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!”

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle - Yummm Yummmm!

Kat and Brian were not with me for Thanksgiving Day....nope they came up on Tuesday night, we ate at T.J. Rockers in Roanoke and then we went home and visited until time for bed.  On Wednesday we got up and began some preparations for Thursdays lunch.  Kat wanted to be part of the meal even though she would not be there she made her famous dressing (and it was delish)....and she, Brian and I put together the greatest dessert of all time.  We were going to do a pumpkin cheesecake...but changed our mind and did a Paula Deen Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle....and I just had to share this recipe with you....not only is it is a pretty dish too.  Even for the non-pumpkin eaters in the world....this dish is wonderful.  It is not pumpkiny tasting...due to the gingerbread.   Ok...enough is the recipe and I hope you try it and enjoy it.  It is definitely a keeper at my house.

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cinnamon into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Refrigerate overnight....and right before serving....add some mounds of Readiwhip and then sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl or any tall bowl.

This is delish I promise you.  I loved it so much that I am making a strawberry punchbowl cake, a death by chocolate punchbowl cake and this for my parsonage Open House on Dec. the 12th.  Once I get my decorations all done and the table ready I will make some pictures and let you see how it looks.  I have been a busy bee since Thanksgiving Friday getting ready.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Littlest Angel

Christmas time has more often than not been an emotional struggle for me.  I lost my brother on January 5th, 1963.  He was almost 6 years old.  One of my most powerful memories of just before that tragic day takes place prior to Christmas.  My brother was given a book called, The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell.  Since Christmas was fast approaching my mom would read it to us every night before bed....I loved the story and the little angel looked just like my brother.  When my brother died....all his toys and stuff disappeared...never to be seen again....until we started cleaning out my mom's house.  I found numerous remnants of my history in the house and still am....but what I didn't find was The Littlest I went searching for it.  I ravaged used book stores, Amazon, everywhere...until one day I tried ebay....and there it was.  I bid, won, and watched the mail daily until it was in my hot little hands.  If you have a chance over the this book.  Go to your local public library....sit at a table...and read it.  It is an amazing story.  Let me tell you about this book.....The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell has been in publication continuously for over 63 years, making it one of the most well-known Christmas stories ever published. It was first published in 1946(my copy is a 1960 one with the little angel doing a nose dive on the cover) and illustrated by Katherine Evans. The Littlest Angel has been illustrated by many other artists, giving the book a slightly different and updated look as the years have passed, but the story has survived over 60 years of re-issues, with a popularity that has stood the test of time. Tazewell, though not very well known was born in Iowa in 1900 and died in Vermont in 1972, and worked with the producers of a radio version of the story that featured Loretta Young, and a television version of his story that was produced by Hallmark. Frank calls these movies...Cheesy Christmas movies...and he may be right....but I know they are feel good movies for me during the holidays. 
Let me give you a brief summary of The Littlest Angel see The Littlest Angel is a story of the youngest angel in heaven--a little boy who doesn't know how to act angelic. In fact, he acts just like the little boy he was on earth. But in Tazewell's perfectly ordered heaven, the littlest angel struggles to find his place. His heart yearns for earth, where his boyish treasures lie. The littlest angel is messy, clumsy, always late, and he sings terribly off key. The other perfect angels in heaven don't quite know what to do with him. "However, owing to the regrettable fact that he always forgot to move his wings, the Littlest Angel always fell head over halo!"  Finally the littlest angel is sent to be "disciplined" by the Understanding Angel. The Littlest Angel sits on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and unburdens his troubled little heart, revealing just how homesick he is for earth. The Understanding Angel agrees to retrieve the boy's box of earthly treasures, which contains things that only a little boy could love...I don't want to give the ending get up and go get to finding it....what are you doing still sitting there...this is a must read for the season!  The really cool thing is that Charles Tazewell wrote the Littlest Angel in an era that pre-dated television, fast food, and video games. It was the era of radio, and Tazewell's sumptuous use of descriptive words and his smooth storytelling style make this an easy read-aloud me.  You can mesmerize children with this one....and a sweet voice. Tazewell was 46 years old at the time the book was first published, and the second World War was coming to an end. It isn't all that surprising that a story like The Littlest Angel emerged at the end of the second world war. The world was grieving for the souls of its lost sons and daughters. This story lays bare the collective grief of an era, and indirectly pays tribute to the many lives that were taken before their time.  The Little Angel was about my was about anybody's brother, son, child....taken at a young age. 
The Littlest Angel has sold over 1 million copies during the last 60 plus years. During this time, the author has passed away, and the story has been republished using a number of different illustrators. Most of the versions of the story have stayed true to the original text of the story.  Because so many versions of the book are in print, you can buy an earlier version illustrated by Katherine Evans for almost the same price as a newly illustrated version of the story.  The rarest version of the Littlest Angel is the Silver Star edition published by Grosset and Dunlap. I don't have this one...and to be honest have never seen is really hard to find.  The 1946 Grossett and Dunlap published the first edition of The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell and it is illustrated by Katherine Evans.   The Silver Star, or the 1947 version was published through Grossett and Dunlap. I don't even know what makes it so special.  I just know it is.  My version of the book is the 1960 one.  The Littlest Angel was republished with a new cover, by Wonder Books with illustrations by Katherine Evans. This cover is green and depicts the littlest angel falling head over halo from a cloud.  This is the nose dive edition.  1962 Grossett and Dunlap published a new version of The Littlest Angel with illustrations by Sergio Leone. This version of the book depicts the littlest angel as a little blond boy wearing blue "footie" pajamas.  It is cute....but my littlest angel brother....was not blonde...he had brown hair.  In 1969 The Littlest Angel was produced into a movie starring Johnny Whitaker(who reminds me of my brother). In this version of the story, the littlest angel is named Michael and is an 8-year old shepherd. This movie version became a Hallmark Hall of Fame DVD selection.  In 1972 Tazewell died....but in 1982 Ideals Publications published a keepsake edition of The Littlest Angel with illustrations by Rick Reinert.  There was a Leaflet Missal, a publisher and distributor of Catholic children's books and tracts who published a version illustrated by Rebecca Thornburgh. In 1990s Ideals Publishers reprinted the book illustrated by Sergio Leone in a large format version. In 2004 Guy Porfirio illustrated a new version of the book with the original text through Ideals Publications. This book rivals the other children's art books marketed for Christmas sales, that had  high-quality realistic pictures, and gave the book a modern look. The illustrations depicted the littlest angel with a touch of mischief.  As late as 2007 Paul Micich created another set of illustrations for this well-loved book. The pictures in this version had a more brooding quality and use rich, dark colors, with less emphasis on realism. Whichever copy you it to yourself, then read it to your kids and grandkids....if  you don't have it to the neighbors kids....or nieces and nephews.  This book will touch your heart forever.  I guarantee!  Happy Monday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Most Favoritest Thing About Christmas....Ok...One of Them.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and I have to tell you that I am psyched.  I love this part of the Christmas know...where a family lights a different candle every week and tells what that candle represents.  I love Advent because it reminds me of what this season is all about....Christ's birth.  It saddens me to see so much hype go on about what Santa will bring you...and the rush and meaness that Black Friday brings out in folks....but then...after the Black Friday sales are over....comes that first Sunday in Advent.  This Sundays scripture is from Matthew 24:36-44 and my sweet preacher husband, Frank is preaching from this text. I knew I would want to blog before I came home yesterday and looked it up after we had done the bulletins. Then I went online to see what I could find to make it clearer to me.  Bob Longman had a great devotional that I want to share with you.  To be honest....I wish I had written sounds like something I would say....but I didn't.  "To set the scene in Matthew : Jesus has been talking about a time of trouble to come. He warns that many are going to die, and that there will be many false prophets and messiahs. He tells us to look for the buds that bring forth the new leaves of the new world. Now he tells us something even more ominous : noone knows when it will come, not even Jesus. Everyone will be busy living life in the same way they always have, completely careless about the things that matter most to God. (Sound familiar? Does this kind of remind you of how we are living today?) Then, "as lightning" (v.27), the Lord returns, bringing with Him the kingdom of God. That's not a problem for those who are busy doing God's work on earth; they're already living out the Kingdom. They have the hope in their hearts; they want what's coming. But what if that's not you? What if you're unprepared? What if you're caught partying when you should be serving? What if you've been foolish with the gifts God has given you, wasting it out of laziness, or worse, hoarding it because you're afraid to use it up? Don't wait for the Kingdom to come before you start living for it. Part of it is already here, wherever faith in Christ is lived out. The Kingdom life was meant to start here on earth, in this life, in this world, among these people around you. Live it because of your love of God, and you will be ready when he returns -- don't sweat the small stuff, because it's(and you are) in good hands."  Ok so with this being the first Sunday in Advent....I have a challenge to issue you....right now...where you are sitting....What if you somehow found out that Christ was returning sometime in 2011.  What would be the first thing you would do?  You know when people are diagnosed with some terrible illness and told to get their affairs in order....they take extended vacations...or they quit their jobs....they do something radical.  How radical would you willing to be if you knew.....that Christ was coming soon? some of you may do things a bit differently from me....I have a friend who actually asked me what an advent wreath was.  I could not believe it....I thought everyone knew....that is what I get for thinking.  Anyways, I want to share with you what I know about the Advent wreath....and it's importance.
1st CANDLE – (purple) THE PROPHECY CANDLE or CANDLE OF HOPE – We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our hope comes from God. “And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:12-13)
•2nd CANDLE – (purple) THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF PREPARATION – God kept his promise of a Savior who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to “get ready”. Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O GOD! “As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.‘ (Luke 3:4-6)
•3rd CANDLE – (pink) THE SHEPHERD CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF JOY – The angels sang a message of JOY! “…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:7-15)
•4th CANDLE – (purple) THE ANGEL CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF LOVE – The angels announced the good news of a Savior. God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
•5th CANDLE – (white) “CHRIST CANDLE” – The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth! “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!‘” (John 1:29) This one is lit on Christmas Day...or the First Sunday after Christmas Day.  I have found many interesting facts about Christmas the last few days.  I was actually looking for information on La Posada for my Spanish classes....and found a wealth of Christmas information instead.  I can't wait to share some of these facts with you.  God bless you and yours now and forever.  XOXO K

