Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We interrupt

this regularly scheduled posting of our travel adventures to bring you-

our 7 month old granddaughter Emolyn Kate, weighing in at a pleasingly plump 11 pounds!

News bulletin- she loves her veggies! And doesn't she wear them well?

Hey, do you want to see Emy in action? Well then, head on over to watch her Daddy's video blog post HERE. It's precious.
Her Pop-Pop & Grammy are in Custer, South Dakota and we miss her terribly.

*** More vacation posts to come!

Monday, September 29, 2008


We are officially on vacation! The wedding was wonderful and now we are on our way to Wisconsin! 
But first, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK! We had so much fun! 
Sorry I seem to be in most of the pics, but just before we left for CA, we bought a new Sony SLR digital camera and I let Randy break it in.

Oh my gosh, the trees are ginormous! Everything soars high into the heavens. I continue to be in awe of God's creation. These pics can not begin to capture the grandeur. Hey, that's me among those trees.

Yes, that would be me inside the trunk of an enormous fallen tree! 
I'm game for any fun, wacky photo ops!

Big trees and big rocks are everywhere!

So, as I explained before, when we travel we sleep in our van. In our early years of marriage, we did this because we had to. Now we do it because we want to! As you can see, we are snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug! SOOO warm & cozy under my soft, fluffy vintage bedding. Saturday night it was 40 degrees when we woke up!
We cover the windows with this blue thin foam that Randy custom cut to fit each window perfectly. And we found the perfect white noise... a battery operated fan from Walmart that lulls me to sleep.
And lest you think I can camp in our van for days on end, well you're wrong. I can do it for two days in a row... and then it's time for a shower and clean clothes. Custer, South Dakota, here we come!
Hey, be sure to check in now and then. I'll be posting when I get me some wi-fi. Until then, I'm loving the time with my sweet Honey!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ben & Helen's wedding

We started out our vacation by heading out to Laguna Beach, CA for the wedding of Randy's nephew Ben and his lovely Swedish bride Helen. What a stunningly beautiful wedding! The sights and sounds were intoxicating! How could it NOT be! The wedding was overlooking the Pacific Ocean!
Here Randy is getting ready to officiate the wedding.

Ben & Helen returning from photos on the beach following the ceremony. Now on to the reception & dancing!

Randy & I basking in the sunshine and scenery. Oh, did I mention the humidity? Ya, I don't do humidity well.

This was our view from the ceremony, reception and dancing area.

The best tasting cake I have ever had at a wedding!

Oh and you know those dance lessons we've been taking... well, they really paid off! We looked pretty darn good! Randy even taught Miranda a few cool moves. And she caught on instantly!
Isn't she lovely! Isn't she wonderful? We sure think so.

Monday, September 22, 2008

the Larson farm

*** The farm is located between Eau Claire and Black River Falls off of I-94.

This is what draws me back to Wisconsin every single year. My childhood home. It represents security and safety. It's where I was free to explore, pretend, dream, create, question, imagine... and grow in my faith.

Oh how I would spend hours day-dreaming about my life, my future. There was no limit to what God could and would do in and through me. Even as a little girl, I was aware of God's hand on my life. That the plans He had for me were unique to who He created me to be. That I was destined for great things. Yes, I had quite the vivid imagination.

And you know what? God did not disappoint. I can look back now and see how He showed His unconditional love. How He became real and trustworthy and steadfast throughout my journey. How He lead this little farm girl to the big city. How He gave me countless opportunities to use my gifts and talents to sing and act for Him. How He gave me a wonderful husband and three terrific kids. How He has remained by my side through every twist and turn. How He has never failed to meet my every need. And how He continues to show me that He is not done with me yet.

Anyway, I know that many of my values and morals were formulated during those first 18 years on that farm. The importance of being good and honest and hardworking. To always do the right thing.
But that unfortunately lead to my need to perform, to be the best, to measure up, to be accepted. Years of self-doubt, questioning my value, worth and significance. But then finally realizing, many years later, that it only matters how God sees me. His acceptance, His approval.

As my husband says "the Christian walk is simply learning the same basic truths over and over again in different circumstances and from different perspectives". Well then, I sure have done that well!

