Friday, December 23, 2016

Keep it real.

It's the day before the day before Christmas.

What?   Well,  today is December 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve.

I sit here this morning, and I am thinking how I feel right now about it.  Christmas is almost here. 

Each and every year in early December I vow to stop myself from getting crazy over making the holiday 'just right' and I instead purposely try to focus on the birth of the baby Jesus. 

Because, you know...

There are two Christmases.

Christmas #1.  This Christmas is the yearly time in the church calendar to celebrate the birth of God's son, sent to us in human form as a baby.  Jesus.  The one who came to show us love, and to die for us - to take on our human sins. To tell us that God forgives, with endless grace, and offers eternal life beyond this earthly world. 

The time I spend in church at Christmas is my favorite part.  I love to hear the reading from Luke.  I love to sing beautiful carols and hymns.  To see the candlelight.  Hear the Christmas message.  It's about that Love Came Down at Christmas.  Silent Night - and then Joy to the World!  

Christmas #2.  The other Christmas is the secular 'holiday' and it has merit too. It brings family and friends together.  It makes everyone feel closer, and we experience the gift of giving.  We take time to express appreciation.  

Of course, with giving gifts comes some stress - buying the right items, perhaps spending too much money, and feeling pressure to do it right. The decorations too. The food.  The high expectations can lead to stress and unhappiness.

I have felt pulled every Advent season as an adult as I prepare for Christmas.  I ask:   What is too much?  Why do we have to do it up so big?   And why start so early?  I worry that people will feel disappointment, and others will be left out.  I feel there is too much 'everything' put on the secular part of celebrating Christmas.

It makes me sad.  That's why I am often glad when it is over.  I exhale.  I relax.  

 Secular Christmas is fun too for sure - and many, many people just go into it all for the hoopla of it without putting any emphasis on the baby's birth.     Santa Claus is fun!  (okay, it's a childhood lie that often disappoints kids - but I won't get into all that here.)   Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman.  Now there is an Elf on a Shelf.  

So, it's the day before the day before.  What do you plan to do on Christmas Eve?   All Christian churches everywhere hold services.  Most will have a service on Christmas Day too - and this year it falls on Sunday, regular worship time.  So, walk into a church.  Try it.   Which Christmas are you going to celebrate?  

Merry Christmas to you!  Keep it real. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Feeling frantic? Ready?

Are you running around frantic right now?    Thankfully, I have less on my calendar than I normally do today and tomorrow since my rehearsals are on break until the new year.   So, yes, I have plenty of time to answer the Hodgepodge questions.   How about you?

1. What's left to be done on your Christmas to-do list? 

I still need to pick up a few stocking stuffing items.  I also need to do some grocery shopping.  I think everything else is done.    If not, it's not going to matter!

2. The Hodgepodge lands on the first day of winter this year. What's your favorite thing about winter? 

Ha!  Nothing.     Seriously, it's my least favorite season.    I don't like cold weather.   I don't like the way the earth looks dead - grey and empty.  I don't like that I spend too much time indoors.  I don't like the shortened hours of daylight. 
I know - to everything there is a season.  But I don't have to like them all! 
Thankfully, I live in an area where spring arrives early.   So, I wait...

3. In what area of your life are you immature? Feel free to elaborate or not. 

Oh, I think people who know me would say there are several areas!  ha!   Seriously, I don't feel like an adult yet in many ways... and although I am way over the halfway point of my life, I still question myself at times about what I want to do with it.  I think I am immature when it comes to my passions...  music, politics perhaps.  I tend to go with my heart and not my head.   I don't analyze. I go with my gut.  I am selfish. 
But, the good news about feeling immature is the freedom to act silly!
4. What was the most (or one of the most) important lessons you learned in 2016? 
Never count your eggs before they are hatched!!  

I was pretty sure I was going to be happy on Election night - but I was stunned. Shocked.  Scared.  In denial.   I'm still there.    I don't want to get too political, but it was a wake up call to me.  I thought I knew humankind, but I felt a huge disappointment that night.   

So, it reminded me to put my hope in God.  I pray for level heads and for peace.    I am on a faith journey and perhaps this is part of my bumpy road, helping me to keep looking to, and putting my faith in, God.

5. It's Fried Shrimp Day...are you a fan? What's your favorite way to eat shrimp? Will there be shrimp somewhere in your holiday feastings? 

I have a seafood allergy.  I don't eat much of anything that comes from the ocean - BUT  - I love shrimp.  I have introduced it into my diet over the years and I think I have a tolerance to it now.  Thank goodness!!  
I am like Forrest Gump's friend who worked on a shrimp boat - and I love shrimp grilled, bar-b-qued, and fried!  I just had an appetizer of coconut shrimp the other night.  

I live in the lowcountry of South Carolina where the shrimp are caught and served fresh daily!  They are wonderful here!

6. What sound lulls you to sleep? 

I am fortunate to fall asleep easily.  Most nights I turn off the light - and the sound of silence is all it takes.

7. What one word best describes your 2016? 

Blessed.        I know it's cliche' but it's true.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
As this year comes to an end I'd like to thank Joyce, our Hodgepodge leader, for the weekly questions and her commitment to the Hodgepodge. I'd like to thank my readers of it, some I know but some I have only met here.    I hope your Christmas includes celebrating the birth of Jesus, and I hope you get to spend some time with family and friends, and enjoy good food and drink - and stay safe if you travel!! 

See you in 2017 ! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pearls of wisdom - and more

Hello Hodgepodgers!  Another week, another set of questions...

Here we go!

1. Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate.

I am a task oriented person.  Why?  I am not good at delegating to others.  If there is a task to do, then I am much more likely to jump in and just do it myself.  From beginning to end.   

2. December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls you own/wear pearls? If you're a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a 'pearl of wisdom' with us here today.

I have several sets of faux pearls.  Nothing real.   My mother-in-law gave me a set of her pearls a long time ago - and I think they are real - but I passed them along to one of my daughters.   I'm not big into owning fine jewelry.

Here's my 'pearl of wisdom' courtesy of Hoda Kotb.  "I try to live in a little bit of my own joy and not let people steal it or take it."

This quote comes from a list of "Inspiring Quotes from 100 Extraordinary Women". To see the whole list, go to

 3. Speaking of pearls...oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

I am not a fan of oysters - for several reasons.  1. The first time I saw someone eat them was when I was in college at a Baltimore Colts game (yes - Colts, not Ravens) and there were these crude guys behind me shucking and slurping oysters!  Yes, in the upper deck of the old Memorial Stadium!  It was gross.

Also, I have a fish allergy.  So, I'm not very brave when it comes to trying anything from the ocean.  I have passed out in the past from eating shrimp.

Plus, oysters just seem very 'chewy.'  Yuck.   No, I have never tried them.  

4. Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let's take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?

Thank you!  Let's think about people not in politics - who have done wonderful things!

FYI: I googled the 'short list' for this year, and most were politicians - in America and elsewhere.

I think I would pick firefighters - because this has been a year of some sad fire tragedies, and firefighters have had to work overtime to save life and property.   I'm thinking specifically about the Gatlinburg wildfires, and the warehouse fire in California.

5. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it's a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.

I like the color!    I am a green person in general.  (Must be cuz I have green eyes!)  I already have some tops the Pantone color of green - or close to it.   So, I don't plan to specifically buy something new to wear that is the color.   I also do NOT plan on changing my home colors!

6. Today I've had too much________________________.

Well, as I type this my morning has just started.  So, let's change it to 'yesterday I had too much...'

time in front of the TV.    sitting on my butt time.   

