A Memorial Day Sunday Montage of images and thoughts

 A  Memorial Day Montage

While we visit sales and fire up the BBQ and attend parades or just veg in front of the electronic babysitter here are a few other images to consider on this Memorial Day holiday weekend.



Memorial Day Severe Weather Threat…..If only that was the only threat to freedom…..and to the memory of those who paid a price.


 Something to remember…

the Price continues to be paid and the Cost to be counted


In the everyday pressure of battle…

Men give their lives less for freedom than for each other.  

In that lies the glory.


Some live only in memory and have no marker to remind us as they await the day of resurrection.


They were the candle that held freedom’s beacon in their lives and death…

we are now the mirror that reflects and holds the meaning of that light in trust.


 Whatever our politics or our religion, we are united in being Americans blessed with freedom on this day of memory.  My grateful thanks to all who sacrificed to make it so.

Hugs and Blessings to you all – Jean

So what size are your panties?????

Hi All,

Really Miss Jean…a title like that…on a Sunday!!??!

Hopefully I haven’t offended anyone with my title…it’s meant to elicit a smile…hopefully…after you read the following.   Oh and I really hope I didn’t just open myself up to a gazillion nasty spammers or other slimy types that infest the internet.  But hey…it was too good a title to pass up..know what I mean…read on and you will.


Do you ever find yourself in situations, discussion, chats online where you can’t help standing back and thinking…guys…we’re talking about stamps, ink and paper for gosh sakes (or fill in some other general topic)…not the actual end of the world, massive poverty, nuclear reactors melting down and the thousand and one truly bad things happening or seemingly about to?    And oh by the way remember that when you’re only interaction is via the typed word there are no facial clues or voice cues to indicate intent or meaning…..

Yep, life online can get a bit odd at times.  Friends, rivals, perfect strangers –  talking at cross purposes, misunderstandings, etc…Oh wait it happens in real life too sometimes…committee meetings, city council meetings, parish council meetings…

Basically anytime a group of people, each with their own point of view and ears and hearts that could use a bit of opening perhaps, get together. 

On several of the online chat forums I participate in, when things get a bit heated there are often calls for the participants to put on their Big Girl Panties.  Loosely means  stop whining, sniping, flaming – you name it – and  grow up,  get some perspective and don’t take the discussion or yourself too seriously.  Or more simply…lets all be adult about this..okay?  Seems to be happening lately more and more.

Well…my inbox may have provided the solution…or at least a giggle or two.  Not a bad thing at all to come over the electronic transom.

The following pictures hit my inbox as part of these discussions with friends and I just had to share :D:


Check out the teeny tiny blue thong that’s really hard to see at the far right!

So Big Girl Panties have been getting smaller and smaller.
 Explains a few things doesn’t it??  😀

What do you think?   Could we use these as icons, in a discussion?  No words required?    And from the second picture I can see where in the olden days there was a little more material to work with when it came to getting your “knickers” in a twist!

Perhaps…meanwhile… since change begins with one person… I think I’ll try to regularly check the state of my heart, the openness of my ears and of course…the size of my panties.

Hugs and Sunday Blessings my friends.  May your week ahead be filled with joy!   – Jean

P.S.  Wicket says hi too!  Her panties are just fine thank you very much!

Funny searches that found my blog

Hi Y’All,

As the post title says…the following are funny searches (Google presumably)  that led people to my blog.   I’m not sure if they found what they were expecting.  Whether it was helpful, satisfying or down right weird to them.  I know at least I had a good giggle seeing these searches and contemplating questions and comments that arose as a result.


Stencils children – Hm…didn’t know they breed.  Though given my fondness for the critters I’m not complaining.  

Might be a great way to get that perfect little tree I’ve wanted to match my O Christmas Tree stencils I created with my die.  Daddy tree…Mama tree…and baby makes three (the magic number of design!)

And a follow up one…tempting stencils…really if they are having children I think the tempting part is already implied…don’t you?

Bridget Larsons crap – I’m fairly sure they left off the s since Briget Larsons scrap is a search I see fairly often…still it did give me pause for a second or two.   Why does Google think I have her “crap”… or a link to it?

Elegant border lines – now maybe that kind of searching would have ended the Cold War a decade or two sooner. 😀

funny cats – really?…Wicket will be mortified…though Sandy would have taken it in stride.

beautiful sample – gotta love the optimism and trust in Google implied with this one! 

stampin up love – oh I hope not…a little love in the world is a good thing….why stomp all over it!  Of course it could just be a new kind of kinky involving paper and ink 😀

snowflake tattoo designs  – not exactly hilarious but I have this image of a snowflake in one of those tattoo parlors on the strip getting a Hell’s Angels tattoo.  Wonder if the flames would melt its edges?  Conversely maybe the snowflake is the tattoo artist?  Or possibly the searcher was hoping for images of snowflakes so he/she could join the “flake” brigade?  

