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, July 29, 2012

Olympic Sand Goes into the Sand Pail

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My inspiration for summer was to fill my sand pail with inspiration sand... this was long before I realized the Summer Olympics would be taking place. I have to say.........YEA! I am enjoying scooping up this sand.

The Olympics just shouts out INSPIRATION:

  • determination
  • destiny
  • discipline
  • dedication
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We grabbed a new world map and gathered to enjoy the Opening Ceremony.  Benjamin excitedly took in all the events...we all did.  As the teams from each country entered into the arena, the countries challenged our knowledge of geography as we pointed them out on the map for Benjamin.  We hung the map on the wall to use as a reference throughout the games.  We laid down all our political views to enjoy the coming together of the world in this united event.

The Theme for the Olympics - "Inspire a Generation"
  • the joy of watching a six-year-old take in the competition with expressions of  "I want to do that one day".
  • explaining that we're rooting for the USA team and that Texas is NOT a country.
  • making an Olympic Flag and explaining the meaning of the rings, along with other crafts to learn  about the Olympics and the various countries around the world.
  • inspiration by all the Olympians who are also wives and mothers...the older Olympians just shout out "there is still life left for those not in their 20's"...expanding what can be done at all ages.
  • shouting for Michael Phelps...and still being excited at Ryan Lochte as he brought home the first gold medal in swimming (our son has been told he looks like Phelps so everyone facebooked him that he didn't swim fast enough.... we are enjoying the comparison!  (Go Phelps!!)
  • stories...oh, the inspirational stories!
  • YEA! for P&G commercials....a tribute to all Moms!  I love that the athletes' moms still see them as their little children.
  • the joy of just feeling that all these countries can come together in peace for this healthy competition.
  • the motivation of watching others achieve their dreams...pushing me to dream - BIG!!
I plan to continue to enjoy the Olympics...red, white and blue popcorn, different ethnic foods, reading and watching the world compete for medals.  We will enjoy the cool indoors....our temps will be over 100 all week!

Our family attended some events at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.  At that time they thought the Olympics would be in Dallas in the near future...it hasn't happened yet, however, back in 1996 we all promised that no matter where we all lived we would join up again if the Olympics came anywhere close. I hope that happens in my lifetime.

Joining Susan at My Place to Yours  (click to read her party),  she suggested putting three of our past posts under medals.

Silver Medal - Silver Boxes

How about you joining in posting medal winning  past posts in each of these categories?  For those Olympic watchers....catch you on the couch scooping in inspirational sand.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Time to Hand Me Another Piece

Driving two hours by myself after two days of non-stop talking... well, I was silent.  I meditated on the weekend the Lord had provided for Ethel and me.  Thoughts swirled around in my heart and head as I cried out to the Lord, "Please put them in order. Show me what you accomplished."

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The picture started to unfold.

Years ago as new brides, we each had our own mental picture painted in our heads on how life would progress.  The finished picture of the future stood prominently on display as we gently and carefully placed each puzzle piece into its place.  Yes, there were adjustments along the way, but for the most part, the puzzle pieces went into place with ease.

Jump forward 30 plus years later.  The table still displays the unfinished puzzle of both of our lives...our faith still holds each piece together. However, the storms of life have blown the original picture, which guided our selection for the next puzzle piece, away.  As we visit, we acknowledge that some of the original pieces had fallen to the floor as the storms took the picture away.  Some of the pieces had been lost!

We turn to each other with the realistic awareness that we no longer know what the end picture is to look like.  We now stand trying to put pieces into place without a visual guide.
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One would pick up a piece and say, "You think this will fit?  Maybe you need to turn that piece.  Does this one fit in at another angle from what you envisioned?  How about following a new picture so the pieces you have now been given will continue to fit the puzzle?  It is fine, it is just different than you had thought."

I believe we both left with new pieces of our life's puzzles added to our developing puzzle of life.  Some of the pieces that looked dark in color before we visited have now changed to brighter colors, reflecting hope.

We began some practical placing of inspirational pieces into our puzzle.  Ethel was in need of some inspirational pieces that would bring out her creative side again, after her puzzle had gone through extreme changes.  So off to the bookstore we drove.

Lucy suggested, "Walk around until your eye catches something.  Look at the magazine until you are inspired, even if it is something you have never thought of."

Within a few minutes, Ethel's eyes were sparkling as she flipped through a magazine showing vintage, embellished clothing.  She began to design ideas in her head and out through her mouth.

