Gentle and Sprightly

February 28, 2013 | My Jottings

Yesterday was an errand running day, and there’s nothing like an errand-running day to make a closet agoraphobic feel giddy about a free day at home. With the exception of picking Michael up from the bowling alley in about an hour, I can have a quiet time inside today, tending my house, doing my CBS lesson and sipping a cup of tea, and that always makes me rejoice. On Thursdays Michael bowls in a pastor’s league with a friend of ours who is a pastor. Michael isn’t a pastor, but they let him into the league and he looks forward to it every week.

One of yesterday’s errands was to buy myself a new cell phone. I’ve had my current cell (do you UK folks say mobile?) for years, and it started misbehaving on me. I haven’t been anxious to jump on the iPhone bandwagon, but over the last few weeks I’ve sort of moseyed that direction in the compartment of my mind labeled What Kind of Cellular Phone Should I Get Next?, and yesterday I came home with an iPhone 5. That compartment of my mind is now closed.

DSCN0261I don’t know too many people who don’t love their iPhones, but the jury is still out for me. I know I’ll sound like an Apple heretic with that comment, but I’m still adjusting to what feels like the hugeness of it compared to my other smaller phone with the nice QWERTY keyboard. Now it sort of feels like I’m talking into a plank. And apparently I have bratwursts for fingers and never noticed this before — typing out texts is an exercise in patience as I carefully, gently tap letters like S and R and E and letters like W and K and Z appear on the screen instead. I’m also adjusting to the heft of it, even though it’s supposed to weigh less than previous iPhones.

I am very happy with our Apple computer and with my iPad, but I’m still wondering if the iPhone is a true fit for me. I guess it will have to be for the next two years, because that’s the length of the contract our carrier requires.

What I do like about it are the really important features, which are apps like Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends and Sudoku. Oh, and Google Earth, Cribbage and Angry Birds. 🙂 And I’m going to try this app, which has been highly recommended to me. Do any of you use it?

Once I decided to get an iPhone, I knew I would need some sort of case to protect it. I didn’t want one of those squishy rubbery gel cases like these. And I didn’t think at my age I should carry around a phone that looks like this. What to get, what to get, I thought to myself…and then it just came to me, like a lightning bolt from the sky. (By the way, have you noticed that a lot of people are spelling the word lightning — as in thunder and lightning — “lightening” lately? What’s up with that?)

And here’s my new iPhone case.

DSCN0262This cardinal case that snaps snugly around my iPhone mitigates much of the bother of adjusting to my new phone-that-feels-like-a-barbell, and makes me feel like I’ll eventually like it all right. (You can click on the photos to enlarge if you like…)

I also enjoyed a delightful time with my dear friend Carey yesterday. We celebrated her November birthday three months late by having lunch together at a local Japanese restaurant. Shrimp and vegetable tempura, California rolls with pickled ginger slices, miso soup…very delish. Our time went by so quickly I was only able to talk one of her ears off. She emailed me today to see if we could have tea together soon, so apparently she’s not in the least bit worried about her other ear.

Last night, we took our Fosters out to dinner and a movie, and per a friend’s recommendation, we saw The Impossible. What an intense, eye-squinching, jaw-clenching movie! One of our gals asked on the way there, “Is this going to be a happy movie?” and I wasn’t sure how to answer since I didn’t know much about it. In the middle of the film while I was gripping the seat’s armrests with all my might I thought to myself, “Well I guess this isn’t a happy movie.” It was a hard film to watch, but it did have an amazing ending and I’m glad I saw it. If you’d like to see the trailer, you can click here.

And lastly, I have a friend named Lloyd. I’ve only met him once, but I feel like I know him because I’ve read his books and I also read the superbly written Hole News he sends out to a few hundred people several times a week. Be sure to look for the posts that say “grandpalloyd” on them if you visit. At ninety years old, Lloyd’s body is slowly wearing out but his mind is as sharp and curious as ever. His ponderings on his Christian faith, on science, and the mysteries that sometimes seem to make the two incongruous, always make me think. Lloyd gave me a compliment recently that took me by surprise, and called the writing on my blog “gentle and sprightly.”


Uh…gentle? Sprightly? I had to look sprightly up: “Full of spirit and vitality; lively; brisk.” I think anyone who knows me might stifle a wry smile at those words because while Lloyd might think my words are gentle and sprightly, I am not. But it tickles me that he thinks my words are.

