Tuesday, December 31, 2013

When It's Hard to Not Look Back

Does so much of the past year beg to be forgotten? Never to be thought of again? 
Swept under the rug. Thrown out with the garbage. Burned. Buried.
...in someone else’s yard.
 ...in a land far, far away.

But, it can’t be truly forgotten. To be truly forgotten would be as if it never happened. However, it cannot be treated as if it never happened, because it has shaped us for the rest of our lives. The hurt, the sadness, the loss, the grief, the anger – no – rage, the loneliness, the emptiness. And the scariest of them all, hopelessness.

I don’t know about you, but it was the hopelessness that threatened to pull me under more than any of the other emotions.

What the past year can be is:
learned from

I was blown away by a quick look online for the definition of redeem. Want to see it?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Of Playing Dress Up and Forgetting Not to Blink

There have been so many years of watching my four girls play dress up. Daughters transformed into princesses simply by putting on a discarded lacy slip or a costume. Tangled hair yanked into submission under the authority of a sparkling headband. A little bit of blush. A touch of lip gloss and let the twirling begin.

It didn't matter there was neither music nor prince. The girls would primp and dance and giggle all for the joy of simply being what they were – little girls playing dress up.

Tonight brought a different kind of dress up. This one was not pretend. One sister a bride.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Coconut Lime Bread

My, oh my - where have you been all my life?

I don't normally share recipes, but this one is too good to keep to myself. This yummy bread was in the March, 2013 edition of Better Homes and Gardens. I tore the page right out my magazine (yes, I still tear and keep recipes on magazine pages) and put it on the kitchen counter.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Make a Bud Vase / Votive Holder

My daughter, Steph, and I tackled a little project the other evening.

This is a great way to reuse baby food or other small jars and scrap wood.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Flower Beds Galore!

Well, our hot Kansas summer is in full swing and I am allergic to sweating while working in the yard. As a result, my project list has moved back inside.

However, I realized I hadn't updated on the yard projects I started in the spring. So, here you go....

Along the front fence line, where I had planted my grandma's peonies...

 ...I put these flower beds down to protect them from the lawn mower.
My plan is to add perennials in the fall - daisies, coneflower, stuff like that.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

How to Make a Brick Walkway

I am extremely excited to share a big project with you today!

We finally put to use the bricks our neighbor gave us ... for free ... and made a lovely brick walkway out front. I did a little research online before starting, then we jumped on in. Here's how it went.

1. We measured the width and length for the walkway, using stakes and twine to mark the area.
I would recommend deciding on the pattern for your bricks before you decide on the width of your path. This will insure that your bricks will fit inside the designated area.
*ahem* I may or may not have done that myself, but would highly recommend you do it.

2. We went 15 feet out from the bottom of the stairs in order to make a nice boundary for the extra parking. The existing blocks were removed before the digging began.

3. Brian and Silas dug out a nice bed for the walkway. You will want to make it deep enough to make your bricks even with the grass level, so take into account the size of your bricks and the layer of sand you will spread before laying the bricks.

4. After all that digging you should take a break. It's hard work.

5. Before proceeding with the next step, call the crew foreman to inspect your work.

6. To prepare for laying the bricks, spread a nice bed of sand about an inch thick in your path. We worked in sections of about a yard each. As you can see, I placed the bricks fairly close together. Wiggle the bricks into the bed of sand to make them fit securely.

7. Here's a look at the progress. I decided to alternate my main pattern with a random pattern because there weren't enough bricks to do the entire thing with my main pattern. I love the patchwork look!
Continue laying bricks until your new walkway is filled.

8. After we finished laying the bricks, we filled in the sides with dirt. I used a two by four to pack it down tightly.

9. Next, dump generous shovels full of sand on your new fancy walk and rub it in using a broom. The goal is to work in as much sand as possible between the cracks. To aid in settling, after the first layer is done lightly spray with water before applying another layer of sand. This part of the process took quite a while to get enough sand in the cracks, so take your time.

