I discovered something wonderful this morning. My cable (Comcast) has Exercise TV on their on-demand service. You can select the program you want and exercise in your own schedule. I decided to give it a whirl. I do not like exercise that causes me to get in the floor. I'm not always sure I can get back up. I would hate to be stuck in the floor all day until hubby gets home. So I decided to try Disco Abs. My tummy is my greatest shame so that sounded like a good place to start. Its marketing ploy was "Dance your abs into shape with your favorite Disco oldies." Sounded pretty good so I hit select. The show began with a room full of physically fit cuties gyrating to YMCA by the Village People. The 'teacher' welcomes you and says we will start off with a few warm ups. After 5 minutes of warm ups, I was worn out. Why are the warm ups as hard as the work outs? But I persevered. I bounced and sashayed to the left and then to the right. Hips a swaying, feet a stepping. "Hmm, not bad.", I say to myself. Then she added some arm swinging and hand clapping. By this time I'm really starting to get into the swing of things. Then it happened. She added some waist twisting and hip swaying. My body was all over the place. I couldn't keep up. I looked like a mound of Jello jiggling when you dump it out of the mold. I thought to myself "This cannot be pretty." But I remembered what a friend told me yesterday about working on things I can control. I thought, "Come on Bee, you can do this." I proceeded to jump and twist and bounce and hop.....all the way into the coffee table. Oww!! I learned two things today. Sedate crunches and setups are better for little old women and don't ever dance in your living room without moving the coffee table. But I did get in a good workout. I feel rejuvenated this morning. And I will try one of the other shows tomorrow. Not so sure the disco dance is going to be my thing.


Success vs. Failure

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein
I once heard some one use this quote to describe failure. And it is true. If you keep doing the same things over and over and over and it is not working, why would you keep trying?
I find myself doing this in my quest to lose weight. I keep sliding back into my bad habits, thinking that "2 more Junior Mints won't hurt". But how many times a day do I eat those "2 more".
Each of us must take a good hard look at what we view as failures in our lives. We should ask ourselves "What could I have done differently?"
For example, if you are a salesperson and your sales are down, is it the economy? Or is it because you are not willing to go out on a limb and try new approaches? This is true in everyday life as well. If we do not take chances and make changes, are we destined to continue with our current status? Will we feel like a failure because we cannot reach our goals? Or will we strive to perfect our daily walk so we can see the success that waits for us ahead?
So many people are looking for things to motivate them. So many want to succeed and try different paths to reach that success. We all have our favorite bible verses that help us and keep our spirits lifted in difficult times.
But go back and read Genesis Chapter 1. God did not rest until He achieved the ultimate success when He created the world. Each day brought new things. Each day was something He created. After each day that He completed, the bible tells us "And God saw that it was good."
Our loving God, the very one who created us, shows us from the first chapter of His word, that we should strive to be successful. We should work toward our goal and at the end of the day, we too can look at our successes and say "it was good."


Strange uses for every day items....

Over the years, my husband and I have been very inventive when trying to accomplish things around the house. We have found that many items can serve a dual purpose. Recently, hubby discovered a second use for coffee filters. When you heat up a bowl of something in the microwave, you probably cover it with a napkin or saran wrap. The saran wrap can melt down and cling to the food, leaving a film on your food. A napkin has a tendency to blow off as the turntable goes around. We have found if you place a coffee filter in bowl, like you would in the coffee maker, it allows the pops and splatters from the heated item to stick to the filter and not all over your microwave. When you are through, just pull it out and toss it. No sticky film on your food and no messy interior to worry with. Another item that I used today is something I used to do years ago when my son was in Little League baseball. Do you ever have a stain that refuses to come clean? Grass stain, ketchup, mustard, chocolate, grease, all these are items that are hard to get out of certain materials. We had a grease stain in a jacket today. I tried stain removers, Greased Lightning, everything that normally works on stains. It didn't come clean. So I grabbed an old toothbrush and made a paste my Cascade for the dishwasher and a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Scrubbed it into the stain and let it stand for 10 minutes. Presto! No more stain. It is perfect for getting grass stain out of those white pants the little ball players wear. Does your husband or son have a favorite ball cap? You know the one with the all the dirt and sweat from work and play. They are machine washable, but it does something to their fit and can cause shredding around the edges of the bill after repeated washings. Simply find one of your pots or pans about the size of the inside of the cap. Turn the pan upside down and place the cap on like you would put it on your head. Place the pan in your dishwasher and run it through the cycle (again with your Cascade). When you remove it, leave it on the pan over night until it dries. No frilled edges from the washer's spinning and the pan helps it retain it's shape so it doesn't shrink. Just wanted to share those tips with you in case you ever need them.


