Monday, December 31, 2012

What is that Noise?

A week or so ago, I was outside and I heard a rat-tat-tat. We have several River Birches in our yard that are old and in bad shape. They will probably be coming down in the next year or so, which makes me sad.  A woodpecker had discovered a damaged section and was having a blast.  I even caught a photo of him at work....

The next day, I was walking in the yard ago and was right under the tree when once again I heard his rat-tat-tat.  I looked up and there was the hole he had made earlier and sticking out of it.. his tail!  It was priceless!  That tail was moving in rhythm to his tapping. So much fun to watch. Then one of the pups heard someone speak in another yard and felt the need to make his presence known with a bark.  The tapping stopped and then Mr. Woodpecker popped his head out and looked all around before flying up into the safety of the higher branches.

I tried to get photos and videos, but it just wasn't to be. But I have great memories in my mind of watching a funny bird that day.  As I have started before, I love birds and the Lord has blessed us with many in our yard to entertain and delight us!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


We are not one of those families who put Christmas up Thanksgiving night and take it down at Epiphany.  Nothing wrong with that.. just not our way.  When I was growing up, the tree went up the first day I was out of school for Christmas Break and it went down the last day I was home before returning to school.  My husband's family did much the same except the tree went down on New Year's Eve.  So we have a tradition here of putting it up around the 15th of December and taking it down New Year's Eve.  

This year it went up a bit early... first weekend in December. And it came down early... earlier than I wanted.. Dec. 27.  The boys were ready to have it gone! I got shots of the interior decorations, but not the exterior (which we awesome as usual).  No one forewarned me of the de-Christmassing of the house.  I went to work one morning with twinkle lights all around and came home to boxes ready to be stored away.  

Here is how the inside looked....

A small sampling of the nutcrackers my husband has collected over the years. Our kids gave him Sherlock a year ago with the new SH movie (a fave here) and the mouse king is one of him most special nutcrackers.. a gift from our daughter when she was a preteen. 

I love anything to do with snowmen or snow, so I love this nutcracker. Bought the Believe sign last year after Christmas on sale!  Had forgotten about it, so it was a new treat when we opened the decoration boxes this year.

A couple of shots of our kitchen table decked out for the season. 

One more... shows the view out the bay window... our lovely big ole Magnolia tree.

I also love love love sleigh bells!  Hubby found these last year and bought a ton (OK not a ton, but a whole lot!)  I love how they look in the trifle bowl.

And here is a close up of the plate settings. We were given these plates last year.. hand-me-downs.  Aren't they cute!  I used them for a Ladies Event at church this year.  Very cute!

The dining room table... which is normally sewing central for me.  It gets to dress up and show out during the holidays!

Hubby collects vintage ornaments. Many in the center bowl came from his mom and dad... memories of the Christmas trees of his youth.  The long tear shaped ones are from my great aunt.  

Dining room place setting. Our folks gave us Christmas china for several years when we were first married until we had a complete set including plates and cups for wee ones.  The glass plates on top came from my in-laws. I love the swirled edging on them.. it mirrors the Christmas china.  And the stem ware is nothing fancy... Oneida Chantilly Rose from the 50s. It was my folks "good silver".  I remember pulling out the brown wooden case and setting the table with it when we had special company or a holiday. We have that case now and use it fairly often.  Memories and family are a big deals here!

Piano in dining room.. yep, piano in dining room. We have 3 in the house, so we put them where ever we can find a spot!  This one was my grandmother's.. the first piano I ever played.  

Nativity... same set up as always... cannot imagine it in any other spot in the house.  Sometimes I see newer nicer ones and think how they would look here, but then I think Nope... we have a great one. We bought this one with Christmas money from our in-laws the year I was pregnant with younger child.  Our older one was 3.  So neither one remembers a Christmas without this nativity.  And yes, I know the wisemen were not there that night. I feel certain God is ok with them being with our nativity. Oh.. and the angel always goes on the shelf above.  :-)

Last but not least, the tree. (Notice another piano.. this one was my mom-in-laws pride and joy).  Our tree is not fancy.. not all coordinated and planned. There is an ornament for each of our 2 kids for every Christmas they have been alive.  Those are my absolute favorite ornaments!  Years ago when we had 10 or so, I would say "One day these will fill the tree!"  Well the kids are now 20 and 24... that's a lot of ornaments and they pretty much do fill the tree!  And again.. I LOVE IT!  Every ornament on that tree has a story or memory behind it.  Even the topper, which was a gift from my husband last year. (Isn't it great!)  This tree represents our family... our friends... our lives... Love... Grace... Joy...and that, to me, is what Christmas is all about!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

30 Days of Thankful....

During November, I posted a "Thankful" every day on Facebook. Meant to post them here too.  So here they all are together... 30 days of Thankfulness....

