Monday, March 29, 2010

A 'Delicious' NAP!!!

That's what I had Sunday afternoon! I came home from church and our fellowship lunch feeling so full and sleepy! I decided a NAP was the perfect thing and I proceeded to pull the shades (room darkening.. LOVE the dark!), flipped the ceiling fan to HIGH ( LOVE the noise!) and crawled under the covers in our guest room. That is a perfect room for napping! Sometimes a little nap does you doesn't have to be a long one. But yesterday I took a DELICIOUS one! Know what I mean? It's that extra nice sleep you get once in a great while! I don't have that kind of sleep over half a dozen times a year. It reminds me of the cartoons I used to watch as a kid! Daisy Duck would hop into bed and then sink down into the feather mattress (you could TELL it was a feather mattress because it sank so deeply!) and the cover would drift down over her and soon she would be sleeping so soundly! THAT, my friends, is what I call "DELICIOUS SLEEP." I hope YOU  get in a good nap this week!

This is a picture of our guest room taken last summer when my grandson was here for a week of MiMi Camp!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

This is taken from the March 25th entry of her SO speaks to me and may to you, as well!

"What if we knew for certain that everything we're worried about today will work out just fine?

What if....we had a guarantee that the problem bothering us would be worked out in th emost perfect way, and at the best possible time? Furthermore, what if we knew that three years from now we'd be grateful for that problem, and its solution?

What if...we knew that even our worst fear would work out for the best?

What if....we had a guarantee that everything that's happening, and has happened, in our life was meant to be, planned just for us, and in our best interest?

What if....we had a guarantee that the people we love are experiencing exactly what they need in order to become who they're intended to become? Further, what if we had a guarantee that others can be responsible for themselves, and we don't have to control or take responsibility for them?

What if...we knew the future was going to be good, and we would have an abundance of resources and guidance to handle whatever comes our way?

What if....we knew everything was okay, and we didn't have to worry about a thing? What would we do then?

We would be free to let go and enjoy life."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Last week we had a spring snow and tonight I sit here at the computer listening to a spring thunderstorm....complete with brilliant lightning, rolling thunder and HARD rain! In between these two spring events I managed to get my Easter decorations down from the shed attic and displayed in the dining room, foyer and front flower bed with a smattering in the kitchen. I so enjoy the fresh look of Spring! This has been one of the 'wintery-est' winters we have had here in Texas in a long time!

This year I decided to pile my entire collection of PLASTIC Easter eggs in the front flower bed and I like the way it looks! Even with the spring storms and wind, I don't think the eggs will blow completely away!

I used to have THREE of these very LARGE Easter Eggs!
The fence post bunny rabbit was painted by my daughter, Amber, back when we were homeschooling. We ALL painted one so I have a 'Family' of these critters. Like so many things, I seldom have is usually SEVERAL!

I gathered my larger rabbits into the foyer where they can greet everyone! Many of these I have had for years!

Then I finished off the dining room with the Easter Tree. I read on a blog somewhere that there is just something WRONG with that...however my tree stays up year round and reflects the current season and/or holiday.

Many of these Easter decorations are treasured memories! Summer gave Amber and Benjamin gifts when they were growing up and are displayed here....the Beatrix Potter mini books, hanging baskets, the little marshmallow ornaments....and tucked in there somewhere is the very first little bunny squeeze toy Amber had as a baby.....a gift from her grown sister, Summer, as well as the 'Happy Easter' pillow hanging from a tree tip! I will have to add a pic of the charming egg wreath I purchased recently at a local thrift store and am using as a centerpiece for my spring dining table. But for now I am lighting candles and enjoying the spring storm.....all safe, warm and cozy INSIDE!! Happy SPRING to all!!!!

A Late Night Run to.....

