Monday, November 2, 2015

I Promise that these are different crawfish!

I just found these pictures already loaded and realized that I never blogged about them!  Our son and daughter-in-law had a crawfish boil sometime this last year!!  Their dog, Riley, was fascinated by those crawfish.  These are not the crawfish from the lake at the farm!

Just FYI - this is a lot of crawfish --  A LOT!

They also bought beverages.  I'll bet that you thought I was showing you the view and the beautiful day.

They played cornhole with the set that we gave to Glenn last year.  A local guy had posted on one of the community pages on facebook that he made custom cornhole sets.  I bought one for Glenn and it is really nice.  Riley thought they were throwing those bean bags JUST for her.

Let me just tell you that this food was so hot it burned my mouth!! Whew!  It was a fun evening and we enjoyed getting to know some of their friends!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Join up over at From This Side of the Pond for Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. Are you comfortable with silence? If you're home alone, do you like silence or do you need regular background noise? Do you seek out times and places to be silent? What's your favorite place to find silence/be silent? I love silence! Not all of the time but I NEED some silence every day. I’m an extrovert but I have to re-charge. My husband loves to listen to music and has a play list he wants to listen to every morning when we are getting ready for work. Sometimes I close the door so I can’t hear it because I just need some silence! I also rarely listen to the radio in the car (unless I’m in hubby’s car) for the same reason.  If I’m home alone, I rarely turn the tv on . . .on the other hand, my husband walks through the door and turns on the tv.

2. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Can't let that go by without a mention now, can we? Will you celebrate? How? Let's say you can have one of the following right this very minute... a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie...what's your pleasure? I love chocolate (just like I love silence!!).  How creative of me to start both answers the same way – NOT! I shouldn’t admit this, but I just ate a Reese cup because a co-worker brought it to me from the children’s Halloween parade in our day care.  I like hot chocolate when it is cold outside – maybe in January? (I live in Alabama and it is not cold here today) I like chocolate pie! I’m not too big on fruit and chocolate and I prefer Moose Tracks or something like that over plain chocolate ice cream.

3. How do you feel about blue jeans? Favorite thing in the world to wear or nope, don't own a single pair? How often do you wear blue jeans in a typical week? Do you own a blue jean jacket? I want to love blue jeans. Maybe if I were skinny, I would enjoy them more. I love denim skirts – I have several. I have a denim jacket – two, I think! In the winter, I probably wear jeans once a week. In the other months – never.

4. Are you superstitious? If so, in what way? I should respond that I am not superstitious – I’ve always heard that Christians shouldn’t be superstitious . . .BUT I think I am about a couple of things.  My sister and I were talking just yesterday about the fact that we could never call in sick if we aren’t really sick . . .because our mom always made us believe that if we lied about it, we would get sick.  Typing those words makes me realize how silly it sounds.  If I spill salt, I always through some over both shoulders! I think it is just habit – not really superstition!!  I started working on this several hours ago and just haven't had time to finish BUT my brain has still been processing.  We always eat black eye peas and greens on New Year's Day for luck and money in the new year.  I also have a tendency to lift my feet (if I'm not driving) when we drive over railroad tracks.  All of these are just fun habits. I don't think that I actually think something is going to happen if I don't do them (though as I've typed these things, I've wondered if I'm crazy!!).

5. If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with? I’ve been wracking my brain on this one. I can’t think of anything I have at home for a GOOD costume. I have some red bandana fabric so maybe a kerchief around my neck and some jeans (which I do own even though I don’t wear often) and a shirt . . . cowgirl? Or I could use those same things and be Rosie the Riveter by adding a nametag? Or maybe I could cut out a big black P and put it on my white t-shirt and use eyeliner to black my eye and I could go as a black eye pea!!

6. What scares you a little? What do you do when you feel scared? Vampires scare me a lot. Even the lovey dovey vampires. If I watch anything with vampires, I have nightmares.  Isn't that ridiculous for a woman who is my age???  Something else that scares me a little . . .I stay by myself a good bit when Mark goes to the farm. Sometimes I might hear a noise that frightens me A LITTLE and I usually pull the covers over my head and say a prayer!  I usually go back to sleep.

7. Perhaps today will be the day I _______ -- win a million dollars?? Start a diet and stick with it? run a marathon? (not!) Act like Christ more often? Stay for Brian’s Bible study on Esther tonight instead of going home and crashing?

