Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Saying bye to 2015...

 Well, I decided to finish off the year with the last Hodgepodge from our leader Joyce.  Sure, there is a ton of other stuff I could be doing, but I like her questions and I have a quiet house right now.   So, here goes...

1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.

One favorite moment was sitting on our "riva" dock with hubby, both daughters, my son-in-law, and both dogs... enjoying the day after Christmas together, enjoying the peaceful moment, enjoying the weather, knowing the busy-ness of the holiday season was behind me.

2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?

Good question Joyce!  My past year has been a beautiful year.  Thankfully there hasn't been a lot of drama (which for "book reading" isn't really good). I guess the book could be put into the "adventure" category since we had a big wedding happen, and a few trips, and many fun times at the riva.  Can it be made into a movie?  If so - I definitely would like it to be a musical!  I love musicals!!

The title?   "The Life and Times of the Fabian Family"  Sub-titled:   A lot of fun, a lot of humor, a lot of love.

3. What made you feel patriotic this year?

The 4th of July is a pretty big celebration around these parts.  We have a bunch of friends here (it's perfect beach and boating time), and our town has a parade.  We cook out and have an all-American day.   We usually try to do something special too - like read the Declaration of Independence" aloud, or talk about our freedoms, etc.

But, I think I personally I felt the most patriotic on Veteran's Day when I, as a part of our community band, played the National Anthem, lots of march songs, and "Stars and Stripes Forever" at a Veterans Day ceremony.  It was open to the public but most people there were vets and family members of vets.  I saw many men wearing their special vests and ballcaps,  labeled with the unit, the area, the war they were in. 

We can never know what they have experienced.  The bond they must feel!   God bless them for what they went through.

4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?

Do over again to get it right?   Nothing.  But, do over again to enjoy it again?? That would be my daughter's wedding and the festivities around it (of course without the stress of it! ha)   I didn't get to spend time with so many that came to be there... and I wish I could have "stretched" out the day to visit, and dance more!!

5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

This girl is ALL about song lyrics!!    It's one of the reasons I am such a huge country music fan.  Country music has the best writers, and best lyrics! 

So...  here's a recent song from LoCash.  It's the "attitude" that I love so much in this song.  The joy in things.  (Obviously it's written by males so it's not gender-right for me.)   If you haven't heard it, take a listen.  It's a great happy song musically too.

I love my boots broke in, I love my Camo hat
Don't mind a little paint on my jeans, yeah I roll like that
I love driving my truck across the railroad tracks
If you hit it too quick, it'll hit ya right back
I love a fresh cut field with a first frost on
How it shines like gold when the sun turns on
I love the sound of them wheels with my baby singing along
When "Boys Of Summer" comes on
I love my small town world,
I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man I love this life
The sound of an ol' dirt road road
Rolling through mind
Man I love, man I love,
Man, I love this life
I love that county line bar where they all know my drink
The way she throws her hands up when that cover band plays
I love that taste of her lips when she's been sipping that wine
I still get drunk on her every time
I love my small town world,
I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man I love this life
The sound of an ol' dirt road road
Rolling through mind
Man, I love, man I love,
Man, I love this life
Man I love this life
Man, I love this life (I love this life, I love this life, I love this life)
I love that ragged old barn that my grandpa made
It was my whole world back in my innocent days
I love that little white church, out on 109
It's where I hit my knees and thank the lord for this life of mine
I love my small town world,
I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man I love this life
The sound of an ol' dirt road road
Rolling through mind
Man I love, man I love,
Man, I love this life
Man I love this life
Man, I love this life
Man I love this life
Man, I love this life
Myrick, Danny / Janson, Chris / Brust, Preston / Lucas, Chris
Now, I can NEVER leave out a Tim McGraw song.  His most current one (on the radio now) is "Sitting on Top of the World".   Part of the lyrics are...
Cuz when you got love, like we got love... I'm holding on to heaven, holding on to you.   When you got the one, like I got the one, any way you're looking it's a hell of a view!   Don't you know... we are gonna be sitting on top of the world!  

6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?
Personally?  A 9.  (I didn't say 10 because who knows what the future holds?!?)

