Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumnal Farmers Market

Brilliant images, fabulous fragrances, wonderful crisp, sunny days.
Oh, how I love fall!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea *Greg Mortenson *
Sometimes when you are on one path, you lose your way. Then you learn that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Such was the case of Greg Mortenson in 1993. Mortenson set out to climb K2 in the Himalayas. He was, at that point in his life, a mountain climber. Mortenson set out to climb K2, the highest most difficult mountain he could find in order to summit and plant his sister Christa's amber necklace in her memory. Falling short of summiting by just 600 meters, Mortenson was filled with feelings of what was a tremendous failure in his mind. On his way down the mountain, he lost his way and stumbled upon the village of Korphe. While in Korphe, one scene that Mortenson witnessed was several children gathered together, using sticks to scratch in the dirt, in order to study. The children were approximately fourth grade age. Mortenson couldn't believe that the children were so starved for education that they would gather together to study of their own volition. The village of Korphe shared a teacher with another village, so each village only had a teacher for half of the time. There wasn't a physical school building. They would just gather together in an attempt to attain an education. Mortenson vowed to return to Korphe to build a school.

Mortenson grew up at the base of Mount Kilamonjaro in Tanzania. His parents were Midwesterners, Minnesota Lutherans who went to Tanzania to teach. His father started a hospital there and his mother started a school. In Greg's mind, returning to Korphe to build a school wasn't something he thought about doing. When he said that he would return to build a school, he meant it. Mortenson immediately returned to the U.S. and started selling his belongings and attempting to raise the $12,000 it would take to build the school in Korphe.
Mortenson raised the money and returned to Korphe. But first, they had to build a bridge. Normally, before the bridge, it was standard to cross the water via a rope contraption that wasn't very reliable. Without a bridge, it was impossible to get the materials needed to build the school to Korphe. So they built a bridge.

Mortenson has, since 1993 dedicated his life to promoting community-based education of literacy programs, especially for girls in remote mountain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson faces each obstacle with a calm assuredness that he will get through each situation. He sits down to tea with the Taliban.

The reason that the book is entitled Three Cups of Tea, is because to conduct any sort of business in Pakistan and Aftghanistan, you must first have tea. With the first cup, you are a stranger, the second a friend. Upon sharing a third cup of tea, you become family, for which they will do anything, even die. (Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan.) One of my favorite chapters is "Rumsfeld's Shoes." Mortenson goes to Washington to meet with Rumsfeld and is amazed that upon entering his office, he isn't even offered a seat. There is no tea. Mortenson notices Rumsfeld's shoes - which appear to be expensive and are polished to a high sheen. Rumsfeld smells of cologne and is freshly shaven and impeccably clean. Mortenson notes that in Washington, no one meets an other's eyes. Everyone walks forward, quickly, in a rush to get to where ever it is that they are going. (I have experienced this in D.C., myself. My daughter likes to explain my behavior to east coast folks when I get chatty, by saying 'she is from Indiana.") Mortenson notes how very far away he is from Pakistan while in Washington,DC.

Greg's wife and children - Khyber, Tara, and Amira

One of the huge heros, in Greg's life is his wife Tara. She so believes in Greg's mission in life, that she very often must be single parent. She has to trust and believe that Greg is fine, despite the dangers of the areas he travels. When in danger, Greg's first thoughts are of getting back to Tara and the children. Chunda School, 2006 *
Khandays female students clutch new school uniforms. * Central Asia Institute logo *

Greg's efforts are founded in the Central Asia Institute. Mortenson is director. Pennies for Peace logo *

One program, which helps children help other children is Pennies for Peace. Pennies for Peace came about with Greg's initial fund drive for the children of Korphe.

Mortenson writes Three Cups of Tea with author David Oliver Relin. Reading Three Cups of Tea was, for me, a life-changing experience. It causes me to think about how many Americans recklessly squander money. This book was passed on to me by a colleague and upon finishing the book, I bought a copy to pass on to others. You don't have to take my word for what a fine, life-changing story this is. The book was #1 on The New York Times best seller list, TIME magazine's Asia book of the year, Kiriyama Prize for non-fiction award, PNBA non-fiction award, Borders Books Original Voices Selection and Montana Honor Book Award. Many speculate that Mortenson will receive the Pulitzer Prize. With a calendar booked through 2011, I don't know that he will be on hand to accept it. Most likely, he will be far away, building another school.

