Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hodgepodge Full of Personality

Happy to be joining Joyce for the
Click on the link above and join us.
1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

My walls are are varying shades of light khaki with a tinge of gold, with the exception of the master bed/bath and the adjoining sun room which is a soft olive.  I wouldn't change a thing.  I have dark hardwood floors, and again, love them.  I can't think of one single thing in my home that I would change at this point.

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?

Have children.  Going for the obvious here, but still just saying, I'm well passed that.

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

I think the gender stereotypes are changing and not for the better necessarily.  Men, for instance used to be expected to be MEN, not necessarily bear slayers, but strong in build and character; leaders and supporters.  Today's image has become much, much softer and much less appealing in my estimation.  Likewise, the female gender is now expected to be the strong dominating leader in the home and encouraged to take on this role in society, and the workplace as well.  I attribute this reverse gender role to be part of our societal issues today.

The woman of my day was expected to get married, have children and be a stay-at-home mom.  I wanted nothing more than to do all three.   When my youngest was in pre-school I took a part-time job, then when the kids were in high school, I worked full-time outside the home.  Now, how am I different from the basic stereotypes of my day?  Back then, girls were expected to come out of the womb "girly" - to like frills and dolls and tea sets.  I was never a frilly girl but instead a bit of a tom boy, preferring a bicycle to a doll any day.  I had a strong will and was a typical assertive 1st born.  Today, my character is still much the same, but I have taken on a more feminine, soft side, I think.

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

Yes, we have owned three different motorcycles.  Yes, I have ridden a motorcycle, and yes, I have also driven a motorcycle.  I did it because it was expedient at the time, but I have never felt so vulnerable than when on one.  If you know me at all, then you know I don't do well with vulnerable.  I did enjoy being out in the open, but it was also being out in the open that made me uncomfortable.  No, I have done that and have no desire to ever ride another.

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

It is my desire that when one sees me, they would see Jesus in and through me.  It would be through those lens that I would like to be understood.

Read:  This article on The Complex Personality of Creative People describes some of my character traits.
Watch:  HGTV relates to my love for decorating and home; Hallmark Movies reflects my need for a happy sappy ending
Listen:  Handel's Messiah

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

 Today, Tuesday is my granddaughter, Cassidy's 21st birthday.  She is beautiful, smart and very brave.  As a senior at the University of Texas, she committed to spend six months studying in Barcelona, Spain.  While there she has taken every opportunity to explore other parts of the world.
She has seen several cities in Spain, she has been to other European cities such as Rome and Paris, and just last week was in Tangier, Morocco.  I so admire her spirit and desire to step out of her comfort zone.  She has fallen in love with Barcelona and will leave reluctantly.  Happy Birthday my special Cassidy!

 Early Wednesday morning, Dick and I leave for Indiana.  We will be visiting our son and his family.  Our granddaughter, Savannah will graduate high school on Friday night.  She and her club soccer team will also be playing in the state playoffs while we are there.

So, there will be lots to blog about, but in the meantime,  I will see you as time allows.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Private Marsh

On Mother's Day, we visited my sister and her family for an outdoor fish fry dinner at the home of one of her sons.  (far right)
Our nephew and his family live near the small town of Port Barre (/bɛəri/) in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  The town began in 1760 as an Indian trading post at the place where Bayou Courtableau flows into Bayou Teche.  The most distinguishing thing about this little south Louisiana village today is that it derives 51% of its income from traffic tickets, so you better slow down when going through Port Barre.

Eric and Sonja live out in the country on several rural acres that attract a variety of birds and animals such as bobcats, deer and a bountiful supply of large rabbits.  Sonja was even startled to find a large boar starring at her one day.
Their lovely home sits behind what we call in Louisiana, a slough, pronounced slu'.
Louisiana has some of the most extensive wetlands in the United States, from broad coastal marshes that provide critical buffer against hurricanes to dark bottomland swamps.  This mini swamp in their front yard creates such a  picturesque setting for their home.
 The plants that thrive in the waterlogged environment of the Louisiana Wetlands are known as hydrophytics. Such plants have evolved adaptations to overcome the lack of oxygen.

Examples include the cypress tree, which has "knees," where its roots bend to reach above high water levels.

