Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lacrosse Iron Bowl

In the southeast part of the US, football is big - real big - as in King.  In the state of Alabama, the great rivalry is between Auburn University and the University of Alabama.  When people move to Alabama, they have to choose one.  Really.  I'm not kidding.  Conversations are peppered with football references like 17-16.  The Iron Bowl is the game of the year between Auburn and Alabama.  The game is played Thanksgiving weekend.  The team that wins has bragging rights.  On the Sunday following the game, our sanctuaries are filled with blue and orange ties . . .or red and white ties/pants/etc.

Three of our nephews grew up in Delaware.  They were playing Lacrosse long before people in the south were playing.  Our nephew, Thomas, plays for the club team at the University of Alabama.  We are Auburn fans.  Understand?

I picked up grandmother after work and then we headed to the chick-fil-a drive-through and then we took the food to Glenn and Lauren's house.  We ate dinner and then drove to Thomas's game (which happened to be at the Hoover stadium!!).  We knew that Alabama was playing Auburn but I had to laugh out loud when the announcer said that this was the Lacrosse Iron Bowl - I must admit that had never entered my mind.

This game was not a problem for Grandmother.  She is a "dyed in the wool" Alabama fan.  She says, "Roll Tide" with the crowd.  For Glenn, Lauren and I . . ..we cheered for Thomas . . .and for Auburn!  Those cheers sound like "Yay Thomas" . . . "War Eagle."

This was Emma's first sporting event.  It was very cool that night (even I had on a jacket) and Emma was all bundled up in her finery!!

This was my first Lacrosse game - boy, I was amazed at the athleticism.  Those boys were in continuous motion - running up and down the field.  They really hit each other hard with those sticks!!

It started raining at some point during the game and since we had Grandmother with us and also baby Emma, we decided it was time to leave.  Auburn was ahead when we left but Alabama ended the game with a one point lead.

Yay Thomas!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Party in the Park

I haven't written about our young adult group in a while.  We love the folks that come to our house on Tuesday night.  We finished up our study a couple of weeks ago and last week, we did a stand alone lesson on Road Rage/Aggressive Driving.  We had some great discussion about our faith and our reactions on the road.  I LOVE hearing the opinions from these young adults.  They are smart and funny and insightful!

So last night, we had a cook out in the park that is directly in front of our house.  We have a tiny yard (not as much maintenance for Mark) but we have this lovely green space literally outside our front door.  Someone is always having a party in the park/pavilion and last night, it was all of us!  

The young adults teased me because I purchased fun balloons and colored table cloths (but I think they secretly like it!).  One of the guys said he thought it was a birthday party when he drove up.

Did you know that the Dollar Tree has mylar balloons for a dollar??  I buy them all the time.  One of the best deals around.  You can buy an entire balloon bouquet for a friend's birthday, retirement, etc. for less than $10!!

A couple of Christmases ago, we purchased a corn hole set for our son.  I love the trading sites on facebook and this guy advertised custom corn hole sets and it turns out that his brother and sister-in-law live only a mile or so from our house.  I'm going to be honest - I think it is one of the nicest sets around.  (if you are local and need a corn hole set, his name is Tyler Langston and he is on both Hoover Trading and I think Homewood Trading)

Mark really enjoyed playing last night.  I got some good shots of him.  I don't have time to play with my camera very often and I put the big lens on and snapped away.  I love digital and I'm so happy someone invented it!  I can take 1,000 pictures if I want!!

I got Mark's whole throw - beginning to end.  I must admit that Mark is pretty good at tossing those bean bags!

Wesley enjoyed playing corn hole, too.

The park has the nicest pavilion.  There are three ceiling fans, a log burning fireplace, lights, four picnic tables and two charcoal grills.  This was the first time we have used it and we learned a few things --
  1. We could only cook 12 burgers on the two charcoal grills - we needed to cook 28 burgers.  Thank goodness we live across the street.  Mark cooked 16 burgers on our gas grill in our yard, while I manned the charcoal grills.  My burgers were hockey pucks (they tasted good anyway).  I'm always afraid they will be raw and someone will get sick!
  2. We made a lot of trips back and forth between the house and the park.  Mark actually loaded the cooler with water bottles; the croquet set; the corn hole boards and my chair in his truck and drove them over.  The young adults were great to walk over and bring the cold food (potato salad); dips, etc. and then several of the girls took a load back to the house afterwards.  That was a huge help.
  3. It is a really fun place to have a party
  4. We need to do this more often - with friends, family, young adults, etc. 
  5. We were very tired and sweaty afterwards - that means a good gathering, right?

