Sunday, March 4, 2018

First Kiss of Spring


For a moment
I am seven years old,
climbing in fragrant trees
with gorgeous blooms...
The sky is deep blue...
It is almost twilight,
and a full moon is rising...
Spring is coming...
Spring is coming...
Fairies are dancing in the daffodillies...
Joy is everywhere...
A season of new beginnings...

Blessings...
Yaya

Saturday, January 13, 2018

My Haven...My Retreat...


Our little countryside community
must be one of the most serene...
My beloved country house...
We've traveled the world,
but we always return here for a lifetime...
Home to me... my grandmother...
My mother was born on this property in the 1920s,
and before my mother and my grandmother,
my great-grandmother.
I love the country lane that takes me home...
A day in January can bring the occasional snow storm...
It is enchanting...
The firelight...
The candlelight...
Delicious coffee...
Flannel pajamas...
A book, and a lambs wool blanket...
I believe winter becomes us.
It provides the peace I need.
Serene within...
My refuge...my home...enchanted cottage...
A world away.

It is good to be home,
and it is good to have time to write again.

In creative writing they insist you write
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I haven't written in days...weeks...months...
But,
never stop.
Write when you can, and when you must.
Never, ever stop dreaming...
you can change your dreams a thousand times,
but never stop dreaming...
And never stop writing.

Blessings,
Yaya

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

An Island Out of Time...



An island out of time...
Where time has almost stood still...
Sea washed island of mine...
Are you a shell seeker?
Looking for a gift from the sea?
Could you spend a year by the sea?
Would you come away a changed spirit?
Sea washed and sun kissed...
My beautiful seagulls...
Their song is as soothing to me as the rushing of the waves...
The splash of ocean spray...
A foghorn beckons...
Or is it a ship leaving port?
It is time to return to the island cottage...
I will be greeted by the aroma of slow roasted chicken,
and vegetables...
Rosemary and lemon blossoms...
A sea fog settles over the island,
like a soft moist cloud.
A warm fire,
and a glass of wine...
Flannel pajamas,
some reading, and a little writing...
Peaceful bliss,
and soul renewal...


Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV

Blessings,
Yaya


Sea Walk


The winter has been mild on the island...
Cool and misty,
but not cold.
Soft cotton clam-diggers, and a heavy cotton sweater is enough to keep you warm...
A basket is packed with the most delicious sandwiches from the island bakery...
A bottle of wine...
A cloth is spread,
and canvas beach chairs are open.
Soak it in...
The salty air, and sea spray...
The song of the sea birds...
Such peace...a kind of peace that can only be found by the sea shore.
Go.
It is bliss...
It is tranquility.
Go somewhere undeveloped...not full of tourist.
An island cottage at the end of a narrow lane...
A Hemingway state of mind.
If ever you sleep on an island,
a piece of your heart will stay.
Pssst...do you see the mermaid?


Rambling thoughts from the island cottage...

The mighty one,
God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion,
the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Psalm 50: 1-2

The Lord is my rock...

In the shadow of your wings...

Your life is your greatest work of art...

Give God your weakness,
and He will give you His strength...

Blessings,
Yaya

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hello Beautiful. I Love You.


Love yourself...
Do your best...
There may be days when your best is just a little...
That is okay...
All is perfect, whole and complete in this moment.
You are one with the power that created you.
You are beautiful.


Rejoice...
You are a child of the most high God...
Your Father is King of kings...
You are beautiful in his spirit.


Look in the mirror...
You will see God's creation....
Hello beautiful...
You are wonderful...I love you...
This is the best days of your life...
Everything is working for your highest good...
Whatever you need to know is revealed to you...
Whatever you need comes to you...
All is well...

-Louise Hay


Open wide the windows of your soul
and let God's love fly right out.
Perhaps someone near may catch
a bit of your song...hope...joy...

Walk in peace, and without fear...
The angels walk with us.

Remember, you are one of God's masterpieces...
Hello, Beautiful...

Blessings,
Yaya

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rambling Thoughts From the Country House...


Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone's face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of my anger and resentment?
Did I forgive?
Did I love?
These are the real questions.
I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now,
Will bring forth many fruits,
Here in this world and life to come...

-Henri Douwen

Blessings...
Yaya




Friday, February 26, 2016

Spring Cleaning List...


