Showing posts from January, 2007

"There are Two Ways to Create Happiness"

"There are two ways to create happiness. The first is external. By obtaining better shelter, better clothes, and better friends, we can find a certain measure of happiness and satisfaction.The second is through mental development, which yields inner happiness. However, these two approaches are not equally viable. External happiness cannot last long without its counterpart. If something is missing in your heart--then despite the most luxurious surroundings, you cannot be happy. However, if you have peace of mind, you can find happiness even under the most difficult circumstances. "

from "How to Lead a Meaningful Life" by The Dalai Lama

What Does Your Life Stand For ?

People don't seem to ask, " what does your life stand for ?" It seems like an odd question but really its an important one. To know what a person you meet stands for, what their life goal is would tell you a great deal about that person.
In the book, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and its all small stuff" there is a chapter that talks about developing your own helping rituals. He regularly takes his children out with him to gather up liter. Its a great way to teach his children the world is bigger than they are. It's and act that benefits others as well. It is an act of Kindness. The author is showing his children one of the things they stand for as a family.
In the first lines of this chapter, he writes..."If you want your life to stand for peace and kindness, its a helpful way to do kind, peaceful things."
Wise words.
For me, and my husband, we want our lives to stand for peace and kindness. Those two things are very impo…

Seeking Happiness

This morning snow fell for a brief time. Snow makes me happy, I love the stuff. When the snow was gone, the happy feeling I had seeing it fall was gone too. I had a delightful breakfast, pretty dishes, lamp light that make everything seem so much more romantic, good tea that Melissa had sent me, it tasted wonderful, plus it was a gift of love from my eldest, making it more wonderful. I had a good book next to me, and reading it made me feel happy since its about finding joy ! Yet, when the table was gone, that "in the moment" type happiness was gone. I watched the birds at the feeders for many minutes, this too made me happy to see them feed and grace my day with their color and song. When I moved from the window, that moment of happiness was gone. The fire in the woodstove felt so good on this wintry morning, it made me happy to sit on the floor in front of it and feel the warmth fill my body. When I went into another room that delightful feeling of warmth…

Getting Lost in The Presence of God

"Getting lost in the presence of God is a sacred happening, and it can take place during the simplest of moments." from the book, Remember When A photo taken looking west from our home. The kind of sky that makes you think of God

Grateful for.....

This afternoon I was talking with Melissa, and what good talks we have. She is my discussion buddy. We talk about everything. So many times we have sat in the very room I am typing from, and we have solved the worlds problems. Talks lasting long into the night, finally ready to head to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Talked out.
Today we chatted about a few things and then started talking about our early church days. And as we talked, and she mentioned a few things I began to see how grateful I am for my connection to the Seventh Day Adventist church. I know lately I have seemed pretty down on the church for my difficult elementary school days, but I must be forever grateful for all the good that came out of my time in the church. There were wonderful academy years, teachers extraordinaire. Working in an SDA hospital where I met my husband, and also where I sung hymns loudly in the stairwells with Sunny and Debbie when we worked part time while going to school. The …

Lunch Time

Picked myself up by the bootstraps and planned a fun lunch with Emery at the office.
Got myself all fancied up, make-up, nice clothes, fixed hair and headed off to the market. Picked up a baguette, cheese, sliced turkey, some sparkling grape juice, delightful dark chocolate and some fresh fruit. Putting each item carefully in my little hand held basket, imagining myself in some outdoor market. We cleared off Emery's desk and set three places since Casi works for the same company, we joyfully get to include him in this indoor picnic.
Its such a nice way to break up the day. Something different, something special. And certainly better than Emery's usual peanut butter sandwich.
Now time to change around a few things in the living room to make it less dark feeling to me. I'll add a bit more color and perhaps a bit of lace here and there.
The sky is now blue, dotted with tiny white clouds. It almost feels spring like, except for the chilly north wind.

ABC's of Achieving your Dreams

As I was on the treadmill this morning, working hard to shake off these winter doldrums, there right in front of me is a poster meant to encourage me in this journey to reclaim a healthy, fit body. The poster tells how to achieve your Dreams and I love it, but as is the way, things placed in front of you on a daily basis tend to loose any dramatic impact on us. We grow accustomed to them and ignore them or take them for granted. Much like the "stuff" in our houses that I write about. When our children were small, we would periodically pack up some of the forgotten toys and bring them out a couple months later. Once again they took on the status of new and exciting once again. I think maybe we should do that with some of our own possessions, might save on the need to shop.
Here is the poem that I look at while on the treadmill. Wise words and full of good advice for achieving those dreams we all have.