8.  Insert your own random thought here. I work in an amazing place. Today we found out about a momma with multiple children who is in a hard place.  She is a hair stylist.  Our boss (the senior minister) sent out an email asking if anyone needed a haircut? If so, we could schedule her to come to the church. The email popped into everyone’s inboxes and immediately responses started.  We have a large list of folks who want a haircut (who probably don’t really need one), we have an envelope of contributions (one staff member said that as she read the email, she felt led to give everything in her wallet . . .and she did – another staff member from our janitorial staff brought a sacrificial cash offering, too . . .along with several other monetary gifts from staff members), we are pounding her with non-perishable food, etc. and we are having a party . . . on Monday.  All because #lovedoestrinitydoes . . .all because Jesus gave the greatest gift ever!  There are days when all of us don’t want to go to work, but working here at Trinity . . . those days are few and far between.  Days like today are extra special!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear God

Lord Jesus,
Come into our hearts this day. Fill us up with your holy spirit. Help us to allow your grace to spill over onto every person we meet – whether it is the check-out lady at the grocery store and the greeter at Walmart, our co-workers, or the homeless person we pass on the street. Give us a sense of adventure and a sense of wonder and awe so that we might be caught up in ministry with you. Give us smiles on our faces, love in our hearts and action in our hands.
Lord, I pray for each of my co-workers . . .Ann, Amy, Amy, , Bobby, Brian, David, Donna, Eleanor, Fred, Joe, Haley, Jessica, Jodi, Julie Lynn, Kate, Linda, Kristan, Laura E., Laura E., Lynn, Marie, Nathan, parker, Reid, Robert, Ryane, Shelley, Stuart, Suzanne, Tori, Trey, Ross, Nommi, Jerome, Hans, and all the other folks in this building that help make ministry happen. You know the needs of their hearts – show us how to love and help each other.
Lord, I pray for my family . . .Mark, Laura, Glenn, Lauren, little Elliott yet to be born, Grandmother, our sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews . . .and I pray for my friends, whom I call family – Phella and Guy and Laura and Allen and Kim and Dave and Duane and Terrie and many others. I pray for my neighbors, Lord – those literally on either side of my house and across the street. . and for those far away neighbors.
I pray for my church – for leaders and preachers and Sunday school teachers; for money to do ministry; for the merger between Oakmont campus and Oxmoor Road campus; for our hearts to be broken by the things that break your heart; for our backpack ministry; for the food pantries we help support. I pray for the firehouse shelter and Urban Ministry and the church without walls. I pray for this Sunday – Celebration Sunday; Stop Hunger Now – show up Holy Spirit – blow through this church in such a mighty way that we will ALL know that you have been here and that we have been standing on holy ground. Then help us not to hoard that goodness and those blessings for ourselves but to spread them throughout the community.
I pray for those with mental illness (Drew and many others). I pray for those with cancer – Amy Lengel, Beverly and Anna and so many others (thanks that Shepherd had clean scans).
I give thanks for this gorgeous Fall weather – blue skies; white fluffy clouds; warm sunshine; crisp mornings. I give thanks for friends and family and church and food on the shelf and a home and good medical care and clean drinking water and indoor plumbing. I give thanks for a grandbaby on the way; a wonderful job for Laura; an opportunity for Laura to own her own townhouse. I give thanks for transportation.
I give thanks for the opportunity to do a job that feels like ministry – is ministry. I give thanks for the fact you think you can use me to facilitate – both young adults and folks like me. Oh goodness gracious – I give thanks for each young adult that has walked through the doors of our home over the last 5 ½ years. How many have you sent, Lord? How many have you entrusted to us? What is so amazing about Tuesday nights is you have used each one of those young adults to change Mark and me; to help us grow closer to you; to be in community with others; to keep us “young.”  I pray for all those in the John Wesley class and for how you use each of them in such mighty ways – from scholarships to food banks to fans for homeless folks to anonymous gifts.
I give thanks for Bob Goff and for the book, Love Does. I give thanks for opportunities to learn and grow. I give thanks that you allow us to be a part of your work here on earth.
Lord, take this jumbled prayer and these random thoughts and know these words are from my heart. Lead, guide and direct us!
In your precious HOLY name we pray!

P.S. I love you, God!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

LOVE DOES by Bob Goff

October is always "stewardship" month in our Methodist church. We've had some great Octobers in the past with some great themes but THIS YEAR - THIS YEAR is the best theme ever. Our pastors have been preaching on the theme Love Does and we, the church folks, were offered the chance to use the Love Does book and DVD's by Bob Goff in our Sunday School classes.  Our class chose to go along with the series and I am so very thankful that we did.  I've been teaching adult Sunday School for 24 years and this book is one of my top five choices from all those years.  I've laughed out loud. I've sobbed (Mark went to the storage unit last night to get some twin beds for Laura's new townhouse and he came home and saw my face and said, "Oh no - what happened?" It dawned on me that he could tell I had been crying and I said, "the book." That's all he needed to know what was indeed wrong.) I've been moved to know God better and to follow him. I've been moved to DO something - not sure what yet. One of the other times in my life where I felt God move in such a powerful way was on my Emmaus Walk and I could feel God working and I told people that I knew God was going to use me . . .I just didn't know how.  Right after that, I started teaching Sunday School!  I didn't speak in public at that time. I wasn't qualified to teach. BUT God had other plans! So now I'm feeling that big nudge again and it frightens me a little - heck, a lot -- what if he wants me to go to Haiti or Africa or Panama? The nudge frightens me, I must admit.

