Friday, October 25, 2013


Last Friday while we visiting with our family at the cabin, I got an early morning call from my sister. I figured the news probably wasn't going to be good since the night before when she had texted me, the message was that our precious aunt, our deceased mother's only living sister, probably wasn't going to make it through the night. Aunt Clara had just celebrated her 103rd birthday on Labor Day of this year and was doing well at the time. She had gotten sick very quickly. Just as I had assumed, she told me the news of her passing. My first response was one of sadness, of course, which was mostly for her family.

When you have lived so long for the Lord, and you are 103, it's a little hard to be sad for too long when you know they are in the presence of Jesus. And her mother and father. And her brother and four sisters! Oh, what a happy reunion was going on in heaven that day! This photo as you can see was taken three years ago at her 100th Birthday party. Wasn't she just the cutest thing?

Although I was thoroughly enjoying the weekend with our son from Nashville and all of grands, there was a tinge of sadness that would creep in every now and then. I thought about Aunt Clara's children, all seven of them still living. I prayed that God would comfort them in their loss.

As we turned onto the road leading back to the cabin after our family outing, I saw something I hadn't seen in a very, very long time. A bittersweet vine had taken over a small tree that sat right beside the road. I have never seen any of it in the entire eleven years that we have had the cabin, plus we had just been there two weeks before and as always, I had been up and down the road several times taking photos. I had not seen it.

Out of curiosity, I was looking up some definitions of bittersweet and this is the first one I found.

The definition of bittersweet is a combination of both bitter and sweet, or an emotional feeling that is a mixture of both happy and sad.adjective.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.     Psalm 116:15

I won't even try to figure this out...I'm just going to accept it as a special blessing from my Father and be thankful for His almighty omnipotence and omnipresence.  I love it when He reminds me that His timing is perfect.

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Easy Peasy Sausage Pancakes

Today, I'm sharing this older post at Stephanie's
Roses of Inspiration

I am not one to write many posts on food, although it is one of my favorite things :)...
...and although I consider myself to be a decent cook, I am all about fast and easy...
...especially when it comes to breakfast.

The other morning I was trying to decide what to make for breakfast and I had an epiphany.

(insert Hallelujah Chorus here)

Since I am a lover of a sweet/savory combo, and since I was having a hankering for pancakes,
and SINCE I didn't have any sausage or bacon to fry...
...I remembered something I did have.

I had some of these in the freezer...and the wheels started turning.

Have you ever used the Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles?
They are completely cooked and are in the refrigerated section (not frozen)
at your grocery store...well, hopefully they are.

I normally buy the turkey variety but have been unable to find them lately... I am using the regular pork ones here.

So, here they version of Sausage Pancakes.

Mix the Bisquick batter, according to directions on box. 
Thaw out the desired amount of sausage crumbles....a little or a lot :)
This depends on how many pancakes you are making and your personal taste.

Add the sausage to the batter and you are ready to fry 'em up!

Here they are! Add your favorite syrup and you have a quick and yummy breakfast!

They were delicious!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fog on the Mountain

This past weekend, we were blessed to spend time with all four of our grand children. Since the youngest two of them live in the Nashville area, it is not that often that this happens, with an eight hour drive separating us from one another. Our youngest son and his sweet family were able to meet us at our cabin for the weekend, which is only a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our older two grandsons, who live close by to us in NC, were also able to join in the fun! They didn't mind at all having to take a day off of school so they could go with us!

The mountain air was crisp and cool and the cousins had a wonderful time with each other. Saturday, we all headed out to the Parkway to take in some fall color. Just a few miles after we entered on to it, we noticed a pumpkin patch over on one of the other roads. PHOTO OP!! So we turned around and went back. The day was quite overcast, which can actually be great for taking photos so we rounded up all the kiddos and started snapping a few. In just a few minutes, we could actually see the fog moving in and by the time we were finished, it had gotten quite thick. It actually made our photo shoot all the better!

The fog became an awesome backdrop for this great old house that was sitting just off the road. 

More photo ops...everybody out! 

A few minutes later an older gentleman pulled up and warned us not to get on the porch...
...for fear of someone falling through.

Oops...too late. The good news is no one fell through (actually, it seemed to be quite sturdy). 

Oh the porch and onto the wood pile, the fog creeping in all the while.

Back on the road again and the fog continues to envelope us.

