Thursday, April 28, 2016

When You Love Your Days

The sound of pressure washing is in the air. Jesse and Tonya are here pressure washing the house. This is one of those things you don't even know anything about and we kind of ignored doing anything about it last year. Since we did that, now we know why you have this done.

The evening held showers around our area and we were blessed to get a few of those intermittent showers, a couple were more than just light rain. After capping, sugaring and getting strawberries ready for the freezer, I sat here on the couch and watched the sun go down and the backyard turn a marvelous contrast of the dark dirt and the brilliant, ever changing greens of the trees, grasses and shrubs. It seems like overnight the rose bush has pink buds beginning to open. There are splashes of color about the yard in yellows and pinks. I bought some flowers at Lowe's that I will plant later today that will add more yellows and a few pops of red. I think I will try doing the flower boxes that fit on the porch and deck railings again. By mid summer last year I tired of them but I will give them a try one more time. I would really like to get some plants for the front of the house but until I get railings put up by stone steps, access is limited for me.

Yesterday Vivian and I headed out to the Moose Cafe for breakfast. Yum and delicious! Then we went over to the farmer's market. We both bought strawberries but she also bought fresh green beans. It's the most wonderful time of the year...soon that is...produce stand season! We wandered through JJ Israel and Sons Nursery checking out the vibrant bedding plants and all the herbs and such. I am kind of waiting to put out snap dragons, zinnias and lantana. I am waiting until I see some for sale. Also waiting on Mike the Mower Man to plant the trees that will be more like a hedge in the back and that should be in the next few weeks. Vivian and I drove through the Biltmore Estate to see the azaleas. What a wondrous show and display of color. My favorites up here are the orange azaleas which are wild here in NC.

Roy is also scheduling either a fixing of the roof or a complete new roof which will be a metal roof. He also has some inspections scheduled. I hate making those kinds of phone calls.

I was happy to get everything over to the church for the yard sale this weekend to benefit missions. My last run was on Tuesday as I took clothes and shoes. How can we accumulate so much in such a little bit of time? Hopefully, since I live out in the country my impulse purchases will reduce. Well, they have but now I will include online delivered purchases.

It felt like it was coming down to the wire but I got the call yesterday that Christine had a cancellation and would I like it. Well, yes, thank you! So now I can go to Erin's graduation with stylish hair that is to the best of my ability to do good hair. It is not that I have such complicated hair but I have cowlicks and the hair on the top of my head is unruly and needs texturizing and layering.

The other night I decided to get out a rocking chair and sit near the tree that fills with birds in the evening. I sat there taking in the delightful songs and calls of these mountains. With the trees gaining new leafs daily and with spring showing up in a big way, the birds are making their nests in nearby trees and by evening sit on these big two trees in my neighbors yard and sing their hearts out. While I was taking in nature's symphony my neighbor up the way and over to the left came over to visit. She had all the scoop on our new neighbors that bought Jennifer the equestrian, place. When we got here in March the for sale sign was down and it looked deserted. They sold their farm but we didn't know to who. The economy is coming back around here and developers have been buying up pieces of land to build houses. We were kind of waiting to see how low the price would go on the horse farm cause we would be interested if the price were right. Our neighbor said a military family has purchased the farm. The father still has one last tour of duty in Hawaii and then he and wife his and two children will be moving in, planting veggies, have some chickens and various farm animals. I think they were here over the weekend but I didn't get a chance to meet them.

The house looks good, my errands have been run. I'm fixing to go out back and plant my flowers.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beautiful Days But I Am Boring

The day is beautiful and warm so it seemed like a trip to Johnson City would be in order today after church. It has been a couple of weeks since I have driven that way and the greening of the trees is truly brilliant. Among the green leaving trees are dogwoods and sarvis trees in bloom. I love the four days of spring we have in Texas with the blue bonnets and the Indian paintbrush but here when one flower stops producing blooms, there is another one waiting to take the stage. It is a wondrous cycle to behold. It doesn't end with spring because summer holds its own with blossoms and buds. I am thrilled that this is our second spring here as residents.

