Abundantly Grateful

Meditation Experience~ Day 11. The more grateful I am, the more my life is supported. Sometimes I feel like I am not grateful at all. I have been so very distracted. Perhaps the knowledge that I am not grateful enough is what I need to work harder?


Photo: Playing cards with Matilda

I found the picture above, on my phone a few days ago. It makes me smile. How long does a granddaughter love to hang out with her grandparents? Why can’t it last forever? What good thing did I ever do to have this person in my life? Matilda is one of the things in my life that I am abundantly grateful for.

Don’t you adore how this one shot says so much?

Happy Thursday.

Love you.


Sugar Moon

Meditation Experience~ Day 10~ Gratitude flows in a loving heart. I believe that Larry taught me to be kind and loving. With each different day, we practice kindness and patience. Partners need love and joy. Not anger and discord. Some days are difficult and if we cannot patiently deal with the issues…..gratitude vanishes. Larry, if you are reading this. merci. I love you.

Photo: 7 AM ~ sunrise and the new rose

Yesterday, on Larry’s lunch hour, we went to the garden center and bought a dogwood tree and a rose plant. The dogwood tree was planted in the Zen Garden and the new rose was planted in the entry, neat my sculpture “Pablo”.

The name of the rose is “SUGAR MOON” and I find that creative and……dare I say, sweet? The blooms are white with an undercoat of color that is pink. It is beautiful.

I have honestly not been interested in the garden since since I was sick. Larry, always loves being outside and being busy. This year I will make a better effort to be part of his outdoor experience.

Photo: Dogwood green Isn’t it a joyful color?

I have my sewing machine out, ready to sew, a little painting is finished….and a pile of things that must be delivered to the Salvation Army Donation Center are ready to go. {Larry is in Dallas at meetings this morning}….. It looks like a creative day.

I am thankful for these moments. The ones where I am focused and ready to smile through the day.

Have a wonderful day.

Love you.


Lauren’s Birth Joy. In Photos

Meditation Experience~ Day 9 My personal reality begins inside of me. My family disowned me 20 years ago, after Mothers death. When they did I walked away, not sharing with them how I felt about them except that I loved them. That is true, but they never knew, took into account or respected my personal reality. It is My responsibility to make my personal reality a priority.


About Lauren

Today’s is my daughter, Lauren’s birthday. She was born on a sunny. day in Memphis Tennessee. Her birth changed me forever and while experiencing that joy, I hemorrhaged after the birth and then I contracted an infection. {hospital germs} As I fought for my life, Mother took care of baby Lauren. I found my mother’s “Brag Book” after she died. Here are some of the photos celebrating Lauren’s birth as seen by my Mother. ( I LOVE these photos so much. They make me cry)

Photo: Mother {Gracie} and new born Lauren
Photo: Mother and Lauren. Lauren was born with all of that hair.

Mother took Lauren to her first Dr Appointment, gave her her first bath and she took very good care of me too. Mother put her life on hold, to care for my sweet family. Her spirit lives in my heart every day. Lauren adored her.

Photo: I could not hold Lauren but I could rest her on my legs for a short time…

Baby Lauren is much as she is as an adult. To know her is to love her.

Photo: Norman, my father holding Lauren for the first time.
Because I was sure that we were having a boy, this is one of the “boy” outfits I bought for her.
Photo: Mother and Lauren loved each other very much

Mother stayed with us about 5 or 6 weeks. She had day duty and Larry had night duty because he worked at the grocery store all day. Lauren was the best baby for the odd situation. She was a happy baby.

Photo: Lauren during her first snow storm. (9 months old) photo by Larry….Look at her bangs! I had to already cut her hair.

This is one of my favorite baby pictures of Lars and me.. It was taken at our little house in Memphis.

These photos are from my Mothers baby book of Lauren. I have kept them close for a very long time but it is time that I share them.

Last night I told Granddaughter Matilda, to check the blog today when she gets home from school. There will be photos that she has never seen before of her beautiful Mother.

Happy Birthday Dear Lauren. You have been quite the experience since the day you were born. Thank you for the joy and wonder you have brought to our lives and may this day be filled with the same joy and wonder as you celebrate your birthday.

Love you.


Better Late Than Miss A Day Of Journaling

I am super behind today. Please forgive me.

Meditation Experience~ Day 7 Every thankful moment makes me healthier. I have a problem with anxiety. It started when I was struggling with hyperparathyroidism. {google it?} I was diagnosed with breast cancer and hyperparathyroidism at the same time. It was a nightmare. When I am anxious now, it frightens me because i think that I might be sick again. My check ups are once a year. Meditation and centering myself is best for my cancer and hyperparathyroidism. Being thankful is even better than mediation. Thankful moments are that split second joy that makes you breathe and smile.


