all is calm

All is calm. Okay, you know that is a fib.  There are still presents to wrap and a few more meals to plan for and prepare. A few more trips in the car.

Do you decorate your bedroom for the holidays?  Do you create a retreat of calm and serenity?

I try. 20151223_132135-1_resized_1

I am not talking a full blown Ralph Lauren, over the top display.

Maybe just a small slender tree with just some white twinkle lights.

Some years, I add fresh greens in galvanized buckets once a week.  Nothing more Christmas like than the aroma of fresh cut greens.

I try and add a simple holiday touch each year.

I do my very best to keep all clutter, wrapping paper, tags, gifts in bags out of the master bedroom.

You KNOW the guest room turns into Mrs. Claus workshop and there aint nothin’ calm about that!

May I gently suggest, you “borrow” a sprig of holly or a left over set of white lights and go right now into your bedroom.  Set the timer for 15 minutes if you have to.  Do a quick dusting, vacuum and make the bed.  Add a bucket of fresh greens, a bouquet a nice table topper or even a lovely holiday quilt you may have tucked away.

You, your spirit, your soul deserve a little oasis of peace.

Create a place where you can take off your shoes and steal away for a few minutes to breathe and center yourself.  If just while your potatoes bake for dinner.

all is calm











ripples of kindness

When you plop a pebble into an undisturbed pond, you instantly get a circle, then another and so on.  The ripples spread in concentric circles quickly.  For some reason, you can’t take your eyes off the simplistic beauty.  That very first plop in the center.  You are in the moment. That center is where goodness begins.

This is a real life story about ripples.

You might remember the story I wrote about the planting kindness…the poinsettia?  Ring a bell?   It was just a couple of weeks ago.  Seems like gallons of water have gone under the bridge in a very short time.  Our gifts have been mailed, all the Christmas cards have been licked shut & sent on their way.  Even a couple of the candle bulbs in the window have already been replaced.

I shared that story, having no idea who or how many would read it.

Sunday, we hosted a memorable dinner party.  You know the kind?  You make an extra pot of coffee during dessert, the conversation is so lively and uplifting.  You want the evening to last longer.  You think about moving everyone into the other room to more comfortable chairs…..then one story leads to another & another and the laugher rolls on.  Somehow the company & conversation is so delightful and smart and thundering forward it slips your mind to move.  You can’t wait to hear which direction the stories will twist. You want to listen & share & learn more of each person.  While the food is exceptional, it pales in comparison to the company around the table.

A dinner party so lively and interesting that you are able to take pictures of the food preparations before the guests arrive and then you quickly toss your phone in a drawer and never give it a second thought.  You have unplugged the telephone because you want your guest to feel that important. You honor yourself enough to turn off the distractions and be in the moment.

A gathering of such smart & sassy friends that it never once crosses your mind or anyone else for that matter,  to take pictures of the people or food to share on social media.

An evening so perfect, you become private and want to hold the moment dear. You don’t want to share.  It will be forever imprinted on the minds of those gathered.  Such a special moment in time, all else is secondary. Sometime during the evening, you have a warm feeling and you just know this is where you were meant to be. A moment marked in time.

One of the special guests, seated at our table,  is an artist.  An artist that just happened to read my post about poinsettias.

As artists will do, they seek and gather inspiration from everywhere.  One morning in the early hours prior to dawn, the artist had to get out of bed, to paint.  The painting was already in her head, she just needed to get it out & onto canvas.  The brush strokes were fast and furious.  The saturated color became more intense with each layer.  The inspiration was calling to be shared.

This particular artist & painting have grabbed the attention of several and marched on to already win several prestigious awards.

The painting has a name,  “Miss Daleen’s Poinsettia.” 

To say I was honored is an understatement.  Took my breath away faster than being on the downward track of a roller coaster.  Such a grand gesture along with my name given to such a work of beauty.  I have never ever, ever had a painting named after me.  Blushing just typing that.

When I think of my friend’s dad,  giving the poinsettias and my request for planting kindness in the month of December, I get all soft and gooey inside.   I know of FOUR poinsettias that have been given to others just for goodness sake.

The ripples in a pond.

The first pebble in this story was tossed by Craig.

The circles are growing,  kindness is spreading.

