Friday, January 10, 2014

Shock, but no Awe

This will come as a shock to many of you, especially those of you whom know me well.  Be prepared to laugh, so don't take a sip of coffee at this very moment:  I am sick of winter.  There, I said it.  It feels very freeing to finally say it in public.  I am sick of taking deep breaths, in order to prepare for the ensuing cold toilet seat.  I am tired of looking out the window, day dreaming of flowers and butterflies and flowers.  Everything looks sad out there.  It's all shriveled up and boring.  Yes, I still do like the break in the hot temperatures, but this last cold front about set me over the edge.  Yes, we are back in the 50's again, and the 60's will be here tomorrow, but the winter dreary is still out there.  The short days hover over me, in such a harsh and uncaring way.  I just about go into convulsions the week prior to "falling back" with the clocks.

Nonetheless, I do keep a positive attitude and dabble in lots of indoor projects.  But the cold leather seats in the van, are unappealing.  The shortened days are like being in a timed torture chamber, that starts just after 5pm.  I know, things could be worse.  I always know that, because I know how blessed I am, but I think a little humorous ranting does a body good.  It's all in fun,  But the real fun won't begin again until March or April.  Blossoms will abound and birds will be singing.  It will paradise once more, at least until July.  Ha ha!

Have a blessed day, ya'll.  Take the time to laugh at it all.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Summer Wrap-Up

I know, I haven't posted on my blog in forever.  It has just been the craziest summer ever recorded in the Braud household, and I could never really find the time or the words to write.  Since we have just celebrated a momentous occasion, I feel I can not wait any longer.

We spent much of the summer doing a lot of "lasts" with Andrew.  It will go down in history as the summer before Andrew went to the United States Air Force.  We had a fabulous going away party for him.  Over 50 people were in attendance and I was told more than once it was the best party ever.  I had an absolute blast.  All of it was fun.  The planning, the prep, the cooking, the decorating and best of all, the prizes!  I bought tons of prizes and most of them had a patriotic theme to them.  I smoked chicken and shredded it for BBQ sandwiches, homemade potato salad, baked beans and a wonderful cake with a chocolate mascarpone cheese filling!   Oh, and punch!  The punch was the hit of the party.  How could I forget that? Truly, it was momentous, at least to me.

Flash forward just a bit, surviving boot camp was no easy task.....for me.  I am sure Andrew could say the same, but for different reasons!  Ha ha!  Basically, we were unable to talk to Andrew the whole time he was in boot camp.  He was allowed to call twice, but they were timed calls and it was crazy.  I wrote to him almost every day, and he even wrote a few times, also.  In October, we made the 18 hour drive to San Antonia and had the best time ever.  It was so special and meaningful and emotional and all those other types of emotions.  All good.  I have never felt so proud as when I got to see Andrew marching in his dress blues.    He is now stationed at Beale Air Force Base, in California.  He will be flying back and forth to Korea once his specialized training is complete.  I feel certain he will get to visit my sister whom lives out there, and that would be wonderful!

Our summer was very full, with several house guests.  I love having friends come to visit, and was so thankful that several of our really close friends were able to visit.  I swear, I have no greater pleasure than to cook for friends and then eat with them.  LOVED IT.

Michael and James have been enjoying having less people to share their goodies with, as Chris also moved out in late August.  He made an attempt at living just off campus in a small apartment.  Unfortunately, the job market was lousy and he was unable to become gainfully employed.  He is back home now and we are all adjusting nicely.

We lost Keith's dad in September.  It was very sad and very emotional and we just totally miss him.  When we were in Louisiana for the funeral, the house felt so empty without him.  The guys and I pray for his wife and Keith's sisters often.   He was one of a kind!

Well, I am now realizing this blog post is sort of "meh", but if I don't post something soon, I fear it will just fade into the sunset.  I really do want to keep blogging, if for no other reason than to record important events for the guys.  I feel certain one day they will actually treasure this blog.  One day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Introspection on Introverts

I'm going to make an attempt to tell you everything you ever needed to know about introverts, but were too afraid to ask.  It's not like we would answer you anyway, but if we did, we might tell you some of the following tidbits... "Might" being the key word.  And the reason I am making this educational post is because I just think some of you extroverts don't get "us".  Okay, I'm not really going to tell you everything, but it may be just enough to help you understand us a little better.