A better sentence maybe:   I've had too little ______________ .      exercise.  reading time.

7.  Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol. 
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, Did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

 I'm entering a new decade in two days.  I still feel 30-ish.  But, in reality I will be double that.  I WANT to keep feeling 30ish!   Anybody got words of advice for me?? Any pearls of wisdom?  


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!"

Tick, tick, tick...

The December clock is ticking away and Christmas will be here soon.  So, of course, most of today's Hodgepodge questions have to do with preparing for Christmas.  Read on. 

1. Let's talk holiday decorating. On a scale of 1-10 where do you fall? (1=Scrooge and 10= Clark Griswold). What's your favorite corner-room-table-space to decorate? Is it done?

I would say I'm a 5.  I used to be a 7 or 8.  Back when the daughters were home, growing up, I spent much more time (and had more rooms to fill) decorating.   We had two trees inside.  Usually one or two outside.  And lots of Christmas knick-knacks, and such.  Over the years somethings have broken, or I have gotten tired of the 'same stuff up each year.' I like to mix it up each time. 

This year I have less space, and less items for decorating.  I gave away some things right before we moved.  This year we have one tree inside, and one tree outside.  We have outside lights - which I really like most. I like to have the darkness at night illuminated (hopefully tastefully) so we have lights on our bushes and some electric candles in the windows.

Favorite space to decorate?   I definitely have scaled down over the years but I still like the main room (the living room) to have the big Christmas tree with the family ornaments,  and a few other decorations.  I prefer making the outside look festive...with a door wreath, and the lights at nighttime. 

2. Is there a nativity scene in your decorating somewhere? Post a picture or, if it's special to you in some way, tell us why. Or do both-it's Christmas!

I bought a beautiful nativity set a few years back.  I really like it and I put it up each year, BUT I have not put it up this year yet.  Since we have recently moved, I find I'm a bit limited on space for things...and, yes,  that was the plan: to downsize and make life simpler.   But, I love my nativity so I will try to set it up - I need to find a spot somewhere where I can see it but the dogs and the cat can't bump into it.  The figures are glass, so very fragile. 

3.  Do you live in a social neighborhood? If so are you glad? If not do you wish you did?

We have moved into a pretty social neighborhood - and on a social street.  When we first arrived a few months ago, our neighbors were very kind and greeted us.  One brought over a pie - and one gave me a lovely mum.  Then, when hurricane Matthew came through, all the neighbors rallied together and helped each other out.  We had many people from the neighborhood offer to help, and many came by to  share their concern for us (since we had the big hole in the roof! )

Yes, I am happy that they are 'neighbor-ly' and I am happy that they are dog-friendly too!  It's a nice place to live!

4.  As the saying goes, 'there's no time like the present'. How does that ring true in your life right now?

Right now?  Well, I believe that it really is true always!  But, as we get closer to Christmas - which is a major deadline for decorating, and gift buying and wrapping, card writing and sending, etc.,  then it really rings true.  "Get 'er done" now, or there will not be time later!

And as we know - I like to  'get 'er done' to avoid stress if at all possible!

5. Do you dread Mondays? Why or why not?

No, I do not dread them.  In fact, I kind of like them.  I do not work outside the home, so when Monday morning rolls around I do not have to get up early and get out to a routine job.  So, I find Mondays each week are days of calm after a weekend, and a day for me to do laundry, and to straighten up the house, or to do anything that was placed on the back burner over the weekend.   

6.  Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis-which on the list is your favorite holiday plant? Are any of these on display in your home right now?

I have a cactus that has a bunch of buds on it right now... I'm waiting to see if the buds will open up in time for Christmas!  I hope so.   And, I ordered two poinsettias through our church that will be used to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas Eve and Day. I will bring them home after that.  

My favorite?   I think the poinsettia.  It IS the Christmas flower!  I get poinsettias every year.   Unfortunately, I can't keep them alive from one year to another.  That is difficult to do.  Putting in a dark closet, etc.   I just go buy new each year.

7. Share a favorite quote from a Christmas movie.

Well, I have two favorite Christmas movies!  They are  "White Christmas" with Bing, and Danny Kaye...and National Lampoon's  "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase.   I just watched "Christmas Vacation" last night... and love this line when Clark's wife  is in the kitchen with their daughter and they are talking about sleeping arrangements while all the relatives are there....

"I don't know what to say, but it's Christmas and we're all in misery." 

From the movie "White Christmas"....   

"It's cozier, isn't it?  Boy, girl; boy, girl."


"It's beautiful in Vermont this time of year!  You know, with all that snow!! "

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

The movies and the music are some of my favorite things about the Advent and Christmas seasons.   I love to make time for them! I hope you do too.

Be safe this coming week. Breathe as the clock keeps ticking closer to Christmas.  Take time to enjoy a funny holiday movie...or to listen to beautiful music.  Pray for peace. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hodgepodge Day is here.

I have been blogging a few times in the past few days, and once again - I'm back!

This time it's for the weekly Hodgepodge questions - with my answers.  
As usual, our leader Joyce comes up with the questions, and we all take a turn at answering them.  I enjoy thinking back, remembering, coming up with my answers... and perhaps it helps keep my brain working a bit better.  I can use all the help I can get!!    Feel free to play along.

1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving). 

feast   -  we had lots of food.
peace  - everyone got along.
east  - we stayed home.  We didn't travel.        

2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?

Ha!  You know I won't say that I didn't actually mean it!?!  (Ya' just never know who is reading this!)    But, I know for sure the last time I said it was just a few days before Thanksgiving when inviting a few others to join us.   

3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?

I guess I would say to continue to 'think young'  and to do your best to stay current with what's going on in the world.  And, don't let a number stop you from doing something fun.  I keep a little wooden  sign by my bathroom mirror that says "Forget your age. Live your life"  as a reminder.    I try to do that every day.  

4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, corn

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

 I have never shopped til I dropped - and I do not intend to this year.  I am not a last minute shopper, and I don't like feeling that kind of stress when out shopping.  So, I try to have some ideas for gifts in mind before even heading out, and I certainly do not wait until the last minute to go purchase them.  I prefer to have everything bought and wrapped, ready to go, at least a good week or more before Christmas.  

6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

I am sitting in my favorite spot right now.  It's not a chair - but an end of the couch. This spot is directly in front of the tv, by an end table where I keep my laptop, and the table has a lamp. It also has room for my glass of wine!  Yes, it's my favorite place to 'take a load off' and chill.  My comfort spot.

I have a chaise lounge-style chair on our "Carolina Room" which is my favorite place for quiet and reading.  I love it too.

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

Some of my earliest memories come from when we went to Hope Lutheran Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  My dad was the pastor there.  As a PK (pastor's kid) I was there a lot and I remember being with my best friend at that time, Karen.  We went to Sunday School together...sat together...and sang in the children's choir together.  When we had to wait for our parents, we would go into an empty classroom and draw on the chalkboard.   She and I did not live in the same school district but we were best friends through church, and often on Sundays we would go to one or the others' house for lunch and to play for the afternoon. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Hubby and I went on a trip to Pigeon's Forge and Gaitlinburg just this past May. Seeing the incredible video of the wildfires there is breaking my heart.  We drove through the quaint old town, and we went into the Smokies and hiked.  I can't believe so much has been destroyed.    I pray for those who have lost property.  I pray for all the firefighters and for those who have had to flee.  So very sad.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday morning QBing

Monday Morning Quarterbacking - holiday edition

Mondays after a long holiday weekend are always a bit soothing. It's a chance to return to the routine of life.  It's a day of running errands and eating up some leftovers.  It's a time to clean up the kitchen and straighten up the rest of the house.  

