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!”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Queen in Me

I am doing a blogging cool is that?  My blogging buddy Jeannie over at Jeannie's Happy World is conducting a book study on "Queen of Your Own Life."  It is a Grown-up woman's guide to claiming happiness and getting the life you deserve written by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff.  Kathy Kinney was Mimi on The Drew Carey Show.  We are now just finishing up chapter 3.  This week's lesson was about cleaning out your mental closet and finding your queen voice.....or battling the mongol horde.  I have really loved reading this book but between the women's conference lessons and this book I feel like I have been bombarded this week with thoughts and they are running rampant in my mind.  Over the weekend I was reading the chapter for this week and at the Women of Faith conference singer Sandi Patty hit me with my first reality check.  She talked about her battle with weight....whoa....was she talking to me?  Was she talking to me?????  If you read my Saturday post then you know that when she auditioned for Disney they rejected her because of her WEIGHT.....did those people not hear her VOICE!  They were idiots!  A number of her life stories that she shared had to do with those kinds of disappointments....she was discovered by the Gaithers....they were smart people....they saw and heard...what was on the inside.....they hired her.  She talked about her struggle with weight and how she has currently lost 75 pounds.  She shared what brought her to this decision....she kept asking God to help her with her weight....and then at a doctors appointment one day with cholesteral out the roof...she told the doctor she could not have lap banding because she did not believe God would want her too.  I have to admit...that sounds painfully familiar to me and hit really close to home.  The doctor, in his infinite wisdom, said, "I don't think God wants your family to be without their mom."  Point taken.  Being overweight is bad for your is as bad as smoking, taking drugs, is a sin...because it is brought on by overindulgance....or to use biblical terminology....gluttony.  In today's world where athletes, actors, bad people are idolized by our young people I have a different kind of hero.  Sandi Patty is my hero.  It is hard enough to talk about our weaknesses in a small group....let alone one the size of the conference.  I think there were over 10,000 women there.  It was hard just now for me to write about it on this post.  I don't know how many readers will read this....but it was still made me almost nauseated to hit the post button.  The next speaker/performer that nailed me to the wall was Mandisa....another more ways than one.  I saw Mandisa two years ago at Christmas.  She and Matthew West were doing a concert at Frazier UMC and Kat had gotten me tickets.  She had just started on her weight loss program then....I came home...and began my own....if Mandisa could do could I.  I lost 52 pounds and then slid off my wagon when my parents were missing and my life began to snowball.....Sigh!  Where was my resolve and discipline then?  Mandisa, shared that she had...key word there was had....lost 80 pounds.  But...had gained half of that back....but she had turned it over to God and was working on it again.  She talked about her own battle with self esteem.  Let me tell you....I believe that Mandisa is a beautiful woman....even if I can believe that about her....why can't I believe it about myself?  Shucks...that is easy...Mandisa IS a beautiful woman....and I AM a plain Jane.  The whole time she talked....there were two voices talking in my head....One voice was telling me to listen and believe what she was saying....the other telling me to look at her and see how beautiful she was and then reminding me that my cousin told me I looked like my grandmother.....tears fell from my face the whole time she talked.  So today I have to come clean and share a few things with you....because today is another day....and I am going to put on another attitude.  From the time I was a teenager...I have had little to no self-esteem.  I was surrounded by Mega A type personality beautiful people.....I had/have beautiful friends....but it was not me.  My singing partner cousin is one of the prettiest women I is my other singing partner....but I am plain.  There is no way to dress up plain...believe me...I have tried.  Oh people have told me I was pretty....but I always knew they were just saying that.  I have many flaws....and then to top all the flaws off...I have been heavy most of my life.  My sweet Frank always tells me how beautiful I am and you know...when he says it....and I see the look on his face....I believe.....I just need to leave that stinking mirror alone.  But....back to the book review....a queen is an admired woman, the most powerful chess piece, a women eminent in rank, power, or attractions, a female ruler.  My job is to claim my beauty and feel my how do I banish the inner crone?  As little girls we have been brought up to believe the fairy tales about beauty....we have all looked into a mirror and asked some version of the age old question, "mirror, mirror on the wall..."  and been unhappy with the imagined least I have.  Grandma Moses said, "Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be." what are you saying Grandma...that this self-esteem issue is all my fault?  Well duh!  I have to agree with Ethel Barrymore, "You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself."   Regrets are a waste of time...because who or what I not who I am right this very moment.  I actually love my life right now.  I am content and at peace....until I look into the mirror.  But, I have got to enjoy the scenery in life...even if I am on a detour.  "Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach the stars to change the world."  Thanks Harriet Tubman for that inspiring piece of prose.  I do don't I?  I have the power...and it is within be whatever I want to be.  "No one can make me feel inferior without my consent" was said by a great we can all look up to....Eleanor Roosevelt.  So why do I continue to let that negative voice continue to lie to me?  That mongol horde battles with me on a daily basis...eager to make me feel worse about myself than I already do....ready to make me feel like a failure.....and that is where I got....the mongol horde...can't MAKE me a failure...they can only make me feel that way....I MAKE me...when I let them today I am making a royal proclamation and telling the mongol horde's if they can't say anything good to just keep their opinions to themselves.  I am going to banish all negatives from my life.....and I AM the Queen of my own life....and I can do just that.  Oh.. I know they will always be out there....but....I found out at the conference and in the book....that I am not alone.  I am not someone who has used food as a shield or comfort....Sandi Patty and Mandisa have exciting.  I am taking my queenliness to a new high.....I realize I can't do this I am asking the Prince of Peace for help, guidance, and strength as I go forth into battle....and with God on my side....there is nothing impossible!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Talking About Randomness

Well, it is Wednesday and that means that Linda, over at 2nd Cup of Coffee has come up with a dozen more random questions for us to respond to.  This weeks are a little different I must say, but feel free to read my responses and laugh at them. Feel free to check out some of the other bloggers responses. 

1. Do you believe, somewhere deep inside, that blondes do indeed have more fun? That they are "dumber" than brunettes or redheads? Be honest! I think that fun is a state of mind….if you want to have fun you will….no matter what color your hair is. Besides…what is hair color….a product in a bottle to be changed at whim. Blondes have more fun was a slogan to sell hair color products. And no….blondes are not dumber….they may act it sometimes….but some of the smartest people I know are blondes…..and one of the dumbest has jet black hair…and they are both naturals.

