Sunday, May 15, 2022

Lessons Learned on a May Road Trip

Following a six hour drive on Monday morning, we met my sister, Gin and her husband, Thomas for lunch at a small restaurant near the Atchafalaya River in South Louisiana.  This was probably the emotional highlight of the whole trip.  Let me explain.

As soon as Gin walked through the door, there was a loud "Miss Gingie!" from a young African American woman standing in the middle of the restaurant.  Immediately the two were embracing and talking at the same time.  Kenny Boo soon won out and the rest of us stood by watching and listening.

She began to remind Gin of all the unfortunate things from her past - her poor, neglected upbringing, having a baby at 15, her drug addiction, having her three children taken away from her.  Then she began thanking Gin for always standing by her, encouraging and believing in her.  They continued hugging and Gin would occasionally hold her cheeks and wipe away tears on Kenny Boo's face.  Once, she held Gin's hand and said, "Don't do that, these is good tears!"

Kenny Boo then so proudly told Gin that her oldest son is now in college, her middle child is a senior in high school with a 3.5 GPA and her youngest is a sophomore with a 4 pt. average.  She went on to tell the story of how God had recently helped her pass all her tests and made it possible for her to be hired in a full-time position at the local elementary school.  The whole time she is thanking Gin for all she had done for her.  I was also in tears.

For over 25 years, Gin owned and drove a school bus in her small predominantly African American village and surrounding area.  She touched so many lives and multiple generations of families.  Kenny Boo is only one of many who have thanked her for making a difference in their lives.

The amazing thing about this meeting is that before leaving home that morning, Gin had prayed and asked God to let her see someone from her past that day.  God had answered her prayer by placing a most radiant, joyful and grateful Kenny Boo right in the middle of a small cafĂ© in South Louisiana.  God had also answered other prayers by giving us all the opportunity to witness the miracle of a changed life.  I have now given her a new name - Sunny Boo.

From here, we went to Baton Rouge to spend the night with long-time friends, Vicki and Marvin.  There was a lot of catching up to do and we so enjoyed sitting out on their back porch and watching the many birds and squirrels romping in the yard.

Tuesday morning was my six-month doctor appointment and excuse for the whole trip.  Thankfully, I got another good report.  Afterward, we visited Dick's cousin, Kenneth and Lynn in Port Allen and loved recalling experiences from the past and hearing updates on all their grandchildren and greats as well.

Tuesday night was spent in Lafayette, and should you be in the area, let me suggest you eat at Bon Temps Grill on Pinhook.

We both had the Fried Catfish Mon Dieu for dinner, which is a plate of the most delicious catfish bathed in spicy crayfish etouffee served on a bed of rice.

The next day for lunch, at the same place, we met Charlene, my first friend after Dick and I married and moved to New Iberia, LA in 1965.

It was worth a repeat.  Dick and Charlene wanted another serving of the catfish but the Praline Chicken Salad appealed to me.  Our visit was too short but it is always a joy to spend time with this precious friend.

From here we drove west to Orange, TX, where we had lived from 1967 - '69.  We had not been back since leaving there when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child, John.  We wanted to see the house we had lived in and the church where we had served.

This was the sweet little house where we spent two wonderful years and conceived a baby.

And this was my massive head of teased hair back then.

One lesson learned:  Don't try to go back 55 years and expect things to be as you remember them.  By the way, the church has been long gone.

Needless to say, we didn't linger in Orange and have no reason to ever return.  We happily headed south west toward Galveston, with hopes of enjoying the Gulf Coast.

Our first glimpse of the water and waves was so refreshing and whetted our appetite for more.

The houses built on stilts reminded us that we were definitely in hurricane country.

The only access to the Island where Galveston sits, from this direction is by an 18 minute ferry ride.

After checking into our hotel, we agreed that we hadn't spent enough time in the car yet, and a drive further down the coast line was in order.

Along this stretch, there were so many beautiful homes, all built on steel pilings to ride out the storms.  Many reminded me of expensive stilettos.  The thing we noticed though was there were no cars around most of these opulent homes, so obviously these are play places for the rich Houstonites.

We saw this public access walk to the beach and decided that was exactly where we needed to go.

We were not disappointed!

The only other people there was a couple doing a bikini photoshoot.  I steered Dick as far away as I could, but decided to try my own version of a sexy pose.

