Category Archives: holidays

Memorial Day Weekend

Greenwood Arkansas Memorial Park

This photo was taken in 2013, but each year we have the same moving display. The park is in the center of the square; so if you’re going anywhere, you see this gorgeous display. There are stones all around the park honoring veterans from Greenwood, purchased by their families.  More are added each year. The stones give the name of the veteran plus dates and service areas, wars. I don’t know how many stones we have in the park now, but I’m proud that so many good people served their country when it needed them.

I wanted to buy one to honor my husband, who is a Marine Corps Veteran, 4 years in the Vietnam era, but he is adamant that he doesn’t deserve to be honored, since he wasn’t in actual combat and did not sacrifice his life. I honor him in my heart, instead.

I thank everyone deployed now, and their families, for keeping us safe.

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Gardening for Mother’s Day

My husband and I were talking last night about how much he has changed since we married almost 50 years ago. He mentioned that if he were by himself, he ‘wouldn’t have any of it” – referring to the 14 brick planters we built, the raised-bed square foot garden, the greenhouse, the deck…. I asked him if he would miss any of it now. His answer kind of startled me. He said an emphatic, “YES!”

When we had our home built, he started doing all this because it was important to ME. He wanted me to be happy, so he not only went along with, but suggested things to encourage my love of flowers, veggies, and working outside. Now he considers it a quality of life thing. He loves the flowers almost as much as I do. He looks for ways to make my gardening easier, since I’m getting a bit ‘long-in-the-tooth’ now. He WANTS to go shopping for plants and takes a great interest when something blooms.

Yesterday the second part of my Mother’s Day gift to myself was several sessions out in the yard, trying to uncover the flowers in a trio of planters that go between our front yard and our driveway. He not only helped me, he sat and kept me company while I worked.

We only have one red rose bush in our yard, but I brought these in yesterday so we could enjoy them inside.  I pruned the three Rio Samba rose bushes so they’ll hopefully keep blooming. (A wonderful lady at the local nursery taught me how to prune. You take the spent bloom in your hand and find the next group of five leaves on the branch. You cut in a diagonal above that group of leaves.)

I only finished one of the three planters yesterday, so I’ll be out there today, continuing to try to make sense of the huge growth of greenery. Wish me luck? I’ll post pics when they are finished.

 

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Help! I’m Buried!

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Our planters don’t look QUITE this bad, but I just spent an hour going from one flower pot to another, pulling out huge sunflower plants from the seeds we feed the birds – happily overpowering the wave tulips and periwinkles on the deck, then moving from one place to another pulling out TONS of really tall, healthy weeds in the planters around the house. I still have the trio of brick planters to weed that are between our front yard and the driveway.

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I’m going to play some more in my art room and THEN go back out and do another session. I’m having the best time painting two more tees for myself. I’m a slob, getting spots that won’t come out on tees that are perfectly good, otherwise. It makes me happy to give them new life with happy designs. I’ll post pics when they’re finished.

I approach Mother’s Day with mixed emotions. I’m happy that I’m lucky to be a mom. It’s one of the most challenging and rewarding roles that one can have. If you’re very lucky, it’s a gift that keeps on giving your whole lifetime. I had the best chat online with our son this morning. He lives across the world from us, but we can almost forget that since he’s such a wonderful communicator. We chat almost daily, sending music, pics, jokes, etc to each other, plus talking almost as much as we would like. When we can arrange it (there is a 12-hour time difference) we chat on a conference call where we can actually see each other and talk.

I say ‘mixed emotions’ because my own mom, and my husband’s mom, are both gone, as are our dads. We miss them all and wish we could hug their necks and tell them once again how much they have meant to us in our lives. Mother’s Day hurts a bit, too, because my daughter lived two months and one day, and died many years ago now, leaving a hole that never heals. It makes me extra grateful that I have a husband I treasure and a son we are beyond proud of.

Today I feel I am a super lucky lady, with a bright sun shining, warm temperatures, and the gift of having the day to spend working outside AND in my art room – two of my favorite things – PLUS watching “Game of Thrones” tonight! :0)

I hope that you are spending this Mother’s Day doing things you love, too.

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Happy Mother’s Day

RJ Bennett – LinkedIn

 

Elena (Livia) D. – LinkedIn

 

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Easter!

