Posted in The Honored Guests, Things To Contemplate

Cookies in the Mailbox


This  guest blogger is like sunshine. Warm and wonderful. The way she sees the world always keeps me seeking

LOVE- strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties: affection based on admiration or common interests.


by Bobbie Ann Ray

LOVE has taught me Patience- there are times I have none. But when I slow down and listen most of the time I get enlightened.
LOVE has taught me to let it go- there are just some people that are not meant to be in my life anymore. They are not a positive in my life. I need to surround myself with those that love and accept me for who and what I am-and if they cannot be that person they just steal my thunder.
LOVE has taught me there are those in my life that love and accept me for Bobbie Ann- just a few of those important people in my life- Varsi, Leslie, Lonee, Deisha, and my mom. Thank each of you.
LOVE has taught me you do not always have to be in perfect agreement with another- you can listen to their opinions and move forward.
LOVE has taught me to choose my words carefully- once spoken you can never take them back.
LOVE has taught me acceptance- you never have to tell another their faults. We are all our own worst critics. The good Lord made each and everyone of us-and to criticize another is to criticize HIM!
LOVE has taught me to appreciate the little things. New socks, laughter, and a glass of wine after a stressful day.
LOVE has taught me generosity. That if I have and you need it I will try to give it to you.
LOVE has taught me to be a decent neighbor- sometimes cookies in the mailbox is the perfect answer.
LOVE has taught me that I love to grow things- I love to plant seeds, flowers, trees and vegetables to watch them grow.
LOVE has taught me that I love to sit at my kitchen table, listen to music and solve the world’s problems. I have sat at the kitchen table with young and old and cherish every experience I have had there.
LOVE has taught me its ok to cry- happy or sad. The older I get the more emotional I have become.
LOVE has taught me there are miracles everyday- the sunrise and sunset are just two daily miracles, marvel and stand in awe.
LOVE has taught me the greatest gift I have ever been given is my girls- I have not been the perfect mother. I never will be. BUT you know what they LOVE me anyway. Motherhood is the most important job I have ever done they are the greatest gift I have ever received.
Dogs are LOVE! I wanna be more like my dogs.
LOVE has taught me to love LIFE- make the most of every single day. Life is a precious gift. BE BRAVE.
LOVE is time. Give the ones you love your time, your undivided attention. Look them in the eye.
Love has taught me that I want to be in LOVE- it is a miraculous wondrous experience. I want someone to spend my life with. If I ever get the chance for a relationship again I will treat it as the blessing that it is. No shortcuts. 110% percent.
LOVE has taught me that I am not the person I want to be, that I am a work in progress. Love yourself as much if not more than you love others. This is not a selfish thing.

Posted in The Honored Guests

Almost 20 Things Love Has Taught Me, Tammy Alvarez




Miss Tammy Alvarez… One of my Favorite things about her is her ability to evolve in love. Whatever God has to teach her about it is the next big thing for her. Keeps me inspired and in training.

“it makes friends family”



20 things love has taught me, okay 16 things……………
In my life I have been blessed with true love. I have to say that these are the days that I feel most loved. I have a wonderful husband of over 18 years. I have three daughters. Both my parents are still alive. I have a wonderful best friend. I have the best church family anyone could ask for! Most importantly, I have discovered true love for myself.

  tammy 3
The following are some of the things I have learned…..
it can’t be bought, it can’t be earned
it never ends, it’s all or nothing
it’s frightening ,it can hurt
its unconditional, it can make you crazy
it would make you give your life for another, it has one perfect match for you
it makes friends family, it’s amazing
you can’t make anyone love you, you can only give your love
it brings us closer to God
God Loves Us All!


Posted in The Honored Guests

20 Things Love Has Taught Me…. Robin Cockram

Time for another guest blogger and I could not wait to share this one with you. I love her words. I dont know how else to say it except to say that when my day is not going well I can read something she has written and I feel better. Some of the things she has written have ended up in my grateful journals and art journals or listed in my prompts for the next big learning experience. My favorite quote is just below this picture of her. I recite it sometimes when it’s tough. So without further delay, Robin Cockram. Prepare to smile.


” And my favorite part about His love…is that He is especially fond of me….like I am the only one that has ever existed!!”

