Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last Random Dozen for 2009

Today is the last Random Dozen for 2009. I hope that you enjoy Linda's questions and my answers. You need to go over to her blog and read how others are answering.

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?

In my "older" age I don't share as quickly and easily as I used to. Growing up, we always shared - with everybody. When my children were little, we shared, mainly because we couldn't afford to buy everyone a drink and I was too lazy to get up and fix everyone a drink, so we just all drank out of my glass. At meals we all had our own glass.

NOW, I don't care to share.

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)

Of eternal value, I learned (actually had it imprinted again and again) God is good and faithful. He will not let me down. He will not leave me. He will not put me to shame. I am not perfect (not a new lesson, just really exposed AGAIN!). I need God's grace and mercy constantly.

On the daily basis, I learned that I am only as young as my oldest part.

I learned how to cook a rockin good brisket.

I learned a lot of what NOT to do, but I won't share that... you are very welcome!

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?

I typically wait until after New Years to take it all down. This year, I'm in the process now and would have done so earlier if all my bins had not been covered in snow/ice.

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:

I want to finish my course in Medical Terminology.

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?

I don't like winter ANY time of year!

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?

Yes, I went to Kohl's to get some clothes for my parents. I also braved Walmart and Ross. Didn't really find anything really "on sale".

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?

No plans yet...

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?

Yes, I have a grandson due January 17. His name is Ethan Asher Hamilton. Can't wait to get to hold him and kiss him.

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)

Comedy of Errors... Drama ... Heartache ... Victory

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.

Not as much as I used to. I spend time reading them, and comment sometimes. I don't write as much as I used to.

11. Who runs your household?

If you are talking about actually DOING all the "manual" labor, that would me. I do all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. As far as paying the bills and bringing in the money, that would be hugsum. Making the decisions? We do that together. He is the tie breaker and he definitely is the head, priest, provider, protector... yeah - I got a good one! :)

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.

Only one? WOW... I have so many. I hope to finish my degree. I hope for reconciliation in some areas of my life. I dream of a vacation at the beach. I also dream of a live-in maid and cook!

I know that is more than one. But, I have many huge dreams. I only touched the surface.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!

My prayer is that you all have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

This year, it seems that we are being tested and stretched and nothing is normal.

It is not bad... we are actually loving and enjoying it. It is nice and peaceful and no stress!

Hugsum is out shoveling snow for the first time. Well, actually, now he has the blower out blowing snow... It is very dry and powdery so that he can just blow it off the driveway!

We had our first blizzard last night. What fun! It was great to be all snug in our home with the wind blowing hard and snow falling... it was beautiful and peaceful.

We got up to a quiet house - no children or grandchildren. We already knew that the only one of our kids that would be coming was our daughter and her family. It is the "in-law" Christmas. That means that they spend the holidays with the "other" family. Beka's in-laws came yesterday to spend Christmas eve and be there this morning when the kids got up. They were staying in a motel, so they could not get there this morning. How sad. I was so sorry because I know what fun it is to be there when the kids get up and get to open all the gifts.

The plan was that they were going to come here for dinner. I got up and got the meat going. I'm ready and set - but, they can't get out. Can't get here. I have presents under the tree waiting to be opened and enjoyed.

Oh well... one day... I'm laughing because it seems that our Father has MADE it so that today, my only option is to spend focusing on HIM and not be distracted with activity and company. I can rest and reflect and praise. What an awesome privilege and joy!

Blessings on you today. May this be a wonderful Christmas. I am thankful for the gift that I have been given in the form of a baby - my Savior. What a joy!!!!!

Merry Christmas Blessings to you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It is Christmas EVE!!!

WOW... we made it! This is the day before Christmas! WOOOO HOOOO!

There were times when it was questionable. Christmas always takes a LONG time to get around. Even though the festivities and preparation and anticipation begin long before "the" day, we wait impatiently for the gathering and celebration.

I want to introduce you to some new loves that I found on the shelves, and thus in my home! It doesn't require turning on the oven or stove. You don't even have to get out a mixing bowl or spoon! Makes it very nice when we are all rushing around with way too much to do!

Here is a dark chocolate mint 3 Musketeers... seriously DELICIOUS!

These have been around, but I have not gotten them before. I was on a mission to get some Christmas almond M&Ms. It used to be that the ONLY time you could get them was at Christmas. They were a seasonal special. They became a tradition for me. This year, I could not find them. I could find the regular almonds, and peanut Christmas ones... but not Christmas almonds! THEN, I saw the MINT M&Ms! I grabbed them up and yes, they are SOOOO good!

This is DANGEROUS! Really... watch out! I happened to be at Sam's twice and they were sampling this ... I got hooked! It is FudgieWudgie Pecan Turtle Fudge. I also love their Chocolate/Peanutbutter fudge, their White Chocolate Fudge...their WHATEVER they have is out of this world! It is the BEST! It is so creamy and smooth and addicting and you have just GOT to have it once you taste it.

Those are some things that will add to our Christmas pleasure.

BUT, I must remind myself again not to forget the reason for all this frantic activity and stuffing my face and running around is NOT any of that. It is simply Jesus. It is His love and Sacrifice and mercy. He allows us to enjoy all these other things. We just need to make sure that we keep the Reason for the season as the REASON!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Inspired Idea...

Recently I posted on Facebook a need for inexpensive, creative gifts. We love to give to the families in our church at Christmas. Last year I went to great lengths to make lots of wonderful homemade goodies to share bags with our church family and neighbors.

This year, I have been trying to resist doing all the baking. I just didn't have the time or energy to tackle marathon baking, nor did I have the will power to not inhale all that I made. It was causing me lots of stress and anxiety because I LOVE to bake.

I also wanted to give something that was "homemade" and personal. I put out a plea for help on Facebook and so many of my wonderful friends gave me wonderful ideas. I have squirreled them away for future use. THANK YOU!!!!!

I was praying and pondering what to do. Then I remembered ...

Years ago I had the privilege of leading an awesome group of ladies in Bible studies. We became very close through the years and they still mean the world to me and I stay in touch with many of them. When we moved from there, I had an inspired idea of something to give them. I also gave them to some precious ladies I got to be with on Sunday mornings in class. (My "title" was teacher, but THEY taught me!)

The idea was not really a "new" one, except in my application. Years earlier a special friend, Lisa, had given me a "God Envelope". The instructions were to place things in it that only God could do - you know, prayer requests, worries, fears, joys, praises, pictures of loved ones, etc.

So, as I was walking through Dollar Tree one day, I saw this ~ my inspiration.

I decided to make a "GOD BOX". I came up with some special instructions and scriptures and things and put something on the bottom, in the bottom and inside the top. It was very special! I knew it was a divine inspiration. It blessed me and it blessed the ladies. It was a gift from my heart and also pointed them to God to answer their questions, prayers and needs.

So, I decided to do one for each family in our churches. So, I rushed to Dollar Tree to wisk up all their boxes. I was so disappointed because all they had were some harsh red and green tacky ones (NOT pretty!). I went to a couple more Dollar Trees around town and still, none. They are normally out in the spring to be used for wedding things.

Then I found these.... Hand Painted Ornaments in a velvet box.... my imagination began to whirl. I mean, could I use this?

Each one has a glass ornament in it and there were many different designs.

Our daughter Rebekah personalized them for us (she has prettier handwriting than me).

