Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Studio

I have a new studio in Cockerell Galleries. I'm thrilled with it! It's nice to have somewhere I can do some work and quietly dream.

I got this fun table from a friend of a friend. It's hand painted and each chair is different. The chair shown has the serenity prayer painted on it. It's my favorite.

You can see the top of the table a little better in this photo. I'm going to hang LILA somewhere when I can decide where.

My husband hung this fun chandelier in my studio over my sofa. This chandelier was in my house when I was a little girl. I love the way it glitters.

I got this sofa (purchased in 1924 by original owner) for a song at an estate sale. It's covered in a pale pink Belgium damask. I just love it and it's comfortable for lounging, dreaming, yes and even napping. tee hee.
I have certainly had a lot of fun painting bird's nests lately. Roxanne Spradlin is a wonderful talent who showed me some of the finer points.
My easel and canvas are awaiting something fun. What shall it be?
This hutch serves as a great space for storing miscellany.

I'm dreaming of an artful 2010,

Photography Conversions

I've had so much fun doing this lately!

Original photo

Pencil sketch
Modern Art




What I love about creativity is that the possibilities are endless!

Endless, I say!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm Beginning to Feel More Like Me

Boy, December was a blue blurrrrrrrr.......

We jumped from Thanksgiving into Five Days of Celebration to celebrate five years at our retirement community with five huge days of celebration. We came to call it five days of chaos while others called it five days of he**.

After that my husband and I went to see our families in Alabama and then to have a vacation. I'm not really sure what I was thinking. I had way too much to do to vacation. I had to "do Christmas!"

When we returned, six days before Christmas the question on everyone's lips was, "So are you ready for Christmas?" NO! I wasn't ready. I couldn't do any Christmas shopping when we were on vacation since we were flying and couldn't carry a lot of stuff. I couldn't really Christmas shop when we returned because, Hello, I'd been on vacation and had to work.

So, I slid into Christmas this year in a sloppy, haphazard, unorganized way. And do you know what? It still came. It was still a blessing. Our family still enjoyed being together. Our children much preferred money to gifts.

But today I've been able to just think, blog, rest my soul and ponder what if anything I'd do differently next year.

I think next year we'll still see family, but the vacation? Maybe a little less time away and a little more time at home...sweet...home.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

White Christmas

We had a white Christmas! I think this was the first time that has ever happened for me. I remember one Christmas we had snow flurries in Birmingham, Alabama and that was pretty exciting, but we really had a white one this year.

On Christmas Eve Eve we watched White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Maybe we'll watch that again next year.

I had such fun taking photos around our neighborhood. The picture below is of our house.

This is a house down the street. Can't you just smell a crackling fire and hot chocolate?

This gorgeous house should be on Hallmark cards. I've always loved this house, but with snow, it's pure magic!

Caroline and I drove around our neighborhood snapping pickies. She suggested this shot. It's a good one. She always claims that Katie Lea and I are the artistic, creative ones, but that gal has an eye for composition and color. It was good to encourage her in her own creative journey.

This is the Church of Heavenly Rest, an Episcopal church in my neighborhood. I love this church. We've gone to Christmas Eve services here before. It's so stately and beautiful.
The icicles glittered like antique chandeliers.

This is a photo I took of our back yard and used in my blog header. I like the Andy Warhol look to this one.
I took this photo of Mary covered in sparkling snow. She's in our back yard. I got her at a garage sale for $5.00 because her nose was chipped off and her head had been concreted back on. She needed some love.

Isn't this red door just wonderful? I want to see what is on the other side of that beautiful red door. It is found at the Church of Heavenly Rest.
I have always loved this house. It's at about 7th and Amarillo. I think it is even an apartment but how gorgeous it is in the snow!

A simple rock wall can go unnoticed until the magic fairy dust we call snow blankets it.

Life is Beauty Full,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'd Like Another Life, Please

Before you contact the mental health authorities for me, let me explain. There are so many things I'd like to do, that it would be good to have another life to get them all done!

I'd like to be a painter, a decorator, a cook, a singer, a writer, an actress and a dreamer to name a few things.

Currently, I'm a wife, a mom of grown children, a daughter, a friend (though not a very good one lately) a director with a retirement community, an inn keeper, a student, a part time artist and a sleeper. (It takes a lot of sleep and quietude for this 51 year old introvert to maintain creativity, gratitude and joy.)

