Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The first birthday celebration . . .

Our "children" have picked such wonderful friends. Mark and I enjoy spending time with them and feel so blessed that they allow us to spend time with them!!! Laura celebrated her birthday with us a day early (so that she could celebrate "out and about" on the actual night of her birthday). We went to Sumo and I had never been there before and we all really enjoyed the evening.

Laura invited Taylor and Julie and Anna to go out to dinner with us.


In these restaurants, the chef makes or breaks the dinner!  Our chef was great.  He was funny and personable.  A mother and daughter came in and joined us at our table.

Mark ordered sushi . . . .because he likes it . . .and I think he was the only one who ate it.  I must say that the arrangement was quite pretty!!  I think that sushi must be an acquired taste.  I just can't get over the fact that it is raw fish . . .and I've seen Mark clean too many fish.

Our chef made a mickey mouse with the fried rice!

And he made an onion volcano which was really cool!

When Mark and I arrived at the restaurant, we mentioned that it was Laura's birthday.  The hostess said "you pay $5 extra and get personal chopsticks and dessert."  So we did.  Not only did Laura receive a pair of her very own chopsticks but she also received a fresh fruit cake.  We had ordered a caramel cake from Pastry Arts.  As always, the cake did not disappoint.  YUMMY!
I don't know if I just happened to catch her with her eyes closed . . .or if she was making a wish!

No birthday is complete without the blowing out of candles.

Sitting there watching Laura and her friends and listening to their conversation . . .made me think. I can't believe that just a few short years ago we were planning birthday parties with crafts and paint and jumpy things. How did 25 years pass so quickly? How could I possibly be old enough to have a 25 year old daughter and son? People would always tell me to slow down and enjoy them. How do you slow down when life is running full speed ahead. We did try to slow down as often as possible. One year, they could each pick one after school activity. ONLY ONE. That year was so special. They played outside when the weather was nice. We went to church on Wednesday nights and Sundays. It was a slower time. I still can't believe how fast the years have flown by.

Well, those years have flown by and I am a middle-aged mom and I feel so blessed to be a part of our "children's" lives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Flea Market in Mobile

Who knew?  I love the flea market.  If you had asked me a year ago if I would enjoy a flea market . . .I would have said, "nah. . .I don't think so."  But I actually love going to this one.  Maybe it is because I get to go with Glenn and Lauren.  Maybe it is because it is a PRIME people watching spot.  We saw one girl who had on "ripped" jeans . . .her whole butt cheek was hanging out! (I didn't take her picture - I just stared with my mouth hanging open!)  There are all sorts of people at this flea market.  All sorts.  Really.  People sure are interesting.
I also really like the fact that they have animals at this flea market.  I could buy a chicken or a goat or a bird or a dog . . .all sorts of animals!!
I also love the book seller at this flea market.  (Not the actual person . . . but the book stall)  Oh my goodness, I think I could spend several hours just looking at the titles.  I made this picture extra large so you could see the precarious perching of books and wires!  I will admit that there are spots where I wonder how in the world are the shelves standing.  What is amazing, is that there is actually some semblance of order!!
Oh, I forgot . . .I could even buy a piglet if I wanted to do so!!!
This picture has nothing to do with the flea market . . .but I love this tree!  It is in the hotel parking lot and I wanted to get a book and go sit underneath this tree (but I didn't).
This post is about nothing much . . .just some random pictures that I had uploaded.  I need to catch up!!  It seems like the faster I move forward, the more behind I become!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

choot 'em

Have you ever seen the TV show about alligator hunters? It is one of Mark's favorites. The name of the show is Swamp People. Name should tell you something! Anyway . . .one of Mark's favorite characters on the show is Troy and he always says, "Shoot 'em! Shoot 'em." Except when he says that in his Cajun accent, it sounds more like "Choot 'em." Our friend, Jason, who has been undergoing chemo treatments from Hell also enjoys this TV show. When I was in Mobile . . .in a SHOE store . . .I found a rack of these shirts!  I bought one for Jason.  I thought it might bring a smile to his face!!

By the way, Troy is on the right in the picture below . . .this picture is on the back of the shirt.  Troy even autographed the shirt!  Hopefully, the shirt provided a little chuckle for Jason!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh my goodness - it is soooo big!!

A few weeks ago I went to visit Glenn and Lauren. I had three lovely nights in a local hotel and spent as much time as possible with the two of them. It was a great visit. We went to the Flea Market on Saturday morning (more pictures in another post) and they had these giant Chinese Grapefruits . . .not from China - just the name. I had to buy one just to try it.

I took a picture with a roll of paper towels and a big box of cereal so you could get an idea of how big this thing really was.  It was the size of a small kickball.

Gorgeous pink color . . .look at how large each half is.  That is my knife with the longest blade and it is a very long blade!!

This one section is on the "bowl" of my grapefruit spoon. Each section was huge!!  Not only was it beautiful but it was delicious. It was sweeter than a regular grapefruit. I think I need to buy several the next time I go to visit!!

