Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Children's Bible

My friend Susan has reviewed a children's Bible on her blog, and is giving away a free copy. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on her blog. You'll be blessed by visiting her, and scrolling down to read her posts.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Future

I opened the book and my eyes fell on these words.

Psalm 34:4-8

I sought the Lord and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears
They looked to Him and were radiant
And their faces were not ashamed

One day, at the end of our path through this world, we will stand on the edge of a new world. My dream is that we will stand together as a family, free of fear, our hearts welling up in anticipation for our future with our loving Father.

As you can see, I finally got a picture of us. And there is more!

First, here is mom and dad.

The flash on my camera is failing and I had lighten some of these photos.

Corey helped me get the tree this year. Diamond came too.

He carefully trimmed the bottom to his liking. (your eyes are okay...the picture is blurry.)

I'm so glad they were in a picture taking mood.

We had a nice Christmas. We had 10 family members for a mid-day meal of Ham, scallop potatoes, and more. Diamond's dog cousins Maggie and Samuel were here along with my sis-in-law and bro-in-law. Cousin Larry and 98-year old Aunt Elsie graced the table. My nieces in Colorado are flying out for a visit later this week!

The Psalm continues...

The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him.
And delivers them.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've been preparing for a Christmas "History" presentation at work...including the story of Jesus, of course. And...baking cookies, Christmas shopping, cooking...

gotta go...

I'll be back!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Thanksgiving

Just thought I'd show you a few Thanksgiving photos. My mother, Mary, and Great-Aunt Elsie are having some girl-talk in the kitchen. Aunt-Elsie is 98. She brought a wonderful cranberry salad.
We enjoyed the sun on our shoulders. I wonder what C. is talking about with Aunt Mary? Diamond is having fun with her dog cousins Maggie and Samuel (Samuel is exploring our yard--not pictured here.)

Dog-guests Maggie and Samuel politely sit in their crates while we eat...and while Great Aunt Elsie is nearby.
My 22 pound turkey. It came out good! (a miracle)
Mozart is having a conversation with the dogs. Left to right...Maggie, Samuel, and Diamond. I think one of the dog's licked my camera lens. Please excuse the smudge. Do you notice the iron gate in the background? That's the new fence we built so Diamond can safely stay in the back yard. (She sure is inside alot!)

I haven't had a mother-son picture in about 6 years. And this is what I got. Oh's not very good. It had to be snapped fast before they ran away...or C. dropped the dog.
My youngest son's antics always lighten the mood. We watched him chase the dogs with a bag on his head.

I haven't been posting much and one of the reasons is my helpful husband updated my computer system and now I can't get to my pictures very easily. (What's a post without a picture?). I'll be by your blogs soon! Have a good day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I will have a table of ten. The turkey is going in at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow and relatives will begin to arrive in the morning. We will also be having 2 dog guests who will spend the night. I love this time of year when we focus on our blessings.

The picture above shows a little lake a few miles from our house. It's actually in a rougher area of town and not many people come here. But since Letty and I are always looking for an adventure we stopped in to have a look. It was quiet, and had its own beauty. (A few cars were parked here and there with people eating lunch or napping.)

Please excuse the short post. I'll be back soon! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Where is Everyone?

The fire pits sit in the sand like lonely tombstones. Corona Del Mar is usually swarming with families barbecuing hot dogs and playing volleyball. Where is everyone?
At work and school no doubt. It's a beautiful fall morning and I'm climbing around on the rocks with my camera. I've left two ladies, ages 79 and 81 up on edge of a cliff.
I should go check on them but Oh...I think I'll take a picture of the boat. I sat quietly for a few minutes and watched the water roll and swirl beneath my dangling feet. The boat moved slowly through the water. I inhaled the peace.
Oh hi gals! Did you have a nice picnic? When we first arrived, Letty took one look at view and said, "I wonder what the other half is doing?" We felt so rich as we unpacked our lunch and sat down on the bluffs drinking in the expansive view of the beach, the harbor, and the endless sea. Yes, the best things in life are free.
We stood up for a moment to have our picture taken by a kind woman sitting alone at a nearby bench. We want to remember this day...our breakaway miniature vacation. My mother is on the left and Letty on the right. I've been wanting to get these two together. Which is a little hard because they live 60 miles apart.
If we turned our heads to the right, we saw this. After counting boats, admiring dogs and finishing the cookies, we headed to Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach.

