Thursday, November 29, 2007


Family... wow, the changes and the stuff that is still the same.

Mama. She's an ever constant. At the same time, she's getting older and it shows. I see such changes this visit that tell me those things we don't want to face. Oh her health is still good, surprisingly good for a woman just a few days away from 75. At the same time, visually she looks a lot older this trip. I notice that she has a bit of difficulty walking... the old "hitch in my git-along". Doctor tells her it is probably a pinched nerve and may be there for the rest of her life. She says it just will not be. I notice also that she is a little more forgetful, but that it's not an overly bad amount. She doesn't get confused, her mind is still sharp... thank God.

While I don't like to see her getting older, and when she does go it will rip a portion of my heart out... her aging process is actually normal and I am okay with that.

Big Brother. Wow... now this is the biggest change and the hardest for me to see. He's always been physically the strong one of the family. His body's betrayal in how it has changed makes me fight to hide tears from him. Thank heaven I have some good acting skills here. He has trouble turning his neck, his right arm won't lift past chest height, he walks with some difficulty - especially when tired. And he tires easily, actually taking a nap right now, mid-afternoon on his day off. In spite of it all, he fights hard and last week finally got cleared to go back to work. When he comes home, he is beyond exhausted. We used to have eating contests where we would make ourselves sick... and to see him eat only about 1/4 of what he normally eats (without a contest) is striking. Big brother is only 3 weeks older than my sweet husband... but now looks like he could be my husband's father. It's hard for me to see him this way, but at the same time, I am so very grateful to see him at all.

Brother #2. Haven't seen him yet because he lives in Los Angeles. He will be down tomorrow. Talked to him on the phone... he sounds the same as always and that makes me smile.

Brother #3. Our King of Drama. Yep, some things never change. He is still full of drama and a terrible con man. But his eyes are clear and he is drug free. That's really all I care about.

Little Sister. She turns 45 today. Her body has changed so much since her gastric bypass surgery. Of course the loss of 160 pounds will show dramatic changes on anyone, eh? The changes that concern me for her are the ones of the heart and spirit. Her last husband (divorce was final on 11/5) managed to kill any confidence she had. She gives the public appearance of confidence, but I see where it's an act. growing up in the same bedroom and having all those connections of being sisters will let me see what many will not. But... she is overwhelmed and thrilled with the quilt that I made for her. And we are talking much more than we have in the last 2 years since her now ex-husband is out of the picture.

Those are the difficult changes I see in my family. At the same time, we have been having a blast laughing and talking every moment I have been here. So much is good about this trip. But that is for another post. Mama is waking up from her nap and I am going to go soak up more of her.

...may there be mercy in the soaking up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

family time

Wow... many changes have happened here. Some great, some harder to accept.

Like big brother's health and what his body allows now. More on that later, it's late.

Soaking up time with Mama.

...may there be mercy as we love up on one another here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

seeing family

I can hardly believe it's been 2 years since I've seen Mama and my family. Way too long!

Tomorrow I head down to San Diego to celebrate Mama's 75th birthday and my sister's 45th birthday. I can hardly wait for that first Mama hug!

If possible, I'll post a bit. If not, see y'all next week after I return.

...may there be mercy as I travel and love up on my family in person.

3BT... the rest of that week!

Well we didn't have internet availability during the actual Thanksgiving weekend while we were in Portland... but I saved up!

Thanksgiving, 11/22:

1. safe travel and making good time while driving.
2. sunrise behind Mt. Rainier.
3. hugs from precious longtime friends and joy around their table with new friends since they invited other "strays" to join us.

Friday, 11/23:

1. laughing with SuziQOregon at our 5th Annual Day After Thanksgiving Breakfast.
2. visiting gorgeous wineries and the fun of winetastings.
3. sitting in a massage chair in the evening while watching a movie.

Saturday, 11/24:

1. watching our men doing guy-type activities and enjoying the simplicity of the fact that they are men.
2. the warmth of the vehicle after being outdoors in 29 degree weather for several hours.
3. barbequed steak for dinner... oh, yum!

Sunday, 11/25:

1. safe journey home without any traffic delays in the midst of many folk heading for home.
2. unpacking and getting the laundry almost completely done by bedtime.
3. holding hands with my sweet husband while we watched a movie and enjoyed a glass of wine together.

...may there be mercy and remembering to be thankful always.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3BT night before

1. the surprise of a sunrise that was orange and not pink.
2. getting all my errands done during lunchtime... with time left over to actually eat lunch!
3. laughing with co-workers as we were counting down the hours to my vacation... which started at 5 today!

...may there be mercy as we are thankful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Continuing to be thankful, appreciative and sharing three "moments" in my day... join me!

1. hearing my sweet husband laugh out loud at a joke.
2. lunch with friends.
3. going to a hair appointment and coming home with a dramatic change.

...may there be mercy as we are thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2007

3BT week

One of my chief complaints is that we have stopped being a thankful people. We skip straight from Halloween to Christmas without a pause.

Hey! Wait a minute!

There is a whole 'nother holiday in there. It's called Thanksgiving.

In honor of being thankful, this week is a 3BT week here for me. Yep, 3BT all week. Please join me. I'd love to hear what simple things in your life give you pleasure... and be thankful with you for those things.

1. a heavy handed neck massage during physical therapy.
2. tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwich for lunch, sitting inside warm and snug while watching it rain.
3. a great big hug from a 6-year-old friend.

