Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hello June - a time of fun and sun!

It's the end of May as I type this.  May is such a beautiful month - I am always sad to see it go...
but as you will read in this Hodgepodge, the new month will bring fun adventures.  As my father says "chronology is inexorable" - 6 comes after 5.  Time marches on.   So, cheers to May - and hello June!
1. Tell us about one fun thing on your June calendar. 
Every June I go to the CMA Festival in Nashville.  Every June it is a highlight of my year!   Again, I can't wait to be there and this year I get to share the experience with both my daughters and my SIL. 
Just a couple more fun things I am looking forward to:  Both my beautiful daughters have June birthdays!!  I'm helping with the VBS at the end of June.  I haven't helped since back when my daughters were young and attending.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the children and being a "crew leader."    Also, the last week of June brings my best bud Sue and her sister and family down here to the beach.  They have a timeshare, and I look forward to making time and hanging out with Sue for awhile.  We don't get the opportunity very often anymore.  Last year we only saw each other for a wedding and a funeral.  Makes me think of a movie! lol
2. How careful are you in the sun? Do you tan or burn? Do you make it a point to see the dermatologist every year? 
I admit it. I am not very careful in the sun.  I have skin that tans pretty easily and I enjoy a bit of color on me.  (It makes me look thinner!  ha)  I know it's not true but I feel healthier with a tan!  

I went to the dermatologist within the last year just because I am at an age where I knew I should, and a few things had appeared on my skin. I wanted a "full body check" - lovely. Not.    A few little spots were frozen on my nose and a teeny tiny little spot was cut out on my upper leg.  There's a whole story to that experience!  In fact, I think I devoted a blog post to my dermatology experience back then.   The spot was not cancerous, thankfully.  The post was about the messed up appointments, my disappointment in "customer service," and my need to go to a walk-in doc-in-the-box to get my stitches out.  

3. Describe a time when you wanted to 'throw in the towel'? 
Hmmm.  I have to think back on this one.  I can't come up with a time in recent history.   Blessed?  Me?  Yep!  I am sure there were times when I was working full-time and had had a bad day, and I just wanted to chuck it all...but,  that was a long time ago.
4. What's a song you love that has a day of the week in the title or lyrics? 
You know I love Hodgepodge questions that have to do with music and lyrics! 
The first song title that jumped into my mind is Keith Urban's "Raining on Sunday".  Love that song!  Here are the words of the chorus.

Pray that it's raining on Sunday
Stormin' like crazy
We'll hide under the covers all afternoon
Baby whatever comes Monday
Can take care of itself
'Cause we got better things that we could do
When it's raining on Sunday
5. Are you a fan of berries? Which one's your favorite? What's the most recent berry dish you've eaten? Which blueberry breakfast food appeals to you most-blueberry pancakes, blueberry yogurt, or a blueberry muffin? 
I like strawberries... on shortcake, in yogurt, in a daiquiri!  ha!   

Of the breakfast foods above that have blueberries in them, I would take a blueberry muffin.  Do you all remember the Duncan Hines blueberry muffin mix?   I guess it's still around.  Growing up I loved when we had warm, fresh blueberry muffins right out of the oven - with butter melting on it!
6. What's something you want to do before your next birthday? 
I have a birthday in December.  So, I have about 6 months until it rolls around and I plan on being moved by then!  We just got a contract on a smaller house just a few miles from here.   Actually, what I REALLY REALLY want before my birthday is to have this house sold! My hope is that we don't have to take care of two houses for long.
7. June 1st is National Say Something Nice Day, so let's all say something nice here. 
Really?  We need a special day to remind people to say something nice?   Crazy.   Okay.   My something nice....   I love that there are so many people who are willing to give to others without having to be guilted into it.   Yes, there are many wonderful people in this world who care and love each other, friend or stranger.   They are people who put their own needs second to those of others.  Thank you to them!! 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Speaking of special days, June 2nd is the day to wear orange in support of better gun safety laws, and in support of reducing gun violence in America.  The group called "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America" is calling for us all to wear orange on Thursday.  You can google them or pull them up on Facebook.  I will be wearing orange!  Won't you??

