Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jesus Christ. Risen!

Source: Google
"The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." 

I'm so grateful to know Jesus Christ in the power of his death, burial and resurrection. I penned the words to this song a number of years ago, and I pray its timeless message strengthens your faith in God on this Easter weekend 2014.

Sharing at Spiritual Sundays

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Long, Gone Days of March

Can you believe it's April already? Me neither. Here are a few pictures (and a rambling narrative) of how March went for me.

My daughter moved.
I took some time off to assist her as best I could. Thanks to my beloved brother-in-law and twin sis for also pitching in. Nothing like family. On the final night at Leslie's apartment, with boxes stacked to the roof:

Miss Audrey plays without a clue.
(This photo makes me weak. Love the tiny feet and blonde hair.)

She gets a final bath in the sink.

And thrills us all in her towel.

She "helps" Mommy dismantle the drapes in the bedroom.

And entertains herself in her play pen.

And falls asleep atop her fuzzy bear, without a care in the world.

By evening, she would be examining their new place, complete with her own bedroom.

Here she is, checking out the closets. She has a "thing" for doors.

And a thing for this little duck.

Everything seemed to pass inspection.

My daughter gets a big promotion.
She's been on the job less than a year, but she's already impressed her bosses in a big way. Her new title is Executive Administrator. Several people will report directly to her. It was cause for celebration, and so we did at the Black Walnut Cafe.

I reunited with comrades.
In 2007, I attended a self-help seminar in Dallas called Discovery!. It was one of the most memorable weekends ever, and I made friends for life. On the 15th, a few of the Dallas and Houston alumni met up for a time of food and fellowship at the home of Melissa and Donnie Brown. It was a wonderful time of strolling down memory lane with wonderful people.

I got new windows.
Woohoo! I've wanted new windows since buying my house in 2008. Although it had been remodeled, the windows were original to the house, which is about 40 years old. As a result, Old Man Winter was hard to keep out, and a lot of cold air escaped during the sizzling months of summer, not to mention the noise factor from the neighbors and neighborhood. It was a sizable investment, but they look beautiful, and I have no regrets.

Audrey learns the spider song.
Just like her mother, she has been intrigued with music since her birth almost. The minute anyone sings, she is all eyes and ears. She loves songs with hand gestures, and her current favorite is "Itsy, Bitsy Spider." Here is her interpretation.

The azaleas bloomed and I went cruising.
Every spring, I look forward to seeing the neighborhood all abloom. The azaleas rarely disappoint, and this year was no exception. I also love bluebonnets, the official state flower of Texas. Sadly, they aren't as prevalent here as they were in my former home of Dallas, but you can still find them if you look. On the final weekend in March, I hopped in the car and went looking. MapQuest led me astray, and I only found a handful, but I still enjoyed the warm, sunny afternoon with the windows down, away from the big city.

And that's about it, my friends. April will be memories before you know it. Seize each moment and make it count. ♦

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Audrey Does the Rodeo

The Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show has been a staple of Texas entertainment for more than 80 years. It consumes about 20 days in March, and last year, more than two million people attended. My daughter gave Audrey her first taste of the rodeo earlier this month. I don't know about you, but she's cutest little cowgirl I've ever seen.

Joining Mosaic Monday

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Promise of Spring

I'm joining Vee's Note Card Party.

I first posted about these yellow daffodils in 2010. You can read that short post hereI was in the midst of a bitter winter on a personal level, and seeing their brilliance, bursting through the lifeless ground, shouted words of hope to my sagging soul.

The remaining pictures were snapped while visiting a nearby arboretum. If these were note cards, the inside might read:

No matter how cold the winter has been, spring is on the way.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Got Anxiety? It's Your Own Fault.

In his letter to the church of Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation."  Historians tell us that Paul was in prison when he penned those words, and if you haven't read Philippians 4 in a while, you really should take time to read it. It won't consume nearly as much time as scrolling through Facebook does.

