Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I'm an accomplished Wednesday Hodgepodger (not!)

Thanks to Joyce over at "from this side of the pond" for the Wednesday Hodgepodge questions. Feel free to link up with answers of your own!

1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.
Mark and I entertain well together and after we've hosted a good party, I always have that great sense of "we did something."  Sometimes I have that feeling on my job - when I know that I've had a good idea or said the right thing to someone, I have that moment of knowing that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing (and then quickly remembering that it was God working through me!!).  I am a list maker and I love for the end of the day to come and realize that I've marked everything off my "to do" list - that is a feeling of accomplishment!  None of these are probably the "right" answer but quickly came to mind.

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.
Does it have to be someone famous?  I guess these are my answers so I can answer anyway I want to answer, right?  I seem to be worried about what people are thinking about me today!!  Okay - back to the question.  Do they have to be alive now?  I would love to have a "sit down" with Mother Theresa (hence my question about being alive).  I cannot imagine the stories she could share.  I would also like to talk with Corrie Ten Boom (once again . . .no longer living).  I love love love Jen Hatmaker and also Ree Drummond so those two would be on my line up (of those still alive!!)  (NOTE:  I realize that I didn't do a good job of answering the question as it was written!)

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?
I do not have a good (nor great) burger recipe . . .because to make it great . . .usually makes it not very healthy!  Burgers often taste better with 85% meat . . .and I usually buy 96% ground meat - lots of flavor difference!!  I love a hamburger with mustard, ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles . . .but my favorite thing on a burger is homemade pimento cheese.  The Boot was a restaurant within walking distance of our home (not any more) and when that restaurant first opened, they had the best burger with pimento cheese.  They used a small bun so the ratio of meat to bun was perfect and then they slathered it with homemade pimento cheese.  
I also love the burgers at Sam's in Homewood on Oxmoor Road.  I have no idea what makes them good . . .but they are!  The meat is cooked on a flat top (or whatever you call it - not grilled).  They put shredded lettuce and pickles and grilled onions on it.  They use a large round and fairly thin meat patty.  My mouth is watering.  Neither of those burgers is on my "healthier" eating list.  I did buy some veggie burgers at Sprouts and used lettuce leaves as my bun with light Hellman's mayo, Grey Poupon Mustard, pickles, tomato, mustard, ketchup and it was pretty darn good!!  Just FYI - I DO NOT eat raw onion on a burger (or an anything else!!)

4. What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?
I teach a large adult Sunday School class almost every Sunday and I facilitate a small young adult study on Tuesday nights.  Both of those activities cause me to sweat profusely.  I just have to remember to allow God to speak through me.  It is not about me . . .I have to remember to breathe in Holy Spirit and breathe out self.  I think when I stop feeling anxious and nervous it will be time for me to stop teaching/facilitating.  I NEVER want to think that I have accomplished something when it was God through me.  (see question #1!!).

5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.
Let's see . . .we have weddings to attend over the next three weekends (and one rehearsal dinner).  I have a birthday this month (June).  My daughter and I are hosting a wedding shower for our friend, Brooke, in July and we will attend her wedding in July.  As far as I know, we have no vacation plans until September and we have rented a big beach house and are taking our son, daughter-in-love, granddaughter, daughter and boyfriend to the beach with us.  We are going down a day early and will have one day to ourselves.  I hope to make it to the neighborhood pool more often this summer.  I wanted to go last weekend but we had rain and clouds.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Our neighborhood has started a book club.  They've met twice and I've not been able to attend either time BUT I'VE READ THE BOOKS!!  Do I get credit?  Please!  I'm reading this month's selection now.  The book is Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.  This is not necessarily a book that I would pick but I'm so glad that someone picked it!!  We've read:

