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, June 30, 2013

A Knee Knocking Experience

Today was my first day as the pastor of Midway UMC (Wedowee).  I got there early hoping for a little bit of time to sit and reflect before the service began only to find that the sanctuary is used for adult Sunday School.  The class was taught by W.C. and it was a great one.  After listening to the teacher share homilies, scripture, love, and concern I found myself feeling very much at home.  Thank you Mr. W.C. for having a hand in calming the raging storm within me.  I had planned to sing and know...give them a full dose of who I am.  The Children's Minute was about letting their little lives shine for Jesus.  There a lot of children here and they all have the sweetest faces.  After Time with Children I stepped behind the podium to present God's word to the people.  Now let me tell you this did not come easy for me.  God and I wrestled over what I would be saying.  Saturday night late I finally "Let Go and Let God" trusting it would all work out.  The song I began with was "Broken and Spilled Out" and as the music keyed my vocal entrance I felt as if a hand was upon my throat...choking the air from my lungs.  It was frightening.  Some would call this a major panic attack....I felt as if it was Satan trying to silence me.  I finally coughed and the song just came out of my mouth.  It was definitely a God Thing.  My sermon came from Luke and the Lectionary.  I have never used one but thought as a beginning pastor it might be the way to go.  I wanted to use any of the three other scripture choices given...but for some reason Luke 9:51-62 was God's choice.  I began the sermon and realized  after reading it throught once that it did not have any major bells and whistles to keep the congregation glued to their seats.  I muttered to God...."Oh come on....the least you could do is give me something profound to say."  God responded back with ...."read it again, please."  I did...and it was as if a light bulb came on.  This sermon was going to be about three types of Christians....who were all me at one time or another in my life.  I saw myself in every person Jesus met on the road.  My fingers flew fast and furious across the keyboard of the computer as God wrote his message for lifesong.  Before I knew it we were singing the closing hymn and the service was over.  I found myself asking...."where did the time go?"  The final prayer was spoken and church was over.  I was officially a preacher with my own church.  Definitely a God Thing.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Minute Friday - In-Betweens

Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s finger paint with words.  Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not. Here’s how to play along:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you.
It’s a great way to catch your breath at the end of a long week.  If you have the verifications button on it really makes it nice if you take them off.  There are some of us out there with bi-focals who have a hard time with them.   OK, are you ready? Let’s see your best five minutes for the prompt:


 For the past couple of days my daughter has been in-between Moldova and home.  She has been working with orphans for the past month and living on CEE time which is about 8 hours ahead of Rock Mills, AL.  Planning Skype calls in-between her being awake and me being asleep has been amusing.  She has called a few times in the wee night and morning....and I have too.  One afternoon I called her....and she sounded so sleepy....well was after 1 in the morning over there.   Late Wednesday night in Alabama she was supposed to board a plan early on Thursday morning heading home.  See how confusing this gets?  On this flight she was to be flying with a group from Florida who had spent the last week with her and the little ones at the orphanage.  None of them made that was cancelled.  Kat was rebooked solo on one that was to leave several hours later(the Florida group would be leaving on Friday....and Saturday).....but now instead of landing in Atlanta at 6 pm on Thursday night....she would be landing at midnight....hopefully.  In-between point A and point B there were storms raging.  The leg from Chisinau to Munich was not a problem.  Flight made in Munich...even though she was on standby.  In-between Munich and Chicago....things went awry and the plane was diverted to Toronto to refuel.  The results were somewhere in-between Toronto and Chicago Kat missed her flight and had to spend the night in there and here.  Early Friday morning she boarded her flight and flew the in-between distance to come home.  Brian, her husband spent the night in the Atlanta area because he was in-between home and Atlanta when we learned she was not on the first plane.  Poor B.  Friday he was waiting on her when her plane touched down.  He was in-between the bottom of the escalator and the door...waiting....with a sign to let her know her homecoming was much appreciated.  I think this is the longest time they have evern been apart.  Brian is such a great guy and this is what she was met with....inbetween the tram and baggage claim.

