It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A final small thing for 2010

I had another winter day surprise today.  I had planted this geranium last spring, and it really hadn't done much during the summer.  I had almost forgotten about it.  And during the winter I just don't pay that much attention to the plants.  As I came home today I just happened to glance over and was so surprised.  The late afternoon sun was just right on the blooms and their cheerful red color just popped out.  What a wonderful welcome home!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Things I Like About Winter

Now that we are officially in the season of winter here are the things I like about winter:
  • The smell of wood burning in fireplaces
  • Fires in fireplaces
  • Big bowls of homemade soup (or chili and mashed potatoes) served with a pan of hot cornbread and lots of butter
  • Sweaters
  • Coming home and putting on a pair of sweat pants, so comfy!
  • Long winter nights to read or sew
Notice that cold weather is not on the list! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And to all, a Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2010 has come and is almost over!  Now all is calm and all is quiet in my house but memories were created today and they will last forever.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:11 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Travel

This year none of the family will be traveling, well only to my house and to other in town relatives so that doesn't count as traveling.  I've told Jaydon several times that I'm glad he is with us this year and didn't have to get on a plane and leave just as Christmas was getting going.  We are all here and I'm glad.

But the past few days I've been thinking about how many years I was traveling at Christmas and that has caused me to reflect on all the different Christmases of my life.  I have fond memories of the years that we traveled to see my grandparents, the car loaded with presents and eager children.  I remember one year when the weather was bad and my parents had decided not to try to travel.  But on Christmas Eve Day the weather started to clear.  My dad checked with the weather service and he splurged on a long distance phone call to my grandmother...the roads were clear over there.  So we quickly loaded the car and headed east to arrive late that night.  I was very concerned that we would get there as Santa arrived and he would leave without leaving my gifts.  I was reassured that Santa was still way up north at that time. 

I remember other shorter trips as an adult.  After attending Christmas Eve services we would travel to my in-laws.  Again the car was loaded with presents and two eager children.  I enjoyed those rides as there was truly peace (for once) in our car and as we drove into the night it seemed that peace had descended over all the world.

The last two years I've headed to Mississippi on the day after Christmas.  My sister and I were working to clear out my parents house.  Not a pleasant task, but we had some good laughs while traveling and enjoyed our time together.  Now this year it seems strange not to head to Mississippi, but maybe next year I'll find a reason to travel around Christmas.  I love to travel through towns, especially small ones, and see the decorations and feel the joy of the season in that community.  Christmas is such a special time, there is no other season like it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Doggie Report Card

Grades are in (for all three dogs):

A+    Digging holes (many holes in different locations, earned extra credit)
A+    Crawling under fence (through small hole, earned extra credit)
A+    Meeting new neighbors (on several occassions, earned extra credit)
A-     Spending day confined in kitchen (one puddle in floor, lost points)
A+    Unwrapping nicely wrapped presents while "mama" was outside for a few minutes (wagging tails when discovered, earned extra credit)
D       Obeying simple commands ("come" is not recognized and "sit" is only attempted when a treat is being offered)
A+     Eating ornaments from tree (ate one that was 30 years old, earned extra credit)
A+     Sleeping in "mama's" lap, snuggling on the sofa
A+     Removal of grass from back yard

Recommendation for next semester:  Intensive training in obeying commands and listening to instructions while still at the formative stage.  Will need to have a retaining wall built along the side fence as the art of escaping has been perfected and is not needed anymore.  No action is needed as far as Christmas presents and ornaments are concerned as they will soon be put away.  Should continue to wag tails and snuggle as much as they want.  Overall they have been successful in being little loveable rascals.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Time, please slow down

I can't believe that Christmas Day is less than a week away.  Where has the season gone?  As I was unloading the dishwasher I put away one of the Pfaltzgraff Christmas mugs that I dearly love.  And I thought, "No, no I'm not ready to put these away.  I just got them out it seems. No, no no".   I just don't want all this to end.  And I feel this way every year.

Yes, I've been to a performance of Handel's Messiah, my Christmas cards are all sent out, shopping is done and some cookies have been baked.  I've sung in several concerts at church, been to parties, and wrapped gifts.  But time is moving on.  So I'm just going to have to enjoy these next few days as much as I can.  And I think I will delay putting away anything until Epiphany.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Doggie Adventure

