Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

Happy 50th Anniversary

June 17, 2016

By the grace of God and love of family, we made it through thick and thin, sickness and health, outside interference, and just every day life happening to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. And we are so happy we did!

50

50 Years of Marriage

A close friend of mine told me what her Dad always says when people ask what’s the secret to a long marriage. “Don’t leave and don’t die.” I love that quote and used it on the elevator at MD Anderson this week. Lots of laughs from strangers who may not have been experiencing a very good day.

My daughter asked me over a year ago if we wanted a party to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. I told her the best party would be all 14 of our family members together to celebrate for a few days. She offered the house she and her husband own in Park City, Utah. We had to work around everyone’s personal schedules, including my care at MD Anderson, but we were all able to get together for several days, as a family, to celebrate our lives.

14

All 14 of us in Park City, Utah

The weather was beautiful, the house and grounds magnificent, and there were plenty of fun activities to enjoy during the week.

On Sunday we had a great brunch at Stein Erikson’s Lodge on the terrace overlooking the mountains. Then it was on to the “Sunday Silly Shopping” event on Main Street in Park City.

brunch

Sunday Brunch

On Monday, the grandchildren loved the ropes course and Museum at Olympic Park.

ropes

Ropes Course

We gathered back at the house where Troy decorated Thompson’s one-year-old birthday cake as Fenway Park. He used little plastic baseball figures that had been on his cake as a little guy.

cake

Fenway Park Cake

Todd arranged for us to go back downtown for pizza galore. The proprietor said, “You guys rock!”

pizza

Yummy Pizza Dinner

Then it was back to the house again to celebrate Thompson’s one-year-old birthday a few days late.

Thompson

Michelle, Troy, and Thompson

We all loved getting to celebrate our California baby’s birthday. We had a little cake for his very own, but he didn’t like that icing on his fingers.

candle

Blow out the candle.

Tuesday was a big surprise when Tommy and I woke to the living area all decorated with gold and white balloons, party decorations and pictures of all of us through the years.

decorations

Golden Anniversary Decorations

Julie, Holly, and Michelle had stayed up into the wee hours the night before pulling together all the things they had each brought for the celebration.

girls

Julie, Holly, and Michelle

After wonderful breakfast tacos, cooked by Scott, we headed for Park City Center for rides and miniature golf.

IMG_6456 (002)

In the afternoon we all headed back home for a rest while the caterers cooked and set-up a gourmet dinner in the Huebner’s backyard.

welcome

Ashton Welcomes Us

During the appetizers we enjoyed 60’s-70’s music. I took the opportunity to dance with my oldest grandson, Tyler.

dancing

Dancing with Tyler

We also took family pictures to commemorate this special Golden Anniversary.

4-family

Our oldest son, Todd, his wife, Julie, Madison and Tyler

They live in Dallas. Madison will be a Sophomore at Texas A & M and Tyler a Junior at Jesuit in Dallas.

5-family

Our daughter, Holly, her husband, Scott, Lindsey, Ashton, and Sydney

Lindsey will be in the 8th grade at Seabrook Middle School. Sydney will start 6th grade at Seabrook Middle School and Ashton will be in the 3rd grade at Ed White Elementary school. They live about an hour from us in Texas.

3-family

Troy, our youngest child, Michelle, his wife, and Thompson

They live in Long Beach, California, where they own and operate Olafson Creative. We get together with them several times each year.

We feasted on a gourmet dinner of salad, vegetables, elk and trout, fresh from the area. It was all topped-off with a delicious cake and happy singing.

six

Our six grandchildren and us

What an indescribably blessing our family is to us. As the evening cooled outdoors, we adjourned to the game room in the lower part of the house for beautiful gifts with emotion, gratefulness and love throughout. Troy read from a framed listing of the 50 things they all love about us. We all laughed and cried throughout the presentation. I can’t help but write a few of them for you.

  1. I love that you have made me a part of your loving family.
  2. I actually do love that you made us go to church and Sunday school. I realize now the great morals and ethics we learned.
  3. I love how Grammy taught me how to create–everything from little scrapbooks to crafts to quilts to gowns.
  4. I loved the Sunday picnics and playgrounds all over Houston.
  5. I love the two of you dancing the jitterbug, knowing you’ve been dancing together since you were teenagers.
  6. I love the warmth you show each other when arriving or leaving a family event. It may be as simple as Granddaddy gently rubbing Grammy’s back to comfort her or Grammy making sure Granddaddy has everything he needs to enjoy the special event.
  7. I love our family backyard wiffle ball games.
  8. I loved sharing the birth of our three babies with you, and I loved having your help for those first few weeks.
    moms

    Moms and Daughters continue reminiscing

    Then everyone geared-up for the action-packed Shuffleboard competition. It was close, but Tyler and Julie were named the champions.