By the time we made it to the roadside park overlooking Groundhog Mountain, 
a place where everyone likes to stop, we could barely see 20 feet in front of us.
That didn't keep anyone of them from having some fun!

I have never seen the Blue Ridge Parkway quite like this. 
Although the dense fog was blocking out the brilliance of the leaves, 
there was this haunting, eerie kind of beauty that had been created by it.

Then my daughter-in-law had this brilliant idea.

There...out of the fog...came the zombies! All that was missing were the tombstones.

I think my son, Adam, should win the award for the best zombie impression, don't you?

We had a blast making memories on that foggy day in the mountains :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

My neck of the woods...literally!

Today my post will be a little different from what you might usually find coming from me. I have a guest I would like to introduce to you! Several weeks ago, I received an email from a lovely young woman named Kendra Thornton. I had no knowledge of who she was, although I very well may have seen her on television as she makes her rounds on several major networks speaking about travel tips, destinations, etc. You can read about Kendra below and see her lovely face. It's quite possible you may recognize her! 


Kendra Thornton
Kendra Thornton

Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy! 
(Bio provided by Kendra Thornton)  

Kendra is an expert on travel, having been the Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz prior to founding Thornton Public Relations in 2005. You can find Kendra on Twitter.

This came as quite a surprise—quite shocking, actually—that Kendra somehow came across my humble little blog and, well...I'll let her tell you how it came about.  
Hello all! My name is Kendra Thornton, and while my career has led me all over the world, there is one city I cannot help coming back to: Chicago. Whether you live in a smaller town or a big city like Chicago, we all have so many aspects of home that we love. When I came across Debby's blog, My Favorite Things, I could tell right away she was one to appreciate the beauty in everyday life in Mebane. I then reached out to her, and together we created this piece discussing what it is that we love about home., I'll start it out by sharing a little about the place that I call home.

 Mebane, North Carolina: My Favorite Things

I am not a southerner by birth. I was born and raised in Medway, Ohio, a very small community about 20 miles north of Dayton. My family and I started moving south in 1981 due to my husband being transferred within the company where he was employed. Our journey southward began in Kentucky. Some folks don’t actually consider Kentucky “the south” but in my humble opinion, if it’s below the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s the south! There, we made the small town of Mount Sterling our home for eleven years. We began our southbound migration with our two year old son in tow and our second son was born there a year later. As they grew in stature, that “twang” in their little voices became more and more apparent. I think they were just being prepared for their future. We didn’t know it then, but several years later we would relocate even further south to yet another small town, Mebane, North Carolina, where my husband and I and our oldest son currently make our homes.  

If you look at a map of North Carolina and visualize a dot right in the middle, from east to west and north to south, you’ll find it! You can easily plan a weekend getaway to the mountains or one of my favorite places, Carolina Beach. It’s so convenient to be able to get in the car and within a few hours be at your destination. Not only is this a great place to live—with its mild climate (mostly) and beautiful scenery—Mebane is also centrally located between some of the finest educational and medical institutions in this country. Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are about a forty-five minute drive west to Winston-Salem. Heading east approximately thirty miles is the University of North Carolina and UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill and Duke University and Duke Medical Center in Durham. These universities and medical facilities are known nationwide—even worldwide—as some of the finest teaching and research hospitals. Now that I have put Mebane on the map for you, I will get on to what I like best about living here.

I am not a city girl at all…even if it’s a small city. Fortunately, we found our home in a subdivision quite a ways outside of the city limits in a rural setting. The population of Mebane as of 2012 was approximately 13,000. It is a lovely little town with a very active railroad that goes right through the middle of it, running parallel with Center Street, or what some would call “the main drag”.  If you spend much time downtown, you will surely get stopped by the trains at one point in your day. If it’s the Amtrak, you won’t have a long wait—it flies through town at about 70 miles per hour. If you blink, you might just miss it! On the other hand, you may want to have a snack with you in case you have to wait on a freight train!  My home is probably about seven miles or so from the center of town but late at night, I can hear the train whistle blow in the distance. It’s a lovely, calming sound that I love hearing.

In the twenty-one years that I have called Mebane my home, most of my daily activities have been spent in the outskirts of the downtown area…other than going to and from work or occasionally dining at one of the few restaurants. Shortly after we moved here, we discovered a little piece of heaven right outside of town but still considered within the city limits. Lake Michael Park is located on 200 acres that includes the 59 acre lake named after it. The park is a picturesque and serene place to get off by yourself, go hiking on one of the trails or bring the family for a picnic and some paddle boat fun. I love it there…it’s a great place to bring your camera if you love photographing nature like I do!

