Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter: Dreaming in White

Last winter was the most beautiful winter we'd had in Michigan in years.  There was plenty of snow, plenty of frost, and best of all, plenty of FOG.  

FOG plus snow equals my MOST FAVORITE combination for beautiful photos in the cold months.

These photos feature a frequent visitor we entertained a lot last winter, one called 'hoarfrost'.  

This year has not been fruitful for a lot of photos for consumption by my appreciative blog readers.  

So, I had to go back into the photo archives and look to see what I'd missed out on showing you last winter.  

It got me to thinking, which I sometimes do.

This is how it is with a garden.  Some years, you have a bumper crop of berries or tomatoes, and then the next year, it's a total berry or tomato famine.  (Wasn't that deep?!)

That's why you grab all you can, while you can.

Hoping you enjoyed today's photos, 
brought to you today by a very generous Winter, 2011.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Inspiration or Despair?

This IS NOT my house.  I repeat:  this is NOT my house.  But I like it.  I like it VERY MUCH.

The above pictures inspire me.

What inspires you?

I have to say that in life, my favorite things are the simple ones. 

 And I am glad.

I had always wanted an old farmhouse, and somehow, we got lucky enough to find one so we could do the work ourselves to be able to afford it, and work we have.

This home pictured here, is one that has hooked me from the first time I saw it in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine a few years back.

There are images everywhere for us to look at and sometimes we are inspired, but at times it can cause us despair.

We look and look, and we know that we cannot possibly duplicate.
This can be the downfall of our flitting about from here to there on the internet, perusing blogs, or haunting the halls of Pinterest.

While I cannot possibly duplicate what I see, I can be inspired, and I can enjoy the small ways that I can duplicate the look I see here:  fresh, crisp, and cheerful.

I hope to always be able to be inspired--in a positive way, or if we look at it wrong, we could be inspiring envy or despair--not what we want! 

For instance:  I love the picture above of the white buffet, everything about that, but, if I suggested to my husband that we paint our old buffet?  I would lose.  I know it.  Why?  Because he refinished our old beauty with his own two hands.  That is not easily getting covered up with paint!

But I can borrow the idea for the top of the buffet, and the wall behind it.  See what I mean? I can be inspired without duplicating.  And I need to be contented with that.

There are ways to dream...and then there's reality.

Accept them both with realistic expectations and you won't be disappointed!

Have a good Monday, and be inspired, without despair!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Girl!

Today is a special day.  It's the day I first became a mother 29 years ago.

What a day that was!  I still get misty-eyed just thinking back to that wonderful day.

She was my first baby.  Everything went according to textbook.  She was almost on time, she was due the 25 and started labor that night, was born the next morning, about the time her daddy usually would leave for work.  It was love at first sight.

She was so cute when she was born, came out with a hard frown, and looked like she was quite annoyed at those lights overhead, and as if she was saying "Would you turn those lights off, already?!  I was trying to sleep!"  

Over the next few days we got to know each other better.  And I learned she loved her daddy dearly, and she stole his heart, too.

She was a gorgeous baby, with heartbreaking blue eyes, and her dark hair eventually turned totally blonde--platinum.

Before I could turn around it was time for her to start school.

Soon, she broke my heart at kindergarten registration when she told me she didn't need me to help her with her coat, she could do it herself.  She could do lots herself, and she always has.

Such an independent little spitfire, that girl.  How I admire her spirit and her strength, more than she will ever, ever know.  She has made us so proud. 

Before I could turn around, she had graduated high school, college, and set out on her own to fulfill a dream she had of living in her dad's home state. 

And it turns out, that it's a good thing that she is strong, and independent because she lives far, far from her family.  

Now that she's a mother herself, she is calling on that strength and independence every day to get this important job done that she's so glad to have.

But how I would love, love, love to be there with her today and spoil her a little and love on those beautiful babies she's got.

Jamie, have I ever told you you are my hero?

Well, you are.

And I love you.

I love you dearly and wish you a beautiful, magical, yet ordinary birthday.  The only wish I have is that we could be with you to celebrate.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I (finally) got the tree down last weekend, and while I was un-decorating on a gray, rainy, perfectly awful, ugly day, I noticed something beautiful.

It made me stop and look... 

And smile.

So, like other times in the middle of something I am doing, I get distracted by a tiny treasure, a jewel there just for me to snap up...

With my camera.

All around us are little treasures like the lights I saw reflected in the windows on a perfectly awful gray day...

Do we take the time to notice...?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Walk in the Woods...

Bailey is my sister's family dog.

The snow was so heavy on the trees, and it was just so beautiful that my niece and I just had to go out and do some shooting.

She enjoyed walking with me over the weekend when I was visiting my sister's home.

Isn't she just the sweetest girl?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shadow Shots: Aprons & Sun

I edited my apron rack to just reds.  Makes me smile every time I pass it...

Well, well, well!  

We finally have some snow covering the ground!

Yippee!  I hope we get more, just an inch or two so far.

I am heading out today to walk five miles, do some errands, and I will be lugging the camera along with me in the truck, and I do hope to see an hour on some back roads.

I hope you have a wonderful Friday!  

Got any plans for the weekend?

PS:  Christmas is almost all down and put away!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Restless Patriot Speaks: Moms With Guns

This is my heat-packin' daughter who is married and a mommy herself.   She got her CCW years ago, when she had to work and drive in a very undesirable location in an old industrial part of town. She learned to shoot from dad; since she was a little girl.

“I wouldn’t have done it, but it was my son….it’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son.  And it wasn’t going to be my son.  There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.”

--Sarah McKinley as told to KOCO 
ABC Affiliate
Oklahoma City, OK

By now, I’m sure you have all heard about the young Oklahoma mother, Sarah McKinley, who recently shot and killed an intruder to protect her baby and herself.  

