Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Friends Came to Town

The mist from rain overhangs the mountains in a gray mystery. The fog doesn't encompass the usual close view of the barn, cows, trees and road. Yesterday morning the sun teased us a bit with a brief appearance, showing its rays and beams through the clouds, but it was just that, a tease, a glimmer.
We greeted the colors of the season through a filter of rain which made some lovely pictures. Nevertheless, we were not disheartened, we continued on our way with a slight adjustment here and there.

Peggy, Kathleen and Debbie arrived Thursday afternoon at GPS and they were a sight for sore eyes. I welcomed them with open arms and heart...and yes, an open back door to put away luggage. Our schedule open for discussion, time ready to be mapped out and the beautiful land of WNC to be seen and experienced. Our first stop was Sky Top Orchards. I think I was giddy with their arrival and they were still hopped up on travel because we bought way too much at Sky Top, but boy was it fun! They were able to explore the orchards for a bit and then we settled in for some apple related shopping, including one big ol' pumpkin. Since The Wrinkled Egg had also been such a hit when Vivian, Velda, Inez and I went, I felt it was the right thing to do to introduce my Houston friends to this treasure. Loved it and the store next door was open. It was closed when V, V and I went there. Girls, we need to make a return trip. All locally made jewelry, pens and other eclectic goodies. Onward to Moose Cafe where we met Robin, our server. Roy and I have had her before and he charmed her something good, cause she is a little rough around the edges. We had a great time visiting and laughing with her and when Peggy asked if she went to church, we got a comical answer that really isn't that funny when you realize she just threw out about three church words she knew in her explanation...she told us I love God and I worship the Bible. Maybe she just got the two words mixed but she went on to explain about her nephew she kept and he wasn't potty trained yet, three years old, but she was going to get there to church one day. Thankfully, Moose Cafe was a hit with the girls and we made our way back to our home in the mountains, in a valley, on a hill.

Friday was rainy Biltmore Day complete with a late lunch at the Stable Cafe. We went to Antler Hill Village where Peggy tried to persuade an off duty shuttle driver to take us all on a tour on the other side of the Estate...didn't matter that it was almost dark, but he wasn't even almost persuaded. He was a lot of fun. We visited the creamery and the shops and had a wonderful time.

Saturday, we drove out to The Farmer's Daughter, a hit, and then a quick walk through the Amish store. We then made our way to Marshall for the art fair on the island. Lots and lots of hippies but a few good finds. I know we did other stuff but I can't remember what we did or I have the days mixed up in my brain. I think we went to the Farmer's Market...and then drove around here to see some beautiful sights. We stopped at CVS to pick up a prescription for me and cold meds for Peggy and then drove across to the convenience market to pick up some chips for our dinner of Peach Salsa. On the way home Kathleen told me that a truck had been following us from the store. That happens a lot because the roads we were on are main connector roads, but when he turned off his lights to follow us for a while, we all got a little nervous. My plan was to drive to the fire station but we called Vivian and our super hero Bill and they told us to turn around and come to their house. Before we could turn around, the truck disappeared by turning off, but we went on to their house. We got the warmest welcome anyone who is frightened can receive, Bill outside with a huge spotlight and armed for the occasion. The silver lining was Debbie and Kathleen getting to meet Vivian. We had a wonderful time visiting and then we left to get home to eat our nutritious aforementioned dinner choice.  

Sunday, of course we went to SS and church. My friends loved my SS class and I think my SS class loved them right back. Our pastor is a huge fan of NASCAR and so is Debbie. Along with Inez they had some fun discussions about cars or racing or something. Church was good and then we came home changed clothes and went to Tommy's. It was wonderful and we got to meet the owner and Kathleen and Peggy charmed her with their recent visit to Greece. We stopped at Sanctuary of Stuff before going on to the Southern Art Guild Folk Art Center and our drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I will stop here and continue with part 2 tomorrow.

I think Buddy is happy to have me to herself. She has successfully ignored me since I arrived home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Now a Word From the Halt but Not The Lame

Good morning from your halt and lame person but so happy that I feel better than I did yesterday. My fragrance choice of the weekend were essential oils mixed with a hint of Icy Hot. Mmmm....divine fragrance that can't be beat. Thankfully, it is working and that will probably be the fragrance of Monday as well. The fragrance of 2015 with the oils and the fragrance of my athletic days all rolled into one.

It is an overcast morning, kind of rare here of late. It is cooler today but the look is a primer for the days ahead of fall and winter. Two of my favorite seasons. Fall just because you get to say autumnal more than usual and winter has its own beauty when the trees and vegetation are in dormancy. The view opens wider and more specifically when you are able to see through the trees to find details you have missed in spring in summer. In winter when we see color we focus on it in contrast to the gray surroundings. I love having a more intense vision of God's creation. It seems more personal and not as overwhelming as brilliant colors in varieties of green which of course is beautiful. Can you tell I am excited that this year I get to experience four distinct seasons! I am truly grateful for Roy's generosity and sacrifice to let me have this experience.

Last night I made the decision that pushing and placing a trash bin by the side of the road did not appeal at all to the halt and lame, So, trash bag city and two bags of recyclables were put into the car and I drove down to deposit said trash. The normally busy road was rather quiet and serene, so I didn't have rush and then hold onto the mailboxes as the cars and trucks rush by. The sky was brilliant with sun streaks beaming through the clouds, so it occurred to me that a drive along roads with a sunset view seemed to be in order. Oh my, it was a Psalm 8 kind of ride where you turn down the radio and take in the majesty and glory of the Lord.