The first Friday in December is always a special time in Mebane as it hosts one the most spectacular Christmas parades I have ever seen in a small town. The floats just seem to go on and on forever...or maybe it's just because the evenings when they are held are usually the coldest evenings of the entire winter! I remember spending many December evenings...all bundled up, standing and shivering with my boys when they were young so we would not miss this parade!

Bringing the Tanger Outlets to Mebane has also given our little town quite a bit of attention over the past few years. Many area residents flock to this shopping center along with those who are just passing through the area, traveling the I-85/40 corridor. It's kind of  funny actually...for some folks, all you have to do is say the word "outlet" and watch them come!

I guess you could say that Mebane is not unlike many other small towns in America. It’s the kind of town where you can walk into the local hardware store and find folks who would still rather buy what they need there—at a more expensive price—rather than drive a few miles down the road to Lowe’s and get it for less.  It’s the kind of town where everybody knows everybody and if you are new in town, they know that you are! Many of those whose careers take them into the big cities—whether it be the Greensboro or the Raleigh-Durham areas—choose Mebane as the place where they want to make their homes. Even a forty-five minute to one hour commute back and forth can be tolerated if you know that when you get home, you can just kick back and enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere that comes with small town living. It isn’t quite Mayberry, but it’s pretty close to it! As for me, I am perfectly satisfied living on the outskirts. Give me a camera in my hand and a country road before me (of which there are many) and I’m good to go!


Some of My Favorite Attractions: Chicago
by Kendra Thornton

As a resident of Chicago, I understand the dilemma faced by visitors when it comes to choosing what attractions to squeeze into their all-too-brief time in this wonderful area. Having lived in the city, I have a few favorite places that I think everyone will enjoy for their thrill and their unique qualities.

The Magnificent Mile This mile-long strip of shopping centers is a luxury shopper’s dream. Located on N. Michigan Ave between Oak Street and the Chicago River, the strip contains some of the world’s finest high-end stores. New York’s Fifth Avenue and Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive cannot even begin to compare to this shopping center. The Magnificent Mile contains as many stores as you will find in any other place in the world. If you don’t believe me, come on over and see for yourself! 

Navy Pier  Navy Pier is one of my favorite places to take my kids. It is a 3,300-foot long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. The area sports a 150-foot tall Ferris wheel that is modeled after the very first Ferris wheel built in 1893! There are many other rides as well, including a hand-painted carousel. Navy Pier is right on the water and provides an awesome view of Chicago, especially from the top of the Ferris wheel. This park is sure to be fun for the entire family.

The Peninsula Hotel The Peninsula Chicago is one of my all-time favorite spots to go enjoy a day with my friends at the spa. The hotel boasts one of the best spas in the area, as well as spectacular food. The Peninsula is a located on East Superior Street, another great place in the city of Chicago. I used the site gogobot to find the Peninsula and other hotels in Chicago, because it offers reviews and great write ups. I find the area so relaxing that I often take one day of the weekend a couple times a month to come here and unwind. What with the European-style food and that outstanding spa, it is a Chicago favorite! 

Famous Pizza Chicago is known as the home of the delicious deep-dish pizza. Uno Chicago Grill invented this hearty meal. Uno Chicago Grill, commonly called Pizzeria Uno, has taken its tastes nationwide, but the best location still resides in Chicago. If you are coming to Chicago, you must try this tasty dish. You won’t find a more delectable meal! 

Now that I have told you my favorite places to visit, come and check them out for yourself! Whether you are a luxury shopper or someone who likes to eat and explore, trust me: these areas will surpass your expectations in the most surprising ways.

So...there you have it.  I have to admit that when Kendra first contacted me, I was somewhat uneasy with the whole thing. My main concern was what others would think...that maybe I was boasting or tooting my own horn, so to speak. Kendra understood  my concerns and she has graciously agreed to letting me bring this post together in my own way so it makes sense to anyone who reads my posts. I still don't know why or how she came upon my blog but I am quite humbled by it. I also appreciate her for finding something in it that she felt would appeal to her followers as well.

So, from my neck of the woods, yours....thank you, has been a pleasure!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Early Morning Stroll

I just love mornings...

...but then...there are those mornings... when the earth is just simply flooded with the light of heaven.

