Isaiah 6:8

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Facebook Freakiness!

Facebook continues to amaze me.  My graduating class has a facebook page and I am a member and have loved catching up with all my old high school acquaintances....but the weirdest thing happened yesterday.  I was responding to one friend when I noticed another friend from school had responded to her as well.  I clicked on R's name and went to her page.....where I asked to be friends with her, noticed she lived in Birmingham, AL, and sent her a quick note telling her I lived in Rock Mills, AL.  The response I got floored me this morning.  Talk about six degrees of separation...."Hi Karen . . . well, it really is a small world. I was born in Roanoke and have spent much time in Rock Mills. My dad's family were members of Rock Mills Methodist (my granddaddy probably has a pew with his name on it - lol). When I was a little girl, we lived almost next door to the church in a tiny little frame house that sits on the main road between the church and the little bridge before you get to the mill village. My first remembrances of church were the Baptist Church and Methodist Church there. My dad worked in the Wehadkee Yarn Mill before we moved to Florida, etc., etc. Still have a few relatives there. Used to spend a lot of summers between Rock Mills and Bacon Level.  Anyway, thanks for friending me. We'll have to catch up sometime. Periodically I bring my mom and dad down there to put flowers on the graves at the Rock Mills Cemetery. If you're ever in Birmingham, give me a call and we'll get together. Hope you are doing well.  R"  After picking myself up off the floor....I mean come one knows where Rock Mills is.  I responded back to her with "It is even smaller than you know. Two of my dearest friends that I have made since we moved to Rock Mills in 2010 are related to you. It all came together this morning when I read your response. Miss S(our age) goes to my church and I adore her.....M(8 years younger than us) is her sister. H (brother) is a fire fighter with my husband. I vote in Bacon I know where that is too. We do come to B'ham a good bit....since there is nothing here in Roanoke. S told me a story about visiting family West Palm...but J and E did nothing for me.....I called your parents Mr. and Mrs. B. We laughed over Margies Laundry and the A & W. Do your parents still live in Florida? You are lucky to still have dad died in 2009 and my mom in 2011. Dad had cancer and my mom had dementia. It was a hard couple of years. If you are ever in Roanoke....we live in the methodist parsonage next to the T Farms sign on Hwy 22. Glad to hear from you. You made my day.....and M's and S's too. I could not wait to tell them about you."  On my way to work I called M and told her about the facebook message....she was as freaked about it as I was.  Talk about six degrees of separation!  Has anything like this happened to you on FB?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

It is not even 8:00 and the kids are coming in.  I walked into the building at 7:00 this morning to the sound of two girls (I was going to call them young ladies....but NOT!) screaming obscenities at the top of their lungs, at each other.  One of the administrators had them in hand....sent one to one office....and took the other one to his office to call her mom...they were going home.....they had been here for a grand total of 15 minutes.  The girls are first cousins....and whatever they were squabbling about started this weekend at home.  Sigh!  Most of the fights and things that happen in school begin either at home....or in the community.  I had a rough night of disjointed and crazy dreams......I woke up at my regular time....but that was as far as it went.  So....I was running late this morning....just could not get any get up and go and did not leave my house until 6.  I usually leave around 5:45....but the extra 15 minutes meant driving in with daylight....not dark.  Good thing....I counted 27 deer this morning either standing in the road....or on the side of the road. I think tomorrow is the last day of deer today they are taunting the hunters. It is 7:47 and I am sitting at my desk, as we speak, and the kids are so loud out in the hall.  I don't know what went on in town this weekend.....but one of our students was shot in the arm at a "club."  I wonder sometimes what 15+ year olds are doing at these clubs. The stuff they talk about (and they talk loud enough for me to hear....and answer questions if I choose to ask them) makes the hair on the back of my neck rise.  It is frightening.  I hate Monday's!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beyond Molasses Creek

