Five Question Friday: October 12, 2012

I hope everyone had a great week! For me, this ends the first week of a new quarter in school. I have been busy but I still have time for  5QF! Some of the questions are a challenge for me once again but I will make an honest attempt to answer them. Join in the fun if you choose, and leave some of your answers here. Or, if you prefer, click on the badge to be whisked to the home of Five Question Friday to get the questions and add to your blog posts. What ever you choose to do, ENJOY!

1. Did you have any homecoming traditions?

There are many ‘homecomings’ that may have traditions associated with them. This time of year one may think of football homecoming games. Since I was never a big football fan, and since I seldom attended homecoming games, and since those homecomings were many many years ago for me, I don’t recall the traditions of those weekends.

Another homecoming, and one that has more meaning in my life, is the Thanksgiving Saturday family gathering we have every year. My family is spread out over the country and seldom do we all get together at one time. But on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, we have a big family pot-luck get-together out at a retreat sight in the country. It started years ago when our children were young . . . and so were we. My brother organizes it every year. The first year there were a dozen of us who gathered in his back yard for a cook out. I don’t think any of us intended at that time to make this an annual event but that is what happened. Over the years, as our family grew, our children married and then began having children of their own, we had to relocate to the retreat center. We feast, play games, take hikes, talk and laugh, sing songs and play instruments (usually the children who roll their eyes when parents push them into ‘performing’ for the family), and have fun. About 60 of us made it to the last gathering. Seldom do we have everyone there, but as many as can will plan our ‘homecoming’ around this family gathering tradition.

2. Do you ask your spouse before spending money?

I don’t think we ask each other before spending money, but we definitely discuss money and how we spend it. Fortunately neither of us are “shoppers” and we both tend to be frugal. Both of us like to invest, too. Once we buy a stock, or add to our IRA, we are extremely reluctant to withdraw it. We are not rich, not even upper-middle-class. But we are making ends meet and are content with what we have.

3. If you could be famous for something what would it be?

This is a tough question. I have no desire for the “hollywood” life. Nor am I interested in lots of material possessions. But if I were to be famous, I think I would like it to be for inspiring people to live more wholesome, authentic lives. I am of the opinion that most of the ills of the world can be attributed to misguided beliefs about what is truly authentic living. We search for it in material things that will decay and pass away, and fail to grasp the awesomeness and beauty of living simply, in the moment, embracing the natural and sustainable gifts that provide sustenance and meaning for our days. Actually, being famous doesn’t fit into my picture.

4. Have you ever seriously thought you were going crazy?

Yes. 😉 I won’t say any more on this one!

5. How do you eat your steak? Burger? (as in, well done, medium, still moo-ing…)

Kosher! (hahaha…. yes, I keep kosher. 🙂 )


The Lazy Days of Summer are HERE!


Summer is the time to be outside as much as possible. So I am. Outside, that is. It is easier this year to stay out-of-doors than in the past because now we have our place. I LOVE to garden and it has been years since I’ve been able to dig in the dirt and plant and watch things grow or sit on a porch and watch the chipmunks at play. I still have my studies, but when my head is not in the books or I’m not writing a paper, I am outside watering plants, mulching the flowerbed, digging up new garden plots, etc. I imagine that is the way it will be for the rest of the summer. Growing things and watching a yard come to life is my idea of heaven! So out in the yard is where you’ll find me even on the hottest of days.This year the yard may look bare and scraggly, but next year we should see the beginnings of what promises to be lush gardens.

Russian Sage and Lavender: The beginnings of a butterfly and hummingbird garden.
What my cone flowers will look like next year!
Echinacea (a.k.a. Yellow Cone Flowers). Planted next to the purple cone flowers. Mine will look beautiful, too, next summer. 🙂
These tiger lilies grew in our yard this year. My sister-in-law gave me more day lilies to add to these for next year.
This is one of my peonies this year. My sister-in-law gave me more to add to the few that I have, and of a different color, too. I can’t wait to see my peony garden next year!
A rose-bush grows beside the deck but it has not been pruned for years. I will cut the bush back this fall so that next year roses will fill the branches with healthy, fragrant blooms.
We have at least three rhododendrons in our yard! I cut them back at the beginning of summer and new growth has already sprouted. 🙂

There’s more but these are the photos I have. If you have suggestions of what might look good in the yard for next year, please do tell! 😉 I have a big yard and it will take a few years to create a real garden with veggies, flowers, trees, and other wildlife. I plan to make some “proper” birdbaths to place out in the yard next year, something other than old pie tins that I found lying around. I also have ideas for various bird feeders with different food to attract birds of all kinds. And yes, I’ll also put up a squirrel feeder for my furry friends. Do you think that will keep the squirrels out of the bird food?