Do you think he is happy?  Off to baggage claim, then to the car, and finally they only had one in-between left....they were still in-between Atlanta and Montgomery....two hours home.  In-betweens can be a tough place to be.  Whether you are in-between a sibling or in-between in your travels.  It is sometimes a time of stress.  I know it was for Kat, for Brian, and for her momma.  You know....your children grow up, marry, move away.....but when your adult child is in distress....the momma bear in us all rises to the occassion and wants to move heaven and earth to fix it.  "All's well that ends well"....I suppose.  Welcome Home Kat!  We will get together soon at the in-between, Auburn(1 hour each way for both of us)....and celebrate a belated birthday!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

A New Hat for Karen

Well it is official.  If I said I was not scared I would be lying.  As of today I am the official supply pastor(certified lay speaker - not licensed) of Midway UMC.  This sweet little church is a short distance from my home in Rock Mills.  It is midway between Roanoke and Wedowee.  Frank and I attended their Sunday night service, I taught their Bible Study on Wednesday night, became their pastor on Thursday and will be working VBS Friday and Saturday night and Sunday morning will deliver my first message to them.  I have met a lot of my congregation....that sounds funny saying....and they have all been wonderful.  Some of my readers may be saying bout now, "What?"  Well...let me tell you about my road between Karen....the Spanish teacher to Karen the Spansh/English teacher/part-time preacher.  It has been quite a ride.  In the Spring of 2007 I had a dream that Frank and I were living in Texas and he was attending seminary.  I shared my dream with him and unbeknownst to me he had been fighting a calling for a long time.  The next thing I knew we were off to be ministers (me as the pastor's wife) at Waverly UMC.  Now...funny thing here.....I have always loved the town of Waverly.  They have a musical road and gorgeous old houses.....and TA I was...part of this magical town.  I loved it.  We were there for three years.  Being in Waverly was a definite God thing.  My father died during our tenure there, my mom was diagnosed with alzheimer's, and the congregation of Waverly loved me through it all.   I would never have made it without them.  While we were at Waverly I got to continue my ministry with the Arbor Service at FUMC in Alex City where we lived.  Life was great....and then God spoke to me and told me he had something else for me to do.  I could not imagine what it could be.  In 2010 we moved to Rock Mills, AL and once again I was in a town where I actually accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 8 and Uncle Leon was the pastor at Roanoke First United Methodist.  We would be living in a parsonage and I would have to give up the Arbor Service, but life goes on and it changes as it goes.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be to leave the Arbor because I knew God was directing me this way.  Oh I miss them all....but  I had a new church family and once again I fell in love with a congregation.  They would hold me up in prayers, love, and hugs when my mom died.  I love living here.  I think I am a country girl in a city girls body.  Rock Mills gives me peace.  I love being the pastor's wife, singing in a traditional choir, teaching Sunday School, working with the Youth program, and being a Porch Person....yet, even though I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do I still felt a tugging from God. Come on God.....I thought this was enough.  That is what I get for thinking. The whole issue here is I was doing the thinking and not doing what God wanted me to do.  I guess if you want to hear God laugh out loud tell Him what your plans are.   About a year a go I began having dreams about my retirement from teaching and believed God was preparing me for my next be a traveling sales person for school books.  In the Spring of 2013(What is it about Springs?)  I taught a Sunday School lesson and one of the scripture verses, Isaiah 6:8 knocked me to my knees...literally.  God spoke to me in a clear and audible voice..."8 Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”  I said, “I’m here; send me.”  I said nothing to Frank and we left the next week for the beach.  On our way to Panama City we passed three churches with that verse posted on their sign.  Talk about being antsy....I was as antsy as a cat in a room full of rockers.  The next week we went to Annual Conference for the church and once again that verse was spoken to me.....this time I did not walk...I ran to the District Supertindents wife....told her the story....we both cried...and went to find her husband to tell him.  We found the incoming Superintendent and told him that I needed to be used .....somewhere.  All the churches had I did not know what this was leading to....after our trip to South Carolina I found out....there was a church who needed a pastor....and after prayer and discussion I knew it was to be me.  When I met with the D.S the first the room where we had our conversation about what had been happening ....was a book of artwork with scriptures....and have got it....Isaiah 6:8 was the page it was opened to.  I knew right then and there that this was a God Thing!  I broke the news to Rock Mills on Tuesday and Bro Lewis and I met with the PPR (Pastor Parish Relations) and they handed me the keys on Thursday.  I am not perfect...I am forgiven.  I am not a seminary graduate even though I do hold a Master's Degree.  I am not young but I have a fire within me that says..."go and preach the word."  Nowhere does it say in the Bible that I have to be a seminary graduate to do this.  I may never be seen in a long black robe...but I will be seen on Sunday morning speaking(with shaking knees) the Word of God to the people of Midway for as long as He needs me.  "I am here, send me!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hodge Podge - Vol 130