It's a time to think back on the busy couple of days that just passed.

This year we stayed home for Thanksgiving.  We were fortunate to have one daughter and our SIL here, and we had a few of our other family members and friends stop in on Thanksgiving to share the time.   The food was good, and the weather was perfect.   The wine poured, and the firepit blaze glowed. 

It was nice to stay put because we had such an active month before with all the repair work that was done on our house due to hurricane Matthew. 

We got to watch some football.  (No comment on Carolina...  except, there's always next year.)

And, we took some time to prepare the house for December.  I like to call it "advent decorating" because Christmas doesn't come until December 25th.  Do you think "advent decorating" will catch on?   When I was a kid, growing up in a Christian family, we lit the advent candles on the wreath that sat on the kitchen table, and we had an Advent calendar with tiny doors to open every day.  There wasn't candy behind the doors - like the calendars are now.   It was either a Bible passage or a little picture of an animal or something about the upcoming birth of Jesus.  The big door in the middle was opened on the 25th and was a picture of the baby Jesus in the manger.

Now,  well, you know - times are different.  Everyone decorates so early and radio stations switch over to Christmas music so early, that by the time December 25th comes it's already a bit old. 

As I sit here this morning, I remind myself - pace myself, take the time Marla!  Enjoy the music, and enjoy the preparation...  that is what the first weeks of December are all about! 

Don't stress.  I will say it to myself again. DO NOT STRESS!     Do not think about others' expectations.   Do not fall into the craziness of the season, say "no" sometimes, and do not let others take away the joy of the season.

Thanksgiving just happened and it was a special day to be thankful for ALL the good that life gives every day.  So, as we continue on EVERY DAY be thankful.  

So, one holiday has ended - and another holiday season is starting.  I'm thinking on this Monday morning to take it a day at a time. Yes, it's time for my pep talk to myself - it's time to tell me to breathe, to relax, to enjoy, to keep Christ as the main focus.  

Here I go....

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thank you for this - 2016

I know I don't need Thanksgiving Day to be thankful for all good things in my life, and to thank God for all my blessings.  But, still, it's nice time to think of some of the people and things I am thankful about that happened in 2016 as the year comes into it's last month.

* First, I am thankful that I am still alive to continue to get closer in my relationship with God.  I am thankful for the weekly Bible Study.

* I am thankful for music - all kinds! I love the fun, 'up sound of country music - and also the quiet ballads with amazing lyrics.  It speaks to me in many ways. I love the musical talent of others.  I love what music brings to my life - a pick me up, or a lyric that says it just like I wish I had.  I love the talent of a singer and an acoustic guitar.   I love a fast, amazing fiddle and a soulful guitar lick.    I love the music I get to play with my fellow handbellers (we couldn't do it without each other), and the music and people I know tooting my flute at band and church.

* I love the live musical experience. It's a moment in time experienced by both the performer and the listener. It's a closeness that happens when the truth of the sound is put out there, and received with love. It's a bond.

* I am thankful for my morning cup of Cafe Francais coffee.  Every single day is better when I start out with a warm, soothing cup.

*  I am thankful for Stan, who lets me be me. Who gives and gives - to me and others.  Who works hard and plays hard.  He makes me roll my eyes AND laugh!  He provides; he pushes; he plays hard.

* I am thankful for appreciating the views of nature around me.  Birds landing on my new feeders.  Seeing egrets on the marshes, and sometimes fishing along a roadside water ditch!   Quiet time on the Black riva dock. 

* I am thankful for daughters who are level headed, and loving.  I love that they text all the time, and like to come home, and continue on some traditions.   I am thankful that both are in wonderful relationships with men who make them even better!

*  I am thankful for taking time almost every day to read.

* I am thankful for living where I can wear flip-flops about 3/4's of the year. 

* I am thankful for extended family who love me even if they don't always 'get' me. 

* I am thankful for going through a hurricane safely, and how it brought people together.  I am also thankful for the expertise of those who came to put our house back together, with care, in a timely manner.

* I am thankful for Miss Honeybee and Miss Daisy.  I love their snores, and their couch-back snuggles. I love looking at their cute faces.

* I am thankful for friends afar, and those right here. I am thankful for my Book Club ladies, and my closely connected church friends, and my new neighbors.  I am thankful for those friends I see all the time on Facebook, and for those who live in parts far away from here, but take time to still be in touch.

* I am thankful for my blog where I can express myself. I can put it out there without fear.

* Yes, I am thankful for Facebook!  I love the pictures of family and friends, and I love the jokes I see online. I love the memes...and even the political differences I read there. 

* I am thankful the election is over.  (That's all I will say about that!  Ha!!)

* I am thankful for my health in this year.  I have had no serious issue (that I know about) and am able to do what I want to do.  I am thankful for my bad eyesight that keeps me from analyzing every wrinkle and soft area.   ha!

* I am thankful for downsizing this year.  I enjoy the freedom of less, and love not adding stuff to life. 

* I am thankful for springtime and the new growth, watching plants come back to life. I love seeing my yard get green again, and I love piddling out in the yard - in fresh air,  tending plants, nurturing flowers.

* I am thankful that 2016 was a mix of good and bad news.  Sometimes you have to look harder for the good, but it's there.   And, I hope that all we saw this year will lead us into a wonderful 2017.  Just look for the good. It's there.

Happy Thanksgiving!!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving now. Christmas soon. 2016 is almost gone.

If you aren't running around crazy right now getting all the prep work done for Thanksgiving, then take a minute and read this week's Hodgepodge questions and my answers.
 1. What's something you might say runs in your family?   
Double chins.  And we don't like it!  lol 
Can I say intelligence??   sure.   And beauty!   

2. I read here a list of ten things you should do before 2017 arrives (in less than six weeks!)...which tasks on the list might you do? What would you add to your own 'before the year ends' list?

visit your Dr. or dentist, deep clean your home, donate unwanted items to charity, look someone in the eye and tell them you love them, write an honest letter to yourself, clean up your inbox-desktop-photos, travel to a place you haven't been, compliment a stranger, watch the sunrise, think ahead to your goals/plans for the new year
Of those listed, I suppose I should clean up my inbox and photos. I need to put lots of my phone pictures into albums so I can find them easier when I want to download them. I just went through looking for pictures to use on our Christmas card this year. It took too long because I had not grouped them in to albums.   It's a good project to do while sitting in front of the TV.
Would I add anything else?  Before 2017?  No.  I just need to get back into exercise more regularly.  

3. What's something other generations (not your own) misunderstand about your generation?

This is a toughie.  My generation?   I am a baby boomer and I think the generations before misunderstand our pace.  We move faster than before... with work, job changes, travel, even during our leisure times.

They don't understand our "throw away" lifestyle too.  But, that's because they held on to things much more.  Merchandise was built to last, was not easily replaced, and was repairable.   Now things are made and bought only to last a limited amount of time. 

4. Sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread dressing-which would you miss the most if it weren't on the holiday dinner menu?

I am a dressing lover - with gravy on it.  I think Thanksgiving Day is the only time I eat it - so it is a special dish and one that I will go back to for seconds!   I like it as leftovers too the next day!

5. What are you overthinking right now?

Ha! This question made me chuckle!  People who know me will say I am overthinking the whole election and the results...and the concerns of our future the next 4 years.  

