Thursday, May 24, 2018

DONUT-You Know We Love Katz!

Happy Friday, Jr.!

I wanted to share another one of our favourite gluten-free brands:

Katz!

ELC and I have both mentioned these before, but they are SO WORTH mentioning (and linking!) again. Katz makes DELICIOUS donuts. (The Powdered Sugar are my personal fave. Little Leighton prefers the Sea Salt Caramel. Baby Elle has no preference. She loves them ALL. The Pumpkin? OMGah.) I find them in the freezer-section at my local Sprouts. Sprouts will run sales on these, and they fly off the shelves. It's best to stock up! I let them defrost a bit, and then zap them in the microwave for a few seconds.

Y'all. They will rock your world. Even if you don't eat gluten-free. I haven't had a Mrs. Baird's Powdered Sugar Donut in YEARS. But I swear I remember them leaving a very "processed" taste in your mouth after eating one. The Katz? Taste 100% HOMEMADE.

In grabbing the link to their website for this post, I noticed so many other products I want to gobble up now! I haven't tried ordering anything directly from their website before, but there's a first time for everything! It's summer, you know, and imperative to have plenty of snacks and treats on hand at all times. (If you've met Belle, you know what I mean.)

I hope y'all will try these. Please let us know what you think!

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,


ELC

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,


ELC


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

celiACT

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!



Friday, May 4, 2018

the derby...



Spent this past week busy, busy, BUSY. Three days at TLC’s—for many reasons. Biggest one? She needed my help, as Her Hubby was out of town. If I can? I'm there. Y'all know this by now.


My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) and I headed East in his truck Tuesday afternoon and went to Little Leighton’s Spring Program that evening. At her school. It was precious. Of course. He went home after said program, returning to pick me up yesterday afternoon. (I felt like one of my grandmothers. My Dad would drive a couple of hundred miles to pick her up a couple of times a year and bring her back to our home. For like a week. Summers. Christmases. Then take her back. She was in her late 70s and early 80s when he did this.) Not having my car—being Driven Like Ms. Daisy—made me feel like my grandmother. Yes. I’m a grandmother. Even though I think I’m a young one—I’m probably not. And it was actually kinda nice to be chauffeured. Not going to lie.


He came to retrieve me yesterday afternoon around 2:00. We got home by 5:00. Today I’m being rather lazy. It’s dark outside. Rainy. I’m loving it.


This morning, as I watched a bit of the news and morning shows, I saw an ad for The Kentucky Derby! Tomorrow!


Y’all, there is no explanation for my obsession with horse races. NONE. Zero. I didn’t grow up with horses. Although, after I graduated from high school, my parents moved to a 30-acre place west of Ft. Worth, where they had lots o’ cows. My mother, who had grown up riding horses, decided to buy two at an auction. A big brown horse and a small Welsh pony. The brown horse was named Taurus (longish story) and the pony was named Charlie Brown. Charlie was adorable.


My mother was always looking for someone to ride with her. I avoided doing it. One lovely weekend afternoon, my middle sister and I were talked into riding these two down past our creek. Mother said they really needed to be ridden consistently. So they'd be good riding horses.

My sister rode Charlie. I rode Taurus. I vividly remember being extremely nervous. Y’all—did I mention he was BIG? We went across the creek and rode for a bit on some of the most beautiful land on our parents’ place. Things were going okay. Then something scared Taurus as we went back across the creek to wind up the ride. He bolted so unexpectedly and fast, both my feet came out of the stirrups and I lost one of the reins. I held on to the saddle horn and that one useless rein for dear life—certain I was going to die or be seriously injured. He came to a complete and hard stop at his feed bucket in the corral. My mother had watched all of this happen from our house (I’d had no control of this horse for at least ten to twelve acres.) and she'd come running to help. I was a mess. A complete and total wreck. So frightened. So angry. In tears. Possibly saying words I shouldn't have. But grateful to be alive. She tried to make me get right back on him. I refused. I knew I should. I couldn’t. I was a ball of shakes.


A couple of months later, she talked me into riding with her. This time, she’d ride Taurus (I had no intention of ever getting on that horse again.) and I’d ride Charlie. He was adorable. Silly. Gentle. She convinced me everything would be fine. Off we went.


