Monday, June 30, 2014

Red, White & Bluegrass

We are getting ready for the July 4th Celebrations!
Our church hosted a neighborhood
Red, White & Bluegrass
evening tonight.

The temperature was fairly high and the humidity even higher,
but get a bunch of friends together
and you really won't pay that much attention to the elements.

Bluegrass is not my favorite style of music, but this band was excellent and perfect for this event.

We had a good crowd and the children had a ball playing in all the inflatable water houses provided. The fireworks afterward were spectacular.
So, get your red, white and blue out and start stirring up your patriotic pride because we do have so much for which to be grateful.

Speaking of grateful!
Our Indiana family is headed south today to visit family and friends down here for a couple weeks.
We look forward to joining them for a big July 4th gathering.

They joined their youngest who has been on a mission trip in the Chicago area for morning worship then hit the road.
Mary-Elizabeth was a part of a youth group from Granger Community Church who ministered to special needs children as well as other avenues of service.
We are so grateful that most of our grandchildren have had opportunities to share God's love all over the country.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lessons From a Bumblebee

I spent a few precious moments with a bumblebee this morning.
 He was working so hard to reach the nectar hidden deep in the throat of these tiny flowers.  And yet, he never seemed to struggle.  To despair of reaching his goal.
This little fellow was doing what he was made to do.  He was doing exactly what he had done the day before and will do again tomorrow.
I thought about what I had read in my daily Bible study a few minutes earlier.

"Rest with me a while."
"Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey."

 Father, am I resting?
Am I trusting?
Am I allowing you to equip me fully?

Am I holding on to You and seeking you deeply?
Help me Father to open my heart to see you and taste your precious gift to me today-
the gift of a thankful heart so I will not be negative and discontent.
The gift of praise!

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,"
Praise Him with the creatures here below.
Praise Him along with the Heavenly hosts above,
"Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

I pray for the gift of an awareness of your presence with me all day - for the joy contained in knowing that You take great joy in being with me.
 Thank you Father for the great truth that you gave me many years ago when we were going through one of the darkest times.

When we didn't understand how You could ever bring joy and good from a certain situation.

On February 4, 1987 you gave this word to me:
"We are not always given insight into the reason that certain things happen to us; but one thing we can know is that God's way is always right.  Pray that when trials, sorrow or trouble strike your home, you will not be bitter but will trust God to fill your needs."

And, you gave us hope, and joy, and blessings overflowing!

Thank you for the lesson of the bumblebee this morning.

To keep doing what you made me to do without struggling, without regret and without giving up.

Thank you for the joy of knowing and being with You!

Thank you for the reminders to
open up,
stay calm,

"taste and see that You are good!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

S is for Summer, Sun, Sisters and Shopping!

I am joining Joyce and a lot of other bloggers for
today, so come visit us for some interesting insights and happenings.

1. What summer activity most takes you back to your own childhood?

Summer days were spent outside riding bikes, playing in the near-by woods, pretending, climbing trees, exploring, picnics, and generally living the life every kid did in rural USA in the 50's.  Life was good!

2. What's your favorite summer smell?

Fresh cut grass or hay.  Before lawns were commercially sod, we would have just plain grass in our yards and wild onions would grow freely.  When the yard was cut, you could smell these sweet scented onion tops all day.  We don't experience that much anymore.

3. It's beach season in the US of how do you feel about sand?

I don't mind sand as long as it stays on the beach.  The beach is not my favorite vacation spot, but if it is with family, especially grands, it is good.

4. Sun tea, SunChips, sunflower seeds, Capri Sun, Sunny Delight, Sun-Maid raisins, sun-dried tomatoes...your favorite food or beverage with sun in its name?

Sun Tea

5. What's your favorite way to cool off on a hot summer day?

Stay inside with a cold glass of sweet tea or a really sweet watermelon!

6. Share a favorite song with the word sun or sunshine in it's title.

If you are from Louisiana, then "You Are My Sunshine!" may be the first song that comes to mind.  It was made popular years ago by a former governor who fancied himself to be a singer/picker - Jimmy Davis, in 1939.

However, the old hymn, "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" has special memories and meaning for me.
"There is sunshine in my soul today, more glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky, For Jesus is my light.
O there's sunshine, blessed sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face, There is sunshine in my soul." 

7. Tell us about a time you had an exceedingly good or truly awful customer service experience. If it was awful, did you report it? Ever go back there again?

The one that comes to mind first, and yes there have been many, was at a restaurant (which has since closed).  Hubby and I went for lunch after church one Sunday.  After being seated by the young lady who is responsible for this sort of thing, we waited and waited but never had a waitress come by.  People who came in after us had been served and still no one came.  And there weren't that many in the place either.  I finally went to the young lady at the front door and told her that we had not been waited on and she looked at me and said, "Where are you sitting?"  My response?  "Right where you put us 15 minutes ago!"  I returned to the table and Hubby said, "Let's go!!!"  And we did.

