Thursday, December 31, 2015

Not the Year with no Cookies!

I'm waiting on time for my son to be off, and then we will head in my beautiful blue car (my mother insisted I buy) to see her at the hospital. She looks strong on the chart, but she looks rather fragile in person.

I do want to share a cute story about Mom and Christmas. We had such an ordeal with our electrical power due to an error from the power company. We had no power all day Christmas Eve. So many trucks and employees worked diligently to fix it, and when the lights came on, I mentioned that I wouldn't be able to bake a batch of cookies. Too late, I said.

Mom said that was fine, but she added, "I'll always remember it was the Year with no homemade cookies."

I just laughed.

But late at night, actually in the middle of the night, it hit me that wasn't going to happen. I got up at two a.m. And made her favorites: Mexican wedding cakes. They are so fun to make, but oh so messy.

I happily crawled into bed leaving the surprise on the kitchen table. I couldn't wait for her to get up. She didn't come out until seven, which is late for her. I had been waiting since six. She was so tickled with the cookies. Come to find out, she had been dressed and sitting in her room for two hours waiting... So not to wake me up too early on Christmas.

Thank you, Spirits that got my tail out of bed to bake those cookies. It was the beginning of a perfect day.

please click for tutorial and recipe

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hoping for the best

Not a lot to report. Mom is holding her own, I think.

Hoping for the best!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sad News

After what I shall always remember as a perfect Christmas day and a quiet and happy December 26th, my mother experienced a severe, massive stroke Sunday morning. We are in the ICU at Columbia. She's fairly aware but debilitated on her left side.

Time will tell how hard it will be for her to work back. She is a tough cookie, and we so hope for the best. I already have SO many things I want to tell her. Please keep a good thought for us.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

MERRY Christmas Eve...

The level of magical reverence today has always been so remarkable. Christmas Eve. Not quite the day of all days of the year... But so close. So many people are awake and off to businesses as usual, but with that little amazement that tomorrow is Christmas day.
Storms and wind here in the Midwest have given this season an unnatural, surreal quality.. Today I'm hoping to hear from some of those who continue regular jobs. Our power is out in some of the house. Fuses? Line sagging down in the back of the house because a big pine tree lost its battle with shallow roots and high winds in wet, soggy ground. But it's  the kitchen stove. Might want that, huh?
May Christmas be special and kind to all of you. God's blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Week

How different it has been to have such warm days. I know all my friends and family have enjoyed the sunshine. We have been loving our visits with dear ones gathered at our table, and we hope to see more.

This has been a year with a lot of tears for some in our precious circle. Our heart goes out to everyone facing any kind of test or sorrow.

May you all find the Grace to experience happy Christmas memories.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Red Dawn

Another amazing sunrise here at Meadow Lane. Final day of decorating. Almost done with wrapping.

I hear Mama getting up. It's that beautiful time of the day when everybody else has to go to school... And I'm retired... It was fun though.

I know the holidays can be sad, stressful, happy... Anything. I hope yours are sweet and kind.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Virus time

Nope. So happy to report it's not Mom, my son or me.  It's Moonlit Snow, my laptop. My goodness, it's frustrating.
I've purchased two things, Norton's and Malewarebytes. Both helped temporarily. Today I went on in safe mode and deleted chrome, reinstalled it... Any suggestions? Hate to reboot totally and don't know where my disks are or if I even have any. Ugh.
Meanwhile. Prelit trees blow chunks. Lol. You can take the girl out of the junior high teacher classroom, but you can't take the junior high out of the girl. I don't know of anyone who doesn't agree after a couple years of prelit bliss. Boom! Dark spots.. Maybe even flashing spots... So unimportant in the grand scheme of life... But frustrating in the daily...
Bright spot. My son is coming for supper!!! My sister/cousin is coming for earlier coffee (with some white cord multi lights.) Gifts are 99% wrapped. Tonight is day one for Amazon Prime to run War Room, which I've wanted to see .... So hope my computer works. Having friends over in upcoming days. Love to entertain.
Have a good week.

My son spiffed up for his company Christmas party. 
He sings my heart... <3

Friday, December 4, 2015


Just some visuals and notes to cheer your busy day...

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Welcome to Ginger Town! If you walk these streets of gingerbread, you will discover a little bit of sugary goodness. I put the string of lights on a dimmer switch, so the ambiance is so very special.
I surprised Mom yesterday morning after a late night decorating marathon, and today I've been puttering some with all the holiday finery. It's a sharp, crisp, bright day, so I've been able to clean better... (Translation: the dirt shows up.)
Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stay tuned

So, for years I have searched for a pretty pattern of red toile transfer-ware... The front runner was always Johnson Brother's Strawberry Faire, but they are sooo expensive. Kohl's had an unbeatable sale for Black Friday plus an extra 20% if I ordered on my mobile app. Gibson Elite Holiday Retreat china pattern This isn't a super picture, so wait ... just wait...  It's coming December 4-11th. I, so far, have opted to seek asylum in zipped lips rather  than come squeaky clean to Mom. She has a point, of course... But I don't care... 

