Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Little Word: June Blog Hop

     Welcome to the One Little Word Blog Hop.  For the month of May we were called to document ideas, tasks, and projects that we want to tackle with our word this year.  
     My word "Dwell" has been manifesting itself differently than I expected.  In January I thought it would reflect more of a settling in, being steadfast, being a homebody.  Instead, it has shown itself in what I dwell on, meditate, and think about. I especially noticed this in my documentation of tasks this month.  
      Some of my goals will take a year to complete.  I also picked some actions that could be completed in a shorter time frame.
     Below is a picture of my opening page for May.   With it are pictures of a dresser that had belonged to my Grandmother which I painted a happy yellow.  It makes me smile when I see it and gave me some much needed storage in our bedroom.
 We celebrated my son Brian's graduation from college.  Pat and I took the three younger children to watch as Brian received his diploma. Brian has a job in the area so he did not come home with us. We stayed nearby for the weekend and visited some of the area attractions.  It was a wonderful way for us to celebrate his achievements.
     These pages are part of my Project Life album.  One of my  other ongoing goals is Project 52.  Project 52 is a weekly themed photography post.  It is hosted by Ken Weakly.  I enjoy seeing what everyone photographs and it has helped me to take better pictures.
      Compassion International holds a place in my heart and mind.  In March my husband and I decided to purchase a chicken for a  family through their catalog on the eighteenth of each month.  You can read about it here.  This month I also included a gift for the family of the child we sponsor.  A family gift may be given once a year.  It takes so little to make a huge difference in the life of a child.
     I admired Ali's desire to have an adventure and do something spontaneous.  I realized that I might need to plan for an opportunity to be spontaneous.   It won't just happen.
     I also would like to schedule a weekend away with my husband.  Maybe over the summer.

     Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.   ~  Philippians 4:8

     Be sure to visit the other blogs on the list to see how their word is coming into action.  
     What have you been dwelling on this spring?

Donna      You  are here.

Monica B  Go here next.

Missus Wookie

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Souvenir: I Remember

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, 
the things you are, the things you never want to lose.
 ~ The Wonder Years
     Censational Girl is hosting a party about travel souvenirs!  I did not want to miss out on the fun.  
     Pat and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary seven years ago by going on a week long Caribbean Cruise.  It was a special gift from our extended family.  Ordinarily, we go camping with the children.  At that time there were five still at home.  This was a luxurious vacation for just the two of us.  It was amazing.   When we returned I created a small gallery wall in our bedroom for momentos from this wonderful trip.
    I remember that we flew to San Juan on Friday and boarded the ship on Sunday morning.  I am so used to getting up at 5:15 that I got up that day as usual.  What was I thinking?   We had a busy day and by 10:00 pm, I was exhausted.  Pat decided to explore the ship while I got ready for bed.  He hurried back to tell me that I was missing the "Sail Away Party!"  There was a band, champagne, dancing, and all kinds of action going on.  It looked like everyone on the boat was celebrating.  I dragged myself out determined not to miss a thing.  I was asleep on my feet.  Every party has a pooper and that night it was me.  It was after midnight and the party continued in full swing when I gave up and we went to bed.  As it turned out, there was a "Sail Away Party" every night, because we went to a different island every night.  The picture of Pat and I was taken on the ship one evening before dinner.  The pith helmet belongs to my husband, although I wear it to school on "Hat Day."
      I did not want to forget a moment of our trip.  Each morning in the ships library, I wrote in a journal about what we had done and where we had visited the day before.   I tucked in tickets, maps, and menu's.  I framed postcards from Old San Juan and the Fort.  On the shelf is a starfish and a clay Noah's Ark we purchased in Aruba.
      The shadow box holds shells, coins from each of the islands, more postcards, pieces of coral picked up on a beach, our ship id tags, and a bracelet.  We went to a butterfly garden on St. Martin and took a sky ride on St. Thomas.  The pieces of glass are the color of the waters of the Caribbean.
     I included the card that Pat tucked in an anniversary bouquet.  I am so fortunate to have celebrated 32 years with him.  I remember the love of family that sent Pat and I on this remarkable trip and I am so grateful.  Even seven years later - it makes me smile.
     Updated: Also linking to Whimsey Wednesdays.