We have a group of friends who bake/make desserts for the group.  Debbie was in charge of dessert this week and I asked her to provide Popsicle.  Perfect dessert for a HOT day!  (we have had such pleasant weather lately . . .it was HOT yesterday!!)

Katherine enjoying her Popsicle

Kelly (below) just graduated from seminary last week.  We are so proud of her!!
Will, Kimberly, Olivia

Brittany (pictured below) brought a game for us to play.  Everyone had to write down three things that others might not know about them.  Brittany (and some helpers) read the three things and everyone had to guess who.  I stumped them!  
My facts were:
1.  I have really dark brown hair (naturally)
2.  (I can't remember the other two!!)
We learned some interesting things about each other (I must say that if I can't remember my own, I'm worried that I might not remember anyone else's . . .Wiley lived on a boat for two months; Brittany was born blind; Christy wants to move to the beach; I do remember a few -- just not my own!!)

Claire, Lauren, Lacey

Sean brought his puppy -- his name is Mowgli and he is so cute.  He liked barking at the other dogs in the park.

After dinner, most of the boys played in the park . . .and most of the girls stayed under the pavilion.  I'm going to call these pictures "action shots" . . .I guess in reality, they are just not properly focused, but don't you think "action shots" sounds more impressive??


We stayed until it was dark and the mosquitoes were starting to bite.  We love these young adults and we give thanks to God that he allows us to spend time with them every week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

surely it is not Wednesday again!

Wednesday Hodge Podge -- check it out at From this side of the pond!!

1. What's something fun you're looking forward to on your May calendar?
A long weekend! Yessirree – I’m going to take the Friday off before Memorial Day and stay at home for four whole days . . .awwww . . .Actually, I’ll be at church on that Sunday so I’m not sure that day counts but I’ll still have a Friday and a Monday off!! I LOVE my job, but I can use a few days of mindless re-charging!!

2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother?
I think of my mom – she died when I was a Sophomore in high school. I don’t remember much about her. I wish I could have an adult conversation with her. I also think of Mark’s mom – Susie – she has been a mom to me for 30+ years. She has treated me as one of her own. She has loved our children as only a grandmother can do!! I think of countless women who poured love into my life – Inez Lane and Dovie Parker. After momma died, they stepped up to the plate and helped guide me. I think of the mom of some friends that I met through the Emmaus Community – there are at least three sisters (like me and my sisters) and they and their mom worked an Emmaus walk with me years ago. I remember that she treated me like one of her own and I remember how my love tank was filled up over that weekend. When I think of the word mother,  I also think of myself and I wonder if I did a satisfactory job of mothering. My kids are great young adults . . .and they love Jesus . . .so that makes me happy!!

3. What's something beautiful you own or have seen that's made of glass?
Last night, I used a crystal biscuit barrel to hold salsa! Crazy, right? I also own a Waterford bowl and candlesticks that Ed Onimus gave us as a wedding gift. They are beautiful but they mainly stay on the shelf in the china cabinet. I just remembered -- I do have something really beautiful and meaningful made from glass !! I own earrings from Israel . . .made of Roman glass!!

biscuit barrel . . . or cookie jar!!

4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual?
Today was a good day . . .and pretty typical. I work in a church so no two days are ever exactly the same. Today,  I typed a lot of letters and I scheduled appointments and I had some nice conversations and I heard a funny story at lunch about a wedding . . .and I had Mexican food left-overs for lunch . . and I had a massage . . ..pretty good day!!

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of?
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and SELF CONTROL. I prayed for patience 30 years ago and found out the very next month that I was pregnant with twins. God didn’t just GIVE me patience – I had to learn patience. I’m a tad afraid to pray for SELF CONTROL . . .I need it though.

6. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May?
Several men have been crawling around on our roof yesterday and today installing a tin roof over the porch. Our original house plans showed the tin/metal roof,  but our builder cheaped out on us (mark’s words) so we just had one installed. Looks pretty cool! I hope I don’t have to purchase anything else  My grocery bill every week would be considered a major purchase by some folks! We are going to have some outside painting done which is not a purchase (except for the paint) but it costs money so . . .

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult?
I was a bossy kid . . .and that leadership has served me well . . . .hahahahaha! Actually, I talked a lot when I was a kid and I was always getting C’s in conduct. I can still hear my daddy's voice, “It seems to me, that someone as smart as you, could keep her mouth shut.” I was a straight A student with C’s in conduct. So today, I teach and facilitate and listen to others. I think that some skill (who knows what?) was developing deep inside me during that time (that sounds important, right???).

8. Insert your own random thought here. My first random thought was about my granddaughter. I hate to keep telling y’all about her but she is so cute. I told y’all about the fish fry last weekend – here are a few of the other decorations. I had so much fun. This weekend, we are going to a crawfish boil! Tonight, we are keeping our grandbaby! Woo hoo!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge on Friday . . .again

 check out From This Side of the Pond - she has fun questions - my answers, not so much!!

1. This is the last Hodgepodge in April. Share something you learned this month.  I am sure that I have learned something . . .let’s see . . .I have learned that I love a good party.  I already knew that!!  Let’s see . . .I have learned that I LOVE being a gran!!  I kept sweet baby girl last Friday night and I just kept staring at her.  I have learned that Mark loves being Pop – I wasn’t too sure about that one before she arrived in this world.

2.  It's National Poetry Month, and we all know you can't escape an April Hodgepodge without a little poetry. Keeping the first line as is, change the rest of the wording in this familiar rhyme to make it your own - 'Hickory Dickory Dock...I cannot write poetry . . .hickory dickory dock – I just googled Hickory Dickory Dock – did you know that there is a restaurant by that name in North Carolina? What rhymes with dock? Clock, of course . . .mock . . .jock . . .bach . . . hock . . .frock . . Hickory Dickory Dock – I need a new frock.  Lord, help!

3. What were one or two rules in the home you grew up in? Growing up, did you feel your parents were strict? Looking back do you still see it that way?  We did not talk back to our parents.  We couldn’t put our elbows on the table.  Our curfew was really early.  My mom died when I was a sophomore in high school, so my dad and sister (Becky) had to take over the parenting.  I became a wild child around that time.  My dad could have been stricter at that time.  To be honest, I probably would have broken every rule anyway.  That is really odd because I’m a rule follower now!

4. Tell us about a kitchen or cooking disaster or mishap you've experienced. Do you have many from which to choose?  We have been getting a few Blue Apron boxes (so cool!!).  We received one a couple of weeks ago and the flour had opened in transit and there was flour everywhere – that was a mess!  (just fyi – Blue Apron has incredible customer service and they gave us a free box!)  My own personal mishap was last week.  I put some olive oil in my little skillet and turned on the flame.  I opened a can of black beans and rinsed and drained them in my little hand held strainer (I think it might be a tea strainer??).  When I started pouring the beans into the skillet, the water (from rinsing) made the oil in the skillet go crazy.  I jerked my arm and black beans went all over the kitchen.

5. Plant a kiss, plant doubt, plant a tree, plant yourself somewhere...which on the list have you most recently planted?  I’ve planted a kiss on that grandbaby’s head!  We’ve planted plants in our lovely courtyard.  Last week, I wrote a note to my sister-in-law and I told her that I am so proud of her because she has had to move a lot and she has bloomed EVERYWHERE that she has been “planted.”

6. What's your most worn item of clothing this time of year? Are you tired of it?  I’ve been on a “kick” lately – I’ve been trying to see how many days I can go wearing different things from my closet.  Almost every week, I wear my black pleated skirt and my denim skirt – just different shirts!!  I have a pair of navy knit shorts and a pair of denim shorts and I wear one of those almost every single day after work.

