Monday, October 26, 2009


Um, maybe not the move you're thinking of. Lemons and Roses has moved to Wordpress. Here's the link. I think I'm pretty excited. There's not much up there yet and I'm still working on my Blog roll and such but I think I like it better already. Things will stay put here indefinitely, although I intend to move it over at some point. So, sayonara Blogger, you've served me well. Hello new beginning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Rough week. But I'm thankful to be done with it. There are some things that I just can't do anything about and I have to be ok with that. The bottom line is that God is my strength. I will find strength in no other place and His word is true.

We (actually mostly me since Travis was sick) watched our friends kiddos this weekend while their parents are in India picking up their newest daughter. We were really just giving their aunt and uncle a break because they've had them for a week. We had pizza and ice cream, watched movies and played video games. They ran around outside playing "melt" tag; it's like freeze tag only you melt onto the ground when you're tagged. The only agenda for the time they were here was to have fun. Mission accomplished. It was a bit stressful at times but I really felt honored that I could be a small part of helping them while they're picking up their daughter. I even got to talk to them for a bit while they were there via a video chat. Not that the point of that was to talk to me but I took the kiddos back to their aunt and uncle's house so that they could see and talk to their parents and little Dorothy. I was able to say "hi" and tell Dorothy that she's beautiful. She just stared at me but that's ok. It was still very cool. And yeah, this kid is gorgeous. I can't wait to really meet her.

Then Sunday was spent mostly cleaning in between lying on the couch. Travis was better but not completely and I think I have a little touch of what he has. Which when you think about it is a miracle. I usually get whatever anybody has but worse, so for that I'm really thankful.

And now I'm going to take Amanda to work. I've been working on this post for 3 days but have been interrupted a lot. So here you go and I'll post more later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I love October. I usually hate it because I'm hiding the kids eyes from scary decorations at the mall or at various other stores. But it's not bothering me so much this year. I'm not sure why. Fall is in full swing here and the temperature is beautiful. We actually had freezing temps a couple of nights this weekend. And I love it.

We went to the park last night for family night. We only had about an half hour before the sun set and we spent our time holding Chloe up and pushing her around on her "new" garage sale find, roller blades. We did actually go garage sale shopping the weekend before last. And I did find some cool things. Besides Chloe's roller blades (they're probably Barbie, I can't remember) I also got a computer desk for $5 (painting project to follow) and brand spanking new running shoes for $15. A guy in a subdivision down the street from us is a sales person for Adidas and had all manner of brand new shoes for really cheap. I was going to buy the same shoes in a different color from Costco but they were $22 dollars more. So I was willing to have purplish trim instead of turquoise. I was also given a piece of art with the desk. The owner just wanted to get rid of it and being the creative soul that I am, I thought I could do something with it. I'm still thinking about it but it may end up at Goodwill. It reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright but Amanda says it looks "so 80's". We'll see.

I'm contemplating some changes. Not huge ones but maybe blog ones. It's the things that are going on here plus health problems that my dad is having that make me wonder what I write for. I originally did this to keep in touch with family and friends that are far away. So that people could see pictures of the kids and hear the funny stories that you miss when you live far away. Occasionally I'm willing to post deeper thoughts but what's it for? I'm not super-inspirational-has-all-the-answers girl. There are enough blogs out there that do that. And I guess I'm just really sad when I look back at the things that I've written. How hopeful I've been in the midst of everything and not realizing why things were so tough. It seems like a lie. I'm tired of lemons and most of the roses I've been given were tools of manipulation (ex-boyfriend). I think I'm tired. So do I just put on a game face and keep going? Post about cooking and decorating and cute kid stuff and forget about everything else? An escape because I like writing sometimes? I'm not so good at a game face. I feel like a phony and I hate feeling like that. Do I scrap it all and start over? Maybe. I can't really imagine not having a blog. I know I can't just leave it hanging out there undecided, that would drive me nuts. I don't feel to weird writing all of this since there are only about 2 people that read my blog anyway. So I'll decide something relatively soon I think. Until then, I'll enjoy reading your blogs and listening to your lives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three Years...

I just realized a little while ago that today is the third anniversary of us closing on our house. It was Friday the 13th, 2006. I laughed when I found out what our closing date was and wasn't superstitious...but now...hmm. Things have definitely changed a lot and some things haven't changed at all. I don't think we even thought we'd still live here at this point. It is funny how time flies when you buy a house as opposed to renting. When we were renting we always felt under the gun because it seemed like our lease was always about to expire.

The girls have changed a lot since then. Chloe was 5 and halle hadn't turned two yet. Last night they were trying to wrestle and it made the house feel so very small. I wish they were still this little.

This is what the eat-in area in the kitchen looked, that was a lot of scraping. Please remind me to never buy a house with wallpaper again.

And the kitchen...blech. The only thing that's really changed is the wall color, the floor and the island. I really thought I'd have the cabinets painted by now. I really, really don't feel like doing it. I even have all the hardware...but I still can't seem to make myself do it.

The floors...the wallpaper...the's kind of hard to believe we bought it like this. We had no idea what we were in for.

And the bathroom. I would have put money on us having replaced everything by now. Ah, the naive first time home buyer. And so concludes our tour of our house three years ago. Even though it's been frustrating to live with all the repairs and remodeling, I'm still thankful that we live here instead of an apartment. And our life is much richer for other things, like being closer to our church and the people that are walking life out with us because we're here. So maybe I'll go bake some anniversary chocolate chip cookies. That'll be my excuse anyway.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Swing of Things

It's funny that even though autumn is my favorite season, I don't have a lot of decorations for it. Come to think of it, I don't really have a lot of decorations for any season. I'd like to have different wreaths for seasons but I never get around to it- or to be more precise- my wallet can't handle buying one and I haven't found any budget friendly flowers and such that don't look cheap. So I mostly decorate with color or plants. Not a lot, but enough for me to know that it's there. I bought these bud vases last year with the intention of putting cranberries inside with a taper candle in each. That plan was thwarted by an unexpected visit to my parents for my grandmother's funeral. So today I put that plan into action with a filler that's less smushy- as in- I can't smoosh them. That's also probably close to my last tomatoes. The plants still have green tomatoes on them but we're getting cooler and cooler at night so they won't last much longer. Which is probably good because Travis is getting tired of eating them...because he didn't like them that much to begin with. Live and learn. Next year it will be red tomatoes.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Here You Go

Mary suggested that I crop the photo of the church...I rarely think of that. So here you go. I'm wishing there were no power lines and that they didn't have that outside light on but, oh well. I still like it. Now if it was just in focus...

