Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy 90th Birthday to My Mom~

Meet my Mom.... Mary Lee Anderson Hamilton.
Many of my friends have known her for years, some for just awhile.
Me? I've known her all of my life!
Today is her special day. SHE IS 90. March 22, 1927.
A nonagenarian.
Can you imagine being 90 years old?
That's 32, 871 days!
That's 788,923 hours!
That's 47,304,000 minutes!
My 3 sisters, Kitty, Nancy, and Judy have known her all of their lives as well! (HAHA). Here are a few photos of the 'girls'... a blast from the past!
Kitty, Nancy, TK, Judy, and flower girl Selena

Dad, Kitty, Nancy, Judy, TK, Mom

Judy, TK, Nancy, Kitty, Dad and Mom

Mom has 4 super-duper son-in-laws --> John, Ron, Grant, and Jim.(Bless their sweet hearts, they've endured/suffered/lived through/withstood/just about everything.... and they keep hanging around!)
John, Ron, Grant, Jim

Mom is blessed with 9 grandchildren---> Walter, Sarah, Lauren, James, Cameron, Carter, Taylor, Kelsey, and Mary Kathryn.

Four of the grandchildren are married. Their spouses are Stephanie, Brian, Andrew, and Jennifer.

Oh, there's more!
She has 5 great-grandchildren---> Ethan, Carson, Landon, Katelyn, and Wyatt.

And she has 1 niece and 2 nephews: Hortense, Craig Jr, Eddie.(OK cousins, go ahead and kill me for posting this, but you have to catch me first!)
Eddie, Kitty, Judy, Hortense, Nancy, TK, Craigie

Pheeeewwww! What a clan! I'm thinking out loud here, that we probably need name tags, birthdates, and email addresses.(Getting this group together is a task, but we manage to do it, BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT!)
Mom weathered through weddings, graduations, surgeries, recitals, birthdays, church activities, and holidays with us.(and she didn't get her drivers licence until I was 18! Let that soak in for a minute.) It will always remain a mystery to me, how she managed to juggle the care of so many other family members, as well as my sisters, and Dad #atthesametime. Did I mention her corn pudding, cole slaw, and stuffing could not be beat? She was always in the kitchen, cooking, serving, cooking, serving....."Mom, would you please sit down and eat!"

Mom not only met our physical needs, she taught us to stand on our own, think for ourselves, and be independent. How could we be anything else!
Seriously.... with 4 girls in the family?
My first clue to becoming independent (I am the oldest), and standing on my own, was meeting my younger sister, Judy. It didn't take long for me to realize that I would never be an only child. Then along came Nancy, then Kitty. By that time, it was sink or swim! Mom cared for my paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, maternal grandmother, and great aunt (residing in our home for designated amounts of time.

Mom was and still is very excited for our successes and accomplishments.
When we failed, it was "Well, what did you learn? Do better, next time!"
"If you can imagine it, you can have it!"
"Be true to yourself."
"It's not a crime to pamper yourself when life gets too stressful."
"If you girls are going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
"You sit there until all that spinach is gone."
"Wait until your Father gets home!"
I will take the liberty to speak for my sisters Judy, Nancy, and Kitty when I write that Mom has always been there for us.
She lived in her home, and drove her car, until September 2015.
Health issues and safety concerns moved Mom to THE OAKS Assisted Living at Richfield.
She has a beautiful room, has reached out to some new friends, and is making her life the best.
Her eye sight is excellent, and her mind is as sharp as a tact.

For all that you've done and everything that you are,

I'll update the photo below after the big celebration this weekend!.... and keeping fingers crossed that the camera lens will include everyone!

"Her children rise up and call her blessed." Proverbs 31:28

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Tribute to my Mother-in-law........

