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My Blog

September 2014

Behind the Scenes

Good morning everyone.  Well today will  a much cooler one than yesterday.  Last night a breeze came through this are and dropped the temperatures down substantially.  Today, we are looking at a high of 60 where yesterday it was 85.  I won't complain since I like the weather cooler. 
Well, yesterday was a very enjoyable day.  I took our seminar teacher to the airport and on the way home I stopped at a nearby lake to take a few pictures.  I am posting one that really caught my eye.  My initial desire was to capture the leaf so that during the winter months I can paint it...but I came home with something much more on the snapshot.  In this picture I began to notice how many shadows are cast.  Bits and pieces of highlights and shadows were everywhere.  The lighting was critical in this picture.  It not only showed the layers of the leaves but also brought the spotting of the leaves to the forefront.  
When I thought about this...the effect that the sunshines has on its surroundings...it made me stop and think about how a sunny disposition can change not only your own feeling and attitude but also those around you.  It is hard to be in a bad mood when you are around someone who emits a sunny outlook.  Someone who has a upbeat, happy disposition leaves an imprint on those that they are with.  A smile from you can cause another person to smile even if they are not thinking about smiling.   The sun in this photo is not visible in the true sense of visibility...but it's imprint is left on the leaves, the tree and the grass.  It leaves a shine, some shadows, and highlights.  It makes this picture worth a thousand words..so to speak.  That makes me want to be that sunshine in the course of a day.  Perhaps something I can do will effect others in a positive way.  It will highlight someone's talent perhaps....perhaps I can effect someone to do something that will effect ANOTHER person....causing a shadowed effect.  Maybe I will do something that will make someone realize that what they see as a flaw they can turn it around and see as part of their person beauty just like in the leaves blemishes.  I am amazed and happy that I took this time to stop and take a few pictures.  I am even more happy to have taken the time to really LOOK at them.  There is more than meets the eye in everything if we only stop and SEE it.   

My 60th Birthday

Well, good morning to everyone.  I have been busy for a few days and not able to get to the computer to post a blog and today I am finally at a point to sit down and think a bit.  Well, today is the BIG one...the big 60...how did this happen is all I keep thinking.  No other year has bothered me...but this one seems to sting a bit.  I have to say that I am one very fortunate woman to have made it to this point and I am grateful for all the amazing people who have walked this life path with me.  Some are as old as I am some are spanking new...but no matter who you are...I am so grateful God has placed you in my life. 
Now, I have to include here my reasoning behind my dreading this birthday.  The major thing is the illnesses that seemed to have plagued me this year...making me feel old.  There are days when I seriously look at something on my bucket list of wanting to do and knowing that I will not be able to complete them.  And to top that off, knowing that the clock is ticking away on some of the others.   60 years of age is not the end all of life here...but coupled with the disabilities for many things is. 
Now....to look on the flip side of this age thing...I am so grateful for so many things.  I am grateful for my husband, my children and my grandchildren.  I am grateful to have lived this long to watch them all grow in this lifetime, become amazing people who I am proud of.  I am grateful for my amazing group of friends that have surrounded me with love and friendship.  My red hat group has been an aid to seeing and doing so many wonderful things.  My painting groups have given me exposure to so many different art forms and skills.  I am thrilled to still have the connections to so many people in my life.  Today, I want to celebrate life.  Not necessarily my life...but all those who are in it.  They are my gifts for the day.  When I lay my head down on the pillow at the end of a day...I am good knowing I have been so blessed by God with all that I have.  Yes...ALL that I have.  All the trials and tribulations have contributed to making me who I am. It is no only the good things that build character, but the troublesome things that teach me how to handle tragedies, sadness and loss.  I have learned to accept the downfalls because I will learn how to pick them up.  I compare that to an apple tree.  The apple tree blossoms, has fruit, the fruit falls...but there are endless possibilities from the fallen fruit.  From pies, to cakes, to applesauce, down to dehydrating them to consume or use for crafting.  There is a plethora of things to do with items that have fallen down...and I am no different.    I am grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me along the way.  They have taught me how to grow, accept and how to get to the finish line.  It doesn't matter how long that takes...just that you keep trying.  So, today on this the 60th Birthday, I applaud all of the gifts that have been given to me by God.  Thanks to all the amazing surprises that have happened along the way. 

Coincidence or Not?

Good morning to everyone.  Friday has arrived.  A painting seminar is on its way today.  What a pleasure to host such a lovely teacher.  We had a productive time getting the seminar set up for today.  I had the nicest surprise from a member.  It is so like her to help out with just about anything...but especially touching to me because she had read my blog yesterday and knew how much pain I was in...so she made sure to come out to help.  It is moments like that when I truly know I am blessed to have such friendship.  A big thank you Chris.  Your caring made my day! 
As for today's picture...I thought I would share this photo from the Ten Chimneys.  It is the strangest thing that happened.  I never really watch The Waltons, and oddly enough I turned on the television and without turning the dial because I had started to work on something...I heard the name of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine.  Imagine my surprise to hear those names...they owned the Ten Chimneys.  I hear it right after being there...names not commonly used.  It is circumstances like that when I wonder if there is a hidden meaning for me.  Was I to learn something.  The home was magnificent and filled with art work...am I to do something specific?  What are the odds of leaving that program on?  It just seemed like the strangest coincidence. 
Well, today's blog will be brief since I have to get to the seminar to open.  So I will leave this thought today...Are there hidden messages and guides for us out there?  Are we to take the lead after experiencing something like this?  Perhaps we are just to reflex on it.  Perhaps the universe is telling us we did the right thing.  Whatever the case...it was the oddest coincidence. 


