Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Little Bit about the Saguaro Cactus

I was recently in Arizona and some family members were sharing stories.  I shared one about birds building nests in a cactus and putting a kind of tar in the hole that fire proofed it, I thought.  They joked with me about it.  I knew I had information on this somewhere.  So for those "Doubting Thomases," here is what I found from a previous trip to Arizona.  I thought some readers might enjoy these facts, too.

We were on a jeep trip to the desert and saw a lot of the large Saguaro cactus.  When the cactus gets wounded, like the top gets knocked off, baby plants grow from the stump.  When birds make a hole and a nest in  the cactus, the hole gets covered with a stuff like tar to completely surround the hole.  (This whole thing can come out and it looks like a boot.)  The rest of the cactus is sealed and retains moisture.

Cactus don't even get to branch out till they are 70 years or older. 

I got my facts mixed up a bit and the tar is to retain moisture, not for fire prevention.  When I get an image in my head, it stays there.  I was sure I heard about the tar in the bird's nest.

It's amazing.  God certainly put a lot of time and effort into seeing that a Saguaro cactus servives, even though it may be way out in the desert and never seen.

Surely, He will care for us, His children.  We have protections, too.  Think how marvelous our bodies are - their healing properties.  God is certainly an awesome God. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Good-bye For Now

I thought the anniversary of my four year blog would be a good time to do this.  I'm saying good-bye.  I'm ending my blog.  There may be a few other posts here and there if I have something important to say.  Basically, I feel that I have said all that I wanted to say.  I have posted one of my novels, several poems, devotions, and essays.  I hope I have shared the measure of God's love that He has for me and for you.  I have shared a bit of nostalgia with you.  I have done a journal type post where I share my thoughts as I go through life.  I believe I have done only one re-post in the 4 year time.  That was about my son leaving for college and it is one of my favorite.

Having grandchildren has made me very busy.  As I like to say, it's a "good busy."  Nevertheless, my time is at a premium.  And I need more time to rest and have "think days" than I did four years ago.

When I started blogging, I still believed that I had a published book in me.  I was eager to learn from other authors how to write better.  As things moved along, technology moved with us.  I found that it is moving faster than I can keep up.  I'm not sure that I belong to this modern age.  I know that I can still use the internet and I plan to visit my followers on their posts.  I've put in a good effort on this blog.  I am proud of my four years.  It was just a little experiment.  It never went sky high, but I enjoyed doing it so much.  I love all of my followers and will continue to pray for you.

You can always find me on Facebook.  I don't keep up on that too much, but I enjoy seeing what others have to say.  So, good-bye for now...on this post.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Four Years and Four Hundred Blogs

Today is the anniversary of my first blog.  Actually it was April 24, 2009.  But that's close enough.  When I started, I just wanted to have a place to post all of the stories, devotions, poems and little writings that I had collected.  I thought it would be fun to let it be a sort of journal of my life, too.  And that is what it turned out to be. 

Several of my fellow bloggers started that same year.  I was lucky enough to find one terrific writer and from her blog, I got other writer friends.  It was so much fun watching the people I had written to follow me on my own blog.  I have made so many good friends.

There may have been Facebook, but Twitter came later and Pinterest and all of the other new social networks.  I didn't even have a good computer back then and had to go to the library twice a week to blog.  It was worth it.  For four years, I have had the opportunity to learn so much from other bloggers.

So, today I just want to celebrate the many friendships and joys of blogging.  I have 368 regular posts and 41 of the "Tell Me a Story" blog.  That makes over 400 blogs.  And the ones that were the most fun were the one where I just sat and talked to you as friends.

I will have a bit more about this next week.  See you then.  Nancy 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sitcom or Reality?

I wanted to tell you that the "something special" on my LBD was that I happened to put my rhinestone
JESUS pin right in the center pocket.  It was so cool to see it there in the picture. I used to wear that pin on my denim jacket or my dark flannel dress.  I got a lot of comments on it and it was a great story starter.

I had my birthday last week and several family members made it so special.  Did you ever feel like you just needed a boost?  Well, my family and friends (including some of you on Facebook,) gave me just the little jolt of joy I needed.  Thanks to all of you.