Back to the farm. My Dad bought the farm 50 years ago, a few weeks after my brother Ron was born Oct. of 1958. Ron was the fifth of six kids. I was almost 2 at the time. The oldest was 7 1/2 years old when Ron was born. YA, I can't imagine moving 5 kids under 7 1/2! Oh, and the sixth was born 11 years later! I know!

Anyway, 20 years ago Ron bought the farm from my Dad. We are forever grateful that the farm has remained a Larson Farm. A place to come home to. To recall my roots. To reflect on God's faithfulness. To reclaim that time and space that I left behind 30 years ago.
And remember.

*** Be sure to clic the farm pic to enlarge.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

only one more week

A week from today we will be on our way to Wisconsin!! I can hardly focus on anything else. Randy & I just want to hit the road and experience the scenery, the silence, the sweet serenity of just being together.
But for now, let's catch up.
Well, last night was a dream come true! We went and had dance lessons!
The sweetest, most lovely couple in our church hosted a fund-raiser where they taught everyone to dance! I was in my glory! You know how much I love to dance! And get this, Randy really enjoyed it! And he did great! In fact, the next lesson is this Thursday night... the night before we head to CA for a wedding that Randy is performing. I was assuming we would be in the thick of last minute packing but Randy said we're definitely taking the lesson! Sooo happy! Hey, I'll bring my camera so I can post pics.
Anyway, we learned the swing and the rumba. And we caught on real quick and had the most fun! I can't wait to learn more dances!
Yes, we'll be driving to CA for Ben & Helen's wedding. (Randy's nephew) We will then be leaving from CA to WI the next morning and driving through Yosemite National Park. Oh, be still my heart, I will be in heaven!

I received a package in the mail this week from my new blog friend Tricia @ Tricia's Treasures. What a sweetheart! She sooo knows me!
Thank you so much Tricia for the spool angel! I love it so much that I'm taking it all the way to WI with me so I can show my sister! And I am sooo excited to grow my very own Rick Rack Cactus! To think someday mine will be as huge and gorgeous as yours! (Be sure to check out her beloved cactus HERE!) And you know how much I love buttons so thank you for the vintage buttons!

Randy & I spent some time at the Healing Field last weekend. Just so you know, every single flag had a laminated sheet with the name and occupation of every single person that perished that day along with a yellow ribbon. I thought I'd share a couple pics.

But you have got to check out my friend Amy's blog, as she posted pics HERE of a 9/11 Memorial in CA. Her pics are simply breathtaking!

Monday, September 15, 2008

flower power pins

I am thinking these retro pins are from the 60's and 70's. What do you think? Anyway, I love em! I found all of these flower pins in a zip-lock bag at my little thrift store for 75 cents! I have a couple ideas for these beauties... like actually wearing them... but also displaying them in a shadow box with real cool vintage fabric in the background. Hey, why not display your jewelry as 3-D artwork!
Here's the deal... wrap your fabric around foam board so you just stick the pins on the fabric covered foam board. How easy is that to grab and wear your favorite art piece. I have seen several of these online and they look so cool, hip and mod!

Friday, September 12, 2008

gingham craft paper

I snatched up this vintage craft paper at my little thrift store in Phoenix yesterday for 50 cents. It wasn't till I got it home that I noticed the funny verbiage on the packaging. Enlarge the pic if you are unable to read it.

For Making Homely Things Beautiful

Does that strike you as kinda strange? I mean, what is so homely that it needs to be covered in craft paper! I don't know about you, but a mixed nuts can does not appear homely to me... nor a Morton's salt container.
OK, so maybe they didn't think the packaging back then was as charming as we see it to be. Maybe it was big back then for crafters to cover everything. Come to think of it, I do remember that the standard 4-H knitting project was to cover a cardboard oatmeal container with contact paper to exhibit at the local County Fair. And trust me, it was not as easy to do as it sounds.
Anyway, I was quite taken aback by the mere sight of the word homely. When have we ever seen the word homely in packaging? That would so not be appropriate in this day and age.

