Christmas Lights

 

Viewing Christmas lights is one of our family’s favorite Christmas customs. Ever since I can remember one night before Christmas we rode through the town looking for the prettiest display of lights and Christmas scenes.

Things sure have gotten a lot more high tech since I was a kid.  Back then you would  see shiny tinsel and the big multi colored bulbs on trees.

The silver tinsel was a must on the 50’s Christmas tree. Whether to carefully place it on the tree or just throw it on was just a matter of preference.

It was a big deal to see the multi colored bulbs lining the roof line of a house.

As a child I was also fascinated by the bubble lights. 

 

Occasionally you would see a manger scene in a yard or a live one at a church.  I still remember where the house was that always had a Santa and a sleigh out front. I’ll never forget Daddy pretending he saw Santa in the sky on his sled.  But for some reason I was always too late to see him and his reindeer.  What precious memories he made for my brother and me!

Later all blue lights and candles in the windows became popular.  After that the popularity of all white lights increased.  Then the small lights were invented. Next came the blow up Christmas decorations ranging from snowmen to elves to Snoopy to Mr. Grinch.  Icicle lights were invented next. Then LED lights made the Christmas decorations brighter.  Now we are seeing the projection lights that may show up as  snowflakes, stars, etc. on the house or trees.  Yes, today we have so many choices when decorating our homes it can make your head spin.  Warm or cool white lights, green or brown cords,  multi colors or one color, and the list goes on and on.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s we would just drive around town to view the Christmas lights.  With my kids and grandkids we would travel to Lexington to see the “rich” people’s decorations, or to Burnside Island, or the lights at the Horse Park.

On Chinoe in Lexington

Even though the grandkids are grown up we still make the yearly trek to see beautiful displays of Christmas lights.  Lately we have driven to Raywick to view Ruley’s Farm decorations where there are over 4 acres of beautiful displays .

Inside there are Christmas houses, trains, and Santas to view.

 

Mr. Ruley passed away recently, but I’ve heard his children are continuing the spectacular light displays and collections for viewing.  Soon my kids, grandkids, and I will make that trip to Raywick in honor of his memory.  It will also be a time for our Christmas tradition of viewing the Christmas lights. Watch this video of him and his displays.  I’m sure it will make you want to take the backroads to see the Ruley’s farm.  Hopefully it will be decorated as much as when Mr. Ruley was alive. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ruley%27s+christmas+lights+loretto+ky&&view=detail&mid=363CFC75A6393A8CED50363CFC75A6393A8CED50&rvsmid=549DE827382E4E930694549DE827382E4E930694&fsscr=0&FORM=VDQVAP

 

What fun memories these nighttime drives have made.   Thank you, Mr. Ruley, Daddy, and all those who helped to make these wonderful Christmas memories.  Hopefully these memories and traditions will carry on to future generations.

 

 

I encourage you to go for a drive to see Christmas lights with your family.  Christmas traditions are fun and important to both children and adults.  Merry Christmas ,  from Mrs. B.

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Believe

Believe in Yourself

I’m sure you have noticed  the popularity of signs in home décor.  You can’t go into Hobby Lobby or any locally owned home décor shop without seeing lots of signs.  Some are humorous while some are serious.  Some use many words and some are only one word.  One of my favorites is a simple one…BELIEVE.  In fact, I have two “believe” signs in my home and Christmas ornaments that say believe.

 

 

 

 

When I first saw the word “believe” as a sign I thought of my belief in God and Jesus.  Then more ideas come to my mind.  Here are some of them:

  • Believe in the magic of  Christmas.
  • Believe in the love and comfort of family.
  • Believe you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to doing.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Believe you can overcome the obstacles in your life.
  • Believe in angels.

As I was thinking about that special word, “BELIEVE”,  I looked for scriptures in the Bible.  I found there are many that pertain to believers.

One that I liked is found in Matthew 21:22 .  “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  Another one I think is important is found in Mark 9:23.   “Everything is possible for him who believes”.