Monday Madness

Well, it's Monday. Time to start that week long process of surviving. Why are Monday's so hard? It's like starting all over again. Each Monday brings with it the challenges of a new week. We have to check our calendars to see what appointments we have scheduled. We need to plan our week for what work we will work on. We are exhausted and tired from the weekend. We need a shot of energy to get going.
By Tuesday, it is a little better. You have caught up with the messages and emails that came in since you left on Friday. You are beginning to work on the task list you have for this week. You are at that "almost done with yesterdays catch up" stage.
By Wednesday morning, you are feeling much more into your routine. You have accepted the fact that work is a part of your life and you are required to show up and perform your duties, no matter how you feel. By Wednesday afternoon, you have been able to mark many things off your to do list. You can see the end of the tunnel and know that freedom is just a couple of days away.
By Thursday, you realize that you need to buckle down and finish out your tasks for the week. You need to have Friday open for unexpected things that come up as the week draws to a close.
By Friday, you are feeling more refreshed than you ever do on Monday mornings. You know the madness of your week is about over. You are looking forward to two glorious days of relaxing with your family. You are counting the hours until 5:00 as you hurriedly process any last tasks that require immediate attention. Come 5:00, armed with your pay check and a thrill that the weekend is here, you clock out and head home. Secure in the knowledge that for two whole days, you don't have to worry about "this place" at all.
But watch out, Monday is just around the corner AGAIN.


My grandchildren

We had the family over for pizza last night. Getting four active children to sit still long enough for a photo is one of the hardest things a grandmother ever has to do. I can't believe I got them to land long enough for a picture. Even more amazing, they are all smiling ... even if some smiles are distracted and some are forced.
Caleb and Shelby
Garret and Alexis
This one just says "We're up to no good." The oldest grandchild and the youngest grandchild.
Mamaw's girls.
Thank God for wonderful grandchildren.


Happy thoughts for the day

There are many things that can produce happy thoughts. Thoughts of loved ones, the excitement of being in love, holding a new born baby, visiting with children and grandchildren.
But there are words that can produce happy thoughts. Simply by saying them or thinking them, you can feel a sense of peace and contentment. These are my favorite top 5 "happy thought" words (in no particular order):
So my wish for each of you today is
That you will LOVE the Lord with all your heart
That your life is filled with HOPE
That your FAITH will strengthen you
That you seek God's MERCY in all that you do
And that His GRACE is sufficient for you
May you each and everyone have a blessed day doing what you enjoy.


Carpe diem

Carpe diem. Latin for Carpe(imperative mood of "Carpere") =seize Diem (accusative case of "Dies.Diei")=the day, the present, the moment. I wish I would have thought of this earlier today. I spent the morning going to yard sales with my dear friends, Sherrie and Clara. We went to one at a church close to my house. They had some awesome deals. There was this beautiful table. It was long and slender, the kind you would put in an entrance way or behind a sofa. It had two small drawers and was in excellent condition. The price? $10.00. To back up, I need to tell you that the last time I bought new furniture home, Hubby said that we couldn't fit one more piece of furniture in the house. So I stood there with Sherrie trying to figure where in the world I could put it. One of the ladies from the church was helping us with ideas. We could not come up with anywhere it would fit. I was heartbroken, but at the same time wasn't sure I should bring home more furniture. So I walked inside to look around. It wasn't 5 minutes later, somebody bought it. Well, I'm home now and telling hubby the story about the beautiful table for only $10 and what does he say? "You should have bought it. We could have put it over there and pointed to a perfect place that I had not even thought about. I was so mad at myself. So the moral to my story is seize the moment. When you find that perfect deal....BUY IT. If I hadn't found a place to put it I could have given it to somebody else. I am sitting here kicking myself. I am not one to contemplate items when I shop. I know my budget and if I see what I want and it's at a good price. I buy it. I don't know what was wrong with me this morning. I know one thing, from now on, I will seize the moment before the deal gets away from me.