After a week's hiatus, Joyce and the Hodgepodge are back.YEAH!  I missed last week but understand that we all need a vacation.  Here are Joyce's questions...answer on your own blog, and be sure to hop back to Joyce's blog to link your answers with the whole wide world. A small corner of it anyway~

1. Summertime is a season of reunions, weddings, and other family celebrations and gatherings...are any of the above on your calendar in the next two months?  My 40 year class reunion was last August and it was a big deal.  We will be having a 60th birthday party bash sometime in 2014.  As far as reunions and weddings go this is a quiet year and the only reunions I have coming up is are family ones on July 4th and the Sasser/Matthews family reunion at the end of July at Camp Alamisco in Dadeville.  It is a 3 day event but since I now serve a church I am only going to be able to pop in for a visit on Saturday.  I have had two weddings since the end of school.
2. June is National Iced Tea Month...are you an iced tea drinker? If so, how do you like yours (sweet, flavored, etc)?   I love iced tea....unsweet.  I also love it hot (especially at bed time...camomille is my favorite hot one.)
3. When were you last nervous? Looking back, was the 'event' actually nerve-worthy?  The day I met with the District Superintendent of the Southeast District of the United Methodist church about getting a church, when I told the congregation at Rock Mills, and then a few days later when I met with the Midway Pastor Parrish Committee.  Not everyone is comfortable with a woman in the pulpit. 

4. The bristle toothbrush was invented in China on June 26, 1498...not sure how that date was pinned down so precisely but, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being sick to your stomach and 1 being not at all, how nervous do you feel when you're headed to the dentist? Do you see your dentist twice a year?  Going to the dentist for me is a nightmare so I would say a 20.  When I was 15 months old I fell and knocked my front baby teeth loose.  My mom took me to a dentist and he ended up slapping me because I cried when he pulled the xray machine down to my 15 month old face.  My mom was livid.  I ended up going to a dentist who went to our church named Dr. Aliopoulis.  I thought he hun the moon and even after I moved to Alabama would go back to South Florida twice a year for check ups.  I finally found a local dentist that I loved.   I believe in going to the dentist twice a year....even though I do not like going.
5. What's making news in your town this week?  Fourth of July celebrations are on the front page.  Our paper only comes out once day a week.  There have been some other noteworthy news....shootings, a murder, a suicide, and a couple of wrecks.  There is a bull riding event coming up.  Most of our news has to do with local stuff.
6. Curtains, drapes, blinds...your window treatment of choice? Are there any bare windows in your house? Is that by choice or because you haven't gotten around to covering them?   There are no bare windows in my house.  I live in a parsonage so my windows are all taken care of by the Parsonage committee.  I have blinds and lace curtains in every room but the dining room.  I put sheers over the blinds there.  The kitchen has cafe curtains with an apple theme.  They match the border.  The laundry room has ivy cafe curtains.  The master bedroom has curtains that dim light.  I bought those to go with my bedspread. 
7. Summertime is officially here (in the Northern hemisphere anyway)...what one song is a must-have on your summer playlist?  I have to be honest.  I can't  just pick one.  I grew up in South Florida and love the beach....I love all the songs by the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, anything to do with the beach.....and of course...anything by Jimmy Buffett.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  When is your favorite time to take vacation?  I am a teacher so I have summer's off....and love the I have to visit it at least once...or more from Memorial Day to Labor Day.    I also love fall vacations....the Smokies when the leaves are changing amaze me.  I am not much on winter vacations(cold is not my friend)....unless I head south back to the beach or Charleston.  I love spring time travel too...especially when things are blooming.  To be honest....when the car cranks I want to be in it.  I love packing...going...being there...and coming home again.  I hav 48 out of 50 US states under my maybe you have some ideas for me on what to do in Vermont and Alaska.  What is your favorite place to vacation and what is your favorite thing to do on a vacation.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crochet 101

