Friday, July 31, 2009

God's Blessings!

Jayden came running into the house this evening, "Umma, come look! Come look! Come look at this rainbow!"
He was very, very excited, he didn't even wait for me to catch up, he was back out the door. Jayden had never seen a rainbow before and it was such fun to see his excitement. It really was a big, beautiful rainbow and I called to Ray to get the camera and Jayden shouted, "Get mine too!"

It stretched from one side of the street... way past the other side of the street.

This was the view of the sky looking down our block, facing East...

...and this is the view of the sky facing West.

Thank you, God.

Friday Favorites

Today I have just two favorites, a poem and a song. Both of them I learned when I was in second grade at O.L.B.S. School (Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament School). The poem is about the Blessed Mother, and the song we learned to sing for our First Holy Communion Mass.


Dear Jesus, I have longed for You

Since I was very small

Upon my mother's knee I learned

That You were not so tall

She said You were quite wonderful

In each and every way

And if I was a very good child

I'd be with You one day

She said You would be my Best Friend

And stay close by my side

She said You would take care of me

And that You were my Guide

Dear Jesus, on this special day

Please come into my heart

As I receive Your Holy Host

Please never let us part

I'm actually not positive of all the lyrics (other than the first verse) because my memory is so bad, but I think that's how it went. And I wish I knew music because then I could describe the tune, it's a haunting little tune, just the same tune over and over for each verse.
I've tried looking it up on-line but have found nothing. I think one of the Nuns who taught at O.L.B. S. wrote it, and I think it was only used the year that I made my First Holy Communion because my sister made hers the next year and it wasn't sung then.
I think many parents may have complained, I know my Mom was upset at first that we weren't singing "Oh, Lord, I Am Not Worthy", until she had me sing the song, and then she said she liked it very much and thought it was a sweet song for children to sing.

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday ~ just food shopping in the morning and shopping for school supplies for Jayden (I waited too long last year and there was not much left on the shelves!) then babysitting Mia in the afternoon and evening (our son and daughter-in-law have a wedding to attend).
Sunday ~ pool party!
Monday ~ Ray is off and I think we'll be going to the beach again!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordful Wednesday ~ The Twisted Ones

Today my little poem
Is about the twisted ones
They make village life so interesting
And they make it so much fun

The two that I am speaking of
Are Diana and Marcy
They keep us laughing all the time
With their merriment and glee

Marcy so good and so kind
Keeps us smiling with her jokes
Diana with her dry wit
Makes me laugh until I choke

Marcy is tattling on poor Jackie
For something she did not even do
Diana is changing days of the week
And confusing me and you!

Things fell apart when Bernie left
To visit with friends and family
The mayhem then abounded
And began to grow so merrily!

Teresa blogged a village poem
And everyone chimed in
A verse from here, a verse from there
Made us feel as if we're kin

Wanda tried her best to keep everyone in check
But what was she to do?
With Bernie gone she was 'on her own'
Trying to reign in this mischievous crew!

Now we welcome Bernie back to our fold
With our arms open wide
And we celebrate her safe return
And hope that she can guide

This village needs some peace and calm
And just a bit of normalcy
Our dear twisted sisters have run amok
But without them, where would we be?

Big hugs to Marcy and Diana!

Welcome Home, Bernie!

Villagers, if I didn't mention your name, it's only because my poetry is lame (seriously, my mind was turning to mush, the only thing I could think to rhyme with Jerelene was 'kerosene')!

Happy Wordful Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Enchanted Makeovers

Brenda at Cozy Little House told this story on her blog, and I thought I would like to help by reprinting it here.

