November 26, 2009


A friend sent this ...

God is a tagger on the walls of nonexistence.

You and everything are the four dimensional graffiti of God.

God writes his name a thousand different ways, not as an egomaniac

but to claim the emptiness

on the walls of nonexistence.

There is another who hates the color – says the walls are his-

who works to strip all of it clean into nothingness

or to at least sandblast that name unrecognizable.

but He who showed up as the art and the artist,

scandalous scrawny four dimensional spray can manifestation of outrageous word-shapes

was Himself sandblasted and stripped on the wall of nonbeing.

He took his name and the art to the other side of the wall, claiming it forever

color reaching us from the inside, we hang with Him, the name which is written a thousand

different ways.

still somewhere obliterated on this side, we spray it back, knowing who we are.

- from "a Denver Book of Prayer"

November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Stuff

Tomorrow we head through the woods, on freeways and byways, over rivers and train-tracks and more roadways to Travis and Sarah's home for Thanksgiving. It's been a long time since I've not hostessed Thanksgiving, cooking the turkey stuffed with my grandma's and mom's sage dressing. I'm making the pies and rolls and a fresh cranberry side dish to bring.

I've got pie pumpkins in the oven roasting for pumpkin pies. I simmered dry the pumpkin seeds and they're spread on a cookie sheet drying in the oven now too. I posted last year about cooking up squash seeds - I do it for most winter squash, not just pumpkin seeds. I know too I must have gotten my idea from somewhere, so I just looked at books I knew I had when we were early married that might have it in, and found it. I looked mainly to find proportions to share with you since I wing it each time and sometimes they're too salty.

The Salted Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Seed recipe wasn't in one of my grandma's cookbooks but Carla Emery's Old Fashioned Recipe Book - The Encyclopedia of Country Living, and I see it's still in print. I've got her original book she wrote decades ago, printing sections from a mimeograph machine on varying colored pages and bound in a 3-ring binder, having heard her on TV. I've not read her newer version word-for-word as I did the first edition, but I do know things are missing ... like her Christian testimony and married to a Mormon man, were in the Chicken chapter.

After washing the squash seeds she boils them 15 minutes: 2-3 TB salt per quart of water, drains, and spreads to dry on a cookie sheet in a moderate oven till brown and crisp. I think that's too much salt and I add other stuff. I like to barely cover the seeds in a saucepan with water and put in a TB of butter or olive oil. For one pumpkin's seeds today I put in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder. I like to simmer till the liquid evaporates cuz then the flavorings penetrate the seeds. Most recipes have you adding butter or oil to the cookie sheet and salting and stirring - how would the salt really stick? and 'twould be messy. Usually I just put them in an oven that had been on, but now turned off and leave them to dry - sometimes leaving them in till the next day (just don't turn the oven on for something else, forgetting the seeds are in there! And you should peek in the oven when you're turning it on anyway - I've left cast iron pans in to dry. Monte's cousin's kid likes to hide stuffed animals in the oven!)

My sister sent the pumpkin picture last week and I deliberated posting it. I told her it was SO funny yet gross too. She had several comments to her post and the one I thought funniest was "I think I'll reach for the apple pie this Thanksgiving ..."

Well, off to make the pie crusts and refrigerate - chilled dough makes flakier crusts, as well as not manhandling it too much. I'm making two pumpkin and two mystery pecan pies.

November 14, 2009


Oh I know ... I've not been posting regular. I'll just do a quick overview to catch you up to date. I was just downloading some more photos and looking thru the near-recents have helped me remember things happening lately ... lots.

The most recent pictures are of Will, but most are movie clips that I can't post yet. Monte and me just returned from Texas, flying into Killeen the day President Obama was at Ft Hood. Luckily we flew in toward evening and traffic, still heavy leaving the base, wasn't bad getting to Heather's home. We packed up Heather's car (packed meaning "packed!!!!") and drove home to Evergreen. So Will and Heather are here for the Holidays. Got home just before another snow storm. I'll be taking pictures.

I had posted a bit back about another snow storm keeping us from flying home to Colorado. We'd been visiting Monte's parents in Wisconsin. I'm posting a picture of Monte's Mom and sister-in-law Linda in the kitchen. Monte, Mike and Scott (Swan brothers) had gone fishing. If you look close, Scott is sticking his head in behind Mike and Monte. Monte caught a couple good sized pike we ate the next day - yummm! Then a couple days later Monte and me went fishing. I rowed the boat as Monte cast. He caught several northern pike, throwing the smaller ones back. I like the picture above I took of him (and then my camera fell out of my pocket into the boat bottom and got wet and I had to text Dawson as to how to fix it - took out the battery and kept it at the back of Monte's mom's stove while supper was heating and the camera dried out and then worked!)

