Thursday, December 17, 2009

Random Dozen




1. Gingerbread: For or against? Discuss.

Ok, I assume you mean gingerbread as in gingerbread houses and gingerbread men – not the muffin kind that is great with a large glass of homemade lemonade? Gingerbread houses and men – AGAINST. They can cause nightmares. They represent my absolute inability to create cute warm fuzzy kind of baked goods. When I worked with the 4-H office, one of the Sr. 4-H’ers needed to enter a gingerbread house in a local contest. Bless her heart, she was stuck with me. I really wish there had been a prize for the ugliest. It was humiliating next to all those beautiful time consuming detailed works of art –(Lid – yours was wonderful last year! Wish I could build a one half as nice as yours). Ours looked as if a three year old had made it with no adult supervision. It was bad. Shameful!

2. Is it important to you to always stay (live) close to family?

Hmmm. I don’t know. I have never lived more than 25 miles from my parents. But I think it would be ok if we/they needed to move further away.


3. Which holiday pretend character do you wish really existed?

They are pretend??? They don’t really exist?!?
The elves, if they would come and clean my house and straighten the yard and rub my feet!

4. Which holiday movie best represents how you feel about Christmas or life?

Ohhhh this one is hard. I am not sure. I know which ones absolutely do not represent my feelings of Christmas or life: Scrooge or The Grinch.

5. Is there a particular Christmas song that you're enjoying now? Any that you're tired of?

Tired of? Hmmm probably Jingle Bells. I have part of a song stuck in my head. It is newer Christmas Song – Sing Mary Sing, lullaby the King . . . I am enjoying that. I realized though, I have not heard “I saw three ships” nor the “Holly and the Ivy” this year. I would like to hear them …

6. What is your favorite way to remember those less fortunate at Christmastime?

We have a couple ways – Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army Buckets and the ongoing food collections at Church.

7. Does it upset you to see "Xmas" instead of Christmas? How about "Happy Holidays" etc., instead of "Merry Christmas?"

No to both. I use Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas interchangeably. The Holidays include the New Year too me.
As long as we don’t see “Happy Winter” start popping up – I am ok, I will refuse to say the “politically correct” winter jargon. As for the X in place of Christ. I did look this up once, but did not have time to dig too deep. But X is Greek? Hebrew? Ancient symbol for Christ. I realize though, that most who use that, is just for short hand purposes. I am secure in my faith walk and God’s power, I don’t feel I need to be offended and I choose not to make that an issue while there are so many other needs that deserve attention.

8. How many Christmas programs are you attending this month?

One. Wait, no, two if you count the Sing Along last Sunday evening. Candle Lighting is this Sunday night

9. Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Any chance of that dream becoming a reality?

Oh, my it IS time to start my yearly mantra… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Chances are slim to none though.

10. Tell me about a Christmas present you received as a child. Pics are always nice.

A Barbie doll storage case full of home made Barbie Doll clothes, A Barbie swimming pool, A Barbie Condo with it’s own elevator. I liked Barbie. And her figure I don’t believe caused any self image problems. My figure is no where near Barbie’s physique. I also remember my mom giving me one year two pant set outfits - one pink – pink pants, and a pink vest. The other was red corduroy pant/vest. I was so proud of those out fits!

11. How many Christmas parties are you attending this month?

Two.

12. How do you keep yourself centered on the significance of Christmas?

I am not as successful with that as I would like. I try, but I wrestle with it. The hurry and stress fights with my desire for ease, peace, smiles, joy, sleep. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Goodie Finished . . . and winners

Several months ago I came across a website that had a frame that spelled out a name. The letters of the name were made up of picture of items in that shape. For example an E was one track of a train track and three of railroad ties. The "a" was made up of tree limbs, the angle taken just right to form an "A."


I loved it!


Then I had this idea that I could do that. Well, like most of my "I can do that" adventures, it has pushed down to the wire. I finally found a frame that held 5 photos in a row. Then there was the search for the letters.


"L's" were very hard for me to figure out and Sam's online digital kept zooming in on my O's (well actually cropping for some reason). But I have it finished.





Not a great picture of the picture , just could not get the lighting right, and I needed to get it wrapped and ready to be taken to my brother and sister in law. I am sure the professional ones are better and the letters sized more appropriately but the printing was giving me a devil of a time. I had fun having The Man help me figure out which pictures looked best of our choices. He noticed the pattern modern to natural and then the black backgrounds. I was surprised at what he noticed and how he saw it.

I loved the tree that we used to make the second L (yep, that is what that letter is suppose to be - it's abstract, ha!)


And the Y...







And now....

For the winners of the Christmas books

Belle from Life of a Southern Belle

Tracie at Tale Of Many Cities

Thank you ladies for coming by and now, send me an email with your address and I will get your packages out to you!

Smiles!!


Monday, December 14, 2009

A Gift To Give . . .

