Monday, September 27, 2010

September Serve

Each year the Missions Pastor at our church organizes September Serve.   Everyone is encouraged to find a mission or service type project to work on in our community during the month (and hopefully continue through the year).

On Saturday the 24th over 25 teams from our church spread out all over the Houston area working together on various projects.  Some hosted a camp for 125 inner city youth.  Others painted a Habitat for Humanity  house and our family signed up for this project:

We helped paint, clean and do maintenance projects at Harper United Methodist Church in Monaville, Texas.    This church was founded in 1881.  It is tucked back down a country road and is home to  a small, mostly elderly congregation.   I’m not sure how far back this  building dates, but it was probably built in the early 1900’s.

We painted the front porch, scraped and cleaned the windows.  Worked on ceiling fans and light fixtures, and other miscellaneous items on the ‘to-do’ list.

It was a blessing to work together as a family and with others on this beautiful church.  This historic church needs much more TLC, and hopefully we can go again and help to scrape the wood and re-paint the rest of the church. 

Here we are working away:

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The group hard at work on the porch:

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I just noticed on their sign it says “Catch the Spirit of Love”  There was definitely a spirit of love on that day in Monaville.

♥    Joy

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Do you wear an apron when you are in the kitchen?

If you read around the blog world or check your local stores, you will see that aprons are definitely making a comeback.  They are cuter than ever and as much of a fashion statement as they are useful.

I wear one everyday when I’m cooking.   Here is my collection hanging in the laundry room.   I made the blue one on the left and won the cute one that has the pink pocket and polka dots.  The others I purchased. 


Here is a close up of the adorable apron that Yoli made.   I won it from a blog contest she had a while back.  She is an awesome seamstress and so creative.   Check out her Etsy shop and sidebar for her creations.


No signs of Fall here in my part of the world except for the fact the temperature is 89 F today.    Anything below 90 degrees F may have to qualify as Fall.

Tanner Update:

The new little four legged furry man in my life is doing just fine.  He has me wrapped around his little paw already.  It is fun learning his personality.  He loves to move items he finds on the floor around the house.  So if he can fit it in his mouth and you leave it on the floor,  it most certainly won’t be there when you check next time.   (including my bloomers that I have found next to the backdoor hehe) He doesn’t chew on things, just moves them.

Here’s another close up of his adorable face.


I had a dog trainer come over and do a consultation on Saturday.  Of course, Tanner does what he is suppose to when the trainer is here, but with me…..not so much.    Surely this little 12 pound ball of cuteness and fur won’t be the pack leader in our house...   

♥ Joy

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meet Tanner

bosco and his new family 2

On Saturday our family went to look at a couple of dogs at a local rescue and this little guy stole our hearts.  He is approximately one year old and was found wandering the streets.  He was very matted, dirty and covered in fleas.   The rescue cleaned him up and groomed him as best they could.

He is a Miniature Schnauzer.  We named him Tanner because he is brown and tan.  Brown coloring is pretty rare in Schnauzers.  I’ve never seen one anyway.  He is adjusting wonderfully.   He is so sweet.  He has some healing to do from all the flea bites and I’m sure he wishes I would leave him alone.   I believe he thinks that  all I do is bathe, brush and check him.   I’ve been walking him around the neighborhood and he’s meeting his new dog and people friends.  The first night he slept all night without a peep in his crate.  He loves to be near us, but doesn’t understand toys.  This is our first experience with a male dog, so we’re getting use to that.

Just had to introduce you to our new little guy. I’ll get more pictures up of him soon. 

♥  Joy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Leah’s Day

We’re back from our vacation and boy was it wonderful.  I will do a post soon because, more important things are happening at our house:

I can’t believe I’m doing another birthday post.  Seems like they come faster and faster don’t they;  especially when it is your baby that is having them.

Leah’s birthday is this week and there is so much about her to celebrate. She fills our home with laughter and has such a quick wit about her.

