Saturday, December 31, 2022

My Three Hobbies and a Few Reflections

 I am going to close out the year with a nod to my three hobbies.

Hobby #1 is cross stitching...of course.

I discovered this year that I have been heavily influenced by too many and I have bought and started too many new projects over the past COUPLE of years. '22 doesn't get all that bad rap laid on its head. I would have said pre blog days I was a monogamous stitcher. Honestly, I didn't even know that was a stitching term. It is just who I was. I looked for a pattern I liked and thought about where I was going to put it and then stitched it. If it didn't have a purpose I would have passed over it. I tried to salvage this madness a bit in '22, but I am all out going to bring back Sandy with my stitching in '23. 

I have too many large projects started. I am going to finish them one by one which means they probably won't get finished in '23. I am going to really try and stay away from buying so much that I can't get to. I want my stitching to have a purpose. 

The one stitch that will be finished first is something for Lindsay. I will share more about it in time, but here is a sampling of it.

Then, I am going to get back to this next sampler that I think will fit in lovely on my sampler wall at the Auburn house.

There are other large projects started but these will be completed before I pull them back out.

Now, the one little veering from those projects is that I have decided Miles will need an Advent/Countdown to Christmas stitch that I did for my daughter. Lindsay did make me feel better about this project in that she said I could take two years to do it a little at a time. Tucker is 4 and really got the whole idea this year. She actually made a list of things to do to put in each pocket this year. So, I can take the time and maybe do 1 or 2 a month. AND... I want to stitch some Christmas ornaments over this next year to use as gifts for Lindsay and Jeff to have for choices. When I am getting tired of the large project, I can take a break and do an ornament.

That is the cross stitching plan.

Hobby #2 - Reading

I tend to read a lot of nonfiction and researchy things, but this past year I buckled down and read some fiction. It was such a good thing. I felt like one of the younger people who have the attention span of a gnat these days. I decided that would not do and stretched myself to get back into reading for just pure pleasure. A story ---- not to always being learning something. Well, we always learn when we read, but you know what I mean. 

It really kicked off for me from about September to the end of the year. I am keeping that up for the new year. I read some good books, some that made me think and some that were just so so, but I read and it felt really good.

I use the app Libby and got most of my readings from the library. Our library connects to a regional library so we have a pretty good selection. One day I was in Sam's and bored with all that Jeff was looking at so I wondered over to the books. I saw what looked like a good one. I pulled out my phone and looked it up on Libby and checked it out. I read them on the app on my iPad. I prefer a book, but the app is really nice because it lets you flip back and forth very easily. 

My tastes in books is so eclectic. I don't think anyone would use that adjective with me in mind, but when it comes to reading that is me. That causes me to very seldom list my books on the blog. My tastes in reading don't always match my personality. 

More reading in '23.

Hobby #3 - Gardening

Oh how I love puttering in my flowers. I just love to watch something grow. I know I downsized many of my houseplants and outdoor pots in '22, but it was a good thing for me. Too many is when you can't take care of them and it is more of a burden that just fun. Inside and out I had joy with growing my little plants. 

I mentioned the lack of pansy color choices this fall, but let me tell you I have fallen in love with these orange ones.

These were all brought in and survived the cold weather. 

We are thinking we may have lost the lemon tree.  4 nights of low 20s all night may have been too much and even the heat lamps may not have helped it survive. I suppose we will just have to see what spring brings. I think it will lose all of its leaves with the rain. We are in Auburn, so I will see when we return.

And spring, I never want to rush days, but I love spring. The beginning of new things. As Gladys Tabler always said, it should be the beginning of the new year. I like that. Just planning for spring flowers makes me happy.


As I say goodbye to 2022, I am choosing to be hopeful and live life to the fullest in the days ahead. 2022 wasn't exactly the easiest year, but as always, God brings us through and throws in blessings to sustain us. Our family got little Miles added in a year of chaos. I will be keeping him as Katie starts back to work on the 5th. I am pretty sure he will cry a ton as he is attached to her BIG time. 

I am going to miss my little Palmer and honestly not sure how it is going to feel not seeing Tucker and Palmer everyday. I know I am so blessed! Lindsay is going to have to share her weekend time with me. I love those boys so much.

