Sunday, July 31, 2011


   The Husband and I spent today in recovery mode. We had the whirlwind-tornado-toddler, otherwise known as Little One, spend the night last night. It was The Daughter and The Son-in-Law's sixth wedding anniversary and they wanted to go out for a nice dinner and then sleep in. Fancy that. In the meantime, I was up with Little One at 5:15 am on a Sunday morning. It was so early I could barely read the clock. But she called my name. And then she called me again. What's a grandmother to do? Duh. The obvious. You go and get the child. She didn't call her Mommy or her Daddy or her Pappy, she called ME, and I came running. You are thinking what a sucker. And you would be right. I am. No excuses necessary.
    When I told The Daughter what time Little One got up this morning, she harrumphed and told me, "Not me." Maybe. Maybe not. But she calls your name everyday. It's not everyday that I wake up to a little voice calling,  "Nonna, Nonna, puhwease (please) Nonna" over and over again.
     Little One and I magnanimously gave Pappy the great privilege of sleeping in until 6:40 am before we came downstairs to get him up. He did not totally appreciate the fact that we had already been up an hour and a half. But I kept telling him over and over again, so I think he finally got my drift. By ten o'clock when her parents arrived, I was ready to go back to bed. The three of us had eaten breakfast, read numerous books, colored in coloring books, played with chalk on the driveway, gone to get the paper, taken the neighbors their paper, played on the porch, taken another walk, watched approximately 8 whole minutes of television, played the toy guitar, played with the piano, and played with the dog. I was played out and counting the minutes until The Daughter and Son-in-Law arrived to pick her up. When they arrived, I immediately noticed that they looked marvelously refreshed and rested. I am so glad.
    I happened to walk by a mirror after they left and nearly screamed. Some harried and exhausted woman with unbrushed teeth, uncombed hair, and an unwashed face glared back at me. It was nearly time for lunch but I was taking to my bed. The other grandmothers in the family look better than I do and have more energy, better joints, and more stamina. But Little One woke up this morning and called MY NAME. I will gladly do it again. I think. But I will have to recover a bit more first.
Here's The Daughter and Son-in-Law at their wedding six years ago. 
And here's Pappy and Little One coloring on the back porch.

There are no pictures of me. Need I say more?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hydrangea Heaven

   I love hydrangeas. Love, love, love 'em. I have never had much luck with roses as they are too high maintenance. I know. I have probably offended all you rose lovers. But 'gimme a pretty little hydrangea, and I am happy. I have the stately upper crust Oak Leaf hydrangeas on the North side of my house where they are getting close to 9 feet tall. These quietly elegant ladies are happily providing me with much needed shade for my curtainless living room and dining room. While the ladies paraded their blooms back in May, I contend that they have yet to have their finest day. That will come this fall when the foliage turns bronze and red. I can't wait to bring the lovely dried blooms with their gorgeous leaves into my house for a special touch of autumn.
   I am also wild about my lace-cap hydrangeas which were a mother's day gift from my husband and children many years ago. For a long time I thought that something was wrong with these little old ladies, that is, until I learned that they were actually supposed to look like this. I think the blooms look like stars dancing around a constellation of tiny baby stars. Now I appreciate the finer qualities of these little old ladies and will do whatever it takes to keep them happy (which, thankfully, is not much). They are planted outside my kitchen window and the dog loves to carve out a cool spot for himself under them on hot summer days. I always include a few of the lace-cap in bouquets with my traditional hydrangeas because no one can quite figure out what they are.
   I also planted a new variety of hydrangea this year called Endless Summer which, thus far, has totally lived up to its name. The bushes have been blooming off and on since May and there is new growth on both bushes with signs of developing buds. Other than wilting from the excessive heat, all of my hydrangeas are going strong. Even the delightful Mophead is still trying her hardest to win friends and influence the others with lots of new growth. And given that we are just shy of August in Nashville and our heat index is 115, I am duly impressed.
   Like I said, these ladies are relatively low maintenance and hold up under duress. That's definitely my kind of girl.
Here are some hydrangeas in all their glory, courtesy of Pinterest:

Source: via Sasha on Pinterest

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How About A Little Happy?

This one is for my niece.

Oh the life...

Source: via Bailey on Pinterest

Oh, and this one is sure to strike terror in your heart....NOT!

And here's a little "mat" humor:

Source: via Josey on Pinterest

A little silly now and then is good for the heart!

Source: via Karla on Pinterest

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

She's Here!