How would I rate the condition of America in 2015?   A 7 if we don't include the presidential candidate - political world (that would be a minus number. lol)   We have a better economy,  less unemployment, etc.  There are lots of numbers to list about ways America has improved.  But, the biggest concerns of course are the fear of terrorism from outsiders and from even those here in our country.   Helping the needy, better education systems.   There are ALWAYS ways to be better and safer - but I do not think we should be all gloom and doom like some "predict" and love to spew.

7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?

I love when spring arrives!  I love the months of April, May, and June.  Nature goes into overdrive!  Everything is so beautiful! I love going to music concerts and festivals - and that's when they start up.  I love warm weather and summer activities! 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

As I touched on above, there are certainly fears and concerns that we face all the time, but 2015 was a great year - and I hope 2016 will be just as good or better!  Personally, I look forward to the new year very much!!    I have decided my new year's resolution is to keep a "Gratitude Jar" and I will keep  slips of paper by it - and whenever something awesome happens I will jot it down and put it in the jar.  I will enjoy filling it up as the year goes along - and I think it will certainly help me keep positive appreciative, and hopeful.     Yes, I saw it on Pinterest.  It's a cute idea, and maybe when I have a down day, just by looking at all those pieces of paper in the jar, it will lift me up.  

So, here's to a happy, safe, healthy, fruitful year ahead to you, my reader!    I look forward to seeing you back here at the Hodgepodge in 2016!   Cheers!!!  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Early morning post-Christmas Day thoughts

Some thoughts post-Christmas Day and pre-New Year...

I am up really early this morning because my dogs were literally "dog-tired" yesterday and they slept and slept during the day... so, now they decided this morning/wake-up time should come before daylight.  (5:30am)     But, it's okay.  I also spent the night vegging in front of football games on TV - it was the first day of quiet in the house after the holiday gatherings. And, yes, I "may" have dozed a bit in front of the TV.  lol

So, right now, in the quiet, it seems like a good time to reflect a bit on the last 4 weeks.

*  I am always relieved when I have reached this point.  The shopping, the decorating, the traveling, the extra performances, and the food & drink indulging is over.   Phew. I made it.   Everything went off well.  There were no serious hitches.  Even my pre-lit Christmas tree waited until after Christmas day to lose the lights on the top third of the tree.

*  I thoroughly enjoyed the family times, and the special time together.   We were lucky to celebrate the holidays with extended family, and then with our own daughters and son-in-law - home for Christmas Eve and Day. 

*  Although some people want a cold, wintery Christmas season - not me.  I think our mild temperatures was a "Christmas gift" all in itself!   It was nice enough to do outdoor activities...we walked the beach, sat on the dock for happy hour, and took the boat out.   My kind of "southern Christmas"!! 

*  I did my best to keep my eye, and my heart, on the real reason for Christmas!  I can not say enough about the worship and time leading up to the celebration of Jesus's birth.  For me, it's a helpful way for me to stay in the right mindset.  I admit -  I get turned off by all the goofiness of the secular celebrations, and it disappoints me.  But, as a Christian, I plug along - and pray that others will step into a church and feel the real joy of the season.  I can't imagine Christmas without going to the night-time candlelight service, and hearing the verses from Luke read, and singing "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World."  

* The music!  It is always one of the best things about December.  I was a bit overloaded this year being in two handbell choirs, and in the community band.  I enjoyed playing, but it was time-consuming and I never got my own time to go listen to some of the other amazing live performances offered locally.  I wish somehow this great music could be spread out throughout the year!

*  Now, the next couple of days are quiet... so,  I get "itchy" to start putting away decorations and to de-clutter the house.  But, I am a traditionalist in the fact that I like to keep them up through the season... which goes through January 5th.   But, truth be told, some things will be put away to make the house easier to clean, and to return to "normal."  Plus, it just takes awhile to put it all away.  Maybe this will be the year I take the time to re-organize all the Christmas boxes before storing them away til next year.  Maybe.   

*  I watched "White Christmas" twice all the way through, beginning to end - and I saw bits and pieces of "Christmas Vacation."  I missed the Peanuts Christmas Special though.  ) :

*  Each year I tell myself I am going to "cut back" and "enjoy more" and I think I was able to do it.  I definitely spent less time shopping - and I never once stepped foot in a mall!  I shortened my Christmas card list.    I didn't bake this year.  We had plenty of sweets around anyway.   I narrowed the house decorations down to just the main rooms.   And the outside lights turned out good this year, and they should be rather easy to take down.

*  I only had one migraine!  YEAH!

