Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just Another Day

The familiar beeping sound of a truck or something larger backing up drew me out of reading thinking the roofing materials were being delivered. I looked out the backdoor and saw large tires coming up our road. Quickly, I ran upstairs and put shoes on and rinsed my mouth with Scope while coming back downstairs. I opened the garage door and it wasn't roofer guys, it was the propane company checking our tank and filling it if needed. The tank was good but he made note they need to come out and paint the tank and remove some visual inspection pipes. I was kind of glad it was not the roofing guys because the grass is being mowed on the property behind us and since the people who bought the place don't live there yet, we are taking advantage of the gravel road to store the metal until they begin work tomorrow or Thursday. Anyway, I got up early for such a time as this.

Sometimes in your travels here and there you come across something that you know will make someone's day. The perfect gift. But, we have all given throwdown gifts as I am wont to call them. Back in the day I kept a little stash of generic gifts for that just in case situation. Oh, you brought me a Christmas gift and I didn't get you anything...oh here, let me look in the closet and yes, here is a gift just for you. Sadly, it is not the gift remembered, it is not even the fact they know you didn't get that gift with them in could be this, it would be better not to respond in that moment with a throw down gift but actually take time to respond later with something more in mind for them. I quit giving throwdown gifts because throw down gifts can make the receiver feel kind of bad. After receiving a couple of them in life, it changed my attitude. It reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live skit, nothing says Happy Valentine's Day and I Love You than a last minute gift from CVS. I am so thankful for the gift of living here and that is no throw down gift from the Lord or from Roy. Reading Chase the Lion gives ample opportunities to stop and say thank you for the quiet moves and shut doors that made this whole thing possible. The chapters I just finished reading goes into great detail of premoves, quiet moves and closed doors and how God uses those instances and these don't result in a throwdown gift from His gifts are specifically planned for each one of us.

Hearing the news of Gene Wilder's death made me a little sad. I have never seen Willy Wonka but I loved his work in Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. We still quote many lines from Young Frankenstein, have a DVD and watch it when it comes on TV. His quiet sense of humor, that wasn't in your face but he let you come to the joke on your own. Those are my favorite kinds of comedians. He and Gilda Radner seemed so happy together.

Yesterday while running errands Brenda called and asked me to come over for supper. That is not an invite you are likely ever to want to turn down. She has brought me meals and I tell her I can make several different meals out of everything. We ate veggies from their garden and she was trying to use up the last of the squash and green tomatoes. We even had butternut squash, which I love but never fix. She showed me the easy way to fix fried green tomatoes and now they don't seem as daunting. I had to slip out as the sky grew from dusk to dark and we were treated to a beautiful sunset at the top of their hill. So beautiful! Of course I had to taunt Lisa and Dena.

We keep saying this but there is that feel of fall in the air. The changes are slowly coming. Many think this will not be a good year for the turning of the leafs because of the heat our area has experienced.

With all the DIY videos on FB to make just about anything, I cannot help but think of my mom. She wasn't a do it yourselfer to the core but she did attempt and had great success on many a project. I have many of the whimsical things she made me through the years. Doing those kinds of things brought her great joy and of course when she gave those whimsical things to others, they had great joy. My mom had a very playful side of her yet she could be kind of rigid in the aspects of play. She only played board games with us during storms. She didn't usually play with us but would take the time and watch the numerous shows we prepared and performed for her and all my solo lip syncing performances to her Four Aces Album, Three Coins in the Fountain, usually brought the house down...well, it was just my mom. When the girls were little and we would play Barbie, my mom would come and play sometimes but if Barbie didn't have set goals other than shopping and a nap, she was out of there until Barbie had some structure in her play life. But I have digressed, because this paragraph started out about DIY stuff. The thing that would crack my mother up was the back in the day repurposing of everyday material. She once read you could use the styrofoam containers from hamburger and make jewelry trays out of them and she thought that was ludicrous.

Well, the afternoon is going into evening and still no roofing stuff. No worries, still on mountain time. I got stuff done and rested while waiting today. Oh well as Scarlett says, after all tomorrow is another day.

Monday, August 29, 2016

On The Day Before and First Day of School

The necklace I have on today makes the same tinkling sound as the bell on Buddy's collar. So every time I move about, I think Buddy is nearby when in actuality, she is upstairs sound asleep.

School begins tomorrow around here. It seems much later than in recent years. This also would be the day I need to find a couple of things while not school related would be found in the stores that carry school supplies. So I decided after church to make the search at Walgreens and if need be CVS. I kind of found what I was looking for at CVS. While out and about the thought came to mind to pick up something for lunch but decided to just go on home and eat lunch there because it would be just that quicker for a nap. And a nap I did take.

We finished up our quarterly this morning with a quick look at the Psalms. One Sunday for the book of Psalms but it was such a good lesson on praising God and worship. It felt which I usually use that term for food only but friends began sharing different things in class that came straight out of the Psalms...things happening in life. We ended our time together reading out loud the three Psalms we looked at, 1, 100 and 110. We had a nearly full class and our Margie was back, wearing a sling on her fractured arm that looked more like an accessory than a medical help or device. I am treasuring and savoring these times together because I will be away for three to four months from them.

Which I remembered something yesterday about being motivated. I used to workout a whole lot when I played sports, because there was a motive to be and then stay on the team or at the top of my game. Then when I got so ill in 2008 and lost all my functional fitness I was motivated to regain as much functionality as possible. Since then I should be motivated to workout but meh with the exception of PT after hip surgery. Now to be ready and be in the best possible shape both physically and mentally, I have motivation these months ahead of knee replacements. So, I need to take a picture of my Sunday School class and have it before me when I am in the throes of hard work, pain and challenges because these kind friends will motivate me a whole bunch to get back. And maybe I will miss all the snow and cold weather. We have been having quite a few foggy mornings. Although if you are near water you have more fog so I don't know if it is across the board on the snowfall kind of thing.

This weekend as I have been reading Chase the Lion it has reminded me that people who are on staff at big and mega churches should go do work at a smaller church for several weeks just to be reminded how most people involved in church ministry do work. Lot less casting vision and a lot more hands on, hands on the plow type work. Then I think staff from smaller churches should spend a couple of weeks at big and mega churches to see how things are done on a large scale and bring that knowledge home and use it accordingly in ministry. We saw a video done by the North Carolina Baptist Association this morning. A Chinese man started ministering to people who work in Asian restaurants. They meet on Saturday or Sunday night after the people get off work. So they are meeting at 11:00 pm. He has started nine Bible studies like this. Wow! Such a creative way to share the Gospel.

Monday, Monday...yes, it's a new day. Last night during and after choir several of us in Sunday School together marveled at how God's presence was so powerful yesterday. We knew His presence in class and it overflowed into the service. The music, the prayers and the sermon unfolding what happens when we worship. In our lesson yesterday we talked about Psalm 1. Most of the time I have heard it taught not to walk, sit or stand with those who can add to your walking away from the path of the Lord but yesterday we talked and discussed that the Psalm is really about delighting ourselves in the Word and meditating on it.

I took the opportunity to sleep in a bit this morning and then read during a leisurely breakfast. Now it is on to other things requiring my attention.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

It Could Have Been A Different Story

Good Morning! A better night's sleep and the fog has burned off quickly. The coffee tastes especially fine and I am contemplating my breakfast choices. I totally missed National Waffle Day and I had Eggo's in the freezer. One of my very favorite Seinfeld's was on last night, the can't spare a square episode.

