Saturday, January 31, 2009

***


I wanted to share a quote with you today that I read over at Mentalmultivitamin.

It is taken from a book called Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card





What I understand now is this: There is no harder job than parenting. There is no human relationship with such potential for great achievement and awful destructiveness, and despite all the experts who write about it, no one has the slightest idea whether any decision will be right or best or even not-horrible for any particular child. It is a job that simply cannot be done right.




I find so much truth in the above passage. Yet the final sentence gives me a bad feeling in my stomach.

The conclusion seems hopeless.

Can the job parenting be done right?

While we can not control the outcome, I do think our motivation and intentions matter.

I know they do.

I can not for a second think I would stop trying to teach and guide and love and care with the very best I could muster.

You may have to give up your dreams and pride and car keys...

Give up trying, never.

(BTW, ten years ago I would have disagreed with the whole passage. I thought I had it all figured out as far as parenting went.)



20080521_0657





The following passage is from Hannah Coulter. I just read it last night and it was as if I wrote it...

p. 116

To be the mother of grown-up children means that you don't have a child anymore, and that is sad. When the grown-up child leaves home, this is sadder. I wanted Margaret to go to college, but when she actually went away it broke my heart. Maybe if you had enough children you could get used to those departures, but, having only three, I never did. I felt them like amputations. Something I needed was missing. Sometimes, even now, when I come into this house and it sounds empty, before I think I will wonder, "Where are they?"



p.119

You send your children to college, you do the best you can for them, and then, because you have to be, you're careful not to make plans for them. You don't want to be disappointed, and you don't want to burden them with your expectations either. But you keep a little thought, a little hope, that maybe they'll go away and study and learn and then come back, and you'll have them for neighbors. You'll have the comfort of being with them and having them for companions. You'll have your grandchildren nearby where you can get to know them and help to raise them. But that doesn't happen often anymore and you know better than to hope too much. Or you ought to.


Wendell, you took the words right out of my mouth.
(That is just freaky)


Any thoughts, ideas, opinions about these passages?

I would love to hear what you have to say.



Encourage one another,
Donna

Friday, January 30, 2009

**
Taking care of business.


I was tagged with a little photo challenge.

Sixth folder, sixth picture.


20080605_1783sharp

Tag.
You're it.


Remember the color green.

I love that color of green.

I think I need to set up winter/shop in a warm place.

I know a photographer from New Jersey who goes to Hawaii every winter and conducts business from there.

That sounds like a good idea to me.

Patrick! Oh Patrick! Do you think we can go to Hawaii for three months?
Pretty please???








Back to reality.

A mighty sweet reality.



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"You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair," said Anne reproachfully. "People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is."


happy dance



On to the Friday Fill in!


1. I'd really like _____ right now.

2. _____ is the word you'd most often hear me say if I stubbed my toe.

3. Possession is _____.

4. _____ Captain Jack Sparrow.

5. Marshmallows and fire go together like _____.

6. _____ on and on.




Those are kind of odd, aren't they?

Katie brought home a Judy Blume book from the school library.

What do you think about Judy Blume?

Well written?
Appropriate for a 3rd grader? (I'm thinking no.)
Twaddle?

What are your 3rd graders favorite chapter books?



Encourage one another,
Donna

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A little more of the celebration....



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Lynn Shot me.


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I shot her boys!
They loved it.
Very much.


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Lynn has the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen!


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And she ate some tots.



*****


This morning.....




readyokay

I call that first picture,

Ready, Okay!



Would you like to learn a few new ties?

Big Mama Ties a Scarf



Now, if only, she can help me find a pair of matching mittens.



Feel free to discuss Lost or Life on Mars or Top chef...
and make sure you watch the video of Lynn and I being punked by a 12 year old.

And speaking of Top Chef...










Carla and this little Fraggle Rock girl.
Separated at birth!





Encourage one another,
Donna

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

****






In Which Lucy and Ethel get their picture taken.




