Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What a Month!

SONY DSC                       I really don’t know where the time has gotten to. It seemed like we were still in August just yesterday, and now here we are on the last day of September. What happened?

I shall tell you.

First, it has been harvest season, and the abundance has kept me busy. I’ve told you already about the pears our gracious neighbor down the street gave us. Well, we have also received tomatoes, onions, and beets from friends and neighbors.

The blessings continue, and I am so humbled and overwhelmed by the love, Jesus’s love, I feel coming through all these people in my life.

Friday was a very good day for me, emotionally and pain-wise. So I decided that my guys deserved an awesome supper. I made cioppino, which was amazing, as usual. I also canned salsa Friday.

Saturday, I still had too many tomatoes lying around, and so they went into the oven to be roasted for tomato soup. You can find the recipe in one of my other blog posts, here. There were so many tomatoes that once roasted and pureed, they had to go into the freezer for those cold winter nights we know are on their way. It will be wonderful, come November or December, to pull out a container of roasted tomato puree, add the chicken broth and evaporated milk, and viola! Dinner is served!

But that’s not all. No, that’s not all.

Our good friends and neighbors got married a week ago. –And it has taken me this long to recuperate. Ken and I prepared most of the wedding banquet—an amazing Mexican feast including the best Spanish rice Ken has ever made (about 6 gallons of it in total), carnitas (50 pounds before cooking), pork and nopales in red sauce (3 gallons worth), potato salad (3 gallons), salsa (3 gallons), refried beans (4 gallons), and enough fruit to fill our second refrigerator. No, we never did get rid of it, but in all honesty, it sat, unplugged, until just before the wedding. I am glad we still had it available. Frankly, I cannot remember what else was on the menu, except homemade tortilla chips. It took me two days to make those silly things, there were so many, and yet people gobbled them up like there was no tomorrow. That’s the only thing I would have been concerned about running out of, had more people shown up. As it was, there was a great crowd.

Thank you for allowing me a little break from writing. Thank you for blessing me with your readership. I am grateful for all.

And now, some pictures. Oh, I forgot to say that while I wasn’t refilling the buffet (since my teenaged helpers disappeared), I was also the wedding photographer. The ceremony took place in their back yard. Enjoy a little taste of Oregon, Mexico style!



This was after the melons were peeled and sliced and put in the restaurant tubs in the bottom. The pitchers on the top to the right are agua de fresca, another menu item I forgot to mention, 3 gallons, saved mostly for immediate family.


The pork and nopales (cactus).



There was a live band and dancing half the night.


Since the entire family was there, which as you know can be difficult to achieve with today’s busy lives, I took family portraits during the wedding as well. Not just the newlyweds and her  kids, but all the brothers and their families too, and then the next generation too, since my friend has grand-babies. I must admit, however, that by the end of the evening, as the band was getting packed up, I had to grab someone to get a pic of me and my guys, since we were all dressed up. Considering this picture was taken around ten at night, I think I look pretty darn good still.


Of all the pictures, this one has to win the award for the most touching moment, between uncle and niece, as he fixed her ribbons before the portraits were taken.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blessings Abound

IMG_0187Okay, so this hasn’t been the best week for creating works of art. It is becoming more difficult. I am not lacking imagination, but I am definitely running short on supplies and money to replace them.

Darn medical bills. And other bills. I pray for my son to get a job so that things won’t be so tight, but so far no such luck. It is difficult, three adults living on one retirement income. I am thankful we are here to help my son now when he needs us most. And I am thankful he is here to help us, too. If only we didn’t need to eat so often . . .

Even so, I count my blessings daily. And they do come daily.

I prayed for less pain when doing my writing and artwork, and my best friend and her boss gave me an office chair so that I would not have to sit in an uncomfortable kitchen chair.

Our Jeep broke down. I prayed to God that I did not know what we were going to do. He answered my prayers by arranging for another good friend to lend us their second car.

I prayed more about how we would be able to afford to fix the Jeep. Yet another friend stepped in to offer his free labor and know-how. Still praying about the cost of parts, but I feel confident in the Lord’s workings.

Out of the blue, a neighbor a few houses down offered us a lug and a half of pears from his tree. He even picked them for us. I am very thankful for his generosity. Once canned, they will provide fruit for us through the winter. (That’s my son’s best friend William [another blessing] helping me sort the pears. There’s nothing wrong with our skin; it is dappled shadowing from the umbrella.)


Our neighbors in the other half of the duplex have also been a godsend. They are getting married in a few weeks, and knowing our talents, they have hired us to cook the wedding feast, design the invitations (below), and photograph the wedding. I will also be doing a family portrait for them. This could not come at a better time for us, financially.


There are so many blessings, large and small, in our lives right now. All this brings me to tears. The love we’ve been shown by friends and strangers alike, it overwhelms me.

Another blessing is that our apple tree produced its first abundant crop. From half the apples, I made three pies, and I still have the other half of the honey crisps to munch or to make more pies.

Being gluten intolerant, I made these pies with a sugar cookie crust and a crisp topping. They are amazingly tasty.


I have only managed a few finished pieces this past week, though I have been drawing and have come up with plenty of sketches to paint later, once I can replace some of my supplies.

The imagination is a wonderful thing. As I was painting yard sale signs for Ken, I asked if I could have a few of the smaller plywood boards. These, I will paint upon with acrylics. Below, Ken is adding a second coat of base paint for me. Of course I had the tough job of sanding them smooth, myself!


All the family gets in on the action.


After all the week’s work and prayers and praises, it’s no wonder Tink and I passed out last night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

It Matters

DSC01496Sometimes in life, we must make quick decisions, such as when someone swerves in front of us on the freeway.

Or when we only have thirty minutes for lunch, it doesn’t pay to spend fifteen of those precious minutes choosing which fast food restaurant to go to.

But for the more important stuff, it behooves us to take our time. Get exactly what we want.

Like my DSLR camera.

I took seemingly forever even making the decision to break away from old-fashioned film.

In the end, I had thoroughly done my homework, and I chose a camera that I knew would suit me well. It was neither the most expensive, nor the cheapest.

I chose a Sony a33 with two interchangeable lenses that gave me the macro and distance equivalents to my old SLR. I am always amazed at its capabilities, and I have barely scratched the surface in exploring all it can do.

The pictures in the video are untouched and uncropped, and the pictures below have been cropped to enhance the specific details I wished to show. Otherwise, they were untouched. All of these pictures were taken over the past weekend at the Swan Island Dahlia Festival in Canby, Oregon.






And now, the video. For a real treat, play this Youtube video through your hi-def TV.