This is the post I intended to write back in June, when I returned from a glorious two weeks in Florida, visiting my mother-in-law. I've had the intention just about every day since.
So enough is enough. I've decided "Today's the Day"! (Click on that to hear the awesome Shake Russell song that is now gladly stuck in my head. It's one of my favorites!) Before any more time passes, adding to the already-too-long length of this post, I'm going to pretend I don't see the to-do lists piled in front of me, and just get this written.
Why do I bother? My first reason is I have a terrible memory, and even though I've been good about jotting down my 'sweet!'s in a journal every day, it's different when they are recorded here with my photos. Looking back at my old posts helps keep my memories alive, so even if I'm the only one reading them, it's worth it to me to continue.
But I do hope it inspires you, my reader, to focus on the positives in your life, to be more intentional about opening your eyes and seeing the blessings around you. As with anything else, it gets easier with practice.
The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
~Henry Ward Beecher
Mornings with Belle. We've had a record number of 100+ degree days already, so mornings are the best time to get outside. She trots and sniffs to catch up on the latest activity while I say my Rosary and satisfy my photography addiction.
I just take my iPhone these days, but it's good for snapping photos of Belle, heart rocks, and wildflowers, like the one of a lingering bouquet of mountain pinks above.
Belle's hip is doing much better, but out of the blue she developed conjunctivitis and a horrible sounding cough. Back to the vet for eye ointment and antibiotics. They did the trick, but I can't help wondering what caused it and what's next for my sweet puppy.
Middle age is not being kind to her, but she is still my joyous, energetic, life-loving Belle. I'm not taking her company for granted, that's for sure.
Not that I ever did. But I think I did take her good health for granted, much like we do our own, when we have it.
This photo is from the 4th of July. I declared myself free from having to go anywhere that day except for this walk with my puppy. Even though I didn't witness any parades, and could only hear the BOOM of fireworks in the surrounding hills, it was a wonderful 4th of July.
I spend hours in my car, so I've been learning Italian via CDs in preparation for a trip to Italy with friends in October. I'm also helping to plan my 40th high school class reunion in October and our church's biggest fundraiser of the year - Oktoberfest.
Whew! Just thinking about October excites and exhausts me, all at the same time! (P.S How many raffle tickets do you want to buy?)
I cherish time with friends, so I'm happy to report I've made it a priority over the past two months. My Lago Vista friends and I have been intentional about getting together every couple of weeks for dinner, plus...
My dear friend Annie was in town to house-sit for her sister. We managed a couple of visits, along with our friend Darla. But the hours flew by. There's just never enough time. (This was on another friend's birthday - we didn't want to leave her out!)
My friend Shirley is one of the reasons I'm grateful for Facebook. It's given me a second chance to get to know beautiful people like her that I didn't know back in high school.
She came to town to visit her sister, who has also become a friend. Seeing both of them, meeting their friend Julia, and spending more time with Darla was definitely sweet!, as was the glorious view of Lake Austin and the Texas hill country from Debbie's house.
Years and years and years ago, TG was in Brownies. And so was Cheyanne.
Now Cheyanne is a mom. That's her baby I'm holding up there.
Such a sweet!, but also... sigh. It's just hard to believe they are old enough to be having babies!
Weddings are always sweet!, especially when you know it's a match made in heaven, which will truly be appreciated. It was a joy to witness the one above.
When I moved to Austin 20+ years ago, it surprised me that I wasn't homesick a day. I think that was at least in part because I already had a friend from my hometown living here - Darla. Another one, Leslie, soon followed. A few years later (thanks again to Facebook!) we discovered another classmate, Debbie, lived nearby. We use our birthdays, among other things, as excuses to get together.
In June we celebrated Leslie's. She's one of the last to turn 58.
I love that my clients quite often become my friends, if they weren't already. And what a blessing when they start a business making signs like the one above that I can order to give to new clients! (Also, what a joy when they adopt a baby that I finally get to meet in person, as I did a few weeks ago. No photos, but trust me, he's a little doll! )
Speaking of clients, business has been great, which is a major sweet!, of course. Especially when you've helped a friend realize her dream of owning a new home, like Kris up there, or a friend's child (who you have watched grow up!) become a homeowner for the first time. That closing is bright and early Monday morning. It began in a multiple offer situation - just a little extra sugar on top that our offer was chosen over the others.
I'm also happy to report that a property I've had listed off and on for a couple of years finally has a new owner! Persistence pays off, that's for sure. I never give up.
I still have a couple of other listings who need new owners. One is in Spicewood, near yummy Opie's Barbecue and Krause Springs, which is a gorgeous grotto/swimming hole I've written about recently. Two acres bordering Lake Travis. It's a piece of a nine acre parcel that includes a precious lake cabin, recently upgraded and decorated Magnolia-style. The owner is considering selling the whole shebang, furnishings included, so if you know someone who may be interested, let me know.
