Family is an important thing

“Family is not an important thing. It's everything,” said Michael J. Fox. #family #write31days Click To Tweet

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything,” said Michael J. Fox.

family in Austin
Father’s day in Austin, this year

This is true, Michael. This is true.

family selfie
selfie of Danni, Cameron and I, before the wedding

I believe no one is happier than a mother when she has all her children by her side. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

family in Fort Worth
Our family at another family wedding, last September.

This is how I feel anyway.

The five of us were blessed to attend a beautiful wedding last night, a close family to our family. The two are high school sweethearts and they are now one. The church was gorgeous with the natural light flowing in, as if He was giving His approval.

family of five
My five

The warehouse was transformed into a unique, urban-perfection that was the dream of the bride for her wedding reception.

The food, flowers, lights, atmosphere, wine, music, cake, friends, and family—all perfection.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”- Desmond Tutu

The older I get, the older my children get, the more I cherish nights like this and time spent together.

family
our three kids

We were even lucky to have Mark’s parents with us and to celebrate Don’s 77th birthday. What a party!

family
In-law’s, niece, nephew and brother-n-law with my kids. Where is Mark?

Charles Kuralt said a most profound statement. “The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.”

Charles Kuralt said a most profound statement. “The love of family and the admiration of friends is… Click To Tweet

Having our parents and our kids with us, wherever we are, makes whatever we are doing even more special. God continually blesses us in our life, with these moments.

Family Christmas
Christmas at Sundance Square, in Fort Worth, with my parents

We had a great family vacation in August with just the five of us.  Read about that here.

family in Surfside Beach, in August
family in Surfside Beach, in August

I am a fortunate mother to have the love of my children, I guess Mark and I did something right. We have fun together. Make fun of each other. Love one another. Yes, I am a lucky mother.

Jo's coffee
The girls and I at Jo’s, in Austin

This thirty-one-day writing challenge has made me think a lot. Thinking is good. I’ve been thinking about what makes me happy. I hope some of the things I am writing about make you happy, too.

Day nine and still going…

Love and blessings~dd

I love pumpkins.

Day Eight on the thirty-wonderful days of writing and I am going to give you pumpkin inspiration.

Harvest day
Harvest day

I love pumpkins.  Always have.  But this year I have grown my own.  My own ten pumpkin babies and I have two more on the way!

I love pumpkins. #pumpkins #fall #write31days Click To Tweet

pumpkin baby

When I say “pumpkin babies’ it is because when you have no bees, you improvise, with self-pollination.

self-polination
self-pollination

Before you freak out—this is a thing.  A real thing.  I googled it and researched  it and became a pro.

a few of my pumpkin babies
a few of my pumpkin babies

And now, I have ten pumpkin babies!

pumpkin patch
pumpkin still on the vine

Henry Davis Thoreau once said, “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

homegrown pumpkin
a pumpkin from deedee’s pumpkin patch

And my prized first-born was Prudence.

Prudence!
Prudence!

Read about Prudence and my inaugural pumpkin patch here.

Prudence and the pups
Prudence and the pups

Growing pumpkins is a piece of cake (pumpkin cake!!) and seems to have a lot to do with luck.  I can give you pointers.  I highly recommend you try it.

And had I had bees…please!!

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie,” Jim Davis so wittingly wrote.

Click To Tweet
Maw and Cha and one of my homegrown pumpkins
Maw and Cha and one of my homegrown pumpkins

Not Prudence though.  Prudence will not be a pie.

pumpkins and flowers
In Texas, you get pumpkins and flowers because it is still scorching hot.

I hope you enjoyed my pumpkin inspiration.

Do you also have a pumpkin-love?

love and blessings~dd

 

Stand tall like the Alico

As I was looking through my pictures this morning, preparing to write my continued blog on Waco, I found so many pictures of the Alico Building.

