All because two people fell in love....

It started out in a little town nestled in the valley between the hills of West Virginia. They didn't have much money, but they had a love that withstood the test of time. They were happy in good times and in bad. They survived strikes and lay offs. Winter snows and summer storms. They had a good life and loved deeply.

Within a couple of years of getting married, that love grew to include their two little daughters....born just 13 months apart. They were so precious and so full of abundant energy. Both had a head full of natural curls, just like their mommy. The Big Sister had green eyes like the Mommy's and the baby girl had big blue eyes like her Daddy's.

Over the years, the love grew and the boys came. The girls were 2 and 3 years old when Brother #1 arrived and were 10 and 11 when Brother #2 came along. They all knew love and laughter in that old home place up a country road. Daddy worked real hard to support his family while Mommy stayed home to cook, clean and care for the precious children God had entrusted to her care. There were many summer days spent playing in that old yard and many winter nights snuggled in the living room with the stove giving off it's warm glow.

By 1981, the three oldest were married and living their own life in their own little houses tucked into that little village town. Baby brother still lived at home, but before long, he would soon spread his wings and fly. But holidays and Sundays almost always found them back in that old house up the holler.

Through lots of laughter, lots of love, many grandchildren and many, many memories, those "ole days" up the country road are still alive in our memories.

In 1999, we lost our beloved father, Luke Garretson, to congestive heart failure at the age of 75. Daddy would be 88 years old today. There is not a day goes by that I don't think of him and miss him. He was my idol, my hero. I was a Daddy's girl and knew without a shadow of doubt how much he loved us. Mom moved out of the holler and my brother has remodeled the old home place. We'll never go back to those days of yesteryear. Daddy will never see his great grandchildren or feel their love. But I know he is up there watching over us. I still feel his presence walking the streets of my home town when I go back to visit. So many wonderful memories of a very wonderful man.

I love you, Daddy. Happy birthday.


A special day....

Today, my youngest granddaughter turns 3. What a milestone. She has gotten so independent in the past year and developed her own little personality. Or should I say, her own opinions. She can be sweet as pie one minute and stubborn as a bull the next. She is going through the "I can do it myself" stage and the "Are we there yet?" phase. I ran her to her mother's work today. From turning at a stop light and going the equivalent of 4 city blocks, her brother counted 12 "Are we there yets."

She wants to buckle her car seat and she wants to brush her own hair. She is 3 going on 13. She is sweet as an angel, but can turn the whining on in a heart beat. She can be loving her brother one moment and launch a full blown attack on him the next. Her favorite show is Jake and the Neverland Pirates and she loves Rock and Roll. She'll sing "I totally Rock" one minute and be running through the house with an Ahoy Matey's the next. She is a mixture of drama and delight and I wish her a very special day!

Happy birthday, Shelby Rayne! Mamaw loves you! Her are some of my favorite pics from her first 3 years.

 (She was asking her Mommy if she could wake Daddy up in the above picture)
 I love the next picture, even though it is a little scary. I can't help but wonder what evil plot she was hatching.
 She is very close to her big brother Caleb (he's 8). Not sure how this happened, but her Mom said they were just playing and the next thing she knew, Caleb was pinned to the floor and Shelby is sitting on him with her "watch me now" grin and a pair of nail clippers in her hand. Like a good Mom, my daughter grabbed the camera FIRST and got the Kodak moment before she rescued Bubby.
 She loves her sunglasses. She has about 4 or 5 pairs. She calls them her Movie Star glasses.

Happy birthday my precious girl. Hope you have a wonderful birthday party tonight.