    Wednesday and Thursday we slowly began to go back to our homes. We’d had so much fun together. It was great for the older grandchildren to spend time with baby Thompson. He did not lack for attention and love.

    baby

    Backseat baby entertainers

    It was hard to say good-bye to him and his mommy and daddy. California is a long way away.

    goodbye

    Goodbye at airport

    But how thankful we are to have all these babies and their parents. Thank you for spending those precious days with us all together.

    Tommy and I had our own little morning celebration on Saturday, June 11, 2016, our actual wedding anniversary date. In the evening we attended a Sunday school party with many good friends.

    party

    Our Sunday school party

    They had a cake with candles and singing to conclude the special evening. Thank you everyone.

    50

    Happy 50th Anniversary

    May there be many more. We love you all family and friends. Life would not be the same without you. God’s blessings on you all. Judy

 

 

Vacationing Towards Our 50th Anniversary

June 16, 2014

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.     Thoreau

Three years ago, Tommy and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary week on a trip and count-down to our 50th. The criteria for each of these trips have been a place we haven’t visited, cool temperature, quiet, special accommodations, a few interesting things to see and near water, if possible.

Celebrating 48 years

Celebrating our 48th  year

This year we chose to go to The Manor on Golden Pond, an elegant bed and breakfast country inn, located in the Lakes Region in Holderness, New Hampshire.

Manor on Golden Pond

Manor on Golden Pond

Everything was accurate as they described the Manor’s fourteen-acre estate. However, I took them literally when they said Manor “on Golden Pond.” If I’d read more closely it said, with “exquisite views of Golden Pond.” Indeed from the windows and the deck off our room, the Mayfair, had an exquisite view.  However, it wasn’t on Golden Pond, but across the street. Now wouldn’t you believe you were “on the Pond” according to this picture of our room on their website?

Mayfair Room on Manor Wing

Mayfair Room on Manor Wing

We did enjoy quiet time reading on our deck in the sun and also on drizzly days. I happen to be a pluviophile, (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days, so the rain didn’t bother me. The weather was cool enough to have a fire in our wood-burning fire-place and snuggle-up  in our comfy bed to watch a movie on one of our four nights there.

View from Our Deck

View from Our Deck

The first day we arrived, we had dinner in the Van Horn room, an intimate setting with elegant décor, reminiscent of a fine English table with white linens, fresh flowers, and candlelight.  This is a Four Diamond (an accolade given to few New Hampshire inns) restaurant, which recognizes the exceptional cuisine prepared on the premises, as well as the sophistication, level of service, and attention to detail. We also relaxed here each morning over a warm breakfast of omelets, eggs Benedict, pancakes, or French toast, and numerous egg preparations. We anticipated breakfast each morning.

Van Horn Dining Room

Van Horn Dining Rooms

After a yummy breakfast on a sunny, cool day we headed to Moultonborough, New Hampshire to Lucknow, Castle in the Clouds, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The 1914 Arts and Crafts mansion includes 5,500 acres of trails and waterfalls on the land to the tops of seven mountains down to the shore of the lake. After extensively touring the home and interacting with the staff guides, we enjoyed more of the sumptuous views and a meal on the carriage house terrace.

Castle in the Clouds

Castle in the Clouds

Lake Winnipesaukee and Us

Lake Winnipesaukee and Us at Lucknow

After the tour of the home we headed back down the mountains with a few stops on the way to look out over the lakes and take a few photos. Then we drove through many of the small towns and villages such as Meredith, Wolfeboro, Ashland, and Weirs Beach including a covered bridge. We headed back to the Manor for afternoon tea which was served every afternoon at 4:00. Nothing could make me happier.

Tea Time

Tea Time every day at The Manor

Cup of Tea

Cup of Tea in the Library

The next day, after another huge breakfast, we relaxed a while on the Terrace at the Manor. In the afternoon, with a picnic lunch in hand from the Manor kitchen, we headed for a 90-minute boat tour of the pristine Squam Lake. We viewed Purgatory Rock, the boat dock, and area where “On Golden Pond” was filmed. Our guide was humorous in pointing out all these locations plus the nesting places of loons and eagles. The flat-boat was equipped with binoculars as it took more than the naked eye to see some of the wildlife. We enjoyed the scenery and beauty of the lake and mountains.

