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!”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hodge Podge - Volume 55

I see Volume 55 and I thinkof the speed limit I have all the way to work down Hwy 22.  Joyce has come up with some great questions again this week and if you want to play along head over to Joyce's blog and join in.  Once you have finished head back and post your responses.  It is a lot of fun and a great way to get to know each other.
1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so, about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)
I do send cards.  I usually send out around 100 since I have a huge family and Frank is the pastor of Rock Mills UMC.  I love cards.  I love sending them and receiving them.  This years cards I am making myself so I can't wait to get them done and sent.  They should go out sometime the first of next week.  I display the cards different ways.  I have a precious Santa card holder my friend Mary bought for us a couple of years ago.  I think this year I am doing a card tree I found on Pinterest.  That way I can do some Pintervention.  :-)
2. When do kids become adults?   Legally at 21.  My daughter was an adult when she was 10. She has always been an old soul in a young woman's body.
3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?  I am one of the people who can answer this question with the phrase-"Beauty regimen? What beauty regimen?" I slather on lotion more during the winter.  I don't wear makeup...probably there is not a whole lot of beautifying for me.
4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?
I am a picky eater per say.  There are more things I don't eat than do.  I guess the fact that I like ketchup on potato chips would be my gross eating habit....I love ketchup.  It is my condiment of choice.....and no...I don't eat it on everything....Frank thinks I do....but I don't eat it on eggs, or mashed potatoes.
5. Gloves or Mittens?
Definitely gloves.  Mittens hinder my use of my fingers.
6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound so much nicer?  I am going to borrow this answer from Joyce because it is my answer.  I stood in line at the Vatican and Sistine Chapel for more than 2 hours.  I don't do lines....but it was worth every minute and I met a lot of neat people there from all over the world. 
7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to this December?  Are you ready?   Where do I begin?  Let's see....we have my cousin Quinn's wedding on the 17th, the Children's program at church on the 11th, the Churches joint dinner (with the Baptist Church next door) on the 11th, Amanda's annual Open House on the 10th, singing with Amanda at church on the 18th, and Winter Extreme with the Youth in Gatlinburg on the 27th-29th.  I love December!
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Do you know what Chrismon ornaments are?  Does your church have a Chrismon Tree?  For my readers who don't know.....Chrismons are a type of Christmas Tree decoration used in many churches and often in the homes of Christians. The symbols used represent a variety of biblical and theological concepts that are well known among most believers. Often, if the ornaments on a Christmas tree are comprised mostly of Christian symbols, the tree is known as a "Chrismon Tree." Chrismons are white with gold decorations of beads, ribbon, glitter, etc. It is common, however, to see these ancient Christian designs in other colors than white and gold. These would not be Chrismons, however, but simply Christian symbols -- and there's nothing wrong with that!  Ours does and last Sunday night we celebrated the beginning of the Advent Season with the Hanging of the Greens.  It is one of my favorite times of year.  Everyone is in such a good mood as we drag out the boxes of decorations and decorate the sanctuary for the holidays. The tree is filled with handmade Chrismon ornaments and gold balls.  It is breathtaking.   I will love it even more when the poinsettias are in the church.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Farewell to Sandi

My post is short today.  I am sad.  Last night I got news that Sandi Thurman McCool died on Wednesday.  She fought a long and hard battle against breast cancer and on Wednesday it defeated her.  Who was she?  Well at one time she was my precious daughter-in-law.  She was one of the sweetest people I know and even after the divorce she, Kat, and I stayed in touch. Sandi was a ray of sunshine in the lives she touched.  Before cancer began to take her life she was a surgery nurse at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, AL and loved by all she came in contact with.  Sandi was the kind of person who was destined to be a nurse. The world will miss you Sandi!  Please pray for her husband, Dr. Alan and her mom and family.  I know her passing will leave a huge hole in their lives. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where in the Heck is South America?

