Sunday, May 20, 2018

when harry met meghan...

So I really had decided I probably wasn’t going to watch The Royal Wedding yesterday. Didn’t have a valid reason. I do love a fancy-schmancy wedding. (And I’ve been to a few in my long life.) I did set our DVR to record it—thinking I might change my mind.

As usual, I was awake at 4:30 a.m. (How that gets OLD...) What’s a girl to do when she knows she could be a part of Prince Harry marrying his American fiancĂ©?

I laid in my bed and watched as THE Guests walked to the church. The couple's families. Their friends. The celebrities. The Royals. I listened to the trivia the reporters shared about all of these people. The schedule of the upcoming day/events.

I stopped—to do my Bible reading and say my prayers. Decided I needed to get to crack-a-lackin’ on a quick trip to town for a pedicure and some errands. As my fairly quiet/maybe-boring-to-the-Queen day progressed, I wasn’t sure I’d ever really spend any more time watching what I’d recorded.

At about 1:30 p.m., however, I was through with most of my jobs/obligations and ready for a couch break. My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) was not needing our Great Room (largest) television. I asked if he’d mind if I took it over for possibly three hours. He didn’t care a smidge.

I fast-forwarded to the time the bride was leaving wherever that was she’d been, with her Mom, for her wedding. It was, honestly, captivating. Another world. Another life. Another event I’d never experience and/or quite understand. But CAPTIVATING.

(I’ll insert the fact I’ve shared several times in the past: My maternal grandmother, Nana, Mary Leighton Byrne, was born in Leeds, England. In 1894. When she was 6, her family moved to Texas! She did get to go “home” a few times in her life. My mother, her daughter, has been to England. As has one of my sisters and her daughter. I’ve never been and, sadly, probably will not ever have the opportunity to go. At this point in my life. I share my “heritage” with y’all as a way to explain my genetic interest in All Things British! Teeheehee.)

As the bride got out of her car, well, I confess: Here came the tears. Her dress! Her tiara and veil! The children! Oh, my, those children. So sweet and precious and charming. (And, of course, innocently clueless.) But BEYOND CUTE.

From the time Meghan entered the church? I was hopelessly hooked.

The reading by Princess Diana’s sister, Lady Jane Fellowes, was beautiful. Touching.

The music was exquisite.

The Wedding Address by American Bishop Michael Curry? Inspiring. Marvelous. Almost chilling. I could not have been prouder to watch and listen to him talk about My God and Jesus Christ for almost 15 minutes. More tears. Yep. More tears.

Then there was the Kingdom Choir singing “Stand By Me.” INCREDIBLY amazing. (I’ve now listened to it on-line many more times and wish I could buy it on iTunes. They have a great opportunity here—to raise money for whatever they’d like! Hope they take it.)

As the wedding came to an end, I felt sincere JOY for this couple. I thought about the many, MANY weddings I’ve attended—including my stepsons’ and our daughter’s. I thought about the sweetness of each of them—whether they were inside a church—or outside—or at a wedding venue—and how each fit the couples’ characters/personalities. I thought about all of us—as we marry—and how we each believe in our hopes and dreams. How we plan and pray. Sometimes our marriages go they way we thought. Sometimes they don’t. It’s Life. Life in all it’s GLORY and all it’s PAIN. (Sorry. Just gettin' real.)

I didn’t watch all of the endless riding in the carriage or the cars The Royal Couple had to do. Honestly? The time I spent felt like an acceptable investment. Any more? Not so much. (Plus MSH and I had had dinner plans for several weeks, so I needed to get ready to leave our humble home in my Toyota Highlander. Our Rolls is in the shop, don'tchaknow. Winky. Wink.)

I wish Harry and Meghan a lifetime full of success, health and well-being. (Don’t think I need to mention wealth—pretty sure they have that covered. Wowzer.)

Wishing each of Y’all a Wonderful Week—wherever in this World Y’all are! Be safe. Wise. Grateful for the many blessings you have in your life—even if they don’t include jewels and castles and designer gowns and cars worth more than most of our homes. God’s Blessings are EVERYWHERE.

Smooches and Hugs,


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Favourite Bread!

Happy Friday Eve!

Today I wanted to tell y'all about one of our most favourite gluten-free companies:

Canyon Bakehouse!

Throughout our (almost) four-year-gluten-free-journey, we've tried A LOT of different breads. The majority of them have always been super small in size, super dry and crumbly, and super expensive.

