Thursday, August 31, 2017

September First Eve!

I don't think I have ever had more fun preparing for September First!
I think I am all ready!

Neil Diamond is sitting there just waiting for me to pop him in the DVD player in the morning.
I had a card arrive the mail yesterday and just as I turned it over to open it up -
I saw the 'Open Sept. 1!' 
I am waiting!!!
Thank you in advance, Marie!

I spent most of the day away from home.

However, I did wear my favorite Fall Shirt that my sister, Nita, gave me last year.
I wore it a LOT  and intend to wear it even MORE this year!

I smiled at the sunflowers by the front door when I left this morning!

Ruth Ann and I visited Reaoma before we had lunch - this time at the Olive Garden - where Ruth Ann ate her soup and salad like a little lady and I wolfed my down like a hired hand!

We drove to Fort Worth to see Mother.
Mother and I have hands that look just about the same age.

On our way to the nursing home, Ruth Ann and I noticed a gas station that had a line out to the street.
I thought there must be a price war on or something.

But no, there was a panic to get gas!
On our way home we saw so many stations with lines of cars waiting to fill up and then empty stations where they had run out of gas.
Totally unnecessary.

Ruth Ann stayed with me this evening as I prepared for my first ever September First Party!
We prepped a LOT of food from fresh veggies to roll up appetizers to chicken salad to hatch chili's filled with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon to ....

Boozy Grapes!!!

We had so much fun!!
The vodka that was in the recipe was caramel vodka but I only had marshmallow vodka.
Trust me - it is inconsequential to the recipe really! Still - it was fun!

Well, the house is ready. The food is prepped. I have the pumpkin spice muffin fixings ready to mix and bake in the morning and the fruitcake cookie dough is out to thaw.

I'm going to run get in bed!
Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year and I want to get up early to enjoy every last minute of it!!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Our Tuesday - and an Update on Summer

So many of you have been praying for Summer and have asked me how she is doing.
Ruth Ann and I spent a good part of this day with her.....

We met in Plano to see a movie this morning......a really inspiring and uplifting movie.

We had a lot of fun snapping photo op pictures before we went in.
Ruth Ann and I arrived early - gasp! I KNOW! Me? Early?
I bought the ticket for Summer and chose the same row Ruth Ann, Candie and I had sat on for the movie yesterday - Row E.
I wasn't thinking! This was SIX steps UP!
Summer was in a great deal of pain when she arrived and took some pain medicine which allowed her to sit for most of the film. She had to get up and stand a time or two but she made it through.

You can't tell by the smile on her face the condition she is in physically or even emotionally.
We enjoyed the movie and its message.  I think we all needed to see this one today.
There were only a hand full of people in the theater at the 10:45 showing.
This lady (between me and Summer) started talking to us and we were all sharing our thoughts about the actors and had a good time visiting. Her husband was the one who took the photo of the three of us together as we went into the movie.

Our next stop was lunch at Chuy's - only a short drive through two parking lots up from the Cinemark.

Once again, Summer spied the fun photo op!

Chuy's is a happy place and it feels like a party here!

Two wonderful ladies sitting at this table!
While I am always 'real' - I don't always share everything.
I jokingly say that there are at least 5 or 6 things I haven't told anyone.
Maybe just 2 or 3!
This photo doesn't show the tears and emotions Summer shared with us during our lunch visit today.
She is still experiencing intense pain. Some days are worse than others but no day is pain free.
She is doing everything she can possibly do to get better. Her exercises, therapy, medication, prayer.
The fact is - she is at a particularly low point in her life right now.
In pain.
Unable to work.
No job.
No income.
No home.
No money.

Summer and Sabrina's house has sold so there will be a little money coming soon but there are complications even about that.

So how is it that she seems so happy and smiles at the camera??

I will share some of the lessons my daughter has taught me.

Summer loves people. She always has.
 She is a people person and, yes, even at times a 'people pleaser.' 
She sees the best in everyone.
She sucks it up and does what she has to do - and tries to do it with a smile.
She keeps a lot of her pain to herself.
She believes it is healthy to be around happy people and especially around children.
Summer finds children can bring joy when you think you can't feel joy anymore.
Summer leaves things better than she found them.
That's true of a trip to the beach or a park.
She will wipe down a wet counter in a bathroom - any bathroom.
She has lived her life picking up litter every where she goes.
Summer loves nothing better than to fill a need for someone.
She believes in the power of music, friends, prayer and family.
She believes that if you do good to and for others - that good will not only come back to you - but it will be paid forward.