I love that entire chapter (as seen from the markings in my old Bible) but specifically the part where Paul instructs the Philippians not to be anxiousabout anything. Instead, they should make their requests known to God and focus on the positive. "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

How easy it is for us (mere humans that we are) to do just the opposite. To become obsessed with the negative, and be beyond anxious about today, and tomorrow, and 10 years down the road. But that way of thinking isn't pleasing to God. He doesn't want us to be anxious. We're his children, after all, and in Luke 12, he reminds his disciples of their worth. "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Of course, God can't take our anxieties if we don't release them, and today I am challenging you to join me in releasing your fears and practicing faith. Faith in God who loves you. Faith in God who wants to provide for you. Faith in God who works the night shift on your behalf, protecting you when you aren't even aware.

As a matter of fact, I was reminded of that just last night.

After a long, tiring two days of helping my daughter move, I got home around 9:30 p.m. I have a detached garage, and as I approached the backdoor to my house, I noticed it was open. Not wide open, but a few inches open. The fact that I had been away for over 24 hours didn't escape me as I retreated to the car and got back in. Without a weapon on me (other than a large black purse), I wasn't comfortable going inside my house alone.

Stan and Diesel a few years back.
Thankfully, my twin and her spouse live in my neighborhood, so I phoned Dayle and told her the situation and asked if Stan would mind bringing his weapon and giving the house a thorough search. Of course, he came, and not with just one weapon, mind you. He came with two. One was a four-footed beast named Diesel with a keen nose and killer jaws.

Man and beast found nobody lurking inside, and nothing had been disturbed, so I thanked my personal constable and went on in. Later, after a little prompting, it came to me what had happened. I will spare the full details (since this is already the longest blog post known to exist) and just say that I left the door ajar on purpose while appraising a certain situation outside, and while appraising a certain situation outside, I was distracted by an unnamed source and totally forgot about leaving the door ajar. Airhead me.

But regardless of the reasons why, it was yet another lesson in how much God loves me, and how good he is to me, and how it should be the simplest thing in the world to not be anxious about anything. Ever!

If you're still with me, dear friend, go read Philippians 4. I even linked to it to make it easier for you. The principles taught there can change your life for good, and just like Paul, you'll discover the secret of being content whatever the situation. ♦

I'm joining:
Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays
Michelle at Graceful

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wow Us Wednesday ~ Sleeping Beauty

Joining the fun at Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesday.

I hope I'm not breaking any rules by wowing y'all with my little granddaughter instead of a new kitchen or an afghan I crocheted. If I am, I hope y'all will forgive me. She is 8 months old today, and I'm wowed every time I see her face. I know y'all will be, too.

I can't wait to check out some of the links y'all posted. They look very interesting. I'm wowed already.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Keep Blogging

While I've been working hard, too busy to blog, my granddaughter has been growing like a weed. The proof is in the collage. Maybe I'll have time to hang out in Blog Land soon. Until then, keep on blogging, y'all, and hug somebody you love.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mosaic Monday ~ Rock-a-bye Baby

My granddaughter stayed with me a few precious hours today. When it came time for her nap, I laid her in her bed, scratched her back and sang "Rock-a-bye Baby" until she fell asleep. She brings me more joy than words can tell.  ♦

Sharing at Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Year and A New Mantel

And now it's 2014. I understand the symbolism behind the practice of making resolutions, but in reality, a new year is no different than a new day. With every sunrise, new mercies appear, along with new opportunities to try harder and live better than we did the day before. I pray I don't squander the time I am blessed with in 2014.

Of course, a new year demands a new mantel, and I decided to showcase my three Willow Tree figurines. Each one was given to me as a gift, and each one has great significance.

My twin sister gave me the "Angel of Hope" during a difficult season.

Leslie gave me the "Mother and Daughter" after divorce left us with each other.

And on my first Grandparents Day last year, she gave me this "Grandmother" figurine.
I smile every time I see it.

Life is so fragile, my friends, and we aren't promised tomorrow. But I hope you are blessed with many beautiful tomorrows during the coming year, and that you seize each moment of every new day.

♦   ♦   ♦

Sharing at:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ~ The Year in Pictures

Warning: This might be the longest blog you've ever scrolled through. But what can I say? It's been a big year.