We’d probably ridden down some country roads for about an hour when Charlie decided he was tired. Finished. Needed a nap. He literally laid down—with me on him—in the middle of the road. My mother had one heck of a time making him get up. She attempted to trade horses with me—telling me she’d have to keep Charlie Brown going to get him home. Uh. Yeah. NO WAY. So for the next thirty minutes, as we worked our way back home, Charlie laid down three more times. Mother would go through the process of encouraging him to get the h#l* up while I stood and rolled my eyes. Vowing my days of riding these wackadoodle horses were officially over. It. Was. Ridiculous.


That was pretty much the end of my horse-riding attempts. Almost forever. I have, since that time, ridden a couple of times when we’ve been in Colorado. I always ask for the horses that are Senior Citizens and/or possibly not feeling well. On one trail ride, I did worry my horse was going to keel over before we got back to that corral. He made it. They all sense my intense fear, too. I know they do.


Yet…I treasure horses. Have always loved watching movies about horses. (Secretariat? Oh. My. Wow. I watched that Derby! It was chilling.) I am obsessed with horse races. I have no clue how to read the racing forms or pick winners. I generally go with numbers I like (3,5 and/or 8), the colors the jockeys are wearing, names of the horses or names of the jockeys. Maybe where the horses are from. You get the idea. I have not one ounce of knowledge about how to win. Because, frankly, I don’t care if I win. I never bet more than $10 a race—dividing it up between two to four horses. I make no money. It’s all about the experience! The entertainment! I have a blast. Every. Time.


My favourite place to go to the horse races is Ruidoso, New Mexico. Been there many, many times. It ROCKS my world.


We’ve also been to races in Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie is not far from us and a great place for an afternoon of fun. Haven't been there in several years. This post is making me want to go. ASAP.


The Kentucky Derby? It’s tomorrow! This will be the first time in several years I’ll be able to sit down and watch it. From beginning to end! I normally record it and do my best not to hear or read who the winner was until I can watch for myself. It’ll be LIVE and in REALTIME for me. I am PSYCHED.


Hope each of you has a Wonderful Weekend—wherever in this World Y’all are! If you're watching The Derby? I will be, too! Think of me. I'll be in my jammies, drinking my Coke Zero and eating my Jolly Time kettle corn. I’ll be in HEAVEN.


ELC


P.S.: If I won The Lottery tomorrow? Or next week? Or next year? I’d want to buy some racehorses! First, I’d have to buy a big beautiful ranch in Kentucky. Or Tennessee. Then I’d hire lots of experts to help me raise my horses. Then I’d travel the “circuit!” Praying that someday I’d have a horse who qualified for The Kentucky Derby! I don’t really like to wear hats all that much—but I’d do it. I'd wear one. In a heartbeat. I’d drink one of those mint juleps and sing My Old Kentucky Home loud and proud! It could happen, right? It could happen. Right. (Winky. Wink.)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

a sense of purpose...


From: The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, by Stormie Omartian:

 

(I have changed and/or added a few words to this prayer…I honestly don’t believe the author would mind…)

PRAY THAT YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL

 

Understand God’s Purpose

for Their Lives

 

LORD, I pray for our children and grandchildren to have a sense of purpose for their lives and the ability to understand that purpose with clarity. Give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that the eyes of their understanding will be enlightened. Help them to know what is the hope of Your calling and what is the exceeding greatness of Your power on their behalves. (Ephesians 1:17-19) I pray that Your plans to fulfill the destiny and purpose You have for them will succeed, and not the plans of the enemy. Enable them to separate themselves from all the distractions of this world and turn to You in order to hear Your voice. In Jesus’ name I pray.

AMEN.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.

          PSALM 20:4

 

I also pray, Dearest Friends, that each of you has had a WONDERFUL weekend—full of love, laughter and little bit of magic!

 

Please have a safe, happy, healthy, productive, FUN week—wherever in this World Y’all are…

 

smooch!

ELC

Thursday, April 26, 2018

lost...



…in America. (Not the movie.) And lost in Texas. To be more specific. North Central Texas to be even MORE MORE specific.


