Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Metamorphosis means "change of form."

Each was given a name...his siblings. The first product from my garden..eating my dill.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.  ~Richard Bach
Two stages at one time observed.,  pupa and caterpillar.
Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine.  ~Jeffrey Glassberg

Benjamin and I have been enjoying the miracle of metamorphosis our creator created.
Yesterday Benjamin released two butterflies....we have five more caterpillars.
I believe God is always putting us each through some phase 
of metamorphosis.
Some stages are prettier than others...but at the end God has transformed us to fly for His glory.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Relating to My Son - Priceless

Okay I am confessing there are just some things from my youth I am not going to grow out of.  During my early mothering days I was (still am), very cautious about the music I exposed my children's ear to.  I wanted to develop their ears with good music until the day they had spiritual discernment for what was produced through the world.  My rules were Classical and Christian music piped through the airwaves of our home.

Even with the regulated hearing of my younger children's ears I never lost the enjoyment of different artist from my youth.  There were decades I never listened to what is now "oldies" but now that they are "oldies" I truly love singing along with them.  I can tell you where I was, what I was wearing at the time many of the songs where released and my emotions take me back in just one note of a song.  It is one of the fastest ways for me to shed 30 years of age...truly my fountain of youth.  I don't have regrets from my youth so all my memories are totally enjoyable, otherwise I might feel differently.

Now all my children love music.  As they entered their driving age they began to pick their own form of music venues.  I have to admit some venues were not my favorite, but there are some grounds that we share.

My ALLEN, college graduate, climbing the corporate ladder, finished his quotas 9 months instead of 12 (bragging a little on achievements)....we share a love for the EAGLES!!!!  He plays the guitar and I have ranted on the playing of these now "older" men's guitar playing,  trying to prove that age doesn't mean you lose all your skills.

Eagles Latest Album cover

Last year when I was drooling over wanting to see the Eagles for my 30th Anniversary....well it didn't happen, I received a delayed Anniversary gift.

One day I saw my son was going to be in our home town when the Eagles were playing.  Not only would they be in town, they would preform at the park where his Dad and I spent hours in our dating years.  There on  memory lane for me, my son took his modern day phone, held it up over the crowd and sent me a video of the Eagles playing one of my favorite songs from the past.

So yesterday, my son, who has it all together, called and said, "Guess What?"  He had called on a  60 plus year old woman client at her home.  She goes on to tell him who all lives on her street - many professional athletes and celebrities....then she says with a young girl grin, "and yes the singer from the Eagles!"  She starts to laugh at how she stalks him and watches what he does.  She laughs about how silly her husband thinks she is.  She had just seen him sending items through the UPS.  My son just laughed with this woman and says, "well I can't tell my mom where he lives!"  Then he gets into the car to call his MOM!!

If you knew me you would know how out of character it is for me to like any celebrities - that is my husband, but start to play an Eagles song and I have become a young girl all over again.  I start to get giggly and talk in a higher voice.

Sometimes it is just fun to dance around and remember being in high school and the early love that my husband and I shared, as we now venture into season of our grey hairs, we enjoy going back in time also.  I had to stop my day and text my husband a love message.  What a great way to re-kindle fires!  I did go buy their new album, which can be purchased in vinyl also, now how retro is that?
Relating to your Son is a Pure Simple Pleasure!!  Re-Kindling Fires is a Simple Pleasure Also!!

My son promised to take me to their next concert when they are in town...I am holding him to it.

Project Simple Pleasures2

Monday, May 23, 2011

Contentment - Can It Be?

Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty

On a recent visit to my mother-in-law's home, I pondered on contentment.  She will turn 96 in July, still lives on her own and has always lived debt-free, living without a list of wants.  What she has accomplished most Americans would say is just impossible...now really?