Good morning everyone. I hope this finds you well.  It is an interesting adventure blogging.  I wish there was a way to ask readers to comment.  When blogging, there are many roads to travel down and I have chosen to use mine as a somewhat thought provoking one...I just wish that I knew how any of my readers felt.  It is interesting to me to see whether they are affected or touched in anyway.  Do you get any inspiration or has the particular blog taken you to a similar situation?   Do you come back to read more?  If you are reading any of these blogs and have a moment...I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.  Thanks.
Well, in accordance with my picture a day...I am posting a picture I just took outside my front door.  It always amazes me that in the coolness of fall, my bushes have yet another bloom.  This is my Weigelia  bush.  It is a delightful bush that first blooms in May. Originally, I planted this bush in our old home.  My mother in law took a cutting and we planted that cutting here in our current home.  It has grown many time to over 8 ft tall and I have cut it down year after year and it comes back full with these amazing flowers.  I am thrilled to see it has thrived and continues to thrive.  If I sell and move, this will be the one bush that I will make numerous cuttings from to plant wherever I go. 
Well, today's blog was brought on because of that flower...it is about endurance.  The thought of endurance was brought on by the rough night that I had.  I have a number of diseases, with fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis as 2 of them that cause me the most difficulty as far as pain. Yesterday was an extremely difficult day to get through.  It was a an exceptionally early start and I was on a roll through out the day.  It is really something when you look at the clock hanging on the wall and feel like the day has elapsed and realize it is only 10 AM.  Although...by that point and time, I have worked for 5 hours already.   I pushed past the pain, worked a number of hours more and then decided that I really couldn't handle it without some help.  Being allergic to anti-inflammatories, it makes getting the pain under control quite difficult...but I have endurance.  By 2 PM, I administer a pain patch on 2 locations that seems to be the worse.  I then move to another spot to work...hoping that will help a bit...but the pain continues.  Now it has spread to more areas...but I continue to work.  As I turn on the television to watch while I work, I cannot help but think of others that are affected with this type of pain and decide that it is the gift of endurance that gets us through. Never giving in to it is a difficult task, but a needed one.  I have the biggest fear of giving in and then it takes over and will leave me there....helpless.  So, my stubbornness, my need to win takes over and I push more.  Many times others will tell me to relax...take it easy...everything will still be there tomorrow or the next day...but I question whether I will.  If I take it too easy...the pain actually worsens.  If I sit too long, the inability to get up to even answer the phone become crippling.  I have to look to my endurance to survive.  In the middle of the night...I move from side to side in hopes of finding a moment of unriddle pain.  I heat up the heating pad in the microwave and place it on my body and then move it from location to location hoping to ease some of the pain that is attacking and traveling.  Yes, traveling!  Having pain in just one area is one thing...but when it travels to various parts of your body and you feel as though there a bugs crawling everywhere inside your skin...it becomes more difficult to handle than one can imagine  .  At 4 AM the pain is more than I can bear...so now I am awake and not able to return to sleep.  I know that if I don't do something...it will be another day of misery.  So I drag my body to the microwave, heat the heating pad again and attempt sleep. I am happy to say that even though it took another 40 minutes or so to fall back asleep, I am pleased to open my eyes to a dimly lit room and the realization that it is now 5:45.  I can handle the day a whole lot better now.  I have endured the worse night imaginable!  Am I out of pain now?  NO way...it is really a struggle to even sit.  The heating pad has already been rotated to several areas.  I await the time that I can eat so that I can take a pain pill without the nauseating stomache discomforts.  I have a very busy day ahead of me.  I will endure and push past the pain.  I will adjust how I do my work, but work I will!  To look at me...you would never imagine that there is anything wrong!  These diseases usually attack without warning.  You never know what the triggers are!  I just know that there is pain and the biggest question I ask myself is "What can I do to get past this and find my endurance? "  They say that "there is no rest for the wicked"  Well....look out wicked witch of the west....you are no match for me today!

Smiling On The Outside

Good morning to all.  I am amazed that it is already Wednesday.  Loads of things to do today.  Tomorrow begins a mini marathon for me.  I have a teacher coming to town for our painting chapter and it is my job to take care of her and turn the seminar.  Whew...time to put my running shoes on. Well, my photo for the day is of an amazing friend who is going through cancer.  She has begun chemo and has had some rough days but even through it all is still smiling and looks amazing.  I wanted to share what it looks like.  You would never look at this picture and imagine that any thing is wrong.  I am taking time to be grateful for both her friendship, her life and the lesson I learned today. 
As for today's blog I decided to write about a young girl named Priscilla. A long time back...my daughters met a young, brown haired brown eyed young girl.  She was taken in by a foster family.  This young girl was as sweet as the day is long.  She spent many days over at our home playing and eating dinner and spending the night.  My heart went out for her knowing her background and that her parents just were not able to care for her at the time.  Sometimes, even in the most difficult times, we tend to forget how troubled others lives are.  She seemed perfectly happy on the outside...but had to have been troubled on the inside.  
One day when I came home, my husband evidently had made some decision in his mind.  He pulled me into the bedroom and pulled my down on his lap and announced to me that he thought that we should adopt Priscilla.  I stared back at him as though he had lost his mind.  Not that the idea of adopting her was crazy...but that he really didn't understand that she was no adoptable!  I knew in that moment that I was going to have to set him straight and break his heart....and mine as well.  It was a tough conversation to get through....but the bottom line was that it was not a possibility. 
Time went by and eventually her father set up a place for her to return to.  We even sought her out and went to visit her.  Time went on and so did their lives and they moved and we lost touch.  Perhaps 25 years went by and my daughter found her again.  She is all grown up and doing well.  My daughter shared the story with her about our wanting to adopt her but knew that we couldn't.  She was touched by that.  She said she wished that we could have.  We never really know what is going on in a person's life by simply seeing them from the outside.  I always heard that you don't know a book by it's cover...and how true that statement is.  We do not know how bad someone has it.  All I know is that I can always find something in my day...no matter how bad the day or situation may be...that there is something of someone to be grateful for.    

The Front Porch

Good morning to all.  What a lovely day it is outdoors this morning.  I will be running around a bit today helping a friend in need.  More work is calling my name from my work table..so hopefully, today will be a good day for working as well.
Well, today's picture...one a day for a year, was taken this morning looking up into the sky.  Just a reminder of the beauty of the day as it begins. 
As for today's blog, I decide to write about the front porch.  I know that the front porch has been a staple in my life.  I have heard many things on a porch, from stories that my grandparents told, to stories that I have told to my children and my grandchildren.  I have sat and rocked on the front porch or my grandmothers and rocked on the porch of my daughter.  That front porch was there for me on my wedding day, and on the day that I wept when I lost my mother.  It was the porch that I sat on when I needed to pray for help and the same place that I have helped others up and down stairs. 
I remember sitting on the stoop as a child and playing mother may I and sat on the stoop of the porch while I watched my granddaughter draw on the sidewalk with chalk. 
Funny how life goes past us on the porch.  We can sit and watch the sunrise or set from that place.   It is the porch that acts as the entryway for a new baby to come home from the hospital and the last place from home that we leave from upon our death.  My front porch was the place that I embroidered and crocheted and read books from as a child.  It was the place I played with my Barbie dolls and the same place that I played with my children.  From my porch I listened to music on the radio and the melodies of the birds in the trees.  On my porch I have hung Christmas Lights and set out decorated pumpkins...the porch played the role of an easel.  It sets the stage for life.  So today, as you leave your home or perhaps when you return and walked onto your porch...stop for a moment and think about all the phases of your life that has crossed over that place.  All the special occasions and moments that were shared there.
The definition of a porch is simply and entryway.  It has many names...veranda, portico, lanai, gallery, piazza and stoop.  Whatever the name, wherever it is found...a porch is the entryway into our lives.  It holds the memories of when we come and when we go. 