It is now Tuesday evening and I have upgraded my condition to halt. I did get out today where as I stayed home all day yesterday taking care of little things that need to be done before friends come on Thursday. I have a couple of big things left to do but that can wait till tomorrow. I took some big boxes to the dump, picked up the mail and the mother lode of magazines that just arrived. Stopped in at WalMart and then had a late lunch at Tommy's. Since then I have returned home, fed the birds, watered the birds and kept an eye out for the black and white cat. I have also been working in the kitchen, not cooking, but rearranging things.

I am really tired because for two mornings in a row Buddy has been bright and chipper at 4:00 am. It takes me a while to go back to sleep and this morning I toyed with the idea of just getting up but hey I didn't want to set a precedent and Buddy start believing that this strategy of hers will work. She is not a big throw up cat like most but she did leave me a little gift this morning in the hallway.  That will wake one up wet gooey food. Oh Buddy is on the lookout for falling leaves now, She totally missed the bunny and then the squirrel drinking out of the bird bath.

There is so much more that I could blog about right now but work is calling me and I don't always respond to the call...but you know company is a coming.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It Was.......

I'm kind of having a Dickensian moment this morning, feeling that it is the best of times and the worst of times. Best of times because LSU beat Auburn soundly yesterday and Ole Miss beat Alabama in the wee hours of the morning. I didn't stay up to watch all the game but I did check the score around 4:00 am when Buddy woke me up and neither one of us could get comfortable to go back to sleep. The worst of times happened last night as I was carrying some stuff out of the bonus room and tripped over the recumbent bike and I dropped, rolled, covered myself into the gray chair. Cue Carol King singing I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet.  You would think the chair would have cushioned my fall and it did somewhat. My shoulders, knees and left hip are really sore this morning. My toes and feet hurt from the fall as well. It hurts to sit for very long at a time thus I have decided not to go to church this morning. I feel like a truck ran over me and also have that hungover feeling. Sparkling water and Diet Coke were my drinks of choice last night. This week I have found myself in a catch 22 situation by feeling so much better my brain overrides my body and thinks I can do stuff like I always did...then reality hits, the ground and the chair. I do think I will make my after church Target run a little earlier than planned today. The heated seat in the car will feel oh so very good.

Friday night I wrestled with a fancy smancy heat lamp for the front porch. There was nothing at all simple about the assembly. Also the underneath part of the lamp's bottom had cracked in shipment which by the end of assembly, the sand to add weight to the lamp was all over the front porch. I am so glad I put the lamp together out there. I have a call into the manufacturer to see if I can get a replacement for the bottom of the lamp. At this point I do not want to un-assemble and ship it back.  My luck with online ordering of lamps has been abysmal thus no more ordering lamps online.

For the third day in a row I changed my original plans for the day and for three days I have been happy with those changes. Yesterday, afternoon I decided to get out for a bit and take a drive. Many times these drives are mainly to talk with the Lord about things I am puzzled with or having a lack of faith over. No, yesterday was just to get out and appreciate the beginning of the turning of the leaves. There is a fiery red hue throughout the landscape.  I took the river road to Marshall and then spent some time on the island just taking in the beauty and mountain sounds. Then, since I wasn't too sure about a back way home, I drove back on the river road over to Bear Creek road and drove to Redmon Baptist Church, took a few pictures and came back home for the second attempt at making cheese enchiladas like Tony's or Los Tios. The enchiladas were better but my chili gravy wasn't as good as my first try. So taking all that in stride, the third time has to be the charm.

The past mornings right before waking I have had two vivid dreams. They are probably all vivid but I don't remember them. But these dreams were rather close to the truth and came from the deep recesses. It's weird that long ago fears and difficult situations that haven't had a conscience thought in so long can come right back to the forefront of the mind. Both mornings someone on FB has quoted the Lamentations verse about God's mercies being new every morning. There is all kinds of junk on FB but I love how God can use anything to His glory. Both mornings that verse nipped my temptation to give more thought to the things in the dreams than they deserved. One dream was a dental dream. Ugh! The other had to do with a difficult person who has long been out of my life and no it wasn't my father. Oh my goodness, just read the verse on Twitter this morning. Guess, I need to meditate and take in all the richness of that verse.

Last week in Sunday School we talked about how God put us over the land and vegetation...to be good stewards of the land and animals. I feel like I have been living that out this week in keeping peace in the backyard. A black and white cat has showed up regularly looking for a bird in the thrill of the hunt. At first I thought maybe he was a stray but after trying to give it some food and it wasn't interested I realized it is probably a neighborhood cat doing what cats like to do. He is friendly enough to me. Comes up and greets me each time I see it outside. Sadly, he just has one eye that works. But, not thinking I am like God but my feelings toward the cat is, any chipmunk or squirrel is fair game but you must not eat of the birds. The cardinals are back with some of their young and there is also a young cardinal couple that has joined the lunch bunch here in the backyard. I just looked out the window and saw the biggest blue jay I have ever seen. Those birds are mean and maybe it has been sent for sentry duty here at the Ander House.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Fun Day in the Mountains

Things are quiet this morning. Buddy was a little rowdy this morning but of course now I am fully awake and she is blissfully napping in the sunny window. I woke up with a sore throat which is my immune systems way of telling me to take it easy. So, that is what I plan to do this morning which means I will try to finish up a few projects around here before even thinking about a couple of errands I need to run.

