Saturday, April 30, 2016

finding peace...

I'm curled up in my wing back chair.  My beautiful bay windows that look out into the mini-forest behind me, reflect the drenched trees and flowers from this mornings rain.  My coffee is hot and fresh, one of my favorite blends.  My sweet old man is curled up on his pillow by the fireplace and I am almost thinking a small fire to take the chill out of the air would be heavenly.  Here in the warm glow of the light, I feel at home.  I feel happy.

Hubs is in the other room, flipping between movies for something to catch his attention.  I am not sure how he can manage to lose himself in television and movies.  I guess it's similar to me losing myself in a good book or crafting project.  I simply don't have the patience for it myself.

Yesterday while still at Trout Lodge we were doing a team building exercise in one of the groups I am part of.  I felt sick to my stomach when someone suggested saying our favorite movie... That one always gets me.  I am not sure I have one. Then I spend all my time trying to think of one.  No, not something that makes me calm at all...

I am feeling lazy today.  I have a million things to do and no energy to do any of them.  The pollen down at Trout has me battling some serious allergy issues. The weather being unable to decide if it is going to be hot or cold is making my fibro scream!

I am sitting here curled up, sipping coffee and just relaxing.  It's not something I do often so it feels foreign.  I feel a bit guilty.  I often wonder if I have gotten so caught up in "doing", that I have forgotten what not doing or simply doing what I want feels wrong.  

Tomorrow we are supposed to go to Mansfield.  I want to.  It's been on my to do list for several years. Unfortunately, I think we might have to skip it.  If two days in Potosi was enough to make my eyes swell, I am terrified what a full day further south around all of those plants will do to me.  And the temperature changes are causing too much pain.  It will have to wait until next year.  I am not feeling up to a three hour drive each direction.

When we arrived home yesterday, I went out to check on my planters.  Need to plant the second batch of radishes this weekend and plant a few more cowpea seeds.  It looks like 3 or 4 of them did not sprout.  I also want to get the rest of the planters filled and planted. Maybe start my potatoes.  I am not sure if any of that will happen with all the rain.  It's not much fun to stand out there in this swirly dark gray green yuck and plant.

Need to do a bit of research on how to prevent squirrels from getting to my little container garden. There were definite squirrel holes in one of my radish pots.  Those little buggers are so destructive! They ate all my hyacinth bulbs, evidently they must taste fabulous to them, as the only reminder they existed are a few random layers that they left behind, sort of like layers of onions.

I was hoping the sun would creep through the clouds, pushing aside all of the rain and dreariness.  I would love to go for a nice long ride on Hubs new Harley.  To soak up the fresh air and enjoy snapping pictures.

As that is not going to happen today, I am going with plan "b", which truthfully should be plan "a".  I am going to work on the baby quilt that I haven't finished yet, maybe cleaning up my crafting room, and getting ready for the yard sale in a couple of weeks.  I also have a few pieces of furniture to work on.

I also feel strongly that I want to bake some fresh bread, the smell of it baking in the oven will make the dreariness drift away.  Maybe a pot of stew.  Rainy days sort of call for it.

Fairly positive that I have no desire to even leave my house today. I know we are low on coffee and I haven't been to the grocery store in a bit.  But... I don't think it will be something that happens today.  I think my coffee and I are getting ready to head upstairs to the sewing room, a bit of cleaning and then... time to sew.

I need to create!  I don't feel like knitting, yes that poor sock will get finished some day, today just isn't that day.  I have two needlepoint projects that I am longing to start.  I am not sure they are on the agenda either. Soap I want to make, not sure I have the energy for that.  Wood working - we want to put a gate on the deck so the boys can safely go lounge on beautiful afternoons - rain is going to stop that from happening.

Ugghhh... I need to stop that.  Listing all the wanna's make me feel like a failure.  Maybe I need to just focus on doing all of it instead of listing all of it.  Or maybe I need to make a list and just start marking things off.  It might get rid of some of the angst that comes with having so many projects I want to finish and not doing them.

Anyone else facing a dreary weekend... What are you planning?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

it's a mixed bag of tricks...