When I got up this morning I was so excited.  I was going to have my first crocheting lesson with Mrs. Shirley.  I could not wait.  When I got there I was a bundle of nerves.  I had tried to learn how to crochet once a long time ago....and it did not happen.  Since learning how to make the scarves in December I have been dying to take crochet to the next level.  Mrs. Shirley is a patient teacher.  She gave me a ball of a ball for herself and we began lesson one....chain and single stitch.  I don't know which worked fingers or my tongue....but I finally quit trying to choke the thread.  After an hour of hard work we took a break for some Butter Pecan cake and something to drink.   At the table (one of my favorite places to visit) we talked about life, love, kids, and crochet.  When break was up we went back to work.  A little after twelve she gave me my homework.  I am to finish up my initial ball of yarn with chain and single stitch....and then...I am to take ball of yarn number two and begin without help.   Lesson two will be double and triple stitch....but hey....let's take it one step at a time.  I have a goal in mind.  I want to make a scarf and shawl.  I have found my patterns....and am wish me luck.  I will keep you posted on how I am progressing.  How many of you out there in blogger land crochet...or knit., sew, smock, tat, candlewick, cross-stitch...etc.  Do you have a craft/handiwork?  Leave a comment and let me know just what you do?  Thank you Mrs. Shirley for being willing to teach someone with two left thumbs.  You rock!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Red Rooster and the HR Girls From Milliken

Today we met Marcie(my sister from another mother) and some of her Milliken staff at the Red Rooster in LaGrange for lunch.  We originally planned to eat at Katies Too (one of our favorite places - they serve cucumber and onion salad)....but they are closed on Monday.  So we ended up at the Red Rooster.  It was our first time there and I chose the Poppy Seed Chicken, turnip greens, and pineapple casserole.  Let me tell you this food was amazing.  We had a wonderful time at lunch and I thought since the food was so good I would share a couple of the recipes with you.  Here in the South casseroles are a must.  Covered dish dinners bring them out in droves and it makes me think about my dad....he hated casseroles as a whole....but did eat these two and Hash Brown casserole.  I think in Minnesota they are called hot dishes.  Either is food combined in to one dish....and usually involves cheese, crushed crackers...and butter.

Poppy Seed Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 sleeve buttery round crackers (such as
Ritz®), crushed
1 teaspoon poppy seeds, or more if
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream
of chicken soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1.Place the chicken breasts into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes. Drain the water, then shred the chicken.
2.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine the butter, crackers, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside.
3.Blend the sour cream and cream of chicken soup in a bowl; pour half of the soup mixture into a 9x9-inch baking dish. Add the shredded chicken, then pour the remaining half of the soup mixture on top. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, then top with the cracker mixture.
4.Bake in the preheated oven until cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes

This is a great dish to take to church functions.  I never bring any of it home.

Pineapple Casserole
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks,
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar (I substitute Equal)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 2/3 cups crushed Ritz crackers
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Combine the pineapple chunks and crushed pineapple with syrup. Mix together and pour into a 2 quart baking dish.
3.Mix together the flour and sugar, sprinkle evenly on top of pineapple. Cover with cheese, top cheese with cracker crumbs and drizzle melted butter on top.
4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve.

This recipe was one my dad used to make and take to all church functions.  It is wonderful with turkey, pork...anything.  I even like it for dessert.  I am learning how to crochet tomorrow and cannot wait for my lesson with Mrs. Shirley.  This is a busy week full of new adventures and Kat coming home.  It is going to be fun!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Happy Birthday to My Daughter Who Is Far Away!

