Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wonderful Christmas!

Oh, I do hope all of you had a blessed holiday season! I know I did. While I am happy to be done with the prep and worry, I am sad it is over for another year. I still have my home decorated and may for a while...there is just no rush to put it all away. I am the world's worst procrastinator!
This is a pic of my sister (in red), my daughter, and me. This was Christmas Eve and we were having a great time taking pictures, eating her wonderful food, and just being together.

This is a picture of my sister putting finishing touches on her festive table, heavy laden with sliced ham, croissants, hot wings, assorted vegetables, cheese cubes, cheese balls, crackers, salsa and chips, cocktail weiners, crudite' with dip, grape studded pineapple with fruit slices and cream cheese fruit dip, pineapple pie, Red Velvet cake, candies, cookies, cranberry cocktail punch, and MORE! It was so delish!

I am back home now and my daughter returned to her condo today. She is off until college resumes the 14th or so, but she has New Year's Eve plans, her 21st birthday, and work. I am going to miss her!
She gave me the neatest gifts! She is a hostess at an upper class Italian restaurant and got me a scrummy bottle of Conundrum wine, a box of Godiva chocolate Truffles, and two of the sweetest little "Mom" books filled with delightful sayings and page after page of vintage photos....I am such a lucky Mom!
My Sweetheart gave me a long-wanted Sony digital camcorder and I have had such fun with it! It makes my old HUGE one look like a dinosaur!
Other than the l-o-n-g drive home and back, it was a good Christmas. I may be car shopping before long though.......I was lucky to make the 800 mile drive home without a break-down.....I think my transmission is going and the little car I have is not worth sinking a lot of money into. It is worn out....I was using it the day after we got back and it just stopped dead in the street while it was running. Luckily, I was not far from home and coaxed it into limping home where it sits - pathetic, tired, and forlorn......rather like its mistress, me. *sniff* It has served me well.......
All in all, it was a sweet, lovely time, I ate well (TOO much!), received thoughtful, tasteful gifts, spoiled everyone with my own gifts, enjoyed my family, sat with my sister, her family, my uncle, my daughter, and friends at my home church that I miss so much, and was granted safe travels, as was my daughter. What more could I want?

~*~Baby Girl!~*~

Here's wishing all a Happy New Year filled with special blessings!
Make a happy today!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cobweb Head and Fruzzle Brained

One should never bake cookies at 2:00 a.m.
One should never read cookbooks and try new fudge recipes in the middle of the night.
One SHOULD go to bed, sleep, rest, and tackle the day bright and fresh.

If One does not do this, One risks making a pot of HOT WATER for themselves instead of a nice, steaming, aromatic pot of COFFEE that One so desperately needs this crisp, cold winter morning!

One forgot to add coffee grounds to the basket..............

Christmas is not where it should be in my house. My daughter is coming home tomorrow, we have only a couple of days here and must go shop while she is here, then we leave for a 13 hour trip home to Arkansas for family Christmas and then return here around the 27th. I have decorated, have bought food to prepare, but have not gotten the house as lovely and clean as I want.......partly because I won't be here and also due to dental appointments, car repairs, injured finger, work schedules, general laziness, a bit of melancholy nostalgia, etc. (Can I be totally, insanely honest and tell you I have YET to wrap a gift?! I may drop in the dollar store tomorrow and buy all the gift bags they have left and pop everything in a bag and tissue and call it done! Most have to be carried in a car trunk anyway and are going to smushed up by the time they are opened.)

Just as I was feeling frazzled and weary and under pressure to have SOMETHING home baked for my daughter's arrival in a few hours, my BF walks into the kitchen where I am toiling away at the ungodly hour of 2:00 a.m., takes a deep smell, tells me the house smells wonderful, and that I am adorable.

I was in my jammies, hair was sticking out of a crooked ponytail, and flour on the end of my nose..........the man must love me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A few years ago, I wrote a story for Heartwarmers. It went around the world and back and I was deluged in over 3500 emails! (I still get a few every year and have already gotten one this Christmas from someone who found my story on the net somewhere.)
One of the emails was from Janet Matthews, an associate editor for Chicken Soup books. Long story short, an edited version of the following story was selected from over 2000 entries for publication in the "Chicken Soup for the Parents' Soul" 125. :-)
I was honored that a story dedicated to my Mother made the cut of 101 stories. It remains my greatest honor beyond being the mother of my daughter.