I’m sure many ideas come to mind when you see the word “believe” too.   Feel free to share those ideas if you would like in the comments section below. Have a good day, and believe in something.

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Serendipity

 

serendipity

[ser-uh n-dip-i-tee] /ˌsɛr ənˈdɪp ɪ ti/
1.  an aptitude for making desirable discoveries  by  accident.

2.  good fortune; luck:  the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.

Serendipity means  finding something that makes you very happy when you aren’t looking for it.  I love this word.  I love the sound of it and what it means.

When I was in college I had an instructor who taught the class this word.  I had never heard it before, but since then I have experienced it several times.  It is a thrill to have a serendipity.

Here are two more examples of a serendipity:

  • Finding a $20 in your handbag or coat pocket
  • Bumping into a long lost friend while on vacation

I’m going to share two of my recent serendipities with you.

Lately I had become interested in geneology.  One spring day I was fiddling around the house when the phone rang.  telephoneThe woman’s voice on the other end said, “You don’t know me, but I think you are my cousin.”  She proceeded to tell me who she was.  Her mother and my mother were first cousins.  She had found me through my mother’s obituary online.  I had heard Mom speak of her cousin, but they had lost contact with one another many years ago.

We made plans to meet.  When the day came around, she brought two more cousins and her mother with her.  We discussed what we each knew about our ancestors. On another visit she brought 2 more cousins, and  we traveled to the Tennessee mountains to visit the old home place and graves of our great grandparents.

Our great-grandparents old homeplace

Our great-grandparents old homeplace

Finding cousins I didn’t know I had was a serendipity for me.

My next serendipity happened about three months later while boating at the lake.  My husband and I were stopped in the middle of the lake while some friends stopped and talked to people in another boat.

I overheard a conversation coming from the other two boats that mentioned a special name.  That name was my mother’s maiden name.  I yelled across the water, and asked, “Where are your ancestors from?”  He responded, “Oneida, TN”.  In an excited voice I told him we had to be cousins.  I asked him who his grandfather was.  Sure enough, his grandfather was my great uncle.  So at the lake I unexpectantly found another cousin I had no idea that I had.  And he, unknowingly was a cousin of the other one who called me out of the clear blue.

To me these two experiences were serendipities.  I was delighted to find these new cousins in three months time.  What a blessing to be able to share what we knew about our ancestors!

Now it’s your turn to share a few serendipities that you have experienced.  If you don’t want to share here, you can share with a friend.  At least maybe you learned a new word today.

Thanks for reading.  See ya’ next time.

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Little Things to be Thankful For

As I was sitting here thinking about the many things I have to be thankful for I decided to write a few down.  Yes, the big things like Family, Food, Health, and Freedom came to mind.  But I wanted to concentrate on a few little things I’m thankful for.  Here are 20 little things I came up with:fireplace

  • A warm fire in the fireplace
  • A friend’s phone call when you are down
  • Hugs from your significant other
  • Kind words from a stranger
  • Little children’s laughter
  • Seeing a rainbow after a storm
  • That person who always has your back
  • A song that brings a smile to your face
  • Having enough money to have gas in your car and food on your table
  • An unexpected invitation to eat out with a friend
  • Hearing our children saying, “I love you.”
  • People in your life that make you feel special
  • Having a job you love
  • Sitting beside someone you love at church
  • Time to relax
  • Ability to read an enjoyable book
  • Laughing with friends
  • Receiving a card from someone you haven’t heard from in a while
  • The last flower of the growing season
  • A compliment from an unexpected person
  • Memories of past Thanksgivings

There are so many more that it would take forever to list.  Would you like to add some of the little things you are thankful for?  Scroll down  to leave a comment in the comment section.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and followers.

Mrs. B.

 

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A Happy Childhood

One of my many blessings is that I had a happy childhood.  I ‘m so thankful that my parents were Christians who took me to church.  I learned about Jesus and what was right and wrong.  I had a huge extended family that showed me unconditional love.

