Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keeping Up With the Blog.....

How to stay in touch with your favorite blogs can be a bit of a dilemma these days.....

I've been reading for months that Google Friends Connect is going away on July 1st.  That is just around the corner, folks.  Although I've accumulated some followers through this program, it's hard to gauge how many of the "followers" actually come back to my blog through their blog reader.

I've tried to add some different options for people to keep up with new posts through the months:

I have the Linky follower tool, but it's just never really taken off.

I have added the option for subscribing by e-mail, so that once you've subscribed, you simply receive an e-mail each time there is a new post on Janie's Porch.  You can also subscribe to the RSS feed, but - I'm going to be totally honest - I have no clue how that works!  :)

But, I think that the most traffic I receive here on the blog is due to sharing on my Facebook pages - not only my personal page, but Janie's Porch FB page.  That has ultimately been the best way to drive traffic from friends over to my blog page.  However, it does not really allow me to reach other bloggers and allow them to access new posts.  If you haven't already done so,  you can click on my FB badge and it will take you directly to Janie's Porch on FB, where you can "like" that page and see new updates over there.

Since GFC is going to disappear, and I haven't made the commitment to Google+, I have added a "bloglovin" button over in the right column, under following options.  If you haven't checked out the "bloglovin" blog reader, this might be a great to do so.  Simply visit their website right here.   I was actually able to go in, create an account and import my GFC blog reading list in less than five minutes.  So, now I am at least ensured that I will be able to keep up with all the blogs I've been following on GFC.

My aim as a blogger has not really been about numbers, per se.  It has been a creative outlet for me and a way to share thoughts and events with family and friends.  However, there is something exciting to seeing your audience grow and know that you have made new friends through blogging.  So, I try to make it easy to keep up with Janie's Porch and be aware of new posts so you can come back and visit often.  Hence, the various ways to connect under the "Follow" header in the right column.

So, if you're new to Janie's Porch, hop over and subscribe with one of the options offered.  If you're a repeat visitor using GFC and not sure you will continue to receive updates after July 1, select another option.  

It's all about staying in touch and seeing you return to the porch!!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Update on "One Word" for 2013.....

Nearly mid-year.....so, I think it is time to share a bit about my "One Word for 2013"......

Although this word is sometimes used as a noun, at this point in my life, I am focused on "trust" as a verb!

A verb = an action word; meaning you have TO DO IT!

It is a daily struggle for me, but I can sense a difference when I don't focus on the deliberate act of trusting God - to lead, guide and provide.  I tend to focus more on relying on help from above when things are toughest.....and start to let up when things are going well.  Relying on my own strength generally leads to some sort of set back, which, in turn, prompts me to turn back to trusting in a power greater than my own.  It is sort of like a continual cycle....a pattern that repeats itself over and over.....and creates a circle that somehow tightens with each turn.

Trusting is, at least for me, like a habit that needs to be developed and nurtured.  It is a lesson that I have to learn over and over.  Perhaps with each completion of the cycle, the natural response of trusting becomes stronger, more ingrained in my own limited psyche, more deeply embedded in my nature and heart.

As I near the end of the sixth month of claiming this word as my own, I see progress.....and a long path yet to travel.  My prayer is to see the blessings and recognize the joys from acting in trust as the year continues; and, to journal my journey so I can look back and draw encouragement in future days.

If you had a word for this year, I would love to hear how it is impacting your life.  Please feel free to share in the comments below or contact me directly by e-mail - jcarter6161@gmail.com.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Little R&R Never Hurt Anyone......

A week of vacation was exactly what I needed.....

With the hectic Summer pace of the real estate market, the days were getting way too long and time way too short.  A week in a 24-foot fifth wheel on the banks of the Guadalupe River, enjoying a fun time with family and friends, was just what the doctor ordered! 

The trip down was uneventful - we have this hooking up and hauling out down pretty good now!  We were all set up in "gypsy camp" at the family's place by mid-afternoon.  Of course, I burned up the phone all the way down, working.  But, that wound down pretty quickly once we arrived.  After all, I did record a message on my voicemail that I would be "out of the office" until June 17th.  I figure the world won't come to an end if I miss a few calls or someone has to wait a few days.....

The days were filled with breakfasts on the deck, dinners on the deck, activities scattered here and there.  But, there was some free time for us and we used it well.  When Eddie was off for this or that, I would crawl up on the bed and read and doze - in the middle of the day.  How decadent and delightful was that?!?!?

But, here are some of the highlights of the trip for me.......

We made the short drive over to Gruene on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed listening to live music for a while.

If you've never been to Gruene Hall, it's hard to explain what you're missing out on.  But, it is a large, old structure - no A/C - long rows of wooden tables and benches that have been carved and worn over the years.  You'll nearly pass out from the heat when you enter the ladies' room and everyone wears a glowing sheen of sweat in that place.  But, the music is fine and it's even more fun to watch people having a good time and circling the rough wooden dance floor!  It's an experience, to say the least....and one we eagerly anticipate every year!

