Thursday, October 26, 2017

Yes, it is Thursday but this is Wednesday Hodgepodge!

I'm a day late but I'm posting anyway . . .Wednesday Hodgepodge on Thursday morning - seems like this is the way my life has been running lately!  Join us on any Wednesday and answer the questions and link up over at From This Side of the Pond.

1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general?
Deep question for number 1!!  One of the things that has surprised me most is the wonderful life that I live.  We aren't rich by any means but we aren't poor.  We live in a lovely home. I grew up in a small modest home - actually built by my daddy's own hands - and I never dreamed that I would live in any other kind of home. Mark and I have two beautiful and healthy children and we have the most special grandbaby girl ever! We have a lovely daughter-in-law and will have a wonderful son-in-law in 2018.  I actually get to do a job that I love (most days!) and get paid for it.  We have health insurance. We have good food to eat and clean water to drink.  We have friends who love us like family.  Our siblings are all still living.  Mark's momma is still living and blessing us every single week.

Maybe the thing that surprises me MOST is that for a time, I lived a life that was not pleasing to God. After a divorce when I was quite young, I lashed out at God and my mother (who had died when I was a sophomore in high school).  I did everything I could that I thought would not be pleasing to them.  (no, I didn't realize these motives at the time - I was just "LIVING LIFE.")  Even through all of that, God was waiting nearby.  When I turned my face - even ever so slightly - toward him, he reached out his arms and said, "I'm here."  He loved me through it all and his grace is sufficient.  Isn't that amazing?

I could go on and with my answer for #1 but will show you a couple of cute pictures - yes, she is sitting on their dog . . .and in the second picture, she is wearing her 90+ year old (shh!) great grandmother's shoes!

2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
Sweet potato fries!!  I could live on French fries of any kind.

3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?
To Kill a Mockingbird - of course, I've read it (not recently!) - it is awesome. 
My all time favorite "Alabama" books are written by Anne George and they are the Southern Sisters Mystery series - they are laugh out loud books! *****
I also love The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews *****

4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?
I laughed out loud when I read that!  Of course, I haven't started my shopping.  Wait . . .wait . .. I do have one present stashed away in my closet!!
How do I stay organized?  I am a LIST maker . . .all the time!  I make a list of all the things I need to do and love drawing a line through the item when it is completed.  I've been known to even write something on my list that wasn't originally there . . .but I did it . .. and I want to mark it off!!
Working in a church puts a little twist in getting ready for Christmas.  We live in the Advent world up until Christmas day so while everyone else is going about their business, Christmas truly doesn't come until we are walking out of the Christmas Eve services for me.  It puts a little spin on the holidays.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

I've never lived in Tennessee.  I've visited that lovely state several times.  We have good friends who live in Nashville (we need to go see them!!).  I've been to the Great Smoky Mountains many times.  I've been to Memphis but not to Graceland.  I've been to Chattanooga and the aquarium.  Mark and I used to "run away" for a night in a hotel and shopping in Chattanooga when our children were young.  There was a place where Mark could buy great suits at a lower price - it was worth the drive.  I've been to Lookout Mountain.

Here are Mark and Hayden at Puckett's in Franklin, Tennessee - Franklin is a great place, too!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
Fall has finally arrived here in the deep south.  I've worn long (3/4 length) sleeves this week and I've worn pants on 2 different days!
More than one random thought - are you surprised?  The lovely daughter and I are in the wedding planning mode - we've booked the church, the preacher, the reception site, the florist, the photographer.  She has asked her bridesmaids and he has asked his groomsmen.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hold You??

I actually have a title for a more meaningful post going in my head right now but instead . . .I bring you some time with our sweet granddaughter.

We had the privilege of keeping her overnight a couple of weeks ago while her parents cheered on the Auburn Tigers.

We bought a trike and enjoyed pushing her around the park.

This child ADORES her pops.  Pop - pop - pop!

It is so nice living right across from the park - we walked out to the park three different times throughout the day.

She was afraid to go down the big slide by herself so Mark was sliding with her.  Later in the day, there were bigger boys sliding and she wanted to do it all by herself - peer pressure at 18 months is a real thing!!

It was a gorgeous day - sun was shining enough that we had to struggle with sunscreen.  Oh goodness - babies hate sunscreen.

When you stay overnight at Gran and Pops, you might receive a ginormous blueberry muffin from Sprouts for breakfast. . .and you might leave crumbs EVERYWHERE but Pop swept them all up and never complained because he loves this girl so much!

Whole Foods is opening a couple of miles from our house and we received an invitation to a pumpkin patch hosted by Whole Foods.  We were so excited . . .and then a tad disappointed because it wasn't really a pumpkin patch at all.  We decided to make the best of it!

Sweet girl picked out her pumpkin immediately and though we looked at others, the original pumpkin was THE ONE she wanted.

She has a totally perplexed look on her face in this one.

She enjoyed running up and down the hill after picking out her pumpkin - snack in one hand and "botcha" (bottle/cup) in the other hand!

What does Harvey have to do with a grandbaby weekend?  He is worn out when she leaves.  He is still not sure about this thing called "a child" - who is she? why is she here? why does she pull my tail? why does she try to ride me? I need to sleep now!

