Friday, July 3, 2015

America ~ Not Perfect But I Still Love You



I was globally aware long before it became popular to think globally.
Because my Daddy was president of the international division of a major
US corporation, I was introduced to people of all nations from a very
early age.  I knew that one of the things I wanted to do as soon as I
was old enough to make my way in this world was to travel everywhere
and see everything through my own eyes as my Daddy did through
his.  So I did.  



I was a teacher at two different schools in the middle east.   My first
teaching experience was at an Irish School in Bahrain.  It was
established to give Irish contractors a school for their
 children to continue their studies while their daddys were under
contract to build an electric substation on the island.  It was a
wonderful experience teaching a small class of 6, 7, and 8  year olds 
in a makeshift classroom on the second floor of a building that housed 
a full fledged Irish pub on the first floor.  

After that, I was hired by the Sacred Heart School to teach first
primary in their newly constructed primary school out in the 
desert in a village named Isa Town.  This time, instead of all the
students coming from one country, my students came from many
countries and many faiths.  Somehow, it all worked.  We all
coexisted and everyone studied hard and grew together as
a community.




I learned first hand how life is quite different in other nations.
The opportunities and freedoms we enjoy in our own country
are often not experienced on the global stage.

Here is what I learned ~

Not all children go to school.  Many are subject to a life
of hard labor with little or no chance for advancement.

Many fathers work in other countries as servants or
gardeners or hotel and restaurant workers to earn enough
money to send back home to support their families.

Citizens are often not permitted to speak their minds
regarding the decisions their government makes.

News and media can and is suppressed by governments
giving citizens limited knowledge of the world
around them.

Not everyone has running water or potable drinking water.
Electric power is often intermittent if available at all.
Sewers don't always exist.  

Medical care is often not available to the average 
citizen in many countries.

Many citizens live in constant fear because of 
tyrannical governments controlled by corrupt
leaders.



After my experience living and traveling abroad for several years,
I returned home to the United States.  While I always had a great
love for this country, I had an even greater appreciation for it after
what I had witnessed through my own eyes in other nations.  The
many opportunities and freedoms that are offered to us became all
the more precious to me.  I was then and am now, very thankful
to be a citizen of the United States.



I am prompted to write this because of the disturbing news I have 
heard recently.  Many Americans have lost pride for our country.

Why I wonder?

Are we perfect?   No of course we are not.  As humans we all make
mistakes and must learn from those mistakes and move on to
create a better future.  Yet we Americans were given through our
constitution, the opportunity to have that freedom to live our
lives in peace and to grow in our maturity and to help those
less fortunate than ourselves.  

This nation is a melting pot of people and cultures.  It is much
like the classroom of my 45 first primary students composed of 
children of many lands and cultures.  It was my job as their 
teacher to help them to work together to learn and grow.  We
made mistakes along the way and learned from them.  At the
end of the school term I was proud of each and every one of
them.  

So as I celebrate this July 4th, the symbol of our freedom
and independence as a nation, I  am proud of my country.
No, we are not perfect.  Yes, we have problems that need
to be addressed.  We are a large family of people of many
varied backgrounds who live and work together sometimes
well, and sometimes not.  Yet we have the opportunity and
the freedom to live together and learn from each other.  
Not all peoples of this planet have the luxuries and rights
that our constitution has afforded.

That being said.  I love this nation and will continue
to be proud to be an American.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Oh and I am thinking that I have lots of stories
about many of my adorable students.  Can't wait
to tell you the story about Patrick and Nigel ~ two
little red haired, freckled face Irish lads who
were full of mischief and how I coped with their
shenanigans as their fresh faced brand new teacher.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley






Tuesday, June 30, 2015

4th of July Cupcake Station


I love cupcakes and created a little 4th of July cupcake station in one area
of my breakfast room so that anyone walking through on their way to
the back porch can grab a cupcake.




I found this cute little ribboned cake stand at …..any guesses???




At Home Goods of course.  I never seem to walk out of that
store empty handed :-)


Bentley is on high alert for cats today.  They are keeping him
really busy!  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Monday, June 29, 2015

Posh Pups in the Bath


As I told you last week, the theme for my guest bath is "Posh Pups".
I started the decorating with this little vanity stool.  It used to look 
like this below ….





The seat of the stool was covered in a cream colored Damask.  It was
pretty, but had no pop.

So ….



I covered it with this posh pup dog print.  I used some of this fabric
for a pillow for the guest bedroom.  I loved it in there and thought,
why not in the bath too?   I also thought it will be nice if these
two rooms are coordinated.




