Sunday, July 29, 2012

Salty Sunday School Lesson

I don't share Sunday School lessons on here often because I don't keep up with all my resources so I can't always give credit where credit is due but I loved researching and putting together and teaching today's lesson.  This is not about me and what I can do but about God and what He can do -- and I'm hoping all of the sources I used feel the same. 

After opening up our time together this morning, I then shared a brief recap of the horrible shooting in Aurora last weekend.  To be honest, I don't even want to read the words of that part again.  My heart just hearts for all those involved so I'm going to pick up sort of mid thought.  So just imagine you've heard that story again and then straight into this part . . . .But there were those in the crowd that day who were heroes. Three young men made sure that their girlfriends were covered and protected and died doing so. One man protected his son's wounded girlfriend. "They were in the front row … so the shooter was right over them and instead of running away he stayed there and saved her life in the end, kept her from bleeding to death," I can imagine Mark doing that.  Outside the theater, a woman took off her belt and fashioned it into a tourniquet to bind the thigh of one of the wounded. We don’t know if those heroes were Christians or not but if we had been there that day, what would we have done? How would we have acted?  Would we have run out the door?  Would we have helped others?

Listen to today’s scripture from Matthew 5:13-16 – (NIV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

I love salt. I really do. I have to be careful to not eat too much salt. I think I might pick a salty treat over a sweet treat.  You could put a piece of Mark's momma's homemade German Chocolate cake (which is one of my favorites) in front of me and a salty snack and I would have a hard time choosing but I would probably choose the salty snack.  Or you know those beverages with the salt around the rim . . .yummy!!Or maybe some good ole chips and dip or chips and salsa. I’d have to think about that one. No matter where we go and what we eat, we are told that it is better for us if we watch how much salt we eat. Now, we’re not going to debate whether that’s best for us or not, the fact of the matter is, for any of us with high blood pressure problems or other health problems, we are to stay away from or limit our salt. In actuality, though, salt is essential not only for the health of humans and animals alike, it is also used as a primary ingredient in the manufacturing world.  You know how I love fun facts to know and tell - well, I have several for you.  I enjoyed reading about salt this week!!  Did you know that it has been estimated that there are now more than 14,000 uses for salt. For instance, salt is used in meat packing, sausage making, fish curing; and food processing industries use salt as a preservative or seasoning or both. Salt is used for curing and preserving hides, and in refrigeration as a brine. In the chemical industry salt is used in manufacturing sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, and chlorine. Salt is also used in soap (who knew??), glaze, and porcelain enamel manufacture as well as being used as a flux in the fusing of metals (don't ask me any questions about that - I have no idea what that is). And in the medical world salt solutions are used not only in surgery but in healing various skin infections and diseases.  When you were a kid and had a sore throat what did your momma tell you to gargle with???  (warm salty water)  Contact wearers often know the value of  what??  (saline solution)

Though most people think of salt as a seasoning, it is clear from all that it is only a small part of its uses. Think of this…less than 5 out of every 100 pounds of salt produced is used for food seasoning. Imagine that!!!

Did you know that salt cakes have been used for money throughout the history of the human race. Caesar’s troops were paid in part with salt. The word salary comes from the Roman (Latin) word salarium. And the phrase “not worth his salt” dates back to ancient times and was meant quite literally. Those Roman soldiers, by the way, constructed one of the greatest military roads of history, the Via Salaria—because at one end was one of the great salt works of the ancient world.

To top it all off, the Bible is the first place that salt was mentioned in writing. Salt is mentioned 42 times in the Bible

According to this scripture, we are called to be salty Christians. Since I love salt so much, I like that!

A proper amount of salt is essential to sustain life, so ancient peoples traded whatever was required to obtain it. In Palestine, most salt came from salt caves and salt marshes in the area around the Dead Sea. This salt was susceptible to deterioration that left only useless crystals. But think about some more properties of salt – salt is indeed a seasoning. Even our baked goods have a pinch of salt. The cookies I made for you on the back table have a whole teaspoon - not just a pinch - of salt in them.  Salt is a preservative. Salt retards spoilage. It doesn’t prevent the process of decay, but it slows it down and prevents its spread. Salt also stings. Have you ever had a cut on your hand and accidentally got salt in that cut? Oh my goodness. Salt can also give strength in a round about way. You’ve been sick before or overheated and you drink some Gatorade which has all sorts of electrolytes and sodium and who knows what else in it. Salt also causes thirst. All those salty treats like chips and nuts and pretzels make you want to have a cold . . .drink.

