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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You Making Party?

I've spent a good portion of mid to late morning outdoors today.  It IS a big deal!  I'm not a gardener or a yard-girl.  I feel bone tired The Lady above but very satisfied and all I did was weed.  I'm most thankful that I have a gaggle of girlfriends from different parts of the country.  Pictures show their efforts in the yard and every once in a while I get inspired. 

I dream of living by the sea...

                                                 (photo by Sandi)
 or to have a forest in my backyard!

                                                                                             (Photo by Deborah)
Then again, to have a green thumb.  Period.

(Photo by Jennifer)
Oh, to traipse through the THIS setting!

(Photo by Mary)
But, here we are in suburban Texas.  My yard lacks personality; therefore, I must make up for the lack in other areas.  With Easter round the bend and company coming...I gotta spruce up the place.  I hope the weather allows us to have a
Tracy Porter-inspired-outdoor-brunch Sunday morning.

We'll bring out the 8' long Home Depot table.  Cover it with an old, shabby rug, bedspread or several table cloths.  I'll move two wicker arm chairs from upstairs to the head(s) of this table.  And, since I'm all about the hi-low in clothing, decorating AND table will sport:

  • Plates from Dollar Tree

  • Crystal from my Mom

  • Bamboo flatware from Big Lots interspersed with Mom's sterling

  • Monogrammed cloth napkins from Ballard Designs           

  •                   (Photo by Kelly)

  • A BIG centerpiece inspired by Kelly above and...

  • Nell Hill rattan chargers (they dress up my $1 plates!)
Hospitality IS my thing.  Yards and gardening, not so much.  If I don't get to everything in the yard I hope my guests won't notice.  I'll have to make my table extra special so the focus is on it! 

Recently I met the owner of a restaurant to reserve their room for an event.  A waiter with a really thick (unknown) accent said to me:  "You making party?"  I knew what he meant.  And loved what he said.  And thus replied:  "I am!"

It's Tuesday.  I'm (pretending to be a) gardener, browsing through cookbooks, swapping recipes with friends....all because I'm making a party!  And I so love a good party!

Happy Easter!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Men in Pink!

                      (1/2 bro, Dad, Stepmom, Moi)
I love a man in a pink shirt!  That, (again), may be due to growing up in Preppy Land, U.S.A.  My most-dapper-Dad dons pink better than most!  The beach shot above is in Long Island last summer.  My 1/2 brother and Dad look so me!

Dad and Stepmom took a bunch of us to Turkey in '07.  It was a GREAT time...exploring ruins, climbing all sorts of hills, snorkeling in beautiful waters.  And a few times at night we DID dress for dinner.  On this night; the men...wore (mostly) PINK
(My Guy, 1/2 Bro, # 2 Son, Bro)

Aren't they handsome?

Just wondering, do your guys wear PINK?

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I'd call myself eclectic.  Example above is a gift of nature from a friend.  Okay, it's a mossy rock.  #1 Son laughed aloud asking me if I now collect pet rocks.  He lives with me (or did) and still thinks I'm off, a bit.  Quite often I can tell by a person's face when they walk in they don't quite get my decor.  Once someone asked:  "where did you get the idea to use so many types of fabric?"  I don't like doing what everyone else is doing in their home.  I like it to be different...perhaps stand apart.  I think some of that stems from my upbringing on the East Coast.  The most beautiful rooms are those that are personal, colorful and cozy. 

My library is eclectic as well.  I need variety.  There are stacks of books all over my home.  By my bedside are four that give a clue to my eclectic personality:

There are others like me.  I found them on line!  You see, Tracy Porter's books had struck a chord.  And two and a half years ago her blog opened a whole new world.  I "met" like souls and we became addicted to thrived from her inspiration videos.  A trademark of Tracy's is her London Wall or some call it a Gallery Wall: a hodge podge of all you love slammed together.  I was all over that.  Our little powder room pretends it's in London.'s obvious that some enter our powder room  (with a purpose) and exit bewildered.  I can see it. 

If I could siphon a personality, a writing style and the way to view life, it'd be Dominique Browning.  Around the House and in the Garden and Paths of Desire are dog-earred, highlighted and (worshipped) adored!
I am over-the-moon to discover this morning, SHE has a blog entitled Slow Love Life.  And yes, I drank too much coffee and spent too much time reading it.  But I all.  It was delicious! (I've pre-ordered her book on Amazon and it will not get here soon enough).  She most definitely stands apart.

