Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fun with Friends!

We had such a fun time Sunday afternoon at the Marvin Methodist Golf Tournament! Milha, Johnny, Evan and I managed to have eight birdies amongst ourselves! Pretty impressive in this crowd, I'll tell you! Everyone made a birdie and everyone had a good time.

Plus, we won our flight!

Plus, I got closest to the pin on Number 13... not unlucky for me at all on this day! That was the easiest birdie we had. =)

All that and a very enjoyable afternoon with my husband and friends... we needed that. Thank you guys for a great time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

At seven-o-four this evening, my oldest child will be another year older. This year, she gifted and blessed me with my first grandchild.

It is amazing how sharply Alex's delivery and first few weeks of life have brought back the memories and emotions of my having Amanda.

It is amazing how deeply, how fiercely, how tenderly you can love a small squirming mass.

It is equally amazing that that love continues to grow over a lifetime.

All... just amazing...

This was on Amanda's twentieth birthday. My college girl. She has always made me so proud. She is bright, articulate, responsible, kind, resilient and strong. She stands up for what she believes in. She loves her friends and family deeply. She is a shining star at her work. She is a devoted wife. She makes her house a home... warm and inviting.

As proud of her as I am for all those qualities, never have I been more proud than by the mother she is being to Alex. And, I know that after this year, she will celebrate his birthday with the same grateful heart that I celebrate hers.

A child is the greatest blessing God could ever give us. Experiencing that, I know He loves me and mine even more fiercely than I can imagine. Thank you, Father.

I am a very staunch believer that parents are not here to be their children's best friends... they are here to do the, sometimes, dirty work of being the parent. But, there comes a time, once they have taken their own wings, when children can become your friend. Amanda is, in addition to being my precious child, my dearest friend. I have a few really, really good friends that I could count on for anything. Amanda does, too. We are blessed by that. What I know in my heart is, that if push ever came to shove in life's storms, she would be the last man (woman) standing by my side... and, I would for her.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Amanda! I love you dearly!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Six Days and Counting...

Six days from now I will be picking this little angel up from the airport!!! I can barely wait!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Historic Tyler on Tour 2010

Yes, preparations are well under way for Historic Tyler on Tour 2010. So far, we have three gorgeous beauties lined up for spring of 2010. This one belongs to Mike and Patrice Carmichael. A wonderful Mediterranean Revival style home built in the '30's, it is known as "The Pink House" by all who love it. It is iconic Azalea District! Put the date on your calendars! March 26th will have the Candlelight Tour and March 27-28 will have the Day Tour.
And, yes... this is my latest photo of Little Man. His mom is sooooo sweet to send me special photos. She knows it just lights my heart on fire! I could just eat him up!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the wagon...

Boot camp has kicked my butt, whipped my a**, taken me down, left me lying... I'm not kidding. The first ten days, I was so sore I wanted to scream... so tired I struggled to get through the day and was still tired when I went back the next day. I've never been fatter, more out of shape or older (LOL) in my life! Mostly, I think it has been the out of shape issue. Though my state of soreness and exhaustion has given me cause to wonder if I'm not just too old for this stuff anymore.

Truth of the matter is that I know better. After twenty-five years of orthopaedic nursing, I know the value of working out. I saw first hand the difference between people who took responsibility for their bodies and those who didn't. And, for most of my life, I have done a fair job of managing some level of fitness... until the past three years.

I fell off the fitness wagon. Didn't want back on. Screw the wagon. You could say I didn't and haven't taken to aging all that gracefully. Hot flashes, wrinkles, sags, gray, grumpy. None of it good. I didn't like it. I was mad (more than angry, that sprinkled with a little irrational=mad). Then my child moved away... expecting my first grandchild. The wagon didn't look any better.

Sometimes, I would convince myself to give some half-a**ed effort... a beginner's yoga class... water aerobics at the YMCA (thought I was in Cocoon). Weak efforts... not really the wagon.

Finally, I'm ready to get back on... and I can't seem to get a grip on the tail of the wagon!! Monday morning, after a weekend of mostly lying on the couch, the alarm went off at 4 am and I cannot tell you how disheartening it was to wake up and still feel that sore and that tired. I should have been rested. I was not. But, I suited up and showed up. I pretty much had nothin' that morning. I did the best I could. Lots of times the just quit voice whispered in my ear... even through the day, long after the workout. I wasn't sure the wagon would ever be for me again.