Salt can be used in many ways. So what does it mean for us (the John Wesley class - Christians) to BE the salt of the earth? By our very presence, maybe we are to help preserve the world. Like I said earlier, we have no idea whether any of those involved in Aurora were Christians or not but I believe those who were heroes that day were the salt of the earth. As I was working on the lesson, I tried to remember times in history when others have been the salt of the earth. I thought of William Wilberforce who became a Christian in 1785. He became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

I also thought of Mother Teresa. I googled her just to read up on her life a little. She was really the salt of the earth because listen to this: At the time of Mother Teresa's death, The Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity numbered 3,914 members, and were established in 594 communities in 123 countries of the world. Her work continues under the guidance of Sister Nirmala, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters. The order has grown over 4,000 members in 697 foundations in 131 countries of the world. She not only took care of others but her movement grew and grew all over the world.

We are called to be salt to the world – give it flavor. Last Wednesday night, Mark and George and Billy and Gary Green and Tim Hayes whipped up a batch of spicy red beans with lots of flavor and maybe some salt and some rice and sausages and fed a bunch of homeless guys. Our John Wesley guys were the salt of the earth on Wednesday night.

I found one author who said that the primary meaning of “You are the salt of the earth” has to do with a willingness to live our lives with the “tang” of our faith intact. We’re under so much pressure to give up our differences and blend in with society. Believers are to be “tangy” rather than bland and insipid in the way we live and speak. I remember hearing a question back when I was a young person, “if you were being tried for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” That fits with this salty Christian image and the thought that our lives ought to have some “tang.”

I searched on the internet for other examples of people being salty. Listen to this one:

"The woman who was salt to me when I was seeking to find Truth, was just an ordinary Mom of a kindergartner who walked her daughter to school with my daughter and I. But her conversation always had that spark of life, and hope, and truth, not preaching, but a calm confidence in the Lord. When I totalled my car in an rollover accident on an icy road, she literally brought delicious food to sustain us when I was in bed, and yes, it was seasoned with salt, but again, her encouragement and words of comfort, were the salt which led me to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior, when I accompanied her to a Bible study later on. I have thanked her for being salt to me....and for not "staying safely in the salt shaker", but for sharing truth with that my life was preserved."

Oh my goodness- I love her sentence, “for not staying safely in the salt shaker.” How often do we choose to stay safely in our salt shaker?  If I had been in Colorado, I'm so afraid that I would have stayed safely in my salt shaker and would have been running as fast as I could go.

If we live our lives so that there is a “tang” to our Christianity, I think it might make other people want to know what causes it. I’m one of those people who has a pretty intense sense of taste. I can eat something new and tell you the spices used in the preparation of the dish. I want to know what it is so I work on figuring it out. (Talked about ginger and anise (how I hate it) and other spices) That “tang” of Christianity should be lived out so that when others see us live our lives, they want to know why we are that way. I said earlier that salt makes us thirsty – same thing – if we are living our lives as the salt of the earth, others around us should become thirsty to have what we have – that relationship with Jesus.  They should see our lives as an example and want to know why we live like we do.

The flip side of this – what might be the symptoms of a Christian who has lost his saltiness? It is possible for a believer to detect such symptoms in himself or herself? The salt of ancient days became worthless when it lost its saltiness. So what about us as Christians when we lose our saltiness?  (they had some great answers -- anger, greed, self centeredness and others - they thought that if we are truly honest with ourselves, we might be able to see the symptoms in ourselves -- told them about saying I was depressed this morning (lack of saltiness, perhaps?) and telling Mark that I was praying for God to speak through Andy directly to me . . .and HE did!!)

On to the second portion of the scripture. In Jesus’ day, homes were commonly lit by small clay lamps which could be held in the palm of the hand. The most primitive consisted of a saucer to hold the olive oil, in which was immersed one end of a wick that lay in an indention or spout in the rim. Later clay lamps were sometimes covered, with a hole in the top in which to pour the oil and a hole at one side for the wick.

