Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pouring It On For ALS

I know that all of you have certainly seen and heard all about the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the ALS Association.  If you have participated in the challenge let me just say a word of thanks!  You see I have a very personal interest in this frenzy.  My Mom died of ALS a year ago.  I know first hand the absolutely horrible effects this disease has on the body.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that effects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  It has no cure and no real treatment.  The cause is unknown and it leads to paralysis and death in one to five years.  I remember when I was in Nursing School it was called "the devil disease".  That is a pretty accurate description.

The money and the awarness that this campaign has brought to ALS is unbelievable!  Over 50 million dollars and climbing that can be used to hopefully find a cause, treatment, and cure for this fatal disease!

I have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge and so have all the members of my family.  I also donated to the ALS Association in memory of my Mom.  I am challenging all of you in blogland to participate in the frenzy.  Yes the water is cold momentarily but when you complare it to ALS.....well there is no comparison.  If you would like to donate please do at als.org .  

Thanks and please let me know if you have participated in the challenge.  It is actually a great way to bring attention to a disease that has touched so many families. It has certainly shown the power of social media.  If we all do our small part this disease can be beaten!  Blessings!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

We Share A Name

My grandfather was born on this day in 1895.  He passed away when I was only 10 but he left a lasting impression on my life.  I was named after him.  I always thought that I could have been on Pettycoat Junction because like the characters on that oldie but goodie television show my middle name is Jo.  He used to tell everyone that I was his name sake and I would beam with pride!

PawPaw had several jobs but his true talent was carpentry.  He could build anything and had quite a reputation as a master craftsman.  My Mom gave me his carpentry books, ruler, and carpenter's pencil several years ago.  I keep them on display in my living room.

He also was an amazing musician.  He could play the piano, organ, fiddle, banjo, and any other instrument that he was handed.  He never had a lesson but could play blue grass and old time gospel better than anyone least that's what I thought!  I can remember him coming to my home and playing all of the old hymns on my upright piano.  He and I would sing together. That's part of the reason I just can't get rid of that old piano.  So many memories!  The shape note hymnal you see in the picture was his. I still use it when I play the old songs.

My PawPaw smoked a pipe and cigars.   Even when he was plowing the field he had a cigar in his mouth.  As a child I loved the smell of a cigar.....still do.

This is the only picture that I have of my PawPaw and I.  I know that it isn't the best quality but it is priceless to me.  I remember the time it was taken vividly.  My Mom had my brother and I get on the tractor with him as he was plowing the garden.  I even remember the shoes I was wearing.....brown leather loafers.  I was so proud of those shoes.  I thought I looked really grown up!  I also remember getting into trouble for wearing them into the garden! :-)  Because of this picture I have a love for the Farmall Cub tractor.  Anytime I see one it reminds me of this day. 

My PawPaw certainly wasn't a perfect man.  He had his vices just like most folks but as long as I knew him he was a loving and kind grandfather.  He loved all of his grandchildren but I feel like he and I had a special bond.  You see we shared a name and we both took great pride in that fact.  I still do.

Happy Birthday PawPaw!  I'm still gardening, singing, and playing the piano.  I think of you often especially when I see a Farmall Cub tractor,  smell the smoke of a cigar, or write my middle name!  Blessings!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

As Busy As A Bee!

This Summer is flying by and I have truly been "as busy as a bee".  It seems every morning I roll out of bed with the intention of accomplishing a long list of tasks and happens.  I have learned to expect the unexpected and just roll with the flow!

As most of you know I love doing tablescapes!  Usually they reflect the time of year or what is happening in my life.  About two years ago I found some cute plates at Hobby Lobby.  The theme was bees and I just had to have them. Since my life has truly reflected the life of the busy bee it seemed the perfect time to pull out my "bee collection".  One of my goals is to have my own bee hive and get to enjoy the yummy honey that is produced.  Maybe someday! 

Right now I can just enjoy my dishes and dream.  It is the perfect place to eat my breakfast and watch the birds out of my kitchen window.

My favorite piece is the coffee cup!  The little bee on the handle is strategically placed as a resting spot for your finger.

Anyone who visits gets a bag of honey crisp cookies.  They are delicious!  The perfect combination of honey and cinnamon!

Since I've been working soooo hard, I treated myself to some fresh flowers at the grocery store today.  These gorgeous sunflowers were on sale and so they came home with me!  They are going to look great on my table!

Don't worry my dear husband was not forgotten.  A coconut creme pie made its way into my buggy as well.  He loves these!  I wonder which prize will last the sunflowers or his pie?  :-)

Drop by Mrs. DD's place soon and we will enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and you will leave with a bag of honey cookies!  We might even sneak a piece of coconut creme better hurry I'm not sure how long it will last! :-) Gotta go! This busy bee has got to get back to work!  Blessings!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nature's Lace

Today on my daily walk around the neighborhood I was reminded of my MawMaw.  I was truly blessed to grow up living right next door to my Grandparents.  They had a huge garden, chickens, and an apple orchard.  They also had a large open field above the orchard and every Summer it was filled with beautiful lacy flowers.

