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, November 28, 2012

Silver Bells

Hi all!
The Christmas decorations are out of the attic and the decorating has begun. It has been two years since I have seen those boxes. Last year we were building and our Christmas decor consisted of 3 PEZ dispensers, Santa, a reindeer and a snowman, and a bad attitude. *wink*

After living in Colorado for so many years my primary concern when storing the Christmas boxes, was never putting anything in them that would get ruined if it froze. Snow globes are a really good example, trust me.
I have learned over the last three years of storing things in Texas, the heat can be just as damaging. I have also come to realize that the humidity is VERY hard on silver. It took years for silver to tarnish in Colorado. Here, I swear it happens overnight!
When I opened the Christmas box that contained the 38 silver bells "silver" isn't exactly how I would have described them. They were pretty ugly.
Why do I have 38 bells? We started buying the bells when the boys were tiny. We bought two dated bells, one for each boy, every year at christmas until they turned 21. One day I will pass them on to them......one day...

In years past we used a silver polish cloth, and with everyone's help had them shined in an evening. Yesterday, it was just me and 38 nasty black bells.
Typically I would call my mom and if that didn't work I would Google it, however decided the easy way (lazy way) out was to post something on FaceBook, certainly THAT would get me my easy quick answer. What it got me was a suggestion from a friend to Google it. Ha! Big bonus, she had already googled it and told me exactly what to search and viola! the quick fix was right before my eyes. Thank you Sheri!!
I read through the directions and ignored the little voice that said "what if this ruins the bells" and ultimately decided they either went back into storage black, or I tried it. IT. WAS. AMAZING!
This is what I did~
First you line a deep container with tin foil and then you put in the silver items, making sure they touch the foil.

Then you bring a gallon of water to a boil, remove the pan from the stove and set it in the sink. Add 1 cup of baking soda. This foams and gurgles, which is why you need the pan with the hot water in the sink, or you will have a much bigger mess than some tarnished silver.

Anyway.... Next you pour the hot water/soda mix over the silver, making sure everything is covered with water. Plug your nose! The sulphur smell is kind of nasty. My bells required about a 5 minute soak, then a wipe down with a soft cloth and they are prettier than they have been in years. It even got the tarnish out of the engraving lines! Bonus! 38 clean and shiny bells in under an hour WAHOO!

Here is a link to the complete instructions

The webpage contains some very cool scientific info on why things tarnish and why that polish cloth isn't always the best choice. Did you know that when you wipe away that black tarnish you are actually wiping away some of the silver? Yikes!

I am happy to report my bells are on the tree and looking rather shiny! Christmas memory preserved.

Enjoy your Christmas preparations. Treasure all of the memories and if you are not sure what to do........GOOGLE IT!

Happy rest of your week

~~All of the photos on this blog are protected by copyright and are the property of Jeanne May and Brick Road Photo. Thank you for not reproducing them without permission.~~ www.brickroadphoto.com

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Make A Wish

In my last blog post "Strength"  I talked about an incredible family that had touched my life.  Yesterday they were featured on Texas Living on  KTXD TV Dallas, with Macy's and Make A Wish. 
Thought you might enjoy the interview
Way to go guys!  You did a great job.
Be sure to get those letters to Santa written and delivered to your local Macy's store.
If you are considering making holiday donations, please consider The Make a Wish Foundation.


Monday, November 12, 2012


This blog post has been rolling around in my head, and my heart, for the past couple of days.  What I want to convey seems simple enough, but as most of you know I speak through pictures not words. Hope my message gets through.

Last weekend I attended a Sweet Sixteen birthday party with 6 giggling 14-16 year old girls.  Junk food, games, silliness, more junk food, silly pictures, boy talk, all the slumber party stuff with one major difference....  The majority of the girls at this party are or have been fighting serious life threatening illness.  I am not sure what I expected, but as I listened to them talk giggle I realized that what we see as pain and illness they take with a grain of salt.  In between the junk food and the games, they casually mentioned their blood levels, temperatures, Doctors etc. Everyone stepped over and around the oxygen lines strung on the floor as if they weren't there.   No panic, no drama, just nonchalant life as they know it.   
I was so touched by their strength and their commitment to each other and their families.  There were friends there from out of town they had met at camp, someone they had met at therapy, all bound by the same thing, illness.  They showed concern for other people who couldn't be there.  There was no poor me, no petty mean girl stuff, no judgement, just compassion and caring for one another. Teenage girls wise beyond their years, with a value and priority system we should all take note of... very touching 
One of the girls FB page has a memoriam section for friends she has lost.  This hurts my heart for her in a way I cannot describe.
We could all take a lesson from these girls.  We need to start LIVING each day, be more accepting, loving, I mean REALLY loving the people around us and making sure they know they are loved.  Living genuinely, honestly