Beautiful flowers lined the walk ways.
Letty and Mom got along well and discussed various gardening topics such as, "How did they get those plants to grow so big?"

One couldn't help but feel the gentle edge of Christmas nudging our minds. The gift shop was decked with trees, lights and fancy decorations.

But give me the beach any day. I enjoyed looking at these items decorated with shells.

But my favorite was this painting of a shepherd and his sheep.

...because it reminded me of how much God cares for us. All the time. No matter where we are.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Slow Blog

Yes I'm here via a slow blog. least you don't have to worry about getting behind on my blog posts.

My son took this picture with his cell phone. Diamond is not allowed in my bedroom, but she can be sneaky. She is 7 months old today and has brought many happy moments into our lives.

I lost my voice this week. I had a strange "cold" in my throat. I tried to continue teaching my students at school (very creatively) but it was a lot of work. So I finally called in sick yesterday.

Today I took my oldest son to the doctor, picked up medication, then...we took Diamond to the vet for a shot. After receiving her shot, she went crazy when she saw a young lab and jumped around wanting to play. One of the nurses suddenly said, "She's going to attack that other dog!" Diamond was just wagging her tail and being very enthusiastic. We had to leave, and my son was quite upset all the way home. His dog would NEVER attack anyone he said. I tend to agree with him, but we must be sensitive. Diamond looks muscular and is part Pit.

Regarding another matter, I now have help in the kitchen. I have always dreamed of having a cook. (Don't give me a maid...give me a cook!) It just takes so much time and the family is rarely excited about anything I make. A couple weeks ago, my oldest son gave me quite a critique on my cooking. After some sparing, I finally told him, "Why don't you cook tomorrow night."
"Okay," he said enthusiastically, "but you have to take me to the store to get some things. (He doesn't have a car.) About $120 dollars and 2 hours later, we had many new things in the kitchen including real butter, assorted cheeses and a block of real parmesan cheese for the fettucinne and Baby Back Barbecue sauce for the chicken. We had a fine dinner, except I suddenly was told to make the Fettuccine when the chicken caught fire on the barbecue. In all the craziness, the vegetables never got cooked. But that's okay, because the chicken was delicious and I learned how to make great Fettuccine. It was a hit.

Oh...and tonight I learned how to spell fettuccine.

I'll try to be over to visit your blogs soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Furniture Diary

What is this? I opened the envelope I received in the mail and pulled out an old brown book. Inside the yellowed pages, were pictures of furniture--odd looking furniture that belonged to another time and place. Words written in black quill pen described each photograph.

Chest of drawers mahogany. with the deep top "bonnet drawer." About 1835-40. Probably in the wedding outfit of Great-grandmother Mahala Bentley Goodman.

Child's high chair 1801. The top of the chair is an oxbow. Five generations have sat in the chair.

The lace-covered pincushion was bought in 1860 by Great-grandmother Cook. "and cost seven dollars," a fact handed down with it.

Pine corner cupboard 1750 - 1770
From the Marshall house in Schuylerville, N.Y., which was within the British lines during the battle of Saratoga 1777.

The book was from my Great Uncle Dick West who was a pipe-smoking newspaper reporter. He married my grandmother's little sister, a nutritionist at Babies Hospital (New York) and later at Samford Hospital in Connecticut. They lived together in a big old house full of family heirlooms and antiques in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. Built in 1805, this house was originally called "The Market House" because its original owner kept a store there. My Great-Aunt and Uncle called it "The Fitzwilliam House."

Great-Uncle Dick's father owned the home, and it stayed in the family until Dick and Irene were too old to maintain the place. They sold it to George and Elizabeth McKendry, and moved to an assisted living facility in Northern California. (They did not have any children.)

Upon doing some research, I found out the house was sold with the family furniture intact. The wife of the new owner was an antique dealer. In a letter at the time of the sale, Mr. McKendry wrote to my Great-Uncle. "Thank you for leaving so much of yourselves behind." The new owners eventually divorced, and the furniture is gone. It's probably scattered around New Hampshire, or who knows where. (aaaagh!)

