Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Persevere

It seemed kind of strange this morning not to have a cup of coffee waiting for me on the nightstand this morning but it is good to be back.  Roy went into the office this morning to catch up and get ahead of a few things before 2015.  Buddy is happy to see me and has followed me around most of the time.

We left Asheville around 7:00 am and arrived at Hammond, LA around 5:00.  We did the usual check in and then go over to East of Italy for dinner and then to Books A Million for a quick look around.  I made it till 9:00 before falling asleep.  Once again our room was located close to the railroad tracks and from falling asleep to waking up, five trains rumbled through and we could feel the vibration.  All kinds of songs went through my head, mainly Johnny Cash and Gladys Knight's Midnight Train to Georgia.  We decided to look at the positives to the room, at the end of the short hall so close to the elevators and only one wall connecting with another room.  After a week with the vampires, that truly was a blessing.  Remember back in the day when hotel rooms had those magic finger beds that vibrated when you put a quarter in?  Well, we got that for free with those trains...although there was the cost of the room...but you know what I mean.  We saved a quarter...a buck twenty five when you consider the five trains.  The other positive is we overlooked the parking lot and we could see Sequisha from our room.

Up early on Tuesday, we left the hotel around 5:30 am.  It feels like a great accomplishment when you get across the Mississippi River Bridge and the causeway across the bayou.  Breakfast was at the Lafayette CB, which we kind of like better than the Sulfur one and we made a stop at the new Buc-cees in Baytown.  For the record, their BBQ sandwiches are the bomb!  And Buc-cees is one of the few if not the only place that carries bottled Diet Coke with Lime.  Stocked up on a few of those.

Looks like we brought cold weather with us and for that I am grateful.  There will be a few more days of feeling great before a warm spell comes back into the picture.  This last day of 2014 holds some laundry, lunch with a friend, and getting a few things into place before tomorrow morning when Chris will arrive bright and early.  We unpacked yesterday and got most everything put up, so we have done the majority of the work.

Last year on January 1, 2014 if you'd told me we would own a house in North Carolina, I would have been very surprised.  Sure it was a dream but it seemed to be a far off dream not the closer than you think kind. There were quite a few surprises in 2014.  My One Word for this year was Persevere and it wasn't the word I had from the list I was going through choosing the One Word for 2014 but it came to me right there in front of the fireplace at the Biltmore.  It has proved to be a good word and very apt for the year.  This year held many official investigations prompted by my father's delusional accusations and those investigations proved once again we had not taken anything nor had we been to his home harassing him.  We had no fear that the results would prove otherwise but it is a bit of an emotional roller coaster answering questions from Adult Protective Services, the Houston Police and the Harris County Constables.  Persevere was a good word for battling a few heart episodes.  My toughest challenge by far was the whole box debacle thing that only hooked me because I believed one of those boxes held dishes my mother had promised me.  The dishes held great sentimental value because they had been my grandmothers's but alas those boxes were filled with trash and not too much worth of meaning for me.  The boxes held the hatred and contempt of my father toward me.  Those days afterwards were full of weariness and processing but I can say boldly I persevered and came out better because of the experience.  

2014 held a lot of happiness and joy.  There were several trips to the Biltmore with my favorite being the week my niece Erin and I spent there together.  We had a blast and enjoyed quite a few cheese plates and breakfasts together.  This year my journaling was revolutionized by the book Journaling by Adam Feldman and as my journaling changed my perspective, the way to experience and seize life changed.  I read many new authors and some favorite authors in 2014.  Roy and I celebrated 37 years of marriage in 2014 and this has been one of the best years ever and not because of the house.  No, we desire and practice walking in love with one another, encouraging each other, holding fast to each other in difficult times and clearly we enjoy each other and one another's company.  Our projects together without getting too mad have increased.  There has been a lot of laughter this year.  There have been those days of prayer and pondering.  It was a big birthday year wise and we had fun spending it with my cousins and their spouses in Blue Ridge GA.

Years ago when I taught an evening Sunday School class, I did a series on finding peace in chaos and junk.  Each week I used Google Maps asking the class as they looked at an overview of an area, did they know what I was wanting them to see and to find.  Each week the view was zoomed in a little more until the final week, the picture showed a covered picnic table in the midst of a landfill and recycling center in Baytown Texas.  In the midst of junk, in the midst of chaos, in the midst of being surrounded by things no one else wants, in the midst of the cast offs of life stands a little covered picnic table...  Now, I don't know of too many who would like to take a picnic lunch or your family there to spend a lovely afternoon.  As much as we wouldn't, too often we find ourselves there by fault or no fault of our own.  So in the midst of chaos comes change and you can find that little place of rest and peace to center yourself as you begin the journey out of the landfill, away from other people's trash and walk into newness of life and persevering as you do it.  You can't do this kind of thing in your own strength, but God knows the map and the journey.  He goes ahead of you and gives you strength.  You might say really?  How do you know?  Ah, this my friends has been the journey of 2014....I've persevered. I have kept the course and the faith.

Proceed was 2013 and Persevere was 2014.  Since I am Baptist and we love alteration, 2015's word will also begin with a P...I will be blogging about it.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sad Goodbyes and Early Mornings

Sunday evening and we are wrapping up our time here in Asheville.  As our home becomes more and more ours it gets harder and harder to leave.  We worked really hard this week with contractors and we worked hard getting the bedrooms ready.  No sheets on the beds, but just wanted to check out the bed covers I had picked out.  We went through all the containers we have brought up the past two trips and put away everything we could.  Thank you for all the compliments on FB of how inviting the rooms look.  The house was designed to reflect a farmhouse style and nothing says farmhouse to me like white iron beds.  We raised the height of the twins and our bed.  Note to self get little stairs for short friends who visit.  The queen bed is regular height and so are the corner unit beds.  Today, after church and lunch we came by the house to wrap up the last few things that needed to be done.  One of the things on our list was to use the washer and dryer and see how they did.  I could almost classify them as antiques but they will do for now.  It was difficult to leave our home today but there was a silver lining.  We finished up early and didn't want to return to the hotel just yet, so we went to Biltmore Park which is a lot like City Centre.  Roy saw a primo parking space, so we were close to everything.  We ended up at Barnes and surprise there and scored some 50% off items for our home here.  Of course we decided to take them to the house instead of carting them home and back on another trip.  Yea, another trip to the house.

We were so happy to learn that the vampires who have been next door to us all week checked out yesterday.  On Friday night, they argued, yelled, and slammed the door so many times, I only got about two hours of sleep.  This is where you think about doing some mischievous like removing their do not disturb sign or going to the house phone and calling their room with their wakeup call.  I cannot take credit for those ideas, those were Roy's.  Mine were real matured like slamming the door and singing about being up bright and early in the morning.  I might have sung Give Me Jesus in my best tenor voice.

We went to church this morning and the pastor is beginning a new series and we wish we would be here for it.  It started off very well.  I love his heart to encourage us to live beyond mediocre lives and being alive to the Spirit of God.  He used a Francis Chan video that was very thought and action provoking.

