Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mm is for Make Someones Day

Do you love surprises . . . especially ones that come in the mail? Here is a simple idea of an inexpensive (almost free) way you can make someones day.

When my parents lived in the Philippines, my mom really missed the Fall season. She found it hard to be in a hot and humid climate in the month of October. So every year, I pressed Fall leaves and sent them to her in the mail. I sent enough for her to share with her other expat friends, who almost cried, when she shared this simple touch of home.

      (leaves pressing in my October Martha Stewart Living)

My niece Amanda, just moved to Florida. She recently wrote on facebook that she was missing the Fall colors she grew up with. Aha, I know how to remedy this! Today, on my way to the dentist office to have my teeth cleaned, I pulled into Coulon Park and scooped up a pile of beautiful leaves. Happy Fall, Amanda!

Who do you know that would enjoy a little package of leaves?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mm is for "Make Your Bed"

My mom was an immaculate housekeeper. Seriously, growing up, I did not know that things got dirty or wore out. I never saw my mom clean . . . our home was just always sparkling. (Imagine my surprise, when I began cleaning houses for some very messy women, to earn my way through college.)

My darling mom, Hallie, had a philosophy that she passed on to young women when she gave a wedding shower or to young moms when she spoke at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). It was simple and practical.

          *make your bed as soon as you
            get up, and

          *do your dishes as soon as you  
                           finish a meal.

Then, no matter what the rest of the day holds you will feel prepared. Once these two important jobs are finished you will not mind an unexpected guest.

Try this out tomorrow and see how it works for you. It works really well for me, because my husband often makes the bed while I am in the shower, and he does more than his share of dishes. (Thanks, Dave!)

Once our bed it made and we open the curtains, this is what we see. . .

This post is part of my ABC series and is dedicated to my mom who taught me so many important life lessons. We lost her to cancer five years ago, and I miss her every day.

Do you make your bed every morning?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Europe, Tenting and a Gypsy Circus

It is always fun for me to meet bloggers that live in Europe. Recently I have been reading a lot about their summer holidays to fantastic European destinations.


Today I was reading Sharon's beautiful blog, My French Country Home. With stunning photography and wonderful words, she was describing her recent trip to Nice.

Instantly, a very funny memory came to mind . . . because I have also been to Nice. It was the early 80's and it was my first time to Europe. I was travelling with my husband and our two daughters (1 and 4) and about 35 high school students from the States. We were tenting around Europe and staying in campgrounds.

When we arrived late at night to our campground in Nice, the owner had not saved a spot for our large group, even though we had a reservation. So he gave us a place to set up our tents in an open field. We were exhausted and went to bed as soon as our tents were set up.

The next morning when we woke up, a gypsy circus team had camped all around us . . . trailors of animals and all.

So, I did get to see the beautiful sites of Nice, that Sharon photographed so stunningly. We ate the delicious ice cream at Festival d' Glazes and as evening approached, we returned to our campground. At dusk, the gypsy circus began their performance, which I watched from my air mattress in my tent.

Really, you can not make these kinds of stories up. :)

I dream of someday seeing Europe instead, from a hotel suite.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blogging is . . . just too cool

In June, I began praying for Heather, a 25 year old, in desperate need of a liver transplant. Her mom, Cathy, put the word out in her blog The Stylish House. Just today, I read the update that a live liver donor has been found . . . through the world of blogging. How cool is that!

Please join me in praying for the upcoming surgeries, which now, of course, involve two precious families. Thank you, Lord, for using the crazy world of blogging to meet the needs of this dear family.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Worth the Wait

I began my blog, Gg - Notes on the Journey, in January of this year. I am really a newbie in so many ways, but none more than my lack of skill on the computer. Honestly, I didn't know what a "field" was, or how to open another window. I am learning a lot, especially thanks to my sweet husband, Dave, showing me again and again.

As I plug away on learning these technical skills, I also am learning more and more about the art of blogging. To help me in this, I have enrolled in my first e.course, Blogging Your Way, by the brilliant authors of the blogs, Decor8 and A Creative Mint. (Navigating this e.course, is also helping me in my technical skills . . . a bonus.)

I just completed my homework for week two and it is confirming for me my love of blogging and that fact that blogging is right in line with the things I value most in life. Cool,eh?

The only bummer is, I am spending so much time on my class and all that I am learning (and a few other crazy things happening at our house), that I don't have as much time for actually . . . blogging.

So, could you do me a favor and raise your right hand and repeat after me: "We are happy that you are learning so much, and that your blog will just be getting better and better. We promise to keep reading Gg even though your posts may be a little sparse this next month. "

Thanks faithful readers/friends!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Summer fruit . . . 

. . . we will miss you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who knew . . . Homework Could Be So Fun

As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking a great e.course (my first), called Blogging Your Way. It has been ages since I have spent hours on homework.

As a student and as a teacher, I always thought that homework should be practical and even fun. No long lists of dates to memorize, or boring books to read. One of the reasons (of many) we homeschooled our daughters, was so they would have a love of learning, through creative homework.

Blogging Your Way has not disappointed me here . . . the homework has been creative, thought provoking and fun. Our second assignment was to take a file folder and turn it into a mood board that would reflect my blog, Gg: Notes on the Journey.

