Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Morning Treasures

There was nothing left to do... I'd been up since 6:00 AM, had my morning cuppa, read all my favorite blogs, fed the felines and walked the dog. So, I put $25.00 worth of gas in my car and hit the road (I know, $25 of gas doesn't get you much or far anymore - that was my whole intention!). All I needed was enough to make it to Hillsborough where I got my "Fetch" fix

It was a hot one already at 10:30 this morning but Karen had her back and front doors open (with the A/C running?) and there was a lovely breeze flowing through the entire store. And of course there was Chester (I have to remember to get a picture of Chester next time). Chesty is the shop dog and one of the loves of Karen's life. It makes me giggle because you'll find Chester laying on an iron bed that's for sale, on top of pricey Chenille bedspreads - also for sale, complete with free dog hair!!! Now that's my kinda' lady - "love me, love my shop, love my dog"!! I go there so frequently and spend so much time there that Karen will now leave me in the shop alone to go get lunch or a drink or help a friend pick out a piece of jewelry at the shop next door! She leaves me to myself to pick through EVERY dish, bar of soap, candle stick holders, and she doesn't even mind me opening the bottom drawers of armoires and chests to see what she's stashed below! If I didn't live so far away, I'd offer to "work" there for her on occassion! I just like being in the presence of the place.

Look at my stash below! At "Fetch" I picked up the two cocktail napkins (pink and yellow) and the three little plates (the one in the back with the little orange and yellow flowers is actually a Homer Laughlin and I got that one "on the house"! Yippie!! The one in the front is a beautiful bone china (that was not a freebie...) and the one on the bottom with the soft orange border was a steal at $3.50. I've put the bone china plate on top of the orange-bordered one and it looks smashing! The beanpod soy candle on the bottom has an orange-ish tint to it and it's sitting on top of the two plates - very pretty and smells yummy (Patchouli - one of my favs). I picked up a second soy candle (Vanilla Coffee) because these guys were on sale at Uptown Nature, a quirky little shop in Carrboro, NC. My DH and I love the soy candles - super scented and VERY clean!!

Lastly, that sweet little china dish with the dainty pink flowers I picked up at Vintage Revival, another great little hidden treasure in Hillsborough. This will find a home in my bathroom cabinet above my sink where it will hold my toothpaste and dental floss (TMI?). Anyway, I thought it would be nicer to have these things corralled in a pretty "container" instead of just laying on the shelf in the medicine cabinet. I know, you're right, any reason to buy a piece of china...

Of course, a lot more "damage" could've been done but I would need money for that! Ha! I can't wait to get back to work and earning those commission checks again - that's where our fun money came from. Soon enough, though. Remember, my new job starts Monday! Yikes!!

"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you." - Christian Morgenstern

Friday, May 30, 2008

Strength...and change on the horizon

It's occurred to me that rarely do I post anything about my darling husband (DH). It's time you met...

Mike is a police officer (SWAT team member) with the Chapel Hill Police Department in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is his DREAM job. Michael is a "go-getter". He is confrontational, he is loud and animated, he is a character and quick witted, he can be overbearing, he is stubborn and determined always to be right, he is an "in your face" kinda' guy, he has no patience for ignorance, he loves his God, he is controlling, he is a sports junkie and can retain (what I think is worthless) unimagineable amouts of sports "facts", he aspires perfection at all times in everything he does, he loves education and is always taking classes - in the classroom and/or online, he works hard and all the time, he is the foundation of our little family although he would say that's not true - that I am, he's not a "mushy" kinda' guy but the kinda' guy who surprises you when you least expect it (a touching note left on the kitchen counter telling me how special I am for the stuff I do for others in my community; telling me how great he feels when he takes a container full of cupcakes to work for the guys that his wife made...). We make each other nuts because we couldn't be more opposite. But we need each other desperately and love each other deeply.