Spring cleaning, and spring fever go hand in hand...
With the warmer weather,
I want to clean,
and clean,
and clean...
As we pack up the Nashville house,
and prepare to return to the country house,
I'm ready to get home and start spring cleaning...
I was reviewing our tenant agreement for the rental house in Nashville,
and thought its move-out list was a good beginning for any spring cleaning list...


All cabinets, kitchen and bathroom, thoroughly cleaned...inside and out.
Thoroughly clean stove eyes, stove hood, inside oven, dishwasher,
and refrigerator...inside and out, including top and underneath...
All ceiling fans cleaned...top and bottom of fan.
All light bulbs in working order.
Bathrooms thoroughly cleaned including commode base, and mirrors...
Baseboards, window seals, mini blinds, doors, and walls thoroughly wiped down,
and cleaned...
Carpets shampooed and all floors thoroughly cleaned...
Fireplace cleaned...
All air conditioner unit vent area cleaned and filter changed...
Must have new filter.
Water heater cleaned...top and bottom.
All glass storm doors, and mirrors cleaned.

I thought it was a good list to use for the beginning of home spring cleaning...
along with my own personal list...

Windows washed...
Decks washed...
Porches and outside furniture painted...
Thresholds scrubbed...
Closets organized and cleaned...
The list could go on and on and on...

Do you ever get it ALL finished?
Do you ever find yourself with absolutely nothing to do?

Food for thought...

Make home life a priority...
The power of order...being organized, and clean.
An extraordinary life begins at home...
It's so much easier to keep a neat and tidy house clean.
Don't put it down, put it away.
Chaos does not invite peace.
30 days of cleaning...
It will be Monday through Friday.
I need weekends off.

Happy Cleaning...

Blessings,
Yaya


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Packing for a New Adventure


"I want to help, Yaya."  
"I love the beautiful paintings, Yaya."
"Are we leaving the Nashville house forever,Yaya?"
And so it is that another project is finished...
Another adventure to remember,
and a future adventure to look forward to...
We travel with work,
and we have learned to make the best of it...
It isn't for everyone, that's for sure,
but it has worked for us...
I have always chosen to see the travel as a blessing...
A gift...
A new adventure.


Everywhere we go, 
we collect...
and collect...
and collect some more.
Oil paintings,
books,
Italian dishes,
English china,
table linens...
Antiques...
Chandeliers...
The list goes on and on.
It is always exciting to load the trailer,
and the big Ford truck,
and the suburban,
with all our collected treasures from each trip...
Each project...
Each new adventure...
We are not sure what direction the next adventure will take us,
but for now,
we will spend time at the lake house,
the island house,
and the old family country house.
That, within itself, is a huge blessing,
and one I'm looking forward to.
I'm ready to get back to the countryside, and plant hundreds of buttercups,
Irises, Knockout Roses...a million flower seeds...blooming shrubs...
The list goes on and on...

A few thoughts for the day...

Celebrate beauty in everyday living...

"I want everything in my world to be beautiful,
and resonate with love,
and God,
and angels...
Peace...
Kindness...
Tranquility...
Passion and an excitement for life...
And travel...
And adventure."

Blessings,
Yaya

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Island in Winter


It was snowing in the north Alabama countryside...and Nashville...
Several inches of winter wonderland snow expected...
Schools were closing...
Oh, it was falling, falling, falling...
Big beautiful flakes...
But it did not stop her...No...
She got into her Mercedes and drove, and the snow fell...
Beautiful, enchanting snowfall...
And she drove on...
South...
Toward her island...
There is a point when you reach the salt air...
Six hours of driving south, and it is in the air...
Salt air and sea mist...
Upon arrival,
One must quickly bundle up and go to the shore...
Breathe...Just breath it in.
Ahhhh.....Island time.
Winter island time...



And so it is that she is a sunset chaser...
Every single day...by the shore,
listening to the sea birds,
and breathing in the salt air...
Sea mist in her long, blonde, wavy hair...
Wrapped in cashmere,
sipping hot mulled wine,
soaking in the beauty,
and capturing every moment with her beloved camera...


And always...
Always...
The seabirds embrace the beauty...
The peace...
The tranquility...
The love...
I think they know her...
I think they say, "We have missed you."
"Where have you been?"
"You've been away for such a long time."
"Welcome home."