The Carousel Horse

I am getting things gathered up for our annual yard sale in May. As I go through the house cleaning, I find myself looking at doodads and knick knacks, thinking "I really don't need that. I never use it" or "I'm tired of looking at that."
I pick it up to put it in the yard sale box only to hold it in my hand and fondly remember where it came from and what it means to me. So it goes back on the shelf to collect dust for another day.
I have always been a huge fan of carousels. We went to Camden Park in West Virginia just about every summer when I was a little girl. I loved the carousel horses with all their gloss and shine. The vivid colors drew me as did the music coming from the ride.
About 25 years ago, I decided to collect carousel horses. As time went on, I grew out of that collectible phase. I didn't have a lot and I would occasionally put one in the yard sale. I have one left. And it was the first one that was given to me as a gift.
My mother got it for me for my birthday that year. I fell in love with it. It is a music box and rocks back and forth when it plays. Over the years, I have thought many times that it doesn't go with any of my current decor. I moved it from shelf to shelf over the years trying to find a place where it would be displayed prominently.
Now, I know my mother or any mother doesn't expect their child to keep everything they ever buy them. But I remember Mom's joy when she presented me with this newest addition to my collection.
As I sat here last night, trying to decide if it was time to just put it in the yard sale, I could picture Mom handing it to me with such delight on her face as I unwrapped. Then other pictures started to emerge.
I remembered when we built our house, putting it in a position of honor in my brand new bookshelves in my brand new house.
I remembered Garret spotting it when he was about 2 and wanting to see it. I would wind it for him and he would sit and raptly watch it and listen to it's lyrical sounds.
I remembered Caleb coming along and how he would go get it off the shelf and bring it to me and say "Wind it Mamaw".
I remembered Alexis discovering it and getting it off the shelf and bringing it to me. I remember the sweet smile on her precious face as she would sit and watch it rock and I would have to wind it over and over again.
I remembered Caleb and Alexis getting it down and winding it and saying "Shelby, watch."
I remembered Shelby standing their with binky in her mouth quietly absorbed in the sweet sounds and gentle rocks of the carousel horse.
Just as recently as Christmas eve when they were all over and the excitement of Christmas was upon them. I remembered standing in the door way and Alexis asking Caleb to wind the horse. He so gently got it down and carefully wound it up.
I remember all four of them for those few brief moments, stopping to watch it as it rocked back and forth.
So is it time to part with it? I think not. Too many wonderful memories go with this sweet carousel horse that I had resigned to a shelf that holds knick knacks I don't know where else to put.
With a precious new grandbaby on the way, how can I part with something that gives my grandchildren such joy and deprive our new one from delighting in it.
I think we will be finding a new place to display this great horse in all her splendor. I think she will be with our family for generations to come.



Do you have people in your life that motivate you to do more, be more and strive for more? I have a dear friend who is like that. She is such an inspiration to me. She is actually the one who even got me inspired to blog. Most people start their day with the morning paper. I start my morning by reading her blog. It is a mixture of spiritual and inspiring stories. (You should check it out...http://jeremiah-2911.com) She recently re-organized her craft room. Now it's gotten me into the mood to re-organize my room that I like to call the "craft-office-library-den-guest" room. Therein lies my problem. What to do in a room that has so many purposes. Currently, I have one wall that is my desk and file cabinet for my office. The other wall is my 3 piece book shelf unit that holds my collectibles (Emmett Kelly, teapots, beach stuff) and all my books (over 200 books, ergo the Library Room). Another wall has a couch that folds out into a queen size bed and a couple of slender dressers used to store some of my craft supplies. The other wall is a full closet which holds more crafts, excess storage and seasonal clothing. And anything else we can't find anyplace to store it. I have a 5' folding craft table that I store behind the door and get out when I'm going to craft. I have 2 medium and 2 small stackable wicker square trunks that sit in the corner. So, as you can see, I'm limited on rearranging. I would welcome any feedback. I may even have to "borrow" Debbie's organizational skills and get some help on this one. Deb...I'm so happy with the look of your new room. You inspire me.


National Park Week

April 17th - 25th, 2010 is National Park Week. Take time to enjoy the splendor of our Great Smoky Mountains. They have special events planned all week. You can find them listed at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/events.htm. Living in our beautiful mountains, many of us become so conditioned to the day to day living that we fail to stop and enjoy their magnificent beauty.
We complain about the traffic, the tourists and the constant road work. But do we even realize how blessed we are to live in the foothills of such beautiful mountains.
When you come here on vacation, you have plenty of time to the explore natures beauty. But living here, our day to day lives get in the way. Many of us have views of the mountains, but don't always take the time to just sit and admire their grandeur.
The next time you are stuck in traffic, don't strum your fingers on the steering wheel impatiently. Take a moment instead to look up ahead and look at the gently rolling hills of our majestic mountains. They are the one constant in times of trouble and change. Enjoy the beauty and peace they bring to our visitors. People spend millions of dollars coming here yearly to enjoy what we have daily for free.


