Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Racing into May.

Welcome to the weekly hodgepodge questions… made for bloggers but anyone is welcome to join in.  So, feel free to answer here, or on Facebook, or through my email (mfabiansc@hotmail.com.)

Or, if you prefer, just read along.  Here are the questions and my answers.

1.  April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes.  Are you blooming where you're planted as we begin the month of May? 

Yes, I like to think I'm "blooming" going into May.  I have some interesting and fun things scheduled for the coming month…  my daughter's graduation, and my 30th wedding anniversary.  So, I have much to celebrate, along with the enjoyment of each and every day of living here in the lowcountry.  I love this time of year!

2.  On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no big deal, and 10 being full scale panic, rank your fear of spiders. 

Spiders don't scare me unless they are big and fuzzy.   The normal ones you find around the house are not bad…so I give my fear a 3.   We spray against bugs so I rarely see any spiders IN the house.   But, I have seen some large ones with big webs out in the landscaping… some with a yellow body.    Yuck.

Now my fear of snakes!   That's different. My fear:  it's a 10 !!!!

3.  May is National Salad Month (who knew???)  …bedsides lettuce what are two salad must-have ingredients in your favorite salad? 

I love many types of salads.  I want most to have some chopped tomato and some type of cheese sprinkled on.   Greek, taco, wedge, summer…  so many salads to love!

Time for a pun:   What is a honeymoon salad?   Lettuce alone!   (Let us alone)    haha

4.  Joyce: "I mentioned on my blog last week that my daughter1 will be moving to Washington State after she is married." Of the following sites in the Northwest, which would you most like to see in person - Crater Lake (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), San Juan Islands (Washington),  Mt. Ranier (Washington), the Oregon coast (Oregon), Mt. St. Helens (Washington), or Olympic National Park (Washington) ?  

I think I would chose seeing Vancouver in person - in good weather though.  I have heard it's beautiful.  Clean.  Charming.   I have never been to parts west of Toronto in Canada…  so, it would be an adventure.  I loved the Oregon coastline when my hubby and I drove it many, many years ago. We used to live in northern California - way north in Redding - and he worked for Coca-cola and had territory in Oregon.   So, he has been to many of the spots that Joyce listed.   Our daughters were young at the time so I didn't go on business trips with him back then.  But, the Oregon coast was lovely!

5.  This coming weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby… when did you last race (literally or figuratively) to cross a finish line? 

I'm not a runner so I can't give a literal answer.  I wish I could run…  but I have never had the stamina (which I guess I never worked on either….)   This past weekend here in Myrtle Beach was a Diva Run for women.  I had a couple of friends and a niece run in it.  Way to go girls!!

So, the last time I figuratively raced to a finish line?  I think it is right now…  I mentioned it last week, but I am in charge of the church's annual garage sale which is this Saturday.  The race is on - to get members to bring in items to sell, to advertise it, and then to get everything displayed and priced and ready to go!  It's a big moneymaker for our women's group and we turn around and give much of it to local charities.

6.  What is something little you love? 

How little?  Smaller than a bread basket?  ha.   And a "thing"?  Can it be an animal?   If so, then I have to say my "little something" I love are two "little somethings" and they are my pugs!   I'll try and post a picture of them and you will see why!

7.  Would you say you are more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner?  Elaborate. 

I have always been a visual person in general. And, I think I am good at remembering things I have seen better than over things I hear.  I'm not sure about kinesthetic….  if that means "learning by doing?"   That works for me too.

8.  My random thought. 

With the beauty and the warmth of springtime comes the uncertain weather - and this week the middle of the country has been hit by tornadoes.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lose so much so quickly!  Tornadoes are scary!   I used to live in Ohio where the threat and the reality of them was there often.    Now, I live in an area more prone to hurricanes than tornadoes.  Yes, they are bad too - but at least we get warning and due time to move away from the path.     Again, my heart goes out to all those devastated by the destruction of tornadoes.     Be safe everyone!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Silence is golden?