I would like to be more gentle and sprightly, though. Perhaps the Lord will finish His good work in me before I die (see Philippians 1:6) and my three daughters will someday have these inspirational words chiseled onto my grave stone:

Here Lies Mom
A Harsh and Ponderous Gentle and Sprightly Woman

Now wouldn’t that be something to phone home about? Except by then my unwieldy and plank-like iPhone will no longer be needed.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Ever so gently and with just a small degree of sprightliness,

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 97

February 27, 2013 | My Jottings


“The devil doesn’t have a hook in happy Christians. Usually just miserable ones.”

~~John Piper

I heard pastor and author John Piper preach last Saturday night at his church in Minneapolis, and the quote above was one of the many things he said that gave me food for thought.

And here’s something else from Piper about Scripture memorization that chills me each time I watch it. Click here, and if you aren’t able to watch the full five minutes, advance to the 1:40 minute point and watch for the minute following that.


Scarf Styling

February 26, 2013 | My Jottings

bajalia-saleha-striped-afghan-scarf-d-20120809171519333~202696Today will be a day of report writing. So I’m going to share one of my favorite youtube videos, and you’ll have to let me know if you’ve seen it. I guess it’s pretty popular, but I’m often the oblivious caboose on the Trendy Train, so perhaps there will be a few of you who haven’t seen it.

I love colorful scarves, and how they dress up the most casual outfit. A pair of jeans and a tee-shirt look so much more stylish and interesting when a beautiful scarf is added, don’t you think?

I’m not very much into lots of clothes and the latest fashions — comfort and utility are my unfortunate bywords in this arena. So you probably won’t see many posts like this one, but I’m guessing those of you who stop by aren’t here for fashion tips.  🙂

But I think this video is unique and well-done. I do wear scarves now and then, and my favorite way to tie a long scarf — I learned right here.  It’s called Magic Trick.

After you watch the 4.5 minute video, will you share what your favorite scarf-tying technique was?

Have a blessed Tuesday!

Snurr Flowies

February 21, 2013 | My Jottings

We have snow in the forecast again, but only for 1-3 inches. The lower Midwest is getting walloped by Winter Storm Q. I’m not sure what I think about all these storm names now. I know hurricanes have had names for decades (right?) but now Winter Storm Q? Hmmm.

When my mother moved from the Central Coast of California to live near us in Northeastern Minnesota in 1985, it took her a while to grow accustomed to the extreme winters we have here. One day she told us she’d been listening to the weather report and heard that we were going to get some “snurr flowies” in the afternoon. We all laughed hard at that one, and Mom did too. So from that time on, whenever the weather person said snow flurries were in the forecast, we said we were getting snurr flowies.

Windows-Live-Writer0b15a637df898651Snow-Flurries21354892007146So right now as I look out the sliding glass window in my office at the fading daylight, a few snurr flowies are drifting down from the low clouds. And I think of my mama.

Only one of you who has never left a comment before was brave enough to say hello, and it was Connie! So Connie is the winner of the book The Snow Child and as soon as I get her mailing address I’ll pop it in the mail to her.

Michael and I are going to take a little weekend trip soon, and we’re staying at the hotel chain that gives each guest a warm chocolate chip cookie at check-in. That’s not the reason we’re staying there, but it’s still a nice little something to look forward to, don’t you think? Now if I could only find a hotel with a pool where all the guests are blind, that would make my day.

Sharon took some pictures of seven month-old Louisa recently, and they’re so adorable I have to steal them and share them with you. Speaking of snurr flowies, we don’t always say Louisa properly either. We like to say Louiser.

It’s such a shame Louiser isn’t very photogenic.

SPRING MINI SESSIONS 2013She is, however, one of the happiest, most contented babies I’ve ever known. My Bible study friends who meet in my home each week during the summer joined me in prayer when Sharon was still expecting Louiser, and agreed with my pleadings that God would give their family a happy baby. That prayer was answered spectacularly. Thank you Lord, I still say all the time. Thank you for Louisa Timothy-Bridget, who fills a spot in our hearts that no one else can.

Earlier today I went over to my dear friend Su’s house so three of us could work on a pile of paperwork together; something the state has recently required that seemed like it was enough to put more than a few Foster care providers over the paperwork edge. What a difference it made to work on things together! I had the courage to actually look through the pile! I put my head down and wrote down all the information they’re asking for, and I never stopped once! When Su, Maria and I went through it together, it seemed like no big deal at all. By myself, it would have been something I dreaded and procrastinated over. Now all I have to do is fax the pile to the state office who requested it, and I can scratch that off my to-do list.

