Friday, October 21, 2016

Here's to Year 51! Cheers!

Yesterday I got to celebrate my 51st birthday! What a privilege, right? Birthdays are not to be dreaded, no matter the age, because it's a great thing to wake up and celebrate another day, in my opinion.

The day started off in it's usual mom singing the Happy Birthday song to me, like she does every year.

David and Collin left me sweet and funny cards and as a bonus, Collin bought me 4 candy bars!  Count them.....FOUR! 

I took a few hours to myself around lunchtime and got my nails done, which was a treat.  It's been a while since I've had pretty nails, so my birthday seemed like the perfect day to get pampered.

After a relaxing afternoon at home, we headed out for dinner with our kids and little Emmy.

There's a great new restaurant in town, called Republic Chicken, which sits in the downtown area of Beaumont, in an old southern-style home.

They serve fried chicken, steak or fish, and bring all the sides out family-style.   You order your meat and along with that, you are served bowls of mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet corn, green beans and homemade biscuits.  Oh, and lots of sweet tea, of course!  You can't get more Southern than that!

The cherry on top of our night was discovering that many of the wait staff there, go to church with Collin!  That made for a fun night, especially when they all gathered around our table and sang Happy Birthday to me!

Afterwards, we headed down the road to a new frozen custard place for dessert.

Our selfie (picture above) was supposed to show the sign on the custard place, but it didn't quite turn out.  Oh, well!  At least we got all of our faces in the picture....barely!

Actually, those are some of my favorite pictures....the spur of the moment ones.

All in all, I had a great birthday!

Now I'm another year older and getting wiser by the minute!  hahaha :)

Here's to year 51 and counting!


Until Next Time....

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Make Your Bed and Other Good Intentions

Does anyone else tote unwanted goods in the back of their car and drive around for a few weeks before finally dropping them off at the local thrift store?  
Well, it certainly seems to be my way of doing things - good intentions and all.

The problem is, I pile these things up in the corner of a room, all the while telling myself what day I will make it over to the drop-off place.  Then I walk through the house, making note of other things that need to go in the the pile sits there.....and sits there.  

Then one day, I decide it's time to put the box of stuff in the car.  I'm done purging and it's finally the day when I can pass these unwanted items off to someone else.

So, the box makes it's way to the trunk of my car.......and it sits there.....and sits there.

Like I said.....good intentions and all.

But anyway.....this post isn't necessarily about all the junk in the back of my car, but more about the PURGING of the stuff in the back of my car.

I don't know if you do this, but when I'm cleaning one room, I always find myself cleaning up other areas, as well. 

So this week, while putting my office back together, I've been moving stuff around and noticing things that just don't belong anymore.

Things like ugly candlesticks that I intended on painting "one day".  Yet they remained a Pepto-Bismol pink color for years, because I just never got a round to it. the box they went!

Also, books that I've held onto for years, thinking I would read them again or that I'd basically have my own library one day (kidding) and need to fill up the shelves.  

Honestly, I have no idea why I keep all this stuff!

But, it feels so good to pile it all in the back of my car and know that it stands a chance at a future, but with someone else.

It's time to let go and move on.

I'm starting to see where these MINIMILIST folks are going with this whole thing!  It's kind of nice to see simplicity on my shelves.

I just read something this week about how important our environment is, for productivity, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Yesterday I moved all of my books onto shelves hanging on the wall above my desk (I will share pictures eventually) and what a difference it made! 

The books were stored on a big, brown, bulky bookshelf that we've had for years and it always felt like I couldn't see what I really had, as far as titles.

But, putting them on shelves, side by side, spines facing me, opened them up like they were so much more available and ready to be read.

Which brings me up to date on my office project - it's coming along and has already made a huge difference in my attitude toward getting stuff done.

I still have things that have to be put away and a chair to be bought, not to mention a new floor to be installed, but little by little, my environment is making a difference.

In fact, I'll leave you with this quote I stumbled upon today because I think it's perfect for this topic of purging and changing your environment for productivity:

"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."

Naval Admiral William H. McRaven

The point being - start small - because even the smallest change can motivate you to do the next small thing and so forth and so on.  It's all a step in the right direction.

Now, I'm off to the Thrift Store....hopefully!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, October 17, 2016

Is It Still Fall?

I may or may not have used these pictures already, but it's Fall y'all and they're just so cozy and, well....Fall-ish.

They're also very deceiving, as far as the cozy vibe they're giving off, because it was 90 degrees here yesterday and there's nothing cozy about that!

