Lakeside Spring Picnic and Recipe for Chicken and Cucumber Salad

Yesterday it was such beautiful day here in Texas, I started day dreaming of picnic’s! Picnics with ruffly edged napkins, table linens, quaint dishes, and (usually my last consideration when “dreaming up” picnics) what picnic food to fix. With my daydream in mind, I went inside and opened our linen cabinet that’s filled with all kinds of vintage “lovely’s.”

My dear followers, I can never thank you enough for all your prayers, “get well” wishes, and notes you’ve written to me during these last 2 1/2 months. Knowing you cared meant so much to me. We have certainly felt the Lord’s Presence and seen His Intervention again and again since I first went into the hospital. Thank you so much for brightening my days.

❤ Trenda

I am slowly getting better though, frustratingly, it doesn’t take very much effort to exhaust me. I’m supposed to spend as much time as possible outside, and yesterday it was such beautiful day here in Texas, I started day dreaming of picnic’s! Picnics with ruffly edged napkins, table linens, quaint dishes, and (usually my last consideration when “dreaming up” picnics) what picnic food to fix. With my daydream in mind, I went inside to see what I could find in our linen cabinet that’s filled with all kinds of vintage “lovely’s.”

… and chose these White Battenberg napkins edged with scallops of lace and a bright green and white gingham runner trimmed with cheery orange stitches.

After picking out the napkins and table runner I wanted to use, I went to our corner hutch in the kitchen downstairs and started picking out dishes and deciding what picnic food to serve on each.

I pulled out 2 soda fountain glasses from the bottom cabinets and thought how cute they would look filled with something other than the usual ice cream! With my mind whirling with that bit of whimsy, the rest of the menu came easy and I selected my dishes … a darling egg plate, some green and white salad plates to match the table runner, a dark green bowl with lines etched into the glass to look like lettuce leaves, a banana split tray (helping to carry out the soda fountain theme!) and a quart-sized Mason jar my mother gave to me.

I quickly chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and chicken and tossed in some other yummy ingredients for an easy “main course” salad (recipe below) then dipped the rims of the soda glasses in lemon juice and dusted the edges with paprika. I added “scoops” of chicken salad to the soda fountain glasses and topped it all off with a final touch … celery “straws.”(;

Since there were only 2 of us, I put the extra chicken salad into the green bowl with etched leaves.

Then I deviled some eggs to place in this sweet hen “egg tray.”

Crystal tumblers filled with ice … and Lemonade Tea, made in my mother’s Mason jar beckoned us to “come sit” and Toasted Parmesan and Cheddar Toasted Crostini are stacked appealingly in an antique, scalloped edged, banana split tray.

Green and White “Old Curiosity Shop” salad plates by Royal (USA)

Chicken & Cucumber Salad

~ recipe by Trenda at Cottage Green on the Lake

  1. 1 – 12.5 oz can Chicken Breast (drained)
  2. 1 English cucumber (English cucumbers are the extra long cucumbers; they are milder in taste and have fewer seeds than their American cousin’s! (:
  3. Cherry tomatoes (I used 14 tomatoes)
  4. 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing (I use Ken’s Steak House Ranch)
  5. 1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels
  6. black pepper – to taste
  7. 1/2 cup French’s Crispy Fried Onions (added, right before serving to remain crispy)

Instructions:

Wash, peel, and slice cucumber lengthwise to form “half round” slices. Place all sliced cucumber into a medium sized bowl. Halve cherry tomatoes (add tomatoes according to your own taste and preference; I prefer fewer tomatoes than cucumbers in my salad and I used 14 cherry tomatoes) Add drained chicken to the cucumber and tomato mixture and using a fork, separate the chicken into bite sized pieces. To the mixture, add 1/2 cup Ranch dressing, 1/3 cup sunflower kernels, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, add 1/2 cup of French’s Crispy Fried Onions, stir into salad and serve.

