Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Our Third Day on the Estate

Here is Mother Goose sitting on her nest which she has built right along the side of the road here on The Biltmore Estate.  There are lots of geese in this particular area just as you come into the estate.  We've seen goslings and mother and daddy goose take those young ones across the street and stop all traffic.  We tried to get a picture when we left this afternoon but failed in our attempt but upon our return today, we were able to maneuver ourselves into photo position.   Erin got the best shots so I am using her pictures.

We eased into the day.  I had fallen asleep at the same usual time of 10:30ish but a nagging heart cough would not quit.  I was up and down several times to take care of it.  Finally, I was able to fall asleep.   There weren't any storms to wake us and no more coughing.  So, this morning I got ready and went down to the library to let Erin sleep in peace and quiet.  It was almost deserted and so quiet.  Quickly I grabbed some coffee and settled in at our tea table we were at the previous day.  I began reading Sacred Pauses and wouldn't you know it while I am reading about quiet and solitude, a couple who had the whole library to choose from sat at the table behind me and conversed loudly in German and English.  Gee...  After a little too much garbled loud conversation, I texted Erin to let her know I would wait for her in the dining room.  It was good timing because she arrived a few minutes after being seated.  We've come to the conclusion that the hotel last night was filled with old people.  The late breakfast crowd is few and far between.  I told her it is the opposite on weekends when the clientele is much younger.    Edward is freed up some to come visit with us and this morning the assistant director of the dining room gave us a bottle of champagne as a thank you and asked to be included in the family.  It is more like we want to be included in the Biltmore family.  We did our usual take pictures at the table thing and we both had waffles.

Funny thing, I forgot to take my meds this morning and by the afternoon I had become a little punch drunk.  Poor Erin, kind of had a headache and her crazy Aunt Foo Foo is singing and acting up.  We decided after breakfast to drive over to Waynesville.  It is a cute little shopping town and we started and ended at Mast General Store.  It is a whole 'nother place on weekdays.  I actually had a chance to really look at things.  We found several cute things and we didn't even buy any candy.  I was trying to find this one particular shop but I just couldn't find it.  So, we went on to the Southern Highlands Art Guild on the Blue Ridge Highway.  Lots of pretty things and a few of them came home with us.   We drove through Biltmore Village because the stores change there all the time.  I didn't have the heart to drag her to this little store that carries Flax Brand clothes.  That will be for next week.

I have decided that next week will be a good time to search and find a few places I will need to know the location of when I am here in August.   I might make a repeat drive back to the area where the cottage is located and I also bought a book that gives literary tours of the mountains of North Carolina.  I know of no other person who would find this the least bit interesting.

When we got back to the estate we headed for Cedric's.  We had salads and pretzel rolls.  We also bought some of the mustard that they mix the butter with.  We thought we were having a carb overload but the table next to us beat us by a mile.  The rest of the evening has been quiet.  Reading and just hanging out.  Tomorrow is a big day of Erin going on the segway tour.  Then we are going to visit the farm and the mercantile.

I love coming here for the beauty and nature.  It has never been about the house.  I love that there are cows, sheep and chickens.  You can see deer and geese and ducks.  There are also bears, but I really don't care to see one up close and personal.  Unless it is a Baylor Bear and that would be something entirely different.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 2

Our day began a little later because it was supposed to rain all day.  Since I am traveling with a young adult, our sleep schedules are a little bit different but it doesn't hinder our days.  Today Erin slept in till 9:30.  I slept till almost 8:30 and once I was up and ready to roll I took off for the library to enjoy some coffee and catch up on the blog.  We had several thunderstorms roll through last night and believe me that lightning was bright and close.  I believe I have already written about this but you have to know it made a mark on me because it was scary.  We had breakfast at 10:00.  Edward thought we had decided not to come down to eat but we are two that love breakfast.  We headed over to the house where Erin took the tour and I scouted out the shops.  Then I came back and read till she returned.  We have a lot of laughter between us because we find so many things funny.  We hung out for a while and then went to tea at 3:45.  We had a blast!  The food was delicious and our server Scarlet was a blast to be around.  We took our time and we finished up about 6:15.  To counter act all our tea dainties, we went out and about taking pictures and waiting for a great sunset.  Sunset was better tonight but still not the one we are waiting for.  We drove over to see the sheep.  There are so many little lambs running around and playing.  Such fun to watch.  We also saw goslings and geese crossing the road, a wild turkey, a bunny and some kind of woodchuck.  Waiting to see a deer or two and they said on the shuttles today the bears are out and about.  It has been a fun day.

We have been here since Sunday afternoon and we have yet to turn on the TV.  Ah, I have found someone who likes quiet as much as me.

We are not taking a media fast by any means.  I am learning all about snap chat.  Once I have friends who snap chat maybe I will join in but it is fun to see Erin and her friends chat with pictures and videos.

That's about it for now.  

First Monday

Monday in North Carolina.  The winds have picked up and the report of storms tonight will lead into a rainy day tomorrow.  We got up earlier this morning since we have a couple of rain days coming up to get out and enjoy the day.  The most important meal of the day is breakfast, so we started out on a good foot.  Our friend Edward was working this morning so we were able to see him.  He has been given another promotion up to full time with benefits.  Erin is a breakfast food person, so she liked the buffet.

Our first stop was Malaprop's bookstore.  Sadly, I have almost every book in their regional section but I did find a few interesting reads.  They also have a wonderful card section some cards made by local artists.   There is an Urban Outfitter near the bookstore and Erin made a score on some on sale shorts.  We drove over to The Grove Arcade.  Old building with shops.  Interesting place but my favorite shop there is the bookstore/wine bar.  It is wonderful!  All the books are for sale and the place is filled.  I found a Robert Penn Warren book I had never read.  