View of old Fitzwilliam (town). The house and barn in center of picture.

As I grew up in Southern California, I wasn't aware of Dick and Irene's home or heirlooms. They lived so far away and I knew their names only on my birthday and Christmas cards.

When Dick and Irene passed away (in California), their few remaining belongings were sent to me. This happened because of a simple phone call. I don't know why, but one day I decided to call Dick and get to know him. Rene had passed away years earlier and I pictured him up North all alone.

I'll give him a call and surprise him. His warm voice boomed a hearty welcome to my call. We had a great conversation. We talked about history, and current world events—the Iron Curtain had just fallen and Dick was in awe of this large chapter of history closing— the end of the "cold war" he had lived through and written about. We planned to talk again soon. The next time I called, Dick told me he was going in for tongue surgery in a few days, and he wanted to send me some things. Sadly, he never came out of surgery. But happily he knew the Lord.

One of the things he sent was the furniture diary. The book is about 25 pages and was compiled by Dick's mother—who one will surmise after reading her notes—was an adept historian. Much of the furniture had been in the family for three to five generations. In quill pen, Dick's mother wrote a brief history of each piece.

"In 1843, Great-Grandfather Cool went into the wilderness to oversee the cutting of a tract of timber which he owned, and took his bride with him. Great-aunt Juliet was born there the next year, and an old French carpenter made this chair "to rock the baby in." One rung is made of a little crooked branch."

This is not the rocker described above. But note the "spindles to support the arms" (1780)
Also pictured a "Wool wheel" and "Flax wheel"

Inspired by the diary, I decided to make my own furniture journal. The next time I visited my mother I took pictures of her tea-cart, chest of drawers and other assorted items, and asked her for their story. In my own home, sits my grandmother's writing desk, and other items of family interest...simple things...but treasures to me. The furniture book will have no shortage of material.

On my mom and dad's counter sit my grandmother Hatton's mugs.
On my mother's shelf sit my grandmother Winans thimbles and candle holder. In the background, a picture of my mother and me.

The photo above shows Dick and Rene in younger years. The picture was taken in Ventura, California as they visited Rene's mother and father, my great-grandparents.

Two things I've learned from all this--Number One: Enjoy and treasure my older relatives and ask them lot's of questions. Lesson Two: Don't live in the past. Enjoy today.

Oh...and Lesson Three: Never pass up an adventure. I hope to go to New Hampshire one day and see the home. And hunt down some furniture.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Years ago, my friend Sandee in my writer's critique group gave me a little devotional book called TouchPoints for Troubled Times. It has been such an encouragement to me. It has different topics one can turn to. For instance, "coping", "depression", "overcoming", "encouragement", and today's topic, "Assurance". I'll type it out for you. (I've posted some pictures I took at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.)

It's good to remember that there is beauty in "Troubled Times".

The narrative is also from the devotional book.

Romans 8:35, 38-39 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity?...I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love...Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.

Life's circumstances don't come between God and his people. You can rest assured that through deep waters and great trouble, he is with you. Nothing can separate you from him.

How can I feel more sure of God's assurances? What can I do to increase my confidence in him?

Psalm 108:1 My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises? Wake up, my soul!
Praise will increase your assurance. As you focus on the Lord instead of your problems or fears, your confidence in him will increase.

Psalm 34:4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears.
Frequent prayer will deepen your assurance. Your conversations with God remind you that he is truly there.

Trouble is an opportunity to watch God opportunity to depend on him to do the impossible. Presently, in our family life, we have an impossible situation. It cannot be solved with a human mind. The humans have done everything in their power, and this human is tired. The job has to be done by God. I look up expectantly.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

God Knows About It

A miracle brought this dog house to us. My oldest son is trying it out.

My son wanted a certain type of wood dog house, but I told him we couldn't afford it. We couldn't agree on things. I breathed a prayer about it...then went on with life. Three weeks later, the weather began to change. Diamond would be cold, sleeping outside on a blanket.

My neighbor had an old used plastic doghouse with permanent stains on it, and I thought...well its better than nothing. I went over and started cleaning it up. I wondered what my son would say to me.