Lakeside picnic on a beautiful spring day at Cottage Green.

After Richard and I were “done” with our picnic I was “done in” (: and just sat outside the rest of the afternoon until the sun went down.

Now, I want to share one more thing with you that I hope and pray will help you during these troubling times. A dear friend sent me this little tin sign after I got out of the hospital and I kept it right where I could see it during those first scary weeks after I got home. I would look at the scripture inscribed on this sign and read over and over … “She confidently trusts the Lord to take care of her.” Psalms 112:7 Hmmm … “She confidently trusts!” So instead of worrying each day I decided I needed to confidently trust and be secure in the knowledge that the Lord WOULD take care of me. Daily I prayed, “Lord, help me to truly embody that verse and be confident that YOU will take care of me. Thank you for Your Word that promises that security and blessed assurance. Thank you Jesus, for loving me and thank you for being my Savior and my Friend.” The “New International Version” of the Bible and translation of that same verse is an anchor we can hold on to in “these days” we are living through and to remember in the coming weeks … “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalms 112:7 I am praying this verse for each of you during this time. “Have no fear of bad news … be steadfast … trust the Lord to take care of you. ❤ If you long for that security and relationship with the Lord where you can trust that He will take care of you, no matter what the circumstances, please go to the top of my blog on the right side titled ABOUT ME … and click on My Faith in Jesus Christ. It’s as easy as saying A-B-C and it will change your life and your eternal life forever! The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 If you have any questions or you would like me to pray with you, please don’t hesitate to write me and ask. I’ve already prayed for everyone that reads this blog and the Lord already knows your name. ❤

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog! ❤ Join me on Pinterest at Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake

May Day Gift Cones … DIY Project

by Trenda

“Dear old world … You are very lovely, And I am glad to be alive in you.”   ~ from Anne of Green Gables

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It’s May!  The darling month when everything seems possible.  Look at this sweet description of May Day from The Old Farmer’s Almanac established in 1792.

“With winter’s retreat, colts and calves kick up their heels and frisk over fresh grass, seedlings seek the sun, and birds call for mates….And we humans join their revels for one day: during spring’s “May Day” festival, even serious-minded folk put work aside to enjoy Nature’s exuberance!”

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Still quoting The Farmer’s Almanac … “Here are some joyful May Day traditions marking the return of spring and the renewed gift of life.

  1. Neighbors may leave baskets of flowers on each other’s doorsteps or doorknobs.
  2. Kids can go barefoot on May Day for the first time.
  3. People will crown a “May Queen” for the day’s festivities.
  4. Beekeepers will move bees on May 1st.
  5. Fishermen expect to catch fish on May Day.
  6. On May Day morning, if a maiden gathers dew before sunup and sprinkles her face with it, she will enjoy luck and youthful beauty for the rest of the year.
  7. Farmers often plant corn, cucumbers, and turnips on this day.
  8. Villagers may hold theatrical battles between “summer” and “winter” that banish the winter.
  9. The Kentucky Derby starts off the month of May (the first Saturday of the month).
  10. On May 1st, people in Britain welcome spring by “Bringing in the May,” or gathering cuttings of flowering trees for their homes.
  11. May 1st in Hawaii is called “Lei Day,” and people will receive prizes this day for wearing the prettiest handmade leis.”

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Hanging May Day baskets is an enchanting custom that is fun to incorporate into your own family traditions.  Sweet paper cones made from stock card paper with scalloped edges and ribbons are easy to make and are a delightful surprise to find. 

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  Supplies Needed:

  • stock card paper (double sided paper if you want a pattern on the inside and outside of your May Day cone)
  • scissors
  • scalloped edged scissors
  • ribbon
  • shredded paper or tissue paper
  • craft glue 
  • florist vials, if using fresh flowers
  • candy, flowers, little gifts, etc.