What color is my car?

My car is one of those odd shades that nobody knows what to call it. The official color is called bronze, but it doesn't look anything like any bronze I've ever seen. Some friends think it is a coppery brown. I have never been able to figure it out.
Right now...It is yellow. You guessed it, I have been pollinated. I am so over the yellow stuff all over everything. It was beautiful Sunday and I decided to eat lunch out on my patio. Well, first the chairs were dusty so I was going to have to wipe them down good before I dared sit in one. Next, the glass table top was a layer of yellow so it was going to have to be washed and dried (probably more than once) before I would even consider eating on it. I went to open the umbrella and just touched the tab to unfold it got pollen on my hands.
But when the white fluffy stuff started flying by from the poplar trees, I gave up. By the time I would have gotten everything clean enough to go out their, the sun would have been down and I would have been famished.
Not to mention the yellow I clean off would be replaced with poplar fluff. I give up. I'll eat outside in July.


That's what I love about Sunday's by Craig Morgan

Raymond's in his Sunday best, He's usually up to his chest in oil an' grease. There's the Martin's walkin' in, With that mean little freckle-faced kid, Who broke a window last week. Sweet Miss Betty likes to sing off key in the pew behind me. That's what I love about Sunday: Sing along as the choir sways; Every verse of Amazin' Grace, An' then we shake the Preacher's hand. Go home, into your blue jeans; Have some chicken an' some baked beans. Pick a back yard football team, Not do much of anything: That's what I love about Sunday. I stroll to the end of the drive, Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup. It looks like Sally an' Ron, finally tied the knot, Well, it's about time. It's 35 cents off a ground round, Baby. cut that coupon out! That's what I love about Sunday: Cat-napping on the porch swing; You curled up next to me, The smell of jasmine wakes us up. Take a walk down a back road, Tackle box and a cane pole; Carve our names in that white oak, An' steal a kiss as the sun fades, That's what I love about Sunday, Oh, yeah. Ooh, new believers gettin' baptized, Momma's hands raised up high, Havin' a Hallelujah good time A smile on everybody's face. That's what I love about Sunday, Oh, yeah. That's what I love about Sunday,



This is my favorite word in the English language. I love grace, mercy, and hope. But faith is the very core of my being. I have been obsessed with faith since I was 16 and my Sunday School teacher explained it as an absolute trust in something that you cannot see, smell, touch or hear. Faith is something that just IS. He explained it to us like this. When we walk in to Sunday School class and choose a seat, we just sit down. We don't question anything. We don't ask if the chair will hold us. We don't look underneath to see what makes it work and determine its strength. We don't ask others their opinion or thoughts on what we should do. We simply sit down because we know that a chair is designed for sitting so we have faith that it will hold us up. The same is true of telephones, radios, tv's, lights, etc. We just reach over and answer the phone or click the remote without even thinking about it. We have faith that it will work and do what it is designed to do. Our faith in God should be that unquestionable. We should hand him our problems and have faith that He will help us in His way. We are bad about asking him to help us then trying to tell him how to do it, what results we want and the timeline to get the job done. We continue to obsess over the results and try to think of ways to make it work out the way we want. With faith, we should just say "Here Lord, please take care of this for me." Then walk away from it with a deep abiding trust that knows He will. I'm teaching children's church tomorrow and our lesson is about Doubting Thomas. Our lesson goal is to teach that faith is believing, even when you cannot see. I was explaining it to Caleb and asked him to stiffen his knees and fall back in my arms without bending them. I explained that faith is knowing I would never drop him or let him get hurt. It took a few tries, but he finally followed through and realized that I would take care of him. I showed it to Shebly and she just started immediately falling backwards into my arms without even thinking twice as to if I would catch her. This shows us that the older we get, the less trusting we are. Some of us are like Caleb, we want to test our faith a time or two before we fully let go and let God. Some of us are like Shelby, we just fall back into God's arms and let him catch us. Ask yourself... What type of faith do I have? May you have a strong childlike faith and place your cares at the Saviours feet, knowing that He will keep you in His care.


