11 November 2010

~~Thankful Thursdays~~Nov 11

When I started "Thankful Thursdays" last week,
I thought I was doing my own thing.
Turns out I'm not so original!
(or maybe great minds think alike?)

Here's another blogger
who is doing Thankful Thursdays, too.
The more the merrier, I say!

I've been challenged with some whining and negativity
from the "Treasure" lately regarding dish duty...
this week has seen magnificent improvement
as I've mandated we start our clean-up chore
by listing 5 things we are each thankful for
and then singing praise songs as we finish up.

Practicing Gratitude is a Good Thing!

I plan to make Thankful Thursdays a year-long series...
just so's ya know.

Now, to the photo above.
We had enjoyed the luxury of a king-size bed
(given to us, "pre-owned" by a family member)
for over 10 years.
But, knowing we were planning to move into a 5th wheel
with barely enough room for a double size mattress,
we gave the king bed away
and put a full mattress on the floor of our room.

We've slept on that for about three months.
That's a challenge for a big-boy and his girl!!
We started out newly married in a full size but quickly up-scaled to queen,
then king because the Man is kind of a rowdy sleeper.
He kicks and elbows, if ya know what I mean!

Well, with our recent down-size,
he's behaved very well.
So well that he would barely move at night
and kept waking up stiff and sore
because he didn't move around enough,
and there wasn't enough padding between him and the floor.

(I know, I know. This from a man who loves to camp. Don't ask!)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago,
on my way home,
I saw we had some new neighbors moved into the 'hood,
and there was a mattress and box spring in their front yard
with a "free" sign on it.

Now, in my opinion, the only thing better than cheap-- is free!
I really thought it was another full size bed,
but I wanted to get the box springs to give the Man just a little more padding.
So, I asked him if he wanted to go pick up the set.
He said "sure" and away we went.

Turned out to be an almost brand-new queen set,
and boy are we happy "campers!"
We can both wiggle at night without bruising each other,
and there's even enough room for the Treasure to snuggle in once in a while.

God didn't have to provide this little luxury for us,
but I'm so thankful He did.

I'm adding this on...you might notice it in the above photo...
(don't you love my packing-box night stand?!)
Nonni-next-door does beautiful floral arrangements,
and she used this one to teach the Treasure
some basic principles...and the Treasure actually
did the flowers by herself.
Crafty baby!

It is also a music box with my favorite lullaby...
a gift from both Nonni and the Treasure
and I enjoy it every day.

09 November 2010

Treasure'd Art

The Treasure came to me the other day
with a big "I'm-so-proud-of-myself" grin on her face
and held this up for my inspection.

"Momma, look. I finished my rug!"

Now, what's a momma with perfectionistic tendencies to say
to such a masterpiece as this?

"Great job, baby! I am SOOO proud of you! I just love it!"

The beams radiating from her beautiful brown face lit up the whole room.

I think I'm finally learning.
I've "re-done" too many of her projects to meet my own standards...
sometimes I need to let the standard be
that she is happy with her own work.

This masterpiece is the cumulative work of about two or three years,
first learning to weave on the little loom,
then to bind each weaving off,
lastly to stitch each piece to another.
She's finally able to do all three by herself.

As evidenced by the final row on the left.

This little rug rests proudly at her bedside now,
and it makes me smile each time I see it.

Here's the latest painting that thrills my soul.
A new set of washable acrylic-type kids paints
on white copy paper.

A gift for Nonni next door, she tells me...
but agreed to let me take a photo before she gives it away.

About two weeks ago she came down with strep throat.
Unusual for her.....we haven't met her insurance deductible
for three years. Now that we don't have insurance...
...we have no idea where she was exposed.
Probably the shopping cart at Walmart.

During her initial recovery time I was sore pressed to find things to do
to keep her busy and her mind off her misery.
We found a couple of YouTube videos online
and learned to do two kinds of finger knitting.

The finger-knitted choker above was a gift to mom a few days later,
I was amazed--and thrilled--that she had figured out
how to incorporate the beads into the knitting all by herself!

The other string of beads was the choker's companion...
just because.
Now, I rarely wear jewelery.
My life is simpler without it.
But I saved these precious jewels and put them on today...
just because.

And her smile, when she saw me wearing them,
lit up the room...again.

Treasure'd Art.

07 November 2010

The Business Man

Photo (just for fun!) by the Treasure.