Needless to say, it fell way short of anything remotely sexy.

This scene of seagulls flew right overhead, backdropped by the amazing partially cloud-covered sun.  We agreed that another lesson learned is doing something unplanned can be rewarding for many reasons.

Another unplanned experience was to eat a most delicious pizza in our car before going back to the hotel.  Lesson learned:  Gulf Coast birds are smart and feel entitled to share what you are eating.

This fellow found the whole process interesting and promising for leftovers.  It was fun watching him close-up until an ugly brown bird landed on my side mirror and attempted to share my pizza slice.  My scream ended that idea.

The final lesson learned  was to avoid driving the length of the state of Texas on any major highways and to avoid Houston and Dallas at all costs.  Of course the downfall for us is that neither could be avoided.  We made it home only by the grace of God!

This road trip has satisfied our desire for travel for the time being.  The next big one will be to Northern Indiana in late July to meet our 2nd great grandson, Jax Marcus.

We will be ready!

Saturday, April 30, 2022

"As Time Goes By" Saturday 9

Saturday 9: As Time Goes By (1958)

A lot of time has gone by since I participated in the Saturday 9 blog post community.  And, can you believe how fast time is going by these days?  Geez, we are already in May!  But, to the subject at hand, this happens to be one of my favorite old songs and I love the heading of this album cover - "songs for the lovely lady."

In 1958, as an 8th grader, I so wanted to be lovely, but alas.

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song begins with, "You must remember this." Do you often write things down to help you remember?
I mostly put reminders in the 'Note' app on my phone.

2) The lyrics tell us that moonlight and love songs are never out of date. Tell us about something else that seems timeless.

Flowers, a firm handshake, looking into someone's eyes while speaking, hugs, smiles, saying 'I love you!'

3) Originally written in 1931, "As Time Goes By" is best known as the love theme from the 1942 film, Casablanca. According to the American Film Institute, there's only one song from a movie soundtrack that's more expressly identified with the film: "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz. What song reminds you of your favorite movie?

Actually, this same song, "As Time Goes By" but sung by Jimmy Durante in my favorite movie, "Sleepless in Seattle."
4) This version is from The George Sanders Touch, an LP recorded by an Oscar-winning character actor. There is scant evidence that it sold well. Tell us about something you thought was a good idea at the time, but looking back, would have done differently.
Spending the summer of 2020 walking over 5 miles every morning.

5) This album was really something of a consolation prize for George. He worked with a vocal coach, hoping to win the romantic lead in the film version of South Pacific, but alas, the role went to a younger man. He had fun making this record instead. Have you recently taken lemons and made lemonade? 

Thankfully there haven't been many lemons in my life lately, but I do try to learn from things that weren't necessarily pleasant at the time and not repeat them.  This doesn't always work so maybe that is my lemon.

6) He usually played suave but unsympathetic characters. That's why he gave his autobiography the self-aware title, Memoirs of a Professional Cad. What would you call your life story?
One saved by God's grace!

7) The night he won his Oscar, George Sanders accepted the statuette, bowed deeply and then, safely behind the curtain and away from cameras, surprised onlookers by crying. Have you ever cried tears of joy?

I do think I may have shed a joyful tear or two when we first saw and held our great grandson, Landon three weeks ago.
8) George Sanders wed perennial talk show guest and occasional actress Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1949. Sixteen years after their divorce, he married Zsa Zsa's less famous but also glamorous sister, Magda. After a month, George and Magda thought better of it and had the union annulled. Sam thinks this is one of the oddest romantic tales she's ever stumbled upon while researching Saturday 9. Have you ever known anyone who divorced one sibling and then married another? (Hallmark movies don't count.)

No, I can't say that I have, but that doesn't mean there weren't some from whom my parents protected me.

9) Random question: You're in a line of 25 people at the post office. How many of those other 24 are more patient at waiting than you are?

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Value of Values

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge thanks to our hostess with the mostess questions involving the letter "V", Joyce.

1.  What does the word values mean to you personally?

I believe one's personal values define who that person really is inside; therefore, generally one's behavior on the outside as well.  What one deems of importance, where and how one spends their time and money, with whom and how they exist, what principles govern their lives, are all evidences of where one places their values.

Where did your values come from?