any updog?  – don’t they know I only have cats?  Besides aren’t most dogs a little too up already?  My friend Lucydog certainly is!  😀

grunge friends – oh my!  Cheryl and Linda are not going to appreciate that one!   Although if I knew Tim Holtz I’d be styling….Oh wait maybe they are looking for a grunge friend…hm…I might resemble that remark…Google apparently thinks so!

icicle texture – are there inspectors for that ?  Jack Frost maybe?  Are we talking taste (couldn’t pay me to lick a city bred icicle), smell (probably city bred again), or quality of ice?   And how did this get associated with me!  Was it my post on Lick a maid for scratch and sniff?

vintage lady with bird – Miss Wicket says…Yumm!    But the only bird I’ve ever shown is one a lady is not supposed to in public!  I will cop to the vintage however- over fifty probably qualifies – LOL!  On the other hand Vintage is my favorite look and I do love stamping and die cutting birds – paper ones that is!   

I suppose you could say, back when Wicket was a kitten (8 months old) I had a bird…for about 15 minutes.   Wicket caught herself a hawk, brought it in through the cat door and released it to fly around inside the house.  Eventually she caught it again and took it outside for a “take out” dinner.  Though not before I called a neighbor to help me rescue it.  The neighbor assumed I was high or had mixed up my meds though he did come and look.   He did eventually get a look at Wicket making off back through the door with the bird.  His reply….Damn…you really did have a hawk in the house!   oh really…are you sure Jim!   

Wicket hasn’t been allowed to have any pets of her own ever since…unless of course you count Sandycat!

And finally…Jean Fitch rogue….not quite sure how to take that one!  And notice the rogue is lower case.  I guess I’m not seriously roguish enough to be The Rogue or even A Rogue.  Probably a good thing – LOL!

Edited to add:

This just in….elegant cat ladies….Now that’s one Wicket and I will take in a heartbeat….Meow!


I hope this post “found” you… well, happy and joyful today.

Sunday Blessings my friends and may the rest of your upcoming week be blessed as well.  – Jean

Silent night…Holy night….and then the cat started in.

Merry Christmas Aftermath my friends!

I hope your Christmas was filled with family, friends and fun…lots of fun.    Because now its the day after Christmas and the aftermath must be faced…will you leave the tree up until New Years or maybe Valentines?  All depends on your family traditions and grasp on the finer points of procrastination….LOL!     Will you join the shopping crazies in search of more and better deals….either for themselves or to get a jump on next years Christmas…yup I used to be one of those.  No sooner were the gifts unwrapped than I started planning for next year!  Crazy huh?    Are there dishes waiting for you?   Ornaments to clean up?    Wrapping paper to decide…add to the stash for crafting or toss or “shudder” burn (really bad for you, your chimney flue and the environment unless it’s all Stampin’ Up brown wrapping paper).   As I said the Aftermath….hmm…almost sounds like a nuclear attack doesn’t it?   If you have kids chances are there are degrees of similarity.

In case you’re wondering where cats enter into this…let me just say…while its possible that animals really do bow down and worship…I know that they definitely talk on Christmas Eve.   I haven’t heard any English mind you but what a cat can’t express with words they make up for in sounds, tail swishes and most of all yowls…especially of the Niaow…variety that sounds suspiciously like NOW, NOW, NOW!!  😀

I’m grinning now as I type this but let me tell you Christmas Eve at my house was anything but silent!  Not too sure about holy either as my nerves frayed and my language…well…it slipped…lets leave it at that.    Sigh…something else to remember next time I go to confession!  I wonder if I can take Wicket with me so the priest will understand the provocation.  

Little Miss decided she wanted something….Santa  or God and the angels alone only know what.    A quiet evening of listening to carols, surfing the net, chatting with friends on the phone with pauses for petting the cat became….Mommy….I want something…..every few minutes Miss Wicket would announce her presence with yowls of longing and emphatic posturing…nope not the call of nature…nope…not wanting toys and playtime….nope petting didn’t help…couldn’t actually get near her without twisting like a pretzel (those of you with cats and chairs will know what I mean by this)…getting up from said chair ready to obey whatever game was in progress only resulted in a cat diving under the bed.   Pause for me to sit down and the game would begin again….followed by another dive under the bed.   Predictably Momma soon lost it and added to the lack of silence and holiness.   Never did figure out what it was all about though Wicket did eventually get a time out outside in the wider world….which as it turns out…led to more Cats starting in…this time the neighbors…………