I'm reading a delightful book called Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matter by Anne Kreamer. It's thought provoking, for sure.

Why am I reading something like that, you may ask. When I was at the beach with my husband last week I noticed that my hair was looking a bit Cruella de Ville-ish . . . and it had only been 2 1/2 weeks since my hairdresser had worked her magic. For those of you in my decade, you remember the Clairol commercial, "Does she or doesn't she?" Well, this gal definitely does...did.

Yes, I've decided to let my gray hair be my crowning glory. I will look a bit like a calico cat for a few months, then I will be gray. You may be asking why I'm letting myself go. I'm not. I'm simply taking another step toward authenticity and being who God created me to be.

I've never fudged on my age when people ask me how old I am, though I will soon be old enough to be my mother's grandmother. She maintained that she was 29 years old her whole life. I'm thankful for the journey that God is walking me through in this life and I want to do it authentically. Of course, I want to have a stylish, sassy do, that's authentic, of course. smile.

I hope to be getting more writing done on my blog. More painting in my studio. More studying in my home office and more reading in my bed. So, Father, will you please show me how to accomplish the things you would have me to do today. As you can see, My To Do list is quite full. What is on your to do list for me?


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Updated Website for our Bed and Breakfast, Journey's Inn

I've just updated the website for our Bed and Breakfast, Journey's Inn, with some new photos by Chelsea Giles. Chelsea is a dear friend of our daughter, Katie Lea. Chelsea's photography business, Chelsea Lynn Photography, in Lubbock, Texas, is really taking off. When you look at her photos, you'll see why.

I still have some of the fabulous photos that Tammy Marcelain with Marcelain Photography took a year and a half ago, too.

We have changed out inn quite a bit lately. Check out the changes!

Roxanne Spradlin is the artist who painted the vine by the door. Roxy is a gifted artist! Check out her blog.

Surrounded by talented women!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweet Caroline's Birthday

Our baby girl is 21 years old today. Caroline Elise Conwell was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Through the years we (her family) have called her countless nicknames. Vann calls her Bug or Buggy. I call her Twink or Care Bear, Katie Lea calls her Care. Care is a very fitting name for her too because she, that is.

It seems like only last week that Vann took me to the hospital to see our baby girl into the world. The night was like a lot of other nights. I went to bed a little early but just couldn't get comfortable. After several hours I told Vann I thought we needed to go to the hospital.

As we drove to the hospital I couldn't get Vann to go as fast as I thought he should go. 80 mph wasn't fast enough as far as I was concerned and I knew he knew nothing about "birthin' no babies."

We arrived at the ER at our hospital at 1:30 am on September 20th, 1988. They told us to go on up to Labor and Delivery. We asked for a wheelchair and they didn't have one so we somehow made it upstairs. Once they got me situated (whatever that means) they told Vann he'd have to move the car. (Are you kidding me? About to have a baby here!!)

He went to park the car and when he got back up to Labor and Delivery he was just in time to catch sweet Caroline. She was born at 1:52 a.m. Twelve days early and 22 minutes after arriving at the hospital. She weighed 6# and 2 oz. We were in love with this new baby girl. Katie Lea joined us the next morning wearing her big sister dress and bow and fell in love as well.

Caroline has been such a gift. Her joyful spirit, compassion for others, fearlessness and leadership are a sight for her family to see.

Thank you, Caroline, for being a gift to us on this your birthday. Thank you, Father, for this precious gift who is our baby girl.

Forever grateful,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Newest Painting

I worked on this yesterday and today some. I'm calling it simply, "Lila's Journey."

I'm not sure if I'm through with it yet or not. We'll see.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

School Starts Tomorrow!

It's been a long (looooong) time since I've been able to say that for me. Twenty nine years and eight months to be exact. I'm excited (translation: hyperventilating, nervous, scared, tummy rumbling, excited) about what is in store. I don't believe this semester will be all that tough but next semester will be a challenge.

I'm beginning my internship (yep, it's been a long time since I've said that, too). I'm not sure exactly what that will look like but it will be in addition to my job.

This morning in our worship time one of our elders asked all the support staff of a school system to stand up. Then he asked all the teachers, administrators, principals, etc. to stand. Then he asked the students to stand. I felt excited and a bit silly standing with all the students - - from the very young

It reminds me of a story I heard from a friend. His mother was considering going back to school to get her master's degree. He encouraged her to do it. She said, "Yeah, but, I'm 62 years old." He dryly said, "and how old would you be if you DIDN'T go back to school."