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

I had read The Nightingale but re-read it . . .I love that book.  I probably wouldn't have read What Alice Forgot if someone hadn't picked it nor Choosing to See.  I love reading and I tend to get stuck in a rut so this has been great for me.  I hope I get to attend this month.  Are you in a book club?  Ever been in one?  Favorite books?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Weekend Projects . . .and Sitting Still

For many years, I was a stay-at-home mom.  I drove carpool.  I cooked supper every day.  I had snacks for my children when they came in after school.  I drove kids to swim lessons, gymnastics, ballet, jazz, baseball, church activities.  I checked homework (if needed) in the afternoons.  When my kids were in high school, I went back to work and I worked 20-24 hours a week but was always off on Fridays.  A few years ago (3 I think), I started working five days a week and you wouldn't think that one little day would make that much difference but it does! 

What does all that have to do with this post?  I've been making a list of projects that needed attention and I was counting the days until the long weekend.  I shot out of the office on Friday at 1:30 and I felt like I was free (and all this is from someone who LOVES her job!!).  Anticipation!!

I did a fun thing first - I used my gift card given to me by Glenn and Lauren and Emma for Mother's Day. . . PEDICURE!!  I love Sapphire Nail Salon in Hoover.  I tried hard to relax (there is something wrong with that sentence - I had to TRY HARD to RELAX!!).  When the pedicure was complete, I hopped back in the car and headed to the grocery store (have I told you that I use an Excel spreadsheet for my grocery list?).

I got home and put away the groceries (the cold and perishable items).  I then started pulling everything out of my pantry.  I should look back through my blog posts to see how many times I've cleaned out my pantry.  We can't keep it clean and organized.  I have no idea what is wrong with us.  Isn't that ridiculous?  Part of the problem is that I don't have a real pantry.  I'm still puzzled by the fact that we have a really nice home with no pantry and not a single linen closet.  Did the builder just forget?

I texted the two pictures above to my friend Kristi - she's been laughing at me for years regarding my pantry.

This is what it looked like empty.  I have my cookbooks and a few serving pieces on a bookshelf behind the little door.

One of the main problems is not having enough storage space for canned goods.  I had this rack already mounted on the wall in the laundry room and decided to see if I could use it for canned goods.  It worked.  Mark was out of town while I was working on these projects so when he came home, I asked him to put some more screws/brackets on the shelves to make sure the shelves stay on the wall with the added weight.

Here are two shots of the pantry with everything neatly organized.  I need to make an inventory sheet and make some labels so I can find things!!!

On to the next project.  On Saturday morning, I spent an hour or so in Home Depot shopping for items to help me organize.  Like I said . . .we don't have a linen closet so last year, I bought these fabric boxes and I've been rolling my towels so they would fit.  It had become a disaster area.  What to do?  What to do?

Ta Da!!  That is the most beautiful sight to me!!  I bought and hung the shelves and sorted towels.  I "weeded out" those well loved and worn towels and bagged them up for Mark to take to the farm.

I bought all of these hanging shelves at my Home Depot.  Closetmaid has not idea that I am writing about their product.  I wish they did and would send me about 10 more of these shelves.  I came home and went on line to see if there were any more within a 25 mile radius!!  I may need to order more!!  I hung these in the closet upside down so that there is a lip on the front edge.

On to project three . . .the rack on the wall in the laundry room . . .that now holds canned goods . . .used to hold laundry detergent, Clorox wipes, dryer sheets, dishwasher tables, etc.  These are smaller hanging shelves and they are perfect for this space!!  I already had the red wire baskets on the top shelf - I believe they were a target find!

Today, my projects have been mostly indoors or on the porch.  I'm not going to post pictures because most of the items are for a shower that I'm helping to host on July 1.  Mark, on the other hand, has been outside all day.  First, he painted the upstairs porch ceiling.  Most of the porch ceilings in our neighborhood are painted Haint Blue.  After 3 years, our ceiling was looking a little sad and tired.  I bought really good paint and it looks so fresh and clean.  You can read about blue porch ceilings here.

