Monthly Archives: April 2009

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been compelled to create something.  I just can’t help it – the desire to create is bigger than I.  It doesn’t matter if it’s fabric, wood, paper, canvas…or even a high quality vinyl sculpt.  I realize, of course, that this artistic ability came from my Mama.  She was an artist with a needle and thread.  She could draw…and write.  I often wonder what she could have done with this talent had she been given the opportunity.  My daughter inherited this talent and displayed it at a very early age.  Thankfully, she was given the opportunity to develop this talent and has a degree in fine art.  Her paintings are amazing.  I once said she makes colors dance on paper… 

I’m thankful for this studio…this place to create.  It’s actually the “living room” of this home and has long windows that overlook the front porch and the Callahan Mountains.  Granted, it probably would be better if this studio were somewhere “hidden” in our house, because I am not a neat artist…quite the contrary.  The photo below is a rare moment when everything is packed neatly away…  


I love the two paintings over my work table below.  They were early paintings by my daughter.

The picture below is a little more honest.  “Body parts” on the table in various stages of completion… 

In the photo below, the head on the right is of an Acorn sculpt by Secrist…right out of the box.  Doesn’t look “real” at all.  The head on the left is also an Acorn sculpt but has had the first “neutralizing” color…nothing else.  Next comes many layers of various shades of flesh coloring, tiny “veins” and other newborn nuances of color, blushing, etc.  She will “come alive” before my eyes!  The first time my older son, a board-certified pediatrician, saw a completed “baby”, his eyes opened big in surprise.  He said, “Mom, that’s eerie…she looks SO real”!  I considered that a big compliment coming from a baby doctor! 


The head below is the “Anne” sculpt by Maribel Villanova.  Her hair has been micro-rooted as have her eyelashes.   


If you’re wondering how I got started in “reborn” dolls, read here.  I’m glad you stopped by for a visit.

The postman delivered a book today that I had ordered a while back, The Amish Cook At Home.  As I unwrapped the package and began to read, I found myself transported to another time and another place… 

It was a Saturday morning in Kentucky about fifteen years ago.  My husband and I were driving out to the Amish community to buy a handwoven basket.  I remember that Spring day with the sun reflecting against the rolling hills of green.  I also remember thinking what a well-kept secret this beautiful place was.   

As we arrived at the young Amish couple’s small farm, we were greeted by five tow-headed blondes…little stair steps.  The oldest looked to be about ten.  My husband knocked on the door of the small house.  I could see inside through the screen door.  I couldn’t help myself – I was taking it all in…the polished wood floors…the wood burning stove…the oak table and chairs…the lantern on the table…the dark window shades rolled up to let the sunlight in.  I was standing on the ground beside the front porch within arms reach of one of the small boys standing on the porch.  He stared at me for the longest with those enormous blue eyes and then reached out to stroke my hair.  He was just as curious about me, as I was about him.  I smiled at him and asked him his name.  Samuel.  His name was Samuel. 

We bought the small basket and a loaf of bread and continued our drive through the beautiful countryside.  I don’t know what it is about the Amish, but I’m drawn to them.  I want to know more about them…their way of life…their customs.  I have an immense appreciation and respect for them.  Once after that particular day, I had an Amish patient at the hospital, which is a rare case.  I was amused that the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) came and stayed practically the entire time she was hospitalized.  They spoke quietly to one another in Pennsylvania Dutch and spoke briefly to me in English. 

After Kentucky, we would live fairly close to the Amish again in Indiana.  We would travel to buy Amish baked goods and to an Amish market.  I loved it.  I’ve read everything I can find about the Amish…both fiction and non-fiction.  I’ve especially enjoyed collecting Amish cookbooks and was very happy with the wonderful addition the postman brought today.

I’ve made several dishes out of this Amish & Mennonite cookbook…all delicious. 

If you haven’t read Beverly Lewis’ fiction series about the Amish, you should…they’re wonderful books.  I’ve also enjoyed her cookbook…

This was originally published in My Southern Heart…the Stories.

Memories are strange and funny things. Try to remember what you had for dinner three nights ago, and there’s only a vague recollection; but the memories from forty years ago are fresh and clear. I hope you enjoy a brief look at the first few years of our firstborn’s life. It really does seem like yesterday…

First, scroll to the bottom of the blog page and pause the playlist music…(just click the two vertical bars in a circle)…and then return and play the video.

It’s the perfect shape and the perfect size.  According to geologist macho logger, it’s siltstone.  It’s steady with no movement, and the perfect step into our “Mountain Chicken Cottage”! 

The walls and trim are painted but the front door still has to receive a coat of green paint (which matches the stained glass in the front door of our house).  Oh, and I still have to make the lace valances (I already have the lace); but Mr. Macho Logger Tree Farmer said “no” to the chickens having curtains before he did.  I still have to FINISH the balloon curtain for the master bath! 


