Thursday, March 26, 2020

New Thursday - 13 Things

13 Things

Welcome to Thursday 13, the easy meme where you make a list of 13 things on Thursday.

Being that I am confined inside my house, I thought it might be fun to think about 

13 Things In My House That Make Me Happy

Since walking into this empty for-sale house over 13 years ago, I have loved my home.  I knew it was to be mine the minute I saw it.

These are some of the reasons why:

1.  The floor plan suits our life style to a tee

2.  It is in the Garden Home section of a larger gated community.  We feel relatively safe here, and we love the small corner lot.

3.  When we moved here, a bit of down-sizing was required, so I was determined to keep only what I loved.  Therefore, everything in my house is either an heirloom, a gift, or a well thought out purchase.

4. I love that my dishwasher is built up and leaning over is not required.  I don't know why builders don't do this in every house.

5.  The side entry to our house, since it's on a corner lot, is so very nice and convenient and makes me happy.

6.  We enclosed our patio several years ago and made it a sun room joining our bedroom and the side entry hall way.  This little room has brought so many hours of contentment and has been my "Happy Place."

7.  A couple years ago, we built a covered back porch off the sun room and then had it screened.  This has become our early morning and afternoon "Happy Place" especially since we are home together these days.  We love the early morning eastern sunshine, the singing and playing around of the many species of birds who also love our little back yard, fountain and birdbath.

8.  One of the things that makes me happy in my home is the office space where we spend most of our time.  We have our large mounted TV hanging over the desk which holds our oversized desktop computer screen.  I have room for my laptop in front of my glider rocker and my leather recliner is nearby.  We have two bookcases in here with all our commentaries and favorite books for easy access.  It is our do-your-own-thing-together space and it makes us both happy.

9.  Some of the furniture that makes me happy are my antique pieces that were given to me/us many years ago by people with whom we share wonderful memories.

10.  Other items that bring us happiness is our bedroom furniture and secretary that has its special place in the living room.  I bought this furniture when we moved into this house with money left me following my mother's death.  I wanted to do something with the money that would be a constant reminder to me of her and the legacy she left behind.  I am hoping that when I no longer need it, one of my family members will want to love it as much as we do and share in its meaning.

11.  Many, many years ago, I started collecting white pottery pitchers and gravy boats.  Some of these are quite different and beautiful.  I love seeing them used in different places in my home.  They bring a freshness to the decor and I enjoy remembering how I acquired each one.  As friends learned of my collection, they began to give me one-of-a-kind items they thought I would love.  And I do.

12.  Another thing that makes me happy in my home is that music is usually filling the space.  Whether its being played from Pandora through a Sony speaker, or Alexa, or through the TV, we enjoy having the background sounds of our favorite hymns, instrumentals and favorite artists surrounding us.

13.  Lastly, but not lastly is the fact that I get to share the home we know God gave us, with the person I know God gave me 55 years ago to love and cherish.  God has blessed all of our homes together and especially with this one.  He has blessed our marriage and our time together.  We are happy seeing pictures of our children and grandchildren and recalling memories of them that bring us so much joy.

Home is a Happy Place to be with someone you love!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Welcome Back Wednesday Hodgepodge!

It is so good to have Joyce back with the
Wednesday Hodgepodge.

You can find her blog HERE in order to see the other bloggers and their answers to today's Hodgepodge questions.

1. Howdy Hodgepodgers. It's kind of fun to be back, isn't it?  Last time we met was September, 2018. Tell me something big-important-happy-or sad that's happened in your life since that date. Just one thing. We don't know how long this current isolation situation is going to last and we might need to dole out our news bit by bit.

You sure know how to cramp a grandmother's style by asking for only one thing!  I will play obediently though and go back to 2018 when two of my granddaughters graduated many states apart.

Cassidy on the left, graduated from the University of Texas in Austin.
Mary-Elizabeth graduated from Penn H. S. in Granger, Indiana.

 Both trips involved travel and both were worth every minute to get there.

Cassidy is busy in her career as an associate to a well-known influencer in Dallas and M-E is a freshman at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.

