Tuesday, February 28, 2017




  1. lack of seriousness; lightheartedness:
    "a night of fun and frivolity"

Most any night this little Tiger comes to visit with us is a night of fun and frivolity!  I can't remember what we had just said to her but I just happened to have my phone poised and ready to take a picture and caught this expression.  She must be saying, "This is Mardi Gras weekend, really?"

She quickly moved into the rejoicing mode clapping her hands while clasping her new toys!  . . .one in each hand, of course!

This thing rocks?  So cool, Pops!!  Why haven't you told me about this fun chair before?  It was my daddy's?  Even cooler!

On Saturday afternoon, our neighborhood had the first ever Preserve Mardi Gras parade.  It was a gorgeous day and I snapped a couple of photos before going onto our top porch to take pictures.

The neighbors all decorated their golf carts and bikes and someone even decorated their mini van.  I think I'm going to ask Mark if we can decorate his pick up truck next year and I can ride in the back with Emma and throw out beads!!  (don't lecture me on safety . . .it probably won't happen!)

I love that the bicyclers are right behind the pimped out van!

This was one of my favorites - a child in a decorated car!!

Some folks went all out with the decorations.  I've never seen such large beads!!

This guy had on a horse mask!!

This family allowed the dolls of the household to participate!!

The guys in this car have on full masks and the family allowed the big green frog to ride on top!!

It was a fun parade - and I'm sure that next year, it will be even bigger!!  I love some fun and frivolity!!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Multiply and Divide

 A few days ago I wrote about the Fruit of the Spirit and I shared with you about a classmate from Sunday School who dropped by my office with two cans of Chef Boyardee Ravioli to replenish my emergency stash.  I showed you the picture below and commented how kindness came back twofold.

Kindness multiplies - you know?  It really does.  This week, another friend stopped by my office with two more cans of Ravioli.  My stash multiplied.

On the very same day that the stash multiplied, our friend showed up in the church office and was hungry.  He entered the office suite and immediately asked for hand sanitizer (I chuckle as I type those words - he knew we would share).  He then asked if he could have a chair and sit down with us.  He sat down to join us and wanted to eat.  One co-worker gave him a banana.  Another co-worker shared some girl scout cookies.  My stash was available once again because it had been replenished by others who love Jesus (such a wonderful simple act!!) . . . .so I offered ravioli.  I didn't offer JUST ravioli . . .I offered a choice.  God gives us life -- abundant life!  A choice between Mini Beef Ravioli or Cheese Ravioli!  I know that sounds silly but all I could think about was abundant life.  Not one can . . .but four cans . . .now down to three cans.  Our friend chose Cheese Ravioli and I found some tortilla chips in the staff breakroom.  I heated the ravioli in a coffee mug and another co-worker told our friend that he needed to eat the ravioli and chips before eating the cookies (he had already consumed a few cookies).  

Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones . . .Ravioli isn't a cup of cold water but it is a cup of love.  There is enough y'all - there is enough to go around.  We don't have to be stingy. . . with our food, with our love, with God's grace.  There is enough for everybody.  Y'all - it multiplies and divides and keeps on going strong.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rooted and built up and overflowing with thankfulness

These verses have been on my mind tonight.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

I've been thinking about growing up. I grew up in a small town. I grew up in a small town where there were as many blue collar workers as professionals - or maybe even more. My father was an engineer for the L&N Railroad and he worked hard to provide for us. He had been a wonderful carpenter but needed a more steady income with three girls and a wife to support. He worked crazy hours - he was on call throughout the night. I wonder why trains had to leave at such odd hours?  I never knew that we didn't have money. I never went hungry. I always had clean clothes. I was given strong roots in my faith. I am indeed overflowing with thankfulness and I am humbled at the difference in then and now.

This was the house that my daddy built with his own hands.  I need to dig through and see if I have any old photos of our house.  There used to be a pretty banister around the porch, a big tree and a swing in the front yard.  This is how it looks now - forlorn and sad.

The room on the right was the living room.  The room on the left was a bedroom.  The house was tiny - maybe a 1,000 square feet for 5 people.  The original house had two bedrooms and one bath (no shower - only a bath tub!), a living room and a kitchen.  Since my daddy had great carpentry skills, we had the fanciest cornice boards on the block.

I learned to back up in this driveway.  We had an LTD (in the 70's) and daddy would give me the keys and I would drive up to the entrance of the garage and then back all the way down the driveway.  You can't see it, but there was a fence all along the right side of the driveway.  Let me tell you -- I can back up a car!!