And it is now Saturday evening. I need to pick out my church clothes in a minute because if I don't do this the night doesn't go so well on Sunday morning. Yes, I never returned to the blog yesterday but I did think about doing so...just didn't. Late in the afternoon I got the notice that Barber's Orchard now had honeycrisp apples. If it hadn't been so late or if I lived closer, I would have gone yesterday. Oh my goodness! The joint was jumping...lines long. Lots of people there for the honeycrisps but others there for the corn and squash. People had called ahead to reserve both of those items. Shopping carts were a premium, so I asked the lady loading up her car if she was finished with her cart and I brought it in. A lady reached over and grabbed the cart and told me she would take it from there and then I told her what I had done and she apologized. So I did my shopping there, got out of the mess of people and returned home. Took care of putting things up and then I headed to the grocery store. It was one of those days. It seemed this one gentleman was the bane of my existence in the store. He cut in front of me, slowed me down all while talking on his phone. I paid for the groceries and loaded them into the truck but the cart wouldn't cooperate, so I put it in front of the truck to keep it from rolling and went back to putting cold stuff in the cold bag I brought. Well, guess who parked next to me? Yep, the formerly mentioned man and he backed out and his mirror grabbed onto the truck door. No damage for SequishShawn but he had a pencil sized dent by his mirror...he asked me to just straighten out his mirror, I told him about the dent and he shrugged his shoulders and continued on his way. I took the cart back inside the store, got into the truck and then got a little upset. It was the combo of very little sleep, the lady at Barber's running her cart into me several times, this guy and now I worried that he had hung around while I took the basket in so he could get my tag number. I called my attorney...I mean Roy. As a side note, I think Roy gets bored on the weekends so he calls me alot. I mean by 3:00 pm, he had called me five times. Most of the time he caught me I was someplace where I couldn't hear him or our call was breaking up. So, I call him and he starts teasing me about something and I finally asked him if I could tell him what had happened. Now, thinking this is the weekend and he has been so relaxed and funny, I thought I had compassionate, I got work mode...loud talking...order giving...Roy, the attorney. He told me I could have told the story without so many details and then began to number out for me...the steps to take if this guy contacted me etc... I interrupted him. That's enough! I don't need to hear "here's the deal" again nor do I need the loud talking and could I have just a cup of compassion? He became...calm, nice Roy.

When I got home, I put up most of the groceries and then sat down and just took some time. Buddy came and sat on my lap for a bit. It was good to just settle. I had eaten lunch at the Mexican restaurant and read Chasing the Lion. It is so good and speaking into my life. But I do think that people get confused with the terms big dream...if you're not scared, your dream isn't big enough. I think we all tend to think big dream means huge, world changing some huge ministry or something but I don't think that is what that means. The dream I have will affect people yes, but I will be happy if a small number are able to experience it and see the Lord work in their lives. Mark writes about those chance meetings and things that happen to us and change our lives. The book is also confirming what I have heard in my spirit the past couple of years.

I will sign off with this little funny. I was outdoors in the early evening yesterday checking bird feeders and also getting ready to put out more potting soil. I had gone back into the garage and as I was coming around the corner into the backyard, a big brown and white boxer was coming around the same corner. It scared the pee waddling out of both of us and thankfully I had taken care of the pee waddling aspect before going outside or it could have been a different story.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Roofs, Tiffs and Kindmess, I Mean Kindness

After a horrible night's sleep, I am up early today anticipating the delivery of roofing materials. Not that I think I have to be here because goodness knows, that stuff isn't coming into the house, only on top of it. I'm excited that Roy has spoken to a contractor about our front porch. The economy has caught up here and most contractors have more business than they have had in a long time. Other projects down the road, the back deck conversion and the master bath remodel.

Buddy and I had a little tiff last night. She was restless and really wanted a treat. I had gone to bed and wasn't going back downstairs. Then compassion overruled my heart and mistakenly I thought maybe Buddy is having trouble making the big jump onto the bed. So idiot that I am and knowing better, I picked Buddy up to put her on the bed. Oh my, what a mistake. She was unhappy and she was ready to tear into me the moment I sat on the bed. So I am trying to think this aside, her nails really need to be trimmed. I knew she was going to have to be banished because there wasn't any way I was going to be able to get in bed and go to sleep. I should have picked her up using a towel but silly me, thought I could pick her up quickly and get her into the hall. She scratched my arm and hand up pretty good on the way to the hall. Out she went, door shut...banished from my presence. I have read that separation is one of the only things discipline wise that will get a cat's attention. Of course, I could not sleep and within thirty minutes she was crying outside the door. After about an hour, I opened the door and went back to bed. She jumped up and laid down beside me....purring and she went to sleep. Glad one of us slept well. We don't have these times very often and I knew better than to pick her up and put her on the bed. Buddy has a temper...such a diva. For the most part it stays away. Guess Buddy isn't different than most of us, not wanting to be controlled and having decisions made for us without any consultation.

I love the conversations that Roy and I have in regards to life and such. He had been thinking about a conversation he had with a friend. They discussed how the church, especially when it comes to men's ministry, buys into too much of the transitionary culture of the day. He has never thought this warrior idea was a good thing and has said many times, those programs or studies are really making men into Esaus and not Jacobs. Now I will tell you Roy is as strong as they come, maybe not physically but spiritually and mentally...oh yes. There isn't anybody else that I want praying for me more than Roy. He goes about quietly doing his work, stepping in to help with little regard to ego...who gets credit or if his name is mentioned at all on any project. He truly does not grow weary in doing good.

Well, the roofing material didn't come today but Mark Batterson's latest did, Chase the Lion. I applied to be on the launch team and thankful I was chosen. I have a God sized dream and anything I can learn about that whole journey is welcomed. They put the first two chapters in PDF but I reread them today as I began the book. Chapter 3 is blowing me away. This evening I sat out on the front porch reading and watching the well as the birds. The third chapter talks so much of kindness and how one small act of kindness can change everything and leave an ongoing legacy. You cannot help but think of the kindness' extended to us. If you did a timeline of my life and where it should have all gone wrong and of course, you would see people that God placed in my life that extended such kindnesses that were truly life changing. I have no clue why I thought about this but I remember when it was becoming apparent I needed female surgery and when I left the appointment with the doctor, we all agreed that this would be done to improve the quality of life for me. Driving home in nearly 5:00 traffic on the loop, the call came in from the doctor office.The call surprised me cause I wasn't supposed to hear back from them until the next week. The ultra sound I had just had revealed I had a large tumor and the doctor told me he would not know until he got in there if it was malignant or benign and that he would be changing the surgery date that he had given me. Not sooner but later, July 5th. I tried to get ahold of Roy, but he was in meetings. so I had the long traffic filled drive home to think through what I had just been told. Not only did I have the long drive, but Roy emailed me from the meeting letting me know it was going to go much later than he had anticipated. Man, I felt so alone and yet I knew God's presence was with me. Roy knew moments after the surgery was completed, that the news was good. He was so happy and so was I when I came out of my morphine induced euphoria. Also, I would like to interject that another kindness was Cynthia Crain, who came and sat with Roy during surgery. While he attended to the paperwork of having a private room, she escorted me with all the nurses being wheeled into my room.  The day after surgery the doctor came by to see me. The tumor was benign and he revealed that he had changed the surgery date because the oncologist he felt like would be best for my situation wasn't available until the 5th. He went on telling me he had really thought with the way the tumor looked and the size...he had everything prepped for the news, malignant. I told him about family and friends who had prayed and that God still had things for me to do. He then said the kindest words to me, encouraging me to be helpful with others who would face the same surgery. He sat there on the edge of the hospital bed talking to me like a friend for over twenty minutes and I think it is one of the kindest things a doctor has ever done. In fact, he called me several weeks after surgery and asked if I would talk to one of his patients facing the same circumstances as I had to encourage her and help her with fears. I have always called that time in life and the six weeks recovery, the time of new mercies. Each morning I truly saw the new mercies of God. How kind of the Lord to do that for me.