Don't let this picture fool you...Listen dear readers and you shall hear of the Friday adventure of these three dears.  Early in the morning their "mama" left them, snuggling down in their dog house for a long morning nap.  She told them good bye and to be good doggies until she returned.  But quickly thereafter the lure of the world caused them to be drawn to a spot on the fence where they worked diligently to open a hole.  Then one by one they wiggled through, free at last without a care in the world.  Running, sniffing the ground, playing in one yard after another.  Oh what a joyous day.  From street to street they ran, dodging the cars one by one.  The day quickly passed, experiencing freedom like never before they never separated but ran together on and on.  Late in the afternoon as the darkness began to fall they were befriended by a dear young lady.  She watched them play and run as cars whizzed by, so she resolved to pick these little dears up and find their home.  A call she did make to the number on the tag, the dear vets office it was.  Oh, they know these three well, and quickly they called "mama" with news that Blossom, Sawyer and Baylee had been found.  But wait, "mama" was on her way home, not knowing that Blossom, Sawyer and Baylee had been lost.  Oh how quickly "mama" rushed home, but no not home.  Several streets over she went to meet the dear lady and her two young friends who were holding the little dears.   Many grateful thanks to the rescuers and home they did go.  All the way home their "mama" was telling them how naughty they were, but all they heard was "mama loves you, you little rascals".   Soon after their homecoming a quick meal they did eat and then snuggled down in their "mama's" lap.  While they did nap "mama" completed their microchip registration and ordered additional name tags with each darling's name and "mama's" phone number with hopes that she will never have to have a phone call that her little darlings had been found.  The End

Friday, December 10, 2010


Years and years ago, when I was a young wife and mother, our Pastor's wife taught our Sunday School class.  I remember one Sunday during Advent she went around the room and asked what traditions our families had for Christmas.  I struggled to think of anything so when my turn came the only thing I could think of was that our family usually ate tamales on Christmas Eve!  But this really shook me up because I just couldn't think of any traditions.  I mentally relived every Christmas of my life but there just wasn't anything.

Now I am older and I know that there are many things that I do each Christmas season that could be considered a tradition.  For example, I switch out my glasses and dishes to the Christmas set that I love.  And there are things that I do every few years, too, that could be considered a tradition.  For example, going downtown and riding a river barge.  And now I think of my grandchildren and am reminded that I am creating memories for them.

So tonight I had this dreamy idea that Jaydon and I would go ride around and look at Christmas lights.  We've done this before, it is a Christmas tradition.  I imagined that we would drive around and ooooh and aaaah for an hour and then stop for hot chocolate or ice cream.  What a wonderful memory to create, right?  Wrong.  We had been driving around for about 15 minutes and had seen some awesome light displays.  But then the little voice from the back seat asked, "can we go now?"  And that was the end of the fun for him.   Oh well, we did come home and make red hot cider!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day

Tomorrow is the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  You may think it strange that someone my age would bother to do a post on this subject.  But this event was made very real to me as a teenager.  You see, I had the hardest teacher for American history.  He had served in World War II and in Korea as a chaplain.  He was a tough teacher, but he was good.  And I know now that he saw right through me and knew my love of history in spite of the attitude I displayed.  But back to Pearl Harbor.

Among the many difficult assignments I had in this class was the one for Pearl Harbor.  We were to interview two people that were alive at the time of the attack, and were old enough at that time to remember the events of the day.  We were given a list of questions to ask.  Lucky for me both of my parents were alive at that time, my dad was 13 and my mother was 8.  The interviews proved to be an insight to me of a day in each of their lives on a Sunday in 1941.  My dad told of the disbelief of everyone that day, people just could not believe that something of that magnitude had happened.  My mother could still remember the expression on her father's face as the news came over the radio.  She remembered his face draining of all expression and his eyes growing wide.  We had been attacked!

But my history teacher also had another lesson for us.  He made certain that we knew how many lives were lost that day and the sacrifices that were made so that we could live free.  Thanks to that history teacher long ago I have never forgotten what happened on December 7, 1941. 

And on another note:  I have thought it very interesting that my mother slipped away on the night of December 7th two years ago.  She grew up during the Great Depression and World War II and the events of those years never left her.  She was frugal and resourceful, somewhat of an organized pack rat, and an early version of a true recycler!  She was a military wife, but even without that experience she was a true American who saw our country go through tough times and survive.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Picture of the week

I've had this little train for years and it always goes under my tree.  Jaydon has loved playing with it since he was a baby.  Tonight he took Cameron over to the tree and showed it to him.  Children playing under a Christmas tree....what a wonderful sight!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Now we come to Advent

Thanksgiving is over, we are in the season of Advent, Christmas is to come and then the New Year.  I dearly love this time of year and find myself trying to hold back the days, just wanting them to last.  But they don't and I know that the season will all too quickly pass.

Tonight at choir practice our music minister put this prayer on our choir notes page.  He did not attribute it to anyone, but I assume he wrote it, so with credit to Pastor Dave I offer this prayer:

Holy God, bring your unexpected light to us in this Advent season.  Calm our spirits as we madly rush from task to task, from place to place, from event to event.  Focus our minds and hearts on the blessed gift of your son that we celebrate this time of year.  Help us release the distractions and bend ourselves toward your light.  Amen

Monday, November 22, 2010

Picture of the Week

Okay, dear readers, I know you think I've really gone looney this week but bear with me!   So you are thinking what is the big deal, everyone has a microwave.  But wait, not everybody.  For the last seven plus years I have not had a microwave.  Yes, that is right and no, this was not little house on the prairie.  When I bought my house it did not come with a microwave.  I had intended to have one installed over the cooktop but after measuring I realized the microwave wouldn't work there as it would be too close to the cooktop.  I was reluctant to give up some of my nice countertop space and as time went by I adapted to cooking the old way, without microwaves.  So I never bought a microwave oven.  Honestly, I never really missed it but I did get funny looks from people when I mentioned that I didn't have one!

