Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Early Bird Gets Up With the LIghtning

Nothing like a bright flash of light and the sounds of an explosion to make one jump out of bed while deftly grabbing the glasses to look out the window and assess the situation. Meanwhile Buddy hightails it under the bed.  Rancho De Five had a little rain today, some lightning and thunder and the one gigantic, couldn't even get a one Mississippi in, lightning strike.  Makes me kind of glad that we live in a one story house surrounded by two story homes.  It is quiet now.  I might make a quick trip to the grocery store and then to Spec's.  No, I haven't gone off the deep end, but I have a recipe that calls for bourbon or rum.  I am going with whatever is in the smallest bottle. 

Yesterday, I went back to Whole Foods to get more peeled and sliced oranges and they also had a package of peeled clementines.  Those don't stay on the shelf very long and it seems to be about every fifth visit to Whole Foods, I find them.  Last week I picked up some gingerbread scones and y'all they are the bomb!  I had some lemon curd at home, so you heat these little scones and then add lemon curd.  Bam!  Boom!  Delicious!  I had told Dena about them and so I picked up a package for her also.  Last night she did a quick drive by to pick up the scones, lemon curd and three slices of pizza leftover from our dinner.  I texted her a little later in the evening and it was love at first bite for her.  Why can't gingerbread be a year long thing instead of the seasonal item? 

I did make the trip to the liquor store, the highly respectable Specs.  It has been quite sometime since I have darkened the doors of a liquor store.  Still feels a bit overwhelming, but happily, I don't have to feel overwhelmed very often.  I told the clerk that this purchase was strictly for recipe/cooking.  I don't know why I felt the need to tell him that.  Buying wine is nothing, it's when you go for the hard stuff that one can start to feel guilty.  When I left both clerks said, see you soon and I responded yea, in a couple of years.  Gee....  I did wear my LSU verses Bama shirt so that I would look like I knew what I was doing.  LSU loves the night game so tailgating can last longer i.e. everyone is just a little tipsy going into Death Valley....

My little Kroger card came off my key ring, so I needed to link up a new card to our old one.  Yesterday at World Market I bought a small, tiny bottle of proseco.   This post is sounding boozier by the minute.  Anyway at the checkout, the clerk asked to see ID probably to make my day and it did.  Today at the customer service desk the lady asked my see if I qualified for the senior discount.  Yes, how the mighty have fallen. 

I have a very witty Bible study group.  I sent out an email to them this morning and I included the info about me jumping out of the bed and looking out the window.  One lady responded, hey wasn't there a jovial guy in a red suit with reindeer outside your window?  That's what happened in the Night Before Christmas.  No, it was just the bathroom lights of our corner neighbor and dark in the house behind us.  The people behind us never, ever open their blinds.  We've met them....hmmm...maybe that has something to do with it.  All the blinds are closed but they leave their garage door up all the time.  Great way to get things stolen and as winter draws near, the way to have unwanted guests come into your home for warmth.  Maybe they saw me looking out the window when we were watching over our flock of baby bunnies in the flowerbed and they thought I was spying on them....who knows. 

The sun is out, the birds are eating soggy seed and I have a few things to do like maybe a nap since I got up much earlier than I wanted to this morning. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Chapter, Closed...Beauty Beautician...

Once again, it feels summer-like.  By the end of the week it is supposed to feel fallish again.  Why oh why is fall my favorite season and why oh why do we live where fall is fleeting and summer is eternal?  A question that will never be solved on a blog.  Very early this morning I tried to beat the heat and get the two bags of mulch that we didn't get out in the flowerbeds this weekend emptied into the beds, but I didn't beat the heat, the heat beat me.  So, for now, until later, there is mulch in big piles around the plants and all over the decorative rocks that surround the flowerbeds.  Good thing Tuesday is HOA inspection day.  This early morning attempt at helping Roy who wrenched his back on Saturday doing this very same thing, kind of put a crimp into today's plans.  I had an appointment that I canceled and I didn't feel like I could make it to a birthday breakfast for a friend.  So, I've been laying low today but not completely.  The hall closet which seems to accumulate stuff we don't know where to put seems to find a home in what is supposed to be a temporary place.  I found Roy's winter gloves and a long forgotten box with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in it.  We have also accumulated throughout they years many, many reusable bags and totes, yet most trips to the grocery store the groceries come home in paper or plastic.  Really, all these accumulated tote bags from conferences are one of the many reasons why I don't attend too many conferences anymore.  No, actually I refuse the bag and just say no.  I did find one bag in the closet that was really the bomb diggity that Roy came home with from a compliance conference.  It is actually useful and not embarrassing to carry.  So, I don't know why it was relegated to the back corner behind the vacuum cleaner.  Oh yea, it went into the closet of no return.....  When we bought our house, David Weekley Homes sent over a welcome bag which is also an insulated bag for cold or hot items.  Again...found it in the closet of no return, but I have rescued it, at least for the time being.

No surprise here that I extend a post into the next morning.  It's that time of the morning where the skies begin to lighten and a pinkish hue gives shadowed dimensions to the trees and the houses in the distance.  It's that time when I can pretend I am looking at mountains.  I had an unusual dream last night.  Classic dream of being back in high school and it wasn't about not remembering my locker combination or not being able to find a classroom or missing the big exam....I dreamed I missed all of volleyball season my senior year.  I was so upset that I had missed it and no one had told me and when I talked to the coach she merely said, I saw the opportunity so I took it.  In real life she and I didn't exactly get along.  Back to this interesting dream...because I know your attention is riveted to the screen.  I came home crying and told my mother about missing the season and what the coach had said and my mom began to hug me, holding me tightly and said, I'm sorry you missed your senior year playing volleyball, but didn't you enjoy all the time we got to spend together?  Boom....I wake up in real life, not the dream.  I think I know what brought on this dream.

Two years ago yesterday, October 28, I found out from someone who had been sworn to silence by my father, that my mother was in the hospital and not doing well.  Later on I found more details on FB.  I called my father, told him I had heard the news but before we could go on any further we needed to confront the elephant in the room.  That day had been a major appointment with the cardiologist and my heart was not responding to meds and treatment.  It was the beginning of wearing a monitor for a month but I had been told that undo stress and heat was the kryptonite that caused reoccurring heart episodes.  A few weeks before all of this Roy had asked my father to talk to him about issues and the like, not me.  He asked my father not to call me during the day to save me from the now repeating episodes that took so much out of me.  This sent my father over the edge, went victim as is his practice and thus the instructions were given to the rest of the family no news for Nancy.  As much as one can, I thought things were somewhat resolved and as long as we were of beneficial use to him, all things were put aside.    My mother's stay in the hospital was the beginning of the end of her life here on earth. Thinking about this, with several pictures I saw on FB of volleyball teams and winning seasons made it really obvious of why the dream.

