03 May, 2014

Empty-nest Mom

Hubs and I knew this moment was coming. We were even a bit excited for it. Sure we miss the grown kids, but we are so proud of their motivation and work ethic.

The nest began emptying six years ago and the fourth one flew out one month ago. 'What are we doing with our time and space now?' you might be thinking. Honestly, we have spread out. I got one room and made it into a lovely guest room...but I put my off-season clothes in the closet. No more traipsing to and from the attic for seasonal clothes changes! Hubs took over the middle bedroom and is in the process of making it into his office. He also moved his things to the little closet in that room, and irons his clothes for school in there. He eventually wants to build a murphy bed to put along one wall, but for now, we are content and making due.

We are going through multiple changes at the moment, so we aren't rushing about frantically. Instead, we are pacing ourselves. So many thoughts and ideas have been swirling around in our heads that we want to give them time to percolate and settle before acting on them. We have time, really, we do. I know we are not guaranteed tomorrow, but we are not rushing things. It is just not worth it.

We lost my father-in-law last month after his two-decade-survival of prostate cancer. He was so thrilled to outlive the doctors predictions by more than 15 years. He is proud that he made it to his 80th birthday celebration back in February. Over 200 friends and family celebrated with him. It was glorious.

As I have pondered the direction for this tenth year of my blog, mothering and working as an empty-nest mom are the things that are on my heart and fill my days, now. These are the things I will share in the future. I plan to continue sharing about my hobbies and loves, but I may post on meatier concerns from time to time.
For example, what happened to the Titus 2 model of older women mentoring younger women? It exists, but more often than not, we might witness younger moms in leadership rolls in churches. This is not evil, just backwards. I was one of those young mothering and mentoring moms over ten years ago, and I burned out...or gave up for various reasons. I am not sure that the church model as it exists is appropriate. I think it sets us up to fail before our time. Then when our actual, appropriate mentoring time comes, we are done and want nothing to do with the old model that burned us.

I hope to flesh out some of these thoughts and would love for my readers to come along and give input! I apologize for the dry spell this year. Again, most of it is due to Poppy's illness progressing at the end of last year, and being busy getting the last one ready to leave the nest.

Sending Happy May Day wishes out to you all! Have a wonderful Spring!


14 January, 2014

Jupiter and her Moons tonight ~ So beautiful!

Tonight, I am thankful for the ability to see
things so very far away. 

I present Jupiter and her moons

 10:00 p.m.

11:00 p.m. and now you can see all four moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. At midnight, the one closest to Jupiter will be even more visible.

Look up! Jupiter is just to the left of the moon!


09 January, 2014

Word for the Year

Quite a few people I know are choosing a word for the year, to help drive their goals or resolutions. I find it difficult to choose just one word! Hubby has already chosen his: HOPE!

I like that a lot, and was near choosing it, myself. But I didn't want to jump on his bandwagon word, just because. Since he has HOPE and I am his partner, I decided to choose my own so we could "cover more ground" with our dreams and goals this year. Now the three that I have narrowed down are: 


Surely their is not a thing wrong with having a trio of words now, is there? ;-)

I appreciate how these words encompass not only intentional, purposeful action, but deameanor, attitude, and emotion, as well.

What's your word for 2014?


04 January, 2014

Beautiful, Healthy Food

I am so grateful for beautiful, tasty vegetables! This is from tonight's dinner, before the big deep freeze comes our way.

These greens are from our garden, which is still alive during this roller-coaster warm/cold winter. It is a combination of collards and red chard.

This was Christmas dinner at our Daughter's home. The love of vegetables and eating seasonally rubbed off on most of our grown kids!

I hope your Christmas holidays and New Year have been restful and wonderful.


03 January, 2014

365 Grateful Day Two

I am thankful for piles of seeds given to me in my Christmas stocking!

Thank you, dear daughter, who knows me soooo well...



02 January, 2014

Happy New Year and a Brief Look Back at 2013

Happy New Year, all!

This past year (2013) was my least active time on the blog in my nine years of blogging. In some ways, that is a good thing, in that I needed to close chapters well with my family as they moved on to new events in their lives. DC #3 transferred out of state for university, and DC #4 (our baby) graduated from high school.

This year, I plan to do a 365 grateful project. I may not always post to the blog, but I will be creating a hard copy of my 365 grateful journal.

I am also exploring new ventures, now that our last child has reached adulthood and doesn't need us very much as he begins to carve out his own path.

So stay tuned!

Gratitude entry number one:

~ I am grateful for family and new friends who got to be with us for the holidays. All of us under our roof for this special Thanksgiving with Poppy, who is growing more frail each week. We decided to pose our own version of "Freedom from Want" by Norman Rockwell.

Blessings on your New Year!


