Monday, August 31, 2009

The Best Things

Laundry Day The best things are nearest: breath
in your nostrils, light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet, duties at your
hand, the path of Right just before
you. Do not grasp at the stars,
but do life’s plain common work as
it comes, certain that daily duties
and daily bread are the sweetest
things in life.

From ‘Whispers Of Blessing:
Daily Encouragement For Women’

published by Barbour
Artwork: ‘Laundry Day’
Kay Shannon, artist
available at

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I look at your heavens,
which you made with your fingers.
I see the moon and stars,
which you created.
But why are people even important to you?
Why do you take care of human beings?

Psalm 8:3-4
(New Century Version)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Dream Come True

On our recent vacation in San Francisco a long-time way-back-from-college-days dream came true. I think perhaps I had set it aside – not forgotten it – but when it was clear that the day had come to see the fulfillment of that dream I ‘pulled it forward’ in my heart, shared it with my sweetheart and then he shared my joy the moment it was accomplished! My dream? To sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.


Now, in the big scheme of things – the picture of life – that doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming accomplishment. But it had been an important put-on-hold thing for over forty years! Actually, I didn’t have any idea that it would finally come true on this trip. You see, the way in which it came true wasn’t planned. Not at all! We bought a booklet of tickets - a package-deal - for places to go and things to do in the San Francisco area. It was a bargain. A good deal! Everything was planned. All in place. Until we arrived on the chosen morning to take our tour of Alcatraz. What we found was that there had been a mix-up and we didn’t have reservations or tickets to get on the tour boat going to Alcatraz. We had tickets to go on the Bay Cruise – a cruise I had gone on twice before during my college days. The Bay Cruise tickets that come in the booklet were supposed to be swapped for Alcatraz Tour tickets when I called to make reservations for the Alcatraz Tour. But that had not happened. We were told there was no way we could get on the chosen tour that day or any other day that we were in The City. They were booked too far ahead! Sorry, they said. So, my sweetheart and I walked away toward the Bay Cruise dock. I was very disappointed and upset! As we walked I felt such unrest about the situation that I asked my sweetheart if we could just stop along the seawall and pray together that I would have peace and that our cruise on the Bay would be blessed with joy. We prayed together and I felt a sense of peace fill my heart! As we walked toward the dock to board the boat I began to feel excitement welling up in my heart. We arrived in time for the next boat scheduled to board and leave within a few minutes of our arrival. Perfect timing!


As we stood in line I shared with my sweetheart the dream I had held in my heart since my college years in San Francisco. A group of students had gone on the Bay cruise together. Everyone – except for two of us - stayed inside the cabin to view the sights from the warmth and safety there. But two of us ventured outside to stand right at the ‘point’ of the bow. Not unusual except for the fact that the waters were choppy and the weather threatened to pour rain on us at any moment! And at times the swells of water were so big they splashed up over the bow of the boat and us! Bay Cruise boats go under the Golden Gate Bridge and turn around near where the Bay and the Pacific Ocean meet. As we approached the Bridge that day the Captain announced over the speaker system that the Coast Guard would not allow us to go under the Bridge because of the big swells on the water. It was too dangerous! That day, in my disappointment, I told my friend that someday I would sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. And I knew I would – I just thought it would be sooner than it was!


The day my sweetheart and I planned to be on a boat on the Bay was cloudy, threatening rain showers. The day before had been gorgeous – clear skies, sunny, hot! As the boat pulled away from the dock, heavy clouds covered the top of the Bridge. To the north we could see that the clouds were lifting and blue skies were beginning to appear.


Soon the north end of the Bridge was free from clouds, showing her golden expanse. But the south end was still touched by clouds.


As we approached the Bridge - closer and closer – I realized that my long-held dream was about to come true. My sweetheart shared my anticipation.


After a bit, with much anticipation, we were under the Bridge – moving toward the Pacific Ocean!


And then we were on the other side – the mission was accomplished! A crowd had gathered on the bow of the boat with us – they were completely unaware, totally oblivious, to what had just happened. A dream had come true! A promise fulfilled! A sweetheart and his wife exchanging smiles and a thumbs up!


There we were – on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing it from the west. Looking past it to The City skyline and Alcatraz in the middle of the Bay. And it didn’t matter – not at all – that we weren’t touring the famous island. What mattered was that God had allowed the dream in a young girl’s heart to come true many years later. And He waited for her to share it with the man of her dreams, the love of her life – her sweetheart!


