rock solid prayers

20150730_105412I believe in the power of prayer.

There are folks that also believe in good karma, white light, magic and on the list goes.

You can indeed believe in more than one.  They are free for the taking!  The more the merrier!

Let’s agree to believe in the power of good vibes and positive thinking?  The power of kindness and caring.

No matter what you call it, bathing someone in Grace & Hope, ROCKS!

When I type or tell someone, I am going to pray for you or your cousin or your friend, I actually do it.

When I write or text someone who I am sending oodles of good karma their way, I actually do it.

To me, it is a privilege to pray for someone else.  It is a trust thing with me.  I am always so honored that they would allow me into their private lives & trust that I will live up to my end of the bargain.

People have told me that they will pray for me & my health. There are folks who earnestly say they will pray for me.  I can feel the difference.

We have a prayer candle.  Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head, it is battery operated.  Sometimes, I tend to swirl and twirl through life, a lit flame would not be good for anyone.  Mr. Right is breathing easier since he introduced me to the battery operated kind of candles.

I like to set my candle in rocks or coffee beans or rice or black-eyed peas or candy corn.  Depends on the season and my mood,  & how I choose to decorate around it.

However, I always write the names of those whom I am praying for  and sending positive energy to.  I put the rocks near our prayer candle and then as I go about my day and I pass by those names, I am gently reminded to lift them up again and again.

I have collected rocks.  I have bought rocks.  I am your frugal friend.  You can buy a bag of rocks that are flat and easy to write on at the Dollar Store.  rocks

I have a few metallic Sharpie pens.  If you collect or buy the lighter colored rocks you can just as easily write names with a 20150730_110653-1black Sharpie.   Gold and Silver and Bronze just tickle my fancy a bit more.

Sometimes, once folks have come home from the hospital, broken bones have healed or have lived through a difficult time, I flip the rocks over and write different names on the other side.  Time to pray for new folks.

Every now and then, I remove all the rocks and start over.  I have a basket of rocks, all with names.  How wonderful is that to stumble upon??  It reminds me just how many folks have allowed me into their private camp circle and asked for my prayers.

If you ask me to pray for you or send good karma, you can count on me.  It is a promise I make.  A rock solid promise.

find comfort in food

My mother nor my grandmother…for that matter not even my mother in law were good cooks.

It is just a fact.

However, when I flip through some old 3 X 5 recipe cards, I see their handwriting.  I notice a misspelled word on a card my grandmother wrote.  I am reminded that while my mother is left-handed, she uses a “right hander’s slant”.

Their penmanship is lovely.  It was a refined, respected art.  The art of legible, beautiful handwriting.

I have a basic bean salad recipe that I use probably 3 times a month. I do not add 1/2 cup of white sugar like my grandmother did, I have made small changes to fit our family & our needs.  However, every time I make the recipe I remember her.

banana-breadSame with my mother in law’s banana bread recipe, spaghetti sauce or her Scotch egg recipe.  Even though I might replace an ingredient here or there.  Her very precise handwriting helps me to remember her.

We all live through and celebrate with great enthusiasm, monumental things and moments in our lives.  Weddings, graduations, family reunions & special birthdays. They are lovely and wonderful things to celebrate.

However, on those days that are simply “just another day”………sometimes, those recipes from our family or friends bring us comfort and a feeling of connection.

Today, on another blog, I read these two sentences, “Sometimes a simple recipe passed down from one generation to the next keeps our spirit alive and we are not forgotten.  Somehow I find comfort in that.”

May I gently suggest, this summer while you are visiting your mom or grandmother, on a trip back to your home town, or you email your Great Aunt……………  that you gently and kindly ask for a recipe you remember they used to make.  If they are able, ask if they can write it out for you in their handwriting.

It is not possible to recapture all the good times and moments of all celebrations……….maybe, just maybe having a snickerdoodle cookieSnickerdoodle made with the exact recipe from your mom or a cookie from a friend who is more like family……….. will fill your heart and soul.

While you ponder if you taught them everything they need as they skip off to college or if you worry that you taught them all the right things to say at the next funeral they must attend………I hope for your sake that you have a recipe you can make and enjoy one bite or one cookie.

That is what comfort food is.  It is NOT copious amounts of mac n cheese or a tub of ice cream that you eat entirely as you drown your woes.  It IS one cookie that brings back good feelings, good memories of our past generations.

That one bite, that one cookie will bring you comfort and warmth.  That one bite of banana bread will bring with it a flood of memories and will envelop you with a feeling of goodness & grace your spirit with comfort.

Hey, here is a thought, bake a batch of cookies or a lovely batch of toasting bread and share the food and a handwritten recipe with a family member or dear friend.    Maybe one day, our handwriting will give a future generation some modicum of comfort.

One day, when our grands are sending their own children off to college, they will need to make a batch of shortbread for themselves.

They will find Grace and comfort in making a recipe from their grandmother.

two words

After 5 decades of rules, from time to time, you may find me using paper napkins, or wearing jeans to a museum with Mr. Right, or (gasp) serving coffee in a mug.  We all know that a proper young lady or gentleman drinks out of a cup with a saucer.  goodness sakes.

good mannersYou may have figured out by now, that I was raised with a set of strict guidelines.  Call them manners or proper etiquette, they were our rules to live by.  Period.  No questions asked.  Just follow the rules.