The verse says “let your light shine before others.” The important part of this verse is “before others.” Years ago, we were on our family trip to the beach. One night some of us were on the pier and some of us were maybe on our way down to the pier. All of the power went out all around us. It was pitch black. All of a sudden, we saw a light. It was our "little at the time" nephew, Thomas and he had on his little head lamp that someone had given him. That little tiny head lamp on a little tiny boy could guide a whole bunch of adults. His light was shining that night!! Then again, you can turn on a light in an empty room. It will dispel the darkness but if no one is around to see it, the light doesn’t affect anyone. Likewise you can live a Christian life in secret but no one is going to be helped. Jesus said some thing would happen when you shine your light – others will see your good deeds – now wait a minute – we aren’t supposed to do things in order to get recognition. That is not what he is saying here. The word for good is kalos. It means attractive or beautiful or lovely. It is that which is pleasing to the eye. Jesus is saying that people will be attracted by the beauty of your life. Others will be drawn to you by the way you live. When you stop and smile at a friend, that is a good deed. When you bake a chocolate pie and give it to a neighbor, that is a good deed. When you help cook a meal for a class member, that is a good deed. When you visit someone in the hospital, that is a good deed. It is beautiful, attractive and lovely. Jesus said, “when they see your lovely ways.” He could have said, “when they hear your great preachers or when they sit in your lovely sanctuaries or hear your wonderful choirs.” All of those things are good but he said, “when they see your good deeds – your lovely ways.” There is an old poem, “the living sermon.” I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day. I’d rather one would walk with me than merely tell the way. The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear. Fine counsel is confusing but example’s always clear. The best of all the preachers are the ones who live their creeds. For to see good put in action is what everybody needs. I soon can learn to do it, if you’ll let me see it done. I can watch your hands in action, your tongue too fast may run. The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true. But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do. For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give. But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Pretty good poem.

We are called to be the salt and light to the world. We don’t need a fancy degree to be salt and light. As individuals, we aren’t called to save the world but we are called to make a difference. We can’t do everything but we can each do something and what we can do, we OUGHT to do. That is what being salt and light is all about. This week, our challenge as a class is to live as salty, light shining Christians who get out of the safety of our salt shakers.

(wish I could thank all the wonderful sources -- several sources on line -- "mission possible" by keith krell, "witnessing people: living as salt and light in the world by dr. ralph f. wilson, "the salt and light brigade", a great catholic website about mother teresa, various other websites about salt, several sermons on salty christians -- thanks so much to each author/website)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The end -- Last of the pictures from vacation

I really enjoyed playing with my new camera lens while on vacation. I was very far away and was able to zoom in on the end of the pier!!

You CANNOT hang your towels on the railing on the deck at Four Seasons but you can hang them on the porch chairs.  Once again, I have no idea why I took this picture - makes no sense to me.  I can't imagine that I took this picture just so I could post it and tell you about the "no towels on the rail."  Maybe I was trying to focus??  I have no idea at all!!

We had huge waves while we were there (or I guess I should say "huge waves for an Alabama beach."

I just thought that the waves were crashing in quite beautifully so I took a lot of beach/water photos with no people.  I won't bore you with all of them . . .just one.  I thought that the concrete pilings might make a neat contrast to the white sand and blue water . . .really?  Actually, I think I was taking this series of pictures because the high tide was so very high!!

My two guys . . .I love them both!!

This picture brings us to the end of our vacation. We were able to work out a ride for Laura to Mobile at the beginning of the trip. Lauren's mom was keeping their kitty cat so she graciously agreed to let Laura ride with her to Mobile on that Saturday. After lunch that day, Glenn, Lauren and Laura drove on over to the beach and got settled in while Mark and I were at Alice's daddy's funeral on the other side of the state. Laura rode back to Birmingham with us. We had a really nice vacation - so good to be together as a family. Loved pretty much every moment of this year's vacation!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I lied . . .today and then one more from vacation