Joe Bailey – LinkedIn – bunnies for Easter

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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“Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter
Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after.
Poems and songs with pipes and drums
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes.”
~Author Unknown

“For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way –
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.”
~Author Unknown

“There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were.” ~ Unknown

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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St. Patrick’s Day Gift Ideas

 

 

Lucky Shamrocks are hand painted on this one-of-a-kind journal by Linda Lewis. The outside cover is linen type off white with nice texture. The inside has 100 blank pages for your thoughts, dreams, lists, memories – Dimensions of the journal are 3-3/4″ wide x 5-3/4″ long x 3/8″ thick. A great size to put in your purse, tote, glove compartment, school bag. Make this YOUR lucky year with a “Luck of the Irish” hand painted journal!

 

St. Patrick’s Day – Hand Painted Basket

“St. Patrick’s Day” is a one-of-a-kind hand-painted wooden basket by Linda Lewis. The oval basket is 11″ long x 9.5″ wide x 7 ” tall. (The basket is about 13.5″ tall with the handle extended straight up.) The dimensions of the inner basket at the base are approximately 8″ x 6″. The “squares” created by the weaving are painted a deep green and then have a layer of clear glitter paint on top. The picture shows the front and back of the basket, with a different Irish saying on each. There are silver and gold shamrocks on both sides of the sayings. If you’re not Irish, try to be adopted by someone who IS!

 

St. Pat’s Memory Box

One-of-a-kind heavy paper memory boxes. Please indicate your choice of “3 Shamrocks” or “Multi” when you order. May the luck of the Irish be with you!  “Painted Shamrocks” is 9.5″ in diameter and 5″ high. It has shamrocks ribbon around the lid plus feathers as accents.  “Foam Shamrocks” is 8″ in diameter and 4″ high. It has several different sizes of foam shamrocks, plus gold paint as accent. The boxes and lids are painted with varnish for extra protection. Initialed and dated. Please indicate your choice when you order.

 

 

St. Pat’s Day Tote Bag

12.5″ wide x 13.5″ tall x 4″ deep, with open gusset in the bottom. Each tote bag is hand-painted with fabric paint, signed and dated, then sprayed with several layers of Scotchgard to prevent stains. Hand wash. Please indicate your choice of “Luck of the Irish,” “Irish Rainbow,” or “Kiss me!” when you order.

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Filed under Holiday Gift Ideas, holidays, Lewis Art, LindaLewis on ArtFire

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

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My Get Up and Go has Got Up and Gone

WiffleGif.gif

We pooped ourselves out for the afternoon on the demolishing the brick planter project. We’ve eaten and taken a nap and STILL are feeling tired and sleepy. I’m drinking coffee to try to get some energy going.

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day tonight with some jumbo shrimp cocktail and a salad.

dontgetserious

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ CHARLES M. SCHULZ

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Happy Chinese New Year!

This is the Year of the Pig.

“Flying Pig” by Harvey and Linda Lewis

We think that in a lot of ways, pigs are flying and have been for quite awhile.

My husband and I had a great time creating this flying pig from a 25 gallon propane tank and leftover parts, plus sheet metal. This picture shows him hanging from a tree over the driveway during an ice storm last year.

 

This is a closer look at him in better weather as we prepared to hang him from the tree.

He makes us smile every time we go down the driveway or come up again. :0)

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Filed under holidays, Lewis Art, Lewis yard art, metal art

Valentine’s Day Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Holiday Gift Ideas, holidays, Lewis Art, LindaLewis on ArtFire

Valentine’s Day Decoration for Our Mailbox

 

 

We put up our Valentine’s Day decoration this morning on the way out for errands.

We cut this out on our CNC set up out of sheet metal with a computer-guided torch.  We use an overhead projector to mark the metal and then I paint both sides with outdoor paint. We spray polyurethane on to protect the design from the elements as much as possible.

Sweet and sappy – my kind of Valentine’s Day!

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Hugs and Love

The Journey Home via Carol Auclair Daly

 

I’m feeling a bit blue right now – AND feeling guilty that I’m such a greedy lady. We took our son to the airport this morning after enjoying a JOYOUS 3 weeks together. He was here for his birthday AND Christmas AND New Year’s.

