Gratitude and Happiness

November 27, 2013 | My Jottings

Yesterday I took a couple of hours and updated our dining room chalkboard wall. If you’ve never seen the first drawing I did, you can click here to take a peek.

I wanted to draw something that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving, and later next month if I can get it together I plan on doing a drawing with a Christmas theme. I searched around the web for a few minutes and found what I wanted to do on this blog.

I’m fairly satisfied with how it turned out:


I’m preaching to myself with this message, you know?

And we also have a beautiful centerpiece on the table, ready for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. I love the feathers Sara put in this year’s creation! All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. Can you find the turnip in the arrangement? 🙂



We will have fifteen people here, and we’ll enjoy all the traditional fixings — turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted asparagus, rolls, pies and more. My favorite part of the day is always when we go around the table to say what we’re thankful for. The only one who won’t be able to share tomorrow is the newest member of our family, little Louisa, who is 16 months old. When it’s her turn she’ll probably say, “Uh? Uh?” and we’ll all get a kick out of that. But all of us are thankful to the very bottom of our hearts for her, and I know she’ll be mentioned.

I hope no matter what you’re going through, you’ll be able to give thanks tomorrow.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

With much love and prayers for you, my friends and family…

All I want for Christmas is this dining room…

November 25, 2013 | My Jottings

That’s not really true, what I really want for Christmas only God can give. But I saw this dining room in the Ballard Designs catalog that comes to our home, and I stopped when I turned to this page and said, “Wow.”

Now I have everything I need and have long been in a place in my life where I’m not in the gathering mood, but in the giving mood. I’m careful about what comes into our home because I value open spaces and organization. I appreciate having no clutter, and most things I like I don’t buy because I don’t need more than I already have.

But if you’ve read my blog for very long you know I love any kind of Scottish plaid. And you know I love toile. Just take a look at the design of my blog and you’ll see the toile. As a matter of fact, just type in the word “toile” in the search field at the left side of my blog and you’ll see a few blog posts with photos of all the ways in which I have loved toile over the years.

And I like black, and I like red, and I like blues and greens. And we have a fireplace in our dining room, so this look would be something we could easily do.


A little green paint on the walls, a little online order for a new black trestle table and some toile and plaid dining room chairs and, voila! this would be our look.

But I’m not going to do it. I only just dreamed about it a little bit. I’m not willing to spend the money on the (I think) pricey chairs and table, because what we have suits us just fine.

Even though I suppose it’s not healthy, I’ve been daydreaming a bit lately. Wondering what it would be like to have this dining room, picturing what a little cottage in the Scottish Highlands would be like, trying to remember what life was like when my husband was strong and healthy and we could have a normal conversation. When we could kneel together and pray for those we loved. And I’ve been trying to recall if I’ve ever been someone easy to live with, and I’m not sure I want to ponder that answer. I sound like a broken record when I say this, but how thankful I am that the Lord promises new mercies for His children every single morning.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving week, my friends!

The Stethoscope

November 18, 2013 | My Jottings

I know this has been around for a while, but I enjoyed it again yesterday and thought I would share. It brought a smile, and then tears.

What do you think?

Friday Trifles

November 15, 2013 | My Jottings

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

C. S. Lewis

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Our sunrises and sunsets have been so beautiful lately! The other evening Sharon called and said, “Go look at the sunset!” and I went outside to the west side of our house to see the salmon and periwinkle glow all across the horizon, with purple streaks of clouds that made me draw a breath at its gorgeousness.

Yesterday morning when I silenced the early alarm and sat up to put on my slippers, I noticed the glow in our bedroom. Everything looked magenta. I went to get the camera so you could see it too. Keep in mind that the curtains you see on the windows below are off-white, and that will give you an idea of how deeply colored the light from the brilliant sunrise was.


I got up close to the window (you can see the screen if you click on the photo) and took this shot of the sunrise over Lake Superior, which I think is astonishingly beautiful.


Normally I would be watching Louisa today, but I woke up sick this morning. I have a sore throat, dry cough, and just feel a bit tired. So Louisa will not be coming over to sweetly run through the house pointing at seventy-four things and asking in her 16 month-old way, “Uh? Uh?” She actually makes two smooth syllables out of each uh with the last syllable being upturned like a question, and it’s adorable. Never has a child been so expressive with one sound!  🙂

I am hoping to lay low, to read perhaps, and if I feel good enough I’ll fold the clean laundry. I always fold laundry sitting on our big king-sized bed, while listening to some soft music, and I’m still on my Audrey Assad kick.

Our younger Schnauzer Mildred exasperated me last night. I was on the phone with my friend Denel, and right as I watched, Millie came strolling in to our bedroom, squatted nonchalantly six feet in front of me and peed on the carpet. And I had just let her outside. I cleaned it up right away but noticed that the spot didn’t show at all and didn’t smell either, which I suppose would be something to be thankful for, except that it sent my mind going about how many other times she might have peed on the carpet and because it doesn’t show and doesn’t smell, I haven’t known about it!? Ugh.

