Friday, November 10, 2017

What Can I Do?

Last Sunday, we all recoiled in horror as we heard about another mass shooting IN A CHURCH. Earlier this week, I received an email from a friend who lives in the same county where the shooting occurred.  She told me how the pastors in the surrounding area (county) were called to come and make themselves available for the folks who were grieving.  A county changed forever. A small town changed forever. Families changed FOREVER.

What can I do?  I'm just a woman in Alabama.  I can pray for all of those folks. I can even pray for the family of the shooter.

What can I do? I can also be prepared.

This week, our church staff received CPR training and Stop the Bleed training.  I'm going to be honest - I DID NOT WANT TO ATTEND but I'm so glad I did.  As I told my sister this morning, I can do CPR if I had to do so.  I can put a tourniquet on a wound.  I can stuff gauze into a wound to stop the bleeding.  These are all skills that I hope I never ever ever ever have to use but I can if I need to do so.

I had no idea that the area has to be secure before EMS can enter the premises . . .y'all . . .that could be four hours.  In four hours, we might be able to save someone's life using the skills we learned.




That is me in the far left bottom corner of the picture.
Eleanor was practicing her CPR.  I practiced
after her.  Our young fireman told us if we were actually
performing CPR on a human to expect to hear
the sound of breaking ribs . . .and to keep doing
CPR - don't stop.

I went to the bathroom and to get a dadgum
diet pepsi and missed the photo op!
The guy in the blue scrubs was my instructor in the
Stop the Bleed portion and he was really
good and gave us some
advice about what to do in certain
situations.
We are ordering tourniquet kits for the church and we know how to use them.  We have AED's strategically placed throughout the church and we know how to use them. 

I can do something!

p.s. I "borrowed" these pictures from our Trinity UMC facebook page



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

If You're Ever In a Jam, Here I am . . . Hodgepodge

Join us with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for her Wednesday Hodgepodge! Copy the questions and answer in your blog and link up!

1.  In a rut, in a jam, in the groove, out of synch, off balance, out of touch...which saying best fits some area of your life currently (or recently)? Explain.
I'm not sure which one fits right now but when I read the question, I immediately thought of Lucy and Ethel singing this song -
If you're ever in a jam, here I am. If you're ever in a mess, S-O-S. If you ever feel so happy, you land in jail... I'm your bail. It's friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship.
I know you won't believe this but I recently used those lyrics in a Sunday School lesson!

I think maybe I'm "off balance" just a tad (those who know me SHALL NOT laugh - I know I'm always a little off balance!!)  This time of year does that to me.  When you work on a church staff, the time from Labor Day through Christmas Eve can be pretty intense.  Add in a stewardship campaign in October and a few other crazy things and life gets hectic.

2. What is it about somebody else's style of work (coworker/employee/shared volunteer project/household chore) that makes you crazy? Why?
I hate hate hate when people do the bare minimum and I think I shared this a few weeks ago . . .I really don't do well with lazy people.  Get off your butt and do your share (more than your share is even better!) - know what I mean?  I'm blessed because the majority of folks in our office are somewhat like me - they want things to be the best they can be and they are willing to work hard to achieve those goals.

3. What's a tradition that always makes you feel at home?
For those of you who have grown children, you may understand this.  I love when I have all my children under my own roof - especially for a meal.  Home is where my heart is and my heart is with these people.

hubby, daughter, granddaughter

such a good pop!!

Dinner on the porch (sorry for the
quality of the picture!)

blowing out the candles
Happy birthday to you!


4. A favorite song with a girl's name in the title or lyrics? Any reason why this is a particular favorite?
I made the mistake of going to google . . .songs with girl's name in the title - how can I pick just one???  The first one that came to my mind doesn't have a girl's name in the title - just the description - Brown Eyed Girl (because I have a brown eyed girl I love so much!).

This is going to date me . . but I loved the Beach Boys and I loved Barbara Ann.  I also love Breath of Heaven (Mary's song) by Amy Grant.  I actually remember the very first time I heard that song.  You can see that I only made it to the "B's" on the song list so I had better stop or I'll name them all!!

5. Share a favorite quote, verse, or saying relating to gratitude or thanksgiving.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 -- not JUST thankful but OVERFLOWING with thankfulness.

I also like this:
borrowed from the internet!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I love Thanksgiving.  It is truly one of my favorite times of the year.  We get together with family and friends and we gather around a table.  What is it about table fellowship?  I love it!

