A New House

Me on the top right with my brother and sisters on the front doorsteps.

My parents rented houses and apartments for their growing family up until I was seven years old. I remember living in six different houses, but there was at least one I don’t remember. Then Daddy decided to buy us a house. A new house. A bigger house. Less than five years old, with three bedrooms and full closets, wood paneling, and a huge yard. Mama was so excited. They financed it with Daddy’s boss and a mortgage for $8000. (This was 1966.)

So I grew up in that house. My brother and two sisters and me. My sisters shared a bedroom with me, and we had three twin beds in one room, just like “The Brady Bunch” sisters. In fact, I idolized Marcia Brady. I wanted to be just like her.

My brother, being the only boy, got a room all to himself. He didn’t stay in there by himself, though. He took great delight in terrorizing his sisters. He and I are only fourteen months apart, so sometimes I got to do things with him that our younger sisters did not. He would build an entire ranch in the dirt pile under a huge oak tree at the corner of our backyard, and allow me to use some of his Tonka trucks to have a ranch near his. He used his wide open hand to make the roads. I always asked him to make mine because I just couldn’t quite get the knack for it.

After moving into that house in May, we played outdoors all summer long, riding bicycles in the asphalt road, making roads in the dirt, playing with the water hose, and running barefoot everywhere. We got poison oak (similar to ivy), chiggers, ticks, wasp stings, pinworms, and sunburns, but we had a blast.

I guess this house was “the house that built me.” What about you? Do you have fond childhood memories? Was there a special childhood home?



Writing Gives Me Wings

I’m sitting here at my desk trying to think of something to write about.  I could just skip the blog post this week and go to bed.  Or work on my novel-in-progress.  But that would be a cop-out.  The best remedy for writer’s block (I’d rather call it a lack of ideas) is to keep writing.  Or so I’ve heard.  And read.  

Just start typing and the words will come, they say.  Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair, they say.  Be a professional, they say.  Write something, anything, they say.  The words will come, they say.

Of course I want to be a professional.  Isn’t that the opposite of amateur?  Or wannabe?  I’m a writer, dang it.  So here I sit.  Maybe I’ll come up with something and maybe someone will read it.  Maybe someone will like it even.

Stella the Boston terrier

I have a sidekick who stays here in my office with me while I write.  It’s late right now and she has given up whining at me to go to bed, so she’s curled up on her gray and pink plaid dog bed (thanks, Muttnation by Miranda Lambert!).  She hardly ever leaves my side, and when I’m watching my grandkids with my mother next door, she stands at the fence and stares at me until she is forced to go inside because of the heat. 


Stella at the window

This photo was taken this morning as I wrote in my prayer journal.  Notice she has her favorite ball on the windowsill as she looks for squirrels, birds, and rabbits.  It’s her favorite perch.  

See?  I’ve written a whole blog post without really having an idea.  It’s possible to write even without a good idea.  Now to see if anyone will read it.  If you’re a writer, happy writing.  If you’re a reader, thank you!

Have a blessed week.


You Can’t Stay in my Little White Camper (with apologies to Miranda Lambert)

Ray Roberts Lake at sunset

Recently I had the opportunity to camp at Ray Roberts Lake State Park.  A beautiful Texas state park, the campground is kept as natural as possible with wildlife wandering around, unafraid of park visitors.  I was enjoying my morning coffee at the picnic table when someone drove by and glanced at my camper. I also noticed other visitors walking by and stealing glances at my campsite where Miss Millie was parked.  One of my favorite songs by Miranda Lambert popped into my head and I decided to adapt it a bit. (My apologies, Miranda!)

You only like me for my vintage camper
And my ability to tow her
I live in hot East Texas
You said you’ll go camping and I’ll see you there
Go ahead and buy that trailer and let’s go where
But guess what?

You can’t stay in my little white camper
The table won’t fold down and the bed is just for one
You can’t roll to this glamping swagger.
You know it ain’t my fault when I pass
And jaws drop.
It’s like ooh, ahh. . .

Oh, heaven help me,
I’ve been traveling all over the place
And staying by myself
But that’s just who I be
And you’re just trying to slow this camping roll
But I’m onto you, baby
So guess what?

You can’t stay in my little white camper
The table won’t fold down and the bed is just for one
No, you can’t roll to this glamping swagger.
You know it ain’t my fault when I pass and jaws drop.
Ooh, ahh. . .

You only love me for my little white camper
And my camper tee shirts
I live in hot East Texas
And I’ve got dyed blonde hair
And I carry a pistol and I go on the road
And I do all the stuff you want to do.
And my dog stays home.
And I ain’t about drama, y’all.
I love my camping friends
And I ain’t your mama!

So guess what?
You can get your own little white camper
The table might fold down and the bed can be for two.
Yes, you could roll to this glamping swagger.
You know it won’t be our fault when we pass 
And jaws drop.
Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh. . .

(Lyrics adapted from the song “Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert.)

How about you?  Would you like to stay in a little white camper?


#camping #glamping #littleredwagon #mirandalambert #rayrobertslake #ladycamper

Life Memoirs miranda lambert

The Junk Gypsies and Me

A little over a month ago I told you that I had been selected to be on the Junk Gypsy Book Launch Team.   I received a digital watermarked copy of their new book, Junk  Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder & Wander by Amie and Jolie Sikes, published by Touchstone Books of Simon & Schuster.  As a chosen member of their team, I was asked to read the book and post about it on my social media.  So I did!

