Thursday, April 28, 2011

Journal Love

  

I'm a little bit crazy over books.  Not only do I love to read them, I love the look, smell, and feel of them.  I care for them as if they were beloved children, going so far as cleaning soiled covers with a very light touch of glass cleaner on paper towel, and once or twice I've even taken a barely warm iron to a wrinkled dust jacket.  When I'm waiting on an order of books to arrive, there is an anticipation and excitement in me not unlike (but with a bit less fervor) waiting for the arrival of family for a visit. 


Likewise, I adore journals.  Of course, there would be no point in owning as many journals as I do books ... but I do succumb to purchasing a new one every now and then, and I'm not too many empty journals ahead at the moment (something like trying to limit the number of unread books I accumulate before I take a self-imposed break in buying any others until I catch up a bit).

Pages from my Discovery Journal (begun in the mid-90s?); I love
how the girls are dressed for sitting on the shores of Lake Superior.
My own journals are very primitive, but there sure are gorgeous
art journals being created these days!

The funny thing is ... I don't "journal"!  Not in the sense of keeping a nicely written diary of daily or weekly entries of my life's doings, anyway.  But I do use journals for a variety of other purposes.


Most often, I use them as "commonplace books."  My journals are gathering places for quotes from books I read that I want to have easy access to again; inspiring words from speakers on tv; Bible verses I want to look up; my thoughts on a variety of subjects, written with just enough detail/length to jog my memory; lists of material things I want to acquire or replace "someday"; pep talks to myself; pages (and pages) filled with titles of books or names of authors that have piqued my interest which I might want to read; food plans in attempts to lose weight; years' worth of budgets; birthdays and dates of deaths of family members and friends and pets so that I don't forget (because I know I would); and even plain spiral notebooks from long ago which contain my earlier attempts at more serious writing on a variety of subjects.  (Now my formal writing is kept on computer hard drives and flash drives, neither of which are anywhere near as aesthetically appealing to me as journals.)

From my sketchbook.  The Doodle Stitching book just came today.
I thought my bunny might be plain enough to stitch up fairly easily.
(And my shading on the hand looks like fur. Aargh!)

I only have one "visual journal" to date, begun as a Discovery Journal from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  Well, I also have a sketchbook journal (not too much in it).  And of course, there are the nature journals I want to create, too ... when I have more of that ever elusive concept called "time."


The shortest journal I ever had was a gardening journal, which says something right there (it quickly became used for some other purpose).  I can grow plants in containers, but to date my attempts to grow plants in the yard have been pretty dismal.  Wait ... as Daisy, sister of Hyacinth Bucket in the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, would say: "I tell a lie." ... I've had success with both bachelor buttons and zinnias (in different years), so maybe I'll just go back to keeping it simple.

All three of these books will provide inspiration for my journaling
 (although I almost need a magnifier to read Sara Midda's sweet book).

And now I have my largest, most complicated and demanding journal of all ... my blog!  But I have a hunch I'll always prefer the feel of and the feeling I get from my other journals.  And what's fun is that after time has passed, and I return to peruse old entries in my journals, even in my detachment I am yet encouraged, pleasantly reminded, and inspired by what I read.  It's amazing how well the writer knows what I like and just what I need to read to keep on keeping on!  :o)


 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
   bind them around your neck,
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3

Enjoy some time with your journal,
Bess

I'm linking this post to:

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Lisa at The Army Chaplain's Wife for Simply Saturday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Thank you, Dear Ladies!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Home Is Where My Heart Is

Fridge magnets, most from calendars.

For me there is really no comparison between working at my place of employment and being at home.  Home wins hands down.  I love being at home.  Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but apparently not alone.  There seem to be so many blogs by women who are enjoying life without working outside the home. 

There was a meme going around a few years ago and one of the items was to list four places I would rather be right then.  I responded with the word “Home” for the first three blanks.  I was on a break at work, but I would have answered the same way no matter where I had been.

I have told friends more than once that I would give up the next few years of my life to be retired.  Of course, I’d want to add on the years at that point, but still, that is a pretty drastic sentiment.  But to me retirement represents those years when I will finally be able to be at home as much as I want to be now. 

I look forward to that happy time when I have even more hours to occupy myself with activity and endeavors satisfying to my soul.  Some people dread retirement, but for me...“Oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be!”

Being at home brings me deep satisfaction.  In the winter, when the afternoon golden sunlight shines through my south windows, I am totally enamored with the beauty and serenity created.  I like to sit on my living room couch and just take it all in.  It’s more than ambience; it is palpable peace and contentment.  In the summer, the evening sun streams in my bedroom from north and west windows, encouraging me to find a variety of reasons to tarry there.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos; the light wasn't good,
plus my ability to focus seemed to be impaired!!! 
But to me the magnets depict "HOME."

Everything I do in my home somehow seems like an act of worship.  Fixing a meal, doing laundry, choosing which CD to listen to, playing the piano, writing, reading ...  It all says this is who I am; thanks be to the God who made me.  I guess that is the very reason I adore home so much.  Home is where I am the essence of me, with all the passions and attributes God chose specifically for me given free rein.  