This brings me to the point of this message.  Many children do not have happy, secure, loving home lives.  As a teacher I have seen many children who are sad because of broken families, alcohol, and drug abuse.  Many are being raised by single parents, grandparents, aunts, or foster parents.

During my 28 year career as a teacher I saw many students who were negatively affected by a difficult home life.  Now as a substitute I see this problem getting worse.  I often have students make comments about their home life.

I’m going to share 4 conversations that I’ve had recently with children that have broken my heart.

 

boys-in-creekThe first incident happened near my house.  On a very cool day there were children playing in the little creek by my house.  They were out there for hours.  I saw no parents or adults around which is unusual these days. Finally I went out to talk to them.  One little boy’s tennis shoes were so wet and muddy that he had taken them off.  I told him, “Your mom is going to be so upset about your shoes.”   He replied, “I don’t have a mom.”  Later I found our his mom was in rehab and he lived with his grandfather.  How sad that a mother puts her drug habit ahead of her children.  The people who don’t work with children don’t realize how often this happens.  Prayers for this child, his mom, and his grandpa.

Another sad conversation occured at the end of the school year while I was substituting in a first grade class room.  The assignment was to complete a four part organizer for writing.  They were to list or draw 4 things they planned to do over summer break.  Most kids wrote about going on vacation, riding their bikes, or visiting grandma.  One little boy drew four pictures all pertaining to his dad.  I sat down beside him while asking him what his scribbly drawings were.

Here’s what he said they were.

  1. Fishing and hunting with his dad.
  2. His dad taking him to shoot guns.
  3. Riding a four-wheeler with his dad.
  4. Hanging out with his dad.

It was obvious that he didn’t see his father very often.  I quietly asked him if he lived with his dad to which he responded, “No.”  I asked him if he saw him very often.  He stated,  “I see him sometimes.”

This scenario broke my heart.  I could sense the yearning the boy had to spend quality time with his dad.  I pray that this little guy got to spend time with his father.

The next incident happened in a third grade classroom.  A sweet 8 year old girl was writing in her journal.  The assignment was to write a story that starts with “I wish…”sad-girl

She wrote about how she wished her grandpa hadn’t left her grandma.  Then about how her grandpa kept his house cleaner than her own house was.  She continued on about how she wished she could go see her grandpa.

Needless to say she was affected by divorce.  I’m sure she missed the security of having grandparents in a loving marriage.  I just can’t imagine my grandparents being apart.  How fortunate I was to have grandparents who loved one another and me.

The last child I’m going to tell you about was a little boy in the second grade.  For some unknown reason he told me he lived with his dad and step-mother.  He proceeded to tell me that his mom lived out of state, and he didn’t see her very often.  The reason being that her husband wasn’t very nice to him.

Oh, the emotional pain these kids go through is heartbreaking.  This made me think about how much I love my children and my husband.  It reminded me that I would never allow a man to be mean to my children.  Also, I have always loved my children so much that I would never have wanted to live in another state without them.

Please say a little prayer for this boy, his mom, and step-dad.

What can be done to help these children? Maybe you can be a mentor for a child who is in a bad situation.  CASA is an organization that helps foster children. casa You could be a CASA volunteer or donate to this group.  Could you be a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization or lead a Boy or Girl Scout troop?  We all could get an angel off one of the trees in your local stores.  angel-treeJust showing kindness to a little child may make them a little happier for a while.

If you had a happy childhood, you should thank your parents if they are still living.  If not, you may want to share with a loved one how special your childhood was, and tell them how thankful you are for it.  Unfortunately many children can not say they are thankful for a happy childhood.  Thank God,  I am one who had a happy, secure childhood.

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November…The Count Your Blessings Month

In the month of November I stop and count my many blessings.  There are so many I just can’t list them all, but I will try to list a few.

