Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Finding My New Self

The first thing I need to do on this post is to refer to a picture I shared in my previous post:

Beloved in 1971
Colorado Rocky Mountains

If you examine the picture closely, you'll see a leg with a black boot dangling out of the cart behind the snowmobile. I had seen that but said nothing because I didn't know what to make of it and just hoped nobody would notice. 

Well, it didn't get past Vee and then a couple more asked about it. So I emailed the friend who posted this on Face Book. Her husband examined it and said it was him! I think he may have been thrown back with the speed of the snowmobile, so he's laying down.  Just chalk it up to one of the many adventures these college buddies had over the years.  So, mystery solved.

Then, not to be outdone by the fellas, here is a picture of me behind the steering wheel on that same day, with Beloved sitting behind me:

me driving the snowmobile
Colorado Rocky Mountains

Just look at the sparkling snow and those beautiful mountains! Quick! Get a snapshot of my grandchildren so I can be reminded why we left Colorado to live in Florida!!!

Me with my kids and grands
November 29 2020

Okay, so on to my blog topic,  "Finding My New Self." It feels like a painfully slow process, but that's not really true. Only seven months ago was when this huge change slapped me in the face. Considering we started dating the summer after high school graduation, his absence from my daily life has been the loss of a huge part of myself. It takes time to figure out who I'm supposed to be. But progress is being made.

Last week I made some strides into greater peace and acceptance of this development in my life when I watched a Youtube sermon titled "Some Easy Questions"  by Pastor Robert Morris in Southlake, Texas. If you want to see it for yourself, here is the link:


The message is only 26 minutes long and in addition to answering ten of the most oft-asked questions about heaven, Pastor Morris has a great sense of humor. So get a glass of iced tea and watch it if you feel so inclined. 

I've also discovered some Youtube music videos that bless me in the deepest parts of my soul and spirit. Often I'll cue one of them up on my computer so I can listen to it first thing in the morning while I'm making my bed and deciding if I'm going to be happy or depressed. This one is by the choir and orchestra of First Baptist Church in Dallas:


Then in preparation for the visit later this week of T2, who is flying in from the homeland Denver, I've started doing a little more cooking. 

dinner from the cast iron skillet

Truly, with just myself to feed, I have nearly forgot how to navigate my kitchen! This evening I sautéed raw shrimp in butter with garlic, and combined that with brown rice and broccoli. Bottled Kikkoman's Teriyaki Baste and Glaze served as my sauce. 


It was great, if I say so myself! A wonderful thought hit me as I sat down to enjoy this. Beloved was not a seafood lover, so whenever I made salmon or tilapia for myself, I would prepare something beefy for him. Double effort because of my love for him. But since he's not at the dinner table any more, I not only have less to cook, but I can prepare seafood more often!! As Linda C. likes to say on her blog, "just keepin' it real!"

tea towel purchase from Alyssa's

Continuing on the subject of visitors, Surfer Girl came last week for the day. I took her to a local state park where we boarded the glass bottom boat and heard an interesting schpeel about the fish in the fresh water springs below us and the reptiles on the shore.

more turtles than I could count

The turtles were sunning themselves on a log. These guys' shells are easily the size of a dinner plate, and bigger!

baby gator

The turtles are apparently not gator food because they all shared the same area without a skirmish. We saw TWO gators that day. This was the "baby" as our tour guide said. The other one, which I did not photograph, was some nine-feet long. He was mostly hid behind some grasses, but his face was big enough that you wouldn't want to get any closer! By the way, I took the above picture with my zoom lens. 

I find no delight in reptiles, with the exception for turtles, but I will say this baby gator raised his arm TWICE in a seeming wave at our boat. He seemed almost friendly but I know better!

front porch decor

Returning (again) to the topic of visitors, all of my kids have done a stellar job of making sure I'm not alone for the major holidays and special days during this first year since Beloved's passing. T2 is coming this weekend for the first Father's Day. His presence with me on that day will be good for both me and him.

Flag Day, June 14, 2021

Beloved always put our flag out for the patriotic holidays. I have been hanging a basket of flowers on the flag hardware but pulled out a step stool so I could reach to display the flag yesterday. Alas, the rainy season here in Central Florida has begun, so by day's end the flag was absolutely soaked. I had to watch the sky closely to determine a time to go out there with the step stool to retrieve it!

the "drying rack"

Then came the question of where to put it in it's water-logged condition? I think this idea is what Beloved may have done in the past. I doubt it's original with me. But it worked just fine.

some of my current reading materials

Over the years I've dabbled with gardening, mostly flowers and herbs. Part of "my new self" is seriously considering more of that in my new home next year. I've started some research on what grows well in the area I'll be living, what is not considered appetizing to deer and rabbits, and what grows well in a very sandy soil. Container gardening is my favorite, and I've got 6 large pots of that going on here at this house on the back patio. I'd love to expand that hobby. 