This was widely reported in the media, and in spite of hundreds of stories that are negative in the mainstream media about “guns killing” this story was, astoundingly, reported in a positive light.

In addition to being a story that the common criminal might take notice of; it’s also an inspiring story which might make every mother listen.  Why?  Because we can also protect our families.  In fact, we must.

This young mother had no husband there to protect her and their baby, her husband had tragically died of cancer on Christmas day.

She was the only line of defense for her baby, herself, and her home.

The criminals, two men, one of which were armed with knives and were trying to break in--she was alerted by the family dog barking at the door.  She picked up her shotgun, and she picked up the phone and asked for permission to shoot--after putting her baby in the bedroom and gave him a bottle to keep him quiet.  

It took the man a while to kick the door in.  

The men were greeted with a shotgun blast.  

The police called the shooting justified.

Our forefathers knew that armed citizenry is sometimes the only thing that will keep a government (and a roaming criminal!) honest.  

Oklahoma is one of thirty states with a “castle doctrine”.

She was her child’s first line of defense.

Actually when you think about it, this also happens to be the case with most mothers in most homes across the country on a daily basis.

We are the first line of defense for our families.

What a responsibility!

Who spends the most time home with the children?


Fathers are usually out of the home during work hours and home invaders these days use the daylight hours just as much as they once used the nighttime hours.  It doesn’t bother them to break and enter in the broad daylight.

You, as a mother, have a right to have a weapon and use it to protect your family, yourself, and your possessions.

You, as a woman, also have a right to carry a weapon.  Each state has their own laws, but for any law-abiding citizen who is willing to take the classes and become certified, you can also carry a weapon and go almost anywhere with your confidence carried in knowing you have the pistol tucked into your purse.

I took my Concealed Carry Weapons class from a police officer.  This class lasted for 8 hours and was about $150.  It started with teaching, learning, testing and ended with a time on the gun range, proving that I could shoot, hit the target and shoot from a standing position, a sitting position, a kneeling position and a laying position.

I will never forget the officer telling us that the average response time to a 911 call is more than enough time for you and your whole family to be killed.

A good officer is pleased, happy and wanting law abiding citizens to be carrying.  This is music to their ears.  WHY?  Because they need all the help they can get.

And in an age of budgets being cut and forces growing smaller in number, you are the best line of defense for your loved ones and yourself.

In a concealed carry class, you will learn:

1.  About the safe usage of firearms, consider whether or not you are capable of using deadly force, and learn what the mental mindset of using deadly force in a confrontation might be.

2.  A person must have a willingness to personal protection during a violent encounter, know what the different levels of awareness of these dangers in your home or when you are out, you must be an alert person, and know when a situation is appropriate to be alarmed.  

3.  Learn how to shoot accurately for self-protection, and what center of mass is, shooting from behind a “cover”, when NOT to shoot if the perpetrator is concealed, and laws pertaining to guns and the use of deadly force, to know what the laws are concerning the use of a handgun in self-defense, and to be aware that you can be arrested anytime you use a handgun.

4.  What makes a home attractive to a criminal, and how you might be feel traumatic stress disorder if you do need to use your firearm to protect yourself in a violent confrontation.

5.  How to store your personal guns, and the ammunition the biggest rule of all:  know your target and what is behind it.

So, ladies, learn and know your guns, and know which bullets fit into it and where they are kept and know how to shoot.  All you need to aim for is the upper torso.

A mother truly is very dangerous when it comes to her children.

“I would do it again, 
not because I’d want to, 
but because of my son.”
--Sarah McKinley

Think about it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Beauty in the Rough: Reclaimed Barnwood

This was the old barn...it had to go because it became very dangerous.  

It was very sad to us, but we saved the wood siding and a few of the beautiful beams that were hand-hewn--before we pulled it down.

But now, we can see it repurposed, reused!  

The guys are working behind the new barn we put up to take the place of the old one.  None of the character, but it's bigger, has power, and the stuff in it sure stays much more dry!  :0)

Recently, I've been sifting through my photo files and I've found several stories I never told you.

And this is one of them.

Taking this big pile of old barnwood siding and making it into usable wood for projects for us is my son and husband tackled one really, really, really hot summer afternoon.  (In fact, it was so hot, when I took the camera outside from the central air in the house, the lens immediately fogged over and I had to wait several minutes to warm it up!)

He'd bought a new planer and wanted to try it out.  

He set up his work area and got busy.

I had to watch!

I loved watching the wood smooth out and clean up.

Even Luke got in on the action!

Isn't it beautiful!!?  

So much potential!

The top layers of the wood are very dry, and very splintery, it's difficult to use that way.  

Getting at the beauty underneath the dried out surface is where we want to go.

I love the smell of the fresh layer of wood coming out.

The places where the animals chewed up or rubbed are especially wonderful to me.  The wormholes, the knots, all of the marks are beautiful!  

The piece above here is obviously from a stall inside the barn, and is in very good shape for the barn being at least 115.  I love that.

I have uses in mind for this wood, and can't wait until we can see some of it put to use.  

We've done one project so far, just a small one; a picture rail.  

I can see a beautiful farmhouse kitchen table out of this.  I've found some projects online.  

(Pinterest is a wonderful place for keeping track of project like this--so you can find them when you need them; have you discovered this crack cocaine of the internet?!  WOW!)

Below is the first project we want to do:

Toddler bed 
(For Levi when he graduates from his crib!)

And....here are the tables I'm looking at.  

Simple and yet beautiful, and even more special because it would have come from our old barns.

These are such exciting possibilities!!

I hope to soon be able to show you the results of our work...which table would you choose?