This morning I decided to Google my coach's from long ago to see what came up.  I kind of remember that she retired in 2006 or 2007 because my father had seen something in the neighborhood newspaper about a reception for her as she retired. He wondered if I was interested in and he knew that.  He was trying to get a reaction. She had gone from coach to AD.   To my surprise she had passed away also in 2011 a month and a half after my mom.  She died of lung cancer.  I remember she pretty much was a smoke hound and she was always really tan.  You know back in the days of baby oil and iodine in the sun, so I figured smoke or sun would get her.  I only saw her once after high school.  She was on an opposing team we were playing in softball.  I was the catcher and I talked to her when she came up to bat.  Finally on her last bat I asked her if she knew who I was?  No, she didn't.  Lucky for me, a play at home plate happened and as she slid into me, I tagged her hard, really hard.  She was out.  As we stood up and she saw how tall I was, I could see her trying to figure out who I was.  I finally told her and she kind of just went, oh yea, I remember you....I kept talking to her as she walked back to the dugout because I thanked her in my most sarcastic voice for being the first and major contributing reason for my knee problems.  We never got our knee pads till the first game of the season.  She smirked and I walked away.  Nothing surprised me about her response.  Like I said, we never really cared for each other...I was way too Christian for her and well she was way too...uh...let's see...oh, a member of the other team.  Her 'roommate' tried to teach my mom how to swim at the Y.  Maybe it was because my friend Beth and I called her Beauty Beautician....because she was going to cosmetology school at night and in the summer.  Her second choice of profession had us baffled.   She must not have done anything with it because it was not mentioned in her obituary.  Close another chapter in the book of teachers. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Morphed Report

It was a dark and stormy night, well early morning when we heard the rain and some distant thunder. Because of the drought conditions since we moved to the Rancho De Five area, we've not experienced significant weekly rain very often, so we are still surprised when we hear the rain begin.  The creek or as we like to call it, the water feature is up several feet more than usual.  The vibrant and verdant colors are so enjoyable to take in.  The HOA approved beige tone houses haven't been the only dry, brown and boring colors these past few weeks.  I had never noticed that fact about the houses until Mary Madeline came to visit.  She's right, brown to the left of me, beige to the right and surrounded by neutral tones all the way around.

Well, we took another sabbatical Sunday.  Surely someplace in the world it is the seventh Sunday kind of like the well known phrase, it is 5:00 somewhere in the world.   We had planned on going into First Baptist but then with the freeway closures we changed that to switching Sundays and going to visit a neighborhood church.  The rain and Roy's sore back made the decision easier to rest at home.  I promise, we are not conditioning ourselves to start staying home on Sundays but there are those seasons where it is more prevalent than other times.  Like M&G says, couldn't we get Baptist Bucks for time we volunteer at church and then use those for time off on Sundays.  But, this wouldn't work for us because we haven't volunteered at church lately.  But we do volunteer for other ministries, so maybe we could do a wire transfer of time like banks wire transfer money.

I am watching one of my very favorite movies, The Bad Seed.  I know, it's not the kind of movie most people would call a favorite, guess sabbatical Sundays are having an effect on me.  No....not really,  I have loved this movie since my freshman year in college.  In fact my college roommate reminded me yesterday that after watching the movie several of us went down the hall and scared a hall mate.   For years I loved it because it was filmed just like the stage play but after watching it low these many years, there is really so much to think and ponder about lying under all this camp acting.  At the time the book was written, the play performed and the movie released, everyone thought it was environment that made you who you are, not genetics.  So back in 1956 this was pretty startling material.  Not so much today.

Yesterday, we worked around the house and yard.  I tweaked the living room set up and moved things around in the reading room.  We weeded some of the front flowerbeds and trimmed the hedge and a couple of shrubs.  I also cleaned out the bird bath.  I finished the book I was reading and started another one.  It is a good thing when every book has an interesting story and you can't wait to find the time to get back into the story.   It was one of those Saturdays that I love, no real schedule but getting things done and lots of leisure time.

Again this is a post that has morphed from Sunday into Monday morning.  I read an interesting article yesterday, "Ask Yourself These Questions."  The article was not your usual ask questions concerning yourself but a much bigger view.  I found it to be very thought provoking.  I was telling Roy about it because there were sections that were more technical than others and he has a technical mind, so I wanted his thoughts. 

I went over to Dena's to see some of the things she had purchased over the weekend for her home.  Everything looks good.  We had dinner at 3 Olives.  Roy and I ate there a couple of weeks ago and really liked it.  Last night, we tried the pizza and was really good.  They have just put in the brick oven and pizza isn't officially on the menu yet, but it was available last night.  The tomato basil soup was awesome too. 

The day awaits, so I must be off. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Asheville On My Mind

Some mornings I pretend I'm not out here on the prairie but instead I'm in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  If I sit just right and at a certain angle, the roof of a big house, blended with the trees on the green space and the tops of a wheat like shrub just on the other side of our fence can almost, not quite, but almost mimic a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  OK, there is a lot of squinting involved but some morning the extra lines being formed on my face are worth it.  Surprisingly, at least to myself, I was up early this morning and on a morning I didn't need to be up early.  As the sun began to rise over the rooftops from across the creek I couldn't make myself go back to bed but it was pure joy to sit here, sip some coffee and take in the best thing I will see all day. 

Buddy and I are so happy that the birds have returned.  Although, there are some birds I wish had never found the feeder.  They are little black birds, not like the bigger crow-like birds, but these little birds travel in great numbers.  It can almost look plague like when they descend.  Any little noise or movement spooks them and they take off in a great responding rush of wind.  The doves are back.  They mainly peck at each other and yet being the biggest birds at the feeder, they can be intimidated to release their grip on the feeder.  Then there are the mockingbirds.  One mockingbird can clear a feeder in one fell swoop.  Buddy is memorized with all the flying and especially so when a few doves choose to sit on the window sill.  Those birds are so close, but a pane of glass and screen separates the birds natural predator.  They don't even know that danger lurks so closely.  I've had the windows open slightly and the noise created by the smaller birds sounds like a rippling stream.  When the noise of the birds duplicates the sound of rapids it usually means there is a bird skirmish going on at the bird feeder.

Again this is a two day post.  This morning I woke up later and although it is a beautiful morning I missed those moments that I described above.  But this isn't pretend, I made two dinner reservations at the Inn yesterday afternoon.  It is good to plan ahead. 

Roy and I enjoyed a delicious late lunch/early dinner at Lupe's yesterday.  Then we made a trip to Sprouts.  He is making breakfast for his Bible study this morning and needed to get a few more things.  Before he got home I did a quick trim back of our Mexican Heather.  We had done this about two weeks ago and they still needed to be trimmed back a little more.  We will probably finish putting out mulch later this afternoon. 