Also on the subject of Aftermath…

This year there were missing faces at our families Christmas tables that reflected this year as a year of loss in many ways.  Apart from the separations that come the way of many families, the face missing most was that of my Mother in law who died last January.  She was responsible for so many years in making our family Christmas and in keeping us all in touch with one another as we are now more scattered than ever before.   At my own hearth the missing face (besides my extended family who are mostly in California these days)  was my beloved Sandycat of the mechanical paw and loving heart.  Her ability to share love while maintaining her wild nature was amazing.  Add to that a torn rotator cuff and a small stroke of mine and as I said aftermath seems to have been a theme.   On the other hand the year has had its flashes of joy, periods of inspiration and creativity and additions to my kitchen table and cyber table of friends and fellow crafting comrades from here and  my various online communities.    Friendships that began over blog post comments more than a year ago have blossomed into phone calls, shared packages and letters and plans to meet at SU convention or on vacations that cross paths so we can get to know each other even more.    Grown into lots more hours on the computer too but that is yet again an aftermath…and one I’m happy to live with…though I’m betting it’s going to lead to even more Wicket fits that lead to fewer silent nights…and so the cycle will probably continue.    Loss, pain, joy, growth as the circle continues.    Check back next year to see if Silent and Holy made it back on the agenda…okay?

All of this brought to mind a quote about grace and holiness and growth from a favorite mystery book that I came across as I was hunting through my archives on my drive for something else.   Also put me in mind of a Christmas miracle from the past I shared on a friends blog last year that also, as so much of my life does, involved a cat.

See what you think….

On the subject of Grace:

No one is ever far from grace.  What we’re too often far from is willingness to open our self to grace.  From willingness to let grace come to us.  We keep our minds between it and our hearts.

As for our becoming holy…… I don’t think we have to become “holy” to succeed in our life here.  I’m not even certain what “holy” would be for us.  Dame Johane in response – “Dame Thomasine…” Dame Frevisse responds – Yes , but it seems more a gift given to her than something she became.  I haven’t been given it.  I know that.  My hope isn’t for holiness, only that I grow enough–can set my roots of faith and belief and love deep enough–that like a deep rooted plant growing taller than a shallow rooted one, I finally come as near God in my mind and soul and heart as I can, no matter how much in the world my body has to be. 

Dame Frevisse speaking to Dame Johane in Margaret Frazer’s “The Apostate’s Tale” pg 124-125  A medieval mystery tale in a Nun’s Convent at the time of Chaucer.


My Christmas Miracle shared with Elaine

The first of many…I live my life by miracles or so it often seems.  Some large and indisputably Miraculous… when your husband is dying and you live in a small town wouldn’t you love to end up at the one hospital where the surgeon on duty just returned from a conference with the worlds leading specialists on that specific problem and can make a few phone calls that end up saving your DH’s life!  Add to that all the right techs being in the hospital on a weekend so all tests can be completed in 45 minutes or less (talk about a Golden Hour)!  And that’s the basic story of a big one.  Then again, some days finding a parking spot right in front of where you are going counts as a miracle in my book.

But…you asked for a Christmas Miracle…and those should be special and mysterious and perfect just like the first Christmas itself!

On the first Christmas Eve after my husband Steve and I were married in 1981… we were sad that our Abigail (Abbycat) cat had disappeared and not returned home for quite some time so no little kitty paws to go pitty pat through the house, looking for that stirring creature – a mouse.  Still, we looked forward to Midnight Mass and leading our parish community in worship and song (gotta love that hour of Carols in a darkened Church), so we tuned our guitars and crossed the street (yes we were lucky enough to rent a cottage across the street from our parish – another of those miracles – lol)…and sang out our Christmas Joy at Christ’s birth with our brothers and sisters. 

Halfway through the service I glanced out the open Church door and saw a sweet little cat swaying to the music but looking just a bit unsure of a welcome. She followed the whole service from that doorway hiding only when people started to leave.  As we left the Church, I stopped to pet the sweet little thing (who had popped out of hiding thinking everyone had gone) and wished her a Merry Christmas.  As we started for home, we heard the patter of little paws following us from a distance.  And, every time we stopped to listen the paws stopped too!  Once home, we discovered that we had a friend…so thinking perhaps she was a stray looking for room at the Inn we welcomed her with food and a bed (though she had to be coaxed and convinced it was safe).  So once again, God provided not only our needs but our wants as well and we had a Christmas kitty for life! 

As we found out later she needed us just as much as we needed her…She’d been abandoned on the steps of the rectory some time earlier and crept out to eat leavings from the Scout’s at the Church’s Christmas tree lot until the lot was struck Christmas Eve – with no home left God provided her need and our want.

We also found out later that she had suffered neurological damage (a bit like mine) from early trauma so had a few funny quirks (she couldn’t climb or walk a straight line for years).  She was ever after a Church cat.  We were the unofficial sextons for the Church and would lock up after every event and make sure that all was in order.  We always made that part of an evening walk before bed and our little cat, Juano, followed us everywhere as if she was a dog, even if we went for a mile or more around the block!  She loved to escape into the Church and play hide and seek in the pews kneelers.  We would come back from turning off the lights and find her gazing and swaying (praying?) in the candle light before the side altar or, sitting up straight and tall in the Presider’s chair for all the world as if she was about to begin a prayer service! She also spent every afternoon at the Church’s School during recess and in the library after school until closing.  So many lovely memories and even more miracles but that’s a story for another time.