2. Which animal would you most like to observe in its wild habitat? Deer, moose, and elk would be my most favorite.
3. This week the U.N. announced that Dr. Mazlan Othman has been appointed the official "Alien Ambassador," should any extraterrestrials contact us. Have you, or has anyone you know, ever seen a UFO? I live in the South….but not that south. No one I know has ever seen a UFO.
4. Name your favorite Hitchcock film. Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Spellbound. I am not a big Hitchcock fan though...when I was a child his movie, "The Birds" scared me enough that even today when I see a large groupage of crows or pigeons I break out into a sweat and look for somewhere to hide.
5. Would you rather spend time at the library, the mall, a craft store or home? I am a multi tasker….I would have to stop by the Library to pick up some good reading materials….and then the craft store to make sure I was stocked up on crafting items….before heading home….to read my book…and do my crafts….with the telephone turned off….sigh! That would be a perfect day!
6. Which Disney princess is your favorite? (Or Disney character, if you are a guy) Pocahontas would be my choice….I am a descendant of the Creeks and Cherokees.  My great great grandmother was a Creek princess....she was a real Pocahontas
7. What kind of art is your favorite? Monet is my all time favorite. Pablo Picasso would be my second choice. His SoƱar is my favorite piece.
8. How do you feel about viral videos, that is, videos made by amateurs that end up on Youtube receiving thousands of hits? Well….my niece uploads videos of her son… that those of us who live a bazillion miles away can be part of his growing up….and I love that. Some of them are silly and are wasting space in my books.
9. Where do you buy your jeans? L.L. Bean, or the Lee factory outlet….or Walmart. It depends on where I am….and how much they cost when I need them.
10. Tell me about your first automobile accident. I was 19 years old, sitting in my Plymouth 383 waiting for a traffic cop so I could turn into my sub-division….when a VW bug topped a hill running 60+ in a 40 mph zone…and rear ended me. She knocked me 182 feet, knocked the gas tank out from under my car, knocked the engine block into the radiator of the car, broke my nose, busted my lip, gave me a concussion, and totaled my car. No one died…it was amazing….then….after rear ending me….she actually tried to sue me. The traffic cop was my only witness. I won….she lost. But, did I really win….my insurance paid for my car….she had none….my insurance went up. Life stinks like that.
11. Have you ever been honest when you knew you would benefit more if you would be dishonest? I am dishonest every single time I go and see my mom. She has dementia and does not live in this world…so I am dishonest with her because if I am not she gets agitated and demands for things to happen. She wants me to take her to Walmart so she can get a job…she hates working at Adams….I tell her Walmart is not hiring right now. I go to a lot of meetings….because that is the only way I can leave without her wanting to go with me.
12. If you were appointed "Ambassador to Aliens," what would you show and tell first about life on Earth? What would be the most difficult thing to explain? Most difficult thing to explain is why we have abused the planet. First about life on Earth – the majesty of the mountains, rivers, forests.
*If you want to play along....then go over to 2nd Cup of Coffee and copy the prompts, post your answers, and post your link on her site.  That way all her followers can read your can be very enlightening.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Words From A Simply Complex Woman

I follow Jerralea's Journey and love reading her.  Usually, on Monday's she  joins Peggy Hostetler's The Simple Woman's Daybook  to journal and plan her week. I love to read her responses....but never join in .....but this week.....Jerralea has fought a nasty virus all weekend and  today is the first day she actually felt  a stirring of energy. So, she  decided Tuesday is better than no day.  I am personally glad she waited until Tuesday because I love the prompts and thought I would join in today myself.

Outside my window... workmen are building on our gymnasium.  I am tired of hearing the beeping of trucks backing up and men shouting at each other. 

I am aggravating it is be here.  It is a beautiful day and I would love to be home working in my yard.

I am thankful for...a job...espcially when there are many who don't have one.

From the kitchen...I see a grove of trees, a pasture that has hay bales scattered about and one huge bull!

I am of my most comfortable outfits, navy crop pants, a white peasant blouse, red sequined Yellow Boxes, and a special necklace.
I am's post.

I am going...home after work and then to church for Bible Study and Choir Practice.

I am reading..."Remembering the Forgotten God" by Francis Chan

I am hoping... I survive the week!

I am intern teach my second block class about past tense.

Around the house...Beau is sleeping, Frank is working on a sermon and Bible study for tonight, the TV is on.  You can tell I am not home because there is no music filling the air.
One of my favorite things... reading a good book when it is pouring down rain outside.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I am going to get my outdoor fall decor set.  I am so excited.  I still need a pot of mums and a pumpkin...or two. 

Here is a picture I am sharing.......I call it "Coming Out of the Dark."

Monday, September 27, 2010

It is Monday.....All Day Long

I am dying.  Today is Monday....not just any Monday....but a Monday following Homecoming week, a Women of Faith conference, and Frank being gone.  I left Thursday night at 11:00 headed to Duluth, GA, got up at 6:00 (Georgia time) the next morning, conferenced until 10:00 that back to the hotel around up again the next morning and did it again....when I got home Saturday night I did not think I would be able to walk into my house I was so tired....but I did.  Frank got home from school about 45 minutes after me and we went to get some groceries, eat supper, and get ready for Sunday.  I was in bed by 9....and I don't even remember Frank coming to bed.  I woke up at 6 on Sunday morning and hit the ground running.  After church Frank left for Atlanta to stay with Randy because Amanda had to go to North Carolina.  It rained all afternoon....and I loved it.  I just rested....but a nap evaded 10:00 I took Beau more time....and we went to bed.  He  crawled up and let me pet him for a while...then wiggled under the comforter to 12:00....he came out from under the covers like he was on fire....barking his fool head off and heading to the front door.  I kept the lights off and slipped out to see what was disturbing him.....there was nothing.  We went back to he goes again....and the sequence continued....2:00, 3:05, 4:15(at this time....I looked out the carport....saw nothing....let him out....he sniffed where Franks car normally sits....howled like he had lost his best friend....and went to the door.  Personally, I was ready to kill him.....dead!....back to bed until 5 when  I finally got up.  I drug around the house getting ready....where was Beau????  Sleeping soundly on the couch.  When I left....he did not even stir.  He is probably still sleeping there....or at least will be til Frank gets home.  Where am I?  I am dying at my desk.  There is not enough caffeine in this place to keep me from yawning....good thing I have an intern.  Tonight I have Bible Study...and will spend the night with Mary....hope she is not planning on a slumber party.....cause as soon as I hit the bed....I am going to be long gone.....I hate Mondays....especially when I have had not sleep.  Hope yours is a better one.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Standing Up for What You Believe!

I got an email this morning from my cousin, Gary.  In it was a profound statement of faith and I thought I will use this later today as my Sunday post.....but first....I will check it out on SNOPES.  I went to SNOPES and it was true....I could not believe it....TRUE!  Principal, Jody McLeod had actually done this in Kingston, TN...and so with today being Sunday and all I decided that I would share with you a story about a principal who was not afraid to stand for what he believed in.  Thank you Jody McLeod!

"This is the statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School , Kingston , Tennessee by school Principal, Jody McLeod."  "It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country."
Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a Prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it "an alternate life style," and if someone is offended, that's OK.  I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK.  I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a "viable! means of birth control." If someone is offended, no problem...  I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth" and call it "ecology.." I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded" and "ignorant" and call it "enlightenment.."  However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to Bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated.  This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical.  Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments.  Nevertheless , as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical... I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.  For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and refrain from praying at this time. " However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM,in the name of JESUS, to Bless this event, please feel free to do so.. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet."  One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray.  They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box!  The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America- the Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under GOD."  Somehow, the people at the football game in Kingston , Tennessee Remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion. Praise GOD that HIS remnant remains!  JESUS said, "If you are ashamed of ME before men, then I will be ashamed of you before MY FATHER.."  I teach high school.....and my students all know I am a Christian, that I pray before the day starts, and that Jesus is important to me.  I believe it is my right as an American....and as a Christian.  So, you attend church wherever you thankful that you have that right...and tomorrow....when you are at work, school, home, be thankful you still have that right....and do not be ashamed of God before others.  Stand up for Him.  WE, Americans, let Him be taken away once by Madolyn O'Hair...let's not let it happen again.  Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

