Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mothers and Daughters

“I'm blessed and I couldn't be more grateful. Do you want to know why? Because I'm a mother, but that's only half of it. I'm blessed because, when I need to, I can still just be a daughter. I get the feeling that there is nothing more precious than to have both of these roles, simultaneously.” 

I love quotes and this might be my new favorite one.  I wish I had thought of it - I wish I had said that to my daughter and to my mom.  I will just have to show them this blog post instead.

One thing I know for sure . . . as Oprah would say . . . is that I caught on early in life to enjoy what blessings I have WHEN I have them.  We all know that life is short and it saddens me when people find out too late that they had blessings unrealized.  I'm thankful that it came to me when it did.  I am blessed to have my mom and my daughter!

We celebrated 8th grade graduations in supreme style??  I remember thinking - we aren't guaranteed high school graduations.  We celebrated them too when they came along.  We enjoyed - more than enjoyed our years at Emporia State University as a Lady Hornet.  We knew it would come to an end.  We had a close knit group of parents who became dear friends to us - and we always knew it was going to end.  So boy was the ride fun. We enjoyed supporting the Fort Hays State Tigers too and are proud our two kids realized college degrees (even when mom and dad didn't).   With trips to see family far away - we make the most of our time there.  With the littlest granddaughter we made trips to see her - made trips to bring her here - celebrated holidays, birthdays, summer vacation, and every season - whether it met with the actual calendar date or not!  The memories were made.

This upcoming weekend is one of those!!

I'll post more later about the blessings of having family come to visit!

My son-in-law firmly believes in the "3 day rule" which states that fish and family both stink after 3 days . . . so he therefore claims they need to be headed back home within the 3 day time frame.  HaHa - we know he is only joking - and we love his company!  Or wait . . . maybe he is talking about me???

Tune in later for an update . . .

Cold night - warm fire - fun - but the warm house won out!
Although it was very cold and we didn't last long, it was a fun start to our weekend.  One of the best things about our new home is that we are blessed with 3 guest rooms!  Instead of opening a tote full of inflatable air beds like we did last Christmas we can offer our guests their own room and bathroom.  We spent the weekend visiting, laughing at the dogs, watching football.  Casey and I took in the Holiday Fair downtown which was really a treat!  Always a highlight of their visits is to have the grandparents over for a meal.  Spent Saturday night with them.  Good times with family can't be beat.  Being together like this makes me miss the parts of the family that can't always be here.

Making the most of every chance we have to get together!

Tracy and Casey and dad enjoying the fire! And Roy but he is hard to see!
He just wanted Casey's popcorn!

Casey and Dodger napping!

Popcorn around the fire!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Excuse me Rachael Ray ...

Baking Dish???

Family in the house - what a joy!
Menus planned ahead - so easy!
Roast and vegetables in the oven - lunch at 1 p.m.!

I have always loved the Rachael Ray line of products.  I love to watch her show and dream of cooking like that.  Her kitchen is fun.  Her colors are vibrant.  Only problem being that I was a Pampered Chef Consultant for several years and so I just could NOT be buying any Rachael Ray products.   No Paula Deen or Giada . . . 

Then I recently let go of my PC business.
First thing I did was purchase online a set of RR Bubble Pans in ruby red!!

Very excited to use them when my daughter and her husband visited this last weekend.  Lunch was prepared and in the oven - off to the Holiday Fair for a morning of early Christmas shopping!

Not happy to find out when returning home 3 1/2 hours later that lunch was still very much unbaked, uncooked, and unappetizing!  Does anyone of my readers know why this happened?  My oven temp was 350 degrees and had been turned up to 375 degrees.  I'm assuming that this is not an ideal roasting pan??  It was hard to put foil over to cover it - and with the holes in the sides I assume it did not hold the heat in??  Maybe a good pan for baking lasagna?? But not for roasting meat?

Thankfully I have an understanding and forgiving family . . . 

Blessings in that . . . and in Plum Creek Restaurant for a delicious (and done) lunch!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blessings in our own back yard ...

As  you all know we have been enjoying the cool autumn nights by sitting by a fire on our patio.  My sister and brother-in-law gave us the best housewarming gift of our fire pit.    We love it.  We enjoyed a cozy fire for two and then had friends come over for hotdogs and smores.  Conversation flows when you sit gazing into the pretty colors of a fire.  The evenings have been just perfect for this!

