Adventures in the Dirt

I love to garden, but since moving to Texas and attempting several summer gardens with minimal success, I gave up. I realized that I was failing because I don’t like to go outside during a typical Texas summer. It’s my hibernation season. Inside with the air conditioning is where you’ll find me. I come out of my cave at the first sign of fall. Fall, winter, and early spring are when I do my vacationing, daytripping, and anything else I can find to do outside. Including fall gardening.

Things have changed in the past year, however. Due to health issues, I can no longer pursue some of the indoor hobbies I enjoyed during the summer months like crocheting and scrapbooking. I discovered I COULD still do the gardening thing. So, I decided to brave the heat and give it another go. I go out early in the morning, and I mean just after daybreak as much as possible. I don’t spend anymore than thirty minutes at a time (even though the temp. isn’t too high this time of day the humidity often is) and I focus on just one or two chores. So far it’s been manageable and fall is just around the corner. I think I’ll make it.

I actually only planted two summer crops. Baby steps and all. The first was green beans. I had some issues with them in the beginning. The leaves weren’t looking healthy and the beans would show up then immediately dry up and turn brown on the plant. After some research I realized the plant was lacking nitrogen. I cut all the unhealthy leaves off and cut the plant back quite a bit. I’ve been fertilizing it for several weeks now and this is what it looks like today.

The summers are long here in Central Texas and even though it’s September it’s basically still summer. I’m hoping for at least a small yield before it’s all said and done.
I also planted some cucumbers, a little late, so not sure what’s going to happen there. My garden this year is basically one big experiment. Next to the cucumbers I have some sweet potatoes. These were actually a couple of potatoes that were sprouting in my kitchen. Just for fun, I stuck them in the ground to see what would happen.

The other day I went digging around to see what was going on. One potato was just sprouting more leaves, buuut the second one had little baby sweet potatoes on the ends of some of the roots that had sprouted. I stuck them back in the dirt and the picture directly above this paragraph is where we are right now. I also planted some Kale seeds for the winter garden and they’re doing well so far (pictured below).

I haven’t done a whole lot of flowers in the past. Mostly herbs and veggies. I have a little seating area on my back deck that I thought could benefit from a little color though. I prefer perennials and wanted some color that would carry through at least the beginning of fall. I chose several different colors of mums and put them in pots around the deck.

Along with my already present asparagus fern, I also added a Coneflower.

I have two of these Asparagus ferns and two Fountain Grass plants on the deck as well.

As much as I love putting things in the ground and watching them flourish, my knowledge is very limited. I think that’s going to change now that gardening has taken a priority on my list of hobbies. Who knows, maybe next summer I’ll actually have enough of something to put some up for winter! Stay tuned. If I get any kind of yield from what I presently have planted, I’ll post pics. Until then, happy gardening!

😊🌱🌻

Monday Mug Shot

We’re baack! I halted Monday Mug Shot for awhile as I adjusted to my new normal with Cervical Dystonia. I’m still adjusting a little, but decided it was time to continue the mug shots. I thought it might be getting boring, but I’ve been told by a few that they enjoyed it. So, for those lovely souls who actually like my little stories – the return of Monday Mug Shot.

Our story continues with a new acquisition. This one, again, is from Branson. My hubs and I took a week- long trip this past April for our 25th wedding anniversary. We spent a few days on our own and a few days with our besties. On one of our solo days we found a beautiful shop called the Crystal Fish. On our first visit, I spotted a ceramic collection that included some unique and beautiful mugs that caught my eye. I resisted, however, reminding myself that I have plenty of mugs at the moment and we didn’t need to spend the money even though we could.

The next day my love decided that he wanted another of the candles that we had purchased the previous day so as to have a matching set. So, back we went to the Crystal Fish. This time we visited with the owners for quite awhile and the ceramic collection called to me again. The owner of the shop gave us a little history into the artist and her work. My hubby and I were both convinced – this mug was coming home with us.

We actually fell in love with the entire collection, but that would have been more than a pretty penny and just a little crazy. That was several months ago and this one has become a favorite to both of us. I love the design and my sweetie loves the functionality and how comfortably the handle fits his hand. Not to mention that it doesn’t get the least bit hot to the touch in the microwave. Beautiful and functional. What more could you want?

I love this mug for so many reasons; the unique and beautiful design, the fact that someone created this by hand, it’s big enough for a latte’ . . . but, more importantly than all of that. This mug reminds me of a beautiful time spent with the love of my life, celebrating 25-years of making amazing memories together by making more wonderful memories! I am a very blessed woman!