The early morning is coming too soon, so I must wrap this up and say good night.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Whole Lot of Working Going On

Good evening.  It has been a full day of work especially for Roy.  In preparation for mattress delivery tomorrow, we put together two twin beds, adjusted our bed and put together the queen bed that the seller left for us.  We had to take it apart to move it to the second guest bedroom and just able to finally get it back together today.  We also tried out the washer and dryer and they work well.  Roy and I take such different approaches to these things.  I'm thinking we should work on the beds that are getting mattresses and Roy is concentrating on the queen bed.  We go down to the garage to look for some scissors or something to cut plastic ties and boxes.  I knew that we brought those things on our last trip and to look in those boxes, but Roy starts looking through the boxes we just brought.  Finally, he believed me and we found the tool case that just happened to have a box cutter in it.  We began to put the twin beds together and other than a few missteps here and there, we were done without an argument or words.  Roy knew we needed to get a big wrench to hold the nut, not me, as the allen wrench tightens the screw.  The little one provided did not do one bit of good.  He looked at the queen bed again and saw we could use some different we headed to Ace, where the helpful hardware man is...and yes, they are always so helpful.  We got the wrench, washers and a few cleaning products.  Then we stopped for lunch at KFC.  They have a great southern buffet and we got the senior discount price.  We weren't old enough but we decided it was Roy's hair and my limping walk that maybe scored the discount for us.  Had some chicken legs with all my veggies.  And there is always room for JELL-O.   We got back to the house and worked till sundown.  We will be back bright and early tomorrow morning.

We stopped at the Post Office to mail some mail to the seller and mail a couple of bills.  Across the way is a huge farm.  Every morning and afternoon the sheep are on the sides of the hills grazing.  This morning while Roy was in the Post Office, I watched the sheep begin their journey up the mountain side.  They have made paths and they go single and double file up to graze.  I watch one sheep wait till all had passed before it went down the hill, on the path, to meet up with some other sheep hanging around.  That group began their journey thereafter on the path. I am so happy to know I can sit in the Post Office parking lot and take in the whole scene.

This morning we had another one of those great spiritual discussions.  Roy was doing his daily Bible reading when he remarked, the NT talks more of helping and taking care of one another more than tithing, yet we hear more about tithing than helping one another.  He also mentioned Col 3 where Paul tells us to put on love over all these other things.  Roy said, we get dressed daily, this means daily.  Don't get us wrong, we give to the church but we are more interested in having a generous life.  Now this brings to mind those who are always on the prowl looking for those they can devour...I mean who can support their ministries more so support their salary.  It is hard to give much thought to that because sometimes you feel like a $ sign and that is all they are interested in...getting someone to support them because the need is constant.  The interest in you and who you are is almost non existent.  Although saying that, our hearts are open to the leading of the Holy Spirit but it has been few if any that we have ever felt led to give in that way.   Oops, I went off on a little bunny trail there, but the point still being, I love listening to Roy talk about his thoughts and his daily readings.  At home it is nothing I get to hear very often cause he is out the door so early during the week.

Roy is getting some much needed rest and I better do the same because I will not want to get up so early.  Our days here will soon be drawing to a close but once again it feels like we have accomplished so much.  Oh by the way, everyone was back in their normal wear at breakfast this morning.  No jammies or anything.  The vampires are still next door but they have been a bit quieter of late.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mostly Christmas...Mostly Merry...

Merry Christmas!  What started as an overcast day turned into one glorious sun-filled, breezy Christmas day.  Another morning to sleep in and we did as much as Roy can sleep in.  6:45 am is late for him but I can usually make it till 8:00 am.  Since we were Christmas lunching at the Bistro on the Biltmore Estate, I had a light breakfast of yogurt and fruit.  On Thanksgiving Roy was able to get a housekeeper to clean our room while we ate but guess Christmas morning is a later type morning for housekeeping.  We both have good books we are into, so we read for most of the morning until we heard the familiar sound of a vacuum cleaner.  Booya!  Roy was out in the hall finding a housekeeper.  We took our books downstairs, ok our iPads and read in the lobby.

This morning I made a list for fun, you know when you're not staying at the Biltmore on Christmas.  You know you are not at the Biltmore at breakfast.  There most are dressed festively and finely for Christmas brunch.  Here at the Holiday Inn, families come to breakfast in their jammies.  Nothing says festive Christmas like kids constantly pulling their underwear out of their.......underneath their pajamas.  We were the only fully dressed in the breakfast area.  This has not happened on any other day, just today, Christmas day.  The fireplace is warm and inviting at the Inn at Biltmore.  The fireplace here at Holiday Inn is broken...  One little Christmas tree on a table here, big, huge real tree at the Inn at Biltmore.  Tonight at the Inn at Biltmore a candy bar with bags to put candy in and here at the Holiday Inn, I have a Snicker bar.  Lot's of differences but the main difference is here at the Holiday Inn we have a house in the mountains.  So sacrificing the ultimate Christmas stay is worth it

We drove around the estate before we checked in at the Bistro.  Lots of changes going on.  All the sheep were tucked away snuggly in the barn.  Only a couple of geese graced the lagoon but as usual everything is beautiful.  We had a delicious lunch, I went with the butternut squash soup, steak and the creme brûlée cheesecake with citrus zest.  Roy had gnocchi, salmon and a chocolate cake that was served in a hot chocky cup.  If you like chocolate, you would love that cake.

We walked through the winery and also went down to Antler Hill Village.  Roy got some ice cream as I enjoyed the cool breeze and sun.  Instead of going over to the farm we decided it would be nice to drive by the house right before sunset.  Tomorrow we have a lot of work ahead of us but today we walked through the house talking about this and that, so happy that it is ours.  On our way back we drove by the camels and we decided to make a second pass to see them again.  In that short period of time three camels left the larger bunch and came up close to the fence.  We jumped out and took some pictures.

Back at the hotel.  I think vampires are in the room next door.  They stay up all night and keep the do not disturb sign on their door all day.  Loud by night.  We saw that the housekeeper actually was able to get into the room and clean it today.  So maybe they checked out but I hear the faint rumblings of noise and loud talking.  Maybe they are zombies.

It is so fun to read through Facebook on Christmas Day.  Fun to see the pictures and wishes to friends and family.  There are always a few that are just strange and odd.  There are the Debbie Downer status updates, have fun, but in all you fun keep Christ in Christmas.  I think He is in it all.  Oops, no fun means Christ is here...what????  No!  Look at us being crazy updates, but really in fact, not one thing they are doing is that crazy.  It is what most people do.  The 'happy' Christmas pics where no one is always kind of fun to look at.  Give me chaos and mess.  Give me dinner or lunch pics.  Let's see fun...let's see smiles or joy.  Let's face it some people are just the hall monitors of Christmas and they are pretty much the hall monitors in their lives.  They are the hall monitors of Facebook.  At least they are consistent.

Well, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve in the Mountains

All is calm, all is bright.  Christmas Eve somewhere in Asheville.  We are all settled in for a long's winter nap...well, not really.  Roy is going to walk over to Zaxby's in a minute for our Christmas Eve dinner.  We experienced a lovely day and since we didn't have to be at the house to meet anyone or take care of anything, we took the day off.  That meant sleeping in, late breakfast and a little local shopping in downtown Asheville along with hundreds and hundreds of our closest shopping buddies.  On a misty, cold, rainy morning everyone should be at the mall so we thought but after Siri gave us wrong directions and our adventures of driving around and around downtown looking for a parking place came to a fever pitch when we discovered we could park near the Grove Arcade and have just a short walk to one of the best Indie bookstores around, Malaprop's.  I have not visited the store since April, so it was a real treat to spend some time there today.  Roy brought his iPad and got a cup of their delicious coffee and read while I decided what books to buy.  They have a great local authors section that I can take way too much time in.  After making a few selections we walked back to the car and took off toward Mast General Store in Asheville.  Parking is a premium more in this part of town and after the one pass around the building, we made the best decision and go onto the antique warehouses, most of which were closed.  But a few were open and we had fun looking around.  Even came home with an unusual Biltmore Dairy bottle.

