Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday


How can you love someone crazy fresh who drives you absolutely insane? I'm not sure but I do and, well, for that I'm grateful... I love you Michael - to the moon and back.

..."and the greatest of these is love"...

Monday, July 28, 2008

One of Those Days

I miss my friend today... and nothing else seems to matter. I'm not going to fight the tears anymore this morning. I'm just going to try and get through the day. Nothing's happened to make me think of Deb - no "event", no particular issues in my life recently. But she is so close to my heart today and I'm - just - sad.

Sadie and I walked down to the edge of the property this morning. The pathway from my house to Deb's has grown over with grass now, you can barely make it out. Maybe that's what started my heart aching, huh...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Favorite Thing

Cindy at My Romantic Home has invited us to participate in a weekend event entitled "Our Favorite Things". The idea is to share one of our favorite things that we have in our homes but it could not be a person... Here is mine...

...enough said...

Friday, July 25, 2008

"A Final Farewell"

Randy Pausch
The Last Lecture

After countless attempts to insert the video itself here, I've given up. Instead, simply go here to learn about this very bright, funny, courageous, insightful man. Randy Pausch lost his battle this morning to Pancreatic Cancer. And if you haven't read his book, The Last Lecture, please take some time to pick it up this weekend - you'll be glad you did and you'll finish it well before it's time to return to work Monday morning.

Some people have such charm, such charisma, such a great outlook on life, are the type of people you just want to be around - I wish I'd met this man in person... maybe he'll take time to chat with me when our paths cross in eternity... My heart goes out to his wife, children and family. No matter how much they talked and prepared themselves for this day, hearts are broken.

But Randy Pausch's wit and spirit will forever surround Carnegie Mellon for he touched too many students' lives and made too great an impact on everyone he met for it not to...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

"Virtue" : General moral excellence. Boy, that's a lot to strive for. I better get started...

1) I'm thankful for my safe and productive travels to and throughout Alabama last week;
2) I'm thankful for the three Christian women that were put in front of me during those travels last week;
3) I'm thankful for taking the risk and tasting (eating) the gulf shrimp at the "Cajun Steamer" - YUMMO!!!!;
4) I'm thankful for being able to be home this entire week;
5) I'm thankful that there's a good chance I'll be home all next week (not much choice, hubby is off to Wilmington for a week for a conference so I have to be home with the critters);
6) I'm thankful that my daughter and son-in-law are considering North Carolina as a new place to live (although I will be supportive of whatever decision they make...I've learned that the hard way!);
7) I'm thankful that my outside kitty "Big G" was on the porch for breakfast this morning (I haven't seen him in over a week - but he is my biggest "explorer");
8) I'm thankful that my dad is feeling better;
9) I'm thankful that David MacEwen (he owns the farm where I board my horse) is resting comfortably at home after suffering a heart attack;
10) I'm thankful that I'll be able to pick up my car this afternoon - OH SO THANKFUL!!!
11) I'm thankful for the rain we've had this week;
12) I'm thankful to Benjamin & Samuel for cutting our grass (field) this week;
13) I'm thankful I didn't get called up for jury duty this week (one down, 5 to go...)

I'll turn off my appreciation faucet here and save some for next Thursday. Have a beautiful day, everyone, and take a few minutes to step outside, get some fresh air and consider all the good in your own lives...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I bet you think you know what a good neighbor is... I thought I did, too, when I lived in Northern Virginia - 12 miles from Washington, the same neighborhood, on the exact same street I grew up on.