This is Terry Grahl, founder and president of Enchanted Makeovers. She is a mother of four and an award-winning interior decorator. In January 2007 she received a call from a black-tie coordinator for a local shelter, asking for her help. He said, "We would be so grateful even if you just painted one wall." She was hesitant. She had never been to a shelter. But she told herself she would go and take photos, as she did with all her clients, in case she accepted the volunteer job. The reality she saw there would change her life.
A week passed. "The pictures, the pictures...I must look at these pictures," she told herself. "As I downloaded them to my computer, there it was. THE picture. There amongst black metal posts, a stained mattress, and an unfinished sheet rock wall was an answer. There amongst the harshness was something dear to my heart: a polka dot. A safe pattern that has no sharp edges. There on that seemingly ordinary pillow was an answer. It was an answer from within me but not directly from me. When I saw the polka dots in that picture, I heard, "Trust me." From that moment on, I knew I was prepared to do whatever I could to bring hope to those women and children."

Says Terry on her website: "Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in the magic of her own imagination. Her parents were wise and caring adults who encouraged the little girl to follow her pixie-dusted dreams."
"My mother taught me that decorating didn't need to be motivated by money and that by relying on your own creativity and vision - each home improvement was a selfless act of love. For my mother, making a home where her five children felt safe and where their spirits could soar was as important as keeping us fed and clothed."
"How could I have forgotten my own dreams, given my stable circumstances? But, more importantly, how could the women and children in the shelter realize that they were worthy of so much more? They too had dreams, but where could they be found again?"
Terry Grahl never turned back. She found herself back at the shelter with a design plan and a vision. She vowed to see that project to completion. Transforming the shelter took more than her decorating skills. It required finding and organizing volunteers and donors nationwide. "Six months later, the makeover was complete, and it was amazing. Even more amazing to me was that I had found my true calling." She knew she wanted to use her talents and skills as a decorator to provide refuge, solace and hope to people in need. She took on additional shelter projects. In December of 2008 she decided to close her decorating business, Terry's Enchanted Cottage, losing the security of her paying clients. In January of 2009, Terry's Enchanted Cottage, established in 2005, ultimately became a non-profit organization called Enchanted Makeovers. This organization would begin to change shelters for women and children into places of peace and possibilities.

Just imagine what these walls mean to children forced out of their homes. Fearful of an uncertain existence with an equally fearful mother, unaware what may lay ahead for them. Just imagine...
Says Terry: "Transforming the shelters that save people's lives into beautiful sanctuaries that heal their spirit is my vocation. I have a passion and belief in my cause that is greater than myself."

What can you do to help? Here are ten ways that are listed on the website:
1. Monetary donations, small and large, are the sustaining heart of the makeovers.
2. Volunteer your time and/or services on pre-Makeover Day and on Makeover Day.
Bulletins are posted on this website as to the needs/services when they arise.
3. Host a monetary or in-kind donation drive in your place of business or your home.
4. Are you a crafter? Contact Terry or call her at 734-776-0848 to see how you may be of help.
"We love and prefer items made by loving, human hands for the special touches of the
5. "We are always in need of sewing groups or individuals to make traveling sanctuary bags
for local shelters and nationwide."
6. Contact Terry (734-776-0848) if you would like her to speak to your group about
Enchanted Makeovers.
7. Spread the word about Enchanted Makeovers. "Blog about us or write an article."
8. Contact Terry to provide you with materials so that you can give a speech in your church
or community to get others involved. "We are always in need of freelance writers to write
press releases and stories and to design and print brochures and flyers."
9. Contact Terry for a radio or TV interview.
10. Always keep the women and children in your prayers. Says Terry, "We're always open
to great ideas and suggestions. Please send them our way."

Please visit this website and ask yourself what you can do to help. All of us have a skill or talent to help make dreams possible for these women and children. When you lie in bed tonight, snug in your home with the lights out, everyone safe, please ask yourself this question before you fall asleep. "What can I do to help?"