Let me explain:


This past Monday, My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) and I went to Granbury, Texas, from our country casa. It’s about thirty miles East of us. We like to go there to do our grocery shopping. There are two HUGE stores that—between the two of them—have everything we ever need. Plus they have a Walmart. Plus PLUS they have a Tractor Supply. And a Lowe’s. And a Home Depot.


Yes, we could go into our town. Which is much closer. That’s true. And, of course, we do. Usually 3-4 times a week. There is a Walmart. And an HEB. For a town its size and the home of a State University? We'd all tell Y'all we believe it is cRaZy NUTS we only have two grocery stores. (We're going to get an Aldi’s. My thoughts on that? You either like Aldi’s or you don’t. I’m not someone who likes that chain. So that won’t really help me. Not to mention the fact that Granbury also has an Aldi’s. If I did like it.)


On our way home from our shopping, we were stopped. On the highway. By a construction crew. For FORTY (that is 40FourOOHHHH) minutes. Could we have turned around? Yes. We could have. And we discussed that option at about the 25-minute mark. BUT the way we’d have had to go to get home? Would have taken us an additional 20-30 minutes. So…an hour total. Minimum. We kept wanting to believe that any second the cars ahead of us were going to move. We'd be home within 20 minutes once we got a'goin'.


As we eventually proceeded down the road—once we were allowed to move? Unbelievable what we encountered. They were working on the shoulder of the highway. One shoulder. For maybe one hundred yards. It. Was. RIDICULOUS. (It was also lunchtime. So there you go.)


Of course, I was checking Facebook to see if anyone ahead of or behind us was posting on a site called “Breaking News.” Yes. They were. Posting that they'd been stopped. For too long of a time. And no one could understand why. (I'd bet there were at least 60-70 cars behind us. And we had no idea how many were in front of us. MSH couldn't see where the line started.)


Here was our biggest dilemma once we got home and got everything unloaded:


The next day, this past Tuesday? We had to go back to Granbury for MSH’s semi-annual followup appointment with his cardiologist.


While getting ready Tuesday morning—for his 11:30 appointment—I suggested we go the “backroads.” We’d be able to leave over two hours ahead of time and, once in Granbury and near the doctor’s office, we could run into Walmart. Or Walgreen’s. Or Home Depot. All said stores very close to said office. Kill a little time. Be there.


One more thing:


I was not going with MSH in his truck. I was going to be in my vehicle because, from the doctor’s office, I would be headed East to TLC’s. Her Hubby was out of town and she needed me to stay with Baby Elle while Little Leighton went to a “makeup” soccer game.


Off MSH and I went, leaving at 9:10 a.m. (By the way…the backroads we’d be navigating? BEAUTIFUL country. Seriously stunning.)


When we got to a little town called Lipan, I passed a digital sign that said:


Highway 4 closed ahead


(MSH later told me he never saw that sign. Which was disturbing on three levels:


  1. I apparently didn't believe it.
  2. I didn’t call MSH and say: “I think we need to turn around. Our plan is not going to work. And
  3. That MSH did not see that BIG digital sign. Yikes.)


Approximately three miles past said sign, there she was. The Construction Lady whose job it was to stop us and make us turn around. As she came up to my car, I said to her—as nicely as I could:


“Oh, no. That’s my husband behind me. Will we have to turn around and go all the way back to 281? We’re going to Granbury for a doctor’s appointment.”


No, she said. Turn around here and take that Evergreen Road down there to the right. It will wind you back around to 4. Past where our construction is.


“Okay,” I responded. “Do we have to go far on this Detour? Is it several miles?”


No, she said. It’s only about a mile.


I pull up to MSH and tell him. He continued to follow me. As we go way past a mile down Evergreen Road, he called me. Asked me if I thought we were going the right way. I told him we were going the only way we could, according to The Construction Lady.


About FIVE MILES later, I called him:


“She must have told us wrong. Or I missed something she said. Or we missed another road we were supposed to take. I’ll just put Granbury in my car navigation and it can tell us what we need to do, right?”


He agreed this should work.