7. I'm wrapping up the A-Z Blog Challenge this month and our Hodgepodge lands on letter W. What's one word beginning with W that describes you in some way? How about a word to describe your home, also beginning with W?  Walls!  My maiden name was (is?) Walls!!  I’m also white (that is not a racial statement) – I have NO tan so my skin is pasty!!  Our home is warm (not temperature but feelings) and I have a white comforter from Pottery Barn.  I just happen to be looking out the window at our screen porch and the trim is “sort of” white.  We’ve planted tons of hydrangeas and some of those may be white!!

8. Insert your own random thought here.   We are having a fish fry tonight.  Glenn and Mark have the fryers out on the porch (same screen porch as above!) – they are going to fry fish, hush puppies, corn nuggets, and whatever else they can throw in the pot.  We’ve invited just a few friends over to eat with us.  The fish was caught in our own private lake so it is good clean fish – bass, I believe.  I love some of the decorations for tonight:

I especially love the dining room centerpieces.  Our cat wanted to help make them because there are cattails in the arrangement - he thinks they are for him!!

I put several inches of small birdseed into the bottom of the vase and then used cattails and grasses.  I typed hemp cord around the neck of the vase.  Mark hung antique fishing flies amongst the cattails.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.

A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.

Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness.

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Five different translations of the same verse. Proverbs 16:31  has been on my mind this week. My mother-in-law invited me to be her guest at the Legacy Luncheon that was hosted by our United Methodist Women.

The group honored the ladies who were 85 and older. I was thinking about the question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I want to be like these ladies.  (Cel on back row far left and Tiffany far right are not 85 are older - Cel is President of the UMW and Tiffany is Vice President).

These ladies have faithfully served God for many years. They have put up with my generation when we were the “younger ones” and they continue to mentor this newest generation of younger women. Our AV staff person interviewed my mother-in-law and two other ladies. All three were cute and funny and wise in the interview. Martha Ann, one of the interviewees (middle of the back row next to my mother-in-law!), said that the United Methodist Women needed to be like a pine tree – flexible – willing to change to meet the needs of each generation. That is so very true. The organization has all but died out in many churches. I’m going to be honest . . .I’m not a member of the United Methodist Women anymore. I was a faithful member when I was a newlywed and when I was a young mother. I helped plan and execute many a project and attended circle meetings. There came a time in my life (actually when I became a church staff member) that I realized I could not do it all. I could not be at the church all day and then stay for a night meeting unless it was a work related meeting (like administrative board). I still respect this organization of women, though! They do awesome things for God!!

So . . .back to that scripture about gray hair . . .it may be a crown of glory, but mine is hidden under some great color!!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wednesday Hodge Podge

Wednesday Hodge Podge

1. What's the last thing you did that could be described as 'taxing'?  I know what this question is asking but I decided to google 'taxing' and this is their definition "burdensome; wearing - a taxing business schedule."  We run a pretty fast schedule at work but most of the time I don't find it burdensome or wearing.  We say that coming to work at Trinity is like drinking from a fire hose so that gives you an idea of how our days can be filled.  I guess the last thing that was truly "taxing" was when we were flying back from Israel.  The first leg of the flight from Israel to Newark is over 6,000 miles and I had pulled my hamstring in the Tel Aviv airport.  I limped through Newark and we flew to Houston and I limped through Houston and we flew to Birmingham . . .I think it was 27 hours total travel and airport time.  Those hours were pretty darn taxing.

2. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would be in it? I would love to have a garden with tomatoes and zucchini and green beans and peas and strawberries and okra.  I would love for this big garden to have a border of incredibly colorful flowers all the way around the outside edge.  My daddy and granddaddy always had gardens and I grew up eating some of the best tomato sandwiches in the world.  The first year that Mark and I were married, we had a small garden and we had lots of tomatoes and lots of wonderful "fresh from the garden" broccoli.