A Drive Through a Graveyard

Good morning to everyone.  I hope that your weekend went well.  Well, here it is...the first day of Fall.  This is my favorite time of the year and yet it seems that as the years have progressed, I have become so busy that I rarely have the chance to enjoy it.  I have decided that I am going to take some time out this season and look around a bit.  It was quite an eye opener for me one day about 2 years ago, when in the midst of hurrying somewhere and stepping out of the car, I stepped into a pile of autumn leaves and had to stop and try to figure out when fall came! So, this year...I am taking time to look and see, smell and feel.  I love the colors of fall and want to take it all in this year.  I might be busy...but not so busy that I cannot indulge myself in some joy!  Well, if you live in this area...Niles, Illinois, then put October 18th on your calendar.  I will be performing ghost stories at the Niles Historical Museum.  The program will begin at 2. 
I am doing a picture a day for a year...it is in a previous blog, so here is my picture of the day.  I worked on making snow people and painting them and then dressing them and finally glittering them.  They are made out of empty soda bottles.  My contribution to recycling. 
Well, for today's blog, I was thinking about a recent run through the cemetery.  I go in and out of cemetaries almost like a drive through.  Now you might think this to be a bit strange...but I am attracted to the history there.  I was driving home the other day with a friend and we were approaching one particular cemetery that is right on a main road...and yet a sort of odd one to pull in to.  She said she had always meant to stop there to look at it.  So, without any hesitation, I made a quick right into the gate entrance.  The headstones come right up to the road and without getting out of the car, you are able to read quite a bit.  I have been in this particular cemetery many times, and with each visit I find something new.  This time, we read the tombstones of a family.  There was a headstone for the mother and the father, and then 4 babies. All the babies lived only from 3 months to 2 years of age.  They all died within a certain time period between the late 1860's and mid 1870's.  There seemed to be no other children.  It really struck me to the core.  We spoke of the time frame and how it must have been some sort of epidemic. My heart cried for those parents.  To have lost so many children. The parents are buried there with them.  The stones were small and non descript.  The only way that you could tell a story was to stop and read the stones....and then wonder.  
From that site we drove along until we reached a gravesite that told a huge story of a young boy named Hank.  This young boy was struck down at an early age.  You knew from the gravesite that theis young boy was a lover of sports.  From the wooden football and the baseball that bore his numbers that were poked into the ground to the hedges that were trimmed in the shape of a baseball diamond.  Everywhere you looked there were statues of bears and cubs.  This was definitely a Chicago Bears and Cubs Fan.  One of the most unusual thing that was on this gravesite was the basket of baseballs that stood atop of three baseball bats that were poked into the ground and looked like the legs of a table.  My heart sank at the loss of this young man...and the pain that is still living on in his family and friends. 
Then in the aisle below his was the grave of a young 12 year old girl.  Angels were displaeds in every direction.  When I was young...I thought of death as something that was for the elderly...not children....but these trips through the cemetaries has truly opened my eyes.  Death arrived very early for so many in this cemetery.  Death has no particular age.  I often question the how and the why's...but I will never get that answer..at least not while I walked this earth.  What I do know is that I can feel compassion for even those I do not know.  
As we drove the rest of the way to the exit, I pointed out the wall that was now built to hold the ashes of those that have been cremated.  This resembles the vaults where bodies are held, only in miniature.  I suppose this is the newest memorials in a cemetery.  My friend and I conversed about this.  It brought back memories of an Uncle of mine.  I hadn't thought about that in years.  I remember that I was told that they had a child and the baby died at birth.  They had the cremated ashes and they were held, oddly enough, in a mason jar on a shelf in the basement.  It made me wonder where those ashes went to.  My Uncle and Aunt have passed away, even one of his sons has gone on to greener pastures. Perhaps someone gave some honor to that baby. 
Whenever I go to a cemetery, I feel as though I am giving respect to those whose gravestones I read.  I often think about those who have no headstones as I walk along rivers and open pastures. I  know that the earth carries many stories of those who have walked upon it.  Stories that were taken to the graves with them.  The history that lies beneath us.  A ghost is oftentimes imagined as a ethereal mist that floats around.  There are many beliefs when it comes to ghosts.  There are many ways in which the word ghost itself is defined...this is the definition I like to think of it as:
     the principle of life; soul; spirit.  This is what I feel when I walk through a cemetery....how about you?

Our Wedding Day Remembered 40 years Later

Good morning to everyone.  Well, here it is...Sunday.  Time just flies by when you are having fun.  I know that yesterday was wonderful.  The tour at Ten Chimneys was fantastic...the lunch was terrific.  The one thing I learned about which really caught my interest was that the Lunt/Fontaines lived their lived with the concept of a Design for Living.  I decided that that would be my picture for the day.  If you read yesterday's blog, you will remember that I have chosen to post a picture a day to catalog my year.  I thought that this was a good day to begin.  So here is a picture from yesterday.   We stopped at a quaint little place in Genessee Depot, Wisconsin and I had a delicious pot roast sandwich on texas toast with garlic mashed potatoes....Yumm!! 
Pizza for dinner with more friends and then a night of cards. 
As we played cards I silently thought about the fact that it was 40 years to the day that I was sitting and playing cards.  How could I remember that?  Well, today is my 40th Wedding Anniversary.  The night before was our rehearsal dinner and afterwards we played cards. 
Well, today I ponder that day so long ago.  I was 19 years old and it was my wedding day.  I recall that my dearest friend was quite the nervous Nellie and asked me why I wasn't nervous...I had no answer.  I remember sitting in the kitchen on my grandmother's rocking chair after I had drawn a bath for my flower girl.  There was a lot of hustling and bustling going on, but I was quite calm and relaxed.  I decided that I would make a call to my soon to be husband and to my surprise...there was no answer.  I called for hours after that and still no answer.  I must admit that the thought did race through my head that perhaps he ran away.  When I finally did reach him, he informed me that he was out purchasing shoes for that day.  Yes...you read that right. On the day of our wedding...he was first buying his shoes.  Seems like nothing much has changed since that day...he is always a last minute sort of guy. 
When the groomsmen arrived to pick up the girls to take them to the church...one of the groomsmen had a problem where his tuxedo pant zipper had broken so he decided to show it to me right outside while the photographer was taking pictures...a bit of a somewhat embarrassing moment that fortunately grandma took care of...although I can still remember as I looked down on his pants....my eyes trailed further down only to discover that he was wearing combat boots with his tuxedo.  A shrug was all I could muster up. Sometimes there is nothing you can do, so just smile and move on. 
Well, we arrived at the church and my mornings MIA fiancé was there...new shoes and all.  We exchanged our vows and after all the pictures in the church..we headed over to the grotto for a few more photos.  We got into the car and Boom...out of nowhere...a thunderstorm!!  Some say that rain on your wedding day is bad luck, others say it is good.  As the time passed and we went to the photographers studio for our wedding portrait I momentarily forgot about the rain.  I remember being posed in the studio for the portrait and the photographer asking me for my full name.  LOL...I answered him with my full maiden name.  I suppose the ink wasn't quite dry yet on my marriage license for me to readily say it out loud.  It did make me laugh and consequently there were some good photos taken.  When we left the studio to drive over to my Aunt's home for a cocktail hour before the reception, I spotted the most beautiful rainbow hovering above us.  I figured that perhaps even if there would be tears shed in the marriage...the rainbow followed with some hope for good luck in the end.  It was my sign that everything would be okay.  I held onto that rainbow's promise and as I sit here in the same room with my husband...40 years later I know that my thoughts about the marriage was solid.  Yes, there have been tears...what marriage hasn't had some...but the rainbow after the storm has passed is certainly a blessing. 
That reception was filled with a lot of memories for me.  I remember us cutting the wedding cake and feeding each other with it and then we called up our granparents and fed some to them.  I remember throwing my wedding bouquet and my mom catching it.  I remember my wedding veil being removed and the wedding apron put on.  The two babies that dangled from the pocket of the apron, representing how many children I would have.  There were 2 babies and indeed...we had 2 children.  I remember at the end of a long day, going home to our new apartment and we were soooo tired.  I stood at the doorway and looked at my new husband and awaited his lifting me up to carry me over the threshold.  He had a difficult few moments...with all the crinolines under my gown but eventually got me up in his arms, took one step over the threshold and dropped me in.   It wasn't what you would call the most romantic swooping up one would want...but it worked. 
A new life began that day.  We joined our lives together.  The morning after we had my mom and his parents over for Wedding cake and coffee and opened our wedding gifts up together.  It was a wonderful moment to reflect over the gift that both parents gave us.  Not only the wedding as a gift, but they gave us each other. And as for God...he had blessed us on that wedding day with the storms...and the rainbow.   I always like to think that without the storms we would never appreciate the rainbow as much.  

