Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magnolia Fall Gathering

Before looking forward to Christmas - and all the magic it entails - I want to take a quick look back at one of the highlights of my Fall....

I was so fortunate to be invited to attend Magnolia's first ever Fall Gathering and Workshop! 

One of my sweet friends at work, Belinda, was lucky enough to snag two tickets to the event in Waco.  Since we are such huge fans of HGTV's hit show, FIXER UPPER, she asked me to tag along with her on an overnight trip to Waco.  

Have you discovered this program yet?  Chip and Joanna Gaines are an adorable couple in Waco, fixing up the most neglected homes in old neighborhoods and breathing new life into them!

We made the 2-1/2 hour drive in a state of giddiness, barely able to contain our excitement.  We checked into our room at the Hilton and were greeted with goody bags from Magnolia, including an old-fashioned bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper, a delicious homemade cookie and lots of notes about some of Joanna's favorite hometown spots to visit, including coupons.  

After a quick "freshen up", we set out on foot to walk the three blocks to venue, the Phoenix Ballroom, a renovated brick structure right beside the train tracks. 


There, we joined 600 other fans in one of the friendliest lines I've ever witnessed.  We met lots of other women, from all over, who had made the journey into town just for the evening.  


While we waited in the mild evening air, Chip came out for photo opportunities......




And, finally, the doors opened and we were ushered inside the meeting hall.  The tables were lovely! 




There was a small stage set up and Joanna had staff in place to organize her greeting with each guest.  They even took photos with our phones for us as we posed with her! 


Then, it was time to eat....and it was just the sort of fare you would expect!  Tomato bisque with crispy croutons, homemade macaroni & cheese and tasty roasted pork sliders with a variety of chutneys and salsas.  There were delicious specialty cupcakes for dessert and freshly brewed pumpkin spice coffee.  We ate before the program....and again afterwards.  They made sure we got our fill!!!


Joanna shared their story and gave some terrific tips on entertaining simply in our homes.  We had the opportunity to make some table setting accessories of our own, using natural elements and materials that were supplied at each table.    


Each attendee received a bag of swag - a Magnolia tote bag filled with goodies to use at home.  

The next morning we got up and went shopping.  We found a great place to browse for just about anything under the sun, right across the street from our hotel!  


Even the ladies' room was decorated in this place......I couldn't resist snapping a photo! 


Of course, we went to Magnolia and bought some goodies!!!


We also took in Harp Design Studio.  For those of you who follow the show, Clint Harp is Joanna's carpenter, who creates many of her signature wood items.  He and his wife bought a home that was renovated in season one.  We had the pleasure of visiting with them at length in the showroom at their shop, right next door to the house that was the star of the show.  


We arrived back home with lots of great ideas to implement some of Joanna's ideas into our own homes and lots of wonderful memories.  And, to top it all off, I even heard from Joanna when I posted on Instagram about our trip to Magnolia.....


How do you like that?!?!?  I'm a fan for life!!!

Many thanks to Belinda for including me on this grand adventure!  You are such a blessing to me, dear friend! 

Blessings, friends.....



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Shopping With Baby.....

Shopping with an 18-month old?!?!?!?  "Heck, yeah!" says this Mimi.

I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with all three of my kids today.  Ben has been in town for a couple of days for Thanksgiving, so he, Sam and Savanna joined up with Bonnie, Autumn and me for a bite to eat before doing a little shopping.  Autumn was easily entertained with a single crayon and coloring sheet and ate lots of green beans, french fries and yummy fried mushrooms (she loved 'em!).  It felt like a little slice of heaven to be surrounded by my babies.....


Ben is now working for an engineering firm, pulling and testing concrete.  He has to be outdoors at construction sites quite a bit.  With winter coming on, he was in need of some warm gear to cope with the colder temperatures, so we went to Academy Outdoors + Sports.  Suited him right up with a Carhart jacket, toasty thinsulate gloves and a toboggan with a warm face shield!  Merry Christmas, Ben!!!  

After Ben left to head out for home in San Antonio, Bonnie and I were just warming up.........

Hello, Target!!!!  Lots of good sales still left, although some of the merchandise was a bit picked over.  She helped me settle on some Christmas presents for the kids.  And, Baby (aka Autumn) went the distance with us.  She was even a good sport when Bonnie tried the most adorable little red coat on her.....well, a pretty good sport.  She was more partial to the sock monkey cap, though....can't you tell by the look on her face that it was her choice???


She was a trooper right up until the end.  But, once we loaded her in the car seat, she dozed off pretty quickly.  This was day 2 with no nap, so I think Bonnie and Matt will probably enjoy an early evening off.....

This was the third day of my 4-day holiday weekend and it was just as delightful as the first two!  Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!!!!  

