Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Hodge Podge



first of all, I think I want to be friends with the author of this blog "from this side of the pond" (that sounds rather stalkerish and I don't mean for it to do so!!  )  There are several bloggers that I think -- we should be friends!!  I guess that is why I follow them!!!  Y'all go visit and read the post about her daughter's wedding - I think post number one is really good!
so here are her questions for this week:


1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?
I did not watch The Oscars.  We weren’t home and it is not something that we would normally record.  We watched The Grand Budapest Hotel just last week!!  I personally like movies and enjoy going to the movies – Mark not so much.  We’ve only seen a handful of movies together in 30 years of marriage.
It seems like everybody uses EVERY platform lately to promote their political and social agendas.  If I’m watching a show for entertainment purposes, I don’t really want to hear all about someone’s political agenda.

2.Speaking of the movies...are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It's Not Easy Being Queen. Thanks Carrie!

I’ve been to a couple of movies alone.  It didn’t bother me but it bothered my children (can’t remember how old they were – high school maybe?) a lot!!!  I wanted to see The Apostle (had to look it up – 1997 – my kids were 11 years old!!) and Mark didn’t want to go so I remember going by myself.  I need to do that more often – especially in hunting season!!  My problem is that I have so little free time.  If I have an hour, I’m more likely to go get a pedicure!!  I’ve also been to several restaurants alone (when your husband hunts on the weekends, you learn to adapt!).  I’ve also traveled for my different jobs over the years and have had to eat some meals in restaurants alone.  I would rather go to the movies alone.  If I go to a restaurant, I usually take a book or magazine!  I always feel like people are looking at me with pity – awww poor lady – she has to eat alone!

3.What's the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself?

We have a brand new house so we haven’t had to have many things done yet.  We did have tile/stone put down on our screened in porch and we paid someone to do that job.  I’m sure we COULD have completed the project ourselves – we are both pretty smart people and we are pretty handy . . .but at this stage of the game, sometimes it is so much easier to pay someone.  Yes, I know we would have had a sense of accomplishment . . . if we didn’t kill each other first – hahahaha!

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you're a fan, what's your favorite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown?

I have never eaten in an Indian restaurant.  I don’t think I have ever eaten Indian food.  My husband LOVES Indian food and eats so often at a local restaurant that when he sees the man out in public, the owner REMEMBERS Mark!!  I know that many people think we are slow or “backwards” in the south, but in Birmingham – we have some great restaurants!! 

5. A song that reminds you of your parents?
How Great Thou Art reminds me of my momma.  I can remember sitting in my daddy’s lap and he would sing, “Get along home Cindy Cindy”!!  He also listened to some record about coal and the company store – just googled it – Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford!  We had this giant stereo/tv combo in a big piece of furniture!  Both of my parents have been dead for longer than I knew either of them so I have to think hard!!

6. The 26th of February is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What's your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with a particular fairy tale?  I don’t remember reading fairytales much as a child.  Surely we did???  I remember hearing Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel.   The three little pigs – were they a fairy tale??  (I should google that!)  I’m not sure that I read any of those to my children.  Seems like they frightened me so I decided to wait until they were older . . .and then it was too late.

7. What's a problem you solved yesterday?

let’s see – yesterday . . .I helped solve the problem of whether to close the office today for our non-snow event (I gave my opinion – that counts, right??).  I’m glad I’m not the main decision maker.  I’m sure I helped solve other problems but Tuesdays are so crazy – we thought we were going to have icy roads yesterday so I was a little late to work and then we had staff meeting and then I came home and cooked for our young adults and facilitated the study.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am so very disappointed that it didn’t snow.  I wanted to make a snowman in our new yard or in the park across the street.  I actually wanted to walk around in the snow.  It has rained all day.  It did rain ice pellets (hail, perhaps?) at one point and there is some ice on the tree branches but that is it.  We didn’t have to go into the office today.  Almost everything shut down.  I enjoyed working from home in my yoga pants and house slippers!!  We don’t get a lot of snow in Alabama and we had a big snow event last year.  The cities north of Birmingham got a big snow today – it JUST missed us.  I’ve looked out the window and at the weather forecast more times today  - so many times that it just seems ridiculous. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Evening Thoughts

Tonight is one of those nights where I just need to type out my thoughts.  I am struggling.  It is actually ALMOST humorous in a way.  We just finished our first night of Soul Keeping with the Young Professionals and I felt like the whole night was a failure.  John Ortberg just told us about the will and the mind and the body all being encompassed by the soul and how our mind, body and will affect our soul.  My soul feels unhealthy tonight.  So many "other" things affect us.  Laura told me that she thought I should never make homemade pimento cheese grilled cheese sandwiches again - that she didn't think people liked them.