Joshua 1:9

Joshua 1:9 (New King James Version) says:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Good question. So why do we worry? Why do we let fear into our lives. The bible is full of passages such as this. God has instructed us time and time again "Do not be afraid." "Put your trust in the Lord." "Fear not."
One of my favorite quotes that I heard many years ago and it stuck with me is "Worry is like a rocking chair...it gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere."
So the next time you worry, quote one of your favorite bible verses and hand your problems to God to handle. He's on duty 24/7.


Country Roads

(I took this before crossing the bridge at the dam on Douglas Dam Road)
Country roads. They are the lifeline of America. For all the interstates, highways and byways, it is still the country road that leads us where we want to go.
You wonder how many horses and wagons have graced our country roads before paving and automobiles came into existence. How many young barefoot boys walked across her dusty path to reach the riverbank for an afternoon of fishing with hand made poles and worms dug from their yard.
How many little girls skipped along beside their Mommy as chicken soup was delivered to some elderly neighbor that was feeling poorly.
How many families donned their Sunday best and walked a mile on Sunday to hear the traveling preacher on his one stop a month in their town.
How many picnics were held in the shade of the oak tree as two young lovers sat quietly, holding hands, and just enjoying being together.
It was a slower pace. Times were tough, but people got by. They didn't need the glitz and glitter that we all seem to have today. They didn't have any place to rush off to or anything that had to be done right that minute. There was no satellite TV, no cell phones, no computers. It was simpler times. It was the smell of fried chicken for Sunday dinner and the Grand Ole Opry on the radio on Saturday nights.
The next time life gets to you and you get tired of the hectic pace we live, gas up the car and drive out into the country. Pick a road and see where it leads you. I'm sure you will enjoy the drive.


Have you ever noticed how styles change over the years, but some things reappear with new names. I remember in my younger days laughing at some of the clothing worn by my mother's generation. I remember my children doing the same to me. And I'm sure their children will do the same. No matter how much humor we find in fashion changes, some things keep cropping back up with new names. The very things we laughed at are created with new names and become all the rage. Here are some examples: Farmers would stick them in their back overalls pocket and call them handkerchiefs. Women would tie them around their hair to clean house and call then kerchiefs. They even showed up around necks as bandannas. Now cyclists tie them in a new fashion and call them doo rags. In the 50's they were known as floppies. They were cheap and made of rubber. You'd run and play or wear them around the house. If they tore up, they were easily replaced. In the late 60's and early 70's they were more stylish and had adornments and were called thongs. In the 80's and 90's they became flip flops (some still call them that today). Now they come in all colors and styles. Some have added small heels to give them a dressier look. Some have added doodads and beads and call them sandals. Flip flops that were once used for play are now considered acceptable for work, church, school or just everyday comfort.
Back in my day, we called them coulottes. They had big, comfortable legs. They were more comfortable than a skirt. You could wear them for play or for dress, depending on how they looked. Some were shorter, some were longer. Now they call them gauchos. I really can't see any difference other than the name.
The one that cracks me up is pedal pushers. We wore them growing up and we loved them. They were all the rage. But let your kids see a picture of you in pedal pushers and here you say that name and they die laughing. But in the late 70's to mid 80's, they reappeared as crop pants. EVERYBODY had to have a pair. They were THE thing to dress up in. I remember my daughter and I having crop pants and you just HAD to wear them with jelly shoes (remember those). That fad faded and was buried away. Crop pants were no longer "the thing." Now, here we are in the 21st century with Capri pants. Is it just me or are we right back to pedal pushers again? I can't see a big difference.
I didn't even cover mini-skirts, the midi, hot pants vs. daisy dukes. But you get my drift. The very things we saw our mothers wearing in public are the very things we rush out and buy off the rack. I even saw some flip flops this year that are made out of the jelly shoe material.
Do designers really think they have come up with a new fad or do they just sit around looking at old photos until somebody says, "Check this out. Pedal pushers. Hey, let's reinvent those and call them capri pants."
I've often heard the saying "The more things change, the more they remain the same." If you don't believe that, look at fashions.


Why grandchildren are so cute

Have you ever looked at your grandchildren and thought, "Oh, I just have the cutest grandbabies in the world." I think that every time I look at mine. You can see their Daddy's eyes, their Mommy's smiles. Certain ways they look at you, you will even see distinct features of your own grandparents. I was contemplating the fact that my children gave me some pretty cute grandkids to love. Then it dawned on me, what did I expect. I had adorable children. As our kids grow up they become beautiful women or handsome men. So when we look at their adult faces, we tend to forget that they, too, were once beautiful little babies and toddlers who made our days shine. I want to share some pictures of my twins when they were little. Looking at these pictures makes it easy to see why I think my grandbabies are so cute.


