Monday, October 29, 2012


Here is a photo of a Bob Villa kitchen highlight that I find attractive. It's the first kitchen. I don't like being enclosed into a kitchen, but I do like the corrugated metal against the bar wall and the short depth shelves that are stacked enough to actually be useful. And the window over the sink. And, and, and...I like all of it.
The country cabin design will incorporate a hanging pot rack of some sort or another. If there is one thing I detest, it is having to stoop down to dig through the various pots and pans we have stacked organized in the lower cabinets, yet the task of wanting a skillet six deep is not always so convenient. The pot rack in the country cabin will be placed in an area where the hanging, clanging metal is within easy reach of this short gal. No more kitchen problems with important items being out of my reach.
Short know what I'm talking about!
Much thought is going toward the kitchen and mud-room design. Much. It might be rather unconventional, but it will certainly be practical and enjoyable when it comes to preparing a meal.

This is the GREAT part about planning to build a cabin that is far from the cookie-cutter home ideal of mass production. I'm living in one of those houses right now. Not bad, but not great either.
Of course, for the kitchen, I am looking for a sturdy pot rack that is classic and large enough to handle lots of pots and pans. 

I love the sheetmetal on the bar wall. No need to worry about
feet scuffing the metal! This is the height of practicality!
Actually, I LOVE this kitchen.
A wall of French pot racks would be very useful, This one holds the pots with the lids slid over the handle of the pot for each pairing. The colanders hang at the end and the large pots are within easy reach. This kind of arrangement is multipurpose and can be within easy reach for me or anyone else ready to cook.

With creativity, a home-made version of a french pot rack can be fashioned. I'd rather have decorative hooks that are permanently installed than have hooks that come loose too easily.
Maybe a version of these shelves would be nice, but with a cabinet on top that has an area below for hooks to hang pots and larger utensils.

Let's not even get started on peg-boards. I'm a Julia Child fan from childhood. Her peg-board with the outline of each pot, pan and utensil, made by her husband, had brought me immense happiness. Ah, the joy of a peg-board.

Home-made pot-racks and peg-boards...I'm thinking about it...smiling...smiling...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

# 365 - I Can't Leave Them Behind!

This weekend, we decided to have a garage sale. Need to get rid of the excess in our house that's been piling up for years. Mostly, we had boxes and sacks full of clothes that were often nice pieces, but simply outgrown by my girls as they grew up. Other clothing was so worn out that the only destination for those could be the trash. But, for our daughters, since we often purchased clothes at some of the best stores, these articles of clothing are usually picked over in a garage sale as if there is a race going on.

The man who walked away with CK blue jeans for $1.00 had a big smile on his face. You could tell that he probably had $3.00 to spare at the garage sale, trying to buy clothes for his family. I love that kind of man, thinking of the girls in the family. He didn't even look for anything for himself.

Anyway, for Texas, the garage sale held on Saturday found us setting up and bargaining with pickers throughout the day in cool weather, sunny, high 60's. Friday night, a cold-front moved through our area and the temperatures dropped into the 40's while we slept. We woke to find us dealing with a blustery day after a night of howling winds. All morning, it was a challenge to set up the garage sale as strong gusts of wind blew quite a few things over; other things flew off the tables.

We didn't make much from the garage sale, probably near $30.00 in all, but we sold so many little things and some old clothes, so it was a good day. We ended up with more change in our pocket and shoppers ended up with a few things they needed at excellent prices. Men's shorts...50 cents.

As the sun shone overhead and warmed the chill out of my bones, it was time to end the sale. I boxed up all the garage sale items that didn't make it into someone else's hands. Then, I asked my husband to back the truck up in the driveway so I could directly load the boxes into the truck to take away for donating. Let's don't waste time. Hauling it back and forth...I didn't want any of this stuff to make its way back into the house or back into the garage. Out it goes!

