Calling Card

Look what I found in the still green grass of our lawn.
It's happening! 
Oh, it's still hot every day, but darkness is falling earlier and earlier.
And the dawn is dawdling later and later.
And now on tree branches and in the grass, 
Fall is leaving some calling cards.
Further proof  -  I've seen the first candy corn of the year! Whoo-Hoo!
But candy corn M&M's? Where was the marketing research on that, Mars?
If we want candy corn, we'll just ... buy some candy corn.


Something Special

A few birthdays ago, I was given a gift of a kit to 
Loving the idea, (it had been my idea, after all), I quickly opened the package 
and browsed through the supplies. I feel so  equipped  when every single thing needed 
is actually in front of me for a project! 
And that's where I got stuck. 
The kit included lovely papers for the back of the scrabble tile --- 
the papers were nice, but they weren't SPECIAL.
And you know it has to be special!
So the kit was put away for a couple of years.
Until - DING - an idea!
We've been focusing on marriage lately - even participating in a marriage class.
I recalled a bunch of wedding snapshots that were given to us from various friends, way back then, just after our wedding day. Some of them 
with very tiny images of us, since they were taken from the church pews.
So I dug out my album and found the perfect SPECIAL tiny Us to use for the pendant.
It's so small, I know, but if you squint, you can see our First Married Kiss.
And that, my friends, is SPECIAL.

They're easy to make - let me know if you'd like one for yourself!



Would you have done it? 
Would you have climbed a tree to get a better view of Jesus?
You have to admire the pluck of Zacheeus. 
Not too many short guys would get off the ground wearing a skirt, right? 
How deep could his dignity have been to pull a stunt like that? 
You know  people were watching, snickering probably, maybe even pointing.
But he didn't care!
His heart's response to the tug of the Spirit was greater than whatever pride he carried around.
He climbed a sycamore tree to lay his own eyes on the One who was rumored to be the Messiah.
Will you be encouraged, as I am, by this example of undignified response?
Let's not hesitate when He is passing by! 
Let's leave our dignity behind and not care who might snicker! 
And let's reap great rewards!


Stuff Your Pouches

Would you like to come over for dinner sometime?
Or lunch?
Or breakfast?
You'd have to elbow-in next to a chipmunk, then, 
'cause they are reigning supreme at our house this year. When they're not busy taunting the dog, chirping incessantly from the bushes or digging tunnels in the landscaping, 
they're eating lots of extra meals.

We must put on a pretty good spread around here, 
since our guests tend to leave with bulging cheeks.
That's how all our friends look as they wave goodbye-
don't yours?



I trespass sometimes.
Unintentionally, of course.
It seems mostly unreasonable to think that this pathetically placed sign is going to be effective in giving notice that a piece of ground is private property. 
Upside down and face in - come on - who put that up, anyway? 
My friend (never trespass alone) pondered the idea of tasting a few snap beans - that was before we saw the sign(s) which not only let us know we were Trespassers, but also that we were not supposed to be picking. 
It's impossible to appreciate the beauty of this community garden by looking at these photos. Each 8'x3' raised bed belongs to someone in the neighborhood, and some are marked with family names or dedications to loved ones. It is a fenced, mulched and trellised wonder! And the beds show such variety, since space is limited. In one bed you might see an heirloom tomato next to a rhubarb, or a row of three  zinnias partnering with a cabbage. 
If I lived nearby at all, I'd trespass on a regular basis. 
I mean purple cauliflower - do average people just grow that? 
"I think I'll put out some purple cauli this year, Hon, what do you think?"
And don't forget a Brussels sprout, of course. 
It was pretty funny, and if you had been nearby you might have gotten your morning laugh from the comments my Trespassing Buddy and I were making as we recognized vegetables seen only at the market in their growing forms. 
"What the heck is this? Wait - is it a  Brussels sprout? It is!" 
(of course we said 'brussel sprout' just like you do) 
We puzzled over this one for a while, and made a good guess, but couldn't identify it for sure. When I got home and googled blossoms of vegetable plants, there it was! 
Genius Plan - beautiful flowers developing into delicious vegetables.

Do all of you Garden Pros already know what vegetable bloom this is?


