  I am thinking Gigantic HUGE deep friend onion rings would be perfect.  Oh wow.  No one needs deep-fried onion ringsonion rings.  However, for some strange and wonderful reason, the boyfriend bought them.  There is NO WAY we could possibly eat those 8 HUGE onion rings of deep-fried goodness.  Oh, I guess there was a way.  So good.  So bad for you.  So worth it.

Grange pictures4H building, flowers and fruits and vegetables and a 1,600 plus pound pumpkin.  And the voting.  We had to vote for our favorite grange display.  The entries have gotten smaller along with the popularity of the grange itself, however, still amazing and wonderful and oodles of work.  We love choosing our favorite and casting our secret ballot.

The quilts and fine arts building.  Oh, the quilts.  You know I liked that part.  Yes, we got to vote on our favorite there as well.

The canned foods and basket weaving.  The baked goods and crochet.  The cross stitch and sewing.  Having been a winner in years past (I won a BLUE ribbon for my peanut brittle when I was 12 years old) I can appreciate how much talent, effort, work, trial and error went into all those entries.  Everyone should enter the Fair, once in their life.    No doubt about it, the act itself teaches respect.

popcorn bagHungry, again?  Why yes, yes, I am.  A freshly made bag of popcorn will hit the spot.  All that salt and “butter”.  The thin paper bag with red and white stripes decorating it.

Walking back to the car, hand in (salty, grease covered) hand with your boyfriend.

For one night, all is right with the world.

Get up and Dance

20150902_185808Once in a while a friend says something or does something that teaches you a lesson you never let go of.

My friend Debbie. (yes, her real name, no I did not get permission).

Her home, decorated so beautifully.  Stunning vignettes in places here and there.  Some, so high up on a ledge, I found myself asking, how did you manage that?

She laughed.  She said, oh, Larry does that for me.  How?  I ask.

She says, she gathers what she wants, already has a picture in her mind and then he climbs up and she tells him where to put what.

I actually saw her do this once.

She never raised her voice.  She calmly explained, “That looks fine, however, would you mind moving it 3 inches to your left?” “Oh dear, you are doing such a nice job, maybe you could drape that ribbon over the last branch on your right?” “I appreciate your help, do you think you could remove the dust jacket from that one book?” “Oh, you did such a good job, it looks great”.

She never seemed to run out of patience.   She seemed to have a way about asking politely for help and then being gracious and waiting.

We met at the church.  Working together on something or other.  Most likely the yearly art show.  However, she was always chairman of the Missions committee, so there is a good chance we met while volunteering for some project.  She helped me with Vacation Bible School.  We gabbed about living in Germany.  Her just returning, me just about to move there.  We traded recipes.  I still have 3 recipe cards in her handwriting.

Side story:  When we lived in Oklahoma, their son Jimmy was 15.  He was my LIFESAVER. 

While, Mr. Right was “invited” by the US Army to work in another country for 9 months, I needed, craved, wanted to go to my once a week quilting group.  Monday Night Quilters.  I would drive across town, pick up Jimmy and bring him over to babysit.  Although at the time, we didn’t call it “babysitting”.  We said, “Yippee, Jimmy gets to come over to play cars and board games!”

Jimmy wasn’t old enough to drive or date.  He had a bottomless stomach and for some reason LOVED to play cars with my boys and board games and hide and seek and you know, just be around boys.  I left snacks and went off to quilt.  Then I would come home. No snacks left and a house that had been played in.  Toys, games, cars everywhere.  The furniture moved slightly,  as only a mom knows, they were hiding behind things while playing hide and seek. 

It was all okay with me.  The pay off was huge.  I got to go to quilting with adults.  Jimmy got to play with younger kids toys.  Debbie and Larry would call to check in a couple of times during the 2 hours of “babysitting” but never tell me they checked in.  

While Bruce was away, they graciously invited the boys and I to join them for Thanksgiving.  It was the one and only time we had been included in another family’s holiday.  They made us feel so welcome.  It wasn’t weird, it was just so nice.

Debbie and Larry have 7 yes, SEVEN granddaughters!  Then recently, they finally got their first grand son.  Oh boy!

One night, while having dinner at our home, (she went on and on about how beautiful my grandchild clock was), when they were leaving I said, “Larry would you mind taking that clock off the wall for me?  He was eager to help, we were about to move, so he didn’t think anything about it.  Then I said, could you please help me wrap it in towels and take it home?  I told Debbie you love that clock more than I will ever love it.  Oh the usual, “I couldn’t”, “no, really.”……… finally, thank you.  I will take good care of it.  And she has.

Last night, I found out my friend, only 60 years old, passed away.

I am still sort of numb.  I can’t really believe we won’t be getting her 5 page, single spaced, typed in red ink (I am not kidding) Christmas letter.  It was really long, every year.  Some years, I would joke with her.  Seriously?  Who has that much to say?   She would just laugh. As per Southern hospitality and charm, she gave me an ornament from her Christmas tree.  I always hang it up.  This year, I think I will hang it in the front of our tree. A blue painted heart.

Today, her husband Larry is sitting in their home, stunned.  Surrounded by his ridiculously large John Wayne collection, seriously, the biggest I have ever seen.  Just sitting there quiet.

Her little dogs are sitting waiting for her to wake up.

As I type this, I am sitting.  Trying to be gracious and grateful for our friendship.

Her grands are sitting in school.

Her sister and family are sitting on an airplane, headed back to Oklahoma.

Debbie is not sitting.

Debbie is no longer in her wheel chair.

She is dancing in Heaven.


