Monday, December 29, 2008

I See What You're Saying - Christmas Edition

This is the second edition of "I See What You're Saying", a vlog carnival hosted by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. The idea is to enhance blog friendships by letting you see and hear your bloggy friends. I'm not sure if the cheesiness of making a video of yourself accomplishes that - but it's good clean fun. Thanks for stopping by.



P.S. My technical difficulties on the pre-lit Christmas tree are quite obvious here. I decided next year is the best time to fix the issue.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday - Quick Takes

1. We get to have 2 Christmas celebrations this year (a new phenomenon for us). The first was special and wonderful. Our son and daughter-in-love will arrive tonight and tomorrow we’ll do ham instaed of turkey and have another memorable day. I am thankful for my family.

2. I bought “Dicecapades” that Sara had recommended as a family gift and we opened it on Christmas Eve. We spent the next several hours playing the game and laughing. Everyone enjoyed it. Good call, Sara!

3. I had been a little sad leading up to Christmas that we were scaling back and spending less in tune with the times. It actually didn’t even dent our joy in being together at Christmas. Perhaps we need to embrace this as a lasting lesson. (Remind me next Christmas!!)

4. I’ve said it before and I’ll live by it… the best things life aren’t things.

5. We’ll be busy on Monday moving Cupcake from the unsatisfactory apartment complex to a much safer place. That’s a post in itself – real testimony to answered prayer. You’ll hear more about.

6. I made the most beautiful pecan pie I’ve sever seen on Wednesday. I believe in miracles.

7. There’s a skinny girl who lives inside of me that’s trying to get out, but I can usually shut her up with cookies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All is Well

Merry Christmas! I had the opportunity to sing this song in a trio the Christmas after my Dad died and it touched my heart in deep ways. It still does.

May you know the joy of His presence in your heart today.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before...

My husband is pretty much my total opposite in personality. I am a fountain, he is a quiet river with strong and deep currents. I have noticed that since he doesn't talk much, people listen carefully when he does have something to say. He has carried this poem in his wallet since he met Jesus about 14 years ago and read it to many people. Thus it has become even more special to me.
Merry Christmas to you!

'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

1993 Bethany Farms, Carrollton, IL

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm in - what about you?


One week from today is 2nd Cup of Coffee's "I See What You're Saying". I have always loved the show "Funniest Home Videos" and this could turn into the blog version of that. There will be plenty of video opportunities in the next week so keep the camera rolling. I want to see you next Tuesday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

7 Quick Takes on the Friday before Christmas

I have enjoyed meeting some new women through participating in Jennifer's 7 Quick Takes. I like this way to summarize the week as well:

1. I attended a lovely Christmas party last night for the local Aglow women. It was amazing on a lot of levels. The presence of God, the love and unity, the amazing home we were in…. my heart is full.

2. After some really cold weeks, this week has been really warm and humid. The home I was in last night is right on St. Andrew’s Bay and has a glass wall that can be rolled open to the beautiful deck by the pool. There’s even a gas fireplace on the deck which they lit to take the slight chill off the night air. People commented, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas with this heat.” Yes it does.. it’s Christmas in Florida and that’s why people move here!

3. I was looking in my Bulk mail folder at yahoo for some mail I was expecting that may have been sorted to teh junk box. There were several “future” emails that had just come in dated Tuesday Dec. 23. Made me feel like I was in a time warp for a minute. Today is Friday Dec. 19th. How can I already have next Tuesday’s mail?? Weird.

4. I have gifts to wrap and even a few yet to buy but I am not at all stressed by that fact. It’s fun to be out at this time of year.

5. Our daughters are coming in tonight! I am so excited. Our son and daughter-in-law are going to be with her family on this first Christmas as a married couple, but they will be here on the 26th so I am thankful.

6. The spirit of love and unity at this time of year is a noticeable improvement over ordinary days. I was touched by Jennifer’s post titled What Child Is This? She writes from her perspective as a former atheist:

What child is this?

When I thought of the implications of the answer, I was stunned to see that it was not only the most important question I could be asking right now, but the most important question I could ever ask. I came to see that if this child was who the Christians said he was, the question of his identity was the only question that really matters.

And even though I've now found the answer, the song haunts me still, because the question it states leaves another one unspoken:

Am I living like I really believe the answer?

7. Speaking of children… I have an announcement!! I am going to be a grandmother!! How can this be at my young age? Ahem. My oldest daughter and her husband are expecting in July. Joy unspeakable, that’s what it is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Best of Things and the Worst of Things

I just read Uncommon Blonde’s blog and was prompted to take a picture of this hideous item found on Builderman’s desk. What’s the story? What is this? It’s her story so you can read it there. She’s also giving away a $15 iTunes Gift Card so your visit can reap rewards beyond satisfying your curiosity.

I can’t believe I posted this picture of Uncommon Blonde’s worst Christmas present ever. Eeewwww and double Eeewwww! Builderman’s comments on this post were: “Hey, it works really well. Notice the workmanship! Do I get a commission for you using the photo on your blog?

Umm – a firm NO to all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Squall Line Vol. 3 - Safety Check Point

I experienced my first “Safety Check Point” on Friday night, courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol.

I was on my way home from Christmas shopping and saw the flashing sign warning me to prepare to stop on the 4-lane highway. I had no idea what to expect, so I dug out my driver’s license, insurance card and registration, which were all quite handy from my recent blue light experience. I had plenty of time to locate all of that, as it took me about 25 minutes to travel about 2 miles. I wasn’t stopped by officers, (thankfully I had gotten my expired decal renewed a week ago) but it was a bit disconcerting to drive through at least 50 officers who were staring at me and my vehicle. I noticed there was a large “staging area” set up with stadium lights where they were directing some drivers to pull in who failed the scrutiny that we all got. I read in the paper the next day that the main focus of this particular checkpoint was sobriety.

I am all in favor of safety and sobriety. But the way this operation was set up really made me uncomfortable. It made me think of Big Brother. Max Bellamy writes in an ezine article: “Sobriety checkpoints hover on a fragile precipice between legitimate public safety and encroachment upon a citizen's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.”

I find it interesting that though I had nothing to hide, I was very nervous. I just wanted to get home, but the only way was to endure the checkpoint. Maybe this was just too reminiscent of my visit to Czechlosovokia in the 1970’s when border guards entered our tour bus armed with machine guns. We were just high school kids on a music tour but we were totally intimidated. I actually remember feeling pretty terrified.

I am thankful for law enforcement that protects us from the many lunatics who roam our roads.
However, I question whether the best way to arrest people who are driving while intoxicated is to detain everyone on the road. I recall that the homeland security procedures created unease about the invasion of personal privacy. Is it okay to monitor everyone for the sake of identifying the few who are violating the law?

I think we have to be mindful that there is such a thing as too much government power. The whole checkpoint experience disturbed me on a lot of levels. Maybe its just another warning sign of the times.

