Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Morning










The beauty of nature is something that always lifts me to a higher place in my thinking. It takes me out of the day to day stuff, the mundane. I feel the presence of God, something I very rarely feel in a church. Its perhaps the quietude of the outside. No distractions, that take you to thought patterns that have nothing to do with the holy. Just to balance things here a bit...about a year ago I was attending morning mass at the Holy Comforter, its an Anglican church that I love dearly. Its not only a place of peace, it is building that is beyond words in beauty. Not gold and gilt kind of beauty, but dark wood, Victorian. The floors and pews squeak, the stained glass windows catch the morning light in just the right way. Its a wonderful place to be, but on this one particular morning, I know I felt the breath of God on my shoulders. I could feel His presence, feel His profound love. I wanted to bottle the feeling, save it, keep it, relive it over and over. The mass was ordinary in as much as it was much the same as every other morning but something different, it was so Holy. That is how this mornings walk felt in some degree. Holy.

The pecan tree
The morning moon
Moths consuming the pecan tree
A black Vulture
Shadows, long and tall
The black Walnut tree
The rest are pretty easy to figure out !

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Beauty of Innocence

~ L'Innocence~
The other night I asked Emery a question....did he think it was possible to regain innocence ?
Wikipedia says of innocence, "It can also refer to a state of unknowing, where one's experience is lesser, in either a relative view to social peers, or by an absolute comparison to a more common normative scale. In contrast to ignorance, it is generally viewed as a positive term, connoting a blissfully positive view of the world, in particular one where the lack of knowledge stems from a lack of wrongdoing..."
The conversation and question regarding the restoration of innocence came about after seeing a commercial on television for some crime show where such heinous acts were shown. In the brief moment of the commercial, I actually learned something I had never known about and wished I never did learn. I lost a bit of my innocence. Yes, even at 53 there are things I don't know about in the world an I am thankful for not knowing everything.
Our interaction with plain people has shown me the beauty of innocence retained into the adult years. Slang words, unknown, sins never heard of, lack of expecting people to do wrong, and the list can go on and on. To live 6 decades perhaps and never know of some of the ugliness in life is not a negative to me, its beautiful. I am reminded of a verse in the New Testament that is an instruction for Christians....For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret (Ephesians 5:12). If its shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret, it sure must be shameful to watch what they do. And without watching or talking about the ugly side of life, our innocence is really preserved. But what about if you have already taken in all this stuff, and find yourself giggling at innuendos and such ? What to do to decontaminate your mind from the very things that took innocence away. I can hear some of your saying, "but, innocence leaves you vulnerable and prone to be taken advantage of. " I have a solution to that one, but its another subject all together. Honestly, I know very few innocent adults in the plain world that are taken advantage of.
So back to the original question, can innocence be regained, restored ? I suspect so, in time. Lots of time maybe and with effort to think of the good things. Jesus said we are to become like children...children were innocent so much longer in the old days, before we lost the defining line between what is acceptable for young minds to see, hear and experience.
What do you think about innocence and retaining it, restoring it, regaining it ?


Normally I use my own photography but I love this painting "L'Innocence" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and I felt it was perfect for this subject.
This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

When We Assume Others Intentions

I had a rather surprising comment left on my blog yesterday, surprising in that it was totally unexpected and it caught me off guard since this person seemed to assume I had intentions other than what was the facts. It was from a Chef....he wrote.....Hi There,I hate to mention it, but that's actually my limoncello recipe, word-for-word. You really should give attribution when you use someone else's work. I've had the recipe on my site for a few years now and wrote it myself. It can be found at Whats4Eats.com in the beverage section.Thanks much,Chef Brad Harvey. I responded in truth that someone sent me the recipe with no mention of his being the creator of the recipe and that it was not anything intentional to not show his name. I went back through my blog and put his name with the recipe to give him credit. The whole matter had me thinking about assumptions. I assumed, yes I am assuming too, that he thought it was something intentional, or that I actually knew the recipe was his.
Then I thought about how our lives seem less peaceful with assumptions. After dealing with driving back and forth from the hospital with Mei-Lings health issues and the life and death situations, I realized that you can be a bit preoccupied when driving, not dangerously, but maybe not as aware of your surroundings when you are worried sick. I actually went through a red light one day, fortunately I was aware of the traffic, and it was a set of lights that has almost no traffic except when the company on the corner lets out for the day. I am now aware that some people are driving under such circumstances or they could be driving home from making funeral arrangements, or just found out they have a terminal illness. There are a multitude of reasons people can be preoccupied and make mistakes. Now here is where assumption can take two directions. We can assume they are just jerks and get ticked off at them and feel anger raise within us or we can assume they are under some serious stress and feel bad for them. We no doubt will never know the real reason but assuming with compassion changes how we feel, how we react.
Same with email. We can assume someone wrote us meaning something very nasty and we get all upset, fire off a reply while in that state of mind, only to find we took it all the wrong way. If we had assumed the best, we would have saved ourselves lots of negative emotions. Even if they did mean the email to be nasty and we took it to be not nasty, we are still coming out feeling better.
Now there are times when we question intention and its really more of a safeguard. I might assume that man crossing the road in a not so good part of town, that seems to be coming right for my car door is up to no good. I quickly lock my doors and get out of there. That might be a helpful assumption but no hard done to him, he had no idea I locked my car doors, so if he was just mindlessly wandering, well he didn't know what I was thinking so his feelings were not hurt.
Boy, this is a wordy post !
I am sure you get the idea. Don't assume the negative. If its obvious, that's not assumption.
I know someone who is always sure she is being talked about...everything is about her. Actually no one really gives her much thought but she assumes that people are far more interested in her life than they are. She fires off emails, angry, seeking to justify her actions when in reality no one was even thinking about her. She is laughed at and joked about now and people now expect her to get it wrong. Her assumptions have backfired.
I suspect at times we just feel like the world revolves around us when in fact it doesn't. I suspect we all have ego's that get bruised when they really weren't even touched. Its a lesson in life. Think on the bright side, expect and assume the best in people, its not going to make them better, but it sure makes us feel better and may just avoid some situations that were based only on what we think we know.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Show and Tell Friday