Monday, May 28, 2012

31 Things: Reading

“A home without books is like
A body without a soul.” ~Cicero
Chapter One:
     I adore reading.  I love being swept away into a new book.  I have steered a raft down the Mississippi, been one of The Help, mourned love ones, danced at Versailles, fallen in love, and flew at Kitty Hawk.  I have been a rodeo star, fought for my life on television, and learned to cook in Paris.  I have glimpsed beauty for ashes, kissed a vampire, and taken a train from track 9 3/4’s.
Chapter Two:
     I bought the first Kindle when it came out and upgraded each time.  I still miss the silver ribbon that was used as a mouse on the first Kindle.  Now I have a Kindle and a Kindle Fire.  I do use both.  I love the Kindle for it’s ability to buy a book almost anywhere I happen to be.  The Fire needs to be connected to our home internet to download.  It is the one I have with me most often.  I love the convenience of always having a book, or a hundred books, with me at all times.
Chapter 3:  
     I am currently reading, Dream New Dreams, Jai Pausch, Wildflower Hill, Kimberly Freeman, and The Gifts of Perfection, Brene Brown.  I usually read a nonfiction and a fiction book at the same time.  
Chapter 4:
     I enjoy going to book club at the Library each month.  My friend Lori invited me years ago.  We have a wonderful time suggesting books to each other and discussing the selection of the month.  I have read books that I might not have picked up otherwise.  I’ve enjoyed spending time with the Ladies of the Club. When a book is made into a movie, we meet and go together.  It’s fun to see how well my imagination matches with the movie.
     I prefer to read books over watching TV.  This means that I need a new book every few days.
Chapter 5:  
     The books I remember best from my childhood are Black Beauty, everything by Beverly Cleary, The Yearling, and Stuart Little.  I read Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins.  When I was in seventh grade, I read Love Story.  I cried.  I discovered the Chronicles of Narnia when I was expecting my first child.  Oh how I longed to visit Narnia with Lucy.
     Sad but true:  I used to set the smoke alarm off when I burned toast while reading a book at breakfast every morning.  I blame the toaster!
Chapter 6:
     Brian, Patty, and Connor love to read.  They always have a book that they are reading.  My other three need a little more motivation to read then simply the sight of a book.  Patrick enjoys reading fantasy or zombie books.  James prefers action.  Anthony enjoys reading comics.  The favorite books series in our house remains Harry Potter.  We even listen to the audio books on vacation.  
     I hear a book calling my name!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day


Announce and proclaim among the nations,
Lift up a banner and proclaim it;
Keep nothing back.  ~Jeremiah 50:2
     A banner is a reference to a flag or a standard declaring allegiance to something or someone.
     The War of 1812 was fought between Britain and the United States.  The British troops landed in the Chesapeake Bay area and marched towards Washington.  Efforts to stop the British failed.  The city was evacuated.  The Capitol and the White House were burned.  The British pressed onward towards Fort McHenry which protected the port of Baltimore.
    In the middle of this upheaval, two Americans were sent out to one of the British ships under a flag of truce.  They were on a mission approved by President Madison to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes.  Beanes was a popular elderly physician who had been captured from his home.  The release was negotiated over a long dinner with the British Vice-Admiral.  Unfortunately, the dinner conversation had also included discussion of plans for the attack on Baltimore.  The two men could not be allowed to leave.  They knew too much.  Arrangements were made for them to be detained on board the British Ship Surprise until the battle was over.
     The attack on Fort McHenry started on a rainy morning.  After an initial exchange of fire, the British moved outside of the range of Fort McHenry’s cannons.
     The two negotiators and the newly released Beanes watched the attack from the deck of the Surprise.  Throughout the day they were comforted to see the huge American flag proudly waving above Fort McHenry.
     The cannon fire stopped suddenly in the middle of the night.  Through the darkness the men couldn’t tell if the British forces had been defeated or if Fort McHenry had fallen.
     The rain cleared as the sun began to rise.  One of the Americans stood on the deck of the Surprise peering through the lifting darkness, anxious to see if his flag still flew.  On the back of an envelope he scribbled the first lines of a poem he called the Defense of Fort McHenry.
"Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?"
     Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who have died so that we could be free.  Like the flag that flew over Fort McHenry, God’s banner over us should be visible, even in our fiercest battles.
Announce and proclaim among the nations,
Lift up a banner and proclaim it; 
Keep nothing back.  ~Jeremiah 50.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Favorite Things

 "Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life."  ~Unknown
     These shoes are completely impractical for me.  I don't walk well in them.  I teeter and totter because the heel is small and at least three inches higher than I usually wear.  My friend Lori calls them "Sitting' Shoes."  But - oh, how I love them.  
     For more "Favorites" visit Ken Weakley for Project 52 at its new location.