Then, I added my touch... Inside the top I put the instructions on "How to Use Your God Box".
(yes, this one is inside the original white one, but I couldn't get the picture right on the Christmas one."

On the bottom of the box is more information and scripture, encouragment and agreement.

Inside on the bottom is just a little word to encourage people to let go and let God and to remember to turn to God and His Word for answers.

Our prayer is that these will become a special part of their lives and minister to them.

May you have a blessed Christmas. Remember that no matter what you are going through or what your need and desire, Jesus has the answer. He has already made the provision and plan for the answer. He came as a baby for us and He is here with us still.

Merrie Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baking, Cooking, Making...

Well, it is the season for it ~ all the baking and cooking and making!

I have resisted the sugar plum making and cookie baking and the storm cooking.

I think that now it is time. It has taken all I can do to hold back. A few posts ago I talked about not being in the Christmas Spirit. I think that part of the reason is that I've not been in the kitchen with flour and sugar all over me and the floor. This is what makes me happy and brings so much satisfaction and pleasure.

I LOVE to bake! I love to make fudge and peanut butter balls (Buckeyes) and all sorts of fun things like haystacks and White Trash and Chex Mix and cookies and pies and breads and and and and ... well - just things in the kitchen.

So, now I need to get busy. I have resisted because I don't want to eat it. I just want to make it. BUT, I know that if I make it, I have to eat it and test and taste to make sure it is good. One bite leads to another. After all, will the next pan of cookies be done or burned? What if the candy cooked too long or didn't get mixed well and one piece is not as good as the next. Or maybe the first was bad and so I need to see if it gets any better.

The pressure is on. You see, our neighbor is leaving on Saturday to be gone for 2 weeks and we want to make sure we get our gift to them before they leave. Plus, it is the third Friday and Sunday. That means that we have a covered dish dinner Friday and Saturday and also a gift exchange.

The double/triple meaning here is that we are leaving Friday to go to Oz and will be gone for the weekend (staying for a parade late Sunday afternoon). This makes for a VERY long weekend. It also makes for a stressful day in preparation for all the clothes, food and gift needs.

I have gifts ready for all the members of the church - adults and children. That was a fun activity and I am excited about them. They have special meaning to me and I pray that they will for them. It is something that I made - but not food. (I'll share later what it is just in case someone reads it and it spoils the surprise.)

I'm sure that Jesus did not come from Heaven to earth for all this frantic busyness. He did come to set the example of love and giving until it hurts. I think that we put the pressure on us in the wrong ways to "give until it hurts"... financially, physically, and emotionally.

I want to remind MYSELF again... it is most important that at this time of the year and life, to keep Jesus right in the middle of my mind and focus and activities. If I don't, I'm not happy and you know the saying... if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. With a name like "Merrie", I should be the chief of "happy"!

So, in the midst of the hustle and bustle and hurry and scurry... stop, take a minute and look around you. Count your blessings. Be thankful. Say a prayer. Check your attitude and make sure it is one of gratitude!

Blessings on you~ May this be the Merriest Christmas yet for you and your family!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm so excited! Today, I stepped out and broke the ice (yes, it was that cold out there), and went shopping!

My first stop was at ToysRus. I almost didn't make it after that fiasco. Yeah, it was like a zoo. There was no one who knew where anything was and everything was overpriced. I left quickly. You might say that I escaped. I RAN away from that store vowing never to return! I remembered why the last time I went to one (over 10 years ago) I said I'd never go again. I repented of my lack of judgment!

Next, I went to Sam's ... had a great time there and then met the girls for lunch. Ran into Mardell's for a quick purchase and came out loaded about 2 hours later! LOVE that store! I could have spent days and millions in there!

I got home and unloaded and then headed to Walmart... spent another 2 hours...

Meanwhile... when I returned home, Hugsum was there and very busy. We were blessed. We received something that I have always wanted, but never had access to receiving. Some wonderful people gave us half a cow. Yeah... really... a cow! He normally feeds them for 90 days, but the butcher couldn't take care of him so our cow was blessed to be well fed for 120 days! I've never had "home grown" beef before. I'm excited to have my own.

Fortunately we have a big freezer in our laundry room. I now know that it will hold over 350 pounds of meat! Yep... that's what a half a cow weighs when it is butchered. I don't know what it weighed before.

What a blessing! I feel so blessed by my day today. I got lots done.

My goal today was to "joyfully accomplish". That is my new mindset. It fits the Christmas season, don't you think?

I pray that you are blessed today as well... and that you are able to "joyfully accomplish" what you need to get done.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I seem to be struggling to muster up some Christmas Spirit this year. Normally, I'm ready for Christmas (mentally) in the summer! I LOVE the Christmas season. I love getting my decorations out and have so much fun decorating the ENTIRE house. I love to put wreaths on every door and window and a Nativity Scene in every room (at least ONE and usually many!) I would put a tree up in every room if I could. The colors of Christmas bring excitement and joy to me. The smells of cookies baking and the visions of sugarplums dancing in my hand (yes, hand) on the way to my mouth... ahhhhh... what fun and anticipation!


This year is different. I am missing the excitement and planning and anticipation. I know I have talked about it being the "in-law" Christmas this year. That could explain my lack of enthusiasm. But, I think it goes deeper than that.

I am finding that I'm stifled in my giving this year. It isn't that I don't WANT to give. I just am more limited this year than ever before. I want to give BIG things. I want to give LOTS of things. I want to bless exceedingly abundantly.

Different times and situations and circumstances are prohibiting my normal behavior.

BUT... it does not have to dampen my spirits. I can stop the depression and gloom and doom. I can remove the barriers emotionally.

I can make a choice. I can make a decision. I can look at things in a new way.


This day, I choose to be thankful! I choose to be grateful! I choose to remove all expectations. I choose to enjoy what I have. I choose to see the wonder and excitement in the season. I choose to appreciate the simple things. I choose to look at what I HAVE and bask in the love that is showered on me daily by precious grandchildren.

The main thing I plan to do is to make sure that I keep Christ in Christmas this year. I will look at HIM and all that He has done for me. I will maintain an attitude of gratitude... The things of this world will grow strangely dim. They will rust and rot and ruin... but the things of eternal value will make it through the fire. They will be treasures not found in earthly vessels. I want to store up riches in heaven. That does not mean that I don't enjoy riches and treasures on earth and I am not crazy enough not to want them, too. But, it means that I place a higher value on eternal things.

As we all look at a different time in our lives and we resist the CHANGE that is being forced upon us through outside circumstances... may we embrace the One who never changes. May we realize that what we have is far more valuable than anything this ole earth can provide.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Love is ....

First Corinthians 13, The Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crystal snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure.

Note: My friend Beverly at Dancing With Daffodils posted this yesterday and I got permission to repost it here because it is so good.

My Note: This is so true and such a blessing to learn and live. Thank you, Beverly, for sharing this inspiration.
My prayer is that we keep Jesus in the middle of our Christmas celebrations and preparations. Otherwise, we miss the point and the blessing and the joy!

Merry Christmas! May this be the merriest and brightest and best!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last month on Facebook there was a challenge to post everyday something for which I was thankful. Since it was November and Thanksgiving, it was easy to be very thankful. Then this month it just seemed important to count my blessings. I started thinking about posting a blessing every day.