It's a blessing in itself that we are enjoying some relaxation with the fire pit because at our former home we didn't have a patio and actually had a rock-filled driveway that made sitting around on lawn chairs a little hard.

So - patio - fire pit - friends - hotdogs and smores - what else could we need??


We have never been ones to need fire wood or kindling - no fireplaces in our homes - no wood burning stoves - so we quickly grabbed up a few "store-bought" mountain pine logs to start a quick fire.  We first tried this in the little cabin up in Estes Park and tried some more here at home.  Nice touch - but not a big fire starter - we needed "real wood" for a real fire.

We discussed our options - buying from a guy we know - seeing if my dad had a creek we could walk - drive up to Tami's and raid Green Acres of some wood - and then it came so clear to Clay . . .

We have been waiting and waiting AND waiting for a couple guys we know to come and take down two dead trees in our yard . . . dead trees . . . dead wood . . . wood for a fire???  So that was Clay's plan and it worked great - in no time he had some wood ready for an after work fire with a co-worker tonight - - -

Great find!

Carol and I - relaxing after a busy day at work!

Monday, October 22, 2012

These Boots Were Made for Walking ...

Tennis shoes are not my thing . . . so when I told Clay a year ago that I was going to purchase a pair of bright green and white Reeboks for "walking" and "working out" he said - "yeh right".  I told him I would prove to him that I would stick with it.

Well many months later and surprisingly, many miles later, the green tennies have two holes and are not very comfortable anymore . . .

Whole new story this time when I announced I was buying a brand new pair of walking shoes . . .
This time I was met with "sure - you deserve them"!!  I had proven myself worthy.

So was in Texas - and went bopping proudly around the shoe aisle to show my son and husband a pair of Skechers - and they were very nice - slip-ons - comfy - Well . . . I could tell by Todd's facial expression upon seeing me in them - this was a poor choice.  I had on dingy socks that stuck out of the tops of the shoes - was that it??  Or was it that  "they looked like a box of multi-colored highlighters exploded and landed on a shoe"?? said Todd compassionately.

EZ Flex - To The Max
So I continued to look

THESE ARE AMAZING LADIES!!  They are Skechers Shape-Ups.  Designed to give you the most from your work-out.  They have a rolling type of sole.  I don't know what all they are designed for - but they are so comfortable.  Not one of my toes were scrunched - my heel did not rub - I felt like I could do jumping jacks right there in the store!!  And even though they do resemble a pink and yellow highlighter - they met the approval of all. 

Blessings in Happy Feet!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Friends around the fire ...

 “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” 
                                                                    C. S. Lewis

Hotdogs and Smores around the fire!

Alice and I catching up

Clay and Larry

A great time with old friends.  Seems just a short time ago we had little kids along and were at the Thompson's playing cards.    So great to spend the evening with you Larry and Alice!  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Home improvement ...

[repeated line whenever Tim makes a smart comment on Tool Time

Al: I don't think so, Tim. 

You know how it is when you move - home repairs, small fixes, and sometimes even home improvements . . . 
Even if you are the family pet . . . 

We purchased a really nice dog house for our big dog Roy and in fact, we are on our second house just like the first.  Very sturdy, roomy, made of durable hard rubber, insulated, with removable windows, and quite classy looking as dog homes go.    The first one was chewed on?? and wore out . . . the door was broken and would not swing shut - couldn't find screws to hold it . . . and after five years we decided Roy deserved an upgrade.

Don't know if it's an upgrade when it's an identical replacement . . . but it was new!  And airtight and water tight . . . so we thought.

Move to Beloit and although it was a summer of drought - on the rare occasion that we did see a storm - Roy needed an ark . . . He would end up sitting outside in the mud with all of his blankets (yes the 116 pound animal has blankies).  Clay caulked the top . . .[lolo[-   ooops - little dog trying to blog there for a minute.  Next downpour Roy goes for higher ground again.  

If you are a pet lover you know the feeling when you see yours uncomfortable right?  I know dogs are tough they can survive much but all you really want to do is provide them with food, clean fresh water every day, a place to play and a warm dry place to sleep.

So Clay decides he will remodel, start from the ground up, take it apart and figure out where the water is coming in.  So an hour later the house is apart, washed out, cleaned up, dried off, and caulked at the base as well.  Carpet added because all good dogs need a carpeted dog home right?  Top back on, sides screwed together with 16 total screws now instead of 4 (did they really make this for a big dog) and every visible seam caulked.    

