Latest Post

Just this morning . . .

I stepped outside to the smell of fall. A smell that raised my nose to sniff the air like a trained bloodhound. Only the keenest of noses ( like mine ) knows when summer turns the corner. I love smelling fall in the air, it puts me to thinking . . .

Wouldn’t it be something if we could smell, or feel when changes were about to take place in our lives as in the seasons? If one morning I shivered, rubbed my arms and said, “This is the day I win the lottery—the smell and feel of it is in the air!” ( That would be nice ) Or that a large painting I did three years ago was going to sell later in the afternoon? That would be nice too . . . but . . .

What if I could feel when there was going to be an accident on the way to the bank, or that the dog would run away and the freezer would go on the blink . . . hmm . . . talk about hiding under the bed twenty-four seven.

The changing of seasons is a natural thing, nothing to stress about when signs of it start happening. Some enjoy seasonal changes, others dread it depending on which weather conditions are preferred ( fall is my choice ). I feed the cat, smell the air once more and step back inside, thinking . . .

 It’s probably good that life plays out the way it does—unfolding by the hour, day by day with me not knowing everything that lies ahead. Probably? In Genesis I read that after each day of creation God looked and saw that it was good. Well, no wonder . . .

But I do like it when I wake with an unexplainable feeling of excitement, an anticipation of what the day may bring. Like this morning—I find the arrival of fall exciting. So, okay, I’m excited by small things.

What excites you in the mornings? I challenge you to name something . . .

MaryJ . . . bye until next time, and  keep God in your plans—things just go better. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Latest Post

Thinking Out Loud . . .

Have you hurried from one room to another only to screech to a stop trying to remember what you hurried there for? Just recently I did that and as I stood racking my brain, the thought crossed my mind that I could really use several more hours in the day.

If I had twenty-six hours a day, I’d still have twenty-four hours to get things done after wasting two hours on looking for things and trying to remember what I was looking for. So, is it fair that busy productive people are not given a few reward hours for using their time wisely? Think about it, does a time-waster really need, or even want more time in his or her day?

Bad thing is, with more time, a busy person might only try to cram more activities into the reward-hours. Us humans are kinda wired that way . . . give us an inch and we’ll take a yard . . . think of all that would get thrown out of sync if some folks were given two extra hours every day. It would be like Texas and Oklahoma on different daylight savings time—I think of this example because I live in Oklahoma right across the Texas border—I could leave my home one hour late for an appointment in Texas and still get there on time.

Leaving late to work and appointments and not having to apologize for being late because I wouldn’t be late could take some getting used to . . . ah, there’s where that phones been hiding!

Finding what I was looking for puts me back in real time and my mind clears. I really don’t wan’t two more hours in my day. It was only a mind game to play while my eyes searched for the phone. Actually, this world I live in and the way it works is completely to my liking. I know the master planner who created it and when he finished, scripture says he saw that it was good.

I confess, sometimes when I’m doing creative thinking, I feel like I may be just wasting time. But quite often I do the painting in my head before I ever pick up a brush. When I do that, the actual painting usually goes much better and faster—that painting in my head is part of my work—I need that time. And sometimes as I pull weeds in the yard, I’m also working on the next chapter of my book. Knowing my time allotment, I budget it pretty much as I do money. A big slice of my twenty-four hours goes to serious work, ( serious work is taking care of daily life cares ) then a portion to family and charity—leaving a bit for myself for fellowship with friends—and to do some creative thinking.

Time is like money, they can both be budgeted so neither is wasted. A good example of not wasting was when Jesus had the leftovers of fish and bread gathered up after he fed the thousands—even though it was easy for him to provide the food, he didn’t waste the remnants. Jesus clearly didn’t have the mindset of “Easy come, easy go.” And he often went into a garden alone to pray—and maybe do some creative thinking? I like to think so.

Sometimes we all need to be in the garden alone . . . and I’m convinced it’s not time wasted, but time very well spent.

