Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wellness Wednesday #19

Hello Everyone! I better type fast because blogger has a scheduled outage tonight, that I didn't know about.

We have been having a fun day in our little Pathfinder Academy here. We are learning about science and Creation. Today the kids planted their sunflower seeds in a cup and we also planted 50 peat cups with flower seeds which will be transplanted to our yard. Afterwards we prayed that God would bless our flowers and help them grow. When we opened our eyes A said, "They're NOT growing! How come?!"

At the time I laughed and told her it takes time. We will not be able to plant them and see blooms for about two months. At almost 5 this is hard to understand.

Then I realized at almost 42, this is hard to understand! I stepped on the scale today and I am still at 314#! Sure there was that cheeseburger, shake and fries at In and Out on Monday (out with the kids for lots of errands), but there were all those other days when I only ate two meals (just because my stomach is not so hungry still after being sick). Oh, yeah, maybe those awesome cookies we made on the weekend (but they were whole wheat and sucanat), but I didn't eat that many! Why doesn't the needle move down? Why haven't I lost weight yet?

Oh, exercise! That's the piece I'm missing! My lungs are still playing catchup post influenza and are bogged down with all the tree pollens too, so I haven't started walking yet. I need to walk. My body is telling me it wants to exercise, so that's a good thing but my asthma doctors don't want me to walk in the middle of acute symptoms. Hopefully that will be remedied in a few days. For my readers who pray, will you pray that I get back on track and that my lungs clear so that I can get back to exercise? I think that really makes a difference, even with the minimal amount that I have been doing. I feel better overall.

And kudos to Mom! She got back on the treadmill this morning...spontaneous, unplanned, something quite unusual for her! :o) Pray that she will keep going too.

Here in northern California the sun has come out again. The temps have been in the 60s, the fruit trees are blooming and it's all inviting me to spend more time outside! So, I think the kids and I might start walking outside in the mornings, when I can.

What are you doing for exercise? It doesn't have to be a formal program or very strenuous, but exercise is good for all ages. It gets your blood, lymph and digestive systems working more efficiently, it oxygenates your body, it builds up muscle which strengthens your body in many ways and it reduces fat - the best side effect!

So, what do you say? Let's get moving! When I check back with you next week, I hope to report some exercise...and it would be nice if a pound or too dropped as well! :o)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wildflowers In Winter #6

While I was sick I missed week 5 of Wildflower Morning's Wildflowers in Winter which was wildflowers/flowers stitched up in some textile art form. Most of my special linens and things are in storage due to space restrictions here, so I probably won't catch up on it but I have had fun looking at the other participants' blog entries.

This week the category is wildflowers in art. I have had in my mind to share this drawing with you. It's one that my husband made in Mendocino, California when I was pregnant with my son in June 2001. We were there for my 35th birthday. On a corner lot there was a beautiful and eclectic garden planted and maintained by a ceramic shop. Sadly when we were there in 2006, the shop was gone and no garden.

I kept a copy of the drawing in my scrapbook from the trip. The photos on the corners show what he was drawing.

This is the full scrapbook layout featuring some of the different flowers from the garden. I sure enjoyed it while it was there and it gave me inspiration for my future garden! :o)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts On The Weekend

Friday was an odd sort of day. I started out by making a double batch of bread (5 loaves and 7 rolls). It was yummy, made with white hard wheat, which makes a milder flour than red wheat, but still has all the nutrition. The bread almost looks like white bread, it's that light. It was a Challah type bread (eggs and milk) and is very good. The recipe came from Beth Holland's Bread for Life Volume I cookbook which I received free when I purchased my mixer. I think we are going to use this bread for rolls, hamburger buns and when we want a lighter bread for friends/family or making french toast. We still like our red wheat/spelt and beet bread for sandwiches...well, that's hubby and I. The kids like the lighter bread better. My goal is to get some every day bread in the freezer so that I can take my time learning how to make some other type of breads with one and two loaf recipes and work on learning other types of bread baking, especially the ones made with sponges, starters etc.