I had no idea what a good neighbor was until I moved to the country. When I tell you I live in the country, take my word for it. I am 10 miles from a grocery store of sub-standard quality. No fast food/pizza/Chinese delivery is available to us. We don't have cable and the only "high speed" Internet service offered is a satellite, which is debateable and less than dependable at best. And now that I think about it, I'm not real sure we have a "911" system (note to self - ask the hubby about this one). What I do have is awesome neighbors.
I haven't just come to this realization, I've known it since the weekend of July 4, 2002. That's the weekend the pump went out on our well (oh yeah, we don't have "city water" either. Everyone out here has their own well). And that's when I first met the Kecks. I won't go into detail about how our relationship grew just know that it did and that I know if ever I needed ANYTHING I could simply walk through the woods and down my neighbor's drive.
You know, when I lived in Springfield in a sprawling, very well-established neighborhood I didn't even know my neighbors' names. And many of the backyards were equipped with 6 foot high fences so you didn't even have to associate with your neighbors. The houses are so close that in the summer time when your windows are open you can hear everyone talking on the patios outside. But back then, I didn't know any better. I accepted this "neighborly way of living" and I didn't even know I was cramped. I'm wiser now.
It's been a test of patience this week here in the country. My car's been in the shop since Sunday night, the lawn tractor went to the doctor yesterday afternoon and the "farm truck" is at the top of the drive waiting patiently for the starter to be replaced. We don't have a big "spread" here in Bear Creek but going from a 1/4 acre lot in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Washington, DC to 6 acres in the middle of North Carolina did and does present its challenges.
Thank God for good neighbors...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


As I've gotten older and "matured", I've become a little frustrated with realizing I've had to wait this long to learn true appreciation for certain things. Why is that? Why does it sometimes take 1/2 a lifetime to learn what a treasure your grandmother's china is or how much love and effort your great grandmother put into making the quilt by hand that hangs on the wall? I suppose I shouldn't dwell on it but rather be grateful that I DO finally "get it". And at this point in my life, I "get it" loud and clear and now even dream of when some valued treasured may be sent my way!

During our recent visit back to Mike's hometown, we had the pleasure of spending some time with his Aunt Wilma. Besides being priceless to us herself, Aunt Wilma's house is a treasure filled with family heirlooms and pieces of family history - oh, if Mike's grandfather's rocking chair could talk... To our surprise, Aunt Wilma had decided to hand down a few precious "things" to Mike and me.

First, here's Mike's Uncle Rawleigh's Underwood typewriter that he used in high school. Isn't it wonderful?! And it works! Even the return arm works. I knew we were going to be given this little beauty and I couldn't get to Kentucky fast enough to pick it up! I'd love to read the history papers Uncle Rawleigh typed up on this...or maybe even the love letters he created and sent to Aunt Wilma... We've cleared off a spot on the table that sits under the window in our office - the perfect place in my opinion. I see it everyday and daydream about the stories that may have been pecked out so thoughtfully...

What we weren't expecting were the Homer Laughlin serving bowl (on the left) and the beautiful, almost dainty cake plate on the right. These will both be put to good use. I am not a believer of putting things up for display only. They were meant to be used and so they will be. Also in this photo in the right corner is a tiny pink glass "hen on a nest" mini salt cellar. Mike and I found this in a little junk shop in downtown Flemingsburg. I wish now I'd have gotten at least four. Maybe they'll be there the next time we go back.

As a result of my recent epiphany, I'm trying to instill in my grown daughter the importance and value in items that loved ones pass on to us. Not monetary value but sentimental value. I don't want Brandi to have to wait half her lifetime to learn this lesson. I want her to treasure the pieces of jewelry her great grandmother has given to her and for her to always know the love that was part of the gift giving. And maybe she can even conjure up a picture in her mind of how her great grandmother might have looked in her party dress while wearing that strand of pearls or that sparkling diamond ring... the memories are almost more valuable than the gift itself...

And so I say...thank you, Aunt Wilma, for sharing a piece of your history, your life with Mike and me and, more importantly, for helping to make our house a home. We will treasure these "hand-me-downs", use them and care for them lovingly and smile warmly when we think of where they came from...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wrapping Up or Starting Over - I'm Not Sure Which

I've been having "one of those days" since LAST Sunday!

