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Saturday, November 28, 2015


Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, Advent begins tomorrow. The 2 days are not always so close together, but it seems appropriate to move from the posture of marking gratitude to these next weeks of waiting and expectancy. I love so many things about these celebrations. There is the time set aside for personal reflection and recollection. There is time for family gathering and celebrating. This Thanksgiving has brought a keen awareness of how precious our times together are and how much I appreciate the occasion because it draws people home. The coming year brings great change for all of us, some already known. Jobs and homeplaces are relocating, our grandchildren are growing up. Next year gatherings may be different in numbers and place. So I need to say one more time how grateful I am that all our thirteen of our sons, their wives and our grandchildren were together for hugs and laughter, fun in the kitchen, remembering, and circling our great feast for Joe to pray a blessing and thanksgiving for our family, our food, our being together.  Not many pictures, but so many, many good memories.

Thanksgiving 2015. Blessed.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Skye is 13!

Today is our lovely granddaughter's thirteenth birthday.  From the moment of her parents' excited news of her tiny beginning, she has been so much joy and gladness for me. In the months before her birth, I wrote a journal to her in the form of a letter, given to her parents on the day she was born, a tradition I have continued with each new grandchild.  I simply wanted to tell her she was already a part of our family story and would always be.  I wrote about happily we anticipated her arrival, of all the things we looked forward to sharing with her, and how we celebrate faith and family. From rocking and lullabies to planting flowers, building fairy gardens and baking macaroons, Skye continues to add delight to our time together. Thank you, and Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Maddie mailed me a note with a gift inside and the instructions "Here is a sticker you can add to almost anything..." I grinned as I attached it to the pumpkin on my counter. P for pumpkin, P for pie, but also P for Parker!  Our family has grown to number 13 Parkers (and alot more counting extended family.)  With a grateful heart every day, and Thanksgiving gathering coming soon, I am glad for our times together as a family.  See you soon, Maddie!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Making Music

I enjoy making music with my choir and handbell friends, but there is a different kind of pleasure in music with my grandchildren.  I have had so many good times with each of my granddaughters:  rocking and singing lullabies, swinging and singing,  playing CD's and singing along in the car as we drove somewhere, marching around the house singing and sounding out with everything from pot lids to maracas, trying out recorders and harmonicas, making drums out of boxes and cookie tins.  I remember Lauren's "Poor Mr. Spider" tape she loved playing over and over in the car and dancing with her. I played handbells with Skye's youth handbell group.  Maddie loved singing from the time she could talk and could sing Amazing Grace with perfect pitch when she was 2. Jordann loves making up songs on the piano and Nora does too.  Whether it is singing "Skip to My Lou" 20 times in a row or "A, You're Adorable" or tunes from The Sound of Music, music with these girls fills my heart!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Song and a Dance

In all the cleaning and clearing projects I have been working on, I sorted through a drawer that held piano music that belonged to my Mother.  My grandparents lived very modestly in a white frame farmhouse on a hill in East Texas.  There was an outhouse and a water well  because there was no indoor plumbing, even as late as the 60's when my grandfather died and Grandma Terrell moved to town.  But Opal was their only daughter and there is much evidence to prove that they doted on her. They bought her a piano and gave her lessons, many done by a mail order music course, but also piano lessons given in person by Mrs. Moss. The music I inherited has been a delight to me. I have enjoyed playing through it and thinking of other hands that played those songs.   I have not treated it with the care I probably should have, but I have done something I think Mother would like more - I used it.  In previous posts, I have talked about the story of this music.

When I was sorting through the crumbly pages this time, I was doing so in order to pass the music on to Nora Opal Parker, since she carries Mother's name.  Knowing that I might not be turning the pages again myself, I may have looked more closely. But I don't recall ever seeing this title before.  It is a piece in a book of waltzes and fox trots. There must be a story in that title!

 Before the music goes into a box to pass on to Ben and Kristen to keep for Nora, there is one more way to use it.  A few pieces of  love songs will be used to help decorate for a wedding in about a week,  I also think I will sit down and play through some of the old songs again. I think Nora's great grandmother will be listening.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Steel Magnolia

October 20 will always be Mother's birthday on my calendar even though it has been 9 years now since she left us. I took this photo two years ago when we visited hers and Daddy's graves, along with the many others of our family who were laid to rest here in the Bullard, Texas cemetery.  The giant magnolia tree reminds me of Mother, who was indeed a steel magnolia, a true lady, a eautiful, strong, courageous woman with deep roots who deserved the name long before anyone thought of making a movie!  She would have laughed at my calling her that.  That is one of the things I miss the most - laughing with her. Remembering!   Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal October 20, 1913 - September 21, 2006.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


"The heart of Autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure out upon the leaves."=
Charlotte Fiske Bates

Books are everywhere in our home. Even though both Joe and I read many books on his Kindle and my iPad and listen to audio books as well, we have stacks and shelves of printed books. Bible study books, theology books, gardening resources, mysteries, memoir, poetry, and fiction. In the kitchen, 50 plus years of our cookbook collection keeps growing, mostly due to gifts from those who know my love of cooking. In the spirit of cleaning, clearing clutter, and paring down, I have filled boxes to donate to the library, and have passed down a number of cookbooks to family members.  Honestly, I don't know anyone else who has both their mother's and their grandmother's cookbooks!  Treasures, these.  I have written about them before and will again, but soon it is time for them to go to one of my own granddaughters.

There are a number of favorite books of different genre that I keep and go back to regularly.  The little book in the above photo is one of those.  Autumn. by Susan Branch, "From the Heart of the Home." This wonderful collection of whimsical drawings, quotations, celebrations, and recipes was given to me.  It is autographed by the author: "To Mary Ann - Happy Fall! Susan Branch 2004."  But I value more the note written under that - "Thanks for all the nice things you do for others. With love, Jen."

As the title announces, the book is an invitation to celebrate this time of year in magical ways.  I love to settle down with a cup of tea or hot cider and turn the pages one more time.  And yes, we do follow up with "doing" and enjoy some of the recipes. I particularly enjoy the seasonal quotations sprinkled throughout.

Hang bunches of fresh herbs, pepperberries, yarrow, and hyrangea.
Candles, candles, candles! Lots of votives in green or gold glass. Pop a votive in a citrus shell.

"If you were to ask what is most important in a home, I would say memories."  Lillian Gish

"In the village store someone says 'I heard the geese go over,' and there is a moment of silence.  Why this is so moving I do not know.  But all of us feel it."  Gladys Taber

Recipes for Spiced Pecans, Garlic Shrimp, Red Chili Onion Rings, Corn Pudding, Indian Shuck Bread, and Maple Butter!

Bring leaves and pinecones in for a Thanksgiving table.

Fun gifts to assemble in baskets and old bowls for Christmas.

"Display old books!  Heidi, Pollyanna, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  And all your favorites!"

"Autumn is the best season  in which to sniff, and to sniff for pleasure, for this is the season of universal pungency."  Bertha Damon