Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall Flowers

This time of year the morning glory takes over the garden. I usually just let it ramble. It's just about taken over the gate into the herb garden making it hard to go in. Have you ever noticed that most of the fall wildflowers are various shades of orange and purple with a sprinkling of red? The photo to the left is Cosmos.

Driving up in Tennessee this past weekend I saw lots of chickory along the roadside. It has the prettiest blue flower. I'll try to get a picture before we leave. We're up on the Cumberland Plateau this week. The temperatures are about twenty degrees cooler here. It's so invigorating to walk outside in the morning to fifty degree weather. Delicious!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Little Ladder

I bought this small ladder at a local thrift store without knowing what I was going to do with it. I figured you can always use a little ladder, right? The first thing I thought to do with it was to hang it on the kitchen ceiling with pots attached. Only thing wrong with that is... I have a ceiling fan in the middle of my kitchen ceiling. It wouldn't really look good in my 1940's style kitchen anyway.

Instead I put it in the library with magazines draped over the rungs. I like it for now. Anyone have another good idea on how to use it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rediscovering Myself

I'm sorry these photos are so small. I scanned then onto IPhoto and rotated them but couldn't get them any bigger. Any suggestions? Help!

I started reading this book, When Organizing Isn't Enough-Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life, by Julie Morgenstern, and I think it's going to be the icing on the cake for me. I've been through so many mental and emotional upheavals these last few years. I think this book will help me to finally move on with my life.

Ms. Morgenstern suggests that you pick a theme for the next phase in your life and let that propel you forward. Mine is going to be "Rediscovery and Exploration". She asks, "What lost parts of yourself can you rediscover through your memorabilia?"

You get so busy taking care of others and doing whatever is required in the smooth running of your household that you can lose sight of the person you are down deep; the REAL you that makes you unique. It helps to find that person again by looking at old photos, newspaper clippings, and saved treasures from your childhood.

I got out my two photo albums from my childhood and went through them with a discerning eye, and this is what I noticed. Two things stuck out more than others. One is that as a small child, there were lots of baby dolls in the pictures. I always had a new one each year at my birthday, and there were several in which I was playing with them. I have never considered myself maternal until I started having my own children. But looking back at these photos I realize that I spent a lot of time playing mommy. I'm angry right now, and I'll have to explain why.

When I was nine or ten, I went to summer camp for a week. It was a Bible camp in Dayton, Tennessee. We had this Bible memorization in school (imagine that!) where if we memorized a certain number of verses we got to go to camp for free.

A woman missionary was there speaking to us about her work in Ghana. She was going to show us how the women there carried their children on their backs. She said, "Let me pick out a girl that looks motherly." She didn't pick me. Right then and there I labeled myself "NOT MOTHERLY". I figured it was obvious to all that I wasn't the motherly type. I remember feeling shame that I wasn't picked. Isn't it strange how children do this to themselves?

So for the next fifteen years I pushed all thoughts of someday having children out of my mind. I wanted to get married but didn't want children. Gayle and I never once talked about having children until right before Laurel came into existence. Strange!

But now looking back at my old pictures, I realize that I was maternal at a very early age! I feel a new sense of finding my true self that's been buried for forty-three years! You would think that after five children and four grandchildren I would feel maternal enough. But now I'm Mother Earth! It's very freeing to put a demon to rest. I feel a future post lurking in the background; about how we cripple children by unconsciously labeling them. Of course, I mostly did that one to myself. I'm sure that if I could meet that missionary now and tell her what she helped destroy in me, she would be mortified.

To get back to the main theme of discovering myself in my memorabilia, I also noticed that from middle school on, I had designed all of my party dresses. I've always loved describing exactly what I wanted a dress to look like and having Mama make it for me.

I'm always describing to Laurel how I want to dress while I'm at home working. I love retro clothes with a bit of funk added for surprise. I've also come to learn that I have a very theatrical nature. Not that I like being on the stage; I HATE BEING UP IN FRONT OF PEOPLE! I like for everyday life to be quiet, yet I want to FEEL every minute I live with great intensity.

So my new theme for life is: REDISCOVERY AND EXPLORATION.

So how will this hopefully affect my present life? Well, I think I'm maternal enough! But I do want to stop talking about how I want my clothes to look and start designing and sewing again and try to get some retro everyday clothes made so I'll be the cutest grandma ever!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Here's a good saying to follow for those of us trying to be less wasteful and more resourceful. I think it's an old Yankee saying, but don't let that stop us Southerners from using it! It says, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Good advice in any century, I think.

