Isaiah 6:8

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

SMAK 2011

It is Sunday morning and Missi and I are the only two stirring right now  The view from the Cathy's apartment is amazing.  But let me start at the beginning.....we got here at midnight EDT on Thursday, visited briefly with Cathy and then went to bed.  She has to be at work at 9 and is then flying home to Springfield to be with her husband this weekend.  We had breakfast at the greatest Portuguese bakery....had things we cannot pronounce and drove down to see Buzzard Bay.  What a surprise when we looked out into the water and saw the US Coast Guard ship....The Eagle.  Photo op for sur.  We then headed to Newport for the day.  It was overcast of Friday.  We toured the Vanderbuilt House - "the Breakers"....what a prime example of the very rich.  We toodled around all day seeing the sites and then went downtown and did some shopping.  We went back to the apartment and then later headed out to dinner at at a local favorites....Davy's Locker.  The food was yummy.  They are known for their scallops and clams. Back to the apartment and to bed so that we can get up and be in Hyannis Port by 8 for our ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard.....then to Nantucket....then 10:10 last night.  What a day....we took the bus route on Martha's Vineyard....not the way to spend most of your short time waiting for one.  We rented a car on Nantucket....that was money well spent.  We packed a lot into the time we were there.  When we loaded the ferry home we noticed that we were not on the speed ferry we were supposed to be on.....we were on the slow boat to China...and it was HOT!   Amanda spoke with the steward....and we took the slow First Class.  Whooo hoooo....cheese and fruit....and AIR CONDITIONING!  We got back....walked the forty miles to where the car was parked...drove through Micky D' was the only place open at latethirty.  We got to the apartment....I washed a load of clothes.....put them in the dryer....and put another load on....and went to bed.  I can't wait to show you the pictures.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm a Traveling One

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."- Robert Louis Stevenson
I could so be related to this man.  From the time I was old enough to talk my mom said my middle name was "Go!"  I have always loved to travel.  I want to see it all.  I prefer traveling by car so if I see something I want to explore I can stop and check it out.  Plane travel kind of eliminates that mobility option.  I am not a fond user of our vast Interstate system.....but will use it when my time is limited.  When Kat and I went to PEI we used it to very seldom.  The majority of the trip was on US 1.  Speaking of US1.  It runs from Florida to Maine.  It is a long road and filled with hidden wonders.  From past travels I have seen the Wedding Cake House in Kennebuckport.  I have traveled A1-A, playing Jimmy Buffett music as far as I could, tasted conch fritters and key lime pie in Key West, and seen Heminway's House. I have found some of the greatest local gift shops and bookstores.  I have eaten fabulous food at places that are off the beat and path.  I have seen the World's Largest Ball of Twine - made famous in the movie Michael (with John Travolta).  Darwin, MN was where we were.  We also have seen the mighty redwoods in California....and they are breathtaking.  Been to Hannibal, MO where Mark Twain penned his most profound works.  Followed part of the Lewis and Clark Trail cross country.  I have truly seen the purple mountain magesties, a cattle drive of long horn steers, seen a real Pony Express Station, been where they filmed Dances with Wolves, seen lighthouses on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts(I still want to volunteer in one some summer), the Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon, Mankato, MI (where the Little House series took place)....and my list goes on and on.  Which place was my favorite....they all are.  Every trip brings a new favorite place to add to my bulging list of favs.  I love this great country and even though I have seen so much there is still so much to see....and I am ready to "GO!"  You just wait....tomorrow night I will return with my Project 365 pictures (yep...I have my camera with me)....and lots of stories about all the wonderful places I saw.  Tomorrow night I will have new favorite places to add....until the next time.  Hope your weekend is marvelous. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Canaries in a Coal Mine

Several years ago I did an ASP (Appalachian Service Project) trip to West Virginia.  Where we were was coal mine country.  Every where I looked there were people who were suffering from Black Lung, broken bodies, loss of was heartbreaking.  One of the men we worked for told me this horrific story about working in the coal mines....and as he told it I cried.  The funny thing is...I don't remember his name....but the story I will never forget.  "It seems that back in the 1700's, certain gases or the lack of oxygen were detected with various hit and miss types of detection. The candles on miners caps, or if carried by the miner, would either go out from the lack of oxygen or the flame would get larger with a different coloring of the flame if certain gases were in the area. Of course, in some instances these open flames caused fires or explosions. By 1815, the Davey's Safety Lamp came into use in the mines. This certainly changed the way for miners to check for certain gases. One of the earliest ways of detecting certain gases such as Methane, Carbon Monoxide or the lack of oxygen was the use of the Canary." Every miner or family of a miner that I spoke with all had stories of the use of canaries in the mines that had been passed down from one generation to the next. I have to admit that even as a small child I can remember my own father mentioning the use of canaries in the mines....and he never spent a day in one. Even on a trip to Dollywood one year....on one of the rides....there were canaries all throughout the mine....and at the last cage...the canary was dead...and that is when the explosion happened.  My mining historian told me that the big companies did not use this method so it was safe to assume that only small independent mines in those early years, you know the ones that contracted for the mining of coal on their property, might have used canaries for their mine work. The bigger companies all had Davey's Safety Lamps and any other technical means for checking oxygen or certain gases at the earliest of times. After hearing his story and upon returning home I began to research the use of canaries in the mines, and I was surprised to hear that some countries, like the United Kingdom and Australia used them right up to more modern times. The last documentation was actually in the 1970's when they passed laws against the use of birds in the mines. In later years, canaries were certainly used in collieries in the United Kingdom, but not on a daily basis. They were used following the "William Pit Explosion," in 1947, but to detect foul air for the rescue party. The lead man had a cage fastened to the top of his breathing apparatus, so that the man behind him could see when they had entered the "styth" or after-damp area. They then knew where they needed to start trying to restore the "coursing" of the air-flow, to direct fresh air into that area. Rescue teams kept a number of canaries on hand, but, it wasn't as cruel as you might think because once removed back to fresh air, most canaries recovered to be used again! Many mines used canaries to detect Carbon Monoxide and not Methane because their heart rate is so high they die or pass-out very quickly before a man could accumulate the gas in his blood stream to any harmful degree. Because of the high heart rate of the canary, it was convenient for the job, but notnecessarily too great for the poor canary! In more modern times they had special birdcages made of Perspex, which had holes drilled into it for ventilation on the forth side. When the bird fell off of the perch they closed an airtight door over the side with the ventilation holes and would revive the bird with oxygen so it could be used again. I also read where some miners actually carried small vials of oxygen and they let the bird breathe this to save the bird's life. Some of what I discovered was that "many of the mining companies in the United Kingdom, would buy their birds from private breeders, pet shops or have an aviary built right in a part of the mine offices where they would breed the birds for use in the mines. Most of the canaries used were of bad coloring, or some type of imperfection, which weren't good for public sale. Also, the female canaries weren't too good for singing so they would be sold cheaper for mine use. Mine canaries were also used in the Southern Bituminous Coal Fields of the United States up to the late 1890's. I would also have to assume that some of the smaller independent or "boot-leg" mines used the canaries in the early years because of the expense of a "Davey's Safety Lamp." Taking air samples in the early days was time consuming and had to be handled in special labs. In later years, a Methanometer was used in the mines which detected methane gases and oxygen levels. The safest mines have good ventilation systems with huge fans, airways and proper doors and brattice's to control the airflow. Many modern mines have electrical sensors built right in the mines. So, the "Mine Canary," is now history."  I was really glad to hear that.  Poor little song birds.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Canary List

