Pumpkin Cottage

Pumpkin Cottage
sit and visit a spell

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Monday La La La

1980 Confirmation Class Our Lady of the Pillar

Notice the beautiful mural.
At mass, I would study the beauty of it.
Each and every detail.
The angels' wings, the variety of blues  and the lovely robes.

Back in the day, Confirmation preparation started in Junior High School,
I like that term so much better than Middle School.  Being in Junior
High School meant something being in the middle means nothing.
By the  end of 8th grade the area Bishop would come to perform the sacrament.
All those confirmed would make their own commitment and accept
the responsibility as adult members of the Church.
Confirmation is intended as the passage to adulthood in the Church.
Now the sacrament is not performed until high school because
it shouldn't be forced by parents but selected by those being confirmed.
You select a name and sponsor.
My name was Joan from Saint Joan of Arc. 

My mother in her infinite wisdom didn't force us.  It was our
choice alone.  This was really significant and I have never forgotten it.

As part of the confirmation class of 1979,
my preparation changed my life.  It was at
a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) camp that I accepted the
Lord as my Savior.  It was at this camp, over a weekend, my life
changed forever.  I invited Jesus into my heart and he has been there
ever since. The whole experience is what I imagine being born
again feels like.

It was also at this camp that I met Creighton Fung. 
I was an impressionable young girl and Creighton was a young
college student.  He made a lasting impression on me. I never forgot
him.   I don't know if he knows it but he helped lead me closer to God.
As a young college student he made being Catholic look cool.
It helped that Creighton had this cool Kermit the Frog sounding voice.
In my young girl understanding, Creighton seemed artsy and sensitive.

It was cool then and is still cool now.

It was during this weekend, I heard Cat Stevens for the first
time. I met Maria D'Amato, who had a little sister, Francesca,. just my age.
Maria and Francesca mother's, Pauline, was a "church lady" at the parish.
Threads of  the Lord  to create a living church family.

Francesca is still one of my brother's, Joe, closest friends.
This is a reminder,  you never know how you will
touch a life.  Make it a positive and lasting impression.

Happy Memorial Day.  Thank you to each and
every family who has made the greatest
sacrifice to ensure we live free.

God bless the United States of America.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Responding to the Call

When Joe and I were little we attended church every Sunday.
We would have much preferred to sleep in and watch
Shirley Temple movies. We always attended the 8:00 a.m.
mass.  Boy, it was boring.  It was the old lady mass.
At least that is what we called it.
It wasn't like today we were expected to sit
still.  Eyes to the front.  And if you even
thought about turning around to see who
was arriving late you better forget it.   

As soon as possible Joe stopped attending.
My girlfriend Aileen and I would later attend the 11:00 a.m.
mass with other young adults.  Much better. 

It was a ritual we enjoyed and I will always
think of Our Lady of the Pillar as my home
parish.  It is where I grew up and started
building my personal relationship with Christ.

I was taught God is love.  Jesus is a gentleman,
he knocks but will not come in uninvited.
I learned about forgiveness about heartache and
sorrow all those years ago.

Ephesians 4

To Be Mature
 1-3In light of all this, here's what I want you to do.
While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master,
 I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—
on the road God called you to travel.
I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands.
I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere.
And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—
not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves
out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

Sit for a minute and give thanks for all your blessings.
Can't think of any.
Let me get you started.

Thank you Lord because I can read.
Thank you for surrounding me with a creative family. 
Because I had a wonderful mother.
An honest father who was true to my mother.
For allowing me to spend most of my life
near the ocean.
For giving me 32 years of an able body.
For giving me gifts I have not even discovered yet.

For allowing me memories of fresh grapes, apples,
bananas, passion fruit, loquats,  and guavas.
For allowing me to chase the waves and walk in
the sand. 

Buy yourself a simple journal today. 
Keep counting your blessing everyday. 
Thank you Lord for the sleep when it arrives.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

In All Times

Success in marriage depends on being able, 
when you get over being in love, to really love....

