Wednesday, November 28, 2012


To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

(Words from the first stanza of William Blake's poem "Auguries of Innocence".)

I wish I knew what William Blake was trying to say.  I've read the poem in completion; it seems to be a struggle between good and evil.  I do think the first stanza could stand alone.   Maybe it means we only need to break the bindings of time and space to find all that is beautiful.  Impossible?

I am a believer of all things good and impossible.
All I need do is look into the eyes of a loved one
or hold the hand of a child.

Several days ago one of my children ask me how much I loved her.
I replied, "I love you to the moon and back".
Remembering my daughter and I playing this game every night
when she was little, I stopped and said, "That's not true.
I love you to infinity and back and back again".
She looked up at me, paused and in a quiet voice said, "Wow!"

It is here where I find my grain of sand, my wildflower.  I hold this moment in the palm of my hand
and in it is my hour that is an eternity....

And with a happy heart and a smile,  I say

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Goodbye Autumn

When we arrived home last evening my backyard looked as if it were on fire.
The maples refusing to change color before I left town last week
had burst into flames while I was away.

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday with our daughter and son.  They
were the perfect hosts, catering to our every whim.   And as
always just spending time with them is such fun.

Saturday we tagged along with them to look for a wreath for their front door.
While we were at the nursery they browsed through the trees and found
their Christmas tree.   For so many years they have accompanied us the day after
Thanksgiving in search of the perfect tree, it was such fun watching them discussing,
comparing and making that final selection.  Traditions change while staying the same.
I suppose that is the way it is meant to be.

While the guys set up the tree, Heather and I continue on our adventure
of supporting the small shops around the neighborhood,
before I got the call it was time for us to leave.

Time is always precious and passes much too quickly.

Even though the maples are only just now putting on their autumn show
it is time to start preparing for Christmas.  I am not one to have everything finished
before the first of December.  I have to move into Christmas slowly.
One might say I enjoy the journey
more than the actual arrival.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

With Thanksgiving

    My favorite holiday is upon us.

It is time to stop, take a breath and remember what we have to be thankful for.

Many years ago I was invited to dine, a few times, in the home of an affluent woman in the small town where I was attending college.   We would gather in the parlor and await to be called into the dining room.  The butler would announce dinner and we were escorted in to be seated around a long banquet table.   Standing at the head of the table our hostess would ask everyone to be seated.   Servers stood behind us ready to answer our every need.

Before taking her seat she would ask everyone to join in giving thanks.
With a strong and clear voice she never hesitated to think of what to say next.  The prayer was always brief and to the point.  She first gave praise and then continued by giving thanks never asking for anything.  She always ended her prayer by giving thanks for "bread on her table and the roof over her head".

I was very young and thought how odd that this woman who was surrounded by so much would give thanks for things so simple, so trivial, as bread and the roof over her head.  It was later I learned these things  I had never needed to worry over,  food and having a home, were not always a certainty  for her.  I have never forgotten that prayer nor the sincerity with which it was offered.
It was a lesson of sincere gratitude so gently taught.

There is children's prayer we sang at the school where I taught in Nashville.

Oh the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me
The things I need
The sun and the rain
And the apple seed.
The Lord is good to me.

Yet another reminder of the simple blessings we so often take for granted.

And so as Thanksgiving Day approaches I give thanks for the many "things" with which I  have been blessed, but mostly for my precious family and simply for having bread on the table and a roof over my head.  And, I am always grateful to each of you who build me up with your visits and comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!
(I'll be back in a few days)

Miss Rose passed away shortly after I left that small town. 
 I have heard her home, the roof over her head,
 is now on  the Cane River Plantation tour.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Winter Book Talk

The last workman left my house Friday afternoon.  The floors are now finished.  
It is hard to believe the "water" saga began before Labor Day and the final curtain 
fell less than a week before Thanksgiving.  

Saturday, after moving the furniture back into the den,
arranging and rearranging, shifting lamps from table to table,
room to room, removing blinds and hanging curtains, I needed a bit of recreation.

What might I do for fun late on a Saturday afternoon?

via flicker
Browse a bookstore, of course.

I'm putting together my winter reading list.

"It is the early 1950s. A nameless man is found on the steps of the hospital in Iasi, Romania. He is deaf and mute, but a young nurse named Safta recognizes him from the past and brings him paper and pencils so that he might draw. Gradually, memories appear on the page: the man is Augustin, the cook's son at the manor house at Poiana, where Safta was the privileged daughter. Born six months apart, they had a connection that bypassed words, but while Augustin's world stayed the same size, Safta's expanded to embrace languages, society, and a fleeting love one long, hot summer. But then came war, and in its wake a brutal Stalinist regime, and nothing would remain the same."

