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September 15, 2014


This bookcase found its way from dear friends into our home this week.  Once upon a time, it belonged to a beloved aunt and surrogate mother. A woman whose life’s work was guiding girls along positive paths.  She left books where they would be encountered at the right moments.  Now my bears will keep their books here and I will continue the good work – guiding them with love.



I am continually thankful for these blessings.  For the hand-me-down furniture and the many people who love my bears and are living examples of joy and generosity. Real people with real mistakes and real experiences.  We are blessed to have them all in our lives.


Tea, Cookies, and So Much Love

September 13, 2014


My Aunt Vicki was an angel to me. No hurt was too big to be fixed or too small to be noticed. She always seemed to be love incarnate. I miss her every day.

When it is cold and grey and my heart is a little heavy, I head to the kitchen for tea and cookies.  Aunt Vicki made cookies by the hundreds.  She started the Christmas baking in the summer. All of her children, siblings, and the host of nieces and nephews have a favorite.  This one is mine.

Aunt Vicki’s Sugar Molasses Cookies

3/4 C shortening or butter
1/4 C molasses
    2 C flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ground ginger
    2 tsp baking soda
    1 egg
    1 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
       black pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add the molasses and beaten egg.  Add the butter and mix until well incorporated.

Roll dough into 1″ balls. Toss with white sugar in a baggie (or roll in a shallow bowl).  Place on baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool. Enjoy with milk or tea or whatever brings you joy.

Auntie’s pro tips:
Mix this dough by hand.

Melt the butter in the microwave. (If you do this, be careful with the egg.)

After 8 minutes the cookies will be high, then they fall suddenly.  The secret is to under-bake.



My well-loved copy

Made me Laugh

September 12, 2014

In response to my post lamenting my smallish bear being the weakest link in the school-home communication chain, some sort of spam generator sent me this:

I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not
sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.
You’re incredible! Thanks!



I’m all about knowing such detailed. This is why we never only occasionally run out of milk or toilet paper.

From the Garden

September 11, 2014


Omelets. Salads. Pizzas. Sauces. All sorts of delicious. Straight from our garden!

Heart (Almost) on my Sleeve

September 10, 2014


I had jury duty this week. The courtroom was even more cold than my desk at work.  My favorite warm sweater still had ink on it.  There are people in my county who wouldn’t worry over a little ink.  These are likely the same people who wear pajamas to court.  I am of the stodgy variety who cannot conceive of such a thing.

A quick stitch around a cotton heart and all was well.  And good thing too.  The trial was upsetting. Being wrapped in the warmest and most favorite sweater helped.  The heart may as well have been on my sleeve as I’m sure my emotions were all over my face.

I am glad I could be there. My fellow jurors were thoughtful and kind.  It was not an easy thing, but it is done.  My sweater and I are headed for a nap. Pray my heart will find rest too.

What She Said: Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

September 9, 2014


“If we define life too small, we will define ourselves too small as well.”
– My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

Being a Mama is Hard

September 8, 2014

It is true that women have been birthing and raising children for quite some time now.  This fact does not however mean that this natural happening comes naturally to all of us. As this is the summer of ten eleven pregnant friends, I wanted to share a little of what I know.  Or what I know so far – I’m still learning!

Wisdom (?) for the beginning part:

Sleep when the baby sleeps.  This is not a joke.

Store brand diapers are great.  Store brand garbage bags, not so much.

Almost anyone can make a meal, do laundry, or run an errand.  Let them.

Every baby is different.  I thought this was a weird lie the What to Expect people made up. I was wrong.  When Lima Bean was born she was very tiny and cold and wanted to be held and snuggled while she slept.  She was an excellent nurser and a  generally happy baby.

When Ladybug was born we had so much trouble getting started.  She wouldn’t latch, wouldn’t sleep, cried and was generally miserable.  We took turns rocking and singing.  By the second week, I had an infection, no sleep, and no clues.  How was this even possible?  I’d done this before.  I’d babysat dozens of children who just needed clean diapers, a full belly, and a song to be happy.

Finally, I just prayed.  “God.  I just need to go to the bathroom.  Just let her stop crying for five minutes so I can do that.”  I set her in the, as yet unused, crib. Ladybug looked right up at me.  Her whole body relaxed completely and she went to sleep.  Every baby is different.

Ask for help. Find parents you like whose children you like.  Put them on your support team.  Watch and learn from them.  Get advice.

Get advice, but trust yourself. You know your baby better than anyone.  If you feel like something is not right, speak up.

Being a mama is hard!* Not every mama loves their baby at first sight or even three hundredth sight.  Children are HUGE wavemakers disrupting routines, plans, and goals. Ride the wave.  Cry when you need to. Ask for help when you need to. Take breaks. Be gentle with yourself. When you show up the next day and your kid looks like this, dance with them.


Don’t forget to eat.

Keep showing up. This advice will get you through parenting, 5K training, or even medical school.  There are (still) days when I am convinced I am terrible at this.  And then I cry a little, eat a snack, shuttle smallish bears to the next stop, make dinner, do the laundry, help with homework, ask for help, take a break, take a nap, and show up again the next day.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  So far, it’s been enough.**

*I know being a papa is hard too, I’ve just never been one so it’s hard to write from that perspective.  I’m pretty sure these things work for them too.

**Also, get a second pair of kitchen tongs.  I have no idea why it helps, it just does.


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