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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stop the Ride!

     Where have I been you might ask?  Or perhaps not.  Probably not....but it's time for my soul to be typed out once again.  Eight (8) hours from now there will be a BIG change in our lives.  How I wish it was a positive, exciting change.  If you knew of it; you might feel sorry for us...but I don't want that.  At all.  Nope.  It's a decision that, in the long run, WILL be positive for #2 Son.  Well, we can hope.

     He will not see it as we do.  He will hate us.  I recall periodic bouts of "hating" my own parents as a youngster.  But mine was because I was grounded.  His hate will be different.  His will be deep, rage-inducing.  Or maybe he'll crack and fold up into a blob of agony. 

     He is going to have to make it through a hellish not many "normals" experience.  To be brutally honest, I pray he survives it. 

     When #2 Son was 3, we would drive into town on Saturday to "play" with my Mom.  I remember telling her, "I think I love him too much."  She wisely said, "No, you love him just enough."  He's been different since early, early on.  Say 2 or 3 years of age.  It's been a constant roller-coaster-life.  For 17 years...

     And, in 7 hours + 55 minutes, the roller coaster may stop for a while. 


Monday, July 18, 2011

Learn a Language!

Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages spoke at our church yesterday on the two essentials for successful relationships. It was really good. 

My sis-in-law went with us and since she's My Guy's sister, knows him well. She's always commented on how busy he is. My Guy cleans more than Mr. Clean! He loves a polished, granite kitchen counter. He loves being on top of the laundry. He mops that kitchen floor like nobody's business.  And I don't.  Those "acts of service" do not make me tick.  What does?  Words of affirmation.  (You can take the quiz right here.)

And that is how I love others - by "wording."  I am an encourager and a cheerleader.  It's the way God made me.  Oh, since God made My Guy too, I see!  He's made uniquely.  So, in order to live together well, it would help to speak the language of our spouse.

Mondays are my day off and I treasure them.  We've been out of town a bit and had company for a bit; so it is time for a bit of peace.  All I want to do today is curl up and read, putz around the house.  It is my day off for goodness sake.  But!  My Guy enters the house around 5 pm and [I've always known] he appreciates dinner on the table and a spiffy home.

I better get going and do something around here - acts of service ya know.  Goodness, I've only got an hour, 15...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Soothes YOUR Soul?

Sometimes a feeling comes over me that's hard to describe. It's like a punch in the gut but I call it nostalgia.  A memory is sparked and if alone, I might even sigh aloud.  Or I get choked up and all emotional. What spurs me to feel this way??? Sounds often do. A train whistle. I mean really....I stop dead in my tracks and revert to being 12'ish in summertime. That dove's coo as well.

Last night I was sitting on my back patio - tiny little patch of cement - with a tiny little glass of wine. Alone, I was leafing through a shelter magazine, featuring beach houses. Oh, my gosh, they are what summer is or should be! It stems back to my fondest memories of childhood spent at a beach home. Mimi's was grand; but I don't need grand: a tiny little cottage would do.

Check it out:

What a little home for happy-happy-joy-joy days!  Oh, this is lOvE!  There are no plans this summer for a trip to the sea.  I will live vicariously through blogs and more magazines.  Erin of EOS lives close to the sea and her blog set my imagination loose.  (...and forced me to post these pics!).

The sea is it for me; no matter the season.  Yet the older I get, the less I enjoy basking in the sun - give me a fall/wintery day of walking a beach and that's my idea of heaven on earth.

I also found this poster:

Curious if anyone else feels those gut wrenching bits of nostalgia?  I know I should not envy, covet or look to my past.  I don't think that's what I'm doing.
The sea cures much and soothes my soul.  I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No Fireworks...please!

There will most likely be a ban on fireworks due to the Texas drought!  It's quite hot here.  Yet, our gorgeous Dynamite Red Crape Myrtles finally blossomed.  We have two - on both sides of the house.  We thought something happened cuz everyone else's crape/crepe (sp???) myrtles have been in full throttle.  We had our downpour last week and look!

How funny that her name has an explosive connotation.  Planted by our homestead - thar she blows!  We sure don't need fireworks around here: either the physical OR literal type!  Thank you, very much!
On this very day our sermon was on JOY and we're told it's a must, i.e., a command in The Bible.  Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16 a few times.  Ben Stuart preached on it today.  He tells us:  "Every time there is a 'when,' we rejoice." 