On another note, I miss the old sitcoms that used to be on TV.  My favorite was The Andy Griffith Show.  Barney always made me roar with laughter and Andy and Opie were so good together.  Another show I loved was the first The Bob Newhart Show.  The characters were so funny and Bob was so deadpan.  He always did a great job.  I thought Susanne Pleshette was so pretty and I loved the way she and Bob joked with each other.

The last show we watched was Monk.  I love mysteries.  The fact that he was a bit odd made it fun for because I have just a few of the same little quirks.  (Ex. - hating to merge with traffic.)

There are a few reality shows that we like.  My favorite is American Pickers.  Two guys go all over the midwest and buy junk for their two stores.  It's always rusted signs and what looks like junk to me, but they are very knowledgeable and people seem to want to buy what they "pick."  They are also very kind and generous. 

I also love the shows Chopped and Worst Cooks in America.  The latter shows me that even though I rarely cook a meal, I could, and I am NOT the worst cook, by far.

So, do you watch the new sitcoms or are you all reality oriented?  Is there a special old show you miss?

Monday, April 8, 2013

My New LBD.

My daughter and I were going shopping for Easter items, especially for a new dress for Amelia, my 9 month old granddaughter.  The day before, in an ad, I saw a new-fangled jewelry holder with lots of clear  pockets on on one side and many velcro hangers for beads and necklaces on the back.  I decided I wanted one.  My old jewelry holder was blue plastic with lots of little drawers.  I covered it with a white scarf to make it more appealing, but somehow I never liked the way it looked.  And I had to open the drawers to see the jewelry.

I purchased the item called an LBD (Little black dress) Jewelry holder at Bed Bath and Beyond for $20.  When I got time, I arranged all of my small things in the little clear pockets (first picture.)  All of my beads and long or bulky necklaces were put on the back.  Then I took a little black and white flower clip and clipped ti to my "dress" collar and added a larger white rose clip.  Turning the hanger over, I put my Hawaiian nut necklace around the handle on that side.  Now my LBD is all fixed up ready for a party.  I love the way it looks on my door and I can see everything easily.  How fun is that?

If you look closely at the center of the first picture you will see something special.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Little Bursts of Joy

I would like to share with you how I do my good news list.  I used to journal and write a lot of bad things, to work them out and get them off my chest.  Then I quit journaling altogether.  Lastly, I came up with the idea of just listing the good things.  At first it was just a sentence or two or something that happened.  If nothing seemed to be good, I looked over my day until I could find one aspect of a happening that was good and I wrote about that. 

After awhile, something funny happened.  On a very good day, (like the first day of spring,) the whole day was so good, positive, and full of joy that I did a whole page.  And then the Wed. after that, the same thing happened.  So my list is more like a journal now, except it is completely positive.

I say this to let you know that unhappy things, hurtful things, or "bad" things happen to me as well as to everyone.  I don't mean to sound like a Pollyanna because I'm not.  I just have been having so much fun doing the opposite of what I used to do. 

So if you want to try a good news list, just jot down a short sentence of something good or one part of an activity that was good.  Some days I was grateful for the sunshine.  Be brief and try to do it every day.  After a few weeks, go back and underline some of the highlights.  You will find some wonderful things.  And if you end up writing more sometimes, that's fine, too.  I truly look forward to putting down my little joyspots at the end of each day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Families Round the Table

Some of my favorite memories are the times my family and assorted relatives gathered around the dining room table.  It may have been at our old house, our new house, Grandma's old house, her new condo, the cousins' house or others.  It didn't matter where as long as we gathered in one of the oldest traditions, the family meal.  The best of these are the holiday family meal.  This year we are gathering at my middle son's house with my daughter-in-law and our grandchildren.  It will be full of laughs, trying to remember who is the pickle person, and giving thanks for our wonderful Easter celebration.

When my family was young, my husband and I were both somewhat traditional in our thinking and even when the kids were small, we made a big deal of dinner and other meals.  When all three kids flew here and there for baseball games and ate a lot of hot dogs, Larry made sure that we had at least the majority of the days with a sit down, "how are you doing?" sort of meal.  And my kids have responded.  They probably would have done so without our example.  I am almost a non-cook and my husband has raised three very good cooks who have spouses who cook.  It truly is a family gathering point.

