Sunday, July 31, 2011

Walkabout: Churches

While William was at his speech therapy day camp, I decided to grab my camera and take some photos of my walk-about. Delaware is such a picturesque town that it didn't take long to fill my camera with 80 captures. Here are a few of the churches.

I loved the doorway to the Christian Scientist reading room
St Peter's Episcopal Church had a lovely meditation garden that led to the chapel
Many of the churches had stakes outside that said "May Peace Prosper Here" in English and three other languages.
The red door is one of the doorways of Zion United Church of Christ.
The stained glass is part of the First Baptist Church.

The big stained glass window at the First Baptist Church

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fair Fun!

William went to the Union County Fair last year, but he didn't remember anything about it. So this year was another series of big firsts:


First time on a ride without mommy
First funnel cake and lemon shake up
First time finding out that ducks are delightfully fun to watch . . .
but pigs aren't, and they smell!


First kiddie coaster, ridden 5 times
all in 94 degrees, with heat index up to 109
First time discovering the joy of the ferris wheel, and the breeze that it creates.

After around three hours the ride tickets were gone, the weather had us swooning, and William was ready to go home. Seeing the fair through his eyes was sheer joy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Throwing the Proper Picnic

One of the joys of this summer has been that William is old enough to appreciate things that he didn't appreciate before. He notices wildflowers, fields with rolls of hay, and he is fascinated with ants. I have also introduced him to the joy of eating and lolling about outside. Some cheese sticks, Capri Suns, crackers, coloring book and crayons, magazine for mama, and of course a largish blanket and we are golden. I have learned in my time on this internet, however, that I am going about this whole picnic thing all wrong. Observe.

A suitably idyllic spot is necessary. Our view of the pool probably doesn't qualify.

One must overload a car, preferably vintage and of European descent, with much more than one could possibly need so to induce spasms of uncontrollable luxury in all participants.

A gramophone seems to be a requirement, and when bringing one, one must ignore the European car rule and somehow bring everything on a bicycle. To show dogged determination.

Why use a quilt when you could use the estate's priceless wool rugs? Don't forget the Wedgewood china.

I'm betting no goldfish crackers were served at this lunch.

We do have the art of lying back and staring at the clouds down. The practice of laziness is easy to learn.

Oh, and this is just too cool. Please, I want a quilt tepee.

I hope you've enjoyed your lesson in the proper way to picnic. Be sure to invite me to your next impossibly beautiful, flower laden spread, as there will be a test.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gratitude: What Are You Grateful For?

At this moment, I am grateful for:

* Air conditioning - I can't imagine this heat wave without it and feel for those who are without

* Chocolate - when I am recovering from a migraine, I always crave chocolate. Maybe it's that love feeling that it give you.

* A toddler who tells me he loves me about 100 times a day

* Imitrex

* Cicada song - I love that sound

* God's grace - My thought life has been sucky of late; His grace sustains me

* Tiger lilies

* red winged blackbirds

* a refrigerator covered with toddler artwork

* a husband who not only loves me, but thinks I'm hot!

* Quickie, who snuggled with me all afternoon

My Quickie

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We Must Pray: Thoughts on Oslo and Amy


As you may remember, after the tsunami in Japan, I wrote a blog about ways to supply aid to the Japanese (incidently, your help is still needed; the Japanese have a long road ahead of them). Then came the tornadoes in Alabama and Joplin, flooding along the Mississippi; it felt like a seeming endless stretch of destruction and need. Last weeks events felt like the straw that broke the camel's back: what can we do to prevent such tragedy?

I was immediately brainstorming relief efforts for Oslo and then it occurred to me. The Norwegians need prayer. Endless and unceasing prayer. Prayer for healing from such unexpected tragedies, prayer for the families of the dead, prayer to continue life, prayer not exactly for understanding, but for some sense of developing closure.

Prayer for the stunned family of Anders Behring Breivik as they struggle with his actions and for the man himself, so convicted in his beliefs that he went to atrocious lengths. And for forgiveness; remember, even Jesus forgave the robber on the cross, who now sits with him in heaven.

Shower the country of Norway and all those affected with unceasing prayer. Pray fervently so that they may feel your love and compassion. Pray with conviction so that God may grant miracles unto them. Pray that the Norwegians receive the healing that they need.
In my mind, there really is no distinction between tragedy in Oslo and an uncontrollable addiction that takes the life of an amazing talent. The thing with Amy Winehouse is that we all know someone, either a relative or acquaintance, who has so much to give, such genius or talent, but has been taken by addiction. An addiction that has such a grip on them that it may never let go. And addiction that may claim them.