God loves us enough to give us not only what we need but often what we want –  wrapped up with all the trimmings if we only take the time to look for the miracle.

Whether it’s for years or just for a minute…

May you always have, paw prints on your heart and soul (After all little one’s adore Him too!), and miracles every day of your life!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night – Jean


Aftermath has so many meanings and consequences doesn’t it?
 Ah well maybe next year Silent Night will return to its traditional meaning and have a chance to become Holy! 

Do you think there were cats in Bethlehem on that first Christmas?  At least the Shepherds only had to deal with sheep and angels….just saying…….

One last thing I wanted to share that I came across in my surfing…a modern day’s take on that first Christmas if social networking had meant then what it does now.   Enjoy!

May your Sunday be blessed and your aftermath one of joy and growth with a little silence and holiness thrown in.

Hugs and blessings – Jean

Christmas is here…………

Gloria in Excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
( “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” )
Christmas blessings my dear friends and may you find joy in your hearts, upon your hearth and in your families whatever holidays you celebrate this year. 
The stars are bright out, the air is clear and cold and the feeling of anticipation is building.    And to the hush of awe and expectation is added the joy building in the heart and soul.   I have to say that Advent, its readings, traditions, candles and celebrations are my favorite season of the Church Calendar.   So much wonderful music and so many joyous tidings waiting to be shared and that prepare our hearts so perfectly for Christmas Day.   And oddly enough to some…for me, Hanukkah is a precursor of so much of this as well.   Perhaps its the shared theme of light and the waiting and the miracles common to both – I’ve never known.  All I know is that my menorah is right at home sharing space with my nativity and always has been.  And tonight Christmas has arrived heralded by angels, carols and bright starlight and candle flames (the snow is holding off for now – lol!).   I hope whatever traditions you celebrate have prepared a sacred space in your heart as well to nourish you and bless you and to create a place from which your own creativity can draw strength.
Here’s a few of my favorite Christmas songs this season to set the mood.  Evie Tornquist has been a favorite of mine for decades now and trolling through YouTube tonight I discovered a treasure trove of her music video’s from a show on Dutch TV.   And Kathy Mattea’s Mary did you Know has been in my heart and on my playlist for some time as well.

Hugs and Blessings – Jean

Stampin’ Up! Sunday Bits and Blog Hopping

Sunday Blessings to you all.

Did you enjoy your extra hour of blog surfing or sleep or whatever you did with the time change.  Are you enjoying the Royal Blog Tour (see the post pinned to the top for details)?    Time change seems to have confused Mother Nature here in my corner of Oregon.  One minute the wind is blowing like crazy, the next its balmy and barely a breeze.  One minute clouds cover everything and dampness reigns (not to mention mini downpours) the next the sun is out and shining.  Who knew time changes could have such a changeable effect. 
I know we don’t really get an extra hour in the usual 24 but it sure seems like it so I’ve decided to enjoy it and spend the time surfing the Royal Blog Tour being amazed by the inspiring projects and angling for blog candy.  Seemed like a good time to get a jump on all the piled up laundry too.  After all why waste that extra hour when the machine could be chugging away – LoL! 
Makes me feel so virtuous getting chores done while surfing the net!  I’m so thankful for Washing Machines that work while unattended – too bad they won’t load and set themselves too!  While there is a river nearby I’d surely hate to have to lug the clothes there and find a rock to wash them!   Don’t imagine the fish would appreciate breathing the soap either!   The things the pioneers did…amazing that some of them found time to craft or do other fun things.  No blogs either!  Lots and lots of letterwriting going on though.
Okay Mom…enough surfing….when’s DINNER!!!
(note this is not even close to dinner time with or without the time change)
Wicket of course is finding the time change problematic.    She’s time ruled by her stomach and it will be a few weeks or months before she accepts the new clock settings as gospel.  So cruel to make her wait that extra hour for dinner isn’t it – hee,hee,hee.  I’ll make it up to her by giving her a bite of steak and some cheese.  Amazing the things I find in the bottom of my freezer!
Since you’re here and all I thought I’d also share a quick project Cheryl and I put together the other day.  Winter treat holder from Holiday Mini Halloween paper (talk about a trick when someone opens it and sees the inside of the paper)!!  Something about this little darling seems to me to have a very Edwardian feel to it.   Probably the deep red of the Riding Hood Red paired with the Black and Gray herringbone patterned paper with white accents – not to mention the vintage style stamp that was used.   Discovered  after it scanned that the Designer Paper scanned more gray than black.  And the Rhinestones aren’t showing the sparkle they have when sitting on my desk.    This is a somewhat simplified of CASE of a video project I found on Kimberly Van Diepen’s blog here.