As most of you know, I've been out of work since February 1. This is the third layoff I've experienced in my 12 year career of shopping center leasing. I'd decided it was time for a career change and, of course, Mike agreed and was supportive with any decision I made. I can't tell you the number of resumes that went out or the number of interviews I went on to businesses from the YMCA to retirement living facilities to the United States Postal Service - with rarely a "thanks but no thanks". With every rejection I fell a little further down the ladder of self respect. But each time Mike was there to first sit with me while I cried and then tell me to get over it and go on to the next candidate. He was also there to scold me when I questioned God's promise to never forsake me; there were days I'd never felt so alone... And during this entire time, while Mike was working, experienced a difficult surgery and recovery, dealing with me and my moods and discouragement, he was keeping this household afloat - financially more than anything. Somehow, someway he made it work. He was and is our strength.

But change is on the horizon for the Mineers - AGAIN. I have accepted a position with a company based in Morristown, New Jersey. It is an assest management and realty company with strip shopping centers throughout the east and mid-west. I am so grateful for this opportunity but terrified at the same time because I'm right back into this field of employment that is risky, at best, especially during these difficult economic times we're facing. But I've had a heart change about how I'm going to approach this job and I'm prayerful that it will help make me successful and happy. One of the best parts of the job is that I get to continue to telecommute - work from home. How wonderful is that given the price of gas! Additionally, I will be traveling extensively because I've been assigned properties in Kentucky (Mike's home by the way), Indiana, Alabama (Mobile, here we come for some GREAT seafood) and Minnesota (never been to Minnesota - and I won't be going there in January, February or March either!). Hopefully I can rack up some airmiles and Mike and I can hit some place tropical next year!

Today I get to call the unemployment agency and tell them to stop the checks. Accepting that aid hurt my pride but after looking at the big picture, I've worked my entire life and paid into the benefit program and I was entitled to the assistance. I'm grateful it was there for me because it helped get us through these last few months. Today, not different from any other day, I get to tell my husband how much I appreciate his hard work and all that he's done recently to maintain our home and my spirits and that I love him. We're a team, you know. And today I get to thank my family and friends for their constant support, well wishes and prayers that "something will come along". Something did - in God's time and in His way and as I've said recently, I believe I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be...'s going to be a good day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Thursday

I was "strolling" through blog-land last night and came across a blog in which the author picked a day of the week to write about all the things for which she's thankful. I thought, what a wonderful idea! I send my thanks to God every day so why not share it with others. So, here is my official, first "Thanksgiving Thursday". And if I can ever find the blogspot where I got this idea, I will give credit where credit is due.

Feel free to leave comments and share your "wonderfuls" for the day.

1) I'm thankful for my health;
2) I'm thankful for my salvation and the freedom I have to express my thanks for it;
3) I'm thankful for my loving and supportive family;
4) I'm thankful for my home;
5) I'm thankful for my animals and the comedy they bring to this sometimes ugly world;
6) I'm thankful to ALL the soldiers past, present and future and to their families as well;
7) I'm thankful for the rain we've had here lately;
8) I'm thankful for the continued ability to put food on my table, gas in my car and the lights on in my house during a difficult and strectched last 4 1/2 months;
9) I'm thankful for my daughter's laugh;
10) I'm thankful for my buddies Cathy and Linda!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Photo Finish

Yesterday I was sent the URL/link to the Chatham News & Record ( where I could view my Pittsboro Relay for Life team photo taken by photographer Gene Galin. I thought I would share it with you this morning.

I would encourage you to visit the website and take a quick look at all of the photos, most speak for themselves with the emotions clearly seen on peoples faces.

I also want to point out our pink team shirts and share with you how they came to be. I know there is nothing perfect in this world - ESPECIALLY us human beings. But nothing or no one comes as close as my sweet Bran... And that's not just my opinion as her mom! Brandi runs deep, keeps way too much on the inside. She loves deeply and hard and, although not often thank God, when her heart breaks or aches...well, I'd do anything to make it stop. Such was the case when Deb died this past December. I think as much as Deb's death devastated Brandi, her heart was hurting for me, because I know how much she loves her Mama. And like me for her, Bran would do anything to assure my happiness.