As I packed the boxes, I carefully folded each clothing item. I'm like that...whether I give it to Goodwill or whomever, I must fold and be careful with my packing because its poor form to shove everything in a box without regard for property and necessities that the next person might appreciate with renewed interest.

I realized that I still have too many boxes and sacks full of girls clothes. Nice stuff, too. Ranging from 2nd grade size to junior high age. I suggested to the Deputy that we leave straight-away to donate the girls clothing to a place we both care about, he agreed. Five minutes later, we were on the road.

It was still chilly outside, but we drove the short distance to Morgan's Point and made our way down the streets lined with houses that front the bay...gorgeous homes any person would love to own. Down a two-lane winding road, we made our way to the Boys and Girls Harbor.

The Boys & Girls Harbor is a place where children, who are a Ward of the State of Texas, have a place to family "cottages." A large home that can house at least eight children and a sponsor family is the kind of homes you'll find on this compound. Cottage parents live with their own children in an apartment attached to the home itself, so they can have their own quiet family moments...their own kitchen, living room, etc., and the main part of the house is where the Harbor kids reside. It's a great set-up...about as close to a family environment as a needy, displaced child could hope for, if they don't have their own family to take them in.

Here is a picture of one of the new cottages that house
girls, ages four to 18. These are some busy homes!

This is a place where the Deputy and I have spent years serving as "Sponsor Parents." The only way I can describe being a Sponsor Parent is that you are kind of like a Foster-Step-Parent. You take the children every other weekend and for holidays and part of the summer. If the child has surgery, such as has tonsils out, it's likely they'll be able to come home with you for recovery, to get that extra, devoted attention.

We were Sponsor Parents for years and nearly adopted a little girl we loved with all our heart, but her social worker had dibs. Nonetheless, it was devastating for all of us.

For years, we had about 13 different gals sharing our home as they were treated like one of our own kids. They loved coming to our house and we loved trying to to share a bit of imperfect family life with them. Sometimes we'd bring home more than one child for a weekend because the kids had no one else to turn to.

It's a given that most of these kids have been through things that a few adults would shudder to consider. However, any child allowed to be in residence at the Boys and Girls Harbor has to be emotionally stable and prove that they are ready to be in a family-type environment. Sadly, there's just not enough room for all the kids that should have a place at the Harbor.

The compound holds their own Academy for kids K-8th grade, there are several cottages, sometimes they make changes every few years, but there's usually a cottage for younger girls, one of older girls, a mixed aged cottage and the same for boys. Each cottage has a large van for making necessary trips and they have a few acres of land right across the street from the bay. It's a beautiful country setting with the bonus of being right off the water, very peaceful.

So, we decided while driving down the road, to go straight to the Boys and Girls Harbor and to forget the Goodwill portion of our donation. We'd give it all to the Harbor.

As we pulled into the Harbor compound, it looked awfully quiet. We knew this might be a weekend when the kids would be gone to their sponsor parents' homes and so we weren't surprised to drive up further into the compound, right up to the cottage we always sponsored, yet find just one man outside the cottages; he was working on the vehicles in the driveway.

I walked over to him and introduced myself as a former Sponsor Parent and he nicely introduced himself as the full-time "Dad" assigned to this cottage. New Cottage Parents on site, it is a job with a rather high turn-over rate.

A great thing about this place, if a Harbor kid graduates from highschool and gets a part-time job, they can still live there while going to college on the state's dime, I believe until they are 21 years old. It's a wonderful program for today's "orphans" and helps them to get a head-start into the world instead of being dumped onto the streets at age 18.

Sadly, this weekend, during our trip there, Deputy Dave and I had a "get real" conversation with this cottage dad and he told us how the economy is hurting their personal situation, and the Harbor's economics, especially with the quality and quantity of food each cottage gets. We listened and it made us hurt inside. I remembered the reason Deputy Dave and I always made a good's because we are determined to embrace a cause and to make a dent in the system. We encourage each other to keep going for the bigger purpose. It's definitely not easy.