Back at the island cottage,
potatoes are roasted in olive oil, and Herbs de Provence...
A tray of cheese, grapes and New Orleans French Bread are prepared...
 Italian wine is poured into crystal glasses with sail boat etchings...
The Sandpiper is in the DVD player...
Bedside books are...
"The Old Man and the Sea"...Ernest Hemingway,
and "Islands in the Stream"...
"Shell Seekers"...

Sail into the Mystic...
Dreaming...
Somewhere on an island,
wrapped in cashmere by a warm fire and candle glow...

Blessings,
Yaya

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blizzard Winds, Some Snow, and French Onion Soup...


Rustic yeast bread rising...
Snow falling...
Blizzard winds blowing...
Wind chimes chiming...
Red birds visiting...
The scent of fresh bread baking fills the country house with a delicious aroma...
It's comforting...
Like a warm snuggle blanket...
Home is my comfort,
a sacred place where my spirit is restored...



Sweet onions...butter...olive oil...
The base and the beginning of French Onion Soup...
With cream...
And crusty home baked bread,
covered in Mozzarella,
toasted to a golden brown,
in Italian bowls...
Sweet...
Creamy...
Comfort...
Served by the fire with a glass of Merlot...


Warmth and comfort on a cold night...

Musings and thoughts from the country house...

There are simple solutions to complex lives;
Love.
Harmony.
Comfort.

Accept what this moment provides,
and its energy will spread beyond all boundaries...

Put pleasure into living...

Country life...
It's a very good place for thinking...

My house,
my home,
is the expression of my soul...

Blessings,
Yaya

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our Country Cat, Lucy, and Another Winter Storm...


Every country house should have a cat...
Sweet Lucy...
She acts like a dog.
She goes out with them to do her business,
and then she is right back in to nap by the fire...
The down-filled leather chair,
which was my special place to recharge,
has been taken over by her.


So, I move to the velvet French sofa,
in front of the fire...
It is like a beautiful pair of high heel shoes...
Pretty to look at, but not so comfortable.
I have a down-filled seat on it,
but somehow,
one doesn't sink into it.
It is comfortable enough, but not like a cloud of feathers...
Down cushions help to give it some softness, too...
But oh how I love the velvety plush...
The warmth of velvet is like none other.
And books...
And journal...
Another winter storm is on the way,
and this time,
we are expecting more than just a cold rain.
Parts of Alabama will actually get some snow.
That requires cooking.
Just the word 'snow'...
Every country house in the area will have soup pots going...
Chicken Stew...
Rustic Potato Soup...
Beef Stew...
Chili...
Vegetable Soup...
Creamy Chicken Soup...
And home baked bread...
Yeast bread...
Cornbread...
Snow...
It is like a planned celebration in the south...


So this is where I will weather this next winter storm...
On the velvet sofa,
in front of the fire,
eating homemade soup, 
and home baked bread...
Reading....reading....
Journaling...(is that a word?)
And reading beautiful blogs...
And writing some, too...
And pictures...playing with the Nikon...
A passion I love, but know not much about.


Stay warm, and well...
Curl up, and rest a spell...

Rambling thoughts from the country house...

An extraordinary life begins at home...

Romance your home...

Bon Bons on the coffee table...

Everyday is beautiful if you choose to see it...

Blessings,
Yaya

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Cold Rain, and Rustic Homemade Bread


The weather was bitter cold at the lake house in Kentucky,
and a winter storm warning was in effect.
Oh how I would have loved to stay and get snowed in,
but that was not to be.
So, we drove the winding back roads,
and returned to Nashville.
Bitter cold, and winter storm warning there, as well.
I needed to return to the Alabama country house before the winter storm arrived...
The highways in the Alabama and Tennessee hills are not where you need to be driving during a snow storm...
I packed up, and arrived at the country house one day before the storm arrived...


There is something about a storm...
It causes me to feel the need to bake, and cook...
It seems comforting, and cozy, I think.
I love the smell of fresh bread baking,
and a pot of soup on the stove.
Candles flickering...
Fireplaces burning...
Soft music playing...


