If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sweet Drops of Rest!

It started raining early yesterday morning and I think Mike saw that as sweet drops of rest!

Our neighbor is out of town and he has been mowing his one-plus acre lawn.  Then, there is his mother's lawn which is about two acres.  Then, our various patches of grass - around the house, around the barn, around Pop's barn, and out the driveways.  I'm guessing that would measure at least three or four acres.  Then, he has helped out with Stephen's mowing while his mower was on the fritz.  So, that added another three or four acres.  LOTS of grass cutting!

He has been cutting grass and cutting grass and cutting grass and was ready for a break.  Of course, with rain in the forecast for the next several days, as soon as the sun shines, he will be behind on the grass cutting again!  I am reminding him that it is a blessing and we should be thankful for our blessings.  The snarl is real, ya'll!

We got our first return from his gardening efforts the other day!  Mike brought in three cucumbers.  So, yesterday I prepped one of his favorite summer-time dishes - Cucumber and Onion Salad.

Hop on over to my recipes to see why he thinks it is delicious!

I spent an afternoon participating in a webinar as a part of professional development for my job.  At this point I am looking at such activities with two different lenses.  The first is as an opportunity to learn, of course.  The second is to look at the webinar as a model for how I am going to turn something of this nature around and share it for other teacher learning opportunities.  I think I'm going to have to suggest we do some webinar/podcasts this fall!  After my suggestion of holding Google Hangouts as PD last year, that we ran with and got a series off the ground, the team may tar and feather me.  When serving as the online facilitator, the feeling is a bit tense.  We know that we are being observed by an audience online in real-time.  We also know that the workshop is being recorded and will be floating in cyberspace for anyone to access.  Whew!  Certainly caused us to step outside our little cocoon!  So, as a team, during the last couple of years we have launched:

Summertime is fleeting and when I realized yesterday was Thursday and I only have a couple weeks of freedom left my heart started to flutter!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Open Letter to Our Children

Dear Children-Who-Are-Parenting-Our-Grandchildren,

I was rewarded when reading this article because I see you all doing almost all of these things.  It reassured me that you are doing a wonderful job according to the world just as I have always believed in my heart of hearts.

Oh, I know that Mike and I sometimes mutter, question, and offer unsolicited advice in regard to your parenting (and usually regret it afterward when we think about how we would have received it when we were in the throes of raising youngsters).  But, really, we think our grandchildren are practically perfect in every way.

Don't all grandparents feel that way, though?


Thank you.

I thought so.

The post also made me do a bit of reflecting.

In reflecting on the way my own children were raised, I also thought about how many of these were incorporated into our lives.  I'm sure that is part of why you are doing such a fabulous job of parenting our adorable grands!

I will also add that, looking back, I wish I had done more of some (maybe all) of these things and want to be my bossy, interfering self to tell you to do so as well.  I think you could use this list as a guide to help you when you have self-doubt and I encourage you to look more closely at these:

  1. I wish I had given more undivided attention to you.  Why did I think some of those things needed my attention more than my precious children?
  2. Do more volunteering together.  There is nothing more gratifying and eye-opening than volunteering.  Providing a service for others with no expectation of anything in return is one of the purest forms of love for our fellow man.  It has always made me feel even more grateful for the many blessings I've been provided and, hopefully, others benefited at least as much as me.
  3. Nix negative talk.  I know I'm stretching this one beyond what the post mentions but, in my opinion we all could work toward erasing negative talk about ourselves and, even more so about others.  Watch the gossip.  Watch trash-talking.  Watch criticizing.  As the Disney character stated, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."  I know that is a most difficult thing to do but, please, at least try to prevent doing such within ear-shot of those children.

Each of the listed ways is important, I believe.  The article is insightful.  It could be used as a guide to inform you but, thankfully, I believe it will only serve as a reminder of what is important and reaffirm that you are doing the right things.

As the overbearing parent, I know that we often seem interfering and judgmental of the way you live your life or parent your children.  Please know, dear children, that we love you and think you are doing a marvelous job!  We know that we neglect to let you know that and hearing and feeling our approval is important as you weather through.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Confession Time

I have a confession to make.