You can spend hours each day looking for great tips on a happy marriage.   You can read all sorts of “how to” books on setting up and keeping a good marriage on track.  Heck, you can find 10 easy tips to a successful marriage on face book.

Everyone is searching for the “secret”.

Before Mr. Right marries a new young couple, inevitably the question is posed by one or the other, “What’s the secret to a happy marriage?”  People in the congregation, whisper quietly, “Do you think it will last?”

When you stumble across a “happy marriage” your interest is tickled.  Get out the microscope, let’s look.

What actually is making this pure goodness work for 48 years?

Here’s the deal, there is no secret. It is free for the taking.


Oh, were you hoping it was a magical secret?  Were you hoping it was buying a big house and having a special car?  Oh dear, were you hoping it was posting pictures of how good you look together on a fancy vacation?

Sorry to burst your bubble. Or not.

Maybe bursting the bubble gives you hope?

Maybe just maybe, anyone can have what they have?

48th_wedding_anniversary_keepsake_gift_porcelain_plate-rb5f9d979287e4cc59f6a68f8671338aa_z78kn_324Every single day the wife loves her husband. She does little things.  Oodles of little things.  Yes, I can say a oodles.  5 or 6 nice things a day, times 365 days, times 48 years…………. you can easily do the math.   Every single day, the husband wants to show his wife how much he appreciates what she does & how much he loves her.  So he does 5 or 6 nice things for her.

It’s a dance.

A lovely, swirly dance.

She irons his shirts.  He takes out the trash.  She makes dinner.  He does the dishes.  She shares a joke.  He shares a wink.  She was sick.  He washed her hair.  He was sick.  She made him soup. He fixes the latch on the backdoor.  She sews a button on his favorite shirt.  She is in the hospital.  He never leaves her side.

Everyone wants what they have.  Oh yes they do.

When you look under the microscope, it is not as fancy as you thought it might be.

It’s an everyday thing.  You can see it in their eyes when they look at each other.

They wear grubby clothes and do yard work together.

They wear warm clothing and shovel snow from the driveway together.

They watch fireworks and hold hands in the dark.

They discuss politics, kitchen cabinets, their beautiful daughter, their cats, the lawn, the town celebration.  They discuss money and religion.  They discuss the price of heating oil and the winter coming.   They discuss travel and trips taken.  They discuss & disagree on Hockey.  All this talk over homemade pie and hot steaming coffee.

They clean up and go out for a wonderful German meal and don’t mention to anyone why they are dining out and smiling.

Just being around them, you WANT what they have.

Can you imagine being told, I LOVE YOU, every single day, 365 days a year for 48 years?

Can you imagine being respected and valued and adored and well taken care of every single day, 365 days a year for 48 years?

The love and respect they have for each other is palpable.

You sort of feel like if you get close enough to them, some of that goodness will rub off.

Good news for me.  They taught their little brother how to be an amazing husband.

Good news for our daughter in-laws.  Mr. Right passed on the secret to a great marriage.

I bet if you “work” their secret, some of the goodness will rub off on you, too.

Heartfelt Congratulations to my wonderful Brother and Sister in law.

Here’s to you & your celebration of pure goodness!

messy hope

My camp circle is huge.

You know what a camp circle is, right?  People you’d hang out with around a camp fire.  Relaxed.  Wild and messy hair hidden behind bandanas.  Dirty fingernails from rearranging rocks.  Really dusty sneakers from exploring an easy hiking trail.  Ripped and faded jeans.  Smiles.  No lipstick.  Rosy cheeks from the heat of the camp fire.  Everyone seems to have a stick.  Either to toast something or to stare aimlessly into the flames and watch the end glow red.

411a2ff02c5ce5dea2124c81db0b8193Those few people in your life that help you remember there is hope.  Just by the sound of their voice you can hear the courage they are sharing, the smile they are sharing.

One of my fellow campers lives 3,024.6 miles away.

Another sweet camper lives 3,046.2 miles away.

One more smiling camper lives 2,537.6 miles away.

Life get’s messy.  I don’t have to explain that to anyone. Well, anyone who is willing to buckle up and brave enough to jump on the roller coaster.  If you hide out and not jump in and get your hands dirty, then life isn’t so messy.

Maybe that’s it?  You don’t have to explain anything messy to your dear friends.  You just need to hear their voice and borrow a little bit of courage from them.  Just take a smidgen of hope from their voice.

I don’t want to live on the edges of other people’s happiness.  I want to take a bit of their happy and mix it in with the happy that I have and create this huge swirling stock pot of messy, delicious goodness.

I want to find reasons to celebrate every single day.  If something spectacular isn’t happening in my neck of the woods on any given day, I want to look for something to celebrate.

20150825_160252-1I want to spend the day making cedar shoe inserts to celebrate someone moving into a new apartment.  She loves shoes.  She loves her new closet.  She loves purple.  How on earth could I not celebrate and get a little of that happy on me?

I want to celebrate my friend’s 20150826_132924-1 (1)new grand on the way!

I want to celebrate my friend’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

I think celebrating with others, just increases the joy.  1e26fe6b4984b32b5d9ff7f5150dfadb

I am mighty grateful and I appreciate my disheveled, bandana wearing fellow campers.

They share their good and their bad with me.  My mind swirls and twirls and I celebrate or cry with them.

Some days, I am not yet strong enough to hold them up and come up with brilliant ideas to help them.

Sometimes, when that text comes in or the phone rings, I just smile and gather a bit of hope and am stronger and I move forward with a little skip in my step.

Have I mentioned lately, what a lucky , grateful girl I am?


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