Monday, June 29, 2015

What a Difference a Week Makes

 One week ago we were experiencing the elegance of the Crescent Hotel in Dallas, Texas for our niece's wedding.
Grand from its very inception, with ten different types of marble that were imported from Italy and Spain for flooring and counters.  The hotel even eclipsed the Empire State Building and broke a world record in the amount of limestone used in its construction.

The hotel and the adjoining building holding the famed Crescent Club was built by Dallas Oil Heiress Margaret Hunt some thirty years ago.
 The marble and overall opulence was stunning.
 The Crescent Club where millionaires and billionaires eat on a regular basis, was where the wedding reception was held.  It was truly magnificent.
The centerpieces on the tables were gorgeous.
 And then!!!

Last Friday night, we and our friends, Judy and Tom decided to take a road trip into the boonies.
We had eaten at Longwood Grocery several years ago and knew it was well known for its good down-home food.
We weren't disappointed with the food.  The guys had a ribeye steak covered with a wine mushroom sauce and Judy and I had a Chicken Fried Steak that literally covered the entire plate.
 Nothing even remotely resembling elegance has ever touched this place.
 There are no centerpieces on any of the tables, I can assure you.
But, this shelf containing Pepto and diapers was right by our table in case we had an emergency.
Isn't life good when it is full of variety and no pretentiousness?
Yes, the food was good, plentiful, and the company of friends unparalleled.

I am good with elegance and I am good with down-home.
Yes, variety is the spice of life.
And, life is indeed good!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Lazy, Beautiful Days of Summer

Be sure to join all the bloggers who participate in Joyce's
by clicking on the above link.

1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

I am not a pink person.  As my coloring is yellow based, I stay away from pink clothes all together.  I have very little of anything pink in my house unless you consider varying shades of red.  So, I will go with Pink Grapefruit as my favorite something pink.

2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

In high school I ran track, played basketball and softball.  In college the few required gym classes that I took were archery, sword fighting, tennis and aerobic dance.  I hated aerobic dance!!!

3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

I don't have a specific association with that fragrance although I do love the smell.

4. Do you prefer to read or write?

I enjoy both.  I enjoy writing when I have time to spend and a topic that especially interests me.  I probably spend more time reading though.

5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, 'Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.' Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

Yes, in the south the lazy days of summer are a way of life.  Excessive laziness however is not acceptable and a true southern lady knows the difference.  Honestly, my summer days are really no different than my days the rest of the year since retiring.  There is a routine and I find that comforting.

6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast...which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

I would enjoy a trip to the Florida Keys.  I have no desire to visit Disney World, and I'm too old to spend much time in the sun baking my skin.  Plus, I've never been to the Keys.  Today would also be a good time since there is no hurricane lurking in the Gulf.

7. What question do you hate to answer?

The one I have no answer for.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Last weekend we stayed at the beautiful downtown Dallas Rosewood Crescent Hotel.  I shared about the wedding weekend on Monday if you care to read about it.  Orchestrated Steps 

Inside the elegant lobby was this amazing arrangement consisting of Orchids and what I originally thought were Caladiams.  But, I don't think that's what they are.  Do you happen to know what they might be?  Such an interesting and lovely combination.
May the rest of your week be filled with beauty without and within.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Orchestrated Steps

This past Thursday we went to Dallas for the wedding of a great niece or is it niece once removed.
I'm never sure which it is so I'll just say that Becca is the youngest daughter of our nephew, Glen and his wife Mary.

We spent a week with them and other members of their family last August in Breckenridge.
David, Becca and Matt, Mary and Glen
The lovely wedding took place at the majestic Rosewood Crescent Hotel in downtown Dallas
and the reception was held next door
The arched window is the location of the reception.
in the Crescent Club overlooking the the Dallas skyline.  Beautiful!
The Bride's Cake
 One of the best things about an occasion such as this is being able to spend time with family you might not see very often.  Such was the case for us.
Our niece and Aunt of the Bride, Tracy and her husband Glenn (on right) came from Maryland.  They were married last August and you might recall reading about The Wedding HERE.
We also enjoyed our time with the Bride's uncle, our nephew, Lee who is a Dentist in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Another blessing about visiting new places is meeting new people.  Hubby will always find a new friend. While I was "window" shopping in the clothes section of Stanley Korshak which is attached to the hotel,
he met and spent time getting to know a very special young lady.
 Sonya Woods is a stylist and personal shopper for Stanley Korshak.  But she is so much more than that.  She has an amazing and beautiful story of how the Lord has created a new being within her.

She shared with us how she was terribly intimidated and made fun of as a child until her Christian mother taught her to love herself because God does. 