It's a busy beehive of people and chatter down here at Trout Lodge.  It's one of my favorite places.  The beauty. The shimmer of the lake, with all of the ripples as the fish have awakened from their winter nap. I cannot seem to get enough of watching the hummingbirds at lunch.  Their little wings moving so fast.

I'm hiding right now, it's our free time.  I thought about a walk.  I considered going and doing some arts and crafts.  I've ultimately decided I need some silence.

In just a few short hours I get to do something that terrifies me and at the same exact time I will get to do another thing that fills my bucket!

We are down here, surrounded by this beauty, for our annual spring retreat.  I am blessed to work with so many kind, loving, caring, giving genuinely wonderful people.  And when they are all together in one place for the most part it is a huge family reunion.  I don't know for sure how many of us there are, but I am sure it is in excess of 100.  Tonight, it will feel like far more.

I do not like public speaking.  Remember I am the introvert.  Hubs, oh heck, he's never met a stranger, he's never had a fear of speaking, or being in crowds.  I'm the one that feels anything more than 10 might be a bit much.

Truthfully, there were a few times I considered changing careers to avoid this.  I've known for a year it was coming, you would think that I would be ready.  I think I am.  Although I know my voice gets super soft when I am facing crowds.  I'm fairly certain that will be the only stress inducer.

Tonight, I get the honor of introducing the next C.D. Banks award winner.  And I am so excited!  It was so huge for me last year.  I never saw it coming, and frankly, a year later I am finally almost comfortable saying I am a C.D. Banks recipient. Almost.

I love to celebrate others.  And honestly that few minutes of discomfort will rapidly fade.  Tonight is about the next one, it's to celebrate someone that has done amazing work, the mission of the Y.  All in the name of caring about their fellow man.  How flipping cool is that?

As I am sitting here, looking out at this beautiful lake, sipping my water and centering myself, I'm also reflecting.  The energy is something you can almost touch.  So the silence is refreshing.

Hubs is off doing "boy stuff" with his buddies, I believe it involves golf clubs.  I'm glad, he needs it.  I am terrified it will end with him having a cigar.  That would make me incredibly sad. That being said, I hope he's having a great time!

It's an 80's themed retreat.  As I was trying to decide what to wear, I realized the only thing I do different is that I no longer dye my hair crazy colors and I absolutely will not perm it, ever again.  So... guess it's safe to say that I am definitely not a trend setter or follower for that matter.

Shoot I'd be more apt to dress the part for Sunday's trip.  We're heading back to Mansfield, Pioneer Village. Where is my long denim skirt? And I am totally wanting one of those fantastic aprons they were all wearing. Maybe we should have a throw back to the 1800's.  That I could manage to rock.

For the 80's... guess it's jeans, a polo and Birkenstocks... somethings evidently never change.

Time to go for a short walk on a beach...

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Sitting on the deck watching the clouds hurry past, enjoying a Jack 'n Coke with the Hubs.  The sun isn't quite ready to be put to bed.  It's glowing a beautiful amber color as it sinks below the front of the house. The beautiful green leaves are glowing a soft green against that brilliant blue sky.  I love sitting out back on my deck as the day is ending.

Driving home I was hopeful that Hubs had made dinner.  I know that is a long shot.  He claims to not be a good cook, I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that he loves my cooking better.   Although I do remember him telling me at one time, long before us, that he really enjoyed soup and sandwiches.  I remember all the cans of soup when I first moved here... hmmmm...

I've been wanting egg rolls for a bit.  Not the kind you buy at the local store or restaurant, but the homemade kind.  Hot and fresh.  I am blessed, I learned way back in Jr High how to make egg rolls.  One of the best benefits of being a military brat is the diversity of experiences.

My neighbor down a few floors taught me way back when to make egg rolls.  Those first few, long before I learned to not add so much liquid, had a tendency to tear and be messy.  Good, but messy.

I don't make them often.  Not that they require much effort, but because I usually have no effort left when I get home.

Tonight, I felt like I was cheating.  It's the very first time I've ever made my egg rolls without made from scratch hot mustard sauce.  I do know how to make my own, but it has to be done a day before, and I wanted egg rolls tonight!

