Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Joni Eareckson - Soaring with Wings as Eagles

What can I say about Joni Eareckson Tada, which hasn't already been said?  Well, I guess I can talk about what a personal inspiration she is to me.  I remember before I knew God (instead of just knowing His name) I would read her books with longing to have a relationship with Him like she did.  I particularly remember one morning when I was so hungover that eating Grape Nuts sounded like an explosion in my head, but I kept reading.

She was one of a number of "seeds" planted in my past which finally bore fruit when I was in my mid-twenties.  Joni has continued to inspire me all these years with her courage, good humor, faith, and talents.

A few years ago, Joni faced cancer with the same steadfastness and inspired me all over again.

She's been cured, thanks be to God, and cancer free.  Joni and hubster, Ken, both work together in her non-profit, Joni and Friends.  Among other things, Joni and Friends sponsors camps for children with disabilities and their caretakers.

Check out her webpage and look at the video of Joni LITERALLY soaring like an eagle.  I'd be scared to do with WITH my arms and legs working  Watch a breathtaking demonstration of the Lord being our strength.

Love her, pray that God will continue to bless her, and thank Him for all she continues to do.  You GO, Girl!

Joni flies like an eagle

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Persistence of Memory - Redeem the Time

I was a real rebel (smirk) in my teens.  I'd cut out of school all the time to do risky teenage things to thumb my nose at my parents.  Uh,....not so much.  I would, indeed, cut out of school - which I found boring and not suited to my type of learning.  I'd take a train into New York City and smoke dope in a park?  Nope! Try to score some weed in Morningside Heights?  Ut uh!

I took time off from school without permission to (GASP) visit museums  I would learn by myself at the Museum of National History, the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center (magnificent paintings by Marc Chagall adorn the inside), the Guggenheim, the Frick Collection, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I marveled over the exhibit of Monet's years in his beloved Giverny.


I loved that he painted as he did because he was so nearsighted...just like me.  I contemplated the differences between El Greco's "Crucifixtion" and Salvador Dali's painting of the same name from 400 years later.

"Rebel" that I was, I daresay I learned many more useful things that I would have in Mr. Vene's math class, which I detested.  I bet I am the only Ward Melville High School kid who cut classes to go to museums. In fact, I spoke with Jim Pew, my co-worker from Long Island,  who took the same opportunity to eat buttered bagels and drink warm "appropriated" Heinekens.  Don't tell his Mom.

One of the most fascinating paintings I ever saw is the one pictured above, Dali's "The Persistence of Memory."  Seeing paintings on the Internet doesn't hold a paintbrush to actually standing before the work and seeing the strokes of paint.  This is particularly interesting with Monet, to see up close that which seems abstract, then to back up and see the dots that coalesce into beauty,  Your heart breaks for Vincent, so tortured that it emerges from the thick smears of paint he flung onto canvas from a palette knife.

God gives us such amazing talents.  Some of this emerges in paintings like both Crucifixions or Michelangelo's magnificent work showing Adam just missing the hand of God.  Sister Wendy used her talent to become a major art critic by reading books and post cards depicting great artistic works.

Interview Sister Wendy Beckett

She is delightful.

But back to the Persistence of Memory.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.…Ephesians 15 and 16.

The painting illustrates this verse for me.  I love the concept of redeeming time, which is found in the King James version. Other versions say "make the most of" time,  I like concept of redeeming time a lot better. We redeem time, by making the most of it, by taking advantage of all our opportunities to work for the Lord.

The clocks have become distorted and are slipping away, which (along with the desolate wasteland surrounding them) illustrates unredeemed time.

The late Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) talks about time in quadrants as follows:

*Urgent and important (someone has to go to the ER)
*Urgent and not important particularly (someone is calling or knocking on the door)
*Important, but not urgent (Bible study, planning your next month or week, learning a new skill) and
*Not urgent and not important (gossipy phone calls, watching Law and Order reruns, stewing, fretting, worrying, thinking about hurt feelings, regretting the past, being angry with folks you believe spitefully used you).

Covey calls the last quadrant a "quadrant of waste."

Stephen Covey

Dali should have called his painting "The Quadrant of Waste" instead,  He's picturing unredeemed time in a wasteland.