Author: Nicole Seitz
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
January 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59554-505-3
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction
About the Book:  Written in first person of the three different characters, each point of view is easily identified by a name at the top of the chapter. Ally is a former flight attendant. She was forced to leave the job when her back went out and she dumped a cup of coffee on a passenger. She never wanted to get back on a plane—but now she has, to fly to the Lowcountry to bury her father—and the past. Her old best friend, Vesey Washington, is still living across the creek—but this is the south; Vesey is black, she is white. And despite the attraction between them, there can’t be anything more. On the other side of the world, a young slave woman, Sunila Kunari, is wondering why she was born white in a family of black. She believes there’s more to her story that she’s told, so she escapes her life of slavery in the rock quarries of Nepal. A sketchbook tempts Sunila to follow the truth wherever it may lead…
About the Author:  Nicole Seitz grew up on Hilton Head Island, a small town off the coast of South Carolina, where she was surrounded by palmetto trees, marsh grass, sandy beaches and unique Southern characters. As an author, artist and speaker, Nicole's work is deeply influenced by her faith and the mystique and charm of the Lowcountry. In 1989 she went to the U.S.S.R as a student ambassador through People to People Organization, and the trip opened her eyes to the struggles, beauty, and universal qualities of other cultures--things she likes to explore in her work. Nicole received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.F.A. in Illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Her freelance articles have been in The Island Packet, The Bluffton Packet, and SouthCarolina Magazine. Nicole is also a published illustrator, and her artwork has been exhibited in Southern art galleries. Her novels feature her paintings/illustrations on the covers. Nicole Seitz was named "Best Local Author Who Also Paints" in Charleston City Paper's Best of Charleston 2009, and in 2007, she was named one of Charleston Regional Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" for her professional successes and community involvement. Nicole enjoys meeting her readers and book clubs and often speaks to groups on writing, art and faith. In 2009, she spoke as part of the Southern Literary Festival during Piccolo Spoleto. In 2008, she gave the Baccalaureate address for the College of Charleston. An artist at heart, Nicole enjoys painting pictures with words and bringing her characters to life through detail and dialect. She lives in the Charleston, South Carolina, area with her husband, Brian, and their two children, teaches art at a local private school, and is currently.
My Thoughts About the Book:  The story starts out painfully slow and never really picked up. At one point I almost jumped to the last chapter to read the finale, but chose to keep plugging on.  Once I figured out where it was going I managed to get through the book.  I was a little disappointed in the plot development and found it difficult to make the jumps from character to character.  I do have to say that Vesey was a wonderfully developed male character. He was strong, faithful and loving.  Ally’s character did nothing for me.  Sunila’s story is heartbreaking. I cried for her. The book was very sad and just not quite the kind of book I usually look for.  This is the type book that you must read with an open mind and heart as you’re reminded that we all fit into the bigger picture of God’s plan.  It was also a reminder for me about God’s time.
Disclaimer:  I was given this book by Thomas Nelson Publishing's Book Sneeze program to review.  The opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project 365 Week 4

It is that time again and another week has finished so it is time to post my weeks offerings for Project 365.  Want to join us?  Want to see everyone else's pictures?  If you do then head over to Sara's blog and see what everyone else has seen this week.

Sunday, January 22nd

The water at the Mill's dam was really running hard and angry today/  You could hear it from my house.  It was kind of scary.  I always worry about flooding situations. 

Monday. January 23rd
Even Hillabee Creek was out of it's banks due to all the rain we have had.  I cross two major bridges along Hwy 22 each therefore I pay attention to the water levels.....close attention.

Tuesday, January 24th
They have been doing roadwork on Hwy 22 for the past year and a half.  The big machines are finally moving out and hopefully they will pave it soon. 

Wednesday, January 25th
I have been seeing interesting tags this week so I thought I would share with you the one I found on Weds.  Do you get the feeling that they are either Yankees fans.....or from New York?

Thursday, January 26th
Ok, so this driver is either pleasingly plump, which I would not brag about.....or they are cattle people.  I am opting for the second reason.  I have loved finding cars with weird tags this week. 
BTW....we were dismissed from school at 1 because of the threat of severe weather.  Frank and I did not bowl tonight because of that....and it was our Ninth Wedding anniversary.  What a day!
Friday, January 27th

I saw some deer on Friday when Debo and I went to pick up Brady at Jan and Gwen's house.  I could not believe how still they stood while I got the shots. 