Thanks for spending some of your time with me . . . until next time be happy, eat well, and keep God in your plans—He cares! 🙂 🙂 🙂 MaryJ

Susan, at the Dallas Arboretum.


Latest Post

Is It Progress-really?

When I find something I really like and it works for me ( especially in ladies underwear ) I’m tempted to buy the thing in bulk because I know when I go back in several months or several years the product has been so improved and updated until it’s not even the same thing anymore.

When I lament this fact to the sales person. She shrugs, “Yeah, that’s progress.”

Hmm, progress. Sometimes I wonder. Thinking about progress and some we’ve made in the last thirty years—and I agree there’s something to be said for improvement and convenience. I like a mustard bottle that stands on the lid and you don’t have to bang it against the counter to get the last of the mustard. I like the way Folger’s re-designed their old tin container into a plastic one with that handy built in grip—and kids shoes with Velcro instead of strings are so quick and easy, I could go on…

But some things have gone by the way that are more important than underclothes, mustard, coffee containers and shoe laces.

Real things. Like dressing up for special events—girls don’t dress up like they used to. When I was a child we had play clothes, (practically rags in many cases ) school clothes and then church clothes. Today Jeans and T-shirts seem to fit the bill for everything. They can be seen everywhere, even in church. I suppose that’s progress, too.

But recently a good friend brought back fun memories when she held a tea party for some special young friends of hers. Tea parties, in my opinion, were, are, and always will be the ultimate in girl fun—especially when everyone dresses for the occasion. Sadly, I don’t hear of little girls going to tea parties often these days, so this was really a special event. Party dresses were complete with hats, gloves and pearls.

I understand that those attending the party ( so colorful! ) tried different teas, had wonderful pastries and did some serious chatting about good manners and etiquette for fine young ladies—sigh—wish we could have all been there.

I so much enjoyed the photos taken at the party that I begged for a few to share with you.  Thank you, Treva Lalli, for sharing the fun with us!


Yum, yum, looks like a tea party feast, and the table decor was fit for a queen.


And every girl knows to take one last peek in the mirror to be sure everything is perfect . . .


Mirror, mirror on the wall…each and every girl was the most beautiful of all!

A little bird told me the party was a huge success! Is this progress—a returning of the old southern tradition of tea parties? I can hope . . . makes me long for a revival of times past—but I’ll still keep my jeans and big shirts too. 🙂

Till next time keep God in your plans—He’s always interested in what we’re doing. . .

Mary 🙂 🙂 🙂

Latest Post

Are You A Pivot Person?

Its Been So Long I Feel Like a stranger Here. But time flies when you’re having fun. And I’ve been having fun this summer. 🙂

But, fun aside, I decided to clear out some of the books that clutter my study ( my studio, my bedroom, and every other room in my house ). Since I sell books from my booth at AMELIA’S ATTIC ANTIQUES, it only makes sense to dispose of them there.

In the chore of gathering the ones I might be able to part with, I began thumbing through the third book I pulled out. The title still intrigued me as it did twenty something years ago when I acquired it. It’s really not a book, just a binder with metal posts that holds monthly newsletters that were distributed to employees as an encouragement to work at their best and as a team. 

I found this publication in Archer City, Texas, in a bookstore owned by famous author, Larry McMurtry ( Lonesome Dove among many other of his titles ). He turned the small town where he was born into a ‘bookstore town’. I could spend days there . . . sigh.

‘Constructive Talks To Pivot Men’. Now isn’t that an interesting title? I paid several dollars for the book back when, and it is now listed on Ebay between $50 and $65 dollars. Hmm, I could make a little profit.

But as I leafed through the pages, I realized that the information was as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1925. I sat down and began to read, then the thought crossed my mind—I can’t sell this book! I want to share it. I think anyone benefits by taking a step back into time now and then. I sure do.

With the trusty ole’ IPhone, I  took pics to share some of the topics. I love the illustrations too!



A Pivot Man ( or woman ) is someone who instigates a turning point, one who makes a difference in a constructive way . . . this works in any business, school, church group or other public gatherings where team work is vital to the good of all the people concerned.