After I did that I made chocolate chip cookies. I had some fresh milled flour left from bread making and adapted one of those recipes that is from the Urban Legend (you know...I paid $250 for this Neiman Marcus/Mrs. Field's/whoever's cookie recipe and I'm going to share it with everyone I know). Instead of brown and white sugar, I used a combo of sucanat/honey and turbinado sugar. I lessened the chocolate a little because there is so much. Honestly they are really good. If I gave you the cookie it looks dark brown and you might wonder if it was over cooked, but that's the sucanat which has a rich molasses like flavor. Now if you have in your mind that you are eating the typical chocolate chip cookie you might think, "WHAT are these?" But if you are feeling adventurous about trying a new cookie that has chocolate chips in them, you will likely enjoy them. At any rate I don't think you would know they were made with whole wheat flour. My Hubby LOVED them! And he isn't the easiest sell on healthy food! I had initially wanted to make them so he would have a treat on this extra long day for him, so I'm glad they were a hit! They have a little molasses flavor and I think you taste the walnuts in them more than you do when made with white flour, which I thought was odd. Maybe the flavors compliment themselves better. At any rate, I made lots of cookies and had dough in the freezer for later and Hubby liked them so much he raided the dough from the freezer and made some more tonight! :o)

Then Friday afternoon Hubby came home and told me there were ten cop cars surrounding our house and the neighbors. Lovely! We don't know for sure what is going on, but likely it had to do with drugs. Not what I wanted to hear when Hubby was going to be gone until after 10PM. I decided not to worry but to immediately pray and ask for God's protection and asked my folks to pray too.

While Hubby was taking a nap Friday afternoon, I noticed the interesting light through the window and went searching for a rainbow...

First I saw's our neighbor's weeping birch (responsible for a lot of my itching and wheezing!) and these are a lot of the Goldfinches, House finches and other birds that eat at our feeders. When they hear us coming out or see us standing up by the window, they fly away to the protection of this tree.

Then sure enough there was a rainbow over our house, just faintly. Before this last storm came, I spent hours trimming our Mimosa tree and the rose bushes out front. Next I need to clean out some of the pots in front in which I container garden. The tulips and daffodils are shooting up, but are late. I love pansies and usually fill in the planters with those during spring.

Before I came in I noticed one of my old roses, which looked so pretty in the rain.

And last but not least, here is my handsome Hubby! He is in training to become a teacher at Phoenix University. This is stage 3 of the interviewing process and he won't know for sure until he completes it. It is like taking a college class with writing, projects, group work and presentations. Friday was the first of four. I am really proud of him, whether or not he makes the final cut! He is required to wear business/professional dress. Since our church is casual and teaching middle school is pretty informal, I rarely see him in a tie. He cleans up pretty good! :o)

Well, all that was just Friday! Saturday we slept in. It's so nice now that the kids are a little bit older, they get up and start playing whether we are awake or not. They are really pretty good about following the rules... and also good at tattle telling if someone breaks them! lol Once Saturday got going we organized our Cd's into the drawers of our new TV armoire (bought at a consignment store for a great deal!). Pics will follow for my Mom. It's really nice to be able to listen to our music again. I have a lot of Christian music from the 80s and 90s since I was either working at a Christian bookstore, or single without a lot of responsibilities at that time and could afford it. I still love the older music and enjoy listening to it. We went through toys and sorted out ones which are no longer used. And I made a spot for my knitting and for the laptop, that I am using to blog right now. Then I got started re-organizing our school supplies. Our living room is pretty humble by most people's standards but I have been working hard to make it a HOME. We have to share it for living space, dining space, play space and school space, so it has taken some work to get it just right. It was hard to rearrange to get our new furniture in here which seems so big and is in this small space, but our family is growing and we need places to sit. Now we have places for our family to sit too! We still have a lot of remodeling/reorganizing to do in our house and we'll probably get it done just in time to sell it! Isn't that how it always seems to go? That doesn't sound like much but it took all day and we were pooped. Hubby and I sat down and watched Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace which we rented. We both like a lot of WWII stories, though he likes more the technical/mechanical/warrior type stories and I love the human interest/social history stories. This was an interesting movie and I would like to see if my library has any of his writings.

Today we were all able to go back to church for the first time in a few weeks and it was so nice. We sang a hymn today which I rarely have heard in any churches. However, as a child, it was very special to me. After my brother died, I only was able to go to church a few times a year with my Grandma Hopkins. There was an older Norwegian gentleman, Louie Hanson, who led music usually with his accordion and sometimes with his wife Neva at the piano. When they called for requests, I held my hand high and asked for #3. Here it is, written more than a hundred years before I was born by Katherine Hankey 1834-1911:

1. I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story,
'twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.

2. I love to tell the story;
more wonderful it seems
than all the golden fancies
of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story,
it did so much for me;
and that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee.


3. I love to tell the story;
'tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God's own holy Word.


4. I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long.


The song fit perfect in a day when testimonies were shared in the service. Verse 4 applies well... I love hearing people's testimonies and never ever tire of hearing how God works in peoples' lives!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CA Project Along

On the Christian Artisans list, we started a Project Along on February 18th. Most are knitting but some are doing crochet, weaving, spinning, sewing and other projects. The color in this first photo isn't exactly accurate. The purple is more of a warm violet rather than a cool lavender. Last night I started the Swallowtail Shawl. I think this is my 4th one! I had found this ball of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn and didn't really want to do socks in a single yarn, so thought maybe I'd do a shawl or scarf where you could really see the color way work out. It's fun to knit because you are waiting to see what the next color will do!