"The year is 1921. Three women set out on the impressive Paris ocean liner on a journey from Paris to New York. Julie Vernet is a young French woman from a working class family who has just gotten her first job as a crew worker on the ship. Escaping her small town and the memory of war,
 she longs for adventure on the high seas...
Constance Stone is a young American wife and mother who has traveled to Paris to rescue her bohemian sister, Faith, who steadfastly refuses to return to America and settle down. Constance returns home to New York, having failed at the duty her father asked of her...
Vera Sinclair, a rich, ex-patriate American is leaving France after thirty-one years to live out her remaining time home in America. Over the course of the transatlantic voyage, she reflects on her colorful life and looks forward to a quiet retirement. While each of these women come from different walks of life, their paths cross while at sea in a series of chance encounters. The powerful impact these disparate lives have on one another make for a magnificent and unforgettable read."

Both of the above sound sound wonderful to me, but this is the one I wish
I had brought home with me.  First published in 1934 it sounds
lighthearted and deliciously funny.
Exactly what I need right now.

"Barbara Buncle is in a bind.  Times are harsh, and Barbara's bank account has seen better days.  Maybe she could sell a novel...if she knew any stories.  Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out.

To her surprise, the novel is a smash.  It's a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar.  But what really turns Miss Buncle's world around is this:  what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts."

Do any of these appeal to you?
I am certain all three will be making the short journey to my bookshelf.
Have you put together your winter reading list?

Between finishing Waldi's sweater and preparing for Thanksgiving I'm reading


It has been on my to read shelf for awhile.
I must admit I am a book addict.

Have a wonderful Monday!

book synopsis via Goodreads 
and Barnes and Noble.
Pictures taken  by me unless noted.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Pleasure of a Short Story

This is the time of year when days vanish in a blink of the eye.  There are more things on the "to do" list than minutes in the day.  November through December finds everyone rushing around taking care of family, preparing for the holidays or just trying to finish up end of the year obligations.  

It is a time when I see more of folks going than coming.
We certainly know how to spin ourselves into a frenzy.

With all the comings and goings of the holiday season it is difficult to find the time
 to just sit and enjoy my favorite pastime, reading.   My solution is

the short story.

I have accumulated a decent collection.   I never tire of opening or reopening these books.  There is always a story I missed, or one I've long ago forgotten and rediscovered remembering it to be a favorite.  I can get my literature "fix" in just a few pages.   Two or three pieces while walking on the treadmill.  I can begin and finish another before turning out the light at night.

If I was to pull my complete collection I think I would find it somewhat eclectic, maybe slightly heavy on the southern side.  I admit I am a southern girl with a love for the richness of southern literature.

Last week needing to lift my spirits, after finishing possibly the most depressing
book I have ever opened and felt obligated to finish, I pulled
Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenonomena, Julia Reed,
off the shelf to reread a few of the essays.

Ms Reed, a contributing editor for Newsweek, describes our unique culture as only a
southerner can.   She explains and defends the holiest of what is, guns, pearls and tiaras, while adding a few "bless your hearts" in for good measure.  Once finished reading the last delicious essay you will never want to wear white before Easter or after Labor Day again.

I did put down my book just long enough to begin a sweater for our little
Waldi.  I was told he was getting a little cold when needing to
go out.

Oh I do think he is going to be quite handsome in houndstooth.
Don't you?
Bless him!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roadblocks and Chocolate Chip Cookies

My morning was less than successful.  I left the house planning to attend the used book sale benefiting the public library system.  I love this event.  It is a treasure hunt.  Rows and rows and rows of dusty used books.  Sometimes you leave empty handed...sometimes you find an amazing first edition of something wonderful or that random title that is now out of print.  It is all about the search.

I should have suspected something was going on when I first saw the orange traffic cones down the middle of a major thoroughfare.  But remember I had fabulous treasures dancing in my thoughts.  It wasn't until I hit the roadblocks just at the edge of the library entrance I realized my plans were about to be altered.  There was a "fun run" taking place and the runners and spectators had filled the library parking lot long before the library patrons began to arrive.  

Not to be dissuaded I began driving around searching for parking in and around the neighborhood.  Little did I know the real treasure was going to be a place to park my car.  After 40 minutes of driving and turning around I finally stopped, once again, at the parking lot gate to ask the security guard if he had any suggestions.  I can't repeat what he said.  Disheartened I decided to return home, unsuccessful in my quest.

Feeling defeated and down heartened my evil brain began plotting revenge. I drove straight to the grocery store.  I know what you are thinking....

Before I could stop myself, after picking up the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and grapes, I stealthily slipped a bag of chocolate chips into the shopping cart.   I hid it under the block of cheese and box of triscuits (my planned lunch).

Okay, you are right!

Once home I soothed my disappointment in the kitchen.

