things I “heart” today

Big fat cuffs on my rolled up jeans

fresh bouquet of jaunty yellow carnations near the bed

my dog sleeping in a sun patch

Ruby colored toe nail polish

Lots of Valentines layed out for glitter to dry in the sun

perfectly made bed

butter softening on the counter to bake cookies later

hot coffee in my favorite mug, a mug with the perfect lip

graham crackers with butter

brand new curtains hung in the sewing room

birds on the above mentioned curtains

the Army flag fluttering in the stiff breeze outside our window

sun shining on my bike

waking up on a Saturday and knowing you have plans for dinner

Valentines that come in the mail

freshly vacuumed home

a new library book waiting on the night stand

the urgency to start a quilt for another grandgirlie

walking with the dog every day

catching up with friends through an e-mail

a clean and tidy sewing room to start a new project

mermaids

Sherwin Williams paint number 7335

peanuts out for the Stellar Jays to find

a bird bath with an icy crust on top of the water, this morning

gathering supplies for care packages

frost sparkling on the grass

wearing pearls almost every day of my life

anticipating my new fuschia pink jacket coming in the mail

using Polish pottery every day

planning a holiday trip

finding and buying super skinny pretzel sticks, close to my favorite

buying the supplies today to start a bridal shower gift

planning a Valentine dinner

the colors pink and tangerine

Carpe Diem

Blow me a (secret) Kiss

Today, I sent a secret valentine all wrapped up and tied with string for someone’s desk .   I have a few more tricks up my sleeve for this week as well.  Inevitably, the questions always arise year after year, do you still do that?  You still exchange Valentines?  you bet!   Mr. Right was a marriage counselor for many years, I think because of that, he & I seemed to be asked quite often, what is the “secret”?

There are a million and one quotes on having and living a good marriage.  Young or old couples, each has their own “secret”.   This morning, we mailed a Congratulations card to a couple being married today in Georgia.  They are very young and in love.  Inside the card, along with other life altering impressive words……………………I wrote the one that I believe with my heart and soul.

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

That pretty much sums it up into a nice neat package.  I respect and cherish my husband.  The same is true for him.  Every single day of my life I feel cherished, respected and treasured.   He learned by watching his brother and sister in law.

I was (a sweet, I am sure) seven year old.  The year was 1969.  That was second grade & my teacher was Mrs. Johnson.  She said I had very nice penmanship & we got to color every Friday after lunch time.  LOVED her!  Anyhoo, back to story.  While I was jumping rope and singing and twirling and using a hoola hoop and twisting my hair and (urgh) wearing Saddle Shoes, my dear Brother in law was in Vietnam.  My loving and remarkable sister in law wrote him a letter every SINGLE day.  Did you catch that?  Not sent a two word text, not a quick 15 second e-mail.  She wrote him a letter every single day.  Pen, paper, envelope, stamp…..yeah, you get it, EVERY DAY.  She sent packages that included Kool-Aid so he and his buddies could drink the water. I am sure she cried herselft to sleep on many occasions.  I could go on and on about this couple.  I think you get the idea.  When the rest of us make a New Year resolution to “write in my journal, every day”, it usually last until about early February and other things get in the way.  The love and respect that this couple have for each other takes your breath away every single day.

Mr. Right writes me a note/letter or poem each day he leaves for work.  I am one lucky girl.  Sometimes there are drawings of me sewing or  walking the dog or a sparkle heart sticker or hand written XOXOXO’s.  He is consistant and I feel cherished each day.

When Mr. Right left for a nine month duty station, we were living in Oklahoma.  We had two young boys ages 7 & 9.  My hands were filled with working ,volunteering, teaching, quilting, taking care of the dog, house, life and being a mom.  I tried, oh I really tried to write him every single day.  If you are reading this and you are under 35 you probably don’t know about numbering envelopes.  I used to write a number on the back of the envelopes that I mailed.  So when five or six of them caught up with him in Germany he could read them somewhat in order.   I always affixed the stamp upside down, because that means I LOVE YOU.  We invented a secret code to put on the outside of the envelope.  Those letter were a bit saucy and were to be read in private.   Those letters were not to be read to the boys outloud at the breakfast table or read in the mess hall.    After a few months, the letters started including daily events and notations about bills and the boys wrestling antics, sports scores, etc. not every letter was filled with hearts and flowers.  No, I did not write every day.  I did manage 4-5 times a week. 

