Thursday, May 28, 2009

Do You Like To Cook?

Since giving up packaged and processed foods almost completely a couple years ago, I have been having fun learning how to cook. I found another friend, Lori, who loves to cook too. She loves it so much she became a Pampered Chef Consultant! In January I went to a party she put on with my friend Lynette from church. The house across the street from Lynette had out a sign that said "I'm Beautiful Inside" which made me chuckle and we all discussed the house and the neighbors affirmed that it really was. So, I went home and checked it out on the Internet. Curiosity killed the cat, true, but Grandma Hopkins always said, "Satisfaction brought it back!" :-) That is when we discovered that house prices in our city were 40-60% of what they were 6-12 month prior. The ball began rolling and two months and a handful of days later we moved into our new home on the girls' 6th birthday!

So, to "initiate" my new home and open the doors of hospitality, I'm hosting a Pampered Chef party. I've always loved their products and when I was engaged my church family hosted a "Pampered Bride" party, it was so much fun! We've been married 10 years now and all that stuff is going strong. A few places I have replaced... not because I didn't like them, but because they made improvements on them.

If you are local to me and I didn't catch you at church or Facebook, you are invited. 6:30 tonight. We are having Mexican Chicken Lasagna and a Summer Berry Shortcake dessert (I bought 4 types of organic berries -strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry!). We had the dessert Mother's Day at Lori's and it was delicious!

If you can't come but would like to order, you can do so at: Lori Loves To Cook and remember to put my name as the hostess. Thank you in advance!

Monday, May 25, 2009

True Love... Jack's Journey

If you're not from the Pacific Northwest or a beach comber, you might not recognize what these are. Any guesses? Agates! Agates are a semi-precious stone and they come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Agates found at the ocean are often unique from God's own stone tumbler - waves. My family has been looking for agates about 100 years now. Some are more obsessed than others (I think I fit in the middle). My Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Doodlebug love to hunt for agates and awhile back Marilyn told Jack that when she went on their next trip, she'd bring him home a gallon bag of agates.
True to her word - ONE GALLON ZIPLOC BAG FULL OF AGATES! Sorry to shout, but my lifetime supply of agate hunting could maybe fit in two gallon ziplocs or maybe even a gallon and a quart... but never on one trip and never did I dream of giving away all those that I found. But Marilyn did.
Love is not self seeking. That's what we read in 1 Corinthians 13. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to canonize my Aunt! But what an incredible work of love she gave to bring joy into Jack's life, which at the moment probably seems pretty weary. His goal now is to find that many himself! :-) Or at least a few beauties like the one above.
I think that the whole gift is so amazing because most collectors hoard and do not share, even if they are kind and generous people otherwise. And it struck me how we all have different gifts. We are studying Job right now in Sunday School, so I've been thinking a lot about the things we do and say when someone is suffering. Many people are gifted in ways that allow them to serve and help and some of us aren't sure what to do. Or, I think sometimes we are immobilized by thinking that we don't have the gift we should. We think we should have the gift of nursing and don't even think that giving agates is a gift. Perhaps there were 9 nurses/nurturers/caregivers (all of whom are appreciated!) and only 1 agate giver - would not that one brighten the day?
For me, the lesson learned is that there are many ways we can give and be used by God and that I should not put Him in a box thinking it can only happen in certain ways. Does that make sense? I know what some of my gifts are, but they don't always seem practical or I don't think they are like other people's gifts. They are not. They shouldn't be. God has given me my own gifts and in Ephesians, Paul tells us that He created good works for me to do even before I was born! I don't have agates to give to Jack. Well, I do, but I'm not gonna! :-) LOL And that's okay. Because God isn't asking me to be Marilyn. He's asking me to be me!
So, what's my job now? I think I'm the squeaky wheel... will you grease me? My job is to ask for PRAYER!
Please pray for Jack. Tuesday is his last radiation treatment. When I talked to him today I asked him how he felt and he said, "Like I'm in the middle of a battle." All that poison of the chemo and radiation takes it's toll on a person. And the side effects don't stop with the last treatment. Please pray for relief from dry heaves and other ill side effects. Ask the Father to be restoring his body, healing it, mending it, rejuvenating him. There will be about a month for his body to recuperate before chemo begins again. I will keep you all posted.
Thank you! Jack and Ruth thank you! We love you! Please keep praying!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jack's Treatment Phase 2 Home Stretch