6. Your favorite slang word lately?

I'm not coming up with anything. How about Hey ya'll.   (I live in the south.)

7. Write an acrostic for the word grateful.

Each other

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

 I can't believe Thanksgiving is here.  Then comes Christmas...    so, my mantra of "breathe, and don't let the expectations get me down" has started.   Relax. Enjoy.

Have a SAFE Thanksgiving.  Take a moment around the table and say one thing you are thankful for this past year... that you didn't have the year before.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

My blog. My view.

I know...

What am I going to say that is new or different?  

There have already been endless commentaries, news reports, and social media memes about this election.   What can I add?  

And, really, half of you reading this are already saying, oh Marla, 'geez, get over it.  move on. stop whining. '

But, the other half of you may be like me and are not quite ready to let go of the disappointment, and ready to 'give in' to the results. Why??    Staying quiet means being okay with the results.

*  I think that during the too-long campaign season the half that I am a part of always saw Trump as a joke.  Even among his own party he was not respected. The media reported on him with a bit of disbelief. Late night hosts had much more material with him than with his opponents. He was the one that was easy to poke fun of because he had no filter on himself. He never knew how to act 'grown up' and he even openingly said mean things about groups of people...including the handicapped and minorities.

I admit - quietly along the way there was a group of Americans watching, and willing to overlook Trump's rudeness, because they felt forgotten by America.  They felt that those in Washington didn't understand them - and certainly didn't pass laws to help them.  As the election showed, those unhappy people, and those hoping for more Republican ways in government, and those wanting to send a message to Washington, and those not wanting Hillary - all came out and voted.

*  So, why can't the other half of America (the ones who didn't vote for Trump) accept the outcome quietly?

I speak for myself on this one.  But, I have talked to some who agree with me.  I think by staying quiet after this election we worry that it looks like we accept Trump's moral failings, his dividing language, his egotistic style.  I don't want to compare him with Hillary in this post.  Or Obama.  That is not what this post is about.  But,  I don't get that so many Americans overlooked the fiber of America (acceptance, equality, freedom to live here) to vote the way they did.

Now, I know I have not experienced financial hardships during the past 8 years, or before, and I know I have not felt our government left me behind.   But, then...I'm white - and I'm married to someone who earns a nice salary.   We have always had medical insurance.  We have a home.  Food.  We have had opportunities that others have not.

* So, for me, that is where my belief in God, my relationship with God, my faith - all come in.  I am a Christian. I believe that as a child of God, I am given the job to do what Jesus said to do... to spread the Word, to help the poor, to love everyone equally.   I do NOT believe that our government should be run by only one religious group (even tho I love mine), but that ALL religions should be treated equally.   All colors.  All backgrounds.  All !!!

Again, why do I not stay quiet and 'get over it?'  Because my faith tells me that we are to speak out, we are to reach out, we are support those that need it.  Jesus never said to just turn around and forget them.  He never said to JUDGE who deserves help.  Everyone is EQUAL.

* Let's talk freedom.  America was founded on it.   People crossed the ocean to live away from a monarchy.  Freedom is what we are all about!  So, freedom of speech is vital.  Freedom of religion too.  Freedom with guidelines to keep us safe and equal.  (I know there is a freedom to protect yourself.  I still think we need better guidelines.)  I believe that.

Anytime a leader talks of one whole group of people not being accepted - I have a problem.  Anytime someone decides what happens to a whole group of people - I have a problem.   Anytime someone bullies and is purposely mean to a whole group of people - I have a problem.

I hurt. I hurt for those groups - made up of individuals left out, bullied, forgotten.  I hurt for those feeling fear.  I can not stay quiet and have others think I am okay with the inequality.

*  At this point I have to say that I know some people vote strictly on the economic picture of this country.  And, they vote because their own pocket is empty.   They are at a point in their life where "me" comes before "we."   I am not dis-allowing this thought.  It's real.  But, that is why it is so vital for others to reach out and help.  Regardless of who they are - or where they come from, or even mistakes that have happened.

* Rudeness breeds rudeness.  Children learn from adults.      Tit for a choice.   Speaking out should not be about that.    Political rudeness has gone way too far.

* I am a woman.  I am a strong woman.  I have daughters.  Again, I want to help all women... regardless of who they are, where they come from, even mistakes made.   I do not judge.  God is the judge.  But, again, I believe that God knows each individual person and the heart of each.   Government should NOT be God.

* I will not stay quiet because I want to set an example - and I think when people are not allowed to speak out, we have lost a fundamental belief in America.  Peaceful protests are America.   Change takes time... time is our friend.  Generations change.  To think not, is keeping your head in the sand.   Speaking out can be done with respect.... that is what I try to do.   But, truly, I can not stay quiet when inside my heart and my head hurt.

Will I drive you crazy?  I hope not.  It's not my intent.  Will I open your mind a bit?  Maybe.  Will you understand me a little?  Hopefully.

* Last but not least, I have had a problem with the slogan "Make America Great Again" from the first day it was said.   America IS great!!!  America is one of the most wonderful places to live on this globe. We have so much more than other parts of the world.  The first time I heard that slogan I was offended.  I felt immediately the campaign was going to be negative, and not about the good of America... and the way to reach out our goodness to support others.   And, it was.    America IS GREAT because we have freedoms, and we have compassion for others - ALL people.  The very person who campaigned with that slogan showed me and others that it's okay to be rude, selective, and pompous.  That is not the America I want.

If you read this post so far, I am guessing you feel like me.   Those who fall on the other half of America who voted for Trump probably checked out by now.   But, if you voted for Trump and read down to the end - sincerely, I THANK YOU.   You read/listened to my viewpoint.  We need more of that.  Now tell me yours.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's time to think happy thoughts!

The Hodgepodge is back!  Our leader Joyce moved into her beautiful new  home, and she must have hooked up her wireless connection! Because she is back...  So, we are back at it too.  Let's go!
1. Let's all think happy thoughts...share one of yours here. 
Even in this crazy divisive time, I have many happy thoughts!
   Here's one:  My new home is back together.  Once the new gutters get put up this week nobody will ever know hurricane Matthew came through!   Last week on Facebook I thanked all the people who worked on the project, but let me say it here too.  Everyone was sympathetic, and willing to jump in and get working to get the the tree out and hole covered, to put up new trusses, and a new roof.  The drywall went up and was painted. Our lights were hung again.   Thank you, thank you, thank you!
2. There's a Chinese proverb that says, "If you want happiness for an hour take a nap, if you want happiness for a day-go fishing...." What say you? If you want happiness for a day _____________.
...  go for a long walk.
... turn on your favorite music - sing and dance!

... talk to a good friend.

... hold a baby in your arms.

... own a pet or two.

... sit by the ocean or marsh.

... never turn on the News!  ha

3. Where do you go to decompress from the world around you? 
This question ties right in with the one above. I decompress at home for sure. It's my 'comfort spot' and I can read, or chill in front of the TV.  But, I also love to decompress with nature... on my back deck, or near the marshes, and watching the beautiful marsh birds, or walking along the ocean.  
4. What song never fails to make you happy? 
I have many!  
"I Like It, I Love It" and "Live Like You Were Dying" - Tim McGraw

"Country Girl, Shake It for Me" - Luke Bryan

"She's Country" - Jason Aldean

 "Uptown Funk" - Bruno Mars

"Love Shack" - B-52's

 Just to name a few!!

