Archive for May, 2011

Our daughter, Laura, made this whiligig at a workshop near her home in Washington State.  The beauty is a composite of treasures culled from rummage and estate sales in her area.


Those of us who enjoy junking are NEVER BORED—and we’ll probably never be tempted to go off the deep end financially with our passion for collecting, because the stuff we prefer doesn’t normally cost that much. 

The items we love best are those which many folks disregard, discard, and even look down their noses at.  These people don’t get it.  They’re missing a huge chunk of abundant living to be found in foraging garage sales, scrap yards, and curbsides!

Now that rummage season is in full swing, our joy cups run over on a regular basis—often at way less than $20.00 per outing.  We come home renewed, refreshed, and super charged with creative ideas as to where we will place, or how we will use, our newly acquired treasure.  One thing is certain:  where junkers are concerned, there are no two homes alike.  Our decor is highly individual.  It can be simulated, but never cloned!

In celebration of junk, junk, wonderful junk, here are some outdoor shots of our comfy little condo where Joe and I live contentedly with loads of junk:

↑  The small blue granite pitcher peeking out of the Hosta is mounted on an upside down lamp base from one of those derelict “Made in China” lamps which, after 2 years of use, tend to become electrically unsafe.  The base (hidden in the photo) was too pretty to discard, so I cut off its cord and glued my vintage blue pitcher on its bottom.  Behind the pitcher is a broken, circa 1930 plate.  I never discard broken china or pottery, as it can always find a pleasant home among my garden or house plants.

And observe the old watering can, complete with its “rose” on the spout.  These are pricey now, as most everyone wants an old watering can.  Fortunately, I found mine years ago.  🙂

 ↑   A saxophone playing frog leans against the bird feeder, with our mutant Bleeding Heart providing a background.  Froggie was actually a new purchase, a gift from our daughter Laura. 

Note the Virginia Creeper creeping up the trellis—one of my all time favorite vines, also called Woodbine or Englemann Ivy.  It’s indestructable in our northern climate.  More damaged pottery rests on a handmade-by-Joe bench on the right as you view the photo.

↑  A closer look reveals the frog’s companions:  a bunny and a skull from the Southwest, reminiscent of artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

↑  The hangy thingy next to the hummer feeder was assembled by a local artist who has a business called FUNKY FINDS.

You can see the tops of a couple of old screens.  Screens and shutters with chipped, peeling paint are always welcome at our home—indoors or out.  One can never get enough of those!

↑  Here is our patio, right off the living room so that we savor a year ’round indoor/outdoor atmosphere.  The patio is the setting for many lazy spring, summer, and autumn days spent sipping iced tea, reading, snoozing, and cloud gazing.  The patio faces east, so that we can sun bathe in the morning and rest in the afternoon shade. 

This picture was taken in a downpour.  The card table gets covered with a lovely vintage cloth on sunny days.  It also serves as a place for my art equipment and afternoons of sketching and painting.

The smashing antique croquet set was a rummage sale treasure which cost $5.00.  It has all its mallets, balls, and arches—with an old rag tied to each arch.  We can take the croquet set up the berm to the park, just a few yards away, for killer games.


In closing, here is one of my most precious photos of our grandsons, Nathaniel and Joelly, with their creation from a junk yard near our up north home.  Nathaniel is the driver of this unique vehicle.  I’m not sure what Joelly is doing with the stick—I think it’s a car window cleaner.  ↓

Upon all the evidence, I rest my case!  Junk is wonderful! 

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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“I (Jehovah God) will bless them that bless thee (Israel), and curse them that curse thee.”  Genesis 12:3


Joplin, Missouri—May 22nd, 2011:  It is no “coincidence” that the latest U. S. weather disaster occurred on the heels of President Obama’s recent meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which President Obama stated his position that the borders between Israel and Palestine must be based on the 1967 lines. 

Returning to the 1967 borders would mean that Israel would have to relinquish sections of Jerusalem which have historically been Jewish—including Jerusalem’s Old City, the Wailing Wall, the Jewish Quarter, and the Hebrew University.  Since the founding of Israel in 1948, Jerusalem has been a haven where Jews and people of other faiths could live in freedom and enjoy the fruits of humane, civilized culture. 

In view of his past declaration of U. S. policy toward Israel, President Obama’s change of heart causes us to doubt his integrity.  On June 4th of 2008, Obama said:  “Israel’s security is sacrosanct.  It is non-negotiable . . . any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.  And Jerusalem will remain the capitol of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” 

Oxymoronically, on May 19th, 2011 this same president declared:  “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines . . . .”

It’s prophetically significant, and also tremendously alarming, to note that the United Nations, European Union, and Russia have strongly backed Obama’s stand.  These 4 entities comprise the Quartet negotiating for “peace” in the Middle East.  The proposed “peace” entails an outrageous denial of Israel as a nation, and will demand unthinkable compromise beyond human boundaries of decency and reason!  There can be no “peace” so long as there is an enemy bent on destroying Israel, the Jewish race, and all of Western civilization.

The “land for peace” debacle which was initiated in 1991 by the first President Bush, and continued by President Clinton and the second President Bush, has now been carried to unreconcilable extremes by President Obama.  None of the land concessions have served in any way to halt the advances of radical Islam around the globe.