Eleanor Roosevelt

In all times seek a Godly partner.
This is not the same thing as a
Christian.  It is not a specific religious
belief.  It may be identified as a strength of character,
admired behaviors and strong convictions.
It is witnessed  as devotion to family, to friends and to
loved ones. A love so true it will light your path
in darkness.

Country Roads

A Godly partner is consistent.
They are trustworthy and sought out for
counsel.  They are not afraid to speak out
against injustice, they are passionate and kind.

A Godly partner fights fair, listens with
their heart, and desires only the best for their mate.
Godly partners seek to understand and support.

A Godly partner has eyes only for their mate.
They do not casually turn to assess a passing
stranger.  They do not feel like something is missing.
They are content because they too sought out a Godly partner.

A Godly partner holds their mate in high
esteem and devotion.
They surrender the I for the we. 

A Godly partner overflows with love and admiration.
A Godly partner is blessed with the power of the Holy
Spirit. An unconditional love so powerful it transcends
time and space. 

The best part of sharing a life with a Godly partner
is the richness and depth that occurs over time.

Country Roads

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Happy Friday Ramblings

You were wild once don't let them 
tame you.  Isadora Duncan

So glad it is the end of the week.
There was very little sleep here at Pumpkin Cottage
this week.  Miss Holly started the sickness.
She is fully recovered today.

Mama is ecstatic when everyone is healthy.

Jacob is the student of the month for the second
time this year.  We celebrate today. 

After three tries, I kept passing out only to be wide awake at 1 a.m.,
I watched a whole episode of
the Bob Newhart Show,
A Pound of Flesh
Season 3 Episode 19.
Really funny with a nod to sibling rivalry.

Joe said:
Don't miss the comments from the old lady.
She was one of the cast of crazies. You can
see first 3 seasons on Hulu.  SUPERB
writing.   Bob was a big comedian and had many hit
albums.  He has an everyman quality trudging through
life. In his one man act he did a one sided phone conversation.
He inserted all the appropriate pauses and inflection as he responded
to other characters but it was all him.
Alone in the scene with his infallible comedic timing
and straight man expressions.

It is always about the hunt. Holly has spotted me in the center of an adventure.

A lazy daisy weekend planned with some
gardening and home projects. Lots of rest.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Dame Judi Dench?
I would really enjoy seeing her new movie
the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Maybe some tasty Mexican food on Saturday.
If everyone's tummies settle down.

There has to be a nap or two and some embroidery quiet
time. On Sunday, the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana,
Jamestown Fleamarket in Tustin, and a visit to the
gardens at Country Roads in Orange.

My brother, and Mr. Lee's favorite sibling,,yeah he really does say that,
knows my taste perfectly.  It is with anticipation that I await the many
treasures he gives me.  Not just lovelies like this rooster platter, but
words of encouragement, videos of creative people,  and the cane he
selected years before I was ready. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

                                          Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"
                                          delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
                                          download PDF of complete speech 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points 
out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of
deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs 
to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is 
marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; 
who errs, who comes short again and again, because there 
is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does 
actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, 
the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; 
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, 
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, 
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls 
who neither know victory nor defeat. 

There is always treasure if you bother to look. 


Right here right now. This very moment pledge to reach
to feel more, live and love better. 
In everything you must move forward
with courage.  Experience and risk vulnerability to achieve.
In marriage, in parenting, and in friendship.  Seek.
Let go to experience depth. 
This is what I have been living for years. 

Now you can read a book....out on September 13, 2012.

Read more here...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glory of Sunday

We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.

Queen Victoria

Barn Sale

Why do apparently bad things happen to good people?
Our journey is intended to prepare us to be
witnesses for His glory.  In trial, some will RUN from Him
but I RUN to Him. I am humbled by His glory. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

King James Version (KJV)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the 
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Not just in the time of blossoms
but in times of pruning give thanks.
Lift His name in glory.


Barn Sale Loot 







Each of us was created for His purpose.
When we can't figure out our destination He guides us.

Some of us, like me, need a serious beat down to listen.
Mr. Lee often says do you need a brick wall to fall on you?

