Friday, January 4, 2019

New Year with a New Look and Exciting Changes

Welcome to a new year of our blog. We have made some new visual changes to the blog. You have the option to add your email to the blog, which enables you to receive future blogs and stay current. We are planning on more changes as I mentioned last year. Plans are in the works to add product(s) to Porch Swings & Sweet Tea. 

We are also very excited to add special blog guests that not only visit our porch swing but all porch swings around us. For example, last summer, our family was outside on our porch. I’m not sure if we were in the swing or not, but we had a visitor that didn’t want to stay long, but with some encouragement he stuck around for a short while. It was a 6’ (give or take) black snake. We snapped some pictures of him before we sent him on his way. Unfortunately, I think my pictures were deleted as I can’t seem to find them now that I’m writing about the very lively event. I’m not one for snakes at all, but this is one time that I went behind the snake and picked it up by the tail and pulled him back to the middle of the front yard, so we could visit. He wasn’t one for much small talk at all, but he was beautiful.

These are the visitors I’m interested in. Any critter or aviary that visits you, share it with us. So, my section of the Blog will be, as Linda Downes puts it, “What will this year bring to the Swing?” If you have a visitor to your porch swing, snap a picture and send it to us. Give us a little information on what happened, and you will make it on our blog as a Porch Swing Guest. We look forward to getting your pictures and short stories on your guest visit to your swing. Follow us by Email and don’t miss out on all the new exciting things rolling out this year!

As always, thank you for taking time out of your day to stop by my blog. Have a blessed day!

Monday, December 31, 2018

That's a wrap for 2018!

This year has truly flown by. It's been a roller coaster year to say the least for our little family. With this being the last day of 2018, it is hard to fathom it's gone already. Did we do all we could to spread cheer, laughter and God's word? Were we there for our elders, our neighbors, our family? We always question if we did enough. We always profess the next year we will strive to do more. Do we follow through with our promises? I say all this because these things should be the focus of the follow through for your future. Focus on what is important to God and the rest will all fall in place just like a puzzle. Don't let the distractions in life cause you to get off point and lose focus of your end goal in life. Make memories to last a lifetime, share your memories with those you love. Don't be standing there on the last day of the year and wonder where those days went. Take your life by the horns and live it with fire, passion and a love for your Almighty God.

We've been trying to do that for almost two years now. I've been away from my job since August 2017 with the final result of a 4-level cervical fusion in May and recovery this year. It has been rough for me to slow down so that I can heal properly, but with patience and my sweet, loving family picking up where I left off, I'm making head way. Physical therapy is starting to show signs of progress which gives me hope. I'm ready to pick up where I left off, incorporate some passion for what I love, light a fire underneath me (motivation) and put God in my line of sight and let him lead me where I'm supposed to go. AMEN. It's time I put me first and live my life like I mean it! I'm encouraged daily to step out of my comfort zone and live life instead of watch it go by while I'm standing on the sidelines. That's my goal for 2019! What's yours?

My husband ran for and was elected Sheriff of our county and will take office in the morning. Just the organization, preparation and stress of all the negativity and lies that were spread on social media was enough to drive us (mainly me) crazy. Actually holding the office should make for a much interesting next four years for us. I know he will do a great job because he is fair, open-minded, honest, very level-headed and has his faith in God as his number one rule to live by. He has had many mentors along his 25+ year law enforcement journey that have taken him under their wing and shaped him into the very knowledgeable and humble person he is today. I encourage each of you to keep him and the family in your thoughts and prayers as he does his best to protect and serve the county he grew up in and loves dearly.

And last but not least, our baby of the family turned sixteen and has been keeping the county roads on fire ever since he got his truck. He's been the second of two joys I brought into this world and I wouldn't trade him for the world. He tries my patience while batting his eyes and pouting his lips (he's a clown), pushes my buttons, expands what "gray area" there is between matters that are black and white, but he's mine and I love him unconditionally. He is respectful of his elders, thanks every military person he notices for their past or current service and encourages those around him to do good deeds and be positive. God blessed us with this little heathern and we will love and nurture him, teach him and watch him grow. Or, we will kick him out and he will learn on his own. (Just kidding) It seems time is spinning out of control and he is getting closer and closer to graduation and I can't slow it down. He has my heart and we want the best life can offer him. Everyone wants only the best for their child. He's a good-hearted, respectful young man and I am blessed to call him my son.

