Wednesday, February 28, 2018

End of FEB Hodgepodge

Joining the Hodgepodge Bunch

We will not have the Hodgepodge next week.

From this Side of the Pond

1. Are you currently operating at 100% capacity? If not, what % are you? What's keeping you there?

100% capacity!????   I'm not even sure I know what 100% would be, and quite frankly I'm really not interested in pushing myself to find out what that would look like.  I read somewhere that we should work at 85% with 100% focus.  Does that even apply to retirees?

So, let's just say I'm working hard with diet and exercise to be as strong and healthy physically as I can be at this point.  I strive daily to stay mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.  So, I suppose my answer would be I'm doing the best I can with what I have to work with.
I don't doubt Dick has wished he had looked into this through the years.

2.  Have you done your taxes? Planned/booked a summer holiday? Thought about or started your 'spring cleaning'? Besides what's listed here, tell us one task that needs doing before spring rolls around.

I am working on the taxes and am basically done.  Just a matter of giving everything a final review before taking to tax lady.

We have not planned a summer holiday.  We have moved our Indiana trip up to early May so that leaves a lot of summer left to do something fun.  We will have to think on these things.

I have not started thinking about spring cleaning and am not interested in doing so.

The only task that I would like to see done before spring (synonymous with mosquitoes) rolls around would be to screen our back porch.  Just waiting on the guys to show up.

3. What's a favorite food from your part of the country?

Louisiana is known for its great Cajun dishes but I think the all-time favorite would be....

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4. This isn't a leap year, but let's run with it anyway...look before you leap, a leap of faith, grow by leaps and bounds, leap to conclusions, leap at the opportunity...which phrase might best be applied to your life currently (or recently)? Explain.

It would have to be "leap to conclusions."  Dick and I are always laughing at ourselves because if we don't know something we make up a story to explain it.  We are more accurately "concocting" a conclusion rather than leaping to one.  But we have a lot of fun supposing what people are doing or why something has taken place.

5. As the month draws to a close list five fun and/or fabulous things (large or small) you noticed or experienced in February.

1.  That together, Dick and I are making big lifestyle changes for our benefit
2.  A lot of rain
3.  God's intervention and protection on two of our grandchildren who were in car wrecks
4.  A great visit with our daughter and family
5.  A nice, long phone conversation with son and DIL last night

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Happy Birthday to Jackson!

Twenty three years ago today, our only grandson was born.  He was a 6.5 lb. preemie and is now a 6'4" handsome hunk-a-man!

He has always had a smile that melts my heart and the best hugs of anyone I know.

He is the best big brother in the whole wide world.  He is our gentle, sweet giant.

We love you, Big Boy and hope you have a great BIG Happy Day!

Monday, February 26, 2018

New York City Luxury

In the January/February issue of
they featured the best designs in the city that never sleeps - New York City.

They spotlighted "moments of grace - those little pockets of everyday luxury".

Who doesn't love to spend time in pockets of luxury!


An oversize Massimo Listri photograph adds drama to this entry and beckons the visitor into a looking-glass palace.  The black and white checkered marble floors balance it all.  The family pup feels at home in such luxury.

Living Rooms

 These leafy green curtains bothered me when I first saw them, but I read that they were chosen to meld with the hundreds of acres of trees below this apartment's tall windows.  Also, notice the mirrored trimmed panels on the walls.  Such a great idea!  Custom furniture and jewel toned silk velvet fabrics set this room apart.

The focal point in this living room and most other properties of "luxury" in NYC is the view.  This spectacular Central Park apartment is decorated in custom fabric in muted shades in order to not distract from the view.

This small, beautifully decorated apartment was titled "A Perfect Gem."  I love the round end table here.  The fringe on the sofa was taken from an old sofa and added to this new custom designed one.


This paneled library is in contrast to the more contemporary design of the other rooms in this NYC apartment and offers a warm, comfortable gathering place.

This elegant library is designed to take advantage of the outside view.  Notice the ceiling repeats the paneled walls.  And, I love that green leather wing-back chair.


Who would not love soaking in this tub in a marble-walled bathroom, over-looking the city.

Back Porch

This terrace overlooks New York's Central Park - a breath-taking view could be the most amazing accessory of any room.


An evening view from this apartment's living room windows could be the height of living in luxury in New York City.

