Monday, November 30, 2009

Lazy Day on Monday

Mondays are often lazy days of creativity for me so I thought I would do something different. Emily enjoys this game of "hunting" and usually she's more enthusiastic while playing, so I thought this (first!) creative effort of a video would be appropriately named "Lazy Day for Emily." There is also music so make sure your volume is on and enjoy it with me.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Silly Photo Saturday

Emily still enjoys playing hide-n-seek and she's still good at it, need I say more? These are some silly photos of Emily under a polar bear. Who would think to look there? The bottom photo is Emily peeking over the table, wondering if anyone is looking for her.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Frosty Fingerprints on Friday

The trees are mostly bare now, the leaves are on the ground so a simple covering of frost can really brighten my morning. The sun was coming up so I knew it would be gone soon, a sight we rarely see until winter so it's a treat for me. Somedays I actually miss the snow, but frost covering the ground is a beauty of nature as well, something to be thankful for today, and reminds me to appreciate more fingerprints of God in nature every day.

Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God. - Jean Anouilh

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday: A Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for...everything. Family, home, health...even the beauty of nature comes to mind to be thankful for today. So I am thankful. I like this poem/prayer written by Walter Rauschenbusch simply because he mentions all our senses to be thankful and appreciate all or maybe he's trying to tell us to use our good sense to be thankful. I don't expect to feel any snow today, but I did enjoy the frosty weather this morning with Emily, trying to capture (only in photos) some of the birds that visit us in the early morning.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

O God, we thank you for this earth, our home,
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never resting winds,
For the trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to this beauty,
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory.
O God, our creator,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Aromatherapy

Close your eyes, take a whiff of something you like, (could be food, flowers, candles...) relax and enjoy the sensation...this is my version of aromatherapy. They say (A World of Aromatherapy) it dates back 5000 years or so, one of the oldest methods of holistic healing, but I'm guessing it's been around as long as people have been around, they just had different names for it. The term wasn't coined until 1937 because of a French chemist, Rene Gattefosse, who discovered the healing powers of lavender oil after burning his hand in his laboratory. So he published a book about the anti-microbial effects of the oils and the term "aromatherapy" made its way to the public. I'm thinking lavender oil was used to treat quite a few things since it was abundant in France (lavender fields.) The healing power of essential oils are capable of not only treating our physical aches and pains, but they also have an impact on enhancing our state of mind. This is why when we breathe in something pleasing, we say, "Ahh..." and that makes us feel better all around. Lavender oil can be found in bath-n-body or baby products since its so soothing and relaxing, but its also great for relieving anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress. I had my nose stuck in these bowls of wonderful scents yesterday, looks like yummy pudding, but don't eat it...they're lotions I made...Hummingbird (orange) and Vanilla Lavender (blue) and Aloe & White Lilac (green.) These all remind me of something special, just by taking a whiff and enjoying my aromatherapy every chance I get. I definitely need more aromatherapy in my days.

Can you smell it? Ahh, so relaxing...enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Silly Photo Saturday

These are some silly photos of Emily helping me with the laundry, one of her favorite chores of the day. When she was a smaller, curious cat, she would jump into my dryer every time I would empty it out and wait there until I would pick her up. Now she usually waits at the dryer door with her paws on it until I empty it out and follows me to fold up the clothes in the living room, where we have plenty of room to play (um, I mean do our chore?) She enjoys playing with the laundry baskets, jumping in and out of them and pushing them all over the room. I enjoy watching her having fun whatever time of day it happens to be when I'm folding the laundry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fingerprints on Friday

This is one situation that seems rather unusual to me, tree limbs growing so close to the ground or is it another tree all-together? I probably wouldn't even have noticed except for the pretty autumn colors that caught my attention. The rest of the tree is bare as you can see in the photo below, as are all of our trees in our front yard (this is in our neighbor's yard.) I enjoy these warm autumn colors, even when the sun is shining brightly as today. The colors are richer and seem warmer on cloudy days but I still prefer a nice sunny day for a walk most days. This little attention-getter reminds me to appreciate more of the fingerprints of God that we see in nature every day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for all the times we get together and especially times like this one, when we can all share a good laugh together. I'm holding my phone in this photo, representing all the other people that I carry with me in my heart everywhere I go and try to share good laughs with too, even though we may be far away at the moment.
God wants from me
a very special favor;
He wants me to teach my mind
How to smile all the time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Autumn Flowers

