Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amazing Amanda

I have to tell you about my cousin, sister, friend, compadre, singing partner, Amanda. Amanda is the organizer of our is because of her that we have every song we have ever sung in an excel file, complete with chord done in, who sings lead, what the tempo is, and where we have sung it. Talk about efficient. Even though she is very business oriented. She is great fun to be with, sing with, travel with, do anything with...and I can't imagine my life without her in it. When I was married to my first husband she was my confidant and the reason I survived my divorce. She was the first person I wanted to introduce Frank to...She knows so much about me, from childhood to present, that if we ever become not friends...I will have to kill her. Amanda is a thrill seeker....not afraid of anything. She has actually jumped from a plane...I, on the other hand, am not a thrill seeker...and sometimes I have lived vicariously through Amanda. I have gotten to have the thrill without the fear! We have traveled all over the country together. I would go anywhere with her...and even though we joke about her driving (bat out of hades is an understatement)...I would climb in a car with her at this very moment...and go anywhere. My heart is breaking for her right now....her mom, my aunt Shirley, my mother's baby sister, is terminally ill. All the girls, Terri, Amanda, Linda and Missi are gathered at the Bethany House...I spent a good chunk of the weekend with them there. Amanda puts on a great facade for all that are there...but I know her heart and know it is breaking. She knew mine was when my dad died back in is not something we have to say to each is something that we share through eyes, hugs, electricity. I can honestly feel her in a room before I ever see her. I wish you all could meet her because I could spend hours here telling you about her...and still not do her justice. Today is Monday....when you all go to bed tonight...say a prayer for Amanda and her family please. The days ahead are not going to be easy...I know from first hand experience...the process of grieving is a hard one...but I want her to remember that we ARE Still Magnolias...and I love her with all my heart.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lisa Leonard Designs

A Lisa Leonard Designs Giveaway!over at the Giveaway Diva's Site is Up and Running,and you need to get on over there and enter....(subliminal message - don't do it...don't do it...) "Nicole knows that Valentine's Day has come and gone and she hope your loves got you something extra nice. The next big holiday to look forward to is Mother's Day! Although it might be a tad bit early, it's never to early to find a great gift. And if you find it difficult to find a present that will accurately show how much you love and appreciate the Mom in your life, how about getting her something just as unique as she is? Lisa Leonard Designs is one of Nicoles...and my favorite new site specializing in personalized jewelry. Heck, I even grabbed her button. She has some amazing pieces of jewelry.My personal favorite is the Sparkle necklace..
My daugher Kat picked up that nickname one year when we were working on ASP. It would make a great birthday gift...and she will be 30 this year.
To quote Nicoles review on the Giveaway Diva, "Lisa's love for creating jewelry started at a young age, with her designing when she was just in high school. When she had her first child, she wanted what most moms quit her job and open a small business in which she could stay at home to be there for her kids. What Lisa didn't realize at the time was just how big her small business would actually become! Her designs have become quite popular! What I find most amazing is that Lisa has no actual formal classes or training in jewelry making, she just decided to take the leap and follow her heart and this is quite inspiring!" If you look at the baby necklace I have posted you can see just how amazing her work is...but don't take my word for it. Go to her site and check it out for yourself. If you are a lover of jewelry, then you will be a lover of Lisa Leonards Designs. Trust Me! They are amazing!...and if you go to the Giveaway Diva's can enter to win a a Petite Family Crest Necklace of your very own. The necklace you are trying to valued at $54.00. This is a NICE gift. Entering is jump on over to the Giveaway Divas place and enter. Are you still here? Get jumping...or better yet...keep reading me...and I will stand a better chance of winning it for myself! Happy Saturday! BTW....the
giveaway will end on March 25th!! BTW...I could not wait. I ordered the Sparkles necklace for Kathryn's birthday. I can't wait to give it to her.

Friday, February 26, 2010

If The Coffee Table Could Talk

I was urged to write today about a coffee table because of a devotional I read called, "Faithfulness and a Coffee Table" by Lynn Cowell at Proverbs 31 ministries website. I sat here and read her devotional....and had a warm feeling of love come over me and knew at that very moment todays blog would be about my special coffee table. Once upon a time what now serves as my coffee table belonged to my MIL. She had had it for years and it was stored in a barn when I found it. It was so dusty and abused...and Early American style...which my first sofa....over 35 years ago was. It was a perfect match...and about the only piece of furniture this young bride had that matched anything. I lived in a state of early eclectic. I had been married 20 years before I had anything that was a set....but back to the coffee table. I took the coffee table home, stripped it, and restained it to match the wooden insets on the became the teething arena for a gnawing baby, it became the spill zone for drinks, it became a desk to study by for college, it was my bible study area. I loved this table. When Ronnie and I divorced...I made sure it went with me...because it had so many memories. My aunt Shirley had a special friend, Claude, and he took my early American coffee table one day and made it into a shadow box. The legs are still the same...but now it truly is a memory keeper of sorts. I have black velvet lining the bottom and tiny treasure filling the inside. This table is once again an eclectic piece of furniture in my house. It matches nothing...but it holds my life story and I would never part with it.I have looked many times at a new table. You know the kind...that actually match my decor. I have found out in my life...eclectic suits me best. I am a Heinz 57 kind of girl. I don't have one particular taste...I like story pieces....comfy pieces, matching? What is that? My daughter, Amy and her husband have this really cool coffee table that becomes a table....AND has a drawer for storage...but as much as I love it...I love mine my little old table remains in its place of honor.
The table serves as a reminder of all the good things that have been in my life. It is a reminder of my past....where I once was, before Christ...and where I am now...with Christ in my life. It is my transformation reminder. It is my reminder of what He can do...if I let Him. Now, don't get me wrong...I truly am a person of change. When I get frustrated or angry...look at furniture it is rearranging time. I also love changing bedspreads, curtains, wall colors. I love new things. I love how they smell, look, make me feel. My husband has learned to just roll with the flow. He never knows what he is coming home to. After my dad friend Susan spent a week with me. Frank left for work and we had cream colored walls everywhere...he came home and we had a taupe colored guest room and guest bath with new adornments. I had enough paint to do the hall and fireplace(idea from a Lowes you can do it catalog) watch out! I am hoping to talk Susan into coming back....I want to paint the living room and dining room too....and maybe my bedroom. I am tired of rental house drab....I want to spice it up a bit. I love the change that comes with new paint; new color. I don't have to have Coach or Dooney Burke purses. I don't need Jimmy Choo shoes...but Lord just give me a room transformation and I am the ultimate Happy Camper. I am a thrifty shoppe and I like things that I can change with little money. My table was one of those things...and I am reminded with I look at it that old things are also important. They are reminders of the past. Every time I look at my table....even though it has been transformed, I see the past...I remember sweet little Kathryn chewing on the corners as she cut her teeth....and I smile. My dishes...reminders of a teenager preparing for a new life as a wife someday. My dining room suite...part of my mom and dad, the guest bedroom suite - part of my Aunt MaeBelle's life with my Uncle Art...a cedar chest - a cast off from my of special events and trips. I hope one day my children will want to have one of these reminder's for their homes and it will give them the same pleasure I have gotten from them over the years. What is your memory keeper?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