Also, we recently had our home care assessment/intake meeting with a registered nurse who works for a local agency. We learned what is available to us, and it looks like twice a week a home care attendant will come in to help Michael shower. I’m grateful for that, and am hoping the person assigned to him is a patient and kind man. They nurse interviewing us said we could also have light housekeeping done, a meal prepared for Michael, laundry done, and that they could also play cards with him. I don’t need the housekeeping part or the laundry, and Michael is no longer able to understand well enough to play cards, but the help with showering will be a blessing. I hope he responds well to it. When the nurse asked Michael (in a too loud voice — I know people do that when they know someone is impaired, although Michael’s hearing is excellent) “Would you like to have help with showering?” and Michael answered, “I like it when my wife helps me.” So we’ll see….

In addition, an Occupational Therapist will come sometime soon to assess Michael’s walking, and hopefully work with him on learning to use the walker. He has struggled with this because he can’t remember to keep the walker close to his body, which is important for maintaining balance.

Lastly, this morning our son-in-law Jeremy called to say that the group of men Michael used to deer hunt with contacted him to say they had an extra deer, and did Michael and Jeremy want to split it? Jeremy came to pick up Michael this morning, and they used the truck to go pick up the deer. Jeremy will butcher it soon and there will be some venison chops and roasts in our freezers, for our profound and long-lasting enjoyment this winter. If you’re good at detecting sarcasm, you caught that one. 🙂 Sara just came into the office where I’m typing and said with some alarm, “Mom, there’s a dead deer in the garage.” So I had to explain to her how it came to be, and remind her that Dad has lived a Minnesota deer hunting life for over fifty years now.  Although yesterday when Michael and I were driving, a huge 20-point buck with a thick neck and a majestic bearing crossed the road in front of us and we slowed down to admire him. Michael said, “I don’t ever want to kill another deer” and I understood what he meant. But if a former hunting friend offers one to you, the Minnesota Polite thing to do is to accept it, butcher it, store it in your freezer, and enjoy the clean, organic, grass-fed meat for the next ten years several months on your own table.

I think this is enough trivia for this morning. I am going to clean the kitchen now before I try to take a morning nap. Have a blessed Friday, my friends, and don’t forget to show someone in your life how much you care. Probably the ones who need it the most are the ones we see day after day and whose presence we might be taking for granted.

Looking up with you,

Garlands, a Grandson and Grace

November 13, 2013 | My Jottings

Last Saturday one of our grandchildren, Mr. McBoy, spent the night with us. He’s always such good company and I enjoy having him here. He’s eleven years old now and in the sixth grade, but he’s so tall and composed I think people could easily mistake him for a teen. Not that I know many teens who are composed, but you get my meaning — he seems older than he is.

We did what we usually do. We played Farkle, a couple of hands of Gin, we read some good books aloud, talked a lot, and gave each other hand massages. Then we did something we don’t usually do — we went to visit my friend Pat’s beautiful black horse Doc. Pat brought Doc out of his corral so we could pet him, feed him a bit, brush him, and watch as she cleaned his feet. Mr. McBoy loved it. He was able to feed Doc a handful of green grass and that simple act made him so happy. I think visiting Pat and Doc might have been the highlight of Mr. McBoy’s visit. When I drove him home on Sunday afternoon, we took turns recounting all the things we had done while he was with us. “We had sausage and eggs for breakfast.” “You whooped me at several games of Gin.” “You read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to me while I took a bath.” “You helped me do my first Christmas garland.” “I got to see Pat’s horse.” And so on. It sounds simple perhaps, but it feels lovely and right to me when each time I spend with a grandchild ends with such recounting of blessings and gifts.

As mentioned above, another thing we did while Mr. McBoy was here was work on some paper Christmas garlands to hang from our dining room mantel. He worked on the cardinal garland, and the next day when Carolyn came over I enlisted her help so I could finish the Merry Christmas garland.

I have two Thanksgiving garlands planned too. I’m not sure why I jumped the gun and completed the Christmas ones first, but things are sometimes a little confusing around here, so I guess I’ve just joined that club. I usually don’t decorate for Christmas until at least the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll post pictures of the Thanksgiving garlands when I’m done with those.


Mr. McBoy punched holes in a deck of cardinal cards, and I strung them together with some rough twine. The upper garland took a little more time. Carolyn cut out the plaid paper squares and the smaller white squares for me, and I drew the letters with a green Sharpie and outlined them in black. The twisted metallic cording is red, green and gold, and there are a few little white glittery snowflakes too. You can click to enlarge the photos if you like.


I was able to go to Community Bible Study yesterday and was so grateful for that. Michael was walking well enough in the morning that I felt okay about leaving him for those two hours. I know things might not always be this way, but on the days when this is possible I will seize the opportunities. Today he and I will go out to lunch, and then later in the afternoon we have our first in-home assessment with a health care agency. I have no idea what to expect or what we’ll be eligible for, but I know this is the next step in our journey with Michael’s Parkinson’s.

