Thursday, October 15, 2015


  Most people say that spring is a time for renewal, growth, love. A time when old things become new. That’s not true for me. I’ve always been an Autumn girl. You know what I mean, right? You wake up one morning and the air is different, your toes have that chilly little tingle as you slide out of bed, little goosebumps begin rising up on your arms. This happened to me yesterday and immediately I slid my feet into my fur-lined camo slippers as I reached for my plush robe. I began to hope, dream, that maybe, just maybe it’s really time! As I trip over one dog & race another to the front door the anticipation is killing me! Could fall really be here? Is it time for hoodies, bonfires, snuggling up with a fuzzy blanket, a hot cup of tea and a book?

  I open the door and it hits me. That first Autumn wind that brings back childhood memories of jumping into piles of leaves, playing outside until our fingertips and the tips of our noses are pink. The excitement and anticipation of that first cup of hot chocolate, with marshmallows, of course, that would inevitably burn your tongue on the first sip. So many scents, memories, and promises blow through my hair with that first cool breeze of autumn. Promises of more memories to be made. Cool nights spent around a bonfire with friends and family, roasting hot dogs, telling the same old stories we’ve told for years and laughing harder each time with the remembrance times gone 
by and mischief managed. These are the days I long for, live for the rest of the year. Something in that cool crisp air seeps into my bones, begins to run through my blood and fuel my desire for life, energize me in a way nothing else can. Is it the thought of all things pumpkin coming my way? Knowing that, at least for a while, my Saturdays will be spent with family, friends, love, laughter and Crimson Tide football? Or is it the sound of skittering leaves crossing my path as I walk through the Bankhead National Forest? It could be knowing that soon my evenings will be spent cuddled up on the couch with a handmade quilt watching favorite classic horror movies with my kids and grandkids. Or finally being able to dig out those crockpots from the cabinets and the homemade broth from the freezer to eagerly celebrate soup season!   It’s likely a combination of all of these things and more that excite me and bring me comfort in knowing that Fall is here. Whatever it is, I’m embracing it wholeheartedly. I will revel in this changing season, soak up the smells, enjoy the fall treats, warm myself by the fire but most of all I will let the spirit of Fall energize me again this year. Allowing the promises of great things to come to enter my soul and feed my hopes and dreams as I change along with the season. Becoming older, hopefully wiser but always, always more childlike in my expectations and beliefs. Autumn brings a sense of magic to my usually mundane world. I write more often, craft more often, cook more often, spend more time with family and friends. Most importantly I embrace what the world has to offer and what I have to offer the world. Autumn is magic. And I believe

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Living the simple life

Today I'm canning. I'm making bread & butter pickles for our family & extras to share. I've just recently learned to can & it's a wonderful feeling, providing for your family. Due to chronic pain (RA & Fibromyalgia) there are many things I can no longer do. So I've chosen to focus on what I can accomplish. Baking bread in the machine, canning, making breakfast burritos to put in the freezer so that on days I'm not able to cook there are quick, easy homemade options readily available.
Some might ask "why not just buy these things at the store"
My answer? Because when I prepare the food myself, especially with our garden fresh produce, I know what's going into it.
And "putting up" food gives me a sense of accomplishment & assures me that if there is a job loss, illness or just a busy day my family will be well fed with good wholesome ingredients.
If you're nervous about canning or gardening feel free to ask questions. I love sharing the knowledge I have with others to hopefully help others simplify their lives as well.
And yes, I'm one of those kooks that wishes she could live on a "Little House on the Prairie" homestead. To me there is so much beauty in providing for yourself & your family.
Although I must admit, my simple homestead would need WiFi & AC!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Uncle Fred....