   You probably already know this, especially if you are an obsessive DIY'er, but for the rest of us who are just dabbling and mostly making bigger messes out of what were already messes to begin with, this information is good to know. Get that. Good to know. This stuff I am talking about is literally so amazing it has made me rethink everything I ever thought about painting furniture. Seriously.

   And the only place it can be found in the entire state of Tennessee is this lovely little shop tucked away in a corner of Brentwood. And unless you know exactly where to look, I would not be surprised to hear that you wander the length and breadth of our fair hamlet just like some lost child of Israel as you search for the shop that stocks the stuff.
   So if you are enamored of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint or have never heard of it but are possessed of an adventurous spirit, then scoot your little fanny over to C'est Moi and pick up some before all of the other DIY'ers raid the place.  I am telling you, the Annie Sloan phenomenom is definitely here to stay. I am already salivating over this deliciously oh-so-easy-to-use and environmentally friendly paint while I am scoping out future projects. And this coming from a woman who had heretofore totally sworn off DIY. I guess there is redemption for everyone.

  Oh, in addition to being the "stockist" (that's British for supplier) for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, C'est Moi carries Dash & Albert rugs and Pom Pom at Home Bedding. I also found some lovely white fromage baking dishes there for my friends who are gourmet cooks! Stop by this delightful store to check out all of their treasures; you won't be disappointed!
Dash & Albert rugs and tote

Pom Pom at Home bedding
Here's a bit about C'est Moi:
C'est Moi specializes in accents for you and your home. 
Our collections range from local artwork and home furnishings 
to funky junk and jewelry. 
               C'est Moi is located at 7020 Church Street, Brentwood, Tn 37027. 
Unique Stores have unique hours (as they say), 
so feel free to give them a call at (615)-457-3579

Monday, July 25, 2011

Momma's House

   When I go home to my Momma's house, I enter a time warp. As soon as I open the door, I expect to be greeted by the lemony scent of beeswax furniture polish, eucalyptus, and something else that I have never quite been able to define or replicate. It is the smell of home. Momma will be sitting in her chair, and I will have my corner of the sofa. She will be knitting yet another lap robe or shawl for the Prayer Shawl Ministry, and I will have a book or two or three that I have packed in my suitcase ready to pick up when there is a lull in the conversation. But before we come to that companionable place of quiet, we will laugh, look at pictures, and share countless stories. Even though I talk to her nearly every day on the phone, between us, there is always much to be said.
    The days in Momma's house are predictable and have a well-defined cadence that is comforting to me. Once I arrive, I find that I am able to shed the tyranny of my list of "must-do's." While my own house cries out to me with its uncompleted projects and endless cycle of much needed tasks, her home has become a haven for me, a sanctuary of sorts. The predictability and unchanging rhythm of her days bring peace and succor to my heart.
   My world four hundred miles away might be tilting crazily, but at Momma's things just don't seem to change that much. It is comforting as well, that when it comes time for bed, I will climb into the same bed in the same room under the same canopy and hand made coverlet that I have been sleeping under for the past thirty years. When I wake up, I will happily find the same photographs sitting in the exact same position on the dresser, and as my eye wanders up the wall, I will think for the thousandth time how much love and effort must have gone into the magnificent needlepoint tapestry hanging over the dresser that my Momma created so many years ago.
   If I close my eyes, it is not so hard to pretend that time has stood still. I can linger for a moment in the sounds, smells, comforts and sense of well-being that pervade Momma's house. I can dream and I can rest. Thank you, dear Momma, for your unchanging love and for the respite of your home.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Matthew 6:33 Child

   When he was born, our family was complete. He's the baby. All six feet four inches and two hundred and then some pounds of him. I looked at him across from me at the table this morning and marveled that this child of mine is now officially a quarter of a century old. That's no baby. We are talking about a man. And not just any man. A good man. A strong and capable man with a very good head on his shoulders. The younger cousins and nieces and nephews know him as Uncle Bear or just Bear. Some folks think that's because his nickname has, at times, been a variation of kit-a-bear. However, the truth is that these little ones intuitively understand one of the precious strengths of this son of ours. There's a very tender and sensitive heart that beats inside his chest. In reality, he's just a big teddy bear.
   I prayed for this son of mine for a long time before he was born. He was literally God's gift to me. We thought that our family was complete when The Daughter was born, but I harbored the secret hope for another child. The Lord had given me a scripture to pray when I was carrying each of my children, but when The Daughter was born, I immediately felt that the scripture I had prayed during my pregnancy was not to be hers. It became quickly apparent that her "life" scripture was altogether different. So I tucked that other scripture into a special corner of my heart. It was waiting in the wings as I secretly waited for the child that would have that particular scripture as his or her "life" verse.
   A year passed. And then another. And another. The Husband was convinced that two sons and a daughter made a wonderful family. And of course they did. But the tender hope would not die. It was tucked away in this mother's heart. Hidden there. Like a tiny seed. When to my surprise I found that this one last child was on his way to our family, I felt the joy explode in my heart. That very day I spoke the scripture out loud over my growing belly and every single day that I carried him. When he was born, it was patently obvious that he was the Matthew 6:33 child. This son was a promise that had been whispered to a mother's heart. He was the last of our children. And he made our family complete. This is his verse.
   Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Happy Birthday, precious son of ours!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Returning to Childhood