It would be so kind of me to draw this long post to a I shal do just that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

All Up To Date, Territorially That Is

I think it ironic that the territorial male hummingbird sits on a shepherd's hook that says WELCOME in our backyard to chase away any other hummingbirds that might invade his conquered territory. He is on patrol early today. I love watching those flights of fancy.

The day is a bit overcast and the forecast is 50% chance of rain. Not that the 50% chance means we will get any. I have learned this summer we live in an area called dry ridge by all the oldtimers and locals over a certain age. I have also learned this summer how to shuck corn and keep most of the corn silk in the husk and off the corn. I love learning these kinds of things...also before de-corning a cobb, run your knife through every other row of corn and split the kernels. That helps get the corn milk out of the cobb for creamed or fried corn. And last but not least, do not cut the corn off too close to the bottom of the cobb or you'll have more cobb taste than you'll want.

I keep thinking about the verse the pastor used last Wednesday in the funeral service Brenda and I attended. It is Ephesians 4:28b and he used that verse to describe the man we had come to pay our respects to. His friends that spoke at the service basically said the same thing, the man was honest, you never had to doubt where you stood with him and he was a hard working man. The story of how he had come to own his farm was a tribute to those words. At the age of 13 he began working for the couple that owned the farm and he kept helping them through the years. He kept the farm running when the Mr died and when the Mrs died years later, he found out that she had left the farm, the house, furniture and all the equipment to him. He had worked that farm after his regular job hours. Wow! But the verse in Ephesians begins, if you are a thief, quit stealing...instead work hard with your hands and be generous. That's my paraphrase. I think most of us stop thinking about the verse when we read quit stealing and we think, well that's not me. I don't steal. But that whole last part of Ephesians 4 is set up like used to but don't...instead be this. So much to think and meditate on...especially the anger part and not giving a foothold to the enemy. I do know this, coming from an anger and fear background, I love life so much more not being angry over every little thing or taking things personally. Keeps the heart beating steadily and in rhythm.

You know today was one of those ease into the morning kind of day. I had begun a little bit of cleaning but some reading drew me in. I got dressed but that's about it. Kitchen a mess, books stacked up everywhere...which I don't think as clutter but as part of my decorative scheme. I heard something on the back deck and my first thought was snake....but I knew a snake didn't make that much noise or at least I hope it doesn't. It was my friend Karon. She got the full non makeup non hair did and a messy house but I was happy to see her and she came bearing a gift. Yehaw! She brought me a beautiful metal birdhouse that looks perfect in the color scheme of our home...if you could even see a color scheme today. I had also gotten a text from Vivian asking if I would like to come by and do a taste test of the coconut cake she had made. Well, I had to pray about it... The cake is delicious and between the layers is lemon curd...coconut cake and just doesn't get any better. We did a little catching up on the back porch and then I was on my way back home.

Our neighbor has thinned his herd a bit but has added several new cows to the mix. Gee, what does it mean when I am all up to date with the neighborhood cows?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Checking In On A Tuesday

Fragrances can take you back to a moment of time. There are some days the air outside has a fragrance that takes me back to my grandmother's home, her garden full of flowers and her fruit trees blossoming. Then there are those fragrances that remind you of school days or a how the dentist or doctor office smelled. The fragrance that caught me by surprise yesterday was in church. The stirring of people and in that little stirring I sniffed in a cigar smoke sweetness mixed in with Ralph Lauren fragrance kind of scent. At first I couldn't remember where or when I had known that aroma and then it came to me, the bouquet was the fragrance of a friend's home. A friend from the long ago days of tennis. Her husband smoked a good cigar brand and their home had an earthy, woodsy, almost masculine air to it. I loved it! I tried to emulate the same fragrance in our home, you know without one of us having to smoke a cigar. Ralph Lauren did make a home fragrance spray that was reminiscent of what I wanted and it was my goal to spray and saturate rugs, throws, furniture...anything that would encapsulate that aroma and become synonymous with our home. There was even a beryl wood candle that came close to replicating my friend's home. After a while I gave up, Ralph quit making the home fragrance spray and the candle scent was discontinued as well. I didn't give it another thought until yesterday in church when I remembered bouquet. Yep, I was sitting at my friend's kitchen table talking and dare say gossiping about tennis or whatever filled our conversations. About the time she turned 46 she decided she was through with the tennis portion of her life and it seems like she and her husband got involved in raising horses or something. The last time I saw her was at a mutual tennis friend's husband's funeral. Well, they were all good friends outside of tennis. She seemed incensed, no there wasn't any seemed about my presence there at the service. I sat with tennis friends and had come out of the deep respect I had for Jane. My friend's callousness caught me by surprise, but in hindsight it shouldn't have. Her life had been made up of going from thing to thing, interest to interest. She had a room full of things or hobbies she had started and never completed. I was in that tennis portion of life and I'm sure my presence there only reminded her of a time long ago, when she left the courts and not on top of the game I might add. I was hurt by her callousness since we had been good friends at one time. That is the last time I saw her. Heard from friends they sold there home in Memorial and moved to Cypress with the intention of moving to Colorado one day. Who knows? But that fragrant reminder of days of yore when a lot of things meant so much to me then, don't even register on the radar now.
It is now Tuesday evening. This morning Roy told me there had been a two alarm fire near the apartments we lived in when we were first married. off Winrock and Ella Lee. I went to Twitter to check the news and sure enough just down the street from where we lived, the fire had done its damage. I have to say that was the most fun apartment we lived in. Our bedroom window faced Ella Lee and when we had parties, which seemed like every weekend, those who got there early or on time would gather at that window and as our friends walked on the sidewalk to get to our place, we would chunk cookies down on them. Each week I would buy the cheapest cookies possible all for throwing out the window. Sadly, people were always on time and the opportunity to throw cookies out the window weren't as frequent. This apartment was huge and had lots of storage. In fact, I think we had more square footage than our first home in that apartment. Nothing like having a unique greeting to one's home.

Mike the Mower Man was here today and we talked a little about future plans around here and projects for him in the winter to do. He brought up that ugly word, snake. You see, I have not seen a snake this summer and I was beginning to believe that it would stay that way. No, he had to tell me that he saw a garden snake eating a frog on the other side of the deck. I don't know what it is about our deck but I do believe it is the underground railroad for small animals, snakes and birds. Happily, I left and headed over to Waynesville to do some antique shopping and maybe pick up some gala apples. On said journey the phone rang but I didn't recognize the names...but they had to be in my phone to have their names displayed. When I got to the antique store, there was a text message....oh yes, my next door neighbors. Ben was letting me know their dogs had cornered a big black rat snake in their yard and he felt sure it had sought cover over in our yard. Great! Ben also added that he had encountered one of those big black rat snakes over the weekend while working on installing stereo wires into his home. There underneath his house...well, let's just say if that had been me, it would have been my final resting place. He told me you usually see three snakes a summer. I am counting on hearing about snakes as being the same as seeing. So now I have to walk a little more gingerly and much more aware when outside. While over in the Waynesville area, I stopped to pick up some brisket to go. Yep I had a delicious dinner of brisket, Goode Company BBQ sauce, baked beans and sliced tomatoes.

Well, that's about all for now.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Adventure and Dreams Await

This has been a quiet afternoon only being interrupted by a Buddy meow now and then. It is the kind of afternoon I have needed even with having one of the best Saturday night sleeps I have had in a long time. I made cornbread and red beans and rice for lunch but not as soon as I got home from church. No, I came in and rested a bit before fixing lunch. It has almost taken a month and a half for my body to recover from the heat of Houston in the two week visit this summer and then going through the hottest summer here, ever! Which doesn't even compare to Houston but nevertheless, heat is not kind to me. It has rained several times but nothing heavy. I am extremely thankful this afternoon.

