Thursday, January 29, 2015

What I Am Doing This Week

Yesterday was a hard working day.  I've vacillated on taking this or not taking that.  Really, furniture wise the decisions are pretty much set except for a few things.  One day a table is going and by yesterday, it isn't.  What I thought would be some of the most tedious packing has turned out to be quite fun, if packing can ever really be fun.  Roy has done the same thing with tools and stuff in the garage.  We have a date picked for the moving van to be here and we are waiting on confirmation from the moving company.

Guess with all the packing and sorting I am thinking back to the long ago when my father was transferred to Houston from Illinois.  This was a whole nother world for us.  When we first arrived we lived in West U.  Back then it was not the place to be, the suburbs were calling out to young families.  The house we lived in stood for many years and only recently became a tear down.  It had window units for cooling, one downstairs and one in the master bedroom.  In my childhood recollection, that room was huge because it not only held my parents bed, but one of my twin beds and my brother's crib, along with a desk for my father's paperwork.  I don't remember spending that much time in my bedroom but I do remember it was a long room with wooden floors and a huge fan in the window.  This was also our first encounter with roaches.  The house had a huge screened in porch in the backyard.  We dreaded turning on the light out there at night because it seemed thousands of roaches scattered into the dark.  Of course it probably wasn't thousands but....  My mother and I also discovered lizards.  In my child's mind I remember running from something green with huge black spots on its back.  Both my mother and I scurried into the house and she frantically tried to get a hold of my father.  She worked up enough courage to go next door and ask the neighbor about these "dinosaurs" in our backyard.  The neighbor kindly told my mom those were camillians and they were our friends, they ate bugs.  Funny, I don't remember ever spending much time after that in the backyard nor do I remember spending time anywhere else but the huge bedroom and the downstairs...but not the screened in porch.  Thankfully, my parents heeded the call of the suburbs and even though there are roaches and lizards in the burbs, they weren't entrenched like they are in an old house that has belonged to their reptile and bug families for eons.

It is now Thursday.  Chris has been here so our home looks wonderful!  I left before she arrived heading out to Black Walnut for breakfast and then onto Target where I just happened to have a gift card and had no clue of the amount.  $50.00, pretty excited about that.  Peggy called and needed a ride to Bible study, so we rode together and we talked about a million miles an hour but we are the most excited about our trip.  We may see snow but probably not snow on snow.  We didn't stay for big group time because she had an appointment and hopefully a car and I had a few errands to run.

Belinda M came over Monday night with some of her miracle working essential oil for aches and pains.  We had a great time talking, like to 11:00 pm when I couldn't stay awake much longer.  She has me hooked on this stuff.  Today, at Whole Foods I looked on the aisle with all that kind of stuff and found a mixture already made up, just need the oil and a container.  So, I just made an once of the stuff, it is a different formula than what she makes, and put it in a spray bottle to use on my knees.  So far, so good.  My knees and feet will not know what hit them while climbing stairs and working at the house on our trip.  I thought with this oil stuff you could just buy mixtures from a person but I see now that they want you to immerse yourself in the whole thing and buy the kit.  I know there must be a better term than kit, but it will have to do.  Don't have the attention span for classes and stuff, so I will make my way through this process on my own and of course with Belinda.  Wonder if she delivers to NC?

While at Whole Foods I got a complete and delightful surprise of seeing Emily S having lunch with her parents and her youngest kiddo.  Emily and I had so much fun on Committee on Committees.  Yes, it is as fun as it sounds.  Well, you have to make the fun.  My whole presence was to take copious notes of the meeting.  Let's just say that wasn't my best thing.  It was wonderful to catch up with her.

Last night I did something I usually don't do.  No, I didn't cook but I watched a movie.  It is hard for me to sit through movies at home and I rarely go to movie theaters.  I watched Saving Mr. Banks.  Oh my, what a great movie!   The whole time I kept thinking Allison S from church was playing Mrs. Travers.    If Allison had short hair that is...  Anyway, maybe now I will look at Mary Poppins differently.  Not my favorite movie and I don't think I read the book as a child.  Maybe some light childhood reading this summer is in order.

We have our official packing and moving dates now.  It is getting closer and closer and I am looking forward to the new adventure.  Roy has made his flight reservation to return back here after we spend a week getting things moved in and settled.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oh This is the Way to Start the Day

Good Morning to you!  We're all in our places with sunshiny faces.  Oh this is the way to start the day.  This morning began with a feisty cat who clearly was angry over the fact I didn't sleep on my right side all night for her.  She's a creature of habit and only my right arm will do for her slumber.  She likes to lie on my arm, get her paws warmed up and then stretch out and use my hand as a pillow.  This is all fine and good but sometime in the night when I no longer can feel my arm and my hand feels cold, I have to turn over.  Most nights she is fine with this but there are those nights, like last just isn't what she has in mind.  When I got up this morning she came over to me like most mornings for a little head rub on my feet to mark me as hers and then she took a chunk out of my ankle.  Not one of those love nips either.  To deter her attack that would be all the way to the kitchen I quickly got a spray bottle of perfume and sprayed it into the air.  She doesn't like spray or aerosol, so she quickly went on her own way.  By the time I got into the kitchen, she was over it but it was more likely to play nice in order to get a morning treat.

We enjoyed a laid back weekend.  Well, relaxed and laid back in not having anywhere specific to be. It was a working weekend preparing for the move in March.  I made a huge dent into getting the casita bedroom packed up.  Roy made a KCM run with four bags of clothes and household items and he is in the process of going through his study and getting everything tidied up.  We also came to the official conclusion not to put our house here on the market.  It doesn't make sense for many reasons to do that right now.  I was feeling unbelievable pressure to prepare things to move and at the same time preparing the house for the sales market.  I reminded Roy of everything out here in Rancho De Five that he loves and would miss if he moved into Houston to be closer to the office.

