Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Old Rocking Chair

I just brought this rocking chair out of my storage area. It was also in a storage room in the city home.

So much has been given away but I just could never part with this rocking chair.

It was purchased at a time our family lived on a farm, I named it Maplebrook. This is the home where my older children were raised. It seemed this young couple over night went from rags to riches. The economy was booming. A large rambling ranch type home was built and swimming pool put in when my youngest was born.
Horses and cattle roamed the fields. There was an article in the Tennessean about this home. It originally was part of a land grant. A very old home was torn down so this home could go in its place.

My son was about 3 years old when this rocking chair was purchased. In a few years my youngest a baby - they were both rocked continually in this chair.
The varnish on the arms of the rocking chair has been worn from its continual use.

I loved a rocking chair and it was the first thing I requested when at the age of 21 years old I knew a baby was on the way. At that time we lived in a 700 sf home in Detroit, Michigan.

So the rocking chair went from this farm home to the really big city house. Then a part of our world came to an end. A recession, most (I now view as unimportant) lost, divorce, and when I started out on my own it went with me to the old farm house I remodeled.
It had several other homes and then in my last city home there seemed to be no place where it fit, my heart would not let it go. It sat in that storage room and the one in this home until this afternoon.

At the moment the small loft area is filled with sun. I love standing and looking out this window. The thought came to mind "what a wonderful place to sit, read and maybe just look out into the woods and "just be"

So ...... I will get someone to help me move the chair into this area - no I will do it myself. It is now sitting in front of the big window.

More memories from One Woman

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Finally back to normal

Slow motion for Friday and Saturday

Oh, better download the pictures

Remembering - Thanksgiving 2010

Her thought

Must have been too busy to take family pictures

Only two on the camera

She made up a song and grandma

Hopes she can live up to those words

Feeling loved is wonderful

Miss Callie agrees ....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

White Bean Chili

Just in case you might be trying to think of something else to do with the left over turkey.

Maybe your turkey was not as good as usual - like mine. But in this chili - it was good!

I have made this white bean chili for several years. I always 1/2 the recipe and it is enough for One Woman to have about 3 times.

Took all the meat off the turkey breast, chopped, and simmered the breast bone for stock. This makes it tastier then using chicken broth - my thoughts

1 onion - saute in some olive oil

Chopped garlic

1 tbs cumin

add to --

2 cans of well rinsed white beans (or dry that you have cooked) that have been simmering in
4 cups of my turkey stock - or use chicken broth
1 small can of chilies
1 cup of corn kernels
2 cups of chopped turkey - or chicken ---- I used more

You can add a handful of chopped Cilantro ----I did not have

Simmer about 10 minutes --- and enjoy ---- I did :)

Garnish with monterey jack cheese

Friday, November 26, 2010

Entering Rest

Dear Companion of my day,

You are the Holy Mystery I surrender to
when I close my eyes. I give You myself,
the flaws, the mistakes, the petty
self-congratulations. I give You my dear ones
my fondest hopes for them, my worries,
and my dark thoughts regarding them.
Take my well-constructed separation from me,
Hold me in your truth.

This day is already past. I surrender it.
When I think about tomorrow, I surrender it too.
Keep me this night. With You
and in You I can trust not knowing anything.
I can trust incompleteness as a way.
Dark with the darkness, silent with the silence,
help me dare to be that empty one -- futureless,
desireless -- who breathes Your name even in sleep.

Being Home ..... Gunilla Norris

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue Moon

Early this morning - like 4:30
It was so light outside
I opened the door and went outside

The moon was spectacular
Tried to get a good image
Very soon it was out of my view

Wondered if anyone else was wandering
around in their yard
looking at the sky!

Did a little research - with the thought "is this a Harvest Moon?"

All articles stated that it was known as a Blue Moon.

Was going to see if I could enhance the image - but thought I would leave it

If you enlarge you can see a little more detail.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perfect Day

4:30 at the moment and 68 degrees.
Beautiful day
A lot accomplished in the small yard
She worked alone all day
Some raking and some mulching leaves with new riding mower
Lunch on the sunny deck with Miss Callie
The day went quickly

They will not last much longer - the turnip greens
Simple meal of greens, turnips, hard boiled egg, corn bread
and a tomato that was picked green and ripened in the window.
Ice tea and a slice of pumpkin sheet cake.
There have been times that someone would tell her - that
she was hard to please.

Last night was a toss and turn night. Old things put to rest
seemed to resurrect.
She is trying to remember that everything that surfaces usually
goes away.
No longer does she try to analyze.
Penetrating peace arrives when you stop trying to understand another person

On my birthday card last month - my son put some quotes on the inside of the card.

"The most important thing you can do is be mindful"
"Take it easy - ultimately nothing matters"
"Renunciation is not giving up the things of this world, but accepting
that they go away"
"Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again"
"What are you clinging to - shine a light there and practice letting go"

This evening "May we be peaceful, happy, content, fulfilled and at ease"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Wheat

Long ago when creating another home on this property, I remember the comment from a carpenter "your lawn is going to be beautiful" - my comment "that is not lawn - that is winter wheat.

