Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just 4 Today

Simplicity. Focus. Four things I can do. Just for today.
Here’s a short list of what I’m going to do that’s good for me today.

1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
2. Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.
3. Post a handwritten note.
4. Make a new contact for Lifepoint Speaker.

Focus is a real challenge for me so I’ve revived a technique that’s worked for me in the past. What’s your focus?

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Joyful Sound

I read with interest an article this weekend on the “dumbing down” of church congregations in America. Musically speaking, that is. The author was complaining about the fact that churches with contemporary music in their service are using screens to project words and people don’t have printed music as they do when reading a hymn book. The result is that people aren’t learning how to read music.

Do people learn to read music from a hymnal?

I’d never thought about this. I do know that being classically trained on the piano, it was a whole new world to play in churches where I was simply handed a chord sheet. I can sight-read music but I thought “where are the notes?!” I had to learn to make my own. Not as easy as it sounds to someone used to reading Bach & Beethoven.

I didn’t learn to read music at church because my dad was a musician and we were taught to read music before we could read books.

Lest anyone worry that music threatens to become a lost art (never!), check out these little Texas songbirds. This clip is less than 2 minutes and is a replay of the National Anthem sung by five young ladies. You have never heard it performed better than this!

An entire arena remains completely silent throughout the song. You could hear a pin drop.
The two young ladies on the right are six years old.
The two in the middle are seven and the one on the left is eight. This gives me goosebumps. I've watched it over and over again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Epiphanies

I can’t think of anyone that exemplifies love in action better than Mother Teresa. What a legacy she left! Everyday Epiphanies is about putting the focus on others, so today I’m going to let others say it.

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
~Mother Teresa

And pertaining to yesterday’s post:
There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
~ John Andrew Holmes

You can be a part of the journey if you’d like to link one of your posts that speaks of lessons learned or ideas on reaching out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Move It to Lose It

The "get fit" challenge has started and Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee is good at getting me to do stuff hosting blog carnivals. Linda described it this way: "Beginning on the 26th, I'm pledging to move for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week for two weeks. Thus my cleverly named project: "30 x 5." Did I mention its only for 2 weeks? Did I mention a bathroom scale in this effort? I didn't??? That's right; I didn't!"

Did you notice that she also didn't use the word "exercise?" But that's what this means, folks.
The bad 8 letter word; twice as bad as a four letter word.

At the end, we're going to link up and tell the truth talk about it. Because that's what bloggers do, is talk about it.
In addition, I'm publicly announcing my recommitment to Weight Watcher's. I started Monday. I wasn't going to announce it because then I'd have to actually be accountable. And I'm not paying my money for them to tell me I'm over goal weight. I KNOW THAT! Sigh. Now I REALLY can't have the Robin's Eggs that are now in the store for Easter. What a sacrifice.

I'll be moving and counting points. I'll update you in 2 weeks. Go on over to Linda's if you want to take the challenge to MOVE IT!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No one Alive is Youer than You

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Dr. Suess
Are you a runner if you run, but not in marathons? Are you a writer if you write, but have never been published? Are you a singer if you sing, but only loudly in the shower? Are you a dancer if your only partner is God and the vacuum cleaner? (Come on, I know I’m not the only one who dances with the vacuum.)

Who defines the answer to this? More often than not, we define success in an endeavor by standards that compare us with others, thus belittling ourselves in the process.

If you have a passion or desire to do something then you are gifted to do it. Maybe you will have an audience of One, but He will be a proud Father over your creation.

Why is it that we encourage a child who draws a silly picture with praise, and yet as we attempt new things as adults, we judge our efforts under harsh standards of excellence?

Our gifts are often buried under fear, disappointment or regret. We are our own worst critics. Bah humbug, I say “Hush, voice of negativity.” Dance like no one is watching. The applause of heaven might be your only encouragement but what is richer than that?

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Phil. 1:6

A few nuggets I carried away from the weekend on “Transformed in the Journey”:

We can not settle. Where you settle you die.

All of us are born originals but most of us die as copies.

God is as invested in you Finishing Well as He is in your Beginning.