One of my favorite authors is Gail Godwin.  I discovered her books in the 80's and I have always looked forward to the release of her new titles.  She wrote a small non-fiction book, Publishing.  It is not a how to or seven steps to be a published author, no it is a memoir of times and people.  A side note, many of her novels take place in Asheville, so she is one of authors whose work influenced a decision to get a second home in that part of the country.  I finished Publishing yesterday and of course today I am sad because there is not any more of the book to read.  So now, I will re-read and see what I missed on my first journey through.  Gail Godwin seems to be very likable but has a full on tilt of artistic temperament.   Now in her mid 70's, she confesses in her book that she's a bit embarrassed by some of her antics now.  Yesterday, while finishing the book, I came across a quote that explains a little bit more to me why in the world would I pick my One Word to be, play?  "The first twenty years you learn.  The second twenty years you practice.  The third twenty years you perform.  And the fourth twenty years you play."  Casals

Not quite sure what it says about us, but we like a lot of the lamps and tables from PB Kids and PB Teens.  We ordered a lamp for the twin bed bedroom that is so cute because I really wasn't looking for the traditional nightstand lamp for that bedroom.  The curtains from PB Teen are the perfect colors and styling for two of the bedrooms, but going to wait until later to order because I want to remeasure the windows to make sure of the length.  The seller of the house had them hung with a couple of inches between the hem and floor.  Think I would like them to go longer and actually touch the floor.

Speaking of touching the floor, my feet need to get moving.  More packing taking place today in the casita bedroom.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I Works Hard For No Money

Once again it is a North Carolina morning complete with fog but alas no mountains.  Of course there is the pretend mountain that I can see if I squint my eyes just right, look through the trees and focus on the roof of a distant neighbor's home.  It's kind of like a long range mountain view.  Yesterday was a successful day of packing and organizing for the eventual move.  The breaks come while coming across something interesting that I forgot about whether it be a picture, notes or something that is being packed up.  Today will be considered successful if I can find the waffle iron and get it packed.  You might think, but Nancy, that means no waffles until April...well, the box hasn't even been opened.  So here's to waffles in the mountains!

While wrapping things in bubble wrap and in the midst of throwing away, the day of packing with the pleasant breaks included the highlight of drinking Diet Coke with a bottle, not a can.  CVS used to carry them but the only place for those rascals to be found is...Buc-cees.  Thankfully, I have a friend who makes frequent trips to Baytown, where the newest Buc-cees can be found.  She brought me six bottles and I so enjoyed the pause that refreshes, which is really a Pepsi branding, in the midst of bubble wrap, packing paper, tape and boxes.  Thank you Dena!

Another fun happening in the midst of it all was Peggy's text.  She had received an email from the Baylor Alumni Association asking for our RSVP to the Alumni By Choice Luncheon.  The four of us are going and I am really so very excited about this.  Later in the afternoon I received the official letter.

It is now Friday morning.  Not that unusual for a post to be comprised of several days.  The work of packing and giving away continues.  Last night after all the rain UPS delivered four boxes of wooden boxes on casters.  They were ordered at the beginning of December and knew they wouldn't arrive until January.  These were very reasonably priced compared to some I have seen elsewhere for over $150.00 just because the word Book or Read was stenciled on the side.  These will work as under the bed storage for us.

Yesterday, we had great discussion in Bible study of the remainder of Luke 11 and delved into Luke 12.  Our group has so many insightful women of all ages.  Two of the moms with newborns had their boys join us.  Nothing like baby sounds of coos and little grunts with Bible study, they go great together.  We mainly looked at the relationship of the Pharisees with Jesus.  The study questions really brought home how sometimes things don't change and how they need to change.  One lady brought the modern insight of the Sadducees were more like today liberals, Pharisees like evangelicals today and the Essene's would be the hippies of today.  Wow!  Great insight and having that thought hit close to home.  Pharisees, wanted to sit in the place of honor, be recognized, they worried about themselves more than serving and kept others from growing into leadership because they wanted to remain in control and feared for their own replacement.  They hung unto tradition just for the sake of hanging onto tradition.  CBS studies are really so good and this is my seventh year participating.  I have never been this consistent for a study in my whole life.

You have to love a hubby that sends you weather reports for your trip in Excel spreadsheets.  Bottom line is, it will be a little colder than usual and we might see a bit of snow.  Hopefully the weather cooperates to take the scenic back way to our home.  It is one of the most beautiful drives ever!

Well, the day awaits and there are things to be done.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Purge But No Binge

It looks like North Carolina this morning.  Trees shrouded with fog and being able to see only a few feet ahead.  It's beautiful!

When it comes to moving into our future, we have to get good at purging things from our past that limit us or hold us back.  Christine Caine

 This is a great quote to read on a Tuesday after getting moving quotes over the weekend.  The cost took me a bit by surprise, even with moving in the non busy season and with the cost of fuel now.  There is so much to consider and even going through our home, listing the pieces to be moved, we forgot to include a few things.  And I thought I did a huge book purge when we moved out to Rancho De Five. It is looking like the book purge of 2015 is about to happen.  

We find it exciting to talk about our future since we have felt somewhat stagnant in the past few years.  My knees will not let me be in choir.  For this, I am sad.  I also find myself on the sideline and I am not quite sure how I got here, but I have a pretty good idea.  Can I help it I didn't want someone else to define my life for me?  

Of course many times what holds me back is myself.  When you finally get comfortable in your brain and skin, you're too old to be considered for much but along with that too old means, I can pretty much say or do or wear what I want.  Well, that last sentence sounded like Cartman.    

We went to the memorial service of a coworker of Roy, Sunday.  It seemed a million miles away in Kingwood.  It wasn't a very long service, mainly the pastor talking, we sang one song and then the worship leader sang one of the deceased's favorite songs.  No eulogy or anyone else speaking.  The family kind of sauntered in to the worship center and it seemed like a stretch to really talk very much about the man.  Some of the stories the pastor told were kind of strange stories to tell, but that might have been all they had of interest.  The service was well attended though. 

Yesterday, I purged things from my closet to move into our future that has less closet space.  It was a joy to do so because it is another step closer to living in the country and enjoying cooler weather.  The book purge began too.  Six boxes ready to go to the Bookworm this weekend.  As I've been working I am trying to keep in mind that Roy could sell the house out here on the prairie if it's the right time and right buyer.  So, some of the purging has that aspect of that future in mind as well.  