Day 1 - God's Word which is more than ink on a page! Hebrews 4:12 tells us it is living and active. I am thankful for it and for the privilege to study it with sweet sisters in Christ.

Day 2... Provision... I am so thankful that God always provides what our family needs. Not necessarily everything we want, but what we need! And honestly, He has provided much of what we want too! AND in this, I pray that He gives me a grateful and content heart! Even the poorest soul in the USA has more than most of the people that live in other countries in our world. We are truly blessed!

Day 3 -- Thankful for an extra hour to sleep tonight! Seriously... I need it!

Day 4 -- Thankful for a Pastor who follows the lead of the Holy Spirit and preaches the Word with courage and boldness.

Day 5 -- Thankful that yet while I was still a sinner, Jesus died for me. (Rom. 5:8) Salvation -- No greater gift!

Day 6 -- Today's Thankful is fairly obvious.. I am thankful for the right, privilege, responsibility, freedom to vote! And for those who made (and are keeping) it possible!

Day 7-- thankful for my church family.... We laugh and cry together... Pray for and encourage each other... Worship together... And much more... We are far from perfect and love each other anyway!

Day 8 -- thankful for all the "Sisters" God has placed in my life over the years. I am an only girl in a family of boys. But throughout my life God has given me just the right sister-friends at just the right time!

Day 9 -- Today I am thankful for my neighbors. We have lived in this house for 21 1/2 years and have great neighbors! Some have changed over the years, but many have stayed the same. Our neighborhood is a great family place.. you will find folks walking, biking, kids laughing and playing all around Huntcliff. I thank the Lord for leading us here in 1991!

Day 10 --thankful for Clinton, MS. I remember Bill and I driving into Clinton for the first time as we were trying to decide where to live in the Metro area. We knew instantly this was home and it has been for 26 years. Clinton is a close-knit family-oriented community....a great place to raise kids...a great place to live!

Day 11 --on this Veteran's Day, I am thankful for those who have served like my Grandfather in WW1 & my dad and father-in-law in WW2.. And for those serving now, like my nephew, Collier, my favorite Marine! We benefit every day because of their service and sacrifice.

Day 12 -- Thankful for my good health. Something I think I take for granted. Had my annual physical exam today. 50 and fabulous! All my numbers were great... Bill and the kids are stuck with me a bit longer (Lord willing!)

Day 13 -- I was going to save being Thankful for my sweet William to the last day of November... saving the best for last.. but cannot wait that long! So thankful for this wonderful man the Lord sent my way. I am having a rough day today and he is all about making it better! He has always been great to help around the house and with the kids and never once complained.... he worked for years in a stressful job situation to provide for his family (And PTL God provided a change this summer to something sooo much better!)... he was 100% behind my decision to stay home with the kids and later to homeschool... and he understands my role in caring for an elderly parent these days. He often has to take last place with my time and attention, but doesn't fuss and is always there waiting for me. He loves the Lord and often amazes me with wisdom that can only come from listening to God. He loves our kids passionately and is there for them no matter what, when or why. And he puts up with the wild weiner dogs! LOL! He will always be my knight in shining armor...

Day 14 -- I am thankful for my daughter, Katherine Campbell... she is my precious firstborn... my favorite daughter! LOL! The best Valentine's present I ever got! We have had and continue to have lots of fun momma / daughter times .. we have been blessed to have never really had a season in life where we didn't speak (as moms and daughters often do)... She was born with a heart full of love and compassion and caring... a strong sense of right and wrong and a passion for justice... and she fell in love with Jesus at an early age and has been growing in her relationship with Him ever sense. She knows the value of chocolate, a good book, long hot baths and pedicures! She can be a tad bit stubborn (that is the "Jean" in her) but she is also fiercely loyal and sticks by her friends no matter what. From day 1 folks have told us how beautiful she is.. and they are right.. her smile is magical! but her beauty goes far beyond what the eye can see... She is managing a job and grad school and living with my mom! No doubt she can handle anything that comes her way! I love you, Kay-Doodle! You are my heart!