In the meantime, if you’ve posted about something that’s on your mind and want to link up to the Squall Line, please do so below.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We're all a Bunch of Winners

Sara won the book give-away. I'll be sending her Theresa Garnero's Your First Year With Diabetes Thanks for your comments!

In other breaking news of the hour, I received a package today with the Christmas crafts I won in Greg's give-away. How fun!! I won't tell all because I know he is sending goodies to others and I don't want to spoil any surprises. But I'm sure I'm the only one who got a really cute Rudolph! And a Christmas banner/flag. I can't wait to hang it. The other things are for my tree and Iove a tree full of special ornaments. Thanks, Greg!

Christmas Tour - Techincal Difficulties and All

I'm having issues with lights this year so I wasn’t going to participate in BooMama’s tour of homes. But then it occurred to me that surely someone who stops by will have the answer to my pre-lit tree dilemma.

It was only about or 4 years ago I gave into buying an artificial tree. My primary reasons were that I could have it up longer and put it by the fireplace, where I had always wanted to place the tree. This year, AFTER the tree was decorated, the lights started going out. One. Strand. At . A. Time. The first strand, I simply bought some more lights and put them in place. Then the second strand went out. When I got home from the store with that replacement strand and plugged in the tree, there was a THIRD strand of lights out. Have you ever tried to put lights on a tree that is already decorated? I’m sure that I share this quandary with others, so if you have a solution, I’m all ears. Here’s the tree:

How about this needlepoint nativity set my Mom made??!! I love it. (She loves Christmas decorations but likes to collect them for ME! How convenient is that?) No lights involved here. I like that.

And this one is just waiting for little hands to play with it when I have grandchildren one day.

I love the North Pole Village that my mom collected for me over the years. It’s not all out and it’s in 2 places!

I have lighting issues on my front porch too this year… I’ll spare you the details.

I was asked to provide food (a recipe!) for your visit but I've been too busy going back and forth to the store buying lights to cook. If you go tour some other homes, I'm sure you'll be full when you're finished!

From my less-than perfect home that is filled with love, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Will Remember

I have years worth of warm and wonderful Christmas memories. But one particular Christmas stands in my heart as when the true meaning of the season shone the brightest.

I was a Daddy’s girl. I never doubted my father’s love for me. His patience and quiet confidence were a constant presence in our home. His deep love of music was just one of the many gifts he gave me.

As Christmas approached in 1990, we knew that the cancer Dad had fought so valiantly was soon going to take his life. I was brokenhearted. I argued with God saying, “But he’s MY DAD!” And the Lord quietly spoke, “Yes, and he’s my son.” I would say to Dad, “It’s not time – I need you! Our children need to know you!” And Dad would patiently ask, “When do you think a good time will be? Will you ever be ready?”

When the phone call came that that is was time to come without delay, I wasn’t ready. The heavy weight of grief had slowed me as I tried to prepare a special Christmas for our 3 young children. It was Dec. 15th and we dropped everything and went to my Dad’s side.

Dad wanted to be home for his last days. He wanted to hear our preparations for Christmas and hear the children playing. He was in a lot of pain, so the hospice nurse taught me how to give him shots of morphine. One long night, he seemed to only find rest when I sang to him. I sang my way through the entire hymn book that night and was hoarse when morning dawned.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…
For unto us a child is born, to us a child is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9: 2 &6

Emmanuel, God With Us. The truth of that was a blanket of comfort through the sorrow and the weariness of that Christmas.

My daddy slipped from this earth into the brilliance of heaven on the day after Christmas, 1990. I knew that the gift of his love would always live within me. I don’t miss him any less with the passage of time.

Dad’s last gift to me was the lesson that even if the shopping and baking and wrapping and festivities of Christmas are muted, Jesus will still come. That’s the heart of the matter. Everything else is just details.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Health is Wealth

My personal experience and observations:
1. Overwhelmed people STOP. Shut down. Put on the brakes.
2. Stress causes us to develop “tunnel vision”; we lose our ability to see options and become ineffective at implementing change.

These reactions can affect each of us in a myriad of circumstances, but can certainly affect those that have been diagnosed with a scary medical condition.

I was honored to be invited to review Theresa Garnero’s new book, Your First Year With Diabetes.


I had high expectations for this book because I understood that as a nurse and diabetes educator, she has knowledge of this subject; as a person who loves people, she desires to inject humor into a weighty topic.

I am happy to highly recommend this book. I have a checklist that I think good health books must adhere to:
1. Easy to read; successfully translating “medicalese” into plain English.
2. Combine personal stories with referenced resources; a professional & credible presentation with a human touch.
3. Practical for repeated referencing.
4. Make the complicated simple.

This book meets those criteria and does an admirable job of helping people get a handle on what has become an epidemic disease. I would dare to say that all of us know someone with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Of great concern are all the people who have the disease and don’t know it.

I have been networking with diabetics for several years now and I am passionate about people understanding that there is a pathway to wellness. Diabetes IS a manageable condition and diabetics can now live full, healthy, productive lives! Knowledge is power in the war against diabetes and Ms. Garnero has given diabetics a powerful weapon in the arsenal against the debilitating effects of uncontrolled diabetes.

I am giving away a copy of this book. If you know someone with diabetes, this would be a perfect gift! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me you know someone with diabetes (you don’t have to say who and it can be you) and I’ll use the random number generator on Monday morning at 9 AM CT to determine the winner. I’ll mail it immediately so if it’s a gift, you’ll have it on time.

If you just want to buy the book, or anything at all from Amazon, pretty please click through the Amazon search bar on the right of this site and I'll get some credit. Now I just need to remember to shop through that link myself!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cheerful Givers

I know I tell you about a lot of give-aways in the blogosphere. Before I tell you about another one, I have to comment on the joy of giving. I have won several things this year and it’s amazing how a small unexpected thing can make a big difference in your day.

This week, when I gave the angel table runners, I was so blessed by the email from the winner. It really gave her a lift to win. It literally brought tears to my eyes to realize that this simple thing had touched someone. I know we are more focused on giving at this time of year and that’s a good thing. If you want to read a story that will really touch your heart, see Lysa’s post today about her mission trip to the laundromat.

Now I want to introduce you to the seven chicks who host one of the very first blogs I ever read. I’ve known several of these girls since they were teens and now they are all mothers. They are a special bunch and are doing daily give-aways right now called the 25 days of Chickmas.

May the eyes of your heart be open today to give small gifts – a smile, a word of encouragement or letting someone go in front of you in a line. It’s the little things can make a big difference. And be sure to come back tomorrow- I’ll be giving away a book!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Angels All Around Us

I started this post with the idea to title it "The Angels Have Found a Home." The purpose being to announce the winner of the angel table runners.
Then I started thinking about angels again. And of course their home is heaven. But they come to us on assigments of all sorts. Fascinating. Scriptural references most often depict them as messengers. I digress.