We have a meeting set up with our general contractor and a delivery day set up for furniture delivery while I am in Asheville.  It will be helpful to have Peggy there as we talk with Jonathan.  She contributed several great ideas for our Rancho De Five home.  Next thing, get a locksmith scheduled.  Once I get all that settled Peggy and I can enjoy the sights.

Well, another day of purging and thankfully it has nothing to do with food cause you have to binge if there is food involved.  I am also considering what needs to go up on the next trip. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Adventures With the Halt and Lame...That Would Be Me

If I were in the choir loft this morning, I would be on the halt and lame row.  Really, it's sad when you are going to do a quick walk through Hobby Lobby because this might be the week they have the sign Roy likes on sale and we grab a shopping cart, not because we think we are going to be buying tons of stuff, but so good old Halty here can use it like a walker to make our walk through Hobby Lobby manageable.  Good news!  The man cave sign was on sale.

Roy and I attended a funeral yesterday in the historic Lawndale Cemetery.  There are headstones that are truly works of art.  As we made the winding turns in the processional to the grave site, familiar names of famous Houstonians dotted the serene landscape.  The first sunny weekend in quite sometime and the freeways were packed with cars and it seemed no different in the cemetery due to multiple graveside services happening within the same time frame.  The service for Emily's father was very nice and many friends were in attendance, so much so it surprised the Episcopal minister presiding over the service.  Our drive back out to Rancho De Five was not as adventurous or crowded as the trip to Lawndale.  We stopped for a late lunch at El Rancho, thus, the quick trip to Hobby Lobby.

Today, we are attending a memorial service for a co-worker of Roy in Kingwood.  Added to the mix is the Mrs. Monarch role.  I haven't had to be her in a really long time.

Happy Pooh Day!

I had breakfast with a new friend on Friday morning.  We were having such a good time we got kicked out of Black Walnut because they needed our table for the expanding lunch crowd.  I think that is why Black Walnut is never a choice for lunch if it is up to me to pick.  Finding a parking place is too stressful.  Add to that fact it is January so the Lifetime parking lot is totally full, so that option isn't even available.  So just like Pooh and Piglet it was a what's for breakfast/what's going to happen exciting today Friday morning.

The moving people had to reschedule our meeting from Friday to Saturday morning.  We are picking a great time price wise to move some things up to North Carolina.  He also said because our destination is on one of their most busy routes, we should have our furniture delivered in four to six days.  We were prepared with our list of things going and our questions on  packing.  This morning I realize I left a couple of things off the list but we have until a week before we move to make additions and subtractions.

Yesterday, I also made reservations at the Inn on Biltmore Estate for Peggy and me.  She is going with me as I take stuff up there and to be at the house for several deliveries.  And because both of us are such domestic goddesses, we will also arrange kitchen things.  Peggy and I have been to the Biltmore before, way back in the day, 1999.  It was in July and we did a quick tour of the house and gardens.  She told me, we don't need to buy the audio guide, I can tell you everything about this house since I have been here before.  Ha!  Not until I went back in 2002 with Dena did I realize Peggy didn't know everything about the house.  We aren't going to do the Biltmore House but I think she will really enjoy seeing everything else there on the estate.  Edward, our friend who works there will be so excited to finally meet Peggy.  We have talked about her, both Roy and Dena, when we have been on our trips there.  The girls at Turkey Creek Cafe will be excited because I told them Peggy could teach them how to line dance.  They want to know how but their moms don't want them learning line dancing at a bar.

Well, it is time for Halty to get going and get dressed.  Have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Just Stuff Before the Weekend

Why is play so elusive for some grown-ups?  Because we are so strongly attracted
and attached to a profoundly goal-oriented, work-ethic-driven society.  Like
other forms of non-work, play connotes wastefulness, a stoppage in the way of
what needs to get done.  Yet often what really needs to get done has more to do
with our hearts and spirits and less to do with a deadline or longstanding project.
Play beckons to us, urging us to live in the present moment, a moment that

becomes more luminous when we disallow interruptions like work and worry.

I found this quote and I would give credit to whoever thought of this wonderful quote but it was listed as anonymous.  It's a pretty good quote in my book and yes, it went into my quote book I bought years ago from Levenger.  Keeps quotes all nice and organized.  

It is fun to watch serious, focused Roy write seriously funny things on the safety email he sends most mornings, his company sends them out as daily reminders to work safe.  It feels like such a loss when he doesn't have time to forward it with his witty remarks and insights that concern Buddy or me or both of us with safety.  

On Facebook this week a friend who usually posts quotes or pictures of family or church happenings made a really, rather out of character, post.  She said she was going to go see Pit Bull at the rodeo in March.  Friends had so much fun with that and let her know how funny it was when she posted a retraction and explanation and disclaimer, she wasn't going to see him.  Here's hoping she wasn't told to make a disclaimer.  So many enjoyed the brevity from the same o same o Facebook updates.  

You have to make it a fun job whilst going through drawers and boxes and closets, trying to get organized and sorted what stays here and what goes to NC.  Yesterday it was fun because I found $80.00.  Over the weekend I came across some journal pages that lets me know in hindsight Alzheimer's began sooner than later with my mom.  For instance in 2005 I wrote about how mad my mom had become over taking one of her best friends to MD wasn't actually the taking, it was the fact she needed to be picked up so late.  Only thing, my parents weren't picking her up just taking her in the mornings.  My mother didn't lose her temper and things like this did not make her mad but maybe with the onset of the disease, it was changing my normally docile mother.  The other thing I came across was a totally inappropriate birthday card for Roy from her.  She was known for her cards, mostly very funny, but this one was very s&xual in nature....again, a little bit of Alzheimer's sneaking in and we didn't realize what it was.