Pranked by a 12 year old.

I was trying to tell Lynn that Jasmine Star says photographers need to be comfortable in front of the camera so we can show our clients how to pose.

As you can see, we are both super comfortable in front of the camera.


Enjoy!
I have always wanted to share this funny and quotation on the blog and don't think I have done so yet.
It is found in Elisabeth Elliot's little book "Gateway to Joy".

It is attributed to a seventeenth-century nun.

I am thinking of aging today because it is Lynn's birthday!

She does not need to heed this advice as she is still a young punk.

But I like it and it speaks to me.

Lord, You know better than I know myself that I am getting older and will someday be old. Keep me from... the fatal habit of thinking I must say something in every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but You know, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Keep my mind from the recital of endless details-give me wings to come to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure the with patience. I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I will be mistaken. Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint-some of them are so hard to live with-but a sour old woman is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me the grace to tell them so.


Man! Does that ever speak to me. Oh goodness gracious I can see my prideful self in that passage.



Now. Go and wish Lynn a super happy birthday!

Say Happy Birthday Here



20080827_7160-mcp2

I am testing out some new actions.
I like 'em :o)



Happy Wednesday!!!

Encourage one another,
Donna

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Isn't attraction between men and women an interesting and weird thing.
And a painful thing too?

As I confessed a few weeks ago, I watch the Bachelor.
Always have. Don't hate me.

But last night my heart broke for a woman who was sent home.

This woman is beautiful and intelligent and accomplished.

In the limo, she said "Do I need to be more beautiful? more intelligent?

And I shouted at the TV, 'you are exactly perfect the way you are! Jason isn't the one for you.'

Man! That show messes with the girl's minds.

But, I can remember how I hated to go out to bars with friends before I was married.
I hated that time of "looking for the person who would love me".
Hated waiting to be asked to dance. (In the days of Disco.)

Did not like it at all.

It is so hard to be a young girl and have dreams of a husband and family,
but really have no control over the whole situation.

We can go out there and get the education we desire and the apartment and the job....

But we really can't not go out there and get the man, now, can we?

(I'm from the day when girls did not call boys. And no one called the house after nine pm)

And all that good advice about going about your business and doing the next thing while you wait for Mr. Right....
well, that is easier said than done, isn't it?


As a woman of faith, I can say with assurance that God will bring you the person He wants you to have, at the perfect time.
Just like He does with friends. I believe this. But if you do not have this kind of faith, it can be depressing and frustrating.

And even if you have a strong faith, your heart can get involved and overrule what you know is true.


I'm thinking they need a good, kind counselor to ride along in the limo with the rejected girls.
Someone to tell they they are lovely and perfect just the way they are....
but that chemistry thing is allusive. There is just no telling what makes the heart go pitter-pat for one girl and not the other.

And chemistry is just chemistry. We know we can have chemistry with someone who is very bad for us.


Finding true love.

It's almost like magic.











And then the real work begins.




Encourage one another,
Donna

Monday, January 26, 2009

bizpostcardone-for web

Look what I made this weekend.

This will be a 5 x 7 handout/postcard.

I am donating a photography session and a canvas/prints to Katie's school auction this year.
I have been told there is not a lot of space to display items (I had really hoped to set up a canvas or stand out because the really do sell themselves, they are so beautiful) so I made these little cards to give people an idea of my style.

(Our phone number is also on the card but I erased it for the Internet)

So that's my charity/marketing for the year.

We shall see how it goes.


****

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Katie had her first practice for Once Upon A Mattress!
I think she enjoyed it...she was singing for hours afterward.


****

20090125_4688-1


We went for a ride before picking Katie up from practice.


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Did you know that the pros (Scott Kelby) say that the only landscape pictures that sell are ones taken
at sunrise or sunset?

Isn't that interesting? The light is beautiful at sunrise and sunset.

So that is your free tip for the day :o)

I hope you have a great week!