You know, when you start thinking about blessings - you automatically are THANKFUL! It is amazing! It is impossible to "count your blessings and name them one by one" without being EXTREMELY thankful!

You know, when you give that you are blessed? I mean, Jesus told us that "it is more blessed to give than to receive". That does not make sense to the natural mind. I mean, what could possibly be better than receiving?????

That is simple... GIVING!
That is the answer to everything... giving.
Give and it will be given to you, so that you can turn around and give more.

I love that I can give. I love that God so loved that He gave. Because He gave, we can give.

Sometimes, we get stuck in the "holding" pattern. We think we don't have enough so we become Scrooge and hold on to what we have because we are afraid we won't get any more. (That is the world's way of thinking, by the way!)

We stop the flow when we do that. We prevent blessings from coming to us and finding us and overtaking us. It is our selfishness that causes lack... not our generosity.

When we give, it will be given to us.... good measure, pressed down and running over will be given to us.

Then, we have the opportunity and pleasure of turning around and giving to others.
That truly is a blessed life!

So, may your Christmas be Merrie and your blessings be BIG!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Random Dozen

Today I'm doing the Random Dozen with Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee.
I appreciate Linda coming up with all these questions. It gives me something to think about and talk about (do you think that's the idea?) Sometimes, I don't want to answer what she asks... I get rebellious. Then, I go ahead and answer anyway.

1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?

Am I limited to only ONE? My nose ... I have the "Freeman nose"... meaning big and a hook nose. I used to think that if I could ever afford it, I would have it fixed... like Marlo Thomas did with her "Thomas nose" many years ago before she became "That Girl". ( I think it was in the 60's for those who are too young to remember.)

Another thing I have learned to live with is my belly. For as
long as I can remember, I've had a belly. It has been much larger and much smaller, but it has always been there. Even when a size 3 was a little on the large side and I weighed about 110 lbs at 5'7" - I had a belly! That is another thing that I have thought about having "fixed"... like with liposuction or a tummy tuck. Now, I figure that it is just part of who I am, along with my hook nose. I've just learned to live with it and think there is no reason to bother with it now - not at this age.

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?

This was NEWS to me! I have really got to get a life and watch the news sometime! She was always one of my favorite people on tv! I think that June Cleaver was a good mom... hard to say who was the BEST. My memory of good ones is limited.

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

Where we live now, they sometimes think that I'm speaking the foreign language of "Southern English". When I use certain phrases they look at me like I've gone crazy! I think that I'd like to learn Hebrew and Greek... just so I could read and understand the Bible a little better.

4. Who is your personal hero?

Right now, I have two.
My daddy. He was in the ministry for over 50 years before he retired at age 70. (He had to because that was the required age at the time.) He overcame many obstacles to get an education and to become a leader in the Methodist Church. He was on the staff at Emory University Candler School of Theology for 15 years, editor of the Methodist Newspaper, and on and on and on were his list of accomplishments and accolades. He touched lives all over the world and made a difference. He was known,loved and sought
after as a speaker, preacher, teacher, mentor, author, and friend. Then he started a foundation to support and encourage Pastors.
When mama got so bad, he began to stay at home more and more to take care of her. He eventually gave up everything he was doing to take care of her full time. He stopped speaking and traveling. He stopped writing. He became her 24/7 strength and sec
Today, they are living in a personal care home. He moved into the memory care unit with her. He won't leave her side. He still is giving up his life to serve her. He is my hero. Greater love has no man....

My other hero is my hugsum. He overcame impossible odds just to grow up. He had a horrible, extremely dysfunctional childhood. He could have very easily become one of the bad statistics. But, God intervened. God had His hand on him and called him. Even though he never had an example of what a good husband and daddy should be - he became a wonderful husband and daddy! He is not perfect, but he is selfless and generous (to a fault at times). He is forgiving and loving. He has excelled in his education. He is thorough and exact. He can quote the Bible like no one else I know. He is a passionate p
reacher and loving pastor. He puts family and church members above himself. He has overcome all odds - with the help of Jesus.

These 2 men have influenced my life and loved me and blessed me. If it had not been for God on their side (and mine) there is no telling where I would be!

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

Christmas cookies and candy.

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

On the top of my tree is a little angel ornament. It is really broken, but I hang it up every year anyway. It was on the tree when I was growing up. I remember being thrilled when I was old enough to hang it myself. By this time, it is not very pretty to anyone but me. It is at least 50 years old and may be older than that.

7. How do you feel about snow?

I feel about snow like I do watermelon. I enjoy some watermelon about one time a year. A nice pretty snow once a year will do me. I get thrilled watching it fall and seeing it cover everything. Then, I'm done. I'm ready for it to be gone and the sun to shine and warm up the earth and let me go swimming!

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 try to get at least 7 hours of sleep. I'd like to get 8, but that is rare. If I get less than 7 I can be grumpy, irritable and hard to deal with. Also, I tend to fluff up (as in gain weight) if I don't get much sleep. I might can handle less one night, but then I have to catch up the next night.

9. Tell me about your first crush.

He was an "older man" by all of 2 months. We were in the 2nd grade. We were in the same class. He came to my house one day - walked all the way. It was maybe a mile. He gave me my dog, Freckles. (As a side note, Freckles saved my life that summer while I was swimming in the creek behind my house. Freckles swam between me and a water moccasin. He got the bite and I didn't. Freckles was never the same after that - me either.) Anyway I still have a picture of my first crush. He was hit by a car the next year and killed. But, Freckles lived on and so did David - in my memory.

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

I would probably write absolutely NOTHING! I might think of things to write, but I hate to write with anything. I hate my handwriting and so avoid writing as much as possible. Now, if there were a typewriter or computer, I'd blog. But, write , especially on a chalk board - NEVER!

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

I am guilty of checking the forecast daily before I dress. I hate being cold, so I want to make sure I have enough clothes on.

12. Favorite Christmas movie is?

I love the Hallmark movies where the couple are able to meet and fall in love in a period of a week. They make life changing decisions and completely alter their future and marry someone they just met. I know, they are corny and not very true to life. But, they are feel good movies. I like some of the old Christmas movies like "White Christmas"... but don't really care for Miracle on 34th St or It's A Wonderful Life. I know, I'm strange.

This year, I'm enjoying the animated movies with the grandkids... Have you gotten the impression that I can't narrow it down? Yeah, you are right - got me pegged!

Now, go over to Linda's and read everyone else's answers. You might even want to answer these yourself and link up!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree....

I love my tree. Every year it seems to take longer and longer to put my tree up. I'm not sure if I'm getting older and slower or have accumulated more and more ornaments, or I am just reminiscing too much as I decorate. (Okay, so all that is true!)

I have some very nice, expensive ornaments. I have some not so nice ones. I have OLD ones and new ones. I have some that go on the tree each year and some that never make it to the tree. Each one has a special place in my heart whether it is on the tree or left in the bin. I still take it out and think about when I got it.... who gave it to me, where we lived, what we were doing. The memories flood my mind. At times, I giggle and smile. Other times, I am filled with love and gratitude. Some bring a sadness because the person who gave it to me is gone.

Here are a very few of my special memories...

This is a wooden moon with a little angel. It was given to me almost 40 years ago and goes on my tree every year.