They say everyone has something that is their weak area regarding housekeeping and/or work. I know a few folks who really can’t seem to climb the laundry mountain. It just looms too large in their minds. I do not judge. Laundry isn’t my issue — I don’t mind doing it at all. But in the past few years, paperwork has become my large-looming issue. Oh. And cooking. I forgot about that. At least with meal preparation I have to do it, so that helps. I can’t tell all the peeps I take care of that we’re just not going to eat tonight or tomorrow, as much as I would like to. What about you? Do you have a housekeeping/work issue that you just don’t like to do, so it seems to get bigger and bigger in your mind, until you actually start to feel a heavy sense of dread? I wish I could come over and give you a hand with it. Doing things like this with a friend often helps. 🙂 Sara Groves sings a great song called “Twice As Good” that paints a beautiful picture of this concept.

Well, my husband just came in and asked me to watch something on TV with him. We just got this DVD from Netflix in the mail today, so after I post this little update I’m going to get into my plaid flannel nightgown and join him, with a steaming cup of tea.

God bless your weekend, and thank you again for making time to stop by here!

Tuesday Trivia

February 19, 2013 | My Jottings

A few nights ago Michael and I watched a movie I really enjoyed, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, Poster-mrspalfrey-wwhich my friend Kay recommended to us. In the film, the main character mentions her favorite movie as Brief Encounter, so I also put that in our Netflix queue and we watched it last night. The latter movie was made in 1945 and was the story of two married people who happen to meet in a train station, strike up a friendship, and then begin to meet every Thursday thereafter, and “fall in love.” Michael is very sensitive to movies like this, and has a hard time restraining himself from bursting out in intermittent snide comments directed right at the people in the film. “Yeah, you’re not in love, you’re in lust.” “This won’t last.” “The trap is being set.” “What about your wife and kids, buddy?” “Look, they’re walking straight into the snare” and so on. Since the film is almost 70 years old, it’s discreet compared to what is offered today, but I always get a silent kick out of Michael’s reactions to things like this. Because if he were dealing with the actual people instead of the ones portrayed on the screen, he would be merciful, gentle, and patient. He would speak the truth and say very direct things like, “You need to cut this off and return to your wife today,” but he would do so in humility that would make the truth easier to bear.

The wind howled all night and when I got up this morning at 5:30 the outside thermometer read seven below zero. Even when we turn our thermostat down at night and the house cools down, we stay warm because we have two little stove-pipe-shaped dogs who dive under the covers, then come out an hour later panting, all night long. Under the covers and out, under the covers and out. I feel like I’m Edith and Millie’s personal valet during the dark hours. “Oh I’m so sorry, am I not giving you enough room dear? Here, let me move over to the side where I’m almost falling off the bed so you can have more space to stretch out! Oh pardon! I’m sorry I didn’t notice you staring at me in the dark! Let me turn over and lift the covers up so you can tunnel down by our feet to keep yourself warm! I’ll get back to sleep, no worries!” It’s called Indentured Schnauzitude.

I have been craving my mother’s beef and cheese enchiladas lately, so that is what I’m making for dinner tonight. Many of the recipes online call for flour tortillas, but a true enchilada is made from corn tortillas and that’s what I’ll be using. Chopped green chiles, finely diced purple onion, ground cumin, two kinds of grated cheese, enchilada sauce…all baked until the cheese bubbles and served with a generous sprinkling of chopped, fresh cilantro. Yum. What are you having for dinner tonight?

Sunday was my granddaughter Clara’s birthday and as I’ve been doing with my grandbabies these past couple of years, I gave her a list of things to choose from for her gift. She could choose three, and she called to tell me that she wants to 1. spend the night at Grandpa and Grandma’s house, 2. go out to dinner at Old Country Buffet, and 3. pick out a gift at Barnes and Noble. I look forward to her coming over this afternoon because we always have such a nice time together.

I have a book I’d like to give away this week. It’s called The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and you can read a little about it here. It’s a beautifully written book I can’t compare to anything else I’ve ever read, but it would not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you’re squeamish about things like animal trapping. You can win this book if you have never left a comment on my blog before, and you leave one today. 🙂  Your email and personal information is never published and you don’t even have to share your name. A random drawing from those who are leaving a comment for the first time will be held on Thursday and the winner announced then.