Sonya serves as an ordained Elder of the Potter’s House of Dallas and volunteers as a teacher, mentor, speaker and conference host for several outreach ministries across the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area and abroad. She is also an instructor for the Potter’s House School of Ministry.

Sonya spoke to us so loving of her late mother that I was delighted to read on her website that in honor of her, Sonya recently launched “Ruth’s Daughters”, in-home bible study. It is her desire to see Jew and Gentile laboring together; bringing in the harvest.

You can visit her website HERE, but her real story is what she blogs about HERE.
I would love to introduce you to my new friend and for you to get to know how God is using this beautiful, Christian lady to inspire women to be beautiful without and within.
Via Blog
Truly God orchestrates the feet of His children and we were so blessed when He led our feet to Sonya's department where I could never afford to buy anything.  Thankfully, her friendship was free, yet purchased by the Blood of Jesus.

After the wedding reception on Friday night, Hubby and I got on an elevator with one of the elder servers for the event.  I asked him how long he had worked for the Crescent Club and he said, "30 years!"  This began a conversation that lasted 30 minuets.
This young man is known as the "Millionaire Waiter."

That's right, he is worth over a million dollars because he has specialized in being a trustworthy friend and server to the billionaires who frequent The Club.

He told us he has shaken the hand and served every president in these 30 years.  He said he first met George W. Bush when we would come in blue jeans and boots as a young man.  Because of that early friendship, he was always asked for when as President, he would come.  Ali is a remarkable man of 72 with no plans to retire, and one we so enjoyed getting to spend time with.

What if I hadn't spoken to this man?  What if Hubby hadn't engaged Sonya in conversation?

Our lives would not be as full and blessed as they are today.
And yes, while in Dallas, we did get to see our daughter and some of the family for a few minutes.  Another of God's richest blessings!
Yes, God orchestrates the feet of His children and this weekend was a blessing that we can only give Him thanks for bringing about.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fathers Day Reflection 1979

I recently found this Father's Day note to Hubby from
June 1979.

Reflections on Father's Day

It was in February that we met
the season winter, the weather almost spring.

My heart shouted, "Yes, Yes!" as my lips spoke,
"How do you do!"

There was music - Babe Stoval, Preservation Hall

There was spaghetti, French Quarter romance,
monkeys, water puddles, and violins

Love was born, its conception ages old, as we talked,
walked, shared a life time with our eyes.

Your (heavens forbid) 1st date kisses told me of your gentleness and strength;
your smile, your capacity to love.

Yes, we heard bells!

The sun shining blue was warmth and joyful that September wedding day.

We gave the love that months before had been committed.

There was work, questions, problems, challenges.

Always, there was love.

Longing - oh how we tried!

Fulfillment, joy, peace.

"Hello, Christy Day please."
Only it was John instead.

You're a Father!  You'd made a son.
Completeness, though weary;

Joy to our hearts,
You'd made a daughter.
Yes, a Christy.
And always, there was love!

Happy Father's Day!
June, 1979
And always, there was love!
Happy Father's Day

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fathers and the Great Outdoors

It is good to be back with our Wednesday Hodgepodge routine after Joyce took a much needed one week break.  Hopefully, that is all she broke as she packed up and moved.  So click on the link above to see what other bloggers think about the questions this week.

1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?

Yes, I have and my last blog post covered one such outing and can be seen HERE and my random thought will show the other.  Since it is either raining or too hot to get outside, I have not spent as much time in my yard lately as I did earlier in the spring.  I don't like HOT!!!

2. What's a current hot button issue for you?

Just one?  It would be political and probably best not discussed on an open forum; however, I feel very strongly about these issues and since it's my blog, I'm going to mention them.

1.  I am very concerned about the same-sex marriage issue before the Supreme Court right now.  The decision should be made public the end of the month.  With the way our country and political leanings are right now, I feel pretty sure which side the court will come down on and I find this frightening.

2.  That our administration and legislature is turning their back on Israel is a great concern not only for what it means for the security of that country but also because of the affect it will have on our own country.  God's Word clearly explains the consequences of  not standing for and supporting the Jewish nation.

3. What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house?

Watermelon.  We both love this fruit so it doesn't last long around here.

4. How hot is too hot?

When I perspire.

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?

Yes, I think I do.  I find beauty in composition around me.  I find beauty in shapes and color combinations.  I appreciate the unusual or ugly if there is form and interest and I enjoy capturing these things with my camera.  I love and appreciate beautiful architecture.  My parents taught me to appreciate the finer things of life such as etiquette, music, nature, reading and art and I will forever be grateful.

6. What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?

My dad was one of the wisest people I will ever know.  There have been so many times since his death in 1994 that I have needed his wisdom.  I can't think of any particular question right now that I would ask, but my greatest desire would just be to sit at his feet and listen.  Just listen.