One of the most beautiful sights in this slough is the draping moss.
Spanish moss, sometimes called Grandfather's Graybeard, is soft, graceful, eerie and beautiful all at the same time. A romantic symbol of the South, it is greenish silver after a rain, and grayish-silver at other times.
  As an epiphyte, an air plant that lives upon other plants, it absorbs nutrients and water from the air and rainfall. It is not a biological parasite in the same sense as some other epiphytes that sap nutrients from the tree.
Spanish moss can grow strands up to 20 feet long especially on Live Oak and Cypress tree branches.
There are other plants that are typical of the Louisiana slough, or backwater marshes.  Reeds, which are common to marshes, transport oxygen through hollow tubes.
There are a variety of grasses growing in Eric's slough such as this Marshhay Cordgrass.
This thick grass is called Roseau Cane and is the tallest grass in marshes and swamps.
Another common plant is the dwarf palmetto.  This shrub-like palm generally does not get as tall as its big brother.  The circular, fan-like leaves are composed of 16 to 40 pale- or blue-green blades.
There is an interesting history regarding the palmetto plant.  The native Indians used it for various purposes because it was so plentiful.  For instance, the Houma Indians used the juice crushed from the small roots as an eye medicine to relieve irritation.  The dried roots were taken for high blood pressure.  A tea from these dried roots was used for kidney ailments.
The fan-shaped leaves were also used to thatch homes in south Louisiana.  The leaves were sun-bleached and then braided into thin strips and sewn together to make baskets and other useful articles.  These baskets were made by the Houma Indians as late as the 1930's and are unique to Louisiana.  Contemporary people still use the palmetto leaves to weave baskets and to make small dolls with hair of Spanish moss.

It is a very common plant in south Louisiana.  In fact, we even have a village named for it.

I will end this post with other pictures from this lovely yard and home.

 Thank you Eric and Sonja for sharing your little bit of heaven with us.

Linking to

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Linking up with other Hodgepodge bloggers at the home of
Come join us.

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...

I am always amazed at the days that get national attention.  Let's be honest - would we be aghast if they announced a national pick your nose day or something else just as asinine?  And why do we have to have a national something day every day of the year anyway?

Okay, to get off my soap box and answer the question.  No, I don't think a National Pack Rat Day is called for.  I'm really trying to think of some reason someone thought it was worth celebrating.  Hmmmm.. for sure!

Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

I am not a pack rat at all!  However, I do have a hard time parting with magazines.  Not sure why, but I have to make myself get rid of them on a regular basis.  I think I will need some vital info contained deep within the recesses of the pages, I suppose.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

I feel I should know how to swim but I don't and won't.  I feel I should know how to play a VHS tape through our player into the TV.  I have been shown how to do it, but it didn't stick.

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

We have pretty much slain the sugar dragon by just going without.  We have cut out the cherished mid afternoon powdered Chai tea and do not even make deserts.  We never order a desert when eating out and don't use artificial sweeteners at all.  For us southern folks to give up our sweet iced tea is a big accomplishment and sacrifice, but we've done it.

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

I suppose it could be using my crock pot.  I would use it occasionally, but am now finding myself using it quite often.  There are so many recipes these days using the slow cooker, and I not only find many of them delicious but also convenient.

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

Dick and I have both heard the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" lately.  In fact, Dick walked in the house the other day and said he heard it and immediately texted our son to just tell him he was thinking about him.  I used a record player in the nursery for both our babies and would play a variety of recordings from the time they were born.  They never took a nap, or had a feeding without music.  "Puff the Magic Dragon" was one of our son's favorite songs when he was small, and hearing it again after all these years brought back the sweetest memories.
Made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1963.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This past Sunday, Dick and I drove down to spend the night with my sister in South Louisiana because I had a doctor appointment the next morning in Baton Rouge.  Her sons had planned an early family dinner "fish fry" for Mother's Day, so we were invited too.  Let me just say, those boys know how to season and fry fish perfectly!

