Tuesday, May 31, 2011

posing & playful

It's a Hayden special blog post today! I ordered him a handmade collar from Etsy and it came in today. I think he looks pretty handsome with it on.

(I think he likes it so much, he's posing. Ha.)

I've really enjoyed including Hayden in my morning runs because he gets so excited running. He's a lot faster than I am (not hard to be) and so it keeps me motivated. He just turns into a puppy when he runs.

What a precious little guy. It's gonna be hard to leave him for 2 weeks while I head to Montreat this weekend to be a small group leader. I'm thinking of ways I could smuggle him in, but I don't think saying he's my patronus* will work.

* for those of you not obsessed with Harry Potter like I am, a patronus is a protective charm that takes the form of a different animal for each person.

Monday, May 30, 2011

in God's hand

(my Grandmother, Granddaddy and Mother)

I took a little time this Memorial Day to read over my Granddaddy's account of what he calls "The War Years." I'd like to share some of his thoughts with you. After being in Korea for several months, he describes his return. "I'll never forget November of 1946, when in the late night hours I could see the beautiful sparkling lights of Seattle from a troop ship - I was coming back home!" He goes on to talk about how "God meddled" in his life, keeping him from international service again and leading to him meet his wife (my Grandmother) Jackie.

He concludes the story of his sacrificial service in Korea, Fort Hood and Fort Knox by saying the following:

"I would be remiss if I didn't add one more thought to this narrative. As I look back upon the past, one thing is very clear to me. Always, every step of the way, I was in God's hand. Also quite strangely enough, always when I was away from the places and people that I loved, God was there. The best part of all is that this is still true. I pray that this loving relationship will be manifested and continued in the lives of my loved ones."

I'll always be so proud to be his Granddaughter. I pray for all those who find themselves away from the places and people they love, that all of God's children will know that God is with them. And I pray that there will be a day when war will be no more.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

home away from home

-House/dog sitting for my mom's friend Debra and enjoying her quaint, charming house and her adorable dogs. It was so relaxing, and made especially fun Saturday night when I cooked dinner (the roasted veg couscous was a success, the lemon chicken francese was, um, interesting) for my great friend Ashley. We later watched a movie and talked all things everyday (couponing & cooking) and deep (life plans & hopes).

(I had fun with these guys, too.)

What a nice little getaway.

-Having my good friend Bonnie (whom I know from a church I worked in in Georgia) come for a visit to go to church with me and my family and have lunch. It was so wonderful to see her. She's just one of the most amazing women I know. Her and her husband and have been in Houston on-and-off for the last several months while he let's cancer know who's boss. They've both travelled the world together and today my family and I heard such amazing stories about their adventures everywhere from Egypt to South America to South Africa. Though circumstances for them being in Texas aren't ideal, it's been wonderful that we've both wound up in the same state again for a little while. We both told each other on Facebook how much fun we had together this afternoon, and I loved Bonnie's comment: "Isn't it amazing how God put us together and we both keep spreading our wings of love?"

Friday, May 27, 2011

let's catch up, cookie

Yay, Blogger is cooperating again! Apparently it decided to go to Costa Rica for a few days and take a vacation. It's now rested up and running again. Let's catch up, shall we?

-A very meaningful conversation about mission, evangelism, peacemaking and the World Council of Churches, all conducted informally via facebook with a friend who works for the WCC in Geneva.

-Having the lovely wee lass from Tee + Toast, who I always made a point to visit at St. George's Market in Belfast, send me a greeting via facebook. She makes the most whimsical, creative things. What a fun person...I'm glad to be back in touch.

-This hilarious and oh-so-predictable video of my nieces that was posted on my sista's blog.

-Randomly running into Rachel and her little one Ian and enjoying the way that seems to happen kinda often.

-The way my dog Hayden gets so playful after a bath. He absolutely hates being bathed, but afterwards when he's all fluffy and clean he just bounds around the house.

-The satisfaction of pulling up weeds (or in this case oak blooms trying to make trees in the middle of a flowerbed).

-Making decadent, delicious chocolate chip cookies, just 'cause I felt like it.

(I had to include a couple of pictures of my precious little guy.)

(Such a contemplative little fellow.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

color, chuckle & coffee

-Wearing a necklace my Grandmother gave me, adding a bit of art and color to my outfit.

-Saying "Good morning, how are y'all?" to a couple of men who were working on the sidewalk, putting sand in the grooves around a manhole cover. One man replied, "Hi, we're great...having fun playing in the sand!" We all chuckled.

-That first earthy sip of fresh coffee.