One year ago today, my precious mother-in-law left this earth.
~~~Dorothy Lucille Stanley Sharpley March 17, 2016~~~.
She was 94.
Dot was my "other mother" from the time I got married until the day she died.
How blessed I was to have 2 Moms!
June 6, 1970

Oh, if only I could pack into my life what she managed to do.
Always smiling,
Always doing for others.
Her love and zeal for life was like no one else that I know!
She made the most out of every minute.

Dot and I had a wonderful relationship.
Mother-in-law problems? NEVER!
Honestly, I never understood any of those classic "mother-in-law" stories.
Our children were blessed to know and love their 'GRANNY DOT' (probably as much as they loved us!)

Her 5 great grandchildren were privileged to know and love her as well.

My Mom and Dot were close 'friends' from they time they met!(How unique is that?)

Dot was not your average woman.
She made friends with everyone she met! (I'm not sure inviting the delivery guy inside her home,to taste her home-made soup was a great idea, but non the less, she didn't ask me for permission!)
She was a 'go-getter'.
Dot was a woman who (despite living in a culture and time where women often fade into the background), taught her son to respect women and treat them as equals.
Dot's family was the most important thing to her. She never missed an opportunity to celebrate birthday dinners, holidays, anniversaries, and any other day that she could create, to encourage family to be together.

In her younger, healthier years, Dot had a social life so active it would put college students to shame!
She was the original energizer bunny.
Oh, what I wouldn't give to hug her..... one more time.
Thank you Dot, for everything that you did for me.

Your son Ron, your grandchildren and their mates, your great-grandchildren, and I, pay tribute to you today. You left the world better than you found it.
You were not afraid of life and in the end you were not afraid of leaving your earthly life.
I will be forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for the gift of Dot Sharpley----
my kind,
and very wise mother-in-law.

♥ Cherish your family.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Walking on the Greenway

The ROANOKE VALLEY GREENWAY is one of our favorite places to walk.
Because it is near our house (less than 2 miles away), we frequent the greenway often!
You can walk, run, bike, or stroll.
Usually we run into a few friends along the way.
Today we walked  strolled for 5.25 miles (12,109 fitbit steps).
Looks like spring is here... at least for today!

Today I carried my 'big girl camera'....... with NO tripod!
I'm still very much tripod dependent, so this was great practice!
Many shots were taken with me flat out on the ground, holding my camera!

I wonder if this has anything to do with spring allergies????? hahaha

Today was a beautiful day in early March.
Everyday is a good day, when we are outside.
Happy Walking!

Monday, February 27, 2017

A King Cake for the King, Mardi Gras 2017

Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday" is the last day of the 'Carnival' season. It always falls the day before ASH Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Fat Tuesday (which is Tuesday, February 28, 2017) is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday.
Click HERE for a brief history of MARDI GRAS!
It's difficult to think of Mardi Gras without music, parades, costumes, picnics, floats and excitement---->as in New Orleans ---->as in the greatest free show on earth with beads, throws, masks, king cakes, carnivals, colors, and MORE.
Mardi Gras and King Cakes go hand in hand..... especially in Louisiana.
Yesterday, I made a King Cake..... first time ever!
If this does not satisfy your sweet tooth, nothing will.

I reluctantly confess to you that, since retirement, King Ron has done  most  99% of the cooking here in our kingdom.
And I'm not real sure what prompted me to spend this much time and energy in the kitchen, but I did.
Sometimes I just get these wild 'Martha-Stewart-moments'.
I suppose now would also be the appropriate time to confess that I majored in Home Economics in college, and taught junior high students how to cook. HA HA HA.

So........ here's to the famous King Cake for King Ron!
Happy Mardi Gras 2017

We've never been to New Orleans.
Our Mardi Gras celebration tomorrow night will be dining at The Roanoker Restaurant.
We are such party animals!!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fooling Mother Nature

February 23, 2017
71 degrees
Roanoke, Va.
"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
Periwinkle is blooming~

I can almost see it now.....the first day of spring....(March 20):
The ground will be covered with 15-20" of snow.
The winds will be billowing.
Icicles will be hugging the power lines.
The home fires will be burning.
(PunxsutawneyPhil saw his shadow, prompting a declaration of six more weeks of winter.)
If you were unable to be outdoors today, another opportunity will be available tomorrow, February 23, 2017!
That's right!
Weather forecasts predict temperatures to soar to 75 degrees.
Spring flowers/bushes/trees are popping up everywhere.
Japonica bushes are in full bloom

Purple plum tree is full of buds and flowers

Jonquils/daffodils are plentiful!

Heather bushes are loaded with blooms!

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
But for now, I'll take the warm rays of sunshine.
I'll take this kind of February.
I'll not complain!

Forsythia bush

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Retired, but not Expired....Another Hike!

February 17, 2017
Read Mountain Preserve
6101 Crumpacker Dr.
Roanoke, VA 24012
If ever there was a more peaceful place, so close to home, beautiful, with well maintained hiking trails, READ MOUNTAIN PRESERVE (Buzzards Rock) would be a hard act to follow!
(all photos in this blog were taken with my iphone)
(McAfee Knob is the peak on the right).

What we thought was going to be an "easy 3.9 mile hike", turned into a steep, fairly strenuous, 'moderate-hard' almost straight-up climb. We packed light, since we thought it would take a mere few hours. HA.
The skies were clear, blue, and the air was invigorating.

Mother nature was showing us some of her best ground work.

The trails were very well maintained, and included several areas with steps for us 'retired, but not expired' folks. The trail was marked with Carolina blue trail blazes on the trees.

We were in no hurry to race to the top, and took advantage of rocks that cried out to us; "STOP HERE AND SIT".

Sections of this hike were more narrow than what we expected. This caused us to concentrate on watching WHERE we were stepping, instead of looking at the view. Thanks goodness for the signs that said VIEW, or we would have missed one of the vistas!

Did I mention rocks, and boulders?
We crested the mountain's spine to Buzzards Rock.

The area is also known for its buzzards, thus the name BUZZARDS ROCK .
For at least 1/2 hour, we were sprawled out looking up in the sky as these buzzards zoomed by!
Oh to be able to fly like the birds!

So ends another adventurous day.
We are retired, but not expired!
But for today, it's Advil, coffee, and foot rubs.