Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Fall!

Answering the questions from Wednesday Hodgepodge. Joyce always asks such interesting questions!!

1. It's fall y'all. What's something you love about this season and also something you don't? 

I’m going to start with the thing I don’t like – ragweed! We have lots of it in Alabama!

Now, on to things I like about fall in Alabama. Our weather is usually wonderful! October is normally a fairly dry month with blue skies and pleasant temps. Mark and I took a drive to the northern part of our state on Friday and it was perfect weather to be outside!

2. When you think of the colors of fall, which one is your favorite? Is there somewhere you could easily day trip to see the leaves in all their glory? Will you?

Orange – not only is it a great fall color, but it is one of the colors for our team – Auburn Tigers! I think we could daytrip back up to North Alabama and see leaves in all their glory! Some years, we have great fall leaves right here in our own town. I don’t know that I will daytrip again this fall but it would be nice! 

3. What's one thing you've let 'fall' by the wayside during this season of staying home and staying away? I feel sort of like our friendships have fallen to the wayside and I hate it! We are normally fairly social people and due to covid, social engagements have been few and far between. We’ve invited friends over to sit on our porch for an evening beverage two or three times. Another couple has invited us to come and sit on their porch two different times and that is about it. Normally, we would have dinner out with friends at least once or twice a month and we would be together with our supper club friends once a month. 

4. If you're wearing a sweater is it most likely a cardigan, crew neck, v-neck, or zip up hoodie? I am one of the hottest natured people you will ever meet. I own three thin cardigans. I do not even own a crew neck or v-neck sweater and just thinking about wearing one makes me itch!! I love a good soft sweatshirt hoodie!! I actually have one in my office. Sometimes during the summer, the air outside would be so humid that the air conditioner in the office would make it feel sub zero. Some of my co-workers even kept a blanket in their office!

5. What's your secret to dealing with change? Change is hard. I hope someone can share the secret to dealing with it!! We’ve been using the word “pivot” at work – when we are going one way and we can’t continue in that direction due to covid numbers, we pivot. I think we have dealt with so much change over the last six months. One way I have dealt with it is to exercise. I have exercised (stationary recumbent bike and a walk) every single day.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I mentioned our little day trip last week. We were supposed to be at the beach but that didn’t happen due to Hurricane Sally so on Friday we hopped in the car and drove north. We looked at all of the houses that sat perched on the side of the mountain. We bought lunch at the Wildflower CafĂ© and ate on an old-timey concrete picnic table right on the bluff. We went to DeSoto Falls and DeSoto State Park . . .and we drove home and had shrimp tacos for dinner!

One more thing -- our neighborhood goes all out for Halloween. I spotted this on my walk yesterday and actually jumped about a foot -- surely this is a big foot skeleton!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge -- Old!

1. What's one thing you learned at the ripe old age of whatever age you are now? I feel like I’m always learning something new and one of the reasons is because almost everyone in my office is younger. I had never participated in a zoom call until this year and now I feel like an expert (not really but I certainly know how to use it!) 

2. I read here a list of foods that can help you look younger- extra virgin olive oil, green tea, fatty fish, dark chocolate, vegetables, flaxseeds, pomegranates, avocados, tomatoes, spices, bone broth How many of the foods listed have you tried? How many do you eat regularly? Your favorite from the list? 
I’m not sure I’ve had bone broth before . . .I just googled bone broth and found a handy dandy chart that explained the difference between broth, stock, and bone broth. I have cooked a hambone with some meat still clinging to it and saved the “liquid” to use in red beans and rice. I guess that is sort of bone broth?? I’ve consumed all of the others. Green tea makes my stomach hurt so I don’t drink it. I love avocados and I didn’t like them at all until I was a grown up. 
3. Something you miss from the 'good old days'? When were the good old days anyway? We are supposed to be in Orange Beach, AL right now but Hurricane Sally blew through there early this morning and it looks like one of our favorite places on earth has suffered devastating damage. My heart hurts for all those who live there year round and those who own rental properties and for the stores and restaurants. Covid has already done a number on everything this year and now to add a hurricane on top!! When our kids were young (middle school), we booked 3 condos every summer for a week and my husband’s immediate family all went down together. We’ve been looking at some of those pictures and our son (almost 34 now) said, “those were some of the best days.” I think those might have been the ‘good old days’ for us.
old photos of the cousins at the beach

Our son, now all grown up, carrying his daughter down the same vacation pier.