I love the color of the new wheat - a beautiful shade of green. Here we are headed into winter, and I will have a beautiful green field in front of my home.

A neighboring farmer plants my front field. The field was planted only a few weeks ago and I kept having thoughts - he is going to leave it bare and plant early soybeans in the Spring. Thoughts of a muddy field for Miss Callie to enjoy !

I was wrong and I will enjoy looking out my window at this green field. Even when it snows you can see the green emerging out of the snow. When the March winds blow it will have another beauty!

Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention
Be astonished
Tell about it

~Mary Oliver~

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Luggage Memories

In the storage room this early morning.

They caught my eye


Oh if they could talk

Many years since they have been in the sky..

A larger one was given away

These I could not part with

With my simpler lifestyle

I could travel with a backpack

That is - if I ever leave the woods...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Poem

The Universe Knows My Name

Where I am at this point
there is not perfection
there is grace
and opportunity to grow out from my old self
pain and disappointment
chip away the rough
unforgiving parts of my
character, those traits that
have held me back for so long

A fresh calm breeze
brushes cobwebs from my spirit
the door to tomorrow is thrown
wide open, and the warm sun
shines, and my pathway is
more clear then ever before

I do not preach there will be
no pain or sorrow
rather a new found ability
to accept certain parts of
life with grace surely not my own

The universe knows
my name
in the middle of this life, I can
say, I am happy

Sandra M. Hagan 11/13/2010

When I read this poem, it pierced my heart. I guess if I had the talent to write such a wonder - the only change would be "in the last part of my journey" not the middle of my life.

I am so pleased I found Sandra at The Wild Magnolia and her heartfelt poems.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday's Memory

Miss Callie it has been a little over a year since you made your home here at our cottage in the woods. I will always remember the chain that had to be cut off of your neck.

The size of the oak leaves on my path - are new to me.

Green velvet on our walk.

~~Looking very deeply at life
as it is
right now
the person dedicated to awakening
dwells in stability and freedom

The wise person calls someone
who knows how to dwell in Mindfulness
"One who knows the better way to live alone"
~~The Buddha~~

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Busy Saturday

A neighbor arrived early this morning with his bush hog. A little over 2 hours work sure did accomplish a lot.

My thoughts have been to wait until Spring and cut around the perimeter of this property. My thoughts began to change with the prediction of rain in the next few hours. Once this land is wet with rain and future snow, this chore would have to wait until next summer.

A lot can be done with this type of machine in a few hours. So I led, followed and pointed out what I wanted done. A loader on the front of this machine and I discovered some wonderful dirt! Some was brought to my garden area and two low spots in the yard (I spread and should not have - I will ache all night).

Took some pictures of some unusual tree trunks. One if it were closer to cottage I would place a flower in the opening. I viewed my wonderful pond. The one I had enlarged and wanted to keep with my property. But .. the buyer of land adjoining me wanted it. But, Callie and I can still walk to it, sit by it and "just be".

This is the only time of the year I will go close to the pond. In years past I always was fearful of coming upon one of the dangerous snakes - a helper years ago told me he always saw Copperhead's in that area. I really doubt it - or at least in 35 years I have never seen one.

At dawn I filled my crock pot with a mixture of beans, handful of chopped onion, carrots, celery and ham. At the moment the scent reminds me of how tasty they will be this evening with some cornbread. Also still have over half of the pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese icing that was made yesterday.

Plan on sharing with my city friend - if I am not to weary to drive in to town and if I do not eat it all!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Special Gift

Look what someone special did for me.

Re sized my header - so the whole wreath was included.

It has bothered me and just could not figure out how to re size.

Thank you dear friend.

Thank you also for sharing that you have been following my journey - since way back when I started and moved to the city and built a smaller home and then returned to my country roots. Had never commented. Makes me wonder of those that read my rambling and never comment. Special friends that we do not even know about.

A good way to start this early morning - with a gift and a smile.

I am very weary as I do a lot of work outside. Probably a lot that is not necessary. Picking up limbs, cutting branches, raking leaves and keeping my paths clear in the woods. But --- I love being outside and the weather has been almost like Spring - know it is not going to last.

Housework can be done on those cold and rainy days.

Life Is Good.

May all be Happy, Well, Safe and at Peace.....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Many recipes - old favorites, new favorites and some not tried as of yet - for more years then I want to post - this pile in a box is becoming unsettling. Sometimes I cannot find what I want and some of the recipes are becoming so stained I can hardly read them.

A loose leaf has been purchased with clear sheets that you can insert a sheet of paper. It may take two notebooks to hold these recipes.

So - my thought - years ago was to make a recipe book and give to each of my daughter's. It never happened and I just do not have the time! So this binder will have to do.

Whenever I see a small butternut squash it is usually purchased and put in my fruit bowl. One has been in the bowl for a number of weeks. Decided this morning to make soup. This is so good and healthy and good bread makes it even better.

