“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” - Coco Chanel




Having sisters is one of those indescribable things. I'm the eldest. So I rule. (It would behoove you to not ask questions concerning this.) There are 3, Tiji, Tara, and Toy, and I absolutely cannot imagine life without them. Saying we are a close knit crew is a silly understatement.

Today is "Christmas Candy Making Day" at Tara's, sister number 3, chronologically. We each have a favorite we make, always in double, sometimes triple batches, then share among the 4 of us. Tara's will inevitably be peanut butter balls and Toy's ALWAYS something different (as in "not the norm"). Tiji loves making cookies and I liking dipping "stuff" in almond bark. (My nephew Clint loves my oversized dipped pretzel sticks.=) Music will be loud, it will get messy, but things WILL be back in perfect order before we all leave. (Tara's house is the "best kept".=) AND we get to take home a pile of Christmas candy loot.

The four of us spending time together is necessary to breathe. I wish I could tell you how often I hear "I need some sister time!". Last year we went to Vegas... Funny what you can read in "..." when Vegas is mentioned. Hehe. We often take off to Beau Rivage for an evening of dining and dancing=). Or just have a relaxing evening together at somebody's home. And every year I get the call, "We found our sister gifts, your part is $75!". Someone finds something we all have to have, and you put your 1/4 in the pot to cover the costs of 4 of them.

Today I will get my "fix". We'll laugh, do the electric slide, possibly cry, plan a get-a-way, and weave that sister bond all the tighter.

But that's what holidays are all about. Strengthening family bonds.




"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."-Melodie Beattie

Hello all. Thank you for your patience with my absence. This "most wonderful time of the year" is my "busiest time of the year". Hopefully, I will slow this week and post. My heart has been here all along, Father time just interferes. Under the "note" icon on my blackberry is a list of "blog subjects", hence never lacking subject matter, just time.

My house smells seasonal with sweet potato pies in the oven. Out of state loved ones are here. Overwhelming feelings are consuming me. In the next couple days here's my vow:

I'm going to...

Hug everyone.
Call someone I've not spoken with recently.
Voice my love to those dear.
Say prayers for those who lost family members recently.
Take pies to friends who are hurting.
Invite my new friend with no family to dine with me Thursday.
Spend quiet time with family.
Plant my amaryllis bulbs.
Set a date to make gingerbread houses with the nieces.
Go to the nursing home and visit my aunt.

Make your Thanksgiving list. Or plagiarize mine. Just promise to be thankful in your own way.

(picture from www.cocokelley.blogspot.com)



A long line of cars with their lights on passed as I waited to join the funeral precession. The funeral was that of a 22 year old, son of an old family friend. I absolutely cannot fathom a funeral, much less the death of my very own 23 year old son. How is anyone ever ready for such a time? Be it 23 or 83, death is still beyond shocking.

The "church/chapel" was packed past capacity. I found a chair in the adjacent office area and sat texting my eldest, states away, asking him about music should I have to plan a service for him. I truly wasn't being morbid, just in the throes of a slight panic attack. Feelings of thanks consumed me and I realized yet again you never know when something unspeakable will happen. We texted away, me keeping the conversation going so I could breathe. I suggested a couple songs to which he told me a resounding NO.

Week after next will be rough for the Golman family. I've been blue because recently I learned all my brood won't be with me Thanksgiving Day. After seeing the grieving Mother, I have resolved to lift my chin and be thankful my children are at least somewhere for the day. And I shall call that Mother's name each and every time thoughts of unfairness pop up .

I'm proving my thankfulness for life, health and wealth by giving back this season. My mind replays stories told by my cousin Doretha of how thankful she was for the Ronald McDonald House they stayed in while her son was in the hospital. Each time you go to McDonald's, inside or the drive-thru, give. $1, $5,  even $100 will benefit those in need. Lodgings and food for families with loved ones in the hospital is what Ronald McDonald House is about. I saw my first Salvation Army bell ringer last weekend. In this age of debit cards, I have resolved to keep cash just to put in the red pots.  It's a grand cause. 

Always, always add something to your total at McDonalds for the Ronald McDonald House. Never pass the bell ringer without making a deposit in the red pot. Lastly, teach your children to give and explain where it's going. Have them give something of their very own. Now is the time to clear out since much will be coming in. You'd never believe those at the thrift stores scavenging for toys for gifts for their children. Never throw away, always donate it. 

Needs are incredibly easy to find. Just ask. It's Thanksgiving. Give thanks, then just plain give.