ok - this is one of the weirdest pictures ever.  I-Phones have done that to me.  I love being in a store and having the need to share something . . .and being able to text a picture.  Glenn brought his fryer to the beach and I swear that Mark and Glenn fried everything they could find.  One of the requests was for corn nuggets and the publix did not have corn nuggets BUT walmart did!!  I can't remember why I felt the need to drive up to walmart but I'm sure there was a reason.  I think that I needed some glue for scrapbooking.  Yes, I did take a big bag full of scrapbooking supplies and enjoyed making a few pages while at the beach.  Back to the corn nuggets.  We ended up with too many corn nuggets.  How could you possibly have too many corn nuggets?  Well, Lauren had to drive back to Mobile on Tuesday night (she is teaching at class at South Alabama - I'm so proud of her!!) and she brought some back from Mobile and I bought some at the store . . .and by the end of the week, I was begging for non-fried food . . .so we had extra.  Someone in our family evidently wanted honey mustard for dipping.  If you haven't tried it, Ken's Lite Honey Mustard is really good!!

I'm not smiling in this photo and I have no idea why . . .maybe I was hot?  We had a nice wind almost all of the week which made sitting outside much more pleasant.  I wish I was there now.  My bones are calling out for some more sunshine.  I MUST get some sunshine this weekend.  Did you read the newest study?  We need 10-15 minutes at least four times a week of sun on our arms and legs without sunscreen - yes, that is correct - without sunscreen - in order for our bodies to properly absorb Vitamin D.  Usually I hate studies because they always tell us things like, "don't use nutrasweet" or "don't drink too many diet colas" or you get the idea.  This one is good - it tells me to do something I really like to do.  Now I just have to find the time to do it.

This was lunch one day.  The guys had caught and filleted (is that how you spell that?) fish and FRIED IT.  Yes, that fryer came in really handy.  I will admit that fried fish sandwiches with cole slaw on top are pretty delicious.  If you have never tried Marzetti's cole slaw dressing, buy some and a bag of shredded cabbage.  Really good and really easy.  First time we had ever had it was at the beach.  (Marzetti's nor Ken's know that I'm giving a plug for their products!!)  We also had steamed shrimp a couple of times.  We only went out to lunch once all week and ate all of our other meals in the condo.

ok - I walked into the living space in the middle of the condo and look what was going on - sunscreen via assembly line.  I thought this was so funny that I just had to snap a picture.  Mark HATES cold sunscreen and he actually looks like he is flinching!!

This is the first time that I've ever used paint . . .but there was something that I needed to cover in the picture.  You can use your imagination :-)

This was the boy's corner of the condo - all fishing - all the time.  When they aren't fishing, Mark is planning what they need to fish with the next time and getting the rods ready.

Monday, July 23, 2012

more family vacation pictures . . .

Thought I would warn you with the title - this is like the old man's slide show that he wants to show you every time you visit (just read that this weekend in Kite Runner - oh my goodness.  Have you read the Kite Runner?  It was such an intense book.  I usually read for pleasure and I don't think you can count this book as pleasure reading.  At times it was so intense that I had to put the book down and walk away.  I was reading it while I rode the bike and I would find myself pedaling harder and harder). This is one of those posts that is mostly for me. Of course, I would love if you would read it and look at my pictures but I certainly understand if you rolled your eyes and quickly moved on.

I love going out on the pier at night after supper.  When the kids were younger and before the last major hurricane, all of these birds would come at dusk to roost under the pier.  It was so cool to watch thousands of birds approaching the pier (we would be under one of the covered areas!!).  Even though was don't have that wonderful natural entertainment anymore, we still love to walk out after supper.  Of course, I usually had my camera in hand.  Thought this was a cute one of Lauren and Glenn.

We were going out to lunch one day and while everyone was looking spiffy, I was able to snap a few pictures.  I really like this one.  I wanted to get a picture of all of us for our Christmas card this year but it just didn't happen.  I have a friend who is a professional photographer and I am going to get her to meet us sometime this fall and snap a few pics.  We will have to find a weekend when everyone is available which is getting harder and harder!!!

I rarely post pictures of me but thought this one was cute of Mark and me.  I know that too much sun is not good for us - skin cancer, etc. - but I sure do think we all look healthier with some tan.

I was sitting on one of the benches on the pier one night and Laura sat down beside me and I took a picture of her cute feet!  She hates feet - feet that belong to anyone else -- but thinks her own are pretty cute.  That always makes me chuckle.  Guess it is one of those silly family chuckles that does not make sense to anyone else.