Last week I got to thinking about reheating all those wonderful Thanksgiving leftovers and how nice it would be to pop those plates into a microwave oven and have a quick re-heat.  So I broke down and bought this one.  I've quickly remembered how handy they are and have been popping everything in there to heat.  I'm having to adjust to having food hot faster, though.  I've grown used to putting food on the cooktop or in the toaster oven and then making a salad or whatever while the food warmed.  With the microwave there is far less time to prep other items so I've re-learned to coordinate meal prep on a faster scale.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Little Jam Session

The boys had a little jam session tonight!  Sounded mighty good, too!

And I got this little guy to stand still long enough to get this picture.  Love the shirt, although I think he is 100% nice!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Picture of the Week

The berries on my nandina bushes are just starting to turn red, a sure sign that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  This year the bushes were loaded with buds and with small berries during the summer but, as in most years, the birds ate a few and (ahem) little fingers pulled a few so the crop isn't as plentious as I had expected.  But that is ok.  When Jaydon walked outside on Saturday the first words out of his mouth were, "look, the berries are turning red"!

I've always liked nandinas.  I think my grandmother had nandina bushes somewhere around her house, can't remember where but I'm sure they were there.  And I've enjoyed these bushes around the deck.  Whether it is a bright fall afternoon or a gloomy day in January the cheerful berries are a welcome sight.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things I Like About Fall

1.  Pumpkins on a porch or grouped by steps, generally pumpkins on display
2.  Trips to the pumpkin patch to select the pumpkins for the grouping
3.  Cool crisp mornings that turn into pleasant, big blue sky days that melt into chilly nights
4.  Pulling out a favorite jacket or sweater for the first time and remembering how much I like to wear it
5.  Football, any kind, any team
6.  Thanksgiving, planning for it, preparing for it, enjoying it

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I just returned from several days at the International Quilt Festival.  And I came home with creativity overload. But tonight Jaydon out did anything I saw at Festival.

Jaydon created this Lego football player using a picture from his Lego magazine.  Then he posed for the picture just like the Lego player.  Very creative I thought!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

Here's how you carve a pumpkin for a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern

.  First you go to a pumpkin patch and pose for pictures (to keep your Gammy happy, of course).
Then you look and look and look until you find the PERFECT pumpkin.

You take your pumpkin home, cut it open and scrape out the insides (yucky, yucky).

Carve it just right...

And put it on your porch just before dark.  Light the candle and wait for the fun to begin!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Harvest Festival 2010

Today was our church's Harvest Festival.  This is something that Jaydon looks forward to every year.  On the way to Sunday School (I meet him and his Mommy half way to church and he goes to Sunday School with me and then she joins us for worship) he was chattering away about our plans for the afternoon.  He wasn't disappointed, he had a great time!  And Cameron stopped by for a while, too. 

I'm not sure about the expression on Jaydon's face, but it made me laugh.  He had had his face painted but in the heat it smeared so it adds to the comic look.  And Cameron, what can I say except that he is cute, cute, cute and I got a big hug from him!
Sawyer made his first appearance at the Harvest Festival.  He is so easy going and laid back but at the same time he is always eager for affection.  All the children wanted to pet him and his tail almost never stopped wagging.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dog Tired

I haven't posted about the dogs lately so tonight I caught them napping and got this shot.  They spent the weekend at their vet's office, getting spoiled so they are exhausted tonight.  Jaydon and I went to Houston, had a great time watching Cousin Joey's band compete in a competition and going to a band-less football game.  Both bands were in finals at the competition, so it was a different kind of football game.  I also had a memory flashback as I searched through my memory to remember how to make a Homecoming Mum.  We made this one for Joey's upcoming Homecoming week:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

One of our favorite fall things to do is visit the pumpkin patch.  Last Sunday we headed out to our favorite patch (with lots of room and a very scenic back drop for pictures) but alas, their pumpkins had not arrived.  So we drove over to another one that we knew was stocked.  They did have pumpkins but not a lot of photo spots, and it was in the bright, hot, sun.  So my pictures didn't turn out too great.  I did get a good one of Stephanie & Jaydon that I'm putting here.  If time permits we may try to visit the other patch, if they get their pumpkins!  But Jaydon had fun and we did bring home a trunk load of calabazos for our porches.

Stephanie & Jaydon


The little guy and his family visited another patch.  They had a good photo session!  I scanned in this one, he just looked so sweet!  I can tell he had fun. 