    When I worked as a college counselor in a high school, I used to host something called the "Stressed-Out Senior Lunch."  Just before final exams and right after most college applications had been filed, seniors signed up for a lunch of good old-fashioned comfort food that featured macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, green beans, big fluffy homemade rolls, and peach cobbler (catered, of course)!  Before the big day arrived I also made a trip to the dollar store and purchased a stockload of coloring books, crayons, markers, stickers of every sort, modeling clay, Play Doh in assorted colors and a couple of those things you press the Play Doh through to make interesting shapes. After a leisurely lunch, I turned the students loose with these toys. It was a delight to watch these sometimes too-cool seventeen and eighteen-year-olds tentatively making their way back to the forgotten pursuits of childhood. It was not long before boys and girls alike were animatedly discussing the finer points of Care Bears, Scooby-Doo, Matchbox Cars, The Little Mermaid, and Star Wars, to name a few. 
scooby-doo  They were allowed to decorate themselves with stickers to their hearts' content and take their colored pictures or clay creations home with them. Not one was shy about it. Each student also left the lunch with a package of bubbles with strict instructions that they were not to be opened in the school building. I knew I had stumbled onto something when the juniors began asking me when it was going to be their turn, and I received emails from a couple of mothers asking why I had given out bubbles at school and what exactly had happened that day.
 When I am playing with Little One, I find myself thinking about those teenagers. When she and I are coloring side by side and I am watching her find the wonder in learning to trace her hand, I cannot help but think about what we leave behind in our rush to adulthood. All too soon we forget the mystery and the beauty of the simple things: like blowing dandelion seeds, making clover necklaces, or constructing little forts out of sticks and stones.
     That's one of the things I like best about grandmotherhood: the excuse to play. So Little One and Little Two and I spend lots of time on the floor. Yesterday I was alternately a monkey, a bear, and an elephant. I'm not quite agile enough to be the frog that Little One requested, but we are working on that. We also played Hide-n-Seek, created some beautiful masterpieces, and read lots of books. I did not think once about the dishwasher to be loaded or the laundry to be folded or the errands I needed to run. I went back to that little girl happy place. I forgot all the cares of the world and the vain things that charm me most. 
 More and more I am understanding why it is that the Lord says, "Except as ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Children get it. They intuitively understand the joy of discovery, and the gift of believing. Life is still magical to them and full of wonderful mystery. We are the ones who need to make a u-turn away from our jaded and tired views of life and learn again to appreciate the simpler, finer things. It will bring much needed rest to our souls and comfort to our weary hearts.

All photos courtesy of

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Insanely Good

   I am not a huge ice cream fan. It's pretty much take it or leave it for me with a few exceptions. The exceptions include my sister-in-law's homemade peach ice cream which I will eat every time I am given the opportunity and a good hot fudge sundae without the cherry or the whip creme. Okay, let's just skip the sundae moniker and say that I like vanilla ice cream slathered with hot fudge. I know, it sounds as though I really do like ice cream, but I can go months, repeat that MONTHS, without eating ice cream or even thinking about it.
    However, I am married to an ice cream addict. He cannot walk by the grocery store freezers that are opposite the milk aisle in Publix without helping himself to a gallon or so. It doesn't matter how many partially eaten gallons of ice cream we have at home, the man just has to have his fix. He snacks on ice cream the way that other people snack on fruit or popcorn or cookies. It can be mid-morning or mid-afternoon. If he wants a bowl of ice cream, he will have it. And despite what our mothers always told us, it never ruins his appetite.
   Yet somehow,  I have one-upped him. I have taken the Super Bowl Championship Ring of Ice Cream away from him. He has not yet tasted Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream and I have. I now know what real ice cream tastes like. And you know where I said that I can go months without thinking about ice cream? Well, that was before I ate Jeni's. I am fantasizing about her ice cream even as I write this. And I ate it just yesterday. Because of Jeni I am having to eat a lot of my words and change a lot of my perceptions about ice cream. Jeni, you really know how to mess with somebody's mind...and taste buds. I have tasted three flavors of Jeni's Ice Cream and eaten two and I want so badly to go back and get the Reisling Pear that I might have to hop in my car and drive the thirteen or so miles to get some. It's that good.
    Here's the scoop (I know, groan) on Jeni and her Splendid Ice Cream. If you happen to live in the Nashvegas area, head on over to East Nashville and find the Jeni store at 1892 Eastland right next to another of my fave's, Ugly Mugs. I also found out that you can have Jeni's ice cream SHIPPED DIRECTLY to your house. So now there's no excuse whatsoever. And I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.
    Get ready for a flavor explosion in your mouth. 'Cause that's what you're gonna get!  
Brown Butter Almond Brittle