Strike one.


I felt like I was a horrible facilitator tonight.
Strike Two.  
On Sunday, in the John Wesley class, people discussed the DVD.  Tonight, the young professionals did discuss a tiny bit . . .but they discussed the way they do when they either didn't like something, didn't get it (I know they got it - they are all so much smarter than I am) . . . or were just bored to death.  The whole night felt flat.  So . . .as a result of all of that, my soul feels totally unhealthy tonight.

I'm tired (body!) --
Strike Three.  I'm out!!

John Ortberg told a story about how they used to tie a tether line from the barn to the house when a snow storm was predicted so that they could find their way home.  I do know that I am "tethered" to Christ and that is a good thing.  (kind of funny that he used a snow analogy and we are wondering whether or not we are going to have a snowstorm event tomorrow!!)

I know this whole post probably makes no sense at all.  I just need to get these thoughts out.  I wonder if it is because we just finished with the cross project (which was successful) and we just took Lauren and Christie to Emmaus this past weekend and received some good spiritual food . . .and then tonight - plunk - I fell right down into the bottom of the well.  That happens often - a really high week and then a low place.  Christ meets us in those low places.

I think I'm too consumed with self tonight and not focused enough on Christ.  I need to lift my eyes and I need to REST in him.

Just tonight, I typed these words on a friend's facebook page -- you might recognize these words:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Even though I feel like my soul is unhealthy tonight; even though I am physically tired; even though I'm disappointed in myself for facilitating poorly . . .NONE of that can separate me from the love of Christ.  He loves me still.  I can rest in him.  (p.s. - those who love me don't have to panic and worry about me.  I'm just processing thoughts!!)



Monday, February 23, 2015

Steak - It's what's for dinner

It is what is for dinner . . .looking at those apostrophes in my title.  Doesn't look right!!  Trying a new way to cook steak.  It is cold and yucky outside.  We always grill our steaks.  We had one large steak left from some dinner or another and I froze it and wrote on the package - "one steak large enough for Mark & Lisa to share."   So . . .I marinated the steak in Ken's Light Caesar Salad dressing (my go to marinade!) and a lot of Cavender's.  I melted one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon butter in an iron skillet.  I peppered the heck out of the steak.  I let the butter and oil heat and get HOT and added the steak.  I let it sit perfectly still in the skillet for three minutes and then I turned it over.  I let it sit (or would that be set? surely not???) in the skillet on the burner (medium high heat) for three minutes on the other side.  I then put the iron skillet into a preheated 450 degree oven.  At the three minute mark, I put a pat of butter on top.  I closed the oven door and left the steak for 5 more minutes.  (it was still a tad frozen in the middle when I started).  I took it out of the oven and wrapped the skillet in heavy duty foil and left it for 8 minutes.  I know it sounds like a lot of butter (and it seemed like it to me, too!) but most of it was left in the skillet (and NO, we didn't pour it over our steaks!!)  It was delicious and cooked just right.  I read several recipes on how to do this and Martie Duncan had the best one.  (remember her?  she was on one of those cooking competition shows and she just happens to be a friend of a friend of mine!)  She recommends making an herb butter to use once the steak is in the oven.  I just used plain old Land o' Lakes butter (you know why?  I worked all day and looked up the recipe when I got home and plain old butter was the best I could do tonight!!).  It was delicious.  I would definitely cook a steak this way again.


We enjoyed a salad with our steak - mixed greens, fresh avocado (I LOVE avocado - and I hated it until 10 years or so ago!!), feta cheese and a few tomato wedges.  Perfect dinner!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Free For All

Well - I have NOTHING profound to say.  We may get a wintry mix here this afternoon and I'm hoping we all get home from our offices this time!!!  Yesterday, we broke a weather record - the high yesterday was 31 . . .and then tomorrow, it is supposed to be in the 60's . . .and then next week it is going to be cold again.  One thing you can say about Alabama -- if you don't like the weather today, wait until tomorrow.

Just saw a fifty question quiz on another website - thought I would answer a few and maybe make up a few of my own -- but NOT fifty.  Too many!