Welcome Friday!  Life got in the way of blogging but it was good life.  There was CBS which I left early because I met Lisa P for lunch at The Nord.  We celebrated her birthday with our regular crab stack, cilantro lime shrimp salad and splitting a white choc bread pudding.  Yum!  We got an extra special surprise when tucked away in another booth in the corner was Paige B and Dora P.  Gee, I just realized put together our last name initials make PPBM but we are not into potty humor.   When I got home I could not find Buddy anywhere...I called her name and nothing.  Except in the distance I could hear the slight sound of a meow.  I called her name again, and I heard the sad little meow.  I looked around and realized she had gotten into the linen closet and Chris had shut the door not realizing Buddy was in there.  I have done the same thing, because that little gray cat is fast and sneaky.  That is the longest time she has been shut in that closet.

That's it for now.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Keep Moving Forward....

Congrats to Ohio State or The Ohio State or as the flag runners proclaimed OO HI.  Flag runners going to be flag runners.  At this stage in the game I would be a flag dragger along the sidelines and it might just take the whole game for me to go the distance.  Yes my friends, flag running is for the young and for those who like to misspell.

Roy talked with moving companies and one is coming out Friday to give us an estimate.  The flooring company called yesterday letting us know the hardwoods look great and this time the wood and gloss are a match.  Yea!

When we moved to Rancho De Five, one of the things topmost in furnishing our home was, each piece needed to add storage or another purpose other than what is was being used for.  I am trying to bring that mindset to this home because it is smaller and has much less storage than here.  Lots of downsizing going on.  The window treatments are not staying but are up until I find what I am looking for.

So, we keep on moving forward....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Playful and Play...It Does a Body Good

We took another sabbatical Sunday this morning.  Roy was exhausted and didn't want to get out in all the mess.  I didn't have the best night sleeping with Buddy restless and with the rumbling of thunder that came ever closer as the morning came.  Many Sundays we go to First for the music that ministers to our spirits and with the choir on leave until next week, the extra umph to get going into town for church is lost somewhere between the warmth of the covers and the willingness of the heart.

But just because our rears aren't in church doesn't mean we can't hear God speak to our hearts.  This morning was especially heart opening for me as I read the Word and contemplated what I had read.

I have written previously that my One Word for 2015 is play.  There is so much to the word, it comprises so many good and honorable qualities.  I woke up this morning thinking about this word, play and being playful.  What encompasses playfulness?   Sadly, I must admit that I have left a great deal of playfulness out of my life in the recent years.  Playfulness can get on many a serious person's nerves.  They don't quite see the need to celebrate the little things or having humor in the midst of serious issues.  Somehow I let those feelings of others define decisions and the course of the path I travel upon.    The consequences of this is; I don't send as many cards as I used to, I don't give as many spontaneous gifts for 'just because' reasons, I'm not dancing while I vacuum, I'm not listening to that much music, there's been a losing a bit of wonder and amazement, giving into my cynical view of life and some disregard for some manners and thoughtfulness.  It is not a very creative season, I am not using the gift of imagination, and I find my views can be quite pessimistic; it seems to have been a little bit more of a self absorbed season of life.  You know, taking oneself too seriously.

It was a fun, humorous dream that I awoke from that started this line of thought and not only did I
wake up to the day, but I awakened that spark within to see the good and the funny in life.  Of course there hasn't been a losing of a sense of humor but more times than naught on our last trip to Asheville, Roy commented several times, you still have that umph within you that makes you childlike, with the sense of wonder and being happy over the smallest of things.  We both noted, I have kind of lost that here on the prairie.

So it has been fun looking at quotes and writing down quotes on playfulness and play in my quote notebook.  I have also been reading the Scripture, trying to find the passage I most would think defines playfulness.  The choice might be quite surprising, but it is Proverbs 31.  I love the women writers who are taking back Proverbs 31 to the original meaning from Hebrew.  The more I re-read this chapter, I am really trying to understand how this chapter defines women as homemakers only.  My goodness, this lady was involved in a lot of stuff!  To be that involved, she has to have a sense of humor or at least in my interpretation there in she has to.  Verse 11, she great enriches his life...she brings him good, not harm.  Believe me, as a wife of noble character, you have to have a sense of humor to bring good, not harm... 15, she has servant girls, that has to help keep your spirit up and a sense of humor.  17, she is energetic and strong, a hard worker....her lamp burns late into the night.  Some of my most creative ideas have come late in the night and also when I brush my teeth and that can be early or late brushing.  25, she is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.    There are more verses I could bring commentary to but I think verse 30 speaks playfulness and joy the loudest; Charm is deceptive, and beauty doesn't last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  Beauty not lasting is a laughing one can be charming all the time...  She laughs at the future because it's funny.  You have to because the other choice is depression.  On our trip Roy made an interesting comment, you either deal with the whole beauty or good looking issue when you are younger or when you are older.  You're going to deal with it at one point or the other.  If you are not beautiful or good looking, the confrontation with this issue comes early and often.  Often a whole lot as a teenager.  If you have been beautiful or good looking your whole life, then as looks fade, you deal with that later and more often, only now the blessing is, your eyesight isn't as good as it used to be.  The asset that has been depended upon diminishes.  You have to laugh, you have to know beauty will always be fleeting and changing.  If you don't take a playful or humorous attitude toward it, you either get plastic surgery or get over it.

So, today I will have a more playful attitude which brings joy, enriches my hubs life, causes me to dance, sing songs, have fun, stop and ponder in wonder.  It is a good thing we are studying Luke in CBS because many times Luke has been referred to as the Gospel of Amazement, because people are amazed a lot at the miracles, and it is also the gospel of a journey, a journey enriched in prayer.


I know God is a Holy God and I worship Him as such.  I know it is good to fear and respect the Lord.  But I also know He made me and He made me with a funny bone.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday Morning on the Prairie

Saturday morning on the prairie.  Overcast and cold but roasty toasty on the inside.  Last year the starter module broke pre-fireplace season and we waited for months for the repair.  Seems as if there aren't enough repair people available due to the installation of fireplaces in the massive amount of new homes being built.  This year with the fireplace repaired and working, we enjoy those evening fires with our new love of hot chocky.  With the Keruig Swiss Miss the temperature for immediate sipping is just right.  I think we have drank more hot chocky in the past few weeks than we have in our whole lives.  It will be a quiet morning with Roy at Bible study and then at the dealership with his car getting the oil changed and the brakes inspected.