Please join our family in continuing to pray for Jack as he enters the home stretch for this second round of treatment which has included chemo 24/7 and radiation 5 days a week for six weeks. He has just about a week to go. As you know, treatment is not without its side effects and Jack is beginning to feel them. He is weary and waiting on the Lord to lift him up on Eagles' wings! Please pray for not only Jack's healing, but his peace, encouragement and endurance. Ask God to help him keep his eyes fixed on the goal. When he finishes in about a week, he will have some time of recuperation before the next phase of chemo treatments begins.
(Photo courtesy of Laurel Community Baptist Church, layout created using Digizines by Teri's Anastasia kit available at

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This is a layout I am making for the Lifebook Challenge at Heritage Scrap led by my friend Vicki of Victorian Rose Designs. A Life Book is a book that tells the story of one person's life in systematic order. We are working on it as a group and people can join in at any time. We'll probably run the challenge cyclically. Anyway, this page is the right hand side of a two page layout and I used a background paper from Veronica Spriggs and blended a childhood photo of my Grandma. The little shoes are from Cari Lopez' new christening kit. The rest of the elements come from Digizines by Teri and Jean Daugherty - I used pieces from several kits to get the look I want. The left hand side of this layout will have the journaling about my Grandma's birth and early childhood... I'm still working on it.
For Mother's Day, I want to share somethign I wrote for the Heritage Scrap newsletter, which ended up not getting done as planned due to wild fires in Santa Barbara where she lives. I've shared a lot about my Grandma Hopkins, so you may have read all this in my blog in the past if you've been around for awhile.
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Moms and Ladies who step in with wonderful mothering cares even if they aren't moms themselves!
"Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got til it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

There is a reason that they keep remaking that Joni Mitchell song - probably because most of us learn the hard way! In the last years of my Grandma Holly Hopkins' life, I began to appreciate her more and more. Though she lived nearly 96 years, it was not long enough for me.

Of course I loved her as a child, but I did not consider her my "fun" Grandma. Still some of my favorite memories are gatherings around her table for Thanksgiving and Mother's Day. She always had what she called "surprises" for us, which usually turned out to mean work - our own patch in the garden, building projects etc. She did have a way of turning chores into games like "beat the clock" We called her a perfectionist, but she denied this and called herself an "efficiency expert" instead. Because I was an awkward girl, I found myself to be what I considered the "brunt" of her efficiency efforts!

Just as our parents "grow wiser" as we age, so do grandparents. As a new bride living far from home, one of my layouts was chosen by Memory Makers for publication in their Quilted Scrapbooks book. The title of my layout was "Things I Learned From A Kindergarten Teacher", playing off the famous Robert Fulghum book All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It featured a photo of my Grandma in the middle of an Ohio Start quilt block. All around the block, I journaled the things that my Grandma Hopkins had either directly taught me or greatly influenced my interest - foremost my faith and study of Scripture, but also gardening, knitting, creativity, love of nature, reading... The list went on, amazingly long as tears streamed down my face. I realized that who I am now is a direct result of her immense involvement in my raising. It was then that I also realized that when seemed overly critical of me, she was correcting the things she disliked most in her self. Oddly, in spite of outward appearances being so different, I was so much like her!

Sadly for us, 2 weeks after meeting my 2.5 months old son (her first great grandchild), she went to sleep one night and arose in Heaven. She has not yet met her twin grand daughters, but they have met her. In addition to pictures and memories, she lives on in their school books (from her classroom), their toys, the food they eat (her recipes) and in their mom!