Americans, on the whole, are a wasteful, consuming bunch. It's time to turn things around, one person at a time, and become more responsible and less, much less wasteful. Let's think before we buy something new and buy mostly what we really need and not to satisfy our wants. Let's lose the "gimme-gimme" attitude and start asking what we can give back to our family, community, and world. I'm ready. How about you?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Me attempting to watercolor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, and the week long results of the class. Mine are at the lower right hand corner.

To be artistically creative and to enter into the creativity of others is to exercise the image of God in one's self.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

Ora de Labora by Saint Benedict. Pray and work. A good motto if you ask me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Challenge: Day 1

I started the day with a green smoothie. I added two cups of water, two handfuls of spinach leaves, a frozen banana, a bag of frozen tropical fruits, a cup of blueberries, a little honey, and a little vanilla syrup. It made a blender full that I'll drink from for several days. I drank 16 oz. today. It's not the best thing I've ever tasted, but it's okay. I guess I'm used to my regular smoothies which have milk, yogurt, and sugar in them.

I ate pretty well today too. I only had a little sugar in the form of a Hershey's Nugget and a few chocolate covered espresso beans. I'm sure to see a few ozs. lost in the morning when I step on the scale. I'm afraid that before the thirty days are past, I'll be sick of green smoothies!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Challenge

Count me in, Laurel! I'll do the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge with you. I won't have any trouble at all with the requirements except one; no white sugar for a month!

Here are the requirements: Drink at least 16 oz. of green smoothie a day, exercise daily, no soda, and no white sugar.

I like green smoothies, I already exercise every day, I hardly ever drink sodas, but I do like my sugar. I'll definitely cut way back on it, but to go a whole month without any? I don't think so. But I'll give it my best shot. I definitely need to lose about thirteen pounds. Maybe this will give me the jumpstart I need.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Dream Day

I'm reading this book called Slow Time-Recovering the Natural rhythm of Life by Waverly Fitzgerald. She gives you an exercise to do called "The Dream Schedule".

You're supposed to take your Daytimer, planner, or whatever you use to make your weekly schedules on and write out your dream schedule.

My ultimate dream schedule would be to live at the beach and do whatever I felt like whenever I felt like, but she's talking about your daily schedule during the school year.

So I started writing down my dream day and then realized that it's what I already do. Wow! I have a great life! Oh there are the usual upsets, but overall, I love my life! Based on my previous post and what John Calvin said, I pray, "God, please don't zap me because I've got a great life." No, I don't believe God works that way. I think He wants me to be holy AND happy. Sorry John! But of course he sends times of testing. That is, after all, how we're sanctified.

Here's my Dream Day taken from the schedule I've made out for our new school year which starts Sept. 8.

5:15-Get up, dress, make-up
5:45-Read some creativity book
6:00-Morning Worship
7:00-Exercise- Yoga, Weights, Biking, Walking
8:00-Breakfast, cleanup, make bed, check e-mail
8:30-Straighten house/Zone cleaning
9:45-Check Darcie's schoolwork
10:00-Teach Darcie language arts
11:00-Leave to take Darcie to co-op classes
11:30-Home/Piano & other instruments
12:00-Check e-mail/Eat lunch
12:30-Project Time
3:00-Leave to get Darcie
5:00-Home Arts with Darcie
7:30-Check e-mail
8:00-Evening Worship/Read to Darcie
8:30-Straighten house/Plan next day
9:00-Bath/Read blogs

Two afternoons a week I take Darcie to chorale practice and horseback riding, but when we're home we follow the above schedule.

I don't follow it 100%, because I'm a great believer in spontaneity. Lots of times I stay up much later than 10:00 which means I can't get up at 5:15. And I'll get involved in something in the morning and get on a roll and instead of sticking to the schedule, I'll do the certain something all morning.

It's not the best way to do things, but it keeps me from getting bored and allows for more creativity. I do follow the schedule more than not.

And Darcie is doing independent schoolwork while I'm doing other things. So for as long as we're homeschooling, this is a great schedule for us. I'm truly blessed to be able to teach her, stay at home, and do my creative projects.

I do look forward to the day when I can spend bigger blocks of time on creativity and acts of mercy.

Quote of the Day

John Calvin, a theologian during the Protestant Reformation, said, "God's blessings are always accompanied by some inconveniences so that the souls of the devout will not be spoiled by too much pleasure."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Welcoming Baby Wilder

He's here! Harrison Wilder, 7 pounds 6 ounces. I don't know his length. Four boys, wow!