We lost Danny in '22 and I lost a good friend in March. Life is short and every good day is such a gift. Kim was my age...only a few months older. She was a week away from turning 62 at her death. I turned 62 this year and as I have always said, "I am happy to have a birthday!" This year though has made me pause and realize how little time is left and how much time has passed. 

My goal for 2023 is to not waste any days on things that are not worth my time. I want to shine a light for Jesus in all that I do and count my blessings.

Here's to a new year! I will most likely be snoring when it actually comes in, but I am looking forward to tomorrow.


Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas 2022

Despite the chaotic world we live in and the insane weather, I did slow down long enough to soak up all the goodness of Christmas.

I suppose even saying I was cold could be reason to call me crazy by some, but yes even in north Florida, I was terribly cold. I don't like cold Christmases. My husband is one who has said for almost 40 Christmases with me that it needs to be cold for Christmas, and we have had a few along the way. He got his wish, but I think he would say this one was too cold. I for one feel sad when it is cold at Christmas. It makes me worry about all the people who have inadequate heat and all those kind of things. I must say on Thursday and Friday getting ready for it to come in I was getting a bit beside myself. I had to stop and pray and realize I had nothing I could do about any of it. I moved some plants, covered some, covered faucets and all the likes and turned off any news or weather. 

I have worn clothes that I haven't in ages. The plants are angry ---very angry looking. I am hoping the covering was enough, but time will tell. 

Other than going to church I didn't get out anymore than checking on things around the house and running back in. 

On the way to get Mother for church Saturday afternoon, I noticed a ton of sheriff deputy cars at the ER. I drive right by the hospital on my way to Mama's. I noticed the amount and wondered about it. After church, I learned the reason: a deputy had been killed on a call to a domestic dispute. Early 40's. So terribly sad. 

Again, the news of the day is just not easy.

I loved church and every minute of Christmas Eve with my family. It was quite a scene with 2 boys running around and making a good bit of boy noise. Miles will be joining all that activity next year. Just think!

There were multiple attempts to get a cute picture of the three boys with their matching pajamas, but the crazy one turned out to be my favorite. The one below was much more like the real happenings.

We had our usual menu and opening of presents on Christmas Eve. I truly felt so blessed to spend that time with my family.

The next morning, we all gathered again at Lindsay's house to view the boys Santa visit.

It was too cold to even take the new jeep out for a while. They did bundle up and get out by mid morning for short rides at a time. 

Lindsay had made a French toast casserole with fruit in it that was tasty. I brought an egg and sausage casserole and Paul Allen brought some Conecuh sausage. Those locally know no breakfast is complete without it. We had a wonderful brunch and more good times together. 

I didn't even remember to take photos of the family the night before in front of my pretty tree, so Lindsay remembered the next morning at her house.

Jeff and I tried to take our traditional beach walk on Christmas Day but all I could stand was a walk out to the end of the boardwalk. The picture doesn't give one clue of how cold it was.
No search for sand dollars.

The bayou didn't get ice on it until this morning. The wind kept the water moving, but this morning when I  looked out it had ice. The wind had finally stopped enough for it to get still.

I am not sure you can tell without enlarging parts of it, but it was icy.

I have seen cold weather here but this was way more than we are used to experiencing. We have probably had lower temperatures but only for a day. I know in 1983 it was so cold but only for one day. This has been 4 days of temperatures that we just don't receive at all. Like I said, the plants look angry.

I hope to maybe get one more post out before 2023. We will see.
Two other things worth noting was my Christmas music selections. I was downstairs one day and dug out this very old album that my parents bought way back in about 1963 when we lived in Columbus, Georgia. Mother had written our address on the back of the album. 

I enjoyed it so much. I also pulled out my Amy Grant Christmas album from the 80s. I had so much fun listening to them. I have listened to quite a bit of Christmas music this year because Palmer loves the Alexa. He stands in front of it talking to it hoping for it to play music. I however never really liked the music it was putting out like my old albums. 

Just before Christmas I made me a playlist on YouTube. Loved it! I plan to add to it next year. If you are looking for one to save for next year, here it is.

That was Christmas and things are warming up. I am hoping our Auburn home fared well. The neighbor took care of some things for us there.

