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.

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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

 

 

The long and short of it.

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Some are long and short. And are four-legged.

Charli and Martha

Charli and Martha give me smiles every day. Smiles and laughter.

Prudence and the pups
Prudence and the pups

My love of weenie dogs started with a brief love affair as a child with a little black dachshund named Chigger. Chigger ended up going to live on a farm. (I choose to believe he truly did.)

That was a dark day in my life but imagining him on that farm helped me smile.

In 1999, a sweet little pup named Millennium of the Hills of Childress Creek blessed us with her sweet self for over ten years. Ten years of smiles. Milli was an angel.

Cameron and Milli (circa 2000)
Cameron and Milli (circa 2000)

Her side kick, Darby, came to be a part of our lives in 2001 and was a family member until 2014. Milli and Darby were the original weenteam. Many smiles, kisses and memories came from these two.

Milli and Darby
Milli and Darby
sweet Darby
sweet Darby

Our non-weenie dog, otherwise known as a lab, puts up with the doxies.  When she was a puppy, Jemma, (aka-Remi), thought she wanted to be a weenie dog.  She grew out of that.  Now, she tolerates them and gives them a place to lay.

jem-and-cha

Poor Jemma.

Milli and Darby both now live on a farm beyond the rainbow bridge.

Jemma and the original weenteam (circa 2010)
Jemma and the original weenteam (circa 2010)

If you have loved and lost a pet, you know the pain. It is truly a horrible time but like all things-life goes on. You are left with memories. And tear-stained smiles.

If you have loved and lost a pet, you know the pain. It is truly a horrible time but like all… Click To Tweet
Jemma and Darby (circa 2011)
Jemma and Darby (circa 2011)

When Darby died two years ago, I didn’t think I was ready, not yet anyway, for the next doxie. Cameron searched and found one and I said yes. When the breeder sent me her picture, I cried. I knew it was time and I knew I was in love without ever meeting her.

I was thankful that Cameron had pushed me. She knew I wanted another; needed another weenie dog in my life. And she was right.

Charli! Picture taken by Cameron Davis
Charli! Picture taken by Cameron Davis

Charli is an angel. She is stubborn and a grump and I love her. Because of her grumpiness, I smile. She is only sweet when she wants to be. She is cat-like. Has to be her idea.

Cha!
Cha!

Grumpy or not, she blesses me every day.

Then came Martha. And once again, we have a weenteam. I think weenie dogs are meant to be in two’s–like on the ark. They entertain each other. Play together. When they cuddle, I smile. When they play, I smile. (you get the idea)

pups

Martha is the sweetest weenie dog I have had yet. She is happiest when she is in your lap, smothering you in kisses and she lets me pet her belly any time I want. (Charli, not so much)

Martha!
Martha!

And weenie dog bellies are the sweetest. They make me smile.

Maw belly
Maw belly

So blessings, no matter how short-or long, brighten your world.

Faith also comes in all sizes. And sometimes our faith is stronger than other times. We go through periods of great faith and times of “so little faith”.

Faith also comes in all sizes. And sometimes our faith is stronger than other times. We go through… Click To Tweet
Maw and Jem
Maw and Jem

Sometimes when your world goes dark you have to search harder for the blessings. They are there, always there, you just have to look harder at times. (You are breathing, aren’t you?)

Sometimes when your world goes dark you have to search harder for the blessings. They are there,… Click To Tweet

“If you have faith… nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

I have had days where it’s impossible to find these so called blessings. But because I always have faith– I always find those blessings. And that smile.

Cha smiles
Cha smiles

“If you believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

lean on me...
lean on me…

Having faith and never faltering is not only the way God wants us to live, but it is the only way. It is the only way to find those smiles when you need them the most. Finding the smiles when it seems there are no smiles to be had–that is faith. Faith is always knowing you can smile and knowing that there will be a day when smiles will be plentiful once again. Faith.

Maw and Cha
Maw and Cha

So find your ‘weenie dog’ of life. Find that something that always makes you smile even on those dark days.

So find your ‘weenie dog’ of life. Find that something that always makes you smile even on those dark… Click To Tweet
weenteam
weenteam

God gave me weenie dogs. What did He give you?