7. Something you learned from your father?

Dad loved greatly.  He wasn't an outgoing person but he loved people.  He loved the Lord and devoted his life in His service.  Although I don't have the heart for people that he did, I learned to love Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and to trust Him with all my heart.  Dad was a scholar and I think I inherited my love for Bible study and research from him.  He would not be pleased with my neglect of that lately though.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Recently friends invited us to visit a nearby winery and vineyard, we thought it would be an interesting and fun trip.  And it was!

is about an hour from us in East Texas.  It has only been in existence since 2004 when Altus Koegelenberg, a passionate fifth generation grape grower from South Africa, moved his family to America and happened to run in to Jon Kral, a creative chemist with a love of nature.  The result of that fateful meeting was Enoch's located on 89 acres of the most beautiful rolling hills in Harleton, Texas.  Twelve acres are planted with grapes of six different varieties.  They make all of their own wines with the exception of one which they import.

Whether one chooses to imbibe or not, it is worth the drive to eat their delicious cuisine.
Housed in a log home, the restaurant offers the finest dining experience in East Texas.
 The beauty surrounding this place is unsurpassed in this part of the country.
 The Winery houses the Event Center and Tasting Room.
They bottle a variety of wines and and serve several delicious deserts.  We were serenaded with some good old familiar songs and as you can see, the atmosphere in the Winery is very relaxed.
 On our way back home, the sky was ablaze with light.  It was such a fun and different evening for us and one we will definitely repeat.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Beauty in Nature, Age and Neglect

Last week we attended the funeral of a dear friend of fifty plus years.
Derry and Dora were high school sweet hearts down in Mount Herman, Louisiana back in the 1950's.

When Derry was accepted into Medical School at LSU, he married Dora because he declared he wouldn't go without her.

Derry was a very industrious and hard-working young man, having his own dairy while in high school.  This work ethic served him well as he went on to graduate top in his class of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.  He and Dora returned home where he ran a dairy and was in private practice for 32 years.  During this time, he served as a deacon, choir member and respected community leader.

Some thirty years after graduating, he moved back to College Station where he became Clinical Associate Professor in the Large Animal Medicine and Surgery Department at Texas A&M University, during which he served 7 years as a State Veterinarian for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  Derry was a true "man's man!"

Both Derry and Dora retired in 2007, Derry after being a veterinarian for 49 years and Dora in Louisiana and Texas schools for 27 years.  They then devoted their time to writing their memoirs of life in rural south Louisiana and in College Station, entitled, A Veterinarians Life; A Veterinarians Wife
Derry's wish was to be buried back at the old church cemetery where his parents had pastored in 1943 near where he and Dora grew up.  This is beautiful rural countryside that used to be dominated by dairies and the raising of Holstein cattle.

Today, multiple generations still live in this area where ancestry and family gatherings are still valued as the center of rural life.

Hubby and I stayed with one of Dora's sisters while we were there.
Elaine and sister, Dora
 Elaine kept us entertained with interesting history of the family and the land and took us to see the old family home place where their parents had reared seven children.

One afternoon, I took my camera and returned to this beautiful land that takes one back to the early days and life long ago.  To me it spoke of beauty of nature, age and neglect.
 Along the lane the rustic remains of an old gnarled uprooted tree trunk.  Can you see the bird in flight?
 As if one day an old farmer turned off the key and never returned, this old tractor is a visual reminder that life was not easy.  This piece of rusty art in an open field captured my eye and imagination.
 Long forgotten hay rakes were left in a field to rust and play hide-and-seek with weeds and grasses.
The old Wilkes Homeplace
 It was in this picturesque site that the Wilkes gave birth to and raised six daughters and one son.  The oldest daughter is now 83 years old and has such vivid and wonderful memories of her life at this place.  She still lives nearby as do five of her siblings.
The remaining children sold the home and land several years ago when their mother died.  No one lives there now although the new owners do plan to do some updates.
Elaine told me this is the swing they used as children, as did their children.  How many stories of imaginings and laughter and shouts of "higher, higher" could this old tire swing tell us? 
 Only an occasional breeze moves this swing these days.
 A couple rusty old hay rake tines waiting to be used or possibly used for the last time and left as yard art leaning against a large oak tree trunk.
 Awaiting harvest time to rake up the hay to provide food for the cattle.
 The oldest daughter, Bobby was amazed to know that the old clothes line is still standing and then recalled the many days clothes were hung to dry with these clothes pins, now only a rotting reminder.
This area is no longer the dairy capital of the state but cattle still play a large role in the rural economy.
Funerals are times of celebrating one's life when they know the Lord Jesus Christ.
This was indeed a time of celebration and giving God thanks for the beautiful gift of friendship.
And it was a time of finding beauty that is often hidden and neglected all around us.