People scoff and say "It was all her fault. She should have gotten clean. She knew how bad off she was." She tried to get clean. Or at least appeared to. I know addicts, people who are kind, generous people but have been possessed, it seems, by their drug. They'd love to be clean, but they can't break free. And so their life becomes a cycle of rehab and relapse, until the end comes.
When Tim was in the grips of addiction, all I knew to do was pray. The helplessness that I felt for him and for my ability to do anything was overwhelming. I fought with God. I told him how much I hated what he was doing to us. But it was all a prayer, and God was listening. While it wont happen with everyone, Tim has been sober for five years. I praise God for that.

So pray for those wracked with addictions, no matter what they are: drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, they all can take a person. Pray for their families, who so much want to help and get back the person they once knew, but nothing seems to work. Pray that God will make a mighty change in the lives of all addicts to loosen the stronghold that addiction has over them. Be their prayer when they feel too helpless to pray. Pray that they will feel love and compassion, not hate and rejection. That help will come to them and they will Change, fundamentally, to their very depths, so that they can become the person whom God made them to be.

Pray without ceasing. We Must Pray


Monday, July 25, 2011

My Goofball

Or Stickerboy!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

I was doing my laundry, folding my sheets, when it occurred to me: many people are probably doing their washing today and a lot of them probably don't know how to do this! I learned from The Great Martha many years ago; alas, I could not find her video on You Tube. I chose this one because they used the phrase "pas de deux". I'm easy to please.

Et Voila! Your linen closet need never look messy again!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How To Make a Neck Cooler

It's HOT! Really, really, really hot! So anything to help you keep cool is a miracle. When I was pregnant with William my mom gave me a neck cooler and they really do help you keep cool. Well, folks, they are easy to make, and here's the (slightly cheesy) video to show you how:

Friday, July 22, 2011

An Animal's Soul


Do you believe that animals are capable of compassion? Do they have a soul? One of the many pastors in my life told me that there will be no animals in heaven because they were soulless and this distressed me to no end. My idea of heaven includes every cat I every loved curled up around me. Yesterday I read an interesting article in the Shambhala Sun called Creature Comforts in which the the author talked about animals in her life that had comforted her and others, and I started thinking about two of my favorite cats.


Matthew was a lover. He had a purr as big as a lion, and all 18 pounds of him was muscle - he was a BIG cat. He used to eat yogurt with me in the morning and greet me at the door when I came home - some of my friends said he was a puppy-kitty because he acted so much like a dog. I am a frequent migraine sufferer as many of you know, and the first time I had a migraine after adopting Matthew he did something that no cat had done before or since. He carefully positioned all 18 pounds of himself around the top of my head and started purring. It was a softer purring than he usually did. Occasionally, seemingly right after a surge of pain, he'd lick my cheek. Every time I had a migraine he was there, even if he had been missing all day. And you know, I think he helped me; my headaches always seemed to go away faster with less medication. I miss that sweet cat.


If any animal ever had a soul, it was Ollie. He was a scruffy mix of every sort of cat imaginable and not the prettiest cat you'd ever see, but the first time I opened his cage at the Humane Society he jumped right into my arms, looked in my eyes, and became one of the great loves of my life. He would frequently sit with me and respond to me with chirps and meows when I was talking to myself, joined in the conversations that I had with my friends, and liked to put his paw on your hand and just sit, quiet and contemplative. He slept on my chest every night and unlike Matthew, he weighed nothing, so I barely even noticed he was there. However, the day that I had the auto accident that bruised all of my ribs and left me limping from a severely sprained hip joint he found the one spot on my body that didn't hurt to snuggle up against, my right shoulder. When the pain meds made me have nightmares and I woke disoriented, he put his paw on my forehead and chirped and talked until I was aware again. He made it his job to watch over me, even walking beside me as I carefully hobbled about, meowing if it seemed I would lose my footing. And the day that my chest felt better, he resumed his normal position, head by mine, softly purring through the night.


What are your animal compassion stories? I know that there are hundreds, if not millions, out there; please share them!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yellow Makes Me Happy

When I moved into my current abode 10 years ago, I painted every wall in every room yellow. Very pale yellow, and all kinds of different shades. Yellow makes me happy. I feel like I am living in eternal spring, my favorite season. I love yellow.


William talks about "lellow" frequently, and seemingly for no reason other than he loves it. He would wear his yellow robot shirt every day for the rest of his life if that were possible. His Hot Wheels are the greatest toy ever invented, but the yellow ones trump all. He is a compulsive dandelion picker, and seems to consider them the greatest gift he can give me. He won't let me check to see if he likes butter.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My first tomato of the season is this gorgeous Tigerella heirloom tomato. What you can't tell is that it is a little smaller than a ping pong ball. Bet it'll be as tasty as it is pretty!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9

What are you going to be when you grow up?


