Tuesday, November 9

Time for a Christmas adjustment

Gene & I are at a crossroads. This year, for the first time in our life together, we will be by ourselves (totally) on Christmas Eve/Day. The year started out with hopes of our traditional family gathering ~ all our children, husbands, girlfriend, sister-in-law, pawpaw and my mom ~ with the added joy of Aaron, now 17 mo.old.

Everyone gets a stocking.
Everyone gets gifts, some asked for some not.
We enjoy one big meal during the day,
There are usually toys for all the adult boys to play with ~ one year remote control cars, last year helicopters.

The last few years we have had to adjust the exact date of the gathering due to work schedules & in-law schedules, but just by a couple days at the most.  This year part of our family moved to Michigan. New jobs. No extra days off. Christmas Day is on a Saturday ~ not Monday off, not Friday off. No time to fly and be here for a gathering. Our son, has found his way to Colorado. We are uncertain of his plans & work schedule now. Given 2 out of three of our children would possibly not be here, it seemed unfair to ask baby momma (pregnant) & hubby to drag 18 mo. old Aaron and all his stuff & gifts to our house.

I / we know we have been blessed to have our fold close by during this special time of year.
This year will be different, yes. But each year may be different for many years to come. Gene & I had become creatures of habit and tradition. Now we will have to adjust our lives accordingly, even if sadly.

Gene decided we would start the adjustment by running away this year! He and I are going to spend Christmas at Disneyworld. Yes. With Mickey & friends. We will still go to Chattanooga to see the family there ~ just not on Christmas Eve or Day. We will still make a trip to Michigan to share some time with family there ~ just not on Christmas Eve or Day. We will still share the love with family here in Alabama too ~ just..... you get it.

We are excited about the adventure, and maybe in the future everyone else can join us on a Family Christmas trip somewhere!!

To help with the Christmas spirit, I am told that we can order a christmas tree, complete with ornaments.
And Gene found the best room on the property ~ one with a view of the Magic Kingdom. That means each night we can watch Tinkerbell slide down from the castle and then the Fireworks, all from our room!! Thank you Gene!! Can't wait!!

Saturday, October 23

A Rollercoaster Ride


Does this look like fun? Have you ever taken a ride on one of these monsters?

The uncertainty,
the anticipation, 
wanting to scream, 
holding on tight,
then throwing your hands in the air,
the nausea in the end.
'They' call it a thrill ride.
I beg to differ.  

Sometimes life is like a Rollercoaster ride too. The past few weeks have been a little like that at our house.  Our son recently worked with some guys that had stories of their adventures working in another state (let's say.... Colorado).  Well, that fueled his interest of having one of his own! One day he was leaving "this Friday" and then he wasn't.....he felt confidant about a phone/job interview he had had, but was having trouble with housing.
My husband & I had our own 'thrill ride' adventure ~ in our hearts. Finally after a month of maybes our son left this morning. For Colorado. With our mixed emotions surfacing, my husband & I said our "be careful" goodbye's (along with call us, text us, etc.) as he and his dog Odin climbed into his truck & headed out for the Adventure he is hoping to have! We wish him all the adventure he can stand ~ and to come home safely by the years end.
Love you son. (and Odin too)

Wednesday, September 29

A Cruise is a cruise is a cruise?? NOT

I am only 4 days into my week long cruise aboard Royal Caribbeans "Oasis of the Seas", and I am blissfully floating about the water in the Caribbean. I can honestly say, that after about 20 cruises ~ I have found true luxury and relaxation.  It could be that we have earned our status ~ we are "Diamond 'Plus' members ~ reaching this level by the number of cruises we have been on.  Thus, giving us many VIP opportunities. Our room seems to be adding to our VIP treatment as well. This trip I picked their new Loft Suite (not offered on the older boats). Between the two status builders, and the opportunities this massive new boat offers, we have been treated quite Royally. 

I have to add, that what you don't know, you can't miss. We have had many cruises that have been tons of fun and lovely ships. But now we have experienced "top of the line". This could pose a problem in the future!!

The loft suites are on the 17th floor and you have to use your 'room key/card' to get into our area... nice for added safety ~ they do it to keep the eye-wanderer's away. The room itself is awesome!  The bedroom area (bath/vanity) is up in the loft on the 2nd floor, with a view of the Ocean from the 2 story windows. The flat screen t.v. drops down out of the ceiling for viewing in bed.  Downstairs there is a large living area with a desk / chairs, a second bath, and another flat screen t.v.! The balcony is the size of a small bedroom & has two chaise lounger's that have cushions & a terry cover for our comfort. Sandra and  I are out here now... she with her kindle and me with my laptop! You can hear the ocean in the background. 

