Saturday, July 25, 2015

R Place at Washington on the Brazos

R Place at Washington on the Brazos

This spring I had the best BBQ sandwich I have ever eaten! I have been thinking about it for the last few days and have decided it is time for another road trip to R Place! It was so good that my husband said if I didn't write my blog post about it soon, he was going to write it himself! 
It was a simple sandwich but masterfully made! The BBQ was thinly sliced in an abundance of colorful layers, the pickles were strategically placed, the bun was soft on the outside but warmed perfectly inside with a layer of toasting or grilling that prevented the seeping of sauce as only an expert griller knows how to master! There was something about that superb onion though. It was thinly sliced and had a crisp crunch and flavor that set the mood for the ultimate BBQ sandwich. The layers of flavor just kept coming. I didn't want the sandwich to end! Hands down, the best BBQ sandwich I ever had! 
When we arrived at 11:00 a.m, we didn't think the place was open but we saw Randy outside posting the colors of the American and Texas flags and then we knew it was our lucky day! It is such a quaint historic building. It is the former H. A. Stolz grocery store. 
Shelves are lined with items that bring back memories of days gone by. I didn't get a picture of it but there is a little side room that is an art gallery. It features local artists and it was full of beautiful artwork. I was impressed!  
From the floor to the ceiling, give your eyes time to browse at everything!  It looks like you might only get down home Texas BBQ for a meal but we learned the menu gets more polished and upscale after 6 on Saturdays. 
I loved taking my time looking at everything and while my eyes were glancing, my nose was smelling the aroma of BBQ and I knew this was going to be a good day! 
Randy has kept the integrity of the historic place and history is shared through photos and artful displays. After our meal, we visited with Randy about the history of the building and he pulled a small photo album out and showed us some photos of the past. It is truly a unique place to visit and see how tastefully history can be preserved. 
We were the first guests to arrive and after Randy opened the back door, another guest entered. This cat made himself at home in a corner and found a wine cork that entertained him throughout our entire meal.  It was such a unique dining experience. I felt as if I had stepped back into history. We were on our way to Houston to the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo where I serve as a public speaking judge each year. Randy said business was sometimes slow at the restaurant during the stock show.  We didn't mind having the place to ourselves at all. It allowed us the opportunity to really appreciate our surroundings and enjoy a meal we will never forget. 
We didn't even know about R. Place before we saw it. Our goal was to visit Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park. We wanted to walk on the soil of the Birthplace of Texas!  This place had been a bucket list item of mine for a long time! 
We walked into Independence hall and cloth curtains were gently swaying in the breeze. We were the only ones there and again, I was transported back in time. 
The simple building looked as if Texans from 1836 might just walk in at any moment. 

I can now say I have been to the Birthplace of Texas! Every Texan needs to make this a destination. 
As soon as every Texan visits the birthplace of Texas, they need to make the next stop R Place for the next best thing to Texas History, and that is Texas BBQ!!!!

R Place is located at 23254 FM 1155 East, Washington Texas, 77880.  Tell Randy we sent you!

Thank you Randy for such a memorable meal.  We hope to see you soon!

Navasota, Texas is right up the road from Washington, Texas. We passed the downtown area on our way through and have decided that a little day trip there for shopping with lunch at R Place is going on our calendar as our next road trip!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Towel Art Hospitality

Towel Art Hospitality

I have called my house Doskotel for years. When guests come to spend the night, I welcome them to Doskotel! I like it when people have nicknames for their homes. My Great Aunt Cleo was the first person I knew that named her home and I always wanted to be like her so I came up with Doskotel! 

This week I stayed at the Westin in Austin at The Domain. When I checked into my room, I found a cute little creature waiting to greet me. When I first saw him, I dropped my luggage and immediately went to inspect him.  I was exhausted from meetings and travel from the day and he changed my focus on exhaustion to curiosity! He made me smile! I was checking in for two days of business meetings and this little guy made me feel I was checking in for a resort vacation! 

I took his picture and posted it on Social Media to share with the world about a cute guy I found in my hotel room! 

Little things make a big difference! A simple little gesture from a person I didn't know made me feel like someone special by using a towel!