This one of Baby Jesus is also a hand painted wooden ornament given to me the same time as the moon. It also goes up every year. A very special person gave them to me. She is a pastor's wife and was a friend of my mama.

These are a few of my special ones.... an olive wood Jerusalem Cross I got in Bethlehem and some an old green ornament from mama's tree and some Shiny Brites... a few "newer" ones that reflect different places we have lived.

One of my favorite ones of Baby Jesus...

Some other favorites (which really is ALL the ornaments on the tree). On the left is my newest one. It is a Santa snowball that I got just this morning from my gkids. The snowman was a gift from Hugsum a few years ago. The red bell was one of mama's.

This is a favorite of our grandson. It's a fish we got in Destin one year. I also have some shells.

I have several of these handmade ornaments. This one was made by a friend. It is like we put on the Chrismon tree because it is a Christian symbol and is gold and white.

A sock monkey, a quilted block made for me after our 4th child was born and a star. It was very inexpensive, but is one of my favorite things.

A tatted snowflake given to us the first year we were in the ministry when our oldest son was not quite a year old.

This is a paper star. (I'd love to know how to make them.) It was on my mama's tree, too. It has lots of special memories.

Our tree....

Lots more stories and special ornaments and stories - maybe to be shared at another time.
Blessings on your Christmas celebration. May it bring joy and peace and happiness!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Posting from Oz!

This is the weekend. That means that we are now in Oz - where our weekend parsonage is found. It isn't really Kansas - but close enough to spit... not that I WOULD spit on Kansas... nor that I would really consider it or think it appropriate or nice or anything. Just saying that I COULD if I were so inclined - which I'm not. Maybe I should say that I can SEE Kansas very clearly from here.

Whew, I almost got myself into trouble with that one.

Having gotten out and cleared myself - the reason that I'm so excited about being in Oz is that I am on line! For some wonderful reason, I 'm able to connect up here lately. I love that. Except that, it means that I'm not studying. It doesn't take much for me to not study lately. I'm so close to finishing, but have not wanted to open the books lately. I have just a couple more classes and my dissertation left to finish. Then, I'll be done! I can say I completed it! Not that anyone really cares (especially Hugsum, who thinks I'm crazy to be doing it in the first place - but he has been kind and supportive for the most part).

It is COLD. I enjoy the warm weather much more. I think it is cruel that in the time of year that it is necessary to get out and shop, the weather doesn't want to cooperate and make it fun and easy. I guess that is why some people do their shopping early in the year - like the summer! I never considered doing that until this year. Of course, I waited until December to decide. Don't think it will work. There is no such thing as retroactive shopping.

Part of the reason for procrastinating is that children grow. Adults lose and gain weight. New toys are invented and marketed. Things go on sale. Stores close and sell their stuff at 1/2 off. I am not inspired. The Christmas money hasn't been saved/alotted yet. On and on, the reasons for not getting it done early just keep coming.

We really don't know what we are doing this Christmas. It is the "in-law" Christmas. That means that all our children will be doing things with their other families. That is fair. I got them all last year. Some of the other families live close enough that we can share. That is a very nice thing to be able to do. Other families live 18 hours away. I don't have that many gifts to buy this year. We usually just do cash for the in-law years. It seems to be appreciated and is the right color and useful for the trips.

When we lived in Georgia, we always felt the need to come out here to visit. Now that we live here, we have the need to visit Georgia. Are we never satisfied? In fact, I feel more of a need to go back and visit aging parents. The kids would often (well not THAT often) make trips home to visit us and would be home during summer and other vacations... until they got married, then they didn't come for long visits.

We are considering going to Georgia early his year. Normally it is between Christmas and New Years that we make the trip. We have a grandbaby due the first part of January... then school starts back and I'll be keeping grandchildren. So, the timing is important. Grandchildren are important. They are blessings and fun and keep me on my toes and active!

My main struggle is in finding something fitting to give to all the members of our church. I normally bake and bake and bake LOTS of different cookies and candies and package them up for everyone - including neighbors and friends. This year, I'm not doing that. I have determined that I don't want all that sugar in my house or body this year. I am actually having withdrawals. I love to bake. I love the smell and taste and fun of all the goodies. But, then later, I feel horrible from all the smell and taste and eating and EATING! So, this year, I'm doing a non-baking gift. Maybe I'll share it later...

Well, I guess that I've "chatted" enough. I just am so excited to be online and wanted to communicate with the world while I could. I have nothing profound to share or say. Just wanted to blog.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Dozen

Welcome to my answers for Linda's Random Dozen... enjoy!

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

Oddly enough, I don't think I have ever watched the entire movie. Even though I say every weekend that I'm going to "Oz"... meaning that I'm going to Kansas. I probably would chose to be Toto - the dog. I am along for the trip/ride. I'm loyal, cute and loving - okay... so maybe not so "cute"... but I am loyal and loving.

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

I usually decide on a top. Mainly because my selection for bottoms is much more limited... as in "black", "brown", "khaki", or "jeans"...

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

So many to chose from! The gators or the hippos or the rhinos. I'm sure they have a purpose, but I can't think of one... they are ugly and scary and take up lots of room and make the water scary.

4. How many Christmas trees are in your home?

This year I just have one up and decorated. I have lots of little "mini" trees all over and ceramic ones. I have been known to put up several decorated trees. I just don't have the room, time, energy, desire to do that this year.

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

To a certain extent when I feel heartbreak, I tend to go "emotionless" for a short time just as a means of coping. I would not want to be emotionless, though. I'm thankful for the emotions that God gave us. It would be so sad not to be able to experience the highs and joys and love and happiness. They far outweigh the pain of heartbreak. What is the cliche'? "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. " That is true. A heartbreak can only be healed by the replacing of the emotions of love and healing and joy.

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

Daily... I think that goes with the emotions... I am an emotional person. On the outside, you will see a very stable, steady person - however, on the inside my emotions may be going berserk and wildly flailing up and down. Thanks to my upbringing of never letting my emotions show, I learned to keep the "poker face" in the midst of inner turmoil.

7. Do you like Michael Jackson's music?


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?

Because we are foolish! If I had the means, I would certainly have something done. I probably wouldn't let it be known because of the stigma... so PLEASE, don't judge me! LOL

9. Enjoy horseback riding?

What little bit that I've done, I loved! I always wanted a horse. I always thought it would be fun and romantic to ride a horse. However, I know that it is hard, and sweaty and stinky. But, they make it look like so much fun!

10. Shoes--practical or stylish?

They HAVE to be stylish... but unless they are also practical, I won't buy them or wear them. I'd rather go barefoot than wear ugly shoes!

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

My first very own pet that I didn't have to share was a solid black cat named, Lucky. I got him in October and didn't want him to bring bad luck, so I carefully named him. I don't believe in "Luck" now and am horrified with the name. I believe in blessings and God's goodness and mercy and grace. Luck has nothing to do with anything except superstition and I'm not superstitious.

12. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done?

NONE... 0%! guess I'd better get busy!

Now, hop over to Linda's and see who else is having fun with these Random Dozen questions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Ramblings

I love Christmas!
I love the decorations, the tree, the smells, the foods, the activity, the generosity, the joy, the anticipation and excitement! The love that just seems to be in the air is wonderful!