Squam Lake

Squam Lake

We shopped after our boat tour in several fun and funky NH’s “no-sales tax” stores like the Red Barn, Veggie Art Girl,  and The Common Man. We made it back to the Manor before it turned really rainy and chilly.

Our last day, even after a long, hard rain all night, we were determined to actually get to the public beach and water. There are beaches all around, but they are private. We ate our substantial breakfast, did a little sight-seeing and then back to our room to put on our hiking shoes to walk to the shores of Squam Lake through the Chamberlain Memorial Forest. Our super hostess, Carol, assured us that it was a beautiful conservation area and would be a wonderful 20 minute walk through the forest and over a wetlands boardwalk. She said we would get to a small enchanting sandy beach from which we could enjoy a swim or bask in the sun. Well, there was no sun, and certainly too cold to swim, but we were determined. So we headed-out on what seemed like a very well-marked trail and nice and wide and dry. However, once we got well into the forest we were accompanied by small flying things and mosquitos and questionable trails and mud and darkness.

Tommy in Forest

Tommy in Forest

I clocked 9,000 steps on my fitbit and 14 flights of stairs by the time we got there and got back out of the forest. Yes, we did get there and found our way back. The major delight was that we accomplished it not unlike the sense of accomplishment we felt when we walked a marathon in 2002.

We Made It!

We Made It!

We stayed on the beach at the water for only 10 minutes and then headed back as fast as we could. After dinner and a long, hot bath, followed by a fire in our fireplace, bed was quite welcome. We took it easy the next morning packing and heading to the Manchester airport for a long day of traveling. When we landed at midnight we couldn’t find our car in the airport parking lot for about 40 minutes, but finally made it home to our own manor and our kitties, Snow and Tiger.

Snow and Tiger Waiting

Snow and Tiger Waiting

East or West Home is Best

East or West Home is Best

The summer still stretches before us. Tomorrow I’ll be in the skies again heading towards Chicago for Summer Quilt Festival in Rosemont. Will I see any of you there? When I land back in Houston next Sunday I’ll go straight to our granddaughter, Sydney Huebner’s 9-year old birthday party at Jumping World. The day after that, Madison (17) and Tyler Murrah (14) will be here for a week for Camp Grammy and Granddaddy.

I will spend the rest of today in my studio preparing for an Open Studios demo on making embellished messenger bags from canvas totes we have received at shows for many, many years. Next time you hear from me on this blog it will be a tutorial on how to make the bags. So until then have a happy summer.

Messenger Bag in Progress

Messenger Bag in Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the Memories

September 6, 2013

A graduation, a marriage, birth of a baby, a new job, a move to a new town are all things that are reminders of where we were when we look back and remember. This past week-end brought back many memories of my career as a quilting teacher, designer, author, and most especially a part of Quilts, Inc.

In 1976 when I first interviewed for a job with Karey Bresenhan, owner and President of Quilts, Inc. I had a one-year old baby on my hip. I also had a 4-year old and 8-year old at home.  Karey wanted me to teach in her shop projects using the quilt blocks I  had learned from her mother,  Jewel Patterson. I accepted, and the rest is history. My family and I have grown up with quilting being a major part of our lives.

The Murrah Family 1976

The Murrah Family 1976

Starting to work for Karey Bresenhan in 1976 has expanded into 37 years of International Quilt Festivals and Markets all over the United States, Quilt Expos for 20 years in Europe, and most recently the Texas Quilt Museum.

All of these accomplishments were dreams of Karey’s that she turned into a reality with the help of a dedicated staff of long-time employees. Many of those have come and gone, but many have stayed for the long haul. It’s been a life-time of adventures. In 2014 Karey and staff will celebrate the 40th birthday of International Quilt Festival.

Quilts, Inc. Staff 2012

Quilts, Inc. Staff 2012

On Saturday, August 31, 2013 many of those long-time staff members were present to help Karey and Maurice Bresenhan celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. The festivities started with champagne at the Texas Quilt Museum which is located in a pair of beautifully restored, historic 1880’s buildings in La Grange, Texas.