You CAN go home

Whoever said "You can't go home." was so wrong. Home is not a place. It's your family. It's the love you share. It's the place where you are accepted for what you are and how you look. It's no make-up and comfy clothes. It's flip flops and pony tails. It's pizza night and shopping sprees. It's the pride of driving down those old winding roads and through the small town and seeing that there has been progress, but that some things are still the same. It's seeing people taking walks and riding their bikes around the same streets you traveled as a kid. It's taking a walk again and seeing your Aunt Dee Dee and Aunt Frances in the yard. It's showing off your grandchildren to people you grew up with.
It's swinging on Mamaw's porch swing. It's little boys playing games and little girls going to the little girls room in groups. It's a toddlers first taste of Gino's Pizza.
It's the love and compassion of being within the family fold. It's the reliving of memories of all the times before. It's seeing your nieces and nephews and watching how their kids are growing. It's the laughter of spending three hours trying to find a ring tone only to have your nephew-in-law come by and do it in 5 minutes. It's missing your turn on a road you've driven for years simply because you were too busy laughing and talking. It's watching the great nieces and nephews playing with your grandkids the same way that your kids played with their cousins. It's a peace and contentment that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It's putting your worries aside for a few days and simply enjoying life. So can you go home again? Yes, you can as long as the people you love are there with you.
I had the best trip and got to see the entire family except my brother and one of his daughters who are both at the beach and one of my nieces who lives in another town and couldn't come in.
I've laughed until my sides hurt. I've eaten until I was about to pop. I've gotten up early and stayed up late. I am past exhausted, but I am so extremely blessed that we had a wonderful time.


Coal Mining Memories

The above picture is my Grandpa & Grandma Garretson in 1935. They were from a little town called Brushton, WV. They were a coal mining family. They are with four of their 10 children in this picture. The littlest one is a grandson. The teenage boy is my Daddy.
Grandma Mary Garretson, Grandpa Coy (Poppy) Garretson, and my aunt Stella Garretson.
My uncle Sebert. He was 16 years old in this picture. He died in the mines when he was still a young man, leaving behind a wife and small daughters.
My heart goes out to the families of the WV Coal Mine disaster this week. My family has worked in the mines for generations in Boone County, WV. That is about 27 miles northwest of the mine in Raleigh County that suffered the explosion.
My Grandpa Garretson (Poppy) and my Uncle Sebert worked in the mines. Daddy worked in them awhile but did not like it. When he got older, he worked for the C & O Railroad which hauled the coal out of the mines. My Uncle Kenneth hauled coal out in a big coal truck. My husband even worked for a machine company that repaired equipment for the mines. He used to go down into the mines and repair the equipment on site. I thank God daily that he no longer does that.
I have always felt a deep respect for miners and the work they do. To a miner, it is more than a job. It is a way of life. They understand the dangers, they know the risks. Yet, they do it day in and day out because their fathers and grandfathers worked in the mines. In some cases, it is the only way of life they know.
My father, my grandparents, my uncles and aunts have all passed on. But I remember visiting Grandma Garretson and seeing all the mining towns. My Uncle Kenneth would wash his coal truck on Friday's and then take us on rides around town in the back of it after dark. I dedicate my blog to the miners who have lost their lives and to the families that will miss them. Let's keep them all in our prayers.


I don't believe I'd a told that....

Lewis Grizzard once did a presentation called "I don't believe I'd a told that. How many times in your life do you hear someone giving you a blow by blow detailed accountant of something they experienced or did and you think "I can't believe they just said that." One of the best examples is when you pass someone in the store that you barely know and politely say "Hey, how have you been?" Then they proceed to tell you EXACTLY how they have been. They will go on an on about their neighbors' kids, their family, their co-workers, their health ... anything they can find to complain about. I'm okay with hearing how you are doing when we are friends or family. But for somebody I barely know to tell me every little detail of thier life, ARRGGHH. A simple "Fine, how about you?" would suffice. I was at the store today and a lady put her groceries on the counter to be rung up. I was waiting on my bagger to get finished. The clerk had been greeting everybody in line the same way. She would say "Good morning, how are you doing?" Well she said it to the lady behind me and the lady responded heatedly "Well, I'm just X#$@ing #%@*#ing. I will not repeat what those words were. I was so offended. I thought, "Why in the world would you ever answer ANYBODY with those words, much less somebody who is just making conversations in the grocery line. I definitely could not believe my ears. It did make me stop and be thankful that my life, while not perfect, is so great to me that it would never enter my mind to answer a simple "How are you doing" question with offensive language. You just have to whisper a prayer and go on.


