Thursday, November 29, 2018

apparently dramatic...

So we’re on Day 10 of The Great Move to the Metroplex! This could be fudging a bit because on Monday we spent several hours at our new home with some carpet men and a wood floor man. I don’t think I probably packed a box when we got back to our “rental country casa.” Guess I better own up to Day 9.

By the way: TLC and Baby Elle came over for about forty minutes Monday. Baby Elle decided to be VERY shy—clinging for dear life to her Mom. She wouldn’t even go to Grammy. (Broke Grammy’s heart in two.) Mom had to carry her EVERYWHERE. She refused to sit on the kitchen island (there are no chairs to be found there—yet…) and give her Mom any kind of break. The last ten mintues or so she did get down and hold Grammy’s hand. When it came time for them to leave—so they could go home for lunch and Baby Elle’s nap (sans her BaBa—pronounced BaaBaa—which her Mom told her on Sunday was going to be gone forever at naptime on Monday—TLC will have to catch us all up on Baby Elle’s BaBa Trauma)—Baby Elle cried and cried. “I don’t want to leave, Mama! I don’t want to leave, Grammy!” It. Was. Sad. And confusing. And ridiculous. And funny.

Later that night, as TLC and I caught up, via texting, on the afternoon and evening events, she sent me this text:

“When we were leaving your house today, I said: “Baby Elle, why were you being so shy?” She promptly answered, “I was being dramatic apparently.”

Y’all—she won’t be three years old until the end-ish of March. 6-year-old Little Leighton says “apparently” all the time. Has since she was three and a half. From the time she started using it? It was always in the correct context. Amazed us. Now Baby Elle is called “dramatic” probably six times a day by her Mom. At least six. (Because, well…she is. And it is priceless.) So Baby Elle knew she was being “apparently dramatic.” I laughed and laughed and laughed. Couldn’t wait to tell My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) the next morning. This youngest grandchild of ours is a hoot.

Our packing experience to date has been what I call—on an hourly basis—A Special Kind of H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS. HE*L. Truly. MSH and I have quite the difficult time communicating. Staying upbeat and, well, kind. To each other. To ourselves. We are tired. We are in pain. We are worried and anxious. Our feet and our backs are literally killing us most of each day and all night long. (We have movers coming on December 8th.)

Above all else, we are SAD. Sad to be in this house and on this land that we no longer own but that we've cherished for close to nineteen years. Sad to be leaving two towns—the one we live in now and the one (Stephenville--twelve miles South of here) we've lived in for a combined NINETY-SEVEN YEARS. I’m not even joking. Let me explain:

I’ve done the Math four times. I moved to Stephenville to go to Tarleton in the Fall of 1973. After I graduated, I moved away for eight months. Came back and have been here since. Approximately 44 years. MSH moved to Stephenville in l964. After he graduated from Tarleton, he moved away for about a year. Came back and has lived here since. Approximately 53 years. (YIKES.) In that time, we married (over 40 years ago) and had our Precious TLC. Almost 35 years ago. She was born at Stephenville General Hospital. (General Hospital, Y’all. Seriously? Fabulous. It's not called that now. It's actually had about three other names since she was born.) MSH’s sons were all born in Ft. Worth—but the three oldest were raised—through high school graduation—in Stephenville. (Our fourth son moved with his mother to Arlington when he was six. He was here A LOT in his first eighteen years of life.) None of them live here now or expect to ever come back here. Each of our five children have their own memories of their growing-up years here. None have ever had any plans to move back here. Hence, we Geezers must move close to TLC. (Our future Nurse/Home Health Aide/Caregiver. Unless she hides from us. That might happen. Little Leighton and Baby Elle won't, though.)

Here we are...packing up boxes and boxes and more boxes of our life together. Our life with our children and grandchildren. Our cherished memories. Yep—there were some hugely difficult times for us. As a couple. As individuals. As parents. As grandparents. Overall? We will always…ALWAYS smile and giggle and laugh about our last combined 97 years. We’ve been happy in a place that is charming, beautiful, sweet and tremendously deep in our hearts.