Children of Light:  "Redeem the time, because the days are evil."

...And just for fun "The Persistence of Cookie"

Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saturday Treasures

We often take a country drive on Saturdays.  This time, we headed up north on the back country roads.

Yorktown has a great vintage store called Auntie YaYa's, where I found an old stepladder.  I've been wanting to find one reasonably priced for the longest time.  The ones I'd seen in the fancier, upscale antique stores were over $40 and all "rigged out," so to speak.  The one I bought was an honest little step ladder, unembellished, for an honest little price.  I can embellish for myself.  I "shopped my house" for the little items on the stepladder.  

We kept driving up to the Northern Neck area of Virginia, to Mathews County, another favorite, old-timey spot.   Doodle Bugs is a sweet little vintage place, also reasonably priced.  I think my suitcase "coffee table" is now complete with the help of the blue suitcases holding the magazines.

This picture makes it look like the world's longest coffee table.  It isn't, it is less than half the length of the couch,

I had to bring this beautiful cross-stitched table topper home for the living room corner where we often eat or work on our laptops.

The owner must have used some liquid starch on this.  I haven't seen it used in years.  I think I could have stood up the tablecloth on one side by itself it was so stiff,.  It did enhance the blue stitching so beautifully.

At one point, we were about 35 miles from home at Yorktown where General Cornwallis surrendered, ending the Revolutionary War.  Imagine our surprise to find our friend and neighbor, Neil, riding down the street.  Neil, say hi.  I am not sure which one of us was the most surprised to see the other so far from the neighborhood.
We headed home about 4 p.m.  I spent the evening fussing around to get everything in its proper place.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cool Free Feature for an Android Phone

Bruce is always coming up with all these amazing programs for the computer and our Android phones.  For instance, last year when he was teaching at college, they needed a level for a project.  Everyone is looking around for one.  Bruce downloads a program which turns his cell phone into a level.  He has a flashlight program that turns the phone guessed it.  His phone, plugged into the car radio, reads him Scripture while he drives to work.  Another program plays different sounds to help encourage sleeping (not while driving, of course)..everything from rainstorms to city traffic.  I'm the one who likes the city traffic sounds.  All of the applications he chooses are free of charge.

I think he outdid himself with the latest one, called Sketch Guru.  This turns photos into various kinds of artwork.  He took a pic from a July 12 blog entry honoring my sister's birthday.  Using the "colored pencil" function, he turned it into the sketch above.  I just love the detail on the old milk bottle with the cow on it!

I think I'll keep him!  He also makes great coffee and a mean egg sandwich,.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Refurbished Kitchen Cabinet

Inspiration Picture
Before Picture

After picture

The little picture in the middle is decoupaged in place.  My mother-in-law gave it to us years ago.  The colors are just wonderful.  It is an instruction on proper canning techniques in a delightfully 1930's typeface,  I've never really known what to do with it until now.  Click to enlarge the picture and see it better.

The Phone

I have had a black, rotary dial phone in my kitchen for ages.  The phone was from the late sixties.  I've been looking for a reasonably priced older phone from the WW II era for several years.  The refurbished ones are advertised for well over $200 and I won't spend that much.

We spied a nice one for less than a quarter of that, but it didn't work.  Bruce tinkered with it over the weekend and it is in use!

Oh, oops, here it is in another red head's hands: a Western Electric Model 302, patented in 1939.  In 1941, Western Electric changed the phones from painted metal to plastic for the war effort  Mine is the 1941 version

Years ago on Long Island, New York my Grandmother Dunn had a phone number which was expressed in both letters and numbers.  The letter exchanges stopped before I was born, but Nana continued to say something like this well into my teenage years: "This is Mrs. James Dunn and my phone number is Myrtle-4 5696, that's MY4-5696.  The actual number was 694-5696.