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut stock card paper into a 7-inch square (I used double-sided stock paper to have prints on both the outside and inside of my May Day gift cones
  2. Use decorative scissors to cut scallops around the top edge of the square
  3. Place pencil tip at the bottom of the paper and begin rolling paper around pencil tip to form cone
  4. Secure outer flap of cone with glue 
  5. Punch holes along scalloped edge approximately 1″ apart, beginning at the top front center
  6. Thread a 22″ – 24″ length of 1/2″ ribbon through the holes
  7. Tie ribbon into bow in the front … leaving a 6″ loop at the back of the cone for hanging
  8. If using fresh flowers, use florist vials and fill with water and flower stems  to tuck into the cone, or fill with shredded paper or tissue paper and fill cone with silk flowers,candy, little gifts, etc.

instructions

What a lovely surprise to find hanging on your door … a May Day gift cone filled with silk flowers, a package of “Ferrero Rocher, fine hazlenut chocolates” and Unicorn Sparkle Nail Polish. (:

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 This sweet little May Day cone is filled with silk flowers, a tube of lipstick, and a small bottle of perfume.

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Hope your May Day is filled with lots of sunshine and happy surprises!

From my cottage to yours May Day

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Spring Celebrations … DIY tips for making centerpieces

by Trenda 

With the coming of Spring there are a lots of opportunities for celebrations.  Whether you host a Spring Luncheon, a Tea Party, a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, a Kentucky Derby Party, a Mother’s Day Brunch, a Graduation dinner, or wedding buffet (whew!) one of the first things you’ll need is a centerpiece to “anchor” your tablescape.  Putting together a centerpiece can be daunting task.  Recently, I was asked to make the floral arrangements and decorations needed for a Mother/Daughter Tea for the Women’s Ministry at our church.  Today I am going to share some of the tips I used when I made the 25 centerpieces needed for the Tea … tips that helped make this job easy and fun!

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1.  The first thing that you need to decide in making your centerpiece is what color and type of flowers you are going to use.  Unless your arrangement is all roses, the general rule of thumb in flower arranging is to use at least 3 different sizes of flowers for visual interest.  Do you want your centerpiece to be elegant, rustic, casual, playful, spring-y, lush, or whimsical?  These questions will help you decide what type of container to place your flowers in.  The theme we wanted to portray for our Mother/Daughter Tea was a combination of three themes: a springtime/rustic/casual elegance theme.  Springtime flowers were chosen … daisy’s, daffodils, tulips, narcissus, and wisteria (none too fussy!) in a profusion of spring colors!

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2.  Mason jars dispel any hint of stuffiness and had dainty embossed filigree on the fronts and added just the right touch of casual elegance.  Then, to add texture and a hint of rustic flair, I hot-glued a strip of burlap ribbon edged with lace around each Mason jar.

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3Whenever you work with flowers that are a part of a bouquet, cut each stem from the bunch and trim off all the leaves to make them easier to arrange.  To determine the length I wanted my flowers in the centerpiece to be, I gathered the stems of my largest sized flowers (the Daisy’s) and bent the heads of the flowers so they looked natural.  Then I cut the stems so my flowers would stand upright in the Mason jar, with the blooms gently draping over the rim.

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4.  The Mason jars I used will be used again for other events.  For ease in changing out arrangements, I wrapped clear packing tape near the flower heads (so the tape wouldn’t be seen) to keep each arrangement together and so they can be easily removed.

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5.  The smaller flowers … the tulips, narcissus, and daffodils had much smaller stems and were easy to tuck into the arrangement of larger flowers already taped together.  These smaller flowers extended beyond the tops of the daisy’s so they would “peek” over the top of the arrangement, adding dimension and interest to the bouquet.

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6.  The last thing to add to any centerpiece is the “filler.”  The filler ties the whole arrangement together.  Like the name suggests, filler “fills” in the gaps of the arrangement and  “softens” the look of all the separate flowers and unites and blends them into one arrangement.  The filler can be … small flowers … baby’s breath … grasses … decorative filament … eucalyptus … seed pods … or any variety of decorative picks.