Price: $13.99 for paperback
Format: Trade Paperback/ebook
ISBN: 9780307446466
Release: 6.21.2011
Fiction - Suspense
Book Summary: Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper, a twelve year old foster child runs. Why? The reason she runs is because all of her life Evil has hunted her. The twelve year-old has been bumped around from one foster home to another and finds herself assigned to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. Her challenge, or real problem, is that she can sense something the other kids can’t—something dark. Something is compelling her to run for her life. Crockett Grey, her teacher, simply wants to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone with a bottle of booze. But when Jaimie shows up at her house, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction. Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world—the Vatican.
About the Author: Sigmund Brouwer is a well-known author with books published by mainstream and evangelical publishers. He has written scores of books across many genres, from children's picture books to scientific thrillers, and more. A favorite cause of Brouwer's is to encourage children to love books. He visits 80,000 students per year at schools across North America to present Rock And Roll Literacy, drawing on the theme that great stories, like great songs, engage our feelings. To help with the literacy cause, he has also co-written two hockey fiction books in French with Gaston Gingras, who won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. Brouwer also frequently presents Rock and Roll Literacy with six-time Stanley Cup Champion and NHL Hall-of-Famer Bryan Trottier, all in efforts to hook reluctant readers. Sigmund Brouwer has nearly 3 million copies of his books in print. Want to know more about him? Visit his website at
My Thoughts: As a Southerner I know the responsibilities canaries carry out in mines. I was not sure how that was going to fit into a book about a foster child, a man accused of a crime he did not commit, and the Vatican. I wondered what the three had in common. The Canary List was not at all what I had expected the storyline to be. Although the book is about the Vatican there was no Christian message in the plot at all. I found the book to be a kind of Nicholas Sparks vs. Angels and Demons story. The book is fiction and I am not sure how much of the information it gives about the Catholic Church is true and how much is embellished but after reading the book it drove me to go online and research much of the information about the Catholic Church and its rituals and ceremonies. The antagonist of the story, EVIL, seems to be present everywhere, even in the Vatican and Catholic church. This book was interesting-but it may not be for everyone. From the moment I began the book I did not want to put it down and I had to finish it to see what would happen in the end and even then I was not very satisfied with the finale and wanted more. The Canary List was a good read but not a five stars read. I did like Brouwers style and will read another book by him.  This was my very first ebook.  I consider myself somewhat of  a reading purist and love the feel of a real book in my hands.  I liked the ebook concept.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Company to review, I was not paid or rewarded for my review in any way.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bye Bye July Hodge Podge - Vol 37

It's that time again and to be honest I can't believe it's Wednesday.  I am glad you are here.  Some of you have told me that you really look forward to this ever Wednesday.   Everyone is welcome to join the fun and you can participate to if you want.  Just click on the Joyce links I have provided and head over to Joyces to get the questions......pst them, and then go back to Joyce's to add your link at the bottom, while you are there you can read her answers....and then go visit some of the other participants.  Ready?  We are off!
1. July is National Ice Cream Month...your favorite flavor? Soft serve, hand dipped or frozen yogurt-which do you prefer? And technically yogurt is not ice cream but its hot outside so I'll let that slide for today.
My favorite is gelato from Italy.  I loved the chocolate mint, the strawberry....but if I have to pick an American one then it is plain old homemade vanilla.
2. When you travel do you tend to pack too much or too little?

I used to be a too much girl.  But about five years ago I went to Europe for the second time and I took a carry on.....period....for nine days.  I am going to Cape Cod this weekend.....and taking a back pack....period....checking nothing.
3. What's your favorite cleaning product?

I am a sensory person...Fabuloso lavender.  I love the smell of lavender.  To be honest....I like the smell of Clorox, Pine Sol, Pledge....all of these evoke strong memories in me.  Murphy's Oil Soap.....not so much.
4. What's the greater tragedy-an innocent person imprisoned or a guilty person set free? Explain.

Both of them are tragedies, but the innocent person imprisoned is to me the greater of the two.  A guilty person set free will be judged by the Almighty one day and will have to live with the knowledge of what they did until their dying day.  The innocent person has lost a lifetime, or at least a chunk of time that cannot be made up.  There are no do-overs.  There was a case of this in the news not long ago.  A man was released on new DNA evidence after serving 14 years in prison.  His child was 5 years old when he went to she is 19 ....he missed an entire lifetime of memories with her.  That is a major tragedy.
5. What's the longest trip you've taken by car?

I love to travel by car because you can stop, get out, enjoy the local color, and move on.   I have three long ones...althought the 9500 mile Pacific Northwest Trip is probably the longest.  It stretched from Alabama to Vancouver, B.C., down to California and back across to Alabama.  It covered 19 states.  Second longest was when my daughter and I went from Alabama to Prince Edward Island to see Lucy Maude Montgomery's house and soak up some Anne of Green Gables culture.  Third was Alabama to Los San Francisco....back to L.A. and home.  Put me in a car and I am happy....especially if it is heading West...or up the Atlantic Seaboard.  Nice thing about cars....unless you experience car leave on time.
6. tennis-golf-canoeing-biking...pick one.

None of the above is not an answer I am doing a write in.  I loved playing tennis when I was younger.  My friend Susan kept me on my toes.  I loved golf when I was in college because I played it for my physical education credit.  I have played around with it since then....but it is an expensive sport.  I am a canoeing and biking are not options for me.....unless you are talking about a stationary bike...then I am all there.
7. What sound drives you crazy?
I am ADD so that could be anything when I am trying to concentrate.  The big two are people smacking when they eat....that one drives me over the edge, and fingernails across a chalk board....which makes my skin crawl.  Tapping pencils on a desk comes in at number three.

8.  Question eight is always your own random thought.  So what is the most random thing you have ever done? 
Two weeks before Thanksgiving my lunch bunch at school was talking about the mafia and the AFL-CIO and whatever happened to the Teamster one could remember his drove me nuts for two weeks trying to remember that man's namd.  So, during our family Thanksgiving gathering.....just as my father said, "Let us Pray"....I spoke out a little boisterously with, "Jimmy Hoffa."  As I looked around the family was all looking at me with eyes that said, "Are you crazy?"  I am notorious for having random thoughts like that and then much later bursting out with the answers....with people who did not know the conversation.  I keep a pad of paper and pen beside my desk, bed, and chair....just for those Aha moments.  Sigh!  I guess I am suffering from Old Timers.  Happy Wednesday.  I am leaving tomorrow for Cape Cod for the first annual SMAK (Susan, Missi, Amanda and Karen) girl trip.  I cannot wait!  I will still be posting...but my Project 365 will not be up until late Sunday night.  I will have my camera with me and don't land in Atlanta til after 8 pm. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Were They Thinking?