See ya round.....

like a donut.


Encourage one another,
Donna

Saturday, January 24, 2009

There is no rhyme or reason to this blog post.

I said a prayer.
Then I went to my old pictures on the hard drive.

And I picked out favorites.

Let's see if there is a theme.


jess

Before I had a digital camera I needed to borrow pictures.
How I love the sweet little outfit the little girl is wearing.
I love the shape of the coat and the attention both mommy and child are paying to the buttoning.

DSC_1523

Look. It was summer once.
This is a favorite because I really like this posture.
I am not so good at action shots. So this is cool to me.

firebird2

Speaking of action shots.
I wish Katie loved dance as much as her mom.
Ah well.

10074405

This is one of my favorite Norman Rockwell pictures.
That is Sue, Cindy and me.

Sue is the big girl, I am the one with the mouth open and Cindy is the blondie.

bunkhouse

Here is a picture I am sure I have never posted.
If I was rich and had a cabin on a lake,
this would be the guest quarters.

Don't you love it?

amitttree


I have knit dozens of mittens in my life. These remain in the top three.

afieldofdreams

I love this picture of Patrick. Matthew is looking pretty darn sweet too.
Those cat ears may have to be bronzed they have been worn so often by so many.

diane kruger

The Oscars are on in a month or so.
I went searching to find out about Elle Saab after seeing this dress.

How pretty!


confusedcook

This is how I feel....way too often.


theprairieismygarden


Here is one of my favorite paintings of all time.

It is called The Prairie is my Garden by Harvey Dunn.


I have a secret dream to recreate this with Ree in a photograph one day.

Don't tell.




Well...that's all folks.

No rhyme or reason after all.

Other than....

Life is beautiful, I guess.



Love ya!

Encourage one another,
Donna

Go and look thru your old pictures. It's really fun!

Friday, January 23, 2009

20090121_4626sea-cinnbw

When Katie was born, one of the first things I noticed about her, besides how tiny she was, was the cleft in her chin.

I remember thinking, where did you get that little cleft in your chin?
And I turned to look at Patrick.
And there it was.
He has a cleft in his chin and I had not really noted it.


DSC_0872-2

You can't always see it.

Look at how those little teeth have changed in a year.


***


How about some Fill-ins today?


1. Oh, I am so _____!

2. _____ changes, big and little.

3. During _____, I _____.

4. _____; are you kidding me???

5. Right now I'd like to be _____.

6. _____ is my favorite gadget.


Those look kind of fun!



****


I am headed to a "Spa Day" today. My husband, Patrick, gave me this luxurious treat for Christmas gift. He is always so generous!
I'm a little nervous. You know, something new, all alone. I usually have my sisters or daughters along for this sort of thing.
But. I'm a big girl. I shall bear it bravely.


Have fun with those fill-ins and I will come back to join the fun later this afternoon.


Encourage one another,
Donna

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday. Part Deux aka Part Doo.

Every day as I drive my precious child to school we listen to the radio.

I switch around between four or five stations.

I switch when I don't care for a song or if I know a swear word is coming up.

I switch when Connie and Fish get too mature for little ears.

Today they were hilarious talking about their trip to DC for the Inauguration.

We both listened and laughed.

But the thing that has me so riled up....

are the cosmetic surgery commercials.

I am used to ignoring commercials. But these commercials with thier horrible, sad message break my heart.

And I need to be on the alert to them.

Need to shut them off!

We had Seventeen magazine and Marcia Brady to compare ourselves to.

And look how self-conscious and weirded out most of us are about our body images!


Todays girls are bombarded with plastic surgery shows and talk and ads.

This was just unheard of a generation ago.

But plastic surgery for nose jobs and tummy tucks are so common place they are advertised on television and radio all day long.

So I will be on alert to change the channels due to inappropriate and harmful commercials.

I'm just so sorry for the message that is being sent to the young women in our country.



People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross




What a sensational, thrilling night of Lost!