  •  Health & Happiness
  • Faith, Family, & Friends
  • Jobs & Education
  • Food & Shelter
  • Country & Freedom
  • Safety & Protection
  • Hope & Heaven
  • Goodness & Grace
  • Love & Kindness

These are just some of the things I’m thankful for.  Sometimes I forget how blessed I am.  Writing  my blessings down helped me to realize how insignificant my problems actually are.  Try it and see if it helps you too.

The following is a slide show I prepared.  You will see some quotes, songs, and prayers that should make us stop and think of how grateful we should be.  As you read them I hope it reminds you of the many things you have to be thankful for.

 

I hope you enjoyed my slide show on counting our blessings.  If you have any more “thankful thoughts”, feel free scroll down to the comment section below.

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Autumn Colors in Central Kentucky

Do you appreciate the natural beauty that we have here in Central Kentucky?  Just take a drive through the countryside to view the gorgeous shades of orange, yellow, and red during this fall season.  Take a look at my pictures, and you can see it isn’t necessary to go to New England or Gatlinburg to see beautiful fall landscapes.  (The pictures won’t fully display on your phone.  I made them large so you could see the beauty of the area.)

While driving around our beautiful area of Kentucky I took the pictures for these two slide shows.  The first one is from all over the county, while the second one is from the Forkland area.  There are also pictures from the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge.


Don’t you agree that the nature painted landscapes in central Kentucky are lovely?  We need to be thankful for our natural resources in our environment.  Not only do they give us the beauty of the fall colors, but the trees give us oxygen, wood for heat, and homes to the wildlife.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I know I enjoy living in Kentucky.

These pictures are taken in the Forkland area, including the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge.

I hope you take time to visit the Central Ky Wildlife Refuge this fall.  There you can experience the peace and quiet of this natural area with its trees and wildlife.  I ‘m so thankful that we have this  place nearby where our environment is protected from urban sprawl.  To live in such a beautiful area of the USA where I can take a relaxing drive through the countryside is a blessing.

I love living in Kentucky!

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Another Deer Season Story

Even though I dislike deer hunting season I have another deer story for you.  This story happened to a friend of my husband, and it is too good not to be shared.

His friend, I’ll call Jim, went deer hunting for the first time with two of his friends who were experienced deer hunters.  He loaded up his gun and found a place in the woods.

deer-hunter

After sitting quietly for what seemed like hours he saw a glimpse of something moving.  Behind a pile of brush he could see the head of a deer with a fairly good set of antlers.  He fired his gun, but the deer disappeared.  He thought,  “Darn, I missed.  It ran off into the woods.”deer-in-grass

Disappointed he resumed his hunting position to wait for another deer to pass by.  Soon he saw another deer.  He raised his gun, aimed, and fired.  To his dismay, again the deer disappeared from sight.  Again, he decided the deer had been frightened and had run quickly farther into the woods.

deer-muleGetting more and more frustrated he settled back into his waiting place.  Jim thought to himself,  “This will be the last time I’ll go deer hunting.  I can’t hit anything.”

deer-3Impatiently Jim waited.  Surprisingly another deer popped up near where he had sighted the last two.  He figured third time would be the charm.  Carefully he raised his gun and aimed.  The gun fired, but again the deer disappeared.

Jim gave up and declared deer hunting wasn’t for him.  He came to the conclusion that he was a bad shot.  He packed up his belongings and proceeded to walk back to the truck.

He had to walk past the thicket where he had missed the three deer.  He glanced to the spot where the deer had been seen.  To his surprise he saw something he could barely believe.  Not one deer, not two deer.  But three deer!  Yes, this first time hunter had shot and killed three deer!

One deer is legal.  But, it is against the law to kill 2 or 3.  What’s a person to do?  When his two buddies caught up with him they decided that each of them would claim a deer.

deer-threeNeedless to say the guys had enough deer meat to last them all year.  Jim said he had enough of deer hunting.  As far as I know he has not been again.
That’s it for my deer stories.  I hope you enjoyed.

