Love deeply. Laugh. Cry. Talk to God. Be realistic about the to-do list. Stay in touch. Hug. Dream. Smile. Break Bread often with Family. Spend Time with your Girlfriends. Shop til you Drop! Extend Grace. Be Quick to Forgive and Slow to Anger. Walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Read. Eat Chocolate. Savor a Good Glass of Wine. Wiggle your Toes. Sleep well. Life is Good!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

As we draw near to the end of the year, most of us ponder the unanswered questions . . .

1. Christmas! What other time of year do you sit around a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?

2. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?

3. How come abbreviated is such a long word?

4. Why do you press harder on a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?

5. Why is bra singular and panties plural?

6. Why is phonics not spelled the way it sounds?

7. Doesn't expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected?

8. Why do tug boats push their barges?

9. Why do we say something is outta whack? What is a whack?

10. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in suitcases?

11. Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They are gonna see you naked anyway!

12. Where does the toetag go on a dead person, if they don't have toes?

13. Why is it that everyone driving faster than you is an idiot and everyone driving slower than you is a moron?

14. If pro and con are opposite, wouldn't the opposite of progress be congress? {snickering}

15. If a transvestite goes missing, would you put their face on a carton of half-n-half?

16. Is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions?

17. Why is it when we skate on thin ice we can get in hot water?

18. Do siamese twins have to buy two tickets for the movie or concerts or plane travel?

19. If a guy has a heart attack before they throw the switch on the electric chair, should they save him first?

20. Who was Sadie Hawkins anyway?

21. If a stripper gets breast implants can she write it off as a business expense?

22. Why do we tell our children to never take candy from strangers and then take them trick or treating?

23. Why is it no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

24. How much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn't grow in it?

25. Can you still say stick it where the sun don't shine on a nude beach?

26. If you speak with sign language, can you talk with your mouth full?

27. Why did Ginger have so many outfits when they were only gonna be gone for three hours?

28. Where do people in Hell tell other people to go?

29. Didn't you have anything better to do today than sit and read all this stuff?!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Greetings from the other side of Christmas! Meaning after the crescendo leading up to the big day! We had a fabulous holiday, celebrating many times with different groups of family and friends! Festivities began with the weekend before Christmas, gathering at our home with extended family. I haven't found any photos from that event. I wasn't toting a camera because I was sick, recovering from a terrible sore throat. Enjoyed seeing family I don't see enough of during the year!!

The following Wednesday brought the annual eats and visit from Santa Tony at the office! We are blessed with some great employees at Metro Glass and even with a harsh economy the last couple of years, TK hasn't failied to spread a little extra Christmas joy to each and everyone! (Pics to soon as I find them!)

The next day was Christmas Eve Eve! We had a Hi-Ho Christmas with our kids since Jennifer, Tyler and Keller would be away at Tyler's mom's for Christmas. I'd have to say with all the activities fo the holidays, the time we spend with our kids (including Lindsay, Jen, Tyler and Keller) is the climax of the season! Below is Poppa playing with Keller and the Handy Manny Toolbox!

That evening, Jen, Tyler and Keller headed out to Jackson while Tony and Lindsay and I headed the other direction to Pensacola. We were expecting Caroline's arrival around 8:pm. We haven't seen Caro in nearly 12 years. She was our exchange student from France ... the region of Provence. Fos sur mur (?) in Marseilles to be more precise. She is a doll!! Caro will be visiting with us for two weeks!!

Lindsay and I took Caroline downtown to visit Artology and walked around awhile before stopping at Buck's for pizza and then back home for the evening. We spent some time on Skype with her family back in France. Technology is amazing! We shared some of Caro's French traditions. (Google 13 desserts of Christmas). We had grand plans to ride around to see Christmas light decorations and attend midnight communion. We were all exhausted and I know Caro still had a touch of jet lag so we opted for sleep instead.

