Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Fall is not in the air where I live yet, but this Hodgepodge about Fall makes me even more ready to see it arrive.  To see how other bloggers have answered these questions Joyce has given us, click HERE
and scroll down to the list of participants.

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.

Having been married to my man for 52 years.  We have a beautiful relationship that has gotten better and sweeter as we've aged and learned to love each other more completely.

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?

Accounting.  Numbers are not and never have been my thing.

3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?

Having had back and cervical fusions, falling is a fear; therefore, I take extra precautions to not fall.  So far, I haven't.  Something I am falling for these days is fixing up and enjoying our new covered back porch.

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?

I have not been to any of the listed festivals, but the one that sounds the most interesting would be Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine).  I have never been there, but think the fall colors would be magnificent.

A second choice would be the one in Santa Fe simply because I love Santa Fe.

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?

Good bye, farewell, good riddance, don't let the door hit you on the way out, and take the mosquitoes and lovebugs with you.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I read recently that the Monarch Butterflies are migrating and that we should provide food for them in the way of plants.  So, I ran out and got a mixture of plants that hopefully would attract them and provide traveling nourishment at the same time.  And yes, they are attracted to those plants, but I was able to capture one feeding on Lemongrass seed pods in another pot.  They are so beautiful close up, so I am going to show it in enlargement shots rather than a collage.

There are such minute details in these close-ups.


Woooow amazing, brilliant, wonderfully true!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Another Wednesday, another Hodgepodge.  Join us on Joyce's blog HERE.

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

It truly can be.  In these two pictures for instance.
Or how could words ever tell the story and evoke the emotion that Van Gogh told in this painting?

Whether or not a picture represents or misrepresents truth, it still tells a story.

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?
We have, and there is absolutely no way to have one favorite stop.  This is going to be a pictorial tour of just some of my favorite stops from our trip back in 2004.
San Fransisco:  We started in San Fransisco where one must experience the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the San Fran skyline.  You will also want to take a Trolley/Cable Car to Fisherman's Wharf.  We took a Gray-line Tour which gave us a great overall view of the city.

San Jose:  You do not want to miss seeing the crazy and fascinating Winchester Mystery House.

Half-Moon Bay:  This is certainly worth stopping for.  The back of the Ritz Carlton is one of the most beautiful scenes.

Big Sur:  Oh my, the sights along this stretch of the highway.  The Bixby Bridge, barely seen in my picture above, is one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world and one of the most photographed bridges on the West Coast.  You will want to park often in order to not miss these most amazing views.
Don't forget Big Sur National Park where there are huge Red Woods that you can literally stand inside.

San Simon:  Here is the magnificent Hearst Castle and definitely worth visiting

San Luis Obispo:  Also known as Pismo Beach, there is a lot to do here, but I will just highlight some of the things we did.  Dick had lived here for six months right out of high school and we visited a distant cousin he had lived with and had not seen in over 50 years.  This was the highlight of the whole trip.  As part of her tour, we had lunch at an outdoor restaurant on Moro Bay, where we could watch the boats and seals.  She told us that sometimes the barges get so loaded with seals, that they sink.  I can see how this would happen.  We also visited the gaudy Madonna Inn and sampled some of their renowned cakes.

This was our last stop on the Pacific Coastline before going back north on an inland passage.  I can honestly say this was one of the best trips we have taken and would do it again in a minute.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?

The changes into Fall are my favorite and invigorate me.  We happen to be getting a foretaste today with a wonderful 79 degrees.

As I get older, I am probably looking back a little more than I used to because I am old enough to have accumulated memories and experiences worth reliving.  But, I am also old enough to look forward with anticipation knowing this is not my home and it will be so much better when I get there.

I do not handle the time change in the spring well.  I love fall and winter and dread the coming summer heat.  Perhaps this is why I struggle with that transition.

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

I don't really care what is on the menu as long as I have some German Chocolate Cake.