Did you ever see the 1956 version of The Body Snatchers?  Every time I go out to check on the chicks and give them food and water…or turn on/off their warming light…or raise and lower their windows (which is like morning, afternoon and evening)…they’ve CHANGED.  Yep, right before my very eyes.  If you’ll look in the pic below you’ll see their new “coats” or “bodies” taking over their baby chick bodies!  The photo is a little fuzzy for they’re not holding still for anyone…even their benefactor of fresh food and water!

And THIS little chicken has an attitude!  She (or he?) sees me coming and hops quickly up on the water container and starts “peeping” loudly.  Sometimes I find her (or him?) there when I come in.  The farm store said it was a 20% possibility of having a rooster in the bunch…hmmm.  As long as this chicken remembers that I’M the alpha chick, we’ll get along just fine.  Otherwise, we might just have chicken ‘n dumplings. 



I’m delighted to announce our second Pat-A-Cake Babies Giveaway of an adorable lifelike baby doll!  This precious little baby has been meticulously reborned from the “Riley” sculpt by Alaina Peterson and is valued at $250.  She has been painted in multiple heat-set layers using Genesis Heat-Set Paints.  She has fine straight dark brown mohair that has been microrooted and is so much fun to style.  She has a magnetic hairbow using a strong magnet!  (Care should be taken around anyone with a pacemaker!)  She comes wearing an exquisitely smocked soft pink dress with matching panties and a diaper.  She is also wearing adorable soft pink Mary Jane shoes!  She is approximately 18-19″ long and weighs about 4 pounds. 

To enter:  simply leave a comment on this blog between now and Friday, May 1st, telling me about your favorite doll of all time!   Maybe your favorite was Tiny Tears…or the Shirley Temple doll…or Mrs. Beasley!  Maybe your favorite is from one of the sculptors of today.  You decide and tell me in your comment! 

The winner’s name will be drawn at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 1st and will be announced Friday night.  I will pay shipping cost up to $20, so the only cost to the winner is any shipping cost OVER $20. 



Well, here “the girls” are about a month old, and they are definitely looking more like CHICKENS!  The electrician was here yesterday and there is now electricity in the Hen House…and warmth for the growing chicks. 

I have my suspicions that there may be a rooster in the bunch.  I have, on more than occasion, found one of the little Barred Rock Plymouths standing on top of the vertical water container (which is about a foot high) looking longingly at the room beyond.  Plus, this particular chick is much larger than all the others and seems to dominate the food container…bossy little thing!  We’ll see how this turns out…  At any rate, it’s time to move the chicks OUT of the entry hall and into their Mountain Chick Cottage BEFORE I find one on top of the chippendale chairs in my studio! 

For this city girl, watching these chicks develop has been an education.  For example, in the picture above you can see their little ears…which are not really ears at all, but rather “ear holes” surrounded by a disc.  These will be covered with tiny feathers when they’re grown.  They have a lot of other peculiar characteristics too…like pecking everything in sight, including each other!  We’ll have to talk about that when they get bigger and those beaks are sharper!

Their house is finished, including the exterior walls primed, except for painting the outside…hopefully this week if the sun will stay out, the outside will be finished.  So, yesterday was moving day and they did very well in their first night in their permanent home.

They appear to be “listening” in the photo below.  I actually was talking to them…so who knows!









If you compare this photo to the earlier photos of the chicks around the food bar, you can see how much they’ve grown!chicksaregrowing5.jpg













Their food container (below) for when they are out of the brooder and on the floor of their house.  The floor will be covered with fir chips.  The food container is suspended by a chain and will be raised as they grow…hopefully, to help keep the fir chips out of their food.  They are great at scratching up the fir chips into their food!chicksfoodbar.jpg














Here is the cute little door to the little storage area.  I couldn’t get back far enough to get the entire door in the pic, but the top of the door is shaped like the lower part.  Here I store the packages of fir chips, their chick starter food and future hay for their nests and the floor.



The photo below shows the nest boxes with carpet squares in them and on top of that will go fresh hay when they’re old enough to start laying those eggs!  In front of the boxes are the little perches to hop on and then from there into their nests.nestboxesminusthehay.jpg


This photo is of their “roosts” where they’ll sleep safe and secure…roostingperches.jpg

Now, if you’re really interested in seeing the girls, here’s a video clip of them…you’ll see why I’m laughing…they’re funny creatures!



How often have we discovered that our first impressions were wrong…that we’d hastily arrived at a conclusion that was far from the truth?  Years ago as a freshman in college, I learned that lesson the hard way and, thankfully, I still remember it when I find myself tempted to reach a hasty judgment.

No doubt, by now, most of you have heard of Susan Boyle…but if you haven’t, let me introduce you.  Be careful of a hasty first impression…  Scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the blog music (click on the two vertical bars in a circle).  Then, click on the link below (sorry, you can’t embed this one).  Turn the volume up on your speakers!  Sit back and prepare to be amazed…just as the judges and the audience were on Britain’s Got Talent!


