Sunday, June 30, 2024

Sunday Stealing on Travel

I'm joining up with Bev and the other thieves for Sunday Stealing!

1. Have you traveled abroad? Where have you been? If you haven't been overseas, which country would you most like to visit? I’ve been to Israel 4 times, including some time each trip in Palestine. We’ve been to Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Before 2016, I had only been to the islands - St. Thomas, St. John, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. We plan to visit Greece, Egypt, and Turkey in October. I want to go to Iceland. We both want to go to Norway/Sweden/Denmark. We both want to go to Scotland and I would like to pair that with England.

2. Where did you go on your last trip? Talk about where you went and what you did. Our last trip in the US was to the beach last October. Our last trip out of the country was to Israel in February 2023. We travel with Educational Opportunities so our trips are well planned. This last trip to Israel included things we had never done before and it was a very active trip. It was amazing.

We've been so blessed to travel with lots of

This was a very adventurous day. We wouldn't
be able to do this now (this was in February 2023)
due to the fighting

This underground tunnel was so cool

3. What is the best place for a vacation in your country? Why is it good? The gulf coast is unbeatable – especially the beaches in Alabama and on the Florida panhandle. Interstate 65 goes straight through Alabama and evidently a large number of people from the rest of the country agree about our beaches because our interstate is bumper to bumper every weekend.

family beach trip october 2023

our son and granddaughter

fishing pier (the pier is why we
stay at this place)

4. What is the longest time you have been away from home? Did you feel homesick? When we went to Italy/Austria/Germany/back to Austria we were gone a full two weeks. We were ready to come home. I don’t seem to get homesick if Mark is with me. When I am by myself, I feel homesick even if I’m away a couple of nights. I still go and do fun things but I actually feel homesick.

5. How long should a vacation be? How long does it take you to really relax? It usually takes me several days to truly relax. Though I do remember when I have been away on a simple overnight trip where there was no internet and no TV (a friend’s farm) and I actually felt renewed and refreshed after such a short trip. I think I need at least 5-7 days for a real vacation, though it could be shorter or longer.

6. What forms of transportation do you prefer to use when you travel? If it is a long distance, I prefer to fly even though I really don’t like flying. I get carsick so if we are going a long way, I need to drive and I have been known to make myself carsick even when driving!! Our October trip is on a boat - the Azamara and I’m excited!

7. How do you choose where to go? Are you inspired by other people's travel stories? Or photos? Or advertising? We decided to go to Ireland on a whim – we still had to wear masks in Ireland in October 2021. They were mandatory and it was enforced. I literally reached out to our travel person and asked if anyone had a trip planned for Ireland and if so, could they take two more people. The answer was yes and we paid for the trip and met up with the group in the Philadelphia airport. We made some really nice new friends that week! I am inspired by other travel stories and photos.

8. What's more important to you when you travel - comfort and relaxation, or stimulating new experiences? May I have some of both, please? I love a good hotel and good food and bathrooms but I love to experience something brand new, too!

9. Do you like to try local foods when you go somewhere? Have you ever had something really delicious? The hummus in Israel is wonderful. The dates are wonderful in Jordan. The pesto pasta we had in Italy was delicious and I don’t even really like pesto! Mark LOVED the beer in Germany.

In Italy, we learned to love Limoncello

We ate at a cute sandwich shop
on our very first afternoon in Rome

This is the pesto pasta and it was so good

We drank from the springs and fountains
and faucets all over Italy. Our tour
guide told us to fill us and we did.
It was SOOO HOT outside.

I love seeing what kinds of snacks
are available in other countries.

Pizza in Italy

Pesto Pasta again

Weiner Schnitzel in either Germany or Austria

Appetizer soup -- I think it was squash
or pumpkin with cream

Mark was a happy man

I went to the local grocery store
several times while in Austria.
We had a peanut butter and jelly
sandwich on a fresh pretzel
roll. It was quite yummy! The store
reminded me of our Aldi.

I think this was in Jericho -- a local green
beverage which was tasty and all sorts of 
pickled veggies - they call them all salads

Food somewhere in Israel

Food at the David Citadel in Jerusalem

Bread cart in the Old City of Jerusalem

Dinner at the David Citadel

I think this was in Germany or Austria

10. Things can go wrong when you travel. Have you had any bad travel experiences? My husband’s family has a Winnebago story that was told at his mom’s funeral last week. Over the years I’ve heard that story so many times I feel like I was there. We had someone get sick in Israel and they received excellent care in the local hospital. During the 2023 Israel trip, some of our group had Covid and they had to stay quarantined in their room for several days. One lady was really sick. Mark and I tested positive the first morning we were home.