Over the past couple of years I've asked Pam and Sandy some gardening questions and expect to get into more of that.

one of my grand kitties

I bring today's post to a close with a touch of humor. The Lil' Red-haired Girl shared her glasses with their cat named Chubby. He often comes to see me in front of the camera when T2 and I have our Face Time visits. 

While the tears still sneak up on me, they are not a daily occurrence any more and I am gradually finding ways to cope with my new life. Wonderful plans are in the works for my future and terrific people are blessing me with their time, their listening ears, and their love. This is not a path I would have chosen, but the Lord is giving me everything I need and many of my wants. Contentment is making a come back, much to my surprise. God is faithful.

The LORD bless you and keep you.
The LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn His face toward you
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Change Coming - Change Coming - Change Coming 

For 12 years I have used Feedburner, a free service that allows you to subscribe to my blog by email. Those of us who use Blogger have been notified over the past couple of months that this service will be discontinued in July of this year. This means the automated emails to my subscribers will no longer be available. I am sad to see this happen. 

Maintaining a blog on Blogger is free. I am pleased and amazed I've been able to write hundreds of posts since 2009 at no cost. With that in mind, I haven't a leg to stand on when a free service chooses to withdraw. 

My blog will continue to be available for you to read, but you will need to make note of my blog address and access it yourself either manually or perhaps by some other link reminder provision on your computer. I cannot help you with that. 

While I occasionally will post a link to my blog on FaceBook, for privacy reasons, I don't do it often. That is not an option I am willing to consider.

My readership is large enough that I cannot manage sending the notifications myself. This is where my expertise (such as it is) comes to a halt. 

Feedburner has not given us the exact date this service will stop, but if you notice at some point that you are no longer getting an email stating I have a new blog post up, then that will probably mean the service has ended.

I will be posting this notice on my blog posts for the foreseeable future in an attempt to let my readers know what has happened.

The address for this blog is:


Thank you so much for subscribing up until now. I know that service made keeping up with Sweet Tea and Sandals so much easier. 


  1. first, I was going to mention the leg and foot in the wagon behind the snowmobile when you posted it, but then I erased the comment and started over. I thought my imagination was working overtime since we'd been watching some British detective mysteries quite a bit lately, and I didn't want to give in to the thought that your Beloved was taking a "body" somewhere to be disposed of. Please "detect" the humor in this thinking and laugh along with me. I only now mention it because you brought it up. LOL. Glad that mystery is solved and the case is now closed. Now on to better things: Your supper looks wonderful. I am not much of a seafood cooker. I love to eat it, but I usually do that when we go out to eat. I don't like to smell up the house with fishy smells. LOL. But now you have learned how to cook up some very interesting and tasty looking dishes for you. Perhaps you could share recipes and how to prepare meals for one. I believe there are many people out there who struggle with this and end up just buying prepared frozen dishes for one as a result, which are not always the most healthy option even tho they may say they are. Just a thought... So happy to hear T2 is coming to visit. I know you will love that time together with him. I hope you can do some special things together that will be helpful for you as well as enjoyable just having his sweet company. What a blessing. And I love that your daughter came and spent the day with you and that you went to Silver Springs for the day. What a delightful thing to do! I bet that baby alligator was waving at you! They are a part of the "attraction" of the place, and they know their job is to make people feel welcome! LOL. As far as the feedburner issue goes, I keep up with my favorite blogs by checking my blog list that I keep on my blog page daily to see if there are any new posts. Also in the menu of our blogger dashboard there is a "reading list" that updates every time there is a new post from those I follow. I don't rely on the email notification because sometimes it is a day late in telling me. So, if people will use their reading lists on the dashboard, they should be able to keep up with those they really want to read. When it comes to gardening...you might want to ask my sister Doris more about that. I am not a good gardener at all. She got the green thumb in the family. I dabble in just barely keeping things alive, and if God doesn't take care of them for me, they are pretty much out of luck. I do water when it's dry, but I really don't do much "gardening" per se'. I wish I could do more because I love flowers so much, but I am a bit lazy when it comes to taking care of them. That's why I love to live in more natural settings where God provides the beauty for me. I bet you will have lots of helpers with your gardening projects when you move up beside your sweet grandchildren! That could be a great project for them in their home-school curriculum!! Thank you for writing and bringing us up to date. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day. I love how God is leading you and taking care of you in such wonderful ways. (((hugs))) and blessings. Have a wonderful weekend...