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The filler I used for these centerpieces were tiny flowers and buds with leaves.

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Look at all these sweet little arrangements … jars of Spring ready to be placed on the table!  Wouldn’t they look charming dangling from a shepherd’s hook lining the walkway to a woodland wedding or filled with sunflowers along the way to a bbq and barn dance?  Hmmm … perhaps another DIY on a future post! 🙂

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Wishing you “beaucoups of bouquets” and many happy Spring celebrations! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda 

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Bringing Spring Inside … with Spring Vignette’s

~by Trenda

Spring has arrived in Texas in a profusion of azalea blooms, perky bluebonnets and the unfurling of spring green leaves.  Sweet trills and twittering’s are heard throughout the day as birds flit about gathering building materials for their new homes.  Just like outside, it’s time to dress your home in Spring decor!  It’s easy to do with touches of romance, charm and whimsy tucked in unexpected places.  Little nests placed in crystal bowls … a gathering of eggs in decorative containers … fresh flowers “about the house” and the use of bright and pastel colors suggest all things Spring-y.

Spring wreath and birdbath filled with moss and speckled eggs.birdbath filled with eggs

An etched cache with blown glass finial is filled with Spring proffering’s … some spongy moss and sweet little eggs.  A crystal Frog Prince and favorite childhood books are reminiscent of fairy tales and magical possibilities.

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A little pewter bunny on a chartreuse pedestal … a matching chartreuse bird … and a little bird’s nest woven with spring leaves and blossoms perched on a chunky urn herald Spring’s arrival.

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All things bird- y! (:

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A desk corner in my music room is filled with “suggestions” of Spring and some “of my favorite things.”  A mottled watering can filled with a collection of paintbrushes … antique glass frogs for flower arrangements … miniature hinged birdhouses from a precious son … and a favorite miniature from a dear daughter that says, “A Mother’s love is what make a house a home.” ❤

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A chippy mirrored frame holds a picture of a pair of White-breast Nuthatches atop a twig-y silver easel.

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A miniature wooden easel holds a rough textured canvas of an egg-filled nest among leafy boughs … a collection of bird nests are perched, nearby.Spring buffet

Books, eggs, and birds … ❤

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A pair of lovebirds gaze into a mirror … a spring green bucket is filled with carved wooden pencils and a spool of twine is easily reached and handy.

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What was just a resting spot for this sweet, what-not shelf (while I went to get a nail to hang it) became the new, permanent location and a favorite spot once I saw how all the “lovelies” on the shelves were reflected in the mirror.  Treasures from our children, my grandmother, two of my dearest friends … fill these compartments and are looked on each day with fond memories.

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Reflection …

NESTGazing beyond the window at blue skies and spring blossoms, and inside … lace-y tree branches reflected on my grandmother’s glass-topped table … a dreamy place to work!music desk

Have fun finding special ways and little nooks to “bring” Spring into your home!

Lady Banks roses

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

 This week I’m joining:

Lynn from The Vintage Nest

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

Courtney with Feathered Nest Fridays at French Country Cottage

 

Mother’s Day Tablescape and DIY favors

~ Trenda

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my  angel mother.”  Abraham Lincoln

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 Happy Mother’s Day!  It has been a beautiful weekend packed with time spent with all of our dear children and grandchildren … and today was a perfect day for a Mother’s Day dinner served outside on the deck!  Adding a touch of sweetness and “gracing” our table, I used the DIY place cards and DIY napkin rings (click here for instructions!) that I taught you how to make earlier this week! (:

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Crocheted Battenberg lace place mats match the “grid work” of the antique wrought iron chairs.  This beautiful table belonged to my grandmother … a cherished gift to me from my mother. 

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A bright floral napkin ensconces each white napkin edged with Battenberg lace – both are slipped into DIY Spring napkin rings (click here for instructions!) and a matching DIY place card, “reserves” each seat!