To All The Other Mothers

My aunt Shirley fell this week and broke her nose. I don't mean bent it...I mean B-R-O-K-E. I have never seen a nose so broken. The broken nose was treated...but in the process of x-raying a brain tumor was found. She was placed at Bethany House (a Hospice facility) in Opelika and it is now just a matter of time. Terri, her oldest her from California yesterday afternoon. She was planning to come for a week in March...but she is here now. Amanda, works in Boston area, flew home on Tuesday night....after returning to about a quick turn around. Missi, lives in Nashville, was here this past weekend....went home on Sunday night....only to return on Tuesday. Linda, bless her heart...lives here....has been holding down the fort during the week. These girls are my sisters. The chosen kind. When my brother died...and their dad....our families kind of melded together. Aunt Shirley is my other mother. She has been my rock and strength many times. I have to tell you a cute story on her....she is a tiny woman sizewise. When I was 13 or so...I came to spend a week in Alabama. I have to admit...staying at my little Grandmother's house was so much more fun that at my dad's moms. But...I had to spend an equal amount of time at both...if I spent 2 hours and 12 minutes in Alex City...I had to spend 2 hours and 12 minutes in Kellyton. day my aunt took us to the pool and left was Kellyton time...she left us...and to our dismay...the pool was closed. What were we to do? We tried to call from a nearby house (this was in the days before cell phones)...but no one I called my little grandmother...and she said she would send someone immediately. We were in the middle of a cotton was scary. Within cousin, Richard pulled up. I hopped in the car....and my cousin didn't. I am an idiot. I was not staying in this mill I left her there...remember...I was a kid. My Kellyton family went berzerk....and my three aunts came to my little get aunt Shirley...stood up to them all....especially after they pushed my little grandmother into a chair. I did not have to go back to Kellyton right then....later that night my mom came on a seems the Kellyton family had called them....and I ended up having to spend time in Kellyton and an adult...I realize that was a stupid thing to do...but as a aunt was my hero. She has held me when I cried, walked with me through death, loved me, hugged me, been there for me....always...and so once again I am grieving. It really isn't a surprise....she and my dad were both diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last January...she just seemed to keep on keeping on....and seeing her so weak right now really breaks my heart....for the girls...and selfishly....for myself. Amanda is coming to town today to make necessary arrangements...I know how that feels...and I am an only child...she has a support system. With all the sorrow that we are facing right now...on my way to work this morning...the sun was shining through the trees...and I had a sense of peace. You see, my aunt Shirley...was once married to my uncle Charlie. He was the love of her life. They married when she was very young...and he died when the girls were very sweetest throught....she is going to be with her true love...and with tears falling down my face...that makes me smile. Peace be with you all today. Hug someone you love...cause you never know when it will be your last one.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Charlie Chuckles

Well, yesterday I blogged about Drew's first birthday and I cannot leave my sweet and loving Charles Wheeler Brown out. His first birthday was four days before his cousin Drew's. He is such a little love box. He cuddles so good when you hug him and his laugh is so infectious. I cannot imagine life without Drew and Wheeler in it. They are the icing on my cake! Wheelers mom and dad are Susanna and David. David's mom, Amanda is my first cousin...I get all confused by that first cousin twice removed breaking it down. I call Ramona (Drew's mom) and David(Wheeler's dad), my niece and nephew. Amanda is more like a sister to me. We have experienced a lot of loss and hurt throughout our lifetimes...she lost her dad, I lost my we just became family. Amanda, Missi, Linda, and Terry are the closest things I have to back to Wheeler...His party is this I will post some pictures of that want to share with you Charlie Chuckles. We all need a good laugh from time to time....and it is said that it is the best medicine...and if you can sit there and not laugh along with missed the boat. Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Drew Turns One!

My precious litle Drew had his first birthday party this past weekend. He greeted his guests dressed as Captain Adorable, which BTW he is.

Ramona got him a mitt and baseball cake. It was too cute. The ball was a cupcake and it was the treat Drew got to eat. Just the right size for sure. He obviously enjoyed it as you can tell by the picture.

After cake came the moment he had been waiting for all They had been collecting for hours on top of the pool table and it was time to open them. How excited he was!

What a day for my sweet little man....after opening all his presents he got down to a serious baseball game with his cousin. Wonder who won?

Finally it was time for all his guests to depart....and Drew showed them to the door.

What a great day for such a special little man. Happy Birthday my sweet Drew! You know...with all the sadness and stress that we face in is so wonderful that God gives us these special little ones to remind us that even though life still goes on.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's Soapbox Topic

I have always hated it when someone started a converstaion with , "I remember when...", or "back when I was a kid." I knew that it meant some antiquated thought pattern was about to bombard my space....but then I turned 55 and became a veteran high school teacher with over 20 years under my belt...and I cannot sit silent anymore. I am going to soapbox just a bit today....As I have told you before...I am a digital emmigrant. My own high school began using computers when I was in the 10th grade. Classes did not have one...there was a huge machine in the office that spit out key punch cards that assigned classes for students and that was pretty much it. In my classroom right now I have four computers, three lap tops, an Elmo(document camera), a LCD projector...times have definitely changed. I remember...if you misbehaved in were sent to the office and one of the Deans would take their humongous paddle off the wall and use it....on you. If that happened to you at knew it was going to be worse at home. Back in the day when parents actually spanked children and it was called just that...a spanking...I am not a product of the "Time Out" generation....and I turned out ok. I cannot image ever talking back to a teacher or any other adult. I remember once...speaking back to one of my parent's friends and before I could draw a breath my father had me and we were going to the shed. I cannot imagine my parents ever asking a teacher, "Well, what did you do to make her act this way?" There was no question about it. If I was to sick to go to school...I was to sick to do anything else. I can't tell you how many times kids don't come to school and I run into them Wal-Mart, the movies, etc. It amazes me when Mommas and daddies write notes that are not true. I can't imagine missing school and my momma writing a note saying I was sick...if I wasn't. It was not going to happen. I promise you, if my mom wrote a note saying I was sick...I had a temperature of 104, was convulsing, and out of my head. Kids used to respect their parents, show it and mean they don't. What is this world coming to? My other problem is the sexual activity of these youngsters. When I was in high school if a girl got pregnant....she was whipped into night school. They were not allowed to go to school with the general population...if they did not go to night school then they went to stay with some aunty....or they were sent to a home for unwed mothers. Do those places still exist? Today...I have students who have multiple children before they graduate. How? I could barely afford raising my own in a two income family setting. But then...I also did not get a slew of government encouragers either. I knew if I had a child...I had to pay for it. Babies having babies don't...they just get a check...and someone else raises it. When Kat was born, I had no insurance because my husband had changed jobs...we had to pay for everything up front...not today's kids...they are covered by state/federal programs...something is not right with this picture. So, right now it is 8:40 and I am sitting here in a class of tenth and eleventh graders and they are being so rude to the intern....who, by the way, is trying to teach them about present tense verbs. Do they think they are going to gain this knowledge through osmosis? When she gives them their next test I can hear it now...there will be whininig, gnashing of teeth, and complaining from the peanut gallery. I don't knwo what else to do....I have contacted parents, I have contacted coaches, I have blogged about their behavior on my school blog...and still the disrespect continues...parents...can you help us out here? I think it is time for you to take back your rightful place as the parent. Whew...ok...I have vented and feel much better. Thanks for letting me sound off. I may actually survive Monday now. Sigh!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Dinner

