Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Does Matter

If you have been reading my blog every Monday this new year you will know by now that I will direct you to the website for "Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference" at

Today they are emphasizing healthy foods and eating habits.  For good vegetables, healthy protein and wonderful fruits and nuts I am most thankful. 

We are so fortunate to have so much at our fingertips. 

Join me in committing your self and your kitchen to good health!

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are. 
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill. 
Elsa Schiaparelli

Family, friends, food, and beautiful flourishes are life's graces, and we ought to celebrate them every day. 
Donata Maggipinto

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Before I run out to play in the sunshine, yes, I said, sunshine, I want to post my efforts of last week.  Some years ago I took the photo of Sherwin in the misty world of our island. 

Now I have finally done a watercolour of that photo.  I should have taken progressive shots of this process because I started out with lots of colour and definition.  Sherwin encouraged me to wash it down so it would appear more misty and closer to the photo.  In retrospect, it appears that I could have washed it even more in some areas.  I did end up with rubbing pale pastels diagonally over from upper right to lower left.  It was great fun and a major learning experience for me.

Tell me, what are you going to do in the sun today?  Of course, I am wishing you sunshine in your day and even if you cannot see the sun I do hope you have some in your hearts.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

End of Week Thankfulness

As another week draws its curtains on time I am thinking of what I have around me for which I am thankful.  I am so truly thankful for the creative atmosphere we have in our house where we can both fiddle-faddle about with all sorts of media to achieve a piece of artwork or whatever.  There is still much that happens in my office that never sees another day, it gets rumpled and tossed or burned and I go on to another project.  Some days are diamonds and some are stones.  But it is a process, right?  And I am slowly learning what works and what doesn't.

Some years ago Sherwin painted the picture below in watercolour.  When we set up my new office I asked if I could have it for my beautiful new walls.  Every day I can look up at it and enjoy the peacefulness of the scene.  Sherwin used 14x20 paper and by the time you matt and frame paper that size you have a sizeable finished product.  I treasure this piece.

Well, I couldn't resist.  I decided I would try to imitate the 'master' of the house.  I had just recently been to town with Sherilee and we had both purchased a package of 9 4x4 canvases and our minds were busy planning our projects with these cute little pieces.  One day I just started painting first coat/ background colors on some of them and then the piece below slowly evolved. 

Now that I have photographed my copy I see I could still add to it with foreground grasses, etc. But I thought I would show it to you as a work in progress. It was fun to do and I have heard it said that imitation is a high form of flattery. It is a lot of fun to see my wee piece next to the big original.

Tell me, what is happening in your world that you are thankful for, that you never thought 20 years ago that you would be doing right now? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thought on Thursday

Over the years my collection of hymnals has grown...actually, I have quit looking at used book stores for yet another treasure.  Hymns are one of my favorite forms of music.  I like the big, majestic, God-is-bigger-than-me hymns, the organ-and-orchestra-coming-together-for-a-mighty-statement hymns, all to the glory of God.

There are also the peaceful, heart searching kind of hymns and we both love those too.  One of Sherwin's favorite hymns, which he will request whenever possible, is "Let Your Heart Be Broken".  It comes with 5 verses but starts out this way:

Let your heart be broken for a world in need:
Feed the mouths that hunger, soothe the wounds that bleed,
Give the cup of water and the loaf of bread. . .
Be the hands of Jesus, serving in his stead.

The other verses end with these thoughts. . .

Be the means through which the Lord reveals His grace.

In the world's great trouble, Risk yourself for God.

and the very end says, Give and give again.

Very often I will find a hymn that originated as scripture which I love.  From the photo on my header you can already imagine one of my favorites.

The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again.
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E'en for His own name's sake.

There is more than one version of this scripture put to music. . .

This one ends like this. . .

And in God's house forevermore my dwelling place shall be.

Tell me, what is your favorite music, favorite song, who is your favorite composer?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mid-Week Memory

The Prairie As I Remember It...