💍 2️⃣5️⃣🎊🥂😊💕

C.D. Journals – July 18, 2019

“Physical frailties may cause you to miss earthly fun and fellowship, but spiritual resources will enable you to grow stronger on the bed of affliction.” I read this in my devotional this morning and found it very encouraging. Something I dearly needed after the events of yesterday.

I was all packed for a three-day visit at my sister’s. The car was loaded and I was heading out – in my husband Rich’s Chevy Cruze, which I have not driven in months. Normally I drive a Tahoe with great visibility and a head rest that accommodates my C.D. quite well. Unfortunately, we discovered the other day that my Tahoe had become home to a family of mice. So, my vehicle was at work with Rich (who works at a Chevy dealer) where the mice would hopefully be eradicated.

I got most of the way out of my neighborhood, unable to situate my head comfortably enough for a two-hour drive. I drove around the neighborhood a little more, trying unsuccessfully to work it out. The head rest hit me in the wrong place and actually pushed my head forward a bit. Even with my brace on, I couldn’t get it situated. I drove back home and aborted my trip. My C.D. has gotten a little worse since the last time I drove the Cruze and even then I was not entirely comfortable.

My son unloaded the car for me and helped me unpack with tears in my eyes. Yet another limitation caused by this nightmare of a disease. I was frustrated and depressed, not only about not getting to visit with my sister as scheduled, but over the entire situation. It took me hours to pack when it used to take me half that much time. By the time I was done packing I was so sore and tired that I had to rest before I faced the drive. Then, I was thwarted by my inability to get situated in the car – an obstacle I could not overcome.

I feel like anytime I get behind the wheel is even more dangerous than normal now. I even fear having my license taken away, although I’ve not heard of that happening to someone with C.D. As a result, I don’t drive nearly as much as I used to – probably how we ended up with mice in the Tahoe, it sat too much. I hate feeling limited like that. I keep trying to look on the bright side. The quote above reminded me that God has used the “bed of affliction” in my life before. We wrote a Bible study during one such season. I had to stay off my feet for three months. Talk about limiting and frustrating, but God had a purpose in that and He has a purpose now. I just need to stay focused on that and keep believing that He is in control. I love how He sends me little bits of encouragement just when I need it most. Even though very little goes the way I want it to these days, Jesus is good and He is with me. We will get through this and be stronger for it. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.” -Psalm 28:7a

😊💕

Perspectives

The first time I realized how shockingly different perspectives of the same situation can be was almost 35-years ago. I was in counseling, attempting to become un-codependent (pretty sure that’s not really a word, but you get my meaning) and my counselor suggested confronting my dad with my issues. Which were all his fault, of course. I took her advice and my dad looked at me like I was crazy. He said he had no idea what I was talking about. Of course, looking back on it now, he very well could have been in denial himself. He wasn’t incredibly healthy emotionally either. I wasn’t screwed up for no reason. The point is, his perspective was drastically different than mine. How could that be since we were both there? At the time, I was kinda shocked. Not one single one of my issues was validated through that conversation. It was like I imagined the whole thing!

I also discussed some of my issues with a couple of my siblings (I’m the oldest of 6) and while they did validate some of my issues, their perspectives were also very different. In 2008 a movie came out called “Vantage Point” starring Dennis Quaid and Forest Whitaker. It was a stunning example of exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the story of an assassination attempt as told from different perspectives. It’s really a good movie. If you haven’t seen it you might want to check it out.

How can different people present at the same event at the same time come away with different memories of what happened? I’ve seen it a hundred times since that conversation with my dad and it never ceases to amaze me. I know we’re all different and we all process things differently and sometimes it blows my mind just HOW differently.

If anything, I’ve learned to accept that that’s just the way it is. Different people have different perspectives, and I think understanding that can help us to validate what others are thinking and feeling. The fact that someone remembers a situation differently than you do, they have a different take-away, doesn’t mean that their perspective is less valid than yours. It’s just different. Also, their thoughts and feelings as a result of that shared (yet different) experience are no less valid than yours.

I have been tempted many times to invalidate someone else’s perspective and try to convince them to adopt mine. Not only have I been tempted, but I’m sure that I have AT-tempted (emphasis, not a typo) it. I’ve probably said things like, “That’s crazy!” Or “Where on earth did you get that idea? I didn’t hear that.” You know, invalidating statements. I’ve also had those same things said TO me. Those words are not very edifying. I’m trying not to do that so much anymore.

