Tuesday, June 27, 2017

25 Years And Still In Love!

I celebrated my anniversary with my husband today. It is a milestone...25 years! When we first got married, many people didn't think we would make it. We were young and in love and decided to run off and take our vows. We didn't even tell our parents. We asked some friends to stand up with us and they did. They tried to be the voice of reason, which I can appreciate now, but we still did what we wanted.

When our parents found out, as suspected, they were upset. I didn't understand then but, now that I am a mother, I get it. When you are young, you don't look at things logically. Your heart overrides your head. You just know that you want to spend the rest of your life with that person.

We had a rough year but, eventually, got through it. There were several more to come but we stuck it out. We refused to give up, even when we so badly wanted to do so. Situations would come that would throw us for a loop. We didn't have the experience or wisdom to handle them appropriately, as most couples can attest. However, we pushed through them.

The years went by and we became comfortable with one another. Our children were born and life took a different turn. All of our time was spent on them with little left over for each other. One morning, we woke up and both realized that we had put our marriage on a back burner and needed to work on that. Though our children were still at home, they were old enough to be responsible and have a little more independence from Mom and Dad. It was time to get back that spark we had been missing for so long.

We started "dating" and taking time our for each other. Holding hands became commonplace again. Kisses and affection became reality once more. The kids found it yucky but we found it necessary.

Fast forward to this day. My 25th anniversary was a big deal to me. I wanted to do something special and thought of it all month. However, with work and taking care of the family, time seemed to have slipped by me and all my plans went awry. I figured that since we were going to be on vacation with the family, he probably didn't have time to do anything, either. Boy, was I wrong!

After taking a shower, I slipped into my room to change. There, lying on the bed, was a card written in my husband's handwriting. I read it and tears sprang to my eyes. He had put so much thought into that card and what he said that I was speechless. Then, guilt set in. Out of all of the anniversaries we have had, why did I not put more effort into this one? Why not send myself a constant reminder that this was an important one? Even he laughed at the irony of me doing this and not him. It was as if we reversed roles.

I said all of that to say this: it wasn't about the card, but the sentiment and thoughtfulness he put into it. He didn't care if I got him a card or not, but the words he wrote on mine were priceless. It really is the little things that matter in life.

I love that man more now than I did when we first got married. We may be comfortable with each other and not be as romantic as we once were. Sometimes, life gets in the way of our plans. Children still need us. Responsibilities and priorities come in different ways and at different times, but that does not mean there is no love or that we should throw in the towel. It's during those tests and trials that we realize that we were meant to spend our lives together. That, to me, is real love.

Happy anniversary, babe! I love you!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring Break Trip To Eureka Springs, Arkansas...Quigley's Castle

This week, I have been able to enjoy some time with my family, including my mom. As most people, work, school, running the kids around and more, has consumed our lives, so just being able to spend some quality time with the ones you love is important.

During our visit to Branson, we got to tour the "Quigley Castle," located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. (It was about 90 minutes from where we were staying.) When we first drove up, we were not impressed. However, when we met our tour guide, M.J., she enlightened us and our eyes were opened! What a great little treasure we found!

When you look at the home from the outside, it reminds you of a box. A big, wooden box! The facade is made up of rocks that Elise Quigley, the original owner,  had collected since she was 9-years-old! From this same rock collection, she created several garden pieces, from mailboxes to baskets to benches! The stones and rocks she collected came from everywhere. She had fossils, crystals, arrowheads, and stones from the creek beds.

Elise designed the home herself and decided to tear down the family's three room house they resided in at the time to build the new structure.  She didn't even ask her husband. He came home that night only to find out he would be living in the chicken house. (What a man to put up with his wife's compulsiveness!)

She not only wanted a new home, but the design called for 28 windows, which they were not able to put in for three years! They tacked material up in the openings until they could afford the windows. The home is a wooden structure, built from lumber from their own land.

When you enter the home, it has low ceilings and wood floors and it feels like you are surrounded by the outdoors. Elise planted flowers during the winter and included a little pond in the home. Upstairs, in one of the bedrooms, you can see her "Butterfly Wall." I can't even begin to tell you how spectacular that is! The home is decorated in antiques and original works of art.

She strategically built two little "perches" upstairs, one in each bedroom, so that one could look out at the garden, which, in itself, reminds you of a fairy garden with all of it's bright and shining stone and colorful flowers.

Today, the home is still owned by the grandchildren of the Quigley's. It is a must see on your journey through the Ozarks. You will not be disappointed. Just tell M.J. that I sent you.

The front of Quigley's Castle. 

Our wonderful tour guide, M.J. 

The living room as you walk in the front door. 

The fish pond and small garden in the living room. 

Some of the flowers grown inside the home. 

The kitchen and dining area. 

One of the bedrooms. 

The other bedroom with one of the residents.

One of the "perches" upstairs.

The nursery. 

The infamous "Butterfly Wall." Spectacular!!!

The back of the home with a partial view of the gardens.

One of Elise Quigley's rock creations. 

The path in the garden in the back. 

Some of the colorful flowers that were 
already blooming. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Take Time To Enjoy Life With Your Loved Ones...It Goes By Fast

I never knew how precious time was until my children started getting older. I watched them today as they all stood at the bathroom sink, trying to brush their teeth while chatting and having fun with each other. My heart was overwhelmed within me. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.