Spring Break

As a child, we look forward to spring break. A week out of school is sheer bliss. When we were growing up, spring break was a time to re-hide the Easter eggs. We would hide and hunt eggs all week long. We never tired of it. It would keep us busy for hours. When I grew up, spring break was a time to spend with friends. A time to get a taste of what our summer would be like. When I got married and had children, spring break was a time for them to the spend every day at their mamaw's while I worked. I would take them there on my way to work and pick them up at the end of the day. They would go places on the "town" bus. They would play and run the hills, re-hiding their Easter eggs much as I did when I was little. I would have to work while they got to have a wonderful, fun week. As they grew up and got married, spring break became a time when most of my co-workers would take vacations to be home with their children. Many of them would leave town for trips. When I would be in customer service or sales, it would be a slow week because most of my clients had kids and would be on spring break vacation themselves. Now that I have grandchildren and own my own business, spring break is fun again. I get to be the one to take off if I want and spend time with my grandchildren. I get to take them on vacations and do special things with them. Most of my clients still take off this week so it is a perfect time for me to have some family time. I just love spring break.


I Know My Redeemer Lives

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
Who told the ocean, "You can only come this far"?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?
The very same God that spins things in orbit,
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak.
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken,
They conquered death to bring me victory.
Well, I know my redeemer lives. I know my redeemer lives.
All of creation testifies. This life within my cries I know my redeemer lives.
By Nicole C. Mullen


Pete & Gladys

We live on the French Broad River. For the past 10 or 11 years, we have seen many geese and ducks on our banks of the river. Over the years, we have had frequent visitors that we can recognize by distinctive markings.
For about 8 years now, there is one very distinctive couple that arrives every April like clockwork. I named them Pete and Gladys (after a favorite sitcom of mine in the early 60's).
Pete and Gladys come back every year and spend most of their time from early spring till late fall in my yard. They will float up and down the river. Then they waddle out at the old boat ramp by my house and walk up the road to cross into the backyard. Once there, they generally like to lay in the soft grass up around our patio. This picture was taken about 2 foot off the patio a couple of days ago.
Sometimes we see as many as 50 or 60 ducks and Canadian geese down the yard closer to the river, but Pete and Gladys are the only ones that venture so close to the house. Everywhere Pete goes, Gladys follows. She never gets up and leaves without him. If they are taking a walk, he sticks right beside her. If another gentleman mallard approaches Gladys, Pete runs and flaps his wings and chases him off.
It is so adorable. When she is laying to rest, many times he will stand guard over her. He stands perfectly still and doesn't blink or move a muscle. I spend about 15 minutes sitting there watching them while I took several pictures the other night. Even when I snapped and the flash went off and the camera whirred, he just stood there.
He is like one of the guards at the Buckingham Palace. Which is kind of unique because Mallard is an old English name. It means "keeper of the mill". The word keeper means:
a. An attendant or a guard b. One that has the charge or care of something So, Mr. Pete "Mallard" takes the meaning of his name seriously and guards the misses with his life.


And we think we have bad days....