Stewardship is about so much more than just money. God wants to work in us. He wants to change us and change is scary. He wants us to be generous - with our tithes and offerings. He wants us to be generous with our time. He wants us to be generous with his grace (it was his first and he shared it with us and now we MUST share it with others). He wants us to be generous with love. He wants us to DO something because he is love and LOVE DOES! 

I think that Bob Goff would fit right into our John Wesley class. He loves to laugh - we do, too. The first screen on the DVD shows a restaurant and a bottle of wine - check! Did you know that he put his phone number in the book so that anyone can call him? He answers his own phone! I might just call him one day!  He writes and says things in a way that resonate with me - I feel some of these things all the way down to the very core of my being.

I feel like I've been holding God at a distance - at least an arm length away - which is not unusual for me because I have space issues - right, friends? This book has given me that glimpse - that thought - that understanding - that God is so very close. God wants to be right with me. He loves me. I'm ok with people being in my space whom I love so I'm happy for God to be in my space.  He loves YOU, too! He loves us even when we screw up royally (which I do at least ONCE a day - usually more).

I love this - he writes, "It taught me something about faith. It taught me that when God is big enough and loves me enough to say He forgives me, I should actually believe Him. I mean, I shouldn't keep feeling bad about all of the times I've messed up because that's ignoring what God said.  When I don't trust God's forgiveness, it's kind of like saying I really don't believe He's that good."  Isn't that powerful???

I have passage after passage highlighted and even have a big orange sharpie arrow mark on one page. I want to devour the book but I want to savor it, too!

I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


Jump in with From this side of the Pond and answer some fun questions!!

1.   October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day. Did you see the movie? The sequels? In the second film, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake. They leave 1985 and land on a 'skyway' on October 21st, 2015. So tell us, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?
Yes, I saw the original movie and the first sequel. I actually had to google the movies just now to see how many sequels there were.  I did not see Back to the Future III and it sounds kind of lame. Is lame even a word used anymore? 

What was I doing in the fall of 1985? We were still newlyweds so I was still working for AT&T (as a service rep for the State of Alabama account) and we were living in our first house in Helena. We hung out with our friends – Mark and Melissa – a lot!  I was thin back then!!  I just pulled our old church directory and scanned a picture of us from 1985 (I think we look better now than then!). . .and look who was right next to us in the directory – my boss and his family! (I just noticed they spelled his name incorrectly!)

2.  If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future? The past?
Could I do both? I would love to go back and see how life was for my parents and maybe even before . . .like back to John Wesley days!  I know I wouldn’t want to stay there.  I would also like to go forward . . .as I’m typing this, I’m thinking to myself, “would I really want to know the future?” I’m not so sure. I believe that God is with me every step of the way and life is pretty good right now so maybe I don’t want to see my personal future. I’m going to have to think about that one some more.

3. We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the 80's film has indeed come to pass in real life 2015-flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 3-D movies, motion controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glass).  Do you worry technology is growing at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands? Do you think the Internet does more harm than good?  Several years ago, I heard a futurist speak at a Christian conference. He said that as technology grew, unrest in the world would grow. For many years, those in third world countries did not know about the “wonderful” lives others lived. With social media, it is in everyone’s face – and we only put the best stuff on social media, right? We make everything sound wonderful.

I can barely remember life without the internet (and I’m old!) and I use it all day long – every day. I do think that both good and bad come from use of the internet. I love being able to keep in touch with family and friends but the misuse makes me sad.

4. Your favorite dish prepared in a slow-cooker? Your favorite fast food? I make a killer BBQ chicken in the slow cooker – I also have a great layered Mexican recipe that is yummy.  Fast food? I LOVE French fries – I think I could eat them everyday.

5. No time like the present, down time, face time, pressed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time, or just in time...which timely saying most relates to your life right now?  No time like the present – we have just merged with another small congregation and there is no time like the present for ministry!!  I must admit that I’m looking forward to some down time – I’m going to be on vacation the week of Thanksgiving and the week after Christmas.  I haven’t had enough vacation time this year!!

6. Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else. How does that make you feel? I grew up in a part of town that was a nice blue collar part of town during my childhood through teenaged years. It was a great place to grow up – we played kick ball in the street (I was kickball queen!) and we walked to the library and the store.  Now that part of town is a frightening place. I drove through the town several years ago and I was depressed for days. It didn’t help that on the day I drove through, it was a grey, rainy day and everything seemed grey in that town. The school looked dilapidated; the houses looked forlorn; the stores looked run down and some were even closed. The backyard that I played in seemed so huge when I was a kid and it is a postage stamp.

7. Describe your comfort zone. These are tough questions today. I feel bad about my honest answer.  My comfort zone is with my people – whether that be at church or with my family or friends.  When I’m stretched to be with folks who are different than me, I have to really rely on God.