I'm discovering that having a photo venue for a business is very interesting, when it comes to decorating for the holidays.

I've had these Fall decorations up way longer than I normally do and right about's killing me!

It's not even November and I want to toss the pumpkins into the field and just go back to RUSTIC, which is my normal scene.

I've had a request for Christmas to be up by the end of October, but I just can't do it! 

Well, first off, we still have a photographer expecting Fall décor the first weekend in November, and second....I just can't live with a Christmas tree for two whole months!

I'm not one of those who counts down the days until Christmas.  I mean, don't get me wrong - I love Christmas (well, sort of), but I get really tired of all the Christmas décor hanging around and I just want my normal back, so I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. 

I'm also one who wants to take the tree down the minute the presents are open and the wrapping is thrown away and the reason being is that society has taken the specialness out of Christmas by insisting that it start way back in September!

So, basically what I'm saying holidays are way longer than they should be!

But, like I said in my last post - God is always stretching me and helping me to see that there are other ways of doing things and so here we are - pumpkins and all!

Now, if we would just get one of those "Fall" cold fronts in, that would help tremendously.

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Waiting and Stretching - A Project in the Making

 Well, two days into the Write31Days Challenge and I missed a day!

I had every intention of writing yesterday, then I woke up late, had allergy things going on and basically spent my day watching Netflix, doing laundry and waiting on a shipment from IKEA to arrive between the hours of 11:00pm to 3:00pm.   And, let me tell you......they came right at 3:00pm!  Gotta love delivery!

Anyhoo.....I just couldn't motivate my brain to sit down and write anything that seemed worthy of anyone reading it, so I just avoided doing it and we are.

For two weeks I've been waiting on a new desktop, shelves and supply boxes to arrive from IKEA.  It's been a stretch for me because I usually take the shortest route to getting what I want, when I'm in the middle of a project, but this time I waited. 

I have to confess that I've rearranged my office so many times and I just couldn't seem to get it right, so this time I decided to get serious about it. 

I spend a lot of time in this room - paying bills, running the business, Bible study, writing - that it only makes sense to do it right - finally.

I searched Pinterest for home offices and landed on one that made my heart leap, so I made a list of all the elements and started searching the internet for the best prices.

I finally found everything at IKEA and placed my order.  The only would be two weeks before my stuff rolled into town.   Uggg!

In the meantime, I've been throwing things away, giving away furniture, purging files, filing papers and patiently waiting for Friday to get here.

Of course, the shipment was scheduled right in the middle of our town's yearly Homecoming Parade, which goes right down Main Street, in the middle of the day, which happened to be the generous window of time when IKEA would decide to deliver my stuff.

However, they finally delivered it straight onto my livingroom rug and there it sat until David and Collin got home from the parade. 

**Side note**  Collin was asked to drive the truck which held all the City Councilmen (including his father) in the parade.  He did a great job, I hear.  Unfortunately I was here waiting on delivery.**

Well, the delivery was only half of the process to getting my office workable again.  David has to install the shelves and the new flooring won't be installed until the end of the month.

While I'm waiting, I will be organizing office supplies and magazines and doing my best to wait another two weeks for the flooring.

In fact, David and I have to actually go find the flooring we want and have it here for the guy to install.  That should be fun.  I'm so tempted to NOT match the other flooring in the house and do my own thing.  It's just the kind of thing that makes my husband crazy!  We'll see....

I've said this before, but I truly believe it.....environment makes a difference, especially to someone who is visual.  I think that's why I will work with a room's décor until I get it just right.  It's frustrating for those who don't get it (like my husband), but it really is a "thing" in my world.

I'm dreaming big things coming out of this new office; dreams which will have to wait to be told, but dreams, nonetheless.

In the meantime....this project is stretching me and teaching me to wait.  I'm not fond of stretching, but I suppose it's necessary, if we're going to grow.

Are you being stretched right now? 

Please - indulge me while I wait!  Leave me a comment and share. 

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Collin - Taking His Turn at Being the Only Child

In keeping with the theme of Family Life, this challenge will mostly be the day-to-day thoughts and happenings around our little home and beyond.

This week I have been thinking a lot about the fact that I have a few more months as this guy's teacher and then we'll have another graduation under our belts.


I have a lot to do between now and next May, but between regular life and business life, I can't say I've accomplished a whole lot and I know the months will go by fast after the holidays.