I’m not around the blogosphere as much these days. On one hand I miss my regular blogging routine. On the other hand, who wants to be inside all day every day when the sun shines, the temperatures are warm and the out-of-doors beckons? Thank you to those of you who check in on Inspired Vision regularly, or just pop in occasionally. Once the cold weather and dreary days return, I’ll jump back into my blogging habits. Until then, enjoy the summer. I know I am. 🙂


All Good Things Must End My Friends.

No, I’m not closing down this blog. The good thing that is ending is my three-week break from courses. This morning the classroom once again lit up as another quarter begins. This time however, I expect a more sane and reasonable work load. Last quarter just about did me in but now my toughest courses are behind me and I’m heading down the stretch to practicums and field work (to take up the entire year 2013).

As a last hoorah before the new quarter, Richard and I took a quick trip to Kentucky to spend a few days with family and friends. Other than the brutal heat (temps in the six digits each day we were there) we relaxed and enjoyed the time we had with Mom and Dad and others. I came back with a car load of plants to beautify our yard. Enjoy some of the photos I shot while in Kentucky. If the plants take root, this will give a hint of what we look forward to next year.

Enjoy your weekend. And for those of you in the US (especially central and eastern), stay cool if you can.

My potted garden thrived even while we were away!
We came home to find our first two ripe tomatoes! Yum.
The beginning of our Kentucky garden in Ohio. 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

A week late. Oh well. Still good, though. I did not create this baby tomato, but nature worked creative wonders to bring this about. I helped by placing the plant in soil and adding water. This is the first tomato to grow on my potted tomato plant that sits on our deck! Yay!!!!

In Good Time . . .

Yesterday we moved our remaining belongings from storage into our home. The place is a mess as I begin, once again, the arduous task of unpacking and deciding where to put “things.” But this is different. This time there will be no saving of boxes “for next time.” This time we are really settling in. In good time I will paint the walls colors of our choosing. In good time the carpeting will be ripped up and natural, beautiful hard wood floors will take its place. In good time a porch will be screened in so that we can enjoy sitting outside for three seasons of the year. In good time trees will be planted and gardens laid out . . . vegetables and flowers. In good time . . . the place will take the shape of what we want in our home. Our place is a small bungalow which suits us perfectly. Having lived in numerous places over the years, we have come to realize that “big” and “material” is not so important as “home” and “meaning” in life. We are already creating community as we get to know people in the nearby synagogue, and our neighbors are becoming our friends. In good time this will truly be our home.

Our world looked quite different five or six years ago. Then Richard was unemployed and I had a part-time teaching position in a sweet little parochial school. I have fond memories of that school, the students and fellow teachers, the community we lived in, but the pay was extremely low and simply did not cover the bills. Richard had recently completed another degree in hopes of pursuing a new career, but the doors weren’t opening. We relied on food stamps and a local food bank for our food. Toward the end of our stay there, a friend had to pay our rent because we had literally run out of money. Our entire savings was gone. Who can get up and rebuild lives from a place as low as the one we had reached? Maybe if we were young and had many years ahead of us, but we were grandparents with a few years yet till retirement age. We still had to survive and furthermore we were competing with people half our ages, people younger than our children with far less knowledge and experience than Richard and me, for jobs that were becoming more specialized and more scarce. The picture was bleak to say the least.

But Richard did get a job, a good paying job. We moved and started over. We began rebuilding. There have been a couple more moves since that time, and another job. Life did not suddenly become easy as we picked ourselves up. We continued to live frugal lives, cutting back and paring down where we could. We worked hard, and still do. Even at our ages, we have rebuilt. We are now living in the community we dreamed of living in. Richard did rebuild an adequate retirement so that he can now do contract work and not rely on the whims of others to make a living. I am studying to become a professional counselor, something I only dreamed of years ago. And most surprising of all, we were able to buy a little bungalow to make our home. Who would have thunk five years ago? Even the headaches of home ownership (which one discovers very soon after taking possession of a house!) are experiences for which I am thankful.