I cooked dinner for my friends Deborah and Danny tonight. It was a belated birthday meal. Sometimes we go out for our birthdays but this weekend I wanted to do something special. So....we ate at the dining room table....with the china....and candles. It was a great meal. Good company, good food, and great fellowship made the evening just perfect. I served green beans (my favorite veggie), corn, shepherds pie, garlic bread, Italian salad, and topped it off with applesauce poor man's pie. Yummm Yummmm. The Shepherds pie was so good I thought I would share the recipe with you....especially those of you who have meat and potatoes kinds of guys in your life. This dish is a great way to use leftover beef and mashed potatoes!

•1 large onion, quartered and sliced
•2 tablespoons butter or margarine
•2 cups diced leftover roast beef, or 2 cups of browned, ground hamburger meat
•2 cups brown or beef gravy, leftover or prepared from mix
•1/2 cup sliced or diced cooked carrots
•1 cup frozen peas, cooked
•salt and pepper, to taste
•2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, or make them fresh it does not matter
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add onions. Sauté onions until tender; add diced beef, gravy, carrots, and peas. Heat through; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to baking dish. Microwave the potatoes if they are left over and spoon the potatoes over the shepherd's pie meat and vegetables (press potatoes through a pastry tube, if desired). Bake shepherd's pie at 400° for about 30 minutes, or until mashed potatoes are browned and gravy is bubbling. Shepherd's pie serves 4. I hope you enjoy it. It is a great company meal and comfort food on a cold winters night. Bon Appetite!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Super Saturday

Wow...last night Mary, Kat, Shareefah, Pam and I met at Niffers for dinner and then did a movie. We went to see When in Rome. Ladies, if you have not seen this and want a cute chick flick to go to with your gal pals this is the one. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Today, I got up and went to see my Aunt Shirley. My cousin Missi and her precious hubby Clay are staying with her this weekend. They live in Nashville...and came down to give Linda a break and Amanda and Randy a chance to go to their grandson Drew's first birthday in Panama City. I had a great visit with them all. I was only going to stay for about an hour, because visitors really seem to tire my aunt out these days...and three hours later I left. When I got home my precious Frank invited me on a date. We went to Mikata's Japanese Steak House in Opelika. I love this place. It thrills me when the guy starts his cooking shinanigans. Sigh! What a great couple of days...perfect weather...perfect people around me. Who could ask for more? Certainly not me. Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh What A Night!

I am a bowling fool. Tuesday nights I bowl on a women's league. Thursday nights I bowl with Frank on a mixed Christian league. I am not a good bowler,and Lord knows I am not consistent...I have my own ball, shoes and bag. I am a pro!(NOT!) Most of the time I am lucky to hit my average...but I have fun. Up until this year I was the only female bowling with Jerry O'Neil (carries a 200+ average), John Naler (carried a 189 average), and Frank (carries a 160 average). I had a 118 average. I am a definitely a good partner on a handicap league because I have a large sized one. This year John hurt his shoulder and was not going to be able to Jerry's wife MaeLynn joined our team. Our team name is 2 Queens and 2 Jokers. You can figure out who is who. My average has improved a is now a 129...but tonight....tonight was a dream come true. Every Tuesday and Thursday night...when some person bowls a 200+ game, Mike, the owner, calls out their name and score over the loud speaker. The closest I have ever gotten was a 179...I knew one day...One day it would be my turn....and Thursday night, February dream came true. I was hitting well and bowled a 135 the first game, a 145, the second...and the third game I only had one open frame. I ended up with a 201. I wondered on the 10 frame why everyone seemed so quiet...I did not know what my score was....during the 10th frame...I bowled three strikes (my first Turkey)...I was so excited...and then Frank grabbed me and asked me if I knew what my score was...I was stunned when he said I had a 201! Wooo name was called out tonight....the only thing was...most of the crowd had left...but it did not matter...I heard Mike say, Karen Korb rolled a 201 tonight and only has a 129 average. Ahhhhh...sometimes in life you are blessed with tiny little treats...and mine was a tasty one! Happy Friday to all!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Second Cup of Coffee and the Olympics

I have a blogging buddy at Sweet Tea and yesterday she made reference to Second Cup of Coffee who had a great neme going I thought I would check it out and it was fun so I had to share it with you all too. I love the Winter Olympics and as it happens her neme begins with a salute to the Olympics, you'll notice about half-way through these questions that she turns the corner and go off on another path as fast as a luge rounding a bend. Hence the name: Random. Even if you don't post your answers...think about them. I had a ball doing this.

1. If you could compete in one Olympic event (not necessarily winter sports) what would it be? I would be a figure skater. It would be a stretch because grace is not in my vocabulary...but I dream I am graceful.

2. Do remember a specific Olympic moment from the past? It would have to be Dorothy Hamils big win, her hair cut, and Nadia Comineche...and her perfect tens.

3. Have you ever known anyone who competed in the Olympics? I have not ever been that lucky. Although...I did know Chris Everett Loyd when I was young and played tennis for Parks and Rec in Florida. That was my close to athletic fame.

4. If everyday activities were Olympic-worthy, which activity would you have a gold medal in? Multitasking for sure! I think I can outdo everyone.

5. Do you know anything about your ethnic heritage? yes, I am Scottish/Cherokee Indian on my father's side of the family and Irish/Creek Indian on my mom's. I am a Heinz 57 for sure.

6. Do you enjoy sleeping late? No! I get up close to the same time 365 days a year. I teach school and just never get out of the routine.

7. Have you ever performed CPR on anyone? Do you know how? (Yes, that's two, I know. Whatevs.) I do know how....but the thought of doing it grosses me to the max.