8. Insert your own random thought here. Our son and daughter-in-law have planned a gender reveal party for the baby and I’m looking forward to the party! It will be my first time to attend a gender reveal party!!  Also, our daughter just moved into her VERY OWN place in another town and we are so proud of her!!  She closes on the townhouse tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What is that noise? Are you crunching something??

I received an email recently asking if I would blog about healthy snacking -- especially snacking during football games.  In the south, we call that tailgate'n. (imagine a slow southern drawl)

I love to have folks over to watch a football game - especially Auburn football - War Eagle! One of the main reasons that I enjoy having folks over is because I need a buffer!!  Mark gets so overwrought during the games that he has been known to turn off the TV and walk out of the room . . while everyone else remains seated . . .staring at a blank TV screen. I kid you not!

So what are some great healthy snacks to consume during a tailgate - either at home or on campus?

How about nuts of any kind? We've been trying to eat healthier across the board and so I've been buying nuts in bulk and toasting them at home. It sure is nice to be able to put some in a bowl and snack away. In Alabama, we love pecans but these are walnuts and almonds.

For a fun twist on nuts, mix candy corn and dry roasted salted peanuts together. When eaten together, it tastes like a payday candy bar. YUUUM!!

Our family also loves to "dip" anything -- from chips to raw veggies.  We love homemade guacamole and it is so easy to make. I like to buy my avocados a day or two ahead of time and let them ripen in a basket on the kitchen counter.
Chop fine about 1/4 cup of onion
Chop fine one tomato
Scoop flesh out of three avocados and mash with old timey potato masher
Mix three ingredients above
Squeeze half a lemon over all
Add salt and pepper generously
stir and taste - add more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste
Serve with baked (or real) tostitos or other chips

We also love Sabra Hummus and pita chips or hummus and raw baby carrots!! Yuuum!!  We just love dippin'!!

You can check out some healthy snacks at this website also.

What is your favorite HEALTHY (or at least somewhat healthy) snack to eat while watching football?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday HodgePodge

Join this fun Wednesday activity over at From This Side of the Pond

 1. What's something that has recently 'tried your patience'? Is “people” too general of an answer? Since I work on a church staff . . .well, need I say more? If you know me well, you know my patience story. If you don’t, I’ll tell you. I was an impatient person when I was a young adult newlywed (don’t you dare say anything!). I remember praying for patience because I was told by someone that if I prayed for patience . . .God would give me patience. I prayed for an entire month (when you are young, that seems like an eternity). The very next month, I found out that I was pregnant with twins. Our God has the biggest sense of humor, doesn’t he? Yes, he gave me patience (sometimes!) and he has been at work in me all these years. I’m definitely more patient than some people I know. I can actually be very patient if I have to do so! 

2. Do you think patience comes to us naturally or is it something you have to learn as you grow? On a scale of 1-10 generally how patient are you? (1=I blow up at the drop of a hat and 10=I've got all the time in the world). I should have read this question before I answered the one above!! I definitely think it is something I have to learn. I think some people come into the world with patience already hard wired into their brain BUT I DIDN’T enter the world that way. I think I’m probably about a 5 on most days. I have more patience with some people than with others. Have you found that to be true?

3. Share about a time when you felt like you could fly. Or a time you wished you could fly. Or a time you felt like you were flying. My husband used to have dreams about flying all the time. I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed of flying. When I have given talks on Emmaus Walks, people lay hands on you and pray for you beforehand – I feel almost like I’m flying when I’m “prayed up.” When stuck in traffic, I have often wished that I had a car that could either fly or go up on legs (like Inspector Gadget) so that I could move ahead (remember that patience thing??)

(I borrowed this fun picture from some wonderful person)

4. Your favorite song with the word fly in the title or lyrics, or your favorite song that relates to flying in some way? I’m so embarrassed to admit this but I love the one below.
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day (Night and day)
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly I believe I can fly I believe I can fly

I also liked back when Ruben Studdard was on American Idol (he’s from my town!) and he sang Flying Without Wings.

5. What's in your fall picnic basket and where are we picnicking in your neck of the woods this time of year? The weather is amazing here right now and most people are tailgating on Saturdays for the football games (college football is huge here!) That sounds like a picnic to me! We have these wonderful porches at our house and we’ve been sitting outside a lot and that feels a little like picnicking to me! At this time of the year, I love ANYTHING WITH pumpkin in it. Last night, one of our girls brought a pumpkin pastry – looked like a king cake – from our new Trader Joe’s (she was one of the first four people through the door yesterday morning! Go Kelley!). I would like for one of those to be in my picnic basket!!

6. Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping...which skill would you most like to possess and how would you put that skill to use today? Maybe landscaping since we just paid a small fortune to have our courtyard landscaped (it is beautiful!). My daddy was a carpenter and I think it would be so cool to make things with wood. I don’t want to be a plumber. Mark was a plumber’s assistant during college summers so he has that one down for us! I also don’t think I would like to be an electrician – I would probably shock myself!!