Moving Forward

I think that I don't know how to say this well but in essence my attitude is one of moving forward. I don't really know how to do that but I do know that it's Autumn, my favorite season, and I intend to enjoy it. I can't pretend that things aren't what they are but I can choose to go forward in spite of it.

For instance, Chloe, Halle and I had a ceremonial lighting of our Autumnal candle a few days ago. Silly? Yes, definitely. But it's those silly little things that my kids are going to remember and will do with their kids. It wasn't anything more than me excitedly saying "Girls! Are you ready for the ceremonial lighting of our Autumnal Candle"?!?! to get them jumping around looking for the lighter. Which we all held and lit the candle at the same time. Actually, I can make anything fun if I say it like it's going to be so.

And did you notice my baby pumpkin? Once again I haven't gotten a full-sized pumpkin out of my pumpkin patch. It rained for what seemed like the entire month of September. And while initially the rain was good for the pumpkins, eventually they got too soggy and the vine aborted another smaller pumpkin. So I cut this one loose before the vine could abort it. The pumpkin body count this year is 2 dead and 1 small pumpkin made it. There is actually one more small, small pumpkin growing out there but I don't hold out much hope for it. I will probably do something silly like cover it with a blanket when it's cold outside just to give it a fighting chance. Because, well, it's what I do. I'm not sure I'll try growing them again- although it's pretty darn addictive once you try. It's one of those things that you think "if I just did these things differently I'd have 40 pumpkins"! We'll see.
I had several pictures in my "brain queue" to post about. Then the "train wreck" happened. But it doesn't make these things any less special to me. So these should have been up about a month ago but I'm posting them anyway.
I love, love, love the front doors of this church. I don't even remember what kind of church it is, it's just one of four within about a two block radius here. There are some architectural things that I just love and these types of doors are one of them.

Chloe had her mile run a few weeks ago and she finished in about the same time as she did in the spring. But she didn't have a running buddy. I plan on being her running buddy next spring. When I was walking yesterday I did jog just a teensy little bit- maybe a 1/4 mile total- but I don't feel sick today. I'm thinking that I could jog a mile by April. Chloe does much, much better with a buddy.

The beginning of September we decided to go for a walk. But the weather was seriously not cooperating. We decided to drive for a bit to see if we could out-smart it and ended up in Leiper's Fork. It just so happened that they were having an outdoor jazz concert. So we found a porch swing on the front porch of the local art gallery and swung for a long time, listening to jazz and talking to each other. Chloe and Halle decided to tell jokes, which were only funny because they're cute. Then we walked for a bit. A really little bit because Leiper's Fork is really small. I loved the contrast of the white church against the angry sky. I just wish it hadn't been evening service time. There is much more going on- like a bedroom remodel- that I'll show you pictures of later. I also fully intend to make caramel covered apples (thanks to a recipe from my new Food Network Mag) and to make the front stoop (I really don't know what you call the front if you have stairs but no porch) very autumnal. I feel like I'm behind on that, which is a bummer because I love it so much. And I'm going to enjoy coffee, and little girls giggles, and the leaves changing, and my being-restored health. And I'm going to breathe...and live...for the first time in a very long time.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Catching My Breath

The last two and a half weeks have been crazy. And for the most part they've also been very unpleasant. Has is only been two and a half weeks? The great train wreck of 2009 and then Dad's surgery have left me tired emotionally but it's also put God's grace at the forefront of everything. I heard Him say two weeks ago "I'm bearing the brunt of this for you". And He certainly has. I would not have gotten through this without Him. So where are we? I know that we're in a much better place now than we were three weeks ago. I kept hearing God say that our anniversary was a new beginning for us...and He was right. It just didn't happen the way I expected it to.

We didn't go out of town like we wanted to. Thankfully the place we rented not only has reasonable rates but they also have a generous cancellation policy. So we can go any time during the next year and we'll have a credit of what we already paid. I was bummed that we weren't going and I felt like I was being punished but I had to put that aside and be thankful that we were spending our anniversary together. Honestly, I couldn't have done that myself. I have a bad habit of pouting when I'm really looking forward to something and then it doesn't happen, so I'm just going to give God the credit for that.

We did have a wonderful night though. We went to the Olive Garden for dinner and though I've been sort of anti Olive Garden it was really nice (how can you be ok with the Olive Garden when you've been to Ellendale's?). We had appetizers and the most fantastic glass of wine ever to cross my lips, a really nice entree and we took a slice of pumpkin cheese cake with us. I really couldn't have eaten another bite. I highly recommend that you high-tail-it to the Olive Garden if for no other reason, for the pumpkin cheesecake...mmmmmm.

Then there was a surprise. Travis told me to take a change of clothes since I was all dolled up for dinner. He said my jeans and tank top that I'd been wearing would be fine and that I should take tennis shoes. I thought we were going hiking. I was wrong. No, he was taking me to Arrington Vineyard. If I'd known that I wouldn't have taken a tank top and flip flops (I forgot the tennis shoes), I would have dressed a little nicer. But the new Amy decided to just go with it. When we got there I was wearing a dress and 4 inch heels- you can't walk in the grass in those. So I slipped my jeans on under my dress, no problem. The problem was that there were people parking all around us and I couldn't get my shirt on. Ok, I can do this, glad to have an enormous mini van. I slinked to the back and laid down in the back seat, unzipped my dress and tried to get my head out the side (it's one of those side-zipped dressed). And well, my hair got caught in the zipper. So I was laughing and saying ow, ow, ow. Then I started to get a crick in my neck and laughed harder...hahaha...owowow...haha..owow. But I finally managed to get undressed/dressed, slip into my flip flops and head out to the vineyard.

