Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It's 2 a.m. and it's raining after weeks without a drop.

I KNEW it would rain!

How did I know?

I broke down and watered the garden yesterday.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Friend: a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
Friendly: favorably disposed; not antagonistic. Warm; comforting.

Friendship is so important to me. I’ve been awhile without having really close friends. Every single one of my high school and college girlfriends moved to other states. For decades, when I said “my friend in (insert state)” what I came to mean was “my acquaintance.”

About three years ago, I was so longing for a friend, a true-real-life-close-to-me friend, that I prayed for one. I remember that night clearly. It is one of the few times I’ve spent hours in prayer, with tears streaming down my face. I was so lonely for someone that liked some of my likes, someone who didn’t look at me like I’d grown a third eyeball when I talked philosophy or politics, someone I could trust, someone who could really know me and still like me. Someone who loves her husband as much as I love mine and didn’t love to trash him every phone call. A homemaker who understood what I was trying to do in my home against all odds.

You may never realize how much having a girlfriend means to you until you find yourself without one for twenty years. It’s harder making friends when your kids aren’t the same age or you aren’t nearby to one another.

Once upon a time (now), I had two new and wonderful women as friends. They were unusual in that they each came from completely opposite ends of the eastern part of our country. They've met in the middle, right where I'm living!

(Let me mention here that when looking at the timing of their motives to move here that I believe they are answered prayer. A double blessing!)

They also hold seemingly different viewpoints; politically and domestically. I’ve been on both sides of the coin in my lifetime, so I can see why each holds to their views. One finds it funny and almost a compliment to be called a "Stepford Wife." The other is horrified at the thought!

But, they have so much more in common. They are both highly intelligent. They both enjoy writing. They are both sensitive and been burnt by others too many times to count.

They are both excellent hostesses and even better company. They each have interesting thoughts and stories and we enjoy one another’s company. We’ve had many similar experiences in our early years. We all enjoy and appreciate the needle arts and writing and reading.

But a misunderstanding seems to be trying to creep in. I do believe we all want to be friends, but there is a guarded stance in one and a foggy lens in the other.

I understand the guarded stance. As Christians, homemakers, stay-at-home wives and mothers, and especially for homeschoolers there is a NEED to be guarded. Experience has taught her (and myself) that there is no shortage of bitter haters and nasty gossips just waiting for the chance to broadcast that you’ve done something less-than-perfect. I can understand if someone doesn’t want to open their door if their children are still in their pj’s at the school table or if the carpet is dirty after hearing countless stories from places that are not home school-friendly. At the snap of a finger, one can lose their kids and are plunged into nightmare. Sure, you can defend and get them back, but normal will still always be lost. I don’t like the odds.

At the same time, I can understand how someone who wants to be an authentic friend could feel uneasy around someone so guarded.

Time. Trust comes with time and trust-worthiness.

I remember being steeped in feminism as a way of life and angry at those women who seem oblivious to how close we still are to losing our “rights.” I want the right to go to work if I want, to earn equal pay for equal work, and the power of the vote. It became such a way of thinking that I couldn’t understand the flip-side. Indeed any flip-side was labeled as ignorant and given terms like “cult” and un-educated. Oh, if only they would embrace education! I was constantly looking at the world through this lens.

Time. And balance.

There are publications like “Victoria” and Gloria Steinbeck’s columns that keep the fires a‘burning on opposite ends of our country. Neither of my friends would claim to be followers of either, but I’ve heard them inspired by quotes in both.

Both of my friends are authentic. They each have a beautiful home that is sometimes in the throngs of daily messiness. They are both lovely people and as nice as can be. Each of them are staunch believers in what they believe in. And we each want to be friends to one another. Sometimes I watch and wait for the end result. I can see beautiful possibilities; three friends out for the day and able to honestly weigh-in on their views and why they believe them as they drink glass after glass of peach tea. Then they listen to each other and consider without judging. And they are patient with one another.

Time. And balance. These are needed to make friendship grow. Even in the case where the soil in imbalanced, a flower will eventually bloom if allowed enough time and given enough growing room and DETERMINATION from the seed.

