A Tea Party

Once upon a time (way back in May) there was a sweet little princess who, more than anything in the world, wanted to celebrate her 4th birthday with a tea party.

A tea party with fancy hats, fancy necklaces and a teapot all of her own.

She wanted people she loved to celebrate with her.

Granny and Pappy.

Auntie and Alex.


She wanted glittery gifts and a fancy cake.

And she dreamed of riding off into the sunset…on her own pink bike, frills and all (which was made possible by Granny and Pappy).

Unlike other fairy tales, this is a true story.  With a very happy ending.



Loving Where You Live

When I was a kid we moved around a bit.  My dad served in the Navy and where the Navy needed him, we moved.  I remember being little and complaining once about having to move again and my mom quoted a poem to me.  She said, “If you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.”  Of course her wisdom was completely lost on my six year old complaint.


I spent my college years traveling as often as I could.  I summered in cities far away from where I lived so that I could see what else was out there.  I dreamed of the places I’d live someday.  I dreamed of the streets I’d wander as I got to know a new place.  I dreamed of the people I’d meet, the restaurants I’d eat at, the eclectic places I’d find my groove in.  I fell in love with city after city.  Except, somehow, I managed to never fell in love with the city I actually lived in.

Until now. 

I have learned to follow Mom’s advice…”If you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.”

I CHOOSE to love where I live. 

It’s hot down here.  Really, really hot.  And it’s far from everything.  You have to have my city as your destination to come here…we aren’t on the way to anything and you don’t pass through us to get somewhere else…we ARE the endpoint.  (Although to a Texan this may not seem like a big deal as everything in Texas is far away.)  We’re a big city with this weird small town mentality, so we’re all stuck in limbo.  Living near the coast, there is an extremely laid back attitude…everybody worries about everything tomorrow.  And there’s basically one season.  Summer.

But still I have found the good.  I have intentionally found the good.

It’s so easy to complain.  To notice the worst of a situation.  To proclaim that the grass certainly is greener on the other side {or in the other city}.  Finding the negative in everything, well, It’s a terrible habit, but it is simply a mindset.  Something I can choose to change.

Finding something positive has to be an intentional choice.

It’s funny how we come to see our mindset and the poison it leaks into our everyday life.  It took four little people and their views for me to see that there is wonder everywhere.  Including this city.

If you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.”

I want a city that celebrates beauty.  There is beauty here.  Have you seen our bayfront?  Have you visited our Oso Preserve?  Have you looked out over the bay in the morning and watched the sun rise?  Have you gone out to Port Aransas and seen the dolphins and the sea turtles and the stingrays right at your fingertips?

I want a city that celebrates nature.  Nature abounds here.  Have you seen the bobcat babies out at the Oso Preserve rolling around?  Have you visited the Nueces Delta Preserve and watched the birds?  Have you spent a day on the Gulf and felt the summer breeze as your toes sunk in the sand or maybe gone out early enough to see the baby sea turtles make their way to the water?  Have you walked the trails at the Botanical Gardens and seen the natural beauty our deep southern city has to offer?

I want a city that celebrates intentional moments.  There is TIME for intentional moments here.  Remember how everyone is so relaxed?  If I choose to embrace that mentality, then I finally have a chance to slow down and actually live my life with intention.  I’m not sure the same could be said about a large city where the opportunities are endless.

I want a city that makes me happy.  Sunny days make me happy.  The beach makes me happy.  The breeze that makes the heat bearable makes me happy.  Knowing the people at the grocery store and the bank and my neighborhood makes me happy.  Not having to sit in traffic makes me happy.  A short drive to anywhere in my city makes me happy.

I want a city that celebrates education.  We have a gorgeous University here, as well as a community college, both full of bright young men and women.  We have the Texas State Aquarium with educated volunteers and staff that can answer any one of my kids’ millions of questions.  We have an annual Texas Outdoor Challenge that gives us the opportunity to embrace our local nature spots.  We have historical Goliad and San Antonio within driving distance to explore at our leisure.

I want a city that is charming.  That complaint about being a big city with a small town attitude?  Yeah, it turns out that there’s quite a bit of charm in that.  We haven’t become a big city with a big city attitude.  Somehow this city has preserved all its small town charm despite the growth.  Have you visited our downtown area?  Have you perused the fresh produce at our farmer’s market?  Have you walked along the seawall?

I want a city that celebrates goodness.  There is goodness here.  Have you met the people?  It’s the people that keep me here.  They’re kind and friendly and warm and interesting.  These people here are the most welcoming and inviting and accepting.  And I am grateful.

I may not have chosen to live here, but I do choose to LOVE where I liveIf you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.

Still not convinced that you can fall in love with your city?  Try being a tourist in your town.

If you’d like to live
in the kind of town
like the kind of town you’d like.
You needn’t slip
your clothes in a grip
and start on a long, long hike.

For you’ll only find
what you’ve left behind.
There’s nothing that’s really new.
You’re knocking yourself,
when you knock your town.
It isn’t your town – it’s you!

Real towns are not made
of people afraid
when somebody else gets ahead.
When everyone works
and nobody shirks,
you can raise a Town from the dead!

So, if while you make
your personal stake,
your neighbor can make his, too.
You can make a town
what you want it to be.
It isn’t the town – it’s you!

– Author unknown






{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

There is beauty and wonder EVERYWHERE.  It’s up to us to slow down enough to actually see it.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 







{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual.   A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama to leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Hot as Heck Texas Daybook

In my backyard…there’s a whole lot of splashing going on in our pool.  It’s.so.terribly.hot.