Remember Your ABCs

Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and ha…

Dreams of Spring

This morning I realized I am sick of winter. I suspect my feelings might not be this way, if snow lay pure and glistening on the ground, but we are living right now in a world of grays. As my custom, upon waking I grab my camera to see in the great outdoors, what there is to see and capture, but it all seemed colorless for me today, except for the bright red cardinal sitting in the nearby black walnut tree. The sky had the faintest hint of pink in it, and suddenly I was dreaming of a Monet, colors that evoke such pleasantness. I took several pictures of this morning sky, with the most subtle pink showing itself, with a brighter pink below the tree line. Making it hard to see and just about impossible to capture with the lens. I had hoped to share with you these baby like pastels but the camera just could not pick up that faint pink amid the pale blues and predominate grays. I felt hungry for more color and began dreaming about spring and summer. Peach blossoms, roses, pin…

Hello Kitty for the Baby and More

What could be more natural for Melanie's baby than a Hello Kitty baby blanket. We had found this flannel a long time ago and yesterday found the perfect use for it.
I am knitting up some pink booties for this little one too.
At the same time I am crocheting a baby afghan for Priscilla and Steven's baby. My fingers are flying these days !

A Parable of Sorts

I happen to enjoy parables. And I enjoy them from several sources. There are wonderful Buddhist parables, Jewish parables and ones from the teachings of Jesus. But there are also just plain old folk stories that teach us a lot too. Parables are told in order to teach a lesson and of course to learn from, which is what this parable has done for me, taught me.
This particular parable is from true life and shows a contrast between two couples and most will see one chose a higher road.
There is a young couple, 30 something in age, well off, living in a great big house on the west coast. No children. Each one a professional. They both have very nice cars but decide to get a third car because its pretty. They have a three car garage so it seems right to them to fill it up. They justify this spending by saying that they are getting an economy car and it only cost $20,000. Far less than the other two cars they own.
There is a second couple, 30 something, have a gorgeous home, two c…

Sunday Ramble

There is always plenty of work to be done around this place. Just keeping the wood chopped and kindling ready for the stove is a full days work each week. But Emery loves being outside and says chopping wood is good for the soul. I think he is right. Gives a person time to think, be outside, and still accomplish much.
This morning Emery and I talked about what this house would have been like when it was first built.
The walls were constructed of 1x12 inch boards, bat and board style. No 2x4's used. The walls were 1 inch thick. There was some sort of paperboard stuff on the inside and then some wallpaper. That was it. No insulation to keep out the winter chill.
The original house was built around 1905. It consisted of 3 rooms all in a row. The living room, the bedroom with a hallway running past it to the kitchen. The bathroom was outside ! By the time we purchased it, two more bedrooms had been added and a bathroom. But the original outside walls had remained much th…

A Strange Day, A Restless Day

Most of the time our days are influenced by many things, the weather, what we ate or did not eat, who we have talked to, how well we slept the night before, and if you are a woman, you can always add some hormones to the list of ingredients for any given day.
Today is a strange day for me. Lots of things have influenced me. Weather and food being the big ones.
I remember feeling this way in school, around February. Usually a walk through the streets around Harvard Square helped me some. Today started off gray, turned sunny and warm, warm enough to leave the front door open and go without a jacket to do chores. A tease of spring.
Now its gray again, solid cloud cover. Its left me feeling unsettled, restless and a bit aimless.
My music has been as varied as the weather today. I have played Eric Clapton, Indian music, including Ravi Shankar. From there I moved on to Cheb Mami's sort of Arabic Rock and Roll ( I am a real fan of his stuff) and then on to some Turkish music …

Plain and Simple Joy

Last night the sky was a changing backdrop of a magnificent show in the sky. Hawks soaring over my head, and crows chasing the hawks as they often do. At first the clouds reminded me of some rather poorly done painting, the kind you look at and think, "the colors are all wrong", but maybe they weren't after seeing this evening sky. A front was on the way in and soon the clouds transformed into piles of gray cotton balls. The joy from this simple act of sky gazing will remain with me for days. I hopped into the car and drove to a place that gives full view of the sky in all directions. I was not disappointed at all and later I drove a mile or so down the road to the duck pond. They sky had changed to a solid mass of gray by that time but the ducks were fun to watch even if the sky had turned rather pale.
I carried this sight with me in my heart, the rest of the night. So much better than watching some violent movie.
The morning sun soon woke me, I slept in late …