Flat bottomed clouds scudding overhead
Sweet smell of grasses
Car rides with you-know-who
Breezes flipping my skirt
Soft, soft sunshine
Dusty roads
Bees buzzing
Cows lowing
So good to remember
When I cannot go back.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Time

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

This poem by Mary Oliver spoke to me so strongly of my restless teen years.  Tell me about one or more of your favorite poems.  How does it speak to you?  How does it ring true for you?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Does Matter

We cannot control the tragic things that happen to us, but we can control the way we face up to them.

It is Monday and today YOU are some helpful hints on taking care of you and yours in times of physical disaster in your part of the world.

The following article I took from the Every Monday Matters website where you can go to read more about Monday in your life. Also have included some additional links to help you plan.

On average, 1,300 tornadoes are reported annually in the U.S.

The average twister path is 660 feet wide and can be as long as 50 miles.

40 states are considered at risk of an earthquake.

More deaths occur due to extreme heat and cold than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined.

Because of contamination, clean water is harder to find than food after a flood.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when the speed of its winds reaches 74 mph.

91% of people surveyed agree that it is important to be prepared for emergencies, but only 55% said that they had taken any steps to prepare.

September 11, 2001 will always remind us of the reality of terrorist attacks and the damage they can cause.


Develop a family communication plan by selecting a person outside your local area for everyone to call in case of an emergency. Carry it in your wallet.
Ensure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card for calling the emergency contact. Cell phones often get jammed due to high call volume during disasters.  Designate a primary and secondary meeting location.

Create an emergency supply kit with a 3-day supply of basic items such as: fresh water, food, first aid, towelettes, garbage bags, a flashlight with extra batteries, local maps, a whistle, dust masks, tools, a can opener, and cash. Check and rotate supplies every 6 months.

Prepare a plan for your pets during an emergency.


Disasters are never planned, but they will happen. They are inevitable. Being prepared is the only thing you can do. Having proper supplies and a well thought-out plan can make all the difference in your survival. Readiness will also reduce fear, anxiety, and potential losses. Prepare today … for any kind of tomorrow.
The Word is Plan...

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.  General George S. Patton

Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly. 
Francis Bacon

We ain't gonna go bouncing off the walls for the next ten minutes, because when its over we'll still have the same problems. We've gotta find a way to work this out and stay alive. 
Apollo 13 movie

You can't choose the ways in which you'll be tested.  Robert J. Sawyer

Facing it, always facing it, that the way to get through. Face it.  Joseph Conrad

Tell me, what would you add to the lists and plans?  Have we thought of everything?

You are all very dear to me so I am leaving you with this path I wish you could walk on with me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mid-Week Memory

January 18, 1918

Reinhold Bechthold married Ida Yanke

Notice the detail in the photo...and remember the times they lived in. 

Sagas and well read novels have been written on less than these two gave to the world.  Interesting story.  Remember truth can be stranger than fiction.

Tell me what story do you remember of an ancestor that amazes you or delights you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Does Matter

The purpose of 'Every Monday Matters' is to draw people's attention to the changes each of us can bring to the world around us.   Here are a few words of wisdom on change/service/others...

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.  Donald Adams

He that does good to another also does good to himself.  Seneca

The fruit of love is service,
The fruit of service is peace,
And peace begins with a smile.  Mother Teresa
Without your wounds where would your power be?  The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken in the wheels of living.  In love's service, only the wounded soldiers can serve.  Thorton Wilder
The highest of distinctions is service to others.  King George VI
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to
improve the world.  Anne Frank
We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.  W. H. Auden
So tell me, what is your favorite way to serve others/make change/do good to those around you?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Van Gogh Sunday

As you have all heard we have seen the IMAX movie on Van Gogh twice now and would see it again if time allowed.  Very inspirational to those of us who dabble in pictures.  Sherwin knew I was very impressed after our first viewing in December so he gave me the above book for Christmas. 

Three things in particular stand out from the documentary, Van Gogh - Brush With Genius, which could be helpful if I will remember them and apply. 

1.  It was good to hear that he sketched for years before he began to apply color.  I had been told that and it has been good discipline for me.  Of course, I am still a novice but I try to learn from every professional I rub up against.