And so this Easter, I am happy to be remembering all of the lovely times we have spent together over the various holidays and not so fancy days as well. 

The same son's family and I will be sharing a church service together on Sunday.  It will help us all appreciate the true meaning of Easter or Resurrection Sunday.  Jesus is the reason for this season, too.  May you all have a blessed Easter and those of you who have vacations, enjoy them!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cell Phone or Computer?

I was thinking of all of the new technology we have now:  cell phones and smart phones, computers, i pads and i pods, Kindles, video cameras, GPSs, and other devices.  I was thinking of two basic ones that I use every day, my computer and my cell phone.  If I could only own one of these two, which would I choose?

There are some good points on both sides.  The computer is where I stay connected to people I don't really know like my blogging friends.  It lets write much easier than either a typewriter or pen and ink.  I can show my friends pictures quickly that would take much longer without the computer.  I can be connected to networks that keep me in touch with old friends.  I don't use it in my work, but nearly everyone uses it to communicate through emails.

My cell phone is just a snap and close variety, but it is a new one and has a few features my old one didn't have.  Ever since I got a cell phone, I have used it to take with me when I drive.  It's there if I need it.  I can call and ask someone at home what brand of something to get when the original brand is out.  It is just so convenient.  I can't imagine living without it.  I can't believe that I ever traveled without a phone.

 A couple of rules to my little game. You can only own one device, but you can use a computer at the library or elsewhere and you can have a land phone.  So maybe you can guess which one I'd choose.  The cell phone for sure.  I'm sure that I'm in a minority.  I used to go to the library to do my blogs when my huge big old computer died and I did just fine and I could do it again.  But what could replace my handy cell phone?  I'm not even a grocery aisle talker.  I just use it for everyday important stuff.

How about you?  Which would you choose?  It just occurred to me that the new smart phones probably do everything.  But would you still be willing to give up your personal computer?   

Monday, March 11, 2013

Top Of The Mornin' To You

I know that a lot of people don't celebrate St. Patrick's day.  I can understand that.  Some of the fun parties they have on this day are not for everybody.  And not everyone likes a parade.  I think the idea of celebrating somebody who was a missionary is a nice idea.  Most of all I just love all the green and the cute decorations that go with it.  I have an Irish lassie salt and pepper set that I put out and in one of my flea market excursions, I found a lovely lady dancer figurine that goes perfectly with them.  I put out all of the green things I could find around the house.

On top of this, I just love Ireland.  When I went to Europe, l went on the Eurail pass which started in Amsterdam. My friend could get away earlier and she went to Ireland without me, so I never got to see my dream place.

When I was a little girl, for some reason, our school did celebrate the holiday and we colored lots of pictures that were shamrocks, hats, and even a Patrick Potato poem and color picture.  So, very early, it was just inserted into my set of holidays I loved to acknowledge.

I'm planning on wearing my greet sweater on that day and my tiny shamrock earrings.  Hope you have a grand day whether you celebrate St. Patrick's day or not.

(The little picture on the right is from It's a Small World at the 1964 New York World's Fair.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More From The Good News Gazette

I had a very good run on my list of  "daily good things that happen", so I thought I'd share them with you.  One can never have too much good news.  Right?

My husband had his operation for his hip (yes hip).  The knee thing was a mistake.  He came through very well and is progressing favorably.

I managed to avoid the big storm of last week by staying with my grandchildren and their family.  We had a great visit and I am so thankful for their hospitality.

There was no new snow the day I picked my husband up from the hospital and when I got home, a very kind neighbor had cleaned out my driveway.  (This was a true blessing because I would have been shoveling snow at 10:00 pm otherwise.)

My daughter and her family got a home of their own and got moved in.

My daughter-in-law was offered a very good new job in her field.

We have had sunshine for almost a week.  Sunshine always rates on my good list.

This all happened in a period of about 9 days.  Anything negative just fell through the cracks and was taken care of.  I do praise God for these and every other blessing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

My husband is in the hospital with a knee transplant.  He is doing pretty well so far.  I am supposed to visit him tonight, but there is a big storm coming this way, a big wet, snowy one.  Hope I can go, but the most important day is Thurs. when I am supposed to take him home.  That day looks pretty good.

