Why I am here

This blog was started to connect with and keep family and friends up to date on life in Texas as I know it. A place to share my love for this area through photography, history, and stories of this adventure Shaun and I call life.... and what an adventure it is!
Warning: Some or all of this blog may contain nuts or stories of nuts, proceed with caution
Love to y'all

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Hope Cemetery

I wanted to share some photos of one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of little cemetery's across East Texas. So much history. AND YES I do plan on visiting all of them so you might as well get used to it....Shaun has, or at least I think he has, I will get back to you on that.
This little cemetery is just down the road from our house. It is called The New Hope Cemetery. I love that name....New Hope...what a fitting name for your final resting place. There is a small cemetery south of here called Lost Hope...I think I would rather be buried in/with New Hope than Lost Hope.....you?
Here is the historical marker. Sorry about the quality of the photo, I took it off of the cemetery index website. I wanted to take my own but there was this guy in a truck blocking it and I am not sure if he was sleeping or waiting to be a resident.....whoops sorry that was tacky...anyway I didn't want to bother him, OK actually he kind of creeped me out so I decided I could make due. Isn't that weird I can spend all kinds of time wandering and taking pictures in a cemetery and it doesn't phase me, but some guy snoring in a truck creeps me out......go figure..... Anyway

This is one of the few cemetery's that have both a confederate and a union soldier buried in it. How's that for NEW HOPE? Let me tell you, in Texas and the southern states that is a HUGE deal.
The new and the old, all standing in tribute to a loved one.

It amazes me what the elements do to stone

These are called cairns. Cairn is a scottish term/word when translated means, pile of stones. These are grave markers and most are the full size of the burial plot. The small stones sticking out of the ground are very old grave markers with no date or identifying marks. They are typically someone who had no family or did not have the means to have a headstone.

These are smaller cairns. See the little bunny in the rocks? Sweet sentiment from a family member I assume.

One of my favorite things about this cemetery is the meeting area. It is a metal roof pavilion that has the old choir seats from the New Hope Baptist church. Six rows of seats on either end of the pavilion all facing into the center, where I assume the preacher or funeral director stands.

A very peaceful place to hold services, say goodbye or pay your respects all while being protected from the Texas weather. What a nice peaceful place.

Hope all is well with everyone, we are having fabulous weather and our grass is growing fast. I can't wait until all of that red dirt is covered with lush green grass!
Love and miss all of you

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hello y'all

Greetings from rainy Texas. I am very happy to report that we are only receiving rain and wind today and that the weather people have stopped talking about tornados. The pictures coming out of Kansas and Oklahoma are heartbreaking.
SO very glad the storm lost its power by the time it got to Texas.

A month ago I was inspired by a friend to post a photo a day. (thank you Diane) It has been a great experience! I have started seriously loving my camera again and have remembered how much I enjoy and love photography. Not just focusing on it as work (no pun intended) but loving every shot. The creativity is flowing again! Woohoo!
I will be continuing the photo a day challenge on my new photography blog page www.brickroadphoto.blogspot.com. Please come on over and check it out.
I will continue to post my usual rambling here.

I saw this the other day and thought it was so cute....and true

I always joke about saying, and earning the right to say, y'all. However must say I enjoy hearing people say y'all......how y'all doing, can I get y'all anything, so good to see y'all, oooohhh y'all look so nice, I could go on and on. It is just sweet. I love the south.

So with that I guess it's time to say.....

Take care....(unless you are reading this with your family then take care y'all....or if you are at work or with a group of people then All y'all take care now..... and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Love ya
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Rust love

Have I mentioned lately how much I love rust?

The contrast between vibrant green, the pond water and the rust....oh be still be heart. *wink* Texas is full of these treasures. I got to spend a little more time with the tractors today...heaven I tell you...heaven

This is an Oliver 99 tractor. One of a very few in existence, AND it's runs!