God gave me weenie dogs. What did He give you? Click To Tweet

Love and blessings~dd

 

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Some are long and short. And are four-legged. Read my blog at… Click To Tweet

What is it about September?

What is it about September? Why does it feel like a fresh start? A do-over? A time to begin again? To restart that New Year’s resolution?

blog-sept

When my kids were little, we would play all summer–go, go, going- and there was always a little part of me that was ready for them to get back to school so that we could have a normal schedule again. Then they all graduated.

And yet, I still have that feeling, that yearning, for September and a schedule. And school supplies.

blog-school-supplies

We would make that trek to Target for school supplies when my kids were young. It was always so fun for them. And me. We would come home, go to our study, all four get into the floor, with a marker in-hand and start making the three piles. I remember these days well.

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms,” Joe Fox types to Kathleen Kelly, the Shopgirl, in an email in You’ve Got Mail.

Doesn’t everyone love school supplies in September?

There is something about the pens, the notebooks and the post-it notes. As an adult, they still get to me and I want to grab them all. I find myself strolling the “back-to-school” isle at Target every year. Even though I have no one to buy school supplies for any longer. These days, I love the planners, stickers and washi tape. And still the pens–definitely the pens.

Buy the EpicBlog planner below
Buy the EpicBlog planner below

I suppose when you grow-up, the school supply-lover becomes an office-supply lover?

A pretty desk makes this office supply-lover very happy.

blog-desk

And then there is that part of September that makes you want to be better—our second-January. I always use this time to try to eat better and start walking again (because in Texas it is really too hot to walk in the summer!). You can re-evaluate that NYR that quite possibly failed.

dogs3

A great way to refresh your mind, start something new, is to learn. Go back to those school days, but this time, as an adult, you can learn whatever you are interested in.

hand lettering 101 available for purchase below on Amazon!
hand lettering 101 available for purchase below on Amazon!

Learn to hand-letter beautifully. Learn to grow succulents.

instagram2

Learn to sew. Learn a new adventurous recipe. Learn to arrange flowers.

blog-flowers

Just learn.

blog-writer

The world wide web is a miraculous thing. You can Google and learn anything. I am in the process of learning to be a better writer. A better blogger. Even a better Instagram-er. I read something every day to help me learn to do what I love even better.

(And if you read the blog post before this-you know I have been learning about growing pumpkins!)

Prudence!
Prudence!

What are some ways that you re-start your year in September? What are some things you would like to learn to do?

Go sharpen some pencils, think it over, straighten your desk and enjoy your day. Oh, and learn!

love and blessings~dd

Dear Prudence

Did you know The Beatles have a song titled Dear Prudence? It is from 1968 and was written by John Lennon about Prudence Farrow, the sister to Mia. Not one I am too familiar with but it might now be a favorite.

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out and play? Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day. The sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you.

Harvest day
Harvest day

Such simple words.

Dear, Prudence, thank you for growing so big and strong. (not part of the song)

Prudence
Prudence

Of course, if you don’t know- I am talking about my first-ever pumpkin child. If you don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might be wondering why I have flipped over a pumpkin? (you might be wondering either way?)

Prudence!
Prudence!

This infatuation has been years in the making. Cameron and I used to throw my fall pumpkins in the pasture to see if the horses would eat or play with them. (they never did) Year after year, the day after Thanksgiving when we were decorating for Christmas, we discarded them in the pasture. We would always have a vine or two emerge. And perhaps a bright, yellow flower. But nothing more.

curly-cues
curly-cues

Then I started putting them in an empty flower bed. Year after year, I would water and baby them. I would get a few vines and a few bright, yellow flowers. But nothing more.

vines in the front yard
vines in the front yard

Last December, we decided to move the cast-off pumpkins to the backyard, to a flowerbed. When the vines started sprouting, I again watered and babied them.

And then boom.

Can you see the rosebush?
Can you see the rosebush?