It was so fun standing in the kitchen sipping my jack 'n coke, trying to talk with Hubs, mostly listening to music that I didn't recognize primarily because I was 5 or 6 when it was released.  For some reason tonight it didn't matter.

I was really expecting Hubs to be engrossed in Prince.  His untimely death a very sad thing.

Me simply excited to see if my garden has sprouting...

As the evening is drifting away, the music fading and the dinner and drinks over, Hubs is drifting off to sleep cozy in his recliner, I am simply ready to call it a night...

It's been a busy day, full of all the important things in life... ready to rest... how about you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

it's all about balance...

It's a bit dreary this morning... In stark contrast to my mood!  I am energized and excited.

The energy probably comes from almost 10 full hours of sleep.  I've been fighting with my fibro a bit lately, yesterday the sheer exhaustion won.  And I am so thankful that I gave in and let it.  I feel like I could tackle the world right now.  Those days don't happen often enough to keep me happy.  It's hard to believe that I have been playing this balancing act for almost 20 years.  In May 2017, it will be a full twenty years.  I have discovered many, many ways to not let it control my life.  And long ago I gave up on big pharma being the solution.  It wasn't then, and it isn't now.

I know what will cause a flare, I also know when I am the reason for the flare.  I've felt it coming for weeks. My arms were my first signal, they started feeling heavy and weak.  Then the legs started to protest too, luckily I've been so determine to work on them lately that they have been the least of my issues lately - where usually they are my first signal.

This time, it's mostly exhaustion.  The someone pulled the plug on me and I have no power of my own stored kind of exhaustion.

Hubs and I were a bit proactive this time with the trip to Mansfield.  It may very well become my escape route.  The down time, beauty and relaxation were the perfect combination.  In fact we are heading down there again on May 1st.  Or at least that is my plan.  We'll see how up to crowds I am.  Flares often cause me to be quite sensitive to over stimulation.

And since we've been back I've been giving in to the little catnaps that will keep me feeling strong. We've also been focusing on the mental stuff.  As season changes slightly kick my butt also, we haven't really done much that will task me further.  Just enjoying life and being happy together. It's amazing how powerful a drug pure happiness is.

It will pass soon, I've learned a lot in the past 19 years.

My new focus on our food sources and what we are eating is helping too.  I can't say this mornings smoothie was one of my favorites.  It wasn't. I needed that extra few doses of anti-inflammatory fruits and veggies though.  This sudden change in the weather has all my trigger points riled up and the arthritis in my knee, well lets just say it has totally decided to join the party today.  Hubs needed it too!  He just got the diagnosis that we were expecting to hear on his hand, expecting and wanting are two very different things!  He's got some serious arthritis in two of the knuckles.  Getting old sure isn't for the weak! While I hate that he's hurting, it's good in a way.  I excel at taking care of others, so it will make it easier for me to remember to take care of me also.  Yep, I am all about that silver lining.

Shortly I will head in to work.  I have plenty to do this morning, but wanted a moment or two to center myself and unwind.  It's going to be a busy day, we are having our first ever round of Human Hungry Hippo's tonight!  I am so excited about it. I've seen so many video's on YouTube and each time it makes me laugh!  I feel like too many adults have lost the pure joy of playing.  Too often we forget the importance of laughter and giggles.  We are so serious and focused on being... well adults!  I am hoping that we have a good turn out.  I can hardly wait!  I have been gathering all the supplies for a couple of weeks.  I am going to see if I can get a few of our staff together to "practice" today.  See how many are brave enough to release their inner child...

My excitement might have caused me to also buy the supplies to play Yard Yahtzee, and I am seriously considering buying giant foam jacks.  Can you imagine?  One of the B's and I also discovered we have everything we need to play Land Marco Polo already on hand.  I feel a strong need to put these all into play. I need to hear laughter!

Life is hard enough, why make it harder by forgetting the important things? Stress kills people.  I know, there was a point it almost killed me.  I don't allow that to happen any more.  It's a choice.

I will do the hard work this morning.  During the middle of the day I will help one of my peers who is suddenly three staff people down, and this evening, well... we are going to play!

Anyone want to play?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

taking a different path...

Sometimes a day just doesn't go as planned.  