See that garage in the back . . .that is where my daddy would go to escape all of the females who lived in our house.  That garage was his refuge.  I remember that he raised mealy worms in the garage one time.  He was always working on some project or another.  I also had an incredible sandbox.  I must find a picture of that sandbox.  Of course, it was wooden.  Not only did my sandbox have a bench seat on each side, but it had a shingled roof!! I wonder if building that sandbox gave him pleasure!

Our backyard seemed immense.  We had a sandbox, a tree (maybe a dogwood??); a peach tree with delicious peaches (and wicked switches - I would know this because I misbehaved a lot); a long clothesline and a garden.  The backyard in reality is tiny.  I have no idea how my daddy organized all that into one space.  But at the time, the yard seemed immense.

My daddy and his daddy were both excellent gardeners.  My daddy grew the best tomatoes.  I love Sand Mountain tomatoes today because they taste similar to the ones my daddy grew.

This was our next door neighbors house.  With the magic of Facebook, we have reconnected.  Their house looked much prettier back in the day!!

This was the house across the street and the youngest daughter from this family and I actually attend the same church!  Their house was THE most luxurious house on the block.  They had quite a few fancy things - they even had a real dining room (actually a couple of houses on our street did).
Their daddy made the most amazing play house and sandbox and he was a welder (I think) and made some enormous swings.  I wonder if the wrought iron on the porch is the same wrought iron that he made for the house back then!!

What is really amazing is that there were three rental houses (that I know of) on our street.  One family had about 15 kids (not kidding) and they were very poor.  I think it is so interesting that I knew and still remember today how poor they were.  I never knew their story.  I just know that the son who was my age always carried a bologna sandwich with mayo (which I thought was soooo gross!!) for his lunch.  His family couldn't afford lunchboxes so he carried his lunch in a lard bucket.  We weren't poor because I always had a lunch box!! 

I am thankful for parents who raised me well.  Parents who loved me even when I messed up.  Parents who cheered me on.  Parents who loved me.  I am thankful for deep roots of faith - the church was on the other side of the blue house above.  We walked to church and that was awesome.  I am thankful for all of the Sunday School teachers who taught hundreds of Sunday School lessons.  I am thankful.

I am truly thankful for our home today. . . but I'm even more thankful for those deep roots of faith.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fishing on a HodgePodge

Join up with Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond and answer the questions!
      1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try?

I have been fishing a few times and I’ve caught a few fish!  I live with a man who loves to fish!!  We actually received matching fishing reels as a wedding gift!  Sometime this last year, I went down to the farm with Mark and he fished and I rode in the boat and took pictures!  One of my favorite pictures of all times is Mark with our children when they were really young and they have fish they had caught!

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, or cut bait...which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

Right now, I’m a little bit like a fish out of water.  I am not a crier . . .but I just watched this week’s episode of This Is Us and I am weeping like a baby.  If I were a brave woman, I would post the selfie I just took of my ugly crying face!  I’m not that brave!

2. What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?

I’m ALWAYS fishing for my keys.  I love my purse and I even bought a purse organizer to go inside my purse so that I wouldn’t lose my keys.  I still have to hunt!  I try to keep my junk drawers fairly organized . . . .my desk still has things from the previous occupant!

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?

I love the Little Mermaid.  Does that count?

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

Do I have to pick just one???  I love sunrise.  I’ve posted a million and one sunrise pictures on facebook, etc.  I also love twilight!  I especially love twilight at the beach or when we are at the lake.  It is like everything slows down and things become peaceful.

5. What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?
I have a couple of “walking shirts” that are pretty old.
  Mark says I don’t need to wear them out in public!

6. We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?
I would love a get-away to some tropical island.
  We haven’t had much cold weather here this year but I’m ready for some major sunshine. 

7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day...will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune?
Thank you for asking.
  I love Margaritas and had one at dinner tonight!  My Margarita was on the rocks tonight but I like frozen also!  I prefer a top shelf Margarita!!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/FromThisSideOfThePond/~4/ubpxMM2oh6I?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

See my answer above about the fish out of water . . .and the crying . . .and This Is Us.  I love that TV show!  Have you watched it?  When Mark and I watch TV together, we tend to watch comedy or a sporting event or Booze Traveler or Andrew Zimmern.  This show has me hooked and I watch it by myself - either while riding the stationary bike or after he goes to sleep.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I always seem to jump on the bandwagon long after everyone else does.  This is not age related (I don't think!!) because I'm pretty sure I've always done it.  Something new is being worn and I have to watch everyone else wear it for a while before I decide if I like it.  People are using a new color in their homes, you say?  Well, I might try it next year!  (or I may never try it!)