I hope you’re staying warm if you live where it’s cold, I hope you’re staying cool if you live where it’s hot, and I hope no matter what’s going on in your life these days, you can find many things to thank God for.

He is with us, and that is His promise.

No Stumbling Around in the Darkness

February 15, 2013 | My Jottings


You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Psalm 18:28  NIV

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5  ESV

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12  NIV

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”
John 8:12   The Message

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I’ve reached the 3ooos in my gratitude journal and I can’t ever imagine not keeping one for the rest of my life. It has grown to be a help, a delight, a refocuser, a praise inspirer, a hope builder, and a regular part of most mornings.

I write down tiny things and huge things; they are all gifts from God to me. I have thanked Him for Millie’s silky ear poking up from the nest of pillows she’s sunk herself into, for the slight taste of honey in my tea, for the coppery color of Mrs. Nisky’s eyelashes, for a funny text from a loved one afar, for the absence of icicles on our roof, for a card or letter in the mail from a beloved friend, for my children all living nearby.

I have thanked Him for being the glue of our 31 year marriage, the light and hope for our family, for salvation, for new mercies every morning, for His Word and how it speaks and transforms, for how the sun rises after a dark night, for the love and faithfulness of my Savior Jesus. I have thanked Him again and again for being the kind of Father who just keeps on working with me, and with my family. And most of you probably already know this, but He’s the kind of Father who will keep on working with you too.

If you’re reading this and that seems a little too far-fetched for you to believe, might you just quietly whisper, “Jesus, if you’re real, and if you love me and want to work with me, will you let me know somehow?”
He will do it.

For all He has done, for all He is doing, for all He will do, I thank Him today.

Daydream Believer

February 14, 2013 | My Jottings

I’m finally taking a few minutes to say hello to my dear (eleven) readers, update you about things around here, and share something from Scripture that spoke tenderly to my heart today.

We had a beautiful blizzard on Sunday. I say beautiful because we never lost power, and we were able to be safely tucked away in our warm home while the snow fell heavily for hours and piled up so high outside that the Schnauzers didn’t want to go potty. The drifts are above their backs, and they would prefer that this not be the case. I know that after Nemo hit, many in the East didn’t have the luxury of heat and water, so I don’t take that for granted. If you’re reading this and you were affected by that storm, I hope things are warm for you again and getting a little bit back to normal.

I finished this book 9780316175661_p0_v1_s260x420a few days ago and as my sister-in-law Christy told me, it was a beautifully written work that was like nothing I’ve ever read. I purchased a copy for a friend, but she opted out when I told her how much animal trapping was in the book (because it’s set in 1920s Alaska), and I completely understood.

Michael and I visited Alaska in 1999 and were awe-struck by its raw beauty. He would have moved there I think, because it’s remote and breathtaking and one can live a fairly solitary life, but at this point in our journey a move to Alaska is not going to happen.

I have been half-contemplating other locations where we might retire, though. As much as we love Minnesota, the winters are getting eons long and the summers are growing hotter by the year. I think Asheville, North Carolina would be perfect for us, because it’s pretty, it’s not the hottest place on earth, and the winters are mild compared to northeastern Minnesota. Then visions of my daughters and grandchildren fill my mind and I realize I can’t leave them. I think they need me, for some reason, which is probably prideful thinking. Like I think I’m indispensable or something. Ha. And I also enjoy and am so grateful for the work I do here, so eventually thoughts of moving vanish like the steam that rises from my teacup that sits at my elbow just now.

I also finished this book a couple of days ago.  978-1-4143-7171-9Are you familiar with The Big Mama Blog? I enjoy Melanie’s humor and (perhaps oddly) the timing and meter of the words in her writing. She can take the most mundane topics and bring her readers to hysterical laughter on almost every page. If you know any young moms who need a bit of encouragement and a few chuckles mixed in with the inevitable tears that accompany child-rearing, this would make a good gift. As a matter of fact, I think it would make a great baby shower gift, because the book is really about how motherhood changes your life, changes you.

