Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I must admit
I have a secret to tell
I have a weakness
The truth is I love pastries.
It doesn't matter what kind,
I love them all.
I love baking them.
I love taking pictures of them.
I love smelling them.
And especially I love eating them.
Do you love pastries?
What is your favorite?
Is there something special you bake for the holidays?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Focus on JOY

Do you read the news or watch it on television?
I realized this morning that one of the first things I do in the morning
is pick the newspaper up off the porch, then sit with my cup of tea
and read the latest news.
How depressing it that?
And then I come and chat with you.
I am wondering if I just skip the news and come and chat if
my words would be sweeter, just wondering?
Delights of the Heart is the place I can focus
on the JOY of life.

So tell me today, what brings JOY into your life today?
Let's focus on JOY and Delights.

A frozen rose sitting at the entrance to my house last week.
It was quite beautiful in it's frozen state and brought JOY to my heart.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pie Baker

The table is set with my grandfather's china.

Our American Thanksgiving is now a memory.
A very good memory.
Good friends and family sat around the table
for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
There was turkey, cornbread dressing, cranberry relish,
sweet potatoes, mash potatoes, gravy, brussel sprouts,
gingered carrots, fruit salad, homemade rolls, wine,
lovely tea, whip cream to top the pies, and
pumpkin, pecan, and mincemeat pies.
Everyone contributed to preparing the food,
which made it extra special.

I was asked for my pie recipes, but they are very simple
to find online.  I will say for the mincemeat, I always add a couple apples
to the pie.  Also, don't overcook the pecan.  My pecan was cooked
too long and though I loved the chewy nuts it wasn't as good as usual.
With leftover pie crust I roll it out, spread with butter, sprinkle with
a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, and bake until golden.  A very good
snack while you wait for the pies.

Here is my pie crust recipes, which I have used for many years and
comes from the Better Homes and Garden (red plaid) cookbook.
There are many editions of this cookbook and sometimes the recipe changes.
Mine comes from the one I received as a wedding gift many years ago.

Mix 2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
Blend into the flour mixture 2/3 cup shortening, until about pea size.
With a fork gently stir in 5-7 tablespoons of very cold water (I use 6 tablespoons)
With your hands gentle mix just enough to get it into a ball.
Divide in half and roll the bottom crust, add filling,
then if the pie requires a top crust roll the other crust and place on top.
Crimp edges, trim, and bake as required for particular pie.
The second crust could be frozen for another day or used for a second pie
if the top is not desired.

Enjoy and Make Pies,
from the Pie Baker

Thursday, November 25, 2010

JOY at Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
I am thankful for each one of you.

Blessings on you and your family as
we celebrate in the US a time of Thanksgiving.
May each one of you be open to JOY.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New reading place?

Well I thought I had a new place to read.
I guess I will be sharing with the "king" kitty.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last Rose of Summer

Sometimes a sigh is just a sigh
I will miss you little roses
Sigh of missing
Snow is on the ground
A different kind of beauty
Oh beauty of the day
I will notice today what I notice
and feel JOY in the noticing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Country Roads

Do you ever drive down a country road and
see a little farm stand sitting there?
I have often passed this farm stand, but had not stopped before.
A perfect autumn afternoon activity is
a drive in the country and a little farm stand.

This stand sat in front of a hazelnut farm.
What beauties they had inside.
Do you know hazelnuts? or maybe you call them filberts?

In France I was served a gorgeous salad with hazelnuts.
A friend sitting nearby wondered if they were garbanzos,
but she wasn't sure as they tasted different.
She grew up in another part of the US and had not seen them before.

After stopping there this past week, I am in love with this little stand.
Buying direct from the farm is such a treat.
Do you have any farm stands nearby?
What do they sell?
I do believe it is important to support our local farmers where ever you live.