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.1 Timothy 6:6-7

As I strolled through her house, I let my gaze wander around.  I entered this family 33 years ago at the young age of 17.  In all these years, very little has changed in this household.  The house was purchased for $15,000 dollars cash back in the 60's.  The new carpet was installed  prior to our wedding 31 years ago. My sister-in-law and I have painted, wallpapered and installed curtains.   My sister-in-law (age 70) continues to update with little accents - flowers, pictures and gifts for decor.  Meals have always been simple... I don't know if she owns a cookbook.  Entertainment decor and planned events have consisted of the guests chatting around the table.  No HGTV nor Martha Stewart here, and therefore, no sense of competition or inadequacies reside.

The swings in the backyard have given hours of play to eight grandchildren ranging from age 49 to 5 - six are ours, as well as three great-granddaughters.  Other than the seats being changed out through the years, the swings remain the same.  She has never felt that she needed to entertain her grandchildren with modern day updated toys or trips.  At one time, tin cans were placed in holes in the yard for Grandfather to putt golf balls into, which grandsons also enjoyed.  Simple, and yet such a diversion from their normal activities, these creative alternatives brought novel enjoyment.

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"  Hebrews 13:5

The hall closet still contains the vintage toys enjoyed through the many decades by grandchildren and great-grands.

A new stove graces the very, very small kitchen. This is her newest purchase, yet rarely used these days.

Other than a new car every two years (always paid for in cash), meals eaten out (dining out is her delight), new clothes purchased seasonally, and a new smaller couch for her TV room....not much has been purchased through the years.  Their money was given and spent on their family for needs.

Everything is spotless and un-cluttered.  There isn't hoarding or dirtiness due to neglect.  The place echoes "this is fine with me" as I have never heard my mother-in-law talk about wanting anything.  She never dreamed of traveling,(doesn't own a passport) or a new larger home, fancy kitchen appliances, furniture or the newest house decor trend... all of which clutter my list of wants. Has she found "contentment"?

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  Philippians 4:11-12

My pondering has stayed with me as I continue to read Little House in the Ozarks . Through all the years, financial stress has never been something she endured. But then again, maybe that is because she became content so many years ago.  She celebrated marriage until her life-long husband made it to heaven before her.  She never grew a garden or clipped coupons and yet they built up a large enough savings to sustain her all these years.  His income was below average, yet all of their needs were met.  She now struggles with the new loss of her physical independence and will ask if her make-up looks right.  Other than that, I would say she continues to be content.  The only thing that she is dissatisfied with is not seeing her family....she never sees them enough.

This piece is preaching to me....may I have ears to hear.  An example of Godly contentment is laid before me to witness.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tadpole Hunting

Tradition is anything that is repeated over and over again and ours makes a family memory.  Tadpole hunting is a tradition in this home-school-male-dominated household.  This once-girly-dancer, a  "screaming-at-bugs,-ignorant-about-sports" mom turned in her girly dancing shoe ways to explore the outdoors with her children.  Spring meant loading up the car with nets, jars and picnic lunches to venture out to the nearby river-flowing park.  My four little ducklings (and later five) would excitedly gather in the van for a tadpole hunting adventure.  Before we exited our van, I would give all the precautions, because I had very small ones at the time.  The three boys would listen intently and follow all rules...I was not going to have to pull them from the stream.  MY DAUGHTER (just so you're sure which one it was) always nodded in agreement with a subtle smile, warning you that following the rules for her were (and still are)... optional.

Each year this energetic, nature-hiking mother would believe the past year's excursion would NOT be repeated ....but then tradition means repeated events...RIGHT?

Yesterday, I took number six on a tadpole hunt.  This time, it was only him and me.   We ventured down to the nearby creek.  As we walked, I told him about the tradition that was established by "Sissy".

Through giggles, he asked me questions about my adventures with "Sissy," while we explored for tadpoles.

"Yes, Sissy................."  that's right. Each year my ONLY GIRL, with the twinkle of "rules are option" in her eyes would FALL into the creek!  Not just once, not just twice, but EVERY year.  Somehow she would manage to "SLIP" into the creek.  All the boys would laugh and say, "NICOLE!!" as we would pull her from the water.

