Sibling Assignment # 42: Story of the Spirit

This week Silver Valley Girl asked us to tell a story about ghosts or spirits. Soon you will find my siblings' posts here and here.

I have this wood sign hanging right by the wood stove where it is visible every day. I love this collection of words because it reminds me of walking in the Spirit. When I thought of spirits during this Halloween week I thought of the Holy Spirit. The complete verse that uses these words reads like this: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. "- Galatians 5:22.

As I sat in my small church last Sunday the fruit of the Spirit was apparent in the room. We prayed for people that had exhibited love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We also prayed for those people still searching for peace in their lives. It was a moving experience.

This verse ends with the following words: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." As people left church that day they were walking with the spirit. It was a blessed day.

The Story of a Cooler Greenhouse: Keeping Summer Alive

About seven years ago we knew we wanted a greenhouse. Originally we wanted one that we could use to start seeds, raise vegetables, and grow flowers. JEJ found recycled windows, wood for Mom's old deck and other surplus supplies to build the greenhouse. We attached it to the end of the garage so it would get sun all morning, then also in late afternoon. We were ready to grow seeds, propagate plants, and have tomatoes year round.We quickly figured out there are cold greenhouses and warm ones. To raise flowers and tomatoes from seeds we needed a warmer greenhouse. When the heat was up we struggled with white flies, other bugs, and the cost of keeping it warm. We then decided on a cooler greenhouse. This has been easier for us to manage.In a cooler greenhouse we can bring in as many plants as it will hold before the first frost. We usually keep the temperature at about forty-five degrees. This year we raised our tomatoes outside in five-gallon buckets so we brought them in to see what would happen.Our house plants can flourish better in here without the drying effect of the wood stove in the house. We can propagate many types of plants so we can have many new small ones the next spring. It is a circle of life each year.
We have experimented around with the location of plants to the heat or the light and found plants like geraniums and begonias always do well. Spider plants grow more little babies that we can take care of each winter. We are always offering free spider plants to willing plant lovers.
After trudging through a gray, dark, cold week in January it is a pleasure to bundle up and visit the greenhouse on a Saturday with a cup of tea, a few cats, and music in the background from the old stereo we hooked up in the garage. The smell of scented geraniums, potting soil,and the last few paper whites from Christmas make it a heavenly place to spend some time. It does help keep summer alive.

Think Pink: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Coming to a Close

Just for today I have gone pink to remind all of us of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I love that I can go down any aisle of the grocery store and find something with the pink ribbon emblazed on the front. I even have laundry detergent that matches this pink.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor. So are my friends BK, BN, and PP. Every October I have this ritual of going for my yearly exam. At Inland Imaging today I loved that the woman doing the mammogram was so upbeat. She made the exam that can be a bit uncomfortable very bearable. The whole place makes you feel welcome and special.

Take a moment today to remember someone that is a cancer survivor. If you see a product with the pink ribbon buy it to support continued research for the cure. Also, not just October is the month to be aware of breast cancer. It is every month.

Sunday Scribblings:Gifts at the Hospital: Pork Chops, Shaggy Dog, and A Gift from the Sea

The word this week for Sunday Scribblings is hospital. It reminded me of December of 1977 when I had a time of sickness and surgery, but my strongest memory now of that time is the gifts I received.
When I fell ill that first year of teaching I was thankful I was back teaching in my hometown close to my parents. The doctor discovered I had cysts on both my ovaries which meant the removal of my tubes and ovaries. When I was laying in a hospital bed at twenty-two years old I realized two things. I would not be able to conceive children and I had begun menopause. I experienced my first hot flashes and let's just say I didn't handle these changes well. Back then you stayed in the hospital longer than nowadays. Mom's cure for my post-operation blues was to bring me a homemade pork chop dinner from her kitchen. I know hers wouldn't have had the fancy parsley, but when the foil came off one of the dinner plates from home and the aroma of Mom's fried pork chops and gravy rose up from the Corella plate, I found a cure for my blues.My dad was not usually demonstrative in his feelings and female "stuff" and hospitals were not in his comfort zone. The time around my surgery was hard enough, but a family friend had been killed in a car accident that week also. Dad went to be a pall bearer in the funeral while I was waking up from surgery. Later he arrived at the hospital with a huge shaggy stuffed dog which he places right on my bed. That was a gift that touched my heart. After being in the hospital a few days a guy I had only met a few times stopped by to say hello. JB was serving on the school board and I had talked to him on the phone about school related issues. He brought me his copy of Gift From the Sea. I still have this book with his book plate signed inside. I remember how much that book spoke to me at that time in my life and still does. Later after he was elected State Senator he was killed in a helicopter crash while logging. I have always cherished his copy of this book.