So, now that you are facing the end of another year and looking at the fresh start of a new one, what is your focus? What is/are your goal(s)? Take the steps to think about it, write it down so that you're holding yourself accountable, and make it happen! We are looking forward to sharing new things to come here at Porch Swings & Sweet Tea so have a seat in a swing, have a sweet tea and stay tuned.

As always, thank you for taking time to stop by our blog and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cold Weather + Excess Water = Nothing Good!

Cold weather season is here and preparation is just a part of life for almost everyone. Unhooking all water hoses that are connected to the faucets, taking down the hummingbird feeders that were once the mecca of attention in the Summer, mowing the yard one last time and last but not least put out the winter feed and suet cakes for the birds that visit in the blustery cold weather. Did we get this done in time? Why, yes, we did. I've been enjoying my time watching the birds fuss and fight at the four feeders I have hanging outside my office window. 

One particular chilly morning as I was watching the morning show they put on for me, I noticed steam coming from underneath the front porch. Glenn came to take a look and said it was probably the dryer vent underneath leaking the heat. We didn't think another thing about it until our local meter reader rang the doorbell a few days afterwards. He asked me if I was running any water at the moment. I told him the dishwasher was running but that was all. He stood there and thought a moment and asked if we watered cattle. No, I told him we didn't water cattle, the cattle in the pasture weren't ours. He then proceeded to tell me that we had used 40,000 gallons of water in the past month and I just about fell over. HOUSTON, we have a BIG Problem!!! He said, "Ma'am, you most definitely have a leak somewhere between the meter and your house." Wow, I'd say problem. We haven't EVER used that much water. 

The water leak was found, thankfully, under the house where the hot water heater was located. The pop off valve was open and pouring hot water over the top of the heater and down the sides. Remember when I mentioned the steam coming from under the porch. Mmm-hmm. It wasn't the dryer, it was the steam from the hot water pouring under the house. It was nice and toasty under there. This leak explains why our electric bill was more than double and why our hot water didn't last long when taking a shower. But, to our surprise, this wasn't our problem. It was actually the water department whose water regulator was bad and wasn't regulating the water pressure coming in to our meter and further in to our pipes. Therefore, the water pressure that should have been around 60 was topping out at 140 and with the boiling of the water inside the hot water heater was forcing the pop off valve to open and let out all the hot water. The regulator has been replaced and all is now back to normal. I haven't seen the water bill yet, but I'm sure I'll be visiting the water department to negotiate the charges.

Moral to this story? Don't just assume steam under the porch is nothing to check out.

Hope all of you have a warm, safe and dry Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Women Warriors touch my heart...MUST READ!

Hello everyone! Today, I didn't feel like talking about me and my porch swing. I wanted to get on my soap box not to preach down to anyone, but to lift up a couple of ladies that have worked hard to get where they are in life. Each one had a journey that spoke to my heart. I wanted to take a moment to lift them up, show them my appreciation and share them with my world.

Shalee Fore (PA)

Melissa Marshall (AR) - her order site is

Both of these women are entrepreneurs that are amazing and positively motivating.

Melissa, a wife and mother, shares health products and well-being tips while proving it works with her family at that same time. She is a voice of truth and experience because the results are in the videos shes shares. My hat is off to her. I'm so proud of her conquering her goals like a Boss(of course she is the boss)!

Shalee, also a wife and mother, is sharing beauty tips and makeup tutorials while boosting confidence for other struggling women. She's so personable and comical to boot. It's not all candy and roses. Life is a struggle and Shalee shares it with her viewers. That's real.

Both have overcome obstacles that would have made me crawl back in bed, cover my head and cry while stuffing Oreos in my mouth. They are strong, courageous and warrior-minded; especially when it comes to their children. I can't say enough GREAT things about these two women. They both make my heart smile when they speak of new goals being accomplished. They both defeat the odds on a daily basis. Some days are epic fails, but giving up isn't an option for either. God put this on my heart today and so I am sharing with you.
I encourage you to go watch their videos and see their life struggles and how they help to boost the morale of those that need a hand up. They are both true Woman Warriors!