Friday, May 25, 2012

31 Things

"…with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things."
- William Wordsworth/Tintern Abbey

     31 Things is a class from Big Picture Classes taught by Ali Edwards.  31 Things is an invitation to "see into the life of things."  Over the course of 31 days in May and June an email prompts our group to document one story from our everyday life.  Each prompt includes a word or theme for the day, ideas for telling a story based on the word, and a suggestion for a photo to support the writing.  It is an adventure in telling the stories of our daily lives in more detail, with a little more heart and a little more perspective.  It's about telling more.  Participants are enjoying this class so much that a follow-up class of 31 More Things is being considered for the Fall.
     I signed up for the class because I have enjoyed the One Little Word class that is also taught by Ali Edwards.  Although I was a little nervous about writing everyday for 31 days straight, I  liked the idea of the discipline of writing something everyday.  I am enjoying being given a prompt or direction for the days writing.  For me deciding what to write always takes me forever as long or even longer than actually writing does.  I'm the same way about making a decision for dinner.  I have discovered that I love writing everyday.  I find myself looking for something else to write about when I am finished with the prompt.  My ninth grade English teacher, Miss Wynne, would be proud.  

Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all. 
~Hans Christian Andersen

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh Brother!

        Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero!  ~ Marc Brown

31 Things: Jewelry

     When I was young, I used to peer into my Nana’s jewelry box.  It was overflowing with long strings of multicolored beads, ornate broaches, dangly bracelets, bakelite bangles, and chandelier earrings.  It didn’t matter if Nana was wearing a housecoat, bathing suit, or a dress Nana always had some bling.  How I loved to play dress-up with her jewelry.  I draped her necklaces and layered her bracelets over my skinny frame.  My ear lobes were pinched by the screw-back and clasp earrings.  Nana took me to Times Square to get my ears pierced on my twelveth birthday..  I was thrilled to wear those little golden studs.  I faithfully twirled them and doused my ear lobes in rubbing alcohol until they healed.
     My Grandmother, on the other hand, wore very little jewelry.  Her wedding rings, a watch, a pin on her coat, and for special occasions, a pearl necklace.  Her stash of jewelry was small.  The pins on her coat changed with the seasons.  A sparkly candle for Christmas, a flower basket in spring, and a jeweled leaf for fall.  Her watch a simple Timex with large numbers and a second hand which she used as a nurse for taking pulses and reading blood pressure.  
     Her daughter, my mother, enjoys jewelry.  Mom has beautiful rings, bracelets, and necklaces; souvenirs of far away places.  Others were  selective purchases from QVC and Home Shoppers Network.  She generously thinks of me with jewelry for my birthday and Christmas.
     Grandma gave me her mother’s engagement ring.  Great grandmother’s diamond is a round, slightly yellow, old mine cut diamond.  The facets sparkle brilliantly.   Pat had it reset for me in a golden filagree ring.  
     Like Grandma, I keep my jewelry simple.  I usually wear a necklace.  My current favorite is stamped with the words “Kindle” and “Dwell.”  My words for 2011 and 2012. 
I also wear bracelets.  I switch them from wrist to wrist when I am trying to remember something.  I wear a simple wedding band.
     I started a Pandora bracelet on the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.  The first charm was a faceted pink quartz to celebrate one year of survival.  Pat added a pearl bead on our thirtieth anniversary.  Other beads were added for trips and celebrations.  I am happy to have added two more beads for the gift of two more years of life.
     I give Patty amethyst jewelry.  The beautiful purple stone is February's birthstone.  When we adopted her I gave her a tiny gold bracelet with an amethyst charm.  Since then I have presented her with amethyst rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:3-4

Monday, May 21, 2012


Each Card Tells A Story          Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy

     I am so flattered to have The Yoke's on Me featured at Wendy's lovely blog Each Card Tells A Story!  and by The Paper Princess at Create With Joy!   I admire both of their blogs.  This is such an honor.  Thank you so much!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