Stay warm folks,

Monday, December 19, 2022

A Stitching Finish

I buckled down to get the name stitch completed by Christmas. Miles's stitch is done...not framed, but stitched. I plan to roll it up and wrap it for Christmas and then take it to be framed after Christmas. Finished earlier today, I still have to pull out the stitches coming down from the top from the one that got messed up.

Features include:
a little bayou fishing, 
the two dogs and the cat that are pets,
 the two sports that I am sure Paul Allen will want him to play; golf and baseball, 
 a car (Katie's dad is a big car fan). This car is to mimic his 1965 red Corvette.
And duck hunting that Paul Allen has fallen in love with.

Feels good to have it completed. I have no idea why I took so long to get it done.

Another stitch to share is one I did several years ago. I made a homemade background for it, but always felt it just wasn't right for such a grand stitch. I pulled it out for Christmas this year and decided to try and find a frame. I took a chance on one from an Amazon vendor. It wasn't cheap, but it certainly was less than having it professionally done. I love it. The frame was perfect and just what I needed. 

I just popped it in this afternoon. It has a hanger on back, but now I have to find a place to put it. I think it will leave it out for January since it is so pretty.

I have some baking to do this week, but other than keeping Palmer through Wednesday I am slowing down to soak in Christmas.

Merry Christmas all, 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

A Little Stitching and Christmas

 I have been trying to stitch on the latest grandson's name. For some reason, the Devil has been in the details, and that has slowed me down. My creative juices on this project were lacking and I procrastinated starting it for way too long. Then to go right along with the normal as of late, I got it started and Little Palmer took a pen to it. Yes, you read that right. I tried to get it out, but I had to start over. That turned out to be a good thing, because I think I had a better vision of what I wanted for Miles's letters.

My goal is to finish stitching it by Christmas Eve. I will have to frame it after the first of the year, but I do hope I can finish stitching it.

The M is the only completed letter.

I am working smarter on this third one of these name stitches. I have thrown away each time my drawings which would have been so helpful for the next one. I am keeping them this time.

I did make my Auburn nutcracker into an ornament finally. I think I should probably not wait until December to work on any finishing projects because it is not my best, but it looks very cute on the Auburn 
Christmas tree.

Speaking of the Auburn tree. Jeff took a sweet picture of Tucker and Palmer one afternoon by it. They were looking at all the Aubie's (Auburn's mascot) on the tree.


One of the perks of living where I do is fresh citrus in December. These showed up on my door Saturday morning. I didn't check yet, but the couple down the street have 2 orange trees out front and they were loaded. This was a banner year for citrus in north Florida. I had done the same with lemons to all the neighbors.

They are as good as they look.

I am not going to do a whole post of Christmas decorations around the house, because I think I got it just right last year. I changed up some things and scaled down some things last year and felt like it was a Goldilocks year of decorations. I kept it the same this year. I will only share the tree and one change.
Here is last year's tour if you want to see it.

The tree is real but is so perfect it looks like a faux one. It is perfectly fresh this year and to that I say...Yippie.

In the last post, I said I purchased something new this year. It is not a Christmas decoration, but I did keep it out on the front foyer table because I love it so. Normally, I just have a bowl or ornaments where this new white camellia is sitting.

Some have mistaken it for a magnolia but if you are right up on it, you can see it is a camellia. It looks exactly like the real one outside in the front side yard.

This is an Andrea Sedak piece. I have a few of them around the house and love all of them. They were sold back in the 80s at a local store or Deep South chain called Gayfers (greatest store of all time).

When I put it there, I just thought it is like Christmas here because the white camellia blooms this time of year.

The normal stuff is happening around here, but I have slowed my pace to soak up the good and not the crazy of Christmas time. I saw this on Instagram and thought it fit many of my years when I taught.

I am a little older and do my best to keep the focus on what I can do and not try to do it all. Just focus on the right things.

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 1, 2022

November Recap Part 2

 In keeping with the backwards order for the recap, we will begin today with Thanksgiving. It is gonna be a long post, so you may have to read it in two parts!

Thanksgiving week was a celebration of family. With all the challenges of the last 2 years, I think we all have a renewed sense of family and taking nothing for granted. We knew it would be different this year with 2 losses, so the goal was to gather and make it a happy place. Our one and only niece is a special member of the family. 