Thirty-three years ago I was in the hospital preparing to welcome into the world a daughter.  When the doctor laid her in my arms and she wrapped her tiny hand around my pointer finger I knew that I was a goner.  At that moment in time there was not another mother alive who was so captivated by something as beautiful as she was.  She is still captivating me at age thirty three.  Today I want to do a time line birthday post telling you about her.  She is amazing, strong, faithful, loving, and every other good adjective I can think of.  So...let me introduce you to my daughter (and for those of you out there with may have many of the same feelings).  Kat was a rocker....when she was little we would rock a lot.  She would hold onto my shirt with her little fist and gaze up into my face.  It does something to me even today to hold a baby and rock.  She slept through the night from the time we got home from the hospital.  The only time she didn't was when she was about six months old and had colic.  I was a blessed woman. 
She walked on her first birthday.  She loved tea parties, dolls, and you could set her down in her playpen (known as pack and plays today) and she would entertain herself for hours. 
When she was two she climbed up on the cabinet....stacked cookbooks and got an oatmeal cookie from the Toms Cookie jar, which was on top of the fridge.  I found her....and was afraid she would fall if I spoke I stood and watched her....when she was on the cabinet again and off the cookbooks I made my presence known.  She was busted....turned to me and held out her cookie, said, "I got this for you mommy!"  I took the cookie, thanked her, and ate it.  Her little face was crushed.  After I had gotten her down to the floor, moved the cookbooks so she would not do this again....and moved the cookie jar.....I gave her one as well.  My friend Deborah has made all her cakes (Debo is Kat's second mom) and Kat always got to have the exact piece of cake she wanted much to Debo's horror.  Kat would always want the very center piece out of the cake (Holly Hobby or Strawberry Shortcakes face).  I have sung "Happy Birthday" to her every year on her birthday....either in person....or on the phone. 
Her godparents, Chuck and Sue were a major part of her life and many a trip was spent with them in Knoxville.

Travel with Kat was always an adventure and we have covered nearly all fifty states together.  She has seen the World's Largest Ball of Twine (from the movie Michael), the last existing sod house, where Dances With Wolves was filmed, Old Faithful, Green Gables, New York, Venice, and hundreds more places just like it.  Her friends were going to the beach and Disney World....she was having a life history lesson...and yes...she has been to the beach...and to Disney World....but Oh The Other Places We Have Been. 

Memorial Day weekend after she finished the eighth grade she was in a boat explosion and burned on 33% of her body with first, second, and third degree burns.  It was a mother's worst nightmare.  The doctors felt there would be skin grafts, surgery, and scars.  My heart was heavy.  I called on my best Prayer Warriors and the prayers began.  It was a long, painful process for both of us and I don't know what I would have done without her best friend forever, Jill (Debo's daughter).  My heart was ripped into each time we went for therapy.  By the end of the summer....there was no grafting or surgery.....and there is one tiny little place left on her leg...that probably I am the only one who notices it.  She was healed....we serve an awesome God.  Kat and Brian both were in the BRHS Pride band and I rarely missed an event.  I was one of the biggest Band Booster parents there has ever been.  I loved sitting near the band and rocking to their rhythms.
Her senior year she was one of the two drum majors.  Empty nesting nearly killed me but after having lived on my own for a few months when she returned home with chicken pox I could not wait for her to go back to college.  I have prayed for her all of her life.  I taught her in Mission Friends, youth....I have always been active in her spiritual upbringing.  When she met her now husband, Brian.....she was in the 9th grade and Brian was a junior.  I knew from the day I met Brian when he was in the 9th grade that he was as special as she was.  I prayed then that Kat would find and marry someone just like Brian....little did I know.  They are two peas in a pod.  Together they have a wonderful relationship with God and each other. 