The view from top of Magnolia Market at the Silos
The view from top of Magnolia Market at the Silos

As I have said, I have taken an enormous number of pictures of it because I think it is so interesting looking, peering high over downtown Waco.

When I was a baton photographer for the ilovetexasphotos Instagram account, I did some research on the building.

The Alico Building, a 22-story structure with much character, was constructed in 1910 and completion was exactly 12 months later in 1911.

Waco hasn’t looked the same since.  The Alico is still the tallest building in Waco and because it stands alone, so tall and erect, the building appears to be watching over the city as if it was a soldier standing tall.  (the thought of that makes me happy!)

It is named after the company that was housed in the building, the Amicable Life Insurance Company, which was chartered in 1910.

Known as a tower of strength and stability, I believe it is a metaphor for Waco.  This town has been through a deadly tornado and David Koresh, as well as the Twin Peaks shooting and now the Baylor athletic scandal.  This city has always stood tall just like the Alico Building. Proud and tall.

The Alico, a 22-story structure with much character, was constructed in 1910 and completion was… Click To Tweet

My favorite time to take pictures of this landmark is when there is a gorgeous blue sky above her.

Austin Avenue, headed towards The Alico Building
Austin Avenue, headed towards The Alico Building

Or fall leaves around her.

Austin Avenue, downtown Waco, in the fall
Austin Avenue, downtown Waco, in the fall

Or trees blooming in the spring around her.

The Alico and her March blooms
The Alico and her March blooms

Or when I am headed down Austin Avenue, headed downtown.

Alico Building
Austin Avenue, Waco, Texas

I may or may not be obsessed.

My husband and two kids have an office downtown and those same two kids live downtown. (our third child lives in Austin)

view from downtown Waco apartment, with Luna Juice, my favorite
view from downtown Waco apartment, with Luna Juice, my favorite

This is the view from their office on 6th Street.  (actually this is a reflection of their view)

Alico Building
reflection of the Alico in One Liberty Place, downtown Waco

I write for The Hometown News, a small newspaper in Waco and I also write for The Groove, an entertainment magazine, in Waco. I have written some articles about coffee houses and barbecue spots that might be helpful if you are visiting Wacotown.

Waco is a lovely place with actually quite a lot of activities going on every weekend. There is always something to do or go explore. One just needs to look.

If you can’t find that thing you are looking for, then just look up and stare at her.

The Alico Building, downtown Waco, Texas
The Alico Building

Love and blessings~dd

Waco: Visit Our Waco, a small urban town

Waco. Wacotown. It has a new place on the map. The map of destinations. People are actually traveling here. To see Waco. Visiting our Waco. It is getting recognition. Some good. Some bad. But we, as Wacoans, are getting noticed. And, everyone knows Magnolia is playing a large part. Baylor, good and bad, has also played a part in the notoriety.

Before you visit our Waco, read a few articles, (linked in this blog post originally posted in October 2016), I have written and discover a few hidden gems in our town.

Waco: our small urban town
Austin Avenue in Waco

Continue reading Waco: Visit Our Waco, a small urban town

Every leaf is a flower

Sadly, in Texas, we don’t see gorgeous fall leaves until deep October and sometimes Thanksgiving.

I have to decorate with the faux ones.

faux from Gable Lane Crates
faux from Gable Lane Crates

I love Texas, born and raised, but as I have traveled and even more so as I have aged, I have realized there are much prettier places. (duh!)

I have tried (and succeeded) to find the beauty in Waco. The downtown area on Austin Avenue and more precise, the Cameron Park and Brazos River area are quite gorgeous. As I state over and over, one must look around them and find the beauty. (more about Waco in tomorrow’s post)

Wacotown
Wacotown

For me, I know it is truly autumn, in Waco, when I am headed home, down Lake Shore Drive. When I see a tree, a specific Oak. When I see that tree has turned the most gorgeous shades of fall, a flutter comes upon me and I truly tear up. Every year. Every time. This may sound really silly. But that is when I know the holidays are upon us and the spirit is within me and I am ready!