Day 15 -- Thankful for my "baby" boy... Luke Campbell My sunshine... no one can boost my spirits or make me laugh the way Luke can. He came into this world "singing" loud and arms flailing (I think he was looking for a guitar to play) and hasn't slowed down since! Anyone who knows me knows he is my favorite musician / worship leader. I could listen to him sing and play music forever. But he is more than a big bundle of musical talent. He has a sharp wit.. a keen mind for business.. and the depth of his faith blows me away. He is the worshipper described in John 4:23-24... and he is a Man after God's on heart. What more could a mom wish for! The boy seems to be able to do anything he sets his mind too... very much a renaissance man. And while he is so like his mother in personality, he has his dad's sense of leadership, integrity, work ethic and protectiveness over those he loves. If my Daddy were still here, he would say "He's a fine boy." And he is!

Day 16 -- I am thankful that as a believer I can come boldly before the throne of God and laydown my burdens, as well as those I carry for others. (Heb 4:16. Gal. 6:2). This week has been one of need after need after need.. a friend's mom was hospitalized for heart issues and while there the friend's husband lost his job and his sister died... the tragic wreck in Crystal Springs that claimed the lives of 3 children and their great-grandmother... the men killed in the plane crash in Jackson... the issues in Israel... a friend's grandchild is ill and the doctors cannot figure out what is wrong.. people in the hospital with pneumonia, cancer and other health issues.. financial stress.. marital problems... on and on and on... it can seem overwhelming BUT GOD... those are 2 of the best Words in the Bible.. BUT GOD is Sovereign in everything and He does not call me or you to carry these burdens alone... in fact, He tells us to GIVE them to Him.. (Matt 11:28, 1 Peter 5:7). Thank You, Father! The load is too heavy for my feeble shoulders to bear.

Day 17 -- Thankful for food... seriously... I am not talking about loving to eat, I am thankful that we have food in the pantry, fridge, freezer etc. That we have the money to go to the store and purchase what we need (and what we want). Hunger is epidemic in this world.. and the US is not immune. So many go to bed each night with empty bellies and no assurance of a meal when they wake up. Our church has a food pantry (that needs to be filled!), as do other churches and ministries.. there are soup kitchens and shelters that provide meals to homeless... please, please take the time to give to these.. send $, take food, give of your time to serve others. Let God bless someone through you and I promise you will be blessed too! “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..." Matt. 25:34-35

Day 18 -- Thankful to see God at work in the "younger" generation. So often I hear folks talking about the problems with the youth today.. and I admit there are problems just as there have always been. But there are good "kids" out there.... God is raising up a generation that, I feel, is like no other. I see high school, college age and young adults on fire for the Lord....seeking Him... digging into the Word and really looking to see HOW to live it out. I challenge you to take time to talk with the "younger" generation.. you just might be surprised at what you find there.

Day 19 -- Today's Thankful is focused on material blessings.. specifically our cars! Here's the deal.. in 30 years of marriage Bill and I have purchased 9 cars (we drive them til they die!) .. that includes 1 for each of our 2 kids and 7 for Bill and I. The first 2 had car notes but since 1989 we have not had a note! And since 1992 we have lived on 1 income. God has kept vehicles going and provided the funds to purchase "new" (new to us) ones when He deemed it time. He blows me away with His provision! And when I would have those moments of feeling sorry for myself because I didn't have a newer vehicle.. or a cute one ... or come such silliness, I remembered that we each have a car that is paid for... no sharing... We act like it is a necessity, but it isn't.. it is a luxury.. one I often take for granted.

Day 20 -- Thankful for the beauty of nature. God has given us so much to enjoy with our senses. The colors of fall leaves ... Spring flowers... Green grass of summer.. A crisp blue winter sky.. The sounds of birds, crickets, even frogs.... The smell of a soft spring rain, gardenias and sweet olive in bloom... The taste of honeysuckle (I remember plucking them fresh off the vine at my grandmother's)....the feel of clover under bare feet... Wind on your face... I love God's beautiful creation!