We drove up to the cottage I have rented for most of August and the first week of September.  Bill, the owner, gave us a quick tour of the house and I love it.  The screened in back porch will draw a lot a lot of my time.  All the houses surrounding the valley belong to family members.  So it feels like a safe place with spectacular views.  Erin and I went over to check out Weaverville and it's a happening  place.  

We headed back toward Asheville and back to the Inn.  We drove through the garden area and the tulips are beautiful and the azaleas are popping in bright colors.  There is a photography crew taking pictures for next year's marketing materials.  Back to the Inn where we rested a bit and then headed for a late lunch on The Veranda.  Food delicious and we splurged and shared dessert chocolate/peanut butter tart with banana ice cream.

It was an easy evening of sitting outside and waiting for the sunset.  It was too cloudy to get good color but we were able to get some great cloud pictures.  Lots of good people watching too.  The thunder and lighting began a little after midnight and it is much more dramatic when you are at a higher elevation.  It is then you have those thoughts since we were under a tornado watch, should I get up and get dressed?  Where did I put the flashlight I brought?  Oh my gosh I didn't check for the nearest stair exit.  The first storm was mostly lightning with light rain.  The second storm was a lot of hard rain with thunder and lightning but not as bright and as close.  I could actually get past one Mississippi.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Such a Fun Core Group

In the beginning God put this group of women together.  He put together older Titus 2 women with three young women and He saw that it was good.  He added Mary Ann, first row on the left after several weeks and she brought stories, truth and laughter to us and when she was out taking care of her daughter we missed her mightily.  We are missing a few from this picture, two ladies are out of town and Trish had to drop a month or so ago.  She is on staff at the church we meet at and a staff meeting had been moved to 10:00 am on Thursdays.  Last year my group met in The Great Room with three other groups.  We had those church rolling screens that separated us.  We were always laughing or talking loud, so this year I got moved to the primo room, far away from others.  It pays to be loud.  Our room had regular living room type chairs and couches and we had our own bathroom. 

Several of us thought going on to studying Exodus would be a great thing.  Peggy has volunteered to facilitate, her only request is that we answer questions while she pulls us around the lake on the raft.  Hmmm, well I think I skip Exodus and go straight to Leviticus. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Break Time

It was a gray and foggy morning.  Although the fog is dissipating rather quickly.  I need to go feed the birds and get started on the rest of the day.  We've had a red headed house finch vising the feeder.  He is beautiful! 

Yesterday was my last leadership council for the Genesis year.  What a true blessing it has been to be with these other women serving God together.  Each year and it can seem this way with core groups too, you start out with one thing in common, the desire to study God's Word and at the end you have more friends with whom you have laughed, questioned, answered and cried together.  One of my favorite parts of our meetings is the devotional.  We all take turns and we learn about each other and what God is speaking into our lives.  None of the professional devo offerings that seem to be the trend right now. 

After leadership council I had tons of errands to run.  Roy needs two belts and two ties so I went to Joseph A Bank.  When did belts and ties start selling for $100.00 each?  You could buy two belts and two ties and come out of the store spending $400.00 on two belts and two ties.  I went over to Eddie Bauer and bought Roy two belts and today I am going over to the mall and try to find two ties.  Wow!  With my trusty pack of cheese and peanut butter crackers for lunch, I headed over to KT Antiques.  Mimi Bella has a shop in Bill's store and there was a new shipment of FLAX coming in.  FLAX clothes are my go to clothes in the summer around here.  I ended up with two shirts not from FLAX and several old hymnals, one is hymns and songs for men's church meetings.  How fun is that?  Next on the list dropping off a prescription and then mailing a package.  I came home and rested.  One of the side effects of going into afib and racing heart rate seems to be a few panic attacks in the days following an event.  Right on cue I had one of those times when leaving Eddie Bauer and going to my car.  Nothing like A/C on full blast for a few minutes to cool things down. 

I met Dena for sushi last night.  I had her masking tape which Roy had commandeered, she bought on our trip to San Antonio and she knowing my weakness for pens, had brought me a fancy smancy feather pen from Cracker Barrel.  And because we are exciting like that, we went to the Kroger afterwards.  She had never been to the one close by and she had a pressing need for corn dogs and Skinny Cow ice cream.   I needed a gift card. 

Monday night we had a Diet CheerWine explosion in our laundry room.  Diet CheerWine in our area can only be found in glass bottles but in North Carolina CheerWine runs the gamut of cans, liters and plastic bottles.  In fact I am to bring home lots of bottled Diet CheerWine from my trip for Roy.  Back to our explosion of cherry goodness.  Two bottles got knocked over and the glass and soda splattered everywhere.  We have mopped, swept and vacuumed the laundry room and we still find minute pieces of glass.  CheerWine on the wall, tile and a few little drips found their way onto two white shirts....of mine.... 

Little by little I am trying to get things taken care of and wrapped up but it is time to take a break. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday

Easter Monday!  In beat, in sync and in rhythm!  Hallelujah!  It is a beautiful Monday morning not only because I'm feeling good but because it is the first full day after the resurrection on Sunday.  A first day to praise and thank God for victorious living.  I loved the music on the web cast of our church.  Outstanding and not only well done but so God honoring. 

Yesterday afternoon Roy went out to ride his trek.  We had put up all the Easter decorations and I sat on the couch recovering.  The full fisted punch of an irregular heartbeat is the searing fatigue that grips you in the most easy and natural movements in the day, like walking across the room and the like.  A cold sweat hits and there is the struggle to grab a few breaths.  It's kind of like when you have the flu and you have to take a nap to take a shower and you take a nap after the shower so you can get dressed.  Your chest feels like Ricky Ricardo is beating his conga drums during the conga solo in Babaloo.  I decided reading was the least strenuous activity while I regained strength and I was able to finish reading The Secret Garden.  I had started the next book Learning to Walk in the Dark when Roy returned.  We sat there and he told me about his ride, where he went, his speed and the mileage.  In that conversation I suddenly realized I wasn't feeling my heartbeat and it seemed to me I was still alive.  In a hushed tone, like my heart could hear me, I asked Roy to bring my monitors because it was All Quiet on the Western Front inside me.  I took my readings and the little irregular heartbeat thingy wasn't displaying.  My pulse was back in the 70's and my oxygen level was really good.  I was thrilled but a little cautious about jumping up and doing a happy dance.  Throughout the evening I made periodic checks and this morning...still in beat, still in rhythm.  According to my Dr.'s staff, I did everything right and they were surprised it had taken this long for an extended episode to happen.  I was chastised for taking the monitor equipment off our phone.   So I am easing into the day, doing laundry and taking care of a few things that didn't get done over the weekend.  But I am full of thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord.  I found great comfort in the Psalms this weekend. 