Anyway, I needed to take back the iPad cover I had bought and go with an Apple product more conducive to the Smart Keyboard. Since south Asheville is not my favorite place and Tunnel Road didn't seem like where I wanted to be on a Sunday afternoon, Johnson City was the easy choice to make.  I was able to get in and out quickly, although I don't think the sales guy knew enough about the new product and there wasn't anything on display. Because Academy is so close it seemed like a good thing to walk through the store and it turned out to be a productive visit. Feeling good, I headed over to Barnes and Noble but it wasn't to be, so two out of three places had what I needed. Anytime you go to Tennessee that means you top off your tank with cheaper gasoline. It was a delightful and fun afternoon for me. Such a beautiful drive and not hectic and crowded like 26 to the south.
Welcome to Monday evening. The sun is setting and this has been a beautiful spring day. I made two trips to church with things for the yard sale and I made the all important grocery store run. Buddy and I have been taking it easy since I got everything put away. I will probably go through some clothes and drop them off at church tomorrow or Wednesday. We decided if something for the house hadn't worked in a year, it wasn't going to work this year. I also got rid of one of the Keruig coffee makers because we have gone back to making coffee the old fashioned way...well, not old fashioned but how we used to. Neither Roy nor I like the K cup maker with the carafe that was supposed to be fancier. It just seemed to be a huge pain.

I finally got birthday gifts mailed today that are ever, ever so late. The people working and standing in line at the post office, in my experience here, are so friendly and fun to talk with. I hope the supervisor from Weaverville who has been at our PO a lot gets the open postmaster position.

That's it. I am boring today and I kind of like it this way.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This Is Pretty Good Stuff

I just saw the biggest woodpecker working away on our neighbors huge tree. Joining him were several cardinals observing the hard working bird rather casually. Guess they know that eats are only a feeder away for them and most of the seeds are those that draw in the songbirds. I observed all of this while working on gathering and loading the truck for the church yard sale. I might have to make several trips this week. I've decided those things that haven't worked out here for the house need to find a home where they would be useful to someone else instead of holding onto something that probably will never get used.

Last night I met Bill and Vivian for our Friday night dining at Turkey Creek Cafe. By the time we left  the place packed with hungry families and friends. We saw several church friends there too. Once again I chose the hamburger because it is a pretty darn good burger. The forecast said more rain and the dark ominous skies agreed. I got home just before the heavens opened up with heavier rain and even a few thunder boomers. Buddy and I decided we should hang out upstairs so she slept while I watched a bit of TV.

I read an interesting blog the other day about the use of "call" or "calling." That term has kind of taken over the former importance of mission statement. The author tells us she has stopped throwing around the term calling and pretty much has banished the term from her vocabulary. She tells her story of college, work and going to China yet she falls in love with a man not drawn to the mission field and she comes back to the states and they get married. Meanwhile she is dealing with guilt and wondering if she was called at all. Her story and her thoughts reminded me of Romans 11:29 which says, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. I once heard someone say your call or calling remains the same. It is your circumstances and situation that change, not the calling. That helped me tremendously because the next few years after hearing this were full of changes and circumstances that became beyond my control. My friend Dena wrote out my mission statement for me years ago because I never could come up with anything. I vainly tried using what I gave Roy when he would get on his what are your goals kick. My answer to him, to have fun, to be popular and to have lots of money. It was the most shallow thing I could think of saying. Anyway, she had pity on me and based my mission statement on Philemon, joy and great encouragement refreshing the hearts of God's people. I feel that this is also my calling. What I thought that meant and the how this will work out was nothing at all in how God intended for these gifts to be used. I kind of pouted for a while and then came to my senses. I laid those thoughts and dreams down to the Lord and I haven't looked back.     On the blog, life the author realized that her calling is to first and foremost to intimacy with Jesus Christ. She writes further than when we come to that place where we don't want to be or we can no longer do the ministry we thought was our calling, "then we will not fall apart, because we are NOT our art. We are not our ministry. We are not our calling. We belong to Christ and are stamped with the love of the Holy Spirit, in whom we live and move and have our being. And He never looked at us and saw our gifts anyway (though they made Him smile.)" That my friend is pretty good stuff.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Gentle Rain