First of all, we are not rude simply because we choose to remain quiet.  It doesn't mean we are lacking for words, either.  We are just very selective about with whom we share our jewels of information.  Extroverts love anybody, but introverts tend to love only special people.  People who accept them for their quietness, and people who have put forth the effort to give them a safe place to share.  Keith and I are both introverts, which means we kind of created introverted offspring.  It works for us, most of the time.  There are times, though, when a whole family of introverts can have some serious disadvantages.  Trust me, it's not that we choose to be this way, it is just how we are.  Believe it or not, we like being introverts.  We aren't secretly wishing we could be extroverts and we just don't know how to do it.  We LIKE sitting in the background to observe and listen.

As a young girl, I can remember hearing people in the background always referring to me as shy, as if it were some kind of disease.  In my mind, I really didn't care for that label, because to me it has a negative connotation.  I would rather not be singled out, especially when I just wanted to be unnoticed and have no attention drawn to me.   I was content to only have two or three "best" friends growing up.  Even on Facebook, I carefully consider friend requests and "unfriend" when I realize there is no real connection.  In fact, I was so "shy", when Keith and I had our wedding ceremony, there were the required two witnesses, the Justice of the Peace and a photographer.  For me, I just couldn't imagine walking down an aisle with all eyes on me and then have them listen to me tearfully recite my vows...  That was just too personal for me and I didn't know Keith's family well enough to allow them to see me cry.

All four of the guys have a degree of introvert-ism...  some more than others.  I have been told they are rude because they don't talk to others.  Not only is that hurtful, but it is dead wrong.  I am pretty sure the person that said this is an extrovert.  They don't get us at all.  Too bad they can't offer us some grace, because we sure offer it to them.  We will quietly sit back and let them whoop and holler and keep the spotlight on them and we dare not tell them they are wild or obnoxious.  We keep it to ourselves and allow them to be.

In fact, both of my guys have graduated from high school, and both of them did not want a party or to send out announcements or to advertise their milestone at all (not that there is anything wrong with that if you do choose to send out announcements).  No fanfare, and no banner waving, but a private celebration with family was all they wanted.  Sounds great to me.

I could easily write an entire chapter about introverts, because I have first hand knowledge about them.  I am one.  And I make no apologies for it.  When I meet an introvert, I understand if I want to get to know them, I will have to work for it.  I also know that once I gain their trust, I will have the most loyal and sincere friend ever.  Introverts may seem shy or rude, but what you don't know is, they are sizing you up to see if you are worth their time.  They want to be sure you won't capitalize on their weaknesses or share their secrets.  It's not something we do on purpose, it just is.

Have you hugged an introvert lately?  If you did, it must mean you are special!

Here is a little snipit I found on Pinterest that explains it better than I can:

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Time Flies

Another school year coming to a close and another son graduating from home education!  What a journey!  Honestly, if you had asked me ten or so years ago if we had plans of home schooling all the way to graduation, I probably would have said, "I have no idea".  Now that we are about to graduate another son, I can honestly say, "I am so glad we did it for the long haul".  It has never been easy, that is for sure, but it has been worthwhile.  We have had many adventures, much freedom and I wouldn't trade one second of it.

Chris is finishing up his second year of college.  He is one of those students that gets A's with little effort and B's when he is distracted.  He has always been gifted with a photographic memory and I am thankful I can rely on him at any time to recall a past event or conversation.  It seems he is going to continue majoring in accounting and has his sites set on becoming a CPA.   I appreciate him in so many ways, especially as he has been maturing over the last year.  He often gives sound advice and I can always count on him to do a job well.  I am proud of you, son, for all that you have tackled this year at school and on the job!  I pray the Lord's blessing of abundance and holiness upon you.