I have all the technology one could possibly need when one travels. I have cell phones, blackjacks, laptops, free wireless Internet service WHEREVER I go... there is absolutely no excuse for me getting behind on my "blogging"... except that I am exhausted!

Last Monday (7/14) I left for Birmingham, AL. I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning visiting two shopping centers (Pell City & Trussville, AL). I got up Wednesday morning, participated in a conference call (safely in the parking lot of one of my centers) and then began the 4 hour drive down to Mobile. Believe me when I tell you there is not much happening between Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama.

I travel extensively with this new job. Ideally, they'd like for their leasing reps to be on the road every week. I simply cannot do that. In exchange, when I am on the road (which is just about 3 weeks out of 4) I give them my full attention and time. My days are full and typically I am still on my computer in my hotel up until 10:00 at night sending out updates on my day. I say all this to say, by 10:30 PM I don't have enough in me to post something creative and witty on my blog. And before I know it, an entire week has gone by...

It's Sunday morning now (again) and I'm at my parents house. Yep, I got home Thursday night from Mobile (my laptop fell in the airport and, well, I'm pretty sure that's history - my car barely made it home for all the spitting and sputtering it did - it's going to the "doctor" tomorrow - wish us luck) unpacked my suitcase and repacked it only to turn around Friday afternoon and make the 5 hour drive to Northern Virginina because this was my weekend with my horse. It's been a crazy weekend - fast and furious but with a TON of laughs and silliness. But it's quiet right now and I'm enjoying it. No one else is up's just me, my coffee and my blog :) If I were more disciplined, I'd be outside getting in a run (Mike & I are running in the Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon over Labor Day weekend) before I set out for home but... I can't seem to get myself motivated enough!

My week was full of so much - accomplishment, safe travels, appreciation, new friends made, a closer walk with God, visits with long-lost loved ones, visits with current-close loved ones, laughter, sunshine - way too much than I deserve but all of which I am thankful and grateful for...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let's Get Caught Up, Shall We, On This a Thankful Thursday

Oh my goodness... how do the days get away so quickly? How did I get so far behind? I promise, it's not as if I've been poolside with a cocktail in hand...

Let's go back in time so that, if you're interested, I can fill you in on the last few days.

First, there was last Friday - better known as July 4th! We were up bright and early and right on time for the gun to go off at the starting line for the "4 on 4th Tour de Carborro" race! Mike and I each had personal goals for this little 4-miler and I'm happy to report we both surpased what we set out to achieve! Yeah us! Here we are at the end of the race - looking pretty healthy despite the heat and humidity. I still don't know what to do about all that junk in my trunk!

Carborro is a small town/suburb right outside of Chapel Hill. There were at least 300 people running in this little, local race. We were very impressed with the turnout as well as the quality of runners. There are numerous running clubs in Carborro and a specialized retail outlet for the "serious runner and biker" - Fleet Feet. The ratio is great and, therefore I imagine, explains the mass participating in this annual event. The "4 on 4th" is the first of a tri-fecta (?) of races Carborro hosts. And yes, Lord willing and we stay healthy, we will be participating in the other two (around Thanksgiving and Christmas I believe). So, stay tuned!

We left Carborro and headed to Budget where we picked up the rental car (I hope Mike didn't offend the people standing next to him - there was no time to shower before picking up the vehicle).

We hurried back to the house where we did take time to bathe, grab a snack and load the car. After that, we were off to Kentucky. It was the annual Mineer family reunion weekend. This is headed up and hosted by Mike's great Aunt Bernie (one of his grandmother's sisters). Aunt Bernie is awesome! She's in her late 80's and is active and vibrant and a treat to be around - I love Aunt Bernie. She and her husband, Uncle Pete, lived in Flemingsburg, KY forever. After Uncle Pete died, a few years ago, Aunt Bernie sold her house and relocated to Kansas to be closer to her youngest son David. David is married and has 4 boys (the oldest getting ready to go into the 3 grade and the youngest just 17 months old). Aunt Bernie is brave... The arrangement has worked out wonderfully for all - David and his family benefit from having his mom there full time to help with the children and the house and Aunt Bernie is surrounded by youth and activity and those who love her and respect her and keep her healthy and active!