Some of us gals had a Homemade for the Holidays tea and craft day at church a week ago. The center of the room was decorated with four tea tables - pretty with real china. Around the perimeter of the room were a variety of craft stations. I did a needlefelting station. There was mug decorating, jewelry making, scrapbooking, card making, Eukranian egg making, beaded angel ornaments, and quilting stations too. A full day with three tea times and mainly females coming and going (I'd say ladies, but some were young girls, and occasional boys and men). It was a great day that we're going to do again!

I've been practicing tie-dying. We're soon going to Travis and Sarah's and I don't want to practice on Sarah's curtains. She got some really long white curtains at a yard-sale that'll fit nice over their stairwell window. We're going to stripy dye them (as opposed to typical circle tie-dye). I got some queen-sized sheets for their guest bed and been practicing on them. I did initial dying Monday before Monte and me left for Texas. But when I undid the rubber bands when we'd gotten home, there was still too much white sheet showing, so I re-rubber-banded (tied) them and over-dyed them. I'll open them in a bit and see ... and take a picture. Today I decided to bind up a long strip and do all the dye colors I had made up thinking of their home colors (and my laundry room colors, which I'm going to dye curtains for too, later). That way, rather than little catalog color swatches, we can see what they REALLY look like. (I ran errands yesterday and one checkout gal remarked about my hands looking like I've been having fun - I didn't wear gloves yesterday, so my hands were stained a variety of colors!)

I'm posting a picture off of Facebook of Travis and Sarah I like. And Dawson's holding a baby blanket Sarah crocheted, and then there's a picture of pregnant Sarah. Sarah's about to have a baby shower cuz her family is going to be here for Thanksgiving.

Then there's a picture of Dawson and Splarah dressed for a Halloween party. Splarah is Little Red Riding Hood. Dawson forged/welded his head-piece and is wearing the chain-mail he made several years ago.

I noticed a picture Dawson took of our mailboxes at the base of our road (a mile away) from that last snow storm we missed and Dawson said was up to his waist. Most of it melted, except the north slopes will be snow-covered from here on.

Today is Monte's and my anniversary.

What's cooking? Butternut squash and turkey meatballs are in the oven. I roasted garlic in olive oil and drained it into a cast-iron skillet and just made croutons for the garlic egg-drop soup we're having too. Then a salad will round off the meal. The cookstove is hot, the great room is cozy, and it's snowing outside. Time to eat.

November 3, 2009

Circular Calendar Monologue

Calendar Girl me is getting ready to speak at MOPS tomorrow. 'Tis a rich season we're approaching. But then I love the richness each season has to offer as we recycle rhythmically around the calendar.

"Around" the calendar wouldn't be a term you'd use, when our calendars are linear and we tend to live linearly as well. God established festivals to recycle each year for establishing traditions, retelling of stories, and re-remembering.

"Live linearly"? Hmmmm .... that's what I love about sitting down to write - to journal. When waking and desiring to post something, living linearly was not in my thoughts. As I write, it's like my fingers are their own being and take off with stuff on their own. And then the rest of me has to pause and reflect ... and I'm thinking, "How cool!" What am I thinking in connection to seeing live linearly on the page?

I'm actually visualizing a line of time. Like I have to speak tomorrow, and then there's a very busy art and tea day at church next weekend I'm involved in. So often when there's things demanding more of me, my default mode thinks "I can't wait for tomorrow to be done with" or "next saturday to be over". Like when Monte had us speaking all over the country, I always had those thoughts. Like I want to jump ahead on my calendar timeline. Hmmmm ... isn't there a movie like that, fast forwarding thru things of life?

When I saw that the main point of Jesus' time with Mary and Martha in the recorded scripture story was that they be present to him in the moment - whether able to sit at his feet, or working in the kitchen, I related that message to my times I'd like to fast-forward thru. No! Not if I'm living beyond just linear time ... Like I'm supposed to be living rhythmically ever present to Loving God and Loving My Neighbor in every moment, aware of his Larger Story he asks me to be a part of.

Sure I can live in my own small story and focused on the past or the future and not really present to the here and now of this moment ... missing God winks!

