Monday, August 31, 2015

Adventuresome Life

The time has gone by so quickly these past few days. We have gotten so many things done but I think our star player has received an injury and is now down for the count. He began the day weed eating the back and as much of the front as he could do. This morning he also worked on a stump, that really is such a descriptive but strange word, any way, he worked on a stump that had been covered over in vegetation. He didn't feel the pull then but as the day has gone on, Mrs. I have had just about every knee problem ever, has diagnosed him with an inflamed bursa sac. I'm not a professional, but I certainly have seen a lot of them in my day. If I had taken better care of my knees, I could have taken all the money I have spent on knee doctors and become an Orthopedist. Oh well....

It is looking very doubtful that we will be able to convert the fireplace to gas which up here means propane. So, when life hands you bad make another choice of how to combat the problem. We have an appointment in the morning with a different firm to see what our options are.

Yesterday morning we went to Sunday School and church. I cannot say it often enough, but I love my class. We have such fun together. Pastor Jeff brought another great sermon. Roy said he is going to bring a note taking notebook with him next time because he was running out of room on the bulletin. We did the KFC buffet for lunch and as always it was good. Then we went to Target to pick up a few things with hundreds of our new best friends. We had contemplated a few other errands but both of us decided a Sunday afternoon nap sounded better. My nap was longer but Roy soon was outside working on things. While I was gone to choir he changed out filters, folded sheets and started washing clothes. And for all these things I am thankful! When we came out of choir it was raining and all of us are thankful for the rain. It must have rained off and on all night. Vivian brought with her to choir two slices of the most delicious peach pound cake that ever crossed these lips. Delicious!

Tonight we sliced peaches and got apples ready to go. I will get them into the freezer tomorrow night. We both have eaten way off our natural course of meals so we both decided that making a peach cobbler could wait until another time. We've hung pictures and hauled off boxes. Yes, we live the adventuresome life, but I wouldn't trade it.

The choir sang tonight at the veteran's home. I remembered to pray for them and we were hopeful to make it tonight but when Roy went down with the bursitis, we knew it would be an evening in. I hate to miss out on these opportunities but more thankful to stay home and take care of hubby.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday Morning Catch Up

Ah, Friday morning. My heart and home are full, the day is bright and God's mercies are new every morning. We have lots to do today but we knocked a few things off the list yesterday. Roy installed Windows 10 and we made a dent into the wood chip pile. Underneath the wood chips, we found a huge mound of old mulch that had never been spread out and it must have been that way for a long time by the looks of it. Jennifer did not come down and talk with us but Roy is planning on going up there and talk with her. While we drove home yesterday Roy and I talked about shrubs or large going plants that we could put on our part of the land that grows out and makes more of a  property line kind of thing, yet they will hold their ground and not grow so tall.

The drive north to Tri Cities is much calmer than driving south to GSP. Although GSP is much nicer than Tri-Cities. TN gasoline is cheaper than what is in Houston. We ate Mexican food and then I was so happy to have help at the grocery store especially with the drinks, you know waters and Diet Cokes.

As in true Monablog tradition, it is now Saturday morning. Play that funky music mountain boys is going on down on the front part of our property. They are clearing out the front forty, feet that is. Roy was able to talk with Josh, another neighbor, and he was so nice and totally fine with the trash pine trees going the way of mulch. So far Jennifer has not come down to talk with Roy on Thursday or Friday but she will be thrilled with the removal of everything there on the access area. No more blocked vision of our exit onto the main road.

Yesterday, we went to Blossman Gas to see about a gas log insert and we got all the paperwork done only to see on our fireplace non vented inserts are not recommended. We are hoping to hear back from the salesman today and see about vented logs. The guy was so nice and he was very thorough explaining everything about the logs etc...but when it came to propane and he was going into everything, Roy beat him to the explanation and the guy asked how do you know all that? Roy said the propane you buy is probably bought from the company I work for...and no one is ever familiar with the name outside of the oil and gas industry...then Roy said, we own Dixie pipeline. Yep. that is where they buy their propane. Later Roy said too bad I just couldn't drive a truck here and fill the tank myself. Uh, can read my contracts but I don't want you filling my propane tank. That is out of his realm of expertise.

All that talking made us ready for lunch and we found ourselves at the Moose Cafe and that is not a bad place to find yourself. We had a delicious lunch and then went to the Farmers Market for ice cream but we came home with so much more...some beautifully decorated gourds, cherry turnovers, heirloom tomatoes and October beans. While I was waiting for Roy to get the ice cream, a post on FB came up from Barbers Orchard. They had picked honey crisp apples and it was first come, first served. Our day took a different direction than planned and we headed over to the orchard. Because if some is good, more is better we ended up bringing home a bushel. I told Roy we need another freezer. We also came home with peach slushes and a couple of apple muffins.  After a little rest we were back outside moving wood chips around. Roy found several "nests" not belong to birds so those went the way of destruction.

So, last night after much prayer and consideration, armed with a 20% discount, I ordered a handy dandy pre-programmed canning thing. Yes, I am technical. Also a tomato extractor to make tomato saucing a little easier. I will probably not try any of this out this season since produce season is winding down here but next season look out cause I will be making jams, jellies, sauces and the like. Yes, this is really me writing this Houston friends.

Just waiting for Smurf to come back and pick up the logs they didn't have room for on the first trip. Then we have errands to run and I think we are going to eat lunch out today too. I just added the gourds I bought yesterday that in a shape of an apple out with the other fall stuff.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


It is late afternoon early evening...much later than usual for me to write. Although, I did write my post of second that emotion later yesterday. Rereading that post I see I am all over the place but that is what happens when emotions are whacked out. I thought writing about them would help release the hold or rather grip they have had on me and somewhat it did help. Many times people who are humorous or jovial give the impression that at times life isn't difficult. Well, for all of us, at times, life can be hard which is a little beyond difficult. Thankfully, I have a husband that can talk me off the emotional edge and speak truth. Last night he had to do double duty to calm my fears and doubts.

So, there I was happily spraying Round Up on vegetation when our neighbor rides down to her gravel road above our backyard and asks me why we cut down her trees. Oh my goodness...she had stood on that same gravel road and told the tree guy, Roy and me we could do whatever we needed to do, she didn't want to have to pay. She wasn't ugly, but she was terse. We talked through everything and I refused to join in on the level of our conversation cause that only helps to escalate it. I reassured her, we were going to take care of the wood chips and that we planned to plant trees, on her part in the spring and we would want her input on the trees and yes, we would water them. Then the conversation turned into a few fear tactics and the like. Really, the trees we had cut down were partially our trees and would totally damage our home if they blew over in a storm. Most of what we had done was clearing out the underbrush and vegetation. They weren't going to do that. She did make a funny saying it was a good thing she wasn't the Floridiot and that is very true. Roy is going to go talk with her. Funny, when I told her that we were having the front cleared out she was all for that...I didn't remind her that she had told us there on that same gravel road that they would clear out the front because they had all the equipment to do that. Like I said it was a civil conversation but it was not the thing I needed to be added to the emotional turmoil I was experiencing. I came in and talked with Roy about that and how I just felt like I was imploding. Thankfully, he didn't try to do the manly thing and try to solve everything for me. He made me laugh with a there there. There, there, which is our funny of being compassionate. He let me talk through all my struggles and fears, both real and imagined. He made me laugh. He's good people. I love him! Think I will keep him!

I went to bed much later than usual because I wanted to finish this great book, The New Neighbor. No, it is not something I wrote...but I wanted to see how everything resolved. It was worth the late night finish which kind of knocked Buddy off her regular track. She was restless but not like usual and I actually got some sleep.