The worst news was to come from this Cottage Dad. This weekend, as all the Sponsor Parents came to pick up their assigned children and to have them stay at their own houses for the weekend, to have a grateful reprieve in a "normal" house and to enjoy the change in scenery, we were saddened to know that this cottage has two girls, ages 9 and 11, who had no sponsor family to take them for the weekend. There was no choice for the girls to leave, so they were stuck across the street in the "overflow" cottage with all the other kids who were left behind because they didn't have a sponsor home for the weekend.

Do you know what this does to me? Especially because our home had been open as a sponsor home for so many years and to know there's not enough sponsor ate both Deputy Dave and myself up to the core. Here we are, nit-picking over petty things and there are two kids who don't even have a place to go two weekends per month.

Our daughters mixed in with all the girls from the
Harbor who had been sponsored by us through the years. Good times.

Worst yet, these two girls have no sponsor family to take them in for the holidays --- starting with the holiday week off of school for Thanksgiving. One little girl, it appears her mom, her only family, is very sick and dying. That's a big burden for a nine year old to bear among strangers. It blistered our hearts to know that these kids had no one in their family available to step up to the plate for them, then they have no one for sponsors who are supposed to help teach them what being in a normal family is all about...imperfections and all.

For years, we helped fill this role and like Deputy Dave said, "The further away you get from this place, the easier it is to live your life and think that things are going great without your contribution, but then you see that it's always needed and it pulls you back, makes you rethink your situation in life and it tugs at your spirit."

I can't tell you how damn hard it was to drive off while knowing those two little gals, who reminded us so much of our own daughters, had to stay behind at their compound, which was virtually empty because all the other kids were tucked away throughout the city in their own sponsor parent's home.

We were asked to call first thing Monday to expedite our paperwork so that we could start providing a regular home, at least every other weekend, for these two girls and for us to have them for the holidays. Since we can't tolerate the thought of leaving them there, this is going to be an old path for us to walk again. It's not easy, but it is very rewarding to help a child find love and acceptance and a sense of normalcy wherever they can find it.

My youngest daughter, Stefie, who is away at college, is urging me to jump on the cause and get moving. Through the years, she always loved her Harbor Sisters. One thing I must say, my family is very cohesive when it comes to banding together to meet the needs of a child. There's no excuse in our situation for not doing our part. The Boys and Girls Harbor is just down the road from us, we have experience in this area, we've raised two well-adjusted, college-educated girls and we know the trickery that teenagers like to think they can pull on their parents. We've had lots of "gotcha" moments to prove we're still involved parents.

But, it's been a long time since I had to take care of and help raise a 9 year old, or an 11 year old. Uh, it's been over one decade since I had children of my own that age. It's a good thing we regularly take care of my little niece. However, I'm more than ready to step up to the plate to get those kids a stable sponsor home. Even if we sell our home, we'll work it out. Where there's a will, there's always a way.

For now, after asking, the cottage dad told us they most need kitchen staples such as ketchup, mustard, pancake mix, syrup, cooking oil, butter, and other such rations that they go through too fast. Good thing is, our chickens lay enough eggs for us to take them eggs every week or two. I can see that we will again be on a personal mission to make sure this particular cottage has a good pantry supply and beyond that...a supply of some luxury foods as well. Maybe a pizza night every now and then.

Deputy Dave is great at making a huge batter of chocolate chip cookies...he rolls the batter into just-right-sized balls for the freezer, puts them into a huge ziplock baggie and we have cookies ready to cook at any time, cookies in bulk. For their household, probably two baggies full would make a dent for a week of cookies. I have no doubt that we are again jumping in head-first to help these kids and this cottage...doing all we can for these harbor parents, to help them do their best.