When we look at a flower
We get the fragrance of a flower.
Lo, for a few seconds
Our consciousness ascends
And we become self-giving.
Sri Chinmoy

Monday, November 16, 2009

Davy Crockett State Park

We visited the Davy Crockett State Park this weekend. Davy Crockett was the "Spirit of the Frontier." He is usually pictured with his raccoon hat, known for being an Indian fighter and hunter, but he also fought in the Alamo for the independence of Texas from Mexico and died a hero. So they have a monument for Davy Crockett's birthplace and a state park named after him. There was a covered bridge, some little waterfalls and the kids told me that they could see the fish swimming in the little river. I never could see any but they assured me they were there. There were trails to hike and even though most of the leaves were on the ground rather than the trees, it was an enjoyable hike through the woods on a warm autumn day.

"Be always sure you are right, then go ahead." - Davy Crockett

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Art

I read an article today from the Catholic News about a new art exhibit at the Indianapolis Art Museum that features Catholic artwork and artifacts, from 17th century painters and artists from Spain and Latin America. I'm a little far away today to go visit this exhibition, so I took the virtual tour at
This is a painting done by El Greco, titled "Holy Face" and is dated 1586. This image represents St. Veronica holding the linen Jesus used to wipe his blood and sweat from his face on his way to Calvary, and it left an imprint of his features on this linen. I believe that El Greco used an image of a woman that was asthetically pleasing to him and used the name Veronica (not found in the Bible) since the latin phrase "vero-icona" means "true picture" so she represents the personification of the object she carries. Artists are known to do these things. I believe there is a shroud and a woman who was there for Jesus, but her name probably wasn't Veronica...that's all I'm saying.
The name of the exhibition is "Sacred Spain: Art and Belief in the Spanish World" and the curator would like to see the viewers "not just looking at the images but also contemplating them." She also said, "They are functional objects. They weren't made strictly for decoration. They were made to convey meaning. The church in the 17th century had very precise notions of how works of art should function in religious practice."
At the entrance to the first gallery, titled "In Defense of Images" there is this explanation: "In 1563, faced with allegations of idolatry and abuse, the Council of Trent (1545-1563) reaffirmed the usefullness of images as a means for the instruction and edification of the faithful."
I enjoy viewing these images as well as contemplating them and I believe this is an important part of art history as well as religious history. A while back, in 2005, a Catholic church in a nearby town, had four people disrupt mass and destroy a century old altar. This took place before communion and the people ran up to the altar and shouted that Catholics worship idols. They went behind the altar and shoved it down the steps, destroying it in front of the whole congregation. This particular church was exhibiting a sacred relic of the past and these people thought it was being stored inside the altar. Thankfully, they were wrong about that too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Silly Photo Saturday

These are some silly photos of Emily, taken before we got our new couches this summer. When we have to sleep in the living room, we get out this mat for cushioning on the floor (it's not usually just placed behind the couch like that.) So Emily thought it made a fun tent for her one night before we were ready to put it on the floor and she played happily going back and forth around it. Who needs expensive toys when you have an imagination to get creative?

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's just bad luck...knock on wood

Knock on wood, black cats, standing under ladders...all superstitions that probably started centuries ago in faraway places, but we get to thinking about these things when the calendar says Friday the 13th. So I have another superstition story about the number 13 that I found amusing and still makes me wonder about luck and such things...

This is a story from the Vikings (they had their own gods) about the superstition of having 13 people together, say at dinner.

And Loki makes 13...

Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil one, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the number of dinner guests to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki, and hurled it at Balder (with Loki's help) killing him instantly. And all of Valhalla was grief stricken. So one might take the moral of this story to be "beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," but the Norse apparently concluded that 13 at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

How many dinner guests were at the Last Supper? That's right, 12 disciples and Jesus makes 13...and one of them betrayed Jesus...bad luck or just plain bad judgement?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feather dusters of nature

I have noticed more and more of these feathery plants in our area and I saw this one at the botanical gardens. Isn't it funny how something so simple in design can really catch your attention? I like the way they planted it in front of this little tree that seems to mimic its design and they both look like old fashioned feather dusters to me. The color is wonderful! The feathery purple tops look so soft, yet when you get closer, it definitely resembles coarse grass and I think it's a type of muhly grass, wild but people do plant these often to define edges of a garden area, or at least that's what I've observed around here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Display the flag, watch a parade, thank a soldier for their service (past or present) and pray for all the veterans's Veteran's Day. This is a photo of my husband just 2 weeks before my youngest daughter, Mary, was born...notice the cheesy grin. This photo always makes me laugh. The poem below is about caring for a soldier and I used to carry it around with me all the time, along with some polaroids of my husband riding a camel in the desert - he was in Desert Shield/Storm long time ago. Now it's in one of my photo albums, next to some photos of my husband while he was in Korea (put there much later.) It's good to revisit these things on days like today and remember all the Veterans in our family...past or present and say a prayer and thank them all for fighting for our freedom.
Caring about a Soldier

Caring about a soldier

isn't always easy,

and caring is a high price to pay.