So, here I am. Fifty years old (51 next Saturday) going back to school. What have I done with these feelings this weekend? I've painted, of course.

This painting is of another koru - - Maori symbol meaning new beginnings, growth and peace. The lime green symbol means "to attain one's goals." Seemed fitting.

My number 2 pencils are sharpened, my notebook is new. I think I'll fore go a bookbag. :)

Aiming for an A!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

God's Opportunities are Everywhere!

This week has had a lot of wonderful serendipity. OK, the hitting my head and toosh on the rocks wasn't so wonderful but other than that, a lot of wonderful.

Today I got my nails done by a new lady. We had the most wonderful conversation. She's only been in town two weeks and misses her home in the DFW area. We discovered many shared interests (piano, guitar, singing, art, writing to name a few). We talked non stop the whole time she was working on my nails. Sadly, she told me I was the only client who had talked with her since she'd been here. What? Why is that? I saw the Lord in this beautiful lady today.

Earlier in the week I met with my friend, Roxanne. She is a very gifted artist and is going to paint a mural on the outside of our inn (after the painter paints it in a couple of weeks.) We talked about possibilities for the mural and then launched into the most beautiful God breathed conversation. What a touching relationship she shares with our Father. I'm giggling as I recall some of the things she shared with me. Roxanne put flesh on our Lord for me that night. Our time together made me realize I was on holy ground.

One afternoon this week I was out on the hunt for some items for our Silent Auction at Wesley Court. We're working to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. I stopped in Abilene's new store, Emerge on Southwest Drive, and had a delightful conversation with the new owner, Nicole Nunez. That's a great store and their make up line is fabulous! Nicole told me her primary focus for the store is to use it as a ministry.

Wow! Opportunities to share the love of God really are e v e r y w h e r e ! It's exciting to see God shine the spotlight on them daily.

Eyes wide open,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just Call Me Grace

Vann and I have a million funny stories about our dating experiences. Most of them involve my clumsy nature and his taking care of me.

Well, a couple of days ago I was working up in Blue Heaven. The ceiling in this room is slanted because it is an attic room. Well, I stood up from my desk and WHAP knocked myself silly. The front part of my head is still sore!

Then yesterday, I just walked into a door frame. I'm sure I'll have a long, lean bruise from my shoulder to my elbow.

Today's experience took the cake, however. I'm still not laughing about this one. Vann and I were moving an entertainment center out of the inn. We had just placed a different one in there. I was backing up around our big rocks around our waterfall and slipped and hit my tooshie on one rock and the back of my head on another rock all the while the entertainment center is landing on top of me. Talk about a lightning jolt!

Well, you know how heads bleed and bleed it did. We went to the walk in clinic that was supposed to close at 9 p.m. (It was 8:55) and most of the lights were out, the door was locked and Vann saw someone in there who saw him and they backed away and turned out more lights. Hey folks, not like my head is bleeding or anything! urgh.

I've just kept an ice compress on it and I'm fine. I think I'm going to be a bit sore, though. I'm thankful it was no worse than it was. And to think...I wanted to be a ballerina. : } Guess that's why Momma signed me up for piano.

Hard as a rock!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Compassion wears a Maintenance Uniform

Today I had the task of letting one of my favorite residents (yes, favorite) know that her dearest friend (another resident) had died. Her friend had been having health problems and went into the ICU yesterday.

As I told her the sad news, she cried. She told me the last time her friend went in the hospital, she knew the "gig was up." Soon after, a knock came to the door. Louis, one of our maintenance men popped his head in the door to ask me a question. When he saw this resident in there he came on in and told her how sorry he was about her friend and gave her a big, burly hug. I witnessed this gentle giant hug this precious lady while she wept into the chest of his uniform. Unashamed tears. Comfortable grieving.

Yes, I work alongside gentle giants. I want to be more like the people who surround me. Thank you, Father, for Louis and his heart of tenderness.

Humbled by greatness,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Dream is Free

The dream is free, but the journey isn't. That's why dream believers are common. Dream buyers are rare.

John Maxwell posted this on his Twitter.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's My Birthday Month

Oh, I know. You're supposed to celebrate it quietly and not mention it. I worked with a wonderful joy mentor when I worked in Atlanta. Her name is Rita. She had a contagious laugh and loved life. She celebrated her birthday the whole month of April.