7. What's something you think is too expensive to justify buying lately? I would love another expensive purse. I’m not going to buy one though. We were going to get a fire pit for our new landscaped courtyard but Mark decided it was too expensive to justify . . .I’m sad about that. We are going to get a cheap one instead of a “piece of art” one.

8. Insert your own random thought here. We watched a movie on Sunday night. That is a rare thing for us! We watched “This Is Where I Leave You” and really enjoyed it. We missed the first 20 minutes or so and I usually cannot stand to jump in like that but we did and it was ok. I may go back at some point and watch the whole thing again. What is really funny is that we watched a movie sometime last week, too. We watched “Just Go With It” – You have to remember that we don’t have any kids at home anymore so we can watch an “R” movie if we so desire. I will say that we enjoyed both movies but it surprises me at the language producers feel they must include. (Lord, Have Mercy – I sound like an old fart!!)

Monday, October 12, 2015


I never had any brothers before I married Mark and inherited several. I grew up in a household full of women. My daddy was outnumbered. Now I realize why he spent so much time in the garage! I'm not kidding! 

There are three of us - my oldest sister is Glenine. She is named after our daddy - Glenn (that is where our son gets his name!). I'm not sure why my parents felt the need to make up a name. I wish they were alive so I could ask them. I've never met another Glenine in my life. Glenine spent a large part of her early life at the Crippled Children's clinic - I just googled it. Interesting read!!  I just assumed it was part of Children's hospital or even a precursor but it was a separate place - or maybe a part?  It was in the same area where all our major teaching hospital facility is today.  Glenine was five years old when Becky was born. I've been told that Becky didn't talk until she was three years old. She evidently just pointed and grunted at everyone.  Glenine was 13 and Becky was 8 when I was born. I believe I came out of the womb talking. Supposedly, my first word was boy. What can I say? I'm still talking.

All three of us had to share a room in our little two bedroom one bath house. Glenine moved out when I was really young though and daddy added on a bedroom so Becky and I each had our own room. We still only had one bathroom - with no shower - only a bathtub.

When I was a Sophomore in high school, our mom died. Becky was still single and living at home at that time and we became very close and have remained close.  Our dad worked for the railroad so he wasn't home at night and we burglar proofed our house with chairs against the door and brooms and who knows what else.  We were crazy.  Our children are the same age - just weeks apart so we've always been able to talk about discipline, eating habits, pooping habits (ha!) and everything else that goes along with parenting.  I was married briefly to someone other than Mark -- way back a million years ago and Becky was there for me through my divorce. Fast forward 32 years and Becky lived through a horrible divorce and I tried to be there for her. We are close because we've lived through a lot of stuff together. Glenine's children are closer in age to me than Glenine and I are (that doesn't make sense, does it?).  Her son is 7 years younger than I am and her daughter is 8 years younger than I am.  She has three beautiful granddaughters and her oldest granddaughter is older than my kids. We seem to have been at different stages of life at totally different times.

Glenine's husband of 50 years died back in the late spring. He had dementia and had been in a nursing home for quite some time. She is grieving.  The above picture was taken at a memorial picnic for her husband. We are the three sistas.

The picnic was at Camp Sumatanga -- one of the places where I feel God's presence the most.
It was an old-fashioned get together where everyone brought a covered dish.  I even got a new recipe that day from my first cousin's daughter-in-law and have made it twice since then!  Even though it was a solemn occasion, we enjoyed visiting with some of our first cousins on our daddy's side of the family. One of the younger generation asked why we didn't do this more often.

This is the view of the lake at camp. Can't you see why I feel God's presence there?

I saw a quote recently - "How do people make it through life without a sister?"  I guess I'm blessed - I have two.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

In the blink of an eye

(borrowed picture from some wonderful photographer)
This is the Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. It is an amazing place. This is THE place you want to take your child if something is really wrong. I feel so blessed because we only made one trip to Children's when our kids were growing up. Laura had to have her eyes checked by a specialist when she was four months old. That is it.

I realize that life can change in the blink of an eye.

Tonight, I was the delivery person. I drove to Publix and picked up fried chicken fingers, mac and cheese, green beans, lots of rolls, and several dozen cookies - along with paper plates, fun polka dot napkins and plastic forks.  Why did I do this? It was not for our supper. It was for the parents of kids with cancer. They have a support group that meets with Chaplain Paul at Children's. I think they meet every Thursday night and our Sunday School class, the John Wesley SS class, has delivered meals to this group on the first Thursday night of every month for about 13 years or so. They actually gave a plaque to us because we have done it longer than any other group.