8. Name one country you'd like to visit and explain why. Scotland. I have been to Ireland, Wales and England twice and would love to complete the romantic journey of the last of the Emerald Isle.

9. Have you ever fixed up a couple romantically? No. I leave that to Cupid.

10. What is the last book you read? Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I cried my eyes out!

11. Do you enjoy sleeping late? NO, YOU write the question! How's that for random?? Where is the farthest you have traveled? Was it business or pleasure?

12. What is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant? Restaurant? One? I can't chose just you get them all. Hummmm....Caraba's...Mezzaluna, Provinos(Opelika, AL) - Manicotti, Dixie Crossroads (Titusville, FL) - Rock shrimp and corn hushpuppies, The Fish Market(Birmingham, AL) - the greek salad, Sashi's (Montgomery, AL) - Chicken salad and any dessert, Russo's (West Palm Beach) best Italian subs in the world, Wild Wing Cafe (Charleston or Greenville, SC) - Colorado Coppers Wings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday to the Easter Person

You all know that I am a preacher's wife and I guess my favorite religious holiday has to be Easter and all that it represents. I love it! I love that it is in the Spring. I love that Easter lillies are the flower used most during this holiday. I love the new dresses and shiny white maryjanes on the little girls. I love the music...and the stories....I love getting to sing Via Dolarosa with Rhonda on Palm Sunday. I love the fact that churches bulge at the seems....I just love the whole event. Valentine's Day Sunday was Transfiguration Sunday and my altar at church was a swan vase with Camellias....representing the Ugly Duckling I was before Christ came into my life...and the swan I am with Christ in my there is today. Today kicks off Lent...which leads up to Easter. Today, Ash Wednesday, is the first day of Lent and occurs forty-six days (forty days not counting Sundays) before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as 4 February or as late as 10 March. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned. In the liturgical practice of some churches, the ashes are mixed with the Oil of the Catechumens[1] (one of the sacred oils used to anoint those about to be baptized), though some churches use ordinary oil. This paste is used by the minister who presides at the service to make the sign of the cross, first upon his or her own forehead and then on those of congregants. The minister administering ashes recites the words: "Remember (O man) that you are dust, and to dust you shall return", or "Repent, and believe the Gospel." Our church is having two services today, at 12:00 and 6:00. Since I am at school is not a National Holiday....I will be attending the 6:00 service. During Lent most Christians sacrifice something...or give something up for Lent. Frank says every year that he is going to give up Work! So far that has not worked. Poor Frank. I, on the other hand, have given up things like french fries(which I adore), Diet Cokes, chocolate, caffeine(now that one was a killer)...and one year I even did something totally off the wall and wrote a letter for each of the 40 days to someone who has meant something spiritually to me. That one was my personal favorite. This year I have been praying about what I am to give up and last night it came to me. I am giving up sweets AND french fries. I am hitting myself with a double please pray for me as I face the next 40 days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Firefly Lane

I was going to blog today about past boyfriends....but due to the boring inservice of yesterday I finished a book I was reading and had to share it with you all. I have never read anything by author Kristin Hannah...but will again. The book I was reading is called Firefly Lane and all BFF's should read it. It is a a great read about best friends and an eye opening awareness of IBC (inflammatory breast cancer). I lost a friend to IBC a few years ago...and at that time realized that it could have been me. Had I experienced life to its fullest? Had I loved and been loved? Did I have regrets? Was there unfinished business in my life? With those thoughts in mind, while sitting at my friends funeral I realized maybe I had I set about to change that....and then in January 2009 you all know my dad and aunt were both diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Cancer is truly an ugly monster. My memories of the past year are: Surgery-to biopsy and remove what can be removed, Radiation - burning them up to shrink the mass, Chemotherapy - a massive dose of poison that neither my dad or aunt could handle....special diets, Ensure, homemade lotions, vomiting, hairloss, no energy...and with my dad...finally it was over. I was hurting...but glad my dad was not suffering anymore...A year we are again with my aunt...her kidneys are failing, she is wears here out...Cancer needs to be eradicated...I am sitting her in my classroom right now, Ms. Drummond is teaching, I just finished the book...I had to hunker into a corner behind my computer screen so the kids can't see me crying....if you want to truly read a touching tale that will take you back to your youth....pick up a copy of Firefly Lane...or be the first comment asking for my copy and I will send it to you....I never hoard a good read! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Definition of Boredom

Today we had an systemwide inservice. The KIDS have Presidents Day off...the teachers are being punished with an inservice. Now, I need to tell you that I have 183/25 Continuing Education I don't need this inservice for the I thought...hey, dummy, schedule your annual visit to the OBGYN (failed...she does not see patients on Monday) problem, schedule your yearly mammogram (no can do there either...can't be seen until 3:00 on Tuesday)...oh yeah....schedule your dental cleaning appt. (Nope...not even close - it will be Wednesday afternoon at 3:30). It seems that no matter how hard I tried I could not get out of this I registered to attend....took a good book and my Bible Study lesson ....just in case. Well....just to let you know I read 13 chapters in my book during the four hours of torture we had to endure, and completed my Bible Study lesson too. I thought I would die. There was even a time there when I thought if I had a gun I would shoot myself...just to put myself out of the misery I was in. The Webster Dictionary definition of : bore·dom
Pronunciation: \ˈbȯr-dəm\ Function: noun : the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest. It should also have a post script that says see: our speaker. I have been teaching my classes the difference between the verb ser (which means to be) and estar (which also means to be). Ser is a trait that does not change señora es aburrida(the lady is boring)...using ser. I am sure it is her personality trait. BUT....yo estoy aburrida (I am bored)....using estar...this condition will change as soon as she dismisses us. My watch battery must be dying because the time is going by way to slow. What a perfect Monday!....NOT!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day - Happy Single Awareness Day!

There is nothing worse than being alone on Valentines Day. It used to break my heart to see all the hugs and kisses cards at Wal-Mart knowing that some of them would be trashed at the end of the season and there were people all over NOT getting one. The thought that there were people no one loved enough to send the very best was crushing. It became even more so when my mom entered the nursing home. I have not missed a holiday with her...she had gifts at Christmas, a Valentines present...complete with a homemade card (her favorites), a sweet treat (also her favorite), and a visit...but there were others that the nursing home gave candy too...because there is no one to come and hug them on Valentines Day. That people, is sad! At church today I also realized how sad it is to be single on this friend Kristy told me today that to her, February 14th is Singles Awareness Day...and you know what...I was more aware of them today than ever. Frank and I went out to lunch for Valentines Day. I bought him a card...even though we said we weren't going to do that...AND it was ok that I did not get a card. Valentines Day is a rip off as far as I am concerned...and the origin of it is far for sweet and loving. Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. There was an Emperor at that time by the name of Claudius II. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those that were married. With this thought in mind he outlawed marriage for young men in hopes of building a stronger military base. Supposedly, Valentine, decided this decree just wasn't fair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine's actions he had him emprisoned and later put to death. While he was an imprisoned man he fell in love with his jailor's daughter. Before he was put to death he sent the first 'valentine' himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it 'Your Valentine', words still used on cards today. So whether you are a sappy Valentine lover, a single with none, or someone who just choses to ignore the day all together...whatever your fancy today...I want to wish you a Happy Valentines Day and Happy Singles Awareness Day...and encourage you to hug someone who has no one will make their day and make them smile...or at least wonder what you are up too. See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

And I Thought It Was Just An Onion!