I have a little gift to giveaway. Nothing big, sorry, no Kitchen Aids or American Express gift cards. Just something simple.

I bought these small, short Christmas books last Christmas so wanting to join in the fun of sending someone a goodie to find in their box. But time raced by me, why does it do that in the month of December?


But I AM doing it this year, the giveaway is a couple of seasonal books.

Just small ones, great for stocking stuffers or just quick little reads for the season, or too put a smile on your face for being drawn and having a surprise arrive in your mailbox...snail mail!

To win?

Just leave me a comment sharing with us your Santa tradition. Does he wrap the gifts? or leave them open. Does he give the big presents or just stocking stuffer items? Footprints in the carpet?... Just leave it before 5:00 p.m. (est.) Tuesday, and I will draw a winner and get the little goodie package in the mail.

Let the comments begin!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Random Dozen



1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?
My feet/toes. A guy friend (yes still a friend) in high school told me I had the most masculine feet he had ever seen on a girl. I was mortified! I did not wear open toed shoes in public for the following 10-12 years. As I neared 30 and I noticed more feet and realized, for the most part, feet are feet and toes are toes, with a few exceptions of pretty ones - few and far between. A spring pedicure helps too!

2. This week Meredith Baxter Birney, best known as the mom on the favorite 80s sitcom "Family Ties" came out of the closet, which led me to formulate this question: Who do you think is/was the best TV mom?

Really? She did? I missed that! Claire Huxtible (sp) (Cosby Show) would be my pick. She was not too silly, not too over bearing, not too feminist, not too white picket fence may I cook a batch of brownies for you...


3. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?

Only if you call the southern accent a language. Hmmm, maybe re-learning French would be nice, but learning Spanish would be practical

4. Who is your personal hero?

Personal hero ehh? I can't actually think of someone that I would consider a personal hero. There are many people I know personally that I truly admire, that have been an inspiration, but I can't think of an actual hero.

5. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?

Casseroles!


6. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.

I have several. I have truly enjoyed starting a small collection of creche'. I have several that I just love and they are put out every year, even when the other ornaments are limited. The ornaments from the first year Will and I were married are special too!
7. How do you feel about snow?

Wish for snow every year - But just enough snow to make a snow ball or two, then it can melt and go away. I really would rather not have shovel sidewalks and such. But I LOVE the look in the night sky before a snow fall and the landscape of freshly fallen snow. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow . . .


8. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? Not that I'm jealous of any number over three or anything.

I shoot for 8, but with things that go bump in the night, that does not happen often enough.


9. Tell me about your first crush.

My first crush was when I was probably 8. He was probably 16. I don't remember his name, but he called me kool aid because I was always smiling at him. Yikes! That was young for a crush on an older guy!


10. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?

Draw for sure, silly stuff - flowers, geomentric shapes,


11. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?

Spring, Fall and Winter: the day's forecast. It is not unusual to have a 30 degree change in less than 4 hours. Summer - hot is hot, always dress for hot. Unless you are going to the movies - they will freeze you out.


12. Favorite Christmas movie is?

I think almost all of them. I could watch a marathon of almost all of them!

Thanks Lid for another great list!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homemade Gifts

As I took this photo before wrapping the gift, from the other room I heard a commercial.


"Homemade gifts stink"


Oh well. Ho Ho Ho!


I spotted a shell shadowbox in a Wisteria catalog. That triggered the thought of all the shells I have from the beach. I have wondered what to do with them and rarely collect any more.


So, for my mother in law, I took the shells from her favorite beach and made a shadow box for her.


A sand dollar broke, so see those itty bitty white spots below the top sand dollar? They are the tiny dove shaped shells inside of each sand dollar. I couldn't believe that they did not break while trying to glue them to the arrangement.
Off to work with the caterer today. Cooking and baking for a Christmas lunch party...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wrestling

Someone was recently talking about a comment they read that said (paraphrased) - I use to think life was mountain tops and valleys but they now think it is more like a train track, the good and bad running along side each other.

I thought, “how true.” I usually have a lot of good going on at the same time as the bad.

I have been there lately. Nothing Earth shattering bad or devastating, but wrestling with many petty issues that seem at times to consume our little spot in the world.

I have had a lot of good lately too. I have been blessed with door openings, new opportunities.

That is why the post have been sporadic. Some days, when I have time to sit down and type, the bad track of this train ride seems to be consuming and draining.

The past few days have been no exception. In the midst of juggling schedules, training kids in the way they should go, rising health care premiums ($165 increase a month!!!!!), Christmas shopping, I have been seeking to show the Christmas spirit, feel the Christmas joy but mostly yearning for Peace.

Saturday, after a wonderful meeting with a new client, that will have me cooking for her and a friend weekly, I headed to the mall to pick up a few items on sale. While still excited about the meeting, I moved quickly through the store.