I pulled over to do just that. It showed me it was going to take us 43 minutes to get there! Which. Was. INSANE. What else could we do? If we tried to go back the way we’d come, that was going to take another hour! Minimum. Frankly, I was not even sure how to get back to the beginning.


I called him to advise him we were, possibly, in a pickle. He said:


“We’re going Northwest. We need to be going Southeast.”


C.R.U.D.


Now, you might wonder how long it took me to make MSH get in the lead. The answer to that question is another 20 minutes. Once I started literally panicking, we pulled over—he put the address of the doctor’s office into his iPhone—and he got in front of me.


We finally, FINALLY, FINALLY got to Granbury at 10:50. A 30-minute trip had taken us 100 minutes. (If I’ve figured that out correctly. I’m also not good at Math.)


When we parked, he came over to my car and I said this:


We are quite sad and pathetic. We are not smart. That was scary. I don’t really know what to even think about our AWFUL choices. And when I say “our,” I actually mean “my.” I cannot believe you left me in charge for so long. What is wrong with you? On the upside? WOW. We saw some STUNNING mansions and ranches, didn’t we? There are some simply AMAZING places we had no idea existed, right?


At this point, we made the decision not to go to Walgreens. Or Walmart. Or Home Depot.


We chose, instead, to go on in to the doctor’s office and wait. With the hope he’d get in early.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Early. At a doctor’s office. We didn’t get back to an exam room until 12:00. Didn’t see the doctor until 12:35. He was very apologetic. (I mean, actually, if we’d arrived closer to 11:30 and NOT been through what we’d been through, it wouldn’t have seemed so frustrating.) We were nice. (We really REALLY like him.) MSH was in good shape. Even his blood pressure—after the fiasco we’d just been involved in—was surprisingly low. Ish.


At 74 and 64, MSH and I want to believe we’re wise. That we are still capable of learning. Growing. Make good choices and decisions. Tuesday made us both question this idea. But I will tell Y’all this:


As much as I cuss my iPhone (it is truly HOURLY that I cuss it) for MANY, MANY reasons, I trust the map in it much more than I will ever trust the navigation in my car. Yes. I need lessons. I have lots of lovely, fancy things in my car I have no clue how to use. Including Maps. Yes. I need lessons about my iPhone, too. Is it likely I’ll ever take the time to get either? Nope. Highly unlikely.


I promised TLC this:


I will NOT get that lost again. Not where I LIVE. Not where I’ve lived for over 43 years of my life. (I cannot promise Her Dad won't, however, get lost. He never saw that sign. Sheesh.)


Y’all have a FABULOUS Friday. A WONDERFUL Weekend. Don’t. Get. Lost.


smooch!
ELC


P.S.--If I hadn't been going to TLC's? I would have been tempted to go find The Construction Lady and sweetly tell her that her directions SUCKED. BIG TIME. And it's occurred to me, more than once since Tuesday, I'm not much better than Gilligan. Or the Captain. Whoever. Except my 3-hour tour did end much sooner than his.

Monday, April 23, 2018

not every tuesday...

Tomorrow is Tuesday. Tuesdays with TLC, I am fairly certain, will not be happening. And I am completely okay with this. Because, frankly, I don't exactly know how my daughter handles her schedule. Especially when her husband is often out-of-town for his job.


I was a stay-at-home Mom. I had no family in our town to help me with TLC. (My only child. One. Only. I used to be reminded of this fact by my brother--who had three children. I'm now reminded of this fact by TLC. Frequently reminded. With love.) I was VERY lucky to be able to ask one of my sisters to take care of TLC when I needed to travel with My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) for his job. TLC adored being at my sister's home. Her two cousins--my nephew who is 6 years older than TLC--and my niece who is 4 years older--have really been more like siblings to TLC. She most definitely treated/s them like a brother and sister. She cherished my sister like a second Mom. That made leaving her for a few days two to three times a year so much easier for me and MSH.


I had several wonderful babysitters, too. I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS trusted them with our daughter. (Or I wouldn't have employed them. Duh.)


