Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 - really?

I just looked . . .I haven't posted anything since November 2, 2015.  Life has moved too quickly to document it, perhaps?  Actually, I think I have crawled inside my shell and have just stayed there.  Not totally true either (though I did just recently decide that I'm an extrovert with introverted tendencies) - hmmm. . . . .I've worked lots (advent when you work on a church staff is a little like super bowl week) . . . I've prayed lots (pregnant daughter-in-law, son with health issues, daughter living two hours away in a new job among other things). . . I've eaten lots (did you know that folks bring food to the church almost every day during the holidays - really good food!!).  I've walked lots (trying to build myself up for the Holy Land trip).

Every year, I make a pledge that I'm going to blog more often.  Probably not going to happen again.  I'll try!

To be honest, I just can't believe we are in the year 2016.  Where did 1986 go?  Seems like I blinked and morphed from being a new mother myself to a time of waiting on our first grandchild.  Mother to Gran in a split second - really!!

So - I read a devotion the other day that said instead of praying for things to be easier and better that we should be praying for "it to matter" - no matter what "it" is - either good or bad or indifferent.  I guess that is sort of like praying that whatever happens in our lives - God will be glorified.  I don't think I ever realized how hard it is to pray that prayer. . . until I became a mother.

Not sure where 2016 is going to take us . . but I do know that God will be with us.  Baby Jesus was born. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Promise that these are different crawfish!

I just found these pictures already loaded and realized that I never blogged about them!  Our son and daughter-in-law had a crawfish boil sometime this last year!!  Their dog, Riley, was fascinated by those crawfish.  These are not the crawfish from the lake at the farm!

Just FYI - this is a lot of crawfish --  A LOT!

They also bought beverages.  I'll bet that you thought I was showing you the view and the beautiful day.

They played cornhole with the set that we gave to Glenn last year.  A local guy had posted on one of the community pages on facebook that he made custom cornhole sets.  I bought one for Glenn and it is really nice.  Riley thought they were throwing those bean bags JUST for her.

Let me just tell you that this food was so hot it burned my mouth!! Whew!  It was a fun evening and we enjoyed getting to know some of their friends!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Join up over at From This Side of the Pond for Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. Are you comfortable with silence? If you're home alone, do you like silence or do you need regular background noise? Do you seek out times and places to be silent? What's your favorite place to find silence/be silent? I love silence! Not all of the time but I NEED some silence every day. I’m an extrovert but I have to re-charge. My husband loves to listen to music and has a play list he wants to listen to every morning when we are getting ready for work. Sometimes I close the door so I can’t hear it because I just need some silence! I also rarely listen to the radio in the car (unless I’m in hubby’s car) for the same reason.  If I’m home alone, I rarely turn the tv on . . .on the other hand, my husband walks through the door and turns on the tv.

2. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Can't let that go by without a mention now, can we? Will you celebrate? How? Let's say you can have one of the following right this very minute... a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie...what's your pleasure? I love chocolate (just like I love silence!!).  How creative of me to start both answers the same way – NOT! I shouldn’t admit this, but I just ate a Reese cup because a co-worker brought it to me from the children’s Halloween parade in our day care.  I like hot chocolate when it is cold outside – maybe in January? (I live in Alabama and it is not cold here today) I like chocolate pie! I’m not too big on fruit and chocolate and I prefer Moose Tracks or something like that over plain chocolate ice cream.

3. How do you feel about blue jeans? Favorite thing in the world to wear or nope, don't own a single pair? How often do you wear blue jeans in a typical week? Do you own a blue jean jacket? I want to love blue jeans. Maybe if I were skinny, I would enjoy them more. I love denim skirts – I have several. I have a denim jacket – two, I think! In the winter, I probably wear jeans once a week. In the other months – never.

4. Are you superstitious? If so, in what way? I should respond that I am not superstitious – I’ve always heard that Christians shouldn’t be superstitious . . .BUT I think I am about a couple of things.  My sister and I were talking just yesterday about the fact that we could never call in sick if we aren’t really sick . . .because our mom always made us believe that if we lied about it, we would get sick.  Typing those words makes me realize how silly it sounds.  If I spill salt, I always through some over both shoulders! I think it is just habit – not really superstition!!  I started working on this several hours ago and just haven't had time to finish BUT my brain has still been processing.  We always eat black eye peas and greens on New Year's Day for luck and money in the new year.  I also have a tendency to lift my feet (if I'm not driving) when we drive over railroad tracks.  All of these are just fun habits. I don't think that I actually think something is going to happen if I don't do them (though as I've typed these things, I've wondered if I'm crazy!!).

