Ten Things I Love About My Mother

 Today is my mom's birthday. I wish I could be with her today, but I know she will have a lovely day without me. It is only fitting I share ten things I love about my mother today.

1. She is always finding little articles or cartoons she thinks I will like and cuts them out. She either mails them to me or keeps them in a dish on the TV until I come to visit.

2. She taught me the proper way to make a bed...even though I still can't get it she is a very patient teacher.

3. She knows how to make a fruitcake how fruitcake should be made. Her brandy soaked Christmas tradition is the best.

4. She has determination. She has modeled this character trait as long as I can remember. If a dust bunny needs to be picked up, a spill on the floor needs to be wiped, a fan needs to be dusted, plants need to be watered, a load of clothes needs to be folded, a batch of cookies needs to be prepared it doesn't matter if she hurts or is tired... it gets done.

5. She is an amazing gardener. She creates healthy compost, weeds to perfection, waters just as it should be done, deadheads like a champion, and knows when to pinch back, cut back, and harvest at just the right time and she has taught me much.

6.She knows how to cook. Mom is an old school chef. She used basic ingredients, traditional flavorings and spices, and recipes she has used for years. Nobody else has mastered meatloaf, swiss steak, potato salad, orange rolls, or navy bean soup quite like my mom.

7. She loves her family unconditionally.

8. She continues to be a learner. No internet, googling, or smartphoning for my mom. She still gets out encyclopedias, paper maps, and books from her reference collection to find out facts or reteach us something we forgot.

9.She loves to have a good time. Whether it is shopping for sales with her daughters, going out to dinner with her children, going to the theater, a basketball game, a high school concert, a tour at a winery, meeting up with high school friends, talking over the fence to a neighbor, a church tea, or a Community Concert... she loves a good time.

10. She supports good causes. She believes in giving back whether it is donation to the library in memory of a friend, clothes to the woman's center, support for breast cancer research, March of Dimes, time working for Habitat for Humanity, the Sixth Street Theater,
or providing canned food for Cosette's food drive at school.
 She has purchased cookie dough, raffle tickets, attended dinners, and made donations to support her granddaughters and their school endeavors. She is generous for good causes.

Happy Birthday Mom!  Thanks for all you have taught me. Often I am a slow learner so I know you aren't done yet.

Next Time

 This week I had a birthday. It was certainly a time to reflect the blessings in my life. As my fifties draw to an end I have some regret, but I am focusing on what has been good  in my 59 years. The last few days I have read what other writers have had to say about moving ahead in life. 

Those of you that read my blog know I love Mary Oliver. This was one poem that struck a chord with me in my recent readings. Thanks to discovering photography I think I do look at things closer and see those small things like leaves and feathers. This poem is still a good reminder.

Next Time
by Mary Oliver

Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I'd stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.
When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I'd watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.
And for all, I'd know more -- the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.

One Word Essay: Sky

There is nothing like a winter sky. Even on a gray day the cloud formations catch the eye. A sunny sky is an extra treat. I don't know much about seasons, cloud formations, and light but I believe winter skies have a beauty all their own. Sunsets are more vivid. If we are fortunate to appreciate a sunrise, another thing of beauty. Above is a sunset in Kellogg.

Silver Mountain in Kellogg.

Along the Inchelium Highway.

A view over the roof of the house.

Gray storm clouds above our trees.

One Word Essay: Contemplation

A friend of mine sent an email today with a title "One Word Essays" With the post were a long list of words with a photo for each that exemplified that word. I loved the words and the photos. Of course, I could never just chose one photo for any them or one word essay. Today I chose contemplation The one above is my mother listening to my sister present information on Scottish Christmas traditions. She was really contemplating.

 Will I get some?

 Is there an extra hand on my body now?
Will we be BFFs forever?

Don't Follow Too Close: Photographer On Board

 I carry my camera each and every time I travel in our car or truck. I just never want to miss a shot. Unfortunately  that perfect shot often appears while I am driving.

 I try to  pull over, but sometimes I just hold up the camera and click while I am trying to concentrate on driving also. With this one, I pulled over and I am pleased I did.

I never know until I stop the car what I captured. Here are some images from recently traveling the roads around my area. I wasn't driving when I caught this one above.

What We Need Is Here

 I was reading a favorite gardening blog today and the author Margaret Roach used Wendell Barry's poem as an invocation for the new year. Yesterday I focused my energy on the inside of my home, refreshing and rearranging. Today I walked around the outside. I agree with the poem. What we need is here at home.

 I just need to remain quiet in heart and keep my eyes clear so I don't miss any of it.

What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry

A House Is a Home

 I love our house. It isn't very big. That is fine. Sometimes  I wish I had more light. The man I bought it from had done beautiful wood work on the walls and cupboards. I used to get tired of the dark wood. I now appreciate it. We decided to change things up a bit without spending a lot of money. Above is a table Everett created. It works well  back into the living room displaying the blooming plants.
 I really looked at all the beautiful wood products Everett has created, and decided to move them all together again into our small living room.  This lamp worked well by the love seat. We also rearranged furniture and recreated Annie's room ( another post). As I gathered his handmade pieces of work, I realized how much I liked them all together in one room, instead of spread out all over the house.

 This lovely table ended up in the room also. Shelby is a bit confused with all the changes.

This lamp and table that Everett created worked well together by the window. I look forward to more changes to our living space in the next few days. It is important to me to honor the create work we share rather than spend a bunch of money on new decor. That's just the way I roll.