We did buy the cap and gown and the next thing on the list is putting together all of the pictures we want for the slide show, to use at the ceremony.   I guess I had better set aside an afternoon, complete with Kleenex, for that endeavor.

I was enjoying some conversation with Collin this week and it made me thankful for something that I used to think was unfortunate......the fact that my boys are 6 years apart in age.

In the beginning, there was just Ted, David and I, and for 6 years Ted was basically an only child. 

We lavished all of our attention on him and he was our little buddy, going everywhere we went.

Then Collin came along and for many years as the baby, was kind of dragged along, as we would take Ted here and there for friend things, music practices and even in school.

When Ted got married and moved out, it became just 3 of us again, but this time with the baby of the family.

And what a blessing these past few years have been - allowing Collin to be the only child in the house and becoming our companion for this stage of life.

Collin is articulate, technical, mature beyond his years and yet, still likes for me to make his sandwiches.    Yep.  That's still happening!

But, he's an amazing musician, builds his own computers, is the techie of the family and more observant than any adult I know.

Every day that we spend together, I catch myself just soaking it all in because I feel the thing that's coming - the growing up - and I don't want to miss a thing.

When your first one grows up, you feel it, but you're so thankful that you have another one still there.  When that one grows up, you know it will be very different and you just want it to linger for a bit longer.

God knew just what he was doing when he gave me children this far apart in age.

What I used to think was unfortunate, I now count as a great blessing.

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Family Life - 31 Day Writing Challenge

So, in the Write31Days Challenge, I had to pick one topic that I would write on each day. 

I chose Family Life and I'm starting out with a bang....

These guys are basically like family.

(My husband David on the left and my son Collin in the middle)
(My David, David Richardson, Collin, Britt Godwin, Marshall Swift, Rollie Burr)

Two of these guys work for my husband and two are volunteers for the company.  They are all fine musicians on their own, but together they make an amazing team - whether serving people in the hospice business or on stage. 

Last night they had the privilege of being the entertainment for a local media event, kicking off the annual Cattle Baron's Ball, which happens in November.

They played a great show, like always, and we made some new friends and saw a lot of old ones.

The reason I categorize this as Family Life, is because this is a big part of what I do - what they do - and what keeps us close as friends.....
we volunteer, work, play music and spend time with one another.

And, that's what family is all about, right?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Late to the Game, But Still Playing Anyway!


Have you ever been late to catch a train, plane, bus, or any other vehicle that promised to take you somewhere?

Well, here I am....late to the "Write 31 Days Challenge" that only comes around once a year!

The registration closed 6 days ago, but guess what?  I'm taking on the challenge anyway.

I need the challenge.  I need to push myself.  I need to get back to writing every single day, even if it's just a few paragraphs.

Unfortunately, I won't be linking up with the party, but if you visit their website, you can catch all the other bloggers and writers who made it there on time.

In the meantime.....

here I go!

It's Ok To Be Lonely Sometimes

I remember being a teenager and living for the weekends -football games, parties, cars, food and friends.  I think we started making plans as soon as one weekend was over, for the next weekend, because no one wanted to be left out.  One of the loneliest feelings was knowing that all your friends had plans and you didn't.

Fast forward 30 something years and who knew I'd crave being "left out" at times?

Honestly, sometimes I am "peopled" out!

Being an introvert, I need a balance of people and quiet.

I love visiting with friends, talking and being out and about, but I reach a line that tells me that I'm done and just like that.....I need my space.

Can you relate?

You know who else needed his space?  Jesus.

When reading God's word this morning, I came to some scriptures in the Gospels that reminded me of the times Jesus was ministering to the crowds and would then retreat to "lonely" places.

After healing people and preaching the Good News, Jesus would go off to a secluded "lonely" spot and talk to his Father.

Basically, he was refueling.

Not because he didn't care, didn't love, didn't want to minister to the needs of the people, but because he knew that, in order to do all of those things, he needed to go to his source of power and strength - his Father in Heaven.

So many mornings I have neglected to refuel.
So many mornings I have chosen something else over spending time with God.

It's one of those human things that we do, even though we know we function so much better with our power source - kind of like eating junk, instead of the good stuff.

We fill up on junk - social media, the news, more time in bed - and neglect the ONE thing that can give us the power we need to make it through the day......time with God.

My life is so much richer when I'm spending time in Bible Study and prayer.

When I retreat to a quiet space and truly focus on talking and listening to God, I feel different.