When A Life Message Hits You Square in the Face

Today, we got up and ate motel breakfast, and left for the Arena.  I was excited today and I don't know why....but I felt like something good was going to happen....and I was not disappointed at all.  Sandi Patty was the first something good that hit me.  She talked about her battle with weight....whoa....was she talking to me?  She shared her story about auditioning for Disney....and they rejected her...because of her weight.....they rejected her because of her WEIGHT.....did those people not hear her VOICE!  They were idiots!  Many of her life stories had those kinds of disappointments....but then she was discovered by the Gaithers....they were smart people....they saw and heard...what was on the inside.....they hired her.  She then told about having lap banding and how she has now lost 75 pounds...and she looked really good.  She shared what brought her to this decision....she kept asking God to help her with her weight....and then at a doctors appointment one day with cholesteral out the roof...she told the doctor she could not have lap banding because she did not believe God would want her too.  I have to admit...that sounds painfully familiar to me and hit really close to home.  The doctor, in his infinite wisdom, said, "I don't think God wants your family to be without their mom."  Point taken.  Being overweight is bad for your is as bad as smoking, taking drugs, is a sin...because it is brought on by overindulgance....or to use biblical terminology....gluttony. When she sang "We Shall Behold Him" she took my breath away and I sat there in the dark with tears escaping my eyes.  Sandi Patty is my hero.  It is hard to talk about our weaknesses in a small group....let alone one that size.  The next speaker performer that convicted me was Mandisa....another more ways than one.  I saw Mandisa two years ago at Christmas.  She and Matthew West were doing a concert at Frazier UMC and Kat had gotten me tickets.  She had just started on her weight loss program then....I came home...and began my own....if Mandisa could do could I.  I lost 52 pounds and then slid off my wagon.  Sigh!  Mandisa, this weekend, shared that she had...key word there was had....lost 80 pounds.  But...had gained half of that back....but she had turned it over to God and was working on it again.  She talked about her own battle with self esteem.  Let me tell you....I believe that Mandisa is a beautiful woman....even if I can believe that about her....why can't I believe it about myself?  Shucks...that is easy...Mandisa IS a beautiful woman....and I am plain.  The whole time she talked....there were two voices talking in my head....One voice was telling me to listen and believe what she was saying....the other telling me to look at her and see how beautiful she was and then reminding me that my cousin told me I looked like my grandmother.....tears fell from my face the whole time she talked.  So today I have to come clean and share a few things with you....because today is another day....and I am going to put on another attitude.  From the time I was a teenager...I have had little to no self-esteem.  I was surrounded by Mega A type personality people.....I had/have beautiful friends....but it was not me.  My singing partner cousin is one of the prettiest women I is my other singing partner....but I am plain.  There is no way to dress up plain...believe me.  Oh people have told me I was pretty....but I always knew they were just saying that.  I have many flaws....and then to top all the flaws off...I have been heavy most of my life.  I found out yesterday....that I am not alone.  I am not someone who has used food as a shield or comfort....Sandi Patty and Mandisa have exciting.  The difference in that they gave it to God.  Ummmm.....something I have to do.  Mandisa finished her set with a song about Beauty and where it is located....and I sat there....smiling through tears(you are supposed to cry at these things)....and my heart just felt light.  We left a while later....I chewed around their words during Marilyn Meburgs talk....and when I got behind the wheel to drive home.....I saw somebody different in the rearview mirror.....ME!  I have a long way to go....but I will get there...because instead of Jillain off of Biggest Loser....I have God as my life coach....AND the most wonderful husband in the world....he made sure I got to go to this conference...and then when he got home from school....after I had been home for about an hour....the look on his face told me....I was beautiful in his eyes.....and I am beautiful in God's eyes....even if I do look like grandmother.  Thank you God for giving me a new set of glasses so that I can see more clearly.  I got home and read a post by my friend Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee.  It wasn't really her was a post from someone else called Single Dad Laughing....and I went there and read THAT post....and you should too.  It is the icing on the cake for my weekend.  I am leaving you a link so you is a post about/or not...perfection.

Happy Saturday to all!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Women of Faith Conference - Friday

Whooo hooo....last night Mary, Cindy, and I left Rock Mills at nearly 11:00 and drove to Duluth, Ga for the Women of Faith conference.(I included a link in case you want to check it out....or go to one of the other venues they have planned.)  When we got there we had one queen bed and a fold out couch.  I slept on the couch...without it being pulled out last night because Susan would not be there until Friday because she was babysitting for her grandson in Chattanooga in a hotel so her daughter, Jan and SIL, Keith could go see Straight No Chaser....their babysitter had bailed on them at the last minute.  Susan arrived at the hotel about 8:00 and we all ate breakfast, then headed off to the conference.  I was so excited.  The lineup was all time favorite.....Patsy Clairmont  is a pint-sized dynamo with larger-than-life stories.  I can testify from past experiences with her that women go home to regale their friends and family with the latest "Patsy story" and this weekend will be no different. Patsy has a poet's gift for making words dance as she shares her adventures and God's overwhelming love. Who'd have thought the teenage runaway who spent later years housebound with agoraphobia would grow into the gifted communicator and best-selling author you see and read today? (Certainly not Patsy herself!) A proud mama of two boys and "nana" to two more, Patsy and husband Les live Tennessee.  What to know more about her check out her website.Website:  I promise you will love her and die laughing.  Marilyn Meburg is a wise teacher and cherished friend(even though I have never met her) full of heart-felt humor At first glance, you might think Marilyn was a serious, wise, well-educated counselor. (And you'd be right!) But she's also prone to break into giggles at the slightest provocation and tell stories you'll still be laughing over years from now. With the weight of not one, but two Masters' degrees behind her, Marilyn tackles the most difficult subjects with aplomb. Her biblically-based brand of common sense and good humor is cherished by women across the continent. Marilyn claims California as home but has been on what she calls an "extended visit" to Texas since 2005.  Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman were also there and I love his music.  They've survived every parent's worst nightmare—but while their faith in God may have been bruised, it wasn't broken. After youngest daughter Maria's tragic death in 2008, five-time GRAMMY Award-winner Steven Curtis Chapman wasn't sure he would ever write songs again. Mary Beth's gift of a journal helped him break the silence and find his voice, resulting in the powerful album Beauty Will Rise. Married in 1984, the couple founded Show Hope (formerly Shaohannah's Hope) in 2001 after bringing their first adopted daughter home and seeing the need for more children to find forever families. In celebration of Maria’s life, the Chapmans opened Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China to provide care for special needs orphans. They live in Tennessee.  Want to know more about them then check out one of their two websites: or .  And for those of you who know Christian music....yes, he sang Cinderella...and no, there was not a dry eye in the house.  I cried from the minute I heard the intro music. Mandisa was one of the special singers/speakers and special she is....has that woman got a set of lungs on her.  I could hardly wait for Saturday to hear her again.  She is a GRAMMY-nominated American Idol finalist with a stunningly expressive voice.  She's come a long way from singing like Whitney Houston in her bathroom with a curling iron "microphone"! The former American Idol finalist survived childhood abuse and an eating addiction to become one of the most promising new talents in the Christian music industry. She's been nominated for a Dove Award and TWO Grammy Awards (so far!)—and I promise you there will be many more to follow. These days she sings with a carefree confidence about feeling more alive than ever. Through good times and bad, Mandisa has learned that God "can bring us out of whatever we're going through and even use it for good, and for His glory." She lives in Tennessee.  Check out her website too at:  And my other favorite female singer, Sandi Patty was also there.  She rocks....Did you know that she was the most-awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music history  I hope you are familiar with her magnificent voice. Did you know she's a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee with 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, and an armload of platinum and gold albums. AND...... did you know she spent much of the last year performing with symphony orchestras across the country—when she wasn't at Women of Faith events, of course—including a concert at Carnegie Hall? I also found out that she's such a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan she refuses to sing the National Anthem at their games? ("They lost every time I sang," Sandi mourns. "I love them too much to risk it again.") Sandi, her husband, Don, and their younger children (they have a total of eight) live in Oklahoma.  Her Website is:  Now for the serious drama side....there was a wonderful young woman...who not only writes the stuff...but does it...who did a drama skit for us...and she was AWESOME!  I can't remember her name...but she did a skit about labeling things....and how bad that is to do.  I won't forget that object lesson too soon.  Anita Renfroe was the female comedian in house...She's been a pastor's wife, YouTube "phe-mom-enon," and featured comedian on ABC's Good Morning America—and in all those roles, Anita delighted this audience with her unique outlook. She is an author, musician, comedian, wife, and mom and says, "All my stuff is about my life…" Well....let me tell you ....we all found her "stuff" was about our lives, too. I can't remember ever laughing so hard! Anita and husband, John, have three children and one "perfect" grandchild. They live in Georgia.  BTW....She is the mom on You Tube who sings the song to her the tune of the Lone Ranger...and it was priceless.  She was a scream.  Her website: .  The male comedian was Andy Andrews.  I found him to be a  masterful storyteller with an inspiring message. Andy is an internationally known speaker and novelist whose works have sold millions of copies worldwide. Andy lived a relatively normal life until the age of nineteen, when both his parents died—and he found himself literally homeless, sleeping under a pier or in someone's garage...That is until he met another homeless man who would change his life. He a question to the audience that could  ultimately affect millions of people. "Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?" Andy has spoken at the request of four different U.S. Presidents and works with people from all walks of life, including the military. He lives in Alabama, with his wife, Polly, and their two sons.  He has a website too over at: .  There was a praise and worship team comprised of four girls and they were awesome.  We went from 10 - 3:30....broke for supper fo 2 hours, we grabbed Italian at Johnny Carino's and then returned to start back and go until 10.  After we finished we went to Applebees for a dessert and to talk about the day.  Back to the room Susan and I took the mattress off the couch and put it on the floor...and slept pallet style.  I can't wait for Saturday's session!  I know it will be even better than the first one!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are You The Hulk Or Nehemiah?