I am so excited to be a part of the launch team for Mark Batterson's new book Chase the Lion. Just like with Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson, I didn't think I would get picked because of my age but on the application they asked a little bit about you and since Mark's books, like I know him personally and call him Mark, but you know....anyway he writes and teaches on dream big or having a God sized dream...that only God can do. Until the book is delivered, they have posted the first two chapters for us to read. I have been reading and re-reading those chapters online and should print them out because I need to highlight just about every sentence. Yes, I know I can highlight on line but it isn't the same to me. This morning before church and after reading the Sunday School lesson, I pulled out the much loved, underlined, written in book of Walking on Water by Madeline L'Engle. Her words so encouraging just like I find Mark Batterson's to be. One quote from his new book I like is, "The best way to discover your dream is to help other people accomplish theirs." That is a good word because for many years I couldn't tell you what my God sized dream was but I could see and help others with their dreams. On the application I wrote that I was on the adventure of a lifetime. In fact today on the this day thingy on FB, it reminded me that we had put an offer in on a house close to Balsam Mountain and we felt there were other offers as well. I liked the house okay, it was a great house in terms of liveability and for guests but the view, while good, wasn't the one I was really looking for. On the day before we put in the offer our real estate agent and I had visited the house that we now own....yep there in the details, the people on Balsam Mountain accepted another offer and we began the process of turning in an offer on this house and like it is said, the rest is history. Peggy has always teased me that I didn't ever do adventure in life but our definitions of adventure are different. Like coming back from the dead with my heart, well that was an adventure for sure. I think moving to an area of the country that you have fallen in love with over twelve years of vacationing there and moving knowing only one or two people is quite the adventure in my book. I learned a lot by walking with a friend in the adventures and dreams of her life several years ago and I began to understand, not from having a mission statement or purpose statement, but from seeing how God plants a dream in your heart and how it comes to pass. Moving here of course is a dream come true but the God sized dream that we have, mainly I have, is to go even further and help others have time away from stress and the rat race and all the things that take our attention. Another quote from Chasing the Lion I like is this, "A God-sized dream will always be beyond your ability, beyond your resources, Unless God does it, it cannot be done! But that's how God gets the glory."

So a part of the happiness of late is our new roof that will be installed in the next couple of weeks. A red roof, but not a Red Roof Inn. There were three colors of red, although my first choice started out being a gray/silver but how fun is it to have a red metal roof? Well, I am thinking quite fun. So I have been sharing and showing our choice when given an opportunity cause, I am dang excited about this. When I was a kid, I had a friend who talked about visiting her friend Go Go with the red front door. She never ever called her just Go Go, it was always the whole title because this friend thought it was exciting that she had a friend with a red front door. Josh mentioned shutters if we wanted them in the same color but I need to find out if we can get paint not for shutters but for our front door, which by the way is red, but I want to make sure it matches the roof.

Good Monday Morning! I slept in just a bit. When I went to sleep I wasn't feeling a 100%. Maybe too many naps yesterday. Anyway, it is a beautiful Monday morning. This week promises to hold less humidity and lower temps. Welcome...the end of summer! I saw the red leaves in Biltmore Village along the sidewalks and some of the professional photographers who spend time up on the Parkway have been noting the red leaves strewn here and there as well. With the rain yesterday the clouds were low on the mountains and filling in the valleys. I had to stop and take pictures before going into choir.

I bought into Olympic watching rather late and now I'm glad that I will not be tempted to stay up rather late watching everything. Well, now the day has officially begun, Buddy has come downstairs. Guess my next order of the day is getting her some treats.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Studio Tours, Closets, and Weather

It's funny how just a little something can bring back memories from long ago, thoughts of a time when clearly I was treading water figuratively, just keeping my head above the emotional fray and trying to find some direction for my life. The thing that jogged my thoughts this morning were a few pictures on FB of the renovation and remodeling of South Main Baptist Church in Houston. The pictures showed the new details around the columns and decorative aspects of the sanctuary. I never attended South Main but they were on the cutting edge for the times of doing ministry for teenagers and several times my friends and I would go there on Friday nights to hear music groups or hear someone speak. The Baptist Book Store, that is what Lifeway was called back in the day, was right next door to the church. I spent many a Saturday afternoon perusing the store. My most poignant memory is Christmas 1972. With money I had saved and with Christmas money from my grandparents, I went to the Baptist Book Store to buy an Amplified Bible, a genuine real leather one. My preference was burgundy but I would take any other color if that wasn't available. My heart sank because the price of the Bible had gone up and I had the exact amount of cash for the Bible I had priced at Thanksgiving. The lady helping me knew my disappointment and offered an Amplified Bible that had a defect of light printing on two Jeremiah. She offered me that one at the old price and I gladly paid for it and took that Bible home. That particular Bible got me through a world of challenges, joys, and disappointments. This morning I am remembering a church who cared about teenagers and a lady who was used by God to once again show me, He is in the details of our lives. Oh the Bible with two pages of light printing, it was burgundy.

Since we did a brief look at Ecclesiastes in Sunday School, I am again reading through the chapters. Some find Ecclesiastes depressing, I don't. Guess you could say I'm a realist with playful tendencies. The book really tells it like it is, chasing the wind and vanity and the like, but there is a great amount of hope involved too.

Ecclesiastes 5:16-20New Living Translation (NLT)

16 And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind. 17 Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

 Verse 17 reminds me of my father..worked hard, chased the wind and thinks he can take what he gathered with him yet the truth is he has lived his life under a cloud, frustrated, discouraged and angry. Never enough, not good enough when it came to just about everything and thus he spent many a day, week and month sabotaging things worth celebrating or living for. As a saboteur circumstances turned out the way he planned that way, he was never disappointed yet he threw everyone else into chaos and upheaval. But I love verse 20, God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past. My past is just that the past and there was a brooding day but verse 19 plays in so well, enjoy your work, your lot in life because this is a gift from God. I am certainly enjoying life and brooding rarely happens.
It is now Saturday afternoon. It has been a full and fun day. Yesterday, I began cleaning out one closet which led to two closets and eventually the pantry. Funny how that works. The original closet, well, it still needs some work and most probably I will get to that a little later. Since I am still staying away from the trash can excursion down the driveway with the bin and would rather just carry a big bag, a trip to the landfill was in order. $3.00 well spent. I also went to the Post Office, then picked up meds from the pharmacy and got an ice cream cone from the DQ as my reward.

This morning I got up to be ready early to get out to Addison Vineyards to see the blacksmith whose work I love. This is the weekend of the Leicester Studio Tour. It was a good thing I arrived early because he only had one door knocker and I claimed it. Last year on this same studio tour thing I bought a couple of pieces of his work and regretted not getting the door knocker...saw him at a Christmas show and he didn't have any. His work has become very popular in these parts and beyond. There were other artists in the winery tasting room, very talented. Then out to see the Appalachian broom maker at his studio. Bought one from him last year but didn't really see anything that caught my eye this time. Lunched at Turkey Creek and hit a few other stops and made it home just as the heavens opened with a nice rainfall. Rain cooled air and it is 79 outside. That rain made perfect short napping weather. Now the sun is out and the hummingbirds are defending their territory from one another. There are more now, guess word is out there is some good eats to be had.

And just like weather in Texas the sun is covered by clouds and we might get more rain. It never rains here...well, it does but not like everywhere else.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Catch Up Time

According to the weather gurus our hottest days are behind and we can turn toward fall. This has been a rather warm summer for the area with high 80's and low 90's. I know Houston friends are thinking well, those temps are our spring temps but on the fifteen day outlook low 80's are the highs. Even one local weather guy says next week will be open windows at night worthy. I've noticed a few brown leaves and some of the annual flowers are beginning to fade out.