Everyone told us that it would be wonderful to be a grandparent and they were right.  There is nothing like hearing her say the words, "hold you" meaning she wants you to hold her.  When she says those words to either one of us, we pick her up!!  This stage is gone before you can blink so we are trying to soak up every moment!

p.s. Our Whole Foods opens this weekend!  Yay!  The redeeming part of their pumpkin patch was everyone got a $15 off $50 purchase card (but I can't remember where I put mine - wah!).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Of Good Courage -- Catalyst 2017

This past week, Mark and I were privileged to attend Catalyst in Atlanta with some of our pastors.  The theme for the two days was "Of Good Courage" and we heard wonderful stories of the courage that can come only from God. It was an amazing two days - at times, almost more than I could possibly absorb.

The line up of speakers was top notch -- Andy Stanley; Bob Goff; Tim Tebow; Katie Davis Majors; Christine Caine; and Brene Brown just to name a few.  The music - wow - the music!!  Some of the band (the main band?) from Northpoint was phenomenal.  Mosaic and Johnnyswim and Hillsong provided music at other times - Wow!

On our way into the Infinite Energy Center, we saw Bob Goff and we were able to get a picture with him.  If you haven't read his book, Love Does, buy it right now.  Seriously - in the next sentence just click on it and you will go right to the amazon page (they are not paying me nor do they know I'm promoting the book - it is just good!!). Log onto Amazon and buy it now!!  We thought that Bob was just pretending to be a pirate but when he spoke, he shared that he had eye surgery the day before and the doctors aren't sure they can save his vision.  Of course, when we met him, Mark was talking to him non-stop  . . . inviting him to meet for a beer! hahahaha!

 Eleanor (Children's minister), Amy (one of our associate pastors) and I grabbed a quick selfie.

In between the speakers, the hosts played games (karaoke and dance offs!) and offered other fun entertainment.  Jeff Foxworthy entertained with his story about a colonoscopy.  I laughed until I really had tears running down my face and I had heard that routine before!!

I read in a follow up email that there were 8,300 people worshipping together in this place.  On day two, they led us in an old worship song - Heart of Worship - and it was amazing to hear 8,300 people worshipping God together and to feel the Holy Spirit's presence in that place.

I recorded the entertainment below but I can't get it to work in the blog so a still photo will have to do.  The guy (who had a fancy name and fancy clothes) ran around this hamster cage and jumped high in the air and I was as amazed as any little kid. I felt like I either had a big grin on my face or I was laughing . . .or I had tears in my eyes for the majority of time we were there.

They used lights and sound and motion and video and all of the other tricks to enhance worship.

JohnnySwim was amazing.  I know I've used the word amazing and phenomenal several times but I just can't think of any other great descriptors!! 
There was a contingent from Puerto Rico sitting to his right.  I would love to know if they had originally planned to come or if they were stranded in Atlanta (able to escape from Puerto Rico to Atlanta??) and Northpoint church found out about them and offered them tickets -- I don't know - but they were there.  JohnnySwim went over to their section and sang just to them at one point - totally unscripted because they didn't have him mic'd to do that.

I took a couple of pictures of Andy Stanley because one of our Tuesday night girls has a "preacher crush" on Andy Stanley.  I was texting them to her while he spoke!!

I needed some spiritual food and was granted a feast portion during these two days.  We actually skipped out on two parts and Mark said if we ever get to go back, we are going to every session!
I loved getting to know my co-workers better. I loved worshipping.  I learned much from the speakers - oh my goodness, Christine Caine and Brene Brown were two of our favorites.  I am so thankful that Brian allowed Mark and me to go with the group and I thank God that we are in a church where the staff is continually encouraged to grow in our own faith.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Road Trippin' . . . Hodgepodge

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.

When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 

back east, down south, out west, up north

Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.

I want to say that I have an EXCELLENT sense of direction but my husband would laugh hysterically if I said that . . .so evidently, I don't!  My worst sense of direction is on the water.  Many years ago, I took the boat driver's certification class (or something like that!) and when I was practicing I had no idea where I was on the water!!  Mark (hubby), on the other hand, has a great sense of direction - on water and land! 

I love using my phone for directions.  I can't remember the last time I used a map - quite a few years ago.  We went to Catalyst (conference) last weekend and my phone was my life line!!

Just last night we talked about "out west" because one of our young adults is taking a long road trip this week - heading west and then north.

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.
I did a lot of listening yesterday.  I took notes in a meeting . . .I listened to young adults.  I also did a lot of talking with different vendors.

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?
oh goodness, I waste some of all of the above.  I waste time on the internet.  I take showers that are too long.  I love to have lots of lights on . . . plus we have lights on the outside of the house right now.  I'm pretty sure I've wasted a lot of opportunities, too.  I'll try to do better today!!

4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family roadtrip from your own childhood.
Our family took a week long vacation to Laguna Beach (near Panama City, Florida) every summer when I was growing up.  I remember how long it took back then before interstates!!

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?
Marijuana - so I could get rich!  JUST KIDDING!  REALLY - I'M JUST KIDDING!!  It is 6:20 a.m. and that thought just popped into my head and made me laugh!  Could I grow money?  That would be even better!!  Seriously, I would love to have a garden.  My daddy and granddaddy always had a garden.  I love fresh tomatoes straight from the vine.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We are deep into the first stages of wedding planning.  Our daughter got engaged last weekend and we are so happy for them!  They have set the date and we've booked the church and a reception venue so I feel like we are definitely moving forward!!