Did you watch all three hours?

I really needed that first hour of summary.
Wasn't it fun watching those two writers talk about the characters and story?

They promise: action, adventure and answers.

That sounds like F.U.N.

Would you have gone with Ben or run into the arms of the police?

I do not like Daniel. He is sneaky. He acts like he knows it all. And he doesn't.
He is self- serving.

I think they should all just go on Oprah and spill their guts.
No need to return to the Island.

Widmore is no match for the power of Oprah.

(However, Oprah is no match for my spellcheck.)


Off to school this morning.

I'll be back with more thrilling blogging this afternoon.


Encourage one another,
Donna

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On the page that hosts my Stats, there is a little line that says "Search Phrases."

Some times for kicks, I click on that link to see what people type in their search engines, that lead them to me.

I have seen other bloggers do this and it is usually really funny what comes up.

Mine are what you would expect.

Except perhaps the Hookelau.

Picture 3




I posted about the Hookelau in 2004.

It is a cute Hawaiian song that was taught to the neighborhood children by a girl who would run little summer programs in her garage. (I wonder if she became a teacher? )

Jenny had been to Hawaii and knew the Hukilau song and dance.

I must have just loved learning this song and dance because it is one of my most vivid memories from childhood.

And the funny thing is, almost every time I check my "Search Phrase" page,
someone is looking for the Hukilau.

(Only poor spellers find my site)




I seem to remember a grass skirt...but do not remember a coconut bra.

How's that for a search phrase?

Coconut Bra.




Fun for adults, too!

Is it any wonder I went on to learn sign language and work with deaf children?



Have you ever done a search phrase check?
You should!

If you have done one, what odd search phrase led to your blog?


Hey, speaking of coconut bra's, John and Jim Belushi went to my high school.
Jim was a few years ahead of me. I remember seeing one of them in the yearbook wearing grass skirt and coconut bra!
South Pacific was the musical that year :o)
Sure wish I could find that picture!


Have a great day!


Encourage one another,
Donna

Update:

Lynn would like to talk about Inauguration dresses.





I really did like this pretty cream dress. Feminine and showing off Michelle's great arms.





This was kind of awful in my opinion. I once bought a chair at a garage sale that had very similar fabric.
Also it looked bulky on her. She has a lovely figure and it just wasn't her best.




Jill Biden looked fantastic in her red coat and smokin' boots!

No one wore a coconut bra.

The end.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

20090119_4606warmer

I forget how freaky sharp my 17-55 is.
I get in a rut and leave my little 50mm on the camera for weeks at a time.
Forgetting that the 17-55 can do as well.

Many experts say that prime lenses are sharper.
( A prime lens does not change shape. It is a 28mm or a 50mm or an 85. Always.)

But a really good zoom can take remarkably sharp pictures.

20090119_4605-2warmer

20090119_4607

Katie. How do you really feel about this photo session?



****

She gets me back tho.

And this is how she does it.


Yesterday, Sister Sue wrote to confirm some wedding plans. Her son is getting married in July.

While I was cooking dinner, Katie stood next to me and told me what she was wearing to the wedding.
And what outfit she was going to wear the day before.

And I said. You are not wearing that dress. (A ugly hand me down from the next door neighbor)
And she insists. And we end up arguing over what dress she is going to wear in six months!!!

This makes me crabby and short and I say, "You are wearing what I say you are going to wear!"

Sweet.

I forgot to check.

She is probably already packing.


For the wedding, that is.

She loves to pack weeks in advance for trips.

Heaven help me be sweet and kind.



Encourage one another,
Donna

Monday, January 19, 2009

It all started out well enough....


20090117_4564

Tepid water.

Not too hot.

Not too cold.

Patrick knows how to find this temperature.

He has started yeast for bread thousands of times for hundreds of loaves of bread.


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Consulting the recipe.

Again and again.

Jeff Smith
The Frugal Gourmet.

