Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Gift For Marcy!

Okay, Marcy, is this more like it? He even did the wedding photo! Any more requests?

Ray took Marcy's Challenge!

Ray felt that he now had to edit the magazine cover to have me in the wedding photo at the bottom too!

How I Became First Lady And Made The Cover Of Us Magazine!

All I had to do to become First Lady and make the cover of Us Magazine was marry a man with too much time on his hands and who thinks it is the funniest thing in the world to photo shop me into every picture alongside of President Obama that he can lay his hands on!
My apologies to President Obama and his wife Michelle.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thankful To All Who Inspire

Today is the Feast of St. Catherine Siena. I have a little cross that my husband bought for two dollars at a sale in a local Convent when the building was being closed and shuttered, when he got home he noticed that there was a tiny screw on the top of the cross, and when he took the screw out the cross opened to reveal a relic of St. Catherine Siena.
This is such a pretty little mosaic cross with lots of intricate detail. We were fortunate to have it find it’s way into our home.

The pictures don’t really do it justice at all but I will post them anyway.

Sister Sara Fairbanks wrote of St. Catherine:

The source of St. Catherine's extraordinary apostolic life was her relationship with God, a relationship with God that she described as, "a fire that takes away the chill in my heart."

Catherine teaches us that there is no greater gift than God's Self-Gift to us in Jesus Christ. In prayer she exclaims to God,

And what more could You have given us than to give us Your very Self? You can truly ask us, "What should I, or could I have done for you that I have not already done?”

Catherine recounts Christ's words of His promise to us:

“If you choose Me as your Companion you will not be alone; My Love will always be with you…
Trust in My love and set aside every fear…
Confront the princes and tyrants of this world with My Strength.
Take from Me the fire of My Spirit and share with all My Mercy and My Burning Love.
You are not alone. You have Me.”

Catherine calls us to contemplation:

*Do we recognize the Gift of God in our life?

*Do we take time everyday to be aware of God's Presence, to savor Him, to trust Him?

*Is God "a fire that takes away the chill in our hearts" and moves us out in service of
one another?

I love when I find people that inspire me to find a deeper relationship with God. I loved reading that the core of Saint Catherine's life was her relationship with God and how much she valued that relationship. Saint Catherine's story is just one of many that inspire me. There are the stories of many Saints that do that for me, but also there are so many people in my life today who inspire me and bring me closer to God. There are so many family members and friends (all too numerous to mention by name), and even strangers whose stories I may come across by accident who have helped me forge a greater bond with God.
I am thankful for all of you wonderful people who inspire.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Letting Go Is Not Always Easy

This is written for some very special people in my life.

"Letting go doesn't mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be." ~ Anonymous.

Sometimes we just have to let go. It may not seem at all right to let go, especially if we are letting go of someone who is important to us in our life, but no matter how wrong it may feel, sometimes we are left with no choice. We want to hang on to what we felt was a very good relationship. It’s hard to let go of something we feel is so positive, it takes a lot of soul searching, and sometimes it takes a lot of love to let this person slip quietly out of our life. We feel as if we should fight against this, we feel that maybe if we make a ruckus, if we protest loud enough, somehow we’ll be able to hang on to this relationship. But that is not love speaking, and that is not an act of friendship, it is desperation and self-serving at its worst. We need to step back, we need to take a breath, and we need to let go. This is true for any relationship, whether the relationship is romantic, or if it’s a family member, or if it’s a friendship. And we need to remind ourselves that sometimes the best course of action to take is no course of action at all.

Our lives are a scrapbook of all we hold dear, pages full of people, places, shared memories, and situations, and at the core of it all there is love, which shapes our closest relationships with others. Love comes in many different forms, and the bonds created from love are not easy to sever. We have the love of our life, the love of our children, love of extended family and friends, there are so many different stages of love, but love is at the core of all the important relationships in our lives. So when you think of letting go of a relationship it is hard to do because you know that you are letting go of love. No heart wants to give up on love. But there are times when we have no choice but to let go.
We must force ourselves to look at relationships and situations not with a ‘what once was’ idea, but we must face the reality of the situation. And that reality may be that someone we love has in some way moved away from us, the relationship that is so important to us, may not be so important anymore to our loved one. And holding on to the idea that our loved one may somehow change back into what we want them to be is only holding us back. Sometimes we have to let go to move forward. But letting go doesn’t mean we stop loving the other person, it doesn’t mean we let them go with bitterness in our hearts, it just means we give them the space they need, we accept them for what they are today and we move forward in our own lives with an open heart.