I loved seeing all the Easter pics on FB.  Lovely and beautiful children.  Great looking cookies and cakes and candy. 

I'm trying to decide what book(s) to take with me on our trip.  Of course I will buy some when I am there but you know...  I am looking for a particular book that I misplaced.  There are so many book places, who knows where I left it.  I try to read at least one book that might have Asheville in the setting and I think I have found one that fits the bill.  It will be so exciting to introduce Erin to one of my favorite places on earth.  I hope she doesn't get too bored with her Aunt Foo Foo. 

Heart still in beat and I'm so thankful for that.  Birds are fighting at the bird feeder.  All is right in the world. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

That Darn A-Fib

He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Happy Easter!  This Easter weekend hasn't gone the way we had planned.  But nonetheless the fact is true and remains, Jesus is not in the tomb!  He is Risen!  He took our sins, bore our grief and carried our sorrow.  Jesus is Alive and Victorious over the grave and death! 

This morning as I listen to our church web cast on Easter I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for a husband who takes care of me so well.  I'm thankful for friends.  Yesterday morning I wrote on FB about my heart.  Quite unexpectantly, it went out of rhythm Friday afternoon while reading a book.  The book wasn't even something scary, of all things the book I'm reading is The Secret Garden.  Yes, the children's book.  I have never read this book and while Dena and I were on our trip to San Antonio and the Hill Country, I found this book in Anthropologie and it was marked down.   It is a beautiful illustrated book and I might not even given it a thought except the author Madeleine L'Engle whose books I've been reading mentions The Secret Garden numerous times as a children's story that has grown up themes; the power of love, the power of words and the transformation from ugly to beautiful that results from love and encouragement.  Sitting in the reading room, a happy place for me, as I read the delightful story of a long lost but now recently discovered garden, I felt the all too familiar beat from the past in my chest.  I kind of dismissed it because every once in a while I feel it but this time it kept on, beating and pounding harder and harder.  I put the book down and got my blood pressure cuff and oxygen monitor out of a bedroom drawer.  My heart rate was high and getting higher.   I got out the monitor thing and took a heart reading and then I told Roy.  I laid down and rested for a bit.  I remembered that my Dr had told me I might have occurrences like this and to keep a heart med around and here I will go biblical on you, for such a time as this.  Then if I didn't see a change rather quickly to get thee to a get me to an ER.  Since having the ablation in March 2012 I have not had a big episode like this.    I asked Roy much later in the evening if we should go and do just that, get to an ER but he suggested it might be even more stressful for me, for one thing he would be driving me there.  If you have never ridden in a car with Roy as the driver, thank your lucky stars. Secondly, the wait and the chaos might over stress my already stressed system.  I told him I would call for an ambulance to take care of the first stressor.  We prayed and asked God for wisdom and for the meds to do the job, to settle and slow down my heart rate and God answered that prayer because the meds kicked in during my sleepless night.   My heart rate came down to 105.  Saturday morning I knew I needed other believers and friends agreeing with me in prayer and I asked on FB for prayer.  I closed out FB and put my phone aside as I slept and read all morning and afternoon.  I was blown away when I looked at FB much later in the day and so thankful for all those who took the time to let me know they are praying and believing God with me.  You have probably forgotten that I was writing about being thankful today and for these friends and family, I am thankful. 

This morning I am still out of rhythm but barely.  I think I will take one more day of quiet rest.   How I feel goes up and down.  When we were putting away Easter decorations, I had the worst fatigue attack that I've had since all this began Friday afternoon.   But with Roy doing yeoman work moving storage containers around, we accomplished the goal.  I found another box of Easter decorations and I knew I hadn't put out everything but in hindsight not having so many decorations to put up today was good.  We had planned our Easter meal on Thursday.  We ordered some sides from Luby's, we grilled corn on the cob and we had Costco roasted chicken.  It was a very good Easter dinner.   I finished The Secret Garden this afternoon and have started the new Barbara Brown Taylor book Learning to Walk in the Dark.  I have loved her previous books and she mentioned that this book is the last part of a trilogy.  Basically she's writing about finding a particular spirituality that works in the nighttime.   She is a former Episcopal priest who teaches in seminary and she is helping us to learn how to redeem and rehabilitate what we have learned to fear.

Thank you again for praying and please continue to do so.  The powerful meds should kick in by the middle of the week.  We have taken readings with my hand held monitor but now we need to reconnet the equipment to our phone to call it in on Monday.  I was feeling so sure I would never need that equipment again.   I so want to be able to feel good to take my neice on our trip coming up soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Just Me Being a Nerd

Last night I spent the greater part of an hour Googling bookstores, stationery stores and shops that carry cards made by local artists in Asheville.  I am such a NERD!  A couple of weeks ago I read an article all about vacations centered around some of the greatest bookstores in the United States and the freebie thrown in, libraries one must see.  NERD ALERT!  I want to do this but I will need to find a book nerd to travel with.  Roy, Dena and others let me look and peruse but I feel guilty and always kind of rush through bookstores.  I am coming to realize there is much I haven't seen in Asheville since until recently when I have finally left the Biltmore Estate to see other sites.  On this trip for sure, I want to go to The Grove Arcade which is only a couple of blocks from Malaprop's  Bookstore.  Not only is there a bookstore dedicated to Southern lit, there are all kinds of artist shops.  The building all these shops are housed in is beautiful!  The man who designed and built The Grove Park Inn designed this building as well.  There are a couple of other stores downtown that have my interest. 

