Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goody O'Grumpity

I don't have any young children at home any more. In fact, my youngest son is 12 and hard on the heels of 13 years old. I have had a children's story book for years, and have always thought that I would use the recipe to bake the cake in the story. I still haven't done it. But maybe this is the year I'll try it.

When I first took this book out at the local public library several years ago, I loved it so much that I had to buy my own copy. I don't remember how many copies I bought, maybe it was just 2 or 3, but it could have been as many as 5. And I remember telling the manager of the local bookstore (where I had to order them) that they really should have a copy on the shelves, and I think she listened.

Take a look: Goody O'Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink, with illustrations by Ashley Wolff. Maybe it appeals to me because I grew up so close to the Plimoth Plantation Living Museum. And when I was in high school, we staged The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and wore authentic costumes borrowed from Plimoth Plantation. (I played Goody Proctor.) But I think it's the story told about the warm heart an older lady (who isn't grumpity at all) has for the colony's children that appeals to me. And the amazing artwork, linocuts and watercolors. If you have any feeling for this autumn season and its harvest, for a feeling of community and sharing, if you too enjoy taking a moment to feel your heart swell with gratitude for all God has given us, I think this storybook will touch you. You don't need to have a child in your arms to enjoy reading a good children's book, but it helps. And a rocking chair doesn't hurt either......

If you try the cake, let us know how it comes out, and I'll do the same.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Come sit with me a minute, and we'll chat over a cup of tea......It occured to me that while I am striving to bring you lovely pictures that I have styled and taken myself, in the meantime, I could share with you some of the lovely images I have collected in my clip art file. Most are free samples I have downloaded from can go there too and get on the e-mail list. They send links to free samples every Friday.

I am very partial to old-fashioned nostalgic images, the more sentimental, the better....

I also love to save images of lovely fabrics....

It costs less than buying the fabric, and takes up less room, but you can't fondle and let it inspire you to make something with it right away.

Today, we did more yardwork, raking leaves to be exact. The sky was crystal clear with only lilting breezes, which didn't interfere with the work at hand. It was about 60 degrees, just cool enough to be comfortable as we exerted ourselves.

I took pictures, but you've already seen some from last week, and none are as cute as this. Remember push mowers? Much quieter, but far more work.... I want a green dress like this one with tiny puffed sleeves and a little white Peter Pan collar. Of course, I'd have to bob my hair like that. It's actually close now but without the bangs. And it's blonde. I wouldn't complain about the red dress either.

Here is a picture I took today. Self-portrait in shadow. See all the leaves we never even got to. So many of our trees still look like the one below, still hanging on to all their leaves, taunting us, threatening to drop them only after we have snow on the ground!
Here is another fabric I love. The range of colors, so vibrant, the leaves, the flowers. Both swatches I've shown here were at the JoAnn's website at one time, among the quilting cottons. They are in the Stonehill Collection.
I like to blog about seasonal things, holidays and changing weather, etc. One challenge about blogging in October is Halloween. I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. On the one hand, I love candy and parties and the fantasy of costumery. On the other hand, I hate the original and ongoing fascination with evil and the underworld. I have zero tolerance for blood, gore, terror and torment. I feel a need to resist indulging natural human curiosity. I abhor legitimizing occult and paranormal phenomenon. Everyday life is exciting and uncertain enough for me. Now, having said all that, I have found some vintage ephemera clip art that is as cute as buttons! So, even though I didn't think I would be posting anything even remotely acknowledging Halloween, I think this image of a card makes great October eye candy!

She even looks like a little like I did when I was a chubby little cherubic child. Unruly blonde hair, chubby cheeks, and I even had a black cat named Imp.

Later, I had a black cat named Alley Oop.

And then I had a black cat named Andy. I lost Andy's litter mate Amos when he was only 1 year old to FIP. (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) Andy was with us for about 17 years, and we just buried him in June of 2005. It wasn't intentional to always have black cats. It just seemed that black cats were always available to us when we were ready.

Now we have dogs, and I loooove having dogs, but nothing cuddles like a kitty, relaxing you with its purr and kneading, rubbing against your legs when you are in the kitchen. I know some people have dogs and cats at the same time, but it would take some work and constant supervision to get our dogs used to a cat, where we could feel comfortable leaving them all at home alone while we were away for the day.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed our little cuppa and the chat..........