It did not matter one bit, if you got up on the wrong side of the bed.  Your good manners should be polished and apparent.

As wild and crazy as I can be sometimes,  those rules are engraved in my brain. I can’t help but do things a certain way.

The one slight problem with having a set of rules that you live by, is when othersgood manners saying don’t understand your passion.  (read that as: never under-estimate how much work my mother went to, to make absolutely sure her three girls would become ladies)

Here is a pet peeve of mine:

While shopping, or dining at a restaurant or interacting with the public in any shape or form  …….. some folks have slid into a bad habit.    It is not wrong, it just rubs ME the wrong way.

I say, “Thank you“.

They say, “no problem“.

URGH, me wanting to pull my hair out.  Me screaming on the inside. Me wanting to jump up and down and teach them a better choice.  A better way to answer my two words.  

If I had used those words, my mother would correct me and say……the proper answer should be “You are welcome“.

I discovered a more up to date, friendly, positive, lovely answer.  I use it on all my business correspondence/invoices.

It was my pleasure to bake for you today. 

Last night, we chose to indulge in a new restaurant in town, employing very young servers and wait staff.  The person taking our order, Alexandra, still had her braces on and was learning the fine art of “small talk”.  She did a very good job.

The owner has taught each of his employees how to answer when a customer says “thank you”.

Two words:

My Pleasure. 

I overheard, “My pleasure, sir”.  “Oh, it was my pleasure”.  “Certainly, it was my pleasure”.

In place of a causal & almost disrespectful sounding, off the cuff  “no problem”, the owner of the restaurant has quickly taught several young employees a new to them, twist. In the blink of an eye, the young servers went from casual teenagers to polished employees.

Same short two-word answer. Efficient and polite.

However, the customer receiving it, feels delighted that they chose to spend their money in this establishment.  The person feels of value.

Good Manners go a long way in making others feel at their best.

“Good Manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” B. Kelly

Was the food good at the new restaurant?  Indeed.  Was the establishment clean and tidy?  5 star.  Were the employees professional and polished?  Yes.

Will we visit again?

It will be our pleasure.

grace allows me to be better

grace braveSometimes I get all tangled up in being me.

I wonder what my “mission” is.  Why have I been graciously given another day?  Then I smile as I remember.  I remember Mr. Right needs me.  My kids and grands need me.  My dog needs me.  Someone has to fuss over them and pray for them and fret about them and cook for them and celebrate with them.

I am the one who creates the “behind the scenes” magic.  Um, yes that IS a job title.  Really.

Every once in a while the magic fairy hits me with the glitter stick of Grace.  There are other people out there that could use a tiny bit of “magic” grace from me.   Not necessarily advise…………say buh bye to sugar, step away from all dairy, stop having things dry cleaned, you are worth more than processed food, stop using air fresheners, get rid of all fluoride, mercury REALLY? and on and on the list goes…………..  I want to scream at the top of my lungs and not just in the shower! Then I have to look at myself and realize……….I am not perfect either.  I get it.  Some choices are tough.  Some folks have the luxury of “baby steps”, so maybe they are just baby stepping through this toxic mess.

One or two hours of daily studying, I choose smarty pants over fancy pants most days.  I gave up fancy lotions and potions, I make my own soap, I have researched so much on deodorant, some might call me an expert or at the very least annoying (geesh), and yet, I am still a hold out on hair dye & highlighting.  Yes, I am fully aware that it is toxic.  I know it is a choice.  I am fully aware of the toxic chemicals.  Why just yesterday, my hair was cut, colored & highlighted.

Daily, I choose my words carefully.  I nervously fret and teeter back and forth about telling the world, or at least my corner of it, that I am healing naturally.  As I step through day 827, healing naturally, I somehow wonder if I am supposed to shout it to the world (or blog about it) that yes you can say no thank you to some very, very serious drugs and therapies and go on to thrive.  On the other hand, am I suppose to study each day, gather information and never share it with another soul?

duh, I know the answer.  I just don’t want to put myself out there sometimes.

“Advise is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t”.  E Jong

Oh no, I am not brave enough to start my own “blurb” as one family member of mine calls it….entitled, “How I politely said no thank you to chemotherapy and radiation and lived & thrived to tell about it.”  827 days and counting.  One goal is to go on living and thriving through my days so that I somehow in all the mess of life, I forget to count how many days it has been.

I secretly adored chatting with the neighbor today.  The same neighbor who once this whole rhubarb started, said I had 3 “good” months left.  When he said with surprise in his voice, wow, you are looking good………….I said a polite & grace filled, thank you.  I didn’t tell him how many days past the 90 day mark I have thrived.

Grace allowed me not to remind him what a worm/jerk/ass he was to say that in the first place.

Note to self and everyone across the land……………..HOPE costs nothing!  Never, ever, ever take away people’s HOPE.  It is mean and senseless and stupid and beyond nasty.  Everyone deserves HOPE.