It's caring for him with nothing to hold,

It's being young, yet feeling old.

It's having him whisper he cares for you.

It's whispering back, you care too.

Then comes a kiss, a promise with emotion.

Knowing you're watched and approved with devotion.

Reluctantly, painfully letting him go,

While you're dying inside because you're scared so.

Watching him leave with your eyes full of tears.

Standing alone with hopes, dreams and fears.

It's sending a letter with a stamp upside down,

To a faraway man in a faraway town.

It's going to church to kneel and to pray,

And really meaning the things you say.

Days go by and no mail for a spell.

You wait for some word to hear he is well.

Then a letter arrives and you're given its joy.

You become like a child with a shining new toy.

With fingers trembling and heart beating fast,

You tear open his letter and read it at last,

And it's filled with the words you wanted to hear.

Weeks are a month and months are a year.

You're waiting for the day you'll have no more to fear.

Time passes slowly, yet has gone very fast.

You are barely aware it's here till it's passed.

Yes, caring about a soldier brings bitterness and tears,

Loneliness, sadness, despondence and fears.

Caring about a soldier won't bring him closer,

But it's well worth the wait when the battle is over.

Remember he's thinking many thoughts every day.

He's sad and lonely from being away.

So think about him and try to be bolder,

And always be proud of caring about a soldier.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art is not easy

The colors of autumn are beginning to diminish but I enjoy them until the very last of the leaves are gone, as are evident in our poor little trees in front of our house already. So sometimes I have to venture out to look for more colors of autumn. This drive found us near the Elk River to enjoy nature. We did spot a heron but it was pretty far away, so by the time we came close to the spot where it was, a very fast, very noisy boat went roaring by and scared it away. They were going so fast, I don't know how they could even navigate and certainly not be able to appreciate nature that way at all. We watched every ripple of the river, every leaf still attached to its tree and some floating away, birds flying by, and appreciated it all. Autumn at its best.

"To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation - come by grace, and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy."

Norman Maclean from "A River Runs Through It"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Art of Crocheting

Ever wonder where the history of the art of crocheting began? Well, I did so I did a little reading about this subject and found out that even the experts can't come to a definitive answer, but it was still interesting to find out how some researchers learned about this evolution of crocheting.
According to American crochet expert Annie Potter, "The modern art of true crochet as we know it today was developed during the 16th century." But according to researcher Lis Paludan, there is "no convincing evidence as to how old the art of crochet might be or where it came from. It was impossible to find evidence of crochet in Europe before 1800." I just don't find that statement very convincing, no matter what it was called back then, wouldn't you think there would have been some kind of evidence of crochet in the Vatican during the Rennaisance Era? So I found another statement to back up my idea, "a great many sources state that crochet has been known as far back as the 1500's in Italy, under the name of "nun's work" or "nun's lace," where it was worked by the nuns for the church textiles."
Another most likely theory was that the art of crocheting evolved from the Chinese needlework, an ancient form of embroidery, which made its way to Europe by the 1700's and was referred to by the French as "tambouring" from the French word "tambour" (to drum.) At the end of the 18th century, tambouring evolved into what the French called "crochet in the air" so the background material was no longer needed for this particular artform.
Mlle. Eleanor Riego de Branchardiere (sometime around 1850) was best known for turning needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated. She published many pattern books for women to learn different patterns easily with her instructions and could copy her designs. She was also regarded as the "mother of modern tatting" which is known as Irish crochet (she was half -Irish and half -French.)
The project I picked up yesterday to try to work on some more is this little baby afghan. I'd like to say that I'm almost finished with it since I'm finally on the last skein of yarn for it. These things take time and I'm not a quick crocheter but a fine procrastinator for things like that so it will get finished in its own time. Not sure when that will be, but I do enjoy working on it a little each time and I will find joy when some sweet little baby finally gets to feel its love and warmth, made by me, sometime in this century.