The number on the round dial in the middle of her phone still had the letter exchange,  This fascinated me as a kid for some reason.  I shared this with Bruce who set up the phone like this at our house:

Here's the phone in place on top of a kitchen cabinet:
Those wonderful spice containers were a birthday present from my amazing sister.  It is a little known fact, but she was one of the original Spice Girls.  Kerry was Ironic Spice.  You probably haven't heard about her unless you're a really big fan.  Posh Spice used to stand in front of her all the time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Day in Smithfield and My New Kitchen Counters

Smithfield Virginia (where they make the world famous Smithfield ham) is about 20 minutes away from us. The flavor is very much small-town America, with patriotic concerts on the lawn of their local paper Smithfield was founded in 1752 and many of the gorgeous old homes have been lovingly preserved,  They have such a sweet little shopping district.  After doing a bunch of mundane errands, such as buying my hair dye (ssssshhhh that's a secret) and printer cartridges, we decided to sneak away to Smithfield.

I this attorney's name always cracks me up.  Seriously?
Well, I guess he's being totally up front about who he is right from the start!
The dairy feed circular, metal advertising sign was purchased at Wharf Hill Antiques in Smithfield.  The owner has quite the discerning eye.  I feel inspired every time I stop by.

Wharf Hill Antiques Smithfield Virginia

They don't pay me to blog about them, nor do I receive a discount of any type. I just love the store.

Adorable gingerbreaded cottage in Smithfield.

This one is Bruce's favorite.
Smithfield dress shop.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dear Karensa July 13

My sister, Kerry, is the best!  She is a wonderful wife, sister, daughter, and mom.  Her deep faith inspires me every time I speak with her.  Kerry is a peace maker.  She's a problem solver.  Kerry has a true servant's heart.  The world believes that 13 is an unlucky number. Not my sister...she is as blessing to everyone who knows her.

Click on the pic if you can't quite see the words here.


The Sweetest Kitchen Cabinet EVER

From Flea Market Decor magazine...the Get Organized Issue:

Oh my gosh, but I think this is SO ADORABLE!

My own similar cabinet is looking more shabby than chic!  Guess what I'm working on this weekend?

Here is my more shabby than chic current cabinet.  It is quite similar, but no feet on it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Flea Market Gardening Vintage Bike

I've been looking for a vintage bike for FOREVER to put in a certain area in my front yard.  I have a red vintage bike which I adore, but I ride around on it!  I've seen vintage bikes around here and there for over one hundred bucks...I don't THINK so, as Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women used to say (God rest Dixie Carter's soul....LOVE HER.)  Julia rants

I put the word out that I was looking for an old, broken-down bike for cheap or nothing.  Cheap is good, free is better, as a boss of mine used to say.  About a month later, a black, broken down bike with no gears was leaning against my front porch when I came home last week. The tires were flat, which suited me just fine because it doesn't need to go anywhere,

I painted it bright red (I should buy stock in Rustoleum) and found a basket for under $5 at Walmart.  It isn't a bike basket per se, but rather a wire basket that we attached to the handle bars with cable tie wraps.  I couldn't find a used bike basket anywhere and the cheapest I saw on line was $10 before shipping cost.  The pinwheels are from the Dollar Store.

This picture was a mistake as a put my cell phone in my pocket prior to the pinwheel addition .  When I looked at it, I kind of liked it.   The house you see is the Craftsman bungalow next door, which was once the mother-in-law's house for mine and was originally part of my property.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Rushing Over the Bridge

So the other day, I was riding as a passenger across this bridge and was impatient to be on my way to the Peninsula.  Surely this couldn't be Busch Gardens traffic.  We were nearly 40 miles away.  If it was Busch Gardens, we were in for a bumpy ride.  I was hungry for lunch, blah blah blah...

The traffic started up again and I remembered (feeling a little foolish) that this was a draw bridge and this hand to sail underneath with its tall mast:

How often do we do just what I did, only about less tangible things than draw bridges and boats?  When the job interview that seemed to go so well doesn't lead to a job, do we want to jump on ahead?  When a new relationship seems so right, only there's just this little thing about it that doesn't seem Biblical, do we want to rush on in and then feel a stab of disappointment when it ends?

God orders our days perfectly.  Since there is only NOW anyway, we must learn to be content, thankful, and joyful right where we are, lest we hurry on ahead and find the draw bridge open under our feet.

My times are in Your hands.
Psalm 31:15

The eternal God is your Refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. 
Deuteronomy 33:27

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you...plans to give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11