Kat believes that the only place a necklace is good to wear is on your head as a crown.  She even convinced friends Beth and Mary Rachel that this was true.
Kat became an Early Childhood Special Ed teacher and has her EdS in Special Ed.  She is an amazing teacher and I am so very proud of her.  Several years ago she found a new passion.  Orphans in Moldova through Stella's Voice....and that is why she is far away today.  She has been in Moldova since June 3rd.  Brian was there with her until the 10th.  She will be home on Thursday. 
She does amazing things in Moldova and shares her hugs and big heart with the orphans there.  She is truly called.  Kat and Brian are now preparing to be missionaries full-time.  I would be lying to you if I told you that I won't miss them, but I am very proud.  When God called....she listened.  She is amazing....and so today I want her to know Frank and I both love her to pieces, wish her a Happy Birthday(and I will sing to her if I can get the time change down....via Skype), and I hope her day is AWESOME....just like she is.  Am I a proud momma or what?
Kat's 30th birthday cake - made by Debo

A country girl

Two brides and both Jones'.  Jan (godsister) and Kat married three weeks apart.
Loving hunting eggs.
Airmen in Seattle

Fountain girl in Assissi, Italy

Grease Sr. Play her senior year with John.

The Grand Canyon - Eric, Kat, Jeni

Christmas many years later with Kat, Eric, Jeni

Kat and Jill - bow girls tradition

Kat and SIL, Laura sporting fur coats

Kat as Abbi(NCIS) for Halloween

Kat and my mom at Eric's wedding

Kat in her office at my mom's house in Kellyton

Kat and Raegan at the LOVE statue in Philly.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Superman Saturday

What a day this has been and what a rare mood I am in.  It began this morning with breakfast at The Farmhouse with Beth, Ron, and Collin as is our tradition.  I look forward to this every week.  It is so much fun to sit and visit with good friends.  I don't know how long we are going to be doing this because Hwy 22 is re-routing and The Farmhouse is going to be gone.  She is debating moving to a new location....and even thinking about closing permanently.  I hope she does not make the last choice.  After breakfast we headed to the Mall of Roanoke (aka Walmart) to see if we could find an 250 w overhead bulb for Frank.  No such luck there or at Russell-Do-It.....sigh.  He has been working hard in his shop and this just slows him down a bit.  He has added a bunch of new things to his inventory.  Watch my blog next week because I am going to do a post on his stuff.  I am proud of his talent and eye for detail.  Believe me....if you could see him do is nothing short of amazing. We came home and I went on line to see if I could find a bulb replacement.  I know at school that we order ours and they cost a pretty penny.  The gods of luck were with me....found the bulb, ordered it, and it was a good price.  Hopefully it will be here by Tuesday.  If not then he is going with me when I go to school on Wednesday (yes, teachers work during the summer) and he will use my ELMO to do what he needs to do.  After I ordered the bulb, I made my food for Lindi's moving out party tonight, wrapped gifts, and piddled with some other projects I have going.   Our next big adventure was Collin's 8th birthday party at Beth and Ron's.  The weather was perfect here for a pool party and everyone had a good time.  Ron grilled hotdogs and hamburgers and they were delish.  The man is a magician with a grill.  Beth made the birthday cake and the sides.  This woman is a magician in the kitchen.  We had slaw that was made from cabbages that they grew.  It was so fresh tasting.  I don't know what she puts in her baked beans....but it definitely challenges mine.  After gifts were opened, cake was eaten, and the crowd went back to the pool we headed back to the house to pick up the food for our next stop.  Lyndi's Moving Out soiree was our next stop.  We went to Keith and Sherry's for dinner.  The meal consisted of sandwich fixings (lacking for nothing believe me), Chick-fil-a nuggets, chips and dips, fresh veggies, slaw (from Beth), watergate salad (sugar free)....and the Porch People.  Dessert was a cake and Hawaiian Delight (sugar free and made by me).  The food was wonderful.  Sherry and Marci always outdo themselves and the company made for a perfect end to a perfect day.  Tula and her husband Billy Ray, Herbie and wife Linda, Sherry and Keith, Marcie and Lyndi, Keaton(Marcie's son), wife Magen, and Jett, Chris and Celia, Sandra and new beau Wallace,  Will(Chris and Celia's son), Steven(Chris and Celia's future son-in-law), and Frank and I all had a blast.  We always do.  There is nothing like being a Porch Person.  When I was a child porches were a special and magical place.  My grandfather would sit outside and play his guitar and people would gather.  You will never know how cool it was to me when we found porches here in Rock Mills where people sat and talked about world events.  You are always welcome on the porch.  I love this place.  I may be a transplant.....but I belong here.  Once the sun set and the moon began to shine we came home.  I finished up a double crochet scarf I have been working on and started a new one with the new yarn Frank bought me at Hobby Lobby in Newnan on Friday.  Life is good and I am blessed.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Rhythm