And how did Lent sneak up on me this year? It seems like I just took my iPad out of my underwear drawer a couple of months ago when I gave it up for last year’s Lenten season.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not Catholic or Episcopalian (or Methodist or Presbyterian or Baptist or Quaker or Lutheran or Apostolic or EV Free or Church of Christ or Nazarene, so what the heck am I, then?! — perhaps I’m a Bapticostal or a Presbypalian) so observing Lent was never part of my growing up years. (Although I did grow up in a beloved SoCal Baptist church, so I guess I have some denominational roots after all.)

But I long to learn more about observing some of these traditions, because anything that ropes me in, sets me down and helps me focus on the Lord instead of on myself is a good thing. One year for Lent I gave up reading any kind of books. Last year I gave up my iPad. These were things that seemed costly to me, which is what I think the practice should be — not because God wants me to pay this huge price, but because I want to deny myself for a change, and take some more time than I usually do to be with Him, and not live so indulgently. I will probably never say I’m going to give up chocolate or cheese or wheat, because I want to actually succeed at my Lenten observances, not fail on Day One.

I’ve decided this year that I will give up my own morning agenda for Lent, which means I’m going to have a time of prayer and Bible reading every single morning after our gals have breakfast and head off to work. I usually do fit in these quiet times during the week more often than not and am always so blessed and strengthened by them, but “fit in” is the telling phrase here, isn’t it? I am not happy that I’m “fitting in” my time with the Lord when He really is my source of everything.

I realize some who are reading might see right away that I’m a novice at this, so you can pray for me if you would.  9780310755302_p0_v1_s260x420

I like to have a dated, daily Lenten devotional at this time too, so I bought this one after reading someone’s recommendation.

Have you ever read anything by Walter Wangerin? I highly recommend him. The Book of the Dun Cow was stunning and unforgettable, and his Paul: A Novel was brilliant.

Do you observe Lent? If so, how? And do you have any favorite Lenten readings or books? I’d love to know, if you’d be so kind to share about them by leaving a comment below.

And right now I’m also reading a book by Jim Wight, who is the son of Alf Wight, the Yorkshire veterinarian who wrote the incredibly successful and much loved All Creatures Great and Small series under the pseudonym James Herriot. 38737

Michael still loves for me to pick up a Herriot book and one of the chapters out loud to him. He especially enjoys and remembers the chapter about James’s near-fatal incident with an angry, massive bull’s first experience with A. I. (Artificial Insemination); I know without a shadow of a doubt that I could read that chapter to Michael right now and he would laugh so hard the couch would shake. 🙂

And this brings me to some daydreaming I’ve been doing lately, even though I’ve never been much of a daydreamer. Most people who know me might say I’m practical, fairly decisive and live in the present, for the most part. But truth be told, I’m longing for Scotland. Michael and I have only visited one time, yet we loved it so much we vowed we’d return if ever we could. I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it would be to visit Scotland again, which felt like my true home. If Asheville, North Carolina didn’t work out, we could crate up Edith and Mildred and go north to the Scottish Highlands to spend the rest of our earthly lives in a place like this. farm-cottage-canna-island-inner-hebrides-scotland_1680x1050_74041

Can’t you just picture Michael and me living in this cottage on Canna Island in Scotland? It’s the perfect name for our locale, because I’ve been saying for years now, “I canna do this anymore…I canna tackle one more pile of paperwork…I canna cook another meal….I just canna!”

Of course if we lived on Canna Island I guess eating would still be part of the life plan, and I would be willing to compromise and think about fixing some food now and then if I just didn’t have to look at the Paperwork Alps anymore.

But I digress, and it sounds like I’m getting whiny, which I’m not.

And while I’m talking about dreaming of another place, Yorkshire has been there in the clouds of my musings too. We loved Yorkshire. We stayed at this place when we visited there, and we wandered through York and Thirsk, drove the country roads in our rented Vauxhall Vectra, and wished we could have stayed longer than three days. There was so much to see and experience but we had reservations to see Les Miserables in London, and had to move on. York_MinsterIf we ever return to England, we would like to see the York Minster again, but for an actual service or two instead of just a tour (which was wonderful enough!).

Now, should I dare share another daydream? I’ve been thinking about painting our kitchen cabinets. I haven’t decided if I will yet, because I said I was going to live with what we have and make no further changes in this new house. Well. I would sort of like to paint the bottom cabinets dark green, and the upper cabinets a creamy, warmish white.