WHATABURGER!!! Louis Dean and I have been eating all too well for all too LONG! We have been loosely following the South Beach Diet for a couple of months now. Since we are both 'CARBO-holics' this has not been easy! Last night after art class was over and we were relaxing in the den, I mentioned how HUNGRY I was for some ONION RINGS! It did not take much for that 'spark' to become a real flame of desire! Before I could change my mind or come to my senses Louis Dean had me in the car and heading to Whataburger. We chose that place over others because: 1. It was OPEN and 2. They have onion rings! I must say they were delicious! We are now back up securely in the wagon and eating our oatmeal for breakfast, tuna for lunch and chicken for tonight's supper! But BOY!!! did that awful fast food last night taste GOOD!!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A SPRING snow....

is a bit of a surprise here in North Central TEXAS! Friday we worked outside in short sleeved shirts and all the doors were left open to the fresh air! We went to bed that night leaving our outside back bedroom door open.....I LOVE having a door to the back yard right at the foot end of our bed! It rained in the early hours of the morning and it continued to rain hard and steady! (Did Louis Dean gather his tools and things I wondered when I awoke? Probably not! We're like that!!) Saturday dawned with the HIGH temp of the day and it dropped as the hours passed! The wind was cold and the skies looked heavy and gray. My daughter, Summer, and I spent the entire afternoon together browsing some dress shops in preparation for her business trip. (She left today...Charlotte, NC. I hope it is warmer there!) We ate lunch at a great Chinese restaurant on Beltline Rd! As we were getting ready to leave, a waiter walked by with a couple of margaritas for some diners at a nearby table. Summer said, "I didn't realize THAT was an option!" So we ordered ONE and split it! DEEEElicious!!! Spending time with Summer was the BRIGHT SPOT in the day! She called us on her cell as we were getting ready for bed and said, "It is snowing like CRAZY!!!" And it WAS! I armed myself with a stack of white towels and headed to the front yard to cover the pepper and tomato plants we had just put in! Brrrrrrrrrr....It was COLD!!!

The snow had left a winter landscape behind as we got ready for Sunday School and church! Beautiful....but NOT appropriate for MARCH in TEXAS!

The cold winter day lent itself very well to hours spent under a warm blanket by the fireplace reading a good book. It was also a good day to pay bills (online! I am so proud of myself for doing that now!!) as well as some housework. Not much else you CAN do if you want to stay indoors. Not that it is all that WARM in here! We seldom turn the heat on using mostly our fireplace in the den and a bathroom heater for trips in there and a heated blanket for our bed. I think we stay healthier for not drying out the air so much....and I love to sleep in the cold!

I am going back to my book now.....the weather will be warming into the 70's within a couple of days and we have much to DO! Better rest when we can!

We hope to get back to work on our gazebo SOON!!

Hope YOUR Sunday has been as pleasant as ours!

Have a good week!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Under Construction.....

It is hard to be patient! Last Saturday we purchased a new gazebo! It is larger than our old one and requires pouring a bit of foundation to accommodate two of the corners. In addition to that, Louis Dean decided to move the electric and water (YES! Our gazebo has places for FOUR things to plug in PLUS a water faucet!) from the middle of one side to the far corner which will make it even more convenient! That is now completed but the beautiful 70 degree weather with blue skies has turned to winter gray with rain (per chance SNOW!) and COLD temps! SO work on said gazebo!

Bless his heart! I think Louis Dean could use a rest today!! Project be continued!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Place in the Sun!!

I love the beach and want to share my 'Beach Experience' with you.....TWO, actually! We stopped in Gulf Shores, AL on our way to Florida. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express and it was the nicest room of the whole trip! Summer found this! She's a great personal travel agent for us! The hotel is ON the beach and features a gorgeous pool and spa as well! I took advantage of the spa and soaked for a half hour after taking a morning walk on the BEAUTIFUL beach! Amber has left her 2 cats with her cousin in Tuscaloosa AL while she has been a year in Scotland. She returns to the US in August and I can see a quick trip back here for a day at the beach before heading up to fetch the cats from the Kaylor's! Summer, Amber and ME!

Now my husband is NOT a beach person and it is hard to relax - even in the hot tub- while he is bundled up and waiting for me to get out!

So after a decent soak we were back on the road heading down to Florida! Can you tell Louis Dean is ready to GO?? Bless his heart! This is his 'Beach Attire'....any season...any beach! He dresses similar even here in Texas when we go to  Galveston for our anniversry each year! The fact that he takes me to Galveston for some beach time shows what a sweet man he is!  Add in the fact that we always eat at Saltgrass Steakhouse...well, that makes us BOTH happy! We will  be there in June celebrating our FIFTH wedding anniversary! Time flies when you are having fun!

