Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Dream House Brought to Life

In light of my commitment
to stay alert and grateful  ,
I found my secret dream home today.

This closed,shuttered, abandoned church,
on the side of the road,
(which is my favorite geographical location)
brought that dream to life.
With the greatest respect and wonder,
for this beautifully worn house of God,
I thought,
I want a house like this.

I want this to be a house…
Another house.
An extra house.
This so perfectly fits my secret dream
of having a small house on a piece of farm or ranch land
in South Texas.

This house could take the heat and harsh
that are uniquely beautiful
where I live.

This is our winter.

This house in my dreams,
discovered today in Santa Maria, Texas
(on my way to a basketball game),
came to life today because
I was alert.
In my dream house,
this house,
the floors would be polished and dark,
the walls in stucco painted a soft white,
the candles beeswax,
the wood furniture humble and dark,
the upholstered pieces colorful and comfortable,
the flowers wild,
the glasses clear,
the couch pillows soft,
the windows polished and bare,
the books old.

In this extra house,
the surfaces would also be bare,
(after all in this SOUL house no extras are needed)
the rugs colorful,
the bedding all white,
the fruit cut up and cold in the refrigerator,
the coffee delicious,
the iced tea adorned with wedges of Mexican limes from a tree outside
the kitchen window.
This pile of Mexican pavers
would become a simple
maze of patios and walkways,
leading to the mailbox,
and to the back patio
trellised in wrought iron,
covered with trailing
hot pink
If you came to visit,
we could have coffee outside
with hot, fresh bolillos,
slathered in sweet cream butter and marmalade,
and end our breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice.
And then while I watered you could take a little
morning nap,
or read a book,
or we could look at cookbooks to plan dinner.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This In Between Time


(Tangerine Tree, Christmas 2010)

This time between Christmas and New Year’s Day

can be a head spinning time

of planning and resolving.

Last year,

I even applied this planning to

my language.

As in

this year I

will be


(New Year’s 2009)

This year

(New Year’s 2010) 

I am changing it

to something a little



(as we say in the world

of student state testing).

I am


to stay alert


to be grateful.

I want to be alert to

God’s voice,


the feelings of others,



simply doing

the next right thing…

So often in my life

the next right thing

involves a sink full

of dishes,

watering my plants,

or folding a load of clothes.

It is rarely glamorous

or involves world acclaim.

It is inevitably in those times

when I don’t feel like washing the dishes,

watering plants,

or folding clothes.

Therein lies the test of my character:

to do it


I also yearn to kick my gratitude level up a notch,

for simple things, and for life’s simple pleasures.



Our tangerine tree is full.


The pecans from our pecan tree have been collected.

We traveled safely during the Christmas weekend.

My grandsons gave me hugs so tight

I can still feel them.



I have a new favorite candle.

I am making chili tonight.

I am going to use up items in my freezer and pantry as best I can.


I am looking for inspiration for my house.


I want to write interesting posts that are meaningful .



I shall be alert and grateful during this in between time.



How about you?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Roles


Merry Christmas

This morning,

while wondering whether the pecan pies were

ready to take out of my cranky,

temperamental oven,

(which I think has hot flashes),

I thought

I need to call my oldest daughter.

She is the expert on pecan pies.

And then that made me smile.

Have the roles so reversed,

at this time of life,

that one day

I will wake up on Christmas


wondering if Santa has been there?

I hope so

The best is yet to come.


You have been such a blessing.

Thank you.

Keep a tight rein and have a wonderful Christmas,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It’s Time


It’s time.

It’s time

to wrap the gifts-

no second guessing allowed...

no should have, could have.

It’s time, as my husband says,

to shut it down.


It’s time to

slow down.

It’s time

to remember the words of my mother,

when she really wanted my attention.

“Laura Ellen?”

Me:  Yes m’am?





It’s time to share

a Christmas message


just for you.



Everything is going to be OK.


I am linking to White Wednesday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This is Christmas Too



(Christmas in a small high school gym in South Texas)

Some of my best thinking happens in the car

while driving,

and this afternoon,

headed to my nephew’s basketball game,

was no different.


There’s a soundtrack to all of this

that causes one thought to lead to another.

Today it was Kirk Franklin’s gospel version

of September by Earth , Wind, and Fire.

This is Christmas too ,

in all of its glory and

normal daily living.

Today I thought of you too.

As I stood in the gym before

the game,

hand over my heart,

facing the American flag hanging on the gym wall,

I thought so many of you with

my kind of quirky thinking

would love this too.


When a recorded version of the

 Star Spangled Banner

started to boom through the gym speakers,

sung by Carrie Underwood,

my grin was as big as it could get.



Then I remembered what our Bishop said

in his sermon this past Sunday.

Quoting a line from C.S. Lewis he said,

“God closes in.”



Merry Christmas

Flat Apple Pie




Everyone who blogs knows all about The Pioneer Woman, and you probably have her cookbook, as I do.

In fact my daughter, who lives in Dallas, went to her book signing on my behalf last year, but

the line was too long.


Last Christmas,

I bought copies for all three of my daughters and two of my dear friends, Mary Jo and Anna.

One of my favorite recipes is Pioneer Woman’s

Flat Apple Pie.

Oh my.

It is rustic and earthy and approachable and delicious,

and in my family

looks like a single serving.

There I said it.

So make two.

You’ll be glad you did.


Who decided what a serving was anyway?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Treat For You: Go See Debbie at Talking Trash

IMG_2822   `

(mercury glass acorns from Laurie Anna’s)

I have wanted to do this for


very long time,

and the week before Christmas is the perfect time.

