Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Desires of Your Heart....

"Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart"
Psalm 37:4

Sometimes I forget how much God delights in us when we delight in HIM!
Sunday  I was reminded of this as we were over in Dallas at a fellow musician's home for a cookout and jam session. Louis Dean LOVES the Lord. He also LOVES music! He loves to play- especially WITH other people! We had been praying for quite awhile that he would find some music buddies. He tried one thing and then another with it not really working out. The Senior Center...where LD was singing a Marty Robbins song when one guy started playing the Star Spangled Banner. LD has ADD and this really threw him off!! He tried music lessons with a teacher over in Plano. Except for the long drive and the fact that he got lost every time - that worked for a while.  He was learning to play the Dobro. LD said he really wanted ME to learn but that ship didn't sail so he had to take the lessons himself.
One day last year I went to the movies with a friend and she had seen a picture of Louis Dean holding his guitar (one of MANY!!) She asked if he would be interested in playing sometime! WOULD he!!!!????
Brenda, who sings like an angel and plays just as well, has a friend named Wayne who also plays and though he lives in Garland he works over here and would love to join in.
Thus began our Monday night jam sessions.
This was the desire of Louis Dean's heart!

Then a few weeks ago Louis Dean started saying, "We need a fiddle player!!"
Over and over he said that!
I thought - Yeah, RIGHT!! You just can't conjure up a fiddle player out of thin air!

Enter an extraordinary fiddle player......but I think this gentleman is indeed a violinist!
God brought him all the way from China and he is wonderful!!
His daughter sings well.
Louis Dean was in hog heaven!

Each and every member of this group is a Christ follower and loves the Lord.
This is Mr. Hu. He loves to play 'churchy' music!
His daughter, Jane, tells him it is 'gospel.'
He is learning English but music is a universal language.

So I am rejoicing along with Louis Dean! God truly does give us the desires of our heart!
Sometimes we simply have to wait for God's timing.
HIS timing is always perfect!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The First Locust!

I heard the first locust (cicada) yesterday. Each year my daughter, Summer, and I have a contest as to who hears the locust call FIRST. This year she won by several days! I was in Dallas last evening enjoying a cookout in a friend's backyard when the SOUND OF SUMMER IN TEXAS came to my ears! I never recall the LAST one of the season I hear - which can be as late as the end of September or the first of October. But I ALWAYS notice the first one!

My son, Jesse, said they run on 13 year cycles and this is year 13! This means we must brace ourselves for the exceptionally  LOUD noise! There have been years it nearly drove me crazy! By and large I know SUMMER is here when I hear the locust calling. Soon I will be sweeping the shells off the sides of the house.
I guess the mosquitoes and flies will be arriving soon as well. The ants are already here!

I have to go out now and round up the 'Off' and citronella candles before the insect population descends upon us!

*** Technically these are NOT the destructive LOCUSTS.....and I don't know why I have always called them that but that's what I have HEARD them called here all my life!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our Sunday Morning Visitor

As Louis Dean was pouring our morning cups of coffee he happened to look out the door and see this beautiful egret at the fountain!
He began to call for me to come NOW!! HURRY!
Luckily my camera was right there on the counter so I snapped a couple of pictures before this graceful bird took flight!
We have many feathered friends visit our back yard but this was a FIRST time experience for us and probably for that particular bird as well!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Thursday was a day of milestones for me.

My oldest granddaughter graduated from Kindergarten.
Sitting beside my son as he watched HIS child's big day.....
I could see in my mind's eye the day HE was up on a stage with a little cap and gown doing the same thing!
 I was proud to be at this occasion.
You could FEEL the excitement of the children as well as the pride of all those parents behind the cameras and video recorders.
After the graduation we visited her teachers and sat with Faith as she ate her lunch - Subway was her choice! She went back to class and we picked up Quiznos and rushed BACK to the school to eat lunch with the grandson.