As you all know I am a high school teacher.  I love my job....but I have to admit over the past several years I have seen education dummied down to make sure that there is definitely No Child Left Behind.  When I was in school there were groupings.  I prided myself in being in the red bird reading group because it was the top.  I did not want to ever be in a basic I worked hard not to be.  I was not a brilliant kid in school, but I could hold my own.  Today....students want us to spoon feed them the answers.  With all the technology they have available to them....they don't even want to do the research.  I, on the other hand, am so very inquisitive.  I want to know why things are the way they I will sit and google random things for hours just to know why. When I was in school we took Florida history, we took Geography, we took American and World History, We took English (British, American, and World Lits).  We were tracked and there were basic, regular, and advanced classes.  I turned out ok.  I graduated from high school and college with a Master's Degree.  Education did not come easy for me.  I had to dig at it.  But it is sad.  Kids don't know geography....and a prime example of this came when I asked my class where South America was.  Simple question I thought.....but I was so wrong.  One of my brightest students confidently raised her hand to answer my question.  When I called on her....the answer I got nearly put me in a coma.  "Africa" was her reply.  AFRICA!  Oh no...she did not just say that.  I looked at her sweet face to see if she was pulling my leg....but I realized she was not.  The maps in my room are small I sent down to four History classes to borrow their flip chart maps.  I was shocked.....none of them had one.  I resorted to Plan B....I have maps in my textbook so I had my students turn to the world map layout and we had a lesson in Spanish class about the continents and the countries....and their locations.....the next day we had a pop quiz on this material.  I made a decision right then and there that when my students leave Spanish I they would know the difference between a continent and a country and know where they are located.  Griefus.  I don't know where the ball has been dropped along the way....but someone needs to pick it up and score. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Beginning of Advent

I read a wonderful Advent devotional yesterday prepared by Rev. Dr.  Mark D. Roberts.  I thought you all might enjoy this wonderful piece.  Enjoy!  Advent is one of my most favorite parts of the Christmas season.  I love Christmas....but not because of the hype, advertisements, gifts, and all.  Nope, I love advent because it is all about the preparation of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   "Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping.  Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us to prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas.  (The word “advent” comes from the Latin word that means “coming.”) For hundreds of years Christians have used an Advent wreath to inspire their hopes for the coming of Christ.  By lighting candles and reading Bible verses, we are reminded about the meaning of Christ’s birth and become more excited about his coming in the past, in the future, and in our own lives. There is no set meaning for the candles of the Advent wreath (except for the middle candle, which always signifies the birth of Jesus the Christ).  Some wreaths use all white candles; others use three purple candles, one pink candle, and one white candle in the middle.  The purple candles remind us of how serious and solemn God’s people have been in waiting for the Messiah.  The pink signifies the joy of our waiting.  The white is triumphant and celebrative because Christ is born."  Today at Church we lit the first candle.  It is the candle that signifies our waiting for the shepherd.  Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”.  In the Christian season of Advent we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. By lighting one candle each week of Advent, we help ourselves to get ready for the birth of Jesus.  The candles have different meanings, each based upon the Bible.  These meanings help us to understand how special the birth of Jesus is for us. Today when we lit our first candle we focused on the coming of Christ as our Shepherd.  My prayer today is, "Dear God, thank you for this season of Advent that helps us to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.  As we read the Bible and light a candle, may excitement for Christ’s coming burn in our hearts.  Amen."    I hope as we move into this Christmas season you will all be filled with the love and joy of Christ....and take it with you throughout the year.  God Bless You All!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Project 365 - Week 48

I can't believe that we are 48 weeks into 2011.    Four weeks until we put this year to bed.  I can't say that I am sad to see this year end.  It has been a tough one.  There are quite a few of us who have taken pictures every day this year.  Want to see some really fun and lovely ones?  I think you should go over and check out the other budding photographers at Sarah's blog.

Sunday, November 20th

We had our Thanksgiving service at church today and I took some of these decorations from the house and decorated the altar.  I also have done a pintervention here.  I have become a pinterest addict.  The pumpkin is a modge podge project I found on pinterest.  The pilgrims I bought at the auction on Saturday for a dollar each.

Monday, November 21st

Frank has been working like a fiend on his scroll saw.  His orders are really adding up.  He has several projects left that have to be done before Christmas.

Tuesday, November 22nd

Two more orders filled.  I love the LSU one.

Wednesday, November 23rd
Rosemary Beach, Florida

Kathryn and Will sitting on the stairs in the main house.
The view from the garage.  I loved the red door of the main house.

Sunset from the porch day one.

Thursday, November 24th

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal at Dustin's mom and dad's house.  Angie and Bill were gracious hostesses considering they had 13 extra guests.  We all brought something to add to the meal.  There was so much food and so little time to eat it all.  Everyone left stuffed.  After eating Amanda, Mitchell and I played guitar and entertained everyone.