How many of us have heard those dreaded words...someone we love has been diagnosed with cancer...
I heard those words recently and I know people "say" that they heard or saw something that stole their breath. But I actually experienced it upon hearing the news. I felt like an anvil had been dropped onto my chest crushing the life right out of me. The sorrow is unbearable. The hope is infinite. The prayers never ending. But this isn't about's about the greatest man I know, my Uncle Fred.
To most girls an uncle is a funny guy who cracks jokes that they see once in a while. That is not the case with my Uncle Fred. He is so much more than the word Uncle can describe. So, indulge me a bit while I tell you about this amazing man.
Uncle Fred has always been there. He was there for me since day one. As he so proudly describes to people as he's introducing me, I was the first baby he rocked to sleep. The first teddy bear he ever bought, you guessed it, mine. For as long as I can remember there's been this tall, blue-eyed teddy bear of a man in my life who is every little girls' dream daddy. And that's a position he's filled in my life, as my biological father gave up parental rights when I was an infant & my adoptive father....well, not going to bash, let's just say I was not high on his priority list. But Uncle Fred? With him, I was & am important. I call, he stops what he's doing to answer. I need to come by? He's sure to be there. Need a shoulder to cry on? His are strong enough to bear the burden. Are you getting the picture? He's been a knight in shining armor for me & so many others more times than can be counted.
So many in our small community refer to him as "Uncle Fred" but out of those only a small handful are actually related. This man with the bright blue eyes & comforting grin has been an amazing male role model for so many who didn't have a positive male influence in their lives. Going to games to cheer them on, teaching them to fish, work on cars, trucks, giving them summer jobs working his landscape business. Showing up to sporting events, graduations, births of children, etc. when otherwise there would have been just an empty seat. This man, he shows up, he encourages, he loves. This man has my heart. And I have of our "things" is when he's saying goodbye on the phone he'll sometimes remind me that I still have that "special spot" in his heart that is no ones but mine. Cheesy? Maybe. But that lonely little girl without an involved Daddy down inside loves the cheesy stuff he does. He's filled a void in my life that no one else could.
And the possibility that this horrid disease might take him from me is horrific, unthinkable, monstrous...I just can not, will not accept that cancer will take him. I HAVE to have hope, I must believe, pray, hope, think positively. If not I will crumple into a puddle & just wilt away. I know. Because that's what I did for the first 3 days after hearing the news. I cried, I sobbed, I wallowed in the deep dark pits of despair, not letting hope it. Just mourning something that hadn't yet come to pass. But then I realized....I'm sitting here bawling my big brown eyes out over what? A diagnosis ...a word...a disease, a terrible disease yes BUT an often curable disease. We don't even have a "stage" yet. Have no idea what the prognosis is. SO, instead of wallowing in self pity & making this about me, I'm going to focus on what I can do. What I can do is make more memories, love him, pray for him, tell others about him. Maybe inspire other men to step up & be like him & take fatherless children under their wing, make them feel loved & cherished.
Now don't get me wrong, Uncle Fred isn't perfect...he can be bull-headed, lean a bit too far to the southern side of opinions (women cook, men work etc) BUT he doesn't force those things on us, just lives his life the way he sees fit. But don't we all have faults? His are miniscule in the grand scope of the good he's done, the hearts he's healed, the children he's reminded that yes, they do actually matter.
I don't know who if anyone will see or read this...but for those that do...I wish you an Uncle Fred, whether man or woman, no matter the name, I wish for you someone in your life who is your safe place to fall, you shoulder to cry on, your source of silly stories & unending laughter.
But don't try to take I am quick to tell others around here, you may call him Uncle Fred, but I'll always be his favorite <3
Cancer sucks, but life doesn't have to. Whether a long time or a short time, when that diagnosis comes we can choose to make more memories with the person diagnosed. As for me, I'm choosing hope...and more memories. As a matter of fact in a couple of days I'm going to go sleep over with my Aunt & Uncle like the old days when I was a teen, I'm gonna eat homemade country food, pet the calves, chase the chickens, sit at the foot of Uncle Fred's chair & watch westerns while he plays with my hair, get him sweet tea before his glass is empty, bake something yummy for him, look through old pics & laugh & cry, walk down to the shop with him to talk about his old truck & sit in his "thinking spot" & sneak a beer or two....and I will love every minute of it & know that I'm making the best of our time together. No matter what happens, I've chosen to value those I love & not take them for granted. I could be gone tomorrow, any of us could. So, live it with no regrets & do those silly things that mean so much to you & those you love!
So....don't just sit there, call someone you love, better yet go visit them! No gifts or fancy outing needed, just spend time!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A to Z Blogger Challenge...U Untimely 
Untimely break down of my laptop led to me bailing on the blog.
I'm going to pick it up now. BUT will not be continuing with the A to Z Challenge...
I'll just update as something comes to mind

