Celebrating the Sunrise and Sunset

In the sky I see my smallness and my greatness. The knowledge that the world spins, seasons come and go and each day will have a new beginning and an end comforts me in it routine. Great things will happen and I will celebrate; bad things will happen and I will survive. The mysteries of life are in God’s hands and I’m just to do the best I can.
My father loved and savored the daily events of a sunrise and sunset. I’ve been known to make my family stop so I can take a picture and for a moment think of the permanent change that is our life. Add your favorite sky picture you have taken.

Here are a few of my pictures along with a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

THE HOUSE OF CLOUDS. 1841

I would build a cloudy house
For my thoughts to live in,

Castroville Texas, the reflection of the sunset over the football game.
Castroville Texas, the reflection of the sunset over the football game.

When for earth too fancy-loose,
And too low for heaven.

Sunset in Texas Hill Country
Sunset in Texas Hill Country

I sleep, and talk my dream aloud,
I build it fair to see—

Boerne Texas Sunset - by Wade Beard
Boerne Texas Sunset – by Wade Beard

I build it on the moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with thee.

Sunset over New Orleans off the Mississippi River
Sunset over New Orleans off the Mississippi River

Cloud-walls of the morning’s grey,
Faced with amber column,

Sunset over Texas Hill Country on the road to Leakey Texas from Bandrea Texas
Sunset over Texas Hill Country on the road to Leakey Texas from Bandrea Texas

Crowned with crimson cupola
From a sunset solemn—

Sunset on the road to Leakey Texas
Sunset on the road to Leakey Texas

For casements, from the valley fetch
May-mists glimmering,—

Early morning back road in Boerne Texas taken by Brandi Quinn
Early morning back road in Boerne Texas taken by Brandi Quinn

With a sunbeam hid in each,
And a smell of spring.

Sunset from my driveway in Texas Hill Country
Sunset from my driveway in Texas Hill Country

Build the entrance high and proud,
Darkening and eke brightening,

Sun rise in Galveston Texas.
Sun rise in Galveston Texas.

Of a riven thunder-cloud
Veinëd with the lightning.

Sun rise ans storms in Galveston
Sun rise ans storms in Galveston

Use one with an iris-stain
For the door within,
Turning to a sound like rain
As we enter in.

Sunset over Hondo Texas
Sunset over Hondo Texas

For the fair hall reached thereby
Walled with cloudy whiteness, Take the blue place in the sky,
Wind-worked into brightness—

Sunset Port Aransas
Sunset Port Aransas

Whence corridores and long degrees
Of cloud-stairs wind away—

Sunset over Castroville during at a high school football game.
Sunset over Castroville during at a high school football game.

Till children wish upon their knees,
They walkëd where they pray.

Early evening over Boerne Texas Main Street. during Dickens On Main
Early evening over Boerne Texas Main Street. during Dickens On Main

Be my chamber tapestried
With the showers of summer,

From my driveway as I arrive home - Texas Hill Country
From my driveway as I arrive home – Texas Hill Country

Close and silent, glorified
When the sunbeams come there—

Sudden harpers, harping on
Every drop as such,—

Early evening over Boerne Texas Main Street. during Dickens On Main
Early evening over Boerne Texas Main Street. during Dickens On Main

Drawing colours like a tune,
Measured to the touch.

Bring a shadow green and still
From the chesnut forest—

On the Mississippi heading into New Orleans
On the Mississippi heading into New Orleans

Bring a purple from the hill
When the heat is sorest,—

Texas Hill Country Sunset from my driveway
Texas Hill Country Sunset from my driveway

Spread them out from wall to wall,
Carpet-wove around;    And thereupon the foot shall fall
In light instead of sound.

Sun rise, from my balcony in Galveston Texas -
Sun rise, from my balcony in Galveston Texas –

Bring a grey cloud from the east
Where the lark was singing—

Clouds and storms trying to block the sun as it climbs into the sky over Galveston, Texas
Clouds and storms trying to block the sun as it climbs into the sky over Galveston, Texas

Something of the song at least
Lost not in the bringing,—

Slow rise over Galveston, Texas
Slow rise over Galveston, Texas

And that shall be a morning chair
For poet-dreams,—when with them
No verse constraint—the floating air
Their only, lovely rhythm.

Te sun rising as I leave for work - leaving the Texas Hill Country and heading to San Antonio
Te sun rising as I leave for work – leaving the Texas Hill Country and heading to San Antonio

Bring the red cloud from the sun—
While he sinketh, catch it,—
Bring it for a couch, with one
Side-long star to watch it—

Fit for a poet’s finest thought,
At curfew time, to lean;

Peaceful morning on my balcony in Galveston Texas
Peaceful morning on my balcony in Galveston Texas

When things invisible are brought
More near him than the seen.     Poet’s thought, not poet’s sigh!—
Alas! they come together!

Cloudy walls divide and fly
As if in April weather.

Castroville Texas, the reflection of the sunset over the football game.
Castroville Texas, the reflection of the sunset over the football game.

Hall, corridore, and column proud—
My chamber fair to see—
All pass—except that moonlit cloud
To which I looked with thee.

