Family Memories, Favorite Things, Flowers, Life Lessons, Memories, Memories of Home, Remembrances, Spring, Spring Flowers

SHOUTS OF SPRING

red-budsI love spring, don’t you?

Although it seems too soon, she decided to arrive early this year. And she’s done it with a shout.

Every trip in and out of my neighborhood has been glorious. Each week something new was in bloom.

I meant to stop and take pictures, but I was in too big a hurry to get to an appointment or take care of an errand, so I never got around to stopping. The hedgerow of bridal wreath has gone green–their tiny white flowers long blown away. The tulip trees are a bit bedraggled. (Like me on a bad hair day, they wouldn’t appreciate being photographed.)

But new wonders greeted me today, so I stopped and took some pictures. I thought I’d share them with you. Continue reading “SHOUTS OF SPRING”

Comfort, Favorite Things, Happiness, Life Challenges

SAVORING LIFE

I shared these thoughts last week on a friend’s blog. Just thought I’d put it up here in case you missed it. Have a wonderful weekend!
 

Chocolate has always been my comfort food of choice. Back when Hershey’s candy bars came in five rows of double squares, I’d buy a bar and eat it at my desk.  The very act of sliding off the brown wrapper and opening the foil packet became a soothing ritual. (Must have been all that serotonin.) Anyway, I’d eat it—one square at a time, while I worked.

The problem was that sometimes because I was preoccupied with a project, I’d reach for another bite of candy only to find an empty wrapper. I’d think, “Where’d it go. I couldn’t have eaten all that.” But I had. It was gone, which meant I’d munched my way through the entire 200+ calories without truly enjoying every bite. That’s a real bummer when you need to count calories.

chocolate_11
 

 I get a similar feeling when I look back on this year. In January, I unwrapped 2013 with great expectations. While I’ve enjoyed much of it, I feel like I’m down to the last two squares, and asking myself what happened to the rest. How can it already be November? I know where September went and the first part of October—I traveled a lot. But I was home a couple of weeks before Halloween, and it still sneaked up on me. Now we’re burning weeks in November with Thanksgiving fast approaching.

I’ve become aware of my advancing years, so I’m more conscious of the need to make the most of my time. That’s complicated because I want to cram too much into each day, each week, each month. But when I’m too busy, I get distracted, rushed, stressed and sometimes find myself just going through the motions in much the same way I mindlessly gobbled up that chocolate.

So I’m changing my ways. Even though there are many good things, I’m trying to choose what’s best for me for this time. When my calendar starts filling up, I’m beginning to say, “Thank you, but I can’t do that.”  It’s difficult because I like people and saying yes too often is a weakness of mine.

            Cresent Hotel

But I’ve been practicing. Instead of going away for two weeks to write as planned, I’m enjoying three days away and seeing friends I love in the process. Most of our time is devoted to writing; however, we’re not slaves to a schedule either. Today, I’ve taken a couple of walks to enjoy the glorious fall foliage, dined with friends and still had time to work on several writing projects.  I can honestly say I did exactly what I wanted to do.

Dove candyIn just a minute, I’m going to partake of my latest indulgence—Dark Dove Chocolate. Just one. While I do nothing else except savor its bold, smooth flavor.

If you were here, I’d give you one, too. I brought a whole bag. 

 
     
Do you have any secrets for managing your busy schedule when things get hectic?
Arkansas, Favorite Things, Home

My Favorite Things About Arkansas

As a native Arkansan, I love it when folks from other places put down roots, thrive and even brag about all the good things they find here. Kyran Pittman, a transplant to Arkansas from Canada and a member of Arkansas Women Bloggers, shared her ten favorite things about our state and invited us to do the same.

Using Kyran’s suggestions, I’ve compiled my own list of favorites. As you can see, sometimes I’m hard pressed to limit myself to one thing or place. Maybe that’s because I’ve lived here so long.

  • Favorite stretch of road in Arkansas: I  love the drive on Kanis Road between Little Rock and Ferndale cutoff in the fall. But, of course, the Pig Trail is magnificent, too! I also enjoy exploring country lanes.
  • Favorite time of year in Arkansas: Spring with its fairyland of dogwood, azaleas, forsythia, and daffodils never ceases to charm me.  
  • Favorite place to eat fancy in Arkansas: We don’t get very fancy, but our favorite place for special occasions is Brave New Restaurant — always good fare and good service in a comfortable, quiet atmosphere.
  • Favorite place to eat casual in Arkansas: Right now, it’s Senor Tequila’s on Highway 10. That’s because I’ve just recently found my sensitive stomach can handle Tex-Mex again!

Favorite places to get away in Arkansas: Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, just outside of Jasper, is a beautiful place to get away, especially if you like horses, rock climbing (not me!), zip lines or just plain ole porch sittin’. (Full Disclosure: My nephew Barry Johnson and his family own and run it. They are delightful!)

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

  • I also love Hemingway Pfeiffer Writing Retreats at Piggott (Thanks Mary) and Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs (Thanks, Pat, for introducing me to that great writers’ retreat.) And I can’t leave out my friends, the Blairs. They have a wonderful cabin on Greer’s Ferry that they share. (Thank you, thank you!)
  • Favorite places to walk in Arkansas: Garvan Gardens and Crystal Bridges Museum in spring and fall. My street  is also a great place to walk any time of year.

Favorite things that grow in Arkansas:
Homegrown tomatoes, strawberries and
peaches, but I like honeysuckle, gardenias
and peonies, too!

  • Favorite places to swim in Arkansas: When I was young it was Greer’s Ferry Lake and that was mostly water skiing. Now it’s our neighbor’s pool next door. You can hang out there and watch the sun set behind Pinnacle Mountain. (Thank you, Steve and Cissy!)
  • Favorite colorful expression or place name in Arkansas: “Drecly” as in, “I’ll get to that directly.” However, as used in Arkansas, it means “when I get around to it.” Have you ever driven through Possum Grape?
  • Favorite fair or festival in Arkansas: We are at the point in our lives where we don’t like crowds. Over the years, we’ve taken kids to the state fair and attended Riverfest. If I were to be lured out to a festival today, it would probably be a music venue, featuring the likes of Nora Jones, Diana Krall, Adele, Michael Franks, Eric Clapton, Delbert McClinton,The Eagles and of course, our son, Erik’s band, Bombay Black.
  • Here are some more of my favorite things about our great state:

Christmas Day 2012
summer 2013

    I love that we have four seasons with none of them so long that you get worn out.

     
 
 
 
  • I love that we have such diverse topography — forests, mountains, farmland, along with a wonderful mix of rustic and sophisticated places to enjoy.
  • Last but not least, I love it that, for the most part, Arkansas people are friendly.

As another blogger mentioned, sometimes I get my feelings hurt when people who have never experienced life in our state make fun of us. But maybe it’s better to keep it a secret from rude folks!

What are your favorite things about our fair state? I’d love to hear them.