Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg Address referred to the slain warriors as having given “the last full measure of devotion”. Such a poignant few words and, oh, how true they are! Read more
Posts from the ‘Heart and Soul’ Category
Why is it, you might ask, that period pieces such as the PBS Masterpiece series“Mr. Selfridge” that is currently on television and “Call The Midwife” are so very popular? “Downtown Abbey”, which is in between seasons at the moment, took this country by storm – everyone was talking about it and one quickly realized that it was near the top of the “Most Popular” list!
You no doubt remember the question the “beautiful” queen asked of her mirror in the classic Disney movie, Snow White. ”Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Few of us would ask that question expecting that the mirror would answer us at all much less tell us that we were the fairest, most beautiful. I came across a very interesting video made by Dove soap that examines how women see themselves versus how others see them. Read more
If you go down to the woods today,
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.
Picnic time for teddy bears;
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch us catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any cares.
At six o’clock their mummies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they’re tired little teddy bears.
But….do you know how the “teddy bear” got its name? Read more
What a darling little girl Elizabeth, or Lillibet as she was called by her family, was! Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as “a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant”. Little did she know, at this young age, that she would one day become Queen of England. Not only that, but she would prove to be one of the longest reigning monarchs, if not the longest, ever! Read more
Tradition plays such a huge part in the Christmas season and watching our favorite movies is one of those traditions! Having the whole family curl up on a comfy sofa with a blanket and some hot chocolate and then clicking on one of our favorite movies is the best! Read more
Of all the things we have shared over the years, the thing that has probably bound us so close together as “Chums” is our laughter. It is why of all the thousands of photos over the last 25+ years we had to choose from , the one we chose to put on this website is a photo of the two of us laughing with each other…the one you see here in the right hand column. Read more
As we sat down to plan the posts for our site this month we knew we wanted to do something about giving to others less fortunate. We really weren’t sure what it would be or what it would look like but we were confident that by the time we needed it something would come to us. And something did! Read more
Most of us somewhere along the way have heard the Bible scripture from I Corinthians 13. Perhaps in church or maybe at a wedding. If you haven’t ever read it or haven’t read it recently, now would be a good time to do that. It speaks about the importance of love and that without it everything we do is really meaningless. You can click here to get a link for you to read it on line. We came across a paraphrased version of this beautiful scripture that adds a whole new perspective to all the activities that we will be engaging in during this holiday season. Read more
In our home, as I think may be true in the homes of other Texans, pinto beans were a mainstay. I can hardly remember a day that there was not a big pot of beans simmering amongst other delights on the kitchen stove either in my grandparent’s kitchen or in my mother’s. Read more
It’s coming…or should I say “They’re coming”…Halloween is around the corner and all those neighborhood children adorned in their costume finery will come knocking on the door. Whether you still have little ones of your own at home or now its grandbabies that make your cheeks hurt from all the smiling, who can resist a precious little one in a costume so excited to be going door to door and collecting all that sugar…aka candy. I love it! And my husband Randy loves it even more! Each year he hands out the biggest candy bars he can buy in the hopes that in years to come, adults who used to be the children trick or treating in our neighborhood, will drive their children past our home, point out of the window of their cars at our house and exclaim with great fondness, “The people in that house always gave the best candy every year!” Read more
About 25 years ago a little book entitled All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten hit book store shelves and landed on coffee tables all across the country. It was an almost instant success because it addresses the basic lessons we learn early on in life that can shape us.
We started this week with Labor Day and a time to remember those who serve in the work force, which hopefully is, or has been, most of us. So this week on Two Chums, our posts are about things somehow related to “Labor”. Yesterday we offered some info on some products that can make work at home easier.
But today I want to share with you the joy and benefits of another kind of labor…that of caring for our children and grandchildren.
We all need to stop and rest from time to time. This comes easier and more naturally to some of us than to others. Until a few weeks ago I was one of those who resided in the “I’ll rest when I die” camp. Oh, I would claim that I could rest, or would rest, as soon as________(you fill in the blank), but those closest to me weren’t fooled by my announcements of having rested or of my plans to do so soon.