So what was I going to post today? ;^)
Oh yes, I'm readying to speak on the calendar season tomorrow. I reread my postings a year ago - by clicking on the sidebar months of November thru January, you'd see the calendar season posts I'm not wanting to take the time to link you to. We just passed Halloween, which the stories I connect to that time is Reformation and the following day of All Saints Day, which was a huge turning point in our Christian history. Before that in September thru October are the Jewish Fall Festivals. That's where the calendar book I'm writing begins: The Jewish New Year and God creating our world. The Jewish festival of Sukkot that God instituted to be celebrated every year became our Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving.

I'm taking tomorrow, a picture I drew of my circular calendar (which is posted in June of this year under John the Baptist Day, where I also talk about my living rhythmically). I'm also taking an old Thanksgiving Tree I kept one year. Because I reread last years post, I'm remembering a turning point in this established tradition, and I'm going to share that tomorrow.

Because each year, for years, I've drawn a bare tree on a large piece of paper and put it up before Thanksgiving, and cut out leaves from colored paper for people to write things they're thankful for, Thanksgiving day is rich with thoughts already in a full-of-thanks mode or posture. Last year the wall space was not there for the tree, since I'd put up more photos, so I didn't do the tree. I waited to see if it was missed. One guest did make a comment I loved! "Where's the tree? I've been thinking of things all week to write on leaves to glue on the tree!!" So I quickly drew a tree and the refrigerator was the decided place to put it and I brought down my can full of colored markers - a way more colorful creative tree of gratitude, from the tangible to intangible, took shape throughout the day!

I'm also taking a Christmas stocking full of things. I keep this stocking in the ready for times when I speak. It's filled with things related to the Saint Nicholas story. When protestantism threw out the church calendar, they threw out so much Christian history rich with Third Testament stories. People used to wake up remembering these stories - which help me remember that if God was there for them, he'll be here for me. People used to wake with lives aware and looking for miracles in their everyday living. Do we, in our linear days? Because we no longer remember St Nicholas and his story on December 6, he's gotten mixed up with Jesus and celebrated on Christmas! I now put up stockings on December 6 and we can tell people as we live the days of December that Santa Claus already came to our house - and then share the real story!

I'm bringing JRR Tolkiens Father Christmas book, as well as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever book (my favorite read-aloud every year! - such a healing story for me at one point of my life), and Madeline L'Engle's Dance in the Desert book. Dawson and friends dramatized that book one year using things from the "Dress Up Box" (Halloween is such a good time to find great things for a dress up box: wigs, funny glasses, long gloves, costumes of animals ... I've still got the stuff in a barrel, awaiting Grandkids!). In the days following Christmas (the 12 Days of Christmas) there's a day remembering all the children ordered murdered by Harod in Jesus' story, which too remembers an OT scripture mentioning the wailing Hebrew mothers for their slaughtered children. The Dance in the Desert book imagines the fleeing "Holy Family" (as depicted in so much art) crossing the desert to Egypt in a caravan, and one night all of creation comes to pay homage to the Christ child.

Since I'm posting on this season, I'll post a picture of the pumpkin Dawson carved this year. His friend Aaron helped him draw it out first. In case you can't tell, it's a Jesus face pumpkin. Since we were out of town last week, he did it at a friend's house and I've not seen the real thing. I wish I could see it, cuz it's unreal looking!

Where am I ending my seasonal talk tomorrow? My handout takes everyone thru the Advent season. The Christian Calendar begins with Advent, awaiting God Incarnate, enfleshed in the birth of a baby. Last year's December link defines this season for you with daily scripture readings, if you'd like. The 12 Days of Christmas culminate January 6 with Epiphany, remembering the adoration of the Magi. Then my handout has some Third Testament story days with St Nicholas and St Lucia, on the 13th (our Swedish roots, yet she's not Swedish!), and Hanukkah. Then there's Boxing Day, St Stephen's day, Peter Pan day (you've got to read my post on this!), Childermas, Circumsicion Day (yes, it's a part of the Jesus story and art depicts it!), ending with Ground Hog Day.

Why Ground Hog Day, and how does that connect with the Incarnation of God story? Originally, February 2 was, and is, Candlemas Day: the day Jesus, "a light to lighten the gentiles", was presented at the temple, and old Anna and Simeon were patiently awaiting him.
"One generation makes known your faithfulness to the next."
- Isaiah 38:19

"...for they shall hear from us about the wonders of the Lord, generations yet unknown will hear of the miracles he did for us."
- Psalms 22:30-31

"Enter God's gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."
- Psalm 100
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