I've become more eclectic in my attire too.  Just the other day a friend remarked:  "My aren't you the funky woman?"  Is that a good thing?  I don't know.  I wore straight jeans, rolled up, a long tunic-y thing rather close to a bathrobe and some (admittedly) funky shoes.  55 is half  a year away and it's all good.  I totally dig this age -  this season of life. 

A new addition to my home is The Pink Woman.  She arrived at my door step two days ago from an artist in North Carolina.  Please, let me introduce you to her:
I loved her the moment I saw her - she lit up the corner of my living room.  I called my friend (screaming) thanking her profusely.  Oh, and I learned the most interesting tidbit.  "Art should not be matchy-match; otherwise it is just part of the decor.  Art should stand alone."  Ahhhhhh.  Stand apart.  Stand on one's own.  That's where I aim to go...

No fear of what others think.  Be true to myself and my God.  That's it.  What a glorious way to live!  And should you come for a visit; I'm okay if you don't "get" my home.  You're most welcome anyway!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Wondrous Works of Women!

(Please sing-song this to the tune of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.")

Muckin out stalls, y’all. Cooking up a storm, yea.
                  (courtesy of Chatelaine Ranch)

Teaching the children life.

Women do it all well.


Paintin’ for a vignette today.

 Running the PTA.

Watching the folks grow old…

Run the office and keep it afloat.

Offering your time for free, sit with the elderly.

Read to your kids daily.  Women do it all well.

Cater to every whim, for parties or even him…

Design and decorate...
                  (Courtesy of five-ten-fifteen)

Brew the beans to percolate.  Women do it all well.

Make a menu and grocery shop...
                                                                                                  (Courtesy of Ciao Bella)

Buy the gifts, shop till you drop.

Purge the pantry, start a compost. 

Begin a blog and outdo most!

Women do it all well.
Paint for joy and paint for peace. Offer your art to all in need.

Run the kids hither and yon, smiling and blessing years beyond…

Women do it all well.

Make a party and a crème brulee, the star in you sings in every way.

Here’s to chicks in all walks of life, keepin’ the faith, steady through strife.

Women do it all well.

(I know a woman behind every description in this ditty.  In fact many of you fall under many categories.  I love me my girlfriends.  They rock!  Cheers!!!!!!!!! )


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Vava & Friend (still!)
I hate heights....and it's not a laughing matter.  My Guy and I were adult guests at Frontier Camp a couple of summers ago.  Young Life's mantra is "'s the best week of your life."  (You wouldn't think so by the look at those faces, huh?).

We were fired up.  We love Young Life.  The kids.  The staff.  And, Frontier Camp's setting was uhhh....not so bad.  You can check it out right here!  We were told that we "get" to do everything the kids do.  Yup, I was fired up.  I didn't go to a YL camp as a teen - always wanted to, but it just wasn't in the plan. 

Don't forget, I am VERY afraid of heights.  The first day we "got" to rapel; but even before then, we had to get there.  It was a gruesome climb.  My Guy told me later he was thinking to himself, "how am I going to get Vava down from here?"

We were maybe 16 in our group....and I gladly waited until almost the very end. In the meantime, I prayed a lot.  I asked the workers "what if???"  Have they had someone refuse to go down?  They informed me it'd be much harder climbing down, than rapeling. 

It was not fun.  I used muscles to hold onto that rope that came outta nowhere.  In a picture I actually look like I HAVE a muscle.  Every bone, fiber, muscle, sinew in my body was in action.  It was not fun.  But I did it!  Ta-da!!!

That big ole swing is called The Screamer. Everyone else in our group participated the first moment they could.  I was NOT going to do it.  But, as time went on, God was talking to me about oh, so many things.  Fear was one.  Fear of what was going on with #2 son, fear of our future, fear of...heights.  I thought I just better get over it.  Thankfully, my friend and I bit the bullet together. Every time I look at our faces; I roar!  I can't get over how FEARFUL we look. 

Other activities put fear in me as well.  A hike up a mountain to 13,000 feet that took FOUR hours (1 way!) nearly sent me over.  As we started the trek, I would have the urge to hurl, every 15 minutes.  Altitude sickness. 
          (At some points, on our way UP, everyone in the camp (500/600 of us!) were on itty, bitty trails.)

