My Grandmothers’ Irises


In the front garden of our home, I have irises from both of my grandmothers.

My maternal grandmother, Naomi (“Mimi”) was an extremely strong woman and wife to a farmer/rancher. She was lovely and smart and generous and fiercely protective of her family.

My paternal grandmother Christine (“Tine”) was a nurse and a gardener. She was pretty and sweet and nurturing. She also had a great sense of humor and a contagious laugh.

When Mimi passed away, my mother dug up her iris bulbs, planted some in her own garden, and gave the rest to Tine, who then added the irises to her already beautiful garden full of roses of every color and type imaginable. A few years later, when Tine died, my mother dug up most of those bulbs, before she and my father sold the house, and gave them to me for my first house with my husband. When I moved from that house to our current house, a few years ago, I dug up most of the bulbs and planted them in our new front yard.

With all that digging and moving, they still take root and multiply every time they must settle into a new home. And they bloom majestically each spring. These iris blooms are a perennial reminder of my beautiful grandmothers, both gone now for over a decade. And although my own children never met these women, who were so special to me, in the irises I feel I have a piece of them here in my home and my heart that I can share and pass on.

The kids do so enjoy flowers and bright colors and hearing me tell about their great grandmothers.


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My Thankfulness


We spent the Thanksgiving break with my side of the family this year.  This is a view from the ranch-house deck.  I shot most of the photos included in my SLIDE SHOW early in the week at my parents’ ranch in West Texas and the rest I took on Thanksgiving day at their in-town home.  If you have 4 minutes, please take a look.  Music Credit: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” Sufjan Stevens.

We’ll be spending Christmas with my hubby’s family.

— Twyla

Polka Dots Advance to Playoffs

I know you’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this breaking news.  So I’m thrilled to report that it’s official . . . the Polka Dots will be advancing to the six- and seven-year-old girls’ division soccer league playoffs in our suburban community this weekend.

The team name may be sweet and cutesy, as are those of their opponents, Blue Angels, Castle Cuties, and Twinkle ToesBut do not let that fool you.  Our little Polka Dot is a vital cog in a well oiled kicking machine; an automatic weapon in an arsenal of passing, dribbling, running, scoring, goal-defending fire power.  Yes, she is one dangerous dot of polka.

I know first hand, you see, because just after the qualifying game, I held up my palm for a “good-game” high five and my little sweetheart punched it so hard with full fist that I was sent tumbling none too gracefully off my Wal-Mart folding canvas lawn chair.  Can’t blame her for being fired up and proud to be a part of a winning team, one of only four that has scored enough points this season to be in the running for the championship.  (To be clear, the top four teams qualify for playoffs and there are only four teams in this particular division. But still.)

Funny though, no matter how fierce and tough a gal may be, she still seeks the sweet and tender post-victory comfort offered by her ever-present, and ever-smelly, companion of six-and-a-half years, her best friend since infant crib days, and no it’s not her twin brother.  I am referring to her well-worn and well-loved baby blanket/lovie, affectionately named “Bawler.” (Don’t ask me, I didn’t name it, nor do I know how to spell it.)

Go Polka Dots!

Thank you for listening. – Twyla

Is This my Sweet Angelic Little Flower?

Hubby and I were just thrilled and oh so proud when our daughter ran over to us, from the face painter’s table at our neighborhood fall festival, as Darth Maul. (According to Wikipedia, he’s a Dathomirian Zabrak Sith Lord, master of double-bladed lightsaber combat, warrior of the Nightbrother clan on the planet Dathomir during the last days of the Galactic Republic . . . from Star Wars, in case you didn’t know.)

I try pink bows, ballet slippers, and frilly dresses, but this one is a slugger on the diamond, a menace in cleats and shin-guards, and bold enough to show up on pirate and princess day, the only female pirate in pre-kindergarten.  Aarrrrgh!

And she is beautiful beyond any words.

Thank you for listening. — Twyla

While At The State Fair

While at the State Fair of Texas with my husband, kids, and brother-in-law, I thought about joy.

Children really know how to experience joy.

We grownups can enjoy ourselves, of course, but it’s so hard for us.  We have distractions, inhibitions, worries, images to maintain, work-outs to avoid, boiling pots to watch, bread to win, bacon to bring home, nests to feather, and Joneses to keep up with.

Sometimes, I think I’ve forgotten how to experience the joy I came by so naturally in childhood.  That’s when I look to my kids to help and teach me.

Here I am on a fast ride with my kids.

In this picture, her face says she’s having the time of her life.  His expression is that of sheer terror, mixed with a little motion sickness.  But unlike most grownups, he’s facing fear and doing it anyway!  When I first saw this picture, I zeroed in on myself.  I was distracted by the way I looked here.  I didn’t like it in the least.  Here’s an exhausted, yet exhilarated, middle-aged mom, a size or two larger than she wants to be around the middle, with smile lines, and finger nails in desperate need of attention.  (My kids are six years old, so it’s been exactly that long since my manicure routine ended.)

But then I looked a little closer . . .

I saw my un-manicured fingers wrapped around her soft, precious, skinny arm.

I saw his sweet, grubby, little hand gripping mine for all life’s worth.


Thank you for listening. — Twyla

SLIDE SHOW!  Please click here to view my 3-minute slide show of our trip to the State Fair of Texas:  Music Credit:”All This Beauty,” The Weepies

I Am Ninja Warrior Princess of the Badlands

Oh, you’re there.


Twyla Lively here, suburban wife and mommy of twins.  You’ve reached my personal blog.

Here are some random items about me:

I am an excellent speller.

My favorite foods are pizza, steak, and corn on the cob.

I am currently dog-less, but this is temporary.

I was single for a long time, waiting and searching for the right partner.

I am wildly grateful for what I have now: a sweet, hot, smart husband of almost 10 years (who is the right guy), two crazy little kids, boy-girl twins, a loving and supportive family, a select group of beautiful sister-friends, a princess bath tub, and plenty of wine.

I read a lot: Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler, Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Dunant, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Dr. Seuss, recipes, toy directions, etc.

I listen, seek, read, write, ask, pay attention, contemplate, learn . . . and worry.

I am the oldest of three. My brothers and I had the extraordinary gift of knowing well, all four of our grandparents.

My hubby and I recently discovered we like cruise ships.

I take long, hot, bubbly baths for relaxation, as often as I can.  This is really often, so . . .

In addition to ninja warrior princess of the badlands, I might also be a mermaid.

I have a small tattoo.

I try to love God and others. I try to be a good wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. I try to help when others are in need.  I try to exercise regularly.  I try not to eat too much junk food, but we all have our weaknesses.

I live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, but I often go to my dad’s big ranch in West Texas and have adventures there.

I am an aspiring philosopher, psychologist, photographer, writer, cook, and ukulele player.  That last one pertains to my hubby, not me, but I might be a little jealous.

I have completed a bachelor’s degree (English), two master’s degrees (business and family studies), and I have many years of corporate experience.  Also, I am a certified PMP, which does not designate anything even slightly related to pimps and hoes, but rather stands for project management professional.

These days, my primary job responsibility is the mommy-ing of two lively first graders; my business critical path is carpool line to piano lessons to soccer practice; my chief accomplishments are moderating quarrels over Legos; and my shining, glorious achievement is the completion of daily laundry.

And, yes — resounding yes — this is the good life.

Thank you for listening. — Twyla