I got two pair of boots recently.  They were both on sale so I could afford both of them.  The first pair is short little black boots with wooden heels.  The only place I could wear these is to church.  I want to wear them with a short coat and a skirt.  I saw this look in an old movie, Holiday Inn.  The heroine had the cutest short black boots I have ever seen.  Of course we all wore winter boots then.  They don't even sell her kind any more.  I wanted to try to get a similar effect.  My daughter thinks they are awful.  They probably are.  I wonder if I should try to take them back or just be brave and let people stare and poke fun.

The other pair is long and brown.  They are comfy and I can tuck my jeans in them.  I can wear them to see the kids, take them off, and wear them to church that night instead of bringing an extra pair of shoes along.

God has been confirming themes for me.  One is an open heaven.  God is bringing joy and healing forth and I want to make sure I take my part in this.  He may be bringing me a long hoped for partner in ministry.  We'll see how that turns out.  He is pulling together different promises and I see a bunch of loose balloons being pulled together and secured in a knot so that they can be used together.

Exciting times are ahead.  I can sense them coming.  At least with God, every day is a good day in Him.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Faces To Remember

First of all, I would like to say I'm sorry that I have been away for a bit.  My computer was acting funny and I didn't know if it was the computer itself, the server, or the wireless connection.  I had had the modem fixed before or another one put in.  After a short time, the problems began again.  I did get a different type of modem and right now things are rolling again.  Hope you have all been well and happy.  I couldn't even check up on you.

I have been looking at old photos of my children.  Whenever I do, I am reminded of the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder.  It is about a small town and everyday things.  Near the end, the heroine dies.  She is in her grave and wishing that she could come back to earth for just one day.  This is granted her.  Early in the day she talks to her mother and her mother is so busy that she doesn't even look at her.  This is the scene that I will forever remember from that fine play, that her mother did not look at her. 

As my children grew up, I took lots of pictures, but I also tried to look in their faces and remember the moment so that I could recall it in later years.  I have been somewhat successful, but when looking at the pics, I wish I had looked just one more time at their sweet faces.

When I am with my older children, I try to look at them.  I don't want to stare because that isn't right and I don't want to pass over them without looking.  Somewhere in the center is a comfortable place where I can look for just a moment and remember this time and this age.  The different ages are all so precious to me.

I try to look at my grandchildren.  Too soon they will be big and I don't want to forget.  I am able to look at my husband when we go out to eat.  At other times, I can catch a glance.  I understand that men aren't as comfortable about looking face to face as women.  I will try to be sensitive and look when I can.  It's the remembering that is important.  I don't want to be like Emily's mother and be too busy to see, really see the loving faces before me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My New Bible Reading Plan

I wanted to try something new this year with reading my Bible.  I love all of the epistles so I wanted to make sure I included those.  It's been too long since I've gone all the way through the Old Testament.  So I thought it would be fun to read in several different places.

I am ashamed to say that I had a tendency to skip First and Second Chronicles.  Mainly this is because the stories of the kings are also in First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings.  And the Chronicles start out with genealogies.  Yes they can be dry, but they also set up the patriarchs and Moses and his family and other important people like David.  So, because there are some little gems along the way, it is enjoyable.  And you don't have to pronounce each name to yourself.  You can scan to see if you can learn something new.

I am also doing Proverbs in the Old Testament.  This book has many helpful sayings and much wisdom.  In the Old Testament, if I have time to read a little longer at one sitting, I'm doing Genesis.

In the New Testament, I'm doing Matthew.  I have just finished The Sermon On The Mount.  I know there are great  healing stories from Jesus in this book.  (It also starts with a genealogy.)  Then I am doing Romans which is one of my favorite books.  It is all about Grace and has so much good reading to absorb.  In my extended reading in the New Testament, I'm doing Acts.

It is amazing how reading from four different places brings the New and Old testaments together in a wonderful way.  It sounds like a lot, but I am actually only reading two chapters a day.  Mon. through Thurs. I do the New Testament, Friday through Sunday, I do the Old Testament.  The other chapters, as I said are extra, just in case I want to read further.  I may not get as much done as I'd like, but it is the process which is important.  I am learning so much this way and it is very enjoyable.

Have you a favorite book of the Bible?  Why is it your favorite?

