Sabbath Words…Love Kindness


Micah 6-8 Kindness


I often do my duty.  It was part of my growing up…never spoken with words.


I did my duty.  I do my duty.  My heart is often involved these days.


There is no need of a special gift or call.  Being kind is just that…being kind.

It is a requirement.       Of God.


I went to the Frankfurt Zoo with my son’s kindergarten, several decades ago. I have never forgotten the conversation with the small shy boy he was paired with shyly told me,


“Will is always kind to me.”  


Will was a tall and big kid.  He somehow knew in his young heart there was a need for kindness and this small shy boy needed it.


Always kind.


These days, I am thinking we could use some always kind action.  That apparently has never changed over the centuries, over 2700 years ago, more or less.


The words of Micah seem to be shouting about the news, above the sassy kid, above the curt clerk…above me and my wants.


To love kindness is required of us.

                                                                       To do justice.

                                                                                                 To walk humbly with our God.


These days the need for to do justice, and to love kindnessand to walk humbly with our God is no less than any other “days”. We just can’t ignore it.


I am not sure I love  KINDNESS.


This is a matter to talk over with God and to flat out practice kindness trusting the love will come.


‘Cause God requires it of me.


love kindness



He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?   Micah 6:8


How do you show you love kindness?



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Late Summer Garden Pasta…quick & easy

fresh garden pasta sauce   Tomatos galore!  Plump ripe juicy tomatoes.  So many of them! Beisdes canning salsa like my daughter does and eating more BLT’s and salads heavy on tomatoes what’s a cook to do?

Fresh tomato sauce!

Quick, easy and oh, so tasty. Just my kind of meal. Start to finish 30 minutes at most not counting the picking. Tomato size doesn’t matter; ripe and juicy does.   Tomatoes, onion, garlic, and green pepper are the fresh ingredients. chooped tomatoes   First, boil water for pasta.  Thick type spaghetti is our favorite type. Younger children appreciate thin linguine.  It is easier to keep on the fork or in the spoon.  My daughter has found that to work better with her 3 under 4. Chop into medium to small pieces onion, green pepper and garlic (garlic powder works too). Sauté together in olive oil. I use my favorite large deep Calphaion skillet. Second, chopped tomatoes in large pieces or if using cherry tomatoes into quarters.   slow simmer sauce   Toss into pan. Add salt, black pepper, Italian herbs, pinch of baking soda and a splash of lemon juice. Stir. Turn down heat to medium.  Slow simmer uncovered but not until tomatoes are mushy, maybe 15 minutes or less. You want them to hold their shape.  The sauce will have lots of liquid.   summer pasta   Serve with pasta.  Sautéed marinated chicken strips or shrimp are perfect add ons.  Several of the girls’ friends are vegetarian. This is a perfect dish.  Hot bread and chilled salads make a wonderful meal that taste and feels like “fancy”. Typically I marinate chicken in citrus juices or whatever herb vinaigrette or Italian style dressing in the fridge. Sauté in olive oil.  Drain before serving.  I toss shrimp in a touch of oil and butter with a few sprinkles of Old Bay Spices or garlic only.   Cutting board to table….30 minutes! How easy and quick is that!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Late Summer Garden Pasta…quick & easy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Fresh tomato pasta sauce for llight dinner or lunch.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American Italian
Serves: 4 -8
  • 6 - 10 meduim to large tomatoes, chopped making 6 -8 cups
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 medium chopped green pepper
  • Garlic to taste appx 1 teaspoon (fresh or powder)
  • 2 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon each, salt, black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Olive oil
  • 1 -2 packages of selected pasta
  1. Boil water for pasta.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions
  3. Chop onion, green pepper, garlic if using fresh
  4. Sauté in olive oil
  5. Chop tomatoes into large pieces or half if using cherry tomatoes
  6. Put into pan with sautéed vegetables
  7. Add all seasonings
  8. Stir well
  9. Slow simmer about 15 minutes
  10. Keeps well in fridge for next day meal

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Summer’s Ending


summer's Ending too soon


The sounds of the band practicing wafts through the air.  We can hear them while sitting on the front porch. Traffic of parents dropping of and picking up increases.  The stadium is full of activity with cheerleaders, track and football players. Passing the soccer fields show field hockey and soccer players hard at work too..