That stay in the hospital was life-changing for me. I felt blessed to be surrounded by family, friends, a fine hospital staff and to receive three special gifts: a meal from home, a stuffed dog, and a book of wisdom.

You can find other Sunday Scribblings here.

Saturday Road Trip: Making the Loop

Today we enjoyed an amazing road trip that included sunshine, blue skies, a digital camera, two dogs, snow, coffee, breathtaking scenery, and lots of great conversation. Enjoy the show!

Frost, My Favorite Leaves, and Other Friday Photos

I awoke this morning to our first frost. It wasn't a hard frost, but the windows of the car were white and I had to wear a heavier coat as I left the house. It was 31 in the car, but other staff members at school reported temperatures as low as 20 degrees at their houses. Later when the sun did come out so I could catch my favorite tree where I park each day. It is illuminated by the sunshine and the leaves are the kind you want to collect and iron into wax paper to keep forever. After it warmed up it was perfect weather for my students to be outside enjoying some fresh air at break. Here was a group doing some ninja thing together.After a long day another student decided resting in the shade and just observing was a good way to spend break time. Before I left the parking lot today I stopped and gazed at the leaves that had fallen from this tree again. Sadly, I know soon the tree will be bare and these leaves will have turned brown.I pulled over at one of my favorite spots on my drive home to snap a few more pictures. This is French Rock where the rocks are shadowed by the mountain in the late afternoon sun.


Autumn is a Time of Gathering Together

gathering together images from around my gardens
For man, autumn is a time of harvest,
of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing,
of scattering abroad.
-Edwin Way Teale

Pineapple Cheese Balls: A Keeper from the Recipe Box

I don't often have gatherings that require finger foods. When I do have an occasion to take a finger food to a potluck this is a superb recipe. The blending of flavors creates a different sort of cheese ball and it makes a nice display on a platter or a serving bowl ( the picture is not my own... I haven't made it for awhile). Someone usually requests the recipe at the end of the gathering.

Pineapple Cheese Balls
2 (8 oz. ) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon seasoned salt

In mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pineapple, 1 cup of the nuts, green pepper, onion and salt; mix well. Cover and chill until firm enough to shape. Divide mixture in half; shape into balls and roll in remaining 1 cup of nuts. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Serve with assorted crackers. Makes 2 cheese balls.
You can also place the mixture in a crock or serving bowl ,sprinkle nuts on top and serve it at room temperature. Place a ball in a festive bowl and tie ribbon and it makes an excellent hostess gift.
from Six Ingredients or Less by Carlean Johnson

Walking the Tightrope: The Challenge of Feedback

Every day I write for myself, for my profession, and to help my students. Because I have students usually at least two years I always am challenged by giving my student writers effective feedback. To help these writers grow and improve I know the importance of this feedback.

When they first enter my class I always find positive things to say about any piece of writing. That part I have down. I can sit down with the writer and have them show me what they thought was good in a piece of writing. They love to do that although often the writer has to be held down to a number because of time. As they mature as writers I still give them the positive feedback, but I have to give constructive feedback to help them get better at the craft.

A student can be so proud of the story about the princess that kisses a frog that turns into Orlando Bloom even though there isn't a logical sequence and they went from kissing to living happily ever after. How can you gently encourage this fragile writer that some work needs to be done? Today a student and I conferenced on her story. The first thing she said was," You sure wrote a lot of comments for me." Sigh... I did it in really pretty magenta pen. I tried color coordinated sticky notes. I tagged the good parts. All she saw were the few things she felt were wrong. Don't we often do the same thing as writers? We got through it and she is back to reworking it, but I just wanted to be able to smile and say " cute story" and leave her smiling, but I knew that would not help her to grow as a writer.

It is a tightrope walk depending on the student. One may sway one way and smile when you give them suggestions. Another is ready to fall off the rope without a spotter or net below them. They just want to tear it up and start over. Another will dance across the tightrope and hand you a set of poems they composed on the school bus that morning. Some don't even start across the tightrope. They are still writing safe pieces about " My favorite day" or " My friend Sally".

Each day when we all return to class we regroup, remember to support each other, and create that community of writers. Sometimes another student is more helpful than I am with feedback. Some students ask for me to " be brutal". To encourage a variety of writing styles I provide choices in writing workshop so it isn't just essays, letters to the editor, and reports on famous people.