As a teacher I have seen some doozy names in my classes.  I usually am very cautious when it comes to pronouncing them because you just never know when Smith might be pronounced Jones.  My all time favorite was a student with the name Friendcedrick.  Yep, it is pronounced exactly like it looks....Friend Cedrick.  Being the curious one that I am had to ask this child where he got his name.  The student rolled his eyes at me and sighed as he said, "from my momma's friend cedrick."  I felt like an idiot.  Of course that was where he got that name....a moron could have figured that one out.  Anyways.....there are many other interesting names that I have either seen personally or heard about over the  years and I thought today was a good day for a good laugh.  Enjoy them.  So here is my extensive list of the worst names people have named their children:
Babie Boi (pronounced Baby Boy). How can this child ever join the football team?  I.V. This came from a mother having medications through an IV during the birth. She liked the twist on the name. Meconium. These are the first stools an infant makes. Mom heard this word during the birthing process and thought it pretty. Ecstasy. Yes, this little baby girl was called Ecstasy. She was made during it, and will probably be looking for it her whole life. Cherry. Not so bad. Until you look at the last name. Pieland. Yup, Cherry Pieland.  Brook L. Bridge.  I said to her, "I suppose your middle name is Lynn, right?'  She responded with a shocked, "YES!  How did you know?"  Believe me....I did learn something in college.
Of course, every month is taken. January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.  I have had a number of continents and countries like China, Japan, America, Canada, Mexico,Italy, France, Asia, Africa and states like Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and cities too like Dallas, Phenix, Eufaula, and one dessert....Mojave.  I have had students with names like Precious Unique, Shotatequila (and yes it was pronounced Shot a Tequila).  When I was in the hospital giving birth to Kat the lady in the room with me was combining name parts to come up with her baby's name so she would not hurt anyones feelings.  Good thought....the name was horrendous.  My mom's family had a baby sitter when she was little because both of my grandparents worked the 2nd shift.  Cat was her name and she used to tell stories about children in her family, Female Jones (pronounced Fuh Molly)...supposedly the mom had many children and was relieved when she realized the hospital had taken care of naming her baby for her....the little wrist band they put on children....boys wear one that says "male" and girls....well you get the picture.  She also would go on and tell about Syphilis and Gonorrhea (pronounced suh phyllis and Gon OR ia) the twins  and the last born in a family of eighteen.
I have had other teachers tell me of students named lemonjello and orangejello ( leMonjello and ORANjello), ABCDE (Ah BE sayday),  and last, but certainly not least is Sh**head - (pronounced Shuh Theed).  All I can say is....can you see these on a resume.  I had a friend once who was going to name her new born...all wrapped in pink, Blaze Starr.  I asked her if she was on drugs and then proceded to tell her that she was condemning that precious little one to a life of pole dancing.....or worse.  Godo thing she was a good friend and I could get away with that.  Anyways, she ended up calling her Hannah Naomi.....whoa, talk about a complete turn around.  All I have to say is....come on parents....they poor kids have to spell these names before they can leave kindergarten AND these names will be on their college applications, job applications, and resumes.  Give them a break....and while you are at it....give the teachers one too!  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kids Can Be So Cruel

Last week I talked about nicknames on my Wednesday Hodge Podge post.  I did this because for sometime I have been thinking about coming out of the closet.  My brother died when I was almost 9 and by the time I was 12 I began noticing that something was not quite right in my world.  At the time my medical condition was attributed to some medications I was taking.  I had been diagnosed with almost non-existant Vitamin A, D, C, and Iron.  So the doctors gave me mega doses of these vitamins and iron because my skin was ashy, my nails brittle and ridged, and my hair had begun to come out in hanks.  I could rake my fingers through my hair and have a handful of hair when I finished.  Every morning I would wake up and there would be remnants of hair on my pillow.  I have to say I was pretty lucky....this happened during the late 60's and early 70's and wigs and hair pieces (falls) were in style.  I owned several of them because my Florida godmother worked at a beauty shop.  I had long ones, curly ones, short ones....and no one ever knew what I hid under my hat of hair....until Phys Ed my 10th grade year.  During P.E. we were doing gymnastics.  We had to walk on a balanced beam, swing from rings, do the pummel horse....and do floor of which was a forward roll.  My wig was not secured well enough and after the second roll....I continued....the wig did not.  I can actually laugh about it today....but that day....that day it was not funny.  I was mortified.  I was especially mortified when some of the cool kids called me "Onion Head."  My parents took me to several specialists who tried all kinds of treatments....but to no avail....they even took me to a psychologist who told them I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome because of my brother's death and could even be pulling my hair out...which made me a freak.  Eventually I made them see I was not doing that....and I learned how to do a sweep over...and my natural part dropped lower and lower.  Many nights I went to bed and cried myself to sleep because I felt like I was a freak.  I did not share this deep dark secret with anyone.  I am sure my closest friends were aware that I was different....but I never talked about it.  My self esteem was shot.  I knew that there would never be a special man for me....who would want me?  I met my first husband....and after a few dates....decided I would just go ahead and lay it all out.....I knew he would run screaming into the night.  I carefully took out the bobby pins that held the sweep over in place and showed biggest nightmare.  He actually cried for me.  When Frank and I had been dating a while I knew I would have to share this with him.....and I was terrified.  It is my biggest fear in life.....sharing the secret....Frank held me tightly....and told me it did not matter....and I knew it didn't.  My name is Karen and I suffer from a condition called alopecia areata. "Alopecia is the medical term for baldness; there are various types of alopecia, including alopecia areata.  Alopecia areata is a condition that causes a person's hair to fall out. It is an autoimmune disease; that is, the person's immune system attacks their body, in this case, their hair follicles. When this happens, the person's hair begins to fall out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The extent of the hair loss varies; in some cases, it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater.  On rare occasions, the person loses all of the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis)."  I am fortunate that this is not me.  Mine is confined to the top of my head only. "It is believed that the person's genetic makeup may trigger the autoimmune reaction of alopecia areata, along with other unknown triggers.  Alopecia areata is an unpredictable disease. In some people, hair grows back but falls out again later. In others, hair grows back and remains. Each case is unique. Even if someone loses all of his or her hair, there is a chance that it will grow back."  I have suffered with this for over 40 years and don't think it is going to grow back if it hasn't by now.  So I found myself wondering....why me?  Who gets this disease?  I did a lot of research and have seen a lot of doctors over the years and I now know that "anyone can develop alopecia areata; however, your chances of having alopecia areata are slightly greater if you have a relative with the disease. In addition, alopecia areata occurs more often among people who have family members with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, lupus, or thyroid disease."  The last two were the kickers.  I have had a couple of family members with lupus and every female on my dad's side of the family.....and my own mother have had thyroid disease....except me.  I have all the symptoms of thyroid disease....but test negative every time. 57 years of I sit....battle scarred from all the years of name calling....sufferer of alopecia.  But you know...I have learned it is alright.  One day in church the preacher talked about hair and I sat up and listened carefully as he read from Luke 12:7: "But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."  Thank you God for giving me this verse.  I will carry it with me daily.  I have come to believe that my flaw....leads to my ministry.  I am not perfect by any stretch of the the world's eyes....but in God's eyes....I was made in His imagine and that speaks volumes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Project 365 - Week 30

I am on the downside of summer vacation.  I can't believe we are already at week 30.  It has been a blast so far.  I sit around and think of things I want to photograph....and I am thrilled when I get to cross one off my list.  Thanks to Sara our host over at "...Make Music From Your Heart to the Lord."  If you would like to try your hand at it then join us.  We would love to have you.  If you want to see more pictures then click on the link and enjoy!