On Fridays hundreds of writers gather here to write the muse into being. You’re welcome to join from your blog, your pen and paper, your thoughts left in the comments. As long as you write. From anywhere – your desk, your car in the car pool line, your rocking chair with the baby in your arm and you typing on your phone.  Since the day I began doing this I fell in love with how we are able to make art in the middle of our every day ordinary
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on the word:::



I am struggling with my prompt today.  There are a million thoughts/ideas flying through my brain and I cannot seem to settle down and write.  I need some music.....but it is 4 in the morning and everyone else in the house is still asleep.  I close my eyes for a few can't be long.  I only have five minutes to do this.  Today is Friday and as I sit here typing I find myself being soothed throughout by the rhythm of the rain.  It taps against my windows and on my roof...this is nature's why am I awake at this ungodly hour?  The rhythm of the rain is nice....the crashing of the thunder and the lightening that lights up my room ....not so nice.  I love rhythms.  I love musical rhythms, I love the rhythms of the crickets and frogs singing outside at night.  I love the rhythm of a drum(I especially love the quads). 
I attend football games for that.  There is something about when that beat begins that makes my whole being contort into something that looks like a dance.  I love the rhythm you get when the sink has a tiny leak, there is a cup in the sink,....and the faucet drops one after another tiny drop into the cup. 
Rhythms are all around me.  When you drive through downtown Waverly, AL....and there is rhythm coming from the road....da dum da dum...da dum dum dum dum dum.  I get rhythm from a rocking chair.  I love the sound of the of the rockers against the floors.  I have soothed many a restless, collicky baby with that sound.  I get rhythm from the sound of my husband....or children breathing as they sleep.  I love the rhythm of a tiny heart beat in my arms as they sleep. 
I love the rhythms you think about with music.  I love the bass riffs in the song "Spirit in the Sky" or the rhythmic intro to "My Girl" by the Temptations.  The minute they begin the rhythm draws me into my musical happy place...and just like now....sitting here listening to the rhythm of the rain....all is right with my world.  I have got rhythm....and I smile.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Blueberry Story


