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Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Note of Encouragement

These vintage daisy sequins were part of a mixed bag of trims I discovered in a small shop in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The little price tag says ‘Woolco’.

To create this card I used Craft Concepts Funky Flowers embossing folder and attached the sequins using Stampin’ Up’s Stampin’ Dimensionals – the only adhesive in my box of choices that made the sequins stick. The stamped Bible verse is from the Stampin’ Up set  Say It With Scripture.

Wednesday Potpourri

  • Today was the last day of school. So many goodbyes, hugs and tears. Presents received included the Gerbera Daisy pictured below, Chinese candies and sea shells.
  • Picked my first basil today.
    Overnight, my daylilies have bloomed enmass. Bright orange blossoms on tall stalks.
  • Have a bumper crop of chipmunks this year. I like them, but draw the line at having them visit the office. I chased one curious little bugger back outdoors where he belongs.
  • Bumper to bumper beach traffic is here – even on the weekdays.
  • ‘Corn and pickles’ are code words.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer.

Unexpected Blessings

Two plates of cookies – extras from a family celebration – awaited the school bus driver and me this morning at little M’s stop. Her Italian grandmother takes great pleasure in sharing with others. Last week she gave us lettuce from her garden. At Christmas we received a bottle of homemade wine. Her gifts are personal and from her bounty. No money needed. Just an open heart and the desire to bless others.


“My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:15

Transitions make me uncomfortable. Big or small, I don’t like those in-between times. Leaving church or work, my ‘good’ clothes feel uncomfortable and I want to get home and change. But even the physical act of undressing and redressing is bothersome as I struggle to re-focus my energy. Preparing to go on vacation, traveling to a chosen destination, I’m anxious. I’m between home and there – in limbo. Is it any wonder the huge, sometimes traumatic life changes leave me gasping like a guppy out of water?

The school year ends this week. My schedule changes and I’ll work only one job instead of two. Should I make a ‘bucket list’ for summer? Things I want to do and things I should do? Will I stay vigilant maintaining my weight loss? I’m in that uncomfortable zone anticipating the switch from my winter schedule to my summer schedule.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Even the transitions. The in-between times.

In creating time, God could have skipped the transition times. How often I’ve wished I could wiggle my nose like Samantha on the old TV program Bewitched, and ‘pop’, I’m in a new place, a new time. But God didn’t create time that way. He wants me to travel the bridge between the old and the new all the while leaning on Him.

Guess I’d better figure out how to be comfortable with the daily and seasonal transitions so when the next big change comes along, my focus will remain on God and His plan for me


“Words are a mirror of their times. By looking at the areas in which the vocabulary of a language is expanding fastest in a given period, we can form a fairly accurate impression of the chief preoccupations of society at that time.”
John Ayto, lexicographer

Meet Helpful Harry

This digest size black and white booklet was given to my Aunt Yvonne by her sister, my Aunt Alsetia. Though there is no publication date inside, the cartoon pictures scattered throughout have the early 1950’s look.

A far cry from Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, the booklet is filled with housekeeping hints delivered in corny prose. Sometimes ‘Harry’ sounds condescending, and other times just plain silly. I roll my eyes and giggle my way through this booklet. It’s a product of its time. The charm lies in the marks my Aunt Yvonne made next to several entries. She obviously liked some of the tips ‘Harry’ shared.


Here’s one that’s tough, on the ant and I don’t mean Aunt Minnie – I mean A-N-T, ant. I know one gal on our street who goes berserk about the thing – utterly ruthless. Goes running to the corner drug store and says “Gimme some plaster of paris” – runs all the way home, mixes that plaster of paris with as much sugar – spreads it around the house and sits down with murder in her eyes. Know what happens? Those ants gourmandize (which is highfalutin for over-eatin’) – the plaster of paris hardens in their tummies and they take a short cut to Heaven, or elsewhere, depending on the kind of life they’ve led.

I’ll share more of Harry’s tips in the future.

The Sweet Taste of Summer

Sweet Basil

On Saturday, I planted my sweet basil in containers on the deck. The plants are tiny and tender, but it won’t be long before I have plenty for salads and pesto.

With an abundance of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in supermarkets and at farm stands, the following recipe is one of my favorite summer salads. It’s super easy. I toss it together to taste, so have estimated the quantities here. Enjoy.