I'm going to imagine I look like this: Though to you, I may look like this:

I’d rather look back and say, “I’m glad I did”, rather than “I wish I had”. What about you?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Castles in the Sand

The retreat this weekend was awesome. I am still assimilating all God spoke. The theme was “Transformed in the Journey”. I’ll be sharing some highlights as I have time get what’s in my heart through my fingers to the keyboard. This morning, my heart sings “The Best is Yet to Come!”

When I arrived Friday, my first order of business was to put my toes in the sand. Honestly, that’s as relaxing as a massage to me. I ran to my car to get my camera when I saw this on the beach. This is what Spring looks like in Florida: sun, salty air, rhythmic waves. And sandcastles.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
I’m Beverlydru and I don’t like to miss a party, so I’m joining in The Ultimate Blog Party 2009 hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom.

If you’ve dropped by from there, I’ll introduce myself. I am the Mom of three who have flown the nest. In fact, my firstborn is due to have a baby in July! WooHoo! I have been blogging for 15 months. I live in the boonies in N. Florida and mostly work online from home. I love people and blogging has met an important need for daily communication with people who I can build friendships with.

I’m often tagged as “Happy Lady” by people who know me, probably because I smile a lot. I’m off to a women’s retreat right now where I have the awesome privilege to lead the music.

This party has PRIZES galore! (You only THOUGHT you were going to spring clean this weekend. Nah.)

I’m supposed to list my top picks if I win so here are some that have my name on them. : ) Hope springs eternal.

58 - Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer
Provided by: Moms Who Think
(winner's choice of color, $349.99 retail value )

Who couldn’t use a Target gift card?
19 — $50 gift certificate to Target Stores
Provided by: Shoot-Me-Now

21 — $50 gift certificate to Target Stores
Provided by: Agoosa - Funny Name, Sound Advice

22 — $50 gift certificate to Target Stores
Provided by: Beginner Baby Blog

Hip Hip Hooray for Blogging!

Everyday Epiphanies – Everyman Gets Fed

I caught myself being selfish this week.

This past weekend, I had prepared a new recipe, Bella~Mellas’s Chipotle Roast for Builderman along with his favorite scalloped potatoes and fresh green beans. About 45 minutes before dinner time, Builderman came in and said ““Everyman” is having a really bad day and I think we should invite him to dinner.” My first reaction was “there’s not enough!” I have finally learned how to cook for just the 2 of us, so the roast was small (I had cut it in half and frozen the rest). The potatoes cook for 90 minutes and there wasn’t extra of those either. I could snap more beans real quick, but there remained the fact that this individual is rough around the edges and tough to be around.

I pondered for a few minutes and realized I’d made the wrong choice. I didn’t need to eat much and this person surely needed more than my cooking; he needed spiritual food. I apologized to my husband and said “I’ll do my part – tell him to come on.” I made an extra side dish and adjusted my attitude. I fought with my aggravation again when he was an HOUR late. Arghh.

Turns out he was totally despondent over the fact his wife had moved out that morning and the affect of the talk over dinner was water to his soul and balm to his wounds. And I almost missed it. Dinner was excellent and there wasn't a morsel left over.

Note to self: It’s not always convenient to reach out to others. But it’s always worth it.
Beyond what we're aware of, I’m thinking.

I leave you with a smile from one of my favorite deep thinkers.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
~Dr. Seuss

If you want to share a post of an Everyday Epiphany you've experienced, please surprise me by linking up.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Truth About Samson

Samson, Alabama, population 2000. The shocking carnage created by a lunatic with a grudge and a gun has put Samson in the national headlines. Samson is LouLou’s home and I know the place well.

Farm land, pecan trees, broad front porches, pick-up trucks, John Deere tractors, two stoplights. Mama Frankie’s (my great-grandmother) grand home is now occupied by cousins. I’m so happy they care for the grand-old-lady of a house. I know the good hiding places within those walls; there are lots of nooks where small children fit.

Daddy Dykes (my grandfather) owned the hardware store on Main St. A dim place with the smell of nails and tools and dusty hardwood floors. There used to be a glass case by the cash register with penny candy in it. Fireballs, bubble gum, sixlets, jawbreakers and peanut logs. I could pack a lot of delight into a little brown paper bag.