Signs of summer’s end. 


Having supper with both girls is tricky with Amy’s 5 -8 PM cheer practices. Evening fencing lessons start in October for Meg.  Figuring out how to adjust for daily connecting is not easy.  Hum. Snack then late supper?  Once school starts we’ll adjust again because that is what we do. Connecting is very important to us.

The girls are checking the mail in anticipation of their class schedule arriving.  FB and text exchanges will be full of discussion of details.

Summer required reading pressure is on to finish. I had to make a quick trip to the book store to get Red Badge of Courage yesterday. All copies were checked out of the library.  There is still a need for books, not e-readers in classes that refer to the books. I think that is probably a good thing.


It is a big transition year for me  the girls.  Both are in high school!  Oh my!  


Amy leaves for cheer camp next week. Meg is getting in one more amusement park outing with her BFF.  Hershey Park website says August is their busiest month.

And the shopping.


There were some shoe and clothing size changes. Thankfully we can wait on new tennis shoes.  Whew! Spreading out big ticket items helps.  We hit the sales for needed items of clothes and a lunch box.  Meg’s was torn and worn out.

Email notices help me monitor sales and coupons for  our favorite stores.  After pawing through bins and alley shopping for years in China, I don’t get too thrilled with overcrowded bins and racks.  Sale shopping works for us very well.

Hopefully, weather will cooperate for a few more days at the pool.  Between rain, cool weather and travel we haven’t had too many pool days.  Perfect for making s’mores after dinner by the fire pit.  Even in the heat, we head out for S’mores when the little girls are here for dinner.


Who would have thought marshmallow, Hershey bars and graham crackers were pantry staples?


Then there is what to pack for lunch…coming up next!  Life with all teens is gonna be really different!


How do you get you and your family ready for fall?  What’s your plan for family daily time when kids are here and there? 



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Teen Room Redo Beginnings


teen room redo


Meg, let’s redo your room.  Mom code for  “please can we please declutter!!”

Hmm, okay.  She’s been asking for black out curtains. I couldn’t just buy new curtains without redoing. It’s the if you give a mouse a cookie syndrome.

Fast forward.     

Mom, I know what I want but you will never let me do it.

Hmm, try me.

She knew exactly what she wanted. It included a chalkboard wall.

“First Honey, we need to do a little sorting.”


Meg's built-ins

Mid decluttering break



Okay Mom.  Honey, it means throwing away stuff.  Okay Mom.

We are talking childhood mementos and stuff and junk.

It was hard at first.  Today she was getting the hang of it. Maybe it was the lure of that extra big trash can!

Two bags out to the trash and 2 bins in the attic.




meg's bed pre redo

Sorting piles


It has been a slow process.

Mom, can we get rid of that pink cabinet you picked up for free? I do not like it

no matter what color you want to paint it!

Okay Honey.

This will be a 2 month long project.  LONG!

Our goal…by 26 August, the first day of school.

It’s summer. We had trips and movies and other stuff going on too!

To encourage her, truth be told, me too, we went to Home Depot for

Rust-Oleum black chalkboard paint.

Anyone know if the white board paint works?

Meg gathered up the paint supplies and set to work!  The FROG Tape from HAVEN 14 swag to tape off the wall and secure the newspapers sure came in handy.

There is definitely touch up needed.


Before we are done

there will be more painting of walls, trim and furniture.

Before we are done,

there will be beautiful arranged shelves with great color backgrounds.

Before we are done

she’ll finish the quilt she is making.

Before we are done…well

        it’s gonna look great!


