Rest and relaxation

For the Rest of Your Life…

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. Matthew 6:10

I used to feel a little guilty pulling that one out. I mean, there are plenty of Christians who pull Bible verses out of context, just to get what they want! Don’t need more of them!

But isn’t it true that quite often, we moms just would love a nap? Yep. And when Mr. Sandman is beating you around the head and shoulders with his sandbag, Bible verses about rest just seem so true!

So, pull, I would. I remember the first time I realized Jesus was telling his men to take a nap. Arrgh! I never wanted to be part of any Bible story more than that one. Well, unless it was walking on water . . .

But even that would definitely have to be after a nap!

Then one day I realized something about that verse. I realized it is a command . . . and OH, MY! did it work on my sense of self-worth!

The way the story goes, Jesus called his men aside and told them to rest because they’d not even had time to eat.

Yet the questions always come: How!  And will they let you?

Can you relate?! I certainly can!

Those hectic days when everything piles on top of everything else are exactly when we need to remember the command is to back off.  Of course, we cannot leave little ones unsupervised while we take a nap, but it is possible to slip into a restful mode and feel How to Get an Amazing Rest from a Crazy Busy Daythe refreshing that can get us through ’til the end of the work day.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. R is for RETREAT. No one will take you seriously if you keep on puttering in the kitchen or shuffling papers. If you don’t quit, you will never get there! Find an easy chair or couch or even a bed and make it look like you mean business.
  2. E is for ENJOY. No fair feeling guilty! Besides, a guilt trip is not restful. Tell yourself you need this and so do they. Smile and close your eyes. Sip a favorite drink. Get to another place in your imagination, if only for a few minutes.
  3. S is for SET A TIMER. Your appointment with rest is important. Make it a good fifteen minutes and make it inviolable time, too. Turn the phone off, give interrupters that blank look, and hush anyone who forgets this is your set time. The timer also assures you won’t over-do it.
  4. T is for THANKFUL. Tell your heart this is a God thing. Every minute is worth cherishing. That lovely feeling of having rested will take you through the rest of the day and even prolong the rest of your life. This is so good; love it for what it is worth.

It may not seem do-able, but you can do it.

Even taking a few moments out, just closing a door for one or two minutes, can make a difference in how we perceive things and how we respond.

It’s a command . . . Okay to obey!

Where Is Your Favorite Vacation?

Alpine Vistas

Alpine Vistas

I live about an hour from the loveliest little spot for a vacation. Seriously, it has EVERYTHING!

Let me count the ways:

  • Antiquing. Lots of antique stores for your viewing/shopping pleasure. One huge mall and many small near-museums with absolutely everything. Seriously, I almost hate to share this part of it. I want it all for myself…
  • Horse racing. If you’re into that. I’m not.
  • Art. Galleries galore, including such well-knowns as Kinkade and Chihuly, and several with geological finds that have been made into art, such as geodes. It’s been judged the fourth art-friendliest city in the nation.
  • Riverboat ride with dinner and live music.
  • Al fresco dining in a below ground restaurant–always cool by dinnertime.
  • Real museums, including a Tussaud wax museum.
  • Amazing architecture. Totally astonishing architecture, at every turn.
  • Breath-taking vistas
  • Impeccable groundskeeping
  • History, history, history–built with government moneys, yes, by your great-grandfather’s hands to keep your great-grandmother alive, before we paid people to do nothing.
  • Food. Oh my. And prices that make you want to live there. One whole restaurant devoted to the breakfast of your dreams. On fun place decorated all over with pennies glued to the walls. Another, gourmet and pristine, a sanctuary for its guests and for its workers, who are legal immigrants, escaped from Romania, who wait on you perfectly and cheerily, with charming accents.
  • Hotels. We’re talking, here, of totally expensive, but enchantingly historic, insanely beautiful, antique hotels…
  • And–tada–fountains. Fountains full of water so hot, you can use it to make your tea; so pure, it’s piped to the public straight from the ground, to drink. Famously healing hot waters…

And now you know where it is: Hot Springs, Arkansas.

So impressive, the first time I went there, I was five, and even then, I knew I had to go there someday when I could see the whole thing.

Been there so many times, and haven’t seen it all, yet. Talking about it (to my history-loving heart) is never overdone.

Our Grandfathers' Handwork

Our Grandfathers’ Handwork

For more photos, view here.

For more about Hot Springs, view here, and here.

So…Where is YOUR favorite staycation?

Child Star

Screenshot from a public domain film The Littl...
Screenshot from a public domain film The Little Princess (1939) starring Shirley Temple and Richard Greene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shirley Temple died today. She was 85, which is hard to imagine.

I watched her darling performances when I was a child, and loved her, wanted to be her.

She was about 35 years old, then, older than my mom.

I never knew it.

When my own children were small, I searched out these amazing movies, for their viewing pleasure.

They also fell completely in love with the little cute-pie.

As an adult, I read her autobiography, Child Star. That broke my heart.

All the time she was smiling for us, it was because she feared being locked into a black box.

And all the money she made went to her mom, who used it to build luxury houses for self.

And her hair was naturally straight. Every kink came at quite a cost, for a tiny one.

Cover of "Captain January"
Cover of Captain January

But she really was that sweet and when she attended school she got in trouble for smiling all the time.She couldn’t not smile.

She just missed Valentine’s Day. Ironic, for everyone’s sweetheart, eh?

Probably my favorite of her movies are The Little Princess, because of the graciousness of the queen, the great scenes in the attic, and that thing with the ash bucket. Especially that thing with the ash bucket.

But I also love Captain January for the fairly true picture it gives of home school, and for the site of her tap dancing a hornpipe with a young Jed Clampett.

I shall miss her.


All photos: Wikipedia

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Do You Live with an Editor?