5. Wednesday is National Fast Food Day. Should that be a thing? Apparently it is, so tell us what's the last 'fast food' you consumed? If you were putting together your own version of a 'happy meal' what would you include? 
Should it be a thing? Oh, why not. Everything else has it's day! ha  

My last fast food was a loaded burger and tots from "Sonic" which I shared with my dogs.  We all enjoyed it!  

A 'happy meal' for me is a big ole plate of nachos, without the peppers.  

6. In a few sentences tell us why you blog. 
I started blogging for two reasons:
1.  I wanted to voice who I am. I wanted to express myself - in my 'own space' without fear.  There have been a few times that I have accidentally hurt someone (and I am sorry) but I like having a digital diary.  

2. I wanted my daughters to read about me, and know me - as more than 'just mom'. To see me as a whole person.  And I wanted my daughters to have something to look back on.   Again, like a digital diary.  
7. List seven things you're feeling especially grateful for today. 
1.  This space to blog and participate in the Hodgepodge. 
2.  Always for my family, but specifically today for a hubby who gives me independence and allows me to be a strong woman.  We would not have gotten this far without this.

3.  Amazing daughters who I am proud of, and who stay in touch with their dad and me just about every single day - via texting.  I am especially thankful for texting!  

4.  Music.  10 years ago I would had never had thought I'd be back to playing flute like I am.  I am now in the community band, in a local flute choir, and I play occasionally at my church.  I am also in two handbell choirs now.   I still have some fear playing in front of people, but I have gained confidence and I have sharpened my music skills a bit.  It brings me joy! 

5.  Today I am grateful for surviving the reconstruction of part of my new house.  As I sit here on the computer I have a finished, new roof and everything is back just right. 

6.  I am grateful for friends who 'get me' and support me.  Women are so lucky to have kindred souls who encourage and laugh together.  I treasure them.  I don't 'collect' large numbers of  friends as some people do, but the true ones I have mean the world to me. 

7.  My health - today.  I have a decade birthday one month from today-  eek!!!!!  And, my health is really good... and I am fortune to move into this new decade without any major issues.   I hope and I pray it continues.  I also know I need to work on it too. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
It is obvious that Joyce devoted this Hodgepodge to goodness, and positive thoughts. We all know -  It's been a tough time for everyone lately, and I don't need to go into it.  But, it is so important to balance our lives by remembering ALL the wonderful people and events in life.  

Thanks for coming here today to read my blog.  I appreciate it. I hope you have a delightful day!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Election prayer

Dear God,

I come to you this morning conflicted over where we are as a country.  I come to you to say I am hurt, and disappointed about how we got here.   I know it was not due to just one person, or one event, or one year of politics in America.  It's a sad and complicated world.     But, still, we are here...

And, God, I ask myself how I let my thoughts go to finding the wrong in others, those who support a different candidate.  How I was a part of the way this whole campaign season went.  I got caught up in the meanness on social media.  I listened and got drawn in to pundits on TV.

I really just need to listen to You!  I need to put my hope in You and find my peace with You.

I pray that Election Day goes smoothly, and even though so many of us are divided, we can still see each other as individuals with different backgrounds, and with unique personalities.  In reality,  we all want the same thing - a fair and safe country to live in, to raise our children in, and to call home.  

We want to be proud of who we are as a people, as Americans.  We want to show compassion, and we want to live as neighbors together in peace.  I really do believe that.  We want to be a positive  example to the world. 

So, be with us tomorrow, tomorrow night as the results come in, and in the days that follow.  Help us accept the outcome.  Help us smile.  Help us put the nastiness behind us.   Holy Spirit, be with us as we move forward.

I pray this prayer to my God, who I believe, through faith, is the true creator and the hope for us all.  But, I also ask this for those who do not believe yet,  that they find all Christians to be righteous, kind, and supporting of their neighbor. 

Dear Lord, here my prayer...



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Monday morning QBing the CMA Awards - on a Thursday.

Here's my CMA AWARDS review...

*  Almost all the big stars of today - and many from the past - were there to celebrate the Awards 50th anniversary.   I definitely appreciated the moments of honoring the great songs from the past.  I am not a Garth fan but I liked the medley that he and Trisha Yearwood sang of some of the great classic songs.

* The highly promoted 'opening number' was good. I felt Brad Paisley had to keep it together for some of the 'old timers' on stage.  Bless their hearts!!  He was leading them through their parts.   And, bringing out Randy Travis at the end.... ok, here's my take:  He has been honored at various Nashville events now.  Yes, I am very happy that his therapy is increasing his ability to speak - and he even sort of sang "amen" at the end of his "Forever and Ever Amen" mega-hit.  But,  enough.  It's a sad moment too.  I feel like he is brought out too often now.   It's weird.   Again, it's sad.

*  I think Brad and Carrie did a good job with the opening chat together.  They are always funny...and cute together.  And clean - country music is never raunchy.  (Ok, not 'never' - but they don't drop the F bomb or tell trashy jokes.)   I know Carrie was very concerned about talking about the presidential candidates without favoring one.  They pulled that off.  I personally loved that they brought out the Tim and Faith 'Barbie' dolls again.  That was funny!! 

*  I'm a fan of "Stay Humble and Kind" so I was glad the songwriter Lori McKenna won, and I loved seeing Tim sing it. I wish he would have one for Best Male Artists.  That song was HUGE - and he has been on the radio with song after song this year.   I love Thomas Rhett too and "Die a Happy Man" is a beautiful love song.  But, "Stay Humble and Kind" was such a needed song this past year.

*  I'm still not quite sure who votes.  Fans do...   but I think there is something else that goes on behind the scenes.

* Garth as Entertainer of the Year???   Seriously?    Any of the other nominees would have been a better choice.  All of them had more songs on the radio this past year and toured more.  I have heard the Nashville music community doesn't like Garth much... this is why.

*  Beyonce?   Again, seriously?   She was added or announced on the day of the show.  I guess it was the CMA's way to get higher ratings, thinking they would pull in non-country music people, to watch her.  But, it is the COUNTRY music awards show....   grrrrrr.    Fans reacted immediately on social media.   I remember when Lenny Kravitz came out with Jason Aldean at the CMA Festival, and then Lenny stayed on stage and did his own set.  Fans were not happy.  Including me.  We all paid big bucks to experience live country music. Throwing someone out there who is a different musical genre performer is just wrong.

*  Performances I loved:   Keith singing "Blue"...  he NEVER disappoints and he should win more often!   The Dolly medley by the ladies was good - and watching Dolly enjoy it was priceless!   As I said earlier... Tim singing "Stay Humble and Kind."

*  I loved Miranda singing "Vice"... emotional and raw.   Very personal perhaps.

*  Carrie:  My take...   she has a beautiful voice and can really belt it.  Have you noticed that all her songs are starting to sound the same?  I miss her early stuff.  I love when she sings softly.  She should do that more often.  It's more emotional.   Her wardrobe changes:  Again, why?  So, unnecessary.   I think she is scooting out of country music just like Taylor.     Bye bye...

*  I love Brothers Osborne and I am glad they won!  I can't believe they beat FGL but I am glad they did!  They are talented guys and don't jump all around the stage.   I became a fan seeing them live at the CMA Festival this past June.  Writers, singers, players - they are two talented brothers!

*  I love "Little Big Town" too!  Karen Fairchild was featured on the song last night, but man, they harmonize so well together.  So awesome! 

*  Poor Dolly didn't get to say her whole speech.   Love her - and she is smart, funny, and a legend - and they should not have rushed her. 

* I would not have chosen Maren Morris for Best New Artist.  Kelsea had more hits on the radio.  Both are writers and performers.  