A gentle rain began last night and has continued into the morning.  It is not Purple Rain. Like so many others the news of Prince's death was quite a shock. I mean who didn't like Prince in the 80's? I'm sure there might be a few but his music was the background to a lot of life back then. So many times when our softball team went to nearby tournaments Little Red Corvette and 1999 was our jam. When he lived in the townhouse before our neighborhood became just the hood, I rode my bike in a neighboring neighborhood. It was perfect for getting miles and time in because this neighborhood had a street that made a full circle, almost but not quite a mile. Roy and I measured the distance so I would know how many laps needed to be made to accomplish my goal. My music of choice, the cassette in my Walkman was Prince, the album with When Doves Cry on it. The cadence was perfect for warming up, riding in a heart target zone and then cool down. I never tired of that album and it kept me going on days when I would rather do just one lap. Another song he wrote and I still listen to while cleaning the upstairs is Sheila E's Glamourous Life. Purposely, I haven't read too many of the articles on Twitter because his death story is going to come in layers. But it is sad just like Whitney and Michael. Such huge influencers of culture and of music.

There is a fire in Madison County and hopefully the rain is helping all the fire fighters contain and extinguish a fire that is covering more than 2000 acres. Because of the smoke, school has been cancelled in Madison County. Part of a major highway just reopened after being shut down for most of yesterday afternoon and all of last night. Around 1:45 am I was awoken by low flying helicopters. I fought through sleepiness that turned into confusion because it has been a while since the sound of low flying helicopters has played any part in life. It wasn't the sound of circling like in Houston when looking for criminals, it was the sound of military helicopters. I never got a glimpse of them in the night sky because it is so dang dark in the country but I did think they might be on their way to the fire with chemicals to help with containment. It took a long time to fall back asleep. This fire is near the Tennessee border, close to Hot Springs but mentally I was trying to count miles, plus wind and who knows what else because math is not my best thing trying to figure out if we were in danger. Kind of like my unrealistic thinking when those guys robbed the jewelry store in Asheville and ditched their red minivan, which is a whole other problem, about ten miles away. I took in account pastures and electric fences and the fact they were from out of state and the high probability of them getting caught, yet I rearranged furniture and stuff, you know, to be safe.

I think the last of the rain is coming through now. The robins are in the front yard getting a fair share of worms. The clouds and fog cover the view of long range mountains and nearby farms. There are just a few blossoms left on the apple trees. I never tire of the view from the front porch. While cleaning out photos on my phone I could hardly discard any of this view because it changes with sun, clouds and rain. So laundry is in the works meaning I must tear myself away from the view and from the least for now.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Keyboard on Board

This is so exciting! I am writing on my new iPad 9.7 Pro with Smart Keyboard. Now I can be more mobile in my blogging. My other iPad and the Zagg keyboard were fine but the keyboard started getting sticky keys and nothing would remedy the problem.  Believe me I Googled everything I knew to Google and it just got worse. The keyboard was delivered today.

It is a good thing I didn't get the early start to my day that I had intentionally planned because I got a text from Apple saying the keyboard would be delivered today and I would have to sign for it. The delivery was a day early, not complaining, but that meant changes. It all worked because I got some long over due projects taken care of. I also worked a bit on things going to the church yard sale.