Last night I had youth at church and prepared what I thought was a bang up lesson on anger.  I found it on line and modified it to fit Rock Mills and Me.  You see, anger is something I don't seem to have the best control of....thanks to my Irish and Native American heritage....but I work on it....all the time.  My scripture text for them was rather lengthy and came from the New International Version in Neh. 5:1-13.  I want you to read it so I printed the text for you. 
"Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers. [2] Some were saying, "We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain."  [3] Others were saying, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine."  [4] Still others were saying, "We have had to borrow money to pay the king's tax on our fields and vineyards. [5] Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others."  [6] When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. [7] I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with them [8] and said: "As far as possible, we have bought back our Jewish brothers who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your brothers, only for them to be sold back to us!" They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say. [9] So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? [10] I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop! [11] Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them--the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil." [12] "We will give it back," they said. "And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say." Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised. [13] I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, "In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise. So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!" At this the whole assembly said, "Amen," and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
So now let me ask you like to shop at Costco or SAMS?  Frank and I love to. Where else can you buy 320 rolls of toilet paper, 20 pounds of Doritos and an entire pallet of dog food? As fun as the store is though, something happens when you finish shopping and walk to the front of the store to the checkout counter. Everything changes. Just minutes ago out in the oversized aisles of the store, everyone was happy with big smiles on their faces….sampling stuff…..looking at all the products…but…. Now, as everyone nears the front ... they change. Their smiles disappear and their grip tightens on their cart as the competition begins: "Which is the shortest line?!!" Old ladies that looked like sweet little old grandmothers will run you down, "MOVE IT OR LOSE IT MISTER!" I don't know about you, but I have the gift of choosing when it comes to standing in line… ... the LONGEST LINE POSSIBLE! And to make matters worse, when I finally do near the front, a smiling employee will go to the people behind me, who just arrived in line, and tell them, "I can help you over at checkout number 3!" Well…let me tell you…. all of us have been equipped with an anger meter, a meter that measures just how angry we are. And when it gets in the red ... we blow. When that employee comes over and grabs the customers behind me ... I come really close to the red zone on my anger meter. This doesn't just happen in Costco or SAMS. This happens in my least favorite stores to shop as well, like Office Depot or Home Depot. I'll never forget once last year when my morning at this store had already been a terrible experience- the workers sent me to wrong aisles, gave me bad information, etc. I finally got what I needed and went to stand in line ... and there was only one checkout open...and everyone in Alexander City was in it. It was 8 in the morning….and they only had ONE CHECKOUT open….COME ON! To make matters worse, there was an employee that was standing near the front stapling, NOT HELPING ANYONE, looked up at me, connecting with my eyes ... then went right back to her stapling. My anger meter hit the halfway point. But I just stood there doing what we of Irish and American Indian descent stink at, being patient. Finally she looked up again, looking at me like, "Are you still here?!!" and got on the intercom and said, "customer service up to the front register ... customer service!" It was at that moment that an elderly man waltzes up behind me, glances at an unopened register next to me and goes up to it and puts his purchases down. The checker arrived and started to help the man. My anger meter hit three quarters. My Irish side couldn't just stand there, so I spoke up to the man. "I guess you're first then." Pa Kettle looks at me surprised and said, "Oh ...were you first?" I retorted, "No, I was just comparing the heights of these nail racks here. I think aisle three is the tallest one!" I'm finally helped by a lady who had found her true calling at this helpful store...NOT!   She starts to run my purchases through but somehow had trouble with every step and ended up emptying her purse to try to find her glasses. I was buying something for school and myself so I did two transactions. When I gave her my credit card she asked me for my problem....I have ask for ID on the back of my credit card. For the second transaction she asked me if I was going to use the same card. I told her yes. YES I tell you....and then she asked to check my I.D. again. After pausing in disbelief for a few seconds, I told her "thank you ... because I could be someone else this time." She just looked at me. The only thing sad about both these stories is that when I finished these transactions and left the store, within three minutes I entered my car and began to drive……look out other people on the road….angry woman is on the loose. Anger is a reality. We all have it. The question is simply, "What do we do with this anger?" Is it wrong for us to be this way? Well in three separate verses we see even God, in 3 forms is angry:
• Psalm 7:11 "God is angry with the wicked every day."
• Mark 3:5 "Jesus looked around at them with anger."
• I Samuel 11:6 "The spirit of God came upon Saul ... and he became angry."
Anger itself is not bad/a sin. It's part of being human- part of the emotional structure God put in us when he made us was the capacity for an emotional response. The human body is equipped with an automatic defense system called "fight or flight." When we are confronted seven things happen:
1. Adrenalin is pumped into the bloodstream,
2. Blood pressure increases,
3. Heartbeat accelerates,
4. Eyes dilate for better peripheral vision,
5. Hands sweat,
6. Mouth gets dry,
7. Muscles are supplied with a sudden burst of energy- we are transformed to alarm reaction state.
