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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Rx: A 7-Day-Hug!

Seven days.  One week.  Away.  I've packed and repacked:  trying to be a smart packer.  Black is the only color necessary as I AM going to New York.  20" of snow due to hit there tomorrow...just as we fly into it.  Great.  Breathe Vava.  The "events" are not until the end of the week so we'll (eventually) make it. 

Our nephew is marrying the love of his life on January 1, 2011.  1/1/11 - isn't that clever??  My Guy and I and most of the fam are winging northeast over the next few days.  Fun times in the city. 

Believe it or not, I'm a bit hesitant to leave.  Over the years I usually felt relief when I was able to sneak off.  I so needed a break...back then.  These past six months have been an absolute life-changing season for the three of us - one we never DREAMED possible.  We enjoy one another.  A lot!

#2 and I were just in the kitchen all by ourselves.  I asked if I could have a "7-Day Hug."  He allowed it.  And there we stood in the middle of our kitchen, Christmas still around us, hugging each other like nobody's business.  I prayed too - for our safe travel, his safety at home, favor with a new job (tomorrow), wise choices while we are away.  Out LOUD.  He lets me do that.  After....he said with a smile:  "Now, that was a 7-Day-Hug."  I'd say so!

Some folks think miracles are mythical.  I'm here to tell you they are real.  We ARE one.  The rapport, bonding and respect that flows among us was missing for many years.  We always had the love; but love isn't enough. 

In hindsight I am thankful for every struggle.  I would not be appreciative of what's going on now.  If I told you some of those might say, "...why Vava, that's normal."  Not so in our case  We've never known normal. 

And so My Guy and I jet off tomorrow for New York for a get-away and an elegant wedding.  Who wouldn't be excited?  I am.  And I'm not.  I look at #2 Son and shake my head in awe.  I thank God for restoring our family.  (...and I pray all is well upon our return).

Maybe just one more "7-Day-Hug"?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Party Rules

It was down to the wire and I was unable to pull an "Eddie" after all.  Alas, the doorbell rang at 7:02 and our first guests arrived.  RULE:  You're first, you help.  And they did.  Chopping and pouring with a smile!

The egg nog was a vision- egg whites frothed to perfect peaks with a sprinkling of nutmeg.  As I've mentioned before our annual party is going on its 18th year.  RULE:  Stick to a menu you know and that you are known for.  Vava's would not be Vava's without:

Gala Pecan Spread
8 ounces cream cheese (soft)
2 Tablespoons milk
1 (2.5 oz) jar of dried beef (slice it up)
1/4 cup green pepper (finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup pecans (coarsely chopped)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine cheese and milk.  Stir in beef, green pepper, onion flakes and rest of seasonings.
Mix well.  Fold in sour cream.  Spoon into an 8" pie plate.
Saute pecans in melted butter, then salt lightly.  Sprinkle nuts over cheese mixture.
Heat in 350 oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve warm with crackers or raw veggies.

This is a staple "hors d'oeuvres" of Vava's!
 (From my very first cookbook purchased in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 33 years ago!!!)

THE Best Artichoke Dip EVER!

2 cans (14 ounces each) non-marinated artichoke hearts - drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons sherry
Dash of cayenne
Dash of paprika

Mix and mash the drained artichoke hearts, the mayo and the parmesan cheese with a fork.  The mixture should be thoroughly mixed but with a few lumps.  Do NOT puree.  Add garlic and sherry.  Mix thoroughly.  Put mixture in a small souffle or casserole dish and top with dash of cayenne and/or paprika. 
Bake uncovered 15 minutes at 300.
(Recipe states:  "It will be eaten before it cools.")  Pretty much.

Corn Dip

2 cans Mexicorn or Fiesta corn - drained
1 cup mayo
16 ounces sour cream
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cups grated cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon lime juice

Mix, let chill well and serve with Frito scoops or crackers.

None of these are gourmet material...but here's another RULE:  serve "plain/ordinary" stuff in your pretties. Crystal bowls, pretty serving pieces dress that corn dip up.  I'm just sayin'.