Here are some pictures of what we’re currently living on/with—walking around/over—possibly cursing/despising:




And, actually, I took those pictures four days ago. It’s much worse now.

This evening, as MSH and I surveyed all of my work at The Barn Apartment today (He worked there and at the house.), and grouped some furniture and boxes together for the movers to see tomorrow (They’re coming to decide if we need one or two trucks…MSH and I are fairly certain we’re going with TWO. Possibly FOUR.), he moved an ottoman to a different place in the little den. Underneath it was this card (and a few dead bugs):


Kinda gave me a little chill. A reminder from my Guardian Angel, perhaps? I needed it. I’ll keep it in my pocket through December 8th. Maybe through December 31st. Of 2040.

I’m doing my best to keep my faith we’ll be 95% ready on December 8th. (I do know I’ll be back for clothes and for cleaning…and anything else we may have forgotten.) Our very souls won’t be ready to drive away. This has been HOME. 

Y’all have a Terrific Thursday,  Fabulous Friday and Wonderful Weekend! Please pray for me and MSH. (One of us could decide to get in our vehicle and head South. Or North. Or West. Or East. Destin seems like it could be a lovely place right about now…)

(Pooped) HUGS,
ELC

P.S. I also found this whilst packing, and it couldn't ring more true. LOL.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

turkey day voodoo...

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. We had a super fun day with our family. We host an "ALL GLUTEN-FREE TURKEY DAY." Let me tell you, it's quite yummy, and you would be hard-pressed to guess any of it was actually GF. I will admit: I did, frantically, call My Sweet Dad (aka MSD) at 10:00 the morning of, wailing over my "mushy" dressing. We are very particular about our dressing. I guess it's really a matter of personal preference. We prefer fluffy, almost crispy dressing. Mine looked like "dressing soup." I was certain it was ruined. However, after some Turkey Day Voodoo, it turned out delicious, if I do say so myself.

I thought I might share the recipe, mainly so I don't forget what I did. (It's adapted from Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Dressing.)

TLC's Glorious Gluten-Free Dressing

1 box of Krusteaz Honey Cornbread Mix (prepare per instructions, except sub equal parts butter for oil)
2 Schar Baguettes
1 large Sweet Onion, diced
5 stalks of Celery, diced
1/2 bunch Parsley, chopped
1/2 c. Butter (aka: 1 stick)
5 c. Chicken Stock (mine was not low-sodium, c'est la vie)
1 t. fresh Thyme
1/2 t. dried Basil
1/2 t. Rubbed Sage
1/4 t. Ground Turmeric
1 T. fresh Rosemary
1 Egg, lightly beaten
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Bake cornbread two days before serving. Cut up all bread (corn- and baguettes) and place all of it in a (very) large bowl. The bread needs plenty of time to dry out. I like to keep a few paper towels over mine. MSD always did this. So, I do, too. I also occasionally toss it over the course of two days.

On the day of, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter over medium-ish heat. Add the onions and celery (I chopped everything the night before and it was a HUGE timesaver) and let soften for 5-ish minutes. Add in the chicken stock and all herbs/spices. Ladle over the bread. Give it a good stir. Add the egg. Stir some more. Transfer to a baking dish. I sprayed mine with olive oil, and in the spirit of keeping things real: I used an aluminum pan. There's no shame in my game. Who wants to spend an hour doing dishes? Not moi.

Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. At this point, I pulled mine out and gave it another stir, sending the already browning bits on top to the bottom. Place back in oven. Bake for another 20ish minutes. Again, pull it out. Stir it up. Back in the oven. After another 15ish, minutes, I covered mine, once I had determined it was sufficiently browned and crispy. It probably spent almost two hours in my oven, but along the way, I had to add the mashed potatoes and green beans and bread. I have one oven and lots o' sides.

