A landmark month…

I don’t like admitting it, but I really don’t like the month of December. Oh, when my kids were young I really got into the whole Christmas thing…the shopping, the decorating, the baking etc; In fact, I’m sure that’s where my kids get their love of Christmas from. They’ve shared with me on more than one occasion their fond memories of Christmas celebrations past. They, all three, have carried on the tradition of decorating their homes inside and out, having tons of presents under the tree, the ornament collection, the belief in Santa Claus, the holiday baking with goodie trays given to their friends and family members etc;

But that being said, December has become a bit of a “blue month” for me. I’m not one to focus on the negative nor to wallow in self-pity but I admit I do struggle in December.

#1) 18 years ago today, I lost my dad. Yep, you got it right…my “dad” died on Christmas eve. He was my step-dad, but he was the only dad I’d known since I was five years old. You’d think I’d be over his loss, but I hadn’t spent any real quality time with him for several years prior to his passing due to events far to lengthy to explain in this post. Suffice it to say, the longer he’s gone the more the good memories come to the forefront and the easier it is to forget the bad. I miss those good times we had!

#2) Too many miles & tight finances separate me from two of my three grown children – and the holidays are always so much better when you can be with family. Needless to say, we will not be together for Christmas this year. The upside is that we did get to spend Thanksgiving together (Two of my three and two of my hubby’s four were here)…which made for a joyful entry into this “blue December”.

#3) 1 year ago on the 18th of December my grown son and I had a “falling out”. I know..life’s too short. I will spare you the details but just know I pray about the situation daily and am trusting that the Lord will work it out. This situation has added to my “blue mood” this year.

#4) As I hard as I try to be supportive to my hubby at this time of the year – he also lost his dad (whom I never met) 22 years ago in December. It is sometimes difficult to comfort someone you love who is suffering when you also are suffering grief and despair!! Of course, many of you already know that it was just last year (2013) that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law passed away. Fortunately, not in the month of December, but my husband has had an unusually difficult time this year more so than last year for some reason.

So, as I was praying and pondering all the sad moments and talking to my Savior, He reminded me of some good times I’d experienced in December. The one that stands out the most in my mind was 5 years ago December 16th.

#5) My oldest brother, Jim was released from prison after being incarcerated 32 years for a crime he didn’t commit!! Just three months earlier I had plead Jim’s case before the parole board in Michigan and it was with cautious optimism that we awaited their decision. Our baby brother, John and I took a trip to Michigan to pick Jim up and take him home to North Dakota to be with our mom. It was an awesome trip and the very first time we three siblings had EVER been together!! We took our time traveling by car from Michigan to North Dakota and shared many meals, laughs etc; It was fun to watch Jim’s reaction to the world around him as a free man. His niece (my daughter) had me give him his first cell phone so he could call her and say “hello” as a free man. Once we arrived at mom’s home it was a tearful reunion. Jim, John, and I walked and drove thru neighborhoods enjoying all the cheery Christmas light displays. We went shopping and got Jim outfitted with some clothes, groceries he preferred etc; The last few days leading up to Christmas after John had returned home to Florida, Jim and I spent getting him signed up for any services he qualified for and going to the Parole office.

The best part of the whole story is that Jim is truly a FREE MAN today. He has been home for 5 years now. He has his own place, his own transportation, a cute little mutt named Irish that is truly his baby and no longer has to report to a parole officer!! He is truly a FREE MAN and has made me very proud. I always believed (as he promised) that he would do things right “if” he ever got out and he has done so!

I’m choosing today to remember those good memories from 5 years ago rather than the sad ones of 18 years ago. Mom is 90 years old and still ticking. Jim and Irish are doing great. I have two daughters and many grandchildren that love me. I have a husband that would walk through fire to save me. And I have a church family and a Lord that think I’m pretty special too! What do I have to be blue about?

When I woke up this morning with a sad 19 yr. old memory on my mind…I said a prayer of gratitude, put oldies on the radio and sat down at my sewing machine. It was a very therapeutic time to say the least! Now, I’m looking forward to leaving on a little R & R trip with my hubby on Saturday. We will spend Sat. evening with 3 grandsons and family in the Austin area and then it’s off to Kerrville, Texas for a little sight seeing, antiquing, etc; We return to ring in the New Year with our church family.