Tomato Salad

4 Roma tomatoes diced
1 small cucumber – peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
1/2 of small red onion – sliced in thin rings
1/4 cup sweet basil, cut in thin strips
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

Toss everything together and chill for 30 minutes before serving.

To make this a main dish, add chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese.

For more of a Greek flavor, add feta cheese and black olives. Replace the red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar.

Paint Chip Peccadillo

Used to be the color white was just …white. In a world that insists on giving me more choices than I can handle, Basic White has been joined by Cottage White, White Truffle, Vermont Cream, Clear Moon, Snowy Egret, Cotton Whisper and Angel Food, just to name a few.

Honestly? I can not see the difference between some of these colors. One paint chip looks as white as the other. I wonder if perhaps they are the same color assigned multiple names, because no matter how good the marketing, it all comes down to customer choice. And there are days I would choose, hands down, Angel Food over Cottage White.

I’ve collected a stack of Behr paint chips from the local big box. I love the way this paint spreads so when a project looms, I dutifully stand at the Color Center altar and contemplate the colors before me in relation to the vision in my head. Then I start pulling chips.

The latest project had its beginnings last fall. The exterior doors – front and back – needed painting. I brought home paint chips that all looked pretty much the same and held them against the newly installed portals to see which matched. Then for one reason or another, the paint never got bought and the project languished.

Until this past weekend.

Finally, the planets aligned and offered me good weather and time on the same day. In my rush to get errands done, I left the house without my paint chip, but I was positive the name of it was Polar White. The nice man at the Big Box assured me he could create the paint without the chip. With the magic of his computer, he looked up the name and mixed my paint. While the can was on the shaking machine (the industry must have a better name for it), something in our conversation made him go to the Color Center and pull the paint chip for me.

Pale Blue. Polar White is pale, pale blue.

And that does not match the white door frames or gray siding of my house. A white that isn’t even white.

Seeing the horror on my face, the nice man told me not to worry and to go home and get my paint chip. Thankfully, there is an OOPS shelf for paint mixing errors.

I left the store upset that I had remembered incorrectly, cost the store a quart of paint, put myself behind schedule because now I would have to go back to the store and, in general, feeling just plain stupid. Oh, and when I got to my car I realized I’d taken the paint stick with me – for the paint I didn’t purchase. Sheesh!

I couldn’t get back to the store until the following morning. This time I had my chip in my hot little hands. I got my quart of primer and paint all in one can, and painted both doors with two coats. They are lovely. They match the trim perfectly. I admire them each time I make an entrance.

Oh, the name of the color white I chose?

Gallery White.

I know. How embarrassing. Can’t tell you where Polar White came from. Perhaps the Behr logo, that little bear in the corner of the paint chip, muddled me up. Anyway, thats my story and I’m sticking to it!

My Father

“Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Ephesians 6: 2 – 3

I know how fortunate I am to have a father that has always been present in my life. His love for Mommy and us kids has always been a constant in my life. I thank God for blessing me with Daddy.

My Father’s Love For Me  by Sally DeFord


The God of earth and heaven, almighty and all wise
Who rules o’er every nation from his throne amid the skies
Who grants us life and daily bread, and every perfect gift
Bids us call him “Father,” and freely come to him

And I have learned to trust his providence to know and fill my needs
As I have seen his goodness mirrored in my earthly father’s deeds

The Spirit beareth witness within the hearts of men
Teaching truth and righteousness; defending us from sin;
Comforting our sorrow; guiding us in prayer;
Calling us God’s children; confirming us his heirs

And I have learned to heed this counselor in every doubtful choice
As I have heard his gentle wisdom echoed in my father’s voice

Our Savior left his Father’s throne to mark our earthly path
To lead us home, inheritors of all the Father hath
To suffer every mortal grief that man may ever know
To bear the pain of all our sin as though it were his own

And I have learned to give my heart to him who died on Calvary
As I have felt his love reflected in my father’s love for me.

I have learned to trust the perfect love of him I cannot see
For he has given me this parable: my father’s love for me.

Three Undervalued Skills

“Just because we increase the speed of information doesn’t mean we can increase the speed of decisions. Pondering, reflecting and ruminating are undervalued skills in our culture.”

Dale Dauten

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