Day 21 -- thankful that death is not the end for a Believer... "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants."(Psalm 116:15 NIV) I rejoice knowing that Bill Gambill is standing before The Lord whole and healed. And while my heart aches for his sweet Frances, I rejoice in the assurance that she is being held and comforted by her Lord.

Day 22 -- Thankful for the freedoms we have in this country... I am well aware of the changes in recent years.. the threats to our freedoms.. but as of today, we can still worship openly.... speak our mind... share Jesus... and so much more. Don't take these freedoms for granted....

Day 23 - Thankful today that I come from a family with a legacy of marriage and married a man who has the same. My folks were married 46 years.. their folks 49 and 58... Bill's folks 54.. his grandparents.. ready for this? 71 years! We are aiming to break that record! Today, we are going to celebrate my uncle and aunt's 50th wedding anniversary. In an age where divorce is more and more the norm, it is wonderful to have examples of folks not just being in love but being committed to staying together and having the Lord at the center of their marriage.

Day 24 -- in my drug induced state, I forgot to post a Thankful yesterday... Will go with an easy and obvious one... I am Thankful my Rebs won the Egg Bowl! Hotly Toddy!!!

Day 25 -- Thankful for the "Pauls" in my life... Those women who have shared wisdom and their love for The Lord and His Word with me. My mom and my grandmothers definitely fall into this group... As do others like Jinnie Boyd, Mot Lyons, Gale Jones and Lois Walker Breneman. I share things I learned from these ladies often! Thankful for each one!

Day 26 -- Thankful for Internet Shopping and Cyber Monday deals... I am not a big fan of shopping, so this is the way to go for me! But I do spread some $$$ locally too... I like finding unique .. quirky.. special gifts in little local shops. AND I am thankful that our family doesn't go crazy with gifts.. that my kids know there is a lot more to Christmas than presents under the tree (and the debt that often comes with them!)

Day 27 --- thankful for books and the ability to read. I really cannot remember when I could not read. Memorized and repeated stories my mom read to me or from my record player. Had those read along books... Mom said I would read them to my dolls and at end of each page I would say"turn the page" just like it said on the record! I was reading on my own at 4... Devoured books.. Still do. A total bookworm. And I love it! Fiction.. Non-fiction.. And most of all the Word! Parents, turn off tv, take a break from computer, Video games, iPad etc. and read to your kids! Teach them the value of reading... Expanding your mind... Being still and quiet and soaking up knowledge... Letting go of cares of the world and escaping into a great story! Books are magical!

Day 28 -- Yep, got busy and forgot to post yesterday! Thankful for the busyness in my life ... most days! LOL I love that my life is full... From my kids(who still need Mom even though they are grown) to my mother who requires more of my time these days... To ministry / church activity....taking care of my hubby and home... And other things that take up my time... I complain at times of being too busy, but I would hate to have nothing to do... No purpose... No one needing me... No call on my life. The key (and I don't always do this well) is balance. Learning to say no.. Stop and rest.. Relax... Think that will be a goal for 2013... Balance!

Day 29 -- Thankful for music. I grew up in a family of music lovers with varied tastes... So I tend to be very eclectic musically. My dad sang me to sleep with Patsy Cline and Hank Williams... Clarence would play Otis Redding and Ike and Tina as he drove me to school... Dan serenaded me with Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fare, Alyson introduced me to America and Mother sang hymns and a funny wake-up song she made up. I grew up with Michael Jackson, Dan Fogelberg, the Comadores, Pink Floyd, Queen, Carly Simon, JT, and so many more! Love the old big band singers and rat pack! Some of my best memories were singing in the gym at Trinity at Christmas. Mrs. Parker was in center pounding out carols on the grand piano as we sang. I still revert to Latin when I hear "O Come all ye Faithful." My Mama Daisy set me in front of her piano when I was a tot and announced I would play one day! I married a musical fella and our home has been filled with song ever since. And one of my absolute favorite ways to worship is through music. Music.. One of life's greatest pleasures... No doubt a precious gift from The Lord.