I thought that sounded like a great idea, so I began sending out an e-mail to my co-workers reminding them when my birthday month began. They giggled and I thought I was a bit eccentric. But then every August 1st, they expected it.

Last Friday (July 31st) I sent an e-mail out to some friends to remind them that the next day (Saturday) was the beginning of my birthday month. I knew they would be disappointed if I didn't do this. (smile)

This morning one of those friends told me she had gotten my e-mail and wanted to begin wishing me a happy birthday month. Our Executive Director was with us and doesn't know me that well yet. He said, "Oh, you're one of those kind of people." I asked him if he meant I was one of those kind of people who enjoyed every opportunity to celebrate life. He smirked and I told him, of course I was one of those types of people. We all need to be celebrating.

Do I expect gifts all through the month? Nah. It's mostly just to remind us to celebrate...something. There is ALWAYS something to celebrate, something to be thankful for.

Loving my birthday month!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Live Large or Go Home!

My youngest daughter uses this expression a lot and I've come to like it! Live large or Go Home! Yep. So true.

Tonight we celebrated National Watermelon Day at Wesley Court with not only eating some watermelon (delicious but a bit boring) but with a Watermelon Seed Spitting contest! We had some great participants. Jim, who is close to 85 won by spitting a seed 10' 5". LaNell got the prize for the most creative by picking up her seed and throwing it. Even Barbara (90 years young) spit a seed about 10'.

Vann asked me before the event if I was going to do any spitting myself. "Why, of course!" I answered. "You've got to Live Large or Go Home. "(Thank you Caroline for that wonderful piece of advice.)

My friend, Judy, has always been a great one to do spontaneous and fun things. She's been a great example of living large. I remember one time shortly after we moved to Abilene I was having a group over to my house for Bunco. That night I was feeling particularly sad and missing our former city and friends. Well, in pops Denise, Donna, Lori and Judy (lead by Judy) all wearing green and orange wigs to remind us to Live Large or Go Home! It was at that moment that I knew I was going to love Abilene.

Piet Hein said, "Living is a thing you do. Now or never. Which do you?" Life is delicious. It's a gift. The opportunities to love and laugh are everywhere. Can't find them? Find a friend who lives large. They'll show you the way. Afraid? Don't be. People will want to follow you.

Joyful abundance,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lectric Shave

Yesterday one of our precious seniors came to our gift shop. She doesn't frequent the shop but maneuvered her motorized wheelchair in there and carefully picked out a couple of items. A bar of soap, some candy and some Lectric Shave.

Alice, our receptionist, was checking her out and asked "Mittie" if the Lectric Shave was for her. Mittie giggled a little and sheepishly told her that it was... and it wasn't. Mittie went on to explain that her husband (that passed away this year) used to wear Lectric Shave. She said when she puts a little on her hands and rubs it on her pillow and his pillow, she can still feel his presence.

Every day there is a story like that. Growing older is not for wimps, nor the faint of heart. It is only for valiant soldiers who never give up. I get to see the bravest of soldiers every day. Most of them sport gray hair, glasses a hearing aid or two and a cane or walker, a smile and genuine concern for those around them.

I have the best job in the world, surrounded by amazing heroes.

When I grow up, I want to be like them,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I've been enjoying painting so much! It's odd how I've been drawn to swirls and more swirls. Before when I painted, I actually painted flowers, scenes, etc. Now, I'm just painting a lot of swirls. My friend told me I might be drawn to swirls for a while as there was probably something in me that needed to just paint swirls.

Well, she was right. Then not long ago I was in a shop and found a necklace with, of all things, a "swirl." Imagine that. But, not only was it a swirl, they called it a KORU. In Maori (from New Zealand) it means new beginnings, strength, peace. It is the symbol of a swirled fern frond.

It gave me goose bumps to realize that there was indeed a reason I have been wanting to paint swirls! I am in the midst of new beginnings, strength and peace. My decision, lead by ,to pursue my nursing home administrator's license wasn't an easy one, yet is affirmed daily. I'll begin classes in the fall.

So, even in my art, God speaks to me. He speaks to me in his beauty of nature and people. Isn't it amazing how God uses the gifts and interests he's placed within us to get our attention? I'm so grateful for a God who deals in details.