Another one is an awesome home in my own neighborhood. It's situated at the top of a hill on 7 acres, ensuring privacy and not only a view of Lake Travis, but also of every sunset, plus the fireworks of a multitude of surrounding communities on the 4th of July.
Oh, and the night sky. You wouldn't believe the stars out here.
It's a little bittersweet, as always. The sellers are friends. They were the Boy Scout Leader and troop treasurer that Tom and I followed. Their son was the first Eagle scout in the troop. I've helped take care of their pets when they were on vacation (they believe in dog rescue) and taken their youngest daughter to school when she needed a ride.
Of course, that was many years ago. Their kids are grown. It's time to downsize, and it's my job to help them move on to their next dream. So if this sounds like the right home for anyone you know, let me know!
Most of my clients are friends, or referred to me by friends or past clients, but not all of them. Last week I spent two days with a buyer from California who first called me about one of my listings. It wasn't what he was looking for, though, so I found a few that were a better match and he flew here to take a look at them.
We first met at Opie's Barbecue in Spicewood, because a few of the properties he was interested in were nearby. For one thing, we were meeting at lunchtime. It was a great excuse for me to finally go inside Opie's to eat. I had passed it so many times but always at the wrong time or when I was too busy to stop. For another, it was a great way for us to get to know each other a little before heading out to different properties.
Somewhere in the course of our conversation, I mentioned my blog and photography. That's not the first time - clients often ask what I did before I became a Realtor. But what is surprising is Victor and his nephew Rick actually took time to read my blog. Rick read it that night, and Victor read it when he was back home in California. Except for a few of my closest friend/clients, they may be the only clients who have.
They also noticed my brake lights were out and wanted to fix them for me while we were out showing property. Since we were in rural area (no Autozones!) I thanked them but assured them I would get it fixed as soon as possible. (I did.)
Once back in California, Victor called to discuss the properties we viewed - and to check on whether I'd gotten the brake lights replaced.
Having clients who are that thoughtful is really sweet!
I get plenty of glimpses of Lake Travis every day, which is sweet!, but finally jumping into that cool water on a scorching summer day is even better. Thanks to my Keller Williams market center family, I made that plunge last week off of a party boat anchored in a quiet cove until just after sunset. It was just what I needed!
My brother lives close enough to visit, but not close enough to visit very often, so I was grateful when they had a cook-out in June to celebrate his wife's birthday and granddaughter's visit, so I could spend time with all of them for a few hours. He lives on a few acres of gorgeous Texas hill country, complete with horses, including Rooster who was born just a few months ago. (My brother loves him.)
No pictures, due to strict orders, but I was able to spend time with all of my kids one Sunday evening this month to celebrate TG's birthday. My absolute favorite way to spend a day, just sitting around the table playing catch up with my kids. They amaze me!
Early in July, I was driving past Mama's nursing home when I noticed the rose bush my market center planted last year on RED Day was dotted in pink blooms.
Of course, I had to pull in and take a photo.
And then I had to go inside to say hi to anyone who would remember me. I found a few members of the staff, and then was so pleased to see Mama's first roommate down one hall. I spent a few minutes talking to her - she seemed to remember me - before heading on my way.
The tears came without warning once I was back in my car, but they were as much gratitude as sadness, that I was able to have her so close and know that she was cared for so lovingly.
Tom and I spent two whole weeks in Florida at the end of May and beginning of June to celebrate his mom's birthday. It was a HUGE sweet!, all around, getting to spend time with her, see several of his brothers and different sisters-in-law, play cards, make a few trips to the beach, go thrifting and antiquing and sightseeing...
I still touched base with clients and even wrote a contract while I was there, but it was a change of scenery, much less time on my computer, and very little time behind the wheel.
In other words, it was a great vacation!
On the way home, we met my sister and her husband for lunch. Before we knew it, four hours had passed! But I was so grateful for it. (That's Tom's finger in the photo with us. :) )
That is MORE than enough for one post, and I even left out a lot! It just goes to show that when you pay attention and keep your eyes open, you'll find sweet!s all around you.
I originally planned to end the post there, with that awesome fortune resting on one of my Florida thrifting treasures. But unfortunately, this morning I received word that my dear friend Rae's dad passed away today.
Rae was my go-to when I needed someone to check on my mom and dad, especially when they were in the hospital and then when they were living in the nursing home in Pasadena.
She stepped in to help us sort through/clean out my parents' house, and was there to help with the garage sale. I really don't know what we would have done without her.
Her dad, Bill Bailey, was a larger than life Houston personality. A radio disc jockey when we were growing up, a Constable, and the voice of the Houston Rodeo for ages and ages. What I remember most is hearing his distinctive voice telling us scary stories at junior high slumber parties.
Rae lost her mom several years ago and was very, very, very close to her dad, so I would truly appreciate it if you would keep her and her family in your prayers right now. Thank you!