Every few years I get a cold that settles into my throat and I get laryngitis.  Well, I have it now.  Today is my second day without a voice.  I am not good at staying silent, and I hate missing out on things.   I admit I'm feeling better than a couple of days ago during the early stages of the cold - maybe still overly tired - but anytime I try to say anything my throat still hurts…     so, yes, it's best for me to just stay away from people, and stay quiet.

Ahhh….but I DO have my blog!

Yesterday I tried to do my normal activities.  I even went out to dinner last night with my hubby and another couple, friends of ours from way back, and I sat at the table - and listened, and occasionally TRIED to say something.  Well, nobody could hear me/understand me… and they looked at me weird, and it made my throat hurt.   At least the food was delicious and the wine went down smoothly.

It's never a good time to get sick.   I realize that.  I'm thankful I was not sick over Easter weekend, and that I should definitely be over this by next week when I am in charge of our church garage sale.   And then, the following weekend we go to Raleigh to my daughter's graduation ceremony from the grad program at NC State.

So, I am missing a few things right now, but nothing critical…

BUT BUT BUT  I am not one to stay in, or stay "stuck" in a situation for long.   What is it about knowing you "can't" do something?  It might actually be something you don't really NEED to do, but it's frustrating just the same.   Know what I mean?

In the whole realm of things, and what people have to deal with on a daily basis, staying quiet really isn't bad.  Yes, you can say the joke… "your hubby probably is thankful you can't talk!"   Could be.  But I have always been good at "the look"….something my daughters know well too.    Right, girls?

So, today… I'm doing things around the house, and I'll read some… and I will go sit in the sun and soak up some vitamin D…. and work on getting healthy.  

If I blog tomorrow it will be because I will be silent yet another day.   Golden?   I don't think so.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

God so loved the world…

Today is Earth Day so some of today's Hodgepodge questions have to do with this place we all call home.   The other questions use the word "engaged" in them because Joyce's oldest daughter got engaged to be married last week. Congratulations to her, and to the whole family. I look forward to reading about wedding plans, etc. in the coming months.

But for now, here are today's Hodgepodge questions with my answers.  Please feel free to respond or add your own answers.

1.  April 22nd is Earth Day. Are you inspired by nature?  In what way? 

I am absolutely inspired by nature - the amazing beauty of our world!  I love to be outdoors and I enjoy gardening.  I love living in an area with natural visions everywhere I turn…  the marshlands, the rivers, the beaches and ocean, the beautiful birds of it all.   I have often thought I could not live in a city environment, short on all that nature provides.  I need space - I need to live in an environment that God set up to enjoy - without intervention by man.    I am so blessed to live where I do.

2.  Down to earth, four corners of the earth, move heaven and earth, not have an earthly chance, or salt of the earth…   which earthly idiom have you most recently encountered?  Explain. 

Encountered?    Well,  immediately I think that I just celebrated Easter and the fact that God moved heaven and earth for us.   I also think about that I got to spend Easter weekend with family and friends who are down to earth (no airs needed) and that's what makes me the most comfortable - it's my style of living.  We had a nice dinner out - but my favorite moments were hanging out at a 'down to earth' local bar Saturday night, and after church then spending the day at our 'down to earth' river cabin with everyone.  I don't need fancy-shmancy.  In fact I prefer not to do it.

3.  Share one piece of advice you might give a newly engaged couple. 

Just one piece of advice?   lol     I think I would tell a newly engaged couple to be each other's advocate  at all times.  Support them always.   We all go through this life enjoying some wonderful times, but we also face tough times.  A married partner needs to support the other through it all.   Good times and bad.   Never think of only surviving yourself.  You are a TEAM and being there for each other in all situations keeps your relationship strong.   And, it's much more fun to enjoy the best moments together when you know you have worked through the low ones too.

4.  When did you last engage someone to perform a job, task, service, home repair, or improvement?  On a scale of 1 - 10 (ten being the best) how would you rate their work and/or your satisfaction with the job or service provided? 