Here is a close up of the yarn. This is a little bluer/cool toned than the actually yarn which looks purpleier (sp?!) and a little more pink/violet than lavender. However, the burgandy and acid green in the center of the skein are closer to accurate color. Like regular Kureyon, it's kind of a rough yarn, but I'm hoping that it will also wash up soft. When I felted with Kureyon, I could not believe that the soft finished product came from the rough beginning. This is semi-mindless knitting, since I've done it several times before, so I am working on this when my brain is too tired for the butterfly lace.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wellness Wednesday #18

Good Morning Everyone! How are you all doing? Last week I asked for ideas for encouragement when you hit a plateau or you are just plain discouraged about your progress. Deborah, who really needs to start (hint! hint! In your copious amounts of spare time of course!) blogging about health because she has a lot to share, encouraged me to focus on the health benefits of what I am doing and not the number of the weight. While I want the number to go down, that was very good advice because focusing on the number can lead to unhealthy behavior. Focusing on better health will eventually lead to weight loss, plus you have the benefits of greater health!

My friend Eve gave me more great advice for when the number is what you are most earnestly working on - just lose weight one pound at a time! How simple and yet profound. If I focus on the fact that I need to lose a whole person off of me, I become overwhelmed and it would be easy to say that it was impossible! But if I just focus on losing one pound - well, nearly everyone can do that!

Well, as I expected I stepped on the scale to gain back a few pounds, but then I never do keep off weight I lose while being sick. Still my weight was 314# which is down two pounds from before I was sick. Now if I could just get this cough done and over with I could get back to walking, which really helps my metabolism. Because apparently sitting on your behind doesn't burn many calories, even though at times it feels like my coughing fits are aerobic activity! lol

Last week my Electrolux DLX mixer arrived and what a huge difference in my bread! It was really exciting. I was afraid we would spend the money and then not see any difference. After I finish typing here I am going to try another new bread recipe. We also recently purchased a pressure cooker and I have been wanting to start using that, but just haven't had the energy. The new ones are supposed to have lots of precautions and since I have years of experience autoclaving surgical instruments with old fashioned autoclaves, I'm not too intimidated. Still, I need to read the directions/manual and then get started. Anyone have any good pressure cooker recipes?

I apologize for not having very interesting health posts lately. Hopefully I'll be back up to snuff soon! :o) As always, leave a comment on your journey and I will be happy to pray for you. And I love getting your input. It's so encouraging.

Monday, February 18, 2008

ABC Along 2008 - C

I am a little late getting my ABC Along C post up, but we have been a household of sickies and things are just starting to be back to normal now.

C is for Cow. This is Jutta, my friend in German, petting this cow on a hike in the alps in the Algau area of southern Germany, July 1984.

C is for Cow again...this is a Highland Cow, doesn't he look happy?! He came from the place in the next picture...

C is for Castle...this one is Glamis Castle in Scotland. June 1994

And this is part of Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 1994

And this Castle is in Sued Tirol/South Tyrol which is northern Italy. July 1984.

C is for cross where Jesus died. This is a beautiful cross in Edinburgh, Scotland.

C is for Celtic Cross. This one was in a cemetery near Pitlochry, Scotland, June 1994.

C is for Church and churchyard and cemetery. Pitlochry, Scotland, June 1994.

C is also for countryside which also has a cross and church in the distance. Pfronten, Germany, July 1984.

C is for Cathedral. This is York Minster in York, England, June 1994.

C is for clown. Octoberfest, Leavenworth, WA, October 1983.

C is for Carousel in Doncaster, England, June 1994.

C is for Creek...this one flows into Loch Lomond, Scotland, June 1994.

C is for Climb and Clouds. This is Jutta in the German alps. July 1984.

C is for Cakes...these are the desserts made for Jutta's Grandma's 75th birthday party July 15, 1984. These were all homemade. I love German desserts which are not as sweet as American but very rich and full of flavor.

C is for Celebration and China. Here the table is set for a celebratory birthday tea for Oma. July 1984.

C is for China Cupboard where many treasures are stored.

And from my own Oma, here is a page from Grandma Hopkins' hand written Cookbook!

C is for Cookies! These are Oatmeal Spice Cookies.

And C is for Citrus fruits. These are from my friend Trudy's yard.

C is for Columbine and the photo Cards I make.

C is for couch, cotton dishcloths and our new laptop computer which I am using for this blog update while the kids watch Cinderella!

C is for comfy and cozy - I caught the girls in one of their "twin moments" snuggling up together in the chair.