2.  In painting a landscape he would place the horizon at eye level and yet the foreground it would appear as though he was looking down at the ground.

3.  When choosing colors he followed the color wheel and worked with complimentary colors such as a violet/yellow combo, or red/green, or blue/orange and variations of those colors but predominantly those two shades.  Stunning picture results.

In April when I travel to Paris I plan to spend time hunting down some Van Gogh!!

So tell me, whose artwork do you like to study? Who has made an impression on you enough to make you a student of their style?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When You Come To The End of The Week...

This week went by quickly and I had great intentions about posting on Thursday with a Thought and Friday Night Grateful Moment but it just slipped away! 

This past week we watched a movie that I wanted to share with you all.  I know that war, going to war, serving in war are all very touchy subjects and I had mixed feelings as I went through this movie.  It is complicated because of the family dynamics here too but it is well done and has a message. 

Ever since Sherwin and I were confronted with the Vietnam war while living in the US and worried about the possibility of him being called to serve I have battled the subject of 'service in wartime' back and forth in my mind and heart.

It is all well and good for us to say, there should be no war, but it seems that as long as humankind exists there will be the push and pull of war and peace.  So my next question is, how do we maintain a somewhat democratic society if there are mean fellows out there who are radical dictators with oppression on their minds?  We stand up to them, right?  How do we stand up to them? 

The history books I have read tell me it is a lot more complicated than that...but sometimes we are called to action. 

The movie is "My Boy Jack", the story of Rudyard Kipling and his son Jack in WWI.  The video here shows Mr. Kipling comforting the King of England in the loss of his son to illness even though his own heart is breaking.  It is worth your time and even if you feel very uncomfortable through parts of this movie it is something for you to think about. 

Which leads me to another thought.  You and I may not be called to serve in a physical war of guns and death and gore but we are all called to serve as humans in a very personal war.  It is a war of, let's call it, let's-stay-civilized.  If we could be diligent about our manners on a one-on-one basis in a very serious way maybe the civility could be contagious. 

It is called being gracious, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, good manners, and mostly respect for our fellow travellers through life.  It seems to me that as long as we call ourselves liberal or conservative, right-wing or left-wing we are not only labeling ourselves but by those very self-labels we are labeling others. 

Tell me, how do you see it?  Remember, we don't have to agree on the subject to enjoy the conversation.  What do you see as a solution to today's severe polarization of ideas and ideals?  What can you and I do personally to neutralize the atmosphere?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mid-Week Memory in Alamos, MX

When I see a door, a beautiful, decorative or unusual door, my first thought is to go up to it and try the handle.  It seems to me that behind a closed door there must be a story.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.  -Helen Keller

When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.  - Alexander Graham Bell

Tell me, what is your story today?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Does Matter

Every day matters to me but on Monday I am trying to be more mindful of that fact.  What can I do to improve the quality of my life and the quality of life for the people around me?  What one thing could I do today that could make a dfference in the value of today? 

On the website 'Every Monday Matters' it has been suggested that today would be a good day to think about turning off the TV, possibly all electronic media/entertainment.  Whew!!  Now there is a novel idea...what on earth will I do without that chatter going on in the background of my day? 

Go to where they talk about a no TV-day or more and give their reasoning.  It is sound.

Of course I could always:
*  read more books

*  enjoy the peace and quiet of this spot where we live
*  photography
*  paint, sketch, doodle
*  learn to appreciate music and the making of music again

There is no shortage of good stuff to do...It just is a bit of a discipline to make it happen.

Tell me, if it is not TV, is there something else you feel you should set aside for one day a week? Or if you were to shut off all media for one day a week what would you do with that time and quiet that you have been meaning to do? 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hallelujah, Hallelujah and Hallelujah...

When I began this project some three months ago I thought, nothing-to-it, but I was wrong.  The project was called 'The Sketchbook Project' with the Brooklyn Art Library.  They would send me a sketchbook and I would fill it with a specific theme that I selected from a list they posted.