This week as Roy and I were talking through the next few weeks with our schedules he suggested I might want to stay around those days between Biltmore and Megan's graduation.  Even with all the improvement with my heart and circulation, long trips are difficult.  So after I take Erin back to Nashville, I will head back to Asheville for the next few days.  I'm excited to have tons of fun with Erin and then get to spend time alone at one of my very favorite places.  So now you know why I am researching bookstores and such.  Bless her heart, I won't drag Erin to every nook and cranny stationery store and bookstore...unless she wants to do that....  And this just in....I'm doing major drawer clean out today.  The shredder is resting for a bit but while going through a drawer I found the $25.00 gift card to Malaprop's that I thought had been long lost.  Each time I have shopped there they have sent me a gift card to thank me for shopping at an Independent bookseller.  Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy...I have $50.00 for this next visit.  I have been looking for this card for over a year and this morning as I cleaned out a desk I prayed and asked God to show me where I had placed it.  I was a little disappointed when I finished up and didn't find it.  The chest in the guestroom wasn't even on the radar but right before lunch it occurred to me that I needed to go through the drawers.  And there it was in a stack of paper.  I should have prayed about this a long time ago. 

Today the generator has to run for about ten minutes.  It does this once a week and Roy chose 2:00 pm on Wednesdays.  At first it sounded like a lawn mower, then for a few moments it sounds louder than that.  Here's hoping our next door neighbors don't weird out over it.  It would have been so much better if we could have put it on the side of the yard next to the green space but because of gas lines etc., it had to go on the side of the house by the laundry room.  These neighbors NEVER come outside.  Only pulling into the garage and sometimes if he does the lawn.  Since they had a baby in Nov we thought they might be out a little but no.  This couple has made it clear to everyone on our street they don't want to be talked to or bothered.  Maybe they are in the witness protection program?

Thursday morning...overcast and I awoke to the rumbling of thunder and a smattering of rain.  The birds are out early at the feeder.  Yesterday was a banner day in the lives of birds that gather in our yard.  The young mockingbirds are learning the lay of the land.  Their mom demonstrated for them how to clear out a feeder as to have it for yourselves.  Soon one of the younger MB tried its hand, I mean wing at it.  Not as forceful and it found itself being harassed by one of the crow like birds.  The other funny sight was the young MB on the feeder facing a dove with its mouth open like a baby bird does for his mother to feed him.  The dove looked at him for a bit and then beaked him on the top of his little bird head as if to say I'm not your mother, feed yourself!  You're too big to be acting like this. 

Yesterday's clear out was good for several bags of shredded envelopes and such.  I got a few things rearranged.  Happy with this portion of spring cleaning.

The last thing for this post today is, on Wednesdays Red River BBQ has fried shrimp as the special of the day.  Twelve cornmeal friend shrimp, two sides and a hushpuppy all for $14.99.  Cornmeal fried shrimp is the best! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Schedule Free Day

I just watched the biggest bunny rabbit scamper across our backyard. Our yard is a conduit for all creatures great and small. Our neighbors have done all their spring planting and nothing screams dinner to a rabbit than little green plants. For once the procrastination of spring planting has paid off. Our roses are doing the best ever and I didn't even trim them back like you're supposed to. Again, lack of prunning time paid off because I had heard that roses that had been trimmed didn't do well in all our winter artic blasts. It is supposed to be in the high 30's tonight. I don't know if I can remember cool temps for this long. Last year we had a pleasant temp spring but nothing like this. All the trees on the green space have leafed out in spectacular shades of all kind of green. We finally hit Joesph's big reveal in our discussion today. Can you even imagine all the shock and awe going on in that Egyptian palace. I read something a couple of weeks ago about traveling light and the emphasis focused on the spiritual side of life. Joesph was a light traveler. He lost his multi colored coat while waiting on his brothers whims in a pit. According all the Bible movies I've seen, Egyptian rulers just wore little skirts and went around bare chested. Again, Joesph as a ruler was probably all tricked out in the skirt. Traveling light. He also traveled light in that he was forgiving and showed unconditional love to his brothers. We know from his season of fleeing Mrs. Potipher, he was good looking and well built. Here is a he man who openly cries as he embraces his father and they hug for a long time and it wasn't a love ya man kind of emotion. He isn't just a handsome, well built emotional, forgiving kind of guy, he also was a realist. I think that is true because of his admonition to his brothers as they left to get the family and bring them back to Goshen not to argue among themselves on their trip home. I slept through the blood moon. I knew for sure I would wake up around 2:00 am because almost every other night or rather early morning of the week, I make a trip to the necesitarium. The one night I really would like to be up, I sleep right on through till 4:00 am. Oh well, I will try for the next one in the fall. Now it is Wednesday morning and it is a beautiful start to the day. This is the first day in over two weeks I haven't had someplace to go, dentist or doctor appointment. Peggy asked if I wanted to go to the movie, but my need for a day with no schedule was the choice for me. So I am off to start the day schedule free.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weather, Change and Those Funny Little Birds

Yesterday was another typical weather day out here on the prairie.  When I left yesterday  morning for my appointment with the oral surgeon, it was 77.   Running errands afterwards, 66 and on the way home from the orthopedic office, the temps dropped to 52 by the time I got home.  The wind was so bad, twice I nearly was blown into the concrete wall on the 99 overpass from I 10.  Wow!  When I returned home there still had been lots of wind, thunder and rain.  So glad I made it home before the really bad rain began.  It was a perfect afternoon to have a cup of tea and read a book but instead of a cup of tea I had a Diet Coke in a glass bottle. 

