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When the dog bites,

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when the bee stings,

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when I’m feeling sad

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I simply remember my favorite things

 

and then I don’t feel so bad.

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Just a few of my favorite things.

img_2151What things make you happy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Your Eye Upon the Sparrow

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Cough drops.

All I needed was cough drops.

I parked as close to the door as I could on a recent cold and rainy day. This was one of a few short errands that had me in and out of the car for a few minutes at each stop. Gas station. Cleaners. ATM. The grocery store was on the route and had a pharmacy, so, there I was.

I didn’t need a cart, or so I thought, silly me. One always needs a cart in the grocery store, even if just running in for one item. If nothing else, a shopping cart is something to hold onto when you are navigating the aisles and trying to find your phone, which, at that moment was ringing. Loudly. It is set to chirp like a bird!

Missed call.

I was momentarily stunned by the visual display of tulips, daffodils and orchids in the floral department. I know. It is hard to imagine someone like me sidelined by flowers, but, there I was, soaking in  the radiance of blossoms. I must have admired every petal before recalling my mission as a coughing spell commenced. It abated just long enough for me to wander down the sale aisle where ornaments, candy, paper napkins and doo-dads were reduced. No, thought my reasonable self, head down, Penelope, and off you go to the pharmaceutical aisle.

It was just as I turned right that my left eye caught something moving in between the styling gel, hairspray, and deodorant.

Penelope Pitstop, ace sleuth in the supermarket, off on another amazing adventure.

I slithered down the aisle, muttering to myself,  hoping no one was watching me. I could be wearing ear buds, a Bluetooth, toothpaste, paste wax, or whatever those ear thingies  are called. I could be on a mission of utmost importance.

There is was. Again.Under the shelves.

I tiptoed, in my galoshes, slowly, step-by-step, and there is was, looking at me as if hearing the call of my phone, then quickly crossing the aisle and ducking under another row of shelves.

Aha. Playing hide-and-seek are you? Be careful. There’s a clerk over yonder, stacking shaving cream and men’s deodorant. Actually, she didn’t see the bird,. She was eyeing me with a measure of suspicion. Sometimes I wish I had an invisibility cloak. 

I tiptoed around, following it; not a mouse (thank goodness), but, a sparrow gathering tidbits under the shelves. In and out she slipped, from magazine to cleaning supplies, under the peanut butter and over the canned peas. If she keeps this up, i muttered, she’ll end up in the meat department, but, no, there she was in produce, before the next round of hacking coughs sent me back to what I came for.

Humming Peter, Paul, and Mary’s rendition of Keep Your Eye Upon the Sparrow (Wish I Was a Single Girl), I grabbed the Luden’s, paid for my purchase, and hoped the little, lost sparrow found her way out of the grocery store and back to wherever she nests, humming my way back home.

I hope all is well with you and yours.

Hawk

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I saw him as I rounded the bend in the road.

It is really just a slight incline that opens from the small forest that borders our little island of homes. It is a pleasant enough bend in the road as we rumble along to the main street.

I have noticed him several times recently, but, had not expected to see him right them.

I slowed down, engaged the emergency flasher on my car, and watched, hoping no one would drive up behind me.

There he sat, a prince perched on a lofty branch, surveying his principality. He seemed to stare at me, daring me to open my window on a bitterly cold day – so, I did! No sooner had I clicked  – or whatever it is that a cell phone camera does –  when he swept upward, exposing his red tail and underbelly, executed a brief half circle, then soared across six lanes of interstate traffic before he dipped onto the small hill of opposing vegetation, then swooped up to a tree on the other side, prey in his talons. Phew!

 Luncheon was served.

As I engaged my still mocha colored VW with a latte interior, eyes on the road ahead, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but, another red-tailed hawk! This one was atop a light pole, and did not wait for me to capture his likeness. He just lifted up and across, following the west bound traffic on the other side before disappearing from sight.

It was a good day.

I won’t attempt to write about the silly sparrow who chose to shop at the grocery store!

 

 

Be Still

 

laura-ingalls-wilderpioneer-girlBe Still

They come to me, these simple words, in times of trouble, of worry, or distress. They come, as well, in times of happiness, solitude and joy.  They comfort me; a soft and simple prayer that gives me strength in the darker hours of woe. They settle me. They calm me.

Sometimes, I just say “Still” or “Still my heart Lord“. The words come bidden, and sometimes not. They are often just there, hanging like morning mist upon my thoughts. Always, my heart IS stilled and my hurt, or worry, or anxiety lessens.