The granite install went well by all accounts and the pictures after the install confirms the choice.  We are thinking of doing white cabinets with a chocolate wash which will bring out the color in the granite even more.  In the past I haven't been a fan of light colored cabinets and hardwoods but we really like the look in the house and it continues the farmhouse look we are going after...even though it is not a farmhouse.  There is a line between just enough and too much making the rooms look kitschy and camp.  Not the look we want.  For a short period of time we considered getting everything retro for the kitchen but that idea passed quickly just like so many other ideas that have come and gone with some ideas sticking around.  We have been looking at dining room tables for the kitchen.  The area for the table is in front of bay windows that don't really extend out too far.  Kate had a small round table and we have considered that and square tables.  Now we are kind of hung up on a rectangle table because we could put it closer to the windows  when it is just us or me.  Our back yard, tiered with plants, is a haven for some of the most beautiful birds.  At Christmas I saw a male and female cardinal sitting on a branch and across from them a male and female blue birds.

The news of Andre Crouch passing away hit me hard.  He was like my generation's Chris Tomlin.  When he came to town, I had tickets to see him.  I think I saw him several times at the Music Hall from back in the day.  He introduced me to gospel music and I loved it the from the very first note.  I had every record and played them endlessly.  Even today, I like singing his songs, they don't seem worn or played out, the words are as meaningful and truthful and relevant today as they were when I first started out on this journey.  To God be the glory, for the things He has done.

Bible study started back Thursday.  Sometimes CBS glances over passages that I wish they would have given more time to.  Really, as women, we can never get tired of the Mary/Martha discussion.  I have come to the conclusion in this story, I would rather be Lazarus.  He didn't have to do anything.  We spent a lot of time studying the sending of the 72 or 70 depending on your translation.  Our group had good discussion on the good Samaritan.

We are taking the stance of no news is good news since we haven't heard a thing about the installation of our hardwoods.  They will be contacting us for the rest of the money, so no worries there.

Peggy came over yesterday with my Christmas gift...a beautiful lamb pillow and my Mildred name on a neat looking license plate thingy.  We sat or rather she stood by the fireplace and talked forever.  Contrary to what others may think, we don't get to spend a lot of time together.  Roy came home right after she left and we headed out in the mist and cold for lunch and a few errands.

As you can tell by this riveting blog post life is full and easy right now enjoying the simple things of our everyday life.  I think I surprised Roy when he offered the chance to buy all new furniture instead of moving some of ours up to NC when I turned down the opportunity.  Wow, maturity at its finest.  His thoughts were it might be cheaper to do that than moving but when I did a calculation thing on Google, I think he was kind of happy I turned down the offer.  Besides, he would start selling furniture here that he didn't think he would need and I am not quite ready to do that.  His mindset fluctuates on getting something taken care of but then I bring him back to the fact he will not be here in Katy by himself for the whole year.  I would not want to come back to find things he had sold that I wouldn't want sold.  So, chaos averted.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

For I'm Trained, Trained, Trained! No Not Really....

From time to time, from season to season, Roy accepts and is patient with my ADD and then there are times and seasons that it seems to be too much for him to understand and he gets impatient with me and thus turns to his default "work" mode to help me.  Only thing, it doesn't all...really.  A couple of days before we left for Asheville at Christmas I left my breakfast plate with a piece of crust on it in front of the computer in his study.  He woke me up the next morning, and began explaining to me before he left for work, why I needed to train myself to put plates up.  Blah, blah, blah...what will I do when he is not in NC with me?  I was thinking, uh, pick up the stupid plate whenever I want to.  Now, it is not like I leave plates around the house or in his office often...but that morning, oh probably around 5:00 am, I just listened and didn't comment.  Not because I am so loving and kind...can be, no this was just one of those things I would stick in my back pocket cause I knew the opportunity would arise and I would get to be the one who talked about training...  I did not have to wait very long.  Just that evening, he left several of his coats and jackets on couches and chairs.  So, I said to know....if you would just train yourself to hang up your coats and jackets they wouldn't be located all around the house.  Later still, if you would just throw away the empty bottle that held your flavored could train yourself to do that and not have to rush around like a nut before Chris comes...  Guess y'all are getting the picture.  We laugh about it now and I told him, think through what you say because if you are as guilty as the one you are trying to "train" it will come back to bite you.  I mean really, I hadn't heard the word train used so much since my Campus Crusade days back in high school and at the beginning of college.  Training is a buzz word for CCC or CRUD or CLUE or CRU or whatever they call themselves now.

So things are going along swimmingly.  I tried to explain my brain and how it works on our trip.  Really, the song Carol of the Bells is a wonderful example.  All the parts and layering and the total hyperness of the song.  Even gave Roy an article to read the ADD riddled brain.

Then this morning...because I stayed up a little later than usual and had plans to sleep in a bit, I get a phone call from Roy...early....errrrrrrrr....lllllly to tell me that the wind is going to increase by noon.  Would I make sure the big box I left outside last put up so the wind doesn't blow it around and because the empty box could be an attractive nuisance for anyone thinking about stealing a box off a porch.  We don't have a porch here, so guess he meant the courtyard.  Now, yesterday, I made taco soup for dinner which means a lot of cans, packages and paper are generated that filled an almost full can. I even took the full trash bag out of the trash can and put it aside for just a moment before taking it out to the trash.  I was pretty happy with myself cause sometimes I just keep piling the garbage in and wait for Roy to come home and take care of it.  I had done so many things around here and did I mention I made dinner?  Can I help it that at the moment when Kendra was leaving, the Fed Ex man is arriving delivering two boxes which contain nightstands?  Then, the trash guys come around as soon as Kendra and Fed Ex leave?  I mean you have to have trash cans to put trash into, right?  So, I go outside and bring in the trash cans but our LSU signs are still in the yard and we take them down when football season is over, so I get one of them and put it away but wonder if there is a box cutter to open up the boxes on the courtyard instead of bringing them into the house and getting paper, Styrofoam and cardboard everywhere.  Can't find a box cutter, so back into the house for a pair of scissors leaving one LSU sign still up in the yard but I begin working on a box.  It is well protected this nightstand, so after going through three layers of cardboard, foam and tape I put the nightstand and the second box in the casita bedroom.  The phone is ringing so I go inside to answer the phone, then fold towels, and sit down to wait for Roy to come home by reading a book.  The garbage bag was totally forgotten about until Roy came home and went into the kitchen.  He picks up the bag, looks at me...I'm thinking if he starts talking about training....  He takes the bag and he is making a face at me like he is so totally disgusted with me as he takes it to the trash can I so kindly brought in earlier in the garage.  He wasn't happy with me but really, my ADD seems to be worse which might be due to the fact I am constantly thinking about NC in some shape or fashion.