As dinner drew to a close, my friend got up and handed me a wrapped gift.  It was huge.  My Spidy sense told me to pay attention, this is one of those moments in life.  I carefully tore the paper.  I could feel the cold of the glass.  I felt the heft of the frame.  Mr. Right winked at me across the table.20151221_205454-1_resized

Miss Daleen’s Poinsettia was in my hands.

It took my breath away.  My eyes watered.  I stumbled with the only words I could say.

Thank you.

The ripples of kindness splashed all over me & colored me grateful.

Kindness is spreading.


change is in the air

Today, I welcome a guest writer to my blog.  Sit back and enjoy her thoughts on choosing a word for the new year ahead.  Thank you, Carmen for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Hi! My name is Carmen and I have been a follower of Miss Daleen’s blog for quite a while now. I thought I would do a bit of sharing and offer my friend a “blog break”.

So, it’s that time of the year again, when we are encouraged to pick a word that will be our “word” of the year, the door, the walls, the ceiling of our year, one word.

Over the past four years I have kept track of my “words”. In 2012, it was “Grace”. In 2013 was “Love”. “Freedom” was the “word” of 2014 and for this past year it was “Joy”.

Now I have to tell you that for some years it seemed like my word didn’t seem to have much of an impact on my year. But this past year, I couldn’t have imagined where “Joy” would have taken me.

The year started out as usual, just a normal year. By April I was wondering what “Joy” had to do with my year. Then the month of May came and everything changed. I took an unexpected trip to my home state and ended up staying for four months.

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During those months, I reconnected with old friends and made new friends. I worked on a cross stitch project celebrating thirty years of friendship with our Miss Daleen.

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I learned about fermenting, and made/fermented our own pineapple vinegar. I learned about kombucha and how to care for honey bees.

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I re-connected with a wonderful church in my home town and had so much fun working along side them during the fair.


It was in all of this activity that I found the word, “Joy”, manifesting in my life.

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So much joy, enjoying my days, day after day. Joy that I haven’t known for a long time. You know, sometimes life gets that way, our days pour into our days and we don’t even know that we have lost our joy. And then…something happens, especially when “joy” is your word of the year. For me, things began to open up and turn around. I found that I was regularly thinking of what I could be doing to hang onto the JOY. And that is when the “Word of the year for 2016” arrived.

I decided that I wanted to continue to enjoy the JOY of my life. After much thought, I came to the understanding that I must be willing to make some changes, little and big, to hang on to this joy. In some areas of my life the changes will be easy, in others, they may even prove to be impossible but I am going to be working on making some changes. So my word for 2016, that will be my door, and windows, my ceiling and floor, and maybe even my moveable walls, will be the word “CHANGE”. I am looking forward to what the new year may hold, especially along the lines of making some changes.

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How did your 2015 word impact your life? How about for 2016? Do you have a word chosen yet?  I would love to hear your “word” stories and choices.

invisible glitter

I don’t normally open presents before Christmas day.  For some goofy reason, I couldn’t wait.  The box came in the mail, it had my name on it. I tore into it like a sleepy eyed 8 year old on Christmas morning.

I read the tag.  Somehow, seeing my name written on a gift tag gives me a giddy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A tiny touch of sparkle on the edge of the tag offers up a promise of goodness to come.20151217_105212-1_resized

It’s for me.  Rubbing hands together in glee!

I looked at the wrapping.  I fell in love with the soft, bendy glittery white snowflake under the ribbon.  Note to self:  buy oodles for next year and slap those puppies (not real puppies) on all the gifts we give and mail.

Okay, I take off the ribbon (I set aside and save, ’cause you KNOW I am going to reuse that piece of beauty).  I peel back the paper.  Inch by inch, I reveal a bit more…….paper.  I rip a bit and then I grab and shred.  It is not lady like at all.  I have a need to know.  What the heck is hidden inside this jaunty red paper?

My, my, my, what do we have here?

Handmade mittens!  Mittens made with recycled sweaters & fabric! Don’t ya just swoon when something beautiful is made from something that was once beautiful?  It’s like all the goodness from the first creation is jam packed into the new and improved creation.

To a person who is in the habit of making homemade gifts, receiving something handmade is GLORIOUS!!!!!  It doesn’t happen often.  It is the grand daddy of all gifts.  Handmade just for me!