Today, Vivian and I went to lunch at Stony Knob. The food is delicious and I love the atmosphere. We had a great lunch, ran a Mary Kay errand and then we took off to Marshall. (City in Madison County, not the store) Yes! The store was open that I had driven by on Saturday. Lots of weird stuff in the store and it was interesting. Vivian didn't go in because of the dust and probably mold with all the old things in the old building. She was right to stay in the car. We took the scenic road back home...they are all scenic, but one I had not traveled on before. When I got home, I started doing all the last minute cleaning that needed to be done. I have a few more things to do. Last night I decorated the dining room with some fall type things. We didn't move any of the fall decorations from Houston up here. I tried not to go wild in Home Goods but it was difficult because they kept putting out fall decor. I even went into Jo-Ann's to look a bit and found a couple of thing to add the the fallish cornucopia of decorating, although I am not doing a cornucopia.

Something so encouraging happened this afternoon. I thought the Muhlenberg book would be at the Post Office but it wasn't. Something more wonderful was there, a card. A card from one of the ladies in my SS class. Her words were so encouraging to this soul who is needing a cool refreshing drink of water. The Lord used her card to confirm that why I am here and what I do is meaningful. It is helpful and along for free comes the laughs. I am so touched by her words and will treasure this card. I believe that this is the start of the healing process emotionally.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Emotions, What Are They Good For? A Lot but They Take Energy

I just got in from running errands. I had quite a few to take care of. Before I left the house though I got to talk with Mike the mower man. He is going to put in some stone steps for me to get out into the yard and also dig a little drainage area around the front sidewalk with a liner and river stones to help keep any rain water from pooling. He has a great knowledge of the property because he did a lot of work for the previous owner. We did not know that she bought most of land behind us from the people above us.  He cleared it out and said there was all kind of junk in the overgrown vegetation; car doors, bikes, suitcases...just things no one needed or wanted anymore, he cleared out some weeds in the back while he was here too. I am really excited about the steps into the front yard.

As has been my practice here on the ol' Monablog, I try to keep it real, no sugar coating things and I have to be honest with y'all, emotionally, the month of August has been really rough. I love it here, love my friends here, love Roy, love friends in Houston but emotionally there is something churning inside. It could be due to coming off several years of being on Tramadol. The knee doctor had me on a higher dosage than when I had taken it before. Since I have been coming off of it, the heart racing issues have subdued dramatically but when I eased off of this medicine before, it played havoc with my emotions. So that could be the reason. Then there was that major meltdown I had on August 3rd. It was a lot of things coming at me rather quickly. At first I thought it might have to do with being another year older, but that wasn't it. Snake sightings and a raccoon who was tearing it up in the backyard added to the meltdown. When I talked with Roy on the 3rd, he knew I was having a difficult time and he began acting on things he could take care of to help me some. Buddy is adding stress in the evenings because she won't settle down or settles but gets disruptive of sleep all night long. I could be feeling the emotions because I am not sleeping well most nights. Uh, that will do it to you for sure and the end result is, I sleep later than I want to because of the lack of sleep most of the night. Adding to all of this I feel like I have gone on a rampage of saying the wrong things...I mean things that I don't mean to say or not conveying the thought clear enough. I don't feel like it's a brain fog but more of being so frustrated right now by the way I feel, I'm not communicating how I usually do. Then I have to backtrack which probably looks like I am covering up or making excuses when it really is a matter of....well I don't know, maybe just being emotionally overwhelmed. It could the summer is coming to a close and I need more structure. I signed up for Bible study at church. I need to find someplace to volunteer but immune system wise, I have to be so careful of being around a lot of children or people who need help but aren't in that good of health themselves due to lifestyle. I know my purpose and find life meaningful in the best way, but yet these emotions of mine are all over the place. Roy and I are doing really well, better than we thought. Our conversations are fun and focused. We make decisions everyday talking things through and our love is stronger than ever. Maybe I know that change is in the air with our Katy home on the market and if it sells the chaos of packing and moving. Maybe I am feeling that change and shift in friendships that may or may not survive how I would like them to. There is always that readjustment and nostalgia that steals our joy and we willingly let nostalgia do just that, take away joy of the present.

It could be that I am studying and thinking too much. Ha, that made me laugh but I love this book on prayerfulness that rests in gratitude. Gratitude that abides in faith, hope and trust that the Lord has it all under control. I think about those who I know who suffer from severe lack of gratefulness and who are more about taking than giving or at the very least being thankful. They maneuver and try to manipulate to get others or me to act in their behalf, time after time after time. Then I have to pull that beam out of my eye and pun intended...but take stock in my gratitude quotient. Am I living a grateful and generous life or am I shutting it down just because I am feeling used?

So that is where I am this later part of August. Living with emotions whacked out and hopefully by the 31st this will have all played out. I am sure it is coming off of meds and total lack of sleep many nights. I apologize if I have been unfeeling, emotionally distant, needy, insensitive and distracted. I'm thankful to still have a sense of humor and know that this will pass...hopefully sooner than later and I'm trying to give this to the Lord and rest in His timing, healing and love.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being patient with me. Know that proper service emotionally will be restored soon.  Let us pray!

Bored of the Flies

Why is it our brains fool us into believing we can do things that weren't even a problem when we were younger and then our body brings us back into reality of no, that chore or thing you want to do isn't advisable. So how hard could it be to spread wood chips? Well, maybe in Houston it would be the heat that defeated the effort but here the temps are good but you find yourself working on an incline or a decline depending on which way you are working. The trees and vegetation were cut down on Saturday and the ants have already laid claim, big time, like the wood chips have become a gated community for them, in just a couple of days. First, I sprayed some Round Up on the weeds, then got a rake to help spread the natural mulch. You know, we are being so ecological only to realize now I have to use more spray to kill some of those ants. I spread a little of the chips...emphasis little and had the grand idea of going up to the gravel road and pushing the chips down. Note to self, it is not smooth and easy, it is rocky and with soft dirt, not too stable. I stumbled and bumbled a couple of times and finally decided to be smart and wait for Roy's help. I did not want to become a part of the ant condo. So, I resigned myself to doing those things I am able to do and decided a break on the front porch was just what I needed.

I am seeing victory in the fruit fly season of life. So, I first tried the homemade version of a fruit fly trap. Our friend Bill asked me the other day, how is that working for you? Well, it is not working. Oh I caught a few but apparently my fruit flies are Harvard educated and didn't fall for the Google researched way of trapping fruit flies. Bill suggested RAID. So, while I was at Lowe's I got the last can on the shelf of bug spray for the kitchen. I am not too fond of spraying for fruit flies in the kitchen but the times, they are a desperate. I sprayed the garbage can and that seemed to help. Yesterday, the professional help came via UPS, the Terra Fruit Fly Trap and it has worked quite well. Slowly we march to victory.

Several years ago a friend related her parent's experience of living in WNC and although they loved the mountains, the people and the views...they could not tolerate the bugs. They moved. Granted, there are a lot of gnats, fruit flies, stink bugs and the like. Yes, they are annoying but I'm willing to endure.

I remember Beth Moore saying one time, "every stick is not a snake." Of course she used this in a spiritual example when we think everything bad is from the enemy kind of thing or we look to make things that aren't into something that isn't or is. I could probably give a better explanation if I didn't skim listen at times...yes, even with Beth Moore. That being written, just as I trained my eyes to find ripe blackberries, I am now the great overseer of sticks, dead leaves and the makes no difference. Yesterday the way a shadow of a tree limb on a rock looked like the faint image of a snake from the view here at the desk. Of course once I looked out the window, I saw it was, you know a shadow. There is a rusty pipe on the bank of the garden that I need to throw away because yes, passing by the window quickly my brain alerts snake! Of course it is the pipe and it is brown and the snakes passing this way usually are black. Sadly, with the clearing of vegetation, our backyard is not popular with the birds. They like all the overgrowth and I have seen one chipmunk. Not so happy to see him but at least there is a survivor from the overgrowth season of life here in the mountains.