After our visit with family in Clearwater, Florida, we decided to do one more beach day before beginning the journey home. We chose Clearwater was CLOSE...and one of the top 10 beaches in Florida! PLUS it boasts a fishing pier which is what kept LD busy while I found my place in the sun and SAT for a few hours! I love the beach sounds including the seagulls...who by the way, were quite aggressive- or RUDE- as Simon (Becky's husband) says! It was spring break so I also got to hear the laughter and chat of young people as they, too, enjoyed having a place in the sun for the day! It brought back memories of Amber's Synchronized Swimming days when we would spend a free day on the beach after a meet. I SO wanted some coconut scented tanning oil!! I could smell it all around me but I wanted some of my very own! Too bad I could not find any in the little beach shop there! However, I was so contented to sit, watch, listen and read for several hours! It was pretty chilly so I was surprised at the sunburn I received! The SUN is the SUN even when it feels warm! It still BURNS!

Louis Dean waited patiently for me to get my fill of the beach, the sun, the sounds......of course I will never get ENOUGH of these....
All too soon my beach day ended.....but I shall return! Watch for me!! I will be the one waving in happiness! I'm BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Orleans is a HAPPY place..... spite of all the turmoil and destruction it has been through in recent years. We left Irving, Texas on March 1st and headed straight to New Orleans on our way south to Florida. It was Louis Dean's very first visit to that magical city. We left so very early in the morning that we arrived in time to spend the entire evening as well as the morning and early afternoon of the next day! My daughter, Summer, acted as our personal travel agent from her office in Dallas and as we approached the city limits, she found us a GREAT little hotel right smack dab in the heart of The French Quarter...the Prince Conti Hotel! Now since we had planned only a short visit to NO, I knew the things I wanted to show my husband!

First of all we did a little walking tour of the French Quarter on our way to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. The servers that well as everyone else in NO...are still basking in the glow of winning the Super Bowl! Apparently we timed our visit just right- she said the few weeks before had been jammed packed crazy- and this was the first 'slow' time in quite awhile! Louis Dean (who has been on the South Beach Diet) ordered one of the BEST hamburgers ever and had water with lemon as his beverage! While I had a nice little salad AND a margarita! After all....I was in Margaritavile! After dinner we strolled on down to Cafe Du Monde for the famous cafe au lait and beignets. Delicious! As we made our way back to the hotel we were hoping to catch a carriage ride but they had disappeared by then. It was really cold and we were glad to have our coats and wished for the gloves and scarves we had left at home! Our hotel room was charming and offered a late check out so we took advantage of that and slept in the next morning.

After retrieving our car from the valet parking that had held it safe in the bowels of the building somewhere (it did not appear to be big enough for a garage in there but I guess it WAS!) we meandered around until we found a cemetary. The graves are all above ground one and most of them were very old! I was surprised to see a few stones as recent as 2005 and 2006, however! You could see the damage from Katrina and the cemetary continues to be in a state of disrepair even as it is BEING repaired! We were glad it was open for visitors.

The French Market was our next stop! A jazz band played in an open air cafe so I got us a couple of cups of coffee and we settled down to listen at a nice table.....and that's when the band quit playing! SO...we took our coffee and browsed through the stalls in the Market Place. I found a new cap and LD picked up a couple of Louis Armstrong CD's!

 After taking a look at the Mighty Mississippi we got back in the car and tried our best to find I10 and head out of town! That was not as easy to do as I thought since we wound around a large section of town that continues to show the ravages of the hurricane....houses, streets, businesses. It was sad.

The thing that impressed us the most about New Orleans was how upbeat and happy the people were! There is a lesson in that to me. All too often I feel a stirring of discontent if there is a home project I need to do ( getting the new gazebo up....finish painting the exterior of the house now in the THIRD year!) and it just doesn't get done as quickly as I would like. I must and DO remind myself that it takes time to accomplish things and to just keep moving forward with the confidence that it WILL come to pass! That's the attitude I perceived in the residents of New Orleans!

Monday, March 15, 2010

An Old Fashioned Sunday Dinner!