1.  Were you named after anyone?  My mother told me that I was named after Mona Lisa - she saw the painting (not the real one) and loved the name.

2.  When was the last time you cried?  I almost cried out of frustration last week (at work!! how embarrassing!).  I'm not a big crier.  Some Sundays my eyes get moist during certain parts of the worship service.  The last big cry was last spring when we had to have our sweet kitty put to sleep.  I'm embarrassed to say that I cried for days!

3.  Do you like your handwriting? Normally, yes.  This week, no.  Just finished making several hundred crosses and my hand keeps going numb :-)

4.  Do you have kids? Yes, I do!  I have fraternal boy/girl twins.  They are 28 years old.  I also have a daughter-in-love.  No grandkids yet (not in a hurry!) but we have a grandpuppy and two grandkitties.

5.  What is the first thing you notice about people? let's see . . .their voice, whether they seem kind or not, their teeth and their eyes!!  Yes, I know that was four things but I couldn't decide.

6.  Red or pink? BOTH!  I love reds and pinks - especially clothing.

7.  What is your least favorite thing about yourself?  Not sure I can answer with just one.  I think my weight (and yes, I know that I could do something about it!) would be one of the main "physical" things.  Behavior wise . . .hmmm . . .I wish that I wouldn't interrupt people (working on that); I wish that I didn't always react so quickly (temper temper!!).

8.  What was the last thing you ate?  four mini reese cups (I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter) . . .that would also remind you of my number one thing above.  I hate that I'm fat but I love food!  Dadgumit!

9.  What is your favorite smell?  Promise not to laugh?  One of my favorite smells is the smell of old books - like the library smelled in the small town where I grew up.  I know that I can read something and be transported . . .speaking of reading, I just finished the Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.  I really recommend it!

10.  Mountains or beach?  Always beach - oh my goodness - BEACH!  I love the first time you stretch out in the sun and you can actually feel the sun soaking down into your bones.  I love the smells.  I love the motion of the waves as they come in and go back out.  I always feel like the waves are taking my sins far away.

11.  Hair color?  which time???  It was much much much darker when I was young, but when I started having more and more gray hair, I moved to a blonder shade.  I've been this color for so long that it seems natural!!

12.  Do you like scary movies?  This is embarrassing - I can't watch anything with vampires in it.  I have nightmares!  This only started about 10 or 15 years ago.  I grew up watching Dark Shadows and had no problem.

13.  What is your favorite food?  refer back to question 7!  I LOVE food!  I enjoy Mexican and Chinese.  I love a well cooked (not well done anymore!) steak and a steamy, fluffy baked potato.  I love cheese cake and german chocolate cake.  This question would be easier if it was, "What foods do you hate?"  I hate cashews - DETEST them.  I don't like rutabagas.  I hate chocolate and mint combos of any kind.  I don't like chocolate and orange together either.  I love the way fresh rosemary smells as it grows but I hate dried rosemary in cooking.  I hate licorice.  I think the question should definitely be - "what foods do you hate?"

14.  What is your favorite beverage?  During the daytime, I LOVE diet pepsi.  I have one almost as soon as I open my eyes every morning!!  During the evening, I love ginger ale - Canada Dry Diet Ginger Ale - yummy!  My favorite alcoholic beverage would be Margaritas -- I do like a Long Island Tea and also a glass of Reisling (people make fun of me for drinking Reisling -- a total stranger in Costco said, "Why in the world are you buying Reisling??"  (as I was proofing this, I realized that I love German Chocolate cake and Reisling . .. isn't that German??? - just a weird note because those words were highlighted!!)

15.  Last but not least, what things are really important to you?  My faith (God), my family, my friends - I think those are really important.  Good health would be another thing.   I'm also very lucky that I love my job.

If anyone reads this, I would love to hear some of your answers!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Hodge Podge


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015

Wednesday Hodge Podge - Volume 209

Here are Joyce's questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back to her blog by clicking here share your answers with the universe. See you there! 