Even today WHEN you-know-who is slipping and we see a shadow of darkness appear?

Ok, Lord....HOW!?  Oh, yea.  Joy is a gift.  We receive this gift through The Holy Spirit WHEN we seek and ask! 


...even WHEN the fuse has been lit!

As I tiptoe away from the fireworks of the flesh (it's so dangerous!), I contemplate on a sovereign God!  And I am filled with joy at the thought that MY GOD is stomping on that fuse for me

The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Vava)
Nehemiah 8:10

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Marvels of Monday!

Isn't it marvelous what green spray paint and a new drum shade do to an almost 10 year old lamp?

I had a MARVELOUS field trip to Arbor Gate today...for some lavender.
(and they promised these would do well here with good soil, sun and afternoon shade!)

And while in my backyard; I couldn't help but admire this marvelous bit of nature.  Love this plant!
Anyone know what it is???

Sis-in-law painted this whimsical bit of artistry to hang on her screened-in back porch.
Isn't it A-MA-ZING????  Quite marvelous, really!

MARVELOUS Monday began early for me with my cup of coffee and some quiet time.  "Jesus Calling" is a favorite of mine.  It's written as if Christ is talking directly TO you.  And, almost every day..He does.  To me!  Today was no different...

     (if you don't have this book, take a minute to read today's!  You'll be blessed!)

I've been intentional in seeing God in everything.  Trying to.  It's a VERY cool way to live out your day!  And, He gifted me with my favorite sound - yes, friends, you know what I love.  The coo of a dove.  I could hear him so well.  And I looked out my bedroom window and there he was.  Showing off.  JUST FOR ME!

(a poor picture taken from inside...but no matter.  He was there singing TO ME!)

Mondays are my day off and it's been simply MARVELOUS! 

My prayer is that I walk with The Spirit and with eyes wide open tomorrow - at work, running errands, doing life.  Try it, you'll like it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doing LIFE!

     I've had two months since my last post to refocus on LIFE.  It's been full.  Working part time has been interesting.  I started out questioning myself.  Self:  why are YOU here?  But, with great counsel  (now a dear friend) by a wise just really leaning into it.  Leaning on God, yes.......and what I cannot do, He can! And I can say that now I am enjoying it so much.  It brings me joy and LIFE.

     As much as I love entertaining, the preparation for a wedding shower at the homestead yesterday forced My Guy and I to focus Around the House and in the Garden (yes, it IS a book title!).  What I cannot do, he can (small "he" vs large "He")!  I'd like to take this time to nominate My Guy as Best Husband of The Year!!!  Dug beds, laid flagstone, hauled dirt, planted, washed windows, mended fences.  Without complaint.
This bed was enlarged; but due to the Texas drought, our new plantings are really suffering...

Sometimes smaller is more do-able.  Surely I can keep the pots alive!

     Life is good.  I am surrounded by good teachers.  All the day.  As long as I'm intentional about keeping my eyes, heart and mind OPEN; I plan to learn.  The wise woman once said to me a year ago (and this is huge!). 
Does [insert activity] give you LIFE?'s been twirling around in my head since she first mentioned it.  At that time; "it" wasn't.  So I quit.  There is a popular song on right now by Adele with the catchy phrase "I coulda had it all."  Love the tune; but I don't want that as my theme song!  We CAN have it all!!!!!  I don't mean the material things; but those things that count!  Peace, joy, harmony, love!  And so, that's what I've been doing.

Doing LiFe! 

Around the House and in the Garden happen to be two of my favorite things to work on.  And also one of my beloved books.  Page 198 just rocks!

"Keep close to the people you love, the ones who stay engaged and open to LIFE, who bring joy and peace to house and garden.  Take with you everything you have learned - and remain humble enough to learn more."  (Dominique Browning)

     Perhaps on this Sunday when the sun goes down and the heat lowers, My Guy and I will sit in our garden.  We can relax and enjoy it.  Would THAT give me life?  Oh, yeah!

Tell me...friends.  What are you doing these days that gives you LIFE???

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Month of Sundays

     It'd been "a month of Sundays" since I splurged on a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.  Thanks to a gift card, I did so today.  Yum-o!