We couldn't possibly have squeezed another human into our kitchen.  Why is this always the case? We DO have other rooms in our home.  The noise level was VERY loud which translates FUN times. 
RULE:  Invite interesting people.  There won't be a lull in conversation.

Both our sons are home and were "working" guests last night!  #1 Son and My Guy made a second batch of nog in the middle of the party.  Cracked 12 eggs, separated whites from yellow.  They hovered over my huge mixer reading the recipe line by line.  It was adorable.
RULE:  put the fam to work!

We're casual especially at home and some have a bravado and sense of humor
that ummm, some may not "get."

#2 Son (restored, happy & content) with #1 Son (wearing his "Tacky Christmas Sweater Party" attire from a party in Austin last week.)  Needless to say he got a few laughs

RULE:  Shop vintage and make the most of it!  

The party started with a bang early on.  And all were gone fairly early...considering.  I looked at our kitchen and was overwhelmed with the remains of the day.  But My Guy rolled his shirt sleeves up and started the process.  Together we whipped our kitchen back into shape. 

RULE:  Have a spouse that loves hosting as much as you do and cleans BETTER than you do!

As we end 2010 I'd like to wish each of you blessings galore.  Two days left until His birthday.  I hope we all get a minute or two to slow down and honor HIM.

Kisses to you!


Vava and Her Guys

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A HEART-Felt Christmas!!!


With oh so much to do!  No stress heart is full.
 THIS Christmas is very different from the last several.
My Guy has heard me exclaim: "I want this one to be fabulous!!!"
My perfect Christmas today isn't about gifts...

(Christmas in Connecticut 1960)

Ahhhh, but looking back...
I see the doll I wanted.
The robot my little brothers wanted.
(Do you notice a trend here?)
In those days it WAS about the gifts!
As it was for my sons growing up...
Which is fine - that's the norm.

Five years ago the four of us spent Christmas in Connecticut.
It was the first one with my father since I was a little girl.
I imagined the picture perfect holiday.

It was an absolute beautiful setting. 
Gifts galore.
Dressing to the nines.
Oh, yes, we had to "dress" for dinner. 
You ask how that went over with our two boys?**
#1 was 22 and two weeks from going into the Army.
#2 Son was 15 and in a (very) rebellious phase of life.
**(like a lead balloon...)

A wish was granted.  I shared Christmas with my Dad and his family.
It was different than Texas holidays spent with My Guy's family.
Our gatherings are chock full of craziness, laughter and loudness!
And a whole lotta HEART!

And so I've got 10 days to make the Christmas magic.
I think this year it's going to happen...
Our sons are in a good place.

A few of our favorite things:

Egg Pie

Forgotten Cookies
Our 18th Annual Christmas Party
Amy Grant's "Tennessee Christmas"

And don't forgot the heart!

My prayer is that I have a warm, welcoming, open heart...and door.

That when I open my door, I offer the gift of hospitality.

I also pray my heart softens to those alone or just a bit different.

And most of all that my family remembers this Christmas with the fondest of memories.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mother Nature Calls

I like my alone time and always have.  Ever since I was a young girl.
I slipped away for hours entertained by my imagination and books.
In the quiet woods of Connecticut.

It's there where I transformed into whom I longed to be.  Confident, brave and happy.

Jumping from boulder to boulder, I was a heroine defending the poor.

Or meeting My Prince who would swoop me away.

The summers I spent with Mimi filled my soul with the love I craved.  And acceptance.

Yet - I'd still have to get away.  The dunes and ocean were my haven.

I walked for hours dreaming of my future.

In hindsight I know (without a doubt!) I was not alone.  I felt a presence...always.

Mother Nature in all her glory always soothes my soul.

This morning I had to get out there.  There is no ocean but a little lake nearby. 

Rather pretty....for H-town. 

Before I left the house, though, I purposed to have my eyes open.  I wanted to revel in His glory.

And there, for me, everything I love:

Deep fall colors
Pine needles
A breeze

Winding down....and I am praising God for such beauty.  Almost skipping (praying no one sees me!)

And His last gift was waiting there.  Just for me.

Swimming on the lake were drakes and mallards: green, brown...

This little guy - all alone - pure and white.

Ahhhhh.....Mother Nature how I love you.  And thank God for your beauty!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Less is More!