Here are some pictures of Leah in the past year and our recent vacation:

Leah portrayed Grace Kelly at her Wax Museum at school:

(she was loving the make-up)


On the ice in the middle of summer!

Breckenridge 12 2010

High Fiving in Breckenridge:Breckenridge7 2010

Kicking back in the gondola in Breckenridge:

DSC02000  Leah at Garden of the Gods in Colorado:


Celebrating an early birthday in Florida:


Leah loves people, pigs and going places.  

She is such a blessing to our family.

Love you Leah!

Happy Birthday!



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Saturday, July 31, 2010


I know it has been five plus weeks since my last post.   When I returned home from Florida, we picked up Libby our Miniature Schnauzer.  She wasn’t acting herself and had lost weight and her eyes were runny.  I took her to the vet the next day thinking she had an eye infection.   Unfortunately, I was given the news that she had Lymphoma.  The prognosis was not good, but I did expect to have a couple more months with her.   She had perked up some and was eating good and seeming not to know she was sick.

But things changed in the last few days.  She started going downhill quickly and we had to do the best thing for our sweet Libby.

Libby came to live with us back in September 2004.  She was a rescue dog.   We never really knew how old she was and knew nothing of her background.     She is the first dog I ever really had that was mine.   Libby really took me by surprise as I never consider myself a “dog” person but she loved me and taught me so much about unconditional love.  She made herself right at home in our house and in our hearts.   Our time with her was shorter than we thought it would be.  But I’m so glad she was ours for that time.


I’m sorry this is a sad post.  I know some of you already know thru Facebook about Libby.   I will get back into the blogging groove eventually.  I just wanted to let you know what has happened.

Thank you all for your support.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old Florida

In my last post I ended with a note about the cowhide chair that  now sits on my fireplace hearth.    It has been in my family for 125 years and I feel honored to be the caretaker of  this beautiful historic piece.  In the second pictures you can see there is a little patch that still has hair on it.  I’m so amazed that has lasted on there all these years.

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Here are some family pictures that I have recently come across.   The internet is truly amazing.   A cousin of mine was doing family research  online and came across some pictures of  our family posted by a lady in Texas.  We contact her and come to find out she is married to a distant cousin of mine and loves genealogy.   I have never met this cousins.   We now are comparing notes, sharing pictures and stories catching up via facebook and e-mail.  We hope to meet soon.  Who knew we both  grew up in Florida now live about an hour and a half apart in Texas.   They shared some of these wonderful old family pictures with me.

This is a picture of my great-great-great grandparents (seated).   See the chairs lined up across the porch.   One of these could possibly be the chair I have today.    This is truly old Florida living.   Yes, my family tree has deep roots in Central Florida and those are orange trees you see.  Notice the well pump on the right side of the porch.  On the left you will see a separate building that housed the kitchen.  The kitchen was built separate from the main house so if there was a fire hopefully the main house would not burn.   This picture was taken around 1910.  Clayborn Taylor (seated) was born in 1842 and his wife Sally was born in 1850. 

sweat family3 

In the picture below my great-great grandparents are photographed along with four of their eventual eight children.  The wife is the daughter of the older couple in the picture above.  The little boy on the left next to his daddy is my great-grandfather Malcolm.  I love his short pants and dirty bare feet.  Once again, you see similar chairs on the porch.  This picture taken around 1900.

 Sweat family

I will be leaving this week for a long road trip in the car to Florida.  It will be just me and the girls as Buster has to work.  Since I’m driving we (I) can take as many bathroom breaks as I want. ;0

I will check in on all your blogs now and then while I’m gone, but probably won’t post until I get back.   


Friday, June 11, 2010

Warms My Heart


We moved into this house five years and I was never crazy about the fireplace in our den.    So this spring we made a change…out with the old and in with the new look we chose for our fire place.