Tears come easily as I write now. I would love to share the every day joys of my family with her. But, I can only smile as I crack open one of her books and I see her writing, or a note slips out - voices, memories, words, guidance - from the past. Holly Tisdale Hopkins (1906-2002) was quite an accomplished woman in her lifetime, but her greatest contributions were intangible. Thank God for Mamas! And thank God for Grandmothers who forever change our lives.

Don't wait until paradise is paved over. Tell the woman of influence in your life, how much she means to you. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Update on Jack

Sorry I haven't posted an update for awhile. Everyone has been exhausted! Jack found out this week that he is half way through his treatments! YIPPEE!!!! I know he will be so glad when this is done! He continues with chemo 24/7 via a pump and receives the radiation five days a week. The effects of the medication are exhausting as you can imagine and he is having some side effects and "sun burn" from the radiation. His attitude and faith are strong and God is carrying everyone throughout each step of the way, every day, even on the hard ones.

Please continue to pray for Healing, Strength, Endurance and Mercy throughout this process. We all appreciate your prayers. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kittens, Windows, Glasses, Catching Up

Well, it has been awhile since I've posted pictures and a lot of stuff has been happening. These pictures will only represent a small portion of that. Here's Hubby sleeping (trying to) with Heidi. She is a little love bug, gentle, quiet (I've only heard her meow 2x since we brought her home), patient with the kids and very laid back. I am "her person". It's like she thinks I'm Mama... oh yeah, that's right, I AM Mama!

Her sister Maisy is a "dumb blonde". She skids into a room like Kramer on Seinfeld, has no sense to keep away from the "snarly old lady kitty who is not excited about having her domain invaded" and constantly needs the reassurance of her sister Heidi and all the rest of us that she is loved. Last night she was jumping out around boxes at Abbie (the old lady kitty). Abbie just looks at her like, "Listen kid, I know I'm not supposed to eat you because supposedly you belong to them too, but what part of this face looks like it wants to play hide and seek with you?!" lol We now are able to keep all the doors open and have integrated the kittens with Abbie. It seems to be working and Abbie seems to be happier that she is not shut out from "a big secret" behind the closed door. She actually purred today, which she hasn't done for awhile, especially me. I bore the brunt of her anger. I don't think they'll ever be "cozy" but I think it'll work.

Here's a picture of Maisy snuggling up with Heidi. I think they were taken from their Mommy and I think that Maisy is more needy because of that and may be why she is so persistent with Abbie, trying to make friends. I thought this was cute.

The cats aren't the only siblings snoozing together! This is Sunshine and Boogie - last Sunday when we came home from church we were sick and all the people and cats took a nap! These two joined Daddy in bed, so there was nowhere for Mommy to nap.

Yesterday we had our new vinyl replacement windows installed. It went pretty smoothly. One window was off by 3-4 inches and a new one has to be made, but all the rest were fine. It was a factory mistake. This is the bathroom window which has "rain" patterned glass. We still have the aluminum window frames. Yuck. Before we paint, I'm going to have to find out about spray primers for metal, tape off the window and prime and paint the aluminum white. That won't be a fun job, but should look much better.

I got new "windows" yesterday too. This is just so my Mom can see. The old were silver and turquoise. These are burgandy. There is such a huge change in my RX this time that I am still having a hard time adjusting, but I see so much better! My computer screen is really clear now! Today I have a 'normal person's headache' from the glasses though and sometimes the ground rises up to meet me and swirls around a little bit. My brain has to get used to the huge increase on the bifocals.

We went to my friend Lori's house last week to watch her little girl L, who is a 22 month old human replica of a Precious Moments figurine. The girls and I played the piano for awhile. I miss having one around. Mom and Jack found me a keyboard at a garage sale and I'm hoping to find a place for it in the living room so I can at least play that.

There were kittens about palm sized and FAST! That's why this one is blurry as it is running back toward Mama!

Boogie had fun petting this one that we nick named Skunk. He's the runt.

