Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Heart of a Home

     How can you not get a warm fuzzy feeling when you see an empty kitchen?  Neat and tidy as it may look now, in your mind, you see a completely different picture.    In your mind's eye, you see your new husband embracing you as you cried over your first burnt meal.  You see the joy on everyone's face as your son squeals with delight while smearing icing from his first birthday cake all over his face.   You see flour covering the counter and sprinkles all over the floor as you and the kids decorate Christmas cookies.  You see the tears flowing as your daughter sits with you at the table crying over her first love lost.  You hear the laughter of all your relatives as you sing Happy Birthday to your 80 year old mother.

     Throughout our entire lives, the kitchen is the heart of our home; the hub of activity where the family comes together to eat, pray, share, rejoice, celebrate, create, solve problems and grieve.   The one room where we come together as a family, with common objectives and goals.  The room where we share love, laughter, fun, secrets and dreams; where we entertain our friends; where we make plans for the future and memories that last a lifetime.

     A quiet kitchen is only a prelude to what is to come.  The calm before the storm.   Soon, it will be filled with the hustle and bustle of family activity.    You've heard the phrase, "If those walls could talk",.  Well if they could, the kitchen walls would definitely have the most interesting stories to tell.  I guess it is a good thing they can't, but anyway, the kitchen will always be the heart of my home.

Until next time...that's my view.

Written for this week's GBE2 picture prompt.  Picture courtesy of Elizabeth Grace.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Disturbing Numbers

     Patriotism - n., devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty

     Above, you will find the dictionary's definition of patriotism.  Notice that the key word here is country.  Nowhere in this definition does it say, but only when my choice is elected President.

     I normally avoid writing or discussing politics like the plague.  So why now, when the election is over and done with?    Because I am increasingly distressed by the large number of people who seem to have lost all
patriotism and replaced it with hatred and vengeance.

     It seems that many, on both sides, have lost site of what it means to come together and work for the good of the country.  I can remember a time when Americans felt the office of the President deserved our loyalty and respect, no matter which party was in office.  Both parties would work and support their candidate, but when it was over and a President had been chosen, life went back to normal and we all agreed to work for the good of the country.  I still believe that.

     What has happened to the feeling of patriotism the whole country felt when Pearl Harbor was bombed?  Or, when the Twin Towers were bombed on 9-11-01, did you stop to think about whether your man was in the white house or not before you felt united with every other American?  Patriotism should not be reserved for times of panic and tragedy.  It should be an every day feeling, embedded deep in your heart, and not taken for granted.

     This disturbing trend of pitting Republicans against Democrats and never the twain shall meet, or agree, has gone way beyond elections.  It has become a nasty war that is dividing the nation, with serious consequences.  It not only effects friends and neighbors, but goes all the way to the house and senate in Washington.  Congressmen are so determined not to cross party lines that they have completely lost sight of doing the job they were elected to do.  They no longer care what is best for the country and their constituents.

     Even facebook, which should be a happy place, has become a political forum for bashing the President.  You've seen the stories and the pictures...we are now on the titanic and the country is going to sink; God is going to end the world because Obama was elected; and on and on and on.    Come on people, let's get real.

     As long as we have had a President, there has been a winner and a loser.   That is how it works in a democracy.  The important thing is once it is over to come together as one nation under God, the way our forefathers intended.    I don't believe that any rational person who proclaims to be a Christian can honestly believe that God chooses sides in an election and would end the world if a certain side doesn't win.  I find it offensive that anyone would even make such a statement.

     A new year will soon be upon us.  My wish is for a new beginning for our nation.  It is not unreasonable to think that everyone, including our elected officials, could come together and remember the principles on which this great nation was founded.  Let's remember the lives that were lost to keep this nation free and put our petty bickering away.  Let's make it a priority to always put our country and it's people first and show the world that our numbers are many and we stand united for a common cause.

Until next time...that's my view.

Photos courtesy of

Monday, November 12, 2012

Online Eyewear - A Viable Option

      In this day and age, it doesn't surprise me that if you can imagine it, you can probably buy it on the internet.  Until just recently, though, I would never have thought about buying eyeglasses through the mail.  

     In just the last couple months I have been contacted by two different eyewear companies wanting me to blog about their products.  Naturally, I checked them out before agreeing to do so.    Through my research, I have found that online eyewear companies can be a viable option for those who don't like to pick out glasses at the eye doctor, right after having your pupils dilated, or, for those who just like to shop online from the comfort of home.

     All it takes to get quality eyewear from home is a copy of your prescription, which you can get from your eye doctor, and a credit card or paypal account.  With virtual try-ons and even in home try on programs, finding the perfect pair of glasses is not only virtually possible, but easy.

     The latest company, called Warby Parker, has some beautiful frames to pick from.  Their new line of sturdy metal eyeglasses is made of titanium.   Titanium is not only extremely durable, but makes fashionable looking frames that could be seen on any fashion runway.

    Unlike the first company,  Warby Parker did not offer me a free pair of glasses to review their product so I have not seen them in person.   After looking at their website, though, I do like what I see, especially the looks of the metal eyeglasses.  If you are in the market for new prescription glasses or sunglasses, you might check them out for yourself.