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hodgepodge - bye bye May.

I'm getting to the Hodgepodge a bit late this week.  I just got back from a short trip to the Pigeon Forge - Gatlinburg area with my hubby.  It was a business trip in a nice area.   So, I went along.  I'm wondering...  have you ever been there? I was so surprised by the ying and yang of the towns!   Pigeon Forge is a long strip of every fast food place you can think of, hotel and motels in a row... attractions (theaters, pools, amusement parks, etc.) I felt I was back in Myrtle Beach.  It had the same places to go that are up the road from me on "The Grand Strand".   Oh - except with MORE pancake houses!  They were everywhere!  Is this what Dolly Parton envisioned??  SO, so commericalized!   Thankfully, Gatlinburg has more charm - and the Smoky Mountains right next to it.  We did a bit of hiking - and went into an amazing natural cavern under the mountains.
So, I'm back home and getting back into the swing of things.   Here's the Hodgepodge.
 1. How should success be measured? Using that as your standard, who is the most successful person you know? (Or one of the most successful?) 
Being a success means doing what God put you on this earth to do!   It means being a viable person in this world - living with meaning, and finding happiness all along the way! 
I have more than several church friends who are successful in life.  

2. Have you ever been to a hot air balloon launch/fest/party? Ever taken a ride in a hot air balloon? Is that on your bucket list? According to Frommers the ten best hot air balloon adventures in the world are-

Loire Valley (France), the Serengeti (Tanzania), Napa Valley (California), Lake Champlain (Vermont), Cappadocia (Turkey), Istria (Croatia), Gstaad (Switzerland), Yarra Valley (Australia), Muelle (Costa Rica), and Albuquerque (New Mexico). 
Which one on the list would you most like to experience? 

I have only been in a hot balloon once - and it was tethered.  We went up in the air, but not very far.    And that's okay with me.  I don't have a desire to take a long and high ride in a hot air balloon.   I would be too fearful.  I know of a friend who took her parents on one and they had a hard landing.  All of them needed hospitalization from injuries and it took a long time to recover.  So, no thanks.
3. May 25th is National Brown-Bag It Day. Did you/will you pack a lunch today? When did you last pack a lunch for someone and what are your go-to ingredients for a brown bag lunch?
No, I will not pack a brown-bag lunch today.   It's been years since I have packed lunch in a brown-bag or anything else.  I used to pack lunch all the time for my daughters when they were in elementary school.  That was a LONG time ago!  

 4. What's one of your favorite dance scenes from a movie or television show? 
Wow!   I think most people will answer the final dance number of "Dirty Dancing."   But there are SO many to pick from, including... the dance scene in the mill in "Footloose"... and the final carnival scene in "Grease."   I love some of the old movie dance numbers too...  I love the "Sound of Music" dancing in the gazebo (I am Sixteen going on Seventeen.) and I love some of hte dancing in the movie "White Christmas"!
5. John F. Kennedy made famous the line, '...Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." So what can you do for your country?
Oh - the possibilities are endless!!   VOLUNTEER!  Give back!   Help in a school, clean up trash, work at a shelter, give your TIME - not just money.   IF we all made volunteering a part of life than I think we would be more united and we would help those who need it.  We would have empathy.   
America is a wonderful country!  We should not take it for granted, and we should all do our part!  We should not think only "What's in it for me?" but instead "What can I do to give back?"

6. Weekends are made for __________________________________.
...taking time to relax, and to enjoy something fun, and to share it with people you enjoy being with - but can't see during the week when work schedules get in the way.   Weekends are for church, and being thankful, and taking in some music or a movie.  It's the time to "recoup" and "rejoice".  That's why weekends go back TOO fast!!