Monday, May 23, 2011

cheer here, there and everywhere

-A cheery casual find at Target (yep, I'm officially obsessed with this color). Some of the other t-shirts were on sale and so I asked the woman at the register (who is always really friendly) if it was on sale too. It turns out it wasn't, but she quickly adjusted it to the sale price, quietly saying with a smile, "$2 isn't going to hurt Target." Such a kind thing to do. It's going to be a perfect thing to wear in Montreat in a couple of weeks when I go to be a small group leader.

-Talking with Tilmann in Berlin and Katrina in Belfast over Skype. It was wonderful to catch up, see their faces and hear their laughs. Katrina and I, it turns out, are reading the same book right now (An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin). So, we're having our very own little international book club and discussing the first half on Friday via Skype.

-The friendly teenage trainee at Petsmart who was eager to help me and exuberant about everything. When I arrived at the register with the shampoo I was looking for (whitening so my lil' Hayden's extra vibrant), she said, "Aweeeesome! You found it!"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

sing for your supper

-Going to hear the Wellesley Widows sing (the acapella group from Wellesley College in Massachusetts) at a local mission. They were just fantastic, and started with one of my favorite songs, "I Am Not a Robot" by Marina and the Diamonds. It was a surreal moment to hear that quirky song in a mission from the 1700's. Just delightful.

-Perhaps the most perfect plate of enchiladas verdes I've ever had. I never get tired of Texas Mexican food.

-Receiving a kind thank you card from a woman at a local church where I recently preached.

Friday, May 20, 2011

a fresh coat

I've had such a fun week! As you know, I went to visit my Grandmother for a few days (that happily turned into a week). Near where my Grandmother lives is the house my Nana and Papaw lived in. I've been given some of the furniture and wanted to update it a bit. My Grandmother was such an amazing help in painting. We had a great time, and worked really hard. I love going to sleep physically exhausted from a good day's work. We also enjoyed coffee-drinking early mornings (of course), decadent dinners out in the evenings and even a little shopping trip to Corpus. Re-working the furniture took a bit longer than expected, but it was well worth all of the effort, and turned out just like I wanted it to. If you happen to be someone who thinks painting wood is an absolute abomination, I'd advise you to go have a cup of coffee or catch up with a friend instead of looking at my pictures. :) But, if you appreciate a bit o' color then by all means check em' out!

My Nana's bed before. It's called a "cannonball" bed. I love the rich wood color, but I also love periwinkle, so...

...best of both worlds, achieved through a bit of distressing, paint and glossy finish. My Grandmother shared a story with me this week she heard from a man working at a furniture store. Apparently a woman came in determined to find one of those trendy "disgusted" pieces that she'd seen everywhere. Ha. I think I'll use all white bedding on my "disgusted" bed with colorful, funky throw pillows. My Nana really loved purple, and while this is a bit more blue, I think she would've loved it.

Now we have the china cabinet that is also lovely wood. I was going to paint it white and add colorful fabric as a background. I am so grateful that things always take a bit longer than expected and we didn't get around to it. That night, I came across this in my Grandmother's Gumps catalog that I got even more excited about. Plus, I had the light turquoise paint for the chairs (you'll see those in a sec).

Pretty fantastic. I can't wait to fill it with my colorful wine glasses and coffee cups (that one that is my header pics definitely going in there!). I might also throw in a few antique books and make it part china, part curio cabinet. It really is a bit darker than this, but the sunlight was so potent that it brightened everything.

And our final (and most difficult actually) painting project was on these dining chairs. They're a touch lighter wood than the mahogany table and, again I love color, so they became light turquoise as well. Now the table, chairs and china cabinet look like a fresh bright set.

Even after tackling those spindley chairs, I still love painting. It's one of those wonderful activities like cooking where you immediately see results. And not in a instant purchase kind of way. These pieces all have such history and now I've infused them with a bit of my personality (with my Grandmother's fantastic help). All in all, a hard-working and yet utterly recharging week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

over the river and through the woods

Thanks for your great responses, folks! It's a cool, sunny Texas morning and I'm reading over my sermon with a glorious cup of coffee (in that cheery yellow cup of course). It's been a fun weekend: my friend Rachel's little boy Ian turned 1 and she had a fabulous little party for him, complete with homemade spaghetti, red wine, dulce de leche ice cream and cake. Fun, fun, fun. This afternoon, after preaching (my 4th Sunday in a row - woohoo!), I'm headed to my Grandmother's for a few days of creativity and relaxation. My little laptop will be on vacation as well, so that means no blog posts. But, I'll be back with (of course) pictures to share.

