Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is EVERY day....

Most of you know that I've been on a path of Change....

Many of you know that I've changed career paths...

Some of you know what I'd like that next career path to be...

A few of you know how much we've given up to make that dream a reality

But God knows when the timing is right...

Someone told me a a couple of years ago....

"You are brave; it takes courage to do what you're doing."

We've been very persistent in our dream....I retired from teaching.  We sold a home that we dearly loved.  It was a log home, so it had truly become a part of us.  We have lost our beloved dog to cancer, several family members have better half lost his job (twice) and found one again.  

A daughter became a doctor. 

A daughter found a soulmate. 

A daughter moved away to follow her dreams. 

A son moved to begin a PhD program.

A daughter became a surrogate mom to a gay couple in Israel. 

We've made offers on homes and none have become ours. 

I could go on and on....

The last three years have been challenging and yet so full of blessings.  We are in a rental home still looking....

And HIS timing is what we must have faith in.  Just a few weeks ago, we were on a short Fall drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway.  While we were there, we continued to look on the internet for a lot, a home, 'it.'  I was getting ready in the morning when my better half called out to me to come look at the computer...

"Is this what it looks like?" he asked.

I looked in disbelief at the screen. 

There it was....

the lot

the lot that we had looked at three years ago.  The lot that we had surveyed.  The lot our dog walked on before we knew he had cancer and would not be with us much longer.  The lot that we had an architect start to draw plans for a home on.  The lot that was zoned correctly for our dream.  

There it was... for sale. (again)

You see, when it was for sale three years ago, we dragged our feet.  We were doing our 'due diligence' but God really knew we weren't ready.  So someone else bought the lot, even though we had spent so much time and money on the property.  We had not made the official offer on it until we were sure our dreams could have the possibility of coming true on that lot.  

Last Friday we signed the papers on the lot.  It is ours.  

And, the surveyor's stakes are still on the property...we found 18 of them...some still stuck in the ground.  Nothing has been done to the lot.  We laughed and cried and, quite frankly, we're still in shock...

It's our lot. 

Now, a LOT has to happen to this LOT before we can do anything 'real.'  But it's a start and we are so grateful....

Today, I'm cleaning...I'm washing out the refrigerator so I can put all the holiday goodies in there.  I roasted a turkey today and sliced it up.  There will be LOTS of people here for Thanksgiving and I don't think one turkey will be enough, plus everyone loves to take one will be in the fridge sliced and ready to take home in little packages.  

Tomorrow and Monday, I'll do most of the shopping, and Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll do the baking. 

and cleaning....and readying....

for my kitty loving friends, like Susan and Rosinda and Sandy and Nancy...I found this funny little picture of a kitty all full after Thanksgiving dinner....

These are scenes from LAST was at my daughter's house because her husband's father was very ill and couldn't travel far and we live 100 miles further to the north. 

It was a wonderful day....filled with good food and family and friends...

We were very fortunate to all be together....

His father is no longer with daughter took him into their home in his final weeks and he died in their home.  It was an unbelievably difficult time for them and my daughter was also pregnant at the time. 

There were big kettles of food to cook.

And my youngest daughter's dog was there to catch any foods that might fall from little hands...

We had pies and cookies and Susan Branch's spiced pecans. 

We count our blessings...

There's something especially wonderful about the aromas of foods cooking for Thanksgiving

To my Canadian friends....the US REALLY needs to adopt YOUR Thanksgiving...OURS is way too close to everything else....

and to all of my friends all over the world.... Thanksgiving is truly a day for each of us.  The true meaning is thankfulness for all of our blessings.... and I am thankful to each of you for coming along on our journey.  

I appreciate your comments; I appreciate you taking the time to read. 

I am grateful. 

I'll take lots of pictures of Thanksgiving this year.... we have so much to be thankful for.  For everyone who is without a job, without a home, without loved ones who were with them last year...may you be filled with Love and Hope and Light.  May you find strength and Courage and Hope.  May you be blessed by His love.  

Love one another...forgive.... be kind.  

We're all truly in this together...

so, let's all rejoice in this amazing time of year....and fill our hearts with LOVE. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Inn at Iris Meadows and More

The trip continues..... 

I LOVE the Fall.....

and....I LOVE log cabins.... 

love this old log cabin and its wonderful little porch

burning bush was ablaze everywhere!!! We have one small bush in our large clusters, it was magnificent!

and now onto what you're waiting for (and we did, too!!)

and our incredible Inn...

We were fortunate enough to stay here for a couple of nights....
It's such a busy time of year in this part of the world.  Like New England in the Fall, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smoky Mountains are filled with visitors from around the world.  This is a wonderful place to stay!!

We always like to stay at b&b's whenever possible to learn more about what we like and what we don't like about them.... and this one was jut beautiful

The driveway toward the Inn

One of the many wreaths that adorned the doors, fences, and porches of the inn

The Inn...

The side entrance and way to the front porch...look closely and you can see the Halloween silhouettes

The inn's dog, with her little Fall kerchief, greeted us as we unpacked the car

The front porch....the innkeeper created this wonderful space filled with lovely places to read and rest

Her wonderful pots of gorgeous geraniums were still in full bloom!!

The front parlor, filled with books and magazines to peruse

The entryway just as you come in the front door...