Y'all. It was good. I was tres proud. Go, me! Now, my gravy on the other hand? Ugh. It's my Everest. I'm hoping to conquer it next year.

We took no pictures, because: of course. I did manage to snap a pic of my fabulous centerpiece (compliments of Trader Joe's. $13. A serious bargain, y'all!) on Friday morning. Let's just focus on the happy flowers.


I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed with family, friends, yummy food and all things cozy. I woke up and felt overwhelmingly thankful for all I have. I'm especially grateful ELC and MSD are moving close to us SOON. SOON, Y'ALL! I'm on pins and needles.

TTFN.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

it's just me...


…again. Not TLC. Because I wanted to share something I thought was amazing! And give Y’all a heads up about something that happened to me that was quite disturbing.

Let me begin with the “heads up:"
I’m on my third Toyota vehicle in eleven years. Two Avalons and now, for the past year and a half, a Highlander. I’ve loved them all. I really like the dealership we purchased the last two from—the salesmen and the service guys. Tremendously.

In eleven years, I have never, ever, EVER, NEVER once locked my keys in any of these vehicles. NEVER. Until this past Sunday afternoon.

I needed to go to town for some printer ink. We’re making lots of copies of paperwork/documents and we can’t afford to be out of the outrageously expensive ink. I also had a list of six items I’d pick up at Wally World. My first stop was Staples (One of Little Leighton’s favourite stores!). I got out of my Highlander. Hit the inside door lock button as I shut the door and then just happened to check to make sure it locked. (Because, Y’all, I frequently THINK I have my keys when I don’t. They’re in one of the cupholders. Or up on the dash. Or in my console. And my car WON’T LOCK with the keys inside. Right?) As I checked the door, it should have done one of two things:

1.     Opened up if I didn’t have my keys; or

2.     Opened because I DID HAVE MY KEYS.

It did NOT OPEN. I got a chill. I tried at least six times. I eventually realized something was VERY WRONG.
More backstory:

As I started my car in our garage—before I left our country casa for these errands—I realized I’d forgotten to get my phone. I left my car running—ran in to retrieve said phone—and then returned to said Highlander—leaving for town.

SOOO……the keys were either in my car or I’d mistakenly taken them into our house and not realized it because I’d already started my car.

I couldn’t see my keys from the driver’s window. I went around to the other side. Still couldn’t spot them.

By The Way: IT WAS FREEZING COLD.

I thanked my Dear Lord God Almighty that my cellphone wasn’t also locked in my car. I called My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH). A call I dreaded to make. He’d worked so hard packing over at the barn all day. When I left, he was sitting on the couch. Exhausted.

As calmly as I could, I told him what had just happened. As MSH has done for me for over forty-one years, he said: “I’ll get your extra keys and be right there.” I then started crying. Which was useless. It wasn’t going to change my situation.

Knowing it would take MSH at least fifteenish minutes to get to me, I went on into the store. Roamed a few aisles. Watched my watch. Checked out, with the ink, right as I thought it should be time he would arrive. I then went to the window at the front of the store—by the front doors—to watch for him.

I met him as he found my car and got out of his truck. He hit the unlock button on the extra keys. It opened. And there they were. My keys were in the front cupholder. Where they’ve been hundreds of times in the past as I’ve tried to lock my car(s).

WHAT THE HECK?

This is NOT a good thing. I called TLC on my way home—told her what had transpired (She’s on her second Highlander in seven years.)—and begged her to make SURE she never let this happen to her. ESPECIALLY if Little Leighton and Baby Elle were with her.

I intended to call the dealership yesterday and then today…to ask them WHY? What? How? I forgot. Planning to remember tomorrow. Suffice it to say I will be BEYOND CAREFUL. (At least for a few weeks. Sheesh.)

