Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Joyce does a great job of writing these questions every week.  Check out her blog and answer the questions!!

I didn't participate in HodgePodge Wednesday last week . . .I just couldn't formulate answers to the questions.  I know that sounds crazy . . .and maybe I am.

It's National Waffle Day (August 24th)...what decision are you currently 'waffling over'? (or share one you've recently 'waffled over')
I would rather talk about REAL waffles on National Waffle Day!  My husband LOVES waffles and his birthday was on Sunday and I actually got up and made waffles before church.  He is the one who originally taught me how to make waffles!
I don’t think I’m waffling over any decisions right now.  I don’t tend to “waffle” too much.  I think I “waffle” over where to get lunch more than any other decision.   Several of us tend to say, “what do you want for lunch?”  “I’m good with whatever you want.”  “Do you want Arby’s or Zaxby’s or Paw Paw Patch?”  Just fyi – we had Guthrie’s for lunch and we all ordered the same thing – the chicken finger box (or whatever it is called).  One co-worker said it was a box of yummy . . .and she was right.

It's the middle of August, but I'm already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons? If so, does that bother you?
We probably do rush the seasons.  We are looking at Pinterest for ideas for whatever is coming up.  Since I work in a church, we are always working a season ahead anyway.  We have already begun planning for Advent and Christmas.

I saw (here) an end of summer bucket list that included-
make s'mores, read a new (or favorite) book in the park, eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair, be a tourist for the day, have a pot luck picnic, book a last minute summer getaway, relax by or in the pool, take a hike to watch the sunset, have a day on the lake, try a new summer recipe
Which activities on the list might you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close? 
I will make s’mores in the fall; I’m always reading; our state fair is in the fall; we will probably have a picnic on September 17th when we go to the Preserve Jazz Festival (but it might be more planned out than pot luck); we have booked a last minute summer getaway . .. that is actually happening during the first week of fall . . we are going to the beach!  I keep trying to get back to the neighborhood pool but we’ve had a lot of rain lately and I’ve been extremely busy.  Probably not going to take a hike to watch the sunset nor try a new summer recipe (though I am always looking for great and new recipes!).  Mark will spend time on the lake at the farm but I’m not sure I will be on the lake unless someone invites us to go somewhere over labor day.

Your favorite summertime 'art' found in nature?
Our grass is so incredibly green and lush and so are all the trees.  Alabama is really quite lovely.  It is just so stinkin’ hot lately!  I also love the yellow butterflies that appear every year around this time and into September and October.  Our sky (when it is not raining) has been amazing lately and we’ve had an unusual number of rainbows.  Lots of art!!

Stephen R. Covey is quoted as saying 'We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.' Agree or no? Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else? 
Yes, I think his statement is so very true!  I have such great intentions . . .but what are they doing??  Another thought about our “vision” is regarding social media – we see the highlight reel of other people’s lives and the daily grind in our own. 

Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate. 
I would say that I am.  My husband would laugh and say, “no, she isn’t.”  Years ago (when our kids were 3 years old!), we had straight line winds come through our neighborhood.  We thought it was a tornado.  Sounded like a tornado.  Did lots of damage like a tornado.  Anyway, we had to grab our children and run to the basement.  Later, I told someone that I was so calm.  Mark said, “No, you weren’t.  You were screaming like crazy!”  I only remember saying the first line of the Lord’s Prayer over and over and I remember having to find something for our children to tinkle in!!  I do have a tendency to get “breathy” and talk really fast when in a crisis situation. 

There is one crisis situation where I AM NOT good.  If you throw up, you are on your own!

What's been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you'll continue making as the seasons change?
I love fresh veggies.  I’ve enjoyed lots of sliced tomatoes.  We have really good tomatoes in Alabama and no, I won’t be eating them once summer is over.  Grocery store tomatoes are yucky.

Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not is this something you think you might enjoy?
I own two adult coloring books and two boxes of colored pencils. I thought I would be all over this trend because I have always loved to color.  I have found that I just don’t have much spare time anymore.  A sweet friend gave this one to me last year and I have colored a few pages.  I would like to color more!!