Sunday, July 17th
We live near Lake Wedowee and all kinds of boats drive by our house heading to the lake.  I thought this sign from the Baptist Church next door was a great one.

Monday, July 18th
On CR 78, headed to the house, we found this little "church in the wildwood" (reference to an old gospel song) and I thought it was too pretty to pass up.

Tuesday, July 19th 
Headed back to the house on Hwy 22.  When you see this sign we are the 5th house on the right....or the first house just past the Towler Farms sign.  You can't miss us!

Wednesday, July 20th

(Shorter Mansion in Eufaula)

 We got up this morning and headed to Panama City to see Ramona and her family.  It was supposed to be a trip with Kat....but she had to back out because of a job interview.  We headed down Hwy 431 and eventually picked up Hwy 231 in Dothan and then it was on to Ramona's.  The Shorter Mansion is in Eufaula, AL.  There are a lot of glorious mansions there and every Spring they have a pilgrimage where the homes are opened and you can tour them.  If you have never done that....and love old antebellum might want to check out Eufaula.  Eufaula also has a wonderful lake....and bass fishing is you can even bring your cherished hubbies with you....and stay at the Lakepoint Lodge on the lake....gorgeous view every morning.  We ate lunch at Big Mama's on the Bayou and then supper was at Boondocks.  Boondocks is a dining experience and if you are ever in Panama City....or Mexico Beach....try it....but go early because even the locals love this place.  It is owned by Hillary Head.  Her brother Mark is a member of our church.  Definitely six degrees of separation....don't you think?

Thursday, July 21st

Today we went sightseeing.  It was entirely too hot for the beach and we are going to a concert tonight at the Pier Park.  The first picture in the set where we ate on Weds.  We passed it again today and I caught a quick picture out of the window.  I loved the places sign and had to get that one.  We checked out the historic downtowns and marinas of Panama City and St. Andrews.  I just love Florida houses....they look so .....well....Beachy.  Toms is where we ate lunch.  It is like a New York hotdog place....very tiny narrow building....but the dogs are wonderful.  I had a downtown dog, Frank had a special and downtown dog, Drew had a slaw dog.  The decor is deco, flea market, junk yard all rolled into one.  I loved it!  I especially loved the cow jumping over the moon clock. 

Friday, July 22nd

Dothan, AL is the home of the National Peanut Festival.  It is held sometime in October I think.

Saturday, July 23rd

We changed our sign this week so I thought I would finish off the week with our new sign.  I like it.  While outside watering flowers I heard a grunting sneeze sound and looked up and there in the pasture next to my house was a gorgeous horse.  He belong to the Towlers who live behind me....and he had gotten into their hay field.  He was having a buffet of hay that they will cut soon.  Mr. Horse was so caught up in the hay he nicely stood and let me (the paparazzi) take picture after picture of him.  He also posed for a few....then Chris (the owner) snuck up on him and lead him back to his real home.  I was delighted!  Have a great week....and don't forget....the phrase, "Don't leave home without it" really applies to your camera.  Have camera....will travel!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Richard, Rexton and Why I Teach

Teachers, if they are lucky, experience a child really special during their tenure in a classroom.  I have been a fortunate one and have had many students that I would call special.  Some of them have been outstanding ball players, some became doctors, lawyers, judges, and some have made it in the musical world.  Richard and Rex were two of those musical special students.  They would bring their guitars and come to my room every morning at 7 and we would play and sing until the call in bell rang.  Richard is a fabulous musician and when he finishes playing a guitar it actually sighs when he sets it down.  Before the boys graduated from high school the three of us sang together at the Loft in Columbus.  I have a picture on my desk that reminds me daily of that night.  Everytime I look at that picture I remember just exactly why I do what I do. 

But back to the guys, Richard is currently playing with a group, the Vegabonds, that is touring the United States.  He alone is fantastic....but his group is phenomenal.  Back in April they opened at SunFest in West Palm Beach for the Allman Brothers Band.  Can you imagine that....opened for the Allman Brothers. 
Rexton is in Nashville and sings all over the south.  He is a down home country boy, the kind girls scream over, momma's love, and has a voice that you could listen to forever.   I was on facebook this morning and found Reverbnation and through that was able to share one of his new songs with you all and I do this with pride.  When I heard the song this morning I actually cried because it touched a nerve.  It is called "Somethin" to Someone" and it is one of those songs that you will never forget....even if it doesn't mean something to know someone it applies to.  I have had many good years with many wonderful kids....and you is the kids like Richard and Rex that make you proud you are a teacher.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pressing Into Thin Spaces

“When Jesus delivered His Sermon on the Mount, He spoke specifically to the poor in spirit, the slope-shouldered individuals who had lost the hope that they would change or that anything about them would ever be any different, “ says Dr. Margaret Harrell Willis in her book, ‘Pressing into Thin Places: Encouraging the Heart toward God .’ She goes on to say that Jesus “blessed those who were desperate, needy, and at the end of their rope. He offered hope.” Dr. Margaret Harrell Wills’ book shows us ways to get through our troubled times.
About the Book:  It is obvious that life is neither easy nor simple. If you doubt that all you have to do is take a quick scan of a newspaper headlines or watch the nightly news on television to be given a rude awakening that we live in a world full of hardship, grief, and pain, and it does not appear to be improving any time soon. Yet we do not have to despair. Instead we need to become empowered by the truth that there is a God who loves us and wants the best for us. This book is just that. It is road map to show us how to rest in God’s love, to seek His love out, to press close to the source of this great love, to find a way to worship God, and to hold fast to His promises daily. The book is a series of short anecdotes, personal memoirs, observations, prayers, and a collection of beautiful prose and poetry, Dr. Margaret Wills invites her readers to come and join her on her own personal search in the midst of loss and pain. The book is one that encourages us to praise and have a deep appreciation at all times, and for us to be aware that God’s love is unchanging. The book is an intimate revelation, as Dr. Wills explores the “thin places” where God’s presence is deeply felt and heaven and earth intersect for a brief and shining moment. According to Dr. Wills these ‘“thin places” can be a momentary awareness or a profound unexplainable experience.” Dr. Wills delves into the character of God as our Father, our King, and also as our servant and wise teacher. Throughout the book she encourages and invites the reader to experience with her some “thin place” moments when God lifted the veil in her own life and allowed her to see that although she was confined to the earth, there is a better place.
About the Author: “Dr. Margaret Harrell Wills is dedicated to the ministry of encouragement, helping people experience hope, wisdom, and faith in their spiritual journey. Dr. Wills grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She received her undergraduate degree from John Brown University, a master’s degree from Arizona State University, and received her doctoral degree in higher education with a teaching field of history from the University of Arkansas. She taught American History at the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  A writer and a poet, Dr. Wills is dedicated to the ministry of encouragement and helping people experience hope, wisdom, and faith in their spiritual journey. She has written for a number of publications, including The Journal of the Fort Smith Historical Society and Issues and Inquiry in College Learning and Teaching. She previously served on the board of the Arkansas Community Foundation as an appointee of Governor Mike Huckabee. She has been a guest lecturer in the Leadership and Ethics Program at John Brown University and has spoken on the topic of “Leaving a Character Legacy.” She is a graduate of Chuck Colson’s Centurion Program for Worldview Leadership, an intensive and demanding education program that prepares Christians to articulate and live out their faith with authenticity and to lead effectively in the marketplace of ideas. Her home is in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where she lives with her husband, Paul.
From the Book: In the Introduction by Tim Boswell, he makes several important points, but the one that seemed to stand out for me was “we are not promised an uneventful journey, only a safe arrival.” This book is a preparation for the journey.” Dr. Wills encourages us within the pages of her book to press close to the source of our peace and find our “thin places” and find that there is life beyond the fallen one our eyes are focused on.” Dr. Wills shares with us poems and stories on spiritual flatness, storms. Encounters, pressure tested faith, the character of faith during adversity, knowing who is in control, faith during fire, believing without seeing, signs, having a listening heart, presumptions, finding a starting place, God’s teachings, casting stones, being a vine, making the right choice, and praising. This book is a strong encouragement about our future: If we believe then we have a future that is filled with hope and infinite possibilities. There is just one small thing we must do. We must have faith. Whatever challenges we are facing is one more opportunity to experience the reality of God in our daily life. When we are tired and confused and don’t know where to go or what to do, there is a simple solution. Go to Jesus.
My Thoughts: I loved the book. The stories and poems are brief and made it easy for me to carry this book in my purse for several days and read it whenever I had a few minutes (ie the Dr’s office, hospital waiting rooms, etc). The book would make a lovely gift because of its size, hardcover, and lovely dust jacket. This is the kind of book women love, some men would like it, preachers would want it in their libraries for references. I was deeply touched by the stories, the poems, the questions it provoked in my mind. If you would like a copy of this book you can follow the link I provided here and order one for your own library.
Disclaimer: This book was published by Brown Christian Press and provided by The B & B Media Group for review purposes. I received this book free from the B & B Media Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. This book was published by Brown Christian Press and provided by The B & B Media Group for review purposes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Panama City Here We Come