A sad fact of life is that people and situations change. A changed situation can mean a changed heart, feelings change and people change. Sometimes circumstances change the way people feel and act, when this happens in a close relationship the results can be heartbreaking for the one left behind. You may love someone very much but if they choose to lock you out of their lives, you are faced with the fact that you have to let them go.

Sometimes it happens that you lose a good friend. Your friend may grow distant and pull away from you, and after many years of being close it can cause confusion and more than a few hurt feelings. You may begin to doubt yourself and hold onto a lot of self-blame, you may ask yourself what it is you have done to make this person turn away from you. You may ask yourself in what way have you let this person down? You may wonder if you have disappointed them in some way. You ask yourself what can you do to save this friendship? But sometimes you have to accept the fact that there is nothing you can do to rescue this relationship from exiting your life. You may try for a while to continue the relationship as if nothing has happened but if your friend has truly pulled away, there is not much you can do to salvage the fading friendship. For whatever reason your friend no longer wants to share the same relationship with you that they once had with you, and they continue to push you away. You may try for a long time to reach them, you may be waiting to see if they come around, but as time passes you will get used to them not being as involved in your life. And finally, there will come a day when you stop holding on.
That doesn’t mean you don’t still value the friendship that you had, and, yes, you can keep hope alive that things will change for the better in the future. It doesn’t mean that there is no hope left, there may come a time when the friendship can be rekindled. Letting go just means you have reached acceptance, and you recognize that for now this person no longer wants the relationship to continue as it once was. You now need to grieve that loss and move on.
But you also have to make sure you leave yourself open for the chance that your loved one may one day want to return to a friendship with you, and that is why letting go out of love and not bitterness is important. Be mindful not to let a cherished friendship turn sour in your heart. Remember that this is someone you respected, remember that this is a relationship that enriched your life for a while and be thankful for it. Appreciate the gift of the friendship that once was. Don’t throw away the good.

It is not an easy thing to do, in fact, most times it is one of the hardest things we have to do in life, but sometimes we just have to let go.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Merry Monday

Merry Monday is taken from another blog, but I forget which one otherwise I would credit the blogger, if I come across it again I will give credit where credit is due. I will only be using it for this Monday anyway and it will not be used every Monday because I don’t want to pilfer this title, I’m just doing a little ‘borrowing’ for today. Well, it’s a so-so Merry Monday as I didn’t get accomplished everything I wanted to get done from my ‘weekend forecast’, but there were some things not on my list that got done, so that sort of makes up for the things left undone!

Ray did go golfing and he did get the sink base primed on Saturday! This sink should really go into a Friday Favorite because this sink is one of my favorites for sure! My friend Barbara gave me this sink when she was having her kitchen done over. I always loved this big old sink, in fact, I always loved Barbara’s old kitchen, it was small and it was original to her house, and she had painstakingly stripped her kitchen cabinets down to bare wood, she had ceramic tiled counter tops, linoleum on the floor, and this big old sink (I wish I had thought to take some before and after pictures of her kitchen for all to see).
Her new kitchen is beautiful too, so bright with a big bay window over her new stainless sink, stainless appliances, pretty oak cabinets, granite counter tops, a very pretty slate tiled floor (that’s heated!!). And now it is all opened to her dining room, a bright, airy, big, open space. Certainly it’s nothing to turn your nose up at!

But I’m wishing she had done her kitchen over before Ray and I did our kitchen over because I would have had Ray design a kitchen around this old sink! The sink is scratched and marred and time-worn, but that is one of my loves in life! I would have designed a very shabby chic kitchen instead of the more modern design we have now (which Ray actually is very happy I didn’t have this sink before our new kitchen design because he’s so practical and is always thinking of re-sale value [and he figures shabby chic is not a selling point], while I am just thinking in ‘home and hearth’ mode all the time). Anyway, Ray and his brother Donald very kindly went and picked up this very heavy (almost 300 lbs!) sink from Barbara’s house, transferred it to our house in the back of Ray’s new car, then they built a base for it on our back deck, and then again using their muscle power lifted this very heavy sink up onto the base (no easy feat), and just this weekend Ray completed the job by attaching some decorative wood pieces to the base and then primed and painted it. And I’ve made him promise that if we ever move, this sink is coming with us! I absolutely love it! And I truly appreciate all the toil and labor that these two men put into this project!
Here are the results of all Ray and Donald’s hard work.