And he did something really cute Sunday evening.  He and his family were walking out to their car, having already said their goodbyes,  when he broke away and ran back to my front door.  James and I followed him but as we reached the door he just laid down right in front of the door.  If I had not had to go to work the next day I would have insisted that they let him stay.  He did not want to leave!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sunday afternoon Jaydon, Sawyer, and I headed out into the beautiful afternoon.  He rode his bike (with one training wheel attached, I'm sad to say) and I walked Sawyer.  As we walked along I found myself reminiscing about my walking habit.  I'm not sure when I really started the habit of walking.  I remember when we lived in a small town north of here that after the children went to bed I would head out for a walk (no, they were not home alone, their father was with them!).  I know I fell out of the habit for a while but I really don't remember when I started going for a walk early every evening.  I remember taking occassional family walks in our neighborhood, and then I remember it being just Stephanie and me.  Then we added Sniffles, our lab mix who had not endeared herself to me as a puppy.  I think she knew the walking was a way to bond with me and redeem herself, and she did just that.  I also remember the addition of a good friend and neighbor and her daughters to our walking habit.  We had some very enjoyable evenings together.

Then for a while I walked alone with no dogs and in a new neighborhood, faithfully every evening.  Then came another new neighborhood and a house to take care of and grandchildren to love.  My walks were every now and then and I really fell out of the habit of walking daily.  But now I have dogs and, like on Sunday, another little one to walk with me.  So I've started the nightly walk routine again.  Tonight I took all 3 dogs with me and they did great, so I have no excuse not to walk. 

Why do I like to walk?  It is good exercise, I get to be out of doors, and it empties my mind.  I can walk for 30 minutes and think about a lot of things or just nothing.  I see many people in my neighborhood walking or running so I'm not the only one that has caught on to this idea.  Not sure how I got started with it, but I'm definitely going to continue!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sweet Guy!

Two posts in one night, wow!  But I had to post this sweet picture of Cameron.  I think it got lost on the camera card and when I found it I had an "aaaawwww" moment.  Just had to share this one!

Simple Toys

Jaydon has a nice selection of toys, but this is what he played with this weekend at Gammy house...

All he needs is a box and the styrofoam packing insert!  If you are wondering, the styrofoam was turned into a time machine!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seasons, Creation and Cotton Candy Clouds

Ahh!  The cool mornings, warm afternoons with big blue skies have arrived.  The heat of summer is over and now it really feels appropriate to put out the pumpkins.  I marvel at the changing of the seasons, even though as mentioned before and much lamented by this writer we do not really have seasons here, but I do love what we have.

As I was driving home I couldn't help but think about how perfectly everything in nature works together.  I can not believe that our world just happened.  Yes, I can see how things evolve but really, all this just worked its way together?  No way!  There had  to be a higher power, with knowledge far greater than we can imagine, that put the start of the world in place.  Maybe God was done in a few days or years or centuries, but the creation of the universe and our planet was done thoughtfully, carefully, perfectly.

There was a song (in the '70's) called Master Designer.  I can't remember what musical it was from but it doesn't matter.  I loved the lyrircs:

Cotton candy clouds, so fluffy and white,
Who put you there in a sky of deep blue?
Or do you just happen to float along,
Pretty and white in a sky so blue, so blue, sky so blue?

Tall mountain, deep valley, fast river, cool stream,
Show grandeur and majesty in some grand scheme
All of these wonders that we behold,
Are only a part – it cannot be told, be told, cannot be told.

Master Designer, Whoever You are,
All of this beauty both near and afar
Can’t just have happened, the odds are too great,
There must be a plan, we’re not left to fate, to fate, not left to fate.

All of this beauty is far too convincing
Master Designer, Your word must be true,
Of all Your creations man is the dearest
Help me to simply believe now in You, in you,
Believe in You.

(Thanks to the internet for helping me remember all the lyrics and the composer, Kurt Kaiser.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting Ready for Halloween

James, Cameron and Jaydon got out the pumpkin whistles tonight.  We've made this picture before, but this is Cameron's first appearance.  I think the fun is just beginning with these three!

And just a note, I will probably re-publish this photo.  I spent (wasted) over an hour in Photoshop working on this and it still isn't right, grrrrr.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Fall Ya'll

Today is the official start of fall!  Yaaay! Hip hip hooray!  Jaydon and I have made our plans that on Friday night we kick off the fall season with a late night trip to Krispy Kreme donuts and then on Saturday we will get out the fall decorations!  His mommy is planning to get hers out, too, so there will be pumpkins everywhere.  To celebrate the start of fall I thought I would post two pictures from past visits to the Pumpkin Patch.

Jaydon and Stephanie pick out the perfect pumpkin on Jaydon's first visit to the Pumpkin Patch

Cameron's first visit to the Pumpkin Patch was last year.  He's going to really love it this year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fooled Ya!

Last night as Jaydon was preparing to leave I reminded him that he needed to clean up "his" room (actually it is what was once my guest bedroom).  I had walked by earlier and it wasn't too bad, in messy kid room terms, but he had Legos and a few other toys strewn about.  And I didn't want to have to pick up the room after he left.  As he started down the hall he complained, "but I need help, I need you to help me".  Of course, my response was that I didn't make the mess.  But I started down the hall with him, running my mouth fussing at him and thinking to myself that I was going to have to go in there with him and supervise the picking up.  When we got to the door he flipped on the light and looked up at me (to watch my expression, I'm sure).  Imagine my shock....the room was perfectly clean and even the closet doors were shut.  Jaydon was laughing and exclaimed, "Fooled Ya".  I have a feeling that this is the beginning of a great sense of humor!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Boys

I feel like I've neglected my picture taking lately.  And the quality of the pictures I've made have been less than what I wanted.  And, my computer files are a mess.  So, tonight, while watching football I'm working on the files trying to get caught up.  But tonight I did get several pictures of Jaydon and Cameron together.  Easier said than done.  I wasn't really satisfied with the pictures, but I had a toddler that was looking away and a first grader that did not want to cooperate.  Almost like photographing the dogs, just no cooperation. But here is what I got:

Got one of them to look at me!

