Monday, December 31, 2012

What happened?

The past three weeks have melted away but not without notice.  We celebrated Christmas a bit differently this year due to my work.  We didn't have everyone over, or put up a big tree, or go beyond our limits.  What we did do was take the party to Mt. Hood, and to a lovely rented home.  The house was clean when we arrived and ready for us!  All of our kids made the drive up to where we were and we are so thankful they did.  We won't do this every year but it is a good alternative when time is limited.  We stayed two nights and drove home to our clean house....well.....somewhat clean house.  :)
Now, here it is New Years Eve and we are looking forward to many more delightful times ahead!
We are thankful for the bounty of family and loved ones in our lives!
Happy New Year and God Bless!

A peek at some favorite memories of 2012!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Week of Advent

This last week was busy and I wouldn't want it any other way.  Work is going well and I'm learning the in's and out's of designing a fruit basket!  It is all about presentation and packing too much fruit in a too small basket!  The end product looks very nice and people love buying the festive packages. There is something nice about watching people caught up in the joy of the season.      
Happy week everyone!  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday of Advent

The sweetest story ever told begins to unfold once again as we remember this season of Advent.  It is good!

This Christmas season I will be working where people come to shop! It will be something very new to me. It brings me up close to the hustle and bustle of Christmas,and it will be fun. I will be mindful of all there is to be thankful for!

Red-headed Woodpecker

Today when I opened the front door to go outside I heard a shrilling sound that was unusual. It was not a common sound around our home. I called out to the noise in my "animal talking voice" and heard the shrill again.  I walked out a bit further and looked in the direction of the shrill. There on our large maple tree was a small red-headed woodpecker. They are rare and I don't believe I have seen one before this.  The bird seemed friendly, so I dashed back in the house to grab my camera.  I got three quick photos of the little bird and he disappeared behind the tree. 
The shrill I heard was not one of distress but one that said, "Hey, I'm over here!" 
From what I can gather..... a woodpecker of this sort likes to live among oak trees, and that life source is growing scarce due to development.  I will say that there are lots of oak trees in Oregon, and they don't commonly grow where there is development going on.  And, if the oaks are hard to locate there is no shortage of maple trees.  I've seen other varieties of woodpeckers at our tree because it is teaming with insects, and provides ample eating area.
We are told to watch out for the starlings.  Starlings are aggressive and will chase the woodpeckers out of a tree. This happens after the woodpecker has done all the prep work to prepare the tree for eating!
As you can see this is not a large bird, but he has a large singing voice otherwise he would have gone unnoticed.  I am blessed to have seen and interacted with this little creature. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

More beauty...... the sky!
When we talked about moving in the Spring of 2011 we made of list of things we would like to have.  Number one on the list was to find a home where we could see the sky.  At our old place we looked due West and the sunsets were ever present.  Here at our new home we have the same vista and it is a reminder of how we are cared for by our Almighty God! 
Yesterday as the day began to come to an end, and we were rushing around to finish up outside chores, this sky opened up.  Here we see the sky!  There is more beauty than we ever expected and for that we are thankful!

This month is dedicated to grace, gratitude and thankfulness.  Take a moment to see what others are saying here: Take the Grace Challenge if even for a few days.  It will change your life. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

During the past year there were numerous times when the earth spoke of God's majesty.  This photo expresses a time when words were not needed and God was present.  I am thankful for the reminder of His grace all around and the promise of joy no matter what the circumstance.  
The song "For the Beauty of the Earth" rings true for today and everyday! 
Happy Thanksgiving!   

For the Beauty of the Earth
Hymn-writer/author: Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.

For the martyrs’ crown of light,
For Thy prophets’ eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors’ might,
For the lips of infancy.

For Thy virgins’ robes of snow,
For Thy maiden mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesu, Victim undefiled.

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven
Love to you, my family, friends and all! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 16, 17, and 18 Life

I mentioned on day 9 that I have a job for the holiday's.  The new job requires training, testing and more training.  And, this is why I haven't been posting the past three days.  The work and training period fell within a time I was also decorating a mall for Christmas. The mall is done and I will continue with training through the first week of December. 
I've thought a lot about working and the privilege it is to have a job.  Going back to work is not an easy thing to consider when I thought that part of my life was over.  This is how it is for many of us who have entered the golden years.  The planning and saving were done years ago but reality has made the "plan" not so viable.  A little more work is required and I am thankful for this new job.  It is an opportunity to serve the public in a creative and fun way!  I plan to spread a little cheer this season of hope and celebration of Christ's birth. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15 Gratitude for my hairdresser

For the past ten years I have gone to the same hairdresser.  I am thankful that she is a young gal, because  she will be in business for years to come, and I won't have to find another one.  I found Amy through another girl in the same salon.  My old hairdresser became a mother and decided to stay at home.  I had watched Amy work on many ladies and knew she did a good job.  She knew her business and  I made an appointment.  The rest is history.  We are now good friends and have been through many seasons together, talked through all kinds of world, local and personal issues.  Amy knows that my hair won't do well with lots of product on it, she knows that I like my hair totally dry when I go home, and she knows that I will return in six weeks. I'm grateful for her because in this area I don't have to think.  Amy takes care of me!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 13 and 14 Gratitude ....simple.

