21 November 2009

Grandma K's Gift

Of all my grandparents, I was closest to my Grandma K--possibly because we were able to spend much more time with her then with my other grandma who lived quite a distance from us. Anyway, I still really miss her and sometimes (please don't laugh) I even ask God to send her a message from me. Of course I am not sure that is theologically sound doctrine but I know that God understands all about our love for family members-both those we still have with us and those that have died.

Well recently I got a gift from her (please don't freak out on me now) which as you can imagine is very, very difficult seeing that she died years ago. Actually to clarify the gift from Grandma K arrived many years ago but I had not realized it as being from her in all this time.
You see I have some things of my Grandma K's--an old tabletop Christmas tree that lights up, a hand held washboard and a few other things--none of them of immense value from an earthly standpoint, but all of them priceless to me because they were hers--because she used them; because she chose them to put them in her homes. ---
Awhile back, I called my parents to get some more information on these family items I had been given because I wanted to do a blog post on them since I had been thinking about my Grandma K. There were the items I have mentioned plus an old Singer sewing machine table which hadn't come from her but which I wanted more information about too ( I thought this was from my great aunt who had also passed away quite awhile ago).
And that's when the gift from Grandma K arrived; for as my mother and I were talking she told me--much to my surprise--that my great aunt's sewing machine had gone to my sibling and the sewing machine and table I had was from my Grandma K! And then she told me more:)

And that is how I received a gift from Grandma K recently.
What gifts have you received from your ancestors and relatives that you treasure? I also have some old furniture -- two dressers and more, some crocheted tabletop covers, and more; on the furniture, I am thinking of possibly using the dresser as a bathroom sink vanity (it would have to be modified for this use) What do you think? Would you do that or keep it as a dresser?
Photos & notes:
My apologies for some of the bad photo quality here-the lighting in our bedroom is really bad. Sorry!
1) Grandma K before "the stork arrived". I love this photo!
2+3) A Dubl Handi. This one was from either the late 1930's or early 1940's and they are still being made today. Now I think that is very, very cool! If I remember correctly, my mom said Grandma K used this when they were living in a cabin high in the Rockies.
3+4) An old electric tabletop Christmas tree. This was bought when Grandma was living in the Rockies. I am hoping very much to use it this year in one of our rooms--depends on how far we get with the BIG project (sorry but I did not light it up for the picture as I need to get a replacement bulb for the base) The color of the tree itself is not white but kind of a champagne white, like the color wedding dresses take on after many years. Also I think it is supposed to have a garland of beads on it but I was in a hurry to get the photos for this post so didn't bother adding them. I believe this would date from the very early 1940's.
5-8) A Singer sewing machine + table. Bought in the PNW when Grandma K was living on a ranch. She used it to sew clothes for her daughter on and kept it in the sunroom. I absolutely LOVE the detail on it! It is so beautiful although it needs some refurbishing and a good polishing for the table which has been used as a nightstand for quite a few years now. I am hoping to do all that needs to be done to it and then use it--although I have not sewn since High School, I think it would be very special to use the same sewing machine as Grandma! Oh the table is in the Queen Anne style. It is from the late 1930's I believe.

Walks in His Gardens: Autumn Wanderings

Autumn is an amazing time of the year in the PNW and I love nothing better then to wander about on rural and mountain roads every chance I get and everywhere I travel. With so many paths and so many roads there is never a chance of becoming bored
Some routes climb up into the foothills and mountains, leading you over train tracks
and by old trestles on narrow country roads that wander about the rural setting. .
Some roads run down into the valley past fields now emptied of their crop.
Many lead past old barns with dramatic rooflines.
Every turn, every curve of the road brings you to a new discovery, a new view, a new panorama that delights your eyes...and your soul if you let it.
It is a journey where even the seemingly common things of this world are transformed into the dramatic.
It is the beautiful PNW in autumn
and its sights and sounds bless me everyday I am alive.
"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
Psalms 34:8 KJV
Photos taken in the same region as the Farm Tour.

20 November 2009

Party Like A Baby!

So I'm sure you are asking yourself how does one party like a baby? Well allow me--one proud grandma of one beautiful baby granddaughter to tell you how it is properly done.

First you must begin with the party girl. She must be one year old and dressed appropriately for said party--in this case coifed in a cute little hairstyle and suitably dressed in an adorable yellow and blue sundress with ribbons down the back.

Of course, there must also be party guests prepared to celebrate such a grand occasion with said one year old birthday girl--parents, big sibling, grandparents, great-grandparents and other friends and family.