I’m blue because we have no clue how long it will be before we can see him again. This time it was over 3 years, since he lives and works in Thailand. His trip home was 28 hours all told – and that was the SHORTER way. I hate for him to have to do this, but I’m SO glad he did.

I’m feeling guilty because – truth be told – there is no ‘long enough visit,’ or enough hugs.

Our son is a champion hugger. It brings tears to my eyes when I get one from him, and he’s super generous with them. My hugs bucket is filled up at the moment after a long drought.  My heart is full.

We are so proud of the man he is and his plans for the future. We are lucky that he knows how much we love him and how proud we are of him. We know WE are loved, and he enjoys being with us – a truly wonderful thing.

 

The Fresh Quotes

Our son went around to the driver’s side of the car at the airport this morning to hug his dad. My husband said, “If I never get to see you again, you’ll be okay.” Then our son came around the car to me, eyes red, giving me a last, hard, long hug.

It’s a beautiful thing to love so hard.

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3 Wishes for You in 2019

WISH 1 –

“My Wish for you in 2019:

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires.

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy.

May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words …….

May 2019 be the best year of your life!!!”  ~ Unknown

Mag for Women

__________________

WISH 2

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.” ~ Neil Gaiman, British author

 

thesocialpoets.blogspot.com

WISH 3 –

sun-gazing.com via cathy ruggiero

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Filed under Dreams, empowerment, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes, Good Thoughts, holidays, wishes

Pumpkin Bread

Loving and taking care of Amber is a full-time job. She will be two-years-old in March and weighs 94 pounds.

I thought that she wore my husband and me out because we’re getting a bit ‘long-in-the-tooth,’ but our son feels the same way. We received a beautiful Christmas card with a photo of a yellow lab with a Christmas wreath around his neck from long-time friends. The photo was of THEIR lab, “Tank” who is 5 years old and still thinks he’s a puppy, so it looks like WE are the ones who will have to continue to learn and adjust on the raising of Amber.

She has been ecstatic about our son, trying to knock him over with exuberant bids for attention, barking incessantly when she’s outside, leaving hair all over him, slurping him to the point he has to get up and wash his hands, grabbing the lint roller to try to remove at least one layer of the hair on his clothes. She hasn’t run into him yet – in a trick we call, “The Matador,” where we attempt to turn to the side, yelling, “Ole!” when she hopefully runs BY us at full speed – rather than INTO us, knocking us flat on the ground outside.

We try to stay alert, on guard for anything new. This holiday, she and Molly, our 13-year-old cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, found the bones of a deer somewhere on our land (we have about 8 acres on top of a ridge line). We have been gathering the bones from the front yard, most of the time under deep protest from the dogs, throwing away some parts we can identify and some we can’t, hoping each day that this is the end of it. They absolutely LOVE to lie in the yard, happily chewing on one bone or another…

Last night my husband and I played, “Dive-into-the-chest-freezer-in-the-garage-and-try-to-find-something” – usually on the bottom of the chest. We were looking for a package of hamburger meat so I can make us some spaghetti – one of the things we’ve been craving while on our diet. We also found some pumpkin bread – a gift from my sister-in-law. She makes that and pound cake, which definitely lives up to its name and goes straight to my hips. I put both of them at the bottom of the chest freezer in an effort to forget they were there. :0)  My husband, having an eagle eye for sweets, came up with the pumpkin bread and brought it inside. We put the wrapped chunk of hamburger meat and the unwrapped pumpkin bread on the counter in the kitchen to thaw.

We have a strict rule about Amber being in the living room behind a gate between there and the kitchen. Lately the line has been blurred because Amber has been chewing on the deer and then giving back a lot of dog food as her stomach protests her eating habits. So we’ve been keeping her in the kitchen/dining area to keep her on the tiles in case her stomach protests again. Usually our son is there, working on his computer, and can monitor things.

A perfect storm of events resulted in our hearing a mysterious sound while we were in the living room talking. Our son ran into the kitchen to find Amber, her feet up on the kitchen island, happily eating one end of the pumpkin bread. He yelled, put her outside, and we looked at the chewed bread. I cut off about 1/4 of the bread, making a clean break between Amber’s enjoyment and the rest of the loaf. My husband then happily ate a piece ‘to test it,’ and then another, pronouncing the pumpkin bread ‘delicious!’