10. We were expecting some rain, so I left plenty of extra sand on the surface.
Over the next couple weeks, I swept more sand into the cracks every few days. The hot summer sun has baked the sand into a nice hard seal around the bricks.

TaDa!!! New brick walkway!

Just for fun I decided to make a raised bed at the end of the walk. It seemed like there needed to be a destination at the end, ya know?

I stacked two layers of these funny-shaped bricks and filled it with potting soil and dirt that was dug out to make way for the brick path.

 And now, here are entirely too many pictures of my new brick walkway.
I am totally infatuated!

To me, it looks like the brick walk has been in front of the house since it was first built in 1890!

I hope you find these instructions helpful if you're thinking about installing a brick walkway in your yard. The entire process took several hours of work for three days with my husband, son, and myself doing the labor.

Happy Independence Day!

I will walk about in freedom, 
for I have sought out your precepts.
Psalm 119:45 NIV

God Bless America!

Linking to these sites:
Lil\'Luna Elizabeth and Co.  Shine on Friday  Funky_Junk's_Party_Junk_link_party_150Yellow Bliss RoadHome Stories A2Z  Marty's Musings Grace at Home Ivy and Elephants Remodelaholic   

Thursday, June 13, 2013

When A Yard Becomes Holy Ground

When I visited my mom recently, I had church in her yard. Here are some of my meditations from the last several weeks and a few more pictures of her place.

* * * * * * *
Sitting out here on the glider swing in Mom's yard was all the church I needed that morning. 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Bird song and rustling leaves led the praise. 

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and 
let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 AMP

The same breeze strumming branches swirled sweet all around me, 
incense of wild rose, like the prayers of the saints.

...God has made me forget all my trouble..... God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Genesis 41:51-52 NASB

My soul, hungry for that which satisfies forever, finds rich food to be slowly savored. 

...those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit 
set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
...the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
Romans 8:5-6 AMP

Solitude that could be lonely is my invitation to sit awhile with the Lover of my soul. 

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.
Luke 1:78-79 NLT

My Maker. My Redeemer. The One Who carries me and saves me every day.

Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.
Isaiah 46:4 NASB

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence 
and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8-9 NASB

* * * * * * *
I hope you have enjoyed getting a peek at my mom's place as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. 
If you missed the other posts, you can find them here and here.

Stay tuned, because we have been hard at work in our own yard the last couple weeks and I have some fun stuff to show you as soon as I get the mess cleaned up. To give you a little hint, the brick pile is considerably smaller than it was before.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mom's Spring Flowers

As promised, here is the first of two photo-driven posts
showing you the lovely views in and around my mom's yard.

This mound is the storm cellar.

The storm cellar is cleverly disguised with iris,....

...peonies, and ground cover.

Here's the broad view of the backyard.

Getting closer to the tree you find an old wash tub brimming with green stuff.
(Guess I should have asked it's name. Some kind of succulent, I think.)

The iron kitty watches over the bluebird house.

One of my favorite spots....

...the swing.

The garden arch supports some pretty clematis.

Oh, look. We have visitors from the neighboring farm.

Hello there, ladies.

A scrap piece of picket fence makes the perfect backdrop for peonies.

This lovely peach iris thrives out back, too.

Mom uses this old treadle sewing machine base as a potting table. 
She simply rested the grate on top.

On passed the swing and into the side yard brings us to another flower bed.

Not much was blooming here yet, except these roses.
Another rusty garden surprise rests here.

In front of the house is this long bed with more iris and peony.

One of my favorites!

This entire slope was lifeless until Mom dug out and terraced the space, 
moving rocks, and installing boards for a gentle staircase.

Here's the slope from the other side, looking toward the house.
Do you see another rusty treasure? My son, Silas, and his friend, Cameron,
dragged the milk can from the creek near our old house and gave it to her.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace 
because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope 
through the power of the Holy Spirit. --Romans 15:13 NLT

Kitty and I will see you again real soon.