So how can she smile when she was just crying her heart out a few minutes before?
That's just who she is.
She is not faking her pain.
She isn't making it up.
It's not in her head and just because she can SMILE in the midst of pain does not mean she isn't feeling the pain.

Summer doesn't know when or how God will provide for her health, life and direction but she is trusting Him anyway. 

Jeremiah 29:11-13King James Version (KJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
  I thank all of you who have joined me in prayer for Summer.
It was September 19th, 2016 when she was taking a power nap during lunch in her office.
She simply turned over on the couch......
That's been nearly one year ago.
Sometimes we have to wait on God......without even knowing why......but the answer will come.

I'm so proud of my daughter and her testimony of faith.
I truly believe God will redeem this time in her life.

We left Summer and she went back to Rowlett and we went back to Irving.
She called me later while I was at Aldi and said she had a good afternoon thrift shopping and finding some treasures - remember she had sold just about everything she owned when they put the house on the market.

I told her I had found a few things too!
That cutting board is the thick sturdy old fashioned kind you can't find any more.
I use it on the art table and cover it with newspapers on art night.
The sunflower pillow makes me smile and I love all my little candle lights!

Tonight Ruth Ann made more progress on our Santa.
I think this is some of her best work and she is loving this painting!

I worked on my two and we will be ready to put in some of the details next week.
Another two sessions and they will be done!
The top Santa is from last year and I glazed it tonight.
It was still wet when I hung him up on the Santa Wall last November!

The rain has ended in Houston and they could see blue skies late this afternoon.
We have family and friends down there and all are safe.
Some have been evacuated to shelters and some have had water but not so much that they had to leave their home. So many of the residents have lost everything. Still, there is a spirit of hope that shines through this whole devastating and catastrophic event.

I saw this on Facebook and that's pretty much how it is in Texas!

I get to stay up late and sleep in tomorrow!!!
Good night, folks!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Morning Movie!

If we don't PLAN it - we'll seldom DO it!!
I'm all about planning things and 9 times out of 10 - I actually DO them!
Candie and I had planned a Movie Date weeks ago. 
She had been out of town and when she was back, I was at the ranch.
I returned and SHE left town again!
August 28th was the date we would BOTH be here so we planned a day.
The movie of our choice was The Glass Castle.
Alas, the 10:25 AM showing was no longer available.
The ONLY show time was 10:25 PM and that just would not work.
SO - when Amber suggested taking in a movie together - we were all in!
Just to make it more like a party - Ruth Ann joined us.

Amber took this photo of us with Daniel Craig and others on the poster!
She needed a diversion today since this was the very first day of  Kindergarten for the quads.

The movie showed at 10:30 and I was practically on time in picking Ruth Ann up at 9:30!
The only reason I wasn't was that - on my way to her house and just 4 blocks up my street - I spied two white wicker chairs sitting out on the curb! Now, I don't know about your neighborhood, but around here - when we want to get rid of something and think someone else might possibly be able to use it - we set it to the curb and it usually disappears really fast!! I turned my car around and went right straight back to the house where a very sleepy Louis Dean was still in his pajama pants and sipping a first cup of coffee! I told him what I had spied and could he PLEEEEEEEEZE go right down there in his big white truck and pick them up???? Like really quick before someone else took them!!!!

He said he would and I was back on my way to get Ruth Ann. Fortunately I didn't find any other worthwhile debris sitting curbside. Since I had to drive back to my neighborhood to get to the highway, I drove down the street and - oh, my! The chairs were gone! Then I went back home to tell Louis Dean not to bother going after them. To my surprise - he had already picked them up!!!
I had no idea he could move that fast!

Back to the movie - It was really clever and funny and enjoyable!
Picture Daniel Craig as a Hillbilly Redneck!!
I loved it!!