 Comfort, comfort my people, 
says your God.  Isaiah 40:1
     What does comfort mean to you?  To some people it is sitting in our Barka Lounger watching a movie on TV.  Maybe we associate comfort with warm bread or mashed potatoes with gravy.  Perhaps we imagine sitting on a warm beach watching the ocean roll in and out while we sip our beverage out of a glass with an umbrella in it.
     I much prefer comfort over being uncomfortable.  I would like to lead a worry, stress, and trouble free life where tires never go flat, milk doesn’t get spilled, children always speak politely, people never get angry, and chocolate and ice cream are considered health foods.
     Unfortunately, Christians are not promised a comfortable life.  We are instead promised comfort in life.  Comfort comes from the two Latin words: com fortis - literally translated it means “with strength.”  God’s way of giving comfort is to give us strength to do  what needs to be done.  As His strength comes, grief and sorrow go.  The situation may not have changed, but we have a new ability to face our difficulty and deal with it.
     Isaiah 40 continues:
He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
He gathers the lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to his heart;  
     he gently leads those that have young.  
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, 

     or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? 

Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
     or weighed the mountains on the scales
     and the hills in a balance? 
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
     or instruct the Lord as his counselor? 
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
     and who taught him the right way?

Who was it that taught him knowledge, 
     or showed him the path of understanding?
Do you not know?
    Have you not heard? 

The Lord is the everlasting God,
     the Creator of the ends of the earth. 

He will not grow tired or weary, 
     and his understanding no one can fathom.  
He gives strength to the weary 
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;  
     but those who hope in the Lord
 will renew their strength. 

They will soar on wings like eagles; 
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.

     We should throw the weight of our lives into the comforting arms of hope.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mothers- A Great Gift

My mother
    When I was a young mother I would gaze at the faces of my sleeping children in wonder and thanksgiving at such an amazing gift.  I marveled over each tiny fingernail, the chubby cheeks, the rolls on their thighs, and the downy wisp of their hair.  Now with three children grown and three still at home I feel the same joy each night when I peek in on my sleeping children.  I ask God to bless those who are under my roof and their brothers who live away.
My mother-in-law
     My youngest children are tucked in their beds.  Their tummies are full.  They have showered and brushed.  They are healthy.  Their limbs are long and straight.  Their hair and eyes sparkle with happiness and wholeness.  They are tired from school and play.  They like to read before they fall asleep and many nights I tuck their blankets around them while pulling books from their sleeping fingers.  I remove the electronics from under their pillows.  They have plans for education.   Our home is warm inside even when it is cold outside.  They don't have everything they want, but they have everything they need.  I have been richly blessed.  
     A world away from us in Indonesia lives Jimi.  He is the ten year old we sponsor through Compassion International.  In a letter we received this week, Jimi shared that he had just recovered from being seriously ill.  He had been hospitalized and in a coma. His mother had been told there was no hope.  No hope for her ten year old son.  I can only imagine his mother's anguish.  Jimi had an illness that I had never heard of.  But our God is a God of Hope.   Jimi was healed.  How his mother must have rejoiced.  I am so grateful for the life of this little boy we share.
     Mothers everywhere share some of the same dreams for their children.  We want them to grow up to be happy and healthy, to have an education, to have someone to love and someone to love them.  Mother's are far more the same, then we are different. 
     This world can be a dangerous place for those who live in poverty.  Out of the riches that have so graciously been given to me, I give just $38.00 a month to make the world a little better for Jimi - and his mother.
     For more photo's of great mother's visit Ken Weakley for Project 52.

Monday, May 14, 2012


For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13

     Proud Mom Moment:  Last weekend our son Brian graduated from SUNY IT with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.  We are so proud of all that he has accomplished.  It is such an exciting season of life for him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Martha, Mary and Me

  Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! 
I would  fly away and be at rest. Psalm 55:6

