Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Most of the time we plan out our vacations carefully.  We do try to allow some free time for unexpected things that pop up, though...this time we planned to go on a bike trail in Louisiana and Mississippi.  This plan was after another plan for The Hubs to climb a mountain in Washington with a friend while I played in Seattle fell through.

So we said we were just going on an adventure.  It's funny, we got lots of surprises on our adventure, namely a major car repair! We never made it to Mississippi either since we needed to go home via Lake Charles to pick up the car.

We first changed up our trip by going to Louisiana via Houston.  We went to MD Anderson hospital to see some friends of ours who were there with their daughter who was having cancer surgery.  We were glad we took that detour!  On the way we noticed our gas gauge was not working.  So we just figured we would make sure we filled up every 200 miles.

Then the next day in Lake Charles, LA, our car started acting up and thankfully, we had just passed a Chevrolet dealership.  We limped in and handed it over to them, and they drove us to the car rental place.  We wanted to use our points for a free car rental, but they wouldn't let us do that unless we gave a 24 hour notice.  So my quick thinking husband told them we would pay for one day, then also made a reservation for 24 hours later for a free rental for the rest of the week.

So we ended up staying in that town for 24 hours.  We made the most of it and ate at a wonderful restaurant - one of the best meals on the trip - and also went to church with 56 other sweet Christians the next morning.

Have you ever had a fried avocado stuffed with seafood? It was the best!!!

Finally we got back on the road and made it to Covington, where we prepared to bike the Tammany Trace!  We biked 24.6 miles one morning, ate a hearty meal afterward, then relaxed the rest of the day.  Another day we were going to bike the remainder of the trail, only to find that both my tires had burst!  The Hubs changed one tire and it promptly popped again.  There was something wrong with the lining of the tire.  We had to put the bikes back in the car and drive to another town to a bicycle shop for repairs!!!  Thankfully we got great service there and were back on the trail within an hour.  The young manager who helped us gave us a great recommendation for lunch which I never would have eaten at just because of the name...Liz's Where Y'at Diner.  Seriously?  But it was great food, friendly service and unique bright colored decor.  It just made me smile!

We also spent a day in New Orleans - it was my first time ever.  We walked around, ate some good cajun food, and rode a streetcar just to view the southern homes and live oak trees.  Finally we stopped at the art museum and walked through their sculpture garden.

 House of Shards

Love the Live Oak trees down south!

Even though it wasn't exactly what we planned, especially a huge car repair, it was good just getting away from our responsibilities.  When we were younger this might have given me a lot of stress.  I don't know quite what it is, age, maturity, trust?  But these kinds of little detours from the plan just don't worry me anymore.  We enjoyed just being together doing whatever we wanted for a few days!

Friday, June 24, 2016


Biking 50+ miles on vacation called for it!  The Hubs hadn't ever had one before so he was pretty funny about it, but he enjoyed it, I think...

Of course this calls for just a few biking pics:

We rode the Tammany Trace (Rails to Trails) in Louisiana - it was gorgeous!

We got to ride over a drawbridge at Lacombe

Nice trailhead at Covington 

Tunnel at Mandeville

Pit stop at Slidell

A fun playground nearby...

Bridge over Bogue

On our way home we spent the night in Shreveport so we tried out their trail too - unfortunately a lot of it had been destroyed by a flood but this was one of the nice parts!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I love before and afters!  Even if it's just paint and accessories.  My son recently decided to update his room by painting - when he was 13 years old and got his room redo, he chose some crazy stuff.  Black and red - and I let him!  I figured with the windows and the corrugated metal wall, it wouldn't be too dark in there.

11 years later...He wants the exact opposite - light grey!  He wanted a cleaner, calmer look.  He has his own business, so he is working in here some of the time.  My teenager has grown up (I think!).  Good thing is, I didn't have to do the work!

 Before: High gloss black paint
After: Matte grey paint (excuse the twin bed frame behind the door)

Another angle - you can see his red accent wall

Window wall with red and black paint

Now a calm grey

The corrugated metal wall and canvas stayed.  I still like it!

Not sure what will happen with the sticker door.  My philosophy when we moved into this house 16 years ago was that it was an older, out of style house, and with the kid's rooms upstairs, most people wouldn't see them (YES!).  I gave my kids some freedom to make their room reflect their personality.  I let my daughter and a friend paint one of the bathrooms one summer.  It's still lime green.  They painted the other bathroom a crazy mural and it stayed for a while.  The sticker door was fine with me since it was a plain, hollow door.  Nothing fancy.  But now it's a compilation of places he's been and funny stickers we've collected.  Kinda glad we gave the kids this freedom.  The kids are all creative in differing ways.  Not afraid to try new things.  This momma's sad to see the crazy stuff go away, but happy to see them maturing and doing well.  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


This little flower is one of the reasons I love gardening.  You come upon surprises...some beautiful, some unexpected!  Here is a sweet surprise - somehow a little seed grew in this harsh environment - hard cement - and bloomed for all to see!  All it needed was a tiny bit of soil to get going.  So many lessons while planting, pulling weeds and watering that remind me of scriptures and the Christian life.  I could have pulled that little flower and I will pull that other one - it's a redbud tree!  But I allowed it to stay and it did the unusual.

Lesson:  We need to expect the unusual from God and continue to water those in harsh environments.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Son #1 created these for his upcoming wedding.  I love botanical prints but he pointed out to me that this is an olive branch.  Not only is the olive branch a symbol of peace and unity, but after a little research I found out it is also historically worn by brides and originated from Ancient Greece.  Pretty sweet idea coming from these two!