30 Happens

We all dread it. We all hear the horror stories. We all know it is heading this way...then one day, you wake up and look in the mirror and it hits you..."OH NO! I'M TURNING 30 TODAY!"
I have a very precious friend who is turning the big 3-0 this very day. She is one of those true Southern Ladies that will still look like she's 20 even when she gets in her 50's. She personafies what true beauty really is...inside and out. Like most southern women, she has charm, she has class, and she has poise. But mess with her family and she will knock you flat on your behind. I love her and her family very much, they are so dear to me. In honor of her BIG day, I thought I would let the WHOLE WORLD know she is hitting the big 30!(which I'm sure I'm going to get killed for, but what kind of friend would I be if I DIDN'T acknowledge this special day.) I would like to dedicate my blog to my dear friend by providing her with some famous (and infamous) quotes about others' views on turning 30.
"Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty." - Robert Frost

"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." - Lucile Ball

"30 is the new 20, ... - Dane Peddigrew

"You're not 30. You are just celebrating 20 for the 10th time." - Unknown
And my absolute favorite quote about getting older...
"It's always a great day when you wake up on this side of the dirt!"
So, happy, happy 30th birthday to my dear, sweet, precious friend, Kindall. Hope you have a blessed day from start to finish with lots of love, lots of laughter, lots of cake....and hopefully a new Coach Purse. :)


I was just thinking....

Those words normally scare me. My husband uses them a lot. Every time he starts a sentence with "I was just thinking...." I reply with "Oh, no. Now what". It is usually a prelude to something he wants to try change around the house that I'm not sure I want done. Or it is a new dish he wants to concoct for supper that, while others would love it, his picky wife...moi!...will probably not like.

But when I was preparing my blog this morning, a bazillion (well at least 20) ideas went through my head. But none was enough for a whole post. So, I was just thinking...

 I must have turned the A/C too low when I went to bed last night. I had to drag out flannel pj's and socks this morning because it is so cold in here....yet it is supposed to get up to 96 degrees today.
Okay, I starting to get over summer. I'm ready for cooler fall temps. I'm ready to put away the flip flops....well, almost ready. I need some new fall shoes to wear with jeans. But I want comfort and something that just slips on. Most slip ons are not that easy to slip on but I kind of like these from Sketchers. They slip on but have an adjustable Velcro strap. Not necessarily the cutest shoes in the world, but I'm liking them.
Check these flowers out. Due to so much rain and so little time, I didn't plant flowers in my patio pots this year. We just turned the dirt over and aerated it and let it set for fall for my mums. But about a month ago a "weed" sprouted in one of the pots and I thought it looked like a marigold so I let it be. Lo and behold, a month later, look how much my little "weed" has grown.
Then a few days ago, in another pot that we normally put tomatoes in, my hubby spotted this little plant coming up. I swear it looks like the leaves of the tomato plants we grew last year. Do you think it could be? I'm not a farmer so not real sure but he is pretty sure it is.
My grandson Caleb was looking in his uncle truck last night when the door shut on its own and knocked him into the bolt for the latch on the door frame. He bruised his little nose pretty bad. His mommy said that, amazingly enough, there was no blood and it's not broken. I'm sure he'll be hurting for a few day.
Aren't these the cutest little puppies ever. They are strays that showed up on my son's doorstep. He was very firm with the family that NOBODY was to feed them. Well, guess who had to eat his own words when he got them a plate of food. I knew he'd cave in. He's a softy when it comes to dogs. I hope he ends up keeping them. I'm not going to get anymore grandchildren, so maybe a couple of new granddogs would be a nice addition to the family. I think he should name them Midnight and Sunshine since they are as different as day and night.

I love following blogs. Each and everyone I follow is special in it's own way. Some inspire me with stories of faith & hope. Some make me want to clean and organize and redecorate the house. Some provide me with great craft or decor ideas. I have laughed with you and at times I have cried with you. I've prayed for your loses, your health, your finances. I have rejoiced in your births, your blessings and your joy. You are each special in your own way and I think you are 1 in a Million. You are each "fearfully and wonderfully made" and you are beautiful in who you are. So I would like to present each of you with the SO BEAUTIFUL blog award. Please feel free to grab the button and post it on your blog. Pass it on to other bloggers who you think are beautiful as well.


Gadgets and giveaways, Deadlines and dessert


First off, a welcome to all my new followers. I have had a few hectic days, but if I haven't followed you back yet, I'm going to catch up on that tonight.

I just wanted to remind everyone to leave a comment on my Wacky Wednesday Giveaway to be entered in the drawing for the set of Thirty-One Gifts tote and accessories. Leaving a comment will get you entered for one chance and if you post it anywhere on your blog or your Facebook page you can get another entry. Just let me know in your comment where you have posted a link. These are some awesome products and I can't wait for one of you to receive them. The giveaway for this gorgeous set of 31 products ends on August 5. It's a Organizing tote, thermal lunch tote, billfold and mini zipper pouch.