Oddly enough, the past 12 months seemed to fly by, but the year itself seemed quite long to me. I know that makes no sense, but I have no explanation. Here is a look back on how 2013 unfolded.

In January, I accompanied Leslie to the doctor to determine the gender of her child. I would've been happy with a boy or a girl, but Leslie was rooting for a boy. When the nurse told us it was a girl, Leslie was disappointed. However, after a few days, she embraced the news and I'm sure she wouldn't trade Miss Audrey for a boy now. I first shared about Leslie's unconventional pregnancy here.

February found me doing what I love to do: Decorating! Leslie asked me to bring a feeling of "home" to her new apartment, and I was more than happy to oblige. I love how it all turned out.

After months of debating the issue, I bought a Nikon D3100, and on a balmy day in March, me and Ann (my camera buff friend) enjoyed the early blooms at the nearby botanical gardens. If you're looking for a new camera, I highly recommend this one.

As April evolved, I attended a mass baby shower with Leslie. It's hosted by the Houston Fertility Institute, and the parents (and parents-to-be) of these much-loved and anticipated children come and celebrate their miracles together. It was quite inspirational. Here is Leslie, posing with Dr. Griffith and Dr. Williams, two amazing physicians at the Institute.

I also tried my hand at furniture refinishing. I bought this dull and boring coffee table for $20 at Goodwill...

...and transformed it into a gleaming, bright, useful piece.

May was a busy, busy month. Leslie's baby shower turned out to be perfect, despite an unexpected detour. The whole story is here.

...and I spent some time enjoying summer's bounty, along with my sweet grand niece, my spoiled grand dog, and a little DIY for my granddaughter's room.

I also celebrated Mother's Day with my dear mother. We tried out a new hamburger place in town, and the one you see here was the best burger I've ever eaten. Divine!

My beautiful niece celebrates a birthday in May, so I hosted her birthday dinner as well.

Without question though, June was THE month of the year. After many hours of painting and preparing a room for my new granddaughter, it finally came together. The coffee table fit right in, and the $35 chest of drawers was a great find.

But other exciting changes came in June...

After years of hating my kitchen cabinets, I called a contractor and did something about it. I LOVE how they turned out, and they continue to bring me joy on a daily basis. To see "before" pics, click here.

And then...

On Tuesday, June 18th, Miss Audrey Emeline (pronounced Emma-Line) made her debut. I had just stepped out of my car at work when my daughter called and said, "I think it's time." Audrey came quickly and peacefully at 2:59 p.m. Nonni cut the cord, and fell head-over-heels in love. My initial blog about her birth is here.

Audrey made her first official appearance 10 days later at my other lovely niece's birthday dinner. She slept like an angel the entire time.

July got off to a grand start with BBQ, watermelon and family. A great combo during any month.

And the heat of August didn't seem so bad when divided by three. We've done "sister trips" in the past, and I was thrilled when we were all able to enjoy a few precious days on Galveston Island. I don't recall a happier, crazier time. If you are intrigued, you can find a long narrative and lots more pictures here.

As the month came to a close, Miss Audrey popped in for a visit at work one day. Words can't tell how much I love this child.

Obviously, September was filled with "all things Audrey," including my first Grandparents Day. Memories for a lifetime.

Of course, October is birthday month for me and my beloved twin. Sadly, we couldn't celebrate together this year, but we both had memorable days.

 First here...

Then here.

As you can see, Dayle was far away, experiencing a little romance.

November is a time to give thanks, and we certainly did. My dear parents joined us for Thanksgiving Day, and how grateful we all are that Daddy is walking again and Mother remains healthy. Indeed, all the money in the world can't buy such riches.

December is birthday month for my one and only. If I close my eyes long enough, she is a little girl again. We celebrated her big day at my house with a requested brunch menu. I must say, the food was superb, and sharing it with my family made it even better.

And that's how 2013 played out for me. Sure, there were days of personal storms and struggles to battle through, but every rain brought its own rainbow, and every struggle brought a renewed sense of strength. I hope your year was a good one, and I pray that 2014 is filled with promise and peace.  ♦