My friend Mary, hates onions and knows I love she sent me an eyeopening email yesterday. It was about onions and quite fascinating. Fascinating enough that I had to post it for my readers and let them in on this medical breakthrough. Did you know that in 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died. The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone in his household was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did put it under the microscope, he could not believe his eyes. You see, the flu virus was in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy. A beauty shop operator in New Zealand thought she would test this theory and placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. (And no, she is not in the onion business.) I guess the moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case.
Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eventhough I didn't know about the farmer's story I actually had read an article that said to cut both ends off an onion, put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar...placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs. I have never tried this but I might. Historically, onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years. Obviously these two smelly foods do more than just ward off vampires. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

That part of the email was interesting. The part that scared me to death was that I did not know leftover onions are poisonous. Did you? I personally have used an onion which has been left in the fridge, I mean come on.... sometimes I don't use a whole one at one time, so save the other half for later. Now with this info, I have changed my mind.....will buy smaller onions in the future. According to the original author of this email, "...she had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, Makers of mayonnaise. Mullins is huge, and is owned by 11 brothers and sisters in the Mullins family. Her friend, Jeanne, is the CEO. Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist. The guy who gave her the tour was named Ed. He's one of the brothers. Ed is a chemistry expert and is involved in developing most of the sauce formula.. He's even developed sauce formula for McDonald's. Keep in mind that Ed is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. I cater with Deborah and when we clean up after a wedding, anything with cream cheese or mayonanaise is history. It turns out lots of people are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed's answer was surprising. Ed said that all commercially- made Mayo is completely safe. "It doesn't even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it's not really necessary." He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the quintessential picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick. Ed went on to say that when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the 'victim' last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed said it's not the mayonnaise (as long as it's not homemade Mayo) that spoils in the outdoors. It's probably the onions, and if not the onions, it's the POTATOES. He explained, onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion. He says it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator. It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hotdogs at the baseball park!) Hummm...I wondered at the last Biscuit game I went to why my stomach hurt so much...I thought it was the gigantic footlong, the popcorn, the biscuit...and all the was probably the onion. Amazing! Anyways, Ed went on to say that if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you'll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you're asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad, will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down. So, how's that for news? Take it for what you will. I (the author) am going to be very careful about my onions from now on. For some reason, I see a lot of credibility coming from a chemist and a company that produces millions of pounds of mayonnaise every year.' Oh and one more thing..dogs should never eat onions(not that Beau would). Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions ...Please remember it is dangerous to cut onions and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates Toxic bacteria which may cause Adverse Stomach infections because of excess Bile secretions and even Food poisoning. And that is your food lesson for the day....
and on that note....have a Happy Saturday. I know I am going to. Frank is off today, and the roads are I am going to lay around with my sweet hubby and watch the Winter Olympics.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Snowing!

I love the sound the earth makes when it is snowing. There is so much silence and peace. I hate cold weather...but love a day or so of enjoying the pristine whiteness of snow. I also love Robert Frost's poem called, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Even when I was a child in Florida I have always thought this poem was awesome. It filled my head with visions of what a snow day would look like and today, we cancelled school because we got snow. Now just a dusting of snow, but four full inches. It is majestic. So majestic, in fact, that I just had to share my favorite poem and some photos of my house.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I thought these little snowballs on the ends of trimmed limbs were just the cutest things ever. How perfect they were. I had about 25 of them and just thought it was almost like God was making little snowballs to throw at the birds and squirrels so that they could enjoy the white powder too.
I love how the snow lays on the tree limbs too. It is as if it is frosting them. Everywhere I looked in my yard there was beautiful, clean, virginal snow and I enjoyed sitting in front of my picture window with a cup of coffee and relishing in all the snow glory. Happy Friday to all...and if it is snowing where you carefully!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Those Mammograms

Today is Thursday. It is has not been a great day at all...but it is a day. One more day that I can relish in the fact that I am alive and breathing. I had my female exam visit today. I dread that thing so much. A few years ago, Still Magnolias was invited to sing at a Citywide Health Fair in Columbus. Being the industrial chicks that we are ...we modified a song. The lyrics are ours...the tune belonged to a song done by Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris - my heros, called Those Memories. If you have ever heard that song...imagine yo using these lyrics with it. We had the OB-GYN's in stitches...literally. I hope you ladies get a kick out of our song. ( should hear our menapause rendition)....we've got a million of them.

Those Mammograms

Those mammograms and, Lord, those pap smears
They come around, 'least once a year
I always dread them, but my doc-tor
Says, "Girl, you bet - - - ter get in here."

Verse 1:
I close my eyes, assume the position
I hold my breath and say a prayer
I think of Paris or someplace pleasant
I'd rather be...instead of here.

Verse 2:
In my paper vest, I place it just so
On that little shelf...they mash me flat
And then that tech says, "Just one more film, dear."
If you believe that, I'll kiss your.....rear.

Last Chorus:
Those mammograms and Lord, those pap smears
They come around, 'least once a year
Although we dread them, we still must have them
So we'll be here....this time next year.

We don't have school tomorrow because they are expecting snow. Try and stay warm and have a Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Word for Wednesday

I had a student a few years ago, funny that I should think of her now, who wrote a research paper for me. The paper used the word loquacious fifteen times. I knew this student well....and also knew that this word was not part of her daily vocabulary and felt that a wee bit of plagiarism may have occurred. I did not want to embarrass the student and wanted so much to be I called her up and asked her what loquacious meant. Her answer was a her minds eye....loquacious was a deadly discease(it is not even a is an adjective! Griefus). I nearly spewed a mouth full of coffee on the poor child. Needless to say...she will never forget what loquacious truly means. Funny thing is....this child WAS loquacious. She spent several days in my detention for nonstop talking...and a few in administrative detention for the same. I think she probably talked in her sleep. I found a picture of her last night and so I thought today I would give you a Weds. Word...the word is lo·qua·cious. The pronunciation: \lō-ˈkwā-shəs\ It functions as an adjective. According to it's etymology it is from the Latin loquac-, loquax, from loqui to speak. According to Merrium/Webster is means; 1 : full of excessive talk : wordy. 2 : given to fluent or excessive talk : garrulous.
synonyms see talkative
— lo·qua·cious·ly adverb
— lo·qua·cious·ness noun
I personally think it is a funny word. It trips off your tongue and makes my nose buzz. Happy Wednesday...and don't be afraid to use your loquaciousness and leave me a comment!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