Now…the AMAZING thing:

Yesterday was our closing for our new home. We drove to Plano. About an hour and forty-five minutes from our casa. East. The closing was easy. Breezy. Wonderful! Our fantastic realtor met us there. (We adore her!) She and the title company’s “Closer” were kind and sweet and fun. Helpful. SOOO smart. Encouraging. It was a fabulous experience.

I’d woken up at my usual time…5 a.m. I did my usual routine…read a few pages of the Bible. (I’m re-reading Galatians.) Read from my four devotional and special prayers’ books. Then, as I always do at the end of this process, I opened my Jesus Calling (By Sarah Young) to November 19th. This is what I read:

LEAVE OUTCOMES UP TO ME. Follow Me wherever I lead, without worrying about how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Me as your Guide and Companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Me. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with My help. When we come to a resting place, take time to be refreshed in My Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Me.



You already know the ultimate destination of your journey: your entrance into heaven. So keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving outcomes up to Me.



PSALM 27:13-14; EXODUS 15:13

Y’all. Seriously? This on the morning of our closing for our third in over forty years—and hopefully final—home? This on a morning of deep curiosity as to our future? Our new adventure?

This as the perfect reminder of why I believe in God and Jesus. The perfect example of God’s Grace. Of His Plan. Of: Thy Will Be Done.

THANK YOU, Jesus!

Sending each of Y’all some BIG OLE HUGS for a week of adventure. A week full of focus. A week of refreshment. A week of NO WORRIES.

Smooch,

ELC

Saturday, November 17, 2018

and just like that...


…everything changes.

This past Thursday we closed on our place. We’re now, officially, “leasing” it for a few weeks. In order to pack and move to our new home. (New to us! It’s just six years old, though, and in a lovely, small neighborhood. Seventeen-ish minutes from TLC, Her Hubby and Our Little Princesses!!!) We close this Monday morning on this new-to-us home.

So much has happened in the past three weeks. It’s been fast and furious. It’s also been faith-testing. Stressful. Frustrating. Difficult. Exciting. CrAzY. JOYFUL. Sad.

We were to get to our closing at 11:00. Our Buyers were set for 10:30. When we walked into the title company at 10:40, we saw our realtor. He said: “The Buyers aren’t here. And there are some problems.” I’ve said I wish someone had taken a picture of My Sweet Hubby’s (aka MSH) and my expressions. Because I’m sure they were somewhat priceless.

FEAR. Sheer fear took over both of our minds, hearts, souls and bodies. This had to be okay. Or we’d lose the home that we believed—deeply believed—was meant to be for us on our new journey. A journey even six years ago we didn't expect to be taking.

Let me summarize the entire closing experience this way:

It was TRAUMATIC.

The Lender for the Buyers had made a big mistake. When he (finally) arrived, he was beyond apologetic. He’d realized his mistake, he said, at 2:00 o’clock in the morning. Questions had to be asked. Information had to be checked. Documents had to be changed. And it couldn’t happen as fast as we, as the Sellers, wanted it to.

The Buyers walked in, with their realtor, an hour and half late. They, too, were very apologetic. It had been nothing they had done wrong or could control. We'd only seen them the one time they'd come to look at our home, barn apartment and property. We'd enjoyed the few minutes we'd talked to them that Sunday morning. We knew they were extremely interested because they were here longer than any of the other potential Buyers. There were 19 couples and/or individuals that came, in the past year, to look at our home and place. Including this couple. We had a strong feeling they were the most connected to it right away.

I was thinking later that night, as I reflected on the events and tried to unwind from the stress by catching up on my DVRed "The Voice" and "Dancing With the Stars," how one person can affect so many other lives. One person can unintentionally, or intentionally, do or not do, say or not say, act or not act, irresponsibly, unfairly, dishonestly or unkindly, and in a such a way their actions and/or choices and/or behaviors can change the lives of one to thousands—millions—of people. Made me wonder what I might have done in my past to have scared, angered, hurt, stressed or frustrated someone else. Maybe many, many other people. Happens all the time in families, right? 

