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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Here It Comes

In Texas there is a saying, "If you don't like the weather just wait around for 24 hours!"  Well that is fine if you don't like the weather, but I was getting spoiled.  We have had the mildest spring and early summer, so I was being lolled into believing that I would have another month of non-sweating outdoor pleasures.

BUT NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In came the 100 plus degrees  busting my bubble.

We had been enjoying outdoor concerts every Tuesday evening....the highest temps of 85 degrees,which for this Texas girl is almost sweater weather.  We have enjoyed a group singing old Beatles songs, another singing songs from 70's to 2000's....that one Benjamin danced while my teen and I giggled.... a great concert for making you feel young again.  We even enjoyed, through crisp breeze, a concert with bagpipes and violin.  But remember I live in Texas, so as I packed to go hear another free outdoor concert, this time a jazz player on trombone, we decided to check the temperature.  It was 104 degrees                                          at six o'clock....................No Way!   I wasn't going to make it through 104 degrees outside, even if a fountain sprinkled near by.

So what does a girl do?  Well she stops canning....I mean hot is hot!  She places a wreath on her door, hoping cooler weather will return, in order to continue her sail pail inspirations, and she adjust the A/C inside.  She heads for the skating rink...yes I put on my skating shoes and the moms out skated the kids!! (skating goes in the spunky category)

In case I am ever thought to be too logical...which is really my nature, I  reserved three days and two nights at a  camp site in a  State Park. (tent camping believe it or not)  Now hopefully the heat of Texas summer will take a deep breath and give me a July 4th breathier.

Now for some Home-made Big Red Ice Cream,  old time movies and reading, what else do you do when the temperatures zap your plans????  Oh, to stay up with the trends and the colors I am enjoying...I also painted my toes L'oreal Now You Sea Me, which is exactly what happens with that color, you see me...and it seems to make me feel cooler (both in style and body heat)  I haven't decided on it, but it has been fun.

I hope you are staying cool.  Prayers for rain for Colorado and New Mexico...blessings to all and to the fire fighters, rescue teams and restoration that will be needed.

Big Red Ice Cream has been made in my family since I was a little girl.  You can use any soft drink.  One 2-liter drink ( ours Big Red), one can of condensed milk and I add one small carton of whipping cream.  Stir together and put in your ice cream maker...that is it....easy, easy and so good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back into the Pot

I was so excited I could strike the once-familiar pose of decades ago (when I was on the drill team), the  Broadway pose with one arm up in the air, and shout, "La Tee Da"!  All my little jars were lined up on the counter and I had camera in hand to record my success.  I had accomplished something.  I texted each of my "un-interested" adult children announcing the number of canned Chipotle Salsas, as well as Strawberry Chipotle Jams.  Yes, I had found a new ingredient and proud of the fact of experimenting with unusual combinations which would add a little zip to our old favorites.

The next morning, "reality check" came as I began to move the jars.  WHAT??? NO!!!  It couldn't be!!!

The jam had refused to set and what I had so excitedly proclaimed as Jam...well, it was syrup!  I ran to my now-trusted source for all information...the computer.  I had a choice. I could just act like that was what I was supposed to have produced...now how much syrup can you use?  I could just give it all away with a disclaimer or I could..................RETURN IT TO THE POT!  Now doubling my work.

What did I do?  Well, it seems God had a lesson for me to learn in this process.  It sure isn't my children, who are being taught all the time....it seems to be me.

Remove all the jam...(ok, syrup) from their jars and pour into the pot.  One jar resisted, causing jam to spill on the floor and counter.  Sounds like I probably don't go willingly into the pot myself.

Wash out all jars, removing all evidence of what was once there.

Return cleaned out jars to boiling water for sterilization

Turn up the heat on the pot of jam and add more pectin.  Let it boil.

Skim from the top of the jam..that which has risen to the top. Are you starting to get the spiritual lesson here?

Return the syrup to the jars for it to become the jam it was meant to be.

Another round of boiling.

The color is deeper red.  I didn't have as much to pour back...some ended up on the floor, the boiling down reduced the amount...it is a stronger jam.

At the end I was glad I did the right thing..that I didn't cop out. I also praised God through the process that He never cops out on me.  He makes sure that whatever processes need to be done in order for me to "fulfill" my calling, He will take the time to complete it.  Now my once, "mistake syrup" fulfilled its destiny as "get ready for some zip" Strawberry Chipotle Jam.
(See, I might have left my bed unmade...but I was busy, however, bed was made this morning!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Unmade Bed

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We live in such a time of unrealistic expectations.  Women are bombarded with "how-to" books giving instructions in perfect parenting technics, while maintaining an unrealistic "in-shape-photo-shop"model body in order to greet guests to her "magazine-cover-decorated home" and still fulfill all the duties of wife and mother with a smile on her face, while usually advancing a full-time career.  The world can really hand us all Pinterest, blogging ideas that are beyond human ability, and yet, we seem to easily take these unrealistic thoughts on life and try our hardest to bring them about.