Knowing that I'd committed to this event, Brandi brainstormed about how she could help, get involved, raise money and make a difference. We talked about many options and agreed a team shirt would be a great idea. Unbeknown to me, Brandi had kept the program from Deb's funeral which had Deb's picture on it. She did her research and found a local graphics company that would take on the project and keep the cost reasonable. Brandi shared her idea and the progress with her employer. They were touched and wanted to participate. So, instead of an outright monetary donation they contributed $100 toward the creation and printing of the tees. When it was all said and done, the invoice exceeded that $100 by about $50.00 - which the company graciously waived as their donation to our cause. As it turned out, Amy Daniels of MARZ Graphics and Design, lost her father (he was 41) to cancer. Amy and her team did a wonderful job for us. There is the beautiful picture of Deb on the back along with our team name and Deb's date of birth and death. And on the front left it says "Pittsboro Relay for Life May 16-17, 2008". We were a big hit and this will be hard to top next year. Little Bran, put your thinking cap on sweet girl!!!!

Like the completion of my first half marathon a few months ago, this was a life changing event for me. I met new people, made new friends, learned that this dreaded disease touches EVERYONE somehow and... there is good in all of us.

"I find my joy of living in the fierce and ruthless battles of life, and my pleasure comes from learning something." - August Strindberg

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

These boots weren't made for walking...

Anyone who knows me well knows about my addiction - - - to cowboy boots!! I L-O-V-E them. I have more than I need but not nearly as many as I want. And while I have one "traditional, brown, oval-toed" pair, the rest would be debated by a real cowboy as to the legitimacy of being actual "cowboy boots". I even have a pair that are Carolina Blue (thank you, Mom!!). And when Mike and I went out west two years ago, I worked extra hard and super fast to wrap up a deal so that I could get my commission check before our trip because I was going to spend the entire thing on - yep, cowboy boots! And I did! And everytime I wear those boots I am (1) reminded of that AWESOME trip and (2) always get complimented because they are so different.

I'm giving you this little bit of background so that you can understand my giggles at my Mother's Day gift from my mom... another "pair" of cowboy boots!!!

I think the Geraniums love them just as much as I do...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Go get a're gonna' be here awhile!

I've been busy. I've been without Internet/email service at home for 2 weeks and trying to fix that problem - still to no avail. I've been an emotional wreck. I've been excited. I've been nervous. I've not known what to expect. My heart's been full of pride and then of sadness all within minutes of each other. I've been frustrated. I've been elated. I've been tired. I've been touched. I've been grateful - - - - - - I AM BLESSED....

As most of you know, a few months ago I sort of fell into committing myself as a team captain for the Pittsboro Relay for Life. I'm a "sucker" that way, that's how I got hooked on selling Mary Kay makeup 20 years ago! But my heart was in the right place that night. It had only been a few short months since my buddy Deb died from cancer and we learned of my grandmother's diagnosis with colon cancer and subsequent surgery, barely a year after my grandfather endured the same. After hearing the testamonials and feeling the excitement in the room I thought, I want some of this!!! So, as the proverbial saying goes, I signed on the dotted line.

Ever since then, it's like I've been in a Flyer red wagon heading down hill FAST!!!! I drummed up my team (okay, I convinced my family to join in) and began my mission of setting monetary goals and a fundraising activity for the night of the event. I made phone calls to my teamates regularly to "check in" and give the necessary pep talk. I asked for their donations to be turned in on a regular basis. I sent encouraging emails to them telling them what wonderful people they are. I cleaned my house feverishly anticipating my company - because all of my teamates are out-of-towners you see. And I baked cupcakes...lots and lots of cupcakes. I baked big ones and little ones. I baked chocolate mint ones, chocolate peanut butter ones, strawberry ones and carrot cake ones. I've never baked so many cupcakes in my life. The cupcakes were for our fundraiser at the event. Check this out...

A pretty table setting, don't you think? We got lots of nice compliments and even sold a few cupcakes! And that's our tent behind the table and my dad. Instead of a monetary donation, Lee Reddinbow, a friend of my niece's, went to REI, purchased the tent and sent it down here with Christa for us to use for the night! How generous was that? I don't know if Lee will ever use the tent again - that's the kind of guy he is. He saw we had a need and he helped fullfill it. Thank you Lee! Anyway, the tent became a haven for us and the cupcakes when the skies opened and the rain POURED down!!! It became simply comical watching each of us grab a tray of cupcakes or a framed "menu" and head for cover in the tent! Even my dad, God love him, crawled in that tent to help protect our sweet concoctions! And we did this not once but THREE times!!! Obviously, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed! I insisted, once the clouds parted and the rain stopped, that we set the table - AGAIN - only to have another storm cloud pass and, well, you're getting the picture! It was like a Lucille Ball act after awhile!!! Oh, where was the video camera??!!