Christmas morning found us all excited again about being together! It was a quiet, rainy day. We spent it sharing a huge breakfast, though it was nearly noon when we sat down to eat! Then we visited and wrapped gifts for Sunday's get-together. The laziness was interrupted mid-afternoon with a call for help during an attemt to rescue a manatee on the bay. We unloaded the trailer and took it to be used for transporting this huge mammal. Sadly, she didn't make it and died from complications of the cold. They are usually out of the bay and in warmer waters long before this time of year. It was a valiant effort by the Sea Lab crew, but we were hoping for a Christmas miracle.

And then we topped it all off with a fabulous Christmas Dinner on Sunday .... the First Day of Christmas! Can't wait til next year!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm glad it's Wednesday and few words are required!  There's not much time for talking! As we pull off the holiday bling and splendor and catch reflective glimpses of the true "reason for the season" my wish is that you all go in peace and be blessed throughout the season and the coming year!


Monday, December 20, 2010

How Do You Wrap?

This is how I do it!
Red, Green and White
w/an occasional dash of silver and gold!

This goes for the paper as well as the embellishments!
Anything shiny and blingy and polka-dotty will do!

Lots of Ribbon!
Red and Green or any
of the above combinations!


Yes! Even the critter treats!!

Vanilla Bark, Milk Bones and Sprinkles!
That's all there is to it! Fa la la la la!!
The vanilla bark is safe for dog consumption!

~ Reminiscing Favorite Gifts ~

Oh my, where to start. Can I list more than one? Bear with me!
I must preface with saying my children have never given me
anything, anytime of the year, that I didn't favor and cherish.
All the handmade, glitter, glue and macaroni picture frames,
hand prints and ornaments trump everything else!
One of my first faves was receiving my engagement ring
three years after we were married. When we were engaged
we couldn't afford a house and a diamond so I opted for
the house. Jennifer was 14 months old and we were sitting around
the Christmas tree opening gifts. One of mine was a diamond!
I've received more over the course of our 31 year marriage,
but that one was my favorite because I really believed
"diamonds are forever" and after coming thru a rocky year,
well, you know. It wasn't huge by mosts' standards but it was
precious. Several years later he gave me a beautiful ring guard
to put it in.  It, my friends, was da bomb!

A more recent fave was only a few years ago.
There was a tall bulky wrapped box leaning against the wall,
obviously wrapped by my dear husband. I kept thinking it was
likely a leaf blower or a new weed eater. I was the keeper
of the gardens afterall. Imagine how surprised I was
to open it Christmas morning to find a 10x10 pop-up tent!
Need a little background? Well, we had discussed a month
earlier the possibility of my stepping out publicly with
my artwork and doing an upcoming outdoor art show
in the Spring on Dauphin Island. I hadn't committed
and was still apprehensive about it. I looked at him,
at first quizzically, and he said "for your art show" smiling.
Of course, the girls asked "What show?" and we went thru
the spiel with them. They were very excited about the idea.
Yes, I cried. I cried because it affirmed his support
and belief that I could present my work and be accepted.
I did. I was. I am loving it still.

The Best Gift I've Ever Given? Gosh, I'd have to say
it would be the anonymous gift(s) we give each Christmas
to a needy family. We usually don't even know who
til the last minute ... cause we wait til certain in our hearts.
A few times it's been simply dividing the blessing among
more than one or simply blessing homeless wanderers,
or even a week-long random acts of kindness thing.
That is the true spirit of Christmas and the blessing
feels complete after it's done! This Spirit of Giving
lives on during the year with our family too!

Merry Christmas to All!

I've been under the weather the past week with the crud. Feeling better today but not totally up to par. But, hey! I'll take sub-par over how I felt over the weekend any day. Hate I missed all the blogging last week....didn't wanna spread this crud virally! ha ha ... get it? computer virus? LOL! I know. I'm over it! Must be excess mucous! ;-] (sheepish grin)

What more can I say?
I'm smitten!!

I got a little burst of energy yesterday afternoon and almost overdid it. Isn't that the way we women do things? 90% ready for the neighbors and drop-ins! We used to exchange gifts and then suddenly we began giving of ourselves instead. Priceless labors of home-made love!

How do you Bark?