I had massive vines. Spanning the entire flowerbed, overtaking the rose bush, spilling out into the grass and eventually over the deck and spreading its vine all over the deck.

pumpkin july
spilling over the flowerbed in July

It was crazy. I started to get hopeful. I turned to Google. I learned all I could about pumpkin patches and growing and pollinating. And bees.

vines were everywhere-in every direction
vines were everywhere-in every direction

The first few flowers were male. I had to learn all about male and female flowers. Yes, there is a huge difference just like in all the other creatures God created. Nature is impressive.

pumpkin patch on the porch
pumpkin patch on the porch

Also, there are way more males than females. Males have long green stems. Females have a tiny green pumpkin under them.

female pumpkin flower
female pumpkin flower

I soon learned that the flower, both male and female, close after a few hours. I also soon learned that it seemed we didn’t have any bees.

I had to take nature in my own hands. (Google told me that! Google is the new “they say…”)

I had to put on my virtual overalls and go to farmin. (read that with a thick, country accent)

self-polination
self-polination

Per Google, you must cut a male flower with good pollen (it falls on your finger when touched). Cut all the petals off, deep into the flower so only the stamen is exposed. And the weird, disturbing, look-around-to-see-if-anyone-is-looking part—insert the male stamen into the female flower. Yep.

Bees, please!

Now do you see why I love Prudence so much? I made her. Me and the male and female flower were in this together. And God.

pumpkin

When I saw Prudence was beginning to grow, literally almost immediately, I had so much pride, joy, and love for that little green orb.

pump dee

Deedee’s Pumpkin Patch was now a thing.

Cameron gave me the sign for my birthday!
Cameron gave me the sign for my birthday!

Mark was right there in the involved and excitement part with the patch. He would take the pups out in the morning, search the patch and tell me to ‘get up and get to farming’! It was fun for both of us to search for female flowers and watch them grow after they were pollinated. My girls, Danni and Cameron, would also ask for pictures of Prudence.  It was a family thing. (except Alex-haha)

Charli and Martha helped, also.

when the vines were still growing; stretching out onto the yard
when the vines were still growing; stretching out onto the yard

One day, I cut a male flower off because I was about to get busy (you have to joke about it!) pollinating and you will understand my excitement and surprise when I saw a bee inside the male flower! Bees!

pumpk bee

We now have three large growing pumpkins and several infants growing. I would have thought with the large, vast patch-we would have more than that. (I suppose this isn’t a bumper-crop year?)

We named the other pumpkins after Olympians. Meet Ledecky.
We named the other pumpkins after Olympians. Meet Ledecky.

We harvested Prudence and it appears she may be a Musque de Provence or a Fairytale pumpkin. I love her even more.

Musque de Provence (Fairytale)
Musque de Provence (Fairytale)

I now have pumpkin fever. Not your White-Girl-I-love-everything-pumpkin-flavored fever, it is the love of a pumpkin patch. The love of growing something from the dirt. The love of nature and knowing God had his hand in all this or it would not have happened.

I’ve always had plants and flowers inside and out, but this is so different. So much better.

Look Cha! How do we get off the deck?
Look Cha! How do we get off the deck?

Dear Prudence, thank you for showing me I can grow something beautiful with my own hands.

Prudence and the pups
Prudence and the pups

Love and blessings~dd

 

It all started with Mr. Green

It all started with Mr. Green.

Of course no one knows what this means except our family. Inside jokes are like that. And families with inside jokes are my kind of families.

Surfside Beach, Texas
Surfside Beach, Texas

The five of us have traveled together many times in our lives. We have been blessed with travel. Blessed by God to see a lot of His big, beautiful world.

beach chair 2

Traveling is one of our favorite things to do. And traveling together has always been special. Mark, my husband, and I have traveled alone, with friends, with friends and their kids and with family. We like traveling in our big groups and we also like traveling alone.

Let’s face it-traveling anywhere with anyone you love is truly wonderful.

Fallets Island/Surfside Beach
Fallets Island/Surfside Beach

This year, we had to postpone our “family” summer trip due to Cameron, my youngest, finishing up her semester of grad school. After all, school comes first.

beach sail

We tossed around a lot of options and ended up choosing a beach house an hour south of Galveston. We have been to Galveston many times in our married life. In fact, it was the first beach Mark and I experienced together. We always vacationed in Port Aransas when the kids were younger and we have also been blessed to fly and cruise to beaches, as well.

beach waves

 

Pelicans!
Pelicans!