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I was delighted when I found these charming green bowls on one of our “antique-ing excursions!”  The bowls look like little cabbages and for this tablescape, I used them to hold Sweeteners.  Carrying out the spring/garden theme and adding some whimsy,  I placed some miniature cabbage teapots under a domed pedestal plate.

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Crystal glasses are ready to be filled with Southern iced tea and water.  The rose blush stemware is a beloved gift from a dear little boy … many Mother’s Days ago ❤  fulldeck view.png

Both tables on the deck are set … the round table holds all the “overflow” serving dishes and is used as a buffet with plenty of chairs and built-in benches to seat everyone.   A favorite Villeroy and Boch “Country French” covered dish waits for Homemade Chicken Florentine and Noodle Soup. 

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Ready for dinner!  Look how darling the napkin rings and place cards are!

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Now, one more DIY project to show you … I made these sweet little favor boxes to send home with each of our “guests!”  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love making favors or treat bags for our “get-together’s.

favors.png I bought a package of these little boxes at Hobby Lobby on the party aisle where the crepe paper and favor bags are.  They are called Gable boxes and they come 12 to a package for only $3.99. (Download the Hobby Lobby App to get 40 percent off  on one regular priced, that can be used each time you shop at Hobby Lobby!) Using my Recollection tag die-cutter, I punched out tags from stock card in a variety of Spring colors and stamped them with bird nests, “For You” and a filigree frame (I wrote each guest’s name inside the frame) and used my hole puncher to punch a hole in each colored tag. Then, I filled each favor box with a fine sparkly shredded grass, nestled in some individually wrapped chocolates, tied a ribbon around each box and added a “set” of tags (1 of each … a bird nest tag, a “For You” tag and a filigree frame with the guest’s name on it) and tied them on to the ribbon of each favor.

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 “FOR YOU” … favor boxes are waiting by the front door to be given with goodbye’s and final hugs; a sweet remembrance of another special day together.

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This is the second Mother’s Day my own dear mother has been in heaven; I miss her every day and continually think of her, particularly on this special day.  What a blessing it was to be her daughter!  Her love, inner strength, joy, contentment and faith in Christ continue to be an inspiration to me.  “I’ll love you forever, like you for always, Mom” ❤

” … her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done …”  Proverbs 31:28-31

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Sending you a bit of our lovely day!  Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

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Mother’s Day DIY place cards and napkin rings

~ Trenda

 

tablescape .png“Tra la! It’s May! The lusty month of May!” Julie Andrews sang in the Broadway musical, CAMELOT. The charming but now archaic definition of lusty, according to Merriam-Webster is merry and joyous.  Looking out our open screen door to blue skies and hearing the birds joyously “tra-la’ing” as they go merrily about picking up choice “bits and pieces” to line and feather their nests, it is definitely “the lusty month of May!”  The month of May is filled with promise, celebrations and events. One of the preparations I enjoy the most before any holiday or get together is getting the table ready and “dressed” for the occasion. Look at these darling place cards I made with matching grapevine napkin rings; perfect for a woodland theme Bridal shower, a Spring Tea Party or Mother’s Day Brunch!

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I bought a package of plain white place-cards and my mini grapevine wreaths from Hobby Lobby.  Then I took my scalloped die-cut punch and punched along the bottom of the place-card.  To decorate each place card I hot glued “a bit” of ivy in the left hand corner of the place-card, placing it so the greenery “peeked” over the top and softened the corner of the card.  On each piece of greenery, I glued a single blossom from a silk hydrangea and some tiny pink flower buds.  For the final touch and to “blend” the look of the tiny posy … I glued individual pieces of assorted “fillers” I had from making other floral arrangements.  ie: tiny ivy leaves, eucalyptus, birch twigs … Then I wrote the name of each of our “guests” on the place-cards.

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After I finished all the place cards I needed, I started making my mini-grapevine napkin rings. I used the same technique and materials making these that I used making my place cards, so all would match.