TLC, however, has really had no one but me to care for/babysit/Grammy-Nanny Little Leighton and Baby Elle. It's been my complete honor and JOY to do this for nearly six years now. I actually don't get to see or be with My Precious Princesses as much as I'd like to. Distance. Conflicts. Etc. Still I pretty much see them at least once a week for at least one night. I'm always available to stay with TLC and Her Girls during those times Her Hubby is away. (Since TLC moved closer to us, my youngest sister is able to help TLC out in the evenings and sometimes on weekends. If TLC is in a pinch. She lives about 15 minutes from TLC and is completely infatuated with Little Leighton and Baby Elle. They have stolen her heart. The heart of a Mom who raised a handsome son that is about to graduate from college!)


TLC has found a lovely young woman to stay with her daughters now, too. YIPPEE! However, this Nanny's calendar is tight. She's only able to help Tracey a couple of weekdays--with plenty of notice. Weekends must be scheduled early on. She is a gift, seriously, at this point in TLC's life. One we hope will last for many years to come.


Today Little Leighton begins swimming lessons. Tomorrow evening she has a makeup soccer game. (I'll be taking care of Baby Elle. Bathing her and putting her to bed so her sweet little schedule is not interfered with too much!) TLC has Bible Study in the morn. I can't get to her casa until mid-afternoon.


Therefore...I am confident Tuesdays with TLC ain't happenin' manana. I was thinking I might approach TLC with this idea: How about Tuesday (singular) with TLC? One Tuesday each month. Like pick a Tuesday! First? Second? Third? Fourth? Sometimes there'd be a Fifth? The issue will be the on-going problem of knowing which Tuesday it could be.


HENCE...here's what I'll state with HOPE:


Standby for an upcoming Tuesday with TLC! Not sure when it'll be. I am positive it WILL BE. Someday...fairly soon...on a Tuesday. And at least one Tuesday each month. Take it to your bank. Or I'll turn this Blog around and take her home. She does not need to mess with Her Mama. (teeheehee...)


Have a Wonderful Week, Dearest Friends...


Smooches and Hugs...
ELC

Friday, April 20, 2018

fridayed...



May today


 be the


 Fridayiest Friday


 that ever


 Fridayed.


 


(Pinterest said this was from Burt’s Bees Baby. But I don’t exactly know what that means. Not sure if they made this up or they were simply pinning it. At any rate, this was not my original quote. Duh.)


So this has been another long week. Full of cleaning. Grammy-Nannying. More cleaning. Errands. Etc.


Monday, a Dad and his daughter (about TLC’s age) came to see our place. They were extremely nice. The Dad loved it. Said he wants his wife to visit. She’s out of state until the second week of May. I truly wish we’d have a contract by then. Here's what I'm confident about: If it's meant to be for them? Us? It. Will. Be.


Tuesday, a Houston couple was scheduled to come with their realtor. A local man. They asked for 3:30-5:00. Meaning they weren’t sure when they could be here exactly. They were looking at SEVEN places that day. Ours was seventh. I honestly didn’t have a lot of hope they were going to come. I was on my way to TLC’s casa, for one night, when My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) called to say they'd cancelled. This was 2:30. Sigh.


Today, MSH and I are cleaning things we haven’t had time to clean in the past few months! Dusting. Rearranging. Both our casa and the apartment are in good shape—since we’ve had to keep up with them for the past six months. We have a couple coming in the morning, with another local realtor. They live in the “Metroplex” and are looking for a “second home.” (Must be nice. Winky. Wink. I can barely cope with one home and a guest house/apartment.)


They’re scheduled to be here bright and early. Well, 9:30. I’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn to get ready and get our Master bedroom and bathroom all gussied up. We’ll have some last minute vacuuming to do. (Buddy Boo Bear. A brown Lab. Shakes that brown hair off his big old self all over our casa. 24/7. Bless his little doggy heart.)


The Weather Peeps are calling for rain/storms beginning tonight and lasting all day manana. The wind is currently awful. If this couple wants to reschedule? Won’t surprise me.