Yesterday we celebrated Lauren’s birthday, even though her birthday is tomorrow. We enjoyed brunch and then went to the Heard Museum in McKinney Texas for a hike, It was perfection. Lauren Josh, Matilda, Jami, Larry and myself hiked. {Jared was working} I have a few shots from the hike on my phone and will post them later.

About Sunday, Dinner and Movie…….Larry and I came home and did a few chores around the cottage, It was a beautiful day. Then…he made one of his famous BOARDS. It is really a cheese plate, only fancier.

Photo: One of Larry’s “Boards”

We snacked in the big bed while we watched Please Don’t Eat The Daisy’s. {in case you do not know, this is my comfort/favorite movie}

Photo: Goat cheese with edible flowers

One of the cheeses had flowers on it and it was delicious. Larry outdid himself.

Today is busy. It has gotten away from me and I might not ever catch up…..Have the lovelist of days. I am thankful for YOU.

Love you.


The Seven Yard Dress

Meditation Experience~Day Five. Gratitude awakens the true self. Each of us have many layers. I tend to hide my true {very sensitive} self to make others happy. Then when alone, I am hurt and angry that others have been disrespectful to me…but how would they know that they hurt me? I do not say anything. I just go away. My meditation is going well. Each day, my focus strengthens and my day is a wee bit better. I have sixteen days remaining.


The Seven Yard Dress

Photo: Hawaiian Dress Pattern:

Last summer while at the beach, I found the nicest fabric shop in Kappa, I had passed the shop for years but her window attracted me that one beautiful morning. On that day, I bought fabric for Larry’s quilt and this pattern. The pattern has ALL sizes in it and it is a traditional Mu-mu but I would rather call it a Hawaiian dress. Mu-Mu has such a hard sound to it.

Yesterday I bought two different fabrics to make two Hawaiian dresses. Each dress calls for seven yards of fabric….I love to sew, design and make garments, I will make the first one in the above fabric in the traditional Hawaiian way and after that, I shall put my own spin on the design. Oh! Just think what I can do!

Now for a serious subject. Debbie next door, let me know, that last month we had a death on our street. The teenage boy caddy-corner to us passed. I noticed lots of cars, and deliveries…but it did not occur me that something tragic happened. Other than that, I had no idea. I am ashamed of myself for not reaching out BEFORE something happened.

I wonder how many of us do not know our neighbors? I have lived here a long time and when someone moves, in I should welcome them…..I have to sort this out in my head. Not sure what I will do.

Happy Friday. Enjoy the weekend, smile often. Maybe reach out to a neighbor you have not met? That is what I will be doing.

Love you.


Meditations and Wishes

Photo: by Robin

Meditation Experience-Day Three. I am gladdening my heart. Today I was asked what was one of the most wonderful, grateful times that I had with a loved one…..here goes. …….Going into surgery for breast cancer. Larry asked, Rob, where do you see yourself in 5 years? I replied, having tea at Kensington Palace, celebrating being cancer free. Five years later almost to the day, he took me to London where we celebrated my life with tea at Kensington Palaceā€¦.I am beyond thankful for my health and for the amazing man in my life.


Yesterday was almost vanilla. I nursed a sore knee, worked on projects, had my car washed, walked 2 miles, made ravioli for dinner and watched the Netflix show, Someone Feed Phil and then a new series on Amazon. 800 Words.

I wish I had walked 4 miles, read for an hour, start a new painting, had something extraordinary for dinner and I wish that I had organized my painting area so I could be more productive.

One of my daughters went through a phase when she was a teen, saying almost daily: You can wish in one hand and crap in the other. See what hand fills faster. I refuse to tell which daughter.

Photo: Sweet surprise from our neighbors

Our sweet neighbors next door surprised is with a beautiful gift. It makes me smile just looking at it. There was a note with the plant….personal and kind. Some people inspire me to be better than I am. Debbie, Lew, you both are wonderful and your kindness means the world to Larry and I.

Love you.


Her Name Was Grace

Photo: Under painting is the carved word “GRACE” this was my mothers.. Her name was GRACE.

DAY ONE~Journal for Meditation Experience- I am late in posting today. Being late makes me anxious and this reason should not make me anxious. You know that I have been struggling a bit and today I started a free 21 day meditation program online. (Why not? I take ART classes online) My good friend Anne-Marie is a friend of Deepak and I like Oprah, so here I go.