I made myself quit reading last night but everything within me wanted to finish the book I am reading.  After getting all the background on the main characters in place, the big reveal is coming up in the next couple of chapters.  The big reveal of the story is happening at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville.  So, it is fun knowing that when they talk about the sunset grill, I can picture it and the huge fireplaces big enough for two cars....I can see it.  One of my favorite stories of my friendship with Peggy happened at the Grove Park Inn.  We did a girls trip in 1999 and made Nashville our base at my brother's home.  We ventured out and went sightseeing during the day.  Since we were so close to Asheville we decided that we should go over and see the Biltmore House.  I had never been there before.  My brother told us about Grove Park and he said he would make reservations for us.  On the way to Asheville we went via Chattanooga to meet two friends of mine from a Southern Writers Group on AOL.  I had met Kay before but never Trish and let's just say that Kay, who loved showing off Chattanooga, made us walk long distances and ride unairconditioned busses on that hot July day.  The" treat" was the walk along the riverside to the restaurant she had chosen for lunch.  Except it was hotter than fire that day in Chattanooga, it was even hotter there than in Houston.  Peggy and I tried to reason with her that in Houston you just go from A/C to A/C with only the briefest moments spent outside.  She wouldn't hear of it, so we began what Peggy and I now refer this as the Bataan Death March.  To add insult, we had dressed kind of nice and dressy not our usual shorts and t-shirt summer attire.  By the time we got to the restaurant we were drenched with sweat, Peggy's feet were killing her because of the cute thin strapped sandals she had on and my eyes were a burning red because all the Estee Lauder fruition I had on under my make up soaked into my eyes and I could barely see.  To add insult to injury, we had to get out in pouring rain in Knoxville, so by the time we got to the ritzy resort we looked worse than drowned rats.  We looked like drowned raccoons who had been attacked while gathering food in a dumpster.  The front desk personnel gave us a wary look as everyone around us looked like and dressed like they were out of The Great Gatsby.  We asked about dinner at the hotel and the dress code for dinner was resort wear. They let us know we needed to change into our resort wear.  If we hadn't done the death march and if we hadn't left the cake out in the rain...I don't think that I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it....oops, ADD moment, we had worn resort wear that day, we just ran into some non resort situations.  But, we were told, we would be able to eat breakfast at the hotel in the morning.  So, we go up to our room which is located in the older part of the hotel.  If you are staying at the Grove Park, always ask to stay in the older section.  All handmade arts and craftsman style furnishings and claw foot bathtubs make the visit.  Uh, there in the room was only a double bed and after calling the front desk we were told no other rooms were available.  So we made due and both of us slept very close to our respective sides of the bed.  I kept dreaming if I moved Peggy's daughter Jaime would be killed.  The next morning after our lovely resort breakfast and our most well rested sleep of our lives, NOT,  we headed over to the Biltmore, my first visit and we know it hasn't been the last.  Months later while looking at my Southern Living magazine I saw where the Grove Park Inn had been voted most romantic stay in the south.  Of course I had to call Peggy and tell her the news. 

So you got the long story of why I could picture all the different places at Grove Park.  I have returned to the Grove Park even after that disastrous but now very funny to us, stay with Peggy but now when we are in Asheville, I don't even head that way.  Another Inn has taken the Grove Park's place. 

Roy should be home soon from Bible study.  I am hoping he has leftovers and that can be breakfast for me as well. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Just Thursday Stuff

Abel and his crew are just finishing up with the yard for the week.  Chris came yesterday.  It's good to have a clean house and a maintained yard.  Bible study went well this morning, with a quick trip to Home Goods and Target afterwards.  There are those days when fatigue catches up with me and I think this afternoon became one of those days.  By the time I got home, I felt as if I had been drugged.  Nothing like a little rest and a snack of fresh oranges to aid in the cure. 

Yesterday, I needed to get out and about while Chris was here, so I had three watch batteries replaced and while waiting for them, I got a flu shot.  I usually go to our doctor for one, but I am not heading into town during office hours anytime soon.  So, I went to a Redi Clinic at HEB.  Got a shot, got three watches back and I hit the road.  First stop was downtown Katy.  Went to KT Antiques and Junk Street Market and then I headed west to Bellville.  I have noticed on my trips to Brenham some interesting local shops on the square.  I went to several and had a great time looking at hand crafted items, antiques and clothes.  Since I still had time I drove over to Hempstead and stopped in at Dilorio Farms.  Then I made my way back toward home on familiar back roads we have traveled before.  Since Chris was still at the house I spent time at Academy and then went to the park and read.  I like getting out by myself some days because it is an opportune time to think and pray.  It's good to clear out the cobwebs. 

With a family situation on definite hold, I have experienced the most rewarding time these past 18 or so months.  There has been time to heal both physically and emotionally.  Without the constant demand and always having to be on my A game, my frantic brain has had a bit of rest and not having to keep up with the exhausting and constant evaluation of circumstances has been a welcome reprieve.  I feel more settled in my spirit of who God has made me to be and beginning to see that change come to outward fruition and not just something I know deep inside of me.  I've really come to understand my sense of humor and I feel like I am naturally funny like my mom, not a put on a show kind of humor like my dad.  My observations many times has been his humor being used to make fun of or mock someone else.  He doesn't have witty responses or funny thoughts, he just needs someone to be the butt of his jokes.  One other thing that has changed is the need to be constantly on the go.  This summer, while being quite social on the lunch scene, I spent more time at home reading and writing.  It was one of the best summers of my life.  I think adding to the best summer was seeing and reacquainting with friends from high school.  Another addition for a good summer, Emily and David and Dena and Dana moving out here to Rancho De Five.  It was also the summer where I came to the conclusion that there needed to be some conclusion for concern with a few troubling people.  It must be in all of our lives we have people who no matter what, pushes a nerve and we are those people to others.   Hard to believe isn't it?   For the most part there isn't anything really we can do to ever please them because there is too much deep seated resentment and insecurity and comparison and transference.  Such peace and freedom leaving the constraints of unrealistic expectations of others on the side of the path that comes from one of the best summers of life.  Along with the best summer also came the contentment of knowing and walking in my giftings and calling.    

Next week we get into the juicy stuff in Genesis, Hagar.  This week we spent time with nine kings at war, King and High Priest Mel and Abram once again saving Lot's rear end. 

It is now going on over a month and we cannot get Nationwide to respond or act on the claim filed by the people who ran into the back of us at the Biltmore.  Roy keeps at it.  This guy in North Carolina that works for Nationwide hasn't responded to any of our emails, the message left by our insurance agent or our calls.  No out of office response.  It is beginning to feel a little fraudulent. 

We are looking at a laid back weekend.  Our first in quite sometime.  We have lots of yard work to finish up and there are some books calling my name.  There are some t-shirts needing to be worn and Sunday a church to attend.  Maybe this week we'll get back to First Baptist and then do another visit to a neighborhood church next Sunday. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good Days, Bad Decisions and Pre-Dustination

I love days like today.  Weather...beautiful.  Bible study....wonderful. and delicious.  Whole Foods....dinner and peeled oranges.  Home...quiet and serene.  Heart...beating in time rather nicely....  Roy...on his way home...Dinner...made by the fine, fine folks of Whole Foods.  Maybe a little outdoor fireplace later this evening....Great way to end a day.

Last night Dena and I drove over near the hood to pick up an electric fireplace she had ordered.  I have never been in a Northern Tools store and it seemed even more manlier than an auto part store, Sears or Tractor Supply.  While we waited for them to bring the fireplace to the front of the store from the backroom, we read some of the funniest branding posters strategically placed high up all around the store to the best viewing..."It's not who wears the pants but who wears the belt."   Of course the picture is of a big ole tool belt.  Kept me entertained for sure.  The guys there were kind enough to load the fireplace in the back of Sequisha and we were off to Rancho De Five.  We picked up Roy on our way to Dena's cause that sucker was heavy the fireplace, not Dena.  As Roy and Dena were taking the fireplace out of the box and plugging it in, I stood there reading the instructions.  Uh, what's wrong with this picture?  The two process people are foregoing safety.  All those safety minutes that Roy sends me has had an effect on me.  We celebrated the newest addition to Dena's home with pizza. 

We had an insightful devotion given by one of the core group leaders this morning for leadership council.  Her words and thoughts and observations touched each one of us and we will have many more Genesis moments to see daily.  This study of Genesis is blowing me away.  Even chapter 14 filled with kings with hard to pronounce names and all kinds of "ites" being defeated is filled with such truth.  We see how Abram is growing in his relationship with the Lord and it is encouraging to know that Abram doesn't have to be the only one that gets to grow.  We all do.  Thank Eileen for encouraging us to see things from a Genesis perspective. 

