September Photo Challenge: My Town

photo blog challenge

Here we are again with PJ’s photo blogging challenge. This month’s theme is My Town. There are many aspects to life in my town, but most of these photos will be primarily in and around the University of Missouri’s flagship campus, located in my little town.

My Town #1
The University of Missouri-Columbia (or Mizzou as it’s nicknamed) began in 1939 with an investment from 900 citizens of Boone County. The library was created in 1841 and the first graduation occurred in 1843. In 1862, the university closed from spring to fall because federal troops engaged in the Civil War were quartered in one of the buildings. This is a shot of Memorial Union, a massive, gothic-inspired building that was built as a memorial to the university’s alumni that died in WWI. Pledges from students and faculty totaled $238,000 and construction began. You can read more about the history of Mizzou HERE.

My town #2
Jesse Hall serves as an admin building and houses the University Concert Series in an ornate theatre located inside the building. The original Academic Hall on campus burned in 1892, leaving the six columns you see in the photo. Jesse Hall was built in 1895 as the new “Academic Hall,” and renamed in 1922 after retiring university president, Richard Jesse.

My Town #3
The university’s mascot is a tiger. The name was selected in 1890 shortly after the football team was formed. The name, Tigers, didn’t originate because of a love of the animal….it came from a band of armed guards called the Fighting Tigers of Columbia who, in 1864, protected the town during the Civil War. This photo was taken at the recent Tiger Stripe football game where each section of the stadium was supposed to wear either black or gold.

My Town #4
The Heidelberg restaurant and bar celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.  A group of investors initially purchased former Ever Eat Café and renamed it The Old Heidelberg after one of the world’s oldest universities in Germany. It’s a beloved dining tradition among alums located across the street from the journalism school. The original restaurant burned in 2003 but was rebuilt because it holds many nostalgic memories among students and alums alike.

My Town #5
Just off campus is the Missouri Theatre. It’s a concert and theatrical production venue built in 1928, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also the town’s only surviving pre-Depression building that housed a movie theatre and vaudeville stage. The theatre was designed after the Paris Opera House and the interior is done in the ornate baroque style of the Louis XIV and XV periods. In addition to offering theatrical productions, it is home to the area’s only professional orchestra, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra.

There’s my five for September. Please make a point to visit PJ’s place and enjoy touring other towns.


Dear Younger Me

If I knew then what I know now…….how often have we said that? Or, I’d go back if I could take the brain I have now with me.

Do you ever wonder how different life would be if your younger, more stupid self had been sent a letter by your older, much wiser self?

We’d be able to see what younger self was about to do and warn them, Hey dumb-@$$, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. How awesome would that be? We could avoid a lot of pain, suffering and hardship.

And yet, all those stupid mistakes my younger self made…and the lessons learned….has molded me into who I am today. Okay, maybe I could do without some of those aspects but, on the whole, I know all those experiences happened for a reason. They all were part of a bigger plan and served to skool me in much more than academics.

lisa1976And yet…..if I could warn my younger self about life, here’s what I would say:

Dear Younger Me,

Love yourself. Regardless of what that tag on your clothing says, love the person inside those jeans. If, in your opinion, the packaging needs work, then take measures to become a  healthier me. And remember, you are more than a number on a pair of pants.

Stop being afraid to take a risk. But what if it’s a mistake? Then, it’s a mistake. The awesome thing about life is there’s always the opportunity for a do-over when the sun rises. Don’t look back when you’re 60, 70 or 100 and say, I wish I would have done…….

Life….your career, your marriage, your children….will be a roller coaster ride most of the time. Sometimes it will all feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, and other times it will feel like an out-of-control, downhill race to the finish line. And there will be those loopy-loops in the middle that make your stomach lurch. But the good and the bad serve a purpose, even if that purpose is above your pay grade at this time. So, don’t be afraid to live, laugh and love….a lot.

Don’t obsess over the small stuff….or small people. Everything from traffic lights to idiot drivers to that five cent error in the checkbook. Life is much too short to be angry or worried over these things. And, likewise about small-minded people whose mission in life is to make you feel inferior and inadequate. These are part of those character-building experiences your parents told you about.

Don’t wish away the pain. Emotional, physical, psychological. You’re going to feel all of it more than you’d like. It sounds trite, but the pain is there to teach and, if you let it, mold you into the best version of yourself. Rarely are lessons learned from the easy, good times in life. Life lessons are mainly learned through pain, heartache, struggles, challenges, devastation and loss. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. So, embrace the pain and discover what you are supposed to learn from the experience and then move forward…not backwards.