You can see the reflection of the shutters in this picture!

After he painted, he is now outside washing everything on all the porches (3).  He is also washing the siding of the house.  I plan to clean the windows later this month (before the wedding shower on July 1!!).

So . . .at this moment, I'm sitting still . . .and feeling terribly guilty. . . because Mark is still working.  I'm not finished for the day . . .just resting!

Lest you think we've worked ALL weekend . . .think again.  Mark went fishing with Laura and her boyfriend, Scott, on Saturday at the farm (he did work there, too).  We went to church and Sunday School yesterday morning (and we played Bible Trivia - yes, we are adults).  Last night, we went to the home of friends for a shrimp boil . . .and drinks . . .and fun conversation . . .and lots of laughter. . . lots of laughter.

Don't think we've forgotten the real reason behind today's holiday.  We are forever grateful for those who fought for our freedom.  Even in today's wacky political climate (no matter what "side" you are on . . .there have been some wacky things!), we are thankful to live in the United States and we are thankful for our daddies and uncles who fought for freedom.

Friday, May 26, 2017


June is almost here and in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, lots of change happens in June/July.  I've been on staff at our church since 2004 and I've seen a lot of changes.  Some of those changes made me weep with grief while some of those changes brought a breath of fresh air.  We are going to experience lots of change over the next 30 days.  Our beloved Nathan, the pastor who preaches in our Contact Contemporary service and is over young adults, is moving to another church.  It is a wonderful move for Nathan and his family . . .and we are truly happy for them . . .but oh my goodness, we are going to miss them.  Nathan and I sit across the hall from each other and I value his friendship along with his preaching/teaching capabilities.  I feel like I'm not only losing a pastor but a good friend.  He will be serving a church that is only a few miles down the road but we won't see each other on a daily basis anymore.  Nathan is an excellent preacher and a wonderful story teller and a gifted teacher.  Add onto those wonderful aforementioned qualities his ability to make people laugh and to listen when you need a friend and to offer counsel when needed . . .and you have a wonderful preacher/pastor/friend/co-worker.

Not only will we miss Nathan . . .we will miss his sweet family.  His wife is funny and quick witted and caring.  They have three beautiful children - their newest addition to the family is a little girl from Ethiopia.  They just brought her home after a four year long battle.  We've prayed for that child and bought cakes baked to raise money for the adoption.  Their son and other daughter are cute and bright and we've watched them grow over the last several years.  All of these family attributes add up to equal a wonderful family . . .and to one big grief puddle for us . ..and hopefully, joy (and I'm sure a little grief, too) for them!!

picture from our church newsletter of their sweet family
we love them and are going to miss them

Nathan preaching in Contact worship

At this same time, Suzanne Pruitt, our minister who is in charge of small groups, spiritual growth, and many other things, is retiring after 10 or so years on our staff.  She will be missed, too.  Throw on a few more staff changes -- two folks from staff are quitting due to stay-at-home mom/husband starting a law firm/taking care of an aging mom reasons. We had cake and gifts at staff chapel/meeting on Tuesday and prayed over those who were able to be with us.

We can't look back for long.  Starting in July we have two new ministers coming to join our staff - Christian and Amy.  I know they are going to be wonderful additions to our staff!!  We are all looking forward to being in ministry with the two of them.  They will bring new gifts to our staff and we will learn to love them like we've loved their predecessors.  I'm hoping that they will love us, too!!

If the changes ended there, it would be awesome but that is not the case.  Y'all know how much we love our Tuesday night group, right?  Kelly's last Tuesday night . . .was Tuesday night.  She has loved us and we have loved her.  We wish her well as she moves to another state to be a pastor in the Lutheran church.  She has been such a faithful Tuesday night attender and has MUCH wisdom.  We will miss her so very much.  She has a great laugh and she loves Jesus and that church in Kentucky is going to LOVE having her as one of their ministers!!