And it's OK!  It's better than OK, it's fabulous!

I think I sometimes get caught up, like so many other American's these days.  I think I start chasing my tail and insisting there is so much that I have to do.  So many things that are demanding my attention, so many things that I feel I need to accomplish.  I rarely, if ever simply slow down.  Alter the plan, change direction.

Today... I did!

And it feels fabulous!  I am sitting here on the deck with the Hubs.  We are sipping Bloody Mary's and he's grilling a fabulous dinner.  My contribution... prep, that's all!  Grilled Salmon for me, grilled steak for him, grilled chicken brats for the boys - hey they need to celebrate the weekend too! Fresh asparagus is roasting on the top grill rack fresh grated Parmesan waiting to be sprinkled on top.

The evening breeze is picking up the mixed flavors and scents and mingling them in a pleasant mix of raw nature and savory scents all tossed together and swirling around us.  Above us the moon is bright and high in the early evening sky.  The sun has still not set in the west, so it's early arrival is so pretty in the soft evening blue.  A soft breeze is moving the young spring leaves on the trees surrounding our tree house deck. All too soon they will be in full bloom and the early rising moons will be invisible.

The day was planned out, we were going to accomplish so much.  Laundry is mostly done, folded no, washed yes.  That counts right?  Ironing, well let's be reasonable here... it's over 70 degrees, my sister and brother-in-law were in town and we got the awesome pleasure of our grand baby.  There was no way the ironing was going to happen.

It's been a bit since she has wanted to hang out with us.  She's growing up so fast.  We will stop the world from turning to spend the day with our sweet baby girl.  She is so fun.  Full of love and life. Both Hubs and I adore our role in her life, and wouldn't change it for anything in this world.

As I was brewing her Rooibos tea this morning, I couldn't help but thinking back to the sweet little girl barely a year old that I started having tea parties with.  The Vanilla Rooibos is still her favorite.  She still likes it with sugar or honey and a touch of fresh cream. Only now, instead of spilling half of those tiny cups all over the table and floor, she sips it like a true little lady.  Pinky finger crooked just so.

She wasn't sure she was going with us, we were headed to Grant's Farm.  And when she headed home with Mom, I sure didn't expect her back.  But not 10 minutes later sweet mini-me showed back up.  Truly looking like a mini-me.  She'd gone home to change her clothes.  We were dressed almost identical!  She is such a little character.

Grant's Farm never happened.  Seems that a few thousand of our closest friends also thought it would be the perfect way to spend this lazy Sunday.

Me and mini-me got the radishes planted - which she hates, so now I need to plan some strawberries, which were not on our planting plan.  We also got the Cowpea Holstein's planted.  I am excited for these to grow and to serve them for dinner.  They are very old and rare.  I love it!  I can't stand how so many of my favorite foods have been GMO'd to death - literally.  Flavor is gone.  So when I can plant the heirlooms and old seeds, I get so excited!  We started to prep a few more planter boxes.  I don't have a ground garden any longer, container only for this girl! I have a fabulous old tub that is going to become home to several different plants.

I need to give notice to those pesky squirrels... I will share, but they will not get it all this year! I plan to put in a few tomato plants - what's a garden without them?  I have pole beans and lemon cucumbers that will round things out.  I am still pushing the outer limits of time to get potatoes and onions planted if I am going to.  I really am leaning towards building a potato tower.  I feel that would be amazing!

We never got the nut bars made and the peanut butter ground.  That didn't have to happen.  Sewing didn't happen either.  But laughs and giggles happened.  We'd had a picnic lunch at a park that the baby girl was excited to visit.  She and Gramps played music on the xylophone made of wood and pipes while I visited with one of my sisters that I rarely see.  It was so nice to spend a bit of time, just visiting and chatting.

We wandered through thrift stores and looked for treasures.  She found an exercise bike that was the perfect size for her, evidently she's really been wanting one.  Once Mom gave us the okay, we hurried back to buy it before anyone else could.  It was picked up and delivered home while we continued to browse, talk and wander.

The treasures she found were silly, she loves going to 5 Below and managed to spend about $18 on pranks and sillies.  She got two light sabers and immediately challenged a good friend of the family to a battle upon arriving home.

