Greener Grass

Ok, Nana.

We're gonna hide.

and you come find us.

I already suspect that they are hiding in the tall weeds
that have sprouted with recent rain showers.


Ready or not
Here I come.

Where are you?

I'm gonna find you!


There you are!

These poor children
haven't seen anything green in 18 months
because of the drought in Texas.
They've sadly been playing in sand and stickers.

They didn't see this tall green stuff as stinky, sneezey weeds,
but something green, soft and wonderful to play in.

They revered it so much
that they fluffed it back up after hiding in it.

I guess that's further proof that we are created
to lie down in green pastures.
(Psalm 23)

Thank you Lord for showers and a green yard
even if it is only weeds.


Life in a Hamster Ball

It's Monday morning and this post is for YOU. 
You who have ever felt like you are a hamster,
 spending day after day in a ball. 
 Always runnng. 
 Never getting anywhere.
(That probably has applied to all of us at some point in time.)
I have the cure.

Go to a carnival.
Preferably with chldren.
Take lots of money.

It was the San Angelo, Texas
 Stock Show and Rodeo
Craft Show
Petting Zoo
We went on purpose.

This comes from someone who's spent her life
 trying to divert children's attention away from carnivals
"O, look over here at this interesting empty lot, dumpster, convenience station, or whatever"
Anyone else guilty?
The last time I took children to this carnival
they all lost their footlong corndogs and funnel cakes after the Tilt-a-Whirl.


It was the fartherest ride away
and she called it the "merry-go-round"

7 year old: "I've ALWAYS wanted to ride the merry-go-round."
Nana: "I've NEVER wanted to ride the ferris wheel."
12 year old brother: "Not Me"
Mom: "Nope,  I'll get sick"

So, ALWAYS and NEVER rode the ferris wheel.

And what kind of goofy grandmother would forget her camera
 and have to use her phone for amazing shots
from the top of the world.

We conquered the ferris wheel.
We threw darts to win toys
and balls to win goldfish
and begged for more.

We ate curley fries and corn dogs and cheesecake on a stick.
We drank enough sugar to keep those two energizer bunnies going for years.
We loved the critters

in the petting zoo.

Then we walked into the Mutton Bustin'  building
and Little Miss ALWAYS said,
"I've ALWAYS wanted to do that."
(FYI - San Angelo is sheep country
 and Mutton Bustin'
 is a rodeo event where children ride wooly sheep
like cowboys ride bucking horses.) 

So ride she did.

She took a tumble

and got up to do it again.

This cowgirl is down, but not out.

But the absolute favorite was

the Hamster Ball

We laughed

and laughed

and laughed

and begged for more

So when your problems
seem like giants

and you think life is for the birds

Get you some kids.
Find a carnival.

and have some fun while you're in that hamster ball!


Chocolate Fest

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I won an Interscholastic League writing contest.  My topic was
"Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder".
 I don't have a clue what I wrote about, because I certainly didn't know much about absence OR fondness.  Then I thought it referred to romance.  Now I know it can be applied to any number of things.  Lately, for me - it is all about my family, my home, my home town and my home state.  Being away from them has made them all the more dear to me.

This past weekend I went to a fund raiser for the Scurry County Museum in my home town. 
The event was the Chocolate Fest

where chocolate is supposedly paired with the perfect wine. 

 Now that I think about it, I didn't hear one person comment on
 which wine was best with which chocolate.

I'm not a wine drinker for a lot of reasons
(mostly because I don't like it),
but once in the grocery store I was handed a sample of
Woodbridge Moscato
and bought a bottle.
It was so sweet and fruity, I could have downed it like kool-aid.
But I can't and don't because it might start to look like this picture:

a little fuzzy.
My friend, Pat, once watched me eat chocolate and said,
"it's a good thing you don't drink,
because you would probably be a
A Slush?

So for this event I kept one hand on the camera
and the other in the chocolate plate,
which is also not good.

The event was held at the Manhattan Coffee House
on Snyder's historic town square.
Marianne owns the place and is the perfect hostess

She left Snyder decades ago for a life of adventure.
She has been everywhere and done everything, but came back home
to develop some of her property into something
that would enhance our community.
She has been inspiring us to be better
for about 10 years.

is a bed and breakfast and great meeting place.

The Big Apple Deli is next to the Manhattan and its proprietor is
Bill, Marianne's son.

Our mayor, the honorable Terry Martin, was a server at the event

His beautiful first lady, Martha,  has been my friend for a long time.
  She is on the museum board and,
I just learned,

And speaking of flying,
John is also a board member and also served as bartender.
He is retired from an oil company
and is a respected pilot.

Mrs. Tune
(Isn't that just the perfect name for a piano teacher?)
provided  the music for the evening.