I want...want...want...


Ask me if I want this headboard...and my Boo jumping on my bed again...


And this sofa with my Tay-Tay same height as this wee one...Will continue to look for furnishings that remind me of Tyler...=)


Event Planning-My Forte...

Waking up to the sound of bubbling water, birds chirping and a deer looking at me from the wall above the bed was lovely and disconcerting at the same time. I don't think I've ever slept in a room with a deer head. I immediately opened the blinds for a view of the lake. Serene calmness seemed to invade me though I knew my day was chock full. I was the event coordinator for a "leadership retreat" sponsored by the Developmental Partnership of our City. The retreat is being held in my client's dining hall. Last evening, late hours were required so I stayed over in the adjacent "Camp" house.

With my ipod set to "Jazz" genre, we started the day with Triple Berry Muffins, Fresh Fruit and Sparkling Orange Juice with Pomegranate. Lunch was Spring Greens with Crunch, Penne with Veggies and Alfredo Sauce, Grilled Poultry with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning and Peach Walnut Crisp. At break time there were warm Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies with Walnuts. I sat the tables with a variety of gourds, white and natural pumpkins, Indian Corn and loose deer antlers. The retreat ended with grilled burgers and chips.

Interior Design thrills me, but with wisdom I find event planning is a true love. Not the catering, I would get the hives were I required to cook for 500. It's the planning and implementing I love. Food choices, the actual set up, tablescapes, and music decisions all make me smile.

It has rained all day so we propped the back doors open. The air smells clean and cool and since the rain abated I'd like to paddle to the middle of the lake across the way. Tall necked ducks are quacking loudly outside the back door and I have the urge to chase them. I shall suppress it since I really enjoy working for MCDP.

It's grand to do something you love, especially if it's work related. In this season of thanks, I want to reflect on my abundant blessings. Jesus, if you read my blog please know I'm entirely grateful for allowing me the pleasure of doing what I love AND getting paid for it.


Having Trouble Breathing...All Weekend

My weekend has been chock full of emotions, most of them precious, some overwhelming. Eventful doesn’t begin to explain it. I have 4 blogs rolling around in my head and am completely unsure of where to even begin. I think I’ll do an overview and in-depth ones can follow. Spending the night with friends, attending a heart rending funeral and falling in love all over again with extended family all in one weekend will do you in.

Friday was rushed. I seemed to be behind from the moment my toes touched the floor (in reality, from the first early ring on my cell). I was due to dinner/sleepover with dear friends in Laurel at 6 p.m. and the entire day seemed to work against me. But when I arrived, (sorry to admit it, yes I was 30 minutes late) each obstacle of the day faded away. Royal treatment tends to mellow the drama of a rough day. We dined sumptuously on spring greens with raspberry vinaigrette, garlic mashed potatoes, french style white and green beans and bacon wrapped filets. Finer hosts are rare. My friends live on a working horse “ranch”. The next morning I was introduced to 2 new babies. Diva and Cobalt took my breath away. George, their fine feathered rooster showed up after Katrina and never left. And Tom was found up a tree at around 6 weeks old. He is beautiful, kind, midnight black with a white face, now rotund and sleeps with George in the hay, together I might add. Oak Crest Farms is a zen place for me.

There is a peacefulness at watching horses graze. When let out of the barn that morning, Cobalt followed his mother across the pasture to the shade tree. Diva pranced around and returned repeatedly to the fence to be petted. Jack, their terrier followed our every footstep, well as far as he can. Jack wears a collar where an invisible fence keeps him in. The batteries are now run down but he simply will not cross the line. How well he remembers the first time. I’m told you would have thought he’d been shot he howled so loudly.

Thank you Ben and Ron for your true hospitality. Of the 5 bosom friends I’m told I’ll have over the course of my life, you are part of that lump.

In the “most beautiful days of the year”, this day ranked extremely high. Crisp, clear and sunny are just a smidgen of adjectives that describe. My drive to the coast was soothing. Sunroof opened, James Taylor’s recent Christmas album blared.

Actually, I was headed to work. My cousin David has a new house and asked for help placing new artwork. He booked the day with me with no way of knowing I’d have to be there that very weekend. His new place is 3 blocks from the beach, definitely a perfect bicycle jaunt. Our plans included making his home great, then dinner.

