Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If you aren't familiar with Susan Branch, you need to be.  Her style is a beautiful country cottage look that warms your heart and brings a smile to your face.  She also sends out Willard (an e-newsletter), tweets and updates on Facebook. All kinds of wonderful goodness for you to enjoy!

Looking at the list of happiness above, I think I'm doing pretty good: 
  • Feed the birds - Check!
  • Eat good food - I eat good food. Might not be good FOR me, but that's not what is said, right?
  • Take long walks - umm... hm... :)
  • Breathe fresh air - Check on occasion
  • Wear something pretty - Hm. Alright, maybe I'm not doing so great on this list
  • Read good books - I read GREAT trash novels!
  • Grow flowers - CHECK! I have roses!
  • Redecorate - heaven help, I just got the house decorated! Or...in the process. I count this as a check.
  • Take long naps - I don't nap unless I'm sick or exhausted.
  • Soak in bathtubs - Ok, I have enough checks on this one to overtake the rest of the list. I live in the bathtub. Love it. Adore it. Couldn't survive without it.
  • Write in a diary - I have my Thankful Journal. I also have another book that I just write whimsies in.
  • Show love - I hope I show love. I care deeply for the people I care about.  :)
  • Paint toenails - check and I need to have them redone very soon. Past due.
  • See chick flicks - is there any other kind of movie?
 So if I were to write a list of things that create happiness, I'd have to include a few others:
  • Find your passion and infuse it into your life
  • Hug. Lots.
  • Adopt a pet
  • Count your blessings frequently
  • Do something nice for someone else for no reason
  • Find a reason to laugh and do so loudly, with your entire heart, body and soul
Just a few more to add to the happiness list. :)  Feel free to share your own... would love to hear them!

Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Muffin Monday & Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day from Muffin and me. We are very thankful for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. Especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Never think freedom is free...it comes at a great price.

We hope all of you have a great week and remember or veterans on more than two holidays. :)
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Sun Rays.

When I was a kid, I thought sun rays streaming through the clouds like this was God coming back.  After all, in most of my Sunday School literature, God was portrayed as a cloud with rays coming out of it. So it was a logical conclusion.  I still think of God whenever I see sun rays like this - and for some reason, I think it makes Him smile.

I would love to have some sunny days and blue skies again.  I'm not sure how many more tornado warnings, hail storms and straight line winds I can take.  I'm tired of hiding in my bathtub and wondering if I'm going to be sucked out of my house.

Despite all the fear, I'm so very thankful for the safety we've been given so far. Not just me, but our entire region.  Thank you, Lord, for keeping us all safe! Please be with those who have already be impacted so drastically. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.  ~Elisabeth Foley

This quote describes Sherry and I perfectly.  When she moved to Alabama, our lives may have been separated but our friendship never faltered.  I stepped off that train in Tuscaloosa and it was like we had never parted.  We immediately picked up the conversation, hopped into the car and headed for McDonald's. It is such a true and special friendship, it's a total blessing to have her in my life.

Even as I walked into her home for the first time, I felt like we'd been housemates for years. Made myself at home, scattered my clothes all over the bedroom, shed hair all over the bathroom - her home was my home and I never once doubted it.  Glenn, her husband, came home from delivering cross country and he just became one more housemate. We all had the best times sitting on the deck and just catching up. The dogs would run around or lay beside us and Chester, the cat, would hang on the deck with us.  When it got too hot, we'd move in and bring all the animals with us (Sam, Julie, Chester and Miss Kitty). 

The coolest part about it is that Sherry is still Sherry. She's the same person I have known from day one. The person I grew to appreciate, then grew to love and care about deeply.  She's one of a kind in the best of all ways - a person you can depend on and trust with no reservations.  This weekend with her was heaven sent and has become part of my special memories.  You just can't find better people than her. :)  Thanks for being a wonderful friend, Sherry!

Muffin Monday... on Wednesday! :)

Due to my trip to Alabama, I missed Muffin Monday. Therefore, Muffin Monday is happening today!  It's an older picture, one I hope I haven't posted before...

I just love pics of her like this - I'm sure I'd just petted her, therefore she immediately had to lick off all my germs. I think she missed me while I was gone. I got lots of kitty kisses when I came through the door, as well as a good fussing at!

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Alabama Tornadoes.

As you may have already figured out, I'm just returning home from Alabama, visiting a great friend I have there. I'm actually splitting my blog into two parts - one focusing on the tornado damage I witnessed and one on the friend part of my trip, which was 99.9% of it.

In case you didn't know, I am terrified of tornadoes. Where I live, it's not much of an issue, however, we do have an occasional twister blow through with hops and skips across the landscape. Never have I seen anything like I did on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa, where I was departing the train at to meet up with my friend.