Shortly I will be returning to work. William is entering preschool this fall and daddy can take him and pick him up. We need money. I know that I have to work and I actually want to return to work. I have all of the normal reservations: I haven't worked in 6 years, will I be able to fall back into it again? Did my mind disintegrate while raising a toddler? The biggest, though, is that I have absolutely no idea what I want to do.

Because of my past, it is relatively unlikely that I will be getting my medical license back again. I'm not even sure that I am mentally up to the task of appearing in front of the board, and I am SO far above and beyond the point where I was when it was taken away. The whole process was incredibly disheartening and debasing and I just don't know . . .

So then, where does that leave me? You know what I love? I love to write this blog. But I make no money doing it. The world of freelance writing is incredibly difficult to get involved in, I've found, and again, there isn't a lot of money in it. I have this amazing education and a diploma from medical school, so I should be able to find a great job that pays well, helps us get out of debt, offers great benefits, etc, but what the heck sort of job is it? I have no clue.

I'm trying to believe that God is my limo driver and he's taking me where I need to be. My head is full of the story of Job, who weathered an indescribable storm and ended up more blessed than he had been in the beginning. I know that I will be more grateful for the things that I took for granted before, like not having to figure out where gas money is going to come from.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When Your Genius Has a Learning Delay

We all think our children are geniuses, and I am relatively certain that William is a smarty. He can count to thirty, knew his ABCs when he was two (because some nights I sang him to sleep with them), pretend reads, engages in imaginary play with and without friends - all 4-year-old milestones that he should have met. And yet he is in speech therapy (which doesn't bother me too much; all children progress at their own rate). What does bother me is that when his language skills were tested, the result was that he only understands 75% of what is said to him. He doesn't know how to respond to "why', "what", and "how" questions. I asked him the other day to tell me what the word "understand" means and he told me a story about the cat on the kitchen chair. I can't tell you how many times I've told him to do something, asked him if he understands, he says "yes." And I go my merry way. Then the task doesn't get done, I ask him why, and he stares at me blankly. I took this all as defiance. But he just doesn't get it.


Which, of course, makes me feel like a horrible, mean mom. How could I be so insensitive to my lovey boy? I picked up on the speech delay early, but how could I have not figured out that he didn't get what I was saying to him? We mom's are champions of making ourselves feel terrible when we learn that our conceptions about our kids were all wrong. If we don't understand our kids, what kind of parent could we possibly be but a bad one?


So all weekend I've repeating this mantra:"you are not perfect, give yourself a break." and "You are a good mom" (which I should have down!) He will have his speech goals revised and I will learn how to help him, he'll be prepared for kindergarten, and then take over the world (if I ever let him move out of the house, but that's a whole new post.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Roam if You Want To

ridiculously picturesque vista found during a roam

I was the classic overachiever in college. TA, LA, taking beyond my required credits, student council, biology club, straight A's. You know the type. I was also a complete stress-case; I was very close to losing my mind. On the advice of my advisor I went to see the school psychologist, a shaggy haired man in a patched elbow corduroy jacket. The very image of a psychologist. After patiently listening to me for a long time, he gave me this piece of advice: "You are caught in a rut of over achievement. I want you to get in your car and roam. Go down streets that you have never been down. Get out of your life for a while." I left shaking my head, thinking that he was the biggest crackpot I had ever met. But I followed his advice, and to this day, I think it is one of the best pieces of advice anyone has ever given me.


Roaming about takes you out of the ordinary and thrusts you into worlds that you never knew existed. I've found covered barns, gorgeous farms, fantastic restaurants and book stores, and have just taken amazingly picturesque or pleasing drives. One must never roam without a camera; some of the best pictures that I have ever take were on roads that I didn't know existed until I ventured off of my beaten path. Oh, and if you are prone to getting lost, make sure you have a GPS - getting lost is sort of the point.

When I was in medical school a group of friends and I attended a conference at The Opreyland Hotel. It's an amazing place and we were quite taken with it. Nonetheless, we were bored out of our minds one night and needed something to do. I suggested that we roam. We ran around the hotel like children, going down hallways that we hadn't seen before, opening every door we could. We found a conference room and took pictures of each other pounding on tables looking as CEO-like as possible. In a bathroom with the largest floor to ceiling mirror I have ever seen we made up a line dance. Somehow we ended up in an employee locker room. And in the Grand Atrium we found a group of darling SMU boys to teach our line dance to. To this day, it is one of the most fun vacation days I have ever had.