*  All in all, it turned out to be a great month of preparing for Christmas - and the days right around it were wonderful!  We had family together in church,  and wonderful meals shared, and plenty of time for hubby's games and activities!  Good weather, good times!  

* And, the angel said unto them, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

   Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My last Hodgepodge for this year.

Welcome to the Hodgepodge!  It's almost Christmas, so the questions below have to do with it, and with end of the year and life choices.  Read on.

1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?

Right off the get-go I'm not sure I understand our leader Joyce's question.  Is she asking me what I think is the biggest problem for the US and other advanced countries?   But she says "your" not "our" problem.  hmmmm

I will try to answer.   I think one of the biggest problems is the loss of respect for each other.   We don't have to be friends with everyone but we must respect each other, and value each other, and allow for differences.  If we could do that then we would work towards bettering our world, and we would be less stressed out.  Less combative.  Less in it for just "me" and less fearful of being taken for a ride, lied to, scammed, etc.   R - E -S - P -E -C -T....  sing it like Aretha!!

2.  Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year's selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 

I am happy with the choice of Germany's PM Merkel.  As I heard names being considered for the honor I thought how some made an impact this year for sure, but for bad reasons.  I don't think we should "reward" those who do evil and are destructive.  Merkel has been a solid, and even leader to the people of Germany, and she has reached out to all of Europe, partnering in many causes. 

Oh, and I personally like her because she is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor - and so am I! 

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.

Yes, I do!  The nativity I have is one I purchased about ten years ago.  I grew up with one in our home and I remember as a kid playing with it... moving the Mary & Joseph, and the wise men and shepherds.  I "play acted" the Jesus story with it!  My dad still has that one - and I think he keeps it up year 'round on a little shelf in his condo.

I wanted one in my home, for my daughters to see.  So, the one I bought, though it's a bit more fragile, is very beautiful - and I love it!  I think having a nativity set up in the home is a constant reminder of what Christmas is all about. 

4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

Yes, I make an effort to give back - but not just at this time of year.  I try to give ALL the time. Extra effort now?  Perhaps... with special little gifts, and a few extra monetary donations to charities.  Each year I take an "angel" from our angel tree at church - it has the name of a needy child in our county. I purchase gifts for the child so he/she have some things to open on Christmas morning.

I think we all take turns encouraging each other.  A few weeks ago I felt the pressure of the upcoming season.  I seem to get it every year right around Thanksgiving.  So much to do, so many expectations. People here - and elsewhere - encouraged me.  I try to do the same when I see it in others. 

5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

Favorite?  Oh, no you don't!  ha!  I will not call one person a "favorite" but, there are certainly some people I buy gifts for that are "easier" to shop for than others.  My daughters are always easy. I know what they like (and need.)   In general, men are a bit harder to shop for...don't you think? 

6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?

I'm easy to please!  Last evening for dinner I had a Lean Cuisine Spaghetti in meat sauce.  It's my favorite quick, easy, dinner for one!  I sprinkle on some parm cheese and it's delicious!  A little salad - and a little wine - and I'm all set!

7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.

Well, for me, as I have said before, it's a lot about the music!  So, I like to spread Christmas cheer performing in the handbell groups, and in the community band that I am a part of - and it just so happens that tonight is our Holiday concert.  Locals:  it's at 7:00pm at the Pawleys Island Community Church and it's free! Come out and hear "Sleigh Bells", "Mary Did you Know," "Celtic Carol," "Little Drummer Boy," and much more!   It will get you into the Christmas spirit!!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Today is my birthdayI'm now 59.  How did that happen?   I know we all deal with aging, and so today I think about what ALL my 59 years have been like... and how blessed I am, and how wonderful the people in my life are... and how my health has hung in there and I really don't feel the number that I am.   Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see the number, but sometimes I don't.  Inside I definitely do NOT feel the number!  I am enjoying life...and I have found ways to see the good in just about every single day.  Even among all the bad out there, the sadness, the sorrow - life still is amazing!  People are really mostly good to each other, and most share a human bond. Aging is one of those bonds.  We are fortunate to go through it together. 

Have a wonderful Christmas Hodgepodge readers!  Next week the Hodgepodge is on vacation to celebrate.  See you in 2016!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas is a coming! What's funny... or not.

Good morning everyone. I'm running on a tight schedule on just about everything right now.  Busy busy busy!  But, I still want to stick to my Hodgepodge routine.  So, here it is!