One sight kept me going - two YL counselors carried a young lady unable to walk all the way.  And while doing so, she moaned, and THEY were cheering her on.  "C'mon, we can do it.  We're making it to the top."  The 3 of them were a sight to behold.

I did make it.  It took 4 hours.  Our entire group was gathered at the summit and our leader was praying over us.  It was breathtaking and inspiring. Ta-da!!!

The trip down was a bit quicker.  I let My Guy go....he'd been by my side on the way up and I was slowing him down.  And, then in HIS place, a YL counselor, some college dude and dude-ess, put me in the middle of them.  The 3 of us slipped and slid down the mountain side.  We made it.  Ta-da!!!

I've got a "Ta-Da List" going now.  Sounds healthier than a Bucket List, right?  One of my to-do's on my Ta-Da is to jump out of an airplane.  I came close last month.  Some of the "kids" at My Guy's office did it last month; but we couldn't make it.  If you think the picture of me on The Screamer is a scream, wait until you see me when I am jumping (thrown) out of a plane.

Oh...I overheard My Guy telling someone on the phone...after we got back to reality:  "It was THE best week of my life!"

A friend of mine posted today how she was a black sheep (in a good sense), that is - being true to yourself, not afraid of what others think or do.  I love that!  Fear-LESS.

As I've blogged about already, 2010 is exciting to me in many ways.  Being authentic, fearless, living life to the fullest is on my list.  Let's get cracking!

What's on your Ta-Da List? 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A soulful, selfish, slacker, staycation of a Saturday!

Let me share what my day consisted of today.  It was out of the norm as My Guy went into work. So...
  • I was up early (did not sleep worth a hoot.  Hormones maybe??  TMI?  Sorry!) 
  • Up early - had some quiet time.
  • Went to the gym...worked out hard.
  • Got caught in the downpour...
  • and went into Starbucks anyway- had to use up some of my gift card!
  • Rented two chick flicks, not one but TWO!
  • Took a hot shower
  • Took the dogs upstairs to comfy sofa
  • Watched Flick #1
  • Dozed off, spooning with Duke on comfy sofa
  • Watched Flick #2
  • (I'm still not watching TV; and on a rainy Saturday, do not consider a movie "TV."
  • Thought it better to eat "dinner" early than late.  Had a peanut butter and raspberry jam on HEB's (delicious) 12-grain bread.
  • Took a hot bath accompanied by a (small) glass of red wine.
I'm waiting for My Guy to return with a movie.  Then I'll take HIM upstairs to the comfy sofa and we'll watch something comedic.  The dogs will not be spooning us.  IF they try to, I'll act shocked.

I do so hope each of YOU get a slacker Saturday, Sunday or someday very soon.

A Soldier Returns!

Like I mentioned before, a hug, from a son:  mmm, mmm good!  This is old news BUT I'm blogging for posterity.  So my fam will have photos & notes.  I've never been a scrapbooker - this is much more my "thang."

This is the first time we saw #1 Son upon his return from Afghanistan (November 06).

The brothers.  I spot emotion on my soldier's face.  Look at the way the woman is kissing her man.  Be still my heart!

...and then - what every soldier craves:

The first Bud!  Always thought this would make a GREAT Budweiser commercial! 

Love our soldiers, don't you?
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Joy Bug

#1 Son, Vava, #2 Son
Is it wrong for me to be content when my sons seem content?  Nothing makes me happier** than when they get along, respect one another and are civilized.  Goodness, their mother does teach manners!
**(I really do declare myself cured.)

I gave both these boys God.  I love them but do not worry, stew or fret.  That's peace.  Freedom is realizing I have no controlI can do nothing except pray for them daily.  I highly recommend it.

#1 Son has the Politician Personality.  He's charismatic, able to schmooze with anyone.  It's an art, really.  He's always been gifted in that regard.  He talks to the homeless or the honorable with the same level of care.  He's still restless though...

#2 Son isn't fully hatched.  He's out of my nest; but has (a lot of) work.  I'm down with that.  Accepted it and moved on... 

Over the years; these two have been combustible but they are growing up and growing to like one another.  The last two days have been a miracle.  They've worked side by side outdoors.  Nothing like a little manual labor to make ya feel good!  They've bonded and joined us in the evening for food, fun and fellowship!

For years friends have prayed for our family and said God will restore the years the locusts have eaten.  Gross!  I hate bugs.  Locusts feast and destroy...and at times I felt destroyed.