BEFORE:  The black hole…




We chose stacked stone for the fireplace and fieldstone for the hearth.  I’m so happy with the new look.  It seems to brighten up the room.    We also painted the walls  Sherwin Williams Latte.   The mantle is a solid piece of cypress.  I kept it. I sanded it smooth, distressed it and stained it a warmer brown.

The picture above the fireplace is very special to us.  The frame was handmade and designed by Keith’s dad.  He used old barn wood to construct the frame.   His dad passed away over a decade ago, so it is very meaningful to have this.

The art work in the frame is a pheasant painted by Artist Lynn Ash.  Lynn is my mother-in-law’s cousin.    Lynn is a lifelong resident of Tampa, Florida.  He was employed by Busch Garden’s in Tampa as an artist for years and is now retired.  He has painted so many beautiful wildlife pictures as well as the mural below.  The Tampa Bay area is my hometown, but  I haven’t lived there in nearly 20 years.    I have a small copy of the mural below by Lynn.  I just wanted you to see other work he has done.

In 2003, the City of Tampa's Public Art Program commissioned artist Lynn Ash to create a large painting that would weave together many of the notable aspects of Tampa's unique character and identity.  (from Tampagov website)

This is the 4’ x 8’ mural that Lynn painted and is in the lobby of the Tampa Municipal Office Building.  To read more detail about this mural you can visit the website above.


You will also notice on the fireplace hearth a chair that is near and dear to my heart.  This chair was handmade approximately 125 years ago and has been in my family all these years.  The seat is made of cowhide.  In a future post I will share pictures of my family dating back to the late 1800 – early 1900s and you will see what possibly is this chair on the front porch of their home. 

Here is a little closer view of the chair.


So the fireplace in our home is now a focal point of family history and treasured items.  Just the look I was going for.


Monday, June 7, 2010

I’m Mature Now

A few weeks ago I pulled a box down from the storage area of our garage. I was looking for old family pictures.   I found my diary from my when I was a little girl.  It spanned several years.   Buster and the girls had many laughs thanks to my diary entries.

This particular entry was pretty funny from 1977.  I’m sharing it with you all…don’t laugh cause I don’t know if I’m mature enough to handle it.

Joy's Diary 77

If you can’t read my handwriting it reads…

Dear Kitty ‘77'  (yes, my diary had a name actually two: Kitty and Sarah)

today I’m in the 7th grade.  I’m mature now and I got a locker today.

I met some deaf girls  I don’t know there names.  They  can’t here nothing but silence.  I don’t know sign language but I’ll try to learn some

Dear Kitty

I am almost through with my Laura Ingalls Books.  I wish I had more I love them.

Who knew getting a locker and being in 7th grade made one mature.  Apparently, it did in my little pea brain back then.  After going back and reading some of the entries, I  was also very boy crazy.  I will spare you those details.  I think I should have quit chasing boys and worked on my grammar and spelling.

The school I attended started a deaf school around this time.  I think it was my first time being around deaf kids - thus my insight into their world.  Astounding huh.

In other news,,,, speaking of maturity…which I still wonder if I will ever achieve some times, Buster and I celebrated twenty-two years of marriage this weekend.  We had a nice dinner out.   Leah sat on the coffee table and took this picture of us before we left for dinner.


So….at what point in life did you start feeling mature or are you still waiting on that moment? 

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Joanna over at Fifty Factor wrote a post the other day that was so fun.  She recounted how she got her first car and what kind it was.   I loved reading it.  It made me think back to my first car.  She named her cars, but I never have really.  Although Buster was driving Little Blue Thunder when I met him.  He names his cars sometimes.

I can not find a picture of my very first car, but here is what it looked like except for the wide green stripe.

  I found this picture on the internet of an original advertisement:


My first car was a 1977 Datsun 200sx.  My dad and I bought this car in 1984 during my sophomore year of college.  So it wasn’t new, but it was a great car and I loved it.  It was sporty and fun.   I remember the top of the back cloth seat was so faded and sun damaged.  You could poke your finger right thru the fabric.  But I didn’t care.   It got me thru the years of college that I attended and then  I rolled into Atlanta at the ripe old age of 19 ready to start working and a new life.