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Preps in Full Swing

Since the day we found out that I am allergic to cedar I have had an artificial tree, which makes it nice because I can put my tree up Thanksgiving weekend.  I never start until Black Friday....since I don't do the holiday shopping madness I stay home, listen to Christmas music, watch sappy Christmas movies and decorate.  I love this day!  Yesterday we veered from the normal a bit and did make a run to an antique toy store in Newnan.  It was quite going into one from the 1950's.  It had loads of OLD toys, a hardwood floor that squeaked when you walked on it, and tons of vintage things that brought back lots of memories.  When we finished we made a couple more stops and then headed home.  The decorating began with dragging all the bins in and putting together the tree.  This year is special....this year I am using the real Christmas tree base that my family used when I was a child...that is until the year my brother died.  We did not use it again after that.  I am having Open House at the parsonage so I am doing more decorating than I normally do and when I get through I will post pictures and let you see how it looks.  I did a 6.5 ft tree in the den.  It is filled with memory ornaments.  Did I mention that I am an ornament buff.  I love them.  On this tree are special for Kat's first Christmas, one with our picture the year we married, several my Aunt Shirley made, firefighter ornaments, teacher ornaments, ornaments my students have given me over the years....sigh....with every ornament I place on the is a moment of nostagia for me. 

The second tree is 3.5 feet and it is in the music/living room.  It has all my music ornaments on it....the guitar my mom gave me when I was 13, two crocheted ornaments from my Aunt Shirley, a mike, other guitars, french horns, treble clefs, houses the ornaments of places I have been....there is a statue of liberty, one from Summerville and Rainbow Row in Charleston, some light houses....while we were cleaning at my mom's house...when we found the base....we also found several boxes of Shiny Bright ornaments.  So...on the second tree I have some tiny bells (probably circa 1950)...and some ornaments like the ones above.  How cool is that.  These ornaments make this tree a very special tree too.  Both of the big trees have icicles on them.  I love the glisten of icicles when the lights hit them.  Most of my friends use garland....which do you use? In each room I have a small 18" tree with tiny office room has a tree with red balls, the second guest bedroom has one with blue ornaments, and my bedroom has one with blue ornaments too.  The guest bathroom has one with red and white ornaments....and then kitchen will have a white fake tree with kitchen ornaments on it.  Santas, snowmen, carolers,and reindeer are scattered throughout the house.  My dining room table is bearing a white tablecloth with a red initialed runner...and the centerpiece is being made for me by my friend Jo.  She does such an outstanding job on floral things.  I on the other hand do not. My Open House is on December 12th and I will be away next weekend at the Alabama Education Association Representative Assembly in I have to get as much done now as I can.  December 1 we are having the youth and children from the church over for a weiner/marshmallow must be clean.  I am glad I have had these few days off and am looking forward to the Christmas holidays.  Hope you have a safe weekend....God Bless You All....real good!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What is Black Friday?

It is after 4....but not much.....and I am one of the few of the millions who is not braving the elements to get that just right bargain this morning.  You will not find me crashing through the doors of any store today....I woke up with a cold....but even if I hadn't...I would not be camping out at Best Buy or beating up other women at Walmart....actually....I am pretty much through with my Christmas shopping.  I buy all year long....because I like to pick out just the perfect gift for the people I buy for.  I have a gift closet....where all the gifts are stored after I buy them.  BUT...I am only one....for millions of people Black Friday is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping --even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone! We all know that it is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the most major shopping days of the year in the United States. It can fall anywhere between November 23 and 29. This year it is right in the middle on the 26th.  While it's not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off -except of course those working in retail.  So I decided this morning I would look up the origin of Black Friday and found that there is actually an official Black Friday web site.  According to them the term "“Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.  In the 1960's, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” In a non-retail sense, it also describes a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe set off by gold spectators who tried and failed to corner the gold market, causing the market to collapse and stocks to plummet.  As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than those last minute Christmas sales. Some retailers put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or email online specials to consumers days or weeks before the actual event. The most shopped for items are electronics and popular toys, as these may be the most drastically discounted. However, prices are slashed on everything from home furnishings to apparel."  I don't know about you.....but I don't want home furnishings for is all about ME!  "Black Friday is a long day, with many retailers opening up at predawn in the a.m. or even earlier to hordes of people waiting anxiously outside the windows." That would scare be ready to open the doors of a business and see thousands of faces staring at my every move....waiting to get in.....quickly. That would cause me to go running from the building in the opposite direction.  "There are numerous doorbuster deals and loss leaders – prices so low the store may not make a profit - to entice shoppers. Today, most large retailers post their Black Friday ad scans, coupons and offers online beforehand to give consumers time to find out about sales and plan their purchases. or strategies of attack. Other companies take a different approach, waiting until the last possible moment to release their Black Friday ads, hoping to create a buzz and keep customers eagerly checking back for an announcement.  More and more, consumers are choosing to shop online, not wanting to wait outside in the early morning chill with a crush of other shoppers or battle over the last most-wanted item. Often, many people show up for a small number of limited-time "door-buster" deals, such as large flat-screen televisions or laptops for a few hundred dollars. Since these coveted items sell out quickly, quite a few shoppers leave the store empty handed. The benefit of online shopping is that you will know right away if the MP3 player you want is out of stock, and can easily find another one without having to travel from store to store. Also, many online retailers have pre-Black Friday or special Thanksgiving sales, so you may not even have to wait until the big day to save. So, there you have it - the Black Friday history behind the best shopping day of the year!  If you are one of the Black Friday shoppers...then good luck.  If you are like me and will NOT be out and about this morning....then have a Happy Friday.  The Iron Bowl is today....Auburn vs. Alabama....I know whatever we do...we won't be far from a television.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving....What Am I Thankful for?