Unlike home where everything stays open until the last possible minute, it is not like that around here.  It is something to appreciate and love but it can also be a bane in the day before Christmas experience.  We explored the area around our hotel and found J&S Cafeteria.  We decided that sounded like a great place.  When we opened the doors to J&S, we opened the doors to a life long ago in the cafeteria realm.  Not like an upgraded Luby's, no LuAnn Platters, no trendy blackened dishes...but the long narrow aisle wound around and we finally came into the lines marked off by velvet ropes.  The salad section...was a trip back to yester-year.  Not just carrot raisin salad, but all kinds of congealed salads, ice berg lettuce fancy spinach around.  I got turkey and dressing, the way that Luby's used to serve it, turkey over a mound of dressing with gravy and some cranberry relish.   Then sweet potatoes with tiny marshmallows and then the unpopular lima beans, but sorry folks, I love me some lima beans.  We didn't pay at the end of the line, we just got a receipt. It was just like I remembered from way back in the long ago, the tables and chairs, the servers that picked up your trays.  Only thing missing, the ice tea lady with a cart and an old lady playing the organ.

Roy has had a difficult time understanding my ADD riddled brain throughout the years and I finally found the avenue to explain it to him.  On our trip up we listened to the traditional station on satellite radio.  Carol of the Bells has always been called the hyper Christmas carol by me and we were listening to that song when it came to me.  This particular arrangement was very layered in sound and in parts and I told Roy this is my brain.  This is what goes on inside, all kinds of parts and sounds and words rising and falling, cascading the scales.  He finally has a notion of what I deal with on a daily basis.

We have been watching old movies and I have been reading and skimming several of the books I bought at Malaprop's.  It's an enjoyable quiet evening and in between old movies and the like, I have pondered things in my heart.  When Roy and I travel we have wonderful discussions on many things spiritual.  Somehow at home those kind of conversations get lost because of business and due to some part of my cynical nature...something I fight against more often than not.   Yesterday at Mast's in Waynesville, the most interesting conversation was going on between a father and his two children.  They could not get past the toy area of the store.  Finally, the dad said to his son, we are here to shop for your mother and I don't think she wants toys.  They moved onto the kitchen department and I wanted to pipe up and say, keep on moving, go upstairs to the clothes.  As the father and daughter looked through things, the little boy comes back with a bright sparkly ball and says this is so beautiful, I KNOW mom would LOVE this and then give it to me.  Oops, he didn't quite get the concept of giving gifts with others in mind.  Or in emails today, did you forget someone?  Nothing like an e-gift certificate to say...nope, you just aren't that important to us.  CVS parking lots are reminiscent of downtown Asheville, no room.  Please tell me that people are buying cards or wrapping paper and not gifts.  Nothing new in thinking of gifts at this time of year and many others much smarter and wittier than me have waxed eloquent throughout the season...but these things have my thoughts tonight.

For many years gingerbread men have been a part of our Christmas.  My mom made them every year.  When she got to the point where she couldn't make those, she made a gingerbread cookie.  We have been on the search for a gingerbread man but our luck wasn't too good but today at the bookstore cafe, Roy came over to me with a gingerbread man cookie.  Yea, Christmas is complete.

We are thankful for the gift of Jesus, born in a manger, Emmanuel, God with us.  We are thankful for the life we have through Him.  This season we sit still remembering that night when heaven came to earth with the announcement of Glory to God in the Highest, Peace on Earth goodwill to Men.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Couch Blogging

Good evening!  Greetings from the couch in our room.  Roy has gone down to the fitness center and I just washed my hair.  Another long day, with some setbacks, finished projects, learning of an expense we hadn't really planned on, multiple trips on house business, lots of rain,  Mexican food for dinner (thank you Jesus!) and a Peppermint Blizzard to end the day.

It has been a wild day for sure.  One of the things that I have to balance out time wise is Roy's narrow focused attention without thinking of the big picture and his tendency to be way too early for everything.  Couple that with his early morning energy and go get her done attitude with my tremendous need to ease into the day and there my friends, lies the problem of balance.  This morning Roy ate breakfast as per usual either thinking he is eating in prison or he is reliving his days of growing up with four brothers, this means he is wolfing down his food.  I on the other hand, saunter.  I was just about to stand up to get some yogurt when Roy looked at me and then looked at his watch. OK, I will forgo my yogurt today, but if I get all whacked out with my probiotics being off kilter...well, let it be on your head.  Fancy that, we made it in time to the house to see the contractors already working on the new steps and we had beaten the flooring people.  I dropped Roy off at the house and then took off to Waynesville.  Barber Orchards closes for the season tomorrow at 3:00.  Roy wanted me to get a bushel of apples to take home.  Since I was hitting the road early, I decided to make a quick trip to Mast General Store in Waynesville.  I could have parked in the front but went to the back street and found an easy parking spot.  It was a short trip because back at the house progress had hit a wall.  The hardwoods didn't match as well as everyone thought they would.  We decided to let them take up a couple of boards of what is in the house to match with samples at the store and we would meet up with everyone at the store later to see if anything else that would match.  Roy told me to keep on shopping because the carpet for the upstairs was being laid.  I refrained from commenting about the cow in the field across the road getting...well, never mind.  So, a quick trip to Hazelwood Ave was in store and success, finding a few things for Megan and Erin.  Then I went to several antique stores and warehouse in the area.  Last stop, Barber Orchard.  Funny, I was there in August when they first opened for the season.  Lots of produce and by September, the apples began to show up in the bins.  Apple fritters, turnovers and apple cider donuts made their way home, along with ciders.  The place was busy and chaotic in a good way.  Today, it was kind of sad, just a few bins with  apples and the bakery line was long.  Apple butters  were being boxed up.

The day has been overcast with mist and intermittent rain.  That combination makes the mountains and the clouds meet to make some spectacular views.  All along the drive vintage homes sit snugly in the dips and hills of the mountains.  The smoke pours out from the chimneys.  Animals are crowded around bales of hay.  It just seems right to  be here.

Quite by accident, but then there are no accidents, one of the carpenters noticed some chips of wood that had fallen off the front porch steps.  They began to look at everything and called Roy for a consult.  Treated lumber doesn't last very long up here in the extremes of weather.  Inspecting the support beams, major cracks were found in the wood.  We will have to replace the front porch.  Another expense not planned on yet, we aren't that upset because we can redesign and expand the front porch.  Now that is exciting.  We will extend out and screen in.

After we went back to the flooring store and confirmed the match of a glossier hardwood to match what is in the house, we stopped at the Post Office and rented a PO Box.  We have noticed mail doesn't survive too well on the motorized routes.  Yesterday, we met one of our neighbors, Jennifer and her dog Marilyn.  She lives in the house at the top of the hill and she is the one who owns the horses we can see from our house.  We got a lot of good info from her and she said to get the box at the Alexander Post Office.  Delivery of packages will be much easier to keep track of, the ones that UPS hands off to the USPS.  A quick trip to Lowe's was kind of fun.  We stocked up on some needed items and bought a Dyson vacuum.  We have one at home and love it!  The Dyson's were on sale.  Our house comes with a central vacuum system but it is difficult to use.