One morning on my way to work, I was in the middle lane of I-285  that loops the perimeter of Atlanta, GA and my car just quit.  It was 7:30 a.m. in rush hour -  bumper to bumper  morning traffic.  I was petrified.  I had no idea what to do.  This was before cell phones of course.  I could not even get to the shoulder of the  road.  I got out of my car and put the hood up and got back in and started crying. 

I remember all I could think of  while I was sitting there in my broken down car was the traffic report on the radio.   I just knew I  would be the one they were talking about.  I would be the one that was making a half million people late for work in Atlanta, Georgia that morning.   TEARS!

Anyway, this wonderful trucker (God Bless him)  came to my rescue.  He stopped his big rig right behind my car and got out and looked at the engine.   He immediately spied the problem.  One of the battery cables had popped off the battery.  He put it back on and tightened best he could by hand and my car cranked. I was so relieved and off and rolling again.  I looked under there too but I guess thru the tears I couldn’t see the dangling battery cable. ha.  I’m such a girl…I’m sorry.

Not too long after that the clutch went out.   I know it was normal wear and tear, but I started thinking I needed a newer car that wouldn’t break down on me.

So in 1986 I  headed out to the Nissan dealership by myself and found the car I wanted.  I fell in love with it. The headlights rolled up at the turn of a switch.  I felt so cool.   It was  a 1985 barely used 200SX, but now it was called Nissan and not Datsun.   I negotiated with a saleslady as I recall.  She was as new to selling cars as I was to purchasing them.   As we finished the negotiation I had the dealership call my dad in Florida and tell him everything they were telling me so I wouldn’t be making any huge mistakes. He felt like they were making me a fair deal so I drove off the lot in the first car I purchased on my own.  With the help of 48 month financing…. 

Here I am the proud owner of my first picked out and purchased myself car:

Joy's first car 1986 (2)

I wrecked this car (my one and only wreck so far) back in 1987 just  before Buster and I got engaged.

I was fine and it was repaired, but it was never really the same.    We continued to drive it for about a year after we got married and then traded for another car in 1989. 

So there you have it.  The story of my first car(s).

How about you.  I’d love to know about your first car.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

It’s what I wanted….Really

Every year as Mother’s Day approaches, Buster and the girls start asking me over and over what I want for Mother’s Day. 

This year I told them I wanted a wheelbarrow.   I usually borrow my Neighbor Steves.   Neighbor Steve may be moving to Connecticut so I needed my own.

This was not their idea of a Mother’s Day gift,  but they went along with it and I am so happy to have it.  It is perfect to move my compost from my compost pile to the flower beds and garden beds.  So I’m thrilled.


I’m so thankful for these two girls.  I love them more than they will ever know.

They are so big now I can’t carry them in my arms so….




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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Because Nice Matters


Girls @ Table

(Virginia with the girls)

A few months ago my neighbor and I enlisted the expertise of Virginia Johnson to teach an etiquette class entitled Polish Plus to our daughters and their friends.  Polish Plus has been a  wonderful experience for each of the girls.  They have learned so much from Virginia regarding etiquette and what to do in social situations.  I know it will give them so much confidence as they make their way in the world.  One of the things I love about Virginia is she teaches them above all to be kind.

These pictures are from the formal tea the girls set up and hosted directed by Virginia.   Virginia knew if they were the ones to organize the food, set the table and then serve each other they would learn so much more. They loved it.  I wish I had taken a picture when the table when they first set it. It was so pretty.

formal tea - paige

Virginia has a blog that features manners and etiquette not just for young people but for all ages.

You can find it at

If you have a etiquette question she will be glad to answer it. 

Go say hello to Virginia on her blog as Virginia says …. because nice matters.