Both are home-bound right now and working or studying online for the unforeseen future.

2. Might as well get this out of the way early on...COVID-19. On a scale of 1-5 how serious are you about keeping your distance? Explain. fyi-I didn't create the scale but have seen it several places online. Also fyi-we won't only have virus related questions each week, but for this first one it feels right.

1-Not at all, living normally
2-Cautious but still going out
3-Going out as needed, mostly home or working from home, still seeing friends/family
4-Extremely limited, only going out when unavoidable, minimal contact with people
5-Full lockdown, no one in or out

Since we are very senior adultish, and live in a state and city where the virus seems rampant (fastest growing number in 8 hours in the world - thank you Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday) we are hunkered down at #4.

We got out for a minute yesterday in order to drive a supply of food and hygiene items to our church to assist the local VOA.  But, have no plans to be around people.

3. Raise your hand if you think you might run out of steam in the cooking department before it's all said and done? What's something delicious you've cooked or eaten in your own kitchen in the past week?

I made a delicious Potato, Corn Chowder Soup on Sunday, and last night we had a most delicious salad with salmon.  No, as long as Dick enjoys cooking and helping, we won't run out of steam.  We normally only eat two meals anyway. Right now, one meal is a mid morning breakfast which doesn't happen when life is normal.

4. What's a television show or movie you've seen recently (it could be an oldie) that you really liked?

We watched Dateline and 48 Hours the other night and those were interesting, but I honestly can't think of anything super special that fits the category of "really liked."  We aren't big movie watchers and don't have Netflix, and lets face it, there is nothing really worth watching on the regular channels.  We have already watched all the saved Hallmark Christmas shows, so the pickings are slim.

5. Share something funny you've seen or heard this week.

shared this on her post yesterday and I had a really good laugh.

But, my favorite is this video:

6. Insert your own random thought here

My thoughts right now are about as worthless as these pictures.  When in lock-down on a rainy afternoon, and Snapchat offers all sorts of new filters, then you play.

My daughter-in-love sent this Snapchat yesterday.  These are two happy faces.

Yesterday, this adorable Dallas granddaughter was taking a break from her online studies to enjoy some sunshine to celebrate #thegreatamericantakeout day.

The following is not original but copied from an article written by Bill Wilson:

You are to show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. The world is in darkness right now. People are looking for answers. They are looking for hope. As Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, you are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Be encouraged in Christ, that you may encourage others. Do not fear, that you might inspire courage in others. Walk in love, that you might hearten the loveless. Be of a sound mind that you say and do the wiser thing so as to not bring dishonor to your Lord and Savior. You have a prophetic destiny in a time such as this. It is your time to shine the light of Christ into a dark and dying world. Do so circumspectly and with joy!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reflections and Memories of the Past

A few weeks ago I took a road trip to visit a friend, but it also included going back to where both sides of my family came from in North Central Louisiana.

Outside the village where my friend lives, I saw an amazing home that I had not seen since I was a very small child.

Picture Source

This is what the house looked like back all those years ago.  Let me give you some history on this old place.

The Queen Anne Victorian style home was built in 1900 on eight acres outside the town of Farmerville, and was in its hey day a magnificent residence in the Piney Woods of Union Parish in North Louisiana. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

One of the original owner's daughters was the last to live in the home.  She allowed the area to grow up until only the turret was visible from the road.  I remember this process and was so disappointed when I could no longer see the house on our occasional trips up there.

When she died in the late 1970's, the house was left to completely deteriorate.  It was hidden and in total disrepair until the current owners found it in 2010 and saw the vision of this incredible place.

It does not look like the same place.  It is now a Bed & Breakfast and event center.

The front porch and gorgeous staircase entry makes such a southern statement.  I love that they kept all the Victorian details in the renovation.

There is the rumor that there are paranormal happenings in the house, but since I didn't go inside I cannot verify that.

If you happen to be in North Louisiana and need an historic place to spend the night or get married, you will definitely want to consider the Edgewood Plantation.

Further down the road going east is the small stop-in-the-road known as Shiloh. 