This morning is a gift.  This type of morning really doesn't exist in April here on the prairie.  This is more like a late October or November morning...if we're lucky. .  I love it!  Maybe even this evening we can sit around the outdoor fireplace one more time before the days turn as hot as the fire in the fireplace. 

We only have three weeks left of Bible study.  To a person almost everyone I have spoken with has absolutely loved the study of Genesis.  Our time together at leadership council was especially poignant.  The devotion this morning by Janelle was so encouraging and filled with much to contemplate.  CBS gives us so many resources to be equipped for ministry and our leadership development time today was so beneficial on encouragement.  This morning was an especially tough one for me because I needed to let our teaching director and assistant teaching director know that I will not be back next year as a core group leader.  I love being a core group leader, it brings me so much joy. It has also provided me the opportunity to be involved in ministry with a group of friends.  These kinds of opportunities do not come to me anymore at church and I felt useful for kingdom work with CBS.  But after my appointment with the orthopedic doctor I knew I needed to set aside being a core group leader.  The injections are not working as well as they have before and I am in a lot of pain.  He thinks he can help me get through the summer and sometime this fall if I have completed all the dental work or early in 2015 if I haven't, I will probably have one or both knees replaced.  Roy and I also have a couple of trips on the docket too.  I hate missing that kind of time when I am a core group leader.  I will be a participant and I'm looking forward to studying Luke in the New Testament.  And hopefully, if they will have me back, I can re-up after this particular season of life. 

The birds are a fussing and a fighting out at the bird feeder.  New supply of food will do that.  The doves and mockingbirds are in the majority so far.  Although one of the Mr. Doves seems to be more interested in the affairs of the heart more than the filling of the stomach.  Mrs. Dove is not quite that interested in the heart affairs and would rather eat a late lunch this afternoon.  There are baby mockingbirds in the mix every once in a while.  They are not quite as aggressive as the older mockingbirds but they'll soon learn and they will be clearing out the bird feeder as action warrants.

There's a book calling out to me, so I will close this down for now.  I might even go outside to read, the weather is the sun that is. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Getting Caught Up

The generator is in the side yard and tomorrow it will be activated and ready for power outages.  Roy asked me to come home right after Bible study to be here when it was delivered.  The guys that delivered it never let me know they were here or came to the door.  I missed a fun afternoon with friends while their kiddos picked strawberries at Blessington Farms.  Oh well, maybe there will be another time.  Tomorrow Roy has generator duties after he gets home from his Dr appointment.  Hopefully the installation will go smoothly. 

We only have three more weeks of Bible study in CBS.  What a great time we had today mixing it up.  Instead of having brunch with our own groups, we all gathered in the Great Room sharing all our brunch/breakfast goodies.  Then we went to core group and then teaching time.  The morning was wonderful.  I sat with Peggy and Pam from my group this year and friends from other years gathered to our table as well.  As always we had great discussion and some very poignant stories of God's faithfulness in uncertain times.  I know I write this frequently, but the study of Genesis this year has been just about my favorite maybe even beating out Divided Kingdoms....I loved that study. 

A lot of time has gone by since I started this post on Thursday.  Roy has had the computer tied up because he is doing our taxes.  But, I have had other things occupying my thoughts and time.  Now that we have our taxes done, we like I had anything to do with them, and I have most of my homework completed I can think on other things.

Friday I went to a memorial service of a friend who was much too young to die.  I knew Darrell from church and he also played on several co-ed volleyball teams with me.  Standing room only for his service and Johnny led a great tribute and service for him.  All those who spoke at the service, including his wife, made us laugh and tear up.  Such a huge life and it is going to take time here on earth for those closest to him, learning how to do life here on earth without him.  But we do not grieve his loss without hope because we know we will see him again one day.

Friday, our generator was installed.  I left here around 9:30 to stop at The Container Store and Whole Earth Provisions before the service.  I love Flax Linen clothes and they had marked down Flax on the sale rack again and I was able to find some great clothes and even greater deals.  After Darrell's service I made a quick trip to The Fresh Market and made my way home.  The generator was up and ready for running.  Minimal down time with the electricity.  Roy talked to the Center Point guy as he waited for his part of the project to happen.   The guy told him the other night when half of Rancho De Five lost their electricity, it wasn't because someone ran into a power pole but a rat that crossed over the transformers and he lost his life in the accident.  Yah!  One less rat in this world.

Saturday, we did some projects around the house and had our first Bahama Mama's of the season.  I hardly got there last year.  This morning I went to church and then met Roy for brunch.  I made a quick look see through Cold Water Creek since they are declaring bankruptcy and I found a couple of good deals.  Since it was raining, I delayed a trip to Target and came on home for a nap.  My brother called this afternoon to let us know that my father won't be going to graduation in Memphis after all.  Thus we are now able to attend.  I am so excited about that.  He had one of his patented change of mind, all it took was a friend at his Friday lunch thing that was out of the country and had a heart attack.   My brother assured him he was not alone in his getting to and from both airports.  My father replied, well what if I had a heart attack and they took me to Little Rock...!  I don't know anyone there.  Yes, Little Rock is a foreign country and they don't speak English.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my oral surgeon and then my last injection at the orthopedic office.   The injections have not worked as well this time.  I still have considerable pain.  He said last week that we'd discuss future options tomorrow.