I've used that saying in reference to make-up, jewelry, clothing.  Now I am applying it to my Christmas decorating!   In unpacking BOXES of Christmas goods; some items are tired and some I am tired of!  Using restraint for the first Christmas ever; I am not pulling out all the stops.  There are certain spots in the house that I WANT to look like Christmas.  Other places - not so much.

I'll pack away some stuff and hope that one day my sons will want to "inherit" some of the Santas and cute stuff. 

I left our entry very simple....and yet it makes me happy. 

The liqueur set was Mom's.
The silver tray was a gift from a friend last Christmas.  A vintage treasure!!

Most of our buds come through our back door; but IF you enter our front door you will see this merry vignette: 

And so onward we move...tomorrow is December 1 and the house is finished.  I've just got to (bribe) get My Guy motivated to help with the tree. 

I am most hopeful for a stress-less Christmas season!  Sometimes less really is more!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Command Central

Here is a corner of my kitchen.  I call it command central...especially at this time of year!  The green box holds the notes I've taken the last 18 years for our annual Christmas party!  It's a blast to peruse the guest list...and see if they are still around or quietly slipped out of our lives.

I keep notes of the stuff served, recipes are clipped.

Today is the day before Thanksgiving and the cooking begins!!!  (I've added this holiday to my "Christmas box.")  I have tear sheets in it of vignettes, table settings, decorations.  A little treasure chest just for me!  I glance through it daily...from today through Christmas!

It's easy for me to get swept away in all the fa-la-la-la-la!  I'm a Christmas nut!  ...and I have to force myself to be disciplined in the other aspects of life.  I am not exercising enough.  And my time with the Lord in the mornings seems a bit rushed.  Just like everyone else - I am hurrying & scurrying.

I did take time (a second) and read "Streams in The Desert" today.  And came across this lovely little paragraph: 

There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.

These words touched me.  I must remember who is Commander-in-Chief and when I am still and join in His presence; my soul will be at peace. 

But, the kitchen is beckoning me now.  Off to Command Central.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Put Your Sparkle On!

Our mantel has some sparkle to it...

The crystal candle sticks were Mom's.
The "mercury" votives inexpensive baubles from a local haunt of mine.
The bust - a "low" from Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago.
The 2 silver-like pieces - from an antique store in Tomball, Texas.
...and the pears???  Can't remember!

November brings:
Excitement for Thanksgiving.
Anticipation for gatherings at home with family & friends.

I hope you sparkle while preparing for next week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Nights + Sofas!

Ok, I'm all about keeping it real.  And this is the real us on a Sunday night.  We moved the sofa back down here.  It's been upstairs for 5 months.  I tried living with my two upholstered chairs where you see the sofa.  But, honestly...we are a sofa family.  I must admit I really want a new one; but this works.  Workout equipment is out & about, it looks a mess.  But, it's real life on Sunday night.

Sunday nights are important to us.  Especially when football is on.  And more so when our Cowboys are winning.  My Men are die-hard fans. 

I am grateful this evening.  And, it's just small stuff...but it's REAL stuff.

♥  Our first fire of the season.
 ♥ Our first pot of chili.  And it was really good....a Martha Stewart recipe
 (infused with a touch of cocoa).
♥  Sunday paper strewn everywhere.
♥  Our dogs right by our side.

Fall 2010 has been our most peaceful, love-filled, harmonious in 10+ years.  HEY!!!!  That's why I wanted the sofa back downstairs!!!  We can sit close to one another, cuddle up.
Yup, I'm talking about #2 Son cuddling. 

 My ♥ overflows.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Seeing Red!

Everywhere I turn I am seeing red.  I'm not angry....I literally see red - on lips, in fashion, in homes.  What caught my eye at first is the lip of J. Crew. She may be 30 years younger than I am; but red lips are a classic, right?  I used to wear red lips.  My now 27 year old son told me at the age of 10:  "Mom, we can't go yet; you don't have your lips on!"  Friends gave me grief because no matter what, I had my red lips going.  And it never came off!!! (love that - I could eat a 4-course meal and still my lips were in tact). 
Did you know???? 
-  For millennia, red lipstick has been both treasured and forbidden.
-  Its appeal is primal, offering a vivid shortcut to glamour.***
-  The Nazi party banned lipstick as early as 1933, announcing that "women with painted faces" would not   be admitted to party functions.