We just had our old roof taken off and a new one put on.   On the scale of 1 - 10 I would give them a 6…  for two reasons.  First, they took longer than anticipated (and yes, I know weather was a factor) and they were messy on the ground. I guess it's hard to pull off an old roof without having shingles and paper flying around - but I felt they could have done better with cleaning it up every day.  I also did not like that they kept their trailer, ladders, etc. out in the middle of everything.    So, because the crew was messy we felt it necessary to have an independent inspector get up on the roof to check out the work when it was finished.   The inspector found a few issues up there - so we had to call another guy to get up there and "finish the job."

I called the owner of the roofing company and he offered to partially pay for the second workman's labor.  But, I didn't press him on it.  I just wanted him to be aware of how I felt.  

5.  When did you last find yourself engaged in small talk?  Are you awkward or an expert or somewhere in between?  

I think I engage in small talk every single day - be it at the supermarket, at church, or with casual friends at social settings.   "Wow.  Hasn't this weather been crazy lately?"  "Did you have a good weekend?"  "How are you today?"     Seriously, most conversations are "small talk" but are  still important because it becomes a simple way to extend a bit of humanity, to go through life in a positive way.   I think I'm good at it.   I certainly have experience!   I live in the south!!!   People here are open and good at saying hello! How ya'll doing?  

6.  What was the last historic place you visited? 

 I went with my cousin to Brookgreen Gardens last week (and wrote about it previous to this hodgepodge).  It is an old plantation site, and it was the home of Anna Huntington, a renown sculpturer.   It has much history on the land…from the plantation era and beyond.    It's a beautiful spot of nature - which makes me think back to question #1.  I love going there!

7.  The world would be a better place if we just ________ .

The world would be a better place if we just respected each other.

8.  My random thought for the day. 

I am in charge of our church's annual garage sale, which is going to happen Saturday, May 3rd.  I'm excited about it because we raise funds to donate to local charities to help with their needs.  And, I love to see everyone's junk/treasure come in - and yes, I get first "dibs" on items!  That is, along with the other women of the church who help with setting it up, pricing, etc.   It's a fun time and a good way to give to others.      If you are local - come on by!!!

Have a great week everyone.  See you next time…

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How will you celebrate Easter?

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day during Holy Week when Jesus broke bread with his Disciples in the "Upper Room" and shared the first Communion.  Bread and wine to represent Him.

Tomorrow is Good Friday - the day Jesus suffered and was put to death - for us.  He did nothing wrong. He came to earth to tell people how to live together, how to love, how to be peaceful - and mostly to take on our sin - and to assure us of everlasting life.  

Jesus conquered death on Easter.  He rose from the dead and He showed that physical death is NOT final.

Pretty awesome stuff.   And, that's what Christians celebrate on Easter Sunday!

Now, here comes my problem.   You knew I'd have one, right?    I know I am not being open and loving when I feel this way.  But, I feel it none the less…

Easter (as with Christmas) has become such a secular holiday for so many that I feel disappointed.   I feel it's sad that many people out there take time off from work, enjoy the Easter sales at stores, eat the Easter meal, etc … and pretty much make the most of Easter WITHOUT including Jesus.

As a Christian, I wonder how it happened.  How did Jesus get lost?   I know I come across sounding all high and mighty, and I don't want to…  really.   I want to make Jesus the number one emphasis of the day.  

How?  Well, maybe in my own little way by writing this blog… and by inviting those who are, or were, Christians - or are just really curious about Jesus - to come to church tonight, tomorrow night and Easter.  ALL denominations have services all three nights.

I love Easter eggs, and flowers, and things that represent springtime and new birth!  After winter's dead time - it's new life!   Get it?    Get the connection to Jesus?  

So, I ask, how will you celebrate Easter?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In place of the Hodgepodge….

There is no Hodgepodge today because our wonderful leader is taking a week off to spend time with her family and to prepare for Easter.  This is Holy Week for Christians.   Today is also the anniversary of the tragedy at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last year.

So… when anniversaries like it come up, I find I have to stay away from watching the news on TV.  Is anybody else out there like me?  

I totally understand the need for news programs to cover the anniversary - to see how far the survivors have come since that day a year ago.  I also know it's a fitting time to thank all the first responders, and everyone who jumped in to take care of the bleeding and the suffering.  It can be a morale booster for those getting ready to run the marathon again.  Being strong together is important.  Showing terrorists/crazy people that the hurtful acts they do will not keep us down for long.   It's all necessary…  I get it.