Wait and see . . . 

Next plan . . . buy a new one .. . .but until then . . . Roy seems to be surviving . . .  

Tim: If it doesn't say "Binford", someone else made it. 

Blessings in a comfortable home.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jasper and Ali

Meet Ali.  She is a pretty little girl.  She lives in South Texas with our son Todd and his family - his wife Gloria and their girls Nikki, Julia and Elaine.  

                                                          Ali's favorite place to sleep

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” 
 Roger Caras

Meet Jasper too!  Jasper is a beautiful boy - a cross between possibly a greyhound and a blue heeler.

The Henningsen family has become quite full of canine grandkids!  Totaling 6 in all!  We have such fun with them.  Jasper and Ali love to run and play catch.  Ali especially is a good fielder and can catch any ball thrown to her - high - low - fast or slow.  Oh did I mention - she only plays catch with yellow tennis balls and don't try to fool her or pamper her by buying special "doggie toys" for her.   She knows the difference and will only chase the yellow tennis balls!   Jasper is the big brother, and very dedicated Henningsen family watch dog.  He spends much of his day paroling the fence "talking" to the neighbor dogs or anyone suspicious in the neighborhood.  

Both Jasper and Ali are lucky too and if they could talk would tell you how glad they are to have been rescued by their new family.  Both dogs were found locally at rescues.  We personally have not gone through a rescue center to get our own two dogs, but we think it is just the most rewarding thing to do!   

"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made."
 Roger Caras

For Jasper, Ali, Molly, Roy, Dodger, and Zeus

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

T & T Autumn Readathon

A "readathon" may be a new concept to you - but join me in the fun!!

My sister, Tami and I are sponsoring T & T Autumn Readathon Saturday, October 27th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.   What does this mean?  Join us at 7 a.m. for the start of the Readathon.  Prepare yourself the night before - have coffee ready to brew and snacks for the day!  Most importantly have a stack of books or two or three or even just one ready to go for a day of reading.  A Readathon is composed of a group of bookaholics who join in online and follow along the twelve hours as we read, snack, see fun videos and puzzles, join in for mini-challenges if desired!  And win prizes!!

              The T&T Autumn Readathon 
                  Saturday, October 27th
                 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. CST

 To sign up, leave a comment here 
or on Tami's blog     

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homecoming Texas Style!

I have seen many high school homecomings and even was part of Jewell High School homecoming royalty twice myself back in "the day",  but we were in for a real treat this weekend with a Texas type of celebration!

Clay and I and our granddaughter Elaine, flew to south Texas to visit our son Todd and his wife Gloria and their older two daughters Nikki and Julia!  Always a fun time when we all get together whether it be in Kansas or Texas!  The three sisters have a ton of giggles as girls will do!  This was an extra-special trip because the oldest two girls, both in high school now, were having a big weekend of sports, dance, and homecoming and we would get to be front and center!

The weekend started out with a beautiful night of football - now I loved nothing more than Waconda East football in our small town school - and have lots of great memories, but we were very impressed with football Texas style . . . The high school has a beautiful football field and stadium!  Complete with a huge jumbo tron viewer for replays and vendors selling everything you need to show Bobcat Pride!  T shirts, posters, free cups,  greeted us at the gate.  Cheerleaders, dance team, and the marching band lined the field and student section.

Homecoming was the next big surprise for us - Nikki was one of three queen candidates with escorts and three king candidates were escorted in also.  Teachers were voted by each class and were recognized as part of the Homecoming Royalty Court.  Each class also had a couple escorted in to represent them.  Red and blue covered the field.  The prettiest of course - was Nikki says a proud grandma!

Cody and Nikki

Julia was part of the festivities also - she is a freshman and on the dance team:

Julia and Nikki and their mums

The outfits they wore were beautiful and we were so proud of both girls!  We enjoyed a private dance "performance" at home later in the weekend.  Good job Julia!!  Great dancing!