This morning while I was thinking about Show & Tell Friday, hosted by Kelli over at http://kellishouse.blogspot.com/ I struggled once again with what to share. I always try to avoid the fine line where "Show and Tell" can quickly become what teachers refer to as "Bring and Brag". When I went to school we didn't do the Show and Tell thing, it was just not something we did. I wondered why since the public schools all did it and it looked like fun.
This morning I looked up the psychology of "Show and Tell" and got an idea of why we didn't do it in school. It certainly does help one develop verbal skills and accustom the child to speaking in front of others but it is thought to have started to help develop self esteem, by sharing things that make a child feel good about themselves. Where I went to school, we were taught it is better not to brag and to be humble, so you can see that my early education is still working on me. I have trouble with show and tell. Everything I think about seems like a brag. Maybe blogging in general has a touch of the brag to it. Then again, maybe we are all just trying to define our lives and share our basic reasons for how we live and what we enjoy. That seems rather noble and no doubt is the real reason so many people blog.
So what to share that isn't like a brag ? That is the big question.
Ahhhh, I thought of something to show and tell.... A lifestyle.
The show and tell part of it (which seems very brag like to me, but hard to get around it I think) is the first magazine cover and article I did about our lifestyle and how to live simply and on less than an acre of land. I laugh at the thought that being published sort of makes you an expert in some peoples minds, but isn't really so, I am no expert, just older and have found a few things that work and know for sure what doesn't work.
The cover shows Melissa holding some of the show rabbits the girls raised to make money one summer. The magazine article came out in the early summer of 1996.
Later, I am going to write a bit about our journey from the yuppie, spend more than you make lifestyle of Southern California, to the simple, no debt, low stress lifestyle we live now.










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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Company Cheesecake


My family loves cheesecake and I have no less than 30 different cheesecake recipes, but if asked which one they want me to make, it always comes down to this one. It's simple and its amazingly good. You can change things up a bit by adding a layer of your favorite candy bar or by topping with strawberries or cherries. Take half the filling and mix in some cocoa and then marble it in with the plain filling. Endless possibilities.
I always triple the recipe since my cheesecake pan is a large one and honestly we manage to eat the whole thing in just a few days. Friday night's dessert has just come out of the oven. Melanie, Casi and Mei-Ling are coming over for supper. We all just feel a bit like celebrating over the good news that the nephrostomy tube is coming out next week !

Company Cheesecake
Crust:
1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. melted butter

Filling:
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese plus 2 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel (optional)
1/4 tsp. vanilla ( I double the vanilla)
3 eggs
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar.
Mix in butter. Press into bottom of 9-inch pan.
Bake 7-10 minutes. Cool.
Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

Beat cream cheese in large bowl.
Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until fluffy.
Add peel and vanilla.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Pour into crumb shell.
Bake 1 hour or until center is firm.
Chill at least 3 hours.
Personal note:
I always make it the day before its to be served. It just tastes better after setting overnight in the refrigerator. Triplying the recipe means you have to bake it longer too !


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Mei-Ling Update

Good News ! Mei-Ling will go in the hospital the first of the week, and her nephrostomy tube should come out Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An Afternoon Ramble


Even in the midst of a busy day, there are moments to connect with our Maker. Time to look with our spiritual eyes, the ordinary around us that when understood with the right approach are simply extraordinary. The miracle of nature...its consistent cycles, the colors, the intricacies, the beauty, all give us something, even if its just a sigh of amazement.
I sometimes wonder if God is real, we all do at one time or another in our lives, just some of us are more honest and open about our doubts, but then I stop...look around me, breath the air, drink water that has been on earth from the beginning of time, just recycled over and over, or see a birth...I know, I really know there was a creator.