We had a nice time not drinking wine because we'd already had some. I really don't do well on more than one glass of wine. We swung on a swing hanging from a tree limb and enjoyed the cool but humid air. We enjoyed some live music and walked to the car in the rain. The people that worked there thought it was very romantic...and it was.

And the ring? Well, it's big and purple and gaudy and I wasn't even sure why I wanted it so much but I really did. I showed it to him weeks ago and said I really, really, really want this ring. It's an amethyst set in silver and I just fell in love with it. I finally realized that I liked it so much because when I was a kid my parents took us along with our grandparents to go "gem mining" in the smokies, I think. They came away with a handful of rough gems that weren't worth much but I loved looking at them. I'd ask my Mom from time to time if I could look at the gems and she'd patiently go over each one and tell me what they were. This stone reminds me of that. And it reminds me of us. Imperfect but beautiful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello There

Um, so hi, how are you? It's been a bit since I've been around and, well, there just isn't anything I can do about it. I thought I should give you all a bit of an update since some pretty important things are happening.

First of all, our anniversary was fantastic. We had a beautiful dinner and a surprise visit to Arrington Vineyard, we walked in the rain and just enjoyed being together. Travis bought a ring for me that I really, really, really wanted. It's not a super-expensive ring but it's pretty and it has a story, like most meaningful things do. I'll have to share that and pictures later. Because I'm in Birmingham, using my Mom's computer and I'm not going to upload pictures here.

My Dad had knee surgery Monday and while the surgery went fine and his therapy was going really well, he's had some issues today. He hasn't been feeling well and we thought that it was because of the medicine he's on but apparently they cut his therapy short today because of some chest pain. They've done some tests and they don't know yet if his heart issue is because of his surgery or if it's an underlying heart problem. My Mom is there tonight and Travis and Amanda will be coming here in the morning. I really need him for emotional support and to help with the girls. The hospital isn't exactly a great place for them to hang out. So I can leave them at Mom's with Travis while I go do whatever my parent's need for me to do.

So, I'm looking forward to not being drama-Button-girl soon. Trav has been hard at work in our room and I want to show you guys some pictures of that soon. The work had to be cut short because he's coming here now but I'll just say that for the first time in 3 years we have a bedroom door that opens and closes properly. I'm happy about that and I'm also very happy about the weather. I love autumn and I can hardly wait to make some autumn goodies. Mmmm.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Couldn't Say it Any Better

Isaiah 38:16-20

16 Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
18 For the dead[j] cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
19 Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
20 Think of it—the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I'm sure I'm not the only one like this but if I haven't had any grown-up talking time in a while and it's been an eventful day and Travis comes home, I just start rattling things off rapid-fire until he says "Amy, hold on, you're giving me whiplash". You never do that, right? I'm going to try to not do that to you today, K?

I am doing much better physically. I was frustrated a couple of weeks ago because I was back in the spot where I couldn't do anything without ending up in bed for, well, a long time. But I have a strategy and it's really working. I was in church a couple of weeks ago (I've actually been to church 3 weeks in a row. That hasn't happened in a very long time.) and the Lord said, "I'm walking you out of this". That was exciting. And literal. I'm walking now. Not power walking, just plain old walking. As I was praying one day the Lord told me that if I walked it would strengthen my immune system. He's actually been telling me that for a while and I was being so stubborn about it. I don't like walking. But I *really* don't like being sick. I'm also taking mega doses of vitamin C and vitamins. It's so simple and I've made it so hard. Walking isn't that bad. The rain has hindered me a bit this week but I'm going to try to get out there today.

And speaking of rain, it has poured here all week. It's not usually blog worthy but have you other Tennesseans noticed that it's made the hills around here look like the Smoky Mountains? How I wish I had a camera that could capture that sort of thing. I've just noticed those plumes of steam coming up from the hills that surround our house. It is beautiful.

And speaking of the Smoky Mountains, Travis and I are going there next week!!! It's our 10th anniversary and we really wanted to go out of town. I really wanted to go hiking and initially thought we could stay at Fall Creek Falls and go hiking. I've wanted to go back there forever but haven't been able to for one reason or another. So I made a reservation but they only had availability for one night. We really wanted to stay for two. Then I remembered a place that we'd stayed at in Gatlinburg about 3 years ago. The rates were reasonable and we spent a lot of time in Gatlinburg for our honeymoon. I called and they had a vacancy for the two nights we wanted and she gave me a discount because we'd stayed there before. So we actually would only be spending a tiny bit more for staying the second day. My parents are going to be picking up the girls for us next week and they'll take them back to Birmingham. Then we'll go to B'ham and stay for my dad's knee replacement on that Monday. Then I'll stay for the week and chauffeur my mom around and help out with whatever they need. The timing of everything worked out perfectly.

And speaking of pumpkins...I didn't mention pumpkins? Oh, silly me, I will now. I have two growing pumpkins as we speak. One of the pumpkins rotted on the vine because I got a little too happy with some pruning shears. But it looks like I'll have two little pumpkins as long as I get them off the vines before a frost. I read a quote last night that said "to be a successful farmer, grow pumpkins". Really? Maybe I'm just over thinking it or something but I don't consider my last two tries at pumpkin growing to be that successful. Powdery mold freaks me out and it kills the leaves on your plants. After all the wonderful rain we've gotten my plants are completely afflicted with it. I was going to show you pictures but my camera is dead. I love it but one of the most infuriating things about it is that it doesn't show that the battery is low until it's nearly dead. So pictures will come later.

Other fun stuff...Amanda has decided to move out- in six months. Or rather, she wants us to move out so that she and some friends can rent this place. Really? Travis and I laughed. I do think it's a good idea for her to move out though. Not in an "I can't wait to get rid of this kid" sort of way. But I know her and this will be good for her. She needs to know what it's like to pay bills and buy food and cook. As of right now she knows how to save money but she doesn't realize how much everything costs. She'll be nearly 20 in 6 months and I think it's going to be a very good, growing experience for her. We'll see how that goes.

And more good stuff...

Travis was asked to be one of the lead characters in the kids Christmas play this year. He's pretty excited about that. It's a big role with lots of lines which makes him happy. It's not Shakespeare but he does get to do anger at one point and I think that's always exciting for an actor.

And even more good stuff...