Positively Picture Perfect...You Bet

Good morning.  Hope that you have a fun day waiting for you.  I am spending the day with my red hat girlfriends and expect to have a ball. 
I was reading something yesterday that sparked a really big thought.  It was about a picture a day. 
The more I read about a picture a day...it seems to intrigue me.  The woman in the story decided to take a picture a day to record life.  It seems that the pictures were not of any particular subject...just a way to utilize her camera.  The goals that she had set for herself was that she would capture one picture a day for a year.  A catalog so to speak of her year.  I imagined some grand pictures of amazing people and scenes...yet when I read the ending...the pictures were of a bowl of soup, a raked hill of leaves....that made me start to really think about how amazing each moment in our lives are...right down to the bowl of soup.  I really enjoyed the idea of a picture a day!  It reminds me of my blog a day.  I can go over what I have written and see the weather, my mood and even my thoughts...at least those that occurred while I was writing.  Sometimes it truly is the little things that we need to take the time to be grateful for.  The moments that just fill our lives.  They don't have to be grand to be important.  Each moment in time is precious moment. 
When I think back on life...all almost 60 years of it...I am quite grateful for all the photos that I have acquired.  All the moments frozen in time.  Sometimes those simple moments are forgotten.  That picture is the perfect reminder of that time.  I remember recently seeing a picture of me on the ground in the snow making snow angels with my granddaughter.  I had forgotten that time, but the picture gave me just what a needed.  A trip back in time.  I laugh when I think of me trying to get down on the ground today...with the fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis...I doubt that I could get down and swing my arms up and down to make the angels wings, but if I had to do it to please a child...I would surely make the attempt.  I am not sure whether she remembers that day...but with a photograph...I can share the memory. 
I love the idea of a picture a day.  Something...anything that will record that moment in time.  Perhaps a place, a flower, a person or even just a really great meal.  The lady said that after a year...she looked at what she had recorded on film.  She understood then that everyday, there is indeed something positive that happened.  What a great approach to positivity.  I am always looking for something new...so beginning today...I am a photographer...I will capture a picture perfect moment in time and post one here each day.  Looking forward to this positively picturesque approach to my year. 

Quotes on Walls

Good morning everyone.  Well, another Friday and the weekend is so close we  can almost touch it.  I have a full schedule planned for the weekend.  One of the things I am doing is going with my red hat group to tour Ten Chimneys in Wisconsin.  What is Ten Chimneys?  It is the home of Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontaine.  I have toured it once before and am excited to see it again.  The grounds are magnificent.  The home is all hand painted...right up my alley.  Alfred Lunt had a famous painter come in to paint his foyer and landed up having him stay there for 3 years to paint the rest of the house.  He even had him paint his Baby Grand Piano!  The oppulence there is something that is totally breathtaking.  To see the rooms is a chance of a lifetime. 
It is really like reading a book about the people when you walk through their homes.  It speaks volumes about who they are.  What they liked.  You can put together an opinion by what is seen even though you have never met the people personally. 
Walking through various homes on tours has even given me great insight to my own identity.  It is amazing what we surround ourselves with and the story it tells others.  The colors of the rooms, the collections or the bareness of a room gives great insight to a person's personality. 
When I look back in time, I see the changes that I have made to my home.  The colors and their meanings tell a lot about the life I have lead.  The writings on...yes I have one...tells us what is close to ones heart. 
I remember the first time I saw the phrase "Live, Love, Laugh" engraved on a wooden trim in a mansion I once toured and fell in love with the thought of that statement.  So, you might think that I put that up on my walls...right?  Well, I might have, but I found something that resonated even more to me...it is the phrase "Laughter sparkles like sunshine"...when I see this it helps me to remember all the laughter and joy that occurred in this house.  It reminds me of how grateful I am for the sunshine.  Both the real sun and its warmth and all of my little sunshines in life.  My husband, my children, my grandchildren, my in laws, my parents and grandparents and friends.  When I look at the saying on the wall, I can visualize many moments shared in laughter.  I can still see the twinkling in their eyes and the smiles on their faces.  And if you ask what color the wall is that that quote is on...why YELLOW...of course...just like the sunshine.  Being surrounded by yellow makes one 
The color of sunshine, produces a warm, pleasant, cheerful and energetic feeling. Yellow is a color which attracts attention immediately, thus can have a very positive and healthy effect on our eyes.  I balance the color with half of the room in red... It belongs to the warm colors and stands for danger, strength, war, power, love, passion and determination. When you see the color red, you feel confident and powerful, because it is a very bold color.   
When I think of what hangs on my walls...I am convinced that those items tell others to be comfortable there.  My walls are covered with quilt pieces and lined with shelves of teapots, tea cups and saucers and even a display of cheese spreaders.  I am hoping that it sends out the message of make yourself at home.   I have surrounded myself with things that give me comfort.  The quilts remind me of the Amish area that I often visit and a sense of peace.  The teapots started with my grandmothers teapot and just exploded.  Each one tells its own special story.  When I look at them, the person whom I received it from rushes to my mind and heart.  The teacups remind me of my grandchildren.  The tea parties and joy that I have partaken in with the grandchildren and friends.  And the cheesespreaders...well they just make me laugh.  I love the varieties and the challenges.  They remind me that even the smallest things can give us joy and laughter. 
So, look around your home today...perhaps choose one room and try to determine what it says about you...how does it make you feel...how do you want others to feel while visiting.  Think about other peoples homes.  How do you feel when you are there.  Is there someone's home that feels like home to you.  Why is that...what is it about that home or that room that makes you feel that way?  Think about how different we all are in the way we decorate our rooms.  It is mind boggling to see how a room can make us feel.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me. 
If you are ever in Genesee Wisconsin...take the time to go and see Ten Chimneys...you will never forget the experience. 