Change is in the air!  I don't cry often but if you see me weeping sometime over the next few weeks . . .just know that I am grieving . . .but also rejoicing.  I am grieving because I have loved . . . and I don't plan to stop loving anytime soon!

Lisa’s wacky pulled from many-recipes crockpot Mexican Lasagna 

(2 crockpot recipe)

Feeds about 20 hungry people.  Serve with homemade guacamole; chips; melted white cheese; shredded lettuce; sliced black olives; chopped tomatoes; chopped onion

I forgot to take a picture!  To be honest, it is not a "pretty" dish but it is "oh so tasty"!!  Some served it like a serving of a casserole on their plate with everything else on the side.  Some piled chips on their plate and covered it with a scoop of Mexican Lasagna and topped it with melted cheese and all the toppings.  There is no right or wrong way to eat this dish - just eat it and enjoy!!

Ingredients –

1 small jar of salsa (mild or medium – your choice)
Flour tortillas – pack of 20 (maybe just a pack of 12 large would be enough)
3 – 8 ounce blocks light cream cheese
5 # ground beef (I used 85/15)
3 packets taco seasoning
2 cans black beans – drained
2 cans white shoepeg corn
1 can ranch style beans
36 ounces shredded Mexican style cheese
3 cans rotel
1 can campbell’s cheese soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 chopped onion


1. Cook ground beef until no pink remains – drain (I used a bulb to suction most of the fat – left some)
2. Add three packs of taco seasoning and stir to combine.
You can do the above step the night before and place in refrigerator overnight or you can cook and proceed to the next step.
3. Spray crockpots with Pam
4. Place about half the small jar of salsa on the bottom of each crockpot
5. Spread cream cheese on 4-6 or 8 tortillas (you need to soften cream cheese first) (second note – I use one giant crockpot and one large crockpot.  You are going to lay tortillas in each crockpot overlapping them and making sure that about an inch goes up the side of the crockpot.  One of my crockpots required four (4) tortillas – the other required only two (2).)
6. Put about ¼ of the meat mixture on top of the tortillas (1/4 of the mixture PER crockpot – so you will have used half of the meat total)
7. Mix together the black beans, chopped onion, corn and ranch style beans.
8. Place about ¼ of the bean/corn mixture on top of the meat (1/4 of the mixture PER crockpot – so you will have used ½ of the bean/corn mixture total)
9. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese on top – a GOOD layer of cheese
10. Add ½ can of rotel (I used mild in this step) to each crockpot
11. Repeat layers from steps 5-9.
12. I had a little extra meat and I placed it on top of everything else in each crockpot. (this was not a planned step!!)
13. Mix together 2 cans rotel, 1 can of cheese soup, 1 can cream of chicken soup.
14. Spread half of above mixture on top of each crockpot.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

This is a hard Wednesday Hodgepodge!!

From this Side of the Pond

Join us with Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond and answer the Wednesday Hodgepodge questions!  Then link up with everyone and enjoy reading what others write!!

1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?
Let's see . . .I think most of our walls are painted Springfield Tan by Benjamin Moore and our family room furniture is neutral . . .and our comforter is white - hmmmm . . .I guess we have a lot of neutral/beige going on!  I do have pops of red and orange in most of the rooms with some yellow thrown in.  Our home is only 3 years old so I'm not ready to cover it up yet.

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?
That is a difficult question.  My mama always said, "never say never" and I think there is some wisdom in that statement!  I was married when I was very young and divorced 18 months later.  Mark and I have been married for 33 years.  I hope I never have to go through a divorce again.

I'll NEVER be pregnant again - hahaha!  I think I can say that one and be pretty sure about it!!

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.
Gosh - this is another difficult question.  I can be fairly aggressive so that might not fit the female stereotype.  I also have a rather deep voice - not a sweet little cute voice.  My profession is one that is often held by a woman - I'm the executive assistant to our senior pastor.  I was mostly a stay-at-home mom so that could/could not fit a female stereotype.  I can't wait to read some other people's answers for this one!!