Night on the porch as the moon slips across the sky
Night on the porch as the moon slips across the sky

Let them!– Wipe such visionings
From the fancy’s cartel;
Love secures some frailest things,
Dowered with his immortal.

Suns, moons may darken—heaven be bowed,—
But here unchanged shall be,

Walking into Jackson Square late at night.
Walking into Jackson Square late at night.

Here in my soul—that moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with thee.

Show us you best sky picture. Always looking up!

Decorating with Memories

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I love pulling out the boxes of Christmas decorations. Almost all of them have a memory attached. I fill my house with Nativity scenes. I have several, from ceramic glazed sets to plastic ones I got so the kids could play with them.

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Today I’m posting pictures of the naivety scene my mother made when I was about eight years old. She poured the molds and glazed the set. A few of the pieces have been bumped and dinged but they are the first thing I set up in my house and the last thing I put away.

My tree is covered with angels and handmade ornaments form my kids. Almost every single treasure has a story attached. One of the first that goes on the tree is a white plastic reindeer with one antler missing. When I was about five my grandmother’s mother, Granny, let me pick any ornament off her tree. She had some beautiful heirloom decorations, but my little-kid-self skipped right over those and went for the flying reindeer. There were times in the past I didn’t appreciate the little plastic guy and he would be left in the box of odd and end pieces. Now, he is one of my favorites.

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Do you have an ornament or decoration that carries more sentimental value than monetary? I would love to hear your stories.

Small business, big heart and my debut book signing.

I love life in a small town. People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousin and your children. You belong. You have a history. You’re part of a story.
The draw back? People remember you as a teenager, and they really know your family members.

The hills between Boerne and Leakey Texas
The hills between Boerne and Leakey Texas

There are different levels of small towns. Places like Leakey, Texas with less than 400 people is what I consider small. It is also the kind of town I love writing about, generations of ranchers and business owners. Kindergarteners to twelfth graders are on the same school campus. Community is strong. Not a great deal has changed there over the years.

My first Clear Water Book.
My first Clear Water Book.

Then you have small towns like Boerne, Texas. When I started school here in 1979, there was one high school, one middle school and two elementaries. No chain restaurant or fast food. The grocery store and pharmacy were owned by local families. About 4,000 people called it home, and you could still hear people speaking German. Boerne is going through growing pains. North of San Antonio, people love the Main street feel of small town with the convenience of the big city.
You don’t see as many family owned businesses, for the sake of convenience the big box stores have staked a claim forcing the mom and pop shops to close or redefine themselves.
I write small town stories. Lone Star Holiday takes place in a small town on the Frio River. Rumor has it the population is 400 if you count the horses.
In honor of Texas small towns and family I’m proud to announce my first book signing for Lone Star Holiday. It will be on Main Street in Boerne at Bergmann Lumber on October 19th. Yes, I’m having a book signing at a hardware store. They are one of the few family owned businesses that have found a way to survive the shift in Boerne’s population and demographics.

Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber
Main Street Boerne Texas, Bergmann Lumber
Family owned lumber and home décor for three generations. Bergmann Lumber on Boerne Main Street.
Family owned lumber and home décor for three generations. Bergmann Lumber on Boerne Main Street.

The two story limestone building is a historical site and owned by the same family for three generations. Randy Bergmann and his daughters have managed to reinvent their store front and focus on customer service.

So if you want to buy a story about small town, family and faith come by Bergmann Lumber on Main Street in Boerne, Texas. You can also support small businesses. Do some early Christmas shopping.http://www.bergmannlumber.com/
Book Signing Saturday October 19th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

Small towns across Texas gather on Friday night for The Flags and some football.
Small towns across Texas gather on Friday night for The Flags and some football.

Would the REAL Barbie step foward?

Should Barbie look like a real 19 year old girl?
Should Barbie look like a real 19 year old girl?

Would the REAL Barbie step foward?

Do you believe we have sub-conscious expectations created by our culture? I find this post about measurements of real women interesting. Has Barbie set an unrealistic body image for American girls only to have it reinforced in print and movies? I do have to admit I loved my Barbies and Kens. I had the town house, the Hawaiian Hut, an airplane, horses, more clothes than one doll needed and of course Barbie’s purple corvette. I always did wonder why Ken didn’t have his own car. I guess we know who was in charge. Barbie might be a physical anomaly but she’s never short of girl power.

Inheriting Memories

There are so many things we inherit from our parents, grandparents and ancestors we’ve never even met. Names and stories we don’t  know flow through us. They are the scattered pieces that make us whole. Our passions, temperaments and talents that make up  our DNA.

We also inherit kingdoms, priorities, minerals rights, recipes and debt. 

But the most precious inheritances are memories. As a writer, the stories of the past fascinate me and often work their way in to my characters’ narratives.  I have a story I want to write based a WW 2 diary that was passed down from one of my grandfathers, Forrest French. I never got to meet him. Maybe he also gave me  my love of journaling?

What brought this musing to mind? My daughters inherited a Hamilton mint green and chrome drugstore milkshake maker from my grandmother.  