Oh yes, I promised a book today.
The winner is Jeanne of Jeanne's Bliss Blog
The book will be sent this week.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

East Frisian Tea - a party

 Last Saturday I was invited to a very special tea.
Stephanie of Steph's Cup of Tea invited four of us to have tea.
It wasn't just regular tea, but East Frisian tea from Germany.
What a treat!
First you put rock candy in the cup, then Stephanie poured tea from a special white teapot, and finally we dropped rich cream on the top served from a special spoon just for serving the cream.
It was so yummy, like a special dessert.
The special tea, special friendships, little cakes and fruit
made for an extra special day.

You see Stephanie in the picture demonstrating how we set up for another tea ceremony,
a WuWo tea ceremony.

Check out the give-away I mentioned yesterday,
the drawing is Monday morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Garden Delights

Portland has an amazing Community Garden program.
This garden is within walking distance of my home.
There was an old elementary school in the neighborhood that was not being used.
Two brothers bought it and turned it into a thriving business, which includes
restaurants, B&B, movie theater, and meeting rooms.
As part of the agreement with the neighborhood, they set aside a portion of the land
for a community garden.  The people that garden there take great pride in their garden plots.
One even has her name there, Dornal's Garden.

This week I enjoyed a book, Garden Voices by Carolyn Freas Rapp.
The book is short stories of other women gardeners and what their gardens have meant to them.
It is time to pass the book on to someone else.  Leave a comment on this post or email me
and I will include your name in a drawing to receive the book.
I will announce the winner on Monday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sing, Sing a Song

When my children were young, my daughter just reminded me, I sang this song often.  Listening to it yesterday, it once again made my heart sing.  Sadly Karen Carpenter left us too soon, but this song still rests in my heart.  I hope it brings a smile to your face today.  Sending great love and a song for you today.

The Carpenters "Sing"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twin Hill Ranch

Twin Hill Ranch came to be part of our family in 1942.
It was the place most of our family gatherings took place.
As children it sometimes felt like it was the center of our universe.
Sadly it was recently sold to someone else.
I couldn't even imagine a time when this ranch wouldn't be a part of the family,
but it has come.
Next May family will have one more time to meet there and share our stories.
I can tell some of the younger cousins stories they have never heard, as
I am the oldest girl and second grandchild of 27 grandchildren.
I can share the friendly competition between the aunts for the best apple pie.
Or the times cousins dared each other to lick the salt lick.
Or flying high on the rope swing and leaping into the pile of hay.
Even the time some of the cousins made apple jack out back of the packing house.
Twin Hill Ranch was an apple ranch and sold the very best apples in the world.
It is located in Sebastopol, California and it will be missed as our family center.

Note: I am the biggest girl in the pictures.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gifts from the Garden

Gifts from the garden, each one of these.

The hollyhocks grew into beautiful, tall blooms of delight.
A gift from a blogging friend two years ago.
They remind me of her and her struggle with cancer.

The Provence pumpkins are a gift we gave ourselves as
we traveled through France.  I see the pumpkins now sitting
on my porch and I remember travels in that beautiful country.

This miniature geranium with it's soft fuzzy leaves is beginning
to grow on the counter in my kitchen window.
It reminds me of a dear friend and our delightful time
together last summer, sharing tea on her patio.

Do you collect gifts from the garden?
Do you share your garden with others?

I have many hollyhock seeds to share.
Let me know if you would like some and I will tuck them in an envelop just for you.
I probably cannot send them outside of the US.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

Today I am celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Day.
I just stopped for the past hour to meditate and pray for each of you.
The thought that came to me at the end of this hour was:
And may my words mix with sunshine and be at peace
May each of you celebrate and be at peace.
Sit in silence and feel the peace today.

For more Random Acts of Kindness visit the links at the Necessary Room.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Little Teapots for Grown Up People

Have you ever walked into an Asian shop and seen tiny little teapots and cups?
For many years when I saw them I thought they surely made a lot of children's
teapots and cup sets.  Little did I know.
These little sets are actually for grown ups.

When my husband traveled to China many years ago he said
everywhere he went people were carrying jars with tea floating in them.
They would continually add water to their tea throughout the day.

