Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lucas Told Me To!

Within the last month I started a blog, my sister also started one, followed by each of my daughters. I guess you could say that we have all been bit by the blogging bug. I'll admit, however, that this week I have been lax about writing anything. It just didn't seem as if I was doing anything worth blogging about.

This morning I was informed by my Denver daughter, Erin, that Lucas, her husband, said that it has been a week since I have written anything and that I need to write something. So...I'm writing.

For my birthday last week, Dan gave me money to go toward a new front door. The picture below is the door I'm considering. How do you think it will look on the front of my house? The frame will be painted black. I'm trying to decide on the side lights.

"The Venice"

I also decided to replace the old flowers in an arrangement I had on the dining room table. Hobby Lobby had their silk flowers half off last week. I may still do a little tweaking, but I think it looks pretty good.

This weekend Amy and Chris had a party to attend so Dan and I kept Katie Saturday night. We went swimming and read books...

And of course, played with the toys. She is looking at her favorite book (the one that is most annoying, hence the look on Dan's face).

Katie knows that Grammy and Grandpa have good things to eat in the pantry, so when she comes over she goes to the pantry door, points, and says "peas." She loves Gerber's little yogurt snacks and fruit sticks.
My mother used to say that she didn't know how she could love anyone more than her two daughters, until she had grandchildren. She was so right. As soon as you see that first ultrasound picture with the little flicker of a heartbeat, there is an immediate and intense bond. He or she holds your heart in the palm of his/her hand.
"Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers." Proverbs 17:6

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

We celebrated my birthday with dinner at Ciro's Italian Restaurant. I had yummy eggplant parmesan with fettucine alfredo. I was "serenaded" by the waiter and received a piece of Mama Ciro's layered cake with a sparkler on top.

Aunt Judy was taking Katie's picture with her IPhone. That girl loves seeing herself on Aunt Judy's phone!

Frank Sinatra was singing and Katie was dancing.

Look at that handsome couple!

Katie and daddy.

I am of an age when you really don't want to remember birthdays anymore. You know that age...39 and holding! However, the more that I've been thinking about it, the more I think that I love my age. I wouldn't want to go backwards for anything. I can't imagine starting over with dating, getting married, having children, raising said children on a tight budget, worrying about paying for their college, not to mention weddings! There is a lot to be said for being empty nesters and grandparents. I can identify with Eccl. 3: 1-8.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-

A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time for hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

Eccl. 3:11-13

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God.

I have been richly blessed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fresh Starts

I have always loved the start of the school year. When I was in school I loved the shopping trips to buy school clothes or fabric to make school clothes. I also loved my school supplies - the sharpness of the unbroken crayons in the box, all the blank sheets of paper and construction paper, and organizing my pencils and pens in the pencil box. Later, in preparing for my children's start to school we had to decide what binder and back pack best projected their personality (and that of their favorite cartoon character or super hero). When I became a teacher I loved decorating my room and organizing the school supplies purchased from the PTO. (Buying school supplies isn't as fun as it used to be.) I awaited the first day of school with nervous anxiety about meeting my students dressed in their back to school finery. On that first day both students and teacher started the year with a clean slate. I heard a speaker say today that everyone is an honor student on the first day of school!

Although I am no longer in the classroom but at the central office, I still have an appreciation for fresh starts and I miss being in the classroom on that first day of school. I am the one in yellow in the picture. My friend and coworker, Diana, is seated on the right, and my friend, Mary, is in the middle. She retired at the end of the last school year. Retirement has given her a fresh start. She is busier now than she was when she working! We met for lunch at Cheddars after our district Convocation which is the official start to our new school year. I guess that's what made me think of "fresh starts."

I also worship a God who specializes in new beginnings and fresh starts. He says: Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tickets and Tassels

I absolutely love getting mail! I guess it goes back to when I was a little girl and the only way we communicated with people we loved who lived in another place was through letter writing and the occasional phone call. My grandmother would write my mother (and sometimes my sister and me) about once a week. When we went to camp we received letters from home. When we went on vacation we wrote and received postcards. It made going to the mailbox exciting everyday. I guess that is why I still get excited when I get something, besides bills, in the mail. This week has been a bonanza! First, I received my season tickets to The University of Texas football games. (Preseason #2 in the rankings!) Yea, Fall!!!

Getting ready to sing the "Eyes of Texas."
Erin and I enjoying the pregame. I would show you Dan, but he had his mouth full!
2009 University of Texas season tickets

Next, I received this rooster tassel from The Tassel House. I think that he is precious.

Who knows what the USPS will bring tomorrow?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In Celebration of In-Laws

Katie at MeMaw and PePaw's. She's watching the deer.

MeMaw getting all Katie's "sugar."

Grandpa (Dagy) sitting on the porch with Katie.