But this spring I've got a bug!!!  ...the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart and I know WHERE "it" comes from.  It isn't from how well the boys are doing, whether they are successful, drinking too little or too much, who they hang with.  I do not derive my self-worth from them.

Oh, but I love them.  And we had a blast last night chowing on Uncle Steve's beef tenderloin, laughing our tails off.

And I can't think of too many places I prefer to be than in between two big boys hugging on me.  It seems I have "the joy bug."  That's the kind of bug I like!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Empty Nesters

These babies are now empty nesters.  Empty nest. Shmempty nest. MY nest is full…and I like it. A lot!
There is peace and quiet. No rap. No yelling to do homework, get off the phone, do laundry, get out of bed, feed the dogs, mow the lawn, put the dishes in the sink. That’s a pretty “normal” household of kids. Ours was so-not-the-norm. Every day was a roller coaster and I do not like roller coasters. I get an upset stomach.

The tension has been wiped clean. It’s a new phase. I like it.

There are:

Grown Up Dinners aka a Vegetable Plate.

I have quiet, reflective moments...

...and so do the  dogs!

I want to give a shout-out to the parents that are approaching this season of life…it’s not what the media makes it out to be.  Or it doesn't have to be.  Especially when you live with your best friend. I love it when My Guy comes in the door at 5 pm. My day gets (even) better. I feel lighter, happier. I’m goofy about him, at 54!

And then a word to my 35 year old friends. I have almost 20 years on you. Please heed this advice: work on your marriage more than your children. He is going to be in the nest with you. You will like your empty nest a whole lot more if you LIKE your guy.

Oh, we sometimes have popcorn for dinner. Very cool.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Home Spring Home

Spring has sprung IN Spring...Texas that is!  Love the 63 degree temp; Boz Scaggs serenading me in background and it's the WEEKEND!

2010 brings me hope and March even more so!  Love the whole theme of spring time, Easter, the resurrection, a rebirth in the truest sense.

"Hope" is the thing with feathers---
that perches in the soul...
-  Emily Dickinson

Friday, March 12, 2010

3 Generations

(This may have been the first picture AFTER my eyes were "fixed."  Every other picture I had on
 baby-blue cat's eye spectacles.  Lovely!).

Vava, Mimi & Mimi's Pierre Hotel apartment, probably in 1965.  (Sorry for the grainy picture; but it's the best I could do.)  My mom was most likely taking this picture.  She and I would take the train from New Canaan to the city for a visit to the eye doctor. 

I had terribly crossed eyes and back then eye drops corrected it!  I don't remember anything about the eye appointment; only the DELIGHT in visiting Mimi at The Pierre.  On this day, HER Mom (my great grandmother) was present. 

A date with Mimi was always memorable - she made me feel I was absolutely the most special little girl...ever!  We'd hit Hamburger Heaven and now that I reflect; how dear it was of her.  Drinking a malt, eating a burger with a little girl, all decked out in her heels and pearls.  That's class!

That's Mimi!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

He's My Brother...

Hello, my name is Stella and I am a guest blogger on Vava's View today. 

I had to speak up for the others out there. Standard Poodles that is.  Please do not let that dang Duke sway your opinion!  Oh?  You haven't heard the latest?  Please read Vava's previous post.

I am regal, laid back and the queen of the home.  Most of us are!  Uncle Steve doesn't even think Duke is cute yet he calls me "beautiful."  Hrrrmph. I was part of this clan long before Duke entered the picture.  Like 8 years! 

...then this homeless, hopeless dog stranded in Galveston after Hurricane Ike, found his way here.  These words had new meaning after September '08:

The road is long...
With many a winding turn...
That leads us to who knows where?
Who knows when - But I'm strong...
Strong enough to carry him - He ain't heavy, he's my brother!

I've tried, oh how I've tried to show him the ropes, be a good role model, to no avail.  He is exhausting at times but does put JOY into my day.  Nobody wrestles with me anymore...except Duke.  I miss the boys so much.  #1 son loves me like a girlfriend and #2 like a sister.  They're the best!

Oh, well, guess Duke will have to do!


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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What a New "Do" Does...

Please tell me how this sweet "thang" could do this:

"THIS" was our bedspread.  I hope My Guy doesn't think I ripped a hole in it in order to replace (the almost-shabby) one. 

Could be Duke's new "do" - he's feeling mighty most of us after we've been to the salon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TUESDAY'S TIP: Egg on Your Face!