We invited her to join our dinner.  She sweetly declined, saying mommy would be sad if they didn't have some family time together. Those sweet baby girl hugs as we went to leave, reminded us both that all to soon she is going to be too busy for us.  We are going to have to settle for the scraps as she continues to grow.

Hubs and I are a bit like the boys when steak is served, we will definitely beg for scraps!  The bike ride never happened, the chores were left for another day.  It's like that old poem, "so quiet down cobweb, dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."... our grand baby is almost a teen already.  This year she will be 10.  Time has flown past so quickly.

Life is short.  Grab it, savor it, explore the good and learn from the bad... time flies.  Slow down and enjoy.

The moon is glowing solidly bright in a deep navy sky.  The stars are starting to sparkle brightly.  It's time to unwind with the Hubs, and get ready for another busy week.

I am thankful for the lessons taught this weekend.

from where I sit...

View from my chair
Was it really a full week ago when we were basking in the quietness?  The peace of Mansfield seems so far away....

Hubs and I have been crazy busy since we got home, heck I haven't even had time to upload all the photo's I took.  I'd planned to do it yesterday, but the day got away from me.  That seems to happen too much lately.

We gave #2 grand son a lift to work, it sure made me happy to help him out and have some quality conversations with him.  I'm proud of him.  It's hard to believe he's the same little guy that arrived here not so very long ago.  Now he's on the verge of manhood, holding down a job, making great grades and helping my girl out as much as any teenage boy can ever be coaxed to do.

We ran errands for a good part of the day, although we were planning to go do some junking in the afternoon.  I just wasn't up to it. I was simply exhausted.  I think the week finally caught up with me.  My body simply wanted to stop.  Hubs set me up with his nice reclining outside chair and a pillow, my copy of Prairie Girl and I was set to kick back and drift off to sleep.  It was such a beautiful breezy day.  The fresh air out on the deck surrounded by the beautiful trees... all the ingredients of a perfect nap.

Unfortunately, things don't always work out the way we plan, and I am not sitting here in my favorite chair watching the sunrise peak through the trees feeling a few new aches and pains from helping the Hubs fix his car.  I'm a tad more flexible and smaller than Hubs, so I end up twisting and squeezing into tight spots.  I have a few knuckles without skin this morning, but Hubs' car is fixed.  We ended up taking the seat out a couple of times to repair it, but we managed to do it.

As Hubs pulled out his anvil (the very one that I questioned the need to have) his torch and hammer, I will admit to feeling some serious apprehension!  The middle of the month pay day is a bit tight, and I was envisioning a seriously damaged piece of metal.  Silly me.

Hubs grew up shoeing horses and making those beautiful horse shoes.  He's no stranger to heated metal and the use of a torch and hammer to coax it back into shape. It only took a few hours, a few busted knuckles and Hubs getting a bruised knee, seems we aren't as young, flexible or pain resistant as we used to be.

Walking the boys, Hubs saw a neighbor struggling to remove a tree from his yard with a little hacksaw.  Anyone that knows Hubs, knows he has a heart as big as Texas, and will do anything to help someone out.  Handing me Neeko's leash he sprung into action, offering and then heading home for his sawsall.  It took him longer to walk both directions from the house than it did to take down the tree.

While I got the opportunity to be stretched by both boys on the walk, I also got to see grandson #1, only for a moment.  He's another one that I am so very proud of.  Those boys have sure been through the mill, and here he is getting ready to graduate, he and his girlfriend have their own place, and evidently he brought the ducklings over for a visit yesterday.  If I had known I would have gone down to see them myself, they sure did look adorable in the picture my girl sent.

I am guessing in all the hub bub going on at her place (she is getting ready to have a fence put in and rearranging her entire back yard to make it happen, our grand daughter is feeling a bit lonely, as she called us asking if she could come over and hang out.  Gee, that took a nano second to decide.

She's upstairs sleeping off her date night with Gramps!  The two of them went to see Batman v Superman.  I am not a movie person, for the most part, so I backed out of attending.  It was the first time the two of them did a movie solo.  Based on the smiles and laughter, I would say they both needed it!