Our graduating senior, Andrew, will be headed to San Antonio on August 6th to begin his basic training in the United State Air Force.  Since he was a toddler, he has always talked about becoming a soldier.  As he learned and progressed through Civil Air Patrol, earning the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, he realized the Air Force was the better branch in which to enlist.   In fact, since achieving 2nd Lieutenant, he will be able to enlist as an E-3, which is the equivalent of serving about two years.  He has been assigned the job of tactical aircraft crewchief.  Although at first he had hoped to land the broadcasting position he auditioned for, he has become very excited about the idea of working with the fighter jets.   He has been teaching himself some computer programming in his spare time, and has even built a couple of computers from scratch.  It is amazing what someone will do when they want to do it.   I still say he has a fabulous radio voice, but that can wait for later.  I am proud to have a son willing to serve our country and I pray the Lord will place a shield of protection around him and his comrades.  Job well done, Andrew!

Michael has been an excellent student this year.  He seems to earn A's almost as easily as Chris.  He has always had a gift of drawing, like his father, and has often told me that he finds math to be fun.  With those two talents put together, we enrolled him in a drafting class this past fall.  His teacher says he is very good at it, and from what I know about Michael, I am certain it comes to him naturally.  Out of the four guys, Michael has always had the more beautiful hand writing.  Even when he was first learning to write, his penmanship was always very neat an uniform.  It seems this auto-cad class has fueled his desire to continue on and he will most likely enroll in college to be a draftsman.    I am very proud of you, Michael.  I pray the Lord will surround you with Godly friends and instill wisdom into all of your decisions.

James is finishing up his seventh year of school.  He does very well in his subjects and always gets smiley faces on his papers.  I am thankful for his easy-going nature and his positive attitude.  There is no pressure on him yet to make any lasting decisions about the future.  For now, he just likes to have fun with his friends and play games.  He is eager to gain some height and for his voice to change, but in due time, that will all happen.  I have survived three teenage guys and on May 19th, I will be getting the final teen in the home.   It has been a pleasure having you as my student, James, and I pray that you will increase in wisdom and Godly character over the coming years.

We have made a short trip to Louisiana a couple of months back.  Keith's dad has been having some issues with his health and we wanted to travel as a family of six, since it may be our last time with Andrew's departure.  The weather was perfect and we were able to visit with Dad some, but his condition kept it limited.  Aunt Tootie spent the day with us and it was wonderful.   Aunt Len made her fabulous coconut cake.  It had been over six years since we last ate at TJ Ribs and we met several friends there for an evening of good food.  We were not disappointed and it was worth the wait.

Last month we accompanied Keith on a business trip to Atlanta.  I love Atlanta.  It is so clean and full of rich history.  I was amazed at how incredibly friendly the people were!  Living in the Bible belt has its rewards.  One can always depend on getting their heart blessed at any given moment, by any stranger on the street, even in Atlanta!   I am looking forward to a return trip to Atlanta for some more sight seeing and good food.

Tax season is over and the flower beds have been begging for attention.  Each day, I tackle another project, trying to get things tidied up from the winter.   I love watching things come into bloom, with each blossom taking its turn in the spotlight, and then stepping aside to allow another show to begin.  The irises are showing off right now.  We have tons of them and I can seem some blooming out of almost every window.  Yes, I am blessed and I never take one minute of it for granted.

Keith has transitioned quite well to a multi-product plant.  The new product is a hit and it seems they are selling it as fast as they are making it.  He continues to beautify the plant and the grounds as funds allow.  We often go out there and clean his offices and work the landscaping for him.  I am so thankful for his job that he loves.  He is very good at what he does and I am very proud of him!!!

I am looking forward to seeing some good friends this summer and of course, I so enjoy riding bikes with Keith and sipping coffee at Rembrandt's.  I am thankful for the coming break and pray the Lord will bless our time of transition with Andrew and any other things that are thrown our way.  Thanks for stopping by - come and visit any time!

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Big Reveal

We finally got our new bathroom.  When we first looked at this house over six years ago, we knew the master bathroom was horrid.  We figured we would redo it one day, but it just never rose to the top of the list since we knew it would be costly and inconvenient.  Thankfully, we now get to enjoy a nice, new bathroom in which Keith and I can be in at the same time.  Keith and I were talking and we realized neither of us had ever had a nice bathroom our whole life.  Oh, sure, we had better than an outhouse and all of our bathrooms were functional, but none of them were nice.