But, I do not want to relive it.  I don't want to watch the explosions over and over, and then the crazy aftermath as people laid on the street.   No, I do not want to watch it again.

These days so many of us carry around smartphones that can take pictures and shoot videos.  We capture everything happening,  practically instantaneously.   So, we are seeing more and more "live" events, good and bad.  And to tell you the truth, it gets confusing because we see similar video in movies.  In movies it's acted, and it's fake blood and fake suffering.  But, I think it dulls our brains to it.

My psyche will not let me watch any of it.  In movies I cover my eyes….and I have been known to miss many long scenes because I can not stand to watch the pain or the violence.  I have finally decided it's best for me to just not go to those types of movies (I used to go with hubby.)  

The same goes with real footage on the news.  I don't want to see everything up close… I don't want to watch a bone breaking, or real blood flowing, or fiery car crashes - over and over.  My heart can't take it.  

So, this morning my TV is off.

Oh, I'm remembering the families of those who lost loved ones.  And, I'm praying for continued healing for those who suffered physical and emotional damage.   I have not forgotten what happened…

I just don't want to see it over and over.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rainy days and Hodgepodge.

Greetings everyone! It's a rainy April morning here as I sit down to type, so it's very appropriate for this week's Hodgepodge questions. Thank you Joyce for leading the Hodgepodge, and enjoy your week off next week with your family as you prepare for Easter.

1.   April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes.  When did you last 'shower' attention on someone, or have attention 'showered' on you?  Did you love it, or did all that attention make you squirm? 

Well, this question makes me feel a bit guilty because perhaps I have not showered enough attention on those I love.  I will try and do better.  As for me receiving attention, my hubby is VERY good at giving me compliments and 'showering' me with love.  I don't always receive it well - although deep inside I know I'm so fortunate to have a spouse like him.  Sometimes when he gives me a compliment I either roll my eyes or say some silly remark back.  He tells me just say "thank you"…and accept it.  It's hard sometimes.

2.   Share a favorite 'spring break' memory.  Not talking about just the college spring break, but any favorite spring break memory you'd like to share. 

Back in the 'dark ages' when I went to college 'spring break' was not a party destination time.  But, I do remember going on a few get-aways with friends once I started working, mostly to get away from winter's doldrums.   One of the first trips with girlfriends was to Martinque (where is it?  South of Aruba).  I tagged along on a planned trip.  I think it was 4 days.   This is my take-away from it:  We were conservative American girls hitting the beach with french "free" women.  Some were topless. We were covered up in our one piece suits!  We didn't have much money - so we lived on french bread and cheese for most of the trip.  The airport was hot and made of cement blocks.  No luxuries like you find at US Airports.  We sat there a long time.  Our flight was delayed.  I was happy at that point to get on a plane and fly home!

I think it was my first experience of being outside the US and it was an eye opener for seeing how other people live.  It was also the first time I felt a bit nervous, knowing we were not in the safety of our own country.    

3.  It's National Pecan Month…  are you a fan?  If so, what's your favorite dish that calls for pecans? 

Yes, I'm a fan!  I love nuts (takes one to know one!  ha)    I love pecan pie but rarely have it. Oh, the calories!!  Most times I eat pecans on a salad, or just out of my hand.

4.  'Put all your eggs in one basket.' 'egg on your face,' 'rotten egg,' 'walk on eggshells,' or 'a good egg'…  which egg expression could most recently be applied to your life? 

Do you remember as a kid playing tag and saying "the last one in is a rotten egg?"    Funny how we come up with things sometimes.     Now, that I don't play tag anyone….   I think I have to say I see myself as "a good egg."   Reliable - with my heart in the right place.  

5.  In my experience ______________ .

In my experience I have learned that life is what you make it.  That attitude is 90% of it.  It doesn't matter what you do, or where you come from, but HOW you see the joy in a situation and how you learn to accept whatever happens.