Religous Freedom in America

Good morning to everyone.  Another beautiful day lies ahead of us here in the Niles, Illinois area.  So much for me to do today...and only a short time to do it in.  I wish that I could tack on another 24 hours to each day!
Well, today's blog is an important one for me.  It was spurred by a comment someone made about religious freedom.  I am confused as to why it seems right for all topics to be justified as okay if the person sees fit, yet lately the freedom for religious belief has been scrutinized?  It is an Amendment in this country.  I don't understand how all the laws that made this country what it is...can be broken at will?  I think that whatever your belief is....is exactly that!  I believe that this country has set a precedence with it's laws that you are allowed to pray to whomever you choose.  I recently went to a Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois.  I walked the Mandir to open myself up to other religions and practices...and during the religious prayers...I did not see anything wrong with their practice of faith...and stayed as an onlooker.  I did not try to disturb or interrupt their way of worship...and did not feel compelled in any shape or form to participate.  I did not feel any pressure to conform whatsoever.  I am solid in my own faith and the way that I practice my religion. 
I had to stop and think about how it doesn't seem to bother anyone to walk around...and on television...to wear jewelry or shirts that proclaim that they are an ATHEIST.  I have never once in my life walked up to greet someone and thought "I wonder what God they believe in or whether they believe in a God at all!" 
It seems that today, in America...EVERY Freedom is being tested! The  Constitution test  is grammar school requirements to pass 8th grade. 
It is written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:
Those sentiments also found expression in the First Ammendment of the national constitution, part of the United States' Bill of Rights:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." 
It seems that there are many in this country who are continuously trying to make mountains out of molehills.  If I walk into a nudist colony...and I am told to remove my clothing...I have 2 choices...remove my clothes or leave...if that is what they want.  No pressure...just choices.  If you choose not to pray in a particular situation where others are praying, tune it out, sing Old MacDonald had a farm in your head, or pray to who ever it is you pray to.  NO ONE is stopping you. 
When I think back on one of the most horrific days here in America...9.11...I think of how important religion was to so many that day.  More prayers were heard around this country for those killed, for those left behind.  We are one nation under GOD folks! 
"In God we trust" first appeared on US coins in 1864 and has appeared on our paper currency since 1957.  Seems like everyone likes getting the American dollar.  I know there are those who have fought through the years to even have that removed...and they did for a brief time in history...but the outcry from the people made them bring it back and even restamp it on all the coins that did not bear those words.  Perhaps people had more faith in their country...and their God to fight for it!  I am not sure what the problem with religion really is...but all I know is that if you want the rights that America has to offer...then accept them all...it is not an option to pick and choose which ones suit you the best!  This is my OPINION....which the constitution says I am allowed to have!

A Celebration I Had Never Heard Of!

Good morning to everyone.  Well, I know that I have been amiss for a few day...so sorry.  Sometimes life just takes over and it is tough to sit down at the computer and focus on a story. 
It have been quite the journey for me.  It has been an experience as well, blogging each day and using these times as both a meditative and an intellectual experience.  I am in the constant search for what to write about and how I go from A to Z to put the thought processes all together can sometimes be quite exhilarating. 
Today's blog is about learning something new.  It seems that each day....there are continuous challenges that we can face.  New things to learn if we are open to listening.  The other day, I attended a meeting for my painting chapter.  One of the ladies that sat at my table...I have seen numerous times and exchanged hellos...but this day, we engaged in conversation.  It was an easy conversation....we spoke about so many things...but one thing in particular caught my attentive ear.  You see, she is from England originally.  We were on the subject of Halloween and she shared that it wasn't until recently that the people in England didn't celebrate that occasion...instead, they celebrated Guy Fawkes Holiday.  It threw me...I had never heard of such a holiday....you see...us old dogs CAN learn new tricks!  We sometimes get so involved with what we are doing and what comes natural to us that we sometimes imagine that it is the same for all.  Well, here the tables were turned...a holiday that was new to me. 
She began to explain about the Guy Fawkes day.  It is also known as Guy Fawkes Bonfire.  It is celebrated on November 5th and primarily in New Britain.   Guy Fawkes Night originates from the gunpowder plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. In the  aftermath of the  November 5th  arrest of Guy Fawkes caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Parliament , James's Council allowed the public to celebrate the king's survival with bonfires, so long as they were "without any danger or disorder   She went on to tell us of the figures of Guy Fawkes that are made...which sounded like scarecrows to me...and parade then down through the town to the bonfires and were then tossed in.  She also said that it was on that day that they had fireworks.  We are so accustomed to fireworks...but the fact that they do not celebrate the 4th of July...leads them to having fireworks on November 5th.   
After that she shared a song that is also sang on that day. 
  Don't you Remember,
The Fifth of November,
'Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
I let off my gun,
And made'em all run.
And Stole all their Bonfire away.
It was a great conversation.  She is a lovely lady. It was great to learn a bit about her..and a whole lot about November 5th.   I love that opportunities like that are always sitting there waiting to be shared.  I am grateful to have been on the recipient end of that conversation and education.  So, thanks Stella...your story made for an extra special afternoon. 

Time is NOW

Good morning to everyone.  Well, it sure seems as though the predictions for a tough winter might just be right.  This is the coldest September that I can ever remember.  I could not believe that I was trying to get myself warm yesterday.  I know it is bad when the shorts come off and the long pants go on....and I put on socks.  From one extreme to the other and that is tough on the body. 
I have a lot to do today to get ready for a meeting with my painting chapter tomorrow.  I have to sort through papers and instructions and make sure that everyone gets the correct packets for an up and coming seminar. 
As for today's blog, I thought that I would broach the subject of Time.  It seems that no matter what I do...I just don't seem to have enough time in my day...or my life to do everything that I would like to do.  It is not until I stand back and take a good look at what I DO accomplish and I have to give myself 2 thumbs up. 
One of the best things that I find myself doing...especially in regards to knowledge, is that I take the time each morning...well, most mornings, to sit and tackle one lesson.  Whether it is watching a Utube to make something, to learn something, or read something...I am always trying to utilize my time properly.  Having Fibromyalgia, along with Psoriatic Arthritis, mornings are the toughest for me. It literally takes a minimum of an hour and a half to feel ready to move on with my day, so instead of complaining or lamenting, I warm up a heating pad, grab my computer and I am off! If I have to take this time to get my body in sync with my mind, then it might as well be productive.  The biggest problem that arises is that it is hard not to sit there all day and watch  these tutorials.  It is a valuable gift that the computer age has given us.  It is too bad that more people don't take advantage of them. 
Once I more on from there...it is off to the paint table and I must say that I utilize both sides of the table at a time.  My table is 48 inches wide and with only one leaf in...the table measures 75 inches long...just enough room to work both side of the table.  I work in stages.  Then my kitchen has an island to put stage 3 on. I work at these stations most of the day in between doing other chores.  There definitely is no moss growing beneath my feet.  When I look at the barrage of books and patterns that I have accumulated over the years...I realize that I will never get to paint everything I hope to...but yet my motivation doesn't seem to grasp that.  Time marches on and so do I.  When I hear the words....I'm BORED from someone...my mind goes berserk!  I cannot fathom how anyone can be bored!!  I guess the long and the short of it is that I am a TRUE Workaholic.  Time is something that I use as wisely as possible. I am aware that Time marches on.  Time gets away from us and Time will only tell what lies ahead.  I have often thought about how time effects us. For me, when there is a deadline and the TIME is limited...then I can seem to really push the time clock. 
A number of phrase use the word time in them...such as:
  • all in good time
  • at this point and time
  • bide your time
  • big-time spender
  • don't let time pass you by
  • a good time was had by all
  • he puts on his pants one leg at a time
  • if you can't do the time, don't do the crime
  • in the nick of time
  • it's crunch time
  • it's a sign of the times
  • it's time to call it a day
  • let the good times roll
  • like a time bomb waiting to explode
  • same time, same place
  • a stitch in time saves nine
  • take it one day at a time
  • time after time
  • time and time again
  • time heals all wounds
  • time is of the essence
  • time is money
  • the time is ripe
  • time flies when you're having fun
  • time is money
  • working on borrowed time
  • you have all the time in the world
  • The last being the one with the least amount of truth.  Time is limited.  There is only the here and now.  No TIME like the present.  It is a present....use it wisely....because you can only visit the past time in your mind and cannot change what has gone. 