No, I am proud of every one of my almost 73 years!

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?

That God is not in my dress rehearsals.  I am so good at rehearsing what if's and I am so grateful to have learned this lesson, but wish it had come much, much earlier.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

This past weekend, we traveled to Dallas to see our youngest granddaughter perform in a play.
All of the kids did an amazing job and we are so proud of our little actress.
Just a very short clip of the opening number.
Also loved seeing and spending time with all the rest of the family as well.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Thank you Joyce for bringing us another fun Hodgepodge this week.
Please click HERE to join us and see how others have answered the following questions.

1. When you think about your future what do you fear most? Hope for the most?

First of all, my random thought will more completely answer this question.  But, my greatest fear is one day being a burden on my children.  I dread if/when I become unable to care for myself and am reliant on someone else.  Neither of my parents were ever a "burden" to us and I know this was one of their greatest concerns as well.  I pray God will be merciful to us and our children as well.

I hope most for the future to continue being able to travel and enjoy our children and grandchildren, and one day to be thrilled with great-grandchildren.

2. September is National Chicken Month. How often is chicken on the menu at your house? What's a favorite dish made with chicken? What's something you're a 'chicken' about doing or trying?

We purchase at least one rotisserie chicken a week.  I bone it and use it in a variety of ways from chicken salad, to casserole dishes or just plan sliced.  I also boil the carcass and freeze the strained broth for cooking with later.  So full of flavor.

Some of our favorite dishes are Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Breasts in Sour Cream, Chicken Enchiladas, and Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken.  But my favorite would be
Chicken Spectacular
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 (6 ounce) package Uncle Ben's combination wild and white rice, cooked
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of celery soup
  • 1 (3 ounce) jar sliced pimientos
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups French style green beans, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman's)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, diced
  • salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients.  Pour into a 2 1/2 or 3 quart casserole.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serves 6.  To freeze do not cook prior to freezing.

I am a chicken about making dumplings.  We don't need them which is a good excuse.

3. What are three things you don't own but wish you did?

My want list is very small, in fact I can't think of a thing I really wish I had.  But, will play.
3.  A new body that could do yoga
2.  New SUV that would get 35 mpg
1.  A transport machine that would get me to family without hours on the road

4. Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Elaborate.  If you answered one, which one?

I would rather be a master of one.  I would love to be a master painter and be able to inspire others with my vision.  I would also love to be able to sing again.

5. Ketchup or mustard? On what?

I rarely eat either one.  Ketchup on fries once in a while and mustard added to baked beans.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I recently read a blog that spoke to me. I tend to play out negative scenarios of what I would do should something bad happens.  What would I do if this happened, or would I be able to handle it if that happened, etc.  You get the idea.

The writer and I have that in common evidently.  While playing this "what-if" game with herself, the Lord spoke to her with this message:  "Those decisions feel overwhelming because I AM NOT THERE.  If you were to actually find yourself there, I would be there too and I would guide you in those decisions.  Amy, you can't dress rehearse tragedy."

Wow, that got my attention.  It isn't our job to dress rehearse tragedy.  In fact, if is a futile exercise.  God isn't in that, therefore, we accomplish only stress, frustration, and needless worry.

Amy closes this post with this statement:
"Dress rehearsals might be helpful in the theater, but they are pretty pointless in matters of real life.  Jesus doesn't come to our dress rehearsal.  But come show time, He always shows up, and the whole script changes."

"Seek Me and you will find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back from captivity."  Jeremiah 29:12-13

Monday, September 4, 2017

Celebrations in Hot Springs

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Anniversary to us

Saturday was Hubby's Birthday and it just so happened that our niece and her husband from Maryland were down visiting her brothers in Dallas and Little Rock.

What a perfect time for us to meet and spend time together and celebrate at the same time.