And yes, that is where the name of my blog came from...."From the Heart".

In honor and memory of my Mom, Mary,

Merry Christmas.......From the Heart.....*MY* heart.



When I was 14 years old (same age as my daughter is today), my Mom and
I didn't have money for a Christmas dinner, much less gifts.
I knew she was sad about it and I was determined we wouldn't let it
get us down. Homemade gifts are nice but I wasn't very imaginative and too
broke for supplies. I decided to give my Mom something I treasured myself
-- the one nice piece of jewelry I owned, a gold cross necklace.
I cleaned it, made sure there were no knots in the chain and wrapped
it in the prettiest paper I could find. I was so excited, I couldn't wait
for her to open it.
Single moms have it hard (as I know first hand now) and I really
wanted to see her smile. We always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve night
and that afternoon, I could wait no longer.
I asked if we could "have Christmas" early. I anticipated that
Christmas more than when I knew I was getting a lot of nice gifts. I
didn't expect to get anything that year. It was about giving.
I handed her the little box, hugged and kissed her and wished her a
Merry Christmas. I waited anxiously for her to open it but she just sat
there with the box in her hands and looked at it.
I remember the look on Mom's face was a mixture of sadness and
serenity. She knew her greatest gift to me was her love. After what seemed
a long time, she looked at me and said, "I have something for you too."
She reached into her pocket, pulled out another small box, placed it in my
hands, and told me although it was not much, it was filled with love.
I was quite curious and little scared. I knew money was tight and
hoped Mom hadn't spent money on something we couldn't afford.
There was a little velvet box inside and when I lifted the lid, there
was a tiny ring with a diamond chip in the center. In a note, she told me
the ring was 23 years old, she hoped it brought me good luck... and "I love
I got a huge lump in my throat and looked at her. She smiled and told
me it had been her wedding band from my dad. It was now mine. I slipped
it on my finger and hugged my Mom.
She opened my gift and when she saw the necklace, big tears filled her
eyes. She asked me to put it on her. She held the necklace and told me
she thought it was our best Christmas ever. I could only nod my head in
This Christmas, I give thanks for Mom and treasure every memory we shared.
You see, my Mom has advanced Alzheimer's disease and no longer knows
me. But I look at "our" ring and remember her gentle, wise spirit and give
thanks God blessed me with her.
But that's not the end of the story.
Our home was burglarized four years ago. One of the items stolen was
that little ring. I had left all my jewelry at home for safekeeping
because it was Memorial Day weekend and I was going to the lake. I was
totally heart broken when I found out the ring was gone. Of course, so
were her diamond rings, my wedding band, engagement ring, etc., but it was
THAT ring I grieved for the most.
I wrote a letter to our local paper and begged whoever stole it to
"PLEASE return it by mail anonymously."
A few weeks went by with no response and then one day a police
detective showed up at my door. He held out a kleenex and asked me to
identify the item inside.
It was my ring! I have never found out where or how he got it but it
remains on my finger to this day.
So as we all go through the holidays, let us remember it's what we
give from the heart that holds the most value.

-- Nancy

Copyrighted 1999 / Not to be republished without written permission from the author.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Almost Christmas!

Just wanted to share a few photos of my Christmas decorations. I wasn't going to do a lot since I won't be here but I had to......I am a pushover for the holidays!
Most of what I have out was collected over the summer at the flea markets, yard sales, Salvation Army, etc. I spent very, very little and I think it all came together pretty well.
I just didn't feel like dragging all the family mementos out this year. My Mom passed away this year, my daughter is only going to be here a couple of days before and after Christmas and the BF is going to be working. I will go to Arkansas with my daughter to see family so I just used what I had stored around here throughout the summer. I kinda' like it.......sort of glitzy and glammy and VERY holiday-ish!


