Sunday, December 27, 2020

Views from Here

 I looked through my pictures to let them talk for me.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is a simple one, but it was watching Tucker look closely at all the ornaments on a tree. He will go and stand and just look at all the different ones.

I feel I should explain that clump of lights in the back on the floor. They would later go in the reindeer crate that always stands near the tree. I hadn't finished decorating at this point.

Lindsay took him by Mother's one day before Christmas and I know Mother thought he would notice her Santa collection, but he cared not a bit for it, but again stood looking at all the ornaments. She did have an old fashioned alarm clock (not old though...LLBean version of an old one) that he was crazy about. 

He found a fishing Santa on her tree that intrigued him.

He has become interested in clocks. I have grandfather clock and he just stands in front of it rocking back and forth with the pendulum saying tick tock. I found an old ornament of a clock that Mother had given to Lindsay as a kid. Paul Allen took his collection with him when he moved into his house, but Lindsay's is still in her closet. I dug it out and took it to him and we hung it on his tree. He is quite taken with it.

It's funny what kids notice or not notice for that matter.

We went out to the beach to watch the Saturn and Jupiter conjunction. I thought that was extremely cool. Jeff was not so impressed until I shamed him later with a quote from Louie Giglio who saw it more as I did.

"We could see something from the top floor of our house that no human has seen since March 4, 1226. Stunning. Awe inspiring." ---Louie Giglio.

I agree with his summation.

Sometimes it really is just a matter of perspective. Jeff was unimpressed with Old Faithful as well when we saw it years ago. He thought it would be much more powerful. I explained to him it is not famous for being powerful but being faithful. He complains that too much is made of things and it dulls the imagery when you see it in person. 

That my friends is why sometimes you need to tune out the world.


We made the best of Christmas just like everyone else and I am grateful for Zoom.

Not sure what was on TV, but I can tell you it had to do with sports.

The weather has been quite cold and gave us two nights of freezing weather. The lemon tree got its heat lights and seems to be good to go. I do hope that it is for winter for us.
The bayou got some ice on it this morning. Hard to tell but it had sheets of ice on it. It gets still at night and then freezing for most of the night gave it ice. 

I haven't shared a picture of Miss Lemony in quite a while mainly because Miss Congeniality hates to be photographed. I think she fears the camera. She will be 12 next month and that is old for a big dog like her. She has slowed considerably and hates the cold as much as me. She is one special lady.

She has ended up loving the bed that she didn't want. She is in this position a lot.

We are heading to Auburn for the coming week to just relax. If I stay home I am going to be in that January clean and purge mood and not paying attention to Jeff, so we will go and relax and all of that will be here in January.

Speaking of January.
I am going to be blog breaking for the entire month of January. I need a new perspective on things. A renewal of sorts. I plan to tune out a lot in January. Take long walks and stare at the camellias in bloom on my street. I plan to tackle some cleaning and sorting and all the January stuff. I plan to visit with Mom and dote on her.

We watched the Netflix show called "Social Dilemma" a while back. I was struck by how the creators and employees of all these social medias don't even use them for themselves. They realize the downside to them. I am not addicted as I often go periods of time away from them, but I say that to make you the bloggers that I love to read know that if I don't comment for a day or so DO NOT feel like I don't like your blog, but I just need to step back and tune out so much incoming material.
I was a little shocked at the statistics of how people felt when a post on Instagram was not liked. Wow! I don't want you to feel unloved.

January will be a time of stepping back so I can really focus on what needs to be focused on. I will visit but just not every day. I will catch up when I do get on.

Take care everyone and hopefully 2021 will be a good one for you.
See you in February.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Salt Air

 I hadn't planned to post today, but my pictures are important to me. I haven't gone on many beach walks this year. I would say after having spent the few days around my birthday in Cape San Blas and this morning that no wonder my spirit needs lifting. 

The beach is my happy place.

I know some like mountains, lakes, prairies or the many beautiful landscapes, but for me it is the beach. When I walk along the sandy shore, I can feel the release of the weights we carry around. I feel closer to the Lord here.

Why haven't I made time for more? This year has gotten away from me, but I am vowing to walk the shores more the rest of this year and more next.

Jeff mentioned last night why didn't we get up early to go walk. Two things I don't particularly care for are early and cold. I surprised him with a, "Yes." I don't think he thought I was serious because of the cold. 

It isn't even winter for a couple more days, but good grief it is cold here in north Florida. Well, one day it is hot and then for two days it is cold. I have actually pulled a bin of sweaters down that I keep on the top shelf of my closet and rarely use. It isn't cold enough to be worried about the citrus trees, but it has been cooler than I am accustomed to for certain.