Last night the clouds danced across the sky in the bright moonlight...I stood transfixed by the window, watching. In the morning the morning star hung like a perfect diamond pendant shown on the most perfect black velvet sky. Constants...signs of Gods love of beauty.
This afternoon, a walk across the land...grass, green. Sunflowers, yellow. Roses, pink, red, yellow, lavender and coral color. Unspeakable beauty. Chickens eager for some grain gather around my skirts hem, they make me smile. Birds and butterflies make the air their highway.
Leaves rustle in the afternoon breeze. Black walnuts drop from the tree and crash on the tin roof breaking the glory of the moment.
Today I didn't need a heavy bible study to show me that God is indeed love.


God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther~

Our Little Yellow Rose of Texas



A fun day out shopping with Melanie and Mei-Ling. Back to Grammies house and of course the camera came out. Just couldn't pass up taking pictures of her in her yellow smocked dress.
Tomorrow the Doctor will tell us if the tube can come out. We are all praying for good news

The Simple Home


Last night we had a couple Gas Well folk here for signing the gas lease. Big fancy car, young men with money to spend. One had been here before and when he came he commented on our home, he loved it. We smiled and said thank you. You could tell he meant it and that it wasn't just one of those polite comments made to flatter you.
Last night when he came in, he seemed to feel so comfortable, like he was visiting his families farm or something, almost pleased that he already knew us a bit. His co-worker was like a child in a candy store. He was tall and our ceilings are low, this is an old house, low ceilings were not uncommon...he reached up and patted the large cedar beam that runs across the room and said, "whew I like this house" He sat in my rocker and announced he loved the chair and wants one just like it for himself some day. He glanced around the room, noting what books were on the bookshelf, approving of my many German books and commenting on many others. He noted the pictures of my children hanging on the wall and said they were lucky kids to have a home like ours as home. He asked if I knitted when he saw my basket of wool and so I showed him the spinning wheel too, he was amazed. Both young men felt comfortable here, you could see it. Strangers really, young men with lots of money, the gas industry is paying very well and its really like the gold rush days around these parts. But what they liked best, was that our home was so simple and comfortable. We shared with them what we paid for it and how you can take an old house and turn it into a comfortable home for so little compared to what people THINK they have to spend. I believe we may have just opened up the world of simple living to two young men who are in a world so different. Both were in awe that I was always able to be a stay at home mom, it gave them something to think about for their own futures. One of the fellows asked to look at a photo album of our family growing up, he was so in awe of our lifestyle.
The point is, that nearly 100% of the people we have come to visit us, (not so sure about our families though) love the simplicity of our home and tell us they wish they had that same freedom from peer pressure etc to live less complicated, out of debt and so unencumbered by wants. Its like swimming against the current in some ways since our world is heading at break neck speed the opposite direction, but it sure is worth it.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Prejudice is alive and thriving, sad to say.

In the hospital today I had an experience that left me feeling sure that we humans can be very ugly from time to time. I have no patience for intolerance for other belief systems and I have no understanding of bigotry. I just simply do not understand judging people because of their belief system, their color, the way they wear their hair or any such thing. I sure have no right to put people in certain slots and dislike them before ever knowing them.
While waiting for Mei-Ling to have her test there was a lovely Islamic woman, dressed in all black, her hijab framing her face in pure femininity. She was elegant really and you could see and feel the tenderness she had for her beautiful daughter of about one year old. Her little girl was so sweet and the mother was simply beautiful.
I watched this woman for a moment, admiration in my heart for her. I know what it is to cover your head, dress modestly and have everyone stare at you. But she seemed so timid, almost fearful of the way people looked at her. I know she felt judged. It seemed all wrong to me for her to have to feel that way. I could see the prejudice in some of the faces in the room. It was ugly.
I spoke to her about her child being so pretty, she moved across the room, to be nearer to us and grew more and more comfortable talking to me. She was a delightful young mother of two with a sick child, there was a commonality of everyone in that room, sick children, yet she was scorned, you could feel it, because of how she was dressed and what people think they know about it. This attitude seemed archaic to me. There was tangible prejudice in the room. With each new arrival in the waiting room, I could sense this young vibrant mother tense up, fear was real for her. She was no terrorist, she was a mother with a sick child. She knew what some people had written on their faces. I saw it too.
We chatted a bit more and then it was time for her to go and she turned and thanked me for talking to her. I never gave it a thought, it was just a conversation with a woman with a child at the hospital, a little chat about her daughter and motherhood. She wants more children, but not sure her husband is ready for more. I told her children are a blessing and we agreed about that. She as glad to know 4 children doesn't seem like a lot to me. She would like 4. It was woman talk....we had much in common. I saw that right away. Love of family, love of children, her love of God and really that is what we should see in one another, the things we all have in common.