I've talked to some of you about this already but Chloe is having the most fantastic year at school that she's had since kindergarten. Her reading has skyrocketed and she's very, very happy. Her teacher has given dubbed part of the room her "Chloe corner" and she gets to sit by herself and read whenever there's free time in the room. If you know Chloe at all, you know how much that has meant to her. She really "gets" Chloe. And I am thrilled.

Is your neck hurting yet?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


So, maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't, but I've taken a bit of a hiatus in computer land. It's nothing tragic or crazy, I'm not having a breakdown, I just wanted to unplug for a while. No Facebook, no blogs, no incessant checking of the million little things there are to check out each day. And it was really nice. I found that I started thinking more clearly. I was less distracted. I felt more engaged in my life. And I found out that I still don't have time to do all the little things that I have to do during the day. Hmmm. I still intend to blog and to read your blogs (I did check-in to make sure that Christy's little nephew was doing ok) but I plan on spending less time in general on everything computer related.

Things here are really, really good. I've taken stock of my life during this last year and I think that I'm more content and happier than I was this time last year. I've taken a really hard look at some things and have faced my past and my fears and I realize that who I was doesn't define who I am. I used to think that was the case but it's not true. My past nearly destroyed me. It made me a hard, tough person- I used to think that it made me strong. But Christ and my life in Him defines who I am. My strength is in Him and He has made me softer, more loving and compassionate. I've come to some conclusions about some things that we could talk about over coffee sometime. And I'm looking forward to a new season for us as a family, for me personally and am thoroughly enjoying life today. It's funny how God's method of completing you is by stripping everything away. Then He rebuilds it. I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Bloomin' Miracle I Tell 'Ya!

I'm not sure what's happened with Halle lately but she loves having her picture taken. It's been a long time coming. Her sisters have never had to be coached, asked or prodded to have their pictures taken but Halle, well, she's just Halle. Yesterday she begged for blueberry crisp and I let her have some and this is the result. She always ends up with food on her forehead. I don't know how she does it but it's extremely cute. And last night she asked to have her picture taken while she was dancing in the living room. I'm really happy to see her personality come out. To "bloom" if you will.
And this morning at 7 o'clock I looked outside (I was quite groggy) and saw that my pumpkin had bloomed! And it was raining. And I didn't trust the bumble bees to do their work so I had to take it upon myself to make sure this pumpkin happens- you know, fertilization. So I put on my tennis shoes (I was maybe grumbling just a bit- or maybe a lot) walked out into the rain and ripped the leaves off of one male bloom, took out the stamen and dropped it in the female bloom. And then I did it again. I was in such a hurry to get out of the rain that I wasn't sure if I'd done it right the first time (plus I don't think I was thinking clearly). Not that it's a big deal, there are probably 10 blooming male flowers and 1 female so it's not like I was messing it up. And apparently that's how much I love pumpkins. I guess you can call me farmer Amy- that sounds ridiculous. I'm a bit concerned because autumn is literally around the corner for us and everything is going to really cool down. I'm hoping this little gal will be able to grow until at least October. We'll see. And if not I'll just be happy with what I get. And next year I'll have two years of pumpkin growing & pumpkin mistakes under my belt which I'm sure will make next year better. I'm afraid I might be hooked.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So Sweet...

I haven't really talked about this yet but school is going fabulously for Chloe this year. I had an endless list of frustrations with last year and one of the big ones was the amount of homework she had. And hour to an hour and a half per night- really. It was especially frustrating because her teacher said it would be 15-20 minutes a night. This year, however, she's gotten a teacher that seems to be anti-homework! Really. When the year started she had a substitute- for the first 5 weeks. I was very disappointed and thought it would be awful, how would Chloe cope with the change, would she cry for 6 months again? But it's actually been good. She didn't like the substitute teacher (who made her cry more than once in class) but loves her permanent teacher. She hasn't cried about going to school at all and I'm so thankful.

And we'll be leaving in just a bit for dance class at church. Chloe didn't do dance last semester because the first semester we just had too much going on. I was in choir and so was she and when we added that plus dance it was just too hectic. So she's in dance and I'm not doing anything- and I'm happy about that. I am doing the second semester in Freedom in Christ so I'm anticipating personal and spiritual changes in me. That's a good thing.

And I finally have a wee baby pumpkin blossom. Or female bloom. It hasn't actually bloomed yet although I look for it every morning. I counted 5 others on the plants so I'm crossing my fingers for more than one pumpkin.
Most of them look like this or smaller, if you can believe it. I was a bit neglectful of the plants thinking that they would get the nutrients that they needed from the ground. But they were a very pale green color and looked pitiful. Until I added some organic choice fertilizer and bone meal. They really like bone meal.. (sorry for the blurry picture)
but so do cats. I didn't really know that until a couple of weeks ago. Last week I saw a cat (that looked just like Phoenix) on the patio around my garden cart. He ran off and later in the day I was going to do some gardening and I saw the bone meal like this. I've since put it in the grill to keep the cats away. I feel bad and wouldn't mind feeding them but it makes them dependant on people and they would likely die if we weren't here any more to take care of them. I've got all sorts of things running around in my head for our cookout this weekend and I'm going to finalize the menu tonight. Mary offered to bring the burgers so that frees me up to make a nice appetizer (bruschetta maybe?) and a dessert or two to go with the one Mary is also bringing. There will be 15 people here so I don't think we could have too many desserts, right? Plus it gives me a chance to make some without having them sitting around here just waiting for me to eat them. I'm looking forward to a good weekend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Things

I'm feeling quite a bit better today. Not 100% but better. And so I asked Travis if we could meet downtown to walk for a bit. There were things I could do here. Plenty of things. But I stay inside these walls so much when I'm not feeling well that I want to take advantage of every opportunity to get out and walk and explore and just enjoy things. So we did. We all ate PB&J for dinner, it wasn't gourmet but it fit the bill for a really quick bite to eat. And we walked. One day I'm going to take a picture of the 4 churches we have in dtf within a couple of blocks. They're all pretty- beautiful really- I just think it's funny that there are 4 so close together.