And I must admit my own faults. I, too, have been guarded. I, too, have sat back and listened without fully divulging my staunch beliefs and why I hold some of them. I will resolve to be more trusting and take a chance. If I am hurt, it won’t be the first time and I already know how to react with grace. If I feel rejected, I will say so. If I am loved in spite of my differences, then I may have found a friend for a lifetime.

And around here, that is truly an answered prayer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blogging Awards

I'm very late about posting these, but I do want to acknowledge the WONDERFUL women who sent me "awards" in the blogosphere:

Please visit their blogs and explore why I think so highly of them!

Thank you so very much, ladies, for the encouragement and honor. I'm so blessed to have you as my blogging friends!

Now, this brings up the subject of blogging awards. Now before I give an account of my own personal thoughts on this matter, please keep in mind that in no way do I judge those who do participate in awards. I think they are a beautiful way to encourage and honor bloggers who have brightened your day or inspire you. The problem I have is within myself and in no way reflects on anyone else.

The reason I've been so long in deciding what to do about getting these awards is this: I used to covet these type of awards. When I first started blogging (before any of the posts on this blog) I would see the awards in the sidebar of others and wonder what I had to do to get one. I saw many of my favorite blogs giving out and receiving these awards constantly, but it was never to me - even though I was on their blogrolls. I became discouraged.

I added a counter, because I hoped that perhaps I was getting many vistors that I didn't know about. As the numbers proved I was right, I became preoccupied with who had visited (counter sites often tell you who visited, how often they visited and for how long.) Finally, I realized that this too was a flaw in myself and my Christian walk. I am not to covet or to want to be "seen in the streets." I took off the counter and started hoping that I would never receive an award.

Later, I became concerned with my obsession with blogging in general. I decided to delete all my posts, (I did print them out first and put them in a binder) and started journaling in a notebook instead. But, I missed the ease of adding digital photos. And I missed the fellowship.

Once I got to a controlled, non-covetous place in my soul, I began blogging again. No counter. Mindful to not be posting when there were more pressing things to be done around the house. Not wanting any awards.

But when you quit trying... ladybugs, lots and lots of ladybugs! (sorry, Tuscan Sun moment)

At first, I was paralyzed by receiving an award! Do I reject it? Do I ignore it? No, I can't do that, because I count the givers as a long-distance friends. So they sat in my "comments to be moderated" box.

My mistake is the reason I'm posting this: I had not made a conscious decision about what to do beforehand; I hadn't prepared myself for what to do if ever I did receive an award. And I hadn't posted anywhere on my blog about not wanting awards, so how would anyone know?

I want to thank the ladies who gave me these warm hugs but I'm sure that none of them would want me going on and on with this struggle in my head. I was sure I wanted to acknowledge the encouragement, but once I start accepting awards and giving awards it will become too easy to fall into old ways. And those awards look so pretty lined up in the sidebar, it would just be something that would be in the back of my mind...and I don't want to get prideful ever!

Therefore (drumroll and sighs of "finally") I must graciously decline any awards and not be a part of spreading them along. I cannot see others hearts and would never want to discourage another by choosing one over another when passing along awards. I keep such a short blogroll that if you are on my blogroll it means you are the best of the best in my book anyway! It means either I read your own blog nearly everyday or I find your blog informative and insightful or encouraging. It means you have made a difference in my life or in my thinking. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, September 26, 2008

To New Readers

Welcome, everyone!

Having just sent out an email to some family and friends, inviting them to visit my blog, I thought it might be a good thing to explain a few things.

A blog is a type of online journal. With most blogs, the most recent entry will appear at the top. As you scroll down, the posts are older.

Because I like to post lots of photos (which makes the page slow to load) I have one entry per page. To see earlier entries, click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of the page. Or you may browse through previous entries by looking in the sidebar where it says "blog archive." Next to the year will be an arrow that you can click on to show months, and then individual posts. You may also type a keyword into the search box at the top of this window. If you type in "soap" it will bring up all the posts where I mention soap. (No, I'm not implying you need a bath.)

Most (but not all) of the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. After you've enjoyed the photo, just click the "back" button on your browser to return to the blog.