I hope you are sitting down.

If you are not sitting, you probably better.

Here it is.

I'm letting the world know right now...

I am not a very tidy housekeeper.

I know it is a shock.  

I mean, you never noticed.  Did you?

Well, I have never been Mrs. Tidy.  

However, I have been doing lots of  - oh, I'll get to that later.

And I've done some - I'll tackle that the next time I'm off for a few days.

I told myself that before Labor Day last year.

I told myself that last fall before fall break.

I told myself that before Christmas break.

I even mumbled it before spring break this year.


Now it is summer time and all those I'll get to that laters are staring me in the face.

Today's project was the kitchen cabinets.  I told myself I would get that knocked out while Mike was out on the mower.
The last time the kitchen was REALLY clean - right after Mike and I married!

Do you have any idea how things can get out of hand when you say I'll get to that later?
Eeew!  Yuck!

So, I pretended to clean up a bit with some window-type cleaner and a swift wipe down.  Then, I looked really closely and saw the scenery above and all of its yuckiness.
Today, became THE DAY.

I mixed up a solution of vinegar and dish soap and got me a bucket and a spray bottle and a scrubber and a cloth and I've been doing a deep clean.  Just look at what a little elbow grease can do to the built-up yuckiness of cooking, dustiness, I'll-get-to-that-later.
I still love the distressed-over-time look of my cabinets and the kitchen.  It really looks so much better when it is just the distressed and not the I'll-get-to-that-later look, though!

It feels so good to see that cleanliness!  Two down...
...just eighteen more to go and I'll be done!

...with the top cabinets...ARGH!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Time is Cleaning Time

Now that I have had a few days off for summer, I have taken today to kind of catch my breath.  Mike has been busy with grass cutting - the summer job that never ends!  It seems that just as soon as he gets everything mowed, we get a dowsing of rain and the grass jumps up there for another mowing.  No complaints!  The rain is also watering his garden.

I have given the minimal help with the garden this summer.  During the late spring - perhaps during Memorial Day weekend - I gave him a little assistance as we set out twenty-plus tomato plants, a couple of cucumber plants, a couple of squash plants, and sewed some okra, squash, and cucumber seeds.  Early last week I spent a morning with him doing a bit of weeding and sewing a few more seeds.  He has added a few more tomatoes to the rows and has started a few more from seeds to be late harvesting.  Mike also added another row of okra to be his late crop of okra as well.

Only a couple of days later, he came in with a furrowed brow.  His tomatoes had some brown spots on the leaves.  He mentioned it to a friend who provided a phone diagnosis of blight and suggested a good spraying with a liquid copper solution.  So, immediately, I logged on and searched for symptoms of blight and remedies.  We crossed our fingers and hoped the kind of blight his tomatoes were suffering was one that could be controlled with a simple regular spraying of this copper solution and I ordered a couple of quarts of concentrated solution with speedy shipping.  The next morning Mike was up with the sun and out spraying in hopes of saving his veggies.  We are keeping our fingers crossed.

I have done a wee bit of spring/summer cleaning.  Some of our closet shelves have been ministered to by my attention.  I've weeded out some sweaters and tops in my work stash and bagged them up for donation.  I've scrubbed the bathrooms with vigor.  I've cleaned a few of the kitchen cabinets and keep working on a couple more each day.  I plan to take just a little corner and do a bit of cleaning each day between now and my return to school.  Hopefully, I can get around to all the corners to have things cleaned without breaking my old, aching back!

I've become a fan of Kroger's ClickList and ordered groceries online last night.  Mike rode with me first thing this morning to see how it all works and we picked up our order.  He thinks that might become a job he can handle - the  pickup - when I return to work in the fall.  We shall see...

This afternoon I have stirred up a batch of Basic Granola.  I have come to be a big fan of this stuff added to some yogurt and fruit.  I stumbled across the recipe a while back and just recently rediscovered it and gave it a try.  I told Bridgette this afternoon that I really look forward to retirement when I can cook up all the tasty looking things I've saved to Pinterest!  I'm to the point that I sometimes just chant the date that I am hoping becomes my retirement date!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day Gift

Our fathers gave us the greatest gift anyone could give another person:
they believed in us.