Holiday blessings my blogging buddies! May you and yours have a glorious Christmas and New Year!

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A bird’s eye view of Wichita Falls, Tx

I am currently grandkitty sitting in Wichita Falls, Tx while my daughter and son-in-law enjoy a little downtime at their cabin in the New Mexico mountains.

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Samantha is such a sweet girl and no trouble to take care of. She sleeps most of the day and entertains herself a lot, but when she wants to be brushed, given a treat etc; she meows sweetly until I comply.

Hubby and I are enjoying the break from taking care of grandsons and have been pretty lazy while here. While he’s been watching Fox News I’ve been taking advantage of not being chained to my sewing machine and enjoying
some other activities that I’ve not had time for. I’ve updated my eBay page http://www.ebay.com/usr/bittygirl51, updated my Etsy page https://www.etsy.com/shop/LindasLikes?ref=hdr_shop_menu, viewed some of the Cratsy classes I’ve signed up for http://www.craftsy.com/quilting?_ct=wberqbdql-sqjuweho&_ctp=quilting and spent some time practicing hand embroidery stitches for the Crazy Quilt that I plan to make for myself.

In addition to the above I’ve enjoyed exploring the neighborhood here…IMG_20141009_090150982

going for morning walks…
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There are some beautiful homes in the neighborhood!! The first morning I walked I was worried I’d get lost so after I had walked for about 30 min. I started my GPS on my phone to find my way back home…thinking that I would still get my 1 hour walk in…LOL..NADA! I must have walked in a complete circle because I was just around the corner from the house and was home in about 5 minutes!!

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So the next day I went the opposite direction…didn’t turn as many times…hoping that I would get farther away from the house…(I like to walk at least 3 miles or an hour) and I waited until I had walked about 40 min. before I turned my GPS on…

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and I was still only 8 minutes away from the house and had only walked 2.3 miles! Geez! But I saw a ton of geese at the park..and of course there were plenty of signs of the season..

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After my walk yesterday, hubby and I went out and about…we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, checked out an Antique Mall in a town about 15 miles from here http://www.antiquemalls.com/stores/13435.aspx

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Great place! Off the beaten path and reasonable prices! Then we went to Hobby Lobby so I could pick up some fabric and a few craft supplies while hubby browsed in Hastings. Since we’d had a Cracker Barrel breakfast we decided to go the the movie and then eat a late lunch…so we went to the 12:40 matinee of “The Judge”…I highly recommend. It was right up my alley. I love “dysfunctional family” “relationship” type movies..and it was excellent.

We made a stop back at the house to check on kitty and then went to Red Lobster for dinner. Two more stops and Hancock’s and Michael’s and we back at the house in plenty of time to watch Shark Tank. Love that show!

Today it’s off to do a little more antiquing and out for a burger…

No matter where I roam, there’s no place like home!!

And that is as it should be!  Your home should be a sanctuary, a place where you can feel relaxed, calm, loved, safe etc;  There was a time in my life when I didn’t feel that way when I went home.  In fact, whether I was at work, or somewhere else I often dreaded going home.  That has not been the case for a very long time and I’m thankful for that!! But, I digress…

I just thought that was such an appropriate title for my post, since I love going on vacation but also love returning home.  What is it about vacations?  You always get so excited about going and look so forward to it, but by the time it’s over, you look so forward to getting home!??

Compliments of my youngest daughter and her husband, Rob, hubby and I journeyed to Ruidoso, NM for a few days of relaxation for our 16th wedding anniversary.  The view NM 073014It’s a long trip from our house, so we broke it up into two days.  We stopped the first night just 70 miles away from our destination in Roswell, NM.  Remember, the UFO sighting in 1947? http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/daily_record.html  I wanted to be sure I got a little exercise while on this trip, so I walked around the parking lot of the motel a few times (since the walking trail/park was already closed for the day) and then hubby and I drove over to Whataburger for a quick supper.  We were tired from all the driving.