On Monday evening, after the golf tournament, a large group of us enjoyed pizza on the deck and a movie al fresco.  Eddie had the brilliant idea of setting up our flat screen and dvd player under the awning on the trailer.  We gathered around in our chairs, enjoyed microwave popcorn straight from the bag and watched John Wayne's "The Alamo" on the small screen.  I think we might have just found ourselves a new tradition!

We ventured back over to Gruene on our last afternoon.  It wasn't quite as crowded as it was over the weekend and I was able to really admire some of the beautiful flowers and quaint cottages and shops as we strolled.   Everything seemed so lush and green in the humid heat.....


How about this creative use of an old bathtub?  I'm lovin' it!!!

Eddie did some fine posing for the camera......

We got someone to take a picture of us together......

 And we finally made it over to the best little cupcake shop in Texas - Gruene Flour Cupcakery!

By mid-afternoon, the innocent looking clouds overhead started churning and this storm chased us all the way back to the campsite!  

Oh, boy, did we get the rain!  I know they need it down there, but if you've never experienced wet, damp weather in an RV, then you don't understand how clammy everything starts to feel.  When Friday morning rolled around, still drizzly, we were ready to pack it up and head home right on schedule.  But, look at the awesome mist rising off the river that morning - just a beautiful, peaceful sight!

I am glad that we are home now.  A week in the trailer is about my limit.  It is comfortable and we are completely self-contained - bathroom, shower, kitchen, television.  But, there's nothing like coming home and sleeping in our own bed, with the pups snuggled in and snoring in their beds beside ours. 

We're spending the weekend recovering from the trip and catching up on laundry.  Monday will be a return to reality and there will be plenty of catching up to do with work.  But, I have to tell ya - that time off was definitely worth it! 

Do you plan a vacation in the Summer months?  What is your idea of the "perfect get-away"????

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We're About to Make a Break for It!!!

Running around like a chicken who's been on the chopping block this week!  But, looking forward to getting away on vacation at the end of the week, so it's all good!!!

We are headed down to Eddie Dale's "family reunion" on the Guadalupe River, near Canyon Lake.  We'll be pulling out in the RV on Friday morning and plan to be there for a full week.  Can't wait to set up in "gypsy camp", where others with tents or RV's stay at his uncle's place.  Once we park, we don't have to leave - we can just walk in and out to all the reunion events and meals.  Here was our set-up last year - our first with the trailer. 

Gypsy Camp - 2012
We have done some work on the trailer during the past year and we now have a functioning awning!  So, we will have some great shade and shelter right outside the door this year.  And, we've gotten the travel/RV experience down a bit better with the short trips we have taken over the last year.  So, we're hoping that will enhance our time in our little 24-foot "home away from home"!

In the meantime, I've been busy getting together plenty of tanks/tees, shorts, flip flops and swimsuits for the trip.  So, you've been warned, toobers on the river and at Schlitterbahn!!!  You will be seeing me dressed for fun in the water and sun.  Better grab your shades now!

This is usually the biggest trip of the year for us and we really look forward to it.  What is your idea of a fun get-away for this summer???

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reflections on a Birthday......

My reflections on turning another year older today............

Age is just a number.  I don't feel 52.....well, at least most days, I don't.  Maybe 52 is the new 42?

My Mom and Daddy love me unconditionally......and still think of me as their "little girl".  They both dropped by the house today for visits and each reminisced about my birth and childhood.  Some days, I long to be their "little girl" again......

My husband is a "keeper" and I'm lucky to have found him, even if it wasn't until I was already in my 40's!  However, when I ponder it, I probably wasn't ready for him when I was younger.  But, he charms me and makes my heart beat a little bit quicker when he walks in the front door with a pink box from AM Donuts for my birthday breakfast......

My children are grown and have all flown the nest.  Yet, they continue to be my babies.....how is that?  I miss the pitter patter of little feet now and then, the spilled milk and sopping wet bath times.  Where did the time go???

As the years speed by, I realize that I am guilty of not relishing the time enough.  Not appreciating the moments that deserve my attention.  I get "busy", I worry too much, I neglect some things that are truly important and carry the guilt for doing so like a heavy burden.

As I grow older, time seems to speed up and roll by faster and faster.   Yet, I feel the need to slow down more and more.  Slow down and savor LIFE and all the gifts along the way.  The gift of time with family and friends, laughing and loving, building memories.  The gift of rising and spending time in quiet communion and thanksgiving each morning.  The gift of slowing to a stroll to enjoy the scenery instead of racing by and only seeing a blur. 

It's been a good day and I'm thankful to have enjoyed it deliberately and thoroughly. Sleep well and live tomorrow fully, my friends.....

Capturing a Magical Light

After several gray days of frigid temperatures, along with a bit of ice and a flurry or two of snow, the sun shone brilliantly on New Year&...