Some days there are many simple things to be thankful for. Today it is the sunshine.  The rain has been around for a while, and a clear beautiful day reveals the work the rain has done by greening up the ground.  There is beauty all around. 

I am also grateful for time at home.  There are never enough low key days. I appreciate the time to read, create and nest.  I did all three today.  It was a nice day!

One last thing.  I am thankful for a bounty of winter squash!  Look at what is in the oven...right now!  Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts! 

Good eating! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12 What do I appreciate about where I live?

I live in Beavercreek, Oregon.  It is a hamlet with approximately 4500 residents.  You may wonder what a hamlet is? A hamlet is a settlement that is too small to be called a town and it is a part of a larger area.  The larger area here is Oregon City.  Beavercreek has a grange hall and monthly they hold town hall meetings. One day I'll go and find out what they discuss.

The area of Beavercreek is rural.  We have one gas station and a very small grocery store.  There is a bar/restaurant that has a nightly dinner special written on a board outside the building.  I have seen meals written on that board like "Taco night, Prime Rib, and Catfish," and I wonder if it is all you can eat?  One night we'll go find out what it's like.  It must be good because there are always lots of cars parked out in front.  There is also a drive-thru coffee hut.  I just got a cup of Americano there today.  I'll go back to support the small business.

I appreciate that this is not a highly regulated area of Oregon. (We can cut a tree down whenever we want.)  Most people have a little land, a garden, and animals.  Many people have cows, horses, lamas, alpaca's and goats.  The school is about as charming as one can get. I also appreciate that we are just four miles from Oregon City and 28 miles from downtown Portland. Nearby, we have a wonderful library with access to the larger system of Clackamas County.  There is plenty of commerce and lots of open space.   

Beavercreek is a new area to us.  We have only lived here a few months and in the next several years our familiarity will grow along with our appreciation.  We are where we are suppose to be and like it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11 Gratitude for Service

We have a friend who fought in the South Pacific during World War Two.  He was a gunner who experienced war.  We thank God for his life, friendship, and service to our country. He speaks softly about his days during the war and we know that as a young man of 18 he gave plenty for future generations!  May God continue to bless him throughout his days here on earth!

Thank you to those who have served and are serving today.  We send our prayers!
This is an important day to remember and be thankful for each of you! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10 of the Grace Challenge

Love in action!

Today as I rush around doing chores in the house I am reminder of my mother, and all the prayers she spoke over me. She was consistent and never too busy to stop and pray. We suffered together on occasion and yet never to a breaking point. Strength came from Jesus. I know why. Prayer.
I am thankful for my mother and all she did to teach what love really is. Love in action. Prayer.   

Romans 12: 9-13
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Marjorie Mini-Belle Castile/Falkenberg

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9 The List

Today's focus is on "My Record of Grace."  We all have a list of things we are grateful for whether we have written them down or not.  The fun part of today's focus is I am going to list some of the things that brought a "Thank you, Lord" to my lips during the past year. 

  • Thank you Lord for bringing the perfect family to buy our "family" home that we built from scratch. 

  • Thank you Lord for taking us to our new home and making it just right for our downsize! There is a barn and chicken coupe on the 1.6 acres.  All the animals got to come with us!!
  • Thank you Lord that all of our grandchildren are doing well! It was a difficult year for three of them but things are good now.  Precious beyond belief!!!

  • Thank you Lord for Jim and for all the work he does to make our lives better.
  • Thank you for good friends who understand the task we undertook and helped us.
  • Thank you for family that takes us as we are and loves us!
  • Thank  you for each day and for helping us stretch and grow. 
  • Thank you for the beauty that surrounds us...and especially for the big windows that look straight out at the sky from our new house.  
  • Thank you for digital camera's!  They are a source of joy....for all the freedom they give to record life! 
  • Thank you for good health.  This is a biggie considering how fragile the human body is...and how strong it is.  Drink....more water!! healthy.
  • last thing....thank you for my new job making fruit baskets!!  I've wanted a part time job for quite a while and this one fell into my path today!  :) 
This is not a complete list but is a good start!  It's only day 9 and there are lots more days to count our blessings before the end of the month.  Take the challenge here:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8 Sunrise Thankfulness

Rise and shine!
"It is a new day!"