We slept late and arrived in Ruidoso about 11 am, but not before going past a serious car/truck accident with survivors sitting on the edge of the road.  It was awful and if everyone survived what we saw, it was an absolute miracle!  We said a prayer as we were directed around the crash site and counted our blessings for sleeping late.  Our goal our first day was to pick up some groceries to take to the cabin with us and get settled in.  We did just that!  Thank God for Walmart! LOL  While hubby was unpacking the car, I made us each a sandwich for our anniversary lunch!  Ahhh…the simple pleasures of life.  I had been to the cabin once before with my daughter, but this was Jerry’s first trip.  I overdid it on my first day the last time I went and got pretty sick from the higher altitude, so we were determined to take it easy and not do too much our first day – especially, since my hubby isn’t the walking picture of health and fitness! Ha!

Here’s Jerry eating his sandwich and gazing out the kitchen window of my daughter & son-in-law’s modest mountain cabin.  The view was amazing, and Jerry loved seeing all the wildlife.Jerry - Cabin 072914We spent some down time just enjoying the relaxing environment, the peace and quiet and communing with our Creator.  It was awesome!  Our life at home can get quite hectic with taking care of grandbabies so we also seized the opportunity to “re-connect” as a couple.  No cable, no high speed internet etc; It was great!

That evening after we felt refreshed and rejuvinated we went to Cattle Baron Steakhouse in town at the bottom of the mountain to enjoy an Anniversary dinner.  They have a phenomenal salad bar.  I had been there before with my daughter (but because of overdoing it) had to get a doggie bag and leave early.  This time was much more positive and I even enjoyed what I wouldn’t normally eat (Rib Eye steak!).  I had the waitress take a picture of us, but if I showed you, you wouldn’t believe we were having a good time and that this post was all a lie!!  I look like I had been sucking on lemons all day!  OMG!  Terrible picture!!  In fact, if you saw it – you would ask, “16 years huh? Are you sure you are gonna make it to 17?”

Anyway, we capped off the night with watching a movie in the cabin.  What we found most humorous was most mornings we were up early (5:30 or 6:00 am), but that was OUR TIME! New Mexico time was an hour earlier…so that meant it was only 4:30 am!!  None of the stores, shops etc; open until 10 am!!  Our lifestyle at home starts early too, and so by 11 am we are ready for lunch & a nap and the stores were just getting started!  LOL.  Our goal the second day was to start looking for some antique stores to peruse.  We had looked them up ahead of time and we found a list of five of them.  Well, we found TWO!  The first one wasn’t anything to write home about, but this is the second one we found…NM Antique store 2014My husband “collects” Gillette double edged safety razors.  He really doesn’t collect them, but if he can find a great buy on one, he will re-sell it on e-Bay.  I on the other hand, just love looking at junk!  LOL  It is such a trip down memory lane for me when I go thru Antique stores and see old radio flyer wagons, or an old toy box that looks just like one I used to have!  I love looking at all the “vintage” stuff.  I have acquired a few possessions when we’ve gone but mostly it is just for the “sport”.  Antiquing 2014 quiltI wish I could have opened this up so you could really see it. It is a KING SIZE Texas star quilt that is completely hand quilted!!  It was amazing and in excellent condition!  

I loved the “vintage” fabrics used in this “log cabin” pattern.Antiquing 2014 log cabin quiltAlthough I had spend lots of time going through all the shops and boutiques with my daughter on the last trip to Ruidoso, my hubby was a good sport and went with me this time while I looked at all the cute (overly priced) clothing.  I had encouraged him to consider getting a massage while we were away and low and behold we discovered a place where an hour long massage was only $69.  Well worth it if they were any good.  And they were!! While hubby was enjoying his massage I continued shopping.  :-{ Sad face….all I found was a t-shirt! I was looking for a church skirt and even tried a few on – but no luck!

We had lunch that day at Schlotzky’s and it was delicious!  They have a Schlotzky’s, TCBY and Cinnabon all under one roof….OMG!! The smell of Cinnabon was amazing!  I resisted because I am still trying to watch my diet.  Oh, before going to town – I almost forgot, I did go for a 1 mile walk on the trail nearby…Hiking trail NM 073014At the cabin we were at 7000 feet altitude, and in our home town we are only at 371 ft altitude, so to say it was an adjustment for us would be an understatement.  You can get used to it, but having 20% less oxygen can make a big difference when you are overweight and out of shape!