I recieved the book and I started to think about it...what would I sketch to depict 'Down Your Street'?  It took me some time to get wound up and started but this project has consumed my poor brain for the entire three months.  There is a deadline of postmark January 15 from the USA so I decided I needed to get it in the mail earlier than that.  Hence the push, push, and more push.  One would think it would not take all that much to fill 38+ was 76+ singles but I made each picture take up two sides of the book.  I got a little bored part way through with all the pictures of trees, oceans, big views, barns, country roads but I worked on through.

Tonight I glued on a watercolor picture from my past and am about to put it in a padded envelope and send it off.  You can read about the project on the following website.

Starting in March of this year, when they have collected all the thousands of sketchbooks, the Brooklyn Library will send off these sketchbooks in bundles to a number of libraries around the USA   You can visit that library, check out my book which will be scanned on the back where there is a bar code and I will be notified that you have looked at my sketchbook. 

The closest showing will be in Seattle June 10 - 12 but I will post again for definite updates on all showings around the USA.  I have scanned the entire book so I can remember what I did because when I put this book in the mail I will not see it again unless I go to see it on tour. 

My friend Carole is doing the same project with a different is good to have friends who come along on the journey.  Thanks for the encouragement Carole.

But now I can say hallelujah!  Now I can start my new year and get on to other interests that are beckoning!

Tell me, when I say, Down Your Street what picture comes to your mind that would be a good sketch?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 365

Starting with the first of this new year I began posting a new photo every day.  When I do, I think of all my friends who take lovely photos too.  You may think them ordinary but when you post them and view them on this program you will enjoy watching your album grow. 

You can view mine for the first week here and you can sign up very easily too.  It is a great way to journal the year.

I am of the opinion that we are all creative in one way or another.  Be kind to yourself and give expression to your soul.  If you are not into photos, tell me, what do you see as your creative outlet for this new year?

Treasures of the Earth

Out wandering this morning with my camera I came upon this happy moss...

Tell me, what earthly/earthy treasure have you come across today?

So Grateful for Blue Skies...

For the past two days we have been mostly fog/rain/cloud from the moment of daylight until part way through each day.  Today we thought it would be the same.  But mid-morning some blue started to show,

the wind picked up and before we knew it the sky was mostly blue all around us.

Blue skies
Smilin’ at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see.

Blue birds
Singin’ a song
Nothing but blue birds
All day long.

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on.

For blue skies and sunshine, I am truly, tell me, what is the first thing that comes to mind for you when you think of thankfulness/gratitude?

Friday, January 7, 2011

HBO trailer for 'Wit;

Yesterday I missed the opportunity to attach this trailer to my movie review of 'Wit', But I do invite you now to take a look at this.

This is not my favorite movie of all time but it is high on the list.  Tell me, what is your favoriite movie?  And why?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Movie Review on "Wit"

This is a moving story of a woman, Vivian Bearing, a professor of English Literature specializing in 17th century poets, particularly John Donne. Miss Bearing is diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and in the story you are taken through her months of treatments and hospitalization.  There is no stage 5.

Emma Thompson plays the part of the professor using the English language as her weapon to keep herself together as long as possible.  For any of you who love to hear or read English, delivered with strength and purpose, you will love the script.

This story goes on my top 100 list of movies for a number of reasons.  Emma Thompson does a masterful job of Wit.  She is well cast for this role.  I would heartily recommend this story to all health care workers, and all students of English who love a good 'turn of phrase'.  Anyone who has met with suffering or knows of someone who has suffered, this is your class in Suffering 101. In other words, I would recommend this movie to everyone I know, especially if you think you have life figured out and put in a neat little package.  I related very well to this woman.  You watch will see me on that bed.

Come to the viewing prepared to be involved in the story.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mid-Week Memory

I wish I could remember that first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or Winter for aught I can say;

It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch
First touch of hand in hand – did one but know!
                 -Christina Georgina Rosetti

What is the memory that comes to mind for you?  The first one...of you and who...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday Does Matter

Monday is not my first day of the week but it seems to me, the first public day of the week.  It is the time people gather themselves together to venture out into the world of commerce and practice their civility on one another.  In this alone, Monday is important.  Monday does matter. 