           “Nice place you have here, Langford,” said Stephen Quillen, his keen eyes taking in the polished gas pumps and the clean orderliness of the service station.
            Bill Langford stopped whistling abruptly. As he looked up his eyes were clouded with suspicion.
“I’m doing pretty well,” he said cautiously. “People appreciate good service.”
            Quillen nodded approvingly. “That’s the way to build up a business.”
            As he watched Quillen drive away, Bill frowned thoughtfully. The man’s interest disturbed him. Quillen was a little gray man of undetermined age, admired and feared as a shrewd businessman. He owned half the town, and was always taking over various sorts of businesses, buying them up when the owners seemed in financial straits, or picking up good opportunities. No one could say that he was dishonest, but quiet, secretive actions invited suspicion.
            A small lean dog came running up and sniffed wistfully at Bill’s lunch box, his tail wagging in friendly submission. In contrast with Quillen’s cold shrewdness, Bill’s compassion was stirred, and he gave the dog a sandwich. He chuckled as the dog gulped the sandwich and begged for more.
            “They’re cute beggars,” said a voice behind him.
            Bill turned quickly. “Oh, hello, Elmer.” Elmer was Quillen’s nephew, blinded in the war. He was a likeable chap, and came frequently to the station. “How did you know I was feeding a worthless dog?” Bill asked.
            Elmer smiled faintly. His thin, sensitive face was as wistful as the dog’s hungry eyes. “I heard him—and your laugh was the special kind people reserve for animals.”
            “I like dogs,” agreed Bill, “but a guy can’t feed all of ‘em.”
            “I know,” said Elmer soberly. Then he went on with quick, nervous eagerness. “I’ve been thinking, Bill. You know, I was a mechanic in the army. The smell of gas and dirty oil still gets me. You said you wanted to put in some improvements here. I’d like to work with you if you’d let me, and –well, I have a little money and I could be a kind of partner. I don’t know just what I can do to be useful, but I’ll think of something.”
            Bill was surprised and touched. “I don’t want to take your savings,” and his thoughts swept back to Quillen—“I’m not sure just how things are going to be from now on. But you can have a job here, for the present at least.”
            Elmer’s hand fumbled for Bill’s. His thin fingers squeezed it hard. He spoke a little huskily. “You’re swell, Bill; but Uncle Steve always says a man has to risk something if he’s going to get anywhere. If I work with you I want to put something into the deal.”
            Just then a fussy middle-aged woman blew her horn impatiently, and Bill went to wait on her. When he looked around again the boy was gone.
            A little later Bill remembered that his lease expired soon. He must renew it at once, before—everybody knew Quillen worked fast. Bill’s resentment and fear had built up in him a sharp dislike for Quillen. So, as soon as Spud Jones came on the job at the station, Bill rushed over to the State Realty Offices.
            “I want to renew my lease,” he told the man in charge.
            The man smiled ruefully as he shook his head. “I’m sorry, Langford. The property was sold this afternoon to Stephen Quillen. You’ll have to see him.
            “Thank you,” said Bill dully as he turned away. So his suspicions had been right. Quillen just couldn’t bear to see anyone else have a good thing.
            Quillen was not in his office.
            “He won’t be back today,” the girl at the desk told him. “Is there anything I can do?”
            Bill explained, but the girl shook her head. “I have no instructions. Can you come back tomorrow?”
            Bill left the building with bitter thoughts. If he lost the business, it would take him a long time to get back where he was.
            “But I’ll fix him!” he muttered. “If he won’t renew my lease I’ll fix him. I’ll run the business into the ground, and he won’t have a customer by the time I’m through.”
            Approaching the service station, Bill could see that the rush was on. Perversely he refused to hurry. Then Matt Wilson came out of the barber shop next door, his bald head shining in the slanting sunlight. He was waving the evening paper.
            “Did you see this, Bill?” he cried.
            “No,” replied Bill.
            “Says here the Hinkle Paper Company is all set to start building a big factory at the corner of Main and Oliver Streets.”
            “That’s only three blocks away,” said Bill, with rising interest.
            “I know,” answered Matt. “It ought to throw plenty of business our way.”
            Suddenly Bill stiffened. “That’s right,” he said in an odd, cold voice.
            Matt looked up in surprise. But Bill was striding toward his station. His dislike had hardened into cold hatred. Quillen must have had advance information.
            Blind Elmer approached unnoticed, and spoke eagerly. “Can I talk to you pretty soon, Bill? I have an idea.”
            Bill thrust the hose nozzle into a nearly empty gas tank. He was thinking darkly. He couldn’t be of good to anyone, now. This was his chance! If people saw him give a blind boy the bum’s rush, they would be through with him and his service station. By the time Quillen took over there would be no business.
            He turned toward the blind boy, intending to send him away crushed. But the boy beat him to it.
            “I know you’re busy,” he said apologetically. “If you say I can come back in the morning—or—or, not come back at all!” His thin hands fingered his white cane nervously.
            “Come inside—and wait!” Bill commanded sternly. He put the hose down and led the boy inside the station. As he turned around, he muttered under his breath some unflattering bit about Quillen. Bill stopped as if he had been struck. When he recovered he said in a determined but low voice, “And I don’t have to be a chiseler just because Quillen is!”
            “Sorry to keep you,” he told the waiting customer and his snarl was gone.
            The cars thinned out so that Spud was able to take care of them. As Bill started to go into the station to speak to Elmer, he saw Quillen come out of the barbershop, and walk straight toward the filling station. Bill met him halfway. Quillen smiled as he approached. It looked to Bill like a devilish grin.
            “How are you, Bill?” Quillen greeted pleasantly. The tone of his voice completely unnerved Bill. And the remark that followed left him speechless.
            “How would you like to be head of the Langford Garage, Bill?” Quillen asked. “Wilson wants to sell out. That will give us room enough. I’ll have a garage put here and you can run it. I’ll guarantee you as much as you’re making now, and you’ll get a percentage of the profits.”
            Bill’s jaw only sagged. He wanted to ask, “What’s the catch?” but there was no sound; he merely looked incredibly at Quillen.
            Quillen relieved the situation.
            “My nephew, Elmer,” he began, “lost his eyes, but he’s crazy to work in a garage. He’s smart, and he likes you. So I would like to have you use him, and I feel certain he will make himself useful. I’ll pay his salary myself—until he can earn it. Perhaps you remember seeing him around.”
            Bill nodded. “He’s in there, now—waiting to talk to me, said he had an idea.”
            “I bet he has, too,” chuckled Quillen. “How about our deal?”
            Bill’s face suddenly beamed. “Sure I’ll take Elmer! But I’d rather put him on the regular payroll, even if it cuts down the profits. He’s too fine a boy to be holding a fake job.”
            “I guess you’re right, Bill,” agreed Quillen. “How about our deal?”
            “But why,” exclaimed Bill, after recovering his composure, “are you making me a swell offer like this?”
            “It’s a good investment,” replied Quillen shrewdly. “Anyone who’ll take time out when he’s bust to be nice to a blind kid, has the stuffin’ in him to make a big success of life. That’s why I’m tying to you!” And the two men shook hands heartily.

