Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Putting Things Into Perspective

~My sister & me ~

This morning I will get up and carry on with my usual routine ...

Shower, coffee & breakfast, let the dog out and be off to work. I never knew how much I took these normal everyday things for granted. Never realized that I am truly very lucky to be able to get up and live a "normal life".

For while I am carrying on with my morning my sister will be undergoing surgery. Many of you know that my sister had a massive stroke 3 months ago. She went from being a perfectly healthy woman to becoming paralyzed and unable to speak in an instant. She spent 2 months in the hospital receiving physical, occupational & speech therapy six days per week. It is very hard work and the progress is very slow. She was moved to a sub-acute care facility one month ago to continue therapy.
She is now able to say more words, but is a long way from being able to communicate well. She can now move herself from bed to her wheelchair by herself, but is still a long way from being able to walk. Today her surgery will be to replace the portion of her skull that was removed 3 months ago to allow room for her brain to swell. The doctors feel that the swelling has gone down enough that it is safe to replace the skull.

Every morning when I wake up, my sister is the first thing on my mind. I wonder what she really thinks about all of this, I wonder if she is in pain. I think of how hard life has become for her. I think of her waking up in a strange bed with a 91 year old roommate. I think of how it must feel to have to count on somebody else to give you a shower, drive you where you need to be and make your decisions for you. I wonder what it must be like to go through this and not be able to tell anybody what you are feeling or what your needs really are. I think of how hard this would be for anybody, but especially someone as independent and smart as my sister.

I can't really know what life is like for her right now, but I feel pretty sure that the small things I so often take for granted would be pure bliss to her.

When she last came to visit my mom & I it was in March. When she saw that my mom is now wheelchair bound, it was hard for her at first. In my wildest dreams I never would have imagined that the next time I saw her she too would be in a wheelchair.

I guess the point of my post is that as often as I have heard it said that we should treasure each day because we really don't know what tomorrow may hold ~ I now believe it!! And if I ever start to forget I just think about how quickly everything changed for my sister and it puts things in perspective real quick.

So, this morning as I stood by the window gazing into the beautiful blue sky & breathing in the cool, fresh air... I gave thanks for so many things in my life and I said a prayer that my sister's surgery would go smoothly and that she will make a full recovery and someday soon be able to have the freedom to experience a "normal day" once again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Sweet Surprise

~ Welcome ~
Come on into my blog home & let's get caught up on our weekends.

I hope your first official weekend of Fall 2009 was a good one.
I started mine off by purchasing a new wreath for the front door. I have been looking for one for awhile now and ended up finding this one at Tuesday Morning. I haven't been there in a long time, but after seeing it mentioned in a few blogs I decided to pay them a visit. It turned out to be a good move :-)

When I was outside hanging the wreath, I noticed a box on the front porch. Inside the box was this beautiful afghan. Recently I received an e-mail with the title "A surprise for you". It was from Karen at Life is Good
She wrote to tell me that she had made me an afghan as a surprise and if I would provide my address she would send it to me. This was such a sweet surprise and it has touched me so much to think she would do this for me.

Knitting is a skill that I do not possess, so I really admire people who do have those talents ~ like Karen. As you can see I spent some of my weekend moving the afghan around my family room. I can't believe how perfectly it matches my home decor. I am already getting excited to think how well it will go with the blue and white Christmas theme I use in my family room. Why I can hardly wait until I can make a mug of hot chocolate, put on a good Christmas movie and snuggle up under this gorgeous afghan. I might never get out from under it as it is so soft. Thank you so much, Karen. I sincerely appreciate your kindness.

Well, it was hard to have anything but a good weekend after receiving such a wonderful surprise. Even though it rained all day Saturday and the sun never came out, I was happy to stay indoors and put a few fall touches in the kitchen.

I have an apple pie recipe that I am anxious to try. I think I will have to put that on my to do list for the near future.

The gloomy weather put me in the mood for soup. I couldn't make any on Saturday as we were invited to a neighborhood Oktoberfest party. It was put on by a German neighbor. He planned very well and had many tents put up outside. A very good thing as it rained the entire time. This was the first time I have been to Oktoberfest and it was a lot of fun despite the rain.

I recently found these salt & pepper shakers at the thrift shop. I thought they went well with Susan Branch's Autumn book. I have noticed that this book is a popular one among the bloggers.

I bought this jar at my favorite little shop in Blowing Rock, NC several years ago. I enjoy changing it out for the seasons. Here some small gourds and a cranberry candle make it a nice centerpiece for the kitchen table.

Well, that's a little glimpse into my weekend. Now, let me hear about yours.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giveaway Winner ~ Round Two

Ten days have come & gone since I announced the winner of my giveaway. Since I have been unable to contact her, I found it necessary to choose another winner. So, without further ado,
the winner is . . .