1. When did you last have to interact, either by phone or in person, with someone in a government run agency? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the experience?  Well . . .my hubby is having to do that today.  We mailed our taxes (house) . . .and this week, we received a delinquent tax notice.  Where is that check???  So we stopped payment on the check yesterday and Mark was going to the tax assessor's office today . . .I'm very glad he is doing it and I'm not.
2. The current governor of Wisconsin is considering a run for President next time around. Walker attended Marquette University, but never graduated. In terms of any candidate running for the office of President (not asking here if you agree or disagree with Scott Walker's politics) would the lack of a college degree influence your vote or no? Would that be a factor in your support of any candidate running for public office, even a role less weighty than President?  hmmmm . . . really good question.  I think a college degree should probably be required in this day and time.  Heck, a college degree is needed for most ANY job these days so I think our president should have one.
3. When did you last visit a place or site named for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and what was that place or site? I guess the last time would have been almost ten years ago -- Washington DC - monuments.  I was trying to think if I have driven on a "Washington" street or anything like that lately.  Can't think of a thing!
4. February 16th was President's Day in the US, but did you know it was also National Almond Day? I didn't think so : ) Do you like almonds? If so, what's a food/dish/recipe you enjoy that contains almonds?  I do like almonds . . .I LOVE almond joy candy bars and I love salted almonds and I love almond skillet cake.  I need to share that recipe!  My best friend, Phella, makes it and it is so yummy!!
5.The television program Saturday Night Live celebrated it's 40th anniversary this past weekend. Were/are you a fan of the show? If so what has been your favorite (or one of your favorite) skits, sayings, or characters that came out of the program?  I was a teenager when it started . . .and was not allowed to watch it!!  I think it is hilarious.  I loved the Blues Brothers and the Church Lady . . and there is one where Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley are auditioning for Chippendale dancer positions - that one makes me laugh just to type about it! We enjoyed some of the Saturday Night Live anniversary show but we wanted to see more of the old skits.  I was also a little sad when Paul McCartney sang.  I don't want to say anything negative though.
6. Anything purple within ten feet of you? What is it? I work in a church and it is Lent - so purple in all sorts of places.  We had our Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner last night and even had purple (and yellow and green) tablecloths.
7. Back in December I asked you to submit a question for a future HP as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I grabbed this one from those entries, submitted by Zoanna who blogs over at Penchant for Pens. Thanks Zoanna!
She asks, "How often do you make your bed, and how do you like to make it-pull the covers all the way up over the pillows, tuck the covers in around the pillows, or place all the pillows on top of the covers?"  I try to NEVER leave my house without making the bed.  Right now, our daughter's cat is with us and our comforter is white and so the comforter is folded up in the closet and our bed is covered with towels.  Very attractive - NOT!  He is worth it.  Normally, all pillows go on top.
8. Insert your own random thought here. Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  How many of you have ever been to Mardi Gras/Carnival?  What was your favorite thing about it? Yes, today is Ash Wednesday and we are preparing for our Ash Wednesday service - the lady that usually makes the copies of the bulletins is out sick so I helped with those today.  About Mardi Gras --  I have been to Mardi Gras . . .but not the regular one.  One time my husband and I went to New Orleans for Labor Day weekend.  It was a "surprise" trip that I planned and gave him for his birthday (which is in August).  As we were flying to New Orleans, my seatmate on the plane asked if I was going for Southern Decadence . . .I thought that sounded like a wonderful dessert.  Imagine our surprise.  I took lots of fun pictures and we went to a parade . . .heck, we were staying at the Royal Sonesta hotel right in the middle of the French Quarter.  On another note, our son and daughter-in-law lived in Mobile for a few years and they went to the parades and even went to a Mardi Gras ball.  I think that would be so much fun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent 2015

Today is Shrove Tuesday . . .or Fat Tuesday . . .or a day of partying for Mardi Gras.  What is Shrove Tuesday? Shrove is the past tense of the word "shrive," which means to hear a confession, assign penance, and absolve from sin.  Shrove Tuesday is a reminder that we are entering a season of penance.  I know this is weird but I love Lent.  I love that we take the time to realize that we are indeed sinners (heck - we don't even use that word very much anymore).  Our friends, Lynn and Brian, know all about the Russian Orthodox church.  They have shared with us that Shrove Tuesday is also a night where you use up all the sugar and butter and eggs in your house (hence - pancakes!) before Ash Wednesday.  I love how Brian told us that on Easter Sunday, families would bring large baskets (Easter baskets!!) to church filled with all the things they had given up for Lent - like eggs!!  So tonight we will be eating pancakes.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent.  I think I will "take on" something, rather than give up something.  I just sent a list of names and addresses to one of our young adults.  This is her third year to write a card to a different homebound member or a member who lives in a nursing home . . .every single day of Lent.  Isn't that a great idea?  Don't you know they love getting mail from a young adult??? I say that I'm going to take on something - Brian, my boss . . .or one of them, I should say!, would ask me if I plan to take on something in my extra 20 minutes each day :-)  I want to be more intentional about my prayer life and time with God each morning.  I've been slacking in that area and I can feel the difference.  I actually got on my knees on Saturday when I was working on my Sunday School lesson and said, "God, if I were you, I wouldn't want to help me . . . since I haven't bothered to hang out with you any . . .but if you could be so kind, please help me with this Sunday School lesson."  Tomorrow night, I will help with communion.  We will also give out clutch crosses that we have made (I need to blog about that this week!!).