So here I go….I’m blogging, I’m blogging, I’m blogging….I don’t even really know what that means…but I’m in!!!  So here is my epic analysis of the 20 things love has taught me…

  1.  I have to start by giving props to The Big Man Upstairs.  He is All of the Things you hear about, and more…the Alpha and Omega, My Savior, Father, My Redeemer, My Portion, He is Grace and Mercy….all of them!!!  And my favorite part about His love…is that He is especially fond of me….like I am the only one that has ever existed!!  Now that, my friends, is LOVE!!
  2. Children = love……babies with their innocence, kids with their questions, 12 year olds with their hormones, teenagers with their attitudes, and young adults with their independence.  All of them equal love.
  3. To love is to forgive.  Yep…this is the hardest one for me.  I’ve had to forgive people who never even knew they needed to be forgiven.  And sometimes, if I’m completely honest, I have to re-forgive them again and again and again….for the same thing.  Not because of them, but because of me.  I let that resentment take over and it can still kick my ass.  So… forgiveness is good. 
  4. To watch my parents grow old, is love. They have always been love to me.   I never knew about these “sandwich” years where our kids still depend on us, but now…so do our parents.  Who knew???  Who knew that my proud, strong dad would lose his vision?  But he still manages to open every door for my mom.  That my amazing mom would lose most of her hearing?    But they still have that love language that no one understands but them.  That even though I am 46, they still cry every time I drive off?  That they would trust me to help take care of them now, to me, is love.
  5. Love is praying over my kids while they sleep….all the while knowing that it kinda creeps them out!  They’ve never woke up while I was at their bed side, but I always thought it would be funny if they did.  And if they knew that I still do this when they visit, they would probably be mad.
  6. Love is being married to a man that will butter my corn….and adding a little salt because that’s how I like it.  This same man kisses me on top of the head and gives me bear hugs on a daily basis.  He’s also cranky, bossy, crude, and extremely inappropriate….but this love is like none other than I’ve ever known….I didn’t even know that this kind of love really existed.  When we were raising our babies, he worked away from home a lot, so I learned to love the smell of his pillow.  But now…we get to live together all the time.  And we even like it…..usually.  We argue over dumb things and get mad at each other.  But not often.  One of the best things is that at night, when my feet get cold, he lets me put them under his legs ‘til they warm up.  See???  Love!!!
  7. Love has taught me that giving is the best.  I’m a softie.  Those of you who have known me for a long time may question that…but really, I am. I give to the folks with the signs that say “I’m hungry”, “will work for food”….yes…I give them money.  And yes, they may go spend it on weed or beer or vodka…..but they may not.  They may feed themselves or their kids or their dogs.  I don’t care what they do with it.  After it leaves my hand, it’s no longer my business.  But I also love to give time….to my family, to strangers, to animals.  Time is love, too.
  8. Love is rocking babies.  This one needs no further explanation.
  9. Love is puppy breath….when they’re little and love to snuggle under your ear.  Love, love, love.
  10. Love has taught me that friends are necessary.  I am a bad friend.  If I ever tell you that I’ll call you back, don’t believe it, I probably won’t.  But I don’t mean to be a bad friend.  I have very few real friends.  But man, those few are the best.  They are patient, understanding…all that important “friend stuff”.  They know me and still love me!
  11. Love is beautiful, sunny days and long, winter nights.
  12. I’ve learned that dogs love unconditionally.  My dogs are the smartest in the world.  Yes….I do believe that.  But…they also believe that about me.  Their whole world is me!  They don’t care what I’ve done or haven’t done, they love me.
  13. Love is having a baby girl with curly red hair who loves “Itsy, Bitsy Spider”.  She still loves “Beauty and the Beast” and she’s 22.  She still thinks I’m pretty smart, and I don’t know why.  But she was my first, pure love.
  14. Love is a baby boy.  He literally had my heart from his first heart’s beat.  He loved Barney and shoes.  He still loves shoes!  Love is this same boy becoming an amazing man who lets his mama hug him for awkward amounts of time.  I just say, “I’m not done”, and he lets me hug a little longer.
  15. You can love kids who didn’t come out of your belly as much as the ones that did.  And I have two of them that have called me mom for 15 years now.  I’ve gotten to kiss their boo-boos, help them with broken hearts, talk to them about seriously disturbing topics, fight with them, yell at them, and cuddle with them.  Love!!
  16. Love is a day full of nothing but pj’s, coffee, and trash TV.
  17. Silence is golden…yes, a golden dollop of love.
  18. Love is having a sister like mine.  We laugh together, cry together, bitch together, give each other stupid advice….but the laughing together is the best.  Sometimes, we can’t even look at each other without laughing.  If she hates somebody or something, it’s just understood that I do, too.  I know that’s not the right thing to do, but there’s no wiggle room here…it is what it is. 
  19. Sometimes, love is a good ole’ ice cold beer.  Yum.
  20. And lastly, love is me.  I know it’s pretty brazen to say that, but finally…I’m learning to love me.  It’s been a long, hard road.  It’s been huge, rocky mountains, and dry, barren valleys.  It’s been rainy days and lonely nights.  But after all this….there’s me!