As always, thank you for taking time out of your day to stop by my blog. I hope this lifts your spirits today and encourages you to pay it forward for someone else.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Fall colors, Halloween rain, and a Cold start to November

Halloween went by with a torrential rain and cold temps. Today is much the same, but it is a new month. I'm ready for pumpkin overload, turkey everything and the wonderful sound of kids laughing and playing here for Thanksgiving. While the cold frigid weather outside isn't much for porch swing sitting, I can still sip on some sweet tea inside where it is warm. I'm sad that my favorite place outside our home is now getting packed away for the winter season, but my favorite spot inside is comfy, cozy and oh-so warm and inviting. Our den, a.k.a. the husband's man cave, has the look of an outdoors hunting lodge. But, of course, it is scaled down to one room. The walls and ceiling are a warm wood tone and the dark slate floors offset the walls so well. Below is a picture of our den before we replaced the flooring during the remodel. You can kind of get an idea of the tone and feel the walls project. With the furniture added into the room it's even more inviting.
See the warm glow of the walls. These walls mesmerize me. I absolutely LOVE them. Once the room is finished, pictures will be posted here and on my Facebook page. So, stay tuned for updated pictures. If you love the "outdoors-lodge" theme, you'll love how this turned out.
     Meanwhile, I would love to share some colorful fall photos taken on a hike my husband and I enjoyed last weekend. Weather forecasters were warning us that our current cold snap was on its way, so we jumped on the chance to get out and explore this outside panorama of color.

These pictures are just a small portion of what I call my outdoors home. I love where we live and am blessed to have this beauty close by. Rain or shine, these hills never disappoint with their display of beauty. No matter the season, it is always breathtakingly spectacular. Until my next adventure.....stay tuned!

As always, thank you for taking time out of your day to stop by my blog. Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Welcoming cooler weather and wood smoke......again

Happy Monday morning everyone! We've been enjoying cooler fall temps and it has been welcomed with open arms. This morning is dreary, drizzly and cold but that is okay because it's Monday. As I look outside, I'm envisioning a day of warm pajamas, a warm blanket and snuggling on the couch with a good book or a good movie. We're allowed these kinds of days once in a while and I'm calling in mine today.

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful sermon at church and returned home to ready the yard and outside areas for colder weather. Hanging baskets were discarded. The overgrowth between the shop and the house removed with the tractor and taken to our burn pile. It looks much cleaner now.

Glenn began to work on our wood stove by cleaning out the huge pile of ashes and debris left from previous use and fixed a few things here and there. He began to split some kindling and crumple newspaper for a test fire. My heart skipped a beat when I saw what he was doing. There is a story behind why I get so happy and emotional about a wood stove fire. If you have time, today is the perfect day to tell you a story. So, here goes....

Many years ago when we were dating, where we live now was my husband's home place. His mom lived here with Glenn many years after her husband passed away in 1983. It was only the two of them after that day. They were each other's support through the good times and the bad. Then I came into the picture. His mom welcomed me into her home with a great big smile and always a hug. She was put in my life for a reason only God knows. I'm thankful for my short time with her and glad she loved me from day one.

In the winter time she had a wood burning furnace for her main source of heat and a wood stove in her den. During the cold weather after a ballgame we would stop by his house to visit awhile. She would have her stove fired up and my heart would melt. The smell of the burning wood in her cozy home just made me smile. It was comforting and somehow I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. I could live there all winter and be as tickled as a kid on Christmas morning. Something about the love she shared so willingly, along with the smell of wood smoke had me hooked...oh and her son of course. I was definitely smitten with him too! This is where I loved to spend most of my winters and can you blame me? I mean I had the best of both worlds here. A peaceful, quiet country setting with a cozy, warm home with the scent of wood smoke at every breath. All the synonyms for happy and content would describe my feelings.

We eventually married and moved away. As his mom got older in years, the wood fires in the magnificent old stove were fewer and far between. She eventually installed gas vented stoves to heat and the wonderful wood smoke scent I had loved so dearly was a mere flicker here and there. My heart was sad, but we understood her situation. She just couldn't keep up with the manual labor of hauling in the wood and throwing it in the fire when it was down to coals. It was just a fact of life "us kids" (that's what she always called us) had to accept. And, accept it we did. We always managed to squeeze in a few weekend stays during the cold winter months. While there, we were able to bring the wood stove back to life with a crackling fire. I oftentimes thought I might have had something to do with that, or maybe it was God putting the fire back in our hearts just a little while longer. Who knows. I cherished each visit, not just because I loved the smell of the burning wood wafting throughout the house, but I'd really cherished time with his mom. She taught me more and more about life with each visit through the years. She shared her wisdom and life experiences that most times left me in awe. I was left amazed at her way of life as a child. It was much more difficult than our generation. But, it was what it was and they did what they did because that's how life was. To hear her speak of it, she loved every minute because her home was filled with love, respect and discipline.

