Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Honor of Leap Year

Yours Truly in...gasp...Junior High School! 

Today I can pretend to be 14.5 years of age instead of 58. Wait. 
I don't want to be fourteen and a half. 
I remember that age. 
Braces. Zits. Oily bangs. More zits. 
Oh, and don't forget, the obligatory hose, 
Nicely Nude Hose to be exact. Yes, hose.
There are some things that are best left in the past. 
And sorry, Kate Middleton, that's one of them.
Penny loafers. Bass Weejuns.
Villager shirtwaist dresses with Peter Pan collars.
Dirndl skirts.
Twin sets.
Eye make-up that I had to remove before
I got home because I was only allowed to wear a little blush, some Bonne Belle powder, 
and a light lip gloss called Yardley Light Shimmer.
But definitely no mascara and absolutely no eye-liner. 
Little did my mother know that I had the most beautiful Cleopatra eye thing going. 
But each day at 7th period, I trudged into the bathroom and emerged once again with naked eyes.
It was my idea of obedience. 
I was dying for pierced ears, but my mother would not budge.
 There really wasn't any way that I could get around that one.
I certainly don't miss the insecurities, 
my embarrassing lack of physical coordination 
(something I have yet to escape),
 the endless girl drama, the wish for some boy drama,
the longing to be accepted,
and the smile that I pasted on my face every day.
I definitely don't wanna go back. No siree.
I'll take fifty-eight any day over fourteen and a half.
So long leap year. 
Next time you roll around I'll be 16. 
Now that's a different story, but you'll just have to wait until then to get the scoop.
A lot can happen in four years.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Little Love Coming Your Way Today

   It's been a while since you have seen my grandgirls, that is. You know, the little people who own me lock, stock, and barrel. I threw away the key when each of them was born. The Husband is nearly as bad as I am. They call. We run. It's a blessed thing to have a little person love you. It has a way of making all right with the world. Some days you need that more than others.
   This is Little One's version of this particular day.

   "Nonna wants me to wear my coat. We are going to walk to Marche. Really, she is going to walk and I am going to ride in my Bob." (Note from Nonna: For those of you who don't have hip grandbabies, a Bob is a stroller and not just any stroller, but a very hip stroller for very hip urban babies.)
     "I have other shoes, but I like to wear my rain boots whenever possible, even when there is not a drop of rain in the forecast. My boots look like frog faces and they are funny. I like that word: F U N N Y. I say it and laugh real loud. That makes Nonna smile."
"Nonna, in case you haven't noticed, I am ready to roll."
"This hat is getting hot, but for some reason, Nonna is obsessed with taking pictures of me. 
I, on the other hand, am totally ready to head out to Marche."
  "Dum de dum dum...more pictures."
 "Let's get this show on the road."
   "My patience is wearing thin."
"You think Nonna would get the idea."
"This is the best 'Cheese' I can give Nonna, 'cause it's time to GO!"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Party Perfect

   Take a look at the pictures and you will know what I mean.

Charming invites by none other than my favorite graphic designer:
The incomparable Emily O. Holmes!
Vintage touches layered in varying heights provided interest and charm.
Can you spy the homemade salted caramel chocolate cake and
 the bacon, tomato and basil tarts? Yum!
Another view of the tablescape
Antique Limoge looks especially lovely alongside vintage crystal,
British Castles and charming bird plates from Anthropologie!

   It was a picture perfect evening for friends to gather. The air was crisp, the night was clear, the wine was flowing and the table was loaded to perfection. In addition to the brie en croute, there were bacon, tomato and basil tarts, artisanal cheeses, and three of the most decadent home-made desserts known to man: salted caramel chocolate cake, strawberry parfait trifle and Mexican chocolate tortillas with whipped creme. It's a wonder anyone left the table at all.
   And the decor...well let's just say that the hostess in charge of the tablescape and the lovely touches that were placed throughout The Daughter's house could easily find full-time employment working her incredible magic on a much larger scale!
In case you are wondering, this is the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs!
You've met them before here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mommy, Fix It