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?
You've got to be kidding me?  Motorcycle Awareness Month, really?  I've never owned a motorcycle.  Yes, I've ridden at least one - maybe more.  I actually remember a guy picking me up for a date (when I was a young adult) on a motorcycle . . .and then another guy took me on a day trip on the back of his motorcycle.  You bet - I think I would hop on the back of one!

This isn't a motorcycle but we were riding around our old backyard on the four wheeler!  Wheeeeee!

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?
hmmmm . . .I don't know.  That question is too deep for my feeble brain!  I love mysteries but reading one wouldn't make you understand me.  I don't watch a lot of TV but when I do, it is mostly comedy . . .I do love to laugh so there is that slight connection.  You could listen to sermons preached by our preachers and you would hear words that shape me.  I guess reading the Bible might help you understand me, too, since we (I) are (am) still making the same mistakes made by all of those folks whose lives are recorded in the scriptures.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
I've shared with you that I've been riding the stationary bike about six days a week.  I've also been trying to eat healthier foods - preparing things at home and eating lots of fruit and veggies.  Last night, I made Egg Roll Bowl and it is so easy and yummy.  I steamed some fresh broccoli and cooked some green beans (they were canned - best I could do).

I browned a pound of 96%/4% ground beef with some chopped onion.  I added a bag and a half of slaw mix and about a third to a half of bag of some riced cauliflower/carrots/broccoli mix.  I added a little sesame oil and some rice wine vinegar and some ginger and some soy sauce . . and some sriracha sauce.  I added a few chopped green onions right at the end of the time.  I don't have measurements because I just guestimated and added!!  I carried the leftovers in my lunch today.

My new favorite treat is this.

I also love the coconut one.  I made my oatmeal/blueberry/yogurt "parfait" in my mason jar this morning and used the coconut yogurt.  Delish!  The Toasted Marshmallow smells more like marshmallows than the taste but it is so good when you aren't eating other sweet treats.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Isn't that an interesting title?  Don't you want to read more? hahahaha!!  On Saturday night, Mark and I met three of our friends at Your Pie in Homewood.  In this picture, there is a blue sky.  There was not a speck of blue sky on Saturday afternoon/evening.  It was raining so hard that we had to delay leaving home!!  There was only one other customer in the establishment when we arrived.  You go through a line much like a Subway picking and choosing crust, toppings, etc.  Each pizza is a small size hence "your pie" (I guess!).  Bless the employees' hearts . . . they lost money on us.  They burned the first three pizzas and had to remake those and then they delivered our pizza to the wrong table and then retrieved it and offered it to us . . .no thank you!  So that means they had to remake all four pizzas!!  Even with that fiasco, this was a good place - especially for Mark!  Mark is not a red sauce eater nor a white sauce eater.  Mark can take or leave pizza.  I ordered and we shared.  We had whole wheat crust brushed with olive oil and topped with feta, mozzarella, spinach leaves, banana peppers, chunks of chicken breast, and black olives.  When I described this "pizza" to two other people and said that Mark loved it . . .they immediately responded "because it was not pizza - it was a flatbread sandwich."  I guess that is true. Mark thinks it was pizza and I liked it fine so we were/are golden!!

After dinner, we had tickets to a local theater - Homewood Theater.  A friend of ours opened this venue and their first show was in August 2016.  You can read all about this small venue here.  If the weather had been nice (like the picture above) we could have walked from the eatery to the theater but since it was still raining like crazy, we moved our cars from one parking deck to another parking lot.

Mark loves a lot of things but two things he doesn't like are pizza . . . and theater productions.  He was a good sport and went along.  I didn't hear him laughing but I was laughing loudly enough for both of us!!  It HELPED A WHOLE LOT that Red Hills Brewing Company was on site with a beer tasting and believe me . . .Mark tasted them all.  He did pour one down the bathroom sink because he didn't like it . . .but he enjoyed the rest!!