For a loooooong time, I've been watching as others ate "oatmeal in a jar."  I've seen lots of pictures of oatmeal in a jar on Pinterest and in blogs.  The problem is that I don't like breakfast foods all that much.  I'm just as happy with a grilled cheese sandwich or a turkey sandwich or a pack of Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers. (I do like the more fattening breakfast foods - bacon and sausage!)

But yesterday I made oatmeal in a jar and guess what?  I LIKED it!!   I made it again last night to take to work today!  I can't make it again this week unless I go back to the grocery store or either find a different recipe!

This recipe is simple and delicious and nutritious and filling.  Sometimes filling is the most important!

I used Chobani yogurt.

Blueberry Oatmeal in a Jar

(can be prepared the night before or in the morning before you leave for work)

1 container non-fat plain yogurt
1 tsp Splenda (or substitute honey, etc. - it might take more than 1 tsp of honey)
1/3 cup oatmeal (I had Quaker quick cooking oats on hand and they work)
1 tablespoon skim milk (we use Horizon Organic)
1 tsp vanilla (thanks to my friend Eleanor for that tip!!)
Mix above ingredients together in small bowl
rinse 1 cup fresh blueberries (I'm sure frozen would work, too)
Layer 1/3 of the blueberries in bottom of small mason jar
Layer a dollop (my friend Julie can't eat anything that "dollops"!!) of yogurt mixture on top of blueberries
Continue layering until all ingredients are used
I added a tiny sprinkle of chopped walnuts on top just for some crunch - maybe 3 walnut halves chopped
Put the lid on the jar
Put the jar in the fridge until time to enjoy
Remember to get jar out of fridge as you go out the door to work (I actually have to put a sticky note on the back door so I won't forget . . . )
Enjoy at your desk!!

I may have been late to the bandwagon but I'm enjoying a new food now!!  I think the official name for this kind of oatmeal is "overnight oats" but since I made mine before work yesterday, I decided that I like Oatmeal in a Jar better!!
Do you jump on board quickly or do you observe from the side lines first?  Run quickly and make this oatmeal - don't wait another day!

p.s. Chobani, Horizon milk, nor Quaker knows I'm writing this post . . .but if they were to see this post and want to send me free products, I would be happy hahaha!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Weird conversations, fun conversations, meal prep . . .RANDOM post!

On Sunday morning, when we were driving to church, we actually had a discussion about the texture and smell of otter poop.  Yes, we did!  I actually made a note in my phone so that I would remember to blog about that one comment!  This comment was made along with several others regarding Mark's nemesis -- the otter!  They keep infiltrating the lake at the farm and they eat ALL THE FISH!!  Did you know that an otter's poop is nothing but fish scales?  They evidently eat the whole fish including scales and bones and their body processes everything E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  but the fish scales!  Mark did not take the picture below but it is so hard to believe that something this cute could cause such total havoc in a small lake . . .but the wily otter can do much damage.

Laura was home for the weekend so we had lots of fun conversations . . .conversations about things other than otters and their bathroom habits!  She teaches 2nd grade and her children say the funniest things!  One little boy put carrots between his fingers so that he could be Wolverine (pretty darn creative if you ask me!).  Laura said she never thought she would be saying, "take the carrots out . . .you are NOT Wolverine!"

Yesterday afternoon, I did some food prep for Tuesday night and prepared my lunches for the week.  I always try to have a salad on Tuesday nights for the young adults just in case they don't like anything else I've prepared.  I decided that I was tired of the same old bagged salads so I bought heads of Iceberg lettuce and I'm going to make wedge salads.  It is a good thing that I have a huge sink.  Count them -- 8 heads of lettuce!  A couple of the heads were small so I felt like I needed extra heads to get 20 wedges.  Just fyi - this sink was washed with antibacterial soap with a touch of Clorox and rinsed well before food prep!!! I  am so weird about eating things prepared in other people's kitchens (people that I don't know well) so I'm all about telling how many times I wash my hands when preparing for others, etc.  I try to keep a clean kitchen!  I try!

It was hard finding a place to drain 8 heads of lettuce!

Total change of subject.  I'm sitting at the island in my kitchen at 6:14 a.m. and I can see the sunrise - one of my favorite things each day!!  I literally just ran onto the front porch (still in nighttime clothes) and took this picture!  Today's sunrise is spectacular!!