Through the trials we have become stronger. Richard’s and my relationship has strengthened with each crisis we faced. We have discovered what is of value, and what is not, as we have walked this path together. At the center of who we are is a strong religious belief in a good and benevolent (mostly) Creator, and a commitment to a rigorous, practical spiritual practice every day, from the time we arise in the morning till the time we recline at night. Many is the night I wet my pillow with my tears. Doubts and fears have been my companions from time to time, but so has belief and trust. I am old enough, and experienced enough, to know that more trials await. The advantage of age is that we discover that life keeps moving forward, changes continue to mold us, and trials give way to victories, sadness to joy. In good time . . .

So, this morning as I sit amid the boxes and clutter of finally unpacking the remainder of our belongings and creating the nest we call our home, I am profoundly thankful for this good time, for the good man whom I married, and for the life we have lived that has brought us to this time and place.

Reminiscing on This Thanksgiving Day ~

Yes, believe it or not it is Thanksgiving Day! Later we will be heading to Kentucky to spend the weekend with my folks. All the kids are coming in with their kids. My Colorado brother and his wife are flying in. Another brother is living in Kentucky, as is the family of my deceased brother. We will most certainly eat a lot, laugh even more, enjoy the camaraderie and the chaos. This will be the first time the family, all of us, will be together since my brother’s funeral in April, 2005. Just this year, Mom and Dad celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Dad survived an aneurism that he was not supposed to survive. My son and his wife suffered a miscarriage which broke all of our hearts, but now they are preparing to foster children. Their strength and courage is awe-inspiring. My daughter, the older of two girls, stays active with her community involvement, volunteering and work. She and John are raising her son, my grandson Jacob. The younger daughter and youngest child is expecting her first child. She and Eric, along with his daughter, will also be there. We will all be in Kentucky, grieving our losses, celebrating our miracles, and loving with passion. Life is short, too short, and we know it. I am fortunate to be part of a family that celebrates life, the blessings and the curses, all of it. L’Chaim!

As I was thinking about whether to post today, it occurred to me that I began blogging two years ago this month, November 17, 2009, to be exact. I began blogging because I was going out of my mind looking for work, wondering what I should do, depressing my life away. I had no idea at the time that blogging would become such a big part of my life. Another example of someone changing one thing in his or her life and life responds in positive ways. One analogy is a plant that thrives but without water it wilts. I was wilting. When the plant is watered, a  seemingly dead  plant will spring back to life and flourish. Blogging was the water I needed, an outlet to express myself, be creative, whatever.

Blogging helped me uncover a passion, develop a life plan, form friendships across miles and continents. Now I am in grad school preparing for a career that I have talked about for years. I picked up the camera again, a hobby that I abandoned decades ago but now see as part of an income-generating side line. Life is brighter and more hopeful as I move forward. Instead of this one blog, this primary blog, I now have three blogs, and one blog set aside for creative writing–even though I haven’t touched it much . . . yet!  Those blogs are linked to this one in the menu across the top of this page, so feel free to take a “gander.”

I truly have bountiful blessings. I am a rich woman! Thank you. Gracias. Todah Rabah. Merci. Danke. Obrigado. Grazie. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

I have included a reprint of my very first post ever if you are interested. This is the one that started it all. Enjoy.


Well, the time has come for me to get with the times, hence this blog.  There are many reasons why this seems to be the right time for me to begin such an undertaking.  First and foremost, I enjoy the writing process.  It keeps my mind alert and focused.  As someone who has been unemployed for a year now (a sign of the times which deserves its own blog) I find that I need to do something that will keep my mind from atrophying.  There is no one subject or theme for this blog–at least not yet!  I feel sure that in time a  theme will begin to emerge, but for now I simply write what comes to my mind.

Secondly, I want to write for my family, especially my children.  I want to share myself with them.  They don’t  know my story, at least not my perspective on my story.  Do any of us really know or understand our parents unless they make a concerted effort to be open and vulnerable to our impressions and judgements?  I think that if we were to be more open, more transparent with each other — parent and child — we would find within ourselves a deeper compassion and love, one for the other.  At least I’m hoping that is the case.  Simply put, I want my children to forgive the wrongs I committed against them.  Mind you, I’m not talking about intent to do my children harm, rather the wrongs of the stronger over the weaker, the wrongs that occur when one thinks and acts out of their own pain and memories rather than with a sensitivity of how one’s behavior affects those in his or her care, in this case, one’s offspring, my offspring.