Disposable Diapers...

Most of you know that have read my blog for any length of time, know that I am against using disposable diapers, for a couple of reasons. One is pollution and the other is health. I keep thinking about all the health problems on the rise in children and can't help but wonder if there is a correlation to the use of the ugly, dangerous super absorbent materials used in the diapers of today. I never used disposable diapers on my children and never had a stinky house from diapers, or felt overwhelmed by washing diapers. Travelled across country by car with cloth diapers, and never had a baby with a bad rash ! You may not have babies at home, but you might have grandchildren so spread the word. Not all my children have listened to the facts but I have certainly preached on the subject enough that I feel I did all I could.
Just check out the safety guidelines for companies that use the material ! Think about putting that stuff up against your babies tender skin.

Here is a bit of information about the materials used in disposable diapers of today.
A DIRTY DIAPER IS A DIRTY DIAPER
"Disposables will hold about 7 lbs. of fluid, but how long do you want your child in a used diaper? A dirty diaper is a dirty diaper, and should be changed to prevent bacterial infections.
Source: "The Facts: Cloth Versus Disposable Diapers" by The Canadian Cloth Diaper Association.
Procter and Gamble reports an average of 5.4 diaper changes are to be made per day (wearing their diaper). Fearer notes, however, that "a number of researchers and pediatricians say responsible sanitary care dictates changes every 2 hours."
Even infertility rates in males may be linked to disposable diapers. So, they are dry, but are they cool? It is thought that disposables may heat-up a boys testicles to the point that it stops them from developing normally. "Diapers lined with plastic raise the temperature of the scrotum far above body temperature and can lead to a total breakdown of normal cooling mechanisms, according to the study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (6)."
So, WHO CARES if it is super-absorbent?! Why pay for super-absorbency? You SHOULD NOT NEED SUPER-ABSORBENT DIAPERS, but instead, recognize that your child needs to be kept in CLEAN diapers! This not only keeps them DRY, but also RASH FREE. If you wet your pants, would you sit in them or change them? Why should we treat our children less than we would treat ourselves? Can we justify it away because diapers are not the same as underwear? Why not? Any woman that has worn a disposable maxi pad for any amount of time has a small taste of what it would feel like to wear a diaper. Again, things that make you go hmmmmmmm. The Golden Rule could most definitely apply here.
The cloth diapers (nappies) of today, I found, are incredible - plush, absorbent without chemicals, and varied. Even the simple pull-on covers have gravitated away from plastic toward nylon (breathable, but leak-free) to allow heat to escape, the baby's skin to breathe, but momma's lap to stay dry and longer durability. The options are endless - more even than the disposable market offers.
You would think that all the above information would be enough for a final decision, but it really didn't seal the issue for me. I'm thinking, "Okay, but STILL disposables are more convenient (We are often willing to PAY for convenience, right?) and I can always change them more often to avoid rashes." Well, the health issues are absolutely threatening for our children - and this is where my resistance to cloth diapering gave in.
Let's talk about our children's health and the mounting evidence about the synthetic chemicals and their by-products that can be found in disposable diapers. Below are some defining characteristics of the chemicals known for their acute and chronic effects that we put against our baby's skin. And I say known, because so many of our man-made chemicals and their by-products HAVE NOT been studied - and we are all aware that what we don't know CAN hurt us/our children. Whether or not some of the information is speculative should not allow us to dismiss the possibilities. My children are NOT guinea pigs for the next generation. I'll lean to the conservative side!
SODIUM POLYACRYLATE - This is the chemical, added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable, that makes it super-absorbent. When the powdered form becomes wet, it turns into a gel. THESE ARE THE SHINY GEL-LIKE CRYSTALS I FOUND ON MY DAUGHTER'S PRIVATES WHEN CHANGING HER.
Properties:
It can absorb up to 100X its weight in water (1).
It can stick to baby's genitals, causing allergic reactions (2).
Reported to cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies (2).
When injected into rats it has caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death (4).
Banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome (1).
Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it (5).
Causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it (6).
DIOXIN - This is the chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process, using chlorine gas, in the manufacturing of diapers.
Properties:
It is a carcinogenic - cancer-causing chemical (3).
The EPA lists it as the MOST TOXIC of all cancer-linked chemicals(7).
In small quantities it causes birth defects, skin/liver disease, immune system suppression & genetic damage in lab animals (2),(5).
Banned in most countries, but not the United States (6).
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH CHLORINE?