I love pictures. And I really don't mind at all having my own picture snapped. But I have to say that I debated long and hard on whether or not to post this one. My husband said "um, what's up with that face?". The only thing I can think of is that I was just so...giddy with happiness?

Regardless, look past my silly face and just know that this is me giving my father-in-law a big squeeze. This is Bill Mineer and I love him. We don't talk on the phone ever and I only get to see him about once every 2 years but that just doesn't seem to matter. Because when we do get to be together, it's just like it seems in this picture... I'm grateful to him for bringing my husband into this world for me to "have" and I'm pretty sure he's grateful to me for loving his son as much as I do.

Another treat for us at family reunion time is getting to be with the kids...that's code for filling them full of chocolate, chips, Dairy Queen and soda, chase them around in circles and then deliver them back to their parents (hee, hee, hee)!

This is a great shot of Miss Madyson, James (Mike's step-sister (I hate that terminology)Christie's husband) and Madyson's little brother Hayden. I'm pretty sure James had the kids take a big swig of Mountain Dew, sit on his lap and here he is shaking them up hoping they'll explode! Madyson and Hayden belong to Gina - sweet, sweet Gina (how'd I not get a picture of her???). Gina is Mike's step-sister (ugh, there's that term again!) also. Madyson looks exactly like her dad and Hayden is the mirror image of his mom with those big, beautiful brown eyes. The mothers of the neighborhood girls may want to invest in Kleenex 'cause I'm sure this one's gonna' be a heart breaker!

And, be still my heart, here is the famous Aunt Wilma! Aunt Wilma is Mike's dad's sister and my sweet buddy! Aunt Wilma had some quality time with her grand-niece Molly at the reunion luncheon. Miss Molly belongs to Kathy (Aunt Wilma's niece - her sister's daughter) and Paul and is truly the light of their lives. I'm sure Aunt Wilma doesn't get to be with Molly as much as she'd like but I know when they are with one another memories are made...much like in this picture.

While I haven't listed all the things I'm grateful for in today's post, I'm hopeful that they're clearly visible in these handful of pictures. You know, words don't always need to be spoken for us to be heard or understood.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The First Thankful Thursday of The Month

How appropriate that Thankful Thursday would fall so close to July 4th? This will be easy...
1) I'm thankful for my country and all that it represents;
2) I'm thankful for all the soldiers (including my grandfather, three of my great uncles, my son-in-law and my husband) who fought for the freedom I/we have;
3) I'm thankful for the freedom to worship in my religious house of choice;
4) I'm thankful for the freedom to celebrate the birth of my country openly and free from fear or concern;
5) I'm thankful for all the men and women currently serving in our armed forces - in ALL capacities;
6) I'm thankful for the flag waving graciously and proudly in my front yard;
7) I'm thankful for the soldiers - past, present and future - who have lost or will lose their lives so that I may live freely and free from harm and fear;
8) I'm thankful for all the families of our military personnel - God Bless your courage as well;
9) I'm thankful for the memory of 9-11 I hold close and dear to my heart...I will never forget;
10) I'm thankful for my little piece of heaven in this beautiful nation I call home.
It is with a prayerful heart that I wish each of you a wonderful, safe and blessed 4th of July and that you will take the time to really think about our independence, how we gained it and what it means in your life. And also remember that our country was founded on the Word of God... I wish our current administration hadn't forgotten that and I pray we somehow get back to our "grass roots".
Be safe in your travels, enjoy your time with friends and loved ones, be careful around that barbeque and know that I'm thinking of each of you and hoping you're as grateful for our country as I am. God Bless the USA...