Congratulations to HappyOne!!
Since entering the giveaway HappyOne has changed her blog to Karen at Life Is Good.
If you have visited her before you will be familiar with her positive, upbeat attitude about life. If you haven't visited her, I encourage you to stop by for a visit. Every morning she takes a long walk and often shares pictures of the sights she sees along her walks. Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy about my exercise I will think to myself "if Karen can walk six miles every day, the least I can do is take my 2 mile walk" I am constantly amazed at how we inspire each other through the blog world. It sure is a place filled to the brim with inspiration.
Karen, please e-mail me with your address so that I can get your package in the mail.
Now that it's officially Fall ~ Happy Fall Y'all!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Playing With Plates

Hmmm . . . why is she showing us a plate?
Maybe because it is blue and yellow with a bird and morning glories on it?
Nope, that is not the reason. I want you to notice the plate hanger. You know that little metal thing hanging over the top & bottom edge of the plate.
Until recently those were the only thing I knew that existed out there to hang your plates on the wall with.
That is until I entered a giveaway here. When I read about this product I thought it looked like a great idea.
Was I ever pleasantly surprised when Suzanne at Southern Inspiration contacted me to tell me I was one of her winners! In a few short days I received her lovely prize. A full set of disc hangers. I can't wait to find a tiny little plate to use the smallest one on.

I wanted to try them out so I decided to use one on the morning glory/bird plate. It was super simple. I just applied a tiny bit of water to the back of the disc, rubbed it around a bit, let is sit for 5-10 minutes and then applied the disc to the plate. Easy Peasy!

And, voila.
No more plate hangers peeking out.
I know from now on all of my plates will be hung this way.
Thanks so much Suzanne for introducing them to me and thanks even more for your generous gift.

Edited to add:

Some of you have asked where you can purchase the disc hangers. I have been told by Suzanne that she has a button on her blog that will link you to the online source for ordering and the best part of all is that the shipping is free. So, if you're interested please visit Suzanne at
Southern Inspiration .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall Comes To The Family Room

It's been a gray, rainy week here in my area of North Carolina. Not the nicest kind of weather to be out & about in. So, when I didn't have to go out ~ I stayed in. One day I played around in the family room.
I started by draping a fall garland across the mantle.
This one lights up. It runs off of a battery pack and even has a timer. The other day I walked in the door after returning from work and the first thing that caught my eye was the warm glow of the lights shining orange, green & yellow. It was such a warm welcome on a rainy day.

The shelves were cleared of their summer finery and a touch of fall was added.

I went with a bit of a Fall Gardeny Theme.

Oak leafs, acorns & birdies.

More birdies & a bird house with a leaf for it's roof.

Another leaf ~ this one made of North Carolina pottery.

A cozy faux candle lamp & a gray squirrel.

More squirrels and some faux acorns. I really want to take a walk through the woods and collect some real acorns. I guess that will have to wait until the rain stops falling.

This morning has dawned as another rainy, gray day. My grass seed is loving it. Me ~ not so much. Luckily I have a very busy day ahead of me. But, when the last dinner dish has been done I am looking forward to a cup of orange spice tea and a good book. Hmm . . . maybe these rainy days aren't so bad after all :-)
On another note, I still have not been able to make contact with the winner of my giveaway ~ Miss B. If anybody knows how I might contact her, please let me know. If I am unable to locate her by Wednesday, September 23rd I will draw another name and that person will be the winner.

Monday, September 14, 2009

100th Post Giveaway Winner

The winner is . . .

Miss B.
Congratulations to Miss. B. I was unable to make a link to her blog, but here is the comment she left for the giveaway.
"I just came upon your blog and what a great time to do so! What a lovely giveaway.
I know what you mean about blogging changing your life. For a long time I have
been a reader of blogs and decided last week to start my own and I'm amazed at the
kindness of fellow bloggers. So blessed to have found your blog."
Thank you for your sweet comment and welcome to the blog world, Miss B. Unfortunately when I click on your blog name in my comments it doesn't lead me to your blog so I haven't been able to leave you a comment to let you know you are the winner. I am hoping you will read all about it here and be kind enough to e-mail me with your address.
Thank you to all who entered. It was fun to read all of your kind comments and it was also nice to meet many new people. I am planning to get around and visit all of you in the next few days. I feel so fortunate to have met so many wonderful people since I began blogging. I sure wish I was able to give each and every one of you sweet ladies a gift.
May your week be wonderful ~ just like you!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fall Color Change ~ Not Just For The Leaves

As the beautiful season of autumn approaches ...

Color changes aren't only for the leaves.

What was once all blue is now lovely shades of
green, plum & a touch of blue.
So nice in a crystal vase in my living room.
You remember, the one that doesn't lend itself to traditional fall colors.