The clouds are so grey,
and the candle light looks so pretty reflecting off crystal pieces.
The rustic bread is fresh out of the oven, and ready for a soft butter spread...
A glass of Merlot,
a bowl of soup,
all served in the den by the fire,
on little wooden tv tables with pretty white table cloths...

This is my Zen spot...

Everyday comforts...

Making home a haven...

Blessings,
Yaya

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter...A Time of Rest


Winter...
A time to slow down...Twilight comes early,
and the setting winter sun drops into a cold dark night.
It is 14 degrees in Nashville, and 6 degrees at our Kentucky lake house.
We left the city on Friday, and drove the winding, country back road toward 
Lake Malone...My haven...a place of solitude...
We arrive...unload...get the fire going, and supper, too.
Candles flicker throughout the house...
We have a glass of Merlot while waiting on supper,
and we listen to the silence...
Such peace, I cannot describe.
The ducks come into our cove often,
and I felt as if they were welcoming us to this beautiful place of tranquility.
I walk to the edge of the lake with food for the ducks,
and in turn,
they stay awhile and allow me to get many beautiful pictures.
They linger, as do I....soaking in the peace, the quiet, the soul soothing, mystic feel...
I am ready to wrap myself in cashmere, and flannel...Oh so soft and snuggle warm...
I am ready to sip hot mulled wine, and read,
while listening to beautiful cello music...
And I am ready to sit by the fire,
and do absolutely nothing.
Or, maybe I will knit...
Or paint...oil on canvas...yes...the ducks!
Or maybe I will write...
Whatever I do,
it will nourish the senses...

A few rambling thoughts from the lake house...

Be your own kind of beautiful...

Build a beautiful life...

Listen carefully to the sounds that bring you joy...

Winter allows you time to slow down...Isn't it wonderful?!

Winter Blessings,
Yaya

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Wish...


Make a wish...
When you are a five year old boy,
what do you wish for?
Oh how I wonder...
But one must not tell,
because it will not come true...so they say...
Not only is Christmas time near,
but oh to have a December birthday...
How much excitement can one child stand...
Happy fifth birthday to our baby boy 
with the golden curls.
We love him so.

Blessings,
Yaya


Tradition...


"The Night Before Christmas"...
We have a beautiful old book that is read many times before Christmas...
"The moon on the breast
of the new-fallen snow,
gave a luster of midday
to objects below".

"The children were nestled
all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugarplums
danced in their heads."

Creating memories never to be forgotten...

Blessings,
Yaya

A Wedding and a Birthday Party...


Everywhere you go,
the halls are decked...
The trees are up...
And Christmas is here in all of its glory...


And what could be better than a Christmas wedding?!
Being a flower girl...
Oh not one, but two...
Two little flower girls dropping petals everywhere they go...


Oh so fun...
Oh so beautiful...
Oh so magical...


But back at the country house,
the party is over...
The wedding is over,
and she danced her shoes off...
Oh so tired, and ready for bed.


Up the back stairs she goes...
It's time for flannel pajamas...
It's time for slumber...


A little princess...
Beautiful flowers,
and a treasure chest of Christmas ornaments yet to be hung...


"Smell, Yaya...the flower is sweet and soft."


Capturing moments in time to never be again...
The magic of the season is upon us...
Grab it...
Hold on to every moment,
for this is all we have.
Right here...Right now...
Love...
Laugh...
Be kind...
Give...
And remember the reason for the season...

Blessings,
Yaya

Saturday, December 19, 2015

That Magical Time of Year.


Ohhh it felt like magic...
The excitement was wonderful...
The long drive north to the countryside from Mobile...
Arriving at the country house...
A Christmas wedding to attend...
A rehearsal dinner in a grand old home in town...
A birthday party at the grand hotel on the river...
And Christmas just around the corner...
Oh yes, it feels so magical...


Come sit with me in the parlor, said Yaya...
Tell me all about it...
Cookies and milk by the fire...
A picture or two...
And stories...beautiful stories...
And party dresses...
And smiles...
And so much more...
It's that magical time of the year when excitement is in the air...
It shows in the smiles...
And the twinkle in the eyes...


What better place to savor the children's giggles
than the old family country house
dressed in the warm golden glow and magic of Christmas...