When I woke up this morning, I was back in the real world at Doskotel. I had two loads of laundry waiting for me to fold that I had washed before I left on my trip. I started on my early morning chores and as I was folding towels I thought of my little guy in my hotel room. I had taken pictures of him so that I could duplicate him at home and this is MY GUY!!!  I'm so proud of myself!!! I'm having company at Doskotel tonight and you better believe this little guy will be on his bed waiting to greet him! 

Here is the flip side of his head so that you can see how it is designed. His head was made using a wash cloth.

The body is made using hand towel. There are many videos online you can view to do all kinds of animals! I watched a few this morning and then decided I better get back to my chores! 

Overhead view. I like the way it was folded where "Westin Hotels and Resorts" is visible.  Marketing is my occupation so branding never goes unnoticed by me! 

Little things really do mean a lot.  Little things make big differences. One of my goals in life is to "Make Each Day Special."  There is always a way to do it and most of the time, it never costs more than a thought and a few minutes to transform a regular day into a day worth living!

Thank you Westin Hotels and Resorts for employing people that appreciate and understand the Hospitality Industry. It is little things like this that set you apart and make you memorable. I don't know if all of your employees do this but please make sure the one that did this for me knows how special it made me feel!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Don't Wait Until the Quilt is in the Frame

Don't wait until the Quilt is in the Frame.

Two nights ago I made jam alone in my kitchen and longed for my Grandmothers to be there with me. I missed their voices, I missed their laughs, I missed their presence. I missed that entire generation of my family. I longed for days gone by.

After work yesterday I stopped by to see my Mother-in-law. She had been quietly sitting at home sewing quilt pieces together for the quilt we will be making for my niece, Stefanie.  Many times I seem to only visit when there is a quilt in the frame because we all quilt together as a family. I felt an urge to spend time with her yesterday and I'm so glad I didn't wait until the quilt was in the frame. 

The two of us sat down at her kitchen table. We began to talk. We discussed things that I would have been discussing with my Grandmothers. We talked about our family. We talked about 5 baby chicks that had hatched in my sister-in-laws hen house. I showed her my pictures of the plum jam I had made the previous night. We laughed about the conversation piece her peach tree has become because it is covered with a fishing net to keep birds away! We laughed and laughed about that! She showed me her "to-do" list that includes making homemade Kolaches on Friday!

Our time together passed quickly.  We looked at the quilt and discussed its beauty before I left and as I pulled out of the driveway she stood at the door like she always does and waived until I was out of sight. 


It is good to long for days gone by. It is good to miss the people you love. It is good to remember.  

It is better to live in the present. It is better to be present with the ones you love. It is better to make new memories together every day. 

Learn from the past, live in the present and love like there is no tomorrow! 

As I drove home I felt so loved.  I was refreshed and fulfilled. People do that for us.  We just need to take time for them. 

Memories come from the present. Make a memory today. Don't wait until a quilt is in the frame! 





Saturday, April 25, 2015

You Are What You Let Yourself Hear


Earlier this week I heard Raul Magdaleno as a guest speaker at the State Fair of Texas Pete Schenkel Scholarship Awards Luncheon in Dallas.  

Some of the words he shared were: 

"Don't look back. You may not be able to change where you have been, but you can change where you are going!" 

"You cannot give what you do not have. Remember to fill yourself with inspiration" 

"Work with what you have" 

"What and Who are you listening to? You are what you let yourself hear" 

"Tell Youself: I Don't Quit!"  

Raul has encountered many unfortunate circumstances in his life, most of which, none of us will ever experience. Through each challenge, he always makes the best of the situation and presses on. He even attended and graduated from SMU while he and his family lived at a Homeless Shelter! Today, he travels the world motivating others and stresses the importance and empowerment of education. 

I was at the scholarship luncheon as a sponsor guest because I volunteer through my job to raise funds for the scholarships awarded. The State Fair of Texas works tirelessly throughout the year for the betterment of youth through these scholarships and at the livestock auction at the State Fair. I am proud to be associated with a company that supports youth in this way. I was at the lunch to meet the scholarship recipients. Still, the words spoken by Raul applied to me just as much as to the students receiving the scholarships. 