As you drive off the Harbor's compound, you remember, with a heartache, that all these children lack having even one stable family member to take care of them. These are CHILDREN...they can't help their situation. They simply need to be cared for and shown support. Most of these kids are just regular kids, some are even above-average in intelligence, probably because of all they've been through. Some circumstances will wise-up a child or crush them. Most of these kids are true survivors; most with great attitudes. So many are sweet, some sassy, some wanting to cling to any bit of family they can latch onto, others living scared they'll never get to see the promises fulfilled that a family member promised as they wait for them to come back for them, often, that family member never arrives. The best you can do is to help these children live a fulfilled life for the duration. Help to teach them to savor the good parts of life and to just enjoy where you are right now, while you make the best of it. It's helpful to encourage a mindset of considering what can be done to lead them to a bright future and toward the day they'll have their own family responsibilities.

These kids have a lot to think about. They have a lot on their shoulders. They've already had to conquer more than the average person can ever dare to comprehend. I admire these kids. I can tell you one thing, they come to your house and don't expect you to wait on them...these kids know how to take care of themselves and you have to walk the line with not treating them in a way that would offend their level of independence. I have respect for those kids.

So, in spite of everything going on in life to distract us from true problems, we want to do our part to make these two girls' lives better. I don't want them left behind any more. I don't want them spending Thanksgiving and Christmas stuck at the place that is their day by day refuge, but the promise of a sponsor family being absent from their lives is definitely a downer, a major letdown. I want to stop that from occurring.

So, first thing Monday morning, I will be getting our paperwork completed, so we can start sponsoring these children again.

This past summer, me taking my oldest niece, Phoebe, on
a tour of the Boys and Girls Harbor.

And it seems that we have, yet again, we found our calling. Only this time, we aren't distracted by raising our own two daughters...we will have extra time to devote to the Harbor kids. At least they will learn about chickens from my backyard flock.

We have it in both our hearts to make a difference, we've done it before and it's time for us to again put our thoughts and words into action. This kind of work is NEVER done. And that's just a fact about life and children who need a place to lay their head and know they are safe.

So, I'll keep you updated.

Looks like we all have problems, but these kids have problems that are definitely bigger than our own, we have this big house with extra bedrooms to spare. Soon, these rooms will be full of children who need a snugly place to lay their head, some good food to eat that they won't have to fight over, and some solid attention from a set of diligent parents. Since we always want to give them the BEST of us, it's good for them and for us to be in each other's lives.

Usually, these kids teach us lessons and enrich our lives in ways we never expected.

Yes, I already know the two of us will be stepping up to the plate.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

# 364 - Quit Being Such an Adult!

This past weekend, we kept Shaye, the six-year-old niece. Her Uncle David took us to IHop for breakfast on Saturday morning. This would be a long day!

Shaye loves our chickens. She is delighted that it's molting season and that she can find a feather at every turn. She gathers a handful of feathers and tries to decide how to use them.

We spend a lot of time playing outside.

There's always so much to do.

A hot day in Texas is a great opportunity for a kid to water the plants and to drench themselves in the process. Yes, it's October and we are still having HOT days!

She doesn't want to miss one plant.

The best part of the day was when Shaye took my camera and took her own pictures. One of my favorites is when she turned the camera around to take a self-portrait.

Having a kid around sure does remind you to take note of the simple things in life, to remember to stop being busy and just have fun.

Thank you Shaye for reminding me to quit being such an adult all the time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

# 363 - Adapting to Different Phases in Life

I've always wanted a little red farmhouse. The windows on this little two-bedroom house are perfect sized to let the outdoor landscape be seen with clarity. Also, the attic would have a bit of room for a room conversion to allow some extra sleeping space and hang-out square footage, maybe a craft room for me.

This house is about 1157 square feet. Not too shabby. These are built by Texas Casual Cottages, Trendmaker Homes. These two get my serious attention. However, they are priced rather steep, even for being built on your own land.

The next house is larger, but I don't really care for their floor plans. I'd rather have a plan that is more old-fashioned.

We are so exhausted since coming back from the wedding. Our first weekend since the wedding was spent with our niece, Shaye, spending the weekend with us. My next post is about those fun days. There's nothing like having a six-year old perspective to keep you in line!