I will know if they read my blog - now age 27, 22, 20 and 25!
I know we found tadpoles and we brought them home to our little pond...for science, but the memory that became tradition was her falling into the creek.

My little one laughs over what "Sissy" did and this mother looks back and smiles also..."Yes, Sissy ALWAYS fell into the creek!"  I am sure there were times this unprepared mother (who didn't bring an extra set of clothes or towels) didn't think it was all that silly. But as we all tell the story of tadpole hunting, that is what we all remember.

Now that "Sissy" is still transitioning through her stages of life like the tadpole, she might even be "kissing some frogs"...but I know the Prince of Peace holds her in His hands.  Thank you God, for tadpoles and falling into the creek, which continues to remind this mother that "slipping" can later be celebrated as a tradition.

Don't we all kiss some frogs in life before we really enjoy the Prince?
Oh, daughter approved post...she loved it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What is a Girl To Do?

During this season of the year, I love to hop into my modern day American Model-T (15MPG) and cruise through the countryside, allowing me to de-stress from the mundane of life.  However, this once-enjoyed pastime, where I roll down the windows and envision myself in a convertible while I fly through the countryside, is now becoming only a vision in my rear view mirror of the past.

I want to go see flowers, new born animals, smell the non-city air and sing at the top of my lungs to oldies.

So What is A Girl to Do?
Me at my Grandfather's Farm back in high school.
I could go back to the early days of transportation....besides, I do live in Texas.  The only problem with this relaxing way of travel is that I haven't been on a horse since I was in high school.  I also live within 1/4 of a mile of the busiest highway in north Texas and I don't think the two systems of transportation would agree with each other.  Now give me "Land, lots of Land...just turn me loose, let me straddle on my old saddle....don't fence me in" and I will more than try to relearn how to ride a horse.  I am sure it would be the best way to de-stress and see the beautiful countryside.

This was about the size of the Smart Car...which would make me the smallest bug on the road....can we say "squaash"?

Second, I could go back to the form of transportation I used in high school when our country was going through a gas crisis.  This little thing would get me where ever I wanted to go....No Air Conditioning, No Power Windows....well, No Power Anything....but boasted 50 miles per gallon.  Now with it I could see some country while sticking to my seat from the lack of A/C and gearing down on my stick shift.

But the real solution...as I have mentioned in this past post (A Girl Can Dream) is the car below.  Now this would be the answer!!!

Since none of the above are going to happen, I need to find another way to feel like I am escaping into the country.  Blogging into many of your worlds allows that without paying $4.00 a gallon.  DVDs from the library allow me to see beautiful destinations I may never experience in my life time.  I can also just pour myself a glass of iced tea, put on some bright sunglasses....and walk into the backyard with a good book or close my eyes and envision myself walking along the beach.

I do own a pink bike and I have been riding her...they say you never forget how to ride a bike, but I am not getting very far at this point. Right now it isn't a positive form of de-stressing, my muscles are yelling.

How are you making it practically with the price of gas????

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Freedom and Liberty

Last Thursday my son and I attended our first National Day of Prayer on the Courthouse steps in Denton, Texas.  Although I have followed and prayed on this day since my children were little, this is the first time we have joined a group on the steps of our government.  As I walked up to the side of the court house my breath was caught by a humbling awe in my spirit.  What a privileged to live in the United States of America.  How easily I am taking this freedom to gather in public to pray for our Nation as something that is common.  These words started to ring in my memory.


How easily I can forget, as my heart quietly said the Pledge of Alliance while bowing my head in prayers of agreement at this day of prayer, that I have the freedoms and liberty I enjoy.  We weren't afraid of being arrested, neither did we put our life at risk in order to petition God for our country.  