     It's also been a month of Sundays since we've worked the yard.  Just haven't felt the pull.  A looming "event" sort of forces me to clean up my act.  I'm hosting a wedding shower in June...plenty of time to beautify the yard!  :) 

     I dusted off my favorite gardening book, "Blueprints for Harmonious Gardens" by Tara Dillard.  Oh, you must visit Tara!  Such wonderful advice:

1.  Our exterior should match our interior (I mean really!  How many of us love to fluff & stuff?)  Gotta do the same outdoors.
2.  Have a lovely view from inside looking out every window.  Love that!
3.  "Cute" doesn't cut our yard.
4.  Buy pretty pots.  Even empty they'll look pretty.

And there's SO much more.  It'd been a month of Sundays since I read her book.  I revisit notes from Ms. Dillard, and as the Project Manager, tell My Guys what to do.  And they're doing it! 

Yard Guys

We're extending our front bed....but we're doing FAR more in the back yard. 

Oh, I had to find out about that idiom I am using:  A Month of Sundays.  It was first recorded in 1832. One writer suggests it originally connoted a long dreary time, since games and other kinds of amusement used to be forbidden on Sunday.  (

Back to the back:  we have a flagstone terrace and Ms. Dillard suggested enlarging it.  And so we are.  I desperately wanted pea gravel between the stones; but every nursery expert My Guy talked to talked him out of it.  My second choice was steppables, something green.  We are going to plant the short, tiny mondo grass between the flagstones. The Guys are doing the heavy labor, I'll plant mondo.

I've got two months until the shower and I'd like to have a couple of other projects taken care of.  I SO want my interior doors painted black.  Anyone that reads Joni of Cote de Texas knows all about black doors.  However, My Guy is really having problems embracing this notion.  He lets me do anything I want so I shouldn't complain.  But!  As much as I love, interior decorating is not his thing. 

Just look at Joni's bedroom:

And may I quote:  "Notice that my bathroom door is painted black - actually all the doors in my house are painted black. I think its a great look and a very inexpensive way to make a cheap, builder grade, hollow-core, paneled door look impressive, if that is at all possible."

I must get My Guy to read this post.  :)  Surely he won't be able to live with cheap, builder grade doors anymore!!

I'd like to raise my cup of Caramel Macchiato to you!  Let's not wait a month of Sundays to do what we love. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Although I'm working now I get home early enough that I can cook dinner.  Today was so dern pretty that I opted to take a book outside and soak up some Vitamin D. was a stellar spring afternoon!

No slaving in the kitchen tonight!  We were having a picnic in our very own backyard AND pretending we were French!  A petite baguette, two kinds of cheese, apples & grapes and an avocado.  Yum!

#2 Son wasn't interested in such a petite dinner but came out later for chit chat, pictures and fun.  He's the most sensitive of our boys and gets a kick out of My Guy and I enjoying each other.  And, I rather like it too!

I'm in the suck-the-marrow-from-life mindset...hope it sticks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hey friends....I'm keeping Vava's View about life in general.  And, so have dedicated a new blog to our story about you-know-who.  I'd love to have you visit "A Son Called Reed."  Thank you SO much for your encouraging comments on the first two posts!!!!  As I've said many a time - what WOULD we do without girlfriends ♥?!♥

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Son Called Reed (Part 2)


In kindergarten the nurse told us perhaps Reed had hearing or processing problems. If you hear the word “processing problems/issues”, I’d call that a red flag. Pay attention.

First, second, third grade. Shouldn’t these school days be about exploration, learning and just a BIT of fun? There was none of that for our boy while in school. He could be open and engaging until he entered the school room doors. They’d close and he’d close up. The light went out of his eyes. Teachers would be shocked when I’d tell them that, yes, he is (sometimes) happy and loving and fun at home.

In first grade he was class clown and the write-ups began. Back then “hyperactivity” was the buzz word and we fell for it and put Reed on Ritalin. His anger turned to rages that scared and shocked us to our core. The world was telling us he was a defiant, behavior problem and the world solution to this problem was time out, spanking or screaming like banshees. “He needs discipline!” was the mantra. I would get so angry at my baby I thought I was losing my mind. When it was over I was spent and utterly exhausted. Oh, yes…then we’d do our making-up-I-love-you-forever act.

