Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cool Photography

I bought three rolls of 3200 ISO film.  I tried this film a few months ago and really loved it.  The blacks are really black and the whites are really white; lots of contrast.  It cost about $15 a roll to develop, so I have to be careful not to waste any shots.  And the photos are really grainy.  I love grainy!

This photo was taken using regular film.  I just used it because I wanted a black and white one.  You'll see a big difference when I post the ones taken with the 3200 film.

I took the cutest photo of Darcie from the back holding a white kitten on her shoulder.  I handtinted her hairbow light pink and the kitten's eyes green.  Very striking, if I must say so myself.  As soon as I learn how to scan my photos into the computer, I'll show it to you.

I took a roll up in Tennessee of my Daddy and his bees, Darcie and her first cousin Ethan, and Mama's solid white cat Prince sitting on the split rail fence.  

I just love photography!  I immediately get in the "zone" as soon as I get an 'aha' moment.  It's a real rush.  I feel more alive when I'm taking pictures, but I'm not taking them as often now.  My eye is getting more discerning, so I know what will look good and what won't.  It was more fun when I didn't know what I was doing!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Mama

Last Monday, my Mama had knee replacement surgery.  She came home from the hospital today and is doing okay.  It'll be a three month recovery.  I'm going up there tomorrow after church and stay until Thursday to help clean house, cook, etc.

Daddy was supposed to call me as soon as she was out of surgery to let me know she came through okay.  She went in at 12:00 p.m.  He still hadn't called by 5:00, and I was beginning to get worried.  

I went for a walk and sat down in a pine thicket to think and pray.  For some reason, this poem emerged.  I haven't written poetry since college.  So here it is:  It's called "Room #26"

My Mama's having surgery today.
Why doesn't Daddy call
And let me know how it went?
It's been hours...she should be
out by now.
What would I do without her?
Even though I'm getting old myself,
She's at the center; my life's beginning.
She who taught me so very, very much.
I'm still learning from her-Oh not so
much face to face anymore.
I remember now her reactions 
and responses to things in her life.
Things misunderstood by me then...
But becoming clear now as I face
Those things too.
Milestones passed-marriage,
the birth of my firstborn, another child, grandchildren,
And getting first a son-in-law and then a daughter-in-law.
I find new levels of appreciation for my first mentor.
I should show her my love more, and I will.
The phone rings. My heartbeat quickens.
The screen says 'Daddy'.
"Hello," I say tensely.  "Is she okay?"
"Fine," he says.
And I let out the breath
I didn't realize I'd been holding.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kitten Therapy

I've always had a cat in my life.  Many hours have been spent cuddling them and crying into their fur when life wasn't as good as I'd like for it to be.  

Darcie loves them as much as I do.  We currently have three four-week-old kittens.  I'm letting her keep Spot, the white one with large orange spots. That'll make eight cats we have.  I'm going to give away the other two kittens and two other adult cats, then we'll only have four!  Two are orange tabbys, one is solid white, and Spot is a mixture.

I've even let mama and babies stay in the house since they've been born.  When my children came along, the cat went outside.  Now that I only have two children living at home, I'm ready to have an inside cat again.  

I love seeing a cat curled up on the couch or in front of the fireplace.  So homey and cozy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Constant Battle

I've never had any trouble losing weight until about seven years ago.  I'm 53.  Guess what happened around then?  Right!  So.o.o.o. I'm about fifteen pounds overweight and want to lose it.

I lost ten pounds last year and regained it ALL during November and December.  So depressing!  It's so hard for me to eat well consistently, because I LOVE sweets.  I can lose weight eating one piece of chocolate a day, but I can't just stop with one; I have to have four or five.  

It's a spiritual problem of lack of self-control.  I want to eat what's bad for me, because I like it. Green beans just don't have the same appeal as dessert for me.  I like most vegetables and fruit, but I LOVE dessert!

So, I'm really making it a matter of prayer plus using whatever other help I can get from other sources like the badge at right called Discretionary Food Challenge.  I found it on a blog called  ChileChews, and after reading her post about it, I think it'll help me be more mindful about what goes into my body through my mouth.