"The pulp and paper industry's practice of bleaching pulp whiter than white with chlorine produces a large class of chemicals known as organochlorines, some extremely persistent and toxic, which include the infamous dioxins and furans."
". . . their effects are particularly threatening to the most vulnerable of us all: developing infants and children."
Source: Liz Armstrong & Adrienne Scott: "Whitewash; Exposing the health and environmental dangers of women's sanitary products and disposable diapers - what you can do about it."
TRIBUTYL TIN (TBT) - An environmental pollutant, considered highly toxic, that spreads through the skin and has a hormone-like effect in the smallest concentrations.
Properties:
It harms the immune system and impairs the hormonal system (6, 3).
Speculated that it could cause sterility in boys (6).
TO DYE FOR?
"Damage to CNS (Central Nervous System), kidneys and liver can be caused by dyes found in some disposables."
Source: "Diapers. Disposable or Cotton?," Ginny Caldwell.
SOURCES
(1). McConnell, Jane. "The Joy of Cloth Diapers." (2). Caldwell, Ginny. "Diapers. Disposable or Cotton?," Eco-Baby Catalogue (www.ecobaby.com). (3). "New Tests Confirm TBT Poison in Procter & Gamble's Pampers®: Greenpeace Demands World-Wide Ban of Organotins in All Products," 15 May 2000, ( www.diapersafari.com). (4). Allison, Cathy. "Disposable Diapers: Potential Health Hazards.," referring to: Hicks, R et al. "Characterization of toxicity involving hemorrhage and cardiovascular failure, caused by parenteral administration of a soluble polyacrylate in the rat," J Appl. Toxicol. 1989 June; 9(3): 191-8. (5). Peggy's Diapers, Slings N' Things, (www.peggysdiapers.com). (6). "Why Cloth Diapers?," (www.diapersafari.com). (7). "The Poop on Diapers.," (www.slonet.org/~scoward/poop.html).
HEALTH HAZARDS OF HUMAN WASTE IN LANDFILLS:
Cloth diapers have a defined ecological advantage over disposables. What is that? When using cloth diapers, the human waste gets sent to the municipal sanitary waste system, where it is treated. However, the EPA notes that " . . . a significant portion of the disposable diaper waste dumped in American's landfills every year is actually biodegradable human waste preserved forever (16)." That is just disgusting. The Egyptians buried their treasures and what do we bury? Our treasures? What will future, more advanced (we hope) societies think when they uncover our landfills?
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Public Health Association advise parents that fecal matter and urine should not be allowed to be disposed of together in the regular trash, because it contaminates the ground water and spreads disease (11). These are associations that are not linked to any particular side in this issue. And yet, what is their unbiased response??
"Disposable diaper packages contain a request printed on the outside of the package that the inner diapers be rinsed and the fecal material flushed down the toilet before the diapers are put out for curbside collection (14)."
Now, stop laughing! Have you ever seen ANYONE RINSE OUT a disposable, much less dump out the feces into the toilet? I sure didn't when I used them for my first child. I wrapped them up into a little feces/urine bomb and threw them in the nearest trash (preferably as far away from my house as possible). Or better yet, twisted them up and sealed them into a Diaper-Genie® to keep the smell out of the nursery. Then, on trash day, my ever-faithful husband held his nose while he pulled the long string of sausage rolled disposable diapers out of the Diaper-Genie® and tossed them into yet another plastic bag to carry to the curb. Now that I think of it, that made 4 different layers of plastic (2 in the diaper, one in the Diaper-Genie® and the final trash bag). What a waste.
Thing is, the World Health Organization guidelines are being violated whenever human waste goes into the landfills. So, technically putting diapers into the trash without cleansing them is ILLEGAL. Right around July of 1998 there was a ruling against grass going into the landfills with the rest of our household waste. I remember how I found out - our family's trash bags of cuttings were left at the curb when everything else had been picked up. There were holes torn into them (to identify them, I'm guessing) and it made me angry. Can you imagine if trash collectors started doing this with the collection of disposable diapers? You think the dogs in your neighborhood are bad now!
In her book, THE JOY OF CLOTH DIAPERS, Jane McConnell reported that our landfills contain 5 million tons of untreated human waste - a breeding ground for diseases that could potentially contaminate our groundwater (4). When you toss a disposable into the dumpster you are adding to the 84 million lbs. of raw fecal matter going to the environment per year (8). The Lehrburger report mentioned above also suggested that disposable diapers may represent a health risk at landfill sites and recommends that state health officials determine if diapers should be classified as infectious waste because of the untreated feces and urine they contain (13). There are an estimated 100 intestinal viruses living on the feces in landfills and these viruses are also possible contaminates of our water supplies and could latch on to the insects that would bring these diseases back to us (17). You only thought you threw it away! It is just as Arnold said, "I'll Be Back!"
SOURCES : 2. Caldwell, Ginny, "Diapers. Disposable or Cotton?", Eco-Baby Catalogue (
http://www.ecobaby.com/).

