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Spring 2012 Sharing Our

stories Volume Two


He ather solum

Heather Solum loves to stay on the top of the latest trends while exploring new uses for vintage treasures. She is an artist and designer who loves to make something out of nothing—from furniture to home decor.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 KJV

Lorinda Gray

Lorinda Gray is an awardwinning graphic designer and photographer. She is also passionate about gardening and decorating. She freelances from her home at The Ragamuffin Acre.

tonda nations

Tonda Nations and her sidekick, Bowie, a Welsh terrier pup, make their home in Little Rock, AR where she spends her days as a Guest relations coordinator for the syndicated broadcast, “FamilyLife Today.”

sherry jones

Sherry Jones is a retired preschool director who volunteers for children’s ministries at her church. At home in Sierra Madre, CA she enjoys gardening, cooking, writing, walking, and entertaining family and friends.

M aureen thom


Maureen Thompson served in ministry positions in Oklahoma, Georgia, Colorado, and Arkansas before her recent retirement. She loves to write, cook, decorate, and entertain friends in her home.


Heather—This past

has paid off in helping to

moved to the beautiful


city of Portland, Oregon.

Each yard, as you see in

year our daughter’s family

What an incredible breath of beauty surrounding this cities setting. Our first visit took us to the beautiful Pacific coast for a destination wedding

maintain the beauty of this

the photos, has a variety of recycling containers as well as containers on the city streets in each of the neighborhoods.

(below left). The setting was I am not an expert on magnificent and it was only this, I just thought it was two hours from Portland. Our second visit over Christmas allowed us to drive up to Mt. Hood (left). The snow covered mountain is visible from

fascinating to see how intentional this city is in keeping the natural

beauty alive and well with the mandatory recycling program.

Portland, along with Mount Each time I visit, I learn something new about this St. Helens, and it’s only under a two-hour drive to get to this natural beauty. One of the most interesting things about the city of Portland is the recycling program they have. As

program and also have to check myself each time I

plan on discarding an item of trash. If you want to know more, just google Portland

you can see from the

Recycling or visit this quite

photos, they take this very

extensive website www.

seriously. But it is making a

difference. The effort really


Lorinda—My mother and Grandmother

Lucy were among the first re-cyclers. They hardly threw anything away. Everything was repurposed and re-used. I remember my grandmother pulling out thread from a garment and if it was long enough, she wound the thread around a used spool. When my grandmother “broke up housekeeping” (a term for giving up the home she had lived in for around 50 years), we found stacks of yellowed newspapers in a cupboard. We asked her why she had kept them all. “I might need them,” she said.

Both of my parents lived through the depression and were thrifty. We learned early to turn out lights in a room if we were leaving it. We didn’t eat out at restaurants. When McDonald’s first opened in a nearby town, I would ask Mother if we could go there for lunch after shopping. She always replied, “We have food at home.”


Mother absolutely refused to purchase storebought clothes for the doll. At the time, a new outfit for Barbie cost around 69¢. She made the doll clothes herself or she would buy them from someone who made the clothes. My Barbie and Midge had a beautiful crocheted wedding gown with hand-sewn pearls, ball gowns, a fur coat with a matching hat, and flannel pajamas. I still have those dolls and the wardrobe. We sewed all of our clothes. I did not have a store-bought dress until I was a senior in college. I even made my own dressy suits and jackets. And, bell bottoms!

Me (left), my sister Polly and brother Gail in our Easter finery. Mother made the dresses. Daisy the Cat also had to make an appearance.

Mother also believed in planting a lot of trees before “tree hugging” was popular. She said that trees put oxygen back into the air and we should plant more.

When mixing cake batter, she instructed me to clean out every bit from the mixing bowl into the baking pan. If I left any, she would say, “See, that’s a whole bite that you left in the bowl.” My mother planted a huge garden each year. We always had home-grown green beans, corn, and tomatoes. We bought peaches from an orchard and strawberries from a patch and canned and froze them. Our large freezer was full of home-grown produce and beef. When mother died, the only thing we came close to fighting over was any strawberry jam that might still be in the freezer.