I did exactly as I had planned yesterday, lots of reading, some writing and a little working on projects. Those are good days. Quiet and serene with a little rain and a little bit of thunder thrown in for good measure. There was a little something added to the day. I was sitting here reading just after having a delicious sandwich, a tomato sandwich and as I read a small fruit fly was being a nuisance. Engrossed in my book and not paying attention, I breathed in that fruit fly...didn't swallow it but breathed it in. I got up so fast out of this chair...jumping about and blowing my nose with such focus and intensity. Eureka, fruit fly was extracted and I was rather happy with that development. Reminded me of that old song...of course with words changed, " I know an old lady who breathed in a fruit fly. I don't know why she breathed in the fly...but it died."

It is now early evening. Brenda and I went to the funeral today of Tony Lewis. I did not know him but know his wife. The funeral home was packed out, people standing in the halls and we were with a group sitting in the back rooms watching the service on TV. Such a good, low key service. Two friends spoke, several songs and the minister the church the daughter goes to did the service. People from all walks of life were there. Coming from a background of presentation over real I so enjoy the simple ways of presenting someone's life.

Now it is early Thursday evening. It was an early morning as I went to Biltmore Village early enough to find a parking spot. Then I had breakfast at Corner Kitchen. That place was hopping for a Thursday morning. Got my hair cut and made a little trip to The Screen Door and I found something that needed to come home with me. I'm still trying to determine where this little industrial table will go. I found it at one of my favorite booths. The guy has really interesting things and they are priced well. Good thing I came on home because Josh came by early. His company is installing out new roof. We are getting a metal roof in a dark red color. The bright red was too red and the barn red was too orange and a little bit too much UT for us...that's University of Texas not Tennessee. The metal should be delivered next Thursday or Friday with the work beginning after that.

Since Josh had come early in order to beat the storm, I was able to get some errands ran in the rain but it was finished by the time I got through. I put up groceries and then settled in for a quick but much needed nap.

I saw some red leaves on the ground in Biltmore Village so maybe we are making that turn toward fall. Next week is supposed to be cooler and less humid. Well, little miss priss is up from her nap. She is knocking my phone and mouse off the arm of the chair. She is demanding attention and I better give her some.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reflections on a Tuesday

Oh welcome Tuesday fog and the butterflies are out in force in our backyard. I don't think we had as many butterflies last year. The sight of all those butterflies both large and small stop me in my tracks every time. Then add the hummingbirds with their element of territory...makes it all worthwhile to stop and see.

I had a very fun Monday. Brenda and I went to lunch at The Blue Rooster and then we made a stop in the Hazelwood area. She loved Robin Blu and who wouldn't? It is such a fun shop. Since we were out that way we stopped in at Barber's Orchard. They had Ginger Gold and MacIntosh apples and lots of other produce. Since Brenda had just canned a ton of green beans and corn, I asked her is she needed more or more squash. Uh, no...she is done canning for the season. She told me about a few antique shops that I didn't know we will make a return trip. During the six months that Barber's is open, a trip to Waynesville never seems long. Besides, the road getting there is one of my favorites.

Upon returning home, I took a short nap and then headed over to church for a women's ministry meeting. I could not find the unlocked door and interrupted prayer time but at last we connected and Tonya and Karen led me to the open door. Great meeting and planning for the rest of the year and looking ahead to next year. We have many good opportunities in the days ahead for service projects and ways to love our community and the women in our church. Since Sunday I keep thinking of and praying for a woman in our community whose husband passed away unexpectedly Saturday. In the past fourteen months her son and father passed away as well. She had a great little antique store but had closed it down...I don't think the junkin' brought her much joy anymore. If you think of this lady would you lift her up in prayer?

This is one of those days where nothing is scheduled and I can or decide not to work on a couple of projects. There is always something to keep me busy around here. This morning I slept in just a tad and thought that on this day in several months, it will be the day after my knee replacements and I am making an effort to remember today for the days ahead, where I watched butterflies and birds, listened to the songs of nature and enjoyed the beauty of the earth and God's creation.

One thing I have done is bring in the enamel table that was on the front porch. It is such a cute table and the elements are starting to affect it. I thought it might fit in our bedroom but no dice. I did find a place for it in the front bedroom at least for now. I will see how it goes. It will be a great place to sit and write...not that there aren't so many places now. Almost every room has a desk. Oh look, it is starting to rain a little and the mower man for the people above us is working rather quickly to get the section done right behind us.

It is almost impossible to type because I have a cat tail across the keys. Buddy always likes to be involved.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Battle Roy-Al In The Backyard

Ladies and Gentlemen! I would like to welcome you to the Sunday Afternoon Battle Roy-al featuring two hummingbirds, a variety of birds and butterflies. In the backyard we have champion fighters and a few bullies. Even a peace loving dove has gone to the bully side. Right now, the hummingbirds are taking on all comers. A female cardinal has accepted the challenge and at last glance she has gained ground in getting access to the bird feeder that in all actuality, hummingbirds shouldn't care about cause they are all about that sugar water baby! The hummingbirds sit on top of the shepherd hook and it is as if they are preening while waiting on the next bird or butterfly come lately. There is plenty for everyone but they'd rather expend energy chasing each other around, through the air with the greatest of ease instead of loading up on energy. And I only thought the cardinals were quick in the air with those brilliant red flashes of color. My lunch was quite entertaining. I'm so glad we didn't put a TV downstairs. The bunny and chipmunk have stopped by as well but they don't seem to notice all the activity in the sky. No, they have their noses to the ground eating great bird seed that I scattered away from the house for them.

Yesterday didn't turn into the day I had planned. A pottery maker in Madison County is opening up a retail location in Asheville. They were having a sale of older work and some seconds, priced to go. I wasn't all that interested in the pottery but more so seeing their studio and how they work. Many times the studios are located in areas of limited access. So the plan was to get up, get ready and get out by 10:30. But...Friday night was not a good sleep night and I was so tired Saturday morning. I didn't get that early start and after a few phone calls it was looking more like an early afternoon jaunt. While I was on the phone with Brenda, the fire alarm goes off...then stops. A few minutes later it goes off again...then stops. I texted Vivian and she would send Bill over when he got back home. I checked the fire alarms upstairs, all the lights were burning green. They only fire alarm that Roy and I hadn't messed with is the one downstairs because I didn't think there was a battery in it. Bill checked it out and the battery still good. While I was waiting for Bill and cautiously doing things here at the house I went to The Google to see what might cause the alarm to go off when the cause isn't batteries. Dust...well, now..wait a minute...ok it could be dust or little bitty spiders...ugh, think I will go with the dust excuse that can cause the alarm to sound. I also found out in my research that smoke alarms need to be changed out every ten years. Bill then confirmed that and said if I go get the smoke alarms, he will install them for us this week. Now that's an offer I can't refuse. I decided I should just stick around home and so I did a little house cleaning and such but enjoyed reading and watching the birds also.

Last night was not a good night for sleep either. I had a minor health issue in the night and once I settled back in and got Buddy settled down, I was able to fall asleep but morning came early. I fell back asleep and I almost overslept Sunday School. Yikes! I was able to get ready and out the door and arrived before class started, even though Inez and I found the door shut. I suggested we kick the door in but level heads prevailed and Inez just opened the door. We were in the book of Ecclesiastes today. Lots to cover and so interesting.