Everyone of us could take a lesson from this family on how to deal with adversity and life in general.  Three teenagers all effected by mitochondrial disease in some way.  They almost lost their dad this summer when he was hit by a car on his bicycle and was critically injured.  At some point during his recovery there was concern he may not survive, then concern he would never ride a bike a again (his passion)....This week, less than 6 months later against all odds,  he will be riding his bike for the first time since the accident.  This is a family of fighters,  of survivors! 
Standing behind all of them is an amazing woman.  Amidst all of this she has a quiet strength that amazes me, she holds things together, she is kind and caring, an advocate for all.  I stand in awe of the woman who runs his household.    

The remainder of this verse reads:

"When she speaks,
her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

She carefully
watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

Her children stand
and bless her.  Her husband praises her"

I am very humbled to have had the chance to get to know this family and see them in action. An amazing reminder of how thankful I should be for my health and the health of my family. As well as how ashamed I should be for complaining about aches and pains, when so many people struggle with so much daily.

Be thankful today....for everything
"The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” unknown
This incredible family is a very large part of The Make A Wish Foundation and are continually raising funds for Mito Family and other camps. If you would like to make a difference for them please contact me privately at notmpoppins@yahoo.com
Educate yourself and others about Mitochondrial Disease


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

East Texas Fall

Fall is finally trying to make an appearance in East Texas. Hallelujah! After a long, nasty, hot humid summer the 70s are feeling pretty amazing.
Our pond is a little low so we are hoping for some rain soon. This time last year we lived in our little guest house in a construction zone of mud. What a difference a year makes. This was taken from across our pond looking at the back of the house.

Standing on the dam, looking across the pond

Lovely fall sky

As fall progresses I am looking forward to the vivid red sweet gum trees and more amazing blue skies. I do miss fall in the mountains but I love fall in East Texas! Looking forward to a long one!
Love and miss y'all

~~All of the photos on this blog are protected by copyright and are the property of Jeanne May and Brick Road Photo. Thank you for not reproducing them without permission.~~ www.brickroadphoto.com
Location:Happy Fall!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Roasted peanuts

Hi y'all!! I bet you thought I was never coming back didn't you? No excuses, just a crazy month plus a poor attitude equals NO blog posts.

Today Shaun and I went to First Monday Trade Days in Canton, TX. It only takes us about 30 minutes to get to one of the largest open air markets in the United States. How lucky are we?? It is an amazing place to wander, eat fried snickers and shop the treasurers. Today was crazy! I have never seen so many people there. WOW! Shoulder to shoulder.
We wandered a little off the beaten path today to escape some of the people. We ended up WAY out in a field full of "antique" vendors. As we were standing amongst the junk a very familiar scent came floating by. (Not to worry, it was a good scent.). Scent is the most amazing memory trigger. It took me a minute, but I suddenly realized it was peanuts roasting!! I haven't smelled that since I was young. My grandparents lived in Oklahoma in and around peanut and watermelon fields. I remember staying with them in the summers and my grandpa and dad bringing in fresh peanuts and roasting them. That smell almost brought a tear to my eye. It brought back great memories of two great men. Strong quiet men who I miss very much.
I did find that smell and bought some peanuts from the sweetest little man. He was roasting the nuts in two big black belt driven roasters powered by a John Deere motor. Very nostalgic

I mentioned how wonderful the smell was and he offered to "set me up, little girl" in the peanut roasting business. What a sweetie. I thought of hugging him for the sweet memory, but couldn't choke back the tears long enough to explain why a stranger was hugging him over the smell of peanuts.

I did however manage to take a few pics of the "antiques" that lingered in the back corner of Trade Days. Question....what do bubble gum and milkshake machines, a walker, and mailbox have in common? Canton, TX !

It was a great day. I got to spend a beautiful fall day with my favorite guy and relive a memory of two very special men with the smell of peanuts.

It's the simple things that make life perfect


~~All of the photos on this blog are protected by copyright and are the property of Jeanne May and Brick Road Photo. Thank you for not reproducing them without permission.~~ www.brickroadphoto.com