Have an amazing weekend

Love to all
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

A day at the spa

Annie and Riker got to spend their day at the doggie spa. Katie's K-9 Kountry Klub. "from frazzle to dazzle"Cute! Katie is so good with the dogs and they love her.
They both really needed to see Katie today. I don't know what she uses but somehow she manages to get the red dirt stains out of the white parts if their coat.

Getting Annie to stand still for a photo op is pretty tough. I actually think the only reason she is holding still now is that she thinks that bow is following her. Ha! Shhhhh maybe if she holds still it will go away.....My sweet neurotic baby. Love her

Riker, on the other hand, loves the camera and is very happy to hold still and let me snap away. Such a good boy

No photo session is complete without showing the world our "best side"

Love my beautiful babies!

Can't even imagine life without my furry family members

Love to all

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crimson and rust

I got to spend the day with two of the most incredible people today. Two dear friends with their own piece of East Texas heaven. Mr. Davis collects and restores antique tractors and I am SO excited to get to take their (the tractors) pictures. We spent most of the day driving the property finding good photo spots for these pieces of history.

The crimson clover is in full bloom and it was spectacular!

Spring in East Texas is stunning in so many ways

You know I LOVE anything with history....and rust

A beautifully restored and fully operational MM from the 1950's

Crimson and Clover over and over.....

I will share more as I progress through this project.

I am so very blessed to live in East Texas"

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Colorado to Texas

My Mom and Bill arrived on Friday afternoon from Colorado. It is so great to see them. They are on their way to Florida to visit Bill's kids and grand kids. I am so thrilled Texas is the perfect rest point for them between Colorado and Florida.
We are having a great visit!

LOVE these two!!
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Thursday, April 5, 2012


One of my favorite gardens to walk through. So very peaceful and relaxing

My mom and and Bill will be here from Colorado sometime tomorrow. I can't wait! It's been too long between visits. I am so excited to share spring in Texas with them.

Love to all

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Turtle soup?

This morning the dogs were going crazy in the back yard. When I went outside Annie kept running up to me then back to the other dogs then to me...my first thought was "what is it Lassie, is Timmy in the well?". (60's flashback) Annie gets so intense when she wants my attention, I swear one day she is just going to talk! Such a funny girl.
Anyway, when I walked around the corner and saw the dogs acting like they were cautious but curious of whatever was in the grass my second thought was " crap it's a snake and Shaun isn't home". Thankfully it was just a turtle!

Very thankful it was NOT a snapping turtle since Molly kept getting way too up close and personal with the poor thing. Imagine a nose that size coming at you??

Riker is SUCH a sissy (okay very cautious) when it comes to new things. He can take a huge bull down by the nose but is very worried about a turtle.....go figure.
See in the bottom right of the picture, that is Annie's feet and nose, she is playing it safe until Riker has checked it out. She likes her new adventures from a distance...send the guys in first to see if it's safe. Truth is she probably just doesn't want her picture taken with Riker while he is acting like a sissy! Ha!

Excuse me sir you have red dirt in your toenails.....legs....feet...whatever that is..

Our backyard is fenced with wrought iron so I am not sure how he got into the yard. I am sure there is some great story there about how it flew in from Dallas with the tornados and rain of yesterday, but I will leave that to your imagination. For now I think the poor thing is just happy to be back in and around the pond.
It was fun (for me) to get up close and personal.

Aren't the markings on their shells amazing!
And just a little FYI, turtles really can move fast! Once I carried him down across the fence near the pond and he knew the dogs couldn't get him he really scooted! SO very cool to watch

Love to all
P.S. I have no idea how to tell the gender of a turtle, but have determined since
A. It was lost and B. it needed the assistance of a woman to get it back where it belonged that it was a HE. Rebuttals will not be accepted on this subject, HE is what HE is and should be thankful HE isn't turtle soup *wink*
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Stormy weather

Wow! Last night we had an amazing storm! ALOT of incredible lightning and thunder. Our prayers go to all of those affected by the tornados in the Dallas area. We are very thankful the storms had weakened by the time they reached us.


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Tuesday, April 3, 2012


What a darling little family!