7. On this last Wednesday of the month, bid farewell to the month of May in seven words or less. 
A beautiful month already over. Too soon.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
For those keeping track, I mentioned earlier that we may be downsizing soon.  We put an offer in on a place and are in the middle of the negotiations.  If it goes through, then this mama will have her work cut out for her...getting our current home in shape to show and sell, and getting rid of lots and lots of stuff!    I will have a BIG summer project!  
Be safe this Memorial Day weekend!    And, let's remember those who have lost their lives for America.  "The ultimate sacrifice".    Thinking of that...how can we not at least DO SOMETHING to give back?   (I am not a "Let's make America great again" person - because it IS great!!)  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hodgepodging about the past.

Hello Hodgepodgers!   It's time for a few questions.  I always follow it up with my answers but of course you are welcome to answer along too.  Join in the fun! 
 1. Tell us about a time you found yourself 'in the middle of nowhere'. Was this deliberate?
Hubby and I have taken our boat out into the middle of nowhere, out on the rivers around the South Santee region of the lowcountry.  It's pretty deserted around there - in terms of people, other boaters, etc.  Lots of nature.  Lots of shells on the barrier islands.   
Yes, we deliberately went there to see it, and to get some beautiful shells.  Thankfully our boat has a GPS on it so we could return the way we went. 
2. What's something you're 'in the middle of' today or this week? 
I live in a community where people use golf carts to get around some.  They take them to the beach, and sometimes to local restaurants and the food store.  We have owned one for quite a few years but it sits in the garage, taking up space, and is rarely used.  
So, yesterday I put it on our neighborhood website classifieds, and got a buyer later in the day.  Today I am on a hunt for the golf cart title!  I'm taking a break from it right now.  I have looked in the usual places where it should be filed.  Unsuccessfully.   Grrrrr.  Where did it go??  Maybe we never had one!  Who can remember??
3. At what age do you think 'middle age' begins? What does it mean to be 'middle aged'? 
So, I think the better question is "When does 'middle age' end?"   ha!  Cuz I know I am already in it... and I want to stay in it for a good while more!!  

But the Hodgepodge question is:  when does it begin?  I guess I'd say at age 40.    What does 'middled age' mean?  It means you are not of the "young adult generation" anymore.    I suppose if I consider that by the numbers a full adulthood goes from 21 to dead (100?),  then I  break it down this way:   21 - 40 is a young adult.  41 to 65 is middle aged.  66 to dead is old.    

But age is just a number!  Labels are just that!   I think young... I want to act and stay tuned it to the present time.   I have a sign above my bathroom miroor that says "Live your life and forget your age!"
4. Ravioli, stuffed peppers, samosas, deviled eggs, steamed dumplings, pierogis, or a jelly donut...your favorite food (from this list!) with something yummy in the middle. Your favorite not on the list? 
Of the list, my favorite is definitely a deviled egg!  I don't eat eggs very often but I love them 'deviled' at a party or a picnic!   The other food items listed I can really just take or leave.
5. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying ''In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Would you agree? Have you found this to be true in your own life? Feel free to elaborate. 
That Einstein was one smart man!  Yes, I agree with this statement.   I think when a person is going through a tough time, or is not happy with how things are going in life, then that is the perfect time to LOOK for something better.   Difficulties challenge a person to search for something different and for something that will get them on the right path.  

In my life?  I have not had to deal with major difficulties (thank you God), but I have certainly had minor setbacks or disappointments.  Hasn't everyone?   Even when it's minor, I have looked to a way to get beyond it, and to move forward in a positive manner. 
6. What's a song you remember loving from your middle school years? Do you love it still? 
Well, the first song I ever learned all the words to was "Build Me Up Buttercup"...  and I think I was in 7th grade.  Also, that was the year that "Jerimiah was a Bullfrog" was huge.  

I can't say I love them!  I mean the words were pretty goofy, but the songs were big radio hits and when I hear them (rarely now) it does take me back to that time.    

"Every song a memory..."
7. May 18th is National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate? Which relative would you visit if time, distance, and expense were not considered. 
I have no plans to see relatives on May 18th.  In fact, I had not idea there was even such a "national" day until I read this!  What next!?!?  I mean, really.   Do we need a designation on the calendar to remind us to visit relatives? ha!   