Posted in The Honored Guests

20 Things Love Has Taught Me; Eva Dyke

 It is the season of  Love, Amore, Va va va- voom! This months theme is about ” What love has taught me” .  So I wanted to start off February with an amazing guest perspective on love in her life. Eva Dyke



“Happily ever after can exist, but you have to work at it.”

20 Things Love Has Taught Me

As far as love goes, I have been amazingly blessed my entire life. I have two of the greatest parents in the world who have always shown me how much they love me, through both words and actions. Mom and Dad celebrated twenty-five years of marriage last July. They have given me the best example of what a happy, Godly marriage looks like, and I pray that one day I’ll get to experience that for myself. My son provides me the most perfect example of unconditional love. He loves me no matter what I do or say, and I believe that until you have a child and experience their love for you, it’s really hard to fathom God’s love for all His children. A child’s love is the most pure, beautiful thing in the world, and it truly is amazing. As a single mama, it’s pretty special when a man steps up and wants to be a part of your life and your child’s as well. It’s just another form of love that is unique and rare and special. All of these experiences came to mind when brainstorming all the different things love has taught me. I came up with quite a list, but I managed to narrow it down to what I felt were the top twenty most important things.

Love has taught me that…

20. Honesty is always the best policy.

19. Boogers aren’t that gross.

18. Tears can be happy and sad at the same time.

17. Unconditional means without any conditions. None. Whatsoever.

16. Cuddling is the best.

15. Happily ever after can exist, but you have to work at it.

14. Giving should happen a lot more than taking.

13. There are many different forms of love.

12. Communication is key.

11. Kisses have healing powers.

10. Hugs do, too.

9. There is no past tense form of love. Either you still do, or you never did.

8. The little things end up being the big things. Always.

7. Fairy tales do exist.

6. It’s ok to cry sometimes.

5. Time heals everything.

4. No one loves like Jesus does.

3. Expectation leads to disappointment.

2. Acts of love are the best kind.

1. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13:13

Posted in The Honored Guests, Things To Contemplate

The Reinvention of Me: Tammy Alvarez

 This guest blogger is without any doubt one of the very best freinds I have ever had. I love her so much. One of the few people on this earth who’s kitchen I can invade with my broken heart, my kids, my husband, my weirdness and all my joys. She keeps me focused on Jesus and helps me to remember to always be better, to count my blessings and to explore all the color and magic in my world.   She’s real. What you see is what you get- that’s rare in a person. She keeps me real. She is an amazing artist ( you must check out her blog at the end of this article), an adoptive mom of three, a theraputic parent, a teacher, a singer, a dreamer and lover of people.  Mrs. Tammy Alvarez…..


” I try to count my blessings before my wants.”

The reinvention of me Tammy Alvarez

“The Search”

I am about to turn 46……! Back in “the Day” I thought that was OLD!
Today I am a little confused…what is 46? How does a 46 yr old women dress, talk, behave??????
When I think of myself, I picture a grown woman fairly pretty, fairly thin, fairly funny. Age does not come into the picture of me.
I am me.
I am constantly searching; for new art ideas, better ways to parent, ways to find moments of true peace,ways to get organized (finally).

‘The Search” is my personal journey through this life.
I try to be still and listen to God, praying for his guidance along his path. I try to count my blessings before my wants. I try to keep the faith that my live is right where it is susposed to be. Patience is not one of my virtues……..

The Search – 2013

Focus on my God
Focus on my Family
Focus on my Friends
Allow these 3 things to be the guiding force in how I live my life…..don’t just let the days happen and pass me by!