*Formal Living Room:

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*Buffet in Living Room - Angels:

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*Front Porch:

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*Fancy Tree in Entry Foyer:

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*Front Porch:

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*Another Front Porch:

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*Front Door:

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*Stairway from Den Going Up:

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*View of Den from Upstairs:

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*Dining Area in Downstairs Den:

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*Patches and Koko Waiting on Stairs for Me:

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*Downstairs Den:

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*Fireplace and Mantle in Den:

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*Buffet in Upstairs Formal Living Room:

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*Formal Dining Room Upstairs:

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*Another of the Foyer Entry Tree:

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*First Measurable Snowfall!:

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I have a few other things tucked here and there but those are the major spots....a lot of fussy girly stuff but truly me and my tastes. Can you tell I love pink?! No way........LOL.

There will be many moans and groans when I have to put it all away but for now, I am really enjoying "playing house" and I am truly blessed!

Let's all remember The Reason for The Season!

Blessings to all...............

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

~*~Merry Christmas!~*~

Let us all remember and cherish...........

By Tammy Laws Lawson

A friend and I were standing in line at the grocery store the other day, and I was telling her how lazy my children were. I had come in from work that morning, and like most times, my house was wrecked.
"I believe children nowadays are just out for what they can get. I bend over backwards for them, and they can't even help keep our house clean. It wouldn't bother me so, but it's the woman who looks bad if the house is a mess."
"Do you know how blessed you are?" a woman behind us asked. "I would love to go home and find my house a mess. I wouldn't mind my carpet being ruined or the dishes left everywhere. I wouldn't mind the dirty clothes being piled high or the many socks to match. I wouldn't even mind anyone talking about my dirty home. Matter of fact, I would love it. I would dearly love to kick my way through the house just to get to my kids and be able to hug them, kiss them and tell them how much I love them. You see, my two children were killed in an auto accident and now it's just my husband and me. My house stays clean, my clothes stay put up, the dishes are done. There are no fingerprints on my walls, no mysterious spots on my carpets. There are no sounds of arguing, no slamming doors, no laughter, no 'I love you Mom.' So you see, you are very blessed. What I would give to be going through what you are right now. How I would love to be able to hold my kids, wipe away their tears, share their dreams. Just to watch them play. If I had my children, I wouldn't care how my house looked. I would be happy just to have them."
Now if you come into my house and see a big old mess, you can think bad thoughts if you want, but I feel greatly blessed.

Reprinted by permission of Tammy Laws Lawson (c) 1999 from Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Aubery and Nancy Mitchell Autio.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Playing favorites.....

Haven't posted in a couple of days........
Sometimes I get so busy with all of my projects, I can't decide what to do next. I will begin straightening the house and when I carry something to another room, I wind up stirring in something there........then I forget about the other room I was working in. I can spend a whole day like that. It is not very satisfying or productive for my housekeeping.......but boy, is it fun!
Our home is so large....way too big for two people...but we have managed to fill it up and each day is almost like a new present waiting to be opened. I do not spend nearly enough time downstairs except to do laundry. It is a lovely place too.....big den, comforting guest suite, fireplace (I do enjoy that in cold weather).......but is it the lower level and I NEED my sunlight, especially in the summer months. I wandered down there for a bit today and just stood on the stairs, looked into the family room, and admired what a nice room it is. And I told myself I should love it and nurture it more. That is my new all of my home equally and not play favorites upstairs as I so often do.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


heart pain hurts...........not the cardiac variety.
the emotional, soulful, roots of your being heart pain.
do we ever sever our connection to our children as they grow up? can we? would we? should we?
i am too close..too consumed...too wrapped up in that being i created and grew. it is hard for me to let her go, let her be, let her screw up and not hurt like hell about it.
i love her with every cell of my body......we share those very same cells.......i gave her mine.
that is why my heart hurts. i want only life's very best for her and she seems to be prancing willy nilly through these days and months without a thought or care or worry.......which she cannot afford to do. i have worried myself into a frenzy. i cannot sleep, i am edgy, i am elusive when asked about her, i do not like this place.......this feeling........this struggle.
i just need to pull a good drunk and let it be..........if for only one night.


Monday, July 25, 2005

My haven

I love my house.........
It consumes me, I stir in my stuff every will never be "finished".
It is fussy and frilly and least THIS room is. My living little space of calm and quiet and "days gone by".
I just happen to love how the room catches the light when the sun is beginning its casts special prisms just for me and I stop to savor the light and spend a moment.

