Friday, October 17, 2014

Where are you? Yoo Hoo . . .Where are you?


I've been in a dry place lately.  Since we moved into this house, I have not been able to get my morning prayer routine going.  I've been walking in the mornings and I've talked to God sporadically during that time - in between planning my wardrobe purchases and thinking about what else I need to do to finish decorating the house.  (no, I haven't asked God's opinion about my wardrobe!!)   I've thanked God for the amazing stars and awesome moon and for the sunrises that I've seen.  I've been to Mouat Chapel several times to get on my knees.  I've pulled the chair cushion off the chair in the living room and knelt there to pray.  I've walked around our house and laid hands on the door frame and dining room table and sofa and prayed for our Tuesday night group.  BUT I haven't had that regular time with God everyday.  I've even said, "Where are you?  Are you there?" several times . . .and then I always remember the old saying, "God is still there, you are the one who moved."  Pretty cliche but seems to be true in my life.

This Tuesday night, Julie - one of our wonderful young adults - talked about her journal in our discussion.  Actually, she doesn't know this, but GOD spoke through Julie.  I have always kept a prayer journal.  I have not been lately.

Last night, I stopped at the store and bought a composition notebook (I wanted a pretty hardbound book but they didn't have any and I was too tired to go anywhere else!)  I bought two new pens.  (I had to have the right supplies!!)

So this morning, I got up at 5:00 and got dressed and walked my 1.8 mile route (it was COLD!).  I even tried to cut my walk short by telling God that I needed time to pray - don't you think he chuckled over that one!  I finished my walk and came inside.  I opened my Bible and read a chapter from Matthew and then I began to pray (and write!).  Peace descended upon me as I thanked God for numerous things.  I poured out my heart onto a piece of notebook paper.

I thank God that he is always there . . .and that he patiently waits for us.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall vacation project - finally completed!!


I don't sit still well.  I need to have a book to read or a project for my hands.  Usually when we go to the beach, I pack several projects.  One year I took all of my recipes and plastic sleeves and a giant binder and organized my recipes.  Last year, I took all the supplies and made the prayer vigil poster for an Emmaus Walk.  One year, I took lots of scrapbooking supplies and completed multiple lay-outs.  This year . . . I took no supplies.

What?  What?  No supplies?  What was I thinking?  I wasn't thinking.  Working five days a week is kicking my butt and I was so desperate for a vacation that I packed a bathing suit and some shorts and t-shirts and toiletries.  No craft supplies.

So . . .I realized after the first day that I was going to have to get a project.  I can only watch so much tv and I was already reading a lot while we were outside.  We went to Walmart and I purchased felt squares in fall colors, scissors, pins, needles, dmc floss in same colors as felt squares, and glittery letters.

This was my work space at the beach . . .and I also carried some supplies around the condo with me!  Oh - back to the glittery letters . . .what?  Well, I usually have patterns of some sort.  Laura, my daughter, can free-hand . . .I can't.  Since "Happy Fall Y'all" has lots of the same letters, I just bought some foam letters that you would stick on the wall or a poster and used those as my pattern.

I figured out the pattern of colors that I wanted to use and cut out all the letters.  I cut the felt squares in half and made an inverted "v" cut at the bottom to make the banner squares.  I then pinned the felt letter to the felt square and used a long running stitch in a coordinating color to sew on the letters.



I cut two tiny slits in the top of each square and ran an orange ribbon through to connect the banner.  I simply used thumb tacks to tack the ribbon to the bottom edge of the mantel.
Forgive this picture - I moved right as I snapped . . a simple white thumbtack under the edge of the mantel.


I had a lot of fun making this fall banner - I may need to go back and add an apostrophe to "y'all" - that may bother me!!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Show me YOUR house!

We've been in our new house for over three months at this point . . .and we hung a few things on the walls last weekend.  We aren't through but we have finally made a start.  Mark finished cleaning out the big storage unit this morning so now all we have is 1/3 of the one that Glenn and Lauren and Ann share.  I'm still not sure what it says about us (many of US) that we have so much stuff that we have to have multiple storage units -- and I didn't think we HAD much stuff!!