Monday, August 24, 2015

And Just Like That......

Normally, it is not too foggy in the backyard but this morning the fog has rolled out of the pastures above us, down the tiered garden and almost to the deck. Guess all the trees and vegetation, doesn't that sound better than weeds, being cleared away has made this possible. Last year I would wonder how people could get out in this and live life at early hours of the day. Well, you get used to it and hopefully everyone drives safely. On Monday mornings I don't know of many who are in a hurry to get anywhere unless one has overslept and will be late for school.

Some welcomed rain, although personally not the best timing, came after church yesterday. Dewayne walked me out to my car with an umbrella. This is not the first time a gentleman from Newfound has walked me to or out of church with an umbrella. Dewayne told me about his plans to ride his motorcycle up to Mt Mitchell but now needed to check the weather for that area. He also owns hogs and pigs and I think uses them all or one for charity events and parades. He had just had done just that the day before in Hendersonville to help raise money to feed families. Since it was still raining just a bit and was just a tad too overcast for me, I came on home and ate lunch.  The goose beans I had prepared on Saturday night were delicious and with lunch being eaten and the skies still gray the most logical thing to do was take a nap. It was a major Sunday nap and it has been awhile since I have taken one of those. No couch nap, I went to bed and had a refreshing deep sleep nap.

Upon awakening and being greeted with a sunny sky, the trip that needed to be made to Lowe's happened. Nothing like buying Round Up, a rake and some bug spray for fruit flies to make one happy. When I told Roy the consensus of all who either worked or advise on vegetation elimination agreed that Round Up would be needed or maybe a burn off, he changed his mind on using Round Up, thus the trip to Lowe's. I may try and do the side section by the driveway today. John and his crew come back Saturday to do the trees in the front and clear out all the vegetation on our access area. The state or Duke Energy should really do that, but I think we need it done sooner than later. It is just clearing the way for a spectacular fall view.Which, by the way, is predicted to be one of the most colorful years of fall foliagedom. Look Ma, I just made up a new word.

Saturday, after play that funky music chainsaws happened, I knew I needed to get out for a bit. The drive the previous day had cleared my heart and soul and I decided to drive to Mars Hill and go to a shop I had been wanting to visit. It was cute and kitschy, CourtneyS would have loved it. There were so many things to look at which included ice cream. It is a combo kitschy/coffee shop/mid century things shop. I pondered ice cream but fought the temptation. Next stop Marshall. Only I didn't stop. Marshall is an odd little town. Odd in architecture in that every building is right to the sidewalk. Like sidewalk...front door. That is especially an odd thing because even the churches, with the exception of the Presbyterian church, are just like the downtown buildings. Guess that is what has to be done when there is a small space between the river and the side of a mountain. You make lemonade out of those lemons of small spacing. I wanted to go to Madison Junk Shop but the guy who owns it doesn't keep regular fact I think a lot of shops there, and there aren't that many, do the same. Since Marshall is just ten minutes away, I can check often enough and hope to happen upon it being open. The drive to and from was beautiful as always. Again, there is that faint feeling of cool in the air and a little color in the trees. Fall will be here before we know it and with the coming of fall comes the visiting of friends from Houston.

Since I have lost my quarterly but have a new one ready for September, I don't always know what our Sunday School lesson topic is. The week we talked about fasting, I had planned to bring some apple cider donuts to class. Thankfully, I didn't make it over to Barber Orchards to get some. Yesterday, we talked about hospitality and not just the plain old kind but biblical hospitality. Romans 12 always comes to mind because here in the midst of all these "big spiritual" gift prophecy and teaching and serving, Paul adds hospitality. It made the list, it must be important. I took the opportunity to thank the class for being so hospitable in welcoming me to the class. From the day I first walked in till yesterday, they ooze, that's such a weirdly descriptive word, but let's see, they overflow with love. I look forward to the time after our prayer requests for Louise to pray. Wow! What a mighty believing lady she is. Every Sunday morning we are so happy to see one another, it takes quite a bit to get us settled down but I like what Judy says, that time is just as important as any other designated time in our hour together. It is healing, it is powerful, it is the fellowship of God. Every seat was filled yesterday morning and we would have needed to bring in chairs if a couple of the regulars hadn't been out. Really, the whole church family of Newfound is so kind and friendly. Last night at choir when I saw Larry who is usually greeting at the door on Sunday mornings, that it just didn't feel like Sunday without his cheery greeting.

Facebook memories this week have been especially poignant. Like on August 22nd last year is the day we found out that a last minute offer had been accepted on the house outside of Waynesville we had put an offer on. I don't think God scrambled to get us out of making a bad decision but I am so glad He was totally involved in the details. Our realtor was quite shocked at our reaction of, Okay. We are good with that. No we don't want to be first on the list if the deal falls through. The other memory was from 2008 when Peggy and I went to San Antonio for a Living Proof conference. It is believed by my cardiologist that I had a small heart attack on that weekend and didn't know it. We should have known something was wrong while at the bookstore, I just wanted to sit in the coffee shop area while Peggy explored the store. I mean really! We should have known something from that indicator.

And just like that, the sun is showing through and has burned away the fog. I am waiting for my second cup of coffee to do the same thing.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chainsaw Rhapsody

The sound of mountain music fills the air. A mountain rhapsody as old as chainsaws...fills my heart and land with a Hallelujah chorus in quarter by quarter notes of land being cleared and trees hanging onto a precipice coming down in orderly fashion. Yes friends, it is good to be in the mountains. John Robinson and his crew are working hard and the melodious sound of chainsaws has even brought out the neighbors. Only one neighbor came out of noisiness and he came to make sure it wasn't the neighbor across the way having her trees cleared. He doesn't want her to do that. She wants to thin them out some to protect her house from tress falling during strong storms. They have already cleared out everything beside the driveway and now are working on the trees in the back. Several of the trees are poplar and they aren't very strong or steady in wind. In Houston I know that Chinese Tallow trees and Ash trees are trash trees, in fact it is against the law to plant a Chinese Tallow tree now and usually you only find them on land that hasn't been kept up or worked on. Looky, a biblical principle. Bradford pear trees are beautiful but they split quite often than not. We have one in the back that is coming down but the one out front, away from the house is going to stay because they are just so dang pretty in the spring. The wild cherry trees out front that have grown tall are going too because they don't bear fruit...uh, I think there is another something biblical there. They are trash trees too. Once we get all this taken care of and I find out from my friends when it is the time to plant a tree, we will do just that. Like a Japanese Maple because not only are they beautiful but they are plenteous in autumnal color. Ooo, just got to use two of my favorite words in a sentence. I know Jennifer who lives above us will like all this land clearing since they have their house and land on the market. She is tired of walking upwards all the time and they are looking for rolling pasture land in middle TN. They have four horses now.

Buddy has decided to check out the noise going on in the backyard, in her cat-like way. Looks from afar on the stairs and then kind of glances as she walks closer to the window. Now that she has had a treat, she is ready to watch all the action happening.

Last night slicing peaches felt like the last thing I wanted to do. Checked them and all of them are ripe so into the refrigerator they went. Know I can slice them at my leisure within a two week period. I know Roy will want to use some of them in the frozen apple stuff he likes to make. Fruit means fruit flies up here and I have made a homemade trap that doesn't seem to be working but the professional trap I ordered from Amazon will be here by Tuesday. I'm getting pretty good at killing them by being happy and I know it...clap my hands. Happy me, smush them.

So far the guys haven't seen any snakes and I told them if they have and are lying to me, I am fine with that. I'm usually not too happy when I know I am being lied to but certain situations call for drastic measures and snake sightings would be one of them. Can you imagine if they told me, we found a whole passel of them and they slithered under your house would do to me? Services would be on Monday or Tuesday. No viewing, no visitation.