This one is a Methodist church. When we got downtown it was 6 o'clock on the dot and the church bells were ringing. I thought "I live in a postcard". I had the biggest, silliest smile on my face.
And this is the church office. It's across the street and is right next door to the Presbyterian church. And this beautiful Victorian style house used to be Lillie Belle's tea room. But now it's Monell's restaurant. They serve country food family style. As in, you get large portions of food and pass it around. I really wanted to go there when it was a tea room. I guess the upside is that I won't know if anything changed if I'm able to go and won't be disappointed. I was feeling pretty tired at this point (I love Tennessee, I just wish my body did) so we decided to head back, but on our way we saw a street performer. Well, it was a guy with a guitar singing next to Mellow Mushroom. We weren't really in a hurry and Chloe wanted to give him some money. So she did and we decided to sit for a bit and listen to him. And I really liked his sound. I mean, guy+guitar, what's not to like? I can't vouch for his lyrics or anything because I only heard him for a bit but you can find him here. And while we were sitting and listening, Halle- sweet, shy Halle- started dancing. She was dancing kind of spazzy with her eyes closed as if she was thinking 'nobody can see me if my eyes are closed' but it was adorable. Then Travis and Chloe joined in. It was sweet and perfect and I thought "I'm just going to enjoy the moments". I don't have lots of times that I feel well. But today I had these moments and they were beautiful. I found myself thanking God for that moment because He gave it to me. Then we had to rush off because Travis is on call and got a page. But I got to drive and I went through two beautiful, historic streets that are off the main street that I love. I enjoyed looking at the homes and the sun started to set. I think that it was just about a perfect evening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Going to be OK

We're at the end of family night tonight. I took some Claritin and amazingly my shortness of breath and general crummy feeling subsided. It would really help if I could distinguish between allergies and real sickness. I mean, I'm pretty sure I had both but it's confusing because a different allergy pill didn't help but....OK, it's just confusing. I'm still really tired but overall I'm feeling better. Which means that I can get ready for a get-together I'm having this weekend. I haven't had one of those since Amanda's graduation. And I really like having people over.

I was able to do some experimenting in the kitchen tonight. And that's always a fun thing for me and a big irritation for Amanda since she does the dishes. I made a gravy that was really yummy and I think it's going to work for chicken pot pie too. Fantastic. I've always used soup because well, it's easier, but the last time I did it tasted gross to me. I also made that parsley paste I was talking about a few days ago. Parsley, olive oil and salt blended up together makes a nice paste that absolutely takes the garlic smell off my hands- yippee! And it gives me a use for parsley besides feeding caterpillars.

Backtracking a bit to yesterday...we took a trip to the park. The weather was just gorgeous- low 70's with little to no humidity and made it a necessity to be outside. And on the way there we noticed a house for sale in our neighborhood. It's bigger than ours by about 500 square feet and it was completely remodeled last year. They rented it out but I was hoping they'd sell and bring up the values in our neighborhood. So I checked it out today and it's nice inside- new kitchen, hardwood floors, etc. And the asking price is only 2K more than we paid for ours 3 years ago. *Before* we refinanced. Before the new roof. Before the floors. Before the windows. Before the new a/c. And I was bummed. Not freaking out mind you, but a little bummed. I guess it was also before the real estate market crashed. If we stayed here for 5 more years it would probably work itself out.

I had to tell Travis, of course, and we talked about maybe having to rent it out if we move before market values catch up to our house. I can't imagine renting because well, renters sometimes destroy houses- call me little miss sunshine. We ran an errand at Publix and I thought to myself "I'm going to trust God in this but I think I'm going to really have to work at it". Have you been there? Sometimes trusting God comes so incredibly easy and then sometimes it doesn't. So the girls and I went outside and waited in the car for Travis and I looked over and saw a bumper sticker. It said IGBOK. I've seen those before but I don't usually pay a lot of attention to bumper stickers. Under the big bold letters it said "It's going to be OK". Hmmm. It's not that the bumper sticker was telling me something I didn't already know but it's nice to see it in print. Yes, "all things work together for good" and lots of other scriptures say it's going to be OK, without actually saying "hey, Amy, it's going to be OK". But it is. I have to trust that this is God's plan and we just have to walk it out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Has Nothing to Do With Sunflowers...

I mean, they might be making an appearance but this really has more to do with parsley. Yes, that's right parsley. Or to be more precise parsley flowers. That's what the little green flowery things are in the vases with the flowers. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I didn't know that parsley flowered. But it does and they're so pretty I just had to use them. That and they were just out of control next to the lemon tree. I've never actually used the parsley for cooking although I have thought of trying to make a paste out of it to use on my hands after I mince garlic. I don't know about you but my fingers smell like garlic for three or four days after I chop the stuff. Which is why I don't make alfredo sauce that often. Pity. I have seen recipes that call for it in pesto but I'm certain that there are caterpillar eggs on it since I saw them around and well, that just kind of creeps me out.

I do think it's kind of funny that I've followed up a week of blogging by not blogging at all. It's been an interesting week though. A friend of mine from college called me and I hadn't talked to him in nearly a year. His life is in a much better spot than when I talked to him last. God's faithfulness never ceases to amaze me.
That same night Travis worked late and so I had a girls night with the kids- minus Amanda. We ate girly food- bagels with pink cream cheese, raspberries, blueberries and figs. And had pink soda. And we polished our finger and toe nails. It was really fun. I don't look forward to Travis working late but spending time with the girls made it much more enjoyable.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Guess who came to see me today. Allright, he didn't come to see me but I'm thankful that Travis had the camera handy. Yes, my sweet hubbie took this picture. Isn't he gorgeous? I never thought I'd get one this close up.
I had such big plans for this Saturday. Really. And I still feel not so fantastic. Even so I was determined to work through it and do my big project anyway. But my body won and I'll be watching a movie with the girls instead. Bummer. I *really* wanted to get this thing done. On the upside though Travis is doing the floors inside the hall closet and I really hope that he'll have the other finish work done on the floors by the end of the weekend. Oh and there's my birdie friend again.... And again. He's hard to see in this one but look towards the top. You get "Where's Waldo" points if you find him. Travis was very determined to sneak up on him and get some good pictures for me. He loves me. And thus concludes my blogging week. I'm a bit bummed that I didn't blog on Tuesday but I'll just have to be OK with it. Now I'm going to grab a blanket and lay on the couch and watch something ridiculous with my kids. It never ceases to amaze me that they can watch the same thing over and over and over. I'm still hoping I can summon the strength to do my project. I'm determined to get it done this week. I'll let you know what it is once we're done.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Moment...