They also provided an exceptional role model for us and our children.  
They remain forever in our hearts and are especially missed this Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the guys in my life who are fathering and grandfathering!

Stephen and son, Easton

Stephen and son, Levi

Corey and daughter, Luci

Corey and daughters, Lydia and Lillie

Bryan and son, Harris

Mike and grandsons, Easton and Levi

Mike and grandson, Harris

Mike and granddaughter, Luci

Mike and granddaughter, Lydia

Mike and granddaughter, Lillie

We certainly enjoy many blessings!  I hope their day is as full of love as the love I have for them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day

Why do we celebrate Flag Day?

Well, according to Fox News, the Second Continental Congress created a resolution which called for an official United States flag on June 14, 1777.  Flag day was officially observed in 1877.  Harry Truman signed Flag Day's permanent observance as a law in 1949.

We are proud to let the American Flag wave at our home!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

"As we express our gratitude, 
we must never forget
 that the highest appreciation 
is not to utter the words, 
but to live by them."

__John F. Kennedy

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Advice on Mother's Day 2017

I'm always searching.  I look for wisdom and try to latch onto it and embed it into the marrow of my bones.  I don't want to store up all this wisdom so that I can hoard it, be perched in an ivory tower, and admired from afar.   I want to tuck it into neat little file folders and store it in the filing cabinet of my brain so that I can pull it out at the most opportune time.  I want to gather this wisdom to me like pulling clean laundry off the line or out of the dryer so that I can share it when others need it most, when they are at the depths of despair, when they need an uplifting word.  I search for wisdom for selfish reasons - primarily because I don't want to feel at a loss when somebody needs comfort most - or to be truthful, when I need comfort most.

I don't think I am alone in this and I think that is the mother element that is deep down inside each of us.  Some of us are fortunate enough to have wonderful mothers who set fine examples and lived as a model to guide the way.  Others were not so lucky and simply learned what doesn't work and what might be better.  Yet, somehow we all learned from our mothers in some fashion and in turn we set our sights at being as good or far better.

As I saw Mother's Day approaching this year, I really began to notice motherhood and searched for wisdom.  I searched for wisdom that I could share here.  I searched for something profound and earth-shattering.  I searched for some ideal.  I searched nearby in the ordinary and I looked further away at the famous.  In all my searching all I really found is that I am not alone in my search.

Emily Freeman expressed the vast range of mothering in her post, This One's For The Mothers.  Like Emily, I've paid attention to the young woman who has spent years getting her education and establishing her career and supporting her husband as he works through earning his degree and begins a career and feels like her timeline is ready for another hash-mark that is motherhood.  I've observed a young mother with a month's-old newborn who is coping.  She is absorbing as much as she can from that sweet little fellow's out-loud-laughs and sweet, slobbery kisses while she is also fighting delirium from the loss of sleep waking her each night for his feeding.  I observe the young mothers with whom I work or those in my own family who are establishing a household, keeping a business going, and nurturing older family members while at the same time changing diapers or potty-training, racing to beat the school-bell, monitoring homework or sibling scuffles, taxi-ing to dance or ball practice, and keeping business going at the same time.  I search the mothers around me of tweens and teens and the attitudes, sibling arguments, coming-of-age-maturity pains with which they are dealing.  I search the women who are my ancestors dealing with health issues and coping with alone-ness and carrying on.  I search my peers and see that they, too, are establishing their place as grandmothers and supportive mothers of adults and figuring out their purpose at this stage as they try to catch their breath from the previous scurrying of raising those adult-children.

In my search for wisdom this week, I also stumbled upon Some Things I Learned About Being A Mom by Sarah, who blogs over at Clover Lane.  She lists five different things she has learned which are valuable and true and heart-touching but perhaps the most profound one is that she has grown right along with her children and each teaches her something new.