After lunch Leigh Ann and  I checked out the Resale shops in Arlington.
 She scored some stylish jackets.....I think FIVE in all!! The one above was $6.98 and looked SO Leigh Ann!!
She LOVES thrifting..finding something of truly good quality and style at a bargain price. When she hesitated about this one I jumped at the chance to buy it for her! She also found a brand new OP swim suit for Faith for a fraction of the price in the stores.....I think it was around $6! I swooped that one up, too! They both have June birthdays! PERFECT!

I spent a few minutes sitting by their gorgeous swimming pool and watching my son do pool chores. If you are a mother you understand the warm fuzzy feeling you get when observing your children doing whatever it is they are doing. I like LOOKING at my 'kids.' No matter how grown up they are!

I left their home in Arlington and drove straight to Downtown Dallas!
My daughter, Summer, started her new job at Marsh Insurance last week.
Talk about impressive! Marsh is on the 44th floor of the Coamerica Tower.....
a class "AA" office building with 60 floors! 
Each floor contains 24,000 square feet of office space.
 I met her co workers as well as her boss and toured a bit of the building.
The view is breathtaking!
I am so proud of her I could POP!!!
Summer has worked in the field of insurance since she was fresh out of school and began her venture into the business world! Her mind THINKS insurance. She is the epitome of character and integrity and always has her clients best interest at heart.
She began her career at State Farm, then moved up to HUB International and has now landed at MMC - Marsh and McLennan Companies.

So I went from celebrating the graduation of a young granddaughter to the
achievements of my first born daughter. I treasure the memories made this day.

To top off this memorable day my husband brought in an early wedding anniversary gift. We will be married six years next month.
My NEW computer has been 'ill' lately.
LD gave it to me for Christmas so it is brand new!
 (I smothered the old one and still feel badly for draping the entire desk in fabric not realizing that computers need to 'BREATHE!')

He and I have been 'sharing' his the last week.
We got it out of the shop only to have to return it a few days later!
 (I think it has a virus.....and I may be guilty of 'drive by clicking.')

Anyway.......he bought a laptop and had them set it all up complete in a classy case WITH Internet service from CLEAR before bringing it home to me all gift wrapped and tied up with a bow AND a sweet card!

Now I have Internet available anywhere I want to go!
I never thought I would be using a laptop.
It feels like modern technology is sitting up on a high shelf and I am stretching on tippy toes to reach it!
SO this is another milestone event for me.......
doing a post from my very own laptop!
To fit in with THURSDAY milestones I should have written this yesterday...
however it has taken me some time to figure things out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art on a Turbulent Tuesday!!

This was my first art day in nearly two months! I managed to pretty much finish this one painting before going on to a seascape Sabrina and I are working on when we were interrupted by a hailstorm!! It sounded like a war zone with the hail thundering down!

We had some pretty big pieces of hail!! It came complete with SPIKES!
Sabrina and I stood at the back French doors looking out as it pounded the gazebo putting holes and tears in it I discovered later. We took a break in our painting to watch the weather reports on TV with Louis Dean. The sirens were going off and I admit I was scared! We threw a huge thick comforter under the dining room table where we had been painting only a short time before in case the three of us had to hunker down!
I also pulled out tons of bedding, comforters, bedspreads and blankets from the den closet which is actually the safest place to be in our house in case of a tornado. As I stood on the front porch I saw lightning strike the house across the street and two doors down. It struck, sparks flew and I saw smoke coming from where it hit. No one was at home over there. The rain put it out before it had time to start burning. Thank goodness because that same house caught fire due to a lightning strike about 20 years ago.

It was all over except for more rain by 10:30 or so. 
We went BACK to the art table and continued our painting! 

As we surveyed the damage this morning we found the windshield is cracked on our 'new' car as well as a side mirror. Dents from hail damage. Gazebo roof. Minor, indeed, in light of all the people in Oklahoma and Missouri who have lost so very much including family. 
This was the worst storm I have ever been in.