Was the problem with the tickets a mistake? I don’t think so! As we disembarked at the dock and moved on to the rest of our day together in The City my heart was full of gratitude. I had a new sense of how much my Heavenly Father loves me - not because I'm special but because He loves to do special things for His children. And He had taken what seemed like a huge disappointment and turned it into the fulfillment of a dream. And it brought such joy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Giveaway And A Special Surprise

My dear friend, Miss Betty, of Sammy Girl fame is celebrating her fiftieth post with a giveaway. She has some wonderful things planned to share with someone special. You can read more about them here and here. If you are fortunate enough to have your name drawn you will receive these pretties (except for the sweet mug – her dear daughter ‘needed’ it!).

And there’s more! We don’t know what it will be yet but it should be something very special! You see, Miss Betty is in London and she plans to bring something home to add to this wonderful collection of treasures for someone very special. It could be YOU! It could be ME! All you have to do is leave a comment on Miss Betty’s posts and your name will be added to the drawing when she returns from London in a few days.

I’ll vouch for the wonder of these pretty things. I’ve seen them. Up close and personal. Right in front of me. But I didn’t touch – honest, I did NOT touch them. I was tempted but nosireesir, not me – I did not yield to temptation. You see, my sweetheart and I are keeping an eye on Miss Betty’s home and her wonderful looks-like-a-tiger cat, Rusty, while they are away. These lovelies are resting right where she left them – displayed as you see them. And, oh, are they beautiful! They make my heart sing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Organizing and Storage Advice

Stack of Dishes 2

Help! I have a problem – I need to find the best way to store my extra dishes, teacups, teapots and silver serving pieces. I’m stumped! A bit lost! I need your advice – how and where do you store all of your pretty, and often breakable, pieces that grace your table and buffet settings.

Pile of Plates

Where do you keep them? In a closet? A pantry? A spare closet? In-house storage? Do you have a Butler’s Pantry? Or, do you have a place in the garage?

Butlers Pantry

And how do you store them? Stacked? Carefully wrapped and packaged? In cute little cubbies and nooks and crannies? In plastic storage? In cardboard boxes?

Dish Storage 2

I have a small house with limited storage and I want to store the things that have I have accumulated. Some are in boxes in the garage but they are not easy to get to and easily retrieved. I have open shelves that would hold plastic or cardboard storage containers but I wonder what is most useful. What is most efficient? If they are too hard to get to – and to put away – I will not use them often. And I DO want to use them.

Stack of Teacups

Some of you have millions of pieces of china and the accompanying serving pieces and accessories. What is your best advice?

Blue Dishes

Inquiring blog friends need to know!

Photos compliments of:

Victoria Magazine
Southern Accent Magazine

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quiet In The City


On our recent trip to San Francisco we spent a bit of time at The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District. The Palace of Fine Arts was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. The Exposition was in honor of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean and the completion of the Panama Canal. It also celebrated the ‘resurrection’ of San Francisco after the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906.


Strangely enough, on our recent visit I felt as though something was not right – this didn’t seem to be as I recalled. It had been many, many years since I had first visited this beautiful place and I wondered if my memory was fading. At times I was puzzled that it seemed so different this time. Then I read of the history of this monument of honor and I was quite relieved to learn that shortly after I left San Francisco and my college years there so long ago, the Palace was moved to a different location and completely restored and refurbished. Whew – what a relief! The puzzle pieces all fit. Now my mind (and memory) could rest and be at ease!


The inspiration for this place of beauty, designed by Bernard Maybeck, came from Roman and Greek architecture. The sculptured frieze and allegorical figures representing Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation were created by Ulric Ellerhusan.


Renovation to restore the interior of the dome, the walkways around the Palace and retrofit the structures for earthquake safety was completed early this year.


It seemed as if there was a sense of awe and quiet whenever anyone stepped inside and stood under the dome.

(It was humorous to watch quite a few people lie on the ground in the center, under the dome, in order to photograph the design high overhead. And there were quite a few ‘interesting’ ways to pose people for photos of the dome and detail high above. Fearing that I wouldn’t be able to get up again, and choosing to maintain my ladylike decorum, I, however, preferred to bend and lean and angle the camera in an attempt to capture the images we saw!)




Columns and pillars and sculptures abound. They capture the eye and the imagination and give a sense that you have stepped into another world.




The lagoon was designed to echo those found in classical settings in Europe. The surface of the water mirrors the reflection of the grand structures above.


As we walked along the pathway toward the lagoon our hearts were captured by three, small hummingbirds that were hard at work gathering food. Such sweet and tiny creatures – seemingly oblivious to the crowds that passed by.