When my kids were little and there were parent/child/life difficulties and we worked them through, I would say, "It is a new day!"  This meant we extended grace, mercy and forgiveness. God gives us that opportunity everyday, all day long. We certainly need it and I use it.

I am thankful for the gift of a new day in my heart and soul!  Rise and shine!  

To take the grace challenge go to: 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7 of the Grace/Gratitude Challenge

Remember the poor. 

There are many kinds of poor people in the world.  Some are poor of spirit, poor of possession, poor of health but often we find these poor people models of thankfulness because of their conditions.  We are challenged to remember the poor and invite them to our home so we can find the grace of God working in our hearts. 

This past weekend I visited with dear friends who are going through quite a time with health issues.  They are poor of health but not of spirit.  While in their home I noticed a large bulletin board covered with what they call their "blessings."  Hundreds of pictures filled that board and the pictures are of the people they pray for every single day!  I thought about it and considered following their influence. 

My blessing board began today and the first pictures are of my friends mentioned above, and our grand-kids. As I walk by the board many times each day I am reminded that they are in my home, and I can bring the grace of God to them.  In turn their faces bring the grace of God to me. 

I am excited to add pictures to the board each day until it is covered.  I know who will be added.
*I think of our nephew who is being deployed, his sweet wife who stays behinds, and counts the days until his return months and months from now. 
*I think of our niece who mothers two little children who need grace administered everyday.  
*I think of a friend who has just been diagnosed with a cancer and will be undergoing treatment over the next several months. 
*I think of a woman who has gotten into big trouble, and the book is being thrown at her in the legal system.  She needs grace....mercy...and attention. 

"All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along." Galatians 2:10 
Watch the board fill up!  This may become a quiding extention of gratitude with intention. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On track with gratitude.

At the challenge for today is to be "gratitude's hands and feet. " 
"The end result of grace is that people serve one another, or to use our grace/gratitude language, they are gracious to one another.  We treat others how God has treated us.  He has been merciful, kind, and loving toward us. Today, the Grace Challenge calls us to be gracious toward other people."

*As the day proceeds, the outcome of our presidential race will be apparent, and I will choose to be gracious, no matter what!  How's that?  I know that under the circumstances of  "what is" the person who leads our nation will be given a great task, and ultimately God reigns.  I'm grateful for that truth! Our prayers will follow our leader.

*These little hands, feet and paws are out giving JOY to the neighborhood this morning!  

I have been given much to love!! :)

Gratitude comes to us in all forms and it is the most encouraging thing to name them!  


Gratitude is felt everyday and I will be intentionally noting its place in my life for the next month.
Over at "The Temple Blog" the challenge is made and I'm taking it on!  I'll be "Singing in the key of G" and experiencing the season of Thanksgiving as an everyday discipline.  Upward, forward and on with "The Grace Challenge!"

Thinking back over the past three days I have so much to be thankful for!  
*Saturday- I drove North to the Seattle area and attended a birthday party for a friend who turned 80.  She and I have shared a love of flowers.  Her support and love is what I am most thankful for.  We spent the weekend catching up and the time has given me a full heart!  
*Sunday- I took advantage of being in the state of Washington and drove even further North to give my grandkids and daughter/sil a hug!  It was a quick visit but so much fun to burst in on them as if I just lived next door!  At this point my heart was overflowing!  
*Monday- I drove home down the I-5 freeway along with thousands of other motorists!  That is one busy stretch of road and it is also a road surrounded by Northwest beauty!  The colors of Fall were continual and gave me an appreciation for the season.  The sun was beaming through the clouds the entire five hour drive!  
*This morning- I am thankful for the warmth of a wood burning fireplace and the new insert that pours out plenty of heat!  

Friday, November 2, 2012

A matter of record.

 It is delightful to look out the window and see the grass brightening up with each passing week! 
  Gratitude overcomes my spirit!  
I can't help but think of all the people on the East coast that are not able to be warm and settled.  I say a prayer for them and hope there is a quick response of help.  There is so much devastation and I wonder how  help can be organized quickly enough? More prayers.
Bart sat quietly as I snapped these photos in sequence.  He has been watching the leaves fall and isn't always sure they aren't birds.  I can tell what he's thinking by the switch of his tail!
He looks that way.......and looks this way.

 He is getting use to being the object of many photos and another matter of record!  

Monday, October 22, 2012

What may come?

 The sign of Fall is all around us.   