There are days when students hit a wall and can't do much. Sometimes they look up and don't want to quit at break. I celebrate successes, encourage growth, give them time, and provide small doses of feedback. That is what I need as a writer.

" I think I did pretty well considering I started out with a bunch of blank paper." Steve Martin

A Prayer for BI

Last May I wrote a post here about a student of mine whose mother had gone in for surgery. had complications, and went into a coma. That mother has been in the coma since and I have the student BI again this year. He has not talked a lot about the whole thing. I want to say a prayer today for BI and his family. They unplugged her from all life support yesterday. Students shed tears today. It will be a difficult time for all of us in our classroom. We care for BI and have felt a sense of loss since that time in May. We will go through this one day at a time.

Sibling Assignment #41: Do I Enjoy Rain?

Inspired by a rainstorm in Eugene this week Raymond Pert gave us this Sibling Assignment: "Do You Like or Enjoy Rain?" My answer is YES! Here is the video I put together to illustrate why I do enjoy the rain. How about you? What do you enjoy about the rain? You will find my siblings' assignments here and here soon.

A Special Delivery from Blog to Blog

My friend La Tea Dah created this beautiful framed cross-stitch as a give-away on her blog and I was the winner. Arriving home Friday and finding this package was a perfect way to end a busy week. This gift with the comforting verse surrounded by fall flowers found a spot on my hall table right away. Thanks so much again La Tea Dah.
If you haven't visited her blog Gracious Hospitality, please stop by. Her photography, recipes, words of wisdom, Bible verses, and vast knowledge of topics from drying lavender to making beeswax ornaments are just a few things that keep me reading her blog.
I stumbled across her blog when I was first deciding to design my own. I kept returned and learning more with each visit. We became blog friends and learned that we had taught at the same school at different times years ago. She left right before I came and our classrooms were side by side. We found another common thread with the dear people we both had worked with at that school and had to leave behind.
Thanks again La Tea Dah.

Happy Birthday GH and a Keeper from the Recipe Box

Our friend and neighbor GH celebrated his birthday today. When we found out he was free for dinner I put together a meatloaf comfort meal I hoped he would like. Apple crisp is an easy and favorite dessert at our house. Here is the recipe from the birthday dessert I served tonight after dinner.
Divine Apple Crisp

6 to 8 apples, peeled,sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

Toss apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
Arrange in a 1 1/2 qt. casserole or 9X13 pan

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix until crumbly. Spread over apples. Bake at 350 for 45-50 min. until brown and bubbly.

from "Home Sweet Habitat, Habitat for Humanity" cookbook

Paying Attention to Grapes

When I lived in a rental years ago grapes came with the house. They were Concords and made delicious juice, jam, and jelly. It was the first thing I ever tried preserving. I was hooked.When I moved to my current home I wanted to have grapes again. When we bought small plants it was one of those times we didn't do research or pay attention to what type of grapes we purchased. I still don't know what kind of grape we have. They have lighter purple skins, lots of seeds, and when they are cooked they make a lighter jam and the flavor is not as rich as the Concords. We always have bunches of them and I do use them for jam, but they aren't like those plump grapes I had so many years ago that stained my fingers and filled my kitchen with a heady grape aroma.We have discussed pulling these up and getting what we wanted originally, but the vines are so hardy and the leaves add texture and color to that part of the garden. They provide a perfect napping place for the cats during the heat of the day in August. I think we will just keep nurturing these mystery grapes and have a lighter colored jam when I am done canning. I know grape seed extract is supposed to be good for something! Maybe I will use the food mill and do some extracting during this harvest season!

"My first act as Queen of the World will be..."

This week's Sunday Scribblings is "My first act as Queen of the World will be..." This first reminded me of Mary Engelbreit's print above " The Queen of Everything." Second it reminded me of Judith Viorst's classic poem " If I Were in Charge of the World." With apologies to Ms. Viorst I will imitate her poem with:

If I Were Queen of the World

If I were Queen of the World

I'd cancel poverty,

Work on week-ends,

Flu, colds, and also

Nasty germs.

If I were Queen of the World

There'd be brighter evenings in fall,

No cancer, and

Climbing roses forty-eight inches higher.

If I were Queen of the World

You wouldn't have abused,

You wouldn't have broken,

You wouldn't have kids without coats.

Or " Don't forget to give me a hug."

You would give lots of hugs.

If I Were Queen of the World

A double mocha with whipped cream and a double shot would be good for you.