We came back to the house.  The carpet guys had left, so we toured the upstairs.  Oh my, the new carpet looks wonderful.  We went with a nylon Berber that almost all the new homes in the area are going with because of ease of care and longevity.  For the first time we kind of put together the corner unit in Roy's man cave.  It looks wonderful!  Friday, we will get everything prepared for mattress delivery on Saturday morning.

So, Roy is back from working out.  He brought back a hot chocky to me.  Relaxing, blogging, calming down from that momentary feeling of being overwhelmed by too many facts and decisions.  We don't have to awake at the crack of dawn.  We will take it easy and maybe do a little shopping with everyone else in the Asheville area.

Hotel Sweet Hotel

Monday...we are back to the hotel after being gone almost twelve hours.  It has been a long day but a productive day.  I love how we learn things that we need to know by just talking with people as we go about our days.  I love how much we appreciate the gift of our home each trip we make.

It was an exciting church service yesterday morning here.  The choir presented music for us to experience and worship the King of Kings.  It has been years since hearing a choir cantata, probably the last time was at Westbury Baptist when I was a kid.  This one was exceptional and the choir sounded great.  We grabbed a quick lunch at Turkey Creek Cafe and then headed home to meet the painter and his wife came along with him.  We had a nice visit with them.  Roy and I ran a couple of errands and went over to Vivian and Bills for coffee and cake.  Great time with them but it came time for us to leave because I haven't mastered these mountain roads in the dark.  The usual dark roads were somewhat lightened by Christmas lights on many of the homes.  The decorations and lights reminded me of the decorations of long ago.  It is not row after row of homes with the ubiquitous white lights around the roof line.  The lights here are multi colors and lots of nativities.  Well out in the country where we are there are many.

The morning came too early but at least we didn't need to be back out to the house until 9:00 am.  Jonathan and the stair rail man stopped by first.  It looked like the new tall toilets would not be installed today but it was a computer glitch and not lack of product so the plumbers came over a little bit later.  We also got the good news that the hardwood and carpet guys were finished up early with another job, so they would be able to begin the tear-out job of tile and carpet this afternoon.  Viktor called too and he would be at the house at 1:00 to take the measurements for the granite.  That gave Roy and I an hour to pick up lunch and get back. We went to KFC because burgers did not sound good to us.  Lunch was just finished when Viktor and Jonathan were at the back door.  We did make a change and punted on a farmhouse sink.  It was going to slow down the process.  Roy told me to go to Weaverville and get away from all the noise at the house.  I didn't leave right then but took a thermal throw out to the front porch and I sat there and took in the sights.   Let me tell you love is not dead in the country. The bull in the field across the road was quite frisky.  It all begins with extended time with his nose to the butt of the cow.   Then after a few false attempts the couple stroll to another part of the field, all the while all the cows and well me, watching for a successful landing.  So, I took my leave after a few minutes and hope all went well with those two.

I went to Sanctuary of Stuff.  It was a full house of locals shopping local.  I found a few things and then headed to downtown to walk about.  Antique stores around here are closed on Mondays but I was able to find a close parking place by a furniture store that we have always wanted to go through.  I came on back and waited with Roy as the floor guys finished up getting up all the tile.

Roy and I did some work outside digging a small hole for the address plaque we ordered.  Knowing that the ground is rocky and hard we worked quite hard. I could not help but think of all the novels I have read about planting and digging here in the mountains and here we were doing just that.  Only not digging to plant crops.

We ate at a Pizza Hut, which I haven't done that in years. We made a quick trip to the grocery store and returned to hotel sweet hotel.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Quick Update

It may look calm and quiet on the outside but this next week the inside of the house will be all abuzz with work going on.  We stopped in to unload the car but before we did that, we walked around looking at the beautiful paint job done by Keith.  I love the yellow we picked for the walls and the gray in Roy's man cave turned out very nice.  Pictures to come later.

Our route was through Atlanta this time because of all the construction and wait times in Tuscaloosa Alabama.   We left home at 4:09 am, stopped in Sulphur for breakfast and I 10 was really not all that bad traffic wise.  We had just crossed into Mississippi and decided to pull into their Welcome Center. Roy was getting a cup of coffee when the lady behind the desk asked us where we were headed.  We told her and she said there had been a big accident about eleven miles down the road.  She told us how to get around it and where to hook back up with the freeway.  So we headed down the road, kind of bummed that we would lose a little bit of time but our grousing came to a quick end when we saw the beautiful view of the gulf along the Mississippi coast line.  We drove through Pass Christian and Gulfport.  White sand beaches, large homes with old southern looks, boats and some very cold looking water.  We needed the break from the dodging in and out of traffic and keeping up the speed to stay in the left lane.  There was a time I would have totally missed out on the drive because I would have been more concerned about how much time being was being added to our time on the road.   Another thing we learned is eat something for lunch before you get past Mobile on I65.  The pickings are slim to none.  We finally found a McDonald's near an Indian casino.   We ate dinner about an hour before our stop in Fairburn, GA.  We arrived about 7:45 pm  and I was asleep by 9:00.

We began our road trip in cold and misty rain this morning.  We were going through Atlanta about 8:30 am and we could not believe how bad the traffic was, that early in the morning!  I thought Houston was bad.  We saw some crazy drivers and some near misses.  Since our breakfast had been kind of bad, when we got to Asheville, we stopped for lunch at one of our favorite places, The Moose Cafe.  Another veggie plate only one of those veggies was chili.  I know, go figure.

Looks like we will have cool temps here this week, but no snow.  That's ok.  It is just a great relief to be back and getting some things taken care of.  The hotel remembered us and gave us a room with a couch in it.  Makes it much more comfortable.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just a Wednesday Post

What a fun night of non Bunco, Bunco.  Peggy hosted the Christmas edition of Bunco last night where we eat dinner and have a gift exchange but no rolling of the dice.  Peggy made chicken spaghetti and it was delicious!  I thought I would make it home with the soft infinity scarf and Target gift card but the gift was stolen from me, so I stole the warm throw and scent filled candle from Peggy.  Everyone was going to go over to the five boy house afterwards, but I came on home because Roy goes to bed so early and has a difficult time sleeping until he knows I am home.  Besides, while at Peggy's we got an email from our contractor with timing and dates for work being done at the NC house.  I forwarded the email to Roy but he rarely checks his email at night, so I wanted to get home so we could talk about the plans before he fell asleep.

Our granite counter tops won't be installed while we are there but the tear-out of the old sink and counter tops will happen.  The template for cutting the stone will be done too.  But the tall toilets, stair rail, new steps from the garage into the kitchen and added step on the deck will be done.  Then this spring we will have the porch screened in and the terraced swing area in the front done.

This Christmas season feels like it is flying by and we didn't even decorate for the holidays.  I have been trying to be so mindful and present in the season because it is tempting to think beyond now and into the new year because there is a lot of exciting changes that will be taking place.  Several asked me last night if it is difficult to come back after being someplace that is so beautiful.  It will be harder once we have everything moved in and it looks like home.  I'm excited to attend a new church that has big church things but with a respect for the timeless benefits of smaller church.  Production values are minimal and graphics aren't advanced but who cares?  The congregation seems to care about one another and because the size of the church affords it, you can get to know the pastor...because he is really a pastor in the traditional sense and not a CEO pastor that big churches need for things to run smoothly.