More to come…


Meg painting black board

Happy Girl Hard at Work


More to come as we make our way to Meg’s teen redo!




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Beautiful Window Vignette

Beautiful Plate Vignette


Plates are an easy way to create a beautiful vignette.

Plates often attract my eye in the markets, Home Goods and yard sales.  Sure, I have sets of dishes and I also have individual plates and platters collected from years of homemaking here and abroad.  I like to display our souvenirs from homes abroad and stateside.


A beautiful vignette pleases the eye and is not jarring. Here are some of my rules

but they are not hard and fast!



large plate & jar



I. Use plates of various sizes with complementary colors and designs.  

2. Have multi-sized plate stands on hand.  

I prefer wood ones over plastic.  Pier 1 and Home Goods and other home decor or craft stores usually have these vignette necessities.

3. Add other elements of varying heights, shapes, colors and sizes.  

In this one, I used a tall candle holder and a lidded jar.  The jar is a neural element allowing the intense plate design and colors to stand out.


small plate detail

4. Vary height and sizes of elements.

5. Usually group in threes.

Why the candle stick or jar? I had the preverbal  three in this deep window setting but needed a place for the tall chunky candle stick while I was making some changes in another room.  So I stuck it in the back and loved it so much, it has stayed.  It helps fill the space.  So even it is!

6. Consider the scale of the spot you are placing the vignette. 

This spot is deep and tall, the bottom half of a window is the back.  Vignettes that are too small or too short are lost in the space.


LR plate vignette


Enhancing the beauty of our farmhouse living room is a plus.

Don’t you just love the intense colors and amazing designs?  They shine in this space!

Plates  Central Asia markets

Candlestick & jar  Home Goods

Plate stands  had for years

Ivory candle  AC Moore

This is not a sponsored post. 

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Finally Hydrangeas


finally hydrangeas


Finally, hydrangea.  Winter took it toll and I helped.  Yes, I broke of the sticks, a no-no.

I am hydrangea sad too like Karen here .  She gives pruning directions and I’ll remember next year.

I broke the sticks off. I wanted to make my front porch and the beds around it to look fresh and renewed. How can that happen with sticks sticking out?  I wish I had a picture of the sad, sad looking bunch of sticks with barely a green leaf showing.

I thought I was helping.  Pruning is supposed to be good, right?

Several weeks later Jim realized what had happened and told me “Don’t do that again”.  Could this be why the only gardening I do is to pinch dead blooms like my momma did every morning.

Weeks ago many were posting beautiful pictures of a spectrum of colorful blooms.




This morning sitting on the porch wrapped in a blanket, mind you, it was cold, I spied rich beautiful blooms nested deep in the foliage.  Hidden.  Finally!




I cut them.  And they look spectacular on the dining room table.  Nothing else is needs to supplement their splendor.


Perfect with the newly painted aqua walls.

No wonder these big full bloomed flowers are a favorite!





The colors are absolutely beautifully stunning and rich.

I am hydrangea happy!!



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Mama Influence: A Different Kind of Cheering for Adult Kids



With adult kids we parents have to learn a different kind of cheering.  For years there were games and performances.  We cheered.  We clapped. We encouraged and helped you.

Then suddenly, one day they need help moving.  OUT.  This is our third major move, not counting the college ones with our kids.

We helped our daughter move when she was so pregnant we thought it might not happen before baby.

Jim helped Robert move to his graduate school apartment.

Will put his things in his brother’s car and took off for a new city. New everything.

Now Robert moved from another apartment to a new house that needed lots of help.  Lots.

So we helped. That’s what parents do. Help, cheer and stand beside in case we are needed.  Or wanted.

Most of all we pray.   We never stopped.  And we pray for their future spouses.  I read in a Catherine Marshall book years ago about praying for our children’s spouses. We started right then and there.

Often we express how thankful we are for God’s answer for our daughter. She has a good man for a husband.

Cheering you onward Honey.