When I was given my first Barbie for Christmas,

While I’m not quite as frugal as my mother and grandmother, I would like to think that what they taught me has contributed to my good credit score and “carbon credits.” I have always realized that frugality and recycling really comes down to good stewardship. “The earth is the Lord’s and Mother loved to plant trees and this red maple was a house-warming gift for my first home.

everything in it... (Psalm 24:1). We are responsible for taking care of this little planet until He returns and renews us.

Inside spring releases our wings

wanda’s world


6 lambs and donkeys




winter’s blooms

13 spring shots




Spring Releases Our Wings Nothing is so mesmerizing to most of us than a butterfly in flight.

Its defining story of emerging from a nondescript cocoon to intricate, graceful beauty and colorful flight has long been a reference for hope and purpose for a beautiful life. The human spirit responds to resurrection with a leap of inward hope and faith driven determination. Thus Spring with all nature pushing away its winter shroud and coverings of decaying debris can draw us into meaningful contemplation of the reality of New Life. God’s plan of death, burial and resurrection of his redemptive Son, the Christ, is the ultimate springtime provided to break the somber destiny of our souls. We can, by trust and faith, soar to undreamed destinies foreseen by Him— Who always saw the perfect and beautiful wings rather than a dreary cocoon delaying our flight. —Maureen Thompson

Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings. —Victor Hugo

Wanda’s World

Wanda Scoggins is well-known in Northwest Arkansas as an amazing decorator and designer. She is the queen of repurposing. Photos by Lorinda Gray

To walk through Wanda’s home is a feast for the eyes. There are so many details to enjoy and inspiration in how she recycles and repurposes vintage items. Her color palettes make her a trend setter. She is not afraid to try something wacky and original.

Wanda’s daughter, Erin, spent time in India. Above, a reminder to pray for Erin still has a place in Wanda’s home even though Erin has returned and recently married.

Wanda LOVES jewelry and the closet door is her jewelry box. She uses clear hooks that remove easily when it’s time for a change. Several of her necklaces are handmade gifts from friends.

Wanda also makes some creative clothing accessories from old ties and fabrics. She says that many of her projects come about on snow days. The color palette for her bedroom is fun and spring-like. Painted side tables add a splash of turquoise.

The living room is full of unique patterns and, for now, vintage 70s colors. The cross (top right) is made of copper and a piece of jewelry holds it together. One of her snow day projects was a mirror decorated with family buttons and jewelry. Her mother’s cat-eye glasses also hold a place. Lots of gluing going on!

Does anyone remember what those black things are in that tray?

Hanging on Wanda’s wall are two beautiful crosses. She made the one above from old earrings and jewelry. The one to the right was made with old buttons from old clothing. The little yellow barrette is one Erin wore as a baby.

A fun kitchen storage idea is to use old items mixed with new. Wanda stores her silverware in white pottery. Even toothpicks become art stored in a vintage container.

Wanda bought these yellow cups and turned them into candles. The wooden sugar mold—actually a lot of them—graced the reception tables for Erin’s wedding last fall. Wanda sells her unique items and painted furniture at The Station at Prairie Grove. Follow The Station on Facebook!

