Monday, July 10, 2017

All American Thanks

July 4th is always bittersweet to me.  It marks the half-way point of summer.  Sure enough my notification of the first day back to school popped up on my phone that very day leaving me feeling a bit melancholy.  

The glass-half-full side of this equation is that half of summer remains...long days of rest and restoration, days set aside to tick a number of items off my ongoing to-do list, days to spend along side family and friends.

Those remaining days of summer will be packed with some of my favorite things: vine-ripened tomatoes, juicy peaches, a family reunion, natural wonders in the sky, books, laughter, my own backyard, and no matter how messy things get summer brings me a joy in witnessing another year of democracy in the land that I love.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Look Back at a Pretty Great June

June brought me some of the best that summer has to offer:

A road trip across America that took me to Missouri,

North Carolina,

Kentucky (and Tennessee too),

and Illinois.

After a week of home projects with my daughter in North Carolina, I returned to Kansas where along with my other daughter and my sister I helped tackle major wall paper removal.

As the home improvements slowed down, I visited the garden and noticed signs that the first round of potatoes were ready to be dug.  They are delicious! 
Oh, June, if only I could figure out a way for you to come more than once a year!

Sharing photos that best represent my June.

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Love June

I love June!  School is done for the year, and I feel a sense of accomplishment as I wrap up a few final details on my To-Do List at work. I renew my mental and physical energy with rest, reading, and puttering around the house. The days are warm and bright without being oppressively hot.  Next month you will find me hiding indoors from heat and humidity, but now I stroll through the yard and neighborhood daily.  The lawn is green and the flowers bright.  My spirits are lifted.  Best of all June brings the gift of time.  Time to tackle projects that have weighed heavily on my mind.  Time to hang out with people I love.  Ah, June, I am glad you are here.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Straightening the Dresser Drawers

I love table linens.  Table cloths, napkins, table runners, place mats.  I love them all.  Old ones, new ones.  I have an ample supply and I use them all.  Over the past few years my collection has grown as my mom and mother-in-law began to downsize their own.
It had gotten out of control.  As if spring loaded, napkins would curl and pop as they slid under the pressure of the dresser frame as the drawer was pulled open. Finally they would explode into the room in complete disarray.  They had to be tamed.

I pulled everything out of the dresser along with everything that had filled an antique dresser across the room.  The antique had come from my in-laws' house.  It had found its new home in our dining room and its drawers had become a convenient resting place for items that I had not had time to deal with properly.
I decided to put all of the linen we use day to day in the original dining room dresser and save the antique one for special events and holiday items.  Candles and items used for center pieces were moved to another cabinet all together so that these two dressers could become strictly linen dressers.

The top drawer of the antique dresser now holds an assortment of antique linens and family heirlooms.  When I cleaned out this drawer I discovered this card featuring an original wood block print done by a former neighbor, Veronica Siek.  Such a kind and gentle soul, the note enclosed was to let us know she had just learned that her cancer had returned.  She has been gone many years now, but I recalled her lovely spirit as I held that card today.

I discovered another treat as I sorted and folded.  I got this little square of someone's handiwork from my mom who couldn't recall where she had gotten it.  I brought it home intending to do something wonderful with it which up to this point involved sticking it into one of these drawers.
Now it hangs on my front door greeting all who visit and telling them a little something about the woman who lives behind that door.

William Morris Project 2013

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Neglected Places

William Morris Project: 2013 Throwback Thursday...
I am tending the neglected places, those spots in my home that are taken for granted.  The dresser top, the hall table, the blanket chest in the entry...all the spots we mindlessly pile the minutia of everyday.

There are so many things that we don't deal with right away, that we know someone will need to deal with sometime.  A button that has come loose, paperwork from school, mail.  In the flurry of getting through the week a small mountain of cast off items builds in these same familiar spots.
I feel like these cast-offs are invisible to the rest of the family.  It always falls to me to sort and deal with the components of the piles.  As I sifted and put away this week I thought about how easy it is to get side tracked and neglectful.  These dumping grounds in my home are symptomatic of neglect in other areas of my health, my prayer and meditative time, my appearance.
Several characteristics make me prone to self-neglect.  Being a woman, a mother, a wife, and a people-pleaser I put other people's needs before my own.  And in the same way that the rest of the family can walk past the piles on the hall table without seeming to notice, I know I can't rely on anyone besides myself to be aware of what I need.
The wood of the neglected spots in my home is glowing this morning.  It looks so pretty and so much less burdened, making me smile every time I walk past.  If my spirits are lifted this much by the flat surfaces of the pass throughs of my home being cleared and cared for, imagine how I would feel if I tended the other neglected areas of my life.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memories of Friends

In the past month I have attended funerals for two men who were the type of people phrases like "pillar of the community" and "salt of the earth" were created to describe.  There are so many reasons I am thankful to have known men like these.  They taught me much...

A moral compass and abiding faith are the best means for keeping a life on track.

People will remember if you have treated them kindly.

Your word is your bond.

Truly big people have no need to make others feel small.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment.

Parenthood is both a great responsibility and greater joy.

Neither fame nor wealth are the true measure of a man.

Understated wit is far more funny than the crude, in-your-face banter that often passes as humor.

Quiet souls run deep.

A noteworthy person feels no need to be noticed.

We can change the world quietly, starting in our own little sphere of influence by living a life others aspire to emulate.  

Rest in peace, Vern and Tim.  You have earned it.


Monday, May 8, 2017

May Daze

I chose this photo I took earlier this week for its peaceful feel---the opposite of my current life.

Ten Things I am Thankful for Despite Feeling Dazed:

Next weekend my three adult kids graduate from three separate programs in three different states.  And I work in a school on top of that.  May for those of us in the world of education is never an easy time.  This year is less easy...but more blessed.

When she was four, our eldest announced she would grow up to be a Dancing Dentist.  She has certainly danced her way through the better part of three decades.  Saturday the dental part kicks in.  Her hometown is rolling out the red carpet to welcome her home; and the dentists she will work for are doing all within their power to ease her transition from student to full-fledged dentist.

Le Professeur, our middle child, will earn her Masters in French and Francophone Studies at UNC.  She loves Chapel Hill, and her students love her.  She recently shared a letter one of her students had written to nominate her for a teaching award at the school.  She has what it takes to be the kind of teacher who will change lives.

My son attends my alma mater...also his dad's alma mater.  We both loved K-State when we were there, and it has only gotten better through the years.  My son has completely blossomed and has taken advantage of the multitude of opportunities that have been offered.  It has been a joy to watch.

Somehow despite the ceremonies being only hours apart, we believe we have a plan that will get us to a portion of all three graduations.  We are strapping on our track shoes and are ready to hit the road.