Speaking of Thanksgiving . . .I think I'm going to order this for my granddaughter today!


Last but certainly not least, I can't get the shooting on Sunday out of my mind.  I'm praying for all of those folks who were sitting in church when the gunman arrived . .. and I'm praying for the families of those who died and for the survivors.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Spooktacular HodgePodge

From this Side of the Pond 

1. What does/did Halloween look like at your house this year? Did you decorate? Pick pumpkins? Carve pumpkins? Expect trick or treaters? Wear a costume to a party or event? Make a costume? Feel glad you didn't have to come up with a costume? Cook a Halloween themed treat? Eat all the leftover candy?
LOVE Halloween!!  Yes, we decorated.  Yes, we have pumpkins!  No, we didn't carve any this year. Yes, we expect between 1000 and 1200 trick-or-treaters.  Don't have a costume this year unless I wear the witches hat that is a decoration on my kitchen island.  I made chicken pot pie last week for our young adults and I used the pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out the top crust!!  I'm going to try very very very hard not to eat any candy at all.
A few friends to help hand out
candy - including Belle!!  The kids
loved her!

You can see the sheer number of trick or
treaters!  If one person took a picture
and commented on Mark's bamboo ladder . . .
at least 100 people did! They also comment on the smell
of our rosemary bushes!

what is this? the day Mark cut the bamboo and
we drove from Homewood to Hoover with
two giant bamboo poles tied to the side
of our car . . .what can I say?
He made the best bamboo ladder ever!


It was SUCH a fun evening!


2. What are you waiting for? Elaborate
I had a hard time narrowing down this answer.  I could be waiting on our trip back to Israel at the end of January.  I could be waiting on our daughter's wedding in May. I could be waiting on Saturday - we will celebrate our daughter-in-law's birthday and our daughter and future son-in-law will be home, too.  There is nothing like having your children back in your home.


3. Do you wish you were friendlier, braver, more creative, more athletic, or something else? Explain.
I often wish I were the kind of person who can ALWAYS see the bigger picture - I'm blessed to work with people who have that vision.  I CAN see it but sometimes it takes a tiny explanation.  Would that be that I wish I were more visionary? more strategic?


4. When it comes time to paint are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone? What was the last paint job completed at your house? What room most needs painting now? How do you feel about wallpaper?
I guess it depends on the size of the job.  We recently had our eaves painted and they are really high up so we hired a professional to paint those.  We keep paint for each room in a mason jar (in a cabinet in the kitchen) and we touch up paint every couple of months.  This tiny step keeps us from having to paint whole rooms quite as often.  Wallpaper was in back when we bought our first house and actually, some of it was already on its way out (back in the mid 80's).  I remember steaming grasscloth from the dining room walls and it was a nightmare!  I know that wallpaper is either back in or coming back in but I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon yet.

5. What is one specific thing you felt gratitude for in the month of October?
I'm so very thankful for so many things - it would be hard to narrow it down to ONE specific thing.  I was just writing in my prayer journal and I could list line after line of Thank you's to our creator.  One of the things I'm grateful for is gainful employment for all of our immediate family.  In this crazy world, we can still make a living!!   I'm so very thankful for Scott, our daughter's fiancĂ©.  We have prayed for the right man (I would write in my prayer journal - not Mr. Right but THE right man) for our daughter - someone to love her and cherish her and take care of her.  Scott is an answer to prayer and it is such a bonus that she loves his parents, too.  I stole this picture from her facebook page. They were at his college homecoming game on Saturday (and it was COLD!).



6.  Insert your own random thought here.
For the last two Sundays, I've taught Sunday School lessons from a book by Bill Hybels - Live Wisely. In Sunday's lesson, he talked about goals for the second half of life. (Bill Hybels was actually quoting from a book called Halftime: Changing Your Game From Success to Significance).  ONE of the things he listed was that he wants to be a good friend to 10 people.  That has stuck in my head.  Life has been so crazy busy that I feel like I haven't been a good friend to even one person lately. Mark and I talked about it on Sunday afternoon and for the new year, we are coming up with a plan!  I've always heard that to have friends, YOU have to be a good friend first.  I'm hoping that 2018 can be the year of friends!  The problem is that we are all beginning to have grandchildren, etc. and life has seemed to escalate rather than slow down. We are going to try to be intentional in 2018. Do you have lots of friends? Are you a good friend? What are some of your favorite ways to hang out with friends?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Yes, it is Thursday but this is Wednesday Hodgepodge!

