Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hodgepodge and Heavenly Skies

It's Wednesday and time for Hodgepodge once again...
...where Joyce asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.

Here in the south, you never know from one day to the next what to expect, weather-wise.
We went from 3 degrees to 73 degrees in a matter of five days.
The snow was pretty while it lasted and they say we may get more in a couple of weeks.
I don't mind the winter months because y'all know how much I like snow.
But even when there is no snow on the ground, there is just something about those winter skies...

...they seem to be especially heavenly in January.

They've been pink in the mornings and pink in the evenings.

Humor me as I insert some recent sky shots in amongst the hodgepodge questions.
And speaking of hodgepodge, let's get started, shall we?
1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now?
After pondering this question, I decided that the only way I could answer it honestly was to actually give two answers. The first is about the resolutions that I make every year and how I'm doing with them...thus my answer, ALMOST SNAIL-LIKE AND PROCRASTINATING. We have  also been in the process of some major home improvement projects for the past year or two all surely know those things can go...or NOT...and we are finally set up to get new floors. They were to come last Wednesday to measure so we could schedule installation and well, that didn't happen (some computer glitch...of course) so they are scheduled to be here today. It has been over two weeks since went and picked out the flooring. Need I say more? is going...AS SLOWLY AS PREDICTED.

2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

It really depends on who I am in a group with and what is being discussed. I tend to hold back somewhat and don't want to dominate the group or intimidate others who are sharing. I'm thoughtful like that :) I have been in groups (SS class comes to mind) where one person wants to have the floor during every discussion and it can really be intimidating and bordering on rude. Just like anything else, there should should be a happy medium. If no one else chooses to speak then I guess someone needs to...but it wouldn't be me more than likely.

3. What do you remember best about being 12? 

Man, it's been so long...let me think...   Back when I was twelve, there was an innocence that doesn't seem to be there in this age group today, generally speaking. When I was twelve, I was still basically a little girl playing with dolls. I had a couple of Barbies and my sister who is next to me in age would have been over fourteen and she played with me. I also had one of those dolls that had the soft body and a face like a newborn. Long after I actually played with her, I kept her wrapped up and placed her on my bed along with my collection of stuffed animals. There was no make-up either, just a short little chubby girl enjoying my place as the baby in a big family.

4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration. 

I had no idea so I went "there". I'm Kanga...and I do love to camp :)

More heavenly skies on my way home from work last week...

5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 

I am still getting used to using apps since I have only had my smart phone just a short time. I never had a GPS so that is great, I've tried the flashlight out a few times and it's also quite helpful (and fun) to have Google at my fingertips...just to name a few. 

6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL) have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

It would be a toss-up between Sanibel Island, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico I think. Although I have never been to either place, a tropical paradise always sounds quite nice.

7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 

Oh my gosh, Joyce...sometimes you ask the hardest questions! There are so many...but I cannot hear the song, "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce without remembering my wedding day and my sister singing it. There.

8. Insert your own random thought here.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Red on White

Here in the south, we really either hate snow or we get really excited.
Since I'm not from these parts originally, I get excited because being from Ohio, I miss it!
You out there in the colder parts of blog land kind of just accept snow as part of normal life.
So I tend to find ways to celebrate our few and far between snowfalls.
Of course, one of the ways is watching the birds go absolutely CRAY over it!

We always have a pretty good assortment of birds throughout the year, including cardinals.

I love feeding and watching all of them but when there is snow on the ground,
there just aren't any that compare to those stunning pops of red against the brilliant white snow.

I was able to get most of the bird photos through my dirty windows.
It was bitter COLD out there!

There were so many birds that I decided to put out an extra container of seeds on the deck.
It didn't take long for them to find it...and fight over it.
I love how the cardinal seems to be telling the sparrow, "This is MINE...go get your own!" :)

But I did endure the freezing temps for just a bit to get out in that lovely white stuff.
I walked the dogs down the driveway and when I turned around back towards the house,
it was kind of like seeing the red cardinals against the snow...except....different.

Our formerly-brown-but-now-red-house really stood out against the ground covered in white.

Also, the night before the snow came, Jim went out to the store and brought me back flowers.
I'm sure you see where I am going with this...
...and surely you remember how much I like to play with flowers in the snow :)

 Kind of a crazy idea for a post, don't ya think?
Oh well, it's only the beginning of January...surely things will get better :)
By the end of this week, we are to have temps in the upper 60's again.
Welcome to North Carolina!
And surely you have guessed by now that I'm linking up with Maggie at
Mosaic Monday

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year That Was

"Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things;
the past is gone, the future is not come,
and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it,
and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires."
~Charles Caleb Colton  
2016...the year that was.
How can this be?
When I was young, just the thought of putting a '20' in front of the year seemed like science fiction...
...and now here we are, seventeen years into it!
Every year I ask myself how in the world did this year fly by so quickly...
and every year the answer is the same.
It. Just. Did.
"Time is nature's way to keep everything from happening at once."
~Ray Cummings
I have started this post about five or six times,
Then I decided I wasn't going to post at all because I was running out of time.
Then I decided I would just forego all the of the photos and and links for the re-hash of 2016.
That's where I left it.