We have stayed in hotels and rented condos. We have never rented a beach house and I am so happy this was our final choice.

Bluewater Bungalow
Bluewater Bungalow

One word. Perfection.

The beach house was perfect. The view was perfect. The décor was perfect. The beach, while not Caribbean-it was a Texas beach-still perfect. Perfection.

beach house
beach house

All the things I listed above added to our enjoyment and made for a perfect beach vacation.

But truthfully, what was perfect, was all five of us, all together, under one roof, all alone, with nothing to do but be together and enjoy each other and our surroundings. Perfect.

beach house 3

At times it felt to me like we were back on Hali Brooke, raising our kids and loving each other. There was less sibling fighting though – so perfect.

my beachcombers
my beachcombers

Danni was Danni. Alex was Alex and Cameron, being the baby of our family, was totally Cameron. Perfect.

push me!
push me!

My world. My people. My family. My future. Perfect.

rainy day when we first arrived
rainy day when we first arrived

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe I am as old as I am. I can’t believe I have been married to the same man for 29 years. I can’t believe I have three children. Grown children. Grown children with their own lives. I think we like to hold on to our youth for as long as possible in spite of everything because we are supposed to still be twenty-something.

the REAL blue water bungalow
the REAL blue water bungalow

My three kids, my husband and our life together are my whole life. My everything. My perfection.

beach chair 3

No matter how imperfect it actually is.

We had rain. We had mosquitoes. I cooked too much. My pups weren’t there with us. It wasn’t clear water.

But still perfection. Imperfect perfection.

I know my twenty-somethings will have their own lives and spouses and children (one can hope, right?) one day but having them, together, under one roof, on that beach, in that house, was like heaven to me as a mom and that was perfect!

beachcombers

I hope we have more vacations like this but if we don’t, I am truly blessed by our Lord to have this memory.

sunset at the Bluewater Bungalow
sunset at the Bluewater Bungalow

Perfect memories.

Love and blessings~dd

 

everyone should love everyone

Our country, among other things, seems to be arguing about which lives matter. Every life matters. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. LGBT lives matter. Women matter. Men matter. Police matter. Americans matter.

All lives matter. We are all the same; from the same mold.

The Black Lives Matters movement, as a peaceful movement to educate and spread light on the unjust treatment of blacks in America, is an extremely important movement- until it turns violent.

And it has.

On July 7, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon police officers, in Dallas, watching over a peaceful rally on Black Lives Matter, killing five officers and injuring nine others. Two civilians were also wounded.

When men decide that it is ok to gun down police officers, the very people who keep us safe, day in and day out– that is when the peaceful movement gets a bad rep and becomes associated with violence. And to some, the movement looks as if it isn’t working. It appears to not be helping the cause-or anyone.

Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, spokesman for the Waco Police Department, spoke enlightening words and admiration for the citizens of Waco for their support to the Waco Police Department and its officers after the Dallas Police shootings.

Swanton answered about negativity and hate in Waco, “There was only the one incident of “Die Pigs” being written on one of our police vehicles. That was it.”

He continued, “The citizens of Waco have rallied around our officers with nothing but kindness. We have had coffee bought for us, had lunches provided, pizza delivered, cookies and cakes. We have not gone hungry around here, that’s for sure.” He went on, “The outpouring of support has been amazing in person and on our Facebook page, through cards, letters and emails. It speaks volumes.”

“We’ve had a good rapport with the Waco community. We struggle to do the best we can. We hold our force to high standards-nothing but professionalism. When we mess up, we hold our officers accountable. When we make a mistake, we correct it. And I think the community feels that,” Swanton expressed.

Speaking of the Waco citizens, he finished with, “We need them as much as they need us.”

There are bad people in every walk of life. You could find bad doctors and nurses, bad teachers, even bad priests. People make mistakes daily and people make bad judgements. People are human. That doesn’t make it right to kill police officers. This is only drawing negative attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not helping.

An eye for an eye does not produce peace or forgiveness. We need to heal this country, every part of it, rather than divide it. Unite not divide.