God chased me down and in 1998 (2nd grade for Reed) I timidly attended a Bible study. As I looked around the circle of women God’s sense of humor was evident. Five of the group knew each other well. We had played Bunco together for many years. We’d often laugh – “from Bunco to Bible study.” A new season of life had begun. It was what my mind and soul needed. I ran into our bedroom that first night and jumped on our bed: “You won’t believe these women. It’s what I’ve been looking for – exactly what I need.” I was a novice in prayer but knew it would impact our children and our marriage. I began praying with Reed – talking to him about God – about the Bible. He was an open book – ripe to hear it all. It delighted my heart and filled me so full, at times I’d burst. It became a ritual to pray together –with his dear hands crossed, eyes closed he was my angel.

By the time he was in fourth grade I had no pride….about parenting. I became an open book. In my case this meant begging for prayer. I dubbed myself the “Prayer Hog.” I am not a fan of roller coasters, they scare me! Yet our life was one: ranting and raging. Next you might see us as the all American family – cute as pie, all kisses and smiles. Reed had been a love-bug since day one. His emotions ran the gamut but he loved just as fiercely as he raged.

In hindsight I am able to see where His hand was. God was smack dab in it with me. When I was in the fire it was about me or my sons, or stepping in between boys and husband. The focus was on The Circumstance. My focus was not on the Lord. The Hand of God (HOG) moments are pretty cool. They came in the form of just the right song on the radio, that day’s devotional, an email or in human form. There are no coincidences. I’m of the belief that every, single, solitary, teeninsy detail is in the hands of God!

HOG Moment

Reed’s elementary years were a challenge to put it mildly. It was a real struggle for my boy who was unable to voice what was happening in his little body and mind. His teachers were also challenged. He was a regular visitor to the principal’s office.

I saw said principal at our church when Reed was in high school. She had always been kind and gentle to us. I walked up to her a bit hesitant…and as she turned, a smile flooded her face. “How is our Reed? I’ve been praying for him all these years.” Do you see it???? The hand of God!

(Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.) - Deuteronomy 31:6

Fourth grade was a turning point. Toward the end of that year, Reed’s anger was routine and aimed at authority figures. It could be the soccer coach, a teacher or his parents. Our home life was tense. We walked on eggshells never knowing when he’d blow. The word “no” was the switch that turned our sweet-faced, handsome boy into a raging tiger. As intense as each episode was the making up was just as intense. Reed and I do love fiercely!  Always have. Our baby would be beside himself with remorse and we’d fall into one another, hugging and loving each other. I’d ask his forgiveness and he’d ask mine. All was well. Until next time…

Reed was placed in special education for his learning disabilities and we had rights under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). We met with his teachers once a year. These (intimidating) meetings were called ARDs. They were a resource to help parents and families of students who are eligible for special education supports and services. Waiting for the meeting to begin made ME feel like the student!

I worked full time and the afternoon was interrupted by one of those dreaded phone calls. “Mrs. ___, Reed was brought to the principal’s office for acting out. He proceeded to tell the principal *@# and then ran out of the office. We had to call the school police. You’ll need to come pick him up.” It was a Friday. Our fourth grader was expelled from school until the following Wednesday.

We took our son home clueless about his future education. I turned on The Oprah Winfrey show at 4 pm. The promo stopped me dead in my tracks. “Is your child ADHD or Bipolar?” Two checklists were on the screen. Why, I believed we had a 10 year old with Bipolar Disorder. Oh…the school district had made an appointment with a psychiatrist for us the following week, before he could return to school. They did have four years’ worth of files on him.

Enter scary psychiatrist. Me: “Sir, if I may…I believe he may be Bipolar.” Doctor: “No, duh. Why’d you take so long to get here?” We agreed with everything he said. We believed him. And trusted him. At that point, it’d been seven years of fits. We did not know what else to do. And so…we put our son on heavy psychotropic drugs. Those were for Bipolar; and since he was ADHD we added that pill to the mix.

It was time for the ARD in fourth grade which included the psychiatrist’s report. My husband and I entered a conference room and were joined by the principal, teachers, school psychologist and a few others. There were piles of files on our son. Every write-up was documented. Every phone call was noted. Remember how much I hated caller ID!