Amber thinks this holiday – with deer and pumpkin bread – is a delicious tradition she would like to continue.

 

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Round Figures

Ali Express

 

“Doctors tell us there are over seven million people who are overweight. These, of course, are only round figures.” ~ Unknown

__________________

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know my husband and I are on NutriSystem to lose the lard and to help control my husband’s Type II Diabetes.

He has given up sugar and I’ve given up salt – now concentrating on choosing what we eat much more carefully.

Our son is visiting from Thailand for the first time in over three years – and to say we’re over the moon is a vast understatement. He is very good about either fixing his own food, eating beef stew I made and put in the fridge, or eating with us. We couldn’t ask for a more accommodating person. We are free to eat our Nutrisystem as usual, having our flex meals and doing fine through the holidays. He has encouraged and applauded our efforts to get and stay as healthy as we can.

What has happened, though, is that we’re using the fact he’s here – and it’s a holiday – to splurge. We’re going out to eat more, I fixed a turkey and all the fixings for our Christmas dinner yesterday, we’re eating stew and toasted bread to go along with it, plus….. you get the picture.

I’ve continued to exercise most days – but not when my husband is watching TV in the living room or asleep in the living room in his chair. The living room is really the only room in the house large enough for me to do my thing, other than when I’m on the elliptical trainer in the garage. It’s the only place we have where I can play my videos – yoga, walking, and a new one I just got where exercise is achieved through dancing your head off – something that really appeals to me. I haven’t tried it yet because – yeah – the living room is occupied.

We could beat ourselves up over regaining a few pounds and not exercising every day as we should, or we can relax, totally enjoy the holiday, the food, the entertaining, the going out to eat, the meals with our son and then get back on the horse when the holidays are over.

We decided that the Nutrisystem basics of portion control, eating something about every three hours, control of our calories, eating NS foods that are low in salt, sugar, fat and calories, plus moving more is a lifestyle change – not something we’re ‘trying on for size’ and abandoning either when the newness wears off or we actually reach our weight goals. This is the way we want to eat and live the rest of our lives. We’re learning to do our flex meals like sensible people – except over the holidays – and we’ve adopted some really good, healthy eating changes.

We admit we’re flawed humans who succumb to excess given ample opportunity. We’re enjoying every minute and we’ve agreed to hit the ground running when the holidays are over. We’ve delayed getting to our goals, but not abandoned the end game.

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Filed under Challenges, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, holidays, quality of life, taking care of yourself

My Favorite Christmas Quotes – 2018

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

 

“Cold Sun” – Alina Ciuciu – LinkedIn

 

A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange. ~Author Unknown

 

Thumb Press

 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Ar Ali – LinkedIn

 

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

 

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ~Mary Ellen Chase

Pinterest

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar  of it every month. ~Harlan Miller

Shutterfly

 

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~ Peg Bracken.

Thumb Press

 

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.” ~ Deborah Whipp

“Dry Leaves” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Christmas 2018

Lisa Bearnes Richey

 

R.J. Bennett – LinkedIn

 

Manish Sharma – LinkedIn

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Christmas Eve Evening

123RF.com

We’ve had a wonderful afternoon. A good friend came over, bearing gifts, good conversation, and lots of hugs.  The turkey is in the oven, the beef stew is in the crock pot. All the side dishes are ready to be finished later.

I’ve been enjoying some coffee and a good book while my husband is watching yet another guy-fix-up-and-sell car show marathon.

Our son has been working on his computer, doing something for a client.

The Christmas lights are lit, the house is warm and cozy. The cooking smells are starting to make me hungry. :0)

 

Blingee.com

Merry Christmas Eve!

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Santa is Coming!

Graphics99.com

I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Eve.

We’re going to have our special dinner this evening – very quiet – just the three of us.

I put another beef stew in the crock pot this morning, since our son likes to grab a bowl here and there during the days and evenings. I’ll put the turkey in soon and do some deviled eggs- a favorite of all of us. I’ll do the rest of the fixings later.

