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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!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bad Nanny!

Most everyone has read "The Help."  It took me around 20 hours to listen to it in the car on my recent road trip.  LOVED it. 

I wasn't in the south during the civil rights movement but up east still.  Mom and Dad had help.  One lovely woman named Magnolia helped Mom by "watching" us and cooking.  I know my brothers would agree that we (they) tested the help!  We still laugh today recounting Magnolia Tales.  She'd pick up the rotary phone and pretend to call our parents...."Ahhhhhhh, swear, children.....your parents are gonna be upset when they hear you ain't eatin' your dinner."  She'd chase my brothers all over the house.

And don't forget about the butler and gardener at Mimi's.  I think THEY could write a book!  My word - the stories they could spin.  The amount of booze put away and the hangovers suffered by the adults were a weekly event.  And then the grandchildren.  My confessions here will finally put to rest my angelic reputation! 

My cousin and I "stole" Mimi's Mercedes one night....and slowly inched our way out the drive.  We had to; otherwise that gravel I love so dearly, would have given us away!  And the two of us drove around East Hampton like we were "all that."  Do you think the gardener, who also took care of the autos, didn't know the car went out the night before?  Yet he didn't tattle.

The first time I got sick from imbibing was at Mimi's.  I was tucked and stuffed into beautiful, crisp, WHITE sheets and morning hit me.  Hard.  Needless to say, the white sheets were no more.  All I could think was that I HAD to hide this mess from Mimi.  That poor maid!  Dis-gus-ting.  And she didn't tattle.  It was another era - the help was respectful and quiet.

Now, fast forward to 1990.  We had a 7 year old son and a newborn.  I worked full time and we thought it wise to try a "live-in."  I went through an agency for heaven's sake.  They presented a (too) pretty blonde-ish young lady, I think around 20.  Hhhhmmmrpppph.  But I was desperate and all seemed legit.

She liked her wine and wasn't bright enough to get rid of the evidence.  We found a garbage bag full of empties in the attic.  One night I took a call for her.  He said she had applied for a job and he wouldn't leave a message.  Even 20 years ago we had caller I.D.  I called that number right back.  A strip joint.  My "nanny" was a future stripper. 

Where HAD the good help gone?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Panhandle Pretties

What a delight to find a "Welcome Vava" sign after a ten hour drive through Texas.  This is my beautiful sister-in-law's beautiful front porch.  Some might wonder why  I "vacay" in the Panhandle of Texas but I've learned it's the PEOPLE not the place.  I'd truly rather be in Dullsville, U.S.A. with fun, upbeat folks over Paris, France with snooty snobs.
When I walked into their kitchen my first morning, I found this darling set up:

THE perfect cup for my morning jo AND a Hedley peach: scrumptious.  All on a silver platter with a linen napkin.  Well, of course!

The prettiest part of the trip were the peeps!
  • Pals still, after 43 years!
  • A long-lost 1st cousin, she with a beautiful heart & soul and her handsome son
  • A Nephew and His Harem
  • Kind neighbors of my hosts
  • Friends of P's.
  • A Cowboy friend who helped a few of us feel like "Stars" while twirling us around.
  • The most loveable hosts around:  G&P!
And then...
  • No traffic.
  • Red wine.
  • Great salads.
  • Coffee and fruits.
  • Lime beer and Cheetos.
  • Stuffed shells and a movie.
  • Grilled burgers by Jeff.
  • And shopping.
  • Dancing and laughing.
  • No traffic.
  • Frank's Chicken Sandwich.
  • Rearranging and fluffing.
  • Fish tacos and margs.
  • Did I say laughing?  And no traffic?
These are a few of my favorite Amarillo.

And I'll take 'em wherever I can get them!  Every time I go there I come home refreshed and thankful for family and friends who put me up AND put up with me! 


Friday, August 6, 2010

The Look of Love: Booze, Bikinis & Bacharach

(thanks to my friends that push me to spin yarns about my upbringing...)

I claim to be a Texan but it all started long, long ago in Connecticut.  Life in the '60s in an affluent town up east left an imprint that I can't shake.  I suppose had I continued living that life it would be ho-hum and nothing to write about.  When transported to the panhandle of Texas via a Mustang convertible, a single mom and two brothers from a rather privileged life..there are stories.