But, eventually, things did dry up and we were able to hear the cash register ring (okay, it was my dad's modified first aid kit, but, again, you get the idea)!

This was my innaugural Relay. I did not know what I was in store for. I knew the schedule of events and the role of my team and I'd even prepared myself for a lump in my throat. I was not prepared enough.

These are the cancer survivors we recognized in our little community that day. Cancer has no regard for race, sex or age... I fell apart here and the event hadn't even been officially kicked off. I cried tears of happiness for my grandparents for both of them are survivors. I cried tears of anger because Deb did not survive and I cried tears of disbelief and unfairness when I saw the three young children in this group of incredible people. I cried tears of complete sadness because my husband's mother did not survive - and I know how much he misses her. And I cried tears of joy because I had my husband there with me to comfort me and I had my family there to share this time with me and because maybe, just maybe, by being a part of this tiny little event I might help make a difference one day.

And how appropriate is God's timing? Sunday after the Relay was Homecoming at my church. This is when we celebrate those church members and community friends who have gone home to be with God. It's a time when extended family members join us in prayer and fellowship in our little country church. And I was so fortunate to have my family with me at this event, too! Here's my gang... oh how I love them...

I have so much more to share - memories we made, pictures we took - but I'll save some for later. Instead, I thought I'd close by saying prayers do get answered, our lives can be fulfilling especially when doing things for others, things don't always make sense, there's good in everyone, tragedy strikes, sadness creeps in, a new day brings new opportunity, EVERYTHING happens for a reason and in GOD'S way and time and HE is truly the leader and in complete control. When I moved to Bear Creek, North Carolina 6 years ago this July, my life changed. For that, I am eternally grateful. I believe and accept that I am where I am supposed to be - physically and spritually and I don't want to be anywhere cup runneth over...and so does my heart...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A photoless post

It's like being topless...or worse yet, like leaving the house without my lipstick on!!! Aaaggghhh...a post without pictures. But you see, we are without our satellite at home for now and, as such, I'm having to mooch wi-fi service from whatever coffee house I can get into and don't have my laptop set up (yet) to talk to my digital camera - thus, no photo.

I really do LOVE living in the country but the battle we have with satellite (Internet and television) service is a constant one and one of sometimes great expense - although when one of us is unemployed any expense is a great expense! Because our dish is out of warranty, imagine that, we have to pay for the technician to come out and readjust the monstrosity! He's supposed to be here Thursday. We'll find the money somewhere...we can't be 'disconnected'!

So, while it may be a little quiet here on my "site" for the next day or two, know that all is well, Mike's feeling better and getting healthier every day, I'm still on the job hunt (had another interview yesterday, say a prayer), I'm getting ready to run the Torch Run for Special Olympics with the Chapel Hill Police Department and we're heading into the final leg of Relay for Life!!! My "team" will be arriving here between Thursday night and Friday afternoon and I'm so excited. No doubt I'll have plenty of pictures to share so stay tuned.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Holy Creepin' Clematis Batman!!

Yes you garden lovers, this IS a Clematis! And I have it to look forward to EVERY year. Look at those buds, would you? Have you ever seen a bloom this size? It's at least the size of my dad's entire hand!

This little pretty grows in my "back yard" just under our deck. I'm guessing the previous owner or the original owner planted this in a plastic pot and set it under the deck to grab onto and eventually grow tall and strong. That's an understatement, wouldn't you agree?

The root system is so engrossed and entrenched in the ground I'm not even interested in attempting to relocate this lovely. That and I don't want to run the risk of shocking it and ultimately killing it. Oh, I know the day will come (sooner rather than later) when we'll have to tear down the deck and rebuild and find a new home for my pretty but until then, I bask in this beauty while hanging my laundry on the line.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Home made Chocolate Chip Blondies

Well, when there's nothing else to do on a chilly, misty day - BAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP BLONDIES!