What I am brave enough to do is this.  I am brave enough & smart enough  to make a hand-made card and give to someone who is just as brave as me.  She is quietly living her life.  She does not have a “blurb”.  She is not telling others, LOOK WHAT I DID!   Pat me on the back.  Today, I am guessing, she is saying for the 117 time, no thank you to “one won’t hurt” offer of one cookie, or bagel or donut or piece of cake at her place of work.  Sure she is struggling with inner choices.  For her, it is a no brainer  to say NO to all sugar……….but it is easy to say no to hair dye?  Or does she feel guilty every single time she uses a dryer sheet (with 9 toxic chemicals)?

Yes, we all struggle.  We are trying to unravel this mystery we call life.  Some days are trickier than others.  Some days, my studies take me into the world of selenium and methionine and E621, soybean lecithin………other days, I look for fabulous lipstick that is gorgeous and won’t make me sick.

stone of graceGrace allows me to be better.

Grace allows me not to slap the neighbor up side the head with my flip-flop and ask him WHAT were you thinking?

Grace allows me to send a card to a friend who is walking through a tricky week.

Grace allows me to keep my mouth closed when I need to.

Grace allows me to make a card and write something that I honestly mean to someone who inspires me.  She is brave and needs to be reminded of that fact.

Grace allows me to create behind the scenes magic.

…and yes, Grace is what I bathe myself in when I choose to use hair dye.  Grace takes away some of the guilty sting. Grace not perfection

bathed in Grace

Now that I have returned from the baby shower, many gifts given, I can share what I have been working on.   The following is a letter I put with one of the gifts.



Dear G & M,

That moment in time, when I was sitting in that medical office and I heard the words, you are very sick; many things ran through my head.  One of the first was, if I am sick who will sew a gown for G & M’s future baby?

DSCN4807Fast forward a year and a half.  I am healthy enough to sew.  Four years ago, I created a Christening gown for D & G and I wanted to do the same for you.

As the gown progressed I took pictures along the way to share the experience.

This gown comes with absolutely NO strings attached.


This baby will be surrounded by more than enough love & joy and that he is already blessed beyond measure.  Dad & I already know this child will be bathed in Grace by his family.


Only good can happen with this gown.

It can most certainly be used for a Christening.  That choice is entirely up to you.

Or perhaps it can be used for pictures.  Maybe a picture taken of the happy family at Hartley Botanica Gardens or a picture at the beach near your home?  Maybe sand saved from that place to commemorate that moment.

Or this gown may be hidden away in a box as a keepsake, a family treasure.  Part of the fabric of his young life.

A friend from Florida, wrote to me and said:

 “This goes beyond the blessings on a baby. You are announcing to him and to the world who he is, where he came from, and making that a permanent part of his life. You’re bookmarking this child in history.”


I have embroidered the Tamplin and Wilson names.

I will add his name and date when he arrives.

DSCN5207 I have made a sash.  The sash is from the Wilson family formal tartan, ordered from Scotland. A portion of the same tartan was used for the sash for Z & A’s gown.

The Wilson family brooch you carried for your wedding, I used it to pin the sash together.   (at the shower, they received a brooch from the Tamplin family to add to the sash)

A button from the Canadian military (Dad’s family) was used on the secret pocket.

Inside the pocket I have put a brand new 2014 US penny.  While sewing one night, your Dad came in and said here, you can have this.  He smiled and walked out.  It was his lucky 1957 (his birth year) Canadian penny, he has carried for years.  So he is passing it on.  That too, is in the pocket. 20140819_152118

I have chosen to use three different rows of lace.  If more children come along in the future, I will of course add another row of lace and embroider their names and dates as well.

Since we know it is a boy, I have tried to stay with pleats, simple braid and less fussy lace and ribbons.  I chose a creamy off white instead of a stark white for the fabric.

I have embroidered one of the cranes that you used for your wedding symbol.

All the embroidery has been done in white thread onto the creamy white fabric.

I have hand sewn small crystal beads around the gown over one piece of the lace. DSCN5211

This is where the story will become fuller.

I have asked your mom for buttons from a wedding dress, a piece of lace from a gown.  Maybe a coin from your mom or dad’s families?   Some piece of your families history that could be incorporated into this keepsake.

Maybe a handkerchief to be sewn inside the bonnet or gown?

I am more than willing to replace the small white buttons with buttons from the Tamplin family.

I am more than willing to sew on additional lace of your choice.  It will require about 1 and ¼ yards of lace to go around the circumference of the gown.

It would be my pleasure and honor to add more of the Tamplin side of the family into this piece.


DSCN5209It has been my pleasure and honor to sew this for you.


I would love to intertwine our two families together through this garment.


Please add to this letter with more bits of goodness and history that you include from the Tamplin side.

Please know this keepsake was sewn with love and grace.

A simple gown & bonnet to bookmark this child in history.


Love,  Mom and Dad

amber waves of grain

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

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

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

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

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

– A WWII Veteran.waves of grain 2

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

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

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

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

America is indeed Beautiful.

God Shed His Grace on Thee.