   "Mommy, fix it." Clutched in hand would be a broken toy, a paper airplane that would no longer fly, a doll with her dress askew. And so I did. I fixed it. I made it right or made it work over and over again. I found that it was somehow fulfilling to dispense bandaids along with healing kisses. To bathe fevered brows and straighten twisted sheets or offer a soothing lullaby to send a weary little one off to sleep. My children needed me, and I liked that. It made me feel important and valued as a mother. It was my job.
   Although it was relatively easy in the beginning, it soon became more and more difficult to fix whatever problem reared its head in my household. For as my children grew, the problems proportionally grew with them. And what did I do? I simply picked up my game. The stakes were higher so I became even more dedicated and determined to "fix" whatever was wrong. If, at times, it became overwhelming, I pressed on. It was easy to ignore the warning signs: my own deepening exhaustion, the growing belief that I alone understood or could communicate effectively about the needs of my family, or my attempts to manage all manner of issues, both great and small. There were no boundaries, or if there were, I either overstepped them or ignored them. I was the Fixing Queen. Little did I realize the snare into which I had fallen. I had become a proselyte in the temple of making right whatever was wrong. But what I did not realize was that this behavioral response to life's difficulties in my children's lives had morphed into an addiction, a powerful drug that worked for me (or so I believed).
   I would like to believe that I began in good faith as a young mother simply meeting the needs of her quickly growing family. I was engaged in nurturing my children and providing a safe and loving environment for them. But truth be told, the serpent had already invaded the Garden and somewhere along the line the corruption began to permeate my life. It was a small idea in the beginning, but it quickly became a consuming fire: I actually began to believe in my own ability to fix whatever was wrong.
  This is idolatry. Pure and simple. It's the "I can do it" that we hurl in the face of trial, tribulation or whatever trouble assails us. It's also what we tell ourselves and what we tell God when He gently whispers to our soul that there is another way.
   So here I am in mid-life finding the layers of self-delusion and self-protection being peeled away. It's painful. But it is necessary. I have adult children. They do not need me to fix their problems. It sounds so easy to type those words. But I have set up kitchens, cleaned out closets, made up beds and decorated rooms in their houses. I have also encroached in the other areas. I have had a lifetime of overstepping my bounds.
   There is a scripture that I have prayed for one of my children that I am seeking to lay hold of for myself, "Thou hast drawn the boundary lines for me in pleasant places, what a delightful inheritance I have."
Pleasant boundaries. Safe boundaries. Secure boundaries where no thief or enemy can enter to steal or destroy. A place to rest and to delight in what has been freely given to me. Can I continue to let go of my control, my need to be needed, and my lifetime propensity to run to the place of trouble with the temporary fix?
   I am believing so...for it is for freedom in Christ that we have indeed been set free, and I do not want to take again the yoke of slavery. The callouses on my neck and hands and soul from the unholy yoke are just beginning to feel the blessed relief of His healing touch.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Lively Ode to Spring

  I don't know how I stumbled across the music of Jesse Cook, but I am so glad that I did. My heart dances when he plays his guitar. I read that he is a rumba flamenco guitarist and probably the best in the world. I have no idea what a rumba flamenco guitarist is...I only know that I am totally enamored with his music and hope you will like him, as well.
   I, for one, would love to hear the sound of this guitar gracing the stage anywhere! Enjoy!

Click the arrow below. It will take you to the MP3 site, then click the same little arrow!
Dance Of Spring (Live)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In the Pink

     I bought these Pom Poms made by Martha Stewart at Big Lots when they had them on sale for a whopping $2.00. The Daughter and I used them at least four times. Then they died. I think we got our money's worth.
Tissue Poms Pink Package of 5

I also think I would have liked this pink rug in my room...when I was five.
Butterfly Rug
Butterfly Rug by Surya

Anthropologie has these darling loafers. If I had an extra $168 lying around, I might buy them.Too bad. I don't.

Their rose knob is a little better priced at $8.00. I think I could probably swing a couple of those.

Antiquaria is one of my favorite day-dreaming sites. How about this mixed place setting of china, with delightful touches of pink? And the best part is that each place setting may vary slightly, but each piece fits cohesively with the others to whom it is you could be in for a delightful surprise when you open the box!
Image of "Berkshire" China, 6 Piece place setting

Find these Matouk scalloped bed linens at Neiman-Marcus' "Pink Sale!" Warning: these are definitely a budget buster. Perhaps you could find a way to justify it by saying that Matouk linens last a long time. Might be worth a try.
Add caption

And no pink collection would be complete without something from the iconic Thomas Pink of London's Jermyn Street.
Self Tie Bow Tie
However, I would be hard-pressed to get The Husband in this.