If you have any more questions, just email me or leave a comment. I hope you'll visit me often and LET ME KNOW YOU WERE HERE even if it's just a quick "hi" in the comment box. Your comment will appear in my personal email where I can read it before it is published. If you don't want you comment to be published, please be sure to let me know in the comment.

I hope you enjoy!


Well, tell me the truth everyone. What do you think of the new blog layout? I know that most moniters have different settings and what may look good on my screen may be hard for the eyes on someone else's computer. Do you like the colors? Is the text easier to read? Does it take longer to load the page?

I'm not happy with my header, but it'll have to do. I never could figure out (even by purusing YouTube videos) how to put a collage of my favorite photos across the header. If anyone knows of an excellent tutorial, please let me know!

Now, I'm going to work on putting a few more things into my sidebar, especially updating my "labels". I've decided to try to post separately within each label so those who visit and just want to pull up, say, "Art: son's", can do so without having to read about how I hung out 4 loads of laundry that day. lol.

I also have a few blogs to add to my links. As I grow in Christ, I find myself drawn more to like-minded (or I should say Titus:2 older women) who are truly encouragements and inspirations on the web.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blogger Under Construction

I apologize if my page takes too long to load (speak up if it does!) but now that I'm back into blogging, I'm trying to revamp my site. I'm completely ignorant about how to put my own backgrounds and the type of header I'd like onto my page. This is why I have one big photo in the right of my header. I'm also going to work on labeling my posts in a more clear way. Unless something very interesting happens soon (and it probably will with all the events in this area during the Fall) I'll not be posting but working on my site. If you have any suggestions or advice, I'd sure appreciate it!

I will say some of the sites I think are beautiful are Marci's, Cat's, and Gina's to name just a few. (There are many more but I'm not a computer genius.)

Love to all my blogging friends,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Constitution Square Festival 2

This is a continuation from my last post...

There were simply too many interesting things to squeeze into one post! And I'm not so sure I shouldn't made it into 3!

There were at least 3 author booths, but my favorite was Russ and Virginia Vassallo. What interesting people, and then I find they live on a farm very near to where an old friend used to live in my county! Please visit their site , explore it then buy their extrememly interesting and wonderful stories.

There were also several photography booths. This is the one that Hubby made a purchase from...
I love that proceeds go to charity. I've copied the other side of the bookmark that includes samples, and the photo that Hubby actually bought. They are grainy on purpose for this post. I wanted you to get a feel of their subject matter without meanies being able to come along and copy their work.Hubby hopes to build a split-rail fence like this one on our property.

Here, you can see a broom-making demonstration and buy yourself a broom of any size.
Now, how neat is this contraption! It's a man-powered scrollsaw!

Above, you can see the sign for these living historians. (And the Kettle Korn booth next door.) Mr. Drewry plays the instruments of yesteryear and his wife explains the history and significance. Did you know that the hammered dulcimer is a predecessor of the piano? One of these came over on the Mayflower.

Here, this lady was explaining (very well, I might add) the process of spinning. I just love how she is barefooted and has her toes wrapped around the leg. This tells me that she actually does this at home and has grown accustomed to this position. Notice the fine fabrics in the background. (Mountain View Crafts, Linda Thompson, Mt. Sterling, KY, email: l.thompson@moreheadstate.edu)

We had a wonderful time visiting with Larry Wilcher, a former co-worker of Hubby's. His booth was full of so many wonderful things. There were even copies of a 1733 Bible for sale, handbound and covered with leather. I could've thumbed through it all day. (The original was bought off Ebay for $100!)
Here, you see just a sampling of powder horns and hatchets.
Yes, those spoons and combs are made out of horn! There were dried foods and spices, clothing, whistles, and so much more.
(Rolling Fork Trade Co.-"Purveyor of fine accoutrements and dried foods", buy-sell-trade, Larry Wilcher, Junction City, KY, (859) 854-3762, (859) 583-2156)

Here you see Hubby and Daughter visiting a civil war camp and hearing about some of the things you could expect to have as a traveler/soldier. You can see some of the permanent historic buildings in the background. Below, we are waiting for butterfly fries. In case you don't know what those are, the fellow in the green apron uses that drill to slice a whole potato and then will deep fry it. You can see the Ephraim McDowell House on the right side of the photo. They give tours and we plan to go soon along with touring the historic buildings at Constitution Square itself and the Community Arts Center just up the road.
There is constant music on stage during the festival. After this young man on the banjo, followed a group with the whole nine yards of bluegrass music. I believe that the local dance school usually performs for an hour and sometimes you will be blessed to catch some wonderful story-tellers too.