The mountain music has stopped for a bit of rest and you all know I can't read a lick of music but I do know there are rests and rest, songs.  Rest, rest was for you Linda V.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Might Start Singing The Circle of Life Song...It Could Stop Life as We Know It

Many times when I need to think or pray or pray and think, I get in the car and start driving. I don't need to drive too far to see the beauty of pastures and mountains. Sometimes I drive for just a short while and other times I just keep on driving going wherever the road takes me. Today was one of those days of going where the road takes me and frankly I drove all over and found my way home without using GPS. Driving around today was good for my soul and spirit because I have something troubling me and I want to respond correctly or let it go, correctly or walk away correctly. With all the driving today, I didn't get an answer but I do know my heart is at rest and I can rest in knowing that God knows. The hurt I felt has been washed over by the beauty of the mountains and experiencing God's presence. So that is a good place to be.

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it seemed good to stop in at Tommy's for the $5.50 special of two eggs, bacon and two pancakes. I can't eat two pancakes anymore but their pancakes are delicious. I sat closer to the kitchen this morning and found the sounds of the spatula scrapping and tapping the griddle to be very comforting and diner-like. I had a new waitress that was slow on the uptake but on time with the coffee refills. I re-read a chapter in the book I have been writing about on give and take, work and play and prayerfulness. Powerful! Oh, and the work portion in this book doesn't address just work, like a addresses any work we have to do whether it be housework, homework or volunteering work. I could have sat there and read for a bit longer but there were things to do and drives to be taken. First stop, CVS to pick up prescriptions, which I then ran by home and thus started my driving from a point of reference I am very familiar with.  I went here there and everywhere and came home with a $16.00 purchase of a picnic thermos from the 1950's with Monarch on it. I mean really, it needed to come home with me. There was a WalMart stop involved while out and about because I needed more orange juice to cover sliced peaches that I was thinking about working on tonight but have deferred this task until tomorrow. I also bought more Amy's Organic Burritos because they are tasting pretty good to me right about now.

Last night John Robinson and part of his crew came to the house to give us an estimate for tree removal and general land clearing. We walked all over looking at what are good trees verses trash trees in the rain. We had a nice little rain shower going when they came. His estimate seemed reasonable for the work, so they might begin tomorrow.  I hope they begin tomorrow. I almost had forgotten that they would stop by and it was a home alone kind of day makeup and I tried to fix up a bit not for them but for my self esteem. Bozo the Clown hair will scare even the toughest of mountain men.

I have been craving Bahama Mama's snow cones of late. There is nothing around here like that so on Wednesday I did the next best thing...something I have not done in a very long time...but it was a must situation...I bought a cherry Icee. Granted, it is not a snow cone but it is the closest thing to it. I thought I saw a shaved ice stand on the way home but alas it was a scrap metal recycling truck. Not even close.

This year viewing kids going to college for the first time on FB  isn't as melancholy for me as it has been in the past.  Especially, when it was Baylor related. This year I am enjoying the pictures and it isn't even a blip on the radar because of the Alumni By Choice thing in February. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat down to write a thank you to Peggy for nominating, writing, and celebrating that whole event. I barely can get started without starting to cry big old tears. And I am not a crier by nature. Of course when I got my first would you like to contribute letter from Baylor, I started not really.

I am thankful for Bill, Vivian's hubby.  While we have been out and about he has been on snake patrol here at the house. No snakes were spotted or harmed because they didn't show up. You really see how the world works when you live out here in the country. I didn't like having so many chipmunks and squirrels showing up at the bird feeder, so enters the black rat snake and he eats them. Now I don't want a snake or snakes around but vegetation and food source is what keeps them around. They are like us, they want their food fast and easy...without any effort. So, with me not feeding the birds and with all the small mammals gone, there doesn't seem to be the easy access food source. Thus, bring in John Robinson and crew to clear vegetation...I am sure by doing this I am screwing up some Eco system or something. And I just ordered a fruit fly catcher cause with all this fruit in the house, there are bound to be fruit flies and there are. I want them gone too but want the fruit as well.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Brief Moments

A drop of rain holding fast to a leaf has caught my eye this morning. In the midst of the verdant vegetation and with several shades of green foliage, there on that leaf the one drop reflects and radiates from the sun's rays. Truly a beautiful sight and so grateful I saw it this morning, that I caught that brief moment.

The pace here is such that I get to catch more brief moments and experience brief moments. Yesterday, I thought the day held a long wait at the Toyota dealership while Sequisha got a little check up and oil change but the time went by quickly in the waiting room because I came prepared and I also knew someone was coming to pick me up so that we could eat lunch together. Kind of how we live life as Christians, prepared for our wait with the Word of God and with the knowledge we won't remain because Someone is coming for us. So I spent time playing on my iPad and then beginning a new book that truthfully, was hard to put down. A lady came into the waiting room...a little aggravated and agitated because she had a long wait ahead of her and she hadn't brought anything to keep her occupied. Oh sure, there is the blaring TV and a few magazines...there are snacks and free drinks but nothing to really help her pass the time. She made a few phone calls and acknowledged the dealership had tried to help her by taking her over to the outlet mall to help pass the time. She was not interested. Truly, she probably wouldn't have been happy even if she brought something to do. If there was any contentment for her it was that she could find people new to the room and complain about her situation. Vivian picked me up around 10:30 and we went to the Moose Cafe for breakfast. Their breakfasts are as good! My first time to have breakfast there. We had a great time and while breakfasting the dealership called because Sequisha was checked up and ready to be checked out. Her new front brake pads are wonderful!

Since I had not gotten a lot of sleep Tuesday night my plans were to stop at Fresh Market and then go home for a long afternoon nap. After pulling in a parking spot, I glanced at my emails and saw I had one from the Amish store...I know crazy...Amish emailing, that the peaches I had ordered were in and needed to be picked up because by the end of the day, or they would go to those on a waiting list. Punted on Fresh Market and headed up to the mountains of TN. It is such a beautiful drive even with most of the drive being on a freeway. There was hardly any traffic. I picked up the peaches and a few lemon fried pies and I was out the door. There are several produce stands along the route and there is one in particular that is worth stopping at. They had ugly but delicious nectarines, fragrant cantelopes and something I had never seen before, Goose Beans. I had already purchased the fruit when I asked about Goose beans. They are grown in Kentucky and are an offshoot from the Kentucky Wonder Bean. When they cook, they cook up like soup beans and kind of make a bean type gravy...I mean who knew? So, I bought a couple of pounds and think I will make them tomorrow night. There really is so much to learn about produce that I never had a clue about in Houston. Like the peaches, I had never heard of Sun Hi and after eating one last night, I will never forget Sun Hi peaches. The peaches had not been refrigerated after picking and came directly to the store from Michigan. The instructions are to let them ripen, then put them in the refrigerator..something to do with the enzymes bringing in the best flavor. That Amish lady sure knows her peaches.

After filling up with $2.11 gasoline in TN, I headed toward home. Got a little nap in and then went to Bill and Vivian's for dinner.  It is really good to have a friend who loves to cook and bake because after a scrumptious dinner came dessert...Coconut Cake.  Slap your mama good! She also sent home a slice of that cake with me. Ah Southern hospitality at its finest. We sat out on her back porch which I think has the best view ever of the mountains and talked and laughed. I also got to play with Tucker the dog who doesn't know he is a dog. Kind of like my Buddy who doesn't think she is a cat unless it benefits her in some way to act like a cat. We talked of experiencing God's presence in the mountains which is quite easy to do if we take the time to experience those brief moments. I mean really in cities our view is well designed masterpieces called buildings designed by man but out here, the animals, mountains, flowers, trees and some of the most beautiful weeds you will ever see and you know God made this world and we get brief moments to observe and take rest in them.