3. April 10-16 is National Library Week...will you celebrate with a visit to your nearest library? When did you last make a trip to the library? What are you reading right now? What's one title on your want-to-read list?  I haven't been to the library in several years.  I used to be a weekly visitor but now that I have a kindle, I just download a book every few days.  I'm reading a mystery (my fav genre of books!) - the newest Mary Higgins Clark book.  I have two non-fiction books that I want to read soon.  One of those is Communicating For A Change by Andy Stanley.  I bought it several years ago at a conference and found it when I was unpacking a box of books on the weekend!

4. Share a saying or an old wives tale you heard while growing up, you believed to be true or that you paid attention to 'just in case'?  Raise your feet when you drive over a railroad or you will lose your boyfriend.  I'm so embarrassed to admit this but I still do it!  We were just talking about Old Wive's tales yesterday - especially the one about cats and babies!

5. Are you a fan of onions? Garlic? Ginger? What's a dish you love that contains one, two or all three items listed?  I DETEST raw onions.  They give me a horrible head ache.  Isn't that weird?  I like the flavor of finely chopped onions in cooked casseroles, etc. I even like onion soup.  I DETEST raw onions.  I know I already said that.  I like the taste of garlic - I hate the bad breath . . .that lasts and lasts and lasts.  I LOVE Canada Dry ginger ale!  I also like Ginger Snaps.  I'm not sure if I have ever cooked with ginger or not.

6. Where does nurturing end and indulging begin? What are some skills or qualities you think a person needs to posses in order to be viewed as mature?  This is such a tough question and it is one that we talk about quite often.  Nurturing someone helps them to feel loved and valued and even safe. Indulging . . . well, we do some of that around our family (both immediate and extended).  Indulging to a certain extent gives that wonderful feeling of "I'm special" but that can turn in a heartbeat to "you OWE me" or "I EXPECT it."  No one OWES us anything.  I feel quite strongly about that.  I was the baby of our family and my mom died when I was in high school and I'm pretty sure my daddy indulged me at times.  He also wanted us to stand on our own two feet though.  Once we turned 18, we had to get a job and support ourselves.  He would never have allowed us to go hungry but he felt firmly that you earned your own living.  I remember one time when I was working all day and going to school at UAB at night, I needed book money desperately.  I asked and he and Joann paid for my books for that semester and I remember they threw in an extra $20 or so for groceries and I felt like it was SUCH a gift!

What does a person need to posses in order to be viewed as mature?  I think you need to think of others more than yourself.  I think you need to be able to have a conversation with others.  I think you need to be able to manage your money and pay your bills.  To be considered emotionally mature, we need to quit blaming others for our own woes.  Bad stuff happens to good people.  Life happens. Stand up and put a smile on your face and make the best of it.  I think a mature person also is able to make commitments and stick to them.  If I sign up for a six week class, I should stick it out.  I think an emotionally mature person is one who expresses gratitude - who thanks others often.

7. What leading figure in any field would you like to hear speak, and why?  In today's world, we can hear just about anyone we want to hear speak via the internet.  I love listening to famous preachers (Andy Stanley; Adam Hamilton; Jen Hatmaker) and can do with just a few clicks on a keyboard or a few taps on my tablet.  I love hearing anyone speak who can help me do my job better or help me be a better teacher/facilitator or help me be a better Christian/friend/etc.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  We have the funniest cat.  He is a rescue and his name is Harvey.  He loves Mark and follows him around the house.  He loves . . .and I mean LOVES . . .dental floss.  He can hear the sound of us opening the dental floss and pulling out a piece . . he can be anywhere in the house and he comes running.  I have a video on my phone of Harvey flossing his teeth! (actually we are doing the flossing!).  I have tried loading it to you tube so I can share it and I've tried emailing it to myself but no luck so far.  Maybe I'll figure out how to share it with you soon!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wednesday HodgePodge ON WEDNESDAY!!

I actually wrote myself a note - line item on "to do" list - do Wednesday HodgePodge!!

1. What does retirement mean to you? Are you planning for it, not thinking about it, looking forward to it, or dreading it?
Retirement is for old people . . .sort of kidding.   I’m 57 and I don’t feel old.  I love my job so I don’t think I’ll retire until they make me leave.  We are planning for it financially.  I guess I should say that we are trying to plan for it!!  I was a stay-at-home mom for a lot of years (in between first career and second career).  I love crafting, etc. so I think I will enjoy that and will enjoy keeping grandbaby(ies) some . . .but I LOVE people so I will have to do something to keep busy.  Mark is five years closer to retirement than I am.  I think he is looking forward to more fishing and being outdoors more.