As I sat in the living room, watching them from the couch, my mom sat across from me.  I know she thinks the same of her children. I know she has the same thought I do: Where did time go? 

Being a parent can be rough. We have to provide for our children and nurture them. It can be a daunting task and time can get away from us if we aren't careful. But, regardless of all of the responsibilities we have, time spent with them is important. Quality time, that is. 

How many times have I told my children, "Hold on. Give me a second. Just another minute." Too many times. Those seconds and minutes turn into hours and, sometimes, they disappear altogether.

Our children are involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities and that forces us to be involved in their lives. However, sometimes, those activities overlap with the other kids' and we can't make every event. That's why vacations are so important to us. We take time to concentrate on our family and our relationships with each other. 

This year, we decided to take my mom, as well. It has been a great bonding experience for all of us, not only our the kids and us, but the kids and their grandmother. We all get to relax and just be ourselves. At 74, my mom still likes to have fun and laughs just as much as we do. It's a side of her that I will never tire of seeing and plan on relishing as much as I can when I'm with her.

These moments won't last but I plan on keeping them for as long as I can. Life has been a crazy adventure thus far and I plan to enjoy each and every moment with my family that I can.

I realize that this blog post seems random and the thoughts seem a little incoherent, at times. However, thank you for divulging me in my ramblings. It does a heart good to express itself once in a while. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Me and my mama! I think we had a photo bomber in the back 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day...A Few Great Ladies

Apparently, today is International Women's Day.  I would not know this except for the fact that it is all over my social media sites. I think it's great that there is a day to acknowledge the social, economic, and political achievements of women. Women have contributed a lot throughout history and have actually been the force behind change, in some instances.  I believe in giving honor where honor is due.

There are some women I would like to acknowledge who contributed in other ways. They may not be as well-known as Susan B. Anthony or Amelia Earhart, but they are no less deserving of accolades.

  • Deborah was a mighty woman of God and a prophetess, as mentioned in the book of Judges. She commanded Barak to victory and told him, "Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee?"
  • In the same book, Jael helped take down the enemy for Barak. Sisera sought refuge in Jael's home and, while he was resting, she took a hammer and nailed a peg into his temple.  She fulfilled Deborah's earlier prophecy to Barak, "I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman."
  • Hannah was another great woman in the Old Testament. She may not have done great exploits or led armies into battle, but she trusted God and prayed for a miracle. When her son, Samuel, was born, she dedicated his life to the work of God. As you know, Samuel was a great man of God. You can read about him in I and II Samuel. Had Hannah not trusted God, her life would have turned out differently. She has been a great example to women throughout history.
  • Priscilla, along with her husband, Aquilla, labored for the church and were an inseparable pair. However, it is interesting to note, that out of the six times they are mentioned, her name is first in three of those. This was highly unusual. Could it be that her ministry was more prominent than that of her husband's? 
  • Another great woman in the New Testament was Junia. The amazing thing about her was she was an apostle. She is only mentioned once, in the book of Romans.  However, an apostle was a title mainly given to men.  According to Romans 16:7, she was held in high esteem. Paul wrote, "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." 
  • When you continue to look in the New Testament, we see Phoebe was mentioned only once, in the book of Romans. However, it is believed that she was trusted by Paul to deliver his letters to the Romans. "I commend unto Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also."
I realize that I did not speak of the more well-known women of the Bible, like Ruth, Esther, Mary, the mother of Jesus, or even Mary Magdalene. Each of those ladies were strong in their own right and their stories have been passed down through the ages. History has not been so kind to the above-mentioned women, but they are equally as strong and have contributed much to Christianity and the work of God.

To all you ladies out there: You may not lead an army, run a country, or work outside of the home, but you are worth something. You are changing lives everday. You are awesome women and deserve to be commended.  So, to you, happy International Women's Day! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sharing Again: Easy Potato Salad With Sour Cream

Vacation is over and it's back to "normal" on tomorrow! However, today was wonderful! The weather cooperated and I was able to open my windows to air out the house.  We also got a lot accomplished today...washed the laundry from our trip, cleaned the house, got the lawn mowed, washed and cleaned the car, and  even made dinner!

Speaking of dinner, one thing I do miss from being down south is the food.  We ate out quite frequently and I miss some of the southern cooking we were able to experience. One of the "delicacies" that we had was potato salad.  Okay, I know that we make that where I'm from and it's pretty good, but I've never had it the way we had it in Alabama...with sour cream!  I looked it up on Pinterest and decided to make it with dinner tonight. (I tweaked it to the tastes of my family.)  It was pretty good, if I do say so myself, so I decided to share the recipe.  Enjoy!

Potato Salad With Sour Cream

2 lbs. of red potatoes, cubed cooked (when the fork can go in smoothly, not mushy), drained
        1/2 lb. bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (Use according to how much you want)
        1 pkg. dried Ranch dressing
        1/2 cup sour cream with chives
        1/2 cup mayo

Mix the Ranch dressing, sour cream, and mayo together.  Add the mixture to the potatoes.  Crumble the bacon and add to the potatoes.  Mix together.  Enjoy warm or chill!

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