Louis Dean has gone to buy us another gazebo. It costs about the same to buy another whole NEW one as to just order a  top! So we will have one to use for replacement parts!
This afternoon we will have to clean out all our gutters. They are full to overflowing.
And I MUST tackle that den closet! Since it is all pulled out anyway I need to sort and take a BIG part of it to Goodwill! The weather now is HOT!! Tomorrow is supposed to be quite mild.
Weather!! You just never know what it is going to do next!!

"When in trouble when in doubt.....
run in circles, scream and shout!"

I actually didn't do THAT badly! I did take time to pray, though.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Night Musical Jam Sessions!

Every Monday night Louis Dean hosts a jam session. Music is such a true love of his!
So Monday is the day I clean the den in preparation of the musicians arrival.

Once it is vacuumed and dusted he sets it all up with the mike and music stands, amplifiers and such.

After my housework and before preparing dinner I took a little coffee break!
Right in the middle of the afternoon.
I received a surprise packet in the mail from my friend, Dawn, a sister blogger friend.
She has a really interesting blog that often features her adorable and personality loaded pets.
You can visit her HERE!
In the packet was a special coffee AND a cat toy for our new 'kitty'......6 year old Maggie recently adopted by us in the 'Seniors for Senior' Program. Hard to imagine a cat as being SENIOR when she is only SIX!!
My daughter, Amber, has two cats who truly ARE seniors....Snowball is 18 and July is 13 years old!

I love the fact that I can take a nap pretty much anytime I want......or sleep as late as I feel like.....
read when I want to read and have a coffee break in the middle of the afternoon if I want!

I thought I would take my coffee out to the gazebo. A short time before making my new brew it was raining, thundering, lightning and storming in general!

 But when I went out it had turned bright and  super warm and humid!
Typical weather changes for Texas!

Soon enough it was time to get the dinner going. With the two of us it is easy to fall into the habit of eating late at night......not a good idea! I enjoy having guests as then we actually have dinner at dinnertime....
NOT a midnight meal that only turns to FAT!
We are eating heart healthy these days.......LOTS of soups and salads.
We always serve dinner before the music......

SO! Dinner is now done, dishes put away and music is flowing from the den!
Louis Dean is a happy man!
And since it is NOT raining I think I will close this post and take Lucy for a nice long walk.

I love a good MONDAY!

Monday's child is fair in face.......


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winding Down the Weekend!

We have had a wonderful weekend! It started on Friday with an early afternoon showing of The Pirates of the Caribbean #4.....in which Jessica Jenkins is a mermaid. We stayed til the very last credits and then the extra scene at the end. I took a pic of the screen when her name appeared.......but that blurry photo is on my husband's computer! Hopefully I can get my talented daughter to sharpen it up for me. We had a ball watching this film! I opted to see it at The Movie Tavern in Bedford where Louis Dean could have a beer. That's about the only way he'll GO to the movies with me! I'll have to share a pic of this HUGE beer later.
He and I have been SHARING a computer this week.......and he is NOT good at sharing. When it comes to computers.....I wouldn't be either!

We came out of the movie just in time to face a real Texas T-storm!! We ran out of it shortly before we got to Irving and had just enough time to let Lucy out.....and in....and cover the things in the gazebo.

Saturday was slow paced. We picked up my computer from Best Buy's Geek Squad on our way to church. It was under warranty! YES! I am not sure who was happier about me having my OWN computer back! Louis Dean or ME!!

We arrived early at Fellowship church. Early enough to have a cup of coffee out on the terrace overlooking the lake. We took a few minutes to pray for some dear family members and do a little bit of quiet meditation.
The sermon by pastor Ed Young was thought provoking. "Be CONSCIOUS of your CONSCIENCE!" So many times we sear our consciences instead of paying attention to the heeding and nudging of the Holy Spirit. Ed said that America has forgotten how to blush! So true. A good sermon encourages conversation as well as some heart searching and Louis Dean and I returned home to continue that very thing.

