Small Joys

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The smell of eucalyptus in my living room!


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Knitted pumpkin tea cozies!

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Clam chowder on a coolish evening.

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Easter lilies blooming in the fall.

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Turkeys made from pressed leaves.

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More knitted tea cozies!

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Stevia finally blooming!

And all of you, my friends!

I love to hear from you- and know that we are touching each others lives in ways that make us better- in small ways that make us stronger- in joyous ways that make the world smaller and easier to deal with each day.

I loved watching the cheering worldwide when the Chilean miners came up from their long immurement.  We need to cheer each other on and celebrate those things that are joyous. 

Thank you for cheering me on!

A trip to River Styx

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River Styx, Ohio, that is.

There is a Styx River- down in the left hand corner of this photo.

Don’t feel bad, I could hardly see it and I was standing right above it.

But is is Autumn here in NE Ohio and that means lovely leaves and trees.

And so we went for a walk in the park at River Styx.


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It is farm land out there.  river styx and environs 030

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And really restful and beautiful in the fall.

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Yes, indeed, very quiet and restful.

Psalm 42 “Why are you downcast?”

I don’t know- maybe I’m discouraged because I put up a whole post and most of it got lost somewhere?!

Maybe because lately everything I touch seems to go askew?!

Maybe because right now life is hard and there only seem to be answers for the afterlife, NOT here?!

Maybe because I’m just tired.

But I’m going to try again.

Psalm 42

BOOK II : Psalms 42-72
For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God.
My  soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”

10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

“Why are you downcast, Oh my soul?”

I know the right answer.  I do.

I know to turn to the Lord for HOPE.

To spend time in PRAISE.

To look outside of myself and focus on the LORD of ETERNITY.

To remember when I was with the throng WORSHIPING the KING.

I KNOW all this.

But right now it seems that I am too weak and selfish and forgetful.

Right now I can hardly look out of this pit I’ve dug for myself.

Right now, God (and Rick Warren ) forgive me, but it seems to be


And yet, it isn’t, really, is it?

It is about how BIG God is next to my very small.

It is about how FAITHFUL God is next to my treacherous soul.

It is about how BEAUTIFUL God is in comparison  to my ugly tawdry self-

and about how He can and has transformed me to be in the image of Christ.

Because it is really about Jesus.

Who knows, really knows, about the pit.

It really is about Jesus, my saviour and my God.

And somehow that comforts me.

The ugliness of depression

I have had a very strong streak of melancholy all of my life.

And mild depression from late childhood on- I would write and read to self medicate, looking for a release or an escape.  Then, after a while, the burden would lift and I could come back to and go on about the business of living.

I pray and read the Bible.  I meditate upon the joy of the Lord- I seek out ways to validate my existence and try to surround myself with those “whatsoever” things in Philippians 4:8- searching for the true, noble, right, pure , lovely,admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things to think about. 

(And discover that I just don’t fit into any of those categories)

It has been a tough week.

Depression is not only ugly- it is a magnifier of ugliness.  Seen through its filter,  EVERYTHING is ugly.  Especially, me.

I can’t look in a mirror.  Can’t look at photographs, can barely look at my hands without being repulsed.  Everything I accomplish seems to be mired in the filthy lies of ugliness- and while I reach out for beauty- it become besmirched by my touch.

I once took a class on dealing with the fatigue that comes with cancer and other debilitating diseases, and they described the daily battle as so huge, that to a patient looking at a flight of stairs, the thought of making it to the top is akin to scaling a mountain.  That is where I have been-  from where I am struggling to emerge. 

Phone calls are so difficult that I let the phone ring.

Visits are a huge endeavor.

Getting dressed and washing my hair is a goal I hope to reach by 4 PM.

Making dinner is an all day task.

I haven’t given up.  I am fighting with all my strength – and trusting in God when my strength fails.  But the battle is in all realms- physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational.  I am functioning- but not well.

I have no recipe- no picture – no anecdote- no answer.

What I have is hope.

This shall pass.

“All shall be well and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”  Julian of Norwich

” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Scarlett: I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.  from Gone With The Wind

( I apologize if this gets you down.  I meant to open a window to get in some fresh air and offer a glimpse into the well of depression. PLEASE do not respond by suggesting I go to a doctor for drugs- I don’t deal well with doctors OR drugs.  I promise I won’t write about this again, but it is part of who I am- and I am a big believer in the truth of vulnerability.)