All news on T.V. would be uplifting.

And a queen that sometimes forgot to hide her fears,

And sometimes forgot to stop the tears,

Would still be allowed to be

Queen of the World.

To find other Sunday Scribblings go here.

October Sky

Because of the work I do for my school district with the federal Title I program trips to the ESD office in Spokane are needed every few months. It was a glorious morning as I captured the early morning sky from our yard as I prepared to depart.Leaving Spokane on Highway 2 at the end of the day we were caught in a rainstorm. Heading west to join Highway 395 south of Deer Park the weather changed and it was clear enough to see this beautiful beginning of a sunset. I was sure we would enjoy this sky as we continued to travel toward home.The sunset soon moved behind the trees .Heading north the blue sky remained, but the gray skies and rain clouds were ahead. When you live in the Inland Empire you aren't surprised to go through three or four weather patterns in a short distance of driving. That is one of the many things I appreciate about living here. Another is the October sky.

Honoring Orange

Certain colors prevail in the garden during different times of the year. One week I can drive down the driveway and all I see blooming is pink. In early spring the garden speaks green. A few weeks ago yellow was the predominant color.
This week the color I am noticing is orange. Orange is a color that says autumn. Of course pumpkins come to mind immediately. I love trees that have leaves that turn orange. Then there is Virginia Creeper, assorted mums, and gourds ready to be harvested. When orange emerges in the garden it is vivid, bold, and showy. It mixes with yellow, red, and brown to create a blended tapestry that says October.I am glad I caught splashes of orange as I toured the garden recently. I hope the orange hangs on for a few more weeks. Amazingly, we still have not have a frost. When a frost hits colors will change again.

Three Faces of Kit: Priceless

Isn't it amazing how you can be at the right place at the right time with a camera? Priceless.

Sunday Scribblings: First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

In sixth grade it was a treat for a group of us to go downstairs at the Corner Drug on a Saturday afternoon and order chocolate sodas. MJ was the waitress and I thought she was divine. I also believed as she wore that apron and carried that order pad proudly that she had a dream job. I admired other older girls that worked at the S&R, The Boat, or The Miner’s Hat Drive-Ins.

Working at a drive-in seemed like a perfect job. Everybody hung out there. If I worked at the Humdinger I could listen to the music of KJRB playing from a GTO radio parked close to the order window. I could also whip up root beer milkshakes, soft ice cream cones, or a 50 cent banana split.

I applied to work at the Humdinger the summer of 1972. It would be my first job. JK handled soft ice cream cones and other waitress tasks with ease. SD was talking about applying for employment there also. I imagined myself taking orders on the green notepad with a pencil behind my ear. I could visualize the milkshake machine purring as I ran it with an air of importance. I would wrap hot, delicious hamburgers hot off the grill in a square of wax paper to hold in the pickles, onions, and sliced tomatoes.The owner called me and said he wanted to “try me out”. He sent me home with the menu asking me to memorize the items and prices and come in the next day. CM called me the morning of my first day of work. He wanted to go out to the lake. Would I like to join him? I knew I was a quick study. I took my employment homework on the short trip to the lake.

I had to be at the Humdinger by 3:00. The sail boating adventure was fun, but led to a bad sunburn and lack of quality time to do my homework. I arrived to work on time, but it was a disaster. Taking orders and remembering prices was hard. I never realized how challenging it was to make milkshakes, wrap burgers, form strawberry dip cones, figure out change, and smile while suffering from a sunburn and lack of menu knowledge. JK was the queen of waitressing. I flunked my trial run. SD would definitely do better. The owner told me he didn’t need me any more. I went home discouraged.
Mom gave me the “ I told you not to go out to the lake, but stay home and learn those prices” lecture. Dad said I was a “bull in a china closet” and reminded me “I couldn’t walk, take orders, and chew gum at the same time”. SD got a job and was able to enjoy the finer things in life as a waitress; listening to “ Lean on Me” from a car radio in the parking lot while taking orders, making soft ice cream cones, giving change, and smiling at the order window with JK. My first job was going to be my dream job, but turned out being my worst job.

The Humdinger still serves burgers, cones, and shakes in Kellogg in the same location.

I was amazed today when I noticed this is blog post #300. Fortunately there are more pictures to take and stories to tell. Thanks to all my blog readers for the comments and continued support.

You can enjoy other Sunday Scribblings about jobs here.

Bouquet #20: Autumn Harvest

"The Amen! of Nature is always a flower."
Oliver Wendell Holmes,Sr.