My cell phone rang the Jack Johnson tune I have set for hubby. I cheerfully answered and he cheerfully responded, but with a little something odd in the tone. He chuckled, because there was not much more to do at that moment, and said “I just had a car roll onto the truck.” He had just been in accident. One of those that you see unfolding before you and landing in your lap.

He said to go ahead and check out before I came. As I quickly, and cautiously, left the mall I felt whiney. “Lord, can we have a break for awhile, can things just be calm…” You know, level, boring for goodness sake.

I got to the intersection with the accident and took in the site.





Be thankful in all things? Yes, I could. Not a single person was hurt!

As the light turned green, my husband waited to make a left hand turn. As the White Explorer headed in his direction, he noticed a truck coming from the left, it was not slowing down. When the truck realized he was running a red light and into the Explorer, he slammed on brakes and tried to turn, in doing so, still nailed the back of the Explorer causing it to roll, rolling into the front of my husband’s truck.

About four years ago, in Kansas, a week before Christmas, a cousin (at least 10 years older than me) that I had not seen since I was child, was sitting at a red light waiting. A similar scenario, car runs light hits another car. But that other car did not just roll, it went air born, landing on the cab of the truck my cousin was driving. He did not survive.

As I looked at that accident I felt bad for complaining. And as odd as it is, while waiting to find out if a new car payment is headed our way, or if we will be one vehicle short while waiting for the repair – there is peace about it all.

Maybe all those irritations of life just help cushion us for the bigger irritants.

This morning, as I churned over repetitive irritants with the offspring living under our roof, I sat down to check my email. A friend had forwarded an email to me – a daily devotion she receives. The story was about the wrestling Joseph experienced, the wrestling of what to do with a pregnant betrothed, pregnant not by him, all his conflicting thoughts and feelings. So appropriate for this season itself, and for the season our family is in. One particular section I wanted to share:



Many of us come to Advent wrestling and waiting; life has us in a head-lock and we’re trying desperately to find the right move that will loosen its grip. With the Psalmist we ask “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?” (Ps. 13:2). Christmas doesn’t change the fact that we’re wrestling with decisions that need to be made, decisions we wish could make over again, afflicted bodies, conflicted relationships and competing expectations. We wrestle through one challenge only to face another.



But in the midst of the wrestling, Joseph’s and ours, there is this assurance: the Holy Spirit is at work. To see it may require waiting, long waiting and still more wrestling. But God is active in your wrestling story.



My wrestling match is so insignificant to the matches others may be facing, but obstacles and opportunities for all of us, whatever they may be, are that: obstacles, and many times overwhelming, mystifying, stressful, and uncomfortable. So for, whatever your challenge is today, here is the prayer from that devotion:

Grant to us, O God, the patience to trust you in all things and the strength to wrestle long until we see your hand at work: show your hand in the difficult situations, the perplexing questions, the stubborn circumstances that refuse to budge. Be present with us in the struggles of this day, making us confident as we wrestle and wait in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Purpose

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

~William Penn

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Dozen





Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee has again given us a list of questions . . . Thanks Linda!



1. Which Wizard of Oz character are you most like?

Ok, on any given day it could be any number of them. Sometimes I am happy to be a part of the lollipop guild, many days I know why the Witch was mean – she had all those monkeys flying around her!



2. When you're deciding what you're going to wear each morning, which item do you select first? Why?

Bra. Sorry. BUT, I tend to grab a lot of white shirts, and I am not real keen on my underwear showing, or showing through. And that reminds me of an older lady at church – I would say she is late 70’s, early 80’s. Well, one Wednesday evening as I headed to the table to eat dinner. There she sat, with her friends, and I had to take a double look. She wore a silky older lady cream colored blouse. Showing through was an animal print bra! PricelessI I think I want to be in my 70’s and still indulge in the sexier undies. Grrrrrr…..

3. What kind of animal do you think the world could live without?

I don’t know of an animal – but I do wonder if mosquitoes and gnats are really that necessary. Sure seems like a lot of other bugs out there that are less annoying.

4. How many Christmas trees are in your home?

Counting every single one? Tiny too big? Well right now, one metal one and about to move 5 smaller various size fake ones out of the attic. I think we are skipping a full size tree this year.

5. Would you prefer to be emotionless if it mean you didn't have to feel a heartbreak?

No! You know there are a few people floating around out there that are rather emotionless. They seem to be unable to connect, to enjoy life, get satisfaction. It is also hard to warm up to them. I would think that would be very lonely.

6. Do you ever experience holiday let-down or depression?

I use to not. But I do tend to experience the let down part now. I think that is why I don't feel like getting a full size tree. All is SO busy anymore andI like to give, but I put too much concern on whether the recipient liked it or not – mainly when I know the recipient has loftier expectations than I might be able to afford or am willing to indulge. But I love the season, the music, the decorations, the feeling of kindness received and given – wish that happened more often throughout the year.