I found this recipe in the magazine "All You". It's super easy and ooey-gooey dee-lish (and not at all figure friendly)! I plan on having at least two!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One advantage of being unemployed...

Wow, when you don't have to go to work everyday - - everyday COULD be a play day!!! And if I didn't have money to worry about, I could really get used to this not working thing and just having play dates with my buddies!! Like this one yesterday.
Coffee, tea, fresh fruit, sweet rolls - - - and sweet friends! What a glorious way to spend a Tuesday morning... Cathy and Linda and I were able to sneak in a few girl hours together yesterday morning in Meadowmont. Meadowmont is a multi-use, retail mix center in Chapel Hill. The complex is only a few years old and is a fabulous place for young couples (or retirees) just starting out. At this facility, there are condos (not apartments) above the retailers. And throughout the grounds are "cottages", townhomes, "lot homes" and upscale apartments. It's just beautiful there.
We hit "Cafe Carolina" first thing and treated ourselves to fresh fruit and ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls. Cathy had the quiche and said it was "dee-lish"! We had a WONDERFUL time of fellowship and discussed everything from politics to death (HA!! No, one doesn't necessarily lead to the other! Ha!). You wouldn't believe me if I told you some of the topics we get on - they'll stay our little secret.
As down as I have allowed myself to be in recent days, I am truly grateful for the time my unemployment has allowed me to spend with these dear friends of mine. And when we're together I sincerely treasure and value every minute because I know, in GOD's time, I will be back at work and I won't have the luxury of spending a Tuesday morning with these great women.
So, for now, when the opportunity presents itself, you'll find me enjoying coffee or tea and something sweet with my buddies.
"On wings of deeds the soul must mount! When we are summoned from afar, ourselves, and not our words, will count - not what we said, but what we are" - William Winter

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to Big Bloomers...


My friend Cathy and I spent the morning this past Friday strolling through and drooling over the lovelies at Big Bloomers, a remarkable nursery just on the outskirts of Sanford, NC. It's HUGE and has such a vast selection of plants, veggies, yard ornaments, hanging baskets, flags - the list is endless. After Big Bloomers we made the short drive to Dale's/Dale's Too where, again, we oohed and aahhed. We didn't linger there too long, however, because by now our tummies were letting us know it was lunch time and we needed to head toward Miss Lacy's Tea Room...

If ever you're in central North Carolina you really must make time to have lunch here. But come early because she closes promptly at 2:00. And feel free to order anything on the menu, it's ALL good, especially the desserts...and for you locals who haven't been lately, they've paved the back area and it's now a REAL parking lot!! Yeah!

Back to my peony...This little bush was planted about, oh I'm guessing, 5 years ago. Either the first or second year it bloomed BEAUTIFULLY!!! After that, N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Every year in the early spring I clear the area around it, carefully scraping the dirt under the bush to loosen it to allow the plant plenty of easy access to punch through the ground and every year it would grow and get full and the leaves would be lush and the buds would be great in number and size and I could see the white of the petals just about to BURST and then N-O-T-H-I-N-G. They would simply become brown, dry up and go away... But this year, this year...I HAVE BLOOMS!! The only thing I can think of is that the ants came and "did their thing" to this little bush. I've heard a Peony needs ants. And I did see BLACK ants all over the bush, which I haven't seen in the past. Whatever the reason, I am a happy girl! I LOVE my peony bush - and it smells SO good!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another new morning

A friend of ours once said that the best time of day are the hours between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM. I couldn't agree more. The morning brings freshness. It brings a new opportunity. It offers us a chance to make a change in our lives. It reveals what may have happened in the night. It allows us quiet time to thank God for the very breath in our bodies. It sometimes reveals the mist rising from the grass giving an eerie feeling right before daybreak. It confirms my knowledge that the horse is the most magnificent animal God created when I see the steam flow from their nostrils in a sort of ethereal way. It makes me smile at the animals because they're yawning and stretching and trying to start their day just like us. And the morning offers me my first, and usually only, cup of coffee.

**ahhh...yep, I love a new day. And I hope your first day of May holds all of these things and more for you.