4. What are two or three of the most rewarding things to be found in growing older? I get to be me! I don’t worry nearly as much about what other people think about me. I am who God created me to be – sometimes funny, often quirky, sometimes grumpy. I don’t feel that pressure to “keep up” with everyone else. The best part is getting to be a Gran to two beautiful girls! I love hanging out with our kids and their spouses and I love to play with the girls! 5. What's your favorite part of your life right now? I do love those grandkids! I also love that my hubby and I have hung in there since 1984. We made it through some tough years. He is now working only 3 days a week and will finally be able to travel with me (if covid ever goes away). We were able to experience Israel together in February. The first two times I went, he was unable to go and I had a great time but it was so awesome seeing everything through his first time eyes. 

Mark at the Western Wall

6. Insert your own random thought here. I think I’m ready for soup weather and I think we might have some of that weather next week. I live in the deep south and we will probably still be wearing shorts at Thanksgiving (I should say that I will still be wearing shorts at Thanksgiving – probably not anyone else!) BUT it is 69 degrees right now and next week, the highs will be in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s!! We will have a touch of fall and I think I’ll have to make soup. I've actually decided to make soup in the crockpot tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Questions courtesy of From This Side of the Pond:

1. Something you've done in recent days or months that might be described as a labor of love? I’ve been sewing masks for a local church/mission – Church of the Reconciler. You can read about their ministry here. I must admit that I have made a few for myself and my family, too.

2. Last time you 'worked your fingers to the bone'? One weekend back in July, we decided to paint the outside of our screened porch. It was hot that day and I almost stayed outside too long! 

3. According to a recent survey people named the following ten jobs as the hardest-nurse, doctor, paramedic, police officer, firefighter, surgeon, healthcare worker, bomb squad, farmer, and prison warden. Of the jobs listed which would you say is the hardest? Oh goodness – they are all hard!! I HATE to be around someone when they throw up so maybe any of the medical professions would be hard for me. The one you'd most like to do? None of those jobs really appeal to me but I guess the one that I might enjoy would be the farmer. Least like to do? See answer about vomit above!! What's one job you would add to the list? School teachers right now!!! Their job is so tough trying to teach the kids – some virtually, some in person, all the while trying to keep themselves and the children safe and healthy.

My daughter's classroom - she is teaching virtually but also has to see students in small groups throughout the week:

4. A recipe you make that is labor intensive, but worth it? I made a praline pecan cake for my mother-in-law’s 95 birthday back in July. She is one of the best bakers around and I wanted to make something special for her. This cake was labor intensive! We also make a German Chocolate cake (mother-in-law’s recipe) that is very labor intensive. Both of these cakes are worth it. I don’t eat desserts with sugar in them anymore but I’ve eaten the German Chocolate cake in the past (really really really good) and everyone said the praline pecan cake was delicious.

5. Last job you did or task you completed that required teamwork? I work on a church staff and I feel like a lot of our jobs require teamwork – worship services require teamwork. Speaking of worship services – is your church meeting in person yet?

6.  Insert your own random thought here. We had some time with both of our granddaughters over the long weekend. Our son’s little girl is four going on fourteen and is so cute and sweet and loves her pops (and Gran). Our daughter’s little girl will be 14 months this week and she is so cute, funny, and sweet!! She is like a little sponge right now – she wants to imitate anything we say or do!


Thursday, September 3, 2020


Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks to “from this side of the pond” for the questions! Yes . . .I know it is not Wednesday. I guess mine is Thursday Hodgepodge.

1. The Hodgepodge lands on the second day of a brand new month. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in September.

We are headed to the beach for a few days later this month and I desperately need a vacation. I plan to take lots to read and if it is sunny, I’m going to be sitting in a puddle of sunshine while reading. If it rains, I’m going to curl up on a comfy chair or sofa. I hope to take some long walks and have a few cold beverages. Due to covid, we will not be eating in restaurants but I hope to pick up some fresh shrimp one night! 

I cannot believe it is September. I keep thinking we haven’t had summer yet. This pandemic has done a number on my mind.

2. Do you enjoy browsing second-hand shops? Last thing you bought or 'inherited' second hand?

My first thought is that I don’t do second hand but actually, our church usually has a Lil Lambs sale 2 times a year. The sale is for gently used (very good condition) children’s clothing and toys and I have bought quite a few things for my granddaughters at the last two sales. If you sign up to work, you get to shop early so I’ve done that. I bought a pack and play and a bouncy seat for our house and I’ve found some really cute clothes. (due to covid, we aren't having the fall sale)

3. Something you had second thoughts about after committing to, purchasing, or posting/commenting online?

I rarely post anything online that anyone could misconstrue but I did one time – yes, one time! I had been in Walmart and had watched a child throw a temper tantrum and I commented about it on Facebook. A sweet person that is an acquaintance quickly told me that the child might have autism. I think I responded and said, “no, it was just a kid pitching a fit.” Then last year, we took an online class at work about how our church staff & building could be more friendly to those with autism and I realized that the child I saw way back when was probably NOT throwing a temper tantrum but reacting to too much noise and too many outside stimuli . . .and I felt (and still feel) bad about what I posted that day.