I also wanted to remind everyone about the wonderful dishes we made at my on-line Pampered Chef Party. Michele made us a delicious homemade pizza and a scrumptious Reese Cup Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle. Click the link to "attend" our On-line Pampered Chef Party. Pampered Chef orders can be placed through July 27th by visiting www.pamperedchef.biz/michelemaples. Be sure and enter your hostess as Brenda Keefer.

Here are a couple of my new favorite Pampered Chef items that I can't live without. Remember, it's never too early to start Christmas shopping. Many women love their kitchen gadgets and these make a wonderful addition to any cooks "tool box".
From left to right, #1107 Microplane Zester $14.00 - #1134 Zester Scorer $10.00 - #1642 All Purpose Spreader $4.50 - #2590 Easy Opener $5.00 - #2622 Mini Spatula $5.00 - #2685 Mix and Masher $10.50

I love all of these items but I am fascinated with the Easy Opener and the Mix and Masher the most. The easy opener fits perfectly on water bottle or soft drink bottles. I quick twist and the lid is off. I use it to recap my Pepsi bottles so I can tighten them and keep them from going flat. It also has a function that can pop a tab on a can with ease or can be inserted under jar lids (such as pickles) to release the vacuum and make them easy to open. The mix and masher is the best thing in the world for mashing up eggs for potato salad or egg salad, not to mention for making true mashed potatoes.

Hope everybody has a wonderful Wednesday.


Top 10 Tuesday Random Items

I, the queen of lists, could not think of a category for my Top 10 Tuesday this week. So, it will be a Top 10 Tuesday of my most random thoughts this morning.
1. I started off my morning this morning by visiting the Android Market Place on my Samsung cell phone. Lo and behold, I found an app called Amazon Kindle. I downloaded it and wah-lah! My phone is now a Kindle. Which is great, because I'm reading a series of books and it is time for #4 which I can't find anywhere. So I downloaded it to my cell phone and have already finished the first chapter. LOVE MY NEW APP!

2. My reading glasses are something I love that I wonder how I have lived without. With all this new technology of cell phones, laptops, etc., I find it hard to focus when I spend much time on my electronics. I have prescription glasses that are tri-focals, but trying to find that exact spot where I can surf on my phone when I'm away from the house, was putting strain on my eyes. I didn't need new glasses, just a wider area for reading. So I called the eye doctor not too long ago and they gave me the number for my non-prescription reading glasses. Thanks to Walmart and the Dollar Tree, I now have a pair in each car and a pair in the house. These are my house ones and my faves. They made reading my "Kindle" so much easier this morning.

3. As I was looking through my bookshelf the other day, I saw one of my bookends and I remembered that a young boy of 18 went to New York with his high school class back in 1976. It was winter and he was 6' tall and wanted a scarf to wear that was really long. I worked with his mom and he asked me to knit it for him. Mom and I took turns working on it. It was a beautiful soft cashmere camel tan yarn. Anyway, he went to the gift shop in the World Trade Center and purchased this set of book ends as a thank you for our hard work. As I looked at them yesterday, I was reminded again of 9/11 and all the lives that were lost or changed that day. I have never been to World Trade Center, but thanks to his sweet gift of bookends, I will always remember the tragedy of that day.
4. I have a horrible sinus infection and  the pressure is pushing down on my gums and I've not had much appetite. The meds kicked in yesterday evening after we had planned NOT to have a big supper. My husband fried some bacon "just in case". Once I smelled the bacon, I got so hungry but it was already 7:00. So he threw a potato in the microwave for 5 minutes, scraped it out of the skins (which I don't like) and mixed it with lots of Parkay and crumbled bacon. He put it on a small baking dish and put American cheese on it for me. While the cheese melted in the oven, he fried me an egg and I fixed some toast and had a side serving of apple butter. It may not have been the healthiest meal, but oh my gosh for impromptu, it was scrumptious.

