Monday, September 30, 2013

Musical Monday: Wake Me Up When September Ends

Musical Mondays


Happy Rainy Monday Morning here in Central Alabama!  I want to take a nap but I have way too much to do.  I have a doctor's appointment, and Bonnie Blue has an appointment with her vet.

Here is one of my favorite Green Day songs for the last day in September. Enjoy!
Note:  The actual song starts @ 1:43.


"Wake Me Up When September Ends"
Green Day


"Wake Me Up When September Ends"

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father's come to pass
seven years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

summer has come and passed
the innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

ring out the bells again
like we did when spring began
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father's come to pass
twenty years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends


This song has been on my mind this weekend....What have you been listening to lately?  Thanks Miss Angie for hosting!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's a Horse Show Weekend @ Clairmont!



Just popped-in to say a quick "Hello!"  Shelley is riding today and tomorrow at an Interscholastic Equestrian Association horse show.  This is her first show competing at this level, and she placed sixth in her first class. Congratulations, Shelley!

More photos from the show next week, and I'll visit y'all on Sunday evening when the show's over.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Confessional for 9/27/13 and a Giveaway



Good evening!  Welcome to Friday Confessional.  Thanks to Sweet Aubrey @ High-Heeled Love for hosting!

I confess...

I confess that I was blessed last Monday to hear Carolyn Maull McKinstry speak at a church luncheon. She is a very accomplished woman, and given her busy schedule because she is very much in demand, we were lucky that she made the time to join us and share her story with us.



Carolyn primarily spoke about her book she published a couple of years ago entitled While the World Watched.  Carolyn survived the 1953 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church here in Birmingham.  Her book has gotten even more attention this year as it's the fiftieth anniversary of that horrible day.

I was completely engrossed as Carolyn told about the events that day.  It was Youth Day at the church. I also grew-up Baptist, and Youth Day is a really big deal in the Baptist church.  All the young people were wearing their white shirts and dresses.  Youth would be singing in the services, teaching Sunday School classes, and taking-up the offering.  Carolyn was the church secretary for the day, and she recorded the Sunday School statistics for that day.  She had just passed by the girls' bathroom and saw the girls before she went upstairs to the church office to complete her duties.  She answered the phone right before the bomb exploded that was a threat:  "Three minutes!"  Well, it was more like fifteen seconds when the bomb went off killing four little girls. Ironically, the title of the Sunday School lesson for that day was "A Love That Forgives."


The Four Spirits Memorial in Kelley Ingram Park with the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in the background




Carolyn McKinstry was the chair for The Four Spirits Memorial Project.  The sculpture by Birmingham native Elizabeth MacQueen memorializes  Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins, each of whom was 14 years old, and Denise McNair, who was 11.


I cannot imagine anything more frightening than this.  Historically churches have always been a safe-haven:  There's a reason that the nave of the church is often called the sanctuary.  I cannot imagine going to church with my high school friends and enduring a bombing and the deaths of my friends. I cannot imagine being able to forgive the men responsible for it.  But Carolyn forgave them.

I confess that Carolyn McKinstry humbles me.

While the World Watched is a very important, well-written book.  I enjoyed reading about the Civil Rights Movement from Carolyn's perspective.  She marched with Dr. King and others.  She lived history!  It was difficult reading about the arrests of the students, the Jim Crow Laws, and the sadness the community suffered through violence.  The book also includes excerpts from many famous civil rights speeches and photos of Carolyn, her family, and scenes from the civil rights struggle.

And now, on to the giveaway!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


But I'm not finished with my confessions yet.  This is the front page of The Birmingham News on September 19, 2013:





I know that the University of Alabama story has received national attention, but the situation here in Hoover, Alabama hasn't received as much press, and it's a far bigger issue in my honest opinion.

Basically, Hoover City Schools has decided to suspend bus services for the 2014-2015 school year.

Here is a quote from Hoover City School Board President Paulette Pearson from a recent school board meeting:

"There is no other system like ours that will bus you, that will get you to school and back," she said. "I'm talking in Birmingham, Alabama. There is not another Over-the-Mountain school that will do what we do." 

"We make it easy because we have some housing in our area that's pretty affordable," she said. "People can take advantage of that. And they move in."

Who is they? Do you really have to ask?

I confess... 

I confess that I commend parents who work hard to move to a better school district so their children can receive a better education.