Candie, Ruth Ann and I went to lunch together after wards and a new to Ruth Ann and me place - Newk's! Great sandwiches and salads. We were so busy talking and catching up that the time flew by!
Ruth Ann and I hit up Hobby Lobby before going to the Yogurt Place to meet up with Amber and Mike and the kids.

Last year I treated them to yogurts on their first day of preschool, so, in keeping with our tradition, we had yogurt today!

They each pick out their flavors and toppings.
Only Trystan opted for a cone instead of a cup.
She said, "I do better with this!"
I put the toppings she liked on my yogurt and gave them to her after I paid so she didn't get less than the others.

The kids had a good first day of school but they were all definitely tired.

As soon as I opened the front door when I got home, I knew Louis Dean had been cooking!
He had also been shopping.

It smelled heavenly!!
AND it tasted so good!!

These are the two chairs Louis Dean rescued!
They are plenty sturdy and just need a fresh coat of white spray paint.
We are going to take them to the ranch with us next week and use them on our deck down there.
I have two big pumpkin colored cushions that will fit them perfectly!
We left them on the front porch for tonight and then Louis Dean will put them back in the truck tomorrow. I think they will be safe there -

Spiderman will keep an eye on them!!

I went to bed early last night and woke up around 4:30 this morning. 
I had been thinking and praying about all the people down in the Houston area before I went to sleep and continued in prayer every time I woke.

One particular photo stayed in my heart and mind.....


At first glance I did not realize these ladies were in water up to their waists.

It was with a happy heart that I saw a follow up photo on Facebook this evening!

I'm so thankful they were air lifted to safety and are now warm and dry.

With all the bad news we hear so much of - it's comforting to know that when things get really bad - we see people helping each other.

It's still raining in Houston and will continue through tomorrow before it starts to let up.
Continuing in prayer along with so many of you.....

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Catching up on the Weekend!

Friday morning Ruth Ann and I visited Reaoma for a little while.
She was quiet and didn't even try to talk much. 
The only real word she says is 'Yeah.' 
But she never fails to smile. 
All the staff at the assisted living home loves Reaoma and they all smile and greet us every time we visit. It's hard to leave. Somehow there's a comfort in simply sitting by her chair and holding her hand. I know she will not be with us much longer so we try to see her twice a week. Each visit is a sweet experience for me. A little bittersweet, sometimes. 

As we walked out to my car, I caught sight of this beautiful butterfly!

It was a BIG one and I went over to take its picture.
I got a little greedy after this one shot and tried to get another but she was now aware of me being there and fluttered around for a minute before floating away down the street.
I don't have words to express the connection I felt between Reaoma and that butterfly - but feel it, I did.

We were now heading to Fort Worth where we had planned on having lunch and doing some shopping when we spied a new Italian restaurant right there on Main Street. 
We both noticed it and I asked Ruth Ann, "What do you think? Want to eat now?"

The place is DI Rosani's and it was delicious!
Our goal is to eat at a different place every week and try new foods.

Our favorite shopping area these days is Hulen Street down towards I30.
First stop was Central Market. That place always makes me smile and feel relaxed.
We strolled through the entire store and I still bought less than 10 items.
While I SO wanted to buy some of the Cotton Candy Grapes - at $4.99 a pound - even a small hand full was over $5! I put them back.

The wine section is always interesting so I make a point of browsing through it every time I visit.
Sometimes I even buy some!
Friday I happened to notice the section of wines under the New Zealand sign.
My favorite wine is one I used to buy at ALDI - Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc - but I haven't been able to find any in many months. SO I did find some Sauvignon Blanc from Monkey Bay!- I wonder if that's anywhere close to Sunshine Bay??
I haven't opened it yet but I am looking forward to tasting it later this week.

We pretty much ate our way through Friday!
This time it was a tea break at the Market Cafe and we each had one small cream puff!

Trader Joe's was next on our list and from there we drove over to visit my sister, Nita.
There's always something interesting to see at her house and this time it was a tree!

A Jujuba tree!

Ziziphus jujuba, commonly called jujube, red date, Chinese date, Korean date, or Indian date is a species of Ziziphus in the buckthorn family. It is used primarily as a shade tree that also bears fruit. 

She gave us each a sack and we began to pick!
It stared to rain so we rushed back in the house where we sat around drinking tea and talking.