video video
After this number, he apologizes for leaving off his bar that changes the banjo pitch therefore his singing didn't match up with his instrument. Guess I picked the wrong song to record! Then he demonstrated how what he plays is the old mountain music, in which you use your fingers as drums on the stings - comparing it to bluegrass music in which you strum and use picks. According to him, bluegrass music has only been around since the early 1900's and the first pick was a cut from a soda can.

I'm sorry that the video is shaky as I pan the crowd, but I wanted to give a feel for the atmosphere. Toward the end, Hubby comes back with our rib-eye sandwiches and I give you a good look at those butterfly fries. Yummy!
So mark your calendar for the 3rd weekend of September so you can enjoy it for yourself next year!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Constitution Square Festival

Every year, Danville's Constitution Square Festival is a sight for the senses. If you can't get there today (Sat., Sept. 20th) do try to come next year! We went last night after Hubby got off from work.

Click on photos to enlarge them, then click "back" button on your browser to return to this post. If you see something you like, then use the information under the artisan to order their wonderful things for sale!

There were wooden toys... Beautiful baskets...
(Baskets from Carnes Farm Creations, Jo Ann Carnes Park, 1375 Lancaster Rd., Richmond, KY 40475, email: japark16@yahoo.com, phone: (859) 661-2912, Member of the Kentucky Basket Association.)

Several pottery booths. This one was my favorite... See those little mushrooms on the bottom shelf?
They're butter bells! Oh, how I wanted one, but I have a functional one already. It's so hard to remain frugal at these wonderful craft festivals in Kentucky.
I had never seen a glaze quite like this one. Wow.
(Pottery by Anne Porter Elliott, 2065 Switzer Rd., Stamping Ground, KY 40379, email: angelliott@qx.net, phone (502) 695-7713) She also offers classes at Thronhill Learning Center in Frankfort, KY, and private lessons.)

Mark Eubank makes and plays the dulcimer. He has so many beautiful ones and instructional books and cds of his music.
Sorry the next photo was a bit fuzzy, but LOOK at those beautiful woods!
(Handmade Dulcimers, Mark D. Eubank, 7295 Hwy 328 E., Eubank, KY 42567, email: markestrings@yahoo.com, phone (606) 379-2747)

Next booth, is Mark's wife, Gina. She has a selection of the prettiest jewelery. Notice how she puts the delicate glass flower in many of her pieces.
(Fine Handwrought Jewelry, Artistic floral design, Gina D. Eubank, all the same info as above with her hubby Mark, email: ginasgreenhouse@yahoo.com)

Some artisans even brought their work with them, literally. Here we see wood being turned...
I just love this Buckeye bowl! The camera doesn't do the color justice.
(Gemini Turnings, Geri P. and Jim Decker, www.geocities.com/geminiturnings )

Buying beautiful handcrafted things are not the only things to do within this one-city-block. My next post will show the living historians, music, food, and activities. I would post it this morning, but I'm already running late to town for something else. I just wanted to be sure that those who can go today had a chance to be enticed early this morning!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mammaw's Tribute

Back last Spring, daughter and I began paintings. We stopped taking lessons due to the deadline for the house construction being pushed up.

Here is the beginning of my painting....

Below, is how it looked when I quit for the season...
Recently, art classes began again. We returned, hoping that we would still have paintings to finish! They had saved them for us so we picked back up where we stopped.

Below is the finished painting. I've titled it "Mammaw's Tribute" in honor of my grandmother who loved to paint and loved irises.
Being my first painting in over a decade, I suppose it isn't too bad. However, I see many things I've done wrong. BUT this is the process of learning! I will learn from my mistakes and hopefully get better as I continue.

Now to find a frame....

*Note: you should be able to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On Homeschool

Homeschool is an issue that is still a HOT topic. I know this because we homeschool our daughter and homeschooled our son for a couple of years. I LONG FOR a society in which a homeschooler can answer the question of "Where do you go to school?" with "At home." and there not be a hint of surprise or concern in the interviewer's face.