4. Allison, Cathy, "Disposable Diapers: Potential Health Hazards?"

5. Peggy's Diapers Slings 'N Things (http://www.peggysdiapers.com/).

6. "Why Cloth Diapers?,"( http://www.diapersafari.com/).

7. "The Poop on Diapers," (www.slonet.org/~scoward/poop.html).

8. McDiarmid, Catherine, "What's Wrong with Disposable Single-Use Diapers?,"Born to Love (http://www.borntolove.com/).

9. Flug, Rachael, "Top Ten Environmental Reasons For Choosing Cotton Diapers.,"Diaperraps (http://www.ebabydiaper.com/).

10. The Canadian Cloth Diaper Association, "The Facts: Cloth Versus Disposable Diapers."

11. Fearer, Mark, "Diaper Debate - Not Over Yet."

12. Michaels, Patricia A., About Guide (http://environment.about.com/library/weekly/aa101600.htm).

13. Iowa Sate University - University Extension, "The Diaper Dilemma."

14. Schiff, Sherry, "The Diaper Dilemma, Waterloo Centre For Groundwater Research.

15. McConnell, Jane, "The Diaper Debate: Ten Years Later.," (referenced at www.dy-dee.com). 16. Reilly, Lee, "The diaper debate: cloth vs. paper, . . . "(Answering Machine)., Vegetarian Times, March, 1997.

17. "The Diaper Debate" (http://www.himesa.hn/).

18. Swasy, Alecia, SOAP OPERA; The Inside Story of Procter & Gamble.
® Copywrited material - Heather L. Sanders.

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Another Test, with more prayers needed



Another test in Nuclear medicine (nephroscopy) for Mei-Ling today, I think this makes 3 this month. Poor baby. She wore herself out crying as its not exactly pleasant. We are hoping the Doctor will say on Thursday that she can have her tube out and maybe life can be a bit more normal for her. We need prayers and good thoughts for this tiny one. We are not sure if there is still a partial blockage. It almost sounded like we heard that from the staff, but of course they can't tell you anything, which I understand 100%. She is still filling her drainage bag along with having a few wet diapers.
After a good long nap and a full tummy, Mei-Ling was ready to play with her doll.
Our family has learned so much from this wee one...she is so forgiving, so tolerant, so full of smiles in the face of hard things and so sweet natured even after spending nearly half her life in the hospital. As adults, with all the understanding we have, we complain, fuss, get angry, hold grudges and feel so entitled. This child is so pure of heart.
Please pray that the blockage is all gone and the tube can be removed !

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Monday, September 24, 2007

The Hardest Thing

Its so much easier to do things that make you look pious, than to be pious. One can hide easily behind the appearance of being pious rather than to actually have a heart filled with honest compassion and desire to do right for the sake of your fellow man. No agenda other than to show compassion and end suffering whenever we can.
We often hide behind rules or dress codes or other manifestations that allow not such a good heart stay hidden, avoiding being real. Hoping no one ever guesses we are filled with pride, arrogance, selfishness, anger and the like.
It seems easier for mankind to look the part rather than be the part. The hardest thing is to be real all around, equal with heart and how we hope to appear to folks around us.
Many times modesty of clothing has so little to do with modesty of the heart. I know so many people that are just ordinary in appearance yet extraordinary in the level of compassion, understanding and non-judgement.
Its really the harder thing... to have the inside better than the outside.

A Big Splurge

Since we have this nice gas lease, we decided to splurge on something we, well maybe its not "we" more like "me", decided to order a new lamp for the living room. We needed a red lamp, wait, no me, wanted a RED lamp. Emery would have been fine with a clear glass lamp.
So today I ordered the lamp. In all honesty I have been wanting this Coolidge lamp for a couple years, but there always seemed to be some real need that came before the want of this lamp.
Today we simply purchased it. Emery knew how badly I have been wanting it and said for me to order it. Like a good obedient wife, I ordered it : )
It will be so pretty on the table...can't wait for it to arrive.
Patience, patience !

Monday Gratitudes



Today I am ever so grateful for a number of things.... first on the list today due to its impact on my day is that Melanie is sick with a sinus infection. Fever, and just plain feeling miserable. Now of course that is not the thing I am grateful for, but I am grateful that we live just a few doors away so that Casi could bring both her and the baby over on his way to work. Mei-Ling just cannot afford to catch any bugs so Melanie has to stay clear of her until the antibiotics have had a chance to work. I am so grateful to be close and still that stay home mom that is available all the time to help.
I am so grateful, so blessed today to have our little Mei-Ling here, sharing freely her smiles, her laughs and yes, even her growls. Her daddy taught her to growl, not on purpose but simply because she would laugh every time he growled at her so he would keep doing it, she is a smart baby and was growling in no time. This sweet tiny girl now growls and thinks its quite funny. It really is, but....I try not to encourage her.
I am grateful that the trees all needed trimming, its not a fun job and my arms sure got a workout with that saw, but rewarding for so many reasons. The trees look better and it provides us with much needed kindling for the wood stove this coming fall and winter. There is something wonderful about doing a job that you know will bring such benefits.
I am blessed by so many things and so many people.
My loving husband that gives his whole heart to his family...my children that give me a sense of well being, of pride and joy. For grandchildren, a reward beyond words.
For our simple life, and for so many years of peace, for a pleasant journey through life without baggage. For decisions early on to live life where seeking God has been the first order of business. We seek and yes we have looked in a few wrong corners but we have always been seeking. We have discovered that a spiritual life is not the same as trying to be religious nor has it much to do with church membership.
For the very breath that enters my body each and every day, I am grateful.
Miss Mei-Ling today, a sweet baby that endures so much. Maybe her tube will come out this week, we can hope and pray !