Even with signing up for less catalogs, the amount of catalogs thrown away daily here is astronomical.  We are emptying our shredder about twice a week and we cram the shreds down so we don't have to do empty it more than that.  Companies I have never heard of, sending out their Christmas best.  There was one unexpected catalog and it was actually addressed to one of my sister in laws, that got my attention, Paper Source.  I am a sucker for anything like that but had the supreme will power to throw it away without a purchase.  Equally as frustrating is a magazine, Flow, printed in the Netherlands.  You can finally get a subscription here but they have other offers of neat stuff and we aren't able to buy any of these things yet.  Oh well...

With Chris coming in the morning, I am trying to get everything in order.  I have made great headway with a few more things to attend to.  


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wrangling A Little Christmas

Sunday afternoon was quite fun wrangling a trundle bed that did not want to cooperate.  I was out in the casita bedroom and came to the conclusion the day bed needed to be moved.  That would be easy enough, the hindrance the trundle bed underneath.  Since these knees don't bend much, it was nearly impossible to do this alone, so the call to Roy went forth for what I thought would be fifteen minutes of work, tops.  Ha!  It was a major chore pulling the trundle out but we did it and moved the bed only to realize where it was originally was the best place for it.  During the time of pulling out the trundle, we both came dangerously close to hitting our heads on the bottom of a shelf on the wall.  No one wants to hit their head and this one didn't want to have to clean up the mess if said shelf was bumped by her husband who kept forgetting the shelf was there even with fifteen or so warnings from the wife. There would have been some breakage of knick knacks, you know lambs and Nordstrom ornaments.  I wanted to keep our project togetherness without an accident or words in tact, but it just wasn't meant to be this time.

 Once the bed was back in place, we made the executive decision to leave the trundle out and Chris will just have to clean around it Thursday morning.  Now to right the trundle bed which was slightly tilted with one end of the bed higher than the other.  Roy stood there and mentally assessed what needed to be done.  He made several attempts but none worked.  He once again took that 'thinking' pose.  Being the patient person that I am and thinking if we just put it in an upright position with a little force, the bed would right itself, I did just that.  And yes, the bed righted itself only I upset Roy when I did that.  He wasn't upset like a macho upset, let me be the man, no he was upset because he knew when I righted the bed by picking it up and placing it down forcefully, health wise, I shouldn't have done it.  He may or may not have said a cuss word and went out to the courtyard.  As an aside, back in the day if he was mad at me or we were both perturbed with each other, I wouldn't let him leave the house to go outside and walk it off because I had a serious case of abandonment issues due to the actions of my father while growing up.  I had been left at malls to search for a new family because he didn't want me anymore, he faked called, I think it was fake, the orphanage to come pick up my brother and me, packed suitcases and left us at night making us think we had to fend for ourselves and dropped me off on the side of the road with instructions to find my own way home or find a new home.  Therapy and thousands of dollars later, I let Roy go outside to cool off and didn't think for one second he would leave.  Over the years abandonment has become less and less prevalent but it can rear its head at the strangest times.  Roy came back in, we both apologized and went on with the process at hand...process and progress are always good to go hand in hand.  We are both so happy we decided to go with twin beds in one of the bedrooms in NC instead of the trundle bundle thing...  Thursday after Chris leaves, we will make the beds and be ready for Christmas guests.

Roy asked me to fix my spaghetti, so we had spaghetti for dinner last night, along with salad and pretzel rolls.  Ah yes, taking a gourmet cooking class from one of the Carabba's  years ago has paid off over the years.  The Greek cooking class from one of the Pappa's, not so much.

It seems everyone is head over heels in love with all the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.  Not me, haven't watched one.  Just in the recent years Christmas has begun to hold joy and peace.  Many a year my Advent calendar was a little longer than the traditional one since mine began before Thanksgiving and extended into the first real week back to normal in January.  I was all about come, long expected routine and normalcy.  The days would be crossed through as it seemed to be a season to push through and then move on.   At Bible study the other morning, Roy said all the men were commenting on how the Hallmark Christmas ran 24/7 in their homes and they were getting a little tired of the movies.  Roy said, well, at least your wives aren't watching Mob Wives.  Think he shocked them just a bit and really, I don't watch it that much anymore.

One last thing, the minivans have gone back to treating me bad since removing the stick figure family on the back of Sequisha.  Yesterday, I made one last trip to Home Goods for the year.  The Christmas spirit is not to be found in parking lots with Targets and Home Good stores.  In the store, there was a lady who took up all the space on the aisles with her cart.  You know those aisles are not very wide anyway.  She seemed to be in every section of the store where I was and it was beginning to look a lot like she was on my nerves.  Funny, she wasn't in the check out line but she left the store the same time I did, with nothing!  NOTHING!  She'd created more congestion than the flu.  Unloading the stuff into the car, here she comes walking beside Sequisha, because she had gone to the wrong row looking for her car and moves my cart.  When she got in her minivan, you knew it was coming, she had been the one who had darted out in front of Sequisha and then cut us off, taking the parking place I had my blinker on to take.  Oooh, I am so glad I didn't know that in the store....bah ha ha ha.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Somewhere in Bethlehem

Monday morning....with lots to do and take care of, yet I am compelled to sit and write a blog post when I have nothing really interesting to write about.  Yea, like that has ever stopped me before.  

Friday, because Roy was home later than usual, we didn't get our usual Friday stuff done.  And we had planned to go out to dinner that evening but opted out for take out.  I was still recovering from the Wednesday evening heart episode.  Saturday, Roy went to Bible study and then took Sequisha in for her oil change and check up.  I continued wrapping up projects that we had started during the week and then Roy finished up his part of the projects Saturday afternoon.  Riveting, I know.  But wait, there's more.  

Dena invited Roy and I to go to dinner and then to Bethlehem.  Roy declined the offer because of work he brought home from the office, but I happily accepted.  We had dinner at Three Olives.  It has to be one of my favorite places to eat out here in Rancho De Five.  Then we drove to Bethlehem by the way of Nazareth.  Well, actually, we drove to Current Christian Church to experience their Journey to Bethlehem.  We opted to take the express pass for $10.00 instead of waiting over forty minutes to go for free.  Our journey began in Nazareth...well, actually it began in the parking lot as we followed the star, I mean flashlights to our spot, which happened to be under a huge floodlight.  Anyway, we kind of mingled around in Naz waiting for our family to be called.  We were the Micah family.  Our family motto: We Lika Micah.  No, I just made that up.  Benjamin and Hannah were our guides through the Roman soldier encampment, visiting the Magi on their way to see Herod, shepherd field, Zebedee and  his sons James and John fishing....well you get the picture because we all were headed to Bethlehem to be taxed because of the decree of Caesar Augustus.  They did take a little license with the journey, you know we just happened to run into the Magi and Roy says Jesus was about ten years older than James and John, but have to have some stops to be able to tell the story of our dear Savior's birth.  Long lay the world...oops, ADD strikes again!  They got a lot more right, than wrong and the way the angels declared Peace on Earth Goodwill To Men, was absolutely beautiful and gave just a little of the feeling of what it must have been like to those dirty, stinky shepherds abiding in their fields.  Both Dena and I noticed how the beginning of the journey was in darkness... I had to bring out my trusty flashlight, I mean oil lamp app on my iPhone, so I wouldn't fall on my knees amd hear the angel it was more like the Roman soldiers would be telling me to move along and show my papers.  Our program guide doubled as our travel papers.  Anyway, you got a sense of what is must have been like to travel in the dark, without street lights and blue exit signs letting you know what is available off that exit, no Exxon or Shell stations or must I say it, No Cracker Barrels!  Next year if you are out this way, make a stop in Bethlehem via Current Church.  If you can, do the $10.00 express pass. 