God Moments

“Do we human beings truly realize life while they live it – every, every minute?” asks Emily, a young woman in Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town. In the play Emily dies in childbirth but is granted a unique experience: the Stage Manager allows her to return from death and live one day of her life with her family. And filled with high hopes for that day, she is disappointed. Just before she returns to her place in the cemetery, she reveals her frustration to the Stage Manager: Emily: “We don’t have time to look at one another. (She breaks down sobbing.) I didn’t realize. All that was going on and we never noticed…. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute?” The Stage Manager: “No. (pauses) The saints and poets, maybe, they do some.” (Wilder, Our Town, 100) Poets and artists need to pay attention to this stuff so they will have insights to call the rest of us to attention. Poets/artists must take time to penetrate beneath the surface of things – to rediscover the meaning of love and perceive the impact of reality on personal lives. We don't typically experience such moments unless they are very special times. We live in such demanding be totally honest. Our whole lives are full of busyness. We are entirely too busy! We’ve places to go, people to meet, meetings galore. Our families demand time, and lots and lots of energy. We have a list of books to read, exercise classes to attend, and houses begging for attention. We promise to do things for the church, or the schoo,l or the neighborhood watch association, and in frustration we throw up our hands and call at the last minute and say, “I can’t make it.” So, ask yourself right now... “Why am I doing all of this activity? Where am I going?” or you may find that you can pray while jogging or doing pilates, but the busyness does my prayer and meditation life no good. I confess the busier I am the less I pray. I need those quiet moments for reflection, prayer, and thought – moments for insight and revelation. I need God Moments....and in order for me to get them....I make choices everyday. I can have a God Moment by getting up at 5 when Frank goes to work...or I can deprive myself of that sleeping til 6. The choice is mine. Today I chose to sleep...and have a crick in my neck. Tomorrow....tomorrow I will definitely make the other choice.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Welcome to the World Little Jonathan Brady Taunton

He is here! Jill and Blake's little man, Brady made his appearance into the world on Saturday a little after 4 p.m. It was a long day for Jill. They induced labor about 7 a.m. Anyways, the little guy weighed in at 7' 13" and was 21.5 inches long, with a head full of black hair....he looks just like his daddy. He will definitely be a heartbreaker one day. Right now he is at the heart squeezer stage. I love little babies. They are God's assurance that there is still good in the world. Jill and Blake will make good parents...and one thing for sure...a baby changes everything. I remember my own...things that you did before do a whole lot differently after baby. I was talking to a friend the other day....who is expecting number three and they are all under age 5. His wife has been put on total he is in charge...there is nothing funnier than a daddy at the complete mercy of a three and five year old. Motherhood is not as easy as it looks. I was a SAHM until Kat started I know first hand...there is definitely more to Stayathomemomdom than meets this eye. To all SAHM's I lift my glass in salute. You do a good job. Yours is truly the nobler profession. Congrats Jill and Blake. Here is wishing you many wonderful years of parenthood. I wouldn't trade mine for anything....but remember...they will step on your heart sometimes...and when they do...they will stomp that sucker flat!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hands Speak Volumes

I am a real hand nut. I love to look at people's hands because I truly believe that hand's speak volumes. When my son, Eric, was little he got into some briars picking blackberries for me(to make a pie for him). His sweet little hands were all scratched and I had to pick a few briar remnants from them. Now he is a grown man. It is hard to believe that my son will be 40 in August. Now his hands still bear scars...scars of hard work. He is a maintainence man for a car part plant and is constantly scrapping his knuckles, or cutting himself...but I still love his sweet they are man hands...and show hard work. I love babies hands...they are so tiny...miniature adult hands...tender...not calloused...just sweet. They wrap themselves around your finger...and squeeze at your heart. Today, I was in Opelika seeing my sweet Jill's first baby. When I entered the room Jill asked me if I wanted to hold him. I never turn down a baby holding moment...I love their smell, their feel...everything about them...while I was holding this precious new creation...not even 24 hours old...his tiny little hand wrapped itself around my pinky finger...and I was a goner. So, I thought I would blog about hands today...and I was listening to Nickel Creek while I was trying to figure out just what I would say and their song, The Hand Song, came on. How perfect is that. It is a great song that says alot about hands. Hands, they are so soft and kind when congratulating us for something we have done right. These same comforting hands can also appear hard when discipling us. Baby hands, children hands, teen age hands, old people hands...Jesus hands....all tell us a story. Look at your hands...what do they have to say about you? My finger tips are calloused from playing guitar...I have an age spot or two that have suddenly appeared.(I thought only old people got those?)...hummm. I have scars from crazy things I did as a climbing Jim Gunnell's coconut tree to get a coconut down. What was I thinking. I have one or two from surgery. I have a long life line and big visible veins...that move around when the nurse tries to stick one of them. I have short, choppy, man hands...oh...and bite my nails a bit. I will never be a hand model...but my hands are expressive. My kids at school say if you were to tie my hands up I would be mute. Hands say a lot...and most of the time mine are on overload. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2010 Queen of the Sock Hop

The Alexander City Women's Bowling Association is having a tournament this weekend. The theme was the "Sock Hop." We even crowned a queen during the 9:00 squad...Dianne Naler was this years winner. Once the theme had been established everyone got busy getting their outfits together and there were even prizes given during each flight for best dressed and best decorated bobby socks. I cheated. My bobby socks came from Party City. They were so cute with little poodles on the sides. My team, Strike Up the Band" all wore denim capri's (they were called peddle pushers back in the day), white shirts, letter jackets and scarves. I found some cute saddle shoes on-line and just had to buy them...and wore a 50's style wig. When I first got to the bowling alley no one knew who I was til I is amazing what a new do will do.BTW...I am the brunette on the right side. We had some of the cutest decorations and the Board of Directors and Officers all had to get in on the picture taking. Angela Jones made it look like she was in the little car we borrowed from Jacob's Ladder. It was a great day of food, fellowship, fun, and some awesome bowling...(me excluded, because I could not hit the broad side of a barn.) I think my bowling ball was confused by the brunette bowling. Maybe if I had taken the wig off I would have done better...anyways...I return to the lanes tomorrow at 10:00 for singles and doubles. I am bowling with MaeLynn O'Neil. I cannot goofy costume tomorrow. We have matching purple shirts. Hope your Saturday was as fun and eventful as mine. Sleep well.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Am Karen, and I Am A Klutz!