I feel like my life is getting so small that I don’t have much to share that’s interesting for this little blog anymore, not that the things I’ve shared in the past were that interesting. I do know that in God’s economy nothing is wasted, and just because someone’s life becomes more reclusive and focused doesn’t necessarily mean that huge things aren’t happening. I do have that sense, that while things on the outside might look and sometimes seem confined, whatever is happening in the spiritual realm has great purpose and is very precious to God. That knowledge is beauty and grace enough for me.

Thank you for stopping by here today…I pray this very minute that God will bless and keep you all today,

Spam…a lot

November 8, 2013 | My Jottings

Spam /noun/ — Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.


I don’t understand Spam. I find it perplexing why my husband has always liked the “meat product” by Hormel called Spam. Years ago he used to buy it for himself when he would occasionally grocery shop. It didn’t seem to bother him that the block of soft, pink meat would slide out of the can covered in slimy gelatin and smell like someone’s serious digestive disturbance. He liked it on sandwiches and fried up in a pan. I can proudly attest to never having tasted one morsel of Spam in my life.

The other kind of Spam has not been so easy for me to elude. I find it in my blog’s spam folder a lot, and I don’t understand it either. There were nine spam comments in my spam folder this morning, and I thought I’d generously share with you all what some people all over the world spend their time doing.

These are a few word-for-word comments left on my blog (that got tagged as spam, thankfully):

1. Superior Net-website! I necessary to ask if I may webpages and use a element of the net world wide web website and use a couple of aspects for just about any school job. Remember to inform me by way of electronic mail whether or not that would be excellent. Many many thanks.

2. Excellent put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

3. Other news reports on drug cartels and Mexico in 2010 included a raid in South America where a totally submersible submarine, to be used for drug smuggling, was found under construction in the jungle, the murder of a U. Moreover, it is not a good idea to purchase a prescription drug online without seeing first your doctor even if you fill out a health-probing questionnaire. Even so the trends are commuting and more and more people prefer to purchase drugs from Online Stores. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world.

4. I all the time used to read piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

5. Just a tip – I bought several really cheap little carpet dots the other day and affixed them to the bottom of the feet of my dining room chairs. No more scraping along the floor boards when my daughter makes use of them like a walker!

6. While interesting while little league can be, it can be quite a lot of work to perform distinct goes. What’s more, it Presented a lot of online games in on-line. Declare “one, a pair of, about three, a number of, a few, a number of, about three, a pair of, one particular.”

If you have a blog you know what I’m talking about. And of course our email inboxes can often have a few ugly, unmentionable spam messages there as well.

With all there is to do in the world, I just don’t get it. Think of all the books to be read, the walks in the woods, the sunrises to enjoy, lonely people to connect with, jobs to perform, meals to prepare, houses to clean, friends to encourage, naps to take. It’s hard for me to understand why so many people spend their time spamming other people who don’t want their spam. It can’t be that lucrative, can it? Does anyone have insight on this?

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 108

November 6, 2013 | My Jottings

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets….


…When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

~~ C.S. Lewis

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The House You’re Building

November 2, 2013 | My Jottings

This is one of the songs from a CD that’s on repeat mode in our house these days. If I’ve played it once I’ve played it fifty or eighty-nine times and I’m not through yet. So many of the songs from this CD seem to place a comforting, soothing hand to the dryest part of my soul, and this is one of them.

This debut CD (and song) is called “The House You’re Building” and the gifted artist is Audrey Assad. I watched an interview in which Audrey shares how this song came to be. It’s about feeling like you don’t belong, like you’re a misfit, and wonder where your place is in the world. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt that way. 🙂

It’s beautiful and powerful. Take a listen.

Yeah these are old shoes that I’ve been walking in
I’m wearing weary like it’s a second skin
I’ve been looking for a place to lay my head

All this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger
I’ve been wandering
All my life you’ve been calling me
To a home you know I’ve been needing

I’m a broken stone
So lay me in the house you’re building

You are a shelter for every misfit soul
We are the four walls and you’re the cornerstone
You are
And you’re the solid rock that we are built upon

And all this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger
I’ve been wandering
And all my life you’ve been calling me
To a home you know that I’ve been needing

I’m a broken stone
So lay me in the house you’re building

‘Cause in you I find my meaning, yeah
And in you I find my beauty

All this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger
I’ve been wandering
All my life you’ve been calling me
To a home you know I’ve been needing

All this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger
I’ve been wandering
All my life you’ve been calling me
To a home you know I’ve been needing
I’m a broken stone
So lay me in the house you’re building

Lay me in the house you’re building
In the house you’re building

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So are you an Audrey Assad fan or is this possibly your first listen? I guess I’ve been living in a cave because I just heard of her less than a year ago. I guess I’m a little out of touch with Christian music lately…I’m still playing all my old favorites.

What a blessing her music and lyrics are to me at this time of my life….