I think I only have one more blogpost to write about the beach.  I've been trying to scrap some also.  I'll sit down to write a blogpost and I'll think to myself, "I've already written about this."  I'll check my previous posts and realize that no, I didn't blog about it but have already done a scrapbook page about it.  Works both ways actually.

Today has been a typical Monday in the church office.  My Monday "to do" list is always longer than the page . . .but I have marked everything off that I can do at the office so thought I would take just a moment to update.  When I get home, I'll be cooking for the young adult study for tomorrow night so I'll still be working.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where the boys are . . .

Actually, I guess it would be "where the boys were."  The boys were on the pier almost the whole week. 
They love to be out on that pier trying to catch some fish.  We had gorgeous weather all week long.  They were able to fish and fish and fish some more.  They caught some.  They never catch as many as they would like to catch.  Most importantly, they got to spend lots and lots of time together.  Mark has missed Glenn so very much.  Glenn did everything with Mark.  If Mark was working in the yard, Glenn was outside.  If Mark went to the farm, odds are that Glenn went with him (once he was old enough).  When Glenn was at Auburn he could meet Mark at the farm.  Needless to say, Mark loved having a whole week on the pier with Glenn (and most of the week with George).  For those of you who don't live with fishermen . . .they get up very early . . .before daylight . . .and go out to the pier to start fishing.  They fish until 9:00 or so and then come in and eat and go to the beach with the family.  While we are sitting on the beach, if they see someone catching something on the pier, they have to get up and walk back up the ramp and walk down the long pier to see what is happening.  They go back out to fish in the afternoon/evenings.  On one trip (last year) they set their alarm clocks and went fishing at midnight.  For most people that is NOT vacation but it is indeed vacation for these three.  Laura, Lauren and I slept and read books and worked on our suntans and Laura and Lauren even went shopping one day.  Big difference in our vacations.  That is why Four Seasons is such a great location for all of us.  We can walk out on the pier and talk to them if we want . . .you know to make lunch or dinner plans or to snap a few photos.  Here are some pics of our guys on the pier.  Pretty self explanatory.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

In memory of a good man

Our vacation started out just a little different this year.  Our sweet sister-in-law's father died and the funeral was on our day of departure.  Our vacation reservations were in one southern corner of the state and the funeral was in the other southern corner of the state.  We left home around 10:00 a.m. and drove to Alice's hometown.  We arrived in time to visit with the family for a few minutes before the funeral.  The church is small - maybe 10 pews or so on each side.  Every seat was filled - shoulder to shoulder - and people were standing around the perimeter of the room and people were sitting in the choir loft.  There were even people standing outside and it was a very warm and sunny day and it was in the middle of the afternoon.  Everyone said such wonderful things about her daddy.  He was a pillar of the church and community.  I wish I had known him better.  (something funny did happen - you know us - something always happens . . .some people had met Mark years ago (20+) and some people had never met Mark before . . .and when people saw Mark and George together or apart . . .well, you can imagine - identical twins . . .)

Isn't the church pretty?


I love the small town atmosphere.  It was obvious that everyone knew and loved and respected Alice's daddy.  He was a leader in that small town and in that small church and I know they will miss him.

We left the funeral/cemetery around 3:00 that afternoon.  I was driving because . . . I get car sick plus we were in MY car.  We drove all the way across a section of Florida.  All day long, from beginning to end, we saw parts of Alabama and parts of Florida that we haven't seen at all or in a long time.  One of the most interesting things we saw (besides shaved llamas . . . or maybe they were shaved Alpacas) was something we saw at a rest area in Florida.  I was so amazed that I took a picture of the sign while we waited our turn.


The rest area had a free car windshield washer located conveniently on the way out of the rest area.  You pulled up and the water came on automatically.  Not only did it clean the windshield but it seemed to cool the car in the heat!!