The view from the front windows show what happens in one day when the wind blows through.  One leaf stuck to the window and of course I had to capture that natural occurrence! 
 As you can see the front lawn became very dry due to more than 80 days without rain.  In a short time the space will green back up.  We'll be glad to see it and feel it!  Green is much softer and lush. :) 

Jim loves working outside (good thing) and he will be raking leaves for a few weeks, judging from the amount of leaves still on our huge maples. I rake too, but I'm not so good at it! 
 Notice the fence?  It's coming along!  

A fallen leaf is nothing more than summers wave goodbye.Author unknown

The bird bath is filling up with leaves and it looks like a work of art.  Yes, it does. :) 
We have the good fortune of having a RED MAPLE and it shouts out to be noticed!  
Recently we painted the barn red (it was mint green) and the tree was made to match it!


The chicken coupe received a coat of the same red paint and we are pretty sure the hens like it much better!

 Things are getting done around the new place.  There is time now to enjoy the season and prepare for Winter and Spring.  The leaves are put on the compost pile, the geraniums are in the barn, and mulch covers the flower beds.  We are ready for what may come!  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yeah for LilliAnne!!

Congratulations!!! Good job, LA!!
You are a "Panda Pride" award winner for following directions!!
First Grade Award winner!  Yeah!!!!  
As a grandparent it is easy to love our matter what!  We celebrate each day just because they our ours and because they are uniquely wonderful.  An award tells the rest of the world they are special too!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A week of play........

The first moments after our LA arrived she asked to walk down the long driveway with papa. They walk hand in hand and talk the entire time.

There was someone....oops...I mean a horse beckoning a hand-up of an apple!  The apples fall just out of his reach and this horse knows better than to get stuck in the fence.  It would be easy for him to do.
We have explain to LA to keep her fingers and palm stiff and straight.  It is easy for a horse to grab a finger by mistake.
Each day thereafter...we made the trek to visit the horse and his two sidekick goats. For some reason they didn't get in the pictures but they were right there between the horses legs grabbing apples that came their way.

When the walk is over LA wants to play in the water with a hose and big bowl.  She washes rocks and waters the flowers.  This kind of playing goes on for a long, long time!  

LA watches us as we go about our day and she wants to help.  A tree down near the road needs to be watered each day.  We keep a large bucket of water down there with a coffee can and she runs to do this task.  She takes the job very seriously.  
Books are a large part of each day. LA is in first grade and reading pretty well.  Her love of books is fun to indulge!!
The week flew by and we have load of memories to carry us through until next time.  

Momma and the babies come to pick up LA but stay the night. We are all so happy to see them!  The babies are twins, a boy and a girl.  They were one year old the end of June.  We call each of our grandchildren miracle babies.....and this is the case with these two.

 Each one is unique and so loved!

Bart is not left out.  He is loved, too!  
It has been a good week of play and now we return to life as we are! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting wood, tree trimming, building fence and one last thing!

Getting enough wood for the winter is something that can't be put off and on this hot day we trekked off to a friends property who wanted an alder tree taken down.  It's not difficult to take a tree down with a chain saw, but the work to get it limbed, chopped up and brought home wasn't so easy.   My  job was to throw the smaller pieces of wood in the bed of the truck and Jim split the wood. Some of the pieces are too large to simply split, so they were put in the truck last.
When we got home we then stacked the wood for further splitting.  Some people throw the wood out of the truck in a pile but we stack it.  The reason we stack it is that it may be there for sometime and stacked wood takes up less room in the driveway.  It's not much more work in the long run.

Wood cutting often falls on a day when the temperatures are hot!  This was the case for us and we were lucky to be in the shade while working.
One implement that we are able to use is a wood splitter.  On the day we cut our wood it was not available but it is now, and we'll finish the splitting in no time with this amazing tool!!
Our new place has two extremely large maple trees.  They are small leafed maples and have been growing in place for at least 40 - 45 years.  Any trimming that has been done looks like nature did it!  I call that "God's pruning."  If we don't do it...He will. There is a life lesson in this reality!  We will have an arborist take a look at the trees before we start in.  There is no way we can reach the tops of the that will need to be considered.  What we need is a truck with a long lift bucket and I'm pretty sure no one around here has one.
The fence is coming along but has a ways to go.  In time.....and when there is time....we'll finish it up.
The weather took a cool turn this last week.  It feels like the hot, hot days are over and Fall is on its way. 
We only had two days over 100 degrees.  

One last thing......
  This little pansy is going in a small pot this week, and our granddaughter will be planting it.  She arrives today and we are thrilled to fill the next few days with her giggles and play!! 
.......happy week everyone!