I had such a fun day with Vivian, Velda and Inez in East Flat Rock yesterday. Another great day of BBQ, shopping and apple orcharding. Last August I went to East Flat Rock to see the Carl Sandburg home but when I saw the sign leading up to the house, snakes live here...I turned around. My gimpy knee was acting worse than usual, so I didn't want to take any chances. I remember the scenery being so vibrant and all that came back to me yesterday as we pulled onto the back roads. We all agreed that it is a must re-visit and I think it will be a great place to take friends who come and visit. Only the apple orchards are open in the fall thus we wouldn't be getting any apple cider donuts, but that's okay. The Wrinkled Egg was such a fun place too. Great little shop with all kinds of things for all kinds of interests. Lots of neat jewelry, clothes, art, and of course my personal fav journals. I did buy a cute Wrinkled Egg t-shirt because I need another t-shirt. You know to go with the sweatshirt I bought last week...that I really needed.

Last evening the black and white cat was back seeking whom it could devour. He was hiding in the bushes and I thought, since noise doesn't scare him off, I will go outside and check it out. He came running to me and rubbed around my legs. I petted him and then turned to go back into the garage and he ran ahead of me. I did at least get a hold of him before he could find a hiding place in there. He let me carry him but he wasn't too happy about it. He felt so thin. I told Roy last night this might be the addition we need, an outdoor cat to keep the chipmunks at bay. If I see him again I might bring out some food but I am not going to get emotionally attached, famous last words of declaration. I think he is the neighbor's cat but I'm not too sure if he is or not. What got my attention to his presence last night was the sound of this; is what is sounds like when a dove flies...into a window.  Didn't kill it but it was rather stunned.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Last Step is a Dozy or Dooozy

I think over the years the cartoons I watched and loved as a child, Bugs Bunny etc, have scripted many an awkward moment and yesterday was not an exception. I had gone to Lowe's to pick up a few things and wandered through the garden dept. They have lots of trees and shrubs to be planted in the fall if so desired. As I contemplated what we could put along the property line in the backyard I came across wheat straw. Just what we needed to put in the corner part of the yard where the trees make it difficult for grass to grow, so thus the wheat straw covers the red dirt and makes for a better look. It comes in bales, so I bought two. Well, my plan of cutting the twine that held it together and spreading it over the area from the deck didn't work as planned since most of the wheat straw fell in a huge clump right by the deck. I carried what I had left in my hands and started down the stairs off the deck, but since I couldn't really see the steps I misjudged. There really was still a step to go and before I knew it I was falling. Old volleyball instincts kicked in and I landed in the best position possible. First thing I thought of after checking that everything was in working condition, I remembered the old Daffy Duck line, "watch that last step, it's a dozy." I figured while I was down there on the ground to distribute the wheat straw a little better then realized I should take it easy. Thus, I still have a bale to go. I did go down to the road to pick up the garbage can. And with that chore done, I rested for a bit and tried to work on homework. I have gotten so used to Community Bible Study style in homework that I am having a little difficulty keeping focused on the questions since there is so much reading in between the questions. I may resort to my old ways of hearing the teaching time but not doing homework. My ADD kicked in big time but I will give it a go again today.

So with all the cool temps it just seemed like Taco Soup weather. I picked up all the ingredients because you know I do not keep a stocked pantry. While checking out the bagger guy asked if I was making chili. Nope, taco soup. Neither he nor the checker out lady had ever heard of taco soup. It turned out pretty good for the first taco soup of the season. Love the fragrance of it in the house when it is simmering and feeling the cool breeze through the windows...that's what it is all about on cool nights.

I finished reading The Nazi Officers Wife last week. It is kind of out of my reading genre of the south but in context with my viewing of the American Hero Channel. It is the true story of a Jewish woman's survival of the Holocaust. One thing she said has not left my mind, but she talked about the lack of kindness during those times and when a kindness was extended, it was amplified in the noticing and not ever taken for granted.  Years later she read of the leaders fears of compassion being extended toward the Jews and trying to take every opportunity or feeling away so that people would be complacent and apathetic to kindness but strong in blind unity that the government was taking care of them, thus they could excuse, in their minds, the spin and propaganda that the Jewish people were the source of the country's problem. In her experiences and as she survives, she remembers the kindness extended to her and tries to extend those kindnesses back to those who helped her. I don't know but kindness many times is in short supply these days, probably most days. It's not the "topic or theme" of the church right now...telling our stories seems to be the fad. I'm just thankful we got past the Starbucks theme of church thinking and actions. Hopefully, kindness will make a comeback and not only kindness extended to those in other cities but to those in our own congregations.

The day awaits and I am already behind. I woke up in the middle of the night and decided to scrap the original plans for the day which involved a trip into Asheville. The day may hold a return to the backyard with the remaining wheat straw or it might not. I do know the day holds doing some laundry.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Didn't Blog But I Did Write

I took a long weekend off from blogging but I didn't take the weekend off from writing. The weekend unfolded so beautifully with wonderful finds both of the natural and of the spiritual. The weekend began with and continues in the feeling of fall. As I write the temps are in the 40's this morning. It is also very foggy and that is something else I learned about this weekend. You count the August morning fogs and that is how many snows you'll get in winter. It seems like we had a lot of foggy mornings. Note to self, count the August fogs next year. Also the color of woolly worms can tell you what kind of winter it will be this season. I don't know if I have seen a woolly worm or not but I am told they are everywhere in the fall. I better Google woolly worm.