Enter: Canyon Bakehouse!

I first bought a loaf of their bread at Target probably two-ish years ago. It was their "Mountain White." While the size of the loaf itself was still small, it was DELISH. Not dry. AT. ALL. It was literally "fluffy." I instantly became a loyal customer, trying their focaccia, bagels and even brownies! (OMG. I cannot buy them. My Sweet Girls don't stand of chance of getting even one if they're in my house. I will gobble them up.)

About a year ago, I stumbled upon their "Heritage" bread at my local Sprouts. Y'all. This bread is life-changing! It's a BIG loaf. Which is a BIG plus for me and My Hubby. It also tastes like an amazing, freshly baked loaf from a bakery! It's fancy. Now, it's not cheap, but gluten-free shopping never is. I watch for sales and coupons!

Two-ish months ago, ELC actually WON a month's supply of bread from them! I'm talking, like $100 worth of BREAD! They shipped it to my house! It was almost one of each of their products. The only one I was REALLY missing was their new "Hawaiian Bread." I can't find it in my area yet, but I hear it is equally YUMMY. It's a hot commodity, and I won't give up until I get my hands on it!

This bread stays fresh and freezes beautifully! Canyon Bakehouse isn't sponsoring this post. We just love them so much and wanted to spread the word about their fabulousness. They're based out of Colorado, and when we vacation there someday, I swear I'll make a trip to their factory just to HUG them.

TRY THEM. You won't regret it.

Have a wonderful weekend, Dear Friends!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

not his mother...

When I married My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH), I was 24 and he was 34. He was divorced with four sons—12 years down to almost 3. He also was unable to have any more children. If you know what I mean. I was truly okay with that. Being the oldest of four children and growing up in a dysfunctional family (Sometimes the truth is very hurtful to parents/families. But it’s still the truth.), I honestly did not want to have children/be a mother. Or at least I didn’t think I wanted to have a child. The thought actually frightened me. Immensely. So falling in love with MSH? Problem solved.

Then, as I lived my life as MSH’s wife and as a stepmother (I often joked with my stepsons, calling myself “StepMommie Dearest.” If you don’t know why, Google Mommie Dearest. I hope they'd say I was far, far from that Mean Mama. Sheesh.), watching him be the BEST Dad to his sons (despite all of the challenges his divorce caused him, them and me…long story…sigh…), I started to have a mysterious and frustrating desire for a child. Like an OVERWHELMING desire.

MSH felt bad for me. And would say—in the kindest of voices: “You knew I couldn’t have any more kids. You said that was okay!” I’d agree. And cry. I’d cry every time I saw a pregnant person. In person. Or on TV. Every. Time. For some strange reason, I’d see a lot of pregnant women. (You know—like when you’re pregnant? And everyone else on Earth is pregnant, too? But when you’re NOT pregnant—you rarely seeing pregnant peeps. Isn’t that bizarre?)

One afternoon, as he headed home from a meeting in Ft. Worth, he stopped at a home for unwed mothers. Talked to them about the possibility of us adopting a baby. He told me about it at dinner that night. He said he was sorry. They were extremely kind and sympathetic. Unfortunately, because he had four children, that wouldn’t be an option for us. MSH and I did understand this. We’d mentioned adoption a few times—but not in great detail. Of course, I got it. They needed to let couples who had no children adopt a baby. Not us. Not me.

Then I heard about the vasectomy reversal procedure. A very dear friend of mine was married to her second husband and he’d had one. In St. Louis. By the doctor who had pioneered the procedure. It had worked. Heartbreakingly, they were never able to have a child of their own.

MSH got on this doctor’s Waiting List. It was, at least, a year-long wait. Possibly two. In the meantime, another dear friend had a friend whose husband had had the surgery done in Dallas! It had been successful. MSH and I went to see him and…VOILA! TLC was born about eighteen months after MSH’s surgery.

TLC: My only biological child. His fifth and only daughter. The Baby. The Princess. The Joy of Our Lives!

On this Mothers’ Day, I thank our Lord God Almighty for My Sweet Husband. And for TLC—the smartest, funniest, silliest, sometimes most challenging-est and BEAUTIFUL daughter a Mom could ever, ever hope to have.