Who would I see?   If I could blink my eyes like Jeannie on "I Dream of Jeannie" I would pop in to see my Ohio family.  My dad just moved into assisted living, so I would see his place.   Of course, I'd want to pop back out quickly too.  I am a home body in many ways and I don't particularly love long traveling trips anymore. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Read my Monday Morning QBing blog post before this one.  I'd love your thoughts on "down-sizing" because hubby and I are pondering it.    (Even though we ARE still 'just' middled aged!!)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday morning QBing

Good morning!   It's time for a little Monday morning quarterbacking...

I'm looking back on some things and giving my opinion.  For what its worth!

*  Did anyone watch the Invictus Games?   I just could not.  I am ashamed to say that it was just too  hard to watch those scarred and changed forever by war.   Don't get me wrong.  I really admire the strength of the athletes and the way they have come back from serious war injuries  (often amputations) and then they find joy and "winning" in a competition like this.   They have made their bodies strong, and they have come together in a bond like no other.    I admire it.  I just can't watch it.

*  This makes me think of the upcoming Olympics.  Does any athlete ever compete not on drugs and steroids anymore?  

*  Do you have the Time Hop app?   I love it!   I check it every morning to see what I was posting and doing a year ago, two years ago... all they back 7 years (when I started using Facebook).   It brings back fun memories, and makes me smile!  It also shows the passing of time and I try to think of that as positive!  ha  

*  Should I even bring up the whole gender bathroom issue?   Here goes.  My thoughts.   If I am in a bathroom and a trans-gender person walks in, I would prefer it to be someone who identifies as a woman.  I really don't care if she still has male body parts.   I think I would feel more "awkward" if it was the other way around, a female by birth but dressed, looking and identifying as a man. 

But, the most basic and easiest solution is the all gender "family" bathroom.  We see them already in many public places.  It's a private bathroom that is there for perhaps a mother with a little boy, or a dad traveling with a small daughter.  Or, it's for a person who is uncomfortable "sharing" with anyone in general. 

The big stink about it (oh - that's not meant to be bathroom humor) is about how it effects people who are NOT trans-gender.   Can we think for a minute about those who identify one way but have body parts that don't match?   Seriously.   They already have society issues like crazy.  They have trouble feeling normal and fitting in.  This whole bathroom thing now has made them feel more isolated and different.   It's not fair to them.  It's painful.   I think we all who are not trans-gender need to have compassion for them. 

*  Here's a revelation - NOT!  Getting old is not easy.   I am in the last few months of a decade.   In my mind I am still young, and in fact, I actually feel younger than I did a decade ago when I had more responsibility in raising children, etc.  I feel more free now to be ME - to do what I want to do, to do THINGS I want to do.   But, as I feel this way - my body doesn't always cooperate.  I have finally healed from my foot injury that had me 'limited' for months.  But I still wake up and feel stiffness. I try to do physical activity every day in some way.  "Move it or lose it."  But, it isn't always easy - and pain-free.    But - I'm going to keep on going...

*  I have started watching CMT music videos in the morning now so I don't get weighed down by the morning news.   I think everyone should start their day with music!  Not bad news.   Which makes me think...  Kenny Chesney has a song out called "Noise" and the video is awesome, showing all the noise we deal with every day in our world.   The words say there is all this noise - and that we just don't get heard.   All this noise! 

Here are the lyrics!

Wrecking balls, downtown construction
Bottles breaking, jukebox buzzing
Cardboard sign says the lord is coming
Tick, tick, tock
Rumors turn the mills back home
Parking lot kids with the speakers blown
We didn't turn it on but we can't turn it off, off, off
Sometimes I wonder how did we get here
Seems like all we ever hear is
Yeah we scream, yeah we shout 'til we don't have a voice
In the streets, in the crowds, it ain't nothing but noise
Drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy
Just tryna be heard in all this noise
Twenty-four hour television, get so loud that no one listens
Sex and money and politicians talk, talk, talk
But there really ain't no conversation
Ain't nothing left to the imagination
Trapped in our phones and we can't make it stop, stop
This noise
Yeah we scream, yeah we shout 'til we don't have a voice
In the streets, in the crowds, it ain't nothing but noise
Drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy

So... to stay sane in this crazy world of noise, here are the words from Tim's "Stay Humble and Kind."  A wonderful message to our young people who are caught up in all that noise!