Supplies List:

Stamps: Bells & Boughs (Holiday Mini)

Paper: Night Owl Designer Series Paper (Holiday Mini), Riding Hood Red & Whisper White Cardstock

Ink: Versamark

Other: Big Shot, Table Setting Die, Northern Frost Decorative Strip Die (Holiday Mini), Basic Jewels Rhinestones, Whisper White Taffeta Ribbon, Stapler (to fix the DSP to the die cut and hold it closed….and of course Chocolate!

I’m so impressed that Stampin’ Up gives us options with our Designer series paper.   Even though this is technically Halloween paper only one side of each design has a specifically Halloween image.  The other side as you see here can be used for other occasions throughout the year.   So much more versatile don’t you think!  And of course it coordinates perfectly with SU’s color groupings and embellishments  too!  Appeals to my frugality in a big way!

All right…now that the scan is made I can eat the Chocolate and really celebrate the time change!!



Still Patiently waiting….and looking cute too don’t you think?
Guess I better go fill the food bowl!   Then back to the Royal Blog Tour for more inspiration.
Hugs and Blessings – Jean

Binary delight….10l10l10-10:10

 ETA: This post was supposed to go out this morning at 10:10 but whether it’s the computer or the blog service that can’t tell time it’s still sitting in the queue (appropriate I guess in some weird manner).  Luckily I can tell the date and caught it’s absence.  Fortunately its still 10/10/10 all the way up until midnight!   And adding to the hilarity and loss of hair (I really have to stop pulling it out!) and total computer likelihood when I went to fix and get this posted WordPress ate the post!!   Had to start over from scratch.   ARGHHH….knew I should have written it in binary!

Getting Comfortable With Binary

Hi All,

Just a quickie post to celebrate a fun day.

Something fun (possibly silly) this way comes…Today’s date reads 10/10/10 – now is that a computer programmers dream or what!  Those binary bits in that order won’t recur for another hundred years and even then it will only be the last 2 digits of the year that make that date. 

I had considered writing the post in binary but then realized only the computers of the net or a few programmers would be able to read it!  

Can’t quite decide on the appropriate greeting either, should it be Happy Digital Day or  Bright Binary Day or what…with only on/off, yes/no, 1/0 as the appropriate structure I’m having a hard time getting in the proper constrained spirit.   Yes I know programming has its creative sides but some days it feels as if dealing with computers is like dealing with a two year old!  It knows what it wants and really could care less what I want.  Not mind you that a two year old is known for order or discipline – LOL!

So Happy Digital Binary Day!

Or in binary:





Too bad computers hadn’t been invented in 10/10/1010 (so we could have had the original celebration)  but then neither had indoor plumbing or much of anything else we consider a necessity today.  Funny thing too is that it falls on a Sunday!  Do you thing that means God is a programmer at heart?  Could be – LOL! 

I bet a computer could tell me what day of the week the original fell on if I could only find the right file.  Wouldn’t it be cool if that day was also a Sunday?  Probably depends on the calendar in use at the time. 

If I had the set this would be the perfect day to do a Lots of Bots card with the binary bits stamp image.  Perfect day to watch that Star Trek Next Generation episode about the Binars (culture and language built on binary) as well.  Hmm….now where are my DVD’s……

Whatever you choose to do today to celebrate I hope it’s a wonderful day.   

Hugs and blessings…now go do something digital or turn yourself on and off in true binary fashion! – Jean

Trying to get back in the groove…..scattered Sunday thoughts on Hope and Life and Genesis and of course…Cats!


Hi All,

I hope you are having a blessed Sunday.   Southern Oregon…or at least my little corner of it is once again experiencing rain!  Rain, rain and more rain.   Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining a bit.  It’s mostly a soft and warm(ish) soaking rain – the best kind even if the gutters don’t quite agree!   The trees and garden are in great need of the water.  So many local wells have been going dry that I’ve cut back even more than usual on my watering just in case.  Luckily my wells are deep and there are two of them but just in case….

And who knows, having the ground softened up, just might spur me on to getting some long neglected weeding done.  Uh huh…R.I.G.H.T…..the deer don’t seem too concerned by that prospect.

Started to share this a week or two back and then lost where I put it.   Found it again finally (hiding in plain sight or should that be site since it was sitting in my blog’s drafts file :D).

Trying to get back in the blogging groove but it’s harder than I thought it would be.   After a small stroke a short while ago many things are strange.   I’m pretty much recovered thanks to God’s grace and the prayers of many friends but just a few things are still a bit skewed.  Word skills and energy, and taste sensations being a few of them.  Everything takes so much longer as I try to remember the steps needed to accomplish a task and remembering words, names and so on is tricky at best.  Sat for half an hour today trying to remember my nieces name.  Funny thing is I can remember her phone number just not her name most of the time.   It’s making learning all the new color names and stamp sets and paper names a lot harder than in the past.   Luckily most of the SU things I learned before the stroke are still with me for the most part.  Though Cajun Craze has become Crazy Cajun sometimes.   LOL!  My Louisiana friends might say that was more accurate but I’m not sure a non Southerner can get away with saying that :D! 

