Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hodgepodge - It must be Wednesday!

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 392

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop over to From This Side of the Pond and share your answers!

1. Boo, boo-hoo, make a boo-boo, boo(ze)...pick one and tell us how it relates to life lately. This little nugget says a few words and one of her words is “Boo” which is actually what she calls a ghost! I bought a little Halloween book for her a month or so ago and it is now one of her favorites. I read the book about 100 times in 24 hours this past weekend!

2. Do you like the color orange? Would we find this color in your home? Your wardrobe? Peach-pumpkin-tangerine...your favorite shade of the three listed? We love orange at our house – Auburn Tigers orange and blue! Our team is not doing that well this year – we’ve had some wins but they have been ugly wins. This picture is from a couple of years ago and this is my favorite sweatshirt! My son and I were on a hike so it is not a flattering picture of me but it was a fun day!


3. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. What's the last chocolate something you tasted? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being out of this world delicious, how would you rate it? I gave up desserts a few years ago but I do like Built Bars which are a high protein bar. The outside of the bars is unsweetened dark chocolate. I’m going to be honest – they are a great substitute for sweets!

4. Life is like a box of chocolates or so says Forrest Gump's mama. Would you agree? Aside from the pandemic fallout tell us one way this saying has played out in your life. You never know what you are going to get in a box of chocolates though I do love the boxes where the types are listed inside the lid! Takes out a lot of guess work!! I think each and every day is a little bit like a box of chocolates. To be honest, I’m a planner and a list maker but every night when I go to bed . . .I really do not know what the next day is going to bring! The day could bring good things or the day could bring hard things but the good news is that God is always with us!

5. As October winds down tell us three things you loved about the month we're bidding adieu. I love October in Alabama. We usually have lots of blue skies and more moderate temps. The high today is 81 and it is gray and cloudy BUT we usually have lots of nice days. I love the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as I walk in the mornings. I love to see the leaves dance in a circle when the wind blows. I love fall decorations – Halloween and Thanksgiving. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here. We had 24 hours with granddaughter #1 and then 24 hours with granddaughter #2 this weekend and it was awesome. Every time we have them, I say a prayer for all of the grandparents out there who are having to raise their grandchildren. They must be so very tired! 

We also made a fun purchase . . . .

The new toy - Mark giving a ride around the 
neighborhood to E and his mom. E has on my jacket 
and Gmom is covered with a beach towel to keep her warm.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fall Favorites

I'm linking up with Joyce over at From this Side of the Pond - She is awesome to write these questions each week!

1. Just your weekly mid-week reminder that it's fall y'all and it's my favorite. I love nearly all the flavors of fall but let's weigh in with an either or today...pumpkin or cranberry? May I love both, please? I love food made with pumpkin – not fake pumpkin flavoring. I also love cranberries – especially in a recipe we make for Thanksgiving – it is apples and cranberries with an oatmeal topping. Hot apple cider or pumpkin spice latte? I don’t really like hot drinks but if it is really cold outside, I would enjoy a hot apple cider. I’m not much of a pumpkin spice latte fan and the main reason is that I don’t drink coffee. Cinnamon or maple? Cinnamon! Apple or pear? Once again, I love both – apples and pears!! Ginger or sage? I drink a diet Canada dry ginger ale almost every night so I guess I love ginger BUT I love dressing (not stuffing – I live in Alabama) at Thanksgiving and I love that taste of sage!! Carrot or butternut squash? Butternut squash all the way – my husband’s family has a farm a couple of hours away. There was a farmer who used part of their property for his cows and he would plant gardens and share the bounty. He always planted butternut squash and we have always made a casserole with the yummy “meat” of the butternut squash– it is a sweet casserole sort of like sweet potatoes but not so heavy. I read an article last week that Libby's pumpkin is actually butternut squash! I don't know if it is true or not . . .but . . .. Yes you have to choose. What's a favorite dish made with one of the flavors listed here? I have to say turkey and dressing with all of the traditional sides so I would have several of those flavors! The turkey is fine but I love dressing. I love it so much that one year my mother-in-law made it for my birthday in JUNE! Sometimes we bake it in a 9 X 13 glass dish but our favorite way is to make it in individual muffin tins – each piece has a lot of crusty edge! I should be embarrassed that I wrote so much about food but I love food 😊

dressing "muffins" from last Thanksgiving
my first attempt - My mother-in-law's are prettier