Texas Quilt Museum

Texas Quilt Museum

After a little mingling and greeting, family and friends were seated to witness the renewal of Karey and Maurice’s traditional wedding vows under two Double Wedding Ring quilts. You could hear a pin drop as the officiant started with “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, to witness and bless the reaffirmation of the marriage covenant of holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate established by God.”

Renewal of Vows

Renewal of Vows

After the ceremony, the guests departed for the Bresenhan ranch which is about 10 minutes away. We first went to their house for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served on the deck and in the house. The Texas evening was nice and the lighting and setting were enchanting.

On the Deck

On the Deck

But we hadn’t seen anything yet. The Creativity Center, where we hold our monthly leadership meetings, seminars, and Quilt Camps, was transformed into a Cinderella wonderland. The draped ceiling with twinkle lights, the red table cloths,

Creativity Center Transformation

Creativity Center Transformation

the plethora of family and friends’ bridal portraits with red and white vintage quilts,

Red & White Quilt & Bride

Red & White Quilts & Wedding Portraits

Red & White Quilts & Brides

Red & White Quilts & Brides Portraits

and childhood photos of Karey and Maurice placed on all the tables with their beautiful table settings were a feast for the eyes. Everyone was in awe.

Lovely Table Setting

Lovely Table Setting

Great music was playing as we all entered, and then came the Bride and Groom. What a beautiful couple.

Maurice Bresenhan & Karey Patterson Bresenhan

Maurice Bresenhan & Karey Patterson Bresenhan

Among the very special guests were Karey’s cousin, Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, who is Executive Vice President of Quilts, Inc. and her husband, Carlos Puentes, whose company has provided our enrollment system since 1995.

Carlos Puentes & Nancy O'Bryant Puentes

Carlos Puentes & Nancy O’Bryant Puentes

Willie Hart, who was in charge of Quilts, Inc. Show Operations for more than 20  years, is now VP of Special Projects. She does huge banners of quilts photo-shopped on buildings  for our shows.  She printed and mounted all of the photos for the Anniversary Celebration. Gene Reynolds, CPA, and owner of the company that has taken care of our accounting for many years, was among our Quilts family.

Gene Reynolds & Willie Hart

Gene Reynolds & Willie Hart

Bob Ruggiero, Director of Publications & Public Information who has been with Quilts, Inc. for 17 years, was the DJ for the evening. He played mostly tunes from the ’60’s for our dining pleasure and then for dancing. That’s me with Bob. I’ve worked in the Education department for Karey since the beginning. I am VP of Education and Administration.

Bob Ruggiero & Me

Bob Ruggiero & Me

In the last 10 years, we have added many employees who are coming up along beside us long-timers. Marvin Paz has worked his way up to assisting Ruth Polanco in Show Operations. Pokey Bolton came on board almost two years ago as Chief Creative Officer. The company is changing and growing, and lots of new things are on the horizon.

Marvin Paz & Pokey Bolton

Marvin Paz & Pokey Bolton

After a scrumptious meal catered by Bistro 108 and dancing, we adjourned to seating outside the Creativity Center to watch a fabulous display of fireworks in the Cow Field.

Those who spent the night were  treated to Sunday Brunch in the Creativity Center after beverages under the oak trees. I enjoyed seeing Trix Buhlmann-Epple from Switzerland for the week-end. Trix has worked with Quilts, Inc. Special Exhibits since we started doing shows in Europe. We couldn’t do without her.

Chatting with Trix Buhlmann

Chatting with Trix Buhlmann-Epple

With the celebration completed around noon Sunday, we drove out of the ranch and back home with many more magical memories of Karey Bresenhan and Quilts, Inc.

Leaving the Ranch

Leaving the Ranch

May you have many memories of love, loyalty, and faith.

Your friend, Judy

Vacation Time Is The Best!

June 20, 2013

When June 11 rolls around it is time to celebrate our wedding anniversary again. We had a delightful trip to Asheville, North Carolina and Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to celebrate our 47th anniversary. The weather was cool, the accommodations good, and the sights fun, educational, and exciting. Come along and check it out.

After flying a good part of the day we arrived at the charming 1891 Cedar Crest Inn on June 10. It is one of the largest and most opulent residences in Asheville perched on the hillside on 3 acres of garden paradise.

Cedar Crest

Cedar Crest

Our room, the Serenity Suite, was on the garden level and our own little hide-away. It would be a dream come true for a honeymoon couple, but we enjoyed it just the same.