* All written material granted by the express permission of Terry Grahl. Copyright 2009.
Technorati Tags: Enchanted Makeovers, Terry Grahl

Monday, July 27, 2009

Driftwood, Grandkids, Pancakes ~ All Weekend Blessings

When we were at the beach last week, I not only hit upon treasures of seashells, rocks, and beach glass, I also found a beautiful piece of driftwood. It was actually a very big, thick, heavy, solid oak plank, and it was about seven feet long. It was beautifully worn and weathered gray. I found it down the beach far away from where we had set up camp, and I dragged it along the sand all the way back with me.
Raymond and his brother Donald were laughing at me, and Ray kept saying that I couldn't be serious about taking it home. I was! And when it came time to pack up and go home, I dragged the plank of driftwood over to Donald's truck and asked him if we could take it and as Raymond shook his head no, Donald said "Absolutely!", because that's how he rolls.
Ray just rolled his eyes, but he helped Donald load it into the car (the plank was so long it went from the back of the cargo area, up past the middle seat where Jayden and I were sitting, and up into the front seat, between Ray and Donald).
We drove to Donald's house where our car was parked and began to unload our things from Donald's car to put into our car. Ray was not thrilled about putting the big old driftwood into his car so Donald offered to bring it to us on Saturday as the guys would be golfing together.
I didn't know what I was going to do with the plank, but it was beautiful, and I was determined to find a use for it.
Well, when I got up Saturday morning, the guys had long ago left for golfing, and everyone else was already up and about too. I got on the computer and read blogs and commented for awhile, and then I made myself a breakfast treat (as my daughter Ellie had made her usual Saturday morning trip to Dunkin' Donuts and always very kindly gets me a wheat bagel) and I made myself a cup of coffee, and I was settling myself down to feast when something caught my eye. On the dining table was sitting something unusual, something I had never seen before. My eyesight is bad and I couldn't really tell what it was and I asked my daughters, "What is this?". My daughter Katie said, "Oh, it's something Uncle Donald made", and then it hit me! That's my driftwood!
I ran over to it and I could not believe my eyes, he had made for me a very beautiful, rustic looking shelf out of my driftwood plank, and he also gave me some beautiful shells to display on it. I seriously was so touched, I had tears in my eyes. And then my daughter Katie said, "Oh no, here we go again! Now she's going to start crying again, and now she's going to have to blog about this!"
And then she says in her Edith Bunker voice (she always uses her Edith Bunker voice when she's imitating me) and she does a little Saturday Night Live parody, "Oh girls, you are not going to believe what Donald made for me! He took my driftwood and made me a beautiful shelf! Oh girls, I'm all 'verklempt' here, I can't even talk about it anymore, I'm so overcome with emotion, so just talk amongst yourselves please, I'm just too verklempt to even speak right now!"
She's a pest! But she's absolutely right! I am overcome with emotion. I am so touched by this gift of his time and his effort.
And, he later told me that the shells were a 'peace offering' because he thought I might be mad that he had cut up my driftwood!
Well, girls, I am all 'verklempt', so please, talk amongst yourselves.

Here's my driftwood beauty:

I especially love the way the wood bows out here and the knot is so beautiful!

We all agreed that our outdoor sink would be a good home for Donald's driftwood shelf.

Some weekend fun!

"Jayden, what's going on?"

"Mia and Erik are hiding from me!"

Now what's going on?

Everyone's hiding from Grandma!

Mia cooking for Jayden.

I guess he liked it!

Pancakes for dinner!

Jayden's Chocolate Chip Mickey Mouse dessert pancake being made on the griddle. He loved it!

After dinner we had a sudden storm of thunder, lightening, hail, and rain, all while the sun was shining! It's been a crazy summer weather-wise! It's been a wonderful summer otherwise!

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tom!

Today is my oldest brother's birthday. If I had to choose one word to describe my brother Tommy it would be motivated. Tommy always seemed to me to be a go-getter. Tom would set a goal for himself, and then he would avidly seek it. He may not have always attained it, but his determination throughout the pursuit was tenacious. I've always admired his dogged persistence.