    That Fragrance is Tabu

    Good morning to everyone.  Well, if you live in the northern Illinois area you will awaken to storms.  It stormed through the night and is continuing for the next few hours.  The humidity is certainly high here today! 
    Well, today's blog was  brought about because of going to a Salvation Army event yesterday.  For someone like myself, who is sensitive to chemicals, that was a real shocker to the system.  With about 50 women in a room, the scents were overpowering!  One very sweet woman came up to speak with me and I thought I would keel over.  The scent was way too overpowering...and even the fact that is was in a talc powder form stood out in my nose.  The scent: Tabu.  Tabu was the one scent, long ago, before I became so sensitive to chemicals, that I wore and was constantly complimented on. 
    Coming home, this whole experience took me back in time.  I can remember loving TABU!  It was not an inexpensive perfume.  It's bottle alone spoke volumes.  It was always a welcomed gift.  I came in a white box with a block stripe at the top portion that had a little red line to the side.  The bottles varied, but I prided myself on this large rounded edged, somewhat square bottle.  When I thought about fragrances, I remember trying so many different types as a young girl...searching for just the right one.  Some just smelled terrible on me and I never quite understood why...so when I discovered Tabu...I stayed with it until I could no longer where anything.  Yesterday's interaction with the woman and her Tabu fragrance brought back those good old days and yet, I was miserable by the time I left the event.  I could smell the scents all over ME.  The room was so filled that they saturated my own clothing.  I was miserable to be sure! 
    I started to wonder about the fragrances and when I looked it up...there are thousands of chemicals in each fragrance...the one with the least totals over 400.  Imagine...that many on your body and a roomful of people wearing all those chemicals.  Someone like myself, who suffers from MCSS...Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome, was certainly in a killing zone.  The fact that each of us is made up of our own individual chemical make up...we must find just the right blend that does not clash with ours.  Hence, the reason some perfumes or colognes are perfect on one person and not another.  If you wear a heavy amount of fragrance, if it doesn't work with your body's chemistry, the bad smell will be a lot worse than when wearing  a small amount.  No one should be able to smell your fragrance before you get there or twenty minutes to an hour after you have left.  Also, remember that some people get very ill around these fragrances, like myself, so do please choose carefully where you wear the stuff. 
    It is now that I understand the perfume testers in the store.  Of course their purpose is to sell the perfume, but the testers are a great way to see whether or not it will do well on you.  You can never go by just the smell in a bottle...because how it will react on you is the real test.  
    As for me, unfortunately those days are gone.   I am sad that I finally had to give away my precious bottle of TABU...because really it became TABU to me! 

    The GIRAFFE Horse

    Good morning to all.  Today is a bit gloomy outside and they are predicting storms for tomorrow here in the Niles Illinois area.  A full day is waiting for me.  I have a pretty full schedule of events to run back and forth to and on top of that, I am hoping to finish up painting a ton of Santas on my paint table. 
    As for today's blog, I am never sure where my mind will take me in my thoughts...but today I was sitting in my chair remembering a particular trip to Indiana with my Granddaughters.  Shipshewana, Indiana has always been a favorite of mine.  It is truly the type of place that I call HOME.  I am not quite sure what it is....but it soothes my soul to be there. 
    Anyway, through the years that we have gone back and forth there...I met a nice Amish family who owned a banquet hall that they catered an Amish dinner to and then afterwards, they entertained the masses.  It was great food and good, clean fun.  I often chatted with the owners and eventually became friends.  One time out there, we had our granddaughters with.  Now  the family had a daughter around the same age as our granddaughter and they got along well.  So one night, after the dinner and the entertainment was over, I went into the kitchen to help with dishes and my husband chatted with the owner.  While this went on, their daughter took our granddaughters and they ran around the farm.  We had a wonderful evening filled with laughter.  The time finally arose and we left to return to the hotel.  On our way there, we asked our eldest granddaughter who was 6 at the time, how she enjoyed herself and what did she and her new friend do?  Now, the back story that you need to know to get the reasoning behind her answer is that in the next town over...Middlebury....their was a great farm that you could tour and one of the things the housed their was a Zebra/horse.  Yes, a crossbreed...very interesting to see.  We went to visit that farm often.  Now back to the car and our question.  What did you get to see?  Her answer came easily....a Giraffe Horse.  Now remember...we have seen a Zebra/Horse...so someone saying a Giraffe Horse is not that far fetched...except when you try to visualize what that might look like.  My husband and I then began the round of questions.  Really?  How tall was it?  Did it have a long neck?  What kind of markings were on it?  She began to answer the questions as our minds scrambled to picture this Giraffe Horse. Finally she told us that it had really Big feet and that it pulled the work wagon....it was then that we realized she had either misheard or that the young Amish girl had a lisp of some type.  She was in actuality, describing a DRAFT horse.  I think my husband and I laughed all the way back to the hotel.  We have never forgotten how gullible we actually were and how funny the situation was! 
    Now, the next day, we went over to spend the day.  It was filled with lots of stories and jokes...some lunch and the children playing well into the night. The children began to head down the stairs into the basement and the 3 year old asked why it was so dark.  Where are the lights? Well, talk about how different life is.  She could fathom that there wasn't any light switches in that house. It was an eye opener even for someone so young. It was truly a wonderful experience for all of us and a truly enjoyed trip....that we have never forgotten 