Roy has gone to workout now that the estimated tax return is done.  Buddy is fast asleep beside me and several projects need my attention.  So until later....Happy day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When The Past Keeps Wanting To Visit

This morning as I was getting brunch things together for Leadership Council, the phone call that I knew would be coming, came.  It was an officer from the Houston Police in the mental health area concerning elder abuse.  He was following up on the report my father had made on Roy and me harassing him with a bull horn and coming inside his house and moving things.  As the officer asked me questions and I answered them, the conversation changed course when he heard the case my dad had brought against us had been closed with APS.  There is a verse in Job that says, the thing I feared has come upon me and it looks like this verse is manifesting itself in my father's life.  He thought we were trying to have him committed on top of us "stealing" from him.  No on both counts.  Now he is in the crosshairs of the state and the police.  They will find out about the directive from the doctor to cease driving and the officer talked about having him put into assisted living or getting him medicated to stop the paranoia.  Several times while talking with the officer I teared up.  My voice was shaky because I never thought in a million years I would have to be answering these types of questions.  Even with the normal paranoia and conspiracy in his life, I never dreamed that my father would accuse or think me capable of doing anything like this to him.  After the call, I continued getting ready but I was fighting back a major cry.  Not so much out of sadness or loss but more like tears of relief.  I remember something I heard Jan Silvious say years ago on defining moments.  She said in our lifetime we have many moments that we will consider defining but each instance of a defining moment is just another moment in many moments of a lifetime.  The defining moment doesn't make you, if shows who you are and how you are responding.  Is there growth in your response.  There was a day that I would have considered these days defining but I don't think that anymore.  What he thinks or says about me isn't me at all.  My friend Eileen in Bible study today said, you should go home and play Mandisa's Overcomer as loud as possible.  That is a good word.

I completed a blog post last night and the above is the first paragraph.  Before posting what I wrote yesterday I decided to sleep on it.  This morning I know the rest of t I wrote is for another time or for a never time.  It helped me give structure to my thoughts to write out everything yesterday.  I do know that every time I write about this subject and the fact there is victory and hope, I get many private messages thanking me for sharing this particular journey.  For most of you reading it is almost impossible to get your mind around my lifetime experiences with evil that came in the form of a parent.  Others know exactly what I'm writing about and others have more horrid stories than my own.  I wouldn't even be writing about this now except for everything that has been happening in the past two years and more specifically the past few weeks, the past comes to visit even you've forgiven it and have moved on into a wonderful and happy life. 

This morning I am being treated to one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever experienced in Rancho De Five.  It has that imagined Smokey Mountain look. 

After leadership council yesterday I stopped at Target and Home Goods.  While in San Antonio Dena and I found lots of good stuff at the Home Goods at The Rim.  Much bigger store and more selection.  I am in the process, like this is such a huge process, of replacing our coffee mugs.  They have to go when all those little cracks start showing up on the inside.  Yesterday, I walked through the aisles looking at mugs when I came across a tea pot in the shape of a lamb.  If you know me and my lamb collection, that tea pot was coming home with me.  The staff the sheep is holding has flock finder written on it.  Love that! 

I am making Biltmore grits again for Thursday's brunch.  I think I will make the whole recipe.  There weren't any left yesterday.  Those are some good grits. 

Today is the first time since my trip over the prayer rail that I actually feel good and not sore.  I don't know if it was my fall or if my knees are not taking to the injections like they've done before.  There is a lot less pain, but still significant pain.  Maybe the third shot next week will do the trick. 

Today is a dentist day so I'd better start getting ready. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

I've Been Tripping Over the Prayer Rail...All the Live Long Day

This morning is slow moving when I need to be a little faster than slow.  Maybe it isn't the morning that is slow but me.  Yesterday, Roy put together a desk I had ordered.  The selling point of the desk was its size and price.  Oh, yes and the believable assertion that it was easy to assemble.  Well, that easy to assemble desk was completed four and a half hours later.  In all the frustration neither one of us ever uttered a cuss word and I don't count crap as a cuss word nor did we stomp off in disgust (Roy) or in tears (me).  After it was all put together, I cleared out the spot where the desk will reside.  This meant moving an antique prayer rail to another location.  Later in the evening I came into the study to check something on the computer but good old ADD kicked in and at that moment I thought it would be better to move an ottoman and chair, then rearrange a table and as I went about that task, you guessed it, I totally tripped over the prayer rail.  As I fell, I took a lamp, books and paper with me as I crashed into the printer table.  My left hip and both of my knees were in extraordinary pain.  Join in with me singing, 'Fall on your knees. Oh hear...."My hand and arm hurt just about as bad and a slight knot seemed to be forming on my head.  I laid there crying.  All the noise alerted both Roy and Buddy because both were soon at my side.  We were trying to determine if I had broken my hip.  Thankfully I am just bruised and scrapped.  My movements are slowed by being so sore.  Once the assessment of my health was done, I was ready for Roy and Buddy to move on.  Nothing to see here.  Getting up of the floor is not an easy task.  Roy intended to help but I needed to do this alone and I wanted to take my time.   In the middle of the night I turned over and my right knee let me know I had wrenched it when I fell.  For once, my cry of pain woke up Roy and he did not run to the front door nor did he go into the kitchen and just stand there.   I had my appointment with the orthopedic doctor this morning for my second injection.  He checked out my knees to see if I had done any damage but we both laughed that other than shattering my kneecap, what else could I do to damage already damaged knees.  I was kind of like Peter at the foot washing, Dr don't just inject my knees, inject all of me...all my joints.  Thankfully, I am feeling relief this afternoon and hope the next set of injections does the trick for the next five months. 

What makes the above funnier to me is, our server at La Cantera told us her name meant flower, little flower.  I shared that my name means merciful and graceful.  With my middle name meaning the same thing, I have a double portion.  Dena began Googling her name to find the meaning.  Her name means God's judgment to which I responded, bummer.   Maybe this fall last night is God's judgment in giving Dena a hard time and even posting the body building Dena, who is not our Dena, on FB.  I explained Dena had been a body builder early on in her life.  Ironic?  I think not.  Or maybe it is God's message to me to be praying more.  Maybe it is just I should have put the prayer rail in a better place.

It seemed kind of lonely today not having anyone in the car with me.  No matter where I go or who I am with if I am driving, I ask this question, "Am I in between the lines?"  More times than not the response is, you are on the line or I don't see a line. 