2. Do you miss traveling? In this season of almost no travel do you think you've grown anxious or fearful about traveling again? Or has all this staying home not going anywhere made you restless to get out and see the world? My husband was able to travel out of the country with me in February and we had a wonderful time. We arrived home about a week before things started to shut down in the US. We had a second trip scheduled for this year to Italy and Germany and that trip was rescheduled for 2022. I must admit that I’m a little fearful right now but I can hardly wait to be able to travel safely again. Mark and I are both healthy now and have the means to travel and I want to be able to do that together. What book have you read or what movie have you watched that has inspired you to travel? I recently read a couple of novels set in Ireland and I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. The other night, my husband was watching one of those shows set in Alaska and they showed the Northern Lights. Seeing the aurora borealis is on my bucket list and seeing that tv show made me want to go there soon!

3. A time you felt like you were 'flying by the seat of your pants'? Explain.  I feel like we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants since March! I had never been on a zoom call and have now taught Sunday school via zoom, facilitated our study with young professionals via zoom, attended meetings and taken lots of notes via zoom. Also, we are meeting outside in a park under a pavilion each week with those young adults and each week I feel like we are flying by the seat of our pants because the weather in Alabama can change in a matter of hours. We've been really lucky so far - the weather hasn't been too rainy nor too cold.

4. Do you struggle with road rage or are you more of a 'Sunday driver'? Do you like to be 'in the driver's seat (literally and/or figuratively speaking)? Road rage all the way. I usually talk to my sister while driving to work (hands free!) and I’m always telling (yelling?) people to get out of the way or I’m saying (growling) something like, “you wouldn’t believe what this person just did!” I prefer driving because I get car sick very easily!!

5. Something you've recently 'put the brakes on'? Well, we haven’t eaten in a restaurant since February. I personally think the hardest “brakes” were when everything shut down and we didn’t see my husband’s family or our kids or grandkids for weeks. That was sheer torture.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  We go all out in our neighborhood for Halloween. Our neighborhood is a “destination” trick or treat spot – really! We have sidewalks throughout and people drive into the neighborhood and park and let their kids trick or treat. We have all ages – moms and dads carrying newborns where the whole family is dressed in costumes (with bags for each person in the group – no matter the age) all the way through older teenagers. It looks/sounds like a movie set - sort of like the trick or treat scenes in Hocus Pocus. We usually give out 1200-1500 pieces of candy. This year, I’ve made about 400 individual bags with 3 or 4 pieces of candy in each bag which is sealed with a pumpkin sticker. I’m going to set up a table at the bottom of the steps and put out about 100 bags at a time. I’ll be sitting up at the top of the steps saying “please take just one.” I laughingly told someone that I was a little worried that some person would come through and literally take everything on the table and swipe it into their bag. My friend said I should buy a big watergun and if anyone tried to do that, I could squirt them! I’m still chuckling about that! Will you have trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood even with covid? Will you do Halloween differently this year?

some of the trick or treaters from last year

Our house decorated for 2020 - almost everyone
in our neighborhood decorates



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Just Desserts

1. Linking up with Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond for HodgePodge Wednesday. Let's start things off right...Wednesday is National Dessert Day. What are we having? How often do you  make/serve dessert? Store bought or from scratch?