What a great day yesterday was.  We left the house about 7:30 headed to PC and even with a few stops and some heavy rains between the house and Opelika....we arrived at Ramona's by 12:09.  I was so excited to see her and the boys.  We visited a few minutes.....then gathered up the boys and headed to Big Mama's on the Bayou for lunch.  The food was awesome.  Their menu changes daily...I had chicken and dumplings, baked mac and cheese, cole slaw, and peanut butter pie.  No, I did not finish it all.  Frank helped with some of mine.  We went back to Ramona's and Frank and I both took naps while the boys did.  When Dustin got home we headed to my favorite place in the world.....Hillary Heads Boondocks.  Let me tell you....if you have not eaten there then you are missing out.  If you are ever in Panama City you have to eat at this place....they now have a Boondocks II in the Mexico Beach area.  Go really early....or after 7....we had an hour wait last night.  Ramona and I found an air conditioned room were we took the baby and Drew(to hole him up).  In the Fish House (where we were waiting) there was a huge Bluefin Tuna named Ollie that according to legend had been caught during Hurricane Opal was caught on a cane pole and a minnow....yeah right!  Tall fishing tales are common in the South....and believe me.....the Ollie story was a tall tale.  Anyways, Frank, Ramona and Dustin all had the Big Catch....and believe me there was a pile of food on their plates.  Ramona and Dustin split one...Frank tackled his solo....and the plate won.  I had clam strips.  It is one of the few places where you can order just them....and I love the things.  I have yet to finish a plate at this place....and never even thought about dessert.  Come to think of it.....I have never seen anyone eat dessert here.  The ambiance is wonderful, the food is plentiful and good, the Pickle House gift shop is fun, it is just a rocking good place to go.  You can even go on an airboat ride and hear a singer....they covered all the bases.  I can't recommend this place enough.  It is a dining experience.....and truly...out in the boondocks.  We went home and visited....Ramona and I played Word with Friends....and then somewhere before midnight we all headed to bed.  Dustin has to work today and I have been up since before 6 and no one else is stirring in the house.  I don't know what we will get into today.  I will be fine as long as it involves a Diet Coke and the beach...hint!  hint!  Tonight we are going to Pier Park for a concert.  Sounds like fun to me....Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hodge Podge - Vol 36

Welcome to Joyce's, from over at From This Side of the Pond, Wednesday Hodgepodge....My summer is almost over and has really been flying by? Here are this week's questions and of course my responses. If you want to play then head on over to Joyce's blog and play along.  It really is easy. 
1. July 20th marks the anniversary of the first time man stood on the moon. Flash forward 42 years to July 8, 2011 which marked the start of the final Space Shuttle mission. Should we continue to explore space? Should nations devote more or fewer of their resources to exploring space? Would you want to go into space if the opportunity arose?
We, as a nation, have  learned a great deal thru our space exploration.  I believe we should continue to explore space. I am not a space goer.  It is one thing I do not have on my bucket list.  My friend Marnet.....she would be so there.  I like watching it on tv...and final frontier.
2. What are three things in your freezer?

Hamburger buns left over from the cookout, some sausage and bacon, and a pack of porkchops in my deep freeze.  We won't even discuss my refrigerator freezer....I have no clue what is buried in there.
3. If you could see any band/artist perform live tonite who would it be? It has to be someone living-no Beatles, Elvis, etc.
I am a big advocate of live music.  My list would be extensive so picking one is hard to do.  Back when I was younger I saw many great bands perform....but since I have to pick one band it would have to be the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and they would have to do "Southeren Crs" just for me.

4. Ice-cubed or crushed? Or are you one of those people who don't like ice?

I am a crushed ice kind of girl.  Sonic ice is my favorite.  Frank on the other hand is a no ice kind of guy.  He can take a Diet Coke out of the box and drink it as is.  I can only do that if I am dying of thirst.
5. The owner of a small restaurant outside of Pittsburgh recently announced he was banning children under six, saying they regularly disrupted other customer's meals. You can read the story here in more detail but isn't this a perfect topic to discuss in our Wednesday Hodgepodge? Have at it friends...what are your thoughts?
I am one of those people who is an unruly child magnet.  I don't care where I go....and there can be hundreds of empty tables....I get put next to a child who is screaming or crying and it drives me nuts.  I took my children to restaurants....but the difference here is mine knew better than to misbehave.  With that said....I am NOT an advocate of banning children from restaurants.  They need to learn how to behave.  I think hostesses need to be more alert when they sit people without children near people who have boisterous ones.
6. What was your first car? How did it come to be yours?