So this morning when I went outside to put the box in the recycle bin, it was no where to be found.  The box that is.  I checked the front and side yards...I'm thinking, I have got to find this box!  Roy called so early about it, our address and packing slip are probably on it and that's when I noticed some cardboard and formed Styrofoam just a little past the driveway.  So I begin traipsing through the neighborhood, picking up cardboard, following the trail of the missing box.  Did I mention I hadn't brushed my hair or put on any makeup.  I am surprised no one called the sheriff about a crazy lady, with Bozo the Clown hair, talking to herself and carrying bits and pieces of foam and cardboard walking around the neighborhood, maybe a little too close to the pocket park where children might be playing.  I gave up when a piece of the cardboard gave me a nice sized paper cut which wouldn't stop bleeding.  Thank you low dose aspirins.  So now add all the above crazy elements and blood dripping profusely from a finger, my middle finger.  I decided to come home, stop the bleeding and maybe call the sheriff office to let them know mischief might be afoot in Rancho De Five.  The criminals only got an empty box, next time it could be something from Nordstrom.  Then I would call Roy and tell him, it's gone.  Right before I went on the box search I emailed Roy to tell him what I was going to do and since my cell phone doesn't work too well outside of the house, nothing came through from him.  He had called and texted letting me know the box was in the garage.  I returned home bleeding and with several messages from him...he thought he would "teach" me a lesson about leaving a box outside, overnight. He had torn it down and put it in the recycle bin last night.  Didn't I hear him going out the front door several times last night?  No, I'm sorry but when the first new show of Dance Moms is on for the fifth season, my attention is directed onto, 'where is Christi and Chloe?'  He wanted to know why didn't I start in the garage?  Because he called early and made a big deal out of the box debacle, I trusted him.  (Insert knife)  I didn't think he would do something like that to me.  (Now turn the knife and maybe add a touch of salt)   He felt guilty.  He wanted me to go to Urgent Care to take care of my finger.  I told him I would have to go to Urgent Hair first.  After a few moments, his guilt must have assuaged because he asked me, "do you own a pair of work gloves?  Why don't you wear work gloves with these kind of materials?"  Oh yes, Bozo, carrying cardboard and foam, with blood dripping from a middle finger and work gloves.  I told him, uh, why would I wear work gloves to carry a box?  Oh, he so wants to train me....He sends me safety moments from work every morning.

So here it is, what to get positively out of this whole experience?

Thankful that baby aspirin is working diminishing my stroke chance.
Roy suggested I would maybe have something to blog about today...
That my goal oriented, spreadsheet will work for anything husband, felt guilt for his little joke.
I learned the value of training my mind to......look squirrel!!!!

Yep, that's about it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

There's A Story in There, Somewhere

What a beautiful sun-filled day!  I will be getting out and about in it later but this morning I am easing into the day.  I also need to do some homework because Bible study starts this week.  Last night after returning from a birthday dinner celebrating Peggy at Jimmy Changa's, I finished the book that I started on Sunday.  Excellent read and well done memoir.  Haven't decided on the next book but a Wendy Wax book went to the box going to Bookworms later this week.  Up to this point I have enjoyed her books but this last book, I never could get into it.  Life is too short to read books just for the sake of reading them to get rid of them.  It's gone.

At dinner last night we talked about the use of "story" particularly in the Christian arena.  The first real use I ever noticed was Donald Miller's Storyline website and conferences from several years ago.  Since then it has almost become Pray of Jabez worthy because many retreats, conferences, and books are all about story these days.  Our narratives.  It is a worthy subject matter and there are different ways to approach "story."  What is kind of sad is, you'd think as Christians we would be a little more creative in our approach instead of riding what is popular in culture and in church world.  We serve a creative, grand creator God and for years it seemed like all church world could do was copy Starbucks.  My friend who is in communications says the mantra of the industry is steal from the best.  We don't have to steal from God, He gives generously if we only ask.  Will I stop going to things because the theme is story?  No, not at all but it feels like it should be at the end of its run.  Now, back in the day, as a kid, I could have used all this knowledge about my story because back then telling a story wasn't a cool thing, it kind of aligned with telling a lie.  Nancy!  Are you telling a story or the truth?  Hmm...kind of a story with some truth in it.

Speaking of rather in my case, writing of story, my cousin Lois called while we were driving to NC with an interesting story.  The back story to this is, several years ago while having dinner with my parents, I mentioned how fortuitous it was that my grandfather and his brothers had left the coal mines of Kentucky and ventured out for other work than in the mines.  Two settled in Indiana and two settled in Illinois.  It was then my father told us a story I had never heard before, it wasn't fortuitous leaving, it was leaving to escape the law for killing a man in the coal mines.  My grandfather and his brothers ran with a gang, the possum gang (you'd think they could have come up with a better name for their organization), that beat up men who were unkind and mean to their families.  There was a multi-time repeater of abuse, so they decided to take him in mine and give him a little electric shock from the coal train line, only they didn't give him just a little shock...they gave him too much and it resulted in his death.  The story as I know is their lawyer told them to get the heck out of Kentucky because he didn't think the law would go after them out of state because the truth be told, nobody liked the man they killed.  Now, I didn't know to believe this story or not.  I began to ask cousins if they had ever heard of this and no one had.  My brother talked with Aunt Amy, the brother's sister, and she said the story was not true.  So, we all chalked it up to another wild story from my father....until Lois called.  Her brother Mark had dinner with our cousin David and his wife in our home town and David mentioned that a second cousin of ours, his first cousin...there will be a test at the end of this post, Ronald Doss had written a book about the brothers who killed a man in the coal mines and got away with it.  Mark is going to contact Ronald and I have looked him up and think I might have a phone number for him.  Now, just getting the courage to call and talk to someone I only remember from when I was a child since there is about fourteen years difference between us.  I would LOVE to read his book!  Now there is a story!  His story is of three brothers, so it would be interesting to know who the three are.