Your faith will wax and wane like the moon. Life experiences will bring you to mountain-top epiphanies, but will also lay you flat with doubts. Through all of this, do whatever it takes to understand these are challenges designed to refine your faith and strengthen it. But even if you walk away and do unspeakable things, remember it’s never too late to turn around and come back. You are never too far gone for forgiveness and grace if you truly desire to have it. God may have just let you wander around feeling lost for a reason.

Some day it will all make sense. But, perhaps not in this life. And that’s okay. You don’t need to figure it all out. Trust that things happen for a reason and God has a specific mountain valley abyss path you need to take. Pray for guidance, and use your head and heart to make the best decisions possible. It will all get sorted out in the end.

With love,
Your Older, Much Wiser Me

And then I’d leave Younger Me with this music video.

Sharing with Life Through the Lens

September is all but gone already!


By all these lovely tokens,
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson

 Wasn’t the first of September just last week? I really don’t know how the months slip by so quickly. With October just a short one week away, we’re quickly falling into Fall. Temps are suppose to cool a bit this coming week. Right now, it’s only 61F at 10am. The windows have been thrown open and the AC turned OFF!

I found some signs of early Autumn last week. You can see them HERE. I hope to make it to a park with the grand girls for the main event in a few weeks.

Entrepreneur celebrated a birthday this past week. The Golfer couldn’t make it but The Recruiter, Peanut, Twix and his parents joined us. He says it’s no big deal, but I’m thankful for every day….especially birth days since the cancer scare of a couple years ago. We also celebrated Peanut’s 8th birthday earlier this month.

I hope you all have a wonderful, Autumn week.

Playing Quotography along with Kelley

The calendar says it’s Autumn but the temps say it’s Summer.

Autumn! It’s here! Or is it?

The calendar says today marks a seasonal shift with the first day of Autumn. The Autumnal Equinox….when there is almost an equal number of daylight and moonlight hours in the day. Woo Hoo! Bring on the apple cider, pumpkin-spice everything, boots, jackets, cozy sweaters, and the warmth of crackling fire pits.

But my weather app says this:

2016-autumn-equinox-1 2016-autumn-equinox-2

A bit of a disconnect. All week the temps have been in the upper 80sF with heat a head index in the 90sF.

But Autumn’s coming….I know she is.


The Fall asters are blooming. A little different color than the usual Autumn bronzes, golds and crimsons.


The burning bushes are beginning to burn.

burning bush-leaf

To hurry the season along a bit, I bought some mums for the front porch. Looks like they are just waiting to explode into full bloom.


Hurry up little bee. Those dreams of more honey are almost gone.


So, Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone in the norther hemisphere.

May you harvest the light and keep it burning brightly in your heart, so that when the deepest darkness of winter is upon us, you will remember the summer sun.
~Teo Bishop

LTTL & Quotography: Red

Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.
~Bill Blass

and hummingbirds….definitely hummingbirds.

I’m finally playing along again with Kelley and Quotography, and Lisa at Life Thru the Lens! Twix went down for a nap and I made the executive decision to grab the camera and go outside…specifically looking for Red.

The calendar says the first day of Autumn is later this week, but the thermometer still says it’s summer here in middle Missouri. Temps are in the upper 80sF with the heat index in the upper 90sF. Not very conducive to Autumn thinking.

The hummers were impressive this year. They buzzed around the feeders all summer and are still going strong. I figure they are beginning to migrate south and are catching a quick bite along the way. So, the feeders will stay up for a while.

I decided to take time the next couple of months for a Women’s Bible Study class on C.S. Lewis. We’re specifically talking about Mere Christianity and The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. He’s such a favorite of mine, and his story of how he walked away from Christianity and became an atheist…only to be drawn back to faith through logic and reason. Much of his writings make my brain hurt. Did you know “Jack” (as he wanted to be called) was the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge? That means he must have been an extremely well-read person. Good and bad, fiction or fact…he read them and gained insight, discernment and a respect for differing points of view. I may write more on Jack as the study gets further into the details of his life and writing.

But for now, I’ll just leave you with one of my hummers….just to make you smile.

Playing along with Kelley and Quotography, and sharing with Lisa at Life Thru the Lens

An August calendar in September

Well, I did it again. Or, more accurately, I didn’t do it again. It was September 6th before I realized I had not done my monthly calendar. No surprise. It’s been a wild summer.


You might not know it by this calendar selection, but aside from our sitter services for Twix during work hours, the grand girls are not here much anymore. And it’s quiet in our house. Veeeeery quiet….especially after 5pm. It’s a strange feeling, and we’re slowly adjusting to our new routines.

I’m slowly regaining control over my house…one room at a time. The Recruiter is 99% moved out, but still has pockets of possessions that have not been relocated yet. Entrepreneur is already making noises about downsizing, but I need a few years of enjoying my space before I even consider making a change.