 Emotions are a bit off as well.  I realized the other day that I was actually afraid of my blog!   Probably just the work it represents or the fear of getting words wrong, or the backlog of entries waiting to be made or some such thing but as I’m not generally a fearful person it’s just plain weird.   Wicket is the scaredy cat in our house!  No real rhyme or reason….afraid of my refrigerator too!   Though that’s probably just because it really needs cleaning and the task seems daunting! – LOL!   Anybody out there want to get up close and personal with my experiments to find a new strain of mold for medical science? 

From day to day things taste different too.   Sometimes very salty even when there is no salt added to something – like water for instance!  Other times bitter or like cardboard.  Makes cooking interesting let me tell you.   Though some friends seem to think its an improvement since I’ve been adding more spice and heat to my cooking lately.   Have I mentioned that in the past when making chilli I very firmly latched the top of the chilli powder closed then waved it over the pot!   Not anymore.  I’m even using salsa and diced chilli’s these days and lots and lots of pepper.  I just finished off  half a jar of peppercorns that had been in the cupboard for 5 years – that half jar only took 3 weeks!   Still no Cilantro as that still tastes like dirty gym socks smell!  I’ve discovered over the years that Cilantro is one of those love it or hate it spices with little in between.   And most who hate it say the same thing about gym socks.  Funny how that is an archetypal smell.  Started a bit of a debate on the subject at the last Stamp Camp.  I’m afraid we nay sayers were outvoted this time.

Decided this week to take some action on the fear factor and cleared out 1/2 the bad stuff in the frig.  Next week I’ll get to the other half and I’ve been trying to post at least every other day this week to get back in the groove.  They may not all be original work but its a good discipline and hopefully still worth reading.  That was something a friend suggested to me to get me over the hump.   Still there may be weeks ahead with fewer posts.  I hope you know I’ll still be thinking of you.. just might be in need of a rest.

So what does all that have to do with the statement at the top of the post?    Living in hope and fighting the fear seems to be a good thing.   I can live with the tears that come at odd times for no apparent reason but living without hope just isn’t an option.   I do truly believe that hope (and faith) anchors the soul.   Without that I come adrift and lose my bearings.    Though I will add that even when I am without hope I still seem to talk to God…and as any good therapist will tell you talking is always good…when we cease to communicate we lose a grip on life itself.   And thankfully God is always there to listen.

With hope all things seem, if not doable, at least  possible and that as Martha Stewart would say is a very good thing.   Side note:  I’ve always wondered if she picked that up from Genesis…after each act of creation the passage closes with…And God saw that it was good.   Hm…maybe not… since that would seem to put her in the role of God?    Anyway…. possibilities have at their very core the essence of life; and happiness though not guaranteed, seems at least attainable when all the possibilities are there to be explored.    As a pastor friend would say…Thus endeth the lesson….

Under the heading…Charity that doesn’t cost you more than a click…can also find you some fun!

I was clicking to feed shelter cats (and dogs too) at one of  my favorite online charities (www.freekibblecat.com) and came across this very fun video.  IKEA as many Stampers know is the Mecca of Organizing (and oh yeah they sell furniture too) – to set up a Stamp Room at frugalista prices (well with add ins from the $ store and thrift shops too – lol) there is no better place.   Recently an IKEA in England teamed up with a 100 cats to see what furniture a true hedonistic Sybarite would pick.  In the process of filming what was to become the commercial a great deal of hilarity, exploration and of course a bit of testosterone induced territorialism ensued (okay maybe I’m slamming the guys overly much since I suppose estrogen – or its lack – can make a person cranky too :D) .

I loved the comments about the difference between the kittens and the adult cats.   Could it be that kittens souls being more newly minted are more deeply anchored by hope?   Note:  I hope I’m not offending anyone out there by assuming cats have souls…after living with a cat who obviously prayed when in church its hard to argue.  A story for another time…..

May your day and week and year and oh heck your whole life be filled and bounded by joy and of course hope.

Hugs and Sunday Blessings – Jean

Sunday sadness leavened with joyful memories

Hi and Sabbath Blessings to you all,

After a week of distracting myself with lots of exciting SU announcements (posts about that are in the offing) I realized I hadn’t filled you in on the latest about Sandycat and Wicket