Also, to get us one step closer to being able to move...Deputy Dave went through agony to pull a ton of boxes out of the attic so I could take inventory of these boxes that I previously packed...a few are destined for a garage sale and others are full of craft supplies, holiday decorations, others are jam-packed with the girls' childhood keepsakes and will be kept for a while, especially because grand-children will probably be in our future. I know that box of old Barbies will be a joy to have --- that's one purchase we'll never have to make again for our entire lives, even if we have ten grand-daughters, we have plenty of Barbies to go around!

One thing is for certain, gaining a son-in-law has provoked a marked change in both of us. It's as if our heads have been yanked upward to see the sparkling stars as obscuring clouds move aside.

A family is something that is not easy to build. I've seen how easy it is to tear it apart. The bottom line never have as much apart as you had together, in every sense. I have learned that walking away from problems is the easy part. Keeping the family together is the hard part.

At my daughter's wedding, I had someone ask me how I'd managed to stay married for 26 years and I said, "I think adapting to the different phases throughout marriage is critical."

Those who have been married near 30 years usually have some sort of marital scars to prove they've suffered through the worst of times and they also have beautiful evidence to prove it's worth it to heal any wounds that can be made better after a time of ugliness.

Even at our age, our grown children depend on us to be together for holidays. They want to call one of us, yet have access to both of us. One day, the kids want to call us when that grandbaby is on the way and have us both leave town together and arrive with beaming faces in unison.

I hope my daughter and her new son-in-law will always remember to be tender and kind to one another. Without those ingredients, they are likely to end up like any other Joe Blow to each other. Remain unique to each other, able to connect to each other's souls. That kind of bond is very difficult to break, even after the worst of times. But, for people who have been married near 30 years, we can assure them that trying times will fall upon them and it's up to those two people to get through it. They won't be the same kids who said, "I do," because Father-Time will have a hold upon them and the clock cannot go backward, but you must adapt and learn to love each other, even as you are falling apart.

Sometimes you feel as if a raging fire has moved through your relationship and burned everything to a crisp, then, just as you feel all hope is nothing more but a heap of smoldering nothingness, a new sprout of encouragement peeks upward and begins to grow strong. Newness and regrowth can be sought in the ruins of old ashes.

Relationships are tricky, the best thing to do is to do your best, remember your portion of the commitment.

Like so many families discover after their kids grow up, it's not so easy to be a "family" because the "family" is diminished somewhat. Then, your kids get married and it hits you across the head...dummy...the family is not diminished at all, in fact, it's growing and will be busier than ever, very soon.

In front of us lays the many decisions to be made that will be scary and without a guarantee. However, moving to the country is an action that offers many more reliefs than stresses. All we can do is keep moving forward, have faith, not be complacent, keep communicated, and be willing to go the extra mile to adapt to this new phase in our lives.

I am ready. I think I was ready yesterday!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

# 362 - Mom's Honor Chair

One person who would not be attending the wedding, at least not physically, would be my mother...Heather's grandmother.

In honor of her contributions to Heather's life, we left a chair open for my mom with one of her fun hats laid upon it and her scarf draped across it for the ceremony. It was poignant.

After the wedding ceremony, my brother-in-law asked if my sister and I would like to get a photo of us together at the chair. He is a very thoughtful man, that brother-in-law of mine.

We sat on each side of mom's-honor-chair, then with such natural affection, my sister and I reached out to hold hands as the picture was taken; we joyfully showed our love and respect for our mother on this beautiful day.

I believe it would have made her proud to know we loved her enough to show remembrance of her on this important day for her first grandchild who was getting married.

My mother was there for me when I became critically ill at 33 years of age. In and out of the hospital I would go, so she stepped up to the plate and helped me with my daughters. My mom was beautiful and giving and patient and strong and firm and she helped me survive what many do not. Partly due to her diligence, I was finally diagnosed with a rare endocrine condition many do not survive. Most are diagnosed with this rare condition upon autopsy. She was a huge part of the equation that helped to keep me going long enough to get a proper diagnosis and the treatment needed for my life to continue.