So . . .here is a little house tour - you can check out our front porch here (and p.s. from that post -- one of my pumpkins toppled off and split and one of my biggest ones had a bruise that "went south" this week and had to be discarded so some rearranging occurred this morning when we came back from our walk)


You walk in the front door and you enter the house (duh! that was a stupid sentence but I'm going to leave it!).  We hung our antique mirror over the entry hall table last week.  The movers broke one of the legs on our little table and we just keep on putting it back together.  It is an antique, also - purchased at some sale a million years ago - either when we were dating or newlyweds.


When you enter the house, the dining room is to your right and then the steps to upstairs and then the middle of the house is all open.

This is our new sofa.  We ordered it from Pottery Barn and it took forever and a day to arrive BUT IT IS HERE now and it will hold four "butts" - those things matter on Tuesday nights!!

The door with glass panes leads to our screened in porch and to the garage.


This is just a different view of the family room.  We bought all new furniture for this room and it has "dribbled in" piece by piece.  Mark said he would NEVER have a tv as the focal point of a room but guess what?  We do!  Giant TV over the mantle.  The family room is a mixture of nice things and some not so very expensive things and I think I like that look!  The little table between the two chairs is also an antique.  Mark wants to replace it because it is showing a lot of wear but for some reason, I LOVE that little table.


This is our bedroom.  The master is on the main level which will be good when we are old.  (No, I am NOT old now.  Maybe I am in actual years but I do not feel old.)

We hung this picture last weekend.  I painted the lamp bases with the same spray paint that I used to paint the handles on all the furniture in this room.  You can read about that exciting (NOT) adventure 

We had these lamps in our dining room in the other house but I don't have a piece of furniture in the dining room right now . . .we were looking through Rooms To Go on the way home from church last week and noticed lamps on dressers.  Once again . . . DUH!  I love the soft lighting they provide.


This is the view from the other side of the room.  I love the little windows.  They are on the side of the house that faces our neighbor's courtyard.  When houses are close together, it is nice not to have someone staring at you :-)  We used the sleigh bed that was in Laura's room for the Master.  I bought new lamps from Lamps Plus and really like them!  I also bought new bedding and had a big "E" monogrammed on it.



This is the powder room.  It is located around the corner from the kitchen and outside the master bedroom.  We hung those two pictures last weekend, too.  They are some of our favorites.  They were done by an Alabama artist.


Just another view of that same bathroom.


This is one of my favorite features in the house.  What is it, you might ask???  It is the ceiling of that powder room!  I love the wooden boards.  Those same type of boards are over the fireplace.  If you didn't notice, go back and see if you can see them!!


I don't know how I ever lived without this kitchen.  That is said somewhat dramatically!  The kitchen is truly the heart of the home and it is such a pleasure to spend time in ours.  I'm a happy cook.  Yes, I could tell you that I want six burners and a fancier oven but you know what?  I haven't really even thought of that since we moved here.  I HAVE A WONDERFUL KITCHEN and I love cooking in this kitchen and I feel so incredibly blessed.



This is our little bar area.  I have redone it several times.  Now there is my big "E" drink dispenser where the basket is.  Laura had the idea to do this and it turned out so incredible cute.  This is between the kitchen and dining room.  Directly across is the Butler's pantry - fancy name for a closet that I put a big wire shelf unit in and have all sorts of stuff stored on those shelves.


Here is the dining room.  We have NOTHING on the walls yet.  We are moving in the direction of decorating.  The china cabinet would be to the left in this picture.


This is the master bath.  Our walk in closet and the water closet are both to the right (behind separate doors!!)  The floor of the shower is bricks (or tile like bricks).  I love it.  Above the double sinks (to the left) is a really cool architectural detail - sort of like a wooden shelf but I don't think I would ever put anything up there.



So - there you have it -- most of the downstairs.  No pic of the laundry room (maybe never!) and no pic of the inside of the Butler's Pantry (maybe never!!).  