My nephew has a lovely home with what we call in the south, a marsh or slough (slu') in his front yard.  I will be featuring more pictures of this in a separate post, but wanted to just share a few pictures with you.  It is so typical of south Louisiana. 
 I will go into more detail later, but what you see are Cypress trees draped with spanish moss.
 This gray moss is a marvel.
 Another common sight in a marsh or slough are palmetto plants.
Come back on Monday for a Cajun land photo post.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day Hodgepodge

Joyce is revamping the Hodgepodge because she has a life outside blogland.  We now have six questions instead of eight which suits me fine.  I so appreciate Joyce taking the time to host this gathering place each week.
So, come join the others as we meet around the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

From this Side of the Pond
1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you're a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother's experience.
This is a picture of my mother and grandmother.  They were the dearest women in my life.  Both were strong women who loved their family and managed the life of a pastor's wife with grace and dignity.  My grandmother was the mother of ten children and lost her husband when her youngest, my mother was only seven.  So, she ran a household of mostly boys as a widow and single mom.  My mother was an independent business owner before she married my dad at the age of 24.

I'm not sure my experience as a mother differs greatly from that of my mom, because I parented much as she had done.  We were both strict in our parenting styles with expectations, yet loving and supportive.  My mother was an encourager and I tried to be that to my children as well.  She was a godly woman and prayed for us daily.  I could never match her there, but did and still strive to be a godly example for my children and grandchildren.  I am so grateful for the godly parents with which I was blessed.

2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.
 My youngest sister will be retiring in a few days after teaching for almost 30 years.  She has taught first grade for most of those years and has loved every class she has had.  Some have been more challenging than others, but they were her babies and she was the teacher of choice by her co-workers with little ones.  As you can see from the picture above, she has been very creative while trying to fit into the standard mold that is expected of teachers these days.  Teaching is not what it used to be for sure.  Sarah, I'm sure you will be missed.
Both my children have BSN degrees.  John went on to get his Master's degree in Business with an emphasis in Health Administration and is now President and CEO of a Medical Surgical Hospital.  His hospital has received accolades and national recognition because of his outstanding leadership ability.  Christy is a Contract Case Manager and handles all the disability claims for the largest city in Texas.  Both of my nurses, although not actually working as nurses, have taken their education and are using it in a way that fits their own strengths.  I could not be more proud of them both.

3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad...which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?

Chicken salad on lettuce with an added avocado.

4. Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don't have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? 

Organized according to whose standard?  Our desk is a large L-shape that holds a large-screen computer monitor, pictures, a lamp, notepad, books needed at our fingertips and an organizer for pens, addresses, password notebook, etc.  Right now I am in the middle of a project, so the desk is pretty much covered with pictures.  So, to the normal observer, it would definitely appear cluttered, but I know where everything is and its purpose.  So, it's okay for right now and when it isn't, it will be swept clean.

Where do you normally sit to blog?

The desk is in our office/den and I sit there to do my blogging.

5. When I was nine years old....

I lived in rural south central Louisiana, in a small village that was on the edge of Cajun land.  My dad pastored the oldest Southern Baptist Church still in existence, west of the Mississippi River.  And it is still an active church today.  Our life revolved around the church (which was right in front of our house) and its people, school (which adjoined our property to the right of the house and church), friends, and playing outside.  I was the oldest of three girls and we were a very happy family.  Life was very good.
 See church in background and the model in foreground is me playing dress-up.
That would have been 1953.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am in the process of creating a memory book for Granddaughter #4 who will be graduating from high school later this month.  Yes, I know!  I should have started it months ago.  But, it has been so much fun and sad at the same time to see time pass so quickly through pictures.

She is an amazing young lady who came into the world a "little lady" with the biggest smile and happy disposition.  I call her my girl of contrasts because she is on one hand a little diva who loves everything pretty and it can be all about her some time.  On the other hand, she is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field.  Some of the mothers even complained about her one year because she was hurting their little girls in practice.  Yes, that is our Savannah!
A gorgeous force to be reckoned with on and off the soccer field!

And, she will be 18 tomorrow.  So,

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hamster Wheel Beauty

I read this quote the other day, by writer Jill Chivers at her blog My Year Without Clothes Shopping:

“You will never ever be truly happy or settled in your skin if some part of you believes it is wrong or unacceptable to get older, and to look older. A part of you will always be stuck on a hamster wheel (of someone else’s design), trying desperately to stop the clock, or wind back the clock, to make you look and feel younger than you are.” 