Customer service, or the lack thereof, is a serious issue where I live.  Folks just don't care anymore.

8.  Insert your own random thought here

Last Thursday, my best buddy and I took off for one of the eastern Texas towns an hour from us to do some shopping.  Our first stop was almost our undoing.  I had heard about Dressin Gawdy since moving to Shreveport almost 12 years ago, but had never been.  Judy and I found so many cute things and yes, we ended up getting some of the same things.  I'm hoping to take some of my granddaughters to GawdyMe, which is the adjoining store for young girls.

With this one stop, I am now outfitted for summer, our August trips and also into fall.  I will be showing you my capsule travel wardrobe later on but I just wanted to whet your interest.  If you are ever in Tyler or Longview, Texas be sure to look them up.  You will find the best customer service anywhere and some really cute fashions and great prices to boot.

Also, this Thursday I will be meeting my two sisters for a little shopping escapade in Alexandria, Louisiana.  Middle Sis will be attending her 50th HS class reunion in a few weeks, and we have to make her look like the Homecoming Queen and Beauty she was and still is.
   Any excuse is good enough for us.

There is music in my soul today, A carol to my King, and Jesus, listening can hear the songs I cannot sing.
There is music in my soul today, For when the Lord is near, the dove of peace sings in my heart, the flow'rs of grace appear.
There is gladness in my soul today, and hope and praise and love for blessings which He gives me now, for joys 'laid up' above."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer & Sunflowers

There is an old poem from one of my favorite childhood books of poetry, still on my shelf by the way, that goes like this:
Summer is coming!  Summer is coming!
How do you think I know?
I found some pussy willows
So I know it must be so.

Since it is definitely summer in the south, let me reword that pretty little poem.
Summer is here!  Summer is here!
How do you think I know?
I saw fields and fields of sunflowers
So I know it must be so.

In north Caddo Parish, the Sunflower Trail & Festival has opened summer for the past 19 years.

What better way to spend a summer Saturday with the one you love than to spend an afternoon among one of the happiest flowers in the world?
From this point northward, there are patches, large and small of sunflowers culminating at the festival in the very, very small village of Gilliam, Louisiana
 This row of sunflowers along the road-way caught our attention and demanded exploring.
As you can see, this long row is planted among fields of corn and young cotton.
 This is just a baby awaiting time and lots of sunshine.
This was the only field of flowers we saw that were on the east side of the road.  Guess which way they were facing.
Along the Sunflower Trail, we found the cutest boys selling watermelons and offering free samples.
 Now folks, this is how one eats watermelon in the south!
 These cuties belong to the family who own this large farm and open it every fall to tours and events including the famous corn maze.  And yes, we got a yellow meat watermelon and plan to indulge later this afternoon.
 The largest sunflower field is found on the Cairo Plantation.
This is the rebuilt family home, set among and under oak and pecan trees.
This frame home is one of the original buildings.

 Another original building is this small house that was used as a commissary at one time.
I think we may need to make another trip a little later for the peaches.
The current owner of the Cairo Plantation, John Sloan has converted 20 acres into sunflowers and has created a trail through the field where one can walk and cut all the sunflowers you can carry home.
Hubby even made his own smiley-face sunflower friend.
The Sunflower Trail parallels the winding Red River and as was common, many of the plantations were built along the rivers in order for easy water transportation and irrigation.
The Cairo Plantation is right near the levee protecting it from the Red River, as seen from this view atop the levee.
Not content to be this close and not get closer, this blogger traipsed in FitFlops not less, through the grass and slopes and occasional cow pattie to get a closeup view of the lazy, muddy Red River.
(Have you noticed the beautiful sky in these pictures?)
This picture is proof I made the trek and back with a smile on my face.
Along the dirt road to the fields, we passed this group of women and children selling lemonade and fresh baked cookies.  After we finished our tour of the fields, we returned to sample their wears.
The lady at far left has lived on this plantation along with her husband and children for 19 years.
This little doll was having a great time helping to decorate the huge chalk board commemorating the Sunflower Trail & Festival.
She wasn't too sure about this woman with a camera to her face calling her name.  But, can you believe the size of the sunflower behind her?
We so enjoyed visiting with these friendly women and the lemonade was delicious and so refreshing after being in the sun and especially after my little impromptu adventure.
We didn't try these but aren't they enticing?
Watermelon Slurpee!
We finally made it to the actual festival as they were closing up.
This may be something you will only find at a festival in Louisiana.
We got there too late for ice cream, but what they did have left will make you want to slap your pappy as we say in the south.
Chocolate Covered Cheesecake!
This was our first time to explore these country roads of North Caddo Parish, but it won't be the last.
And neither will be the last time to enjoy the Sunflower Trail & Festival.
And I am now declared the official Mrs. Senior Sunflower by my Mr. Senior Sunflower.
I do hope your week will bring nothing but sun and flowers as you seek the Son.