Well the same goes for these little teapots.
The tea is put into the pot loose, then steeped the appropriate time.
After steeping the tea it is poured into another pot, which is
called a serving pot.  Then the tea is served in the small cups.
A cup traditionally holds three sips.
The tea can be re-steeped up to six to seven times, depending
on the tea used.  Oolong teas work very well for re-steeping.
So if given the opportunity, I hope you can enjoy many cups of tea served from
little teapots and sipped from little cups.  It is a real pleasure.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Carriage House and Fairies

Yesterday I took some time off.
I don't often make it to holiday bazaars these days,
but The Carriage House is my exception.
While there, I had a lovely get acquainted visit with this lovely horse
and enjoyed walking around the grounds.

My delight was finding products made by two of my favorite local blogger friends.
Coleen of Coleen's Reflections had soulful fairies.
I could have brought the whole lot of them home and loved each one of them.
Cathy of Wives with Knives was also represented there with her
very delicious roasted almonds.  I can't stop eating her wonderful nuts.

Do you like attending holiday events?
What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming celebrations?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sudden Delights

Sudden delights surprise me
Like the purr of a kitten nearby as I touch it gently with my hand.
The call of a friend who joins me for a walk in the park.
A blossom you find together that you have never seen before
or the sunshine peeking, just peeking through the clouds.
The surprise of discovering a rainbow.
The touch of a smile from a stranger as you pass by.

What sudden delights make your heart sing today?
Notice what you notice

Monday, November 8, 2010

Slay dragons?

A while back Relyn on come sit by my fire asked,
What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

What dragons would you slay?
What are your heart's longings?

Here are some things that are on my list:

sky diving
travel to exotic places
speak to women's groups
photography like a professional
sing and dance
write a book

What would be on your list?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The 7 Cups of Tea

Cleaning my tea cupboard recently I found this green tea.
Placing it in the teapot, it was so beautiful to observe it unfurl and
open up it's beauty to me.

While sitting in the tea room at the Lan Su Chinese Garden
I found this quote sitting on my table.

The 7 Cups of Tea

The first cup satisfies my throat.
The second breaks my lonely sadness.
With the third I find my muse and my art.
With the fourth life's pain evaporates.
The fifth relaxes my muscles,
my bones become weightless.
With the sixth I find the path that leads to
the immortal ancestors.
Oh the seventh cup!
Better not take it!
or I'm off to heaven.

~Lu Tong, Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Pomegranates growing in the garden.
I had never seen one growing before.
On the bottom is part of the original blossom.
A banana tree grows there too.
It was a rainy day, but perfect for exploring during
a time that was quiet, peaceful, and not high tourist season.
Quite beautiful in the rain.

I was amazed at the growing persimmon tree.
It was full of fruit not quite ready to pick.

Isn't it amazing how life cycles come and go, sometimes
when we aren't looking.
A child will continue growing,
fruit continues to flourish,
we get older and the colors become
more brilliant.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Grateful today that as a woman I can vote.
What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Treasure each Day

Excuse me while I drool over the beautiful colors of Autumn.
I have never really been enthralled with Autumn because
I knew Winter was right behind it.
I am usually a Spring-Summer girl.
But this Autumn the colors have really hit me in the eye of my camera
and in my heart.  Each time I go for a walk I am loving the colors
more.  Maybe it is learning to take each day as it comes.
It will soon be gone.
The trees are dropping their leaves in my yard and
soon we will see the bare branches.
Someone actually came by my home on Sunday and
wanted some of our bare branches for flower arrangements.
Oh they helped prune the dogwood and we were all delighted.
So I will learn to cherish the bare branches and take each day as it comes.
In the meantime I am enjoying the colors of Autumn.

Treasure each day~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Artful Blogging

Celebration is due and deserved!!!
Hooray for my friends!

Today the new Nov/Dec/Jan 2011 issue is on the stands
and three of my blogging friends are in there.
A very special congratulations to:

Debi of Emma Tree
Christina of Soul Aperture
Kim of Kim Klassen Cafe

Great Job, Beautiful Coverage, and Celebrate, Celebrate!
You deserve the recognition!
I for one am proud of each one of you!