Until next time...that's my view.

This post was written in cooperation with the good people at Warby Parker.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beginnings: A Season of Blessings

       Two days ago, I watched through my kitchen window as the leaves of my pecan tree fell to the ground like rain.  It was a strange site because it wasn't raining and there was no wind blowing; yet, the leaves were a constant stream, flowing with the speed and consistency of a well running machine.  By the time they quit falling, the leaves were like a gently placed quilt, blanketing the ground and the tree was nearly bare.  I was fascinated and couldn't tear myself away.   As I watched, I couldn't help but think about what those falling leaves symbolized, at least for me.

     Some might see the falling leaves as the end - the end of the beautiful fall colors - the end of warm autumn days.   I prefer to look at them as a beginning.  I believe the falling leaves signal the passing from one season to another; from the season of change and color, to the season of thanksgiving and blessings.   I love this time of year when everyone begins to show the gratitude and expressions of thanksgiving that are often forgotten the rest of the year.    Not that people don't appreciate their blessings the rest of the year, I know they do.  It's just that the months of November and December seem to bring a much deeper awareness and a greater tendency to share their gratitude openly.

     I love November and December because I love the excitement and anticipation of Christmas and the warm feelings it brings.  Everyone seems just a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, and a lot happier.   Maybe it's my inner child, but I look forward to this time of year with the same unbridled enthusiasm as my grandchildren.  I still get excited over cute or elaborate decorations and I can't wait to start playing Christmas music; some of the most beautiful music ever written.  One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the corny Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.   But my very favorite event of the season is definitely the get-togethers with family and friends. 

     Spending time with loved ones is the most important time spent.  Luckily, the season from Thanksgiving to Christmas provides many opportunities for just that.  The laughter, warm hugs, good food and memories shared provide us immeasurable blessings.   And, the fact that we all like to win at board games always makes for an interesting time.

     As we approach this season of love and thanksgiving, may we all remember to not get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget what the season is really about.   Remember to let those you love know how much you love and appreciate them.  Thank God constantly for the wonderful blessings in your life.  Even through the hard times we have so much to be thankful for. 

     Too often we go into this season just like the leaves falling from my pecan tree - in a whirlwind.  This year, slow down and enjoy life.   Spend your time wisely on who and what is really important to you.  Let yourself enjoy the festivities without the stress of worrying about every little detail. 

     Finally, let me close by telling each of you how much I appreciate and love you.   My world is just a little more blessed this year because you are in it.

Until next time...that's my view.

Written for this week's GBE2 prompt - Beginnings

Monday, November 5, 2012

If I Could Write A Letter To Myself

     One of the writing groups I'm in called GenFab (short for Generation Fabulous) is a wonderful group of fabulous "women of a certain age", or, baby-boomers.  I love this group because no matter where we live, how much money we have, what kind of lifestyle we live, there is still a common thread that binds us all together.   As women at this stage of life there are common traits that we all experience and can't escape, no matter how hard we try.  Whether we are pre, post, or currently experiencing, we all have to face menopause.  And this group is the most honest bunch of women I've ever had the pleasure to come across.  They are definitely a no holds barred, let it all hang out, nothing's off limits type of group.  That is why I love them.  It is so comforting and so educational to know we are not alone.  It's a great group of women.  

     This week, the group decided it would be interesting if we all wrote a letter to our 20 year old selves.  Sure, sounds like fun....but now, not as easy as I thought.  What would I say to myself to prepare me for the next 40 years?    Here goes:

Dear Karen,

     It is January, 1973, and you just turned 20 years old.  You have been married now for just a little over 6 months and you have so much to look forward to.  You don't know it yet but you are pregnant, and on September 6 you will deliver a beautiful baby boy.  He will bring you so much joy and happiness; you can't possibly imagine how your heart will swell with love.

     The next few years will bring a lot of joy, but also a lot of heartache.  You will face a lifetime of pain and surgeries, and will not be able to have the second child you so dearly want.  Even though it will be rough for a while, you will get through it and it will only bring you and Kenneth closer together.  No matter what the world throws at you, the two of you will always face it together, and be stronger for it.  It will only make you appreciate and love the gift of your son even more.  And, remember to always keep your faith.  It will bring you through a lot of rough times over the years.

     The happy times will far out-weigh the bad times.  You will learn to be a good farm wife and a good cook.   You will have a great life raising your son on the farm.    Just remember to appreciate the little things.  Don't get so caught up in trying to do everything for everybody that you forget to enjoy the simple day to day things that happen.  Learn to say no.  You can't do it all.  Pick and choose which meetings and organizations are really worth the time spent.

     Spend as much time as possible with family and friends.   Nothing is more important than family time.  It should always be your first priority.   You will make some amazing friends over the years.  Cultivate those friendships because as you get older they will be even more important.

     Whatever you do, never forget to appreciate those you love.  Make sure they always know how you feel about them.  Find the good in every day, no matter how hard that may be.  Always be thankful for the many blessings you have, and they will be many.  Thank God for them daily.    Beyond this, just enjoy the ride.  You have an amazing life ahead of you.