 So, Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don't expect a free ride from no one
Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin'
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
"I love you" ain't no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it's hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin
Don't forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind.

*  Let the summer sun shine??   Is there anything better?    I love this time of year! 

*  Hubby and I are thinking of downsizing.  It's taking me a little bit of time to get used to the idea. I know everyone goes through it.  But, as I said above, getting older is tough sometimes.  I don't feel ready for this change in my life.   Thankfully, we saw a place yesterday that got me a little bit excited.  Smaller with lots of charm.  

It's a hard thing to live and accumulate "things" and then let go of them.  Yes, some things are easy to let go of... but, throughout life you get meaningful keepsakes... from the children, from places visited, from special people in your life.  It's hard not to think of them as just 'things.'   They are memories.

*  And as I deal with this, I think of my dad who just moved into an assisted living setting.   He's almost 90.  So, I am happy he is there, getting some help, nice meals every day, more interaction with people.  But, he is not happy about it.  At. all.   

*  I think I better end on a light "up" note!  Our church is doing a VBS program in June that is 'going to the dogs'!  Ha!  It's called "Pets Unleashed:  Where Jesus cares 'fur' you!"  I am helping and I am excited about all the activities!  The program ties in Noah & the Ark, and Jesus as our Shepherd, with the children loving our pets and taking care of them.   It's FREE and will be great fun! If you are local and interested in sending your child - or helping - let me know!

Happy Monday everyone!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Merry in the month of May!

It's a new month and a new set of Hodgepodge questions.  You can play along!  My answers are here and I'd love to read your answers too!  Comment at the end of the post.
1. What's something fun you're looking forward to on your May calendar?
May is a wonderful month!  I love the weather and I love activities that take place during the month.  
In particular, one thing I am looking forward to this month is a trip to Gatlinburg.  It's a business trip for my hubby,  but it's also a "social outing" for all the people (and spouses) in his field.  I have never been to Gatlinburg and I have heard it's a charming place, has some nice restaurants, and is set in a beautiful part of the East Tennessee mountains.   

If you have been there, let me know what you think we HAVE to see while staying there!  I'd love to hear your ideas!
2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother? 
Of course I picture my own mother.  She has been gone for many years now but it still seems weird not getting a Mother's Day card to give her when the holiday rolls around.   I also picture young mothers who are hands on with their children: wiping tears, giving hugs, tucking little ones lovingly into bed.  Once a mother always a mother...but those early years are SO special!

3. What's something beautiful you own or have seen that's made of glass? 
My street is called Red Squirrel Lane and one of my neighbors found orange-reddish glass squirrel figurines for sale - and she "gifted" me one.  It sits on my bookcase in my living room.  She has given them to some other homeowners on our street too.  Such a sweet personal gift!
4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual? 
Typical of this time of year?   I think so.  Here in the lowcountry of South Carolina we have warmth in May.  Today's temperatures were up in to the low 80's. Our air has been a bit unstable and we have had a few thundershowers and have more forecast for this evening.  I like hearing a thunderstorm... when safely inside.  I enjoy them at night (as long as they don't have dangerous winds!)

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of?
Oh wow!  I wish I had more energy at times!  I am a morning person and I do my best thinking and activities the first half of the day.  I wish I could "keep going" throughout the day better!  I suppose it's an age thing.  Come late afternoon I'm ready to have dinner, some wine, and chill.
6. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May? 
Thankfully, we don't have any major purchase in our sights.   Knock on wood that nothing big breaks down - or conks out.    We do NOT plan on buying anything major in May, or all summer long.