If you can’t remember what our modern, cherry cabinets look like, here’s a link to a post I published when we first moved into this house seven months ago. The post was about painting our lime green fireplace (we painted it dark red) but you can see the cabinets in some of the photos if you’re interested. You may be able to see they have an orange-ish hue to them. And we have black granite counters and stainless appliances, which are also very modern looking, a stretch for someone drawn to traditional everything.

So I went looking online to see if I could find any photos of kitchens with black counter tops, green lower cabinets, and creamy white upper cabinets. I like this kitchen below, and am trying to envision how this combination might look in our space. The colors would certainly be fine with the other jewel tones in the house, I’m just not sure about the cabinets themselves.

134756213821578314_M1EsrWwM_cEven if I decided to embark on this project, it wouldn’t be for a long while, so for now I’m just daydreaming a bit. 🙂

Lastly, I wanted to share something I read from the book of Ephesians this morning. In Community Bible Study we just finished our 18 week study in the gospel of Mark and are now beginning our 12 weeks in Ephesians. As I sat in my plaid comfy chair and gazed occasionally out on Lake Superior and the ice that has formed on its surface, I pondered these verses from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and to us:

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”   (The Message Bible)

I don’t know about any of you, but I needed reminding today that Christ’s love for me has extravagant dimensions. I needed the heartening news that God will infuse me with a glorious inner strength. And that He invites me to experience the breadth, length, depths and heights of His love for me. And his love for you is the same — beyond measuring, never failing, always faithful, and forever with your best in His mind!

Lord Jesus, I confess that I can be very self-focused and tunnel-visioned. Sometimes when it seems like I’m waiting forever or in vain for your answers to my deepest prayers, I feel like I lose strength. And I think sometimes I actually forget about your love for me. Thank you for this gift from your Word today, and how you always turn my face and my eyes and my heart back to you. Thank you that I don’t have to measure up, but that you reach down. I praise you Lord, that I don’t have to fix myself or put my pieces back together, and that you do that, day by day, as I walk with you. And Lord, I lift up to you every person reading these words. Plant his/her feet firmly on your love, help him/her open the door and invite you in, whether it’s the first time ever, the millionth time, or just the first time in a long time. Teach us what it means to truly follow you. Help us all to experience your great love.  Amen!

May your week be blessed, dear family and friends…..thank you again for stopping by,

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 96

February 13, 2013 | My Jottings


When you have come to the edge
Of all light that you know
And are about to drop off into the darkness
Of the unknown,
Faith is knowing
One of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on or
You will be taught to fly

–Patrick Overton

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Swiss Treat and Sweet

February 7, 2013 | My Jottings

My friend Helen in Switzerland had a giveaway on her blog recently, and I was one of the winners. I was thrilled when she emailed to tell me a little something was on its way to Minnesota, and it arrived yesterday.

Helen is one of the most creative, efficient, cheerful people I know but haven’t met. The quilting and knitting projects she completes in just one month would be my lifetime list. She was born in England, met her Swiss husband in the States, and lives in a beautiful part of Switzerland (are there any ugly parts of Switzerland?) with her family.

Here’s the quilted mug rug she made for me:


I shall place my hot cup of tea on this lovely mini-quilt and remember always that Helen made it.

Next, and totally unexpected, she sent this:


Have any of you ever sampled Swiss Hüppen? They’re the thinnest, most delicate wafers rolled around different flavored creams, and Michael and I think Switzerland might be worth visiting just for these. 🙂  His favorite was the Gianduja (hazelnut and chocolate) and mine was the Mocca.

Quirky Mildred is always uneasy with new items in the house. Here she is, purposely not looking at the mug rug, which she suspects might hurt her in some way.


I think you should take a look at the beautiful things Helen creates on her blog, here.

But please try not to think about how when she offers the occasional gifts on her blog, they’re beautiful, handmade, delicious and unique, and how when I offer a gift on my blog it’s a can of bread with a label that says B&M. Try not to compare the two, okay?

Thank you again Helen!

Now I’m off to make a cup of tea, and I’ll enjoy my new mug rug and a Swiss treat to go along with it.

The Breadwinner!

February 5, 2013 | My Jottings

I thought it was fun to read about so many of your breakfast habits, and your opinions on breakfast! Thank you to all who commented.

As promised, one person will receive a can of B&M Brown Bread, and that person is……(drumroll)….Ginny!

Ginny, I will get your can of bread to you very soon, and I hope you’ll report back here to let everyone know what you thought of it, okay?

Have a great week everyone,