I should take a picture of that tree someday.

I did take this magnificent shot of a tree that had turned in Grapevine, two years ago at Thanksgiving.

Lake Grapevine, Thanksgiving 2014
Lake Grapevine, Thanksgiving 2014

I love the falling leaves. Every house we have had, in our 29 years, has mainly had Live Oaks. While pretty in their own way, they do not turn the pretty colors, the oh-my-it-is-fall colors! They do have acorns though-and that is fall.

I love the falling leaves. #write31days Click To Tweet

When Cameron did her study abroad in London two years ago, she was lucky to have experienced autumn in such a lovely place. She had gorgeous leaves falling all around her.

london2
Mayfair, London

She knew how much I love them and she mailed me a leaf all the way from London! (I tried to preserve it but one day, it fell on the floor and Charli destroyed it. She was only six months old and what was on the ground was hers!)

Danni and I were blessed to cross the pond and visit Cameron while she was there studying.

notting-hill
Notting Hill, London

This is in Notting Hill. A dreary, perfect London day! I have a habit of taking pictures of my kids walking in cool cities. (ah ha-blog idea!!)

These beautiful leaves were in Grosvenor Square, in Mayfair, in London. If you travel to London, do so in the fall. It’s so pretty and because they don’t have Thanksgiving, they deck the city in Christmas splendor, in November. Amazing-truly amazing!

fallen leaves
fallen leaves

So basically, if I want to experience autumn in all its glory, I must travel.

And that’s alright.

london
Mayfair, London

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” Albert Camus said poetically.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” Albert Camus said poetically. #write31days Click To Tweet

So very true.

love and blessings~dd

It’s what the sunflowers do

I have always had a mantra that I believe in.

Make your own sunshine.

img_1538

Make your own sunshine. #write31days Click To Tweet

Don’t depend on others to make you happy. Only you can make you happy. Only you can choose to be happy.

Don’t depend on others to make you happy. Only you can make you happy. Only you can choose to be… Click To Tweet

My parents used to tell me as a child, when I was most likely being a brat, “You better put a smile on your face.” I don’t think that ever worked. I think that simply made me madder. In the end, I always returned to happiness, I just had to do it on my terms.

What makes you happy?

I have a long list of things that make me happy; make me smile. You will learn about thirty-one of those things in my writing challenge–if you follow along. (that would make me happy!)

Write 31 days challenge
Write 31 days challenge
I have a long list of things that make me happy, make me smile. You will learn about thirty-one of… Click To Tweet

Sunflowers are one of those simple things.img_9658

“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life like the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” Smart, enlightening words by Helen Mirren.

img_9670

Vincent Van Gogh liked sunflowers. He even took credit for them. “The sunflower is mine, in a way.”

The smallest things warm the heart. And sunflowers do that for me.

img_1539

Coming home from Lubbock, last year, after Cameron graduated from Tech, we saw a large, sunny field of sunflowers. We pulled over, got out and took the silliest, most wonderful pictures.

img_1540

That made me happy. Pictures with my girls make me happy.

Helen Keller had the right idea when she said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.”

img_1538

Yes, there are much prettier flowers out there. After all, sunflowers don’t smell up a room. But they are bright and lovely.

Be bright, sunny and positive. Like a sunflower.

img_7162

Be bright, sunny and positive. Like a sunflower. #write31days Click To Tweet

Love and blessings~dd

 

 

Stir a pot of stew

I have recently started purchasing wooden spoons. I have antique spoons that I have purchased, as well as unique spoons from retailers such as William Sonoma and Magnolia Market. I have even purchased a few great ones at Target.

woodenspoon3

I have them beside my oven, sitting in an antique crock, that I purchased from Harper and Arrow Market Place, a great source online for exceptional finds.

woodenspoon

I think they are pretty.

How can one think a wooden spoon is pretty? After all, they are bland and brownish in color.

woodenspoon2

But still, I do and they are making me happy. (It doesn’t take much to make me happy!)