How do we stop violence against groups in America?

Our nation needs to begin a conversation that will help heal our country, heal each other and stop the violence against each other and the very people who vow to keep us safe as a daily routine.

The national conversation has begun.

Whether you call them inherent rights, natural rights or God-given rights, we as a society, no matter your background, net-worth, society or culture, have them. Ever since the 1776 Declaration of Independence, these rights have been called unalienable rights.

It is our inherent right, or the means by which we determine justice, fair entitlement and peaceful conflict resolution, to live in a free society. Free society comes with rules and laws. We all have inherent rights, but we must obey the laws and respect those that govern them.

We can say all the positive words. Love, grace, compassion, forgiveness, understanding to all people, no matter who they are or what they have done to us.

And while these words are a start, we need a continuation or all the social-ills will only escalate.

After the Dallas police shootings, Hillary Clinton said, “[There is] too much violence and hate in our country.”

She spoke the truth. And yet, what are the answers? What even are the questions?

Mother Teresa spoke wise words when she said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across waters to create many ripples.”

All the little ripples could make a change. Imagine if we all thought this way and started throwing stones-the right way- the positive way. If everyone would try to make a positive change, cause a ripple, in a positive way, we could make a really large ripple of change in this world we all share.

Sometimes you just have to decide that you want to be the change. We, as Americans, need to decide to go through life being the encourager-not the persecutor.

One man in Dallas started a ripple and it has been reached around the world with a poster board and a Sharpie. Chris Bailey drove downtown, to the crime scene, after the shootings in Dallas, armed with his poster board that read, “EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY”. He describes on his website that he was nervous about getting out of his car with his sign; he was compelled to do it.

Chris Bailey with his now famous sign
Chris Bailey with his now famous sign

He walked around downtown for two and a half hours, receiving hugs, fist bumps, thumbs up, waves, and lots of head nods. With excitement he wrote about getting zero negative responses. People took pictures of him and pictures with him. The Associated Press picked up one of those pictures and Bailey and his sign went viral. The news sources at the crime scene interviewed him and his story and picture has been in the newspapers in Houston, DC, and Spain. He has been on local news in Louisiana and even in Norway.

Bailey 2 ele

This simple message is a positive ripple.

Bailey was on a street corner, with his famous sign, during the interview. He expressed, “A lot of people don’t get out and do something because they feel they won’t make a change. I am just one guy and I have affected over 57,000 people. Do something simple. Just do SOMETHING.”

Then he added, “Show somebody that you love them.”

buy a shirt!
buy a shirt!

Bailey started a Facebook page that now has over 57,000 members that is spreading love and erasing hate. Bailey’s website, http://www.everybodyloveeverybody.net/ is selling t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and other items with the original, scribbled out, positive message on it- “EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY”

Bailey said he lives by the Golden Rule. The money will go towards his annual feeding of the homeless and providing Christmas for the Butler Housing Project in Fort Worth. The money for this usually comes out of his own pocket. He is in the process of becoming a non-profit.

When Bailey, a foundation repair salesman, was asked what the biggest positive that he has experienced out of this signage, he responded with, “My change of attitude. I’ve become a nicer guy, towards my family and my job. I made a 180 degree turn-around in less than a week. It is me that has changed.”

Amplify this message. Pay it forward.

This is our wake-up call. Like Bailey, show someone you care; that you love them. Everybody deserves love from everybody. Be too busy to hate.

love and blessings~dd

*This was an article I wrote for a special edition of The Hometown News.  I felt the words were important and should be a part of my blog.

 

Second Sunday in June

Becoming a Davis, as I did 30 years ago next month, means that once a year, on the second Sunday in June, you travel to Johnsville, Texas, to a tiny little white church (in the vale), you worship God and Jesus. Afterwards, there is a family reunion and you eat among the dead in the cemetery. (explanation to come)

Second Sunday in June
Johnsville Church of Christ

Johnsville is on CR206, just west of FM 2481, four miles north of Duffau; (where??) about 15 miles southeast of Stephenville.

