Thursday, October 1, 2015

In the blink of an eye

(borrowed picture from some wonderful photographer)
This is the Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. It is an amazing place. This is THE place you want to take your child if something is really wrong. I feel so blessed because we only made one trip to Children's when our kids were growing up. Laura had to have her eyes checked by a specialist when she was four months old. That is it.

I realize that life can change in the blink of an eye.

Tonight, I was the delivery person. I drove to Publix and picked up fried chicken fingers, mac and cheese, green beans, lots of rolls, and several dozen cookies - along with paper plates, fun polka dot napkins and plastic forks.  Why did I do this? It was not for our supper. It was for the parents of kids with cancer. They have a support group that meets with Chaplain Paul at Children's. I think they meet every Thursday night and our Sunday School class, the John Wesley SS class, has delivered meals to this group on the first Thursday night of every month for about 13 years or so. They actually gave a plaque to us because we have done it longer than any other group.

So . . why am I writing about this? Tonight was different. I was a little frazzled. I arrived at Publix a few minutes early . . .and they had sold my pre-ordered chicken fingers to someone else. So they had to cook some more - do you know that it takes 18 minutes to cook chicken fingers? I was supposed to deliver the food by 5:15. I walked out of Publix and it was about 5:00 p.m.  Birmingham may not be THAT big of a city but we still have rush hour. Traffic was horrible. As I approached the hospital, I remembered that I had not delivered since the new building opened. I whipped into the drop off zone, hopped out of the car and ran inside. The guy behind the desk had no information about where I was to go. I grabbed a wagon (the very same ones used to pull tiny patients through the hospital) and rolled it out to my car and filled it up.  I was still frazzled. I pulled the wagon into the hospital and approached the glass elevators. I asked if the smell of food would bother anyone in the elevator. I was given the go-ahead to get in with the nice folks.

I rushed out of the elevator toward the information desk and told the nice lady (whose face was black and blue - I tried not to stare) why I was there and that I needed her to contact Chaplain Paul for me. Well, lo and behold, he was sitting right there in the lobby with a man and woman. I hauled the wagon across the floor to him and apologized for being late. He is the most gracious man ever. I started to slip away and he reminded me that we usually pray over the food.  He introduced me to the man and woman sitting with him . . . and they were parents of a child with cancer!!!!!!!!!!! Here I was fretting and frazzled about being late with food and THEY WERE IN AGONY OVER THEIR CHILD. In the blink of an eye, reality crashed around me like waves against the shore. We joined hands - all four of us - over that wagon of food and Chaplain Paul prayed for healing for brokenness and he prayed about breaking bread together . . . and he talked to God as if he were his best friend.  All the time, I was holding Chaplain Paul's hand on my left and the daddy's hand on my right.

I prayed the whole time I rode the elevator back down, walked to my car and started driving. I made it to the car before I began to cry.

Of course, IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, I was immersed in the worst traffic jam ever. It took me an hour to get home from Children's Hospital - it is probably 15 or 20 miles from the house. At one point, I yelled at the lady in the car in front of me . . .. and I wondered how in the world I could be so close to Christ at one moment that I could surely reach out and touch him . . .and in the blink of an eye . . . could be so incredibly far from him.

We are a messed up group of folks.

On this night, I give thanks for good health, for me and for my family. I give thanks for the tiny baby growing inside Lauren. I give thanks for Laura's new job. I give thanks for joy. I give thanks that I could be the "taxi" for dinner for those who hurt. I give thanks for Chaplain Paul and for Children's Hospital. I give thanks for so many things!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like fall

I love fall! I'm sitting on my front porch and there is a pleasant breeze blowing and a daddy is teaching his little boy how to hit a baseball in the park right in front of me....and at this moment, life is good. We've started decorating our porch - in the next few days, we will add some Halloween decorations. For now, this is what we have done

Our ferns still look pretty good so we've paired each one with a yellow mum and a pumpkin. I love making a trip out to the Farmer's market on Finley. I always buy a lot! The pumpkin on the left (stripes) is called "one too many" pumpkin variety. It is so pretty I don't think you could have too many!!