The boys shared a table during our evening meal.  Cameron is such a big boy now, he did really good sitting in the chair.  And Jaydon was told that he needed to be a good example of good manners!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life's Rituals

One day a week, sometimes two, I work in a town just north of here.  Tuesday morning I got a late start and was really running late.  So I called the other support staff person that works in the office on her cell phone, come to find out she was running late, too.  Since I knew I still had a ways to drive I offered to stop at Starbuck's and get us coffee and muffins.  She took me up on the offer, and she was fairly close to the office so I knew I didn't have to rush.  As I went into the Starbuck's I noticed that the sign on the door stated "Take comfort in life's rituals".  I got the coffee and muffins and went on to the office.  As we enjoyed our breakfast (yes, we do work even if we are late and eat muffins!) we discussed this saying.

I've always felt there is comfort in doing routine things.  I realized this several years ago when a member of our church passed away after a long illness.  His wife had pretty much lived by his side in the hospital for months.  I was in a group of women soon after his funeral and they were discussing how the widow was doing.  One of the ladies said that she had spoken with her the night before and she (the widow) was glad to finally be home and was happy to have filled up her dishwasher and was doing little chores like taking out the trash.  Another lady in the group was horrified, but we all quickly said, no, there is comfort in those simple little tasks.  Taking out the trash is a routine chore, but one of the little rituals that we do.  And by doing some of those small, everyday tasks bring order to our lives and in turn, comfort and peace. 

As  humans we need order in our day.  We need those rituals and routines to provide continuity and stability in our lives.  I know that when life gets helter-skelter that just getting back to the "normal routine" can make me feel much more balanced.  So, my advice is "Take comfort in life's rituals".  Now, I have to take out the trash, wash the dishes, and finish my laundry.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guess Who?

Today is this little girl's birthday!  Happy Birthday, Love Mom!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wind Chimes

Many years ago I gave my mother a wind chime for Christmas.  I thought she would enjoy having them hang outside near their patio.  I had always enjoyed my neighbor's chimes, and had even had a set of my own, though they were not a very well made fancy chime.  Their ringing was soothing and while it was somewhat the same in tone, it was always changing in tune.  At the time I still worked downtown and slipped out on my lunch hour to a store just north of downtown to select the chimes.  I loved this store because they had all kinds of nature things, including the J W Stannard wind chimes.  I spent a careful amount of time selecting the chimes because I wanted  them to be just right.  I finally settled on a six note, hexatonic scale, that was very soft and had a gentle ring.

After Christmas I wondered if she would ever hang them up and enjoy them.  I never saw them again, so I decided it was probably a bad choice in a gift.  When we were cleaning out my parents' house we came across the box with the wind chimes in it, just as it had been all those years.  As I opened the box and took them out I again heard the beautiful tones ring out.  So I brought them home and put them just outside my back door.  They are under the eave of the house so they don't catch a full breeze, but just enough to give them an occasional burst of quiet harmony. 

Last winter I had hung them in the garage and would occasionally brush against them in getting in and out of the car.  During the long cold days of winter they would lift my spirit with their soft peals.  Outside, their ringing always surprises me, but then it also quickly reminds me to be happy, no matter how crazy the day.   And I remember to slow down and take the time to enjoy life's simple pleasures and to appreciate the beauty of life.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Taste of Fall

Last Saturday morning and this morning have been so cool!  What a nice way to start the day by opening the back door to let the dogs out and feeling that nice cool air greet me instead of a wave of hot, humid air.  I think it is a taste of fall, just a tease really.  But it lets me know that the hot days are almost over and that soon it will be time to pull out the pumpkins and sweaters.  I look for fall, and am usually disappointed because we just don't really have a true fall.  But I take what I can and these cooler mornings are welcomed.

Jaydon and I went to the Botanical Garden this morning.  They have an exhibit of playhouses and forts.  This one is our favorite.  Jaydon pulled up some of the boards on this one and discovered that they were numbered.  I explained that they had probably built this somewhere else and then numbered the parts so they could move it to the Garden.  Looking at the numbered pieces was almost as fun as the playhouse for him!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Discussion About God and Heaven