Okay, back to the weekend forecast, I was also going to finish cleaning out the back room and rearrange furniture on Saturday, but instead I slept in Saturday morning, and then decided to bake a new cookie recipe (very happy results!), and then I opted to visit my favorite blogs and help Jayden dress like a pirate and have some fun with him, then before I knew it Ray was back from golfing and said he was too tired to move furniture around and asked me if I wanted to go shopping! And when I weighed cleaning against shopping, well, of course shopping won! And since it was such a beautiful day, when we got back Ray primed the sink base outside and I opted to do some cleaning up outside instead of inside, and I also rearranged furniture out on the deck rather than in the house. So the back room will have to wait until another weekend (preferably a rainy one).
While outside Ray took some pictures of the flowers in the hanging baskets out back, and the lilac bushes are beginning to bloom too.

And for Sunday, Mass, hiking, and painting the sink base were all on the agenda. Well, I got to Mass (and then went to a flea market over in the school with my sister, that was fun!), and Ray had finished painting, but the hiking will have to wait for another weekend. Our son Erik came over with our granddaughter Mia, and that was much more fun than hiking anyway!

So, while I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to get done, it was a very happy, somewhat productive weekend, so I guess this really is more than a so-so Merry Monday!
Let’s see what happens next weekend.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Is One Time I Didn't Mind Baking!

If anyone knows me they know I do not enjoy cleaning, and I do not enjoy cooking, and I do not enjoy baking (not a great resume for a ‘housewife’!).

But I have to thank blogger Diana for posting her grandmother’s recipe for Potato Chip Cookies on her blog ‘Welcome To My World’! They are a big hit with my family!! I made them this morning and they were very easy to make and the results were gratifying as they satisfy both my cravings for sweet and salty!

I took this picture after just a few cookies were eaten, I figured I better take it quick because before too long there will be nothing left to photograph!
I did promise my son that I’d save some for when he visits tomorrow so I have to keep an eye on them (and I better show some self-control myself)!

These cookies remind me so much of my grandmother’s Sandies cookie recipe, and I loved those too!

Thank you, Diana!

Also, many thanks to Marcy for posting her Banana Pancake recipe on her blog Blessings Each Day, I haven't had a chance to make that one yet, but I'm determined!

Thank you, ladies!

Okay, it is now Sunday, 8:20 PM as I edit this post to add another picture, the picture above of the plate full of cookies was taken Saturday morning soon after baking.
The picture below was taken Sunday evening with hardly a crumb left! Good job, Diana! My family thanks you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Favorites

I see that other bloggers have some entertaining terms for different days of the week (Merry Mondays, Tuesday Teasers, Tickle Me Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Thoroughly Thursdays, Funny Fridays, Freaky Fridays, Successful Saturdays [I like that one a lot, especially if a successful Saturday means it was a fun Saturday!], Sunny Sundays, etc., you get the idea). Well, since Friday is a day I look forward to and it is one of my favorite days of the week as it is the start of my weekend I have decided to do some ‘Friday Favorites’ where I will post some of my favorite things, whether they be a favorite movie, book, restaurant, meal, vacation spot, place to shop, things acquired for our home, a favorite memory, etc.
And some weeks I will post for myself a Weekend Forecast on Fridays of things I’d like for us to accomplish, sort of a ‘to do’ list of either chores or amusements or maybe a bit of both. (Then Monday I will check to see if it was mission accomplished!)

Okay, so for my very first ‘Friday Favorites’ I am posting some pictures of some of my favorite things in my home. The first is a picture of things I picked up at thrift shops, White Elephant sales, flea markets, and yard sales. I have been told that the things in this little silver collection were used in any number of ways (vintage travel ink wells, vintage condiment pots, vintage salt cellars, vintage cream perfume cases, powder make-up containers, or candle holders). I have no idea what they were once used for, but something about them called out to me and I had to buy them. Tea light candles fit inside of them perfectly so that is what I use them for.