You can see our pretty lanterns on the table in the back left corner. We bought them a few weeks ago at southeastern salvage - we love that store!!

I'm continuing to use my box that Brian made for me - gourds and mini pumpkins, some ivy, and a few candles.

What are your favorite fall decorations?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hodge Podge!!

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently? I’ve fallen in love with bacon and eggs! No – really! I’ve never been a breakfast food eater before. I would eat a PB&J or a grilled cheese but don’t give me eggs in the morning. BUT I’ve been eating bacon and eggs lately and have enjoyed them!

2. What's something you're 'squirreling away' for later? I’m always “squirreling away” craft supplies of some type or another. I’ve also been trying to “squirrel away” a little extra money for a trip I’m going on in 2016.

3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety? Oooooh – Crisp!! Have you ever had Honeycrisp? They are delicious. I hate the apples that come in the bags. I want to hand pick each one. I also love baked apples. They are so good with pork tenderloin. I usually eat several raw apples every week.

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen Colorado, The Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why? I’ve always thought it would be cool (pun intended) to tour an upper east coast tour of the leaves in the fall. I’ve seen pictures before and the scenery looks magnificent. We have some pretty leaves in the fall in Alabama but nothing like some other places in the USA.

5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts? I think it should be legalized – especially for medical use. (ask me next week and my opinion could have changed by then)

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay?  I prefer to start at the beginning. I like to see how the plot unfolds. I prefer that same method for movies and TV.  I have started watching a TV series in the middle. I watched a couple of Downton Abbey shows and realized that I wanted to start at the beginning. Thank goodness for Amazon prime.

7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most? I have to proof several documents every week. Poor punctuation is rampant in this world!  My pet peeve is not really punctuation – it is using "I" instead of "me" . . .when it should be "me".  If you take out the other person’s name, you can usually figure it out.  I hate when a speaker or preacher or newscaster says something like, “He gave the candy to Mary and I.” Yes, I know that no self-respecting preacher, speaker or newscaster is going to talk about candy - I just couldn't think of anything else!!  When I hear someone use those words incorrectly, I want to stand up and shout, “NOOOOOO!” Would you say, “he gave the candy to I?” No, you wouldn’t – or you shouldn’t! The sentence should read, “He gave the candy to Mary and me.” I found this cartoon online and thought it was appropriate for my rant answer (yes - I know you asked punctuation and I moved to grammar!!)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I had a dental appointment this week for my yearly check-up. They have a screen in the waiting room with a rotating slide show. One slide had these words printed on it – “The first thing people notice about other people is their teeth and their grammar.” I think they may be right! I don’t consider myself a critical person when it comes to other people’s appearance, but I do notice bad teeth.  I really notice poor grammar. One of my pet peeves is using “come” incorrectly. "He came over to my office" is correct. He “come” over to my office is not correct. I don’t know if that is a rural southern thing or if other parts of the country have issues. Our daughter was teaching her sixth grade class about subject/verb agreement and I realized how many people have problems with this. (I believe this is THE MOST random thought ever!!)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Our Heart

I haven't written about our group in a while. Goodness gracious, Mark and I love these folks so very much.  I was trying to count up in my head the other day . .. just how many young adults have come through our house in the last 5 1/2 years. Some have joined us for a night or two . . .some have joined us for a year or two . . .some have captured our hearts!!

I bought a selfie stick and my kids have made such fun of me! It sure did come in handy on Laura's first night away working in a new city. The group took a picture and we texted it to her!

The new (been there 15 months now!) house is so perfect for our Tuesday night group. It just works!!

These pictures were taken several months ago - the group was making PB&J sandwiches for Church of the Reconciler. We were able to spread everyone out and once again - we had plenty of room.

We don't serve alcohol on Tuesday nights - just food! Chelsea has moved away to another state - boo hoo! We miss her but we are so proud of her!  Anyway, on her last night, some of the girls were going to walk to The Boot for a drink after everyone left our house. They invited us to go and we left dishes in the sink, etc. and went with them. I feel like all four of these girls are ours - Brooke, Chelsea, April and of course, Laura - who is ours!!