***with red lipstick, we are supposed to wear less eye makeup and so it is a shortcut to glamour!!!! 

Those few tidbits came from this book:

Is this cover unbelievable?????  And it's RED!!!!  This is a Christmas gift for a certain someone; but I HAD to glance through it...and found "Red Lipstick."  It's a pretty cool book....

Even after writing this post, I discovered the very topic in "Veranda" last night.  There on the last page, the founder, Lisa Newsom, shares her love of the color red. 

Red is in the air!  And what perfect timing.  I love the color orange (autumn, Thanksgiving, etc.),  BUT give me Christmas.  Oh, I am a Christmas girl and seeing red so prevalent gets me giddy for the holidays!!!!

It's too early to decorate for Christmas; however, I can decorate my lips.  Below are some oldies that might still work.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Live Well, Laugh Hard!

I can't sleep tonight yet I should be able to.  My Guy is in the next room snoaring lightly; healthy and here.  A dear friend is not as fortunate.  Last night she and her guy were home and within maybe a two hour time span, she lost him.  He passed away very suddenly.  No illness; no health issues.  Gone. Like. That.

Last night I could not let My Guy go.  I listened to him breathe.  And tonight, I wasn't sleepy but I crawled under the covers to just hug him...but I can't drift off.  My heart is so heavy for my friend.

Only a month ago, I received THE perfect birthday card.  It's all about laughing.  She knows I love a good laugh.  I thought I'd post a couple of GREAT pictures.  One a few years old, the other just last week.

# 2 Son 3 years ago, ROARING at his uncle.
(This picture will be a fixture in my mind forever!)

and then just last week....I get this:

... on my cell phone!
Two friends that probably DID fall off of their chairs.
And so my wish for you is:

We simply must live in the present and my blogging friend, Linsey has a beautiful
message about doing just that.)

Live well and laugh hard my friends!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let's Just Skip 13!

Posted by PicasaSpring, 1982 (Connecticut): Brothers + Half-Sis...

I had been married for five years.  My brothers and I traveled from Texas to attend Dad's (3rd) wedding.  My half-sister from Dad's wife #2 was in attendance as well. 

I've told you before how very dashing Dad is.  And once again he got himself a fine wife.  Stepmom #2 was only 9 years older than me.  She was accomplished: a fabulous interior designer, worldly, a gourmet cook, she had it all.

It started with Stepmom #1. She was the one who wore the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini, the Bain de Soleil bod, clad in designer clothing; picture perfect.  And I was 13 when they married.  I really could have used a Fairy Godmother.   Do you remember 13, girls?  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!  No WONDER the #13 has an evil connotation!  She would have said:  "Don't look in the mirror with your eyes.  Someday you'll appreciate your auburn hair, curly locks.  You'll revel in your loud (obnoxious) laughter.  Look at yourself the way God sees you!"
Fast forward....about 13 years.  The wedding in '82.  It was classy in a Connecticut kinda way!  In their home, intimate with family and close friends.  I was a grown up so no biggie that he was marrying...again. Enter Fairy Godmother:  "Oh, may not be reed thin or have your Daddy close by; BUT you are married to a man that loves you.  Respects you."

Stepmom #2 and I have become dear friends over the years; but it took work on my part.  The daughter-jealous of any woman-taking time away from Dad-syndrome would wax and wane.
I look back and think how silly I was.  I never needed a Fairy Godmother!  No matter how much or how little my earthly Dad was around my heavenly Father never left my side. 

I'd like to tell all 13 year old girls that whatever they feel now, good or bad; ask their Fairy Godmother for this wish:  "...please introduce me to The One."   And my prayer is that it doesn't take 35 years or so to shed that 13 year old skin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's Hue with You?

I'm feeling golden...we have a (pretty) harmonious home life going.  The temp has dropped allowing me to wear my favorite clothing.  Blogs are bursting with beautiful vignettes of golden pumpkins, mouth watering recipes for scones and pumpkin lattes.