We did errands and went to the post office to mail books we sold.  Now we can enjoy being in a warm, dry house, good food cooking, and a good friend coming over this afternoon to spend some time with us. :0)

I’m soaking up every minute with our son. When he goes, we have no clue when he’ll be coming back, though we can talk to him via our chat program and a conference call app. We are so happy that he is living his dream – living where he wants to, as he wants to. You can’t ask for more as parents. But until he goes, I’m collecting every hug I can get, spending lots of time talking and laughing with him, building up beautiful memories of the very best Christmas we’ve had in a long, long time.  At some point, I’ll have to insist we get some pics…

Merry Christmas!

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Friends

pexels

We’ve been having a truly wonderful time lately, entertaining friends who we either haven’t seen in a long time or friends who want to come and say, “Hi” to our son while he’s home from Thailand.

Our home is so full of love its bursting at the seams and I couldn’t love it more.

We’re exchanging Christmas presents, in some cases – in others, just enjoying some coffee or a bit of food. In all cases, we’re enjoying hugs, laughs, and good conversation.

SUCH a special time for us. Can you see me grinning?

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Santa is Coming to Town!

We put up this mailbox decorations this morning.

As far as we’re concerned, Santa came to our home December 10th, when we picked up our son at the airport to stay with us for three weeks.  We really don’t need anything more – just seeing our good friends. We are super lucky this year, having our son for his birthday AND Christmas before he leaves.  Right now he’s in the dining area, working on his computer. Just knowing I can get up and get a wonderful hug makes me smile.

 

I hope Santa is good to YOU this year, too.

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Filed under Family, holidays, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art

Happiness

SayingImages.com

Can you see me grinning? Can you feel the happiness spilling out of me all over the floor?

Our son came home from Thailand yesterday for the first time in over 3 years. After he had a chance to catch up a bit on sleep, we shared beef stew, pets, and good conversation until about 11:30 last night.

There are no words for how full I’m feeling. I have everything right in my home. Right now.

Our elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, not only remembered him, crying with excitement and joy, she insisted on spending much of the evening in his lap, only moving to push her face closer to him. We were all touched by how happy she was to welcome him home again. Amber was her usual boisterous self, blissfully unaware of how huge she is and how much destruction she can cause in a short amount of time. She, too, calmed down, though, after a while, and was content to come over and demand he love her every once in a while.

It doesn’t matter what we do while he’s here. I’m going to try to get some pictures, and I’m trying NOT to smother him, though he’s telling me I’m ‘worrying too much’ about whether he’s comfortable or not, has everything he needs, can find things, remembers about our weird hot water system, etc. There is no way a mother quits worrying until she is gone.

I’ll collect as many hugs as he’ll allow while he’s here and just enjoy the time spent with him, whatever we’re doing. I love to talk with him. Last night we started talking about meditation. He is really into the practice and it’s helping him calm his mind and deal with whatever happens. I’m really happy he has found something that is so rewarding.

He just came into the office after eating his breakfast and before going up to shower. He loved Amber until she calmed down and then came over and gave me the best hug in the world. Now I’m adding tears to the joy.

So, you’ll probably get sick of happiness exuding all over the place from me over the next three weeks. I have to tell you I can’t help it and I’ll be happy enough for you and me BOTH!

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Christmas Honors

Christmas Honors – Fort Smith Nat’l Cemetery – Do South Magazine

My good friend, Carla, lost her husband a few years ago. He is buried at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. That year she asked me if I would go with her to help volunteers put the bows on thousands of wreaths honoring the veterans. I was honored to be asked.

We spent several hours with lots of nice people. There were lots of others, like my friend and I, who attached bows to the wreaths. There were others who brought the wreaths and bows to us at the tables. Others who gathered the wreaths on long poles to be taken out to the big trucks that took them to the cemetery.

It was an emotional thing to be able to help honor our vets. There are other volunteers, I think the Boy Scouts, who actually put the wreaths on each grave, and then, later, there is a nice ceremony.

I’m pleased I spent most of a day helping other volunteers. I’m happy I could support my good friend. I’m so glad this is such a beautifully planned and executed effort to help us show our support and never forget their sacrifice.

And when this is over for the year, volunteers return to pick up the wreaths and take them back to the convention center, where people remove the bows and put them in protective bags. The wreaths and bows are carefully stored for next year.