All Pivot Persons— move forward! 🙂 

Until next time, stay cool, eat healthy and keep God in your plans! 🙂 🙂 🙂 MaryJ


Latest Post

Life Is Good

Tea time with Haven . . .

. . . and a few minutes with the cats. Where does the time go?

Life is good, even though I’ve been behind since Christmas day. My ‘Monthly’ post is several months late . . . ‘So sorry I’m late’, has become the normal greeting I mumble when I arrive wherever I’m supposed to be. I used to never be late—and I’m not happy with me.

So I wonder, is it just me slowing down? Maybe, but things hinder me from getting out the door on time and from sitting at the computer to write. Things being a glance out the window and seeing a foot tall dandelion that wasn’t there the day before. I’m compelled to pause and marvel at how fast weeds grow with a sprinkle of rain and a shot of sunshine . . . the yellow flower is pretty, and the time  spent admiring the intricate design of it wasn’t wasted, knowing who its creator was . . . and I stop to peek in on the little Wren who’s back this spring and working hard to refurbish last years nursery for her new babies . . .

How quickly we’ve gone from Christmas to springtime, from huddling inside a warm shelter to spending as much time outdoors as possible. Life is good—which reminds me of a brand of ladies casual clothing and bags, it’s called, ‘Life Is Good’. I can’t help myself from buying T-shirts and totes that proclaim that good message—and although I’m not into wearing clothes with writing on them, I make an exception for the Life Is Good brand.

Life is good—and I cling to the hope of someday managing my hours and moments better—but it will have to be in figuring out how to do more in less time, because I simply can’t stop noticing and enjoying the small details of the world I live in—not with the many harsh realities vying for attention every hour of the day. If any of you have suggestions ( easy ones! ) that might help me, please feel free to share. 🙂

Happy springtime to all you other nature lovers—let’s ignore those weeds and watch the birds!

Until next time keep God in your plansHe cares!         MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂





Latest Post

Goodbye Old Year!

Christmas morning arrived with a soft fog hanging over my neighbor’s pasture—I can’t resist a foggy morning. So, at about 5:30 am, I threw on my robe, grabbed my camera and made my way to the fence, closer to where the cows grazed. Have you ever noticed that it always seems quieter when the fog moves in? This was the kind of fog that you know won”t last long—the hint of pink and mauve reflected from the rising sun is the give-a-way.

After I got the shots I wanted—and photographs never capture the real beauty of nature—I enjoyed my rural habitat as I meandered back to the house. The soft sky, the trees all bare for winter and just as beautiful as when in full spring foliage. I remembered what one of my long-ago art teachers used to say—”This is a watercolor day.” I knew what she meant.

I breathed the same words while gazing around me—this was gonna be a watercolor day. Suddenly I had the urge to capture this watercolor morning on paper. I warn you, if the camera’s eye falls short of nature’s real beauty, my watercolor ability is way beneath the camera’s ability! I normally paint in oils ( W/C is much more difficult for me ) but lately I’m turning more and more to my first love, watercolor.

Difficult or not, I resolved to give it a try. In my defense, the painting looks better in real life than in this photo … really. With a new year coming up, I’ll just consider it practicing for the many new challenges of 2018. Here’s hope you get at least a tiny feel of the beauty I experienced on Christmas morning.

                                                                             Misty Morn

                                Hope your Christmas was good and that the new year brings everything you wish for! 

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, keep God in your plans and give thanks for all the good things you enjoy! MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂

Up-date on the new book I’m working on ( number 4 ), same characters, new setting. I’m having fun at Max’s ranch in Colorado! Max is the new person introduced in book three. Her ranch in Colorado is a nice change of setting, although New York was fun too. There’s a bit of mystery, a cabin in the mountains and … oh well, more on that later. 🙂

Latest Post

Thanksgiving … And Seeing

Many years ago when I began to study painting, my instructor talked about learning to see. Being a shy young person, I wouldn’t ask questions—like what in the world did she mean? It was obvious I wasn’t blind—I could already see. I just wanted her to teach me how to apply paint to my canvas in a creative way. I didn’t realize then that one could look without seeing … 🙂 I eventually learned what my instructor meant about seeing, and I’m still learning to see—with an artist eye.