All there is now, is the church on the same spot as the original built back ages ago.  It is now a brick building but in the exact place as the one my grandparents attended and my father preached in.

Beside the church is this ancient cemetery founded in 1849. The lower case "h's" in the spelling has always fascinated me and is still the first thing I notice.

My dad's parents and grandparents are buried here, and I'm sure there are earlier generations as well.  The headstones are so old and aged that it is impossible to read the names.

Marking the four corners of my grandparent's graves is this "L" granite stone.

My dad's dad died when I was five and unfortunately I have no actual memories with him.  I know he was a gently man who loved his family and animals immensely.

My grandmother lived with my uncle and his family but would visit us a couple times a year.  We loved her but were not as close to her as we had been to our maternal grandmother.  She died the year before my first child was born.

I did find the headstones of my great great grandfather, Tillman Porter and his sister.

I have been doing some research on and finding these headstones was so exciting.  There are other ancestors buried here, but the headstones are too old to read.

I then went further down the road to the neighboring village where my mother and her ancestors lived, Dubach.

The Hamilton Cemetery is where the Colvin side of my family is buried.

My mother's dad died when she was only seven years old and the youngest of ten children.  I love what is written on his headstone, "He was beloved by God and man."  From everything I have found and heard about him, he truly was.

My grandmother lived with us until her death when I was nine, in 1954.

I can personally testify that my Mama truly built a monument of love in the hearts of all who knew her.  She certainly did in mine.  She was the most gentle, strong, quiet, sweet, and loving person.  She was an amazing godly lady.

I have so enjoyed going back through old newspapers and finding fascinating information on my ancestors.  What a legacy they passed on.

This was such an enjoyable road trip that encompassed a friend in the present, and memories and reflections from the past.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday 9: Symphonies

I haven't participated in the Saturday 9 Link-up in quite a while, but thought this would be a fun topic to comment on.

Complete Symphonies (2019)

This week we're classing up the joint with a well-received box-set by the Danish Chamber Orchestra. You can listen to the orchestra here.

1) Beethoven is one of classical music's best known composers. Do you often listen to classical music?

Not often but I do enjoy listening once in a while.  We certainly enjoyed our membership with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, and experiencing classical music personally would be my favorite way of listening.

2) Though a musical genius, Beethoven never learned to multiply or divide. When faced with a simple arithmetic problem, do you do it in your head? Or do you rely on the calculator in your phone or on your computer?

Math was never a favorite subject and think it's because I simply have a mental block or lack of mathematical mental capacity; therefore, I look for a calculator when faced with most arithmetic problems other than the really simple stuff.

 3) Beethoven bathed often, which was considered "quirky" for a man of his time. (Understandable, since you had to heat the water, haul it to the tub, and then empty the tub bucket by bucket when you were done.) Do you bathe in the morning or in the evening?

I do both depending on my schedule, but normally in the morning.

4) Adam Fischer conducts the Danish Chamber Orchestra for this 5-disc set. He began his musical career young, when he sang in the children's choir of Budapest's National Opera House. Have you ever sung in a choir or chorus?

I started singing at a very young age and mostly did solos because our churches and schools were too small for youth or children's choirs.  I sang in ensembles, trios, and duets while in high school.  Once in college, I sang in the state-wide Baptist Student Union choir that was a joy.  Since marrying a Minister of Music, I sang in church choirs, ensembles and did solos.

5) Mr. Fischer was awarded the Gold Medal of Arts from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Tell us about a prize or award you have received. (Yes, that ribbon you earned for penmanship in second grade counts.)

There were several awards and titles while in high school and college.  I received two state-wide "Outstanding" employee awards that I'm proud of.  I also received a blue ribbon many years ago at the Parish Fair for my cornbread.  I was pretty proud of that one.

6) The Danish Chamber Orchestra is beloved in Denmark. When, in 2014, the Danish Broadcasting Company announced it would no longer fund the Orchestra, citizens began a crowdfunding campaign and raised more than $1,000,000 to keep the music playing. Have you ever contributed to a crowdfunding platform, like GoFundMe, Kickstarter or FundRazr?

