Saturday, September 20, 2008

Almost too long between blogs!

There has been so much that has happened in the past two weeks, I almost gave up on trying to blog before I even started!

Let's start with our new owner's quarters. Roseland Plantation came with no owner's quarters, so we have to build a house on premises. Currently we are renting in Canton and it's becoming quite a chore to go back and forth and keeping up with two complete households 23 miles apart. We've always intended to build, but just couldn't find the right builder for us and our needs. Then one day my husband drove by United-Bilt homes and talked with Nathan. After his conversation, he came home and asked me and Jennifer to go by and see what they had. Jennifer and I visited with two different builders that day and came away with a very positive impression with Nathan and United-Bilt homes. Long story short, United-Bilt designed a custom home to meet our needs at a price we are comfortable with. We are thrilled! Papers have been signed and ground has been broken - I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Hurricane Ike Wedding! Yes. We had a wedding on Saturday, September 13, just when hurricane Ike hit the Tyler area. The forecasts were horrid! Winds! Rain! Tornadoes! Seek shelter! Take cover! Tie down everything in sight! And for many, Ike was just that bad or worse. Here at Roseland Plantation however, we had a steady, gentle rain all day. Not much wind to speak of, no tornadoes, no power outage - Praise God! Our dear wedding couple, Janice and Jeff, didn't get the tent they wanted or the outdoor dance floor they had hoped for. Everything was moved inside the ballroom. But let me tell you what, Janice was one of the most genuinely happy brides I have ever seen. Nothing - nothing - not anything was going to diminish the joy of her marriage day to Jeff. She smiled. She joked. She was absolutely gracious to everyone around her. A true lady through and through. I mentioned this to my niece, Carmen, and she said, "You know, rain on your wedding day is good luck!" If you believe in luck, then Jeff is one of the luckiest men alive because he has a jewel like Janice as his bride. Personally, I don't believe in luck. I believe in the living God of Israel, and I pray all His blessings on Janice and Jeff Moser and their new life together in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. AMEN!

Hurricane Ike refugees. We had a few refugees from the Houston area this past week. Houstonians suffered varying degrees of damage depending on where they live. Even if no physical damage was done to their property, millions of people were (and many still are) without electricity. My niece Carmen took action right away. The first day after Ike went through she called me, "Aunt Debbie, do you have electricity?"
"Yes Carmen, we do." I answered.
"Do you have water?" she asked.
"Why, yes Carmen, we do."
"Aunt Debbie, do you have any rooms available?"
"Of course," I replied, "Ya'll come up."
Carmen is 8 months pregnant with her second child and being without electricity is most uncomfortable and just plain silly if you have options. Besides, I'm happy to take family visits anyway I can get them. She and her son Luca came up. Carmen's husband, Cisco, is an important part of the rescue and recovery efforts in the Houston area so he stayed behind. We had a business man from the Houston area who had business in Tyler stay with us a few days and then another niece, Jessica, called, "Aunt Debbie, do have any rooms available?" She knew Carmen was up here so she didn't have to ask if we had water and electricity. :-)
"Of course," I replied, "Ya'll come up."
Jessica and her two children, Jordon and Renee (husband David stayed behind to work) only got to spend a couple of days with us before all five of them, Carmen, Luca, Jessica, Jordon and Renee left us on Friday. While they were here they visited the Caldwell Zoo, the Discovery Place, several restaurants and shops. They really enjoyed Tyler and Edom and we really enjoyed having them.

Today is Saturday and the weather is perfect. No, I should say the weather is PERFECT! A lovely wedding today and the bride, Ashli, happens to be someone Jennifer used to work with. A nice coincidence. Her colors are black and white and the table dressings and decorations are stunning against the black and white backdrop of our Victorian ballroom. I haven't been out there much as the wedding is still in full swing, but I did get a few photographs before the wedding began. It's nice to hear the laughter of the guests at the reception and the ringing of the wedding bell - all the joyous sounds of celebration.

God is good - all the time.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Calm before the storm.

I shouldn't use the word "storm" in my title right in the middle of hurricane season. Everyone will think I'm talking about the weather. Actually what I'm thinking about is the fact that this is the last quiet week and weekend for the rest of the year. Every weekend after this, we have a Saturday wedding booked and sometimes a Saturday and Sunday wedding. Not to mention the Afternoon Teas, Bridal Showers and catering we're doing. I'm sure the next time I have five minutes to look around, it will be January 2009!

Well, let's get back to this weekend, before it vanishes away...

We had a good visit with my brother Mando and his wife Gladys. They live in Humble, TX and came to Roseland Plantation on Saturday afternoon along with their daughter Alisa and her husband Aaron who live near Waco. Their timing for the visit was perfect. The weather was sunny and warm but not oppressive. No scheduled events at the Plantation. No other guests in the house and I have been off of chemo for a couple of weeks and feeling quite well. My other brother and sister-in-law, David and Betty, came up from Elkhart and Mando took us all out to dinner at Edom's Bakery and Grill. Most excellent! We caught up on family news, talked about Mom (she is 88 years old and lives with our sister in Houston, TX), talked about Roseland Plantation quite a bit and talked a little politics - just a little. Fortunately, we all seem to be on the same page in the political arena, so the topic was a no stress affair. Mando, Gladys, Alisa and Aaron stayed the night and we all had breakfast in the morning and visited for a while afterwards. A very nice, relaxing and enjoyable weekend. Thank you God for that blessing.

It is now Sunday afternoon and Steve is mowing, I'm working on the computer and we have one of our October brides here with her mom and photographer taking bridal portraits. I love to see the brides in their gowns - they all look so very beautiful.

When the bride and her party leave, my honey and I will call it a night. Wow. It may even be before dark! It's not often we close shop before dark. I believe this may be the last time before January 2009! Not that I'm complaining - no, not me! Having many events and being busy is a very good thing. Too much idle time and we'll all just get lazy. Our team works much better when we're busy, busy, busy!

God is good all the time!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

For me, Labor Day signals the beginning of fall. I know, I know, it's still in the high 90's here in east Texas (and will be through mid-October) and the breezes are warm from the south and not cool from the north, and the trees are still lush green, but still, it's September, it's fall.

Soon, God willing, I'll be going on a pumpkin hunt to decorate Roseland Plantation. I'll definitely have to find some lovely white chrysanthemums, not too tall, to put in the garden. I was also thinking of a couple of scarecrows, dressed in Victorian garb, placed as greeters in front of the Windsor House. Ah, many great ideas and very little time. Isn't that the way of it?

Gustav has landed in Louisiana today west of New Orleans. Many of the guests we are receiving are not refugees, but rather regular business commuters to Tyler, Texas who cannot stay in their regular hotel due to refugees flooding in the area that have booked all the hotels! Interesting isn't it? Our hopes are that these business commuters will enjoy their stay here so much, when this crisis is over, they will still want to stay at Roseland Plantation instead of their regular hotel. That would be more than cool - that would be God! Umm, if you're one of those business commuters reading this blog - no pressure or anything! :-)

Let's all help someone today!

Blessings to all,