I have learned that life IS short and each day REALLY is a gift.   When I was young it was hard to get that concept.   Now, in my "mid life" (I hope that's where I am) I know that life is precious and I try to make each day count.  Gee, I guess that goes back to question #1:  I need to shower more attention on my loved ones!

6.  What's a favorite song with the word rain in it's title or lyrics? 

"Rain is a Good Thing" - Luke Bryan

"It's Raining on Sunday" - Keith Urban

"She's My Kind of Rain" - Tim McGraw - although I still don't totally understand the lyrics.  I love Tim McGraw so much I had to include this song.  lol   "She's like raining confetti"….

7.  What does hope mean to you? 
Hope - means never giving up.  It means seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.  Hope means living life with rose colored glasses and seeing good in the future.

8.  My random thought. 

So, here's a bit of a philosophical question for you out there.  It has to do with the disappearance of the Malaysian plane.   First, are you tired of the "front page" emphasis on it?  And, do you think we (all the countries involved) should be spending millions of dollars looking for the wreckage and remains?  I totally understand the need for closure for the families of those missing.  I also understand the need to see if some catastrophic event happened to cause the plane to go down.  But, where does the line get drawn?  Is money spent searching even something to think about?  If so,  how much is too much?

Is the news media keeping the story alive longer than it should?  It's almost the tail wagging the dog.  The searchers are being SO scrutinized by the media that they are leading the campaign to keep looking.   Do you know what I mean?  

Wow.  Sorry.  A heavy random thought this morning.   It happens.  My blog - my thoughts.  

Happy Palm Sunday - and have a solemn, thoughtful Holy Week.     See you on the flip side of Easter! Alleluia!  He is risen!

Monday, April 7, 2014

God's not dead.

Yesterday my hubby and I went to the movies and we saw the film "God is not Dead".  He had seen it on his own last week and wanted me to see it too.  So, off we went.

I am a born and raised Christian, so I was curious about the "take" on this movie.  I wanted to see what it was all about.

I don't want to give the plot away, but it has to do with college life, and if you stay all the way through the running of the credits at the end, you see that there have been many US universities that had lawsuits on the freedom to teach God as creator of the world vs. what many philosophers theorized… and is often taught in class.

Several people/characters are followed through the movie.  Different stories, different backgrounds, different dilemnas.

I felt it was well made - not coming across too preachy, and not too corny.  It's a movie definitely worth viewing for youth on up.  It's a good movie to see whether you do or do not believe in God, or question how He works, and why, or if you are a faithful believer.

I have been lucky to have grown up in a family, and a place, where religious questioning is allowed.  It is not looked down on.  Because, with questions, we seek answers, we read, and we learn.   We can open the Bible and read it on our own - and we can attend classes to hear different points of view.

This movie is another avenue to question - to seek - to learn.

Without giving away the ending, it also prods the viewer to do "something".    Many Christians have a hard time going from talking - to doing.

Here it is…

GOD ISN'T DEAD.        He's a living God.   God sent his son…and yes, his son died. BUT his son did not stay dead. Jesus rose from the dead.  It's the key to every Christian's belief..  God's son Jesus conquered death and he did it to show all of us that death is not final.  

Easter is two weeks away - the Sunday celebration of the Risen Lord… the day to spread the good news of eternal life!  It's a day to be joyful because, through total grace, God has given us all the opportunity to live on with Him!      Not sure yet?   That's okay… but find out more.  Check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No foolin' - it's Hodgepodge time.

Happy April everyone!    Wow, it's nice to turn the calendar page and see this spring month appear!  I know we are ALL happy to get the winter of  '14 over!

Here are today's Hodgepodge questions from Joyce, our fearless leader, and my answers….

1.   Since these questions are going up on the first day of April it seems only right to ask - when was the last time you did something foolish?  Or, when was the last time someone fooled you? 

The last time?  Hmmmm….  there certainly have been MANY times when I've done something foolish.   I think I have blocked them out of my mind cuz I want to forget! ha   I'm sure my hubby could answer this question quickly.  And, speaking of my hubby, he fools me easily.  Let's say I'm rather gullible and there are times he says something because he thinks it's funny, and I take him seriously… and I'm the fool!  