Yesterday we stopped at the island of Haiti. Well, Labadee, the beach area that Royal Caribbean has fixed up over the years as a 'private island' oasis for it's cruiser's. The newest thing they have added are cabana's. Yes, we got the offer to rent one. Yes, we took the offer. And it was wonderful . We had a private beach area just for those of us with the Gold cards (frequent cruisers). There was a cabana boy to bring us extra towels, floating mats, and to set us up a couple of chaise loungers in the sun!!  Sandra and I took advantage of the mats and floated in the water for a portion of our time on the island. aaahhhhh. The men stayed in the cabana and enjoyed the view and shade. Lunch was also separate from the crowds for our beach area, as well as upgraded choices!! yummy!!  A few shells tossed in my beach bag topped off the day in the sun.

Skip ahead and I am now home reminiscing about the rest of our trip. Sadly, I may miss some of the great things to share, but I will try.

The 'at sea' days were full of sunshine, with an occasional rain cloud. The solarium was a 'no kid' zone and quite comfy. Adults only pool.... lots of seating.... and if we wanted the bright sun, my little Gold card allowed us to go up a level, closer to the sun, with chaise loungers like I had on my deck and our own bar for ordering those frozen drinks in those cool glasses we had to have.

The ship stopped in Costa Maya, Mexico next. Gene & Chuck stayed on board ~ Gene slept until about 3:00 in the afternoon I hear! Sandra & I went on a Mayan Ruins tour. Very interesting. Our final stop was in Cozumel. If you have ever been on a cruise you have probably been to Cozumel, Mexico. Nothing new there, so I signed us all up for a Dolphin Encounter tour. I think it was the highlight. Gene & I have participated in one elsewhere, but this one gave you more interactions. We got to pet them, kiss them, have them push us on a boogie board, pull us for a ride, and hold them (they sold us pictures and a DVD to prove it). There was also a Manatee (sea cow) for us to pet, though he had slimy algae on him because he swims so slow (ick).

The Oasis of the Seas is RCCL's biggest ship to date, with the Allure coming in service this December to join it. Being on such a large ship, with the capacity to hold 6,000 passengers, you may wonder about feeling crowded. I found that most times that was not the case. They really have things laid out well and other than the Promenade Parades (which were almost unbearably crowed and hot) everything went smoothly ~ Even the departures..... um can we say there was even an escalator for some of our stops?  A few of the really different things on this ship were the Boardwalk and Central Park. The Boardwalk was at the back of the ship and had things like a full size Carousel, Johnny Rockets, ice cream parlor, dress up picture place and a water show amphitheater. Yes. Outdoor water show ~ complete with high diving. The Boardwalk is open above it, so if you are standing behind the boat you will see inside staterooms with balconies overlooking the area. Interesting concept. The Central Park area is also open above.... with pools 7 decks up on either side of the opening. More rooms, with balconies that overlook the area of trees, seating area's and restaurant's.

When the four of us were not going to see shows (Hairspray, Comedy, Water, Ice Skating, Acrobatic) or eating, we all enjoyed the spa on board. Hot Rock Massage is my favorite. Sandra and I got Seaweed wraps with a massage afterwards too. While we were wrapped up the therapist lowered the bed into what felt like a bathtub surrounding us, so that it felt like we were floating in water ~ yes, we fell asleep!! Speaking of eating ~ the choices were many. We favor the Main Dining Room seating in the evenings... but you can pay a little extra and eat at other restaurants (or for free in the Windjammer). One night we did eat at Chops for a good steak dinner. Johnny Rockets was our standby lunch & milkshake venue. Free breakfast was offered at several locations throughout the boat. With so many choices ~ a few in the promenade too ~ I found that I did not stuff myself at any one seating.... knowing I could always get a bite later (even room service).

Don't know if another Cruise will ever be able to top this one on the Oasis, but I'll keep cruising and let you know!!

Friday, September 17

What a sweet sound

Today I heard the sweetest sound....  excitement!!
My daughter called me with joy in her voice (the job in Ann Arbor was finally finished with her background check, etc. and she passed)!
I don't always get to hear that kind of inflection when she talks.
I smiled to myself.
Relief filled my mind. 
Pride filled my heart. 
So happy for her.
And her hubby.
Together they are going to have some wonderful adventures in Michigan!!

Friday, September 3

Ask me NOW....