So what did we do?  We hopped back into the car and headed for thrift stores.  By the end of our shopping day, we had gathered together enough material to make four outfits.  Now don't be surprised if Ethel comes out with her own vintage-shabby-chic clothing line.

I grabbed my own inspiration.  Yes, I found this....now I am on the hunt and pinning anything that has to do with Vintage Campers.  Mary Jane's Farm will be coming out with a book called Glamping with Mary Jane.- a must-have guide for adding glamour to outdoor pursuits for the backyard and beyond.
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Now this has been a summer for releasing the puzzle picture of the past that I had put into my head and grasping the picture God has created instead.  As I look to the Master Puzzle builder, I rejoice that He allows us to be His hands and feet...and sometimes that means picking up a puzzle piece for a friend and putting it into place.  I came home and picked up some pieces I had allowed to fall to the floor...it is my choice to place them back in the puzzle.  Neglect or discouragement can fog our eyesight and make the pieces seem to not fit into the puzzle.  The truth still rings in my ear, "He isn't finished yet!"

May you be a puzzle builder....and may you rejoice as others come along side you to help when your pieces have been scattered on the floor.  I know I sure am.  So Lucy and Ethel made their individual drives home, with new puzzles being arranged on their table.  Only He knows what the puzzle looks like when finished.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Foreshadowing Pictures, Words to Come

They say a picture paints a thousand words. So here is where I begin my words,  sharing my time with my "Ethel" by pictures.  The words are being processed in my head and heart to be shared later as they come together.

No grape stomping...but we did return to many sights and times of years ago...both in what we visited and our countless hours of talking.  Both visiting past history around the town and our own past history allowed us to start putting pieces back on each our unfinished life puzzles.

Marlin, Texas was once a booming spa town.  The mineral waters brought people from all over the world.  The walls of the local buildings portray the once vibrant city, which now struggles to survive.

Homestead Heritage is a community outside of Waco whose vision is to continue the arts and knowledge of past generations, through sustainable culture.  Our family visits their yearly Thanksgiving Festival.  I would love to go back and take classes in cheese and soap making.  We ate our dinner at their cafe.
Homestead Heritage...click to see the wonders of this community.

The dinner was wonderful...white tablecloths with flowers.  Our host and hostess at the B&B were a God-send.  This Christian couple's joy for how they served you just bubbled over.  Their obedience to the dream God gave them couldn't help but inspire us also to dream.  God truly hand-picked this place for us.

Bed and Breakfast on White Rock Creek...click and see this little treasure outside of Waco.  We stayed in the Savannah Suite.

Oh, no pictures of me....well, before I left I decided to color my hair.  My daughter keeps telling me I use the wrong color...so I took her advice...not always good.  My hair turned into "Witchy-Poo Black"...and I don't look good in black.  Lucy could have spent the trip with a bag over her head. Instead, I made sure I wasn't in any pictures!

I explained this before...I am Lucy only because I am the taller of the two of us.  We began calling ourselves Lucy and Ethel years ago because of some of our adventurous antics.

Now I must say...this trip placed a huge scoop of sand in my sand pail. The sand placed in my pail were inspiration, hope, renewal, spunk and meekness.  The puzzle pieces are coming together.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bless the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News

What a privilege to bless and honor someone!  Really, is there anything greater?  This week as I got my house in order to leave for two days with "Ethel," I stopped to take time to honor my sister-in-law.  For the past 32-plus years, I have celebrated her birthdays with special "somethings". I would watch for the right gift, either made by my hands, or store-bought.  She is my husband's only sibling and the WORLD'S BEST AUNT to my children.  She never misses anything.  She has always celebrated my kids.

So when I saw this material, I knew it was for her.  You see, she loves children.  She served as children's director for BSF for decades.  When others were retiring and starting new chapters in their journey of life, she picked up her music bag and headed out to become a teacher for a private school.  Her love for the Lord, children and music qualified her beyond her lack of college education and she began work in a new private school in her late 60's.

I made this bag for her new school year.  She will turn 71 this week.  I entitled the bag... "Beautiful Feet."

How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"  Romans 10:15

She spreads the good news through her actions and her life.  She isn't verbal, she just does the good news.  She attends to my 97-year-old mother-in-law, is grandmother to three girls, ages 20 to 3, while teaching others' children to love the Lord and music.