Saturday, January28th

This weekend was mine and Debo's girl weekend.  We spent it in Opelika.  We spent the night at the Hampton....went to the Auburn vs Alabama girl's gymnastic meet on Friday night.  Got up this morning and went to breakfast at Cracker Barrell...and then went to Salem, AL to this great antique store.  We finished up our excursion at Angel's Antique Mall in Opelika.  This is going to be fun!  Hope your week was wonderful!  See you next week!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Harvest of Grace

About the Book:  The Harvest of Grace is the third and final book in Ada’s House. Come join us for the conclusion of this New York Times best-selling series as beloved characters from The Hope of Refuge and The Bridge of Peace continue to grow in their love and commitment to one another.
In The Harvest of Grace, you’ll be introduced to two unique characters ~  Sylvia Fischer who is reeling from an unexpected betrayal,  is someone who recognizes that most Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies.  Sylvia has just one focus—tending and nurturing the herd on her family’s dairy farm. But when a dangerous connection with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she decides to concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving another family’s debt-ridden farm.  Aaron Blank returns home to sell his Daed’s failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle. Two things stand in his way: the father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter. Her influence on Aaron’s parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.  Can Aaron and Sylvia find common ground? Or will their unflinching efforts toward opposite goals blur the bigger picture— a path to forgiveness, glimpses of grace, and the promise of love.

Click here to read Chapter One

About the Author:  Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.  She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.  She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, and was one of Crossings Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.  Want to know more about Cindy Woodsmall?  Then check out her website.
My Thoughts on the Book:  I have to say that this book by far exceeded my expectations!! I love reading Cindy Woodsmall and always expect her books to be good, but this one was great!  From the moment I began reading the book and its characters drug me in and I could not put it down until I finished it.  This particular story is full of twists and turns that you just don't expect in the average Amish novel.   Not all is well in Camelot and you find romance gone bad, a single woman kissing a married man, an Amish man in rehab because of  alcoholism, all topics one normally does not associate with the Amish or Mennonite world.  Even though this was the third book in a series it stands alone and there is a wonderful refresher course in the beginning.  If you are a lover of Amish reads then this one is definitely for you!
FTC Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group’ Blogging for Books program for this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Every Day I Fall In Love With You Again

Today is my ninth wedding anniversary and I was feeling pretty sappy this I thought I would write a little sappy poem for my cherished husband.  We are the kind of couple that really do not need special days to tell each other we love each other... or give each other gifts.  But today I just wanted to give Frank a little shout out.  He has truly blessed my life with his presence and love.  I am grateful that God thought we needed each other.  We did!

From the first time I met you so many years ago.
I knew that I loved you, my heart told me so.
I fell hard for you then with my heart and my soul.
And it was with you that I knew I would grow old.

Each anniversary year finds me happier than the last;
You are my heart, my light, my present, future, and past.
You define for me what love is about,
Loving you makes me want to lift my voice and shout.

Time passes, yet, our love grows deeper.
I knew when I would be a keeper.
Being your wife is oh such a pleasure
I love you darling, you are my favorite treasure.

God has blessed us so much in these past short nine years
There have been many smiles salted briefly with tears.
You fill me with wonder, you are my best friend
If I could I would marry you all over again!

May God's blessings continue and we walk hand in hand
You are one in a million, you are my kind of man.
Whatever life deals us we will be together....
And I will love you my darling....from now til forever!
Happy Anniversary, Frank!  I love you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hodge Podge Week 63

It is Wednesday, the day before my 9th wedding anniversary and time for another exciting Hodge Podge.  This is week 63 and I am amazed that Joyce continues to come up with such thought provoking answers.  The nice thing about her Hodge Podge is that you don't have to have been a part of it from the beginning.  This is something you can join at any time and I hope you will come and join us over at Joyce's Blog and link up with everyone there.  Here are her questions for the week:

1.       The NFL playoffs were held this past weekend and this year's Superbowl lineup will feature The New York Giants versus The New England Patriots. How do you define 'patriot'?   To me a patriot is a person who supports their country with all they have and is prepared to defend it against enemies.