I remember when we were members of Northgate Baptist Church and then later Crestview Baptist Church...we used to have Sunday Dinners! We would blitz the house clean on Saturday night and do as much food prepartion as possible. Then right after church we would scamper home to light the candles, fill the glasses with ice and take the food out of the oven. Good memories. I don't know why I don't do that more. We have been members of First Christian Church here in Irving, Texas for nearly three years and have yet to invite fellow church members or the pastor and her husband over for SUNDAY DINNER! I need to remedy that...and soon. One time I remember having a full dining room table and as we bowed our heads in prayer...I looked down at my plate....and HORRORS!! ALL the food was ORANGE!! I don't know what I was thinking but everything I cooked was the same color! Ham, carrots, baked beans, sweet potato casserole!!! Think about it! ALL ORANGE! Most of the dinners turned out pretty well thanks to my children's help. For years it was Summer and Jesse, Jr. who lit the candles, straightened the living room, turned on the lamps and started the fire in the den fireplace. When Jesse, Jr. was 19 and Summer was 22, I had two more children...Amber- now 24...and Benjamin- now 21! Then it was their turn to do those duties. I am not sure I had as MANY dinners by that time but I am certain I had some. By then I was mainly entertaining the church crowd after the evening service. I would prepare a potato bar or a cold cut spread or even somtimes a simple dessert and coffee. After eating we would clear the dining table and play my favorite card game....NUTS!!! It was SO much fun!! Once we even played SPOONS! Now THAT was hilarious! Ruth Johnston from Northgate Baptist Church taught me to play Nuts. I have forgotten how to play Spoons but NUTS...I remember and still enjoy when I can find someone to play with! Perhaps I should try introducing that to a new group after a Sunday Dinner soon!

This past Sunday we had my son, Jesse, and his family over and it was wonderful! Worth every ounce of effort! And it DOES take time and energy to host a good meal. When I woke up that morning, Louis Dean had already put the pork loin roast in the oven and the house smelled Sunday Morning Delicious! On Saturday we had done as much of the meal preparation as possible. LD had made his whole wheat rolls as well as a lof of bread for our communion service for Sunday morning. I had made the Company Potatoes using a recipe from JoAnn Fuller...a fellow member when we attended Crestview. Plus I had the candied carrots cooked with a pinch of nutmeg and put in the fridge as well as the cottage cheese/Cool Whip/instant vanilla pudding mix/canned peach pie filling salad.  I had also set the table early on Saturday using my best dishes, silver, stemmed glassware (for even the grandkids!) cloth napkins...the WORKS! So after sipping a cup or two of our morning coffee LD proceeded to finish up the meal with his 'orginal recipe' green beans using some salt pork and minced garlic as I brewed up the tea and set out the ingredients for the peach cobbler to be put together and popped into the oven to bake when we set down to the table!

We hurried home from church as quickly as we could.....lit ONE candle (my grandkids are 3,5, &7...too young to have a lot of open flames around!)...and before we knew it the bell by our front door was dinging signaling the happy arrival of the family! They arrived before the ice was in the glasses so my son did the honors....reminding me of when he was young doing that same chore. My mother's heart squeezed to see this handsome son of mine bending over the table! He is such a fine father and loving husband to my beautiful daughter-in-LOVE!

The table was set, prayer said, tea or water poured and the meal was ON! We had a good time around the table...eating and enjoying great conversation! The grandkids joined in with their family tradition of 'Highs and Lows' of the day or week.

After the dessert was served and we were all so full...the parents left and the grandkids stayed! We had fun playing Memory (Faith won...she has a fantastic memory!) and then started making potholders using the loom and loops of fabric. ALL my children have made these in childhood....and I still have three- one of which Jesse made- to show as examples! We even managed to have time for a walk around the neighborhood...the same neighborhood I have lived in since I was 18 years old! AND we set out some onion plants before the parents returned all too soon! Yes it was a good day!

I think I shall serve MORE Sunday dinners in this year of 2010.....when would YOU like to come?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spending TIME with loved ones.......

We are recently back from a road trip to Florida where Louis Dean had the opportunity to spend some quality time with his niece and her family and I had the pleasure of getting to know them! We arrived in Clearwwater, Florida on a Friday evening.....right in the middle of rush hour traffic!! We checked into our hotel (chosen because it was 0.82 miles from Becky and Simon's) and headed right over to their place. We all ordered some delicious take out Italian food from the restaurant located conveniently across the street from their house! We were so delighted to actually BE there in Florida visiting with them. I had only met them briefly on our wedding day and then we were all together a couple of summers ago to celebrate her brother's birthday when they were up here on vacation. Simon is gracious and hospitable and I like him VERY much!! Elizabeth is their five year daughter and she is such a beautiful little girl! She kept me entertained with a fashion show featuring a collection of luxurious fabrics that she and I draped in a variety of ways. Louis Dean and Becky got out their guitars and began to play. LD had practiced 'Fly Butterfly' all winter so he could sing it to Elizabeth...and he DID! He and Becky sang and played together and talked of times remembered years ago! The evening went by all too fast!