And so, with a few minutes on hand I strolled through the homestead and noticed not only do I FEEL golden (aka "well"), my home has layers of golden hues.  Wow!

And it makes me wonder if everyone's home is the same hue that they put on their body?  Their favorite color?  I was born in September, does that have a huge impact?  I loved the book "September."  When I was in high school I CHOSE to wear olive green (long before it was hip or cool).  One friend back then remarked:  "Why are you wearing army green?"  We are still friends today.  And I still wear muddy, army, olive green!  And so does my place.  With gold, copper, rusty hues.  Hhhhmmmm.

Even my business card reflects my coloring (I have a really good graphics artist that "nailed me.")  Am I boring...or just know what I like?  I think I know what makes me feel good!

Autumn does.  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two 5-Star Fetes

I'm tracking the myriad of celebrations in and around my life this fall. 

Fete #2:

My Guy and I along with our cousins dined (well!) at Chef Paul's new restaurant Peli Peli for "someone's" 55th.  5 stars for sure!

Fete # 3:  ...the following weekend we journeyed to Dallas.  A nephew was turning 40 and The Johnson Dynasty was in town to laissez les bons temps rouler.  We really could have used a family tree (or name tags) but that tree would look C-R-A-Z-Y with branches shooting off every which way.  Let me introduce you to some of the characters:

  1. One woman with her exes in attendance
  2. One man with 4 sons from 2 women.  (only 1 of his exes was there)
  3. Two matriarchs who are at the top of the family tree; but don't really know one another.  Yet they produced someone at the party.  A son or grandson maybe???
  4. A 30 year old ex-Cajun now firmly ensconsed in The Big Apple.
  5. A transplant from the north that thinks she's a Texan
  6. Brothers not by blood; but closer than blood
  7. The wives of said brothers - so gorgeous you (might want to scratch their face) look twice
  8. Step-brothers, step-sisters, 1/2 siblings
  9. Baby-sitters all grown up with kids of their own
  10. A couple of merchandising czars, shoe men, an engineer, CPA, food and beverage men and women, photographers, teachers, IT geeks techies, stock broker, sales reps, a financial guy...

  •   ex-sisters-in-law, still sisters at heart.  And more - I know I've missed someone!
The beauty of the evening was the love and friendship that ruled the roost!  I wonder if it's normal for such a clan to gather...with all our history...and enjoy it so much!   The Birthday Boy is loved by all so perhaps he and his beautiful wife set that tone.  They welcomed everyone and put on a party.  Just like we like 'em! 
IF we were likened to food, it would have to be gumbo: a mish mash of humanity with a dash of spice and heat and oh so tasty.  But what made it outstanding?  Not a lick of bitterness.  Time (with maturity) heals and forgiveness makes everything taste better.  (Oh, and by the way, we DID have gumbo!)  
 Blended families are a gift and I give the evening 5 STARS!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Kid You Not!

Is it worth it?

A number of people I know are looking for jobs, beginning new careers or fulfilling their dreams.  It has made me think hard on what I want to do.  One thing I know!  I do not want to work for a power-hungry-demeaning-rude-snide-(usually very wealthy)-know-it-all-unappreciative-cantankerous sort.

...and I've had my share of just such a boss.  Boss #1 when I was 19 or 20 acted inappropriately.  I screamed!  My boss in Saudi Arabia, after working for him 3 years, said "Hey you - get me coffee!"  While on maternity leave with Son #1, another boss had an affair with a friend I brought into the company, and then hired HER as his assistant.  I kid you not.

Years ago, I thought the end-all, be-all would be to own a Louis V. handbag.  A real one; not the China-town-version.  And, so I got one.  But I got it the hard way....

My boss was a female CEO who we'll call Dr. R.  If I listed job duties they'd include:  buy husband underwear, cover for her affair(s), and take verbal abuse quite regularly.  "The Devil Wears Prada" movie had a scene of Meryl trying to get on a plane in a blinding rainstorm.  I lived that.  On a Friday night, Dr. R. was in Florida.  I was home with a bunch of girlfriends.  My Guy was out of town.  The phone rings and a hysterical Dr. R. screams into the phone:  "Virginia, my cat is dying.  You've got to get me back there!"  I kid you not.  No planes were leaving due to a potential hurricane.  I called Hooks Airport to inquire about a private jet.  Long story short...she ran throughout the airport, catching the last flight to H-town.  I had a limo awating that took her home, picked up Dying Cat...and then on a road trip to Texas A&M Vet's school.  I kid you not.

