Saturday, December 31, 2016

Puzzles and Life!

On Friday morning Summer came by for a visit on her way back from a doctor's appointment.
Sad to say she is still in a good deal of pain and the options are not plentiful.


She has grown up with a puzzle on the table for much of her life so it was only natural for us to work on the current one - which was started in 2015 and STILL not done! - while we visited.
We searched and searched for that one little two headed flat armed piece to no avail.
I finally found it this morning and sent her a snapshot of it in place.
Isn't that the way it is in Life?
We seem to constantly search for that missing piece.
I found this while I was looking for something else.
That's pretty much the way it works.


I didn't get a pic of Summer on Friday but Sabrina sent me this one from New York on Thursday.
I love it!!!
There really is a story behind Summer wearing flip flops.
She had a good pair of walking shoes - or so she thought!
She literally walked the soles off of them as she went up and down stairs to the subway in NYC!
The flip flops were the only other shoes she brought!
This could be a fashion statement someday!

Summer left in the early afternoon on Friday and I spent the rest of the day taking Christmas down in the guest room and putting fresh sheets on the bed and otherwise returning it to Pre-Christmas condition.


It was such a treat when Nita called and said they were in the area so they dropped by!
Most of the house was still decorated so we gave them a tour and then sat down for a nice visit!

In other news - I received Royal Mail the other day!


This arrived from my friend, Penny, at The Homemade Heart!
Penny lives where I would live IF I didn't already live in Texas!


She is from Scotland and sent me a Lavender  Filled Harris Tweed Heart!
It smells heavenly and I have put it right beside my bed!
Thank you, Penny!!!

Speaking of favorite places......
this afternoon (now it is Saturday) I took another walk.
Friday I did Pilate's so I am trying to alternate my walking with other forms of exercise.


I stopped to rest on a different curb than I usually sit on. 
I was keeping the sun out of my eyes and as I sat there, the fragrance of the Rocky Mountains was all about me. The shed pine needles smelled so good that when I closed my eyes I felt like I was in Colorado! Louis Dean wants me to take my phone with me when I walk so I carry it along with my scripture cards in this denim bag.
Today's verses were Psalm 34:18 and II Peter 2:9. I think I will simply add the cards to the bag until I have memorized all of them in my scripture card box.


Look who was watching for me when I walked back up the driveway!


We are in serious Taking down Christmas mode now.


Rain may be on the way so we got the tubs out where can get them if it does arrive in the next few days.


This afternoon I did the dining room.
Deanie gave me some beautiful crystal champagne flutes that Louis Dean and I will toast the New Year in with tonight.


There's no 'normal' setting to any room in our house.
The furniture pretty much stays the same but everything else changes from time to time.


It's amazing how quickly you can take something down as opposed to putting it up!
So true in Life as well.


My easel is back in place and I have several canvases still to finish and I am looking forward to returning to a more regular routine. There's something comforting about knowing I will be doing art on Tuesdays again. I used to have a special activity for each day of the week. Quad Monday and Art Tuesday and Church Sunday are the only three I keep now on a regular basis.


I do so love a clean room! 
The table is ready for 2017!
There will be art nights held here as well as family dinners and lunches with friends.
I'm sure the table will hold Party Buffets as well as crafts with the grand kids.
In January I intend to dump out the billion pieces of Legos and let the quads sort them into some kind of order! This table is also a good place to do Play Dough in the colder months.


But for now it is a festive table celebrating the New Year!!

No New Year's Eve is complete without looking back on a few memories.
Here are just s few of mine and rather recent ones at that!


Back in 2012 we were living in our 31 foot Wilderness Camper down in Katy, Texas where Amber, Mike and the quads lived. Ben came home from California and he and Summer drove down to visit us. I think that was our first time to have overnight guests in here.


Remember the Quad Table?
This is from December 31, 2014.


The babies have always loved their tea parties!!!

I am about to go in and journal in my Country Diary for this New Year's Eve.
As in any year, we have had much to be thankful for and much to pray over.
There is something that is as true of Life as it is of Art:
The lights only show up when there is a layer of  darkness behind them.
I am learning to not fear the darkness. We all have some. We can still SHINE!


Yes, it IS!!!!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Good Day to Walk and Think.......

I am LOVING this week!!
We wake up with another day to do just exactly what we want to do!
No appointments or schedules......although I do pencil in a few things on my planner in the kitchen.
Then I proceed to ignore them and go about doing what I feel like doing.