Back to Sunday.  I did meal prep yesterday for my lunches and cooked enough for us to snack on at dinner last night.  I roasted fresh Brussel sprouts with olive oil and fresh garlic, salt and pepper.  I cooked fresh squash and onions.  Mark grilled some beef patties and a couple of chicken breasts.  Another week of TRYING to make healthier choices.  It takes so much time to do food prep on Sunday afternoons when I'm also trying to prep for Tuesday nights.  But it is so easy to grab a lunch from the fridge!! 

I also made some really cute lingerie shower invitations last night but I need to ask if I can show them!!

So we are up to Monday morning after a play by play of Sunday.  I'm so thankful that I love my job!  Are you ready for Monday?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

prompts and photos

I looked over my list of writing prompts today and nothing sparked my interest enough to write a whole blog post.  There are a few prompts I might use later.  Thought I would tell you a few that I will not be writing about --
Prompt number 25:  What are you wearing today?  Share your outfit and tell us about your personal style - hahahahahahahaha!!  I have NO style - nada, zip, nothing!  I wish I did!  Today I have on a lime green t-shirt with denim shorts and pink flip flops.  That is my style -- beach???  My cute daughter-in-law has shared her clothing selections on her blog before and it is all so put together - the right scarf and the right shoes.  My husband and my daughter both have style . . .I got left out of the style selection process.
Prompt number 23:  How do you save money on your grocery bill? once again - hahahahaha!  I would be ashamed to tell you how much I spend every week on groceries.  Granted, we do feed an extra 18-20 people every Tuesday night.  I do buy a lot of groceries at Walmart and Target and Costco so I do try to bargain shop.  I also look at the meat ads for the local grocery stores.
Prompt number 16: Do you make your bed in the morning or leave it unmade?  What do you think this says about you? YES YES YES I make my bed every morning and I change my sheets once a week.  I'm not sure what it says about me but I can't stand an unmade bed.  I taught my children to do this but I'm not sure that either of them make their bed every day.

So what should I write about today?  I loaded the pictures from my phone to see if I had any inspiration.  No real inspiration so I'll just tell you what is on my phone -- you can tell I'm really reaching for something to write!!

I made a birthday card this week and I'm going to make some lingerie shower invitations for my daughter's friend.  I do love my silhouette - highly recommend!!

I love this cupola.  It is on the roof of our church and yesterday the sky was so blue that I couldn't resist snapping a photo.  Granted, I took this photo through the window so photo quality may be compromised.  Isn't the cupola lovely? Wasn't the sky beautiful??  I've always thought it would be cool to be able to go inside the cupola!!  See those gorgeous stones on the wall below . . .we are going to have some major repair work done on that area of the church which is going to affect my office and the office of the senior minister.  Wonder where we will land during construction?

Last night, I had a Moscow Mule . . .I waited until 5:00.  Yes, I did!  Then I made waffles and sausage for dinner.  I drank the mule beforehand - not sure they would go together!  Mark offered to bring a pizza home from Papa Murphy's but I had eaten spaghetti three or four times this week and had pizza a couple of times and I just couldn't face anymore.  Mark loves breakfast so VoilĂ !

This picture is on my phone because I texted it to my daughter today.  I won't explain why.

The cat and I took a nap this afternoon.  He LOVES to be snuggled up in someone's lap! He was so sweet and cuddly that I snapped a picture!  He is still in the chair asleep.  I wrapped him in the blanket and stood up and put him back in the chair where he remains!!

Writing prompts are great.  My creativity today is not great!  What is everyone else doing this weekend?  Mark is at the farm and I wish he would get home in time to get dinner but I don't think that is going to happen!  Laura is here and we've watched lots of HGTV which has been fun!

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Fruit of the Spirit is . . .

drawn by a friend a looong time ago on an Emmaus Walk

. . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . .Galatians 5:22-23

Over the last few weeks, we've been studying the fruit of the spirit in our Sunday School class. We've talked about love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness.  This week, we will be talking about being good in the image of Jesus.

I've taught on the fruit of the spirit before.  I may have even blogged on it before. (found it here - way back in November of 2009) It never amazes me how much I continue to need to grow and how much I need to allow God to work in my life . . .and to do some weeding around my fruit plants (I know that sounds lame but it is sort of true!!).

When we talked about love, we used 1 Corinthians 13 as one of our scripture passages and we inserted our own names . . .instead of Love is patient, love is kind . . .Lisa is patient, Lisa is kind. I had a buzzer going off almost constantly when I inserted my name!