Tommy is seven years older than I am, and we weren't particularly close growing up due to our age difference. We certainly didn't share the same friends, and I think to this day our interest lie in different areas. Tom worked hard to achieve a successful career and a prestigious position as a union representative which keeps him busy traveling and hob-nobbing with big shots and politicians. My position consists of hearth and home. But we both have a shared past, and we share a deep abiding love of that past. Our memories differ in that he was older, and most of his childhood experiences were involved more with my second oldest brother John, while most of my childhood memories are shared with my sisters.

It's funny the things that stick in your mind though. I remember both my older brothers playing football, I can still see them in their football uniforms. I remember them playing handball and stickball in the street, I remember that they hung out with a nice group of neighborhood kids, and I remember that it was a big group of neighborhood kids. I remember that Tommy was smart, I remember that he made me laugh a lot, and I remember that I could make him laugh too.
I remember when he got his first job that he was very generous to me. I remember if I wanted something, I went to Tommy and asked him to buy it for me, and he never refused. In particular I remember when I was about twelve, there was a pair of shoes in the window of Thom McCann's that I wanted, and I asked Tommy for the money (they were fifteen dollars which was a lot of money back then!), Tom not only gave me the money to buy them, he also gave me the car fare!

I remember Tom always used to say to us younger kids "I'll buy if you fly." He was talking about treating us all to Carvel ice cream, if we would walk there and buy it, he would foot the bill! I don't remember how often he treated, but it seemed like a lot, so I'd say it was at least once a week for quite awhile.

I remember reading in his graduation autograph book that 'Moon River' was his favorite song, and I remember being happy that we shared a favorite, for at that time it was my favorite song.

I remember my Mom telling me the story of Tom's first day of school in Kindergarten, she said that she peeked in the window and Tommy was building with some blocks and another boy came over and knocked them all down and started taking the blocks away, she said Tom just backed off and watched the boy play with them then. My Mom said Tommy went over to play with some cars, and the same boy came and took them away from him, and Tommy just stood and put his hands behind his back and watched the boy play with the cars.
Tom, if you're reading here, do you remember that day, that incident? I wonder if that event had something to do with your career choice, sticking up for 'the trod upon'?

I remember being so sad when Tom joined the Marines, and I remember that nothing at home really seemed the same after that anymore. By the time he came home two years later my brother John had joined the Army and was in Viet Nam, and soon after John came home Tom got married and moved out, and then my sister Marybeth married and moved out, and then it was my turn. Thinking back, Tom leaving for the Marines marked a turning point not only in my life but in the life of our family and our home.

Tom moved away from our hometown many years ago, and for years he lived out in Colorado, a few years ago his job relocated him and his family back to the east coast, but he still lives about five hours away by car. When my Mom and Dad were ill, he would make the drive up here on weekends once in awhile. It was always good to catch up with each other and to reminisce about the past.
Our visits now are infrequent, and we're not involved in each other's daily lives, but we have grown closer over the last few years, and we keep in touch through e-mail, and he's good about phoning everyone. My sister said she just spoke with him yesterday and he said he'd be up our way in a few weeks, he'll be driving his two grandsons up to spend a week or two with my sister-in-law (his ex-wife), it will be nice to see the boys and spend some time with them as we don't get to see them that often either.
My sister also told me that she told Tom about my blog, so Tom if you are reading this ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

You have always been very good to me and I love you very much! Enjoy your special day!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Favorites

Just some random favorites today:

I love this picture of Mother And Child. We bought this picture at a church rummage sale. I especially love the sepia tone, and I think the faces are so beautiful.

And here's my favorite boy wearing my shoes pretending that he's me!

I really don't think I've ever pranced around like that or posed like that though!

Oh! And those shoes are a favorite of mine too, my friend Barbara bought them for me and they are so comfortable, and I love the color!

Here I am holding my favorite girl, who of course is holding three of her favorite things in the world ~ ducks!