The writing desk......and my "new" French phone!
LOVE it!

Koko claims a pink velvet chair!

Part of laundry room.......

Guest's breakfast table..........

Guest bedroom.........

Sunday, July 17, 2005

male PMS

Women get a bad rap for having hormonal fluctuations. We cry, we laugh, we pout, we brood......sometimes within a span of 5 minutes. Be it a blessing or a curse, we can blame it on "hormones".
So, what do guys blame it on? I firmly believe, even though I am a Registered Nurse, that men have raging hormones as well but have never learned to handle them or accept them as we gals do.
damn shame.
At least we "wimmen folk" know that "this too shall pass" and if you are lucky enough to leave the room without risk of death or at the very least, castration, then you should be man enough to keep your pissy moods out of MY way.
So, how was YOUR day?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

i need to be two of me

Do you ever wish you could clone yourself? I know the world couldn't handle more than one of me but I could sure use the help.
Yesterday was a working day. It was raining, thanks to the hurricane finally entering the Ohio Valley. It was a good rain....slow and steady, no storms and no heavy downpours. My yard needed it. The grass is getting crunchy.
In spite of the rain, I cleaned out the barn/potting/gardening shed. It was rather a mess and I put it in order, threw out old potting pots and flats and put up some shelving. Then, I tackled that hell-hole garage! Arghh......we have TOO MUCH junk!! Needless to say, a two car garage is not enough for two cars, two ski boats, a fishing boat, and the 100+ computers and tons of computer bits and pieces stored in there. At one point, I think I counted at least four or more flat scanners. Why? Why do we have all this stuff and what will we ever do with it?? But, it is J's hobby so I tolerate.....
We both worked really hard and moved a lot of stuff out to the newly straightened IT is now almost full. Hopefully, I can still find my gardening stuff when I need it.
We treated ourselves to meeting Dr. Joe and Janet at Applebee's for dinner and drinks. It was a nice, relaxed evening and I got to know Janet a bit better. She is also an RN so it was nice to have a comrad to chat with. Then, we went to see Dr. Joe's new house now that he is pretty much settled in. It looks a lot better than when I was there a week or so ago and the moving vans had just arrived. It is the three fireplaces!!
Had a fun, chatty sit in the lower level den and enjoyed a toddy of Hot Damn! and of course, I rattled on wayyyyy too much but I was called "fun and entertaining" so hopefully I didn't bore them too badly. My stories about New Year's Eve on Times Square '99, New Orleans 2000 and the flight fiasco of '99 had them rolling.....I love an audience.....who'd a thunk?
Came home, J crashed since he is working today and I putzed a bit and read Naomi's book till I finally got sleepy. It is a good is weird to read about streets and such in the same place I live.
Today, I have been a bum. I took another load of donations to Goodwill then bought more than I gave away, stopped by the Salvation Army and found some treasures. Amazing the stuff folks throw out or give away. I found an antique Marcie doll in great shape for 39 cents! She will be on ebay soon....I have quite a stash ready to shoot and post. I am just so summer-busy right now, it is hard to think about ebaying.
I need to go to the District office and put in my application to substitute teach this fall. I am not going back into medicine any time soon. I love caring for my patients but I also love being off with J and having this summer off has sure spoiled me. I only want to work a couple of days a week to keep some cash in my account so subbing will be good. I love being around kids too....sure miss that from my days as school nurse.
The rest of today, I have just piddled in the house and done some laundry. I got some beautiful cabbage rose border at the super duper "Wow, it's a dollar!" is self stick. Best thing ever!! No glue...just roll it out, rub it on the wall and Viola! Border!! Plus, it just peels right glue, steaming, stripping, etc. GREAT stuff! It sure prettied up my laundry room. It is all sweet and girly now and much nicer to work in.
I miss my child.............

Saw a gal walking across the street today and when I looked in my rear view mirror, she looked like Court. Made my heart ache...I need to go to Atlanta.
She is working a lot at her hostess job at La Travola, has started Philosophy class and is busy as can be. I know I would be a distraction if I go right now.....
Maybe soon.
I need to go see my sister too. I have not spent any time with her since Momma died in February and I need a family fix. It gets mighty lonesome up here in these hills even though I stay so busy and love doing what I do. J and I enjoy our time together and we share a lot of interests but I need some girl talk. I need to plan this trip.......I need some southern time.