Well...on the very day I was cleaning up the dog house....a dog house showed up at our place! A beautiful wood dog house. Someone brought it to a donation pile at a church and and my parents saw it...grabbed dad made a sign...and they brought it over for a surprise.

I was surprised! And my son loves it!

This was a little thing...but if God is so merciful in these little things, He must be taking care of all the bigger things I'm worried about.

Seeing that dog house out the window (when it first showed up) really made a strong impression on my heart. God said, "I KNOW your trials."

He has the answers to our prayers in the works...before we even breathe the prayer.

"Be anxious for nothing. But by prayer, let your requests be known unto God, and the peace of God shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Under the Weather

Diamond was spayed today. She's a little lethargic tonight, but doing well.

I'll be glad when she's back to normal.

Our oldest son and a neighbor will put in the fence.

(Above) We are preparing to put in an L-shaped fence in the back yard for her. She likes playing outside. And she likes to be inside, too. It's been hard having a dog without a fence. We also have people stopping by, including clients, and they may not appreciate her hearty welcome. She is going to be a big dog. (Oh my! The back yard looks so bad right now. We stopped watering it to conserve. And Diamond's "toys" are strewn here and there. Her favorite being an old plastic gallon milk jug.)

Looking in the opposite direction you can see the area where our company comes. I'm trying to keep the grass green. I'm looking forward to sprucing up this area.
This is how things used to look (below). Our yard certainly changes with the seasons.

You may be wondering how Snowball, our neighbor's cat (who lives with us) is doing. Diamond has been disciplined not to chase her. So now Snowball struts by right in front of her. Diamond sits and watches...and do I see a little grin on the cats face?

Snowball lounges on the steps while Diamond watches.

But it's pay back time, when we're not around. We've looked out the window more than once and caught sight of Diamond streaking across the yard and then staring in wonder as the cat sails over the wall.

Speaking of seasons, I'm back at work as an instructional aide in the Special Education classroom. I help Letty in the afternoons. And tomorrow is my writers critique group. I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Important Business

A few days ago, Letty and I felt very important stepping off the presidential helicopter and on to the soil where the 37th President was born.
We are in Yorba Linda, California, the site of Richard Nixon's childhood home.

The helicopter seats 16 and was used by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon (who flew 180+ trips) and Ford. His most famous flight lifted him from the south lawn of the White House after he resigned from the Presidency on August 9, 1974.

Letty and I arrived early to the Nixon Library, and we were the only ones on the helicopter tour. The turquoise carpet caught my eye. It certainly didn't look very presidential. The seats were gold tweed.
"Gold and turquoise were very popular back in those days," said our guide. Unfortunately she wouldn't let me take a picture. The helicopter is called "Army One". It's actually a Sikorsky YH3A "Sea King".

Nixon's Birthplace

Nixon's 1 and 1/2 story home was built by his father. He sold citrus fruit as a living and owned 8.2 acres. A large pepper tree, planted by his father in 1913, still stands loyally, like an old friend, near the door.

Letty sits near the back door where young Richard and his brothers ran out to play among the citrus trees. All four boys slept in the room on the second floor—two in a bed. The stair case is narrow with no handrails. I saw a photo of how the house actually looked many years ago. There was no rich green grass, and there were no flower lined pathways. Just dusty brown dirt. Nixon once said, "We were poor, but we didn't know it." To see the inside of the house click here
It's furnished with Nixon's parents original furnishings, including the quilt and the blanket on the bed where Nixon was born. (note: a fifth brother was born later at a different location--5 boys in all, however 2 passed away at a young age.) The family moved to the neighboring city of Whittier in 1922. The home passed through a series of owners until 1959 when it was officially designated an historic site.
He is buried next to his wife Pat, in a quiet spot surrounded by colorful flowers.

A beautiful reflection pool stretches across the grounds.
I stand near the house, and look across the reflection pool, toward the museum where we jouneyed through Nixon's triumphs and struggles. Although Nixon's memory is tarnished by the events leading up to his resignation, he made great strides in reaching out to China and the Soviet Union. I came away feeling he wasn't that much different from you or I. We are all placed in specific places for certain reasons. Whether it's the job of "President" or (fill in the blank), each of us have opportunities to affect our world for good.