Whimsy and Hugs!

Movie Night

So, in my quest to enjoy each season, it occurred to me to revisit favorite seasonal movies. December 1st found me watching a truly romantic comedy with the beautiful Kate Beckinsale

and one of my favorites John Cusack. Christmas plays a minimal part, but it is the setting. So it counts.

Do you believe in fate? I want to when things are good. I refuse if the plot turns sad or ugly.

We  were all so much younger when this movie first aired in 2001. I followed a hunch and discovered this fact. Serendipity was released less than a month after 9/11. All shots of the WTC towers were edited out of it. Gone. What was the thinking on this? Would God forbid! we have done the same for The Statue of Liberty? the St. Louis arch? the Eiffel Tower? 

Well, it is a free movie on Amazon Prime and perhaps Netflix. I like it. 10 stars. I am hopelessly romantic although life very certainly kicked me in the teeth there... But it did not for many, my parents and grandparents included.

Suggest a Christmas movie favorite if you will!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Coffee with Santa

Just the littlest perk (get it?) me up in the corner by my stove. The most delicious Perfect Potful brand coffees in toasted pecan, mudslide, and creme brulee... All sparkly in my apothecary jar.

My new batter bowl from the Walmart Pioneer Woman collection, a gift from a dear friend, holds a new lighted wreath and a whimsical Santa fairy, my gift from another friend last season.

Poppies remind me of my gramma and are perfect on a tea pot ready for my favorite, Harney and Sons Holiday tea...

All this has made me thirsty for a cuppa... Better come over.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

frogs and toads... or pearls and rubies

Tomorrow is going to be Operation Decoration... Nativity. Mantel. Tree. Kitchen. Porch.
.... Well, as much "fun" as it looks like my work force of one (my dear son) can endure.

So, it is possible, considering his work load all week, we might just eat chicken wings
and play Spinner. And that's good, too.  

I wonder why I am not able to sustain what I am in my spirit, what I dream, what I think I will/can be when I first open my eyes and speak with God in the morning.
Instead, after I touch the floor with my mundane feet, the vapor vanishes, and I'm cranky and tired, so not magical or spiritual. Was that a step-sister in the real Cinderella who opened her mouth and toads plopped out? It seems someone brought out pearls and rubies... Hmmm.... Or what fairy tale was that? Here I come,  
Leige Google... 

I am so surprised by my behavior and my exterior--- what shows to others every day...
-----because I am intimate with a much softer, kinder, splendid self who frustratingly remains unavailable for daily life.

Both God and my mother must frown at my folly. 

....on a brighter note:

My mother and I have been enjoying Hallmark Christmas movies. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our beautiful little town

In the town where I taught 37 years a little train sits waiting all through the year. Despite efforts by the community, the old engine has its share of rust and aging metal. But once a year due to community effort and the persistence of a couple local heros of community pride... It's glorious...

It's magical you know... Where do you want to go aboard the Bevier and Southern? Back in time? Freeways to the future? Freeze yourself right now in the moment? All aboard the holiday journey...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Join me for the gentle season...

“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, 
They danced by the light of the moon.” 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My dear Irish writer and Priest

                    On Waking
            by John O'Donohue
I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life.
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.

Clouds and noodles

Today was the one year anniversary of Mom's big, bad fall. Don't think everyone in our family didn't remind her to be careful! Our family Thanksgiving was on Sunday, so today Mom and I alone watched the Macy's parade and ate on our Friendly Village China.

I got up early and poached some chicken breasts and fixed her a favorite surprise: noodles and mashed potatoes.

The bluest clouds gather and shake their dark locks at all of us. Forecast is for wintry bluster and more noodles. Happy Thanksgiving...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Another little Turkey Time

The thoroughfares of the home are getting crowded as totes and boxes slide along these highways... Autumn up. Wise men out.. Gingerbread...turn on your blinkers! You need to exit in the kitchen. What is in all these boxes, and why don't I have anything for anybody but I have all this?

But honeys, none of this matters. We all know it. What truly matters can't be boxed, decorated, or hauled from storage. So very thankful for everyone in my life, both past and present.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Sunday we celebrated our Thanksgiving with my son, a good friend of his, Mom, and a dear friend of mine. After two days of cooking and planning, it was just so much fun to laugh together, eat turkey and all the trimmings, and play Spinner. It was a perfect day.

And now we begin to decorate and wrap, savoring the agendas of the bright holiday... Yet...

One of my dear cousins lost her son this week. I cannot breathe when I think about it. Thanks for our dearest blessings often turns to clutching fear, doesn't it..?