I don’t think I realized that there is a National Day for just about everything! If I ate desserts, I would want my mother-in-law’s German Chocolate Cake. It is like NO OTHER German Chocolate Cake. It even deserves capital letters! There are 3 layers with the wonderful coconut custard filling between the layers and then the whole cake is iced with a homemade fudgey type icing. I have made it before and it takes several hours to make because of all the different steps. I rarely make dessert for just the two of us. Rarely as in almost never. I do love to bake and take to others and it would be scratch all the way. Funny story – the first year that my husband and I were dating (1982?) and his birthday rolled around (just fyi – we had only been dating a couple of months). I ordered a special cake from the bakery and had a fisherman put on top and thought it was so special. I kid you not . . .he looked at me and said, “I don’t eat cakes from a store.” That is totally the way I remember it. It does seem like he ate a piece to be nice but didn’t take the leftovers!! AND I STILL MARRIED HIM 😊 (pictured below - German Chocolate cake on the left, pound cake with white icing in the center, caramel cake on the right) The one dessert that I like from a store is Key Lime Pie from Costco - they make a great Key Lime Pie!

2. Slow as molasses, icing on the cake, that's the way the cookie crumbles, have your cake and eat it too, half-baked idea, that takes the cake...which phrase might be applied to something in your life in recent days? Explain. 

The passing of covid is as slow as molasses. I wish it would go away but I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

3. Something that's 'easy as pie' for you to do?

This is totally random but I’m great at searching for things on the internet! Hubby was gifted two beers from a neighbor. Mark loves this new beer. He drove down to Hop City and the guy said he had never heard of the beer and it was not sold in Alabama. He called Beer Hog and they said the same thing. We texted the neighbor and asked where the beer was purchased. It was a gift! I sat down at the computer on Friday night and typed a few words into the search engine and within minutes, I said, “We can buy the beer at Trader Joe’s!” Now this is the funny part . . . Mark is a beer connoisseur and usually will only drink craft beers made in the south. The new beer is $4.99 for a six pack at Trader Joe’s. Just in case you are interested, it is Boatswain HLV ale. 

4. Are you someone who likes to 'sugarcoat' news you think might not be well received, or are you more of a tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may? Do you like to receive your news the same way you give it? 

This is a really hard question. It is evidently not as “easy as pie” for me!! I think I like to sugarcoat news but maybe I just blurt it out. I am southern to the core, so I do try to soften things somewhat. I think I prefer to receive it “like it is.”

5. Something you did recently that made you feel like a 'smart cookie'? 

I can’t think of a thing! I did have to learn a few new skills when I was working from home so I watched youtube videos! I learned how to dump an excel spreadsheet into labels! Last weekend, I took my sewing machine apart and fixed it. I must admit that the sewing machine repair did involve a finger gash, blood, a not-so-nice word, a bandaid and a feeling of stupidity in the middle. But I did it!

6. Insert your own random thought here. I'm going to share two random thoughts. I wrote this down last week when we were studying the book of Ruth (in the Old Testament) with the young professionals. Two people facing a common dilemma make different choices - no one should judge which is right and which is wrong because we might never know all the circumstances. We were talking about Ruth and Orpah when Naomi told them to go back to their own people. Orpah obeyed Naomi and went home. Ruth chose to stay by Naomi's side (whither thou goest). Looking in with a judgemental attitude might lead us to believe that Orpah made the wrong choice. But we can't judge because we don't know all of the facts. I think there are a lot of situations in life like this. Someone makes a decision that we don't necessarily agree with and we immediately think, "well, they made the wrong choice." Not necessarily. So take a moment and stop and take a deep breath and try not to judge others.

On a lighter note, I walk around 5:30 a.m. The sky has been spectacular. This morning, the moon and one of the planets were both visible right above the sunrise. My cell phone takes great pictures but not in the dark. Can you see the light at the horizon? The light ALWAYS wins. His mercies are new every morning and I am so glad!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

God's Table

Do y'all remember back in March and April? Remember when the pandemic first hit? We all thought it would be over soon, right? I personally thought that we were going home for 2 weeks and then everything would be back to normal. Ha! 