…and they fit! Years ago, my mother in law knit me a pair of mittens that were extra big.  She thought my request was silly.  It’s just that this girl has some big paws on her.  To find cute gloves or mittens that fit is quite a feat. 20151216_125814_resized

The exact moment I slipped my hands inside my very own handmade mittens, I felt the warmth.  They are soft, thick, chunky and cozy.  They surrounded my hands with warmth and a little something else.

I was trying to put my finger on it.

Grace.  Oh that’s it.

My friend thought enough of me to mail a wonderful, charming, handmade gift.       It IS the mittens and yet, it is so much more.

She sends me funny things to entertain me when I have my daily medicine.  She mails me beautiful cards, somehow “knowing” the perfect time.  We trade funny stories to make each other giggle.

We live on opposite coasts, we grew up with different religions, we only “met” a couple years ago.  Somehow by Grace, we know a good thing when it smacks us in the face.

We relish the gift of grace we have been given.  Time to figure out all the amazing things we have in common.  We both have two sisters.  We both have two children.  We both married our Mr. Rights. We both love swimming.  We both keep chickens.  We both…..

We both live our lives, arms wide open, looking for Grace.      grace quote

In a wacky twist of technology, my friend and I met via the internet. The thread that tied us together?  Our blogs.  We both write. You can visit her

Some may say it was luck that brought us together.  Or was it quite possibly spiritual Grace?  Maybe, just maybe by holding our arms & hearts open we were ready when Grace was?

We have never met in person (plans are in the works).  We took a chance.  Oh yes, we were cautious at first.  We did not give away too much.   We carefully, slowly built up trust and a really beautiful friendship.

The kind of friendship where you can talk until the battery runs out in your phone and if your nose is too stuffy to talk, text until it is time to go make dinner.

Grace is all around us.  It’s free for the taking and BOY HOWDY, it feels lovely.

Grace may be inside a card.  Like invisible glitter it falls all over you when you open it.  No matter how much you try, you can never brush it all off.  Once Grace happens, you are never the same.  Your spirit is just a bit more lovely, a tiny bit more sparkly.

Grace may be standing next to you in the grocery line. You feel giddy when you make a connection with an 85 year old gentleman buying birthday candles for his wife,  because he reminds you of your dad. Invisible glitter strikes again.  Two people, now with a touch more sparkle just because they bumped into one another.

Maybe we just have to be open and spread our arms as wide as they can go?  (BIG yoga stretch here!)  Maybe our pumps need to be primed and ready to accept such goodness?

You never know, you might just find Grace hidden inside a handmade mitten.  In that very ordinary moment, you are bathed in Grace and never quite the same again.

Invisible glitter is covering both your hands & spirit, adding just a teeny bit more sparkle to your spirit.

splashes of grace

I am easing into the day with a cookie and a stellar cup of coffee.  Did I mention ridiculously moist and delish peanut butter cookie? (I use almond butter ) 20151217_082533-1-1_resized

I am setting the tone for a wonderful day.  Yesterday, did not start smooth and lovely.  Today, I am hedging my bets and trying to get everything to work together for peace.

Here is the info about those cookies:

Brandi, who is the brains and beauty behind

An amazing recipe developer, passionate about food, friendly, okay, I might “stalk” her daily.  I sort of love her.  I know, “you don’t even know her”.  The kind of love I have for her goes beyond all the regular niceties.  I end up using 5 gold stars for every recipe she shares.  Yes, that good.  Do yourself a huge favor and drop by.   May I gently suggest her chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies?  10 gold stars (5 gold stars each)

Her recipes are the kind of thing where you do not have to announce to the world, ………….these are vegan, gluten free, oil free………….you just say, “would you like a cookie?”

These are the kind of cookies when you offer said cookie and the person says, “Oh, I can’t have _______________” fill in the blank.  You politely shrug and say, Okay more for me!   Just teasing.  Shout it to the world!  THESE ARE COOKIES THAT TASTE GREAT AND EVERYONE CAN HAVE THEM!

This morning, in my make believe world, I am having coffee & cookies with my real life friend, not just sitting here with my sweet dog & the gentle rhythmic sound of the washing machine working as background “music”.