Here is a scary thought...for leadership council brunch tomorrow, I am bringing the decorations.  I have some cute Easter d├ęcor we can use for the table.  We decided to do brunch at brunch, so I am making Biltmore grits.  They are delicious!

The birds are happy to have me back since that means they have food and water again.  This also makes Buddy happy because she has something to watch.  There have been quite a few bird fights.  I wonder how they know or what sign is given for all these birds to show up at one time.  My little mockingbird was first to show. 

I had better check my injection site and make sure all is well.  My knees are feeling much better.  The little nap I had didn't hurt either. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

San Antionio, Comfort and Boerne...What A Great Trip

It is a foggy Sunday morning.  The webcast from church is playing in the background.  Home from a trip to the Hill Country with Dena.  Welcomed back by Roy and Buddy.  Most everything has been put up and I have just a few things that need to find a home.  We left for San Antonio on Wednesday and everyone who is worth their salt knows that when heading west on I 10 a stop at Buc-cees is a must.  We took a little more time on Wednesday because we knew on our return trip Buc-cees would be crowded with travelers such as us.  Dena and I stopped in Gruene  for lunch at the Gristmill.  We also did a little walk around through some of the shops but we were more interested in getting down the road to our destination La Cantera.  We pulled into La Cantera, checked in, got settled and we were back out the door to the La Cantera Mall.  This trip was to scout out the lay of the land or rather the mall and we had a delicious dinner at the Bistro in Nordstrom. 

It is difficult sometimes when one has visited a certain hotel in Asheville numerous times to compare it to the present hotel you find yourself in.  On Thursday, I was so guilty of saying too many times, "well, this isn't like the Biltmore."  Thankfully, I stopped saying that annoying phrase and eased into the wonder and beauty of La Cantera.  We shopped The Rim stores and then made our way back to La Cantera Mall.  I have to admit there was a Target store in The Rim area and yes, I went in to see if they had any of the notebooks I hoard, I mean love.  Target did not disappoint because three of those treasures came home with me.  After our vigorous shopping extravaganza, we ate a late lunch at The Longhorn Steak House.  The comfortable and inviting lobby of the La Cantera resort called out to us and we answered the call with books in hand and a fireplace blazing away on a 90 degree day.  On our trips we pray for God surprises and we were not disappointed by the lovely gift of meeting Rhonda, the concierge.  She brought over a blanket and put in on the huge coffee table so we could put our feet up and read.  We got to visit with her a bit and she was such a joy.  It was a great lobby for people watching.  Rhonda was the first of God's surprises.

Friday morning breakfast contained another God surprise by meeting Golnez.  She was our server and she spoke with a beautiful accent.  I could not place it and asked where she was from.  She responded Persia which is the now day country of Iran.  Golnez, such a joyful and delightful person.  Since the hotel was not full on Friday, we were able to visit with her longer than normal.  Our hope was to be as big of a blessing to her as she had been to us.  She sent us out on our day with our favorite to go drinks, coffee for Dena and Diet Coke for me.  When Dena and I were planning the trip we had discussed several places to see in the Hill Country.  Our goal was not to spend hours in the car, so our picked destination was Boerne.  We drove the length of Main Street and as we drove along we saw a sign, Comfort 17 miles.  Neither one of us had ever been to Comfort, so we decided to head that way and work our way back toward Boerne. 

Comfort was a delightful respite from the rush of San Antonio and the traffic of Boerne.  Guess that is why it is called Comfort.  A beautiful cool day with quaint shops and restaurants and we pulled into a spot on the side of a house, Miss Giddy's.  Eight, count them eight rooms filled with all kinds of beautiful and fun things.  It was a great place to start our day.  Dena and I both found all kinds of neat things that needed to come home with us.  Across the street was a pizza place but you had to buy a whole pizza and we weren't quite hungry enough for that.  So we sat down with our drinks as we rested for the next group of stores.  An older man, a cowboy for sure had been eating pizza at one of the other tables.  He had gone back to the window to ask how to reheat his leftovers.  I told him he should also sprinkle a little water on the pizza as it baked.  Here was another one of God's surprises for us.  He offered us both a slice of pizza and we went back and forth but we ended up each with a slice of pizza from this kind man.  He told us he had had cancer and food didn't taste as good to him now.  He was happy to share and we were happy to receive.  Later Dena remarked, in Houston we would have never thought ever to take a slice of pizza from someone we didn't know.  We prayed for him several times on our trip.  We visited a few more shops and then made our way to Bourne.  We had a lovely time shopping and exploring a beautiful Episcopal church.  The drive into San Antonio was short and we ate dinner at P F Chang's and made one last visit to The Nord. 

Saturday morning we ate breakfast and saw our friend again.  On Saturdays they have a buffet and it was a great treat to sample so many goodies.  Our target time to leave was 11:00 but we hit the road at 10:45.  Only made a stop at Buc-cees for sustenance. 

I loved that God's surprises came as people.  Of course we enjoyed all the beautiful bluebonnets and flowers, but it was kind people that God sent our way.  A great reminder to be kind people to others.  Dena and I made a list of all our trips together over the past ten years or so on our trip.  We have been a lot of places and seen a lot of things.  We travel so well together.  We pretty much get hungry at the same time, don't like the TV to blare, and we have a good balance of being on the go and then taking time to read or relax.  We rarely ask others to go with us because we have such a great balance and even now with us living in Rancho De Five, we don't see or talk to each other often.  So it was a good time to talk and catch up....oh and laugh really hard about really dumb stuff. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Just Stuff

I saw the first baby dove ever this morning.  Well, ever in our yard.  The mortality rate for doves is not that good.  It was beautiful.  The baby dove is in our back flowerbed which means that our weird neighbors behind us might think I am looking into their home.  Out here in Rancho De Five that is not much distance between homes.  The weird people moved in just about the time we had three baby rabbits living in that flowerbed last year.  I would look out the window to check on them and maybe the neighbors thought I was trying to look into their home.  I checked and the neighbors have their window treatments of steel closed up tightly, nary a ray of sunlight able to penetrate. 