It was amazing how this quiet place in the heart of the hustle and bustle of city life could slow the pace and calm the soul. It didn’t seem possible that just steps away from here we would soon rejoin the fast-paced movement of pedestrians and vehicles again. But during the time we wandered through the beauty and quiet in the city we felt we had stepped into another world and that we had been touched by the heart and soul of those who created this place so long ago.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Tea To Go

While I continue to edit and organize the millions of photos taken during our recent vacation I want to share a new ‘find’ with you. I’m excited to have this little treasure that will add a touch of class, a few moments of relaxed refreshment and just a bit of 'me' to our little cabin-on-wheels. For some time I have been on a mission to make our travel trailer a home-away-from-home – give it a touch of ‘us’ and the feeling that it is more than just the average RV. Unlike all the others on the lot or in the park. In my quest to do so I decided something was missing – a teacup and a little teapot! It wasn’t long before I decided what those pieces should look like. Then the hunt was on! On a recent Friday out with my dear little mother we garage sale-d right into the perfect garage filled with treasures galore. And there, sitting atop its box, was exactly what I was looking for. This was the one! Just what I needed. And the price was unbelievable.


It’s a ‘one-piece, all-in-one’ set, easily stored in my little home-where-I-go home. And the colors are perfect – my favorites. It is a ‘hardy’ little set, not too fragile – just right! When I’m ready for tea it easily becomes. . .


A teapot and a teacup. For one! When I showed it to my sweetheart he said he didn’t want to be responsible for ‘protecting’ it when he takes the trailer to hunting camp. It would certainly get broken. My response? Oh, my dear, you have no idea how many things I take out of there before you ever leave home! Things that have no place with the guys at hunting camp. I think he was surprised, but it’s true. Some things just don’t work when it’s a guy-place. This one is truly a special girl-thing, a me-thing, a pretty thing. It will only go to hunting camp the day that I go to hunting camp! Picture this: the men will be running through the woods chasing whatever they chase. And I – I will be lounging in the comfort and style of my little cabin-on-wheels in the woods nearby. Curled up on my couch of luxury, surrounded by my pretties. Drinking tea!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let Them Praise

P8160203 Lord, Your name is above any other name
And forever will remain
So let the words of my mouth
And the thoughts in my heart
Let them praise Your name

Lord, Your throne is above any other throne
And forever will remain
So let the young and the old
Let the high and the low
Let them praise, let them praise
Let them praise Your name

Lord, Your love is above any other love
And forever will remain
So let us go with Your Word
To the ends of the earth
And let them praise, let them praise
Let them praise Your name

So let us go with Your Word
To the ends of the earth
And let them praise, let them praise
Let them praise Your name

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Song: ‘Let Them Praise’
Written and sung by: Twila Paris
Scripture from New King James Version

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sitting By The Dock Of The Bay

After a bit of trouble with the photo editing program I’m finally able to share photos of our San Francisco vacation. (You can click on the photos to enlarge them.) I can’t wait to show you where we were and what we did! We arrived in The City on the afternoon of my birthday. There is no way to describe the excitement I felt as the place where I left my heart so many years ago came into view. And as we drove across the Bay Bridge and into San Francisco I think a few tears of joy quietly rolled down my cheeks!

SF - Arriving

After we checked into our hotel and relaxed a bit it was time to head out for the evening we had planned – just time together at last in this City filled with places to go and things to do! We drove to Fisherman’s Wharf and soon found a sidewalk table outside a famous restaurant. Excitement seemed to fill the air as we watched crowds of people pass by.

SF - Fishermans Wharf Dinner

We ate a light supper - clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and shrimp salad – and then we joined all the other people who had come to see the sights and hear the sounds on the shores of the Bay. Just across the street from where we ate was Boudin’s - the famous sourdough bread bakery. San Francisco is known for the sourdough bread baked in The City and Boudin’s has been on the wharf for many years. Going into their building and seeing (and smelling!) warm bread come out of the bakery and into the cafe and bistro and the little shops there is quite a fun experience. But you had better be careful because there are creatures there like none you’ve ever seen before. Near the front door and cash register you may find a big crab with little black eyes and big pincers. And the alligator is on a leash so he won’t get away!

SF - Boudins

We slowly strolled along the sidewalks and piers and really enjoyed our time together. It was a dream that had been a long time in the making – and now it was finally coming true! And the night was beautiful. There was a bit of a chill from the sea breeze but we didn’t mind. The joy of being there together was all that mattered. We walked through the marina near the restaurant where we had eaten and enjoyed the lights of the City and the moon overhead. Before leaving for the evening we sat on a rock wall under the big yellow Fisherman’s Wharf sign to listen to a fantastic street musician play his keyboard and violin. His songs touched our hearts and it was as if we were the only people there and he was playing just for us.