I want to use my Christmas mugs and fill them with aromatic coffee.  I want to set a beautiful plate of gluten free cookies in front of her so she can enjoy them.  I sort of want the two of us to finish the entire plateful.  Then for years to come, I want us both to say, “remember that time we ate an entire plate of cookies?” and laugh and laugh and laugh. 20151216_215617-1_resized

Sometimes, out of the blue, being bathed in Grace just splashes all over me.    When I least expect it.  The kind of unexpected Grace that leaves you grateful and flattered all at the same time.

My real life friend, Ann is a gifted and talented artist.

I want to add she is thoughtful, kind spirited, inspiring, great mom, amazing wife, horse woman, beautiful, who has gorgeous hair and a smile that I imagine make grown men take a second look.  She wears sparkles on her belt and jeans and has a flare not just in the way she looks but the way she lives her life.  Oh, sure, we all know that everyone has troubles and ills.  It’s just that she sort of dances her way through life and you forget that she is juggling ill health now and then.

In the most unexpected and kart wheel feeling kind of thing……..she named a painting after me!   I never in 50+ years wished someone would do such a thing.  However, once it happened, I have a pep in my step and a secret giddy feeling like a 4th grade girl with 10 minutes on the clock until recess!

Um, yes, that good a feeling.

May I gently suggest you meander onto her site?  Take a look around, drink in the beauty and intense rich colors.  The goodness you feel will fill you to the brim with goodness and calm.   Certainly a perfect feeling to have this time of year.  Goodness and calm.

If you don’t know what to buy someone on your Christmas list, may I gently suggest/encourage you to …………

write a poem and name it after your friend.

paint a picture and name it after your friend.

write a score a music and name it after your friend.

It is the most heartwarming feeling in the land.  To think, that you inspired someone to create beauty.

You & your friend will end up being splashed with Grace.

The perfect gift.





Oh, you KNOW I adored a good Mounds Bar and the Almond Joy.  SWOON

You don’t happen to have any raw honey hanging around in your pantry?
Look below!!!

Today, I used raw honey and my heart is giddy with happiness!

1 cup fine coconut

4 Tablespoons raw honey (I used Befuddled Farms honey, sweet)

2 Tablespoons just melted coconut oil

This is where you would add a half an almond if you want these to turn into Joy!

Combine together, form 10 balls, freeze.

Dip in melted chocolate (I used dairy free, vegan, enjoy chips) & a touch of coconut oil.

Let harden. add a drop of wet chocolate and sprinkle will a little coconut and add a sliced almond if you put an almond in yours.

makes 10, keep chilled

Visions of Coconut Mounds Treats danced in her head.

short & sweet

Every single year for over 30 years I have baked shortbread on or about the 11th of December.  Mr. Right’s birthday is the 12th.

I use my shortbread rolling pins.  I use the best ingredients I can find.  I will say that the shortbread I baked while living in Germany was by far the best ever.  I think the flour and the unsalted, organic butter were the secret.20151211_100611-1_resized (1)

Homeschool lesson for today:  Shortbread originated in Scotland.  First recipe printed in 1736 by Mrs. McLintock.  It is a type of cookie made from one part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts flour.20151211_100003-1_resized

Each year, I bake the cookies, cool them completely, wash every single bowl and utensil I used.  While I am washing, I open every window in the house to air out the delicious cookie smell.  I use cookie parchment and wrap the cookies into a tin.  Then I wrap them in Birthday paper and tie with a fancy ribbon.  Then I have to wait for the next day for him to open his surprise gifts.

Every single year, when he comes to that gift, he feels the weight and says, “Gee, I wonder what this is?”  He unwraps, takes off the tin lid and selects the perfect taste tester.  He takes a bit, closes his eyes, smiles and says, “this is the best shortbread I have ever tasted”.

Now, I don’t know if it is the best ever shortbread, however  I do know, no matter what is going on, weather I was healthy or not, busy or not………….the shortbread gets made.  Once, he was out of the country with the Army and I had to mail it early.  I have no idea what the heck it looked like when he received it.  It may have been just cookie dust in a tin, however he said it was the best he had ever had.

Somehow his Shortbread gift has become a tradition.  It reminds him of his grandmother.  He savors the taste.  He only eats one a day.

EEE GADS , I adore that man.  I would do just about anything for him and if baking a batch of shortbread once a year makes him happy…..

Oh sure, I could buy him any number of things. Lord knows I have tried to find the perfect gift to celebrate him.