Being lonely isn't always a bad thing.  In fact, we need to be lonely sometimes because it makes us appreciate people more.

And, when we fill up that lonely time by tapping into our source of strength, we will find that we're actually looking forward to that next opportunity to be alone.

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
Luke 5:16

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hymns Don't Make You Holier

I've always been aware of the "King James Only" following in church, but I'm starting to discover that there is another following in the church that is just as adamant and they are the "Hymns Only" group.

This is the group who think all modern worship music is rubbish, repeats itself too much and lo and behold....the writers aren't as holy or spiritual as the hymn writers of yesteryear!

And to all of that, I self-righteous.

Now, if we were just talking STYLE here, I wouldn't even be writing this, but we're not.

This is an attitude that I recently witnessed on social media, where a man actually remarked that he didn't think the Christian songwriters of today had the same spiritual character the hymn writers of the old days had.

He actually went on to say that the lifestyles they live today aren't as good as the lifestyles of the hymn writers and at the very least, they aren't as devoted to Christ.

Again, I say.....self righteous.

In every generation, God has people.  Styles change, music changes, words change, but to say that the modern worship leaders or song writers don't have character or aren't as spiritual as the hymn writers, is ridiculous.   It's judgmental and condescending.

I raised a song writer, musician and a kid with some of the strongest faith I've ever seen.   The words he pours out on paper and the passion he has on stage are anointed and faithful to the God he loves and adores.   His character is one who loves the Lord, seeks Him first and his desires are to please God in everything he does.  I'm not saying he's perfect, but I am saying that his heart is for God.

Is that not character enough for God?

It seems as though the hymn writers are put on a pedestal of sorts, which in some cases would be justified.  Some hymns are beautiful and full of words that point you straight to God.  They've proved themselves through the ages, as touching our hearts and comforting us in times of hardship.

The hymns are what I sang to my kids in the middle of the night, while rocking them as babies.

I'm not against hymns.

What I am against is people being judgmental toward the young folks who are here now, trying to live for God and use the gifts he's given, to share the gospel with the modern world.

Let's not forget that the hymn writers were humans too.  Sinners, just like us; young and upcoming at one time.   They might have even faced criticism from those older than them.  But, they wrote from experience and from their heart and that's what made their songs worthy.

But in reality, not all hymns are even worth singing.  Some are obscure words that might have meant something to the writer, but fall very flat in a modern church.   The hymns that have lasted through the years are the ones that touch hearts.

So, just because a song is in the hymnal, doesn't mean it's good and it sure doesn't prove the writer had more character than those of today!

Because the bottom line is this - if it doesn't lead you to worship - if the words are just sentences that hold no feeling and a bunch of fancy words, then it might be time to admit that not every hymn is anointed and worthy to be sung!

The hymnal is not a holy book of songs!  It's just a song book, with some really great hymns and some that should have never been.

Things change and styles change and the truth of the matter is that God is still at work today!

He's still in the people-making business and anointing them with beautiful talents and words and character.   And they are all still a work in progress, just like the hymn writers were, when they were penning their songs.

You may prefer hymns and that's great!  Some are definitely worth holding on to.

But, don't let your preference cloud your view of what God is using NOW to reach the world, because in doing so, you're going to miss out on some great people who are sold out to lives lived for the Lord, and you're going to miss some great songs that will touch your heart.....if only you were open to it.

And, when you criticize what God is using now, aren't you basically criticizing God?

Think about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What If....?

So today the thought hit me....what if I quit reading all of those great books that are on my shelf?

What if.....for an allotted amount of time, I didn't pick up a self-help book?

What if ......I didn't place someone else's experience above my own?

What if.....I didn't seek guidance or wisdom from one of those "professionals" and I just followed my own instincts?

What if.....I quit subscribing to all the expert emails, websites and blogs and I merely spoke to friends or family or even acquaintances who have lived their lives fully or who are still on their journey?

What if.....for a while, I quit basing my friendships off social media?  How many "friends" would I really have?

What if.....I didn't feel the need to "share" every little detail of my life online, but instead turned to my people?

What if we took a walk or had coffee or what if we all just enjoyed the quiet for a while?

What only source of advice and wisdom came from God's word?

What if....I believed all that God said about me and I based my confidence off that love?

What if....I quit comparing myself to others and just gave myself permission to be ME and gave you freedom to be YOU?

Would I have more freedom to just be who God is shaping me to be?

I think the answer is a huge YES.

What if....we all just quit searching and just lived in that freedom?

What if?