Over the weekend I was able to get most of my decorating done. I strategically placed my FisherPrice nativity set on the coffee table. I was not disappointed. As soon as the kids came in yesterday they ran straight for it and played and played and played with it. I overheard Kendall playing with the figure on top of the stable... it has a new name, "the grandmama with a butterfly on her back". Yeah, I loved it. No, I did not correct it.

We have been going through some transitions with my parents. I had been very concerned when we were in Georgia in October. It seemed that daddy was weak and tired and worn out. Mama is healthy, but just not "with us" much.

A few weeks ago daddy was experiencing some problems. He began to pass large amounts of blood. He was not able to get it stopped and fortunately, my nephew was there. He monitored the situation and determined (about 2 am) that daddy HAD to go to the hospital. Another blessing is that my brother and his wife live only about 20 minutes away and they came.

Daddy was admitted to the hospital in ICU. Many tests were run. He received blood. He had almost bled to death. If it had not been for the care of Greg, he probably would have. It was determined that he had diverticulitis.

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband had found a wonderful personal care home very close. They had actually found it on Saturday before this happened with daddy on Monday night.

A very trying and stressful week ensued. Someone had to be there with daddy. Someone had to be there with mama. My sister was very sick and ended up in the hospital herself. I was out here - 1/2 a nation away!

The good news is that we were able to get daddy and mama into the personal care home. It has a wonderful "memory care" unit where they are now living. Daddy is adjusting to giving up the complete care of mama. He is releasing the reigns a little so that he is regaining his strength and able to enjoy the other residents in the home (not all are in memory care).

Mama, has blossomed. She has come to life and is once again entertaining everyone. She puts a smile on everyone's face as she jokes and laughs.

We are hoping that daddy will once again begin his writing and ministering. He has so much wisdom and love to share but has not done it for a long time since he has been taking care of mama. Hopefully, this will bring more freedom in other areas for daddy as well.

It was not an easy transition. It is not easy giving up privacy and freedoms and home and familiarity and allow others to take care of you. He will not leave her side. He insists on staying right there with her - loving her.

I have so much more to share... life is full!

Blessings on your Christmas!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving! (Is there anybody around that does not know this?)
So, after that bold revelation where can I go from here?

I have been reflecting this month. I took a challenge the first of November to post everyday on Facebook a statement that started, "Today I am thankful for....". It was my job to fill in the blank. It has been wonderful.

Lots of my friends also did this. It has turned November into a time of reflection and gratitude. What a blessing!

As I have looked back over my life and this past year I'm extremely thankful for my blessings. I have had window opened and blessings poured in.

Don't get me wrong - this has been an extremely difficult year. We have faced many challenges. We have lost many things. We have battle scars.

But, praise the Lord!!! He has brought us through. He has carried us. He has shown Himself strong. He has been our Rock and our Strong Tower. He has blessed us. He has been our All in All!

There are so many ways that God has blessed us. He has moved mightily... so many areas where "if it had not been for the Lord on my side ..." so many things that could have turned out differently. There are so many many places we have seen the Lord's Hand make a difference and change circumstances, people, hearts, outcomes.

I am extremely thankful this Thanksgiving. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, joy and life.

Thank you for being my friend, family, link... however you are connected... I appreciate you.

My prayer is that you will be blessed beyond measure as you take this day to stop and reflect and say "Thank You" to those who have touched your life. Make a very special acknowledgment to our Father, who has been the Author of every good and perfect thing in your life!

Blessings as you celebrate a Happy ThanksLIVING!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Baking Memory

I am baking cookies. Yesterday I mixed them up and baked one pan. Today, I'm baking another pan. I'm trying hard not to bake lots of them. We are all watching our weight and sugar intake.

These are actually fairly healthy... okay, don't laugh... they are oatmeal with whole wheat flour and flax seed.... plus nuts and a few chocolate chips... okay, sugar, too!

As I was mixing them up yesterday I had a flashback that brought a smile to my face and a chuckle.

Years and YEARS ago when the children were little we lived in Albany, Georgia. I had a great friend that lived right down the street from me. At that time, she had 3 children (the 4th was born a little later). Our children were close and loved playing together.

This particular memory of me baking cookies involves these friends. I had mixed up the cookie dough and her children lined up with their hands together reaching out. It took me a minute, but I soon figured it out... they wanted me to put cookie dough in their hands. They ate almost the entire batch of cookies before they were baked!

I laughed and laughed at them. They didn't want the baked cookies, just the dough. (I bet their favorite ice cream is "cookie dough"...)

This morning as I was baking another pan of cookies and stuck a bite of cookie dough in my mouth, I remembered again... smiled and chuckled and took another bite of dough for my good friends who have now grown up and are experiencing a wonderful, fulfilling life far from south Georgia.

Thanks, Sherry for the gift of your children and the blessing they have been to me!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Dozen - and Things :)

This is #12 of the 12... Check out Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee for more!

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

WATCHING... Hugsum would love for me to enjoy watching ANY sport. Much to his dismay, I am not the least bit interested in any of them. I love to walk - does that count as a sport? No? Well, I did master that. If I have to chose, guess I might like to do Water Ballet... as a little girl I imagined myself as a beautiful swimmer. Didn't happen... I do a great dog paddle.

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 normally thought about it for a LONG time and casually looked into it. (Hugsum is the big researcher.) I look and look and then go with my gut instinct. I am not always known for my wise, good purchases. Maybe I should re-think my method. Hugsum usually goes for quality and he makes good choices (look at the choice he made in a wife! - don't apply that to the choice I made in a husband, because I DID make a great choice there!)

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?

Louellen Vistavia... I'm sure I would have been well known - as "WHO is that and WHAT is her name???"

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

Do I really have to make a choice? Since my favorite food is a cookie and I have pretty much already given them up, then I guess food would be the easiest to give up. I always have a song in my brain and at any moment may burst out with a lyric or two... Music would be harder!

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?

Again, I'm in the middle. I do not like them green and "crisp" (they make my teeth feel funny), nor soft and mushy. I want them just beginning to ripen with only a very few brown spots.

6. Your favorite tree is?

I love Dogwoods. They are beautiful in the spring when they start blooming and in the fall their leaves turn a beautiful red with red berries. They don't get real big, but are so pretty and their "story" is sweet.

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

About a 5.5 ... not a complete idiot and not really "with it" either.

8. Has H1N1 touched your family?

No, Praise the Lord! I have friends, but no one in my family (that I know of, anyway).

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

I am both... it depends on what something "feels" like. I grew up "accepting", but then I always seemed to "know" things. Now, I'm not as sensitive so I do scrutinize more. I'm sure it came from being burned a few times.

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

Probably like a Koala. Even though I've never personally known one. I like the idea of sitting up in a tree observing quietly. I even like eucalyptus - never eaten it, but enjoy the smell. I can come down and participate if I chose, but I enjoy the view and watching much more than participating... unless it is eating cookies. I'd come down from my perch to eat cookies.

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

Yes, I do. I am blessed with great friends. I am thankful for the internet, email, blogs, Facebook, etc. These all help me stay in touch easier. I'm horrible at visiting, picking up the phone or writing a letter. But, I will email.

I'm still friends with someone I've known my entire life. In fact, my daddy (a pastor) preformed the wedding for her parents. We were born a month apart (she's the oldest!) . I'm also still friends with someone I met in 2nd grade and I'm blessed with friends from every church we have ever pastored.

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?