2. It's International Guitar you play? Does anyone in your family play? What's a song you especially like to hear played on the guitar or a favorite song featuring the guitar?
I just told someone this story yesterday – TRUE story!  When I turned 40, my “mid-life crisis” was to purchase a guitar and to take lessons.  I learned to play “Ode to Joy” and a couple of other tunes.  I took lessons long enough to have calluses on my fingers.  I did not take lessons long enough to learn to play.  Another interesting fact is that my teacher was one of the original Three on a String band members – Mark Weldon.

3. What's your comfort food?  Food is my comfort.  Did I just type that?  I did, didn’t I?  Yeah – I’m one of those people who eats for all the wrong reasons and it shows.

4. What's one activity or area of your life where you absolutely never procrastinate? I don’t procrastinate with work.  If someone needs something done, I’m ready to go.  At home, I do the laundry, empty the dishwasher, make the bed, etc. on a timely schedule.  Sometimes at night, if I’m tired, I’ll sit in the recliner and say “when the next commercial comes on, I’m going to get up and empty the dishwasher or do some other chore.”  I guess that counts as procrastinating.  I sometimes procrastinate doing things I love, like crafty things, because I think I don’t have the time to really get into it – say for example, my Holy Land pictures.  I really want to organize them and write about them . . .but it is sort of overwhelming.  I guess I need to take a few days of vacation and just stay home and do “stuff.”

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Does your local store bag the groceries for you or is it a do-it-yourself kind of place? Do you like someone packing your groceries?  I do 99% of the grocery shopping at our house.  Mark buys the beer (is that 1%?).  I buy a LARGE quantity of groceries every week because we feed about 20 young adults every Tuesday night.  I buy lots of groceries at Walmart because of the savings.  I love shopping at Publix (but they are higher); I enjoy shopping at Target, too, but they don’t always have the best selection.  Walmart and Target bag the groceries.  Publix not only bags the groceries but will take them to your car!

6. What's the coolest thing you've seen in nature?  Another TRUE story.  Not sure if this qualifies as the coolest thing but it is funny.  My mom died when I was 15 years old.  My dad used to like to go for a Sunday afternoon drive.  One Sunday, we were driving out in the country, and there were cows in the field.  Two of the cows were mating.  Now remember – I was 15 years old and should have known these things . . . .but I evidently didn’t.  I saw those cows and said to my dad, “Daddy, look at those cows.  What in the world are they doing?”  This was back in the day when dads didn’t talk too much to their daughters about the facts of life.  He rode along in silence for a while and then said, “I guess those cows like to have fun just like everyone else.”  It was several years later before I realized what he meant!! 
I hate spiders but I love to see a really cool spider web – especially one where the son is shining on it and there is a little bit of dew clinging to the gossamer threads.  They are incredibly intricate.

Oh my gosh – I can’t believe I forgot this.  The coolest thing I’ve seen in nature was just last week.  I was cleaning out my office and rearranging furniture.  We have the classic church mice in our building and I found a complete mouse skeleton under a piece of furniture.  This looks like a dinosaur!  It was pretty cool – after I screamed!!

7. Share a favorite quote about home.  Katie Fox, one of our favorite young adults, gave us a wooden sign with these words painted, “What I love most about my home, is who I share it with.”  In our case, this is so true.  We love to have friends over.  We love having the young adults in our home every week.  (sign is very similar to the one below)

8. Insert your own random thought here.  We went to Auburn last weekend to see our daughter.  We drove over to Opelika to eat lunch.  They have refurbished their downtown area and it is really cool.  They have a brewery and a distillery which we intend to go back and tour.  We ate lunch at a restaurant and the service was some of the worst I have ever experienced.  I actually wrote a horrible review on a travel site.  I stated that I hated writing the review because I love to support LOCAL!!  I want local places to be good; to serve good food; to have great customer service.  Do you like to support local businesses or do you prefer chains?