The name of the group performing was Ugly Baby Improv Troupe.

I love real pizza and I love live theater and I love improv!!  I love how quickly the actors/performers? can think of a response.  They asked for a prompt from the audience and someone said VCR.  These guys were young but all of them were able to make lots of "funnies" about the time frame/size/movies etc. associated with VCR's.  In the second act (more beer and pretzels and cheese puff balls during intermission . . .I had water :-) ), the actors/performers asked three different people in the audience to read various text messages from their phones - like "scroll back to four text messages ago and read the exchange to us" . . . and then they ran with all three of those different text messages.  They have to have such quick minds to come up with the banter - goodness gracious!

So yeah - Pizza Pie and Ugly Baby on a Saturday night!! I loved being with friends and I loved laughing! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Happy Hour in the Neighborhood

Friday night, our neighborhood celebrated Happy Hour in the park . . .right in front of our house - HOW CONVENIENT!!

Mark was out of town and though I am an extrovert, I have some introverted tendencies so I had to push myself to go . . and I'm glad I did, because I had fun!

I love how our whole neighborhood is multi-generational.  I spent a large part of the evening talking to folks much younger than Mark and I!  Most all of my co-workers are young adults and we hang out with young adults on Tuesday night and my very own children are young adults . . .yes, I know that I'm not a young adult . . .but I enjoy hanging with them!

Yes, I'm holding my Moscow Mule cup . . .1 1/2 ounces vodka, a whole lime squeezed into the cup, and a diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale.  Delish!!

Everyone was asked to bring their beverage(s) of choice and an appetizer to share.  I never made it to the food table so I'm not sure what all was available.  I know that someone brought chicken from Chick-Fil-A and I saw one child eating a piece of pizza!  I took hummus and pita chips and sliced cheese (cheddar, gouda, Havarti, swiss) - I literally stopped at Costco on my way home from work and then pulled out a plastic tray and arranged the food on the tray.  I didn't want to spill my drink so I wrapped it in that really sticky clear wrap . . .and though I could feel it sloshing as I walked to the pavilion, I arrived with my drink intact!

The whole neighborhood was invited but I really enjoyed talking to some of my immediate neighbors.  Susan, on the left, was the planner of the evening!  Libby, on the right, is our next door neighbor (I've told y'all about Libby before - she is the one who has Happy Hour on her front porch almost every afternoon and I think most everyone is welcome!)

The event started at 5:30 and folks trickled in after work.

Before the evening was over, we had quite a crowd.  I came into the house about 7:20 (it was supposed to be over at 7:30 and I was hot - anyone surprised?).  I think folks partied until well after 8:00.

Mrs. Lu lives across the park from us and it just so happens that Laura interned under Mrs. Lu's supervision during her senior year of college!!  She, and her classroom of pre-schoolers, just hatched chickens from eggs.  She brought the chicks out to the party and the children (and some big kids like me!) loved them.  I wonder if they are still alive today because those poor chickens were toted all over the park.  I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they were carried down the slides or maybe even cuddled while someone was swinging!!  There were lots of children playing while the parents visited.  I love the sound of happy children playing!!

I wonder if she could build a chicken coop in her backyard . . .it would have to be up to Preserve standards, of course! . . .and we could all have fresh eggs!  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  (chickens are allowed in Hoover . . .hmmm)

Happy hour in the neighborhood was a fun event!  I hope we do it again soon.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Road Trippin'

 (this is a long and rambling post . . .is that unusual for me?  hahaha! I'm just trying to capture the memories!!)
Last weekend, we took a teeny tiny road trip to Memphis, Tennessee.  It is weird to me that neither Mark nor I had ever been to Memphis.  Our kids have been several times over the years - one of Laura's college roommates/sorority sisters lived in Memphis plus both of our kids worked at SOS (service over self) for a week every summer during high school.