I've been thinking about his words all of this week. How do I fill myself with inspiration? Do I ever quit? Should I change where I am going? What do I let myself hear? 

It is good for each one of us to evaluate ourselves from time to time. It is true, we cannot change our past but are we going in the direction we want for our future? 

We cannot give what we do not have.  We are constantly giving of ourselves. We cannot keep giving unless we are receiving something to replenish what we have given. This one really got to me. I do give of myself a lot and if I am not filling myself up spiritually and mentally with inspiration of substance, then what I give will be watered down and of no value to others. I will only be a leaking vessel spewing useless liquid on  others.

What and Who am I listening to and what am I allowing myself to hear? It is true, we are what we let ourselves hear! If all we hear is negativity, then it is going to stick to us and gum up our clear and positive thoughts. It will choke us like weeds and we will be unable to grow. When you constantly hear the same things, you begin to believe them, even if they are untrue. 

Since the lunch I have focused on making myself aware of what I let myself hear. I am not speaking about noises and sounds. I am talking about the inner voice I have that I need to nourish so that it will tell me truths and feed me with living words that will overflow so that I can be able to give to others. I want to tune myself so that when I listen,  I will hear clearly. 

I am so thankful I was able to hear Raul's words. I will not forget them! 

Tonight I attended a performance of The Singing Women of Texas at my church. The Central Texas and North Central Texas Chapters were there combined.

I arrived a bit tired from other activities I had attended during the day and was ready so just sit and be still while I listened.

Their music was so beautiful. Their voices combined and sounded like Heavenly instruments. As they sang, the words of Raul started coming to my mind from earlier this week.

I relaxed and listened.  I let myself really hear.  I took in a few deep breaths as to inhale the music into my being. I could feel the inspirational words begin to fill me up. I wanted to raise my arms in praise as I felt the release of tension and pressure I sometimes allow to drag me around.

I feel I am a very positive person. I always look for the good in people and situations. I choose to be happy. I make a conscious effort each day to make life special. Still, I am not immune to life's realities.   I struggle just like everyone else but I know that there is always going to be a "Next Day" and a "Another Day" and a "Day after That" and then, one day, things will be better, that worry will be in the past, and hopefully I will have learned something from the experience.

This week has been a week of Realization, Reflection, Refreshment and Revival for me! Isn't is funny how things seem to happen right when you need them?  I didn't know how low I was on fuel of inspiration until Raul pointed it out and I didn't know how much my tank would hold until the Singing Women of Texas filled it up for me!

Another lesson learned in my Doskogirl World!


As a bonus to my week! I met News Anchor Clarice Tinsley! She was at the Scholarship Awards Presentation Luncheon and eloquently shared the accomplishments and achievements of each scholarship recipient! I actually bumped into her before the lunch. Our backs bumped and we both either said, "Pardon me or Excuse me" at the same time and I immediately recognized her voice before I even saw her face! That was the icing on my cake this week!




Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Lifetime Spent Sharing the Gift of Music



A Lifetime Spent Sharing the Gift of Music
 
I love my church family.  I grew up in my church and my parents and Grandparents did as well. We have what we call the "Morgan" pew where we have "staked our claim" since the church building was built! I don't feel territorial about it and I certainly don't mind if visitors get there before me but on days I get "My" pew, I feel at home.  Over the years almost an entire generation has transitioned into heaven but I can close my eyes and see each one sitting in "Their" pew from days gone by.
 
Linda has been our organist and pianist for as long as I can remember. I can remember her mother taking care of me when I was in the nursery department in my church. Linda's Mom always made me feel secure and loved.
 
I am not sure when Linda actually became our organist but I don't really have a memory without her sitting at our organ in the front of the church.
 
Linda is a gentle soul. She is quiet and soft spoken. You would never hear a boastful word spoken by her. She is graceful and when her mouth smiles, her eyes smile too.  She is witty and I really enjoy being in her company. She is always faithful in every way but prefers being behind the scenes.
 