In Louisiana, our first house was a shack home, built off the ground and very primitive.  We were newlyweds and didn't really notice.  Our next two homes in Louisiana had very old, small and outdated bathrooms.  But upon moving here, we went into an ever smaller bathroom (5' x 8') and constructed with junk fixtures.  Keith wanted to just change out the fixtures and flooring, but, well, I am too much of a visionary for that.  I kept telling him we needed to wait until we could afford to do it right and make it bigger!

We demolished the wall that separated the bathroom and our closet.  Now we had  8' x 11' of space!  Keith has a good relationship with a contractor and in less than two weeks, we had a finished bathroom.   It was loud and messy and cramped for those two weeks, but so worth it!   I still would like to get some wall art and a few other items, but I can wait for those things.  It feels so great to have my own sink!!

I wasn't going to post the before pictures because I am so embarrassed of it, but I guess it does have more meaning if you can see the whole story.  I praise God for a job done ON BUDGET!!!

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Tiny sink for two....
A roomy shower!
My very own sink with no whiskers in it!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I love the number 20. It is even and round and just a great number, especially today. Today, Keith and I have been married 20 years. Whew! In some ways, that is a LONG time, and in other ways, it seems so short. I feel like I have always been married, or at least I feel like my married life has been the most meaningful. We have had our share of bumps and victories, but ultimately, the Lord has been the glue, the duct tape and the substance that makes it all worthwhile.

Keith and I met at work in Maryland. He even remembers when I came in for the job interview with my hair in a bun, glasses on and briefcase in hand. I so wanted this job, since it was just down the road from my house. I had been commuting to Washington, D.C. for almost four years and I was anxious to work closer to home. We locked eyes a few times, but I never once thought, "future husband".

I did not believe in dating co-workers and I tried several times to explain this to Keith. I managed to convince him that we could not pursue a relationship, although it was very challenging. Keith would leave little notes on my desk (yes, I still have them) and he would continue to ask me out. I turned him down so many times, I figured he would give up. After nearly two years of this, I finally agreed to shoot pool with him, but only as friends. I made it very clear that we were not dating. We went roller skating, hiking, more games of pool and even out to a nice dinner. It didn't take long and I was sucked into his southern charm and manly cowboy boots. I knew he was coming down the hall by the sound of his boots.

I got to where my heart would flutter when I heard his boots and I knew things were going to be changing. I resisted the best I could, I promise. In as few words as possible, I am going to summarize our first twenty years together:

Chloe, my cat, and I drove to Louisiana, got married and within five months was surprised to be pregnant. Nine months after Chris's birth, another surprise pregnancy with Andrew. Twelve months after Andrew's birth, another shocker pregnancy with Michael. Deep breaths were enjoyed by all while we waited three years to have James. It felt like a whirlwind and I felt as if diapers and nursing bras would never go away.

We grieved some very important peoples' deaths, celebrated a few marriages and births and survived some very rocky roads along the way. God was good all along and we grew closer to Him and each other. We began dating each other again since we never really dated prior to getting married and we have been having lots of fun. The simple things delight us most. Coffee, shopping, hiking and just playing games together. Sometimes we just stay home and enjoy holding hands while on the couch.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and telling her how excited I was about our planned anniversary celebration. We will be staying at a B & B in Chattanooga in our favorite Art District. We go there often and sip coffee, walk the Riverwalk and sometimes get bread. My friend suggested we get bread and eat it in our bed. In a way, that does sound fun, but she was implying that the thrill is gone after twenty years. I wish I could explain it, but I will simply say that Keith still makes my heart flutter. He is my rock, my steady and my best friend.

UPDATE: We had a blast at the Bluffview Inn. We ate at The Back Inn and I thoroughly enjoyed the Icelandic Arctic Char! We walked the Walnut Street Bridge, had Rembrandt's coffee and some lovely chocolate dipped strawberries. The next morning we took a 20 mile bike ride and it was so fun! The used bikes we got last week have proven to be an excellent buy!! We exchanged heartfelt letters and I surprised Keith with a new wedding band. The one he had was showing its age. It had lost its luster, its design was rubbed off, and it looked like it had been through battle....

We enjoyed having an urban style anniversary celebration, but we are so thankful to live in the country. It was very noisy in the city!