As parents we make a million little decisions for our kids every single day. And sometimes it's tiring trying to do the right thing or figure out what the right thing is. Sometimes it's easier to go with the flow and give in to their relentless pull on the reigns that we hold. Other times something rises up inside us to say "no, that is absolutely not going to happen" or "yes, you are doing that and that's the end of it". But you never really know how it's working out, do you? Even good kids have attitudes that are less than stellar at times and it's frustrating to figure out how much space to give them and how much freedom and which decisions are going to be left up to them. Because there are decisions that we have to let them make.

Until your grown kid thanks you wholeheartedly for the way you raised them. When they express gratitude that you made them open a savings account and that you trust them to drive and that you encourage them to prayerfully take risks and you taught them to be an adult. Then you know that you did ok and that all those hours of prayers and tears and tough love and well, just regular love too, brought about the result you were working for all along. Not that it's over. I'll never stop being her mom but in time I'll step into more of an advisor and friend role rather than the raising her role. In some ways I wish we could go back. There are things I wish I did better but I'm also very thankful for the husband God gave me. And the dad he gave Amanda. He's raised her for more than half her life now. And I know she wouldn't be who she is without the father role he filled in her life. And I'm just very thankful and very, very blessed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Birdie Friends Are Back!

I love sunflowers. Have I mentioned that before? I don't think I'll ever not grow them. I mean, they grow anywhere. I see random ones all over the place here. You know a bird had to have dropped a seed if it's in the middle of chest-high weeds. Bumble bees love them. Their fat little hind legs get completely covered in bright yellow pollen and it's the cutest thing ever. I'd take a picture but my camera just isn't equipped for that. I love my point and shoot but one day...I'll have a "real" camera. Back to the flowers. Hummingbirds love them too. It's so sweet to watch them and little finches that eat the seeds. The one pictured is a girl so she's not as pretty but she ate seeds for a really long time. I'm a dork but I love watching them. And they don't bother my tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes, again, I thought that this little guy might be responsible for my messed up tomatoes. I've known that they were there eating my parsley which didn't bother me because they turn into really pretty butterflies and I don't really use the parsley for anything. But I did see one of them on my tomato plant which intermingles with the parsley plant. The info I read didn't say they would eat tomatoes though so I'm not sure. It's just that the info I've found on tomato plant diseases looks particularly vile in the pictures and my plants don't look like that. But I don't want to bore you with any more plant stuff. I'm not starting a gardening blog or anything. It is one of the big bright spots in my summer though. Seeing as how we have 5 months of brown grass and trees with no leaves to look forward to in the next few months. Autumn I'm totally looking forward to, winter not so much.

I'm also looking forward to making some house progress this weekend. Travis and I were both sick with some not-so-fun virus but we're both feeling a lot better today. That should get us through the weekend. I have some projects in mind but I'm really not sure what I'm going to tackle. Our project(s) will be mostly limited to the supplies we have on hand since our remodeling budget is really slim. Which brings out the creativity, right? Right. I'm sure it will be fun.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Trouble With Tomatoes

I had a thought early this week and it was that I should blog every single day- this week, not in general. I didn't blog yesterday but I did do two posts on Monday and that should count, right? At least it's possible that I could have the right number of posts by the end of the week. It's just for fun and to stretch me a bit creatively. And to make me actually write out the little posts I think of during the week and never get around to.

Anyway, tomatoes. I tried the fruit of my labor again with salt and pepper and I actually liked it. It tasted faintly of tomato but in a nice way. Travis loves eating them fresh but would prefer a more tomato-ey tomato. He's asked if I will grow big beef steak (or whatever they're called) next year. He wants them on burgers and sandwiches and as a snack and...funny he never mentioned that he loves tomatoes that much. That's the thing about my hubby. I love him so much but after being married for nearly 10 years there are still things I couldn't tell you about him. He is very low key and he rarely asks for anything-which is somewhat maddening. Why? Because I like to buy him things that he likes. It's a thing for me. But I digress.

The trouble with those lovely tomatoes though and growing things in general is that they can be temperamental. For instance- see the cracks in my otherwise lovely tomatoes? It's because it rained last night. Since I'm growing them in pots I water them but the soil doesn't stay too moist because of the drainage holes. But if it rains for hours the tomatoes suck up a bunch of water and crack. I had to do a bit of digging to find out what it was. I harvested some just a couple of days ago and they had no cracks and these were fine yesterday- until I checked them this morning after the rain. Very frustrating I tell 'ya. Travis will still eat them but I hate feeding him inferior tomatoes.
I apologize for the fuzzy picture on this one. It was nearly dark outside and I didn't realize that my camera was focusing on the dowel. Do you see the spot on this tomato though? That one I'm worried about. This tomato plant in general seems to be healthy but this spot looks like something either munched on it or it's some kind of disease. Gaaa. I'm glad I've been doing this for a while because stuff like this used to drive me mad. Again, the plant itself looks fine so maybe it's a fluke. And so ends my discourse on tomatoes. It might have been longer but Travis and the girls are watching Wipeout. Have you watched that show? It's ridiculously funny- for grown ups and little people. I hear a bunch of laughing and feel like I'm missing out. So I'm going to go watch people get knocked around a bit.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I don't claim to be a photographer- at all. I do really like taking pictures though. For the last few days I've been burning this candle. It's no less than 6 years old. I got it for free for hosting a Party Light party, I think that's the name of the company. And I didn't want to burn it all at once- it being an expensive candle and all. Eventually I forgot about it and remembered it and forgot about it again...until a few days ago. I pressed the sides down like you're supposed to for maximum burning potential until it breeched the wax dam holding it back and spilled out all over the candle plate. And the flame got pretty So I took pictures. Unfortunately I couldn't control where it was or what was in the background since I was cooking sausage for Trav's breakfast tomorrow. But I couldn't pass up taking pictures of the flames. And well, that's all.