It is a different story when Linda sits at the organ or piano. Her soul is revealed in all of its beauty and splendor. Her musical understanding is beyond a talent. Her instrumental ability sets the entire tone for our congregation and our worship through music.
 
I love to worship The Lord through music and to have someone that can evoke such emotion through their music like Linda is a blessing for a church.
 


I recently thought about all of the practice it takes for Linda to prepare each week. She prepares at home, she prepares with the choir, I have seen her practice in the sancutary throughout the week. When I was teaching Sunday school, every few months I would bring my preschool class into the sanctuary to see her practicing before the morning worship time. She would show them how the organ worked and let each child press on the pedals. Precious memories for me thinking about the little children and how they loved this!
 


I was able to tell Linda a few weeks ago how I appreciated her and thanked her for sharing the gift with us that God had given her.
 
I feel that Linda's Mother made me feel safe and secure in the nursery many years ago and today, Linda makes me feel safe and secure in The Lord through her music. 
 
Do you have someone in your life that has made a difference but haven't told them about it? I feel so good that I was able to thank Linda so that she will know she is truly appreciated. Kindly spoken words make such a difference.  I encourage you to take a look around and find someone that has inspired you or has made a difference in your life and let them know. Do it today!

A good place to start is your church. What about the people that do the little things that are really big things: the baptismal committee, those that prepare the Lord's Supper observance, the ones that serve in the nursery during the worship service, the long-time secretaries that are so trustworthy, the dedicated ones that serve in the kitchen, the faithfull members that are always there, rain or shine. One time, we had a cricket problem in our church. My friend Kathy would arrive early each Sunday morning for "Cricket Patrol" so that all of the crickets that had ventured in since the custodian left on Friday would disappear before members and guests arrived on Sunday morning! All of these individual dependable servants that make the whole body of the church. For each of them, I am grateful and today I am especially grateful for Linda. She made me look closer and appreciate more deeply, every member of my church.

Today she played both the organ and the piano.  I watched as her quiet, gentle spirit praised The Lord through Song. Tears streamed down my cheeks as we sang the words, "All that thrills my souls is Jesus, He is more than life to me. And the fairest of Ten Thousand, in my blessed Lord I see." I was able to freely worship to my deepest depths, praising my Lord surrounded by all of the people I love, accompanied by the sweet, sweet, spirit of music. Thank you Linda!

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Day I Learned about Eugene Butler



Eugene Butler
 (1894–1995)


I had the most interesting day today! I am a new member of the Dallas Agricultural Club. I have attended the last several meetings and today our meeting was in the Livestock Offices at Fair Park in Dallas.

Inside the main room is the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor, Portraits of honored recipients of this title line the walls of the room.  I had been in this room before when I was serving as a FFA and 4H Public Speaking Judge during the State Fair of Texas. Today was different. It was a relaxed atmosphere and I arrived a little early in order to mingle and meet more of the Dallas Agricultural Club members.

I struck up a conversation with a woman I liked from the first glance. She and I visited a minute and then we joined forces to assist in making sure everything was ready for our lunch. When we finished getting the tea ready we started to visit again.  She pointed to a portrait on the wall.  It was a photo of Eugene Butler. She told me how she knew him.  He had been a charter member and historian for the Dallas Agricultural club!  He was also the editor for the Texas edition of Progressive Farmer for over 50 years!

Butler was also a founder of Southern Living Magazine!!! The magazine was started in 1966 by The Progressive Farmer Company. When she told me this, my jaw dropped! This was so interesting to me! Southern Living has always been my favorite magazine! I never knew the Texas connection with Southern Living! What a great tidbit of information for me to digest! 

She went on to explain about this special man and his love for Agriculture.  He was so intelligent and used his talents contributing to the betterment of agriculture through his work, activism, research and leadership. He lived his live devoted to making things better in the field of Agriculture.




I sm so glad I attended the meeting today! Now, each time I visit and look at the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor, I am going to learn more about the honorees on the wall!

The Dallas Agricultural Club is such a good group.  It's mission: Promoting Agricultural Awareness and Providing industry updates for our members.

Meetings are the first Monday of each month and our website touts that we are "The Original Noonday Luncheon Club of the World." Membership is open to any and all who wish to learn more about and/or promote agriculture. 