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A New Award


I hit a key and the entire post disappeared. So here goes again. I always figure that things happen for some reason, but I am just not sure why that happened : )
Kris over at At home with Kris http://blog.athomewithkris.com/?p=830 awarded me this award today and I consider it to be quite an honor. Smiles are good things to receive and to give.

This is what the person who created the award says about it, “The thing that I love most about blogging is that I learn so much about a person just by reading their blog. I have met MANY wonderful people with wonderful stories to tell,and I am grateful every day for each person that I have the pleasure of crossing paths in life with.
I wanted to create something special for the top ten people who have inspired me through their blogging; the stories they tell, and the lives that they lead with grace and dignity. I visit their blogs for inspiration and encouragement.

The way life has been for our family of late, has cut down on my computer time, and I only get to visit other blogs sporadically at best.
I am going to pass this award on to three other blogs. Ones that make me smile for varied reasons.
http://eyesofwonder.typepad.com/my_weblog/ for all the smiles that cross my face when I see my own mothering in her writings, and catch a moment of remembering when my children were small and so filled with the sheer joy of life that it spilled out of them and tumbled out as smiles.
http://lucyquilting.blogspot.com/ Lucy has a delightful blog that is real, its life and it always makes me feel good being there. She is so talented, so pretty, so honest, and so full of life. I come away from her blog with smiles so many times.
http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/ I love this blog, it makes me smile with her photos along with her words. It makes me a bit homesick for New England, for the colors, the smells, the trees, the mountains and for sweater wearing weather. And as a huge fan of British Comedy I really smile at her photos that connect me to so many laughs watching them.

Thanks Kris for the award !

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

More About Colognes,

photo by Basenotes
This is a confession of sorts about my early perfume days. When I was in the 7th grade, Hai Karate was the rage for a mans after shave. I think every guy I knew wore the stuff. My best friend and I loved the smell of it, so much so, we bought some and would wear it. No matter that we were girls, we liked the smell and after all it was the rage to sort of "do your own thing" We still laugh about our Hai Karate year !
Emery is one of those gentle men that is not much into changes. He has worn two colognes our entire married life. One is Aramis, which he wore only when we had trouble finding the one we both love the best, a wonderful spicy German scent called Tabac. Tabac is the one he wore when we first met and I have never tired of it.




Perfumes





It started out when I was quite young, about 7 years old. There was a rummage sale at a church and for a nickle I was able to purchase a huge bottle of Lily of the Valley Toilet Water. My very own perfume. One problem, the stuff was ancient and stunk according to my family. I freely doused myself with the pale green liquid. The more the better. After a while my treasured bottle disappeared. I was heartbroken, but in looking back I know one thing for certain and one this I suspect. The certain thing is, this old bottle of toilet water as my sisters called it, was the beginning of a great love of fragrance. The second thing I think I know, is that my mother probably threw the bottle out in self defence !
As a young girl, pre teen, someone would give me Heaven Sent for a present. Later as a teen I got Loves Baby Soft as a gift. In summer, I would take a splash from my mothers bottle of Jean Nate that she kept in the refrigerator. It felt wonderful in the summer heat. And even today I think about my mothers summer scent.
After getting a job, my love of perfumes took a serious turn. The fragrance counter was the first stop for me in a department store. They used to give you tiny sample bottles and I would wear the sample, remembering how it made me feel to wear it and how many compliments the scent would bring. Through the years there have been fragrances that came and went for me, but always there have been standards that are always on my dresser.