She (tried) making up for "all of this" by giving great gifts.  And, oh my...I accepted them.  Cold hard cash, a "Louis" bag, Cole Hahn scarves (in picture w/Louis), more cash.  I took it - the abuse, the gifts, the shoddy treatment.

Even before Dr. R., I worked for oil tycoon, Mr. B.  It did not last long - just an hour after he threw a stapler at me.  Let me set the stage.  I was young(er), worn to a nub with my dying Mom, and our two sons required lots of attention.  Add the commute!  Traffic in Houston wears everyone to their nub.

Again, flashback to "The Devil..." movie.  When Mr B. entered the office, the receptionist would buzz the first office: "He's here."  They in turn buzzed on down the hall.  We'd sit tall  at "attention."  I was the last stop.  My office guarded his. 

In my supply closet was a private phone line (not connected to the oil company).  I had to get in at 8:30 and listen to my to-do's for the day that he left on the recorder.  Without fail, he'd call at 8:40.  IF I did not pick up the phone, "Katy, bar the door!"  Of course, he was checking to see if I got to work on time.

I'd been with him three months and Mom had died while I worked there.  I was a door mat.  Pure and simple.  One morning I allowed a gentleman to go in even though Mr. B.'s door was closed.  When he left Mr. B.'s office, I was buzzed in.  And then it hit.  "You are a __________ idiot.  Why on earth would you let someone in when my door is closed?"  On & on...and bam!  A flying stapler just missed me.  I kid you not.  I did leave that very day after being coached by my head hunter.  I went in and said:  "Mr. B., I'm out of here.  It's obvious it's not going to work out."  ....and home I went. 

I've been out of the professional/corporate world for 10 years and have worked hard - on myself.  If only I knew then what I know now.  There is no way on earth....I'd allow people to treat me in such a manner.  No one should be treated less than anyone.

It's about kindness - we DO get what we give.  And instead of a Louis V bag oh, if only I had received respect!  I'd much prefer respect: with a heap of love, a spoonful of laughter, a dash of kindness and a pinch of patience.

So I'm in a fortunate stage of life...where I can sift, ponder and pray about what to do next.  The missing ingredient on my many job searches was prayer.  It was all about the BIG job, working for the BIG cheese, getting the BIG money.  I'm so over that.  Although I've got the Louis, I don't even carry it. 

If I had a daughter I would tell her to pray and respect herself.  I kid you not.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Winning Weekend!

I think we all like to be whatever we do, right?  My Guy got up at the crack this morning to run in a local race.  He's very happy with his results as noted above.  And I am happy FOR him.  You see, he must run.  He just must.  Years ago, when #1 Son was around 10, we were all in a sporting goods store.  Father's Day was around the corner and boy comes running up to me:  "Mom, Mom...I found the perfect shirt for Dad."

I abhor the "s" word.  And my goodness, he was only 10.  I (tried to) act offended but was won over when I realized that #1 Son "got" his Dad.  Pretty cool, right?

Here is that shirt.  17 years later!!!!

....and it's still My Guy's mantra.

And so this morning, I'm thinking...what makes ME feel like a winner?  I don't get trophies but I do get satisfaction from:

  • Deep, soul-digging talks with Sons
  • Gut-wrenching laughter (especially with My Guy!).  Two nights ago, I almost fell out of my chair due to something he said.  It drew the boys into the kitchen to see whatever WAS Mom doing?
  • The anticipation of bringing down fall clothes, organizing my closet.
Yup, that's it.  For today....I'm feeling like a winner! 

I hope our hearts race.
Our bellies ache from laughter.
The body's stretched,
Our minds at peace.
Oh to be drawn in, for talk & chatter.
Wait on someone, literally serve.
Give of ourselves - rejoice and sing!
Twirl in the kitchen,
Fix nachos for football.
Oh, how I love a winning weekend!