1908, 1948 and now 2012! These are the years that London has played genteel host to the Olympics and yes, by Jove, London is ready! There has been much question about whether she would be ready but, of course, in total British fashion, she IS ready to greet her guests and we have no doubt that it will be a wonderful few weeks.
On this day that we celebrate our freedoms and independence, it seemed fitting to consider the words of wisdom from a great American and arguably our finest President….Abraham Lincoln. There is a bounty of quotes attributed to our 16th Commander in Chief, each of them wise and profound in it’s own way.
Our “favorites” week continues today with my favorite centenarian….my mother’s first cousin, Douglas Manning. Douglas is the son of my grandfather’s older sister, Janie. This past weekend my mother and I, and two of my cousins traveled from California to Yoakum, Texas to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Summer holds so many special memories for me. As a child I spent a lot of time at family gatherings. My mother’s family was especially large, she had 67 first cousins! So there were always relatives visiting from somewhere in Texas, and all those who had made their way west and were living in California, would gather to welcome them, eat lots of good food, swap stories, sing, talk some more, eat some more, and if you were lucky enough to be a child, play all afternoon uninterrupted because the adults were too busy laughing and talking and eating to care about what you were doing.
Whenever the gathering happened to be at my Aunt Rhoda’s home, I knew the afternoon would include two things: homemade ice cream and a trip to the neighborhood park to swing on the tallest swing I had ever seen. I could spend hours on that swing, climbing through the air up into the trees and overlooking rooftops so that I felt like a bird soaring through the air. Sometimes someone would notice how high my swing was going and call out “too high” and I would have to slow my swinging down until they were busy talking again and didn’t notice.
There was something about swinging that felt exhilarating and calming all at the same time. So I made a mental note that someday when I had my own home I wanted to have a swing that would be ever at the ready for any child who wanted that glorious experience.
Since I’ve been married, we have always had a swing of some kind in our back garden but when my grandchildren were born I found the perfect swing for little ones. My sweet husband found just the right limb in our big old tree and secured the robes to hold it and in no time it was up and ready.
It is a wooden chair swing with a safety bar across the front that doesn’t allow the children to fall out when gliding through the air. And glide through the air they have, nearly every day since it went up 8 years ago. It was originally painted white but has become weather-worn with age. The children love it. Every child who comes into the garden seems to make a beeline for the swing. They wait impatiently for their turns at birthday parties and family gatherings. What I love the most about this swing are the sweet giggles that only a child full of delight can make that come sailing through the air falling on everyone in earshot.
My niece Ashley asked me the other day where I got the swing because she wants one too. Then it came to me that if I love having this swing for my grandchildren, nieces and nephews and other little friends, there just might be others of you out there that would enjoy the sight and sounds of childlike delight that these pieces of wood fashioned into a swing would bring to you as well.
I had long since forgotten the name of the place it came from, but I did a little research and found a swing like it on line. If you have children and a tree to hang a swing from, you just might want one too.
Whether you decide to buy a swing like this or not, I hope soon this summer you may hear those same sweet squeals of delight and know again this kind of childhood joy. Childhood is fleeting but there are memories to be made that will last a lifetime. It isn’t just a swing, it is one of those small things that can so easily contribute to a more abundant life full of love and joy.
I came to realize a long time ago that a little girl learns how to be woman from from her mother, but she practices on her daddy. What a joy to spend some time this week reflecting about our fathers and what they have meant to us throughout our lives. So many sweet memories have been brought to mind again for both Jackie and me this week.
I have the distinct privilege of penning some thoughts about that blessed group of people – fathers. Oh, how I could go on and on about my father – suffice it to say that my father was, and continues to be in my heart, very special. He is a rock – so principled and so kind. Read more
Oh what a lovely week it has been thus far with all the grand celebrations in honor of Queen Elizabeth! Jackie and I have loved each and every minute of it, from the concert, the clothes, the fanfare and the drama of the pageantry! No one does ceremony and pageantry better than the British! And what joy to see so many people all over the world but especially in London coming together in national pride to honor their Queen.