5. If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with? I’ve been wracking my brain on this one. I can’t think of anything I have at home for a GOOD costume. I have some red bandana fabric so maybe a kerchief around my neck and some jeans (which I do own even though I don’t wear often) and a shirt . . . cowgirl? Or I could use those same things and be Rosie the Riveter by adding a nametag? Or maybe I could cut out a big black P and put it on my white t-shirt and use eyeliner to black my eye and I could go as a black eye pea!!

6. What scares you a little? What do you do when you feel scared? Vampires scare me a lot. Even the lovey dovey vampires. If I watch anything with vampires, I have nightmares.  Isn't that ridiculous for a woman who is my age???  Something else that scares me a little . . .I stay by myself a good bit when Mark goes to the farm. Sometimes I might hear a noise that frightens me A LITTLE and I usually pull the covers over my head and say a prayer!  I usually go back to sleep.

7. Perhaps today will be the day I _______ -- win a million dollars?? Start a diet and stick with it? run a marathon? (not!) Act like Christ more often? Stay for Brian’s Bible study on Esther tonight instead of going home and crashing?

8.  Insert your own random thought here. I work in an amazing place. Today we found out about a momma with multiple children who is in a hard place.  She is a hair stylist.  Our boss (the senior minister) sent out an email asking if anyone needed a haircut? If so, we could schedule her to come to the church. The email popped into everyone’s inboxes and immediately responses started.  We have a large list of folks who want a haircut (who probably don’t really need one), we have an envelope of contributions (one staff member said that as she read the email, she felt led to give everything in her wallet . . .and she did – another staff member from our janitorial staff brought a sacrificial cash offering, too . . .along with several other monetary gifts from staff members), we are pounding her with non-perishable food, etc. and we are having a party . . . on Monday.  All because #lovedoestrinitydoes . . .all because Jesus gave the greatest gift ever!  There are days when all of us don’t want to go to work, but working here at Trinity . . . those days are few and far between.  Days like today are extra special!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear God

Lord Jesus,
Come into our hearts this day. Fill us up with your holy spirit. Help us to allow your grace to spill over onto every person we meet – whether it is the check-out lady at the grocery store and the greeter at Walmart, our co-workers, or the homeless person we pass on the street. Give us a sense of adventure and a sense of wonder and awe so that we might be caught up in ministry with you. Give us smiles on our faces, love in our hearts and action in our hands.
Lord, I pray for each of my co-workers . . .Ann, Amy, Amy, , Bobby, Brian, David, Donna, Eleanor, Fred, Joe, Haley, Jessica, Jodi, Julie Lynn, Kate, Linda, Kristan, Laura E., Laura E., Lynn, Marie, Nathan, parker, Reid, Robert, Ryane, Shelley, Stuart, Suzanne, Tori, Trey, Ross, Nommi, Jerome, Hans, and all the other folks in this building that help make ministry happen. You know the needs of their hearts – show us how to love and help each other.
Lord, I pray for my family . . .Mark, Laura, Glenn, Lauren, little Elliott yet to be born, Grandmother, our sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews . . .and I pray for my friends, whom I call family – Phella and Guy and Laura and Allen and Kim and Dave and Duane and Terrie and many others. I pray for my neighbors, Lord – those literally on either side of my house and across the street. . and for those far away neighbors.
I pray for my church – for leaders and preachers and Sunday school teachers; for money to do ministry; for the merger between Oakmont campus and Oxmoor Road campus; for our hearts to be broken by the things that break your heart; for our backpack ministry; for the food pantries we help support. I pray for the firehouse shelter and Urban Ministry and the church without walls. I pray for this Sunday – Celebration Sunday; Stop Hunger Now – show up Holy Spirit – blow through this church in such a mighty way that we will ALL know that you have been here and that we have been standing on holy ground. Then help us not to hoard that goodness and those blessings for ourselves but to spread them throughout the community.
I pray for those with mental illness (Drew and many others). I pray for those with cancer – Amy Lengel, Beverly and Anna and so many others (thanks that Shepherd had clean scans).
I give thanks for this gorgeous Fall weather – blue skies; white fluffy clouds; warm sunshine; crisp mornings. I give thanks for friends and family and church and food on the shelf and a home and good medical care and clean drinking water and indoor plumbing. I give thanks for a grandbaby on the way; a wonderful job for Laura; an opportunity for Laura to own her own townhouse. I give thanks for transportation.
I give thanks for the opportunity to do a job that feels like ministry – is ministry. I give thanks for the fact you think you can use me to facilitate – both young adults and folks like me. Oh goodness gracious – I give thanks for each young adult that has walked through the doors of our home over the last 5 ½ years. How many have you sent, Lord? How many have you entrusted to us? What is so amazing about Tuesday nights is you have used each one of those young adults to change Mark and me; to help us grow closer to you; to be in community with others; to keep us “young.”  I pray for all those in the John Wesley class and for how you use each of them in such mighty ways – from scholarships to food banks to fans for homeless folks to anonymous gifts.
I give thanks for Bob Goff and for the book, Love Does. I give thanks for opportunities to learn and grow. I give thanks that you allow us to be a part of your work here on earth.
Lord, take this jumbled prayer and these random thoughts and know these words are from my heart. Lead, guide and direct us!
In your precious HOLY name we pray!