I can find anyone’s mistake.



When folks misuse an adjective as an adverb, I mentally add, “-ly!” Yes, I mentally add the exclamation point; cannot let it go.

When someone picks up the wrong fork for his salad, I have to concentrate on my own salad or I forget to eat it.

When a word is misspelled in a published book, I mark it, if it’s my own copy.

When clothing colors are a bad match, when a car needs detailing, when a hand print (or, worse, a nose-and-forehead print) appears on my storm door, I notice it all. (And I say “for-red”, not “for-head”.)

If you find plates upside-down at the beginning of the service line in a self-serve restaurant, I’m the one who did that. Those plates needed rewashing.

My kids can tell you: I’m precise about particulars. They learned how to diagram sentences. They learned to distinguish between the “i”, the “:”, and the “!” in math. They learned the new names of the new countries in eastern Europe.  They learned to spell before I let them learn to type, which came before I let them learn to use our computer.

They learned to say “-ly!”, mentally, whenever appropriate.

I cannot imagine how stressful that must have been. I worry about it, although I always attempted to make learning fun and exciting.

In fact, one of my kids recently told me of his thankfulness at being forced to learn spelling and typing first.

He’d noticed.

Someone else was hunt-pecking at a keyboard, someone employed to sit there and hunt-peck. He told me of his astonishment and the difficulty he had in concentrating on his own business. Hmm.

I am training myself to let some of it go, though. Wish I’d trained my kids to do that, too. It’s heavy, all this noticing and editing of other peoples’ goofs. Sometimes I just smile and keep going.

After all, I can spot anyone’s mistake.

Anyone’s but mine.

As Promised: Sour Dough Bread

My facebook friends have asked me how I do this, so here goes!

What I love about this bread recipe is that the steps are spread over two days, leaving me time to do many other things, such as laundry or shopping, between steps. It’s just more convenient for the way I live and operate. It’s also very forgiving; I once fell asleep while it was rising and it did not run everywhere, but just kept rising slowly. I guess for my slow ways, it’s just my type. Enjoy!

Sour Dough Starter

Sour Dough Starter. See how high it foamed in bowl!

First the sour dough starter:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups water
1 pkg. dry, active yeast

Stir together with wire whip in a non-reactive container large enough to allow for foaming, and allow to sit at room temperature, lightly covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 days. It should smell a bit like beer and double in size before receding. This will make several loaves.

Now, the bread:

On the evening of the third day, in a very large bowl, blend well:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil (I use good quality olive oil)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup starter
1 tbsp. salt

Bread Dough

Bread Dough, minus two cups of flour

To this mixture add 6 cups bread flour and stir until it can be kneaded. Knead slightly to make a ball. Cover bowl lightly. (I use a pizza pan.)

Bread, ready to rise, at night

Bread, ready to rise, at night

If you plan to use your starter again the next day, feed* and cover it and leave it out. If not, place it, covered, in refrigerator; feed it and bring it to room temperature before the night you are ready to use it.

Bread dough, double sized, in morning.

Bread dough, double sized, in morning.

In the morning, punch down dough, knead lightly, and form two loaves in greased bread pans.

Loaves ready to rise in cold oven, over pan of hot water.

Loaves ready to rise in cold oven, over pan of hot water.

Place in oven on top rack with a 9″x13″ pan of hot water on bottom rack. Close oven. Do not turn oven on. Leave in oven until doubled in size, which may take half a day, but watch it…

Bread baking.

Bread, doubled in size, baking.

Once bread has doubled in size, remove all pans from oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Then bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes.

Bread after 35 minutes

Bread after 35 minutes

This bread is so good, my sons used to take it with them to college, etc. It really doesn’t need butter or jelly, although my husband and I once ate a whole stick of butter spread on this bread, in one sitting. And we only walked away from it, then, because we knew we must. I could eat this all day and all night.

When you make this, let us know how it turns out!

*To feed the starter, mix together 1 cup flour and 1 cup water, and stir into starter.


The Last Bouquet


Traces of Summer Fading

Traces of Summer Fading

Old roses, pouring out a Springtime show, a last reaching for the sun, blooming, rich scented musk, and we inhale delight.

Tomorrow we will be satisfied with the damp, spent fragrance of fading roses, and gather spent and fallen petals to dry and save for dark places that welcome old scent.

Their baby cousins left outdoors will be dead, frozen, never to be seen in bloom.

We will remark how the last bouquet is always the rarest, while dark winds blow and traces of sleet fall.

We will inhale traces of delight from the remaining blooms, longing to imprint their gifts in our memories.

And failing.

And we will satisfy ourselves with the spices of oaken smoke and old recipes.

And dried, faded petals scattered in the dark places.

And we will put them away again when the first traces of warm earth rise up like ghosts of summers past, to take us back to the roses.

Color Me Boring

Another WordPress Photo Challenge

I have always liked the browns and blacks of life.

My favorite weather is a winter day with no leaves on the trees and plenty of clouds in the sky. Add some fog and it’s perfect.

My husband calls me morbid. I cannot help it. One of my first embroidery projects was with black thread on brown fabric, a pillow cover. I loved it.

And that is one reason I love living amongst the trees: They go dormant and change to my favorite view.

And I love the way canning food changes its color. Oh, we have jars of brilliant beets and carrots, but I much prefer the lovely, lovely pickles and figs:

Pickles and Figs

Pickles and Figs

And although eggs can come in the starkest of white, the browns on these beauties draws me in to gaze and contemplate with awe.:

Brown eggs

Brown eggs

I like the reds, yellows, and blues, okay, but usually find them harsh and I call them attack colors.

Brown, though, is my favorite color. Calming, cooling, rich, and quiet, brown makes me smile. Or gray. Yeah, gray is good, too.