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

I can not think of a specific funny story or snafu that happened during a Christmas past.   And, really, I guess that's good!   Who took center stage at Christmas?   In the family that would be dad - he was a pastor and it certainly was a busy time of year for him!   So, our family arranged our gift opening, the Christmas meal, travel to see relatives, etc. around the extra church services.   

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

In general, no I am not afraid to tell you how I think or feel. But, I hope I do it with a bit of compassion.   I have learned over the years that everyone should be listened to, and everyone has something to say.  And, I think to stay quiet at times can be wrong.  

I have a couple of issues that I am passionate about and I like to use Facebook as a platform to express it - but again, hopefully I am not too obnoxious. (Sorry if I am.)   When talking one-on-one I have no problem disagreeing and expressing my point of view if need be.   But, I do try to speak with kindness and make clear I may disagree on the issue, but still like the person. 

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

 I clicked and went to the website, and I have got to say I like the subtle mix of colors.  Very calming.  Are they in my wardrobe now?  Not really.   But, if the color mix starts popping up on clothing in the spring fashions, I can see buying a top or dress in those shades.  

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

What?  Sorry - Joyce.  Strange question!  ha

If I could be IN a carol?   Well, I am NOT dreaming of a white Christmas.   And I don't want the weather outside to be frightful.   I don't want to "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

I will go with "We wish you a Merry Christmas - and a happy new year!"  

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

I will not "celebrate" the day.  Did you know yesterday was National Brownie Day?  These national food days can kill you! lol      The last item I purchased at a real bakery was my daughter and son-in-law's wedding cake this past April.  

I am not a big pastry person.  I can take it or leave it.   So, I can't think of a "favorite."   And as my past posts have said, I don't bake  -  but a few batches of cookies right before Christmas, and a pumpkin loaf or two.

6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.

So, I have this "quirk" about me when it comes to holiday decorating.  I don't like to decorate the house inside and out, the same way two years in a row.  I like to be a bit creative and fresh each year. 

Each year I put out the lights differently... and I change it up a little bit.  (I don't like seeing a house decorated year after year the same exact way. Boring.  See question #2: I'm not afraid to express my opinion.)

Inside I like to place the tree in a different spot, and use different decorations.  Over the years I have accumulated so many ornaments that I can't use them all at one time.  So, I "change it up" - and that goes for the mantle and other spots around the house.

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.

I can't name one specific incident, but often my best laughs come from some goofy thing my hubby and I have said to each other.  After all these years of marriage we know what makes us laugh!

Stephen Colbert makes me laugh out loud, even when watching him alone.  Does it hurt?  Not really. But, I do enjoy his zaniness! 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I have said this to a few friends the past week:   I wish the wonderful live holiday music concerts and events could be spaced out on the calendar more!  It seems every place offers them the first two weeks in December.  There is SO MUCH out there to experience right now, but just not enough time to experience it all!

I am in a community band and am in two handbell choirs. We are extremely busy right now!  Between rehearsals and performances, I have something musical just about every single day!  Sometimes two things happening on a day.   It laves me with little time to go hear all the choirs, all the special music leading up to Christmas!    I get that everyone wants to do it NOW, and then relax and enjoy Christmas.  But, wouldn't it be nice to have some concerts after the 25th?  (Remember: there are 12 days of Christmas.)  

Expressing my opinion again!     But, then, that's what the Hodgepodge is all about! 

Stay sane... breathe....    take it in.     Have a good week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Keeping it real...

Hello December! Hello Hodgepodgers!  Take a breath, be still... and take time to read. 

Yes, this month can get so crazy, but it's good to keep a routine happening, and for me one routine is the weekly Hodgepodge.  So, here it is. 

1.  Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas Special Monday night?  Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why? 

I did not watch although I planned to and I turned the TV on at 8:00pm.  But then I realized it was a 50th anniversary special of the classic show and it had lots of "fluff" so I decided to watch "The Voice" instead.  We own the Charlie Brown Christmas Show that is the classic - half-hour long - on DVD, so I will certainly watch it at some point. I do love it!

My favorite character is definitely Linus.   Out of the mouth of babes!  He is young, but wise.

My second favorite is Charlie Brown because he is so relate-able and TRIES all the time. I love his innocent efforts.