I awoke early and layered up for the trip out to the Gulf Islands Seashore past Narvarre. 

As we headed down and walked west you can see the clouds hadn't even begun to burn off and lighten.


It almost looks ominous, but if you looked back east to the sunrise it looked hopeful.

All a matter of perspective. 
The water was an amazing green indicative of its nickname, "The Emerald Coast."
Oh, how blessed I am to call it home.

Again, looking back east.

Sandpipers, pelicans, and sea gulls accompanied our walk. I love little sandpipers. They are always so busy.

If it were summer I would simply have to walk through that water. My was gorgeous.

As we walked away, I felt a world better.

Paul Allen is much better and his words today were "I'm good to go." He was always my sickly child and he has had the worst case thus far of our immediate family. I hadn't realized how much I had been worried until he texted me this morning that he felt much better.

Katie tested positive. I had already allowed myself to count days and well, we all know what that means. I won't lie, I was very sad.

Jeff the ever "trying to make all things right" said she could go get a rapid test on the 24th and maybe come over. I have assured him my state of mind is much better and Zoom will be fine

She is feeling better too. 

Kristan, my niece that we didn't get to see at Thanksgiving also have Covid running through their home too. Torrey, her husband has it as well as Katelyn, our great niece. She has asthma, so that has been a worry, but so far they are good. Sickly, but ok.

I just want everyone to be okay and we will just move forward.

I always salt air is good for what ails you, so I hope you can sense it in the pictures.

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Stitch Finish and Life Update

 I had a good bit in my head to write about for what seems to be a weekly post these days, but it seems Covid has struck again in my family. My thoughts went out the door last night. I can't concentrate much until I know my chickadees are all ok.

Anyone else just plain sick of all this. I know the answer. My positive self is struggling this morning.

Paul Allen's immediate boss tested positive and yesterday Paul Allen started feeling bad and is running a fever. He will be tested today, but he is home and I have dropped off medicine and will take soup over to place on the doorstep later.

Good this point, I just want this to go away and everyone to be healthy. I know everyone else agrees. IT goes without saying.

I will try and turn the mood of the post around.

I have a finish to share with you today. The minute I saw this pattern I instantly thought of someone and ordered it pronto. It has been delivered to the person.

I think I will maybe do a few more of these down the road. It is such a cute and cheerful ornament There were three in the lot of patterns, but I only ordered the one for now.

I am loving my simpler tree this year. It was just what I needed. I actually would love to find an artificial one that looks exactly like this one and it also be the same exact size. That seems like an in-person job, so it will have to be done next year.

I think I am almost through with my shopping for this year. Jeff having had the virus has been sent on many errands, but he has done quite well.

Speaking of trees, Tucker placed a little toy train under mine on the day he stayed with me from his hand burn. BTW, It is healing nicely.

You see, after Thanksgiving they visited his other grandparents in the Atlanta area, but they saw a train up close and he fell in love. He had loved boats and school busses, but now it is trains. Before they left to come home, his other granddad found Tyler's old train set that was set up under the tree while Tyler was growing up. Tyler managed to get the train working and Tucker loves it. He has to have it running everyday before they leave for their day. I suppose he thinks all trees should now have trains. 

He pulled the old FP train from the toy box here and walked over and put it under my tree. 

It will stay:)

Oh and he found a train ornament on the tree.

He also got to go the Destin Christmas parade. It is much less crowded and during the day unlike the Fort Walton Beach one which is VERY crowded and at night. The funniest thing is that Walmart had an 18 wheeler come by and Tucker was completely enthralled. He also likes big trucks. He waved the ENTIRE time it rolled by. When asked what his favorite thing in the parade, he replied, "Big truck." Walmart for the win. Ha Ha.

Someone needs a haircut but he pitched a boogie woogie in the barber shop, so I think he had to settle for a home trim yesterday.

The weather has gone from cool to hot daily. In fact, Saturday was downright hot and shorts weather. Today it is cooler again.

December is fall color in north Florida. And right on cue, the trees that we have here that change color have done just that.

This one was taken earlier in the week across the bayou on a sunny day. I wish I could get the color to show up, but alas I am not a photographer.

This one was taken yesterday as the clouds were rolling in.

Jeff has gone far more simple in the yard decorations this year. This is it...not the finished photo as you can see the ladder. He did put a smaller duller light on the little Santa and called it a day. He usually goes all out. The thing is I feel JOY when I think of Christmas and Jesus, but I don't feel so festive like usual. I don't think I am any different than anyone else this year.

I really enjoyed church yesterday. The message was amazing and I enjoyed my girls so much, but again I am just a bit on edge with the virus. 

