Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

The end of a year is a time to look back at the accomplishments and memories of the past year. This year has flown by for me, faster than usual, or is this just an admission that I am getting older?
January days are short, but seem endless. It is always a delight to see the promise of spring and know that winter will not last forever.
Read about the Promise of Spring here.
My little bottle fed orphan, Emmett moved to his new home in February. He became the stud there! I still miss that stinker, pun intended!
Read about Emmett's New Address here.
I made soap for the first time in March! The results were pleasing and this is addictive, there are so many possibilities and combinations that could be achieved.
Read about Making Soap here.
A popular post in April, was this one about Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream Icing.

Read about it and get the recipe here.
This old chimney cabinet was found in an antique mall and redone in May. My grandparents had one in their kitchen and it brought back happy memories. When I saw it, I knew that it had to come home with me, it didn't matter to me that it was not the one they had. It now lives in my kitchen and is used daily.

Read more about it here.
This sink base was made by my Daddy. He used cotton picker bars to make the base. The bars hold spindles that pick the cotton. I love the rustic look of this piece.

Read more about it here.
Jackie made a friend in Jack. He was temporarily blind after an attack by another rooster. Animals can show an amazing amount of compassion for each other!

Read about it here.
The front porch was given a fresh coat of paint this past summer. The ceiling was painted Haint Blue. I gave the furniture a face lift and offered an invitation to visitors to rock and relax.

Read about it here.
We gained a son-in-law in September.

Read about that here.
October brought the completion of the back porch, finally!
Read about it here and here. You can read about the lighting fixture we used here.
We found out that Gray C. Mae was actually a boy.

Read about the Bad Baby here.
December was a time to look back at the first Christmas my husband and I shared after we married.
Read about it here.
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2013 brought many changes, some were welcome changes and some not so welcome changes. A new year is exciting to me, there are so many good things that could happen and there are new things to learn and do.

Wishing you each a fabulous and exciting 2014 and hope that you will join me as I find out what the new year has in store for us here!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Musing - Untold Stories

Today's musing is a blast from the past. This story ran in my weekly column in November of 2011.
My mama reads this column every week. Mama is the one who calls me to say that she liked what I wrote, and she does all of the stuff that a Mama should do to encourage a child, but she has said something that makes me wonder about writing this column every week.  Something happened at their house, and I can’t tell you what it was because Mama told me that she didn’t want to read about it in the newspaper. Is this a sign that I may be a writer? I am not sure, because it could just be a sign that my family does not want to read about themselves in the paper.
It is just not fair, they do some really funny stuff, and I am forced to keep all of this to myself, never sharing with you the reader, their funny stories. This forces me to wonder what to do next. Should I write all of these stories and store them somewhere, leaving directions to my daughter to publish them only upon my death, or do I just hold onto the stories waiting until the guilty parties have all left this earth? If I go first, then will my family be ransacking my house looking for the stories they do not want told? Leading me to more questions, what if they get rich off of the stories that I wrote, and I am not here to be rich with them? That’s not fair either, or worse what if they take their names out and put my name in their place instead. That’s just plain wrong. There are complications with either scenario.
The only conclusion that I can come to, is to keep the stories a secret, carry them with me to my grave, never sharing them, keeping my family’s dignity intact. It would not be fair to force any of those scenarios on them. That is what I will do. So to you the reader, I will tell you that when I am old and in a nursing home, if you see me sitting there laughing to myself, it is because I have remembered a story. Please understand that I still can’t tell you about it, I promised Mama that I wouldn’t, and I have to keep that promise. I will however offer this tidbit; there was a female that broke down a door in a gas station rest room, in another city, over 30 years ago. That’s it. That is all that can be said. This story, like the others that I have been told not to share will have to be kept a secret.  However, Honey Girl, have I got some stories for you! Bring a few notebooks and several pencils, we might be here for a little while.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Looks Like She's Staying - Random 5

This is the Bad Baby's sister. The truth is that this little booger is amazingly sweet and affectionate, and I can't bring myself to give her away. I kind of tried, but not very hard. She is about 14 weeks old, so that is too old to give away right? Who would want to try and bond with her now that she is that old? Since she has bonded with me, then she should stay here. That is what I choose to think anyway, besides it would not be fair to another person to have let her bond with me like she has and then expect someone else to have a great relationship with her. I am trying to be fair to other people, or I will tell myself whatever sounds good, as an excuse to keep her. Looks like she is staying here with me!
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Random 5 Friday

1.  She has a name, it is Minnie Mae, but seems to get shortened to Mae most of the time.

2.  There are no ornaments on the bottom third of the tree. There were shatterproof ornaments on the tree. Bad Baby and Minnie Mae had fun and enjoyed the Christmas tree however.