Today's message is ...
The winner of the angel table runners is Heather! The Random Number Generator picked number 3 and she's the one! She doesn't have a blog but I've emailed her and am waiting for her to contact me. Heather, if you're reading this, please email me your mailing address!

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting. When I joked about someone giving away a free trip to Houston for Girls Night Out, I had no idea that Paula at Wrinkled Shirts actually did that for her give-away. Amazing. She's going to start an every Friday give-away because of the wonderful experience of giving. Wow.
The blogging community is pretty wonderful!

Monday, December 8, 2008

You're a Snickerdoodle

I find testing new recipes to be like many artistic endeavors; you just have to be in the mood. Yesterday, I was cold when I got home from church (temperature-wise!) and decided it was a good time to make cookies. My plan was to make something that Builderman would like and I could resist, so I pulled out a recipe that Carol over at I Throw Like a Girl had posted on Saturday Stirrings months ago. Snickerdoodles looked to me to be a variation on sugar cookies, which aren’t my favorite (since they don’t have chocolate in them). Plus, I needed a new cookie recipe for Fuschia's First Ever Virtual Cookie Swap.

The good news is that these are delicious. The bad news is that I can’t resist them. They remind me of hot buttered toast with lots of butter and cinnamon sugar sprinkled in just the right amount. I will be kicked out of Weight Watcher’s forever and I’m blaming it on… who can I blame?? Oh – I guess that would be that lady in the mirror.

These are soft and pretty so you can take them to a holiday gathering and be assured of an empty plate at the end. The name makes me smile – Snickerdoodles. Sounds like a good nickname for someone sweet. Okay- that can be you. Enjoy, my snickerdoodles!

Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl

3. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl

4. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture

5. Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge

6. Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.

7. Scoop a walnut sized amount of dough and shape into a ball

8. Roll dough in the cinnamon sugar to coat

9. Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes

10. Remove from cookie sheet immediately

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good News of Great Joy!


I’m back. The grinch that kidnapped Bevie Lou Who (better known as Beverlydru) had to release his captive. (Have I mentioned that I must intentionally choose to not live by my feelings? What a roller coaster that can be. Whew.)

There’s nothing like a give-away to cheer me right up. When I visited Lysa’s blog this morning, I was delighted by her Cool Christmas Give-Away carnival. If only she were giving away a free trip to Houston to attend her Girls Night Out with guest speaker Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate plus 8. How fun would that be? Reality check – that’s not the give-away. (Hey any give-away is good. HELLLLOOO- free gifts!)

I have some really good news:
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10,11 KJV

To celebrate this good news, I am giving away two Angel Table Runners. They are new and haven’t even had the tags cut off because I don’t have a dark tablecloth to set off these lovely Heritage Lace Runners. Thus, I took this photo on the dark green rug. If your home would like to have these angels, just leave a comment (be sure I can find your email address) and I’ll use the Random Generator on Monday after 6 PM to find the winner.


Thanks for stopping by. Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grinchiness

I’m Grumpy, which is somewhat uncommon for me. Remember that money I told you I saved in the last week with coupon codes? It’s all gone. Plus some. Poof. For a traffic ticket. Grrrr.

Did I exceed the speed limit? Nope.
Did I do something to compromise my safety or endanger others? Nope.
Did I fail to wear by seat belt? Nope.
By golly, I had an expired tag. By 4 days, no less.
When I saw the blue lights behind me this afternoon, I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. I was informed that it’s that little yellow one inch decal with the date on it that had captured this bored officer’s attention.

I don’t know how much the ticket is going to cost yet. I came home and searched for the notification to renew that I must have overlooked and it was not to be found. I’m just frustrated.

I hoped if I blogged it out I would feel better. Can’t say that it worked, because I think I should have just gotten a warning. I did happen to see no less than 3 vehicles with expired yellow decals on my way home when I started really looking. I apparently have lots of company, but it just wasn’t my day for grace.

The only good thing I can come up with is that there have been other days when I most likely deserved a ticket and didn’t get one. Still don’t feel better.

Stay tuned for the return of Bevie Lou Who. She has been kidnapped by the Grinch.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frugality is In

Everyone is interested in saving money… especially in these times we live in. I am trying to get better about clipping coupons. They had become a source of frustration for me as it always seemed that when I tried to redeem them, they were either expired or required purchasing 4 of something I only wanted 1 of.

I do a bit of shopping online and I am slow to discover what may be old news to some of you.
I have saved about $40 in the last week with coupon codes!! Now, before I purchase anything online, I Google the site I am buying from. For example, I searched “Kodak Gallery Coupon Codes” for my Christmas Cards. I needed to reorder some skin care so searched “Mario Badescu Coupon Codes” before I ordered and saved $4.50! This is a simple tool that is perfectly legal and a real money saver. How many times have you seen that little box for PROMO CODE at checkout and wished you had one? Just stop and search and voila, one of the many sites that collect these codes will be glad to help you.

I 'm so pleased with my savings that I decided to post this over at Works for Me Wednesday. You can go there for all kinds of helpful tips.

You’re welcome. : )

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Squall Line Vol. 2

I know I don’t often write about economics and such, but I have an opinion on the mess we’re in and how to get out of it.

My mama always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Okay, I’ll blog it. Sugar-coating or silence is not going to get us anywhere.

Wasn’t America founded on the free enterprise system? Is the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well or are we on a fast slide into socialism?

I am not an economist or a politician, but I’m a business owner with a good measure of common sense. I know that regardless of who’s in office or in control of Congress, I am ultimately responsible for my health care, my income and my well-being. I do NOT want the government managing those things for me.

Have the people of America forgotten that all government spending is rooted in taxation? It’s not like the government runs a profitable business to fund their ideas!! (In fact, quite the opposite!)

I received the following email and couldn’t say it better, though I don’t know who wrote it:

Does anybody out there have any memory of the reason given for the establishment of the Department of Energy during the Carter Administration?
Anybody? Anything? No?
Didn't think so.
Bottom line . . we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember.
Ready?
It was very simple, and at the time everybody thought it very appropriate.
The Department of Energy was instituted 8-04-1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. And now it’s 2008, 31 years later and the budget for this necessary department is at $24.2 billion a year. They have 16,000 federal employees and approximately 100,000 contract employees and look at what has been accomplished.

This is where you slap your forehead and say “What were we thinking?”Ah yes, good ole bureaucracy. And now we are going to turn the Banking
System over to the government? God Help us.

So what do we do? Stick our heads in the sand? Mullygrub with the best of ‘em?
Or do we fight?

In
David Wilkerson’s recent newsletter, titled "A Time to Weep and A Time to Fight", he exhorts us to “get back our fight.”
To quote Hebrews 12:12,13 from The Message:
“So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!”