As the train came closer to Tuscaloosa, I began to pay attention to the scenery outside my window. At first I just saw houses with blue tarps. Every house, blue tarps. So this wasn't so bad, I'm thinking... then all of the sudden I saw rubble. I was on the phone with my mom and suddenly gasped - "Oh mama, this is horrible," it's all I could say over and over. I just wanted to cry. It was like someone dumped matchsticks all over the ground where houses once were. Destroyed. Devastated.

I can't imagine what it was like for these people who have lost so much.  I look at the amount of destruction and have to wonder if someone here lost their life.  I just don't know how anyone could survive in the houses I saw.  So incredibly sad.

While I was there, the tornado hit Joplin.  Being in an area that is still so completely smashed by a tornado, it took on a deeper meaning of what those people were going to be dealing with as the storm passed by.  My friends in Alabama were just heartbroken to see another tornado and another town wiped out.  It was hard to watch.  But, much like in Alabama, immediately the people began coming together to search for survivors and dig out from under the rubble.

I hope you'll pray with me for both communities.  They are weary and need strength to see the rebuilding to the end.  Please keep them in your thoughts and provide assistance in the way that is best for you.  Donations, volunteering, prayers - all are important to seeing these communities come back and overcome the loss they've seen. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Train ride to home

Well...my wonderful visit is wrapping up. I have many wonderful memories to take with me and treasure always. Sherry is one of those special friends that you dont see for several years and the minute I got off the train it was like we were together yesterday. So special having a friendship like that. Even Sam, her German Sheppard, remembered me and greeted me like an old friend!

I will say, on my way into Tuscaloosa, seeing the areas flattened by the tornadoes was very upsetting. I can't imagine seeing my beautiful little house that I love so much in complete destruction. I want to cry imagining how strong these people are and will need to be. Please pay.

We were watching the Joplin tornado last night. It was hard to see another town suffering just like this one. I'm keeping than in my prayers, too.

Folks, I am looking forward to being home and seeing Muffin. I've really missed her, along with my family and my man. :) I promise to post pics soon! Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small Things.

I do love the small things. I try hard to appreciate those simple and free everyday things - maybe I don't succeed on a daily basis but as frequently as possible. The beauty in a star-filled night or the texture of the flowers or the colors of autumn leaves.  How the sun streams through the clouds or the water drops on Spring blossoms.

So this picture, taken by Gary on our tour of Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, just tickles me pink. 

I will admit, I shamelessly stole it from him. I hope he'll forgive me. But I wanted to share it with you, because it makes me so happy.  The color on the wings - that is all natural! So pretty. To think it started out as a slimy icky worm. I like it much better now!

Gary and I had a great time at Daniel Stowe - a place that you need to add to your list of things to do if you are in the area.  The flowers are amazing, butterflies flitting around and water fountains everywhere. Our cell phones didn't work, which I considered a blessing because nothing could distract us from the relaxing joy of being in such a beautiful environment.

We both took a million pictures because everything just seemed so alive and healthy and vibrant! I could post two dozen and not begin to hit the highlights, but I won't torture you like that.  Here are a few of mine, and then one he took of me. :)

Can you tell I like pink?  I didn't realize just about every flower I photographed was pink!

Someone is sneaking pictures when I'm not looking!

Happy Hump Day, everyone!  I'll be posting VERY sporadically since I'm heading on a train ride to visit my friend in Alabama.  Heck, maybe I'll be posting more, who knows! :)  But regardless, I'll share all about my trip when I'm back! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Muffin Monday ~ Everyone's Favorite Day of the Week!

Happy Monday all my friends! Muffin is finding the new week to be delicious and nutritious...ok all she really cares about is being fed and getting sleep.

Anyway, y'all have a great week and appreciate all the beauty and blessings God has put in our lives!

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Found Treasures.

Gary with a Geocache

It's a bit nerdy and/or dorky, but it's fun! Whipping out the cell phone, searching for the coordinates and then tracking down the hidden treasure - it's Geocaching!  Gary and I dipped our toes into these waters last night, finding two rather quickly (thanks to his clever eye!) and logging in our finds at http://www.geocaching.com/.

These little hidden treasures are EVERYWHERE around you.   It's really cool to find the treasures right in plain sight that I've passed by a million times and never noticed.  So cool to be one of those people "in the know!"

Check it out - there are various difficult levels, wheelchair accessible options, on the beaten path, off the beaten path, so on and so forth. Join me in the adventure! :)


On an unrelated note:  I planted flowers in the flower bed at work!  I figure I spend A LOT of time here, walking in and out of the door beside the sketchy looking flower bed, which was so depressed looking it just made me sad.  So, I forked out the money and invested some TLC into the area.  Don't know much about flowers, but I used a Red, White and Blue theme to match the Elections Office and Veteran's Office. :)  Love it! Am enjoying walking out and looking at it and random times during the day.  (Again, I'm a dork, but I've already made this confession, so you shouldn't be shocked, right?)