Gramma needed Pop Corn too, isn't it beautiful?

I was able to use that time to catch up on a few of my chores, not all of them, I will finish those this morning. And I will find time to work on my wanna do list also. Taxes are done, kitchen is clean and supplies for the week prepped. Saturday is usually our "go to market day" and as I am trying to limit our exposure to processed foods I am buying a lot more "ingredients".  As I was filling mason jars with nuts, flours, beans, grains, yeasts etc I was definitely in my element.

Today, I will make peanut butter (The grand and I have had this planned), I want to get my granola bars for the week made.  And work on a menu for the week.  I never did do it down in Mansfield, there was simply too much for me to explore and enjoy.

I also picked up some chicken breasts to make my Gator boy some chicken jerky.  He loves it, and I haven't really made much lately.  He's slowing down, I am fearful that this is his last year with me, and honestly I want to fill his bucket list.

I might run up to the corner market and pick up some ground beef to make people jerky too.  Haven't quite decided on that one.  Depends on how my day goes and if I run out of energy.

My girl got my bike fixed, so we are really considering an afternoon bike ride, It's a beautiful day, it might just have to happen.

I am hoping to get some seeds in the pots on the deck, maybe the silly squirrels won't dig it all up and take it this time.  I am all about planning enough to share, but they don't share.  They dig it up, take a bite and leave it to rot.  That is simply RUDE! I am hoping they do not like the taste of radishes and will leave those alone.  I bought some fabulously tempting seeds - actually probably more than I can plant due to lack of garden space - when we were down in Mansfield.

I have bought seeds many times from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, always mail order.  It was pure joy to browse the store, if you haven't been there, go!  It's a walk back in time, the selection is incredible and they are the nicest people I have ever met!  I just got my email reminding me of the Spring Planting Festival that is just around the corner.  I wish we could spend both days down there, but I will be a bit busy getting ready for our 25th Annual Charity Golf tournament, so... One day only! This year we are making the trip.  I am fairly sure my little brown Honda is going to have some sheets on the seats so I can bring home treasures!

I bought my girl some of the Glass Gem Corn Seeds, I sure hope she plants them.  She has far more room than I do.  And I am going crazy wanting to see them and try them. I might not have enough patience to be a gardener!

And I need to find time to put together a baby quilt today.  One of the kids (yep, when you are younger than my own children - you are a kid!) that works for me is going to be a first time daddy.  I want to give him something special, he's a great kid and I have been blessed to watch him grow into a man.  Keeping in mind that it is for a baby and will need to be washed often I am going to machine piece and quilt it.

For right now, I think I will sit here in the rising morning light, curled up in my favorite chair, sipping coffee from my Laura Ingalls Wilder cup and relax.  It's not even 8 am after all!

Now where is my copy of Prairie Girl?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


It’s quiet.  The Hubs is softly snoring, Neeko is curled on the sofa, and Gator has complete reign of my side of the bed in this adorable tiny cottage. I will move him over shortly.
I am sitting here in absolute awe of where I am. Standing on the deck overlooking the little pond that has developed a leak, I can glimpse the beautiful white house that was the home Laura and Almanzo built when they moved here to Mansfield.  If I want to I can put on my shoes and walk there in short order.  The promise of snakes has definitely stilled my desire to do that.  There is very little I like less than snakes.  Even if you promise me that they are harmless.

We’d had an unexpected visit from AT&T, strangely enough.  We’d called about an issue they told us they are sending a new box, no mention of a technician.  So we were a bit delayed heading out this morning. We’d planned to be here by noon, we got here a bit closer to 230.  I’d hoped to get in a visit to Bakersville, but they closed at 4pm, by the time we’d gotten to our cabin and visited with the wonderful woman that owns this small piece of heaven on earth it was after 330.  

I could not believe that I was gazing across the street at the last little house on the prairie.  Right in front of me highlighted by the beautiful bright blue sky was “the house”.  The very location that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote my all time favorite stories, where she ignited in me my love of the pioneer spirit, and the desire to do everything just as she did.  I feel sad that children today aren’t as inspired and motivated to try those types of things.  How many little girls will ever make a sampler, how many young women will know the sheer joy of creating the blankets for their beds or the rugs under their feet?  

