Thursday, December 16, 2010

~ Lessons from the 'Little Gent' ~

OH….if only I had a photograph of this evening as this is a memory I don’t want to forget!

Last week I took the ‘little gent’ shopping as I was with his mom when she spotted a necklace that she loved.  Our evening was ‘too brisk’ for Florida, however it lent itself to the Christmas spirit. We scurried into Charming Charlies and quickly located the beaded beauty that his mommy had spied. He proudly told me he had $7.00 in his purse of which he would use $5 for this necklace because he still had to get something for his dad too. As we approached the checkout counter he decided to get his money out. With beads in one little hand and his purse in the other, he plopped down right in the middle of the floor. He pulled out a tight roll of bills. As he unraveled each bill the little green pile stacked up. OH friend, if only I could freeze this memory. His beautiful brown curls circling his head, the small pile of money, the necklace laying on his knee, shoppers pausing for a moment to see a child experiencing the true spirit of Christmas ~ I have to admit my throat swelled with emotion.

As we stepped back outside hand in hand, holiday music and the lighted palm trees enchanting us, the ‘little gent’ said to me with a precious, sweet look, “Mema, my dad’s right, it does  make me happier to give!” 

Ladies, as we draw this year to a close, Lindsey and I will be spending our time with the most important people of our lives….our family.  This is our final post of 2010 and it comes with the warmest wishes of a fulfilling and meaningful holiday. ~ Jeannie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

~Sugar Plum Fairy~

  Bon Bon’s, Mouse King, Herr Drosselmeier, Sugar Plum Fairy…
      Last year we attended a Nutcracker Ballet for the very first time. Mom and I and the ‘Little Lady’ awaited the day with great anticipation. We were not to be disappointed. The exquisite costumes were fashioned in Russia. The dancers had skill and precision from hours of practice, driven by a passion only known to a ballerina. The Beauty on stage that night was breathtaking and talked about all year long.
      Now once again, our tickets are purchased and we count down the days when we will dress up and enjoy the event all over again.
     This time we have a very special guest who will be joining us. This Beautiful Lady will make our entourage 4 generations instead of 3. She is my precious Grandma Pearl who has influenced my life in the most wonderful way. (That makes Great-Grandma for the ‘Little Lady’.)
She flew in from Kansas for this unforgettable occasion. 
     We won’t even be able to capture the Beauty of the night on film, but oh, we will try… ~Lindsey

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

~The Day To Be Thankful~

Festivities are in the air and I’m sure today we have all started preparing in some fashion or another for our beloved Thanksgiving!
Family arriving from far away, thawing the turkey, making the homemade dinner rolls, “dressing” the table we’ve had planned out for weeks to be a special and memorable treat. We have been diligent practicing with the ‘Little Lady and Gent’ at tea parties to use their “bestest” manners, ‘Please pass the rolls, Oh, the sweet potatoes are delicious’. Always remember not to smack those lips and yes, the napkin is for your face and your face is not to be wiped on your sleeves. Each of us carries with us our own traditions for our families that we have created or learned from our mothers and grandmothers before us.
Teaching the ‘Little Gent’ for the first time about our pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving has caused me to be in awe more than ever before how privileged we truly are, the hardships they endured for our freedoms and comforts now!
Among all the vast differences and how things have changed between 1621 and 2010 I am touched by our similarities…
Still overflowing from our hearts is a gratefulness for life well lived amongst the struggles we endure today. Still we gather with dear friends and precious family for laughter and fun and Still we prepare an abundant and special meal to be enjoyed by those we love. May we all enjoy this week and remember old memories as well as create new ones…
We would so much enjoy hearing of your traditions for this Day to be Thankful! ~Lindsey

Friday, November 19, 2010

~The "Pretties"~

                                                                            The Buffet

I’ve always felt so blessed to be born a woman. However as the holiday season approaches I am tempted to think how easy the guys have it. No shopping, no cooking, no wrapping, etc,.. that is until I start setting out “those” dishes, then I am reminded once more why I love being a woman. You must understand, I love to set the table for our family dinners. ( I get that from my Gma Waitman who always had her best out and Gma always had the neatest design pressed into her table cloth!) I love to decorate the buffet. I love to set the lighting and arrange the candles for perfect ambiance. I love to make room for “those” Christmas dishes. I love to frost and decorate sugar cookies.

This year has been particularly fun as Lindsey and I have combined our ‘pretties’. Remember the Waltons lifestyle? Since our passion is to ~leave a legacy of beauty, inside and out~ it is so very rewarding when the ‘little lady’ spies the new arrangement, her eyes glowing with enchantment and wonder, and “Ohhhhh, Mema…..that is soooooo beautiful” escapes from her 4 year old lips. Deep in my heart is the desire to pass on to my grandchildren what Gma Waitman gave to me.