Yesterday I picked Jaydon up from his after school program and we started our Gammy night.  As we were driving to my house he asked me who the smartest person in the world was.  I replied that he was.  But that wasn't the answer he was looking for so I suggested that it was his mommy.  He then said, "No Gammy, it's God!" and then we had a deep theological discussion.  We discussed that God knew everything and then went into further discussion about where God is.  I replied that God was in heaven but he was everywhere, too.  Then Jaydon asked, "Did God die?" and I asked why he asked that.  His reply was "Well, if God is in heaven he must have died."  So I tried to explain that we have to die to go to heaven but God had not died to go there, that he had created heaven and lives there.  After some more discussion I reminded him about Ethan.  We talked about that Ethan was in heaven and he was waiting for us.  Then he asked if I was going to die, and, of course, I told him yes but that if he believed in Jesus and had Jesus in his heart that then when he died we would be together in heaven.  This was a pretty heavy discusion topic for both of us  but I'm glad we had an opportunity to talk about these things.  I realized that it is hard to tell a 6 year old things that we just accept as part of our faith in God.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paper Shredders

Okay, I never believed in the no-homework excuse of "my dog ate it" (really, come on a dog does not eat paper) but now I understand and know that it is a very valid excuse. Tonight before I left for choir practice I had to pick up a Talbot's catalog that was shredded into a million little pieces, some of which were slobberey. Yes, I had heard the noise when they first started and I told them to "leave it" (a command they know very well). But I stepped away for just a minute or two and that's when the paper shredders went into work. What a mess!

But I didn't learn my lesson. I had two more catalogs in the floor and after I got home and let the pups out they started shredding them. I got on them and as I reached down to pick up the catalogs I saw Blossom tear into my Quilt Festival class schedule so I had to rescue that, too. So, when you have babies in the house you do not leave anything in the floor that they can shred or chew on (including sandals). But if you need anything shredded, do leave that in the floor but be prepared that you will have to pick up the shreds from all over your house when they are done! Little darlings....

Friday, August 20, 2010


I had a major flashback today. Jaydon went to work with me today. He had been to work with me before for two afternoons before he left for his summer trip. Today was a long day, and once or twice he got restless but he did good for a little 6 1/2 year old guy. During the afternoon he asked for a sticky pad and wrote "Gammy" on it. Then he put the little sticky-note on the bottom of my monitor. As he was writing the note I remembered that Stephanie had also gone to work with me when she was young. I think she was probably older, maybe 10 or 11, when she first went to work with me. What I remembered was that she would write little notes to me. I had kept one for a long time in the front of my day planner, and I still have it somewhere as I could not bear to part with it. It was written on a little green memo pad that we used to write notes to co-workers (yes, this was way before we had e-mail and we actually wrote real notes to each other!). I don't remember exactly what she wrote but she thanked me for bringing her to work with me and that she loved me.

She went to work with me frequently as she got older and was hired by my employer during one high school summer (that was an eye opening experience for her). I always thought it was good for her to go with me as it taught her proper conduct in an office setting as well as learning some basic office skills. But as I watched Jaydon today I realized that the time I had spent with his Mommy in my office was priceless, I will never have that time again. And I will keep his little sticky note for a long, long time, too. I hope I created memories for him...he created memories for me.

And, tonight Batman made an appearance in my neighborhood!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Welcome Home!

Jaydon came home Friday night and he and I were reunited today. I've got a few days off and we are going to catch up on some of the things we've missed doing this summer. It is hard to believe that school starts a week from tomorrow. Summers really do fly by. Jaydon is already looking forward to getting out all my fall decorations and tonight we read two fall books (Five Little Pumpkins and the Berenstein Bears Trick or Treat) so I think he is ready for fall!

Jaydon has spent the day getting reacquainted with everything. He was surprised to see Baylee and tonight he and Cameron really played well together. And we played outside until dark, too. It is so good to have him home. I couldn't help but think of the story of the prodigal son where he returns and his father orders a feast and a celebration in his honor. No, Jaydon is not the prodigal son, and he was only gone for a few weeks but now I understand that father's joy at the return of his son.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Five things to be thankful for...

I did an earlier post on thinking of 5 things you are thankful for, so here goes for tonight

1. Air conditioning(that works) in my house

2. Air conditioning (that works) in my car

3. Ceiling fans (especially over my bed)

4. Sprinkler systems with an automatic timer and all sprinkler heads working properly

5. See below....

Sawyer, Blossom & Baylee

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cam Jam and his friends

Erin sent this to me Friday morning. I looked at it again today and it made me smile, again, so I thought I would post it here. Everyone needs a good "smile moment" to get through the day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Baylee, again

I just had to add another picture of Baylee! She really is so pretty, the pictures just don't seem to capture it. She is the quietest, calmest puppy I have ever had. Took her to the vet today and she checked out fine, except she has ear infections so we came home with ear drops. I'm going to add a page to the blog for her in the next day or two. And in spite of her shyness and fear of other dogs she has made friends with Blossom and Sawyer, curled up with them last night at bedtime and slept through the night!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Welcome Baylee

This is Baylee. She is a full English Cream long haired miniature dachshund and she is now a part of our household!
Baylee was born April 16, 2010 so she is not quite 4 months old and weighs 7 pounds. She is very quiet and sweet and likes to be held. She is settling in very well with Sawyer and Blossom. I got her through the same kennel as Sawyer and Blossom, but she was actually born and bred in another kennel. She will have limited registration with the American Kennel Club. More pictures to come!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Creativity, part 2