04 November, 2013

Fall Garden and Prepping for Cooler Weather

My friend at Season of Harvest asked just a few days ago how the garden is going now, since I haven't posted any photos in about a month. Well, here is my update for her, and for any who stumble upon the Booksncoffeehouse in web-land. Fall garden in pictures:

Two large branches of this bell pepper plant broke off in the wind earlier in the week, but the peppers were quite large enough to be useful!

 Big Jim New Mexico green chiles

 another bell pepper

 last carrot harvest of the season

 the last collard green plant, and it is HEALTHY! Next to it is another New Mexico green chile plant, this time "Barker" variety. (Very hot)

 Not too shabby for fall! See the hoses to the right? I have been unwinding and taking them out of the raised beds to store for winter. We are actually getting a decent amount of rain each week now, and I can safely put them away for the season.


 one of multiple kale seedlings!

serrano pepper plant

 dozens of onions

 peppermint is making a comeback, just in time for hot chocolate and peppermint tea!

 Another view of the loaded New Mexico green chiles...loaded, loaded, loaded!

 purple basil and bell pepper

 Newer red chard planted in August, green chard behind that. Globe basil at the back

 older red chard from last year...just keeps on kicking!

 snow peas

The tomatoes are pretty much all finished producing. There are blossoms and about nine small tomatoes, however most of the plants are dried up. Normally, we still have them until the first freeze, but not this year. I don't think my plants were that strong to start with. The cool weather crops will stay through the winter, and I can just cover them with leaves during frosts, and add blankets if it it snows or if we have an ice storm. Though I love my garden, I love winter, too, so I won't complain about the growing season (especially for warm weather crops) minimizing production or drawing to a close.

Any of my readers have things growing this fall? It doesn't matter how large or small. Tell me about it!


03 November, 2013

Being Creative in the Middle

I shared a friend's blog posts yesterday to encourage others to be inspired! Her October series "In The Middle" have prompted me to change one of the last places to get real attention and re-arranging in our home; the room that I always put last on the "to do" list, for various reasons. Mainly because everyone else's rooms and the main living areas took precedence first, plus I was cooking a lot of family meals and kept very busy teaching these past twenty years here in the cottage. BUT before I write about the master bedroom and post photos, I have to back up a few months.

Being in the "middle" years means the nest empties out, bit-by-bit. Ours began emptying about seven years ago. When our third child transferred from a local college to go to a state university this summer, I knew I had about two-to-three weeks to re-do his room, which needed repainting. I also needed to bring down a daybed (from the attic) to have ready for this same son, and other guests, before my part-time Spanish teaching schedule kicked in. Working on that project kept me from missing him too much. This is key to making it through another transition: Don't just "keep busy," but stay productive creating new spaces in each new stage of life.

Dear son's kitty was not at all happy that he was moving.

protesting at his feet and clothing bag ~

This is what was left after we moved our son to the university and an apartment he is sharing with some of his old friends. The stack of books is new to the room, but everything else needed an upgrade. We were blessed to have leftover paint from other projects, so I didn't have to buy one thing. Not one thing for the transformation.

I mixed peach, white, with a few spoons of blue paint to make this lovely, beigy-blush hue

I even repainted our daughter's high school daybed and our son's old, small desk an espresso brown, to better co-ordinate and give a richness to the new room.

I then "shopped" a storage area of our laundry room for some art to re-vamp and put on the walls. I painted the frames the same espresso color to go with the furniture and drapes that were left behind.

And that, my friends, is how I spent the last couple of weeks of my summer vacation!


02 November, 2013

In The Middle

I wanted to share a friend's blog with you all, then tell you that her timing could not have been more perfect to breathe new life into my creative bones. I'll post the last message from October, because it also includes a giveaway.

This is for those of us in the middle years ;-)...I love this gal...have known her for a long time but have only gotten to meet for coffee, great conversation, and sharing of hearts just once. You may want to go back and read all of her Oct. posts, though. She is a gifted writer and creates beautiful art. Be inspired!

A Season of Harvest

I'll be back to share the details of my new creative energies thanks to Sheila's prompting.

Thanks for reading,


28 September, 2013

Fall garden finally responding!

I tried planting last month, but it was still too hot and dry here to plant for the fall. Green chard, basil, other herbs, varieties of hot peppers, a couple of short rows of onions, and collard greens are still doing pretty well. Tomatoes are taking a break, but beginning to re-blossom once again. Beets and carrots are still growing from earlier in the summer. Only one red chard seed planted in late August managed to sprout and hang in there for me.

That means, nothing else came up and I had to try again about two weeks ago.

But after two good sets of rain and slightly cooler temps...finally, some success!

snow peas

kale (one spot of four)

Still waiting on new baby collards and sage to pop up. We shall see how it goes.

Happy Fall, Y'all!