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Son Called Reed (Part I)

I meet five women on Mondays for coffee and chatting about the love of writing.  And it's one loving circle of encouragement.  I think perhaps I'm to write a story.  About Son #2.  It's real.  And raw.  You may not think so highly of me but I'm okay with that.  The Beginning:

I hated caller ID. I learned to pray “…help me, Lord” before I even looked at who was calling. It was such a relief when it wasn’t from the school district. I have my son’s permission to tell our story.

No one knew the anger that bubbled inside of me. No one knew how it only erupted when my sons pushed my buttons. The 6 pm glass of wine was much too appealing. Burying myself under the covers sounded heavenly. Running away from parenting was a consideration. And afterward I’d closet myself far from the family in tears, begging God for forgiveness, mercy, and help!

Where to begin? How about when he was in daycare? As young as three years old, our son was an angry soul. I recall once driving down the street, glancing over at my little cherub and the vitriol out of his mouth shocked me so I had to stop the car.

In pre-K, the teacher called me to a corner and with a very solemn face proceeded to prophesy over his future. “He’s not ready for kindergarten. I’d hold him back if I were you. Are you having problems at home? Is there a lot of anger in your house? Something is just not right with your son…”

And so the story begins. I didn’t pay heed to that teacher and placed him in first grade. I simply could not deal with him more than I had to. I was one of those parents who hoped another’s influence would change him.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Things!

Have you missed me?  I've been MIA for a good reason.  I returned to work - 25 hours a week and even that's put a kink in my energy level.  I have Emergen-C on my (work) desk.  It's a necessity.

New thing #1:  Returning to work is part of the plan God (obviously) has for me.  While going to a class Thursday mornings on healing life's hurts, I had one of those "aha" moments.  We learned that if we've judged; it's coming right back at us.  Let me give you an example.  I posted on my bosses and once upon a time I cloaked each with an adjective:  abusive, dismissive, condescending, etc.  I judged the bejeebers out of them.  In almost every position, "Mr. Hart" was my boss.  I'd ask My Guy "WHY do I have a boss like this?  What is the meaning behind this?"  And, I'd bad-mouth, judge, gripe about how horrible they were to me.  Sort of bitter....ya know?

Dabney Coleman as "Mr. Hart" in Nine to Five.

During Sherry's class three weeks ago, she talked about bitter roots.  We have to PULL THEM OUT, get rid of them.  I had an epiphany....I judged them therefore continued having the SAME type of supervisor in my life...Can you say "AHA!?"

On the evening of February 23 our home phone rings and I hear:  "Virginia, this is Pastor Dan.  I'd like you to come work for me."  Huh???????????????  Dan is one of our church pastors.....and My Guy and I have to count him as a favorite in our church!  To make a long story short, I met with him two days later and learned about the position.  I left absolutely giddy.  And excited.  And peaceful.  And scared.  The job is a stretch; but how else does one grow? 

This is week two.  It's going to be good.  It's all new at this point but I am most thankful that God has answered a prayer of mine - what do YOU want me to do, Lord?  How can I serve YOU?  My new boss is a godly man - filled with kindness, joy, and creativity!  It's just SO cool!!!!!!!!!!!

New thing #2.  I've gone green.  No, I'm not talking about my green sofa.  I traded in my honkin' gas guzzler SUV for a 2006 hybrid!!!  30 - 35 mpg!  Woo-hoo.  And, my "work" aka church is 7 minutes from home!!!

New thing #3:  Helen (mother-in-law) is in HER new home.  She is ensconsed safely in The Silverado which is an Alzheimer's facility.  It is LOVELY!!!  And the care givers have such compassion.  It's small, close to My Guy and his brother.  Hey, that's sort of green too, right?

Spring is also green and all about renewal, regrowth and rebirth.  I'm feeling it in many areas of life.  And if you don't know by now, I do love a good adventure! 

Friday, February 25, 2011



My, oh my, what a wonderful day

Plenty of sunshine headin' my way

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Winter 2011 was crazy cold...especially for Texas.  I neglected our yard.  As bright and sunny as today is, my yard is sad, sad, sad.

Dry, brown, dead.  Pathetic plants!!!!  My bad!
I did not even attempt to keep these babies warm...