7. Do you like Michael Jackson's music?

Yes. I do not own a single album. But I did like his music. "I'm looking at the man in the mirror . . . "

8. Why is it that we never judge people who have their teeth fixed for cosmetic reasons, but every other cosmetic procedure has a stigma?

Never thought about it. Now that I have, there is a difference I guess, in how society judges this. I personally, crooked, not whitened tooth person I am, don't really see the difference. It is all cosmetic. Maybe, contrary to first thought, more people are bothered more by bad teeth than small bosoms and big noses.

9. Enjoy horseback riding?

Have not been since I was a young child. I have thought it would be nice to try. But I have a very healthy respect for horses. They are big, have a mind of their own, and I’d like to keep my toes on my feet and no head injuries.

10. Shoes--practical or stylish?

Some of both. Yes, 14 pairs of black shoes are necessary. They might not match my purse, but shoe variety is a must.

11. What was the name of your first pet? Feel free to post a pic.

Purity. It was a cat and I was a baby. Maybe my mom has a picture.…

12. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done?

Over 80%! I love getting items throughout the fall and not being rushed. Crowds are fine for watching, but, for me, not for fighting over items to buy.

Wordless Wednesday - The Shack







Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Dozen


I have had fun reading other's answers to Linda's Random Dozen questions. This is her 12th edition and this time I have time, and I actually have answers (maybe I am not over thinking the questions/answers this time!). So I am jumping in...


1. If you could master one sport, what would it be?

Hmmm, ok, this might not be considered a sport by all, but I would want to master white water kayaking. They make it look so easy! The idea of splashing through the water, being able to flip the kayak back over without knocking my brains out, etc. Now, I don’t want to go over 20 foot waterfalls, nope, nothing to that degree.

2. When you make a major purchase, do you go with your gut instinct, or do you do research to make an informed decision?

I have to think on it and do a little research.

3. There is an old kids' game that says you can find out what your movie star name would be by using your middle name as your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your last. What is your movie star name?

Lol! So sad: Merie Decatur. If I had any talent to begin with, the agent would absolutely make me change that one!

4. Would you rather give up your favorite music or your favorite food?

Favorite music. Gotta keep the favorite food. I can think of the music, remember the music, hum the music. Food, well thinking of it just does not bring any enjoyment if I cannot indulge. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Nope, I need it. Where is my stash????

5. There are two types of banana preferences. One is pristine yellow, almost to the point of being green; the other is spotty and more ripe. Which is your preference?


Pristine Yellow (borderline green)! Spotty ones are only good for waiting to ripen to the point of making bread. AND, this sounds strange, but there is some kind of change from the yellow/green to spotty and the spotty irritate my allergies – my ears and throat start itching. Very annoying.

6. Your favorite tree is?


Oh goodness! I love the live oaks in the South. I don’t have a single one in this yard, but yup that would be my favorite. A Ginko tree very easily could become my favorite though.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how tech savvy are you?

Hmmm, I think about middle of the road on that one. My greatest fear of aging? Technology Gap. I figure those older ladies that do not know the first thing about computers, were probably pretty savvy in whatever was “in” in their 20’s, 30’s etc. So, what will come out that will send my into that spot?? The next cell phone?

8. Has H1N1 touched your family?


Thank the Lord no!


9. Are you an analytical person, or do you just accept things the way they are without questioning or scrutinizing?

Analytical. Not as bad as I was when younger. I have learned to stop myself before dragging it out too very long are skewing the perspective by over scrutinizing.


10. Is your personality more like that of a dog, cat, or Koala?

Ahhhh, a Koala, cute and fuzzy and cuddling? Nope, not me. Much more that of a dog. (pant pant pant).

11. Do you keep in touch with friends you made years ago?


I do. Or at least I try. Everyone’s lives are so busy, but I still talk to two of my highschool friends a couple times a year.


12. You are checking out at a grocery store. In the express lane, there are more people than the regular lanes, but of course, their load is less than those in the regular lanes. Which lane do you choose (assuming you qualify for the express lane) and why?

It does not matter. I have this skill. A pretty consistent one. Whichever line I get in, it slows to a crawl. Always. Because of that, most of the time I don’t really pay much attention to the amount of items other’s have.


Join in the fun sharing about you! Check out Linda at 2nd cup of coffee . . .


Thanks Linda!

Wordless Wednesday - Here is the Church, Here is the Steeple








St. Patrick's Cathedral










St. Thomas Episcopal

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Caught The Hint

Sometimes in life, I notice there are themes, thoughts, suggestions that keep reoccurring. For me, that has most recently been a book. I remember seeing it on the shelf at Sam’s but did not buy it. They did not restock it and it must have moved fast, because I don’t remember it seeing it there as long as other books.

As a friend and I talked at lunch a month or so ago, we were discussing a few of the local shelters and missions. She mentioned this particular book and how great it was.