Blessings, friends......





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's All About the Heart!!!

Hello, friends!  Hope all is well in your little corner of the world these days!!!

Things around here have been a bit tumultuous the last couple of weeks.  On Thursday, 9/11, as we started out the day, deep in remembrance of the events on the 9/11 thirteen years go, our world got a little rockin' of a different sort.....

Eddie Dale hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days.  He swore his acid reflux was flaring up, complaining of awful heartburn.  Almost eight years to the day, he had experienced this same feeling. Fearing it was his heart, we rushed to the hospital, only to learn - after an extensive battery of tests and procedures - that it truly was acid reflux, and not his heart. 

Based on that experience, he hung around the house for two days, sweating it out and eating tums like candy.  By the second day, I was worried.  I asked him more than once if he shouldn't just go on to the doctor and have it checked out.  He was adamant and returned to work, sicker than a dog, on the third morning.  

Within 15 minutes of arriving at work, he collapsed and an ambulance rushed him to the hospital.  Still, he swore it was acid reflux.....until his initial blood work came back and it became obvious that his heart was involved. 

By the end of the day, he had two stints in the major arteries around his heart.  The cardiologist said the damage was minimal, but he had 90% blockage in one artery and 99% in a second!  How blessed we were that they were able to catch this when they did?!?!?  He was a walking time bomb!

Amazingly, he spent only a couple of days in the hospital.  His color returned to normal - I didn't realize how gray and ashen he had become until he pinked back up.  He improved in that respect so quickly!  

Looking back, we realize the symptoms he was experiencing for many months were related to his heart condition. His energy levels, which had been sagging for months, are rebounding.  He isn't nearly so short of breath.  He had already started working hard to lose some extra pounds, thinking his weight might have been the culprit, and was eating healthier.  Now, he has redoubled those efforts.  He will have to take several daily medications for at least the next year, while the stents "heal".  And he will be on a daily aspirin regimen for the rest of his life!

I am so thankful that the outcome of this experience has been so good!  While it has been a stressful and anxiety-filled experience for my "other half" to go through this health challenge, I am reminded daily that God is good.  Eddie Dale and I have only had eleven years together - I look forward to many more now that he is on the mend!!!


Cheers to my guy!!!

Now, let me say that it didn't slip by me that today was the first day of Autumn!  I was able to get out on the porch and lay out the first "layer" of fall decor this past weekend.  I will be back to show you some of the progress!  If you haven't already joined me on Facebook, you can keep up with shorter, more frequent posts over there with Janie's Porch.  The link to my FB page is right over there >>>, in the right column - just scroll down til you see it and be my "friend" over there, too, if you haven't already.  

See you soon!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Welcoming Autumn...A Layer At A Time!

Now that we are into September, the sunlight is beginning to change....only slightly, though.  The afternoon temperatures are still sweltering, but there is a hint of change in the air.  Before long, there will be a front barrel down on us and we will awake to a bit of crispness in the morning air.  I am so ready.....

Autumn is my favorite time of the year.  It's a time when I am filled with a vibrant sort of energy.  Maybe it's the change in weather, or the anticipation of the holidays right around the corner....but, my mind and body seem to hum along in time with nature as the weather cools and the days grow shorter. 

Of course, the decor of the season is part what I love most!  After a thorough cleaning around the house this past 3-day weekend, I couldn't resist bringing out a few items and placing the first layer of fall decorations.


I haven't started on the front porch yet.  It is simply too hot and it's too early for pumpkins to arrive at the market!  But, soon.....very soon......

Have you started welcoming Autumn into your home?  Are you getting any cooler weather in your part of the world yet?  I would love for you to take a minute and leave a comment below - assure me that I am not the only one bitten this seasonal bug!!!

Blessings, 

Jane 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Notes on a Sunday


Happy Sunday!  I hope you are having the sort of day you wanted - and needed - to start the week off right. It's been a slow and peaceful, almost lazy day for yours truly....exactly what I needed!

I did get up early enough this morning to enjoy coffee on the patio, with pleasant temperatures and an overcast sky.  Eddie Dale headed into work and I picked Mom up and we headed to church.  I have been attending the church where my son and daughter-in-law are active members.  It is a part of the Life Church TV Network and I always enjoy the lesson, delivered via video, and the worshipful music.  Sam plays the drums in the their praise band and I love watching him do what he loves as a form of ministry. 


I know that there are some days when we don't really listen to the sermon, or we just leave and forget what it was even about before the day is over.  However, today there were three points which hurtled themselves like spears into my heart and lodged there to be contemplated over and over......

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 
~
You must kneel before God before you can stand before men. 
~
Prayer should be our first, not our last, resort. 