                                                            --from Mrs. W. J. Lighthall’s collection

06 November 2010

Beth's Awakening

            Beth stood in the very center of her dainty room looking dubiously at a fat envelope she held. With a gloved hand she creased the top edge over and over as a dainty slipper tapped the floor. With a wavering motion she started to open the flap, but at the sound of the horn outside the window, shrugged her shoulders, thrust the letter into her bag, and drew her fur closer around her white throat.
            “Oh, bother! It’s too long. It’s probably just a lot of gossip anyway, and I can read it when I get back. I wonder what mother would say if she knew where I’m going tonight—probably wouldn’t like it. She’s a dear, though, even if she is just a wee bit old-fashioned.”
            With another shrug of her graceful shoulders, she laughed merrily and started down the hall, swinging her hat in her hand.
            “Yes, Jack, don’t be in such a rush,” she said as he met her at the door. “One would think we had only five minutes ahead of us instead of a whole evening. But honestly, my conscience pricks me for spending all of Friday evening with you at nothing more elevating than a hockey game. I know it’s breaking the Sabbath, but—‘Oh, well!’”
            “Oh, my dear! You and your nonsense make me tired. All this Friday night business and starting a new day in the middle of the afternoon! I don’t mind your keeping Sabbath on the wrong day, but I do like my Friday nights with you. And you can suggest nothing more interesting to go to than a dry old Missionary Volunteer Meeting.”
            “I’m sorry, Beth, but it’s true. I almost never see you, and you always have your religion on your mind. Can’t you forget it for just tonight? Please think of me for a while. It’s our only time together for days. My night off would be your Sabbath.”
“All right, Jack,” Beth answered in a small voice,  “for tonight I’ll try to forget.”
But her face was sober as she slowly descended the boarding house steps, and walked to the car. Reaching in her purse for her handkerchief, she saw her mother’s letter still unopened, and a guilty look flashed across her face. With an effort however, she turned to her companion, and soon he had captured all of her attention.
When the long gray roadster had pulled up at the huge building in the heart of the city, Beth’s spirits were soaring and all thoughts of the letter were gone.
“My, what a crowd!” she exclaimed in surprise. “I had no idea hockey was so popular. Who did you say was playing? How long does the game last? I’m beginning to be glad I came. Why didn’t you tell me it was like this?”
“Come on, question box!” was the laughing response. Let’s go in and attend to your education. Where have you spent all your life?”
“Well not at hockey games, that’s one sure thing!”
Laughing and pushing, the two, arm in arm, made their way through the throng and took their seats in the crowded auditorium. With each moment the noise and excitement increased until it was almost necessary to shout in order to hear one another. Beth watched, with breathless interest and shining eyes, the scrambled mass of human beings on the ice. Even after the game was over and the crowd had thinned, Jack could hardly persuade her excited self to leave the scene.
“Well, little miss, how did you like it?” he inquired when they were back in the car.
“It was grand. That’s all I can say! Simply wonderful! Such excitement and so many people. Oh, I loved it.”
“There, I told you so. I knew you’d like it as well as I do. Come on, lets make a night of it. There’s no use in stopping now. The fun has just begun.”
So saying, he stepped on the starter, and off they went roaring down the road. Half an hour later they stopped, with a screeching of brakes, at a little tearoom, cozily set in a grove of evergreens.
Entering, the two chose a table in the corner by a small radio, and ordered their lunch.
“This is what I call fun,” declared Jack. “Let’s have some music.”
With a murmur of contentment Beth turned the dial, but stopped short at the phrase which caught her ears:
“Oh, I love the dear silver that shines in your hair----“
As if paralyzed, her fingers clutched the switch, her heart sank within her. It was Sabbath! What if mother knew?