In Monablog fashion it is now Monday afternoon. Had such a fun day with Brenda taking her to the Blue Rooster for her first visit. I'll have to write about that another day.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Few Friday Things

This is a totally easing into the day morning. I have nothing concrete on the schedule except a few things that I would like to take care of and if it happens today, great and if not...great. I stayed up again to watch the Olympics. Swimming is deceptively powerful. It looks so easy via the camera to glide through the beautiful blue or sometimes green water but even though your eyes are relaying that your brain knows better, that there is a lot of hard work involved. Gymnastics, I have appreciated since childhood but also knowing that tall girls are not cut out for that amount of tumbling. Better to watch volleyball or basketball if one is a tall girl for inspiration. Last night toward the end of Simone Biles floor exercise the power went need to fear, we have a generator that kicks in but it was a short burst outage and everything came back on but you know the TV is messed up from that. So you are waiting for the modem to kick back in. Saving grace was the fact I knew the outcome and I knew I could catch it on Twitter a little later.

I sat out on the porch till around 9:00 last night. A great breeze and the cows were quite entertaining. I had sliced up some cantaloupe which was quite sweet and refreshing. It doesn't take long to appreciate fruits and veggies that haven't traveled that far from where they were grown. I am ruined for store bought apples and peaches. The Amish store is offering the ability to buy concord grapes from New York. It is tempting but they are seeded grapes. Yes, it has come to this, I am too lazy to pick out seeds from fruit. Thank you seedless watermelon for spoiling me.  Why when I was a little girl, we ate seeded grapes and watermelon while we walked three miles in the snow to school, even in the summer.

It is now evening and the day turned out differently than planned. I've been on a major clearing out of things, so I decided to take a couple of bags of trash to the landfill and not wait until the regular pick up. It was three dollars well spent. Now mind you, yesterday I was dressed really nice but today I am in work clothes and work makeup which means very little makeup. Uh, for those whose minds go to Smutville, I had on the regular amount of clothes. Anyway, I ventured over to the mall. I don't really like the mall but I needed to check on a magazine at Barnes and Noble. It's not on display yet but the walk is rather short to Belk's, so I went there. Found a lot of 50% off things, with a 20% off coupon. Then I went back to Barnes and got two books I have been thinking about purchasing. I made a quick trip across the street to Whole Foods. They had peeled sliced oranges and at a really good price. Yes, I just a few paragraphs ago owned up to not liking seeded fruit but when you can find sliced oranges I don't care how much of a dilettante it makes you, it is a must purchase situation. Then I came on home.

Roy has this fancy dinner thing tonight and when this whole thing began, it was formal dress but with all the heat and humidity, the latest update changed to business casual. He is wearing gray slacks and a blazer with a tie in a jacket pocket just in case.

Last Saturday Roy met his brother Mike and Mike's wife Deborah for lunch in the Woodlands. They were in town for a wedding. Sounds like the Woodlands is a whole 'nother world when it comes to parking, kind of like City Centre. Roy had a nice visit with them. Deborah was telling Roy that I should take magnesium and the good news is I already take it. Once all this stuff started you better believe I did research to figure out how I might be able to help myself. Now that I know I will be having knee replacements, my knees have been acting up a little more than usual. I am taking this as a sign unto me that getting this done is the right decision.

I have settled in for the evening. Have lots of things to read and projects on the schedule.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Don't Be Riff With Strife

Some mornings here change rapidly weather-wise. The morning can begin overcast with a sprinkle or two of rain, then a slight fog can be detected on the mountains in the distance and that foggy mountain view can make for some scenic pictures. As the sun breaks through the clouds and fog, we begin to experience a sunny beginning to the day and that can be short lived or extend throughout the morning and afternoon. All that can be happening and can be seen from a chair in the living room looking out a window. I have seen some great rainbows in that window that necessitated further investigation. And on cue the sun has burst forth and covering the chair and floor with its glorious light.

I don't know what triggered this memory, yes I do, all about looking out windows and the differing views observed throughout mornings and days, but I was thinking about the day Jason, Ministries Pastor, and I moved into the Ed Suite now known as the Ministries Suite. It was not a move I was thrilled about. Our little team of Jason, Matt and I had been off by ourselves and now we were thrown into the sea of multiple desks and little offices. My office had this huge window in it that looked out onto the admin's desks and at the top of this window, in big letters it had the word INFORMATION and an arrow pointing into my newly acquired office. My first act of moving into that office was getting that taken off the window and I felt rather Reaganite cause when 'INFORMATION" came off the glass, it felt like the Berlin Wall had been torn down or the walls of Jericho come a tumbling down. When we ordered new blinds for the windows in our offices, I made sure that big a$$ window was measured and fitted for blinds. The previous occupant of that office wanted to know and observe everything that was going on in the inner sanctum of admins. I trusted they were doing their work just as I was doing mine. Oh happy day, when the blinds that were purchased, took the glare away...oh happy day. The previous occupant of that office had moved over just one office away and we came to heated words several times in the next few months. One time our persons and words spilled out of her new office and into the heart of the suite and because I had a parent, my father, who had the same type of personality and behavior as this person, my words came out easily and with great confidence. I could totally spiritualize this and say, I was like David defending the sheep from the lion and bear, so I had good practice when it came to defeating this giant of fear among the admins. In the midst of this huge "discussion" I realized we shouldn't have spilled out of her office and afterwards all those young women told me how they had loved witnessing the take down and they would like to see that happen again. As much fun as it had been for me because frankly, instead of giving my frustrations over to the Lord, I had harbored bitter thoughts about this person and their ways, it had amused me while participating in the take down. And at the time I was reading a book written about how the enemy attacks believers and one of the biggest ways mentioned was strife. Yes, those words from the book really helped me that day....well, they did afterwards when I realized I needed to go back to this person and apologize because in the office transition and being older than most of the admins, both of us, we needed to actually practice what the Word of God said, not mimic the words and our actions define us otherwise. I wish I could tell you that the apology made a world of difference, it didn't. In fact, I reacted to an insult while apologizing and once again apologized because keeping strife at a minimum was paramount. After that we walked carefully around one another in the office. The very system that had given authority was the same system that took it away and just like that they were gone. Did the Ministries Suite become an oasis of peace then? No, there were little foxes spoiling the vines on a weekly basis. Strife is not our friend. Romans 12 says it best, don't be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

Now that it is afternoon I can see out the window even better than before. My new glasses were readjusted and if I wanted to I could go out and get my new sunglasses too. Right now the sky is a lovely grayish blue with a few puffs of white clouds. The feels like index is 89 degrees so I am content to observe for now and maybe later get outside to enjoy a breeze and watch butterflies.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Want To Know If You're Old? Start Making Rules About Everything

I finally watched some of the Olympics last night. The swimming and the women's gymnastics but I already knew the outcome of that, so it was easier to watch. This year the hype hasn't pulled me in although there are some good stories out there. Some years I totally buy into the hoopla and here of late it is more of a I'll read about it on Twitter.

Yesterday I took a little trip to TN. The drive is just so beautiful especially when returning to NC from TN. My tennis shoes are worn out on the inside thus making them rather uncomfortable. Since Asheville doesn't have an Academy, a trip to Johnson City was in order. They are good to carry the bigger sizes in tennis shoes which unfortunately is what I need. It took longer than I had planned to find some shoes and purchase them. Then I stopped in at Barnes and Noble because...well, I don't have to have a reason but it was National Book Lovers Day and it was a must situation to go and pay iand the book I was interested in hadn't come in. I felt guilty but I bought the book on Amazon from inside the store. There were a few more stops before returning home. My Ivy League educated fruit flies had better beware, I have new fruit fly traps and this should get me through the rest of summer.

You can feel a little bit of fall in the air and every once in a while the fragrance of fall greets you on a breeze. No fog this morning but it is overcast. It is lovely experiencing all four seasons of the year.