My value system was taught by example from my Christian parents.  It was reinforced on a daily basis.  As an adult Christian, my values continue to be based on the teachings of the Messiah and the Word of God.  My values are based on a Biblical worldview.

What are some of the values that have guided you throughout your life?

Respect for others, honesty, the value of all human life, wisdom, sanctity of marriage, being grounded in my faith, dependability, integrity, etc.

2.  Your favorite vanilla flavored something?

I'm not a vanilla flavored lover of anything actually; however, if Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream has a flavor, then I'm going with that.

3.  What's something you've seen/done recently that you found to be very difficult, very confusing, very helpful, very interesting, or very special.  Elaborate.

I bet you are expecting me to say 'very special' and talk about a great grandson.

I will not disappoint!

'Very helpful' also applies to a session we recently attended at our church on estate planning.  We have learned that our Louisiana wills do not meet all the requirements for Texas.  We have an appointment with a new lawyer next month and in the meantime, I am trying to organize all the information, documents, etc. in one location that our children will need in the event of our deaths.  And that part can be 'very confusing.'

4.  Something you own and love that is violet in color?

Violet is not a color I wear and the only thing I have in my house that is that color is a recent painting.  It is hanging in my guest bedroom for the spring and summer.

5.  Do you have vacation plans on the calendar this summer?  Tell us more.

Our vacation plans revolve around the birth of our 2nd great grandson, expected early July, in Northern Indiana.  So far, that is all we have on our calendar, and I think it may be enough.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of which, Baby Jax's mommy had her first shower this past weekend.  The paternal grandparents hosted the party and evidently McKenna received so many perfect things for this already Big Boy.

14 weeks to go!

One more thing.

Our granddaughter, Ava Grace performed in the school musical, "The Music Man" this past weekend.  She and all the cast did an amazing job.  Oh my the talent in Prestonwood Academy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Baby Landon on the Hodgepodge

I missed last week's Hodgepodge so it is good to be back.  Yes, I do have pictures to share of our great grandson.

Thank you, Joyce for keeping us going.
1.  What's something you wish you had spent more time doing when you were younger?  Explain.

I wish I had spent more time asking my parents questions and encouraging them to record their memories and experiences.  There are so many things I wonder about now and wish I had been more attentive to while they were still living.  I wish I had appreciated and loved on them more.  Time is so short and we take it so for granted.

2.  Who inspires you to be better.  Tell us how.

Reading the scripture daily inspires me to be better.  Who?  The Holy Spirit's nudging, reminding, convicting also keeps my path straight.  The legacy I want to leave behind to my children, grandchildren and greats, also inspires me to be all that God desires me to be.

3.  Share a money saving tip with us.

Know where your money goes.  The beginning of this year, when inflation and the increased costs of things began to really hit, I started keeping a spreadsheet of everything we spent other than the regular bills every month.  Although we are normally frugal and conscientious about our money, it has been enlightening to see how much we spend on incidentals.

4.  It's National Garlic Day...are you a fan?  Your favorite dish that includes garlic?

Oh yes, I am a huge fan of garlic in recipes.  I really don't know that I have a favorite because I use it in so many things.  We do have a favorite Lemon Garlic Chicken that we love.  I also use it rather heavily on salmon.

5.  Would you describe yourself as decisive or indecisive.  Elaborate.

I am pretty decisive!  Being a first-born, strong-willed female, perhaps gives me an advantage here.  Or perhaps some see it as disadvantage?  I tend to get very impatient when someone doesn't come up with an immediate answer to a question or situation.  Then again, there are times I find it a lot easier to let someone else make the decisions.  D says he gets to decide whether we go to war or not, but it's really not that bad.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our baby Landon was born three weeks ago today.  His mother had the smoothest delivery I have ever known of, for which we are so grateful.  He weighed 7.9 and was 19 in. long, and perfect.

One week later he had gained 10 ounces, so is thriving.

We are so in love with this precious baby boy.

Easter was a day to celebrate our Risen Lord and His faithfulness to our family.

We celebrated long-distance with our Indiana family and all are looking forward to the upcoming July birth of their first grandbaby and our 2nd great grandson, Jax.

So stay tuned, there's more to come.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Today is the BIG DAY!

As you read this, our oldest grandchild will be giving birth to our first great-grandchild, a boy named Landon Vincent.  April 6!  Two days before her 29th birthday.  God is so good and faithful!