I'm still disappointed my day didn't go quite as I had planned, 
but a cup of tea and a warm cookie was  sweet salve on the wound.

I'm not for sure where I found this recipe over twenty years ago.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F.  I line my cookie sheet with parchment paper.  You can spray it with vegetable spray if you wish. 

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl to blend.  Using an electric mixer; beat butter  until light and fluffy.  Add both sugar and brown sugar, beat until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time and vanilla and beat until mixture is creamy and well blended.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended.
Stir in chocolate chips.

Working in batches, drop dough by generously mounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart.  Bake until pale brown, about 15 minutes.

Cool slightly on cookie sheet.  Transfer to racks; cook completely.

Bon Appetit'

I hope you don't encountered roadblocks this weekend;
if you do the back door is always open.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Gift of Time

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments on my last post.
Thank you for reading and allowing me to share my memories.

This morning I left home prepared to work a long day.   
Once at school a friend surprised me by arriving prepared to work my extended day.  
After some good natured arguing I found myself with two hours no one knew were mine.  
At first I felt a bit guilty and disoriented,  but soon decided to selfishly
 put concerns and anxiety aside and enjoy my afternoon.   
I escaped to a big name bookstore where I could disappear among the stacks. 
After browsing shelves I treated myself to a magazine

 and a cup of tea to savor.  

I returned home, dressed Willie in his halter, 

pocketed a few treats,

and with camera in hand, headed out for a walk.

It was a beautiful day for 

 photographing the wonders

found in my neighborhood.

Willie and I returned home with spirits lifted

and ready for a long evening of election returns.  


I would love to hear how you would spend two hours free from obligation.

(I apologize if this appeared  unedited. 
 I inadvertently hit publish in place of preview)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cooking for Angels

I write this post with a heavy heart.
This past week we unexpectantly lost my dear Aunt Nancy.  I spent the weekend with my cousins and their families celebrating her life.

Lord of all hopefulness
Lord of all joy
Whose trust ever childlike
No fears could destroy
Be there at our waking
And give us, we pray
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord
At the break of the day.

My Aunt Nancy was an amazing woman.   You might be thinking, "everyone says that about the deceased".   My aunt truly was amazing.   No matter the hurdles in her path, she seemed to clear them with grace, a smile and her faith in tack.  She is who taught me the glass is always half full.  She had the most beautiful smile and the most loving and generous heart.  She most often showed her generosity and love through food.  She loved to feed those she cared for and those she felt needed nurturing.

Nancy not only loved to cook, she was a wonderful cook.  The years we lived in Nashville we were always invited to her table, and there was always our favorite foods.  She might be frying chicken, but if someone didn't like chicken and preferred ham, there would be ham on the table as well.   She took great joy in pleasing those she cared for.   There was a story going around she would fry chicken and take it out to construction workers building condos across from her home.  

Lord of all eagerness,
Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled 
 at  the plane and the lathe.
Be there at our labors,
And give us, we pray,
Your Strenght in our hearts, Lord,
At the noon of the day.

I have so many wonderful memories stored in my heart of the times I had with my aunt.  I always looked forward to spending time with her when we would visit Nashville.  She never lost patience with my following behind her or my chattering.  She  knew how to make a trip to the "Wishy Washy" fun.  

We were living in Nashville when my mother passed away, she called her children and they were at my door within thirty minutes.  She did not leave until my clothes were pressed and suitcases packed.  She then met me at the airport the next morning and accompanied me, my family, my mother's sister and niece to Louisiana.   She never left my side.  If she wasn't taking care of me, she was taking care of Heather.

Lord of all kindliness,
Lord of all grace,
Your swift to welcome,
Your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing,
And give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord
At the Eve of the day.

This weekend while reminiscing with my cousins, I found out she loved to go to mountains to see the autumn leaves.  She loved to travel.  She was an adventurer.   I was overjoyed to find we had so much in common.

My cousins selected the most wonderful photographs to share.  One of my favorite pictures was of her on the back of a motorcycle.  Riding a motorcycle was a longtime wish of hers.   Oh you only needed to see the laughter to know she was having the time of her life.

Lord of all gentleness,
Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment,
Whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping,
And give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord
At the end of the day.

I am absolutely confidant Aunt Nancy is cooking for the angels, enjoying the the leaves turning orange, red and yellow, and hopefully, there is a motorcycle just for her.

Over the past several years we didn't talk as much as we should have.
We kept in touch mostly through my dad.
It makes me sad to think of the world without my Aunt Nancy.

As we made it home through storms I spent them time reflecting on the past,
 my remaining family and
vowing to not lose contact.  
Time and relations are too precious.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Welcome Sweet November

I truly believe November to be the prettiest month of all.


"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.

Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow." 

-   Elsie N. Brady