How can you bring a bit of NYC luxury into your home?  If not a central park or amazing skyline, then how about taking advantage of whatever view you might have from your favorite room?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Moving Hodgepodge

Join the bloggers HERE for our Weekly
Wednesday Hodgepodge.

From this Side of the Pond

1. Where do you go when you need some inspiration?

It depends on what I need inspiration for.  If it's a recipe, I go to Pinterest or a cook book.  For decorating or fashion, I also use Pinterest or one of my many magazines, or a particular blogger.  For most everything else, I go to The Word.  I keep Bibles and various inspirational books close at hand that I can easily refer to.

2. What's under your bed?

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Other than a few dead folks, two storage boxes with my tall boots and a storage bag for heavy sweaters (for easy access before being moved to the top shelf of the closet after winter).

3. Thursday, February 22nd is National Chili Day, National Margarita Day, and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Of the three which would you most like to celebrate? Is that likely?

How about a Sweet Potato Chili?  I found this recipe HERE and it does have possibilities.  We love sweet potatoes and we love bean soup, so the combination might be interesting.  Then again, maybe not.  I baked sweet potatoes yesterday, so we would be most likely to celebrate that special day.

4. What are you 'snowed under' with right now?


5. Tell us three to five things that make you feel balanced?

My marriage, my relationship with my children and grands, routines, my assurance of salvation, and that this is not my home.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I have not rearranged furniture in a long time, and one day last week decided I needed to move something.  As the living room is the only option, I set about moving things around.  I'm really sorry I didn't do this at the beginning of winter instead of the end.  So, come spring, I will probably move it all back where it was.



It is a cozy sitting arrangement when the fireplace is on, and I like having the mantel as the focal point.

Do you rearrange your furniture for the seasons, or when the mood strikes, or not at all?

Monday, February 19, 2018

My Favorite Room

I had initially envisioned this being a series a bit different than it has become.  But, that's called being flexible and following what-might-work-better thoughts.

I subscribe to several magazines that often arrive and land on my coffee table or the side table by my favorite chair without being looked at.

So, as a plan to motivate myself to actually look at the magazines before they land in the pile of "I just can't part with these", I decided to do a periodic post on my favorite rooms from them.

The following are from the current issues of Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, and House Beautiful.


I love everything here from the beautiful hardwood floors, the banisters, but especially the grouping in the background.  That is where my eye first landed when I saw this picture.

Living Room

Blue is not my favorite color and don't use anything this color in my house, but it is does add such a fresh, cool feel to a room.  I really like the comfort of the furniture and and symmetrical grouping attracted my eye.

Dining Room

I love the furniture here, the amazing high ceilings and mill work, as well as the wall color. 

Family Room

The marbleized pattern in the fabric is probably not something I would ever select, but I like the total feel of this grouping from the picture gallery, the ceiling detail, to the velvet ottoman.  I could relax here.


I really like this island and way family living can take place here.


Nothing needs to be said about this room.  It just says "Sunroom" living in all kinds of weather.

Back Porch

My dream would be to have a swing like this one day.


There is a lot here but I love this composition because of the commonality in the items.

One of My Favorites in My Own Home

I hope you will enjoy this series and take the time to find inspiration where ever you can.

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable --- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy --- think about such things."
Philippians 4:8 NIV

Linking with
Amaze Me Monday

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Heart Felt Hodgepodge

Connect to Joyce's Blog HERE to either participate or read how other bloggers answered the questions in this week's

From this Side of the Pond

1. When's the last time you had a heart to heart talk with someone? A change of heart? Experienced figurative 'heart failure?'

This past weekend, I had a sort of heart to heart with a granddaughter as she discussed her future.  I treasure these times.

2. Champagne, chocolates, flowers...what's your Valentine pleasure? Any special plans for the day?

Champagne is not my thing at all, and I'm trying to stay away from the chocolates, but flowers  always speak my love language.  Dick knows that and brought me a beautiful bouquet of mixed roses yesterday.  So we are celebrating all week.

Wednesday night our church is having a Valentine Gathering for our regular mid-week service.  We have at least 27 from our Sunday School class planning to attend so we will sit together and enjoy Valentines as a group of friends.

3. Are you a hopeless romantic or do you fall more in the category of practical and pragmatic? What's a gesture you find romantic?