2. What's something in your life right now that feels like a 'giant'?  My weight.  Every time I seem to get a handle on it someone dies and here comes all the fried chicken, cakes, pies, and offerings of love….southern style.
3. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to being 18? Graduation from high school!  Whoooo Hooooo!  I could not wait to get out of that place.  Here I am at nearly 58….with at least another 3 years to go.  What was I thinking?????  I made it out once….and chose to go back???

4. Coconut-mashed potatoes-vanilla ice cream-mayonnaise...which white food would be the hardest to give up?   Mashed potatoes.  I don’t eat coconut or mayonnaise….so that would not be an issue.  I am Irish born and bread…and love me some potatoes.  Vanilla Ice cream is wonderful too…but I don’t crave it.

5. Describe an incident or a day you remember as the coldest you've ever experienced?  Last year it froze here in Alabama and the school I work at did not close….I live an hour away….north.  The schools in the town I live in were all closed….as were the roads.  I left my house and drove 4 miles….terrified.  When I got to Roanoke I decided I needed to call and check on the bridge at the Tallapoosa River and see if it were open.  Cars were slipping and sliding everywhere…I am from Florida….I was terrified.  I called the Randolph County Sheriff’s Dept. and was told in no uncertain terms…that ALL the roads and the bridge were closed or barricaded.  I turned around and crawled the four miles back to my house.
6. You're hosting a brunch...what's your favorite dish to prepare and serve?  This is hard.  I cater on the side….hummmm…mini quiche is a good one….or bacon wrapped sausages….or breakfast rollups….or chicken enchilada rollups….it would depend on what the occasion was…and time of day brunch.

7. How do you combat negative thinking?   I sing, I listen to music, I take pictures, I exercise.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Tomorrow, January 26th is my 9th wedding anniversary.  The traditional gift for a 9th wedding anniversary is pottery or willow.  The modern gift is leather.  What would be a good gift for me to give Frank tomorrow?????

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Story of the Statue

Once upon a time, in Small Town, AL, not too far from where I live,  there was this house.  The house was very run-down and the neighbors (see pretty brick house next door in picture) complained to the owner.  The owner chose not to do anything about fixing up the pitiful house.  A year went by with the neighbors complaining to the owner and still nothing was done.  Finally, the neighbors all got together and complained to the city counsel about the house and the owners apathy.  Their property values were decreasing and they demanded that something be done.....and so it was.    The city officials cited the owner and told him he had 30 days to paint the house....and paint his house he did.  The owner was a shyster and he followed the letter of the law and painted his house.  What the neighbors did not realize was that....paint was all he had to do.  It was near Easter so he painted the house a pale pink and then painted a sky with clouds on the front gable of the house, he painted grass at the base with a tree....several bunnies, and some Easter eggs.  The neighbors were livid and immediately called the city officials and complained.....but much to their distress....there was nothing they could do.....the owner had followed the ruling....and painted the house.  After that....the neighbors complained....and the owner changed the house seasonally.  In the fall the tree had fall leaves on it.....and at Halloween....there were Halloween pictures painted on it.  During the 4th of July there was a huge America flag and that is when the Statue of Libery was added to the front porch.  This vindictiveness went on for years....and it fascinated me.  I would drive out of my way just to see what the house looked like.  I could kick myself for never having photographed it.  The owner is long since passed away and whoever lives in the house....has placed the statue in the yard.  The house is painted a pale shade of something....and is once again in a sad state of disrepair.  I don't know who I feel sorrier for....the house....or the neighbors.  I love old houses and hate to see them sit and just die.  Do you have a weird tale like mine about where you live that you would love to share with me????  I would love to hear it.  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile

About the book: A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage. After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember? Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here:  About the Author:  Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.  Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.  Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)  A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:   Think you might want to buy the book?  Then click here and you will go directly to Amazon.
Blog Tour, Party, and Giveaway Info:  Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand alone story.  Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.
One grand prize winner will receive:A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great books!)
The entire set of Deep Haven Books

The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
Blog Tour Schedule:  If you want to read the reviews then click here.
My Thoughts on the Book:  Wow! I have not read anything by Susan May Warren before but I will definitely read her again.  This is an author who creates books worth reflecting on.
This book is one of those that you need to sit on and think on awhile. This is an author who can spin quite a masterpiece. That is exactly what this bookis, a masterful work of art. I was hooked from the beginning and would have done anything to read this wonderful story.