Friday morning was hair cutting appointment day. I like the direction Christine is taking my hair but I need to tell her I do not like my bangs being this short. We were in the midst of conversation and I did not pay attention. On my last visit I gave her a Flow magazine. It is a magazine for paper lovers and I do love me some paper and cards. When I was at the bookstore I picked up two copies really not knowing why, but just followed that lead. I was hesitant to give it to Christine because along with paper and cards there are articles and this one leaned kind of heavy toward new age stuff but I gave it to her anyway trusting it would be okay. One of the first things she said to me was how much she loved the magazine and how she was using it to encourage her children. She asked me on this visit if I meditated and I was able to share with her that I did but not in the eastern religion way, but I meditate on God's Word. That opened the conversation up to tell her the Good News and by the length of our conversation and the depth, we will talk again. She is searching and she wants something or really the Someone for not only she and husband but her children. Thinking back I am so thankful that I didn't fly off the handle because of all the mess ups on their part when I first started going to the salon. It is hip and trendy and this little old lady who still owns her own hips and kind of know what is trendy now has a field white unto harvest in front of her. And if the price for her to coming to know Jesus is too short of bangs, then I happily sacrifice them for the sake of the Gospel but I will be ever vigilant on the next visit.

There was a little bit of time before La Cantina opened for lunch so I walked down to the Southern Art Craft Guild and did a little window shopping. Next door though was my haven...a t-shirt and hoodie store with all things Asheville. I may or may not have bought a sweatshirt while there because Lord knows, I need another sweatshirt. Since I didn't resist temptation in there I knew better than to go to the ultimate paper store nearby. After my delicious lunch I headed over to The Screened Porch to walk about and check things out. Again I had that inclination to go and I am so thrilled with what came home with me. There are several booths there that are just fabulous and attract me because I love me a good rustic metal look along with old wooden crates and such. There in that corner booth that holds a treasure trove of delightful rustic objects stood the table I knew would fit perfectly in the kitchen as an island. Old re-purposed wood and a galvanized metal top that is taller than a normal table and more square than rectangle.  The cost was fabulous too, $125.00. A couple of old hymnals came home too. It was a great day at The Screened Porch.

Since it was a beautiful day, I drove through the Biltmore Estate. The gardens are bursting with color and the summer crowds have dissipated and it is too early for the fall crowds to invade. I stopped in at the garden center and got some wonderful gardening/tree advice. While at the garden center, I got to meet the potter whose work is sold there at the Estate. She is married to a vice president at Biltmore and they live on the estate. She took some of the seeds from last years sunflowers and used them in her pottery. I bought several pieces as gifts although one piece may have to stay local. Word was the Mercantile in Antler Hill Village had a better selection, so I headed that way. The drive home was so peaceful and the table wasn't too hard to maneuver by myself into the kitchen and it looks like it belongs here.

Saturday morning the Women's Ministry had Breakfast on the Porch. There was a good turn out even on a Beth Moore simulcast Saturday.  Lois has a huge front porch with gorgeous views. Her road is right behind the camel and bison farm that is so fun to drive by. She said that one morning her neighbor had a camel coming up her driveway. The food was delicious and we all had a great time sitting on the porch laughing and talking. There really is something redemptive about porch sitting whether it be alone or with others. When I got home I made the executive decision to drive over to Waynesville, stop at Barbers Orchard, go to Robin Blu and to try out Haywood Smokehouse which advertises Texas Brisket. They did not disappoint. I love pulled pork BBQ but sometimes you just need what you were raised on. I got to enjoy a second brisket lunch yesterday eating my leftovers after church.

For the second week in a row Sunday School quarterly blowing me away.

Last night after returning home from choir I just sat here overwhelmed, in the good way, by the kindness of goodness of God to me. I am blessed! It is good to have long time friends, notice I didn't say old, and it is good to have new friends that feel like long time friends. In just a short while I will get to introduce long time friends to new friends and vice versa. I am blessed with friends who text you out of the blue just to tell you that they miss you and then you get to have a great text message visit, thank you CourtneyS. I love God's timing last week with Peggy. The trifecta texting with Lisa P as she is in Cali for a WOF event and time with friends...and of course I had to text her I Love the Lord photo from the radio. We do but I love that song! Now just looking forward to the 21st day of September...cause do you remember?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thoughts on Thirty Eight

This past week we have been discussing and really laughing over our new normal and a whole nother way of thinking. It does keep the brain young. Since April we have learned so much about spring and when to plant, that what may look like weeds is really flowers, that if you have mail, the postman leaves the door to the mailbox open, so that you'll know when you drive by the box, BBQ is pork, and so many other things. We talked about celebrating our days that we celebrate and how that looks and how will that work? We decided instead of thinking on the old, routine ways, we would have to use some creativity and hopefully add the element of surprise. We aren't real sure on that one, but we know we need to celebrate forward not backward. Our conversations are more focused and really we have a new appreciation of one another and those things that attracted us to each other back in the long ago day. We make the most of our time.  Some days are easier than others. Some days the decisions we have to make are difficult but we know to be diligent and more importantly to walk in love is the new normal and with our new way of approaching life. I will say I don't feel as brain fogged as I have the past few years and having a higher energy level is so very welcomed. One thing that has not changed, his ability to completely exhaust me in Lowe's or Target...for such a logical man in 98% of life, he is totally illogical in those places and we make our way through the stores several times before finally going to the check out.

September 9th. Today is our 38th anniversary and being the loving, wonderful wife I don't mind that Roy is going to Spaghetti and Smack tonight for the fantasy football league he is in. Really, that is what love does and is. Now love called me early this morning to wish me a Happy Anniversary and woke me up. The only reason I heard the call is due to the fact I didn't silence my phone last night. Ah love, it is a wonderful thing. Now you might be asking what did you get one another for your anniversary? Well, you probably aren't asking but work with me people...to celebrate we had new tires put on Sequisha, most probably having a generator installed, buying a new truck and the thing that speaks love and what to give on one's thirty eighth anniversary, a new A/C Heat Pump system! Now if we had only been married ten years or less, I would not think these would be very romantic gifts but at the age of 61, I'm telling you these are the things that make you a cool wife or a smoking hot wife, and not in the minister referring way of hot wife...But these purchases say love all over the place to me. Roy is probably thinking more of the financial hit our budget will take but in the end like he always says to me, what blesses you is going to bless me. So for this anniversary, we celebrate apart but our hearts are knit with a tighter woven thread. I wish I could wax more poetic but seriously Roy is the more romantic hearted of us both. I think one of the best memories of just everyday life with him is when he fixed a salad and cut the tomatoes into the words I Love You.