Then the miracle Tuesday morning of waking up and feeling the difference... I was still sore... but, I could tell I was on my way back. I'm not sure how to describe that feeling... it is just that I could feel my body beginning to turn itself around... to begin to build again... to grow stronger. It has taken me way longer to feel myself coming back from this than I ever imagined. I took for granted that when I decided to get back in shape, my body would jump right to it... just like it always jumped to a new level for me in years past.

I still have a long way to go.

I am older. I did let myself go to the bottom of the pit. But, I have a toe-hold on the wagon... and, I'm not letting go.

A special thank you to my blogging friends who have encouraged me! I appreciate your support more than I can say! Here's to finding your wagon... and getting back on... whatever it may be!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Morning After...

The morning after (the first day of "boot camp") has sharply brought to mind how far I have fallen off the wagon of fitness! Getting out of bed - painful! Sitting on the toilet - almost impossible! I needed a crane to sit me down gently... but, no! I had to plop, unceremoniously, on my own volition with a growl! Then there was the getting up! Ouch!
Let me just say that I slept like a ROCK! From seven PM when I fell asleep on the couch... woke briefly to move from couch to bed... then OUT... until this morning just before the alarm at 5! Sleep was good! (sorry, Amanda)
Today, is my day to walk/run on my own. I'm not sure how that is going to go. lol. I thank all of my encouragers! Tomorrow morning, I'll be back out in that parking lot at 5:15 AM with "Go, Noni, Go" echoing in my mind... until it is replaced by the shrill orders of our drill master! LOL!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Special Thanks...

I do not even have time to be posting this right now! But, I could not resist! How fun it was to see Amanda's post today (I robbed one of the photos)!! I had to send a special thank you to my Alex and his mom! I appreciate the encouragement so much!
I was in the pouring rain for boot camp at 5:15 am. It was rigorous!! I am SORE! But, now I will have this precious image to keep me going strong for the next session!!
I love you two!! XOXOXOX

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Discussion with my darling...

Noni: Alex, I am so out of shape!

Alex: Well, Noni, you are the only one who can do anything about that.

Noni: I know. I just can't seem to muster any motivation or self-discipline for myself!

Alex: I'll cheer you on, Noni!!

Noni: Thank you, baby! Noni is going to sign up for an exercise class today!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11... Everyday Roads...

I remember exactly what I was doing eight years ago today. I remember the sense of disbelief. The sense of horror.... of loss... of fear. Anguish.
I don't want to talk about all that has happened since. I want to remember those who were lost that day. And, I want to remember the deep sense of gratitude for the simple things...
On this day every year, I open a paper I wrote the week after 9/11/2001...
Everyday Roads to Routine Destinations