Friday, August 7, 2009


This morning, in about ten minutes, Laurel will give birth to baby Wilder. As I'm sitting here praying, worrying, and trying to keep myself from losing control, I wrote this in my journal.


You, first child of my heart and your daddy's love, now wait to give over the fruit of nine long months-
months of ripening, ice-chomping, sleepless nights,
wonderings, and fears mixed with anticipation.

The other day when we were talking about people with strong personalities,
you said, "I don't think I have one."

That got me thinking about your life up until now. Out of five, you were my most stubborn and
strong-willed child. I think that over time, you've learned to have self-control and the wisdom to keep silent. Don't mistake that for weakness.

When I think about what you're going through at this early morning hour-
the self-sacrifice necessary to bring forth a child by unnatural means as
you have three times before-it takes my breath away. I hope someday to have your
courage and selflessness.

Until then, I'll stand back and observe you in your little world with three small sons
clinging, colliding, and jumping around you, their center, while you stand firm and tall-
new son in your arms, with bright brown eyes looking straight ahead to the future.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Suspended Between Times

Journal Entry-Thursday, August 6, 7:25 a.m.

I love the quiet of an early morning house before anyone else is up. I sit on the couch facing the dining room watching the morning sun make dappled leaf patterns on the curtains and rug. The tick tock of the mantel clock sounds in my left ear. My journal waits on my lap to receive thoughts hovering between dreams half remembered and the day's to-do list.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More on Simplifying

I'm loving this book by Janice Elsheimer called The Creative Call. Chapter 8 is on Simplifying. I've been thinking about and doing 'simplifying my life' for over twenty years.

At first I thought that if we moved to the country and grew our own food, hung out my clothes to dry, chopped our firewood, and homeschooled the children, then we would have a simple life. Ha!

Here are some quotes from this book that says it better than I can.

"Self-sufficiency and simplifying one's life are not synonymous." That's the truth! It only gives you more to do. Of course, if that's what you want to spend your time doing (and I do) then that's fine. Just know that your life won't be simpler when you take on more things to do.

Greek philosopher Democritus wrote, "Let your occupations be few if you would lead a tranquil life." Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius wrote, "Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already. Remember this--that very little is needed to make a happy life."

In her article "Simplifying Life," Susan Pilgrim writes, "Fundamentally, 'simplifying' is determining what's really important to you."

So to find out what's important to us, Elsheimer gives us an exercise to write down ten things that are important to us and then to prioritize the list. Here's mine:

1. My faith-God
2. Family
3. Home
4. Homeschooling-Education
5. Creativity
6. Church
7. Being a Titus 2 Women
8. Friends
9. Community
10. Travel

This is a great book for everyone, not just artists. I believe everyone is an artist; some have just repressed it. More on this book later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Self Knowledge

I'm reading this book The Creative Call and had a lightbulb moment just now. The chapter is entitled Making Time. The exercise was to list three things to which you wish you could just say no.

As I was thinking about why I don't have enough time to do art, I couldn't think of anything to say no to. I've dropped all superfluous things from my life. So why do I feel like things are crowding in on me and I have such limited time? Ding, ding....I realize that the problem is me! I can't say no to myself.

I want to fix everything and everybody and make the world a perfect place. I do this mainly with my own children. If they have a need, instead of just telling them how to fix it, I jump right in and say, "I'll do that for you." I need to show them how (if they want my help) and leave them to do it.

Gosh, that's hard for me! I think it's all bound up in my need for verbal affirmation, which is my primary love language. I want them to gush and say, "Wow Mom. What would I do without you. I couldn't have done that myself. You're the greatest!" I need help.

What I need to do is to resist the urge to 'fix things'. Then I'll have time to develop the gifts and abilities God has given me. I'll pray for discernment between real needs and MY need to have things as good as possible for my children. I need some 'tough love' for myself!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wind in my hair and bugs in my teeth

I bought a Schwinn Retro Coaster Bike at Target last week. When I saw it, I knew we were made for each other.

I've been cruising down the dirt roads with a goofy grin on my face feeling the wind on my face and in my hair, and I'm taken back forty+ years. I had a Schwinn then too. I still have it, only it needs a major overhaul. I may fix it up for Darcie if it's not a major money pit!

When I go to the bike shop to look at carriers for my car, I'll ask how much it'll cost to restore my old one. In the meantime, I'm having a ball!