11. Do you take a lot with you when you travel? Or do you try to pack light? I try to pack light but it never works! I need options.

12. Which places in the world do you think are too dangerous to visit? Why are they dangerous? I actually just googled this question. Afghanistan is on the list of “do not go” as is Ukraine. The list of Extreme Risk countries is larger than I thought it would be. There are parts of Mexico and South America that I personally would be afraid to visit. There are cities in the U.S. where I might not be as comfortable visiting either.

13. What is the best age to travel? Can children appreciate the experience? I wish we had begun our international travels at a younger age but we plan to travel as long as we can. I do think children can appreciate the experience. I’m not sure we had enough money for all four of us to have traveled internationally when our kids were growing up. I guess we could have made it a priority and saved in other ways. We were intent on saving so that our kids could go to college debt free. I think every family is different!

14. What are the advantages and disadvantages of traveling alone? The advantage would be that you could do what you wanted, and you wouldn’t have to take into account anyone else’s desires. The disadvantage would be loneliness – no one with whom to share the experience. Another advantage is the telling of stories for years to come. If there is more than one person, more details are remembered and possibly more laughter.

15. What kind of accommodation do you like to stay in when you travel? I mentioned this earlier. I like a nice hotel room. When our house was being rebuilt and our daughter and her family were in the middle of a move and staying with her in-laws, we went to visit them. We stayed at a hotel in Wetumpka, AL and the carpet had that damp feel. I don’t like that! For 16 days immediately following the fire, we stayed at the Embassy Suites near our house. It is not a five star hotel by any means but it was clean and the people were very kind. My favorite hotel so far is the David Citadel in Jerusalem. We did stay in a place in Ireland that felt like we were in a murder mystery. The hallways and rooms just  had this cool vibe (not scary).

16. Do you like to talk to the local people when you travel? Why or why not? I like to talk to folks but have found that folks in some places are friendlier than others.

17. Would you like to go to a big international event, such as the Olympics or an international film festival? What would be good or bad about attending such an event? I think it would be cool to go to the Olympics, but I imagine the crime goes up and the crowds are probably terrible. I’m assuming it was the Olympics in 1984 . . .they were held in Los Angeles. I worked for AT&T at the time and my boss went to several events. AT&T was evidently a sponsor?? (can’t really remember) Somewhere in one of my drawers, I have several Olympic pins that he brought back to me. I haven't been to the Olympics but we did see the former Olympic site in Innsbruck.

We saw the Olympic site in Innsbruck

The Olympic site through the bus window

Wednesday, June 26, 2024


It is Wednesday so I'm joining up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond and friends to answer the Hodgepodge questions! I would love to hear your answers!!

1. What do you think has remained the same about you your whole life? How has your perception of yourself changed over time? My smile has remained the same! My belief in Jesus has strengthened but is still intact. The way I live out my faith is definitely different, and my opinions have changed. I grew up with fairly judgemental Christianity and I now try hard to err on the side of grace. I’ve never had a large amount of self-confidence and that is the same.

2. What was the first thing you learned how to cook? Do you prefer to cook or bake? I learned to cook a lot of red things first! My mom died when I was 15 and I later lived with my sister and her husband for a while since my daddy was working crazy hours. My job was to start supper when I came in from school. I made spaghetti and homemade vegetable soup and other “red” things until my brother-in-law said, “please don’t make anything red tonight!” I remember the first time I made Chicken Divan. I was living in a one-bedroom apartment and had invited a date over for dinner. I prefer to cook, I think, though I do enjoy baking. Does making cheese straws count as cooking or baking? I tend to think of sweets when baking but we bake bread, right? So I guess making cheese straws counts as baking.

3. What are some of your current priorities in this season of life? Elaborate. I’ve always heard that our priorities should be Jesus, Others, Yourself (JOY). I’m trying to keep Jesus first, but I am pretty focused on finishing school and my job so I may have moved myself into second position which is not good. Dang, I hate when these questions make me think!! Hahaha! I do try to put others before myself but I did that for so many years and am not trying to focus a little on myself and my own growth. I am trying to focus on relationships -- like when all the kids and grandkids were going to the pool on Saturday afternoon, I chose pool and then had to scramble when writing my paper.