I think I get so excited each time one of these award shows come on tv, and I look forward to it.  So -  maybe I get too critical.  Not everything is going to be a 'grand slam' - right?

What did you think?


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

At Home. Home Run. Home made. Home work.

Remember the Moody Blues song "Tuesday Afternoon"?   Well, it is playing in my head.. .along with songs about 'home.'  Why?  Read on...

1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most 'at home'? 
Well, there is no place like home!  Dorothy was right!    But, where else do I feel the same way?  First, at our 'riva' cabin (it really is home away from home) - and then at one of my daughter's places.  
2. When did you last 'hit a home run' with something? Explain. 
Ah, a little baseball connection!  Very appropriate.   The last time I hit a home run, so to speak, was perhaps when a musical performance went well.  Although, I would not really call it making a home run - but more like rounding the bases and doing what I needed to do, and then coming in to home plate.   Taa-daa!!  

I can't think of a time where I did something so well it was a 'flying event' or an amazing happening that caused everyone to cheer!
3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is 'homemade'. 
Nothing much is homemade in my kitchen!  ha   I am kind of crafty from time to time so I have a few things I have made that turned out good enough to display.  

By sentimentally, I have a few handmade cross-stitched items that were given to me as gifts. My one girlfriend made a wedding sampler for me over 30 years ago and it still hangs in hubby and my bedroom.  Another dear friend has made some cross-stitched Christmas pillows.  I put them out every year.

4. 'A man's home is his castle'...which of the world's ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why-

Mont Saint-Michel (France), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany), Glamis Castle (Scotland), Windsor Castle (England), Chateau de Chambord (France), Hampton Court Palace (England), Prague Castle (Prague), St. Michael's Mount (England), Leeds Castle (England), and Swallow's Nest (Ukraine)
Oh my.  I know you are going to think this is weird, but I have no deserve to visit a castle. I have gone through one in Germany, and I think in general most of them are the same.  Cold, dark, damp.   They were built so long ago to be a fortress, usually on a hill... and they were not made for 'beauty' or for comfort.   Now, the views from the castles would be worth seeing! 
5. What's a recent or upcoming plan or project that's required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?
Well, right now I am preparing for a women's retreat at my riva cabin on Friday.  15 women from my church have signed up and we plan to discuss Martin Luther and the Reformation since we are meeting right before the annual day we celebrate -  when Luther nailed the 95 theses on the church door. 
I have grown up knowing about it - heck, I'm Lutheran!  But, to help lead the discussion I googled information about Martin and his wife Katherine - and believe it or not, I went on Pinterest to look for a small craft to do that connects with the theme.  There were some cute kids crafts - but I'm still a bit up in the air on what the women might like to do, that takes only about a half hour or so.  Any suggestions?  
No, I am not abandoning the theme - or plan.  I'm sure it will all work out!
6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not? 
I do not think schools should completely eliminate homework, but I do feel it should be used as a time to review concepts or information learned in the classroom.  Especially in the elementary school level!  And, 10 to 15 minutes per subject should be enough time spent... because kids need down time and play time, and they need family time at dinner - and a proper bed time.  
Oh - and I have never been a fan of projects done at home!!  I disliked them when I was a student AND especially when I was a parent of a school aged child. I felt the projects were too often worked on/completed by parents.   I am against science fair projects done at home.  And remember "diaramas?  I know lots of parents who did more than 'help' their son or daughter or those!!  
7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. 
My hometown?   Hmmm...  the one I remember best is where we  moved to when I was in 8th grade. We stayed until my senior year in high school.   It was a rural, small-ish town in Ohio.   There was only one high school in town.  People knew each other - or knew of each other!  High school sports was very big!  It had a festival every summer, which was also really a big deal!  Downtown was closed off to car traffic and there were two parades (one each night) and a queen & court, and the marching band played, twirling groups performed, etc. and there were lots of vendors, and some rides, etc.  I was a teenager when I lived there so going to the festival with friends was lots of fun!  The town was small enough that my parents felt safe having us walk around (with friends) and we biked too. Tandem bikes were the big thing back then!  
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Joyce:  I hope you have a smooth move-in next week! I know you have got to be SO excited!!  What perfect timing to get in before the weather turns cold.  And, also to get settled in before the holidays.   Here:  roofers are into the second day of taking off the old and putting on the new.  I thought the drywallers would be here today but they have not shown up yet.  They are busy these days helping the flood victims so I really can not complain.  The walls will eventually get done...  and I too, hope by the holidays to have this whole 'hurricane adventure' behind us!
Enjoy the last week of October!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I sense questions about my youth, my home, and my five senses!

Tuesday has come around again.  And, with Tuesday comes the weekly Hodgepodge.

Let's get started!

1. What would you say is your strongest sense? 

Interesting question.  I think I am pretty good with the visual.  I tune in visually to my surroundings. I remember places, especially when I NEED to for directions, or for decisions.  Thinking back... I remember back to my school days when I used the visual to help me study.  I would write down what I needed to know for a test, often over and over a few times - or I would write it all down and try to squish it all on one page, thinking "See! This is all I need to memorize!!"

Second is my hearing.  I notice that I tune into sounds more than others.  I hear small sounds.  Plus, I love hearing music and "decoding" it a bit... what instrument is playing?   How does that singer pronounce words, or when does he/she breathe?   I love hearing birds sing. And, I absolutely love hearing quiet at times...especially when my ears have had an overload of sound for awhile.

2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?
As in ESP?  Or "a special gift" of perceiving?   Yes... and no.  I believe it's possible for some people to have a way of experiencing something that doesn't include the 5 senses. I have watched some people on TV that amaze me. I believe the human brain is so unbelievable in what it can do, but it does not work the same for everyone, and some people can reach into a part of it that others can't. So, call it a 'gift'... or a 'uncanny thought process'... or a 'sixth sense.'  But, yes, some - not all - people have it.

3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.

In the morning!  Especially if I have something to do, or some place to be.  And, especially mornings when I need to wake early and set an alarm!!  On those mornings,  I get up and I count back from the appointment time, or rehearsal, or whatever, and I think...okay, I need this long to drive there so I have to leave the house at a certain time. That means I have to allow myself a certain length of time to get dressed, and eat, etc.   I HATE to be late - ever.  I never want to be, and I never want to make others wait... so watching time is very important to me.

I gotta say, I love the occasional days when I don't have to rush in the morning or watch the time closely.

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? 

I have worked fast food. I guess Burger King is considered a restaurant!  ha  I had a part-time job in high school at the local BK.  I also worked at a Ponderosa Steak House for awhile while I was in school.

How would I rate the experiences?   Both jobs were good starter jobs for a teenager.  It was my first experience working in the 'real world' where I had to clock in and out, wear a uniform, prepare food, follow directions and standards, and DEAL WITH THE PUBLIC!   So, it was a good learning experience!!

I have NO desire to ever own a restaurant!  It takes so much work, with long hours, and you hire & fire people, and deal with all kinds of customers.  It's a very tough job!  I see so many restaurants come and go!  We have a couple of local locations that seem jinxed. A new restaurant will come in, and have a big splash when they open, and they stay open for business for awhile...then quietly close.  Then the cycle happens again.  Over and over.    "Trendy" restaurants come and go.  I suppose a good, basic restaurant with a nice mix on the menu has the best chance of staying in business and in getting repeat customers. 

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.

A few years back I signed up for the 3 month free membership to and did as much exploring online with them as possible in those months.  I then let the membership end. 

