Sunday, May 29, 2016

Jealousy . . . is an ugly thing and perspective is everything!

Today in Sunday School, we had 16 people - maybe 18 or 20 because a couple of people just barely squeaked in (we usually have double that number).  We joked about the fact that those of us who were in Sunday School this morning were the ones who didn't have a lake or beach house (which actually wasn't true - several of those 18-20 folks do).  I made the mistake of looking on facebook this afternoon and everyone in the entire world is having a wonderful time at the beach or at some lake.  I struggled a little with jealousy.  I'm happy that they are all having a good time - really, I am!  I also realize that the pictures on facebook show the fun/happy/great moments not the moments where everyone in the family was screaming at each other or where the food wasn't cooked on time and everyone was hangry (angry hunger) or where a kid had a meltdown because they were exhausted.

I actually looked up a couple of scriptures about envy and I'm sure I'm taking them totally out of context here -- James 3:14-15 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it (and here I am blogging about it!) . . .such wisdom does not come down from heaven, but is earthly . . .
Of course, we all know 1 Corinthians chapter 13 - Love does not envy

I'm not really envious - I'm glad they are there - I just wish I could be there, too :-)

Then I started thinking about perspective.

Our friends, Scott and Bonnie are sitting in a hospital room and have been there for 9 weeks (this time).

Brian is camping and hiking and biking in the Smokey Mountains because he is radioactive because he has cancer.

Christian Cooper is in a hospital in Augusta recovering from burns over 90% of his body - he wasn't expected to live but he did!

I could go on and on and on but it only takes a few moments and life is quickly put into perspective.

I have a job that I love and I took a day of vacation on Friday and spent a couple of hours at our neighborhood pool which is 2 1/2 blocks from my front door (downhill going to the pool . . .uphill coming home and it almost killed me . . .I need to walk it every day!)  I should back up - on Thursday, I had a temporary crown installed - we have the money to pay the bill.  On Thursday night, I had a pedicure (what a luxury and I do not take pedicures for granted!!)  There is a small stocked lake one block from our house (I can't ride in a boat but Mark can fish!)

On Friday evening, I had a cold beverage of choice -- actually two frozen beverages of choice.

While I enjoyed that beverage, Mark also enjoyed a cold beverage and we sat on our upstairs porch with Harvey (our giant cat) and enjoyed the evening.

On Saturday, I sat in our courtyard and soaked up some more sun.  On Saturday night, we had friends come to the house and we walked to one of our local restaurants and this sweet dog sat at the table behind us!  I am so very thankful for friends.

Today, we worshipped in the contemporary service as a family -- Mark, Lisa, Laura, Glenn, Lauren, and Emma . . .and in the sanctuary just down the hall, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and niece worshipped in the traditional service.  Four generations of our family worshipping in the same building - that is not something to take for granted.  Perspective!!
Emma was my seatmate.

It is Memorial Day weekend and we live in a country where we are free to worship; free to hang stars and strips on our porch railings and put star flags in our ferns.

Y'all - life is good.  Perspective is so important and jealousy only eats away at our souls.

Life is good!  Yes, it is.  I may not have pictures of me riding a jet ski or building a sandcastle but I realize that life is good.  Jealousy is an ugly thing and perspective is everything.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cooking in the Kitchen

My momma was a really good cook.  She cooked good old southern food.  She kept a metal can on the stove and she put the bacon drippings in that can and then she used that bacon grease to season green beans.  She used that bacon grease for all sorts of things including frying eggs for my daddy.  I've never been able to fry an egg in my life and for some reason during this last year I was magically able to fry an egg!  I think it is the skillet and the spatula.  The skillet is a cheap model from Walmart with a ceramic lining.  I bought it because it was red and I love red!  I also used a thin metal spatula that was my mother's -- it is triangle shaped with a wooden handle -- it was a pie server!

Mark loves fried eggs.  I don't even like them but I decided it was time that I learned how to cook it.  Mark doesn't like them totally runny but sometimes I get them too hard (second picture!).  I cooked these for breakfast for him one day last week.

We've also been getting boxes from Blue Apron and we've had fun cooking together.  I overcooked this fried egg - oops!  This was a mixture of stir fried veggies - they called it a warm slaw!  There was sliced beef on top and then a fried egg.  I broke the yoke in the first egg and since I don't like fried eggs anyway, I gave the next egg to Mark.

I also made a new no-bake cookie this week.  I took them to work and someone told me they tasted like a breakfast bar!  Yay!
2 cups granulated sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk (I only had half and half or coconut milk - so I used coconut milk - worked really well!)
1/3 cup baking cocoa
3 cups oats (I used old fashioned)
1 cup pecan pieces
handful of toasted coconut flakes (since I had used coconut milk - why not? right?)

In large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, milk and cocoa and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir frequently and boil for 3 minutes.

Let mixture cook for 3-5 minutes and add oats, pecans, and coconut flakes.