Well, this is my story, I have no song...this post of story took all the day long.  Not really, I did start in the morning but it is now late afternoon and needed to finish this up.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Good Morning January!

Good Monday Morning!  Last day of the winter break out here in Rancho De Five.  When Roy got back from making a trip to the Kroger late yesterday afternoon for more Keruig Swiss Miss and whipped cream, he said the grocery store was packed with people getting ready to go back to work and school.

Play keeps us vital and alive.  It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.  Without it, life just doesn't taste good.  Lucia Capocchione

It sounds like the journals were liked and a hit in Dena's class yesterday.  Peggy asked Dena why would I have so many journals?  Dena told her it was my addiction of choice and Peggy then could identify because her addiction is taking pictures and putting them together in books.  I was happy to hear that the ladies got to make their choices of which journal they wanted because there were several varieties, with the one common factor, narrow rule lines.  Love me some narrow lines.

Our contractor let us know this morning the granite install has been delayed until Thursday and Jonathan will be getting with us to hear what we want for our new front porch.  I know I would like it to extend to the driveway and maybe make it a little wider.  We will have to see what is doable and of course the cost.

It was so good to be back with Downton Abbey last night.  It seems to come with the change of football schedules.  No Sunday night game.  Roy is not a fan, so he went into the other room to watch something else.  It's usually me who goes to another room because I don't care for his choice of TV shows.

I just realized I made it through the Christmas season not hearing the shoe song or Happy Birthday Jesus song.  Now I did hear Baby It's Cold Outside more times than I can count sung by more duets that I can count but it didn't matter who was singing, it all sounded the same.  No distinct voices.  We listened to a lot of Holiday Traditions radio on our trip.  Another interesting thing, although those previous sentences were not all that interesting is some Christmas traditions that started about the time the Nazi's power over Germany started.  The term Yule and the emphasis of Santa wearing a red suit, coming from the North and discouraging the singing of Christmas Carols and putting in place winter solstice songs and songs that took attention away from Christianity or for that matter, any religion except the one they were trying to create.  I am reading the memoir of a German woman who grew up on mountain in Bavaria where the headquarters or wolf lair was located.

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.  
                                                                                                                               George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Play While You Work

"It's a happy talent to know how to play."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Play is training for the unexpected." Marc Bekoff, American biologist

My One Word, Play.  Yes, I know I wrote about this the other day but I want to make the word a part of my thought process and vocabulary.

Saturday morning, Roy is at Bible study and Buddy is asleep under the bed.  So here are these brief moments to read and blog.  There is a book I began around Thanksgiving and it looks like I will be able to finish it up this weekend.  Reading is such a huge part of life.

Yesterday morning was haircut at Emmanuel with Stevie.  She is such a delightful stylist and an insightful friend.  We got caught up on each other's holidays and we again talked about finding a hair salon in Asheville.  She texted her good friend who is a colorist from the area and we also looked up salons using Google, with key word Oribe.  That is the hair product line that Emmanuel uses and that I like, no make that love. There is one salon and it is in Biltmore Village and their website and FB page give the impression that this might be a good fit.  Of course until one actually consults with a stylist, one never knows.  Stevie didn't have to take the time to help me have good hair in the months I am in Asheville.  The whole staff is like that at Emmanuel, so help, kind and well funny too.  You know you are at a good salon when you are tempted to ask for a towel to absorb drool when getting your hair washed and conditioned.  Oh my, head washing and massage, both good things.  OK, they do not use the word head washing.  Dena and I came up with that term in Boerne, TX in the spring.  There was a salon, no a hair cutting place, that we noticed and we concurred it would be the kind of place where the Dolly Parton, Steel Magnolia type stylist would ask you if you need a head washing today or just a hair cuttin'.

It is now Sunday morning.  We had planned on going to church but Roy pulled muscle in his side and isn't moving well.  Think he is also tired because it has been non-stop for him since we got home. Computer church it is.

Yesterday morning the casita closet was on schedule to be gone through.  I've been putting it off because I knew the mother lode of journals and notebooks were stored away out there.  So, I began making a way through things in the closet to get to the very back and pull out the storage containers.  Thankfully, I am giving away more journals than I am keeping and it looks like they are going to go to good homes.  Dena said a few years ago how much she would like to give journals to her Life Bible Study class, so now that wish has come true.  She went home with about 100 journals last night to take to her class.  She came by yesterday afternoon to pick them up and then she came back later for dinner.  She brought delicious cocktail weenies with her.  Roy made his delicious Costco ribs.  We all had a great time laughing and talking and watching football.  Roy is into the Swiss Miss Keruig hot chocky.  He makes his with whipped cream and he made all of us a mug.  It was delicious!  

Dena also let me know that my oral surgeon had passed away.  She had seen his obit in the Chronicle. Wow, I was shocked.  Until last year it had been some time since we had gone to him.  I had heard he had been ill, maybe fought cancer, I don't remember but when I saw him on this last trip, he was half the size when I had last seen him.  He had always been nice to me but others, not so much.  I think he knew how good looking I thought he was because I think I said something once under anesthesia in 1999.  I hadn't planned on going back to him for some other dental work that needs to be done but I guess this seals the deal.

On Thursday morning as Roy and I were staying out of Chris' way, we made a trip to Home Goods.  I had just about finished up but Roy was hanging back in the picture section of the store.  He had found a picture for our new home but more especially for my one word of the year, play.  He found a sign on Play Room Rules.  It is perfect!  Love, for the most part, his tedious nature of going through things slowly as not to miss a thing whereas I am more of a big picture, a cursory sweep of things.