I feel like I need to do a little recap of our family members. We are small but close. I have no siblings, so it is just me and Mama. Jeff has a brother and a sister who were much older than him. He was the surprise child:) Jeff's brother was divorced and had no children. We lost him in February to cancer. His sister, Donna has only one child Kristan and is married to Al. Al's family has all passed too. We are just small in numbers. Donna lived across the street from us before Jeff's parents passed and now is just around the corner (walking distance). Kristan was just turning 5 when I met her and living across the street and being the only little one she was the star of the show. I have taken her to Bible school, to the beach, helped her research stuff in the encyclopedias that we had all during school. She is loved well.

When Kristan married Torrey, his parents started coming to our Thanksgiving. Never missed. Torrey's dad died just a few weeks ago. I knew we needed uplifting times not sad because it was going to be real hard for her. 

We had our usual feast and then games. Uncle Al concentrating hard on the Jenga game.

Kristan waiting for the big fall.  By the way, do you see how big the twins are now. Seriously, where has time gone? The twins are Kristan's. More pictures coming of them.

One more picture from Thanksgiving. Mother and Miles...sweet.

We knew we would have to share Lindsay and Tyler with Tyler's parents this year in Atlanta, so we had pizza on the Tuesday evening of Thanksgiving week. I told you we celebrated all week.

I took lots of cute pics of the kids who were our entertainment. Get ready for a long list of them.

Katelyn holding Palmer, Kristan, and Tanner

Katie holding Miles

The next generation...Katelyn holding Palmer, Tucker, Tanner holding Miles

Tyler, Palmer, Gus, Paul Allen, Miles and Jeff's big foot:)

Another shot with Tucker. 

Katelyn, Tanner, and Kristan. I realized I left Torrey out of this. 

I had Kristan capture us. 

You see that ugly hair of mine...It is has been chopped off and looking so much better.

Every year, I see all these people on social media decorating for Christmas early. It can make you want to cave, but every year when Thanksgiving day is here I am so glad I didn't cave. I know there are many who have wonderful reasons for the early decorating, but I really love to keep it all Thanksgiving. 

Jeff and I did a lot of of shopping over that week and are almost all done. We noticed that this year is one of the most fall colored in memory. Not just me saying it! We decided that this year it is more noticeable because it seems all of it came at once. Usually the different plants are scattered with their color. It truly looks like fall in north Florida this year.

Our lemon tree had a huge harvest. In fact, I still have probably 3 dozen more lemons to get off the tree. We had homemade lemonade for both of our family gatherings over Thanksgiving week. IT was so good.

Just the beginning of lemons. We have had lots to share this year.

Now, to try and wrap this already long post up. 

We made it up to Auburn as a family after several failed attempts this fall. It was such a fun trip for us. Mother stayed home. It all worked out perfectly. Her sweet neighbor kept her busy with fun things. She is just not able to make that trip anymore.

We made it up to the Texas A&M game. It was also Veteran's Day weekend so it was a long weekend too. We had so much fun together. 

Lindsay, Tucker and I went shopping downtown and had some Toomer's Corner lemonade as we strolled and shopped. Tucker happened to stop and we noticed that we were on Carnell (Cadillac) Williams's diamond. We felt it was worth the picture considering his contribution to making the end of the football season fun again.

There were fires, walks in the new wagon, just cuddles with grands and the like.

Palmer pretending to be asleep.

Made with the timer.

Oh so many more. I really only used my phone this month for pictures. It was a good break away.

We had 2 tickets so Paul Allen and I slipped off to the first half of the game. He didn't want to leave Katie with Miles too long. The stadium and the atmosphere was electric. We had a blast! It was cold, but we layered up. I keep cold weather clothes up there for it can be much colder in Auburn than we are used to on the coast.

I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to get it all documented. 

I am blessed ---so very blessed, but it is busy around here. I have many to care for and I am not a 100% myself. Gonna get there though. I have a new haircut that maybe I will have combed and get a picture of soon. The Auburn pictures were the ones that shouted it is time for the long straight hair to go. I have chopped, added layers and letting it curl. If only it curled like it did before it turned white. Oh well.

After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19:12
The sermon this past week was on this. How appropriate was it! I stilled myself this past month so I could hear Him and remember to count my blessings. He is often not heard in the noise of the day, but in the gentle wind of a quiet time. And these days are so noisy.
He is our Hope though.