His bungalow is long and narrow, almost in shotgun style. There is a deck running the entire length beach side with mood lighting on the posts. That makes for perfect entertaining. David is a collector of old, fine things. And it’s easy placing great stuff. There is a sailboat that is 4 ft. or more in height. Propped on the mantle in the same room is the captain’s helm from a bygone ship. The dining area, not a formal dining room, has a grand collection of wines and 2 sassy redheads in oil paintings. We worked for several hours and smiling was entirely easy around dusk. It really all came together wonderfully, and I must say the transformation was startling.

The fact that I have lodging that close to the beach is thrilling. And I’m taking my bicycle. Yes, the one with the basket on the front. The place of my birth is less than a mile from his home and I feel a deep seated connection to this city.

Our day ended with great conversation and seafood. A young lady that grew up beside me, and is also David’s cousin, is his backdoor neighbor. Marissa and her husband Zach joined us for dinner. Bonefish, a new fine dining establishment, was the perfect setting. Less than an hour into our conversation, Zach and I discovered a commonality. He’s a contractor and he began telling me of some unusual work he’d been commissioned to do by a client. The phrase “it’s a small world” doesn’t come close to this. The people he’s working for are dear friends of mine from long ago. I worked for them for years and one of the ladies graduated with me. Needless to say, conversation flowed freely for some time.

Hostessing is an art. The book “Home” by Pottery Barn has an entire section on “guests” if inspiration is needed. I spent a relaxing late evening with yet another cousin, Anita, David’s sister. With candles burning, and a large bowl of popcorn, we caught up on Grey’s. Her daughter graciously gave up her bed for me and it’s truly the little things that count. The bath was outfitted nicely and obviously waiting on a guest. Anita waited on me hand and foot though I protested. She has a lovely home and is the most unselfish person I know. She is another blog entirely.

I’m not sure I even turned over during the night. I went to sleep with the knowledge I would dine at my favorite breakfast haunt in Ocean Springs. How much more can you ask for as a guest?

Robert Heyward King by "little james"

Purposely, I’ve not alluded to my reason for needing to be on the coast. A grand, great uncle passed and the funeral was at 2 p.m. When I walked in the door, my breath literally caught in my throat. There was an oil on canvas displayed of Robert Heyward King a.k.a. “Uncle Bobby”. A rendering of a face has never been so moving nor so perfect. It’s human nature to study a portrait and in my humble way, I usually have thoughts of which eyebrow would be lowered or if the nose is a bit off kilter. I could hear Uncle Bobby speaking as I looked at this oil. His spirit is definitely alive in the portrait. I began to inquire immediately. His grandson, “Little James” as this grown man is known, was the artist. I’m proud to announce he is also my cousin. (I know, I know, I have more cousins that Carter has liver pills.) Uncle Bobby owned a construction business for untold years, as well as worked for several prominent companies. He was an instructor at Jackson County Junior College and also Biloxi High School. Oh how he loved to tease. Every picture my mind conjures up is of him holding a coffee cup with an ever present twinkle in his eyes.

Reconnecting with family is such a precious thing. I’m not fond of the reason, death is always emotional, but all the hugs and kisses are absolutely soothing to the soul. My grandmother, grandfather, Dad, Mother, aunt and uncle were all missing. My grandmother would have been collecting her a stack of the funeral programs, bumping into chairs while moving around on her ‘wheels”. Daddy would have been laughing with all the uncles, enjoying the jokes as well as telling them. And all the while Aunt Deta would have been taking pictures, documenting the occasion. Pawpaw would have sit quietly on the sidelines, ever observant. My thought processing on what my Mother would be doing is vague. It hurts to realize she’s been gone so long that I have trouble placing her in a huge family setting. I do know she would have been laughing.

I promised the aunt’s Christmas cards, as I’m always reminded to do. I conversed with long lost cousin Ernest Lee and was told a story of his worst whippin’ ever that my Mother caused. Another cousin, Candy (who is grand daughter to Uncle Bobby), added fuel to my blogging fire. You never know who’s reading.

My day started early at Bayview Gourmet in Ocean Springs. I left with a box full of gargantuan muffins, 2 of which did not make it home. While crossing the bridge I texted Steve (yet another sibling to David and Anita) to say seeing the water made me think of him. He insisted I come over and I left there with a cutting of bamboo and an avocado tree. I love visits that produce presents! (Read previous blog “I’m Officially A Redneck” for more on this cousin.) And yes, David, Steve and Anita have one more sibling, Amanda who is on “adventure” living in North Carolina. I also visited her last month. I have an affinity with this band of cousins wouldn’t ya’ say? All you other bands of cousins don’t get your panties in a wad. I’m affinitied to ya’ll too.