I am NOT obsessed with socks…

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I just have to make about 7 more pairs.

I made these grey alpaca for Willow- and they fit perfectly.

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” You want me try them on here?

Right now?”

Yes- so I can see if they fit.


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They Fit!

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And so do these!

But if I don’t make a whole lot more, I will forget HOW to make them.

I can’t read a pattern- I have to memorize the steps.

So I’m on a great sock adventure!

Now I have to get some more fine wool.


Psalm 67- Blessings from the face of God

Psalm 67
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
       and make his face shine upon us,

2 that your ways may be known on earth,
       your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
       may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
       for you rule the peoples justly
       and guide the nations of the earth.

5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
       may all the peoples praise you.

6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
       and God, our God, will bless us.

7 God will bless us,
       and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica


A psalm of blessing- of justice- of harvest- of plenty.

I need to stay within the compass of  God’s shining, smiling face-

to focus upon it like the flowers do the sunshine.  To bathe within His blessing like the garden does within the gentle rain.  And to dwell within the praise due to Him as Maker, Preserver and Saviour of all mankind- but especially as MY Saviour and the Lifter of my Head.

I’ve been depressed lately, a dear friend’s son recently died after a very long battle with cancer.  At only 33, he was only a year older than my eldest son, and yet they dealt with this debilitating disease for most of his life.  He didn’t marry, had no children, and left behind his grieving mother and father and siblings.  And yet, his mother’s testimony is one of love and courage and God’s goodness.

I think I have dealt with death my entire life, I lost two sisters and my father at young ages.  I have spent a lot of time working out the devastation left in my life at their seemingly untimely deaths, yet I have never lost a child.

And yet, all of this loss still comes under the scrutiny and allowance of our gracious heavenly Father.  The Father of blessing- our God of the Shining Face.

I don’t understand, but I do trust.

I can’t explain, but I do believe.

Sometimes I wish I could banish all doubts and pain and we could talk about God’s blessing without having to reference the sorrow of life.

Instead I call out, ” I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 24)

and  raise my face for His blessing.

Scenic Ridge Apple Orchard- Ripe for picking!(and picnicking)

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We got a hay ride out to where our favorite apples were growing.

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The trees were heavily burdened with Melrose apples.

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It was a beautiful day even though the forecast was for rain and cold.


This is the third year in a row we have gone here to pick apples and celebrate Luke’s birthday and have a great picnic.  I love our picnics, we all bring our favorites and it ends up being perfect!.

I made bread ( sourdough and whole wheat ) and West African Chicken soup and cruditees, Willow brought pate` and ham and crackers and chocolate zuchinni cake with ganache icing and Ally brought cheese and flat pretzels and artichoke dip- it was a wonderful Fall picnic.

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I had Jordan take some pictures of the group.

Actually, I asked him to take some pictures of the table and got two shots of the table cloth before I told him to get serious and take a picture of our family!

I forgot to take any pictures of the food, however.

It was good.

Here is a recipe for West African Chicken soup.

I got this recipe from Allyson, who I think got it from her sister in law, Kymi- where Kymi got it from I don’t know- but I think you will like it!


1 onion, diced

2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed

3 TBSPS Sesame Oil

2 1/2 to 3 cups diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 TBSPS tomato paste

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste


Saute onions and chicken in sesame oil, until onions are translucent and chicken is no longer pink.  Add tomatoes and simmer on low for 15 minutes, add chicken broth and continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir well.  Add peanut butter  and cayenne pepper along with s+p- simmer for another 10-15 minutes,but do NOT allow to boil.  Serve with chopped peanuts for a garnish and extra hot sauce for the fiery hot lovers in your group.

This is a great soup for a coolish day.

Happy Birthday, Luke (and beautiful skies!)


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Happy Birthday to my handsome son!

– Thirty two years ago we were gifted with our first son- it was a beautiful day- warm and mellow with just a hint of fall in the air.  The trees were bright with the promise of more color to come.  And then, there he was, our child, filled with all of the possibilities and problems that we all travel to this world with as baggage.

And yet, as he grew, the problems were few, the blessings many, and the joy he left in his wake made us all richer.

I took some pictures of the skies this week- some were so bright and some rather threatening – just like our lives.  This is the world we share and enjoy- it is all we have to offer to our children- this and the love that God has given to us- a heritage of the holy- a hope for a better world. 

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