There are many, many reasons to teach our children at home: dissatisfaction with available public education, religious reasons, student safety, special need students, personalized educational choices, and on and on...

Not all public education is unsatisfactory. But some is. This can be regional and dependent on funding, local culture, and employee dedication.

Not all homeschoolers are religious fanatics. I know many in our area that are anti-religion on all levels. Personally, we do incorporate our Christian values and teach the Bible as an extra study.

Parents are qualified to teach their children at home. They are either educated well enough to do so, or they can use curriculum that makes up for any lack of experience/education enabling the student to continue in the home environment. Tutoring is possible and outside learning experiences are unlimited. There are homeschooling co-ops that offer advanced classes and group sports opportunities.

Below are two videos. The first does a fairly decent job explaining the mainstream homeschooling trend. Poor critic toward the end is just spouting the typical rout that all non-homeschooled/-ers educators do. The second video explains some of the reasons behind homeschooling for religious reasons....

(Note: this video plays a commercial first, so bear with it a minute.)

"But even if statistically homeschooled students are better test-takers..." Notice the emphasis? Not "homeschooled students demonstrate they know/retain more when tested"? So, instead they try to say that they aren't receiving socialization? This is so typical of homeschool prejudice.

"...stop being surprised when they come home as Romans." You preach it!

I believe that homeschooling parents may be one of the last great watchdogs against our government taking away private citizen freedoms. If the government demands that all of our children be educated by the state, what will be next? The possibilities are endless and all of them are frightening. Think "1984" or "What So Proudly We Hailed." Not if I can help it, thank you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seeing with new eyes

I've finished my morning reading, and I'm nearly finished with coffee. I have the taste of a blueberry bagel lingering on my tongue. The dishwasher and the ticking of clocks drown out the occasional drone of a dozer down at the end of the road. But none of it drowns out the song of birds, twittering in the woods.

My feet are terribly cold but my belly is coffee-warm.

I'm thinking about how glad I am that my sister-in-law has been writing to me. She's been having many deep, thoughtful questions, the kind that send me to the scripture for edifying verses. I've been able to look at what the Bible says that God wants of us - how to conduct ourselves - in a simpler light. I suppose trying to simplify it (as I can get rather wordy) for my replies has made me see how simple it really is. Cleared my head.

The whole 10 commandments, even, are really just two. Love God with every fiber of our being and love one another. (Matt. 22:36-40) As for keeping our bodies holy, just don't eat 3 manners of foods (which we didn't eat anyway) and to not be sexually immoral; fornicators. (Acts 15:29) This one is a hard one in American culture. That one is easy now too. Thankfully, God himself reached down and pricked my heart to set me right, even before I understood that I was being disobedient. He told me before I read it. I only wish I had understood sooner, but I'm sure the prostitutes that Jesus saved did too. But, he says that it's in past and forgiven and "sin no more." I look up to Him with such gratitude that I wonder if my face is glowing. I know my eyes are.

Now, the thing that I know I'm lacking in, that trait I can feel Him calling for more in me, are good works. To actually reach out beyond myself and bless others. Like to edify the saints, to feed the hungry, to reach the lost. As my heart swells with love for Christ, I find myself wanting to do his will. I had been comfortable to do His will as a wife, and mother, a friend. But then something happened...

It scared me at first. I remember it first happened when Son and I were shopping for his college stuff. In a clothing store that we had been in many times before. The pounding of the music and the t-shirts displayed - I suddenly saw them in a different light. I knew they were displeasing to God. I pondered why we were even in there. Then, I saw a young man. Actually, there were two of them, looking - dressed very much alike. But for some reason, I didn't see him as a person at all. I saw a soul. I found myself staring at him and then trying not to stare at him for fear of seeming like a weirdo. (After all, I was an obvious MOM in a store for the lost.) But, I suddenly realized... "is this how God sees us?" I saw all his features, his clothes, his skin, his hair, his stance, all as a drapery that could just easily be pulled away, like they do when they unveil works of art - the fabric soundlessly slipping off polished marble. I saw the work of art.