"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellant therapy for a troubled mind."  - Linus      Would you agree? 

Well, if it weren't cold in the patch,  then yes I would definitely agree!  Being still, enjoying nature, having time to think about all that is good and God-given...  there is always a need for quiet time.  It's not just for children!

2.  Describe a sound from your childhood.  What does this bring to mind? 

I have a few...        in hot weather I remember the loud "whoop" when we turned the fan unit on in the hallway ceiling.  The slats opened in the ceiling when the fan started, it was loud - but it keep the air circulating because we didn't have central air.  It brought relief.

I remember the sound of  Lawrence Welk's program at my Grandparents.  It seems it was on TV there often!  I don't think I ever watched the show in my own home, but I always did at my grandma and grandpa Fogt's house.

And, I suppose I think of hearing trains from my youth.  Again, at my grandparents (they had tracks right behind them), and also in several places I lived growing up.  In rural Ohio trains still run today, and whenever I visit there is a chance of having to wait as one passes on the tracks.  I was just there over Thanksgiving and we had to wait - but it was a short train.   I never even see them - let alone HEAR them - here where I live now.

3.  You've won a trip to a winter wonderland. Would that excite you?   Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which would you dislike the least)?   See the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland, Finland, take a winter safari in Yellowstone, or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec?  

If I won a winter wonderland trip I would "re-gift" it for sure!   I do my best to stay away from cold weather and snow.   So, no thank you.  I would definitely pass on the trip.

Of the ones listed above, the least miserable sounding trip would be the Carnival in Quebec...I think.  Why?  Because they have to have warm restaurants, bars and hotels, right??   I was in Quebec once - in June - and it was lovely.   I suggest staying at the Hotel Frontenauc. It's old and beautiful!

4.  Who or what keeps you humble?

Well, in general, I suppose I keep myself humble.  I don't think I have extra special anything to boast about... and I try to remember that what talents I do have to offer comes from God and should be used for His favor.  My husband can keep me humble too....  with "jokes" about my lack of cooking skills, etc.   And that's really alright.  I know I do okay with some things BUT certainly not everything!

5.  What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most?

Wow.  Easy question. Tough answer.    Maybe it is why I'm not a big fan of this time of year and I always feel some dread.   As I noted above, I am not a good chef or baker...so I will make some Christmas cookies but I don't enjoy it.  I worry they won't taste good. The big holiday meal? Ditto.   I do the decorating - and undecorating...a task.  I put together the Christmas cards each year, and mail them...  and it's okay to do. I LOVE to get cards in the mail, so I need to send them. I love to hear from people and to see some pictures. 

Hubby and I share in the Christmas shopping. I worry that I don't get enough for everyone.  Then there is always one or two I forget, or wonder if I should buy for or not.   Then I think about our over-indulgences, and those REALLY needy.     I wrap some of the gifts, but hubby does some too - usually the items he buys. 

My favorite part of preparation???  It's got to be the music rehearsals and extra performances.   The Christmas music is beautiful!!  I love playing it - and I enjoy listening to it. 

6.  Gingerbread - yay or nay?  Is making a gingerbread house part of your family tradition? 

I am not a big fan of the taste of gingerbread.  It's just okay.    As for making a house, yes, we have bought the kits in the past and we have made them.  When my daughters were younger we did.   It's not really a "family tradition" as such.  I do not have plans for one this year.

7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year? 

We have a new garage with an office above it under construction at our river place.  I hope it is fully completed by the new year.  We really hope to have it done by Christmas!  It's been delayed by the usual... waiting for inspections,  sub-contractor scheduling issues, etc.   The drywall is being painted right now. The floors are to go in next.  We still need the bathroom fixtures in and connected.  Electrical finished.  Then furniture put in it.   Don't know if it will get done by the 25th!  Or the 31st for that matter.

8.  My random thought. 

I don't mean for this Hodgepodge post to be a downer.  I struggle with these weeks leading up to Christmas each year.  Don't get me wrong! I'm all about celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus, and I love having my daughters and my son-in-law at home!  I love the music.  I love the children's joy at the Christmas pageant and church events.   Each year is the same with the expectations that I probably put on myself.  And each year, I tell myself FOCUS on the real meaning of Christmas and leave the other stuff behind.  

As I said at the beginning of this post, breathe,  be still at times.  Keep to a routine when possible. 

So, I'll see you here next week!