We recently contributed to a GoFundMe to assist college friends of my husband who are currently undergoing a very serious health crisis.

7) The Orchestra's "home" is the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen. Where were you when you last heard music played live?

My church

8) In 2019, when this boxed set was released, China became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Are you fascinated by stories about space?

No, not really.

9) Random question: Tell us about your week. These are extraordinary times, and it might feel good to share.

These are indeed extraordinary times, but thankfully, our life and that of our family and closest friends has remained rather normal.  That is except for the fact that our church services are now live streamed only.  My husband will be doing the Sunday School lesson on live stream from our home this week and for the near future.

Hubby's realty office is closed, so he has been at home every day this week. Not a bad thing, just different.

I invited four neighbor ladies over for a morning brunch on Thursday and a couple had to cancel due to a health issue.  Thankfully it isn't the virus, but we are now so conscious of exposing ourselves and others to anything that might be the least bit contagious.

All in all, our week has been pretty normal and we are thankful.  Of course being retired, our life-style was already rather slow and down-key.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

And No One Came

I invited four of my lady neighbors for a little morning get-together this morning.  Three of them are widows who are normally very involved in outside activities and are now finding themselves reluctantly home-bound.  The fourth's husband is an invalid and they celebrated their wedding anniversary on Wednesday without fanfare.  She is also rearing her twin HS senior granddaughters.

It just seemed like a good time for us to meet for much needed adult lady conversation and everyone was excited and looking forward to it.

One by one they began texting me.  One had been coughing all night and didn't want to expose us.  One of the twins woke up with fever, so my friend was putting the household into isolation.  Another was called out for a last-minute baby-sitting job.  There went the party!

These are new days aren't they when a fever, a cough or fear of exposure keeps us separated from each other, and sends us into lock-down mode.  These are also days when being responsible for each other and ourselves must take priority.

When no one shows up for a party, then the only thing to do is to take the party to them.

Lemon Loves and St. Patty cookies

Pecan Pie Muffins

Egg Spinach Muffins

I fixed a plate for each lady and delivered it to their door.  And that is one way to stay connected and let people know they are thought of during a difficult time.

I wanted to show you the crystal serving plates I used.  The small one is one that my mother was given for her wedding back in 1943.  I have always loved it and remember Mom serving pickles and other small food items on it.  I have used it through the years in my bathroom and bedroom for jewelry, perfumes, etc.

The larger one is from the set of three pictured on the table.  I found them at an estate sale years ago.  They have the same design in the center as the small one.  These plates are the perfect size for serving small amounts of cookies, Hors d'oeuvres, etc.  There is just something about crystal that makes a pretty table.

I have collected cranberry glass pieces for years and these pretty salad plates are some of my favorites.

So, when your plans fall through, remember something good can still come of all the time spent planning and preparing.  You can blog about it!

Let me close with these wise words written by Martin Luther in a letter during the Black Death Plague.

In Luther's Works, Volume 43, page 132, he wrote: "I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. This I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God."

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Springtime In My Yard

With so much negative, scary, and threatening situations around us these days, I needed to get outside and find something positive.  One thing we can trust is God's plan.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He never changes and we can draw strength from the evidence of this in His creation.

Spring is springing at our house in Northwest Louisiana.

The Bradford Pear trees across the street were the first signs that there will be a season change soon.

However, the big old Pecan tree behind us hasn't been given that message yet and when it does start blooming, we know spring has sprung.

I love the details of this old gnarled tree.

This is the first year we have had Eastern Bluebirds to nest in our birdhouse that has hung on our fence for almost three years.  We have loved watching these parents prepare their home for the next generation.

While daddy bird keeps watch, momma bird gathers materials.

Our yard is full of azaleas and they are beginning to make their showing.

Another indication Spring is here is the pollen that covers everything.

A new bud still wearing it's hat covering.

Mid March is the time hummingbirds begin to send scouts to our part of the country, so my first feeder went out this week.  The birdbath has been given its bath and is ready for all my bird friends.

I hope there are signs of Spring in your yard as well.