And here are some pictures of a few of our favorite Swedish possessions. Here are just two of my traditional Swedish Dala Horses (I have so many more, but they are boxed in the attic for now), and two wooden butter spreaders that were made in Sweden by my husband’s Uncle Roy. If you look close you can see that Uncle Roy etched 'Aland' on them and he did so because Aland is the island off of Sweden where my husband’s family is from (Aland is actually an archipelago but I always call it Aland Island).

And these pictures are of baby outfits that my mother-in-law has so kindly given to me, my husband and his brothers wore these when they were babies. I have them hanging up in our back room and I love them. Now I am on a quest to find some vintage baby hangers.

** The Weekend Forecast:
Saturday ~ Ray golfs in A.M.
I finish cleaning out the back room
Rearrange furniture in P.M. (with Ray’s help!)

Sunday ~ Go for hike after Mass
Paint base of outdoor sink

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm A Homebody

The definition of a homebody:
n. pl. home·bod·ies
One whose interests center on the home.

Noun 1. homebody - a person who seldom goes anywhere; one not given to wandering or travel;

Yes, it’s official, I am a homebody. I love my home and I love staying home. I certainly have not been Blessed with the gift of wanderlust, which makes me feel sorry for my husband as every once in awhile he gets the urge to travel and the desire to ‘get away from it all’. I have no need to get away because my home is my getaway. I love being surrounded by familiar things, I love being surrounded by family and friends, I do enjoy warmer weather at home because my postage stamp of a backyard is my tiny oasis, but all in all, no matter the weather, no matter the season, home is where I most like to be. And while I will agree it’s nice once in awhile to get away from the routine of your life, I am not gone from home too long before the longing for home sets in. I am a homebody.

I remember years ago my sister-in-law Rhoda talking about how she loved getting away and she loved going on vacation and she couldn’t understand how I didn’t plan and take a vacation at least once a year. I tried explaining to her that I felt no need of a vacation, but I guess the fact that I didn’t feel the need to get away was as strange to her as her need to leave her home seemed so foreign to me.

I do enjoy day trips, and I especially enjoy visiting others in their homes. I enjoy getting a glimpse of how they like to live, their taste in furniture, the things they like to collect, and in what ways they may choose to indulge themselves.
I don’t have a very big interest in how ‘the other half’ lives, although it’s fun sometimes to see how the rich and famous choose to spend their wealth, but I find everyday people so much more interesting. The wealthy, the prominent, the celebrities are no real magnet for my short attention span, but the ordinary, the commonplace, familiar run-of-the-mill people, now there lies my fascination.

I think that might be part of the attraction of old furnishings for me too. When I find a piece of beat up old furniture that appeals to me I like to think of the history of not only the furniture but also of the former owners and what else these people may have surrounded themselves with in their homes. What possessed the original owner to first purchase this particular piece of furniture? How many families did this piece service? How did it get this scratched and warped? And when I find an old piece of a tattered doily, I wonder what was the function of this doily? Was it an arm cover for a chair? Was it a gift lovingly made for a new bride? Or maybe it was a piece of a hand-made bonnet to welcome a new baby? Was it made to adorn a table in the home? What occasion prompted someone to crochet such a pretty pattern? Was it a cherished heirloom handed down from mother to child and then lost among treasures in an attic somewhere, left behind in a hurried move? How could such a jewel get to be so torn and stained? How did I get so lucky to find this treasure at a White Elephant sale? How many owners did each of my discoveries have? How many homes hosted each find? What twists and turns along life’s road did these wonderful belongings take to make their way into my home?

I have a nosy interest in people and the choices they make and in the things they choose to share their homes with. Do they surround themselves with things of beauty, things with a history, things that are practical? Do they prefer plain or fancy? Does basic attract them, or are they drawn to something more ornate? Or are they like me and possess an eclectic collection of things in their home? Do they have a love of the bohemian?
What color palette do they prefer? Are they pastel, muted, and restrained in their color choice or are they more vibrant, daring to decorate their home with vivid colors? Are they sky and water, or are they earth toned?

But most of all, I’d like to know how people feel about their homes. Do they feel as I do, that their homes are a haven? Or do they think of it as a house, a roof over their heads, something to protect them from the elements and nothing more? Is your home more than just a place to hang your hat?

I think I can sum up my feelings about my home with words from the movie The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy says to Glinda the good witch, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

And my most favorite part when Dorothy clicks her heels together and repeats:
“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Voted Most Photogenic!