She is a scoop of inspiration and a Woman of God, who has been faithful.

After picking more grapes and canning six quarts of grape juice, I turned back to the sewing room inspired by my friend...also a blogger, who lives across the highway from me...Angie of Collected Yarns. (she can tell you if what is on my blog is true or not...LOL!)  She has been nudging me to sew my own clothes again...I have been protesting.  I gave in when the patterns dropped to .99 cents and material was 1/2 price, info she texted me to nudge me on further.  Her inspiration led to a new top. Now it is huge...I could float in it....well, I could hide a nine-month pregnancy, but they don't hide them anymore, you can now tell if they have an "innie" or an "outtie" belly button.  So somewhere in time, I missed the years of fitted clothes and now I am back to covering up!  I enjoyed sewing. I heard all my sewing instructors' voices in my head as I sewed.  I started lessons in sixth grade....my mother taught me as well, she is a very talented seamstress.  I knew to slow down and do it right....and this time I was patience enough to do just that.

I will take my floating top to Waco for my weekend with "Ethel" and I think...I will sew something else when I get back.  Ethel is an awesome seamstress...she is now working on a Wedding Dress...and no, she is not talking me into making my daughter's wedding dress.

I also went on an interview and will be working part-time in the fall.  I am looking forward to this new season that God has opened the door to....I hope I am as faithful as my sister-in-law.

Enjoy your weekend....and all your projects from this week.  May you be blessed as your feet carry the Good News.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Under the Sprawling Branches

The ancient, sprawling pecan tree just beckoned  us to continue our conversation beneath it's branches.  This tree has stood on the courthouse lawn for centuries watching history be made and today it would cover two women, sharing life's stories.

Our combined story started 28 years ago as a job position brought one from Missouri back to Texas.  Both met with our firstborn on our hips...both sons, only one month apart, each less than a year old.  So began our friendship and journey together.

Through the 28 years we have now lived in multiple cities, shared pregnancies in three out of four pregnancies and said goodbye and hello through life's multiple changes.  Today, the old pecan tree welcomed us... to meet in this small city, to catch up on life.  The last time we had this kind of time together, our children were small...now they are adults.

We celebrated victories, encouraged each other in our struggles as tears fell over past failures and hurts and  tears of compassion for others who had fallen.  Our grace is greater than in decades past as we shared our lives.  No judgement at this season of life, no finger pointing, but grace... beautiful grace.

We were real...laughing, crying, and praying...REAL.  These two old friends, these two moms, two wives shared our hearts and supported each other.  All the masks were gone.  We could even say, "I don't like this...............", without feeling the other was going to judge through their religious magnifying glasses.  Life has a way of bringing us here if we will allow it....to the place of being REAL.

Why through all these years haven't we totally separated our journeys?...the truth is that it is God, not our flesh.  Our flesh would have ended our friendship years ago.  This friendship wasn't created by the flesh, it was created for His purpose.  Our children have served together in ministry as adults, and therefore, it continues to the next generation.  We left knowing the miles of distance between us will hinder us from seeing each other face to face, but we promised we would do it again.  The next visit, we laughed, would probably be centered around our adult children's spouses and possibly grandchildren.

This summer, God has allowed me to pick up and shovel and dig into His seashore of sand.  So far, my sand pail of inspiration is more than I expected.  This meeting was one of the shining glistening pieces of sand that I shoveled into my pail....it now holds a very special place in my heart.  Thank you Lord, for those friendships you create!  May I continue to enjoy my girlfriends this summer and take out time to cherish each of them.  This weekend I am heading out for a weekend with my Ethel...this will fulfill my list made in January for a girlfriend weekend. For now, I am rejoicing over the unexpected time I was given with a special friend, who doesn't look a day older than when I first met her 28 years ago.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Bike Ride Treat

Yes, my bike is pink...I live in a total "male" household and this would keep them from riding my bike!!

Grabbing the bikes from the garage (yes, mine needed tires pumped up and dusted), Benjamin and I were off for a bike ride before the heat beat down on us. I was adding more sand into my sand pail...one scoop for exercise, one for memories and one for inspiration.  We were going to add even more scoops with the inspiration we would find.  Off we went through the trails, past the huge pecan trees, loaded with pecans ripening for the fall.

Around the hiking trail, we were gaining speed and laughter as we came around the corner to our inspiration.