2.  What's the last biography or non-fiction book you've read?  Was it good? 

A perfect question - because right now I am reading the book "I Am Malala - the Girl Who Stood up for Education and was shot by the Taliban"….written by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb.  I am over halfway through it and I am totally enthralled with Malala and her story about living in the valley in Pakistan where the Taliban came in and took over. I recommend this book to everyone to learn about the tactics of the Taliban.  Horrible. Gut-wrenching.   Yet, it's not a difficult book to read.  Written simply - but with impact.    I suggest high school students read it to learn about what students in other parts of the world go through - and how much they value education when it's not easy to get.   What a brave young woman!  What an amazing family!   We Americans can certainly learn a thing or two from reading this biography.

3.  Garlic - friend or foe?  What's your favorite dish made with garlic? 

I like garlic - in moderation.  I know it has healthy effects so I sprinkle it on most meats.  And, yes, I love warm, buttery garlic bread!   That's my favorite way to eat some garlic.

4.  Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April.  Of those listed, which would you like to see in person…    The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit, Washington, the Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, the North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina, or the Daffodil Festival Weekend in Nantucket, Massachusetts? 

I've never made it over to Holland to see the tulips when they are in bloom, so I suppose going to the Tulip Festival in Skagit, Washington would be the second best thing.  I love all the colors of tulips. I know they are "delicate" blooms that don't last long.  Around here deer like to eat them so I don't plant any bulbs.  Plus, tulips don't come up year after year, and they don't spread like daffodils.  Right?

I must suggest that if you don't go to North Carolina to see azaleas, you can see an amazing array here, just up the road from me, at Brookgreen Gardens, in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.  Brookgreen Gardens is the saved plantation lands of the Huntingtons and it has been preserved as an amazing huge flower and sculpture garden area - with something every season blooming.  Plus, it has a walking zoo through some woods, and lots of classes on the history of the area and the plantation era of the past.  It's really quite and amazing place to visit!  (Gee, perhaps I should be a tour guide?? lol)

5.  How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time?  Something that makes you say, 'eh, think I'll skip this one and move on to the next?'

Before joining the Hodgepodge group I used to randomly check out blogs… and I suppose I looked for posts that I could relate too - or I found amusing.  I prefer to read blogs that are written with a positive spin.  I don't like people who write a blog just to complain.

Once I find one I like, I add it to my list…so when new posts are written they pop up for me to see.

Can I say that reading blogs has been a bit eye-opening for me?  I have discovered that a lot of bloggers are rather conservative, which I thought would not be the case - because, you know, this is a "forward" way to communicate.  But, as I read posts I do see a "heartland" mentality - and that's good for me to see (read.)  I do NOT think of myself as a raging liberal but I do lean that way more than many bloggers that I read.  

I decided to blog as an outlet for ME - and to leave my thoughts for my daughters.  It has become much more than that.  I discovered a whole community out there.

6.  April is National Mathematics Education month. So tell us, when did you last use math? 

The only time I really "use" math is to do some simple addition and subtraction in my checkbook.  Yes, I still carry one - and I occasionally use it.  Most things I buy do go onto a credit card, but I still write a check for a donation or a one-time bill through the mail.

7.  In honor of the A to Z Challenge kicking off on April 1… choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe yesterday.

One word?   No way.     Adorable - I filled in as church secretary yesterday morning and got to see and listen to the ADORABLE children at the preschool down the hall.    Attire - I transitioned into flip-flops yesterday.  The weather was beautiful and today is going to be the same!  Appreciative - I had a nice dinner and time with my hubby last evening, and then we took the doggies out for a walk and it was a lovely evening.

8.  My random thought. 

I saw Scotty McCreery in concert Saturday night at the House of Blues. I love that venue because you can get "up close and personal" with the artist.  It's my favorite (and closest) place to see live music around here.  I have seen Jason Aldean, Kellie Pickler, Josh Turner, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Josh Thompson there. I'm probably forgetting someone.  It's the perfect place to catch a "rising star" before they move into the big arenas.    I had a fun time, with friend Jane.  

Have a good week bloggers and friends!!