I looked and looked for my old favorite recipe and finally found it. It is something to guide me as I never go totally by recipes.

This is what I made ----- keep in mind this is soup for today and tomorrow for "one"
If you make a larger portion then you need to use larger portions of everything.

Butternut squash - mine was medium in size - I cannot slice one that is real big I would rather buy 2 smaller if I wanted to make a larger portion of soup
I cut in sections - peel like you would a potato and remove seeds
Cook like you would if you were cooking potatoes. When fork can pierce the squash they are done.

Simmer a grated carrot and a stalk of celery

Saute 3/4 or 1 cup of onion, minced garlic (I had on hand) in a few tablespoons of butter

When all of this is done - I cool slightly and use my blender - to puree - would like an immersion blender :)

All of this in larger pan and an addition of my fresh sage, (frost did not get) sea salt and pepper.

Now I use half and half milk - one daughter uses chicken broth (I do not like it this way as I like a cream base)

I save the stock the vegetables have been simmering in and if I want the soup not so thick can add this or more cream or milk.

Taste good to me on this almost like Spring day.

Note - I may have posted this in the past and not put under my recipes. Trying to be more orderly since this is for my children and grandchildren :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Angel Unaware

Moving to my wooded property about 18 months ago - desperately I needed help. I did not want to do it - but a few trees needed to be cut down to make a place for my cottage. Tree tops and brush piled everywhere gave the surrounding building area the look of a war zone. Also wanted the area a little more clear around my home.

I have always walked with clippers in hand, loppers and shovel in truck. I can no longer do much of what I have in the past. Even though I am a strong and reasonably healthy 110 lb lady - I find the cutting sizable branches is no longer a possibility for me.

This special lady and friend were recommended to me. Even though they stay busy most of the year working in an area orchard, I was fortunate they had some extra time.
They are the best. I view Francisco as being Superman. He is very strong, fast and knows exactly what should be cleared and what should be left to grow.
Sheila works right beside him and such a pleasure with her smile that warms my heart.

I work with them and it is such a pleasure. A pleasure working side by side with them and a blessing to get to know them. I smile that now I can understand most of what they say to me :)

This mother of 3 and who raised another 4 - to me has wings. Difficult to find the words for the admiration of her life and all that she has been through. Throughout her life she has worked from before daybreak to dark. The two children that I know well are in executive positions in the near by town.

She makes Sunday dinner - every Sunday - for family, extended family and friends. Several months ago I started getting a plate from her about once a month on Sunday. Excellent cook and introduced me to genuine Mexican cuisine.

I pull in the drive that is filled with cars. Walk in a small home that is filled with smiling people. I leave with a plate piled high, a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.

This past Sunday - enchiladas with her homemade sauce - from the garden and frozen or preserved - corn, green beans and other vegetables. Burritos with her homemade guacamole, meat that has been cooked and shredded to perfection, re fried beans and salsa and other sides. I have to learn to make her rice and other dishes.

Would like to learn enough to be able to treat my children to a homemade Mexican dinner. Impossible for me to make this for one!!

Her daughter went to school with my youngest daughter - makes some of the best deserts. I have added the new recipes to my baking - pumpkin cake, apple dumplings and chocolate chip pie. These are just a few.

This family have become friends.

One of the blessings of moving to the country.

I wish I had the words to describe how special this lady has become to me. Then
a week ago she replied to me "thank you for being so kind to me." How can I not view her as one of the angels that just happen our way along our journey of life.

There is a scripture in the bible that describes a woman like "Sheila" it says her children shall rise up and call her blessed.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Think On This

This early very cold morning I checked to see when is the official beginning of Winter. December 21 is the date. This morning is a little bit of a reminder of what it will be like. In the past on early mornings when Miss Callie was let outdoors she would not come back inside. She would sit on the terrace or deck and watch for something to chase in the woods. This morning a small dog was immediately back at the door wanting to return to the warmth inside.

A thought surfaces this morning that no matter how rocky the road has been or is - my list of blessings is endless. My life at this moment is so different then I visualized it years ago.

In a time long ago I visualized a continued life with my mate, in the big house, travel and most the world had to offer. Now I have the gift of a small cottage at the edge of my woods where I garden, read, meditate, write, stay in contact with children and grandchildren, and drive the country roads with my camera. Not as I imagined years ago but it is a life of continued spiritual growth and deep peace.

A thought to keep in mind ..... not to make me sad - but to accept as a reality.....

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love is of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Buddah's Five Rememberances - Thich Nhat Hanh's version

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Change of Season

A light rain is falling in the woods. A welcome time to stay in doors.

A vegetable dinner is simmering and cornbread is in the oven.

Bringing Miss Callie inside I picked these last small roses.

Books are my best companions. They enrich my life, giving me a deeper and broader understanding of the world I live in. I think I will read for as long as my eyes can see. Reading, meditating, walking in the forest, talking with some people sometimes, living a simple and quiet life, that's the way I will live the rest of my life.

Snow In The Summer ..... Sayadaw U Jotika

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


But he said to me....

"my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9