Grandma's Mug

I grew up in Florida. You all know that. What you may not know is where all my other family was. My dad was from Pittsburg, Kansas and my mom was from Arkansas- all over Arkansas. My mom's dad was in the civil service although I have no idea what that is and he was also a Pentecostal preacher. Assemblies of God to be exact. We visited them every summer in Louisiana when I was a kid. And then in Arkansas when they moved back. My grandparents lived in an old house that probably used to be considered one of the well-to-do homes. It was on Main Street and it was big. At least I thought so. It had ceilings that were at least 12 feet high, maybe 15. And all of the doors had glass door knobs. The kitchen had cabinets built all the way to the top of the incredibly high ceiling and there was an ironing board built into the wall, hidden in a cabinet. In the back of the house there was a room, maybe it was a solarium, I'm not sure. The only time I saw it was when I was about 10. I just remember thinking that it was the most romantic, beautiful room in the whole world- completely surrounded by windows. My grandma used it as her sewing room so there were piles and piles of fabric everywhere. My grandma tended to be a bit of a pack rat. The next time we visited, that beautiful room had been torn down and two bedrooms and a bathroom were in it's place. It's understandable considering they had five kids and four of them were married with kids and well, there just wasn't enough room. So the beautiful room had to go. But I was so very disappointed.

It was in this house that my grandma's health began to deteriorate. She had a stroke and then another one that left her completely paralyzed on one side. And she had heart trouble. She took nitroglycerin tablets often. I didn't really understand what they were for. I was about 14 one summer when we were visiting and grandma had an episode with her heart. She was visibly in a great amount of pain and my grandpa was kneeling next to her praying. My mom and dad looked very concerned and my cousins were playing in the back. They had come into the room with me but I don't think they knew what to do. I couldn't leave. It's like I was paralyzed there and my heart felt like it was going to break. We lived so far away that we didn't have a relationship but she was my grandma. She was a person that was suffering and I couldn't do anything so I stood there and cried. And she saw me. I'm not sure if she appreciated the gesture or if she felt bad for me or what but after the episode was over she started gesturing to my grandpa. It was nearly impossible to understand her at this point. And I'm not sure what the reasoning was behind it but she wanted to give me a mug. And it said "I Love Mom". I thought it was strange then and, well, I still do. Maybe she was trying to tell me that she loved me. And so I kept it. All these years.

As a teenager, I kept it on my makeup table and it held brushes and pencils and such. And it's moved with me to every single place we've lived in. Fast forward to yesterday. It was one of the only clean cups in the kid cupboard. We have a kid cupboard for kids cups. I'm not sure why it was there but I decided to let Chloe use it and told her the story. A shortened version for Chloe's short attention span. I told her to be very careful but I just had a feeling that it was going to get broken. But it didn't. Not yesterday anyway. It got broken today. Amanda was doing the dishes and I think she dropped it. She called me to let me know that "you know that I Love Mom mug? Well, it broke and sliced my wrist". Sigh*. Thankfully it was just the handle. I don't know if all the pieces are there or if I can fix it. I will keep it in the cupboard though. It's the one thing that my grandma personally gave to me. I have an unfinished quilt and an old doll but those were given to me by my mom. I think if I learned anything from all of it, it's that sometimes you make a difference in someones life simply because of your position. I wish I'd known her better. I wish I'd been closer. But I know I'll see her again someday.

Edited to add that I was much more concerned about Amanda's wrist than I was with the mug at that moment. Her wrist is fine.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Walk...

I went for a walk with Chloe and Halle on Wednesday, I think. I'm not sure because my days sort of run together especially when there are more than one memory in the same place in the same week. Nope, I'm sure it was Wednesday because it was Thursday night that Trav, Chloe, Halle and I walked around downtown waiting for Amanda to get off work. And it was Wednesday that we walked around and looked at antique/junk shops. Whew, glad I straightened that out.

I love this house. I'm not a super big fan of columns (at least not this style) but they work here, I think. I did think it was kind of funny that they had bamboo roll up shades on the 2nd story window. It just makes me really wonder what that room looks like. Does it have a classic exterior and a modern interior? I'll probably never know.
And this sweet stone cottage-sigh. I don't usually like stone cottages. But this one is fabulous with paint peeling on the shutters and a side porch with breezy white curtains and window boxes that *always* have flowers in them. You all know that I (along with most everybody else in middle TN) loves downtown Franklin. And as with all downtown areas, there's the main street (coincidentally called Main Street) and then lots of other streets with homes and shops mixed in. We'd lived here for about two years before I even knew these businesses existed.
This one was pretty cool and was very much an antique shop. It had magazine type things from 1865 and antique ink bottles and things like that. And I realized that I probably am not going to go crazy for antiques. I love the desk on the front porch and they had antique ceiling tiles and lots of stuff with peeling paint and it was lovely. Cramped but lovely. Oh, and the owner had a beautiful long haired chihuahua named Diva. She was shaking like chihuahuas do *but* she loved my kids. She licked their faces and didn't want them to leave. And they asked if we could buy a dog like that one. Actually they asked if Chutney could be a dog like that. Because we picked out our dogs name about two years ago...and we don't have a dog yet. I *really, really* want one though. The shop next to it was just junk as far as I could tell but I'm obviously not an expert. My perception of the place could have been tainted though by the attitude of the sales lady. And I decided that just because it was in DTF didn't mean that it was a desireable place to shop. The antique "malls" were particularly hit or miss and I'm pretty sure that the Elvis Presley cookie jar was not an antique. But Chloe saw it and went on and on about "how he died on the toilet because he had drugs". And Halle said "he got fwushed down de potty"?!? It was a much longer and much louder discussion about the subject than I wanted to have. She learned about the incident from a friend from school.
I did however find an armoire, um thingy, that I love and have dreamt about owning since I saw it. It's made for a corner and I really could use that. And, well, I just think it's super cute.
I also fell for some of the stained glass windows. I've always been a sucker for those. They had some that were pulled out of a Nashville church. Not these, other ones, but I liked these too.