The sun is not up.  The Korb household is quiet....except for the tapping of keys on the computer.  I thought before it got crazy here I would share my soul with you again.  Today is Thanksgiving and tons of emotions are running through me at the moment.  I want to let you know what I am truly thankful for this morning....technically it is morning even if the sun is not up....right?  1.  I am thankful for my family first of all.  I have a wonderful husband who is so loving, tenderhearted, and kind.  I am thankful for Amy and her husband Steven.  When I married her dad she was the greatest gift Frank could have ever bestowed on me....a daughter....and one with red hair.  I did not get to have any part of Amy's childhood but I am thankful today for the times we do have together and I am looking forward to many more. 

I am thankful for Kat and Brian.  She is my ray of sunshine and hope.  She makes my darkest days bright again and always has.  I love spending time with them....they are so much fun.  I am thankful for their hearts and their love of God. 

I am thankful for Eric and his family and Jenifer and hers.  I am glad that I was allowed to walk in their life paths while I was married to their father.  I hope they know I will always love them.  I am thankful for my mom.  Sometimes I am not sure who she is....heck sometimes I am not sure she knows who I am....but she is still there.....and she is my momma....and I am thankful for her.
2.  I am thankful for a wonderful house to call home.  I am thankful to have food on my table (shoes sometimes), clothes on my back...and of course shoes on my feet(lots and lots of those).
3.  I am thankful for Rock Mills and a wonderful congregation who loves us. Somedays I feel as if I have lived here forever. I am thankful that they allowed me to become a porch person.  I am loving sitting on porches visiting and watching cars pass.  Believe does not get much better than this.
4.  I am thankful that both Frank and I have jobs that we love.  In this unsteady time it is a good thing to have a job.  When I moved to Rock Mills in June people did not understand why I did not transfer to Randolph Co.....believe me....with DON"T give up a job you already have for one you may not keep...especially when you are as close to retirement as I am. 
5.  I am thankful for my friends...all of them.  I am thankful for the ones I have had since I was a child.  I am thankful for the ones I have at work(they keep me sane).  I am thankful for the ones I have made since I moved to Alabama.  I am thankful for old friends, new friends, and friends I have yet to make.  I am thankful for my bloggie buddy's.  I am thankful for my Rock Mills friends. 
6.  I am thankful that I live somewhere safe.  I do not have to worry about North Koreans bombing me tonight.  I can worship my God where I want to on Sunday.  I don't live somewhere where military presence(with big guns) is a way of life.  Today, I am thankful to be an American and I am thankful to the military personel who keep these things readily available for me. 
7.  I am thankful for a God who has given me such great bounty.
Happy Thanksgiving to All!  Have a great day with your families! XOXO Karen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

I can't believe it but this week's Hodgepodge has a bit of a Thanksgiving theme. Go figure!
1. If you had known what they knew then, would you have boarded the Mayflower?
I doubt it seriously.  I don't think I could have survived the boat ride.  I am not big on boats and strong storms at sea.
2. How far have you traveled on a boat and how do you feel about boats in general?
I've done most of the Caribbean.  I have done Jamaica, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas, Cozumel and Cancun.  I was terrified when I went to the Bahamas because of the Bermuda Triangle.  I never have liked flying or sailing over the Atlantic waters off of Florida.  I've also been on several dinner cruises which usually take a couple of hours. And I've been on the lake in friends' boats. Boats - I can take 'em or leave 'em.
3. What traditions have you kept, acquired thru marriage, and/or tossed? If you're single what are some of your family's favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
Momma always did the job was to help clean the beaters.  We always had turkey at Thanksgiving and Ham at Easter.  My dad hated casseroles so we had green beans instead of green bean casserole, we always had stuffing, the only casserole my dad actually ate was a sweet potato one my mom made with brown sugar and nuts on top.  I have pretty much kept those traditions....with the exception of stuffing...I live in the south....they eat dressing here.  The Macy's Parade has always been a must...although in the past few years I have not been such a big fan....could it be because I was cooking?  We usually have Thanksgiving with Amanda and family and then go to Amy's in Florida for Thursday night dinner...and Amy always has the best food assortment...but this year things are different and I am cooking for my cousin Linda and her family and have been having a ball...and we are having HAM!  I have spent the morning in Rock Mills with my daughter Kat and her husband Brian making dressing and a Paula Dean gingerbread/pumpkin trifle.  They are never with me on Thanksgiving...that is Brian's parents holiday...and I am ok with that....Brian's grandparents are still around and it is important to spend time with them.  Kat just has my mom and she is in the nursing home.  So I get a day or so before the holiday...or after....and you is just a when I get to spend time with my kids is fine with me.
4. What time is dinner and how many will be round your table? And what is the one side dish you cannot do without on Thanksgiving day?
Dinner will be between 12:30 - 1:00.  Cranberry sauce (with the berries) is the one thing I cannot do without.
5. Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? Do tell....
No...but Frank is a volunteer fire I have connections if I need them.
6. Tell about a situation that caused you dreadful trepidation and feet dragging, only to realize later it was a true blessing.
I have had several moments like that in my life and to draw on one...I can't.  I have found though...that usually whatever I dread the most...blesses me the most.
7. Baked, sweet, mashed, hash browned or french fried...which one's your favorite?  Yes to all but sweet.  I loath them....but now a white potato....I will eat anyway.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Griefus....75 degrees on Thanksgiving 50 on Friday.  What a difference.  Happy Thanksgiving to thankful you have family to share the day with...and love them deeply!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have You Seen My Daughter?