A small letter for you…


Dear Son,

It was a good time with Nancy, Will, Jessica and you working together in your new place.

Tag teaming with Daddy so one of us could be home with the girls is what we do.

This past weekend, the girls couldn’t wait to see you and Jessica. And the RING!

It is beauuu tiiii fullll !

Helping to pack and other moving kind of stuff.

This is what parents do when the days of driving to games and appointments are over. That is what family does, help.

Of course, you had to work those Saturdays. Then there was that pesky deadline to get out of the apartment last Sunday.

We haven’t stopped cheering you on. The praying over you never stops.

Those Iraq years, well, we prayed a whole lot. I’m pretty sure we held our breath just a little all the time back then.

And now…

A girl.  A woman.  She has been prayed for all of your life. Which means all of her life too.




Another daughter to love. She is a terrific woman. I think she’s got your number. She’s good for you. You’re good for her.







You’re going to be a great husband and some day, a great father too. You’ve had wonderful godly men surround you all your life starting with your dad and Grandpa. Examples worthy to be followed.

Many have loved and prayed for you since you were a baby.  Too many to name here.  Now Jessica too…because she is family.

We love you Son.

May the Lord continue to bless you and be gracious unto you and give you peace.



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Stylish Game Table for the Family


Game table chair details


The long search was finally over!

I could just see it in my mind’s eye but never found chairs that matched, were the right size and affordable.

Recently, this French style of chair has popped up at  bridal rentals and on blogs. If only I could find one. I came up empty handed on my forays into auctions, consignment shops and yard sales




The “library” table that has moved with us from home to home for years is the chairs I have always wanted since we first got it from Jim’s dad. It was part of Aunt Daisy’s library.

I’ll be really dating myself here…in TV and movie homes there was often a game table set under a window with side chairs, ready for chess or checkers. Bridge any one?



Library Table fit for Games



Surely Luckett’s would have some!  My daughter and I took the day to drive down.  It was beautiful weather meaning not hot yet.

The big rain storm left huge puddles bordering on pond status.  Vendors and organizers were rearranging.  The wait in line with the other early birds was pleasant.  Nancy and I were women on a mission.  She wanted a china cabinet.

We both found exactly what we wanted even though I didn’t know I wanted chairs with arms. I soon realized my big guys would never go for those tiny seated girly chairs.  Nancy and I sat and chatted in several pairs of chairs before deciding on these  charming linen covered one.





My dream for the “library” table was finally coming true.


PS. Yes, I’ll be painting the table.


Have you had a “dream” space come together?  What was it?  


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Retro Artichoke Dip & That Spinach One Too




Artichoke Dip started out as “California Dip”.  At least that is what my California born fellow military wives called it.  Magazines called it by that as well. Unsurprisingly, we first had at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California. Mind you. I barely knew what an artichoke was before we moved there!  I bought fresh artichokes by the brown paper grocery bag full for a dollar!  The Artichoke Capital, Castroville was the next valley over.




Honestly,  we military wives have a large assortment of recipes from many regions and cultures.  Our self published cookbooks as fund-raisers was our method of passing them along.  Pre-internet days.  Pre-blogging.  Most of us were pretty good cooks. Having folks over or carrying a dish to a pot luck appetizer gathering or dinner was frequent and fun.




Often the food served was hot and cold appetizers and “finger” food.




If you need a quick appetizer that is SUPER easy that’s a bit cheaper but has big flavor, try this.  It has been so long since I’ve made it or been where it was served, it may just be a “new” dish for your family and guests.



Retro Artichoke Dip 

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 can artichoke hearts drained & broken up

sprinkle of garlic salt to taste

a shake or 2 of Tabasco sauce to taste

Mix.  Bake 15 -20 min at 350 degrees in 8×8 greased baking pan or similar size

Serve with butter or chicken flavored crackers






One friend scooped the dip into a large conch shell.  What a fabulous way to serve up delicious! If there were left overs, we had it for breakfast.

Let me tell you, we ate well.   The party food was so good!