Out of Order

(found at the 127 Corridor Sale in the booth of a man who was busily stuffing miniature marshmallows into 'marshmallow guns')


Come In

If you were my neighbor, you'd come over to visit some mornings - 
not EVERY morning, of course, but pleasantly, some.
I'd gesture to you from the door window, "Come on in!"
While I heat water for our tea, you might eye my breakfast suspiciously, 
like my sons do. One of them recently commented,
"Mom, I can't believe you're going to actually eat that!"
(eggs, spinach, chicken sausage and black beans)
You'd probably notice these tiny key limes, and I'd rejoice to tell you  
that they cost only 99¢, then offer to juice one for your tea.
The hula girl doing her solar thing in the window 
near the rooting chocolate mint might make you laugh.
(Please let me know if you'd like to have some chocolate mint - 
there's plenty to share!)
From the kitchen sink window, the hummingbirds would definitely catch your eye. They fly right up to the window and fairly press their tiny cheeks to the glass to get a view into the kitchen. They're trying to remind me to send out fresh nectar, the demanding, tiny brutes.
Those beautiful roses deserve a good sniff - you could take one while you raid the fridge for something to cream the tea. There are perks for having a husband who travels frequently - occasionally he brings home an "I missed you!" gift.
While we sip tea, we might admire the one daylily that's still impossibly blooming - waaaayyy out there under the rosebush.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could stop by for a quick cup of tea?


Get a Whiff

This morning while deadheading the marigolds, 
I remembered that I used to do this
Now, this is the first year that I've grown marigolds of my own. Over 20 years gardening and I've never chosen to grow marigolds for myself. But this year --- well, they were a bargain and I needed some filler in my flower tubs. Pulling off those heads wasn't really when it happened. It was the smell when I opened the seed casing to check for mature seeds. That
citrus sour tang (Do you know it? Go sniff an old marigold bloom, quick!) 
was so strong! It made me recall that I'd done this very thing before as a child. 
Now how weird is that?

Every rare now and then, I experience a flood of memories about my paternal
 grandparents' home after stumbling across a certain house smell
(Do you know what I mean by house smell?) 
I might come across that unique aroma in an antique store or maybe at a home where dinner's just been cleared away. All of a sudden, ballooning open in my mind's eye - Grandma's house!  I'm able to recall little details which had slipped from memory, or so I thought. The snack drawer kept just for us kids, a tiny bathroom off the kitchen with lights that flicker on soooo slowly, basement stairs leading to damp darkness, ash trays with bean-bag bottoms, and the  shake-your-fat-off  belted 'exercise' machine. 

Rainstorms and dreamsicles, baby necks and diaper wipes, face powder and fresh linen, new lumber and dogfood, wooden closets and cedar chests, little boy sweat and baking cookies, crayons and new blacktop, cafeterias and gymnasiums, manure and silage - these are bits of my memory, with a story attached to every one. 
What things trigger your memories? 


Thanks, Neighbor!

This is a friendly thing to see when you look outside your front door.
It's a neighborly sort of summer sight.
Thanks, Neighbor!
Your maters warm my heart!

mater - pronounced: maiter. Redneck for Tomato
"I like fried, green maters on ma hog jowl samich." 
(I like to have fried, green tomatoes on my hog jowl sandwich). 



"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." 

Last Sunday in JBQ class, Genesis 1:1 was our text for a ten-point quotation question:
"Where did the universe come from?"
From there, we went on to explore three twenty-point questions about creation:
What part did God the Father have in creation? 
God the Father gave the commands that caused the visible world to be created out of nothing.
What part did Jesus have in creation? 
"Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:3
What part did the Holy Spirit have in creation? 
The Spirit hovered over the waters.

Trying to help the children to grasp the Trinity in action on the First Day was a challenge. Trying to grasp it for myself is next to impossible! Sometimes I feel like my understandings of deep spiritual things are about as sturdy as those ultra-thin spider web strands that float around in the warm fall air. The ones that seem to drift over your face from out of nowhere and cling on with nearly invisible delicate determination? 
Listen, I'm no theological expert over here, but ...

... I think creation is still happening! 
I know, all of creation is in place, and it was all finished in six days. But isn't His creative dynamic is still sweeping through, bringing NEW from patches of 'formless and void' nothingness? We see it every time we peer into an ultrasound display in a darkened room - new life! Every spring - regeneration! At crowded altars on Sunday mornings - new creation!

So I've added that first paragraph of Genesis to my prayer time. Praying that the Holy Spirit will be present, THANKING Him that He is present - hovering over the formless places in my life, in the lives of my family, in the lives of those I love who don't love Him - yet

That the voids and the darknesses, of various kinds, in all of us, would be covered with a generous blanket of Holy Spirit in preparation for what is coming next - whatever the Father wills to command. 

I've been praying that the Holy Spirit would hover, just as He did on that First Day, so that when the Father issues those commands - we would leap forward in joyful response! Praying that through the finished work of Jesus, the preparatory hovering of the Spirit, and the commands of the Father, we would burst forth to serve our ordained purposes (Eph 2:10) and bring glory to God (1 Cor 6:20).

                                                      Will you join me?


Get a Fork!

I've got the fixin's for this cake in my kitchen right now.
Do you feel tiny shock waves of danger skipping up and down your spine - 'cause I do!

I usually make this cake for myself, and in breaking that tradition around here I've raised a few eyebrows. 
Because you know that I'm all about instilling traditions in this herd of men that crazily bump around here. 
BUT hands are rubbing together briskly, eager to join me in taking a bite of this Chocolate Wonder of the World. Sure hope it lives up to its photo!