There was a nature moment in the backyard yesterday and thankfully, did not involve snakes. Buddy and I were observing a bunny rabbit in the yard, although me thinks Buddy wasn't watching for aesthetic purposes. The bunny began to behave differently than I have ever seen a rabbit behave. For goodness sake, in Rancho De Five, they just eat and hop away. Of course throughout all this behavior of this bunny I am Googling as fast as my fingers and thumbs will work...trembling rabbit, then rabbit lying down extending back legs, rabbit lying on its side calm and relaxed...I was afraid that the bunny was going to bingo little babies or die. I am frantic watching for sneaky snake to appear and I must once again revive my role as Paul Revere, only instead of yelling the British are coming, I would be yelling the snake is coming...  Little bunny foo foo took a quick spit bath and hopped off after her relaxing spa time in our backyard. Either that or trying to relieve any gastrointestinal pain it might be experiencing. That is another thing I learned from Google.

Yesterday really was about brief moments for me. Moments that came unexpectedly and rewarded my soul with joy and with contentment. Enjoying time in singular sections not in my oh too often multi-tasking way of life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Just Sitting in the Waiting Room

Good morning from the Toyota dealership. I am doing something that Roy usually takes care of. So far so good. Very helpful and friendly for this novice. I was up much earlier than usual but once again I realize there is so much to see early in the day.  Really, the cows start out close to the road at 6:00 in the morning and twelve hours later in the evening, they are right back where they were this morning. The fog goes in and out until the sun burns it off. I was also up around 4:00 am and the back light of the sunrise was beautiful and I tried to take a picture but it didn't come out.

Hopefully, I won't fall asleep in the waiting room since last night was not the most restful and sleep-filled nights. Buddy decided to attack in the night and I was able to thwart the major offensive and deter her until she grew bored with the whole thing. I also turned over with the blankets over my head. And yes, this morning when I left...I woke her up several times just for the fun of it.

This morning I noticed the colors of the trees a little more. Yellow and red leaves are showing up against the green, the many shades of green. The flowers along the freeway are brilliant with vibrancy. The sunflowers are in their prime. More taxes on gasoline provide these oasis's of tranquility. The tree guy is coming tomorrow night to give me an estimate on clearing out a few areas and cutting down several trees that are leaning over the house. I am thinking about making the area close to the driveway a cut flower garden.  I'd also like to see if we can keep a couple of the smaller trees.

Finally, I got the DVDs unboxed and ready for watching. It is a whole process thing...bring the box upstairs from the garage, bring in the storage containers for the DVDs and let them sit around for awhile, then finally...put away yesterday. I also went through a couple of boxes that had been delivered this past week. It is slowly but surely coming together.

Update on car is turn indicator socket is bad and need new brake pads for the front brakes. Everything else is looking good.  I brought stuff to occupy me but there is some good people watching going on. I am always surprised by people who do not prepare for a morning or a day at the dealership. There is a lady here in that situation and they have tried to offer her shuttle service and things like that but she would rather sit here and do nothing. If I had something I could leave with her I would.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Haven't a Title

It is a beautiful, overcast morning. I relented from the earlier decision not to put out birdseed and did so yesterday. This morning it does my heart good to see the birds enjoying breakfast. I think a family of cardinals have build a nest in the big fir tree near one of the bedroom windows. I've noticed the past couple of days small signs of fall appearing. Falling leaves and a few trees have red leaves in the midst of the green. It is not significant change but just enough to give hope that fall will soon be here. I love living where there are four seasons. Also, I have heard from several that this winter is supposed to be a hard one. Better lay in some more Pop Tarts. I figure if it is a good hurricane staple, why not for snow and ice? Speaking of ice, I have been craving a Bahama Mama snow cone of late.

I took care of a bunch of errands yesterday and it felt so good to get those things off the to do list. While in town I picked up a few groceries and stopped at the produce stand for more nectarines. They aren't pretty but they are very tasty.

Yesterday, Vivian called to tell me about the flowers on the Alexander bridge. She had never seen it before and the time and thought someone put into that act is tremendous. So, I hopped into Sequisha, well you know what I mean, and headed toward the bridge. On top of the concrete rail were autumnal colored marigolds. There were many cars and most slowed down to take in the addition to the view of the French Broad River. I cris-crossed several times trying to take pictures and got to stop for a few seconds on the third and fourth trip because there weren't any cars. You wouldn't believe the thankfulness and gratefulness in my heart for those few seconds.  Later in the afternoon I went across the bridge to run errands and most of those flowers still adorned the railing which is a miracle in itself because huge trucks travel that way daily and with a repair being done on a bridge a few miles down the river, traffic has increased this way.

Still reading the chapter in the book mentioned yesterday on prayer and prayerfulness. I'm still thinking about regimentation verses discipline. Not always, but many times we fall into the trap is regimentation because it gives us a feel. If we are doing things or praying things in a concise, determined order, we feel accomplishment. Sounds good but not really. When we live our lives in all areas with that sense of regimentation, are we missing out on so much that God wants to give us and what He wants us to see or experience? Like the book says, "regimentation is rigid and brittle. Discipline is as strong as it is flexible. Regimentation is lifeless and discipline alive and life-giving." To free us from regimentation (by others and by ourselves) and to look with the eyes of our heart at who we are in God's eyes, so that discipline may make us creative. Seems odd that a seemingly undisciplined person is so interested in this but truly it has explained to me in a way I can understand what and how creativity comes in flexible discipline. I think I have aligned my thinking of what it is by measuring my discipline to people who are probably more regimented. It is freeing I tells ya!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Just a Few Monday Thoughts

Monday morning is beginning a little later than I would have liked because Sunday night there was an extended bedtime. Feeling quite good about an earlier bedtime was short lived because Buddy got the yips. She could not settle. I tried all the usual things that work and finally after falling asleep and waking up three times in forty five minutes I followed her downstairs and gave her a treat and then checked on her litter box and took care of anything that might be bothering her. Washed my hands and trudged back upstairs to go to sleep with a pillow over my head. Whatever I did must have been the thing because she was upstairs and ready to go to sleep not too much afterwards.

I really enjoyed the Studio Tour this weekend. In fact, I think I liked it much better than Weaverville's Art Safari and that is probably due to liking the mediums the artists worked in. My first stop was at the Addison Farm Winery which had about six artists showing their work. I was there to see the blacksmith.  He was self taught and very good. I bought a couple of pieces and then went inside the winery to see the other artists. Because I am always on the lookout for gifts made in the area, I talked with Terry who worked there about the wines and vines. So interesting to hear their story and the plans ahead. They design their labels too and they were quite interesting and well done. I bought a couple of bottles for gifts because their wine is a drier variety and if I am going to drink wine I like it on the sweeter side. Terry told me I needed to go see Marlo and the brooms he made and also make a stop at the quilter studio. It was a very beautiful drive but yet I think I drove through some of the area that Vivian had told me not to drive in alone. It was not intentional, it was the directions I was given. Friendswood Brooms did not disappoint. He and his family own an old building that formally was a general store. It was a feast for the eyes...all the things to see. I bought a hearth broom and it was the wood handle that sold me on it. They only open up that building for the studio tour but if he is back next year, I am totally going back. I felt like I was pretty far into the middle of no where and the quilter was even further out. The gravel road up to her house was a bit scary going up due to not knowing where I was going but the trip down seemed much shorter and not as dangerous. The quilts were gorgeous but modern. I went to a couple of other places but loved that I started with the ones I really wanted to see and got the added bonus of beautiful mountain scenery. Just when you think it cannot be more beautiful, you take another turn and the beauty multiplies.