I was wanting a few more so I went out and picked a couple of pounds of them after it quit raining.
They have a texture similar to apples. I have a basket of them sitting beside me as I write and I have been nibbling on them. I sprinkle them with a bit of salt and they are pretty good!
I don't think they last long after they are picked because some of them are already getting soft.
I think I will take some over to the quads tomorrow!
Bet they've never eaten a Jujuba fruit before.

We had a nice visit and stayed until the Friday Traffic had eased up before coming home.

Saturday was my Stay at HOME Day!!! 
No make up and only the loose comfy clothes I dearly love!

With all the rain that's been in Texas - 

We have had just some light showers.
While the ground was soft and the temps were mild, I spent hours working in the back pond area.
The seven sister roses that we thought would be so wonderful have only bloomed twice in the last 6 years. The bush itself grows wildly and was covering the canas and was down in the ground cover and creeping behind the gazebo. I cut it ALL down. It will come back, though. Louis Dean says he is going to drown it in rose food and if it STILL doesn't bloom in the coming year - he will dig it up.

I also did housework Saturday.
I mainly worked just in our bedroom washing every single bit of bedding and even IRONING all the pillow shams and cases!

The bed is so much taller than our old one. Still the same under the bed space since we used our old frame. I have a small step stool behind that chalk board and I pulled it out to climb in last night!

And I ALWAYS light a candle in celebration of a CLEAN room!!

This morning Louis Dean and I went to church. We lingered long after the service visiting with Amber and Mike and tagged along to children's church to get the quads. Then we visited with the pastor and slowly made our way out the door. I love that. No running out of church like our hair was on fire for us! However, as we were all waking to our vehicles, HUGE round raindrops started to fall and by the time we said good bye to the kids and walked further down to our car - we were drenched!
It was raining HARD by now so we decided to stop at Arby's for a bite to eat and let the rain slack up. After all - we were ALREADY soaked to the skin!

No need to worry about cooking dinner when we got home!
We could go straight to football!

Hurricane Harvey has sure made havoc with much of the Texas coast.
Texas is SUCH a big state that it has not affected the DFW area.

Photo: Facebook

 It has been painful to watch the heartbreaking pictures and videos coming out of that part of Texas!

Photo: The Texas Welder (Facebook)

We have been checking on our friends and family down there and I appreciate them sending pictures and updates by way of Facebook.
More rain is expected there for the next several days.

I will close this journal entry by sharing the prayer from Bishop Scott Jones that was posted to our church's Facebook page.......


Friday, August 25, 2017


I redeemed something today.

This is Summer's book bag from her school days back in the 1970's.
It's been redeemed more than once.
This bag first represented a deeply painful period in my daughter's life.
She carried her school books home in this bag and then back to school again. ALL her books.
It was a long difficult time. However, God gave her grace and the perseverance to survive the things she went through during  childhood and even gain strength to overcome other adversities later in life. While this bag symbolized trauma and pain in my heart for the pain my daughter experienced - I decided that, instead of throwing the bag away, I would redeem it. Give it another chance for happy memories instead of sad ones. That's when I started using it for my art bag. It was 1976 and I had just signed up for my first art class. I loved and embraced art and when I painted my first landscape, I cried when I stepped back and saw that the canvas really DID look like sky and mountains and trees.
Never mind that 20 years later - when I was teaching landscape painting to a class here at my dining room table - I promised to show the ladies MY very first landscape at the end of the class. 
I will never forget what one of the ladies said when I displayed it......
"Well! All I can say is that I'm surprised you continued to paint!"
There's always SOMEONE around to keep us humble!!!

The second time I redeemed this bag was when I decided to paint art ON it instead of carrying the art supplies IN it. I hang this now decorated bag up on a doorknob somewhere every fall. And it makes me remember that God can redeem anything and everything and he gave US that gift as well.

Today was this bag's THIRD redemption.
It is old. Summer is now 53 and she used this bag when she was in her young teenage years.
The seams have come loose and the straps began to fray.
This morning I sat down at the sewing machine and repaired every bit of that.
It is now as sturdy as ever.