Fast forward to our post retirement years living overseas.

We came home for 6 months with all of our kids including our two treasured younger daughters.

While visiting my dad we headed  to the revised renovated downtown of Chattanooga for some sight seeing and dinner.  A plug for Chattanooga.  Check out their website. There’s lots to do for couples and families.

Sticky Fingers Smokehouse was the dinner destination.  We ordered spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips.  It may have been our first time having it.

Meg, our youngest was around 18 months at the time. Grandpa feed her chips loaded with dip. If he was too slow, she began to cry.  There were 9 off us but soon the table appetizer became hers.  He was having a great time with her!

Dad ordered another one…”bring it fast” were the instructions.  Poor Meg was beside herself.  The dip was gone. We were amazed at how she loved this dish.  In her defence, it was a long day and she was most definitely hungry!

Meg ate the entire thing!  By herself.  She still will often order that for her meal.

I served it recently. See the rest of the menu here.


Here’s the recipe.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Hot flavoerful dip using fresh spinach and artichoke hearts. Included dairy.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: California
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup chopped sauted spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1½ cup (1 can) artichoke hearts
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp to taste red pepper flakes (or Tabasco sauce)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease baking dish appx 8 x8 or pie dish
  3. Saute fresh spinach in olive oil with garlic powder (if frozen squeeze out all liquid)
  4. Drain artichokes; squeeze to beak into small pieces
  5. Im medium pan, mix together over med low heat, cream cheese, sour cream, Paramesan cheese
  6. Remove from heat; stir in mayo, spinach and artichoke hearts
  7. Put in baking dish
  8. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown
  9. Serve with crispy French bread slices or tortilla chips


Happy 4th of July!! 


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Summer Morning Buffet




A little red. white and blue.  A prelude to 4th of July.  Fun delicious food served for a crowd. Simple to make.  Easy to handle on your lap with drink on the side table.

Summer is a great time for having friends over. The garden is full of fresh food like spinach.  Farm stands overflow with fresh summer berries.

Brilliant sunlight, flowers showing off against a green background.  There seems to be a little more time for conversation and yet another sip of coffee.

The mix of formal and country is one I am loving these days.  Blue ball jars with English Cauldon China from Great Aunt Daisy and Lenox Autumn.  I missed the simple bouquet of white hydrangea in a blue ball jar; perfect pairing with  my old red checked cloth.




Cauldon & Autumn China luncheon plates stacked, paper napkins
Mixed family silver mixed with flea marker finds in a wire holder


I swing my table over to the corner.  It opens up the kitchen making a better flow for this casual buffet. Hot drinks are on the counter.

Our group meets to plan and pray for a monthly luncheon regularly. We met to pray for the upcoming event and each person who will set up, greet, host and speak.  Our custom is to serve a light brunch type of food but we know there are just those times doughnuts are in order.  It’s really a low pressure group. We are busy women who go to their jobs, family or to other commitments and errands. We have teens, college aged children and adults. Some of us have been blessed with little treasures of grandchildren. 

My easy menu for a morning meet with a hot dip instead of an egg dish plus the timeless favorite of little smoke roll ups.  I made extra for our lunch later in the day.


Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tortilla chips

Summer Berry Bowl  

Little Smokies Roll Ups


Orange Juice, sparkling water, ice water, coffee and hot teas



5.0 from 2 reviews
Little Smokie Roll-Ups
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Little Smokie Roll Ups
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 32 pieces
  • 1 package HIllshire all beef Little Smokies
  • 1 can 8 each Cressent rolls
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees (175 C)
  2. Unroll crescent rolls.
  3. Cut each perferated piece into 4 triangular pieces (Less doughy)
  4. Roll one smokie in each cut piece beginning at the wide end
  5. Place on ungreaased cookie sheet (optional use parchement paper)
  6. Cook until golden brown appx 15 min depending on your oven
  7. Seve with a pot of mustard




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