Spike vs. The Skunk
It was a dark night. Not many stars out and Spike decided he needed one last trip outside before he settled down at night. Daddy H. opened the back door and started outside with Spike. Part way down the steps, a skunk lay in hiding, waiting for its pray.
You've all heard the expression "Ready, aim, fire!" Well, Mr. Skunk sure took that saying to heart that night. Daddy H. tried to hurry and get back in the house, but not in time. Spike was hit. So Spike did what many of us do when faced with adversity. We RUN!
The problem is he ran right back into the house. Right through the sorted laundry waiting to be washed. So Mommy and Daddy H. had to gather him up and get him out of there pretty fast. They checked outside for the skunk (not to worry, the damage was done, he was half way to Tahiti by that time). So poor old stinky Spike was confined to his outside pen.
The family had to leave the house for the night to let it air out. Laundromats were hit early the next morning to fumigate the clothing Spike had so lovely shared his scent with.
One thing you need to understand is that Spike is a house dog. And for all intents and purposes he thinks he's human except he can't use the inside bathrooms. This is a dog who is never left out for long and is only outside when somebody is home to let him back in.
You can imagine the thoughts going through his mind.
"Hey, you guys! Did somebody forget me?"
"Mom, wait! Where are you going? I still outside."
"I can't believe they left me"
"What will I do if the creature comes pack with his poisonous venom. How will I survive?"
As the night wore on and daylight came, he had to be worried. Mommy was off doing the laundry and buying the supplies needed to wash him squeaky clean. Being his favorite Mamaw, I felt it would be good for him if I went to visit. Boy, I should never have done that.
Have you ever went to visit a grandchild and when it comes time to leave and they don't get to go with you and they turn those sad eyes on you with the pitiful expressions? Well, I am here to tell you that granddogs can do the same thing. He has it down to a fine art. He still stunk to high heaven and I couldn't even pet him because I didn't want the smell on me. I did check to make sure he still had food and water. But the 'poor, pitiful me' look almost did me in.
I got in my car and drove home, wanting to cry for leaving him behind. All's well that ends well. Thanks to peroxide, baking soda, and detergent, Spike is squeaky clean and good smelling.
I'm sure they will all look back and chuckle on this one day - well maybe not Mommy who got stuck with the clean up. Messy diapers and spit up don't look so bad to her now.


Many of you have heard me talk about my sister and have seen pictures of us growing up. But it occurred to me that I have not shared pictures of my brothers. I was the second child in a line of four. When I was 2 years and 4 months, Mom brought my brother Jack home from the hospital. I do have early memories of him. I can even describe the way the living room was laid out the day he came home. Mom says I'm right, even though she can't figure out how I knew. We don't have any pictures of the day he came home. But I remember it fondly. Jack and I were very close growing up. Me and Rachel would bribe him to play house with us. Then I would play cars and trucks with him. He taught me how to play marbles, baseball, and kick ball. We had invisible pretend ponies as pets and we would spend literally hours "romping and riding" are horses around the yard and up and down the hills at home.
The year I was turning 10, Mom surprised us with a new addition to the family, my baby brother Andy. We were so excited. Here was our very own baby doll we could help dress and feed. Back then, Mom had a wringer washer and hang clothes on the line. Let me tell you, the joy of playing with our own baby wore off fast when we had to sit on the couch and help fold all those cloth diapers. But we still love our baby brother.
When he was 6 and I was 16, I started taking him with me everywhere I went. It's amazing how easy it was to get the family car when you volunteer to take the baby with you.
When we were young, me and Rachel were the "big" sisters. Something happened along the way. I'm only 5' and Rachel's around 5'2 or 5'3, but both of my brothers are pretty close to 6 feet.
When I go in and see the family and those tall, muscled, good looking men give me a hug, it's hard to believe they are the same little boys I used to love on and play with.


Happy April Fools Day

As I woke up at 6:00 this morning, I lay there in that land of half up and half not. In my mind, I think of the many years my phone would ring at 6:00 on April Fools Day and it would be my Daddy with some prank to pull before we were completely up. After years in the U.S. Navy, the Coast Guard and working for the railroad, he was used to being an early riser. Every morning he was up at 5:00 ready to start the day. My mother would get up and fix him bacon and eggs and homemade biscuits for breakfast every day. I get my morning personality from him. The minute his feet hit the floor, he was wide awake and ready to face the day. You would get up stumbling to the bathroom or kitchen and Daddy would be smiling and giving you a hard time. Ready to have entire conversations when you barely had your slippers on your feet. He has been gone for 11 years now and I still miss him dearly every day. But April Fools Day holds a special fondness. He loved this day. He would call each one of us early in the morning, knowing we wouldn't remember what day it was and he had a better chance of "getting" us. My favorite was one year when he called and I answered the phone, still groggy because I wasn't even out of the bed yet. It was around 6:00. Daddy said "Have you looked outside yet? It dumped a big snow last night." Living in West Virginia, we had snow up into March and on occasion we would get a late March, early April snow, but it was rare. His words popped my eyes open. I jumped up out of bed and ran to the living room, screaming "Oh my gosh, your kidding!!" I slid open the living room drapes to see the front yard. As Daddy heard the slide of the drapery rings on the current rods, I hear a boisterous, laughing "APRIL FOOLS". You just had to laugh with him. He had so much fun with it, you just couldn't get mad at him. But you didn't call your siblings to warn them. If you were going to be the fool, let Daddy get them, too. The angels better watch their wings and halos today, because I'm pretty sure Daddy hasn't changed and it's hard to tell what he's getting them with today.