The day was capped off with a trip to Lowe's for a lamp harp and finial for the new lamp. Found what I was looking for and came home only to be disappointed that the harp wasn't going to work on the lamp. That is when I looked out the window for inspiration and saw another black snake up near the top of the rock tier.The dumb squirrel, he really is dumb and already looks like he escaped from something with two big bites on his back, was moving right toward the snake. Granted I don't like the squirrels but if I could help him being at a safe distance...I would.  So I opened the door, screen door securely in place and yelled to scare the squirrel, thus saving his life. So I did what any modern person does, I posted the pic of the snake on FB. Had many comments but I love that my pastor, Pastor Jeff comments.  Hey I even got a shout out from the pulpit on Sunday morning... Everyone says get moth balls, which I have and need to get more, but Pastor Jeff added turpentine to the list of repellents. So I have some to make a line of demarcation and I am also calling a company in Asheville today about coming out and giving me a bid on clearing out some of the vegetation. Oh, I digressed, but I had to go back to Lowe's and get another harp for the lamp. I know everyone wanted to know how the lamp debacle turned out.

I figured out why I never read the Mitford Series. I had all the books even but I think I knew at that time if I started reading the series, it would make me want to move and find such a place and I knew the timing wasn't right. I just started the first book several nights ago and I can happily read knowing I found such a place as Mitford.

A blogger I follow is Andrew Feldman and he wrote about a book he's reading, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer. by Brother David Steindl-Rast. It is very good but it is one of those books you can only read a paragraph at a time and then think about what you just read. My goodness, it took me forever just to read and think through the forward of the book by Henri J M Nouwen, who is no slouch with words either. I am finally to the chapter on Prayers and Prayerfulness and I am being blown away by the thought that discipline is flexible and creative verses what we think discipline is, regimentation which is rigid and brittle, lifeless.  The example he uses in prayer and especially prayer with others is so basic but so profound. Sardines are side by side in a tin, in a box that is opened with the key attached.  They are side by side and together like we can be in prayer but watching a school of fish, sardines, in the water move spontaneously in different directions as they share the same space and life, he concludes that is how prayer with others should be. The sardines in the box are dead, they know neither spontaneity nor sharing. He asks when we gather together in prayer which sardine do we want to resemble? And he adds this aside, remember the side by side ones had to sacrifice their heads to fit into the box.

The day holds forth of things to do and thankfully it holds time of things to be.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bonus; Good Hair, Good Refund and Good Life

A foggy August morning just like I remember from last August when I was here for the month. Looks like the raccoon visited last night because the liner of the deck birdbath has been tossed. Since I was gone most of the day, yesterday, I didn't even put any birdseed out so guess he came by just to check things out and remind me he is out there.

Yesterday was an earlier morning than usual because of my hair appointment. I have to admit, I was about ready to write off the salon because of the numerous misfires including the changing of stylists by text. Instead of flying off a phone call in miffdom, I decided to go by faith to the appointment and make any adjustments then. Wow, the Bible is true, He really does care about the number of our hair because Christine is one of the owners of the salon. I hadn't been passed to a junior stylist. She looked at my hair and said it looks like you have two haircuts going on in here...of course one by the lovely Stevie and the other by Adriana, who was good but never realized how much texturizing my hair needs. Christine told me what she would like to do and the course we could take over the next several months. It was just like talking to Stevie and like Stevie did many times, Christine gave me a complimentary Orbie conditioning treatment. So we just did my base color yesterday since the blond highlights were still good and she took away the box shape of my hair and did it more on a slant. We will see if I can replicate the style.

I am jumping ahead to contrast my experience last night with the morning. I had ordered a lamp to go beside the new chair from My Habit and as it has been the case Fed-Ex delivered it. Good thing I had just returned home and was in the garage when Fed-Ex girl came because she is the one who leaves things outside the garage door and if I had not been home the boxes would have been soaked by the rain that came soon after she left. Last night I brought the boxes inside. The main box was beat up and torn just like most of the boxes delivered by Fed-Ex. I began putting the lamp together and I was missing the finial for the lamp and the switch of the lamp was a little damaged. I was so frustrated and had reached the point of complaining to My Habit. So I sent an email to them detailing the problem and added I have never complained to them before but most of their merchandise that has been delivered by Fed-Ex has damaged boxes and missing small pieces due to the condition of the box and I would have to consider not shopping with them anymore. Much to my surprise I had two emails from My Habit this morning and basically they refunded me the whole cost of the lamp. They had let the shipping department know about the Fed-Ex trouble and wanted to keep me as a customer...I am a VERY good customer of My Habit...  Not trying to go all spiritual on you but there is a time and season for everything under heaven. I felt that check in my spirit to go ahead with the hair appointment and the go ahead to complain to My Habit.  Does anyone need wisdom?  Ask God! He gives it just ask.

So in between morning and night I ran errands. Sorry, I just can't join in on the Target boycott over taking away the labeling for boys and girls toys and bedding. Now boycotting Target because it is back to school shopping season is a whole nother thing. It was a crazy happening place but I found what I needed and of course at Target, what I wanted and was out the door. Whole Foods was the next destination and the Asheville Whole Foods is not hurting because of recent publicity. It seemed busier than usual. They were out of what I had come in to purchase, so out the door and over to Barnes and Noble. Then it was time to head back toward home by the way of the gas station and lunch at La Carreta. Good guacamole.

I got an email from my Sunday School class in Houston email from the teacher to the whole class reminding them of what they are discussing and studying on Sunday. The topic finding yourself in times that have been faced with decisions in the midst of uncertainty and how God was in it possibly changing the direction of your life. I was reminded that this is what this whole past year has been about. The past few years have been difficult ones with health issues and with spiritual health issues. The intense heat kept me a prisoner either way, whether I stayed out of it at home or ventured out and paid the price for it later. We couldn't find a new church home and continued going to church somewhat sporadically where we had belonged for a long time which was very frustrating for both Roy and I but for different reasons. Then it wasn't going to work out with CBS and being a core group leader again because I would be gone for the training time and then Roy's idea for me to get out of the heat for a month turned into an adventure and surprisingly, we came home last August with a contract on a home.  Yep, you could say the direction of life changed for me and with God totally in it. He prepared the way to find a wonderful church to serve in and lovely friends to do life with. Bonus, the scenery! Bonus bonus, the dream that God has placed in my heart that only He can do. I do not want to try and manufacture it into existence.

Today is another art day where I live. They are doing an art safari like Weaverville did in the spring. I am excited to go see painters, quilters and metal smithers today. And as always, bonus...the scenery that surrounds these artists studios and workshops. Of course all honor goes to the grand and great creator and His kindness toward us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

May It All End Well

The last cousin has left the building. Life at the Ander House has settled back into the normal routine but not before a whole lot of fun. On Monday John, Becky, Mark and Carol set out for the Biltmore. I wouldn't have gone anyway but the chair we had ordered in May was being delivered Monday. So I stayed around home, making a few empty beds and getting a few things picked up. The chair was delivered around 12:30. I texted Becky to let her know I needed to stick around home because tiredness had crept in. I was thrilled that they loved the Biltmore and had spent the entire day there exploring the house, shops, gardens and exhibits. Then they grabbed some dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Guess I had scared them with the suggestion of eating all the leftover mushroom and pepperoni pizza. Luckily, I had found a veggie slice and didn't have to dine exclusively on the other. It was so fun hearing what they had done and how interesting they found the whole experience. Yes, I will admit it, we all were Vanderbilt nerds for the evening. Tuesday morning we decided to eat breakfast out and we went to Tommy's in Weaverville. It was delicious! Bonus, we were there at the end of breakfast so they brought all the biscuits they had left over to our table. So the cousins got to experience the whole southern breakfast thing. We ambled over to Mountain Produce where they could pick up some fruit and veggies and then we returned home knowing the inevitable was coming. They needed to get packed up for the rest of their vacation in Gatlinburg.  They all pitched in and helped me get the beds ready for the next group in. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that and how much it helped me. Before embarking on their next adventure, Mark suggested we call our cousin in Kentucky. None of us knew him all that well because he is our second cousin and he is about fifteen years older than us. We or rather I thought he had written a book but it was he read a book about all the murders in Muhlenberg County from 1900-2000. We have all heard this story of late about our grandfather and his brothers, a jerk that lived in the area, a coal car in a coal mine and electricity. We have wondered if this is really true and Ron said our family name has the most references in the book. He was so interesting to talk with on the speaker phone. His voice sounded just like his dads. Ron is still preaching God's Word and pastors a small church. Yesterday afternoon I did some research, found the author's name and email and also looked to see if the book was available for purchase. It is a self published book, so it is hard to track down but I think I have a few leads.