Get back your fight!

I'm going to fight evil with good. I am going to fight depression with joy. I am going to fight down-sizing with praise. I am going to fight the good fight of faith.

Now it’s your turn. If something’s on your mind and you post in the next day or three about it, link back below using Squall Line’s Mr. Linky. Please be sure to put the direct link to that post.

NOTE: At 6:00 AM CT, Mr Linky is experiencing technical difficulties. Please leave your link in the comment section and I'll hook you up as soon as the issue is fixed. Thanks!

Monday, December 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo Success!


I learned how to say NaBloPoMo in the process of blogging every single day in November. Whew! Some days it was hard and some days I was bubbling with words & ideas. Thanks for sticking with me through it all! Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'm going to do the Squall Line again. So if you have something to say, feel free to link up tomorrow.
(In case you didn't recognize Martin Luther - that's him on the photo - tacking up his thesis.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Great Thou Art

Last Sunday after church, I went on my regular jaunt to Alabama to see Lou Lou. My new daughter-in-love had never met her and had the opportunity to go so Uncommon Blonde, daughter-in-love and I were off through the woods. LouLou was so happy to see us and called to everyone that went by, wanting to introduce us. I got so tickled as she would say, “These are my granddaughters. They are lovely and charming and educated.”

At 102, she gets frustrated that she can’t remember our names, but I tell her that’s all right, because we know she loves us. She can remember the words to an endless number of hymns though, as well as her favorite poems. Her favorite hymn is “How Great Thou Art.”

I am sharing this memory borrowed from my cousin Katelyn’s June blog post. The impact LuLu’s life has had (and continues to have) on our very large extended family is profound.

Katelyn writes: “Growing up, the entire family spent our summers at Lou Lou's "Beach House" which was really on the bay. She has always had a love for the water. In fact I believe she taught my mom and her sisters how to swim. Lou Lou was her happiest when everyone was together.

After Lou Lou sold the Beach House (about 15 years ago), the beach trips were moved to our beach house during the month of October. Lou Lou, Uncle Brother, my grandmother Barbara and her twin sister Bettye would spend the entire month together at the beach. Day in and day out, Lou Lou would walk outside during sunset and sing How Great Thou Art. Loud. Arms raised to heaven. I can see her now. She is the definition of a woman of God... having her still here with us only adds strength to my belief that God is good.”

My soul sings today! Shalom.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love, Laughter and Peppermint Mocha

One of my favorite ways to spend a day is shopping with my daughters. Now I have 3 daughters! We have so much fun. They are always glad to dispense fashion advice and prevent me from buying things that shouldn't be in my closet. One of our shopping stops today was Destin Commons. The Christmas decorations there are awesome.

I had read on someone's blog that the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Twist is awesome. Oh, yes indeed it is.

We do my mom's shopping for her, so we go and buy her gifts as well as those we give each other and and then pretend like we don't know what we're getting. The funny reality is that in the busy month that passes before we open the packages under the tree, we really do forget half of what we chose. Granted, it cuts down on the surprise factor, but it also eliminates disappointment as well as the hassle of returns and exchanges.


The bargains abounded and I am so happy to be home in the recliner. 'Tis the season! Merriness to you.

Friday, November 28, 2008

7 Quick Takes – Vol. 2

I like Friday Quick Takes over at Conversion Diaries. It works for me today!

1. Thanksgiving was special and wonderful. We always watch a Christmas movie on Thanksgiving night. This year it was “Elf”. Yeah, I’ve seen it at least 8 times and I laugh harder every time. I don’t know how it gets funnier every time. (Have I mentioned before that I’m easily entertained?)

2. Today we deck the halls. FuN! So much more fun with everyone home to help.

3. I have almost made it through the NaBloPoMo! I have posted every day in November – Woo Hoo!

4. I still haven’t decided whether Christmas Cards are going to make the budget cut. I really want to send them – we have a terrific photo from our son’s wedding this year. I think it’s too special to pass up. After all, I haven’t travelled in my private jet once this year to save on fuel. (Sorry, I’m still thinking of the automakers’ summit in Washington.)

5. My girls got up at 4:30 to go to Target this morning for big savings. It’s 7:30 (AM!)- they are back from shopping and they scored! Builderman was also out the door before dawn to hunt. I have been drinking coffee in peace. : )

6. We shop together tomorrow for our deals. My proven plan is if you go early (like 8 AM - not 5 AM), you beat all the people who have shopping hangovers from Friday and still hit all the sales. I’m counting on getting most of my shopping finished, though I haven't even started. You see why I'm called Pollyanna?

7. Please leave a comment with 5 adjectives to tell me about you. (You can cheat and use just one noun.) I would love to get to know you. Here’s mine:
Energetic
Warm
Musical
Expressive
Happy

Your turn!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Abe Started It!

On October 3, 1863, an Act of Congress designated an annual National Day of Thanksgiving as proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln:

"I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States… to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens…it is announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord…It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people."
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise, Be thankful to Him,and bless His Holy name. Psalm 100:4

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Works For Me – Music to Go

I have wanted to participate in Work for Me Wednesday for a good while. This is the day!

Have you always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument and just don’t know how? I’ve got the instrument for you.

I love music. As I’ve stated before, I breathe music.

My dad was a musician and when we started kindergarten, it was time for us to begin to learn an instrument. I chose the piano and took formal lessons for 13 years. The problem with the piano is it’s not mobile. I taught children’s church for years and always enjoyed the music portion, but found that when I sat down behind the piano, I lost their attention. So I began the search for an instrument that was mobile and could be learned easily.

I am on now on my second OmniChord and it is so much fun. (I wore the first one out.) Children and adults alike are fascinated by it. I describe it as an electronic autoharp. I currently use it when I go see my sweet grandmother.

My best friend did not ever learn any instrument but really loved my omnichord . I used it to lead praise and worship in a small group Bible Study we did at her house. She bought one and learned to play it!

This instrument is not expensive and I think you might possibly love it as much as I do. Let me know if you have any questions about it. Be blessed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who Needs Pockets?

I figured you're busy making lists and thinking hard about those lists. Here's your daily dose of laughter so you can lighten up. 100% silliness:

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Booked!


Most of us are feeling pretty booked about now, which brings to mind the Grinch declaring "6 o'clock, dinner with myself - I can't cancel that!" "I'm booked!" takes on a new meaning this holiday season because of Linda.

Mocha with Linda is hosting a "Booked for the Holidays" give-away that is awesome. Thanks, Linda for the book I've already won! You can click here to get it on the week 2 give-away. Sign-up ends Weds. at noon. But this is just week 2 so there's more fun ahead.

Her site also got me thinking about what a great gift a book is... for almost anyone. It becomes a personal and relatively inexpensive gift when carefully selected with the recipient in mind.

Get booked in the peaceful way this year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Inoculated?