4. How much time do you spend on your hair each day or, put another way, what's your hair care routine? Do you get it cut regularly or just whenever the mood strikes? Do you go to the same stylist every time? Do you tell your stylist everything? Any other beauty treatments you indulge in throughout the year? I go visit Terrie at Seventh Heaven every 4-5 weeks. I have my hair trimmed slightly and my roots covered up. I wash and condition my hair every day when I shower and then I blow it dry and use a straightener to smooth it out. If I shower and am staying home, I let it air dry. Terrie and I talk about all sorts of things when I’m in her chair. I love to get pedicures and try to get one every three weeks or so at a place near our house. I rarely get a manicure because my hands are in dishwater and cooking, etc. so often that I mess them up. Does a massage count as a beauty treatment? I try to get a massage about 6 or 7 times a year.

5. What is the most awe-inspiring place you've visited? Ireland is beautiful. Driving from Italy to Austria/Germany is gorgeous and we saw amazing scenery. Many of the places in Israel have been commercialized (as in there is a church or mosque built on top) that I didn’t feel as much awe BUT when we sat on some of the original steps of the temple . . .where Jesus and Mary and Joseph had walked . . . that was pretty awe-inspiring.

6. Insert your own random thought here. We like crime, CIA, FBI, and mystery TV shows. We’ve watched Bosch, Bones, Criminal Minds, Chuck, Absentia (that one was tough), Reacher, The Americans, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We tried Slow Horses and couldn’t get into it. We were so desperate for something to watch that we recently watched Palm Royale. Any suggestions on something new we can watch?? We have Hulu, Prime, and Youtube TV.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Weekend (plus a few other days) in review!

Y'all have so graciously offered your sympathy and prayers in the recent death of my mother-in-law. Thank you! She died on the 12th (my brother-in-law's birthday) and my birthday was on the 14th. Our celebrations looked a little different this year.

Mark and I had made reservations at Fleming's and had invited our friends, Lu and Dave, to go with us to celebrate on my actual birthday. I asked Mark if he wanted to cancel and reschedule but he didn't. It was a nice reprieve. When we arrived, there was a birthday card on the table.

along with birthday confetti sprinkled around.

I had a Lemon Blueberry something or other drink that was delicious! Mark had a couple of Old Fashions; Dave had a Moscow Mule; and I can't remember what Lu drank!

I've been trying to walk for a few minutes every morning while the days are so long. The last few days it has been too hot at 5:00 a.m. to walk. Isn't that crazy?

My brother-in-law created this picture. None of his boys are in it and our youngest granddaughter wasn't born yet. I just realized we are missing a sister-in-law, too. Sweet grandmother was right in the center.

Y'all know we host a group every Tuesday night, right? Five of them are on a mission trip to Costa Rica this week. They have been so sweet to text us along the way -- as they were leaving Birmingham, arriving in Costa Rica, and after worship on Sunday.

The rest of the group will gather at our house tomorrow night and we will do some in-town mission projects. Y'all . . .our whole group did such nice things for us last week. They bought a huge hydrangea for our yard and gave us a large gift certificate to a local restaurant plus gave a donation of altar flowers to the church all in memory of Mark's mom.

Mark's mom loved flowers and was the first chairperson of our flower guild at church. The original 12 (at the beginning it was all ladies - now there are men/boys!) women gathered last week and made flower arrangements for the altar and for the restrooms and hallways. The church looked beautiful.

While most everyone was still in town, Mark's sister hosted everyone at their house on Friday night. Our  nephew who is a doctor in New York City had to fly back, but everyone else was here. We all took something to share. Our nephew's girlfriend made a couple of charcuterie boards that were lovely.

We had homemade guac and chips and pasta salad and Asian slaw and baked beans and fruit and ribs, smoked chicken, and smoked pork. There was banana pudding and strawberry shortcake. Good beverages were served but Mark had a procedure on Friday morning and was unable to drink so I didn't drink either.

Thomas is the youngest nephew and he was at the kid's table with our oldest granddaughters. He was such a good sport and played with them a lot.

Saturday morning brought snuggles with our youngest granddaughter. Just FYI - she had just projectile spit up ALL over me and I literally had to change clothes. It didn't bother her one bit!

Yes, I was using a dish towel as a burp cloth because it is what Mark grabbed when she spit up all over us both! They actually worked well as burp cloths and I cloroxed them after!

Look at that sweet sleeping baby!

After lunch, our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter #1 came over to visit and we loaded up the golf cart and headed to the pool. We actually had to make two trips going and coming! It was so hot that we all stayed in the pool almost the whole time.

There was some shoulder standing going on!

She wanted me to take her picture!

And the she did this and wanted another picture!

The younger one was being thrown into the water by her Uncle Bobo (Uncle Glenn) and her mama. She LOVED it!! Mark, our children, and our grandchildren are all strong swimmers. I'm so happy they are.