I loved the song preformed by some British military wives (with husbands away at war)……”my heart will build a bridge of light across both time and space”…………  ” cling on to Faith”……….”I will hold on through the night”.

I have a sign that hangs in my kitchen and it has for years and years and will continue to hang.  Oh sure I will repaint the frame, or buy a new “hip” one……I choose to keep it where I see it every single day of my life.  There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.

Congratulations to the newly married young couple today.  Come to find out there are lots of little secrets that keep marriages happy and thriving.  With heartfelt sincerity, may you respect and cherish each other forever and ever. May your new life be filled to overflowing with secret kisses!

Finding moving grace on Facebook

High School, the late 70’s was an interesting & happy & busy & rushed time of life for me.  Some thirty plus years ago and my days were full to the brim with well, everything that I thought was important.  I did way too many extra curricular activities.  I stayed up way too late.  I was involved with my service group, The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.  I liked to flirt but did not want to spend my “free” time hanging out with boys.  I loved my 8 hour a week job at the Fabric Tree.  Oh my goodness, that was a dream job if there ever was one.  I love even the smell of a fabric store, oh the possibilities.  Must be some kind of addiction that started years ago?  I spent so much time running here and there, playing tennis, volunteering for hours and had to make contact with my family, sometimes.  Oh and the homework, ugh…………  I had a typewriter.  I would take it into the garage and set up the card table and type away.  I was staying up way too late and did not want my parents to hear me typing and cramming at the last possible moment.    I guess in  among all the things I thought were important, I did not do my best to seriously connect with friends in my class after say Junior High School.  Sure, hello and greetings, friendly yes, quick and hurried for sure.   Somehow, I thought I had all the time in the world to spend time with my friends.    The class of 1980 scattered.  We went here and there.  Some joined the military, some went onto college , technical school, community college.  Some went right into the work force.  Some moved far, far away.  Oh sure, we would write.  Okay, that did not happen much.  Each time home for a vacation I found less and less time to connect with old friends.  Time marched on.  Wedding rings were purchased and babies started arriving and the Army started sending us to strange and interesting places for years at a time.

28 years later enter Facebook.  Silly, goofy, waste of time…….maybe………….wait, hold on…………….a friend request just popped up.  Kathy wants to “friend” me?  Kathy from Monday Night Quilters in Lawton, Oklahoma?  Hot dang!  Now that made my day a bit happier.    Hold the phone, another friend request………………..Donna wants to “friend” me?  Donna from second grade?  Donna with nearly the same birthday as me?  Oh my, another happy day coming my way!  The list of friends goes on and on and on……………………….Jerry wants to friend me?  He and I walked to Kindergarten together.  What?  He has a great family and lives near by?  Oh man, my stomach is doing flip-flops.  I am giddy with happiness.   Patti wants to be friends?  Patti from High School?  woohoo, love her spirit.  This person saw my name, that person remembered something funny.  Hey, Pat wants to share a joke.  another smile coming my way.    Another quilting friend finds me.  A Rainbow girl is now a grown up woman with girls of their own and wants to reminisce.  I have some friends, who by their own choice and life don’t have a lot of spare free time.  I am lucky enough to snag a couple minutes of their day.  We quickly connect and get the jolt of happiness and they flutter away until the next nugget of goodness.

I have a friend on Facebook that  shares a scripture or two a day.  I like that.  It makes me think and smile.  A friend who shares grand baby pictures and I share with her.  Those pictures make me grin ear to ear.  I have nieces that live in another country and a niece that lives on the opposite side of the country.  I get to be “friends”.  It is not just an in person relationship once every 5 years or more at a family gathering that I get the chance to talk to them.  I am smack dab in the middle of their snowstorm , purchasing a summer place, late night study time or listening as they set up their first ever apartment.  I get to experience the joyful highs and sadly sometimes the lows.  Instead of being just  “Aunt Daleen” I have the honor of being friends.

Because of the nature of  the small buisness that I own,  I don’t have daily interaction with a lot of people, face to face.    However, for a quick 15 minutes of my time, I am privileged to see an updated grand son photograph, read a scripture (the same scripture my friend is pondering today), I get to share a laugh or a joke or listen to a video of beautiful music .  I choose to be bathed in Grace every single time I see a friend’s name and connect with them.