I’ve been sitting here this morning enjoying a cup of fresh hot coffee and a slice of this delicious, Zucchini Pineapple Bread (my daughter’s recipe) and reflecting a little… 

Prior to six months ago, I hadn’t given the country of Ethiopia much thought…no more so than any other place.  I knew, of course, that Ethiopia is a country on the continent of Africa, known mostly to many of us for its poverty, droughts and famines.  Amazing that within these past few months, I’ve come to learn so much more about Ethiopia.

Right now, my daughter and her husband are awaiting news about their adoption of a child from Ethiopia.  They’ve asked for twins, but will be thankful for the baby they receive.  Their dossier, which took months to complete, is finally now in Ethiopia.  Now, we wait for the news that a court date will be set and travel plans to Ethiopia may be made.  I look forward to traveling to the Midwest to spend time with my new grandchild…or grandchildren!

To further capture my attention, my oldest child is in Ethiopia at this very moment as I write this.  As I’ve mentioned before, he is a missionary doctor in Peru through Mission to the World and has been asked by the Peruvian government to help with a tuberculosis project in Peru.  Evidently, MTW has a tuberculosis clinic in Ethiopia which has met with success using a special microscope for diagnosis.  My son and his wife (who has a Ph.D. in molecular biology) are now visiting the MTW mission clinic in Ethiopia to learn more about this project.  

I’m always amazed when I remember that our lives are a weaving – a tapestry – and, this time, my Heavenly Father is weaving in threads of Ethiopia

It was official on March 20:  Spring is HERE!  Isn’t it?  I awoke this morning to the sight of big, fat snowflakes coming down…again.  I knew it wouldn’t last.  So I tried to enjoy the beauty of the winter wonderland…hopefully, one last time for this season.  Underneath the white, icy fluff are the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips.  Still waiting to come up are the wild irises…

Snow on the mountain lasted about two hours and then, thankfully, the sun came out as you can see in the photo below.  I was glad to see it.  I like having four seasons.  I like my share of snow, but I’m READY for Spring! 

The photo below of snow on Mt. Scott was taken with a zoom lens…the Callahans across the Umpqua River.

I can only imagine what the disciples and Jesus’ other followers must have felt that Friday after the crucifixion.  They had watched as Jesus had been condemned by Pilate.  They had watched as Jesus had been forced to carry the rough, heavy cross along the Via Dolorosa and had fallen three times under the weight of it.  The pain of seeing him beaten and ridiculed was great, but the pain of watching the huge spikes being driven through his hands and feet was unbearable.  To hear him call out to his Heavenly Father must have wrenched their hearts and souls indeed.

Jesus was dead.  They had seen him die with their own eyes.  They had never known such deep despair.  The skies were dark as the Roman soldiers had secured Jesus’ body in a tomb and set an enormous boulder in front of it.  Guards had been placed in front of the tomb to protect it even further…perhaps in their minds to insure that the disciples would not take Jesus’ body.

Knowing what we know now, you and I want so badly to remind the disciples that Jesus had told them he would return…that he would rise again.  Even though they had been in the upper room and had heard the words for themselves, they  didn’t remember…or didn’t believe it.  Would we have been any different?  Had we seen with our own eyes the Saviour die, would we have been waiting by the tomb on the morning of the third day?  Just in case we’re too hard on the wavering disciples, remember the promise that He has given to us.  He’s coming AGAIN for us…are we waiting expectantly?

The simple truth is that Jesus CONQUERED death and rose to live again on the third day just as He promised.  He BECAME my sacrifice…and yours…in order that, through repentance of our sins and belief in Him, we might have eternal life. 

I love the stories of Jesus’ appearing to his disciples and followers after his resurrection.  One of my favorite stories, is when he appeared to Peter.  Remember, Peter had done just what Jesus had told him that he would do:  he had denied Jesus three times.  Ashamed and brokenhearted, Peter had return to his fishing…his old way of life.  There, at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him three times if Peter loved Him more than these (his old life).  It broke Peter’s heart that Jesus questioned three times…when Peter had answered him, “yes, Lord, you know that I love You”.  After the third answer, Jesus said to Peter, “Tend My sheep”.  Imagine the weight that was lifted from Peter’s shoulders at that moment…the forgiveness that he felt…the determination.  I wonder if Peter had an inkling then of the role he would play in the development of the early church.  

So, on this Easter morning, I’m reminded that it’s no longer Friday and Jesus is ALIVE!  Praise God!  I love the songs in the youtube videos below.  First, scroll to the bottom of the page and pause the other music (the two vertical bars within a circle) and then click the play button on the videos.  Turn the speakers up, sit back and enjoy, my friends!

Happy Easter!



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