As you ponder life’s blessings and challenges,

as Christmas approaches and 2010

is coming to a close,

please treat yourself to

a special gift.

If you haven’t already done so, and most of you have,

go visit

Debbie (Deb)


Talking Trash.

This wonderful lady needs absolutely



She has a level of credibility and wisdom

and success in the world of junking and blogging

that is well known by many.

That is not what I want to say, however.

That has been said before.

This is not a feature.

This is my truth and a gift to all of you who

may not know her.

She is

the edifier,

the mentor,

the selfless one,

the humble one,

the motherly one,

the grandmotherly one,

the wild one ,

the laughing one,

the crying one,

the spiritual one,

the funny one,


one of the best writers

in blog land.

I love a funky turn of phrase


Debbie can turn a word on a dime and make you go back to re-read,

all while laughing and spitting and crying all over your laptop simultaneously.

Better than that,

she takes you


and all of a sudden


jammed into a car with your girlfriends,

making a drag through the parking lot of Dairy Queen,

hoping you run into you know who,

whoever he was.

You’re at the VFW in a small Texas town,

and you look cute,

and you have

time on your side.

So Debbie,

I’m writing an


in the margin

of this wonderful paper


“How to Live Life”

that you have written.


Merry Christmas!










Faux Twitter: Christmas Shopping


6:00 am     

Decided to go Christmas shopping to make up for lost time .

6:30 am     

Realized I needed to have yesterday’s hair highlights repaired.

Should have realized when the hairdresser said ‘CHUNKY

that was NOT a good sign.

(Never been a fan of the word chunky

under any circumstances.)

8:00 am      

Left for hairdresser.

9:00 am      

Left hair salon with different colors of chunky highlights.

9:15 am      

Entered Target.

9:30 am      

Realized I had been calling games for my grandsons DSI instead of DS.

Told salesperson it was an honest mistake, after all there are a million

CSI shows on television. 

Realized he was staring at my highlights.

Whatever. Join the club.

10:00 am    

Decided to really push the envelope.

Went to WalMart.

Became distracted by the number of people in WalMart

and their intensity and confidence.

10:30 am     

Left empty handed.

11:00 am     

Went to JC Penney’s to look for little boys pajamas.

Stared at pajamas wondering what size to get.

Got them both the same size because the legs looked tight.

Realized I have become my sweet grandmother Mamaw, 

whose Christmas gifts were always the wrong size.

Now I understand why.

11:30 am    

Went to Ross .

Felt excited because, after shopping for an hour, my basket was full,

and I was marking things off my list.                              

Turned the corner at the back of the store and wondered why everyone

was facing the same direction with their baskets.

Realized it was the checkout LINE.

Left defeated.

12:00 pm     

Went home.

Tomorrow’s a new day.

Planning strategy to outsmart other Ross shoppers.

Just realized what the strategy is…






Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Eve in South Texas


While the rest of the world is celebrating Christmas Eve
with a traditional menu,
my family celebrates it
South Texas style.
Christmas Eve is not a time for these.
Instead it is a time for
Because if your menu is like mine,
nothing works better.
If it is cold outside, I will prepare my friend Celeste’s
recipe for
Pozole, a wonderful soup with hominy.
Before eating it, it is delicious sprinkled with finely shredded
cabbage and white cheese.
I will serve it in my soup set that I bought on the side of the road (my favorite place to shop)
San Miguel de Allende.
I also use these plates which I bought in Dolores Hidalgo.
The rest of the menu includes
tamales from Delia’s in McAllen.
My favorite filling is cream cheese, jalapeno, and chicken.
(tamale purists would not approve…)
We will also have my husband’s
frijoles a la charra
(pinto beans).
We will also have salsitas, pico de gallo, guacamole,
and chili con queso.
For dessert?
Chocolate Sheet Cake- because
nothing is better with Mexican food than chocolate...
unless it’s my friend Anna’s pineapple empanaditas.
birthday celebration (23) 
I am linking to
Show and Tell Friday.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gold and Old


If I had a trapped audience tomorrow morning at the high school in room 136,

I would teach (I call it tap dancing)

a lesson on one of Robert Frost’s

most famous poems,

Nothing Gold Can Stay.


I would begin by saying I don’t completely agree.

This afternoon I looked at some of the gold Christmas decorations I have collected

over the years.

The three wise men belonged to my mother.

They are at least 40 years old.


This tree is worn and has lost some of its luster,

as has the angel below.

That makes them even more endearing to me.

I have had these things for at least 20 years.




I hope everyone is having a simple Christmas season.

I am.

I didn’t plan it that way, but that is what

made it simple.

I didn’t plan.

It’s right around the corner, and instead of feeling stressed,

I feel excited.

Keep a tight rein.


Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vintage Christmas Ornaments

As I wrote the title of this post,
Vintage Christmas Ornaments,
it occurred to me that
Christmas decorations are vintage,
even if only in the eye of the beholder.
They have stood the test of time,
mean something special to the owner,
and provide countless days
of family tradition
and beauty.
These ornaments were also part of my daughter’s inventory
at market days.
I hid them under the table immediately.

I don’t know who made these ornaments,
but I have a picture in my mind
of what would make it special for me.
In my mind,
it would be my mother and my aunts sitting around a kitchen table,
laughing and talking while they worked.
I would be there too,
helping, watching, listening,
and learning.
There are vintage experiences and memories too,
aren’t there?
I am linking to these wonderful parties.

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