We are loving both the house and the neighborhood!  Now . . .we just have to get our roof and bedroom ceiling repaired (builder knows - shingles are here - hopefully next week).  It may be a long time before you see pictures of upstairs.  I don't quite have it together yet.  It is a work in progress for sure!!
I would love to see your house or a favorite part/detail!!
Click below to show us your house!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Farmer's Market on Finley Avenue

Have I ever told you how much I love the Farmer's Market?  I really, really love going.  I looked back through my posts and found this one about the Farmer's Market.  (this post has no cerebral nor spiritual value . . .it is simply a recounting of my day and a few pictures so I'm not offended if you stop reading now!)

On Saturday, after making muffins, I decided to head out.  I didn't shower or change clothes because I knew that I would get really dirty digging through bins of pumpkins.  See all those big cardboard boxes?  They were full of pumpkins of all colors.  Don't you love my wonderful photo?  I've bought pumpkins from this vendor several times.  Inside that building are boxes and boxes of pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  I'm fairly short (and very round) and some of those box sides are very tall.  I always think it would be so embarrassing if I fell over into one of the boxes.  I would be saying, "Help!  I've fallen over and I can't get up!"  hahahaha!  The pumpkins are straight from the field and they are dirty.  I changed shirts when I got home and finished unloading because I was covered with hay/straw and dirt and I smelled like pumpkin goo and dirt!

This vendor is at the Farmer's Market year round -- Oakley Smith.  I found out on Saturday that they also have Christmas trees and gorgeous plants in the spring!  I think I'll make another trip to visit them.  I always think it is ironic because I make out my check to: Nancy Smith (I miss my Nancy!!)  I always meant to tell Nancy about that but I never did.  According to the Farmer's Market website, this vendor has tropical plants and flowers; watermelons; pumpkins and Christmas trees.  Mr. Smith did tell me that they have Frasier Fir trees and they will arrive four days before Thanksgiving.


Since I was already at the market, I drove around to the Farm House Produce Stand.  I bought tomatoes and okra and peas and squash and cooked it all for supper.  Delicious.  Normally, I buy all my produce from our trusty veggie man in the church parking lot but since I was already at the market, thought I would get a few things.


I bought all of these lovely pumpkins and mums and Indian corn and bales of hay.


This is what I did with some of the pumpkins.  Our porch is so tall that I feel like I need to get something else.  I may get some branches and spray paint them black and hang paper bats from them for Halloween.  You can find directions to make the War Eagle Wreath at here.


Since I was on the front porch taking pictures - thought I would show the rest to you . . .around to the left is our big table and chairs.  Mark has always wanted a teak table and he ordered this table and chairs . . .after I went to bed one night!  We use this table every Tuesday night for at least six young adults.  Mark and I have eaten out there a couple of times.  As a matter of fact, he may have eaten his cereal out there this morning.  See those cute lanterns?  I bought those at Target last year when we were hosting a shower for Kaylor and Sarah McCain.  I was excited to find them in a giant bin of Auburn decorations.  Of course, there are no candles in them.  I can remedy that tonight!


This is our view to the right of the front door.  It is fun to be on our front porch and talk to the folks walking by or visit with our next door neighbors.


Here are the rest of the pumpkins that I purchased - on the dining room table!!  I love fall decorations.  I love fall decorations almost more than Christmas decorations.

No pictures yet on the dining room wall.  We've been in the house over 90 days now and we hung the first things on our walls this weekend.  I hung quite a few things in my craft room (though I have not organized it!! -- that is coming soon!!!)  We hung one picture in the bedroom, a mirror in the entry hall and two pictures in the powder room.  We felt like we had really accomplished a major feat - maybe we can hang a few more things this weekend.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cooking on Saturday morning!!

On Saturday morning, Mark went to the farm to harrow (is that how you spell it??) some fields.  Every year, they plant all sorts of green stuff for the animals to eat.  They have planted turnip greens and spinach and rye grass and who knows what else.  He rode the tractor from 10:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  He said the tractor was going about 1 mile an hour!

So . . .I was home alone!  I had already prepared my Sunday School lesson and felt like cooking something!  I took a quick inventory of ingredients and googled some recipes and started cooking.

I made blueberry muffins and ham and cheese muffins.  I froze them in individual baggies so I can zap one for a quick breakfast.