I confess...

I confess that I'm embarrassed to live in Hoover.  

Disclaimer:  We chose not to send our daughters to the local high school. The oldest attended a diverse fine arts school, and the youngest attends a private school that is also diverse. However, we're still taxpayers in this community!

NPR has already covered this story. Where is CNN???  Fox News??? ABC???    :/

Birmingham has come far, but apparently one of her suburbs needs a refresher course in discrimination. 

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Literary Friday: The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman



This week I read The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman.  It is a modern fairy tale reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers rather than the Hans Christian Andersen variety.  It is so dark in the beginning that I almost put it down, but I'm glad I persevered and finished the book because it does have a somewhat happy ending.

"Be careful what you wish for.  I know that for a fact.  Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things.  They burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back."
The Ice Queen, page 1

A small town New Jersey librarian made a tragic wish when she was a girl. That wish, paired with her love of fairy tales, has molded her into an introvert obsessed with death.  She even aids a local detective with cases through her encyclopedic knowledge of ways to die.  Her older brother Ned persuades her to move to Orlon, Florida, when their grandmother dies.  Ned is a meteorology professor at Orlon University, and Orlon is the perfect place to study the science as it's the lightning capital of the world.  Soon after moving in she's struck by lightning in her home.   Ned persuades his sister to join a lightning victims study at the university to keep a closer watch on her because she's becoming increasingly withdrawn.

The Ice Queen has suffered many ill-effects due to the lightning strike.  She is constantly cold, she hears loud clicking noises, and she can no longer see the color red.  She is depressed and completely disinterested in everything until she hears the legend of Lazarus Jones, a lightning strike survivor who lives a reclusive life on an orange  grove.  He is a very intriguing character, and Hoffman does an excellent job with characterizations in the book.  The Ice Queen tells the reader early on that her fire and ice affair with Lazarus doesn't last, but there is much more to the story than this one relationship. The story is also about a brother and sister, a wife an husband, and loving friends. 

I love Alice Hoffman's style.  She is such a concise writer, and she is the master of atmosphere.  I could feel the weight and oppression of the heat and humidity of a Central Florida summer.  Witty and smart, this book also attempts to "compare fairy tales with the chaos theory."  I highly recommend this book if you enjoy magical realism, fairy tales, dark secrets, and (a little) passionate sex. 

Please come back tonight for a special Friday Confessional and a Giveaway!

Until next time...

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Inspired by Rachel Ashwell's Couture Prairie

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Good morning!  It's going to be a busy day today with late riding lessons, so we're ordering pizza tonight and relaxing before a big weekend horse show.

We'll enjoy our pizza in the family room, and as a special treat for us, I put together a little vignette inspired by Rachel Ashwell's Couture Prairie.  If you haven't read this book, you really should.  I enjoyed it so much, and if you have any special occasion coming up it would inspire you, too.  You may read my post about it here.

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Plates and napkins for pizza!!!



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Shelley made this horseshoe craft in riding camp many years ago.  I keep it in the laundry room because it makes me smile!


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Shanley Belle made the autumn leaf bowl in an elementary school art class.


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A friend brought me these matches back from a trip to one of Rachel Ashwell's stores.


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This is what we'll watch while eating our pizza:





Resources:

Horseshoe art and candy bowl:  Handmade by daughters
Plates:  Wedgwood Rosedale
Candle in vintage glass:  Vintage Aroma by Jeffrey Long Designs


LOVE the smell of the Sunny South candle!


Flower frog:  LaPella Pottery via Etsy



Vintage blueberry crate, liner, matches and napkins:  Shabby Chic Couture


The blueberry crate is lined with this lovely Somerset Floral Overdyed Indigo Poplin fabric.


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Vintage lined blueberry crates from Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture


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Prairie print napkins....we've really enjoyed these!





What are you having for dinner tonight?  Are you being a lazy bones like me?  ;P

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Rachel Ashwell's Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures



Good morning!  I recently received a copy of Rachel Ashwell's Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures, and I think it's my very favorite of all of her books to date.  I love how her style is still apparent, but her color palette has evolved to include deeper, more unusual shades.  Plus she's embracing more rustic with the shabby.  I love how she's humorously accepting Texas decor staples at The Prairie, like a large wagon wheel chandelier in the dining room of Liliput Lodge.