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

It seemed like so much work, but the value of that work was immeasurable. To care for your families basic needs without rushing to the local store.  To grow the food that was needed, and to know that you were the one that was responsible for providing that sustenance.  When I think about the young mothers that I know now, and when I drive through the city and see all those vacant lots.  Why aren’t we using that space to grow gardens, to nourish our families?  All you need are a few packets of seeds and a willingness and desire to succeed.

I can think of a million reasons why I love those books.  But the part that always comes back to me, is that even when life wasn’t easy.  Even when bombarded by tragedy, they didn’t just sit down and say “I can’t and I won’t”.  To do so would have been certain death.  They either would not have eaten, been clothed, or had a roof over their heads.  Failure wasn’t an option.

Those are values and morals that I learned at a young age.  And 40 years later, I can tell you I had chills admiring her quilts and hand made dresses.  I was envious of the beauty and thrilled just the same.  As those beautiful pieces were displayed right beside her first sampler.  Of which not much remained.

To see all the bits of her life that were carried forward in her life and where they were mentioned in her books.  A few times it took my breath away.

Tomorrow we will go back and explore a bit more deeply.  We’d gotten there with only 30 minutes to spare.  We will visit the houses and walk around what remains of the farm she lovingly called Rocky Ridge.

As we ate dinner tonight Hubs struck up a conversation with the folks at the table next to us.  I simply do not know how I am going to break him of his shyness. The nice man sitting right beside me shared that he had known Laura. He’s a farmer that grew up in Mansfield, but moved out to Seymour. I could picture her walking into the town square with her wicker basket filled with eggs from her hens.  He said she was simply a sweet country woman, that worked hard and never let life beat her up.  

He looked hardened, soft spoken and weathered.  You could tell he’d spent the majority of his life in the sun and elements.  I loved the crinkles at the corners of his eyes, they highlighted the laughter in his eyes as he spoke.  Ironically his wife looked like she had never stepped foot into the sunlight.  It was like he’d done the bulk of the labor to insure that she never had to suffer through any of it.  

We will also head into Ava.  It sounds like a delightful little town. And there are some fabulous little Amish shops both to the east and west of where we are.  We might wander around a few of them.  Not so sure yet. We might just wander around here and hang out with the boys.

The cabin is small, but welcoming.  In fact I think the whole thing will fit in my bedroom at home.  And the color scheme is identical to my house. It’s perfect.

Saturday dawned way too early.

It wasn’t a very restful night, I usually share a king size bed with Hubs and the boys. The bed in here is a full, and Gator is not about to have to sleep without his mommy.  I think I slept on about 6 inches of bed all night.  But he felt safe and warm.

Hubs was outside with Neeko around 430 am and came back to ask me if I was awake, he wanted me to see the stars.  They were breath taking.  Far away from city lights they are so bright and beautiful.  This sweet little area is so welcoming and fresh.  

You can tell it’s been beaten up a bit, that the economy has left it far behind.  More of the stores are closed than open and most of the buildings have for sale signs on them.  The town library, was supposed to get money from the sale of her books.  The royalties were supposed to revert to them after her daughter died.  Sadly, a greedy man with a good lawyer managed to keep all of that money to himself and his heirs, even though there was no relation there.  I am sure this little town would have benefited so much more from it.

We’ve met so many nice people, they are friendly, kind, generous.  Yet all of them seem a bit leery.  A bit suspicious of outsiders.  I guess when you live in a town that has several famous people from it,  tourists coming and going, it would make you a bit leary of strangers.

We planned to get an early start, but the woods and paths beckoned to us!  We took the boys hiking along the paths through the woods, exploring and climbing. They were quite bare, but given it being such an early spring day, we weren't surprised and delighted in the beauty we found around us.  The moss a bright early spring green, mushrooms and the random flowers popping up through the bleak browns, tired from their long winter slumber. The sun had risen and warmed our path by the time we returned to our little cabin in the woods.