Yesterday I started a savings account for a trip Vann and I would love to take . . . to New Zealand. I never heard anything back from Ireland, but we'll see where this leads!

So, tell me, have you ever heard of a koru before?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Crazy Idea

I had a crazy idea the other day. I wondered if anyone who owned a Bed and Breakfast in Ireland would be the least bit interested in doing a trade with us at our B & B. We did a trade with Miss Lissia's Bed and Breakfast in San Angelo. Why not somewhere else in the world?

Well, I've put some e-mails out there to see what comes from it. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. We've always wanted to go to Ireland.

It will happen if it is supposed to. I'm sure of that. I'm thinking someone out there wants to see where the cowboys trod and where the buffalo roamed. Then, if they went to Perini's, they'd be hooked for sure!

Hopin' and prayin',


I'm so thankful I've had the blessing of experiencing 3 wonderful dads in my life. Let me explain.

I had Diddy, my daddy, until five years ago. He died on April Fool's Day 2004. I never, ever, ever doubted his love for me. Daddy would rock me in the rocking chair until HE went to sleep.

I get to experience daily the precious dad that my husband, Vann, is to our girls and our "adopted son", Serge. Vann would do anything at all for our precious children.

Finally, I have my heavenly daddy who will cradle me in his arms and remind me that he is always there for me and that he is bigger than anything life can throw my way.

How many ways can you say thankful?
"Susan", "Susie", "Daughter of Mine"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy Father's Day to all those dads who take an interest in their kiddos.

Goooo, Dads!

Monday, June 8, 2009


A 92 year old lady complains that when she goes to class reunions they all look so old.


Sunday, June 7, 2009


Our oldest daughter, Katie Lea, is working half time at our retirement community Wesley Court and beginning Monday will work half time at Mesa Springs, our sister facility. I've been amazed at her gentleness and concern with our residents and have been surprised at how much she has loved it.

Katie Lea cracks me up with her dry humor. She e-mailed me this conversation she had with one of our residents (that I've renamed) the other day. Funny thing is, she is right on target!

Pearl - *She walks up rubbing her arms*
Burr. It sure is cold in here! Aren't you freezing?

Katie Lea - No, I'm actually quite warm. I even have the fan blowing on me.

Pearl - Well, that is just crazy. I am freezing. The wind's blowing from the north today.

Katie Lea - mmm hmm

Pearl - Aren't you freezing?

Katie Lea - Nope. Not at all.

Pearl - TC Wesley is sitting out there on the pavement. I don't know why he's sitting there instead of those comfortable chairs.

Katie Lea - Well, I'll bet he enjoys that. The pavement is a bit cooler.

*Pearl walks over to the other side of the door and complains that the plant is in the way."

Pearl - Burr, it sure is cold.I would go see Tomcat Wesley, but it is so cold. Aren't you freezing?

Katie Lea - No.

Pearl - Well, I don't know if I wanna go see the movie tonight. I'm just tired of sitting in my apartment.

Katie Lea - You should go.

Pearl - TC is just sitting down there on the pavement. I wonder why he's not in one of those chairs?

Katie Lea - I'm not sure.

Pearl - Well, I guess I'll go back to my apartment now.

Makes me smile.

I really love my job,

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just Purr-fect

Several months ago a stray cat came to visit us at Wesley Court. He's such a cute and friendly thing. Gray fur and a wompy-jawed incisor. No collar. No home, but lots of love.

Before we knew it our retired residents at Wesley Court were feeding the cat and even gave him a name...TC (Tom Cat) Wesley. It was so great to see some of our residents who are otherwise kind of listless perk up when the saw TC.

TC all of a sudden had his favorite chair, a little house provided for him, a food dish and yes, even a blankie. You'd see him jump up on Betty's rolling walker and sit on the seat while they walked around the lake. You'd see him hop up in Ruby's lap and turn over so she could stroke his belly. You'd see "Mr. Curmudgeon" become friendly and talk like a baby to him. All of a sudden, we had a gift from God...a pet providing therapy!

After he became so popular (and especially after they named him) I knew it was time for a meeting to see about getting a permanent home for him. We didn't want him attracting other cats (which he had done) or varmints (isn't that such a southern back woods word?) up close to our retirement community.