I am doing my best to remember this whole perspectives thing when someone shares a different outlook on the same situation. I still share my perspective, but in a more respectful way. Remembering that God created this person I’m interacting with and that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings are just as important to them as mine are to me. I’m also not talking about people who suffer from any kind of psychosis. That’s above my pay grade. I’m talking about those who are in full control of their faculties.

We all want to be treated with respect. I believe that accepting that someone else’s perspective on a situation that we were both in is a step in that direction. It also makes for a more peaceful relationship when you’re not constantly trying to change each other’s experience. I think that’s futile anyway. No one has ever been able to change my experience of something – my mind on a matter, yes – my experience of something, no. As the saying goes, “It’s all a matter of perspective.”

🤓😊

Textiquette

I confess that I am a bit old school, being from the generation of wall-mounted phones and clunky answering machines, but some things never go out of style. Like; respect, courtesy, and plain old-fashioned manners. At least that’s my opinion. Maybe I’m even more old school than I realize.

Nowadays almost everyone has a cell phone and we have this marvel of modern technology known as texting. We don’t have to actually hear each other’s voices or even hold the phone to our ear. We just type words and hit “send”, or the little arrow icon, or whatever is on our phone for performing that function.

On the receiving end, we have the incredible luxury of not answering right away. In my day, you either answered the phone and committed to a conversation or you let the answering machine get it, in which case you could also deal with it later. Answering machines malfunctioned all the time, or someone else in the house could all too easily listen to and delete your message without you ever hearing it. It was extremely easy to have a good reason for not responding to the message-leaver.

Today, not so much. The technology is way beyond answering machines. Chances are good that you are the only one with access to your phone what with access codes and facial recognition locking screens. And we all know how attached we are to our phones, younger people especially. So, when I text my 18-year old granddaughter or my 20-something kids I know the chances are very high that they saw my text.

So, why don’t they text back within a reasonable amount of time if at all? This is where manners come in. Granted, there are legitimate reasons for not responding right away; they’re in the middle of kneading bread and their hands are covered in dough, they’re in a meeting and their phone is on silent, they’re in the bathroom and their phone is charging in the kitchen, their battery died (😂😂😂) – it could happen! I’m sure there are other reasons that I’m not thinking of. Even so, when the bread is in the oven, when they’re phone is charged or they’ve finished in the bathroom and their meeting is over, they check their phones. We all do it.

We want to make sure we didn’t miss that important business call or the call from that guy or girl we’ve been waiting to hear from. And there in the list will be “Mom” or “Grandma”, or whoever we don’t want to talk to at the moment, and it is just too easy to be rude and ignore it. Instead of shooting back a quick “Busy” or “Ok” or even just an Emoji. Something to acknowledge the other person. That just seems respectful and courteous to me.

I have sent text messages to which I have NEVER received a response – some of them to family members (who shall remain nameless and they know who they are). I have texted multiple times in the span of a week and still get no response. I’ll admit that I’m a sensitive person, but how would you feel in my position? I felt . . . the words, “disrespected”, “neglected”, and “hurt” come to mind. I reached out to a loved one and was ignored. That hurts.

I do my best to respond asap when texted. I never want my friends or family to feel ignored by me. If it’s just the latest Subway discount, that’s one thing – they don’t even expect a response. But, someone with whom I am in relationship, someone I supposedly love and respect – they get my attention when they ask for it. Even if it’s to tell them that they’ll have to wait a bit for my undivided attention. But then, as I confessed earlier, I’m a bit old school and I think more of us need to go back there.

📞😊

Monday Monday

I haven’t been here in awhile – the blog, that is. Life kind of took precedence. Right before Christmas I got sick and stayed that way for over a week, including Christmas Day. Then New Year’s Eve came with out-of-town family visiting and before I knew it, January 4th was upon us.

Friday, January 4th at approximately 7:00a.m. we got into two loaded-up vehicles and headed for Georgia where my husband and I would deposit our oldest son for at least five months worth of schooling. It would be a good and fast trip. Very little lallygagging. We spent Friday night in Meridian, Mississippi and were in Atlanta by about 1:30 Saturday afternoon. We attended a short orientation at our son’s new school, helped him move into his place, and said good-bye. My husband and I found a cool place for lunch in Decatur and after enjoying a fairly leisurely lunch, headed back to Meridian for the night. We left Meridian around 7:00 Sunday morning and were back home in Central Texas by about 7:30 Sunday Night. Four states in two days – we were pretty exhausted!