I have no idea why we planted right around the rock, as if we couldn't move it. It's just always there, so I guess I figured it just needed to stay. Look at the adorable mini rose bush!  Got it for $5 at Lowe's (and bought three more yellow/pink ones for my house!)  That rose makes me happiest!

Ya'll have a GREAT weekend and if nothing else, I'll see you back here for Muffin Monday!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The moment before honey...

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. 
Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do,
there was a moment just before you began to eat it
which was better than when you were,
but he didn't know what it was called. 
~A.A. Milne

Isn't this the truth?! The anticipation can be even better than the actual act!?

Or maybe BETTER isn't the right word. But it is something to be enjoyed all on its own.

Like unwrapping a present. Shaking it, looking at the shape, the weight, seeing it sitting there all wrapped up, hiding what it contains... isn't there something to be said for having the anticipation of what it MIGHT hold?

And the questions and hints! What is it? One piece or more? What color? Breakable? Something for the house? For the bath? My car? What is it?!?!?!

And when you finally tear into it, all the prettyribbon is discarded and the paper shredded, the box ripped open and the tissue tossed aside - well, there it is. And you love it. :)

Ahhhh Pooh. You are a wise bear.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happiness and Storms.

I'm happy. I'm Happy! I'm a wriggly puppy popping out of the gift box, all goofy and squirmy and yippee. :) Happiness! (A spotted puppy with adorable puppy eyes!)

And, I survived! Horrible storms last night - severe damage and many homes lost around the area. I haven't heard any numbers yet - with all the trees down across the roads and debris scattered about, it will take some time to get all the details together.  It was enough to have me hiding my head under the covers and Muffin diving under the bed.  Lost power about 12:30 a.m. and it was still off when I left for work. Looking forward to my shower tonight!!

In the midst of the storm, I'm trying to find my flip flops (so I wouldn't step on any spiders!) in my very dark house (which is being lit up with lightening strikes in an eerie fashion), desperately searching for a flashlight. Just a matter of weeks before, I'd stumbled across two and put them somewhere for safe keeping. Sure wish I knew where that safe place was now... Off to Wally World after work to create an emergency kit so I'll be more prepared next time.

Happy Hump Day - counting my blessings for having my family and our houses safe and sound!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Muffin in White

Happy Monday from your favorite Kitten! :)  (sorry I'm late posting this morning!)

I know, I know, you've seen Muffin in b&w, but I loved the white bed with the white curtains and one fat grouchy cat in the middle of it all.  She knows when I'm taking her picture and does not appreciate it. But I can't help it - she's so dang cute!

Happy Monday, Happy Week and Happy May! :) I hope it's joy-filled!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mom with her favorites:  EB and AH
Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. 
~Author Unknown

I could list a million reasons why my mom is the best ever, but I'd only be covering a fraction of the list.  I am very blessed because I consider her not only an amazing mother, but an amazing friend.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there this weekend!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You gotta have Faith

Faith. Religion. Spirituality. Whatever you want to call it. It's one of those things that isn't always easy but is just as necessary as my next breath.  I know, I can't explain how it is important or all of the ins and outs of theology. I don't have all the answers or know everything I should know. I'm really not this great Christian person who does the things I should do. I'm just not.

But despite all of this, I still feel very strongly about my faith, about knowing God loves me, has a plan for me, forgives me every day for my shortcomings. He provides for me - He CREATED me to be just like I am. :) And that is a good feeling and gives me this ever-present ray of hope and light in the darkness. It's amazing, because God is amazing beyond my comprehension.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Muffin Monday

Muffin wishes you a Happy Monday and a very Happy Week! I hate to see the weekend close but I suppose it must. Hopefully this week will be a great one!
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Surprises Can Be Good.

Wow... my Saturday was really wonderful. Beautiful Carolina Blue skies with a perfect brisk-warm temperature (thanks to a lazy breeze), amazing scenery, and great company. Enjoyed a Lake Lure tour; strawberries in the shade of a tree by the lake, a tour of 2/3 of the NC Mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway and really great conversation throughout the day.  AND I got to have WAFFLE HOUSE to wrap it up. Yumm-o! Love me some WH! :)

These are from a lookout on the Blue Ridge Parkway - how can you look at this and not believe in God? It's amazing and beyond description to watch the sun set behind the mountains and paint the sky with a rainbow of colors. Just amazing.

Enjoy the day with me through pictures!

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