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“Tra-la!”  (:   All done!  Time to set the table with all these charming “accroutements!” for an enchanting, Mother’s Day tablescape … pictures on my next blog!  (;  

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“… let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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“This Land Is Your Land” … Road Trip from Texas, to Mississippi, to Missouri, back to Texas!

~ Trenda

Richard has been asked to speak at a Memorial Service commemorating his dear friend, Bill Seaborn.  Bill was killed the day he and Richard were flying together on a rescue mission and their helicopter was hit by AK-47 fire and subsequently crashed into the jungles of Vietnam.  Before the scheduled date of the ceremony, we wanted to spend some time getting to know Bill’s family and friends and we also needed to make arrangements and check out accommodations for those in the 240th Helicopter Assault Company that will be attending the ceremony.  We were in Mississippi for 3 memorable days, spending time with people that all loved Bill.  Everyone was welcoming and gracious and we instantly became friends.  Though we are still apprehensive about the actual ceremony (I’m sure I’ll be writing about that after it occurs!) and the heart-stirring tribute commemorating Richard’s dear friend, we are looking forward to seeing all these lovely people, again. Afterwards, we drove from Mississippi to Missouri for a much needed vacation and to spend time visiting with Richard’s family.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and look at the stunning pictures I took along our 1,384 mile road trip!  As I looked at these pictures I couldn’t help but smile as the remembered words and melody that my great-uncle Woody Guthrie wrote and sang, America’s beloved folk tune “This Land is Your Land” (this proud niece can’t help but boast!) accompanied my viewing. (: 

“As I went walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway  I saw below me those golden valleys  This land was made for you and me …”  ~  Woody Guthrie

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During the 2 1/2 weeks we were away … storm clouds chased us from state to state!

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Spring tulips punctuate the deep green grass …

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Old bridge over a Mill pond …

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Cheerful Spring greeting …

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Cascading waterfalls surrounded by cattails and Redbud Trees.

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 Stacked rail fence, blossoming Redbud Trees and billowy clouds.

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This stunning statue is located at “Top of the Rock” in Ridgedale, Missouri.  The Native American sitting on his horse symbolizes the “Trail of Tears” and standing in an Infinity Pool … appears as if the waters of the pool spill, like tears, over into Table Rock Lake, far below.

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Beautiful chapel in the afternoon shadows.

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Inside the chapel, a breathtaking view of the Cross looking out a wall of windows …

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To the scenic Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake below.

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On another day of travelling, we saw a total of 3 rainbows!  The first rainbow was a double rainbow and the colors were spectacular!  Our 2nd rainbow, the arch was complete and it was the first time I had ever seen where the rainbow touched the ground … no wonder all the folklore and stories of pots of gold!  I was so mesmerized, I forgot to even get a picture until it had almost faded away.  The shimmery vivid colors and beauty of the bow was enchanting and reminded me once again of God’s promise to Noah.

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Lunch at a favorite restaurant with a dear niece on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri.

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After a delicious lunch (which she “sweetly” insisted was her treat! <3) … we took her to “Top of the Rock” (named that because it is located on the highest elevation in Taney County, Missouri) to see the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum and to go to the “Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail” a 2 1/2 mile ride tour driving our own 4-seated golf cart!  Along the trail are dramatic rock formations …

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Majestic waterfalls … we could feel the spray of the water on our face and arms as Richard maneuvered our golf cart around this curve! (:

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Caves …

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… and Amish bridges spanning deep ravines.

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The gray stone chapel standing regal in the purple and golden twilight reminds me of this quote from Lucy Maud Montgomery  “Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.”

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And finally … back to the Bluebonnets of Texas.

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(click here for song!)

“This land is your land, this land is my land

From California to the New York Island

From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me.”  ~  Woody Guthrie

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog!  I’d love for you to “FOLLOW ME!”  (:

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