Muscadine grapes.  Wild grapes falling off the vines.  Memories went rushing back to days at my grandmother's farm and picking wild grapes. We stopped. Benjamin got off his bike and we started to pick grapes.  We filled the bag that held our water bottles.

Benjamin kept saying, "this is fun!"  I was excited over the possible jelly and juice I would can with these  free grapes.

The sun beat down and Benjamin's curiosity waned, so I took him home.  I grabbed my hat...yes, the one which limited my climbing through the trails while camping.  I would announced, "No, I can't go that way... my hat won't fit!"  It sure covers my face and eliminates the heat.  So with hat and bag, I went back by myself.

What abundance!!

Be honest... did you think of this scene from I Love Lucy?  I did.
What joy!!!!!!

I didn't have to stomp my grapes...just toss them into the food processor.  Press them through cheese cloth for jars of juice.  Bring juice to a boil and add limited sugar and pectin....put in my favorite jars....jelly!
Yes, you have to wear gloves with these grapes because they make you itch...THAT childhood memory came flooding back with the itching.

Juice and then Jelly....I still have a quart of juice left.

Now I will not tell you if I was successful with my jelly jelling...but I will say that we put a huge scoop of inspiration into our sand pail.  We now have half a bucket of sand...now to enjoy filling the second half of the bucket as summer starts to wind down.  What fun it was to bring back past memories and tastes of my own childhood days as I remember sights and sounds around my grandmother and mothers' tables.  Now my children will have the same.
Have you had an unexpected inspiration this week?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hillybillies Visit Shakespeare

Just in case it looks like these "city folk" have become the Hillbillies, well do not fear.  We arrived back home, rested in our beds under A/C and prepared for a picnic under the stars with Shakespeare in the Park.

"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."William Shakespeare 

The rest of our non-camping brood met us for an evening of culture.

Take Two - Jar Picnic
  • Two weeks ago my husband and I enjoyed a concert by the lake.  I prepared and photographed our picnic dinner
  • I packed my quilt from my grandmother
  • Prepared napkins, dishes, etc for a romantic evening of dinner, concert and stars
  • WHAT Happened?  I had forgot to put the memory card back into the camera
  • So Here it goes again...but I do wish you could have seen the first Jar Picnic

Mason Jars are becoming my newest obsession. I am storing items in my refrigerator with them....fruit is lasting days longer when stored  inside a jar.  I am a Texas girl, so we have always enjoyed our ice tea from a Mason Jar...fixing different flavors of drinks to be stored for later use cools off our summer heat, makes a fun treat.  Stuff a jar with salad, dessert, and even cook in them...makes it easy to grab and go.  Make ahead oatmeal in jars is a wonderful morning starter.  The best of course is canning in them...my pantry now stores salsa, roasted tomatoes, jams and sun-dried tomatoes.  Just google recipes to fill your jars and enjoy! 

Picnic recipes are on my Pintrest boards - 
California Club Wrap - click for recipe
Cheesecake in a Jar
Spring Orzo Pasta Salad

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Your Splendor Above the Earth

Children recognize beauty.  Children haven't learned to be cynical, as a results of this innocence they stand in amazement at all our Creator has given us to enjoy.  Benjamin would come through the woods, or around a rock and automatically cry out, "Isn't it Beautiful?".  He also grabbed my phone a couple of times to take pictures, declaring, "You can show these on your blog.  It is just so beautiful."  The lake, the birds, the sounds of nature, the stars, the full moon, the rabbits, the rocks and the deer all declared His glory.  My sons took it all in, as nature spoke more about our God than words could ever say.
O Lord, our Lord
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him.
And the son of man that You care for him?
Ps. 8: 1-4

As I turned the corner to see this my spirit burst into song

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand

We returned to church to the above scriptures as our pastor shared how children always see the beauty of creation....I nodded "BIG TIME" in agreement.  He had returned from climbing in Peru and was in awe of our God and His creation. He wanted to remind us to return to the child's heart in our appreciation and love for Christ and His creation.

This post today is dedicated to Jill @ Pathway for Purpose and her son as he goes in for another hip surgery today.  May the whole family see God's mighty hand through the surgery and recovery.
*Pictures from Mineral Wells State Park, Mineral Wells, Texas

Saturday, July 7, 2012


As a young mother with four children under age seven, she was NOT interested in camping.  Give her vacations at a hotel, but time would move forward, the children would grow older and her thoughts would reverse her once-narrow-minded "I WILL NOT" to embrace a compromise.  So we enter The Play with the first compromise.


