Category Archives: Life

Portaluca and Impatiens

I braved the searing temps this morning to water my flowers, fully expecting them to be wilting in protest, or maybe even completely dried up. Poor things were parched all weekend. Between errand running Saturday morning, and boating/tubing at the lake Saturday afternoon and grilling there that evening, and SS/church Sunday morning and VBS Sunday evening…watering plants wasn’t high on my listMoss Rose of priorities!

Thankfully, the 95 degree temps are welcomed by my hardy Portaluca blossoms, aka Moss Rose…their oranges, yellows and pinks were full flower despite great cracks in the dirt around them. They’re the neatest ground covers…mine are in full sun beneath our corner living room windows, along the part of the walk at the base of the stairs leading to our front door–and as yet unfinished deck.

What makes them so special? In the hottest hours the Portaluca unfurl like twirling Spanish skirts, then wind down all day till evening when the flowers all but disappear, no color visible, except the spiny green of the stems and leaves. Then they greet me afresh the next morning, and I’m dazzled by their resiliance.

Lavandula Angustifolia My Impatiens are really my favorites though. I have such great success with these dainty flowers. They definitely weren’t feeling too grand after their two day drought, but perked up with a good watering. They do love their shade. This little bed is under my kitchen windows, framed behind by Irises, and around by limestone rocks the girls and I hauled one year from the hill behind the house.

Just like flowers, I have friends who function better in sun or shade.

Me, I like both. A rainy day now and then just makes for a good cozy-home-day with hot coffee tea all around and good books, while sun spilling on my hardwood floors makes me want to clean house and fill up the kiddie pool.

How about you? What lifts your inner flower, sunshine or shade?

…both pictures available at…

Please Pray

A wonderful woman and mentor-friend of ours is very close to death…she’s been fighting brain cancer since February, and though the tumor has not grown, she’s suddenly contracted a viral or fungal infection in her lungs and she’s too weak to hang on.

Please pray for a miracle and that God will hold her family close during this time. Her name is Gail, she’s a wife, a mother of six and only in her early 50’s. An extremely precious woman to all who know her.

You can read about her at their update blog.

Here’s a heart-jerking excerpt from their blog post today:

This morning, Dad called for Kate and the rest of the boys (Jonathan, Scott, and Will) to come see Mom. (At this juncture it is hard to tell how much more time she has but at the rate she has been going, it may just be a day, or two, or three left). So, all 8 of us gathered in Mom’s little ICU room and had the most tearful, precious hour together just praising her for who she is and how she has let God work in her life and in the lives of us. With tears in her eyes she told all us kids who were gathered around her bed that her only word of admonition for us was to continue loving the Lord with all our hearts and to follow Him no matter what and that she loved us. She then asked if we had any words for her. Each one of us kids shared a little something that the Lord had put on our hearts to tell her. My word was…”Mom, several days ago you told us that your favorite verse in the Bible is, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’. Your life has been all about delighting yourself in the Lord, and now the Lord has given you the desires of your heart – that all your children come to know the Lord and live for Him. Mom, your life verse has come true.” Then some of the other kids shared other verses of comfort about trusting the Lord and His will even if it’s hard. So, as you can tell, it was an emotionally-stirring time together knowing that unless something miraculous occurs soon, Mom’s time on earth here is drawing shorter by the hour.”

Thank you for your prayers on their behalf.

Decorating for 50th Anniversary

Last week’s flurry of real life busyness spinning every which way and added to 50th anniversary “stuff” had me up each night wa-ay past midnight and up again early enough to get the girls ready for VBS at my sister’s church. But in the end, all the details worked together to make Saturday’s bash even better than I’d hoped it would be.

momdad.JPGMy sisters and I were pleased to find a favorite out-of-state uncle and his wife waiting at the reception building Thursday night when we arrived to decorate. With his help, 25 tables and the accompanying chairs went up quickly…we soon busied ourselves building backdrops for the cake table.

We used zip-ties to fasten several 4×6′ framed screens together and then covered them all with white plastic tablecloths. Over this we draped white lace in swags and trailed navy and gold gossamer liberally across the whole creation. Gossamer, btw, is a really affordable way to dress up a nice occasion. Beautiful looped bows… We got ours from, a great party supply online. We did a similar backdrop behind a table with photo albums that my mother put together from each of the five decades. They were a real hit, with many people crowded around picture-gazing at any given time.

We covered our guest tables with navy tablecloths, using 10″ gold foil doilies at the center of each, and a sprinkling of gold confetti bells. We’d had 4 of the windiest days to contend with, but amazingly, the hour that we picked up the 50 navy and gold helium balloons from the florists was calm and beautiful! Two balloons tied to a tulle-bundle of gold Hershey kisses were our centerpieces, centered on the foil doilies. Having all those balloons trailing up just filled the room with a festive feeling. We also made sure to leave plenty of Hershey kisses down the table’s centers for treats…

All of our “special tables” were covered with navy cloths, topped with white lace, except for the photo album table–we had a really beautiful gold tablecloth for it, also borrowed. The guest book table had many pretties we’d borrowed from a friend at church who in recent years had decorated for her parent’s 50th…candle holders that said “50 years” on them, gold wreaths, etc. Her box of 50th “supplies” was a real blessing.