Queen Anne's Lace is really considered a weed but to me it was and is a treasured flower.  Tonight I found out some facts about the plant that surprised me.  It is edible and makes a tasty tea. The bees in the picture certainly seem to be enjoying it! Some people call it "wild carrot".  Apparently the root looks similar to a carrot.  Tomorrow I plan to pull one up and take a look! :-)

The plant seemed to truly flourish in the field along with "rabbit tobacco".  With a little research I found out that this plant is considered a medicinal herb and has been used for centuries to treat numerous illnesses.  Who knew?  Not me!

I am certain that MawMaw knew that these plants had all of these good uses.  After all my MawMaw knew everything!  The most important thing to me is the pleasant memories that these flowers brought to mind today.   The name fits for they are truly "royal" as far as I am concerned!  A lacy, delicate, femine,
 flower...just like fine lace.  A lace created by God.....nature's lace!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Just A Country Girl

My garden is coming in fast and furious now.  Squash, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, and soon corn.  That means that canning season is here and believe it or not I love it!

I come from a long line of "country girls" and I couldn't be prouder.
I was taught from a very early age about growing my own food, making my own clothes, and using what I had been given creatively.  My Mother, MawMaw, and Aunts were all great examples of just what it means to be a true country girl.  Self sufficient, self motivated, patient, intelligent, and energetic are all adjectives to describe my mentors.

Today was a long day but also very satisfying!  Last night my Dear Hubby picked the green beans and broke them.  This morning I got up bright and early to start the canning process.  While the beans were cooking I started cutting up the vegetables to make squash pickles.  My Hubby and Dad love these with beans in the winter.

During the down time while things were cooling I finished knitting a dish towel.  I love the bright color!  If you have never used a hand knitted dish towel you are missing out.  They are great!

Next up was blueberry jam.  Yum!  My blueberries are producing like crazy this year so I may be making this again.

Then down to the sewing room to cut off a skirt that is at least 25 years old but back in style....just needs a little redo!  Looks good now!

You can see what I mean.....busy, busy, busy!  I couldn't be happier!  It has been a few years since I have had the ability to truly put on my country girl hat.  I didn't realize how much I missed it. 

I am so thankful to have had these wonderful women to mentor me and show me how to do so many things!  Thank God I'm a "Country Girl"!   Blessings!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Up And Down Or Round And Round?!

Up and down or round and round?  Obviously the shortest distance between two points is up and down.  If you are climbing a mountain perhaps more should be considered.

On Sunday my dear hubby and I decided to go on a little adventure.  We haven't been on a vacation this year and thought we deserved a day of  rest and relaxation.  Hiking was what we choose to do and my hubby decided where the perfect spot was.  I was raring to go!

We packed a picnic lunch and hit the road.  When we arrived at our destination it was obvious that many others had the same idea but it was a LARGE mountain so there was plenty of room for all!

There were  four trails to chose from.  My dear hubby had hiked this area several times with Boy Scout groups so I depended on him to pick the best route up the mountain.

"This is the easiest and best for a beginner".  A direct quote from the old hubby.  I questioned why so many others were opting for the lower path that seemed flatter and "more picturesque".  He assured me that it was a much harder path.

It started out innocently enough but quickly turned into a straight up climb over the LARGE mountain.  Now there were some who were actually running up the path.....but very few.  I made my way slowly and deliberately.  Let me assure you that I did make it.

The view was beautiful and I was very proud of myself. I had a smile on my face and so did my dear hubby. The next day when I did my daily walk it was easy....really easy!

Tomorrow we are returning to the mountain.  We will try another that goes round and round. Up and down or round and round?  Which is best?  I will let you know!  Blessings!

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Am Ready For The Rain......In More Ways Than One

A couple of days ago I attended a fun event.  It was one of those things that you thought about doing and then almost let it pass by.  Thank goodness I went!  A local bookstore sponsored the author Dorothea Benton Frank discussing her newest book, The Hurricane Sisters.  I have read many of her previous bestselling books and knew that this would be good too.

We all met at an Italian Restaurant... myself and 60 of my closest friends. :-)  We all enjoyed a delicious Italian feast! Dessert was included of course.  I met many new people and enjoyed catching up with old friends.  After the meal Dottie (that is what she likes to be called) brought us up to date on her life and the process she followed to write this book.  She is a delightful speaker!  Funny but also serious about her writing and the subjects she tries to incorporate into her books. 

I haven't started the book yet.  I am waiting for a rainy day.  I have it all planned in my mind. Sipping tea while quietly reading the day away.  A girl can dream! :-)

Door prizes were given away at the fun even.  When I first saw the press release about the event one thing really caught my eye.  The publisher had several umbrellas like those on the front of the book to give away at each book signing.  I wanted to win that umbrella!!! 
I even dressed to match the blue and white swirled beauty! 

Guess what!?  You are right!  I came home with one of those beautiful umbrellas!  I love it and it looks perfect with my outfit! Don't you agree? 

So now I am ready for the rain in more ways than one.  A good book and a beautiful new umbrella....bring on the rain!  The only thing is I'm not sure I want the umbrella to get wet!? :-)  Blessings!

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