Now, welcome to this momentous Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  What puts a spring in your step these days?

At the risk of you tiring of my obsession - it has to be the anticipation of watching our daughter experience the joy of being a grandmother; being part of witnessing the greatest love of a new mom being lavished on her new baby; meeting and spending time with our first great grand.

2.  April 2nd was National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.  Did you celebrate?  Do you like PB and J?  If so how do you like yours?  What's your favorite kind of jelly?

No, I didn't celebrate, but let it be known it was not because I'm not a PB & J lover.  I like my PB & grape jelly mixed together and piled spread between two slices of bread.  My favorite jelly(s) would be peach and homemade fig preserves.

3.  What's a memory you associate with spring flowers?

A trip to Mackinac Island.  We happened to be there for the Lilac Festival, but all the spring flowers that abound on that amazing island were absolutely spectacular.

4.  Three things on your spring bucket list?  Do have a spring bucket list?  If not pretend you do.

I do not have a spring bucket list, but we are looking forward to our son and daughter-in-love visiting us the first week of May.  I know, I shocked you on that one because you were expecting me to say rocking and loving on a particular baby boy.

5.  One place you will travel this spring?  (It might be Europe or it might be the grocery store)

The second week of May, we will be making a trip back to South Louisiana to see friends and family.  Who knows what else we may decide to do while there.  I'll let you know when we get back.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Chandler posted these gorgeous pre-birth pictures and this post on Tuesday morning, which was her last day in the classroom. She can't wait be a full-time mom from here on.

Spending this stormy night reminiscing on all the ways that I have grown throughout this pregnancy as I prepare to be induced tomorrow. Physically, my body has grown to be stretched and pulled in many new and different ways.. but mentally, I have been challenging my mindset to think the best of myself and how I can be the mom I’ve always dreamed of being. Pregnancy is really hard, but the reward of finally being Landon’s mom is worth it a million times over. I’m feeling nervous, overwhelmed, excited, expectant, and just so so grateful. Thank you Jesus for trusting me with this gift!
I can’t wait to see your face, Landon

You can look forward to a Hodgepodge dedicated to Baby Landon next week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

It's Time on the Hodgepodge

Another Wednesday Hodgepodge by our soon-to-have-3rd-grandson hostess, Joyce.  We will not have the Hodgepodge next week.

1.  What's something you never seem to have enough time for?

You know, at this time of my life, I have pretty much the time to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it.  The problem is the 'want to do' part.

2.  If you could turn back time and relive just one day in your life, which day would you choose and why?

I have never desired to go back and relive any day in the past.  The past is the past.  For the sake of answering this question I will play.

There have been many really good days in my life for which I am forever grateful.  It is impossible to isolate just one, so I will choose two.  Those would be the days I first saw my baby son and daughter; when they were first placed in my arms and I experienced a love I had never known possible.

3.  Something you enjoy making that takes a long time to prepare/cook?

This is a real easy question to answer.  Nothing!  I do not prepare/cook anything that takes a long time.  I prefer to prepare/cook a nutritious meal/dish that can be done with a few steps and in a short amount of time.  The kitchen is not my favorite room in the house.

4.  A time recently where you needed/gave yourself a 'time out'?  How do you do that?

It was more of a 'time away' than 'time out'.  I took a few days off and visited my sisters in South Louisiana.  That is always something to look forward to.

5.  Something you've done recently that you'd describe as a 'good time'?

Last Saturday, I volunteered to work at the Pregnancy Center since they were short-handed.  Seeing women enter undecided about what to do about their unplanned pregnancy, and leave excited to have chosen life after hearing a heartbeat is definitely a 'good time'.

I got to see the nursery for my first great grandboy a few days ago.  He will be here in two weeks!

Sunday morning, I sat by my daughter as we worshipped and got a good hug.

Sunday night, we had a phone call from our son in Northern Indiana to share some news he wants us to pray with him about.

We had a good phone visit with our grandson while he was working on a job in Lafayette, IN, and heard about the preparations they are making for our 2nd great grandson.

Another day this past week we had a lovely Facetime visit with granddaughter #3 and heard about her newest promotion and plans to move to Indianapolis soon.

On Monday, I had one of those long, much needed phone visits with my daughter-in-love.  We discussed all sorts of things you talk about on a catch-up visit.