Thanks to all who made this possible.

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Busy Day

Incredibly Cute Animal Pictures – pinterest

I have been going non-stop since we got up this morning.

Bad weather – in the form of cold front, cold rain, ice, sleet, snow, and flying hair balls is forecast for today-into-tomorrow. Since our driveway is steep and 650 feet down to the street, we tend to take ice seriously around here. Snow isn’t as much of a problem, but Arkansas tends to do ICE and THEN snow on top, making for a hairy situation.

The mailman came up the driveway today. We had received a BUNCH of packages and boxes as well as our regular mail, so we spent a bunch of time opening and organizing things. Then we went to the grocery store to get things we would be unhappy to be without if we get stuck on top of our ridge line. I got all the food put away while my husband took all the boxes and packing and burned them in the burn barrel. (It was raining, so we didn’t have to worry about having the fire.)

My husband had asked me to make pulled pork, so I spent about an hour getting a pork shoulder ready for the crock pot. It’s cooking now. Just as I cleaned up the kitchen, it was time for lunch.

I just finished cleaning out the refrigerator we have in the pantry and am now taking a break for a cup of coffee and my blog. It’s already 4:30!

I found more Christmas decorations in the pantry, so I’m going to open up the bags and decide where to put things.

A happy, busy day, and I’m feeling that someone sucked all the energy out of me. I’m going to regroup for a while and then tackle the fun job of looking at Christmas decorations.

I hope the weather where you are is good and that you’re having a great day.

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Filed under holidays, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Mother Nature

My Christmas Present to Me

I told you a few days ago that I fell in love with a “Cool Rat” online at Old Estate Art Gallery out of Thibodaux, Louisiana. When I saw him, I decided I HAD to have him. The lady who chatted with me and then took my information on the phone couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. I’ve loved this store for several years, but they didn’t have an online presence until recently and weren’t set up to ship their merchandise.

 

I received him today and I couldn’t be more pleased. Just looking at him makes me grin. When I thought about putting him away once Christmas was over, I quickly decided to take him out of that category in my mind.

 

I have several shelves in the office above my computer area. I already had the little, totally flexible and pose-able teddy bear, and my ceramic and fabric “Fairy God Frog” there, and now the “Cool Rat” has joined the family of things that make me smile.

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Filed under Childlike Fun, Favorite Things, holidays

More Like Christmas…

I’m waiting until our son is home on MONDAY (whoopeeeee!) to get the big Tupperware tub of Christmas decorations out –  plus our tree – but I’m starting to do a bit here and there.

This is the dining area. I have a Christmas wreath with lights, lights wrapped around the rail across the top of the window to the right of this picture,  and a few decorations on the divider that goes between the dining area and the kitchen.

 

This is a present from a dear friend. It’s a combination light that looks mosaic and changes colors as you watch and a diffuser with a nice scent.

 

This is ceramic. The couple who made it personalized the heart for me. I’ve had this for years and I love it.

 

This one is made of wood and was also personalized for me by its creators.

 

Every year I like to showcase the Christmas cards we receive from friends and family. I hang each one on the vertical uprights on our stair railing with yarn. I also add ornaments or other decoration. This year I’m using wooden ‘gingerbread’ ornaments. I bought these from a company last year, stained and then painted them to make them look like gingerbread cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas cards will make the decoration fuller and fuller as the season progresses. I’ll also add garlands of sparkly stuff!

 

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This Scrooge is Thawing

This photo of our son, Brian, and me was taken at Christmas in 2007. It’s still one of my all-time favorite photos.

I’ve been a Scrooge, basically, since then because my heart wasn’t really in it. Our son decided several years ago that in order to really learn Mandarin, he needed to live where it was spoken. He packed up and went to China, attending an American language school there, leaving just before they had a terrible earthquake. He came home, but then went back, this time living in Shanghai.

Then he decided that he wanted to live somewhere more quiet, so he went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has made it a point not only to continue learning Mandarin, but also to learn Thai. He participates on a regular basis on an app where people can call in for translations between Mandarin and English and Thai. This allows him to get more and more fluent as he tries to help others.