So many of you have written or left comments or sent lovely cards to keep my spirits up I thought I should let you know….
After a struggle of several weeks Sandycat finally was in such bad shape I had to take her into the vets to begin the long sleep just over a week ago.  Hard as that decision was I couldn’t let her continue to suffer and slowly starve to death as her liver shut down.  I brought her home after and buried her in the back pasture between two pine tree’s and plan to plant a bush of some kind there to mark the spot (If any of you Pacific Northwesterners or those familiar with our climate and soil  have ideas as to what I should plant I’d love some ideas).  Sandy’s beloved horses were there in the neighboring pasture watching and sharing the sad time.  Can’t remember when or if I last shared Sandy’s horse story….
For several years Sandy and the horses next door have been friends.  When we first moved here Sandy was fascinated with the large animals that lived right next door – though she had seen horses at a distance where we used to live (Our housing tract was across the way from several horse farms in the Santa Ynez Valley in California) this was her first chance to get up close and personal with the species.  She would sit on our side of the fence and the horses would hang their heads over the fence and they would have quite animated conversations.  With the kitchen window open I could hear neighs and meows and purrs going back and forth (well horses don’t really purr now do they though they do wicker – lol! ).  Sandy was never fazed by the horses large heads nodding up and down just a few scant inches over her head though she did sometimes back up for a better overall view.  And on some days when she didn’t go out she would sit in the kitchen window and seemed to communicate with them from there.  The horses always seemed to check the window for her when they saw movement in the kitchen.  If only I’d had a video camera I could probably have won some serious money or at least enough to keep the fur girls in catnip and canned food anyway 😀
I’m so grateful to my friend Cheryl who went with me to the vet and when my strength gave out came and finished digging Sandy’s grave for me.  The back pasture had a lot more clay than I expected and digging mostly one handed was a major chore so the help was truly needed and appreciated.  Good Friends are truly a blessing.  I’ve been so grateful for all your caring notes and cards and emails.  Grateful too for the quiet time the last couple of weeks spent cuddling with Sandy.  I was so surprised at the trust she showed.  Most cats when they are very ill or hurt will crawl away and hide and she never did, she just wanted me to hang out in bed with her and keep her company.  Turn about seemed only fair given the number of hours she and Wicket have spent with me as I recover from seizures, etc.  In true Sandycat fashion though she did manage to waft her way through seemingly closed doors and windows.  The number of times I found her outside or on the other side of a door with no memory of letting her out was amazing.  Somehow she managed it though! Rather like ants and their seeming “transporter” technology.  Another odd occurrence was the night before the last scheduled vet visit. I was dreading the following morning and not expecting to get much sleep…. I had just gone to bed though not yet asleep and was laying there with my eyes closed waiting for sleep when I suddenly started “seeing” all kinds of cats.  Lions, tigers, pumas and various kinds of wild cats as well as a few domestics.  Very intense like they were some kind of spirit cats – seeming more than just real, but see through, and then one appeared that I just knew was Sandy though larger, more lynx looking but with her color markings.  This cat slowly turned to look at me and I had a sense that this was Sandy’s true nature and that she wanted me to know that she would be fine.  An amazing experience and I only wish I was enough of an artist to reproduce the gathering of cats.  Though different in some respects it made me think of some Sci Fi or Fantasy stories I’ve read in the past.   My Navajo sister in law would say it was a spirit walk for both myself and Sandy and in fact from what I’ve read about such things or experienced in the past that’s very much what it felt like. I wonder what Fr. Liam will have to say about that one if I ever get up the nerve to tell him!
So now Wicket is an only cat and we are both adjusting.  I had hoped she would end up settling down as the undisputed queen cat of the roost but it’s looking like she is more in need of feline companionship than I expected.  Will have to think about that one.  It takes a bit of doing to integrate a new companion animal into a household and I’m not sure I’m up for the work.   
 She spent the first few days screaming and scolding.  She’d become the ubiquitous fishwife instead of the cuddle cat I expected would appear (her usual reaction when Sandy was boarded) – and had me wondering if she has some Siamese DNA in the mix after all. Maybe she liked being picked on by Sandy?   She’d spend hours sitting by my knee and patting me with her claws out and crying but I couldn’t figure out what she wanted.   Thankfully she’s now slowly calming down and we are figuring out our new roles.   Two crotchety old ladies is what we seem like as we redefine our territories and pecking order.    Slowly she’s getting the idea that if she shows me what she wants we’ll both get on better and I’m learning to spend a bit more time than usual petting and playing.   Funny that she seems to sleep so much less now.   Wicket turns 15 in another couple of weeks and that in itself is amazing.  Most of my cats haven’t lived past 6 or 8.  She’s had some close calls but is amazingly healthy.  In fact some days she won’t stop running up and down the hallway in a mad steeplechase of one!  She’s also taken over Sandy’s appetite or so it seems.  The running is building up her muscles and the eating has put a few needed pounds on an always too thin frame.  Time will tell and as always with cats…it should be interesting!   
That’s it for this weeks Sunday share and hopefully I’ll be finding out new and more fun facts to share with you all about all the new SU announcements in the coming week.  Hope all of you are enjoying Spring and finding joy in your lives to counterbalance any of the not so fun stuff that seems to find its way into every life this side of Heaven.
Hug the ones you love my friend and save a few for those most in need of them – after all hugs never expire right – lol!
Hugs and blessings – Jean
Sandycat look alikes or embodiement of spirit
And the REAL thing……
There may be a few look alikes and Sandycat imitators out there but she was a one of a kind cat who was convinced she was as much human as cat.  A mechanical marvel who was always learning and experimenting with a purpose and a communicator without peer.   I hope God has a lot of catnip stored up…he’s going to need it to keep her happy(wouldn’t hurt if Heaven has a few dead bolts and light switches, phones and TV’s either to keep her occupied)! 
Sweet Dreams my darling fur girl……

Easter Blessings and Abundant Hope

Easter is an alleluia day

Thank you, Lord, for the Easter sun that rises in the hearts of men and women.