I learned that even though both sides of my family (my mother's and my father's sides) hailed from Germany, they were quite close to the French border.  And, there were times of territorial battles where the line between the countries moved a bit.  So, perhaps I have some French in me!

I learned that my one side of the family American-ized their last name when they came here.  They went from Vogt to Fogt.  It was how it was pronounced anyway.   I also learned that there were some large families back then, back in the days the families were still in Europe, and a few children died young.  I loved seeing first names that were passed on and some still are.  We had Paul, Pauline, and Paulette.  We had Frederick show up a few times.

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?

I shared with my sister in my early years.   But, once I got my own bedroom, and once I got into migh school, I remember a bright bedspread that I loved at the time!  It was orange, green, and brown - with big pop-style flowers on it.  My walls were painted peach.  I had a dresser and a headboard/footboard for my bed - from Ethan Allen. My parents bought it for me when I got my own room.  I know I had a desk in my room too. I think it was kind of a pressed wood and metal style.  I had a bulletin board above it...with all my 'special stuff' on pins, movie stubs,  etc.

7. Anyone who knows me knows I love_______________________?

Oh, easy answer.   Country music and country music concerts!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Thank you all who commented about the aftermath of hurricane Matthew, and the hole on my house where the tree came in!! It was crazy the first few days, trying to get help lined up. And now... It's been quiet now for a few days. We have the hole covered with plywood and tarps.  The weather has been beautiful since Matthew and it has helped with cleanup around these parts.  But, there is still much to do!  So many, many huge piles of branches, and cut-up tree trunks, and leafy debris are in everyone's front yards by the curb.    The repair work to the house starts this weekend - with scaffolding going up inside.  New trusses will be going in, then a new roof - and new drywall, and painting, etc.   It won't be quiet much longer! 

Between the political noise, and the house repair noise, I will be looking forward to the 'sound of silence' that my sense of hearing longs for at times!!

Have a good, safe week everyone!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hodgepodge. A little late due to Matthew

Hello Hodgepodgers!  I'm a bit late this week with good reason.  Matthew!  He came a callin' and he made life around here challenging.  On Saturday hurricane Matthew first dropped a bunch of rain - for hours - and he saturated the ground, and then the wind came.  A very strong wind that lasted for 3 hours or so.  Word has it that here in the lowcountry Matthew came on land as a category 2. I believe it. It was crazy!  To make a long story short, we ended up with a tree on our roof, and through our roof into our dining area and kitchen.   Thankfully, we were hunkering down at our river home, inland about 8 miles. So, we were not home when the tree snapped and fell.  And, thankfully, the rain had stopped when the wind kicked in hard.  So, the tree fell... and went into the house, but no rain came in.  So, the questions below are quite appropriate since I had JUST moved into our home.  Just two weeks!  So...

  1. What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving house?

Hubby and I spent about two months updating the home we just bought. We put in new light fixtures, updated carpet, painted, and more.  Then just two weeks after moving the furniture and officially moving in, hurricane Matthew hit our area and knocked over a huge gum tree that fell on our house, went through the roof, and partially into the house.

So, I have to say it has been the worst event of our move.  We just got most things moved over from our house that is presently for sale... we moved the furniture, clothing, personal items, etc.

The best?  The neighbors! They have been friendly, and compassionate to us about what we are going through right now.  We have good folks around us! 

2. What's moved you recently?

I have to go back to the question above... I have been moved by those wanting and willing to help, and by those just feeling our pain over the events of the last few days.

I have been moved to tears over the initial damage.  Then shocked, and moved to scared tears.  And I have laughed over it too. I have felt love and caring from those around us.  So, it's been a very 'moving' time in many ways this week for sure!

3. Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?

I feel it moving forward!  Yes, we have had a setback - but all in all, we move on - and we don't regret our move.  

4. On the move, move mountains, get a move on, it's your move, or bust a move...which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.

I think we all can move mountains when we put our time and effort into it.  In so many ways!  I like to look at the big picture and think positive.  Do it baby!    Even with setbacks... or a step back, we still take two steps forward.   Sounds like a country song to me!  So, on to the next question...

5. What song makes you want to get up and move?

Oh my! So many songs!!   "Country girl - shake it for me!" by Luke Bryan  and  "Uptown Funk" and  I can never sit still when I hear "Love Shack"!!   By the way, Luke Bryan has a song out right now called "M-O-V-E" and it's a greta song for dancing.  You got to listen - and MOVE - to it!! 

6. Your favorite snack to grab when you're 'on the move'?

A handful of peanuts.  Or a granola-nut bar.

7. What one accessory makes your house feel like home?

I have some special items: family pictures,  favorite pillows, and such that make me feel in 'my zone'.  I also love having my computer close by.  They are my comfort things - and they are what makes it feel like 'home.'

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

 We have plywood and tarps up and power on again.  Matthew certainly had us in an upheaval for a few days.  Yes, we have much work ahead of trusses, a new roof, drywall, painting, gutters, etc.  But, we are going to be fine. I pray for those in Haiti - and Bermuda.... and even our neighbors in North Carolina dealing with horrible flooding.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DESSERT or DESERT. Which do you prefer?

I am looking at the Hodgepodge questions rather late for me today.  Why? Well yesterday was finally our move day and we are now in our new and smaller home.  Everything went well and we are somewhat unpacked.  It's been a slow process in total - and we aren't done yet.  But, since we don't have a contract on the home we are selling, we can take our time getting all the stuff out of it.  There are still lots of little things in the closets and in the garage. 
So, a nice break from unpacking is this week's Hodgepodge.
1. Have you ever been to and/or lived near the desert? What did you think? Travel and Leisure lists the 'coolest' American desert towns as-

Palm Springs CA, Virgina City NE, Bend OR, Winslow AZ, Marfa TX, Grand Junction CO, Silver City NM, Moab UT, Taos NM, Yakima WA, Borrego Springs CA, Terlingua TX, and St. George UT, and Tubac AZ

Have you been to any of these? Would you like to visit a desert town? Which on the list would you most like to see?
I have never lived in a desert city per say, but I did live in Redding, California, which is really hot and dry.  It's a large town at the northern end of a valley.  Although the mountains are not far away, the valley stays very hot most of the year.  Highs in the summer hit 107 or so.  The landscape was very desert-y looking.  I have always said that describing the California hills as 'golden' isn't quite right. They are really just very dry, a light brown - and a fire hazard.

I have not visited any of the places listed in the 'coolest' desert towns.   I'm not  desert person.  I prefer more greenery - lawns, shrubs, trees.  I love living near the beach.
2. What's a plan or project you've deserted in the past year? 
 I'm having a tough time coming up with an answer for this one.  I suppose each year I wish I would be better at correspondence.  I also wish I spent more time on music - practicing.  Especially the piano and flute. 
3. Desert-dessert? Share two or three words you find yourself having to think twice about when it comes to spelling.  
Well, just above I questioned myself about how to spell the word correspondence.   Spell-check helped me out.  It does come in handy!!  ha    I have trouble with niece... the whole 'i before e' rule confuses me sometimes because there seem to be many words that don't fit the rule. 

4. High and dry, like watching paint dry, dry run, dry as dust, not a dry eye in the house...which phrase can you relate to currently? Explain. 
I can't say any of the expressions relate to my life right now.  
5. How often do you frequent the dry cleaners? Starch or no starch?  
My hubby still likes some work shirts laundered professionally, and we both occasionally have some dry cleaning. I go to the cleaners about once every two weeks.  