If you were to ask me how I feel about Candace & Corey moving so far away NOW ~ I would tell you that I am no longer scared. She and I spent 4 nights and days in Ann Arbor this week, which was time for me to get the feel of the city and drive around lost, but find my way. She will be able to do the same. Together we GPS'd and sometimes drove in circles, but we always found our way!!

Ann Arbor has a downtown area that is bustling ~ restaurants, a cupcake store, shops, etc.. We had time to visit some of them. The University of Michigan's campus is just on the edge of downtown, so many a lot of the homes in the area are full of students. If you recall from my last blog, Corey has a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University. He already has his Michigan shirt, and is ready to be part of the game day experience! (he and Candace went to Birmingham Southern before there was a football team)

Candace & I took our research and went on an apartment/condo/something rental hunt for 3 days. There were moments of claustrophobia, general 'ick', and the dreaded "No Pets". Then times of 'I like this one... no, this one..& I want THIS one!" But, with her list of 'wants' and "'can live without", she finally felt that she choose the apartment that was the best for them at this time in their lives. The apartment is only 2 miles from campus (Corey's job), and blocks away from her new job. (mommas happy) They have two bedrooms & two bathrooms, with a full size washer/dryer included. Corey can have his grill on the back deck (after all, he IS the cook in the family), and Candace got a gas Fireplace for those cold winter days. Because of the snow in Michigan, most places, including theirs, also offer covered parking for one car. She had to give up the hardwood floors for this move, but the lease is only for 9 months, so they hope to upgrade a bit on their next move if possible. The best part of all.... PETS are allowed. Well, they do make you PAY for their presence, but you do what you have to do to keep your 'family' together!! As an added plus ~ the complex provides breakfast at the clubhouse M-F?? True!! Various breakfast items that may change from day to day, but F-R-E-E Food.

Our trip also included job interviews for Candace. As you read above ~ she came away with a job offer and accepted it (Teller Supervisor with Key Bank). We were actually at the airport when she got the call :)  Nice wrap up to the trip.
We women got it done!!!!

Now comes the garage sale & packing. Ummm... sorry, mom is going to busy on those days.

Friday, August 20

They keep asking me "How do you Feel about it"?

Our daughter, Candace, and her husband, Corey, are moving. Selling their house and moving. Moving to another STATE. To a state that is not consider in the South. A winter Snow state. A Northern State. They are moving to ~ Michigan. Here is her qoute from her blog:

"Corey has accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan and we are super excited! He will start the new job sometime this October. We spent this past Sunday through Tuesday in Ann Arbor and loved the historical, artsy, small town feel it has."
Her dad, my hubby, is not a happy camper. But then, this is not about him. Or me. And how we feel. Heck, we are the parents of a woman who will be far away from our protective wings. How DO you think we feel? Scared.
I decided the day after I got the news that I would just conquer my fear by putting on my excited face and check out Ann Arbor, Michigan with them! Candace and I have booked plane reservations and a hotel for 2 nights at the end of the month in Ann Arbor to scope out the area for housing and for her to do job interviews. Between photo's and video's, we hope to bring back some solid choices for her & Corey to mull over. 
I'm ready for the Adventure!!

Monday, August 2

What is it with Pickles?

I like pickles okay. Crunchy kosher dills or bread and butter.... preferably Valsic (I reserve the right to be a brand snob with this one).

But what a don't like is any pickle or even the juice from a pickle, ON or NEAR other foods I am about to eat. Not on my hamburger Ronald. Come on Chik-fil-a. Not on the side of my plate with a sandwich (with pickle juice soaking the bread) Diplomat. Definately not sitting next to or on my order of cooked chicken Jim 'n Nicks.

What is it with all these food vendors??? Save the pickles, please !! Shouldn't you be cutting back with the recession and all?

Sunday, June 13

What I Like About YOU

The toothy smile.
The wisps of hair that rest upon your forehead.
The burst of laughter when something is funny (showing that toothy grin).
The pointer finger outstretched to "touch" EVERYTHING.
The word "touch" that tumbles out of your mouth, sounding very much like the word touch.
The obsession with lamps and lights and how they go 'on' and 'off'.
The other obsession with the opening and closing of ANYTHING (with your hands).
The love between a child and his mother.
The early love of books.
The thrill of learning to walk.
The fun of 'splash, splash'.
The wet open kisses given freely.
The long, lean body like your father.
The name given to you with such care and thought.
The early morning Skype sessions.
The never ending dreams for the future.