It was then I knew that God was showing me something marvelous. And asking of me, "speak to the lost. Tell this BEAUTIFUL work of art - work of my heart - that I love him, that I want him to know Me."

Just speak to him for Me.

But I looked away. I was like a deer caught in the headlights. It was all too new, too strange, and I was inexperienced. Doubt screamed in my heart. Surely, not me?!! I'm sure it looked like I was just a mom, browsing the store with my son. And that day, I'm ashamed to say, that's all I was.

But, it's happened to me again since then. Out of the blue, I'll see another soul. In a restaurant. The inmate helping to clear the brush on our roadway. At a party. On son's campus. It's almost as if I get tunnel-vision and suddenly their exterior melts away and what is left is a glowing resemblance of them - a beautiful vision. I feel compelled to speak to them. To tell them simply, "He loves you and is calling to you." What needs to be said afterwards, if anything, I have no idea. I get the feeling it will be one of those "let the Spirit speak" kind of deals.

It is a bit scary. I've always been hurt by rejection. But, how much more has He been hurt by rejection. I'm nothing special. I'm just His. And HE is special. And I find that more and more, I want to please Him. If He is showing me something then I want to do it. And I'm humbled to think He would do anything through me.

But wanting and doing can be two different things. So, I will try harder. Love more.

I want to hear "well done..."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Well, she's not a baby really, now is she! Twelve is getting pretty old. Next year, she will officially become a teenager. (Momma faints at the thought.)

Blowing out her candles on the cake she designed.... Close-up of the top, which she decorated with Star Wars Lego figures...
Allowing her rambunctious second-cousin to enjoy freshly unwrapped gifts...
The grown-ups sat on the porch and enjoyed conversation or played corn-hole in the yard...
Below, my dad on the far left and hubby on far right...
I just love this photo of Hubby. He's soooooo cute!
Thank you to my sister, who took the photos when my batteries died. But who took the photo of her? lol.
You should be able to click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Daughter went to work with her daddy this morning. I find myself alone in the house. Instead of the usual thankfulness for the chance to do the things "I want to do"...
I find that I'm a bit lonely. The morning has a yellow-tone. Rust is more noticeable than usual.
And the weeds can be heard whispering...
A foggy view
A childhood toy, waiting to be reclaimed
Blooming garden flowers and ripening tomatoes

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Crocheted Christmas

I've been thinking about Christmas all summer long. Christmas? Yes, if you are giving crocheted gifts you'd better be thinking about it now if not yesterday!

Here is an afghan I just finished (and was one of my August goals.) It is called Holly and Ivy. It wasn't very hard at all. Here's a close-up of the design. Admittedly, I'm still a novice/intermediate crochet-er (is that a word?). It would be much prettier if done by a skilled hand. I still have trouble with the gauge of things.
You can find the free pattern HERE. Thank you so much, Kimberly, for sharing it!

My next project is another baby doll like the one in this post. You can find the pattern for that HERE. If you try this doll, you need to add a "sc" in rnd 4 of the shoes where it says to "sc in next 7 sc" the second time. I think. It was the only way it would come out right for me.

After the doll, I plan to do more afghans.

On a weird, non-related note, I was stung in the right palm by a scorpion yesterday. Ya know, those things look so scary, but the sting was only as bad as a wasp's for the first few minutes but they don't hurt at all after the stinging goes away (about 10 minutes.) A wasp sting is worse because they just keep aching and then itching long after you were stung. Poor scorpion was flatter than a pancake in less than 5 seconds flat. He had hidden on the side of a long-forgotten book from a stack that I just decided to pick up yesterday. I've noticed that scorpions tend to show up more in areas that have been disturbed recently. We saw our first here just after we moved into our newly constructed home. Now, a road crew is working just to the back of the house and I'd say that's what has them heading for more peaceful hiding places. Just my opinion and experience. The only other one in the wild that I ever saw was when I was four years old (yes, I remember it) and my parent's had just built a new home too. I remember it because it was in the old outhouse that had been knocked down and I was terrified at the thought of what would've happened if someone had sat on him! Ah, I love the country life!

Btw, the Penn's Store Outhouse Blow-Out is this Saturday. If you are a local (or kinda close) then you should go!