Now, I'm going to go up and change into a comfy nightie and curl up with......hmmmm............Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility before I turn out the lamp settle in for a snooze, resting up for another busy week. Come back again soon, I'll load up more eye candy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Random thoughts

So, today, I don't have anything specific to post on............but I do have some half-baked thoughts.
The first amorphous cognation (is that a word or a neologism?) circles the purpose of this blog. Since I don't have a real audience, I can't target my audience's needs and interests. My intended audience is family and friends, who naturally are a diverse group, without a particular common interest, like genealogy or fossils or synchronized swimming. In fact, their most prominent characteristic is that they are related to and/or care about me and my family. But.......(did you guess that there was a but coming?)...I'd like to create a blog that mainly considers my very personal interests, which I have detailed in my profile. Home life, home dec, various needle pursuits, and most things old-fashioned or "vintage". But also, perhaps a bit divergently, I have an interest in delving into topics facing Christians (particularly Lutherans) in 21st century America. With regard to artsy/craftsy pursuits, I wish I could blog like Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy or Lucy at Attic24. But it occurs to me that I am not actively, daily pursuing these activities that I love. And such blogging is at least 50% staging, styling, taking and uploading beautiful fotos. Oh, how I wish...... Since I am working at an office M-F and can really only take the kind of pix I want to take on sunny weekend days and I have a lot of work to have a reliable camera at the ready (and know how to use it to best advantage), for the time being my blog won't be all that I want it to be. Now, having said that, I have overcome one obstacle to blogging. I don't need to have amazing fotos in order to sit down and tap out a post. At least, not yet....
Another concept, I always think about to one degree or another is Discipline. How getting closer to a goal involves discipline. How discipline is really a tool, and absolutely indispensable in striving toward any outcome (worthwhile or not, after all, probably even Hitler exercised discipline). Having discipline doesn't make one virtuous, but it does make one effective. I have for years been interested by the idea of mental discipline. And by that, applying discipline to choose what to think about. We all do it every day, some with more success than others. When in the classroom, mental discipline allows us to concentrate on the lesson at hand. If we have mental discipline, we are not at the mercy of fickle Interest. We probably have all experienced only marginally attending to a lecture because that day at that moment, something more commanding has diverted our interest. Sometimes, our emotional life can take hold and occupy our minds, even though we have committed our bodies to be present and participating in school or work or whatever it may be.
I am a born daydreamer. I have always known this to be true. I entered the first grade in 1968, when I was 5 years old. I have a November birthday, and had done very well on school readiness testing, so I was placed in the first grade on a provisional basis, I guess. Apparently, I would be re-evaluated partway through the year, perhaps to repeat first grade, or something. I was more than ready to start school, at least from a learning perspective. I was reading far above my peers, and my teacher assigned to lead (!) a reading group, I went to Mrs. Hastings' class for Math, as she had a higher group or something, and when it was time for spelling tests, I was sent to the library for independent reading. My teacher was Lillian Marks, and to us kids, she was older than dirt. Not meaning to be rude, or disrespectful, but really she was older than my grandmother. Of course, I now realize that my grandmother was 48 at the time, and my great-grandmother was probably 72. Mrs. Marks was probably about 60 or more, as I think she retired soon after teaching my class, I think. In those days, report cards were issued 4 times during the school year, and each report consisted of a narrative paragraph that the teacher probably typed on the report card herself. She always had lovely things to say about me, and for that I am grateful, and no doubt it deepened my teacher crush on her. That is not to say I was her pet. I was far too shy and quiet, and she had her hands completely full with probably about 30 students in the class, and more than her fair share of hooligans. But I was happy, and I admired her, simply for being The Teacher. I have always cherished one thing she said about me on the narrative..."She daydreams a bit, I think." Now, in retrospect, I think she was observing some attention deficit, but it was so kindly put. I wonder what a first grade teacher would do with me today. Would I be identified and evaluated? Would I have repeated 1st grade or not have started until the next year when I was 6-going-on-7? Would I have cultivated the mental discipline not to daydream? Probably not, I haven't yet............
I wish I had my 1st grade foto ready-to-hand to post here, just for fun....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Something less controversial.....Or alternatively, thoughtful vs.thoughtful.....

I know my last post was a bit of a departure from the topics I usually tackle. I think of myself as a thoughtful person, not so much in the sense of being thoughtful of others (I regularly chastise myself for how self-involved I am), but thoughtful in the sense of liking to think about things, weighing arguments for and against, finding the right and wrong of a situation, and coming to understand how seemingly unrelated situations indeed have parallels. I don't usually write about my mind's meanderings, in fact, I don't think I have blogged enough to have developed a particular style or flavor anyway. I go through spurts of Bible-reading and sometimes even studying on a topic. I am always blessed by what I read, and often amazed that given the consistent blessings of reading, that I am not more religious (and by that I mean disciplined) about Bible-reading. But anyone who knows me wouldn't be too surprised, since I don't think I consistently practice many good habits. Lack of discipline is definitely one of my faults.

So, today's post will be a bit more fluffy and entertaining, since that is closer to my original goal, anyway. I have been reading through the archives of this blog for the last couple of days, and I find that I have a lot of interests in common with Lucy. the difference is, she does more of the projects that I only think about. And then she photographs them, which I find to be very enjoyable. I aspire to photograph more of what I create, but not in the near future: yesterday I took out my digital camera, only to discover that it no longer works---not laying blame anywhere, just that it's a hard life for a camera around here.............

I borrowed Ian's camera and took some shots of yesterday's beautiful fall activity, which beats today's because it is raining, and we are in the house, all drab and drear.