It's almost time for church....

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Play That Funky Music, Play Ball, Played Out-It's All About the Play

It is the first day of 2015.  We didn't officially stay up to welcome the year but our neighbors did and there was that brief moment when the fireworks had more intensity to them from the constant rhythm and noise of the early evening.  I knew then it must be midnight and looking over at the clock confirmed that.  Even Buddy, who ignores so much, was a bit perturbed at the noise.  I'm sure there are some leftover fireworks that will go off tonight.  That's fine, but it was too bad that it was a tad cold to stand outside last night and watch the beautiful 360 of skies lit up with color and sound.  On a side note, all the American Hero Chanel watching has made me a little nervous when you hear the whistle sound of a firecracker because it sounds like those bombs in WWII.

Ours was an early January 1st because Chris came today to clean the house.  Roy got to experience Chris...  She came about 7:30 and we were out and about by 7:45.  I would at this time like to register my complaint about the discrimination of establishments against those of us who stayed in, didn't get drunk and have to get up early because the housekeeper is comes early on January 1st.  Only Target and Home Goods opened at their normal times.  So, Roy and I sat in the car waiting for Black Walnut to open.  We had breakfast and then made a Target and Home Goods run.  Wow, New Year's Day early is the time to go to both stores.  We might have been the only people in Home Goods for about fifteen minutes.  Then we drove over to Barnes and Noble and waited because they didn't open until 11:00.  Roy and I kind of have a New Year tradition, we go to a bookstore.  It may seem like we go to bookstores everyday, but really, that is not the case.  Roy was hungry after all that shopping and since he only had an omelet for breakfast, we did the old people thing and went to Luby's for lunch and for free black eyed peas.  Yum yum!  Chris was still here when we got home but she had pretty much finished up.  We then settled in to watch the Baylor game...I can't even comment, really.  This is the second football bowl game I have invested time and emotions in, the other being LSU, where the other teams wins in the final seconds.

The popular quote of this new year is;“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” 
― Brad Paisley

That's all fine and good but today is a fly page of a book day for me, so the real writing doesn't begin until after another few pages, title page, copyright page, dedication page and preface.  

This is the third year I am participating in the One Word Can Change Your Life thing.  Yes, thing is the best word I could think of right now but thing is not my word for the year.  I shared that proceed and persevere were my words for the last two years and this year is another P word....My word for 2015 is Play.  Now I know some of you more serious folks are thinking, uh yea, Nancy, don't you play everyday?  Isn't it kind of your lifestyle to play?  No.  Play has come to mean something frivolous in our culture and when I first heard this word deep in my spirit after praying and thinking the word for the year thing, I kind of thought the same thing to.  But, I began doing some research and although the word play doesn't carry a heavy, deep, meaningful thing on the surface, the roots of play are deep in creativity, wisdom and finding solutions to problems.  

 According to the National Institute, play is the gateway to vitality.  By its nature it is uniquely and intrinsically rewarding. It generates optimism, seeks out novelty, makes perseverance fun, leads to mastery, gives the immune system a bounce, fosters empathy and promotes a sense of belonging and community. Each of these play by-products are indices of personal health, and their shortage predicts impending health problems and personal fragility.

We live in a culture obsessed with wringing an external result from everything we do. Play doesn't operate on that metric. It's not about the end but the experience. This has made play one of the last remaining taboos, an irrational deviation from gainful obligation. What we don't realize, though, is that it's precisely the lack of a quantifiable result that allows play to tap a more meaningful place that satisfies core needs and reveals the authentic person behind the masks of job and society.
Anthropologist Gregory Bateson believed that the fixation on making everything productive and rational cuts us off from the world of the spontaneous that is home to real knowledge. Wisdom, Bateson believed, is to be found in the realms outside intentionality, in the inner reaches of art, expression and religion. "The whole culture is suffering from overconscious intentionality, overseriousness, overemphasis on productivity and work," psychologist and cultural explorer Bradford Keeney told me. "We've forgotten that the whole picture requires a dance between leisure and work."
Play brings you back to life -- your life. "Adults need to play because so much of our life is utilitarian, the University of South Alabama's Catherine O'Keefe explained to me. "We need to reconnect with the things of our lives that ground us in who we really are and why we like our lives."
Grownups aren't supposed to play. We have problems. We're too busy. We have important things to do. It turns out, though, that there are few things more important to your happiness than frequent doses of play. As a study led by Princeton researcher Alan Krueger found, of all the things on the planet, we're at our happiest when we're involved in engaging leisure activities. Why not do more of that?

Those are some powerful quotes.  Some of the smartest people who've lived and did great things took time to play, have a playful attitude and have fun.  Now you might be thinking, well the Bible doesn't say anything on playing...well, you have to look between the lines because there is some funny stuff in the Bible, of course there is more serious stuff, but my word for the year is not serious.  Well, I am serious about my one word which if this run on sentence hasn't totally bored you or wiped out your memory, the one word for me is play.  

I'm excited about the materials I have gathered to give me a jump start in this endeavor and to give me things to ponder and meditate upon, of course with the Bible.  You see, I want to be as creative as God has made me.  I want Him to use me to help others who have a problem with having fun without feeling guilty about it.  

Play keeps you young.  Stuart Brown, psychiatrist says, "those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor."  This makes me think of Peggy.  She is fun, her house is fun, her lake is fun and any time you spend with her is fun.  Does Peggy get tired?  Does Peggy want to catch up on sleep?  Does Peggy prize an uncluttered home over fun and memories for any and all who enter?  Peggy doesn't chide or lecture...well she can but for the most part that is not her default mode.  In her fun there is a constant, maybe jumping off the roof isn't that smart of an idea or she might wonder how many children can fit on a raft behind the jet ski at one time?  And in the midst of all this fun I have seen more godly acts and generosity.  I have seen spiritual wisdom, love and compassion.   Sacrifices on her part for the help of another.  She doesn't fit the mold of what most people think that looks like but I want to be Peggy when I grow up.  

So 2015, whatever comes, my one word is play.  I'm not a play-er and I ain't playing but I look forward to learning everything that God has for me in the arena of play.