We can be absolutely certain that our heavenly home will provide that same experience at least a thousand times more. :-)

By the way, below is what I have to do to keep flowers away from the kitties (see previous post).  And even then ...

(Tall chest in my bedroom)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:1-3

Our heavenly home is going to be awesome!
Bess

I plan on linking this post to:

Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday (because there
is a blurry teacup on the Bee Happy fridge magnet, and
maybe one or two on the "Love the Lord" magnet)

Thank you, Ladies, for your hospitality!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

He is risen indeed!

Blessings to you and yours,
Bess

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of a Positive Attitude

After much study on overcoming negativity and after much effort cultivating positivity, I can say, for myself and unequivocally, that positivity is better than negativity.  You would think that would be a no-brainer, and yet I have to persist at working to have more positive, good days than negative, bad days.  It is soooo easy to be negative and not even realize one whit how negative we're being.

And I do work and persist so that by doing so I finally do have more ... many more ... days that I feel positive rather than negative.  I have lapses, but I get on top of them much faster these days.  Thanks be to God!

One way I do so is by reading, immersing myself in, and infusing myself with the help found in books on positive thinking or living life well.  I don't let myself go too many weeks without reading or rereading some such book.  Because it takes time and work and the Grace of God to reprogram our thinking. 

We don't dare listen to ourselves if we aren't telling ourselves healthy words, thoughts, and concepts.  Until we are (and afterward, for maintenance), we must feed ourselves healthy, edifying, beneficial words written by others (the absolute best words to feed on being the Word, of course).

This book by John Mason:  Believe You Can, the Power of a Positive Attitude, is good medicine that goes down quickly and easily.  It is line after line of rational, practical, and wise advice, quotes, and axioms.  It was published in 2004, but I just recently purchased it from a grocery store book rack.  It has replenished the fighting spirit within me to continue to strive to hold a positive outlook on life.  I'm adding it to my "keepers" so that I can enjoy it again at a later date.  (As always, let's run anything we read through the God-filter.)   

Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord,
live in union with him.
Colossians 2:6

With God's help,
Bess

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Bunnies Take Tea


These bunnies have decided to unwind from their busy day with a cup of chamomile tea.


It's just the thing for relaxing before bedtime and is extra special when enjoyed from a pretty teacup:

The floral box holds rose petals that I dried from a gift of roses.

.

The china egg has roses, too.  It was my grandmother's and at some point was broken and carefully repaired.  Notice how the repair from the inside makes a heart:


Well, the sun is starting to lower, so the bunnies are going to quickly finish their tea:



Shhh.  Lights out now:



In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

May you always dwell and sleep in safety,
Bess

I plan on linking this post to:

Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Pam at A Breath of Fresh Air for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Wanda Lee at Silken Purse for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Introducing the Kitties!

At long last, here they are!  I apologize for not giving their full names, but I have this thing about privacy.  So much so that it's amazing I'm blogging!  At any rate, all the kitties are female, stay indoors fulltime, are rescue cats (by my definition anyway), and all have been spayed.  I hope to improve on photographing them.  (They are forever turning away from the camera!)

First is Ms. M.  She was my parents' cat they adopted from a shelter.  The family member that lives with me and I, believe she is probably around 16 years old.  She is the "Top Banana" and a bit of an alpha cat.


Ms. M


Next is Ms. S.  She was a feral cat, pregnant, and literally begged to come into the house just as she was about to have kittens, none of which survived.  She remains very shy, but is so glad to be an indoor kitty now.  Ms. M is the only other cat she'll allow near her.


Ms. S


Now we have Ms. K and Ms. B.  They are from the same litter, and were also feral cats.  (Ms. S may have had the same mother.)  They have come a long way and are becoming very sweet and loving.  First is Ms. K, who purrs so loud you think a plane is taking off.  :o)

Ms. K

Here is Ms. B.  She is a little less trusting than her sister, and isn't afraid to give a swat or a nip if she becomes unhappy.  She loves to play with Ms. K and loves playing with the laser light.


Ms.  B

Finally, here is the Other Ms. S.  I rescued her before the other kitties came to live with me.  When she turned up, she was filthy, pregnant, and had a broken tail.  Fortunately her tail was broken toward it's tip, so she didn't lose much length when the vet removed the broken part.  The first full day she lived with me, I lay down on the couch for a nap, and she curled up on her back in the crook of my arm and stayed there the whole time I was resting.  I've been totally smitten ever since.  She and Ms. B are good buddies.
 
The Other Ms. S

I hope you have enjoyed meeting our furbabies.  Each is very sweet in her own special way and an absolute delight.

Grateful for all five precious kitties,
Bess

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Romance

In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Don't forget to click two times to get a better look at the hankie.

Today, among other things, I'm sharing a teacup that was my mother's, along with the hankie she carried at her wedding.  It was her "something blue."  The teacup is newer and was "Made in China."  I like the shade of blue of the flowers on it.  Cornflowers?