Winter’s Blooms

The faded amber flower

pot had rested there since last spring. As months ticked by and October blew in, even the weight of the dried up bulbs tucked inside couldn’t keep fall’s erratic winds from tipping it over. I mentally reminded myself to kick it aside, away from the steps, or pitch it in the trash at the very least. But there it lay, month after month, just outside my patio door, a sad reminder of warmer, sunnier days. Thanksgiving arrived, and Christmas followed, but by January something peculiar began to happen right there just outside my sliding glass door. The usual biting winds and icy frosts of winter went MIA (missing-in-action), and I was surprised and somewhat suspect of the warmer temperatures that took their place. Instead of a coat and boots, I donned a sweater and loafers to venture out, and rather than the usual sleet and snow on the ground I noticed tiny sprigs of grass starting to emerge. But even more unusual was what was taking place inside that little plastic pot I had carelessly neglected. The bulbs I thought were long past their prime started sprouting. At first I thought I was mistaken. These shriveled knobs of former flora couldn’t possibly still be alive. They had remained in their flower pot on the

concrete steps without dirt or water for months on end. I assumed that the bulbs had come to live out their final days at this hospice called my patio, and would eventually come to their final resting place in the compost pile recklessly heaped in the far corner of the yard. But God, the Master Gardner, had other plans. Slowly, deliberately, the tiny shoots grew, so much so that I thought I’d better carry them inside, just in case Jack Frost paid an unexpected visit some night. After all, it was January. I carried the bulbs to a sunny spot on the windowsill overlooking the kitchen sink and watched in amazement as the sprouts inched their way upward. From tiny sprouts to shoots with stems and buds, these bulbs were most definitely alive and flourishing. And then, incredibly, they bloomed! Imagine— purple and white hyacinths blooming just a few short weeks after New Year’s Day. God had brought spring, and new life, into the dead of winter. But why should I be surprised? Hadn’t God done the same for me? Hadn’t He taken me, dead and forgotten in my trespasses and sins, and infused me with new life, just as Scripture speaks of in 2 Cor. 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”? I could tell it was going to be a very good —Tonda Nations year.




Crown Him with many crowns

I’ve always wanted to live

in an area of the U.S. that experienced the fullness of the four seasons. However, as my parents honeymooned in Pasadena, California in 1940 and decided not to leave, I am now a “little old lady of Pasadena” and have spent my whole life here.

Yes, we have the four seasons, except they kind of blend and blur into each other. For instance, today I have vibrant poinsettias and pumpkins left over from the holidays sitting by our large Silver Maple that grows up through an enlarged opening in our deck, but my flower pots on the deck are blooming and spilling over with many colored petals of a multitude of flowers. Our Liquid Amber trees are unfurling their green buds, our azaleas are in full bloom, the daytime temp is comfortable, but we have fresh snow on our mountain peaks, only a forty-minute drive away, left by a cold front out of the Gulf of Alaska that passed through two days ago. Still, there is the sense of newness in the air that says spring is here to stay.

Sherry (left) and her brother, Jim, and sister, Carolyn.

My thoughts turn to remembered childhood joys of this time of year: Mom sewing matching Easter dresses for my sister and me, always lovely, but held together with safety pins as she was never able to get all the buttonholes completed and buttons sewed on before Easter

morning; the faint scent of vinegar in the air, left over from our creative eggdying adventure in the kitchen from the day before; searching out and sneaking into the candy supplies that had been purchased for our Easter baskets: and thinking of new places to hide the Easter eggs that I was sure my older brother would never find. Easter Sunday mornings always had an air of anticipation as we headed off to church, decked out in our new Easter clothes. Pastel shades were the rule for the day and the congregation always looked lovely through my eyes. Then the best part of our Easter Sunday church service—singing the Easter hymns! Voices blended with gusto as phrases rang out–“Up from the grave He arose”! and “Christ the Lord is risen today. Al-le-lu-ia”! and “Crown Him with many crowns, The Lamb upon His throne!” My heart soars just singing those hymns in my mind. So as our season of new birth and renewal breaks upon us, may your senses be awakened to the promise of a new beginning that is ours each day because Christ Jesus lives. May joy reign in your hearts as the proclamation is made, “HE IS RISEN!” And the response reverberates, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”

—Sherry Jones

Lambs and Donkeys Friend Parilee

took me to visit a family farm to photograph the new-born lambs. There were also a couple of friendly donkeys. I heard the donkeys will protect the sheep from coyotes. Lambs and donkeys played a part in the final days of Jesus. He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Jesus is known as The Lamb of God—the perfect sacrifice for our sins. —Lorinda

Recipes  Lorinda—This is a Weight Watchers recipe that is low-fat. A hearty breakfast that can also be enjoyed for a light lunch/ dinner. Only six points!