I have been lost in the gateways of Youtube this month. So many videos... It's unimaginable. I've been watching videos and vlogs (video blogs) about journaling, planning, and living that best life we think we can maneuver... I kind of realize those are hours I can't get back, but I watch late at night so technically I wouldn't be working anyway.

Ugh. Dentist tomorrow. Boy Howdy, I hate to go, but I lost a filling.

Have a lovely Gratitude Day...  I'll probably pop in again this week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rainy November Night

Today has been that deep grey that only November can bring... Rains, clouds, and the promise of a dip in temperatures and maybe a little wintry mix on Thanksgiving next week.

I have been trying some much needed organizing, but once again it seems as if I'm trudging see through quicksand. Nobody knows what's been bought or what's up really. I'm short tempered and generally in line to be spotted by Santa as a Grinch... I read too much and plan and... Here I am...

Upbeat, in love with life, running around in the Autumnal glory.. However. .....

I'm very grateful at this Thanksgiving time to have helped Mom through a year since her terrible fall on Thanksgiving day a year ago. I am to the moon grateful for my son, and I wish him to be happy and healthy. I love my family and friends so much.

Lots to be thankful for. And I am.

I'll no doubt pop back in before the Turkey Day itself. We are celebrating with a couple friends here on Sunday because my son goes to his Dad's family on the day. I love cooking for my family and friends. Just wanted to touch base auth all of you.

Stay safe in body and spirit if you can. The world intrudes its bludgeoned heart in all the news. We Cannot help but feel assaulted. Because we have been. While we pray for peace we need to pray for wisdom.

FINALLY some sunshine on Thursday.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Soupy Weather

These past few day have been definitely soup weather days. I know Mom just loves soup, so I have probably worn her out on it. I fixed her favorite Potato Soup with Pennsylvania Dutch Rivels on Tuesday. Then tonight I was working on a recipe for a dear friend who wanted to try my Broccoli Cheese Soup. I usually don't have a recipe, so this one is just what I do. My big dutch oven from Lodge has been getting a workout.

Can't really get a grip on anything this week. It seems like I'm either looking for something I've misplaced or starting a project and quickly regretting the mess it's making! I hear there are only 49 or 50 days before Christmas. What seemed to be early birdness has quickly turned here...  I am the original hare from Aesop's Tale...   Asleep while every kind of tortoise buzzes right by.

Here is my recipe!

Serves 6 – 8
Gayla's Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 pkg. baby broccoli from Schwan
4 c. water
3 boullion cubes
½ chopped onion
3 ribs chopped celery
Boil together for about 20 minutes until celery is tender.
1/3 of 2# loaf Velveeta Cheese, cubed
Stir in and let melt. (Keep stirring a lot)
1/3 c. flour (I have used cornstarch, and either is fine.)
¾ c. water
pinch pepper
additional salt if desired. (We don't add more)
Shake these three ingredients in a pint jar or shaker
Add to soup and stir three minutes. (Stir a lot more)
¾ c. + desired amount milk or cream or half and half. (We use 2%)
Add enough milk to thin to desired consistency

Cover, turn off heat, let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend.

  • Some like this soup blended, but we don't particularly need that, so we don't blend it. The food show chefs recommend to let the soup cool partially and add only small amounts at a time to blender if you choose to do that. Some blend only half the soup and add back for a variety in consistency.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints and All Souls

Welcome, November. The year has turned, and it is nearly holiday time. Rather than yap about what a shock this is, I'll just leave a couple little photos.

Sometimes the season just creeps into the soul. They say the veil between the worlds is thin. I can believe that because I've been contemplating my dad, my grandparents, and the spirit and soul left in my life from each of these dear ones who have passed.

I wish for my dad's ingenuity and ability to solve issues. He always rescued me, and I can admit here I often shut my eyes and wait for that magic to happen. Rescue isn't coming. I need to do it myself. But I'll forever miss my dad, his optimism, and his goodness.

I can recall my grandfather on my mother's side as he watched his world slip away due to arthritis, which did lead to depression although we didn't treat it as such. He rode around the precious farm on a little Ferguson grey tractor as long as he could. I do well to use his persevering tactics to fight against the family devil named arthritis.

My gramma, his loving wife who was so wonderful, short, fiery, and unmistakably Leo fierce in her love and faith. She spoke the language of persistence and cooking, prayers and sewing and hugs... Images of her pink and red kitchen, her busy sewing machine, and her kitchen filled with spices and warmth... I do well to bring all of her unconditional love and gifts into my soul.

And my dad's mother, Ma... Mellow and cooking for just one or a hundred with equal passion and peace. She believed everyone did the very best they could, given their circumstances. She patiently navigated her world, turning everything into its possible best, spinning straw into gold. I hope I am like her, as well.

Saints and Souls. November enters the gates with Thanksgiving.