I have written a bit of the emotional turmoil I have felt in the last month or so and I think I am beginning to understand a bit of what is behind it. It takes a lot for me to feel guilty because my guilt response was broken years ago but I think I feel a tad or maybe more than a tad guilty that I am able to pursue my purpose and calling; to live in one of the most beautiful places ever and Roy makes that all possible for me. That's a huge thing to think on and it is a huge sacrifice for him to make...for me.

So as is a usual practice, you are getting a combination of days post. We had a lovely day and talked a little more than usual but we laughed the usual amount no matter how many calls we have during the day and evening. He liked the card I gave him. On the front a photo of a grouping of rocks that are heart shaped. Many, many years ago when we could not get along and we worked together and traveled together. We were doing an audit in Connecticut on a well that was just a few miles from our home. We were having a tough time and we had driven out to one of the small beaches scattered throughout the area. As we were walking and discussing our future together we came across a heart shaped rock. I picked it up and we decided then and there that we could not divorce unless we both came back to the same beach and return that rock. Thankfully, we never have had to return it because there was a turning point right. We released our unrealistic expectations of one another and we let go of the excess baggage we had both brought into the marriage. It was not an instantaneous result but a long process with different eyes and heart. Now on this side of things...I am glad we didn't act hastily or haphazardly.

So, I wonder what the thirty ninth anniversary gift is? Probably a new roof. I am hoping we choose a metal one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Play Time

It is a pleasant Labor Day afternoon. I decided to write on the wild side which only means I have brought out my iPad to the front porch. I'm sitting at the little red and white table, enjoying the breeze and being musically entertained by the slight movement of wind chimes...wind chimes with a very nice alto resonance to them. The only noise that can overpower the music of the wind are the cars going by on the road. Last year Roy and I found out that this part of the world takes Labor Day seriously and most all the small and interesting shops are closed. I considered a trip over to Barbers Orchard but we have plenty of apples and I would only be going for the apple cider donuts, which although are delicious, I do not need. I kept putting off going knowing if I caved mostly likely they would be sold out by the afternoon. So after a trip to pick up meds and go through Zips Car wash and a fine Labor Day lunch of hot dogs and chips, I'm ready to settle in for the rest of the day. I need to run the vacuum cleaner and do a few other things, but all that can wait. I did remember to leave a message at the A/C place for the call back tomorrow to set up an appointment. It looks like by next week the evening temps will be in the high 50's but this week is not cooperating with fall and trying to stay a little warmer than usual.

This week I have been thinking about a happening from very long ago and it must be due to the fact that we celebrate our thirty eighth wedding anniversary this week. When we were first married I still played a lot of softball and I think I was playing for two teams. Roy was out of town quite a bit when we first married traveling and auditing all over this land. He too played on a softball team, a church team. Well, he was on the team and he enjoyed it because he was on the field or dugout with his friends. Like he had done so many times for me, I sat in the bleachers cheering our church team to victory but I was especially cheering on Roy. Being athletic is not Roy's strong suite but determined, focused and tenacious are his strengths. He went to bat time after time, striking out or hitting to short stop. Then one night on the ball fields at Second Baptist the mighty Roy came to bat...it was his night because Roy hit a double only thing, he didn't run to second to make it a double. He was so used to hitting and legging out to at least try and beat the throw to first base, he just kept running straight after touching first, never looking for the ball or listening to the first base coach. His teammates were yelling at him and from those bleachers I was doing the same...go to second...go to second. He never heard any of us, he was so focused trying to get to first base. We all cheered for him but afterwards the softball player came out of me, not encouraging wife. Good thing I didn't have a pen and paper cause I would have probably diagrammed out what he should have done but knowing me I probably told him at least five or six times what he needs to do when he gets another hit. He didn't need instruction, no he needed to hear from me good job, period, not with a codicil attached to the end of the good job.  It was just a softball game. There was nothing other than fun. No one was trying out and it was not a life or death matter. The game was purely recreation, oh we always want to win in our recreation, but bottom line it was just play. Play is my One Word for the year and don't think I have forgotten about it after writing so many posts about it during the first part of this year. Now several articles by various publications are emphasizing our need for play both as children and as grown up children. It adds so much to life and it seems counter intuitive. This weekend I read a great article about the playfulness in God's creation. Since I don't tend to the rule maker side of life, being playful is a six sense but I know rule makers and those who need to control through order and regimen have a difficult time with the whole play concept. Roy used to lean heavily to that side but as the years have gone by and with my stellar influence, he leans less and less toward regimen and allotment of time for fun things because well, there is serious stuff to be done. No, he is much better at being at ease and not having life lived according to a certain time. I wouldn't be giving full due to how Roy used his non-athletic look to win lots and lots of racquetball tournaments. He did what he does best, he read about the game, of how to play and how to win and he translated his book learning to court presence. He would go into those tournaments looking as nerdy as possible and all the macho guys who saw him felt like, oh yea, this victory is in the bag. Then Roy proceeded to beat them by not trying to ramp up to their power. No, he played softball racquetball with lots of lobs and well placed shots.