  2. I will certainly continue to follow your blog, Barbara, no matter what. There is a way to keep your email subscribers, so I'm told, and once I figure it out, I'll be more than happy to share with you and others on my blog. Also, there should be a widget on your blogger that allows other followers to subscribe through Blogger itself.
    I'm glad things are coming together for you, my friend. Sending love and prayers!

  3. I was enjoying the snowy scene and didn't notice the leg in the cart. Thanks for the heads up about notification; while it doesn't affect me, I know it will others. I enjoyed your pictures and the information you share. The Lord is leading the way and will always provide if we let him. Thinking of you!

  4. Ahhh...the mystery is solved! Wonderful. "Curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought him back."

    All praise to The Lord for taking such good care of you. It is wonderful encouragement to me.

  5. Awe, love this post dear Barbara. So glad to read your wonderful words of "Finding your new self". The Lord surely has been with you each and every step. A new journey of life for you doesn't mean that you will ever forget or miss the old life...it just simply means you will add on to this new journey and make more memories. A friend of mine that lost her husband 5 years ago said that in one of our ladies classes at church. She went through a Greif share type program twice. I will never forget her words. Love all the pictures. Especially the kitty cat with the glasses. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  6. I am glad to hear things are going as well as they can. I am also really glad to hear the son is coming to visit. I know that will be a good thing too. The meal looks scrumptious. I love Thai food (not to be confused with Chinese). I could eat that or seafood each and every day. Jeff could eat Mexican everyday...me not so much. You roll with it. I would imagine your pots are going to look a wee bit different up here vs there. Planting is a lot of trial and error sometimes, but it is a hobby for me. I am going to try and listen to the message tomorrow. I am busy running around today. Sat to rest and popped in.
    Blogger keeps on a changing things and I guess we can't complain since it is free. I have no intention of paying to write my thoughts:) They are that important but I do LOVE to read other people's thoughts.

  7. That is a nice boat tour in a state park. I don't think we have anything like that in our state parks in Michigan. Love your porch decor too!

  8. Glad you are doing so well. I know you feel the Lord protecting you. Your kids are a blessing for sure!
    The boat tour and seeing the turtles sounds like fun.
    The cat in the glasses is so cute!
    I use something called Bloglovin'. I enter the addresses of the blogs I follow in it, then when I go to the site, it tells me which blogs have new posts and I can click on them to read them. That works for me!

  9. Several of my followers use email too. Sad to see it go. I need to post about it again, so thanks for the reminder. Barb, I am also moving along with fewer tears. They do, indeed, sneak up now and then. I have stopped buying Joe's favorites at the grocery - something that had become habit. I am cooking for myself things that I like, as well. It has been a long, long time but I am getting there. It is only four months today (16th). Feels like four days and feels like four years. I really enjoyed the video you shared here when you brought it to my attention a week or so ago. Thank you!! xo

  10. You are such an inspiration, Barbara, truly you are. Keeping you in prayer and p.s. as you I know I like to keep it real, LOLOL. And sometimes that throws folks off...it must be from that time when I was a child and gotten a beaten for lying...rightly so, I might add. grin. 45+ years later, that memory still reigns in my head.

  11. I have a folder on my desktop that has links to all my favorite blogs in it. This way, I only have to click on a link to visit a blog. Just a thought some folks might be able to do. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  12. Lots of good things you shared here. I'm happy that T2 is coming to visit this weekend. I can only imagine how those firsts affect each of you. Our grands' father, our second born is stuck elsewhere because of his job on this upcoming Father's Day weekend but that is temporary. It's okay to keep things real...yes? I use Feedly to let me know when the blogs I follow post something new. Hugs to you!

  13. How sweet that your kids and grandkids are spending such good time with you and making holidays easier on you. They are wonderfully thoughtful. I'm disappointed with the upcoming change with Blogger (mostly because I suspect I will lose some readers :^/ but as for myself, I put blogs I want to follow in the sidebar of my blog. It's easy to see at a glance who's updated their blogs and when. And other's blogs get a little exposure. :) Love the kitty & glasses picture. Too funny. :)

  14. It's been interesting and inspirational to read about your journey through grief, Barbara. It is so true that it hits you in often sudden and unexpected ways, but that the pain also lessens as time goes on. We never forget, just learn to live differently to still experience joy in our lives. You are so blessed to have your wonderful family looking out for you in almost every way! I know this day will be hard--for them and for you... Sending a caring hug ♥