Insert your own random thought here. 
This has been a crazy two weeks at work!  I feel like this is my random thought quite often!  My real random thought is this:  I need one more bed in my house for times like holidays.  I got a catalog in the mail from grandinroad and they have a “classic EZ bed” that I think I’m going to order.  It is like a “blow up” mattress (we’ve used those) but it is on a frame and then folds back up into a case to store.  It looks awesome in the catalog.  I wonder if it is as awesome as it looks???  If I order it, I’ll let y’all know!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Years and Gifts!

I was thinking last week about teaching Sunday School.  I believe that I started teaching in the John Wesley class about 25 years ago.  I just can't believe it has been so long!  Our children were in kindergarten and they will be 30 this year.  How did time pass so quickly?  When I volunteered to teach, my self esteem was at an all time low and I did not think that I could possibly stand in front of a group and teach anything (I didn't stand for many years - I sat!).  It is so funny how God works, isn't it?  He calls us to do his work and he equips us.  I still remember the very first book that I "taught."  I purchased the book from the book table on my Emmaus Walk.

It is amazing how some things have changed in that 25 years.  We sat in folding chairs around the walls of a small room on the second floor.  For the five years previous to that time, we had been in the "bowels" of the building - we literally met in a large closet for over 5 years!!!

Mark and I married in May of 1984 and the John Wesley class started in September of 1984 and Jack Allison was our teacher.  He faithfully taught our class for five years.  He and his wife, Polly, were just the right age to inspire us as young couples.  I can remember going to a pot luck dinner at their house and I can see us in my mind's eye. . .the women standing around in the kitchen . . .and the men somewhere else (out in the yard??).  We were all so emotionally needy (or maybe that was just me??) and we were growing and learning about God and what it meant to be married.

Now rush forward 30 years and we are in 2016.  We use tablets and screens and all sorts of fun stuff.  Who knew that this old lady could learn how to use all that equipment (thanks to Stuart - our young assistant communications director, who has the patience of Job!).

The picture below is from a couple of Sundays ago.  I arrived before early worship service to set up.  I couldn't get my laptop to project onto the wall so I snapped photos of all the important stuff and texted the pictures to Stuart, who was on the opposite end of the building, running the sound and lights for the traditional service.  Of course, it was simply operator error - I just needed to touch a button!!

This last week, I mentioned to the class that the podium  was not really large enough for notes and my tablet.  As I taught, I was actually flinging pages off to the side to make room for the next page.  Two wonderful guys from our class took the podium home to Jim's basement and made a new top - perfect size for a tablet/laptop and notes!!

What gifts has God given you?  Do you teach?  Do you make new podiums?  Do you sing?  Are you an excellent listener or an awesome encourager?  Has God worked in you to grow and develop the gift?

I love these verses from Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

p.s. This is "Lisa theology" . . .I've probably taken this verse out of context but I love the thought of God equipping us for his work on earth.

Let's be the hands and feet and eyes and ears of our Lord Jesus here on this earth.  Let's use the gifts that God has given to each us.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Great God of Light

I've already shared this story with a couple of friends.  I had one of those rare and amazing God moments this week.  Some folks like to call these kinds of moments "mere coincidences" but I've spent much time in prayer lately and I think it was one of those "extra special" moments - some call them Godincidences or God winks!

I've been going out to walk each morning around 5:15.  It is still dark outside.  As I walked around our circle as I made my first lap, a shaft of light shot across in front of me.  It actually startled me and I turned my head.  The moon was full and shining right on my path.  I snapped a poor quality photo and kept walking and thanked God for the light on my path.

Thirty moments or so later, I was on the hill beside our house and lo and behold, the sun was coming up.  The sky was beginning to lighten and the colors were amazing.  I snapped another poor photo and thanked God for the sunrise.

I came inside the house and popped the top . . .on my diet pepsi (got you!) . . .and sat down at the kitchen island for my morning devotion.  I've been using the "scripture writing plan" by since last fall.  I don't always write the whole scripture but I read them everyday and make a note or two. 

First things, first - I opened my prayer journal and penned these words, "Good morning, God of Light - Moon, Stars, and Sun - you created them.  You created us!  You are so awesome, God."  (evidently the light of the morning was on my mind)

I consulted my sheet and the scripture for August 18 was John 8:12-14.  I opened my Bible and these are the verses:  When God spoke again to the people he said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Yes, it could be a coincidence that I saw a full moon, a sunrise, greeted God as God of Light, and then read that God is the light of the world.  Yes, it could be a coincidence but I don't think so.