It always, always comes back to one batch of perfectly made shortbread just for him.20151211_103439-1_resized

He knows he is loved and adored.  His grands tell him.  His grown kiddos tell him.  The dog reminds him how much he is loved.  Baking the perfect shortbread is one way I remind him over and over and over how much I love him.

Oh that and a beautiful, delicious, Blackberry Cobbler for dessert.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Right.  20151212_134136_resized_3


visions of …..

The last few days, I feel like a hyper active fourth grade child.   I run from project to project.  I outline a blog, scribble notes, jot down grocery lists, sew a little something, wrap a gift.  You get the idea.

I never feel like those wonderful bloggers who have their trees decorated and all is calm.  Well maybe it is calm, just for that picture?  Okay, I know they decorate a tree in September for great pictures.  They are not worried and fussing over the stormy weather or fingers crossed the pot pies turn out amazing for a cozy dinner.  They only work on one tree, one area.

I have visions of 8 camera people helping them.  Everyone jolly and friendly.  All hands on deck to help and offer up suggestions.  Oodles of money to spare.

I am starting to get the feeling.  You know?  Some of the gifts are sent, some of the decorating is done, the candles are in all the windows.  Baking has begun, birthday gifts wrapped….  still lots to do, however lots of things checked off the list.

My mind swirls.  Sometimes, I can’t calm down.   Sometimes, we all need to sit back and take inventory of all the things we have done.

When you replay the week, it is amazing what one does.

Gentle suggestion….. buy some cranberries to use in some vases.  Beautiful, cheap and looks like you are a decorator.  While you are out and about, stop by the hardware store.  Buy a painters drop cloth.  They are cheap and easy to cut and sew into a table runner.  Again, you will look like you know what you are doing.

We are in the middle of Advent….. time is ticking.  Please find time to pat yourself on the back for all of the things you have created this season.  ESPECIALLY if it is a safe haven for  you & your family.



tag, you’re it

I don’t care for those Christmas package gift tags.  You know the ones?  They come packaged in that ridiculous plastic cardboard and once you finally gouge, rip, tear it open , they are everywhere, even though you only wanted to use two of them?  Normally priced at $2.49 for 50.  Me being the thrifty shopper bought them last year on the 75% off sale on December 27th.  So they are cheap, now sort of bent from storage and weird.

What was I thinking?

They have weird designs.  I really don’t want to use weird shaped ears on elves any more than the next mom. The Santa’s that have mean facial expressions, really?  I don’t care for the 3 Christmas balls with glitter sort of on the top.  You know the ones I am talking about, gold, red and green with the three stripes of glitter on top.



I don’t like it.  Not one little bit.  I don’t want to buy /make the best gift in the land and then write        To: son #2    From: Mom

urgh, nothing sweet, kind, creative, loving or fancy about that.

The tags NEVER match my paper.  EVER.

The tags they do sell to match the paper, have an  incredibly little thin gold string, my fingers (apparently way too large to tie a knot) just can’t handle it.  I end up taping on the tag.

I admit, after a 2 or 3 hour session of wrapping gifts (let’s face it the first two gifts look amazing) that gift number 14 is a shirt, you don’t want to get a box and fancy tissue and you calculate the cost of the shirt and decide, um, I don’t need to go to all that trouble. (maybe that is me?)  So, I roll it up in paper, slap a tag on it and toss it in the pile.  urgh.

THIS year is different.  I stole, borrowed, came up with a way better solution. 20151202_194747-1

Throughout the year, have collected letters (on sale, of course).  Once I wrap a gift, I find a letter to correspond to the recipient and I either stick it on a plain tag or I put it directly on the box.20151202_203814

I am feeling quite puffed up about all this.  Seems rather Pinterest worthy.  haha.  So creative.  Beautiful.  Gosh, I am smart!20151203_215712

That is until the boxes arrive at their respective homes.  Beautifully wrapped gifts with a bunch of loose letters in the bottom of the box.  All the gifts have blank tags.   The adult kids will be saying to themselves…………..gosh, how creative.  This should be interesting.

So, I am hoping when our adult sons open beautiful Cinderella tiaras they smile and put them on.  I am also hoping when the grands open “hand made, cedar filled, shoe refreshers” they will say, “how thoughtful of grandmother to make these for my light up sneakers”.

Gosh, Grandma is creative.  We are so lucky. 20151202_200046 Tis the season!