Yes, in 2016 there were vacations, family gatherings, the addition of a new fur baby,
a girl's weekend getaway at the beach, holidays to celebrate and many, many photo ops.
But I don't even have the words to express how grateful I am for the changes that 2016 brought.
Prayers that had been prayed for many, many years have been and are still being answered.
Everything else that happened in our family pales in comparison to that one big thing.
Of course, that one big thing is Aaron's sobriety.

I want to thank each and every one of you that have prayed for him, for me and my family.
And thank you for reading my posts and continuing to support me.
You guys are the best!
Oh...and this wonderful old watch...

...this one that you have seen throughout my blog since the beginning...

...well, it is finally with it's rightful owner.
Aaron was next in line to have this watch and then to pass down to his first born one day.
We have been safekeeping it for many years, as I'm sure you certainly understand why.

A week ago on Christmas Day, Jim gave the watch to Aaron.
It was pun intended. (well, maybe)

Although this is a wonderful thing, I'm going to miss it!
I really have enjoyed taking photos of it in different surroundings.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot.      
~Michael Althsuler
So my friends, another year has come and gone and although I say this every year,
I hope to make 2017 the best year yet!
Hey, if I can improve one just one thing, it will be better than the last!
It is my prayer that each of you have your best year as well.

♥♥ May God richly bless you in 2017♥♥

Much love and hugs,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Full Heart (and a full belly)

The most beautiful tree that I've ever seen...

...a quiet room anticipating the squeals of delight made by the still-sleeping children... was a time for the Rays to gather and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
So gather, we did at Adam's country place in hills of Tennessee,
although we were missing a couple of teenage boys.

It had been a long time since just the four of us sat down at the dinner table together...
...a rare photo op to be sure! :)

There were musical instruments, birthstone earrings, microscopes and knives...

...fuzzy socks, squirrel feeders, a little of this and a little of that...
and yes, even the whole seven season set of the Dukes of Hazzard!

Don't even ask.

But this is no joke...
Adam had this hammer engraved for his brother to commemorate the date of his sobriety.
(you may want to click to enlarge it to see better)
It took a few moments for the lumps in our throats to clear.

It felt like spring outside as the fog rose up out of the hollow.
We then all hopped in the pick-up for a Christmas morning field trip to the shed down below,
 to see what "Santa" had left for Parker and Olivia there.

I know you can't see what's on the box...
...but let me just say that when there are six hands working together in unison,
assembling the trampoline was a piece of cake!


I'm not sure who was having more fun...can you guess?

Spring weather also calls for spring chores!
Aaron was in his element as he "gifted" his brother with a nice, smooth driveway...
...all half a mile of it :)
And although we were eating all weekend long,
the Cinnamon Roll Casserole that we had for breakfast was the pièce de ré·sis·tance...
...and oh so easy too!

Here's the recipe:

2 cans cinnamon rolls
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
maple syrup

Take rolls from cans and cut into quarters and place in greased 9x13 inch pan.
Beat together eggs and milk then pour over rolls.
Sprinkle cinnamon and drizzle the maple syrup over all, to your own taste.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
When finished baking, drizzle melted icing over the all.
Oh. My. Goodness.

And of course, bacon makes everything better, right? :)
Now that it's all over, I am SOOO ready to cleans my body of all the junk food!
Can I get a witness?
Yes, it was a Merry Christmas, indeed.

Let earth receive her KING! 
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing!


Monday, December 12, 2016

...with boughs of holly...

Deck the HOUSE with boughs of holly,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la...
(Do you think folks used to actually deck their halls?)

I was so excited to see my holly bush out back, heavy laden with clusters of red berries.
Some years there aren't any berries at all and I've often wondered why.

I already knew the part about only female plants will produce berries,
but only if a male is within a certain distance from her.

Well, once you have berries, you'd think you would have them every year, right?
I mean, it's not like these bushes just get up and move around...
...and away from said male or female influences.
Maybe the male and female bushes were just not getting along well that year.
I didn't know why...I am horticulturally challenged!


So I got curious and if you are interested, you can read more about holly right here.
Many of you smarty-pants friends already know these facts, no doubt.

There are other things that can interfere, such as the weather...too wet or too dry.
Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many beautiful red berries this year.
These red and green boughs just make everything look so Christmas-y!

When I was young and much more ambitious,
I made wreaths and centerpieces from real greenery just about every year.
I even tied boughs of evergreen together to make my own garlands.
I do love the old-fashioned look of them and of course, the aroma is heavenly!
Adding some holly to the mix just makes it perfection.

Do you have a holly bush in your yard or use real greenery for your decorations?

Today, I'm linking to

 Mosaic Monday

Won't you come over and check out everyone's lovely mosaics?
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