I did a post in May on creativity but it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I had started an "idear" book while on my New England trip (idear is a New England word!) and I've jotted down a lot of ideas to keep them from running away from me.
I'm also working on starting a small company where I would do something creative. Again, I have lots of ideas but not sure which direction to take. I know God is guiding me, and I know I need to start small. Yes, there is that word again. It keeps popping into my mind so I know it will need to be a part of my plan.
I've also been looking at things like on-line scrapbooking, ooooo lot of possibilities there, too. I'm trying out a journal software program and am exploring the possibilities of doing some writing. The program is supposed to allow me to export to Blogger, but haven't gotten it to work yet. And I still want to write a cookbook. And, like my last post, the possibilities with needle and thread bring me the greatest joy.
So the ideas flow, now I need to move forward and put them into reality. When the ideas start there is no stopping! Now if I could just find a creative way to clean my house and do my chores that are never quite done....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Needle and Thread

I don't know what it is about a needle and thread that I love so much. I've always found comfort in doing something with a needle and thread. My mother was an excellent seamstress and apparently so was her mother. My dad's grandmother, who died long before I was born, was also very accomplished and even tailored for a living, or so I was told. But I don't think my love was actually fostered by them. It is just something deep within me.

Several weekends ago I journeyed north a few miles to a little town where the local quilt guild was having their quilt show. I used to belong to this guild and have attended their shows before so I knew it would be good. Now this year there seemed to be fewer vendors, but that was okay since I hardly need to buy anything after the week in New England. The quilts on display were very varied, a little of everything. One with hand quilting caught my eye and I moved closer to view the quilting (which was excellent, tiny well spaced stitches). But on the quilt was little squares where the quilt maker had embroidered something, I don't really remember what. I've never really cared for the embroidered quilts so have never really spent much time looking at them. But there were several others with embroidery and I'm not sure what sparked this but I remembered a tote bag that I had started probably 7 years or more ago. On one side of the tote bag is a little embroidered scene with a quilt shop and some flowers. I had worked on it off and on and always grumbled when I did. The fabric was a linen type weave but it was bumpy and somewhat hard to work on and it was too thick to trace the pattern on to so I had to actually draw the picture on the fabric. And it wasnt really what I wanted to be doing but I thought the bag would be cute to have. So I would work on it and then put it away, but I remembered this project while walking around the show.

So I came home, inspired by all the quilts I had seen, and pulled out this little tote bag project. Much to my amazement it was almost done. And I was surprised at what a neat job I had done on it. So I picked it up with renewed resolve to finish it in time to take to the Houston Quilt Festival in November. I've been taking it outside while the dogs play (when it isn't too hot) and I've enjoyed just sitting and sewing on it. I find it so relaxing to have a needle in my hand. I also have a quilt for Jaydon that I'm hand quilting, it has been in the frame literally for years as my hand quilting is so slow. But I also enjoy the quilting. There's something about pulling the needle and the thread through the fabric that I just love, deep down in my soul.

This is the picture I'm embroidering and the fabric behind it is the strips I sewed together for the fabric to make the outside of the bag. The little picture is actually sewn onto an outside pocket of the bag!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Last Day of My Trip

This quilt was painted on the back of the New England Quilt Museum as a fund raiser for the Museum

I've been meaning to complete my little travelogue, so here goes. The last morning of the tour we loaded on the bus and drove to Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell was a town that developed as the Industrial Revolution caught on and people began leaving their farms to work in factories. I was disappointed that the the video in the visitor center wouldn't boot up as I would have liked to have had more information on the start and the decline of the town. Many of the factories were fabric mills staffed by farm girls who worked to send money home. I did buy a small book about the early days of the factories. Efforts are being made to revitalize Lowell with loft apartments and trendy eating places but our guide said that it really had not taken root. The town wasn't very interesting to look at...all the buildings were red brick and most were abandoned factories. We did visit the New England Quilt Museum and while their exhibit area was small the quilts displayed were well documented (they rotate the exhibit from their archives) and they had an excellent shop where I, uh, made more purchases.

Then we were back on the bus and back to Boston and Quincy Market for lunch and then drop off at either our hotel or the airport. I was annoyed at this point because I could have caught an earlier flight than the tour had indicated but it all worked out very well. I went out during the afternoon and made more pictures and explored Boston and discovered a National Parks Store (in a basement) that had an excellent selection of books (yes, I bought some).

For dinner I met up with 10 other ladies from our group that had to stay over for a next day flight and we had a very nice meal at "Mr. Dooley's Pub" next door to the hotel. No air conditioning here, but good food and they had Samuel Adams Seasonal beer on tap so I got to try that (it was good but not really cold enough for me). I think that was the end of my beer drinking career! We lingered for a while over dinner as we all agreed what a wonderful week we had had together!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No electricity!

We had a whopper of a thunderstorm last night. I had grilled a little supper and the pups and I dined outside. We had just finished when the thunder started rolling. I sat outside for as long as I dared and we went in just before the storm hit. I love the way it smells (ozone is it?) when it starts lightening. It was pouring rain and the wind was whipping the trees and rolling trash cans, too! I was going from window to window and out in the garage to watch, like I had never seen a storm, but I love it! About an hour into the storm I lost power, zap and it was dark.

