Monday, February 22, 2016

Still got IT

Les wrote the post, Jeannette added the title...

The beginning of my career in the sign business was firmly rooted during the summer of 1969. I was struggling in my college pursuits and really needed some direction and inspiration. I thank God for the opportunity I had to apprentice under my beloved uncle Virgil who was an accomplished sign artist in San Jose. I learned basic hand-lettering skills while there, but I was smitten with the hand-carved rustic signwork that was popular in California. When I came back home to continue college, I immediately began making rustic signs along with the usual hand-lettered type signs. 

Throughout the years I've made hundreds of rustic signs. In recent years since retiring, I've had several opportunities to work on novel signs for faux western town scenes in our area. I'd like to share a few photos of what I've been working on this past week.

These pictures are of an event center in our area, set up like an old western town. Each of these buildings have a rustic sign on the facade. 

And these are two examples of small novelty signs I have made recently. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Our College Kids

One aspect of this adventure of life that has been unexpected, sweet, and fun has been new friendships with a group of college students.

It all started when we moved to the little house on Long St, in Stephenville. There were two college students living across the street. Les met one of the girls right after we moved in when they had a garage sale. He introduced himself to Rebecca and gave her our number to call in case they needed help with anything. That was the start of a very special friendship.

 We became adopted grandparents to Rebecca. She had lunch or supper with us at least 2 times a week. She began to go to church with us, and really became like part of the family.  She introduced us to some of her friends, and eventually, we had a whole group of college girls coming to church with us, then to our house for lunch.

Rebecca’s friend Harlie was not a Christian, but she began to enjoy coming to church with us and having lunch afterward. She came to believe in Jesus over the course of a few weeks in the summer of 2014, and was baptized on Feb. 1, 2015.  She has pursued Jesus with passion since that time. Although she moved to Nashville in December, she is still dear to us and in frequent contact.

Harlie brought her friend Morgan, who came to faith in Christ in the summer of 2015.
Morgan and Harlie with Les

Emily R. baptism
 Harlie’s friend Emily attended Harlies baptism, and, through the next months considered the things that she heard that day until she gave her life to Jesus in November, and was baptized the first of December. 

Harlie, Carter, Emily M., Morgan 
Throughout these months, young friends of Rebeccas have joined this precious little group.  As the weeks went by, we invited other college students to dinner who we met at church, and the group grew. This fall, our grandson, Carter, attended Tarleton and found himself with a group of best friends (all girls) that were here ready to receive him when he came.  We joke about Carter’s cool grand parents who introduced him to a bunch of girls when he went to college.

Back row: Rebeca, Emily M.
Front: Harlie, Olivia, Morgan, Brannon
Every week, we have six to fifteen college students in our home on Sundays for dinner. 
Melissa, Jenny, Rachel, Monique, me

Most weeks, we see these kids two or three times during the week also. They play with our grandchildren, take naps on our sofa, help clean the kitchen, serve the church with us, just are part of our family.  We have found ourselves invited to bowling parties, Christmas parties, other get-togethers of young people. These relationships have brought a new purpose and vitality to our lives.
our Grandson Dillon with Bach
Emily M, Rebecca

Back Row: Bach, Morgan, Emily M, me, Les
Front' Harlie, Rebecca, Dillon 

Back: Rachel, Morgan, Chance, Les, Monique, Carter
Front; Emily M, Harlie, Marla, me, Rebecca 
Morgan, me Les, Emily M
Harlie, Rebecca, Cassie 
Harlie, me, Rebecca, Cassie 

Samantha, me, Monique

It is amazing what God has done, all starting from a move to a fixer upper on Long Street.
We had no idea what was starting. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

One Room Finished...Almost

We have been hard at work on our house for a year now. Well, Les has been hard at work, I have helped a little bit. One job that we hired at our last remodeled that he wanted to do himself this time, was the wall repair and texture. His plan was to do all the walls at once, after everything else was done. That was fine, but, as a consequence, not one room is complete. Two weeks ago, on Saturday,  I asked if we could hire someone to do the walls in the master bedroom and bathroom, so that just one room would be complete. Les quickly agreed to that. The next day, we checked with Kerry and Jessica Scanting, who had done some work at the church, and they were available. They came by on Tuesday, and started on Wednesday! They did such good work, Les hired them to do the rest of the house, and to pain. TO PAINT. He is a painting pro, but he said he has painted things all his life, and would rather not do it.
So, the master bedroom and bath are finished... almost. Les is doing some repair work to the woodwork, and will then paint that. But, it is getting really close. Not fancy or extravagant, just simple and clean. It feels so good to walk into a room that is basically finished.

Why didn't I notice the closet door was open before I uploaded the photo???

Friday, May 22, 2015

Historic Hail Storm

While we were happily and safely visiting Turkey, our little town of Dublin experienced the worst hail storm in its history. I don't know if that is official, but everyone we know said it was the worst they remembered.  Actually, it was a series of storms that went through with high winds, heavy rain, and some pretty large hail.