Randy and Amanda had dinner last night at a favorite Mexican restaurant in Lanett.  Some of their conversation appeared on Randy's Caring Bridge post for the day and it took me back to a time in the not so distant past.  Once when Kat was somewhere between 2-3 we went to Boaz, AL (the then outlet capital of the U.S.) to the Vanity Fair outlet.  I loved this place.  They had Lee jeans which were my all time favorite jeans in the world.  This place was huge and had what seemed to be mile long racks of jeans and other stuff.  Kat was secure in her stroller....and all the adults(there were three of us) were shopping.  I found something cute for Kat and when I walked to the front of the stroller to show it to her....she was GONE!  I thought I had died right then.  My child was gone....How long had she been gone????  Panic mode set in but I ran to the security office and reported my daughters absence.  I was daughter was GONE!  The man in the office asked me describe everything she had on....and you know....I did....and still can to this day.  She had on a pair of Osh Kosh B'gosh overalls (lavender) a floral turtleneck, and red, white, and blue Wildcat tennis shoes(she would not go anywhere without them)....and she had the most amazing red hair.  The store issued a Code Adam, locked down the store...and I felt like I was going to throw up.  In the meantime.....Kat had emerged from her newly found fun thing to do....walking through clothing tunnels...and found a grey haired lady....and asked her if she were her granny...the lady had heard the Code Adam and told Kat she wasn't her granny but she would take her to her....and she did...right straight to the security office.  The whole event may have taken 10 minutes....but in my mind it took days....and years were taken off my life.  Hummmm do  you suppose that was the beginning of this white hair?  This is why young people have children....Happy Tuesday to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh What a Night...and Day

...and no it was not late December back in 63.  It was mid November 20th in 2010.  We had a hectic day yesterday....we got up early(5 a.m.)...drove 2.5 hours to Warner Robins, GA to meet Alan's new wife, Annie. The plan was to meet at Kelly's house.  Kelly is Alan's sister and she and her husband, Ronnie live in Warner Robins.  Alan currently is living in Savannah where he is stationed....but only for a few more days.  December 10th, he and Annie will be moving to Hawaii.  Talk about a great honeymoon....four years in Oahu.  We had an awesome visit with the group and fell in love with Annie.  She is a doll and has a great sense of humor!  Everything Frank dished out...she dished right back.  What a girl!  We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and spent two hours swapping stories...what a fun day.  About 1 our time we headed back to Alabama because we had a 4 p.m. dinner invitation.  Since I did not have time to cook anything to take and I refuse to go anywhere empty we stopped at Kroger's Bakery in Newnan and picked up a scrumptious looking caramel cake.  We made it to the dinner with time to spare.  What a great day it with all good things......then it happened....about 2:30 I woke up from a terrible dream where our doxie, Beau, was dead.  I actually did wake up to check on him and he was sleeping sweetly at the foot of the was the amount of food we had.....back to sleep....and about an hour later....I awoke a second time...thinking I had heard Frank's fire alarm thing go off....and that our house was on fire and we were trapped inside.....I looked around again....nothing.....THEN...about 4:15...I dreamed our choir special for today...was the song I was singing as a Thanksgiving special.  I had worked so hard on this song all week...and could not believe that I didn't remember it was the choir I got up at 4:30....and learned a new song...just in case.  When I got to church....I was relieved to find original song was NOT the choir special...and I could sing it....and sing it I did...the lyrics were perfect for today's Thanksgiving service.  The song was "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me"...and it is by the Easter brothers.  I think it is humorous that the EASTER brothers wrote such a great THANKSGIVING song.  Anyways...the lyrics are as follows:

While the world looks upon me as I struggle along
And they say I have nothing but they are so wrong
In my heart I'm rejoicing how I wish they could see
Thank you Lord for Your blessings on me
Verse 2
There's a roof up above me I've a good place to sleep
And there's food on my table and shoes on my feet
You gave me Your love Lord and a fine family
Thank you Lord for Your blessings on me
Verse 3
I know I'm not wealthy and these clothes they're not new
And I don't have much money but Lord I have you
And that's all that matters though the world may not see
Thank you Lord for Your blessings on me
Repeat #2
Great words huh?  Well...I was singing my heart out...with my eyes closed, playing my guitar...and I went to repeat #2 when it happened.   I did something that all singers dread....I dropped a the verse that should have been "there is food on my table"...came out..."there's shoes on my table".....and I could not do anything but finish the line...."and shoes on my feet......gross huh?  I almost laughed out loud...and smiled a huge smile...and there were some giggles from the I knew...yep... they were listening....the only person who wasn't....was Frank....he missed the whole faux paux.  I told him what I had done...and when he took the pulpit he commented that it was a really a statement made by me about his cooking....that almost brought the house down.  I took a lot of ribbing the rest of today about the shoes on my table line...sigh...that is what I get for singing with my eyes closed.  The day progressed from shoes on the eating "sole" food.  I love it when I can laugh at myself.  We went to lunch at Gedney's(our favorite lunch hangout on Sunday's) with the gang, then at 2:30 did the Williamsburg Manor I nursing home service and had church at was a full day.....a typical day in the life of a preacher.....I have to admit when I headed to bed last night I was still chuckling about my shoes...griefus girl!  Hope you have a wonderful Monday...we only have two days this week and then we are out for the holidays.....thank goodness!   I am so ready for a break!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spontaneous Epiphany

Have you ever had an epiphany?  Do you even know what one is?  There are a couple of definitions for an ephipany....the first one is a holiday and not what I am referring to....the second one is where I want to focus....According to Mirriam-Websters dictionary and epiphany is: January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ  2: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being  3a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment.  Have you ever had that know...the one where everything becomes so crystal clear and you know....this is it.  One of my favorite picces of music is Handel's Messiah, especially the Hallelujah Chorus.  Several months ago I was fortunate enough to sing it at a funeral of a very special lady.  I am telling the choir and congregation sang....the whole church truly lit up...light came streaming in the stained glass windows of the church to the point that the pictures in the glass where unclear....I truly believe that we were in the presence of  God, Mrs. Frances, and all her new angel buddies.  It was amazing.  This has happened to me several times in my life.....when I was singing or speaking in a church and the room lit up with over zealous is an amazing feeling.  My music buddy, Steve, sent me an email this week and it is an epiphany that I wish I could have been part of. 
"At exactly 12:00 o'clock noon on the final Saturday of October 2010, Macy's shoppers in Philadelphia's Central City Mall experienced what I consider a foretaste of the appearance of Christ when he comes for his people on the last day. Everything appeared normal until the Wanamaker Organ—the world’s largest pipe organ--struck the first notes of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." Suddenly more than 650 "shoppers" scattered throughout the area burst into this inspired heavenly praise. These shoppers were actually singers from 28 participating groups, brought together by The Opera Company of Philadelphia. Watch it and weep for joy at
Truly THIS is an epiphany and all I can say is a very humble....AMEN!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Funny

I got the cutest email this week and I actually laughed out loud at my that means I had to share it with you all.  I am sure we all know people like this.....they may even be part of your family.  They are part of mine. the story goes...."One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast.  Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store. When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, and inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven. When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird. With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia, you've cooked a pregnant bird!" At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry. It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!" Imagine that!  I am away today visiting our new niece...and no she is not a baby...she married into the family.....I will see you all tomorrow!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memories of Thanksgivings Past