Sunday afternoon we did a really stupid thing.  We went to HEB before game time.  It looked like the day before Christmas.  Lots of Texan jerseys on the aisles with full baskets.  We went there to get a couple of things that Kroger doesn't carry and I nearly was run into several times and not by Roy.  We finally got out of there and headed to the much calmer world of Sprouts.  Today, I stopped at Whole Foods after lunch with Peggy and Kathleen.  I love that they have peeled oranges and sometimes tangerines in their prepared fruit case.  I love oranges but hate peeling, de-stringing and de-seeding them.  Yes, first world problems to the tenth power.  Yes, with all the time I am saving I could devote much more time to prayer....I could....or I could play on FB.  Whatever!!!! 

On Sunday, after the bad decision of HEB, after watching the Texans, I went riding on my Trek.   Roy had already ridden for over an hour, but he graciously went with me for my short but meaningful ride around the neighborhood.   It has been quite some time since I have been able to do so.  Too hot and too hurt.  On Friday, our friend David dropped off some things for the garage sale.  He and Emily go to the same Dr that Roy and I go to.  He told me about his conversation with Dr. Riley and one of the things he repeated was her comment that as a Dr you have few opportunities to intervene and then help someone close to the grips of death.  Grips of death is my phrase and I am indebted to Dr. Riley for being so instrumental in my recovery.  You know, I know how close I was, had the death rattle going on in my chest and extreme fatigue and nausea but I heard and understood it so differently Friday.  God is so good!  I'm thankful. 

Well, I'd better begin the process of getting ready for Chris tomorrow.  Don't have a whole lot to predustinate, but enough to keep me busy. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Morning

What a beautiful day for a garage sale!  It started out pretty darn chilly but I didn't complain.  I love this weather!  This was our first time to participate and it might be our only time.  We haven't had a garage sale since we lived in our townhouse in the hood.  After about an hour we were wheeling and dealing and slashing those prices just to get rid of everything.  We actually participated to be organized so that when it was all said and done, we could load up the leftovers and take them to Katy Christian Ministries.  Today's crowd was looking more for children's items and we had a few toys and they all sold.  Interesting, the picture I didn't like, even trying to hang it sideways to make it more abstract, didn't find a new home.  It went by the way of ministry.  And that was interesting too.  When we pulled up for the drop off, people were there going through everything and buying it on the spot.  I'd never seen that before but it has been some time since I have dropped off anything at Katy Christian Ministries.  One lady left what she bought and said she would come by later to pick it up.  We thought she meant before the noon cut-off.  So her things are outside our locked gate and here's hoping she remembers to come and pick them up. 

Holding a garage sale gives perspective to things.  It is kind of like going through a home to put things into an estate sale.  What might have meant a lot to someone usually doesn't translate into someone caring as much about it.  There are exceptions of course, but so many times when getting things ready for an estate sale you're thinking, what were they thinking?  So there you have it, your once beloved possessions selling for pennies on a dollar.  Or being passed up by many.   I remember right after my grandparents passed away my dad took what was left of their treasured possessions, many of them broken, torn or worn and sell them in a garage sale.  It was sad to see the physical things sit, not bought but it was endearing to remember what mattered, the love my grandparents had for each of their grandchildren and I knew they prayed for us every day. 

The water feature is higher than it has been in a long time.  We had several good downpours yesterday and last night.  The trees and grass looks so green.  There is standing water around us on streets and in culverts.  It's been a while since seeing that.  Maybe we will be out of this drought now. 

It is now Sunday morning.  We are taking yet again, another sabbatical day.  Last week were long days and short nights for Roy.  He needed rest.  Last night, we went out to dinner with our friends Ed and Jennifer.  We met them at Ray's Grill in Fulshear.  I love autumnal food, so I started out with the spiced butternut squash bisque.  It was a great start.  As good as the food was, the conversation and laughs were better. 

I'm ready to get out and enjoy this beautiful day.  These are the days that make memories for you to get through those hot summer months. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

What Does Garage Sales, Abram and Sarai Have in Common? Nothing, but That is My Friday

Tomorrow is the community wide Rancho De Five garage sale.  I worked a little on getting things together last night and will finish up this afternoon.  We don't have tons of stuff to sell but things we have enjoyed but time to offer them to others.  Like a too big of coffee table in my reading room, a rocking chair that really doesn't fit in the casita bedroom, lamps, pictures, and a few Vera Bradley bags.  We've added some home décor items too.  No books or clothes or stuff like that which is too labor intensive.  I just looked at the garage sale map and there aren't too many in our subdivision participating, so I have no clue if we will have any traffic at all.  Guess we will have to wait and see if the folks at Katy Christian Ministries will be blessed. 

This year I have now found my default outfit when I am too lazy to plan my wardrobe or have no clue what to wear.  Last year denim was my go to 'costume.'  This year's look is from Coldwater Creek.  It is a striped, now I have three different colors, one button sweater like jacket and I have black, cream and navy.  Got my bases covered on this but I am sure I will always default to the denim jacket with jeans or black pants.  It's the look of many over the age of 55.  Really, I am trying to put off the ubiquitous white pants of older women look.  Has anyone else ever noticed that football pants are really just capris for men?  Yes, I know that thought just came out of left field and now I have mixed my sports metaphors, guess I have game.  Oops, I did it again and now I have brought in Britney Spears to this whole mess of a paragraph.  End scene, end paragraph.....

 Studying the life of Abram and Sarai in Community Bible Study has been deep.  Even with the straight to the point questions in our homework, we have had such great discussion.  I wonder, while they were going to the land God would show them if Sarai tried to act as Abram's Siri?   There were several things I heard yesterday that I had never considered.  It has been especially interesting to read Genesis with this in mind, Moses.  He wrote the first five books.  So he is being divinely inspired, led by the Holy Spirit to tell these stories of Abram and Sarai.  So as he writes and puts in the details, there are a lot of details that aren't mentioned but would be so wonderful to know.  Guess we don't need to know the details, but you know what I mean.  This whole tell the Egyptians you're my sister thing....details...what was Sarai thinking?  Was she kept from the longing embrace of Pharaoh?   Was she thinking, at last a stop in this wild nomadic life for me to catch my breath and then deal with catching Pharaoh's eye.  What was Abram doing besides getting richer from the gifts bestowed upon him from Pharaoh?  What do you think Lot was doing in the midst of this?  Since we find out later he has a propensity to hang out with the wrong types, did he think he would get rich from them like his uncle did in Egypt?  Who knows, it is a mystery.  Something that our teaching director said yesterday along with some notes written in a Bible I used long ago, is coming to thought in my spirit.  God called Abram, he was to leave his father's family behind and go to a land.  Only Terah and Lot come along for the first part of the journey...Terah means delay in Hebrew and they all settled in Haran, which means parched.  Terah died, and Abram started out but again bringing Lot.  When Abram's and Lot's herdsmen began fighting amongst themselves, Abram suggests separating and he gives Lot first choice of the land.  Lineta said in her teaching time, that Lot was a distraction and by this way the Lord removed that distraction from Abram's life.  So here is what I am thinking... God called, Abram traveled with delay and distraction and settled in a parched place until delay died.  He traveled on and in God's "if I was God, I wouldn't have done it this way" Lot was removed to go about his way and God finally had Abram in the original state He had called him, left with none of his father's family and going to the place God was showing him. 