“The brow that’s all furrowed and wrinkled with care----“
With tender meaning, the words came over the air to the stricken heart of the listening girl. In a moment, her bright and shining world had been shorn of its glitter.
“I kiss the dear fingers so toil worn for me;
“Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree.”
Mother bending over the ironing board on a hot summer’s day. Mother’s hands so worn and knotted in their honest labor for those she loved. Mother up with the sun and about the house so that all might be ready for daughter’s guests! Mother wearing a shabby dress, that daughter might have a warm fur about her neck. Mother’s hopes and longings that her daughter might become a strong earnest worker for her Master. She was mother’s investment. What was she doing here?
With a pale face she turned her attention to the food before her and to the conversation of her partner.
 “S’ matter Beth? Excitement too much for you? I guess you’re not used to the big city.”
With a warm smile she replied, “Listen Jack, I must tell you something. I have forgotten all else but what you wanted me to do for this one evening, but now it is over. You’re right, hockey is exciting, extremely so, but I know such excitement is not for me! I have no place in such surroundings at any time, but tonight—I have broken God’s sacred command to keep His Sabbath holy. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
“Beth, what on earth.”
“No, Jack. Let’s not argue. I’ve decided. In spite of anything you may think to the contrary, I do have a high Christian ideal in life. I have not been very faithful in living up to it of late, but I’m turning over a new leaf. You don’t understand me, Jack, I know you don’t. Perhaps it’s because of my inconsistent action. I’ve been so weak and so ready to do the things I have wanted to do, without too much thought as to whether they were things a Seventh-day Adventist girl ought to do. I realize now, that, as the Bible says, it’s best not to be unequally yoked together. I’m sorry.”
“But Beth, you’re being ridiculous. You’re fanatical. What possible harm is there in what we have done tonight? You and your saintly ideas!”
“I knew you wouldn’t understand, Jack. I’ve explained my reasons to you before. Shall we go now?”
The trip home was made in stony silence. All Beth’s attempts at conversation were brusquely and firmly repulsed, until she also subsided into a miserable heap in the corner of the car. With her mind in a turmoil she asked herself over and over again whether she had been right in saying what she had. But deep down in her heart there was the growing conviction that she was on her way back to the close communion with God which she had once known and enjoyed.
With a curt good night Jack left her, after escorting her to the door, and drove off in a rush. Leaning her aching head against the doorway, Beth wiped away a tear and murmured earnestly, “Bless him, Father, and somehow bring him to a knowledge of Thy love and Thy truth in spite of my inconsistent influence.”
Wearily she climbed the stairs, opened her door, and threw herself sobbing upon her bed. A torrent of confession poured from her lips until she lay quiet, exhausted from the storm, but peaceful at last in the knowledge of her new hope.
As she rose to put away her scattered belongings, she noticed her bag, and immediately thought of her unread letter. Eagerly she reached for it and tore open the flap. With a contented sigh she sat down upon the bed and devoured the home news. She laughed at Mrs. Murphy’s worry over her sick puppy, sighed with the discouragements and mortgages of old Aunt Hannah, and her heart quivered at the love and sacrifice of the home folks. With a start she realized that it was all interesting, this home news that she had once scorned. It told of her people of her kind. Here were her joys and her sorrows as well as theirs.
With a tired body but a comforted heart she went to sleep at last, a wiser and happier girl.
Several years passed, with no word from Jack. Beth had become a successful teacher and was happy in serving her Saviour, when one day she received a letter written in a familiar hand. With quickened heartbeat she tore it open and read:

Dear Beth,

            You will, no doubt, be surprised to hear from me after our long separation, but I feel that I must tell you what it is that is burdening my heart. When I left you after our evening together three years ago, I was very angry. I called you stubborn, obstinate, and a fanatic. I determined never to see you again. Since then, however, I have seen some of the seamy side of life, and I have found that you were right. I shall not tell you of the experiences I have lived through in the past three years, but I do want you to know how much your example has done for me. Always, I could see before me your noble character and high ideals. I fought with all my might against the calling of the small voice within me but, at last I surrendered, and now your Saviour is my Saviour too. I have come to enjoy a friendship with Him such as I never thought possible. And now I want to go back—back to the place where our friendship was broken off so abruptly. May I? I shall be anxiously awaiting your reply.

The golden sun made long shadows upon the wall of her pretty room as Beth sat with bowed head. At last she raised her eyes to the fading glory in the heavens, and with a heart full of gratitude, murmured, “Father, I thank Thee.”

--Mayfred R. Rose, Youth’s Instructor, August 28, 1935

04 November 2010

A Thankful Thursday~~Nov 4

Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,
I thought I'd start early this month
and dedicate Thursdays to Thankfulness.

This week we were especially blessed
by the presence of this saucy pileated woodpecker!

Our winter feeding station is often frequented by
downy and ladderback woodpeckers,
but it is a rare treat to have a visit from
this Pileated Woody!

He was very active and in almost constant motion,
which, coupled with the fact that my kitchen window
needs a good washing,
made it challenging to get decent photos of him.

What are you Thankful for Today?

03 November 2010

Where We Are

We are in the midst of finishing up a few projects around our home
so that we can get it on the market soon.

The-Man dove in and finished up this rock project up last week,
and I'm so proud of him that I wanted to share
his handiwork with you.

We live in an old house that has a beautiful rock exterior.
This is just inside the front door, an enclosed porch
and the window that was once here
was removed and we drywalled over the space
when we gutted and completely remodeled this home.

We usually keep a wood-burning stove in this space
and use a fan to blow the warm air into the rest of the house
which helps our heating bills.
(We really prefer wood heat anyway, and love watching the flames)

It has been our intent to rock this space
to make it more fireproof for a long time...

When in his late teens-early twenties,
the-Man watched--and occasionally assisted--his dad in
rocking a wall at their family home,
but other than that he has no experience in this kind of work.

He's been dreading this job for years...due to his "inexperience"
but it only took him a week to complete,
and I think it looks great!!
(Too bad we have to leave it now...
but it will bless someone else's life,
and we consider it a good learning experience.)


We have a couple more loads to move to the farm
before we actually put our home up for sale...
we hope to get those two trips made before Thanksgiving...
so we are going to be crazy busy
and traveling a lot during the next 3-4 weeks...

which means I will be very challenged to post on a regular basis....
so I am going to pull several posts from the past from our private blog
that I think may be of interest--
at least there will be different photos for you to look at
when you stop by--
and hopefully that will relieve my self-imposed feelings of pressure
to keep new material at the top of this page!

As I have time, I'll be posting short updates and such,
but I will schedule these others to sort of fill in
when we are away from civilization.

Hope your month is wonderful,
and that every day is Thanksgiving Day at your home!