Party decorations are likewise vitally important to every first year party's success and must be carefully chosen --BIG balloons are an absolute party MUST!! Also key to the party's success is their placement; BTW Grandma thought the balloons were totally awesome!!
Let the party begin!!!
Family and friends arrive, food and beverages are served, partiers enjoying themselves, baby girl taking it all in….good thus far.
And then it is time for the rite of passage; the symbol of a new year arriving for said baby girl--it's time for the birthday cake of course!! And in baby girl’s case it was delectable birthday cupcakes.
The birthday candle, the birthday melody, birthday candle extinguished--good thus far!
The traditional birthday cake mess all over the face and body? WHAT? Nope, not much of one at all--one wipe with a towelette is all that is needed! AMAZING!
Grandma is SO impressed with baby girl's dainty manners (after all your uncle needed a bath after his one year birthday cake!)! Impressive! What a good mom you must have little one! (BTW baby girl cupcakes were made by talented mom of baby girl, and her very talented mom! And have I said yet that they were really, really yummy?) Especially the chocolate ones with the white frosting! --
But what is this?
This large cup full of brownish, sugary liquid..so close.
the balloons with those tempting long strings
one quick moving baby….
the hands, the grip, the pull down, the bump….
the fast moving liquid swiftly moving towards the food,
the mom,
the grandma...
The intensive clean up!
(But none on the party girl!!! Yea! The party continues with the opening of the gifts (see below for photos).
So how do you party like a baby? You do it as all other babies have done--in your own unique and special way
(AND BTW Baby Girl that is just one of the reasons we love you totally…
because you are so uniquely you and we wouldn't have it any other way!)
And now a few other birthday photos...
Stretchhhhhhhing is such a good exercise and SO important with the many toy temptations close at hand.
Party gifts included some beautiful clothing, a big red colander (kind of like grandma's big red bowl), some cute little toys and stuffed animals, and these wonderful noise making maracas!! Baby Girl really liked them--maybe she will be a percussionist someday? Maybe, not.
A milk break for one thirsty little party girl -- after all partying can make baby girls SO very thirsty when one is not used to it!

A first chapter comes to an end and a second one begins! Congrats little one and GREAT JOB on passing this important rite of passage!!

But most of all --
blessings always and lots of love too!
Grandma Aimee

19 November 2009

Thursday Thanks-giving: mountain roads and answered prayer

Yes, I know this isn't Thursday, but yesterday as a friend and I were traveling over some mountain roads, I was thinking how grateful I am for them... but it hasn't always been that way.

Those who know me, know that I've loved mountains for a very long time. When I look at them (or better yet are on them) they elicit a deep emotional response within my soul - as if God placed this deep love for them within my DNA-and I know that it is on them that I often feel closest to the Creator. But mountain roads are another thing. Dread and outright fear would be the term I used to describe them -- for a very long time.

It wasn't always that way though-nope! Earlier in my life you would have found me on places like the top of Pike's Peak (CO), traveling up a gondola at Grouse Mt (BC, Canada), on a chair lift in the Cascades--in summer-and on the countless mountain roads my parents and others took me on in the NW, Canada, the Rockies and the SW. You also might have seen me on cliffside trails in Hawaii and the Pacific NW, on the side of the Grand Canyon, at the top of the Space Needle and other 'high' places. No problems until THAT night...the beginning of the change.

It was a cold and VERY snowy night about 25 years ago. We were traveling in our small convertible when we hit ice and slid straight towards the other (lake) side of the road. Now I don’t know if I cried out to God for help; knowing me I probably did, but a miracle occurred--we came to a stop on the only embankment in the area. A little bit to the left or right and the ending might have been very different. Did I say my infant son and young daughter were in the back seat at this time (my daughter still remembers the incident)?

Over time I developed a rather pronounced reaction to mountain roads, especially those that ran by water or had drop offs or cliffs and it got worse as the years passed. It limited travel, at times, and caused conflict; it changed travel plans and it hurt me deeply as I loved to be in the mountains more then any other place. My PCP ordered meds to take during trips but these, at times, were not sufficiently strong enough to help-most noticeably on one trip to the Canadian Rockies, a place I really love, where we had to change our itinerary completely when. after miles along cliffside and other roads, I ended up with a severe anxiety reaction that couldn't be controlled.

At work, a suggestion by a fellow employee to look only at the road ahead of me, instead of to the side, helped--and I still do that at times but this was not enough and I could not truly enjoy the journey upwards. Years later, another friend said something about taking baby steps and attacking the problem by not avoiding it (actually the fellow employee had mentioned something like this too, but I wasn’t ready for it then). And so the process began--slowly but deliberately and with a friend driving that I had total trust in.

Now I can truly say that I am doing better; still on fairly non dramatic roads--no outright cliffs like some roads in the Gorge, mountains and coast have, but high enough so that there are definite panoramic views. I am also trying to travel upwards often enough so that fear does not have a chance to build up again.