I have said it before and I will say it again, YES.
When you think of me, think of me picking up the bricks and
creating a path.  The wall is down.  It will not be a
straight path but a winding path laced with pebbles,
marbles, little hand and paw prints, and favorite verses.
My husband, children, siblings, extended family, warrior girlfriends and
all the other square pegs will stand on the sidelines and CHEER
at the top of their voices.

In all things give thanks. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Not Normal and Proud

Nearly a year ago...someone who I once admired said.
"Too bad you couldn't be a little more NORMAL."
Yes, Jess, I am going to talk about it again and it DID bother me to the core.
Since childhood I wanted to be liked desperately but never
enough to compromise my integrity.  
Not enough to act meek through life and smash the bigger than life
soul in me. 

It is true,  it would be easier if I could fade into the background.

Years and years ago I read
Having Our Say:
The Delany Sisters' First 100 years

A book about the first 100 years of two black
sisters lives.  Each sister had their own technique for survival.
If I had my copy of this book with all the writing in the margins
I could share specific examples but I don't so here goes.
One sister played dumb.  Caucasians thought she was dumb and
she played dumb to her advantage.  The other sister won't have any of
it...she stood up and gave condescending people a wherefore.

Like Holly would say, "Keep your eyes open and punch them in the face."

I am not normal.  My brother and I were just talking about how
we have learned what most people don't learn in a lifetime,  Mostly
through grace.  We have obtained this grace through our own suffering or the
suffering of our loved ones.

Grace is what you don't deserve and get any way.
It is the way the universe speaks to us.
I get messages all the time.
The miracle is I don't miss the ques of my good fortune.
I pay attention to the universe. Listening to my soul and heart.

Instead of taking the train, I have been driving every day alone back and forth.
Nothing to be proud of, mind you, for a transit person.  
First, I drove because I was fearful I wouldn't be able to walk from the train
to the bus that takes me to work.  Commuters are fast paced and I can't walk fast enough
and I especially didn't want to hold up a bus full of my fellow commuters. 

But now, I simply enjoy my quiet praying time.  The other morning I was riding in the quiet and
my soul starts saying there is a message for you.  So I turn on the radio and they are
talking about letting go.  It was a message I very much needed to hear and even though
I haven't worked all the way to simply letting go...I am working on it.

Then weeks ago I had told Mr. Lee that I would wear a different cross every day.
That  very day the message was if you wear a cross you are saying "Christ in me."
You represent Him through your behavior. 

I wrote about writing in books here.

Then I read
Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, 
and Live Intentionally:
"Marginalia, seriously who knew, is away of carrying
on a larger, broader conversation.
It's a physical record of our encounter with a text, scrawled or
jotted in margins and on endpapers and flyleaves."


"Taking pen or pencil to our books isn't mutilation,
it is conversation.  As British author Hester Thrale Piozzi put
it in 1790, "I have a Trick of writing in the Margins of my Books,
it is not a good Trick, but one longs to say something.""

No No I could never be normal.
Honestly I am trying to raise exceptional people
not normal people. 

My brain is quiet now...will probably be able to sleep.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You are My Sunshine

Last weekend we painted our old craft/kitchen table.
A few years ago, we were going to part ways
but my Mister loved this table so it lived in the garage.

The little table was fetched from the garage and saved.
Dressed with color and sentimental words.

You are my sunshine my only sunshine.  

This is the little song I sang to each of my babies.  

All four of my children have had breakfast and created at this table.

The legs have been dressed up and
a Cath Kidston oil cloth will protect the top.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there inspiring
their future generations. You are beautiful and we LOVE

Counting my blessings for the women that came before me.
Amazingly strong women.   Every fiber of my being would
like to  make them proud.

In reading  Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, 
and Live Intentionally
by Patti Digh

She says it is more important to be significant than successful.

These women would not have been considered successful
by the material measures of our society...but oh oh they EACH impress me with
their significance. Strength, dignity and integrity. 

My mother (36), my oldest sister (18) and my Avo (81). 
These women, along with my other sister, significantly impacted my life. 
My sisters cared for me like a baby doll for the first four years of my life.

When I study at my oldest sister's face here I can definitely see my niece and nephew.
Time ticks on.