We also had a picture-taking area…with a lattice archway and picket fences…I’d borrowed two baskets of yellow roses and white daisies from church that we set on pillars, and one of my sisters bedecked the arch with gauze and flowermomdad2.JPG garlands, and more gossamer!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what we served our out-of-state family and friends for Saturday’s lunch, including the best-ever recipes for smoked brisket, and a party-yummy dill dip recipe that you’ll want to try at your next gathering!

22 Days Without Coffee

Remember that on May 21, I gave up coffee/cappuccino? I’m happy to report that I’ve had only one minimal headache and weird nausea episode since, on the day after I quit cold turkey.

22 days! It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing I made it through this past incredibly tough week of early mornings, packed days, skipped meals, late nights, company, deadlines…with only the caffeine from green tea (minimal compared to coffee) and NO headaches! With my migraine history, this is pretty fabulous!

Still not that fond of green tea, but at least it cuts my appetite…

Tomorrow, I’ll try to update you all on my wonderful weekend! Suffice it to say, the 50th wedding anniversary was a big success!

More To-Do Lists Than I know What To-Do With…

Yes, three big to-do lists, and I finally checked one completely off…getting my toddler summer Sunday school class decorated before summer quarter starts!

I’ve been making butterflies, etc. (for decorating the classroom), mega-cooking (for our upcoming camping vacation), and calling/coordinating a zillion things for this weekend’s big 50th wedding anniversary party. It’s time to leave the camping list half-accomplished and zero in on the day-full of family reunionizing that this shin-dig has turned into! All good…I can’t wait to see my extended family from Oregon, Tennessee and elsewhere. And oh, to finally get to decorate that HUGE Fair building that we’ve rented, my hands are rubbing together with glee! I will have to snap pics of it to share with you all…

Please forgive me if I’m sporadic here in blog-land…and cover me with your prayers! I’ve been taking my girls into town each morning so that they can participate in my big sister’s church VBS program…and tonight we have one of my nieces spending the night. We’ll have company in and out from Friday night-Monday morning.

Btw, that muffin recipe I posted this past weekend? You’ve got to try the orange variation with the sugar-coating! Mmm!

OH! We had a baby colt born today! A beautiful bay…course his mama was a bay when we bought her, and she turned into a gray roan. Her babies seem to follow this trend, which we love…if you keep up with bloodlines, this is the Smart Little Lena line…

Love to you all, and you know I’ll try to catch up on all I’m missing when I can…


Moving Tips

A good friend is packing up this week, and I wanted to devote a post to this huge job that so overwhelmed me 9 years ago when DH and I made our first move. Like my friend, I was pregnant, 7 months along. We survived.

She’s probably already done most of this, but I took bits and pieces of advice from places online and compiled it all here. Some of it we did ourselves, some of it I wish I’d thought of doing!

  • Purchase moving supplies: tape, markers, scissors, pocketknife, newspaper, blankets, moving pads, plastic storage bins, rope and a moving dolly. Free boxes can usually be obtained at a local supermarket. Suitcases and storage bins should be utilized.
  • Keep a detailed record of all moving expenses. Your costs may be tax deductible depending on the reasons for your move.
  • Have tools handy for breaking down beds and appliances.
  • Wrap toaster and other small appliances in inkless newsprint (end rolls are usually free from newspaper offices).
  • Wrap dishes with the same and/or your kitchen towels.
  • Stuff your washer and dryer with rolled clothing, towels, sheets, etc. Not heavy items.
  • Waste baskets and trash cans can also be packed full.
  • Keep things together. Have small baggies and tape handy to keep picture hooks with pictures, screws and bedframe legs with the frames, etc.
  • Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for kitchen, blue for dining room, etc. Apply colored stickers on the box. In your new home, put a matching sticker on the door to each room. The movers will know where to put everything when they arrive. It’s also helpful to post a big sign on the wall in the room where you want boxes stacked, (“Boxes here please”) to keep them out of furniture and traffic areas.
  • Create an “Open First” box with all the things you need upon arrival (medications, toiletries, linens, first aid kit, garbage bags, phone, light bulbs, flashlight, phone books, towels, food for pets, a leash, etc.) Make sure it is the last item packed so it will be easy to retrieve. Also make sure that tools are handy for reassembling beds and other items.
  • If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Clean anything possible ahead of time (the inside of kitchen cupboards, the oven, windows, etc.), and if possible, vacuum each room as movers empty it.

And once you’ve arrived:

  • Let the local post office know
  • Create an emergency phone list for your new community and post it on the fridge
  • Change batteries in smoke detectors, plan fire escapes
  • Think about changing the house locks
  • Register to vote

Last but not least, keep in touch with the friends you left behind…

And in the words of Dr. Suess,

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”