My name should have been Grace...maybe then I would have had some. I am most assuredly the clumsiest person on the face of the earth...if I can fall down it, or up it...I will. Needless to say...mountain climbing is not on my Ten Things To Do Before I Die list. all started when I was young. I think I was three the first time I fell into a wall at my house....and lost two or three teeth. From there it progressed to standing and falling down when walking and chewing gum. The first time I wore heels to church...and believe me...they were only 1.5 inches high....I missed the first step entirely and fell down a flight of stairs only to land at the bottom, with my dress around my head and my days of the week panties glaring up at the boy I was trying to impress with my big girl shoes...needless to say....big girl shoes are NOT my friend. The most humiliating thing about this moment...was not the laughter of the people watching...although that did was the fact that I was not even wearing the right panties for the day! I have fallen both down and up the stairs at BRHS during my 20+ years of teaching. Once, I got up in my classroom, during a video, and forgot that I had pulled out my bottom desk drawer....I found myself flat on my back with my class in shock. I have tripped over the star basketball players feet in my class(accidentally he said), fallen flat on my face and slid across the room like a beached whale...all the way to the door...and to my bosses feet (He would have chosen that moment to enter my room). I broke up a fight between two boys once...not on purpose...I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time....I took an elbow in the nose, thus seeing stars and breaking the nose. It broke up the fight for sure...the two boys were beside themselves. Needless to say...I am a KLUTZ with all caps. I have been called one most of my you know what one is? According to Webster's Dictionary it is an offensive term that deliberately insults somebody's physical coordination or social skills...[see Karen]. The last part I added...but it could be there. So, if any of you are Klutzy....just know that you are not alone. Klutzes of the world Unite!...or...just watch your step! Happy Friday to All!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vienna Boys Choir - Weiner Sangerknaben

Wow is all I can say. Tonight, my sweetie and I went to see the Vienna Boys Alexander City! It was awesome. The choir was conducted by Florian Schwarz. Florian Schwartz was born in Vienna. He has an extensive resume himself and has only been conducting one of the Weiner Sangerknabens four concert choirs since 2008. The concert itself was divided into four parts. The first part of their presentation was of a religious or classical venue. My favorite song was a South American didty called Gloria (from Missa Criolla) and composed by Ariel Ramirez. Ok, you all know I teach Spanish...and when the conductor pulled out the Spanish guitarra...and one of the boys picked up the Djimbe...I was captured. Gaudete, arranged by Gerald Wirth was my second favorite...because the conductor played a Boudrain. It was amazing...he would give the boys the pitch to the song...and BAM...they would hit it head on! After the intermission they sang Songs from Around the World, Popular Music, and then Vienna Classics. It was hard to understand the words to most of the songs because they were not in English....but the beauty was in the harmonics and purities of the voices. The amazing thing about the Vienna Boys Choir is that it began in 1498, but until 1918 sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, at private concerts and functions, and on state occasions. When the Hapsburg Empire ended in 1918 the Choir became a private institution and became Weiner Sangerknaben, their uniforms became the sailor suits, and because there was not enough money to pay for their upkeep, they started giving outside concerts in 1926. The choristers are between the ages of ten and fourteen and divied into four touring groups. They give about 300 concerts a year....during a nine to eleven week period. The choir maintains its own school and they rehearse in the Auzartenpalais, which is the former imperial hunting lodge of Vienna. Instruction begins in kindergarten for both boys and girls. They are provided with a complete musical and general education throughout elementary school. At ten, the most talented boys are selected to join the choir and enter the choir's grammar school until they are fourteen. Each boy selected is assigned to a touring choir. If you get a chance to go and hear them....believe me it is worth the money.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


SIFAT, or Servants in Faith and Technology is the neatest place I have ever been. The District for which Frank is a pastor had their Pastor-Spouse Picnic there this past summer and my eyes were made clear. I could not believe that such a place existed. I want to share with you all just exactly what SIFAT does and why their work is important. "Servants in Faith And Technology is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides training in self-help programs for a needy world.
SIFAT offers opportunities for Christians to get involved personally, both to learn from others and to partner with them in missions. The idea of SIFAT was conceived in the jungles of the Alto Beni of Bolivia in 1976 when Ken and Sarah Corson took their four children and moved to Sapecho to be pastors of a Bolivian church. Realizing that the homesteaders there needed more than spiritual nourishment, Ken and Sarah began work in integrated development with the people of the village. The Quechuan mayor of the town, Benjo Paredes, became a Christian that year and has been a great Christian community leader. Benjo and Ken cofounded CENATEC (Centro Nacional de Tecnologia Sustenible), a nonprofit Christian organization in Bolivia. CENATEC was the mother organization out of which SIFAT was born. In 1979, the Corsons returned to Alabama and established SIFAT as a training center for meeting basic human needs. Since then, CENATEC and SIFAT have worked closely in many endeavors." In the trainging site, the missionaries in training learn about developing water treatment method, learn how to make bricks, is amazing...there in Clay County, Alabama you will find three third world countries in all their splendor/squallor and glory/grossness.
There is housing....just like you would see in that country/region, there is a water system....just like you would find in that country....there are beds....just like you would sleep on in that country....and believe me, Goldilocks would have left the Three Bears home long before she did with these beds.
They are definitely not Sleep number Mattresses. SIFAT follows a series of principles. The principles of development which SIFAT promotes:

•God is the creator of all things. All things are integrated: if a new technology is accepted into a village, it will change that village socially, physically, economically and spiritually. The Gospel of Jesus includes integrated development and affects the physical, spiritual, mental, social, economic, political and all other aspects of life.
•SIFAT works with all people, not just those who hold the same beliefs. This does not negate, but rather emphasizes, Christianity.
•SIFAT encourages long-term development, instead of short-term relief.
•SIFAT strives for every word and deed among the poor to build their self-esteem, to affirm their potential and to help them become more in themselves rather than just having more for the moment. Those things that create dependency are rejected in favor of those that develop self-sufficiency. A brother/sister relationship is cultivated, rather than a paternalistic/materialistic one. SIFAT does not do things for people, but with people.
•To receive help from SIFAT, overseas partners must develop a plan for their priority project that appears to be sustainable. They must identify their resources and communicate the resources they lack. Then SIFAT considers whether a partnership would be effective.
•Help is not doing for people what they can do for themselves, except occasionally lending a hand as a way of walking in someone's shoes and showing solidarity. Help is doing what they cannot do, after they have done or are planning to do all they can.
•SIFAT welcomes others to join with us in the exciting journey of allowing the Spirit of God to change people's vision and alleviating some of the alienation and lostness in our world today.
When we left the campus of SIFAT I was in awe of all they do. It really hit home when the earthquake hit Haiti. SIFAT was there....and was installing a water treatment facility. It means more to me today....because I have been there, seen that, and will never be the same.
Want to know more about SIFAT? Check out their website: SIFAT