This is an involuntary response that occurs whether or not we will it- impossible to ignore- like denying a toothache. IT IS OUR RESPONSE TO ANGER IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT. How should we respond? The Media, bless their hearts, gives us the answer: If someone makes us mad, kick their butt! THE HULK is a great object lesson on anger….. when my kids were young we never missed the Friday night TV program THE INCREDIBLE HULK. My son loved it. Do you remember the Hulk? You gotta love this poor guy David Banner who wanders around from town to town ... getting his butt kicked. This guy was like the kid in class who had the sign "KICK ME" taped to his back. Every place he went, a group of guys would say, "Hey, look at that guy, let's kick his butt!" "Yeah, that would be fun!" And so they would begin to beat him up, the whole time while David would say, "Please ... ." Pow, Kick, Punch, " ... Don't" Bam, Pow ... "Stop It" ... Punch, Smack! Until finally he would receive that one blow that would push him too far and he would look up with those green eyes, his shirt would rip, his pants would rip (except for that one pair of cut offs that would happen to stay on, because this was a family show), he would turn green and muscular and KICK SOME BUTT! And we all loved it. Amish people would secretly scream, "Kill 'em Hulk! You show 'em!" Because it's the way we would love to express our anger. By kicking some tail! When I was a teenager there was also this show called Kung Fu? Poor Chinese guy (played by white boy, David Carradine) Kwai Chang Caine wonders around the country beating up people that tried to fight him. Every episode, those same guys that tried to get David Banner would try to beat up Kwai Chang Caine, who, of course, would kick their butts. And we would love it. Well that was back then. Now we have Steven Seagal, who not only kicks their butts, but he breaks them in half. That's even better. That makes our anger feel great... . or does it? Last year a local paper followed a true story of two guys that got in a disagreement on the road. One guy gets out of his car, right in front of his young son, and shoots the other guy. This guy ends up going to jail, and shortly after, kills himself in prison, leaving his son fatherless. That speaks volumes. Movies usually leave that part out of the story. Sure, it might feel good to just explode and hurt someone or something, but ... is that the end result we really want?  Eph. 4:26-27 says that "when you're angry, do not sin. Stop being angry before the end of the day. Don't give the Devil a foothold." We already established that anger isn't wrong. I think the question is, how do we take this natural emotion and NOT give the Devil a foothold? How can we control our anger when we get angry?  Nehemiah shows us a great example of how to do this. He not only gets angry for good reason, but responds in a way where the end result is positive.
Alright so in the book of Nehemiah we see a group of people who were getting attacked not from the front, but from within. The Jewish nation had been conquered by Babylon over a century ago, and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. This was devastating to the Jewish people. Their temple, their city and their walls were destroyed and their people were exiled and scattered. But half a century later Cyrus, king of Persia conquered all that Babylon had taken, and let the Jewish people return to their city and worship their own God. Cyrus just thought it was a better political move to let the nations under him have more freedom, a good choice as it turned out, because they stayed in power for two centuries, only to be eventually conquered by Alexander the great.So the Jews returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt their temple, and under the leadership of Nehemiah, were rebuilding their walls. During this construction project small local enemies had started causing trouble. They were poking fun at God's people and even threatening harm. Nehemiah actually ended up dividing the workers into two groups, one group standing guard while the other worked with swords at their sides.In addition to all this, times were tough. So many Jews returned to the city at once that this population explosion had caused famine. Many of the Jews were hungry and were barely scraping a living. Through all these hardships, God's people pressed on ... until something happened. They got attacked from within. Their own brothers took advantage of them and that made Nehemiah angry. Nehemiah wasn't a guy whose anger meter was in the red a lot. He was very calm and cool in most situations. That alone was a challenge to me. Nehemiah wasn't just a hot head, but when he saw his people stabbing their brothers in the back, it really ticked him off. We can follow the example of Nehemiah and apply his three steps of how to handle our anger.
STEP ONE:  The first thing Nehemiah did was admit that he was angry. Look at the text:  In Neh. 5:6
"When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry."  Nehemiah was hacked and he didn't hide it. He tells us that he was angry. He didn't try to shove it down or repress it, he acknowledged the fact that he was mad. And that's the place that many of us need to start. Often, people will try to repress their anger and hide it. There's a huge problem with this. Psychologists call this "gunnysacking." This is when someone gathers everything that makes them angry and places it in an emotional "gunnysack" that they carry with them. This sack gets heavier and heavier until finally it can't hold anything else and it explodes. And if you've ever been around someone during one of these episodes it's not a pretty picture.
STEP TWO:  Stop and think.(This is where I sometimes fall down).  In verse seven Nehemiah says "after thinking through it ..." according to the New Living Translation. The NASB says, "And I consulted with myself ..." Bottom line, Nehemiah took a moment to stop and think. This wasn't new for Nehemiah. In Chapter 1 when Hanani brought him the first bad news, "the walls are in ruins!" he wept (vs.4) and fasted and prayed. Thomas Jefferson once said that we should count to 10 when we get angry. Some of us might have to be more realistic ... I know I have to count to about 23,000. The point is to allow yourself to cool down and gain perspective.
STEP THREE:  The last principle we can learn from Nehemiah is also found in the verses following. Nehemiah calls a meeting together and communicates a well thought out proposal. Nehemiah doesn't just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. He doesn't just fly off the handle. He thinks it over. Then acts rationally and thoughtfully. After thinking it over, Nehemiah makes three accusations. The first is in verse 7: 1. You are charging interest to your brothers, fellow Jews. This is wrong. This would be the way someone should treat a strict business relationship like a harsh pawnbroker. What these guys were doing was not only against the Jewish law, but it was harsh. But things got worse, and Nehemiah clarifies this in his second accusation:  2. You are putting your brothers into permanent slavery (verse 8). This is also wrong. Leviticus 25:39-43 speaks specifically about this, instructing Jews to release their fellow Jews who had served as slaves after a certain period of serving.  But Nehemiah doesn't just leave it at that. He goes on to make a third accusation that perhaps is the most important:  3. You are looking bad in front of the surrounding nations (verse 9). These people weren't just taking advantage of their brothers, they were being watched. Local enemies like Sanballat and Tobiah might have sat back laughing, watching the Jews destroy themselves from within. It's hard to remove reproach when you can't even get along with your brother. We, as Christians, see the need to be careful how we conduct ourselves in front of non-believers. Paul writes about this to the Philipians in chapter 1:27-28:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel [28] without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. (NIV)  In 1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV) Paul writes:  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. [12] Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Nehemiah was a living example of how to act in front of others. An example that we can still learn from today. So, "after thinking it over," Nehemiah makes these charges to the Jews. It must have been pretty well presented because in verse eight it says that "They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say." (NIV) That is my new a Nehemiah....admit I am angry, stop and think, then act rationally.  I think I can, I think I can, well....I will start today...I blew it yesterday....we had an inservice...and they blindsided us with a speaker about a 20 minute meeting turned into a 40 minute one....I was almost late for Youth....griefus!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A State of Randomness