MeMaw, PePaw, and Dan watching the herd of deer.

The deer they're watching.

One of the three cats-Momma.

My mother died of breast cancer when I was in my early thirties and my dad died in 2001, so I have been without parents for a long time. God has richly blessed me with a mother-in-law and father-in-law who have filled the huge hole left by my parent's deaths. They have not only been surrogate parents for me, but have embraced my sister and her family as their own. Every Christmas Eve for years we gathered at their house for barbecue brisket and all the trimmings. We hurried through the presents so that we could get to the poker playin'. (Doesn't that sound like a great way to celebrate the birth of Christ?? Ha!) PePaw saved his change all year for the Christmas Eve game when all the grandkids tried to win the pot. Mind you, most of them didn't know how to play poker! It didn't was just fun. These Christmas Eve celebrations continued until just recently when they decided they just were not up to having it anymore. We still get together on Christmas Day for dinner at our house, but we do miss those Christmas Eves.

My in-laws live in Magnolia, a growing town north of Houston. My father-in-law was a builder before he retired and they live in a Victorian style home he built on two heavily-treed acres. On every one of those trees there is a bird or squirrel feeder. They have 3 cats and a herd of deer for pets. Every night they sit out on a porch on the side of the garage to watch the antics of nature in their little kingdom. Their place looks like a resort, it has been so well-tended.

However, things are beginning to change. PePaw is now 83 years old and has had colon cancer and lymphoma. He can't hold a hammer anymore because of his arthritis. He seems to be shrinking before our eyes. He asked me last night who I thought should inherit his father's old fiddle. (I told him me, naturally!)
MeMaw, on the other had, is as spry and sharp as ever. She plays bridge once a week, doles out groceries at the food pantry, mows the yard, and cares for PePaw.

I know that we have a lot of decisions to make about their future...but I wanted to pause and appreciate the present.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

Exodus 20:12

Let there be light!

Hubby and I have lived in our home about 23 years and it was 3 years old when we bought it. We have done a lot of updating in recent years, but the light fixtures in the dining room and entry way are original to the house (and were ugly when they were first installed!). Besides being ugly, the dining room fixture doesn't give off very much light. You always feel that you are dining by candlelight when having dinner in the room. That's alright except when you are trying to clean and you're eyes are not as young as they used to be. I have been planning to replace the fixtures for a while, but have not gotten around to it because of more pressing needs.

Friday at lunch a friend and I decided to check out a consignment store close to our office called Still Goode. We spent our whole lunch hour looking at all of their treasures. As we were about to leave, voila! There was the light fixture I have been looking for. Since we were already cutting our time close, I decided to come back after work to take another look at the fixture.

When I stopped in later, I asked the man working there about the fixture and the price. He told me he would sell it to me for $65. Sold! I don't have "before" pictures, but here is how it looks:

It is amazing how it transformed my dining room. My husband even got excited...he said it even looks good from the street. I know what you're thinking...big deal, it's only a light! But you haven't seen how it makes the rest of the room look. It makes everything look brighter. You can even see the cobwebs and all the other hidden dust bunnies.

My new light fixture has made me think a lot about light.
...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and In Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. 1John 1:5-7
The Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1
Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path. Psalm 199:105
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12
Food for thought!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane

My sister sent me a copy of this picture today which is from Labor Day around 1974. Gosh, I'm feeling old! This was my dad's (Paw Paw's) boat. He is the man in the blue jumpsuit. (Those were actually popular then!) My husband is standing next to him. I'm kind of under the canopy. My sister and cousin Cindy are sitting in the back of the boat. My two cousins, Nancy and Jeanne, and Jeanne's husband are sitting in the bow of the boat.
My dad's side of the family used to always have a reunion on Labor Day weekend. We would change location every year based on who was hosting the reunion. He had five brothers and one sister. Some of the places we went to were Galveston, Ft. Worth, Nacogdoches, Tyler, De Grey Lake in Arkansas, and, the year of this picture, my parent's lake house on Lake Livingston. We are no longer having the reunions because four of the siblings died and the others are quite elderly. The children have spread out and have children and grandchildren of their own.
My two daughters said that we stopped doing fun things as soon as they were born because my parents sold their lake house and my in-laws sold their little farm. What fun times we had! And I would just like to say that I was a mean water skier!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saying that I Like

I was sitting here looking at different blogs. It has become one of my favoriate pastimes - I love the decorating ideas, recipes, etc. I went to Tales from an Empty Nest (fits my age group) and her thought for the day struck me as being profound - "Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read."