Today is the day we call Memorial Day. For most Americans, it is the signal that summer is beginning. It is a long weekend filled with gatherings at the beach or around a pool, cook outs in the park, and backyard barbeques with family and friends. I am all in favor of barbeques and love any gathering that includes my family and friends. We will be having such a gathering today ourselves and I will happily share some yummy recipes with you at the end of this post. Sadly though, many people have no real recollection that this day was originally meant to be an observance of those who gave their lives in service to their country.
It was largely at Nanner’s table as a child that I learned what is of worth to me now as an adult. Nanner was my maternal grandmother, also my mentor, my guardian angel and my dearest childhood friend. The lessons I learned were of love and life, forgiveness and repentance, hope and faith. They were there for the taking among the frosty glasses of sweet tea, the creamy macaroni and cheese, the platters of crisp fried chicken and biscuits. Sometimes I watched them played out before me like other children watched cartoons or Lassie. Sometimes they just came forth in conversation between participants at the table. And sometimes they were casually passed like the radishes and black-eyed peas and sweet cold slices of cantaloupe. These were the life lessons that seemed to be doled out like an allowance might have been, but when seen, all in total, as an adult I recognize now they are a great inheritance. I can’t help feeling it a privilege and an obligation to share them now with other people who were not as fortunate as I to have such a grandmother. She was fond of reminding me “to whom much is given, much is required.” So this recounting of her recipes for living (otherwise known as wisdom) and recipes for good food from my family’s table is my attempt at giving back from that with which I am so richly blessed.
Getting engaged, for most people, is synonymous with joy. Everything about the occasion is joyous! How he actually asked you, the beauty of your ring, the idea of planning a wedding, and on and on. Oh, what an absolutely happy time it is and yes, it is really important to hold onto that joy. Read more
No one knows pure joy like a woman who has just given birth….oh what joy it is! For me, that moment when I first knew this joy was 35 years ago today when my first child, Sara Joy was born. Randy and I had only been married 5 months when I found out I was pregnant. We spent our first anniversary in our first Lamaze class. It wasn’t what we had expected to be doing on that day but we were both very excited to be becoming a mommy and daddy.
Isn’t it interesting how one word or phrase can be said and depending on who is hearing it, mean two completely different things? If you asked a random group of people what they think of when they hear the words May Day you will get very different responses that will often run along gender lines.
Oh goodness, what an absolutely fabulous wedding, from start to finish. In fact, from the time that we heard that Prince William had asked his college sweetheart (and commoner), Catherine Middleton, for her hand in marriage, we were glued to the television and newspapers to follow along. Their courtship had been a long one – a long one with a small split happening a few years into it. Read more
On January 20, 1936, King George V, grandson of Queen Victoria, died and his eldest son, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David became that day, King Edward VIII.
It is hard to even imagine for most of us, what the life of a royal must be like. We, who are not of royal lineage, can go about our daily business making decisions, and sometimes mistakes, for that matter, with little or no input save, maybe, that from our family. But for all the other privileges that may accompany wearing the crown, this freedom to choose without the input of a government and national opinion, is not a luxury that is among them.
As the first anniversary of the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, approaches later this week, we couldn’t help but reflect on the their love story and the fascination the world has for everything “royal”. So your Two Chums thought it would be fitting, (and fun) to get “caught up”, as it were, on the other love stories that have surrounded the British throne. Today we begin with one of the most famous and arguably the most culturally influential of all the monarchs of the British or any empire, Queen Victoria and the great love of her life, Prince Albert.
Use what you’ve got…that message has been coming to me again and again since the beginning of this year. Over and over again as I’ve gone out to buy something I thought I needed or wanted, or looked at something and wished I could buy it, I’ve heard that little voice reminding me…”Use what you’ve got.”
I grew up in a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as Hancock Park. It is a beautiful area. Our neighborhood had streets lined with sycamore trees and older gracious homes that make you feel as if you have stepped back in time. When we moved in, I prayed that there might be a girl my age living on our block whom I would become friends with, someone whose family had the same sort of values as mine did and who would understand the role that faith played in my everyday life. I prayed for and was hoping for a friend with whom I had these things in common.