We all need that sense of play, we just need to find the game or games where we have the most fun and well....just play. It does a body and a brain good.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Feeling Right at Home

The bunny rabbit is keeping Buddy on watch this morning and being on point for a bit of time has now worn Buddy out and she looks like she will be falling asleep soon. She and I did not have a good night as she was so restless and had trouble settling. In Katy, when she came to sleep on my arm, she fell asleep but here she stays awake and meows every so often and wakes me up and finally after about what seems like an hour, she falls asleep. Some evenings she finally goes to the end of the bed and sleeps on her blanket and those are the nights I sleep the best.

So with the restless night, my early morning plans were scuttled by me oversleeping. It is probably for the best because this week will be a busier than usual week and there won't be many mornings of being able to ease into the day. With all matters of appointments, the beginning of Bible study and a Saturday morning Brunch on the Porch at a friends home sounds like good things ahead. I will probably have to add an A/C appointment because the upstairs unit is not performing well...it is not even hot here, by Houston standards, and it has trouble keeping up with cooling when the temps have been in the low 80's. If there was more of a breeze and less humidity, I would just open the windows...which I tried but alas didn't do one bit of good.

Yesterday was our first Sunday in the new quarterly. We are studying Genesis with the scarlet thread of redemption in Jesus running through it. Saturday morning after a quiet time, I read the week's lesson and I have rarely even in my whole entire life ever said this, but something that was written in the quarterly about creation spoke to me...from the quarterly no less. Creation came and became out of chaos and when God created this world out of chaos, He also had plans to fill this world not just create and move on. I am making a very generalized statement of what was written but this so spoke to me. In the chaos of doing new life in a new situation and finding our ways through what works and what doesn't work, there is beauty in what God is doing and He is filling our lives with circumstances and joys that we never anticipated. In the midst of my emotional chaos that finds me every so often, I can trust that God is going to use this emotional chaos and make it into something beautiful. Cue Gaithers song...something beautiful, something good...all my confusion He understood. Which segways beautifully into the song the choir sang yesterday. It is called Greater. Fast paced, wordy but fun to sing and filled with truth. I find myself singing it to myself a lot since we began learning it. So something beautiful in chaos and the reminder that greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world leaves me filled.

After church I drove over to the Fresh Market to pick up a few things then returned home to make Tex Mex enchiladas. I thought the hardest part would be making the chili gravy but it turned out well. I used way too many onions and next time I will double the chili gravy recipe. It helped with the cravings I have had for Tony's or Molina's enchiladas. This morning the downstairs still has a fragrance about it which is better than me reeking of onions.

I saw something Saturday afternoon that made me think for a moment I was in Texas and it was February. A trail ride complete with wagons and riders came down our road and turned off onto another road. I kind of was looking for Jennifer S. Anyway, I asked about the riders in SS and one of my friends, Karon, said that she used to ride in them and they were such fun. They were camping nearby and I forgot I wanted to go by and take a few pics. Way to make this Texas girl feel right at home in NC.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fog, Power and Truth

I awakened to a very foggy morning, some of the thickest I have seen this year. I don't like driving in fog but it sure makes for pretty viewing in the mornings.

Being distracted with putting up groceries the changing skies didn't even catch my attention until I heard the distant rolling thunder and then the notification on the weather app signaling the approach of rain. When I finally looked at the weather app there was the banner of a special weather statement scrolling across the top of the phone. With a greater frequency the notifications of lightning came with a greater intensity, one notification said lighting detected 0 miles from your location. Whoa!  We received a nice little rain shower and this is the first storm while being at home. It skirted our area and we only got a fraction of the storm. There was one lighting strike that was rather close and I think it blew a transformer nearby because I heard that familiar popping sound. We experienced a couple of electrical surges which by the end of the evening I referred to it as a surgey thing, and then just Sergio Mendez and Brazil 66. It was some good porch rocking after the storms. The temps dropped and that September fragrance in the mountains filled the air. Off in the distance the sound of mountain music, chainsaws, wafted across the porch. After coming in the house the sound of a heavy equipment truck sounded nearby. Sure enough, the fake log cabin house had a huge truck and cherry picker with linemen working and tree men cutting down fallen limbs and trees. We retained power, thanks be to God, and everyone west of them lost power.

How did I know that twenty three homes lost power, because I am now on the Duke Energy outage text alert. I discovered this on Thursday night when the power went out around 2:00 in the morning. The sound of several surges woke me up and I scrambled to get my reading and flashlight ready for use. It wasn't too much longer and the darkness fell. So to trusty Google I went and found the outage map and low and behold a way to be notified of what was going on and the estimated time that service would be restored. The power was restored after about an hour.

Last night I streamed the Houston news on channel 11 and 13. This is the first time I have watched a news cast from Houston since arriving in the mountains. After watching part of the funeral service for Deputy Darren Goforth who was killed execution style while he was pumping gas and just because he was a law enforcement officer, I knew I wanted to see a recap of this difficult and hard morning for so many. There are no words as I watched and then read about the day when 11,000 people showed up to honor a man whose life was cut short too soon and in such a stupid way. The poignant moment and there were many but when his best friend stood on the stage and talked about his friend, who had worked hard all his life, many times holding down three jobs and the sense of humor they shared grabbed my heart strings, which my tears must be attached to those strings. There were many good words and thoughts expressed by all those who participated in the service but it was the words of a friend that comforted the widow's heart and expressed who her husband was. What a gift that man gave to her. It was just this week as I filled up my car, a police officer was at the pump behind me. My plan was to finish up and then walk over to this officer and offer to pay for his gasoline or treat him to an Icee or anything of his choice in the Shell market. I turned back to approach him and he was gone. I wish I had noticed him earlier in the whole filling up the car process. After watching the news, as I turned off the light the thought came, we call the mountains home but today I was especially glad to be able to say I am from Houston, Texas. And yes, if you know me...I did think of that song by Archie Bell; "we're from Houston Texas and we can dance and sing as good as we want." Which is also a truth...