Now, I will tell on myself and confess, I started the journey with a cynical view...I have to fight cynicism more often than not.  If I heard another person say Shalom to me, I was going to...well, I don't know what I was going to do.  I thought about saying Aloha because it is a double meaning word like Shalom.  Actually, I remembered a Pee Wee Herman show that used Shalom during an episode.  I could hear Shalom, Pee Wee and then Pee Wee answering back in his quirky voice, Shalom.  With all those years of being in Pageant, I was giving the critical eye to costumes, biblical garb.  OK, one Roman soldier had on jeans, not even under his skirt...just jeans.  The Lord pulled me up short with my attitude and believe me as we meandered in the dark, my attitude changed and I am so glad it did.  This event is a labor of love by people in a church reaching out to their community and there was popcorn at the end.  

We decided the night called for a DQ Candy Cane Blizzard and a drive around the Rancho area to look at Christmas lights.  

Truthfully, I was thankful for this little journey because I missed so much on the big journey several years ago when I went to the Holy Land.  It was there in Jerusalem I probably had the best Diet Coke of my life, thank you Peggy and the church of the Nativity had too many stairs to climb.  I just needed Kathleen to be there walking with me like she did on that trip.  I can walk a little faster now Kathleen.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Don't Take Me to Weary Land or Funky Town For That Matter

There are several authors whose work really speaks to my soul and most of the authors are not Christian writers per-se but some of them are Christians but not of the evangelical bent and some are so far away, doesn't anyone just stay in one place anymore....oops, so far away from 'Christian.'  They challenge me to think and ponder.  One author in particular is celebrating another best seller with book stops and tours that are making her weary, tired and cranky.  Her brother reprimanded her by reminding her, she is a best selling author and what she is doing, so many writers and authors would give their right arm to experience.  So he told her to shut up and get on without so much whining and complaining...and that comeuppance got her attention and she righted her path.  She wrote a short article for an online magazine about the experience and that little story of life spoke so deeply to me and where I find myself from time to time in the here and now.

The song that goes through my mind at least once a day is, 'Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a weary land, a weary land.  Oh Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in a time of storm.'   Yes, too often than not I feel like I am a resident of the weary land.  And, I shouldn't be with all the exciting things going on with our home and the plans we have for it and for the desire that God has placed on our hearts for some things there in the future that only He can do....yet, here, on the prairie, I find myself in the weary land.  Oh yes, I know the verse from Galatians, not to grow weary in doing good but nevertheless, the weary land is my residence if I let myself drift to that land.  There are people whose weary land is much more extreme and wearying and my heart and prayers go out for them.  But honestly, we all have our weary lands and the landscape looks different in everyone of them.  The route and map may look differently for each of us on the journey or our short trips to weary land.

The weary land doesn't necessarily mean we've gotten there through sadness or harsh realities, sometimes the weary land can be just that place and moment when all the good things going on overwhelm one because of the immensity and challenges of logistics and timing.  I would also like to confess that stupid, selfish things can ease my ride of self absorbed entitlement into weary land.   That's a landing that is never smooth and if I let myself be deceived into giving into those thoughts for any amount of time,the take-off trying to leave weary land is rough, full of turbulence.  Let's face it weary land is a place that is better to be from than in.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take a trip into weary land quite by accident.  I was cleaning out magazines and the book bound 2012 Monablog was in one of the stacks.  I remember in April pulling it out from the bookcase, reviewing what I had written concerning my father's "disappearance" to meeting with his lawyer and being served papers severing his relationship with us.  April is when we were hearing from APS and the mental health division of HPD with accusations that proved to be and we knew to be false, made by my father toward us.  Yesterday, I skimmed those pages and a post written in April 2012 got my attention where I wrote about a friend of my father who called us, concerned with the hatred consuming my father.  His call was more kind than mean toward us, because he counseled me NOT to see or contact my father while his rage and hatred and anger toward us was so elevated.  Uh, not a problem...  Now with the knowledge we learned with the box debacle of his extreme hatred he has had toward me all my life, well since the age of five, reading the blog post from 2012 had new meaning.  Back then I merely thought it was an 'at this time' hatred, but it was a warning even then of the extreme and venomous feelings he has harbored and acted on throughout the years.  And then for that brief moment....I took a step toward weary land.  Since the whole box thing in August and September, learning about this long time hate knowledge caused me to think and recollect memories and times.  At first I was angry with me for trying hard during the years to please and be kind to my father and granted there were some unpleasant times and rough words from me in between the the 'trying to be' times to him.  Knowing this knowledge,I regretted trying throughout the years but the answer came quietly to me, the trying to be kind had kept me from becoming his kind.  This also gave pause to really think through my mother's life and to maybe understand the strain she was under for so many years as she progressively lost her identity and any confidence she came into the marriage with.  I've done some reading and research of late and what she endured and lived is a text book case of living with a narcissist.  

I do have this hope; one way to leave the weary land is to practice gratitude.  You can be tired, but gratitude takes the heart to a whole nother level and thinking through things and being thankful for the good things and divine appointments energizes the spirit.  When timing and contacts don't seem to be happening with the house and the temptation to step across the border into weary land presents itself, that's when I review how we got to this point and being so grateful to see God's hand on each and everything.  Oh my friends, gratitude fills and overflows.  Last night my heart went out of rhythm big time and exhaustion tugged at every place of my being, I was thankful that my heart got back into sync this morning and struggling through the exhaustion of getting grits ready for brunch at Bible study and getting there somewhat on time, I was thankful because there was a day I would not have been able to make it.  When I got home, believe me I was ever so thankful for nothing on the schedule and went to bed and now that I am up, I am thankful that recovery will not be weeks and hopefully not days.

This has taken me several days to write and I don't know that I have expressed anything very well.  But, I know that sharing all the fun and good times, also means sharing the difficult times.  Weary land has been hanging around since September and it is a daily fight when it is in such close proximity.

The Lord's our Rock, in Him we hide, A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide, a shelter in the time of storm.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sitting Quietly As I See Things Here With New Eyes

What a beautiful morning.  Buddy and I watched the sun come up.  Well, I think she had her eyes closed most of the time but she purred her little heart out while sitting in my lap.  I awoke much earlier than need by and just decided what the hay...why don't I get up and thus the morning began.

Christmas time is peppermint time and I don't rightly know why.  Don't get me wrong, love peppermint candy, coffee, and hot chocky during the season but the rest of the year..meh.  This morning's coffee flavor is peppermint.  The cream is Bailey's Irish Cream Caramel and the two together is not a bad combo.

Last night our friend and Realtor Courtney, came by with comps of similar houses around us out here in Rancho De Five.  We also did a walk through our home and I did let her know that the excessive lambs and books will be removed.  Also, everything on our church pew will be going up to NC.   Roy and I kind of differ on the timing of everything but reason won out...compromise was struck and we have a more defined plan.  But the major elements still are moving some of our furniture to NC, finding a condo closer to downtown for Roy that is big enough for when I am home in the winter, and selling our little house on the prairie.  Our home will be a nitch sell since it is not conducive for a large family but our lot being right off the green space and with a usable cul de sac for guest parking are strong selling points.