Christopher Meloni said, “If you try hard enough, you can bend the spoon; you can shift reality.”

Not sure that is true of a wooden spoon. But you can stir a good pot of stew with one. Wooden spoons stir up comfort.

Christopher Meloni said, “If you try hard enough, you can bend the spoon; you can shift reality.” Not… Click To Tweet

There are also those who think wooden spoons are a great way to punish a child–that’s a whole ‘nother story, a bit barbaric and perhaps done back in the ‘olden days! But I suppose there are many children that have run from a spoon!

No comfort there.

My husband, Mark, used to tell me, “You are stirring up trouble. Don’t be a spoon.” (And again, a whole ‘nother story.)

Ruth Reichl once said, “Ask people to pitch in – hand them a spoon and ask them to stir. Doing things together, having everyone help, makes for a nicer party.”

I like this use much better for a spoon.

Ruth Reichl once said, “Ask people to pitch in - hand them a spoon and ask them to stir. Doing things… Click To Tweet

My wooden spoons bring me joy, make me smile and they stir a good pot of stew.

wooden-spoon

I hope for you, wooden spoons in your life, to bring you joy. And stew.

Love and blessings~dd

What do you see?

What do you see when you see?  I see insanity but I am up for the challenge!

Welcome to my insanity of writing every day, in October! Today is day two and I am exhausted from trying to link up to the challenge.

But I did it. It may or may not have taken me four hours. Or more.

But here I am.

I will be bringing you thirty-wonderful things that there is to love about life.

What do you see when you see a beautiful sunrise?

What do you see when you see a beautiful sunrise? Click To Tweet
what do you see
Sunrise, October 1, 2016

A blue sky?

what do you see
Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco

The beach?

what do you see
Surfside Beach, Texas

Your children?

what do you see
Surfside Beach

And your husband?

what do you see
Mark and I enjoying the World Hunger Farm in October

I see God.

I see Him everywhere. I see Him in my pups.

what do you see
Charli and Martha

I see Him in my pumpkins.

what do you see
Prudence and the pups

Where do you see God?

I think if you open your eyes, even on dark days, you will see Him.  I see Him every day and I know He is always there for me.

God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine, or guess, or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around, but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:14-21

God can do anything, you know -- far more than you could ever imagine, or guess, or request in your… Click To Tweet

So, look around and open your eyes.  He is there.  He is everywhere.

Where do you see God?

love and blessings~dd

Follow me along on the thirty-wonderful journey I am on!

Thirty-wonderful days of writing challenge insanity begins

I have jumped ‘over the edge’ once again and have accepted a thirty-one day writers challenge.

i have jumped 'over the edge' once again and have accepted a thirty-one day writers challenge. Click To Tweet
Thirty-one days of writing
Thirty-one days of writing

Write every day. And I do. Not always a blog post. Maybe an Instagram post, or perhaps I work on a story for The Hometown News or The Groove, but nine out of ten days I am thinking, dreaming and writing.

The coffee house article in The Groove
The coffee house article in The Groove

I have now accepted a challenge with many other much-more-talented-than-I writers to write at least five minutes a day, for thirty-one days, and post it.

I have now accepted a challenge with many other much-more-talented-than-I writers to write for at… Click To Tweet

The biggest challenge so far and what will haunt me all night–what will I write about in these October days (Hence the thirty-one days!)??

The challenge
The challenge

I am calling it a night, saying my prayers, and asking God to give me a subject.

My day began like this.

Sunrise, October 1, 2016
Sunrise, October 1, 2016

Then went to this.

MARCpets Barkin'River Run
MARCpets Barkin’River Run

And this.

Downtown Waco Farmers Market
Downtown Waco Farmers Market

Then ended here.

img_9607

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now off to bed, to pray for knowledge, dream about writing and hopefully get some sleep.

Join me in this journey? Read my thirty-wonderful ramblings?