Everyone in our family agrees that my niece Jackie is the most photogenic person in the family, she never takes a bad picture. So we all decided that we want her in every picture, this way even if the rest of us look bad the pictures won’t be a total loss:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Counting My Blessings In The Cold

It’s cold and it’s windy, and after having a beautiful weekend of warm weather, I am dreading the thought of donning winter gear to go out to take Jayden to school now. And I know Jayden is dreading going out in it too, he’s just saying to me now, “It’s too cold to go out there, maybe I should stay home from school today!” I can’t say I blame him, I’d like to stay in the house today too, although I think his reasoning has more to do with the fact that he just doesn’t want to go to school, especially after having spent a nice week of freedom at home with nothing to do but play over the Easter vacation!

So I’m digging out winter hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves after having just packed them away for the spring and summer! Oh well. Spring will come and this will be only a memory. I am feeling sorry for the geraniums in the pots that we just put out along the walkway and out on the front porch and back deck yesterday though, they look cold bracing themselves against the wind. And the baskets in the back are being blown furiously back and forth! But I guess they can use the rain. I’d much rather be out there in the sun though, with my little watering can giving them a drink.

Well, I learned from a very wise blogger, Marcy, to look for the Blessings in everything, so I’m feeling very Blessed today as I bundle us up to walk in the wind, and the rain, and the cold, and I will continue to count my Blessings every step of the way! Thank you, Marcy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I've Been Tagged!

I'm not sure if I'm doing this right, I've never been tagged before, but thanks to blogger Diana, this is my first! (By the way, Diana, I loved your lists!)
Okay, any other bloggers reading here, you're tagged! So when you finish reading this get busy!
And I'll be contacting some of you personally!

Eight Things I’m Looking forward to:

1. I always look forward to weekends!
2. Summer!
3. Pool Parties and Barbecues!
4. Ray and I going to Rhode Island for a long weekend to celebrate our Anniversary next month!
5. Hiking!
6. Nicer weather so I can be outdoors more!
7. A Fall vacation in Disney World with the family!
8. Going to the beach with Donald and Ray, they fish, I read!

Eight things I did yesterday:

1. I cleaned the kitchen.
2. I vacuumed.
3. I had a party for my granddaughter.
4. I enjoyed playing with my grandchildren.
5. I had a nice visit with my family.
6. I laughed a lot.
7. I pressed the flower petals that Mia and Jayden picked for me in my Bible.
8. I watched a movie at home with my husband.

Eight things I wish I could do:

1. I wish I had the means so I could help my family more.
2. I wish I could be more patient.
3. I wish I could be more accepting.
4. I wish I could be less controlling.
5. I wish I could be more courageous.
6. I wish I could work at a job that would earn the same as my husband’s salary (or more!) so he could take a break and stay home.
7. I wish I could spend more time with my husband.
8. I wish I could see loved ones that have passed away one more time.

Eight TV Shows I Watch:

1. House
2. Grey’s Anatomy
3. Private Practice
4. American Idol
5. Bones
7. Judge Judy
8. Ghost Whisperer

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Few Nice Days!

The Birthday Girl!

I had a nice few days with lots of special moments to celebrate. I am so Blessed.
Thursday was my granddaughter Mia’s 2nd birthday and that evening we went to my son and daughter-in-law’s apartment for a little celebration. Mia is such a dainty little lady, carefully opening each gift and then examining it before moving on to the next one. We really enjoyed ourselves watching her enjoy herself!
Friday night we went to my sister-in-law’s house for a welcome home party as my nephew was back home from Iraq! Of course that was a very happy celebration and it’s so nice to have him safe at home. We know how lucky we are and we are so grateful.
And today we had another party with lots of extended family to celebrate Mia’s birthday at our house.

Here are some pictures of Mia’s celebrations and as soon as I can I will post some pictures from the welcome home party:

Mia and her favorite Backyardigan!

Blowing out the candle with Daddy's help.

Having fun with Uncle Brian.

Grandma and the Birthday Girl!

Uncles and Cousins

Mia and her Mommy.

Jayden trying to cheer up the Birthday girl!

Jayden and Erika

Lunch on the run!

Aunts, cousins, and Grandma


Mia loves ducks!


Mia and Jayden