Saturday, April 21, 2012

May Flowers in April

The second day we were here in Arkansas, Becky presented me with a bouquet of tiny wildflowers she had gathered as she explored the farm. I was going to write a post about that, but remembered that I already have. So this one's a re-run from May 2009:

My favorite playmate when I was a little girl was my aunt, Rachel. She was the expert on... well, everything! Not only did she have the advantage of a year-and-a-half of seniority... she was also the aunt... so that definitely gave her extra authority!

I remember one spring in the early 1970s... we were probably about 7 and 9, or something like that... Rachel introduced me to the joys of Mayflowers! We scoured the hillsides of the Arkansas farm where we lived, looking for tiny little flowers hidden in the grass or fallen leaves. As I recall, there was quite an assortment... but we just called them all "Mayflowers"!

We decided it would be a fantastic idea to make lovely terrariums with our precious Mayflowers, so we carefully pulled the tiny plants up by the roots and tenderly transplanted them into the bottoms of wide-mouthed canning jars we had half-filled with dirt. We watered them gently... but to our disappointment they didn't survive.

Our mothers, however, were appropriately appreciative of the beeeeautiful bouquets we presented them with!

Years later, when I was an adult, Grandmother told me, "Rachel always brought me the first tiny flowers of spring when she was a little girl." I hadn't realized it was something she pursued every spring.

I guess there's just something enchanting about finding touches of beauty in unexpected places.

Friday, April 20, 2012


The first evening Becky and I were here in Arkansas we went for a little walk down the driveway. The irises are blooming and I decided to cut some to take in to Mother. As I stepped across a pile of dried leaves near the basement door something jumped out. It startled me momentarily until I saw that it was a cute little toad.
I quickly caught him and handed him to Becky, who was just delighted. She found a little dish for him to sit in and enjoyed visiting with him for an hour or two. She called him "Mr. Toad" and asked him to kindly sit for a photography session before she let him go.

I told her his name was Nod. She was sure that wasn't right. Apparently he had told her his name was Mr. Toad. "Well, that may be," I said, "but his first name is Nod."

"Why is it Nod?" she wanted to know.

So I told her how years ago, back when this house belonged to her great-grandparents, the washer and dryer were in the basement which is accessed from the outside. In the basement lived two happy toads who were friends of Grandmother. She would visit with them  when she went down to do the laundry and she called them "Winkem" and "Blinkem."
Would you believe this very toad is Winkem and Blinkem's great-grand-toad? It's true! And his name is Nod, of course.

Unless he's actually the original Winkem or Blinkem... I just googled the life-span of toads and it turns out they can live up to 40 years. So I guess it's possible. We'll never know, since he only introduced himself as Mr. Toad. I wasn't well-enough acquainted with Winkem and Blinkem to recognize them myself.

What do you think, Rachel?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Touching Lives

For the past twenty years my dad has driven a school bus route to supplement his income as a pastor. His route is about 28 miles long, so he drives close to 60 miles each day. Over the years he has had some interesting, and often funny, stories to tell about some of the kids on his bus. At Christmas time and the end of the school year some of the children give him small gifts and cards. Last week one of the high school girls gave him this note as she got off the school bus:
Mr. Ezell,
I realized the other day that you basically watched me grow up. I started riding the bus when I was five years old, and now I am going to get my license and probably won't ride the bus again, but a few times. You did more than just drive me to school. You really paid attention to me and the things I was involved in. To me, you are more than that old man that drives my bus, you really were a big part of my life, and a friend to me, and I thank you for that. I am very glad to have gotten to know you, and even though I will not be on the bus any more, I hope to see you around.
Sincerely, Molly L
I was very impressed by the thoughtfulness of this young lady to express her appreciation to someone who had touched her life. It was a good reminder to me that we just never know who we may be influencing as we go about the ordinary responsibilities of our daily lives. And I'm grateful for the example and influence of my dad.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Packing My Bags

Heading into a very busy fortnight... yeah, I was gonna say "two weeks" but "fortnight" just sounds so much more literary, dontcha think? Anyway, on Tuesday Becky and I will be flying to Arkansas to help my mother for a few days. She broke her ankle several weeks ago--pretty severely, actually--and of course, has very limited mobility. So we will help with the meals and laundry and errands--and enjoy keeping her company. I'll be taking my work and Becky's homeschool books with us, so I have no doubt that our days will be full.

We'll be flying into Fort Smith, which is a small airport. Mother and Dad usually fly in and out of Tulsa or Oklahoma City to get cheaper tickets, but due to the circumstances this time, we decided it would be best to use an airport closer to their home. The Spokane airport is not exactly a hub either, so flying from one small airport to another means we have connections. Going out we will change planes in Salt Lake City and Memphis, and then coming home it will be Memphis and Minneapolis. Our connection times are pretty tight, so I hope the flights will be on time.

I don't plan to check luggage. First of all, it greatly annoys me that airlines charge extra for it now... and then fuss at you for having carry-ons! Also, I'm afraid that changing plans twice with such short layovers would result in our luggage not arriving when we do. So I've elected to pack light and haul it with us.