5. As many of you know, I love tea sets. I have passed that love on to my two granddaughters and we like to have tea parties when they come over. We had been using one of my miniatures but they didn't hold much "tea" (water) so I picked this one up a few months back at Walmart for just $5.00. Now they get to play tea party any time they want and I don't worry about breakage. It is good and sturdy china, but it is only $5 if I have to replace it.

6. There is a young girl in my church who I have grown so fond of. She holds a very special place in my heart and loves to draw and paint. I asked her for one of her drawings for my beach room. So I've rearranged a shelf to display it. She normally doesn't use pastels so she wasn't happy with it, but I love it because it is so special since she did it especially for me.

7. Did you notice the little birdhouse out of yarn? I did that years ago with plastic canvas. I am heading to Michael's Saturday to use my gift certificate and get some new yarn. I have a plan. I'm going to get a little shelf that can be decorated for each month and I'm going to make 12 of these little bird houses....one for each month and do a theme shelf.  January will be blue and white and the shelf will have snowmen sitting on it. February, red and white with hearts on the shelf, March green and white with shamrocks or leprechauns on the shelf, etc. You get my drift. I can't wait to get started. My first one is going to be for August and it will be black roof on red house and something "back to school" related on the shelf. I'll display them when I get them done. The birdhouse "hole" will be a button that will go with the theme if I can find one. If not, I'll just use a colored button.

8. I have a new item I have added to my wish list. I want a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. My sister just purchased an Ipad and she loves it. I'm waiting until the holidays to get it because electronics always drop in price around the holidays AND I will getting it through my US Cellular plan. I am accumulating belief points that can be used toward the purchase. I can't wait to get it.

9. I love electronics. But one of my favorites is something I've had several years. It is a little click on Ipod that my son and his family got me for my birthday or Christmas one year. It has small and can clip onto your clothing when you walk. I love taking to the beach as well. I keep it on my desk on a little speaker I found at Walmart for $4.00. Music always picks me up. I have it loaded with Country, Southern Gospel, 70's rock, etc. I've got Three Dog Night following right after George Strait. I do love my variety when listening to music.
10. My last random item for today is my new little bargain from Staples. Do not laugh, but it's a pencil case. Why did I buy a pencil case? I have no idea. It was on sale and I had a coupon and it was 50 cents and it was purple and I like bargains, soooo.......The rest is history. I do like it though. I think I have figured out what to do with it. The front has a webbed pocket. We get monthly coupons for local fast food places and I always forget the coupons. I'm going to put them in the little web pocket and keep the case in the car. That way I'll always have the coupons. On the inside pocket, I'm going to store a little notebook and pen since I'm always needing that when I'm out and never seem to have one with me. Then on the back of the case there are some pockets and I discovered CD's will fit in there so I'll carry some of my favorite CD's in it. This little thing fits perfect in my console between the seats.

That's my top 10 random thoughts for the day. Thanks for letting me ramble on. What's going on in YOUR world this week?
Today I'm riding the Tuesday Train



Getting back on track....

For the past few weeks, I feel like I have lived in a type of vacuum. I've had lots of plans and goals, but just haven't felt like moving forward. I've been stagnating. I think a lot of it is the heat and part of it is that life just gets so busy sometimes that you don't have time to think. But this morning, I feel like I'm back on track. I spent sometime this weekend doing a little organizing and planning. That always makes me happy to have some new plans and something to look forward to. I did have a good weekend and hope you did to. We went to a yard sale Saturday and I picked up a couple of items that I'm excited about. This little shelf was perfect for my thimble collection. I had put them away until I could find a small shadow box for them. This one cost me 20 cents.
I also found an adorable little blue bowl to add to my blue items I put on my bathroom shelf. Here is the bowl which also only cost me 20 cents.
Here it is on the shelf. I'm thinking about putting either a tea candle in it or some little fancy soaps. Would appreciate your ideas.
We had a funny incident with my granddaughter Shelby at church yesterday. Never ever underestimate the determination of a two year old who is getting ready to turn three.
You can see her cute little sun dress she has on. Well, during that time between Sunday School and Church, I took her to get a drink of water. She got a drop of water about the size of a dime on her dress. She told me she needed to change because her dress was wet. I explained that it was just a drop and it would dry in a minute. She argued that it was wet and she needed to change. I told her she didn't need to and we went on into the sanctuary. I was putting her bag and my purse on the pew, getting ready to go to the choir room and she was right behind me. I turned around and there she stood in her "undies" and sandals....nothing else. Her dress was pooled around her feet. I said "Shelby Rayne!" She looked at me with that look that only a toddler can do and stated very firmly, I TOLD you I needed to change clothes. I just lost it. My grandchildren never seize to amaze me. I have learned not to let those sweet innocent faces fool me one bit.