Tomorrow night, TLC and Her Hubby are going to see The Foo Fighters in Dallas. An outdoor concert. With a 90% chance of rain. The tickets were bought for Her Hubby’s birthday gift in January. Somehow I have a feeling TLC will realize tickets that far in advance—for an outdoor concert in Texas—might not be a great idea. Spring and Summer in Texas: Tornadoes. Storms. Wind. Rain. Rain, that is, if we’re all lucky. So much of Texas stays in drought. Fall? Yep—still tornado chances quite often. Possibly the best time of the year, however, for outdoor concerts. After our super crazy hot summers? Fall in Texas is cherished. Treasured. Winter? Well, you don’t hear about a lot of BIG outdoor concerts in the wintertime around these here parts. Winters in Texas can be mild. Lovely. Very wonderful. OR horrid. As if Texas has gotten very confused and suddenly thinks it’s located next to Michigan. Or Montana. Sheesh.


TLC and Her Hubby are young. They’ll roll with the punches. Take an umbrella. Enjoy dinner out and have fun—whatever happens with the Foo Peeps’ concert. I'll have a blast with My Sweet Princesses, Little Leighton and Baby Elle.

And life goes on...right? 


Hope Y’all have a Wonderful Weekend—Wherever in this World Y’all are!


Hugs,
ELC
 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

sheer fear...God's Amazing Grace...



This. Week. I’m glad it’s coming to an end.


Started off okay. I went East to TLC’s Tuesday. She had a mammo that afternoon. I needed to keep The Princesses for her as Her Hubby (aka HH) was out of town. Then Wednesday morn, she took Little Leighton (aka LL) to school and went to see a new dentist for an overdue checkup. Baby Elle (aka Belle) and I played. And played. And played.


While I was watching over Belle that day, she cracked me up. (Who am I kidding? She cracks me up EVERY SINGLE DAY of her little life.) Her new thing is to check and make sure when her next feeding time is!


“Time for snack, Grammy?” (She’s usually just had one.)


“Time for lunch, Grammy?” (It’s an hour away.)


“Time for snack, Grammy?” (I’ve just told her—5 minutes before this question—that we’re waiting for LL to come home from school to have our afternoon snack.)


“Time for dinner, Grammy?” (She’s just had her afternoon snack 10 minutes prior to this question.)


She is a funny, quirky, SILLY Little Girl.


I left for home at 3:15 (to beat the 5:00 o’clock traffic that actually begins at 3:30…sheesh). LL gave me a hug and kiss and went back to coloring. Belle cried. And cried. Begged me to hold her. A Grammy’s Heartbreak.


I wasn’t due back to TLC’s until this coming Tuesday.


On Thursday morning, I was going to weigh-in at my Weight Watchers’ meeting. Meet my precious friend, Emily, there and then we were looking forward to a (long-overdue) pedi. Lunch would follow. As I sat in the salon chair, enjoying the beginning of my toes being prettied up and catching up with Emily (it’d been weeks and weeks and weeks since our last get-together), my phone rang. (I turn it off by the way! I had to buy a new Fitbit and this one vibrates when my phone rings. I think that is AWESOME.) It was TLC. She’d just visited another new doctor (long story) and was telling me about a test she’d scheduled. She was in a happy, cheerful mood. She knew I was in the chair so we didn’t talk long.


Ten minutes later—she called again. I was immediately confused. When I answered? She was hysterical. Crying so hard and loud I could understand not one word she was screaming.


Finally, she calmed down enough to tell me the mammogram place had just called her. They needed her to come back. There was a spot or two on her right breast they wanted to re-check.


To tell a 34-year-old Mom whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 40 (TLC was 10) that she had to come back for a breast issue? Tough stuff. (Yes, the young lady was doing her job. Still...TOUGH.)


TLC was to begin mammograms ten years before the age I was when I was diagnosed with cancer. That meant 30. Right on time, she did her baseline mammogram soon after her 30th birthday. Little Leighton was a toddler.


Her OB/GYN at that time told her she believed she could wait until she was 35 for her next one. I actually thought that was fine, too. She’d had another little baby girl—moved twice in two years—and she really had put it to the back of her mind. Believing she had plenty of time.


Then, when she found and recently visited her new family doctor (who she LOVES—a young, very nice woman), they decided together TLC would go ahead and do a mammogram asap. Hence this past Tuesday’s appointment. At 4:00 p.m.