I will go to the shortest lane , or the one with the fewest groceries to be checked out. I do that because I do not like to wait in lines and am usually supposed to be or WANT to be some place else!

Now, run on over to Linda's at 2nd Cup of Coffee to read other answers and participate!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Day!

This day I'm praising God!
This day I'm so thankful!
This day God showed Himself strong.
This day was long and hard.
This day God answered.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pushing on Past Those Roadblocks...

The more I think about doing things, sometimes, the harder it becomes. I have a tendency to over analyze things. I find that when I do, I am far less likely to step out and do what ever it is that I'm considering. Besides, I make myself miserable and torture everyone I talk with about it.

One of the things that prevents me from moving ahead is that I have to get out of my COMFORT ZONE! Yikes!!!! I remind myself that "I have never done this kind of thing before!" After all, I might have to get up earlier or give something up or stay up later. I might have to say "no" to something else. I could make someone mad or disappoint them.

It is so hard to change my routine and start something different and new. It is such a stretch! I am so afraid of failing that I don't want to try. Then I realize that if it is something that I can easily do, then it probably is not God pushing me to do it. If it is something that ONLY God can do, then He will get the glory and He will enable me to do it.

It is a decision. Almost everything in life that is important or meaningful takes a stretch and work and stepping out. We can't remain "comfortable" and make a difference. We must make an effort to learn new things and grow. We can't move to the 2nd grade until we learn to subtract after we learn to add... we must learn to multiply, divide, and work with fractions.

If we just take one step at a time, then the comfort zone is a little easier to stretch... We don't have to move from 1st grade straight to college. We take one grade at the time.

Another area that prevents us from pushing on is POOR TIME MANAGEMENT. We waste lots of time... on the internet (guilty), day dreaming, watching tv, reading things that are not enriching, talking on the phone, sleeping... you get the message. I'm not condemning us. We all need some "down time" and time to rest and relax and for recreation. But, it is when those things control us and prevent us from doing what is really of eternal value and beneficial.

We all have lots of commitments and things that need to be done. We are pulled in so many different directions. I think that we could all probably manage our time better. It seems that the more I have to do, the more I get done.

If I don't have much to do, I suffer from the IGAD disease (pronounced eeeeegad!) it stands for "I've Got All Day"... meaning that I piddle around and don't get anything done. Then all of a sudden I realize the day is almost over and I haven't done much and should have done some things so I rush around and don't really do anything well, get in a dither and a bad mood wanting to blame someone else for my lack of productivity.

We all know that we do what we want to do. We make time to do what is important to us. We make choices. We also know that we don't do lots of things that we should... Our instructions are: seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added.

Maybe it is time to re-evaluate our activities to determine the eternal value of what we are doing. If what we spend our time doing will not make a difference in someone's life or if in 5 years won't matter, then maybe we need to consider not doing it.

Sometimes I know I SHOULD be doing something, but I just don't WANT to! I know it is something that God wants me to do, but.... what I'm really saying is "I'm choosing not to do this"... that is REBELLION. (you could call it disobedience, but it is really just plain ole rebellion)

Sometimes when God asks us to do something, we think it will cost us too much. So, we give or do something else.. . we even make "sacrifices" instead of doing what He asks. I used to tell my children that "you are happy when you obey". God desires obedience more than sacrifices. With obedience always comes rewards and blessings.

I don't know why it is so hard for us to see that. It is like we don't trust God to take care of us and think that somehow He is trying to take something from us and hurt us. When He is really trying to bless us and protect us.

You know, we really are the happiest when we are doing what we KNOW we are supposed to to because we don't have to carry around the guilt and bad feelings and hide when we aren't doing what we should. We have a feeling of accomplishment and joy when we obey. Obedience has great rewards.

So, what is it that you have been holding back from doing? What is it that you WANT to do that you haven't done?

I'd like to encourage you to step out... pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the roadblocks and show you how to get through them. We can overcome, we can press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling. We can accomplish great things in the Kingdom.

We have a purpose. We have a calling. We are here for a reason.

If you don't know yours, then I encourage you to pray - without fear - and ask our Father to reveal it to you and then step out into your call and purpose. You will be so happy that you did!

Blessings... I can't wait to hear how God is using you!

Fall Into Flavor - Nuts...

This is the last week for Linda's Fall Into Flavor. This has been lots of fun, even though I did not have a recipe to share every week. Please go over to Linda's 2nd Cup of Coffee and find many more wonderful recipes (WAIT..... read mine first!!!).

This is supposed to be comfort foods. My "go to" comfort food is a cookie. I'd rather have a cookie any day to most ANY other food - except maybe NUTS! If you put them together, then I'm in heaven! I don't indulge myself as much as I'd like - just because I can't ... for health and weight reasons.

Here are a few of my favorite easy nutty cookie recipes...

Chinese Rocks
(or Wedding Cookies, or Lady Fingers - depends on how you shape them or know them)

1 stick of butter (yes, REAL butter) 2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Cup broken pecan pieces Powdered Sugar

Mix nuts and flour - set aside. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour and nut mixture. Form into balls (or fingers or crescents) and bake at 45 minutes at 300 degrees . (they will be firm and light brown - don't burn...
Roll in powdered sugar while hot....then again when cool if you want then real white.

Spiced Nuts
Bring to boil in medium flat bottomed pan:
1 cup sugar 5 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon Cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound Nuts (I use either raw peanuts or pecans)

Turn heat on low and stir constantly while cooking until all syrup is taken up in the nuts. Put on greased pan or waxed paper. Separate into pieces before becoming completely cool.

Pecan Kisses

Beat together to for soft peaks:
1 egg white 1/4 teaspoon salt

Slowly add:
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup brown sugar

Fold in:
1 - 2 cups pecans

Drop on greased pan and cook for 30 minutes at 250 degrees....
SOOOOOO good! make a double recipe because you will eat one yourself and you want to have some to share!

Blessings... now run on over to 2nd Cup of Coffee and check out the other delicious comfort foods!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Breaking Through those Road Blocks...

Do you have dreams and plans still unfulfilled? Have you given up hope of seeing and doing those things that excited you just thinking about their possibility?

Are you aware of callings that you have not stepped into? Have you stopped daring to look ahead to the future because of the broken dreams and hope deferred?

There are so many things that hold us back in our life.

We CAN move ahead. We CAN accomplish and succeed and fulfill those things that we have not dared to do before. We CAN break through those self made barriers of thought that have prevented us from moving ahead.

It is important to look at what might be stopping us. Identify what the roadblocks are. Half the battle is knowing the "enemy". When we realize what we are fighting we can develop a plan for defeating it.

These enemies or roadblocks prevent us from doing what we want and need to do. They destroy our hope and joy. They hinder our future.

Here are some of those barriers that we face -

FEAR: we all fear things ... we battle fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of man, fear of lack, fear of loss ... The devil is a master mind at feeding us fears. He knows what buttons to push and what lies to whisper in our ears at the appropriate time. Fear has the ability to incapacitate us...

Fear is the opposite of faith.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind!
We need to cast down those vain imaginations that exalt themselves. Those things that tell us we "can't" and replace them with faith.

INSECURITY: The lies that say, "I'm not as good as ... or I'm not a teacher... or What if they don't listen?... What if I mess up and get it wrong ... I just don't know enough ... I'm not as smart as they are ... I'm too fat ... I'm too skinny ... I'm too young ... I'm too old ... I don't have as much as they do ..." We have all had those thoughts that torment us.