I've been busy as a bee around here getting ready to help my sister-in-law with her garage sale. Today is pricing day & Saturday the sale begins ~ at 7 a.m. Yikes, I'd better get to bed early.
If you haven't signed up for my 100th post giveaway there is still time. Scroll down to the previous post to read all about it.

I'll be seeing you on Monday when the winner will be announced.
Have a Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

100th Post Giveaway

Our late summer days at Surfside Beach, SC were wonderful.

There were daily walks along the beach.
On the last day I jokingly told my husband that we couldn't go home until he found a sand dollar.
Shortly after that comment he stopped walking, pointed down and didn't say a word. There it was ~ the first sand dollar either of us had ever found. It looks much prettier now that it has been soaked in bleach water.

Cute & colorful houses lined the beach.
It was a great way to rap up the summer.

Since we've been home the temperatures have been cooler.
The feel of Fall is in the air.
It made me want to do a little nesting, so this week I have started deep cleaning one room at a time. I began with the living room. Once I got it spruced up I thought I'd put a touch of Fall decor in there. It is a bit challenging to do that when your couch fabric looks like the photo above. Not exactly fall colors.

I happened to be putting away a table runner and noticed these embroidered linen pieces in the drawer. I had purchased 3 of them at a thrift shop several months ago and forgot all about them. They are all in perfect condition and I thought that rose & green leaf just might work into my living room fall decor.

Last night I stopped at Michael's and spotted these cute plastic leaves. I bought a bag and was happy to see that some of the colors matched my thrifty linens.

I dumped the rest into a hurricane vase I had and added a candle. This is my favorite room to read in at night. I will enjoy lighting the candle particularly on those cool autumn evenings.

These little nesting leaf dishes are white with a yellow edge. I found them at an antique shop a few years ago. Their subtle colors will tie into my theme just fine.
As I continue to bring fall touches to my home, I wanted to spread a little fall cheer to one of you.
Since this marks my 100th post, I'm doing a giveaway.
I first stumbled across the blog world a couple of years ago when I was doing a search for "cozy fall homes" (or something on that order). When I clicked on a link that took me here I was hooked. For many months I did a lot of blog reading before I summoned up the courage to try it myself. I still remember the feeling when I pushed that publish button for the first time on June 7, 2008. I also remember the thrill I got from my one and only comment which came all the way from Heidi in Holland. In her comment Heidi warned me that blogging would change the way I looked at life. Boy, was that ever true. It has definitely changed the way that I look at life and in a very good way.
Coincidentally my life has changed drastically since I first hit the publish button. If you follow my blog you already know that in the last year I moved my mom near me and became her POA as she suffers from Alzheimer's, saw her decline drastically and have 2 strokes last year. I saw my husband leave for a business trip perfectly healthy and return very ill only to spend the next week in ICU at the hospital. When I thought life was perhaps going to be on a more even keel for awhile, I received the most shocking news of all ~ my sister's stroke. Originally I had no intention of sharing any of this on my blog. But, as I went through each of these trials it was pretty much all I could think about. I decided that maybe I would share a little bit of it and was totally overwhelmed by the kindness, prayers and good thoughts I received from all of you. Now, I am going to admit something to you. There was a time during all of this that I said to my husband "Maybe I should have never started this blog. Maybe it has brought me bad luck because life was so much easier before I began it" I knew I was being superstitious, but I couldn't help but wonder. Well, he said to me "I think it was the opposite of what you are saying. I think your blog was a blessing because it has helped you get through these trials." I know that he is right and in all of the many ways (too numerous to mention) that your blogs have inspired, blessed and touched me I am truly thankful to you, my friends.
Now, enough of my rattling on ~ let's get to that giveaway!!

When the cooler days of Autumn come a callin', our thoughts turn to comfort foods, upcoming holidays, cozy decorating & tailgate parties ~ to name a few.
To help you get moving in that direction I am including this Autumn Gooseberry Patch book.

It's full of recipes like this one.
After a long walk through the fallen leaves, wouldn't this be nice to come home to?

Cute ~ yet simple ideas to add little touches of fall to your decor.

When the frost is on the pumpkin this chili might be just the thing to warm you and your family from head to toe.

This would make a cute centerpiece for the day that you serve that pumpkin chili :-).

How about a new recipe for all of that leftover turkey?

Once that yummy fall food is fixed it will need a bit of seasoning.
This little squirrel is here to help.
He's filled his acorns with salt & pepper.
He will be included in the giveaway.

As the days grow shorter and it gets dark earlier, a candle is always such a welcoming sight.
I love to burn candles and change them out for the season.
These triple fragrance candles are among my favorites.
Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon & Cranberry Spice.
Mmm... perfect scents for the Fall season.
This candle will be added to the giveaway too.

If you would like to enter my giveaway, please leave a comment before midnight on Sunday, September 13th. I will draw one name on Monday the 14th. If you don't have a blog, please leave me your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

Thank you all for coming by to visit.

Good Luck!!