Saturday, September 30, 2023

Pictures! Pictures! and More Pictures from my phone!

I did a photo dump and here they are:

I recovered our dining room chairs. I started the project by myself but before it was over, Mark helped me which made the project go much faster. I used a very neutral fabric so that we won't be tied to a certain color for artwork and rugs. We still have to buy those. I've recovered these chairs a lot of times.

We've been having lots of folks on Tuesday night. The last two weeks, we had 18 of them plus the two of us.

We've been to see granddaughter #1 cheer on her team.

As I was leaving for work one morning, I was stopped by the duck brigade.

For 13 years, we've been hosting the young adults on Tuesday nights and I've always used paper plates and disposable cups. Our new dishwasher will hold a LOT of dishes so we ordered plates and cups that can be washed and reused.

The cups are made of wheat straw! Plates and cups were purchased from Amazon.

For the women's retreat, I spray painted a whole bunch of picture frames. Most of the frames were from Amazon and I bought this amazing paint nozzle to go on top of the can. I read about it on someone's blog recently. It is a game changer.

Speaking of Women's Retreat, it was amazing. On Friday night, we watched Barbie outside on the giant blow up screen. The movie was much deeper than I anticipated.

Our theme this year was Portraits. We heard stories from three different women about their lives and how God has worked in and through them. We studied women of the Bible and we studied women who have shaped the Christian faith. We opened the retreat with a funny skit. This is us behind the black curtain. We are a part of a AI art exhibit. I was the Mona Lisa (of course!). We all started talking to each other and about each other while the "docent" was trying to tell the audience about the photos. One of my friends writes the skits and she has done a great job. I'm on the far right.

This is what the art exhibit looked like from the front. At a certain point in the skit, we removed the mouths from the paintings and inserted our lips.

This is my friend, Laura R. who received the call to ministry while we were in Israel in 2020 - right before the world shut down. She just finished seminary earlier this year and is one of our associate pastors. We were roommates.

Emily gave the first talk and her talk was a great beginning for the retreat. The real retreat is from 10 a.m. Saturday until 10:00 a.m. Sunday. We have found that most women can slip away for 24 hours. We also have some ladies who come just for the day and don't spend the night. We've tried to be flexible so that all who want to do so, can attend.

Kim was our Saturday afternoon speaker.

This is my other friend, Laura E. She is the writer of the skit and she is one of the fun people in my life. I love having friends of multiple generations.

This was the view from our room on Sunday morning. It was lovely!

This was the set up for the last talk -- I don't have a picture. After the talk, we had communion and each person took a flower from the arrangements and laid them at the foot of the cross.

I think I told y'all that I was making/baking 600 cheese straws. We packaged them like this and they were left in everyone's rooms.

I don't know if you can read this or not, but this is beautiful. It is about all of the women that we have been, are, and will be.

As each person arrived, the first stop was an "appointment" with two young women who are members of our church and who are professional photographers. They took photos (portraits) of every single woman who attended and then they made a montage that we watched on Saturday night. The slide show was set to Image of God by We Are Messengers (great song!!) - we were all created in the image of God. I see all of the wrinkles and very little make up BUT I was created in the image of God!!

Mark went and picked up our golf cart. It has been in our son's basement since the fire. I know our granddaughter is going to miss it!!

We went on a quick ride after work. The moon was spectacular but I didn't do a good job of snapping a photo.

We started decorating for Halloween - it is a big deal in our neighborhood . . .and I love it!


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

It's a Hodgepodge in a hurry . . .

I'm joining up with Joyce and friends for the Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. It's officially fall y'all. In the northern hemisphere anyway. Any signs of it where you are? What's your favorite thing about this time of year. 

Well, it is was 90 degrees here today so it was not very fall-like. This past weekend I worked/attended our Women's Retreat and we woke up to two beautiful mornings of pleasantly cool temps. We had a hint of fall! I love to hear the leaves crunch under my feet and I love all of the fall colors!