So, my mom became more than a grandmother to my children, she became a bonus mother-figure for the days I was hospitalized or too sick to sit upright.

My children had a true source of security, stability and love with my mother during these times; she was a constant source of maternal strength for them to lean upon. I'll never forget her generosity and sacrifice.

Along with my husband's never-say-die attitude, none of us will forget my mom for being our strength when we most needed the boost. Most of all, Heather loved her grandmother and is so much like her. My mom taught Heather to have confidence, even when everything is not great, to still be confident, to be outspoken, yet full of compassion.

My mother loved being a grandmother more than she had loved being a mom. She was born to be a grandmother. She was consistently by Heather's side throughout her years of growing much of Heather reminds me of my mom's spirit and personality. Not only is my daughter Heather able to speak up and to take charge, just like my mother had been able to do, Heather is just like my mom in that she is determined to be closely bonded to her family, through thick and thin.

Yes, she reminds me so much of my mom...the spunky woman in the wheelchair with the brilliant smile, a woman who never let adversity hold her back.

My sister and I sitting on each side of our mom's honor chair.

We continue to miss her, but in both of my daughters, I still see so much of my mom. That is a blessing I never expected to enjoy so thoroughly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

# 361 - The Good Stuff - A Fan & A Honeymoon

Funny moments at weddings always bring a smile and stress-relief.

The Bridal room had a problem with the air conditioning, it was crowded, stuffy and uncomfortable. Two fans were brought in and the person who was most covered in fabric, the Bride, got a fan right up the skirt.

Also, if you look closely, you'll see that each gal is holding a red SOLO cup because their bouquets were needing a drink of water to remain fresh and lively. So, these intelligent women made temporary vases out of the plastic cups. Between the fan blowing up Heather's wedding dress and the solo cups in hand, this is one of my favorite photos!

And here is the Maid of Honor, my youngest daughter, Stefie, holding her bouquet in a solo cup, looking as if she's ready for this wedding to get started.

Here is the Bride's bouquet in a solo cup...such moments of pure beauty.

And here are the girls, minus the fan and minus the solo cups. The bride is radiant and all the girls are a beautiful sight to behold.

Through the afternoon, the girls helped each other to battle the damage that the high humidity was doing to their hair. Such sweet moments.

And I love how my Bride-daughter seems right at home in that wedding dress!

Now, for the vacation of a lifetime, the Honeymoon! Henry and Heather are spending three weeks traveling around Europe. On Monday, they landed in Athens, Greece, they went to Venice, which Heather feels is very over-rated, and they have enjoyed staying at a resort in Mykonos. All the pictures are like are a few they have shared so far...

Little Venice

Walking the streets of Mykonos

View from their private balcony at Santorini.
The beaches have RED sand!

Another of Mykonos.
So far, it seems that Santorini has been their favorite place. I can't wait to see the pictures from ROME! Good thing they are having a beautiful honeymoon. It's wonderful that they can electronically share their pictures with us instead of the old-fashioned torture of having to bring home rolls of film that must be processed and passed around to visitors.

This kind of sharing is much more efficient and's amazing.

I wonder what I'll get to see tomorrow? Hopefully the face of my child in one of the photos so she can prove these are not just postcards!

Have a great one everybody!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

# 360 - A Wedding and a Fan

First of all, my spellchecker is not working with Blogger, so I'm winging it here!!

The day before Heather and Henry's wedding day that took place this past Saturday found a lot of family showing up to help get the ball rolling.

Love my girl! Bride in Boots!