I am more in the later category - practical and pragmatic, but I do love and appreciate romance.  Romantic gestures that speak to me are again on the practical side.  But I do love a hand hold, a spontaneous hug, a spoken compliment or that special look and smile.

4. Do you ask a lot of questions in life or are you pretty content with what you already know?

Can it be both?  I am fairly inquisitive and need details and a map of the future.  I want a plan and wish God would let me in on what He has going for my life.  That being said, I am content in all things knowing that He is my sovereign God and is in control of all things.

"I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.  In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content - whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.  I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me."

5. Your favorite power ballad?

There so many great old time power ballads, but Roberta Flack's version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"  has to be a real classic.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Who was better than Neil Diamond and "Hello Again" has to be at the top of the power ballad list.

So just relax and listen.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Hodgepodge Weekend Recap

It is Monday afternoon and the first opportunity to even think about a blog post.  So, this will be a
Monday Hodgepodge
of things that have caught my interest lately.


This past weekend we visited our daughter and her family in Dallas.  We had to share some Louisiana Mardi Gras with these Texans.

We hadn't found the baby before we left, so I guess that means we will need to provide the cake again next year.

Saturday night we had the privilege of taking these two beautiful grands out for dinner.  We went to a new place for us, True Foods Kitchen, in Legacy West in Plano.  The food is health-centered with all natural and seasonal ingredients.  It was delicious but being in the company of our girls was most special.

The temps were below freezing but these girls warmed our hearts.

Sunday morning we attended worship at Prestonwood Baptist Church.  Dr. Jack Graham gave a brief report from the National Day of Prayer last week in Washington D.C.  He told about one of the speakers, Major Scott Smiley.  You will want to see his story below.  He is an amazing young man!


I'm sure you have heard about the couple who sold everything to buy a boat only to have it sink 2 days after setting sail?  You may enjoy reading about them and seeing the video.


The woman was quoted saying, "The boat sank, but our dreams didn't sink with the boat."


If you enjoy figure skating, then you already know about the USA amazing skater who broke records last night with her triple axle.  And does she have a huge USA tattoo on the inside of her leg?

No she doesn't!  It's just a tape strip for pain.

Red Gerard

And how about this baby-faced 17 year old snow boarder from Colorado who took home the gold!

As of right now, USA has won 4 Gold Medals with more to come.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Cheery Bowl of Hodgepodge

Join us HERE for this week's Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

1. February can be a little bit tricky given the weather and the winter and the whatnot. I read a list (here) of things you can do to make your February brighter which included-start planning your next trip, take more baths, make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and exercise in preparation for swimsuit season. Anything on the list you might try? Which suggestion on the list appeals to you most? Tell us something not on the list that helps make your February brighter. 

Of the three choices, the only one not relevant is the chocolate covered strawberries.  We are doing the exercise thing every morning with trips to the gym.  But it has nothing to do with swimsuit season, I assure you.

We will do some tripping this month, with a mini trip planned to Dallas for this weekend and a one-day trip with friends next week.  We know we will have three trips to plan for and look forward to in May, but those don't have to be planned for in February.
This day, the 6th of Feb. is the 53rd anniversary of when we met.  We met on a blind date in New Orleans and it was pretty much "this might work" at first sight.  So remembering this event always makes our February brighter.

2. Tell us about something you've seen or done recently that you'd say was 'super'?

It would have to be what I blogged about on Monday - A Reflective Friendship Weekend

3. Best thing you ate in a 'bowl' last week?

Referring back to my answer in #2, it would be the Tomato Basil Soup our hostess and friend made.  Literally the best I've ever tasted.

4. Something you're 'cheering' for right now?

I'm not cheering for anything specific right now that I can think of.   But always cheering for our kids and grands.

5. The Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 9th in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being all in and 1 being no interest whatsoever) how interested are you in the games? Which event do you most want to see (you'll find a list here).

I suppose we are a 5 or 6 in that we do enjoy watching some of the ceremonies and events but aren't really caught up in them.  My favorite events are the Bobsled, Luge and Ski Jumping.  But of course, my real favorite is checking out what Ralph Lauren has come up with for the participants to wear.  These are the Opening and Closing outfits.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I mentioned at some point that our son had given his dad a Limited Edition of 100 Best of Warner Bros. Film Collection for Christmas.

We watched two of the first ones dating back to 1931.  They were Cimarron and The Public Enemy.  