Simple concepts, yet pretty powerful!

Don't you just love when little gems like this just fall in your lap?!?!? 

Wishing you a blessed week, my friends!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Very Special Wedding - Samuel & Savanna

It's hard to believe that Sam & Savanna have already been married more than two months!  Even harder to believe that I haven't shared a post and some photos of their wedding here on Janie's Porch!!!  
That is shameful.....

Let me just say that the wedding went off without a hitch!  Savanna (and her mother) did such a wonderful job of planning everything out - just the way she wanted it.  A friend of their's acted as "coordinator" at the rehearsal and during the ceremony to keep everyone in line and carry out Savanna's wishes.  

They kept it simple, meaningful and perfectly suited to them - and, that (I dare say) must be the secret to a successful wedding!

The ceremony took place at the beautiful Logsdon Chapel, on the Hardin-Simmons University campus.  The light through the immense stained glass wall was absolutely breathtaking....little decor was needed to highlight or add to the surroundings.  Ben served as his brother's "best man" and Bonnie stood in for her brother's "bride".  A captured moment that, although a bit blurry, sure did make this momma proud....


On wedding day, we all arrived a bit early at the chapel for photos.  Sam was excited and handsome in his tux; Savanna was calm and beautiful.  Before anyone's nerves could even get frayed, the music was starting and we were lining up to enter the chapel. 


Sam's face as he watched his bride walk down the aisle to him was priceless...


The ceremony was short, but so personal and deeply moving.  The couple's first act as man and wife was to step aside at the altar to pray and take communion together.  


In the blink of an eye, it was done!


Then it was time for more photos of the wedding party as the guests made their way downtown to the ballroom at the historic Elks Building.  The reception was truly a celebration, with dinner, cake, music and dancing! 



At precisely 8:30, everyone grabbed little bottles of bubbles and stepped outside to see the newlyweds off.  As dusk arrived, the magical evening came to a romantic end.


It was truly a storybook, fairy tale sort of wedding.  
It couldn't have been more perfect, precious or blessed!!!  

As a mother, I have prayed through the years that Sam would find the perfect mate that God had planned for him....and Savanna is the answer to that prayer.


And they lived happily ever after....

Samuel & Savanna Butler
May 31, 2014





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Vacation - R & R 2014

As many of you who follow Janie's Porch or my personal Facebook know, Eddie Dale and I recently went on a week long vacation.  Call it some "down time" for unwinding after Sam & Savanna's wedding at the end of May.  (Trust me....more to come on the SAMVANNA wedding in a later post!)

For us, the typical Summer vacation means hooking up our 24-ft. fifth wheel to the ol' F250.  This year was no different.  We pulled out on a Friday morning and headed south to spend the first few days with extended family and friends at an annual gathering on the Guadalupe River.  


Loading, parking and set up have definitely gotten easier and quicker since we first acquired the RV.  The old saying "Practice makes perfect" certainly is true in this case!  The more we do it, the better we get - working together is definitely the key....that, and loads of patience.....

Here is a little glimpse at the interior of the trailer about 5 days into our week away.  (Read here, "Pardon our clutter and mess....there is only so much room, you know.") 


It is snug....and oh-so-dated....but, it is a nice little home away from home.  Most everything has a place, but it doesn't always end up in its spot.  However, we do clear the table and set it up for dinner when we're going to do some fine dining.  Like for this evening, after we packed up and moved over to Blanco State Park for the last half of our trip.  Eddie Dale set up the portable little grill and we picked up a couple of steaks at the local market....perfect for grilling....


See what a nice little set up this is???


And that was a delicious dinner, by the way!

Now, about Blanco State Park.....we have wanted to spend a few days there for the last couple of years.  However, the timing has never been quite right.  There was simply never a spot available when we were going to be in the area.  It is one of the smallest state parks in Texas, nestled along the bank of the Blanco River, right in this small Hill Country town, about 45 miles north of San Antonio.  



This year, we planned far enough in advance and got a spot for three nights.  Just the two of us....the Blanco River....and these toobs!  (Remind me to tell you a funny story about how these got inflated with the hair dryer....)


Simply floating in the river, our toobs tethered together, was pretty much perfect!  Afternoons turned into nap time; evenings were reserved for sitting outside, looking up through the canopy of trees and watching the stars wink back at us.  When the skeeters got too bad, we would head inside to curl up on the sofa and watch some of our favorite movies - you know, the ones you can watch over and over and never get tired of....


The area is absolutely beautiful - with an abundance of awesome sunsets....


and beautiful moonrises....


Do you have any special vacation plans for this Summer?  Maybe even a "staycation" that you can share with us below in the comments?  I would love to hear what you're up to in the way of relaxation and recreation this Summer!

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