Not a lot else today. Need to go finish chores and maybe treat myself to an afternoon coffee and reading. Or a nap. A nap would do nicely.....

Find your happy deserve it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Summer lakes*summer fun* ahhhhhhhhhh!

This is a barn I found while out exploring by myself in Maryland one morning. I stopped in the road, snapped the pic and then did a little creative editing. It is one of my all-time favorites. I love finding old barns.....I think they evoke such peaceful, serene emotions and remind me of my days, growing up on the farm.


We went to Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland in June. It was so lovely and the house we rented was beyond words.......sooooooo nice!
I love the water......the mountains, the woods, the was paradise!

Ciao' for now from your Domestic Diva!

Friday, July 08, 2005

*good day*bad day..

Ever have one of those days when you are on cloud nine one minute and in the dumps the next?

I do.

Makes me feel like a total bi-polar but then I could always just blame hormones.......we girls are lucky like that.

Anyway, got up early, 6:10, after going to bed super duper late.....3:30'ish. I putz and piddle when the BF pulls an over-niter in the ER. I just can't seem to settle when I am here alone. It is a lack of discipline more than anything. I spent a great part of the evening washing mega-loads of laundry. It is our own fault.....we went to Serenity Acres monthly rummage sale and totally, freaking wracked up on a ton of great name brand clothes, mostly for the winter months. I have a supreme distaste for wearing anything that has been on anyone else's body before I launder it. Of course, that means lots of work for me since my favorite way to shop is thru vintage and resale shops. I have to wash every thing I buy before I wear it. So, I washed load after load of clothes and those vintage linens! They are very time consuming though......have to soak them and be very careful with them but they are SO worth it!

I had a long list of Friday rummage sales printed off the newspaper and one sounded really, really good.....ten families in the nicest area of this little tri-village (I live in an area that includes Flatwoods, Russell, and Bellfonte/Ashland but they all just flow into each other). I knew I had to arrive early or the best stuff would be gone. So, up I am, hitting the coffee that was set to be brewed and waiting on my awaking. It was excellent good........nothing like a hot cup of coffee to stir the senses and get the blood flowing. I downed a coupla' cups and got dressed and was out the door by 7:15. I should have lingered in bed, enjoyed my java and been lazy. They had nada to pick from........clothes and more clothes, which I felt nauseous looking at after washing 413 loads the night before.

I did find a way cute summer handbag and , and........what WAS that other thing? Oh yeah, some pretty pink towels for my Paris themed bathroom. Only .50 a piece and nice and fluffy so it was all good.

Since I was up and awake and in the car, using $2.30 a gallon gasoline, I decided to scout a few more sales and had to drive all over the fricking hills to find them and..................I should have stayed in bed, snuggled under the down comforter ( I use it year round....pure indulgence), the fan cooling the room, and Naomi Judd's book ("Love Can Build a Bridge", the one she talked about last summer when I went to see her at the Paramount Arts Center, purchased at a tag sale for a dime. Sweet.) begging me to read past the out of wedlock pregnancy with Wynnona.

Um, let's see.....where was I? Oh yeah....I did get some sweet doilies, some vintage unopened nylons, some great cutters for making pillows and some freebie vintage curtains that should do well on ebay. I found the usual assortment of .25 and .50 items. I seem to always gravitate to the same stuff....florals, old postcards. china and crystal, old linens, hankies, doilies, bedding, pictures, and anything, ANYTHING, with pink roses on it, and odd bits and pieces of things no one but me would love.

Koko Kat, AKA the Almighty Spoiled One, took a little nap among the day's offerings I had found. I thought he looked so sweet and innocent (?) nestled in my treasures of the of those lucky, unplanned, unposed pictures I love to take.