I digressed. Back to her call:


In my quietest and most reassuring voice I asked her to calm down. She’d called them before calling me back and had arranged to go there the next morning (yesterday—Friday). At 8:00 a.m.. HH had taken vacation days on Thursday and Friday. So keeping The Princesses was not going to be a problem. Although she wanted one of us with her and we both knew he’d really want to go.


I told her I’d come Thursday evening. After traffic had died down and The Princesses were in bed. (They’d get all wound-up-excited if I  arrived at their bedtime.) I’d care for them while she and HH went to the appointment.


It was a long day from that point on. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) was upset for her. Me. Worried—yet not worried. (His faith in God’s Plans gets stronger and stronger every day of his life.) All of us were praying non-stop TLC wouldn’t have breast cancer. At 34.


When I got there around 8:15 Thursday night, she seemed fairly peaceful. Then, after we watched Grey’s (WTH were we thinking? WHY OH WHY did we do that???), she lost it.


At that moment I begged God to let me have it again. To please spare my child. It wasn’t just the loss of one—or two—of her breasts (I lost my left.). It was the chemo that caused me so many other health issues as time went on. (If I’d known what was going to happen to my body after chemo, would I have chosen not to do it? Nope. I wanted every chance I had to live as long as I possibly could. It’s simply the fact that it’s literally poison going in to your body. Killing everything. All the bad. And all the good.) It was the reconstruction surgeries.


I knew MSH and I would do everything in our power to help TLC, HH, and The Princesses navigate anything they had to face. Still…


I was surprised I slept! I truly thought I wouldn’t. TLC even got some sleep. She and HH left their house before LL and Belle woke up. TLC had told LL, at her bedtime Thursday night, I’d be there in the morning—because she and HH had some “errands” they had to run. (At almost 6, LL is beginning to get wise to anxiety. Problems. Stress. She can get on to an issue faster than one expects.)


Belle was surprised when I walked into her room! Confused. But happy! We had a leisurely breakfast. Around 8:50, TLC sent me and her Dad/MSH a text:


Fibroids! Come back in a year.


Praise God and Thank You, Jesus! I can’t remember feeling such utter JOY.


The radiologist she saw—and liked—recommended that TLC consider genetic testing. She said insurance companies will usually pay for the testing when you have an immediate connection to a family member that has had breast cancer. (Mother/daughter. Probably father/daughter! Possibly grandmother?) And that that person had been diagnosed with breast cancer before he or she had turned 50.)


We’ve all decided she’ll get through the summer—get LL started in public school in the Fall—and will plan on checking into this testing in September/October. Ish.


For all my precious friends (especially Emily—who was experiencing my panic in real-time) who I reached out to and who prayed for TLC—and reassured me—THANK YOU. You always, ALWAYS give me strength. Hope. Comfort. I cherish each one of you.


For TLC: I love you. With all of my heart and all of my soul. I’ll praise God and Jesus every day for this chance to be back in peace. Back to “normal.” (However, have either one of us ever been normal?)


It’s been 24 years since my original diagnosis of breast cancer. I’m alive. I’m well. I’m fairly healthy! I’m feisty—a lot. I’m blessed. I’m deeply grateful. And I DEMAND of each one of you GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM when it’s time. PLEASE do not mess around. PLEASE. It’s YOUR LIFE.


Have a Sweet Saturday—Wherever in this World Y’all are!


HUGS,
ELC

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

tuesdays with tlc...

Today is National Siblings' Day...right? Evidently.

So, in honor of that "holiday," here are three pictures of the sweetest, silliest, sassiest Sisters who love each other BIG...




I hope they always know what an amazing gift they are for each other.

Happy Day!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

break free...

From Jesus Lives, by Sarah Young:
 

FEAR

FEARFULNESS IS A FORM OF BONDAGE. I died on the cross for you so that you would not be a slave to fear. When I see My children continuing to live in bondage to fear, I am grieved. My sacrifice was not only to provide forgiveness of sins but also to open the way to My Father’s heart. Now that you trust Me as Savior, you are the recipient of perfect Love—My Love, Abba’s Love. This perfect Love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (and there is no punishment for My followers).