While I was "safe" at home, my friend, Mollie, started a driveway ministry to feed the hungry because when we were all safe at home, what about the folks who live on the streets? When we were told to wash our hands, what about the people who had no place to wash their hands? Folks were invited to make sandwiches, boil eggs, buy snacks and toilet paper and drop them in my friend's driveway. This project took off because people were looking for a way to do something in a time where we all felt paralyzed! I wanted to make sandwiches but imagine my shock when I signed up for Shipt and placed my first few grocery orders and there was no bread, no peanut butter, nor jelly available in the grocery store. After the first couple of weeks of mass panic buying, I was finally able to purchase all I needed for a couple of loaves of sandwiches each week. I continued to do that for the first 6 weeks or so. 

Now where am I going with this especially since the title is God's table? On the first morning I was able to have the supplies and make the sandwiches, I started early - 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. I spread waxed paper on my island. Actually, I washed my hands for a really long time and put on plastic gloves and THEN I spread waxed paper on the island. I opened the peanut butter and it smelled yummy. I then opened the jelly and the smell of the jelly literally brought me to my knees and brought tears to my eyes. Here I was "safe" at home and couldn't go to church, YET when I opened the grape jelly it smelled just like communion. While making sandwiches for those who were hungry, the one who called himself the Bread of Life met me at my kitchen island and reminded me that he is always with us - even in a pandemic. I hope the memory of that smell and that thought will stay with me forever because it was so powerful that morning. God's table smells like grape juice and grape jelly.

Then came the long months of church online. I have never been so thankful for Brian, our senior minister, and so many other staff members who have brought church right into our homes. We have continued to worship the living God while sitting on our sofas, or at our lakehouses (not us!), on our screen porches (yes!), and wherever we might be on Sunday mornings. We always have communion on the first Sunday of each month and our pastoral staff has worked hard to help us celebrate that holy meal while at home. We've used crangrape juice and mini saltines - it works. Don't judge me for the Stella Artois glass. It is one of my favorites because a good friend gave it to me. God's table can include mini saltines and a Stella Artois glass.

Then, this "ad" was posted on social media. Drive through communion. I wanted our family to be in one car and to drive through together but as always happens . . . the best laid plans don't often work out. I was stressed and drove through communion by myself. 
Brian, our senior pastor and my friend, met me at the car window. We were both wearing masks. He asked what he could pray about for me and I asked for prayers of peace. I have no idea what words he prayed but I know that God showed up in my car that Sunday morning. Communion-to-go cup with a crappy wafer (I'm sorry - they are really nasty) was the best meal I have had since February. It was a meal not for my stomach but a meal for my heart and soul. It was a meal for my mental health. God's table can be out in the middle of a parking lot.

Last Sunday, was my first Sunday back in the sanctuary of our church. We have to make reservations and numbers are limited. There were around 100 in worship last Sunday. We sang (with masks and spaced far apart) and we prayed and we worshipped together. Our pastors each took a basket of those communion-to-go cups and walked between the aisles and handed each of us the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and it was good. It was so good. God's table can be in the big sanctuary with pastors carrying baskets of communion-to-go cups.

So whether it is the smell of Welch's grape jelly while helping to feed the hungry or crangrape juice with mini saltines or communion-to-go cups with crappy wafers in a drive through or in the sanctuary, the pandemic has made me realize how BIG God's table really is. We try to put human limits on God and we try to understand him with our feeble minds and all the while he is reminding us to come to the table and feast with him. God's table is big enough for all of us. ALL.OF.US.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

This is week four for me for answering the hodgepodge questions by Joyce over at From this Side of the Pond. One week soon, I'm going to be brave and write something without prompts!

1. What's one part of your everyday routine you'd be better off without? 

Eating snacks??? I’ve been doing WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) for quite some time and have lost a considerable amount of weight. I try to plan my snacks accordingly but some days . . .I would probably be better off without them! (before on the left and last week on the right) 


2. October 5th is/was National Do Something Nice Day. So what did you/will you do? 

Hubby and I host a study for young professionals each week and since we’ve been meeting outside (covid), I’ve enlisted some of our staff members to help by teaching a week here and there. I made tiny pecan pies and brown sugar brownies and packaged them in clear bags tied with orange tulle and delivered them yesterday to everyone who has been a speaker. I think that was a “do something nice.”