But, today is a good, good day (think "Black Eyed Peas" song!)....
(can you tell I'm singing a lot today???)
I've got a little spring in my step at the thought of
getting in the yard.
Gotta doctor these darlings to good health.  But is there hope?

Ahh..............some GREEN!

And the zing in my step is also due to a potential change in my life.
It excites my soul.
God made me flexible - a lover of change.
I'll fill you in soon.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Double the Pleasure!

An original by D. Ballard

If you've kept up with this little ole blog of mine you know I've been waiting on our new sofa.
In the meantime, a dear friend of mine was working on a piece.
I had commissioned her...."to paint what her heart desired."  I love her work.  I trust her.
The only thing she asked of me was the color GREEN of my sofa.
I matched it to a Sherwin Williams color....and waited.

First came the sofa.

She arrived on a Saturday...and was missing that certain sumpin-sumpin...
I hope you've got a color in YOUR home that puts a smile on your face.
This GREEN baby does the trick for me!!

And, then SHE was unveiled....
And the whole family fell in love.

I plan on framing her but had to hang her first.  The Artist and I both see the same type of frame:
...a painted gold wood, rather wide frame.  How about you? 
What do you see framing her, to add to her beauty?

It was a good week!  Double the pleasure, fo sho!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

No Longer

It's been two weeks since my father in law died.
A recent phone call hit My Guy and his siblings when they were told:
"He has been cremated."
 And jogged my memory as well...
No matter our age we long for the love of our parents.

There was quite a family gathering for Mimi's funeral.
A couple of nights prior to it, we were at Dad's in Long Island.
He asked me where Mom which I replied:  "On my mantel."
 He knew Mom would prefer her ashes be sprinkled in the Atlantic over a mantel in Texas.
 Since one of my brothers had not left Texas I told him to bring her north.
"Really sis?"    "Really."  And so Mom joined us. 

Some may think it morbid but it was a lovely gesture on Dad's part.
 They'd been divorced for years and his Mom had just died.
He was thinking of OUR mother.  I'll never forget the evening.

My Guy and I and our then 11 year old #1 Son.  My two brothers and their wives.  And Dad.
We wore shorts and sweaters.  As the sun went down that summer evening we held hands
and walked an East Hampton beach.  We each took a handful of ash as our toes hit the surf.
We flung it as far as we could and prayed in our own way.
 Dad read a Scripture from the program of his Mom's funeral.....and some cried.
It was a beautiful, touching service.

Some peeps sitting on the perimeter of my life might give Dad a failing grade.
He has not been very involved.  And I know that.  And at times it hurts.  And...I love the man.

Recently Ron Reagan, Jr. wrote about HIS dad:

"Like all my siblings, I loved my father deeply, at times longingly.
He was easy to love but hard to know."

Longingly.  There it is.  As an adult I long for intimate talks and time with Dad.
 And I know him.  It's not going to happen.  Yet Dad has come through at a few incredible moments.
Mom went through a horrendous medical procedure when she was ill.
He flew down here to visit her.
 If one could bottle Light & Laughter in human form my Dad is it. 
Well, he knows when to be it.   I know he was Mom's best medicine during her illness.

Dad is the life of any party and turned his own Mom's funeral into a more memorable occasion.
As his daughter, I've inherited the love of a party. 
We recently had a sad-cation with My Guy's Dad passing.
Are you allowed to have FUN while mourning?
We had twelve family members stay with us.
The fire roared, air mattresses were all over.  
Patty's guacamole and my queso were wolfed down.
The wine flowed.  Two great nieces were happy to be here (i.e., out of school)
and did their homework in the midst of it all.
#2 Son commented that he wished we had company every night.

The sad-cation is over - that is - company is gone.  My Guy is back at work.
Life goes on.  But it'll never be quite the same without Don L.
I'm sure My Guy longs for one last talk with his Dad.
And his Dad was available to him. 
Larger than life, he filled a room when he entered.
Interesting.  Both our Dads have (or had) quite a presence.

How two weeks out of your year can really change the course!
And it's made me think - I don't want my boys to LONG for me.
I don't think they will.  They know they have me.
Whenever they want.
I think as parents that's the most important thing we can do.
Be available and love your children.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tracy Porter Treasure!