Friday, September 4, 2015

It Is 1914 And You Are A Possum Hunter

You wouldn't think we have been here long enough to have a clean out the closet day, but some closets here just got crammed with stuff to get it out of the way. So today, I have tacked the big closet under the stairs and the disastrous and totally unorganized pantry. The pantry is better organized, sort of, but at least we can see what we are looking for...well, we can see things a little better. I am not totally there. But really, who has the attention span to get everything accomplished? Not this child. Roy put together a shelf for the big closet so the closet is getting toward the goal. Now a guest room closet and my closet in the bedroom needs to have a little tweaking done to them. There is a corner in the garage where I am putting things for next year when the church has its yard sale to raise money for missions. Thankfully, it is not a huge amount...yet but I'm sure there will be a load when it comes time.

Today, I also got a library shelf hung in the living room. And with the recent clearing of the land, I got birdseed and water out this morning. Just when I was about to give up that the birds would return, here came the cardinals and Carolina wrens. A few doves too but they might just be hiding out in case it is hunting season for them in these here parts.

For those following along with the foray into finding out about my grandfather and his brothers being part of a gang in Muhlenberg County, I don't have any concrete facts but I think I might have come to a conclusion of what transpired and their leaving Kentucky for the grass is greener in Indiana and Illinois or what we now might call freedom from having a prison record. Reading about other last named people from the past in other eras beside my grandfather's, a thread runs throughout it all...anger issues, hot tempered, seething anger that may not be in an outburst but in revenge and all other various temper and anger areas. Maybe this is why my father's side of the family doesn't end life well and happy. That anger and jealousy and lack of regard can take a whole lot of life out of you, if you let it. I have no idea if any of these people I have read about are related to us but high emotions, hurt feelings, and the ever present trait of conspiracy theories makes me think we are. So, I read about the Possum Hunters, the 1914 gang we heard about just a few years ago from my father. The Night Riders might have been a precursor to the PH. The Night Riders whole purpose was to control tobacco prices and they soon died out cause they accomplished their mission. Then the Possum Hunters goal was to make  the communities better they lived in. But as the saying goes boys will be boys, some innocent people got shot at and whipped...oh maybe a few barns were burnt down, but they did start out as regulators of the community. One of the stories that I had heard from my dad concerned a man who didn't treat his family right and there is a story of just such a man in the book Murders of Muhlenberg County.

"Those that didn't support their families were targeted by the men who took it upon themselves to dispense the justice they thought appropriate for the offence. Some were told to "get busy or leave the county." Others were shot at and run from their homes."

The group started small but grew to over several hundred and they were feared by most of the county. Now, this is where the story goes another direction and I don't know which side my grandfather and his brothers were on. The leader of the gang was killed, hung in a tree and was ruled death by hanging although many said he was killed elsewhere and then hung in a tree. No one has known who really was behind his murder...was it his own gang? Some thought it was the well known men in the county that had some authority and power...some said it was the unions or the coal mines that killed him. The county had a large meeting of everyone who wanted to gather and informed the community they were going to do away with this gang and bring anyone to justice who was in it. The speeches were so moving it is reported that many of the men who had been in the gang, changed sides and left the gang. Many years later a letter was written to a newspaper person giving the details since the last person who had had something to do with this mans death had died in the 1960's. My grandfather and his brothers all died in the 1980's and 1990's. The informer never told anyone the names of the men. Here comes the story I heard from my dad,that it was a man who was mistreating his family who was hooked up to the electricity and was killed. The story in the book is where the leader of Possum Hunters was hooked up to a generator and given a little shock. He wouldn't give names of those in his gang, so they thought they would just shock him a little again, only they had no idea that the volts had been accumulating and the next shock killed him. They got scared and decided to hang him from a tree and make an example of him to all the members in the Possum Hunter gang...word is the gang pretty much died, no pun intended, off without their leader and with the community leaders willing to arrest and prosecute.

It seems to me that our family was in the gang and they might have switched sides. If they were there but they weren't the ones who actually did the shocking the chances are good they might have been at the scene. Or maybe they did electrocute a guy, who was mean to his family and it is a separate story from the one in the book. So, maybe I should do a little more research.

I thought it so funny that a story about another Doss whose first name was Moody. Oh my, how appropriate is that! Those mood swings in the Doss family are where stories become legends...of anger and fear, of retaliation, of words that hurt to the bone. Emotional and physical abuse and yes sadly, sexual abuse. Really, I don't know of any family that doesn't have its secrets. Sadly, we were led to believe that our lineage was a pristine, God fearing people. Maybe that was the story that needed to be told to give hope to the next generations, who knows? I am thankful that somewhere along the line. someone in the family turned to Jesus and thus we too were introduced to Him.

Over the past eight years, since having a virus attack my heart and thus beginning this journey that thankfully I am still on, I have said I would have never chosen this direction. To tell you the truth, heart issues have had the biggest effect for changing my approach to anger and temper for the good. I still internalize things too much, but again, I hope to end life well...and not go out to eternity like so many before me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Little Soap Boxy Post

This is one of my favorite pictures that Roy has taken over the years on the Biltmore estate. I love the look of the gate and just by entering in, you get a clearer view of the path ahead and a long distance view of the mountains. Right there in the middle of the gate is the sign asking ever so kindly to keep the gate closed because this trail enters into the protected gardens of the estate from deer who would love nothing more than to graze on the beautiful flowers in the garden. Keeping the gate shut ensures gazing only...no grazing.