As we met together, it was clear that many felt that TC was a part of "the home" now while a couple of others referred to him as "that darn cat." I proposed that we take TC to the vet and have him fixed, de-wormed and to get his rabies shots. (One of our resident's children volunteered to pay for that and also to have his tooth pulled.) When I told the residents about someone agreeing to have his tooth pulled, the air went out of the room. No one wanted to do that. They said that was what made him so cute! (Agreed!)

The consensus was built that we would take him to the vet and then make his permanent home in our lovely courtyard - a very spacious outdoor area filled with beauty.

I picked up TC from the vet yesterday and Betty "babysat" him all night after his surgery. This morning he was "catting about" in our courtyard and having the time of his life. He loves his new home!

TC being in the courtyard was the buzz around Wesley Court today. I can see his special spot and his chair from my window. What a neat gift!

He's a well loved cat. The beautiful thing is he loves back.

Purr-fectly content,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Count

I was in my office the other day when one of our residents popped his head in. He said, "Do you know how many cars passed by in front of our building between 8:40 and 9:00 a.m.? I said, "Well, I would guess about 100!" He said I was wrong and told me that 398 cars had passed by and then showed me his counter.

I don't know why that stuck with me. As I get older I want to be productive, not just fill up the time with things that don't matter. This man is a loner, a bit negative and yet, he wraps himself around my heart every day!

Father, please open my eyes to your possibilities all around. There are more opportunities than I could ever imagine, I know. Father, I want to be useful to use in all things until the day I go to be with you.

My friend with the counter may have his reasons for doing his counting. Maybe it's to talk with others about the traffic on our road and get people in good conversations. Maybe it's just to pass the time of day. His typical response when I ask him how he's doing is to say, "Well, it's good I woke up on top of the ground instead of under it."

Father, please be with my friend and allow him to focus on other possibilities, too. May we show him the light of your spirit and kindness in all that we do.

Thank you,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's Time to Paint

I love to paint pictures, but now it's time to paint the outside of our inn! This photo is our house, but the inn is to the left and at the end of our driveway.

I want to do something different and fun on the alley side (where the guests park) and maybe even something a little different on the wall facing the courtyard and pond. Ideas? Our home is brick and painted cream with burgundy trim. It would need to coordinate, but not necessarily be the same.

I'm thinking serene. I'm thinking memorable. I'm thinking serendipity. Come on. Don't be shy. Give me some ideas! Thanks!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Serge!

Today Serge turns 22 years old. It's hard to believe! When we met he was 19 years old. Serge is our adopted son and we are his American family for those just tuning in.

Serge is from Rwanda and survived the genocide of 1994. He almost died countless times while the Hutu tribe were hunting down the Tutsi tribe to kill them with machetes. These were his friends. His church members. His neighbors. 800,000 people died in 100 days.

When Serge got to ACU he learned about the love of God and saw that it really did exist. He longs to go back to his country where he can educate those there about tolerance, acceptance and the love of God.Serge's birthday fifteen years ago was spent running and hiding in a bamboo marsh to save his life. He was turning seven years old. My goodness, what his eyes have seen and her ears have heard. My older eyes and ears have never experienced.

We're taking Serge and Esperance (his pledged girlfriend) to dinner tonight at Bonzai. Esperance is from Congo and lives here in Abilene. To be pledged in his country and to meet families is like our engagement. She is a lovely girl and Serge is so in love with her. He's most thankful she is a Christian - - a real Christian...not the kind that killed his people in 1994. Me, too.

Happy Birthday, son!

Thankful ,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Miss Lissia's B & B

Vann and I had a wonderful time on our getaway. We stayed at Miss Lissia's B & B in Water Valley, TX. It's close to San Angelo. This quaint cottage was once an old school house that Michelle and Derek Doss purchased for a mere $51.00 to save it from destruction. They moved it to their homesite and acreage and found treasures underneat the bones of the building.

They've decorated in late 1800's decor with lots of lace and roses. They have a whirlpool bath, too. The best part for us was the front porch with the rockers. Bella and Suzie, their two dogs were precious and very loving. Patches, the cat made his home in our laps. Once I figure out how to show photos from my phone, I'll post them.

To feel the wind and hear the sights and sounds of west Texas, Miss Lissia's is a delight. Thanks, Michelle and Derek!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Busy, Busy

It's been busy this week but I'll write just a little to catch up with you.

Sunday and Monday Caroline and I went to Austin. I had a lunch at a conference on Monday. We were able to take advantage of some great deals (shopping). Care commented that we probably lost 5 pounds just by our laughter on the ride home. What a great time we had. I'm so thankful our family values laughter.