3.  I swore that I was finished raising kittens, that there would be no more kittens, and then these 2 appeared.

4.  Atticus loves both of them, they are his "pets". He cares for them and scolds them if he feels the need, unless he is involved in the mischief.

5.  Minnie Mae has had a cold. The vet gave her 2 shots yesterday. She is napping peacefully with Bad Baby for a few minutes. They will wake up unexpectedly and begin running, a short nap will provide the needed energy for their next adventure!


A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Musing - Tea Cakes

There was a time that tea cakes were considered a treat. They remain a special treat for those of us that remember them. Mama Greer, Gran and Granny made these special cookies. Each cook gave a special taste to their cookies, just as their biscuits and are accompanied by treasured memories.

My Gran made tea cakes, but she felt that they were not just right. We never complained, enjoyed each attempt, and found no fault with these treats. Gran felt differently. I wonder now if she was trying to capture a taste of her early years to share with us. When you are raised in a family of excellent cooks, you attempt to follow in their steps and feel as if you always fall short. I have learned that particular view is only yours, as family appreciates the attempt and enjoys reliving the happy memories.

My Mama makes sugar cookies rather than tea cakes. I gave up trying to imitate these amazing and incredibly delicious treats years ago. My sugar cookies are fair at best, so I went on to attempt tea cakes instead.  The results were pleasing. I was attempting to capture the taste of the cookies that my great-grandmother, Mama Greer made. I will never dare to say that they are as good as hers, because they aren’t. My family says that my tea cakes remind them of hers. My mama claims that it is “in the hands”. This makes me wonder whose hands my mother’s cookies imitate. Which grandmother or aunt made cookies that had a similar taste?

It does remind me of something that Gran told me about cooking. She said “put your love in it”. That is what she did. She also told me that when she was cooking, she thought and prayed about the people for whom she was cooking. The results were proof that those words were true. I now understand that the most important thing we pass down is not the recipes, but the love.

We cook for those we love not to simply nourish the body, but to provide happy memories that will one day nourish the soul. No matter who you are, your grandmothers and mothers’ cookies will never have the same taste as any other cookie. That is an impossible feat. Their love can never be duplicated, but remembered and shared with generations to come.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Looking Back - Our First Christmas

We were married in 2003. I rode past the house we lived in the other day and thought about the happy times in that house. Our first home was a rented home, a wonderful old house in town. We both loved the house and lived there until I went back into property management.The experience prompted me to look for the pictures from that Christmas.
This was the tree in the den. It was a live tree and we went to the Christmas tree farm and cut it ourselves. The curtains were made using a sewing machine I purchased at an estate sale, and the material was found on sale. There were about 40 windows in that house!
There was a lovely sun room in the home and the floors were hardwood. The sun room was one of my favorite things about that house. This was the first year that I put up the fire fighter tree for my fire fighter husband. The ornament collection has grown over the past 10 years!
Looking back, I wish that I had taken more pictures. The picture below is the bath. The shower curtain and curtains were also made by me. It was a challenge because the windows are in the shower area, so I had to figure out how to cover the windows, keep the middle and right hand side windows dry and make it somewhat pretty.
This was also the year that I was given one of the most precious gifts ever by a friend. My friend could not keep her and asked me if I would take her. There was not a moment's hesitation in my answer! Her name was Gigi, she was a Yorkie and Tea Cup Poodle mix. She weighed just under 4 pounds! She was as sweet as her picture!
Those pictures remind me that our first year as a married couple may have held so many difficulties and unexpected challenges, but there were also so many sweet memories. We are grateful for the sweet memories.
Fast forward to last week, that is when the picture below was taken. I found Maizie and Lucy in this position and couldn't resist snapping a picture. Maizie has always thought that she needed to care for Lucy. Lucy was a sick kitten and still has problems from time to time. Guess that since Miazie has been fixed and can't have kittens, she thinks that Lucy is the only "baby" that she will have. She is obviously trying to take care of her and loves her 'baby".
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Christmas decorations are few this year at our house. The work seemed daunting to me this year. There has been so much chaos in our home for the past 6 months, that the idea of dragging out boxes and decorating the house was a challenge I was not ready for. We both wanted a simple Christmas this year, and seem to be enjoying things more. Perhaps the picture above will remind us of these feelings in years to come.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