I have loved the extended time I have here to gaze and graze into and at God's kindness. After years of trying to determine purpose, pray the prayer of Jabez, have boundaries, dream big, go all out, find joy, experience peace, know more, be in moments, make a difference, guard my heart, find meaning, fight comparison, and now the ever ubiquitous...tell your story, I am realizing these passing Christian "product" fads are more to fill in the empty places of life and at the same time decorate your home with banners and plaques. Sermon and lesson points need to be reduced to tweetable length for re-tweeting or for Instagram. Really, we should all have some kind of goals or find rest for our hearts in meaningful lives but maybe not all of us are meant for the BIG stages of life and maybe when we find that out, we are more content if we will lay it down. I read blogs, Tweets and FB and there are a lot of people out there trying to be discovered and hoping they can be the next big thing.  Sure, there are people who got their start that way but you have to be early to the process. Maybe if you are wanting the fame and lukewarm fortune of Christendom, maybe you should find a new platform so that you then can advise thousands of people to do the one thing that worked for you.

Being in a smaller community and going to a smaller church has been just the fit, the right fit for me. This whole area has been the right fit and thus enabling me to find meaning in ministry and serving. I am at such a beginning level as I have not officially joined in a service project and I will but for now there is such great meaningful life and service in doing what God has gifted me with to serve Him and His church. Really, we need both big and small churches to do the work in the communities they serve. All styles work to reach others for Christ but bringing it down to the basics, we need to feel we are a part of the story and for me, my story wasn't going to go any farther while attending a huge church. I was talking to a Houston friend the other night and mentioned how refreshing it is not to hear the ubiquitous desire of most women there influenced by the books and ministries of Priscilla, Jen, Beth, Christine and Lisa; to have a speaking ministry. I would offer that most of these wonderful women who minister to our lives started out serving in a smaller arena of the church. They were faithful in ministry and God opened up the doors.  They didn't start having a platform. We tend to forget this on many levels whether they be musicians or teachers or preachers.

We have been seeing videos in church about the persecuted church. The films are raw and difficult to watch but yet we are more mindful to pray as a church and as individuals for Christians around the world. The story last week was about a Chinese Christian being held for six years because she would not sign papers inditing her friends who are also Christians. It was hard watching her story and the ending words have stuck with me this week, she was kept a prisoner for six year making Christmas lights for America. You know the kinds we have bought throughout the years...for like $3.00 and we think we are getting such a bargain but it has come at a great sacrifice. I did some research and most Christmas items made over there are being made by enslaved Christians. Yes, this has so made me vigilant to pray for them and I cannot buy those lights anymore. So being a better consumer than Christian, I Googled lights made in America. They are few and far between but there are some. Of course in the big picture where my lights come from doesn't make a huge difference but the huge difference is now especially as the season gears up I will have many opportunities and reminders to pray for our brothers and sisters.

This post is a little soap boxy this morning. No worries, I will return to the minutia of daily life living in the mountains, in a valley, on a hill. In God's kindness He has let me come here and be still and hear His voice to equip, oh that sounds too church le feme, to ready me to live out Psalm 92 and still be fruitful in old age.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Slow Bell Boy

The dogs are barking next door. The sound of logging and dump trucks might just be the trigger for making the dogs agitated. To me it is just the sound of morning here in the valley on a hill. The sound of Buddy's nails tapping upon the wooden floor alerts me that she is up and moving, well at least for a while. It is a quiet morning and a beautiful day.

I went to sleep very early last night because it had been a full day. With the a/c going out on Monday night, sleep was restless and not very deep. Roy, having his injury from earlier in the day, was hurting so I did all the things he would have normally done to make the house a little cooler. There wasn't any wind and the humidity high, so no reason to open the windows and lose what cool we had but turning down the a/c downstairs did help circulate air. Tuesday morning we had an appointment with a generator guy from Hendersonville. It looks good to install a propane generator that pretty much is like the one we have in Katy, only it is natural gas run there. It also is comforting to know we will also keep cool during the spring and summer storms here. The electricity went out about four times in a two week period this summer several hours at a time. Next Wednesday the Blossman guy comes out to give us an estimate on the propane tank and running the line. Now we will have a propane tank next to the driveway...incentive for backing onto the driveway straight for those who visit. We went this direction because the propane fireplace just wasn't going to work but I did find a solution for that as well. For some it is about the heat but it is also about the ambiance. I found the compromise of both those things, a Duralog electric log insert for the fireplace which can also heat about 400 square feet. It won't exactly look like fire but when we want to go to bed, we just turn the thing off and not have to concern ourselves with ashes and waiting for the fire to go out. That's a winning compromise in my book!

We can also recommend the Bojangles Cajun chicken sandwich...I just added that recommendation for free. Bojangles also has good fries and biscuits.

The A/C guy got here about 2;30 and fortunately it was just a unit low on refrigerant. My friend Gwen recommended this company and we really liked them. Think we are going to sign up for the maintenance plan too to help get the most life we can get from these 2005 units. We have knocked a whole lot off the to do list.

I have enjoyed all the pictures on FB of friends getting their Blue Bell on. Three ice cream flavors hit the stores in the Houston area on Monday. They carry Blue Bell up here but no one seems to be pining away for it. There are so many local dairies here that sell ice cream, I have not missed Blue Bell, but I will tell you what I am missing, cheese enchiladas from Tony's or Molina's and Los Tios. This is how desperate I am,  does anyone have a recipe for cheese enchiladas with chili gravy?

Well, I'm off to meet friends at their campsite. Just for lunch...because even here my belief and saying are still true; my idea of roughing it is a slow bell boy.