After we got back from the Hugh's house one group started a Shanghai game and the rest of us just kind of chilled.  I read and enjoyed the piece and quiet.  Frank and I are going to Lowe's (and Lowe's only) at 5.  It is about 5 miles from our house and there were only 10 people there including us!  We got the table saw we went after and headed back to the house to begin making pictures and breakfast.

Friday, November 25th
Kat and Brian

Frank and I on the main house porch.

Linda and Victor

David and Susanna and the boys

Ramona and Dustin and the boys

Melanie and Mitchell

Amanda and her immediate family.  There are three generations present.

The Brown family on the beach.

The Hughes family on the beach.
Mitchell looking out to sea.

Mitchell and Aunt Amanda


Melanie and Amanda

Saturday, November 25th

A Rock Mills sunset and golden clouds.  It is great to be home.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and Reality

It is Black Friday.  Frank and I got up at 4 so that we could be at Lowe's when they opened at 5.  No big flat screen TV for us....nope...I am not camping out at Best Buy for ANYTHING!  But....Walmart had a printer (on sale at midnight) and the winner was Lowe's.  They had a table saw bargain we just could not pass up.  Frank needs it for his scroll saw work to rip his wood.  I loved getting up and enjoyed watching his face as we procured one of the five table saws this particular Lowes was given.  VICTORY is sweet.  We headed back to the beach house, fixed breakfast, I took some family pictures of Kat and Brian (they were leaving before breakfast)....and Linda and Victor (she did not want to ruin her shirt) family (especially the women) tends to feed their chests when we eat. I call it, "Feeding the girls."  Frank always chuckles at me when I do it.  It has become a standing aside.  I am not the only one who does it...all of us girls have the same issue.  We are headed to Destin Commons in a few minutes to continue our Black Friday event.  Why you ask?  I am almost through with my Christmas shopping....I just love the initial start to the Holiday madness.  I love not having to buy anything....just people watch.  We did nothing but buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks and I had my very first ever whoopie pie. We went back to the beach house....we were gone 2 hours.  I made pictures of the rest of the gang and we head to Hobby Lobby and then home.  I hope your Black Friday is productive, I hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful, I hope you did not eat too much turkey so that you can make turkey sandwiches to enjoy, I hope you enjoy your guests....and I will see you on Saturday with another crazy story....of my crazy life....and my very hundred percent, certifiably crazy and wonderful family and life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

Happy Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I am safely ensconced in the Coach House at Rosemary Beach and this place is to die for.  It is for sale for a cool 1.5 mil.  Any takers out there.  Believe me if I win the lottery this weekend...this bad boy is mine.  As I promised threatened here is my story for this special day.  Thanksgivings in the past have always been done by my mom and my Aunt Shirley.  It was always held at my aunts and they did all the major cooking.  The daughters all did sides and there was more food than you could shake a stick at.  We could have fed the Valley with all the food....several days before the big day we were discussing the president of the AFL-CIO and his mysterious disappearance.....problem was....none of us could think of his name.....we all gathered in our prayer circle to bless the food at my aunts and my dad said, "Let us pray" when I blurted out...."Jimmy Hoffa!"  All 30 people in the circle looked at me as if I had two heads.  I was so embarrassed.  I looked around at all my family and apologized for interrupting the prayer  I explained the scenario of several days in the past....and we all got a good chuckle out of it.  Man I miss those days....this is our first Thanksgiving without my mom....or my aunt.  I miss them a lot....but we still have much to be thankful for even if this has been a bad year.  Amanda and I were talking earlier today and we decided on what we want for Christmas.  WE WANT ONE GOOD YEAR!  It has been so long since we had one....I don't know if I would recognize one if I saw it.  Hears hoping.  So, I hope this post finds you all healthy and happy and wrapped in the warmth of good friends and family.  Happy Thanksgiving to all from the shores of Rosemary Beach!
My Thanksgiving Day Recipe and Pintervention(I am a Pinterest addict and I have to actually do some of my here goes):

Peanut Butter Pie
Ingredients and Directions:
8 oz of cream cheese(softened)
1 cup of peanut butter
Mix together well....
Slowly add to the mixture
1 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
Mix well....then mix in 16 oz of cool whip.  Pour into two graham cracker pie crusts(I used an oreo and graham cracker(my SIL does not eat chocolate).  Garnish(optional) crushed nutter butters, crushed butterfingers, chocolate syrup drizzle.  It takes about 15 minutes to make, it can be frozen, it is to die for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thankful Hodgepodge - Volume 54