Disclaimer:  I was not paid to review this book and the opinions I gave are 100% my own

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Project 365 - Week 3

My week was much better this week but still not quite on target.  I have had hives all week....not fun. Seems like I have started out 1012 on the fast track and just trying to hold on until Spring March!  This is week 3 of Project 365 and I have been busy snapping pictures of random things.....random....but very much part of my day.  Want to see what everyone else is shooting?  Head over to Sara's blog and check out the amazing pictures of everyone else....join in if you are a camera nut like we all are. 

Sunday, January 15th
Frank has been very busy with his scroll saw work.  He has discovered the medium of stain and they are more gorgeous than ever.  I can't wait to show you the one he did of his grandmother.  It is amazing. 

Monday, January 16th
 Monday, Frank and I went to the Mill Store outlet on our way to Auburn and bought a gorgeous new bedspread.  When I get my room fixed like I want it I will post pictures.  The house where the statue sits is in LaFayette.  It has a funny story that goes with it....but that is a complete post for another day.  For today you just get to enjoy Miss Liberty.

Tuesday, January 17
 I have not done a church sign in a while and this one caught my eye when I was heading home from work.

Wednesday, January 18th

Central Alabama Community College in Alex City.  The top picture is the newest part.  It is the Betty Carol Graham Center.  The bottom half is what it has looked like for the past 30 years.  Back in my day it was called Alex City Junior College, or ACJC.  It is a small campus....but a good many of our kids go there.

Thursday, January 19th
 I love Mr. Rogers.  At the bowling alley where we bowl on Thursday night I noticed this billboard.  It makes me want to sing the introduction song to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

Friday, January 20th

Frank and I were back in Auburn tonight to pick up the tower of my computer from Office Depot.  We ate dinner at Moe's and after dinner I suggested that we go to Gigi's and get a cupcake to split.  You have to split them cause they are so very rich and expensive.  I paid 3.50 for this Strawberry Shortcake one.  I have to say it was worth every single penny.  It was yummy!

Saturday, January 21st

Sunrise this morning was quick....and then we went under a tornado warning until 7 p.m.  It rained like rip and then it cleared up nicely.  I was so glad to get out and I know the horses in the back pasture came closer to the house so I could get a shot of them.  We went to the auction tonight and it was a really good day all in all.  First day with no hives....and no Benedryl.  YEAH!!!!!  Have a great week!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Football Funny

I am not a football fan.....but my husband loves it.  I am glad we have two televisions in our house from September to January.  It bothers me that so many people attend games....and then don't come to church on Sunday.  It also bothers me that many people attend concerts and don't go to church.  This morning Frank shared with me an email that one of our congregation members sent to him and I had to laugh....Not only do I know people that some of these really apply too....I AM ONE OF THEM!!!!!  I hope you will read this and laugh out loud....who may find yourself described in a few of them too.....I would love not to be alone here!  HAPPY FRIDAY!

Christian Football
Quarterback Sneak - Church members quietly leaving during the invitation. ( I can't do this one...I sit on the front row).
Draw Play - What many children do with the bulletin during worship. (I have been known to make notes, write poems, write songs, make grocery lists, pack suitcases on paper.)
Half-time - The period between Sunday School and worship when many choose to leave. (I am the preacher's wife....i can't do this....besides...I would miss the music.)
Bench warmer - Those who do not sing, pray, work, or apparently do anything but sit. (Not Guilty here....I teach Sunday School, teach the youth, sing, pray....I love church....Sunday is my favorite day!)
Backfield-in-Motion - Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.  (Not easily get to our bathroom or water fountain you have to walk to the front of the church.)
Staying in the Pocket - What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord's work. 
Two-minute Warning - The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings. ( I don't have children....but when I feel Frank is winding down I too begin to put my stuff in my bag.)
Instant Replay - The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week's illustrations. (Frank has done some funny things......but this is not one of them.)
Sudden Death - What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes "overtime."  (This is not one we seem to have a problem with....I think they would stay the extra time....once in a while....but let's not make it a habit.)
Trap - You're called on to pray and are asleep. (We have sleepers...I am not one them....this is when I write on the bulletin.....Frank never calls on anyone without previous this is not an issue at our church.)
End Run - Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.  (Again, I sit at the front of the church....and this would be quite a feat if I could accomplish this.....but I am Mrs. Social Butterfly....I love the visiting/hugging.)
Flex Defense - The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.  (I think I have tried this a time or two....only to have the next week's sermon be directed at me personally.  I hate it when I feel like Frank is pointing his finger in my face.)
Halfback Option - The decision of 50% of the congregation not to return for the evening service.   (Most of the churches in our area just quit trying....and that is sad.)  We still have bible study and choir practice....but attendance is really weak. 
Blitz - The rush for the restaurants following the closing prayer.  (Hey....there are only three restaurants in Roanoke....and nine thousand is each man for himself!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday E.A. Poe