I know this looks like a scene from a movie, but it really is a picture taken outside of Dublin.
Our neighbor froze some of the hail from the storm. YIKES. Some were as big as 5 inches in diameter.
This is our neighbors yard after the storm.  

Our house sustained some damage, mostly, of course to the roof. The rain gutters were destroyed, three windows broken, and my beloved swing was destroyed.
 Les' truck sustained some damage, including a busted windshield. The camper shell was completely destroyed.
 Immediately after the storm, our daughter and son in law, Emily and Doug McLemore, checked out the damage and contacted our insurance agent, who sent out an adjuster within days. They took care of everything associated with our insurance claim.
Our sweet, dear friends helped Doug and Emily take care of the house, covering the broken windows and the truck, picking up broken limbs in the yard, mulching the leaves that covered the yard. We were so blessed to have family and friends take care of things for us while we were gone.
The transactions with the insurance company, Metropolitan Life, and the roofing company, AAA Roofing in Stephenville, could not have gone more smoothly. We received a check from Met Life quickly, and the roofers started the roof in a chilly rain. Les took our old football game rain ponchos out to them, and made breakfast tacos to show our appreciation. They got the roof completed in three days, while it was still raining.


 The man on the roof in the last picture is not doing a backend, I am pretty sure, but the picture shows how steep the roof is. We got new gutters yesterday.

 Les truck is as good as new, repaired by Armstrong Autos right here in Dublin.
We are very blessed, and very grateful to have our house and truck in great shape after going through a pretty bad storm.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Turkey in My Rear View Mirror

     Our adventures in Turkey came to an end on Monday, May 4.  We flew back home with a brief overnight layover in Germany – backtracking the same way we went there.  We’ve been home a couple of days now and we’ve re-entered our world here in storm ravaged Dublin, Texas . . . which is another kind of adventure altogether.  It was a weird feeling knowing our house and my truck got beat up while we were 8,000 miles away and couldn’t do a thing until we returned 18 days later.

     We want to thank a bunch of people who were looking out for our interests while we were away.  Some we know of . . . others we may never know . . . but a deep sense of appreciation flows from our hearts to everyone involved.  As we roamed through ancient and quaint villages in Turkey and seeing how they live and work as one . . . our people were doing likewise as they pitched in.  I love the village mentality and mutual care we see demonstrated here.

He Leads Us to the Green Pastures

     I want to draw the net on my favorite and most memorable impressions as we move onward.  We have lots of things that need to be done here and I don’t want to let these memories get shuffled to the back burner just to fade into the past.  The things we saw, the places we visited, the people we met, the homes we were invited into, the lives we intersected with . . . all of which are just too rich to not speak more about.  Most of our blog followers will never travel to Turkey.  A year ago it certainly wasn’t on my wish list of places to visit either, but “never say never” really applies here.  And that’s the really cool thing about being willing to follow the Lord’s promptings.  He nudges us now and then to do the unthinkable, and once we let go of those unwarranted fears and surrender our inhibitions to His will – we find ourselves overflowing once again with gratitude for His “favor” in allowing us to participate in things bigger than ourselves.

Another Egg Facial

     I’m an incurable visionary, always projecting what I think a new situation will look and feel like . . . you know . . . my own kind of movie trailers, so to speak.  Furthermore, I’m always surprised how inaccurate those internal movie trailers are.  (Please don’t make fun of me – I don’t know how to stop it).


10.   Friendly.  A multiplicity of cultures and religious diversity in Turkey equates to a general openness and friendliness that rivals southern hospitality.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I was expecting this to be like a covert operation, careful about being seen and heard.  Baloney.

9.  Muish.  Turkish people have a local saying “muish” (moo-ish) - which has a similar connotation to our “ish” which we add to a time or action which means basically “so so.”  For example, we say “I’ll be ready to go at 10ish” which means “10-10:30 . . . maybe.”  They say “Come to our house for dinner around 12:00 – which in reality could be sometime between 1:00-3:00.”  Or, I will sell this teapot to you for 10.00 . . . well maybe . . . yes, I will . . . but I’m not really sure . . . but probably I will . . . or it could be more . . . or less.”  This whole conversation is called “muish.”  Hmmmm?

8. Auto Muish.  Turks seem to apply the principal of muish to their driving habits.  They obviously have no problem running stop signs and red lights - as if they are saying to other drivers - “I will stop . . . maybe.  Ehh, maybe not.”  Don’t bet on it.  To ensure that you “arrive  alive” . . . don’t trust the traffic signs to protect you.

7.  Olives.  Need I say more?  This region must be the epicenter of olive production.  No matter where you look, you see olive trees.   Thousands upon thousands of rolling acres graced with olive groves, filling in every undeveloped land space, flower beds, parking lots.  You can’t escape them . . . but you don’t want to either.  Olive production has been the number one commodity and income producer in this part of the world for centuries.  Olives appear on your table at every meal – not to mention olive oil drizzled on everything you eat.  Soaps, lotions, you name it.  Olive this and olive that.  It’s all about olives, and I suspect that’s a good thing for their health.  I love olives and my taste buds were in heaven.