Monday afternoon, after running a few errands and starting our evening meal, I set the teakettle on a slow flame, for tea should not be rushed, and I picked up this great “find” my son-in-law Tom gave me. He knows my interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder and, a kindred biblio-spirit, he caught a university book sale that was not to be missed. I snatched a pinwheel cookie, my book and my tea and settled onto a favorite reading spot. img_2267

This mug was a gift from Jennifer and Jason. The flower looks much like my blooming Amaryllis bulbs, brilliant in their papery essence; delicate yet strong. The words, Be Still, sit perfectly inside the rim of the cup and meet my gaze each time I take a sip of something warm and comforting.

This mug is thinner than most mugs. In fact, it feels much like a teacup. It holds the heat in well and it fits my hands just so, letting my fingers wrap around to snuggle the warm, golden liquid.

So it was, on a wintry afternoon, just as dusk was starting to fall, the twinkle of candlelight dancing along with the steam in my cup, that stillness overcame me and that I embraced it, as it brought me back to where I should be.

Still.

Fruit Pizza . . .

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. . . and other sweet treasures.

I couldn’t find the recipe. It wasn’t in my recipe files, nor was it in a small notebook with Hollie Hobbie on the cover, a gift from a student a long time ago. Inside it are old, faded favorites with tell-tale splatters.

No luck!

The recipe for Fruit Pizza was given to me by my friend, Linda, who first brought this delectable delight to my family many moons ago. Jennifer liked it so much that I asked for the recipe. Maybe it was in the Field School Cookbook. Linda’s children attended the same elementary school as Jennifer and Katy, so I thought it might be in there.

No luck!

I love these recipe books that come from PTA’s, women’s auxiliaries, civic organizations, etc. I call them church lady cookbooks, and I keep them, even if there is only one recipe in them that I use. These are the best of recipe books, for no woman puts in her worst recipe, does she (or he)?

At any rate, I could not find the recipe for Fruit Pizza, even in the school cookbook, but, I did come upon my friend Donna’s recipe for Lemon Sherbet! Donna served us this refreshing and sweet delight as desert for our book group’s annual Christmas Book Discussion in early December.  The tartly sweet frozen sherbet, along with a tray of Christmas cookies, was a perfect complement to her dinner. Then and there, I decided to make sherbet for our Christmas Eve dinner. This young lass helped me. The Lemon Sherbet accompanied not only our Christmas Eve deserts, but, our Christmas Day festivities as well.

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Ezra and Kezzie (and Papa) also frosted Ethel Cookies, an old family favorite. Our kitchen became a confectionary lab for young hands as we slid on a floor covered with powdered sugar and sprinkles.

Both children awakened before their Mommy and Daddy on Christmas morning. Kezzie was eager to make Pinch Cake, a Christmas morning tradition ever since our own daughters were young.

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Unable to find the recipe for Fruit Pizza, it occurred to me that it was one of our Jennifer’s favorite treats and that I must might have put it in a cookbook I made her – and I had! She brought it over on Christmas. We made it later in the week to bring to Aunty Jenny’s.

It is always a joy for me to bake with our grandchildren. It is rewarding as well; not only for our taste buds, but, the for the ritual of baking for them, showing them how we prepare the food we eat, and, of course, eating the things we make.

The first step in making fruit pizza is to make the cookie crust. It is basically a sugar cookie base patted and rolled onto a pizza pan and baked.

Kezzie was quite the young expert at rolling out the dough and patting it in the pan.

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When the cookie dough was done, we let it cool while we made a cream cheese frosting.

Then, like any good pizza, it needed toppings. Kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries were carefully placed around the pizza, with both children topping if off. Ezra LOVES fruit. It seemed the perfect kitchen activity for him (and it was).

Round and round the pizza they went with circles of fruit marching along in a palatable parade that made for a perfect desert at Aunty Jenny’s and Uncle Jason’s Gnocchi Night!

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Do you have a church lady cookbook (or more)? How about a fun fruit desert? Are you doing anything to bring in the New Year, and, lest I forget, Happy New Year to all!

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. . . and so, dear ones, the traveling vase once again returned to our home.

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Jennifer arrived on Christmas with the latest floral arrangement to grace this simple glass bowl, which has been reigning on high in the dining room, catching candlelight and sunshine.

The sun was streaming in the windows this morning, and for a brief spell lingered on the alstroemeria and mums. I love the use of the beaded bumble-bee and am impressed with how Jennifer used foil wrapping paper to add dimension, color, and support to the stems inside the bowl.

Well done, Jennifer!

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Interested in our Sisterhood of the Traveling Vase?  Click here to start at the beginning.

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Today and Always

” . . . No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . . And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

“Letter to a Friend” by Fra Giovanni, 1513

img_1916I bid you peace at this holy time with the warmest of wishes for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and joy today and always.

Penny

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