Today has been a 'guilt free' Sunday since we went to church last night! The morning was spent in the gazebo - as usual - having coffee, reading the scriptures, writing in my journal and then reading our current 'out loud' reading book....'Willie Nelson' by Joe Nick Patoski. Willie has led quite an eventful life! Louis Dean often discovers a 'new' song in each chapter. This one is ' There's Nothing I Can Do About it Now.' So true!

We decided to spend the afternoon shopping......AFTER a trip to Subway!

I like the Veggie Delight and since we are on heart healthy meals......that fit the bill. I got a 6 inch. LD always orders a foot long so he can eat some more later!

We then shopped Kohl's for pajamas. Nothing like a recent visit to the hospital to realize how much you need pajamas. Poor LD! All he had were stretched and faded and/or bleach stained. ( I use a lot of bleach in my laundry!) He found two pair he liked and I picked up a birthday gift for my daughter, Amber.

Next....Walmart! We always end up at WALMART!! Doesn't everyone??? He found some black socks there.....YES!!! I am married to a man who loves white cotton socks! We attended a funeral recently and when we were about ready to go out the door I noticed how nice he looked in a white shirt, suit, WHITE SOCKS and TENNIS SHOES!!! He changed before we left! He bought new shoes last week......GOOD FOR HIM! One pair white....one pair black.  Now he has socks to match!

Our last stop was Goodwill where I hit the jack pot! We were looking for a shower curtain for the north side of our gazebo. None there. BUT......

I found some other cool things!!
Like a set of four wine glasses to embellish with jewels like Amber featured in her blog post
The burgundy sheet at $2.99 is just what I was looking for to back a quilt for an A & M graduate.
A gift LONG overdue!!

The little frog and gourd now live in the gazebo.

This interesting container was $2.99. I THINK it was meant to store dishes in but I am not sure.

I plan to repaint it and use it in my bedroom for......????? Not sure.
But I would have regretted it if I had not bought it!

I am collecting things for our bedroom redo. I just loved the 'LOOK' of these!

This is a cherry wood mini shelf ($2.99)  I plan on using it in the living room. It matches Louis Dean's doll cabinets housing his beloved doll collection.

While we were at Kohl's I looked over the place mats....and they were a little more than I wanted to pay.....
even on sale! So I was very happy to find some great buys on BRAND NEW ones at GOODWILL!!
$0.79 each! I bought 10.......2 sets of 4 and 2 beautiful green ones. PLUS 3 packages of paper chargers! Eight per package. Pretty good buy,  I say! Will look great with my Pfaltzgraff pottery!

For $2.99 I bought a 'new' lamp shade for the gazebo. The other one was so big Louis Dean and I could not even see each other when we would sit out there!

I end my post this Sunday evening with this picture.
He is still out there waiting for me.
He DID take a break while I was busy posting and listened to his newest Willie Nelson discovery!
I cleaned the whole gazebo. This is like another living room for us.
I washed everything in Fabuloso.....sprayed for bugs and organized all our 'stuff.'

Now I am ready for that glass of wine he has poured! Then we will come in to watch the Tom Selleck newest Jesse Stone TV movie. A great way to  end a great weekend!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am SO excited!!!

I just LOVE it when a project turns out better than I expected! Today I finished piece #2 of the two piece Ethan Allen set. These came with my husband when we 'combined households.' They were being used separately in two different rooms before I decided to refinish and combine them for storage space in our bedroom.

This the the 'before' picture.....

And THIS is the 'after'......
Louis Dean said it no longer looks like it belongs in a funeral home!

I finished the bottom part earlier this month and was so anxious to get back to the top section!
That necessitated moving some furniture around and we had to wait a bit for THAT to happen.
Louis Dean had made a 5 day trip to the hospital where he had a third stent put in for his heart.
I am proud to say that I moved ALL the pieces around by myself except for ONE! Of course that was the biggest and heaviest! We took all the drawers and 'stuff' out and it became less so.

The set started life out as a bar. The middle door opens up and had a mirror on the back. 
The top two doors opened out with ANOTHER mirror.
(Both of these mirrors now live on my 'new' bathroom wall!)
The bottom section has a built in wine rack on the right side.
I did not open this up for pics as I did not refinish the INSIDE.
Perhaps I should have but I am new to this and just learning.
Plus I am using it for storing my clothes and it was already nicely finished......
so I left that part alone.