Sunday, May 23

It is just a FOUR letter word

D. I. E. T. . .. .  a FOUR letter word.

D. is for Dreading the preparing of foods
I.  is for 'I' need the change in my life
E. is for Everyone benefits
T. is for Tomorrow begins the change

I know, I know, why not today ~ or yesterday, why WAIT until tomorrow?
Well, that is another four letter word, that slows me down.
But the real is answer is that I DREAD the preparing of foods.
If I do not have the foods necessary for good health on hand I will FAIL.
Another four letter word, that freezes me and keeps me DOWN.
The TIME for change is now tomorrow.

I've got to MOVE.
More movement in my day.
LESS excuses!!
MORE exercise.
Ask for HELP from friends and have them JOIN me.
Tomorrow - after I go to the grocery store and prepare.
For REAL !!!!

Friday, April 9

Muslim Politics--could this be the mark of the beast warned about in Revelations chapter 11?

I know we are constantly bombarded by the news with all the political worries of our future, and maybe you just want to believe things will "be alright". But here is a warning. When my husband asked a prominant political figure we trust in Washington, D.C. about the truth in the following statements ~  he said that what you are about to read is true!!!. ??????? We need to actively elect representatives that will bring back our Constitution and God.

Word of the Day: Dhimmitude
(Posted by Ann Barnhardt - March 25, AD 2010 11:42 AM MST)

Dhimmitude is the muslim system of controlling non-muslim populations conquered through jihad. Specifically, it is the TAXING of non-muslims in exchange for tolerating their presence AND as a coercive means of converting conquered remnants to islam.

The ObamaCare bill is the establishment of Dhimmitude and Sharia muslim diktat in the United States . Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance, and also from the penalty tax for being uninsured. Islam considers insurance to be "gambling", "risk-taking" and "usury" and is thus banned. Muslims are specifically granted exemption based on this. How convenient. So I, Ann Barnhardt, a Christian, will have crippling IRS liens placed against all of my assets, including real estate, cattle, and even accounts receivables, and will face hard prison time because I refuse to buy insurance or pay the penalty tax. Meanwhile, Louis Farrakhan will have no such penalty and will have 100% of his health needs paid for by the de facto government insurance. Non-muslims will be paying a tax to subsidize muslims. Period. This is Dhimmitude.

Dhimmitude serves two purposes: it enriches the muslim masters AND serves to drive conversions to islam. In this case, the incentive to convert to islam will be taken up by those in the inner-cities as well as the godless Generation X, Y and Z types who have no moral anchor. If you don't believe in Christ to begin with, it is no problem whatsoever to sell Him for 30 pieces of silver. "Sure, I'll be a muslim if it means free health insurance and no taxes. Where do I sign, bro?"

If you are a Christian and you acquiesce to this, you will be bending your knee to islam, and denying Christ. How many of the early Christians went to horrific deaths rather than offer a mere pinch of incense to a statue of Caesar? Every single one of us has a BIG decision to make right now, in this moment. The choice is to either offer a pinch of incense to islam and Marxism, or take up our cross and follow Christ. I've made my decision. I choose Christ. I choose the Cross.

I recommend sending this post to your contacts. This is desperately important and people need to know about it - quickly.

Tuesday, March 30

They are still ALIVE

Plants. Flowers. Dirt. Dirt in fingernails.

I LOVE to buy new flowering plants.
They look so colorful and cheerful at the garden shops.
I am not the creative type so I usually buy what I see already put together.
Or just one big plant.
In October one of my BFF's and I went shopping for the ultimate in winter plants.
I walked up and down the isle trying to decide what colors to get.... being careful not to fill my pots with colors of opposing college football teams. That can be quite difficult. Purple & Yellow? LSU. Orange & white? Tennessee. Ah..... there they are.... crimson pansies and white pansies... now that would be pretty together (Roll Tide). HA!
I did buy some of all those colors though. Afterall, it was fall & the orange ones would look good in a pumpkin shaped planter I had. I went home full of excitement to have my deck adorned with lovely flowers for the fall/winter.
Problem. They never got planted. Well, I did plant a plant I picked up to add to a big pot I had.
But not the pansies. I set them on top of  planter's intended for them and procrastinated.
Poor things, they sat through the cold of winter and a couple of snow showers in their flimsy plastic beds.
Surprisingly, regardless of their neglect, some of them have been blooming.

Fast forward 5 months. 
They are now planted!!! 
I am so excited to step out and see their cute faces!!

Hmmm..... wonder what the garden shop has for spring planting???
Anyone want to go shopping?

Wednesday, February 17

Too Many Dishes

This is not a post about the dirty dishes that many times clutter my counter top before finding their way into the dishwasher. This is a post about the CHOICES of dishes in my cabinets. I realize that you can only eat off of one plate at a time. And many people do not even have a complete set of dishes. But, I get these obsessions sometimes. I'll find something I like. Then I want to find more of what I like. Oh, and then I find a way to GET more of what I am liking. Before anyone can say STOP I have all that I can find in what I like.