I also took in the wise words of Maria Shriver this morning in her I've Been Thinking post and really relate to the concept that mothers are a towering presence in the lives of others.  We tower literally and figuratively at all stages and ages along the journey of life.  Whether we have given birth or adopted and mothered children or not, as women we are still role models for others - we might be the model of what one wishes to be at the same time we are the model of what one hopes never to be.  The wisdom I've searched for and gathered in to myself is that either one is quite alright - mainly because at any given moment along this journey we could possibly be both at the very same time.  Most importantly, for the sanity of all of us is that we all need to find joy in the journey.  Each step along the way has its tribulations but also along the way are loads and loads of joy and, as mothers, that is what we should be searching for all along the journey with all of our heart.

I wish you the best in your searches along the way and a Happy Mother's Day as well!
By the way, you can find this free printable, more printables, and lots more wisdom with Ann On Sutton Place.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What I did during spring break

It has been almost a month since I had time off for spring break but I thought I'd share a couple of the things I did with my time off.  For most of one afternoon I used Mike's ATV and tried to help him out a bit.

He had plowed up a new area back behind one of our barns and there were several pretty good sized rocks which were unearthed.  So, I pulled the ATV up there and loaded the rocks.  Then, I hauled them down to the driveway where there is a gigantor pothole created by a wet weather spring that drains down there.  They went into the hole and inspired me to pick up more rocks to help fill in the hole.  So, I made three or four trips up into one of the lots behind the barn where some dozier work had been done and filled the bed of the ATV, hauled the rocks down, and dumped them into the pothole.  

At the end of the day I realized that there were going to be several more days working on this project.  Whew!  My aching back and arms!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

In A Funk

I've been chastised more than once this week because I have been neglecting my blog and haven't been posting like I should.  Well, I have a confession to make.

I've been in a funk.

I'm probably always my own worst critic - well, except sometimes members of my family will step up and relieve me of that duty.  So, when I feel like the critics have taken over my life, I just dip into a funk.

I've had things to work on in my personal life.  I've had things to work on in my professional life.  There really hasn't been a haven for me.  So, I fell into a funk.  Perhaps the post I created for my teacher blog will better explain a little piece of the funky pie.  So, if you are interested, hop over there and see what has been going on.

Please know that I am still here surrounded by my Blue and putting one foot in front of the other.  I may be singing the blues but I'm here and working through the funk in hopes that there is sunshine on the other side.

Hope you are experiencing sunshine and fresh spring breees!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Done With It!

After Saturday's snowfall, I'm done with winter.  I'm tired of grey days - grey skies, grey trees, grey-brown ground, grey weather.  I'm ready for some green.

I'm ready for flowers.  I'm ready for steadily warm days.

I know, I know.  We hardly had any real winter weather at all this year.  I think I only had frost on the windshield a few more than a hand-full of mornings.  But, I'm done with winter.  

I erased the Let it Snow message Sunday morning and began searching for inspiration to replace it.  I looked for something more spring-like.  

I liked the oval shape of this design and decided to do my best to replicate it so I could leave the sentiment up for a while.  So, this one isn't really all that springy but it is positive and that is something I really need to be reminded of these days, it seems.

For one of my other chalkboards, I decided to go all-out-spring.  I wanted it to be simple but I also wanted it to be seasonal.  I found this design online and decided to give it a spin.  I just rolled with a simple piece of white chalk and began to draw free-hand.  It suits me fine but I've decided that before the next time I start with my inspirations, I think I will get a yardstick or a ruler and do a bit of measuring and marking to be more precise.

With this one, I figured the cute little eggs at the bottom would be easy to erase and replace with some sketched tulips or daisies after we celebrate Easter and won't require a radical re-do for me.  So, two chalkboards springed up and one left to go!

I also dug around and found my little grapevine wreaths that have the pastel eggs attached and hung them on the back doors.  Of course, my pinecone garland is still swagged over the French doors coming into the kitchen.  So, right now I've got a bit of a mixed seasonal message, I guess.  I'll get there sometime this week even though the weather is predicted to still be a bit chilly.  Now that we have sprung forward with the time change, I'll have a bit of time in the afternoon to do some chores in the daylight and maybe I can transfer over to full-blown springtime decor!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Sad Day

Well, yesterday was a sad day in our household.