LouLou’s house was walking distance to her church. She moved just 5 years ago – she walked to church until she was about 97. My mom & dad married in this little church. LouLou helped restore the bell and have it mounted in the church’s front yard. Whenever we came to visit she would take us to ring the bell. Sundays, weddings and LouLou’s grandchildren’s arrival were heralded by the resonant ringing. (Photo circa 1986)LouLou’s brother was a major peanut grower and now his son holds the reins of the many farm enterprises. Our oldest child carries the Brooks name as it means love and family to us.
Traveler’s Rest is the cemetery where many stories have been recounted beside the monuments of those who’ve gone before us. My daddy’s marker is there. And I suppose one day I’ll rest there too.

All of these memories were made on Main Street, Samson, Alabama. I am compelled to
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” ~Romans 12:9

So now you know some good about Samson.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's All in the Name

Laughter, hugs, fun, encouragement, acceptance, stories without end, silly songs, unconditional love, a listening ear, advice, excursions, guidance, faith, prayers, a safe place, provision, blessing.

That's what I want to be for this little girl ... just for starters. As you know, I will become a grandmother this summer. What will this little gift in the body of a child call me?

I don't really want to be called Grandma, Memaw or Granny. (All are active in our family.) I called one of my grandmothers "Grandmother" and it was too formal. "Nanna" is already claimed by the other grandmother-to-be. When I was a child, I called LouLou "MuLou", my pronounciation of Mother Louise. She's been a perfect grandmother. This is one of my favorite photos with her. I'm the little blondie in footsie pajamas.

So you, my dear blog buddies are being called upon to help with this important decision that will affect the generations that follow. Really - I need your input. Here's my short list. Write-in votes are appreciated.

  1. Lovey

  2. Mimi

  3. Bebe

  4. Grandie (the problem with this one is a child will probably say Granny!)

  5. Write in - leave in the comments!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fit for a King

“Hallelujah” is the only word I know that is the same in every language. Last week I heard a speaker say it means “the highest praise”. I went on the hunt in study because I thought it translated as “Praise the Lord”. What I discovered is that it does mean “Praise Yahweh”. I can see why it can be called the highest praise for several reasons.

1) In Revelation 19, there is a sound of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters thundering “Hallelujah”. I can only imagine the sound. Wow. It’s a victory celebration. There’s great comfort in reading the last chapter of The Book for assurance that everything’s going to turn out more than alright.

2) Unity is a glorious thing. I recall attending an international Aglow convention where women from more than 100 nations were in attendance. The language barrier often kept us from sharing more than a “Hallelujah” and a smile. But it was enough. We were able to connect. Hallelujah in that context spoke unity and love.

3) The Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah is a stunning musical masterpiece. In many parts of the world, it is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for this section of the performance. Interesting Fact: Tradition has it that King George II rose to his feet at this point. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out, the king rose. Royal protocol has always demanded that whenever the monarch stands, so does everyone in the monarch's presence. As was and is the custom, one stands in the presence of royalty as a sign of respect. The Hallelujah chorus clearly places Christ as the King of Kings.

I leave you to a happier Monday now. If you say it out loud, it becomes a A NEW Hallelujah! Micahel W. Smith has it going on too… over HERE.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Someone's in the Kitchen Making Chicken Parmesan

It was our beautiful daughter-in-love’s birthday this week and she and our son came over for a fun evening. She requested Chicken Parmesan and it was a hit, so here’s the recipe.

I have a question that maybe you can help with. How are you supposed to serve it? I just put the separate dishes on the table with pasta, sauce and the baking dish with chicken and everyone served their own. I guess you could fix each plate before setting it on the table. Any other suggestions?

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
2 large eggs
1 cup dried plain-style bread crumbs
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan-
4boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sliced Mozarella cheese

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Mix the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken completely with the cheese, patting to adhere, then dip into the eggs. Coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere. Add to greased 9×13 pan.

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and crispy. (I cooked it for an hour and added the mozzarella for the last 10 minutes until it was melted & lightly brown) Serve with angel hair pasta and pasta sauce. (I used Prego brand).