From my bed, I hear the automatic coffee pot—a high-pitched whine and whir and chatter of grinding beans. Soon the titillating aroma of morning brew wafts down the hall. It is five minutes before five; the alarm will sound soon. I am warm and safely nestled on my pillow (the one that, when I travel, has to fit in the suitcase whether another outfit does or not), with a 300-thread count, 100% cotton sheet pulled up around my chin. The ceiling fan emits a low, soft hum. Cocoon-like comfort envelops me.
I reach across our king size bed to find my husband. We begin our morning ritual of finding each other in the middle-- spending those last few languid moments between sleep and wakefulness wrapped in each others arms, the reassurance of a hug to start the day. Consciousness cranks the gears of my mind: I consider what may have transpired in the night; immediately, I feel immense gratitude for being able to start my day in this routine fashion.
Last week our country suffered a terrorist attack of unprecedented magnitude. The world is still reeling from the impact of this brutal massacre; ultimate repercussions will not be fully appreciated for, perhaps, generations to come. And, thousands of miles from the maelstrom, we wake in the quiet everyday life of East Texas-- somehow changed, somehow the same.
I throw my legs over the side of the bed; my feet touch down on smooth, cool hardwood. As I move across the floor, boards creaking ever so slightly, I am exquisitely aware of the deep sense of comfort I receive from my surroundings. I have always been a homebody-- always appreciated nesting with familiar and loved symbols of the life I experience. My wedding ring lies inside the circle of a favorite bracelet on the bathroom countertop. Usually, without thought, I slip it back on my finger before brushing my teeth. Today, I feel its significance and take delight in the clean taste of toothpaste. My hand slides across the slick, pale green tile, reaching to turn off the bathroom light. I give thanks for running water and electricity, harnessed in the flip of a switch-- and marvel at these deceptively simple treasures.
I pour our first cup of morning brew, as Evan turns on the TV. We settle into the soft, worn leather of a couch, two decades old. Sipping our coffee, surrounded by family pictures and an eclectic assortment of crosses, we sit in silence and listen to the latest news about our nation and our collective lives. We are, at once, removed-- safe in our familiar comforts, and immersed-- horrified by the carnage on the television screen. The grueling, heartbreaking search for the lost and presumed dead continues through the monumental mountain of debris. The President and his administration toil over a plan to heal and protect our nation and to free the world from terrorism.
Lucky, the cat, and Buddy, the dog, cavort and frolic around the room. Lucky is a giant Target Tabby cat, weighing-in at almost 20 pounds. He is the alpha dog of this twosome. Buddy is a mutt, a rescue dog, who had been abused by his prior owner. His humble beginnings only enforce the power of his sweet presence. We call him the Ambassador of Peace, Harmony and Love. Their antics together usually evoke chortles and belly-laughs from Evan and I. Today, we only smile. I wonder when it will be OK to laugh again.
As my husband gets ready for work, I move outside. My bare feet transport me across the uneven red brick patio, cool and damp with dew; its once smooth surface is disrupted by time and giant roots. Mammoth oaks spread their arms protectively over this sacred space. Beautiful flowers surround me; I inhale the perfume of the early morning air. Sitting on the top step, I reflect on the seemingly endless dawns of prayers prayed from this perch and I am in awe. Awe of the consistent comfort received here, throughout the seasons. Awe of the joys and sorrows, celebrated and healed. Awe that my chapel is untouched by the hateful havoc that has mauled New York City and the Pentagon. I give thanks. I pray: for the families whose lives were directly affected by this disaster; for my family and all families; for the leaders of this country and all nations of the world; for peace to prevail. Lord, how could this have happened?
With wonder, I appreciate the vibrant red and pink flowers and the verdant greenery of the impatients I water. A hummingbird hovers and darts around its feeder like a tiny fighter jet defending its territory. Crows caw to each other from tree to tree. Squirrels scamper, running and racing and barking. In the background, I hear cars traveling everyday roads to routine destinations. Life goes on-- for some of us.
Evan steps out, ready to leave for work. I kiss him goodbye and think of those who, a week ago, kissed their loved ones goodbye for the last time. Our kiss is poignant and sweet. There is mutual understanding as we hold each other, a little tighter and a little longer than we usually do. I watch down the road several moments after he is out of sight. Gravel crunches, as I turn and head back into the house. Bird songs echo melodies of life. Our days have begun.
Now, I find myself sitting here, in front of my computer, gathering my thoughts about the week’s events. I am aware of great joy in my surroundings, my home-- and of deep sorrow for those who have lost lives, loved ones, livelihoods, friends, or family. Also, I sense a loss, greater even than of lives-- a loss of conviction that our country is safe, impenetrable, and insulated. Contemplating the extent that our lives are irrevocably altered and the actions our nation may take, it all seems too deep, too big, too difficult to grasp.
I sit back a moment to disengage myself from the unfathomable. My daughter smiles at me from a picture of us, taken this past summer. My old friends, hardbacks and paperbacks, offer quiet companionship from piles on the floor, shelves around the room and stacks on my desk. To my right, in a pyramid-shaped cabinet, I see mementos collected during my runs: a giant, dried, deep red-colored palm frond; several bones, including a pelvis of some unknown origin; multitudes of colorful feathers, fallen from a variety of fowl; a Flutophone, a half of a pair of very large scissors, a rusty horseshoe and a candle. I bask-- and exhale deeply. Ultimately, I resolve: to enjoy my innate reverence for life, to live peacefully within my own area of influence, to continue to pray daily, and to relish the simple.

Tanna Stanley

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Noni's special e-mail...

I had this special picture in an e-mail from my daughter yesterday. I do so wish I could hold this little man! He is the apple of his Noni's eye! Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen?? LOL. I know every grandmother thinks the exact same thing about their little angels! And, we are all right!
Then I went and stole these two photos from Amanda's blog. Just couldn't resist. I love these two dearly.
He is all suited up for some baseball! It'll be here before we know it. I hope it is Texas baseball!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lunch Break for Me...

I just enjoyed a sandwich and my drink of choice these days, a Pepsi One. I've been out and about all morning. Collecting rent, making deposits, meeting the exterminator, checking a dishwasher, noting that one of the apartments will be coming available soon...

