Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Leaping on over to HodgePodge

From this Side of the Pond
Today is Wednesday so it must be HodgePodge! Copy and paste the questions into your blog and link up at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Are you currently operating at 100% capacity? If not, what % are you? What's keeping you there?
I feel like I'm usually operating at maximum capacity - so 105%?
What's keeping you there?
A lot of Diet Pepsis!  Just kidding (sort of!).  My friends know me well!!

I actually have two speeds - full speed ahead or dead stop. I try to operate at 100% capacity for many reasons -
a. I'm a people pleaser - I don't want to disappoint you.
b. I'm a #1 on the Ennegram - a tad bit perfectionist
c. My parents taught me a good, strong work ethic - give my all!
This is from the #1 Enneagram -
Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.
That sounds like 100% to me - I guess I'm wired that way.

2.  Have you done your taxes? I'm married to a CPA so I don't do our taxes. Hubby will do them on April 14.
Planned/booked a summer holiday? We have a wedding on May 19 - daughter!! No vacation planning yet - hopefully, we will go to the beach in September.
Thought about or started your 'spring cleaning'?  I actually did some spring cleaning in my office on Friday and no one even noticed!! I stashed things and tidied things and threw away some things and even dusted (with a clorox wipe!!)
Besides what's listed here, tell us one task that needs doing before spring rolls around.
Address wedding invitations and get them ready to go in the mail.

3. What's a favorite food from your part of the country?
Barbeque - we have great barbeque in Alabama!! I think my favorite is from Saw's. I also like Moe's Barbeque.

4. This isn't a leap year, but let's run with it anyway...look before you leap, a leap of faith, grow by leaps and bounds, leap to conclusions, leap at the opportunity...which phrase might best be applied to your life currently (or recently)? Explain. I guess it would be "grow by leaps and bounds." Y'all know I work on a church staff and our church is growing - the average age of a United Methodist in the U.S. is 57 (I think!) and our church is growing by leaps and bounds with young adults - median age is more like 37. We are in the midst of a capital campaign and will hopefully start construction in early summer. Our church's 90th birthday (in this location) is on March 18 so part of our building is 90 years old. The main sanctuary was built in the 70's. We added a new youth and children's building and did some upgrades in 2005 and those spaces are now full.

5. As the month draws to a close list five fun and/or fabulous things (large or small) you noticed or experienced in February. 6. Insert your own random thought here.
a. trip to Israel (started in January and ended in February - 10 days)
b. how many words our almost 2 year old granddaughter can say - vocabulary explosion - multi-word sentences
c. everything is blooming here due to the warm weather spell - forsythia and jonquils are on their way out already; Bradford pears along the roads are white and fluffy and wild plum trees are blooming in the woods. I have no idea what they are really called but maybe "tulip trees" have bloomed!

d. supper club with some of the best friends ever
e. the beginning of Lent - not exactly what you would call fun nor fabulous per se but I love the season of Lent - that time of reflection and introspection

Friday, February 23, 2018

Five Minute Friday - Beauty

Joining up with Five Minute Friday and this week's topic is Beauty - setting my timer for 5 minutes . . GO!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
Psalm 139:14

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 
1 Peter 3:3-4

Every day this week, I have passed by these jonquils/daffodils and thought to myself, "those are beautiful. I should snap a photo." But instead, every day this week I have simply hurried on by. When I saw the subject for today's Five Minute Friday, I made time to snap that photo. God's creation is indeed beautiful.

I'll blog more about Israel in April but taking communion in the garden, where the tomb is located, is beautiful. What greater act speaks of beauty - the body and blood of Jesus who loves us. Not beauty in the traditional sense but beauty in a much deeper sense. The actual garden is full of loveliness, too.
After communion, you get to keep the little cup made of olive wood and even that is quite beautiful.

Friendship is also full of beauty. Friends come in all shapes and sizes and ages and a good friend is one of the most beautiful things on this earth.

Y'all know that I love food and that fact, in and of itself, is not beautiful. Food can be artfully arranged and bread does not feed just the body, but the soul. Beauty is found in a feast for the eyes. My roommate on the trip, Kit, bought one of those yellow things with fruit - it was indeed tasty.

Beauty is found in the smile of a grand baby!! I must admit that I snatched this picture from my daughter-in-law's facebook page and it is not a becoming picture of me at all (speaking of beauty) with my yoga pants pushed above my knees because it was a million degrees in my mother-in-law's house. That baby . . .that baby is beautiful to me!

Beauty is all around us. Where do you see beauty around you?

Thursday, February 22, 2018


This morning, as I was reading a silly book, I came across this line about one of the characters:

"Unimpressed by brands or wealth or style, he put much more value on shared experience than what society said something was worth."