Nathalie, my good friend and talented artist,
 painted the evening away

 and donated the finished canvas to the fundraiser.
That's a wine glass on a weathered cedar fence post.

Kathy and I laughed about the junior high cheerleader outfit
 she passed on to me
and how we were both the worst cheerleaders ever.

She has recently opened a restaurant,
The Happy Texan,
and is living her dream.

Amy was one of Heather's friends.
She still looks the way they both looked
15 years ago.
She is now a wife, mother and teacher.
DeVelva, a sweet cousin,
is a hairdresser and always beautiful.
It was so good to see her.
I guess that was the best part of the
Chocolate Fest -

And speaking of cousins,
Lisa was there too.
I have loved her since she was such a little thing.
How can she be a mom to three teens with another surprise on the way?

For my blood relatives that may be reading this blog in confusion,
Both of these gals are cousins by marriage
but they both introduce me as
their cousins.
They make me proud!
It was just a lovely, lovely evening back in my home town.

 Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder.


Gifts from God

Back in Texas, I spent a few days with the GRANDchildren
 while their parents went to New Orleans on a business/pleasure trip. 
It was good.

Their schedule was:
Monday - School
Monday Evening - Cotillion

Cotillion is where 12 year old boys go
to learn etiquette and how to dance with 12 year old girls
while pretending not to like it.
This week was 50's night.
"Who is James Dean, anyway?"

Tuesday - Home School

Where it's OK to do your math, and grammar, and spelling in your pj's.

I saw a picture/post of the Pioneer Woman's homeschoolers doing their work on the floor..

Another home school mom posted a picture on facebook of her girl doing math in a lawn chair with a chicken looking over her shoulder.
I guess - if it works, it's OK.

Wednesday - School
Wednesday - Soccer Practice

Thursday - Home School

Thursday Evening - Basketball Practice

This is on the wall of the basketball court.

Friday - School

In between, we found time to eat creatively

and badly

We even went bowling
as a special treat for finishing our work early.

and something made us really hungry.

We had one really nice day to play outside.
This girl can ride like the wind
(and in the wind too).

Yes, that's a drilling rig across the road.
And for my North Dakota friends lamenting the oil boom there,
I could see 11 drilling rigs from their house.
That doesn't include pump jacks and tanks.
We've got it too.

One of the kids was eating homemade potato soup
from a bowl that said:
"Children are a gift from God"
Yes, they are.


Back in Texas

First day back in Texas, we made a trip to the deer pasture to get the hunting truck that broke down there.  The whole 50 mile trip, I relished the beauty (at least the beauty to my eyes) of dry West Texas. 

We drove through what was once the largest wind farm in the world. I don't know where it stands now, but you can probably drive in them for a hundred miles.

We stopped for a few pictures along the way.

Not everybody likes them,

but they don't spill oil or chemicals
and they don't smell like gas or H2S.
They are clean and somewhat blend into the sky.

This trip to the deer pasture,

I realized that I have had a serious long time
love affair
with pastures.

My earliest pasture memory
was driving down the trail of a road

to visit someone named
Aunt (pronounced ain't) Addie
who lived in a pasture.
I think there was a cistern in the front yard
and an outhouse in the back.
She may have even lived close to our deer pasture.

Everything about pastures fascinate me.

prickly pear,
mesquite trees,

critter trails,

and critter houses.

Even things people leave behind
can take on an art form.

the man after God's heart,
the shepherd boy,
song writer,

"He makes me to lie down in green pastures."
(Psalm 23:2)

Can I suggest my own version of this scripture?
(RRV - Renee's Revised Version)

He created me to
lie down,
sit in,
walk through,
and enjoy

Now that I think about it,
we were created to live in a pasture
(well, maybe a garden).

The Hebrew defines pasture as
a word altogether poetic,
a seat, a dwelling of men or God.
where flocks lie down, remain, rest.
Psalm 83:12 translates the same word
as house of God.

Trips to the deer pastures,
and lakes
and mountains
and city parks
might be nothing more than our attempts
to go back the THE GARDEN.
These could be places where we try to connect with
our Creator.

My pasture love continued when my family
moved to a cotton farm with a pasture
for me to roam when I was 11.
It's funny, but I'm not sure I could send my 12 year old grandson
to roam alone in that same pasture.

We live on the the family farm
and when we get back home to Texas,
I tell my man -
"gotta go to the pasture".
Boots, hat, snake gun and four wheeler ready
and I'm off. 
There's really no purpose there - I just have to go.

I'm pretty sure I've never laid down in the pasture,
but if I did,
the view would take my breath away
because I just might find HIM there.

I hope all your trails lead to green pastures...
and your Creator.
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