These sure were all 'good times'!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

There were 11 confirmed tornados in the Dallas area Monday afternoon and evening with only 1 death.  Praise the Lord!

Thankfully, the touch-downs were not in the metroplex, or the death count would be so much higher.  It was a bit of a scary time as I was texting my daughter and granddaughter as they were huddling in protective spaces in their homes.  There were sirens sounding all around all of us.

My husband was hosting a men's bible study and I just knew I was going to have to share a bathtub with those big guys.  LOL!  I think they were afraid of that too and prayed the storms away.

The storms continue after hitting New Orleans last night.  Praying for all in the path of these storms as they move eastward.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Another Home in The Village

Welcome to another of our Village's homes with a story.

Val bought her Canterbury Home in The Village at Prestonwood, in 2006 while it was still in the development stage.  She is in fact, one of 27 original owners still living here.

In 1972 Val got her real estate license and that was the beginning of a most highly successful business and professional career.  While living and working in Houston, she began doing relocation work, which involved her with many international transactions.  It wasn't long before she became a multi-million dollar producer.

A few years later she and her husband returned to her home, Plano, Texas, where she opened Fenwick Realtors as Broker/Owner in 1982.  During this time, she was able to mentor and train some of the most successful agents in the market, while maintaining her status as a high producer.

A few years ago Val sold her firm and currently is an independent realtor with Ebby Halliday, one of the largest real estate firms in North Central Texas.  She remains very busy partly because of her longevity in this area, but mostly because she has a reputation for excellent service and representation of her clients.

We are blessed to be neighbors with Val, who graciously invited you into her home.

Upon entering this lovely home, it is evident that the homeowner has a taste for warm, inviting elegance.

In the entry is this antique in-laid chest accented by the gorgeous gilded antique mirror.  Val's taste is very eclectic, but everything seems to be part of a grand plan.

Blue and white is a timeless, classic scheme that runs throughout this home.  Because there is a little less that 1,800 sq. ft. of open space, it is imperative that there be a cohesive flow, and you will see how Val has achieved that.

The fireplace is the focus of the living room.  Her comfortable, neutral colored seating is arranged around a large glass and metal coffee table.

On the table are some of her favorite items including this large bowl of sea shells collected from all over the world.  On the right side is a jointed fish from Spain that she treasures.  I love the way she intertwined a strand of pearls among the shells.

One means of incorporating the blue/white theme is in the use of large Chinese ginger jars, as seen on top of this china cabinet.

There are other treasured collectables inside the cabinet which Val says she has had for many years.  The furniture in her home are favorite pieces purchased with both her deceased husbands and hold a great deal of sentiment. 

The dining room table and chairs date back to 1968.  That's the beauty of purchasing quality furniture of classic design.  It never ages.

The dark mahogany kitchen cabinets are a great contrast to neutral tones in the back splash, granite and light wall color in the rest of the house.

It is vignettes such as these that create interest and carry out a theme in a home.

Off the living room is the guest suite.

Almost every element is blue or white or both, but there are important points of relief in the dark wood side tables and in the deep toned hardwood floors.  Both bedrooms have their own style of upholstered headboard.  This is the less formal of the two.

Last year, Val made a huge investment of time and disarray in completely redoing both her bathrooms.  It was definitely worth it because they are both so very well planned and decorated.

The primary bedroom also serves as Val's office, while the white plantation shudders provide a great deal of natural light.

The master bed is pure elegance with the large upholstered headboard and matching embossed silk fabric used for the bed skirt, throw and pillows.

Over the dresser is this beautiful decorative mirror that repeats the pattern in the bed fabric.

The primary bath, though small has all the amenities of a spa.

Nowhere is the blue and white theme more evident than in the sunroom.  This cozy, inviting room adjoins the living room and is where Val enjoys spending time with her sister, Pat who happens to also be her neighbor.

The yellow in the fabric of the stools and pillows adds warmth and compliments the blue as do the touches of greenery.

The highlight of the room to me, is this wall arrangement of vintage Blue Willow and other oriental dishes that Val collected through the years.  The elephant planter is one of her favorite pieces.

Thank you, Val for inviting us into your lovely home.

Hopefully you have gotten some inspiration or ideas for telling your own story in your home.