What was Thanksgiving like when you were growing up? What days did you usually have off from school? Do you remember any Thanksgiving activities at school, such as a play or a meal? During the Thanksgiving weekend, did you travel to spend it with relatives or did you stay home? Or did relatives travel to you? What was your family's day typically like? Did you watch the Macy's Parade or something else on TV? Have you ever attended a Thanksgiving parade? Was football a big part of the day? And of course, we have to hear what your family ate! Were there any traditional foods that were part of your family's meal? Which of your growing-up traditions do you do with your family today? And if you are married, how did it go merging your two traditions/expectations?...oh and one more you call it stuffing or dressing?
Just like Linda of Mocha With Linda Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays too. Some of my own earliest memories are of smelling the turkey cooking while I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with my dad and brother. Our typical meal when I was little was turkey stuffing (inside the bird and the extra baked in a casserole dish), homemade cranberry sauce with berries,green beans or English peas, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato souffle (which I hated), and a  dessert. I loved to eat my cranberry sauce on top of the stuffing.  My mom also made giblet gravy (with eggs and innards and without).  I am a huge fan of turkey.  The first Thanksgiving after my brother died there was only three of us so my mom cooked a large chicken.  Now I have to admit that I have never liked baked chicken as much as turkey...there is just something about a turkey that I love. We only did that dad complained about there being no turkey for sandwiches later in the week and there was no good turkey noodle soup the next week we went back to turkey after that.  Thank goodness.  When my grandmother Sasser was in Florida for Thanksgiving we would add coconut cake (yuck) and ambrosia (fruit, marshmallows, coconut, and some kind of white dressing) to the mix.  I detest both....mainly because I am not a huge fan of coconut.  When it was just us and the neighbors who came to eat...we would have chocolate and lemon pie, pumpkin pie, and sometimes banana pudding.  Desserts in our house were heavenly!  Lunch was always at 1:00.  The parade would be over and football would not have started yet.  All the kids knew that in the afternoons, the TV belonged to the men and was always on some college football game. It did not matter who was football.
We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the school usually on Monday or Tuesday. Parents did not come and sometime during the week we would do a Thanksgiving program with Mrs. Murphy.  I guess parents came to that....I don't remember.  When I was younger we would make a construction paper turkey from a handprint and the teacher would put it on the board or wall.  As I got older we would usually write a story of some kind. We also did games where everyone would have to see how many words  could be found in the phrase "Happy Thanksgiving." I too was a word geek even way back then, and my competitive streak made it that much more fun...btw....I usually won!  Thanksgiving was always a time of family and friends and still is today.  When I married and moved to Alabama I was introduced to dressing....and to be honest it is not one of my favorite dishes.  I eat it...because most of my family and friends here make it and serve it....but it is NOT stuffing.  I love the smell and taste of sage and celery and onions sauteeing.  My mom would make butter nut squash stuffing, oyster stuffing, walnut stuffing...and it was all good.  Frank's family's traditions for Thanksgiving were much the same as mine so we merged well.  He loves big gatherings with lots of food....and laughs at me because even though I do not eat sweet potatoes...I make a great souffe.  One year I cheated and made a carrot souffle for a small dish....there was none left when I got to the dish...everyone else loved it.  Sigh!  Must have been good.  One other funny my family...some like the sweet potato casserole with nuts and brown sugar on top....others like marshmallows one year I made it with both....brown sugar and nuts as layer two and marshmallows on was a gloppy mess...but so good everyone said. I never attended a Macy's parade...always wanted to....Frank on the other hand played in the Choctahatchee Style Marchers band and he has marched in the Macy's, Rose Bowl, and Orange Bowl cool is that?  Thanksgiving is special to me because it is just about food and fellowship......there is no commercialism built in.  It is the holiday that Walmart forgot....and you know...I am kind of glad.  It is one of those special days....that is special just because it is....not because someone is going to give you a present.  It is a time to be thankful for all you have, for family, for friends, for is a blessed day!  Can I get an Amen?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Telling On Myself

I was sitting here this morning trying to decide what I was going to write about today.  It is Thursday and I am brain dead.  I have one more full day this week and two next week and then I am out for Thanksgiving....Whoooo Hoooo!  As I sat here today I thought about prompts...and nothing I put it aside and took care of planning my school day.  A few minutes hit me.....I knew what I would post about...several years ago....possibly 10+....Kat and I went on a Pacific Northwest trip with some good friends.   There were 6 of us in a Suburban and in a period of 15 days we covered 9600 miles.  It was awesome!  One of the others could not stay with us the whole time and so they were going to fly back from Missoula, Montana.....problem arrived when the ticket did not get to us before we problem....a neighbor was going to get it and send it on to a town where there was only one zip code.....baddah bing....Gillette, WY would be our place.  This was a cheap trip.  We slept six in one room....two on each bed...and two on sleeping bags on the floor.  Everyone slept on the floor every third night.  What fun!  In Gillette, WY....which by the way is near Devil's rock from Close Encounters of a Third Kind....we went to get a motel.....and there were none....because it was the annual cattle least none of the nice ones....the kind I like to stay in....heck there was not even a Motel 6 available.....Tom Bodette was not leaving the light on for us that night.  We finally found a the Mustang Motel.  The registration guy asked if we wanted to look at it first.....WARNING!...then he asked if we wanted it for an hour?....or for the night?  WARNING AGAIN!!!!!!  Our room was a suite (can you hear me snickering?)  There were bullet holes in the walls....BULLET HOLES!  I was not sleeping on the floor....the fact that it was a suite meant it had three beds in it.....whew....we pulled all the bedding off and brought in sleeping bags which we laid on the sleep on.  The tub and sink were rusted through....the trains behind the motel loaded cattle on all night long.  We got up the next morning....checked out....while Randy took care of that....we sat in the rain with the car running....when....out of the blue....someone passed gas.  I am not talking about a little gas....I am talking about light up New York City gas....and I....the drama queen with a weak stomach....began to gag....I gagged so much I got out of the car and heaved at the side of the car.  When I got back in the car and we drove to Hardee's to brush our teeth and eat breakfast......Kat took me aside and told me she was ashamed of my hystrionics.  She went on to inform me that I needed to apologize for my extreme behavior.  I stood there shocked...I could not believe it!  When we got ready to head to Missoula's airport...I told the group I was sorry for my behavior......secretly....I wanted Kat to experience the discomfort first hand....and my wish was granted later in the day.  Moral of the story.....if you are traveling....and something like this happens to you.....roll the window down....or give a warning.  We had a great trip....all 9600 miles of it.  I would do it again if I could.  I have been many places since then....but that will always be one of my most favorite moments.....even if I was a drama queen brat!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Joyce from This Side of the Pond has a new neme and I loved her questions so thought I would join in.  If you want to see how people answered check out Joyce and Mary.
1. What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?