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Deer Season for This Lady

Deer Season in Kentucky

Deer hunting season

Back when I was still teaching my daughter and her husband were living with us while they were building a new house. It was fall, and deer hunting season was upon us.

On that crisp fall morning I was finished getting ready for school except for spraying my hair.  I noticed  on the bathroom sink an old white bottle that had the label partially worn off.  Even though it looked like it had been around for awhile I figured I’d use it to spray my hair.

At school when I finally had time to go to the rest room I noticed my hair looked bad…rather flat.  I didn’t have time to comb it.  Teachers just don’t have time at school to take care of such things.  After I got home I looked at myself in the mirror.   I said to myself,  “That hairspray is terrible.  It just didn’t do its job.”  So into the trash it went.

Later that night my son-in-law came in and asked if I’d seen a white spray bottle.  He said it contained his deer attractant spray that he sprays on his clothing so he’ll smell like a deer.  Needless to say I had that deer in the headlights look in my eyes.

 

Deer caught in headlights while crossing rural road

Yes, I had sprayed my hair with deer attractant spray.  No wonder it fell flat!  Thank goodness a deer didn’t come crashing through one of the school windows to get close to me.  Also my son-in-law was relieved that the trash with the white spray bottle hadn’t been taken to the dump yet.

So now you know my only experience related to deer hunting season.  No one living in Kentucky will find me hunting Bambi or her relatives.  Yes, I always think of Bambi when deer hunting season comes around.

I always think of Bambi during hunting season

The moral to the story is always be careful when using hair spray during deer hunting season.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my one and only deer hunting experience.  Do any of you lady readers have any stories to share about deer hunting?

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Homemade Vanilla

Have you ever heard of homemade vanilla extract?  I hadn’t until I heard a friend talking about making some.  She raved about how much better it is for baking than imitation vanilla that you buy at the grocery store.  So I did a little research on it and decided to make some.

I quickly found out that homemade vanilla is not cheap.  I bought the smallest bottle of vodka I could find at $11.95.

vodka

 

 

The 2 long vanilla beans at Kroger were $8.95.

vanilla-beans

I could have gotten them much cheaper on the internet at http://www.homebrewing.org/Madagascar-Vanilla-Beans-2-Count_p_319.html

But I am impulsive and didn’t want to wait for it to ship.   Next time I will order from the internet.

When I came home from the grocery store my husband wanted to know why I had bought vodka.  As a woman who very seldom even takes a drink it was unusual for his wife to come home with a bottle of liquor.  I proceeded to explain to him that I was going to make  some homemade vanilla extract with the vodka and some vanilla beans I had bought.

To make the extract you just need two ingredients…vanilla beans and vodka.  First I tried to cut the vanilla beans long ways to try to release some of the flavor.  I found this difficult so I just cut them into smaller pieces.

van-beans-cut

The recipe I found called for 1 ounce vanilla beans to 4 ounces of vodka, bourbon, or rum.  Since I didn’t have a way to  measure the beans I just put the vanilla bean pieces back into the glass jar they came in and filled it up with the vodka.  You need to close the lid tightly, and make sure the beans are completely covered with the alcohol.

Using my Cricut Explore machine I made a label with the date I mixed my concoction.

vanilla-label

Now I’ll have to wait at least 4 weeks to use it.  The recipe instructs to shake the mixture once a week.  If the mixture hasn’t turned dark after the 4 weeks passes, one should wait a little longer before using.

Hopefully the extract will be ready to use just in time for the holiday baking season.  If you need a great gift for a baker buy some jars from Hobby Lobby that have a tight fitting lid. With a ribbon, a nice tag, and a label you’ll have an unusual gift that will last a long time.  Meanwhile I’ll be searching for recipes for goodies with vanilla as an ingredient. I’ll update this post when I’ve used mine. Let me know if you’ve tried making your own vanilla extract and how it turned out.

Thanks for reading my latest blog post about living in Kentucky

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