Blessings,
Yaya

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Parlor Fireplace Aglow


Are you decorating for Christmas on this cold moonlit night?
I am having so much fun with the old parlor fireplace...
Everything is a golden glow...
It is not finished, and another photo will come when it is completed,
but somehow the golden glow seemed so perfect on this cold night,
and I just wanted to share the unfinished project anyway...
I love the remoteness of our country house,
far from the chaos of the city...
I went outside today and cut a basket full of cedar, holly, magnolia leaves...
It is truly glorious to smell...
This mantel will have cedar and magnolia added to it...
And sparkling twinkle lights...
There is a drop-leaf dining table near this fireplace,
and it is the perfect place for morning coffee...
As dusk deepens into darkness,
and shadows melt into night,
lights go on one by one...
Twinkling...
Noel...Noel...Noel...
Bowls of nuts and fruits...
Pine cones sprayed gold, and golden glitter candles...
Our beloved country house is the place we want to be at Christmas time...

Blessings and good cheer,
Yaya

Dreaming of a White Christmas


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, 
but deep in the heart of Dixie,
a white Christmas is not expected...
However,
one can dream...
As a child growing up in the south,
there wasn't anything more exciting than the anticipation of snow.
It was truly magical...
A beautiful winter wonderland.




We come home to the old country house during the holidays...
I love using fresh cedar, holly and other cuttings from the yard...
Oh the smell...
It smells like Christmas with all the cedar in the house...


Ushering in a season of splendor...
Vintage Christmas...
Visions of Santa Claus...
Velvet dresses...
Decorating the huge cedar tree...Papa and the children...
Holiday dinner...
Gift wrapping...
Open houses...
Hot mulled wine by the fire...
Friends dropping by...
The front door constantly in motion...
Family filling the old country house...
Red corduroy dresses...
Cinnamon scents the air...
The house is beginning to shine with Christmas cheer...
Goodwill...Peace and love...

Blessings,

Yaya


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Turquoise Kitchen Project


Turquoise on old wooden cabinets...
Iron work...
Washed sea green walls...
Italian and other European dishes...
French cookware...
No doors...
Why?
Because I love seeing all the color,
and the beautiful pieces I have collected over the years.
They lift me up...make me smile...
Each piece has a story...
It was part of a trip...an adventure...
A treasure brought back to the old country house.



Tea Cups...English tea cups...
English china, and some Delft pieces, too...
Memories...trips to Holland oh so many years ago...
And the tea cups conjure up memories of my mother...
Her beautiful collection of fine English tea cups...
And later I created my own collection.
Now I have both.
Treasured heirlooms...


More treasures, at least to me.
The orange vase on the top shelf, upper right...my mother's...
I remember when she bought it...It was early 1960s...
She and my dad had moved into their newly built home...
Her colors....orange, olive green and copper...
The vase...Italian...as are most all the pieces in this cabinet.
There is just something so...so soulful about Italian dishes.
They call to me.  Don't know why.


More cabinets kissed in turquoise...
More European dishes...


More iron....more turquoise...
Everything wrapped in turquoise...
It feels bohemian...
It releases the gypsy in me...


Country Kitchen...
The wooden sign that hangs over the window says it all...
This is an old country kitchen...
It hasn't changed much since my grandmother cooked meals here...
The old country sink was hers...
How could I ever update and tell it goodbye.
No.  Never.  I could not.  Would not...


Even the old walk through pantry has a touch of turquoise...
Turquoise floors...


Daffodil...
Dancing in the Daffodils...
In washed turquoise...
I had to have it.
It was made for a country house with daffodils and a turquoise kitchen...


Cookbooks...
Only a smidgen of my collection...
I love reading cookbooks,
but couldn't live long enough to cook all the recipes I have...
Why on why am I called to cookbooks?
I don't know, 
but I find them comforting and inspiring,
and many are beautiful, too...


Home...
It feels good to be home...
in the newly painted turquoise kitchen...


A bowl of soup?
A glass of wine?
A cup of tea?
Come sit with me for awhile and tell me all about your joys...
What makes you happy?
What inspires you?
Who inspires you?


The old bread box got a kiss of turquoise, too...
The old spice cabinet was washed in white,
with just a tad of turquoise left in the brush...
And every kitchen must have aprons...
Colorful aprons...

Change can be good for the soul...
It can happen quickly...
A can of paint...and a day ( or three)...

Blessings from the country house...

Yaya