So . . why am I writing about this? Tonight was different. I was a little frazzled. I arrived at Publix a few minutes early . . .and they had sold my pre-ordered chicken fingers to someone else. So they had to cook some more - do you know that it takes 18 minutes to cook chicken fingers? I was supposed to deliver the food by 5:15. I walked out of Publix and it was about 5:00 p.m.  Birmingham may not be THAT big of a city but we still have rush hour. Traffic was horrible. As I approached the hospital, I remembered that I had not delivered since the new building opened. I whipped into the drop off zone, hopped out of the car and ran inside. The guy behind the desk had no information about where I was to go. I grabbed a wagon (the very same ones used to pull tiny patients through the hospital) and rolled it out to my car and filled it up.  I was still frazzled. I pulled the wagon into the hospital and approached the glass elevators. I asked if the smell of food would bother anyone in the elevator. I was given the go-ahead to get in with the nice folks.

I rushed out of the elevator toward the information desk and told the nice lady (whose face was black and blue - I tried not to stare) why I was there and that I needed her to contact Chaplain Paul for me. Well, lo and behold, he was sitting right there in the lobby with a man and woman. I hauled the wagon across the floor to him and apologized for being late. He is the most gracious man ever. I started to slip away and he reminded me that we usually pray over the food.  He introduced me to the man and woman sitting with him . . . and they were parents of a child with cancer!!!!!!!!!!! Here I was fretting and frazzled about being late with food and THEY WERE IN AGONY OVER THEIR CHILD. In the blink of an eye, reality crashed around me like waves against the shore. We joined hands - all four of us - over that wagon of food and Chaplain Paul prayed for healing for brokenness and he prayed about breaking bread together . . . and he talked to God as if he were his best friend.  All the time, I was holding Chaplain Paul's hand on my left and the daddy's hand on my right.

I prayed the whole time I rode the elevator back down, walked to my car and started driving. I made it to the car before I began to cry.

Of course, IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, I was immersed in the worst traffic jam ever. It took me an hour to get home from Children's Hospital - it is probably 15 or 20 miles from the house. At one point, I yelled at the lady in the car in front of me . . .. and I wondered how in the world I could be so close to Christ at one moment that I could surely reach out and touch him . . .and in the blink of an eye . . . could be so incredibly far from him.

We are a messed up group of folks.

On this night, I give thanks for good health, for me and for my family. I give thanks for the tiny baby growing inside Lauren. I give thanks for Laura's new job. I give thanks for joy. I give thanks that I could be the "taxi" for dinner for those who hurt. I give thanks for Chaplain Paul and for Children's Hospital. I give thanks for so many things!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like fall

I love fall! I'm sitting on my front porch and there is a pleasant breeze blowing and a daddy is teaching his little boy how to hit a baseball in the park right in front of me....and at this moment, life is good. We've started decorating our porch - in the next few days, we will add some Halloween decorations. For now, this is what we have done

Our ferns still look pretty good so we've paired each one with a yellow mum and a pumpkin. I love making a trip out to the Farmer's market on Finley. I always buy a lot! The pumpkin on the left (stripes) is called "one too many" pumpkin variety. It is so pretty I don't think you could have too many!!

You can see our pretty lanterns on the table in the back left corner. We bought them a few weeks ago at southeastern salvage - we love that store!!

I'm continuing to use my box that Brian made for me - gourds and mini pumpkins, some ivy, and a few candles.

What are your favorite fall decorations?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hodge Podge!!

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently? I’ve fallen in love with bacon and eggs! No – really! I’ve never been a breakfast food eater before. I would eat a PB&J or a grilled cheese but don’t give me eggs in the morning. BUT I’ve been eating bacon and eggs lately and have enjoyed them!

2. What's something you're 'squirreling away' for later? I’m always “squirreling away” craft supplies of some type or another. I’ve also been trying to “squirrel away” a little extra money for a trip I’m going on in 2016.

3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety? Oooooh – Crisp!! Have you ever had Honeycrisp? They are delicious. I hate the apples that come in the bags. I want to hand pick each one. I also love baked apples. They are so good with pork tenderloin. I usually eat several raw apples every week.

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen Colorado, The Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why? I’ve always thought it would be cool (pun intended) to tour an upper east coast tour of the leaves in the fall. I’ve seen pictures before and the scenery looks magnificent. We have some pretty leaves in the fall in Alabama but nothing like some other places in the USA.

5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts? I think it should be legalized – especially for medical use. (ask me next week and my opinion could have changed by then)

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay?  I prefer to start at the beginning. I like to see how the plot unfolds. I prefer that same method for movies and TV.  I have started watching a TV series in the middle. I watched a couple of Downton Abbey shows and realized that I wanted to start at the beginning. Thank goodness for Amazon prime.