That's Leah in the background, she's the owner of the venue and a
very kind-hearted woman. She has a beautiful place for others
to use for their special day. And there I am, beaming. My face
is a bit swollen from hours of crying the night's an
emotional time, a challenge and a joy to the depths of my soul.
My baby is getting married!
The dogs went to the hotel room with us. Since ALL of our family would be attending the wedding, the dogs had no where to stay in the city. So, they went to the country with us. It will be nice to have a big fenced-in yard in the country, a place they could hang out, even if I have to be gone for the day. In the city, they'd bark too much and possibly get into trouble. But, being in a hotel room with dogs is definitely stressful.

Liyla waiting for permission to get on the bed!
Of course you can! It's a hotel! I don't have to worry
about washing these sheets! Ya!
Howdy is by my side as well. My big dogs are very good. They barely make a sound. Stefie and Brice brought along their two little monsters...the new Mini-Aussie "Thor" and Belle the Yorkie, the stinker I thought was going to get all of us kicked out. We got to dog-sit, a lot.

Howdy standing guard at the hotel door.
I pity anyone trying to enter without
authorization. We kept the "Privacy" sign
hanging on the outer door knob, just in case.
After rehearsing for the ceremony, we all headed out for a fun night and rehearsal dinner at a College Station staple, Daisy Dunks. We had the place to ourselves. At one point, my brother in law turned to me and said, "It's pretty packed in here tonight." I cracked up and said, "This is ONLY family and friends, not the general public, this place is ours for a few hours." He looked around and couldn't believe it.

At that rehearsal dinner, I have to say that it started off with such a beautiful bang for me as I was escorted by the arm of my Great-Uncle Joe who is 83 years old and came all the way from California to attend my daughter's wedding. I felt he was the most handsome man present. We sat together, talked, and had a beautiful time visiting. He is a riot and I've always adored him. God sure did give me a great date for the night!

My youngest daughter, Stefanie, made a wonderful speech --- as Heather's Maid of Honor, she was awesome. She started crying during the speech as she talked about Henry accepting her as the little sister, allowing her and and her sister to be accepted as a "package deal" and Stefie loved the fact that Henry never tried to break them up as sisters. That's the part I love about Henry also. He is truly a family man.

As Stefie starts to cry...her big sister decided to bring back the good old days and give her little sister a mean pinch, to force her to re-focus. Well...What are sisters for? Unfortunately, that pinch left an ugly bruise on Stefie's arm the next day, just in time for the wedding pictures. Sisters. Augh!

On the wedding day, the family was all excited that this day had finally arrived!

Henry holding the Bride & Groom's glasses.
Mason Jars with stems!
Getting set up for a wedding!
This venue is gorgeous. The landscape is a country atmosphere and perfect for this wedding!

The table below is an example of one of my jobs as wedding crew...I would haul two boxes at a time into the reception zone and unpack a few gold chargers at a time. To each table, in the muggy afternoon heat, I'd carry a few chargers and a few boxes of chocolates to set out on the table. Table by table I went. I'd look around at all the blank spots still left and keep going. I kept going until I was dragged away with only ONE table left to do! But, I was sweaty, sticky and had frizzy hair...needing to be in another place at the same time...dressed for family photos!

My father-in-law takes some nice pictures of
me being a nervous Mother of the Bride.

Mother & Daughter -- just before the wedding.
Best Man Casey and Maid of Honor Stefie.

Dad walking our first daughter down the aisle.
Making her laugh, telling her that his pants are unzipped.


My sister and I took a moment to watch Heather come down the aisle. My tunnel vision was in full mode...all I could see was Heather's face, her smile, her beautiful eyes...the expression she wore reminded me of her most happy childhood moments. I could see the little girl in my daughter, now a grown woman, walking toward her future husband. Within minutes she'd be a wife.