2. Have you visited any "falls" in person? Tell us about one of your favorites? Of the following top ten famous falls which would you most like to see in person? Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe/Zambia), Igazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Niagara Falls (US/Canada), Angel Falls (Venezuela), Yosemite Falls (California), Dettifoss (Iceland) Kaieteur Falls (Guyana), Plitvice Waterfalls (Croatia), Gullfoss-Golden Falls (Iceland), or Sutherland Falls (New Zealand)

I have visited a few water falls over the years. I'm pretty sure we went to see some falls in Hawaii but that was a million years ago. There are falls in the Preserve right across the road. I have been there but not in a few years. That is sad since they are right across the road!! I would love to see ALL of the falls on the list. 

3. What's something you'll miss about summer? 

I LOVE the long days with lots of daylight. The short days with not enough sunlight make me sad.

4. A favorite fall recipe? 

Yum! I love Pumpkin roll (but I don't eat it anymore). I love any and all soups. I love Thanksgiving food -- Turkey and dressing is one of my faves. Actually, the dressing and gravy would be my favorite. I love the winter squashes roasted.

5. Something you enjoy but lately have allowed it to "fall by the wayside"? 

I love to blog but haven't slowed down long enough to write much. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. I need to do a photo dump and just make it an extra long post and catch up!! Also, would y'all like to see pictures of the repaired house? We don't have any rugs yet and we don't have a lot of artwork. We also need a piece of furniture for the entry hall. I need to get busy. When it is all finished, I'll show y'all some photos if you are interested. I should do a "burned out room" photo and a "new room" photo so you can truly see the difference.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023


I'm joining up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. If your life had a theme song for this past year what would it be? Overcomer by Mandisa. We made it through the last year.

2. Chocolate cake, chocolate milkshake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate truffle, chocolate mousse, chocolate candy bar or a fudgy chocolate brownie...of the chocolate treats listed, which one is your favorite? Which one have you tasted most recently? Or maybe you don't like chocolate??? I love chocolate. My favorite treat lately has been sugar free fudgsicles.

3. What has surprised you recently? People are always surprising me - in both good and bad ways!

4. September 19th is National Voter Registration Day in the US. Are you registered to vote in whatever state or country you happen to live in right now? If not, why not? Not counting a political race, what's something you've had to vote on recently? I am a registered voter. Our neighborhood is in an uproar over a proposed multi-use sprawling mess that is to be built across the road. They want to put in 295 apartments, a boutique hotel with 40 rooms, about 40 townhouses, and a handful of businesses/restaurants and a smallish parking deck. We live in a very nice neighborhood and everyone is going crazy. There are a few people for the development but it seems most are against it. The thing that bothers me is how people have talked to and about the "other side." We have a nature preserve with waterfalls and rocks that people climb and hikers hike. This development will be built in front of the gorgeous woods. If each unit has just 1.5 cars, there will be so many cars on our road that traffic will be a nightmare. The local middle school and elementary school are within walking distance of our neighborhood and they will be swamped with more children. It isn't an official vote but we vote no. Our neighborhood plans to go en masse to the next city zoning meeting in October.

5. Do you like to hike? If so, when's the last time you went hiking and where'd ya go? If you're not a hiker are you a walker? Is walking (for exercise, etc.) part of your daily/weekly routine? See above about the Moss Rock Preserve. I think that was where I hiked last. I'm not a big hiker but went with our son. I don't walk every day but I ride my stationary bike every day.

6. Insert your own random thought here. Our Women's Retreat is this weekend and I'm really looking forward to being away a couple of days and nights!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sunday Stealing

Hey friends! I'm joining up with Bev and friends over at Sunday Stealing. I think she stole these questions from Pinterest.

1. What is your favorite book? I’m horrible at favorites. My favorite book is whatever book I’m reading at any given time. Actually, I read 1984 again last week and I had to make myself finish it. I had forgotten how it ended.