Our Buyers’ Lender? He made an honest mistake. An honest, unintentional mistake. He had such great remorse. We all ended up sincerely feeling sorry for him. He was a nice man. (I hope, by the time I post this, that he has let it all go and realized he fixed it. I hope he’s moved on. God bless him.) But think of the individuals in this World, or in your life, or in the lives of your families and friends, that affect YOU. Personally. Sometimes you don't even know that individual. Yet they somehow changed your day, month, year, or life.

By 4:00 Thursday afternoon, it was completely and successfully finished.

So in a little over an hour, TLC and her family will come, for their very last time, to our country casa. Little Leighton, at six years old, has spent the most time, of all of our seven grandchildren, including Baby Elle, with us here. She'll be sad. She'll adjust and will be hugely thrilled we'll be living so close to her. Still, her heart will always miss Grammy and Pa-Pa's home. Barn. Ranger. Mama Cows and Calves. The roadrunner and armadillo and turtle she saw. Up close and personal. Feeding the catfish at the Big Tank. Blowing bubbles outside for hours. Coloring on the back patio in the cool, morning breezes. Trips to town to Staples (which she refers to as one of her favourite all-time stores) and the Froyo Shop. Beloved memories.

I have spontaneously and regularly cried, many times, in the past year. In the past three weeks? I've cried every day. Several times a day, actually. I'm not sure I understand how I'm going to drive away from this magnificent home we've cherished for over eighteen years. We've seen thousands of starry nights that have taken our breath away. We've seen thousands of exquisite sunrises. Thousands of incredible sunsets. We've watched Mother Nature at her finest! Beautiful birds and cute/precious country critters have touched our lives more than we could have ever imagined. We've spent countless days and nights and weekends making memories with our family and dear, special friends. Luckily, we have videos and millions of pictures to help us remember everything wonderful (and even some of the not-so-wonderful) times we treasure.

I must scoot. I need a tissue. Again. Sigh.

(TLC has promised to do a post by Monday! We'll see...won't we? Winky. Wink.)

Wishing each of Y'all a WONDERFUL Weekend...wherever in this World Y'all are!

Hugs,
ELC

Sunday, November 11, 2018

waiting...waiting...waiting...


From Jesus Today by Sarah Young:



IN QUIETNESS AND CONFIDENCE SHALL BE YOUR strength. When you’re in a tough situation, your mind tends to go into overdrive. You mentally rehearse possible solutions at breakneck speed. Your brain becomes a flurry of activity! You scrutinize your own abilities and those of people you might call upon for help. If you find no immediate solution to your problem, you start to feel anxious. When you find this happening, return to Me and rest in quietness. Take time to see My Face and My Will rather than rushing ahead without clear direction.

I want you to have confidence in Me and My Ways—patiently trusting in Me even when you can’t see the way forward. Whereas anxious striving drains you of energy, quiet confidence will give you strength. You can trust that I will not forsake you in your time of need. Keep communicating with Me about your situation, and be willing to wait—without pushing for immediate resolution. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.



Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31 NASB



And so My Sweet Hubby and I wait. And wait. And wait. Doing our best to have strength and patience. I’m not a patient person by nature. Every minute of every hour that goes by that something I’m expecting doesn’t happen? Yowzer. I either:



1.     Overthink.

2.     Overtalk.

3.     Overeat.

4.     And, mostly and primarily, I overpray.

(Well, can I overpray? I mean, really? Seriously? Is it possible? Maybe. Because then God and Jesus are going to suggest this: You, ELC, YOU HAVE NO FAITH. You said you were giving this to Us because you couldn’t handle the stress and anxiety, right? So why aren’t you LETTING GO???)

It’s kind of semi-yucky in North Central Texas. Overcast. A bit colder than Texans tend to appreciate! Tomorrow there will be a little winter “BLAST.” Not major. (Or so they say. Why do we not always and totally trust those Dadgum Weather Peeps?)