I work as an administrator at central office in a school district. I have had to do a lot of professional development this summer. Today was my last day of training (Hooray!) I thought about all the people I have come into contact with this summer (and how irritated I got with some of them) and I wondered if they were reading the Bible or watching a soap opera. Just something to think about... I pray that my life points people to Christ and the saving grace that He offers.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grandmother's Wisdom

Since the kids left yesterday, I've been upstairs cleaning the bedrooms - changing the sheets and dusting. As I was dusting, I saw a little plaque from my grandmother's house sitting on a shelf in Amy's old room. The verse on the plaque says "Regardless of the hour; Whatever you have to say, God has time to listen...If you have time to pray." It sounded just like my grandmother...she loved those little plaques with sayings on them. She also loved to send cards of encouragement that had poems or those Helen Steiner Rice verses. I remember that she had a figurine of praying hands on one of her shelves in her living room. She was a woman who had a close, personal relationship with her Redeemer and I know that prayer got her through many difficult times in her life.

On the shelf with the plaque is also a picture of Grandmother and Amy sitting at the piano when Amy was about 15 months old. She loved good old-time gospel music. Boy could she play that piano (all by ear) and sing! It wasn't all gospel music, either. She could play "Maple Leaf Rag" and your toe couldn't keep itself from tapping. It is wonderful knowing that one day (sooner than later!) we are going to have a grand reunion in Heaven! We haven't seen or heard anything yet that can compare with what that will be like.

And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives...
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Job 19:25

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Until next time... Erin and Lucas left for their long trip back to Denver. It's wonderful having them, but it is so sad to see them go. It is so nice to have the whole family together. It will probably be next year that we see Lucas again - time passes so quickly and everyone's lives are so busy. We did make some wonderful memories, though. One day we went down to eat at the Monument Inn. The oysters were delicious. My sister, Judy, came with us. It was as hot as...well, you know!

We took Katie for her first trip to Neiman Marcus to eat at their cafe, Mariposa. (If you've never been, it is worth going just for the rolls and strawberry butter. They're to die for!) You can tell by the look on her face that she wasn't feeling well. When we got home she had a fever. She's teething.

Here are Amy, Erin, and Katie once again.

It seems that a lot of these experiences revolved around food. I guess we just like to eat!
I praise God for these special moments that we have had together as a family and for the memories that we shared. I pray that we will be able to have many more.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Company's Here Pt. 2

Here are the girls at Martha's Bloomers in Navasota. We went there on Monday to have lunch in their wonderful little cafe/tea room. I had ham quiche and blackberry cobbler for dessert.

Katie was excited to see her Aunt Erin!

It was nice to be able to cool off in the pool, since the temperature was over 100 degrees.

Erin and Lucas had just arrived, so they looked a little tired after their 19 hour drive.

Company's Here!

Our daughter, Erin and son-in-law Lucas, arrived safely from Denver on Sunday afternoon. Our whole family was together for dinner on Sunday evening. We chowed down on yummy roast and this peach cobbler was our dessert. It was good, if I do say so myself! All we needed to add was some Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and it was perfect!

Here is the recipe:

8 cups sliced fresh peaches
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, melted

Dredge peaches in flour; add next 5 ingredients, and mix well. Set aside.

Roll three-fourths of pastry to 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; fit into a 13 x 9 x 2" baking dish. Spoon in peach mixture.

Roll remaining pastry out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into 1/2 inch strips. Arrange in lattice fashion over peaches. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Combine dry ingredients; cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle ice water evenly over surface; stir with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Yield: Pastry for 1 cobbler.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Company's Coming

This morning it almost looks like fall outside. It is overcast but unfortunately still hot which makes for a lot of humidity. I'm not complaining least we've had some rain. Our daughter and son-in-law are beginning their long drive from Denver to Houston this morning. It will be so good to see them both. We have a long list of things that we want to do (or I should say places to shop). They both have a list of places that they would like to eat - it's hard to get good 'ole Texas barbecue and Tex Mex food in Denver. They are both native Texans and although Colorado is a lovely place and they both enjoy living there, there's just something about coming home to Texas.

When Erin called to talk about their trip last week one of the things that she asked is if we could have roast beef for dinner Sunday night...a lot of roast and gravy so that there would be plenty to go around with all the trimmings. I guess that is one tradition that comes naturally. My memories of Sunday revolve around going to church and Sunday School in the morning and coming home to roast, rice and gravy, green beans, and some kind of dessert. Sometimes my sister and I would argue over whether we would have mashed potatos or rice (usually rice won out since it was quicker). I tried to continue that tradition and I guess that is also my girl's favorite meal. So...tomorrow night we will have roast and both girls and their families will be here.

This is the first time Erin has seen her neice, Kaitlyn, since January. She is now 17 months old and walking and talking. I'm excited that they will be getting reacquainted. I just called Erin to find out where they are and she said that I must have a sixth sense because they have just crossed over into Texas at Texline. Got to get back to cleaning and cooking...