There was a season after the divorce before the move south where Mom, Brothers and I downsized and moved into the town.  We were "townies."  I was traumatized.  Dashing Dad pretty much now The Weekender Dad.  A much smaller home.  Mom went to work!  We went to public school. 

Dad worked on Wall Street - a very buttoned up profession.  TGIF had extra power in the swinging '60s with the event of The Weekend House.  Dad and several bachelors rented a pad, usually near water.  Rowayton, Stamford, Norwalk.  And every other weekend three spoiled, mischevious children descended on The Weekend House. 

Booze, bikinis, Bacharach.  That was the scene.  Throw us in the mix...I have to give Dad credit.  He handled it really well. 

This next bit is "for girls only."  Gentlemen readers, if there are any, may want to skip this tale. 

Women were all over, honestly, the place was a grown up version of a frat house.  I was enthralled by these younger-than-mom, bikini-clad beauties.  I'd lock myself in the bathroom and scope out cosmetics and such.  And so while IN that bathroom one Saturday, Mother Nature decided to come a-calling.  Dear old Dad took me into town and parked in front of the pharmacy.  He told me what to purchase.  I simply could not take my 11 year old, insecure, frizzy red-headed self in there.  And in he went.

Yup.  Dad did the deal.  I don't know if he'd remember this story; but a daughter will never forget.  

Soon after the divorce Dad remarried.   Burt Bacharach was singing "The Look of Love" and "This Guy's in Love with You."  She didn't stand a chance - between the music and Dashing Dad!  And talk about bikinis.  My stepmother wore one better than most!  And I wore the color green.  I was 12, she was 24.  I was frumpy, she was glam!  She had Dad's...heart and attention. 

And it was then that Mom swept us away in her yellow Mustang perhaps with yet another Bacharach tune in the background.  She might have sung the words to "I'll Say a Little Prayer for You." 

Many years later I learned Mom never stopped loving Dad...and Burt's lyrics probably seared her to the core:

My darling, believe me
For me there is no one but you
Please love me too

Booze and bikinis?  Who needs them?  Not so the look of love.  Whether it's between Dads and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, A Husband and Wife, Parents and Kids.  I {{{LOVE}}} love - it's grand!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Restless Life Syndrome**

Mid-life.  55.  Empty Nest.  Some ponder, stew and fret.  I'm fret-free a lot.  If I do begin fretting; I know know how to release it.  However, it is time for a change. There!  I've said it out loud.  "I'm restless...I need to do something."  Yikes.  It's out there now.  Kids are (supposed to be) gone, and thankfully I'm not glued to the phone for calls from the principal anymore.

For some of "us" this is a time of travel, R and R but we're not there...yet.  All in due time.  Well, not DUE time...His time.  I'm trying to listen to God.  Walk with God.  In fact, My Guy and I are reading "Walking with God" by John Eldredge.  As is always the case God has a theme running through the everyday.  Handpicked for moi.  While AT home, I'm to be quiet.  And listen.  Pay attention and when distracted, get still and quiet.  I spent a good part of the early morning reading said book, then snippets from older saints, the Bible, praying, trying to listen...
I have a Doodle Book (that's my name BUT an idea from Tracy Porter) where I write quotes, "aha" ideas, beautiful pictures from magazines of dream destinations or a favorite photo.  I include Scripture that speaks to the moment.  Ya know - a girly-doodle-book.  I opened it today after reading WWG, and doodled away.

I made a list of my talents (whoa, why do so many of us have difficulty with that?).  It seems these talents (or natural affinities) should match up with my next career.  The best part about this stage in life is that I don't have to go back to work.  I want to.  So why not "do" something I love, enjoy and am good at?  Ahhhh, but I am "of a certain age" - almost the 55.  Am I hire-able? 

Well, who knows?  Oh, yes...God knows.  So when I left the quiet this morning, I knew my mission:  it's to seek Him first then be open (receptive).  I do love a good adventure - remember Vava doesn't do boring.
So let me know if you have ideas for my mid-life-crisis-calling.**   

I'll keep y'all posted!