She’s given me two of the SWEETEST Little Angel Granddaughters on this Earth. She’s also gifted me, in her 34 years (really more like 35—counting my difficult pregnancy with and delivery of Ms. TLC), some good days. REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD days. STELLAR/EPIC GOOD days. Then , naturally, my share of HARD days. Sad days. JOYFUL days. Confusing days. Angry days. She’s worn me out. But then turned around and given me (or demanded of me?) more energy and spunk than I ever dreamed I could muster up—especially now that I’m in my 60s. (Yikes.)

She’s the BEST Mom. I’m amazed—daily—by her talents, creativity, dedication, and determination to be a good Mom. Wife. Daughter. Gluten-Free Chef. The best of all of those roles that she can be.

On a rough day for her? I do my best to encourage her. Give her some of my strength and hope. On my rough days? She does the same for me. Sometimes we each say things the other does NOT want to hear. Sometimes we have to take some “mini” breaks from each other. (Our wisdom can be too annoying for the other of us, I suppose. Winky. Wink.)

Always, ALWAYS…I love, adore, cherish, treasure, NEED My TLC.

Happy HAPPY Mothers’ Day to each of you, Friends Everywhere! Whether you’re a Mom to children. Or pets. Or siblings. Or, possibly, a parent or both parents or a stepparent. I say if you’re a woman, you’re a Mom to someone or some animal or some thing. Period. And you should be CELEBRATED!

Be safe! Be kind! Be THANKFUL.

Hugs and Big Smooches,


P.S.: When I married MSH, I had to literally teach/train him to be “thoughtful.” I did this by giving him gifts. Cards. Making big deals of holidays—especially his birthday. Christmas. He’s told me one thousand times in 41 years together that he didn’t learn how to be thoughtful and caring until he met me. The truth is this: From the moment I met him, I knew he was one of the kindest people I’d ever met in my life. Very soon I knew: He is MOST DEFINITELY THE Kindest Person I've ever known. Period. End of Story.

BUT—from my first Mothers’ Day as a Mom, he’d say: “Now, I don’t need to get you anything, right? Because you’re not MY Mom, right?” I’d say: “Right. You just make sure TLC remembers me. That’s all I need.”

EVERY Mothers’ Day I rise and say: “You better not have a card or gift for me. Because I’m not your Mom.” We laugh. Sometimes he has a card. Or two. Or three. Sometimes he has a gift. Sometimes TLC has ordered a gift from both of them. (Hey, TLC, let’s get real, okay? He pays for said gifts. Do I care? Nope. I’m proud I helped raise a SMART daughter. Teeheehee.) Today? There were no cards in my closet. But he TOLD me “Happy Mothers’ Day!” the minute I woke up! And I told him he’d bought me three lovely gifts. ((That I purchased for myself.) He smiled. He’s my on-going-daily-every-second-we’re-both-alive gift. PLUS he gave me TLC.

P.P.S.: TLC outdid herself this year with the MOST AWESOME gifts ever from her, Little Leighton and Baby Elle. She is amazing in the Gift-Giving Department. Wow.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


May is Celiac Awareness Month!

As most of you know, our Sweet Little Leighton was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was two years old. It is a lifelong, autoimmune disease, with no known cure.

At this point, our only option is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. (Y'all. I know I've mentioned this before but it's worth mentioning again:  gluten can be in ANYTHING. Lipstick. Toothpaste. Medications and vitamins. You name it.)

When we received LL's diagnosis, we knew very little about what it all truly meant and the impact it would have on her and our family. It's one of my goals now to help teach others and advocate for those living with Celiac Disease!

So, please forgive me if I'm repetitive!

Parties are hard. Feeling different is hard. For ANY child. We try, though, to always focus on the blessings!:

*Her early and quick diagnosis! (For the majority of Celiacs, it takes upwards of TEN years for a diagnosis. And the average age of diagnosis? 40-60 years old. We are LUCKY. So many suffer for much, much, much longer.)

*The availability of yummy gluten-free options!

*An amazing Grammy ELC and Pa-Pa that ALWAYS makes sure she has similar snacks to her friends!

*The awareness and empathy this disease has brought us towards anyone struggling with allergies or autoimmune disorders. We know it could be so much worse, and we try to remember that.

I hope, above all else, LL's diagnosis has made us a little more kind and willing to extend grace to EVERYONE, especially on the hard days when we feel left-out.

Thank you all for journeying with us these past (almost) FOUR years!