* Images Courtesy of Central Asia Institute.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last berry in the berry bowl

I thought for the first day of fall that I would share a photo with you of the last berry in the berry bowl. The duggles brought this berry to me this past weekend and said "here, this is probably the last one." Our berries did not do too well this year. First of all, they were not plentiful. Dug planted strawberries, raspberries and grapes. Our entire garden didn't fare too well this year. Maybe next year we will put some fencing around the garden. There are probably a lot of critters helping themselves to the garden before we can get to it.
Happy Fall, Y'all! I love, love, love fall. Last year I shared out keeping room re-do (fireplace room)...Dug just recently put down a beautiful ceramic tile floor in that room...so the whole room is new, new, new. Last year we believe we had our first fire towards the end of October. I say "bring it!" I believe we are almost ready.
-> Editors note: The duggles wanted me to say "the tomatoes were plentiful and tasty."

Monday, September 21, 2009

My first blog award

I would like to thank Nicole for awarding me with my very first blog award! Nicole first received the award and then passed it on to me. Her blog is looking great and she is a great writer, too- often sharing the antics of her dog, Luffy, as she says..."rhymes with goofy." You know anyone who is a dog lover is o.k. in my book! Is there anything better than peer recognition? I don't think so.
I would like to pass this blog award on two of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer and Mindy. Jennifer and Mindy are both dog moms, too. Jennifer is dog mom to a Standard Poodle named Lucy. Mindy is dog mom to a Corgi named Gingerbeans.
Jennifer pours her heart out in nearly every post. She is as giving in person and the sunshine of my life. (Yes, we often talk in songs. Well, actually, Jennifer just sings them.)
Mindy is someone I've met through blogging. We are now facebook friends, too. She lives in Texas and I'm in Indiana, but we are determined to get together in person, one of these days. Mindy is a crazy, crazy girl and could be my best friend if it weren't for her "I live in Texas" thing. Sometimes when I'm conveying something to the duggles that Mindy and I have talked about via facebook or something she has written about, I'll say "you know, my friend Mindy in Texas," and the duggles says "the friend you've never met?" HMPF! As if that makes a difference. Men. They just don't understand sometimes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Altered book

I've made altered books for the shop, and I made an altered book for a friend, but this is the first one that I've made for myself. I absolutely fell in love with Graphic 45.I used a crackle glaze on the clock.I used diamond glaze on the eyeglasses.
and the camera lens.
Because this book was for myself, I felt a bit more freedom to do whatever I wanted to do.
I bought my old ribbons from this shop. (My favorite shop in Bloomington.) I'll buy more.
I love the look of old.
People say "what will you do with it now and what is it for?" They are fun to make, a work of art, an expression of self. For more info on altered books, read here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why we love...

I've written about Clear Creek trail several times before, and I decided to show you why Chelsea and I enjoy walking there.
Like a dancer en pointe, Chelsea strains, standing on her short hind legs at the edge of the seat, stretching her body as long as she possibly can, wanting to catch every fragrance that is carried in the wind. Lest she fall out of the window, I hold onto her leash with my right hand.
From the bridge. I like the way that you can tell Fall is on its way by the fallen leaves. I watched from above.
I was convinced he was going to fall in and I was determined to capture it.

His arms flailed and circled like twin helicopter rotors, but he did not fall in.
She taunted "you are going to fall in!"
He made it all of the way across without falling in. I was amazed.
The entire length of the trail is 2.5 miles out and 2.5 back.
Edging the entire trail - many different varieties and colors.
In storage - to keep it dry.
I call this one "bales and lines."
Do you see the birds?
And back to the bridge. These evenings, I am struggling to finish before dark.
Now, you understand why we love to walk this beautiful farmland trail.

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