I am not a fan of immunizations. The many reasons merit a post about the facts and fallacies of what has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The way immunizations are supposed to work is that the body is given a small dose of a weakened organism that causes a certain disease, enabling your body to build a defense system against the real infection.

Applying this principle to the spiritual realm, I observe that this is what happens when a person has just enough religion to build immunity to the joy and reality of a deep, vital and life-changing relationship with the living God.

The Bible calls this type of inoculation a religious spirit; a weakened, ineffective and deceptive version of the real thing. When it comes to a relationship to Christ, I want to get boosted into the realm of the unseen reality, where the law is love and the fruit is love, peace and joy.

May you meet God in the beauty of this day and know the fullness of His power and love toward you. It’s personal.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

7 Quick Takes

Jennifer is a fascinating blogger that I’ve been following for some time at Conversion Diary. She has been doing “7 Quick Takes” on Fridays for several weeks and though I’m not getting this posted until Saturday, I decided I’d rather go late to a party than not go at all.

1- Builderman will not attend anything if he is late arriving. Period. I am totally comfortable with late (except for weddings and funerals – I have my standards).

2- I love designer clothing at bargain basement prices, therefore I love consignment stores. I stopped into one of my favorite consignment boutiques yesterday as a birthday treat and found 3 awesome buys. Major fun.

3- We had a hard freeze this week and all of my outside plants (patio and porches) are now dead. For years, I hauled them in and out all winter long and lost them on the last surprise freeze of the year (usually right after Easter). So now I don’t go through the hassle – I give in to nature and just start over in the spring. Rest in peace pretty plants, you've been loved.

4- The Squall Line I introduced on Tuesday got an underwhelming response. I don’t know whether the reasons are 1) because people don’t want to be whiney 2) it takes time for something to catch on 3) it’s bad timing 4) it’s a crummy idea.
Time will tell. Next Squall line is Dec. 2nd.

5- I’m so excited that my children are all coming home for Thanksgiving. One is already here. Yay!

6- A fascinating opportunity was presented to me this week. I just posted about “The Architecture of Yes” because this could be one of those very important Yes or No answers. I am praying for wisdom and insight.

7- The most important things in life aren’t things.

Thanks for letting me come late to your party, Jennifer. You can click on over there to meet some neat people.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Easy on the Helium


Happy
Birthday to Me!




I heard John and Sherry at K-Love wishing me Steven Curtis Chapman a Happy Birthday today and the comment was “he’s one year closer to heaven.” What a lovely thought.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Architecture of Yes

Yes. A three letter word that can change your world. I’ve been reading Big Mama’s blog as she went on a recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Melanie was able to meet the child that she sponsors through Compassion. She relates that the child asked one question of her, “Can I go home with you?” A simple question with a “yes” or “no” answer but HUGE implications. It made me ponder how just saying “yes” to that trip was a life-changing decision.

In our busy, fast paced culture people are often reminded that they need to say “No” more often. But it’s the “yeses” that mold our days, shape our years and determine our destiny.

The “yes” said in a covenant commitment to love, honor and cherish one person for all the days of your life.

The “yes” to an opportunity to move to a different city or take a new job that alters your life in unimagined ways.

The “yes” to help someone in need that leaves a permanent imprint on your heart.

The small yes and the big YES all become the architecture of our lives. It makes me think hard about what I will say “yes” to this week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dead Head

My blog friend, ADHD Me, got me thinking with her "15 Things I'm Not Afraid to Admit" game. I'm not giving you 15, but I'll do one.

I have an unreasonable fear of the dentist. This is very unfortunate because I have to go alot. I was one of those kids that had 3 cavities everytime I went to get my teeth cleaned. My sister? None. We both used the same toothpaste and brushed the same amount and ate the same diet but who got all the cavities? Me. Even when I was in high school, I would cry when they'd tell me I had to come back for fillings.

Now I discover that fillings don't last forever. And when they die, they want to be crowned. Crowns are named that because you have to be the Queen of England to pay for them.

Today I went in for not one, but TWO crowns. So I have a dead head from so much novocaine. And from realizing that today's office visit is my birthday present and Christmas present for this year and next year as well.

"Chin up", I say to myself, "at least you have your teeth and have food to eat with your teeth." Can I hear an "Amen, sista?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome to the Squall Line!


I wish that question was a joke. I believe the correct answer SHOULD be 6 months (max). However, my county road department is now at 20 months and counting on this yet-to-be completed project. (I live at the END of this road and believe me, I'm counting.) We’re talking about a crew that works is on site forty hours every week. I have seen these guys sleeping on the job… alot. Or reading the paper as they lounge in their trucks. The only people I saw break a sweat this summer were the prisoners the county brought out in crews.

Is there an Incompetency Award I can nominate this Road Crew for? How about the Squall Line’s Slug of the Year award - to recognize the spectacular efforts of individuals and organizations promoting the regression of human achievement? Of course this year, there is stiff competition among government agencies as well as corporations that have been inefficient to the point of bankruptcy, causing the government (with all of the extra money we borrowed from the Chinese) to come to the rescue. I digress.

The long and winding road. The one that has made my car an old woman before her time. My once beautiful and efficient vehicle that now squeaks and rattles because it has dirt in every crack and crevice. I’m not just talking about the brakes - my poor car squeals like a wounded animal just rolling down the road. People regularly lose car parts driving on this road riverbed or washboard (conditions determined by variable local rainfall). Granted, we knew the condition of the road when we built a home out here in the boondocks. However, to be offered hope and deliverance where there is none is cruel punishment. To watch this crew has been real torture.

I must say that one of the men on this project who happens to love our dogs asked me to squall about this to the county officials. He commented he is embarrassed and ashamed of this folly. I haven’t squalled that loudly – yet. Of course when I think of who’s paying the bill, I feel motivated to beller. (That’s what my neighbor calls the noise her cows make. Does she mean bellow?)

When the alleged paving project began 14 months before Cupcake graduated from high school, we joked that the project would be complete just in time for her to move off of our lovely road. Oh no, not to be. She’ll be coming home for the holidays to her dear old dirt road.

If you have a nominee for the SLUG award, or a rant of any flavor, here’s your chance. The Squall Line will be posted on the 1st and third Tuesday. Link up to the exact post on your blog and go ahead - have a good squall.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Magic

This is the last installment of Fall Into Flavor with Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee. This recipe is magical because Builderman loves it and it's easy peasy. You don’t touch a mixing bowl, chopping knife or even a spoon! His favorite dinner is homemade Chicken Pot Pie and that’s not so easy, trust me.

I got this recipe from a little paperback recipe book I ordered years ago called Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans & Jars. Probably not impressive to Rachel Rey but it works for me and everyone loves it. If you need to make your Monday Magical, here’s your answer. Be sure to come back tomorrow to participate in the first ever installment of Squall Line!