Same picture, different filter

Three of my favorite models. It is so much fun to spend time with them and take their pictures

I know it is a photo a day (singular) challenge but I just couldn't help myself I had to post multiples, they are so stinking cute!!! Fun day!


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Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Spirits of Oakwood

Saturday was the annual Spirits of Oakwood ghost walk. I must say that the response you get when you mention you are going on a ghost walk around a cemetery can be pretty interesting. From looks of disgust and shock to responses like "cool", "why?" "seriously?" and my all time favorite..."that's just not right". Ha!

NOW Before you think of having me committed, let me explain what a ghost walk is. At the Oakwood Cemetery in Tyler, TX it is held by the Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Society. The society has many members of The United Daughters of the Confederacy, very cool. They do this to educate and share this important piece of history and to raise money and awareness of these historical treasures. They use any money raised to help preserve/repair/replace damaged headstones and care for this historical cemetery.
As you walk to a certain headstone you are met by the "spirit" of someone representing or of the person buried there, (a member of the historical society dressed in period clothing, who will tell you their story). It is an amazing way to learn about the history of the area, a history lovers dream. I would like to share a few of their stories. I have also included some pictures (surprise) in both color and sepia tones. Mostly because I think sepia is a beautiful way to experience what it might have looked like then.
I hope you enjoy the ghost walk as much as I did.

Oakwood Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Tyler. Established in 1846
During the War Between the States (Civil War) 30,000 soldiers trained near Tyler. A Confederate marker was erected to the memory of the 231 unknown Confederate soldiers buried in Oakwood who died from measles, pneumonia, and other diseases. This is that plot and the "spirit" of one of their commanding officers who shared the story of their sacrifice.

The Soldiers Plot ....now and then

Dicy Ann Yarbrough 1890 ~~ The clasped hands on her headstone means "welcome home" you see this carving on several soldiers stones

This is the "spirit" of Kate Stone, her family had to flee Brokenburn plantattion in Louisiana during the War Between the States (Civil War). She is speaking of her friend Dr Carson who is buried at her feet. Dr Carson and his family gave her family shelter during the unrest.

This is one of my favorite "spirits" by far. He is the commanding officer of Thomas Jordan Epperson, 19 years old whose body was the first CSA (Confederate States Army) soldier to be buried in Oakwood, and is speaking on his behalf.

.......and then

If you look closely you can see that the headstone has been restored and set in a new base. This gentlemen reminded us of the sacrifice this young man made for freedom and what he believed in. How he was someone's son, grandson, brother, something we often forget when looking at a name on a veterans headstone in any cemetery.
After listening to this Vietnam Veteran speak of the sacrifice of this young soldier with such respect and compassion I was reminded of all of our service men and women who have and are still making that sacrifice. What we owe them and what a large part of our history they will be. Reminded that they are someone's son or daughter, sister or brother, someone loves and misses them every day.

What will people see and say over our graves 150 years from now? Will they feel a sense of pride in their ancestors (us)? Will we have made a mark on the world we lived in? Will we have made a difference in someone's life?
There is always time to change the future. Think about it....make a difference today.

Love to all of you

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Beauty surrounds me

For the last two weeks I been very blessed to get to spend time with my beautiful nieces from Tucson. Thankfully they are all very patient with me when it comes to my constant need to take pictures. Love these girls

Meet Jamie.... beautiful, oldest, responsible, National Honor Society member, 4H Grand Champion and Senior in High School, great sister and friend

Meet Amanda.....stunning, great in school, amazing hair, first born of twins, protector, athletic trainer, loyal friend and sister.

Meet Ashley..... very pretty, good student, beautiful hair, future pediatrician, athletic trainer, master fixter (fishing texter) loyal sister and friend.

Meet Logan.... so cute, the youngest of 4 girls, good in school, loves her iPod and the friends who live in it, a girlie girl who can shoot a bow.

Logan, Amanda, Ashley, Jamie

These girls fill my heart. My house is too quiet without them here.
Thank you girls for being such a special part of my life. I carry you in my heart everyday.

Love and miss y'all