Brunch Pizza Squares 1 lb. low-fat sausage

One tube (8 ozs) refrigerated reducedfat crescent rolls Egg substitute equivalent to 4 eggs 2 Tablespoons skim milk ⅛ teaspoon pepper

¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

In a skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.

Unroll crescent dough into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Press dough ½ inch up the sides, seal seams. Sprinkle with sausage. In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk and pepper; pour over sausage. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 400° for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. 8 Servings

 Heather—The first time I ever tasted Won Ton Salad was at my dear friend Pat’s house, in the early years of my marriage. I loved the texture, taste, and flavor this salad exhibited. At that time I would mix all the ingredients together, but have learned, over the years, to serve the dressing and won tons separately. This will allow the salad to be served as leftovers, the next day. I had two dear friends over to celebrate a birthday and we indulged in this salad. One of the women went home and made it for her husband. Several days later, he told me they had it for three days in a row! A great salad for two or for a houseful of friends. I have served it at bridal and baby showers. Enjoy and use your creativity as your put this salad together. There is nothing you can do wrong!

Wonton and Chicken Salad 1 head lettuce, torn in bite size pieces ½ cup sesame seeds (browned) 2 to 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut in bite-size pieces Sliced almonds, to taste Chopped green onion 12 to 15 wonton wrappers (can be found in produce section of grocery) Fry wonton in oil few seconds until browned, dry on paper towel, break in pieces.

Combine all ingredients except chicken and wontons. Add with dressing just before serving. DRESSING 4 Tablespoons sugar

½ Tablespoon pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon Accent

4 Tablespoons vinegar Heat until it dissolves; add ½ cup oil and chill. Combine dressing, salad, chicken and wonton just before serving.

 Lorinda—I was talking to California Cousin Sherry on the phone and she had to stop the conversation to finish these brownies by spreading on the caramels and chocolate chip layers. It sounded so good I asked for the recipe. The recipe is originally from Cousin Mary Ann who brings them to our family reunions. These will not be good for your diet!

Caramel Layer Chocolate Brownies Preheat oven to 350

50 caramels 1 German Chocolate cake mix ⅔ cup canned milk, divided 1 cup chopped nuts ¾ cup (1½ sticks) melted margarine or butter 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips Combine caramels and ⅓ cup canned milk in small heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until caramels are melted and smooth. Set aside.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish. Combine cake mix, melted butter, ⅓ cup canned milk, and chopped nuts in mixing bowl. Stir by hand until dough holds together. Press half of the dough into prepared dish and bake for 9–10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over baked crust. Pour caramel mixture evenly over chips. By hand, place flattened pieces of remaining dough over caramels. Return to oven and bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely on rack before cutting. Makes 24–30 bars. Recipe easily doubles as it uses one whole can of milk.

 Lorinda—Niece Sophia found this recipe and loves making it. It tastes like a cinnamon roll. She is learning to cook at my house and we decided to cook it in my Williams-Sonoma pan that makes little cakes shaped like flowers. They are so pretty! And, then she drizzled the glaze over them. Warning: the entire recipe has THREE sticks of butter!!!

Cinnamon Roll Cake Cake: 3 cups flour ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 4 teaspoons baking powder 1½ cup milk 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 stick of butter, melted

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Topping: 2 sticks of butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar 2 Tablespoons flour 1 Tablespoon cinnamon For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes. Glaze: 2 cups powdered sugar 5 Tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla While warm, drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Spring Shots


A fun magazine full of design ideas, recipes, stories, photography.


A fun magazine full of design ideas, recipes, stories, photography.