P.S. I love you, God!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

LOVE DOES by Bob Goff

October is always "stewardship" month in our Methodist church. We've had some great Octobers in the past with some great themes but THIS YEAR - THIS YEAR is the best theme ever. Our pastors have been preaching on the theme Love Does and we, the church folks, were offered the chance to use the Love Does book and DVD's by Bob Goff in our Sunday School classes.  Our class chose to go along with the series and I am so very thankful that we did.  I've been teaching adult Sunday School for 24 years and this book is one of my top five choices from all those years.  I've laughed out loud. I've sobbed (Mark went to the storage unit last night to get some twin beds for Laura's new townhouse and he came home and saw my face and said, "Oh no - what happened?" It dawned on me that he could tell I had been crying and I said, "the book." That's all he needed to know what was indeed wrong.) I've been moved to know God better and to follow him. I've been moved to DO something - not sure what yet. One of the other times in my life where I felt God move in such a powerful way was on my Emmaus Walk and I could feel God working and I told people that I knew God was going to use me . . .I just didn't know how.  Right after that, I started teaching Sunday School!  I didn't speak in public at that time. I wasn't qualified to teach. BUT God had other plans! So now I'm feeling that big nudge again and it frightens me a little - heck, a lot -- what if he wants me to go to Haiti or Africa or Panama? The nudge frightens me, I must admit.

Stewardship is about so much more than just money. God wants to work in us. He wants to change us and change is scary. He wants us to be generous - with our tithes and offerings. He wants us to be generous with our time. He wants us to be generous with his grace (it was his first and he shared it with us and now we MUST share it with others). He wants us to be generous with love. He wants us to DO something because he is love and LOVE DOES! 

I think that Bob Goff would fit right into our John Wesley class. He loves to laugh - we do, too. The first screen on the DVD shows a restaurant and a bottle of wine - check! Did you know that he put his phone number in the book so that anyone can call him? He answers his own phone! I might just call him one day!  He writes and says things in a way that resonate with me - I feel some of these things all the way down to the very core of my being.

I feel like I've been holding God at a distance - at least an arm length away - which is not unusual for me because I have space issues - right, friends? This book has given me that glimpse - that thought - that understanding - that God is so very close. God wants to be right with me. He loves me. I'm ok with people being in my space whom I love so I'm happy for God to be in my space.  He loves YOU, too! He loves us even when we screw up royally (which I do at least ONCE a day - usually more).

I love this - he writes, "It taught me something about faith. It taught me that when God is big enough and loves me enough to say He forgives me, I should actually believe Him. I mean, I shouldn't keep feeling bad about all of the times I've messed up because that's ignoring what God said.  When I don't trust God's forgiveness, it's kind of like saying I really don't believe He's that good."  Isn't that powerful???

I have passage after passage highlighted and even have a big orange sharpie arrow mark on one page. I want to devour the book but I want to savor it, too!

I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


Jump in with From this side of the Pond and answer some fun questions!!

1.   October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day. Did you see the movie? The sequels? In the second film, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake. They leave 1985 and land on a 'skyway' on October 21st, 2015. So tell us, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?
Yes, I saw the original movie and the first sequel. I actually had to google the movies just now to see how many sequels there were.  I did not see Back to the Future III and it sounds kind of lame. Is lame even a word used anymore? 

What was I doing in the fall of 1985? We were still newlyweds so I was still working for AT&T (as a service rep for the State of Alabama account) and we were living in our first house in Helena. We hung out with our friends – Mark and Melissa – a lot!  I was thin back then!!  I just pulled our old church directory and scanned a picture of us from 1985 (I think we look better now than then!). . .and look who was right next to us in the directory – my boss and his family! (I just noticed they spelled his name incorrectly!)