Easter Blessings to you all my friends…..

For me the title of this post says it all.   Easter and the blessings contained therein fills my heart with an abundance of hope.  Hope that endings lead to new beginnings, hope in the possibilities of new life and in life in general.  Hope that our troubled world can yet be made new and shiny and bright and most of all better.  Is that a bit Pollyanna- ish….perhaps but mostly its an embracing of joy and thankfulness for God’s love and mercy.   And a trust that walking out of darkness into light is not only possible but a concrete reality waiting to be grasped.   As the Israelites discovered during a time of plagues followed by Passover followed by freedom the road was not easy or short but it was a road of concrete reality filled with miracles and guided by the hand of God.  So today we are shown our own new path strewn with miracles large and small and the love of God who set it all in motion.   And all we have to do is step out in faith and grasp the reality.

Easter has always been a special time for me and in particular the celebrations of Holy Saturday.   In the Catholic Church it is the beginning of a new Season and a new cycle and as with all new beginnings we begin in darkness.  Then with song and prayer a new fire is lit.  No matches or other modern conveniences but instead the basics of creating a spark to light that new fire.  From that one spark the church is gradually lit as the candles held in each hand are light one by one from that first new fire.  The Paschal Candle (sometimes known as the Christ Candle) is also lit at this time.  This large candle will then be used throughout the year for baptisms and funerals and other liturgical occasions.   The flame of the Paschal candle symbolizing Christ as light of the world and his presence in the midst of his people.  The term “Paschal” comes from the word Pesach, which in Hebrew  means Passover. The tall white candle in many ways signifies the Divine pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that lead the Israelites in their Exodus from slavery in Egypt.  A series of prayers is then followed by a series of readings and songs that connect us to our Judaic past and lead us into the fulfillment of God’s covenant in Jesus Christ and his resurrection.    For me this service is truly that first Easter.  As we go from the tomb to the reality of the resurrection.   From death into life.   For me the ancient traditions and ceremony of the Vigil service bring home the deepest meanings of Easter as well as connecting me to those who have gone before and those who will come after me. The physical reality of going from darkness into light adds layers of meaning and a concrete reality I find harder to connect to in the later Easter Sunday service held only in daylight.  More than any other time of the year I feel in this night the entire body of Christians living and gone on ahead celebrating and thanking God for the gift of his Son.    A truly wonderous sense of unity and gratitude and perfect joy.  A foretaste of Heaven if you will.   My prayer for you this day is that you experience a taste of that same Abundant Hope and Joy.

Happy Easter Everyone!


Oh and here’s one of the many cards I have been sending out to celebrate this Season of Easter. Yup…Season…as with so many things we Catholics like to party on and Easter for us continues right on through to Pentecost!   So expect to be seeing a few Easter Cards between now and then – LoL!

One of the simplest of the cards….


Card front


Inside view

Stamps:  Abundant Hope (Occasions mini)

Paper: Kraft, Naturals White, Soft Suede Cardstock

Ink: Bravo Burgandy (texts and scrolls only)

Other: 1-1/4″ Circle Punch, Big Shot, Lattice Bigz die, Scallop Trim border punch, Watercolor Pencils, Blender Pen

The Daffodils were “dry” colored with Watercolor Pencils then gone back over with the blender pen.  The rest is pretty self explanatory from the layout.

On another note my reality this day is that Sandycat is still with me for just a wee bit longer.  I’m grateful that God has chosen to spare her for that bit longer.  With some fluid infusions and medication the vet held out a slim hope that she might get better and that her liver might reverse the damage on its own.  I’m still hoping for an Easter miracle though it’s less and less likely.   I’m not sure why but losing her after Easter seems somehow better so I’m grateful for that small gift whatever comes.  Thanks again for your love and prayers and shared caring.  It’s meant a lot.

One final bit I thought I would share.  This seems to be making its way around the web in many guises so thought I would share it too.  Funny thing is that as you read it there are a number of different interpretations that can be made.  Not too surprisingly I’ve discovered my mind immediately hit the gutter whenever possible….must be all those wild and wooly and just slightly bawdy stampers I hang out with – LoL!   And of course you just knew I had to include a cat picture!


All I need to know
I learned from the Easter Bunny!
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
There’s no such thing as too much candy.
All work and no play can make you a basket case.
A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.
Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
Some body parts should be floppy.
Keep your paws off of other people’s jelly beans.
Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.
The grass is always greener in someone else’s basket.
To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

May the joy of the season fill your heart.
Happy Easter!

Hugs and Blessings – Jean

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