Almond Bark is one of my favorite things to create with! There are endless possibilities!!! This year it was used in several traditional Christmas variations.

Vanilla Bark w/dried cranberries and pistachios. Pretty red and green treat!

Peppermint Bark: Layers of Chocolate and Vanilla Bark w/crushed peppermint!

Almond Joys: My variation of Martha Washington Balls...I had almonds instead of pecans and dip in chocolate bark. (My husband is a big fan of Almond Joy!)

Puff Bark: Golden Flake Corn Puffs lightly coated with Vanilla Bark (options: sprinkle with pecans or drizzle with chocolate)

Vanilla Bark w/almonds and dried apricots. mmmmmmmm!

Tomorrow I'll share a "Bark" treat for your canine friends!!

The possibilities are endless! What do you create with it? Do you use it any other time of year?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sorry I didn't participate in this weeks' posts. Been a bit under the weather. When I was able to work up the energy to share my enthusiasm for Home Tour Tuesdays and the decorations around our home, my card reader decided to not work again. Fortunately, I was able to simply save a picture of my ornament from the website. Yes! My ornament! The one I received and the one I gave! Chrissy and I exchanged the same ornament! What's the chance of that happening between two people from across the country who have never even met? When the package arrived, I opened it and thought 'wait, they messed up and sent the ornament to me instead of Chrissy .... now she won't get it on time.' Then I looked at the shipping invoice and saw it was to me from her! Too funny cause I almost ordered one for myself! Thanks Chrissy!
Ho! Ho! Ho! Ya'll !

Friday, December 10, 2010

While perusing thru my phone photos, I came across this one from last year when Keller was an infant. Sweet sleeping angel baby!

I had lunch the other day with one of Santa's Elves! I couldn't let her get away without a phone photo to post today!! This my dear friend and fellow artist, Ardith. She's a great artist with a kind and sharing heart. I've posted links to her sites below. Check out her work! It runs the gamut from beautiful fine art to fun and funky, which truly shows her wacky side!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The three phrases that sum up Christmas are:
Peace on Earth.
Goodwill towards men.
Batteries not included.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I missed Home Tour Tuesday so I'm just gonna post a few pics I took yesterday and get back to the to-do list! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Below are a few of the angels I prepared for the "Angels Among Us"
event at our gallery this month.
There is a Christmas message on the reverse side.

Thank Heaven for Christmas Elves!
One showed up at my front door wearing a halo Monday morning!
She spent six hours decorating the tree and wrapping gifts.
Everything would still be sitting in the dining room floor
probably til next week if she hadn't! Thanks Debbie!!!!

I just love this vintage Santa! Found him at an antique shop years ago. Ho!Ho!Ho!
Seems like a Rosemary tree is the first decoration that goes up around here
... followed closely behind by the wreath on the front door.

Heading out to finally attempt Christmas shopping. First stop for the sleigh will be ToysRus!
The the rest will be my usual "one for you, two for me" routine!

Monday, December 6, 2010

1) I don't know why I fret about the bottomless to-do list. It always gets done. Is it as difficult for anyone else to just admit you can't do it all anymore? Why is it even necessary to do it all .... anymore?

2) The tree is up. Decorations will happen ... eventually! Hey! That's progress, right?

3) Remember! Eliminate Holiday stress: Simple dinners. Bags instead of wrapping paper is okay. Give the dust bunnies permission to fornicate a couple more days. It's all good!

4. While reflecting over the past year and anticipating improving self, be kind to myself and be realistic about upcoming resolution season!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Breathe In. Breathe Out. Repeat as Necessary!

Help! I've misplaced my Super Woman cape .... again.

Deep into the throws of opening a new gallery downtown with my friends, my granbaby girl kicking her new found walking abilities into high gear, pulling off a multi-artist show ... and suddenly Christmas decorating and shopping are tossed into the mix. Lists and laundry and foot-soaks, Oh My!