7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most? I have to proof several documents every week. Poor punctuation is rampant in this world!  My pet peeve is not really punctuation – it is using "I" instead of "me" . . .when it should be "me".  If you take out the other person’s name, you can usually figure it out.  I hate when a speaker or preacher or newscaster says something like, “He gave the candy to Mary and I.” Yes, I know that no self-respecting preacher, speaker or newscaster is going to talk about candy - I just couldn't think of anything else!!  When I hear someone use those words incorrectly, I want to stand up and shout, “NOOOOOO!” Would you say, “he gave the candy to I?” No, you wouldn’t – or you shouldn’t! The sentence should read, “He gave the candy to Mary and me.” I found this cartoon online and thought it was appropriate for my rant answer (yes - I know you asked punctuation and I moved to grammar!!)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I had a dental appointment this week for my yearly check-up. They have a screen in the waiting room with a rotating slide show. One slide had these words printed on it – “The first thing people notice about other people is their teeth and their grammar.” I think they may be right! I don’t consider myself a critical person when it comes to other people’s appearance, but I do notice bad teeth.  I really notice poor grammar. One of my pet peeves is using “come” incorrectly. "He came over to my office" is correct. He “come” over to my office is not correct. I don’t know if that is a rural southern thing or if other parts of the country have issues. Our daughter was teaching her sixth grade class about subject/verb agreement and I realized how many people have problems with this. (I believe this is THE MOST random thought ever!!)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Our Heart

I haven't written about our group in a while. Goodness gracious, Mark and I love these folks so very much.  I was trying to count up in my head the other day . .. just how many young adults have come through our house in the last 5 1/2 years. Some have joined us for a night or two . . .some have joined us for a year or two . . .some have captured our hearts!!

I bought a selfie stick and my kids have made such fun of me! It sure did come in handy on Laura's first night away working in a new city. The group took a picture and we texted it to her!

The new (been there 15 months now!) house is so perfect for our Tuesday night group. It just works!!

These pictures were taken several months ago - the group was making PB&J sandwiches for Church of the Reconciler. We were able to spread everyone out and once again - we had plenty of room.

We don't serve alcohol on Tuesday nights - just food! Chelsea has moved away to another state - boo hoo! We miss her but we are so proud of her!  Anyway, on her last night, some of the girls were going to walk to The Boot for a drink after everyone left our house. They invited us to go and we left dishes in the sink, etc. and went with them. I feel like all four of these girls are ours - Brooke, Chelsea, April and of course, Laura - who is ours!!

I give thanks to our God who has blessed us with the opportunity to be with these young adults every single week.  Just a few weeks ago, a baby was baptized . . .and she was the first baby of any of our group to be baptized at Trinity . . .and Mark and I were there. Amy and Ed dated while attending our group and Mark and I attended their wedding reception (they married on an island with no guests!). Now we have attended their baby's baptism. God is good, people. God is good.

This was the Sunday of the baptism - the worship service was so full that Mark and I stood in the back of the worship space.

We love our Tuesday night folks - they have our hearts! God has our hearts. What a great combination.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Loft

Time for a tiny tour of our loft! When we first looked at this house, we thought this room was so cool. We've tried to give it an airy feel. We reused furniture that we had at our old house, but I picked out new fabric and had the pieces covered. It was great fun to pick out the fabric, but it was a little stressful, too. I ended up having to order part on line and buy part in the local stores in order to get enough for the two wing back chairs and ottoman.
The bookcase is an antique - someone had it in Mark's family - Aunt Nelle, I believe. The bookcase housed her encyclopedias . . which we kept until this move. Someone found a rare treasure at the Salvation Army store - an entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica.
The door to our top front porch is in this room. Our daughter, Laura painted the sunflower.

The pictures are dark because the room is so filled with light - I apologize!! The piece in the corner (TV is on it) is a piece we purchased from Southeastern Salvage. It is such a cool piece with metal plates (about the size of a license plate) on the front.

We have plantation shutters throughout the house and love them.

This is our bright yellow sofa! It has been peach (originally purchased in the 80's - what can I say?) and it has had two different patterned fabrics on it (yes, of course, at two different times). This is the fourth recovering. Someone (probably Mark's momma) told us that if we bought GOOD pieces of furniture with classic lines that we could use them forever. This sofa and the two wing chairs have been perfect examples.
You can't really see it, but there is a cabinet to the right of the sofa. We also purchased that piece at Southeastern Salvage. The desk on the far wall is an antique that we got from a family member/friend back when we first got married (or maybe Mark had it when we got married!!) I love how the stairwell is open and airy. I want to hang a giant pair of shutters or something on that big wall but I cannot figure out how to get to it without building scaffolding. Anyone ever hung anything in a stairwell way up high before?
Another thing that you can't really see is the wooden piece on the far wall to the right. It is a giant custom shadowbox. Mark had some old fishing reels and some old lures including the boxes. These things belonged to his dad. I took them to a framer and they made the box and mounted all the pieces. I need to take a close up to show you because it is beautiful!
Now you've seen our tiny loft - we thought we would use it a lot more than we do. Maybe when we have grandkids we will use it more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

mini vacay

Stop reading now if you are looking for profound words.  I've had NO profound words lately (if I ever have). This post is picture overload from our mini vacation this summer.
Mark and I are normally beach vacation people but this year, we decided to do something totally different and all by ourselves (together - just not other friends or family). We are also not "sit still in the car" kind of people so we've never ventured too far from home in the car.
We drove to Savannah on a Wednesday - a brand new city to us.  We wanted to go to Charleston (Savannah was on the way) because our street is modeled after homes in Charleston.  We stayed at the East Bay Inn in Savannah and loved it! Our room was beautiful. The hotel staff was amazing. We felt like we had stepped back in time.