I found this info on the internet:
The Chinese grapefruit, also known as the pomelo, Bali lemon, pummelo, pamplemousse, Limau besar, or Shaddock, is the largest of all edible citrus fruits. Native to Southeast Asia, the Chinese grapefruit has been cultivated for centuries in tropical and subtropical regions as a source of food. The flesh of the fruit is somewhat sweeter than a grapefruit, with a tangy undertaste in some varieties. Some grocers carry Chinese grapefruits in their produce sections when they are in season, and they can be grown in USDA zones 10 and warmer.

If allowed free reign, the Chinese grapefruit can grow larger than a basketball, with an extremely thick rind covering a segmented fruit. The skin can be green to yellow, with yellow to rosy flesh inside. As a general rule, the pinkish fleshed Chinese grapefruits tend to be more sweet, while the yellow flesh is more acidic and it can be dry. The fruits are eaten out of hand, just like many other citrus fruits, and they can also be juiced, added to preserves, and included in desserts. In some parts of Asia, the skin is candied as a treat

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God's coloring book

I am so blessed to live high up on a hill . . .the sun rises directly in front of our house and I get to see the sunrise every morning.  Sometimes the blinds are still closed and I can see the white blinds as they get a pink tint and I know I need to go look out the window.  If I'm really lucky, I get to see the incredible sunset each day as I drive home. This was my view of the sunrise from the front porch a few weeks ago.

I've always loved to "color" in a coloring book and when I saw these incredible shades of pink and blue and purple, it was as if God was "coloring" that morning.
As the sun rises over the front of the house, I can watch the light patterns shift and change in the back yard.
The leaves were bright orange and luscious gold and when the sunlight hit them it was magnificent.
I'm so glad that our God loves color!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Halloween Part Two

Smither and Mabel . ..those are not their real names but what my husband calls these two. Long funny story to be told another day! They were our first trick or treaters in the church office.

She was having a red sucker before 9:00 in the morning . . .and she had on a white coat . . .and she sure was enjoying it!!

This is another friend's little boy - he is such a cute cowboy, isn't he??  Our daycare has a great Halloween parade.  I didn't go down to the parade this year but handed my camera to Kristi and said, "please take some pictures!!"
Isn't she the sweetest bride?

We also have a special class at Trinity.  This class provides such a wonderful start for these children.  Here is the blurb from our webpage: "A Special Place is a Kindergarten class for 3 and 4 year olds with special needs. The class meets Monday-Thursday, from 8:30AM to 1:00PM. Special Place staff includes a teacher, assistants, speech therapist and an occupational therapist. The class participates with other kindergarten classes for chapel, playtime, story time and special events. Limited enrollment. A Special Place has been an important mission of the church for decades."  The Special Place children paraded through the office and did a little "trick or treating."

I love Halloween and I loved seeing all the cute costumes!! We only had four trick or treaters at our house so I was so glad that I got to see lots of cute costumes at work!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The photos in this post are not good . . .but this post is about much more than photos. This post is about prayer. I am so thankful that I believe in the power of prayer. I am so thankful that I believe in God who answers prayers. I do know that sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no and sometimes the answer is wait a while. I also know that sometimes when I pray, God weeps with me. That is so comforting. I've mentioned before that I love my job. I have a love/hate relationship with part of my job . . .the prayer ministry for our church. I love it because God hears and answers prayer. I hate it (only sometimes) because I hear about all the sick people and little kids who have cancer and people who are getting a divorce and all of those things that make up our messy lives. . . .yet I also love that I have the awesome privilege to pray for these needs.  See, it really is a love/hate relationship.

On this day back at the end of October, I was able to see prayer in action. October is our stewardship month and early in the morning on the day before our big "Celebration Sunday" about forty of us gathered in our sanctuary. Rev. Suzanne talked to us for a minute and shared some ways that we could pray and then she opened our time with prayer. We then spread out over the sanctuary and through the building to Wesley Hall (where our contemporary service is held). We "laid hands" on each pew and we prayed for those who would be sitting there on Sunday morning. Then we wrote something like, "I prayed for you" on a sticky note and stuck it to the pew. We prayed that those sitting there on Sunday would experience God's blessings. We prayed for their families and their spouses. We prayed for our church and that we would indeed be about God's business. There were enough of us that people were able to pray up in the choir loft and people prayed over the "preacher's chair." Oh my goodness . . .when you have 40 or 50 people praying in a room . . .God's spirit is present. As I moved through the balcony, I prayed for my mother-in-law and for Mark's Uncle John who sit in the same pew each week. I prayed for others by name as I pictured them in my mind. You know that most of us are such creatures of habit that we sit in the same general area of the sanctuary each week.

God is at work at Trinity UMC. Yes, HE is. Our pledge campaign is successful . . . commitment cards are still trickling in (if you are reading this and haven't turned in your card, please do so!! haha! I couldn't resist that "commercial") We are in ministry here at Trinity - along with many of you in your home churches - we are doing God's work.