Can you imagine????  Winning this bit of beauty????  I can only dream...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Helen

It has to hurt...losing your right arm.  Whether you were lovebirds or crankpots, losing a spouse after 67 years has to hurt.   My father-in-law passed away two days ago and we're reeling and dealing with the many to-do's.  Family and company heading this way, arrangements to make, pictures to sift through, words to put to paper. 

There are three siblings and each is mourning differently.  Then we have our Helen, the widow left behind.  In the space of three and a half minutes she asked her daughter:  "Where's Don?"  And that was only three and a half minutes of the day.  My Guy was asked a number of times where his dad was.  Me too. 

Our Helen has changed so much since 2004 when she and Her Guy informed us she had the beginnings of Alzheimer's.  She has the nature of a sweet young girl.  She smiles often and enjoys the human touch.  She was a reserved person before the Alzheimer's.  It seems there is a silver lining in everything, even in aging.

At 2:30 am My Guy and I found Our Helen in our bed.  Smiling.  She crawled in by her son and patted him.  And smiled.  My heart ached.  My Guy is gentle with her now, but we all are because she deserves it. To see him tenderly give her cough medicine was a precious sight indeed.

Life for my mother-in-law has not been easy.  She is from the old school and waited on her man like he was king.  As an outsider speaking, uhhh, there were times when he didn't deserve such royal treatment.  Yet, she rarely complained.  It was what she knew.  And what she did.

Although we are honoring the life of Don and will miss him terribly; I think it's time to honor Our Helen.

She's always been in the background you know.  It's her time.  Time to treat her like a queen and wait on her.  Not that she craves, expects, or wants such attention.  All she wants is Her Don.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

i LoVe LuCy!

Allow me to introduce you to LUCY!
...only a kindergartener and her life is already story-bookish.  Her mom has a fab blog.
Lucy's mom and I are fans of Tracy Porter.  That's where we "met."
It seems Lucy loves Tracy too.
And now TRACY has LUCY's fashion video on HER blog!
Please visit Tracy and leave a comment!  :)
She has a video or two on YouTube too.  It'll make YOU want to be jazzy & funky!
There is a campaign stirring:  "I LOVE LUCY."  I'm thinkin' she needs an agent!
Have you ever seen such a Plum Blossom? 

Be still my heart...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Around the house...

A blog I follow, Views From My Kitchen Sink, is always a good read.  That Pam has great posts and so today I'm linking up with her. 


Above you'll find my morning ritual.  It never varies....been drinking protein shakes now for 7+ years.  It started for the ease of it.  I knew I needed breakfast and this was slam, bam EASY!  And then a visit to an MD who was also into holistic stuff...took my cortisol levels.  Yikes!!!!  Yes, I WAS addicted to sugar and ate far, far too much.  She informed me by starting my day with protein, my cravings for sugar would diminish.  Coffee is a no brainer although my Keurig is new.  I've been a loyal fan of the Toddy for twenty years and will stick with it for iced coffee.  Nothing better - smooth java. 


I'm waiting on My Guy to finish organizing enough ski paraphernalia to open a shop.  Bless the man...he's just returned and does have a full time job.


No pictures...yet, BUT I am one excited girl.  "The" sofa has been ordered and it's GREEN!  Little did I know how versatile it shall be until a friend pointed me to "Colour Me Happy's" blog post!  Can't wait.


I'm a music NUT...and with DirectTV, there is quite a menu!  My Top 3 show that not only will my sofa be versatile, but my music taste is too!

#1 Choice:  Channel 826 "The Spirit" (Contemporary Christian)
#2 Choice:  '70s Hits (when I need that pick-me-up)
#3 Choice:  Light Classical (this is brand new.  One of my how-to-speak or how-to-write authors insists "baroque" music helps one think.  I need all the help I can get...)

My Guy came in from work last night to #3 blaring throughout the house.  It was NOT his #1 choice!


  1. Beth Moore's is our current Bible study.
  2. "Palace Walk" was recommended by my stepmom a while back.  I've just started it and hope I can get through it. 
  3. "Speak Up with Confidence" was recommended by a friend who DOES speak and knows my desire to do so. 
  4. "Get Lucky" is by a friend of a friend.  Haven't opened it yet....
  5. "Sundays at Tiffany's" - heard it was light and an easy read.  Will see...
  6. "Little Bee" - well, everyone in Blog Land has read it, so I hope too as well.
 And so what are YOU doing, reading, decorating and listening to?