Day 30 -- I am thankful for life.. the one God has given me and the one to come at death. The Word makes it clear that I am not an accident... God knit me together in my mother's womb (Ps 139) .. He has a plan for me (Jer 29:11).. and He has good works prepared for me to do from before the beginning of time (Eph 2:10)... I have had valleys and mountaintops and everything inbetween, but I have never once been alone (Heb 13:5)... I have been blessed in ways I never even imagined to ask... and the really cool thing is I know without a shadow of a doubt that once I leave this earth, my life will not end... in fact, my true life... one that is perfect.. no pain, no sorrow.. all mountaintop.. will begin and it will last forever! If you do not have that certainty.. you can. It is really very simple and straightforward. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth God raised Him from the dead, you WILL be saved. (Rom 10:9-10). You do not have to clean up your act... get yourself together... say magic words.. do good deeds to earn it... nope.. Free Gift! (Eph 2:8-9) Yours for the taking! If anyone here wants / needs to know more, please message me. I would love to talk with you.. pray for you... I am hoping for a HUGE reunion in Heaven one day with friends from all walks of my life... will you be there?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Belated Gratitude....

My daughter and I have been meeting up each morning to walk at a local park. It has a track (that needs some repair, but is usable). And it is super shady!  Which means it is cooler than most walking spots.  This morning she couldn't walk with me, so instead of trucking over to the park, I decided to head off into the neighborhood. I was hopefully the heat and humidity would be too bad at 6:45 a.m.

It was lovely... I caught a lot of shade on the streets I chose (lots of big trees in our neighborhood).  There was an occasional breeze and it wasn't hot! (That was amazing).  Spoke with a number of neighbors who were watering plants or picking up their newspaper and even a friend who was out walking too.

I even commented to God how much I love our neighborhood.. love having a place to walk that is safe and friendly.. and then it hit me. A few months ago I decided I had to have a treadmill.. and not a cheap one.. I wanted a good one. Well my husband wasn't gungho.. they take up a lot of room and we really don't have a place for one. And while he did not say it, I know he feared it would sit unused after the novelty of it wore off. And really we don't have the $ for that purchase right now. So I grumbled a bit under my breath.. and felt sorry for myself.. and decided I would not be able to walk this summer with the heat since I couldn't have my treadmill.  (It was a full blown pity party!)  

This morning I realized that God had provided what I needed to walk.. a shady park.. a comfortable morning in the neighborhood.. I even have DVDs I can use inside on those days when the heat is just too much.  He had take care of it all and I was taking it for granted.  

So today I am grateful first and foremost for a God who meets my needs... gives me the desires of my heart in His time and His way, cause that is always best.  And I am thankful for the shady park and my neighborhood.. for my neighbors.. and most of all for my daughter who is keeping me motivated. We have lovely morning time together in the park!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sweet Magnolias...

I have loved Magnolias all my life.  I am from the Magnolia State afterall!  We have a large gorgeous tree on the East side of our home outside our breakfast, kitchen and laundry room windows. I love that tree. I love watching the birds skitter about in the branches.. love the deep green of the leaves.. the red berries that show up after the creamy white blooms have played out.. the light sweet scent that lingers in late spring while the tree is in bloom... I really love seeing red birds on the branches.. that red against the green leaves! Wow!  And a few times we have had snow and red birds at the same time. Amazing!

The Magnolia is starting to bloom right now. I love to find a bloom that hasn't opened and then watch it progress day by day from a bud to a wide open flower.  Here are a few photos showing the various stages... Once again I wish I could attatch smells to this blog.. light sweet fragrance... hmmmm...

The white bloom will actually turn a golden brown color as it dies.  As strange as it may sound, those dying blooms have a beauty all their own. We don't have any of those yet.

Here is a shot of our tree.. I couldn't get it all in the frame.. it is sooo tall.... it was about half this size when we moved here 21 years ago.

One more thing I love about that tree... memories of my kids climbing in it!  Magnolias have great branches for climbing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the simple woman's daybook

I have seen this mentioned and shared on other blogs and always think it is neat. So I decided to try it here. I hope I do it correctly!  The main site is found here...  the simple woman's day book


Outside my window... the sun is shining and I have been watching birds flit from flowers to feeders (which are now empty and need to be refilled)

I am thinking...that I need to do something more productive than being on the computer!

I am thankful...for the life the Lord has given me.. for peace.. for the assurance that He is Sovereign over every detail!

In the kitchen...I have yummy smoked chicken salad, as well as the makings for big green salads with grilled chicken and other yummy additions. Nothing cooking today.