Not only is God the light of the world, but we are like lanterns - lit by the source of all Light - and we, too, are called - not just called but instructed -  to light up the world around us.  This is not always easy.  We are bombarded by darkness all around - murder, flooding, politics of all kinds, crazy folks - but we are called to bear the light into the dark world!

Go shine the light!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Middle Age Friday Night

I need to go to bed.  I am tired.  For some reason, my brain says "type" and my fingers respond!!  On Friday, I received a text from a friend and she said, "I know it is late notice, but can y'all go to dinner?"  Did you know that when you have an empty next you can spontaneously go out to dinner?  That is exactly what we did!

Mark and I had never eaten at Iron City Grill before.  I loved the exposed brick wall and I really loved this chalk board.  I thought of my daughter, Laura, who would love painting something like this!!

Iron City is also a concert venue.  The restaurant is in the front and the back is a concert venue.  Black Jacket Symphony was performing in a sold out 8 p.m. show.  They were performing Hotel California by the Eagles.  They do every song from whatever album they are performing.  There were soooo many people waiting to be seated.  Many of the folks were trying to eat dinner before attending the concert.  I overheard the hostess tell someone that there were 26 tables before them!  We had to wait quite a while.  We met around six and waited about an hour on a table.  We did visit the bar and were able to enjoy a beverage while we waited.  When the doors opened at 7 for the concert, the restaurant cleared out.

Unbeknownst (cool word!) to Mark or me, it was Birmingham Restaurant Week and Iron City Grill was participating.,  For $30 each, we could get an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert.  Mark and I both ordered well and had a delicious meal.  I ordered fried green tomatoes with pork belly and pimento cheese (really good) and Mark ordered hummus made from black eye peas.  Duane ordered the most surprising appetizer - buffalo cauliflower - it was yummy! 

I ordered beef; Mark ordered salmon; Terrie and Duane ordered fish (amberjack?).  Our food was very tasty and presented beautifully.

I didn't take a picture until dessert.  I ordered Pot de Crème and it was based on a s'more . . .oh my goodness, I had never had a homemade marshmallow before.  It was an awesome dessert.  I NEVER order dessert out so this was such a treat.  I couldn't eat it all and shared with Mark.

Mark ordered peach fried pies and ice cream.  He said they were good but that he wished he had ordered the Pot de Crème.

Imagine our surprise at 8:00 p.m.  The concert was scheduled to begin in the back venue at 8:00 . . .but lo and behold, the concert appeared on a giant screen right in front of us in the restaurant.  There were only a few folks left in the restaurant - maybe two or three tables - so it was like we had a front row seat!  Black Jacket Symphony was such a wonderful treat -- Lagniappe!


Now I really have to go "night night" - see y'all soon!  I'm sounding like the middle-aged mom that I am . . .but there are definitely some perks to being middle-aged!
1.  We can go out to eat whenever we want
2.  We get to hang out with friends
3.  We have the money to eat a nice dinner
4.  We aren't too old to enjoy a good concert
5.  There are a whole lot more but I'm about to fall asleep - ha!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Mish Mash of Sunday Lunch, Celebrations, Grandbaby

Mark's sister, Susie, came home a week ago to visit us (she really rode down with their youngest son who is starting his third year at Alabama) . . . .she may have come down because she has been dying to meet Miss Emma.  Isn't she a cutie pie?  We are so in love with this little one.  She is holding her head up and rolling over and reaching out.  She reached out and patted Pops (Mark) face on Friday.  Be still my heart!!

Every time Susie had the chance, she held sweet baby girl!!

We celebrate all birthdays on Sunday so this past week, we celebrated Bill's 60th.  Mark wanted to do something fun for him so he went to the bank and got 60 one dollar bills.  I wanted to make them look cute.  I had a new picture frame just sitting in the closet.  I folded all the dollar bills and stacked them inside each other and put them in the frame.  I think it turned out so cute!

It only happens a couple of times a year but this was one of those times - Mark's momma (also Susie) had all of her chickens under one roof!  We've been trying to document as many things as possible.  None of us ever know what tomorrow may bring! 