We drove 395 miles that day and we saw things we haven't seen before but I've never been so happy to see our vacation accommodations. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cute wedding shower mantel decorations

A friend of ours got married several weekends ago (yes, we have been to weddings for several weeks in a row - that is part of being a middle-aged mom!!!).  Several friends and I were invited to a Bridal Shower for the bride.  These were the decorations on the hostesses mantle and I loved them so much that I took a picture!!  (discreetly, of course!)  The groom's first name begins with a "T" and the bride's first name begins with a "B" -- cute initials.  Wonder if the hostess gave those to the bride???

no picture saturday

I remember waking up on Saturday mornings when I was a kid.  We would watch cartoons and eat a leisurely breakfast and then we would clean house.  I remember dusting but I don't think I ever did it to my mom's satisfaction.  I probably wouldn't do it to anyone's satisfaction these days either.  I remember Saturday evenings.  My mom would roll my hair on pink sponge rollers while she watched Lawrence Welk.  This was torture for many reasons.  The show was horrible to a kid and my mom had not shaved her legs yet and I can remember those pricklies sticking in my sides as she held me still with her knees.  Yes, I had a hard time sitting still even back then so she would just clamp her knees on either side of me and hold me still.  I was probably whining while she did it.

Since I've gone back to work, Saturdays are usually a pretty busy day.  I always have a list of stuff that needs to be done.  Sometimes I just sit and look at other people's blogs or look at facebook . . and then I feel like such a lazy bum (like right now!!!)

Mark went to the farm after work yesterday so the cat and I have been here by ourselves and I must admit I have enjoyed the silence.  I have not turned on the tv or any music all day.  It has been pleasantly quiet.  I've heard the yappy dog across the street bark a couple of time.  I heard some thunder earlier today (but we didn't get any rain and the sky is blue).  I heard a lawn mover and a leaf blower.  The thing I haven't heard is the tv or music.  The cat has even talked to me a couple of times.  I'm sure it is very frustrating to him that I have no idea what he is saying.

I've decorated my dining room and set my dining room table (and covered it with a plastic cloth - remember the aforementioned cat?  Not going to take any chances that he might decide the dining room table looks like a good perch.)  Mark's momma's birthday is this week and we are celebrating at our house after church tomorrow.  We are having honeybaked turkey breast, corn (remember that corn we cut off the cob last weekend?  I didn't tell y'all about that, did I?  I posted it on facebook.), green beans and couscous.  I wonder if Mark's momma has ever eaten couscous before????  Alice is going to bring a salad and she bought the present (hallelujah!!!!!) and she is bringing the cake.  We can't bake a cake to even compare to Mark's momma's cakes so we buy a caramel cake every year (some lady in Alabama makes them and you can buy one at the Piggly Wiggly -- one year we ordered a caramel cake from Edgars Bakery which cost at least double the one from the pig but she seems to like the cheaper one better) .  I even made really cute placecards to go at everyone's place (I'll have to take a picture to show later!!). That is another area where I can't compete.  Both Mark's momma and my sister-in-law, Alice, can arrange flowers.  I can't do it.  Maybe I don't want to do it.  But my table is pretty cute - decorated with mason jars and pink ribbon and pink balloons.

Well, now that I've chattered on about nothing - we are going to do something fun tonight.  One of the young women from Trinity is getting married tonight at seven and we are going to the wedding and reception.  The reception is at The Club and a lot of our friends will be at the wedding so it should be fun!!

Oh . . .and if I haven't put you to sleep yet and you are still reading . . .thanks for commenting yesterday.  You made my day!!!!  Lynn, your last meal sounds really good!!  Marietta, I agree.  I think I would want my last meal to be at the beach and you are right - to heck with the calories!!  Daphne, glad y'all love Sol Azteca, too!!  I'm not kidding, y'all really made my day!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mexican food - why do I love thee so?

Not too very long ago, our ice breaker question on a Tuesday night was, "what would you eat for your last meal?" or something like that (oh if anyone younger than 30 is reading this, I have a question - when I took English classes in high school and college, we were taught that a question mark is BIG enough to stand alone and so my question would be, "what would you eat for your last meal"? rather than "what would you eat for your last meal?" - has that changed - see the difference in my quotation marks and question mark???? - crazy question)

Back to the question - last meal - what would I eat?  Those of you who know me well know that I might pick Mexican food.  I love Mexican food.  I love margaritas.  What can I say?  I believe that I could eat a plate of beans and rice every day - especially black beans.  Why is it so hard to get black beans in most Mexican restaurants?  We have one or two in town where you can get black beans but most just have refried beans - I like refried beans, too.  That was a rambling thought.