We leave home at 4:30 a.m. PDT and will get into Fort Smith at 3:45 p.m. CDT. Since I'm not sure if we'll have time to grab lunch at an airport, I'm packing some nutritious snacks. Apparently I have a great fear of being bored because I'm making sure our Kindles and digital players are charged and loaded with plenty of books and audio books. And then, what about that period of time after we board the plane when we can't use our electronics until we get in the air? Yep, better stick some magazines in for that few minutes of each flight. After all, there will be 3 flights, you know. Hey, it's better than reading Sky Mall or whatever their stupid airline magazines are.

Oh, goodness. I do digress, don't I? I started off telling you how busy we are going to be for the next two weeks, and then I spend two-and-a-half paragraph waxing eloquent about air travel! Dear me!

Anyway, we'll be coming home the following Tuesday. That gives me one day to do laundry and finish packing for the Christian Heritage homeschool conference in Redmond, Washington the following weekend. I know it will all fall into place at the appropriate time, but it sure takes a lot of planning to make sure it all comes together.

Life is always an adventure!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Treasures in My Suitcase

I had hoped to have some nice pictures of my "Pioneer Cottage" bedroom makeover to show you by now... but the sun is still not cooperating. We've had some breaks in the clouds and some warmer temperatures, which is nice, but still no crystal clear days with bright sun. So my room pictures will have to wait.

However, the flash picture of my night-stand/suitcase turned out okay, so I thought I would show you those treasures for this week's Vintage Thingy Thursday post.
The suitcase is from my childhood... and it was vintage even then. My mother had a knack for finding really nice garage sale treasures, and she would save them for Christmas gifts. I think we were probably "poor," but we didn't know it. One year, she got this nice 3-piece set of Samsonite luggage and gave my sisters and me each one piece. I think she made us pajamas or something and "packed" inside them as part of the gift. I was about 9 or 10 that year. And those were our suitcases whenever we traveled.

I hadn't used suitcase in years, and somehow it ended up back in Mother's attic, but last month when we were in Arkansas I got it back. If you look close on the lower section right by the clasp you can see the red plastic label-maker tape with "Karla Denise" carefully spelled out on it. I don't remember why I didn't add my last name. Maybe I thought I shouldn't waste the tape since my last name would just change when I got married anyway!

The powder-blue gloves draped on top of the suitcase are from Mother's "going-away" outfit from her wedding. She wore a brown suit with a blue hat and gloves.

The vintage post cards pinned against the back wall are from a batch I found in the first house we bought about 20 years ago. They are from the early 1900s.

The stack of little books behind the lamp includes my diary from my teen years, my grandmother's diary from her teen years, and a little Gideon New Testament I received years ago when my children were little and we would go to MOPS once a month.

My sister-in-law made the "tussy-mussy" in the middle for me in the 1990s when Victorian decor was so popular. I stitched the "Count Your Blessings" sampler just about the time we got married in 1985.

In the front section is a vintage lamp I found at a garage sale a couple years ago, and some of the vintage hankies from my collection. Laying on top of the hankies is a mint tin with a Victorian picture on it that my mother brought me from England in 1995.

The little leather-bound dictionary is a family heirloom. It was presented to my great-grandfather by my great-grandmother in 1911 for his birthday before they were married. I absolutely love having it. I'll have to show it to you in more detail later.

The little black shoes are mine from when I was a toddler. Turns out my aunt Rachel coveted them at the time. She confesses that she actually still does. Sort of.

The glasses? Um. Yeah. They are for my vintage eyes. So they really have nothing to do with treasures, except that I do treasure my eyesight and the ability to read!

I hope to show you more of my "Pioneer Cottage" bedroom soon!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Signs of Spring

 After the wettest March on record we decided to go for a drive up the Coeur d'Alene River yesterday to see how high it had gotten. It was drizzling a little when we left, but we took along a picnic lunch anyway, because that's just what we do when we go for Sunday drives.

As we got into the back country the raindrops turned to sloppy snowflakes. It was not accumulating, though. The snow along the sides of the road was still left over from winter. It's springtime now, dontcha know?
 We stopped at this pullout along to river to eat our lunch in the car. See the green grass just barely emerging along the riverbank? That proves it. Spring is here! We just have to look really close for the signs.
I expect that's what this doe and her family were doing-- looking for signs of spring. (There were five of them, and while they agreed to pose for pictures, they wouldn't all stand together for a group shot.)

In other news, April is shaping up to be a busy month. The new Sonlight catalog "goes live" today which is sure to bring with it a flurry of questions as homeschoolers begin to plan for their next school year.

Later this month I'll be representing Sonlight at the Christian Heritage conference in Redmond, Washington.

Before that, my youngest daughter and I will be making another trip to Arkansas. My mother had an accident last week and broke her ankle. My sisters and I are taking turns going to help out, since Mother has to be off her feet for at least another 6 weeks. I expect that's harder on her than the pain of the break and the surgery.

Life is an adventure.

Isn't it?