Well, I had better continue on in my garage sale journey and get everything assembled so when Roy gets home, we can get it all set up.  Happy weekend my friends!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuesday Thanksgiving

Be anxious for nothing, but I sit here tonight being anxious for the cooler weather tomorrow, with maybe a little rain thrown in for good measure.  It hasn't been too bad with oppressive heat but when the fall is your favorite season of the year....and you live in Rancho De Five, you know there are few of these days to enjoy.  And to add to this, I don't have anything official scheduled for tomorrow.

We had leadership council this morning.  The study of Genesis is really interesting.  We've had lively discussion.  After our meeting today I met Bev for lunch.  I love the extendomatic birthday, so we were celebrating mine today.  I don't get to see Bev as much as I used to, so today was a gift.  We did our usual five hour lunch....ok, not that long but we could do so easily.  Bev is an artist and I love her work.  Today, she blessed me with one of her beautiful hand made spun wool bowls.  She also knows my addiction to...I mean my love language of journals and gave me a unique one that I fell automatically in love with.  The best though, the very beautiful and Bev made and crafted card.  I will  treasure it and you know I'm not a big user of the word treasure, so you have to know how special it is and most appreciated as I am a lover of cards.

I also want to add an addendum to my post the other day about women's ministry.  The particular book I was reading brought that long ago and nearly forgotten memory to mind.  I don't want to leave the impression that I don't desire God to use me, because I do.  I love facilitating in CBS because I get to know and be involved with my group.  There were some tough roads last year for some of my core group and I counted it a privilege to walk out that journey with them, and I still do.  In that experience long ago I knew that ministry in a church because back then having a ministry on a world wide basis hadn't even been conceived for women, was not the direction God had for me.  I do know one on one in divine appointments or in regular daily life, with the people I do life with, God uses me.  When I was on staff at church there was one time I was thrown into a situation somewhat like the one I wrote about.  I met a young married woman for breakfast on the request of my boss.  It was stuff way over my head and understanding.  I listened, prayed and gave her the women's ministry number because I felt she would get the help and understanding she needed there and asked her if she and her husband would come in and see my boss.  At the time, our women's ministry director was not officing on campus and I always hoped and prayed that the young woman called and got the kind of help she needed.  She and I both knew I wasn't the person to help her.  I don't remember if she and her husband came to see Jason but most probably if they met with him it was off campus.  It was such a long time ago. 

It has taken some time and prayer and thought to finally realize what and where God's purpose for me lays or lies( I can't remember the grammar rule for correct usage.) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

All Over The Place Monday

This has been a rather quiet, relaxing day with the exception of the Nationwide Insurance man who came by to look at Sequisha's bumper boo boo.   That whole run in has not been one of the most pleasant experiences that is for sure.  Once again, even though this man has read the police report and the couple have claimed responsibility, he asked me yet, exactly what happened?  Nothing they have told me on their part has been true so far but several have told me that they make it as difficult as possible hoping you will give up but they don't know Roy and how the tedious energizes and challenges him. 

I have started reading another book this week and I don't know why but the story is making me think about an instance that happened in the long ago and far away.  It was right after college, I was working at Pennzoil and volunteering at the church I attended at that time.  A woman who worked at the church asked me if I would like to have a "ministry" opportunity to help a particular woman who attended our church.  These were the fledgling days of the term, women's ministry.  In my naivety and willingness to be used for God's purposes, I said yes.  The woman and her husband lived in one of the newest and trendiest apartments back then and now going on thirty five years or so have become an apartment that is just another dump in the hood.   I arrived at her door prayed up and ready to go, but nothing prepared me for the oppressive spirit in that apartment and for the deep hurt and sadness that hung in the air because a husband's presence in another room forbid it to be spoken.  So long ago, I don't even remember her name, I remember praying with her and that prayer brought down the ire and hatred from that other room straight into the kitchen table where she and I sat.  It reminded me too much of words from my childhood,  anger and resentment spewing out in contemptuous actions and I was ever so relieved to escape but ever so sorrowful that the woman had to remain.  She had married a man she thought was a Christian but he revealed to her a couple of months after they had married, he had faked the whole Christian thing just to get her, conquer her and take away from her.  That whole thing cured me of any desire for ministry in an official capacity.  Later in early married years, I had the opportunity to do women's ministry but I turned down the majority of those invitations, knowing that this was not a capacity or gift I had.  When I worked part time at First for the Women's Director, I didn't even feel like it was women's ministry in an official capacity except that I made coffee, reserved rooms, made sure there was ice water, and did menial tasks that carried no weight or eternal consequences.  I was just making sure that our Director would be pleased and that complaints from the women in Bible study would be minimal due to anything I had a hand in.   I have not thought about that lady in a long time and it does astound me how instantly a story in a book of fiction can take you back to a harsh reality of long ago and the resolution of a young woman in that long ago reality not to be in that position again...officially and if I could help it, non professionally.  And I wonder if that woman was able to ever be free from that horrible, prison like existence? 

I'm excited!  Just got an email from one of my tennis friends who will be playing out here in Rancho De Five next Monday for league.  After her match, we are going out to lunch.  Cris was my first tennis partner. 

We did make it out into the rain yesterday morning and went to a neighborhood church.  I loved the service but it's not a viable choice for us but we would go back in a minute for those times we over sleep because we'd still be able to make it to an 11:00 service.  We sat with my CBS friend and her family.  The drive home was still rainy but we knew we had delicious leftovers from the night before at home.  Later in the evening we met some friends for dinner at 3 Olives.  Good food and atmosphere and on the way home we stopped and got an iPad for me.  All in all not a bad Sunday. 

Praise be, the heart monitor sending device finally arrived on Friday.  I read through the directions and I am waiting for my tech to check out everything that needs to be done.  Maybe I should watch the DVD that came with the instructions.  When I travel, I'm supposed to pack and take this thing on trips.  Yuck!!!  My incision is starting to heal nicely.  It looked rather raw up until about a week ago. 

I am finishing this post with my iPad.  Yes, I finally joined in with a tablet.  We had bought a new lap top several months ago but I didn't like Windows 8 and the lap top wasn't touch screen.  So here we are.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Happiness on the Prairie

This week I continued to walk in my journal and paper addicted ways.  Oh and add books to that addiction list too.  Thankfully, no pens or pencils were bought this week.  On the way home Wednesday from Brenham and also killing time for Consuela to leave, I stopped at Mimosa Rose.  It is a very cute local shop that carries all kinds of things wonderful.  They were having a 50% off sale on some journals and tablets, not the iPad type.  So, I had to add a few more to my growing collection and if I am not careful I might have to rent a storage unit just to store all my paper products and office supplies.  I will be sitting pretty if there is a shortage of office supplies.  It is also in my will that all these things will go to CourtneyS in the case of my untimely demise.  We share the lurve. 

When Roy and I were in Blowing Rock, we went to a little shop that Dena and I had discovered on our visit.  That little shop is crammed in the most and best way, with jewelry, cards, journals and  little things that one didn't know that one needed.  I came across Sugarboo products in that shop and I fell for all the products displayed.  Fell, but didn't buy them all.  There is a difference. 