This is my first car.  It was a 1969 Plymouth Sattelite 383.  It had Krager mags and knock off spinners and I put three sets of tires on it before it was 6 months old.  It was fast....and I loved it.  My dad and I went to buy me a car....a nice reliable car....without my mom.  We passed a used car lot on Dixie (US 1)....and there she was....sitting up on racks....within minutes she was mine.  She had 1,300 miles on her when we bought her and supposedly she had belonged to an old lady who drove her to the grocery store and her hair appointment on Friday's only(Of course this was before the days of Car Fax).  My mom was horrified when we drove up in this shiny red beauty.  Two years later the Sasserlite saved my life when I was rear ended by a VW beetle, and my car was totaled. 
7. If I had a nickel for every time I have been klutzy I'd be rich.  Yes, I am the Queen of Klutz.  If there is lint on the floor....I promise you I will stumble.  My furniture jumps out at me and I stumble over it too.  My nickname is definitely not Sure Foot.
8.  Question is eight is one you insert yourself.  It is a random mine today is what was your nickname growing up and did you like it? 
I have to last name was Sasser.  Now...can you imagine how the kids played with that one.  I was called Sassy, Sass Her,  Sassafrass, Sassafrass Magnolia (because my parents were from Alabama), and the worst one of all....I was called Onion Head(to be explained in a later post).  I hated nicknames and how hurtful they can be.  To add insult to parents were really Fred and Wilma.  You can never imagine how many times when people found that out....I got..."Oh, and is she Pebbles?"  So what did I do?  I had a daughter whose name was Kathryn.  I, yes I said I, nicknamed her Munchkin(she was the shortest and loved to act like the characters on the Wizard of Oz)...and later Kat.  I really wanted to call her Katie....but she just wasn't a Katie...she was a Kat. 
Hope you have a great Wednesday.  I know I will.  I am headed out to Panama City to see my niece Ramona and her family.....and to eat at Boondocks.  Yummmmmy.  I will be home on Friday, but do not fear, I am taking my lap top so I can keep up with everyone. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Sneeze and Women of Faith Weekend

Women of Faith Imagine

I am so excited!  I just got an email from Book Sneeze and I have been chosen to be a blogger on site at the Women of Faith conference in Atlanta August 12-13.  I can hardly believe it!  I never win anything and getting this email was a big boost for me.  So some of you may be wondering exactly what this is?  Well, "Women of Faith is a faith-based women's organization encouraging women of all ages and stages in life to grow in faith and spiritual maturity through a relationship with Jesus Christ and an understanding of God’s love and grace. Hundreds of thousands of women are meeting up in 28 cities across the U.S. for one-of-a-kind weekend events filled with laughter, music, drama, heart-tugging stories, and more. Whether you attend an Over the Top event or spend two days at Imagine, you’re in for a wonderful time. Some even call it life-changing."  Who will be there?  That is what is exciting me the most.  I will get to hear some of my favorites like Sheila Walsh, Lucy Swindoll, Lisa Harper, Angie Smith, singers Mary Mary, Natalie Grant, Nicole Johnson, Steve Arterburn, and Laura Story.  It will be two days of heaven on earth.  There is nothing like thousands of women praising God in prayer, singing, and fellowship....let me tell you.  I will be blogging about my big adventure during the 12th and 13th and will do a follow-up blog when I get be on the lookout.  I promise you if this is like the other ones I have attended you will have to tie my feet down with cement blocks because I will be floating.  If you get a chance to attend one of these I promise you it will be the experience of a lifetime.  If you are interested in where they are going to be held this year go to and click on the map to see what city is closest to you.  Woooo Hoooooo!  Hotlanta here I come.  Now my big question is.....who am I going to take with me?

Busy Bee

It is hard for me to imagine that in just two and a half weeks I will be returning to the classroom.  I did something this summer that I have never done before.....I stayed out of my classroom.  In the past, when Kat was young, we would visit the room at least once a week and work.....but this summer I have been busy.  I have made many trips to see friends who had surgeries and were/are still  in the hospital in Birmingham, I have worked on my mom's house, I have read a lot of books, I have been to PC once with Amanda, I was in Mobile at a conference with Frank.  This is NOT the summer I had planned (Mary and I were going to Niagra Falls this summer)....but it was the summer I was now with two and half weeks I am packing in what I can.  Today I am meeting Lorraine and Annette in Alex City.  We are presenting at our August Inservice a session on using cell phones in the classroom in a positive way.  The three of us took an online course this summer and we are meeting this morning at 9 to plan our strategy.  I am excited.  Tomorrow Frank and I are going to pick up Kat in Mobile and go see Ramona and her family in Panama City.  We will come home on Friday.  This plan is subject to change because Kat may have some business she has to take care of so we may not be going to PC via Mobile.  I am sad she may not be going with us....but will have a good time eating at my new favorite PC restaurant - Boondocks(you must try it if you are ever in the area), showing Frank around(Pier Park), and spending time with one of my favorite families....Ramona, Dustin, and the boys.  I love this precious little family and cannot wait to hear Ramona laugh, talk languages with Dustin...and love me some little boys.  July 25th, I have a training session at the Marriot Grand National (RTJ golf place) in Opelika/Auburn.  It will last all day and we are meeting our new Uniserve Director that day.  Wednesday, the 27th, I will be in Alex City working 10th grade orientation all day.  Thursday night, the 28th I will be flying out of Atlanta headed to Providence, RI for a girl trip with Amanda, Susan, and Missi.  I can't wait.  I will be home on the 31st.  Mani/pedi scheduled at the Mane Event on August 3rd....and then there it is....the first day of inservice.  We will meet the 8th - 10th to attend inservices, prepare our rooms, and get psyched up for what is coming.  The kids return on the 11th.  I am always so nervous at the beginning of the year....I am kind of like the kids.  I hope they will like me.....but if they don' really is ok.  I have been called every name under the book.  I hope they will learn from me and catch my excitement about my class.....but if they don' won't be the first time.  Things will be different this year....Mary won't be there with me on the first day....and that makes me sad.  It will be the first time in over 20 years that we have not been together.  There will be new faces in old rooms.  My cheese will be moved.....and life will go on.  I love the start of school and the end of the year.....and all the time in between.  When I wake up and don't love the start of school it will be time for me to retire.  Have a wonderful Tuesday and stay cool if you are somewhere where the heat is miserable.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Yummy Read - The Chocolate Diaries

Price: $13.99
Format: Trade Paperback

ISBN: 9781400074020

Release: 5.3.2011

Author:  Karen Scalf Linamen

Religion - Christian Life - Women's Issues

Book Summary: I am a firm believer that women need chocolate. The book, The Chocolate Diaries is just that, a non-fiction book that provides women with everything they need to survive tough times with the help of family, friends, prayer, laughter, tears, and of course, plenty of chocolate. The book has a light tone and a good deal of life humor to make it a fun read and is laced with a touch of heart-breaking stories to keep it human. Karen Scalf Linamen, the author, approaches the “Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life” with palatable humor and bittter honesty that makes the book a must read.
About the Author: Karen Scalf Linamen is a Christian writer, speaker, and chocolate connoisseur. She has written several excellent books for women. Although this is not her first work on how to handle suffering with God’s grace and good chocolate.
My Impression: Karen Scalf Linamen is a master at weaving tales of her own tough times with the tough times of other strong women who achieved a much greater knowledge of self, the Lord, and, the importance of chocolate. Throughout the book the reader will find a multitude of quotes, ideas about how to satisfy a chocolate cravings, and some truly mouth-watering recipes (definitely worth a try) mixed in among a homemade batch of inspiringly true stories . I would highly recommend having a supply of chocolate (mine was special dark) on hand while reading the The Chocolate Diaries. It definitely enhanced my sensory experience.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the plubisher through Waterbrookmultnomah Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Quotable Rogue