If this is Tuesday then it is Random Dozen day over at 2nd Cup of Coffee and todays questions were tough.  I had several answers I could have used on a number of them....but I was good and did not want to bore you to tears.  Enjoy my responses and check out the other participants....or join in.
1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything? (I just came from my dad's ceremony wherein he was given a medal of honor by the French government for service in France in WWII. Pictures to follow.) My daughter won the John Phillip Sousa band award her senior year in high school….and then followed that up with Most Outstanding Special Ed. Student at college when she was working on her Ed.S.  I was named Teacher of the Year for BRHS in 1996.

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military? My husband served in the Navy during Vietnam, my dad served in the Navy during WWII. My grandfather served in the Navy during WWI.
3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you. Seeing the American flag waving in the breeze makes me cry. Seeing troups deploying at the airport makes me cry. Singing the National Anthem anywhere…especially at a ball game.
4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality? I was the oldest until I was almost 9, then I became the only…and yes….both placements made a difference in my personality.
5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents. Generosity- I will give you the shirt off my back if you need it….and so would my parents and grandparents.
6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo? I prefer pants. I can move about more comfortably in them….sometimes at school I find myself in the floor or on the ground outside.
7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep? Some nights I never wake up and other nights once or twice and I usually just look at the clock, turn over, and I am out again. I have no trouble falling asleep.
8. Share a favorite movie quote. “I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. (from City of Angels….spoken by Nicholas Cage.) 
9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent? Anything spicy, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Pumpkin....I love the smell of candles.
10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to? Visiting the pumpkin patch and putting up my outdoor fall arrangement.
11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently. Frank managed to get us tickets to go to a dinner with Max Lucado as he previews his newest book AND see Third Day and Michael W. Smith in concert after the dinner. I am so excited!
12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be? MIL wanted to know what I saw in her son….and if she were me…she would run. I told her I was glad she wasn’t me…cause I was planning to be around for a long time….I made points with her really quick.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Miss You

Sometimes I feel that I have been orphaned because not only did my dad die....but during this process I have lost my mother's support because of dementia. My mom was a willing helper to me for so many years. She babysat my kids so that I could go to college. She helped me to grade school papers once I had begun teaching, and counseled me when I was angry or hurt. I don't know how I would have gotten through my divorce and empty nest syndrome with the love and support she and my dad gave me.  I have not always felt like I measured up in my mom's eyes....but as I am dealing with dementia....I her own way....she was proud of me....and you momma still expresses approval of me, but it is different.  Now I am not even sure she knows who I am. Her responses to my stories are warm and polite, but the spark of parental pride only shines through occassionally and usually that is when I sing for her. She knows I am someone special in her life....but every now and then.....and yesterday was one of those days she still knows that she has a daughter named Karen, a son-in-law named Frank, and a granddaughter named Kathryn.  I am  not always positive that she knows I am the person who is that daughter.  A few weeks ago....Frank and I got there to find her a twitter with anticipation.....she told us to hurry in and claim a seat because, "Karen was coming to sing."  I followed her in to the sun-room and sat down excited about hearing another Karen sing....she left Frank and me and began to pace the hallway watching for the expected singer.....when the nurse came to give her her medicine....she asked her why she was not visiting with us....and she told her that she was watching for the singing Karen.....and the nurse told her....Karen was already there.....she peeked around the corner, saw me, and disgustedly said, "Not her...the one who sings."....Well boys and girls....I am the singing Karen. I left the nursing home that day and cried all the way to Rock Mills. I have to be honest with you.....I am fifty-six years-old and I miss my momma.  Isaiah 49:15 (below) is full of rich comfort no matter what age we are when we lose our mother's care. Even as my mother fades from view I hear a beloved voice say, "I care. I provided the fall flowers that you arranged on your porch, and I stood by your side as you stepped back to view the work of your hands. I admired the beauty with you, and I am proud of the way My light shines through you."   When my mother was there for me, I often turned to her before turning to God....but yet,  He waited patiently to become my #1 confidant, and in the meantime He cared for me lovingly.  I am so glad because He has been my strength to get through and deal with cancer/dementia.  I can't imagine how I would have done this without Him.  Sometimes we have to get to a place where there is no one else to turn to before we can recognize that if we have Jesus, and He is all we need.  Yes, I miss my mom, but my heart's needs are fed through the Lord. He provides for me and will never leave me.  Everytime I go to see her...I feel Him standing right beside me.... Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15  There will come a time when she won't remember me at all.....but God will not forget me....Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things!

One of my favorite appetizers is Pepper Jelly.  My grandmother used to make it every year in the fall and I could hardly wait to open a jar and eat some on a cracker....with some cream cheese.  My grandmother also made mint jelly, which she used with lamb and mincemeat pies.  The smell of these takes me back to a very happy time during my childhood.  I decided to share my grandmother's top secret recipes with you all today.  Fall is here...and it is time to eat these foods.

Mild Pepper Jelly

3 1/2 c Sugar
1 c Apple Cider vinegar

3/4 c Sweet bell pepper slices (seeded and sliced finely)

1/2 c Hot pepper slices (seeded and sliced finely)

1 Packet (1/2 bottle) Certo or liquid pectin
Simmer sugar, vinegar and peppers very slowly for 10 minutes stirring to be sure all sugar is well dissolved. Turn off heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil and add Certo. Boil 1 minute. Cool and stir with non-metal spoon 5 minutes. Check that it comes off the spoon in a ribbon or sheet. If not, cook it a bit more. Pour into jars and seal.  My grandmother used red and yellow peppers for color, or all green. (The all green is my personal favorite)  Mixing red and green isn't pretty... it makes the jelly browner...I know because I have done this....and it was so gross.  When you get ready to serve it....take a brick of cream cheese and put it on a with about half a pint jar of pepper jelly and serve it with is so yummy.
My grandmother made mincemeat tartlets and full pies and they were so good.  I loved the tartlets as a kid...I always thought she made them just for the kids.  She made her own mincemeat....and I would wait until she was not looking and sample.....a lot.  I still love the taste of mincemeat.  Yummmmyyyyy!
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and quartered

8 ounces golden raisins

6 ounces dark brown sugar

4 ounces dried figs, coarsely chopped

2 ounces dried cherries

2 ounces beef suet, coarsely chopped

1-ounce crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup brandy

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground clove

Place all of the ingredients except the crust into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 8 to 10 times (this is what I do......My grandmother finely chopped the apples, dried fruit and suet by hand.)   Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before using. Can be stored for up to 6 months. The longer it sits....the better it is.....when you are ready to make your pie put in to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.  My grandmother made her pie crusts....I don't. I get one from the refrigerator section of the grocery store and pour the ingredients in.....and top with the other one.  Sometimes I get cute and do designs in my crust....other is just plain.  If I have any mincemeat left I will make biscuits and serve them with warmed mincemeat and whipped cream for dessert. 
The other thing my granny used to make was mint jelly.  She always grew her own mint and it smelled so good out in the yard....then she would make the jelly and cook some lamb and serve lamb with mint jelly....oh wow!

Mint Jelly Ingredients

1 1/2 cups packed fresh mint leaves and stems

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/4 cups boiling water

1 drop green food color

3 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 (6 fluid ounce) container liquid pectin
1.Rinse off the mint leaves, and place them into a large saucepan. Crush with a potato masher or the bottom of a jar or glass. Add water, and bring the mint to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain, and measure out 1 2/3 cups of the mint.
2.Place 1 2/3 cups mint into a saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice and food coloring. Mix in the sugar, and place the pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is boiling, stir in the pectin. Boil the mixture for a full minute while stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim foam off the top using a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to hot sterile jars, and seal.
3.Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.  I was going through my grandmother's cookbook yesterday and these recipes fell out on the floor.  I sat and looked at her handwriting and so wished that I could have felt her arms around me...loving me.  Instead I sat at my table and smelled the paper with her familiar script on it....closed my eyes....and felt her standing right beside me.  It was a great day!  Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Heritage is Rich in Rock Mills

Saturday was the Rock Mills Heritage Day....and it was really awesome.  There were people there with old pottery, there were people there telling the history of the Creek Indians in Clay and Randolph counties, there was a domino tournament going on, cheese tasting, bake sale, yard sales, it was so much fun....the only problem....was the heat.  This event should be held in late October....sitting outside in 95+ degree weather....not so much fun.  What I loved the most was the pottery.....and Frank Foster's shop.  It was fascinating....and Frank Foster is so very talented.  According to the historians I talked with at the Heritage Day event, "Rock Mills has a rich heritage as a center of commerce and community that started in the mid 1800s and continued through the turn of the century in Alabama. Not only was the mill thriving but jug shops and other occupations that accompanied a busy town flourished as well. In 1901, in a small rock building built across the creek from the mill, a doctor and his partner opened a drugstore with a classic soda fountain. In 1910, they expanded the business to include a bottling company called Rock Springs Bottling Works. When the mill became Wehadkee Mill the rock store was bought and converted into a dry goods and grocery store for the mill workers and their families.