On Sunday, we will begin our Lenten series - Soul Keeping.  We will be using the book by John Ortberg.  I'm looking forward to facilitating in the John Wesley class and also on Tuesday nights.

So . . .what will you give up . . .or take on for Lent?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hodge Podge Wednesday

 Do you wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your emotions tucked in tight?
hmmm. . . good question. I think I wear it on my sleeve. I don’t cry easily but when I do cry, oh my goodness – you better get ready for a three day cryfest!  I do "emote" a lot (is that even a correct way to use that word???) - most people know when I'm happy or sad or annoyed or angry.

How did you meet your closest friend(s)?
Church! I met my best friend, Phella, at the first meeting of a young mother’s support group way back in January of 1987. I thought that she looked like a nice person and I called her and asked for a recipe – always a good conversation starter. Mark and I have been in the same supper club for ten years and those people are my people. I also consider the “girls” at work to be good friends (and I miss Kristi and Jan and Karen). . .and I consider all the ladies in our Sunday school class to be friends . . .I have three friends that go waaaay back – kaye, faye and Karen. We don’t see each other nearly enough. Facebook has been good for keeping up with longtime friends. I can’t leave out my sisters. . . nor those who have gone on to be with Jesus – Susan, Butch, Nancy – gosh, I miss them!

Pink lemonade, grilled salmon, cotton candy, pink grapefruit, a strawberry milkshake, or raspberry sorbet...of the pink foods listed, which one is your favorite? Least favorite? Which one have you most recently consumed?
I don’t drink much lemonade – got sick on it when I was pregnant (28 years ago!) and still don’t like it much. I guess the most recently consumed was grilled salmon – Allen McCain cooks some great salmon and I don't normally like salmon!  I think my favorite would be a strawberry milkshake or perhaps pink grapefruit (which I can't eat because of a medicine!).

When were you last 'tickled pink' over something? Explain.
“tickled pink” makes me think of laughing . . .and I love to laugh. Which time did I laugh out loud on which day would be the question for me. I know that isn't the real meaning . . .I was tickled pink to find out that I like our new preacher (designate) and his wife!. . .since I didn't know them before this last spring, I was a little nervous!  I'm "tickled pink" to work where I work!  I'm "tickled pink" about our new house and new neighborhood.  I WAS "tickled pink" that my sister and nephew spent Christmas at our house.

Are you a fan of television talk shows? Daytime, nighttime, or both? What's your favorite?
I don’t watch a lot of tv . . .not sure I watch any talk shows. I have two favorite shows that I do watch - I know you didn't ask that question!  I love Modern Family and I love Big Bang Theory.  I started watching season one of Downton Abbey last weekend and I like it, too!

When was the last time you wanted to ask a question, but felt too foolish to do so?
probably sometime at work or in Bible study . . .Mark says I speak before I think quite often so I've been trying not to do that . . .sometimes I think "Oh Lord have mercy - I have no clue what those people are talking about!"

My favorite ____________________right now is ____________________.
My favorite cookie right now is a good snicker doodle (from Lunch Box Express!) and right now I should be working (shhh!) but my brain is fried and my nose is running and I stopped for just a moment to do something fun!

Insert your own random thought here. Since we spent a good bit of time on "pink" questions I just have to ask...what is your favorite SHADE of pink? do you wear pink clothing? nail polish? lipstick? I ADORE pink – I especially love rich bright pink! I love pink clothing. One of my favorite outfits from years ago was a pink wool suit jacket and a pink plaid skirt!!  I think I love red more than pink . . .for a while, everything in my closet seemed to be red, black or white!  I have added a few colors over the last year!