I don't like eggs much but I'll rub one on my face every once in a while.  I had mentioned my face lift tip to Kelly a while back and she wanted me to post on it.  

So...crack an egg, use the white as a mask.  This morning I used it on only the bottom part of my (54 year old) face.  Gotta retain a little dignity!  

Not sure if you can tell BUT the pooches and lines really do reduce...a tad.  (These are untouched photos and within 15 minutes of one another.)

When you use the egg white on the entire face; it's a bit like a mini face lift.  Do NOT get too close to the eyes.  Yes, that is where I'd like to put a dozen egg whites - around the eye area.

"Egg on your face" implies making a huge mistake, looking foolish.  I've taken it to a new level!

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fairy Tales in Fasque (Part II)

Fasque House
This property dates from 1809 and was the family home of Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone
(© Copyright Richard Slessor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
...and in '95, was home to Dad's friends, Lord and Lady Gladstone
They were closer to my age than my father's and could not have been more mannerly. 

I honestly don't recall if they lived in this manse OR the 1800 shooting lodge.  It has been 15 years.  But, I digress.  THE SHOOT.  I was instructed on what is proper attire for "the shoot" and had to borrow wellies from a local.  Shooting Dress was NOT my look, especially as I was 15 or 20 pounds heavier!  Yowsa!  But Dad and L. were dashing as ever!!!

I've always been an Anglophile and here I was in my own dream!We met early morning in an "out building."  VERY old and plain with an old refectory table laden with coffee and cookies.  Sir Gladstone (or "Charles") told us the plan for the day.  Tears welled up as I was feeling an outer body thing going on.  Out we a sea of Land Rovers.  We piled in and the caravan of Rovers drove through the estate, in the midst of the most stunning scenery.

We'd stop and pile out while the men (only) got their guns and walked a ways from us.  The "beaters" were out in the forest - the trees, and would "beat" the pheasant out of their safe environment.  And the shooting would begin.  It was up to the beaters to collect the birds.  That phase ended and on we'd go. 

Mid-morning we again stopped but now the autos divulged treats for all.  I was asked if I'd like consomme "with or without?"  Vodka, that is.  At 10 a.m.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I declined.

We returned to the Gladstone ancestral estate, Fasque, for a 4-course luncheon with claret.  Caroline Gladstone prepared the meal.  She was so down to earth, so gentle and kind.

Tea at 3:30 in a much smaller building.  We were seated when the "Head Beater" walked in.  I kid you not, said he:  "Hear ye, hear ye.  1,025 shots fired, 125 birds."  Then The Gang:  "Hip, hip, hooray."  And toasts were made and drinks went down the hatch.

Everyone retired to their respective hotel rooms until we dressed for dinner and went to Fasque for the finest, most elegant, etiquette-enhanced dining experience I've had.  "Sir" Gladstone met us in his kilt holding a board similar to a chess game.  On it were tiny silver place card holders.  He had spent a lot of time placing each guest at just the perfect spot at table. 

Dad and I were next to one another and again...I'm in my dream.  It was set magnificently, course after course, wine after wine set before us.  In the background was a roaring fire with several labradors lazing around.  The perfect movie set or chapter in an Edwardian novel.

As lovely as the trip was, there is no place like home.  Texas and my men were waiting and I couldn't wait for them.

(It was a trip of a lifetime and ya know, it pays to journal.  I retrieved these details from my scribbles from 15 years ago.)

Fairy Tales DO Come True! (Part I)

Have you experienced a fairy-tale in your own life?  I did...when I turned 40.  It was 1995 and shortly after my Mom died, Dad and his wife invited me to join them "on a shoot in Scotland."  It was to help the grieving process of losing Mom and I suppose, turning 40. 

Dad and stepmom made this trek annually to Lord and Lady Gladstone's estate. First, we met up in London - Cranley Mews, actually - don't you love it?  We were staying three days to tour London.  We did the norm - Tower of London, Hamley's - a monstrous toy store, The War Museum, Harrod's. 