Along with the festivities for homecoming were a couple other traditions we thought were awesome! The first one was "the mum"!  I had never heard of the "homecoming mum" but it was beautiful!  And looked like something I would love to try and make!!  I remember from my own queen candidate experience that we carried a single chrysanthemum long-stemmed flower, and the Texas mums had a red mum right in the center.  Then it included red and blue long flowing ribbons with glittered words on them - the girls name - the school name - a sport - etc.  Also included curling ribbon, sparkles, stuffed animals,  etc. whatever best represented the girl it was made for!  The guys also wore smaller ones on a garter around their arm.  The second one was the tradition of getting all dressed back up in your fancy dress, hair styled, make-up perfect, the day after the football game and homecoming crowning, and going to school for picture taking!  This was when we got to meet Cody (Nikki's friend) take some pictures at home, etc.   After pictures were taken then the kids would go in groups and go out for a nice supper at a fancy restaurant!  I especially loved this tradition as it gave the beautiful young ladies a chance to wear their new dresses TWICE and such a good lesson in looking beautiful and acting the same! 

The weekend was still filled with more excitement as we cheered on the Bobcats in volleyball on Saturday morning!  And the Lady Cats took a victory in 3!!   Nikki is a senior on the team.    The family quickly got all decked out in red and blue attire for the game.

                            Todd, Gloria, Nikki and Elaine

As always the time to come home came too soon but it was a great time together!  Times for talks, laughs, movies, shopping, ballgames, smores around the fire, playing catch with the dogs, and food around the table!  Blessings found in Texas and in our family.

                                                  Todd, Elaine, and Julia at Bass Pro Shop!   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Farewell to The Mount Rushmore State!

South Dakota map

Little did I know that I would spend 10 years traveling I-80 and I-29 to see the little granddaughter, Elaine. Before she was born even, her mom and step-dad moved to Sioux Falls, SD and so my family - (Todd - Elaine's dad, my husband and our daughter Casey) began one of many trips to visit!  

Had a lot of fun times there - staying in motels, swimming, visiting the Apple Orchard, first pony ride, train ride, zoo, movies, restaurants, shopping, parks, Petco, Chuck E. Cheese, are just some of our fondest memories.  

The first two years of her life - we went once a month.  Then as Todd married and became employed out of state, the visits were fewer but continued to be many and much fun!  Barnes and Noble is a kid-friendly place to visit.  I appreciated the reading corner with lots of books to choose from - and a place to sit and read and also a special "hands-on" corner for activities.  I quickly learned that Halloween doesn't have to happen on October 31st.  Easter can be taught about and celebrated any time in spring, and Christmas is when the family can all be there.  10 birthdays celebrated!

I will add that the COLDEST I have ever been in my life was in Sioux Falls, SD.  We were there when the wind chill was 30 below.  It's cold in Kansas yes - -- it's something colder than cold in South Dakota! 

Other special memories include grandpa grimacing at yet another trip to Chuck E. Cheese.  A pizza place with semi-good pizza, lots of noise, and even more kids - not to mention a singing  mouse??  One memorable night when a toddler played with the motel phone and dialed 911.  I guess it's a law - the police have to respond - and they showed up at our door at the Super 8.     Riding the escalator at Scheel's Sporting Goods - great cheap fun. (especially taking a shopping cart along for the ride).  Scheel's has a special rule against that I guess?   Pumpkin decorating in the motel room - and then crying because she was afraid of the faces on them!  Then there was letting a four-year old tell us how to get to Petco and back to her house and to her school.  In the recent years - a more grown-up version wants to hit Claire's and Justice for everything pink!  And my favorite spot and hers - Bath and Body Works.  I think I had some influence on her growing up?

Many laughs and a few tears - when we had to drive away.  Times I will always cherish.  Blessings in family. Thankful that we could travel.  Thankful that we had our health and flexible jobs and enough money from time to time to make it work :).   

But that is not the end of the story . . . it takes an unexpected twist . . . 

The granddaughter is leaving South Dakota and moving to Kansas!!   She will be 2 hours away from us.  As I write this post it has barely sunk in to my mind.  Things in our life just got a little less complicated and a lot more exciting to think of seeing her even more!  Traveling to Texas with her to see the rest of her Henningsen family just got easier by about a 7-8 hour drive both ways!  

Again - God is showering us with goodness.  My prayer has been for all of my grand kids to be happy and healthy - I didn't pray for happy, healthy and HERE!!  3 out of 5 in Kansas - would love to have the other two here also!

Family isn't about whose blood you have. It's about who you care about.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rockin' Robin

Recently I shared that I was grieving the loss of a very dear friend - my Trumpet Vine Tree.  Story told here.  I have been pleasantly happy to find that I have other "friends" here at my new house.

One morning about two weeks ago as I was sleeping in - or trying to sleep in - my dog Dodger and I heard a knock knock knock . . . tap tap . . . knock . . . tap . . . then it stopped and we went back to sleep.