There is one disconcerting thing about hearing all the stories of those who have gone before us on my father's side of the does not end well. Just about each one we could recall and with the latest news on our funniest aunt...we come from a line whose later days are pretty screwed up and crazy. I didn't know that our great aunt Lizzie, not Borden, killed herself and before doing so, rewrote and changed up that will to benefit others, not family.  Hmmm....  We have the legacy on my grandmother's side of the family of duel secret families and hearing her life story this weekend, explains a lot of why my father continued in her footsteps when it would have behooved him and others for him not to. My determined purpose is to end life well...better than the beginning. Let's face it, in all our families, there can be dominate traits that can either be excused or accepted instead of faced and surrendered to the power of the cross. We would be under the curse and our God given rights (at least that is how we can see it) of comparison, control, competition, hard headiness, being self centered,wanting our way, harsh in judgement, jealousy, grudge holders, and any other lovelies you can think of but somehow these negatives have been considered strengths not things to overcome.  As Ron said yesterday, add drinking, gambling and the opposite sex to these and you got yourself a whole heap of trouble.  OK, he did not say whole heap but I just went Ellie Mae Clampett on you.  Guess this list could be true in all families of thinking well, this is just who we are or it is what it is.  No, it doesn't have to be. Proverbs 4 says guard your heart for out of it flows the wellspring of life. Believe me, I am guarding my heart because coming from a long line of conspiracy theorists, I do not want to go down that road. Doesn't end one wants to be around you...and the adjective crazy is put in front of your without end, Amen.

I just got off the phone with the genealogy and historic annex in Greenville Kentucky.  They are giving my phone number to the author and he will contact me concerning ordering his book. She said, it might be a few days cause his mother in law is illin'.  OK, she didn't say illin' but she could have very easily. Think we are on the right track.

In all the fun and laughter of the last few days I hadn't had a chance to see what my brother had brought me from his boxes from our father, who is not in heaven but in a rehab facility, anyway, I digressed. Doug gave me a begonia plant that was started by my grandmother, then mother, then him and now I have a part of that plant. I really need to keep it alive. He brought me four plates, four of the plates I have written about earlier...what joy to have these things that were touched and loved by my grandmother and mother.  A few doilies, a couple of blankets, pictures and hair.  Yes my friends, you read that correctly a snippet of some long blonde hair.  No one knows who it belonged to or why it had been saved but lucky lucky, I am the possessor of this hair in a plastic bag. I think the best way to honor the person who saved the hair and the person whose hair it was, I am going to put it out where the birds can use it to build their nests. And maybe just maybe in the annals of Kentucky time, of Muhlenberg County, it scares off snakes and raccoons. Thus it will all end well.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cousin Time

This afternoon has had off and on rain showers. It is good because we need the rain but I'm hoping that my cousins trip to the Biltmore today hasn't been slowed down by rain. The showers have been of the scattered variety.

It was cousin weekend at The Ander House.  Doug, my brother, cousins Mark and Carol and Lois and Scott arrived on Friday night.  They were in for a treat because Vivian cooked and brought over on Thursday a downright, wonderful southern supper. I picked up a honey baked ham on Friday to complete the the meal. On Saturday we meandered over to Waynesville and John and Becky, fresh off I 40 met us for a late lunch on Hazelwood Ave. We had great fun and I guess we were a little loud because a table of two ladies asked to move elsewhere. We did the Waynesville thing, Robin Blu, Mast General Store, Barber Orchard and Mud Dabbers.  The Brevard Mud Dabbers is better. We returned home, rested and some unpacked...then we had that delicious taste treat of Gas Station Pizza for supper. I do believe I converted my brother to gas station pizza. Sunday morning I went to Sunday School and then Doug and Becky came to the 11:00 service. The others, un-named, remained at home. Since Pastor Jeff is preaching out of Revelation, you know the service can't end at noon...especially as his series is the Letters to the Seven Churches. If you come here a visit to Moose Cafe is always a great option for lunch or supper and since Lois and Scott were heading back to Georgia and we'd be close enough to the Biltmore to get the tickets for Monday, Moose was a great location and choice. We said our goodbyes and then headed over to the ticket office...since it was just after 4:00 and admission is free after 5:00 with a pass holder or rather everyone in the car with a pass holder, we decided to go do what Doug would enjoy and we went to the Antique Tobacco Barn and walked around till almost 5:00. Then we returned to the Biltmore and went to the creamery for some of their delicious ice cream.  We did the drive around the estate sans the house and garden and since it would still be open, we went to the winery. By this time I was pretty much hitting the wall energy-wise and told the group to go on, I would be there eventually. The shop had a few new things and they all had the opportunity to taste some of the wines.

This morning Doug left at 5:15 to be in Chattanooga for business meetings and I suggested the back way over and he was not disappointed. The scenery is breathtaking. The rest of us stirred and got up a little later and then cousins were out the door for the day at Biltmore. The chair that I had ordered in May was delivered this afternoon and so I have hung out here getting things picked up and beds made for the next group that will be arriving. Feeling pretty good I won't have to do it all at once. As I have settled down this afternoon, bird watching has been quite enjoyable and Buddy seems very content that she has full run of the house right now.

It is kind of funny to think that we five cousins are now the old ones now. One day we were the kids sitting upstairs trying to send one of us down stealth like to hear what the adults were talking about. We were never successful, because Grandma and Grandpa's stairs had too many creaks and squeaks in them to be very silent and sneak down stairs. It was quite entertaining yesterday as Doug and Carol sat in the very back of Sequisha, finally used that third row, as they bantered and teased one another. I had great fun being a tour guide and sharing with my brother and cousins, this land that I so love. We are discussing the next cousin weekend next year and it might just be more centrally located...maybe in the land that Becky and John know and love, Branson.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Foggy in the Valley on a Hill

It is an overcast and foggy morning.  When I was little my mom told me I would say it sure is doggy out today. Foggy or is. We may have a few showers come through this morning. We got a nice rain for a bit yesterday late in the afternoon.  The flowers surely have responded to the liquid nourishment. Kind of like how I am responding to my first cup of coffee this morning. It is the kind of morning you would love to either sleep in or lounge around and read, but I have things to do and thankfully, no people to see...thus it is feeling like a no makeup day.  I might make a trip to the dump to take some empty boxes, but that doesn't seem to be a full makeup kind of occasion.

Yesterday, on our Wednesday out and about day, Vivian and I went over to Waynesville.  Last August I was spending quite a bit of time there because we were looking at houses in the area. Thankfully, because the Lord watched over us and knew the plans He had for us, Roy and I didn't get the home we had put an offer on but it is an area I like to go back to and visit.  Mainly from August to December when Barbers Orchard is open.  We had lunch at the Bourbon Barrel or whatever the place is called...I know where it is located...that's the important thing.  They have great soups, salads, and sandwiches.  We also made a quick stop in at Robin Blu.  Love that store!  Then we headed out to Barbers.  When I got home I remembered that Mud Daubers Pottery also has a location close to Waynesville, just a little farther down the road from Barbers.  I am going to stop in there on my next trip over that way.  Mud Daubers is family owned and the brothers run the stores separately and have different potters displaying and selling at each store.  In the past I have not been a huge fan of pottery but I have enjoyed the store outside of Brevard and Roy and I have bought several pieces on each visit. It is also reasonably priced and many times pottery is priced more than I would like to pay. There is a potter in Madison County I would like to go see and I learned about it from one of the many southern online sites I subscribe to.