I just finished up the second book I've read this week on the Vanderbilts.  That was purely coincidence.  One of the memoirs I picked up at Malapropos in Asheville was next on the stack and I had no idea that the woman writing this was on a long line of Vandy descendants.  Don't think I want to read anything on them for a while.  The stories are just too sad but truthfully even in the high times and being flush with cash, the story is lamentable.  I'm tempted to read Lee Smith's newest, Guests on Earth.  It takes place in Asheville and has a little to do with Zelda Fitzgerald.  Her life and ending is equally lamentable.  Need to read something a little more lively. 

After my haircut yesterday, I met Emily for lunch at Las Alamedas.  We had a great time catching up and I got to give her a few Biltmore goodies.  Before we met I ran into Coldwater Creek for one of their usual ubiquitous sales.  I did find some cute things that were an additional 60% off. 

Emily and David came over for dinner tonight.  Such fun with such wonderful friends.  We did part of the meal and they did part of the meal.  It is a win win, especially since we'll all have leftovers for Sunday lunch or dinner.  We were happy, happy, happy because our teams had won, Texas, Baylor, U of H, and LSU.  There was lots of joy when Emily was here because like she said, no one thought Texas was going to beat OU. 

Sunday evening we are going out with a young couple for dinner.  I met the wife in Community Bible Study and she is really eager to please the Lord and has such a humble spirit.  They asked us to meet them and we are really excited about what the Lord is doing.  Some of our life experiences being used to God's glory.  And the plus, we are meeting them at a restaurant that we've wanted to try. 

Sunday, we are going to a Methodist Church out this way.  One of my friends from CBS attends there and I have loved what she's been posting on FB about her church.   Then Roy saw a friend I used to play softball with and he played racquetball tournaments with, Patty.  Second Baptist was at HEB taking food donations for Katy Christian Ministries. 

Rancho De Five got a little rain yesterday and we are hoping for more rain on Sunday.  Of course we will try not to be those people who stay home if it is raining but since I have talked with my friend about church, there is an accountability to show up. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Day in the Country

Wednesday I traveled up the road a piece to Brenham.  Now this is where I love living out west.  The drive is entertaining and I saw several things I would like Roy to come back and take pictures of.  A ride in the country, does the soul good and so does the town square in Bellville because there are some shops that I need to visit.  My goal for the next trip is to make it straight to Mimi's without any mistakes.  This summer Beth and I traversed this way with a couple of wrong turns because Siri isn't really very clear in her directions.  This time I did not miss the turn but foolishly thought there was a feeder road but you have to get back on 290 to make her exit.  Mimi and I had a wonderful day.  We were celebrating her birthday.  We ate lunch at the Funky Art Café and the food is delicious and eclectic.  That's a great combo.  The plus is how cleverly creative the décor and atmosphere is.  After a little discussion, we opted for birthday dessert elsewhere.  So that meant it was time for a little shopping.  Found some items that really needed to come home with me.  We set out to find the Garden Market Café and Bakery.  My friend Cassi had told me about it and we were so glad we stopped.  We had a warm cinnamon roll for dessert.  Ah, yes and it was goooooood!  

The tree in these pictures is over 350 years old.  There for a quick moment my love of climbing trees from my childhood nearly overtook me.  Really, look at the easy access!  But, I didn't want to get stuck in a tree and the fire department have to come and rescue me. 

Very fun day with a very fun friend. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Attending the Prodigal Church

I keep thinking about the chapel we saw at Montreat College, The Chapel of the Prodigal. 

Really, it would be the type of church you wouldn't have to attend every Sunday because if you did, you wouldn't be the prodigal.  When you come back to the chapel, a large party is thrown to celebrate your return.  Talk about some awesome potlucks!  As I have been thinking this through, I wonder if the older brother and his attitude helped the younger brother become The Prodigal?  Sometimes life with a know it all, judgmental, bitter, jealous, insecure, tit for tat type of person can help fuel the desire to go out and do some riotous living.  But I digress....
Why have I been giving this some thought?  No, I am too old and too tired for riotous living and we're not eating pig pods or anything like that.  Heck, I don't even know of a fatted calf in the general area.  But, yesterday something got my attention that surprised me.  Our church is participating with some researchers from Germany  who have commissioned a survey that church attenders and members can answer if feeling so inclined to help with the research.  Yesterday, I saw the link for it and decided to participate.  I couldn't even finish the thing because I was seeing in black and white the new truth of our lives.  As I went through the questions I realized the usual answers I would have given for attendance would be weekly and more than weekly but my answers were more like monthly or occasionally.  No Wednesday nights since health issues have kept me out of choir.  No Bible study attendance during the week because I participate in CBS and honestly nothing offered during the week even interests me remotely to make the drive back in.  We don't use the fitness and recreation center, haven't gone on a mission trip in a while and pretty much shut down attending events.  As I continued to answer the survey the thought in the back of my mind was, I am still recovering from being on staff and having to be at the church at least six days a week, but that excuse isn't even valid anymore.  In January it will be six years since I left my position due to health reasons.  Slowly but surely this year we've even stopped attending Life Bible Study which is just a culturally and relevant name for Sunday School.  Oh it's biblical too.   And it has been easier than I thought to become 'those people' who only come to a church service.  No one has called or checked up on us and I am not saying that because that's what I want, phone calls or a personal touch, no way.  It's easier to miss cause no one is calling making us feel somewhat guilty about our choice to stay home.  I kept on answering the survey and realized we had also become every other week church attenders.  Dang, we have just missed a whole month of Sundays.  Yet, my walk with the Lord seems stronger than ever.  I've never had clearer vision on what God has equipped me to do.  I'm loving the freedom of not having to look over my shoulder to see if I have invariably hurt someone's feelings or made someone mad in the lack of or in ministry choices. 
That is when I stopped taking the survey.  I didn't stop because the facts on the screen were so overwhelmingly truthful, that I vowed right then and there to get back at church, find something to do that fits in my giftings and re-right the ship.  No, it made me even more aware that we might just need to find a neighborhood church to be active and involved again.  Roy has had that mindset for quite some time but I have been resisting that whole idea.  We had fun visiting different churches this summer and maybe we need to extend that habit.  Although, it felt good to be at our for right now home church to see friends and catch up in between visiting.  Thankfully, some of our closest friends from church live nearby so we wouldn't have to give up seeing them.  Truthfully, we haven't heard a lot of people say, come visit, we love our church out here.  We've researched and haven't found what we might be looking for.  Some churches are too out there for us oldies and there are some churches that are still doing church like the 60's.  No, not for us.  We have thought all along we would not make a hasty decision and just be like Abraham, let God lead us and go to a place we don't know.    It would be great if our church had a Katy campus.  This area is growing like wildfire because of the energy corridor.  On the Rancho De Five website, they've announced that Second is adding another campus farther west than the west campus they have right now and that would be located just down the street from us.  It might be worth waiting for.  The other obvious choice would be to go to BCF and believe me, that has been a consideration, but once again, it is not our neighborhood church and that is what Roy would really like to do, go to a neighborhood church.  Maybe BCF will have a Katy campus soon.  Or maybe I can hope the Presbyterians open up a Chapel of the Prodigal out here in the Rancho area. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Little Catch Up

I wrote about Roy's water shoes a few posts back, but I didn't tell the story of my shoes.  When we were at the Mast General Store in Asheville, I found a cute pair of shoes that would be perfect to wear with jeans once open toe season is over.  It is a fact that open toe season is year round here but you get the jest of what I am writing.  They only had the shoes in my size for the color that while so cute, weren't very practical color wise.  Last Sunday as I was deleting emails, I saw Rue La La featuring Keen shoes and they had both pairs of shoes that I had admired, in my size and for half the price.  All of the sudden the practical and impractical could be had for the price of one pair in Asheville.  How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good news and my feet will be cute. 

