Purple Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches!

Dorm 17

Nacogdoches, founded in 1779, is considered to be the oldest town in Texas. Don Antonio Gil Y’Barbo is known as the founder of the town, but the earliest settlers were the Caddo Native Americans. They lived in the area well before the Spanish ever arrived. A Caddo tribe Called Nacogdoches came to East Texas around 800 A.D. Unbelievably, the Caddo continued to have a settlement in the area until 1716.


But, this is not why there are purple Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches!


Around this time, the Spanish started building missions in the area because they wanted to maintain ownership of East Texas. The French also arrived at the same time to begin an exploration of East Texas. As time moved on, more and more people arrived in Texas and conflicts were beginning to be frequent. The Spanish lost ownership of Texas and Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican Revolution. Disagreements about colonization laws and land titles among other problems were the beginning of a downward spiral in the tenuous relationship between Mexico and Texas. Their first major clash was the Battle of Nacogdoches in 1832. The Texas Revolution lasted until the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. Texas became a republic in 1836 and a state in 1845.


But, this is not why there are purple Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches!


SFA fountain

By the 1880s, Nacogdoches was a fast growing town and the railroad lines were on the way. As the new century came along, the citizens of Nacogdoches decided to ask the state to open a teacher’s college in the town. The college, known as Stephen F. Austin Teachers College, opened in 1923. The college continued to grow and offered increasing course offerings beyond the education of teachers. Thus, Stephen F. Austin State College was born. As the student population grew by leaps and bounds, the college achieved university status in 1969. After attaining this status, Stephen F. Austin State University began the rise to educational excellence.


This is the reason why there are purple Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches!


The Lumberjacks became the school mascot and the school colors became purple with white. Stephen F. Austin (known as SFA) offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. There are 120 areas of study including a nationally recognized School of Forestry…thus The Lumberjacks mascot name! SFA athletic teams compete in Division I for all varsity sports. The football team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The Lumberjacks basketball team has made four appearances in the NCAA Division I Tournament, with two upset first-round wins in 2014 and 2016. SFA currently ranks #25 in the 2017 U.S. News report of Top Public Colleges and Universities (Regional Universities-West).


This is the real reason why there are purple Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches!


SFA cheerleaders and flags


Nacogdoches is an important place to me because I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University! My college experience was the best possible because of my outstanding experiences in the Journalism/Communications department, the opportunity for a newspaper internship, the incredibly friendly students and the wonderful location. Just a few hours from Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston, SFA has a small town atmosphere with the city not too far away!


SFA is often called the most beautiful university campus in Texas. The campus is like walking through a continuously changing park…tulips, azaleas and dogwoods are literally everywhere in the Spring. With the incredibly tall East Texas pine trees, walking across the over 400 acres is like walking under a tree canopy! I still have a warm, happy feeling when I see those wonderful trees!


And that is the totally real reason why there are purple Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches! I am proud to be one of them!





Pigtails and Frog Legs. Kid’s Cookbook.


Pigtails and Frog Legs

Pigtails and Frog Legs is a “family” cookbook published in 1993 by Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. If you ever find one in a used bookstore or on eBay, think about buying it immediately! The colorful illustrations by legendary animator-director, Jack Jones, are worth the purchase of the book. However, the recipes are simply ideal for placing children on an exciting road to enjoying good food, fun and cooking! As the dedication page in the cookbook states…

Dedicated to everyone who was a kid…who is a kid…who will always be a kid!

I had no idea that the Neiman Marcus cookbook people knew about me!

This dedication describes me exactly! And possibly it describes some of you too! Cooking in the kitchen with children is fun and messy and worthwhile… I guess that is why I am drawn to children’s cookbooks like a magnet! I obviously have a symbiotic relationship with cookbooks since I have such an essential need for them!



I bought this book at Neiman’s when the cookbook first came out. I spotted the book while taking our children to lunch at one of my favorite places…The Mermaid Bar at Neiman Marcus, NorthPark in Dallas. My mother and I always had lunch at The Mermaid Bar when we were shopping in Dallas. Described as an “enchanted eatery”, The Mermaid Bar is laid-back and as the store says…it has a “magical ambience”. Plus, they feature a kid’s menu…that even the “absolutely only chicken nuggets” child will like!