Book Summary: This book is full of Palinisms, wit, interviews, and seriousthoughts that are designed to give the reader a clear understanding of how Sarah Palin sees life and politics. It is a compilation of actual quotes Sarah Palin has made on a great many topics from living in Alaska, to politics, to Tina Fey. and everything in between.  "We need to spend more time lifiting up America instead of apologizing for the greatest country on earth, " was a CBS News quote from February 17th, 2010 and it is just one of many that fill the 192 of this book.
My Reaction: Not a Palin fan going into the reading of this book I can clearly say that I have learned a great deal about the once governor of Alaska. Her Palinisms are full of wit and hidden in each one you find an element of plain basic truth. It was eye opening to learn about her from reading her exact words. Matt Lewis researched his subject well and placed it tidy package making it an easy read. This is definitely a book for all conservatives and Palin fans, which I was not. However, If you love America, even a non-Palin supporter will appreciate her obvious love for America. She is very entertaining which makes reading her quotes interesting. If you want to know a little more about Sarah Palin and like reading nothing but quotes, then this is your book!
Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the plubisher through Thomas Nelson Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Project 365 - Week 29

Wow!  It is hard to believe that we are 29 weeks into this year and I am three weeks away from school starting.  Project 365 has been tough this week because it has been a tough week.  Frank and I spent a lot of time in the road.  Delbert is still working on my house and I am tired....but here goes and if you want to see some more truly great shots then head on over to Sarah's blog at ....Make Music from Your Heart and check them out.  That is where you will find me every weekend.

Sunday, July 10th

This little mockingbird sat on our power lines Sunday and was warning us that we might be a spot of rain.....and we did.  It was pretty much a spot....but enough so that Frank did not have to water the plants.  Our water bill last month was horrendous.

Monday, July 11th

Monday we made our first trip to Birmingham for the week.  Mary was having a procedure and we felt we needed to be there.  The barn is between our house and Wedowee.  The Haunted Chicken House is just outside of Hollis Crossroads.  We spent a lot of time in the car my pictures could be titles....through the windshield on Hwy 431.

Tuesday, July 12th
I tried to be clever with this shot.  At the Fire Dept. meeting on Monday night Frank was given these bull horn peppers.  I wanted to draw a cute cow head and put the peppers where the horns would go....but could not find my my bull is blowing smoke.

Wednesday, July 13th
I love hydrangeas....especially this purple one.   Today we worked at my moms and did some serious Alex City running errands.  By the time we got home I was worn out.  I did take the time to grab my camera and walk out on the porch and catch this one.

Thursday, July 14th
Back to Birmingham today.  Mary had a 6 hour surgery and on our way up I grabbed some Christmas Tree wannabees from a tree farm between Hollis Crossroads and Cheaha State Park Road.  I am still on Hwy 431.....and looking out from the windshield....hence the foggy look.

Friday, July 15th

Frank has class this weekend.....and guess where?  If you said Birmingham then you are correct.  Poor baby he had to drive BACK to B'ham the rain.  I stayed home this trip.  I had stuff to do...Delbert is through in the house and I have to put it back in order.  We ate lunch at 12 EDT with Marcie and Carolyn at Katies in Lagrange.  The food and company were wonderful.  Then Frank dropped me off at the house and head out.  He was planning to stop by and check on Mary for me.  She is ICU and will be there for a few more days.  I went out on my porch and snapped the butterfly shots on the coneflowers.  These flowers were full of tiny butterflies....and a scattered bee or two.

Saturday, July 16th
I can't remember what the yellow colored flower is....but the lavender one is Russian sage and it smells so good.  Have a great day and I will see you next week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Marnet and A Conversation with God

It is raining here in Rock Mills right now and I am a bit weepy.  Yesterday I was in Birmingham at Trinity Hospital for my friend Marnet.  She was having a major surgery that was expected to last between 6 - 8 hours.  Gathered in the waiting room was her mom, her sister and brother, her sons, her in-laws, her husband, her ex-husband, Frank and I, her pastor, and a cousin.  We sort of took over the waiting room.  Seeing the doctor come out was a relief....and frightening....he came out at the 6 hour mark and Marnet's sister said if the doctor broke scrubs....things were bad.  I studied him as he walked across the floor and thought I saw a small smile.  He proceeded to tell the family that surgery had gone as well as he expected.  He got the was hard and self-contained.  He believed it to be cancerous...but they would have the pathology report on Tuesday.  She did fine...was enroute to recovery and would be in ICU in an hour....and would be there until Monday or Tuesday.  Marnet's mom told her sister a strange tale as the surgery was beginning....she said that before Marnet was born....God talked to her and told her she would have another child....this child would be the last to arrive....but the first to go.  What did that mean?  Griefus....she may BE the first to go....but it didn't mean it would be Thursday!  Yet, the devil takes every opportunity to mess with your mind...and he definitely was messing with mine....because all morning long that story played and replayed in my head.  I finally walked outside with Frank and prayed my own prayer....that God would take that thought from my head....and he would continue to watch over my BFF Marnet.  Tuesday when I was in Birmingham for her procedure...she and I had an opportunity to share some alone time when the guys went to eat lunch.  We held each other in her bed and cried.  She told me the "C" word had been tossed into play and she was scared.  I was scared too.  Marnet is my traveling buddy, my confidant, my sounding block, my soulmate.   We have gotten into a lot together....and for a brief moment....I could not comprehend life without her.  I snapped out of that funk quickly...and told her that we still had Bucket List items we had not done...and she was not leaving me.  BTW...her sister told her the same thing.  I love that sister of Marnet's.  She is one spunky lady.  My kind of gal.  After Marnet was out of surgery Frank and I headed home.  We had a two hour drive home and the weather was looking kind of nasty.  I slept hard last night...waiting and sitting are exhausting to me.  I did not even check my emails.  This morning I got up and checked and there was the sweetest story.  I almost wish I had read it last night....but it is always in God's I needed to hear it this morning....and some of you might need it too....and I am going to share it with you.  The story is about a momma and a chair.  It means a lot to me....because my momma talked to God.  She talked to him out the the house....whereever....if she felt the need to converse with him...she did.   I guess because it always came so natural to my parents.... I talk to God too....when I am going to Alex City every morning....on my hour trek....God and I converse...and yes...I talk to Him
outloud.  So if you ever see me....talking in my car....just know...God and I are together....and enjoying each other's company.  I am not nuts.  The story goes like this:  A woman's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her mother. When the minister arrived, he found the woman lying in bed with her head propped up on two pillows.. An empty chair sat beside her bed. The minister assumed that the woman had been informed of his visit... 'I guess you were expecting me, he said. 'No, who are you?' said the mother. The minister told her his name and then remarked, 'I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up...' 'Oh yeah, the chair,' said the bedridden woman 'Would you mind closing the door?' Puzzled, the minister shut the door. 'I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,' said the woman. 'But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head...I abandoned any attempt at prayer,' the old woman continued, until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, ' Prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest.. 'Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always'.. 'Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now...''So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though . If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.' The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old woman to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with her, anointed her with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her mama had died that afternoon. Did she die in peace?' he asked. Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, she called me over to her bedside, told me she loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found her . But there was something strange about her death. Apparently, just before Mom died, she leaned over and rested her head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?' The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, 'I wish we could all go like that.' ...and you know what?  So do I.  Have a glorious Friday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hodge Podge Week 35.

Today is Wednesday, so welcome to the world of Hodge Podge.  Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond is our weekly hostess and she is the creater of all the crazy questions.  I have enjoyed this because it is fun answering the questions....and I have gotten to know some of my bloggy cohorts well.  Want to play with us?  It is simple.  Just click on the link I gave you above, go over to Joyce's blog, copy the questions and answer them....then go back and link up your answers so we can all read them.  Joyce actually gives us seven questions...andthen it is up to you to tack one random thought on at the end.  Once you do this  you'll be ready to link up with this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Believe is simple.