Monday, September 6, 2010

I've Got That Lovin' Feeling....

Posted by PicasaWhat goes around...

(can) come around!!!

This chinoiserie coffee table has been in Mom's life - in every living room - since I remember.  In fact, the top picture is even older than I am!!!  The little ole thing has been in our keeping for at least 60 years, mine for 17 since Mom died.  My brothers and I were unbelievably civil and generous when splitting up her goods.  Each of us have parts of Mom...that particularly appealed to us

It's more worn or I'd say more LOVED!  And means the world to me.
Is there something in your home that you treasure? 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Birthday Boy (Fete #1)

Last night was our first fall celebration.  Since I posted on how much I love this time of year and all its' activities, I am going to keep track of every celebration.  My Guy turned 56 and it was honored with the presence of his folks, cousins and St. Steve and date.  We had to have a "manly-man" meal of course.  Ribs by Steve, Cornbread by cousin Josie and red beans by moi.  These fancy-shmancy cupcakes were a treat FROM "Treat."

The table was set....just waiting on our guests.

Oh, and #2 Son was around as well.  The best birthday gift has been his attitude the last 6 weeks or so.  Thank you, Lord!

Cute picture of My Guy's Dad cracking up....

Cousin Josie and #2 Son....toying with her iPad. 

Birthday Guy getting his "treat."  He went for the 24 Karat (that'd be carrot cake cupcake, cream cheese icing dusted with 24 K powder...

Serving his Mom....look how sweet she's looking at her boy!!!!!  By the way, what IS the etiquette of eating cupcakes?  That was a topic of discussion and with such frothy frosting a fork was a must!

And so it's on to a holiday, long weekend.  Woo-hoo!  I hope everyone of you has a treat in store for your weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Sensibilities!

When I looked at my daytimer this morning and realized it's SEPTEMBER 1st, I smiled....big.  Every September 1, I feel this way.  It's not just because it's my birthday month and that of My Guy's birthday, my little brother's and a ton of other relatives.  So many Autumn Babies are in my life.  It's fall.  Houston may show 90 degrees on the thermostat but in MY mind the temp is dropping...

I much prefer this day to New Year's Eve/Day.  I have a skip in my step and a sense of anticipation - could be the hoopla of the holidays on the horizon.  The autumn "semester" is jam packed!  I mentioned a ton of birthdays.  Then, the Marburger-Round Top Fall show...if ONLY Eddie and Jaithan would wend their way south.  (Yes, I meant to use wend vs. wind.)  Houston has The Nutcracker Market November 11 through 14th.  I hope CC and I get there again!  Closer to my neck of the woods is the Junior League Holiday Market in The Woodlands.

Fall colors, sweaters, and boots: oh, my!  I may work myself up to that chic dark almost-black nail lacquer but today - after a relaxing, intense pedi, could only go a deep barn red.  Even my toes look brand new!

September also brings our ladies Bible study together after a summer hiatus and we had a celebration last night to do just that - celebrate one another, a new study and a new season. 

I hope you have a "Barnabas" in your life.  We named our group The Barnabas Bunch or Buds...because this is the most encouraging group of women around.  (Barnabas means "encourager.")  We've met in each other's homes for over 12 years.  At one time there were 20+ women in 12 different churches.  We've seen graduations, funerals, illness, divorce, grandbabies, love, loss and a ton of life!  I'd be lost (or in the loony bin) without them!  And, uhhh...they can cook!  There is never a shortage of food at our functions.

This post is all over the place - but I'm just overflowing with September sensibilities.  There's "new TV" - football games (go Cowboys!).  I can't wait to start my morning outdoors on my little patio .

Fires!  I light a fire almost every cool morning.  Thank goodness for gas logs that look real!  What's better than two dogs lounging by a fire at the crack of dawn?

I think I'll hunt.  For my copy of "September" by Rosamund Pilcher.  I read it 20 years ago after receiving it for my (September) birthday.  Cousin Josie gifted me - it really was perfect.  And oh was sooooooo good! 

If Eddie & Jaithan (ever) get this way, you're invited to join us at Round Top.  In your jeans, boots and a sweater of course!

