"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


100 Things I LOVE about America!-The First 20

Each night as I watch the news, it seems to bring more  distressing news about scandals, hits, terrorism, trauma, drama and greed in America. It hurts to watch it. It hurts to think about it. 

With that in mind, I decided to come up with my own list of why I love America  For the next five Mondays I will write 20 things I love about America. None of them are monumental or earth-shattering; but they do make me remember what sets America apart from the rest of the world and makes our freedoms so great.

100 Things I LOVE About America
The First 20---Places:

1. Big front porches where you can sit and talk and watch the world go by.

2. Homecoming parades.

3. Church on Sunday morning.

4. Summer cornfields in Kansas.

5. Wooden bridges.

6.The romance and lure of Route 66 (as it runs right through the middle of my state).

 7. Small-town main streets lined with cars.

8. Town squares in small towns that host everything from prom pictures to bake sales to carnivals.

9. College football stadiums on Saturday afternoons.

10. Backyards full of fireflies on a June night with kids running around catching the little pieces of magic.

11. Produce stands and farmers markets when the produce is so fresh there is still wet dirt on the fruits and vegetables.

12.  Fourth of July firework displays, celebrating with hundreds (or thousands) of people as everyone 'oohs' and 'aahs' together.  

13. American Legion sponsored baseball games. The games are wonderful. There is always a huge American flag waving.  The Star-Spangled Banner is played before every game starts. Great sportsmanship is displayed.

 14. Election polling locations on the first Tuesday in November, with the flag proudly displayed, the curtained booths and the little old ladies handing out "I Voted" stickers.

15. Libraries full of free books and so much other information that we have unlimited access to.

16. Cemeteries on Memorial Day. In their own way they are beautiful as we celebrate and honor those we loved with flowers and flags.

17. Miles and miles and miles of beaches where you can sit with toes in sand, mesmerized by the vast ocean.

18. Church camp during the summer. Early mornings and late nights. Songs around campfires. Groups and classes, swimming and softball, baptisms in the river, mess halls and chapel.

19. Neighborhoods that still have brick streets. 

20. Spending summer afternoons at the lake with family, friends and boats.
 Next week: 20 Traditions in Why I LOVE America.  Do you have a list of your own?

"My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing...."


In Honor of my Grandfather and all Veterans....

The following is a poem my grandfather wrote to my grandmother in 1918 during WWI.
The picture above is of the actual poem (on the right), a letter he wrote while he was on the ship on his way to France, and two books of WWI poetry that were his. They are filled with wonderful graphics as well.  I hope you enjoy the poem as much as I love reading it.

                                       Same place, same war, same month, different day
Same Girl
    Same Town,
        Same State
Same (as per usual):
           Same kind of longing to see you. Etc., Etc., Etc., Etc., Etc.,
            Same promises of coming back.
            Same description of beautiful scenery.
            Same assurances not to worry about me ending with statement of 
great danger I am about to enter and hardships I am enduring all for you.
           (Service record shows I was DRAFTED Sept. 19. 1918)

             Same great agony of mind I am enduring wondering if that damn 
slacker is still hanging around your house.
             Same description of beautiful  ? girls, and how well I am 
learning to speak French (this word was blacked out and the word "censored" was written in)
                 Same complimentary mention of company officers and kindness of
                                         Same promises, Same love
                                             Same kisses.
                                                      Same soldier
  Same address
P.S. Be sure to put "1st CLASS: before private in my address.

So?  Do you love it as much as I do?  If you look closely at the picture of the letter below you can see more of his words that are also romantic. 




To all the Veterans and the families of the Veterans, I THANK YOU.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your bravery, your sacrifice and your willingness to serve so that others may enjoy freedom. Thank you.

I have linked with Tracey for her Sunday words of wisdom.
Don't forget to thank a Veteran!


Random Mutterings of a Friday....

Kudos to Pepsi for their great advertising campaign! First their Pepsi carton is catchy to the eye.
 I love the graphics.  I love the thought and I love what is behind the graphics and the thought.  I love the idea that a major American company is encouraging us to DO GOOD. It is great that they want us to let others know about what is good! I guess I'll just have to keep drinking Pepsi (and Mt. Dew) to show my support.  DO GOOD!