We will be adding pics this season of some the things we love. ~Jeannie

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Let the music tell you how to dance" 
 ~Sadie (Our Little Lady 4yrs)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

God has stacks of beautiful gifts for your life….
Enjoy each one as He presents it!!   ~Jeannie

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

~The Essence of Beauty~

“The desire to be beautiful is an ageless longing. My friend Lilly is in her mid-eighties. As she descended the stairs of her home one Christmas season, I was captured by her beauty. She was wearing a green corduroy jumper with a white turtleneck that had little candy canes all over it. I said, “Lilly, you look lovely!” Her face lit up, wrinkles and age spots disappearing as she put her hands out at her sides like a ballerina and did a delightful little twirl. She was no longer eighty – she was ageless” ~Stasi Eldredge
 Now my own Little Lady adorns herself in her pink princess dress with layers of taffeta, netting, and overlaid with fuchsia lace with small flowers around the neckline. Pink satin ribbon bows grace the shoulders and chest. Tiny glittered high heeled shoes with 3 colored pearls and a bow on each that fit her little feet to perfection. So long she has wanted shoes that ‘clack’ when she walks.
She stood in front of the full length mirror and very sweetly swayed back and forth, then a full twirl around once, then twice, then twice more.
I then think of those ‘Oh so special’ occasions when I myself stand in front of the mirror and curl my hair in pretty ringlets and swoop it up with sparkling clips. Taking time to paint my face using three colors of eye shadow instead of just slopping on one, then I get to slip into the dress that I had purchased months ago anticipating the loveliness of the night. It’s been hanging covered in my closet and I would peek at it every now and again and feel its beauty. Finally! My favorite part, I add the finishing touches with my adored jewelry. Tonight will be treasured earrings from my Great-Great Aunt Amelia.
The highlight of the evening will not be the tables set with elegance nor the serenading music. It won’t be the festive decorations or the fancy food.
The delight will be in seeing all the Beautiful women taking a ‘time out’ from everyday life and playing real life dress up. What fun we have feeling Beautiful and enjoying the Beauty of the women around us.
 Every woman longs to be beautiful no matter her age. We buy fitness magazines, we make our New Years resolutions year after year to eat healthy and stay on our exercise plan. We are forever worried that our breasts are too small, our thighs have too much ‘cottage cheese’ on them, our bottom is too flat, too fat, too saggy and the list goes on… The women we compare ourselves with are smeared on billboards, television, and magazines of what the world sees as beauty, and so in turn we strive to be like them, cutting out carbs and parking far out at the grocery store for the few extra steps. (Then we regret it when the cart is overflowing and the kids are starving.)
We want to be adored, admired and desired. We want to feel Beautiful like when we were 4 swaying in front of the mirror and didn’t know there were others to compare ourselves with.
There is another kind of Beauty we long for that is not found in stunning ball gowns and glass slippers but rather the Beauty that flows from the essence of our very soul that makes us who we are as women. How beautiful womanhood is when we sit in front of that same mirror and brush out the tangles of impatience, spread replenishing cream over our hurts and anger, and spray sweet smelling fragrance on the words we will speak today.
Then as others gaze at our refection may they see the Beauty of our hearts glowing as pretty as our outward jewels. Only is a little girl truly Beautiful when her attitude is as pretty inside as her dress up clothes are outside. Therefore we continue to tell our little ones as well as take heed ourselves ‘Pretty Is as Pretty Does’… ~Lindsey

Saturday, October 30, 2010

~ Remember the Waltons?~

John Boy, Jim Bob, Mary Ellen, Ben….That program always gave me “warm fuzzies”. It was my very favorite and I couldn’t wait to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and my pillow. The family unity and closeness was warm and inviting, as well as wholesome and inspiring. Fast forward to the year 2010 and here I am living in a “modern-day Walton lifestyle”…
Our story begins last year when my daughter, Lindsey and I along with our husbands started kicking around the idea of a family compound on some acreage by the river…just talk and dreams at the time. In February of this year the economy forced us to combine households, as was lovingly modeled by a good friend and her daughter’s family. On moving weekend the comment was made that this will be a good ’test’ for our family compound. (Particularly since the house is 2 bedroom, 1600 sq. feet and there are 4 adults and “the little lady and gent“). Well time has passed and here we are at the end of October making plans to pool our money and buy a larger home.

My intent is not to bore you with all our family life but rather to encourage anyone who is considering this arrangement, regardless of reason, to pursue it. Each family will have their own set of challenges but for us it is a lifestyle we wish to continue. The blessings are too numerous to count.

We would love to hear from you on this topic. Have you experienced the 'Walton lifestyle' or do you know someone who has and what was the outcome? ~Jeannie

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

~Lingering Friendships~

It’s funny how life unfolds. In January of this year I bought Darren Hardy’s workbook titled “Design Your Best Year Ever”, completely unaware of how life changing it would be. I spent literally hours filling out answers, re-thinking the questions, erasing, and doing it all over again. Much to my dismay, I discovered how I was allowing the urgent to push out the important, so I set about breaking some old habits and making some changes. One of the areas needing attention was tending to and nurturing my friendships. As awful as it is and I hate to admit it, I had completely let some friends drop by the wayside, like…..a sack of goodwill clothes. In an attempt to revive and renew the friendships, the girlfriends, the church ladies I had be deliberate. With the help of Lindsey, we put a plan in place. First, make some long distance ‘catch-up’ calls. Next, we invited a couple of families over to grill on the weekend, like we used to. Another step we took, starting small, was to invite a couple mother/daughter’s over on Tuesday evening for wine and cheese. Last night was our first and it was wonderful. As we lingered by the pool, candles lighting the table, I just soaked in their inner beauty, admiring where they were in life and how they were triumphing in spite of circumstances. Next week we will invite a few more. Every week, when weather permits, we will “intentionally” rebuild, reconnect, and bond with these people we love. We may even give our Tuesday nights a name. Perhaps ‘Women, Wisdom, and Wine’…... ~Jeannie