Don’t misunderstand me, sure I would love to sit with a cup of joe or an icy tart glass of lemonade to visit, share & giggle for an afternoon, face to face.  Time marches on.  Face to face just doesn’t happen like it did years ago, or in the movies or television where you see people sitting for hours upon hours drinking coffee or wine.  Those moments do indeed happen, every once in a while and you bet, I treasure those.  However, we all live in a world of movement.  So I try every single day to find a snippet of grace where I can.  I like being connected to old friends, family and people I am still getting to know.

My “guest blogger” slipped in that he thought the internet was a miracle.  The truth of the matter is the internet is a miracle.  Yesterday morning, I listened to a British military wives club sing an amazing song, directed by a gifted Choir Master of the London Orchestra. I viewed a video of my husband marrying a young couple, I looked up yet another recipe, I found a coupon to print, I read about a friend and her troubles.  I went on to pray for and sent a private message to a friend recovering from surgery.  She knew instantly that I was praying for her, lit our prayer candle and wrote to send my best wishes.  My husband composed a letter to the editor of his hometown paper.  It was a heartfelt and sincere glowing comment about a wonderful expose that the paper wrote about his brother.  Mr. Right wrote the letter, sent it and it was waiting for the editor of the paper to read it when he came in to work on the other side of our country.

This “miracle” I type about allows me the luxury of instantly conveying my CONGRATULATIONS to a friend whose son is about to marry.  She shared the news by way of a private message on Facebook.  I wrote back and celebrated with her and her husband.  Of course, I follow-up with hand written cards to celebrate or to let my friends know I am praying for them.  I love to send postcards that say, we are praying for you.  We celebrate you.  We are thinking of you.  There is nothing like being in the moment and shouting hallelujah with friends, friends who don’t live next door.  We live in a world of movement & instant information.  I for one love it and try to embrace it daily.  Oh don’t for one minute think I don’t hop over to my local library twice a month for my 15-20 “new” books to read.  Yes, I own a Kindle.  Yes, I love to read the newspaper on-line daily.  However, this screen that I am typing on, opens so many new worlds and adventures and knowledge to me, it really does feel like a miracle.

It is a grateful way to live,  to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.  A Facebook friend shared the recipe for Roasted Brussel Sprouts ( thinking I may have to remove my comment on my blog title?).  I tried the recipe.   When Mr. Right wrote about the BS (oh yes, the roasted sprouts of goodness, changing my ways is harder than you think),  he said  “thanks to the miracle of the internet, new ideas are readily available and I for one think it’s a blessing.”

While our children were growing up, one of the lessons we tried to instill in them was to continue to make their world BIGGER.  The thought here is to try to open up your mind and your life to include new people, friends & new ideas.  If you are judgemental and unkind, people will fall away.  If you don’t treat others with kindness and Grace they will fade away.  Pretty soon you will end up all by yourself, alone.  Sure you might feel you are right, “they did this wrong”, “they did this poorly”, “why don’t they do it my way”…………………Do you want to be right or happy?  That is your choice.  period.  done.  Facebook makes my world bigger, happier for the most part and I find goodness there every single day.

I am not a Pollyanna.  I am making an informed choice.  I choose to see Facebook (yes, it has some bumps & issues) as a grace filled blessing.  One blessing that I am lucky & thankful to be a part of.  Sometimes, I save a message or re-read something someone sent to be.  Like the “olden days” when we used to save hand written letters and re-read them to feel good all over again?  I like to re-read an uplifting thought a friend has shared with me.  I get to do it all over again and again if I want to.  Brings me twice the joy.

The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!  henry ward beecher~

What’s my line? Meet my first ever guest blogger!