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult?
The only thing I can think of is some of the "chores" I had to do...  keeping my room clean, and cleaning the bathroom I used in my family home.   It prepared me for taking care of my first apartment, and then once married  having our own home.  My parents didn't force me to do lots of chores but I did have to take care of my things.  So, I had a general knowledge of routine house-cleaning.  I didn't like doing chores then, and to be honest I don't like it now - BUT I like a clean house and one that is organized.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
So, here's another question for you. Maybe you can help me - or should I say my dogs??  I have two adorable pugs....and they have had itchy skin a lot lately.  It's not fleas, and it's not anything else I can see.  Perhaps allergies.  But, it wakes them sometimes and they scratch hard and LOUD in the middle of the night.  (Yes, they are in bed with me.)  They sometimes jump off the bed to scratch.  I feel so sorry for them...plus, it's annoying to hubby and me.  Anybody have some itching cures to share? 
I'm looking for a remedy!!
Thanks.    Have a great MAY week!   

Monday, May 2, 2016

Being Christian

Sometimes it is really hard to be a Christian.

Sometimes we get lumped together, all in one group.   And, it's not fair.  Sometimes we have high expectations of ourselves and others.  And, we often feel disappointed when we don't reach them.  Sometimes we pray, and we hope, and we worship God together - but yet we feel like nobody understands us.

So, who is a Christian?   Well, simply - it's a person who has accepted, and truly believes that Jesus Christ is God's son who was created by God, the father of all creation, brought to earth to show us how to live in God's favor.  And most importantly, this Jesus Christ died a horrible, demeaning death, to "take on" our sins and to give forgiveness for them... and to show, through his resurrection, that death is NOT the end of who we are.  God has another "something" for us.  Heaven. 

A Christian doesn't know HOW it happened but a Christian does know it it true. 

There comes a comfort in this belief.  Some days it's almost so wonderful that you just wish everyone would/could believe - because it would seem that we would all be so very happy, and so caring about each other, and "in peace"  together in this world.

But, then there are the other days. Most days.  Christians (the general word) do not accept the ways of other Christian believers.  Like all humanity, we want to decide what is right and wrong with them...as we try to figure out what God really wants from us.  We read the Bible, and we look at the words differently.  Some take every verse very literally.  Some consider it in context of the time it was written.  Divinely given vs. humanly written. 

So Christians become classified... some ultra conservative,  some middle-of-the-roaders, some very free-spirited in what they accept.  Some fear God, some never challenge, some love a church experience, some never step in one.  Some believe God can change situations while some know it's all about man's "free will."   Some baptize, some dedicate.   The list of differences is long! I could go on and on.

A Christian is also catergorized by how they were raised, and what church and denomination they attend, and how they feel on political issues.    

So, who am I?   What kind of Christian am I??   I have found what works for me personally, and I love my relationship with God.   It is my individual "truth" and I know, hey, it's between God and me...and we are good!  I was raised Lutheran and still am. I know it well - and it's comfortable, and at times it gives me great joy - and at other times it gives me peace.  It gives me community and it gives me an outlet for service to others. 

Other Christians have found that same feeling elsewhere.   Perhaps they believe a bit different on some issues.  It's okay.   I don't really think God cares - as long as ALL CHRISTIANS accept the differences with love and respect.  Love is God's greatest commission to us all.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER.   

And, whew, that IS the hard thing to do sometimes.  Even between Christians!  It means loving those different than you - in all ways.  Looks, language, politics, race, intellect, and abilities.  It means accepting all the differences.     This includes loving ALL who are not Christians too. 

It means that sometimes we are 'mistaken' as "that" kind of Christian (whatever it is)  ...  or, it means standing on a belief that is not always accepted.  

As I write this on this Monday morning I think about situations here, now... and how faith has been tested at my church, and with some of my favorite people.  All Christians.  But different.   

Yes, sometimes it's really hard to be a Christian.   

BUT...  it is who I am, and my faith is a part of everything I do.