Thursday, September 30, 2010

~Miss Maime's Manner~

While visiting the gift shop at the St. Louis arch this summer we discovered the little treasure book “Children’s Manners and Morals”. I posted a bit below that I think you may find fun and interesting. While amusing to read we started wondering how we can implement more ‘training’, if you will, for our Little Lady and Gent. Here is one idea. Post a new manner every week on the fridge white board and discuss and practice daily. We are trying that and have started with the manner that is in the frame below. Our plan is to change it  every week. If you have ideas, please share them with us and if you try our idea, let us know how it worked.


“The most important of all earthly things are purity of heart and correctness of principle.” –The Girl’s Own Book, 1834


1. Remember that God sees all your actions and all your thoughts.

2. Never forget the golden rule, to do by others as you would have others do by you.

3. Deal frankly with all, particularly with your parents or guardian, never   attempt to conceal your actions, or your motives.

4. When you have formed a good resolution, never put off the time for carrying it into execution.

5. Be as polite and amiable at home, as if you were among strangers.

6. Cherish love for your brothers and sisters.

7. Next to goodness, strive to obtain knowledge.

8. Have a scrupulous regard to neatness of person.
                        -The Girl’s Own Book, 1834

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where is beauty found? True beauty?
In a face full of wrinkles or the face of a 21 year old?
In the body of a mother who has bore 4 children or the young ballerina?
In a harsh and critical demeanor or in kindness and patience?
Or does authentic beauty radiate from inside us… from our mind, our soul, and our spirit?


Friday, September 24, 2010

~What Are We Missing?~

One of the things my Mom taught me was that civility really does matter and I still embrace that belief today. In fact, now it seems more important to me than ever. As the editor, Nancy Lindemeyer, of Victoria Magazine stated so eloquently, “Our world is fast paced and our own lives and those of our children need careful tending”. In today’s garden of life that is one area that is overlooked and weeds are commonplace in society. Now it is accepted and amusing for children as well as adults to be rude, gross, and flat out un-ladylike and un-gentlemanly.
 Recently my kids have been enthralled listening to the CD series ‘Samantha’ from the American Girl Collection. I find myself so completely captivated listening along with them. We are taken back to 1904 and the civility that once was customary and expected.

I wouldn’t want to even think about wearing a dress and petticoat that weighed up to 25 pounds but there is a certain charm to seeing little girls in fanciful dresses with frilly aprons.
I also wouldn’t want my children to be seen and not heard as we would miss so much of their sweet chatter and memorable phrases, however I’m sure we all agree that it is a pleasure to be around children with proper behavior and who use their good ‘old fashioned’ manners.
Hours were spent on meals in fancy parlors with exquisite table settings. Certainly they ‘knew how’ to enjoy the experience of close friends and family. What are we missing by living life in the fast lane? How much more richly our lives would be blessed if we took time to ‘linger’…
 In school, children learned character building skills that were as important as arithmetic, geography, and history. Reading books taught more than just reading. They showed how polite, honest girls and boys always ended up better off than rude, dishonest children. They wrote essays and speeches about right and wrong and memorized and recited them in front of the entire school. What an inspiration for all of us to take the time to teach our precious little ones these foundational principles.
Our wish is that we make it a priority to plant the seeds of civility, manners, and graceful living that can be applied to our modern day culture. ~ Lindsey

Thursday, September 23, 2010

{Much more beautiful than ribbons and lace is a lady who always controls the emotions on her face.} ~Lindsey Lakins

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

~Simplicity in Beauty~

As I watch Sadie, my oldest grand-daughter, dressed up in her soft pink  tights and worn ballet slippers, ‘perform’ the Nutcracker in my living room I am once again in awe of the simplicity of beauty.  Trying so hard to keep her toes pointed and her legs straight, fingers held a certain way, and oh yes…don’t forget to smile pretty.  Just as the actual performance moved me to tears last year so her ‘in-home’ performance can do the same. That to say while I want to ‘stop and smell the roses’,  ‘throw my hat in the tree’  or in this case, ‘watch the ballet show’ so often I think that I am too busy. (For me) it’s time for a change. It’s time to pick a flower and put it in a tiny vase, it is time to look into a dear friends face and see her beauty (wrinkles and all), it is time to notice the detail in a lacy doily lovingly fashioned by my ancestors, it is time to use the good dishes….just because, it is time watch the butterfly float around the back yard.  Join me in taking a breath and soaking in the simple beauties. ~Jeannie