People are born into the world in spiritual bondage, including bondage to fear. Because you inhabit a fallen world and a fallen body, it isn’t easy to break free from fearfulness. However, the Spirit of adoption can help you in this struggle, enabling you to see yourself as you truly are: a much-loved child of God! The Spirit frees you to cry out, “Abba, Father,” believing you are His precious, adopted child. In the presence of a loving, strong father even the most frightened child eventually calms down. You have a perfectly loving, infinitely strong father, so bring your fears freely to Him. Let Him hold you close to his Abba-heart, where you know you are safe. Open your heart to receive vast quantities of His Love. The more of this Love you hold in your heart, the less room there is for fear. Receive Our Love in full measure!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

            1 JOHN 4:18

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

            JOHN 15:9

It’s been a fast and furious, yet, at the same time, long week. Good things. Tough things. Confusing things happening. Medical issues for TLC. Things that make her full of fear. Things that test her faith. My faith. But I feel confident there will be answers and resolutions and that God and Jesus will keep her in Their hearts.

I’ve confessed before to being The Worst Worrier. I’ve been this way, truly, since I was at least five years old. I know many of the reasons I became this way. I feel it happens to too many of us—for various reasons. My reasons would make a lot of sense to Y’all. I’m confident you’d understand. Many of you could, more than likely, relate to this curse that happened to me long ago. It’s my history. My truth. My cross to bear.

I continuously work on my unhealthy need to worry. I tell myself ten times a day...sometimes ten times an hour...to give every fear/concern I have to God. To Jesus. Many, MANY times my efforts of faith work. Occasionally?  They simply don't. I'm proud to say my efforts are working right as this very moment!

I don’t mean to be cryptic or mysterious. This post is for My Precious TLC. I want her to read it and feel my confidence.  

God bless each of you today. Tomorrow. Always. God bless you with the ability to hold in your hearts God's and Jesus’ infinite LOVE for you. To release your fears to them.

Big and Sweet Sunday Hugs, Dearest Friends…
ELC

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

tuesdays with tlc...

Happy Tuesday!

I'm back!

I hope y'all had a wonderful Easter.

On Thursday, Little Leighton (aka LL) had her Easter Party/Egg Hunt at school. I like to volunteer to bring all of the food/drinks for each of their holiday parties. This way, LL is able to have exactly what her classmates have because everything is gluten-free and delicious! Not one child (or even the teachers!) can tell.

Before they had their snack of gluten-free cupcakes and apple juice, the kids had their egg hunt. They weren't allowed to open any eggs until after school. LL couldn't wait to get into the car after the party and start crackin' hers open. Buckled in her carseat, we headed home to meet Grammy ELC and Baby Elle. Because I was driving, I wasn't able to see each reaction when she opened an egg, but out of the 12 eggs she grabbed, she couldn't have one piece of candy. Not ONE. Now, I say this not to complain about the lack of gluten-free options she received. We love our school and we have several sweet and understanding friends in her class. One in particular always makes sure she brings something gluten-free, in order to include LL. But, as with any egg hunt, it was simply the "luck of the draw." There was one egg out of her dozen that had three tiny, sparkly stickers inside. Obviously gluten-free and safe. This is what my PRECIOUS daughter said after opening every egg, suddenly faced with the reality of her Celiac Disease:

"You know, Mama, it's really okay that I can't have any of the candy. Because, look! I have three stickers. And that's really okay."

Y'all. She sweetly smiled. A pure smile. While my heart broke a little as I looked at her in my rearview mirror, I couldn't have been more PROUD. What an amazingly mature and positive attitude for a little girl that's still only "one-hand-old." I had a hard time not crying right then and there. I wouldn't let myself because I never want her to feel sad about having Celiac Disease and its limitations. Despite all of the challenges, she is BLESSED. WE, as her family, are blessed.

Children don't ask for diseases. Restrictions. Allergies. As adults, and parents, we can seriously learn much from them. I guess I also hope that, perhaps, you might consider non-food treats for any future holidays you participate in, whether it be End-of-School, Trick-or-Treating/Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day or Easter Egg Hunts. Just so there's always something one child, like my Little Leighton, might be able to keep.