I have some favorite Mexican restaurants - I love Sol Azteca's salsa and their margaritas.  I love a good taco salad at Cocina Superior.  I love the black beans at La Paz.  I love the grilled chicken breast at Amigo's on Lorna Road.  I love the decor of Iguana Grill.  (I told you that I like Mexican food!!) I've enjoyed the catering from La Brisa which is located at the back of the neighborhood next to us.  But . . .  I love the convenience of Frontera Grill which is just moments from our house.  Laura and Marquise (one of her sweet roommates) and I were eating at Frontera Grill on this night.  It is so nice to have to be able to jump in the car and run to Target or the Dollar Tree and stop at Frontera Grill.  Mark loves their soup.  I almost always get a cheese quesadilla and rice and beans . . . .and a margarita (sometimes a strawberry margarita - pictured below . . .and chips and salsa. 

Oh, by the way, Frontera Grill has pretty cool decor also.  I love the lights hanging from the ceiling.  You can tell from this picture that they need to replace a few strands.  This place is always packed.  I can't believe that there are empty chairs in this picture!  This was back in May, I think.  We also went there for my birthday celebration and it was packed.  There are always lots and lots of kids.  I guess it is a very family friendly, neighborhood kind of Mexican restaurant.  When we were there for my birthday, it was packed and they were short on servers.  Normally, you place your order and your food is hot on the table in less than five minutes.  On my birthday night, it took about an hour.  Waiters were literally running back to the kitchen trying to get orders out.

So . . .my question for you . . .if anyone is really reading this . . .is what would you choose for your last meal? Steak, perhaps? Chinese food? Homemade mac & cheese? I would love to hear from you!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nothing better than a day spent with friends . . .

On the Saturday of Memorial day weekend, we were invited to the Rush family's lakehouse.  It is on a small lake about an hour north of Birmingham.  Mark has been in the same Emmaus reunion group for many years.  This gathering was for their reunion group and spouses.  This was our second year to gather this way and we had so much fun.  We spent lots of time soaking up the sun and laughing and talking and eating.  (Rhonda always puts out snacks to nibble on while we are down at the water and she had these wonderful spicy flat pretzels that day.  I liked them so much that I bought a bag to take to the scrapbooking crop a couple of weekends ago and now there are several more women who love them!!! -- they are Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps and they are very thin and very crisp and they taste like they have been dipped in a wonderful spicy sauce!!!)

Seems like we always gather at some point in the kitchen.  Every gathering I have ever attended seems to have folks gathered in the kitchen!!

Fred was relaxing by the water.  That giant blue thing behind him was this wonderful floating island.

I was trying out my new camera lens that day.  I had fun zooming in from far away.

I love this picture of Bill.  He has on his hat and this picture just makes me smile!!

Just looking at this picture makes me feel relaxed!!

There was a nice breeze blowing!

Good day with lots of sunshine!!!  As we were leaving to drive back to Birmingham, they were building a big fire in the yard and they were going to make S'mores.  I hated to miss that but needed to get on back.  I've found that I can't stay up too late on Saturday night when I am teaching Sunday School on Sunday morning (oh goodness - that doesn't sound like a middle-aged woman - that sounds like an old woman!!!!)  Rhonda and Bill and their two daughters were wonderful hosts and hostesses and we enjoyed spending time with all of them!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

another pinterest find

I made those cute ladybug pretzels and I also wanted to make this fun wreath.  It was very inexpensive to make and I enjoyed it - good attributes of a project!!

You need a straw wreath form.  I have seen them at the Dollar Tree but of course, they were out when I needed one.  I bought mine at either JoAnn's or Michael's.  I did buy my balloons at the Dollar Tree and I bought the U-shaped pins at JoAnn's.

You simply start attaching the balloons around the wreath using the U-shaped pins.  I had to stand my wreath up on the work table because the balloons "fall" one way or the other depending on how you pin them and I didn't want big bald spots on the wreath when I hung it on the door.  I also tried to make sure that my colors were all mixed up -- not a big clump of one color.

I think it turned out quite cute!  It would be great to hang on the door for our birthdays or I could even use it for any fun party decoration.  Just FYI - it took a lot of balloons.  I probably purchased about 10 packs with 25 balloons in each pack and you need the ones that are fairly large.  This project was easy enough that you could purchase the supplies and let your kids (I would guess that a 10 year old could definitely make it) make it as a summer project on a rainy day!!!