    Everyday Items Serve as a Scrapbook

    Good morning to everyone.  I hope you all had a splendid weekend.  I was able to get quite a bit accomplished and am feeling quite good about that.  I told stories yesterday at the Alzheimer Center and the topic I chose was quite thought provoking for me.  So, because it made such an impact on me...I thought I would share it as my blog for today. 
    You see, often times we put focus on the people in our lives and how thinking about them can spark memories.  Well, I discovered that an object in our lives can tell a story as well.  As I worked on stories, they were of a Table, Swing, Rocking Chair, Candle, Bar of Soap and a Lake House.  As the stories went, each of these items were about the memories held within.  The table held the memories of children growing up around it and the so-called battle scars in the table made by numerous family and friends.  As I studied the story...it made me think of my own table and the stories that it could tell.  The amounts of people that have gathered around it through the years...the children that had been fed next to it.  I thought of the games played on it...the conversations held around it.  Meetings have been held there.  I have done my art there. Showers and Wedding foods were held by it.  The list goes on and on.  I thought about the history and the heritage that that single table holds and am blown away.  When I prepared the story of the Swing, I went back in time to my own porch swing and all the conversations that occurred there.  I thought about how many times we snapped peas while sitting on that swing, how many pillow cases were stitched and how many items had been crocheted while sitting there.  I remembered singing O Danny boy and lullabies galore while sitting on that swing and how many stories were told there.  It brought back the memories of many, both young and old...and dates of long ago.  While I prepared for the Rocking Chair story, I cried through most of it.  It really hit home.  It reminded me of my Grandmother and her rocking chair days.  The cushions that we used to buy her as presents, the babies she rocked there, the stories she told from that single chair.  Family history had been passed down from that chair as the years gently rolled by.  When it came time to prepare the candle story, this took a much different turn for me.  A candle in the window took me to my favorite Bed and Breakfast in Honeyville, Indiana.  The owner has candles in the window.  I remember the first time seeing it...it made my heart warm.  I couldn't wait to do the same in my own home.  When I think of how much that area has influenced me...I am astounded.  I own many hurricane lamps because of that area.  The Amish influence was quite big in my adult life.  Every time the lights go out in a storm, and the hurricanes are lit, I am so grateful.   Even the bar of soap story took me back in time.  Remembering a similar story of how a child I knew in grammar school was left out because of his hygiene and my making friends with him regardless.  The idea of the soap brought back various stories of my grandparents, my children and grandchildren.  And the lake house...well, that was a big story in my life.  When I need a thought that can still my mind, I can close my eyes and remember mornings at the Lake house.  Arising early, making that first cup of coffee and sitting outside while I could smell the dew on the ground and watch the mist lift up from over the lake.  The stillness of it all is still one of the most calming memories I have. 
    So it seems to me that everything we touch or have touched leaves our fingerprints upon it.  They are all things that can bring forth a special meaning...they may not all be the same, but they are there.  We often get so tied up in our daily lives that we sometimes forget what the past has left us with those THINGS.  I have started to look at some things a little differently now.  I am not sure whether it is because I am older...or because I WANT to remember those days.  Whatever the reason is, I am glad to wash that table, polish that rocker, swing on a swing, buy a special bar of soap, or have a candle lit.  They are all part of my heritage...my history, my life.  Stop and take a look around.  Choose an item and just think about what has happened because of it...or around it.  You may find it is like a living scrap book of your life.  Enjoy the memories.   

    A Topaz Engagement Ring?

    Good morning to everyone.  I hope that this will be a great weekend for everyone.  The weather certainly blew in a huge change here in the Niles area yesterday, resulting in much cooler temperatures.  This is wonderful....at least for me.  Much cooler temperatures are expected for the week to come and I certainly won't complain about that. 
    Today's blog is about engagement rings.  I watched the show last night called Four Weddings.  As I sat and watched all the preparations and the actual weddings themselves, it took me back in time to my own wedding and then my own engagement.  This month I will be married for 40 years.  That is more than double the age I was when I go married!  Well, I thought about the engagement ring and remembered the day that my diamond fell out of mine.  I was absolutely devastated!  I can remember by mother scolding me for having worn it.  I couldn't imagine why you wouldn't wear your ring.  Of course this was almost 3 years into my marriage...but still...why wouldn't I wear my rings?  Well, after searching everywhere for that diamond, I finally decided that it probably went down the drain when I gave my girls a bath that evening.  The ring came off the finger and into the jewelry box, never to have a stone replaced in the ring. It is hard to look at that...even now after 40 years of marriage.  It wasn't until Princess Diana that I saw that someone had a stone other than the diamond in it.  Of course later in life, more and more different stones began to appear as a fashionable stone for engagement rings.  As I sit here today, I started questioning the reasoning behind the ring itself and when it all began. 
    I discovered that the ring giving began around 1215 when a mandatory waiting period was issued by Pope Innocent III.  The tradition of giving an engagement ring dates back to the Classical era, when there was believed to be a vein running straight from what is now known as the left "ring finger" to the heart. The fourth finger of the left hand is still the traditional finger on which to wear the engagement ring. At that time, only the wealthiest could afford such a ring, so most rings were simple bands of metal. When more of the population could afford precious stone...some rings had stones in them that actually spelled out a message with the type of stones in the ring.  One that impressed me was the one that spelled out LOVE.  The stones in that ring were   Lapis lazuli, Opal, Vermarine, and Emerald.  How cool is that!  It was like a decoder ring!  Largely due to an advertising campaign by De Beers in the 1940s, todays most common stone in an engagement ring is still the diamond...although...since Princess Diana and her daughter in law Kate...other stones are becoming more and more fashionable. 
    When I think about the money that goes into a that ring and then the money that goes into a wedding...and when you see what some people actually pay for them, I question why.  I know how badly a girl is prepped since birth for that ring and that special day...but yesterday I saw one wedding where the couple were more impressed about who shared the moment with them than how grand and expensive it could be.  
    That brings me back to the engagement ring...mine in particular.  After 40 years, not only is the stone missing, but it needs to be made larger as well.  I guess it just might be time to have that ring repaired.  I have thought about it long and hard and have finally decided that I would prefer a different stone in that ring.  A stone that will tell a story of it's beginning, it's loss and it's continuation. I think it should be a Topaz.  The ancient Greeks believed topaz gave the wearer great strength and could also make them invisible....well, wouldn't that be a great side effect?   What I did not realize was the many colors that Topaz comes in..It also occurs in red, peach, orange, gold, pink, yellow, clear (the color of pure topaz) and brown. Some pink is obtained by heat-treating brownish yellow stones from Brazil. Certain shades of blue are also made by irradiating it.  Wow...the color of the rainbow...now to decide on the color best suited for me.   I also wonder whether we should take a second honeymoon and go to Topaz Mountain in Colorado and mine for the stone.  I could really dig that!  LOL.  

    Grape Jelly Season

    Good morning to everyone.  It is Friday already.  The time has just whisked by me this week.  I need to take some time today to prepare a program for Sunday.  My paint table is full and will need to get there to work today as well.  The temperatures are expected to drop drastically today, so perhaps I will remove a ham bone from the freezer and make some bean soup. 
    Well, today's blog is about Grapes.  I know...such an odd topic, but it brings back so many memories for me.  As a young girl, I can remember the peddler and his truck pulling up in the alley and in September...it was always grape time.  Oh how I loved September back then.  Grandma would buy a basket of grapes to make her grape jelly.  There was nothing better than a slice of her homemade bread smothered with butter and her homemade grape jelly.  I think that today...so many children miss out on the real flavors that we got from foods so long ago.  Not to mention, the aroma's in the kitchen when it was cooking on the stove.  Gram would make jar upon jar...if I had to guess now...I suppose by the time she was done, perhaps she would can up 50 jars of just the grape jelly.  She would give jars away to family members and to the neighbors.  What a priceless gift.  Now I hadn't thought much about grapes...they were just always there.  Then one day, once I was grown and married...we went to Michigan apple picking....September...of course, and as we drove down this battered side road...we came upon a farm with a sign that read....Welches Grapes available for picking.  Well, needless to say, we pulled in.  Upon talking to this small framed woman, we found out that the farm was a supplier to Welches, but her husband had passed away and she was no longer able to continue it's harvesting fro Welches.  She opened the farm up for picking.  What fortune we had come upon.  We went ahead and picked a couple bushels of grapes.  When you popped one in your mouth...as the grapes squished open, you felt as though you were drinking some Welches grape juice.  Now jelly grapes are much different in texture than the standard grapes that we buy in the store.  The skin is tough and the flavors are different.  I couldn't believe how fortunate we were.  I have no idea how many jars of grape jelly I canned that week, but I do remember it was a marathon.  Other than juice and wine...there are not a lot of things to make with those particular types of grapes...at least not to my knowledge.
    I started to think about how much I used to love the taste of those particular grapes.  Concord grapes to be exact.  I started to wonder about the benefits that those grapes might have had.  Turns out that there are great benefits to them and how often do any of us really get to have them?   The healthiest part of the grape is the skin, which is packed with not one but 19 different types of health-supporting nutrients.  Reasons for having this in your body are as follows:

    1. Great for your memory

    2, They are a natural anti inflammatory

    3. They lower blood pressure

    4. They maintain healthy breast tissue

    5. They boost your immune system

    6. They are good for a healthy heart

    Well, they more I read about those delightfully, robust grapes...the more I want to run out and get some.  I can remember when ever I had surgery or had my children, my taste buds cried out for that taste.  I drank more Welches grape juice back when I was young...and it never seems to be on my menu these days.  I suppose it is time to get them back on my daily intake. If for nothing else...having some of that delightful jelly is a definite plus. Tis the season to enjoy.  Search them out.  Go to a local farmer or farmers market.  Try your hand at making some jelly.  Perhaps you can juice some, the juice can be frozen.  Enjoy the fruit of the season and gain some health benefits along the way! 

    I'll Fly Away to Never Never Land

    Good morning to all.  Another scorcher today.  Another storm moving in as well.  These are the types of days I worry about.  Hot and then cold...makes for disaster in the weather.  Well, I spent part of my day working yesterday when my hand gave out.  This could become a serious problem.  My knuckles are locking in place and my hand is in some major pain.  I will need to switch gears and baby it for a while. 
    As for today's blog, it is the Peter Pan syndrome. When I was a kid, the song I remember singing was the Peter Pan song. I never imagined that this was a reality...that there were really going to be people that actually live out that song.    It is when adults have turned their backs on the reality of life. It is when they have placed rose colored glasses or perhaps 3D glasses on and believe that everything is the way they see it and not the way it actually is. 
    Sometimes, their visions are colored or distorted by other variables in their life.  Sometimes it is cloudy by depression, sometimes it is drowned in alcohol and or drugs, sometimes it is the pure and simple fact that they don't grow up. 
    It is an  avoidance of assuming responsibility.It is interesting to look at the signs of the Peter Pan Syndrome:
  • Either excessive outbursts of emotion or blunt in affect.
  • Anger to the point of wrath
  • Happiness that turns into extreme panic
  • Frustration that leads to self-pity and depression.
  • They have difficulty expressing feelings of love
  • They always feel guilty
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Undependable
  • Manipulative tendencies
  • These are often felt by so many, yet it is when it is on a constant and daily basis that it becomes a problem.  Often times, people who suffer from this syndrome feel alone.  They blame other people for their frailties.  They never accept any responsibility for their actions.  They are threatened by those who have any control over any situation....because it is their desire to have all the control...and yet they have no clue what to constructively do with it. 
    What is most interesting about this syndrome is that it is actually a disorder.  It is a psychological one.  There is a cure, but it requires more than just a pill or a workout regimen. First, those afflicted have to recognize the problem and then make that next step.  It is advisable that you simplify your life. Close the books, clock-out of work and reconnect with those who matter. Never Never Land does not exist.  It is the here and the now.  We only get one go around in this lifetime.  Take advantage of it.  Don't let the syndrome take away your chances of a great and real life! 

    Kraft Cheese and Illinois

    Good morning to everyone.  Well, here it is hump day already.  I must say it looks great outdoors.  Sun is shining brightly and it will be another warm day here in Niles, Illinois.  Yesterday was spent wiring snow people.  I am recycling soda bottles and newspapers to make them.  Today I will continue by applying paper mache and then once they dry...I will paint them and then design them.  While I work at my work table, I love listening to old radio programs and yesterday I was entertained with some of the greatest.  I laughed, I cried and I questioned.  Questioned?  Yes, I always question when I hear something that I had never realized or heard before.  So that leads us into today's blog.  The company that so many of us know...Kraft.  It was during the Kraft Music Hall program...that is correct...KRAFT music program with Bing Crosby as the host.  Bing introduced the Kraft Music Carolers from Chicago.  I sat here listening while all sorts of questions came to mind.  Number one...they where from Chicago...so who exactly were they?  As I began my search....more info about Kraft came up and I was amazed.  It seems that it all began in the year 1914 in Stockton, Illinois.  It was Kraft's goal to improve the packaging of cheese.  A valuable thing to achieve...especially during war time.  This enable these products to be sent to our service men.  Kraft had just recently celebrated their 100 years in June in the town of Stockton. 
    It amazes me if you go to the Kraft company and see all the things that Kraft now manufactures.  Their celebration included contests in multiple categories and it amazed me to see the recipes and the list of Kraft items used.  Coconut?  Really...they had a beer battered coconut shrimp recipe.  
    In the radio talk show...they periodically would have the announcer chime in with the commercials for Kraft products.  One of the things that they announcer would point out was how affordable the cheese was and how many rations it would use. 
    That was the second DING in my head.  Rations....it made me stop and think about what that meant...how people got by in those times.  We think things are bad now....and yet back then, folks were limited to what they could get by the rations they had.  The familiar blue box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner gained great popularity as a substitute for meat and dairy products. Two boxes required only one rationing coupon, which resulted in 80 million boxes sold in 1943. Food substitutions became evident with real butter being replaced with Oleo margarine. Cottage cheese took on a new significance as a substitute for meat, with sales exploding from 110 million pounds in 1930 to 500 million pounds in 1944.  
    During that time many Victory Gardens contributed to about 45 percent of vegetables.  Recycling aluminum began during these time.  Ha...and we thought we were the original recyclers.   
      When I go back and remember the reason for this thought process was to search out the Kraft Chorus Group I found that one of the members was a Lois Hutmacher Meinders. She said both she and her husband, the late Arthur Meinders, sang in the Kraft chorus. Lois has saved copies of “The Kraftolier,” the company newspaper published monthly at the Freeport Kraft Cheese plant.
    Lois stated that “Everybody in the choir had a jade pin,” Lois said. J.L. Kraft, founder of the company, was engaged in a lapidary hobby, working with gems, especially jade. A Kraft family history found at the Stockton Heritage Museum tells of his hobby along with a lengthy genealogy of the Kraft family.
    There was also a Vinnie Bloom who was the Choral Photographer. 
    There wasn't a whole lot more that I could find on these singers.  But a trip to the museum in Stockton just might be the ticket to these questions. 
    Whatever they are...I will continue the quest. 
    I love that listening to what was going on so long ago can spark so many questions and thoughts.  To bring about a company that is still a very large presence in our world today is monumental. Just the fact that it made me stop and think about those times and compare them to the present time is big for me.  It makes me think about my ancestors and what they went through. Thanks Kraft Music Hall for the memories...and if you are not fortunate enough to own any of those wonderful recordings...you can go online and listen. 

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