When I was much younger, one of my favorite authors was Edgar Allen Poe (the Shakespeare of America).  I would read and reread the likes of "The Fall of the House of Usher,", "The Raven," "Tell-Tale Heart."  I would read for hours after I was supposed to be in bed asleep by a flashlight which I kept hidden under between my mattress and box springs.  I could not read enough.  I know for you the name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and here I was in the 60's and 70's devouring ever single word on the pages that unfolded before me.  The three stories I mentioned were three of my all time favorites, barring none.  But that is not all he wrote.  His writings include short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but did you know that he actually made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.  Like most writers of his kind, Poe is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend.  But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.  By the age of thirteen, Poe had compiled enough poetry to publish a book, but his headmaster advised Allan against allowing this.  In 1826 Poe left Richmond to attend the University of Virginia, where he excelled in his classes while accumulating considerable debt. The miserly Allan had sent Poe to college with less than a third of the money he needed, and Poe soon took up gambling to raise money to pay his expenses.  Humiliated by his poverty and furious with Allan for not providing enough funds in the first place, Poe returned to Richmond and visited the home of his fiancĂ©e Elmira Royster, only to discover that she had become engaged to another man in Poe’s absence.   The heartbroken Poe’s last few months in the Allan mansion were punctuated with increasing hostility towards Allan until Poe finally stormed out of the home in a quixotic quest to become a great poet and to find adventure. He accomplished the first objective by publishing his first book Tamerlane when he was only eighteen, and to achieve the second goal he enlisted in the United States Army. briefly reconciled, and Allan helped Poe gain an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.  At the age of twenty-seven, Poe brought Maria and Virginia Clemm to Richmond and married his Virginia, who was not yet fourteen. The marriage proved a happy one, and the family is said to have enjoyed singing together at night. Virginia expressed her devotion to her husband in a Valentine poem now in the collection of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and Poe celebrated the joys of married life in his poem “Eulalie.”  In the face of poverty Poe was still able to find solace at home with his wife and mother-in-law, but tragedy struck in 1842 when Poe’s wife contracted tuberculosis, the disease that had already claimed Poe’s mother, brother, and foster mother.  The January 1845 publication of “The Raven” made Poe a household name. He was now famous enough to draw large crowds to his lectures, and he was beginning to demand better pay for his work. He published two books that year, and briefly lived his dream of running his own magazine when he bought out the owners of the Broadway Journal. The failure of the venture, his wife’s deteriorating health, and rumors spreading about Poe’s relationship with a married woman, drove him out of the city in 1846. At this time he moved to a tiny cottage in the country. It was there, in the winter of 1847 that Virginia died at the age of twenty-four. Poe was devastated, and was unable to write for months. His critics assumed he would soon be dead. They were right. Poe only lived another two years and spent much of that time traveling from one city to the next giving lectures and finding backers for his latest proposed magazine project to be called The Stylus.  Poe spent the last days of his life in Washington College Hospital, far from his home and surrounded by strangers. Poe died on October 7, 1849 at the age of forty. The exact cause of Poe’s death remains a mystery to this day.  January 19th, 1809 so Happy Birthday E.A. Poe and thank you for many joyous hours of indulging in the art of reading, dreaming, and imagining.  Want to learn more about Poe?  Click here and visit the musuem site in Richmond, Virginia. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hodgepodge Week 62

Well this is Wednesday again and time for another one of Joyce's Hodgepodge events.  It is fun to play along and if you have never participated it is ok....anyone can join in at any time.  Just copy and answer the questions on your blog, then jump over to Joyce's blog and post along with everyone else.  The answers can be very thought provoking and hilarious.  Hope you will join in. 