I give thanks to our God who has blessed us with the opportunity to be with these young adults every single week.  Just a few weeks ago, a baby was baptized . . .and she was the first baby of any of our group to be baptized at Trinity . . .and Mark and I were there. Amy and Ed dated while attending our group and Mark and I attended their wedding reception (they married on an island with no guests!). Now we have attended their baby's baptism. God is good, people. God is good.

This was the Sunday of the baptism - the worship service was so full that Mark and I stood in the back of the worship space.

We love our Tuesday night folks - they have our hearts! God has our hearts. What a great combination.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Loft

Time for a tiny tour of our loft! When we first looked at this house, we thought this room was so cool. We've tried to give it an airy feel. We reused furniture that we had at our old house, but I picked out new fabric and had the pieces covered. It was great fun to pick out the fabric, but it was a little stressful, too. I ended up having to order part on line and buy part in the local stores in order to get enough for the two wing back chairs and ottoman.
The bookcase is an antique - someone had it in Mark's family - Aunt Nelle, I believe. The bookcase housed her encyclopedias . . which we kept until this move. Someone found a rare treasure at the Salvation Army store - an entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica.
The door to our top front porch is in this room. Our daughter, Laura painted the sunflower.

The pictures are dark because the room is so filled with light - I apologize!! The piece in the corner (TV is on it) is a piece we purchased from Southeastern Salvage. It is such a cool piece with metal plates (about the size of a license plate) on the front.

We have plantation shutters throughout the house and love them.

This is our bright yellow sofa! It has been peach (originally purchased in the 80's - what can I say?) and it has had two different patterned fabrics on it (yes, of course, at two different times). This is the fourth recovering. Someone (probably Mark's momma) told us that if we bought GOOD pieces of furniture with classic lines that we could use them forever. This sofa and the two wing chairs have been perfect examples.
You can't really see it, but there is a cabinet to the right of the sofa. We also purchased that piece at Southeastern Salvage. The desk on the far wall is an antique that we got from a family member/friend back when we first got married (or maybe Mark had it when we got married!!) I love how the stairwell is open and airy. I want to hang a giant pair of shutters or something on that big wall but I cannot figure out how to get to it without building scaffolding. Anyone ever hung anything in a stairwell way up high before?
Another thing that you can't really see is the wooden piece on the far wall to the right. It is a giant custom shadowbox. Mark had some old fishing reels and some old lures including the boxes. These things belonged to his dad. I took them to a framer and they made the box and mounted all the pieces. I need to take a close up to show you because it is beautiful!
Now you've seen our tiny loft - we thought we would use it a lot more than we do. Maybe when we have grandkids we will use it more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

mini vacay

Stop reading now if you are looking for profound words.  I've had NO profound words lately (if I ever have). This post is picture overload from our mini vacation this summer.
Mark and I are normally beach vacation people but this year, we decided to do something totally different and all by ourselves (together - just not other friends or family). We are also not "sit still in the car" kind of people so we've never ventured too far from home in the car.
We drove to Savannah on a Wednesday - a brand new city to us.  We wanted to go to Charleston (Savannah was on the way) because our street is modeled after homes in Charleston.  We stayed at the East Bay Inn in Savannah and loved it! Our room was beautiful. The hotel staff was amazing. We felt like we had stepped back in time.

We took a riverboat cruise which I loved - Mark was pretty ho hum about it but was a good sport!

The bridge in Savannah is so cool.

We also took a riding tour in an open bus and saw lots of beautiful homes and parks and heard a lot of history.

We have a new favorite restaurant - The Ole Pink House Restaurant and Tavern. Really great food and cool old house. We highly recommend the restaurant to anyone going to Savannah. If you want to dine at night - make reservations early. We ate there twice - once for dinner (reservations) and once for lunch, you can walk in off the street - no reservation needed.