Our daughter and her family headed home after the 3:00 p.m. bottle so they could time their life accordingly. I remember those days. I immediately started working on my paper for American Lit. I had a little buddy in my office with me. He was sleeping on the job.

I worked on Sunday and went to Sunday School and facilitated. Our pastors have been doing this amazing summer sermon series where they are each telling their story. I decided to mirror that in our class so I lined up different class members for every Sunday in June and July to tell their story. The guy who was supposed to speak on Sunday has covid and was really sick. I had to punt. I got everyone to stand up and move around and find a partner that wasn't related to them or their best friend. They had to introduce themselves and answer a couple of easy get to know you questions. Then everyone had to find a new partner and answer two more easy questions. Then I asked everyone to sit down with one partner (not related or best friend) and I gave them a series of three questions to answer together. What is your favorite scripture or one that has been especially meaningful in your life; when have you struggled with your faith; when have you seen God at work in your life. I wrapped it up by talking about the fact they had all begun to think about their story by answering those questions. We all have a story and our story is intermingled with God's story and possibly with other people. Everyone seemed to enjoy it (except one person).

We've always eaten Sunday lunch at my mother-in-law's house . . .and our sweet son and our daughter-in-law, granddaughter #1, and a friend met us for lunch at Mudtown. We may eventually start hosting here. We will see. I worked on my paper some more and then I took a day of vacation on Monday (today) and finished my paper. I submitted it around lunchtime today. After lunch, we tried to take a nap (couldn't go to sleep), I rode my stationary bike, we ran to Walmart, I prepped food for tomorrow night's YA dinner, and I had time to blog!!

What has been going on in your life?

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sunday Stealing Stolen from SwapBot

I'm joining up with the Sunday Stealing gang!! Stolen from SwapBot

1. Are you double jointed? One of my thumbs is double jointed.

2. Are you ticklish? A little.

3. Cookies, cakes, or donuts? I don't eat sweets, but if I did, my choice would be icing!

4. Did you go to prom?  I did not. I had a boyfriend, but we decided not to go. I regret that. It is not a huge regret, but I still wish I had gone.

5. Do you bite your nails? NO!

6. Do you enjoy dancing? I've never been a good dancer. After a beverage or two, Mark and I have been known to dance a litt.e

7. Do you forgive easily? It depends. I try to forgive because not forgiiving hurts me more than the other person. There are some things you never forget. You definitely should forgive, but some wrongs don't need to be forgotten for self-preservation.

8. Do you prefer to bathe or shower? Shower! We actually had a large tub ripped out of our bathroom during the re-build.

old bathroom with tub

new bath without tub

9. Does your name have any special meaning? My mother always said jokingly that I was named after the Mona Lisa. I just looked it up and Lisa is "God is my oath." This meaning comes from the Hebrew name Elisheba, which was the name of Aaron's wife in the Old Testament. Elisheba was later abbreviated to Elizabeth, and Lisa is a diminutive form of Elizabeth. I wonder . . . .my mom's middle name was Elizabeth and that is the first name of one of my sisters, even though she goes by her middle name. I wonder if my mom knew that Lisa was a diminutive form of Elizabeth. That would mean I'm named after her.

10. Have you ever gone camping? I have been camping at least two times. Two times when single - one was with our singles group from church and we camped at Mt. Cheaha. Another time was with a guy I was dating (Murphy Seale - blast from the past - I wonder if he is still alive??) and I think we were in Chattanooga and we were there to watch a hang gliding competition.

11. Have you ever won something? I've won several things. When I was in my early 20's, I won a prize on the radio call in show. A limo picked me up at my apartment (along with a date) and took us to dinner and to the premiere of some movie. I do not remember what movie or what restaurant! I won a bottle of Pappy van Winkle for my hubby. I was first runner up in a beauty pageant! I won the bike rodeo when I was in elementary school - you had to ride your bike around all sorts of obstacles. I won a couple of things when I was a kid/teenager.

12. What did you last eat? I ate two pieces of Keto bread with peanut butter and a tiny drizzle of honey.

13. What's your longest relationship so far? Mark and I have been married for 40 years and dated for a couple before. I've been in a relationship with my sisters for 66 years :-). They are both older than I am. I've been in a relationship with our kids for almost 38 years! I still get together about once a year with my friends, Kaye and Faye, and we've known each other since elementary school. I am in Facebook relationships with people I've known since first grade or before.

14. Have you ever been on a diet? hahahaha! Have you ever read my blog? I'm always trying to eat healthier and lose weight.

15. Do you enjoy DIY or crafts? I do enjoy fun crafts!!