I'm a day late but I'm posting anyway . . .Wednesday Hodgepodge on Thursday morning - seems like this is the way my life has been running lately!  Join us on any Wednesday and answer the questions and link up over at From This Side of the Pond.


1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general?
Deep question for number 1!!  One of the things that has surprised me most is the wonderful life that I live.  We aren't rich by any means but we aren't poor.  We live in a lovely home. I grew up in a small modest home - actually built by my daddy's own hands - and I never dreamed that I would live in any other kind of home. Mark and I have two beautiful and healthy children and we have the most special grandbaby girl ever! We have a lovely daughter-in-law and will have a wonderful son-in-law in 2018.  I actually get to do a job that I love (most days!) and get paid for it.  We have health insurance. We have good food to eat and clean water to drink.  We have friends who love us like family.  Our siblings are all still living.  Mark's momma is still living and blessing us every single week.

Maybe the thing that surprises me MOST is that for a time, I lived a life that was not pleasing to God. After a divorce when I was quite young, I lashed out at God and my mother (who had died when I was a sophomore in high school).  I did everything I could that I thought would not be pleasing to them.  (no, I didn't realize these motives at the time - I was just "LIVING LIFE.")  Even through all of that, God was waiting nearby.  When I turned my face - even ever so slightly - toward him, he reached out his arms and said, "I'm here."  He loved me through it all and his grace is sufficient.  Isn't that amazing?

I could go on and with my answer for #1 but will show you a couple of cute pictures - yes, she is sitting on their dog . . .and in the second picture, she is wearing her 90+ year old (shh!) great grandmother's shoes!





2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie...you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
Sweet potato fries!!  I could live on French fries of any kind.

3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?
To Kill a Mockingbird - of course, I've read it (not recently!) - it is awesome. 
My all time favorite "Alabama" books are written by Anne George and they are the Southern Sisters Mystery series - they are laugh out loud books! *****
I also love The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews *****

4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?
I laughed out loud when I read that!  Of course, I haven't started my shopping.  Wait . . .wait . .. I do have one present stashed away in my closet!!
How do I stay organized?  I am a LIST maker . . .all the time!  I make a list of all the things I need to do and love drawing a line through the item when it is completed.  I've been known to even write something on my list that wasn't originally there . . .but I did it . .. and I want to mark it off!!
Working in a church puts a little twist in getting ready for Christmas.  We live in the Advent world up until Christmas day so while everyone else is going about their business, Christmas truly doesn't come until we are walking out of the Christmas Eve services for me.  It puts a little spin on the holidays.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

I've never lived in Tennessee.  I've visited that lovely state several times.  We have good friends who live in Nashville (we need to go see them!!).  I've been to the Great Smoky Mountains many times.  I've been to Memphis but not to Graceland.  I've been to Chattanooga and the aquarium.  Mark and I used to "run away" for a night in a hotel and shopping in Chattanooga when our children were young.  There was a place where Mark could buy great suits at a lower price - it was worth the drive.  I've been to Lookout Mountain.

Here are Mark and Hayden at Puckett's in Franklin, Tennessee - Franklin is a great place, too!



6.  Insert your own random thought here.
Fall has finally arrived here in the deep south.  I've worn long (3/4 length) sleeves this week and I've worn pants on 2 different days!
More than one random thought - are you surprised?  The lovely daughter and I are in the wedding planning mode - we've booked the church, the preacher, the reception site, the florist, the photographer.  She has asked her bridesmaids and he has asked his groomsmen.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hold You??

I actually have a title for a more meaningful post going in my head right now but instead . . .I bring you some time with our sweet granddaughter.

We had the privilege of keeping her overnight a couple of weeks ago while her parents cheered on the Auburn Tigers.

We bought a trike and enjoyed pushing her around the park.



This child ADORES her pops.  Pop - pop - pop!


It is so nice living right across from the park - we walked out to the park three different times throughout the day.


She was afraid to go down the big slide by herself so Mark was sliding with her.  Later in the day, there were bigger boys sliding and she wanted to do it all by herself - peer pressure at 18 months is a real thing!!


It was a gorgeous day - sun was shining enough that we had to struggle with sunscreen.  Oh goodness - babies hate sunscreen.



When you stay overnight at Gran and Pops, you might receive a ginormous blueberry muffin from Sprouts for breakfast. . .and you might leave crumbs EVERYWHERE but Pop swept them all up and never complained because he loves this girl so much!