The breakfast room....the little table on the right near the window is where we sat each morning

there were always treats on the buffet and guests had a small kitchen to make coffee and tea

The fireplace adorned with tiny pumpkins

The area is just splendid.  The little town of Waynesville, North Carolina was high in the mountains and that weekend was host to the annual apple festival.  If you click on apple festival in the previous sentence, you can see the area and look at all the wonderful things to do there.  We ate at two incredible restaurants, so if you plan to go, ask me about them....they were wonderful!

a local farm had piles of pumpkins everywhere

Love this fence!

Course #1 of one of our breakfasts

On the lovely porch of the inn

A home that you can rent (think holidays!!) for all the family.  Sleeps 20.  This is nearby.

                                                      and now the long drive to Atlanta (about 3 hours) where we flew home from....we made a stop at Trader Joe's there to bring home some things we love.  What a wonderful trip.... in more ways than one! 

Thank you for coming along with us!


Friday, November 9, 2012

The Blue Ridge Parkway

I realized that I've repeated a couple of photos, but I know you don't mind, right?   

Well, let's keep going and get caught up....

After leaving Arizona, we flew to BWI, Baltimore Washington Airport in Maryland.  I used to live in Columbia, MD, so I'm fairly familiar with the area.  It lies between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., so I've frequented both cities frequently.  Our goal was to take not quite 5 days and do as much as we could to see Fall leaves along the Blue Ridge Parkway....

so, come along with me!!

Historic Savage Mill: home to Wonderful antiques!!
Click HERE to read more about it!

When we were finished shopping for antiques at Historic Savage Mill, we went out to our rental car which would not start.  Long story short.... our trip lost several hours waiting for a new car to be delivered to us and our first towed away....

so, on with our journey.... we took this wonderful old ferry called WHITE'S FERRY

You can see a good picture of it HERE  They just don't make them like this anymore!
It crosses the Potomac River. 

We then drove through Lexington, Virginia, home of VMI or Virginia Military Institute

And then on through windy roads of lovely colors

We had to hurry through some of these parts because we lost those hours waiting on a new rental car....but the Blue Ridge Parkway was not far away now....

We were told that the colors of the Parkway this year were 'average' due to an earlier storm that stripped many of the trees and left others less than spectacular.  Our Fall 2010 trip to New England and Martha's Vineyard was much more spectacular with colors, but we still enjoyed this so much!

I gathered a huge bag of acorns to bring home for our Thanksgiving tablescape....

 The days were warm, the nights crisp and chilly...
  And we walked through the leaves, like kids being silly

One of the vistas along the parkway

some of the reds I found along the way

and there are MANY tunnels on the parkway.... they are lovely

And yes, you're reading it correctly; that's TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY!!

In my next post, I'll tell you where we stayed; you won't want to miss it because it was spectacular!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So much to catch up on!

This is one of those 'stream-of-consciousness' kinds of writing.   I've been lax in my writing and now I'm paying the price for it...where to start and there's so much that's been going on.  

As most of you know, my youngest daughter moved to California...she sent me this photo of her in San Francisco at Miette.  I LOVE the little scalloped cookbook and told her to go there if she had a chance and so she did.... ahhhhhhh, I just love it! 

Of course, after she moved there, it didn't take very long for her sister and I to fly out there to see we are enjoying iced coffee, frozen yogurt and beautiful sunshine....

   This phrase is so important..... and a constant reminder to me. 

oh yes, and youngest daughter got her CA vet's license, so now she can work as a vet there as well as CO.
 We've been looking at houses all summer and Fall....this one had a spectacular view of the lake but was rather old and rather expensive for what it was....still the view....ahhhhhh

 We flew back to Ohio for my 40th class reunion.  I was a high school librarian for 4 years and was actually voted 'librarian of the year,' oh yes I was!!!  Here I am in that same library....  40 years later!!

The 40th reunion was lovely...I so enjoyed seeing dear old friends...

Here's all of us posing together.... can you find me?

We visited a county fair and loved seeing the bees...I thought of my lovely friend Rachel in England whose husband is a bee keeper....what a lovely hobby!

Out of order, but I couldn't leave it out, this gorgeous old Victorian in Davis, CA
We enjoyed seeing the town and all the new and special spots

At the county fair, we watched the horse teams, so lovely and precise

I love the times I spend with my family and cherish each and every moment.  Here, these little miniature homes were being auctioned off for charities....

And no visit is complete with a wonderful trip to a cupcake shop...I'm always looking for the most darling shops, gathering ideas, looking for inspiration.  Here, my youngest daughter gets ready to find a vanilla vanilla, her favorite!

Of course, one of our go-to favorites in cupcakes in Sprinkles.  Yes, I'm GF, but it doesn't stop me from looking, right??

And we are again at Paris in a Cup in Orange, CA  I've recommended this incredible tea spot to many....remember, make reservations!!

Inside Paris in a Cup....yummy!!

This was the first annual event that my youngest daughter wasn't able to attend....we had a wonderful Fall Harvest time, but of course, it wasn't quite the same without her...

Recently (in October), we flew to Arizona to see my mom and took her out for tea...she LOVES to go out for tea and had a wonderful afternoon there....I think we were there for about 3 hours!

We also had an excellent dinner in northwest was the view of the mountains as we sat outside in the early evening enjoying our fantastic meal

But then it was time to leave Arizona....but we didn't fly home....

Where did we go?

Tune in next time!!