The next morning we all drove to Tampa together where we had lunch at the historic Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. Excellent!! Next was the Little House on the Prairie Musical with Melissa Gilbert as 'Ma' you have to know Louis Dean to appreciate his excitement over this! He was a second grade school teacher for 25 years and he specialized in unit studies using the Little House books! He was in 'Hog Heaven'!! Seeing this special play with his special niece was a memory making event! To top the cake....Becky spied Melissa Gilbert at the stage door as we were walking to the parking lot and turning to her uncle said, "Well, you wanted to MEET her! There she is!" Simon snapped a photo as he was getting the playbill autographed! PERFECT!!

Dinner that evening was extra special because it was all homemade by Becky and Simon! Lovely baked fish, green beans, okra, asparagus, tofu....delicious!! The meal was served with a local Sweet Blueberry wine!

While the others visited and played music, Elizabeth and I did ART!! I had shopped the local Walmart earlier that day and came prepared for Arts/Crafts projects! Book marks done in watercolors and embellished with some heart stickers. She made some for her parents, grandparents, her TWO Uncle Dean's as well as her teachers and one even for me! It was a fun night for all of us!

Sunday would be our last day together...the time went all too quick! LD and I shopped Publix (Becky and Simon's favorite grocery store there and I LOVED it!!!) for cold cuts and fixings and that was an easy lunch so we would have more 'memory making' hours! LD and Becky played music and shopped a huge music store while I sewed a fancy dance skirt for Elizabeth and then she and her daddy and I walked to the duck pond and back. Many of the houses in Florida feature 'Florida Rooms' which are screened porches and/or patios and also screened swimming pools! I saw a variety of these on our walk that afternoon.

Louis Dean had gifted both Becky and Elizabeth with Scottish whistle he bought on our trip to Aberdeen, Scotland in December. By the time we left Little Lizzy was already making some pretty music! Not NOISE, mind you, but sweet musical notes! Becky said she had not spent such quality time with her Uncle in over TWENTY years! Which brings me to the thought that all too often we take our family and our family relationships rather lightly. We act as if people will last forever. We also assume that relationships simply 'are' and you do not have to invest anything to keep them thriving and growing. I am blessed to still have my mother who is now in her 80's, my siblings, two sons and two daughters, three grandchildren as well as a host of friends and other loved ones! Life is precious. Relationships are priceless. They are worth every effort made to keep them vibrant and active!! As for Louis Dean and his niece.....he is already wondering if they will be in Texas any time soon! I think he is wanting to make more memories while he CAN!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The thrill of the HUNT....

....that's what I like about shopping thrift stores, Goodwills, Salvation Army stores, consignment shops, garage sales, flea markets! Sometimes I just KNOW there is a treasure just waiting for me to FIND! I have shopped the 'Goodwill's' since the 1970's when we took a family vacation to Colorado and found upon checking into our hotel.....that we had left Summer and Jesse, Jr's suitcases in their bedrooms! Poor kids! The next morning we hit the Goodwill's in Manitou Springs.....and have been 'Goodwilling' ever since! I have found wonderful things all over the country....from Hawaii to Seattle to California to New England....and right here close to home! I take my Mother to the beauty shop every Friday and often we stop at McCart Thrift Store right off of I20 and McCart. Two Fridays ago I hit a goldmine of 'finds'! My Mother actually spotted the KING size comforter before I did and then I located in a separate part of the store the two matching king size pillow shams! The comforter was priced at $9.41 and the shams were $1.91 each! A great set for around $15!! As we were admiring the comforter a man was trying to get past us to look at a fur cover. He looked it over and walked away.....and I put another fabulous find in my buggy!! A full size fake fur cover.....really heavy and perfect for my husband...for $14! To complete our shopping spree I found a gorgeous fall wreath and a heavy wire pumpkin decorated with amber glass beads! Beautiful! These are stored away to be exclaimed over anew when I pull out my fall decorations next September! Wonder what I will find next?? And WHERE I will find it??