Over 30 local clergy made a line across the courthouse steps.  The Shofars were blown piercing the air in a call to prayer.  The Cherokee Nation,  just miles up the road,  was represented by an Apostle..  He began his prayer in his native language.  Messianic Synagogue, Nazarene, Bible Church, Non-denominational, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, and the Open Range Cowboy Churches prayed in unity.

The Excellency of Brotherly Unity.
A Song of Ascents, of David.
1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
         For brothers to dwell together in unity!
2It is like the precious oil upon the head,
         Coming down upon the beard,
         Even Aaron’s beard,
         Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
3It is like the dew of Hermon
         Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
         For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.

Prayers were prayed for

  • Peace of Jerusalem
  • International Relations
  • US Government Leaders
  • State Government Leaders
  • City and County Leaders
  • Armed Forces and Veterans
  • Businesses and Economy
  • Unity and Healing of the Earth
  • Media
  • Churches
  • Families
  • First Responders
  • Schools/Education
  • Missions/Jails/Hospitals
The crowd agreed with resounding Amens and applause.

This is only one day, only one time of prayer and we all know that our nation needs prayers everyday, and yet, this one event humbled this American-born-Christian 50-year-old-woman, who was just a little too comfortable in her freedom.

As the closing song (I Am Proud to be An American) was sung gentle tears streamed down my face.  Thank you God for our Nation...may we learn to Bless You!
* We also viewed "Taking Chance", which again reminded us of the sacrifices of our service people and their families.  This movie is very good for older children to see the actual cost of our freedom.

Somehow in the past few days blogger has had some problems and deleted my post, so this has been reposted and past comments were deleted....sorry for the repeat, but I did want it on my blog log.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Applauding Teachers

Chocolate and Soft Honey Cream Caramels in process of  cutting.
Well there are always times for first times, and again last week my youngest child gave me another first time experience when we participated in Teacher's Appreciation week at his two day school.  We made cards for each of his teachers and I moved my inspired-bottom-half to the kitchen.

Inspirations came from having been sent a jar of wonderful homemade soft caramels.  I just had to learn how to make them so we could enjoy them ourselves and share with others.

Filling jars of sweetness for all of Benjamin's teachers, gave me a good excuse to try homemade caramels without added too much weight to my own hips.

Make into squares and wrap in parchment paper.

They turned out wonderful...to my surprise, and I plan on tweaking them some more by using vanilla beans next time.

As I entered the school where I mentor I over head the plans for Teacher's Appreciation within the public schools.  The teachers were having massages during their lunch breaks and meals catered from near by restaurants.  What a wonderful joy to see that those who work so hard were being giving a pat on the back...literally.

So this home school mom of 22 years participated in Teacher's Appreciation week.  Now don't get me wrong we have appreciated coaches and co-op teachers with gifts, but this is first time we have been part of an organized Teacher's Appreciation.

So I send an applaud to all those who have taught in - Sunday School, Church Youth Groups, Public or Private Schools, Music, Art or Sports....and of course, for those of us who have home schooled also....you are all appreciated!

From my test kitchen.  There were plenty recipes online, however, I used this one and checked out the cookbook from the library. I will probably purchase this cookbook.  The cookbook is packed with wonderful recipes.
The Sweet Melissa Baking Book - Melissa Murphy
Honey Cream Caramels

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup of clover honey
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract (trying vanilla bean next time)
( I used 1/4 cup of roasted and crushed walnuts to cover bottom of pan)
(Sea Salt to sprinkle lightly over top)
*( ) are my additions

Lightly butter an 8 x8 x 2 in square pan - I lined my pan with parchment paper, up all sides 

1)  In a large non reactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, heavy cream and butter.  Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat.
2)  Stir in vanilla
3)  Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with Sea Salt (this really adds so much, don't forget it, salt was in the ones I was sent)  Set aside, uncovered, in cook place to firm up...I left my over night
4)  When firm you can pull the parchment paper and the candy comes out of the pan and ready to be cut.  You might have to butter your knife....cut into squares

Wrap each square in wax or parchment paper.  The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.  (Do not leave the caramels in the open air and walk away from cutting for hours...they will just slowly melt out of shape.  So wrap and put in airtight container....I learned.)