We visited other stores and some I liked; some I didn't. But the important thing is that the girls and I were able to walk outside on an August day that was really quite nice. It was warm but pleasant and there was a nice breeze. And we had cherry limeades waiting for us in the car. I'm looking forward to doing it again very soon.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Monday

It's Monday night and I've been a bit sore all day. Travis and I have begun our get-the-house-in-tip-top-shape campaign and we started in the yard. Wowza! Saturday was actually, really fun. I've been dying to get out there with the hedge trimmers and tame the bushes that made our house look desserted. I hacked away at the holly bush and made it look like a holly tree- except that I can only reach to a certain point and we don't have a ladder. So it's nicely manicured until it reaches the roofline and then it's just crazy. Travis was going to try to do it but there just wasn't a steady enough thing to stand on that made it wise to take a chain saw to it. I was really bummed because out of all the work I wanted to get done, I wanted that tree finished the most. Oh, and I cut through two extension cords. The second one actually briefly burst into a flame. That was a little scary. But I hacked away at every bush in the front and cut them all so that you could walk behind them without feeling like something could hide in there and grab you. We ended up with 5 bags full of clippings plus a large pile of branches on the curb. Thankfully our city waste department will come pick them up.

Travis, Amanda and Chloe worked on the parts of the driveway that have washed away. It had gotten so bad that driving up and down was really, really bouncy. The girls liked it but I didn't. So they were outside with shovels and a, um, wheeled cooler (ghetto, I know) taking gravel and dirt from the end of the driveway to fill in the missing parts. I'm sure that we'll look back on this someday when we live in a house with an intact driveway and say 'you remember when we used to have to put our driveway back together'? And we'll laugh and laugh. Overall, we spent about 8 hours over Saturday and Sunday working on it all. Saturday was a lot easier than Sunday was.

Saturday evening Travis took me out and we went to Pancho's Place. It's in the same plaza as Target, about 5 minutes from our house. I've wanted to go there since we moved (nearly *3* years ago. I can hardly believe it.) and it was really good. Of course, anything tastes good when you've worked that hard. After that we ran errands. It was supposed to be a date but we have so much to do and it's just easier to run errands when the little kids aren't with us. Besides it was raining and apparently Travis had a big master plan that was ruined by it. Bummer. It was just nice being out with him. I don't care so much what we were doing. Well, I wouldn't have liked a monster truck rally, but you get the idea.

And lastly, the other day we got a Costco magazine in the mail. Yes, I think it's kind of weird that Costco puts out a magazine. I usually throw them away without actually reading them but Travis got to this particular one first. Inside there was a story about a family that supplies apples and cherries to Costco. It's called First Fruits Orchard and is run by a family that are Christians. This family started out small and then ended up losing everything and then rebuilding again. They are unashamedly Christian and also very socially conscious. When the husband was a child he wanted to have his own orchard and to help starving orphans in India. And as an adult he's done both- and has adopted 9 orphans from India. They have an entire cherry orchard that's devoted to ministry with 100% of their profits donated. And they take incredibly good care of their workers. At one point they realized that their workers were keeping their children inside all day because they couldn't afford childcare. So they built a daycare for them. Then they realized that their workers were unable to afford decent housing for their families. So they built a neighborhood of 3 and 4 bedroom homes and rented them to their workers. The rent on a 4 bedroom house? About $485. And they help them buy houses and they built an elementary school and they give scholarships. You can read the whole article here. I really encourage you to read it.

I came away from reading it thinking "God can use anybody to do anything". I think it's more than a thought right now though, it's a passion. According to Ralph Broetje, the farmer, he's good at planting trees. He shouldn't be running the business he's running. But he is. And he's impacting people in this huge amazing way. I'm not saying that I'm going to run out and plant some fruit trees and become a farmer. That's not my gifting. I do want fruit trees but that's something else- I just like fruit. I used to think that the only way to positively impact the world for Christ was to be in full-time ministry. But how can you be Jesus to people more than this family is? I'm sensing a paradigm shift in me. A very real big shift. And maybe this whole journey has been a shift and I'm just now realizing it. I've always known that I could do anything and minister to people. But now I *know* that I can do anything and minister to people. God can do anything through anyone that is willing to follow Him. It's is sometimes a very long, arduous, winding road. But it's His road and we're walking it out with Him. What's it going to look like? I don't know. But I'm very excited to find out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ooh, Pretty!

I was at Target today. I haven't been there since I bought Chloe's school supplies a couple of weeks ago. And so I decided I'd take the grand tour and scope out some clearance stuff. And oh, the things I found. They have some summer things like flip flops and table cloths and summery wheel spinny things for 90% off. But I didn't need any of those things. Not even though it was 49 cents. But I made a mental note before vacation to look through the picture section because they have one seasonal isle that was on clearance. So I passed through and found two matted and framed sailboat pictures- for $4.98 each- mwahahaha. I didn't even think much about the boats because you can remove the back and put your own thing in there if you want to. I thought about doing another couple of pear things. But I needed something in the living room. I've been thinking of buying a huge canvas and doing some sort of painting. I even thought about a sailboat. But then I saw a fantastic- huge mirror- for $14.98 and I was sold. So for $25 dollars I revamped one wall in the living room.

Here's the yawn-inducing before. I knew that the mirror was too high but I never got around to fixing it. But I never really realized that it was *way* too small for the space.
And here's the much better after. Except that they still look small in the photograph...not sure about that.

Boat #1...

Boat #2....

And here's a better photo of them together. I'm mixing styles a bit but I like it and well, I guess that's all that really matters. I think that I have to change the color of the walls though. The furniture just blends right into the wall. Throw pillows would probably help but they're kind of a pain to live with. So my thought is to go with a lighter shade of beige (not sure if that will help with the couch) and to paint every bit of trim and furniture (side table, armoire) in a crisp white. And do white curtains instead of the gray-blue that we've got going on in there now. It makes things kind of dark. I'd be copying these bloggers- they've posted what colors they used- because I think it really works. And it's light and bright and is really what you want in a 10x15 foot space. Then I could do brighter pillows and possibly even an area rug if it didn't cramp things too much. I like their bedroom idea too. It's a bit fancy for my taste but it could fix the problem that we have with the breaker box being in our master bedroom. I've got lots of thoughts and I can't wait to get started.