A few days later I walked by the laundry room and something red caught my eye!  There outside the window sat a red bird? a cardinal?   Now I'm not a bird watcher - have never cared for birds particularly.  Don't want one in my house.   I thought to myself - hmmm - - - that IS where I heard the knocking and tapping coming from??

Next day at work I talked with a co-worker and told her about the strange noise and the bird sighting. She exclaimed, "That's what red birds do!  They are known for knocking on windows!"

Sure enough - now every day since - I will be at work in the kitchen or blogging in the living room OR trying to sleep in and again I will hear knock knock and tap tap.  I have even seen the bird in action.  I pictured the pretty red thing knocking with it's beak from the branch it perches on, but not so!  I saw the bird fly to the window and kerwham knock knock . . tap tap.  So I am not sure if that is how the bird knocks or if the bird thinks he is flying through air (A compliment to my clean windows?)   Either way I have become accustomed to this new little friend.

I write about this to say that I find it awesome to serve a great big God who once again has cared enough to send me something new to marvel at.  I have mentioned that I have roses now - that was the first big surprise.  Having a "bird" friend is the second big surprise.

I'm asking all of you my readers (I say that cuz I like to pretend I have a following) to help me name my friend the bird.    I'd appreciate any information about the bird pictured below.  Which brings me to my addendum to this story:  I cannot catch the bird to take his picture!   I hear the familiar knocking and I grab the Ipad to take a great shot - but 9 out of 10 tries the minute I step into the room - he hops back to a branch that is partially hidden.  Does he see me??

Hopefully better pictures will follow.  In the meantime, Clay and I plan to study up on what they eat. Blessings found in new discoveries in a new place and God's nature - a bird.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Soooo . .. I can sew!

Pin-It  Do-It October 

What a surprise!  
After my last post about the Devil Machine I wasn't sure I would be sharing my first Pin-It/Do-It challenge for all to see.  I'm happy to say that I am loving these Hot Dog pillowcases!  I actually made a variation from the original Pin that I found, but a co-worker gave me these simple directions
to making the darling pillowcases that I had in mind.  Choosing bright colors and patterns, I made one trial pillow case for myself and then finished one of three that I will take to Texas next weekend for granddaughters!  

It's now day #2 with the Pin-It Do-It project.  

The last two pillowcases are done - in between helping husband build fence - and I was left wishing I had more fabric - is it possible that everyone I know will get a pillow case now??  It was great fun and I know the granddaughters will love them!

Got the original idea from
                            Check out Trish @  Love, Laugh, and a Touch of Insanity for Pin-It Do-It Challenge!                   

Friday, October 5, 2012

Devil machine ...

As ye sew, so shall ye rip.  ~Author Unknown

Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do . . . There is a reason that this machine pictured above has not been out of the closet very often.  It does not have a prominent place in the house, it doesn't have a "room" to call it's own, and it is in fact still like new.  Several years ago I asked my children to get me this machine for Christmas.  They are such good children and did just what I asked.  

Sometimes I wonder why I ask for the things I ask for . . .I have good intentions and think that I SHOULD like to sew.  I learned as a child from the best, my mom.  I learned again in high school from Mrs. Ault.  I sewed.  I could lay out a pattern - correctly - and cut it out - sew it up - Yes I sewed. And so recently when challenged to try some of the "great ideas" I have on Pinterest and "unpin" them and actually do them - I thought of course I can sew a pillowcase - they looked so cute on my board.  

Sometimes I wonder why I think the things I do . . . Drag out the Devil Machine . . . and prepare it for sewing my sister the seamstress said . . . Set it up - thread it - get out the iron - and be ready to go on the first project!    I decided to practice sewing a little - just a seam or two - and that was when my problems began.  Sew two stitches, lock up tight, grind and groan, and alas a wad of thread would be the end result; got out the manual, rethreaded the machine, checked the directions on the bobbin placement and placed it back in 2 and 3 times, sew two stitches, lock up tight, grind and groan, and again more thread.  Rethreaded step by step; took out the bobbin; replaced it; sew two stitches, lock up tight, grind and groan, dig out thread ball, turn sewing machine on it's side and dig out thread with needle nose pliers and a toothpick.  

Sometimes I wonder why not call mom??  That is what I did - she came over the next evening - rethreaded the machine - liked the bobbin placement - sat down began to sew and exclaimed, "This sews lovely!"  My head hit the table at this point.  