Somewhere in our journey we realize that what we thought was realistic was only a dream, forcing us to wake up and walk in wonderful reality. Stopping the "rat race" can be freeing.
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I am entering a "reality" summer with my boys, the first of which I am going to have "Don't Make the Bed" weeks. This may make you laugh...but for this "make your bed when you get up" mom, this will be relaxing my idea of running a half-straightened home. No, I am not a neat, control freak...far from it...I have a household of boys and to keep my sanity and health, I tossed that false standard out the window years ago. Now if I had of had a maid along the way, I might have kept higher standards...but those standards would have killed this "solo" mom years ago.  That said, my standard lowering isn't saying much.

My bed, however, has been one area I have kept up a standard.  You do not sit on my bed.  You do not use my accent pillows to sleep on at night, they are removed and put away.  You NEVER use the comforter to sleep under...it is folded at the end of the bed each night...not for use other than decoration.  You make the bed each morning..except Sunday, in which it is a reminder to relax.  My bedding lasts for a decade due to this care.  Yes, that means I don't change my bedroom except once every ten years...good thing, because the budget has never had the luxury of doing it more often.

This week I looked at the bed and said..."so what!"  Who sees my bedroom anyway?  Rarely, I mean, rarely does anyone enter my room, and I am usually warned when someone is coming over.  I no longer have just small children around, which is when I started this standard, because at the end of a day when I thought I hadn't accomplished anything, I saw that I had at least made my bed.

Benjamin and I enjoyed crawling up into the bed during the week with our adventure books.  The pillows around our heads allowed us to float into our imagination.  The cool sheets took the sting out of the summer heat of the day...we slowed down.  Summers with little boys crawling up on my King Size bed for reading time is just too short.  Time to just leave the bed unmade!!

Note to self....time to buy new sleeping pillows...these old ones have lost their fluff.

What are you doing this summer that reminds you to be realistic and enjoy?
I am sure most of you threw out the 'unrealistic' years ago, but it is still easy to find oneself there again with all of our mass media.  I hope you are welcoming wonderful reality.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Bounty of Summer

Summer brings her familiar gifts each year.
Our taste buds receive the bounty as we grace our tables with her delights.
Our eyes are delighted by her beauty.
Joining Vee on Postcard Wednesday I have gathered past post pictures which might make a good post card to be sent to entice others to enjoy summer.

Mosaics of Summer Bounty
 Peaches and Blackberry Cobbler with Ice Cream

Canning - Garden or Local Farmer's Market Produce

Since this butterfly eats my dill/fennel when it is a caterpillar I added it also.  We have just caught our first caterpillar this year and waiting for the metamorphic process.  In the mean time I add it as one of the Beauties of Summer.

A Haven for Vee

Sunday, June 17, 2012

All Because Two People Fell in Love

"All Because Two People Fell in Love" announces a fulfilled dream of this couple as you ascend onto their porch.  The anniversary gift words are mounted above the entry to the home.   We stood on the porch announcing our arrival to celebrate our own anniversary in one of their cabins.  My husband, with the assistance of our two oldest sons, arranged for us to spend our 32nd Anniversary in a cabin at a farm.

I know, that isn't the place most women would want to go...a cruise, Europe, an island, or New York,  but for me, at this season of life, a farm is exactly where I wanted to be.  This farm would hold many inspirations....which would go into my summer sand pail and fulfill my "spunky" word for the year.

Now you must understand WE ARE CITY FOLKS!!!  The closest we get to the farm life is in our imagination and my background of my grandparents' farm.  My husband's idea of roughing it, on the other hand, means there must be A/C and TV available...so you will see that roughing it didn't come into the picture, but relaxation sure did.  There were also other things to glean, from watching the couple whose sign above their front door told the story.
Just entering into this different lifestyle brought excitement with a feeling of adventure.  The red clay soil, as well as the pecan trees and pines brought both of us back to time spent with our grandparents.  We both have roots in East Texas.  Each little town we stopped in and visited, while getting to our destination, populations were less than one our church services...all the cities combined were still smaller than our whole church membership.  This truly is a different way of living...and one I enjoyed being inspired by.