Simple Beauty

We stopped at the craft store today to pick up some more wick for candle dipping and to look at pink fabrics for a baby quilt. The fabrics were a delight for the eye. So many colors, so many combinations, so many textures. Almost more than my mind could soak in. Same with the yarns. Rows upon rows of color, demanding to be touched, felt, taken in by more than just vision. Some seemed as though they should smell like a baby or cotton candy.
Along other isles, fake flowers, real looking many with fake drops of dew on them. Walking down each row of the store gave me insight into how the attraction of so many items gets us into trouble. Buying more than we need. Our senses overloaded and filled with the desire to own, to bring home, to have this store ever present. Feeling as if we cannot live without this or that new thing. I bought what I needed and a couple things that had nothing to do with need, but only want. A baby is coming so want plays a bigger role in my life r…

Looking Past the Behaviors

It's probably normal that around our house right now there is lots of conversation about when the children were babies and small children. We are looking back a bit to help us remember all that we have to look forward to with baby Mei Ling arriving in a few months. Since I am going to be taking care of her some of the time, I am really thinking about how much love these wee ones bring to you.
In these conversations that Emery and I have been having, we often think of some crazy funny thing that happened, like when Melanie was balancing a penny on her tongue and accidentally swallowed it. I was in the other room and she was watching some children's show that featured a seal balancing a ball on its nose, she thought a penny on her tongue would be the same. When we talk about such things, we might pepper the conversation with a phrase like, "oh she was just a baby". This train of thought made me think about something more serious......
when a person is an adult an…

Can You Guess What this Means ?

Melanie went to the Doctors today and found out the baby is a girl ! Now I can get really busy : )

Thenthuk, A Tibetan Soup We Love

This soup has been gracing our table for so many years I have no idea when I started making it and no doubt the children think it was part of their baby food menu.
Its wonderful on a cold night when the dampness seems to envelope you. Its not hard to make and certainly is good for you. I have never made it with meat and probably never will. One time I used whole wheat flour to make the dumplings but that was a once only thing, they were heavy and no one much cared for them.
Tibet is a place I hold dear in my heart and the food of that country is also dear to me. If you feel like trying something new, give this soup a try. Its so good and no need to measure or be fussy, just imagine yourself high in the Himalayan's on a cold night, sitting with family around a small stove and sharing a bowl of this soup. Maybe even play some music from Tibet, on that note I can hear my children saying I have gone too far. No one in this family appreciates my CD's of Tibetan monks sing…

Update on Melanie

Prayers have been answered. Melanie's CAT scan was normal, her severe headache was from being dehydrated, which we are not sure how that happened, since she is no longer having mornig sickness. They gave her 4 bags of fluid in the ER.
She also has a urinary tract infection.
She came home with me as Casi had to head back to work and is now sleeping soundly on the couch.
Thanks so much for praying for Melanie.

The Pain of Judgementalism

Unless I get this off my chest, it will be very hard for me to keep blogging. It has been heavy on my heart for most of the past week. While I am waiting for news on Melanie, it seemed a good time to write about this.
There seems to be such a fine line in how an observation is portrayed and how it can be seen as a judgment. Responsibility belongs to both the speaker and the hearer on how to understand the true motive
One of the things I have known for many years is that when a Christian states how they view things it is seen 99% of the time as a judgment. And for this we have no one but ourselves to blame. If a person states the exact same thing but said it from say a Buddhist point of view and then another says the exact same thing but is a Christian, the two views are taken in totally different ways. One is seen as wisdom and the other as judgment.
Even I see things that way. The reason is clear. How many of us out here have felt the sting, the pain of being told how wro…

A Prayer Request

This morning at 6 am Melanie was taken to the Emergency Room at the Hospital. She has had a bad headache for over 24 hours now and has fainted twice in the last few of those hours.
At this moment she is having a CAT scan done. We are all so worried about her and the baby.
If you could say a little prayer for them it would be such a blessing to us.

Thank you

Classic Winnie the Pooh for Baby

What fun I am having preparing for two grandbabies. It is easier making things for Melanie as I know her likes and dislikes and what style baby things she wants, where with Priscilla, I just don't know her taste in things yet.
Last night after we finished eating, the two girls and I sat in the guest room and went through some of the baby things and they each took big bags of wee things home with them. I have plenty to go around. It was fun watching them light up with all the tiny little clothing.
The dishes never got done last night, they had to wait till today but it was worth it to spend the time together looking at all the baby things.
Today I worked on the classic Winnie the Pooh quilt for Melanie and Casi's baby. It was just a cheater quilt top, backed with a cream color flannel that is as soft as a kitten. The whole time I was quilting it on the machine, I was thinking about the tiny one that will be wrapped up in it and my heart was so filled with joy in putting …

How About Once a Week Trip to Town ?