I can see that it is raining to our south and it would be so nice if some of that rain would head over this way. It is still so hard to believe all the flooding that is happening in Houston. Very familiar streets are still covered with water. Friends in Houston have not been far off my prayers to the Lord. I am thrilled to see that friends who experienced flooding last Memorial Day did not have a repeat. Many of them just now moving furniture back into their homes.

Right now there is a rabbit running across the front yard. We have baby bunnies living in the back. It is that time of the evening with the sky a blueish gray and the clouds are moving along at a nice clip. The wind has once again been fierce today. I don't remember the wind blowing like this last year but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. It is also that time of year when the older calls are being separated from their moms who are with calf again. Such a sad mournful sound. It breaks my heart to hear them cry, both mother and child.

Well, I wanted to give this a try and I am extremely happy with it all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Wonderful Spring Day

On this windy Wednesday morning once again the alto notes of our wind chimes greet me. We have a had a few days of late where the wind hasn't been so prominent and we have enjoyed sunny, warm days. I'm watching the trees and tall grasses move in choreography with the wind chimes. The red bud tree is more green with leaves than with buds. The dogwood tree still has a few white blossoms and so does our apple trees. I can see Michael, the one eyed cat, is moving down our tiered backyard on his morning patrol. Buddy slept in a bit this morning and just came downstairs for her treat and probably has taken up her spot in the front room window making sure all is right with the world. I love living here on this spring morning in the mountains.

Yesterday, Vivian and I went to the Creprie and Cafe in Weaverville. I think we both wished we hadn't waited so long to go there. We both had a veggie crepe and we split a sweet dessert crepe. Adjacent to the cafe is an antique store and what is there not to love about that. We noticed after eating there is a covered patio next to the antique store if one wants to eat outdoors. This will be a repeat place for sure. We drove down to Sanctuary of Stuff but it was closed, so we turned our afternoon to driving about the countryside and Vivian sharing stories of the farms and people who lived or still live on them. I finally saw a sarvis tree

They lined the back roads we traversed yesterday. I remember seeing them last year and wondering what they were. Copied from the Internet, here is an explanation of how the tree got its name. 

In the southern highlands, the plant is often called sarvis or sarvisberry. This pronunciation is commonly thought to derive from the season in the mountains when the springtime thaw made it possible for traveling preachers to reach their communities in the hills. In some places, frozen ground prevented the burial of those who had died in the winter – as soon as possible in the spring, the bodies were removed from icehouses and properly buried. But ministers made other celebrations possible – and the women went to the hills to gather the blooms for baptisms, weddings, and the regular Sunday services.

Word historians have concluded that there is another explanation for this name, sarvis. They believe that the American serviceberry was named by settlers because its fruit bore resemblance to the service, a mostly forgotten English fruit somewhat like a pear, which, though, unrelated to the American serviceberry, was often called, sarvis.

So the blooms were collected for Sunday sarvices...  I love learning these type of things. 

Roy and I have celebrated an anniversary of sorts. This is the first before April 15th in three years that we did not receive a call from Adult Protective Services, the police who deal in elder abuse or the constable and have to respond to the false accusations made by my father concerning us. Roy always thought it came about at this time because of tax season and my father's preoccupation with money. You could hear it in their voices that these people really thought we had done something because my dad is such a good liar that is until the facts bore out our story. Then we heard their voices change to compassion now knowing what we were dealing with. Thankfully, my brother is a hero taking on these phone calls and now getting my father out of his dark, depressing house and into assisted living, where he now is thriving. He is off medicines that were making his mental state fragile and he is now away from influences that were making up stories about us, further throwing him into dramatics and unrealistic fears. I am happy to hear that he is doing well, making friends and has returned to church. Yet, we still have to maintain that distance from him because of his legal actions he took and because we cannot risk getting back into any kind of personal relationship with him. I talked with my brother last week and asked about Dad and learned from him the good progress. Afterwards as I thought about it maybe my father is doing so well because he is living a life that maybe should have been his choice all along, no one depending on him, footloose with no responsibilities and doing what he likes to do. I am just so thankful for my brother's sake that he is easier to deal with than in during previous, all too long of a time years when Roy and I were the ones mostly involved. 