I am remembering…our last camping trip in the spring.  Just waiting {impatiently} for cooler weather so we can go again.

I am grateful for…finding such amazing, patient music teachers for the boys.  The boys are all thriving in their lessons and I love the sound of music in our home as they pull out their instruments and practice each day.

I am watching…The Truth About Cancer documentary.  The problem with knowledge is you can never go back to being ignorant.  And, of course, as with any new way of thinking, I find myself questioning everything said, wondering what and whom to trust.

I am listening…to Princess Academy.  This has been on my “to read” list for awhile and it was on Audible’s amazing kid’s sale so I snagged it.

I am wondering…why kids take pictures of the things they do.  The boys brought me their camera the other day and asked me to download what was on it.  Dax warned me and said, “Enh, just delete it all.”  I kindly replied, “Oh no, I’ll download them and delete the bad ones.  How many pictures could they possibly have taken?”  Oh me of little faith.  It turns out they can take 1,057 pictures; 1,048 of those are blurry, odd, or just plain strange (ie. a picture of our granite countertops at extremely close range and the back of Katie’s head over 112 times and every.single.aisle at Sam’s club along with massive amounts of pictures of Nury browsing the meat section).  I am just so very thankful for digital photos…imagine if I’d been naive enough to give them rolls of film and pay for the processing.

Oh, but then I get a picture like this and I’m quite thankful that I didn’t just delete them all!

I am laughing…at Katie’s pronunciation.  She wants to do everything herself…her way, by herself.  Today she wanted to spray the hose so I handed it over and thanked her for hosing off the dog.  She kept saying, “My pleasure, a dam.”  It took me awhile to figure out that that meant, “My pleasure Madame.”

I am reflecting…on Andrew.  Yesterday he asked us, “Does the mayor always have to wear a hat?”  When we replied no, he quickly followed up with, “Does the mayor always have to wear clothes?”

In the schoolroom…We began our new school year last week and we are thriving.  We are following the suggestions from my consultation with Liz at A Delectable Education and aside from the normal grumbling (which I’m pretty sure my kids feel is required) they all seem to be enjoying the book choices, the lesson plans and the zillion notebooks I’ve placed in their hands to catalog our journey this year.

Around the house…I am vacuuming like a madwoman.  Poor Midnight is shedding in such huge amounts…pretty sure if I collected all he’s losing, we could make him a friend.

In the kitchen…water kefir.  My sweet friend took the time to teach me the super easy process to fermenting and making my own kefir.  ALL of us are loving it…even health fad criticizer, Dax.

I am wearing…a white skirt and a black shirt.  Oh!  Last week, Dax and I went on a much overdue anniversary date to WaterStreet.  I dressed up a bit (we’re talking very minimal here…as in clean shirt and nice pants) and added a little mascara and lip gloss and fished out a bracelet, necklace and earrings.  When I walked out of my room, Katie exclaimed, “Oh my HEART!  You look GOOD!!!” which was followed by a sweet hug and kiss.  My goodness, if that simple outfit got such a reaction, it makes me think that I must really be slumming it on a daily basis.

We are preparing for…the Texas Outdoor Nature Challenge.

Someday I am going to miss…Andrew’s sweet little voice asking for an Uncle Wiggily story before bed.

One of my favorite things…our Texas State Aquarium.

A peek into my day

Please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook for more daybook entries.




A String of Choices

Our lives are just one long string of choices.

This ability to make choices rules us.  It starts the minute our feet hit the floor in the morning and it continues until we drift off to sleep each night.

Every decision defines us.  It shapes our souls and breathes life into our priorities.

Some choices are easier to make.  Some are so difficult we find ourselves on our knees asking for guidance.

Some are permanent.  Others allow forgiveness and a second chance.

Some are thoughtless.  Some are habit driven.  Ingrained in our heads to the point where we don’t even really think that we’re making a choice.

Some of them we make not realizing their effect on us until it’s too late to choose otherwise.

The word choice by definition means “an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities” which means there’s always something we’re NOT choosing when we make a choice

The choice to work a little later rather than bow out a bit early to watch the sun set.  The choice to check our phone again rather than engage in a conversation with the people sitting right there in front of us.  The choice to multi-task rather than focusing on this moment…this conversation…this person.  The choice to commit to too much rather than choosing one thing and soaking up all its glory.  The choice to do rather than to be.  The choice to worry about the future rather than to live in this moment.

I think of all the choices I’ve made.  All the moments I’ve chosen things over people.  All the moments I’ve chosen complex over simple.  All the moments I’ve chosen not to listen, not to do, not to accept.  All the moments I’ve chosen worry over contentment.  And I know that those choices haven’t necessarily been the difficult ones nor have they all been the permanent ones.  Instead I like to think they’ve become my teaching ones.  The choices that make me feel empty or scared or sad or overwhelmed…those are the choices that give me a glimpse of what I don’t want my life to feel like.

And so I choose to make each decision a little more consciously.  It’s about making life-affirming, people-loving, simple-living, world-appreciating choices.  And it’s done with gratitude and openness and intention.  Because when we choose with intention, we choose consciously.  We choose what we want our life to say.

So today I choose to live with every intention.  I choose the people right here with me.  I choose joy and gratitude.  I choose simple.  I choose contentment.  I choose glory in the beauty that comes naturally.

And you?  Whatever you choose, let your choices reflect your intentions.


{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual.   A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama to leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.