The list that has remained constant
Bal A Versailles......my girls always think of me when they catch a whiff of this scent. I wore it when they were babies and still love it today. Its the scent that my purse most often smells of. If you ask my children, they will say that any candy found in my purse will taste of Bal A Versaille.
White Shoulders is another old time favorite. I began wearing it before I was married. Our neighbor Peggy always wore it and she was like another sister to me. It gives me a good feeling to wear it.
Giorgio Beverly Hills... the very one Emery gave me last night....oh this is the scent I began wearing in California, love the lightness of the scent. Its a warm weather perfume for me.
Cesar's Woman... heavier for cooler weather, a bit romantic and always on my dresser.
Red Door..... a true love for me. Always gets compliments, suits me well. Even the name works for me as we had a red front door for many many years.
Royal Secret, another cooler weather perfume for me. I like it, it seems like a dress up perfume for me. One for dates and winter parties.
One of my all time favorite perfumes is no longer available. I had more compliments when wearing Bakir by GERMAIN MONTEIL than with any other perfume in all my history of fragrance wearing. Handsome men seemed to be drawn to it, which was fine since I only wore it before I was married. It was a spicy, rich winter time perfume. Exotic and very romantic.
I used to wear Zen by Shiseido but have forgotten about it until just recently, a nice light scent, perfect for summer.
I love good smells and my house is known for its good smells. Incense, carefully chosen oils in simmer pots, a wonderful essential oil defuser that sprays out a mist of good scents.

Good smells always make me feel good and gives my family something to buy me for birthdays and Christmas !

More on Stuff,

Things are settling down some for us. Not so many hard things going on that drain a soul. Oh sure there is the big news about gas leases and such, but that won't change our lives much, we will maybe paint the car and put a new headliner in it since the one in the car is nearly in shreds from hauling young trees from the nursery to be planted a few years back, but we won't change the way we live. Life is better staying simple. Money often changes people, making them forget about such things as the blessing of community, the understanding that all the good in our lives comes from God and not the power of the almighty dollar.
Emery and I keep reminding ourselves that less stuff means more time for us. Less stress. We seem to keep bringing more stuff home even though we don't honestly need it. Small stuff, little things that soon take space, need to be put away over and over.

Melissa and I had the same old chat over again today about having too many pieces of clothing. Stuff you don't wear much. We have our favorite things we wear over and over and all this other stuff gets taken out, tried on and you know the routine, "naw, I don't like how this fits" or "this feels uncomfortable" and sure enough you head back to an old favorite.
I am constantly reminded of how much easier it was to have 5 dresses for every day and two for church. Two pairs of shoes, both alike, one newer and for church wear, the other for every day. When the every day pair wore out, I bought a new pair for church and wore the old church shoes for every day. Using the best for church always. Just black socks, no variance at all.
A few aprons. A couple slips, some long johns for cold weather. A jacket. A sweater. So easy.
In the old days people had fewer things. Less to fold, less to hang up, less to wash. No piles sitting on the floor. Children had the same and then few toys. No rooms filled with massive amounts of brightly colored plastic things that are meant to amuse, but don't seem to created imagination. Somehow children are more bored than ever.
Woman want 5 sets of dishes, 300 yards of fabric if they sew, 5 pairs of scissors. Families want 3 cars, 2 living rooms, and huge kitchens when most folks eat out more than cook. We as a generation just keep buying...just keep feeling more stressed. We always feel like we need more, more youth, more color to our graying hair, more clothes, more shoes, more food, bigger plates, yet nothing seems to really satisfy us. Our hunger is not for things, but for peace in our hearts, the one thing you just can't buy. We just keep looking in the wrong place for the answers. A quick fix for a yearning within us.

Matthew 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

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Children and Grandchildren


Grammie and Grampie had the pleasure of having our little Elizabeth join us, with her parents of course, at our favorite little French Cafe last night. She did however sleep the entire time ! When I told her she was Grammies little girl, she smiled in her sleep so that made everything seem just perfect. Her hair is coming in light, so I think she is going to be a blondie like her daddy. Steven takes his wee one out with him each Saturday morning while he does his errands, so Priscilla can get some much needed sleep. What good daddies my grand-babies have ! And of course these tiny ones have wonderful mommys.
I am so blessed to have my two grand-babies so close at hand. We get to see them so often.
I feel so rewarded, yes rewarded is the word I want to use, (it is a reward after the hard and consistent work of raising them)... to have our children really like us, enjoy our company, want to do things with us, along with loving and respecting us. Melanie and Casi want us to live with them when we are old and Steven and Priscilla say they are building us a "Dawdy Haus" so we can live there.
Melissa just knows we are the independent kind and figures we will be hiking some great trails that take years, when we are in our old age. Actually we plan on staying fit and healthy till we die so no one may get to have us live with them. Many children love their parents but don't like them and the same goes for how some parents feel about their children. It's wonderful to have your children love you and like you with that kind of care in mind for you. We are blessed to be able to say we enjoy our children and respect who they are. They are good people. There has never been a time in their lives when we have not been close, oh maybe there have been a few days when they were teens when we were not their favorite people, but there has never been a time when we couldn't sit and talk and laugh about life. And even now, we are the place they come when life is difficult.
We always offer to pray with them, give them a hug with a kiss and all the time to talk that they need. Parenting is not a job that is finished when they reach a certain age.
And I pray Grandparenting will be just an extension of this kind of love.