Serious storms were headed our way. But, God blessed this ceremony and let the entire wedding take place before a drop of rain fell. The storm moved through during the reception and caused quite an uproar, but we never lost power and everyone danced the night away, right through the storming weather! It kind of made for an awesome environment because the reception was held under the pavilion and the sky would light up magnificently with a bolt of lightening. It was powerful to behold!
Besides, rain on a wedding day is a huge blessing. In the Bible, rain is spoken of as the gift of life. There is no fertility, prosperity, or life without rain. In Biblical times, rain was celebrated, not dreaded. Sometimes, we forget the blessing of rain. With last year's drought, we should remember that rain is the substance not guaranteed but that is needed for all of us to continue living.
After about a 2 1/2 year engagement with wedding day planning that seemed to become the center of it does for every Bride...the wedding is finished and the real life of marriage begins! That couple is one happy pair!
She's a beauty. He's one lucky man. And this mom is very happy to have a son-in-law who is so kind-hearted, tough, rugged, tender and he loves to travel and read! Lonesome Dove is one of his favorites. He's a sweetheart who now owns a part of my own heart.
Salmon and other delicious tidbits to hold the wedding guests over until an elaborate dinner is served. The Bride and Groom, nor myself had time to eat. But, I had the kitchen crew and catering company package some food to go. They were awesome.
Unfortunately, a humorous part of the night had been when my mother-in-law with her too-bossy attitude actually got KICKED OUT of the kitchen and the owner of the venue refused to deal with her further on any important matter. I don't even know exactly what happened. But, as I headed back into the kitchen for the 30th time, my mother-in-law looked unhappy and said, "I can't believe they allow you in there, they have kicked me out and told me not to come back in, I'm not allowed." To be honest, it didn't really surprise me. The crew were busting their rears and definitely did not need the added stress of somone coming in to boss them around...they were doing the best job they could under difficult circumstances with the bad weather. I told my mother-in-law, "Sometimes, it's not about being bossy, but it's about diplomacy and knowing the difference," then I walked into the kitchen to give another back rub to a dish-washing, hard-working gal.
I figured, this is my daughter's wedding, no points will be scored with the people who are working here by being bossy and ugly...and those guys were so sweet! They even packed meals for every vendor who worked the wedding. I told them to take the left-over food, after they packaged containers for us. And those containers were jam-packed with food. Even though my daughter and her husband didn't have time to eat, I want to let them know that their meals were not wasted!
Who wouldn't love these signs on the chairs of the Bride and Groom? They say, "Mr. Right" and "Mrs. Always Right."
Henry, learn young. Keep your woman happy. It's not hard to do. Women are usually rather easy to please, just do right by her and be patient and kind. Listen to her. Be tender with her. You have a privilege in her life that no other man can are her husband. It's never a guaranteed position, so do right by the title and you'll have a good, content marriage. Hard times will come, but a strong love is like a strong will keep you together.

Their first dance was like a Fairy Tale experience, ending with a dramatic twirl of the Bride and the groom sweeping her backward for a kiss as the crowd ohhhed and ahhhed!


After we'd traveled back home from the wedding, I strung up all the bouquets in the middle closet to dry out. I am hoping the Bridal Bouquet will be preserved nicely over the next few weeks of drying time. I also am drying her dad's pin-on, my bouquet and Stefie's.

The wedding crew is to be thanked! They helped make this day very special for everyone!
The wedding coordinators / party rental help and friends!
Every bit of help was amazing!
And the honeymooners are in Europe for THREE WEEKS. They left for Athens, Greece the day after the wedding. No rest for the weary! As I write this post, they have chartered a plane and are in Mykonos. They have also posted pictures of their tour through Venice.

I'm jealous!

They will be visiting lots of places and ending their honeymoon in ROME!

I'm jealous!

They are posting pictures on Facebook as they make stops here and there. Every place looks like a postcard. I'll be make a post very soon about their travels. I can't believe they won't be home until November!

I never really had a real honeymoon trip...I had honeymoon "moments" like so many other people, so I hope they are living it up for all of us who dream of having that fantastic honeymoon!

After I was married at 18 years of age, I moved to Germany to be with my husband who was stationed there and we lived there for approximately three years. As my mother always said, "You had a three year honeymoon in Europe."

I hope they treasure their good time and remember that life is all about having a good attitude and a great perspective, no matter what the view!