1. A new Miss America was crowned on Saturday night-did you watch? If you were a contestant what would your talent be?
I don't watch Miss America because I don't like the concept of what it is about.  If...and mind you that is a big IF I were to be a contestant I would sing.  My song would be "You Raise Me Up."
2. Do you have houseplants? Real or fake?
I do have houseplants, real ones, which challenge me on a weekly basis. You see, I have a black thumb.  I have had green thumb gardeners give me plants that die overnight.  I also have fake plants because I love the green concept.
3. When you were in school did you speak up or were you more of the hide your face, avoid eye contact, and pray the teacher didn't call on you type of student? 
I loved elementary school.  I was a shining student there....but once I went to Junior High....I will be truthful and say I hated school, I did all my homework, I made decent grades, I hated taking tests and, hated to be called on in class....even if I knew the answer to something.  I was the wall-flower kid who did not want any attention drawn on me.  I am living proof that God has a sense of humor.  I hated school so much and swore that if I ever escaped I would never return....and what do I do for a living?  I teach high school. 
4. Next Monday marks the Chinese New Year....what do you order when someone suggests Chinese food?
My favorite is swwet and sour chicken.  I love the fried rice and egg rolls.
5. How would you define a miracle? What would it take for you to consider something a miracle?
A miracle is something that is an extraordinary occurrence that could only have happened thru God's supernatural power. The stars in the sky, the ocean,  the birth of a baby, and the incredible way the human body works are a few things that never cease to feel miraculous.  I have also seen a person diagnosed with stage 4 cancer be completely ruled cancer that is a miracle...and that is something God had a major hand in.
6. What's your favorite Disney song? If you're stuck you'll find a list here.
From Mary Poppins, "A Few of My Favorite Things."  Actually it would be any song from Mary Poppins.
7. I should have __________yesterday.
Stayed in bed.  I had a Murphy's Law day.  I fell yesterday morning in the bathroom....hit my head and broke the comode.  I then had a day of hives and could barely stand not to scratch my entire body with a wire brush.  We also started a new semester yesterday and if it could go wrong it did.  Yep, I definitely should have stayed in bed yesterday.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Did you know that today is Winnie the Pooh Day?   It is supposed to be an opportunity to enjoy your favorite bear and all of his friends. This day was created to celebrate the birth of A.A .Milne in 1882. He was an author of children's story books, and created Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Winnie's pals include Christopher Robin, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Roo. Who is your favorite Winnie the Poo character and why?  I used to work with a girl we refered to as Eeyore...because she was so gloomy and seemed to suck the happiness out of the room whenever she entered.  I love all the characters. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Daily Gifts of Grace

About the Book:  Daily Gifts of Grace, Devotions For Each Day of Your Year, is written by some of my favorite authors (Luci Swindoll, Marilyn Meberg, Patsy Clairmont,  Joni Eareckson Tada, Sandi Patty,  Lisa Whelchel,  and Sheila Walsh,  who all just so happen to be part of the Women of Faith team. Each page long devotion is honest, personal and good reads.  I could hardly wait to see what the next vignette was going to be.   January 7th is called “Fresh from the Fall.”  The scripture is from Job 4:4 “Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees.”  The story is by Natalie Grant and is about a time when she fell off the stage during a performance.  Each story is followed by a personal prayer. 
My Thoughts:  I recommend this for those who want something to start their day with or those who might be looking for a brief interruption during a stressful day. It's perfect to keep in a purse or car to read while waiting. It would be great for a quick glance during a coffee break. Each story begins with a scripture and the scripture is not necessarily about the story.  My book was an e-book and so easy to pull up in many situations.  I personally enjoyed the inconsistent flow from one reader to the next.  It amazed me how each day there always seemed to be a nugget of truth just for me.  I will definitely give this book as a gift and recommend it to my friends.  It is a sweet read.
Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in ebook format from Thomas Nelson Publishing Company  in exchange for my review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own and may differ from others.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Not By Might