We loaded up the car and headed out on Friday morning.  We took the "new" interstate 22 and I was mesmerized by all of the woods along the road.  I don't think I had any idea that we had so much forest nearby.  Along the interstate there is a large amount of reclaimed land from old strip mines, too.  It is also a long way to the first bathrooms . . .just saying . . .and everyone got off at the same exit!!

We made it to Memphis and decided since it was raining, we would go ahead and find the Williams Sonoma outlet.  My friend, Debbie, had told me about the outlet and the fact that they had great prices on All Clad cookware.  We bought a 10 piece set, a waffle iron, and a couple of extra skillets.  I'm loving it all ready . . .and the prices were amazing.  There was a Pottery Barn outlet next door and I wouldn't even allow myself to go in . . .I had spent ALL MY MONEY at the Williams Sonoma Outlet!!

Mark wanted to try the dry rub ribs at Rendezvous Restaurant so we headed there for lunch and he was not disappointed. 

We checked into our downtown hotel and decided to walk around and check out the neighborhood.  Our hotel was one block off Beale Street so we were centrally located.

It is probably a really good thing that we don't have a Wet Willies in Birmingham.  I am mesmerized by all the spinning vats of delicious drinks.  (there was one in Savannah when we were there . . .) I had a concoction of strawberry daiquiri layered with a pina colada . . .and it was wonderful!

You can tell by the sky that the weather was iffy but we decided a little rain never hurt anyone.  As we walked, we were a little surprised at the number of homeless folks on the streets.  We have a large homeless population in Birmingham so I have no idea why we were surprised.  One guy gave us such a great story (about knowing the police and the church down the street) that Mark gave him $20.  As soon as we finished our conversation and turned to walk away, Mark said "we probably shouldn't have done that."  We turned around and the guy had vanished.  I mean - really vanished . . .in seconds.  I told Mark that maybe we had just handed a $20 bill to Jesus.  Do not make fun of me . . .really!!

After much walking . . .and a beverage . . .we decided to go back to the hotel for a little while to rest.  This, in and of itself, is a miracle (thanks to a big drink) because Mark doesn't like to waste time when we are someplace with new places to explore.

I had TWO things on my must-do list while in Memphis.  I wanted to go to the Williams Sonoma outlet (check) and I wanted to see the ducks at the Peabody.  I had checked the times and so we headed out in what we thought was plenty of time for the 5:00 p.m. "walk of the ducks."   In my research, I didn't see any notes from anyone that said "IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE DUCKS, ARRIVE AN HOUR EARLY."  We arrived at the Peabody and we couldn't get close enough to see.  Mark said he saw one duck . . .I saw ZERO.  Now this is going to sound totally silly, but I almost cried.  I only had two things I really wanted to do and one of them didn't happen.  I put on my happy face after a few minutes of pouting and stomp walking . . .and we walked to Automatic Slims for dinner . . .at 5:00 o'clock . . . .yes, we were the only people in the restaurant at that time.

The restaurant was very unique.  They had fried Wickles (and we LOVE wickless!) on the appetizer menu so we had to order those.  They were great!

We didn't really enjoy our dinner . . .in hind sight, we should have walked back up to Beale Street and eaten a world famous hamburger at one of the bars.

We went back to the hotel . . .and it was still really early . . .and Mark didn't want to sit still . . .so we got in the car and drove around Memphis.  He wanted to check out a couple of liquor stores to see if they had any different Bourbons.  I don't know what we did before GPS on our Iphones.  Siri and I became great even better friends last weekend.  An added bonus of the night was seeing the bridge with all the lights.  Mark drove around until he got me on the banks of the Mississippi and I was able to get an ok shot with my phone.  The picture doesn't do it justice - it was really lovely (you can see that the sky is still angry and sad).