Johnsville is a one room church, although there have been add-ons since 1987 when I first worshipped there. Behind the church is a cemetery, where many Davis’ before have been laid to rest. Here is where you enjoy catching up at the family reunion.

Second Sunday in June
Bob Davis’ and Don Davis’ five kids and wives~circa 1990

My history with Johnsville starts with OFF and outhouses and no air-conditioning (Yes! You read that right!) We are talking rural and back-in-the-day stuff!! I will honestly say-I wasn’t too excited about the whole thing. Although, being there with the one you love makes it all better; makes you want to endure the chiggers and the heat because you are finally a Davis.

Second Sunday in June
circa 2016

My first adventure was about a month before I was officially a Davis. When Mark and I first started dating, the year before, I was just shy of missing out on the Johnsville chiggers! (Should be the name of their football team!!)

And no-we did not date very long before we knew this was it; he was the one.

You had to walk down the hill just a bit-to the outhouse. The outhouse. Before you started the trek, it was a must to spray OFF or else—the chiggers! The church was not equipped with the modern convenience of cooled air-and being in June—it was always very hot! And eating outside, in June, is not always comfortable-the heat, the flies and the mosquitoes.

Second Sunday in June
lil white church in the vale

Year after year, Johnsville grows on you. Family reunion. When you see Mark’s cousins and see how happy his parents are that you are there, you are glad you came. There is true history in the place. Davis history. But the real history started way before me, even way before my in-laws. It began in the 1800’s.

The community of Johnsville was settled sometime before 1860 and was named for John Z. Martin when he was appointed first postmaster in 1901. (Imagine a town being named after the man who delivered your mail?)

Johnsville consisted of general stores, a cotton gin, blacksmith shop, fraternal lodges, a school, a church, and numerous homes.  It was once a thriving village on the main road from Stephenville to Glen Rose, according to www.texasescapes.com

Second Sunday in June
Johnsville Cemetery-Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, August 2013

The oldest graves in Johnsville Cemetery are those of the two infant children of Curtis and Annie (Cox) Burks and of W. B. and Mary (Smith) Cox. The children are believed to have died in 1907 and 1910. In 1910, Edward and Martha (Shaw) Cox sold 1.5 acres of land adjoining the church for use as a cemetery. The church was then almost fifteen years old. (There is a weird inside-Davis joke about an unknown baby and the grave it calls home!)

Second Sunday in June

They say, (who is they? I have no idea??) that pioneers from all walks of life settled in the area; teachers, masons, blacksmiths, merchants, soldiers, preachers, farmers, mothers, fathers, children, and many others created the community known as Johnsville. Many of them and their descendants were buried in the Johnsville Cemetery.

As were many Davis’.

In 1998, the Johnsville Cemetery was rewarded with an historical marker and a celebration to commemorate the occasion. We were all there for the ceremony. More Davis history. More family reunions.

Second Sunday in June

Now this historical marker was appropriate because when Mark and I were dating, I lived in Arlington and he lived in China Spring. My parents lived in Granbury. We drove a lot. Together and separate– because we never missed one weekend together, not one-from July 18, 1986 to July 18, 1987, (yes, we got married one year to the date that we met-I told you it was quick-we just knew!)

(Warning–At this point, our children and our parents should stop reading this!) All that driving caused us to stop every once in a while to kiss. So we made-up a game. Every time we saw an historical marker-we stopped and kissed. Did you know there are a lot of historical markers in Texas? We got out of the car and kissed. Romantic. Ok, back to Johnsville…

Second Sunday in June
Johnsville Church of Christ Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, August 2013

In 1948, the Johnsville School was consolidated with schools in Pony Creek and Chalk Mountain to form the Three Way School District. (Go Chiggers!! GO!!) By 1997, only the Church of Christ and the cemetery remained as a record of the area’s pioneer settlement. The Johnsville Cemetery continues to serve the area.

It is where we eat. Under the big oak trees, just outside the cemetery, we feast on a pot-luck-church-lady lunch.

In 1980, the estimated population was a mere twenty-five. That same number has been used through 2000. The post office is now closed (sadly, because every year Mark still looks for it as his marker to turn!)