Arizona Boys 4-7X Fashion Woven Shirt
I went to JC Penny's with my daughter Saturday. She was doing some school clothes shopping for her son. Penny's was having this huge sale and she had some coupons and then there was a 15% off everything you bought sale going on. She got him 4 or 5 new button up the front dress shirts like he always wants to wear. She got him a pair of jeans and 3 or 4 novelty t-shirts. Everything was on clearance racks and as the lady rang them up, they were ringing up even lower than the clearance price. My daughter asked if that was because of the 15% and the clerk said no, they had marked down prices even further in the computer but hadn't changed the store signs yet. She was getting $18.00 dress shirts for around $3.00 or less. Then when it was all rang up, she got the additional 15% discount. She had $30.00 in coupons she had accumulated from them. Bottom line....$175.00 worth of clothes...her cost....$22.00. I thought she was going to have a heart attack.

Well that's my weekend wrap up. Time to get back to task and attack my week. Hope everybody has a blessed week.


My daughter knows me so well....

Well, my patience has paid off and the waiting is over. I got my car on Friday afternoon. I love it. The color is Titanium Green Metallic (though it doesn't look green in the picture...it is.)

So, Saturday, I get to take it out for it's first excursion. I picked up my daughter and her children to head out for a day of shopping. As we got on the interstate, I made the comment "Everytime I get a new car, I have to christen it when it gets on the interstate for the first time." She turned to her son and said, "Oh great. That means we'll be hearing.......and then she starts singing

"So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time"

So, I love the Eagles and Take it to the Limit is my all time favorite song. I laughed and said, "You think you know me so well. When this song goes off, I have another one I love to play when I get a new car. She immediately pops off with "I know. Sweet home Alabama."

Freaky. This child knows me WAY too well.  

All in all, the car did great and it was wonderful to finally be driving closer to the ground. I hope it is a long time before I have to drive the truck again.


Happy National Hot Dog Day

Now THIS is my kind of holiday. It's National Hot Dog Day. I have long been a connoisseur of the common hot dog. I have had them at ball parks, hot dog stands, restaurants and even local gas stations. From the very first time Mommy cut them up into little bites for me to dip into ketchup, I was hooked. They are by far my #1 favorite food. Did I mention I still have the food mentality of a 3 year old?
Anyway, I have had many hot dogs at many places in my 54 years. Today as we pay homage to the Great American Hot Dog, I would like to pay my respects to the people who make them the best in my book.
Counting Down Mamaw Bee's Top 10 Best Hot Dog places to eat out
(I'm not counting eating at home because hubby would win hands down. Nobody makes hot dog chili like my hubby)
10. Sonic Drive In, All over the South
9. A and W Restaurants in Sevierville, TN
8. Frank Allen's in Sevierville, TN
 Frank Allen's Market & Grill Sevierville TN
7. Little League Baseball Field in Barboursville, WV
6. Midway in West Huntington, WV
5. Hillybilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, WV
4. Frost Top in Huntington, WV
3. Cosmic Jacks in Mount Pleasant, SC 
2. Dairy Queen in Milton, WV - home of the English Dog
1. And the #1 Best Hot Dog in the world is from Stewart's Drive In from Huntington, WV. I have been known to make a trip home JUST to get this hot dog.

And you can't have a Stewart's hot dog with out an ice cold Stewart's root beer in an icy mug.

My favorite way to have a hot dog is with chili, mustard and onion. Second favorite is plain...just the hot dog on the bun.

Well, there's my take on hot dogs for the day. I'm heading out to the mall. In honor of today, I'm going to Petros for lunch and have a hot dog. They didn't make the top 10, but they are still a good hot dog.

What's YOUR favorite dog?