I have gotten some great ideas and recipes fom Saturday Stirrings over at Carol's so go visit her for kitchen inspiration!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Paying It Forward- We have a Winner!!

Sara, Come on Down! Sara won the Pay It Forward drawing and will be receiving a $10 Starbucks Gift Card. Thank you all for playing! I used Random.org to determine the winner.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2009-03-13 19:26:38 UTC

I got my CD in the mail this week and that was a bright spot in my day. Thanks, Linda!

The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord makes his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you:The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Everyday Epiphanies- Week 3

A newly married son of a very good friend was just deployed a month ago to Afghanistan. I’ve been hearing first-hand stories about the conditions over there and it’s humbling to think about in light of what I consider “rough”.

Everyday Epiphanies is causing me to push out of my comfort zone in acts of kindness. Expressing my thanks and support to our troops (especially the ones who don’t get much mail) is always very worthwhile.

If you've never done this before and want to know how, the best website for starters is http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm

I’ve put together my own boxes in the past with socks, wetwipes, hand sanitizer, etc. In the food packages, I’ve done Gator-Aid mix, Kool-aid packs, cookies, candy and gum.
You can get free boxes at the post office since Flat Rate postal is a good deal if you pack them totally full. Don’t mix food items with non-food items. This week, when researching this, I saw a request for magazines. I have a collection of my huband's outdoor magazines that he hates to just throw away and I’m filling up the largest flat rate box with for the cost of $10.95 to ship.On the home-front, I’m continuing my mission to send hand-written cards and notes on a daily basis. I discovered Target now has a greeting card section with cards that are .99 or less. They’re actually decent cards and I am finding they are helping me accomplish my mission.

Have you had any experiences with Everyday Epiphanies that you’ve shared on your blog? Any ideas or suggestions? Then link on up below, or leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prussian Crackers

I hear voices calling me to a castle in Germany. And I call back, “send me a plane ticket and I’ll be right there!”

I got an email this past weekend from a dear cousin who has done extensive genealogical research for my mother’s side of the family. I’m glad he’s the detective as the research involved makes me tired just thinking about it.

He extended an invitation to join him in Germany this summer for a celebration of our ancestry. Picturing my relatives in a castle in the German countryside makes me want to schedule a visit. Too bad they’re all dead. Apparently, I have an ancestor named Arthur Franz von Bardeleben who was sent to America just prior to the Revolutionary War around 1773 in the von Ditfurth Regiment and stayed in America. This part of my mom’s family lives in Alabama as the DeBardelebens. I’m sure there are lots of fascinating tales of what took place in the migration from Germany to Alabama.Another line of the family came by way of Holland. This history lesson got me thinking about the untold stories that we can’t even imagine in each family lineage. I’ve noticed the skeletons in our closets become less embarrassing as the skeletons age. Just a pile of bones with a story.

I ‘m also reminded that each of us is a unique little melting pot. We should be ready to embrace every nation, creed and color because as Americans, it’s a reality that there’s a little of the whole world in most of us.

I want to write down the things I remember; the stories told by my great-grandmother and my great great aunts. Keeping history alive is a responsibility, really. I think I’ll start a history series on my blog called “The Cracker Chronicles” (in honor of the many Florida crackers in the mix). My aristocratic relatives would love that, don’t ya think?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pay it Forward

Do you remember how fun it was to get mail when you were a kid? Blogging has returned that joy to me. Getting the mail had become a drag- just bills, bills and more bills. I’ve decided kids can get excited about mail because it’s never bills. It’s just cards or gifts or fun surprises. Blogging can put fun things in your mailbox again!

I recently won the Pay it Forward drawing over at Mocha with Linda’s and now it’s my turn to pass along the fun. I've seen a couple of different ways of doing this - giving a handcrafted gift to the first 3 people or the way Linda did it, drawing for one prize not to exceed $15.

Since my best only crafting is done in the kitchen and that really doesn't seem too appropriate for unseen friends, I thought I'd give away a $10 gift card. I chose Starbucks, partly because of an already colorful history with people paying it “backward” in Starbucks lines. One news story on the phenomenon is Here. But you can choose between Starbucks, Target or Chic-fil-A. If money is tight and you win – you can always just pay it forward by sending it on!