C is also for chair and when we got our new couch recently I had to say goodbye to this old friend where I nursed all my babies and rocked them when they were sick and snuggled them while watching movies. J also learned how to walk by holding on to the recliner lever and swirling it around! It had served us well and it was time to leave, but it was hard to say goodbye!

C is for camellia and Sacramento is the Camellia Capitol of the World, or so they say!

C is for Cat...this is the girls on our trip to the ocean in 2006. I bought them each a stuffed cat as a surprise for the trip. They still carry them around today and are their favorite toys. This pictures cracks me up. They are in the bed at the hotel and held the cats in the same position with their tales sticking up! lol

C is for Coast...we love going to the Pacific coast any chance we can get! This is in the Sonoma Coast State Beaches.

C is for cabin. This sign was painted by my Aunt Grace as a teen for my Grandfather's building business.

C is for Christmas...this was my son D for his first Christmas at age 2.5 months. he was the best gift under the tree and after all Christmas is about the Christ Child.

C is for cousins. These are my nieces Lauren and Chelsea holding D December 2001.

C is for car and camping at Ocean Shores, WA with the Clancy Clan. Photo circa 1959-1960 based on age of my Uncle Jerry, standing in foreground. My Grandma Johnson is sitting in the front seat and Great Grandpa and Grandma Clancy (her parents) are sitting in the back. Mom is this the same station wagon that there are pictures of me in 7 years later in Naches?

C is for corn. This is my Dad in the front and his half brother, Louis Arnel Duren, Jr., whom I've been looking for a long time.

And last but not least, C is for catch. Here is my Grandma Johnson with Uncle Larry and my Dad, probably at Lake Hancock, Washington circa 1950.

Now for some C websites:

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
Cross Walk
Chrysalis Knits

Cultivating Home

Cooking For Engineers
Creative Organizing
Celia Knits
Celtic Memory Yarns
Christine Landry
Craft Apple
Creative Little Daisy

Cathy's Capers


Cook's Illustrated

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Getting Back to Knitting

It has been a really long time since I have done any "real" knitting. Part of that has been a bump in the road in my grief journey. Since I knit lace shawls as a prayer shawl ministry, they sometimes go to people who die. Two people receiving one of my shawls died of Ovarian Cancer and this is all interlaced with my own grief and loss journey. Intellectually it doesn't make sense, even to me, but emotionally knitting has been intertwined with death. For several months now my knitting has not held either pleasure or comfort for me and lately I have been just too sick and/or exhausted.

Today however, I made a decision to pick up the Butterfly Shawl and begin knitting. It felt good and as I watched Becoming Jane I knit 5.5 rows on the Butterfly Shawl that I am test knitting for Carissa. That doesn't sound like a lot of knitting, but consider that this is the bottom of the shawl and has over 350 stitches as well as some of the rows being patterned on both sides. In a few more rows I'll be done with the beautiful butterfly border and it will begin decreasing! Yeah! At that point it should progress much more quickly.

As for Becoming Jane, it was enjoyable to watch, but I thought it fell short of its potential. When the movie starts you feel like you have dropped into the middle of something and some of the plot is poorly developed. A great disappointment to me as a photographer was that there was so much potential for the cinematography that was never realized. Still I would reocmmend any Jane lovers see it. It is an interesting glimpse into Jane Austin's life and how fun to have Anne Hathaway play her part after having written her senior English thesis on Jane at Vassar. And I must say I have the best Hubby of all. He watched it with me because he knew how much I wanted to see it and how much I enjoy just being with him, so he gave me that gift of time! Thanks Honey!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


The weather is so nice outside with blue skies and temps in the 60s. In spite of still fighting this crud, I got my nose out for a few minutes and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. First, some kid pics for Grandma:

Here's D all ready to go to the library. This is one of the kids' favorite treats. These are the books going back and this week's selections were all how to draw books.

Here is A posing with her kitty and her crocheted hat from Thailand.

And this is Miss J with her kitty. This is the best and most decorated kitty in all the years of kittyness! lol She has scraps from my sewing and bits from doll and dress up clothes and a knit dishcloth just for good measure. J is like a racoon or a crow, looking for the shiny and pretty bits for her collection! She should be a collage artist!

This crazy rose bud is on a one inch stem way at the base of a big rose.

And this pink and white one was a nice treat today, glorious in the sunshine.

Red is so difficult to photograph but this is my Ingrid Bergman rose which is a true, deep, dark red, not as orangey or as magenta as this looks.

I enjoyed the light coming through the leaves on some of my other roses and geraniums.

And their shadows and bird seeds made art on the concrete canvas too!

The birds didn't like me being out there because it interrupted their eating schedule, but this little house finch waited patiently until I left.