2. Are you afraid of the dark? I don’t think so. I would NOT choose to be out in unfamiliar woods at night.

3. Are you mean? Honestly? I can be. I do try not to be mean . . .but I can be mean.

4. Is cheating ever OK? Which kind of cheating are we talking about? In my opinion, it is never ok to cheat on your husband/spouse. Most of my online classes have allowed us to use our books/notes during tests which feels like cheating, but it is ok. My mother-in-law used to say, “Either you are honest . . .or you aren’t.”

5. Can you keep white shoes white? I haven’t worn white shoes in a long time so I don’t know. I remember using white shoe polish to make white keds white again.

6. Are you currently bored? No, because I’m answering these questions!

7. Would you change your name? I changed my last name when we got married.

8. Do you like the subway? We don’t have a subway system in Alabama. As a matter of fact, our public transportation is horrible here.

9. Who’s the last person you had a deep conversation with? I had a deep conversation with a young adult last week.

10. Dumbest lie you’ve ever told? Much like cheating, I try not to lie. I’m sure I have told a really dumb lie at some point.

11. Do you sleep with your door open or closed? We start the night with the door open. When the cat starts irritating Mark, he gets up and puts him outside the bedroom and closes the door.

12. Favorite month? I told y’all . . .I’m horrible at favorites. If I sat here long enough, I could tell you reasons why each of the months is my favorite.

13. Dark, milk, or white chocolate? Dark

14. Tea or coffee? Diet pepsi

15. Night or day? Day . . .I am not a night owl and last week, I stayed up late too many nights.

15. Night or day?

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Hey Snoopy - It's a Hodgepodge

I'm joining up with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Did you watch any coverage of the 9/11 services on Monday? How do you feel on this day some 22 years after the events occurred? Share more if you want to share more. I did not watch any coverage. I worked a 12 hour day on Monday so there was no time for TV. Every year I think about exactly where I was when it happened and how everyone stopped working out in the gym and we all moved toward the TV. Total silence came over the gym except for the voice on the TV. I don’t know how long we stood there staring at the TV but then everyone packed up and went home. I remember turning the TV on at home and being almost paralyzed – unable to do anything else. I remember the sense of relief when the kids came home from school and Mark came home from work and we were all under one roof together.

2. September 13th is National Peanut you like peanuts? Your favorite dish that contains peanuts? I love peanuts. I love the salted and dry roasted. I don’t eat this anymore but my favorite way to eat them would be sprinkled on a slice of peanut butter pie. Yum! Yum!

3. Something you're currently 'nuts' about? I’m always nuts about our granddaughters. Another silly thing that I am nuts about is . . .weird. I found these 100 calorie packs of oatmeal at Target that are so good.

4. Your favorite Peanuts character? There are several quizzes online if you're curious...I took two and got the same character for both so I'm sure it's accurate lol. (Click here for the link) My daughter and I both love Snoopy! We even have a stuffed Snoopy for the granddaughters.

5. Tell us about a job you worked 'for peanuts'? I used to babysit for $.50 an hour. My first “real” job was wrapping presents at a local department store. I don’t remember exactly what I made but it was peanuts, too. I worked two holiday seasons there and enjoyed it. I made peanuts when I went to work for South Central Bell, too.

6. Insert your own random thought here. It is 5:31 on Wednesday morning and I am so tired. I’ve stayed up late for about 4 nights in a row and I actually took my BIO 102 quiz at 11:00 pm last night. I am NOT a night person. I’ve been trying to figure out if there is a place where I can hide at work to take a mid afternoon 20 minute nap. I’m only sort of kidding. 

Also, If I haven't responded to your comment on my blog or haven't commented on your blog in a few days . . .I'm coming back and will catch up! I love reading your comments and your blogs!!

Monday, September 11, 2023

10 on the 10th

 Thanks for the prompts for 10 on the 10th!

1. My favorite nine letter word -- one is overjoyed. I want to live a life full of joy so I'm always looking for moments of joy. I saw that Marsha in the Middle, the writer of our questions, said her favorite nine letter word is grandkids. That one is a pretty good choice. I do love our granddaughters!!