The powers of the world are lining up against the Jewish nation.  Humanly speaking, it sounds like a swan’s song for Israel.  But Israel does have one ally—the One that matters:  Jehovah God.  God has promised to bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse her.

It’s shocking enough to review our government’s steps, since 1991, in withdrawing support of Israel and compromising her right to exist.  But even more shocking is the concurrence of government measures and national disasters.*  All of which bring us up-to-date with the latest major disaster:  a tornado devastating an American city, immediately following the betrayal of Israel by an American president—Barack Obama.

The world may think it is finished with Israel, but God is not.  The Jews always have been and ever will be God’s chosen people, chosen by His Sovereignty and Grace.  Again and again, Scripture assures us that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to reign in Jerusalem.  We are never to set a date for this event, but we are to study the times and realize when prophecies are fulfilled.  God will restore Israel and recover her boundaries. 

Only Jehovah God can bring a workable “peace plan” to earth.  His peace involves the glory of the His people, the Jews, and His nation, Israel—the center of all the nations on earth.  How can anyone miss the obvious?

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

*Many historians have documented the connection between the treatment of the Jewish people and the demise of various nations worldwide.  A recent documentary, AS AMERICA HAS DONE TO ISRAEL, by John P. McTernan, delineates the link between our nation’s recent disasters–including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina—and US policies involving Israel.  Now Mr. McTernan can add a new, tragic chapter to his book.

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There are no words for it—that surge of life and excitement when the woods and gardens explode in green.  Each day old friends, my beloved perennials, reappear to thrill my heart.  Things that are only supposed to come back in warmer zones are coming back in our sheltered haven:  lemon thyme, lavender, and sage.  Of course the hardy parsley, mint, and catmint come back every year with a whoop and a shout!

Virginia Creeper (alias Woodbine and Engelman Ivy) is creeping up 2 trellises.  My Concord Grape vine is vining once more, on the garage side of our building.  The intrepid Bleeding Heart (clearly seen above) is fast approaching my height, although that is no trick. 

The Bleeding Heart welcomed us when we moved here.  Last summer I trimmed it back 3 times, and each time it burst into bloom all over again.  My Master Gardener friend said, “They are not supposed to do that.  It must be a mutant Bleeding Heart!”

On the right side of the above photo are 2 hydrangeas which our son, Eric, just planted for me.  They will get large pink blossoms, for drying and cheering our future winters.

It was a long, cold winter but finally my bears have emerged from hibernation.  Here they are, taking tea in the sunshine.  ↑ 

And the bears in the shot below (including Paddington) can’t seem to get enough sun.  ↓

Life surges, here in Nashotah beside the park!

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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In a degenerative society, the world of mainstream entertainment may be the most dissolute of all.  We have written off the movie houses because few films are even halfway decent, and the previews of coming attractions are unfit for viewers of any age.  Super Bowl half-time antics consist of girlie shows once limited to disreputable theatres of burlesque.

Yet once in awhile a flash of light appears in an arena, or on a stage or screen, like a meteor illuminating a dark sky with a momentary glint of inspiration.  We are taken aback when this happens, and we wonder, “Where did that come from?”  And we realize that, as dark as our culture has become, there are still glimmers of light.

Such a meteor is the award winning film, THE KING’S SPEECH.  This profoundly moving film, based on the true life story of King George VI, inspired me to reflect on language and speech—those gifts which we so easily take for granted. 

Human speech is the imprint of our Creator upon us.  The earth and heavens were formed with God’s words, and man was made in God’s image—complete with the ability to speak.  Through the ages this great gift has been used to glorify God, and and express universal truths.  Conversely, speech has been greatly misused in our fallen world to propagate the most hideous lies. 

A poignant part of THE KING’S SPEECH consisted of newsreel shots showing Adolph Hitler addressing masses of German people with his fervently delivered propaganda.  The viewer could not help but see the irony of the contrast:  an extremely gifted orator, Adolph Hitler, using speech to move millions of people down a path of incredible evil—juxtaposed against an English king who wanted only good for his family, nation, and world and yet was unable to express clearly and fluently in words.

THE KING’S SPEECH:  a brilliant film, and a welcome flash of light!

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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My Dad and MOM—Ernst and Ruth Longenecker, 1968  ↑

Our children, with Joe and me—2009:  Karl, Debbie, Laura, Joe, Margaret, Judy, Eric, and Martina  ↑

When I was 9 years old I thought I wanted to be a detective like Nancy Drew (with a yellow roadster) and a singer like Hildegarde* (with a swanky long black dress), when I grew up. 

Then at age 16, I met Joe Been and never looked back.  I wanted to be a wife and MOM!  No regrets!  (I did once have a yellow SUBARU, but I hardly ever wear black!)

Happy Mother’s Day!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, 2011

*Hildegarde the 1940s night club singer, not Hildegard the famous circa 1098-1179 nun. 

The singer Hildegarde was born in New Holstein, Wisconsin, 8 miles from my home town of Chilton.  With my parents, I saw and heard her perform at a conference at the Palmer House in Chicago–and decided I wanted to be such a chic, sophisticated lady someday.  🙂

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