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Phil Sees His Shadow and We Are Doomed For Six More Weeks of Winter

Did you know that the legend of Groundhog Day is based on an old Scottish couplet: "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year." Well people in the United States and Canada take this couplet very serious. Every February 2nd, people gather at Gobbler's Knob, a wooded knoll just outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to hear (and the key word there is "hear") Phil's prediction. The residents in and around Punxsutawney contend that the groundhog has never been wrong.
So....with that said I must tell you that one of my favorite Bill Murray movies is called, "Ground Hog Day." It is about a news anchor covering the beloved celebration in Pennsylvania....who wakes up each morning to relive the day. What a nightmare that must be. It would be almost like having altzheimers. Yuck! Since today is really Ground Hog Day I thought I would tell you all I know about the event. The ceremony in Punxsutawney was held in secret until 1966, and only Phil's prediction was revealed to the public. Since then, Phil's fearless forecast has been a national media event. I could not wait to see what his prediction was this morning. I was almost late to work because of it.
Phil, the groundhog comes out of his electrically heated burrow, looks for his shadow and utters his prediction to a Groundhog Club representative in "groundhogese." The representative then translates the prediction for the general public. Come on people. Do you not have anything better to do on a cold February morning than this? Griefus! Anyways, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring is just around the corner. I know it is amazing...but about 90% of the time, Phil sees his shadow. Do the math people...the first day of spring is six weeks from today.
Did you know that Phil started making these predictions in 1887 and has become an American institution? You know people have some of the strangest customs and celebrations....don't you think? Can you help me find some other weird and unusual customs. If you find one drop me a line as a comment. I need a good laugh today....after all...we are in for a long, hard winter. Sigh! I don't know about you...but I am ready to trade my boots in for some flip flops.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Monday and the Lost Children of the Alleghenies

I was watching a PBS special one night and it featured Allison Kraus. I love the sound of her voice and was fascinated by the song she was singing about two little boys called Jacob's Dream. After the show was over I went online to see about the lyrics of the song. It was definitely one that Still Magnolias would be perfect for. What I found in my search was that the song was actually a true story and a very sad one. It began on the morning of April 24, 1856, in a real place called Spruce Hollow. Samuel Cox went hunting and his small sons, Joseph, 5, and George, 6, decided to stay at home with their mom and play..when Cox returned to the little log cabin he had built he was empty-handed from his hunt. As they sat down for dinner, their dog, “Sport,” was barking and Mr. Cox immediately trudged out with his gun. Before Cox left he told his wife, “Sport” had a squirrel treed, and he would go get the squirrel for meat for his family. After hunting for about an hour and a half he returned by a route that was different route from the one he had taken when he left the cabin. "On entering the clearing where his cabin stood, he was met by his wife. Susannah Cox was crying hysterically because the two boys were missing. Susannah frantically told her husband how she had repeatedly called them and then searched the area. She was sure that something had happened to them. The woods in the area had many fast-flowing streams that two small boys could easily drown in.
Samuel Cox immediately began searching for his sons. Again and again he desperately called their names and listened intently after his echo for the small voices of the boys’. The only thing poor Mr. Cox heard was the birds high in the trees and the rustling of leaves by the wind through the forest. Finally, Samuel went to his neighbors who lived a farther up the valley to ask their aid in the search.
Within hours, over 150 people were searching the Blue Knob area for the young boys. They searched until nearly daybreak, rested briefly and renewed their search at the crack of dawn. Nearly ten days went by and almost 1,000 people were trudging through the woods in every direction to aid in the search for the boys. Some came from as far as 50 miles away. By now the entire area was completely involved with the thoughts of what extreme misfortune the Cox family was experiencing. Rumors flew wildly as neighbors told stories to one another. They had drowned…they were killed by a man-eating beast seen prowling the forest…the parents had murdered them. Several neighbors went as far as to tear up the floor of the Cox cabin to relieve those acquisitions. It was then, at the height of all the rumors, that a young farmer named, Jacob Dibert, had a terrible nightmare. In his nightmare, Mr. Dibert was part of the search parties looking for the Cox boys. He became separated from the other men. He could not recognize the part of the forest he was in, but he came to a fallen tree. Near the tree lay a dead deer. Stepping over the deer, Mr. Dibert followed a deer trail and soon found a small boy’s shoe just beyond where he found the shoe there was a beech tree lying across a stream. He went across the stream, up a steep ridge and into a ravine. There, by the roots of a large birch tree, were the missing boys, dead from exposure. Jacob told his wife about the dream, but they said nothing to anyone else. The next night he dreamed the same dream over again. So, they decided to tell Mrs. Dibert’s brother, Harrison Whysong, who lived in Pavia and was well acquainted with the area in which the boys had disappeared. At first Whysong was skeptical of the dream, but he said nothing. He knew where there was just such a ridge, brook; but he regarded it as a wild goose chase unfortunately. To ease his sister’s mind he took Jacob to the edge of the forest, and they began their search on May 8, 1856." The boys had now been missing for two week. "Five minutes later as Dibert traced his steps in his dream they stepped upon a fallen tree and there laid a dead deer. Beyond the deer, some eight yards away, a child’s shoe was laying upon a mound of earth. Both men began to run. They crossed a brook on a fallen Beech tree just like the one in Dibert’s dream. As they crossed the brook the scrambled up the steep ridge. Dibert spotted a giant Beech tree with a shattered top, too astounded to speak, he could only point. Just like in his dreams, at the roots of the Beech tree they found the bodies of George and Joseph Cox, dead from exposure just like in the dream. The bodies of the boys were returned to the Cox home, and the church and school bells tolled- farther and farther from Pavia, to Bedford, to Altoona- telling that the boys were found. Questions were raised throughout the counties as to where, how, and by whom were the boys found. Some said Whysong, others said Dibert, and some said they both were heroic. In 1906, the people of Pavia contributed funds to erect a public monument at the spot where they brothers were found. The monument is still there today- standing as a memorial to the nightmare of the young farmer, Jacob Dibert." Nearly a hundred years later, "early in July of 2002, the Cox monument was vandalized. The monument was overturned and the fence surrounding the monument had been pushed in. Workers from Culp Monumental Works of Schellsburg moved the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument back into place. The workers included C. Robert Daugherty, Richard Sparks, Philip Fletcher, and Jim Miller. C.B. Culp, founder of the family company in 1899, made the original chiseled marble stone in 1906." Life was hard in the early twentieth century and death was common, especially among the young. How sad for young mother, Susannah Cox and her husband Samuel. What an awesome story. The greatest thing about stories is that they are everywhere....what story is there from your town or state that stands out like this one. Was there a song about it? That is why today...I am making this a music Monday. Oral tradition at its finest! Enjoy the song. Happy Monday to Everyone!