Our cabin for the night looked out over the lake.  I could have set on the porch or the swing for days!
  • This is a couple's dream that started at retirement. they planned their dream and walked out their plan
  • She followed his dream, while also finding her niche in the dream, she is a trained chef and teaches cooking classes in her wonderful kitchen, using the produce of their farm

  • Hard work has its own rewards...their day starts early and ends tired, fulfilled and satisfied
  • The whole family is involved at different stages...two married children and grand children were there to help during this season and also enjoy family vacation time
  • It is possible to do something later in life that you don't have training in if you are willing to learn...they bought this place in 1998 and now it is a self-sustaining farm

After a wonderful steak dinner in the small town of  Avinger (population smaller than my son's high school), I strolled onto the front porch, relaxed in the rocking chair and listened to the "country symphony" being played by God's creation...priceless.  The restful sleep you receive in the stillness of the country fosters an early morning rise of excitement for a day of berry picking.  I first retreated to the porch, Bible in hand, soaking in His word and the wonder of the creation before me...pecan trees, pine trees, fish jumping in the pond...a small taste of heaven. Genesis came to mind..."and He said it was good."

Our berry picking produced  17 pounds of blueberries and blackberries.  This week I will be learning again how to make jams and jelly.  I plan to try my hand at Blueberry Lavender jam and Blueberry Chipotle.  I think a blueberry cobbler is in order also.

My lessons of inspiration...sometimes the work is worth it!  Sometimes small is better than large.  Sometimes you just need a vision. Sometimes God can create something in your second half of life that was greater than the first....all things are possible.  Goodbye Greer Farm, the 24-hour visit was way too short...I will be back, next time to soak in more and fill my journal with new inspiration, while taking a cooking class.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Inspirational Sand

Shoveling inspirational sand into our summer sand pails may become a summer favorite.  Although we haven't picked out our buckets, intentional and surprise situations are begging us to shovel the sand.

One large scoop of inspirational sand came on Sunday as we celebrated a birthday very few people will ever experience themselves.  My mother-in-law traveled to her surprise lunch with our family.  We gathered at an establishment which she had driven past for decades. 

Just the fact that this restaurant had been established in 1919 is surprising, yet this day it would host our family gathering to celebrate a
97th Birthday!! 
Just imagine what changes my mother-in-law has experienced in her lifetime.  How easy it is to forget the importance of celebrating LIFE!  Is there anyone who doesn't enjoy being celebrated?
Still living on her own in her home she gives the example of how to just enjoy life.
Forget all the health advice...she has followed very little of it, and yet, she is healthy and alert, with an understanding about life that most of us will never hold.  She has always been the example of contentment.

Scoop number 2 - Vacation Bible School - who doesn't grow spiritually through VBS?  Benjamin hit the floor ready to go on Monday morning. I praise all those who give their time and efforts to this worthy event each summer.

Scoop number 3 - Evening picnic in the park.  After a trip to the used book store we took our blanket to the park.  I had made chicken salad and served it in Mason Jars...bright colored forks to add a zip to our picnic.   The wonder of just being outside as the sun shut its eyes.  Benjamin watched the birds and collected pecan leaves for his nature book, along with chasing a baby frog.  Long legs (my 16 year old, who is 6'3") became an adventurous young boy  hoping across the stream...stretching out his legs to see if he could make it without falling into the water.    His braces-exposed grin shows how nature just calls us to come play...skip across the stream, run after the birds...breath in the air.
I read the beginning of one of my newest books...the words captivated the truth I was hearing in my spirit, as I watched Benjamin climb on the playground.

I sit on my favorite rock, looking over the brook, to take time away from busy-ness, time to be.  I've long, since stopped feeling guilty about taking being time; it's something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don't  take enough of it.
Walking on Water - Madeleine L'Engle

I can truly say my mother-in-law has always know how to have being time.  She has never worried about to-do list and never forgets to have her pie and coffee.

Scoop number 4 - My Inspirational Sand Book List
  • Les Miserables- by far the most impressive musicals I have ever seen...even if it was over 20 years ago.  This December it will be brought, once again, to the movie screen and I just have to take the time to read before I stand in line to be one of the first to see this movie.  Grace and Law....how beautiful depicted!  This trailer gives me goose bumps!

  • Walking on Water - Madeleine L' Engle
  • The Irrational Season - Madeleine L' Engle
  • The Betsy-Tacy Treasury - Maud Hart Lovelace - yes for me
  • Benjamin's collection is growing...because his mother loves children's books
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - for long legs, as he begins his summer reading also
Scoop number 5 - Outdoor concert with hits from the 70's.  This will be fun...while my teenage son will be making fun of the oldies, I will be re-living my wonderful teenage years in my mind.  Benjamin will probably be dancing....this will be a fun scoop.