We also received pictures via our friends Vivian and Bill from our painter Keith.  Oh my, the house is looking wonderful!  I love the gray colored walls in Roy's man cave.  I'm also glad we stuck with yellow walls everywhere else.  It is so bright and cheery.  Keith thinks he will be finishing up this week which means the hardwood in the family room and kitchen can be installed and new carpet upstairs.  We went with a practical nylon Berber which will be long lasting and trail resistant.  Granted, it will look like office carpet but hopefully the accessories will downplay that aspect.  The bed risers and bed skirts came last week, so bed wise I think all that is good to go.  We will have the mattresses delivered while we are there.

After talking with Courtney last night I have looked through our home with new eyes.  So, I don't think I had paid any attention to how messed up the shelves are in the laundry I can say were.  Also our little cubby/mud room area is a huge mess.  So that is what I am working on right now.  Really, until after the first of the year we really can't do anything but be in the ready position. I know that means a lot of things need to be cleared and stored away.  I love having all those signs in the laundry room but maybe a potential buyer won't feel that way.  Roy's study has a tendency to look like his office downtown, lots of stacked papers that he will need eventually but those stacks need to find a home for now.   I will say, I have found several things that we will need for our NC home and several things that we haven't used in a long time have found their way into the trash bag.  Really, if it hasn't been used in quite some time, it doesn't look likely for usage anytime soon.

So this day has been about starting projects, getting distracted and eventually finishing them.  Just like this blog post and if Buddy finds me sitting still for any length of time, she is in my lap not wanting me to move, but to just sit quietly.

Monday, December 8, 2014

We Survived the iPhone Change Over

After carrying an iPhone 4 around way past its prime, entering the world of iPhone 6 Plus wasn't the smooth journey one always hopes it will be.  It doesn't help that Roy went to the dark side of Android and is almost no help when it comes to trying to figure out the this and that of what seems totally counter-intuitive to my logical guess with that statement the truth is, operator error.  With all the improvements made every time a new phone is introduced to the world, it seems they could upgrade the experience of switching phones.  Wouldn't it be great if everything could just be switched over?  Without any fuss?  Without any frustration?  In hindsight my recommendation would be, don't get the new phone after a long day when one or both of you are so very, very tired.  Over the years Roy just asks me to stay home near a phone store and he takes care of the details.  Love him for that!  But after the eight phone calls within minutes of each other, impatience on my part sets in and I know he is experiencing it at the store.  Only difference, he can't act like a baby while I am afforded that opportunity to do so in the privacy of our home.  Now here is the kiss of death statement when the associate tells you, 'its so easy, everything will show up eventually and you'll have almost everything you had on the previous phone.'  So I'm thinking these things will just magically show up.  Ha!  Once we plugged in the phone to my iTunes account, it did become a little easier but then I am instructed to update the phone...uh, couldn't it have come totally updated?  When I do that a screen pops up on our computer telling me that there is a problem with the phone and with iTunes or something.  I have no clue but I did figure out how to begin adding my apps back to the phone.  I may or may not have pounded my fist on the desk and lamented loudly of losing my journal, nostalgic musings (app), magazine subscriptions and snap chat.  For the record, I didn't lose them.  Once the drama abated, Roy settled in with a bowl of ice cream and I updated apps until I couldn't update one more.

All of it was worth it last night as I finally have emojies to harass my s-i-l the way she has harassed me with their overuse in texting.  She and Erin were at the Nord Rack shopping...yes, teach a child in the way she should go....  Right before turning in for the night Erin texted me and asked if I was still awake...why yes.  Then, the phone rang, my first call on my new phone and Erin and I had a fun conversation in a not too fun circumstance for she and Nancy in the Chicky parking lot.

Chris needed to change days this week, so I was out and about early on Friday morning.  Breakfast at Black Walnut, Target run, Barnes and Noble stop, trip to the bank, prescription pick up, Academy killing some time stop and finally fill up the car stop until it was time to go to Emmanuel for a haircut and highlights.  ****  And this is where I stopped on Friday night.*****

It is now Monday morning and seeing the sun coming through the windows is a welcomed sight.  I do like an overcast day though.  Thankfully, this is an ease into the day type morning and and ease into the week type day.  We had a good weekend getting several projects taken care of and off the to do list.  We watched a lot of football in between and while doing our projects.  Roy fixed ribs on Saturday which were delicious and we heard Natalie Grant Sunday morning at church which was fabulous.  Peggy texted me Saturday night for us to make plans to watch the I Love Lucy Christmas special together and that came complete with my choice of soup or her chicken enchiladas.  You can't say no that kind of offer.  We had the chips and dips and Bill and Peggy came over last night for all of us to watch the show together.  What a great time!  The colorized version of the candy factory episode added a lot of detail I had never noticed in the black and white version.  All my I Love Lucy factoids and trivia came back to me as we watched like, the teleprompter was invented by one of the writers on the show.  Ricky was the one who thought to use three cameras to film the show and that is pretty much how sitcoms are shot today.

Since Friday night's phone debacle Monday morning proves to be I am better with the new iPhone now, only thing...getting used to the larger size and where it fits in my travel purse...thankfully it works and I won't have to carry my usual everyday purse which is a little heavy for travel.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

But I Don't Want to Be Cranky McStanky

This morning I spent a little over two hours at the Orthopedic office for my one shot injection into both knees.  They were running a little behind and the staff assured me that this was an exception rather than the rule since they added a PA and a room dedicated to injections.  Only thing, a child was in the injection room because there was no room in the inn, I mean other waiting rooms, that needed attention. Good thing I had brought a really good book but I think this might have been a little test because this morning while praying, I happened to mention to God once again to help me live life joyfully and not turn into the cranky, grumpy, self absorbed older type person.  I don't want to become that oldie that never smiles and grunts out my unhappiness.  I will say an embarrassing thing did happen while nose whistle decides to show up out of no where.  What???  The people around me are trying to figure out where that noise is coming from.  So I did what any other normal person would do, start looking around trying to find the source of that noise so that they don't suspect it is me.  I did have to hold my breath.  This morning, I got the opportunity to live out what I am asking God to do in my life.

Waiting rooms are interesting.  They are filled with people that are as different or as alike as a group can be.  There are those in the boots with crutches, the ones with walkers and wheelchairs, family member who had to bring the person to the appointment, people with wrist and arm casts and then the cranky ones, but my favorite person today in the waiting room was an older lady with a new attendant/helper/driver and this lady was pulling some fast ones that were just plain funny.  They sat near me and the lady began explaining to the new person she's hired what the schedule will look like for the next few weeks and once all the official 'business' was taken care of the older lady asks her new employee if she would like to hear some stories about her family?  What's the girl going to say?  Not no.  Older lady begins telling the story of how she met her husband, their dating, courtship and marriage but ends the story of how her husband had died so early on in their marriage when he was driving too fast, ran a stop sign, hit a car (where no one was hurt) but hubby's car veers off, slams into a curb and the hard impact, ejects her husband and the seat he is seat belted in and he lands in a do nut shop and dies upon impact.  The girl is at a loss to say anything...I mean what do you say?  The older lady adds that she sued the car maker and the do-nut shop and the very money she got from the settlement is paying the new employee's salary.  Silence....  The older lady looks at the new girl with a sad, almost looking like she is going to cry face and then says no, that didn't happen, hubby died of a heart attack!  Most likely from the stories this lady told because a long string of stories, that might be called embellishing her life kept on coming and at the end she would say, no that didn't really happen, this is something she has done before.  When her name was called by the nurse to come on back the older lady said to new girl, now didn't that make the waiting pass by quicker?  I have to say, it made my time pass because I listened in and when she wasn't talking, I read my book.