I actually have two....the first would have to be the ice storm we had here in Alabama in the early 80's.  Although dangerous the trees were gorgeous coated with a thick layer of ice.  The second was when Kathryn was 8.  We were in Washington D.C. for Spring Break and woke up to see 14 inches of snow on the ground.  It was glorious.  The picture above is a snow bank we came upon on the Blue Ridge Parkway when we were heading home.  The kids were amazed!
2. What is a sound or noise you love?  Children, especially babies, laughing.
3. Do you like seafood? What's your favorite seafood dish?  I adore seafood.  I was born and raised on the coast in South Florida.  I do not like raw has nothing to do with the taste is all about the texture...they remind me of snot.
4. What part of your day requires the most patience?  That would have to be from 8:00-3:14. That would be when I'm at work with all my munchkins. Even my lunch period can be a bit harried sometime.
5. What's your favorite shade of blue?
I am like Mary IS my favorite color. All shades. I don't have a favorite shade of blue! I love them all.
6. Do people underestimate you?  People don't usually....I underestimate myself most of the time.
7. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?  When I sang at a big church thing in Roanoke.
8. Insert your own random thought here, and remember...I have a wooden spoon and I'm not afraid to use it.  What irks me the most?  The sound of bickering....whether it be adults or students.....I hate it AND people on facebook ragging each other about their favorite football teams....obviously this only happens in the South.  I don't mind you rooting for your team...but can we leave the negative comments alone....griefus....this is as bad as bickering.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Choir of Prayers

My cousin Amanda and her husband got Randy’s schedule from the Transplant Coordinator today. I have spoken about Randy and Amanda in many earlier posts but for those of you who are newbies, Randy has ALL, which is a form of leukemia. They have been waiting for this information since Randy finished chemotherapy in late September. A donor had to be found and there were actually two found from the National Donor Bank. Ever wonder why it is important to be a donor. I know now firsthand. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the hospital will do targeted radiation and triple lumen catheter insertion. This will be outpatient. The Friday after Thanksgiving they will admit and do targeted radiation. The next day, Saturday there will be more targeted radiation and chemo. On Sunday more chemo. On Monday they will do total body radiation. If I am not mistaken this kills all the cells he has...the bad ones and makes room for the new ones. On Tuesday they will actually do a stem cell transplant. They have been married for 35 years and to be honest they have always been one of those love stories you read about in books. Randy is one of the most awesome men I know (with the exception of my darling Frank). Randy has taken care of all of us (us being Amanda's three sisters and me) over the years and never complained once. He is an amazing man. It has hurt my heart to see them go through this know we never want someone we love to hurt. Amanda is not only my cousin...she is one of my dearest friends and it has bothered us both that she is not there for me throught my mom like we would normally be....and I am not there for her either. We do the best we can and thank God daily for internet and cell phones. Amanda and Randy have been down a long road since June and she has asked that everyone please pray, and pray hard. She admits that she is scared, even though she knows that there’s no need to be. She has asked everyone to pray that they will find strength in God’s promises. She knows He hasn’t brought them here just to abandon them on the side of the road. I believe that my God is in control. So, when you say your prayers will you please include them in them. I want God to hear so many prayers that it sounds like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They are special people to me and I want all the prayers being lifted up that I can get! God Bless You Real Good Today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ask an Educator.....and We Will Tell You

After Oprah Winfrey aired her "special" on education, many educators were angry at what they believed was the media mogul jumping on the teacher-bashing bandwagon. Immediately after the show, upset commenters filled more than 200 pages on Winfrey’s message boards. I was one of those upset. But one took her disappointment right to Winfrey, writing a heartfelt letter directly to the television star. Britton Gildersleeve, a college writing teacher in Oklahoma who also helms the Oklahoma State University Writing Project, said she wrote the letter “in a white heat, I was so angry,” following the show’s airing. In her 20 years, she’s never seen the public and self-appointed education “reformers” so willing to bash educators, Gildersleeve said. “I think it’s convenient,” Gildersleeve said, pointing out that even those willing to bash teachers they don’t know can easily remember a favorite teacher from their own past. Her letter to Oprah wasn’t a personal attack, Gildersleeve said. “I don’t dislike Oprah,” she said. “I understand she has a good heart. But why didn’t she have anyone on the show,” who could speak to the challenges of public school teachers? The show featured Microsoft founder Bill Gates, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and Davis Guggenheim, the director of the forthcoming education documentary Waiting For Superman. Want to know what she said? Well so did I and here isthe full text of the letter:
Dear Oprah,
I teach. Given, I teach at university level, but I’ve been teaching for several years — about 20, to be exact. And I’ve seen the changes that No Child Left Behind — and your beloved testing — have made in my students. None of the changes are good: students want to be spoon-fed (they are in testing environments); students want to do only what will get them high grades. The list is long and sad.
I also direct a non-profit federally funded professional development grant for teachers, pre-k to university, the Oklahoma State University Writing Project. It’s the local site of the National Writing Project, an amazing partnership among research universities, classroom teachers, and schools. Not to mention the inclusion of parents and students. All of these voices are absent in the current national conversation.
Oprah, let me tell you about Oklahoma teachers and their classrooms. Many of my friends and colleagues at the high school level have more than 170-200 students in their classrooms. Do you think a student is worth 10 minutes a week from his/ her teacher? Outside of the classroom? Do you think a “good” teacher should spend that much time on weekly grading — 10 minutes a student? Please do the math: that would mean another 83+ hours weekly, Oprah — outside of classroom. IF each student receives 10 minutes of attention on his or her work outside the classroom.
“Don’t they have plan periods?” I hear people ask. No, many don’t. “Plan periods” went the way of smaller classrooms — there are too many school duties: hall monitors, cafeteria duty, mandated professional development that has nothing to do with the school’s demographics. And even if they did, that’s less than five hours weekly…
And yes, good teachers work a lot of outside hours. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma (where our average teacher salary ranks 47th in the country), many teachers need to take part-time jobs. Does this impact their teaching? Certainly. It also impacts the ability for a single mother of two or three children to put food on the table and pay the rent. Do you want teachers to spend more time on students? Lower classroom size — hire more teachers. And pay them competitive salaries — competitive with other career paths requiring a minimum of a bachelor?s degree. Even nurses (another under-rated career) make more than teachers do.
You don’t want teachers to have tenure? Then figure out a way that a principal in a small town (like, say, Skiatook, Okla.) will be unable to fire teachers s/he doesn’t like. Not because the teacher is ‘bad,’ but because the teacher attends the wrong church. Or maybe doesn’t attend church at all. Small towns — and big ones, as well — have politics, Oprah. And surprise: they affect every decision in a school, even to the detriment of teachers.
Tenure doesn’t keep bad teachers in the system — there are ways, as others have noted, to fire teachers. Your guest, Michele Rhee, notes that she fired hundreds. Many had tenure. And many probably weren’t bad teachers, unfortunately. Ms. Rhee, who once thought it was okay to tape students’ mouths shut?? She’s now in charge of evaluating schools? Let me tell you, Oprah, I teach pre-service teachers, in addition to my job directing a NWP site. Not ONE of my students would think that’s okay.
You can’t fire a doctor without just cause, Oprah — there’s a system. Is that ‘tenure’? Or trying to be sure that in this ostensible democracy, we have the right to confront our ‘accuser,’ and hear what is being said about us. Each year in Tulsa, Okla., new teachers don’t make the grade. Even in the third year of teaching, we let teachers who don’t work out go. Unfortunately, we lose an enormous number of teachers — good ones — who can’t deal with the incredibly complicated paperwork, the overtime demands, the lack of time to do what they went to school for: teach.
I wish someone who knew even a little bit about real classrooms, the heart-breaking challenges teachers face daily (teachers spend an average of $400 annually, out of their own meager salaries, to equip their rooms), had a national forum. I wish one of your guests was a real teacher. John Legend? Really? Come on, Oprah, I don’t try to tell John Legend how to make music; he’s going to tell me about teaching? Or perhaps you’re stereotyping? Instead of John Legend, why don’t you have Pedro Noguera, who wrote a stunning book discussing the problems black males face in the system (The Trouble with Black Boys)? Or Mike Rose, who’s worked for decades with working class, side-lined students and schools of America? Or Diane Ravitch, who recanted her support of NCLB because it not only doesn’t work, it harms students?? And Race to the Top is simply an Obama-ised NCLB, I’m sorry to say.
Why don’t you, with your great forum for change, invite real classroom teachers to talk about what it’s like to teach homeless students with no resources (students or teachers)? Why don’t you ask my son, who recently graduated with a Master’s of Arts in teaching, what it’s like to teach students living in foster homes for drug abuse, rape — both victims and perpetrators — violence, assault? Why don’t you ask him how he struggles to be a “good” teacher? And wonders — daily — what that even means in the context where he finds himself?
If you want to change education, Oprah, don’t make the mistake everyone else has. Ask teachers. Would you have a conversation about the national state of medicine and health care without asking for the input of doctors, nurses and patients? And yet we have left parents, teachers and students completely out of this critical talk.
If you want real change, invite real teachers to your show, Oprah. The irony is that the conversation seems to valourise teachers, saying that “good” teachers can change things for kids. So can smaller classrooms, food, adequate resources, the freedom to teach according to a child’s needs. But then, that’s not what the “experts” are saying, is it? Unfortunately, the “experts” have no real experience with students. Or teaching. Or classrooms. They only know how to tell the teachers in the trenches what to do? Wondering how in the world education came to this pass,