The Sunday evening Bible study that I attend was using a book titled “Transforming Discipleship.” The study was about our discipleship to the world around us. We worked through the book, ending the study with a service to the community. We assisted another local church with their Sunday evening soup kitchen.

While serving lemonade to over 170 individuals, during some talk amongst ourselves, again the book was mentioned.

Then Ann On and On posted about a new book to check out – the sequel the one that kept popping up.

So I ordered both from Amazon and they arrived.

The first book is “The Same Kind Of Different As Me.” It is written by two gentlemen, a homeless ex con, Denver Moore and an international art dealer, Ron Hall, that had grown up in a lower- working class family. The men were brought together by Mr. Hall’s wife.

I started it this weekend, and it should be a quick read (other than there are kids, and work and a dog and ….).

Then yesterday morning, Friar Tuck posted a book review. You guessed it . . .The Same Kind Of Different As Me. This book appears to speak to many on different levels. As I am only a few chapters in, the thoughts I carry are of that gap between the have and have nots, of reaching out those whose life is missing the essentials, whether it be food or friends. I enjoyed Friar Tuck’s perspective of the friendship between men, and how rare this level of friendship is.

As we served at the supper that Sunday evening, one of the coordinators came up at the beginning and shared about the community that joined them on Sunday evenings. She said not everyone was homeless, many had homes, but maybe not enough food. They have some that are just lonely and limited income and come for the company. I thought of my kid’s great-grandmother (their dad’s side). She had a home, lived by herself out in the county, extremely independent and stubborn, even more so financially strapped and health failing, and at times I think longing for more interaction with others.

I heard that a volunteer at the soup table, while he supported his group with helping serve, is not exactly supporting of the program. His thoughts were that there were people there that didn’t need to be there. Suggesting they took advantage. I can say, I did not see one person that seemed they should not have been there. As I heard said a few months ago, poor isn’t always lack of a roof. Poor can be poor in spirit, poor in family, poor in health, poor in lack of community. This church gives those poor in whatever area a chance to have community, to have fellowship, to have warmth, to feel a part. And I suppose that is what this book also makes me remember. We all are the same in that respect, in that desire to feel apart and accepted.

The second book is “What difference do it make?” It is made up of “stories of hope and healing.” I have flipped through it and am looking forward to starting it next. New stories of different lives and stories of Ron and Denver are laced through the second book with the goal to show what difference each of us can make on the world, how sometimes the small things make the biggest impact.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Memory - Ching Ching

As I was searching for something a few weeks ago (and at this point I have no idea what that was), I came across a drawer in a jewelry box. In the drawer I found . . .



I have had these since elementary school. My grandfather always gave my brother and me $2 bills- for what? I am not sure now, probably along with birthday gifts. Maybe just because moments.

I never spent them. I have always known that they weren’t worth anything more than face value, at least as the value of money goes, but sentimentally? Well, I still have them…

So, the bills will go back into a special place, to be somewhat forgotten again all to be discovered and touch on that spot inside that smiles at the small reminders of someone special.

Last Wednesday night at church, as Will and I gathered and emptied the Meals on Wheels collection cans, there in one can was a $2 bill. Again, a smile at the memory . . .


Smiles!


Monday Memories hosted by Gayle at Planet M Files.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tis the season

...creative juices flowing


I think the land of blog is better than google. It is here that you stumble on new foods, new family trips, ideas that inspire all while reading and interchanging with others on this walk through life.

I have "collected" scrapbooking materials for years. Not to collect, necessarily, but all in the hopes to use all the wonderful papers, embellishments, stickers and stamps. They have been moved a few times and tucked back away until the moment I can pull it all out and play.

Last year, as I traveled through the land, I came across wonderful sites creating collage art. I fell in love. So last year, as the season of giving approached, the creative juices flowed and I was intrigued by the soldered charms on many sites. And, after purchasing the glass and soldering items needed, broke out the papers and ribbons stickers and charmed my way through a new craft.

As the store came closer to closing this summer, I KNEW I was finally going to have time to scrapbook!

Not so simple. I started pulling out supplies to organize only to have to place it back into the armoire I pulled it from. In the meantime, as I traveled thru this land, I landed at Two Peas In A Bucket, Pretty Paper Blog and Creative Mini Albums. These two sites and the links that you can follow from them, have given a smorgasbord of ideas to use my scrapbooking supplies.

The last time I went to a crop was probably four years ago. Books were created mostly for 12x12 or 8x8 albums. But I think I found the answer to the lack of time. Mini Albums.

I am inspired. I am excited. I am making my first one.


The New York trip was perfect for creating into a mini album for a gift for my mom for Christmas.

I started last week, and this is what I have so far:




(made envelope for tags with pictures and journaling)

I love the tags and the smaller pages. I like the difference in the collage element from the older books I have completed (sad, none for myself, just others). I hope to have it complete next week and then to start on a new project.

I do wonder though? Do artist require inspiration or see inspiration in other works? Or are they just naturally, poof, capable of creating?