I am wearing...t-shirts and shorts... at home attire.

I am creating...a scrappy disappearing nine-patch quilt.

I am church tonight for our mid-week service REFRESH. 

I am something is going to play out in my life.. waiting to hear about "it".. another lesson in patience!

I am reading... A Time to Heal by Barbara Cameron and Mighty Prevailing Prayer by Wesley Duewel.

I am the Lord.

I am looking forward to...lots of things.. quiet weekend with my husband, starting up the next Ladies' Bible study at church in a few weeks, being with church family tonight to pray, .........

I am learning that thoughts are powerful and negative thoughts are often rooted in sin.. mainly pride!

Around the house...laundry is done (thanks to my sweet husband who finished it up for me!), the pups are napping (again!), it is quiet as I am home alone.

I am pondering... how to get my motivation back for exercising.. especially with the summer heat and humidity here!

A favorite quote for today... You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough for me. C. S. Lewis

One of my favorite quiet time basket. It is a large footed basket we found at my grandmother's home after she died.  That was almost 30 years ago!  I have used it ever since and it still looks great. Keeps me connected to her. :-)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Normal house stuff.. more laundry, some cleaning, things like that. I need to catch up on some blogging.  Continue working on Bible study.  Church tonight and Sunday. Empty Nest Friday and Saturday. A fairly quiet week.. yeah!

A peek into my day... fabric is calling my name....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Memory Lane -- the Annex Chocolate Chip Cake

I grew up in a fairly small town. When I graduated high school the population was around 20,000. Yes, I am aware there are towns much, much smaller.. but there are also towns / cities much, much larger. And honestly the small townness of my hometown had more to do with attitude than numbers. It felt like a small town.  Everyone knew everyone else and all their business!  There were no secrets (or very few) in my hometown.
My hometown is located an hour and a half from any larger city. There are a zillion little communities all around... mostly rural, country communities. To do serious shopping in the big city, we had to drive 90 minutes or more.  I grew up in the 60s and 70s, so there were very few chain stores or restaurants etc. and we had none. We were off the beaten path.. so no reason to be there. 
I grew up going to locally owned businesses... many had been in the same family for generations... and I knew the owners.  I bought shoes from Mr. Case at Case Shoes.. he went to market with his customers in mind. I remember hearing him say to a lady once “I found the perfect shoes at market to fit your narrow heel”... the ladies at my favorite clothing store would call every so often and say “We just got in a shipment of dresses and I put several back in your size that will be perfect for you!” I would then run by the store and pick up those dresses.. without paying.. take them home and try them on. Keep what I wanted.. return the rest.. all went on my parent’s charge account. No Visa.. No MasterCard.. no Credit Check.  This was true with pretty much every business in town.. including restaurants.  
I remember when we got our first fast food chain.. Burger King. Kids were overjoyed!  Before that we had to make do with the local burger joints.. the Homochitto Malt Shoppe and the Belmont Shake Shoppe (don’t you love the names!).. or Kathy’s Dairy Bar!  Restaurants were the same.. we ate catfish at Jughead's... elegant fare at The Side Track.. homemade croutons and peanut butter at the Rendezvous...
Great memories.. 
Recently we celebrated my husband’s birthday. I decided to take us back to my hometown.. at least in our minds.. and relive one of those yummy memories.  My husband did not grow up in my town, but moved there for work after college. We courted there and lived there the first 4 years of our marriage.  One of our favorite places was owned by a local doctor’s wife... The Annex Tea Room.  The Annex was located in a sort of warehouse... not a super large one. It had housed a heating and cooling supplier once and had brick walls, concrete floors and the high ceiling was covered with exposed pipes.  By today’s standards it would be considered industrial. Mrs. Amacker, the owner, filled it with oak pedestal tables she bought at estate sales, antique shops, flea markets etc. And oak chairs. It was not matchy at all!  She added white table cloths and flowers every where. It was wonderful!  The recipes were her own.. the best chicken salad ever, fruit plates with poppyseeed dressing, homemade bread with butter, broccoli soup, roast beef sandwiches, ham sandwiches, and the desserts.. oh my!  
One of our favorites was her Chocolate Chip Cake... and that is what I made for Hubby’s birthday. I did alter it a slight bit.  