Yesterday I went by the bank to activate a new debit card.  I like to do that in person as not to make a mistake on the process over the phone.  I also asked about some paperwork and bless the bank officer's heart, she took the liberty to dumb down the explanation.  I deserved it, you know coming into the bank to do something in person rather than on the automated phone thing. 

In the book Journaling Adam Feldman writes on Nostalgia in his book Journaling.  In the chapter the when of journaling he writes about viewing and living in a current season.  The three life suckers in a current season of life is entitlement, bitterness and nostalgia.  Nostalgia is an unusual topic in this arena but it is so true if we spend much of our time looking back at the good old days, we aren't paying attention to the right now.  People who live life in constant nostalgia are in for rough times and expensive times.  Nostalgia is expensive.  Just look at antiques or reproductions of lawn furniture, glassware and the costs a lot to live in the past and that is in more ways than one. 

Once again watching the show Hoarders did some good.  I know that hoarding is nothing to joke about and people have a problem with keeping trash, treasures and everything in-between.  Roy was in the study and throughout the past few months his file cabinet and chair are filling up with stacks and stacks of papers, boxes and all kinds of stuff.  I asked him about the top of the file cabinet, if there was anything that could be thrown away or put away.  As he started to stuff things in the drawers and the drawers wouldn't close, we took a closer look at some things.  He had two small boxes in the bottom drawer and he told me they were full of technical stuff.  So, I opened them.  Uh, technical stuff from the early 21st century.  Those were ditched as well as a few other things.  He has been looking for a file he needs to do our wonder he can't find anything. 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the motion lights we bought for me to see my way in the dark.  So far so good after the first night because we were blinded by the light....always throw a song lyric in for good measure.  Buddy doesn't have the sneak advantage she used to have.  Last night Buddy was quite upset because she saw my suitcase in the guest bedroom.  She is being rather cautious being near me for fear of going to cat camp.  But I got to thinking about the neighbors behind us and if in the middle of the night they looked out from behind their window treatments of steel...they might think we have some kind of light show going on. 

One of my all time favorite authors just released a new book, Acts of God.  It is not a Christian book per se but a Southern book of short stories.  Ellen Gilchrist is one of the best short story writers of her generation.  She's getting older and who knows how many more books she has in her.  It has been a while since her last book. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Very Good Day

April 1.  April Fools Day...  Is this the holiday where you wear green?  Guess I'd better not get out and about because I may see my shadow and then get pinched. 

Actually, today is starting out as a very good day.  I am not at liberty to share all the good that's going on but I will share a couple of things.  God has certainly blessed us and we give Him all the glory and praise.  This month I get to take Erin to The Biltmore.  She is benefitting from Uncle Roy's schedule and the presentation he is giving that makes it impossible for him to go.  I was so happy she said she wanted to spend the whole time with me.  Then in May, once things get finalized, we will return to The Biltmore with Megan as part of her graduation present.  Erin gets to come along and then when Erin graduates, Megan will come on her trip.  Last week Roy sent me an email about VRBO.  I replied that we had used them for the Rosemary Beach trip.  He came back with this, look at their site and see if you can find someplace where you would like to stay in Asheville.  So of course I got right to it.  I ruled out places in Asheville, cabins in the boonies, and anyplace that had a hot tub.  When Roy got home that evening he asked if I would like to spend a month in Asheville to get a respite from the heat here in Texas.  Nah....of course I said YES!!!  I had found a cottage that is on a family farm north of Asheville.  All the reviews were good and the cottage is modern and decorated in such a cute way.  The screened in back porch and the covered front porch with rockers kind of sealed the deal for me, well and a king size bed.  I contacted the owners and they offered a great price and it is exactly the price that Roy was thinking about.  We paid the deposit that evening and it was a thrilling site to see our dates booked on their calendar.  Erin and I are going to make a trip to see the cottage and meet the owners when we are there in April.  The views are spectacular with almost a 360 view of the surrounding mountains.  I will be able to gaze into the night skies and see millions and millions of stars.  Roy will be there at the first and end of the trip.  I've been looking on Google Maps at the surrounding area and have found a drive through biscuit place.  You can go in and eat or grab a biscuit on the run.  I had always thought I couldn't do Biltmore unless I was staying at the Inn but I think I can.  It was the shuttle bus from the parking lot instead of the Inn that holds me back but I hardly ever tour the house anymore but I do spend lots of time in Antler Hill Village.  I can drive and park there.  I will also check into being able to grab breakfast at the Inn every now and then.    So glad I became a season pass holder several years ago. 

Good day in that I got the first set of injections on my knees yesterday.  The ortho office was running way behind and I had about an hour and a half wait, but I didn't mind because I knew when I walked out the door to my car, my knees would feel a whole lot better.  Next injection is on Monday.  It was so welcomed to be able to sleep through the night without severe pain in my right knee waking me up. 

Justin is here measuring and marking the place where a generator is being installed.  We almost did this last year but decided this year this might be a good thing to do.  My heart is so affected by heat and stress and when the electricity goes off, this switches right in.  Only thing, we can't run the A/C and use the oven at the same time since those are big draws on energy.  Believe me, that is not going to be a problem. 

Another reason for a good day, the dental portion of this year is just about finished for a bit.  I have a crown and continued progress on the implant to complete.  If all goes well, everything in this portion of work should be done.  I have other work that needs to be done but it might be able to be done at the first of next year because I have already blown through my dental insurance limit. 

Tomorrow I am going out of town for a long weekend.  It will be good to relax, shop and have fun.  Love girl's weekends away. 

Thanks for reading my post about having a very good day.  I have found that there are plenty of people who will weep with you when you weep but only a few are able to rejoice when you rejoice.  I am rejoicing over these things and a few other happenings.