Remember, when we are doing that we are comparing our weakness with their imagined strengths and we will always come up short. The devil will make sure of that!
At times like this, it is good to remember that it really is NOT about "me". It is about what I'm trying to do and accomplish. It is bigger than "me". It is about God. If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. If He gives you the dream and vision and desire, then He will also give you the ability and tools to accomplish His calling.

He said He will never leave you nor forsake you. He has been given all power in heaven and earth and He will be right there with you. So, what do you have to worry about?
He will give you whatever you need to do what He called you to do. And, He who called you is able to complete that which He started.

Have you identified with these roadblocks? Have you realized that you can push through to the other side and see your dreams and visions again?

I sure hope so. That is the goal here... I want to encourage you (and me) to reach for the prize of the high calling... to go for the goal ... to stretch ... to push ... to succeed...

Stay with me, come back because I have more...

praying for YOUR success!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Road Blocks

Have there been things in your life that you have not done even though you wanted to do them? Even things that you knew you were supposed to do. Are there "things" stopping you - like just being afraid?

I know too well about the road blocks that prevent a person from moving forward. All the excuses for not accomplishing or completing or stepping out...

I think everyone experiences lots of emotions about things that are important to us that we want to do - whether it is go back to school, start a new business venture, speak to someone, teach something, or try something new. There are so many things in life that are out there that would be fun or enriching or exciting or benefit us - but - for whatever reason we have, we back off and do not do it.

The unknown can be very intimidating. The insecurity can be debilitating. The lack of discipline can rob us of producing. The rebellion can stop the blessing from reaching us.

I have been there too many times. I have failed because I refused to even try! I have allowed life to pass me by for the fear of making a fool of myself (called PRIDE!)

I was a very shy, timid, insecure child. I grew up thinking that everybody in the world was smarter and better than me. I was so shy that I would NEVER answer a question at school - even when I knew the answer and the teacher called on me. I would lower my head, turn bright red and almost burst into tears, but never say a word. I would take a zero for a grade rather than give any type of oral report. I would get "sick" and stay out of school for days and weeks if necessary to avoid giving that report.

I wanted people to speak to me, but was so afraid that they would. I was tortured by thoughts of "what if I say the wrong thing? What if my voice squeaks? What if I have bad breath? What if they were not really speaking to me, but the person behind me?"

I would dwell on what the proper response should be if they actually DID speak to me. Was I supposed to say "HI!" or "HELLO!", or would that be over doing it and too enthusiastic, desperate sounding? Would "hey" be too informal or too indifferent? What would they think?

The turmoil and agony I went through in school was horrible. The imaginary world of being rejected tormented me and I went through life frozen and afraid.

Thankfully, God did a great work in me. I am able to speak to people - even speak first - with confidence and assurance. I am able to stand in front of a crowd and speak and sing and teach. In fact, I enjoyed my speech class so much that when I exempted my last speech (I had made 100 on all the other ones) I was so disappointed and begged to be able to give it!

How did this happen? Through prayer and perseverance. Through taking my eyes off myself and knowing that what I have to say is important. It came from a relationship with my heavenly Father and a revelation of who He is and what He thinks of me.

I have much more to share on this... and I will later...
Are there areas in your life where you are frozen and debilitated and unable to act? I'd love to hear about them and pray with you....


Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Into Flavor - pizza

I am jumping late today with my comfort food and the Fall Into Flavor meme by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee.

I have been lax in my posting recipes. It isn't that I don't love to eat and cook and I don't have a plethora of wonderful recipes.... I have been out of town and worn out and forgetful..

So, today, I am in town and eating and had a moment of lucid thought... oh... today is the day to post a recipe for a wonderful comfort food.

I pondered what I could share that would be delicious and easy and fun...

Then, this afternoon - about 5 - I began to wonder what was for dinner. Our daughter, bless her heart, called and informed me of what they were having for supper. I was immediately hungry and wanted it. So, I asked for the "recipe".

Here it is:

Go to Little Caesar's....

We have a brand new Little Caesar's Pizza that opened very close to us. They have pizzas ready at all times... Large pepperoni for $5... yeah, we made the run and got breadsticks too.

I can't tell you how comforting this was to me. I did not have to cook. I did not have to wait and it was very filling. It was filled with memories ....

Back in the dark ages when all our kids were home and younger, we ate Little Caesar's on a regular basis - at least once a week. (I don't think they have changed anything in 20 years - not even the price!)

Then we moved ... 45 minutes away - in the far away country where there was no pizza. We would make a pizza run to Albany, Georgia and get at least 3 pizzas. We had to because one was eaten before we could get home.

Then we moved to another town and it was only 25 minutes from the wonderful world of pizza. We would make the pizza run to Valdosta, Georgia and we added bread sticks. We had to get 2 or 3 orders of those because we ate those on the way home. (It became known that if you didn't ride with the pick-up person, you didn't get to inhale bread!). We would even sometimes buy as many as 10 pizzas and bring them home and cool them and freeze them so we could have them faster.

So, even though this is not actually a recipe for how to cook a pizza, it is a recipe of extreme comfort and ease and happiness... Enjoy!

Now, go over to Linda's and get some REAL recipes!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another New Bloggng Friend

Today I got a new blog. A friend from years ago has decided to blog also. She has lots to share. I do hope that you will follow her, too. Meet BJ Funk and "Life is Hard, but God is Good".

Welcome her to blogland and also go back and check out again my friend Pam Merwin at Lace and Southern Grace.

I know that you will be blessed by both these new bloggers.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's MINE!

We all know that I delight in keeping my grandchildren. They are lots of fun and bring life and laughter into our home.

They also teach me so many lessons as I'm trying to teach and train them.

One of the things that happens frequently is that one will be playing with a toy. Another will run up and grab it and run away. The first will yell "IT'S MINE!!!! GIVE IT BACK!!!!"

My response is to say, "No, it is MINE and I allow you to play with it. But, if you don't share then I will take it away and no one will play with it. Now, ____ give it back and apologize for taking it from ___".

This usually works. Sometimes we have a fight and it is not returned so willingly. Everyone has taken possession of something and has claimed rights and privileges. After all they have it in THEIR hands!

I realized that I can be that way. I take possession of "my" things. I hold tight trying to keep it in my possession. That is not wise. Everything I have was given to me. God gave it all to me. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. He asks for 10% of all my increase. He asks for offerings...

He tells me to give to the poor, to share what I have.

As I hold on tight to "my" things, I am sure that God is there saying, "no, it is MINE, and I want you to give it and let go of it".

He only wants to bless me. He wants to give me more. He wants to use me to bless others. He promises to give me seed to sow that I might reap a harvest. I stop the blessings in my life when I hold tight to what I have. I prevent myself from "getting" more by not letting go of what I have.

I want a harvest of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faith, patience and self-control... I also want a harvest of "things". I want a harvest of blessings... therefore, I need to plant those things in the lives of others.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever you sow, you will reap...

There are some things that I have sown that I pray for a crop failure. The only way for that crop failure is to repent, ask for forgiveness.

I can do what we have learned to do with our grass. We "over sow" more grass seed and fertilize it and it grows and chokes out the weeds.