I’ve long been a fan of cruciferous vegetables and I’ll freely admit that to anyone. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Bok Choy etc – I love the entire food group. Brussels sprouts are a particular favorite but eating them is an exercise in loneliness. Not many people can get past the rather distinct odor they emit and then there’s the taste. Let’s face it, you either like them or you don’t. Period. No room for discussion. Until now that is. Confession is said to be good for the soul and I’ve a confession to make.  I was taught (and fervently believed) that Brussels sprouts are cooked by boiling them or steaming them.  Gently so as not to dry them out, and not so much that the leaves fall away.  It’s also said that ignorance is bliss and I believed that to be true.  Now I know otherwise.  Ignorance cost me 50+ years of eating Brussels sprouts THE WRONG WAY!  Today I was introduced to roasted Brussels sprouts.  Simply cut in half and then the bitter stem cut away, drizzled with olive oil.  Add some freshly ground black pepper and some sea salt and cook for 30 minutes.  The result?  Heaven in a leafy , crunchy, cruciferous form!  Pure delight and a remarkable sensation for the palate, one I heartily recommend.  We do indeed live in an age where, thanks to the miracle of the internet, new ideas are readily available and I for one think it’s a blessing.

Mr. Right (aka Cruciferous Chip)

BS & taste buds

Brussel Sprouts.  What did you think BS meant?   I think of them as vile and bitter.  I loath the smell of the small green cabbage shaped vegetable.  Yep, the Brussel Sprout.   Brussels, Belgium is my all time favorite international city to visit (I was privileged to see my very first Michelangelo statue), you’d think I would LOVE ‘em.  Not the case.  Sort of makes my toes curl, just to type about them.

My mother said taste buds change.  I did not believe it.  We told our boys to “try one bite” because taste buds change.  We didn’t believe it when we said it and the boys did not believe it either.

Come to find out, my mother wasn’t lying to me!  I am here today, 49.8 years old to tell you that TASTE BUDS DO change!  I am alive to tell the tale.  Yes siree, Bob. and yes, Bob would love ’em too.

A friend, who I have not asked if I can use her name yet, shared with me the TOP SECRET way to go with the BS.  Okay, I have got to stop using that acronym.  My life is changed, brighter, happier, no longer bitter…………………..

Cut off a huge chunk of the bottom of the sprout.  Cut in half.  Toss with olive oil and Kosher Salt and cracked pepper.  Put into a preheated 400* oven for 30 minutes.  done.  period.   That was the recipe, just in case you missed it.  That was it.  Two sentences ago.  GO BACK.  USE it.  Say Grace and dig in!

I gingerly added a bit of butter to mine.  I ate FOUR HALVES.  Not just one bite!  That is actually two full Brussel Sprouts!   VICTORY is MINE!  Okay, pretty darn good.  Crispy outside, nice mild inside.  Actually very good.  I need a new schtick!

Yes, Virginia taste buds do indeed change.   You know how I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE before and after pictures?  Here you go.  I think I will have a guest blogger tomorrow.  Mr. Right will give you his take.  He was so surprised, happy and he wanted seconds .  He gave them two thumbs up and big ol smile.

eight

Many moons ago, one of my favorite animals was the octopus.  Silly, funny girl that I was.  To give away at a birthday party of mine, my mother made me a basket full of yellow and green ones.  When I became a bit older, during my Rainbow Girl days, I wanted to make the unheard of sum of $80.00 to donate to the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital as a service project.  In addition to car washes, spaghetti “feeds” (never cared for that word), the all time favorite Pancake breakfast &  my mother made, you guessed it, octopi.  This time, we found really over the top “COOL” rainbow-colored yarn. She taught me how to make them and to count out the yarn to the precise number.  We sold lots and lots of ’em for $1.00 a piece. Moving forward, time for High School Graduation. Puyallup High School, class of 1980 (go viks!) and this time purple and gold were the colors of choice.  I tied them on gifts and set them around my bedroom. These were extra special.  They wore little mini graduation caps upon their tiny little heads.

Today, as the electrician was here installing new thermostats (electric bill was a touch high the last two months, hoping to find a couple of solutions)………….I started thinking and crafting.   Nope, I did not count the strands of yarn, I just guessed.

If you were my grand girlie and you needed to learn to count to 8 wouldn’t you love to count the legs of an Octopus?  Along with flash cards and magnets and fingers and toes and oranges and pieces of popcorn and balloons……..who among us wouldn’t LOVE to learn to count to 8 by using a Sassy Pink Octopus?  Hello Pink and Purple, hello googlie eyes.  I think this learning to count thing is going to be a breeze!   Counting is fun.  Counting 8 legs is even more fun.

It is not the body’s posture, but the heart’s attitude that counts when we pray. Billy Graham