6.  Bread.  Artisan bread shops like you’ve never seen before.  Yippee!  I love bread, especially artisan bread.  Little mom and pop bakeries are on every corner with the day’s fresh baked breads adorning their windows - stacked deep and selling them cheap.  Everyone grabs a fresh loaf each day it seems.  There are two primary kinds, the first being the football shaped loaf (much like French bread) for 1 lire (=35 cents).  The second is what they call village bread - which looks like a cushion for a round bar stool or perhaps a chrome hubcap.  It’s about 12” in diameter and about 4” thick.  It’s a heavy and hearty bread I think you could probably live on . . . (well, not in the biblical sense).                   

     Watching them make these is really interesting too.  They use long narrow paddles that are about 8 feet long with 10 foot long poles.  This allows them to load about 8 loaves at a time into the brick fired ovens.  The paddle goes in with 8 pieces of dough, and out it comes with 8 nice loaves.  Ahhh . . .do you  remember that wonderful aroma coming from the old Mrs. Baird’s plant in Fort Worth back in our younger years?

5.  Shoes.  These people know shoes.  I couldn’t help noticing how trendy and stylish the men’s shoes were in the shops.  Very European I suppose.  I had to buy me a pair, of course.  Ask my girls - stylish and trendy I am not.  Next time you see me, hopefully I’ll have those on and you can say “Man, those shoes are really cool!  You’re so suave and debonair.”  I’ll just probably reply “Yeah, I know.  I got them in Turkey.”  You’ll say “No way!”  I’ll say “Yes, way.” 

4.  Turquoise.  The unforgettable color of the Aegean Sea just 2 blocks away.   We literally had to wake up every day and stare at that from our balcony, trying to absorb its panoramic beauty.   Everywhere we went – it was there in front of us.  Our friend the linguist, said that turquoise is an ancient Turkish word for the sea - from which the natural gem we associate with Native American jewelry is named.  He should know.

3.  Gardening.  Everyone seems to take advantage of any amount of dirt to grow fruits, veggies and flowers.   Produce in the bazars (farmer’s market) is beautiful and plenteous.  Water is very pure in this region since it flows freely from the mountain springs, and that surely has an advantageous effect on agriculture.  In fact, water spouts and cisterns are everywhere flowing non-stop with “cool, clear, water.”  Sing that if you need to.

2.  Chai.  Otherwise known as hot tea in a teensy little glass, chai is available anytime - anywhere – because this is the glue that holds these people together.  All day long, at every turn, you see 2 or 3 folks (usually men) sitting at small tables drinking their chai.  Though the glasses may be small, the place this has in Turkish culture is huge.  Don’t forget, the iced tea we drink probably comes from tea leaves found in northern Turkey along the Black Sea.  Pekoe Cut Black Tea is one of their biggest exports.

1.  Family.  It’s seems to be the law of the land.  People are richly embedded into their family relationships.  This made it easy to bond quickly with several very special friends we made while there who’ve come to share our hopes, values and aspirations.  The sense of brothers and sisters in a family was very apparent among us, even though we required constant translation services.  Family love like this, however, is the best language.  Spoken words are optional.  Thank you Sandi Patti for writing these lyrics back in the 70’s when your song was a Grammy Award winner:

              The sounds are all as different as the lands from which they came

              And though our words are all unique our hearts are still the same

                             Love in any language

                             Straight from the heart

                             Pulls us all together, never apart

                             And once we learn to speak it

                             All the world will hear

                             Love in any language

                             Fluently spoken here


Thank you Turkey for a wonderful experience.




Monday, May 18, 2015

Final Day in Turkey

After touring Ephesus, we spent a couple of hours on the shore of the Aegean. This beach was so beautiful, so natural; just palm trees and sand, with one café to serve our afternoon tea. The water was cold, great for wading, but too cold for me to swim. Our friend and his teenage son swam, but they came out shivering, and maybe a little blue.
 We walked around Selcuk a little...


Then had our final dinner in Turkey, again at the little Bed and Breakfast, with our new friends, Daivati from Oregon, and Peter from Australia.

Monday morning, after another delicious breakfast, we toured one last ancient Greek village.

 and headed toward the airport.

We stopped at a lovely outdoor café to have tea, where we asked our waiter about what looked like an ancient fortress on top of a mountain nearby. He told us that it was a fortress, built around 500AD. Our waiter soon returned and invited us to join a group of men at another table, where we were introduced to a retired Archaeologist who had been the curator the Ephesus museum, and who had uncovered significant artifacts from Romans and even the Hittites in the area.

THAT was on our way to the airport! Icing on the cake. What a tremendous way to end this remarkable trip.