This is the Brown Butter Almond Brittle...need I say more?!
This is what it looked like the day that they opened the store. They gave away free ice cream. Now all of those people know about Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. Groan. My little secret is getting out.

Photos are courtesy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream website and blog. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Only Daddy is Allowed

    You might think the way that I carry on that Little One has only the one set of grandparents, but that is just not so.  It's a truly wonderful thing to raise your children in a place where they can spend time with not only grandparents on both sides, but also with aunts and uncles and cousins galore. It means more love, more fun, and more joy to be shared and spread all around.
 There is nothing better than a golf cart full of cousins or some special cousin love.
And who doesn't love a summer afternoon, 
a few shade trees and a good place to sit around.

And when you get families together, sometimes the menfolks have to show off. 
They just cannot seem to help themselves. 
You'll see what I mean in just a minute. 
 It's one of those things that only daddy's are allowed to do, 
and preferably when the momma (in this case The Daughter) is not looking. 
However, I must admit Little One seems none the worse for wear.

I don't know what this pose means.
 I can just tell by the look in his eye that
 the Son-in-Law is up to something. 
Yep. And it involves Little One. 
Oh dear, get ready. 
He's about to do it. 
 I can't look. 

Why am I not surprised that Little One loved it. 
She wanted her daddy to do it again. 
And then again.
I am just glad I wasn't there. 
I probably would have had to chew my tongue raw keeping my mouth shut
or go inside to lie down with a cool rag on my head. 

     The Daughter and Little One seem happy. 

I think I am the only one who is just getting too old for these shenanigans. 

Thanks to YaYa for sharing the photos


   I could not resist sharing this video of a song that we sang in our church a couple of weeks ago. I have watched it three times. I have cried three times. You all know that I can get a bit sappy, but the words to this song resonate with me. You certainly don't have to cry, but I trust that it will bless you nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


     I basically stole this idea from my sister. She posted these pictures about memories we shared. They made me so nostalgic that I thought I might cry. I cannot wait to introduce Little One and Little Two to some of these delights.
     The best thing about going to a grandmother's house are the things that you do there that you don't do anywhere else.
     Like having ice cream for breakfast. (Shh...don't tell our Momma.)
Source: via Julie on Pinterest

   Slathering your body in as much Jergen's lotion as it can take. Mama Julia kept it on the back of the toilet and never said a word about the quantities of lotion that we consumed. I still buy the original scent because it reminds me of her.
Source: via Julie on Pinterest

    Vacation Bible School at the First Baptist Church in Opp, AL. I remember lining up outside in rows by age on the tree shaded walk (sadly, the big oak trees are long gone) and marching in with our banners for the morning assembly. With great gusto, I sang "This is My Father's World" and "Fairest Lord Jesus" although I was always off-key. I also memorized lots of scripture for sword drills and even earned a Ten Commandment bracelet that I wore with great pride.

    Donuts for breakfast, donuts for lunch, and by all means, donuts for dinner. All washed down with the obligatory glass of milk. My grandfather, Daddy Dewey was part-owner of a bakery, Zeb's Cake House. Zeb's was known for the most amazing donuts known to man and the donut man was none other than my granddaddy. I think my sisters and I would agree that Krispy Kreme cannot hold a candle to Daddy Dewey's donuts.  Now, if I could just come up with that recipe...

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Food

   I turned my Baby Sister on to Pinterest. I think we are both becoming addicts. Today I was "pinning," and I found all kinds of food ideas that combine some elements of red, white, and blue, and a few that don't. It seemed appropriate to share them today. Happy 4th of July, and happy eating with family and friends! I, for one, am thankful and glad to be "Born in the USA!"

Source: via Kathy on Pinterest

These last three are because I could not help myself! They are in order: Strawberry Nachos with Chocolate; Caprese Kabobs; Raspberries Stuffed with White and Dark Chocolate Chips. Yum Yum!