Monday, December 7, 2009

Last Week vs. Today

These first pictures are from last week.
This last picture is from this morning! SNOW on Mt. Diablo.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I hope you don't eat too much today, or in the days to come! I wanted to share a hymn with you today from Clara Williams, written in 1881. I tried to find out more about her, but was unable to.

All my life long I had panted for a draught from some clear spring, that I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst I felt with in.
Feeding on the husks around me till my strength was almost gone, longed my soul for something better only still to hunger on.
Poor I was, and sought for riches, something that would satisfy, but the dust I gathered round me only mocked my soul's sad cry.
Well of water ever springing, bread of life so rich and free, untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me.
Chrous: Halleluljah! I have found him whom my sould so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings, Thro' his blood I now am saved.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

It's almost time for the big Turkey feast here in the USA. This will be the first time in four years that we are celebrating with just the four of us, no extended family, no strays, no extra places to set at the table. Last year there were 21 of us gathered at our house. So, I have a feeling that this year's feast will be a little bit strange.

But, we are still thankful! There is so much to be thankful for this year. Which makes me wonder what it takes to make me feel thankful. Is it money? A nice house, a car to drive, an education? Sometimes as I look around at the current situation of government in my country, I don't feel like being thankful. My taxes are already too high, next year they are supposed to be even higher. The people who have been elected to my government don't speak for me, they don't even really speak for the people who did vote for them. I feel like my country is becoming something other than what I want it to be. How in the world would I do anything to change the situation? It makes me feel small to think about these things.

Feeling thankful? How many people are now unemployed or under-employed in your state? How many people do you know who have lost their jobs this year? Now are you thankful?

As a follower of Christ however, I am called to be thankful in all things. How can this be? I read the apostle Paul's words to his friends in Philippi like this, "Don't be anxious about anything! Instead in all that you do at work, home, school, or as you are looking for a job, and even just out running errands--be in conversation with Christ telling Him all your woes, all your needs. As you talk to Him be thankful for what He has given you! Tell Him you are thankful for the simple air that you breathe, for the fact that you woke up this morning and got out of bed. As you do this, you will be covered with the very peace of God Himself. You will not even be able to understand the peace that will overcome you as you lay your trouble with Christ. But this peace will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus." {from Phil 4:6-7}

How about this from my favorite book of the Bible, Psalm 95
"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depts of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways." So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter my rest."

There is a lot to notice in this Psalm! First of all, God is great! He is the creator of all things! He is worthy of our praise; in fact, He is the only one worthy of our thanksgiving. Not only is He the creator of the entire world, He is the tender shepherd of His people. Yet, we are reminded that those who have hardened their hearts toward Him, like the nation of Israel in the desert after they fled Egypt, will never rest. So, when we give Him thanksgiving, we rest from the woes and anxieties that come to us because of the stresses of the world. Wouldn't you rather be thankful than bitter!? Wouldn't you rather be at peace than war? Wouldn't you rather enjoy the fellowship of God than continually be on the run from Him?

These roses were actually blooming in the park here about four weeks ago! Tomorrow I'm going to share a favorite hymn with you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving-Eve. Make a list of all your blessings and things you are thankful for. Then, praise God for them!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Colors

Fall is here in NorCal. It is not like Fall in the Midwest, nor like fall in San Diego! :) There are actually some decidious trees here that do turn color and loose their leaves. They are even quite pretty! I found a few things at my house that have great fall color. The top picture is of some berries on a tree in the yard. I have no idea what they are, they look like bittersweet, but I'm pretty sure that's not it. The second picture is of yummy mini heirloom tomatoes which taste as good as they look. The third picture I call "fuzzy lavender" because it looks similar to lavender but is fuzzy like woolly lambs ear. It's pretty strange and a favorite of hummingbirds! Last photo is a purple flower from a plant called Potato Bush. I still haven't harvested any potatoes from the bush, so I don't think it produces fruit. Tomorrow I will show you a picture of my very tiny pumpkin growing in the yard.
Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Been a long time

Wow! More than a month since I've been here? Where does the time go anyway? I can think of a few places that it doesn't go....