So, the garden is, for the most part, done for the year. The pool has been drained and the toys put away until next summer. I’m mapping out some landscaping changes to tackle when the temps cool a bit more. And I need to get back to walking 2-3 miles every day or so. My exercise routine took a back seat this past year…but the stress eating did not.

I hope your summer was enjoyable. Even though temps will tend to stay warm for another month, I’m sorta looking forward to some cooler days.



Walk with me?

So, what is this thing called blogging and how does it work? Once again, I’ve been MIA for far too long. Life events the past few months feels like we’ve been drinking from a fire hose and I gotta tell you, we’re T.I.R.E.D. I’m slowly trying to get back into the swing of things here in the blogosphere.

But today, I’d like to stroll with you around the grounds and chat a while. Along with the stress the past few months, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with world events. How about you? The election is looming and our choices are a narcissistic opportunist or a criminal so slick she seems to get a pass for very questionable activities. It’s really sad this is the best the two main parties can come up with for candidates. Where are all the “statesmen”? I’m extremely worried about the future of our country regardless of which one wins. The debates and non objective follow-up analysis from the media should be entertaining frustrating nauseating interesting.

morning glory

This? This is a Morning Glory. I saved some seeds from last year and threw them in a pot last spring. They took their own sweet time coming up but are going strong here at the end of summer. The cool blue color is refreshing against the 90+F temps.

Going back to politics for a moment…..I don’t understand why anyone would want to run for office in this day and age. It seems like as soon as someone announces their candidacy, the skeletons simply cannot fall out of the closet fast enough. And that’s all the media want to focus on. Let’s just ignore anything of substance….let’s focus on how much dirt can be uncovered,  how much mud can be slung, and what new, catchy, derogatory names can be adopted. And have you noticed, when a candidate has absolutely no plan, their focus becomes primarily on character assassination of their opponent?


The Rose of Sharons are completely out of control. For 15 years, one Rose of Sharon bush lived peacefully in a flower bed off the driveway with a cedar tree, perennial geraniums and day lilies. However, in the last few years, Sharon has started proliferating like a bunny. That bed is now almost completely covered with volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes, which would be okay except they are starting to grow into the cedar tree, and are crowding out the perennial geranium ground cover. But the bees and hummingbirds love them. This carpenter bee was so laden down with pollen, it was flying in slow motion.

A new semester has begun and I’m, once again, an instructor for Strategic Campaigns. This is the capstone course for students graduating in the strategic communications department. I have 17 students this semester who really have no idea how much work awaits them. And I can already see managing client expectations is going to be a problem.

rose of sharon

Twix is two and a half and continues to keep us on our toes with such phrases as, I can do it!; Let me do it!; Don’t help me! Her newly-found independent abilities is entertaining….and frustrating at the same time. Her problem-solving abilities are mind boggling. Every time I turn around, she’s carrying a chair somewhere in order to get to something that has been put (what we thought was) out of reach. And the complete sentences that come out of her mouth will make your head spin. She began a sentence the other day with, Actually…….


This little guy hitched a ride on Entrepreneur’s car and ended up relocating to our yard. I’m sure he found a smorgasbord to whet his appetite. I also have a toad that lives in  a couple of aloe vera plant pots. Mental note: check the pot before brining it inside for the winter.


So you might wonder what I’ve been doing that’s kept me away from you all for so long? Well, here’s part of the reason. The garden yielded 17 quarts of canned green beans, a mixture of quarts and pints of pickled beets, pickled okra and dilly beans. The corn, once we got it tied up after the rains, rewarded our effort with 10 quart jars of golden deliciousness in the freezer, plus we had more than enough for corn on the cob dinners. But, no bell peppers….which made me sad. On the other end of the spectrum, the okra is still going gangbusters and I swear one could stand and literally watch it grow. I’ve started giving it away as I have about ten, gallon bags frozen in the deep freeze already and two more gallon bags in the frig. I’m looking forward to putting that little plot of ground to rest for the year.

Are you looking forward to Autumn? I think I might be ready for it soon. I seem to be hearing the call of cute boots and cuddly sweaters from my closet.

lantana and chair

So, The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix are now officially moved into their newly-renovated home. Peanut started a new school and is less than thrilled about the situation. But, I’m hoping she will adapt, in time. Twix comes to our house during the weekdays while mom is at work and, mercifully, still takes naps.🙂

So, that’s where I’ve been for many, many weeks. I’ve tried to stay active on Facebook, but that’s more like “hit and run” postings. Perhaps once it gets colder I’ll have more time to contemplate deep thoughts and put into words. I have a lot of those thoughts floating around in my head. But, for the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be living hand-to-mouth and trying to keep my head above the time commitment waters.

How was your summer?