I am being very thrifty these days and used the supplies I had on hand.
I DID buy a gallon of white paint. To this I added leftover paint from my bathroom redo making it not SO white. (THAT paint had been left over from another project from even earlier!)
Waste not - want not, Love!

I sanded, painted, sanded, stained, and sanded some more.
For the stain I poured all my bits and pieces of cans into a half full can of Minwax Polyshades...
which is stain and polyurethane in one.
I would never be able to duplicate this EXACTLY even if I wanted to!
I like the slight sheen it gave.
Then I used some gray acrylic paint on a sponge to give it a little 'patina.'

Louis Dean drilled me a nice PERFECT little circle to thread my light cord through. 
I DO love those little lights!
This shelf makes a great place to display my heart box collection.

AND I had room for a suitcase and another box on top...
plus a vintage hat!

Close up of the little frame I hung on the suitcase handle.
My two youngest children and me in a photo from over 20 years ago!

I love receiving gifts in these clever boxes.
I keep them all!

SO....THIS is what I have been doing!
I am enjoying the bedroom redo much more than I did the bathroom project!
Most of the work in here I can actually do myself!

Since my computer is on the blink and I have to 'guest' on LD's.....
I have had more time to actually accomplish things!

Now that THAT job is done I think I will take a break before starting to work on the other pieces.
They include three framed mirrors, a large chest of drawers and an end table I will use for a bedside table.

I am not so much an adventurer that I will be going out in a few hours (after midnight!) to catch the very FIRST showing of  the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie!
But we ARE planning on seeing it around lunch time tomorrow!
One of the mermaids is our very own Jessica Jenkins!!
She and my daughter, Amber, were duet partners in synchronized swimming....The Pirouettes of Texas!
We are staying to the very end where they roll the credits so I can SEE her name!
I am taking my camera so I can take a picture of HER name on the BIG screen!!

Hope everyone has as much fun this weekend as I will!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Knee Deep in Multi Tasking!

Today has been a day of doing this and that!
The weather continues to be beautiful! Attic fan on and windows and doors flung wide open!
Love this kind of day!

Louis Dean has been hard at work too.....when just last week he had a third stent put in for his heart!
He's looking pretty good I think!

When he and I take a break in the gazebo we thumb through recipe books.
Healthy eating is a top priority now. No easy task!

Moved this Ethan Allen piece #2 from the guest room to the patio to begin the refinishing project.

It will go on top of Piece #1 in our bedroom and will provide some good storage space.

 This piece was in LD's bathroom and I moved it to the guest room.

Took down the American Indian wall and put THAT in Louis Dean's bathroom.
He IS an authentic card carrying Native American!
I know there is a framed blank canvas hanging in the middle of the wall.
Hopefully that will one day be my best work yet as an artist!
I can't decide what to paint on it, though, so I am waiting.
Trying to keep all the rooms neat and clean even as we are redoing so many areas.
My ONE painted room. All others are papered or, as in the den, cedar wood.
We won't tackle redoing this room until the fall.

When I rest from one project I dabble on another.
Whacking up denim I cleared out from my 'denim closet' in preparation for two baby quilts.

After I make the quilts I have on my mind for gifts I am FINALLY going to make one for ME!
It will be Blue Denim and Lace.
Tough as denim and gentle as lace.
That came from a book of the same title by a Baptist preacher named Jack Hyles.

While shopping with my mother yesterday at Tuesday Morning we found the coolest jewelry holder!

For $14.95 it has places on BOTH sides!
She and I each bought one!

So I have been cleaning, organizing, reading, cooking, doing laundry, sanding, painting, decorating.....

I think it's called 'Homemaking.'

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wallpaper Decisions......