I re-read that sentence three times and then because I didn't want to forget it, I wrote it down.

I immediately thought of these verses from Matthew 6: 20-21

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What a better world we would have if we were all unimpressed by brands or wealth or style. What a better world we would have if we spent way more time and energy on our relationships.

For most of us, it is so easy to be impressed by what others have - a bigger house, a better car, lots of designer shoes and clothes. There is nothing wrong with houses and cars and clothes, but what about our shared experiences? What about our relationships?

Do you expend enough energy and time with those you love? Let's be honest here -- I certainly do not spend enough time with family and close friends.

A family recently shared with me that for Christmas this year, they gave shared experiences - a different experience with each child. What a great idea - two pedicures for a mother and daughter; an overnight fishing trip with a father and son (or heck - a mother and daughter!!). The gift wouldn't have to be expensive but there wouldn't be a money limit -- ideas could range from a great trip, tickets to a concert, or even a simple picnic in the park.

We played Dirty Santa with our Tuesday night Young Professionals group back in December. Mark ended the game with a set of Dominoes. On one of those cold winter nights, we googled "how to play dominoes" and we've been playing three or four games a couple of nights a week - what was a gag gift has actually become a shared experience. Just in case you are an experienced Domino player, we play the most simple version available!! We both have a tendency to do our own thing at night after working a long day - we exercise (separately); I read or look at my phone; he watches TV. Dominoes has become something we do together - a shared experience.  It's a start!

What about you? I know that no one will admit to being impressed by brands or wealth or style (even though I think most of us can be or have been impressed by those things).  How do you spend quality time with friends and family?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Balanced Hodgepodge

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then join us at From This Side of the Pond (thank you, Joyce, for coming up with questions each week!!) and add your link to the party. See you there!

1. Where do you go when you need some inspiration?
This is a multi-answer question. When I need spiritual inspiration, I read my Bible or I listen to a sermon on-line from one of our ministers. When I need weight loss inspiration, I read success stories of those who have lost over a hundred pounds. When I need fun ideas for gifts and various other things, I go to Pinterest . . . but Pinterest can be dangerous. I could look at pictures all day on Pinterest and waste an unbelievable amount of time!!!

2. What's under your bed?
NOT.A.SINGLE.THING!! Mark vacuumed last night so there aren't even any dust bunnies!! We have a few pictures on our bedside tables but we try to keep everything neat and clean.

3. Thursday, February 22nd is National Chili Day, National Margarita Day, and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Of the three which would you most like to celebrate? Is that likely?
I actually marked National Margarita Day on my calendar! I love a good margarita. Since the temperature is going to be around 80 today . . .and I think the rest of the week . . .I don't think I'll make chili. I like sweet potatoes but not enough to celebrate them on a day of their own!!

4. What are you 'snowed under' with right now?
We are in the middle of planning a wedding for our daughter but I don't feel snowed under about that. She is an awesome bride-to-be (and a wonderful daughter, too!). At one point yesterday, I felt snowed under by the amount of meetings/appointments that I was trying to juggle for a co-worker. It was odd - I didn't feel snowed under for me but felt snowed under for him.

future bride and groom
5. Tell us three to five things that make you feel balanced?
I started to over think this one but I won't . . .let's go with:
1. time with God (in scripture, study, prayer, worship)
2. time with family
3. time with friends
4. exercise
5. sleep (I don't require nearly as much sleep as many people I know but I prefer to sleep between 5 and 6 hours each night. I can function well on that amount. I do love it when my fitbit tells me that I slept over 7 hours (even 7 hours 1 minute! - sometimes happens on Friday nights.)

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Our cat moves around during the night and at one point, I kid you not, he was stretched all the way across the middle of the bed. There was no place for a human or two to sleep!!! In my state of half-awake/half-asleep, I thought to myself, "this would make a great devotion - I'll write about it tomorrow." Now that I'm up and awake . . .I have no idea what I was going to write about. God is like a cat - ever near . . .haha! Maybe it was my sleep deprived mind playing tricks on me!

Giant cat - meet Harvey!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Say "cheese"

On Saturday, I kept this little nugget for an hour or two while her mommy had a relaxing few moments at the hair salon. We played with stickers. Playing with stickers means Gran (or Pop) has a new sheet of stickers for Emma and she peels them all off and sticks them all over our shirt. This will entertain her for a LONG time. We also played with stuffed animals and we rocked on the porch. I cannot believe this sweet nugget will be two years old in just a few weeks. She can sing her ABC's (most of them!) and she can't count "1, 2, 3, 4, 18" . . .I told my son about the 18 and he reminded me that this is 2018 and her teacher probably tells them the date everyday so 18 sticks in her mind.