And I know this is a weird thing for a grandmother to say ~ but I'm saying it anyway ~ I love looking at the back of Mia's head!

Look at those curls at the bottom! Look at her red highlights! Come on, tell me I'm not that weird. It is a very cute back of the head, right?

This next favorite is something I eat to satisfy my sweet tooth (I LOVE to eat and I especially love to eat sweets, although I am trying to curb that lately)!
These are little sour cream cakes from Omaha Steaks. They come frozen and you either pop them into the oven for fifteen minutes or pop them into the microwave for a minute and a half. You wouldn't think a frozen food could taste so good, but they are delicious!
Ray and his brother love them too. And when my friend Barbara stops by for coffee, these treats have been our latest weekly addiction!

And this is one of my favorite songs, performed by one of my favorite singing groups, for one of my favorite people ~ Marybeth. You were right Mare, I love it! This one's for you! (I'll swap you two jelly glasses for two Chinese figurines! Oh, wait, Diane has them! You lose.) See I inserted a little joke here. Now don't cry. I love you!

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday ~ Ray golfs in the morning, and then just yard work on the agenda for the rest of the day.
Sunday ~ No special plans, maybe a trip to the cemetery in the morning and then maybe just a barbecue with the family depending on the weather.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Holy Cow! I'm Losing It! ~ AND ~ Sweet Dreams

I had my Friday Favorites all ready and scheduled to be posted TODAY!
Okay, Marcy, give me every single one of those 'Village Idiot' awards (okay, I know that's not what they're really called, but that's exactly what I feel like)!
Whew! Good thing I noticed (at 11:18 P.M., and the Friday post was scheduled for midnight)!

Okay, so instead you get this: Sweet Dreams

He looks so peaceful, right?

But wait... gets better...
 can anyone fall asleep like THIS??!!

Ahh, this is more like it!

Now Umma feels better!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WordLESS Wednesday ~ Blogger Neighborhood Challenge

Well, I'm not really wordless (as I always have something to say!), but I am poem-less. Sorry, Marcy! But I do have what I think is a fun future post idea!

A (home decorating) blogger pal from Australia, Irene @ RE-VINTAGED, had a wonderful post yesterday:
Blog This Challenge - My Neighbourhood (I didn't spell neighborhood wrong here, she's Australian, that's how she spells it). It was a post all about her neighborhood. I thought it would be fun if we showed our neighborhoods too. It could be places of interest, or nearby amusments, places to shop, places to eat, the place where you work, the schools, the churches, or even your own back yard. Whatever it is you'd like to show us about your neighborhood and the surrounding area.

Now, I think this challenge is not an easy one, to gather information (and maybe pictures) takes time, and I'd like to wait for those of us who are missing to get a chance to participate too. So maybe sometime in the future (when the wayward ones return!) we could think about doing this, and in the meantime, keep it in mind and write down your thoughts and any information you want to provide to your blog friends. You could visit Irene's post to get an idea of how she presented her neighborhood (or neighbourhood)!
What do you think?

Okay, believe it or not, that's my post for today!

Well, that's not exactly true.

I had to share this pretty picture I found while surfing home decorating bloggers in Australia.
This picture was posted and credited to Domino Magazine:

You know how 'pink-crazed' I've been lately, but doesn't this blue and white kitchen look amazing? It's so fresh looking, so clean and bright. The only thing I'd change is the stove, I'd prefer white over stainless steel in this kitchen.

Oh! I noticed that I did do a little rhyme there!

Blue and White
Clean and Bright

Whew! Maybe Marcy will give me a pass!

And here are the pictures Ray took at the beach with his phone. I promised Jerelene I'd post them:

The dunes.

Jayden digging his trench.

A very happy boy!

Taking a break.

Getting some help from Uncle Donald.

This boy loves the beach!

Some people love diving into the water. Jayden loves diving into the sand!

Have a great day everyone!