Does this time of year inspire you to be more creative? What do you like to create?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not a friend of math, or math not a friend of mine?

Much to my husband's head shaking, I don't have a math mind. He seems to think there is no such thing. But, I do not have a math mind. I do try not to draw to much attention to this in front of the kids - they really don't need any more excuses not to do school work. They know though, because I have to send them to Will with most their math homework questions (when they do homework - they are boys and are somehow morally against it).


If I had to go back and retake the College entrance exam, I would again be placed in learning support Algebra. There just isn't much retention, nor enjoyment. The closest to liking Algebra was when the problem was real long to begin with and the answer was only one or two digits - the end result looking like an upside down pyramid. That part I liked!


Today I received an email that cracked me up! And surely the teachers had to eventually laugh too . . .















Monday, November 9, 2009

Jumped In Today

I did it.

I had my first job as a Personal Cook today.

Loaded up a flat max tool box, a cooler, the recipes and headed to cook. In someone else's kitchen.

I liked it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

"...the city is one big theatre where everyone is on display" Jerry Rubin


It is Friday Foto Finish with Candid Carrie and I thought, “what a great day to jump back in…”

Many weeks ago I received a call from my SIL asking what I was doing the end of October. Nothing. So she asked if I would go on a girl’s weekend with her and her friends – airfare and room was covered. She had already asked my mom and my mom said only if I said yes. So of course I did.

Ok, ok, I know I am leaving out the destination. But it was so exciting, so I am trying to bate you along . . . New York City! I have never been, but have wanted to for some time.

How do you break down a whirlwind trip like that? So I am taking one part and making it my Photo Phinish…

Now we do not live in a metropolitan area. In most of Georgia, other than, obviously, Atlanta, public transportation is limited, bike riding a scary venture, and taxi’s VERY limited. So cars are a must! Or friends with cars. So the subway was one of many experiences in the couple days we were there that was new to us.

I was amazed at the architectural details, even in the musty land beneath the city . . .

The landings were not as large as they appear on TV (or at least not the ones we loaded and unloaded on) nor were they fraught with threatening people, we saw quite a few friendly people.


We each purchased our ticket to subway our way to the Brooklyn Bridge. I was the last of the six of us to get my pass. As I turn, I am absolutely bewildered by what I saw. The South officially showing out in the North.

There, in the turnstile, is my SIL’s mother, two hands and two feet on the ground, hind end in the air, crawling under the turnstile!

No, no picture. Wish I had, but I was too shocked and too busy trying to figure out for the life of me why that woman was crawling like a primate. Well, she either couldn’t get the slide to accept her ticket swipe or she missed when it told her to go. Hard tellin’ not knowin’.

She gets to the other side, then begins my SIL (call her B) loudly and dramatically (like a Jack Russell on crack) saying to my mom (I am behind my mom) “swipe it fast and push fast” over and over and over. Luckily, behind me stood a regular subway rider, who calmly said from behind “You don’t have to swipe it that fast and it will tell you on a screen to go.” I passed that on to my mom, and you know? It worked (meanwhile B is still harping on her rant…)


We made it on the subway and to our destination. Now you would think that after the initial fiasco, the rest would be a breeze. Not necessarily so.

The afternoon of our last full day in NYC, we again took to the rails to reach various destinations. The very last time to catch the subway, we all head through the turnstiles with our tickets, going smoothly, until B’s mom. Again the swiper did not like her swipe. We were only half paying attention, but apparently she did not want to try again or wait, I don’t know, other than when I looked back over, she is squeezing herself around the turnstile. In the process, she must have swiped or B swiped for her, not a clue, but “GO” must have popped up because the turnstile turned, bringing the next bar somehow up between her legs. And folks, let me tell you, a grey haired late 60’s healthy woman straddling the turnstile in NYC, has got to be the funniest thing I have ever seen!

But I bet 100% can get through a subway turnstile.

Whew, now, head on over to Carrie’s for more Friday Foto Finishes…

Smiles!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When One Goes

....on vacation, it is wonderful.

But the getting ready . . .

The rush of seeing and doing while on vacation . . .

And the return and getting caught up on sleep and tasks at hand . . .



Well, feels like a juggling act. I need a vacation from vacation!

But I can't wait to post a real post. Soon.

Smiles!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkins Galore

Fall is in the air, which also means, around here, frundraisers for the youth choir trips begin.

And we have a new one this year.
Pumpkins.
Last Sunday a truck arrived with a 400 pumpkin order. Somehow that changed to 750 pumpkins. Yes, that is alot, or at least according to Will, The Man and Demolition D (I bailed on the pumpkin unloading party).