Sleet fell this morning, hitting the windows with a sound much like that of fingernails tapping on a desk, only faster.
I wished it was snow. I had to brave the spitting ice from the sky and do a couple errands. To be honest, all I wanted to do was stay home and work on the Winnie the Pooh quilt for Melanie and Casi's baby. When I was at the store, it was surprising to me how crowded it was. Maybe because I didn't want to be out, my thoughts had turned to, "does anyone ever stay home? " Back in the old days, people made a once a week trip to town if they were lucky. Now its more like people stay home once a week if they are lucky.
It's no doubt good for the economy that so many people are out and about shopping and probably good for the storage rental places. But maybe, just maybe my house would be less filled with things to move around when I need to dust if I went back to the old time way of thinking and went out to town just once a week.


The View From Inside a Buggy

When I was going through pictures today, I found this group of photos that Steven took from inside his buggy when he was up north in the Amish community. It occurred to me that probably not many people now a days have had the view from a buggy, looking at the world over the back of a horse. There is something rather soothing about the sound of a horses hooves on the road and the whole trip would be fun provided no cars whizzed by. More than once when the girls had the pony cart out on the road, someone would drive close and beep the horn, even 18 wheelers would do that. It always caught the poor pony off guard. Good thing the girls were good drivers and the pony was good on the road.
Stevens horse was an ex-race horse. Fast out of the gate, shall we say, and would bolt. More than once Steven had burning brakes trying to slow the horse down. An amusing sight in my mind, to see an speeding Amish buggy with smoke coming from the brakes. Steven assures me there is nothing a…

Am I a SAHM or SAHW ?

I will always be a mom, no doubt about it. Its not even up for discussion, but my role as a mom sure has changed in the past few years.
When all the children were home and I was homeschooling them, it was easy to use the label SAHM (stay at home mom) . I was busy doing the once a month cooking, 4-H, homeschooling, making sure the children did their farm chores and helped in the garden. Plus there was all the sewing for them as I made all their clothes. We were busy teaching them how to be industrious and the list goes on and on. Just about everything I did revolved around raising the children with Emery.
Our kitchen table became a school desk as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared away and stayed that way most of the day. School posters lined the walls of my kitchen. I was always in the kitchen it seems. Children's Chore charts lined the hallway, and toys filled the shelves in two bedrooms. The clothesline was never empty, it was filled with all sizes of clothing f…

Stretching My Mind a bit

Most of you know from reading my blog that I am a huge fan of the writer Lin Yutang. I first read his works when I was in my late teens and was so intrigued by his wisdom and the beauty in which he wrote.
One of his books, " Between Tears and Laughter" written about war is mind stretching even to this day.
He spends some time writing about materialism, and compares Power as the harlot and Peace as the "lady". Those in charge tend to want to be with the "harlot", rather than the "lady". Peace watches through the window as those in office party with "power" wondering if after the night of wildness, they will see her (Peace) true value.
Yutang also spends a great deal of time writing about the then current speech of Roosevelt on the Four Freedoms. Freedom of speech, Freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, and then these two freedoms....Freedom from want and Freedom from fear.
Yutang brings up a point or two that ha…

How Could We Ever Be Satisfied ?

Melanie and I had lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant today. We go there so often, they don't bother to ask what we want to drink, they know. They know all of our family and we have watched their children grow up working in the family business. But today, I kept noticing what was playing on the television up in the corner. I hate that people need TV while they eat, but it's a reality and restaurants have to supply what most of the customers want.
Today, commercial after commercial was some sort of product women MUST have to be better. There was one for body lotion to make the skin softer, another to make the woman younger looking with firmer skin, another for hair dye to make your hair look more radiant, then there were several for diet programs, and in that hour we sat there, you would think women from the teen years on, were all falling apart, fat, sagging skin, skin like sandpaper and generally not acceptable as they were. I wondered what this is doing to our …