3. What question do you hate to answer? 

How much do you weigh? Seriously! I’ll tell anyone that I’m 62 years old but I do not want you to ask me about my weight! (see answer to question 1 – hahahaha!)

4. Do we have control over technology or does it have control over us. In that same vein, have you watched The Social Dilemma (available on Netflix) and if so what did you think? 

I have not watched The Social Dilemma but I have heard about it. I’m pretty sure that technology has control over us. Almost everyone I know has their phone handy at all times (including me).

5. What are three small things that make your day better? 

Kind words, sunshine, a sense of accomplishment – I know some of you are going to have some wonderful answers to this question and when I read your answers, I will smack my head and say, “I should have thought of that!”

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Our 4 year old granddaughter spent the night with us on Friday night. My hat goes off to all grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. I think (and hope) that God gives grandparents who are raising grandchildren an extra measure of energy and creativity and extra everything they need. Pops is a much better “player” and the two of them can imagine some of the craziest things. I’m the one who is awesome when she wants to color or read 😊.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Thanks again to Joyce for the Wednesday Hodgepodge questions. Visit her blog and copy and paste the questions and your answers in your own blog and then link up with everyone else!!

1. When is the last time you experienced nostalgia? 

My mother-in-law has one of those photo frames where the family can send pictures to her. Sometimes when I’m sitting there and those pictures flash up on the screen, I experience nostalgia. I think of those times when my children were younger and I think of the fun we had. For a few moments, I wish we could go back to those days . . .and then I remember how hard it was with twin babies!! Some of the pictures are when our kids were in high school and college. Even though we had lots of drama, I loved those times when all of those young adults would sit around our table and laugh and talk. I guess what I'm saying is that I am sometimes overcome with nostalgia when looking at pictures!

 2. September 29th is National Coffee Day. Do we need this? Ha! So are you a coffee drinker? If so how many cups per day, and tell us how you like it. Is there a recipe you enjoy that calls for coffee as one of the ingredients? 

This week has been full of National days – daughter day, son day, coffee day! Hubs loves coffee! I don’t drink it. Now . . . if there was a National Diet Pepsi day, I would be all over it! I drink way too many of those because I love them!! We do have a couple of recipes -- We have some rubs that have coffee in them that we put on meat for the smoker. I also have a killer coffee punch recipe that has chocolate ice cream in it. I’ve made it for several morning parties such as bridal showers or baby showers. It is delicious and decadent. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic as I think of that coffee punch!

 3. Do you find praise or criticism to be more motivating? Explain. 

Praise all the way! I’m a number 1 on the Enneagram and I am my own worst critic. I have a constant voice in my head telling me all the things I have done wrong! I sometimes have a hard time believing praise BUT I do love for someone to tell me I’ve done a good job at something. Sometimes I desperately need praise. That sounds so bad as I type it!!!

 4.  What's a television series you keep coming back to and re-watching? Since there are no new shows right now . . .we have been watching old series. We watched the entire series of Chuck during the pandemic. We didn’t watch it the first time around. We watch old Friends episodes sometimes and old Seinfield episodes. My mother-in-law watches old Gunsmoke reruns!!! I’m embarrassed to tell you what we are watching now – it is quite ridiculous! 

 5. As the month of September draws to a close give us three words to describe your mood. Happy for cooler days. Hopeful that they will find a vaccine for Covid soon so we can return to family and friend gatherings. Excited because our church is opening back up for limited number in person inside worship.

 6. Insert your own random thought here. I scheduled an appointment with a friend who has a side photography business. She is going to come and take pictures of us with our kids and grandkids in November. Mark and I were gifted a mini session with another local photographer (who is awesome, too) several years ago and had pictures taken with our first granddaughter. I’m looking forward to having pictures with both girls . . and of course, with our kids, too!!