The pumpkin patch is in front of our Church, a perfect spot for the busy road in front of it. This patch is manned by volunteers, so yesterday I joined a few others and had a great afternoon. It was a great way to get to know these parents - I knew them, but more by way of a passing hello and who their children were. One couple, like me, is in the process of figuring out the next step on their journey. Unlike me, they (along with many others) were encouraged to take an early retriment option a local factory was offering/pushing. So now we get to volunteer at the Church's Pumpkin Patch -and I am not complaining. It is great to be a part of some activities that I have not been able to participate with in the past.

But back to the pumpkins ...





Pumpkins in the South rot fast! We were excited about the cool weather earlier in the week, a chance for pumpkins to last longer, and maybe more sales.





But alas, that did not remain to be the case. It warmed. Pumpkins started rotting. What to do? Well, the chief volunteer got creative





Wall-la!


Late yesterday afternoon. A car pulled in and parked. Out stepped a mom with her young son. I would guess about 5 to 6. He ran around picking out pumpkins, chatting with us there. As the mom spoke to the other volunteer, she mentioned she had been married at our church. The fella volunteer told her he and his wife had there wedding there, in the chapel, too. The little boy looked at him, then at his mom and said, "how could he get married, he doesn't have a husband?"


It was too cute. Then as he bounced around from one section of pumpkins to the next, he stopped to check out the pumpkin art above. He looked at it a second, then asked, "how'd it grown that way?"


That little one made our afternoon!



p.s. my pictures are small and not great because I have a new toy. A new phone after three years and this one has a camera (not a top of line phone - so only 1.3 mp). Not great pics, but I had fun playing with it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cool Breeze

We have had roller coaster temps lately – but it has been nice.

Sunday evening our low was around 38, very unusual for this early in the fall/winter season, but oh it felt so good to snuggle up into the covers. Unfortunately, we are back to highs in the mid 89’s and lows in the upper 60’s. The shorts are back on.

The sudden cool down spurred the need to pull out boxes from the top of the closet and swap summer clothes for warmer ones.

I am always excited to see what I forgot I had – it is as good as shopping (almost)! And then when you find the real comfy warm fuzzy wuzzies? Well that is the best.

So out came the slippers my hubby shakes his head at.






And one thing I DID forget about these tootsie warmers . . .




…How Francie likes to attack my feet when they are snuggly parked in them. Now, attack might be strong, but as I was minding my own business, she suddenly pounced and was in dog heaven gnawing on them.

Glad she likes them as much as I do.

*******************************************


On another note, I realize I have an addiction. I think I knew it before, but have decided to admit it.

I am addicted to the internet. Online banking, Blogger, Email, Researching, News Headlines, etc. If I am home and cannot access it – I go through withdrawls. So, after extremely limited spots of internet connection yesterday, I spent one and a half hours with Mediacom this morning to find out it MIGHT be the router (and a different company to call) and still no internet. Thankfully Will came home and took the router out of the equation so I could have access again! Yes!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wish I Could Jump Like This . . .




What a work out! I had no idea jump roping was popular enough to have such an event. Sorta thought it had fallen by the wayside like jacks...maybe I did not know because I have boys~ G.I. Joes and now electronic games consume our interest.

Hope you enjoyed!

Smiles!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For The Pickin'

Last night, at church, a grown, left the nest member, visited to share with us a recent adventure of hers.

It was an adventure, but more of a mission to serve.It touched her heart. Touched her life.

This member had become intriqued with Tom's Shoes. If you are not familiar with the company, check out their blog here. The short of it is, for every pair of shoes sold, a pair is given to a third world country.

Our presenter went through a rigorous process to be one of 12 picked for a recent shoe drop in Argentina. Out of 3000 applicants, she was awarded the opportunity. The opportunity to sleep in tents with bugs, work through mud, have her heart broken at the level of poverty that she did not know existed still.



Her plans are to apply for the next drop that will be in Africa. Then, eventually, one in India.

As she shared photos of the poverty, the slums, the lack of everything we take for granted, some of her pictures reminded me of another mission: Habitat for Humanity.

Our Church participates in builds every year in October. This Saturday they will begin three homes. I am excited that this year I might be able to actually make it to join in in some small part of the build.

Then this morning, the Today Show featured Jimmy Carter and his book on the program. This reminded me of a wonderful video tribute someone I know made about the founder of Habitat for Humanity.

And so, I wanted to share it with you . . .




There are so many wonderful ways to give and to serve. Check out your area and see if there is a build soon. Maybe buy a pair of shoes. Or work a soup kitchen... there are many opportunities in our communities, all for our pickin' . . .

Smiles!

Monday, October 12, 2009

You gonna eat that pickle?


My Grandmother made pickles every year.

Now, I did not like her pickles, for that matter, I did not like any pickles except those on McDonald’s hamburgers. So glad our taste buds change over time!

My dislike for them is not what comes to mind, though. What comes to mind was the comfort and the wonderful smell of the fruit cellar where her hard work was stored.