     The other day I looked up from the House Beautiful magazine I had been studying over coffee and grumbled to my daughter, “Patty, not one room in this house is clean.  Not one room.”
     Our home was in sharp contrast to those lovely sanitized homes in the magazine.  The entry way was a dumping station for jackets, book bags, and shoes of all sizes.  There was mud in various stages of wet and dry on the floor.  The dining room table had assorted piles of mail, homework, tools, granite, and a huge tupperware container of six live chicks.  The orchid set so cheerily in the center of the table looked completely out of place.
     In the living room, Pat was glued to the computer with piles of paper around him.  My desk was equally littered with a scrapbook project.  The couch pillows were literally toss pillows.  The dog had managed to gather every random sock in the house and was hoarding them under the coffee table.
     The kitchen and the family room were a quagmire of legos, action figures, chip wrappers, and possibly every dish and glass we own.  There were food items that had been pulled from various cabinets strewn across the counters and table.  My beloved sons were draped in blankets arguing over which TV program to watch.
     Now I would like to say that I responded graciously, and quoted scripture - Psalm 40:2 comes to mind.  “He that lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” - but I would be lying.  What I actually did was banish the boys to clean their room and began scrubbing.  My house still doesn’t look like any of the pictures in the magazine but I feel a whole lot better.
     In Luke 10 we read about Jesus visiting the home of his friends, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.     
 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42
      Stick with me here because I’m probably not heading exactly where you think I am.  Martha usually gets put down for her actions.  I admire Martha.  Somehow I know that her house never looked quite like mine.  Martha opened her home to welcome Jesus and His entourage of twelve disciples and their crew.  That would send anyone into a dither.  Martha was not doing something wrong, she had simply allowed her service to become the center of her energy and attention.  
     As a woman, caring for our husband and children usually includes cooking, scrubbing, laundry, and wallowing in mud and perhaps chickens.  But we need to be careful not to let cleaning and decorating be the focus in our homes.    
     Consider instead Mary at the feet of Jesus.  As parents we have received the beautiful gift of children, let’s not get so involved in the busyness of keeping a house that we overlook the people in it.  All to often, I am in the same room as my children, but I am not engaged with them.  I am cleaning, reading, on the computer, or working at something.  I am not the perfect parent - just ask my children,  but I do take time to drag them away from the computer and television, whether they want it or not, to spend time with them.  Let's sit down with our husband and children and build relationships.  Let's play, pray and worship with them.  Mary opened her heart to Jesus.  She sat at his feet and listened when He spoke.  
     Jesus says, “I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.”
     There is God’s promise.  If we open wide the door to our heart, we will see that Jesus has thrown wide the doors to Heaven and given us free access to come to Him.  
     “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven, and the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here...” Rev. 4:1
     A prayer of Jesus from John 17
I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of this world.  They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me came through you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.  And glory has come to me through them.  Holy Father protect them by the power of your name. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  My prayer is not that you take them out of this world, but that you protect them from the evil one.  Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I send them into this world.
     Choose what is better.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

  Happy Mother's Day!   
This is my Mom.  

Patty and Mom on her birthday.
     Mom (and Dad) like to wave when their picture is taken.  Isn't that adorable?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Still Life: Garden, Orchard and Vine

     I went down into the garden of nuts
 to see the fruits of the valley, 
and to see whether the vine flourished
 and the pomegranates budded.
Song of Solomon 6:11 

     This is a picture of a painting on black granite that has been laser etched.  It is based on the Fannie Palmer lithograph Garden Orchard and Vine published by Currier and Ives in 1867.
     My husband and I own a laser etching business.  Pat is in charge of the computer part and I do the painting.   (Please excuse the flash.  It is not easy to take a picture of polished granite.  It reflects everything.)
     This is a custom piece made to be installed in that space above the stove on a kitchen backsplash.
     Fannie Palmer's original painting (shown below) included a dead fly front and center.  My husband was gracious enough to edit that out of our picture.   Our twenty-first century sensibilities don't approve of dead bugs in our kitchens.

     Project 52 has moved to a new hosting site.  Visit Kent Weakly to see more still life pictures and to explore a great photography blog.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Project 52: Fiesta!

Fiesta!  This week's prompt for Project 52 was "Fiesta or Siesta!"  Bribery was required for participation in this week's photo session.  My youngest insisted that he be rewarded if he was going to have to put a sombrero on his head and look happy.  
     All this for $1.00 and a baby bel cheese!  I think I got a bargain.
     What would it take to get you to wear a table decoration, a fake fur mustache, and blow a party horn? 
     For more fabulous siesta photos visit Darcy at my3boybarians.

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