4. What's a product or service you use that you'd rate as second to none?

We have an old precor treadmill. I bought it back when our kids were probably in middle school and they are almost 34. It was a “club grade” treadmill and we are still using it almost every day. Just this morning, I was on the treadmill and my husband was on his SECOND HAND (do I get extra points??) airdyne and he said, “we sure have gotten our money’s worth out of that treadmill.” It is truly second to none! We’ve had it worked on 2 times in all of these years.

Also, look at that new garage floor. Southern Grit (love the company name) is owned by one of our neighbors and we had the floor done a few weeks ago -- it is awesome!

5. Something you do so often or that comes so naturally to you it's second nature ?

I can type really quickly and I don’t even know which key is what letter – I’ve typed for so many years that all of the memory is in my fingers. Would that be second nature? 

I also have positivity as one of my top strengths and I think it has become second nature for me to look for the positive in each situation.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Over the weekend, I blogged for the first time in over a year. I’ve missed writing down some of my thoughts. Now for my totally random thought . . .I was talking to my daughter on the phone yesterday and I said that something (or someone?) was cray cray and she said, “don’t say that anymore. People don’t use that word anymore!” Well dadgum, I had just gotten used to it and it is far nicer than the words I used at the beginning of the pandemic . . .Bat sh*t crazy!


Saturday, August 29, 2020


So, it has been over a year since I last wrote anything! I've thought about writing. I've had several ideas in my head but I haven't been able to wrap my head around the things going on in this world! Who would have thought we would be living through a pandemic? Who would have thought that we would not only be "divided" by political party but that we would spew hate at each other? 

Anyway, like many folks I have cleaned out some things over the last 6 months. I was digging through some books in the bottom of a closet today and I came across this little notebook.

As an aside for folks with dust allergies, our masks that keep others safe from our germs work great when digging through dusty boxes!

While sitting on a tiny stool on the floor of an upstairs closet, I flipped through the prayer journal and found something that I had written and I just wanted to put those words into a more "permanent" location than a piece of paper in the bottom of a closet.

At the time (2008), I was facilitating a study on prayer and we weren't just studying about prayer, we were actually praying in various ways over the weeks of the study.

One of the prayer "practices/exercises" was to escort each of my loved ones and friends right to the HUG of Jesus.

Here are the words:

This is one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) exercises of the whole study. . .to escort each of my loved ones and friends right to the HUG of Jesus -- my family, our supper club, those who need healing in my mind's eye. I had to restrain myself to not run into his arms FIRST -- an act of love to take everyone else first. I felt as if each person was receiving exactly what they needed. I also imagined the response of each person as we were approaching Jesus - was there fear? joy? nervousness? Did each person experience peace? calm? were they made fully whole and fully healed? At the end, when it was finally my turn, I wanted to HOLD ON to Jesus. I did NOT want to let go.

It is now 2020 -- that was 12 years ago -- 12 YEARS AGO -- I've been rereading the different prayers I prayed and for those still among us, I have prayed again today!!! For those who have died, I gave thanks for them and what they meant to me.  For one couple that was dating at the time (and we all prayed about their relationship), they are now married and have twin girls and a little boy!

God is amazing, y'all. Things may not be right in our world today but God is still God and I am grateful! (oh goodness, my writing is rusty -- I need to work on it!!)

Friday, June 21, 2019

Stress Eating

I haven't blogged since November of 2018. Why? Well . . .I'm not totally sure. That last post was a fun one -- I won a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle!! Right around that time our daughter and son-in-law shared with us that they were expecting their first baby but we were sworn to secrecy. I was afraid I would slip and tell someone!

Then we had Christmas and New Year's. We've been under a massive construction project at work. Things have been going on!

If you are one of my friends or family who likes to "fix" things - STOP reading now. Just close your phone or computer and move on to something else. I don't need "fixing." I just realized last night, while home alone, that I needed to talk through some things.

See, it's like this. I've lost about 80 pounds over the last 2 years. FYI - 70 of those have been through using the WW (Weight Watchers) program. I thought that I had changed all of my habits over those 30 months but I realized last night that I still struggle with at lease one issue. At some point in my crazy past, I learned to "stuff" my feelings by eating. When I'm stressed, I want to eat. I noticed the struggle a couple of weeks ago but was able to manage by eating an extra piece of fruit or a protein bar, etc. Last night, I was home alone and over the course of several hours, I realized that I had eaten an entire cup (in tiny increments) of peanuts. On Weight Watchers, you get 23 points a day. A cup of peanuts has 26 points. I can't eat my regular food PLUS a cup of peanuts. This would definitely cause weight gain if I did it again . . .and I've worked way too hard.