That night we sat on the front porch of the cabin…Cabin - front yard 072914This was our view from the front porch.  We popped some popcorn and watched a movie.  Once again, relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.

While sitting on the porch that evening we discussed leaving a day early.  Not because we weren’t having fun but because there wasn’t a lot for us to do or see.  We had planned to go to Ruidoso Downs and watch the horse races but found out they were only open on the weekend. We had planned to do more antiquing but when we discovered only two local shops of five open we knew that would involve some driving.  We discussed driving home and making an overnight stop in Abilene on the way back for some Antiquing.  When we told my daughter and son-in-law (via text) that we were considering leaving early they suggested we come their way to Wichita Falls, Tx thus avoiding another night in a motel and checking out the Antique stores in Lubbock on the way.  We decided on Lubbock and Wichita Falls instead of Abilene.

So, the next day we got up, packed, cleaned up the cabin  Porch sweep cabin 073014and headed to my daughter and son-in-law’s home in Wichita Falls, TX.

It was probably the best part of the trip! They have a beautiful, relaxing home Tanya's living room 073114
We didn’t arrive until 7 pm and were in bed by 10 pm after enjoying some beef brisket sandwiches and a brief visit. We hung around and enjoyed Tanya and Rob’s company until after lunch the next day and then drove the 5 1/2 hours home.

We had all day Saturday to unpack, take care of any business that came in while we were away and rest up for a full Sunday of Apostolic praise, worship and word.

Then bright and early Monday morning the four grandsons arrived and it was back to work for Maw Maw and Paw Paw with only weekends to do as we please. Since we returned home, hubby has been battling some health issues, I’ve been trying to get walks and workouts in each morning before the boys arrive (threw my back out in the process), and been sewing feverishly on a T-shirt quilt that has to be delivered by Labor Day.

Been crazy busy (this post has been a “draft” for two weeks!!)..

A trip down Memory Lane…

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We spent another day Saturday in the DFW area browsing at antiques and searching for Gillette double edge safety razors to add to my husband’s collection. I’m so glad he’s taken an interest in such things – because I love traveling down memory lane this way. I don’t have to spend alot of money (and rarely do), but I sure enjoy looking at all the cool stuff and remember owning many of the things I see.

We are home now, but Saturday was a FULL DAY! I think we managed to go to 7 or 8 different shops, two or three were “antique malls” which meant we both got quite a bit of walking in. We broke up our day by enjoying lunch at the Macaroni Grill I behaved myself by choosing a salad and the “create your own pasta”. I had whole wheat linguini with an olive oil and garlic “sauce”. I added spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers to it. It was enjoyable and Macaroni Grill was a nice change of pace since our home town of Longview only has Olive Garden.

We were pretty well pooped by suppertime and ended up back in our motel room napping. Unfortunately, we both woke up an hour later hungry! We had heard that the “Twisted Root” had great burgers and since we hadn’t had a burger since we’d left home it sounded like just the right ticket! We traveled to Roanoke to check out They live up to their reputation! Guy Fieri was right! It’s always been my dream to take a road trip and try a bunch of roadside restaurants like he does on Diners, Drive Inns and Dives – so this was a sample of what it would be like. The line was long but it was worth the wait! I had a delicious burger and sweet potato chips at 8 pm Saturday night! ugh! I would post a pic (if I knew how to post another pic into this blog) but I’ve not quite figured out how to post multiple pics yet without losing what I’ve already typed. Feel free to send me instructions for the next time.

Sunday morning we packed up and made the 2 1/2 hour trip home so we could attend evening church services lastnight. Glad we did! Today is our actual anniversay so stay tuned for more in the coming days…cause we aren’t quite done celebrating. We are fixin to enjoy our last day of “freedom” LOL since Granny will arrive home by ambulance at 5 pm tonight. God love her. Then, Thursday my grandchildren will be back at Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s house until school begins in the fall. Once school starts, I will only have the two year old, Kash to care for. Lord, give me strength! 🙂

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