Third, this is one way to improve my writing skills, to exhibit writing “samples” etc, for prospective employers.  Bleh….  Secretly and selfishly, I really do believe I have something of value to write about.  To be a writer or blogger, one must be narcissistic enough to believe that others will be interested in what s/he has to write.  I fall in that category.  Seems arrogant to me, and in truth, that is an arrogant stance.  Sorta.  I guess.  Anyway, arrogant or not , I want folks to read my blogs.  Family foremost, friends second, future employers….well, maybe.

Bottom line, I just like to write.  I like the process.  I hate — strong word? yes, but appropriate — getting started.  So I expect that writing this will be a curse and a blessing.  I will write to my heart’s content.  I will share my world view, life experiences, lessons learned or not, trivia, profound thoughts (as I said, one has to be a bit of an arrogant narcissist to do this), and maybe more.  Please respond if you are so inclined.  Make suggestions.  Offer encouragement.  All I ask is that whatever you write, even if you vehemently disagree with me, that you express yourself truthfully but with absolute respect to me and others who might be reading this.  No name calling.  No foul language.  No insults.  Honest opinions expressed with civility.  (could write another blog on the lack of civility in these days and times.)

Looking forward to this process and your responses!

Chana/ Cecelia Rogow-Futch

Five Question Friday: October 7, 2011

While I’m waiting for my syllabus to print out (those things are long, and I’ve two courses), I thought I would answer this week’s questions. This will be the last week for 5QF at least until after all the holidays. So, without further adieu,

1. What is your go to comfort food or sweet?

I have to think about this one. Hot soup sounds good, onion to be specific. I know that most folks go for the chicken soup, which I also like, but if given my druthers, when I need comforting for any reason, I’d opt for French Onion Soup! mmmmm Delicious 🙂

Your bonus today:

French Onion Soup By Jamie Geller

Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Chill Time: none
Yield: 4 servings

  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons Osem Onion Soup Mix (optional or more salt to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • French bread, sliced and toasted

1. In a 4-quart stockpot, sauté onions in butter over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until caramelized to a nice golden brown, stirring frequently so they don’t burn.
2. Add wine and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Slowly stir in flour.
4. Stirring to keep lumps from forming, add water, onion soup mix, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
6. Ladle into bowls and place a piece of toasted French bread in each.


The traditional topping used for onion soup is Gruyère cheese. If you have trouble finding it, substitute Swiss cheese. Top the toast with a slice or two of cheese and broil for 3 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Reprinted with permission from Quick and Kosher: Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing

2. What is the most romantic place you’ve ever been to?

Our B&B ~ Burlington, Vermont

The most romantic place is in Richard’s arms. Always. That is the most comforting, loving, warm, secure place I know and that adds up to romantic. Locale? We’ve been to many different locales, but I think our fav would be a toss up between Montreal and Vermont. Both are our “dream” places, and whenever we vacation to either spot we find it difficult to point our car toward home afterwards.

3. What is your favorite thing about fall/Halloween?

We don’t do Halloween so thinking about fall, I would say that cooler temps combined with brilliant colors. I want to be out all the time at this time of year. It is lovely.

4. How would you spend 24 hours alone?

Well, I’m an avid reader so I would read a lot, both fiction and non-fiction. I would take walks in peaceful, wooded areas (after all, if my 24 hours is alone, I will only do it in a natural setting). No electronic anything. I would write the old-fashioned way, with pen and ink in my leather-bound journal (sounds so romantic, doesn’t it!) I would mellow out and observe life around me.

5. Does your husband bring you flowers? Are you the bring-me-flowers type of girl?

No, Richard does not bring me flowers. I love flowers, but that is not how he shows affection and I’m ok with that. I buy my own flowers when I want…..really. He shows his love in so many ways every day that flowers are not necessary to convince me. We walk and talk a lot, and that includes hand-holding and hugs and kisses. He sends me emails throughout the day, or calls me from work when he has a break and can chat a few minutes. Richard is my biggest cheerleader and my confidante. I could go on, but the whole flower thing is fueled by the floral industry so not necessary as far as showing affection. Flowers are important to me however, as you may have noticed when perusing my blog. But when I want flowers to brighten my table or a particular corner, I’ll buy or pick them myself.