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After the day we spent at the flea market yesterday, I did not neeed a single thing. Our car was packed. I am still cleaning it all and loving it and finding homes for my new treasures. I did find a simply too sweet, too special, too pretty litho museum print in a lovely frame is, of course, Paris, the Champs de Elysees with the Arch de Triomphe in the background by Antoine Blanchard. ~*~LOVE. IT!~*~

Best was one pennies. Little things like this make the whole day of treasure hunting a success. I can look at that picture and I smell, taste, hear, and feel Paris all over again. I must-need go back. I firmly believe I lived there in my old soul days. My first stroll down that lovely boulevard was cold. I ducked into a shop, bought a sweatshirt to layer over my travel dress.........I had not even changed from the flight when I walked that street the first time. I remember being hypnotized.....captivated.........swept the mere fact that I WAS IN PARIS, FRANCE!! My gosh, I fell in love hard and fast and the last trip we took was just to confirm that my passion was real.

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Anyway, I call it a successful flea-day when I find a Paris litho, a Daher tin, or anything that evokes the sights, sounds, and images of my Euro-love affair. I am hopeless.

Now, the bad, icky part of the day.

I went too "momma-mode" on my daughter this evening. She calls me daily, or nearly, to check in and keep momma secure. She was getting ready to go to her hostess job at the Italian restaurant and I upset her. I should just SHUT UP.....but I cannot help it. She deserves better than she is getting in her current state and she needs to know it.

I left her a voice mail, told her I was sorry........hope she knows in her heart it's because I love her.......she is my life, my heart, my soul.......I GREW her!!! She will, hopefully, know I just want life's best for her and she so much to offer someone. I really just want to drive south and resolve this issue. But, I can't cause I love my daughter more than life and she wants me to chill.

It is hard.............

Oh wellllllllllllllllllllllllllll.

Shortly after that call, I got a ring up from my best friend here and she was venting that her 13 year old son had gotten mouthy and smart-assy on the phone with her. Seems he is visiting his dad on his yearly summer visit and she is supposed to go get him next week and he called to say, "That didn't quite work for him." Hello? He is 13, she took vacation days, as did her hubby, to make the trip to Missouri to get him, and he wants to stay longer? Kids.....I reassurred her that she only has about 8 more years to deal with it and then she can breathe easy. (that was mean, I admit it) ;)

I am just piddlin' again this evening as BF is again in the ER, saving lives, and I have eaten a single gal's dinner.....mayo on wheat bread with fresh bell pepper slices, sliced cucumbers, and celery. I am out of my fav little grape tomatoes or they would have perfected what was a wonderful treat for me. I could live on fresh summer veggies....and I have freshly diced cantalope waiting for my snuggly, under the covers, hour of reading Naomi till my eyelids droop. *yum*

Did I mention that I had a frozen peach daiquiri with dinner as well? Maybe THAT was why I enjoyed dinner so much.........whatever works. (I put up several pints and quarts of fresh summer peaches the other day......what a sinful treat they will be in the cold of winter that lasts forever and ever up here.)Image hosted by

I cannot stay up so late tonight. I already have my sale list printed out and highlighted and route picked since there are about 75 tag sales tomorrow! I have to get going early.

I am hooked.......addicted......a total junkie. But, my BF is too and he loves me and we enjoy it so there.

Also, we want to go to the lake. The BF is off the rest of the weekend.......*clap hands* perhaps a picnic basket with yummy summer fruits and veggies and muffins for a lake feast with the sun, breeze, water, and mountains. Heaven? Yesssssssssssss. (Have to work on the boat a bit first....the axle spring squeaks so we need to lube it and we need to tighten the engine cover since it has an annoying rattle when we hit the high cruise speed) Guy stuff......;)

I am having to resist the urge to begin yet another project. I got my One Stroke painting instruction materials in the mail today. Happy, happy! My fingers are fairly itching to grab the paint brushes but I have to wait. I need to watch the video and have a calm, maybe rainy day, to fully devote my creative juices to this. I so truly, deeply want to learn this painting method and it will be my happy treat to myself.
This is long........this is screwy and rambling.........but so am I and it is okay. I worked long and hard to get this eccentric and I am going to enjoy every moment of it.

'Till good to yourself and find a happy every day.....doesn't have to be a big one.....just be sure it is yours.

Bon jour!!

p.s. One last happy moment from today......our second Florida amaryllis finally bloomed! The first one opened while we were in Maryland for a week so we did not get to fully enjoy it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAlso, my zinnias are finally setting blooms. Summers here are late and short so any flowering makes me very happy. I miss my southern gardening........