Find the joy in everyday!

Tammy’s Blog….

Posted in The Honored Guests, Things To Contemplate

The Reinvention of Me: Bobbie Ray

 This guest blogger is one really dear to my heart. Ever meet someone or reconnect with someone and think ” Wow, This person gets me?”… I think she makes everyone feel that way; loved, cared for and hopeful!  This woman inspires me every single day to never stop seeking.   

“I have always been the square peg, I accept that now. I would never want to be forced into the round hole.”

Reinvention of ME
byBobbie Ray

First- when I received the invitation to participate in the blog, I thought Sharon had lost her mind. But I could not stop thinking about it, I couldn’t sleep last night, every time I woke up I was thinking about “THE BLOG”, what could I possibly say-who would want to hear my ramblings. Sharon knew I was scared (how she knows I don’t know-I have not seen her in 2o+ years) but the next morning she sent a message saying it could be a blessing. She is right- it is a blessing to me, a healing blessing to me and if it has any impact on someone else that is fantastic. If it offends-that was never EVER my intention.
Second and foremost- I am not a MAN hater. I believe in love, commitment, relationships, and the institution of marriage. I long for it and cherish the relationships I have. I know the men in my life, as well as the relationship I have with God, my children, and my female friends had been the driving force in the reinvention of ME!
So here goes nothing or something (depending on how you look at it.)
October 1981- my dad passed away-BETRAYAL
November 1984- “circumstances” Marriage 3 days after I turned 16. And on this note my sister got married at 16 and she will be married 50 years next July.
June 1986- “Circumstances” gone. He left without warning in the morning light to move back home to Florida- he called and told me where he was and I moved there in August to try and work it out but came back to NM in December.
May 1988- Re-married # 2 and was blessed with two beautiful girls (the shining light of my life)
SKIP ahead 19 years-I was feeling inadequate, unloved, not valued in this relationship. I had moved from wife, lover and friend to maid, ranchhand and roommate. I am just as much to blame as him, if not more so. I had gotten wound up in the busyness of life and raising my children and proving a home, that I had forgotten to work on my relationship with my husband. We had grown apart- so far apart it could not be repaired.
Fall 2007- I approached my husband asked, begged, pleaded to go to counseling. His answer was “I don’t need counseling but you do.” Needless to say we did not seek counseling and the rift grew wider.
May 2008- Our 20 year Anniversary, I wanted to do something spectacular- I am gonna fix this relationship! So I farmed the kids out for sleepovers, wine, candle, roses, his favorite meal at home, special outfit, and special treats. All he could say “ How much did this cost?” The rift is so wide I cannot see him and I have no idea who I AM!
September 2009- My daughter turns 15. Where has the time gone? Her father is on his annual 3 week hunting trip. ( Its true- we had not vacationed together in years) We have a slumber birthday party-when we take everyone home and our driving to our house. My daughter says to me “Mom, you are so fun when dad is not around. HEARTBROKE
September 2009- I made up my mind I was leaving. No fight, no arguments, just those two life changing words. His response “You do not have the financial means to leave me” CHALLENGE
I moved into another house on the ranch and YES I did leave my girls with him (for awhile). I left with my clothes and a twin mattress, and slept on the floor.
I had a friend that had a house on a neighboring ranch. So I called and asked if I could move into that house. Her answer was- “You do not want to live there. It is in bad shape.” My answer was so am I. She agreed to let me come look at the house but would not commit. When I went to look it was in bad shape- the pack rats had taken up residence it was filthy and I had no clue as to where to even begin. I AM SURE SHE THOUGHT I WAS MAKING A HORRIBLE DECISION. See we
live in a very small community, and had for 11 years at that point. My friends and neighbors thought I had it perfect and were pretty sure I had lost my mind or was going through a mid-life crisis. At points and times I thought all of those thoughts about myself, also. She actually told me to go home and think about it and if I was 100% sure we agreed that I could move in rent free and work on the place.
So this NEW 4 year journey to me begins- I cleaned and I painted. I cried and I paced. I ranted and I cussed. I journaled and I sat in the sunshine. I read and I talked to myself! I learned new things about me and did things I thought I was never ever capable of.
It has not been an easy journey-the reinvention of me, but I would not change one thing about it. I have learned not to have regrets-it just clouds my future. I know I have made mistakes-(Lord, do I know)- we are all our own worst critics. I know I am not the woman, mother or friend that I want to be. Everyday, I work on it. I try to be positive, I try not to preach, I try to be understanding, I try to love, I try to laugh, I try to show gratitude, I try to be happy, I try to see those in my life as a blessing, I try to accept not expect. In doing so I have found the ME I like. I have always been the square peg, I accept that now. I would never want to be forced into the round hole. I have wonderful people in my life that accept ME as I am and this journey to reinventing ME!
Thank you, Sharon for being one of those.


