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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Gathering to Celebrate

                                                          Benjamin Andrew Parker, July 15
                                                     Joe Dan Parker,  July 26

Now that our family numbers 13 when we are all here to celebrate a birthday, celebrations are often so lively my photos are not great, but the smiles and joy they capture certainly are.  Since Ben's and Joe's birthdays are close on the calendar and we spread the celebrating out over various times and occasions, we start sometime after the 4th of July and finish up the month in the afterglow!  Ben's cake was Maddie's creation, using a family recipe called Mississippi Mud Cake. Maddie and Jordann and Skye made a butterfly cake and Reese's cupcakes for Joe's party.  I am happy to have lots of help in the kitchen!


Saturday, July 25, 2015


Three of our granddaughters worked on learning to sew in the past 2 weeks.  Our niece came with her granddaughter to help them, so we had sewing camp!  Maddie and Skye have their own sewing machines, and Jordann practiced her handwork.  I am proud of them for working on a skill that will serve them well.  I think of the many hours I have spent at my own Singer, starting when I was near their age. Mother bought a new sewing machine that came with free lessons which she didn't need since she had been sewing for years.  I was only 8, but she had me take the sewing lessons.  I made a dress and jacket and modeled it in the "fashion" show with other students. As years went by, I sewed many of my own clothes, including my wedding dress and some clothing for Joe and the boys when they were very young. I sewed crib quilts and dresses for our granddaughters.  I would not have done this without the encouragement and example of my mother, great-grandmother to these girls.  I think she is proud, too!

Friday, July 17, 2015


Maddie and Jordann have come to stay with us for a couple of weeks. This week is our church's annual Vacation Bible School, so for the first 4 days of their visit, we went off every morning for VBS fun. Skye is old enough this year to be a volunteer worker along with other youth at First Baptist Church Richmond. Maddie's T shirt was too big, so Skye helped her to make it more fun to wear. She wore it every day, even washing it herself in the evening. They joined nearly 100 other children and even though they don't live here and did not know people in their groups, they made new friends and new memories. This makes me remember all my years growing up and doing this in the summertime. I loved VBS, and every summer I went to the one our local church had, went again with my best friend to her church's VBS, and later went to stay with my grandmother to go to another week of learning Bible stories, singing, and enjoying snacks, games, and crafts.  When I was in college, I spent 2 summers doing work with the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board in California and Arizona and helped with many different VBS weeks in Salinas, CA and Yuma, AZ.  The music may have changed, the crafts are more creative, and the snacks more healthy than Kool-Aid and cookies, but the well loved stories are the same. Smiles and memories continue!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Gardening Joy

The "Rachel and Jacob" wind chime

For many years, Joe and I have helped with our church's annual Christmas presentation which varies every year.  For a long time, we played the part of innkeepers in the Christmas story and were given the names Rachel and Jacob.  Several years ago I gave Joe this big wind chime which I named after the innkeepers.  I love its deep tones and the way the slightest breeze makes its music part of our garden. We have other smaller chimes, but this one is very special.  Yesterday our youngest granddaughter Nora was here to help us enjoy it! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Nora celebrated the Fourth of July with water!  She discovered the fun of sprinklers and splashing, tasting drops and chasing bubbles,  and made it all new again for the rest of us.  We lined our front sidewalk with tiny flags, grilled hot dogs and sweet corn and finished with homemade ice cream. But it was her little girl's excitement and laughter that made the day one we will always remember. I recently saw a billboard by the freeway that announced "Memories happen without warning." It was advertising vacations in Colorado, but we don't have to plan a trip or travel for the happening. On our back porch, on July 4, 2015, hearts filled up and ran over with happiness that is now a forever memory.

Monday, June 29, 2015


This is a well done slide show set to well done choral music spotlighting our state!  We have lived in Oklahoma, California, Oregon, and Indonesia, but our roots were always in Texas and all our sons and grandchildren were born here.  Texans, and proud of it!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


My Daddy, John William Howard Teal, my mother Opal, and me at around age 2 (top) and 4 (middle) - snapshots taken near our rented apartment in New Orleans LA, and in Bullard, Texas. The studio photo of Daddy and Mother was probably from about the same time as the Bullard picture.  Daddy has the same suit on, although he probably wore that suit only to church, weddings, and funerals and kept the same suit for years!

I am reminded often of Daddy, and miss him even though he died in 1982.  He was honest, hard working, a man of faith and love for his family. He was a good businessman, a good cook, a good son, a good brother, a good husband, and a good father. He worked hard in the cafes which he and my mother owned, and worked even harder taking care of a small herd of cattle on the land he bought from my grandparents an acre or two at a time to help them financially. He liked growing things, planting a small pecan and plumb orchard, and growing seasonal vegetables in his garden. In my mind I have vignettes of him grafting pecan trees, pinching suckers and picking tomatoes, calling his cows with his truck horn, and throwing out feed and hay to them. Other pictures of him have him baking fresh yeast rolls, rolling out pie crust, grilling hamburgers, and making chicken fried steak. At my request, he would put a spoon of mashed potatoes on the grill with some chopped onions - I loved fried mashed potatoes!  When he was at work in the cafe he wore a short white cap and , a fresh white apron, and when he came home he smelled like hamburgers!

He loved his grandsons.  He took Sean fishing and to feed the cows. He let Ben play with the hose in the front yard and Ben turned the hose on him!  I have a picture of Jeremy, our middle son, when he was a baby with one of Daddy's old felt fedoras on.  After his death, I kept Daddy's hat on the shelf in my bedroom along with one of his belts and his whetstone. They have all since been given to the grandsons, but I can almost touch them in my mind. His hugs still touch my heart.