I feel honored to be a part of this group.  It is a group of men and women dedicated to promoting agriculture. Each time we meet I come away feeling like I am being mentored and I feel enriched learning through the experiences and knowledge of these who share my passion for agriculture! My goal now is to learn more about the history of the Dallas Agricultural Club and get to know each and every member!

On top of my experience learning about Eugene Butler, we enjoyed a program of Legislative Updates by Texas Farm Bureau Field Representative Roger Hall and we also met the newest Dallas AgriLife Extension Agent, Elizabeth Rudd. 



After the meeting I drove through Fair Park and the Texas Star Ferris Wheel sat silently in the cool air.  When I had first arrived I thought the fairgrounds looked so desolate. When I left I had the feeling of joy I get when I am at the State Fair with thousands of others there with me! Today was a great day indeed!

To learn more about the Dallas Agricultural Club visit: http://dallasagriculturalclub.com/


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waco Hippodrome Theatre - Dining in Downtown Waco



Waco Hippodrome Theatre
Dining in Downtown Waco





I experienced such a fun lunch today, I decided I had to write about it! I had a very eventful morning full of meetings and appointments so it was 1:30 p.m. before I had a chance to think about lunch. The Hippodrome was on my bucket list so I drove to downtown Waco on Austin Avenue and crossed my fingers it would be open!

After being seated on the second floor, I was presented with a fun menu full of items named after movies.  There was a good selection of items and I was torn between a burger, a salad or tacos. I wanted to try something new and different for my taste buds so I selected the Urban Cowboy Tacos.
After settling in I started to take in the view. I had asked if there was window seating available and ended up with the best seat in the house! The Hippodrome sign sat right outside my window and Austin Avenue was below.  The restaurant is on the second floor of the theatre. I felt like I was on vacation.  Austin Avenue was active with business people in suits as well as pedestrians that I could tell were sight-seeing.  I became completely immersed with the scene below.  Waco transportation buses that look just like Trolley cars would whiz by and then there would be joggers, dog walkers and everything you would expect to see in a city that is thriving.

I felt I was watching a live movie scene and just on the other side of the dining room wall, a film was showing for people taking in an afternoon movie.  After my meal I peeked into the theatre and saw a group of women enjoying the movie and eating as well. You can enjoy your entire meal while watching a movie.  That is what I want to try on my next visit. Or maybe I'll come back at night for the fine dining menu. Austin Avenue at night is gorgeous and the Waco Hippodrome Sign illuminates the street in  an invigorating way! I talked with the Box Office Manager briefly and he told me about the menu that is being planned that will offer  Pork Belly and other adventurous thrillers so stay tuned!

My Urban Cowboy Tacos were filled with Brisket, Pickled Red Onion, Mustard Slaw, and Cotija Cheese. They were served with salsa and fresh made tortillas chips from Jesse's Tortilla Factory just minutes away! The food was great and the service superb. At this late lunch time the crowd was thinning so my waiter gave me just the right amount of special attention.

This is a photo of the lobby when you enter the Hippodrome Theatre.  The architecture and design is beautiful.
The outside walk is lined with stars which are a special touch.

The Hippodrome is just one of the exciting things about Downtown Waco. Please visit their website to learn more about it at www.wacohippodrometheatre.com It is unique and when you combine that with good service and food, you have all of the makings of a Star!
The Waco Hippodrome also boasts a Texas Historical Marker stating it was opened in 1914 and showed silent movies, vaudeville shows and a variety of civic events.  The website goes into more details about famous visitors including Elvis Presley and John Wayne!

Today I can tell you the charming appeal of The Hippodrome Theatre impressed me. While I was gazing out the window I remembered a meal my husband I had on the second floor of a building in Santa Fe as well as a time we dined overlooking New Orleans below us. Today in Waco, Texas I felt I was as much on vacation as I was at both of these other times that came to my mind and I was completely alone on this trip! What a great escape from a busy day and to be able to be at a restaurant while dining and not even realize you are dining alone? That is a treat!

Thank you Waco Hippodrome! I will see you again soon!