My maternal grandmother, Olinda.  She raised 13 children
to adulthood and four grandchildren.
Even here, crippled from AS she is beautiful.
With her bluest eyes and dark hair that wasn't ever touched
by hair dye.  A most positive and joyful woman.

Can you see the little smile and look of determination?

My paternal grandmother, Ursula, was serious and stern.

With a backbone to match.
I wish I had a fancy picture of her.

Born at the end of 1900 in the United States.
An only child with a privileged future ahead of her. 
Against her parents' wishes she married a significantly older man.
He was the love of her life.
Widowed at 27 with three little boys to raise alone.
The oldest at 7 was my father.
Avo Ursula was a talented grade school teacher and
tutored illiterate adults in our village. 

The widows in my life only married once. 

Both my grandmothers and my mother.
They all wore black with an occasional white
to signify mourning and respect for their
husbands. Toward the end of my mother's
life I dressed her in respectable colors.

These women are carried in my heart.
Through their strength and understanding
I am whole.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Issue 13 of Mollie Makes and June's issue of
Romantic Homes.  Happy happy joy joy.

The clerk at the Barnes and Noble commented
on the superior quality of British magazines.
Craft magazines, music magazines probably all magazines.
Don't even get me started on the Japanese mags.
Pure loveliness and inspiration for those of us
with hoppity skippity brains.
Notice the Vintage Buttons gift on Mollie...how
can anyone resist?  It is like a box of
Cracker Jack with the diamond ring prize glued
to the outside of the box.
We both agreed that there is tremendous talent
in the States.  Why oh why can't we lead the
world in creativity?  Obviously we could but
we don't.

Miss Holly has already requested a cocoa brown

The City.  San Francisco.  Inspired to visit from here.
Music for your visit. Sadly, not Journey but a good substitute.

Yes, I write in my magazines, in my textbooks and
in any book that strikes my fancy. Kirk, my train friend
and doctoral candidate, just panics when he sees me
jotting notes as I read. He's NEVER written in a book.
I say cut loose.  Live dangerously sometimes.
It is a habit I started long ago.
Like my habit of commemorating events in new books.

My Dottie Angel book I wrote:

"April 27, 2012

On the eve of returning to work. Crafting.
Lee put outside lights on to light my path.
What a year. Little e."

In years to come I will recall a specific moment
and feelings.

I use my favorite Creative Memories fine-tip
pens gifted to me by my dear friend Lori.

Lori is one of my girlfriend warriors.  A
guiding force in my darkness.
Being in Lori's presence of unconditional love
is indescribable.  She soothes even the crankiest
babies right to sleep. I digress.

The pens are archive quality and glide over paper. 
I am unable to work with scratchy sounding pens.
These write like silk.  Good for journals, scrapbooks,
and photos. 

Places to visit in San Francisco.

Sears Fine Foods for breakfast
City Lights bookstore

Thank you for stopping by. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kindred Spirits

Get off your cross we need the wood.  Shari Elf
Shari is the genuine article.  Our people.
At work we always say, "These are our people or these
are not OUR people."

Dottie Angel 
Check out her book.  Her writing makes me happy.
Her next book will be Granny Chic.  Forever I have aspired
to have my home look Granny fashionable. 

Magic spray paint.  Who wants to graffiti
when painting is so much fun.  Always
wondering, do they want to make the neighborhood
look ugly?  Because we work so hard to be
house proud and make our cottage look good.

Isn't she lovely?  With a new coat for spring.

Still waking up at 2 a.m. but I just lie there instead of
writing to all you loverlees...Yep that's how I am spelling
it.  It means my sweeties.

Every weekend while I work on homework...So tired.
Mr. Lee finishes another project. Can you hear cheering?

It has been very stressful around here but we are not
special.  Right now everyone is trying to hold on.
Try to find joy in the every day.
Focusing on what really matters.  Focus with me.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Liberal Heart

WARNING: This is a bit of a rant post so divert your eyes if you don't want to witness the carnage.

1.  This blog is written as a journal for my sheer pleasure.
     For my brother, who says, it is his FAVORITE magazine.  I love you bro.
     For my husband, who supports my very whim and acts as my most trusted advisor.