Whole Foods is opening a couple of miles from our house and we received an invitation to a pumpkin patch hosted by Whole Foods.  We were so excited . . .and then a tad disappointed because it wasn't really a pumpkin patch at all.  We decided to make the best of it!


Sweet girl picked out her pumpkin immediately and though we looked at others, the original pumpkin was THE ONE she wanted.



She has a totally perplexed look on her face in this one.


She enjoyed running up and down the hill after picking out her pumpkin - snack in one hand and "botcha" (bottle/cup) in the other hand!


What does Harvey have to do with a grandbaby weekend?  He is worn out when she leaves.  He is still not sure about this thing called "a child" - who is she? why is she here? why does she pull my tail? why does she try to ride me? I need to sleep now!


Everyone told us that it would be wonderful to be a grandparent and they were right.  There is nothing like hearing her say the words, "hold you" meaning she wants you to hold her.  When she says those words to either one of us, we pick her up!!  This stage is gone before you can blink so we are trying to soak up every moment!

p.s. Our Whole Foods opens this weekend!  Yay!  The redeeming part of their pumpkin patch was everyone got a $15 off $50 purchase card (but I can't remember where I put mine - wah!).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Of Good Courage -- Catalyst 2017

This past week, Mark and I were privileged to attend Catalyst in Atlanta with some of our pastors.  The theme for the two days was "Of Good Courage" and we heard wonderful stories of the courage that can come only from God. It was an amazing two days - at times, almost more than I could possibly absorb.

The line up of speakers was top notch -- Andy Stanley; Bob Goff; Tim Tebow; Katie Davis Majors; Christine Caine; and Brene Brown just to name a few.  The music - wow - the music!!  Some of the band (the main band?) from Northpoint was phenomenal.  Mosaic and Johnnyswim and Hillsong provided music at other times - Wow!

On our way into the Infinite Energy Center, we saw Bob Goff and we were able to get a picture with him.  If you haven't read his book, Love Does, buy it right now.  Seriously - in the next sentence just click on it and you will go right to the amazon page (they are not paying me nor do they know I'm promoting the book - it is just good!!). Log onto Amazon and buy it now!!  We thought that Bob was just pretending to be a pirate but when he spoke, he shared that he had eye surgery the day before and the doctors aren't sure they can save his vision.  Of course, when we met him, Mark was talking to him non-stop  . . . inviting him to meet for a beer! hahahaha!



 Eleanor (Children's minister), Amy (one of our associate pastors) and I grabbed a quick selfie.


In between the speakers, the hosts played games (karaoke and dance offs!) and offered other fun entertainment.  Jeff Foxworthy entertained with his story about a colonoscopy.  I laughed until I really had tears running down my face and I had heard that routine before!!


I read in a follow up email that there were 8,300 people worshipping together in this place.  On day two, they led us in an old worship song - Heart of Worship - and it was amazing to hear 8,300 people worshipping God together and to feel the Holy Spirit's presence in that place.


I recorded the entertainment below but I can't get it to work in the blog so a still photo will have to do.  The guy (who had a fancy name and fancy clothes) ran around this hamster cage and jumped high in the air and I was as amazed as any little kid. I felt like I either had a big grin on my face or I was laughing . . .or I had tears in my eyes for the majority of time we were there.


They used lights and sound and motion and video and all of the other tricks to enhance worship.


JohnnySwim was amazing.  I know I've used the word amazing and phenomenal several times but I just can't think of any other great descriptors!! 
There was a contingent from Puerto Rico sitting to his right.  I would love to know if they had originally planned to come or if they were stranded in Atlanta (able to escape from Puerto Rico to Atlanta??) and Northpoint church found out about them and offered them tickets -- I don't know - but they were there.  JohnnySwim went over to their section and sang just to them at one point - totally unscripted because they didn't have him mic'd to do that.


I took a couple of pictures of Andy Stanley because one of our Tuesday night girls has a "preacher crush" on Andy Stanley.  I was texting them to her while he spoke!!


I needed some spiritual food and was granted a feast portion during these two days.  We actually skipped out on two parts and Mark said if we ever get to go back, we are going to every session!
I loved getting to know my co-workers better. I loved worshipping.  I learned much from the speakers - oh my goodness, Christine Caine and Brene Brown were two of our favorites.  I am so thankful that Brian allowed Mark and me to go with the group and I thank God that we are in a church where the staff is continually encouraged to grow in our own faith.

THANKS BE TO GOD!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Road Trippin' . . . Hodgepodge





1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.

When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 

back east, down south, out west, up north

Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.