Drop by spoonfuls (I did big spoonfuls because I was tired!) onto waxed paper and allow to harden.  Store in an airtight container.

I buy up a supply of fake silver trays at the Dollar Tree.  I didn't store in airtight container - I placed on tray and covered with Press N Seal.

These are good but I love the old fashioned ones with peanut butter.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lacrosse Iron Bowl

In the southeast part of the US, football is big - real big - as in King.  In the state of Alabama, the great rivalry is between Auburn University and the University of Alabama.  When people move to Alabama, they have to choose one.  Really.  I'm not kidding.  Conversations are peppered with football references like 17-16.  The Iron Bowl is the game of the year between Auburn and Alabama.  The game is played Thanksgiving weekend.  The team that wins has bragging rights.  On the Sunday following the game, our sanctuaries are filled with blue and orange ties . . .or red and white ties/pants/etc.

Three of our nephews grew up in Delaware.  They were playing Lacrosse long before people in the south were playing.  Our nephew, Thomas, plays for the club team at the University of Alabama.  We are Auburn fans.  Understand?

I picked up grandmother after work and then we headed to the chick-fil-a drive-through and then we took the food to Glenn and Lauren's house.  We ate dinner and then drove to Thomas's game (which happened to be at the Hoover stadium!!).  We knew that Alabama was playing Auburn but I had to laugh out loud when the announcer said that this was the Lacrosse Iron Bowl - I must admit that had never entered my mind.

This game was not a problem for Grandmother.  She is a "dyed in the wool" Alabama fan.  She says, "Roll Tide" with the crowd.  For Glenn, Lauren and I . . ..we cheered for Thomas . . .and for Auburn!  Those cheers sound like "Yay Thomas" . . . "War Eagle."

This was Emma's first sporting event.  It was very cool that night (even I had on a jacket) and Emma was all bundled up in her finery!!

This was my first Lacrosse game - boy, I was amazed at the athleticism.  Those boys were in continuous motion - running up and down the field.  They really hit each other hard with those sticks!!

It started raining at some point during the game and since we had Grandmother with us and also baby Emma, we decided it was time to leave.  Auburn was ahead when we left but Alabama ended the game with a one point lead.

Yay Thomas!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Party in the Park

I haven't written about our young adult group in a while.  We love the folks that come to our house on Tuesday night.  We finished up our study a couple of weeks ago and last week, we did a stand alone lesson on Road Rage/Aggressive Driving.  We had some great discussion about our faith and our reactions on the road.  I LOVE hearing the opinions from these young adults.  They are smart and funny and insightful!

So last night, we had a cook out in the park that is directly in front of our house.  We have a tiny yard (not as much maintenance for Mark) but we have this lovely green space literally outside our front door.  Someone is always having a party in the park/pavilion and last night, it was all of us!  

The young adults teased me because I purchased fun balloons and colored table cloths (but I think they secretly like it!).  One of the guys said he thought it was a birthday party when he drove up.

Did you know that the Dollar Tree has mylar balloons for a dollar??  I buy them all the time.  One of the best deals around.  You can buy an entire balloon bouquet for a friend's birthday, retirement, etc. for less than $10!!

A couple of Christmases ago, we purchased a corn hole set for our son.  I love the trading sites on facebook and this guy advertised custom corn hole sets and it turns out that his brother and sister-in-law live only a mile or so from our house.  I'm going to be honest - I think it is one of the nicest sets around.  (if you are local and need a corn hole set, his name is Tyler Langston and he is on both Hoover Trading and I think Homewood Trading)

Mark really enjoyed playing last night.  I got some good shots of him.  I don't have time to play with my camera very often and I put the big lens on and snapped away.  I love digital and I'm so happy someone invented it!  I can take 1,000 pictures if I want!!

I got Mark's whole throw - beginning to end.  I must admit that Mark is pretty good at tossing those bean bags!

Wesley enjoyed playing corn hole, too.

The park has the nicest pavilion.  There are three ceiling fans, a log burning fireplace, lights, four picnic tables and two charcoal grills.  This was the first time we have used it and we learned a few things --
  1. We could only cook 12 burgers on the two charcoal grills - we needed to cook 28 burgers.  Thank goodness we live across the street.  Mark cooked 16 burgers on our gas grill in our yard, while I manned the charcoal grills.  My burgers were hockey pucks (they tasted good anyway).  I'm always afraid they will be raw and someone will get sick!
  2. We made a lot of trips back and forth between the house and the park.  Mark actually loaded the cooler with water bottles; the croquet set; the corn hole boards and my chair in his truck and drove them over.  The young adults were great to walk over and bring the cold food (potato salad); dips, etc. and then several of the girls took a load back to the house afterwards.  That was a huge help.
  3. It is a really fun place to have a party
  4. We need to do this more often - with friends, family, young adults, etc. 
  5. We were very tired and sweaty afterwards - that means a good gathering, right?