Do tell - what are YOUR plans for fall?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I devoured "Walking with God" by John Eldredge.  As with most of my books, it's highlighted and tagged to pieces.  I love making books mine with scrawling notes throughout.  This is also what I call a man-book...which means the men I know reading it, like it too.  It's an easy read - John Eldredge is transparent and real.  I laughed out loud at his description of distracting moments.  And cried when they lost their dog. 

There are a lot of key points but two of his subjects oh, sort of pierced this old heart. 

1.  Beware of Agreements (page 57)

Most of us have bouts of oppression/depression, right?  He suggests digging into it.  Figuring out why you feel cruddy helps get rid of it.  The thoughts that take me under, make me feel awful are not of God.  When I succumb, I've made an agreement with it (the bad thought) .

My example - I was volunteering last week - not rocket science and no payment for this work.  We are volunteers.  Someone asked me a question and I didn't know the answer.  She, cuttingly, said:  "Gosh, don't you have the instructions on this?"  No biggie, right?

Well....I immediately went south with these thoughts:  "She'll think I'm inadequate and tell everyone I don't know what I'm doing."  The second part of my thought Mr. Eldredge calls speculation. I realize that quite often I feel sucker-punched when criticized.  I dug...and figured out why.  (No need to go there now.)

I am going to stop these thoughts when they hit.  I will not agree with them.  And speculating is the same as worry.  My new tool worked just the other day!  John Eldredge's wife, Stasi, has a retreat in spring 2011 in Colorado.  You have to enter it through a lottery (guess a whole lot of chicks want to go!).  I almost said...."well, it'll be a miracle...blah-blah-blah."  Then, bam!  I stopped it!  :)  IF God wants me to go, I shall go!  Try it.  You'll like nipping speculation and negativity in the bud.

2.  Making Room for Joy (page 37)

I love me some joy!  "So, why don't I wake with a joyful heart today?  Joy was just here.  Where did it go?"  (page 38).  It's all those dern agrements - "...subtle convictions we come to, assent to, give way to, or are raised to assume are true."

One of my favorite Scriptures is "The joy of the Lord is your strength."  (Nehemiah 8:10).  And Mr. E. talks about how when he's felt joy, he's felt more alive than any other time in his life.  Me too!  It give me strength.

I highly recommend reading WWG.  Like I said - it's an easy read yet rich in tools for our every day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Search for the Perfect Sofa

After making myself at home in homes that had oomphy-cozy, squishy sofas, well, now I NEED one.  I've tried to live without one for a few months.  And I've rationalized the set up below by saying since we're (almost) empty-nesters, we do not NEED a sofa.

But football and "new" TV is about to begin and I've decided we must get cozy.  I sent this picture to a very "famous" someone...and he/she answered me!  Love the internet!!!!  He/she suggests I get one without a skirt...that if it has legs; it'll lighten up all this furniture.  As soon as he/she said it, I had to agree.

Do you know how expensive these darn things are now???  Oh, my.  This Wish-List item might even spur me on to purge and have a garage sale.  We have enough to purge that it might end up a really good garage sale.

And do you know how many STYLES there are?  I've always been a floral gal; until now.  No more chintz sofas for me - at least not in this house.  My love for them goes way back.  Mimi's homes always had The Perfect Chintz sofa.  I grew up with a very low, long, comfortable (floral) sofa when living with Mom. 

My Dad and Stepmom have a beautiful home in Connecticut and Stepmom is a fabulous designer.  She has impeccable taste.  The look of her home is quite different from those in Texas; but it's the look I grew up with and what I love.

Look at all that layering and luscious pattern on pattern.......mmm, mmm, mmm!  Now that's a pretty sofa!

Their den is a tad less frilly:

My Stepmom has "the stuff" and it's always a feast for the eyes!!

While studying this tan sofa, I see the legs - no skirt here.  Yes, I think "mine" must have legs!!!

If you would be so kind, throw in your vote for my new sofa.  What say YOU??????    There is the basic, traditional, classy "Bridgewater Sofa."  I can see this in our room; maybe in an off white or even a cocoa brown linen????     But no skirt....
I'll let you know if I bite the bullet!  It would be nice to have one before the first official Dallas Cowboy game!