That phrase “hamster wheel” really socked me. The pressures to stay “young” and “fresh” and even “young for your age” (bleghh) are ever mounting.  I will be 73 this year!  YIKES!  I know, that is pretty old.  And, even I want to be thought to look younger than my age.  And who wouldn't, right?

Don't get me wrong, I pay good bucks for a whole anti-aging skin-care system, and use it religiously.  I am at the gym at least three times a week.  I pay dearly to have my handsome hairdresser keep the gray from anyone's sight except his.

But the whole anti-aging movement that is being thrust upon us today kind of worries me.  Why?

One thing is, getting older is a natural part of life.
It’s normal, expected, and an important part of this great journey we call life.  To not get older is to cease to exist.  That is not my first choice.  How about you?

So how can we get older without getting "old" and feeling that life has left us behind?

There are a few truths I think we need to consider.

1.  Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting worse.  It is a mindset.  Older can mean getting better in so many ways.  We are so much wiser than the 20 year olds who may feel sorry for us old folks.

2.  We need to realize that the popular definition or even our own definition of "beautiful", of "attractive", may no longer apply.  But, neither does it mean that we are less beautiful, attractive or alive.  Let's face it, we aren't ever going to look 18 or even 30 again.  But does that make us less than?  It may be that if we feel less than, our own concept of beauty may need to be adjusted.

Even though my body can't do some, okay, a lot, of the things I used to be able to do, I feel more beautiful and alive than I felt at 30.  There is an appreciation for life and living it that I didn't have then.

3. It is a fact that getting older can mean becoming more creative, more confident, more fulfilled, more able to discern what is of value and what is not. So why, if you are a 50 year old woman, or older, in full glorious living bloom, would you want to look like you are 30?  It ain't gonna happen anyway, sweet heart.

This doesn't mean that we can neglect our appearance.  Not at all!  We may even need to step up the skin-care regime as we age to make sure our skin is moisturized properly and that we protect it from the sun.  There are new tricks of the trade that enhance our appearance that might should be considered.  I am not saying or inferring that we should sit back and just let aging happen.  No way!

I am saying that the concept that the world portrays should not ever be our standard.

4.  Look around, the world is full of women who are even more beautiful and more interesting as they got older.  How many gorgeous women do you know who are contributing more and looking more radiant in their later years than ever before?  It’s utterly insane to think that the only beautiful women are those who are under the age of 30.  This is what the advertising world would have us believe.

5.  You will never ever be truly happy or settled in your skin if some part of you believes it is wrong or unacceptable to get older, and to look older. A part of you will always be stuck on a hamster wheel, trying desperately to stop the clock, or wind back the clock, to make you look and feel younger than you are. That is an awful state of “never being happy with where you are right now” to live in. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

6.  Getting older is a privilege.  It is a benefit not everyone gets to have.  It should be treasured, looked forward to, embraced, and enjoyed.

7.  You can become more beautiful, on every level, as you age.  You can certainly become more interesting, and more confident for sure.  We have time to read more, to explore those interests that were put on the back burner for years.  And, just think, we don't have to parent anyone any more.  We now get to enjoy those fabulous kids we grew up and those perfect grandkids, without all the responsibility.  And should our role be that of parenting grandchildren, just think of the wisdom and patience we have now that we didn't in our 20's.

8.  Don't let looking young or even youthful be your goal.  Especially if you wish to love your life where you are right now.  Please don't bemoan the fact that you are now older and perhaps look it and feel it.  You worked for it, now enjoy it!

9.  Let your goal be to love looking more and more YOURSELF, and love being the YOU you happen to be at this stage in life.  Be the most vibrant, happy and fulfilled "older" woman you can at this wonderful time of life.

So get off the hamster wheel of someone else's design and find out how God wants to use you and bless you to be a blessing to others right now.  Even if you are almost 73 years old.

Pictures shown are some of my favorite, beautiful "older" women in my church who live very vibrant lives.  Some are in their 90's, others in their 70's and one or two in their late 50's.
There is no age limit on being beautiful!
 Linking to:
Amaze Me Monday 
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