I never finished my main thought but this surprises no one.  This morning, I got the opportunity to live out what I am asking God to do in my life.  The past few weeks my prayer is let me finish out strong, let life still be fruitful, and all this found in Psalm 92. I did tell you that in paragraph one. This morning I again was reminded that this is my prayer and there in that time of waiting the opportunity to chose joy or frustration stood right there my decision to make.  Funny, how while finishing up my homework for Bible study tonight, the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 came alive.  The disciples have just come back from being sent out two by two, seeing miracles and teaching...when they come to Jesus asking Him to send the people home because they are hungry Jesus tells them, you feed them...see how much bread you have to work with.  Now I didn't have to feed anyone but see how much bread you have says you look to start with what you have but it is God who multiplies and makes the miracle.  This is another opportunity after seeing great things being done in Jesus Name to see that real life comes back into play...and we must depend upon Him for everyday life just as we do when we feel we are out there doing BIG things for the Lord.

So far so good on the injections.  They put three weeks of gel into your knees all at one time and even give you a pain shot.  Good thing I have a high pain tolerance, it didn't even hurt at all even after the pain stuff wore off.  Hopefully, it won't take long for it all to settle in and do its job.  Got some stairs to be climbed in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Unintended Theme of Trees

We encountered our first little scare with our home in NC.  Our painter called last night to let us know someone had gotten into the house and left a goody bag on our fancy smancy card table.  He felt like someone had come into the house on Sunday.  Roy called him this morning to check up on the bag since Keith hadn't opened the bag yesterday.  It was nothing to be concerned with since there wasn't anything in the bag and we probably left it on the table on Friday morning but we thought the worse.  We are a little concerned with this organizer person and she has a key to the front door, just in case....She knew we left on Saturday but my response to her text about her bill was pretty short and to the point.  If she had done this we felt it was a breech of trust.  We knew we needed to pray and we did.  As Roy was leaving this morning he said, don't let the enemy have any victory to which I responded with a verse from a Ce Ce Winnans song..."Out my house!"  Not to Roy, of course, but responding to not letting the enemy have any victory.  We will have all the locks changed out after all the work is completed.

I think there is a nest being built in our backyard tree.  Or maybe the nest is already built and I'm just now noticing the activity.  Two small birds, probably wrens, do the wait, look around and then dash one at a time into the center of the tree where the branches are the fullest.  When we moved into our prairie home the area was in a severe drought.  With such a small yard we thought, it will be so easy to move a sprinkler around, we don't need sprinklers installed.  Ha!  It is to laugh.  It was harder than we thought and soon had them installed but one thing I did do is water that tree in the backyard.  Our builder showed me the stress lines in the trunk of the tree and told us to water the tree every other day if we wanted it to live.  So many an evening I sat out on the back patio with the hose and watered that tree.  The drought here is over but that tree is something special, at least to me.  It brings such joy to see that tree thriving and opening its limbs for the household of a couple of wrens and many days there are doves sitting under that tree, relaxing.  The tree closest to our fence on the green space a few weeks ago sported Baylor leaves of green and gold.  Upon returning home, we found the tree to be mostly bare, only a few brown leaves clinging to the limbs.

As is often the case, it is now Wednesday.  Laundry, homework and other things like that inhibited me to return to finishing up the post.  A fun evening though as I met Dena at Tony's for a quick dinner and then a look see at her Christmas tree, that Peggy and I helped her pick out, and her Christmas decorations throughout her house.  Very festive, very Christmas.  Tony's is the best Mexican food for cool and cold days.  Their cheese enchiladas are the best!

I didn't want to but I got two days behind on the 40 day Praying Circles devo but yesterday let me get caught up.  Each day's devo has been prayer and thought provoking.  It is one of those books that is changing the way to do things that I have been in practice of doing for so long.  Kind of like the Journaling book changed the way I journaled, even though I have kept a journal or as we called it back in the day, a diary since the fourth grade.  Which fourth grade is changing the train of thought to this; I read this week that the elementary school I went to will be torn down in the coming year and then rebuilt.  It makes me want to go over there and walk through the halls, escorted and registered by the front office for a tour.  The Houston Chronicle had an article about the first instance of a gifted and talented class.  You will note I wasn't in the class but I think I was a couple of years older.  Still, I would not have been in the class.  The picture of the mosaic of Cynthia Ann Parker in the pictures is something I've always remembered about Parker, that and how tall the trees are around the kick ball area of the playground when I drove by several years ago.  We were always tearing off leaves and bending branches.  I didn't think those trees had a lick of hope.

There seems to be a tree theme in this post, so with that I will leaf you for now knot knowing what the next blog post oak will be about.

Monday, December 1, 2014

You Know, Just Like Normal

We arrived home yesterday morning around 10:15 and one of the people who works for Roy told of the horror stories of getting over the Mississippi bridge in Baton Rouge and the long ride on the causeway bridge over the Atchafalaya Swamp that happened as the busy return home travel day wore on.  She said they saw four accidents and cars running out of gas while sitting over the swamp.  It took them over 6 1/2 hours from that point to get back to Houston.  We left Hammond about 5:00 am and went over those two places really early.  We only stopped briefly in Sulfur for gas and found a doughnut shop selling boudain kolaches and we were on our way.  As we got closer to the glorious Texas border, the traffic picked up.  

Our trip home came via Atlanta and through Auburn and Montgomery.  With College Game Day in Tuscaloosa and with lanes closed throughout the area, we opted for the different route.  Once again the early drive time in Atlanta did not cause us lost time and we arrived in Hammond around 3:30 in the afternoon.  We checked in to the hotel, then went across the street to Books A Million and ate an early dinner at East of Italy.  Dena and I discovered East of Italy several years ago and the food is delicious.  They also have the friendliest staff.  I was in bed falling asleep at 6:30 and just barely knew that the Bears squeaked out a victory over Tech.  Roy said he went to bed at 7:00.  I have stayed in that hotel several times but this is the first time in a room on the east side of the hotel...which just happens to be very, very near a railroad track.  The first time I heard the whistle and rumbling sound of a train, I thought the track might be in our room and in my tired and dazed sleepiness thought of the I Love Lucy episode with the train and the moving bed.  Of course it was nothing like that, our bed didn't move and we didn't have Fred and Ethyl with us.  The second and third train barely woke me up. 

Getting home early and not cranky tired meant we got so much done.  Got the laundry started, grocery shopping done and went through the boxes that were delivered while we were gone...which I knew would be quite a few and most of them are things for our NC home.  We got through all the mail, shredding most of it and even got to watch a little bit of the Texan's win over the Titans.  This is the first trip ever that I didn't take a long nap on our return but we did go to bed earlier than usual.  

Before leaving on our trip I called the ortho to see if I could get some refills on my prescriptions before leaving, since I am overdue for a check up.  I was able to get a hold of the scheduling nurse and she called today with approval from our insurance for me to get the one set injection for my knees.  I'm even getting in this week and the best news, I have met my medical deduction so this isn't going to be painful to the wallet, only the knee or rather knees.  Dang, guess I better do a good job of shaving my legs and if I am going to go to so much work I might as well schedule a pedi this week.  

Today it has been regrouping and getting ready for the next few things we will need to take on our next journey to NC.  I also need to do a little work in the casita bedroom because overflow from Peggy's Christmas house guests will be here along with Kendra.  

It's a cold overcast day, the kind I like.  I got used to wearing winter clothes last week and it looks like this week will be a little bit of winter and a little bit of summer.  You know, just like normal.