The girls on the tire swing. Sunshine in the orange and Princess in the pink. I thought this picture was interesting because it really portrays the differences in their personality. Sunshine is quite shy and Princess screams "look at me!" with every cell of her being! :-)

Sunshine and Sooty - look at the little feet sticking out! :-)

Poor Skunk! I thought this was a sweet pose though.

Boogie loved playing with L at her sand/water table and Sunshine was fascinated with this wind spinner.

Boogie and Princess were having so much fun in the tire swing. They pretended they were airplanes and every time L's "airplane" came near they screamed "RETREAT!"

"I got a cat! Whatcha want me to do with him now?" :-) We had to practice not holding poor Sooty by the neck! lol

Princess and Skunk

Skunk - ready to face the world!

Who could resist this face? Sooty looks pretty distressed! Save me from this orange beasty girl!

Orange beasty girl loves Sooty! Isn't he stunning with his coloring and those eyes?

Being the diva that she is, Princess got first brother and then Sunshine to pull her around in the wagon with her "parisol" After a few rounds Sunshine got tired and left her out in the yard. Princess called out, "Who's going to pull me back?" in a particularly whiny voice! I laughed, "Pull yourself!" While still sitting in the wagon, she tugged at the handle "Ugh! Grunt! It doesn't work!" Me - "Well, get out and then pull Silly!" LOL We had a good laugh over that. Just like her Grandma Ginger... there are times when she acts as though all of life were meant to revolve around her! Hopefully we can temper that trait before she leaves the nest!

Sunshine decided to check out the "parisol".

I thought her expressions were funny! They've never held an umbrella before!

Well, that's a little glimpse into our lives... not overly exciting but you know, Grandma and Grandpa need to see their faces once in awhile.

I'm hoping I find my knitting soon... I miss it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy (International) Scrapbooking Day

Okay, since this started out as a knitting blog, it's time I posted something about knitting right? lol This is my ancestress Ruth Taylor Wolcott and she's knitting! I used Jean Daugherty's Cherished Memories kit which is on sale at Heritage Scrap this weekend.

And one thing this blog has a lot of, photography! I created this layout using Teri Hanson's
Photogenic Tin Memories kit. It documents my Mother's two grandfathers who were both photographers and their work has influenced me in many ways.

My gggg Grandfather and his two half brothers volunteered in the 17th Michigan Volunteer Infantry (Stonewall Regiment) and the 5th Michigan Cavalry. The youngest brother, Dan, was mortally wounded in his first battle, the Battle of Stone Mountain in Maryland and died about two months later. The middle brother, George went on to serve in Michigan and U.S. politics and Detroit law and business. My ancestor, William Wadsworth Hopkins will have his own layout describing his service in the 5th Cavalry during and after the Civil War. After discharge he died of Typhoid Fever. The photos are of Dan's grave in the White Lake Cemetery, White Lake, Michigan. The man is Erastus Hopkins, father of the young men who served. That drawing is taken from the Oakland County, Michigan history. This is the Right hand side of a two page layout created with Kate McClellan's FANTASTIC Civil War kit.

This is the Left hand side of the two page layout created with Kate McClellan's fantastic Civil War kit. I found some copyright free drawings of the Battle where my ancestor's brothers fought and one of them was mortally wounded, dying two months later.

Heritage Scrap has a new altered art section with Artful Dreamer's products. I made this background paper from one of her backgrounds blended with one of Kate McClellan's papers and used Teri Hanson's lace/ribbon. This is my Grandma Hopkins on graduation day.

Genealogy Chat With Marcia Louden

Join me at Heritage Scrap for a chat with genealogist Marcia Louden. If you are registered already as a user, click here:

Happy (Inter)National Scrapbooking Day! More to come.

Friday, May 1, 2009


If you have been at my blog for awhile you know that I choose to remember my brother Danny twice a year on his birthday in December and today, his date of death. It is not to be morbid or dwell on sadness but to celebrate the fact that he was alive. His memory may be long gone in the schemes of the world, but in my heart, I will never forget. And one day, in God's mercy, I will see him again!