Hubby likes light starch on dress shirts for work.
6. What's a food or beverage you enjoy that's named for a place? 
Woodbridge Chardonnay!  There is probably some place named Woodbridge, right?  If not, there should be!!    I think there is a Woodbridge in New Jersey although I am pretty sure that is not where the wine is produced.  lol  
7. Do you need solitude? 
Absolutely!!!  I love my solitude.  I need it every day.  
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Question: who would like to recommend a good book to read now?   I'd love to hear your suggestions!  Tell me why you liked the book so much! 
Have a wonderful week ahead!

Friday, September 23, 2016

My two cents.

I know many will disagree with me when I say this, but I think America is reaping what it  has sown in terms of the gun violence happening.  There is no doubt in my mind that the increase in shootings - cops shooting citizens, citizens shooting citizens, accidental shootings - is because we have allowed loose gun regulations and have let carrying a gun become a common occurrence.

Cops shooting citizens -  I can not even imagine what it is like for policemen and women who now fear that every single traffic stop or domestic disturbance call they go on could turn into someone shooting at them.  The freedom of gun use by citizens has created a fear for police, and it has cause citizens to think they can take the law into their own hands.  We must have police, and we need to give them the right to protect us.  We can't have an equal playing field.   But, now we do. 

Citizens shooting citizens -  It doesn't take a math expert to figure out that the more guns that are out there on the streets, the more they will be used.  And, the fact that ordinary citizens feel the NEED to carry a gun with them all the time means they also in a fearful society.  They think "I will shoot you before you shoot me!"    Citizens who carry all the time carry their guns into places that should never have them...  bars, churches, schools.   Even if by accident.   People forget...  people act dumb...people want to be superior...people are fallible.   People get hot-headed.  People get road rage.   Putting a gun into these situations is just plain crazy - and deadly.

Accidents -  The more guns, the more likely there will be an accident with one.  Again, statistically, it just happens.  Well meaning gun owners leave them in cars, or heaven help me - where a child can pick it up.  They clean them without proper concern.  They leave bullets in them. They do not lock them up.  Accidents  happen.  And a gun accident can be deadly.

I see every single day on our 24-7 news sources all of the above types of gun shootings.   My heart breaks for families of cops, for victims of rage, and for the innocent children.

I hear people say "it's too late - guns are everywhere" and they say "the bad guys will always have guns and we need to protect ourselves."    I'm sorry.  But, I find that both statements are said as a way of giving up, and of thinking nothing can be done to better our country when it comes to gun deaths.
I WILL NOT GIVE UP!   And, really, if we work to slowly improve this "wild west" world we have created, isn't that alone worth it?  Saving one or two from a gun death?  Isn't even that worth it?

There are things we can do NOW to better our country, and to feel safer - without needing to rely on guns. We can require gun makers to make "smart guns" that can only be used by it's owner with a fingerprint - just like iphones do today. (the technology is here now - so why isn't it happening?)   We can restrict places to carry them, and we can raise fines and punishment.  We can push for stronger gun sale requirements (by both buyer and seller). We can vote for those who support a safer America and want to see gun restrictions.  Guns are not going away.  Nobody thinks that.  But, there is SO much that can be done to turn the tide the other way, and to change the fear so many feel.  Guns are not the answer to fear.  In fact they make it worse.

For me - I have always thought that owning a gun is such a big responsibility!   Think about it.  It could be misused or stolen from me...or I could get nervous and shoot out of being scared.   I never ever want to put myself in that situation!!  EVER!

When I see on TV the videos of horrible confrontations when police stop a vehicle and the driver has a gun, I just know it's not going to end well.  How can it?   Both the police and the citizen are afraid. Both have lost trust.  Guns escalate the situation.

So, this is where America is now.  I don't know how we turn the minds of those who fear, or want superiority, or do not trust.  But, making guns harder to get, and making people more responsible with them is achievable.  Please don't think it isn't.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The times, they are a changin!

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge.  Another list. My answers.  
Something's don't change!
1. Thursday (September 22) is the first official day of autumn in this part of the will you welcome the season? I know some of you have been celebrating way too early, but it's official now so permission granted. House Beautiful recently listed ten ways to make your home smell like fall (you can read the list here) What's a scent you love this time of year and how will you add it to your home? 
How will I celebrate and welcome the new season?  I won't do much really.  I have some autumn decorations but I just carried the box over to the new home.  I may put out a pumpkin on the front porch over there.  It's hard to do anything while we are transitioning from one house to another. 
When the weather gets cooler I will change over my wardrobe and put away my summer-y colors, and pull out my jeans and sweaters.
 I think pumpkin is overly used now. But, I like the smell of a warm loaf of pumpkin bread in the oven, or some apple cider steaming on the stovetop. But, in reality, all I do is change my plug-in air freshener from lavender to spice! lol

2. Apple pie or pumpkin pie? Apple cake or pumpkin bread? Warm apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte?
As I answered above pumpkin bread is a winner!  I love both apple pie and pumpkin pie, but I don't really eat them except at Thanksgiving.   Warm apple cider beats out the spice latte.  
3. Do you suffer from what is sometimes referred to as an afternoon slump? What helps ward it off before it hits and/or tell us what helps you shake it off once it's here?
Oh yes I do! If I sit down in the afternoon to read a book I doze off. I often make a cup of real, caffeinated coffee to sip while reading to help me stay awake.  My afternoon nap has nothing to do with the quality of the book.  It just happens!  
So, what is my best way to ward off the afternoon slump?   Just don't sit down!   
4. Ladies-how have your friendships with women inspired you or made you a better person? For the men here today- how have your friendships with men inspired you or made you a better person?

Friendships with other women is vital for my life.  I love knowing I can hang out with a girlfriend, and talk about 'girly things.'   I think women friendships are really important during the college years and those friendships bonded then tend to last a lifetime!  Friendships with other women when raising your children is also wonderful - sharing stories, laughs, helping to keep sane! ha!  

Am I inspired by my friends?  Yes!  They have many of the same ups and downs that I experience, so they understand, and they know how to say the right thing at just the right time to me.  They show me that 'girl power' is strong, fun, and loving!

5. Are you a people pleaser? If you said yes, do you think that's a good or bad thing? If you said no, do you wish you were more of a people pleaser? 
In general, yes, I am a people pleaser.   And, yes, I think it's a good thing.   I never like being in a situation where disagreements get out of hand and regretful words are spoken.  I like to keep everyone calm and happy... so I do what I can, or maybe say something to ease the thick air.  
Saying that, I do not go as far as to do something or say something that would go against my moral and ethical compass! I also won't be walked on.
6. The seasons are a-changin'...share a favorite song relating in some way to change (not necessarily seasonal change, it could be change of any kind).
Well, immediately I think of David Bowie's "Changes"...  and then, thinking of season changes, I think of "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds.   "For everything, there is a season...    turn, turn, turn."  Bob Dylan's "The Times They are a Changin" is another classic. 

7. What do you wish would never change? 
Wow! Can I make a list??   I'd like to never change my age again!  I want my adult children to stay the same - happy and healthy.  I never want my husband to have serious ailments.  

Beyond keeping my family and friends the same, I never want people with good hearts to harden.  I don't want to see peace change to war.  
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
We had a realtors Open House today at our home we have on the market.   Instead of "turn, turn, turn" it was "clean, clean, clean!"   Will it make a difference?   I'm not optimistic about it really, but at least my house is CLEAN for a few days!! 

Have a good, healthy, and happy week!