Well, a trip to the grocery store seems in order. The birds are out of water and I need to refill the feeders. Such a wonderful spring day! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Feeling Like a Charlotte Kind of Day

I knew I needed to do something soon or I would become more mired in fear. Not to the point of enslaving me but it was just that little bit of doubt that I could resume things that I have done normally for years and years. So a trip to Charlotte was in order, not to sight see or go visit one of our long time good friends, no it was to make a drive longer than an hour, by myself and explore an area I had never been to. The carrot on the sting? Nordstrom. I cannot tell you how many times I nearly talked myself out of making that trip and on Monday morning, even on I 40, I was having that conversation with myself and almost made the morning about getting breakfast around Black Mountain. There are several ways to get to Charlotte and I chose the one most likely we would take if we needed to fly out of Charlotte. I had considered driving back the scenic route but wild fires have caused road closings and it looked like the scenic road may still have some closures on it. I left home around 9:30 and made it to the mall a little before noon, which by the GPS, I was a little ahead of schedule. The drive is lovely and even the flatter country around Charlotte is beautiful.

Just like Houston, traffic surrounding the mall at lunchtime was horrendous. Made me a little homesick, not. Such a well planned area. This mall, South Park, is huge! It has a Nord, Neiman Marcus, Dillard's and Macy's. Parking garages surround the mall and there are a few open areas for parking and just like that, it seemed meant to be because I got a front row parking space smack dab in front of the Nord. It also was the closest to the street I needed for my return trip. The Charlotte Nord is a whole lot smaller than the one in the Galleria. Very nicely done and I had a wonderful time walking around looking at everything. I was happy that even with a Nordstrom Note burning in my pocket I didn't buy anything, except for lunch. This Nord has a marketplace not a bistro. You order at a counter, choose a table and then a server brings your order out to you. The menu had several of my favorites but I opted for the tried and true margarita pizza. They didn't have crab bisque or that would have been a choice as well. After lunch I wandered out into the mall just a bit, not too far because I had passed the Billy Graham Library on my way to the Nord and decided I would need to make a stop there before heading home.

The grounds at the Library are beautiful but because it was 88 degrees and the humidity high, I didn't make it to the area where Ruth Bell Graham and others are buried. I did walk a bit through the prayer gardens, didn't do any of the tours instead opting for when I was with others, but I did make a stop in the bookstore. You know you have to...when you are a reader. I made it out of there only buying postcards but several things were tempting for purchase. I took a few pictures and then I was back on the road heading home.

At the Nord I had been all primed to order dessert but they only offered cookies and cupcakes, not the normal desserts I am used to in Houston. So I stopped at a Cracker Barrel because Texas sheet cake, which they call Coca Cola Cake, sounded really good. This was a rather new Cracker Barrel and the newer ones have a better design and flow.  My visit was uneventful except my server got fired in mid serving. The manager came over with my coffee and two different servers brought the cake and ice cream and coffee refills. After doing some CB shopping, got two bird pens that happened to be on sale, I stopped at the nearby Shell station. The conversation that Roy and I had about me traveling alone to Houston and back came to mind. He is concerned because I walk slower than I used to and would be an easy target. I told him with my strategy of stopping at CB and then stopping at a station meant I was only walking between the truck and the pump. Yesterday, when leaving the CB and I was passing the more halt and lame than me, I knew I would not be the weak one in the pack and would fair well if I pick up my feet and walk correctly and stay away from things that trip me.

I returned home a little after 5;00 and came home feeling accomplished but oh so very tired. The trip had taken a lot of energy, mainly from the newness of it and needing to be hyper alert. All throughout the day I had been checking in on the Houston flood situation and I used that time in the truck to pray for friends and loved ones being affected by the rain or not to be affected by the rain.

Nancy's Monablog