Her mother's heart wanted her children to experience the outdoors and she knew only one way for her city children to fully experience it would be to go camping.  Her "city-slicker" husband wasn't so sure, but he jumped into the adventure with her compromise.  No tent camping, it would be with a hybrid of both - tent and camper.... a pop-up camper, with ice cold A/C, a small kitchen, and beds to sleep 7.  Her delight in dishes had begun even back decades earlier and she furnished her camper kitchen with a set of camping dishes.  They would take their five children around the country....now old enough for her to handle in the outdoors...ages 13 down to 1.
Curly-headed child in left corner is now 16 and loves the outdoors. Yes, our only girl.
City-slicker hubby rolls up his business sleeves to learn to set up a camper.

Intermission - Life 101
Life came with teenager sports, graduations, engagement, marriage, an addition to our family with number 6 and other curve balls.  The camper didn't make it through life's transitions and camping became a past memory.  Curly-haired boy grew up with a delight for the outdoors and the youngest hadn't experienced overnight stays under the stars.  Time for the mother to rethink her "I will Not" and compromise.

She wrestled with the past while looking at the present.  Her desire for her youngest two boys to experience the outdoors as her older four won over her reservations of tent camping.  She would eat her words again...but somehow each time she ate her words, she was fulfilled in a new way.  So she loaded the car.  "City-slicker" husband gave in also...and off they went to camp.

The delight and wonder is worth all the effort and discomfort that camping can bring.
The joy of seeing God's creation is priceless.

Ben said, "you mean they let all the animals in?"  He couldn't grasp that he could just watch the animals without them being in a cage.  All of our nature hikes and lake adventures still didn't compare to being right out in the elements for three days and two nights.

My son in his element....so worth the compromise.  This mother is still learning to compromise and eat her words that were so short-sighted.
Benjamin took some "beautiful" pictures of nature...he said, "here,,, this is for your blog so they can see how beautiful it is."  Stay tuned...  The Play continues....the end hasn't come yet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Adapting and Finding Woods

At our home with the acres of woods behind our house...he made a lean-to.

If anyone could have been born at the wrong time in history or environment, then it would be our fourth son.  He began his life surrounded by trees, with a backyard that called for Tom Sawyer adventures.  In fact, his favorite movie when he was two was Tom Sawyer. starring Johnny Whitaker. They both shared curly hair and our son's heart for outdoor adventure was ignited.

He was in heaven with his outdoor campground in our old backyard underneath the pecan trees.  We had owls, turkeys, raccoons and even visits from a bobcat.

So what does a young man do when his family has to move to a more enclosed environment...no trees, no creeks, no night visitors, no backyard camp grounds or outdoor fires?  When he had to leave part of his heart behind and adjust to a small fenced yard, what does he do?  Most would say he complained.  Not our son,,, I complained, our daughter complained....but our 12-year-old son NEVER COMPLAINED, he adapted.

One year he set up a make-believe campsite in the garage, inviting younger brother Benjamin to sleep with him on sleeping bags around a make-believe fire pit outlined in bricks.  He also learned to put on his hiking boots and go find the woods.  Woods that held pecan trees like home, woods with screeching owls which reminded him of his open windows at home....he went and found places where his heart called.

This past year, after our most recent move, he acquired a "longboard" (skateboard) that sailed him off down the paved streets to the lake and woods.  With other friends, they boated out to an island  for boyhood adventures.  Since that didn't totally fill his heart's longing for the outdoors, he turned to his fenced-in backyard to continue his outdoor living.

How blessed we have been that when we turned our son's life upside down, he reached inside of himself and found a solution. I am truly humbled by his response to life's curve balls.  As I took pictures of him laying in his hammock last night I also thanked my loving God, who loves my son so much, that He instilled within him the ability to adapt and see light at the end of the tunnel....by going to find woods to explore.

Now his city parents are taking him primitive camping this week...old, sore-muscles and all will enjoy the delight of our son.  I am sure God has more to teach me from this son....right now his adaptability and contentment speaks tons.

PS - this is our first son to attend public school of our six children,(I blogged on his entrance into a new form of schooling back in September) I can report he finished with flying colors...GPA was awesome (4.0!) and he plans to continue next year.

Happy 4th of July!! May America Bless God..it is time we remember the source of our strength.

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