Looking out the big picture window in our living room on the day we moved in, I was surprised to see people coming and going from the house directly across the street who were dressed in what looked like some kind of weird costume. They looked so strange and almost ancient to me. I called to my mother and father to come and see what I was seeing. We all stood there staring at the sight of men dressed in long black coats with wide brimmed hats trimmed in some sort of fur and they all had long beards and long curls for sideburns. With hands flying around gesturing as they spoke, their language was one I had never heard before.
Many things have taken place, historically, “over a cup of tea”. Romance has been born, wars have ceased, relationships healed, lives forgiven. From time to time, we feel that it would be fun to have an “Over A Cup of Tea…” session where we share heartfelt thoughts about people or things important to us.
I spent a lot of my growing up years in England and so was fortunate to be able to drink in some wonderful English customs. Every country has its individual, enchanting customs and England is no different. One of these customs is that a lot of children in England go “away” to school – in other words, they go to a boarding school. In the United States, it is not a common practice for people to go to boarding school but, in England, it is. Read more
A good friend, David, asked us to talk about two things he wanted to know more about….essential tools for the kitchen and how to work within a small kitchen space. I have some experience with both, but today will focus on the essential kitchen tools and leave the subject of working in a small kitchen for another day.
I believe that there comes a point in every life where there is, if only for a fleeting moment, a sense of completeness. For me it came as I stood by my grandmother’s hospital bed, holding her hand as she left this world and went on to the next.
The profoundness of birth and death give definition to our lives, which seem otherwise often to be just so many ordinary days strung together like a sentence and punctuated by a few very high and low moments.
The two people pictured here don’t represent, for most of us, the classic picture of love and romance. They aren’t the “beautiful people” we have come to associate with tabloid and magazine covers depicting the latest celebrity romance or breakup. They are two ordinary people who taught me an extraordinary lesson about real love. They are my maternal grandparents, John and Willie Ridgway, or Papaw and Nanner to me.
Their 66 year marriage was not what I would call an epic romance. It was a great love story. In their 66 years together they weathered the Great Depression, the tragic and sudden death of a 20 year old daughter leaving behind a 4 month old daughter of her own for them to help raise, a cross country relocation, multiple muggings after moving to California, and the other sundry challenges and hardships you might imagine that any two people who lived together for 66 years would have to encounter. Read more
My dear chum,
“To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say and to finish without knowing what you have written.”
Printed cards that one buys certainly have their place, and sometimes say exactly what you are feeling, but hand written notes from the heart are probably the most cherished gifts one could receive. There is no better way to tell someone how you feel about them – start writing and just let it flow. It will be felt, deep into the soul of the receiver. Read more
It seems quite fitting to us that our first entry as we establish our home on the World Wide Web would be on the subject of hospitality. It is what we are all about. Hospitality is one of those things that you may not have a snappy definition for, yet you know it when you see it, (or feel it), and when you don’t.
On the surface entertaining and hospitality can seem very much the same, yet they are really totally different. Entertaining is focused on drawing attention to the host or hostess, and how wonderfully and beautifully they can do things. Hospitality is focused on one’s guests, and doing things beautifully in order that they will feel special.
How many times have you heard someone on television, who was cooking or decorating or making something for a party say, “Now this will really impress your guests!” Our culture is bombarded by messages that we need to do things well so others will think more highly of us.
We all hear and read tips on entertaining. The shelves in the bookstores are full of books on the subject and there are endless websites that are dedicated to helping you entertain. We are not one of them.
Two Chums is all about excellence and doing things well, and when we extend an invitation, we want our guests to see that things are beautifully done, and much time has been given to preparation, because they are special and worth our time and efforts. As you visit us each day we will be sharing with you things we’ve learned along the way in our homes with our families about love, joy and abundant living that is within everyone’s reach. We will share about the parties and celebrations we are having, about home decor projects and things we’ve learned about the art of gift giving. And of course some thoughts from our hearts.
Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Making others feel wanted and welcome, showing hospitality, is one of those small things we all can do with great love.
So though you may never actually visit the houses where we live, we want to invite you to visit our Two Chums home everyday. We will do our best to prepare for you because we care, and we want you to know we think you are worth our time and effort.
Welcome to Two Chums!