Since last we met I've turned the calendar to a new month. We've had two round of unit testing in school, and we've survived the first fall rain dumps here in our area. That was a weird deal. I think it rained from about 3 am to 6pm. You'd have thought it was one around here quite new what to do. The kids and I almost had a snow day just because it was so weird.

But, no snow. Christmas is coming I'm working on Christmas cards. I've got some other fun papers that I want to use, so I need to get these Christmas cards done. The cards are acutally for a friend's Christmas...I have no idea what I'm going to do for our cards this year.

I promise to post something more interesting before the month is over. Till then....

Monday, September 14, 2009


Here is my deep thought for the day: Sin is my decision to ignore God.
Sin is me choosing to do something other than what God wants me to do. Sin is staying in bed when I know that I need to get up and honor God and begin my day. Really, sin is hitting the alarm and choosing to ignore God for a few more minutes before I grace the world with my presence. Sin is acting as though the little things I do to put God aside won't matter in the long run. Sin is choosing to turn to things that turn me away from God.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Sock Monster

We have a monster that lives at our house. His name is "Sock Monster". He even has descendants, they're called "Spawn of Sock Monster". Sock Monster is invisible but leaves traces of himself behind frequently. I'm the one who has to pick them up. I call this invisible creature "Sock Monster" because the presents he leaves me are dirty socks. Usually I find them by my husband's favorite chair, sometimes the socks get folded up in the footrest of the said recliner. The poor socks always look so tired and worn out, like they have been worn all day. The Spawn of Sock monster are not always found in the same place, they seem to get around a little more easily than their creator. Sometimes I find them under the dining room table!

I used to complain about picking up Sock Monster's leavings. But then a dear friend, who didn't have a Sock Monster living in her house anymore, reminded me that the gifts that Sock Monster left me really were reminders that he was around and was really thinking sweet thoughts of me. That didn't make much sense to me until I realized that her Sock Monster had died a few years ago, and the Spawn of Sock Monster had long since grown and moved away. She had chosen to see the leavings in a more positive light than I had. At first I didn't really like her words! I told her that she must not have had as prolific a Sock Monster as I did! I mean really, one day I picked up no less than five gifts from Sock Monster!! But, then I decided that my response to Sock Monster was a response that I would make depending upon my own attitude. (hate it when I learn stuff like that!!) Truly though, she had a very valid point and I'm grateful that she shared her positive outlook with me. Since then, I can't say that I look forward to Sock Monster's gifts...but I do see the gifts as more than just dirty socks now.

But, then yesterday happened! I awoke to the usual stillness of the morning. My husband had already gone to work and the children were still snuggled in their beds. I wandered into the kitchen to turn on the tea kettle. I looked out the window over the kitchen sink to see the hummingbirds and other morning creatures. I glanced over the sink...but then had to quickly look more closely into the sink to figure out what the mass of dark wetness I saw there was. There was nothing on the counter, nothing in the sink, nothing on the floor, all was clean.....but for the lonely mass in the sink. Perhaps you may be able to guess by now that I saw socks in the sink. However, I'm sure that you wouldn't have guessed the state of the socks. They were folded together (just the way my mom taught me) sopping wet, and draped across the sink divider. I picked them up to make sure that I was actually seeing what I thought. My mind fleeted backwards over all the gifts Sock Monster, and even Spawn of Sock Monster, have left me over the last 16 years. Never had he left me a gift like this. I was completely baffled about what could have caused this gift and the wretched state it was in. Poor Sock Monster! What on earth had happened to him??? All day long the children and I invented all kinds of stories about why and how Sock Monster's gift had come to be soaking wet. I meant to ask my husband if he had heard any unusual sounds in the night, or seen anything strange on his way into bed the evening before. But, my day got ahead of me and I forgot to ask him when we chatted quickly on the phone mid-day.

When my husband came home from work we discussed dinner and then he went upstairs to change clothes. By now, I had completely forgotten poor Sock Monster! As my husband returned to the kitchen he shyly said to me, "So...did you see my wet socks in the sink this morning?" I quickly looked at him and said, "Yes! We did! All day long we wondered what in the world had happened. We thought perhaps Sock Monster had actually drowned....or something!"