I am determined not to let it get the best of me. After all, it's not like I didn't know it was on the calendar, right?! I ran into my neighbor at the grocery store this afternoon. He exclaimed, "I know you already have a head start ahead of the rest of us, as usual." Assumptions are so funny. I hung garland and a wreath on my front door Sunday after Thanksgiving. Inside, the boxes of decorations are all piled up along the dining room wall waiting to adorn mantels, tabletops and trees. Maybe if I toss a few lights on the year-round tree in the corner of the living room, my back-door neighbors will think the same thing. Problem is, my family will still be wondering when mom is gonna get around to it. Anybody out there in cyber space have a round tuit? I need a few dozen! I know! I know! Everybody is busy. This is MY world. Go type your own blog!

I wonder if I can buy round tuits wholesale?

NOTE: An elf with a halo showed up at my front door this morning and spent six hours, yes! Six! decorating my tree and wrapping gifts. Thank you! Thank you! Debbie you achieved hero status in my book today!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Art Market

Eleven local artists, including myself, are all set up and ready for Christmas shoppers during the Art Market at the Mobile Botanical Gardens' Annual Poinsettia Show. We will be open Friday 12/3, from 9:-4: and Saturday 12/4, from 9:-12: with a large variety of original artwork, jewelry, assemblage art, handpainted furniture, clayworks, scarves and much, much more! There are also three Open Studio events in the area on Saturday.

Artists include: Ardith Goodwin, Michelle Leech, Holly Carrigan, Marsha Sutton, Lydia Host, Denise Inge, Provie Musso, Claire Noojin, Bryant Tanner, Gail Wilson and myself, Terri Keller.

There are photo sneak peaks at:

There are also several Open Studio events in the area! Maps will be available at the Botanical Gardens Art Market! Info about the Open Studio Tour can be found at . Click the link! When you get to the Artology page, scroll down to this picture:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Takes My Breath Away!!

Glad it's Semi-Wordless Wednesday! I'm working out of the home today away from the computer, so this is a great day for few words!! Ya'll have a grand day!

. . . well, there were words in the title!!!

My Peaceful Place(s)

Where do I relax? First, let me define what "relax" means in my vocabulary! Those moments come in brief increments! Kinda like vacations in our family which are the equivalent of weekends, 'cept for those week long excursions that come every five to ten years. I've learned to force myself to relax in small measures because I fatigue easily. Those brief moments can be refreshing too and I usually come away ready to tackle the next thing on the to-do list. Below are most of the "peaceful places" I claim my own.

First, the guest room chair. Here, I read (usually only a chapter at a time) while Keller naps. There's a peace I feel in that room that I don't feel anywhere else in my home. Perhaps it's because of the double wide book shelves (behind me as I take the picture) filled ... and overflowing ... with fiction, non-fiction, spiritual, gardening, art, etc. Perhaps it's because my sweet mother-in-laws spirit lingers there. I dunno. But it is my favorite peaceful reading spot. It's also where my grandbaby girl's crib and changing space is! Come to think of it during the roller coaster of emotions the week my mom was dieing and Keller's birth was taking place, running across town daily between two hospitals, holding both mom's hand and holding Keller were my total peace. God knew what He was doing. His timing is always perfect.

The spot below is in the corner of my living room. This is where I sit a couple of brief times a day with a cup of hot tea or coffee and take in the view of the main part of the house. I see the dining room, kitchen and foyer from here. I'm usually sitting there with my to-do list or looking thru the mail order catalogs, while Keller plays with her toys at my feet. It is my thinking chair!

Oh yeah! My studio work table! This would be my therapeutic space! My creative peaceful space .... well, most of the time it is. Especially those times when all the other ephemera has been put away and only the watercolor materials are out. Watercolors are the only medium that relaxes my mind and spirit. A lot of "Be still and know" moments happen at that table!