As weekends go, this one was fulfilling. Vacillating from sheer joy to deep sadness, these 3 days were the epitome of that famous quote. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

I definitely had trouble breathing for the last 3 days.


Your Trash...My Treasure


The lamps that look to be McCoy Pottery (but have no markings) were $4.00 each. The statue, a cool $8.00. I hit paydirt at the fleamarket. I reworked my mantle to accomodate the treasures. WOW. I love it. Today was a "fraid I'm gonna miss something so look at every single booth" day. I scoured that place and came home grinning.

Just wanted to share the joy.




Every time I pass this building, my heart speeds up. The owner allowed me a walk through and you could audibly hear my brain clicking. In "my" perfect world, there is a design shoppe on the bottom floor and I live upstairs. The corner entrance would boast a carved wooden sign stating the name "Swanky" with "interior/event" just below. I laugh at myself, but I just can't get away from that name. I love the idea of answering the phone, "Swanky, may I help you?". Large square copper pots with ball topiaries in them flank the front door in my vision. A chalkboard on the sidewalk with a daily quote would be a must. Brightly lit window displays would be impossible to pass without stopping to peruse. Accessories, custom furnishings, a few antiques, even some consignment pieces would make any heart rush upon entrance.

The building is the original Citizen's Bank. There is a beautiful conference room upstairs with mahogany walls that I envision as a dining room. I can see the sparkling chandelier. I'd love having lamps lit at dusk in those front windows with the view of the courthouse. The ceilings are high and the windows tall. My prized art would showcase perfectly.

What's that quote about dreams? "Dreams are necessary to life."~ Anais Nin

What I fail to mention here is I'd have to find me a billionaire to accomplish all this. Feel free to make introductions.



Thank you, Mark...

You have possibly given me the gift of the century.

While attending an incredibly beautiful wedding in Saint Francisville, Louisiana on Saturday (blog forthcoming), my friend Mark says" I looked back, saw tears, and I told them, we'll get a blog from this!"

Sometimes I feel as if I am talking to the wall when posting. Other times, it's for my sanity. Then the time comes when I seriously want to know I'm making a difference. Saturday was validation that warmed my soul. Mark told me of sitting at his desk wiping a tear from one of my posts. He relayed to me how the subject of one blog had given him the boldness to respond to something negative that happened in his life.

I, being human like you, crave knowing that ever so often something said speaks to you. Feel free to comment or email. And if you haven't, subscribe. You'll receive an email notifying you of new posts. I am honored to have your readership.

Mark, my swelled head is your fault. But please, all of you, do share my blog web address with 10 people today.

You'll receive a $1000 shopping spree at Target just for sharing! hehe...


It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


This is the way I begin the season, I watch Miracle on 34th Street (the modern one). My mind is reeling with the fact that it is NOVEMBER people! I felt those sweet "wow, it will soon be Thanksgiving and Christmas" pangs earlier this week. I have begun my shopping, picking up a few things here and there. I keep a detailed list in my phone and purchased gifts go under the recipient's name with an X. I also immediately list the "perfect thing" the moment it pops in my mind. So many times we have an epiphany of just THE thing, and the moment slips away. List it!

Today the ipod gets set on Genre "holiday", I'm boiling cinnamon, orange and cloves on the stove (a tradition that my Tay loves), and I'm going to reflect on making this year one to remember. Yes, it's a rough time for me since my business reels out of control. Yes, my boys both live out of state and I'll crave their presence. Yes, my days are longest and my stress level peaks. But my reaction to things basically out of my control is what governs my happiness.

I am giving myself the gift of blocking off some hours. I will spend quality time with my Tay. I will wrap gifts in a timely fashion. I will mail Christmas cards by December 10th. I will invite bosom friends over to dine. I will blog.

Beginning today, make some lists. What holiday requirement stresses you the most? Is it wrapping? Gift buying? Grocery shopping? Decorating? Baking? Christmas card? Start now to relieve the stress. Wrap as you buy. Pick up some of the holiday groceries each time you go. Set a date to decorate. Update your card list now and address 5 envelopes daily (if doing custom, get the envelopes in advance). I highly recommend being fully decorated before Thanksgiving. You can still set an incredible autumnal table along with your Christmas decor in place. It makes you no less thankful because the tree is up.

Do things now to make December a time of sipping cocoa by the tree. It's up to you.