A friend and his wife joined him in Chiang Mai several years ago. They work together doing computer stuff for various clients in the U.S. Before he left the last time, he set up a secure chat program so that we could leave messages or type at each other real-time. We do that on almost a daily basis. He also set up a program called ‘appear.in’ which he and his friend use in conference calls. We can see each other real-time and talk, like Skype or other similar programs, but MUCH better quality.

It’s been three years since he’s been home. We communicate more than a lot of families who live in the same city, so he hasn’t really seemed a world away, though he gives wonderful hugs, and my ‘hugs bucket’ has been empty for a long time now.

Recently he talked about MAYBE coming home for a visit. I put it out of my mind because a lot can happen in a short space of time, making it impossible – although intentions are the best.

He is actually coming home! We will pick him up at the airport on the 10th of this month!!!! He can stay until January 2nd, when he will fly to see other relatives and good friends before returning to Chiang Mai.

I am definitely feeling the Scrooge in me thawing this year. This morning I got out the two Christmas wreaths I kept after my purge of ‘stuff’ in our home and put them up. I then got out one bag of decorations that I’ve put up in the past, when I wanted to look at least a little bit festive. These are up in the dining area now. (I’ll take some pictures to share a bit later today.)

My husband and I decided that this year we would decorate a Christmas tree and get out all the decorations we haven’t used in years. This means we will need to move furniture in the living room to accommodate the tree – plus haul the huge Tupperware bin of decorations and the tree up from the basement – something we haven’t done in a long time. I’ve decided to wait until our son is home to do the tree, so we can do it together as a family.

As the fact that he has his tickets, and we have a flight arrival time now (the trip from Chiang Mai to here will take a total of 28 hours with layovers, etc) the fact that he’s REALLY coming home is starting to sink in. My heart feels full, plus lighter and lighter. I keep finding myself smiling.

The very best Christmas present we could have – except for when I gave birth to him 40 years ago on Dec. 13th…

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Filed under Attitude, Cause for Celebration, Delightful Surprises, Family, holidays

Thanksgiving Advice

Bing

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Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Kings County Politics

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~W.T. Purkiser

Have a wonderful day, everyone!!!

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Visions of Sugarplums Dance in OUR Heads!

The Salvation Army has a program called the Angel Tree program at Christmas time each year. The trees go up in your local town and people who qualify come and asked for their child to be added to the tickets on the tree. People choose a ticket and go and try to buy as many things on the list as possible for that child. The gifts are returned unwrapped by Dec. 7th to the people handling the Angel Tree and they and the Salvation Army handle the rest.

The child’s name, age, and gender are listed at the top of each ticket. Practical gifts, such as clothes (with sizes) are listed, plus a few ‘fun’ gifts on the wish list.

Each year we peruse the tickets and decide which one fits well with our ability to buy the things on the list. We have visions of an ‘idyllic’ beautiful boy or girl happily opening all the gifts, ecstatically happy with the choices with a wide open grin and whoops of joy. Reality is far different, probably, but we LOVE the idea of brightening a local child’s Christmas each year.

Last year we didn’t know where the tree was in time to participate. We were both really disappointed, so I wrote on my calendar this year to call City Hall in Greenwood to see if they were sponsoring the tree this year and when the tree would be up.

KVC West VA – KVC Health Systems

This year our choice was “Braden,” a 10-year-old boy.  We got clothes – pants (jeans) , a shirt (Flash), a puffy blue coat, boots, and then a remote control car and batteries. He’s into “paleontology stuff,” so we got him a big fierce-looking dinosaur. The “pokemon” cards he listed featured dinosaurs. We also got “Jurassic” hat, scarf and gloves set.

We took all the bags and the ticket, plus the receipt so that the mother would be able to exchange anything that wasn’t right back to City Hall and left them with the nice lady from the water department who is handling things.

It seems weird that we’re doing the Angel Tree before Thanksgiving. I guess that’s why we missed out last year. I guess they need the time to post all the tickets, gather the gifts, deliver them wherever they go, etc.

I love that the Salvation Army thought of this program and runs it, making it easy for local banks or government offices to administer it. I love that families can provide for their kids at Christmas will a bit of a boost from folks in the community. I love our ‘visions of sugarplums’ and the chance to give.

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Filed under Attitude, Bright Ideas, Dreams, giving, Holiday Gift Ideas, holidays, kindness