Monday, May 3, 2010

The Sun is Snowing


Do you remember when you first started blogging?   I know I do and I certainly realize now I had no idea where in the world it would lead and to whom it would lead me to.   I’ve been touched by so many of you who share and write from your heart.

One beautiful favorite of mine is C. Joybell C.  I started reading her blog not too long after I  found out there was a world of blogs out there.  I really can’t recall how I came across her blog, but when I found it I knew she had a way with words and the ability to combine words on a page that does not come naturally to most… especially me.    As we communicated through our blogs we realized we  had some things in common so I felt a true connection with her even though we live on opposite sides of the globe.

God has opened the door for her to publish her first book of poetry and prose recently.  Her beautiful book arrived on my doorstep on Friday.   I’m so happy and excited to have it in my hands.   I’m thrilled for you Girl!

Here is a link to the website if you would like to own your very own copy of

The Sun is Snowing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Master Bath Remodel

Nearly five years ago when we moved into our current home we had no intention of re-doing the master bathroom. LOOKED fine.   I know you are probably  looking at the Before pictures and thinking why would they ever rip all that out of there.   Well, here’s the story:  The jets in the Jacuzzi tub were not working and to repair them we were going to have to rip out those front tiles.  The builder left no access to the motor for some reason.   The previous owner left one box of extra tile, but we weren’t crazy about it to begin with.   So we lived with it a few months and also realized the shower wasn’t going to work for us either.    We were spoiled with a larger shower in our previous home.  Final decision:  MAJOR RENOVATION – We gutted it.

Before:  The small shower and enormous tub:

   mast bath before

Before:  The floors were pinkish marble (hard to see in this picture).  Not really our taste and they were slick to walk on if your feet were wet.

 mast bath before floor

Before:  The cabinets were white and the countertops were white.

 mast bath beforekeith


This is the tile we selected.  More natural-earthy color with a little texture so it is not as slick.

 mast bath after floor

We changed out the counter tops to granite and put in limestone sinks and new fixtures.  We did keep the  cabinets.  I had a painter come in and antique them down.

mast bath cabinet after

Also got new mirrors and light fixtures:

This is my side of the bathroom.  I had a plumber come in and move the sink from the left side of the vanity to the middle. Then a carpenter had to come in and re-work the cabinets and drawers.


Our new walk-in shower.  We love it.  The tub was completely removed from the room.  So bath people probably won’t like our house if we have to sell it in the future.  There are still bathtubs upstairs though.

mast bath after

Keith’s sink side:

The wall are painted in an older Sherwin Williams color Dhurrie Beige, but they mixed it up for me even though it isn’t on their current color chart.



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Over all it was quite an ordeal.  As I mentioned a few post ago we discovered the shower pan was improperly installed.  So all that tile you see in the shower from the waist down was re-done about 2 months ago.  Thankfully, the tile store still had our tile in stock.  Hopefully all is good now.

Buster and I are not DIY’ers, as much as I would love for us to be. We just aren’t.   We have to leave it to those that we hope are professionals and know what they are doing.   So here is my newly renovated – renovated master bath.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It’s that Time Again…

The Annual Noble Bend Crawfish Boil and egg hunt was this weekend.  Kids, dogs, neighbors and crawfish were everywhere.

Leah Crawfishboil 2010

crawfish boil 1 2010

Neighbor Steve getting ready for the crawfish boil with a little help from his friends:

Crawfishboil 2010

There were lots of good deserts and a grill going for those of us who do not particularly like mudbugs.  Our neighbor Caroline did a great job with this cookie cake.


Neighbor Steve prepping the tables:

crawfish boil 2 2010 

This is what the table looked like afterwards:


We had a great time together and enjoyed beautiful weather.

Easter Morning:   Leah served as an Acolyte in one of the Easter services at our church:


Hope you all had a Blessed Easter focusing on our Risen Savior and surrounded by those you love.