The story he told me was this: You may recall that I had posted that we are trying funny new ways of being green. One of them is to put an empty bucket in the shower to catch the water in as the shower water heats up. When the water is hot, we take the bucket out and then proceed with the shower. The collected water then is used to water a few plants. My dashingly handsome husband had done this for his morning ritual Wednesday. After he had gotten dressed, he put his socks in his pants pocket--the front one--and then picked up the bucket and gone on with the bucket down to the kitchen. As he opened the door to the deck to set the bucket out for me to water the plants later.....his socks fell right into the bucket with a sad little plop.

So, now we knew how Sock Monster's gift had gotten ruined. I must say that we had come up with better stories. I certainly hope that the poor Sock Monster is not so embarrassed by this one ruined gift that he doesn't leave me more gifts later!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Morning

So, if I call this post "Tuesday Morning" that means that when I'm behind this week, say like by Thursday, my blog will be as behind as I am. Soo....I suppose I should not leave the title as "Tuesday Morning". But, maybe it's a good challenge to see if I can keep up. Hmm...we'll see.

This morning I'm going to a class called, "Moving On After Moving In". It's a study group based on the book by Susan Miller, "After the Boxes are Unpacked". It's all about how to transition well after moving to a new community. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is moving. I have moved 5 times, so I know a lot already about how to make a move work for my family. However, the insight that Susan offers is just wonderful. Not only does she have practical hints she also offers support to you as you read her book.

We had a great weekend, celebrated DH's birthday. We went on a short trip to a State Historic Park, called Marshall Gold Discovery. It was the location of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill by John Marshall. The park was lovely, had a lot of cool buildings and historic stuff. I had my camera....but I had the wrong lense!!! I didn't take many pics at all. I was sad.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back To School

We started back to school here yesterday. I think everyone was actually excited to get going again. DS is now a Freshman while DD is a fifth grader. I am looking forward to new things this year, especially as we journey the High School road.
One of the new things we are doing this year is taking 30 minutes each school day to do some guided journaling. I thought I'd play along with my students so that I would have something to share on my blog.
For today's assignment we are supposed to write a letter to a person from History who is no longer alive. We had fun talking about who we thought would be worth a letter. We also talked about using a person who was truly historical, or just someone we had known who had died. DD said she was going to write to Jesus; then said, "But, you know, He's not really dead." DS is writing to Thomas Jefferson. I'm writing to my Grandma Gladys.