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z Challenge T Trier

Trier, Germany

This is one of the most fascinating & beautiful cities I've ever had the pleasure to visit.
I say visit, but it's more like haunt or stalk (can you stalk a city?) I lived near Trier for 4 years while my husband was in the USAF & after that first visit to Trier I made it nearly a weekly outing.
The first thing that you notice upon driving into Trier is the Mosel River in all it's glittering glory with the lovely "wine-vines" cascading over the rolling  hills surrounding the city to the river below.
The next thing I noticed was how clean & well kept everything is. Germans truly take pride in their home, whether it be the interior of their home or the street in front of their driveway. Everything is picked up, groomed, swept, tended to with the upmost of care & love. (on an unhappy note you can always tell where the Americans live, it's not as "well kept")
Upon walking under the Porta Nigra you're immediately transported back into Medieval times. The art & architecture of this city is awe inspiring. I'd never been one to appreciate art, architecture or anything cultural until moving to Germany. Then my heart & mind were opened to a whole new world.
After coming through the Porta Nigra you begin seeing little outdoor cafes, shops & the best part, the market place in the middle where they sell flowers of every type & color. Some of the colors I'd never seen before except in a crayon box or after an accidental spill of several paint shades mixing together. Even though the smells of the vibrant blooms hit me well before I reached them I had to run to the booths & touch them to prove they were real! I was certain nothing that lovely & vibrant could have grown naturally but there they were & I was hooked. Buying "at least" one beautiful bouquet of flowers each time I went to Trier would become something of a tradition on my little excursions to the city.
My husband got a hoot out of my excited "touristy" attitude but promised there were better things to come. After leading me down a cobble stone side street that was so reminiscent of a fairy tale that I hardly noticed the shops, he stopped in front of a little street food bar. The smells of richly seasoned meats, onion & garlic infused sausages & sweet & savory sauces swirled together to tempt me. I looked up when I noticed he'd stopped only to see him smirking at me like a 10 year old with a secret. Well, his secret was a pretty darn good one!
He proceeded to order us drinks, beer for him, wine for me & the most amazing, decadent, savory street food I'd ever put in my mouth! I was at a loss for words on the wine & looked at him like he was nuts, as I was not a wine drinker... but this wine? AH, this wine was the nectar of the Gods, sweet, smooth, fruity, like juice if juice was a liquid dessert that danced on your taste buds on the way down! That was my first of many glasses to come of Bacchus. 
The food? My goodness, it was rich. We had a bowl of Goulashe, Beef Stew to my fellow Americans, but made in such a way that it's a downright sin to compare it to American Stew. Rich reddish brown, thick, warm broth filled with veggies & meat that just melted in your mouth. Then we finished up with something like French bread but thinner, covered in rich REAL butter, fresh ham, fresh cheese & loads of garlic, toasted to perfection. Dang, is anyone else drooling??
Ok, well as you can see I fell in foodie love with Trier, wino love, shoppers love was to come next...but that's another story.
Now that I've made myself drool I believe I'll go home & have a glass of that amazing German wine & dream about walking through the cobblestone streets of Trier, belly full of rich German goodies, hubby by my side, wine glass in my hand (plastic of course)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z Challenge S Sipsey

Sipsey River
Being married to an Air Force Sgt. we've lived & travelled all over the world. Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Germany, Belgium, France, Luxemburg & my favorite place of all Alabama.
Although I do love my entire home state, mountains, beaches, swamp...all of it. There is one place that holds my heart like no other, The Sipsey River in The Bankhead National Forest.
The picture below is just a small glimpse of the beauty that Sipsey has to offer. It's a gorgeous place filled with wonder & steeped in history. Many places along the river have "swimming holes", large boulders to sun on or for the more adventurous, to dive off of.
     I spent most of my teenage years in a constant state of crisis of some form or another. There was a lot of family drama, alcoholism etc. But this was my safe place, my getaway. Or as my chubby little friend Pooh would say, my thinking spot.
No drama, no yelling. Just the sights & sounds of nature & the infectious laughter of my friends.
Now it's my family's get away spot, every year as the temperature rises, the flowers begin to bloom & spring fever hits us all we head out to Sipsey for the first of many hikes for the year. Soon it will be warm enough to dive in & float the day away, the beautiful blue-green water taking our cares & stress with it as it goes down the mountain. If there is anything as calming as hearing the sounds of nature, smelling that sickly sweet smell of honeysuckle & mountain laurel & feeling isolated from the hustle & bustle of daily life I don't know what it is. This is my happy place. 
Do you have a favorite spot that instantly calms you?

A to Z Challenge R Reading

I don't know about you, but I like to visit different countries, worlds & realities as often as possible. I love the idea of hiding away between the pages of a book, becoming someone else, if only for a while.
Reading is my escape, my therapy, my education. Without the books I've read I wouldn't be who I am. Through reading I've learned to stand my ground, when to give in & back down. I've realized that I don't know as much about the world or even about myself as I may have once thought.
Delving into books showed me that there is often no black & white but bright, brilliant shades of gray & sometimes dark, ominous shades too.
Hearing that wonderful creak when stretching a books binding for the first time will never fail (I hope) to give me a thrill. The smell of old worn leather covers that promises a new adventure each time & possibly a few life lessons along the way is irresistible.
For me reading seems as necessary as food or air.
Must say goodbye for now...there is a trilogy waiting to be read, my mind desperate to learn & my heart beating hard at the thought of falling in love, again....