Side Note:
A Dear Friend of mine, since high school (!), passed the Birthday Slogan  idea on to me. 
Just thoughtfully create a slogan for your upcoming year, based on your hopes, aspirations, dreams --- 
and whatever conveniently rhymes with the last digit of your age.
For example, my slogan for last year was:
"I will thrive at 45."
In trying to initiate conversation with my Middle Son, I brought up this whole slogan topic and asked him for any ideas he might have on my slogan for year 46.
He winced as if in pain and said, 
"Mom, you don't tell anyone about this, do you???"
Hmmmmm... the conversation pretty much ended there, as he wasn't willing to participate in anything as LAME as creating a Birthday Slogan.
Oh, well! I'm just fulfilling my appointed and anointed role in his life. 
And I've got just aheap more potentially embarrassing items to share with my teenagers - it's a pleasure to serve!

*** Feel free to share slogans for year 46 -
 I'll pass them on to the teens! ***



I've taken up some bad summertime habits.
Our dear dog is mirroring my bad habits. 
They all involve lolling / sprawling / draping. Of myself. Anywhere.
I got lazy over the summer. 
This involved reading tall piles of books and making unintentionally generous  donations to the local library. 
The baseboards are accusing, the garden is begging, and projects are languishing. 
The demands of school (of all kinds) are looming large, causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand straight up. 
Does that ever happen to you?

The Summer Celebration of the Slothful is almost over! 


Tomato Trick

Does this tomato make my butt look big?
What about his? 
I heard that this condition has been called 'Baboon Butt'.
It's amazing what surprises you'll find when your camera disappears with a teenager for a while...

See what I mean???


Smile and Nod

OK, so this was not actually my pick when we went out to the local specialty garden store. 
Husband decided it was really cool, and so it made the cart-cut. 
I've seen these cover HUGE trellises, so I was in favor, too. 
A generous garden-lady in southern KY shared seeds with me once - seeds that did their disappearing act from a 'safe' place in the luggage. 
It seemed a little wasteful to buy a plant that must be so easy to grow from seed, 
but when Hubs is throwing around dollars at the garden store, I just smile and nod
Even after a few drought months, it's still doing pretty well out near the carport. It's dropped a bunch of seeds and the seedlings are already coming up to renew the shabby-ish bottom of the vine. 
How considerate!


Stretching Quarters

The 127 Corridor sale was last weekend.
I wonder how many of you went hunting there. 
It seemed like ALL of you were!
While it is always fun to be out with MWH on our every Saturday morning adventure, I have to admit to getting a little bit miffed this time. We've been to this sale before, had lots of fun, enjoyed crazy people sightings, AND even brought home a few treasures.  But this time the dealers either wanted more money for their junk, or maybe I had less money to give for their junk.  I complained about the dealers' laughable prices, and the dealers complained about laughable offers that were being made for their junk.

"Do you know someone offered me a dollar for that?"
(dealer indicating a slice of purple, polished geode)
"Really? Hmmm..."
(me thinking that was probably a generous offer he should've taken)
"Yes, it's just ridiculous! People want something for nothing!"
(dealer waving hands and scoffing all of us greedy, scrimping buyers)
"Must be the economy... ? Maybe they don't know about rocks ... ?"
(hoping to humor him and get him to sell me this --- for a dollar)

I had two pockets full of quarters, and each of us had one dollar bill. We're trying to refrain from using our old friend Jeanie. She just gets us in trouble! So we went to the sale with what cash we had on hand. It must have shown.
I saw a really lovely vintage tablecloth. My disappointment must've shown when the dealer announced it to be a bar-gain for only $20. She then referred me to a basket of $1 handkerchiefs. 
Really? I know I had dripped Kona Ice all over my own shirt, but really - I thought that was insulting. Even if she had read me entirely correctly.

So, I had to resort to PhotoBuying.

Love that! Bought it -

Mine! Click -

A pair of these would be perfect for a wedding gift! Snap -
(I hope you click this photo to get a better view of these salt and pepper shaker sets. 
"And is it fun? You bet it is!" Check how the man is all smirky. Yeah.)

Our only buy for the day - vintage industrial safety glasses.

Talked the guy down to $3 from $5 for these, and still had enough quarters for nachos! Don't be jealous - you can borrow them anytime!


Let It Go

Summertime and butterflies just go together.
You know how to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth, right?
The time for butterflies is spiraling down, I think.
The cicadas are yelling during the day, and 
the crickets are singing all night.
The lightning bugs have vanished, and 
school supplies overflow plastic grocery bags. 
No, NOT cloth bags - it's a micro-rebellion I'm participating in right now.
Summer is almost over, folks! 
And I'm just about ready to let it go. 
Are you glad to see summer finally grinding 
to its dry and dusty finish?