What a cool thing to peruse those beautiful pages, knowing that I was one of only 100 people given the privilege!  Being asked to write posts about the book was not a chore!  It was a natural outflowing of the honor of being selected and jaw-dropping amazing-ness of the book’s beauty and quality!  (Did I just make up a word?)

Not only did I get to read the book earlier than Joe Q. Public (or Joann), I got to join a Facebook group where the other members of the book launch team posted their impressions of the book as well.  We all became sisters in a sense, and the Junk Gypsies would even reply to our posts!

Then the best thing of all happened.  The Junk Gypsies posted a flyer of their upcoming book signing appearances and one of them happened to be at the Pink Pistol in my hometown, Lindale, Texas!

For those of you who don’t know, the Pink Pistol is Miranda Lambert’s store and boutique where she sells not only her music, tee shirts, and other swag, but also her signature wine, clothing, jewelry, and household items.  It’s a tourist destination in itself, run by her parents and located in a new building in the heart of Lindale’s new Cannery development.

Miranda and the Junk Gypsies have had a longstanding relationship that began years ago when she was just starting out as a musician.  The JGs designed her guns & wings logo, decorated her first tour bus, did a makeover of her Airstream trailer and later, her mother’s, and decorated her wedding venue.  And of course, I have known Miranda and her parents since she was in the third grade with my son.  I taught Miranda in high school and my son and she graduated from high school together.    I also worked occasionally at her store before it was the Pink Pistol.

Anyway, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to meet the JG girls again!  I was sure they wouldn’t remember meeting me at Miranda’s concert in Tyler in 2006 or at a Cause for the Paws event a few years later, or at their Round Top store after that, but they did!  When I finally got to the front of the line and introduced myself and told them I was on the book launch team, they remembered my name!

Made my day!  They were so gracious!  We had our picture snapped, and then I made my way out, but not without speaking to Archie, aka Amy Allen, their model, and then their mother Janie.  I also introduced my mother, who had come with me, to everyone.

My beautiful mom and me.

I floated out the door and continue to walk just a little taller.  They remembered me!  And I love them even more.  If you haven’t checked out their book yet, do it!  It’s full of beautiful pictures, the story of Junk Gypsy, how-to instructions, and inspiration.  You can get it on Amazon here, or you can get a SIGNED copy at their website here.

The swag they gave each of the book launch team members!

What an experience!  What an honor!  What is even better than this whole experience, though, is knowing that my personal decorating style is now on trend.  Junk is cool!

Keep on reading, and keep on junkin’!


home decor Life miranda lambert

Junk Gypsy, a Book, and Me

Ever heard of the Junk Gypsy Company?  Who hasn’t heard of these two beautiful sisters who turned their backs on college-degreed careers and made a life for themselves out of hunting, repurposing, and selling junk?  From selling their wares in a booth at First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas to hosting their own HGTV series, running a store in Round Top, and making over homes and Airstreams, Amie and Jolie Sikes, along with their parents, children, and Jolie’s husband, have created a junk dynasty.  And now you can read all about it in their new book, Junk Gypsy:  Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder and Wander available through Amazon.

I’ve been a fan of the Junk Gypsies since I learned that they were working with my former student Miranda Lambert, having designed her guns and wings logo and designed and carried out a makeover of her tour bus.  I visited their website and I was hooked.  I joined the Blacktop Rambler Cafe forum and ordered more than I could really afford from their Gypsyville online store.

Then I met them!  I doubt if they would remember, but I was at Miranda’s concert in Tyler in 2006, and when I walked up to the will call window to get my meet and greet pass, the Junk Gypsy girls were standing right in front of me!  Me being me, well, I had to speak to them.  I introduced myself and said something inane about their jewelry, but they were polite to this crazy lady.  I also met Blake Shelton there at the Lambert’s tailgate party that I crashed.  In my own defense, I have known the Lamberts since their and my children were knee high to a grasshopper.  My son was in the same class as Miranda, and my daughter was in the same class as her brother. Blake and Miranda had just begun dating.

The next time I saw the Junk Gypsies was at a Cause for the Paws event, hosted by Miranda to raise money for a local animal shelter.  I actually had a conversation with Amie about the way their art pieces and style was being copied by others.  Who knew they had started a trend in junking and bohemian fashion?  She was so cute dressed in her striped 70’s flared jeans and vintage band uniform jacket.  (if I recall correctly)  And she was sweet, too.

The last time I saw them in person was in Round Top during Antiques Week soon after opening the Junk Gypsy Headquarters, an amazing store and showplace, and worth the trip!

You can imagine how thrilled I was to be included in the Junk Gypsy Book Launch Team!  The book does not disappoint.  It is the world of Junk Gypsy at your fingertips:  biographies, personal insights and tidbits about the family, beautiful photographs of projects and places, and ideas and instructions for redoing and repurposing junk!  If you are a fan of junk, or the Junk Gypsies, you must. Go. Now.

Go forth and buy.  If you want an autographed copy, the Junk Gypsies are touring around the country for specific book signing events.  I plan to be at the one in Lindale, Texas on October 15, getting my copy signed!  I hope to see you there!