Mark's momma still cooks lunch for all of us every single Sunday.  She is amazing!  I feel so blessed to be a part of this family!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dancing With the Stars

Our friend, Julie, runs (owns?) a non-profit called "The Overflow Foundation."  It is a program to bring arts and music and drama to some folks who might not be able to have those same experiences due to finances, etc.  She also does it all with the love of Jesus flowing through each and every thing they do.  This summer, they had a camp in Tarrant.  I posted a tiny nugget about it here when I was a guest reader.  This was a new part of her foundation this summer - reading!

As we all know, a non-profit has to have money to operate.  Julie usually has a couple of fund raisers a year.  She hit the jackpot on her newest endeavor.

Dancing with the Stars

Julie was so smart because several of the couples were couples that many of us knew well.  Above is Dr. Dan Carter and his wife, Carrie.  They both grew up in our church; married there; have three children now; and are active in our congregation's life and ministry.  They were so cute!

Below is Wes and Halley.  They are dating.  They actually met in their apartment parking lot (casually) and then "re-met" at our Tuesday night group.  They are such a cute couple and they did a great dancing routine with lots of humor! 

The cute couple below is Ross and his fiancé.  They said that they used this opportunity to create a dance for their wedding reception.  I wonder if they will dance the same dance.  Mark liked the way that Ross was dressed (especially his shoes!).  I thought that was such a funny comment!!

I LOVED Kam and Nathan's dance routine.  They did the dance scene from Pulp Fiction and were spot on!  They looked the parts (wigs, clothes and all!).  They danced the parts.  They were awesome!  Nathan is one of our pastors so it made it even better!!  I love them!

So how did the fund raiser work?  She could only sell 100 tickets because of the venue so she advertised the heck out of that on social media.  There is something about knowing that there is a limited number of tickets that makes it even more enticing!  The tickets were reasonable  - I think $22 a ticket.  On the night of the event, after everyone had danced their routine . . .the dancers were stationed in the lobby with plastic buckets.  We were encouraged to put money in the buckets for our favorite dancers.  The couple with the most dollars would win.  (there were three judges and they did give out scores and a few choice comments but the main voting occurred through dollar bills).  One donor (maybe two) also offered to match the donation in the winner's bucket.

Do you know that Julie raised a nice chunk of change that night!  It was a brilliant idea!  Kam and Nathan won.  They were really good!  There were two other couples who did a waltz and a tango and they were cool to watch but there was just something about the folks we know well being willing to get out there in front of 100 people and dance their hearts out so that God's work through the Overflow Foundation can continue. 

Julie didn't ask me to write this and I'm certainly not a professional writer but if you would love to give - if you feel a tiny nudge - go ahead!  You can mail contributions to The Overflow Foundation 2715 Hackberry Rd, Vestavia, AL 35226-3913.  Your gifts are tax deductible.  If any of my Tarrant friends are reading -- the summer reading camp in Tarrant was successful and this fundraiser raised enough funds for her to start a program during the school year in TARRANT!!  There are bright kids in Tarrant who need a step up.  They always need art supplies so she also accepts those kinds of donations.

Here is a little blurb from their website:
The Overflow Foundation is a non profit organization committed to bringing the arts to kids who might not otherwise get to the opportunity to experience art in school. Our goal is to teach students to flow past their limits through the arts. Through visual arts, music and drama, students not only can express their creativity, but also learn useful skills such as public speaking, teamwork, and quick thinking. With time for homework, games, and art projects, students in 4th through 8th grade learn in a fun and imaginative environment.

Her Bible verse is from Nehemiah chapter 6
I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.
God has called Julie to this ministry and he is using her and all of her volunteers to bring about change in the world!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Moses and Cassanova

A week or so ago, I walked out onto the front porch and I could see a horse right across the street.  I ran back into the house to grab my camera.  I started snapping away and Moses and Cassanova even stopped to pose!

Moses has horses at two different locations very near our house and we've seen him riding on Shades Crest Road before.  On prom night, he had a carriage in our neighborhood and you could purchase a carriage ride.

Don't you love his horse's name - Cassanova!!

You never know what you are going to see in the Preserve!