Mermaid Bar at Neiman Marcus at NorthPark, Dallas

I distinctly remember when I bought the book because our daughter shook her head back and forth and said out loud and with a sigh…”Not another cookbook! Help! Someone get us out of here!” Our son immediately said to the salesperson, “We were really supposed to buy Legos!” and I knew that I better hurry out of the store. He was sort of past the Legos age, but never really outgrew them! Just like I never outgrew children’s cookbooks!

mason jar one

There are so many recipes that I would like to share from this book, but the following is one that everyone likes to help make! Have fun making JAR BARS with the children who spend time at your house…your own kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and the children who just drop in when something good is cooking!


mason jar two

Jar Bars


2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt


Break eggs into a quart jar. Cover tightly. Shake ten times. Add oil and sugar. Cover and shake 20 to 30 times. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and shake 40 times. Pour into greased 10×7 inch or 8×8 inch pan. Spread evenly. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut into squares when cool. Serves 6.

Bars can be iced with favorite frosting and decorated with sprinkles!!



The “Disabopped” Kindergartner…


goldfish snacks

One of my first posts last year…just a few weeks after I began writing my blog. Five year old children can be so funny and serious at the same time! Trust me…their opinions are never, ever meaningless!!!



If you are five years old, it is quite easy to become disabopped on a moment to moment schedule. This emotion may occur as you get out of the car at 7:20 in the morning. Just the fact that you are out so early in the real world can cause disabopping behavior.  Not to mention the fact that your mom forgot to wave good-bye. I worry. How many times did I cause my own children to enter the school building in an obviously disabopped state of mind?

I can’t worry about it now. When they grow up, children can so easily make their own disabopps. I make mine all the time. Listed are some of my most monumental and current disabopps:

  1. I drop crumbs in my car continuously. I said that I would never, ever eat breakfast on the way to work in my new car. That lasted…

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Music…Not So Ordinary After All!

Listening to Bruno Mars singing Uptown Funk takes me back a step…to Michael Jackson, to choreographed dance steps by singers, to guitars, a horn section, the strong beat of a drum. Uptown Funk is not just another song… it is a performance. The song makes me want to get up and dance, to laugh with friends…the song makes me just plain happy!

I have been writing this blog for over a year. In that time, I have realized the extent that music turns the very most mundane and ordinary happenings in my life into far from ordinary heights. I have included songs and references to songs so often in my posts that I start to think…”Whoa! people must be getting very tired of hearing about yet another melody or lyric from me!”…that is just how I am!

I have felt some sort of vindication from an article published in Psychology Today (What is Music…Exactly?, written by David M. Greenberg, 8/3/2016). The article is part of a series titled The Power of Music. I just happened upon this article and the words delve deeply into the meaning of music in our lives. A few interesting paragraphs from the article…


“Music is essential to many of our lives. We listen to it when waking up, while in transit, at work and with our friends. For many, music is like a constant companion. It can bring us joy and motivate us, accompany us through difficult times, and alleviate our worries.

Not only does music reach us on intellectual, social and emotional levels, but many describe it as spiritual or mystical. The use of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic devices in music can induce a psychological state in both the musicians and the listener that is beyond words to describe. Music can bring us back to ourselves, be our mirror, and show us a side of us we may have long forgotten or never knew existed.”


Music has been at the center core of everything that I have every done in my life. I like the melodies, the harmonies, the lyrics, the instruments blending with the voices, the choreography of musicians with dancers and…most of all…the vibration of the sounds resounding through the world. Like the article from Psychology Today says, music brings me back to myself. Music is a mirror to our past, our present, our future. I learned the following quote when I was a child…


“The world is like a mirror, reflecting who we are and what we do. So, give to the world the best that you have and the best will come back to you.” 


I do not know who originally wrote the quote, but I do know that it is very true. Music can be a catalyst to bring us to the point of giving our best. Sometimes…the best ideas sound naive and simplistic. However, if something works…then go for it!


I do honestly believe that music is the universal language of the entire world. It just might be that we need music like we need sunshine in our sometimes self-imposed busy lives.

Music is never ordinary to me. Music is the at the very essence of our existence…an important explanation of who we are and what we are and what we hope to be. Music is simply not just an ordinary part of our lives…it is an extraordinary part of our lives. Thank goodness for music and the way it can move our deepest emotions and our constant decisions!