I love the opening line of the book flap because it sums-up the style depicted in the book:

"Think Marie Antoinette in jeans and a cowboy hat
-that is Rachel Ashwell's prairie style."

The book is basically about Rachel's purchase of a farm with many outbuildings near Round Top, Texas.  Round Top is a sleepy little town in the Texas Hill Country that hosts a world-famous antiques fair twice annually. Rachel started visiting Round Top for the fair several years ago, and she fell in love with the area.  She opened The Prairie B&B and a Rachel Ashwell Couture store at The Prairie.  I enjoyed reading a little about the farm's history in the book.

Each chapter showcases the different buildings and outbuildings on the property.  There are also chapters about events held at The Prairie and the Round Top Fair.  The Resources page is a comprehensive list of fun places to see if you're ever in the Round Top area.

I would love to visit Round Top and stay at The Prairie.  My favorite structure is the Faith Cottage, and I would love to sleep there a night or two!


Flowers waiting to be arranged for an event at The Prairie



Rustic floors and walls make the lace curtain even prettier in the Bluebonnet Barn.


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Rachel is mixing deep teal, turquoise, deeper lilacs (almost a K&B purple for you folks from New Orleans) and dusty roses (think Meggie's Ashes of Roses dress in The Thorn Birds).
I love the brightness of the Blue Bedroom in Liliput Lodge.



I would love to shop here at The Prairie!

All gorgeous photography by Amy Neunsinger

I'm so inspired by this book, I'm putting together a pretty coffee table vignette this afternoon.  I hope you'll stop by tomorrow and see what I create!


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Happy List: More Autumnal Happy!


My Happy List
Rules:
1.   Grab my delightful button coding for your post above.
2.   Link-up a happy post.
3.   Visit other bloggers and enjoy!



Good morning, my lovelies....welcome to My Happy List, another Autumn Edition!  :D

I hope you're enjoying gorgeous weather wherever you are.

My Happy List

1.   We're loving playing outside right now!  *happy* Our planters are looking so pretty, and they should look good until frost kills them.




We planted some white asters for autumn.





2.   I found these VERY HEAVY little stoneware plates at Pier 1 for around $2 each.  I never find wonderful stuff on sale: I was so happy when I found them!  I think they look like fall, so I don't understand why they were on sale.




Perfect for an afternoon snack of shortbread!


3.   Check out the pretty velvet ribbon in my sorority's colors of turquoise and gray.....so pretty!  Sometimes it's the little things that makes us happy!




4.   Bonnie has been very happy playing outside in the nice weather.  This dog makes me so very happy!




5.   Sunbeams shining through a pumpkin....{happy}  :D




6.   We're VW folks....that's all we drive!  So this commercial makes me smile.  I hope it makes you smile, too!



7.   Yesterday at Church, I was blessed to hear Carolyn McKinstrey speak.  She survived the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing when she was a teenager on September 15, 1963.  Carolyn is such a dynamic speaker, and I will share more about her and her book on Friday.



Please share your happy posts with us!  This is a linky!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Monday, September 23, 2013

Musical Mondays: Changing of the Seasons



I hope you had a wonderful autumnal solstice yesterday!  It's been beautiful here in Central Alabama after a miserably wet Saturday.

Since the season just changed from summer to autumn, I'm sharing a song from my favorite Northern Ireland band, Two Door Cinema Club.  They took their name from the Tudor Cinema club in their hometown of Bangor, Co Down.  I guess it's like the Tudor Fords, maybe?   :/

I read a comment about the band...someone said that if Ron, Harry, and Neville decided to form a Muggle Band it would sound and look like Two Door Cinema Club.  Methinks I agree!

Anyway....I hope you're enjoying a beautiful autumn day wherever you are. Here's Two Door Cinema Club's "Changing of the Seasons:"






"Changing Of The Seasons"

So it's over? I didn't realize
It's so much colder
But it was no surprise

Did you ever
Get to know me?
'cause it has never been so plain to see

When you say you won't forget me
I can tell you that's not true
'cause every day since you left me
I've thought less and less of you

And I've worn out all the reasons
To keep on knocking at your door
Could be the changing of the seasons
But I don't love you anymore

The door is open
You whisper to me
As you stood frozen
Deep on certainty

I hope that you know
What I am thinking
Before you go
With your heart sinking

When you say you won't forget me
Well I can tell you that's not true
'cause every day since you left me
I've thought less and less of you