So, if we have sown bad seed (weeds), after we repent and ask for fogiveness, we need to "over sow" some good seed and pray over it and believe for and expect (fertilize) a good harvest that will choke out and cover the bad.

God is so wise. He does things backwards according to the way of the world. "Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together will men give unto you..."

Yeah... I'm planning to let go of some horded things and plant some good seed...
How about you?


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eating Out At LongHorn -

If you work for or are associated with LongHorn, I'm sorry. I do not mean this personally. I'm just sharing my experience.

When we were in Georgia last week I met a friend a LongHorn's for lunch. I had not been to a LongHorn in a long time. We had a great time that day. I enjoying visiting with my friend and meeting a new friend. It was a wonderful experience. My meal was delicious!

I talked about the salad that I had gotten so much that Hugsum decided that he wanted one, too. It was on a special menu. It was a grilled vegetable and chicken salad. It was huge and sooooooo good!

So, we went to the LongHorn here. It is only a year old. There were only like 4 or 5 cars there. The place was practically empty. It seemed strange considering most restaurants in town have waits of at least 15 - 30 minutes and many are longer. But, we walked right in and we were OVERLY greeted.... very strange. They were just trying so hard to be friendly. I can't explain it, but I almost turned and walked out. Anyway, we were seated immediately and there was NO ONE else on our side of the restaurant. Again, I wanted to turn around and say, "thank you, but I changed my mind".

Then our waitress was also overly animated and way too friendly. I explained that I had been in Georgia last week and had eaten a grilled vegetable and chicken salad that was on their menu, but I didn't see it tonight. She smiled and assured me that they had the EXACT salad, but were redoing their menus. So, I ordered that. Then Hugsum also ordered it.

She looked confused and said, "so, you would like this as your meal?" Well, yeah, it was a huge salad...

She brought us half a loaf of bread... I might add a SMALL loaf. We were hungry and inhaled it. She came and very dramatically asked if we'd like another half loaf. (like either we were pigs or they were very generous) We said, "no, thank you". (but in reality, I could have eaten about 4 of those suckers!)

When she brought our salads they were very small... a side salad and had no chicken. She came back to check on us. I said, "where is the chicken?" She looked confused and said, "it doesn't come with chicken!"

Anyway, we went back and forth and I repeated that I had asked for a grilled CHICKEN and vegetable salad. She said, they didn't carry that one. She made me feel like an idiot.

She went to the kitchen and then came back and said, "the problem is that you didn't ASK for chicken to be on the salad. But, I can tell the guys to grill some and bring it out to put on it."

Well, the problem is, it was a SMALL side salad... It tasted delicious, but it was small. We did not want chicken on the side... it was not what we described or asked for.

Anyway, we left hungry and frustrated. Everyone there was hyped up and overly enthusiastic in whatever they said or did making it seem disingenuous. I felt very uncomfortable the entire time.

So, for over $20 we got half a small loaf of bread, 2 side salads and 2 glasses of tea and did not enjoy the atmosphere.

Yeah, we won't be back...

Blessings Galore!

We have had such nice beautiful weather! I don't remember the leaves being so pretty last year. Everywhere I look there is color. I'm enjoying it... Did I mention that coming home from Georgia last week that the Ozarks had beautiful leaves?

Well, I digress...

Thankfully, it has been in the 70's this week. We still don't have our gas turned on. They are coming tomorrow to fix our problem. The grandkids have loved all the little flags in our yard marking the utility lines. I'm sure they will enjoy watching the activity on the patio while they tear it up and fix it.

They are relocating our meter to the side of the house - under the patio. This means that our plans to enclose it are trashed. The meter is presently out by the fence. We would like for it to remain there. However... if it does, then we get to pay a plumber to come and fix our line. If they put it on the side of the house, then the gas company will be responsible for the line - inside and out. So, it really is a blessing.... really... yes, it is!

Yesterday, Hugsum was heading to Oz and also to Joplin, then back home. First he went to work out and take a shower there (remember, we have no hot water). I had gone to our daughter's house to shower and wash my hair. About the time I got out of the shower, he called. His car wouldn't start.

After doing all that we needed to do, it did start and he drove it to Oz. Our good friends own a car dealership and he left our car to be fixed and borrowed one of theirs to drive to Joplin and then home. What a blessing! They are such wonderful, kind, generous people. They take good care of us and bless us.

He got to Joplin to visit in the hospital and realized he had left his pike pass and money in the other car. So, he didn't know how he was going to get home. Thankfully, another friend was at the hospital and lent him some money so he could come home.

In the middle of all this, God's blessings abound. His peace and joy and love overflow. His windows are open and pouring forth.

I love it .... I love that God is faithful. He is exceeding abundantly above ALL that we ask or think. He is not surprised by any of this. He has already made the provision and blessing available.

We serve an AWESOME God!

Blessings ~

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A New Blogging Friend...

A friend of mine has started a blog! I'm so excited for her (and the world) because she has so much to share. I hope that you will join her and encourage her.

Click over and read her blog, Lace and Southern Grace. You will be blessed!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

By the Side of the Road...

Yesterday when Rebekah dropped the kids off she said she saw something on the side of the road across the street. We knew the people were moving and that they were cleaning out.

She ran over and grabbed a doll bed. It has a highchair built into the foot of the bed. It seems to have had other parts at one time, but they were not by the road. It also has some magic marker markings on one of the legs... We found a screw to secure the head to the bed and it was an immediate hit.

The kids played and played. Finally, the older two got involved in other things, so Posey took over the bed...

It looks like she is quite comfortable in it.

I made a "night night" to go in it and they have really enjoyed this "free" toy!

Blessings ~

The Blessing of Warmth

We are having very nice, mild weather here. Praise the Lord!!!!

It is no secret that I prefer warm (HOT) to being cold. I enjoy the pretty leaves changing color, but I honestly dread the thought of winter and the cold that comes with it.

Yesterday was beautiful! We had such a wonderful day of sun and temps in the 70's. This week will be the same. I'm doing the happy dance and smiling!

We got out and raked leaves and bagged them. The yard looked nice and neat and clean for about 3 minutes. Then the wind blew and more leaves fell.... This morning the yard is covered again. Poor hugsum .....

It is hard to believe that we have lived here for a year and a half already! Wow.... time flies.... things happen...

When we first moved in, we smelled gas and had the gas company come out and check for leaks. There was a very small leak that did not warrant concern or attention. Sometimes, we would smell gas, but reminded ourselves that it was "nothing to worry about".

Sunday afternoon I was outside on the patio enjoying the beauty and happened to get a strong whiff of gas. So, yesterday hugsum called "the" company and they came out and checked... yep, a nice gas leak between the meter and our house in the line going under our patio.

They turned our gas off until they can get the line fixed. This means finding the line and digging up our patio and fixing the leak and installing a new meter on the side of our house (on top of our new siding :( ). They said our gas will be back on by Friday.

With all that said, I'm EXTREMELY happy for the nice warm afternoons, new siding and insulation and new insulated windows... we have no heat and no hot water. We will remain nice and warm inside our home (may be a little smelly, but warm! - just kidding, we will take baths!)

We are laughing at it all... So thankful that the leak is outside because that means the gas company fixes it for us. If it were inside, we would have to tear up our floor at OUR expense. The unseasonably warm weather means that we are not cold.

God's goodness and blessings are wonderful!

Blessings to you!