As for the original site of THAT incident--the one we believe precipitated this fear of mountain roads and heights--I have yet to return there and feel at ease and yet, the idea of doing so at some point in the future does not fill me with the same trepidation it once did. However, it would not be on a snowy, dark night and would certainly not be in a convertible!
So on this third Thursday Friday of November, I can truly say that I am thankful for the mountains, mountain roads AND most of all--answered prayers.
NW Oregon
Alaska (4 photos)
Canada (2 photos)
NW Oregon
Central Oregon--Cascades

An apology for the quality of some photos. The prints themselves are beautiful but I was
a) too lazy to scan them
b) the house is still caught deep in the throes of chaos--albeit not as deep as previously so it would not be an easy process to scan them:)

Photo Credit:
Credit for Alaska and Canadian photos goes to my dad (yea, dad) and thanks to both of my parents for permission to post them here. They were taken during a trip on the Inner Passage to Alaska--a place I have never been but which I would love to go as it reminds me of some photos I've seen in Norway--another place I have never been but would love to go! The Canadian photos were taken in the Rockies--near Banff and Jasper from what I can remember. I have been there before but not for some time. Incredible place:)

18 November 2009


“And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Luke 9:23-25 KJV
“Christians follow their Lord by imitating His life and obeying His commands. To shoulder one’s cross meant to carry one’s own cross to the place of crucifixion...Applied to the disciples, it meant to identify completely with Christ’s message, even if it meant death. We must deny our selfish desires to use our time and money our own way and to choose our own direction in life without regard to Christ. Following Christ in this life may be costly, but in the long run, it is well worth the pain and effort.” (Ilumina Software: © 2003, Tyndale House Publishers)
Lately I've been pondering these verses. They remind me of the well known quote from Jim Elliot's journal: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
I believe, that even if we're not called on to become martyrs for our Christian faith as Mr Elliot was, we're all called to lay down our 'rights' -- the rights to 'our' money, 'our' time, 'our' way, 'our' (fill in the blank here). If we are to be truly Christ like then we must be willing to deny ourselves, as Christ did, and walk the narrow path. We must look at life from an eternal point of view rather then solely a temporal one and be willing to do as He would have us do in all things.
By this I am not saying that we cannot have nice homes or savings in the bank and I am not saying that we cannot take vacations or have a dependable, newer model car. Nope, it is not for me to judge others for what they have--that is between them and God; after all there were both rich and poor believers in Biblical times, and the same is true today.
What I am saying is that we must be willing to surrender all that we are in terms of talents, intelligence, personality AND all that we have in terms of money, time and other resources to God and His work. To look for His will, instead of ours, daily. To live out the life HE calls us to live in the manner He calls us to live it and to be the people He saved us to be.
When I was younger I heard two people speak that did take up their cross; two women that I admire greatly to this day. One was Elizabeth Elliot (wife of the Jim quoted above) who chose to give up her 'right' to hate or take revenge on the people who had recently murdered her husband and the 'right' to live in safety. Instead she chose to go right into the midst of these same people, with her little daughter; to live among them and to teach them about the God who loves the whole world. Talk about belief and trust in God being lived out on a daily basis! And the result was one of eternal importance--many were saved and stopped living the chaotic life they once lived.
The other woman was Corrie ten Boom, who with her family chose to give up their rights for safety (security) in order to give shelter to some Jews who faced almost certain death if the Nazis found them. It cost her a lot--imprisonment in a concentration camp, her freedom, her family (some of whom died in the camps they were sent to). But both she and her entire family thought God's will and commandments (things of eternal significance) more important to obey then anything they might lose here on earth - up to and including their lives.
Sadly, in my own life, I have not always lived up to the standard God calls us to as Christ followers. The other night I had a very bad scare and this set me to thinking if I knew I had only a week or a month to live, how would I change my actions and reactions, my words and my thoughts, my deeds. I had to admit there were still changes that needed to be made in my life; priorities that needed to be looked at.

And I will.
.Photo: cemetery not far from two of the farms featured here.

Mid Autumn Scenes

Early autumn, with its blue skies and moderate temperatures is over in the PNW and the season of wintry storms has begun bringing high winds, colder weather, rain (with flooding in places) and some beautiful white snow to the higher mountains of the NW.
Here, in the garden, trees and shrubs continue to shed their beautiful leaves resulting in many colorful carpets of red, yellow and orange.
Lingonberries appear to be ready for harvesting; the kiwi also, and in the back garden the grapes were pronounced 'great' by my best friend who came over to help me get the garden ready for the storms sure to come this season.
A few plants continue to bloom--one of the two bleeding hearts, an Encore azalea, the viburnum, a cosmos or two, the camellia sasanqua (an autumn/winter bloomer) and some lavender. The garden is beginning to settle down for its late autumn/winter rest and Aimee is hoping for snow:)
Gunnera and leaves.
Water lily (hardy variety), water hyacinths (not hardy) and fallen leaves of the Japanese maples near the upper pond's edge.-
A carpet of dogwood leaves lie strewn across the ground and path.
Close up of water hyacinth and fallen leaves. -
Fallen maple leaves lay across the mossy surface of a Japanese lantern top. -
Another view of the water lily. -
And a photo of fallen leaves blown against the lawn's edge before it was mowed.

Adding to the Collection

This week's addition to my cyber sign collection is....
So very cool!
Note: for more signs see here and here.
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