So what has me stressed out? This is not anyone's fault -- this is my long-time habit of the way I deal with things. No . . I do not need time off. No . . .I do not need you to talk me through this. No . . .I don't need suggestions of what to do (I've been exercising twice a day; sleeping enough; etc.). I just need to process these thoughts and maybe my words might resonate with someone else and help them through a rough patch, too . . .so they won't eat a cup of peanuts!!

My sweet mother-in-law was put into the hospital last Friday and had to have a pacemaker installed on Saturday. She is over 90 (she doesn't like us to share her age) and she did well. She had another hospitalization back in October. We think she is going to live forever but reality has been knocking in the back of my head this last week. My mom died when I was 15. Mark and I have been married 35 years and dated two before that. Susie has been my mom for 37 years now - more than double the time I had with my own mother. Hospitals stress me out.

Our son and daughter-in-law moved to a lovely new home with an incredible yard. That shouldn't be stressful for me - I didn't go anywhere but I have felt stressed about their move.

Our daughter and son-in-law are expecting a sweet baby girl to arrive in July but our daughter has had some complications with her pregnancy. She lives an hour and a half away and her complications have been stressful for this mama bear (but nothing like the stress it has caused the two of them).

Just putting these thoughts down on paper (not really paper, is it??) is freeing up my mind. I follow several other folks on social media who have lost 100+ pounds and some of those folks are stress eaters, too. We can learn to deal with it but first we all have to recognize it. I'm recognizing it and claiming it and declaring it and dealing with it.

Last year, we participated in Celebrate Recovery as a staff. I didn't want to participate but it ended up being a really important step in my journey. I have to admit things -- TO MYSELF. I have to recognize these things. I also read Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen back in May and realized that I do indeed suffer from an eating disorder. Maybe not an eating disorder just like anyone else's but I have my own issues.

I'm also a number one on the Enneagram so I like things to be perfect. In the past, if I fell off the wagon . . .I stayed off the wagon because it (I) wasn't perfect. This journey is not about perfection. This journey is about permanent change -- a change that will add years to my life. Originally, I didn't even share with people that I was working on losing weight because if I failed, I thought I would quit (again!!). Somewhere along this journey, I realized that I can keep going - even when I eat a cup of peanuts. I've come way too far.

Maybe you drink too much. Maybe you eat too much. Maybe you struggle in some other area of your life. We don't have to do this alone. Hang in there. Recognize your struggles. If you need a friend, I'll even listen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We never win anything!

If I've heard those words once, I've heard them a bajillion times around our house. We never win anything. One year, we set out as a family to win the HGTV dream home. We bought postcards and sent those in. We registered online. We didn't win. I've always dreamed of Publisher's Clearing House showing up at my door with a giant check. We've never won. We've bought lottery tickets (when visiting other states) and we've never won. My sister has sent lottery tickets to my kids with their birthday presents. I can't say we've never won because our daughter did win $20 from the Texas lottery!

This fall, our daughter-in-law won BIG time. She won an all expense paid trip to London for five people to attend the red carpet showing of the new Harry Potter movie. I've seen her pictures and heard a little about the trip and she and her four friends were treated like royalty! She WON!

About a month ago, I received an email from Pappy & Co. They were having a sweepstakes. If you purchased a box of Bourbon Nib Brittle, you were entered into the sweepstakes. Mark loves all things Pappy so I thought, "why not?" especially when I read about the sweepstakes and it sounded like Willy Wonka. The winning brittle would contain a golden ticket! I thought that I would stash the brittle and put it in Mark's stocking or give it to him if he was having a bad day. When the package from Pappy arrived, I opened the shipping box and there was the brittle and a card that had "congratulations" written on it. I had not said anything to Mark about the sweepstakes so I emailed the folks at Pappy and said, "does this mean I won?" I promptly received an email back "Yes - You won!" I NEVER WIN but I won big this time!

Mark's grand prize arrived yesterday. A 12 year old bottle of Van Winkle.

Not just any bottle of Van Winkle but a bottle signed by Julian Van Winkle III himself. (his signature is also on the brittle box!)

I won! I can't believe it! I won! I've made my husband a happy man! Hubby has asked me to enter any sweepstakes they offer! 
Thank you so much Pappy & Co.!!  (Just FYI Pappy & Co is owned/run by women - triplets - you can read this article about them)
p.s. we've also purchased their bourbon balls - yummy!!
p.s.s. they didn't pay me to write this article - we won and I'm writing because I'm excited!