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Little Excitement Coming

I usually don't go to the stores unless I need something.  I had to buy a present for a family member.  I was working my way back to the electronics when I spied a rack of Valentine items.  In case you forgot, Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday.  They had these cute baby bibs, "I love Mommy," and "First Valentine's Day."  I fell for the second one.  The baby doesn't need it, but I had to buy it.  And later, after finding out that the electronics thing wasn't going to come through, I found on another rack by the bibs an assortment of  baby socks.  I was torn between the kind with the knit or print that makes them look like little black ballet shoes and a white pair with a red ruffle.  The ruffle sold me.  I'm prttty sure these will get used. 

I had forgotten, that around all of the white of snow lies a holiday with red piercing the ice and making its mark.  A red rose in winter is Valentine's Day to me.

I finally got my decorations up for the day and they look so bright and cheerful.  My heart just bursts with life when I see all the reds and pinks.  I love pink and red and white and purple together.  Valentine's Day is a fancy ladies' "day, a romantic day.  I love those black silhouettes of people doing the minuet.  I used to make cutouts like that.  Such a feast foe the eye is there if only you look in the right places.  And if you gaze outside, yo might just see a cardinal sitting on a bare branch or fluttering by.

I'm getting ready for the groundhog and Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and a short month and red and a little spring thaw.  Oh, so much excitement.  And that's just the externals.  Inside, all is well and so I hope with you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warm Words For a Cold Morning

Time to dip into my quote envelope and share a few treasures.  I can't get over how inspired I get every time I go through the packet and see how a little thing like words on paper can inspire, equip, encourage, teach, or just show off their beauty.

Here is one from The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:  "a dabler in science... a picker up of shells on the shores of the great unknown ocean."

From The Coach That Never Came by Patricia Beatty: "Some people come along at the right time.  Others are too early or too late to fit their eras."

Marlo Thomas: "If it comes from the heart it works - if you try to figure out what others want, it almost never works."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Chores

Does it ever seem like you spend most of your life in grooming?  And when you are, say, brushing your teeth, does it seem like it is always teeth time?  As if you just did it and here it is again?  I use an electric toothbrush because of my gums.  It isn't timed so I need to count thirty seconds for each quadrant of my mouth.  That means that for two minutes I can't think about other things at all.  I can't multitask when counting.  And then there are the nails to do.  I do mine weekly in a clear polish.  Then there are showers, drying hair, shaving, and cleaning off your shoes.  It just takes so much time.

Then when I saw and heard the horrible things that happened during hurricane Sandy, I started to cherish hot water and clean, cold drinking water and the ability to do laundry and brush teeth and any manner of grooming.  Suddenly those chores turned to luxuries.  So for about two weeks, I was very grateful for all of my blessings.

Now, I am still grateful, but I wish we didn't have to start and end the day (just before prayers) with so many little little things to do.  But then again, my grandpa and uncle used to get up at 5:00 every morning to do farm chores and they did the same chores every evening (outside!)  So I guess I'll just be happy that I can look and smell as good as I can and enjoy all of the time in between.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Are You Enjoying Winter Yet?

I managed to get my Christmas decorations put away yesterday.  I was going to wait, but I had time and so took advantage.  I left out my little wooden pine trees which I put on top of my antique secretary.  They just look so simple and primitive and outdoorsy.  They remind me of the page in the children's book The Polar Express where a few wolves roam in the nighttime amidst tall pines.  It's lonely, beautiful, and just the tiniest bit scary.  That is my favorite page in the book.

I think it is also the reason why I came to Michigan from Ohio 44 years ago.  My family was headed up to the Mackinac Bridge.  We traveled through all of the lower peninsula to get there.  I remember seeing row upon row of nothing but dense pine trees on either side of the road.  It was so gorgeous, so pristine.  The radio signals were very clear.  It was then that a love for this state first came upon me.  Little did I know that Michigan is suited for people who love the outdoors.  As far as that goes, I love sitting in and looking out.

I'm usually not a big fan of snow, but yesterday, as I left my church, the snow was coming down in such pretty flakes that it almost took my breath away by its beauty.  My heart burst with joy and I started singing Winter Wonderland.  The couple leaving with me joined in.  There is just so much fun to be had.  Hope this winter weather is a very good thing for you.