...may there be mercy as we are thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2007

random miscellany

A little random miscellany...

--got new glasses yesterday. The new frames appease my way-too-big vanity while the new prescription lets me see again. I like both parts of this equation.

--a co-worker has terminal pancreatic cancer. His wife also is a co-worker. A couple weeks ago I was convicted that he needed a quilt to keep him snuggled and warm during his last few weeks... hoping for a couple months. Raced to get a very simple quilt done that still felt like I put my heart into it to make it a pleasing combination of fabrics. Great for a guy to enjoy while he is still here, but pretty enough that his wife will enjoy it as a memory after he is gone. I called this quilt Simple Comfort because it was made simply, but with many prayers for comfort. Yes, I raced to get it done... and felt peace when I very privately handed it off to my boss for delivery to our other office. (Had the boss deliver to the wife because she is still working.) The sweet note I got from her yesterday telling me that she came down from upstairs to find her husband sleeping in his chair, wrapped in that quilt, moved my heart in ways you cannot imagine.

--my sweet husband gave me a gift of an iPod Nano the other day. It was totally unexpected and actually made me cry. Mostly because of what he had engraved on it... but also because of the tone in his voice when he told me the why of the gift. I love this man so very much and thank God for the lovely gift of him in my life.

--no layoffs at work this week! Business is very slow and many of us are expecting a layoff to happen at any time... and to anyone. It's Friday and we did not have a layoff this week. I'm grateful!

--24 working hours until vacation!!!

--listening to my iPod and hearing Nat King Cole sing "Ramblin' Rose" makes me smile. My sister and I used to sing this at the top of our lungs when we were kids. I get to see my sister in 11 days!

--seeing the completed quilt for my sister. She thinks that I'm coming down to San Diego because we will all be celebrating Mama's 75th birthday. Yep, we will be doing that. But we will also be celebrating my sister's 45th birthday. Everyone knows about the quilt except for my sister. The surprise will be quilt fun for us all!

...may there be mercy in the bitter and the sweet of my miscellany.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Excitement is the word of the day since I completed my sister's quilt last night. I have to say that I absolutely love this quilt... probably my favorite that I've made so far! It's queen-sized, for her bed and a total surprise. She has no idea that I will be bringing it to give to her when I head to San Diego at the end of the month. A picture will be posted later because I don't have time for that right now... gotta get ready for work.

...may there be mercy as I enjoy the completion of this quilt.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


It's late. Been a very long day with work, a lunch date with my sweet husband, physical therapy, errands and bible study group. I actually have much to say, but am exhausted. 3BT will have to fill in for this night.

1. Compliments on my work from a client.
2. Taking a trip down sweet memory lane at this website: I sat under this man's teaching at the church where I grew up.
3. A surprise visit from my precious father-in-law just because he wanted to give me a hug.

...may there be mercy as we look for the beautiful things each day.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

cooking day!

I love cooking day!

Once a month, during the fall and winter months, my best girlfriend and I spend a Saturday cooking enough meals for a month. It's a boatload of work, but the rewards are so worth it! Having a freezer full of delicious meals that are ready for us to enjoy is such a timesaver, not to mention an energy saver for me. Yep, I love coming home and not having to cook after work when I am always tired then.

Yesterday was cooking day... and today my body tells me that I'm getting older... and the price is a little steeper! But my freezer is full and I don't care! I can rest up today, enjoying some down time and quilting time.

Power cooking is not for the faint of heart. But while it can be overwhelming to consider doing it, if you break it down into organized bits, the overwhelming goes away. At one time, I wrote up a little "how-to" on the process. If one can read through all my notes, one can do it!

We started doing this about 10 years ago. Our beginning was based on the book, Once a Month Cooking. Since then, we have taken it to a whole new level. The book is a great beginning. Some of the recipes in it we still use. But most of the recipes are comfort food styles and times have changed as to our being far more aware of how to eat healthy.

Now when I say we are more aware of eating healthy, many folks think that we've taken the savory flavors out of the good old fashioned comfort foods. Not at all! Oh, we eat healthy all right... but we sure eat well! The recipes we've tweaked and the newer recipes we've discovered all have great flavors. Everyone loves them. No one who eats in our homes has any idea that the meal is "good for you" in addition to being tasty. Fun!

We also save so much money by doing our cooking this way. My grocery budget has dropped dramatically. For example, yesterday we made all of this:

Beef Stroganoff - 2 meals
Asian Beef Stir Fry - 5 meals
Boeff Viognier - 2 meals
Chicken Divan - 3 meals
Las Cruces Chicken - 3 meals
Chicken Enchiladas - 9 meals
Sloppy Joes - 16 individual servings
Tater Tot Cassarole - 1 large = 2 meals, 1 small = 1 meal

(Meals listed above are for us to enjoy together, plus an additional serving for 1 or both of us to take for lunch the next day)

Now I've got the meals listed above in my freezer and my friend has the same stuff... but double the amount because her family is bigger.

We split the cost for all the food at 1/3 for me, 2/3 for her. All that food and my portion was only $115.00! A major savings in cooking this way. When we didn't use wine in some of our meals, the savings was even more. But we like to cook with wine, so it's worth the additional cost for us!

Yep, I'm tired today and need some down time to let my body recoup. But oh, so worth it with all those yummy things to eat!

...may there be mercy in the enjoying the fruits of our labors.