Second Sunday in June

And that’s the history in the books. The history that is more important to the Bob Davis and Don Davis families…

Bob and Don are brothers and they grew up going to Johnsville with their parents. Each married and had children. Bob had Dan,Tim and Lauren and Don had Mark and Dave. The five Davis kids also grew up attending the reunion service every second Sunday in June and have carried on the tradition of attending with their wives and children. Our kids grew up knowing this church- as did Dave’s kids. One day, our grandchildren will attend the family reunion. (Bob already has great grandchildren who have carried on the tradition)

Second Sunday in June
The Davis gang, this year at Johnsville–most, but not all
photo courtesy-Jess Davis

The church has changed over the years, most importantly-air-conditioning and in-door plumbing! I believe the song books have been updated. We still sing the same songs every year, led by each Davis male. The difference is that the five Davis kids and their wives now need readers to see the music. There are many things that haven’t changed-we still sit in the same chairs I have been sitting in for 29 years (who knows how old they actually are). Bad news-there’s still chiggers!

Second Sunday in June

Johnsville is June. Johnsville is Davis. Johnsville is love and God and worship and family. Family reunion.

Johnsville is an important family tradition; it means the world to my father-in-law and because he means the world to us–every second Sunday in June, we go to the little white church in the vale.

love and blessings~dd

 

 


a long, communal table

 

A farm-to-table fresh menu, lights strung for atmosphere above a long, communal table, charmingly decorated, and a venue you would never consider dining at, Farm to Table Dinners are all about community, conversation, surprise, and good food and wine.

Farm to Dinner Party at Black Oak Art
Farm to Dinner Party at Black Oak Art

When you go to a restaurant or attend a dinner party, you generally know what to expect and who you will be dining with. These farm to table events are all about getting out of your comfort zone, being brave, trying new things and meeting new people. And garden-fresh meals from local farms and purveyors, prepared by a chef that is known as much for his biscuits as he is for his gourmet meals.

Valley Mills Vineyards dinner on the Suspension Bridge, catered by Milo
Valley Mills Vineyards dinner on the Suspension Bridge, catered by Milo

I have attended several of these in Waco since October and I fall in love with “the dreamy night” every single time.

farm table at World Hunger Farm
farm table at World Hunger Farm

Mark, on the other hand, is still not quite as in love with these events as I am. In fact, he would probably tell you he doesn’t enjoy them at all. But because he loves me, (and I secretly think he does enjoy them- at least the conversation-community-part-of-it), he continues to go with me. Love for me or love for the event, either way, I appreciate him letting me drag him to the dreamy evenings.

Mark and I enjoying the World Hunger Farm in October
Mark and I enjoying the World Hunger Farm in October

I read somewhere about farm to table dinners- “diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.”

farm tt

It is actually hard to get tickets to these events and perhaps that lends some mystery and suspense. When I see the event posted, I am freaking out, stumbling all over myself, trying to click the right buttons and get the tickets paid for. Several have been sold out before I could purchase.  When I do purchase the tickets- it’s like a score for me!  I become elated!

They are announced on Instagram on the accounts of the hosts and through an email. There are only so many tickets available because each event is intimate.

The actual venue and menu are often announced to the participants the night of the event, all a part of the suspense and magic of the evening. A secret society type of evening. All the secrecy lures you in and is a part of the intrigue.

view from our dinner on the Suspension Bridge, catered by Milo
view from our dinner on the Suspension Bridge, catered by Milo

Described as a restaurant without walls, the Farm to Table Dinner Party, in Waco, are planned by Sara Martin, of Kindred Event Studios and coordinated food and wine are provided by Milo and Waco Wine Shoppe.

table decorated by Sara Martin of Kindred Event Studio
table decorated by Sara Martin of Kindred Event Studio

I would not call the food classic. The menu is definitely different, which is one aspect of the dinner that is so spectacular. It is not just a dinner party. Something magical really.

Sometimes you really don’t know what you are eating. (which is why Mark isn’t so in love!)

Corey McEntyre, chef and owner of Milo Biscuit Company, plans and implements every detail of the menu according to what is available at the farms he sources, locally in Waco.