They don't make things sturdy anymore. Things are not made to LAST as they used to be.
This bag has many more years of use fullness left in it!
Just because we get frayed and worn and old - God still has a purpose for us being here.
Not only does he have a purpose for us - he delights in our delight in Life!

I think I have finally shed the last bit of the mully grubs that had me down.
I wasn't feeling good about myself for a little while there.
That's when I need to remember that I have the grace of God available to me.
I never want to be ungrateful or mean spirited - but sometimes those feelings come even unbidden!

As I sewed this morning, I thought about this verse.....

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Hebrews 12:15

The thing about memorizing scripture - it will come back to your mind when you need it!

Oh, MY!!! I did not mean to 'wax elequent' as I call it!!!

So - in other news!

Louis Dean slept late again - for the third morning in a row!
Tuesday he woke up at noon - Wednesday it was 11:30 - today was about the same time!

I took advantage of the this time to clean and decorate the 'main' bathroom.
He asked me to NOT say 'Louis Dean's' bathroom!
I was thinking 'outside the box' when I staple gunned a fall table runner up over the shower/bathtub!
I like it!

The lights stay here year round but I 'falled' it up!

I love putting fall 'debris' in EVERY single room of the house!!!

The bathroom won't always look as nice as I made it today.
Louis Dean has a tendency to mess it up and leave all the things he takes out of his pockets on the counter and his clothes on the floor.

No matter. He has ME! And when we are expecting guests, I will pretty it back up.

Do you think he can find his stash of Pepsodent Toothpaste in here???

He FINALLY woke up and I fixed breakfast for lunch!

My sister, Nita, fixes the best Breakfast Burritos when we spend the night over there!
I have learned to make them, too! I whisk the eggs with some cheese, a little milk, some peppers and seasonings...... rolled up in those awesome Hatch chili tortillas and served up with some Island Salsa from Trader Joe's and a side of diced watermelon - really GOOD watermelon from Central Market! - oh, YUM!!! All that was missing was a dollop of sour cream! I THOUGHT I had some - but I didn't.... It was a good meal anyway!

I decided to clean our bedroom today and one thing led to another and before I knew what had happened......Louis Dean made the decision that TODAY was the day that we would get a new bed! Mattress and box springs!

We have talked about getting one but just kept putting it off.
How much trouble is it when you turn over in the middle of the night and roll into the middle of the BED??? Or how hard is it to wrap your foot around the edge of the mattress to hang on for the night on your own side of the bed??? Well, that time is over!!!

I have been washing every single piece of our bedding all afternoon! 

So WHAT do you do with an old and extremely HEAVY mattress and box springs?
It was a real chore getting it out of the bedroom this afternoon!
To take it to the city dump would cost $40 - because Louis Dean's truck is a one ton. And they charge by the axle if it's a ton or more. $10 per 1/4 ton.

When I married Louis Dean, over 12 years ago, he simply threw it over his shoulder and hauled it IN!
This afternoon, he bagged it up and hauled it OUT!
I have never seen anyone break down a mattress and box springs and  sack it up in heavy duty trash sacks and take it to the curb!
But, then again, we are talking about LOUIS DEAN!!!

This is my favorite pic of the day!
Every chance I had to take a break, I sat here and listened to my music and played my games or sent emails or checked Facebook or Blogger.

As I write, Louis Dean and I are in the gazebo visiting over a glass of wine before we CLIMB into our new bed for the first time.....

I close my journal post tonight with thoughts and prayers for my dear friend, Reaoma, and her daughter, Pam.
The next two photos and words are from Pam's post on her mom's Facebook page.

just a short update: mom is under hospice care now, she is still at the same place where she has been living. She is still eating and drinking, but does sleep a lot. Prayers for her to pass peacefully in her sleep one night.

Mom sleeping with her "baby Oma".

This is the rest of the "family". Her grandmother June, Little Reaoma, her uncle "Tom Tom", her daughter Pam.

Reaoma made all these wonderful porcelain dolls.

Saying a prayer for both Mother and Daughter tonight as I close.
Ruth Ann and I will be visiting Reaoma tomorrow on our way to Fort Worth.
There is always more joy than sadness when it comes to times like this.
Thinking of and praying for my friend......
and remembering all the wonderful times we shared together.