2. Song with September in the title: How about September by Earth Wind and Fire? You can listen here.

3. A famous September celebration: I guess it would be Labor Day. I'm sure there are other September celebrations but I'll go with that one.

4. Talk like a pirate day: Well, I guess that is another September celebration! I saw this video on James Spann's page (he is our wonderful weather guy). I love Johnny Depp. This is not Johnny Depp but he is a pretty good pirate! (sorry it is just a screen shot but he is walking down the beach with that same swagger that Johnny Depp had in Pirates of the Caribbean)

5. I guess my pet peeve with September is that ragweed is blooming everywhere!

6. Are they identical? That question stems from back in 1986 when our twins were born. They are fraternal -- boy/girl twins. Someone would stop me at the mall or wherever we were and ask about them. They would be dressed in pink and blue or a dress and not a dress - you get the idea. I would say that one was a boy and one was a girl . . .and people would say, "But are they identical?" Uh no!

7. I loved high school football games. Our house was within walking distance of the stadium and I loved the smells and the sound and most of all, I loved the halftime show!

8. I have no idea who has a birthday in September! I just googled it . . .Beyonce' has a September birthday!

9. My mother's mother was very poor and lived in a tiny house in the woods. There was newspaper stuffed into the walls to keep out the cold. I remember driving to her house and it was an all day journey (pre-interstate). Just FYI - that house is within 10 minutes of my house now! Anyway, I remember sitting on her steps with my two girl cousins - one just a little older and one just a little younger. Granny George gave us a packet of saltine crackers each -- the kind with several joined together. I thought it was so special. Now I'm an adult and I realize she was sharing her meager groceries with us. 

I'm going to tell you another non-September grandparent story. A lady has recently joined our church. I had met her in a shop years ago and when I saw her nametag, I said "I think we are related." She and I both thought it was probably some distant relation. Now she is at my church and we were having a conversation and we realized that our grandmothers were SISTERS. She is not so distantly related after all. This is actually cool because I have very few relatives. She has told me recently that one of her favorite childhood memories was coming to Birmingham and eating my Granny's (my daddy's mother) chicken and dumplings. They were indeed the best.

10. I am clueless about something that contains 9 pieces. I made some cute centerpieces for an event at church yesterday. I had 3 leaves on the bottom, 3 pieces of netting, a pot, and 2 flowers . . That makes 9!

Sunday, September 10, 2023


I've been working in "my" room - my office, my craft space, my she cave . . .whatever you want to call it. I've stopped a few times to flip through photos and remember. There are photos of the kids when they were little. There are photos of Mark and me as newlyweds. There are photos of the granddaughters and of weddings.

The photo below is not an old photo. It is one that I took a few days ago. It is an eye patch, a Bible study handout on the gospel of Mark, and my notebook that tells me everything I have to do each day. The date on the page is July 9, 2022. The notepad was on the kitchen island and you probably can't see it, but it has been wet . . . . and then dried.

I'm writing this for me -- because I want to remember the kindness of so many people and the goodness of God. You can tell that the Bible study handout has been wet. It was IN MY BIBLE. The Bible was not wet at all. The notebook had regular things on my to-do list - do this and do that. This is to remind me that everything can change in the blink of an eye or the flash of a bolt of lightning. The eye patch is a reminder of the kindness of people - those who drove me places, the kind doctors, those who fed us, and gave us money and gift cards, the Hoover fire fighters, our neighbors . . . the list goes on an on.

I hope I never have to live through anything like July of last year (plus the next 12 months) again but I don't want to ever forget.

We are almost to the point of seeing blessings in all of it. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Labor Day Weekend - Lake

Our daughter-in-law's mother and her friend live on a lake. They were going to be out of town over the Labor Day weekend so Glenn and Lauren invited us to visit them at the lake on Saturday. The drive was less than a hour away. The morning started off cloudy but as the day went along, the sun came out.

Granddaughter #1 and Pops played with Barbies.

They LOVE the jet ski.