Corey McEntyre, chef and owner of Milo, discussing the menu
Corey McEntyre, chef and owner of Milo, discussing the menu

Some of the venues that have been used in the past have been outside, among the stars, at the World Hunger Farm and also along the Brazos River. We have even dined on the historic Suspension Bridge. Although it was not a Farm to Table; it was catered by Milo.

Farm to Table Dinner at World Hunger Farm in October
Farm to Table Dinner at World Hunger Farm in October

The last venue we attended was hosted by Jonathon Martin at his studio, Black Oak Art.

 

appetizer and studio wall at Black Oak Art
appetizer and studio wall at Black Oak Art

The event was originally supposed to be at Gather, a new store opening in Waco, that is a combination of Black Oak Art’s pottery and Kindred Event Studio’s love of entertaining. Gather, The Art of Hospitality, will be mixing traditional southern hospitality with a modern aesthetic. The store was not ready for hosting with construction still in progress. Owners of Gather, Jonathon and Sara Martin, were disappointed to not host the Farm to Table Dinner at Gather. As was I, because I wrote a story about the new store and I am very excited to shop there. But Black Oak Art was just as dreamy.

mug hand-thrown by Black Oak Art
mug hand-thrown by Black Oak Art

Black Oak Art was transformed from a dusty, hand-thrown pottery studio into a perfectly quaint dining atmosphere with a lot of hard work within a very few hours.

The meal included a mixture of hors d’oeuvres, family style shared plates, and composed dishes. There was a wine pairing from David Mayfield Selections and also wine was sold by the glass or bottle.

farm tt2
menu at the Black Oak Art Farm to Table

The menu consisted of Shishito peppers, peaches and ricotta cheese served on rye toasted bread, Eggplant Tartines, Gulf Oyster, watermelon with lemon and thyme, and an heirloom tomato salad. And for the main course, Milo served Berkshire pork tenderloin, herbed baby Yukon potatoes, harissa with wilted red cabbage, red onion, feta, mint, dill, parsley. (I don’t know but it was so delicious!)

Milo served Berkshire pork tenderloin, herbed baby Yukon potatoes, harissa with wilted red cabbage, red onion, feta, mint, dill, parsley
the Berkshire pork tenderloin, herbed baby Yukon potatoes, harissa with wilted red cabbage, red onion, feta, mint, dill, parsley served by Milo

The final course, and most beautifully done, was a dessert that consisted of a cheesecake-like Fromage, in a mason jar, overturned with fresh blueberry, Cantaloupe ice and a crunchy topping.

dessert made by Milo!
dessert made by Milo!

Look how dreamy-and it tasted better than it looked. Apparently, Fromage frais is a creamy soft cheese made with whole or skimmed milk and cream. It is similar to some kinds of quark (WHAT???). It has the consistency of cream cheese, but less fat. (so yay!)

This meal was the best yet that Mark and I have had served to us from Milo. And when I say best yet- I mean that we are not used to trying different, gourmet meals-we are a Morton’s steak and potatoes kind of couple!

As I have said, McEntyre is famous for his homemade biscuits. The recipe has been in the family and comes from Georgia by way of his grandparent.

They serve cheeseburgers on biscuits. Fresh chicken, fried and placed on a biscuit. Sausage on biscuits. (duh?) There are other menu items as well– but the biscuits are a must.

You can try these biscuits I speak of at Milo’s food trucks at three locations in Waco, at the Magnolia Silos, on Webster, behind Heritage Creamery, located at 1125 S. 8th Street, across from Baylor, or on Saturday mornings at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, located at 400 S. University Parks Drive. The menu at the food trucks is just as fresh and sourced from local farmers but has more of a downhome feel. Described on the Milo website as “collaboration between southern comfort food and local farmers”, Milo knows how to serve a biscuit.

I asked Corey why he doesn’t serve his biscuits at these fancy dinners and he said he likes to keep it separate, and different. (Sure…but those biscuits!!)

If you have the opportunity to attend a Farm to Table Dinner, in Waco (or anywhere), I highly recommend it. Truly spectacular and a night to remember. Even if you can’t pronounce the menu. Be brave and try it!! (Mark!!)

love and blessings~dd