And I've worn out all the reasons
To keep on knocking at your door
Could be the changing of the seasons
But I don't love you anymore
Anymore
Anymore

You say come back and spend the night
Come back and spend the night
With me
You say come back and spend the night
Come back and spend the night
With me
You say come back and spend the night
Come back and spend the night
With me
They say come back and spend the night
Come back and spend the night
With me

When you say you won't forget me
I can tell you that's not true
'cause every day since you left me
I've thought less and less of you

And I've worn out all the reasons
To keep on knocking at your door
Could be the changing of the seasons
But I don't love you
Anymore

What's on your playlist?  Post and link-up to Musical Monday!


Musical Mondays
Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jo Tagged Me!!!



Jo @ Will The Kids Turn Out Okay tagged me, and her questions she wants me to answer are fun.  I don't normally do these, but Jo is one of my favorite bloggers, so here goes:

1. Do you have a nick name(s)? What is it and how did you get it? 

Everyone calls me RJ, short for Ricki Jill.  A few friends in college started calling me that, and it stuck!


2.  What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

I have a pair of very soft pajamas with a henley top and drawstring pants with a grosgrain ribbon.  I *heart* them!  I like to wear them while watching movies with my husband!


3. Do you buy any magazines regularly? Which? 

My favorite magazine is the UK edition of Country Living.  I also subscribe to The English Home.


4. Who is on your 'Celebrity Freebie'  list (yes you are allowed more than one)? 

Bruce Willis.  He's a list unto himself!  ;P


5. If you are married/ or have a significant other, do you know who is on their celebrity freebie list? 

Oh, yes I know Mr. Art @ Home's celebrity crush.....Shania Twain, d@mn her to h#ll!  (Just kidding....no not really.....)


6. Is there something that would be totally out of character for you to do but what you've always wanted to do? 

I've always wanted to go to the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA on New Year's Day.  It would be out of character because we're usually skiing with the kids then.


7. If you could befriend one celebrity who would it be and why? 

Hmmmmm.....this one is difficult....
I guess it would be Diana Gabaldon, the writer of the Outlander series because I would beg her to tell me what's happening with Jamie and Clair in between books because it takes her so long to write them!


8.  Best lesson you've learned in life? 

Love your neighbor as yourself.  And it's hard!


9. Are you turning into your mother? 

Not really because my mom and I are very different, but I wish I was as social and outgoing as she. She's more fun than I am!


10. What is your favorite cocktail? Red wine? (tell me the name so I can try out new wines), White wine? 

I rarely ever drink.  Partly due to the nonexistent allergies doctors told me I have, so now, since I'm not allergic to sulfites, I might drink just a little more wine.  I do love Caymus Vineyard's Conundrum, and it also comes in a red variety now.  I also like King Fu Girl Riesling.  It's great with spicy food.


Thanks, Jo, for the questions.  Play along if you like!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

I Read Banned Books



Happy Banned Books Week! 

We are blessed with many rights as Americans, and the right to read is one of the most sacred.  Remember that Hitler seized books once he'd collected the citizens' guns. Our Constitution is under attack from both sides of the political spectrum, and we need to protect all of our rights as Americans.   

You might be asking,  "What is Banned Books Week all about?"  Banned Books Week's purpose is to celebrate the freedom to read and to raise awareness about books that are challenged and/or banned.  According to the ALA:

"A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice."

Do I believe that kids should be able to read whatever they want to read? Absolutely not.  That's what parents are for: Parents should make the right decision for their children, not someone else.  I have previewed countless numbers of YA books for both my girls, and I've said no to several because I felt that they were inappropriate for them at the time.  But did I go and pitch a fit at the library or at school? No.  Parents should be more engaged in what their kids are reading.  My daughters and I have bonded over many books and/or YA series.

Here are some book that were either challenged or banned during the 2012-2013 school year.  I have read both of these books, and they are compelling, well-written books.




The next book was also on the list, and I plan to read it soon:



By the way:  Romeo and Juliet also made this list.  Yep. I can't make stuff like this up.  Not my favorite of Shakespeare's tragedies, but it shouldn't be banned, either.


Fifty Shades of Grey made the list, too,  and I am banning it in our home.  I don't want Mr. Art @ Home getting any ideas!  :/

Until next time...

Celebrate your Freedom to Read!
Ricki Jill