Also, I forgot to tell you about Edward.  Several years ago Dena and I met Edward in the Biltmore dinning room at breakfast.  In the center of the room were several snobby types, all ladies, and he was trying to do what they had requested to their satisfaction.  Believe me, I don't think anyone could satisfy these ladies demands.  We caught his eye and gave him that 'I can't believe these people look.'  He had also seen us praying that morning before our meal.  We saw him every morning at breakfast that week.  Through the years we look for Edward whether I am with Roy or with Dena.  He has been promoted so he is not always out on the floor.  The first Monday of our trip, we just happened to be seated at a table that were getting their food off the menu and here came Edward.  He was serving them and he looked up and saw me smiling at him.  Man, he started smiling back and mouthing, I will be over there in a minute.  It was perfect!  Love how that little divine appointment got to work out. 

Our first brunch day of the new study year was yesterday in leadership council and it was quite delicious.  Our discussion of Genesis 10 and 11 was good too.  I was telling Dena about it and in her own personal reading and studying, the end of chapter 11 jumped out at her too.  One of the transformational thoughts in the homework added besides who is your Terah that is causing you to settle and am I someone else's Terah and I am causing them to settle.  In all the years of reading about Abram, I don't think I ever picked up on the Terah/Haran calling and settling. 

As soon as brunch was over I headed home to wait for the plumbers.  The hot water was rather tepid and we thought maybe the hot water heater was going out.  Although, it seemed a little early for that kind of thing to happen.  Just the pilot light had gone out and these nice gentlemen did not even charge me for coming out and lighting it once again. 

Today, I am going out to Brenham to visit Mimi and take her out for her birthday.  Looks to be a beautiful day.  So thankful that Chris comes today.  We had to skip a rotation of cleaning when we went to Asheville. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

What's Holding You Back?

Roy has just informed me that San Francisco's offense is on the field....Matt Schaub.  Pick Six, the best way to start a game.

We were those people this morning.  Up early, dressed, ready for church and the rain came down and we stayed home.  You can thank us for the rain because we took Sequisha to be detailed and cleaned Saturday afternoon.  I think I also have PTSD from all the rain driving I had to do on our trip.  I did take the morning time and read through our Genesis homework and scripture.  Genesis keeps coming alive to my heart and spirit.  I think the end of Chapter 11 with these words have gotten me to ponder and think on these things, "One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter in law Sarai and his grandson Lot and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans.  He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there.  Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran."  Terah means delay in Hebrew and Haran means parched.  Haran is also the place where caravans left for Canaan, leaving the Euphrates to strike across the desert.  We find out later that the Lord told Abram to leave his family and go to the land which I am about to show you.  But, there is Terah and Lot in Haran at the launching point to going to Canaan but there is that dang desert.  Oops, Abram...  Joshua 24:2 lets us know that Terah was sometimes an idol worshipper and he wasn't true to following the Lord God Almighty.   How many times have I heard in my spirit what to do or where to go and I am dragging my Terah or delay along with me?  Delayed in a Haran parched place looking at the desert that has to be crossed to get where I am supposed to go.  Abram didn't start for Canaan until after Terah died and Abram still took Lot when he left...  Lot's of trouble. Sorry, I'm not fully awake.  Wayne Styles has a great devotion on this subject today.  Not so much on Abram but on letting the little things keep you from what you need to do.  I don't know if Terah was a little thing to Abram or not but it seems like he kept them from moving on.  Was it the desert?  Was it too far?  Did they not have enough provision?  Was it the fear of the unknown and Haran or being parched was a known?  This morning, yes I started this last night, I am looking and praying about those little things that I have allowed to hold me back.  In what parched place have I settled?

Yesterday afternoon we decided to trim back the Mexican Heather, trim the hedge and pull out some flowers around one of the trees.  I got to work and it wasn't ten minutes and I thought it might be a trip to the ER for me.  I have come a long way and doing better all the time, but it might have been a tad warm for me to get into this kind of work.  Roy sent me in the house and I collapsed on the couch and fell asleep for over two hours.  He told me later, I didn't want to disturb you because you were either dead or asleep.  I didn't want to wake you in case you were alive.  Later at evening, I did help him pull weeds from the back flowerbed and clean out the bird bath. 

This week I have had a couple of heart episodes but I know what triggered them, stress about a situation and heat from the great out of doors.  And guess what are the two main triggers for a rapid, out of rhythm heartbeat is for me?  Stress and heat.  Go figure....

I finished one of the books I bought at Malapropos Bookstore in Asheville, Fortune's Children.  It is the story of the generations of the Vanderbilt's beginning with the Commodore and ending with the last Mrs. Vanderbilt who lived in the Gilded Age and died in the 1960's.  No, this book isn't available at any of the Biltmore gift shops.   It is an interesting and heartbreaking read.  Most of the Vanderbilt men didn't live past their 50's and only a few lived into their 60's.  The women fared better in life span but not always with a fortune.  The story is how the vast fortune of being the richest family in America slowly came apart leaving quite a few bankrupt and penniless Vanderbilt's in their old age.  Only two families one of them being George V's(he built Biltmore) and a sister had sustainable income from their properties.  Their farms made the upkeep of the property self sustaining.   Being social outcasts from high society and the work and vast sums of money that Alva Vanderbilt put toward challenging and finally being accepted by Mrs. Astor is phenomenal.  Lots of disinheriting, laziness, workaholics, lack of visionary's in later generations, and plain old wastefulness was the undoing in about three generations.  In between these stories are a few tidbits of gossip.  The book was published in 1989 and reissued in 2002 and it is written by a Vanderbilt. 

Well, the easing into the day portion is now coming to a close.  There are things that need to be done around here and a couple of errands that need to be run. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Quiet Saturday Thoughts

It is a quiet morning out here on the prairie.  We are waiting for those cooler temps to arrive.  It has been fall for over a month in the house and it would be so appreciated by many for it to look like fall outside.  Roy was up early going to Bible study and then taking Sequisha in for a little check up.  Not only does Sequisha have a boo boo on her bumper, her battery was running low.  Ugh!  You kind of know how long a battery will last and she was coming up to that time.  I noticed the other day she didn't start up like normal.  When Roy looked at her Thursday night, the engine would not turn over but he assured me on Friday when he got home, the engine would start.  And it did.  He drove over to Christian Brothers Auto and they changed out the battery.  This morning he wants Toyota to check out the electrical system to make sure it was only the battery and not the alternator.  And Roy just called and Sequisha is in good shape. 

Since I wasn't able to get to Target Thursday afternoon, I tagged along with Dena Thursday night.  Of course one needs fortification for Target shopping so we started off with some Mexican food.  Then we split up to do our shopping and we both were finished at the same time.  I picked up some pictures I had printed off my iPhone using the app Kick Send.  The quality is good.  We rarely have pictures made anymore but I needed some for our family prayer guide for Community Bible Study.  We use the pictures, label them and then add on the back what we need prayer for.  We will trade them like baseball cards in leadership.  I think that is a pretty neat idea.  Don't be surprised if Buddy shows up in the pictures.  I am going to work on that today so it will be ready for Tuesday's meeting.  Got my fancy scrapbook paper and tape ready to doll this thing up. 