I never appreciate electricity until it is gone. I had none for 6 hours and it was so strange. When the kids were small and our power went out I would light the oil burning lamps and we would play Monopoly. But I had no one to play with so I lit oil lamps and candles and walked around for a while trying to figure out what I could do. There was total silence in the house, no noise. It was fairly dark and the air was still. Funny that those ceiling fans don't work without electricity. In fact there isn't anything that really works without electricity! So I listened to music on my Zune and played some of the lame games on it and then went to bed. I opened a window but that didn't do much good to cool the room.

At 2 a.m. I got up to get a drink (and considered getting in the car and driving around to cool off). As I stepped out of bed, click, the light came on and the air conditioner kicked in. What a beautiful sound - an air conditioner running. I just take everything for granted sometimes, and having to do with out is a real reality check!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just say "Thank You"

This isn't the first time this has happened, but when it happened this afternoon I decided it was time to sound off! After a trip to the eye doc yesterday I went to the optical shop after work this afternoon. I bought 2 new pairs of progressive lense glasses and had lenses replaced in 2 pairs of readers so I spent some money. The guy that helped me was very nice and very knowledgeable about the glasses but when he handed me my receipt all he said was "see you tomorrow at 3". That is it! He never thanked me for my business!

I've had the same thing happen in the grocery store and always wonder, "Don't these people realize that my purchase helps to pay their salary?" How hard is it for stores to train their employees to look people in the eye and say "Thank you" as they complete the transaction? Most department store employees do, and usually they will call me by name as they hand me my receipt. My 2 favorite clothing stores do, too. I think it is time for me to start completing those annoying little surveys they give you on your receipts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Gift of Music

Church choir practice started up again tonight after a brief recess. I had missed several practices before the recess so I felt like I had really been gone a long time, but it was good to walk back into the choir room and see familiar faces and know that I'm back in the routine. And as we were practicing I had the thought of how thankful I am for music. Imagine a world without music...I can't. I have never understood people that don't care for music, how can you not like it? (I once took a quilting class and several participants were complaining about another class they took and the instructor insisted on playing music during the class. However, the same ladies were quick to note that they did their best sewing while watching movies...go figure). Even little Cameron can recognize tunes, his little face lights up when you start to sing "Head and shoulders, knees and toes"! So, bring on the music I say!

I will sing a new song unto thee, O God, upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. Psalm 144:9

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vermont Day 4 & 5

We left the Lodge at 9 a.m. in a pouring rain and headed to Shelburne to the Shelburne Museum. This place is like no other museum I've ever seen! It is spread out over several acres (I forgot how many) and is a collection of stuff, all kinds of stuff. I bought a book about the lady that collected and assembled all the stuff as I was quite intrigued by it all. They had quilts and needlework on display, but the Ticonderoga and an exhibit of Ansel Adams photographs were my favorites.
The Ticonderoga, a restored steamboat that operated on Lake Champlain. It was fun to go inside and see the elegant dining room and the teeny staterooms for the passengers that required overnight accomadations.

This is one of the few round barns still in existence. Inside there was an exhibit of quilts made by family members of Alzheimer patients (very touching, but very sad) and an exhibit of carousel horses.

This is an actual train depot and there was a steam locomotive and a private rail car you could walk through. I had to think of my father and how he would have loved this exhibit as it was authentic!

We returned to the Lodge just in time for another rain shower so I didn't get to do the hike to the family chapel and any more exploring at the Trapp Family Lodge. But I enjoyed sitting in an Adirondack chair on the balcony outside my room and watching the rain! Again we enjoyed an excellent meal in their restaurant.

The next morning we said good bye to the Lodge and headed to the Vermont Quilt Festival. It was wonderful, like a mini Houston Quilt Festival. I really enjoyed looking at all the quilts and did some shopping. At 1:30 p.m. we were back on the bus and made a brief stop at Quechee Gorge and then we were on to Woodstock Vermont. I spent most of the hour we were there in the post office shipping 3 (yes 3) large flat rate boxes home with all the treasures I had purchased, just a note here in my defense that most of the other people on the tour were shipping home several boxes, too! I managed to snap a few pictures and eat a cup of ice cream before it was bus load time again.

Quechee Gorge, and yes, Chicken Little walked out on the bridge and made this picture.

A hotel in Woodstock (would love to stay here someday!)

A two hour ride brought us to our final hotel in Nashua New Hampshire. This evening we had our farewell dinner and a show and tell time (as if we hadn't been doing show and tell all week!).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Puppy Graduates

Blossom, Class of July 2010

Sawyer, Class of 2010

Blossom and Sawyer graduated from Puppy Training tonight and they celebrated with a ride around the store in the basket!

Of course, they had been riding around looking over the end of the basket, being really cute and when I stopped to pull out the camera they then decided it wasn't so much fun and they weren't going to have their pictures made! They are just like children.