I had to force myself outdoors....and am so glad I did.  God created a symphony for me!  Took the Lake Walk...

The sun so bright my dark glasses were a necessity.
Birds flitting about as if they were dancing.
The pine needles and trees were washed in two of my favorite colors: russet and green.
And there sat an old woman with a halo of white curls...knitting by the lake.
I stopped to talk and we both gushed on the beauty of the day.
She told me concentrating on her knitting forced her to be less thankful.
She prayed to God to forgive her for her half-hearted praise.
And she said all of this in a beautiful Brazillian accent.
He knows her heart.
And He knows just what I needed for a mid day break!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Life of Vava

I cannot help myself.  Always on the prowl to tweak or fluff.  It's a lot easier to create vignettes
than to remodel and so that's what I do...
a lot.

It's especially a "must" after receiving a FABULOUS gift!!!  The books above are vintage and entitled "The Life of ____."  (our last name!).  I squealed like a little girl and even My Guy was blown away.
They deserved a spot on our coffee table.

And often while in the blogosphere I see that certain sumpin-sumpin that I must carry out myself!  A friend pointed me to what Katie did! And then Vava did it too.  I zoomed to Lowe's for a painter's drop cloth to drape my dining table.  A cheap, chic look! 

 And then tossed a Venetian mirror (another gift from a pal) atop said cloth....and sprinkled candles around. 
My table cloth does not look as styled as Katie-did's does; so I can't post a full length picture yet.
But you see the texture - color of it????  It's just yummy!

After Christmas is the perfect time to look around and tweak a bit.  On my buffet I changed out trays but kept my "Christmas vignette" in tact.  I'll probably keep the ornaments here for a while...some are old and vintage and I {{{love}}} why not? 

Then there were the six botanicals in the dining room that nobody saw...
I moved them out to the foyer with a couple new lamps.  With the prints filling up the entire inset wall,
my tiny foyer seems bigger.

I dig change and think it's good for the soul.  A positive to having clutter collections/stuff around is I
can shop my own home!

Welcome to a day in The Life of Vava. 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

RE-Think the New Year!


This looks to be a random post....sort of all over the place.  How it started was this shot of clouds last night.  I notice the sky and clouds and have since my Mom passed away 17 years ago.  I remember shortly after her death, I was driving home from work, flying down the highway and as only Texas can offer, had a wide open view of heavenly beauty.  I knew it was a gift from God.
He's been doing that a lot - gifting me!  I have tons to be thankful for!!!

Lately I feel as if I'm wrapped in the arms of My Father.


(#2 Son getting a "tie the tie lesson" from HIS father...)

And I like that feeling - safe and loved.  Who doesn't need that, right?

Day # 13 of the new year - and it may be the best start to a year in a long, long time.  My menfolk are having the time of their lives.  You might say, they're having a mountain top experience!


Skiing for six days in bitter cold is not for everyone.  But My Guys can't get enough!


And I've had lots of quiet time....that I reveled in after our week in New York. 

While in New York we had the opportunity to party socialize with a younger set.  My "sister" and I are quite a bit older than our handsome nephews and their beautiful wives.  However, age matters not when one has a gusto, a zest for life!  A (younger) person commented on stories she'd heard about Patty and I.  
It seems our reputation preceded us...that we "seemed to always have fun." 
Well, of course!!! You must suck the marrow from life.

I'll be working those "re" words:  restore, rejuvenate, rejoice, renew for 2011!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Who's Like Us?

Welcome to New York City!!!!

How CAN one girl have so much fun asked a friend..
Well, when you meet the folks I hung with for a week, you'll see. 
I love words!
I love faces!
So, I'm putting words TO these faces.

(or perhaps here she's soaking in the reverie!)

LOUD (said "reverie")















(and you should see their faces!)









Yes, I am pouting.  I didn't want to leave...

We laughed from sun up to sun down, ran all over New York, danced the night(s) away.  Made new friends I'll never forget.  A wedding wooed us to the city and my prayer is that my nephew and beautiful wife live happily ever after.  And they will as long as they lean on one another and their families.

My father has a favorite toast.  And, so to everyone that attended, I'd like to raise my glass and say:

Who's like us?  Damn few!