Sometimes you just need mom's touch!  

Sometimes a person needs to rethink the choices they make . . . Maybe at 53 I don't like to sew?  Maybe there is a reason I haven't sewed much? But I will give this a try. I have planned two projects to do for the challenge.  Stay tuned and listen for any sudden loud noises from north central Kansas over the weekend.  It might be the Devil Machine flying out the window!

Mom's touch does it every time!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ode to a Trumpet Vine

They are beautiful in their peace, they are wise in their silence. They will stand after we are dust. They teach us, and we tend them

It was the fall of 1987 when I first met my trumpet vine tree.  I had never heard of one?  We purchased our home in Glen Elder, KS and moved in on November 6th.  Still in time to view the pretty orange trumpet shaped flowers in full bloom.  To call it a tree is probably not horticulturally correct.  It is a vine.  It was winding around a hedge pole.  I fell in love.

Through the years we never spoke about the trumpet vine tree.  I secretly enjoyed it.  It grew and grew.  We spent many hours sitting on our back porch watching our two kids and the neighborhood kids play in the side yard.  We watched around the trumpet vine.

In years to come it grew and grew and grand-kids came along - we could no longer sit on the back porch and watch "around" it - we couldn't watch "through" it either.  So my husband decided to cut it back.  He did it to the extreme and our marriage hinged on whether it bloomed again in the spring.  Luckily it did!

I never lost my love for the beautiful, extraordinary trumpet vine tree.  Wasps and bees lived inside the trumpet shaped flowers.  But they never once bothered me.  Roots grew like crazy all around it and I spent many back breaking hours pulling them up.  People commented about the strange growing friend of mine.  Family members namely son-in-law and grandson found it a 4th of July tradition to place firecrackers inside the flowering petals and you got it - blow up the orange blooms.  Amusing huh?

                                                      I was still in love with my tree.

I recently read a book that talked about the fact that maybe God gave us flowers and trees because we all need our corner of beauty in this world.  I agree.  God's creation is a miracle.

We recently decided to move as you know and so of course I spotlighted the "famous tree" when we showed the house to hopeful buyers.  Of course they would love and care for my tree/vine the way it was accustomed and enjoy it's beauty for years to come.


Alas, we heard the news - the new buyers had cut it down - and not only that - had piled it in a heap in the side yard.  Dying, lifeless, colorless, disrespected in the end.  But one man's treasure is another's . . . there is a saying I guess . . . and so we move on to enjoy God's creation in another place.  

I must admit I have to smile - - - the trumpet vine will win - - - I did a little research online about the unique creatures - - - they do not go away - - - ever.  Little sprouts will pop up here and there all over the property - - - and they have been proven to resist Mr. Chemical himself in trying to deter them.  You go little tree :)   I will miss you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two chairs . . .

If you could be anywhere in the world where would you choose?  Have you ever asked yourself that question?  And if so, do you have a spot in mind?  Most likely if you do it is because you have been there once and want to go back!  Count that a blessing my friend!

I could answer that question quickly . . . two chairs.

Strange answer huh?  Let me explain.


Murdoch's on Galveston Island, Texas.  Picture me in one of those white Adirondack chairs looking out over the ocean.  Peaceful, tranquil, beautiful ocean view, smack dab between two souvenir shops!  What could possibly be better.  Picture me there.  Content.   Below is a picture of Murdoch's Bath House.  Check it out online as this famous landmark has been built and rebuilt due to hurricane after hurricane destruction.

BUT WAIT - What about these two chairs?

Picture me here!  These two chairs sit on a deck looking out over Big Thompson River or at least a small portion of it that runs through a place we discovered this fall called Rustic River Cabins in Roosevelt National Park, near Estes Park, Colorado.  
Picture me with a cup of fresh coffee and a book or perhaps just a cup of fresh coffee.  No book is needed.  The cool, clear water with it's calming sound soothes the soul.

Two places so special to me.  I am doubly blessed aren't I?  Maybe you are too?  That is my challenge to you for today think of how you would answer that question
if asked - - - If you could be any place in the world where would it be?  Can't wait to hear your replies!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom

T & T Book Club is a special thing for me.  My sister Tami and I started it many years ago.  Normally the plan is to choose a book for both of us to share reading each month.  The September selection was "Where Lilacs Still Bloom" by Jane Kirkpatrick.    Along with reading the same book we like to find something to discuss about the books or an idea for an activity that came to us through reading the pages of the book.  