We had to bid goodbye to an old friend.

We had been served well.

After all, that friend had only been a part of our lives for thirty-plus years.

Yet, when I set it atop the mate and pushed down on the center spot like I have countless thousand times before...

My finger just pushed straight through the trendy avocado center.

Sadness abounds.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Good Morning!

After a week where temperatures had reached the seventy-degree mark, this is what we woke up to this morning.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

While March is designated as Women's History Month, today is officially International Women's Day.  I first learned of International Women's Day by reading Maria Shriver's The Sunday Paper.  I've always loved the quote which she started off the day on Sunday: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

I've never been one to take my privileges and opportunities for granted.  My father was really a part of the Women's Movement years ago and probably never realized it - or intended it, either, for that matter.  He was just doing his best to try to raise strong women who could take care of themselves - and he and my mother certainly did.  

I will always hear my Daddy telling me that I could do anything those boys could do when it came to farm work.  He encouraged me to work hard and participate in agricultural endeavors in 4-H when that was not really the norm.  Oh, I did do a bit of sewing and canning for the state fair but our greatest efforts and best showing as young girls was in the livestock arena.  We trained our heifers to lead and joined the guys out there in the show ring parading our best and competing for top honors.  At that time there were very few girls involved in that aspect of 4-H which was mostly dominated by guys.  I think I was the first girl on a dairy judging team in our county as well.  

Now, Daddy didn't want me to forget I was feminine or to forget that there were times when lady-like behavior was most acceptable, but he told us that the true mark of a lady was if she could stand hip-deep in mud and manure and thirty minutes later look and smell like a rose...and that we were forced to do quite often.  

Later, when my life was at a crossroad, Daddy again was my strongest encourager.  I listened to him lift me up time and time again telling me, "You can do this," when I was working full-time, going to school at night full-time, and trying to keep up with a couple of teenagers as a newly-single-mother.  So, I guess without even knowing it, Daddy was a lot like Harry T. Burn.  Only, instead of listening to his mother, he was encouraging his daughter.

Now, let me make it perfectly clear, I have never struggled the way many women have.  I've never lived in poverty.  I may have been like the one out of three women Shriver focused upon with her 2014 Report - on the  brink.  I remember not knowing if I was going to have enough gas to get to work on Friday when I didn't get paid till Monday and that sort of thing but I could have asked for help and any number of people would have been glad to lend a hand.  In those times, I truly was on the brink like some of the women spotlighted in the video She's The One - if something had broken or I'd been in a car wreck, I would have been in a mess.  I was fortunate and feel like I was being looked after by a divine being, though.  

Daddy also always impressed upon me the importance of voting.  He reminded me that our country is strong because of the  power of the vote and I should not take that privilege for granted.  He told me that if I wasn't going to be able to go to the polls on election day that there is always the opportunity to vote early.  He reminded me that lots of people had given their lives to provide me we the chance to vote and not to take that lightly.  

On this International Women's Day, I also would like to remind folks - especially women, not to take our situation lightly.  Here in The United States, women are fortunate.  We enjoy many opportunities.  While, we still live in a man's world for the most part due to the fact that there are far more men who out-earn us and out-power us in the corporate and political world, we are fortunate here.  So, let's not forget folks like Elizabeth Avery Meriwether, Lide E. Meriwether, and Anne Dallas Dudley.  Check out the Tennessee Virtual Archive for more information about these women.  There are also more materials online and a museum in Seneca Falls, New York which celebrates Women's Rights that is owned and operated as a part of the National Park Service.  Visit the Tennessee Woman's Suffrage Monument at Centennial Park in Nashville to learn more, as well.

I may like the opening quote because I think it gives me permission to misbehave at times.  I do strongly believe that it is those people - both men and women - who don't do the ordinary that we remember and respect.  So, on International Women's Day, why not honor a strong woman you admire and respect?  I am!

My Mother

My Mother-In-Law

My Daughter, Bridgette

My Daughter-In-Love, Jessica

My Daughter-In-Love, Bonnie