Did you guess that I was hinting at leaf-raking?It really was a perfect day for it.And even though, it looks like Jeff and Sean did all the work-I really did do my share, and I have a raking blister to prove it :-)

This is my neighbor's newspaper cute with the mini-pumpkin to decorate it!And it's a bit of a reminder to me that I've been meaning to develop a discipline of correspondence with many neglected friends and family....and going on visits......

and naturally, I'd like to be visited back!

If I know you're coming, I might even bake a cake!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So, where have I been?

I'm going to get back in the blogging saddle. I won't go into detail, but my life took on challenging proportions and I had nothing left for blogging. I didn't follow anyone else's blog either. Well, that's not entirely true. There are 2 blogs that I check for posts pretty much daily. They both represent an escape from my day-to-day cares: Dress a Day and Posie Gets Cozy.
But now I'm coming back, although the things on my mind are less in the domestic arts arena and more along the lines of spiritual considerations.
So, if you're here to read about knitting or embroidery, I'll probably get to something like that in future posts, but today I am going to touch on a more personal topic.
My church belongs to the ELCA, which stands for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is a denomination which departed from the traditional midwestern Lutheran Church a few decades ago. Gradually, the ELCA has been studying various social issues and drafting statements defining the Church's position. Past statements have addressed capital punishment and abortion among other contemporary social considerations. Recently, the ELCA held a Church-Wide-Assembly, gathering delegates from the various synods, taking a vote and adopting a set of resolutions encouraging member churches to: 1) ordain practicing homosexuals into leadership positions; and 2)bless same-sex unions. This has stirred up a great deal of controversy and high emotion. Open discussion has, at times, resulted in hurt feelings. There have been some people who have left our church, because of the conviction that the ELCA has taken a large step down the wrong path.
I too, may leave my church. I'm not sure what to do. I believe the ELCA has taken a very wrong turn. I believe that the Bible is very clear that homosexual activity is a sin. I think that to be a Christian is to take the Bible seriously. I have not yet heard an argument that addresses the truth as it is written in the Bible. Unless you count the woman who said to me: "Yes, that's what it says, but how do you know that is what it means?" (Shades of the Clinton-esque: "That depends on what your definition of "is"is.") Should I have perpetuated the irony by answering: "Because that is what it says."?
I should also add that I do not believe that people are born homosexual, but that they have experiences that encourage their sexual development in that direction.
Further, I believe that the church has a role in speaking the truth in love, and calling the sin what it is. Primarily, however, the church's role is to be loving and accepting of people no matter what their sin is. All people are sinners and as Christians we are works-in-progress. I think it would be unbiblical, un-Christ-like to make homosexuals to feel ashamed or unwelcome. But I also think that the Bible tells us that our church leaders should be virtuous and upright in their behaviors. This presumes that they be people who have studied God's Word and examined their lives to overcome sin in its myriad forms. People living homosexual lifestyles and seeking leadership positions either have not read the Bible or don't think its teachings are relevant. How can they be qualified to lead the rest of us?
So, given these convictions, do I stay with the ELCA? My church seems to be accepting the resolutions. I would be more comfortable if there were at least some discussion of our options in response to the resolutions. But, instead, I feel that we have told by our pastor not to discuss it, for fear of causing hurt feelings. And, then to add to my confusion, last week's sermon was based on the Scripture reading from the 2nd chapter of Genesis, about the creation of woman as a companion to man, presumably the Biblical model for marriage. And yet the focus was on divorce, stating that it was God's plan for marriage to be a life-long union. Pastor fell short of adding the phrase: "between one man and one woman". At the time, the omission didn't bother me too much, although I noticed it. I assumed that he was avoiding adopting a position that might seem too strident on a sensitive subject. But in retrospect, I think by not being clear about his position, he has been exactly that, unclear. I can easily imagine someone thinking that by emphasizing "life-long union" repeatedly, that he was actually endorsing homosexual partnerships as long as they had a "life-long union" clause in their commitment to one another. You know how it is when you hear what you want to hear. It is this kind of fence-sitting that is aggravating people. I have taken a measured approach, thinking that I didn't want to make a quick decision, nor did I want to give too much credence to the initial reactions of others, but now as time goes on and I see that open discussion is not being encouraged, and the official position is one of denial, I am feeling more and more alienated.
I want to belong to a church which believes in and teaches the Bible. Yes, I believe we should love one another, but I don't think it is loving to encourage sin. You see, that is the crux of the matter for me. If the resolutions had enocuraged congregations to be inclusive and loving, I would have agreed whole-heartedly, but elevating to leadership? blessing a sinful union? All s that we can say that we have done what is politically correct? (Was Christ loving when he over-turned the tables of the money-changers? I say YES, because it is loving to shine a light on sin, and call it what it is. What opportunity for repentance is there if we don't define sin where we see it?
I don't expect a whole lot of response to this post - after all who reads my blog anyway, especially when I haven't posted in almost 4 months. But whether you agree or disagree, I hope you'll feel free to leave a comment. If it's impolite, I'll remove it, but I promise that if it's courteous and respectful, I'll leave it.