2.  If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future? The past?
Could I do both? I would love to go back and see how life was for my parents and maybe even before . . .like back to John Wesley days!  I know I wouldn’t want to stay there.  I would also like to go forward . . .as I’m typing this, I’m thinking to myself, “would I really want to know the future?” I’m not so sure. I believe that God is with me every step of the way and life is pretty good right now so maybe I don’t want to see my personal future. I’m going to have to think about that one some more.

3. We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the 80's film has indeed come to pass in real life 2015-flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 3-D movies, motion controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glass).  Do you worry technology is growing at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands? Do you think the Internet does more harm than good?  Several years ago, I heard a futurist speak at a Christian conference. He said that as technology grew, unrest in the world would grow. For many years, those in third world countries did not know about the “wonderful” lives others lived. With social media, it is in everyone’s face – and we only put the best stuff on social media, right? We make everything sound wonderful.

I can barely remember life without the internet (and I’m old!) and I use it all day long – every day. I do think that both good and bad come from use of the internet. I love being able to keep in touch with family and friends but the misuse makes me sad.

4. Your favorite dish prepared in a slow-cooker? Your favorite fast food? I make a killer BBQ chicken in the slow cooker – I also have a great layered Mexican recipe that is yummy.  Fast food? I LOVE French fries – I think I could eat them everyday.

5. No time like the present, down time, face time, pressed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time, or just in time...which timely saying most relates to your life right now?  No time like the present – we have just merged with another small congregation and there is no time like the present for ministry!!  I must admit that I’m looking forward to some down time – I’m going to be on vacation the week of Thanksgiving and the week after Christmas.  I haven’t had enough vacation time this year!!

6. Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else. How does that make you feel? I grew up in a part of town that was a nice blue collar part of town during my childhood through teenaged years. It was a great place to grow up – we played kick ball in the street (I was kickball queen!) and we walked to the library and the store.  Now that part of town is a frightening place. I drove through the town several years ago and I was depressed for days. It didn’t help that on the day I drove through, it was a grey, rainy day and everything seemed grey in that town. The school looked dilapidated; the houses looked forlorn; the stores looked run down and some were even closed. The backyard that I played in seemed so huge when I was a kid and it is a postage stamp.

7. Describe your comfort zone. These are tough questions today. I feel bad about my honest answer.  My comfort zone is with my people – whether that be at church or with my family or friends.  When I’m stretched to be with folks who are different than me, I have to really rely on God.

8. Insert your own random thought here. Our son and daughter-in-law have planned a gender reveal party for the baby and I’m looking forward to the party! It will be my first time to attend a gender reveal party!!  Also, our daughter just moved into her VERY OWN place in another town and we are so proud of her!!  She closes on the townhouse tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What is that noise? Are you crunching something??

I received an email recently asking if I would blog about healthy snacking -- especially snacking during football games.  In the south, we call that tailgate'n. (imagine a slow southern drawl)

I love to have folks over to watch a football game - especially Auburn football - War Eagle! One of the main reasons that I enjoy having folks over is because I need a buffer!!  Mark gets so overwrought during the games that he has been known to turn off the TV and walk out of the room . . while everyone else remains seated . . .staring at a blank TV screen. I kid you not!

So what are some great healthy snacks to consume during a tailgate - either at home or on campus?

How about nuts of any kind? We've been trying to eat healthier across the board and so I've been buying nuts in bulk and toasting them at home. It sure is nice to be able to put some in a bowl and snack away. In Alabama, we love pecans but these are walnuts and almonds.

For a fun twist on nuts, mix candy corn and dry roasted salted peanuts together. When eaten together, it tastes like a payday candy bar. YUUUM!!

Our family also loves to "dip" anything -- from chips to raw veggies.  We love homemade guacamole and it is so easy to make. I like to buy my avocados a day or two ahead of time and let them ripen in a basket on the kitchen counter.
Chop fine about 1/4 cup of onion
Chop fine one tomato
Scoop flesh out of three avocados and mash with old timey potato masher
Mix three ingredients above
Squeeze half a lemon over all
Add salt and pepper generously
stir and taste - add more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste
Serve with baked (or real) tostitos or other chips

We also love Sabra Hummus and pita chips or hummus and raw baby carrots!! Yuuum!!  We just love dippin'!!

You can check out some healthy snacks at this website also.

What is your favorite HEALTHY (or at least somewhat healthy) snack to eat while watching football?