2.  These are my opinions mostly from the my heart and soul.
     Someone out there, on any given day, needs to read a word of encouragement.

3.  This blog helps me heal wounds and I hope it is helpful to lift even ONE other person.

That said.

When did LIBERAL turn into a dirty word?
Here is what this liberal believes in.

Hard work.
Honesty and Integrity.
You don't get something for nothing.
Education counts and we should be PROUD and HONORED to pay for it.
Teachers matter.  They MUST perform and we must PAY them for their contribution to the success of America.
Even with our most shameful failings, the United State of America is still the BEST country on this earth.
Support the poor and not war. Assist the mentally ill, the drug or alcohol dependent.
ELIMINATE Homelessness.  BE ashamed children go to bed hungry in AMERICA.
If you don't  support choice then SUPPORT women's contraceptive rights and vote for policies
to RAISE children out of POVERTY.
Music and ART education make us better.  
ACCEPT genius may come in a DIVERSE package. 
Support PUBLIC Transportation in all its modes.
Care about the environment we leave our children.
GREENHOUSE gas is not made up by the liberals but supported by science.
Have a backbone, speak up and defend the right of opinions even if it is SCARY and it puts your JOB on the line.
Support our PRESIDENT.  I didn't vote for President Bush (1 or 2) but I RESPECTED the office.
NO ONE at any time should wish for a bullet for anyone least of all our most honored and highest office.

Our service personnel and their FAMILIES deserve our respect, our support and our thanks.
We should not abandon them ever. We should never put them in harms way without careful and serious consideration.  PEACE is less expensive than WAR demand it. 
Tax payers should be honored and grateful to provide whatever  our Armed Forces need before, during and after their service.  They should receive the best equipment necessary to perform their missions and the best medical care available regardless of cost.
FEMINIST this means support and honor the girlfriend commitment.  Men will come and go but girlfriends are forever.  HONOR women in their chosen life path.  We are going backwards.  STOP it. 
DEFEND life choices.   WHETHER, homemaker, career, or mom. HONOR choice even if it is not your own.  REMEMBER the suffragettes of long ago.   JAILED to gain the right to vote.  Get out and VOTE.

This LIBERAL believes in civil rights, the right for two people to marry regardless of gender....because BEING married to your best friend is a JOY no one should miss.

This LIBERAL is driven as a believer, feminist, wife, mother, to be a do gooder, to behave as a sister to the human race, to be disobedient when necessary, to be respectful of the laws and leaders of this LAND. To LEAD by example and behave as a follower of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To allow my behavior to represent and reflect my beliefs.

This LIBERAL prays and give thanks every day.  God bless this great land and its people.  

DON"T DEFINE ME.  I am proud to be a LIBERAL.

God bless CALIFORNIA where diversity is KING.  For the superior and
largest university system in the world.  Gateway to learning and achievement.
Completing a Masters in Public Administration and a sampler by Pam Garrison
"Make Something."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Julia Child

The passions are the only orators that always persuade;
they are, as it were, a natural art, the rules of which are infallible;
and the simplest man with passion is more persuasive than
the most eloquent without it.

La Rochefoucauld

In my house we follow the Lord.
We are passionate. 

Julia Child rose... I go outside to visit Julia and her
may hues. Mrs. Child was a late bloomer.
Once she found
her passion she was off and running.

Miss Gertrude the Hortensia, she's not blooming right now,
joined our garden from the hand of Mary Lou Heard. 
This weekend is the Mary Lou Heard Foundation
garden tour. 

The first of my painted doors in the upstairs hallway.
An intense purple door with a glass tiger eye knob.
At least, that is what I am calling it.  The screws
need a touch up.  Maybe black.  Behind the

keyhole, too. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

When asked if he would rather go out to the restaurant of
his choice or have his favorite meal at home.  He replies
home.  His favorite meal you ask? Spaghetti in meatballs.
Not spaghetti and meatballs but spaghetti noodles in the

A party, visit to amusement park...no none of that
he wants a practical party at home with his grandparents.
Oma and Opa and video games.  Candles and cake.
Maybe cookie dough ice cream, too.  

Happy Happy Birthday.
You make us proud every day.