For Chocolate....add 4 ounces of best-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped in with vanilla at the end and stir until smooth.

I hope you enjoy!!! Maybe one day you can come to my test kitchen.  Benjamin will be there to greet you with a smile.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mothers Through the Generations

I know each generation believes that they can improve on past generations parenting....just go to your library and read the titles of shelves and shelves of how-to-books on parenting.   A recent study came out debunking past methods of discipline, possible leaving many mothers with guilt trips for having followed past generations, while opening the door to arrogance in this new generation of mothers.  I shake my own head at how the advice has changed from my first born 27 years ago to my last baby 5 years ago.  

No matter what the new promoted training method maybe  in each generation the heart of all mothers remain the same.  Just ease drop on public conversations...very easy now days when everyone is talking on their cell phone in public and you hear the familiar.  No matter the nationality, color of the skin or economic background a mother's conversations with her children are familiar to us all. The common bond of a mother's love links all generations.

Today I want to share a piece written in 1921...I have saved the author to the end as a surprise.
Happy Mother's Day

Are You Your Children's Confidant?
September 1921
     A letter from my mother, who is seventy-six years old, lies on my desk beside a letter from my daughter far away in Europe.  Reading the message from my mother, I am a child again and longing unutterable fills my heart for Mother's counsel, for the safe haven of her protection and the relief from responsibilities which trusting in her judgment always gave me.
     But when I turn to the letter written by my daughter, who will always be a little girl to me no matter how old she grows, then I understand and appreciate my mother's position and her feelings toward me.
    Many of us have the blessed privilege of being at the same time mother and child, able to let the one interpret the other to us until our understanding of both is full and rich.  What is there in the attitude of your children toward yourself that you wish were different?  Search your heart and learn if your ways toward your own mother could be improved.
     In the light of experience and the test of the years, can you see how your mother might have been more to you, could have guided you better?  Then be sure you are making the most of your privileges with the children who are looking to you for love and guidance.  For there is, after all, no great difference between generations; the problems of today and tomorrow must be met in much the same way as those of yesterday.
     During the years since my mother was a girl to the time when my daughter was a woman, there have been many slight, external changes in the fashions and ways of living, some change in the thoughts of the world, and much more freedom in expressing those thoughts.  But the love of mother and child is the same, with the responsibility of obedience and respect on the other.
     The most universal sentiment in the world is that of mother-love.  From the highest to the lowest in the scale of humanity, and all through the animal kingdom, it is the strongest force in creation, the conserver of life, the safeguard of evolution.  It holds within its sheltering care the fulfillment of the purpose of creation itself.  In all ages, in all countries it is the same - a boundless, all-enveloping love; if necessary, a sacrifice of self for the offspring.
     Think of the number of children in the world, each the joy of some mother's heart, each a link connecting one generation with another, each a hope for the future....
    It stuns the mind to contemplate their number and their possibilities, for these are the coming rulers of the world: the makers of destiny, not only for their own generation but for the generations to come.  And they are being trained for their part in the procession of time by the women of today.  Surely, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."
Laura Ingalls Wilder - The Rediscovered Writings
She started writing for journals at the age of 45 and started her "Little House in the Prairie" series at age 65.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Love Mud!

Since the time Benjamin was able to walk and talk he declared to us, "I Love Mud!"  Each time it would rain his response was, "Yea! there will be mud!"  When the "mud" dried up he would say, "it is frozen mud."  Joy just feels his heart at the sight of mud and endless hours of play have been spent playing with God's creation...mud.