About the Book:  Set in the Old West, this was the eighth of a series on Christian Western, romance, suspense (loose description) rolled into one.  Although Nurse Breanna Brockman and her husband, John, the US Marshall, are the main characters in this series, nurse Natalie Fallon and Dr. Rex Rawlins are sub characters.  In this episode, John's death is plotted by a gang of outlaws while his wife Breanna is acclimating Natalie Fallon,  the new nurse in the hospital who is still grieving the loss of her true love.  Breanna travels to half a day to a mining town to assist a rural doctor, Dr. Rex Rawlins, with one of his special needs patients.  While there, Breanna, witnesses to a miner and his wife.  All of these threads begin to intersect as the story reaches its climax.
My Thoughts:  I have to admit that the Old West I have read about from other writers and this Old West were  two different places.  The characters in the story were so sickeningly sweet, that the book was hard to read.  The characters who were Christians constantly preached at everyone they met and everything always worked out for the Christians in the story as soon as they prayed.  I love stories of hope as much as the next reader, but I really don't like stories that are so completely unrealistic.  The only positive thing I can think of, is to say that if you are a big Christian-Western fan, you may enjoy the whole Old West scene enough to make this story worthwhile.  This book for me was a painful read that I could not wait for it to end.  Had I not been reviewing this book I would have put it down and counted my losses. Syrupy sweet, condescendingly preachy, totally unbelievable and I doubt seriously if I read another of the Angel of Mercy series.

I received a free e-copy download of this book from the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are always entirely my own.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 Project 365 - Week 2

It is Week 2 of Project 365 2012 edition.   This week was not one of my best.  I was involved in two funerals and so my pictures were not very creative.  They were what they were.  Project 365 is such fun and if you would like to join in with us.....or just look at some amazing here and hop over to Sara's blog.  I promise you that you won't regret it. this was my week....or what I could get of it. 
Sunday, January 8th

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the creche.  I love putting it up....and am sad when it comes time to take it down.  Today was my day for de-Christmasing my house and the creche had to be taken apart. I took one more picture just so I could remember it a bit longer.  Frank began giving me the Willow Creek manger scene several years ago.  I just love those Willow Creek Angels.

Monday, January 9th

Frank's newest additions to his scroll saw work.  This is the mascot for my school where I teach.  I think they are lovely.  We also planned to watch the BCS game....the pictures you see above are as far as I got into the game.  Just as kickoff occurred I got a call that my first cousin had passed away and spent the rest of the game in shock and on the phone letting the rest of my family know.

Tuesday, January 10th
Kat and Brian gave me a professionally done photo (actually photos) for Christmas.  After taking down the creche on Sunday I filled the blank spot with this picture and I love it.  Savannah Bowden did them and she does amazing work.

Wednesday, January 11th
Still plugging holes left by removed Christmas decorations.  This was a chair caning class my mom took.  One of the ladies in the class made one of these for everyone.  My mom is the one in lavendar.  I have had this in a hat box and thought, "why not....what good is it doing in a hat box anyway."

Thursday, January 12th
Frank surprised me with this one.  I love the firefighter symbol.

Friday, January 13th
I have a new project, a Christmas present from Mrs. Shirley and Mr. Denney and since today was one filled with a funeral in Ashland, AL and a viewing in Roanoke I took it out of the box and began picture gathering so I could display it.  The picture of Kat and Brian is another one of Savannah Bowden's.  It was also part of my gift from them. I can't wait to get this done.  It is going to be beautiful!

Saturday, January 14th
Frank and I went to the auction tonight and Beau, our doxie, lucked out.  We bought this expensive bag of dog food, some moist and meaty dog food, and three bags of Beggin Strips for him for less that this bag of dog food costs at the store. I also bought 70 pony bottles of water (2 flats of 35) for 5.00, some wall plaques, had a lamp given to me, and some cute little wood things, and a hat flash light.  I love a bargain.  Tuesday night we are going to another auction in Standing Rock at Mr. Joel's place.  He is auctioning off vintage toys....some circa WWI.  I want to go just to see the stuff.  I have really become addicted to these things.  Have fun this week and don't forget to keep your camera nearby.  You never know when you might get the perfect picture.