Cotton Socks
or these.

And in another life and another time, I might ride this pink gem down the Amalfi Coast. My long blonde hair would be blowing in the wind. Oh wait, I am a brunette.
2010 Vespa LX 150 100793349 large photo
This little Vespa is bargain priced at under 5K...for somebody.
                          Given all of these options, who wouldn't want to be in the pink!

Handyman Happiness

    Flannery O'Connor tells us that a "good man is hard to find," and I would add the additional admonition that a handy man is nigh unto impossible to find...that is...unless you are married to one, are the daughter of one, birthed one yourself, or are one of those individuals who is fortunate enough to know Ron Woodside. I don't know how we stumbled across this gold mine of a handyman, but I am so very thankful that we did. Before Ron came along, the "Honey Do" list at my house was the "Honey Don't."
Ron is here!
Here he is installing new weather
stripping under my front door!
    Ron brings handyman happiness to my house. When I see his white truck pull up in my driveway on time just as he said he would, I am either filled with relief or nearly giddy with joy. I know it is gonna be good when Ron is around. In addition to just being plain ole "handy," this honest-as-the-day-is-born man is a certified electrician and plumber. You name it and he can do it: drywall installation and repair, painting, stone work, installation of tile, grouting, rewiring, mold removal, rebuilding you-name-it and repairing furniture. No task is too great or too small. In my house, Ron has done everything from replacing lightbulbs in those nearly inaccessible places to second story painting (he uses a safety rope when he is up on the tall ladders). He likes children, dogs and people. He makes friends wherever he goes. If you comment and leave me your email address, I will think long and hard about sending you his information so you can find out for yourself why this man is in such demand. I won't charge you any money or ask for references, but I will ask that you treat him with the honor and respect that any craftsman deserves. Otherwise, you are just gonna have to spender your time wondering what you've missed.
Here is my new front door surround, ordered
and installed by Ron! He also painted
and installed new weather stripping.
No more drafty front door for me!
    Oh, and by the way, thanks to Ron I have a functioning light in my shower for the first time in twenty-six years. I don't know whether I really want to see everything that I can now see in the glaring bright light. Some things are better kept in the dark.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Gift of Silence

   Learning to listen in the silence. Learning to be silent. Learning to just be. Learning that stillness can be a form of worship. I am undertaking a spiritual directions group with a small group of women, something this middle-aged woman has never done before. I have been in Bible Studies off and on for thirty something years. I have diligently filled notebooks with pages of notes, completed the blanks in workbooks, read countless Christian books and devotionals, memorized scripture, and invested time, energy, prayer and devotion learning all that I could about my Savior and Lord. 
    However, it was not until I began this group that I have begun to realize just how busy I have been. For days upon end and years upon years I have been busy, busy, busy. It's a busyness of the soul, fed by this information everywhere, instant gratification, and privileged lifestyle we lead. Now I am learning about a different type of devotion. One that does not require an extension of energy on my part. It is even different from waiting. It is resting. It is stretching me in ways that I have never been stretched before. 
   This is not easy for me. There are days when the stillness and the silence are deafening. There are days when they are comforting and healing. There are days when I run right back to my old emotionally energetic ways. 
    But I am learning. I am learning that there is a new way to worship. 
The words of the prophet Habakkuk are taking on a new meaning for me, "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silent before him." 
    Thomas a' Kempis also obviously understood this type of worship: 
"Thou brightness of eternal glory, thou comforter of the pilgrim soul, with thee is my tongue without voice, and my very silence speaketh unto Thee.  Come, oh, come; for without Thee I shall have no joyful day or hour; for Thou art my joy, and without thee my table is empty,  Praise and glory be unto Thee; let my mouth, my soul, and all creatures together, praise and bless Thee."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl Fever