Well, that’s it for this week. When I return to the Friday question thingy, I’m leaning toward posting one question to ponder each Friday, something of substance that inspires us to think more deeply on an issue. What do you think? I don’t know how to make a badge but I was thinking of something like “Points to Ponder Friday,” or “Friday’s Question.” If you are more creative, or know how to create a badge for something like that, feel free to post a response for discussion.

So, I’ll resume a Friday posting toward the end of October or early November. See y’all then! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces

I was not going to participate in the challenge this week. There has been quite a lot happening around here and I decided to give myself a break. But today I felt compelled to share some of my favorite faces with you, not to win accolades for amazing photography (I only shot two of the following photos), but rather to share faces that are very important to me. We had a scare last night with a family member that reminds me of the fragility of life. I would have liked to create a slide show of the following faces, but I don’t know how and for the moment I don’t have the time to learn~maybe in the future. So for today, these are the faces that mean so much to me, that inspire me, that comfort and urge me in all that I do. Enjoy.

Mom and Dad's Courting Days

Dad, Momma Futch and Daddy Futch

Twin brother, Steve, and wife, Carolyn

Mom with us twins. 🙂
Brother, David, and wife, Sandy

Brother, Gary, deceased
Gary's wife, Betty Jean, and new husband and good man, Rudy

Son, Tim, his wife, Maria, and daughter, Genevieve

Daughters, Mica and Mary
Grandson, Jacob
Granddaughter, Genevieve
Husband, Richard
Mom and Dad, doing what they love to do!

Mica’s John and Mary’s Eric are missing simply because I couldn’t find photos of them, but they are among my favorite faces, too.

So, life is as fragile as it is rich and full and exuberant. Please excuse my self-indulgence, but these and many more are people ~ faces ~ that mean the world to me. Have a good day, look into people’s faces, and be thankful for those who touch your life.



The Moving Begins!

As often as I’ve moved, one would think that I have the routine down pat, but no, not so. No matter how many times I do it, moves never become easy or “old hat.”  Each time we relocate, there are unique considerations to assess, unexpected blockades for a smooth transition, or crisis of our own doing (sabotage?) to work through.  On the other hand, I know the routine. I’m pretty good at “guess-timating” how many boxes we will need.  After all, a move is a move is a move!

Since Richard is leaving in a couple of days for our new locale (to begin work on Monday, I won’t see him for five weeks), we have been gathering provisions into the house: food for a month, boxes and boxes and boxes, tape and tape and tape, other moving supplies.  I could gather these things myself after he leaves, but then if you’ll remember, I sold my cute little economical Honda “Marshmallow” Fit some time back since I was not driving it . . . after relocating here to Virginia . . . oh well.

Last night–in 100-degree heat–we went to our unconditioned, non-ventilated, indoor storage unit to gather boxes we saved from our last move . . . seven months ago. After our third trip with a car-load of boxes back to our apartment, Richard and I went for ice-cream and a stroll around a nearby lake (see here and here.) As an aside, one of the things I learned years ago was the importance of taking “mini” breaks from the stresses of moving, no matter how crunched you are for time.  Those breaks will carry one through many tense moments, stressed-out psyches, emotional breakdowns, and frayed nerves.  

Today our focus has been on getting Richard ready to move with his essentials into an apartment half-way across the country.  We are already tired and dreading the time apart. On the other hand, I’m excited to get on with it and get this piece (moving) behind us.  Now that I’ve had my little break (I could really go on for hours about all the details that are wreaking havoc at the moment, but it all sounds so mundane, the stuff of every move, so I’ll spare you the drama) it is time for me to get back to work.

BTW, it is raining hard and steady outside at the moment.  Temperatures are dropping. YAY!  Y’all have a great day. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

I have never “settled down.” We have been nomads our entire lives, living in many houses, in various neighborhoods, and in numerous states.  My husband lived in many countries as well.  When the photo challenge for this week was “home,” I wasn’t sure how to photograph that concept.  Do I photograph a house? a place? what?  What is “home” to me.  As I perused my photos to get ideas I came across this photo of our Chanukia fully lit on the last night of Chanukah last year.  It occurred to me that home to us is more about who we are than it is about where we live.  Our rituals and customs are our connections to family and community where ever we live at any given time.  A house is a house is a house. I’ve learned to “love ’em and leave ’em.”  Home is our heart, our beliefs, our family, our groundedness.  Rituals connect us to our ancestral values.  Home is a spiritual place and experience for us. Home is where the heart is.

On the other hand, this little critter’s home is very much tied to a physical environment.