The one thing that seldom changes is our morning coffee and Bible reading routine.
Louis Dean brought my first cup to me in bed. He's my hero!

While we slept with the A/C on last night, it was much cooler this morning!


I decided it was a good day to take up my daily walks again.


I'm grateful to be able to walk with no foot pain.
My right knee was replaced going on 10 years ago and it is still working well.
For 31 years I exercised at least 4-5 times a week. I started when I was 33 years old and it became an ingrained habit. I walked or did aerobics and as I got older I gravitated to walking and yoga. I have since started doing Tai Chi as well but along the way, my dedicated habit of exercising slowly drifted away until one day I realized I was only exercising on a sporadic basis.
So.....I put on my walking shoes and headed out to walk the 1.7 mile 'snake' that is my neighborhood.


The sky was blue and the air was satisfyingly crisp!


As I went I thought about the countless times I have walked these sidewalks.
I was just 18 years old when we moved here in January of 1967.
Summer was 3 and Jesse, Jr. was 2 months old.
The very first walk I took was a cold winter afternoon. I thought I would push Jesse in the stroller and Summer and I would walk around the block.
I didn't realize that our street is part of a snake and if you start out in the sidewalk in front of our house and head east and you STAY on that sidewalk it will eventually bring you right back to the front of our house - just across the street! Needless to say, I got lost and panicked when it started to snow. We eventually made it home but it was not a good 'first' walk.

Over the 50 years I have been here, I have walked this same path over and over and over again.
Usually it is in the afternoon or late morning but I have walked it in the dead of night and at 4:30 in the morning - back when I was working. I have lost myself in prayer and thought a few times and walked right past my house and up 'Big Brenton' as we call it before I realized where I was.
Usually I take a scripture card to meditate on and always I say some prayers.
Since I haven't walked this in a while, when I got to then end where the snake turns around to come back, I sat down on the very same curb I have often sat before to rest a moment.
The walks have been taken in times of deep despair, great joy, paralyzing fear, bubbling laughter and every emotion in between. As I sat there I remembered the time I was sobbing great deep sobs and a family came over to see if I was hurt. I remember the time I walked and could see my own long lone shadow before me and thinking, "I am all alone. There is no one who cares for me. There is no one beside me." It seems like I blinked and the day came when Louis Dean and I were walking along at that same spot - hand in hand - and I realized how many prayers God has answered and how many blessings he has poured down on me.

I suppose the one walk that had the most impact on me was the one in the spring of 2003.
There was a fork in the road of my life and I had to decide which path to take.
My daughters offered me what advice they could give and I had spoken with many counselors as well as friends and family. Finally, I told Summer and Amber that I was just too scared to make such a drastic decision and I put on my shoes and went on a walk leaving them shaking their heads in the sewing room where we had been talking.

It was on that walk that afternoon that God seemed to speak to my heart and mind and told me to simply step out and trust him. It felt like God was asking me to step out on a sheer piece of glass.
I had married at 14 years of age and it had been a long 41 years. I had no education and I had never really worked except for one year and that was for my mother. I had no way to support myself and I was in poor health with a need for some major surgery and no insurance. Amber was 17 years old and in college and about to transfer to Texas State in San Marcos. She had no money and I had none to help her and yet she was working in a restaurant and going to school and making plans. She was doing what she needed to do. God impressed on me that day that I could do the same thing. I simply need to step out and DO it!

I'm pretty sure my daughters were surprised and relieved when I came back from that walk and announced my decision to take a bold new path and to take it with a new found confidence that God would guide my way.

And he did. In countless miraculous ways. He's still doing it!
These last dozen years or so have been the happiest of my entire life.


I came home and started cleaning house!
A clean house makes me happy and it was with a happy heart I took down the Christmas and changed sheets, cleaned and dusted and then put on the finishing touch by lighting a candle.


Actually I lit two! One on either side of the bed.


Of all the rooms in my house, I think I like the bedroom the best!


It doesn't look anything like it did when I moved into this house 50 years ago.
None of the rooms do!


I may have the tiniest little bathroom but I love it!
When I took the wee Christmas tree out that sat on the back of the commode,
I just let the 20 count strand of lights drape over, meaning to come back and unplug them and store them away. Then I saw that I LIKE the way they look!


I used the 'Creative Shot' setting on my red Cannon camera and this picture is in honor of 
Sandra, aka the 'Mad Snapper!'

My grandchildren were surprised to learn that I have a shower in here!