Magic Cookie Bars

½ cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 6-ounce semi-sweet chocolate morsels (1 cup)
1 3-ounce can flaked coconut (1 cup)
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, melt butter. Crush graham crackers into crumbs and sprinkle crumbs over butter. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Top evenly with chocolate morsels, coconut and nuts; press down gently. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For the Children

Extreme Home Makeovers is a refreshingly positive show. I was thrilled to get a post card this week about tonight’s episode on ABC at 8 ET/7 CT. Tonight’s show features the Frisch family from Toledo, Ohio, who have 11 children, five of whom were adopted from Haiti. The family decided they wanted to use this opportunity to give back to Haiti, and Hope for Haiti Children’s Center is the recipient of a special gift on tonight’s show.

Builderman and I have had the joy of watching Danita's children for more than 15 years and we have seen this ministry grow from an outreach to a small group of children to a school for hundreds, a church, an orphanage for more than 100 children and now they are working on medical facilities. How exciting that during this critical time of need, the spotlight of TV is bringing much-needed funds to these children. Tune in or Tivo this episode!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Clumsy is as Clumsy Does

Maybe if my mother had named me Grace, I wouldn’t be so clumsy. My inability to keep my feet under me has resulted in way too many injury stories for this post. Builderman no longer asks me to climb ladders, for one thing. No siree. The time I sprained an ankle coming down the mountain in Alaska is well-remembered by our whole family but at least I got points for earning us prime seats in the handicapped car on the train trip the next day.

I won’t embarrass myself by even trying to recount some of the episodes that are running through my head right now. Let’s just say I should probably hire a stunt woman to take my place on hikes and such.

This brings me to why I need to win this Wii Fit give-away at LaPetiteChic's blog. I have observed that old people generally have a balance problem. Then what happens to those of us who couldn’t even keep our balance at age 20? A solution has been invented! The Wii Fit comes with a balance board! The genes of my 102 year old grandmother necessitate a plan to develop a sense of balance. I also gleefully anticipate the side effects of regular use of the Wii Fit, like weight loss, muscle strength, etc.

Since I am so faithful to let you know about awesome give-aways, I am letting you in on the good news that you can register to win a Wii console, Wii Fit & balance board just in time for Christmas. Click Here.

If you win my Wii Fit, you can console me with a train ride in Alaska. Canada would be okay too, because hey- my flexibilty is increasing too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Meet Chutzpah & Moxie

I could introduce Chutzpah & Moxie as my girlfriends, but 2 close friends with such unusual names sounds suspicious.

In the last city I lived in, I shared my name (first and last!) with a local news anchor, so obviously there was some confusion between us. I regularly got her mail and phone calls so occasionally we met to exchange messages. After our first meeting, she said “What you have that I don’t have is “chutzpah.” I was unfamiliar with the word but discovered that it is a yiddish word for “nerve or gall”. It was one of those remarks that I wasn't sure was a compliment.

I've since become acquainted with Moxie, who is probably closely related to Chutzpah, but with a prettier name. Webster’s dictionary defines moxie as “energy, pep, courage and determination.” Moxie was a trademark of a soft drink made in 1930. A current magazine called MoXie is described as “for gutsy women who are living boldly, pursuing adventures, taking risks, and putting together lives that work.” I can own that definition. ; )

Now that you are dressed with fun vocabulary words for Friday, I’ll send you over to an awesome give-away at Betty Beguiles' Blog on Marriage, Moxie and Modesty. You can register to win a $25 gift card to Sephora HERE.

Happy Friday, Fearless Friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Shoebox

Laughter is good medicine. I love this story:

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000. He asked her about the contents. 'When we were to be married,' she said, ' my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.' The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. 'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?' 'Oh,' she said, 'that's the money I made from selling the dolls.'

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

... I had a little girl.
She was the most beautiful little blond pixie you could ever imagine who has grown into a delightful & cherished woman. She was born on Nov. 12th, one of the happiest days of our lives. Happy Birthday, Beautiful One. We love you more than you will ever know. You are my Sunshine.

And now I want to tell you a story that came to mind last week when I posted about my sorrow over the racial turmoil that Cupcake witnessed.

When our uncommon blonde was in kindergarten she came home all excited one day that she had been invited to play at Jovita’s house. She bubbled on and on about her new friend. I explained that I would need to meet the friend’s mother and and find out where they lived and so on. And I inquired “That’s a pretty name - is Jovita black?” Uncommon Blonde stopped and thought hard. She replied, “I don’t know, I’ll look tomorrow.”

Such wisdom out of the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Squall Line - Get Ready, It's Coming!

Have you ever felt like just squalling like a baby? Do you sometimes need to vent? My mama always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything at all.” So don’t say it – blog it!

I am known as Positive Pollyanna. In fact, I’ve been criticized for being too happy. Oh yes, I have. People just don’t believe it’s real. So I think I'm the perfect host for a Squall Line. I've learned that a joy shared is multiplied by 2 and a trouble shared is cut in half. So get out your knife, ‘cause we’re going to slice and dice some stuff that’s bugging you.

Mark your calendars. Starting next Tuesday, Nov. 18th , on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, I’ll be hosting the squall line. Rant Day. If you need a mental reminder of which Tuesday, just think that the first Tuesday of Nov. was election day. Ahem. So the 1st and 3rd Tuesday it is. I thought weekly was a bit much, but feel free to make your suggestions as I test the waters.

If you want a few examples of what I consider interesting squalls, here ya go:
If The Food Doesn’t Kill You the Parking Lot Will by Antique Mommy
Christmas Lighting Rules by Uncommon Blonde
Daylight Insanity Time by Jennifer at Conversion Diary

I know the posts will be short, long, funny, serious, up and down, but we're all in this big boat called "Life" together and I think sharing can make it better. A lifeboat for the squalls.

Guidelines
Squall Line is a sort of blog carnival. An explanation of how this works is found
HERE
I’m not a big rule follower so it’s basic:

· When using Mr. Linky, please use a permalink that sends readers directly to the correct post.
· You can put the Squall Line button on your site with your post but you don’t have to. Please mention the Squall Line in your post with a link back to this site in case others want to read more or join in.
· I reserve the right to delete any links that are not appropriate but I can’t even imagine my bloggy friends being inappropriate. This comment is in the event someone tries to crash the party.
· I will have Mr. Linky available after midnight on the 1st and 3rd Mondays.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall Into Flavor


This is the first time I’ve participated in Fall into Flavor over at 2nd Cup of Coffee as I have been rather uninspired lately in the kitchen. (You can click over to her site for more great recipes!)