Really loved reading Where Lilacs Still Bloom and the reason it grabbed my eye from it's prominent shelf at the library was that my favorite flowers are lilacs.  I'm really not sure why as the blooming season is so short.  But the perfume from lilacs is like nothing else!  Page 16  "A lilac says, 'Here is a place to stay'"  I loved that.  Three of the five homes that I have lived in since getting married have had a lilac bush.  The present one is huge, actually having a 3-fold purpose to smell beautifully in the spring, to provide a shelter belt from the weather for our dog, and to hide the neighbors little dog from our big dog to eliminate barking!  It has accomplished all 3 purposes already this year!  (We didn't live here when it was blooming - but we had intentions to purchase the home).

Tami and I have two assignments to go along with the September Selection:  #1 Pick a discussion question from the end of the book and blog about it and #2 Work hard to "winter" a plant and transplant it outside in the spring.  Doesn't have to be a lilac sprig - - - but some type of blooming flower or plant.

I have chosen question #7 which says:  Do you agree with Hulda when she tells her sister, "Beauty matters . . . God gave us flowers for a reason.  I think so we'd pay attention to the details of creation and remember to trust Him in all things big or little, no matter what the challenge.  Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment have a piece of paradise right here on earth."  Hulda is a real life German immigrant wife and mother who definitely weathered her share of fear and loss.  Her gardens were what kept her focused and grounded through all kinds of disasters.  I don't know if I have her determination, but I certainly have her love for "a garden".    Not until just recently did I consider a flower garden a REAL garden.  I guess I thought it had to be edible or preservable for the winter to be a garden.   But I had recently began to call my back-porch - my garden - because I had flowering pots, hanging baskets, a small corner flower bed, and a very special huge Trumpet Vine tree that grew so beautifully right out my back door.  Every spring I would put together the flower pots, purchase some hanging baskets, and tend to the corner flower bed with mulch and water.  As I have moved now to a different place - God has blessed me again with a "garden".  As I have shared in previous blogs - I now have roses as pictured below.  I have sedum in the back that is blossoming a pretty purple flower this fall, and I have some flower pots - that I packed up and brought with me.  Thus, I have a garden.   Yes, I am a gardener.    I don't share Hulda's determination to make bigger and better varieties, my desire for that stops with watering and feeding, tending to, talking to, and looking at.  I love my flowers.  Yes beauty matters.   I notice it all around.  I notice my neighbors brightly blooming flower pots perfectly placed around her property in little groups of 2 or 3 - a mixture of colors and ferns as well.  I notice when I walk the blocks or ride the streets the yards with flowers.    They are a great enjoyment to me. I like the idea of thinking that somehow they would keep away fear? and worrying?  and rushing and running? I will think on that and make it my truth as well.   My husband is getting ready to build a small fence to border our patio.  I have always wanted a patio.  Now I will have a true corner of paradise to sit in and ponder, read, rest, visit, pray, study.

Check out my sister's blog about Where Lilacs Still Bloom at Just One More Thing . . .

All good things must come to an end...

Good-bye to beautiful Colorado!  We will be back!

Coffee at the cabin and breakfast on the road was the plan.  Clay decided to take a new route home and the surprise - no wait - the BLESSING for day #4 was we found ourselves in the Big Thompson Canyon following along the Big Thompson River.  What a gorgeous place!    We found our favorite breakfast at McDonalds in Loveland, then headed on to Burlington, CO several hours later for one last picnic in the park.  One $5.00 container of ham from Safeway's $5.00 Fridays had fed us well!  One quick half-mile walk around the newly built city park and we were back on the road for Kansas!  

My husband and I differ in many ways - he was ready to be home I was feeling melancholy and wanted to turn around and go back.  I'm that way no matter a weekend in Topeka with our daughter, or a trip to Texas to see our son.  There is no better place to be than with family.   So thankful we had this time together just the two of us though!  We will never forget our trip!  Praise God for blessing us with the desires of our heart - to take off on a carefree long weekend to the mountains - no plans - no prep - just the two of us and the Rocky Mountains!  Thank you for safety also.

Sidebar:  While relaxing by the bubbling river at our cabin last night I got a text: from littlest granddaughter Elaine:  Grandma call me.  Love those texts!  When I told her we were in Colorado there was a great big "awwwww kewl!!"  Guess we will be bringing someone along next year :)  Or maybe all 5!!