My Grandparents had a wonderful basement. On the right side were two twin beds and dressers and shelves holding books, where my uncles had slept and spent their time. Windows up high opening up to the ground outside – At that young age, it reminded my The Wind in the Willows. On the left was a partial wall and huge safe, dividing the room from a work area for my Grandpa. A closet was on that side that stored old fur coats – not the real expensive ones, money was not a commodity. Maybe they were hand me downs…

But the fruit room, it was on the back wall. As you opened the door, the floor dipped down a few inches and you entered, what I thought was a room, but was probably only a closet. It was lined with shelves where scrap paper for coloring was stored. Miscellaneous items were there, I honestly can’t remember what all else was on the shelves, but one area was covered with jars of pickles.

Some pickle jars had blue liquid, some not. All contained what I was not going to eat. But all were fun to look at. Those cucumber slices soaking in various states of pickling.

The smell though. I loved the scent of that level of the house. Somehow all that was kept there brought its own scent in and the combination would surely have been labeled “comfort.”

A decade or so ago, my grandparents moved from that house. A house they lived in for 40 years. My mom received a clock that did not go with my grandparents in their move. As I walked in my parent’s house the first time after the package arrived, past that clock, I was transported back to playing in my grandparent’s basement and was thankful that memory held on to that great feeling that could be sparked by a simple scent.

Thanks Mary for asking for us to share childhood food memories (Go check out her site, great recipes!), even though it might not have actually been the enjoyment of the food itself. It gave me a chance to travel down memory lane with Gayle and with You!

Smiles!
Gayle is the host at Planet M Files Memory Monday (another great spot to visit - check out her photography)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Where Are The Words?

I would say I feel un-inspired lately, but as I think of my life, that is not it.

I have written quite a few post as I have moved through the days of the past month or so - and great ones at that, unfortunately it was on the chalk board in my head and never made it to paper or the keyboard.

For the first time in my adult life, I am not working outside the home. The change in structure offers an opportunity. I am happy to say that I have yet to be bored. But how did I do everything and work outside the home?

I have been working on reinventing my career (and me too). My goal was to switch to a Personal Chef or Family Cook. I have spoken with the Health Department, the IRS, the state registration office, etc. And now I am at a hurdle. Insurance. My business inusrance company does not offer coverage for this "specialized" area. So I am waiting to hear back from another agent.

Meanwhile, I have filled in helping a caterer. Been home for a few sick days of one kid. Have cleaned some windows. Sold a second commercial freezer (Yes!!). Cleaned more. Networked. Almost caught up on last seasons Greys Anatomy (Netflix is wonderful). Have enjoyed lunch with friends, after three years of not being able to. Tried a few new recipes (my favorite). Have cooked through the excess of food in freezers and have successfully not gained weight. Have grumbled about the differences of clean of those in the home. Volunteered for Demolition D's Band Boosters - Will, The Man, and I make a great team for running a consession stand. Haven't seen the first game, but have been able to sneak a peak at the band a couple times.

I found a spot - somewhat secluded to make mine. With six of us in the house, I have realized that is one of the challenges, having your own spot to call your own. To escape too. I found this spot outside. Even the birds don't notice me there.

This all said, and much still not, life is good and abundant. And I hope to journal more of it. And this is the start.

So until next week . . . have a great weekend. Make some time for fun and rest. Enjoy it.



P.S.Watch for the new Dove commercial - sung to the tune of "do your ears hang low." I thought it was refreshing and cute and light.

Smiles!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Awards

I was honored to have been give a couple awards during the last couple months. As life fills all every single crack and crannie of my life, I wanted to pause and catch up on this.

The most recent award was given by Blue Cotton Memory



Blue Cotton Memory bestowed "this award on blogs that I have so enjoyed reading for a variety of reasons. These blogs either had content that encouraged, passion for their blog mission, or just brought some joy to my day."

And to think of the joy Blue Cotton brings to my day? What a compliment!

Thank you!!







The last award is the Premio Dardos Award that was given to me by Gayle a Planet m Files.
“This award is for bloggers who distinguish themselves for showing cultural values, ethics, great and fun writing skills, as well as individual values, through their creative writing.”
Wow! I am honored!

Thank you Gayle.

Ok, I am taking the easy way out (sorry guys) but all the blogs that I read and the bloggers that follow me are great!! And I choose all of you!

So, grab the award and know,

I
Choose
You!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Orange Brownies

Need something yummy to try?? (don't let the picture frighten you away - I have no talent what-so-ever at taking food pictures- wish I did!!)

I have made these twice in the last several weeks. Once just for fun and to try them out ~ The Man told me they tasted like Orange Danish so he was going to have them for breakfast. And he did.

Because of The Man's recommendation, I made these last Saturday for our Sunday School class on Sunday.

Delish!!

Orange Brownies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with a handheld electric mixer until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with a fork.
Glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Pour glaze over cake. Cool cake and cut into squares.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with a handheld electric mixer until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with a fork.
Glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Pour glaze over cake. Cool cake and cut into squares.