Since we are galloping toward the holidays, I decided to review my recipes and start stocking up on non-perishable ingredients that are standard fare. Linda asked for recipes with lots of butter and this one doesn’t have butter, but I figured the cheese would provide the requisite amount of fat. ; )

This squash casserole is a family favorite and is always part of my holiday menu. When I take it to my cousin’s at Christmas, I make 2 because there’s more than 20 people there and everyone loves it. I also take it to pot-lucks and the dish is always empty - a good sign! It’s not a difficult recipe and you can chop the squash and grate the cheese the day before.

Squash Casserole
2-3 lbs yellow crookneck squash
salt & pepper to taste
1 onion
1 sleeve Club Crackers (crushed)
8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk

1. Chop squash & onion. Season to taste. Cook until tender. (I use a steamer basket)
Drain & set aside.
2. Put a sleeve of Club crackers in a gallon ziplock bag and crush with rolling pin.
3. Grate cheese.
4. In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs. Stir milk into eggs.
5. In a deep casserole dish, layer squash, crackers, cheese, squash, crackers, cheese.
6. Pour egg and milk mixture over top of casserole.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. (Cheese should be lightly browned on top).

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dinner with a Perfect Friend

I recently read a short and fascinating book called Dinner with a Perfect Stranger. It’s an intriguing account of a dinner conversation between a cynical businessman and Jesus.

I felt I needed to title my post “Dinner with a Perfect Friend” since that’s my relationship with Him. I can laugh and cry with Him and call in the middle of the night if I want to. I call him Friend, Encourager, Teacher & Counselor to name a few.

If you think of Him as a polite stranger, a judgmental father or just a wise man, this book’s for you. Really. I want you to read it and tell me what you think of it. Just leave me a comment (be sure to leave your email address) and I’ll send it to you. I only have one copy so it’s for the first to speak up.

I’ll leave you with a smile by quoting a T-shirt I saw in a gift shop this week:

JESUS LOVES YOU …
          but I’m His favorite.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Elixir of Relaxation

I’m one of those people that has trouble relaxing at home. There’s always a list of things to get done, and the fact that I work from home complicates being able to truly let it all go.

But Hilton Head Island on a 70 degree sunny day - relaxation is an inescapable gift. We had a grand last day of vacation. We went to the top of the lighthouse and strolled around the Harbour Town area. The person who developed this island in the 1950’s set a guideline that no building would be taller than the trees and all paint colors would be natural. The result is a very non-commercial feeling vacation spot that is truly a relaxing get-away.

We’re headed home today. I'm going home with a beautiful little tallow-berry wreath hand-made by an old woman in Charleston. Sweet.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Best-Mannered City in the South


Charleston, South Carolina. Charming and Beautiful. She reminded me of a cultured and elegant old woman (who's had a face lift or 3) with a rich history, lots of character and oh, so many stories to tell. I thoroughly enjoyed our day that began with a carriage tour conducted by a native Charlestonian with the melodious and soft accent that is so distinctive to the area. We shopped the open-air market and then paused for a lovely lunch at Magnolia's. Appetizers on our table included fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese on flatbread. The food was amazing, but whoever wrote the menu descriptions should get a creative writing award. The words alone made us want to order everything on the menu. I felt like I gained weight as we read the menu to each other. Of course calories actually consumed with so much joy and pleasure are negated by the health benefits of happiness, right? I’m sure all the sweet potato french fries I’ve eaten this week are the low calorie kind. We had already visited the divine Charleston Candy Kitchen so we skipped dessert.
We took our own walking tour through the historic district and then wrapped up the day in the lovely and impressive Charleston Place lobby with piano music. We missed tea time, but believe me, we didn’t need any more food. I love creating memories with people I love.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fur Real - Don't Mess With My Peep

I interrupt the light-hearted travel commentary for a news bulletin. Cupcake has had a rough week. And if you think Mama Bear is a threat when angry, let me tell you - when Papa Bear is riled, watch out.

Cupcake called yesterday with a very disturbing report of events at her apartment complex on election night. Apparently, when the winner of the presidential race was announced, young people started pouring into the parking areas (this is a very large college complex with at least 1200 residents). There was screaming and yelling, profanity and breaking of glass. Shockingly, the “celebration” could have escalated into an ugly racial event. Cupcake was more than a little bit scared and she and her roommates actually pushed furniture against the front door as a barricade. The police came but things didn’t settle down for a few hours. This is in a college town and these are supposedly educated kids in a “good neighborhood”. I can assure you that she won’t be in this complex for long, lease or no lease.

My first reaction was anger that this even happened. I heard one newscaster discussing the term “racial transcendence” that had been used during the Obama campaign. I can tell you that in this part of the South, we haven’t transcended anything.

Interesting timing that we went to see
The Secret Life of Bees yesterday afternoon. (I highly recommend it.) The movie was set in 1964 in S. Carolina and spotlights the significance of the Civil Rights Act. It depicted just a sampling of the gross injustices that black people suffered during that time, and of course, that is just the surface of a terrible and deep wound that has yet to heal. I can’t say that I can even imagine how it feels to have loved ones that were treated worse than dirt. And this is all quite recent, as history goes.

I am grieved over this incident with Cupcake. Of course, my first concern is the peace and safety of our daughter. But it reveals a sickness of the soul that has no simple solutions. Our country suffers from deeper ills than an ailing economy. There’s one thing I do know - we need to pray without ceasing for our country.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Legends & Lore in the Deep South

I have had the awesome opportunity to travel to many countries and am always fascinated to learn about the people, the food, the culture, etc. Savannah, Georgia does not disappoint when it comes to history, legends and lore. More than a camera, I needed a tape recorder yesterday on our tour of this beautiful little city.

Our tour guide sounded like Gomer Pyle’s cousin and looked like Rosie the Riveter’s
sister. She entertained us with her accent and her stories, including a recounting of her worst job as an onion picker. She said building carburetors was better than picking onions, but those jobs make being a tour guide seem like a picnic in the park. And boy oh boy does Savannah have parks. The city is laid out in 24 squares and each sqaure has a park in the middle of it.

We passed a restaurant on the way to Savannah that gets the prize for the worst name ever for an eatery. Squat and Gobble. Doesn’t that make you want to invite all your friends to meet you there?

We had a fun day and I’ve enjoyed a heaping portion of laughter. My sister could be a stand-up comic in her spare time with her unique brand of humor.

We’re off to the ferry to go to Dafuskie Island today and I am thankful for the opportunity to ignore the state of our country. I watched enough news to want to escape into vacation land. That’s all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You Can't Afford a Limo...

...Just Call Your Local Tow Company

Yesterday's travel provided lots of laughs. I was totally startled to see these 2 men actually riding in their vehicle which was on a flatbed. Have no fear, I didn't snap this photo while driving at 70 mph, I made Uncommon Blonde do it. She will be writing her won commentary on our trip this week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Mess With my Peep & I'm Outta Here

I am always amazed at how much I can accomplish in a short period of time when I am preparing to leave for a trip. Of course, I’m usually exhausted when it’s finally time to leave. I do learn that amazing things happen when there is a time constraint and I stay focused.