I guess one of the many things I am thankful for is that there are still questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 54.  Joyce is so very right, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Hodgepodge now, would it? Here are Joyce's questions for this week's and my responses.  Hope you enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving to you!
1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called at your house and what's included in your recipe...cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?   We actually eat them both.  When I was a child my mom would alternate years between stuffing and dressing.  We have had sausage, oyster, chestnut, rosemary (my favorite) stuffings,  and dressing with, or without sage. My mom would scour recipes for the whole year looking for a new stuffing recipe.  If I eat dressing I want the onions and celery sauteed before added and a little sage added to it...usually in the form of poultry seasoning.
2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?  I don't compare myself to anyone.  I am who I am, unique, and there is not another one like me on this planet. 
3. When were you last inside an airport?  August when I returned from the SMAK trip to Nantucket. I love to fly but prefer to drive.  I am so afraid I will miss something if I fly.
4. What is one side dish that absolutely must be included in a turkey dinner?  Sweet potatoe casserole/souffle. Although I don't eat sweet potatoes I love to make this dish and make it well.  My family likes it with the brown sugar and pecan topping.  One year I made a carrot souffle (using carrots instead of sweet potatoes) and everyone loved it too. 
5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?   "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"  I hate that song.  I love Christmas Carols...but don't like the ones like that one.  John Denver sang beautifully....but his "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas" makes my skin crawl.  I am a Christmas Carol purist!
6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?   I give to United Way.  I do help people but I don't go in blind.  I buy food for families who need it....I don't usually give money.  I have taken people to get breakfast or a meal....but don't usually give them money for them to do it for themselves.  I am not going to enable someone to support a bad habit because I feel sorry for them.
7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving share a favorite memory associated with food.  Our faculty volunteered and work with a local lawyer and fed the elderly and hungry here in Alex City.  There was something about putting food on the plate of someone and seeing the appreciation/twinkle in their eyes. After the dinner the lawyer provided some entertainment for them.  My parents went and they had a ball.  
8. Insert your own random thought here: "Thanksgiving dinners take up to eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence." -Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Story of the Exploding Turkey

As promised I am going to share one of my favorite stories of my father and Thanksgiving.  Remember I grew up in South uncle and his family also lived there but the rest of my relatives lived in Alabama.  You would think our Thanksgivings would have been small....but far from it.  Our holiday included the Geigers(5), Elizabeth and her family(3), Shirley and Howard(4), and any other neighbor without a special place to go.  I loved Thanksgiving in our house.  My mom would cook for days delicious things like pumpkin AND sweet potato pie, homemade cranberry sauce, apple pies, dressing, stuffings, walnut pies, green beans (she snapped herself), mashed potatoes (not from a box), giblet gravy, corn, English peas, congealed salads, and of course a turkey (or goose, or duck) and ham.  My house smelled magnificent for days....full of cinnamon, cloves, was heavenly. Even today when I smell cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg I feel nostalgic. Ok...I have been sidetracked long enough.  One year, a stuffing year, my dad thought he would play a trick on my mom and put some popcorn kernals in her be funny.  After the turkey had been cooking for a bit...we heard this sound, like muffled gunshots, coming from the kitchen.  My dad had misjudged how many kernals he had used and the turkey was spewing popcorn all over the stove and when my mom opened the oven door popcorn shot out into the kitchen.  My mom was furious with my dad and I rolled on the floor laughing til we hade tears running down our faces.  My dad made it right with my mom when he cleaned up the mess.....and cleaned out the turkey cavity so there would be no more explosive popcorn shots.  Everyone said it was the best meal she had ever cooked....but then...every year was the best meal ever.  My mom was that kind of cook.  I thought since it was a holiday I would share my Aunt Shirley's Walnut Pie recipe with you all.  Trust is a keeper.

Aunt Shirley’s Walnut Pie
(Really it is just a glorified pecan pie)
    3 eggs
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup white sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3/4 cup light corn syrup
    1 cup chopped walnuts
    1/4 cup butter
    1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).   Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in sugar, salt, vanilla, and syrup. Melt the butter or margarine, and add it to the egg mixture. Stir in the nuts. Pour filling into pie shell.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.
Happy Tuesday to you all!  Come back tomorrow for my momma's stuffing recipe....or perhaps her mincemeat pie!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am Thankful For...