Here is a picture of our senior minister and his wife kneeling at the altar praying for the congregation. I think that is important for folks to know - in a church of over 3,000 members, the senior minister takes the time from his busy schedule to get on his knees. (I apologize for the picture - I was trying to be discreet - no flash, etc.)  (and yes, Dawn has on orange and blue - War Eagle)

Here is a picture of the sanctuary as folks are praying.

On days like that Saturday . . .I am so thankful to be a part of the prayer ministry at Trinity. I am so thankful to be a part of a church family who believes in the power of prayer. I am so thankful to be a part of Trinity UMC!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

One thing this middle-aged mom has really missed is being able to truly "celebrate" some of the different holidays. When our kids went away to college, I didn't decorate if they weren't coming home. As a matter of fact, I remember the first Halloween that they were away . . .I was sad.

Well, this year I was able to decorate to my heart's content because Laura wanted to have a Halloween party. She was in charge of the food and I was in charge of the decorations.

Here is the banner that I made using my Silhouette machine. I tried to post this picture to pinterest and I cannot make my computer do it!!!  I think it turned out well.  There are three people who live in our house -- Laura and I are two of them . . .the other person placed all the pumpkins in the fireplace for me - didn't that person do a great job arranging them? 

Funny story about the food - Laura decided to make Oreo balls. Now I've never made them but several friends told us how easy they were to make. Laura and her friend, Taylor spent two whole nights making those things. Laura said they were truly a labor of love . . and that she wasn't so sure about entertaining if it was so much work!! I, on the other hand, love having them in the kitchen. I loved their chatter and their laughter - those are two other things that I missed much while they were away at college!!!
I had planned to make some ghosts to use on the dining room table and I went to JoAnn's Fabrics to buy dowels and round Styrofoam balls and white muslin.  They had these yard ghosts on sale for about 75% off - I think I paid $6 for each one.  I couldn't buy the materials to make them for that.  So for the table, I removed the big bamboo pole and crammed the small pole down into a block of Styrofoam.
I made these bats on my silhouette machine.  The girls used fishing line and hung them for me and I loved how they fluttered around.
I had to work on the night of Laura's party but everyone was still there when I got home.  I was so excited to see all of the costumes.  Let me introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Scarecrow . . .actually Gabe and Allison.  Gabe has now moved to Denver and we sure are going to miss him!!!  These scarecrow costumes are some of the cutest and most creative I have ever seen. 
Laura's costume was also cute.  She was a bumble bee.  She wanted to be something else and she bought the material and the pattern and the zipper and I cut out the fabric . . .and sat down at my trusty, very old Elna . . .and my  machine would not sew.  Actually, that is not the truth - you can't get it to stop sewing.  From the moment you turn it on, the pressure foot is moving up and down.  I can't decide whether to try to get it fixed or ask for a new one.  I already can't get bobbins for it anymore . . .not even on E-bay.  They don't make them so I've known for quite some time that as soon as I use the last one . . .anyway, I love that machine.  I have sewed soooo many things on that machine!!  The point of all that is that we ran to party city and bought the last wings, etc. a few nights before Halloween.
This is a funny picture . . .Amy's eyes are closed.  She was a flapper.  Nathan was a gypsy and so was his girlfriend, Kendall.  We kept asking them if we needed to count the china and silver . . . .I'm still finding red feathers all over my house.
Lamar brought his girlfriend, Marianne, whom we had never met.  She seems very sweet.  Lamar was a gangster/mob guy and she was a flapper.  I loved her dress and it looked so cute on her.
This picture makes me laugh.  Christie was "the pregnant woman who recently ran a marathon."  In this picture, you can see a corner of her pillow . . but she actually looked pregnant.  Dustin is sitting on the couch . . .he was the young man who rides his bike around and goes door to door.
I guess Evan was a doctor??? and Kendall was our other gypsy.  She looked cute!!
Here is Taylor . . .she was sous chef (helped Laura make Oreo balls) and decorator's assistant (helped me hang things that I couldn't reach!!) and movie provider - we watched old movies while they worked - Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins.  On this night, she was a classic old movie star.  She looked great!!!!  Her "cigarette" is a dry erase board marker.  I laughed and laughed when I realized that!!
You can see Claire in this picture - she has on her mother's wedding dress . .. which was made of polyester . . .and she was the bride of Frankenstein or a zombie bride???  In the corner on the right. . .can you see Austin Powers?  He belongs to Glenn and he is voice activated.  We haven't had Austin out in a while and he was quite funny!!  He can actually scare the living daylights out of me!! 
Mark was "allowed" to stay at the party and he enjoyed himself immensely!  Here he is with Ed.  Ed is Amy's boyfriend and I think he was a boot-legger.

Halloween was a good time for this middle-aged mom. I enjoyed it immensely even though we only had four trick-or-treaters. Two of the four were soooo cute - one was dressed as a hamburger and the other was a princess. All in all, it was a GREAT Halloween!!