Oh Carol, I used your idea for a crinkle toy for a baby shower gift. I needed something a little personal to go with my gift. You gave me the best idea.

The navy (which doesn't look navy in this picture) and aqua were from the bridal shower I gave the girl several years ago. 

I also helped Mother decorate this week. She had already done her table, but needed help with her Santas and...

her tree. We also hung her wreaths outside. She is doing much better in spirits that a few weeks ago. Thankful for that.

I am trying my hand at paper whites this year.

AND Tucker did get to see a Santa this year. They rode out to Baytowne in South Walton the other night. IT was not crowded at all and this was not an official taking season but someone did offer to take the picture. 

I managed to write far more than I was feeling once I started typing.

Stay well everyone and I am so grateful for the greatest gift of all...Jesus.

Monday, December 7, 2020

A Random Assortment of Life Happenings

 I am retired...doesn't that mean you have lots and lots of time? 

Seriously, last week was so busy I had zero time for myself let alone to stitch, so I have nothing to share there and to be honest my house is a total wreck.

I have good news though, so let's get some thoughts out on this post. Paul Allen popped the big question to Katie this weekend. There are so many "yes" answered prayers in there that I have really just said, "Thank you, Heavenly Father," over and over and over this weekend.

The question was posed in a deer stand in the woods in south Alabama. Only Paul and Katie --ha ha! Just evidence of how well that both of my children have chosen their lifelong mates. Not only, did he pop the question in the deer stand, but an hour later Katie got her first buck. I shudder at the thought. I mean I really do. I am way too girlie for that. The thing is to look at Katie, you would never suspect that she likes to hunt. 

Anyway, I am beyond thrilled and that is something to look forward to in 2021.

I kept Tucker for a day. This was not in the plans at all, since they had just come off a quarantine and Thanksgiving. Lindsay had wanted Tucker to be in school. He really has learned so much, but Tuesday night little one put his hand on the stove burner. Lindsay nearly needed the doctor more than he did. All turned out well. He had a bad burn, but thanks to a good pharmacist, the Internet and a much calmer daddy all is well. It is healing up very well and fortunately he didn't have to go to the ER which I think would have made the whole thing even more traumatic.

Tucker loves to help and Lindsay had him on the counter helping, but he decided to touch the burner. She has one of the stoves with the flat surface which is not lit up when turned off even though it is still hot. They both learned a lesson and it honestly took years off Lindsay's life over the next few days. I kept him the next day to make sure he was ok. He was fine by then and wore his bandage well and knew it had to be treated carefully. The only problem he had was holding his drinking cup, so school was back in session for him on Thursday and Friday and all went well.

Let's move on to Christmas.

I am going to share my tree this year. It is very different than all the trees that I have done since starting this blog. Not different from all my past trees - just different than the ones on this blog. Other than that and my new living room furniture nothing is really different anywhere, so I don't think I will get a Christmas tour up this year. I am struggling to keep up these days so we will just share the tree for now.

The star is new this year. Back to a star after a few years of an owl. I must say I love having a star back!!!

This year's tree is a very simple tree. I wasn't sure I was going to like it when I set out decorating it, but I knew it had to be simple because of my past two year's experiences with the real tree again. 

Way back in 1984 when Jeff and I married I was of one of those that thought it sinful to have an artificial tree. HaHa! My mother-in-law took me to see some silk trees in the late 1980s and convinced me to try it since she was going to buy it. I think that tree would be synonymous today with something I could not afford today. Anyway it lasted for decades and the year before this blog started was its last year on the scene. My kids only knew fake. I feel a bit bad about that. I think kids should know picking out a tree.

The year I started this blog I was heavily influenced by a tree I saw that you can read about here and I had a really fancy tree for the years following. When I went back to a real tree because of a lighting debacle I kept trying to put all of that stuff that I bought in 2014 on a real tree. Last year, the tree was really drooping and I lost one of my most treasured ornaments due to its falling off with all that weight. The tree was beautiful and I really like the stuff. There is enough that I could do a woodland animals small tree and I actually have one in a closet, but I am not feeling it this year.

I told myself last year as I was taking it down I would go back to a simpler tree. I did.

I wasn't sure about it as I put it up, but it has grown on me since and I am quite happy with it. I have had many phases with trees:) Does anyone remember the apples from the mid 1980s. I bought 2 dozen of the little red apples. I still have them, but only a few go on now. However, I still hold onto them for some reason.

I added some light blue bows like our first couple of years. I think any color could work. I also noticed how using blue bows really made any ornament with blue pop on the tree. Meg, I missed yours on the close up, but it really shines this year.

I do have one more item to share with you and then I will close this very LONG post and get busy on my very MESSY house.