It may be old fashioned and it may seem dated but I LOVE wallpaper! My entire house is papered except for the den and one bedroom. I find it easier to hang paper than it is to paint. Odd since I am an artist and paint with oils. On the walls I prefer paper!

Most of the paper in my house dates back to 1983 when my house burned and it was completely redone.
I think it is now time to update some of the rooms. It started with my Bathroom Remodel that lasted from October last year to April this year! The next room on my list is the Master Bedroom......and we have already started on it! I am refinishing some of the furniture we already have and am going for a lighter look in the room.

Two decisions must be made: Wallpaper and Floor Covering.

The paper I selected had been discontinued by the time I was ready to order it.
You were to tear this paper in pieces and slightly overlap for a mosaic look.
No longer available!

Now THIS is the one I am dearly in love with!
(But it is pretty pricey!)

I am turning dark furniture into light and distressed pieces similar to this one in the photo.

I was leaning toward this greenish mottled look......

But after putting some samples up on the wall I believe I like the beige/cream better.

While this particular paper is in the discontinued book (which they just gave me!)
I believe I can find one that is close to it at a fairly affordable price.

With paper I can do one wall at a time which is a good thing!
Louis Dean will need to do some fairly extensive repairs on the Sheetrock  of one wall.
It already had some cracks in it but last night he was in the attic drilling a hole to thread the cable TV through when he drilled into the Sheetrock itself. This was AFTER the first hole where he drilled into the ceiling!
The electric and cable are now hooked up and working fine.
We just have to repair the WALL before I can paper!
And since I have not made a decision on WHICH paper.....
I guess he has plenty of time!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Remembering my Friends.....

I have been remembering a couple of beautiful friends this weekend as I participated in a Relay For Life event last night.

Carol and Connie.......I think of them often.

Carol and I were fellow Synchro moms and worked swim meets, sewed sequins on our daughters suits, traveled to competitions together. Mother's Day weekend was ALWAYS a regional swim meet! Our daughters were- and still ARE - synchronized swimmers and close friends.
She was a fun loving, vivacious lady and to know Carol was to love her.

Connie was my neighbor across the street and my friend. She and I often shared a cup of coffee together. Our sons and daughters grew up together. She was a most devoted mom and loving lady.

I miss these women who shared part of my life.  Even though they are gone from this earth and are both rejoicing in heaven with our Saviour.....they will ALWAYS be missed.

As I walked the track last night I enjoyed my happy memories and counted my blessings in having known Carol and Connie.

Although I never met Louis Dean's beloved first wife, Ellen, she too was on my mind. They were married for 41 years before cancer separated them in this life.

When I registered for the Relay for Life and filled out the form online I checked the box that asked 'Are you a Survivor?' I forget sometimes. I had thyroid cancer in 1989 and yes, I AM a survivor. Before I was diagnosed I assumed if I ever had cancer I would just give up and be gone. However, there is an instinct in us given by God that gives us the courage to survive......until our destined moment in time when we go home to be with the Lord.

Last night was a time of love and laughter. A time to remember. A time to pray. A time to reflect. A time to encourage those engaged in this battle..... patients, doctors, nurses, volunteers....ALL!
One word I saw on the teams' signs, logos, and banners was 'HOPE.' The Relay for Life raises money to further research and keep HOPE going. Will we ever find a cure? I don't know. But there is always hope.

If you knew that hope and despair were paths to the same destination, which would you choose?
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Movies

When I woke up this morning Louis Dean was already deep into True Grit! He so loves a John Wayne movie and this is one of his favorites!

Since he was released from the hospital this week he has been on new blood pressure medication which makes him feel a little light headed. The best thing for him to do right now is keep John Wayne company!

He saw the 'counterfeit' version (as he calls it!) of True Grit and loves to point out the 'GOOD ACTING' in the original. He knows the dialog by heart!

While he was transfixed by the film I prepared him a heart healthy breakfast of oatmeal, turkey bacon, wheat toast and orange juice to go with his ever present cup of coffee!

He is now on to his SECOND John Wayne movie of the day.

At least I know where he is!!

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.

John Wayne