1. How has your hometown changed since you were a kid? What has changed most about the neighborhood you grew up in?   I grew up in West Palm Beach and it was a big city with a small town feel.  Kids rode their bikes places in the neighborhoods, you could trick-or-treat and actually eat all the homemade stuff you got, we shopped at Publix and Jakes Meat Market for food and meat and hit a Bakery on Belvedere for bread.  I lived less than five minutes from the beach and traffic was minimal. (In the second grade I walked home by myself from school....across two major roads).  All of the places I lived in when I was a child are gone.  The first apartment and the first house were encompassed by City Place.  The High School right across the street is now the Kravitz Center of Performing Arts, the last house I lived in was torn down....the whole neighborhood was and it is going to be some sports practice complex for FAU.  The last time I was home all that was left were the streets and the house numbers on the curb.  It was so very depressing.  Like I said it took us five minutes to get to the beach it takes 45 because traffic is horrendous.  I-95 used to end on Southern Blvd - which was near my it goes all the way to Miami.  The Hut is gone but Verdes bowling alley is still there.  The Gayety Skating Rink is Junior High is now a middle school.  My high school is an International Baccalaureate School.  My Junior College is no more Palm Beach Junior College (PBJC - we called it Peanut Butter and Jelly College) has a new name.  They are trying to revitalize downtown....but all the wonderful places I grew up with are gone.  When I go makes me feel like I never existed.

2. What song makes you laugh? Ole Blue.  When I was in junior high school a trio came to our church. They were three guys from Kentucky and the lead singers name was Kent Kilborne.  I had the biggest crush on him....he did this song....and I have sung it to my kids/grands....with a bit of my own modification.  I laugh every time I sing it...or hear it.

3. Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Read the books? Seen any/all of the movies? Will you be standing in line somewhere close to midnight later this week? For those of you playing along today who live outside the US or UK is Harry Potter a phenomenon in your part of the world?  I am a Harry Potter fan. I actually read the first book so I would know what my students were talking about.(I also read the Twilight books). I don't stand in line at midnight for anything.  I have read all the books and seen all but the latest movie.  I will probably wait til it comes out on DVD to see it.

4. If the truth hurts, will you tell a lie? Are we better off as a society in a world that allows no form of deception whatsoever?  I won't tell a lie....but I will soften the truth.  You CAN tell the truth without being brutal.

5. What is your favorite 'sauteed in garlic and butter' food? Or garlic and olive oil if that makes you feel better.  My favorite is Mary's squash/zucchini.  I love it.  She uses olive oil and no matter how hard I try....mine never tastes quite like hers.

6. Attending any reunions this summer/year? High school? family? Other? Do these events stir up excitement or dread?  I attended a family reunion on Father's Day weekend for my mom's family and will be attending one in July for my dad's.  I enjoy reunions.....but family is musical.  They also play cards and dominoes (Mexican Train)...and I am all about those things.  My high school 40 year reunion is next summer.

7. Lilac, hydrangea, peony...pick one.   Hydrangea hands down.  I love them....any color....prefer the lavender the most though if I had to pick a favorite.

8. Random Thought of the Week - What is the best thing that has happened to going to happen to you....or you have done this summer?  I am going to Providence, RI the last week of this month with my cousins, Amanda and Melissa....and my friend Susan.  Amanda, Susan and I will all be meeting up in Atlanta and will be on the same flight.  We will be gone from Thursday to Sunday.  I am so excited!

**Added note - Please pray for my dear teaching BFF Mary.  She is having surgery on Thursday and it is very serious.  They have found a mass on her pancreas and she is having a whipple done.  This is very very serious....and I am concerned.  I told her on Tuesday that she was going to be alright because we still have Bucket List things to do....and I plan on doing them with her.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Legend of the Pitcher

If this pitcher could talk what a tale it would tell.  Amanda and I exchange gifts at birthdays and many moons ago she found this pitcher at Bombay Trading Company in the mall in Columbus, GA.  Amanda liked it so much.....she bought us both one(We do that know the old for you....and one for me).  After she got off from work she came straight to my house for my party.  She had had them wrap mine and it was almost too pretty a package to open....but I did. Upon showing my prize evert woman in the room wanted one.  I was delighted with it.  I loved the color, the design, who am I kidding....I loved the whole thing.  Amanda wished me farewell....and headed home.  When she opened her back door to get the pitcher out.....unbeknownst to her....the pitcher had shifted in transport....and upon opening the rolled out onto the concrete drive and shattered into a million pieces.  She called me....we laughed a bit.....and the next day she returned to Bombay Trading Company....only to find out she had bought the last two.  Now....I had one.....and she didn't.  In Montgomery, I found one....bought it and took it to her.  We were walking from my car to her house...through the carport....she slipped and the pitcher went sailing.....and again....shattered into a million pieces.  I still had one....she didn't.  A year or so later....we were at the Mall of America in Minnesota on our famous Pacific Northwest vacation....and the window of the Bombay Trading Company....was the blue there taunting Amanda and I went in.....and she bought it.  We knew that we still had 8,000 miles left of our trip....with three adults, our three kids, and luggage for 15+ days.  Where on earth were we going to put that it would survive the trip.  We secured it....and the pitcher became like Flat Stanley, it saw all of the Pacific Northwest with us.  It went all the way to Vancouver, BC and back to Lanett, AL....AND DID NOT BREAK!  When they got home, they took it out of the Suburban....and eased the pitcher into the house across the concrete drive....unwrapped it and placed it on top of the desk.  No one touched it again.  It had survived.  Now, once again we both had one.  A year passed and I moved into an upstairs apartment.  I took my pitcher in my car so that it would not break.....I wrapped it carefully in bubble wrap....but on the way into the apartment....I tripped on an old door mat the former resident had forgotten....and the pitcher went sailing....right into the wall.....and you've got shattered into a bazillion pieces still wrapped in a ton of bubble wrap.  All that was left of the pitcher was the handle, the bottom, and the lip.   I sat down and cried....and then laughed.  Now.....Amanda had a pitcher and I didn't.  I looked for it forever on Ebay.....Bombay does not have them anymore....heck it has been over 10 years....but believe me....this pitcher is so pretty.....they should make it a stock piece.  Last Wednesday, Frank, Kimble, and I helped Amanda pack up stuff at her house in town and move it to the lake house.  As we were packing....I found the blue pitcher was I lovingly took it off the shelf, washed it, and took a picture of it.  Yep, Amanda's pitcher was still in tact.  I wrapped it in towels....and made sure it made the trip in a plastic tote.  On Friday when we went back down to help....there was the pitcher.  It had made the trip and was sitting on top of the china cabinet....the whole time I ate pizza....I felt it beckoning to me....taunting I left...I passed by it....and childishly stuck my tongue out at it.  Back in the day....having a pitcher like that would have meant a lot.....but you know...after dealing with my mom's stuff....having that pitcher means absolutely nothing.  It is just another piece of glass and clutter!  So, now when I want to see the pitcher....I will just look on my blog, or visit Amanda's house....I am sure she will give me visitation rights!  Happy Tuesday!