Happy Anniversary, my beloved! The best is yet to come!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Long & Short of it

We began a new school year, as of Monday.  Last week, we took a  mini-vacation to Callaway Gardens and had a refreshing time of togetherness and leisure and junk food.  Chris had taken on a full-time day job at the beginning of summer and had a night class, so we had no opportunity to take a vacation together.  We barely squeezed this one in, but I am glad we did.

Callaway is about a 3 hour drive south from us.  The resort information made it sound like a great little getaway, and it was, although I felt like it was rather overpriced.  We stayed in a very nice cottage that accommodated us well.  The  junk we brought along was quite fun: gummy bears, pretzel M & M's, pop-tarts, pop and chips.  Yes, you are still reading my blog.  I realize it may come as a shock to you, but we do, on occasion, eat junk.  I am known to have a penchant for twizzlers and malted milk balls.  Stay on topic....  The first thing we did when we arrived was ascertain the skill level and chicken level needed in order to brave their Tree Top Adventure.  Three of us ascertained that we were chicken, while we watched in awe, the other three brave souls that zipped across the sky and maneuvered frightening obstacles, all while perched about 50-60 feet off of the ground.  The course takes about 90 minutes to complete, so it really did offer a challenge.

The resort had a very nice beach, laser tag, mini-golf (let it go on the record that I won the game we played), ping-pong, kayaking, bike rentals and several lakes.  They also had some historic areas, lush gardens and a huge butterfly exhibit.  It sprawled across 13,000 acres and was very well kept.  Their golf courses looked very professional and manicured.  It was not a very exciting vaca, but we all agreed it was just right.  The crowds had dissipated and we had the place all to ourselves.   The town of Pine Mountain offered some very pleasurable shopping for me, and so my obsession began with my new Thyme's Frasier Fir cleaning spray.  I am cleaning things that don't need cleaned, just to catch a whiff of the lovely fir.

Moving on, Andrew was sworn into the United States Air Force and will be called to serve any time after April, 2013.  We are still waiting to hear how his screen test went for the radio/broadcast position.  He felt like he did really well.  The other fellow who screened with him was told to pick another career in the Air Force, so I am thinking they would have told Andrew something similar if his chances didn't look promising.  We should know in another week or two.  Whatever is in the Lord's will for Andrew, we are fine no matter what.

Chris began his sophomore year in college.  I suspect he will prove to be the Ace man again.  He makes it look so easy!  His photographic memory and attention to detail surely are assets for him.  This year, he will be taking some of his business classes since most of his liberal arts subjects have been completed.  I think he will find the business classes are much more interesting for him!

Michael has reluctantly signed up for a 3D Drafting class that is being taught by a veteran architect.  Michael does not realize it, but being in 10th grade means you need to be thinking about your future.  I am praying he will enjoy the class and see the talents the Lord has gifted him in his drawing.  His drawing abilities are very impressive and I think this class will spark a few embers that may have been burning coolly.

James continues to play deck hockey with our good friends.  He really looks forward to hockey nights and is improving a lot in only one year of playing.  It seems he has a better attitude about school this year, and for that I give all of the glory to the Lord.

Keith is knee deep, actually probably deeper than that, in that new expansion I mentioned a while back.  It is full steam ahead and he is working longer hours than usual.  I know the challenges will be many for him and his crew, but I am praying that the blessings will be more abundant than the problems.  I also pray for the safety and prosperity of all involved on this project.  I am thinking the next several months will not lack for excitement out there.  Lord, please be with them!

I got back my king sized quilt back yesterday from the quilter.  I had been working on it early in the summer and it really looks great quilted!  I still have to make and apply the binding.  It is a remake of the same pattern I used when I made Keith a wedding gift nearly 20 years ago (our anniversary is in September).  I guess if the Lord wills it, I will make another one in 20 years for our 40th anniversary.   I am looking forward to finishing it and getting it onto our bed and then on to make matching window treatments.  This was my first, and hopefully last, king sized quilt.  Queen sized and smaller are much easier to manage....  Nonetheless, I am very glad to have made it - it is very special to both of us!!

 Libby, our newest family member is really quite something!  I've never had a small dog before and I really am enjoying her!!  She trained easily and has a very affectionate personality.  Everyone that meets her, loves her!!  I feel so blessed that we were able to get her!

Yes, indeed, I am enjoying these cooler mornings!!  Bring it on!!!  Ya'll have a blessed day!!!