(I had snapped some pics so that I could blog about this . . .but this afternoon I was really sad and didn't want to blog about my real feelings . . .so I'm blogging about recipes!  I'm sad for the craziest reason!  I had requested copies of my parent's death certificates and they came today.  Just sitting there reading their dates of death and dates of birth made me so very sad.  It is amazing to me that they have been dead so very long and I still miss them.  So . . .I'm going to keep my mask in place and talk about fun recipes because I sure don't have any intentions of probing any deeper into this death certificate matter!! :-)  Yes - smiley face!  Yes - I have a smile on my face!)



I'm going to be honest . . .I love cooking in my new kitchen.  How did I ever live without an island??  See that pretty brown egg?  It is from some local chickens!  I wish I could buy all local items.


It took a while to clean up all that mess!!


Look at that blueberry muffin batter . . .can you see the flecks of lemon zest right by the spoon!!  I love fresh lemon.  I was sad that you couldn't really taste the lemon.


My finished project!  One dozen fresh blueberry/lemon muffins and one dozen ham and cheese muffins!  Would you like the recipes?


Lemon Blueberry Muffins

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used more!!) - mix these two ingredients together and set aside
Mix together:
2 cups self rising flour
heaping 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp of baking soda
Add one fresh egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Gently stir in milk/lemon juice mixture (it will be curdled - it is supposed to look like that!!)
Fold in a cup of fresh blueberries (that you have already rinsed off!!)
Spray 12 cup muffin pan with pam
Fill muffin cups - mine were full
Bake at 400 degrees (preheated) for 18 minutes.  
The original recipe called for baking a longer time but my oven had been on a higher temp for the ham and cheese muffins and mine were done at 400 degrees in 18 minutes.
Enjoy!
A lemon glaze would be really good on these!!

Ham and Cheese Muffins

2 cups self rising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk - I used skim because that is what we had in the fridge
1/2 cup mayo (I used Hellman's light - once again - what was in the fridge)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (generous)
1/2 cup chopped ham (generous)

Mix flour and soda.  Mix milk and mayo and add to dry ingredients.  Throw in cheese and ham and gently stir.  Don't over mix.

Spray 12 muffin cups with pam
Divide mixture evenly between 12 muffin cups.

Bake at 425 degrees (preheated) for 16 minutes.

Enjoy!!

p.s.  The recipes I used were originally Taste of Home recipes -- I totally changed the blueberry one.  The Ham and Cheese muffin recipe is pretty similar to theirs (other than my notes and words like generous!!)



Friday, September 19, 2014

Mesothelioma

daddy

I was contacted recently (actually, while on vacation!!) by Cameron Von St. James.  He asked if I would write a post about Mesothelioma . . .at first, I figured his email was some sort of SPAM (I get a lot of that from my blog!!!!).  I asked my daughter-in-law to read the email and she said it seemed legit.  I googled "Heather Von St. James" and found out that she is evidently a real person.  Here she is with her husband and daughter.  She is a mesothelioma survivor.  You can read about her here.



Did you know that September 26 is Mesothelioma Awareness day?  I didn't either.  I know all about Breast Cancer Awareness in October and how everything is pink - even buildings - and we all run/walk in Race for a Cure . . .and I know that September is the time to bring awareness to all of us about cancer in Children . . .(which is so horrible - I can't imagine losing my child!!) but Mesothelioma?  nope . . .didn't know they even had a day.  BUT THEY DO!

According to Heather's page, every year 3,000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma - a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.  They are given an average of 10 months to live . . .that is 300 days . . .7200 hours.

My daddy died when I was 25 years old . . .according to my oldest sister, he died of Mesothelioma.  To be honest, I was in that "self-absorbed" stage of life.  I remember sitting in the hospital waiting room with other families . . .I remember his oxygen tank.  I remember how he "rested" on the sofa under a giant photo of Bear Bryant (yes, he was a die hard Alabama fan!).  I remember the day he died as if were yesterday.  I actually remember driving home from work after receiving the call.  I am 56 years old and I still miss him.  It was not a pretty disease - no disease is pretty - but this was just downright mean.

I was shocked to read some of the statistics.  Did you know?
On average, 30 million pounds of asbestos are still being used in the United States today. The substance can still be found in many homes, schools, and commercial or industrial buildings. Even 30 years after the peak of its use, asbestos still remains as the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States!