Here’s a sample of what I see every time I leave my home—just down the road …

I pass by this hayfield, isn't it beautiful?
A hayfield on my way to town—it’s beautiful!

Rolled hay in another field …

Sunflowers growing along a fence.


Cows are a soothing sight …

A neighbors horse enjoying a watermelon snack!

Hilltop farm house under a glorious sky.

And one of my favorites … the Red River.

Stop and smell the roses is an old expression we’ve all heard. And it’s a good thing to think about, just as learning to really see is a good thing to do. It’s easy to get busy and not really see our surroundings, or the people and things in our world that make it a great place to live. Often it’s taken for granted that they’ll always be there.

Not true.

Thanksgiving—a time of pausing to give thanks—is just around the corner. What do you see in your world to give thanks for? Who are the people in your world that mean everything to you? Do you really see them?

I’m thankful that Christ died so that I could live. I’m thankful for my family, and the many friends I count as blessings.

I’m thankful that my old pine tree made it another year, that my car still runs smoothly and… and that…oh, there’s too many to name. You don’t want to wade through all the words it would take to list all I’m thankful for! 🙂

Until next time, may God bless us all with a wonderful, safe and turkey filled thanksgiving day! 

MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂


And another day slips away … what did you see this day to be grateful for?

Latest Post

Dead Dog Days of Summer

About this time every year when summer’s end is in sight and autumn’s return hangs in the air, my inner being stirs to the excitement of change. I love it.

The fall season is my very favorite time of the year—at the first hint of it in the air, I breathe renewal—but the feeling is fleeting, so, before the flash of renewal is gone in a blink, I celebrate by doing something fun that I’ve known I would do when the time was exactly right.

When I ran across the photo of an old barn I’d made several years ago, I knew that now was the time to record it on canvas.

I noticed this building every time I went by it, and I photographed it numerous times in different seasons of the year. Every time I would run across this particular photo, the image of a finished painting flashed on my vision.

When that happens, especially after  I haven’t seen the photo in a while, I know the subject is calling to be painted.

The sky was soft, almost overcast, the day outside the city limits of Weatherford, Texas, when I snapped the image of this faded red barn. I wanted to keep that look and feel in the painting—you be the judge if I succeeded or not.

Soft Skies Over Texas                                                            12×12 Oil on canvas


Signing off till’ next time—keep God in your plans and have peace of mind. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Mary J

P. S. Look for new paintings and other fun art objects at AMELIA’S ATTIC in Gainesville, Texas.









Latest Post

Bored, what’s zat?

Take a lesson from this age—they’re never bored!

The other day I heard someone comment that they had too much time on their hands and was often lonely and bored. I tried to imagine what that might feel like. I gave the prospect some deep thought, and honestly, I can’t imagine what being bored must feel like.

But then, I suspect I’m easily entertained. Below are a few observations I’ve made.

Watching rain fall can be very satisfying, if you’ve never tried it. And grass doesn’t grow as slowly as you might think. My grass springs defiantly from the ground moments after the mower blades whack it. The clock speeds up as soon as I open a book—I know it does!

Time only drags while leaning on the counter waiting for coffee to brew, sitting at a red light, standing in line at Walmart, looking for Friday and when the electricity goes off. ( Oh yes, the last three weeks until baby is due seems like another three months! ) And the instant I go up-side down on the slant table the clock slows ( the phone rings, the caller asks if I’m getting a cold or something . . . I smile against gravity and insist that I’m just fine ). And time really does fly when you’re with good friends. Sunday afternoon is only two hours long, then Monday arrives again.