We then decided to sit on the deck in the rising sun, watching it light the world to an increasingly bright glowing treat!  The dogwoods glistened, the sun rising through the red buds had a breathtaking hazy pink glow, the reflection off the water glistening like magic.  We spent two magical hours sipping hot coffee, drinking Bloody Mary's and eating a long drawn out breakfast. No where pressing to go, nothing we were in a hurry to do.  Either we would get there or we wouldn't.  It was after 11 am before we even managed to get ready to start the day.

We spent the next few hours wandering through both of Laura's homes and the museum.  I was literally in heaven!  To be able to see where she wrote, cooked and lived was such an incredible treat! Pretty sure that Hubs took tons of pictures of me looking like that 10 year old girl who loved reading her stories.  The little bookworm of a girl that day dreamed about living that life. I am not so sure that little Laura would have felt nearly as lucky as I imagined her to be baking bread, helping make soap, mending and learning needlework and stitching.  She sure inspired me all those years ago.  And still today. I was so excited to find that all the patterns for the pillows and quilts throughout her home, where available.  Copied from her own patterns so long ago.  I now have 6 patterns that I feel pretty darn certain I will be finding time to make.

With books and postcards in hand, Hubs decided I really needed a coffee mug.  Something to remind me of this incredible gift.

After the time spent at Rocky Ridge farm we were off to find the Amish restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner.  Guess what... Amish restaurants don't show up on Google Maps.  Seems that little issue about electricity and modern stuff, means they aren't going to have a full website.

So after touring some roads that we are pretty sure you don't go down after dark and expect to return, we resorted to calling the closest thing we had to a friend in the area.  Our hostess at Mansfield Woods.  We'd given up by that point and headed back.  Deciding to walk our boys before trying again.  

Armed with better directions and a bit more confidence we made our way to the most fabulous home cooked dinner outside of home!  It was a strange mixture of styles and ideas.  Stark and not stark, plain and not plain.  Either way, it was incredible!

We sat up for hours playing rummy and having Jack'n Cokes and Bloody Mary's.  Laughing, giggling, those games are a pretty fierce competition ya know!

As we drifted off to sleep in the late hours of night, we both were so relaxed. Both of us feeling if it didn't get better, it was going to be perfect as it was.

Sunday arrived just as bright and beautiful, but so darn cold!  We didn't keep the boys out so long as we sat outside in the field drinking hot coffee and hoping they hurried.  Breakfast was eaten inside also.  We were in a bit more of a hurry on Sunday.  Rain was threatening, we still wanted to go to the Pioneer Village and Baker Creek Seeds.  And we still needed to check out, although when asked what time we needed to leave by we were told there was no rush, leave when we were ready.  

That is so refreshing and amazing!

So after a quicker breakfast and shower, we walked out the door just as the rain arrived. Luckily we had two umbrellas and were not about to let it defeat us.  In fact, it knew we were going to win I believe.  As the rain slowed and then stopped almost as soon as we pulled in.

I found a stash of heirloom seeds I'd been wanting.  Bought my daughters family some heirloom strawberries for their little garden patch, and wandered around seeing and day dreaming about everything!  And feeling just a tad jealous of the wonderful family that not only owned such a magical place, but lived there also!

It was so bitter sweet to load up the car and get ready to head home.  It was easy to promise our hostess a return trip soon.  It was so amazing, the location, the cabin, the amenities, her personality and warmth, and the price was fabulous!  Yep, we will definitely be back!

Heading home we simply had to make a detour.  I knew my daughter would never believe that I was going to buy her fudge from Uranus... Oh yes we did!

A long weekend to follow childhood dreams was simply exactly what the doctor ordered... Home coming was ok.  I wasn't too happy to have to deal with AT&T for a few hours, but I was glad to be home.

As I looked out the windows at the setting son, I realized that the view from my own deck was pretty darn similar.  Maybe that was why I felt so peaceful there, or maybe it's why I feel that way here.  It was a blessing.  Time with Hubs.  Walks, talks, giggles and laughs.  Chasing dreams and reconnecting.

He's upstairs asleep now, but I wanted to get this finished...

Here's to answered dreams you didn't know you had!


The sun is just breaking over the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  Watching it set last night was breathtaking! Tomorrow I will get up and ...