Posted in The Honored Guests

The Reinvention of Me: Leona Mann, AKA Cookie

This is  the first installment of  ” The Guest Blogger”. This months theme is ” The reinvention of me”.   Our first Guest this month is Cookie.-  Leona Mann

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     Photograph by Leona Mann
“~ God blessed you with many talents, go out and polish on at least one of them Today!
Leona Mann, AKA Cookie

Hello. My name is Leona Mann, aka Cookie.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother.
A whole book could be written about my life up to the point of “The Reinvention of Me”, but for now, lets just start with a glimpse of my life. 🙂
Around the age of 40, the light of realization came on, that I, (only Cookie) am responsible for the happiness, or lack of, in my life.
What I had known up to that point was tending to my home and my family. Paying bills, cooking meals, doing the laundry and all of the things that a (as a friend puts it) Domestic Goddess is blessed to have and do.
I felt a yearning to expand my horizons.
So begins the adventure. 🙂
I knew I needed a hobby, but wasn’t quite sure what….
I tried painting, drawing, arts and crafts, and I even tried inventing stuff (only to find out every one of my good ideas had already been invented).
During this process, just as with anything in life, I hit some bumps in the road. I had to go back to my ‘hobbys list” and try something else.
Turns out, I enjoy poetry.
I have written a number of poems. I found that it was very therapeutic to write, because it is my inner most thoughts and feelings, and I don’t have to worry about the criticisms of others. My writings are mine and mine alone. Sometimes I share, but that is a private place I can go. If I need to cry, laugh, or even just improve me vocabulary by learning new words in my poetry dictionary, I am being me. Poetry stirs all emotions in me.
I am a Poet.

Find your way to the front of his mind
Let him no longer be blind
Roll naturally from his tongue
Thru his lips so sweet, forever stay young
Play only honesty on the drums of my ears
Lay to rest all of my fears

Be the light in his eyes
Let there be no more lies
Be the tender in his touch
Always remain our crutch
Be the warmth in his kiss
All reservations; dismiss

Be our foundation of stone
Unlike any we’ve ever known
Even from afar, let us see clear
Like the sun, our bright & shining sphere
With you, we’ll never be alone
Never have to face another cyclone

Be his every loving smile
Showing me that love is not a trial
Awaken from the depth of my core
All I have hidden behind pains door
Thru his laughter be my souls symphony
The Great Alter of our hearts sacred ceremony

Be everything he is to me!

Leona L Mann
© Feb 13, 2008

Next I bought a cheap little point and shoot 100 dollar camera and set out to see how I would like photography. I found that shooting sunsets and landscape is more exciting that animals. I discovered that I love taking pictures of flowers and plants. During this adventure, I have been able to upgrade my camera to an SLR and get a macro lens and have found that most of all, my favorite photo subjects are insects.
I am a macro photographer.


One day I was watching my favorite TV channel (DIY) and the program subject was “building an ottoman”
So I set to either check or mark off another hobby from the list.
I built the ottoman, but incorporated a chess table of the flip side of the lift off top. Its a bit on the big and bulky side, but overall it made a very nice night stand. That was the beginning of my woodworking passion.
I have built a stool with drawers (for my husbands arrow head making), a bookshelf, a cradle and changing table, and an adirondack chair and table set. My upcoming projects are bunk beds and a corner crib.
I am a woodworker.

table chair

This process of Reinventing Me is still in progress.
Everyday holds new opportunities to learn and grow, so when I hear someone say ‘I am bored”, the first thought that comes to mind ~ God blessed you with many talents, go out and polish on at least one of them Today!

Thank you Cookie for sharing your heart and your smile( it’s contageous), your photography and your hidden talent… Which by the way is all about girl power. I love it that it never occurs to you that you can’t do something.