    The Husband is at the Super Bowl once again. He leaves town every year on the Friday before the big game and heads out early so that he will not miss out on any of the attendant festivities. And trust me, there are many. He is in hog heaven. In the weeks before the game, he spends hours pouring over maps and researching where all of the different activities will be. He will have his game face on for three solid days. He will not sleep, and he will only eat ballpark food.
     I, also, am a happy clam because I will be joining our friends for annual Super Supper Bowl and watching a movie with the women (or almost all of the women because out of the crowd that gathers there are two women who actually prefer to watch the game.) But thankfully, it is the kind of gathering that lets you do whatever floats your boat. So I will be watching a movie. Some of you are groaning. Even though I have been fortunate enough to attend three Super Bowls myself, it is not exactly my cup of tea. I don't appreciate the full experience that pro football affords its many fans (The Husband included). The NFL season is just too long and my team always seems to fade in the finish. So plenty of food, a vintage movie, and the company of old friends suit me just fine.
   Each of us is charged with bringing a couple of appetizers or some other delectable treats for the group to share. That's why I call it the Supper Bowl...we begin about five and we graze and we graze and we graze until we are all wishing we had not eaten so much. Then after the National Anthem is sung, most of the women tromp upstairs and sprawl out on the big comfy bed or the floor to watch a movie. It's the best part of the evening. The room is dark and the movie is usually something 99% of us have never seen before. It's a tradition. It began nearly thirty years ago and has been going on ever since. We started when our children were babies. Now our children have children of their own.
   Some of the people who come are folks I only see one time each year. But I look forward each year to greeting them and sharing the evening getting caught up on what is going on in their lives. This Super Bowl Party is one tradition that is familiar and comforting, and besides, it is a great way to spend a Sunday evening that has apparently become a national pastime....(even though I think that's supposed to be baseball.) But in our family, the great American pastime is the Super Bowl or the Super Supper Bowl...take your pick!
   Thankfully, these are foods that I absolutely and categorically know we WON'T be eating on Sunday!
Cheese curls and rice krispie treats? And those little summer sausage goalposts?
Ummm...not for me!

Last time I counted there were too many men on the field
Oops, this one deserves a big penalty. 

I confess this looks totally nasty to me.
Stale bread and warm deli meat.
Besides, I keep wondering who has handled all this food
and how long has it been out of the refrigerator?
No worries, somewhere the men will eat it...

all photos were found here

Friday, February 3, 2012

Get Crafty for Valentine's

   I am mad about the ideas on the blog It is such a serious love affair that I am actually thinking I might have to buck my own trend and get back into the kitchen and try out some of their ideas. Oh, and of course, I shall have to buy some of their products. But the great thing about this lovely little design company is that you won't have to break the bank to do so. Here's a preview of just a few of their fabulous ideas and products!
Deliver a cuppa to someone special!
Pez! Does anyone besides me remember Pez? 
This one is called "Wear your heart on your straw!"
Gotta love it!
It's just old fashioned glassine bags, a little baker's twine,
and some yummy sugar cookies!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Signs and Wonders

     I saw these in my yard today. Daffodils in Nashville blooming at the end of January. It made me feel a little like Dorothy when she told Toto, "We are not in Kansas anymore." I ask myself, "Is this really Nashvegas on the second day of FEBRUARY?" I am pretty sure that this is neither Kansas nor Florida.
     Perhaps I have been teleported to a parallel universe where winter no longer exists. If so, I am thankful. Make that oh so thankful for a day when windows and doors can be flung wide open. Where morning dew glitters on the ground without the threat of frost. Where breezes lightly ruffle your hair as you drive down the highway with all four car windows down and your arm waving and swooping in the wind. Ahh. I will not lie. It's good to breathe this air. Little Two and I unpacked the stroller and took a walk at 3:00 pm. We stopped to watch the creek babbling happily over the rocks. Little Two clapped her hands with glee. I danced a jig.
    Today, I wore a cardigan sweater over a sleeveless top, with a skirt, no less. No coat, no boots, no scarves, no gloves. This is my kind of February.
     So long winter of my discontent. I am embracing this gift of spring!

Delightful. Utterly delightful!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thirty-Eight Days and Counting

  It won't be too long until these two begin their lives as husband and wife. We are counting down the days, and our hearts are filled with joy and anticipation.
    The Lord knew what He was talking about when He said, "It is not good for the man to be alone, therefore I will create a companion, a helper for him." We believe the lovely red-haired young woman you see in the pictures is just exactly who God has had in His heart from the beginning of time for our eldest son.

And this is the new family our son will be gaining when the two become one
    And what's even better...we love his new family, too! God is good!

All of these beautiful photographs were taken by the bride's mother