The towels hang on the door so they never even knew there was a shower behind them!


I have a tiny little chair that sits in front of the shower door - and in front of the toilet! 
I sit in it to put my make up on and do my hair at this tiny little make up bench.
All my toiletries are hidden in containers under the white tablecloth I use as a vanity curtain.


I keep this needlework right where I can see it!


We all have hidden treasures.
We don't display everything for the whole world to see.
While there are some things best tucked away and kept safely in our hearts, 
there are others that are rather nice to bring out and share with others every once in awhile.

So tonight I have shared some of my heart with you!

In light of the recent deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.....
and as I contemplate my own life and the aging process.......
I find it a comfort to remember....


Amen.....

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cheese Blintzes and Organizing Stuff!

Louis Dean and I are getting caught up on our rest. I can tell because we are getting up earlier.
This morning after coffee and Bible reading, Louis Dean went back to bed for a nap while I made Cheese Blintzes.


I used to make these for Christmas Morning breakfast and I fully intended to make them this year....
but that didn't happen.


I found my old recipe for the crepes and made a cheese filling using cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, an egg, orange peel, vanilla and a little sugar. Apricot preserves thinned with a bit of Karo Syrup made the topping. They are really good!

We accomplished a few things today!


We had left the lights we bought on Monday in the trunk of the car.
This afternoon I organized what was left from last year and then added the new ones.


As I take down Christmas I will store ALL the lights from the trees inside and outside in here.
You can see I have some storage space left!


I was going to settle down and sew an apron that I cut out last YEAR but when I pulled open one of my sewing drawers it dawned on me what a mess they were all in!!! So I dumped all four drawers out on the floor - and organized them! Perhaps I will sew tomorrow!

Thanks to Summer and Sabrina for sharing their Christmas Vacation in Puerto Rico as well as a short stay in New York City with us. The photos are from Facebook.....


Farewell Puerto Rico....


They had an amazing time in NYC!


This will be the only way I get to see it!


So excited for them that they were able to go!




THIS is my favorite pic!!! It was really cold! But did notice Summer is wearing flip flops???

It felt just like spring here in Texas today!
Complete with Mountain Cedar in the air!

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 Hard to believe it is the end of December!!

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I have the window units on in both the bedrooms just in case Louis Dean gets restless and goes into the guest room at some point. Sometimes just slipping into another bed can help you go to sleep.

We have been watching back to back episodes of The Alaskan Bush People.
They are reruns but still entertaining and they won't give us bad dreams.
One more and we will call it a day!!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rest and Recover Mode......

Louis Dean and I came home from Fort Worth on Christmas afternoon and went into Rest and Recover Mode! There is nothing on our agenda until New Year's Day when we will go to Summer and Sabrina's for our Christmas with them.
I lingered long in bed on Monday - so long that it was afternoon when I finally got up.
I didn't go far - just to the den with my coffee and watched Russell Crowe in A Good Year.
I'm recording several of 'my' kind of movies to watch this week.

Louis Dean got hungry for Chinese food so we decided to shop for next year's light supply and then eat at The King Buffet.


I use white lights all year round and buy a ton of them at the after Christmas sales.

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He is such a good sport!


Another year's worth! DONE!


On to his reward!!!


I hit up the salad bar......I eat a lot lighter than HE does!


HE goes for the heavy stuff and lots of it!!!
I think he had three plates!


It made him happy, though!
AND we didn't have to cook or eat leftovers!

I came home and took a nap and got up just in time to watch the Cowboy game!


It was exciting!!

I went to bed at 10:45 last night and didn't get OUT of bed until nearly 2:00 this afternoon!


While I wasn't asleep all that time, I WAS resting!
 And reading. And playing Scrabble and Words With Friends. 
When I finally left the bedroom it was well past lunchtime so I fixed us each a plate of leftovers which looked just exactly like Christmas Eve Dinner!
We watched a Fixer Upper and I went back to bed for another nap!


It was dark when I woke up!
I fixed a cup of Cocoa Plus from the gift I received at the Fort Worth Chinese Christmas Tree.
Leah brings the best presents!!! I may not have got her quilt this year but this was a good second place prize! It came with another bottle of Kahlua for the times I want to make Coffee Plus!

It's time for another movie and then I will read another chapter in 'kinsey and me' by Sue Grafton.
It's a book of short stories and I am really enjoying it.

Hope you are all recovering as nicely as I am!!!
It will be a good thing to start the New Year all rested and ready to go!!