Scoop number 6 for this week.
My 32nd Wedding Anniversary

I hope you are having fun scooping some summer sand inspirations.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sun-shining Inspirational Summer

A great painting, or symphony, or play, doesn't diminish us, but enlarges us, and we, too, want to make our own cry of affirmation to the power of creation behind the universe.  This surge of creativity has nothing to do with competition, or degree of talent.  Madeleine L'Engle - A Circle of Quiet

Last summer was interrupted with  a move...not this summer...well I hope NOT!  So as school has came to a close I look forward to the schedule-less season of summer.  As I pondered on what this season would hold I read the above book and this quote jumped from the pages.  That was it...this was to be a summer of inspiration and fun..a time to just enjoy!

Debbie of Wagon of Words called it her Sand Pail List...a season to enjoy life from a different angle. Here is my Inspiration list!

  • Free Concerts in the Park - every Tuesday night there will be free concerts with varying genres 
  • Trips to the Museums....the Kimbell is hosting an exhibit of the Impressionist  Dallas and Fort Worth are loaded with varies museums to ignite many interest
  • An one-line art classes - Art de Jour@Martha Lever - Ben has already gotten started outside with his easel        
  • Time with nature - our garden and as many visits as possible to the Parks, probably camping
  • Reading - I am challenging myself to read new authors and explore new genres - Benjamin is signed up at the library for the reading program

  • Being creative - the sewing room has already been occupied.  Benjamin drew up his design for a pillow case and then with help from Mom, sewed the "best pillowcase ever" in his words
  • Hold your ears...I might even set down at the piano and see if I can remember my lessons from way too may decades ago
More bags...both gifts to deserving women.


I am looking forward to this season with my youngest two boys....may it hold memories that will last a life time...and may I see the refreshing of my own soul.  I will probably find myself camping under the stars with them both...as one hikes up Enchanted Rock.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Is Your Posture?

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Recently my posture has been on my mind.  I know, that means I have too much free time on my hands.  Through my gym visits I started to notice I had become lazy in how I carried myself.  Just a quick glance in the store windows showed that I am allowing gravity to shorten my posture, while affecting my attitude.  Somehow I allowed the worries of the world to lower my shoulders.  I know better...or else I use to know better.  All those hours of dance lessons taught me how to carry my body...I needed a refresher course.
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I began to align my posture and you know what????    I noticed a change.  I noticed I felt slimmer...and at this time in my life anything helps, even if it is just a mental thought.  I noticed that when I lifted myself up and walked with proper posture I felt a mental boost.  Who knew?

I decided to research the benefits of good posture and look what I found.
  • you look 10 pounds lighter - now that is a diet plan I can follow
  • you appear more confident
  • affects your health inside
  • your chest being open instead of contracted says to other - I am ready to listen
  • back straight communicates pride
  • allows you to breath easier and deeper...well I need that also
  • helps your muscles and your joints...all 50 plus-year-old need this
  • changes your frame of mind...oh I need that benefit!!
I have already observed most of these benefits by just being cautious of my posture.

I realized how easy it has been to communicate through how I hold myself and through doing so allowed the enemy to weigh me down.  Shoulders back, stand up straight...stop slouching!!!   A new memo to myself.

Matt. 11:30 -For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

How is your posture?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

His Hands, His Feet

Being His hands and His feet is one of the greatest joys of serving our Lord.  I do not believe we have to leave our own city in order to represent Him.  In every city there are needs!  God calls some to the mission field of their own city and neighborhood...I feel that is where God has called me.  There are others that God takes 1/2 around the world for a short mission trip, others called for a lifetime.

Here is the last video of my son's trip to Cambodia.  The ending words say it all.  My son used his skills to bring joy to children...this is his second play ground.  He and his brother have now used their skills to bless children in the inter-city of Atlanta, San Antonio and now Cambodia.  I hope you will be blessed and encouraged in your own personal mission field. Thank you for your prayer support.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It is Good To Be Reminded

Memorial Day meant packing up our car and heading for the lake. The four of us were ready to enjoy some down time. As we drove to our destination, my husband called his 86-year-old uncle to say "Happy Memorial Day". The phone call reminded us of the freedoms we have in America and the price that has been paid. His uncle recalled all his brothers who had served in the wars, as well as himself. They represented the Army, Navy and Marines. The stories of his memories rang in my head all day.

 After our time at the lake, we started back, going down a different highway from how we had come...there was a reason. The highway signs announced President Dwight D. Eisenhower's birthplace. We took a detour to share this part of American history with our two sons.
Eisenhower's birthplace...Denison, Texas

 After visiting the birthplace, we saw the newly constructed bust of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the side of the highway. This solemn visit again reminded us of the sacrifices others have given for our freedom. On Tuesday, we exercised one of our freedoms....The Right To Vote. I felt President Eisenhower's quote inscribed below his bust said it all:
"There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens can not cure."  President Dwight David Eisenhower
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