Have a recharging, joyful Sunday.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

feedback time

Hi blog buddies,

As you can see, my lil blog decided to change her outfit. I've been playing around with it a bit, and really dig using a Lord of the Rings font for the title (those who know me won't be at all surprised by this). Because you choose to look at it every day or so, whatdya think? Also, I think there are folks from all over who visit this wee blog whom I haven't met, so introduce yourself by leaving a comment! Tell me where you're from, if you have a blog and your favorite book if you like. (Even if I know you, do this anyway.) I'm a library-loving gal and am always on the lookout for a great novel. (One of you a long time ago recommended The Thirteenth Tale to me here and I was so grateful for that fabulous read.)

Hope you're having a terrific Thursday. Look forward to learning more about you (don't be shy)!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

worth the trip

-A fun little road trip to Rockport with the folks and my dog for some fresh seafood and a bit of gulf air. Hayden really enjoyed the little excursion (especially the nice waiter on the porch of the restaurant who immediately brought water for him when we arrived).

-I loved that the nice waiter brought me the largest, most fabulous fish taco ever, delicious sweet potato fries and a citrusy Blue Moon cerveza to go with it. Yum.

-Watching waves roll in and being relaxed by them and in awe of their power at the same time.

cheap & cheerful

I had such a fun day yesterday. After getting some errands taken care of, my good friend Ashley and I met for lunch and had the afternoon free (because this little gal got her liturgy for Sunday in on Monday) before going to a Taste of Home cooking school that evening. In our usual indecisive manner, we went to the movie theater, but found nothing appealing and just drove until somehow we wound up at Goodwill. Now for some of you, Goodwill might not excite the joyful response in you that it does in me. But Goodwill and me, well, we're old friends. And as Ashley and I are also old friends, it was a great plan. I looked at clothes a bit and found an adorable cheery red dress that looked brand new and was the cheaper-than-a-latte price of $2. Then Ashley found a Fiesta (the new stuff) coffee cup and saucer in a dandelion yellow that she said I needed. (I agreed.) That little beauty was a just under $1. We then went to one more charity shop and I came across two wonderful little old books, again $1 for both. So friends, all this simple math is to say that for less than the price of a movie ticket, I was able to pick up a fabulous dress, 2 books and a Fiesta cup a saucer. My day was made even more fun by the bright yellow spring coat I ordered online coming in.

Putting that precious sunshine cup to its most important use.

(And overflowing said cup by attempting to take a picture and pour at the same time!)

More lovely loot.

That amazing coat. I rolled up the sleeves a bit because that lining is just too cute to hide (and the arms are just slightly too long). I just feel happier with this chipper coat on. :)

Monday, May 09, 2011

welcome reunions

-Going to the library to pick up a new novel and being immediately greeted by an adorable older woman who was perched at the end of a bookshelf on a stool. I said hello back and she explained that she's a member of Grace Presbyterian Church and is looking forward to me preaching there this Sunday. I haven't worshipped in that church in twelve years, since I was an elder there, and this sweet woman remembered me. I can't wait to reunite with all those lovely folks on Sunday.

-Working as a scribe for a fun woman (who just happens to be a massive James Taylor fan) with cerebral palsy who needed a little help taking her exam. I've worked with her before and had such a great time. Her Dad told me that today when she saw that I was her scribe, she was excited. So was I.

-When finishing her music exam (which was online), she held her breath as we checked her grade and then exclaimed, "Holy cow!" and couldn't stop smiling.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Saturday, May 07, 2011

derby and other delightful diversions

-Celebratory watching of the Kentucky Derby complete with hats, a bit of yelling and, of course, mint juleps in icy silver glasses.

-Shopping around town with my mom and grandmother and making a quick stop in my beloved coffee shop. When I told the barista I was getting a hazelnut latte instead of my usual regular cup of joe, he said "Oh, wow, something different." I replied, "It's Saturday, you gotta live a little!" and he agreed.

-Sitting outside and snipping delicate, fragrant flowers to be given to all the women in church tomorrow.

Friday, May 06, 2011

newfound grace

-The way Hayden lets out a contented sigh as he plops his head down in my lap. I also like the way he's winking at me in this picture. Such a sweet dog.

-Getting a message from my friends the Sedgewicks in Belfast to let me know that I have a "new Belfast niece" named Gracie. I love that name (and am already an Aunt to one precious Gracie). Any time I hear that name, I always think of the U2 lyrics: "Grace, it's a name for a girl and also a thought that changed the world." So excited for them.

-Running into a woman from church in the grocery store and having her tell me she's been thinking about my sermon all week. What a kind thing to say. She said, "I think we're all doubting Thomases, and that can lead us to do great things."