Boredom may just be a state of mind—that mind over matter thing. Maybe I am bored, but just find that entertaining, too. If boredom should strike at your door, try reading a good book or call a friend ( one you haven’t talked with in a while ).

Or. . .  consider it a welcome relief. Grab a glass of cold water and sit in the shade ( it’s been hot here! ) and watch the birds. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature ( if you live in the country ). City sounds can be just as interesting—and speaking of city sounds, is it just me, or did drivers use to honk at each other more? I don’t mean the nasty, impatient honking of ill manners, but the toot-toot of greeting. Small town streets used to be filled with that sound when I was a kid. But of course we didn’t have air-conditioning and the windows were down in summer time. I miss it. Sigh.

Does anybody else remember when we didn’t have air-conditioning in our cars, or that napping on the front porch was a common thing . . . I’m not only easily entertained, I’m easily distracted too. 🙂

Keep God in your daily schedule, you’ll be happier for it!

Until next time, Mary J 🙂



Latest Post

A little late, but . . . Mothers & Daughters

School Picture

Mother’s Day is past, and June is upon us. Fathers’ across the land are now looking forward to their special day.

I mention this because I received a wonderful Mother’s Day letter that I planned to share on the May blog post, but, computer problems can seemingly change the course of ones life these days.

After four weeks of struggling to ‘fix’ my trusty MacBook Pro myself, without success, I finally headed to the nearest Apple store which is several hours away from where I live. They finally got my Mac up and running again, so, back to the Mother’s Day letter I received from my daughter, Gayle.

Gayle and I are different personality types. I spent the first ten years of her tomboy life trying to turn her into a ‘young lady’. Actually, I never gave up the challenge. That may be the reason she lives in Florida and I live in Oklahoma. 🙂 Needless to say, we butted heads often.

Budding dancer…

Gayle is still her own person, despite all my efforts—and I’m glad she is. What can I say? I was a young and perhaps foolish mother. I know now that once a tomboy, always a tomboy. Gayle and I are very close and I appreciated that she shared her thoughts with me on Mothers Day.



Dear Mom,

I have sat here all day (in between doing laundry, taking out trash, getting lunches sorted and ready for the work week), and I kept thinking how could I let you know how much you truly mean to me.

Today is Mother’s Day, a day we celebrate our mothers for all you did for us when we were kids, and even though I’m grown up, you still take care of me. We talk every day, you listen to me complain about David (my boss) or about work. You even listen to me yell at the idiot drivers we have here in Florida, and at the end of our convo, we both say, “I love you”… Words are so easily spoken. Actions however, speak volumes compared to words.

I guess, even though I am just writing a note to you, again words so easily spoken, but you have shown sooo much more. When I was a little 

Daddy’s girl

girl, I used to think Mother’s Day was a day dedicated to giving presents and telling you how much I loved you. I wasn’t exactly sure what that accomplished, or the reasoning behind it. It was just another excuse or reason to tell you how much I loved you and how lucky you were to get more gifts!! (LOL). Now that I am older, and I would like to think wiser, I understand things more clearly. I understand the sacrifices you made in order to give me everything I needed. The worry and concern you went through when I didn’t come home on time, wondering if you had done the right thing and questioned whether or not you did your best.

Graduate …

From the moment I came into this world you’ve been concerned for me. You’ve had nothing but love, and the best intentions at heart. I understand this now that I’m older. Everything you’ve done that led to this moment, has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. You are, and always will be, my idea of a great woman that none other could possibly compare to.

I feel that I am the luckiest person on earth to have had such wonderful, loving, and caring parents. I thank God every morning when I call and your phone rings, you answer it. I love you with everything in me and am so blessed to have you.

Ok, I know I’m rambling… but I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you all day. I hope you had a good one, and just know that I love you… and hopefully I will get to hear your lovely voice tomorrow morning. 🙂

Love you always,

For all Mothers who read this, I hope you heard from your daughter on Mother’s Day and that the message was as delightful as mine was. Until next time, take care— and Keep God in your plans! 🙂

MaryJ 🙂