Can you tell I had fun? Do you think this reflects my blog? Do you agree with me that homework should be creative and fun?

Here are a few closeups:

This 57 year old blogger is enjoying being back in school.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11


Here is a link to our daughter Christy's blog, with her beautiful words as she also remembers ~

Photo credit: St. Charles Library

Thursday, September 9, 2010

For the love of PAPER

 Each September, both the former teacher and the former homeschool mom in me wants to go out and buy some paper. I have already documented my long time love of school supplies in A Bouquet of Freshly Sharpened Pencils. And,  I have now discovered a legitimate reason to need a new notebook.

I have signed up for my first ever e.course, Blogging My Way, taught by Holly Becker (decor8) and Leslie Shewring (A Creative Mint). It is just beginning and I am already certain it was a great choice for me.

Our first assignment was to purchase a "pretty notebook." The response (via comments) was instantaneous and emotional. You would have thought Holly and Leslie were offering to pay our house payments for a year. I recognized . . . here are some kindred spirits.

Do you think there is any connection between bloggers and loving paper?

photo credits: climatesavers, nikkimmblogs, artfuladventure, fireflyconcerto, envelopperinc

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Was Your Summer?

I had a great summer.

Our poor tomato plants ~ not so much!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Peach cobbler update

It was also delicious in berry.

Friday, September 3, 2010

EAT, PRAY, LOVE ~ a movie review

Last weekend, Dave and I were feeling a little lonely and bored because the girls had just left. We decided to head out for our favorite hamburger at Five Guys and go see Eat Pray Love.

That morning, I had read a fabulous review by Kay Harms, a pastor's wife who blogs at Off the Beaten Path. Going in to see the movie, I knew that Elizabeth Gilbert's journey to find herself was going to take her down a path that I would not have chosen, but I was still looking forward to seeing the movie.

Eat Pray Love has been on my mind all week. Dave and I both delighted in the travel scenes. The nighttime taxi ride into Calcutta filled with noise, lights, people and poverty all crushing in around you, is exactly how Dave remembers his first taxi ride in India. I loved the scene where Elizabeth, now in Bali, gets a drink in a little plastic bag with a straw, all held together with a rubber band. This is exactly how they sold coffee on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, when I was in the seventh grade. Strong sweet coffee on ice, in a plastic bag. (brilliant!) That was long before Starbucks. The movie is also full of interesting and intriguing relationships and friendships, which I also loved.

The haunting part of the movie for me, was Elizabeth's journey to find herself through some kind of spiritual experience. Early on, in a moment of pain and disappointment, she kneels and asks God for help. (Haven't we all been there.)

Years ago, I read a book (off a library shelf of a small church in Scotland), that said . . . the most dangerous time in a person's spiritual journey is that first inclination to find God. The enemy of our soul works hard to make sure we do find god , but it is a false god of his own making. I believe this movie is an example of just that.

Elizabeth Gilbert's journey, reminds me of the woman at the well in John 4. She, too, was a precious woman in pain. She found Jesus, who said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water" (from the city well) "will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him, will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Instead, Elizabeth finds "a god within herself, who is herself." There, my friends, is the sad rub.

Wherever you are today in your spiritual journey, I encourage you to bring all of you (the good, the bad and the ugly) into God's presence. He loves you and cares about your life. Jesus said, " If any one is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37)

I loved the last paragraph of Kay's review. "Instead of eating pasta, eat the Bread of Life. Instead of praying to a guru, talk and listen to your Father in heaven. And instead of loving yet another man, fall head over heels in love with Jesus, the lover of your soul. Then you will really have something worth writing a book about."

photo credit:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


My husband travelled a lot . . . which meant I was home alone with babies, then toddlers, then school age kids. I developed many tricks for survival. But my very best, which I saved for days I most craved some solitude, my fail safe method - which I will share with you today, for free,was . . . THE LIBRARY.

The Childers are a bookish family and this began when the girls were really little. The year we moved to Renton, Christy was six and Jenny was three. A few weeks after we settled in, Dave left for the summer to lead a large group of students around the world. But first, Dave made sure I knew how to drive to the library and made sure we had new library cards . . . and he knew we would be okay until he returned.

Any day I was stressed, tired, craving solitude . . . it became LIBRARY DAY. Here is what Library Day looked like:

Get up - eat breakfast - drive to the library - let the girls loose in in the library for three to four hours. This was great, but the best part, the goal of the whole experience is what happened next.

Drive home - eat lunch - let the girls loose in their room with their stack (and I mean stack, at least 20 books each), for another three to four hours. They would sort their books, organize their books, list their books and finally read these books. I could do anything I wanted. I would not hear a single peep from them until they got hungry for dinner. BLISS!

The girls were here from Chicago last week and high on their to-do list was a visit to their childhood home away from home - THE FAIRWOOD LIBRARY. They had a blast seeing each spot. As we came around a corner, there on the floor surrounded by a big stack of books, was their favorite children's librarian. Along with the usual story and craft times, she used to order piles of books she thought the girls would love.

Thanks for 31 years of service and Happy Retirement next month! Thanks for serving the Childers family.
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