Work is steady as always. Big news is that I've decided (and felt lead) to pursue my Nursing Home Administrator's license. I'll start classes in the fall. I believe God has prepared me for this and I'm excited about the next phase of life.

The Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging is starting a new program called the TAHSA Leadership Fellow program. I'm delighted they (and my company) wanted me to be a part. I'll go for our first session next month. I'm looking forward to that.

I met with a "physical health mentor" today for the first time. It's a longer story for another day, but I'm looking forward to "clean eating."

Last night I met with my book club. I love those women! We discussed the book, Zippy, but also talked about many other things. What an interesting and interested group of women. Two are attorneys and one is a graphic designer. The kindergarten teacher and manager weren't able to make it. Such a serendipitous group. (Then there's me. :)

I continue to enjoy reading and painting. Our art class on Thursday nights is so much fun. I finished The Glass Castle the other night by Jeannette Walls. A poignant read and a memoir. I highly recommend it. Our oldest daughter, Katie Lea is just about through with it and it touched her, too.

Vann and I are heading to a Bed and Breakfast near San Angelo this weekend to celebrate our 28th anniversary. We'll be gone a couple of nighs and I'm looking so forward to spending that wonderful time with him.

Well, that catches you up with me and my world for now. I always love to hear from you.

Thankfulness brings JOY,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joy School

I just finished this book. What a great book about middle school angst, feelings that are so real and ultra sensitive and just trying to figure out your own place in the world.

I really enjoyed Elizabeth Berg's writing. This was the first one of her books I've read. I purchased this one because of the title. A worthwhile read.

Next up - The Glass Castle.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm a Little Bit Country

I'm not really country. I do have a Kenny Chesney CD I listened to...once. Also, I have a Willie Nelson CD. Not sure why.

This evening coming home from fantabulous, ultraspectacular art class, I was traveling down Hwy 80 when I spotted the full moon in my rearview mirror while the sun was in my eyes.

Before I knew it, I was working away on a song in my head with these lyrics. A Country (?) song with these lyrics. It's probably a good thing you can't hear what's in my head this second.

A full moon in my rear view mirror
The setting sun in my eyes
Creation's all around me singing
It doesn't tell any lies.

While He speaks to me of his glory
I look around with my heart
A full moon in my rearview mirror
The setting sun in my eyes.

God has always, always spoken to me through his creation and creativity. I remember sitting with my mom at the kitchen table when I was growing up and watching the birds. She taught me all the different kinds and how they hopped, or walked or sang.

One time I was especially bored and said in the annoyingly whiny voice that only a 13 year old girl can do, "I'm booooooooo-rrrrrrrr-ed!" My daddy asked me in all honesty how in the world I could be bored when there was one blade of grass to be explored. I looked at him with utter amazement (not the kind that invokes awe, but rather the kind of amazement that wonders if he has completely and totally gone off his rocker.)

But today, I realize I could never, ever be bored. God's creation is just so....


Thursday, April 30, 2009

No, Uh, Uh!

Today I gifted myself (ha) by thinking of some of the ways I've been stubborn. Here are a couple...

I recalled the time when I was probably about 10 years old and was adamant about the 'fact' that "not all meat was from animals!" My mother, unable to convince me, tried to get me to see reason. None of that reasoning stuff for me. Even when I knew she was right, I wouldn't admit it.

I recalled another time that my mom told me that not all people chose to be happy. I was about thirteen at the time. I think I all but rolled my eyes out of my head at that "stupid" comment and all but said (out loud) that she was a nincompoop. Ah...early adolescence.

It was probably about during that thirteenth year that I told my mom that you didn't have to brush your teeth to make sure they were clean. (Huh?!)

All that vying for power and control. Whoo-ee. We do that from such an early age. I'm praying that as I grow older, I'll become less and that God will become more in my life.

Would you be willing to share any time you were absolutely certain you were right, but discovered you were wrong?

Giving it up,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Girl Named Zippy

Growing up small in Mooreland, Indiana

I think I've been thinking about my growing up years more lately because of the book I just finished for my book club. A Girl Named Zippy - Growing up small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel.

I'd recommend this book for it's poignant imagery and Haven's creative way of hilarity. I'll begin another Haven Kimmel book tonight or tomorrow, She Got Up Off the Couch.