Dear Grandma G,
How are you anyway!? What is it like in Heaven? Were you glad when grandpa finally joined you? I'm guessing that you are enjoying lots of fun things in heaven, like eating homemade bread and custard whenever you want it, or singing just like an angel! Then there is the constant Holy presence of God and His son, Jesus. That must be awesomely amazing! Someday I'll be there too.
For now, I thought you might be interested to know that since you've been gone, I've gotten old myself! Last year was my big 4 OH birthday. It was a big celebration in Liberty with many friends, good food and fabulous music, all arranged by my wonderful husband of 17 years. I felt like a movie star that night. This year I've just added a one to my sort of felt anti-climactic after last year. I keep plugging away every day.
Your great-grandson just turned 14 last weekend. See, I told you I've gotten old! I was 13 when you left, which was just surely I don't really have a 14 year old myself! Ah, but I do. You also have a soon to be 10 year old grand-daughter. Both of them are kids to be proud of. Not only do they do their best in school and other things, they both love the Lord and have asked Him to be their Lord and Savior. They are really good friends to each other as well.
I "retired" from teaching Public Speaking when I turned 30, and have been a stay-at-home mom since then. It is the most rewarding job ever! Really! Each day we have school at home, learning new things together. What a joy.
Speaking of school at home, it is time for me to wrap this up so that I can get back to teaching. Before I go I wanted to let you know how much I love you. You were always there to listen to me when I needed to be heard. I loved playing games with you even if you tried to bend the rules a little bit just for fun! Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today. Thanks too for all the things you taught my mom who also helped me become me!
Love you!! Give all the people up there that I know a really big hug and tell them I love them and look forward to one day joining in the singing with them.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Saturday was my son's 14th birthday. I can hardly believe that I'm old enough to have a child that old! There is no sense in moaning about it because time will continue on, no matter what I have to say about it.
We had a fun day of celebration that we let the birthday boy plan. We began the day with a trip to the Oakland Zoo. This zoo is not very big at all, so none of us had high expectations. Before we left for the zoo, we went to Whole Foods to the deli counter and picked out what yummy sandwiches we would eat for a picnic lunch at the zoo. As we were paying for our sandwiches, the checker asked us which zoo were were going to, Oakland or San Fran. He said that he thought each had their own good points. According to him, Oakland is more intimate because it is smaller, but they have less programming than San Fran. Then he said, "Well, at least no one has died at Oakland!" Last year three boys were attacked by a tiger because they were taunting it. It was very tragic, two of the boys died, the tiger had to be put down. So sad for so many reasons. I will admit that was one reason that I had chosen the Oakland Zoo over San Fran!
I digress...the Oakland Zoo was really nice. We got there at about 9:30am and had prime shade parking. As we walked into the zoo, we were greeted by the strangest noises. They sounded as though someone were screaming a sort of melodious scream for no reason...unless they were insane! As we followed our ears, we came to the "Howler Monkeys" also known as Gibbons. Oh, my, goodness!! They were loud and so hilarious. It was mesmerizing. I have never heard or seen anything like that in all the zoos I have ever been too. I think we must have stood there laughing at them for 15 minutes. DJ didn't really like them, so I didn't take a picture. What was funny about this, to me anyway, was this sign that the zoo had posted on the sidewalks: "Quiet Please. Our Monkeys are highly sensitive to loud noises. Please use your quiet voices!" What??!! Across the way from these guys were the White Handed Gibbons who were also making noise, but not quite as loud.
My next favorite thing that we saw was a big exhibit of fruit bats. Weird, I know. However, I have never seen a bat in the daylight...let alone 19 of them at once all hanging upside down and folded in to their six foot expanse wings! It was so cool. When they moved around, they used the hook like claw that is in their wing. As I watched a few of them moving, I thought they looked just like Captain Hook! Interestingly, there was a banana palm plant in the exhibit. It has big fan like leaves that are colored slightly green with red veins all over them which makes the leaves look rather more red than green. When the bast opened their wings and the sun shone through, the wings looked just like the coloring of the banana palm leaves. So cool! I already said "cool", didn't I?
We finished the zoo around 1pm and headed out to have a picnic. By now the parking lot was packed, people were even circling looking for a parking spot. We found a nice shady spot on the park grounds which surrounded the zoo. Then we came home and took little naps.
For dinner, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and celebrated in grand style. It was a wonderful day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer is flying by

Christine made these cute fairies from a Klutz book about fairies. She named one "Rose" and sent it to a friend in Missouri. They were so cute and really easy to make. Christine occupied herself for an entire day with them. Then, I had fun figuring out places to take pictures of them!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Recipe for a Letter

I was looking through some old cookbooks this morning. They were ones that I've collected over the years; you know the ones from various fundraisers. In the back of one from my dad's mom, Grandma Aggie, I found this cute recipe. This particular cookbook was from the First Lutheran Church Sunday School in Paxton, Illinois. The cover says, "Favorite Recipes from Our Best Cooks". It has a darling 1970's drawing on the front of a Holly Hobby-esque lady stirring something while her husband has his arms around her waits and is nuzzling her neck. The caption around this picture says, "Kissin' wears out...Cookin' don't!"

I digress, the recipe is what I wanted to share! Here it is:

Recipe for a Letter---contributed by Jessie Kirsche
Take equal parts of hope and laughter (heaping measurements) and after you have mixed, add faith to those. Then pepper just enough to please. Stir friendship (let it rise to double). Add prayers for those who are in trouble. Test your heart for warmth and soften. Close with love, and write one often.

How cute is that? It particularly touched me today because we don't really write letters much anymore. I suppose that I should say that email counts as a letter. But, really it does not. Email is so often just something that you have received from someone else and you forward it to others on your email list. Frequently there is no personal thought involved in email. Phone calls don't count, in my opinion, because they are often made or received in the midst of something else going on and lack focus. Don't get me wrong! I do love a good email with personal thoughts, news and good wishes; same goes for phone calls.

However, there is something in an old fashioned, hand-written letter that goes lacking in our day of super technology. A handwritten letter seems to indicate that the writer of it has taken a few moments aside from his or her otherwise busy life to think about the one to whom he writes. It takes some time for the writer to think of things to say that are meaningful and not just bits of news. At times the writer might have to pause to think more about the recipient in order to know what to write. The savvy writer will ask just enough questions to spur the recipient on to actually write back! All of that will result in the writer thinking much of the friend to whom he writes.