We took a riverboat cruise which I loved - Mark was pretty ho hum about it but was a good sport!

The bridge in Savannah is so cool.

We also took a riding tour in an open bus and saw lots of beautiful homes and parks and heard a lot of history.

We have a new favorite restaurant - The Ole Pink House Restaurant and Tavern. Really great food and cool old house. We highly recommend the restaurant to anyone going to Savannah. If you want to dine at night - make reservations early. We ate there twice - once for dinner (reservations) and once for lunch, you can walk in off the street - no reservation needed.

I loved standing where John Wesley stood.  Really. I'm not kidding.

Mark has been on a chicken liver kick for the last several months.  He has never liked them and all of a sudden, he eats them quite often (not at home - only at a restaurant - actually, normally only at Paw Paw Patch Restaurant). He decided to order them at the ole pink house and they were evidently delicious - I didn't taste them.

We walked up and down the riverfront. I could just imagine pirates and people of old walking on the cobblestones.

We attempted a selfie (which is hysterical . . . after this trip, I bought a selfie stick - just in case!!). We took about four and this was the best one so you can imagine how bad the others were!!

It was hot and humid so we ended up sitting at a table at Wet Willies. I wish we had a Wet Willies near our house. Actually, it would probably not be a good thing.  In a year, I could work through every flavor of frozen drink they offer. Yum!

Huge container ships use their harbor area - HUGE - those individual cars are like the back of an 18 wheeler truck and there a a whole lot of them on that ship. We tried to count how many!

I'm a sucker for atmosphere and this was where they served breakfast at the Bay Street Inn. This was  the basement of the old home.

Ah - here I am on the open air tour bus - we were on a bus with a ton of folks from Ohio and other northern states. Warning - scenery overload coming up - the next bajillion pictures are of pretty things. What can I say? No apologies.

This church was really cool!! (literally - air conditioning but also it was just a neat space)

Teeny tiny house nestled in among others.

Second trip to the Ole Pink House!! Lunch time! Our tour bus driver is the one who told us that we could eat there at lunch without a reservation and he even dropped us off in front of the restaurant!

This was one of the best hamburgers ever!! (I had two really great ones on this trip) I felt really special - my french fries were served in a silver cup!!

So we stayed in Savannah for one night and one a half days (could definitely spend more time there) and then we drove on over to Charleston. We had never visited either city. It was raining when we left Savannah and we had to cross over that pretty bridge.

I have no earthly idea about these elephants. We stopped at a gas station and Mark was in the little store portion and I was in the car. I looked over to the lot next door . . .and there were these huge elephant statues. Anyone know why??

So guess where we stayed in Charleston? Elliott House Inn. I couldn't resist!

It reminded me of an old Florida motor court hotel. It was a house at some point in history.

Our room was not as wonderful at this Inn as the room in Savannah but it was still fun to be in an old house. We stayed two nights in Savannah.

This is the pool - teeny tiny and bubbly.

Yummy margarita!

We grabbed a hamburger in this bar. Husk restaurant is very well known. You have to have a reservation, which we did not -- but you could get into the bar - which was a building built in the 1700's. I loved being in such old places.

The waterfront park area was lovely. We walked down there a couple of times.

That is Mark ahead of me - hurrying down to talk to any fisherman who might be lucky enough!

There he stands - questioning the guys fishing. What are you catching? What are you using for bait?

All of our tours were cancelled - water and land. The Charleston shootings had recently occurred and we were in town when President Obama was there for the funeral(s). They blocked off the historic district but we were already "inside" so we pretty much had the city and tourist attractions to ourselves.

Couldn't resist taking a picture of this street sign - they even spelled it correctly!!

Rainbow row - aren't the houses lovely?

We loved the architecture - made us realize why we love our house and our neighborhood so much.

This was in a store and I loved it!

another selfie - I look like I'm in pain - which I might be actually

We ate at Cru - after a young local couple whom we met on the street recommended it as their favorite restaurant -- (because you know that we talk to everyone)

It was divine.

Above - fried green tomatoes with a peach (some kind of fancy sauce name) and pork belly croutons (yes, you read that correctly) and feta cheese. Oh MY - that is all I know to say.

These are out of order but more photos from the East Bay Inn in Savannah - the lobby and waiting areas and bar.

These are some more pictures of Charleston - when we were out walking our ten miles (literally) because our tours were cancelled.

It was a great trip. We loved it. We didn't fight. We listened to a book on tape to make the long trip more bearable. We enjoyed it all! (those things are important when you've been married 31 years)