I’m sending each of Y’all (WHEREVER in this WORLD Y'all are...) some HUGS, warmth, patience, kindness, hope, and FAITH. Will Y'all each send a bit of these things BACK TO ME? 

Thanky. Thanky very much.

SMOOCH!
ELC

Thursday, November 8, 2018

homes sweet homes...

So it seems there is a strong probability our home and place have sold. My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) and I have even found a home that’s sixteen minutes from TLC and family and have put a contract on it. All of this has happened in the past month! If everything falls into place, we could be driving away from Our Country Casa in three to four weeks. I honestly cannot think about this. Talk about this. Or type words, thoughts or feelings about it. Not without getting consumed with grief. Or having BIG tears fall.

When the Sellers of the home we want to buy accepted our contract this past Monday night, it made me think about all of the homes and places I’ve lived in sixty-four years.

Without going in to the endless twists and turns of my life  My (Long…wink wink) Journey up until this very moment, I’d like to share this with Y’all:

I counted them all up and I’ve lived in seven homes*, two college dorms, eight apartments and one barndominium (The barndominium was the one we built when we bought this place and where we lived while building our home. It’s still one of our family’s favourite places to hang out!) I wasn’t surprised. I guess. And yet…I kind of was a bit shocked. Seeing all of these abodes typed out on a piece of paper was interesting. I double-checked it three times.

I can remember a lot of details about most of those places I’ve lived. My memories of our home in El Paso actually begin when I was about three. Some because of pictures I’ve seen, of course. But I can also clearly see that home in my mind’s eye right now. The general floor plan. The big front porch. The backyard. The garage apartment my grandmother—Nana—lived in for a couple of years before my parents’ divorce. It was probably 30 years old when I was three!  Maybe older. So, if it’s still there? It’d be close to or over 100! Yikes.

Of the apartments? Two I lived in as a child/adolescent—while my parents looked for homes. Three were apartments I shared with roommates. Two were apartments I lived in alone. One was an apartment MSH and I lived in literally three weeks only and about a year after we married. (The timing of us buying a home wasn’t working. We had to move out of one house before we’d made a deal on another.)  Four of the said eight apartments were very inexpensive and probably bordered on sketchy/dangerous. They weren’t places I’d want my children or grandchildren to have lived or to live in now. I survived.

Only our home before this one was a place I cared enough about to decorate. Furnish with pieces I loved.  A home to have celebrations and holidays and parties often. I was proud of that home. (We actually still go by to see it every few months. We get sad. Especially TLC. It was the home we brought her home to the day after she was born and where she lived until she was sixteen. She still asks if we're sure we can't buy it back. Uh, no, TLC. We haven't won a lottery yet, Silly Child.)

But this home? The only home MSH and I built together? This land? Our barndominium? I’ve cherished. I’ve adored. I’ve loved with all of my heart. I’m now crying. Sheesh. (HOW WILL I SURVIVE THIS? Seriously...how?)

As this experience proceeds, I’m not sure how much blogging I can do. TLC is in the midst of being Room Mom for Little Leighton’s class. Lots o’ stuff going on there at this busy time of the year.

Please hang in with us! I’m a’thinkin’ we might do some “Blasts from the Past!” (Y’all that have been with us a while know we resort to this tactic during times of extreme stress and/or busy-ness.)

On this somewhat dreay-ish day in North Central Texas and from the office of our home I will have a hard time leaving, I wish each of you a Thursday, Friday and weekend FULL of cozy warmth in a place that gives you sheer and utter JOY!

smooch,

ELC

*Four different times in my life I went back to live at my parents' home in Weatherford, Texas. FOUR times. And each time I'd wished I had another alternative. Just because it was hard to have been on my own and then back under the Rents' Roof. You know? You get it. Again, I survived. Duh.