I loved standing where John Wesley stood.  Really. I'm not kidding.

Mark has been on a chicken liver kick for the last several months.  He has never liked them and all of a sudden, he eats them quite often (not at home - only at a restaurant - actually, normally only at Paw Paw Patch Restaurant). He decided to order them at the ole pink house and they were evidently delicious - I didn't taste them.

We walked up and down the riverfront. I could just imagine pirates and people of old walking on the cobblestones.

We attempted a selfie (which is hysterical . . . after this trip, I bought a selfie stick - just in case!!). We took about four and this was the best one so you can imagine how bad the others were!!

It was hot and humid so we ended up sitting at a table at Wet Willies. I wish we had a Wet Willies near our house. Actually, it would probably not be a good thing.  In a year, I could work through every flavor of frozen drink they offer. Yum!

Huge container ships use their harbor area - HUGE - those individual cars are like the back of an 18 wheeler truck and there a a whole lot of them on that ship. We tried to count how many!

I'm a sucker for atmosphere and this was where they served breakfast at the Bay Street Inn. This was  the basement of the old home.

Ah - here I am on the open air tour bus - we were on a bus with a ton of folks from Ohio and other northern states. Warning - scenery overload coming up - the next bajillion pictures are of pretty things. What can I say? No apologies.

This church was really cool!! (literally - air conditioning but also it was just a neat space)

Teeny tiny house nestled in among others.

Second trip to the Ole Pink House!! Lunch time! Our tour bus driver is the one who told us that we could eat there at lunch without a reservation and he even dropped us off in front of the restaurant!

This was one of the best hamburgers ever!! (I had two really great ones on this trip) I felt really special - my french fries were served in a silver cup!!

So we stayed in Savannah for one night and one a half days (could definitely spend more time there) and then we drove on over to Charleston. We had never visited either city. It was raining when we left Savannah and we had to cross over that pretty bridge.

I have no earthly idea about these elephants. We stopped at a gas station and Mark was in the little store portion and I was in the car. I looked over to the lot next door . . .and there were these huge elephant statues. Anyone know why??

So guess where we stayed in Charleston? Elliott House Inn. I couldn't resist!

It reminded me of an old Florida motor court hotel. It was a house at some point in history.

Our room was not as wonderful at this Inn as the room in Savannah but it was still fun to be in an old house. We stayed two nights in Savannah.

This is the pool - teeny tiny and bubbly.

Yummy margarita!

We grabbed a hamburger in this bar. Husk restaurant is very well known. You have to have a reservation, which we did not -- but you could get into the bar - which was a building built in the 1700's. I loved being in such old places.

The waterfront park area was lovely. We walked down there a couple of times.

That is Mark ahead of me - hurrying down to talk to any fisherman who might be lucky enough!

There he stands - questioning the guys fishing. What are you catching? What are you using for bait?

All of our tours were cancelled - water and land. The Charleston shootings had recently occurred and we were in town when President Obama was there for the funeral(s). They blocked off the historic district but we were already "inside" so we pretty much had the city and tourist attractions to ourselves.

Couldn't resist taking a picture of this street sign - they even spelled it correctly!!

Rainbow row - aren't the houses lovely?

We loved the architecture - made us realize why we love our house and our neighborhood so much.

This was in a store and I loved it!

another selfie - I look like I'm in pain - which I might be actually

We ate at Cru - after a young local couple whom we met on the street recommended it as their favorite restaurant -- (because you know that we talk to everyone)

It was divine.

Above - fried green tomatoes with a peach (some kind of fancy sauce name) and pork belly croutons (yes, you read that correctly) and feta cheese. Oh MY - that is all I know to say.

These are out of order but more photos from the East Bay Inn in Savannah - the lobby and waiting areas and bar.

These are some more pictures of Charleston - when we were out walking our ten miles (literally) because our tours were cancelled.

It was a great trip. We loved it. We didn't fight. We listened to a book on tape to make the long trip more bearable. We enjoyed it all! (those things are important when you've been married 31 years)