Serenity Suite

Serenity Suite

Our suite had its own little private veranda on which we enjoyed reading and relaxing in the afternoons.  We also enjoyed a three course gourmet breakfast every morning on the house’s wrap around veranda on the second level overlooking beautiful green grounds.

Tommy on our Veranda

Tommy on our Veranda

After settling in we spent some time investigating Asheville, a lovely town of art, shopping, and dining. The Grove Arcade, which is one of the last shopping arcades constructed in the United States in 1929, is a beloved downtown landmark.

Grove Arcade

Grove Arcade

The Biltmore Estate, which is on 8,000 acres, was just a mile from our Inn and where we ventured the first full day of our vacation. We are fans of Downton Abbey and as we approached the estate we felt like we were stepping into the setting for a Downton Abbey production.

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

We spent most of the day at the Biltmore House where we could only imagine what it was like to be a guest of the Vanderbilts. We chose to do the audio tour and it was a perfect way to visit George Vanderbilt’s 1895 home and learn about the families who lived and worked there. It was amazing how much of the house we were allowed to see going up and down opulent flights of stairs from the nursery to the library to the formal dining room to the indoor pool…it went on and on.

We loved it and then treated ourselves to afternoon tea in the Library Lounge at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. It was lovely seated at the window overlooking the grounds and seeing the Biltmore House far off in the distance on another hill.

Tea at the Biltmore Inn

Tea at the Biltmore Inn

The grounds of the Biltmore Estate was reason to go back a second day which we did. Frederick Olmsted, whose designs also include New York’s Central Park, took on the monumental task of planning the estate’s gardens and grounds.The gardens went on and on and we, or maybe I should say I, wasn’t up to doing it all.  There were acres of beautiful gardens and a grand conservatory.

Biltmore Conservatory

Biltmore Conservatory

In the afternoon we took an historic Asheville trolley tour on the Red Trolley. Our driver was entertaining as he drove us through the Montford Historic District, Art Deco downtown, River Arts District, and Biltmore Village. We ate bar b q at a restaurant he recommended and then Tommy went to see the McCormick Field while I relaxed on our veranda. McCormick Field is where Bull Durham was filmed and is perched up on a hill in the middle of town. He loved it.

McCormick Field

McCormick Field

On our fourth day, after a little shopping and sight seeing in Biltmore Village, we headed for Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Smoky Mountain Resort. We checked into a nice, new suite in the middle of downtown and made reservations to see a couple of shows in Pigeon Forge.

Both days we were there we spent time off the highways in the Smoky Mountains National Park. We took the Roaring Fork tour where there were many tiny waterfalls along swift flowing streams. We opened our windows to hear the beauty of the sound in all the greenery. Tommy wondered if the trees in our backyard are as tall as the ones we saw. I don’t think so. Funny boy.

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

We stopped at Ely’s Mill and had a delightful time talking with the owner who when she was a little girl sold lemonade at that same location. The shop had spinning, honey, weaving, local crafts, books, and antiques for sale. I had a little shopping spree right there in the middle of the woods. Tommy enjoyed it, too.

Ely's Mill

Ely’s Mill

Never in a million years would I think I would enjoy the Smoky Mountains Opry, but I did! We attended the variety show on our first night in Tennessee. It was as good as or better than any Las Vegas show with gospel, patriotic, pop, blues, Broadway, jazz, and country music. Seriously, it had a talented cast of singers, dancers, comedians and musicians. I was so surprised to see it complete with lasers and giant video screens, dazzling costumes, special effects and high-tech visuals. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Opry

Opry

The next day we saw the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show. It was entertaining, but nothing compared to the Opry. We did have some laughs.

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

After the dinner show we toured the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge. Now that was well worth the two hours we spent there. We saw over 4 million dollars of real artifacts, 22,000 square feet of history, and walked the full scale Grand Staircase. We received a passenger boarding pass when we entered and then could see the fate of our passenger as we finished the tour. It was a sobering experience, but so well done and a tribute to the ship and its passengers and crew.

Titanic Museum

Titanic Museum

That about finished up our vacation trip. We had ice cream (when in doubt have dessert first), then hamburgers in our room, and packed for an early flight home. It was a special trip in many ways. Tommy did a great job planning just the right vacation for our celebrations. Happy Anniversary, my sweet husband, hope we have many more.

High School Sweetheart Dance 1962

High School Sweetheart Dance 1962


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