Don't you dare laugh! Yes, for the most part, Facebook is a peaceful place! I can catch up and visit, wish happy birthdays and laugh anytime I need a break! I don't even have to get dressed up for company!
Ok, this time you may giggle! You'll probably even gasp at the site! The rocking recliner landed at my request from the hunting camp after Keller came along. There is a large space between my living and dining rooms and there it sits. The ultimate comfort! We have two matching recliners in our bedroom and a smaller one in the living room on top of this one. But this one isn't noticed by most people ....... cause it is camouflage afterall!! I'm sure my husband would love to have it back at the camp but as long as Keller still scoots over to me and says "rocky baby gannah" it's gonna stay put! It is our peaceful place!

Recipe Share! Shortcuts abound this year in the Keller house! My Favorite cookie dough concoctions. You can add anything to cookie dough!! Come to think of it ... would it become home-made if you alter it? LOL!

Peppermint Cookies: scoop sugar cookie dough into small balls and dip top in crushed peppermint. Bake & cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

Smoochies: Sprinkle the top of slice-n-bake sugar cookies with granulated sugar and place a Hershey Kiss into the middle of each slice.

M&M Cookies: Mix mini M&Ms into the sugar cookie dough!

Jolly Jumbles: Mix pecans and mini M&Ms into chocolate chip cookie dough.

Doubletrees: Mix walnuts, choc. chunks and 1 cup oatmeal into chocolate chip cookie dough.

PBC Chips: Combine peanut butter chips with chocolate chip cookie dough.

Oatmeal: Add dried cranberries and almonds or walnuts to oatmeal cookie dough.

The ideas are endless!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Thoughts .....

1. I'm going back and forth between which Christmas tree to erect this year ... the traditional 10' or the 7' 1960's era aluminum, which was passed to me from my great aunt. Petie kept me often when I was a baby. She used to put me under the tree and take my picture. (That's us in the photo on the left and me under her tree on the right. I miss her terribly.

2. I started my Christmas baking this morning. I love shortcuts in the kitchen. I pulled a tub of sugar cookie dough from the freezer. After it thawed I scooped small rounds and dunked them into peppermint bits and pieces. Baked them and after they cooled dusted with powdered sugar. They taste like Christmas!

3. Did ya'll go shopping on Black Friday? I did. But I traditionally waiting til the Iron Bowl game started and then went out. No crowd. No lines. Bargains still lingering! I was finished before the retail mayhem resumed!

4. This is my first year using the art mesh to decorate with. I seem to never catch on while it's hot. It's a love/hate relationship to say the least! But, oh! It's so pretty when it's done. I'm resisting the urge to put it on everything!

5. Besides soup, what did you do with your Thanks- giving leftovers? We made the yummy sandwich I posted the recipe for last Tuesday. I'm gonna make some white bean chili for dinner and tomorrow it's breakfast for dinner with turkey hash/brown gravy over scrambled eggs. Oh yeah! My mother-in-law showed me how long ago!! I put the carcasses from the three birds in the freezer. Yes! I said three. Only eight of us at the dinner table. My husband had to try three different ways to cook turkey. One in the green egg. One in the oil- less fryer. One in the oven. They were all amazing! Kudos to the turkey man!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Delusional List...

I felt the first wave of holiday blues this morning. Sobbed in between chores for a couple of hours. I'm better. I always am after a good cry. It helped me to journal what I was feeling after I talked to a friend on the phone about it. I miss my mom and my aunts that passed away the last year or two. I really do. But that turned out not to be the conclusion I came to. I'm frustrated and anxious because I'm just plain old tired. I do so much during the holidays .... mostly self-imposed expectations and with a bit of "what I think others expect me to do" cause I always have. I don't have the stamina and energy levels I had last year. For lack of a better word, I'm just pissed at this B12 thing. It keeps me drained tagging along with the Iron deficiency. I know I've gotta get a grip on reality and be selective of what I can realistically accomplish this season and still enjoy the holidays. I have other commitments outside of family activities as well during the month of December. What was I thinking? I know! I know! I'll do it all and love it all, as usual.