I cannot show you my Christmas dishes, yes... set of 12...with bowls... soup AND cereal ones... salad plates.... dessert plates.... platter... serving bowl... ramekins.... and maybe other items. They are packed tight in a lower cabinet.

But I can show you my Halloween pieces...  fun snack stuff!!
Then there are the colorful dishes I like to use when I have 8 or less for dinner, and were purchased to replace my older blue & white Plaltzgraf mega set, but the plates do not fit well in the dishwasher for everyday use. But they look good on the table, mixing up the colors at each place. Luckily for space, they do not make too many accessory pieces. But then... Pier 1 did have a clearance on some dark orange serving pieces ~ some with colorful edges.... so I am good.

Another set has  flowers around the edges ~ Not really my decor since remodeling, but I went nuts with this set, so I am stuck with it. (for now) This set stacks well  in the dishwasher & I have plenty of pieces to break and still have enough for a crowd!!

I can thank my local Homegoods store and ebay for these.

I almost forgot ~ my violet dishes. My mom gave me a small set that she got from Avon years ago.... This is actually just a "luncheon" set. Beautiful clear glass pieces with hand painted purple & pink violets on them. Luncheon plates, bowls, small glasses to drink from and pitchers. The problem with this lovely set is that it was only for four people. If I was going to go to the trouble to entertain for lunch it would certainly be for more than 4 I thought!! And if I had even more pieces I could even host a small party with them..... yes... ebay helped me find even MORE pieces. So, if you live in town and ever need me to host a quaint 24 person luncheon ~ I can do it!!

Monday, February 15


  • thankful the roads were clear to drive to Chattanooga from Hoover Friday
  • thankful for the beautiful snow laden trees along the highway to watch while driving there
  • thankful for the opportunity to see my daughter, son-in-law and grandson
  • thankful for time spent with family
  • thankful for all the smiles and the laughter heard from grandson Aaron
  • thankful for being able to help by giving my gran-dogs a much needed shower/bath
  • thankful for the pictures my camera takes of the beautiful sites and faces
  • thankful my daughter offered to babysit my 3 dogs even though it was for more than 24 hrs.
  • thankful for the opportunity to sit on the bed with my laptop and write a blog at 10:06 a.m..
  • thankful for friends who invite you to dinner so you don't have to cook
  • thankful for my valentine, who loves me back

Monday, February 8

Six : Ten

When my eyes opened it was dark in the room.
I was in bed.
Odin, my son's dog was walking on me.
I looked over at my alarm clock and it said 6:10.

My mind starting thinking.....
Where is Gene? Why is he not in bed? It is too early for him to be up.
Did he sleep in the recliner all night? Is he alright?

Then I thought of my son Daniel.
Did he come home last night? He always calls Odin down to sleep in his room when he gets in.
And I did not remember hearing the alarm on the door beep.
I got up and looked in the driveway for his truck. No truck.

I walked out into the den, where I found Gene in the recliner.
Watching t.v......
I smell food cooking & remember I had put dinner in the crock pot. 
Then I remember we never ate it.
Standing there looking at the T.V. I notice that the Super Bowl game is on.
Oh... it is 6:10 p.m. NOT 6:10 a.m. !
Explains a lot.

Wednesday, February 3

Peace in the family

I now know what Peace feels like.
There is a relief that flows through you..... a smile comes easier.... footsteps a bit lighter.
After 2 yrs of a heavy heart, I got some Peace for my birthday.
Two people I love dearly 'mended fences'.
I wiped a tear away and smiled when I heard the news.
Sadly, you cannot retrieve the years lost, but I am joyous about the future.
Three words.
That is all it took.
My three words in response are: Thank You Both

Monday, February 1

Blessings of a Sunrise

It felt too early.
Light was just beginning to peek through the curtains in my room.
Within the light I caught a glimpse of color.
Memories of other early risings cause me to hurry out of bed and rush to pick up my camera.
I am in time to see it.
That glorious moment when God's earth makes her turn ......
'CLICK', another 'CLICK'. And another.
And then it is true morning.
It only lasts a few moments in time....
That time when there is just a glimmer of the sun to when the sun is whole again in my eyes.  
I've captured another one.
I thank HIM for this blessing of daylight seen in all HIS glory.
Thankful that I am able to witness this miracle from my back deck.
Even if my feet are cold.
Witness to another Sunrise......