Today, that little rock building is the home of Rock Mills Pottery, LLC. From the 1830s through 1930s, Rock Mills became known as a major industry center for the production of utilitarian pottery. Will Boggs and his family along with many other pottery families like the Usserys, Pounds (they are members of our church), Mapps and Pitmans made a living producing churns, jugs, crocks and planters which were peddled all over the south. This antique pottery has made a resurgence and is now sought after by collectors. Frank Foster, great grandson of Will Boggs, is proud to account for all the generations of his family that have taken to clay. He has made it his mission to revive the heritage of this area and his family and the other pottery families by opening Rock Mills Pottery, LLC in the historic rock building across the creek from the mill. Frank's previous occupation as Marketing Director and eventual Chief Operating Officer of a company sent him all over the world. On his travels through Europe, Asia, South America, and the South Pacific he found himself seeking out pottery production facilities as a side interest. The pursuit of clay and its function in different cultures was only a hobby at that time in his life. Frank Foster refocused his business experience and mixed it with his genetic talent for making and selling clay work.

 He put his mind to learning a new skill. He studied throwing clay on the wheel, he researched the technical side of firing the clay to different temperatures for different purposes and continually tests numerous glazes for their beauty and function.  In just over two years, Frank has developed a style that reflects the functionality of his great grandfather's in his modern oven and dishwasher safe mixing bowls, casserole dishes, vases, and platters. But it does not stop there. He also makes humorous faces jugs, coffee mugs and bird houses.

 He is always thinking of ways to remember the importance of his roots and that is best seen in his carvings of historic buildings onto his pottery.  Rock Mills Pottery, LLC has expanded into a country store gift shop. For sale, along with Frank's pottery, there is antique pottery, ceramic art from other local artists, paintings on slate, handmade wooden rockers, walking canes and flint knives.  The vision is to continue to expand and now another art form for sale in the store is the work of two local writers. Frank is now selling two books from authors that tell tales of Southern folklore. He is planning a book signing, featuring both authors, at the store.  If all goes according to plan, a museum will be developed within the old mill store to display photos of the mill, people that worked there, the items that authenticate the pharmacy, the bottling company and of course beautiful antique pottery.  It has not taken long for the word to get out. Many neighbors come by on a regular schedule to see what's new or to view the opening of the kiln. Others come by to buy handmade gifts for special occasions. But the range of visitors is growing to buyers from 30 states and 4 countries. Tourists read about the mill's history and naturally end up in Rock Mills Pottery looking to exchange stories and perhaps buy something to remember their trip or take as gifts for friends.  Let me tell you.. if you are in the market for a piece of functional or antique pottery or a decorative art piece, come by Rock Mill Pottery. Brother Frank opens the doors most Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can buy a cold glass bottled drink, enjoy a moment of days gone while rocking on the front porch or reminisce while looking at the antique bottles from the drinks that were bottled there about 100 years ago.".....did I mention that Brother Frank is the pastor at the Rock Mills Nazarene will love sitting down and listening to him talk about pottery and God.

If you ever have a Saturday and nothing to do....especially if it is the First/Third Saturday of the month...come to Wehadkee Trade Days....for such a little town....there is always something happening....humm....maybe when my book is published...he will let me sell it in his shop.  Ya think?  Have a blessed Sunday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Poetic Justice is Divine....Don't You Think?

I got an email this morning and since I could not post last night as I planned too (cable was down)...I thought I would share this with you all....Anyone who has ver worked on the docks....been around fish....or been divorced will get a kick out of it....if you are a should get a kick out of it anyway....."She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.  On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candle-light, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water. When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells dipped in caviar into the hollow of the curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left. When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days. Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything; cleaning, mopping and airing the place out. Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were steam cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked!!!  People stopped coming over to visit.. Repairmen refused to work in the house.. The maid quit. Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.  A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house. Word got out and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls. Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.
The ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going.  He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house. Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.  She agreed and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork.  A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home..........And to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods.
I LOVE A HAPPY ENDING, DON'T YOU?  Hope you had a marvelous Saturday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Am So Excited!

I bowl on Thursday nights and don't hear my phone if it rings....have you ever been inside a bowling alley with all lanes is deafening.  Anyways, Amanda called while we were bowling and by the time we headed home I did not even think to dig my phone out of my purse and see if I had missed anything....nope...I waited and did that this morning.  I had a missed call from Amanda and she said to call her as soon as I got the message.  I called her this morning at 5:50 my time/6:50 hers....and she sleepily answered the phone and told me she had sent me an when I got to school I logged on and opened my email and was so excited.  Amanda (technically my cousin.....heart stringwise my sister)...has two children that I adore.  Ramona, mother of my sweet Drew baby, wife of Mr. Incredible - Dustin...and David, father of precious Hot Wheels, husband to the crafting/decorating Queen-Susanna.  I love them like my own....and was delighted when in February, 2009 both of them had  their babies....four days a part.  What an exciting time for our family.  My dad and aunt were both doing bad....with cancer....and this was a shot in the arm.  It is amazing what sweet little babies can do.  Well....this Spring - David and Susanna announced that they were expecting another little blessing....they were planning to name Baby Jane....who is now Baby Butterbean (its a boy)....and he is due in December.  We cannot wait...Susanna is such a cute little pregnant just makes me smile to see her glow so.  WELL....this mornings email from Amanda was a precious video of Drewster and his first year and a half......and the final BIG BROTHER DREW.....Ramona and Dustin are having another we have Baby Butterbean Brown and Hughes....How exciting....and this baby is due in late April.  Life is good and what a way to start out the weekend....with this awesome news.  I love these sweet little families....and the joy they have brought to us!  Thanks guys!  Hugs and Kisses!  Love you guys!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tag You Are It!

I have a wonderful blogger friend Xazmin over at This Is the Year and she tagged me with 8 questions....Here's how the tag works: Answer the following 8 questions, tag 8 friends, and have them answer 8 new questions.

Here are Xazmin's questions for me....and my responses:

1.  Are you a night-owl or an early-bird? And would you change it if you could?  I am an early-bird. I love getting up in the morning and getting the day started.  I am in a good mood in the morning...and ready for whatever life gives me.  I was a night-owl in my college days....and would not want to go back.  I like being an early bird.
2.  If you could go back to any moment in your past and make a different choice, would you? If it's not too personal - what was that moment?  Once I would have said yes....and the moment would have been when I married my first husband....but I would have to say no now...because....if I had not married him....I would not have the exceptional daughter/friend that I have.  Nope...I don't want to go back....things happen the way they do for a reason.  The different choice might have been an even worse one.
3.  Do you believe in prayer?  I believe fervently in prayer and its power.  I have seen prayers answered and am still waiting on answers....I would hate to live life without prayer.
4.  If you won a $500 shopping spree, but had to spend it in ONE store - what store would it be?  Hobby Lobby without a doubt.
5.  What is your favorite food?  Grilled hamburgers and/or ribs cooked by my dad.
6. Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?  My father was the biggest inspiration in my life.  He was such a Christian man and taught me thoughout my life to put God first.
7.  Which room is your favorite room in your house?  The formal living room (which is my music room).  There is only music there as a source of television!
8.  Are you a country-girl, or a city-girl? And I'm not asking where you LIVE but who you are!  I am eclectic.  I am a country-girl in that I love the slower paced life and the neighborly feeling you get in the country.  I love the what is mine is yours and neighbors helping neighbors mentality.  I am a city-girl in that I love quick access to shopping, plays, theater, etc.  If I had to make a choice though....deep in my heart I would rather be a country girl with country girl attitudes. 
Now I have to tag 8 friends and give them 8 questions to answer...
Here are the friends I am tagging and their questions:
2nd cup of Coffee , A View from the Hill , Jeannie's Happy World , Jerralea's Journey , Screaming MiMi , Sweet Tea , Trina's ThoughtsMarty's Musings