On the website, "Every Monday Matters",  there are ideas and concepts on the importance of each of our lives on those around us.  What we do, what we value, what we share with the world around us.

On the blog, "Shower Wisdom", Sherwin has asked what matters to the readers of his blog.  Monday, any day really, is a good time to reflect on what matters.

And with the beginning of this new year I want to make a habit of taking one day of the week to think on what matters most to me.  This truly is not a foreign thought for me.  I probably spend more time thinking of that than many but today, and, Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I will share with you each Monday what is most important to me (in no particular order).

On our recent family gathering over Christmas on Bainbridge Island, USA, I truly wanted the nine of us to sit for a photo.  We had so much activity and laughter and good times we forgot about it or put it off until it was too late. 

The above photo is my best rendering of our family at this time.  All eight show up, sort of, with me behind the camera as usual. 

Lucy, Maizy, Alan, Sherilee (you can see her hat and legs), Sherwin, Seth, Kim and Shelby all out for a lovely morning walk on Christmas day. 

This is my thankfulness photo...this matters!

What does matter to you?  The first thing that comes to mind, what is it? 

Have a lovely day and go make the day matter!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunset week beginning

View from the front deck last night just at sundown...

What does your new week promise?  How will 2011 be different for you? 

Years ago, when every moment seemed to count, I would divide my plans for each new year into groups:


and since I think I need to regroup organizationally maybe I need to put some thought into these again.  Somehow I thought when I called myself retired I would automatically get so much more done but without plans for each day and week time can disappear with no trace of value left beind.

So here I am with a clean page, last year erased from view, deciding how to spend my time.

Spiritually:  More time specifically spent in meditation and prayer.
Body:  Walk an hour a day and eat mindfully.  Sit-ups, push-ups increased.
Mind:  Continue with art lessons, start cello lessons again and read books of value.  With my art I will aim to post a photo a day and sketch/paint something every day.  That is easy because art keeps me humming.
People:  Connect with someone here or off island every day.  You would be amazed how easy it is to just go from day to day with no interraction with others because of our isolation.
Financial: Track expenses thoroughly.
Work:  I suppose I could call my gardens work but I do love my work.  This year I want all of my gardens, flower, shrub and vegetable re-worked and flourishing, including my greenhouse restarted.  So that will be work.

Please, share with me what your plans are for the new year and what you expect from the next 364 days so we can encourage one another.   Thank you for coming along for a ride through time!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy, Happy New Year to my friends and family...

Looking forward to this new year...

Before I move ahead I have to take a look at how the last year went and what I will do about that.

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." Zora Hurston

Come along and take a little self-examination with me...

1. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with 2010?

Oh, I would have to say 9.0, maybe even a 9.5.

2. Why did you score that way?

This past year I have had reason to mourn losses which have been hard on my heart.  The loss of friends and the loss of the orphanage are harsh lessons on the fickleness of life.

I did learn a lot this year in the art expression department.

But feel that I have not cleaned up the past as well as I could have. There are days I would like to travel back and make right all the wrongs I have done, all the mis-steps I have taken so you can see there have been reasons that have muddied my score from a grand and glorious 10!

3. What are your biggest accomplishments this year?
This year I have actually started to give away pieces of art.  That is a major step for me.

4. What are the biggest lessons you learned this year?

Have you noticed how lessons come round again and again until they really stick?  The biggest one I learned again was "there is more than one way to skin a cat"...may I remember that as the storm approaches so that I can graciously grant others their views/space/ideas/whatever.

5. What are your biggest goals that you want to achieve next year?

Biggest goal?  Well, I would like to sell a painting this year!!

6. What new habits do you want to cultivate?

Hone my organizational skills.  Now there are some who live with me who may say, oh my, but I have gotten sloppy in my retirement years and need to plan my days, my hours and life.

"He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life." Victor Hugo

7. What are your immediate next steps to achieve them?

While shopping for others in the past year I found some delightful books to help organize my life.  One on meal planning.  One on music in my life.  So that is a good start wouldn't you say?  I wish you all a great year ahead.  Be well.

"And now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been." Rainer Maria Rilke