I want to say that I have an EXCELLENT sense of direction but my husband would laugh hysterically if I said that . . .so evidently, I don't!  My worst sense of direction is on the water.  Many years ago, I took the boat driver's certification class (or something like that!) and when I was practicing I had no idea where I was on the water!!  Mark (hubby), on the other hand, has a great sense of direction - on water and land! 

I love using my phone for directions.  I can't remember the last time I used a map - quite a few years ago.  We went to Catalyst (conference) last weekend and my phone was my life line!!

Just last night we talked about "out west" because one of our young adults is taking a long road trip this week - heading west and then north.

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.
I did a lot of listening yesterday.  I took notes in a meeting . . .I listened to young adults.  I also did a lot of talking with different vendors.

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?
oh goodness, I waste some of all of the above.  I waste time on the internet.  I take showers that are too long.  I love to have lots of lights on . . . plus we have lights on the outside of the house right now.  I'm pretty sure I've wasted a lot of opportunities, too.  I'll try to do better today!!



4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family roadtrip from your own childhood.
Our family took a week long vacation to Laguna Beach (near Panama City, Florida) every summer when I was growing up.  I remember how long it took back then before interstates!!

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?
Marijuana - so I could get rich!  JUST KIDDING!  REALLY - I'M JUST KIDDING!!  It is 6:20 a.m. and that thought just popped into my head and made me laugh!  Could I grow money?  That would be even better!!  Seriously, I would love to have a garden.  My daddy and granddaddy always had a garden.  I love fresh tomatoes straight from the vine.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We are deep into the first stages of wedding planning.  Our daughter got engaged last weekend and we are so happy for them!  They have set the date and we've booked the church and a reception venue so I feel like we are definitely moving forward!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

I have started at least three blog posts and they sit there in my file . . .waiting on me!  Life has been a whirlwind.  My family loves to take a vacation in September and I WANT to be with my family but September through Easter is my busy season.  Actually, there is not a "not busy" season but at this time of year EVERYTHING ramps up a notch.  I feel like I'm running trying to catch up after vacation (but it was worth it!).

I thought I would blog today using Joyce's questions!

1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.
We had a couple of cats . . .and yes, I'm allergic to cats.  I remember a yellow cat named Tom.  The most special pet of all was a calico cat.  Her name was Missy and she was my cat.  She rode all over town in the basket on the front of my bicycle.  I wish I had a picture of the two of us!!

2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?
Writing this blog - yes, please!

3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?
September 2007?  My kids were in their Sophomore year of college.  I was working full time as the Membership Secretary at our church and I was probably at the beach!!

4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi...which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?
I've never made dumplings.  I did not eat dumplings today.  I did not know that yesterday was National Dumpling Day!  Who knew??  My granny made wonderful chicken and dumplings.  I have made something similar to Apple Dumplings and they are delicious.  Mark loves Chinese dumplings.  I don't think I've ever eaten pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi.
I have a good friend who loves gnocchi!  Does that count?

5. 'There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don't.' William Trogdon

So which kind are you?
I have no idea . . .I would like to pretend that I'm one who is looking for an adventure . . .but I'm not sure that accurately describes me!

I have to close with this sweet picture which has NOTHING to do with today's post.  This is my sweet mother-in-law who is WAAYY older than she looks holding our sweet grandbaby (her great grandbaby) on Sunday.  Emma loves books and so does Grandmother.  I've tried to snap a photo every time she holds Emma.  See the blue cover on the arm of the chair?  Emma is fascinated with those and changes them from chair to chair!!



6. Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

lazy days filled with sunshine and salt water

Just a few pics from our week . . . I've thought of words I want to write but I can't quite put my thoughts together so here are some pictures with a few comments.

We've rested and chased an 18 month old and rested some more.  We've eaten some good seafood and some turkey sandwiches.  Some of us have read some books.

I needed a vacation.

Emma and I were hanging out while Glenn, Lauren, and Mark did a beer tasting at the brewery in Fairhope.  This was on our way down to Fort Morgan -- detour through Fairhope.


We had dinner at Tacky Jack's on the first night and watched the sun set.  It was actually chilly that night!


We are staying at a house on the bay and some of us (I am not one) have fished and netted and spent long hours on the pier.  Glenn was throwing the net.



We've spent some time on the beach (this is what we called the big beach -- on the gulf side) and we've spent a lot of time on our little private beach (on the bay).

This cute little munchkin has been so fun . . .and so busy . . .and so cute!!