So the other day it wasn't surprising that for the fourth spring in a roll Benjamin had found mud.  He went to work on his mud pies, as well as covering himself in this "spa" desired bath.  After the play was over, he was disrobed, to be swiftly carried to an awaiting bath tub.

I stepped just outside the view of his eyes to listen to my son at play.  He began washing his play day off, the mud washing into the water by soap.  "Sin" was being washed by the "Holy Spirit" as my son began to innocently sing in the process.
Only Jesus, Only Jesus 
can save a wayward soul
Only Jesus, Only Jesus
can make a sinner whole.
His young mind hadn't intended the analogy I was hearing in my spirit.  Only Jesus can wash away our sins (dirt) as the Holy Spirit washes us (water) with conviction. Only Jesus forgives and washed our sins down the drain, never to be seen again.  Only Jesus makes us white as snow...we are forgiven.

Only Jesus - National Day of Prayer

The dirt was all washed off and my baby boy stepped out of the dirt-stain tub with a sweet smelling body.

Now we don't know where he got his love for mud....but my guess is, that his other siblings have also shown the same admiration for mud!  Don't tell...he might shoot me!
Our oldest....now 27 and this was years before Benjamin was born.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Painting for My Vintage Barn

I have to admit this barn is beautiful without paint...the same isn't true for me.
Since this is my first year in my 50's, I need to give into the fact that this old  barn "ain't what she used to be"...besides, any item age 50 is vintage.  Most vintages pieces are treasured for their value and signs of wear. But when it comes to a woman, well that trait isn't as desirable.

Before our trip to my in-laws, I went to the store to see if I could just locate a new pair of sandals. To my dismay, I stood there not having a clue what I should buy.  This once-shoe-hog had lost her flair for buying a new pair of shoes.  Then I wandered over to the shirts...again, I had no clue.  Finally, I disgustedly walked over to the only area I felt confident....home interiors.  I strolled through the familiar home accessories and went home empty-handed with a big bruise on my stylish ego.

So, for the month of May, I am joining Melaine Dorsey at Bella Mella  She will be leading in this 31 days Closer to: a Cuter You, along with 5 other bloggers... 31 Days Closer to:  Hearing God's Voice; Closer to Your Kids; Life You Always Wanted; Health, Wellness and Bathing Suit Season; and A New Home.   Looks like I will be learning in many areas of my life that could use some paint.

Now I am sure she won't be suggesting that I allow my daughter to color my hair, but she has and I am enjoying it....now for the rest of me inside and out.  I will be blogging on what I have learned...in the mean time, my husband  decided to smooth my bruised ego with a new purse.

What do you think?  My 95 year-old mother-in-law commented, "well, they can see you coming!"  Don't know if that was the intent, but it sure will match any color I can find....and it makes me smile.  Thanks for a purse-buying-husband.

This will be fun!...painting My Vintage Barn.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Am Lighting Up the Sky in Prayers

Last month I posted about a concert in which we saw and heard the song "Light Up the Sky".click name to see post and watch video. 

You light, light, light up the sky 
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me 
And I, I, I can't deny 
No I can't deny that you and right here with me 
You've opened my eyes 
So I can see you all around me 
You light, light, light up the sky 
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me 

(Jesus is the light)
This past week tornadoes swift through our country leaving devastation in their paths...loss of lives, homes and cities leaving behind little sense of "normal".  So many lives will never be the same.

My heart has been heavy as I have knelt my knees in prayers and cried over the losses.

Today I listened to Addison "This Little Light of Mine",(click to view, not traditional song, new version) with tears running down my cheeks, crying out, "Lord may my light shine in this darkness so many are experiencing."  I am asking God for creative ways for me to help, while I continue to lift them up in prayers.

Today I posted this firecracker lighting up the skies....sending words and visuals of hope to all that are walking through this time. 

May we all Lift up Our Light and Let the Light Give Hope!
Praying for you all.
"The young women will dance for joy, and the men --old and young--will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing." Jeremiah 31:13
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