Which then means that when the letter is delivered and joyously found among the bills and junk mail, the recipient is overcome with satisfaction that there is something more interesting in the mail. Then, upon reading the letter (even if it is rather short!) the recipient feels very special.

What a treat, nay--gift!--you give when you write someone a letter! When was the last time you wrote a letter? Consider yourself challenged to write a letter to someone this week. (hint:my mail box is always game!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Father's Day 2009

David and DJ went sailing on Father's Day. They had a great time!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tagged Friends

Here is an older card...but I love it! I love the colors. Hope you are doing well today. It is super hot here today! So, I'm trying to be motivated to do more than laundry.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Handiwork

These two journals were made for two very special ladies. I was "commissioned" to make them by special friends of theirs. I think they turned out quite nice! I made special packaging for Catherine too, but I didn't take a picture.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shameless Self-promotion

Just a small commercial break here on my blog to shamelessly promote myself. You can click on the link over on the right handed side for "My Stampin' Up! Website". There you will find a calendar of all the fun classes that I have up my sleeve for the next few months. I hope you will join me at one or two, or all of them!

Secondly, if you are in need of a box of specially handmade for you cards, I'm your gal! I charge 35.00 for a box of 8 greeting cards. I'm happy to taylor make them just for you, or you can just say "surprise me", and I'll package a random assortment for your sending pleasure.

The Father's Day card that I featured this last week or two is just a smidge of what I can do for you. Let me know how I can help you tap your inner creative soul, or let me know how many and what kinds of cards you need.

I also do ultra fancy, personalized journals for 30.00.

I'll be posting some examples asap.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How to make the Coolest Ever Fathers' Day Card

Begin with a standard card, closed size is 5.5 x 4.25 inches. You should use a dark suit color...OR a color that will match the ribbon that you will be using to make the tie. (only limited by your creativity!)

inside the card mount a piece of white card stock, 5.25 x 4 inches; this is where you will write your dad a message

Use a straight edge and a stylus or bone folder to score, on the front of the card, a diagonal line which will become the "lapel" for the suit jacket.

at the score mark, fold to the left to make the "lapel"

now you can see the white inside of the card showing, this will be covered by the designer paper that you'll use for the "shirt" once you've made the "tie"

at the base of the "lapel" punch a tiny hole for a tiny brad "button"
Use about 10 inches of 3/4 inch ribbon to make the "tie". I'm using two toned ribbon to make it easier for you to see how to do it. The brown is on the front, the pink the back. Hold the ribbon, right side up in your left hand with about two inches sticking out on the back. You will use this back 2 inches to tie the knot.
Now take that two inches and wrap it over the top of the ribbon, going from the right to the left.

take about 2 inches of ribbon from the top, and pull it over your left hand (pink is the back of the ribbon, brown the front)

pull the 2 inches across from right to left

then take that piece and poke it through the hole to the right side of the ribbon; you will be pulling from the right, across to the left, under the ribbon and back out onto the right side
pull through to make the knot (back of ribbon is pink)

pull a bit to shap the knot to look like a "tie" knot

the back of the "tie"

pinch the tail from the knot down to the back of the "tie"

sew the tail down to the knot with needle and thread

finished backside of the "tie"

use sticky strip on the backside of the tie's knot

put a full strip of sticky strip down the right handed side, flush
with the right edge of the "shirt"

attach the "tie" to this strip, then stick the jacket to the shirt as in the next picture

The piece of designer paper that you use for the "shirt" will need to be 5.5 x 4 1/8 so that your card will close well. Make sure to line up the right edge of the "shirt" with the right edge of the card's inside.

Apply your adhesive to the "jacket" instead of the "shirt" to avoid getting adhesive where you don't want it.

Close the "jacket" with adhesive on it to the "shirt"

punch a 1 1/4 inch square of card stock to become the "pocket"
use a scrap of ribbon to become the fancy "pocket square"

cut the scrap of ribbon in 1/2

use sticky strip on the front of the ribbon scraps

and on the back
then attach the scraps to the card stock square "pocket"