I'm exercising an hour a day already.  I'm not going to do more than that, so I'm going to have to be much more dilligent about what I eat.  It doesn't help any when my husband comes home with a case of chocolate covered pecans!  I've about made myself sick of them I've eaten so many.  So maybe they won't be a temptation any more.  I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wrong Song

I want to clear up a misunderstanding.  In my recent post about watching Caed in our homeschool signing class, I said they were signing to the song "Imagine".  The real title is "I Can Only Imagine" and can be seen on YouTube by that title. 

It's MUCH different from John Lennon's "Imagine" which is anti-Christian.  "I Can Only Imagine" speaks about how we can only imagine how heaven will be; wondering if we'll dance for Jesus or just be still.  It's very touching and definitely Christian.  I just wanted to clear that up.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


In deference to January, I changed my background page to silver; as in ice and snow.  It's supposed to be really cold here next week with lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's or 50's.  That's cold for here.  We haven't had much cold weather so far.  In fact, our spirea bush is blooming as are the apple trees; not good.  Next good frost and they'll be no apples next year.

This is the first Saturday I've had free in a long time.  I've had a great day so far.  Darcie and I completely cleaned out the hall closet.  We took everything out, vacuumed, threw away, and packed it back in.

I'm making progress on my ironing pile too.  I've now ironed all my husband's clothes.  I told him that for about two weeks he can't wear anything that has to be ironed!  I want to glory in it for a little while!  Of course, there's still the  other things to be ironed, but progress is being made.

My friend Katy has inspired me to make a creativity journal and record my progress every day.  I think I'll just write in my regular weekly to-do book so I won't have yet another book to keep up with!  I do think that if I write down my creative endeavors every day that I'll be more likely to do creative things.  So, I'm off to the studio....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Spiritual Reading List for 2009

Here is the list of spiritual books I plan on reading during my morning worship time.  I read in one for about fifteen minutes to get me in the 'zone'.  Then I read some in the Psalms and the rest of the Bible, then pray some.  I break it up into fifteen minute segments and try to keep at it from 6:00-7:00 a.m.   

This morning I was up and down like a jack-in-the-box.  But it's more than I would have done in bed!  So here's the list:
1.  The Weight of Glory-C.S. Lewis-This one is blowing me away!  More later.
2.  From the Library of C.S. Lewis, Selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey
3.  The Peace Maker-Ken Sande
4.  Simple Abundance, a Daybook of Comfort and Joy-Sarah Ban Breathnach-I don't know if this author is a Christian or not.  It's one of those books that anyone 'spiritual' can get something out of.  I read it from a Christian viewpoint and like it quite a lot.
5.  Thoughts in Solitude-Thomas Merton
6.  The Praying Christian, God's Warrior-John M. Otis
7.  The Puritans on Prayer-I'm trying to be a better prayer warrior.
8.  The Cloud of Unknowing-Author Unknown-I read this several years ago and really liked it.

This list will last all year; maybe longer since I only read in them for fifteen minutes each morning.  


Yesterday at our homeschool group sign language class, the teacher/mom had the group of twenty or so children standing in a wide arc.  She was teaching them how to sign to the song Imagine.  

Now I've heard that song sung before, and while it has always made me think about what heaven will be like, I really was moved by the words and the  music as I watched all those sweet children communicate without words.

Caed, my oldest grandson, had his back to me. His little skinny legs with the white socks, one higher than the other, were sticking out of his oversized carge shorts.  He looked so sweet and vulnerable standing there making big arm circles over his head for the word 'imagine'.  I got all choked up thinking that I might not be spending forever with him in heaven.  I know I'll be going there when I die, but I don't know his heart.  Will he embrace the faith so carefully passed down or will he go his own way; the way that leads to spiritual death?