It is now Wednesday afternoon. I made a quick trip to Waynesville to pick up something for Lisa and ended up at Belk's and then at Barber's Orchard. The clouds were low and gray. The mountains looked to be getting rain and it wasn't too much longer that the rain made travel along I 40 more difficult than difficult. I 40 isn't always kind but seems to be kinder than I 26. I debated whether I should make a lunch stop at The Blue Rooster but the rain and the fact I had eaten a lot of southern comfort food lately made the decision easier to come on home and make a sandwich. Then I took a nap for the ages. I really don't nap as much as I used to but the past few nights I have experienced a little insomnia, which is something I rarely experience.

So it seems all the rage these days from authors is the simple life, being mindful, staying present, decluttering and everything that goes along with that. I agree that life needs to be simpler and maybe not so fast paced. Fortunately, I am able to experience that because of the change of pace and place which Mark Batterson writes about because change of pace and place changes perspective. It is true this past year has definitely changed my perspective. Life isn't as intense and you don't have people constantly worrying about their named ministry and the direction it is going or not going around here. The need to put yourself out there on social media, spinning a narrative and creating a platform isn't even given a second thought. Points from the sermon are not in 140 characters for Twitter. No, it seems like you have the come and go flow of life and living life with one another on a very real level. It is a welcomed change for me. I laughed with a friend the other night about the utter absurdity of the church trying to control late comers or early leavers. In the age of web streaming, I might want to attend small group and grab the church service on my phone over brunch. Really, this whole thing is so dysfunctional. For years we have been told to park offsite and to move to the center of the aisle to leave seats open for late comers which I have written before about...because it is just enabling lateness when we are asked to do this. If you are tall and have long legs, you prioritize getting end of row seats for just about anything you attend...those who are shorter do not know this pain. Now your welcome team has become more like enforcers. This didn't work about eight years ago when something like this was attempted. If you left the service, you had to return through a back door and sit in the back. People want to return and sit with their family or friends. Yes, it draws your attention off the stage momentarily but I think we all can agree that God is bigger than a late comer. I have always heard that you will know when you have turned old because you begin making rules...rules about this and that but more about control. When Dena and I went to The Billy Graham Library several weeks ago, we experienced just that thing. Volunteers there tend to be on the older side and a warm welcome was more of a non smiling man pointing out directions and guidelines to you than welcoming you to this very fine place. You did well if you went with the crowd in the "self guided" tour but if you wanted to tarry or dare I say, leave the tour to go to the bookstore, there was a grim faced response to your attempt at freedom and a finger wagging at your face to sit down and watch the video. I don't know why Dena and I know about that. Finally at the end where you are given the opportunity to accept Christ in the decision room, I asked if we could leave and go to the bookstore but I qualified our reasons giving full assurance of our salvation. They probably didn't believe me but let us go on out to the bookstore. I bought a Bible for good measure and Dena got an ice cream cone. I guess I had a young person kind of thing going on, feeling like I was being manipulated and forced but presented with the instructions of it being a self guided tour. So there was a little rebelliousness going on inside of me. Good grief, I had to sit there on a bench pretending I was at a Los Angeles Crusade in the late 1940's and ask God to forgive me of having such a bad attitude there at the Billy Graham Library. When I fell and broke my hip, yes I realize that is usually something old people do, anyway Roy began making up these ridiculous rules for more driving alone...not just on trips but trips to the grocery store etc... I needed to purchase safer shoes...of course I couldn't drive by myself to do such a thing. Besides, I was wearing tennis shoes when I tripped and fell...those are known to be rather reliable and safe type of shoes. I hated to bring up the fact that every bit of medicine I take can cause dizziness, so maybe no more meds, but I took the high road. So if I was still in Houston and we usually were early or on time for church, I would have to play a game with all of this...yes it takes energy but I think it would amuse me and start being late. Hey, at least I couldn't be accused of acting all old and making rules, no I would be more in the childish genre which usually gets on old peoples nerves.

Well, it looks like some rain is coming our way. It has been off and on all day. My weather alert for rain just went off on my phone...another old person kind of thing...keeping up with and all tabs on the weather at all times. I'm still trying to understand weather patterns here and from which way rain and storms comes from. I have concluded they come from every direction.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fog Days Verses Non Fog Days

The second non foggy day in a row. I learned last year you count the fog mornings in August and that is how many snowfalls the area experiences in winter. Until yesterday the fog was consistent the first seven days of August. A late rainfall came through just about bedtime last night and sometimes that makes for a foggy morning, but it is clear, sunny and beautiful. This seems to be the summer of butterflies in our backyard. Oh my goodness, the trees shimmy with lots of butterflies large and small. A cardinal sat in one of the butterfly bushes yesterday afternoon looking to catch one of the butterflies for a tasty treat, but in the moments I watched him, he was not successful. For the most part the butterflies are left alone to do what butterflies and bees do, pollinate.

Today is National Book Lover Day. Who knew? Well somebody did but it came as a mild surprise when I read about it on Twitter this morning. Hmm....maybe that is why the Barnes and Noble gift card that I got for my birthday is burning a hole in my pocket today.

This year's birthday has been way more fun than last years. Lisa P was here to help celebrate and we celebrated well. Dena sent a special greeting via the Inn on the Biltmore Estate and it was such a lovely surprise. Vivian and Brenda took me out to lunch after church on Sunday to The Fireplace. Fun friends and yummy food. Brenda made a homemade white cake with white icing and added a creative touch of decorative sheep she crafted out of pecan sandies, almonds, chocolate covered raisins and the like. Peggy sent a great t-shirt and family sent lovelies from the Metal Museum in Memphis. It is not the gifts but the people who have made this year so special. Last August I experienced somewhat of an emotional meltdown. There were several separate factors that contributed to it, but when they all seemed to be meshed together, it was a little more than I could take. Roy was so gracious to help me through that time, like he has done so many times before. I think "nature" was the straw that broke the camel's back...with angry raccoons, a sighting of two snakes and backyard light that didn't work like it was supposed to. Thus, in the darkness raccoons wrecked havoc on the yard and decorations. Last August was a difficult month but I am thankful that this August has started out on different footing.

Yesterday, was one of those wait at home days for service calls and inspections. The A/C guy was here a little after 9:00 and both our units checked out good. Won't need to do a winter service call since we are getting so close to fall and cooler temps. We replaced the upstairs HVAC last November and several attempts for the county inspector to come out and review the work didn't happen. They couldn't find our home several times and then the holidays happened, and I think it all took a back door approach until Vicki called to try and schedule an inspection again. We waited till after our friends had left. I was kind of thinking the inspector wouldn't make it when I heard the faint knocking at our front door. It was the inspector. He asked where things were and I got him a ladder, many attics don't have stairs here, and he made short work of a long time coming. All is well, work passed with flying colors.

We've been studying the life of Solomon in Sunday School and this past Sunday we looked at how his heart turned away from God by marrying and concubining with so many foreign women. While we watched he and his wisdom go down the drain, one verse stood out to me...when he was old, his wives influenced him to worship their gods. It wasn't enough that he built them places for them to offer sacrifices and worship, they wanted him to worship. It dawned on me, as long as we are alive, even if we are old or older or starting to consider ourselves old...the enemy will always be after us to worship everything else but the one true God. It will never be enough. I think back to my tennis days and how the thought of climbing the tennis ladder with the goal of playing at the highest level for amateurs consumed me and then even when I reached that high level, my life continued to revolve around tennis, to stay at that level by workouts, private lessons, team lessons and reading all I could get my brain around to keep getting better. If you asked me if I worshipped tennis, I would have told you no way! But, the truth was, I did even though you would find me at church on Sundays, attending Beth Moore Bible study on Tuesday nights and having a quiet time...a very brief quiet time that I could always turn into a tennis related thought.