I got an early Christmas present. While Jeff was home in his quarantine, he assured me it was time to get rid of the very old worn rug in the kitchen. I got online and found an outdoor rug on a really great pre Black Friday special. I mean I scored a big deal. 

I love it! 

Here it is up close...

and then farther out so you can see the fuller picture with light.

I have one more picture to share. I sent this to Jeff on Friday morning to show him I could look nice. Not that I go around looking awful, but I go nowhere so I have worn mostly leisure stuff. I had to take Mom to the doctor so I put on real clothes:)

Hope everyone is hanging on. This Christmas is going to be different in so many ways. I am just hoping for all to be gathered here for Christmas Eve, but know that things can change on a dime. 


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Stitching Finish

 I have been jumping around on the stitching as of late which tends to happen in fall and then Christmas. I was working on my heron when I ran out of thread and I am glad I did. I just knew as soon as I ran out of the color that I was supposed to finish my flowers before the year was up.

The final installment is a magnolia.

Now, let's take about what led me to the stitches and my plans for them. While perusing one of my favorite gardening and decorating Instagram pages I saw a wall of botanical prints that I fell in love with. The decorator was using them in an antebellum home just north of Auburn and commissioned an Auburn artist to watercolor these prints. I also follow that artist and love love love his work. If only I could afford that kind of thing.

The following prints are from A Place to Call Home by James T. Farmer and the prints were done by Andrew Lee Design of Auburn. I wish I could find a better picture, but I don't seem to be able to locate the picture of them upclose that got my wheels spinning so long ago.

This is an example of Andrew's work on Instagram. Amazing...

I kept thinking on it and really knew I had nowhere to put anything like that even if I could afford it. I was still drawn to them and then it hit me. I stitch...that is what I do and what better than a wall of flowers and birds of my own stitching

You have seen the three birds I stitched and yes, they are hidden away in a bedroom at our Auburn house, but they look spectacular in that bedroom. I hope one day we will spend a lot more time there than we presently do, but either way I love them.

I think the flowers will also look good all mixed in with those birds when framed. The framing will come in the new year because after all it is Christmas and I have presents to buy.

How did arrive at the choices? Well, the birds are the three birds I can count on seeing when I walk everyday. The flowers are special choices as well. Let's talk about the four state flower choices and we will go in the order I stitched them.

I first stitched the orange blossom for Florida. It is my home! I love Florida. I have loved Florida my whole life. While I wasn't born here, I lived just across the Alabama /Florida line and spent many weekends either shopping or beaching it. It is my hubby's birthplace and home. He has only lived in Auburn other than right here. I have lived here officially since August of 1984. I taught 4th grade many years and loved learning and teaching about this wonderful state. It has a rich history. Of course, my kids were born here too. I actually lived in Pensacola for a month at age 4....long story...Pensacola NAS.

The second stitch was the camellia for my sweet home Alabama. I was born there and that is where I lived most of my growing up years. My mother and father are from south Alabama. Both were born and raised in Conecuh County, Alabama. The U.S. Army took them away. Starting in 6th grade, we moved to Brewton where my home was 9 miles north of the Florida line. My roots are deep in Alabama. I do love pink camellias. There is one very close to my dad's grave in Range, Alabama. Oh, and Fort Walton Beach, Florida is the camellia city. My street is lined with them. They are a show stopping plant in full bloom during the winter months. Can't beat that!

The third stitch was for where a piece of my heart resides...the Cherokee Rose of Georgia. I have lived there two times in my life. Once as a small child...Fort Benning and again as a first year teacher just out of Auburn. Same location...Columbus, Georgia. Columbus is just across the Alabama/Georgia line from Auburn. It was the last place I lived with my dad alive and then was able to share my love for the area with Jeff when we were dating and engaged. In fact, he asked me to marry him in Columbus. We visit often and ride around the area. I was so glad I got to share my heart with him there. I taught just north of Columbus at Harris County High School (home economics). It was just 5 miles south of the Calloway Gardens gate. We love that place. We spent a lot of time there when I taught there and he was finishing up in Auburn.

The final stitch is another of my quintessential Southern favorite flowers.. the magnolia. The magnolia is Mississippi's state flower. Why did I choose that because trust me I have many favorite flowers? I mean there is the blue hydrangea that grew abundantly around my great grandparents' home. Mississippi is where Jeff's parents were born and raised. Two Mississippi people and two Alabama people gave birth to a couple who loves their southern roots and feel blessed to live in our area. We actually have a painting above our couch that is two boats on the water named "The Mississippi Blue" and "Miss Alabama."

That is how the birds and flowers were chosen and I look forward to blending them altogether on that blue wall in Auburn.