The road to the cabin never was never lovelier.

The early morning sun came filtering through the trees with majestic splendor...
...mixing with the morning mist...
...and creating rays that seemed as though you could walk right up them...
...right up to the clouds.

Everywhere I looked, there they were...

...and I said... "Thank you, Father" :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Small Beginnings

Do you ever feel like your life is small and insignificant? 
Maybe you feel like what you do and say really doesn't matter all that much.
I have experienced times when I have felt that way. 
I imagine I will again.
On those days when our self-esteem doesn't seem any larger than what we could place in a thimble,
we need to remember... the acorn.

“When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, 
but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze”

~Thomas Carlyle 
(Scottish Historian and Essayist, leading figure in the Victorian era. 1795-1881)

Acorns into Mighty Oaks

When I leave this world I hope
I leave a better place
Where deeds I've done
And paths I've trod
Have helped the human race;
Where seeds I've sown will blossom still
And trees I've planted grow
From acorns into mighty oaks I hope I've made it so.

For to leave the world without a trace
No footprints in the sand
No memory in a loved one's heart,
No mark upon the land,
No legacy to show you cared,
No promises to keep,
Must surely make it hard to face
An eternity of sleep.

~Author Unknown 

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.

1 John 3:20-21

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, 
but our sufficiency is from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  
 Philippians 4:13

Dear Father,

I pray that You will show me what it is that You want to accomplish through me, no matter how big or small the task, and for me to be able to recognize Your voice when You are speaking...and to gain the strength from You to accomplish it. In Jesus name, Amen.  

I hope you have a week filled with TALL blessings!

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Friday, October 11, 2013


Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?

Anyone over 30 probably remembers that song by Chicago, right?

During the course of a year we might say that it's springtime...or maybe summertime.
We say it's wintertime...or even Christmastime.
Have you ever wondered why we don't say it's autumntime? Or falltime?
It sounds funny, doesn't it? Oh well...just some random thought that entered my mind :)

Speaking of time, I just love clocks and have them sitting around everywhere... it's always 'time' for something at my house!

Last year, I painted my fireplace and gave my mantle an new look, using clocks and books.
I really liked it and didn't want to put them away to decorate for fall (time) :)
So I kept them all in place and decorated around them to see how I would like it.
 I was quite pleased, actually!

I apologize for the picture quality...had to doctor them up more than usual.
Living in the woods has it's drawbacks when it comes to indoor photography without a flash :( 

Most of the clocks are Goodwill finds...except for the anniversary clock that belonged to my parents and the large one hanging on the fireplace.

There is another clock that I want to add to my collection. 
It's a clock that my family had when I was a little girl and would love to find one. 
You can read about it here, on my other blog, if you like. 

Of course I added some of my Dollar Tree pumpkins!

The round clock below was a $5.00 purchase from a discount store...
...I added a little copper craft paint to enhance the finish a bit. 
It had fallen off the wall and chipped the bottom of it so I sat it in the plate holder...
...I like it much better there, I think! 
This anniversary clock was given to me by my hubby the first Christmas we were together. 
After I took the photo, I realized it needed a new battery :)

As a side note, the lamp used to be brass. I painted these several years ago with black flat spray paint, highlighting them with copper craft paint and giving them a coat of clear satin to finish.
The next year they came out with the oil rubbed bronze spray paint...wouldn't you just know it.

This pocket watch has been in my husband's family for many years, beginning with his grandfather and will be passed down to all of the James Rays that came after him...there are five, including him, so far. Their names and birth dates (as well as death dates of those who have passed) have been engraved inside with the exception of our 15 year old grandson...there is barely enough room.
 I am sure a jeweler can figure out where to engrave it...when we get around to it :)

This is my oldest son when he was a young of the Jameses.

Here are few more random shots of my "autumntime" decor.

...more of those pumpkins...

This is the first year I have added burlap to my decorations...I wonder why I waited so long??

The only clock in kitchen is the one on the stove...but it's still "autumntime" in there too :)

...more Dollar Store cuties...

Another Goodwill item, this wreath was bare except for the little berries...kind of pinkish in color.
I spray painted it brown first then lightly with gold for a few highlights...
...and added a few stems and leaves.

So, there have it...autumntime, falltime or just plain old fall...
...whatever time you choose to call it...I'm ready!

After all, does anybody really know what time it is??

Give yourself  time to enjoy it...inside and out!
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