SF - Wharf At Night

The magic of that evening will live in our hearts and memories forever. We will never forget the sweet August night we enjoyed together – sitting by the dock of the bay.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Sure Foundation

P7201700 He will be the sure foundation for your times,
A rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33:6

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are You A Follower?

Just sneaking in here to let you know that I have added the 'Follower' feature to my blog. If you are a follower of my wanderings through blogland, please scroll down to that section on the right side of my blog and add your name to the list. I love knowing that you're there, even though you let me know when you are. This is just another fun part of the friendships I cherish in the wonderful world of blog.

I haven't forgotten to share our fabulous vacation in San Francisco. I'm working on editing my photos. Yesterday my camera and my computer nearly screamed at me as I downloaded over twelve hundred photos - most of them from the trip. It was a process, for sure, and now I'm working through them to delete a few that are less than desirable. In the next day or so you will begin to see - in a new format - the places we went and some of what we did. Now, if you want to see all twelve hundred plus photos. . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Again!

We have come home from one of the most wonderful and memorable vacations we've ever had. Arriving home last night after a long day of driving north from San Francisco our little home was a welcome sight as we rounded the corner. There is so much to share from our trip - time with family and friends. Our days together in The City - just the two of us - were very special. And when my BFF from college days arrived with her hubby we four had the time of our lives. But the highlight was my college reunion on the campus that was my home so long ago. I cherish the memory of the hours spent with friends from the past and my heart dearly treasures the chance to reconnect with dear ones I thought I might never see or talk to again. The campus has changed - in many good ways - and some things dear to my heart are no longer there. But the reasons for the changes made sense and my heart was at peace. I have too many photos to share - I really must learn to control myself with my camera! It will have to wait a bit. Life at home, real life, is calling me to focus on things here. Please come back again soon - I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

City By The Bay

Hello, dear friends, from San Francisco - the City By The Bay. Yes, I did leave my heart here!! As we drove across the Bay Bridge into the City yesterday afternoon I could only sit and smile and realize how very much this place that was home during my college years really means to me. Just as we entered the City I hit the play button on the CD player in the car and we heard Tony Bennett begin to croon
'I left my heart in San Francisco,
High on a hill it calls to me
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars;
The morning fog may chill the air -I don't care.
My heart waits here in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea.
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
Your golden sun will shine for me.'
Last evening we drove to Fisherman's Wharf where we enjoyed a casual meal of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and shrimp salad at a sidewalk cafe. After a stroll along the wharf and the docks of the marina we sat for a time to enjoy a marvelous street musician as he played the most beautiful violin music and then entertained us at the keyboard. While he was playing a street entertainer who was dressed up like Charlie Chaplin came along and danced nearby. Then we took the 'long way home' over the hills and up and down the streets of San Francisco. We wandered through the downtown area just enjoying time away together and the beautiful lights of the City at night.

In a bit we will head out for the day to destinations planned and, perhaps, some unknown. We have had a wonderful trip so far and we expect to keep adding more memories to take home with us when we return in a few days.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Very early this morning my sweetheart and I are leaving - heading south - for a long-planned, seemed like only a dream, vacation. We are going where I left my heart! San Francisco - 'where little cable climb halfway to the stars'. I did leave my heart there many years ago. I attended a small college in the City By The Bay and when I left it seemed as if part of my heart was there forever.
Twenty years ago my alma mater sold the campus in the heart of the city and built a lovely new campus in northern California. Until last year I assumed I would never step foot on my former campus again. But this year we are having a San Francisco Campus Reunion! On August 8th my sweetheart and I will join many other former students to tour the campus, share a chapel service together in the old chapel and dinner in the dining room where we spent so many of the hours of our youth. The following day many of us will attend a tailgate barbecue and the San Francisco Giants baseball game. It doesn't seem possible that all the planning and hoping and wishing and emails back and forth to my best friend from those days has come to this - we are heading south today! It's here! It's finally here!!

Along the way we will stop and spend a bit of time with my sweetheart's cousin and then a surprise stop with family that I can't share just incase someone peeks in here. Monday my sweetheart and I will arrive in San Francisco for two days of adventure together before my best and dearest friend from college days and her hubby join us. We have reservations and tickets and plans and maps and schedules. Oh my! I can't wait.

My computer access while I'm away may be limited but I will try to stop by and let you know a bit of our 'doings'. You can count on my camera working overtime! My heart will be gathering all the memories and special new adventures to share with you when we return. And when I leave the City this time I know the piece of my heart that has been there all these years will stay behind - for another day. And 'high on a hill [when] it calls to me' I will return again.