The colors of the room will be spa blue, off white and touches of 
gold.  I am ready to start stripping off the wallpaper.  I plan to use
a combination of water and fabric softener to do this.  I have used
this method before and it's a winner.  I'll show you my process as
it happens.

More to come!


Speaking of pups ~ our dear little Bentley has a major,
major crush on our neighbor's Chihuahua named Bella.
I expect him to deliver some flowers to her any day
now :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Enduring Friendships


One of the reasons I love antiques is that each piece has a 
history.  Someone once loved and treasured the item and for
whatever reason have now passed it on.  Sometimes a vintage
teapot or creamer is checked and cracked from use.  Other
times the piece is like new, as if it were stored away in a
hutch or cabinet and only brought out on special days.




Or perhaps its an old piece of furniture, nicked and worn in many spots 
from constant use.  Those are the pieces so many of us gravitate towards 
because they hold a special charm.  Sometimes we find new pieces and
try to make them look old, but there is always a certain newness about 
them that only time can adequately embellish.

Some friendships are like that.  I feel so fortunate to have some friends
with whom I have shared the nicks and abuses of life.  Old friends who 
have shared the stages of life with me from elementary school right 
up to today.  We have gone through first boyfriends, college applications,
sorority hazing, marriage, babies and every little twist and turn down
life's path.  Yet there is a special bond that we share that is unbroken
and just seems to become more cherished and dear as the years go by.



Then there are the somewhat newer friends.  There is
not the same history that is shared because we have met
as adults so we create a history together from a different
starting point.  Perhaps we meet in the workplace or we
are neighbors.  We may have been born in different cities
or countries of the world, yet there is some instant 
recognition of heart that draws us together and cements
a bond.  The longer we interact, the stronger that bond
becomes.



Or perhaps we have not yet met face to face, but have met via
blogging.  We discover that we have the same interests.  We 
quickly make up for lost time by visiting each other's blogs and
then sending emails.  Day by day that bond grows and we
are no longer acquaintances, but friends.  True friends.



The longer I have lived and moved from place to place in this big
wide world, the more friends I have held in my heart.  We are so
lucky to live in a world where the distance in miles between us is
shortened by our instant communication.  It makes it so much 
easier to share special moments in real time despite being so
far away from each other.  



So to me, friendships are a lot like antiques.  We all suffer a few
nicks and scars along the way, but the heart of the friendship is
still there and all the more dear in it's cherished patina.  

I just want to say thank you to all of you who have been so kind to
extend your hand in friendship.  You make my little world a much
happier place and I treasure you.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lazy Hazy Days


I have always been a fan of summer reading.  The pleasure of kicking
back and reading a book just for fun has stayed with me each and every
summer since childhood.  

Once or twice a week during our summer holidays, my friend Caroline
and I would ride our bikes to the village library and check out as many
books as our bicycle baskets would hold.  Our treasured library cards 
were always maxed out all year long, but even more so during the lazy,
hazy days of summer.  I remember the excitement of bringing those
books home and setting them on my dresser, carefully deciding which
title would be the lucky first read.

My mom always insisted on lots of fresh air and exercise, so the books
would have to remain on my dresser, unopened until after dinner.  Then
I would grab my bathing suit, towel and sunglasses and hop on
 my bike once again.  This time headed to the beach with friends for
the rest of the day.

Such happy, carefree, childhood days.



We were so lucky to live right near the shores of Lake Michigan.
I treasured my yearly summer beach pass.  As we rode down the tree
lined streets headed to the lake I remember laughing and telling
jokes and stories with my friends.  The streamers of my handle bars
flying along side me as I peddled as fast as I could towards the lake
past pretty houses and lush green lawns.  Soon we would be there
for the rest of the afternoon.  Sand between our toes.  Seeing who
could stay underwater longest.  Who could swim the fastest.  How
many popsicles we could buy with the money we kept in our beach
totes.  

Precious moments that are fleeting and never to be recaptured again.




All grown up for many years now, I continue to think of summer as a
lazy and dream filled time.  I still head to the library once a week and 
check out lots of titles.  It's a time to loose myself once again in
the joy of summer reading.  Decorating books.  Cookbooks.  Whatever
my heart fancies.  




Magazines through the mail or picked up on a whim from the 
grocery store.   



And of course a good "beach read".  Nothing too heavy.  Something
easy and uncomplicated to open up and lose myself in for a couple 
of hours.  Soft music in the background.  The slight breeze of the
overhead ceiling fan.  A delightful way to spend a hot and hazy
afternoon.    

But then of course ….



There is always the temptation of an afternoon nap.
Such are the hazy, lazy days of summer.

Pink Saturday

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

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