Me-Maw's Drug Store Milkshake Maker
Me-Maw’s Drug Store Milkshake Maker

Me-Maw had this wondrous appliance sitting on her counter for as all long as I can remember. She had worked at her brother’s Main Street Drug Store in Leakey, Texas and somehow got to keep this one. 

Norris Fisher, owner of local drug store in Leakey Tx. Photo by Marc St Gil November 1973
Norris Fisher, owner of local drug store in Leakey Tx. Photo by Marc St Gil November 1973

(I found this photo of  Uncle Norris on Tom Clark’s blog) http://tomclarkblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/marc-st-gil-wading-in-water-leakey-texas.html

Every trip to Me-Maw’s (and we visited a great deal) would get us an orange plastic cup of a chocolate milkshake.  And as time has a way of marching on, I soon found myself as a mother of four.  Me-Maw was serving them the special treat.

My oldest daughter, also the oldest granddaughter and great-granddaughter, got a promise from Me-Maw that she would inherit the appliance. I find it amazing what people will fight over after a death of a loved one. As humans, we get very emotional over the strangest things. I have seen families torn apart over the smallest properties.  Of course at times, a mix of greed, grief and regret can become an ugly cocktail of emotions that boils over to hurt others.

So standing in the spacious country kitchen sorting through the property and family heirlooms can be emotional. My father had passed before his parents so my sisters stood with my uncles. One of my uncles made a point that Me-Maw wanted Katrina and Storm to have her milkshake maker. Despite everyone wanting it, and Katrina being a great-granddaughter, they all agreed.  That in itself brought Katrina to tears.

Now whenever we have guests, Katrina loves making milkshakes for everyone. She might have inherited more than just the mint green appliance from Me-Maw. Like a desire to show her love by serving?

I do know we inherited more than a milkshake maker, because warm memories of family and love are wrapped tightly around the little machine.

 Do you have an item you love because of the memories and places tied to it, or regrets of a lost  family heirloom?

Are you living your life or a default script?

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=203280383144662

Watching this video reminded me of the words my father told me my senior year when I was trying to plan my future. My father was a professional airline pilot, he flew commercial planes, he flew small planes, at one time he and his best friend Ken Taylor built their own plane. My father loved flying. He lived in a place he loved, doing what he loved. My father, Roger Von Guinther, was 49 when he died as a passenger in a small plane. If he had known, would he had changed anything? His family and planes brought him many hours of joy.

Katrina, Storm and Jackson hanging out in one of Poppy's planes.
The grandkids, Katrina, Storm and Jackson hanging out in one of Poppy’s plane.

That night, twenty-eight years ago, my father sat at the foot of my bed and asked about my future plane is still clear in my mind.  What my father said that night. His advice: find what you love and do it the best you can. I have to admit it took me a bit to figure it out but I’m more happy with my life right now than ever before, art and writing fill my tank. I have a sister that teaches yoga. Our baby my  travels across Texas pulling a stock trailer from show to show. Daddy said many time he just wanted us to be happy…I think his wish for our lives have come true.

Roger Guinther with Tracye, Mandy and Jolene in front of his 57 T-Bird.

Life gets busy but I do believe with work, perseverance and being ready when the opportunity arrives you can live the life of your dreams. What path did you choose: safety or bliss?

Do you guide your children to a career promising security and wealth or one that fills their passion?

In Love with Anti-Valentine War Movies

I write love stories. Therefore, Valentine’s Day should be like my National Holiday, right? Wrong. It is the one and only day I will go to a war movie. Twenty-seven years ago, I had my first Valentine’s Day date with the man that would become my life mate. I wanted to see Say Anything.

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but he wanted to see Platoon.
Platoon-(1986)-movie-wallpaper

I was young and giddy with love so as any girl would do I agreed to see his movie.
I hate war movies and avoid them at all cost, but I have to say Platoon was one of the best movies I had ever seen.
Hey, I grew up on Pretty in Pink and Breakfast Club. I do love my happy endings and war movies by their very nature do not have happy endings.

That compromise began a tradition. It would become our anti-Valentine war movie date. Over the years, we went on to see Good Morning Vietnam, Glory and Saving Private Ryan to name a few.
It helped that Glory starred Mr. Denzel Washington, 6a00d83451c20869e200e54f1231078833-800wi
but I digress.

These are all movies that I would never had bought a ticket to see, but worth every dime. There is a great deal to learn about human nature in a well done war movie. There are images that stay planted in my mind, such as floating body parts. Does it make me a better person to get out of my comfort zone and leave my safe world of happy ever after? Maybe.

I have to tell you, it is not always easy to find a war movie during February. This year we lucked out with Zero Dark Thirty.Zero-Dark-Thirty
Can’t wait. She says with a lopsided grin and one eyebrow raised. It has worked for us for Twenty-seven years now, so I’m not messing with a good thing.

Do you have a traditional Valentine tradition or Anti-Valentine tradition?
While we’re talking about it let me know if you have seen any good war movie lately. (Good War –is that an oxymoron?) Do you have a favorite war movie?