Remarkable Vacation Symptoms.


Listen…people are starting to talk about you. Yes…you! They know good and well that you need a vacation. Not just a fast trip around the block to a neighbor’s house or a weekend foray to see the Bluebonnets…or whatever wildflowers grow in your area.

Even seeing the flowers would not be enough. You need a real vacation where you can sleep late, have dinner when you want to have dinner, read a good book (or any book) by the lake…just do exactly what you want to do…not what THEY want you to do. Come on now…you know who THEY are! THEY are most likely on vacation right now and flew there on a private plane. You need out of this town immediately and pronto!
































Super Engaging Children’s Book #11

Bear's New Friend

Bear’s New Friend by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman will keep your young listeners glued to every page as you read. The story is something that a child can easily understand because…

1. The story happens in sequential order.

2. The story continuously adds new animal characters.

3. The text is fun and moves at a fast pace.

4. The illustrations are truly enchanting.

5. The story teaches an important friendship lesson.


An important friendship lesson from Bear’s New Friend…some friends are shy and quiet. We need to learn ACCEPTANCE so that we can appreciate our many differences.



YouTube video of Bear’s New Friend…





Find a little friend or two or three to share this fun book with you!!




Tiny Houses…Yes? No? Maybe?

Tiny House Logo

Or maybe a better question would be…why?! Why have a completely minimal amount of space? Why sleep in a loft where you cannot sit up without almost smashing thru the roof? Why have a kitchen that is really a living room that is actually a bedroom that is also a closet? Talk about an open house plan! In a tiny househardly anything is closed off…most everything you see is what you get! 


What about gaining freedom from too much of a mortgage…or freedom from paying rent to someone you might not even know or…what about freedom from paying a fee to an architect!


Ah!!! Possibly no debt for your living space. And that idea pays off in extra money to live the life that you perhaps have always dreamed about. Take off for NYC to see a Broadway show? Sure! Ride a donkey down into the Grand Canyon? Sure! This weekend? Travel to Savannah, Georgia just to have lunch at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room? Certainly!


A Gallery of Tiny House Interiors…



On the other hand, living in a tiny house makes life very simple. You might not even want to travel and see the world. You might want to give of your resources and your time to important causes in your area. Whatever your life choice…it is highly likely that you will be adding positive feedback to the environment. Think about the results of living in a tiny house…you would have less water usage and the possibility of generating your own electricity.


And how about putting your house on a trailer and moving from place to place? Hey! Now that is an idea!


A Gallery of Tiny Houses…



Really…a tiny house might not work at all for us! However…I can see one at a lake in the Ozarks or in the Blue Ridge Mountains! A little place to enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful outdoors…another idea to think about!






First Blogging Anniversary…For Me!


Evidently, I made it through the first year of blogging! The calendar says 3/20/2017 and I published my first post on 3/20/2016.


~I had no idea what I was getting into!

~I had no idea that I would meet so many very creative and kind people from all over the world.

~I had no idea that I would absolutely love reading other writer’s posts.

~I had no idea that I would reach a new level of understanding about cultural differences and why placing a label on people is so incorrect.

~I had no idea that I would remember how much I truly like to write and share my opinions…actually I love to write…I could most likely write all day long!

~I had no idea that I would make so many new friends …friends who share some of the same beliefs and the same hopes as I do.

~I had no idea that I would meet friends who I have now gotten to know more closely than I know some of my neighbors.

~I had no idea that I would gain important friends who I have not actually met in person…much cared for friends who have brought even more joy into my life!




Thank you! I appreciate you so very much!







Still miss the children. Always a teacher.

 children with appples

It is true. I have missed the children at school each and every day since I retired last June. I miss the teachers and their friendly voices and strong opinions. I miss the friendly greetings each morning from the children, the teachers, my teaching assistant, the principal, the assistant principal, the office clerk, the secretary, the nurse, the security leader-always looking out for the children’s safety, the building manager & her custodians and of course-the parents. Perhaps, I might not ever really conquer missing the children. It is most likely very typical for me to miss the cherished task of teaching joyful children!