So get outta here! Get lost! Go down that country lane that you've always wondered about. Venture into that Ethiopian restaurant that you just aren't so sure of. Be brave, get in the car, and discover the world around you. You will never see it the same again.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guest Posting

I am guest blogging today over at

Please go and check out their lovely blog and read my fab post (click the banner above)!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The World's Ugliest Dog

Are you one of those people that the uglier the dog, the more you love them? I am. I don't know what it is, but if a dog is ugly, I want to love them and hold them and kiss them all over.

(photo Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Meet Yoda, 2011's World's Ugliest Dog. This 19-year-old chihuahua/Chinese crested mix was found in an alleyway by his owners. He gets a huge trophy and $1000 for being the ugliest (and thus cutest) dog in all of the world. I wanna give him a big, slobbery kiss.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My belly


The other day I was standing in front of William as he was sitting, facing me, on the bed. "Mommy," he said, putting his hands on both sides of my belly, "your belly is amazing." He was smiling and looked totally blissed out.

"Mommy's trying to make her belly smaller." It was a reflex reaction. Something I think about every time I put food in my mouth or look at a menu.

"NO, no, no, no, no, no, no mommy!!!!" He cried. "Mommy, it is amazing! I love your belly." Then he lifted up my shirt and kissed it.

How often do we stand in front of the mirror tearing ourselves apart. How often do we think I'm too fat, have too much acne, I hate my wrinkles, if only . . Our spouses tell us that they love us no matter what - but they know that they have to say that, so our thoughts go, so it doesn't really count. Our teenagers tell us that we look wonderful when we are dressed up, but they don't want to hurt our feelings, do they? But a four-year-old's thoughts are pure. They haven't learned what they are supposed to say, they just say what they feel. What William taught me is that while I may be unhappy with some superficial thing, those around me, those that love me, they love me for me, belly and all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amazing Caramel Icing

Kendall had her 18th (!!!!!!) birthday this weekend and I made a devil's food cake with caramel. Icing. It. Was. Amazing. I found the devil's food cake recipe online; I just made sure that I found a recipe that used cocoa instead of chocolate that had to be melted as I've had better luck with these recipes.

Icing is Incredibly easy to make and once you make your own, you'll never go back to those pasty tubs that you find in the grocery store. Just try this Amazing Caramel Icing recipe and you will be a convert forever.

Amazing Caramel Icing

You'll need
1 stick butter
2 cups (packed) of brown sugar, light or dark.
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
a bag of powdered sugar

To make it:
1. In a heavy saucepan, melt the stick of butter.
2. Add the brown sugar, milk, and vanilla to the butter and mix well.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil over Medium High heat. Stir continuously while mixture is at a boil for 3 - 5 minutes (for those of you that are candy makers, you do not want to take the caramel to the soft ball stage, but just below it.)
4. Take caramel off of heat. Let it cool for a minute or so, it will be very hot. (Resist the temptation to lick the spoon unless you'd like to eradicate your taste buds).
5. In this stage I can't be incredibly exact. I generally start with 2 cups of powdered sugar and using a low hand mixer add it to the caramel. The mixture will be very runny, but remember, it's still hot. Give it around an hour to cool and check it again. I've had to add upwards or 5 total cups of powdered sugar to the caramel to give the icing the consistency I want. I suppose you could also halve the caramel ingredients, but I'd rather have too much icing than too little.
6. Let the icing cool almost completely. Ice your Totally cool cake (if you put this on a hot cake, the butter will separate from the sugar and cause a big mess).
7. Cut yourself a Little Piece of cake - this icing is RICH!

Interestingly enough, my mom told me that my great grandmother Margery used to make this same cake as a signature cake which was what I was thinking of doing with mine. Good taste must run in the family! Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pandorus Box

My daughter ran into my room and got me out of bed this morning; she's a budding photographer and knows a photo op when she sees one. Apparently there was an amazing green moth on the breezeway.


I was hoping for a Luna moth, something which I have never seen in person, but was greeted by the beauty above. The Pandorus Sphinx moth (or Hawk moth) isn't incredibly common in Ohio but is seen in other parts of the US. She easily the size of a hummingbird and had a wingspan of around 6 inches. God's creation never ceases to amaze me.



She was a very patient model and stood still for around 45 minutes while I took picture after picture. Her wings were so gorgeous, the way the scales shimmered. She was also very soft and tolerated me petting her - for a little while. When she flew, her wings were loud and sounded like a helicopter. She looked like and had the heft of a hummingbird. She was too big for me to get a full close-up photo, so the picture below is a photo merge that I did on photobucket. Look at how large her eye is!


I am an insect lover (silverfish and earwigs creep me out, but that's about it). Miss Pandorus took me over the top.

Kendall's capture

Thursday, July 7, 2011


- of studied refinement or elegance; sought out with care









Related Posts with Thumbnails