We have a group of friends who bake/make desserts for the group.  Debbie was in charge of dessert this week and I asked her to provide Popsicle.  Perfect dessert for a HOT day!  (we have had such pleasant weather lately . . .it was HOT yesterday!!)

Katherine enjoying her Popsicle

Kelly (below) just graduated from seminary last week.  We are so proud of her!!
Will, Kimberly, Olivia

Brittany (pictured below) brought a game for us to play.  Everyone had to write down three things that others might not know about them.  Brittany (and some helpers) read the three things and everyone had to guess who.  I stumped them!  
My facts were:
1.  I have really dark brown hair (naturally)
2.  (I can't remember the other two!!)
We learned some interesting things about each other (I must say that if I can't remember my own, I'm worried that I might not remember anyone else's . . .Wiley lived on a boat for two months; Brittany was born blind; Christy wants to move to the beach; I do remember a few -- just not my own!!)

Claire, Lauren, Lacey

Sean brought his puppy -- his name is Mowgli and he is so cute.  He liked barking at the other dogs in the park.

After dinner, most of the boys played in the park . . .and most of the girls stayed under the pavilion.  I'm going to call these pictures "action shots" . . .I guess in reality, they are just not properly focused, but don't you think "action shots" sounds more impressive??


We stayed until it was dark and the mosquitoes were starting to bite.  We love these young adults and we give thanks to God that he allows us to spend time with them every week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

surely it is not Wednesday again!

Wednesday Hodge Podge -- check it out at From this side of the pond!!

1. What's something fun you're looking forward to on your May calendar?
A long weekend! Yessirree – I’m going to take the Friday off before Memorial Day and stay at home for four whole days . . .awwww . . .Actually, I’ll be at church on that Sunday so I’m not sure that day counts but I’ll still have a Friday and a Monday off!! I LOVE my job, but I can use a few days of mindless re-charging!!

2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother?
I think of my mom – she died when I was a Sophomore in high school. I don’t remember much about her. I wish I could have an adult conversation with her. I also think of Mark’s mom – Susie – she has been a mom to me for 30+ years. She has treated me as one of her own. She has loved our children as only a grandmother can do!! I think of countless women who poured love into my life – Inez Lane and Dovie Parker. After momma died, they stepped up to the plate and helped guide me. I think of the mom of some friends that I met through the Emmaus Community – there are at least three sisters (like me and my sisters) and they and their mom worked an Emmaus walk with me years ago. I remember that she treated me like one of her own and I remember how my love tank was filled up over that weekend. When I think of the word mother,  I also think of myself and I wonder if I did a satisfactory job of mothering. My kids are great young adults . . .and they love Jesus . . .so that makes me happy!!

3. What's something beautiful you own or have seen that's made of glass?
Last night, I used a crystal biscuit barrel to hold salsa! Crazy, right? I also own a Waterford bowl and candlesticks that Ed Onimus gave us as a wedding gift. They are beautiful but they mainly stay on the shelf in the china cabinet. I just remembered -- I do have something really beautiful and meaningful made from glass !! I own earrings from Israel . . .made of Roman glass!!

biscuit barrel . . . or cookie jar!!

4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual?
Today was a good day . . .and pretty typical. I work in a church so no two days are ever exactly the same. Today,  I typed a lot of letters and I scheduled appointments and I had some nice conversations and I heard a funny story at lunch about a wedding . . .and I had Mexican food left-overs for lunch . . and I had a massage . . ..pretty good day!!

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of?
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and SELF CONTROL. I prayed for patience 30 years ago and found out the very next month that I was pregnant with twins. God didn’t just GIVE me patience – I had to learn patience. I’m a tad afraid to pray for SELF CONTROL . . .I need it though.

6. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May?
Several men have been crawling around on our roof yesterday and today installing a tin roof over the porch. Our original house plans showed the tin/metal roof,  but our builder cheaped out on us (mark’s words) so we just had one installed. Looks pretty cool! I hope I don’t have to purchase anything else  My grocery bill every week would be considered a major purchase by some folks! We are going to have some outside painting done which is not a purchase (except for the paint) but it costs money so . . .

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult?
I was a bossy kid . . .and that leadership has served me well . . . .hahahahaha! Actually, I talked a lot when I was a kid and I was always getting C’s in conduct. I can still hear my daddy's voice, “It seems to me, that someone as smart as you, could keep her mouth shut.” I was a straight A student with C’s in conduct. So today, I teach and facilitate and listen to others. I think that some skill (who knows what?) was developing deep inside me during that time (that sounds important, right???).

8. Insert your own random thought here. My first random thought was about my granddaughter. I hate to keep telling y’all about her but she is so cute. I told y’all about the fish fry last weekend – here are a few of the other decorations. I had so much fun. This weekend, we are going to a crawfish boil! Tonight, we are keeping our grandbaby! Woo hoo!