Of course, I've heard all about asbestos abatement (or however they say it!).  A good many years ago, we had to have work done on our church and there was asbestos.  They had to seal off that part of the building and people in moon suits did the work of removing the asbestos.  I know that the removal of asbestos adds a tremendous amount to the cost of a project.

IT KILLS PEOPLE, TOO.  I remember the doctor comparing Mesothelioma to a pearl . . .starts off as an irritant and grows into not a pearl but a cancer.

Daddy was already sick when this picture was snapped.  I'm on the right - look at those smokey eyes! Becky is on his left.

We have no idea why daddy had mesothelioma . . .he was in the navy - could have been exposed then.  Heather's page has this fact:  Navy Veterans are at the greatest risk to develop mesothelioma as asbestos was widely used in Naval ships and shipyards.
He worked in construction for many years - definitely could have been exposed then.  He was an engineer for the railroad - there is no telling what he hauled on his trains over the years.  We lived in a small town with several factories belching out their waste every day.  I've been told that at times, ash like substance would cover the cars, etc.

I remember Daddy begging the doctor to "just remove my lung" . . .and the doctor's reply . . .not possible. I do know that the long term survivors usually have surgery.  Daddy was at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama and received cutting edge treatment.  He received radiation treatments but refused chemo.  You have to understand that he had watched my momma go through chemo about ten years prior.  All of the treatments back then were experimental.  There were no anti-nausea drugs.  Let me tell you . . .I know that chemo is poison now . . .but oh my goodness, it was poison back then, too.  I've never seen anyone as sick as my momma was after her treatments.  I still freak out when someone vomits - even after all these years.

So . . .what can you do?  spread the word!  We need to find a cure!

I miss my daddy.  You would have liked him.  He was a great man.  He died way too young!




Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bill's birthday celebration

No matter how old you are . . .birthdays should be celebrated.  Whether you are 1 or 100, birthdays should be celebrated with cake and candles and ice cream and cards.  We celebrate a lot of birthdays in the summer with our family.  Let's see . . .Bob and I have birthdays in June; Susie and Paul and Grandmother all have birthdays in July; and Mark, George, and Bill all have birthdays in August.  Grandmother still bakes everyone their dessert of choice and Bill's choice was . . . . drumroll, please . . . .homemade caramel cake with pecans.  (I grew up in a very blue collar community and we called this icing - burnt (not burned but burnt) sugar icing and my mother made this icing in an iron skillet . . . I'll never forget the first time that I was served caramel cake at my mother-in-law's house . . .and I said, "OH MY GOODNESS . . .my momma used to make this cake but we called it by a different name!!)  It is kind of funny because we all have our favorite kinds of cakes.  


This birthday celebration was extra special because Susie, Ben, Bob and Thomas were here to celebrate with us!!  They came "down south" to move Thomas into the dorm at Alabama.


We had a big crowd for lunch that day!




Bill has Parkinson's disease - early onset.  As I have watched all the ice water challenges for ALS, I have thought about all the other diseases out there . . . so many diseases . . .so few cures.  I know that we can cure far more diseases now than we could 100 years ago . . .or probably even ten years ago . . .and I am very grateful that there has been more research done for Parkinson's since Michael J. Fox was diagnosed.  Bill is continuing to LIVE LIFE  - he is married and does most of the grocery shopping and cooking at his house. :-)  He goes to the Lakeshore Foundation every day to swim and exercise.  He likes to fish when Mark can take him to the farm.  He meets with a group of men weekly for Bible study.

We give thanks for Bill and the celebration of another birthday!!

p.s. if you suffer from early onset Parkinson's disease -- here is some info from the Parkinson association of Alabama website:
Young Onset Parkinson Disease
Support Group
For those diagnosed at 55 or younger.

Lakeshore Foundation
4000 Ridgeway Drive
Birmingham, Alabama
Meets every third Thursday at 6:00 PM

Contact: Laura Lieb
205-934-9100
llieb@uab.edu

Karen Virciglio
205-907-2659
kvirciglio@bham.rr.com