Enter your email below and I’ll send you thirty-wonderful daily emails (and when October turns in to November, it will only be one email a week!)

Love and blessings~dd

I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t like!

I never met a pizza I didn’t like.  I like all pizza–gourmet, from a chain, thin, thick, and even frozen-as long as it has cheese!

Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.”

I believe this to be absolutely true.

I have started writing a monthly article for The Groove, a monthly entertainment magazine in Waco that details the arts, music, nightlife and food in Waco.

coffee house story in The Groove
coffee-house story in The Groove

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly,” Anna Thomas voiced.

In my articles, I don’t necessarily do a top five list, I don’t rank the restaurants, on paper anyway, I pick a few choices for you to try so you can decide on your own.

Wacotown
Wacotown

I have had so much fun the last three months researching, taking pictures— and of course eating! After all, one must try the food one is writing about, right?

cold brew from Bru Coffee Bar and a scone from Milo
cold brew from Bru Coffee Bar and a scone from Milo

But more importantly, I have enjoyed the exploration of these foods with the people who go with me-to research.

I have written about barbecue, coffee-houses and this month—pizza.

Frenkie's
Frenkie’s

I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t like!

I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t like! Click To Tweet
Moroso's Wood fire Pizza, in Waco, my new favorite place!
Moroso’s Wood fire Pizza, in Waco, my new favorite place!

I have had the privilege of dragging my husband and daughters with me on these ventures. (and Alex, my son, was along for some pizza research!)

Porofino's, in Waco
Portofino’s, in Waco

Common experience that brings people together is food.

Common experience that brings people together is food. Click To Tweet

Mark and I ate a lot of barbecue in less than a two-week time period in July. It was interesting trying all the different meats and sauces, (and sides!) and comparing them. I enjoyed every brisket, every potato salad and every BBQ sauce the article forced me to try.

Uncle Dan's
Uncle Dan’s

One week, we had barbecue, for lunch and dinner three days in a row. It became comical. We forged through though-all for a story!

To read the barbecue story in the August edition of The Groove, click here

article in The Groove
article in The Groove

My daughter, Danni and I visited a lot of coffee houses, in August, and we loved every one and enjoyed drinking every cup. And I enjoyed being with her and experiencing it all with her.

Pinewood Coffee Bar, in Waco
Pinewood Coffee Bar, in Waco

Waco has many great coffee houses to try. Here is the link to the H.O.T. Coffee story, click here

The coffee house article in The Groove
The coffee-house article in The Groove

Stop and enjoy your food.

enjoying a cup of joe at Dichotomy, in Waco
enjoying a cup of joe at Dichotomy, in Waco

“One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti said that brilliantly.

“One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and… Click To Tweet

Along the way, Mark and I have decided that every Thursday night will be date night. And of course, many of those Thursdays include trying a restaurant that includes my subject-of-the-month on the menu.

I have not minded this one bit.

After 29 happy years of marriage and three kids, we are alone in the house with two weenie dogs and a weenie dog-wanna be, our Lab. Empty nesters.  We have actually become pretty comfortable at our new stage in life. Mark and I travel alone together, and with friends and family, and we have nights we go out with friends but this is our night and we have both enjoyed it.

July 18, 1987
July 18, 1987

We take turns, every other week, picking where we will go. (Of course it all depends on if I am finished with my story and need more research!)

Thursday night date night is something I look forward to every week. And I am blessed that he wants to go with me.

wine at Moroso's
wine at Moroso’s

The great quote from Virginia Woolf says it all, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

The great quote from Virginia Woolf says it all, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one… Click To Tweet

What will be next month’s subject? I am thinking cupcakes. Or maybe breakfast spots? Or perhaps Waco dives that serve incredible food??

Let me know what type of food or restaurant you would pick.

Love and blesssings~dd

 

To read my article in The Groove, the first of every month, click here

 

Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Read my blog at… Click To Tweet