1 Year Ago Today

One year ago today it was cold and rainy. I remember this because it was the day of the funeral. There were so many people there in spite of the bad weather. Cars were lined up on either side of the road at the church and cemetary. There were people from so many places that came to pay their respects. Some came from different areas of Georgia and some came from other states to pay tribute to Daddy.
Daddy was a volunteer fire fighter. The community fire department paid a beautiful tribute to him. The sound of the bagpipes were hauntingly beautiful.

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There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about him. I miss him terribly, but grow more grateful daily, that I had the privilege of calling him Daddy.

This is the song that was in my head when Daddy went home. The song stayed for several days. It is a Glen Campbell song and for some reason it was in there in my memory. This morning it was there again, so thought that I would share it with you.

I hope that you find it to be as beautiful as I did. Daddy liked Glen Campbell's music, perhaps this is one of the reasons that it was on my mind that day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Musing - A Christmas Reminder

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It is that time of year again, time to get those Christmas decorations out and get the tree decorated. This means that Atticus must be warned repeatedly about the tree, the 4 missing ornaments have not been located. Atticus would not tell me what happened to the ornaments if he did have the ability to talk. He would chuckle and walk away. That mystery remains unsolved in spite of the fact that every stick of furniture in this house has been moved searching for the decorations.

The tree is now decorated with shatterproof ornaments. We chose to use that type just in case this mischievous feline gets the notion to climb the tree for a repeat performance of his antics. It hasn’t happened again, but it could, better safe than sorry.

Atticus prefers to sit under the tree now, as if he is guarding it from attacks by a vicious predator. He is saving the tree and its ornaments from destruction. SuperCat is on the job! This should make me feel better about the situation, but it doesn’t. History speaks loud and clear.

This makes me wonder if Atticus is smarter than I give him credit. What does Atticus know about Christmas? Does Atticus realize that this season is more than gifts, decorations and celebrations? Does he realize that this season would occur without all of these things? Perhaps Atticus is somewhat of a reformed Grinch, I would believe that if he returned the 4 missing ornaments.

My chronically misbehaving feline reminds me that sometimes my focus is on the wrong thing. He reminds me that some of the things that we do, aren’t important. Christmas will happen regardless of my circumstances. Despite the pressure we place on ourselves this time of year, the loss we have experienced and the decorations and gifts that we feel obligated to purchase, there is more to Christmas. It is easy to allow myself to get caught up in these things, but Atticus reminds me to look for Christmas in a different place.

Christmas began in a place that lacked fancy decorations and smells. The greatest gift given to man occurred in a place that most of us would avoid. It was decorated with animals, the smell wasn’t cinnamon and there was a manger waiting to receive the gift. Christmas began there. This holy gift is the reason we celebrate. This is the gift that came without shiny wrappings yet lasts for eternity.




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holidays Are Hard Work!

It is work getting ready for the holidays, especially Christmas! There are shiny things that need to be investigated.
It is especially a lot of work if this is your first Christmas.
These new things must be checked out to see what there is that can become a new toy. Adventures are waiting around every corner, there is much to be explored.
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This work makes a body very tired, so tired that in the middle of climbing a chair, a body can just fall asleep. Thank goodness that this was a good place to sleep soundly for a few minutes! The nap was energizing, supplying the energy to create more mischief, or investigating, whichever your prefer to call it.

Please forgive the lack of quality pictures, it is difficult to take good pictures and laugh at the same time. This was one of those rare times that camera was in hand at the right moment.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Musing

Recently Sharon, from Im Sharon with you, posted a story that her husband Bob, had written. I loved the story and thought that others would enjoy the story too. The story ran in my column Mellie's Musings, you can find that story here. Bob is a talented man and I hope to read more of his work!
If you haven't visited Sharon yet, then you are in for a treat! Sharon is one of those people that you can't help but like immediately! Her blog is warm and inviting, just like her.
Enjoy the story and I am sure that you will be as touched as I was by his words. Thank you Sharon and Bob for sharing this with us and allowing me to use it in my weekly column. We enjoyed it immensely!