Other things that make me happy this beautiful summer day...a three-day weekend for many.  My children will all be home to eat to visit. It is also my daughter Annie's 27th (giant gulp) birthday. To quote the good Dr. (Seuss), "How did it get so late so soon?"
 We will celebrate with bright and happy colors, because that is Annie's personality. It just so happens that I found great birthday candles at Pier 1.
 I could not decide which set I liked best, so I just got both. I'll use the toothpick candles (and the sprinkles) on birthday cupcakes and the tea light candles on the table. They were both too cute to pass up. I might even have to go back and get the cute napkins I saw there too. I might have passed up the napkins, but I did grab this.....
  Isn't that the cutest? It is perfect, as I am off to begin my cooking and cupcake baking. Have a great Friday!


The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave....

It goes without saying that this week's tablescape would be patriotic. I come from a very patriotic family and I got the gene. I probably own as much patriotic decor as some people do Christmas decor.
 With that in mind, I wanted my tablescape to reflect what Memorial Day is about and not so much the fun and festivities of July 4th.
 These are little metal WWI Barclay soldiers.  They were originally toys. I consider them treasures. You can buy them on Ebay, which I linked. They are affordable. 
 So while the dishes are as cute as can be, it is the centerpiece I love this week. I thought of it at the last second and threw it together.  Had I thought of it sooner, I would have had more pictures to add to it. 
 I used a wire picture holder, put it in the middle of the bowl, and surrounded it with small flags. The pictures are of the men in our families that served in the different wars, and the women they left behind.
 My Granddad Flanagan.

 My Grandfather Ferguson and men from his Company.
 My M 
My Grandmother Ferguson.
She gathered up everything my Grandfather
sent her while he was overseas and
had this very (dramatic!) picture made!
(I love it!!)

My father-in-law on the right 
and his best friend on the left.
They are with their wives.
They were all four high school
best friends.
They are about 21 or 22 in the picture.
I filled the rest of the picture holders with postcards
my Grandfather Ferguson had sent while he was away.
I have written about other ways to decorate with these postcards here.

My Grandfather Ferguson's discharge papers.
All the pictures of him, his beloved Annie,
the discharge papers and vaccination papers
were found in the trunk I talked about here.
If you look closely at the above picture,
you can see where the mice had been 
chewing on the paper.
I realize I am very lucky to have these things.
I need to add pictures of my Dad who was in the Army
and every.single.one. of my uncles and Tim's uncles
who also served.
If you do not have pictures of
your own to use, 
there are plenty of places to 
find pictures.
Any vintage pictures would work.
for that matter
current pictures of our servicemen and women.

 As for the dishes...
the secondary part of my tablescape,
they were quick and easy to put together.
I used the red plates from a set of 
red dishes
my husband surprised me with 
one year.
The cloth 'napkins' are really
tea towels from 
the Dollar Tree.
The star plates are also from the Dollar Tree.
They are big enough that they could actually
be used as chargers with a smaller plate 
in the middle.
The placemats...yep, you guessed it...Dollar Tree.
They are cheap light enough that they curled
at the edges some. It actually was
kind of cute and looked like it was 
meant to be.
The blue bowls were a four-pack from Wal-Mart or Target
a few years ago.
They are great for summer.
The silverware is a mixture of red and blue
that I use all the time.

The place card 'holder' 
is actually a chip-clip.
I also bought them at the Dollar Tree.
They come in packs of three.
I bought them because I liked them.
Then when I was unloading my other finds
to set my table, it just hit me to use them 
as placecard holders.
My son Luke, my best critic inspirer
admonished me for the plain 
He pointed out that I could have 
copied other 
military pics
for placecards.
Or used some type of flag paper
for placecards.
There 'ya go. You all can have better 
than me, thanks to Luke.
The package of stars came from Pier 1.
Gasp! I actually bought something that 
wasn't from Dollar Tree!

To make my centerpiece I
used the outside bowl.
I placed a bucket inside the bowl
so I would not have so much space
to deal with.
I then put the wire picture holder
inside the bucket.
I stuffed paper towels around the edges
to give the flags better grip.
It is pictured below:
I put the 'beads' on top of the 
papertowels, just so no one
would see them.
I hope everyone has a wonderful
Memorial Day weekend.
Please remember our service men and women
in your thoughts and prayers.
Take a moment to thank any
serviceman or woman you see.
I have linked to Susan at BNOTP.
Go by and see the unbelievable
bloggers share each week.
I also linked with the Style Sisters
Check out all the great centerpieces they share.
The first tablescape I ever did for BNOTP
was also patriotic and can be found here.


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