Cupcake came home unexpectedly this weekend and of course I cooked her favorite foods and pampered her a bit. She started a part-time job with a law firm when she started college. This is the third child we have supported through college (with the help of scholarships), but we have required all of them to work a part-time job for their spending money. We pay all essentials and they pay the extras - like entertainment. It has worked well. Cupcake had been telling me that her job is really stressful but I was appalled to learn she worked 35 hours this past week. On top of a full-time school load! This started as a 20 hour/week job so something is going to change really quickly, and it’s not school. She will be discussing the necessary change with the law office this week. We have been talking on the phone lots but it was great to have hours of time to get “the rest of the story.”

The Mama Bear in me wants to call her employer and start with “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?” Oh- but my child is a young adult and has to work it out herself. I was slow to learn the lesson of setting boundaries and saying “no”. I hope she “gets it” a lot faster than I did.

By the time you read this (I am relying on auto post for the first time), I should be headed to South Carolina for 5 days of fun and exploring Savannah, Hilton Head and Charleston with my Mom, my sister, her friend and my oldest daughter. My plan is to post photos and a travelogue through the week
.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Will to Forgive

I am reading a novel called Levi's Will. Spanning over 40 years, this book tells the story of Will, a teenage boy who runs away from his Amish home. It is fascinating and well-written.

I quote a Catholic priest in the book who was helping Will through a crisis of faith and of life.

"God is love. Love is proof of God and forgiveness is proof of love."


Think on that.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Iron Woman of NaBloPoMo

I am accepting a new challenge as of today – it’s called NaBloPoMo. That stands for National Blog Posting Month and to be a member of this club, you have to post every day in the month of November. Sounds like a real challenge to me but I’m crazy enough to go for it.

I am behind in posting and in everything else today because of the IronMan Triathlon. Are you shocked to think I am in training? I would be shocked too!

The reality is, there are 2600 athletes in my area today and the race has disrupted my day. Today’s job of avoiding the major traffic jams created by 2600 cyclists was not nearly as rough as the day I met one of those cyclists up close and personal.

The race organizers pay local clubs and organizations to work the hydration & snack stations along the route. For several years, I enthusiastically volunteered. The second year I did it, a cyclist lost control of her bike near our station and crashed into my friend's car. It slowed her down, I'm sure, as she left a big dent where she hit the vehicle.


I thought that was a random event but the next year, I was running alongside the cyclists to hand off GatorAid. Another one of them lost control of her bicycle and crashed right into me. When I came to, I was lying facedown in the dirt. Yep - it completely knocked me out. In defense of the IronMan athletes, I must say that it was not this race. It was the spring triathlon that enters amateurs as well as experienced athletes. But needless to say, I no longer volunteer at these events.

I think these athletes are amazing. I am happy they come to this area for lots of reasons. But I have learned that it’s not for me. So I give them a wide berth and change my plans to make it all work.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fitness is Fun (?) Initiative

A marketing person from Reebok contacted me last week as a blogger and asked me to participate in a Webinar about their new women’s fitness initiative. I believe I was selected because they read about my wogging regimen and thought I could turn it up a notch. Or perhaps it’s because their idea of making fitness fun consists of more than sitting in the Hawaiian chair. (If haven’t seen this video clip, you MUST!) Or maybe they noticed I haven’t posted about the joy of being at my happy weight. Ahem.

I was able to join the call yesterday because I was working at my computer on a repetitive task that didn’t require my full attention...well, at least I hope it didn’t. I can say it was time well spent as I decided at the end of it that I am a slug and I got up and went for a RUN. Not a wog. Sara Haley did a good job of conveying some key points on the call. She loves to dance and teaches rebounding and all kinds of classes in New York City. (I didn’t even know what rebounding is.) She has taught in Chicago too and commented on the big difference in the fitness cultures. (Oh my- I don’t know if we even have a fitness culture in my area! LOL)

1) The best indication of a good cardio workout is that you become out of breath and sweaty. (I guess that means if you can still sing you’re not breathless. Ooops.)
2) Find music that motivates you. It can take your workout from average to amazing.
(Yep- I need some new music)
3) You have to change your workout to change your body. Your body will grow accustomed to the same movements – it is critical to vary your workout.
(Oh- no wonder my body has not changed!)
4) Fitness can and should be fun.
(I do need some help & inspiration here, no doubt.)

They referenced “The Biggest Loser” TV show as an example of the fun ways people are getting into fitness. I love that show, but it sure doesn’t look like they’re having fun to me, though they are definitely losing weight.

I have decided to add a workout video to my Christmas list but I need a fun one with good music. Is there such a thing?? Anybody know of one? I need some new shoes too. At least I can say I wear the bounce out of my cross-training shoes. I won’t mention how long that takes me. ; ) And Reebok Team, in case you’re reading this, my shoe size is 8. Thank you very much.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wisdom & Longevity in the Land of Cotton

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house I go. I really enjoy my visits to see LouLou. She will be 102 next week so we had our own little celebration on Saturday since I won’t be there on her actual birthday. I am continually amazed at her stamina! She still loves to laugh. It makes me feel really young to go hang out with her since I’m about half her age!

Mayo Clinic researchers have something to say about longevity. They studied the results of a questionnaire designed to rate respondents according to optimism or pessimism.

Follow-up questionnaires showed that the pessimistic participants tended to die earlier than the optimists, regardless of age or sex.

Pessimism can be considered a risk factor for early death.
(Source: Discovery Health)

LouLou recited from Longfellow’s “Psalm of Life” on Sat. these words to live by:
“Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not it’s goal;
Dust thou art to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.”

She knows all 9 stanzas of the poem!

The truth of the matter and the final Word on this subject is from Phil. 4:8,9.
"Finally, brothers, whaetever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things… And the peace of God will be with you."


Friday, October 24, 2008

For Such a Time as This

Profound. Life-changing. Invigorating.
I heard a speaker this week at a business luncheon sponsored by CIBN (Christian International Business Network). The speaker finished 3 minutes after he started. No, really I think he spoke for 40 minutes but it SEEMED like 3, and he left the entire audience thirsting for more. The arrows of wisdom were flying and I couldn’t listen fast enough, much less take notes fast enough. I had never heard of Lance Wallnau, but he is an internationally-known speaker and I can assure you I won’t forget his name now. He is a man with a message.

He spoke about building the Kingdom of God on this earth. There’s much to be done and as Kingdom people, we must not be swayed by a spirit of fear in these perilous times. We have the power and authority to be the light in the midst of darkness! Whatever your appointed sphere of influence is, you can make a difference. As we see world systems topple, strongholds are being shaken, offering opportunity for the penetration of truth and integrity. Lance challenged everyone in the room to stand firm, be alert and be prepared for assignments from the King. What an exciting time to be alive!