Three years ago to the day, we were all in Maryland for a most beautiful wedding of this sweet couple.
 We met in Hot Springs, Arkansas which was a beautiful mid-way point for all of us.  Younger brother, Glen was unable to be with us due to having had surgery last week.
We had a delicious lunch at Fisherman's Wharf while watching the ducks and boats on the water.
 Afterward, we crossed the lake and boarded the Belle of Hot Springs for a leisurely tour of the beautiful Lake Hamilton and all the gorgeous water-front mansions.
Being Labor Day weekend, there were plenty of boaters, skiers, and party barges out on the water.  And, it was a perfectly gorgeous day to do just that. 
Hubby with his nephew, Lee and his son, Clay
Glenn and niece, Tracy

 This is the rear view of the Hamilton House, completed in 1931 and now a B&B.  You can read about it HERE.  It sounds gorgeous and should you want it for a Honeymooners Haven, it can be yours for $995.  It just might be worth it.
 We were so grateful to have this time with our family and celebrate special events together.
 Today is mine and Hubby's 52nd wedding anniversary.  Yea Us!
Then and now!
And we are more in love now than we thought possible then.
Happy Anniversary, my love!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Heavenly Hodgepodge

Welcome to our weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge gathering where we answer questions posed by our hostess, Joyce from From This Side of the Pond.  Click on the link and see how others have answered these questions.
1. Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?

It's not a project but I do plan to get back into my painting and right now it seems like something I will have to make myself do, therefore it feels like labor at this point.

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?

Where I worked, we didn't have perks per say.  So I guess the medical benefits and retirement were considered the best we could get.  And I was and continue to be grateful for that.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? 

Yes, we have been to SC several times.

Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...
Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 
Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?

I loved Charleston and would go back in a heart beat.  Absolutely loved the historic homes and architecture.  We also enjoyed visiting Middleton Place, Fort Sumter and Hilton Head Island.
Ft. Sumter 1992

We most recently visited special, long-time friends in Lancaster and with them visited the Billy Graham Museum in Charlotte.
Ruth Bell Graham headstone - 2015
So, yes, we love this beautiful and interesting state.

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?

Falling-off-the-bone baby back is my favorite.  A plate of these with potato salad and baked beans will do more than stick to my ribs.

5. What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?

To be able to look people in the eye when speaking and be confident when meeting new people.  This is something Dick stressed to our children and now our grandchildren.  Thankfully, each of them have developed this skill, even our little 10 year old is very comfortable and gracious meeting new people.  This skill is important not only because it makes a great first impression, but it also makes the other person feel comfortable and good about themselves.  And that is perhaps the best reason.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Even in times of great suffering and pain, God is faithful to remind us of His Glory and omnipresence.

While Harvey was reeking havoc and wreaking lives just south west of us, God showed up in the heavens over our city last night in a mighty demonstration of color and cloud formations in the western sky.
  The sky turned a deep purple with the setting sun's reflection on the clouds turning them a brilliant pink.
Be Still My Soul
"Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An Over the Moon Hodgepodge

Click HERE to join Joyce and the other bloggers as we share our answers to the following questions.

1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?

I watched the sky get dark as if we were about to have rain and saw our yard light come on at 1:30 p.m.  I saw shadows across the yard that I have never seen before.  I did not see the eclipse except on the Weather Channel from Clemson, TN and from a boat out in the Atlantic.  My thoughts were "In the beginning God!"  and what a mighty God, Creator, Omnipotent Father is He! 

I haven't had a Moon Pie in years, but that used to be our stock snack when we went on family trips.  We all loved a Moon Pie.

2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?

I am always 'over the moon' excited when anticipating seeing some of our family and we have that to look forward to in the days ahead.  Three of our Dallas grands will spend a night with us on the 31st on their way to vacation in Florida.  We will see our Indiana son when he flies in to attend his 30th HS class reunion on Sept. 1st.  And on the 2nd, we will travel to Hot Springs, AR to meet a niece and her husband from Maryland, and a nephew from Little Rock for lunch.  Then on the 8th, we will see our Dallas family when we attend our littlest Grand's play performance.  So, I am spreading out my 'over the moon' excitement.