I will leave you with the cutest tag I have ever seen! I bought this white linen dress at my little thrift store in Tempe a couple weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised at the saying on the tag. You know they didn't have to go to the trouble of attaching such a sweet statement. But they did. And it made me smile.
So, how about you! Have you come across anything of the sort? Oh, do share!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the Healing Field in Tempe AZ

Be sure to spend some time this weekend walking through the Healing Field at Tempe Beach Park.
Each year they display 3000 flags that represent each person that died 7 years ago today.

One flag for each life lost.

May we always remember and never forget.

What a beautiful video to watch if you are unable to come see for yourself.

Video link HERE

Monday, September 08, 2008

the Thompson family slideshow

Saturday we celebrated Mamaw Thompson's birthday by gathering together and watching the old family slides. What a wonderful time of reflecting, remembering and reminiscing. Oh, the memories... and the stories that came flooding back each time an image came up on the screen.

Randy has spent the past four months, since his Dad died, scanning 2475 colored slides that date back to the late 40's. He could only scan them four at a time and then he would photoshop every one of them. It was a labor of love that culminated in the gathering of his family and together reliving the past 60 years.

Here we have handsome brothers Randy and Don with their dear, sweet Mom.
When Don returned from Vietnam 40 years ago, he gave his Mom the flower pin that she is wearing. He also brought back a butterfly pin but they put it away to give her at a later time. Well, Don's wife Carol found that pin last week and after 40 years, gave it to her on Saturday. And what perfect timing! You see, butterflies have always been a source of comfort from the Lord to her, especially after a loved one has passed on. She has seen the passing of two of her five children, her only daughter Patty when she was 18 and and Barry 5 years ago. She was so deeply moved to have gotten this butterfly pin... with this being her first birthday without her husband of 65 years.

I made my signature lemon-cream cheese babycakes (miniature cupcakes) and found the perfect butterfly cupcake liners. Yummy recipe HERE.

The two Emolyn's watching the slideshow together. Baby Emolyn sure loves her Mamaw Emolyn. Oh, and in case I haven't told you before, I have THE best Mom-in-law ever! She is truly one of my dearest friends.

Part way through the slideshow we took a break and shared in a meal we all put together. Pulled-pork sandwiches (Shawn & Nicole), potato salad (Evan & Myra), baked beans (Etna), frog-eyed salad (Don & Carol), corn on the cob (Lyle) and homemade ice cream (Nicole, Randy) and babycakes (Me). Delicious!

And this here little girl made it awfully hard to keep my eyes on the slideshow. I mean, come on! Who can blame me for being a tad bit distracted! It's that cuteness thing again.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

make a difference

I am sitting here with tears pouring down my face.
Sarah Palin has just accepted the nomination for Vice-President of the United States.
I immediately felt the need to journal this moment. To remember how I felt and why this has moved me to such an extent.

I clearly remember the morning I read in the paper that the 44 year old Governor of Alaska had just given birth to her 5th child... a Down Syndrome baby. I found myself wanting to know more about her. I've thought of her often since then and wondered.
And now I am delighted to finally know more of who Sarah Palin is. She is a woman of faith, passionate about her state and country and relentless about her convictions. And like me, she has a 19 year old son. Her son is going to Iraq next week. Mine wants to.
She is someone I could approach. And she would listen. She seems normal. Like me. She's not perfect. Just wanting to make a difference. To matter.
Well, she has already made a difference. And she surely matters... to her family, to the State of Alaska, to her country, to women all across the nation.
But what if there is more for her to do?
And what if her sphere of influence expands and she makes an even bigger difference?
No matter what happens in this election, she has already inspired us all to believe that we have much more to do. That my influence can expand by my willingness to give my life away. To invest in the life of another. To boldly share my faith.

SO, what if we all get behind this election and vote for our candidate of choice?
And know that WE ARE making a difference. And that it really DOES matter.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

my cozy cottage

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Yup, I found the perfect spot for my little TV in my cozy cottage. Now I can sew and scrap to my hearts content and not miss a moment of Oprah and Dr. Phil.
Oh, and I've always wanted to call my craft room, my cozy cottage, since its conception. So I hereby proclaim my aqua room, my cozy cottage!
I am always flooded with feelings of comfort, warmth and relaxation when I walk into my little cottage and that is just what the word cozy means. And Mrs. McGillicutty could not agree more.