Based on the book by Edna Ferber, "Cimarron" won an Oscar for Best Production in 1931.  Main actors were Richard Nix and Irene Dunne.  It is also one of the few Westerns to ever win the top honor at the Academy Awards.  In fact, Cimarron was the first film to receive more than six Academy Awards nominations and nominated for the Big Five awards.
(Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing)

James Cagney and Jean Harlow are the main characters in "The Public Enemy."  Who could begin to compare to these early actors and actresses.

I think we are going to enjoy watching and re-watching these "old" movies.

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Reflective Friendship Weekend

Back in the mid 70's and 80's four couples of us were often together for state-wide church music events.  Bonnie, Vicki and I were Preschool and Children Music Specialists under Nancy who was the Louisiana Baptist State Children's Music Director.  Dick, Marvin and Richard were Ministers of Music and Wayne was a pastor.

For several years our families traveled together for Music Week at Glorieta Baptist Assembly near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We have such wonderful memories of these times together.

This was our family with Marvin and Vicki Smith and their boys in 1981 at Glorieta.

Life happens and friendships often suffer the greatest consequences and we all allowed about 25 years to elapse before we reconnected.

Wayne and Nancy retired from the pastorate in Texas and moved back to north Louisiana to begin a new ministry in 2013.  This past Thursday, the eight of us were together again for a wonderful weekend of picking right up where we left off.  Isn't that the most amazing thing about a beautiful and true friendship?

Abbie Lane is named for Nancy's mother and is built on land that belonged to Nancy's family and where she grew up.  There is a beautiful chapel now where the house once stood.

The purpose of Abbie Lane is to support and serve spiritual servants through encouragement and rest.  It is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rest and renewal for individuals in vocational ministry, such as Ministers, Missionaries, Evangelists, Denominational Leaders, Chaplains, and/or spouses.

Located on a wooded 80 acre lot, it consists of a chapel, main house, and three guest cabins.

This ministry was established by a family of three generations of ministers, who after having experienced tremendous ministerial conflict and pain, have come out strong and victorious.  It is from this that Wayne, Nancy and the ministerial staff are able to provide counsel and support to others.

The Spears Chapel

Marvin and Vicki's cabin, The Father's House

Richard and Bonnie stayed in The Potter's House

Ours was the Prophet's House

The beautiful and spacious main house is where the personal ministry takes place as two meals a day are provided around a large family table.

These meals together were such fun, special times of sharing for us.  By the way, Nancy prepared three meals a day for us. 

When two church pianists get together, there has to be music.

Perhaps the highlight of the 80 acres are the prayer gardens that the Spears have tirelessly worked to  create.

Let me take you on a spiritual walk through the woods.

 "And they came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here until I have prayed."

"And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, ... And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left."

"And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock...And looking up they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.  And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.  And he said to them, 'Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified.  He has risen; He is not here."

Wayne said one would see something similar to this (below) today in the town of Emmaus possibly the home of the two disciples.

As two people walked toward the village of Emmaus, they encountered Jesus but did not recognize Him. Jesus taught what the Old Testament had predicted about Himself. When they arrived in Emmaus that evening, the two disciples stopped to eat, and they asked Jesus to join them. He did, and as He broke the bread and blessed the meal, “their eyes were opened”, and they recognized Him. 

Wayne explained that this is one of only a few oaks in the pine forest.  It has obviously been struck by lighting in the past but it did not reach the base and root of the tree.

The Oak of Moreh is mentioned in Genesis 12:6 as a place near Shechem where Abraham camped on arriving in Canaan from Haran. There God revealed Himself to Abraham with the promise to give Canaan to his descendants, whereupon Abraham responded by building his first altar to the Lord in Canaan. It must have been a “holy” tree, and the place of an old Canaanite sanctuary. 

"And the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up....When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God."

"When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’

"Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means "the stone of help"), for he said, "Up to this point the LORD has helped us!"

Mount Moriah is the mount on which Abraham offered Isaac in Genesis 22.
"And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.  But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!...Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God..."

This is one of the lessons I learned from our time in the gardens:
It is not so important how much faith we have, but how much do we love God!

Wayne designed and had made his own burning bush and it is an amazing sight.

"Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."

May His love be reflected in our lives as we go forth!

Thank you Wayne and Nancy for a memorable reunion and a spiritual renewal.

Linking with Amaze Me Monday