I was a tad more comfortable when we talked about joy.  I love knowing that my joy comes from the Lord - no matter what.  There are times when I might not be happy but if I dig deep . . .there is joy in the Lord.  It isn't always easy to find it, but it is there.

How about that peace that passes all understanding?  How can we have peace when the world around us is going to hell in a hand basket?  Peace is sometimes elusive but it, too, is always available.  It is often a peace that CANNOT be explained -- a peace that is there when we are in the darkest places.  Peace is like that tiny pin prick of light at the end of the tunnel . . .we know it is there for us.

Dadgum it - we did have to talk about patience.  My favorite thing from that day was "I think I'm getting more patient as I get older . . .but maybe I just don't give a shit."  Yes, I did say that word in a Sunday School lesson.  Yes, our whole class laughed.  Yes, we tend to be a little . . .well, what are we?  Edgy?  Irreverent?  Old?  Patience doesn't come over night . . .we can't pray, "God, I need patience and I need it right now."  Well, we CAN pray that prayer but odds are we are not going to get patience immediately - yes, I know God is a God of miracles, but give me a break!

Last week, we talked about kindness and I asked for examples of kindness on Facebook.  People shared wonderful stories with me (and I shared with the class) of how people had showered them with kindness - from paying someone's way through PTA school to sitting with them while in the hospital to cooking meals for them.  The stories were amazing and those stories filled me with  joy (they aren't individual fruit(s) . . no (s) . . .they are fruit of the spirit . . .and they do go hand in hand.)  We were talking about the scripture -- you know the scripture in Matthew (and probably at least one other gospel - I need to check that out!) about giving the "cup of cold water" to someone?  While I was allowing the class to pull up memories of their own, I shared how I keep an emergency stash of either Campbell's soup or Chef Boyardee Ravioli in my desk. We had someone who was hungry recently come into the church office and we heated my last can of soup for the person.  That was a "simple" example of kindness.  This week, that kindness came back doublefold (is that how you use that word??) -- I am now the proud owner of not one can but two cans of Chef Boyardee Ravioli.  That illustrated the point perfectly that we never do a kindness in order to get repaid but that most often when we do a kindness, it come back to us!!  Times TWO in this case! (thanks so much to Martha and Jim)

This week's lesson is all about being good - good like Jesus.  I used to tell my kids to "behave" as they were going out the door and finally one of them (they were little) said, "what does behave mean" . . .it means be good!  Be good like Jesus!  I think that we may skip a couple . . .maybe faithfulness and gentleness . . .and jump to self-control.  I'm not sure I can do a combined lesson on faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  We may begin a Lenten study on the Sunday after Ash Wednesday . . .but for now . . .the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . .Galatians 5:22-23

Thursday, February 16, 2017

For THIS child we have prayed!

We had a baby shower at work yesterday honoring a co-worker.  This is just not ANY baby . . .this is a baby who has been prayed for and prayed for and prayed for by many people.  It is not my story to tell - maybe I'll interview Laura one day for my blog about her journey to conceive a child.  The long awaited child is on her way soon (not too soon!) and will be here by Easter.  We have a history of showering staff members when they (or their spouse) is pregnant - sometimes it is a simple shower and sometimes more elaborate.  I think I bought every pink or sparkly decoration I could find and made a few, too!!

We used our Element CafĂ© space (our youth department was so gracious to allow us to take over!).  We ordered pizza and breadsticks.  We served a giant Greek salad.  We, of course, had cake/cupcakes for dessert.  We have eaten more at work this week than you can possibly imagine.

Our youth space is perfect for a party - Rachel (much younger than I!!) volunteered to climb up on the ladder and hang the puff balls from the cool light fixture.

Rachel also crawled up on the counter to hang Farah's banner.  It helps that Rachel and Laura are sisters . . .I didn't feel so guilty!!

We also had Farah spelled out in gold, glittery letters!  They will look so cute in her nursery.

Tried to get a picture to show all the decorations . . .

Brian, our senior minister, prayed for not only the food but for baby Farah and her parents.  I love the fact that we can pray at work . . .one of my favorite perks of working in a church!!

Laura looks so cute pregnant and she was surrounded by many who love her and look forward to meeting Farah soon (her due date is Easter Sunday!!).

What a fun day to shower Laura and Farah!  I love working in a place where we can stop for a lunch hour and celebrate an important event!!

We can't wait to meet you soon, Farah!  We promise to love you when you arrive!!  For you, sweet baby girl, we have PRAYED!