So here are the rules:
1. Leave a comment on this post by midnight Thursday (3/12/09).
2. In your comment, indicate which gift card you would like.
3. If you win, you continue to Pay It Forward by doing some sort of giveaway on your blog.

I'll post the winner Friday!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Every Monday Matters

This 3 minute movie by the folks at Simple Truths has given me an idea to incorporate into my 40 day journey with Everyday Epiphanies. I’ll let you know this Friday which one I chose and how it went. (Hint: It’s not blood donation. I think I’ve told you the Blood Mobile staff politely suggested there are other ways for me to make a difference.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Keeping it Simple – Saturday Stirrings

I’ve never liked making soup. Until I found the way to make delicious soup with just 3 ingredients. Really. The secret is Bear Creek Soup Mix. Just add water. I also add some fresh vegetables. I started with the Creamy Potato and we really liked it. It’s sheer magic how a dried soup mix can be so creamy and rich.

We went to a Super Bowl party where the hostess offered 4 different kinds of soup. I was impressed, but she laughed and confessed they were from Bear Creek soup mix. My favorite that night was Broccoli Cheddar and I’ve made it several times since. It’s not as fattening as it sounds. One cup has 170 calories, 7 grams of fat and 1 gram of fiber. That’s just 4 weight watcher points and it’s filling. Granted, that doesn't compete with Carol's ZERO point soup! Go on over to Saturday Stirrings for the recipe.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Everyday Epiphanies- Week 2

Generosity of the spirit is not measured in this world’s currency. One can always afford to be extravagantly kind.

As I venture into the second week of Everyday Epiphanies, I am acutely aware of the power of my words. It costs nothing to speak encouragement to those in our lives. Probably because of the seminar on marriage I gave last week, I’ve even been more aware of telling my husband all the things I appreciate about him. What a powerful exercise.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold, in settings of silver. - Proverbs 25:11

I’ve noticed I'm not procrastinating on doing the small things that come to mind to do for others during this 40 day focus. Good intentions are not the same as the gift of time to write a note or make a phone call. Not procrastinating is major progress for me.

Attitude is the aroma of the heart. You can be a pleasant fragrance everywhere you go.
Focusing on Everyday Epiphanies is good for my heart and my attitude.

Have you had any experiences with Everyday Epiphanies that you’ve shared on your blog? Then link on up below, or leave a comment. My favorite math rule is this: A problem shared is cut in half and a joy shared is multipled by 2!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blogging Without Obligation

Here's a great list that makes me feel free. · Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it's a treadmill.
· Because it's okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.
· Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.
· Because sometimes less is more.
· Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.
· Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".
· Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

Now that you are free from obligation, I have a question that popped up while I was reading someone's blog housekeeping rules. (Blech- I don't like housework much.)
Computers crash and I'm certain blogs have been lost. I've never backed anything up from my blog. I wouldn't want all of it but there would be regrets if I lost it all. Do you back up your blog? If so, how do you do it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"I Love Jesus But I Drink A Little"

Just to thin the blood, ya know. I got your attention with this didn't I?? I really didn't plan to post today, but I just got such a good laugh from watching this video, I had to share. Here's to Gladys....

Monday, March 2, 2009

Year of the Scarf

It’s freezing even in Florida this morning so I figured it’s a great day for a scarf. They make me warm. And unlike a turtleneck, if I start to feel stifled I can loosen it or take it off. I didn’t wear scarves much until this year, so I guess it really is the year of the scarf.

Rachel at Unexpected Blessings is hosting a blog carnival and it seemed like a great idea to join in until I started trying to take the photos. LOL.

This might be basic information to you, but I find a plain-neck solid top is the easiest thing to wear a scarf with. I love that it takes something plain and makes it more of an outfit. This first scarf I bought this year on sale at Ann Taylor Loft, one of my favorite stores.The second scarf is a little harder to wear because it’s short, but my mom made it for me and I really like it. She’s really handy with a needle. (That inclination totally skipped me.) I love jewel tones; bright, rich colors make me happy.
Photographers know better to than to make it look like your ceiling fan is a headdress, but I’m not a photographer. For more scarf inspiration, visit Rachel’s place. Happy Monday!