The web site will not let me post a link here but you can google: Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation Experience to see what I am attempting. I have been looking for a meditation guide/class/experience and I found this. For the next 21 days, the beginning of my posts will be my thoughts. I hope to be candid and positive……


I had a good weekend. On Friday, Larry and I spent an hour at the archery range before dinner. I must admit that wearing a dress to shoot is not condusive to accuracy, but I did not have to go home to change before going into Dallas for dinner and that is a good thing. Our favorite waitress was not at the restaurant because her father in law had broken his hip.(Sandy Prayers are still being whispered) and we missed her very much. Dinner was as good as ever.

Saturday was a gloomy mess of a day. We headed out early driving one hour to Collinsville, TX. Matilda was playing softball at a field there. When we arrived, we saw Josh, Matilda’s dad….and Lauren texted, saying we were at the wrong field and the game was delayed. Larry and I had not eaten so we left in search of the sweet dinner we passed a few miles earlier. We found it, ate and decided to head home, so Lauren Matilda and Josh could have “family time”………..

Saturday evening found us in Town (Dallas) at a concert. Copland’s Appalachian Spring. It had become a lovely evening and the stroll in downtown was perfection not to mention the amazing music and friends we visited with.

Sunday. Sunday School and Church. After church, we went to Sherman Texas for the Highland Games. (Go Clan Stevenson!) We came home for Sunday dinner and movie. Dinner Rotisserie chicken, Mandarin orange salad and rice. Dessert was a cheese cake I made Mother when she was ill.

Photo: The pipes and drums
Photo: Chicken, salad & rice
Photo: Vanilla cheesecake
Photo: Sunday Movie

Here I am at Monday morning. I have meditated, washed two loads of laundry and will work on a painting after I post this.

I AM thankful for the joys in my life. So very thankful, that I sometimes find it offensive when people tell me that I should be more thankful or more grateful. But…..perhaps if I were more thankful or more grateful, I would not be anxious or blue sometimes?

Have a happy day. If anyone joins me in my meditation journey, I would love to hear from you. Perhaps we could compare notes.

Love you.


Maybe Time?

Yesterday, I was trying to straightening things up a bit and it occurred to me…maybe it is time to throw Libby’s pug dog bed away? It is still in the same spot where she slept, by the window in my work room. She could keep on eye out the window for visitors, she had toys around her if she got a burst of energy and she was near me. That is the most wonderful part. She always stayed close to me.

Maybe it is time? But, I am afraid that if I throw it away, I would regret it.

Photo: Libby’s dog bed

I am still missing my girl very much. Maybe it is not quite time yet.

Photo: Libby and Flag

When you lost a beloved pet, what was your experience?

Thank you for listening.

Love you.


Crock Pot~Bacon Corn Chowder~Chef Valentine

I had written down this recipe from the Internet months ago, leaving it out, reminding me to just try it!

I made the soup yesterday and was not disappointed. The taste profile in this soup is perfection if you follow the directions. It will become a “regular” at The Cottage.

Photo: Crock Pot Corn Chowder

Bacon Corn Chowder


1 pound of small red potatoes cut into 1″cubes

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 bags {12 oz each} frozen whole kernel corn

3 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups half and half

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 pound bacon-cooked crispy and crumbled

*** In a 4 quart Crock Pot, mix potatoes, onion, corn, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours till potatoes are tender.

*** In a small bowl, beat half&half and cornstarch with a whisk till smooth, Stir half&half mixture and bacon into the corn mixture that is in the Crock Pot and cover. Cook another 15-30 min till slightly thickened.

We had turkey sandwiches and diet ginger ale with the Corn Chowder.

Hope you enjoy.

Till next time….

Chef Valentine

Tuesdays, Ships and Dreams

Yesterday was Tuesday, the last day of winter. Our back patio door was open and the sounds of the neighborhood distracted me constantly.

I heard the definite click of the mailbox and hurried out to get the mail before dressing for dinner.

As I walked to the mailbox, I looked over at our neighbor, Lew’s house. You must remember me talking about Lew, he had a birthday a few weeks ago. What I did not tell you is, Lew is a shipbuilder or a shipwright. He worked building big ships before he retired and now….he builds them in his garage.

Photo: Our neighbor is a shipwright

I ran back in the house for the camera and took this photo, hoping that Lew or his daughter Debbie did not see me and think I was stalking them. I wanted to go over and touch the sail….better yet, look at the beautiful colors on the ship.( boat?) I was in awe. How amazing is it to see something like this in a small Texas neighborhood?

I found this quote and it made me think of Lew…

“Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.”

~Robert N. Rose~

Happy First Day of Spring.

Love you.


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