Every 'once in a blue moon' we enjoy eating red meat.

3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?

I don't know that this actually fits into the realm of science, but something that interests me is color and how colors work together to form other colors, hues, and tones.  I love to see how the intensity of color can change with different exposures.  I am more lately feeding this interest with my photography and exploring the way lighting affects a subject.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?

I remember both excitement and fear.  Excitement of having a new dress and shoes for the first day.  Excitement of seeing friends again.  Fear of not being able to do what might be expected of me.  Fear of the unknown ahead.  I also remember that both the excitement and the fear were short lived.  The new got old and dread turned into routine.  I remember the smell of the Big Chief tablets we all used and having brand new, long, freshly sharpened yellow pencils.

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.

1.  Home - this truly is where my heart and soul are.  It speaks to my past and my present and all that I hold dear.

2.  Love - Love brought me into this world; love has given my life reason and stability; love gave me the joys and thrills that only it can; and it was love that saved my soul for eternity.

3.  Hugs - I am not a big hugger but sometimes a simple hug can express feelings that otherwise cannot be expressed.  My husband gives the best hugs in the world.  Then, I love the hugs of my sister and grandchildren.  Big Grandson Jackson absolutely gives the best wrap-you-up hugs of all.  But, how can one possibly rate the benefits of a timely given hug!

4.  Music - One of the first things I do in the morning is start our diffuser in the kitchen and turn on Hymns Radio on Pandora.  It is a collection of instrumental hymn arrangements that turns our thoughts and heart toward our Father.  Good music always speaks to our soul.

5.  Time - At our ages, early to late 70's, time has taken on new meaning.  We acknowledge that we have less of it ahead than ever before and that it is more precious than ever before.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

This is truly a very random thought, and perhaps something that only a Louisianian can find of interest.

On August 29 we will again remember Hurricane Katrina and the affect it had on our state and the lives of so many.

Just last week, I learned something that I had never heard about in all the years since it hit in 2005.

Just outside the rural village of Simmesport, Louisiana are the remains of an experiment that went terribly wrong.

"Known to residents and locals as Canadaville, a 920-acre property in rural Louisiana developed by Canadian billionaire auto parts maker Frank Stronach. He relocated families displaced by Hurricane Katrina to 49 mobile homes he put on this property, hoping to create a utopia that could depend at least partially on organic farming. Across the road from Canadaville is the Avoyelles Parish Port on the Atchafalaya River."  Ben Depp for Newsweek

 There are as many different takes on Canadaville as there are people to tell them.

Some say, it was a noble humanitarian effort to save displaced lives after the storm.  Some say, it was an ill-conceived attempt to provide corporate share profits.  Others will tell you that it was unsuccessful because of racial issues and a prejudiced Simmesport mayor and residents.  You will also hear that it was doomed from the beginning because "that element" doesn't want to work.  And I also heard that it was a political scheme to relocate the destroyed New Orleans Port to Avoyelles Parish for personal financial gain.

To some degree, probably all of these are true.  Whatever happened and for whatever reason, Canadaville is now pretty much abandoned and a ghost town along the Atchafalaya River.
After five years, the experiment ended and the few remaining residents were told they had to leave.  Many of them went back to New Orleans to start over.
 There are not only empty trailer homes, but a vacant playground, garden plots, and community center.
 What sounded like a beautiful vision in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the desire to not only introduce quick relief but also solve endemic inner-city problems by bringing people back to the land, in many ways was just that.  But, it was also a misguided vision. In the long and troubled history of development aid projects, Canadaville may be one of the strangest.
It has now been taken over by the Port of Avoyelles and is perhaps the most well maintained ghost town in the country.
There was an interesting article in a 2015 Newsweek Magazine about Canadaville that can be found HERE.

Another interesting article published by the CBC News can be found HERE