This will not be a fully developed thought and some of you are saying, so what's new, but for some reason I got to thinking of a family that attended the church where I grew up.  I remembered that the father had died years ago and the son had died about ten years ago but didn't know anything else about what had happened to the rest of the family. Off to Google and I learned the mom had died in 2012 and the daughter lives in another state.  When I read the obituary for the mom, I was stunned. She had been a talented artist and had an exciting career after the death of her husband. To see this lady every Sunday walking to church with her two children, she slightly bowed and crooked in her gait that she carried in her a passion and talent. It seems to me I remember the husband may not have been the best husband and father...but like I wrote before...this will not be a fully developed thought or conclusion, but it is giving me much to ponder and to think over.

Well time is a wasting.  Got company this weekend so there is much to do.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Celebrating with Buddy

I share a birthday with a special someone...Buddy Lee Beardsley.  She is ten years old today.  I gave her some special treats but I don't think she knows it is her birthday. I enjoy her being here about 98% of the time, the other 2% is when she has a little temper tantrum in the middle of the night.  And then, I'm not too thrilled with her presence.  She came into my life as a "he" but she came into my life at just the right time.  She was a little timid about the stairs when she first got here but she owns those stairs, like a boss.  When I come home, I call out her name and she comes running down those stairs to greet me. Of course if I wanted her to do her performance for someone, she will stay upstairs until the cows come home. That is just being a cat...She also does this intense stare thing at a door or wall and then runs like a cat with its tail on fire up the stairs...which scares me and I wonder...did she really see something or she just being a cat?  So far, she has just been being a cat.

Thankfully, I am out of my cranky mood from yesterday. Truthfully, I think everything stressful hit at one time and I was having difficulty getting my thoughts and actions organized over what needs to be done.  The raccoon and the snake were probably just icing on the cake. Then we need some landscaping done and clean out overgrowth that has just seemed to appear overnight. The good thing is the birds love it, but it's looking messy to me.  We need to take the TV back to Best Buy because Samsung seems to have an issue with the picture staying off but you get the sound.  I rarely watch TV but when I do, I hate messing with this. One thing that did put me in a good mood was getting the porch light to go dawn to dusk staying on, not just motion.  I think I got the other light by the garage doing the same thing but we will have to see what happens around dusk.  With the light and the added addition of battery operated motion lights on the deck, I don't think Mr or Mrs Raccoon visited last night. Besides, I took away the finch feeder for the night and put it out in the mornings. Yesterday morning in the midst of my emotional meltdown Roy called. He could tell from my emails I needed to talk it all out and we got some of my crisis' solved and some are on the road to resolution. By the end of the day, dare I say it, I was back to normal. Or as normal as I can be.

Thus I awoke to a new age this morning. I did some stuff around here to get ready for company this weekend and then I decided to celebrate my day I should go to Lowe's. But before leaving the house I had a fun phone call from Peggy with birthday greetings. We got caught up with her at Best Buy and me leaving for Lowe's. I found somethings I wasn't looking for at Lowe's but didn't find what I went for. So a stop at Tractor Supply seemed to be in order and they were closer to having what I was looking for, but not exactly. I had decided to go out for lunch and had planned to go to the Mexican food joint in Weaverville but instead I tried Tommy's. The parking lot is always full of cars, a good sign, and the reviews I had read were very good. It reminded me a lot of the old One's A Meals in Houston. Tommy's is owned by a Greek family and if we have learned anything from My Big Fat Greek Wedding is, they can cook. I decided on a hamburger/fries and an order of onion rings.  Hey, it's my birthday. The fries were average at best but everything else was fabulous!  The waitress told me I should come back for breakfast some morning and I do believe I am going to take her up on that from the look of the breakfast menu.

Buncombe county is having trouble with Waste Pro, the designated trash pick up for the area and they are ready to terminate the contract.  Our garbage has not been picked up I was coming back up the drive and the neighbors were outside.  We got to visiting a little and the bad neighbor ran over their water well head with his mower and is refusing to have it repaired.  So they are out there trying to get it fixed.  I came back in the house to wait for dusk and to see if the lights came on...they did!  The back is flooded with light now but I feel there needs to be much more light on the other side of the yard.

Well this birthday girl is tired.  I have laundry to fold and beds to make.  All in all turning 61 hasn't been all that far.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Facts of Life...Backyard Version

Monday morning.  I'm on my second cup of coffee, I slept much later than I had planned, and I have to go out and pick up the mess that the raccoon made last night in the backyard.  Roy has an employee that doesn't like nature, in fact she always responds to his stories of NC with,"ugh, nature!  I don't like nature."  I like nature, the birds, butterflies and flowers but a raccoon and a snake this past week is almost making me say, ugh...nature.  Funny, this song from 1980's TV keeps going through my head,      
                             You take the good, you take the bad, 

you take them both and there you have 
The facts of life, the facts of life. 

I think while I am in a little bit of a cranky mood that I need to get out of today...but I think I will add to my list to be cranky about; bad traffic.  Really, it doesn't have to be dealt with like in Houston because just about everything I need is close by but when I have to go south of Asheville on I 26, that can put me in a cranky mood post haste or if someone I know is stuck in it...ur.....   Houston friends, it is like being on 290 with construction, but only two lanes...that never move....and when you finally get through it all, there weren't any wrecks or a "nothing to see here" type rubbernecking situation. Just lots of traffic with a steep grade.  Maybe it is more like I 10 and the Campbell curve before all the improvements on that freeway.

So here in the valley on a hill, I'm cranky this morning.  But with the bad of raccoons and a snake sighting, there is a lot of good to go with the "bad."  I had a wonderful but too short of visit with John and Paige Bolin and children.  They got stuck in the I 26 traffic but the good from that was Moose Cafe lunch.  Their visit brought such joy and the weekend weather was perfect for getting out and about.  I am so thankful they added a night to their conference to come here.  It was so exciting to hear about all that is going on with the Choir and Orchestra at Houston's First.  Sadly, they had to leave early Sunday morning for their flight but they left in 57 degree weather and Smoky Mountain Roasted Coffee in to go cups and apple cider donuts from Barber Orchards.

Choir practice was fun last night and we are singing On the Banks of the Promise Land on Sunday morning.  It's a little bit of a different arrangement only in the choir sings the verses.  Such fun!  We had a full choir yesterday morning, so vacations are wrapping up and everyone is getting back into school mode.  I think schools begin August 16th here.

Since my Black Rat Snake sighting one evening this past week, I have not seen it or any others.  Before I saw that snake, I had been standing about six inches from it.  You know I had to Google NC Black Snake and get the facts.  One article repeated this phrase, if you are fortunate enough to see a black rat snake...  What????  Anyway, yesterday I told my SS class my praise was, I didn't call our realtor and have a For Sale sign put in front of the house.  That's my usual reaction to my no action when I don't like something about our home or surrounding areas.  We did put our Katy home on the market Friday.  Roy is frustrated because he has to leave the house spotless every morning and he has to make the bed.  We are just testing the waters to see if there is any interest.

As I wrap up this post, I am watching the little finches and the butterflies.  There is a bright red cardinal in the dogwood tree.  There is a cute little chipmunk on the deck, but I am not too happy about that but...join in with me in singing...No... sing with me,

You take the good, you take the bad, 
you take them both and there you have 
The facts of life, the facts of life.