Every few minutes, I was wishing I were someplace like this beautiful little spa in Roanoke. Seems yesterday's garden work brought on a pulled a muscle in my back. First time in all my fifty-two years. YUK! I am not a fan of any kind pain! A hot stone massage with some deep tissue attention would be fabulous!

This little place was so attractive... I admired the arches and subtle color scheme... the flowers and the idea of soothing massages...

Only a dream today! I'm about to be off to buy a dishwasher, arrange a delivery time, ask about showing the upcoming available apartment... buy a few groceries for us... and continue taking my Advil! LOL! Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of the aging process??

Monday, September 7, 2009

Flamingo by the throat...

It is a beautiful morning here in East Texas. We slept in until 7 AM. Late for us! We have had our coffee on the porch... read the paper... and I about to make Evan's day by suggesting that we have breakfast at Einstein's Bagels which recently opened.

Then, on to Lowe's for mulch and a few plants to replace ones I lost during my journeys to Roanoke (they don't seem to survive the heat without a lot of TLC).

Next, I am going to put a big pork loin roast on the smoker so I can enjoy smelling it while I work outside! LOVE THAT!

Okay, these photos were from a walk Amanda, Alex and I took in Roanoke. We walked the Greenway and came out in a neighborhood... I have to admit, this was a new one for me!

A gargoyle with a flamingo by the throat. Interesting. None of that in my gardening plans. LOL. Have a great Labor Day!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My...

My favorite adventure in Roanoke revolved around my "morning time" with Alex. I would usually try to take the little man for awhile after his early morning breakfast so that his mom could get a little more rest.

One of our adventures was with the animals!

Oh, how delightful it was to watch him work so hard to make a cooing sound... how sweet to my ears...

It is truly amazing that he will go from no language skills to proficient in such a relatively short amount of time...

The fresh wonder and amusement of this child stirs my own sense of wonder.

Little arms and legs flying... little eyes searching... soft, sweet coos... a growing miracle.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Adventures Continue...

We took lots of walks through the wonderful historic neighborhood... I love the curves of this wall...

...the arch of this roofline...

How the flowers are not beat down by the sweltering Texas heat...

These are directly across from the Wildflour Cafe...

Note the colors of the building behind... someone has "saved" this old commercial property and had made it a handsome home. A super fun view while enjoying a yummy lunch... All in a short walk from the kids' home.

While there were many beautiful upstairs porches... this one was my favorite.

The colors were so vibrant and repeated in each area... gorgeous!

This little cutie is a real estate office... Red trim! How fun!

There are an incredible amount of multi-family properties that are well tended and retain their elegance from days gone by...

And, a little bungalow to end the day's adventure... Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Roanoke Adventures Part II

Yes, this is my industrious daughter hard at work. One of our adventures involved shopping for material, a sewing machine and all the little items for tackling a sewing project. It took us awhile to accomplish our project... seems there were many stops for loving on that sweet baby boy. =)

But, the end result was fabulous (if I do say so myself)! This is only a teaser for a post to come from Amanda... can't steal her thunder. But, it was great fun to work with her... and, a joy to me to help give her something to make her smile.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roanoke Adventures Part I

I am just getting settled back in after returning from Roanoke... again. I have not been away from home this much EVER in my life. But, as I told Evan, I am so torn. Home is where the heart is... and mine is torn in two. When I am here, I want to be there; and, when I am there, I want to be here. I never envisioned this situation... but, I am adjusting.

On the first day I was in Roanoke, we took Little Man to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. It is my prayer that he comes to love his country like the rest of his family does. And, that he respects and appreciates the heroes whose sacrifices have given us, and many others, the blessing of freedom and safety.

I was not able to capture the sprays of water that represent bullets flying as the troops debarked and crossed to the shore.

So many lives were lost before they even touched ground.

Generously, they served and sacrificed with great courage.

It is difficult to see OVERLORD that is carved into the top of the memorial. That was the name of the operation. Apparently, the elevation and the height of the monument cause the area to be a magnet for lightening. It was drizzling the whole time we were there... and, softly raining part of the time. The caretakers pulled us in as a precaution. There are some areas I really wish I had photos of... but, there will be a next time.

Propellers in the garden...

Stripes that indicated to the allies who were in these planes.

Names and names and names... all heroes.

This symbol is reproduced in the landscape...

This memorial is struggling to survive. Costs of operation are high. Visit. Donate.

Let us always remember that freedom is not free. Let us always be grateful, respectful and mindful. May God continue to bless America.
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Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.