All I know is that I need to pray so much more for all my family and live the kind of life that causes them to ask me about the joy that lives in me; and invite them to share in God's forever which begins right now on this earth.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thinking Like a Man

You know how when a man sets out to do a task, he has tunnel vision and gets the job done?  Or you ask him to watch the kids while you go shopping, and when you get back  everyone's still alive but nothing else has been done?  He didn't think to unload the dishwasher, vacuum the house, do the laundry, etc.  He was watching the kids!  

I used to be amazed by this when it happened.  How come I can do fifteen things at once and he can only do one?  Well, I think it's because we're made differently!  Are you having a lightbulb moment?  This really is going somewhere, I promise.

This week I got tons of stuff done.  I also had a revelation about my work habits.  

Years ago B.C. (before children), I had the ability to focus for long periods of time; hours even.  I'd begin and end a project on the same day.  Then the children came along.  I remember fussing to a friend about my inability to get anything done for all the interruptions.  She gave me this advice that I've used now for almost thirty years.  She said, "You have to learn to work piecemeal."  I had no idea what she meant never having heard that word before.  She explained, "When you sew, instead of trying to make the whole thing at one time, just thread your machine.  If you are able, go ahead and lay out your pattern, etc."  In other words, learn to work in very small increments. 

So that's the way I've trained myself to work, and Flylady says the same thing.  You can conquer the world fifteen minutes at a time.  That's great advice and really keeps you from being frustrated.  You eventually get things done.

But now that I'm in a position to have longer stretches of time to work, I don't know what to do.  My attention span is almost zero or about fifteen minutes long!  I'm going to have to retrain myself to think.  The book The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakhani that I'm reading does just that.  He says that great amounts of work can be done in an hour of focused attention.

Studies have shown that it takes about twenty minutes to get in "the zone".  I've found this to be exactly right.  I love when the zone happens.  The world fades away.  It's just you and your work.  It's a very satisfying place to be.  

So that's what I'm going to try to do this month.  I'm going to make myself stick to a project for an hour at a time.  Hopefully I'll be able to retrain myself to work the way I once could.  And young women, don't hate me because I have this kind of time now.  It took me thirty years to get here!  Well, actually twenty seven, but who's counting.


Friday, January 2, 2009

My Word for 2009

Here are my two girls playing in our Williamsburg condo.  I still can't believe that I have two girls.  Darcie still doesn't seem real sometimes.  Weird.

My special word I've picked to focus on this year is NURTURE.  That word conjures up warmth, coziness, and love.  I want to become more of a nurturer this year especially to my husband.  He often gets left out with so many others to take care of who demand my attention.  

So hopefully by keeping that word in front of my eyes every day, I'll become it.  I'm bound to become better just for the trying.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Not a Typical Day

View out my laundry room window to the 'little house'.   My husband's office is on the bottom floor, and up that staircase on the back is my studio.

Today was a very productive day.  Thanks, Laurel, for keeping Darcie all night AND day!  Here's a list of things accomplished today:
1.  Had a worship time
2.  Exercised for an hour
3.  Cooked breakfast
4.  Cleaned upstairs
5.  Sent e-mails
6.  Worked on the budget
7.  Read art articles
8.  Wrote on an article for my writing class
9. Vacuumed downstairs
10. Cleaned out the dining room cupboard
11.  Treated the cat's ears for mites (Yuck)
12.  Talked to my Mama for almost an hour
13.  Ironed
14.  Took a nap
15.  Had morning and afternoon tea
16.  Made white chocolate and cranberry cookies
17.  Planned my next projects in my studio
18.  Took a walk in the woods and wrote in my journal
19.  Made baked spaghetti and sent Laurel a dish of it
20.  Watched Sahara with second son
21.  Washed and dried a load of clothes
22.  Wrote this blog
23.  Build two fires
24.  Listened to book on tape
25.  Visited with future daughter-in-law
26.  Finished Miss Buncle's Book
27.  Repaired tassels on a pillow torn up by baby grandson
28.  Glued together several broken things
29.  Repaired the flag holder
I wish every day could be like this one.  I'd have things whipped into shape in no time!