A Quiet Evening

The fire is glowing, steadily. Music playing softly, calming, soothing. Incense burns in a holder on the brick hearth, filling the room with a slightly exotic scent. Rain, gently falling outside and tapping lightly on the windows. Emery is reading, and I have been crocheting. Little bits of conversation breaking the near silence. A cup of green tea shared between the two of us, we like it best that way.
The comfort and peace of this night is profound in the very essence of it. There exists no stress. Calm, like that of a time of meditation fills the room.
There are dishes still in the sink from our evening meal, and there is mail on the table, still waiting to be read, a few groceries waiting to be put in the cupboard from today's shopping. Material on the ironing board that sits in the living room but still, there is order of a higher level. Orderliness of our thoughts and direction in life perhaps. Maybe it is on such evenings that the simple life shows its fi…

The Blessing of Free-cycle

Today this Grannie to be was very blessed by a kind person on our local Free-cycle list. I was in need of a diaper changing table for the wee ones that will be arriving soon. One was available on our local Freecycle list and I was the blessed recipient.
We picked up this lovely baby changing table tonight. Its is great shape and will work out perfect for me to have here at the house.
If you have never been a part of a Free-cycle list for your area, consider it. Its a great way to pass along things no longer needed, help someone with a need and as in my case tonight, provide something we needed.Instead of things going to the landfill or catching dust in the back corner of the garage, you pass it along to someone who can use it.
One time we got a cell phone for Melissa after hers had been stolen in Austin. Its just a wonderful system of sharing.
Yahoo groups lists many freecycle lists, so check it out. My next wish is cotton diapers !

First Thoughts of The Day

I am not sure what most people think about the moment their feet hit the floor in the morning but I do know what I think about.... "what can I do to become a better person today ?"
Before I think about what to have for breakfast or what to wear, or what is on the agenda for today, my thoughts turn to what I need to work on to be a better person. Maybe because there is so much work to be done !
I suspect reaching this stage in my life, the busy-ness has lessened and there is more time for looking honestly at who I am.
The past couple years have brought so many changes in my life and during transition you worry so much about getting to the next place on this journey of life that you hardly take time to understand the purpose of where you just were.
Although in my life and probably in most peoples lives, there remains certain constants. Things that never change much, there are the stretching and steps that take us further on. And there are times when we take a few steps backwar…

The Farm Home

The Farm House

Myrtle Vorst Sheppard

Peace dwells here, and quiet security:
and love, stripped bare of selfishness,
makes homely tasks beneath this roof
true sacraments. Here breaking of the
family bread, and story hours, and tucking
babes in bed are joyous highlights
of the day. Within these walls a strong
man's gallant heart is fed. This is a
place apart, serene beneath the loving
hand of God: a spot that travelers mark
....where yellow lamplight on the snow
becomes a beacon light to those who go,
uplifted, past in the dark.

It is my prayer that all our homes be as this poem speaks.
Emery in the glow of the lamp light bringing in the final load of wood for the night.

Evening Meal

By lamplight we had our evening meal. Hot soup with warm baking powder biscuits. Topped off with some mince pie.
Outside the air is nippy, and with heavy cloud cover there is no moon, making the night dark.
Melissa was telling me how cold it is up in Vermont which made me feel spoiled by our comparatively warm temperatures. I remember that kind of cold and it takes your breath away.
She and I talked a bit about how cold it was doing the milking on cold winter mornings. Frozen fingers and cold wet skirt hems from watering the animals.
The weather man has said we are in for more of this wintry weather. Snow and sleet remain in the forecast for quite a while.
Emery is on his way to the woodshed to bring in more wood for the morning. It seems like an endless job right now. My living room floor is covered daily with what I call "wood crumbs". Bits of bark and wood from the logs. Somehow they scatter all over the place which makes for lots of sweeping.
As the evening w…

The Joy of Simple Living

As I went outside to get some fire wood and do my afternoon chores, a feeling of awe came over me. The world around me was held in a moment of silence. No cars driving down our road, no sounds of mankind, just those of nature. A strange animal noise came from the woods, not one I could recognize. I strained to listen more closely, hoping to hear it again.
Birds in abundance flying from tree to tree and from one feeder to another. The sound of ice covered branches squeaking in the wind. A sound only found on such winter days. Under my feet, the sound of snow and frozen grass, crunching.
It feels so rich, so almost holy, this freedom from mankind sounds. If I listen closely, I can hear the sound of my breath.
I feel so alive, so blessed, so full of thankfulness for this simple life. No running here or there, just content at home. The man next door calls a cheery hello to me. Time to get on with my chores. I head to the woodshed and start loading our wood carrier, an old …