Britton Gildersleeve
Now let me tell you....I am upset by the teacher witchhunt I see in the news each day. The media and our president make us sound like incompetent fools. I resent being classed there....I work hard for the money I receive....and believe me...I knew what that salary was before I jumped on board. I am not in it for the money...I am in it for that one magic moment when the light bulb comes on. OK...OK...I am getting off my soapbox before I fall down. We all know how clumsy I am. Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Building on a Rock

  Today my sermon in a song is one of my all time favorites.  It is Sandi Patti singing "Upon This Rock."  I love this song.  Everytime I hear it  I can feel the presence of God sweeping over me and I feel like Popeye when he eats that can of spinach.  I don't know about you....but why would anyone build a foundation on sand?  I mean...come on.   I grew up in South Florida and I know first hand what happens when you build your house on sinks!   I had a friend once, her name was Sarah...she and her husband lived in a condo on Lake Worth....when the builders dredged the land....they did not let it season.....and two years after moving into her new condo....they found themselves in a mess, in the middle of a major lawsuit all because the place was sinking.  In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus warns us about this and still today there are people who will not listen.  Get with the program folks.  If you want a firm have got to build on rock. 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The songs speaks for all I have left to say is.....And all the people said......AMEN!  Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Living With Dementia

Thursday, my sweet friend Trina's husband John, admitted his mom to a nursing home.  John has siblings so this decision was made by all of them....but it does not make it any easier.  It is never easy to lose a parent to dementia.  On Thursday night I fed my mother her supper for the first time.  It felt weird to be sitting on the side of her bed spooning creamed corn, stuffed bell peppers, pie and corn bread into her mouth while she just looked at me as if she had not clue who I was.  The unit my mom is in is a true dedicated dementia unit.  The residents wear GPS units in case they manage to get outside the doors of the nursing home.  Some of the residents just lie in their beds with blank stares on their faces.  Others have forgotten words and talk like my daughter did when she was learning to speak.  You can see the frustration in their eyes because no one understands what they are saying and in their minds they are speaking plainly.  There are some who strike out at the CNA's.  There are others who are very compliant.  When my mom first went there I was told she had the mind of a 7 - 10 year old.  I thought that was awful....that was until I realized that the rest of them had the minds of between a 15-36 month old.  It makes a difference.  What saddens me I guess is that I have met the family members of many of them.  They visit once a week.  I have seen others who never have company.  Not one soul!...Not a church member, not a child, not anyone and that is very heartbreaking.  I visit 4-5 times a week.  Everytime I go I leave either laughing or never changes.  This morning I was searching the web for something profound on dementia and came across the most beautiful poem that sums up what it is like living with dementia.  I thought I would share it with you.
Living With Dementia

© Annabel Sheila

She’s trapped inside the prison walls

That used to be her mind.

The woman that she used to be,

Has long been left behind.

There are times she’s quite alert,

Her memory’s still intact.

Then there are days when she disappears,

And we know it’s not an act.

No longer able to care for herself,

We couldn’t leave her alone.

Her safety had to be assured,

So we placed her in a home.

Good days are when we visit her,

And she calls us by our name.

She’s grateful for the company,

And thankful that we came.

Most of the time it’s difficult,

To see our Mom that way.

All we can do is love her now,

As we take life day by day.

To those of you out there this morning who are dealing with dementia, have lost someone to dementia, or have dealt with dementia....God bless you real good.  It is not just a disease that affects one affects us all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

When Joy Came to Stay

I love reading Karen Kingbury books.  When I do get into them sometimes I can't stop until the book is finished. I have given up sleep to read a compelling book.  Last night was one of those nights and so today, at work, I am feeling drained and exhausted.  The book had such a hold on my that while bowling last night.....when I wasn't bowling....I was stuck in the book.  I did not hear the noise...because I was hearing the cry of Maggie Stovall.  In this book the main character Maggie Stovall is trapped inside a person she's spent years carefully crafting. Now the truth about who she is-and what she's done-is bursting to the surface and sending Maggie into a spiral of despair. I could not put this book down and kept wondering if  Maggie would walk away from her ten-year marriage and her responsibility as a foster mother in her desperate desire to escape the mantle of depression that is cloaking her? Then I wondered if she would allow God to take her to a place of ultimate honesty-before it's too late? When Joy Came to Stay is the heart-wrenching story of one woman's escape from the shadows of clinical depression. Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury offers this moving tale of the quest for a simple, transparent life lived in the sunlight of God's favor and forgiveness.  I have battled bouts of depression in my past as a child.  When I was 13 I was diagnosed with PTSD.  It is amazing what kind of tricks your mind will play on you.  I am one of the fortunate ones and learned that forgiveness for my shortcomings can wipe out depression....or it did mine.  I want to leave you with this....if you do have depression....get help.  There is nothing wrong with letting someone else hear what is bothering really is true..."two heads are better than one!"  I hope you will read this book.  It was truly a good read....but then most of her stuff is.  TGIF

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Heartfelt Thanks to All Veterans!

Did you know that what was once Armistice Day became Veterans Day?  World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.  In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.  So today is Veterans Day and I want to thank them all for the sacrifices they made just for me.  My dad was Navy and served in the Pacific during WWII.  Frank was Navy also and served during Vietnam.  Frank's dad was Air Force and served in Korea and Vietnam.  My SIL is currently serving in the Air Force.  My family and friends have done them all.  I have had family in every war that has been fought in the United States since the War of 1812.  My family has been defending this country for a long time and still is.  I am sure yours has/is too.  I searched everywhere for some uplifting poetry this morning that was not sad and depressing....finally I found the sweetest salute that I just had to share with you.  It is called Their Courage:

Their courage deems utmost respect
Their mission clear, our way protect
It’s sure to each what they must do
No give or take, keep freedom true
With the grand old flag, they'll unite
Whenever they must, march to fight
A life we know counts hard on them
Without their ranks, hellish problem
If our Armed Forces ceased to be
How long could we survive as free
Let’s well realize the truthful score
We need our troops just like before
Boils down to this, words to engrave
Land of The Free, Due to The Brave
God Bless each one for being there
Their loved ones too, unending care
Hope born from love touches the will
Do back them strong, means to fulfill
Americans – Who Serve To Give
One Nation – Under God We Live
©2005Roger J. Robicheau

Whoever Roger Robicheau is I thank you.  I could not have said it better if I had tried.  I do right now...thank every veteran who has gone to stand in my place and given me the freedoms I personally hold dear.  I thank  you for the ability to worship where I chose, walk the streets of my hometown without being afraid(although that one is getting to be iffy), for the right to lift my hand to my chest and pledge, so I can sleep soundly at night at not hear the constant sound of bombs going off.  I truly am humbled this morning and very proud to be an American. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Do You Have the Power to Face Your Giants? I Do!