Looking back on last week, I think we have found the right amount of time to stay at the Biltmore.  There are so many little towns and sights around the Asheville area that we haven't even began to explore.  On Saturday, we left a little before 8:00 am hoping to get close to I 10 and  spending the night.  We did something we have never done before, drove straight through.  Getting back that hour in Alabama helps.  We got home at 11:45 pm.  It was hard to drive those last hundred miles but it was worth it to sleep in our own bed.  I am so glad we traveled last week and not this week.  Battery and now tropical storm Karen.  The rain would be worse than what we went through.

On Sunday we started unpacking but also getting things ready for Mary Madeline's stay with us.  I had done a lot of it before we left.  Roy and I grabbed some much needed Tex Mex for lunch and he ran to the grocery store afterwards while I continued doing laundry. 

Mary Madeline got here around 5:00.  She was a sight for sore eyes.  We have been friends for forty years and she has had a tremendous influence on my life.  I think everyone who knows Mary Madeline would say that.  Later in the evening Dena came over so that they could meet one another.  I love when friends meet friends.  It's so fun!  They both have a heart for studying the Bible chronologically so I have wanted them to meet for several years. We had a great evening of laughs and conversation that sometimes Roy felt brave enough to join in but would retreat to his study when he had enough girl talk.  Mary Madeline and I stayed up late and talked and our conversation picked up right where it left off on Monday morning.  We eased into the day.  Later in the afternoon I took her to the airport so she could return home to her family who missed her mightily. 

Driving home from the airport the joy of having life long friends just about took me over.  The joy of having long time friends nearly overwhelmed me and by overwhelmed, I mean it in the good way.  I am so thankful for the good friends that the Lord has knitted my heart with and I love how fun and easy it is to make friends in Community Bible Study.  You really never know where and when you'll find a friend. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The West Side (of the Estate) Story

Since I still have balance problems, I've not gone on any of the Segway tours with Roy to the other side of the acreage on the Biltmore Estate .  I enjoyed Roy's pictures and thought that was that.  Friday morning we both found out about the tour on the west side of the estate, me in the shuttle to the house and Roy rolling on the river.  There were openings for the tour at 3:30.  We have heard this guide that did the west side tour before on the legacy of the land tour.  He is well informed and quite interesting.  These are some of Roy's pictures from the tour.  Most of the vineyards, sheep and cattle are over there.  They are experimenting with producing canola oil to use as bio-diesel fuel and the fields and the huge storage tanks for that are over there as well.  
It is harvest time and they have been a little short handed, so they've teasingly have offered the tour groups a chance of hands on experience. 

This is the guard donkey for the sheep.  Donkey's make great protectors of sheep and chickens.  Their kicks can injure coyotes and foxes.  The donkey's braying sounds the alarm that there is trouble.  Hey, the donkey is kind of like Lassie.  It is so interesting to watch the interaction between the sheep and donkey.  Another donkey cannot be put in there with them because the donkeys together will ignore the sheep or chickens they are supposed to be watching over.
The sheep on the Biltmore Estate do not need to be sheared.  This is a cost productive move for sheep that are raised more for meat than for sweaters. 

From this vantage point on the other side you can get a nice view and photo op of the Biltmore House.  Love how Roy got the cow into the action.
Yes, another donkey sheep picture.
Very old barn from one of the original 8 farms on the land.  They are in the process of restoring the barn.
This home is from the 1800's and the wine master lives there.  They have updated it to the 21st century though. 
This view almost makes you think you are in Europe.
These geese have stopped migrating and now stay here year round.  These geese know a good thing when they see it. 

This is an apple picked on a nearby farm and grapes that Roy found on the ground in the vineyard.  He's no fool...if he picked from the vine, they would have forced him into grape harvesting labor. 

Didn't Get a Billy Greet While We Explored Montreat

 Thursday morning was overcast and the skies hinted at rain.  It is a difficult thing to decide if the rain is going to be just in the mountains or affect those of down in the valley, valley so low...  We decided to take a chance and first go to the information center on the Blue Ridge Highway since it is so close to Asheville.  The weather held while we toured the center and saw how the highway was built and then of course topped off the educational opportunity with some information center shopping.  We left there and went about five minutes down the highway to the Highlands Folk Art Center.  Wow!  It was so interesting and creative.  The upstairs was the gallery of beautiful artesian paintings, pottery, wood and husk dolls indigenous to the area and all kinds of other things.  The downstairs had a huge store where one of a kind items were being sold.  OK, not everything was one of a kind, but you know what I mean.  We found several items that needed to come home with us including a beautifully hand cut and crafted train.  Roy loves him some tractors and some trains, so we got it for his study.  I even found a beautiful drawing of sheep. 

Since the skies were just overcast we headed on down the Interstate a bit to Black Mountain.  It is such a cute little town with an absolutely delightful downtown.  Roy took a lot of pictures, but I will spare you.  While he took pictures, I looked around several antique shops.  We had seen an old time hardware store on Main Street, so we headed that way and were so happy we did.  It had other things besides hardware.   Lots of retro games along side digital ones. 

 A garden walkway to another part of downtown.

Roy loved the glass bottle soda water display.  This is one of several shelves.  Lots of old time board games too. 
After we spent time looking around in Black Mountain we headed toward Montreat.  I so wish I could find Dottie Laas and tell her I finally got to Montreat and they didn't kick me out because I am Baptist.  It is a Presbyterian retreat center and Billy Graham's home.  Word must have gotten out that we were there because he came and greeted us by the Coke, that didn't happen.  Well, the Diet Coke thing happened but not the Billy Graham thing.  A side note, Roy has discovered CheerWine.  No he didn't go all alcoholicie or anything, but it is made in North Carolina.  Kind of like how Dr Pepper used to be in Texas.   Back to Montreat, it is beautiful!  The stone buildings, the beautiful southern styled homes and the beginnings of fall colors on the foliage.   
This is the entrance.  Beautiful stonework. 

I am so glad I didn't see Roy doing this, but he leaned over the falls to take this picture. 


I believe I have found my new church home...Church of the Prodigal.  Although sometimes in the big picture prodigals can become the older brother.  I still stand by my reasoning that I would identify more with the fatted calf.  Hmmm....I wonder if Sunday after church they serve fatted calf along with some fatted fried chicken, fatted green beans and fatted biscuits?  


We had a great time on the road, off the estate.  Since we had just kind of snacked for lunch, we came back to the Inn and had dinner on the Veranda.  That's fancy talk for porch.  The sun was just starting to hide behind the mountains as we sat in the rocking chairs and ate dinner.  Truly one of my favorite places to eat at the Inn. 

The time was drawing closer to our last day....we kept it kind of open like we had on Monday with the exception that instead of doing the Segway like he did on Monday, he did the river rafting on the French Broad River on Friday.  I rafted on the shuttle over to the house where I did some last minute shopping.  I am enamored with the whole loose tea thing, so I got a cute pink and white teapot.  All the Vanderbilt brands were a little too pricey for my liking.  Then I got some sugar cube tongs, little tiny spoons and tea infusers that sit on top of the cup. 

After Roy's rafting trip, we decided to go on the tour of the west side of the estate in the afternoon.  I am so happy that we had done most of our packing, condensing of bags and repacking Thursday night. 

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our grateful hymn of praise.


For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light, Lord of all…


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled, Lord of all…
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our grateful hymn of praise.