Doing life with Dad and L. allows me a very different perspective to take it in.  It's done well, shall we say.  (If they could just see ME in my every day, oh my.)  One night L. and I had dinner with three women involved in the Romanian adoptions that were quite the craze back then.  The founder of The Body Shop was one and a portion of the proceeds from The Body Shop went to Romania.  In fact, one such young man was with us...on this trip.  You see, my half-brother, was adopted by Dad and L. when he was but two.  I believe he was 5 or 6 in 1995.
Dinner at Rule's is a must for a first-time visitor.  It was established by Thomas Rule in 1798 making it the oldest restaurant in London.  Those of us that read historical fiction may recall Rules in one of our books.  My dear Dad has a sense of humor so he had to use this gift when ordering dessert.  "We'd like some spotted dick please."  Well, I nearly spit out my beverage all over the white linen table cloth!  Americans think it's such fun to say.  I shall NOT be serving spotted dick at my next dinner party...

On day 4, we flew to Banchory, Scotland to meet up with the shooting party.  Our "hotel" was not up to U.S. standards but lent the perfect atmosphere. Old, dark and small.  I was shown my room and was to be dressed for dinner and meet everyone in the bar.  My dad's friends are an international-worldly-set.  I was rather intimidated when I entered and "the gang" was all there but they could not have been more welcoming.  Mr. and Mrs. S. took me straight to the bar.  Mrs. S. ordered "Famous Grouse" neat.  So did I.  It helped ease any discomfort...if you catch my drift.

The picture below shows exactly how well everyone got along.  It could be, perhaps, the baudy waitress that flipped her skirt up just as someone clicked the pic.

                                           (My Dad's smile is absolutely it so!)

After drinks, it was while at dinner that Dad and I reminisced and got mushy.  It was a lovely evening!

(Next post more of Scotland...)

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Choose Joy

Two days ago a friend made my day when she asked how "I squeezed every ounce of joy from my days."   So I had to confess, tell her about my 'scrip', my "Rx."  I CHOOSE joy.  It's a choice that every one of us has.

Now, people...don't run away because you think "oh, she goes - all fluff & stuff."  My long-term friends know about the times I've curled up in a ball in a corner, gone back to bed and pulled the covers over my head or zoned out, watching stupid-TV with a petite bowl of M&Ms justifying everything I eat, watch or ignore doing...cuz I DESERVE it.  Oh, and the emails, the 100s of emails crying out for prayer.  I'm also known as The Prayer Hog.

But, alas, I don't stay in the pit for long.  I think some personalities find it more of an effort to be joyful.  For some reason, I am able to bounce back...shake it off, pull myself up by my bootstraps (huh?).
I have made a choice to live a certain life.  I choose...
and I crave, long for, need JOY.  When I (finally) accepted who God made me and HOW He made me; I decided to work it, sister!

One of my go-to books is The Bible.  That book makes mention of "joy" 244 times!!!!!!!  If God wants us to be joyful, don't you think we should try?  And, if you don't read The Bible, there are tons of other titles to choose from.  And, I read lots of books - all types.  Self help, fo sho!

In my last post, I mentioned the author, Alexandra Stoddard.  Another of her books sits on my shelf, "Choosing Happiness."

     "The first requirement of attaining happiness is a nurtured and
     cultivated mindfulness."  A choice.

I read, I pray, I ponder.  I also {{{LOVE}}} music.  Again, all types.  Most times in my car, it's 89.3, our local Christian radio station or oldies.  To get psyched this morning on my way to exercise I listened to a CD I made:
Joy goes hand-in-hand with gratitude.  Another new concept for moi:  gratitude is a choice.  In my email chat with said friend this week, I told her about the recovery program (for co-dependency) that I went through last fall.  Acceptance and gratitude are part of Step Three.  Melodie Beattie's words pierced me to the core and gave me tools or an Rx for life!  "When I can't stand what is going on in my life, when I resist or deny reality, I can practice gratitude."  And, finally:  "Taking this Step (gratitude) gets us into the flow for our lives.  This flow will take us through discord in our relationships, healing within ourselves, problems at work, struggles in any area of our lives."  (helllooooo....who wouldn't want THIS???)

It works.  One day I SO did not want to attend a certain meeting.  I was a grump.  While driving there, Ms. Beattie's mantra coursed through my mind.  I literally shook my head and started chatting with God.  Yup, had you seen me at a red light, you might have turned me in!  Picture a sort-of-maniac spouting:  "...thank you for that blue sky, oh, love this music, thank you that I HAVE a car that gets me to this meeting, my dogs, my friends, My Guy."  It works.  Your mind CAN flip a switch. 

I choose JOY! It's yours for the taking...grab it & let's dance!

 ...or take a snooze like Stella and Duke.