1.  What is your favorite season and why?
2.  Do you have a Bucket List and what is one thing you have on it?
3.  Do you go to Starbucks(or another coffee chain) and what is your favorite drink there?
4.  What book are you currently reading(or just finished)?
5.  Do you take pictures?  What kind of camera do you have and share a current picture with us!
6.  What is your favorite genre of music and favorite group, band, individual from that genre.
7.  Where was your most favorite vacation and what made it your favorite?
8.  What is your favorite thing to cook/prepare and share the recipe.
For those of you I didn't take...pick at least one question and respond in a comment to me.....for those of you I did tag...well...guys....I am optimistic and I am hoping for 100% participation.  I can't wait to read all of the answers.  Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Utter Randomness

My friend Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee was having a spot of fun this week when she announced that this was her 1,00000 Random a blogger I know it must feel that way sometimes. I know there are days when I just cannot think of anything profound to post.....but even is not the 1,000,000, but she thinks that sometimes it sure feels like it! I would love to watch her all week long--searching everywhere, over and under for any topic, looking for a suitable question. I know there have probably been some repeats, and she plainly stated there will be more because as curious as she is about everything in life, she is running on empty, Jackson Browne. But...even with her never ending search here are this week's questions.
1. Do you do garage sales? If so, tell me about one great find. If not, tell me why not.
I love the things....but if I drive by one and see nothing but clothes I don’t stop. My best find was a box of oddities that actually belonged to a friend of mine’s family member. It was full of letters from a soldier during WWII and trinkets he sent her. The her was my friend Dee’s grandmother.The soldier was her fiancee
and killed in the war. I found a picture of Dee in there as a high school senior and when I realized it was her....gave her the box. I paid a whopping $2.00 for this....and she was thrilled with the momentos of her grandmother.
2. Name the last thing you fixed. I fixed a pair of broken earrings.
3. Name your A) Favorite item of makeup OR B) Favorite tool.
Lipstick(Mary Kay Suede) is my A answer and a sledge hammer is my B answer. The sledge hammer was a gift from my ASP team one year. I cherish it. They even autographed it!
4. Which room in your home needs organizing more than any other?
My office because right now it is storing all the photos from my mom’s house.
5. Which room could use re-decorating? I live in a can do.  It comes fully loaded.
6. Share something unique about your town. There is an old sock mill and they hold auctions and trade days there a couple of times a month. The town really turns out for do people from other states.  It is a huge deal.
7. If you could send a one-sentence message to your great-grandchild, what would it be?
You are well loved little one.
8. Do you Facebook? Yes....I used to every day during the that I am back at work and making the hour long has turned into some days.  I would rather I make a daily or facebook.....blogging wins hands down.
9. Describe your favorite shoes. Yellow Boxes in whatever color I chose to wear that day. I hate to see winter come.....I will have to wear real shoes. I went to Italy several years ago...took walking shoes....and after the first day of the tour my feet felt like they weighed a of the ladies with us....wore Yellow Boxes all day and was fine....the next day I pulled mine out....wore them all day and never had another problem with tired feet.  I left my tennis shoes in Florence.  They really did weigh a ton.
10. Do you listen to more talk radio or more music radio? What kind of station is it?
I listen to music radio most of the time...I have XM in my car and listen to channel 3(Christiancontemporary), 6-7(60’s and 70’s), The Bridge - classic light rock , but I still love NPR, especially when I am going to work.
11. How far would you travel for a really good (favorite) meal?
Well, funny you should ask.  I drove toTitusville , FL one Saturday to eat at Dixie Crossroads...then drove back. It was 10 hours each way and yes, the food was worth every mile. Now....I would have to hour. I live in Rock Mills....and it is near nothing.  The closest town with restaurant 45 minutes away.
12. If you were totally honest with yourself (and us) what should you probably be doing right now instead of blogging?
Reading a book...which I will be doing as soon as I sign off here.
Happy Wednesday to All!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Champions of Hope"

I have a special friend named Sandi Thurman McCool who is a hero.  She is not the beat up the bad guys kind of hero....she is much better than see, she is battling and winning stage 4 breast cancer and with several other women founded "Champions of Hope" in the Dothan area.  She is a phenomenal woman.  She was featured recently in the Dothan Living magazine and I just felt like today was such a good day I had to post about something very positive.  So, sit back and read this heartwarming story about one of the most precious women you could ever meet. "The success of “Champions of Hope,” an event held each October by the Southeast Alabama Medical Center Foundation, was personal for Sandi McCool. One of the event’s founders, Sandi, wanted to bring an event to the Dothan area which raised awareness of the importance of early detection and intervention. At the time she had been battling breast cancer for three years.  At age 30, Sandi was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. After finding a lump through self breast examination, she had a mammogram and an ultrasound, followed by a biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis. She was treated in Indianapolis, where she lived at the time, and initially had chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and radiation treatments.  After moving to Dothan in the summer of 2006, Sandi had worked part-time as a nurse at Flowers Hospital for about eight months when her cancer returned in her lungs, spine, hip, and rib. She has also had another type of breast cancer in the opposite breast and cancer found in her neck muscle, with more chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries following these diagnoses, coupled with fluid buildup on her lungs. These reoccurrences upgraded her to stage 4 cancer, but she has beaten the odds, living with it for the past three years. “It’s just kind of more become like diabetes or hypertension; it’s a long-term chronic illness you just learn to deal with,” she says. Sandi’s health hurdles haven’t slowed her resolve to educate and help others.

In 2007, the inaugural “Champions of Hope” event was held with Sandi McCool as chairperson. Three hundred participants were anticipated, but double that amount attended. The event grew even more last year, with more than 1,000 attending and $75,000 in donations raised. Sandi believes it’s important to keep the funds local, and they’ll ultimately help breast cancer patients with needs like acquiring wigs, transportation, daycare during chemo treatments, financial assistance, nurturing, and support services. “Champions of Hope,” like all worthwhile causes, is a group effort, with volunteers whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer.  I know several women and a couple of men who have fought and won against breast cancer.  It has amazed me at the high number of people who are touched in some way by this dreaded disease....October is National Breast Cancer Month....and if you are a woman....get a mammogram....if you know a woman....encourage her to get one.  It might save her is a proven fact that the earlier the disease is diagnosed the better the prognosis. 
If you are a walker...walk in one of the daughter Kat walked in a 60 mile walk in Atlanta two years ago for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  I have never been so proud of her in my life.  I was curious about Susan G. Komen and so I looked her up....I wondered...was she a real person or just a name given to a foundation.....I found out that in 1982, "Nancy Brinker established the Susan G. Komen Foundation after a promise to her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Since its inception, the nonprofit has raised over $1.5 billion for research, education and health services, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world. Komen has more than 75,000 volunteers nationwide, 122 affiliates in the United States (47 of 50 states), and 3 affiliates in other countries. The organization has resulted in the development of many new treatment options and a higher quality of life overall for breast cancer patients and long-term survivors. Brinker served as founding chairman of the organization, supervising all aspects of initial growth.  This past year, On December 2, 2009, Brinker was appointed the CEO of the organization and also pioneered a marketing strategy that is allowing millions to participate in the fight against breast cancer through businesses that share Komen's commitment to end the disease."   But....I am sitting here right very proud of Sandi Thurman McCool....I am proud that she is out there fighting for Breast Cancer Awareness.  It would be real easy to sit back and let someone else do it....but not her...she has always been a fighter....and fight she does.  WTG Sandi...and any other survivor.  You guys rock!  You are Champions of Hope in my book anyday!