Then came Monday morning. My husband went to work and I came face to face with that empty nest I’ve been expecting for so long that I wasn’t sure it would ever actually arrive. You see, I have had children in my home for almost 38-years. My children. Four of them by birth and one by adoption. Our oldest boy, the one we just took to Georgia, is 24-years old. He’s lived with us his whole life except for his freshman year in college when he lived in the dorms. Even then, he was only ten minutes away and his little brother and sister were still at home. My oldest child is turning 38 tomorrow and the nest is finally empty.

I did okay Monday morning. I went about my usual routine and felt okay. Then, when my husband went back to work after lunch, I started busying myself almost without thinking about it. I kind of felt like I was trying to avoid something. Then the smallest of things happened and created a big thing. I opened the living room blinds to the backyard and almost immediately flashed on a memory of my boys playing back there. Wham! It was all over. I started bawling and the tears didn’t stop for probably a couple of hours. And when I say “bawling”, I don’t mean delicate little sobs. I mean gut-wrenching bawling. I’m not sure I’ve ever cried so hard in my life. It took me quite by surprise. I expected I would probably cry at some point, most likely at more than one point, but not this. The pain came from deep inside. I was afraid that my insides were going to become my outsides. I can probably attribute some of that to my melancholy personality and natural drama queen tendencies, nonetheless, the heartache was real. That was one week ago today.

None of my children live with me anymore. Not one of them will I get to see and talk to every day – actively participating in their lives. It’s over and there’s no going back. I think the finiteness of that hits me hard. I like having choices, options, and an undo button. There really are no “do-overs” in real life though, are there? There are second chances, for sure, but the situation is still not exactly the same as the original one. Some things are just definite and my kids are definitely not living here anymore.

After Monday, things actually got a little better. My husband is so sweet and such a positive person! He can see the silver lining on anything. He encouraged me to do things; have lunch with a friend, go to the movies, whatever would make me feel better. So, that’s what I did. I got out of the house for at least part of the day every day. I deliver for Grub-Hub part time and I did some of that. I went on an outing with my daughter and five grandchildren. I had coffee with a friend. I got my hair done. Friday night we finished out our first week as empty-nesters with dinner and a movie – a date night. Very appropriate, I think. I am learning quickly that the key is to keep busy. Make plans and set goals. Pour into other people’s lives. Call and text your kids and let them know you love them and are thinking of them. And when the tears come, let them come. They will pass.

I’m beginning to look more at the positives and enjoy more time to write, crochet, re-decorate the house, be with my husband, get up and go somewhere if I feel like it. It’s a new season for making new memories and I’m actually starting to get a little excited about that. To quote a special friend, “I eagerly anticipate what the Lord has for me.” Bring on the Mondays!

Monday Mug Shot

This week’s mug is a classic.  It’s one of those thick, heavy mugs you’d find in diners back in the day (I’m not sure how far back, but I remember them from childhood).  This particular mug comes from a place that first opened in 1953 and as far as I can gather, the logo hasn’t changed since.  Maybe the mug style hasn’t either.  🤔

21D399EE-A48E-4E60-968D-A55BCC696EFC

I first visited the Original Pancake House in Eugene, Oregon when we were in the process of adopting our youngest daughter, Leah.  She was in foster care there and I took a trip from Texas to visit her before she came to live with us.  I had never been to a Pancake House and I was immediately taken by the hominess of the place.  It was very comfortable and the pancakes were delicious!  Little Leah thought so too.

I could do a whole review on my one and only visit to Eugene and its Original Pancake House, that actually originated in Portland and now has international locations, but that’s not what this post is about.  I will say, however, if you are ever in Eugene you might want to give the Pancake House a try.  You might even be able to snag a retro mug like this one.  Or, if you happen to be in one of the other twenty-eight states where they have locations, you could try them there.  😁

This mug transports me back in time a bit with it’s classic style and retro looking logo.  It also evokes memories of the beginning of our journey with our sweet Leah who just turned twelve.  I can’t believe it was nine years ago and yet it feels like yesterday.  Time passes so quickly sometimes and I am thankful for memories that seem to make it stand still for just a moment, and the things that facilitate those memories, like this mug.

☕️☺️💕