She wanted us to see all of her tricks!

This is Riley. She is a German Shorthair and she has the softest ears. Riley is the one who "told" us they were pregnant way back in 2015. They took a picture of her and she was holding a pair of baby shoes in her mouth.

Pops had to get in on the jet ski action.

Before lunch, Wynn joined us and brought the rest of the dog pack. We have Bentley, the only male. He is so handsome and when he looks at me, I think he is going to open his mouth and start talking to me!! 

These dogs love to ride in the boat. We had four giant dogs in the boat with us.

Granddaughter is learning to ski. She is using a ski trainer. It is so cool.

She is so grown up to be only 7!!

It was such a nice relaxing day!


Deep Breaths . . Hodgepodge

I'm joining up with the Hodgepodge gang. Joyce at From This Side of the Pond writes the questions, we answer and link up. Join us or feel free to answer in the comments!

1. It's National Read A Book Day...whatcha' reading? What's a book you want to read? I just started reading 1984. I read it back in high school but wanted to refresh my memory. I just finished Meg Lanslow’s newest book. I’ve always loved to read. I keep my kindle on the book rack on my stationary bike.

2. Which is better...having high expectations or low expectations? Explain why. I might change my mind when I read everyone else’s answers but today I’m going with low expectations. If I have low expectations, I will probably be pleasantly surprised. I think my go-to is high expectations and then I’m disappointed.

3. Serenity is sitting by the water (gulf, lake, etc.) and allowing my mind to empty and to feel at peace. When we are at the beach, I feel like the waves roll into the beach and grab my troubles and whisk them out to sea. 

4. What's  the most interesting thing in your purse or pocket right now? As I walked by my purse a few minutes ago, I dropped in a tiny bag of Halloween pretzels, a built bar, and an apple. I guess the most interesting thing (?) would be several gift cards I haven’t spent.

5. What helps you calm down? See the answer to #3. Also, I try to stop and take deep, slow breaths – in to the count of 12. . . out to the count of 12. I can also jump on my stationary bike and pedal away. As a Christian, I know I should say “pray and read the Bible.” Sometimes when I’m upset, I actually have to calm down before I do those things. Sometimes talking it over with someone will also help calm me down.

6. Insert your own random thought here. We’ve made plans to go to the beach in October with our kids and grandkids and I am really looking forward to some sun, sand, good seafood, time with family, etc. We haven’t been to the beach since June of 2021 and I’ve missed it!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

How Many Cheese Straws?

I've shared before about making/baking cheese straws. The secret is in the cookie press. I have an antique cookie press that belonged to Mark's grandmother and then Mark's mother used it for years and years. We only have one tiny star disk which you NEED to make them the way we make them. The recipe is simple - cheese, flour, lots of butter, and a touch of red pepper.

My neighbor asked for info about baking cheese straws. I told her I would share the family recipe and the tips and tricks I've learned. I won't share the press though. I've searched the internet for another disk (is it disc or disk?) and can't find one. My friend suggested that I get our other friend to make me some extras. One of his hobbies is working with metal. I may need to do just that.

Many months ago, I volunteered to bake the cheese straws for our women's retreat. I've now made about half of them. On Friday, I mixed up not one . . .not two . . .but three recipes worth. I covered the island with wax paper trying to limit the mess.

This was the first time I've baked cheese straws in the new ovens. Just FYI, I burned one of the first batches (a big cookie sheet full!). Mark ate most of the burned ones.

I filled a small container with 30 cheese straws for a friend's birthday. Mark ate the burned ones. The three containers below (showing is the short side) contain a total of 375. I'll need to make at least 2 more batches before the third weekend of this month.

After I finished baking, Pottery Barn delivered our new sofa. We still need to replace our rugs.

Our my new bookcases were on that same PB truck and the delivery guys took all of the pieces up the steps and put them together. Mark anchored them to the wall and I've begun filling them. I'm 65 years old and I LOVE books and these are the nicest bookcases I've ever owned and I'm excited.