Okay, I don't know how to read the latest started out clear but fog has rolled in a bit... I need to check with my friends to get a reading and meaning on this.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Easy Saturday Morning

This past month has been a whirlwind of activity. A trip to Houston that was filled with fun and appointments. Then Dena rode home with me and we had a fun week going and coming; doing and relaxing...oh and yes, who could forget the eating. There was that four day break to recharge and clean, then Lisa P arrived last Saturday and we too were coming and going, relaxing and doing...and oh yes, eating. We capped our week off with a brief stay at The Inn on the Biltmore Estate because everyone should stay there at least once or fifteen times and to celebrate my birthday for the 29th or 62nd time.

Our last morning at the Biltmore as we are most likely to do, Lisa P and I were laughing and talking, joyful even though it was the start of the day that Lisa went back home. In our own world we were talking about this wonderful breakfast and unlike yesterday morning where the fact of the food overwhelmed us and we forgot to pray...that is until Lisa saw the woman across from us pray for her meal. Oops, we forgot but stopped at that very minute to thank God. This morning the man who filled our water glasses came back to our table and asked us how long we had known each other. Well, we think the late 80's but we are not sure...most likely the early 90's. He said it showed and was obvious we were good friends and it made him happy to see that. Just the day before in the bookseller store by the Biltmore House the clerk asked us if we were best friends. Lisa beat me to it by saying no and then a quick yes. We must remember that we are salt and light and how we treat one another is on display.

It seems rather quiet this morning. Another foggy August morning. We didn't watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics last night but from the talk on Twitter, you either loved it or hated it. I fixed a delicious dinner of fried bologna sandwich with fresh garden tomatoes and sat on the front porch for a bit. Our sunflowers are beginning to hang their heads, so I went to the Google to see about removing seeds. You see I didn't realize the seeds are under the the yellow center and they can either be saved for next years planting or roasted and eaten. Well, there ya go. So, I took the flower heads and did what The Google told me to do, place them in a paper bag for drying purposes unless you want to share the seeds with squirrels and birds then you leave them on the stem and ya takes your chances. Maybe I can do the area beside the driveway next year with sunflowers.

Roy and I were talking last night once again about the benefits of living in the mountains, even with a warmer than usual summer. My energy level is higher here and the heat is short enough in duration to weather a hot afternoon knowing a cool breeze of an evening will come. The apple orchards are beginning to open and that is always an exciting season but it heralds the news that produce season is coming to an end. Although we have several more months to go. Roy wants to tackle a few projects around here and we need to begin looking toward replacing the front porch and the back deck.

Well this easy Saturday continues but there are things to be done.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thursday Catch Up

I am spending time at one of my favorite places on this earth, The Inn on the Biltmore Estate and I am doing one of my favorite things. I'm sitting by the window in the room watching the ever changing sky of the mountains in the distance. My little view at home mesmerizes me and can stall any needful actions but if I had this view all the time, I think very little would ever get done.

It has been so fun having Lisa P here in the house, both ours and the Biltmore's. We have had a blast this week.  Yesterday, we had breakfast at Brenda's and we were treated very well to her delicious biscuits and all the rest. She even had a devo for us after we ate. Lovely and a lovely time. We came back home for me to throw some things into a suitcase and head on over to the the Inn. I was having a difficult time yesterday morning thinking of things etc... We got here and checked in early, although the room wasn't ready. No prob, they stored our suitcases and we were off to shop and see all we could see. After doing some very fun shopping we came back, found our room ready. Found a very nice surprise from Dena for a Happy Birthday. Lisa and I had 6:00 pm reservations at Cedric's, so we had a delicious dinner...are all our dinner delicious, yes! I had a bison burger and now when I drive around the block to see the bison by our home I can say, sorry I ate your cousin the other day to the bison I see. Roy always gets the bison burger and now I see why. Lisa got the salmon and we enjoyed the appetizer of calamari. I was gifted with a free dessert compliments of the Inn and we chose the strawberry rhubarb truffle. Yum! We walked around Antler Hill Village and found shelter in Traditions from the brief but heavy rainstorm. Once the rain disapated we went up to the winery to look around in the shop. We caught the shuttle and once again headed back to the Inn. Both of us called it an early night and I fell asleep during Seinfeld.

This morning we were up bright and early, so we had breakfast...I must add that of course it is delicious. I got to see Edward for a few minutes. We had a great reunion. He is still the hardest working man here. I love to see newbies to the breakfast buffet here face. The waffles are so light and the fruit is really good too. We headed over to the house to get our pics taken in the house and then came back to drink coffee and tea in the lobby. Then the all important shopping once again and then Gale arrived to go to the house with Lisa. So that is where you find me now after making a quick trip home to check on Buddy and to wish her a Happy Birthday too. We were both born on the same day. Mike the Mower Man was there and we talked about upcoming lawn things. And with great haste I returned.

I am so thankful for these days. And for the opportunity of a lifetime to live here in these mountains. God's creation can certainly be experienced here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Just So Thankful

Good Tuesday Foggy Morning to You! It has been sometime since I last blogged but there are good reasons why. Dena came back with me and left on the 26th, Lisa arrived on the 30th and it has been non-stop fun since her arrival. I did have those few days in between to gather my thoughts and straighten up the house. This is the second visit for both Dena and Lisa to our home. They are kind of finding their way around up here.

Lisa's flight arrived Saturday afternoon and to avoid the long traffic snarl on 26 we stopped in Hendersonville at The Moose Cafe for a late lunch. Great food as always but we had the delightful experience of meeting Tabitha, who was our server. What a blessing! When we left the storm clouds were gathering and that made our plans change over to returning to the freeway and not taking the back way home. The heavens opened up but it quit raining by the time we drew closer to the house. We both knew we had strawberry pie waiting for us since Brenda had dropped off a couple of slices earlier in the day. The rest of the evening was spent on the front porch enjoying the cool temps and of course watching the birds and any other little animals that might want to come our way.

Sunday morning Lisa sang two songs in the service. I love when Houston and NC friends meet and fellowship. We decided to cobble together lunch here at the house and it turned out pretty good. Lisa worked on music and I napped and did a few other things. We were back at church around 5:15 for her sound check. Oh my goodness! The concert was wonderful and so worshipful. Lisa sang a variety of songs, jazz, country, gospel and contemporary. After church was the 5th Sunday gathering and so all God's people gathered for good snacks and appetizers. We stayed up way too late Sunday night and it made Monday morning hard to awake and get moving.

Monday we went to Micaville and then over to Waynesville to eat a late lunch. Shock of shocks, The Blue Rooster was closed for vacation. We headed over to the Smokehouse and they are closed on Mondays. So, we went to Bogarts. I have always wanted to go there. Always has lots of cars in the parking lot and the reviews are good. We were not disappointed. We ordered steaks and they were so good. We left stuffed and a little bit in pain. Good thing we had been doing a lot of car dancing on the way over there to burn calories. We also made opening day at Barber's Orchard. We made it late in the day but there were still some apple cider donuts. We got some for Bill and Vivian and of course for us as well. We ended our evening on Vivian's back porch complete with some delicious pie. She made a pie from a recipe that is over 100 years old, Brown Sugar Pie. It was the bomb diggity!

This morning we are easing into the day. Nothing pressing this morning but we have things to take care of for tonight. So glad to gather with friends once again and let them get to know Lisa P.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to live here and take in all the beauty of the mountains and farms. I'm thankful for good friends here and thankful for friends from Houston who come and visit. I am especially thankful to Roy for letting all this happen because of his sacrificial love in providing for all this to happen. And not least by being last, thankful to God for His provision and protection and for His healing.