The picture below is the main reason we went to Memphis -- Kate's graduation from the Memphis Theological Seminary.  Kate is in our Tuesday night Young Professionals group and she and I work together and she has "house/cat sat" for us. We love Kate!

We were seated near the back and she said that she was happy to see us as she came in.

The graduation was at the Baptist church on Broad Street and in addition to the graduation service, there was also a worship service woven through the agenda.  I have a video of the choir but I can't figure out how to get it into the blog.  The choir was from an African American church and the preacher who gave the message was African American.  It was so cool to worship in a different environment.  Mark is hearing impaired (from years of shooting guns without ear protection!) and when the congregants talked back to the minister during her sermon, he had a hard time hearing (plus the microphones weren't always doing their jobs correctly - how dare they??).

Kate-the graduate

I love this picture of the three of us!!  Yay for Kate - we are so proud of you and can't wait to see what God is going to do in and through you as you continue to partner with Him!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pack Rat Hodgepodge

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...
Who in the world came up with Pack Rat Day???  Please, oh please, tell me that Hallmark makes a card for this day!!Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.
My husband and I tend to clean out and give away things.  We bought new All Clad cookware this weekend . . .and the Mr. said to me in the car, "You can buy this on one condition - that we get rid of all the junky pots and pans!"  We were out of town (will post about that another day) and we went to a Williams Sonoma outlet . . . let the heavens part and the angels sing.  It is a really good thing that we do not have a Williams Sonoma outlet nearby.  Yes, you see a ten piece set in the giant box, a waffle iron (Mark's contribution to the giant rolling cart in the store), a sack under my shoes and a sack you can't see hanging from the bar.  Yes, we took the new pots and pans into our hotel room because the parking area for the hotel had HUGE signs not to leave anything in sight in your car.  This was a significant purchase so the CPA with whom I live lugged it all into our hotel room.

Now back to the pack rat question . . .We did significant "cleaning out" when we moved to this house.  I still have lots of crafting materials . . .and I love holiday decorations so those are hard to give away.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?
Fry food?  I don't know how to fry chicken!!  I really don't want to learn either.  Mark loves fried chicken so I should probably learn how . . .nah!   A lady at church gave me a recipe for fried okra (I should say instructions) and I have fried okra . . .maybe two times.  Let's see . . .what else do I not know how to do????  Stick to a budget!!  I actually CAN stick to a budget but I don't like to do so.  Thank God for Mark.

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

Since February, I've been eating very little sugar.  I'm not a coffee drinker and I can drink my tea unsweetened (or with equal - answers that artificial sweetener question).  I drink a million diet soft drinks (artificial sweetener again).  I haven't slain the sugar dragon but I've beaten him back a little.  I have found that the less sugar I eat, the less I want it.  Sugar is like alcohol or other addictive substances to me.  If I start eating it, I don't want to stop.  My thin husband (I'm not thin!) is the same way about sugar.  He loves it and can eat and eat and eat and then he has to exercise and stop eating real food to make up for the sugar!

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

I'm always the last one on the trend train!  We were slow to get on the new house/updated kitchen trend simply because our kitchen in our old house  (and the house) worked just fine.  I must admit that I love my kitchen and house now.  Of course, I have granite countertops and the world is moving on to other substances so I'm still behind!!5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.
This is so stupid but this popped into my mind.  When I was a teenager, we would go to the roller skating rink with our church youth group.  They would play "This Magic Moment" and I would dreamily imagine skating with a handsome prince!  I think I have written about this before!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I blogged almost every day in February (personal challenge) and I blogged every day in April (A to Z Challenge).  I blogged one day right after that because I was asked to write a post about my faith.  After that, I had to take a break.  I love writing down my thoughts but sometimes life is so incredibly busy.  Yes, I know that writing should be a priority but my faith, my job, my family, exercise . . .so many things are so important.  Do most of you have a "set" time when you blog?  Or do you just try to carve out a few moments?