(Remember him? PBS. The Eighties?)



20090117_4566

A sponge was made.

It pulled away from the sides.

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Exact measurements.


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Time to knead.

At this point, it feels too stiff to knead well in the Kitchenaid.


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Patrick, beautifully and expertly kneads it by hand.

Watching him handle the dough is really a great thing. He can handle the dough like I can knit.

It's second nature to him.

I give it a try and it feels awkward.

(Which is the way all new things feel, don't you think?)


20090118_4602

The finish product.

Not so bad to look at...

but truly inedible.



This baby is hard as stone and tasted unpleasant.


We don't know what happened.


And the only thing we can guess is that the yeast died while we were at church and the bread was rising for it's third and final time.

We proofed it in the bathroom where it was nice and warm.
But perhaps it was too dry.

Patrick expected to see the loaf puff up some when it started to bake.
But he didn't see this.

So. The baker and his wife made two sad loaves of bread.

We are both highly amused and bewildered over our bread baking experiment.
And we will try again soon. With a different recipe.


I can't stop thinking of the lethal loaf of bread from About a Boy.

(Killed a duck)




*****


But all was not lost on Saturday night.


I made Steak Bites.

Steak Bites a la Pioneer Woman

I chopped 'em up.

Fried 'em up.

And we all gobbled them up.

Quickest, most delicious meal I have made in my life.

Yum.

Get yourselves a sirloin this week and fry it up!

I promise you, your family will love it!



And about the bread...
back to the drawing board.


Encourage one another,
Donna

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The calm before the storm.

20090117_4550-2

You are not going to believe it.
But I don't have any pictures of the party.

Well. I have three really bad pictures of the party.

So I will have to use words.

There was screaming.
And waltzing.
And eating of M & M's and Cheetos.
There was singing in groups and singing alone.
There was an original song sung by two little rebels.
There was chocolate sheet cake and vanilla ice cream with the number nine and squiggly candles on top.
One bloody nose.
Eager gift givers.
Father's arriving early.
And piano playing.


It was wild.
It was hectic.

We hope they had a good time.

Katie and Carrie say it was fun.

I have already given notice that this is not going to be a yearly occurrence.

Next year she is going to have to keeps things simple and small.

*sigh*



****

Does anyone feel like sewing something really cute?


I ran across this pattern at a knitting blogger's page last week.

Here is the link for the pattern:


Ruffled Apron

And here is a link to a great homeschool mother who is selling fabric on Etsy.


Fresh Squeezed Fabrics


Let me know if you decide to try this pattern!

I may.


But first, we will be making bread today!!!

I'll let you know how that goes.



Encourage one another,
Donna

Friday, January 16, 2009

-5 degrees

Katie of the North






Hero.

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger of Danville, Calif.

He is THE MAN.

jimandtwins

Big Brother.


Our brother Jim is a pilot and I couldn't stop thinking about him yesterday as I watched the Miracle on the Hudson unfold.
Not long after this picture was taken, Jim landed his private plane in the ocean off of Martha's Vineyard.
He radioed to the Coast Guard that he was going down, set his plane down on the choppy ocean, blew up a raft, got in it and was rescued by helicopters.

I am so thankful that Jim was calm and skilled under immense pressure, like Sully.

I do know that pilots think about safety a lot.
It's part of the drill.
It's not a job you can become complacent about, is it?


God bless the pilots.
Amen.


*****

Hey! It's Friday!


1. Who do you consider a hero?
2. Do you have any pilot's in your family?
3. Have you ever been in a hairy airplane situation? In the air? (I know the airports can be hairy.)
4. Who is the tallest person in your family? Jim is 6' 4"
5. Have you ever seen the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds at an Air Show?







This is long. But really cool.

(And Lynne, I think I see your house :o)


What is quieter than an F-18?

A karaoke party with 17 nine year old girls.


It's all about your perspective, right?

Wish us well. Party tonight.



Encourage one another,
Donna