One of my favorite movies is called Facing the Giants and one of my favorite songs is “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns and it says:
Oh what I would do to have

The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant

With just a sling and a stone

Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors

Shaking in their armor

Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name

And he laughs at me

Reminding me of all the times

I've tried before and failed

The giant keeps on telling me

Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"

"You'll never win!"

1Sa 17:1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim. 1Sa 17:2 Saul and the men of Israel were encamped in the Valley of Elah and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 1Sa 17:4 And a champion went out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [almost ten feet]. 1Sa 17:32 David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of this Philistine; your servant will go out and fight with him. So let me ask you…..


• You are not qualified for that job!
• You are not good enough!
• You can’t pay your bills!
• You can’t save your marriage!
• You are losing your kids!
• You cannot stop your vices!
• You can’t shake your past failures
• You don’t have a bright future!
• Your life is a mistake!
It is time for you to stand up now and face your giants by using the same tactics that God has given to David! David gave us a great object lesson on how to face our own giants. So the question is…are you ready to face yours?????
• To say goodbye to defeat and start victorious life with God? Are you ready?????
• To discover on how to face the giant challenges that we are facing today? Are you ready????
• To know the weapons that God prepares for us and claim the victory? Are you ready???
• To join the battlefield called life and be confident of God’s presence? Are you ready???
• To cut off the enemies head and overcome totally all the deception of the devil in your lives? Are you ready????
In order to accomplish this we must first plug into the force of power. In 1Sa 17:37 we find “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. Saul said to David, Go, and the LORD be with you.” David did not say that he delivered his flocks from the lion and bear. What he said was, “THE LORD WHO DELIVERED ME”. The Lord is the source of David’s power. All our electronics appliances will be useless unless connected to the source of electrical power. Our life is also useless if not connected to the source of our power no other than God. In 1 Samuel 10 we see the source of Saul’s power….1Sa 10:1 says, “ Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance?”  In 1Sa 10:6 we find “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”
Later, this anointing power of God to Saul had been forfeited because of a deliberate commission of sin against God. 1Sa 16:1says, “ The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?” And finally in 1Sa 16:14 “Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.” In 1 Samuel 16 we are told of David’s empowerment: 1Sa 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power…1Sa 18:14 In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. Ok…so that was Saul and David…but what about us today…..yep…you guessed it…we are also empowered…..our
empowerment comes from the New Testament. In Acts we find….Act 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” In 1 Cor. We find Paul saying 1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. In order to face our giants…and defeat them….we must be prepared and choose the right weapons... We see The Stone of The Past in 1Sa 17:37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. 1Ch 16:12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, We see The Stone of Prayer in 1Sa 30:6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. Psa 57:1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psa 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you…” We have to Invite God’s help. Pick up the stone of prayer. And don’t neglect…The Stone of Priority from 1Sa 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand…., that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 1Sa 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands." Remember your highest priority: God’s reputation. David saw Goliath as a chance for God to show off! Did David know he would exit the battle alive? No. But he was willing to give his life for the reputation of God. Your illnesses are God’s chance to show His healing power. Your sin is God’s opportunity to showcase His grace. Your struggles can billboard God’s power. See your struggle as God’s canvas. On it he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Then reach for The Stone of PASSION.  1Sa 17:32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 1Sa 17:48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Who bet on David? Who put money on the kid from Bethlehem? Not the Philistines. Not the Hebrews. Not David’s siblings or David’s king. But God did. David ran toward his giant and faced off. He is encouraging you to do the same! Remember; take up the stone of passion. There remains one more stone. It is the …. The Stone of Persistence. Why did David pick up 5 stones? Could it be because Goliath had four relatives the size of King Kong. Imitate him. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One apology might not do it. You may get knocked down a time or two…but don’t quit. Keep loading the rocks. Keep swinging the sling. Gen 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not let you go, except you bless me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Writing is a Passion of Mine

You all know I am a journal writer.  I have kept journals since I was a child (I think back then we called them diaries).  I found a blog I like to go to every now and then to refresh myself called The Simple Woman's Daybook.  It's subtitle says it all.....where every day is a blank page.  That is how I feel each and every morning....and that is a good thing.  I love the fact that I can get up every morning and know I have a whole day to write.  Everyday I can write a love story thanks to my darling Frank.  He is the whipped cream on my Caramel Machiato.  Some days I can write a sad story....especially when things are not good with my mom, or someone I know is hurting.  Some days, escpecially at school I can write a a few weeks ago when we went into lock-down because a prisoner escaped from the local jail and was headed our way.  Life is never is all in how God and you write it.  Enjoy my daybook entries for today. Happy Tuesday.

Outside my window construction men are working on our boy's gyms facelift.  I can hear their machines making that funny beeping back up noise.  There is a delivery being made at the cafeteria, which is also outside my room, and the truck is backing up....but his sounds like birds chirping.  Some rescue vehicles just went down Cherokee Rd.  I don't know what kind because I can only HEAR them. The view from my room is the side of the gym.....period.
I am thinking that in two days we will have a mini vacay (one day) for Veteran's Day and Frank and I will spend the whole day together.
I am thankful for a loving God, good friends, and family.....oh yes, and that right now I have a job.  Proration in the state will strike again to the tune of 700 million dollars.
From the learning rooms I hear teachers laughing, coffee being poured, computer keys typing, all the general sounds of the beginning of a school day.
From the kitchen earlier I smelled the aroma of  Mary's husband Bill cooking breakfast for the two of us and making our lunches.  I spend the night with them on Monday night so I can go to Bible Study and not have to drive home after nine.  I think my Monday night husband is all right. 
I am wearing my new grey pants from Dress Barn...and I wish I had bought them in every color, my new pretty black top from the Coldwater Creek outlet....and I did buy it in both colors, black loafers, and grey socks.
I am creating a virtual picture of me right now.
I am going to work on lesson plans in a bit and see my mom this morning so I can get home right after school.  I miss Frank when I am away.
I am reading The Hat Box by Patsy Clairmont.
I am hoping to retire in a few years....but for now I am hoping to keep my job for the next year after all is said and done with job cuts.  I would like to be able to retire from here in four more years.
I am hearing more and more people in the hall and the clanking of keys as they come in.
Around the house there are Beau toys scattered everywhere, a project set up in the music room, dirty clothes begging to be washed in the basket, and stuff that needs to be put away.
One of my favorite things is the smell of fall cooking (cinnamon, spices, vanilla)
A few plans for the rest of the week:  I am going to do Youth at church on Weds. night, build a fire pit with Frank and Thursday, visit some of the shut ins at our church, work, finish up some projects of my own.
Here is the picture I thought I would share:  It was made in Mackinac Island back in June.