The JOY I'm looking forward to includes our extended family gathering, keeping Kell Bell for the weekend while her parents take a much needed mini-vacation, receiving our French exchange student for a two week visit (haven't seen her in nearly ten years!), Christmas baking and our family Christmas Eve Eve breakfast and gift exchange and Christmas Eve Communion. I know the anticipation combined with the anxiety of pulling off the perfect Christmas will be ever present on my shoulder throughout the holidays. Don't send me comments about remembering the 'reason for the season' either. I know the reason. If it weren't for my faith and the ever present Spirit of Christmas, I wouldn't make it thru. He made me. Martha just twisted me all up with the perfection thing.

I'm really missing being in my studio too. Haven't had an opportunity to paint in more than two weeks. That is my therapy. Maybe this weekend I'll catch an hour or two painting .... not cleaning. Oh my, that reminds me I have two commissions to do before Christmas. It never ends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble! Gobble!

In everything, give thanks . . .
Watercolor by Denise Inge @

ABC's of Life

Accept Differences.
Be Kind.
Count Your Blessings.
Express Thanks.
Give Freely.
Harm No One.
Imagine More.
Jettison Anger.
Keep Confidences.
Love Truly.
Master Something.
Nurture Hope.
Open Your Mind.
Pack Lightly.
Quell Rumors.
Seek Wisdom.
Touch Hearts.
Value Truth.
Win Graciously.
Yearn for Peace.
Zealously Support a Worthy Cause.

Santa's New Reindeer Team!

Instead of diving into a wish list, I thought I'd share a laugh with ya'll! This is a fun game to play during a big family Christmas! Divide everyone into teams. Each team gets a pair of new pantyhose and a bag of small round balloons. At the start, teams race to finish blowing up balloons and stuffing them into the legs of the pantyhose. Then they crown the oldest member of the team with the finished antlers!! We all laughed till we 'bout ..... well, you know!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's your distraction?

IT can . . .

... be a delusion and a snare.

... have the capacity to suck you in - heart and soul.

... foster the love for, and need for approval.

... become a set-up for discouragement when comments and responses do not flow in.

... take your eyes off of the people in your community and in your home.

... become an addiction with a vice-like grip comparable to crack.

... become a method of meddling in the affairs of others.

... stir up a sense of resentment and irritability when family members present with a need for your attention.

... contribute, in time, to major depression because there is no time for desires of your heart.

... bring on obsessive compulsive behavior.

... give a false sense of productivity.

... bring about an "all about me" focus.

... lead to your constantly seeking recognition, fame and praise.

... be physically crippling as a result of stress (eye strain, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sluggish digestion, insomnia ... the list goes on).

Busy-ness and distractions are the "its" in my life. What is the "it" you pursue daily? What distracts you from living your life to it's fullest? Is "it" stealing away the blessings of what God really wants you available for? Be still ...... and know. Be blessed! tk

note: I found this in a journal entry from several years ago but failed to write down where it came from so I cannot take credit for the .... parts.

Two Things!

Today is Home Tour Tuesday on the Blog! I just couldn't stop with two things in my home I'm grateful for, but I think I hit the tops! Here goes!

I love, love, love my Viking! I'm especially thankful for it when there is a big cook going on! It's gonna get a workout Thanksgiving day! We completed a home remodel just before Hurricane Katrina. Except for the kitchen, the entire house was made over (not furnishings, just cosmetics), including floorings, crown, baseboards, doors, paint, etc. Because of the budget the kitchen and bathroom fixtures would have to wait. The total kitchen makeover (and I mean total) was the only good thing that came from the Katrina flood. The stove was my splurge!!

Unless I become homeless, I will always, always have a dual coffee pot! One of the rules of this house: Coffee on left. Tea on right. Don't cross the lines! They both get used daily!!

Especially! Especially! Especially Thankful there is evidence of my granbaby girl in my home! I am blessed to have her [and stamina] to keep her everyday while her parents work! Yay me!

We all need a little sense of humor throughout our homes mixed among the decor!!!
Almost forgot the required recipe!!!
After-Thanksgiving Panini
Sourdough bread slices, buttered
Spread cornbread dressing on bread (unbuttered side)
Add turkey and then cranberry sauce
Top with second piece of buttered bread.
Grill in skillet or panini grill. Yummo!

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