The brooch was my grandmother's, and she also crocheted the placemat.  The little bead choker is mine from the early 70s!  Do you remember the inexpensive chokers that were made from grosgrain ribbon or velvet ribbon?  This little choker, I believe, is the only one I still have from those days.  The photo below is of my mother and father on their wedding day (they were married in the wintertime in the late 1940s).  They are both deceased now, but they celebrated their romance and were madly in love with each other to the end.


This book is a beautiful book, chock-full of ideas, photos, and recipes.  I only wish some of the photos were larger:

Barbara Taylor Bradford's Living Romantically Every Day

Another dolly has joined us today.  She's pouting because she's afraid I'll forget to share about her favorite china pattern!  


Somewhere along the way, my mother purchased Royal Doulton place settings (only the dinner plate, cup and saucer), one set each of eight different patterns.  (I kept six, which I hope to share with you as we go along.)  This pattern, "Michelle," is from The Romance Collection:



There now.  And I just know Dolly will be in a better mood when she stops to Count Her Blessings and Celebrate Life!

Just something extra thrown into the mix!

I also wanted to share that I think Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse has an especially great post this time.  You can enjoy it here.  If the link doesn't go to the correct post, it's the March 27 entry and she lists ten steps to a happier heart and home.  Thank you, Aunt Ruthie!

Finally, in the interest of "full disclosure," I want to confess let you know that although I have inherited some pretty things, my house itself isn't very pretty these days.  Most things I keep put away for the sake of preserving them.  Speaking of which! :o)  Either Wednesday or Thursday evening I hope to post photos of the kitties, so I hope you'll check back then! (They say they protest the implication of this paragraph.)

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
         And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4   (NKJV)

Life is a gift to enjoy, and we can celebrate the beauty of romance whether we're "involved" in one or not!
Bess

I am linking this post to:

Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Pam at A Breath of Fresh Air for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Wanda Lee at Silken Purse for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday

Thank you, Kind Ladies!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Choose Happiness

Life comes with many stages.

This may sound strange, but I'm looking forward to turning 60 years old.  That won't happen until 2012, but I'm closing in on it by the day!  :o)  And why am I looking forward to that age? 

Because I expect to be happy.  Why so?  Because I'm choosing to be happy at my current age, right on through until I go to be with Jesus (at which time, He promises, I'll be even happier).

Because if not now, when?

I know it may be easy for me to say that (and you may feel like smacking me about now).  After all, I've had years (and years) to dwell on my problems and disappointments and tragedies in life.  So maybe I've just been able over time to get my negative thinking out of my system and improve my outlook.

But I don't know.  I think it's more a case of "I wish I had known then what I know now."  I wish I had known that with a little resolve there is much to appreciate and enjoy in any stage of life.  I wish I had known I didn't have to feel so down and be so negative all those years.  I wish I had known I could change my thinking and my life by deliberately and actively choosing better things to think about ... or sing about (just as Paul did when he was in prison, Acts 16:25).

But that was then and this is now.  The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).  I choose joy.  I choose to make happiness and positivity my default mode.  I'm not talking about being deliriously happy every minute, but rather a generally consistent state of contentment.

Will I still have trials and loss and periods of grieving and sadness?  Maybe.  But the worst of those days should run their course.  Plus I've learned I can find something to be thankful for and happy about even then.  Will I have to wrestle the Devil and myself to prevail?  Undoubtedly, but with God's help I hope to defeat the Devil by being happy.

Do I have fears and limitations?  Yes, but I choose to be happy in spite of them.  Are there scary times ahead in this world?  We know so because the Bible says so.  But what can we do but keep on keeping on?

Through it all, may I choose to be happy.  Clear to the end of my race.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good
while they live.
Ecclesiastes 3:12

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!
Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

I choose to finish strong.  And happy.  Care to join me?
Bess

Photo by a family member who wishes to remain anonymous.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Red Wing Pottery Tea Set

Each piece is hand-painted on both sides with the same design.

As promised in my last post, here are some photos of my grandmother's tea set.  I did a little research and the set is Orleans Provincial produced by Red Wing Pottery of Red Wing, Minnesota from 1941-1950.  My grandmother was born in 1898, so she was probably in her 40s when she acquired this tea set.  


Grandma is the one sitting down; she was the youngest of the three girls.  I've always loved this photo and the notecard, too.  I can just picture the three sisters in their dresses playing in the yard (although their home was a two-story farmhouse instead of a Victorian).

Here's a closeup of the teapot and logo:


Below is my grandmother's jewelry box, filled with costume jewelry.  The little red "box" in the middle is her manicure set.

Wish I hadn't set the teapot on the little floral box, but it's too late now!


This little dolly given to me by my mother insisted on being in some photos, too:


To finish up, I added some books to the vignette:

These books were from my mother.
I enjoyed sharing a little about my grandmother (my mother's mother) with you.  She lived to be 90, and needless to say, was very dear to me.  But as much fun as it is to have some inherited trinkets, let's remember:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:1,2

Grateful for the return of a little sunshine,
Bess

I plan on linking this post to:

Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Pam at A Breath of Fresh Air for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Wanda Lee at Silken Purse for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!