Honestly, I could barely walk from my car to the side door of the building without a parent or child calling out my name. Every teacher was usually greeted that way. The families love the neighborhood school and many attended the same school when they were young. I loved the school too…more than I ever realized. It is true that I did not like non-positive interference from the administration building when we had visitors from “downtown”. The following is an actual scenario in my classroom last year…

Them: “Mrs. Davis! Why are you having the children complete a worksheet?” Me: “It’s not a worksheet. It is a six page book that they are learning to read. Don’t worry. It truly aligns with the curriculum.” Them: “It is a worksheet.” Me: “You are standing by the door. How can see what they are working on? Walk over to a table and sit down with them. They will tell you what they are doing! Maybe one of them will want to read the book to you. Remember! They are barely five years old. Lots of them are starting to read!” Them: “That is impossible.” Me (politely): “You must not believe in these children! Most of them speak two languages! Give us some credit for working as smart and as hard as we can! Give me some credit!” Them: (while shutting the door and walking out): “Teachers. They get on my nerves.”

That is the exact moment that I decided to go ahead and retire…five years before I planned to retire. Because of a back injury in a car accident, I was totally uncomfortable all of the time. The pain tended to be severe. If I retired…I could have more time for serious physical therapy. If I retired…I could write this blog. If I retired…I could write the book that I have planned for so long. I know that without the back injury, I would have stayed. There is no doubt about that. Difficult decision, but really no choice.

However…If I retired…I would not have to listen to the people from “downtown”  complaining about something that did not exist. If I retiredI would not have to be upset because our scores were high and not even one person commended us. If I retiredI would not have to be upset because the children were excited about learning and not one person seemed to notice. If I retiredI would not have to be upset because my class was building a very strong foundation and not one person really realized what was going on.


teacher with bookscirclePromethean


If a person from “downtown” simply stands at the door and does not walk over and talk with the children…how will “downtown” ever really know the potential of these children? They will not know, but I know. And that is what matters the most. They did not know that I always try to talk with many students and parents from all of my past classes. But I know. They did not know that I put my whole heart into that classroom. But I know. And that very fact is what is important.

Yes…I miss the children and the teachers each and every day. I miss encouraging the children and the parents. I miss the laughter. I am certain that the laughter is what I miss the most. To retire before I had planned to retire was a difficult decision, but the right decision for many reasons. I would not want to “get on the nerves” of someone from downtown. Far be it for me to make them unhappy…just because I happened to always be putting the children first!



Too Bad. Too Late for Brackets.

March Madnesss

I might have filled out a bracket for the NCAA Final Four March Madness (is that what you call it?), but I need to take Bracket Training. Training as in a Bracket Tutoring Session…like the tutoring we have in schools for students who are simply not prepared enough for the state testing. Since I am so totally against state testing, I may not be a true basketball fan. It may be that basketball and state testing go hand in hand. As in…you better win (coaches or principals) or you may not have a job next year…in both cases.




James Corden trying to fill out a bracket…so funny!

Don’t get me wrong…I am competitive beyond belief. I am watching the Northwestern/Gonzaga game  and I am about on the verge of a mental disaster. It is really wild and I am not even sure where Gonzaga is located, but I think they are from Spokane, Washington. And I really believe that I would like Spokane. However, my brother went to a Northwestern banking seminar every summer for several years. He would have definitely been going out for Northwestern.

Just 52.9 seconds left. I have not even decided who I am really for in this game. This is why I could not have filled out a bracket. I would have to take into consideration any connection that I might have with each school. That bit of an ordeal might take weeks to accomplish and I would have a short amount of time to complete this task. It is just too much for me…much like this game.

Now 39.2 seconds left. Oh good…a time-out. Now there are 32.something seconds left. Now 27.5. Now 19.4. Now 14.1. The announcer said that time is really running out for Northwestern. Six point difference at 11.5 seconds left. Now 3.7 seconds left.


And there it is…the buzzer. Gonzaga! A group of  young boys in Northwestern shirts are sobbing. This is a very good lesson boys! You can’t win every time. Just as the announcer said…it is not the end for Northwestern…is the beginning of developing their program!

But, back to me…I am completely exhausted after that game. Sweating. Out of breath. OK…I will admit it…the game was exciting. Maybe I will figure out how to fill out a bracket next year. Donald Trump perhaps should fill one out too…what a controversial decision he made this year! If I put out the effort…then he can too!