I said, "Emma - look at Gran" and she looked up and said "cheese" - she makes the funniest expression when she says cheese!

She is such a sweet girl and I'm so thankful to be her Gran!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Why? Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Five minute Friday . . .and today's word is Why? We are encouraged to think about the word and then write for five minutes and then stop.  I have a feeling that my post is going in an entirely different direction than most folks - eek!

Why do I love google so much? Why does our cat NEED to be in someone's lap at all times? Why can we not have peace in our world? Why do shooters keep killing kids?? I feel like I need to ask that question over and over -- why do kids keep getting killed??? Why am I tired? Why is it so hard to exercise after taking just two days off? Why is there so much drama in the world? Why do my friends love me? (didn't ask about family - they have to love me, right??? right???) Why is it cloudy and gloomy outside today? Why is it going to rain this weekend (I NEED sunshine - really, I NEED it!)? Why are some people lazy? Why do some people work hard all of the time and why do some people hardly work? Why are some people fat and some people thin (besides the obvious fact that sometimes fat people eat more -- but sometimes that is not true!!)? Why do some folks grow and mature early and some folks are still not mature . . .at a much later age? Why do some folks feel like they can attack another's character on facebook? Speaking of facebook, why IN THE WORLD would anyone put their family/friend drama out for all the world to see? Why does Riley (son's dog) pee when she gets excited? Why is it so hard to lose weight (takes lots of work for most of us!)? Why do I often have a hard time prioritizing time to do the things I want to do? Why do I love my sweet granddaughter so very much? Why is it a totally different kind of love? (yes, I love my hubby, children, sisters, etc. a whole lot but there is just something special about a grandbaby - why is it different?) Why do I love God? Why do I have faith? Why do some people not believe?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine Hodge Podge!

Today is Wednesday so it is HodgePodge Day!!  Copy and paste the questions into your blog, answer, and link up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.

1. When's the last time you had a heart to heart talk with someone? I feel like I have lots of heart to heart chats because of my job (both paid/church staff employee and non-paid/Adult Sunday School teacher. A change of heart? I'm not sure I remember the last "change of heart" experience - I'll have to think on that one. Experienced figurative 'heart failure?' Thank goodness I've never had actual heart problems! I experienced a moment of "heart failure" in the Tel Aviv airport last week. I went through security and was cleared. I got in line at United and the man told me that I had to also check my carry-on because the flight was full. He then informed me that I had to go back to security for another luggage tag. When I finished, I turned around and there was no one from our group within my sight lines. I had to wander for a few minutes and read signs and actually asked a young man "do you speak English?" to find my way around.  Then when I went through the "purse" security line, they pulled me out and made me take my phone out of my bag and swabbed it for explosives/gun powder residue. Even though I knew that they wouldn't find anything, it does make your heart stop for just a moment.

2. Champagne, chocolates, flowers...what's your Valentine pleasure? I gave up eating desserts a year ago this month so no chocolate, please. I do love flowers but the way to my heart is a pedicure gift certificate . . .and that is what I received! Any special plans for the day? Today is also Ash Wednesday and I work in a church so I'll be attending the Ash Wednesday service tonight - do those count as special plans??

3. Are you a hopeless romantic or do you fall more in the category of practical and pragmatic? I love a good love story - does that make me a romantic? In reality, I probably fall into the practical and pragmatic camp but I'm going to pretend that I'm a hopeless romantic. What's a gesture you find romantic? Since I'm having a hard time answering this question, I guess that does mean I'm practical!

4. Do you ask a lot of questions in life or are you pretty content with what you already know? I'm a talker and I ask way too many questions, I'm sure! I love to learn and how do you learn without questions?? I LOVE google - I ask questions on google ALL DAY LONG!

 5. Your favorite power ballad? Speaking of asking questions, I'm ashamed to admit that I just asked google, "what is a power ballad?" I'm pretty sure I still don't understand so since this is a post about Valentine kind of stuff, I'm going to tell you a song that I like - it is on my airplane play list so I've listened to it about 15 times over the last two weeks . . .and this isn't even my normal genre of music -- When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars. It's not a power ballad, is it? (this is one of the definitions on google so maybe it is a power ballad -- "Sentimental ballads, also known as pop ballads, rock ballads or power ballads, are an emotional style of music that often deal with romantic and intimate relationships"

 6. Insert your own random thought here.
I would love to blog about my Israel trip - it was awesome! I'm trying to determine what I'm going to blog about in the A to Z April Challenge so I don't want to blog about Israel until I decide if I'm going to use it then!!  I'll leave you with a picture of the person who has my heart (in addition to my children and husband!!)