When God called her home, it was a huge loss for the entire family. In time, her home became run-down and unlivable. We purchased the house back to stop the destruction of such a valuable gem. It took us several years to repair the damage and bring the house back to life. We attempted to salvage what we could. Almost everything inside was destroyed, burned, sold or simply gone. This now brings me back to the wood stove. We were able to salvage the wood stove that sat in the den for many, many years. My heart is happy! We will be moving it back in the den where it belongs. The wood smoke will resurrect the memories in my mind of a simpler time in life. It will most likely bring tears to my eyes, but they will be welcomed because the memories are wonderful! I miss his momma and the wood smoke will lend her back to me for a little while. But, I'll take it with a smile on my face!

I'm so honored that you have taken time out of your day to stop by my blog. I hope that your Monday is a great one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Goodbye Summer.....Hello fall, a 16 year-old, and hurricane season!

Good morning! Our area has begun to cool down a bit after a long hot summer. It was filled with beautiful sunny skies and lush green grass, but as the summer days went by, the green grass faded to brown with each cutting. Much time spent outside during our summer sent you back inside pouring with sweat and exhaustion.

 I was absent for much of these beautiful days due to my surgery recovery. It has been a struggle to recover and not go crazy. I'm not a good patient when it comes time to lay back and let time heal your wounds. I'm the caretaker of the family, not the patient. But, recovery goals are coming along slow but sure. Stepping out on our porch to take in nature's beauty has been more and more frequent now that the heat has subsided a bit. Each time I step out on the porch, it is like a time warp. I don't know if it's just the thought of leaving the chaos and noise of reality at the door or what, but time seems to slow down and reality becomes a blur. It's relaxing to slow down and listen to the conversations of nature and tune out the constant bickering of politics. It's as if you have escaped the drama and political madness of the world and peacefulness has enveloped your soul. Upon closed eyes, you can envision your own temporary reality where the rippling waters of the nearby creek almost lull you into a slumber, or the melodious songs of the birds take you to a whole new level of tranquility. This porch is magical and I can't help but sing from the rooftops about it. Everyone in this day and age needs a porch like this! Go get you one!

Now that I have you calm, relaxed, and ready to sip from your warm cup of coffee or tea, I'll update you with our latest adventures in our neck of the woods. Last I updated, we were enjoying our anniversary celebration and watching a baseball game with some dear friends. Not too soon after that, our son Zane had a birthday and it was a milestone birthday. It was his 16th birthday! He has been chomping at the bit to drive since before he was fourteen and he hasn't stopped talking about it. He has always been a talker; just like his dad. So, every conversation would start with, "when am I going to get a truck?", "when I get my truck.....", "am I getting a truck?", etc. You get the picture. It was all about trucks and everything he wanted to put in it, add to it, and make it cool. When he realized that all the "extras" he wanted cost money, they began to disappear from his want list to the point that it was just a running truck was all he wanted. So, that is what he received. He's been tickled with it since he got it. No surprises, no party, just a truck. He wanted it that way...much different that his older sister. He's been driving it non-stop, but he is now becoming frugal with the traveling due to gas prices. He is responsible for buying his gas except for two tanks a month provided by us. Now that he has realized that trucks use gas quicker than he expected, he's been on the hunt for a job to help fund his fuel and his "extras" list. This is a great learning tool for him. He is learning the value of money and how fast it goes when you "want" things instead of "need" things. My reply to his woes of life is, "welcome to reality son". And, I say it with a smile. This new found freedom has also taken a lot of strain off of us. He can drive himself to ball games, evening events he attends, etc. Or, we use him as an errand boy! But, when we do that, we pay him gas money-it's only fair in our opinion.

Since his birthday blew in like a welcomed summer storm, we've also had the annual hurricane call of duty for Glenn. Each year when hurricane season opens and the U.S. coasts are pummeled by high winds, flooding, and stranded home-owners, Glenn and his fellow workers with MIB-Fresenious Kidney Care Disaster Response Team work hand in hand with Fresenious Kidney Care Centers to secure any affected centers in the path of the hurricane. The duties range from guarding dialysis clinics, guiding/escorting fuel tankers, rescuing trapped patients, getting patients to and from dialysis clinics for treatment, and making sure the clinic employees are able to get to and from work safely. You name it, they make it happen. Kudos to the dangerous work they do without hesitation! My hat is off to all of them for working in such dangerous and some times deadly conditions. I and many others are very proud of them for all the work they do!

I'm so honored that you have taken time out of your day to visit my blog! And from my family to yours, have a GREAT day!

New Year with a New Look and Exciting Changes

Welcome to a new year of our blog. We have made some new visual changes to the blog. You have the option to add your email to the blog, ...