When I was a kid I remember many wonderful Thanksgivings with family and friends.  We would all gather in a circle to say the grace and several people would share what they were thankful for.  I remember a couple of  years I found myself not thankful for anything because of sadness....but even with all the sadness this year I have grown spiritually and I AM Thankful for many things this year.  I thought each day this week I would share some Thanksgiving nuggets of wisdom.  Some of them are silly....others more profound.  I thought I would kick off my Thanksgiving week blog with a poem about something I am most thankful family!  We are like energizer bunnies....when the going gets touch....we go to the beach!

'Twas the Monday before T day and all through my house
There weren't enough groceries to feed even a mouse.
Karen still had to work two days this week.
Frank was driving a man for employment to seek.
But Thanksgiving was not to be like in the past....
We were leaving on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving beach blast.
Cousin, A had rented a big place on the beach
And judging from the pictures it was really a peach.
We were planning to dine with D's mom and dad....
This was such a new venture for was RAD!
Amanda would sale in on Wednesday night
The rest of us would be all cozy and tight.
We'd cook Thursday morning to take to the Hughes.
I hope that we don't end up blowing the fuses.
Ten new additions would be at the Hughes table
After lunch we would watch some TV if we are able.
Then family photos all down by the shores
Then sleepy time so Friday we can hit all the stores.
Many of us must head home before nightfall.
But I can promise you now...we will all have a Ball.
What are you going to be thankful for this year on Thanksgiving day?  I would love for you to share it with me in a comment.  Thought I would leave you with a smile.  I love Thanksgiving....and hate that retail Christmas overshadows it.  Christmas retail is not supposed to officially start until Black Friday....a friend posted this on Facebook today and I had to share it with you.  Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Project 365 - Week 47

It is Project 365 time this must be either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  It has been a busy, sad, crazy week at work and at home.  Want to see more wonderful pictures?  If you do then you must hop over to Sara's blog and see what everyone else brought to the table.  Want to see what my week looked like?

Sunday, November 13th
I did a photo shoot today with my dear sweet Emilly and her precious hubby, Curtis.  We went to Amanda's house because her fall leaves were still pretty and then headed up to the mill at Rock Mills for the waterfalls.  It was a gorgeous day and I had a lot of fun with these two.  I took 100 pictures of them....and their cute little puppies.

Monday, November 14th
Tommy did not come to guitar lessons tonight.  Bobby was my only student but we practiced hard and had a good time doing it.  I have really enjoyed getting to know both of these great guys and honing my own guitar skills.
 Tuesday, November 15th

Today was Juliette's 5th birthday and her  mom, Katelyn and dad, Chris invited us down for cake and presents tonight at 6:00.  Her mom made that wonderful Hello Kitty cake and Juliette is in love with princesses, Barbies, and Hello Kitty....all of which she received a lot of.  The bottom picture is of her and her cousin P.J. putting her Barbie bedroom together.  I don't know who was having more fun.  

Wednesday, November 16th
The sun sets now on my journey home so pictures have been hard to come by.  I saw this sign in Daviston and because the sun was hitting my rearview mirror and blinding me, I stopped and grabbed the shot.
Thursday, November 17th
The dark caught up on me so I grabbed a shot of a gorgeous wreath.  The fall foliage is looking rough.

Friday, November, 18th

I found some more cute Autumn arrangements.  I loved this wreath because it was sparkly and the little girl on the swing was just too cute to pass up.  I should have cut my flash off so their was no feed back from the window....but oh well!

Saturday, November 19th

Miss Betty Jean called me this morning and told me her Christmas Cactuses were in bloom and she wanted to know if I wanted to come get some pictures.  I love taking pictures of her flower.  I took several in the green house room....and the humidity in there was unreal.  It kept fogging my lens.  I finally opened the door and stood half in and half out.  We visited for a bit and when we got ready to leave I found the clematis was blooming I made a few more snaps.
All in all my week was not bad.  On Friday morning at 8:15 we got some terrible news at school.  Our registrar, my friend, Patti died suddenly.  The shock reverberated throughout the building all day long.  This just floored us all and it is not the last of the sadness our campus will be facing this year.  My friend, Mary had hospice sent home with her from her recent hospital stay.  I almost don't recognize my dear friend.    I would love to ask you all to please pray for Patti's family and Mary and her family as they travel down this very sad road.  God Bless You All!