Here is the original recipe with my changes noted below.
Annex Tea Room Chocolate Chip Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Butter Cake Mix
1 small box milk chocolate instant pudding
1 8 oz carton sour cream
1/4 c water
1 c oil
4 eggs
Beat all together. Add 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped pecans.  Grease and flour a large sheet cake pan.  Bake at 350-degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Spread icing over cake and cut into squares.
1 stick margarine 
2 Tbsp cocoa
5-6 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Bring to a roiling boil. Add 1 box powdered sugar. Beat until ready.
NOTES: I made the cake as instructed except I baked it in a Bundt Pan. And then instead of icing, I made a chocolate glaze and drizzled over the cake (found a recipe online).  I then added some sprinkles since we were celebrating.. how can you have a birthday without sprinkles! It was YUM!!!!! A Huge Hit that was gobbled up quickly. No doubt it will show up here again to provide another trip down memory lane.
Oh yes... Mac and Mia did not get to sample the birthday cake but they did celebrate. They ran a wild wiener dog race around and around the house until they both collapsed with exhaustion!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Yard Update

Thought I would share some photos to show where things are with the yard and all the flowers and such...

My husband plants a lot of the same plants each year.. plants we love like petunias and verbena..

 but he always enjoys adding something new to the mix. This years newbie is Agapanthus.. Lily of the Nile.  These plants grow sooo tall!  We have to whose blooms are just about to open that are easily 3 feet or more. We have 2 others (pictured below) that are not as tall and have nice open blooms.   I love the soft lavender / lilac color.

We have Asiatic Jasmine in our bed and I love it!  It has spread and filled in some bare spots and is so rich and lush with color. I really do love it!

And I shared earlier about our confederate jasmine. It continues to grow and bloom profusely!  Love it too!

When we planted these beds years ago, my husband's new discovery was Anthony Waterer Spirea.  We planted two and have enjoyed watching them grow and bloom with these bright pinky-purple flowers.

A few years later we planted a third... only to discover its blooms are white and a lighter purple.  We love them both.

As always I have herbs growing and yes, I use them in cooking!  In fact last weekend our son used some of the mint to make Blueberry-Mint-Lemonade.  I, for some reason, failed to snap a photo of the mint or the oregano... but here are the other 3 we have this year..

Isn't this thyme lovely.. so green!

Rosemary... one of my favorites!

Basil... ranks up there with Rosemary!  I use a bunch of both of these,

While out in the yard, I noticed the blue birds going in and out of the house.  Couldn't catch the Mr. but got a nice shot of the Mrs.

The day before these photos were taken we had some rain and wind.  Our River Birches always loose some twigs and such. A nice size limb fell that day. Mia had to investigate, but deemed it safe and went on to better things.  

Be Joy-filled!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Morning Walk

I enjoy morning walks, especially in my neighborhood.. which is a great place to live!  We have been here 20+ years.. so it is home.. we are rooted here.  As I was walking yesterday, I took some pictures. I tried desperately to snap some shots of the crazy squirrels and their antics, but they would never let me get close enough.  I also tried to capture some pictures of the lovely birds that fill our trees with their songs, but again.. they skittered away. There was this one fat robin that I tried to stealthily chase down.. didn't work!  Evidently, I don't have what it takes to be a stalker.

But I did get shots of flowers and such... one of my favorite subjects!

A number of our neighbors have knock-out roses in this vibrant red-pink color.

These neighbors always have lovely blooms in their yard!

Our neighborhood was built in the early 1970s, so we have nice big lush trees for shade 
and to house those crazy squirrels and melodic birds.

So the sun was soo bright that this picture didn't come out like I wanted.. BUT you can see the size of this majestic pine and also the gorgeous blue sky we enjoyed here yesterday.

I love oleander!

Horrible photo.. I know.. I am determined to take another and post soon. But I wanted you to see the vibrant color of this clematis.  Isn't it gorgeous!?

Yes, that is a bush... look at the depth of variation of the greens. I love the greens of nature!

The cross in this yard is cute, but I took this shot because of those ropes. They have foot loops at the bottom. I have no doubt you will often find children swinging and giggling here.  Fun!

A reminder to STOP today and enjoy the beauty the Lord has placed all around you. 

There is nothing like Spring in the South!