The English Dept of my school has been meeting for the past two days working on a research packet for all grade levels.  I will be teaching English this year and since I have not taught it in about 10 years I feel as if I am speaking a foreign language.  I have absorbed so much in the past couple of days that I am glad I have today off so I can grasp what I am taking on.  I will be teaching English and Spanish this year.  I have to be honest and say I am excited, but I also have to say I am a bit scared.  I feel as if I am jumping off a high dive.  This morning a friend sent me a link to a story that I felt like I just had to share.  If you know a teacher, are related to one, or are one yourself then you will understand this story.  I come from a family of nursing people and my aunt always felt as if teachers were paid to much for what we do.  I loved her with all my heart....but felt she was wrong.  I work hard for the money I am paid.  I have a Master's Degree and actually do work in the summer (two day meetings this week and more to come).  This story really hit home.  "“If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools, I wouldn’t be in business very long!” I stood before an auditorium filled with outraged teachers who were becoming angrier by the minute. My speech had entirely consumed their precious 90 minutes of inservice. Their initial icy glares had turned to restless agitation. You could cut the hostility with a knife. I represented a group of business people dedicated to  improving public schools. I was an executive at an ice cream company that became famous in the middle 1980s when People Magazine chose our blueberry as the “Best Ice Cream in America.” I was convinced of two things. First, public schools needed to change; they were archaic selecting and sorting mechanisms designed for the industrial age and out of step with the needs of our emerging “knowledge society”. Second, educators were a major part of the problem: they resisted change, hunkered down in their feathered nests, protected by tenure and shielded by a bureaucratic monopoly. They needed to look to business. We knew how to produce quality. Zero defects! TQM! Continuous improvement!   In retrospect, the speech was perfectly balanced - equal parts ignorance and arrogance.  As soon as I finished, a woman’s hand shot up. She appeared polite,   pleasant – she was, in fact, a razor-edged, veteran, high school English teacher who had been waiting to unload. She began quietly, “We are told, sir, that you manage a company that makes good ice cream.”  I smugly replied, “Best ice cream in America, Ma’am.”  “How nice,” she said. “Is it rich and smooth?”  “Sixteen percent butterfat,” I crowed. “Premium ingredients?” she inquired. “Super-premium! Nothing but triple A.” I was on a roll. I never saw the next line coming. “Mr. Vollmer,” she said, leaning forward with a wicked eyebrow raised to the sky, “when you are standing on your receiving dock and you see an inferior shipment of blueberries arrive, what do you do?” In the silence of that room, I could hear the trap snap…. I was dead meat, but I wasn’t going to lie. “I send them back.” “That’s right!” she barked, “and we can never send back our blueberries. We take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, abused, frightened, confident, homeless, rude, and brilliant. We take them with ADHD, junior rheumatoid arthritis, and English as their second language. We take them all! Every one! And that, Mr. Vollmer, is why it’s not a business. It’s school!” In an explosion, all 290 teachers, principals, bus drivers, aides, custodians and secretaries jumped to their feet and yelled, “Yeah! Blueberries! Blueberries!”  And so began my long transformation. Since then, I have visited hundreds of schools. I have learned that a school is not a business. Schools are unable to control the quality of their raw material, they are dependent upon the vagaries of politics for a reliable revenue stream, and they are constantly mauled by a howling horde of disparate, competing customer groups that would send the best CEO screaming into the night. None of this negates the need for change. We must change what, when, and how we teach to give all children maximum opportunity to thrive in a post-industrial society. But educators cannot do this alone; these changes can occur only with the understanding, trust, permission and active support of the surrounding community. For the most important thing I have learned is that schools reflect the attitudes, beliefs and health of the communities they serve, and therefore, to improve public education means more than changing our schools, it means changing America."  Copyright 2002, by Jamie Robert Vollmer
I look forward to each new year with anticipation.  Every inservice or continuing education class I attend makes me that much more excited.  It is a new year....these are new kids.  They are not all perfect....but they are placed in my care to teach.  The system needs change....and change is not always good....but it is not always bad.  It is always an experiment.  What works for kids in California may not work for kids in rural Alabama....but we still try.  We are NOT a business....we are a calling....I am called....and I feel by God to be a touch make a give them the ability to make a light bulb come on.  I love what I do.  Thank you for giving me your children and for trusting me to teach them. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Whom Shall I Send.....Send Me

My daughter Kat and her husband Brian are very passionate for a mission organization called Stella's Voice.  They left on June 3rd to go and work with these wonderful children.  Brian came home a week later and Kat has stayed behind to coordinate groups coming during the month of June.  She will be home on the 27th.  She will be working with groups from Scotland, Canada, and Florida.  This is my child's calling.  I am so very proud of her and her passion for the children.  She is working with Phillip Cameron Ministries and Stella's Voice so let me tell you a little bit about them....what they do....why they exist....and hopefully you will see why my daughter loves them so much.  "Stella's Voice is the last cry that remains from an orphaned girl who was sold, used, and dead from AIDS by 19. There is no one in the entire world more vulnerable to sex trafficking than orphaned girls; no one knows or cares when they disappear into the night. And there is no country that fuels the engine of sex trafficking in all of Europe more than Moldova.

Stella's Voice provides a home for poverty-ridden girls in Moldova after they are aged out of the state-run orphanages at the young age of 16. The ministry also has the only Christian orphanage in the country, as well as a separate home for boys.

Stella's Voice is more than a cry for help and rescue. It is also a beacon of help and hope, making an eternal difference for desperate children."

"I am an orphan. No one cares about me. I am hungry. I am cold. I am despised. I am abandoned. I am abused. I am Stella’s Voice. A voice is all that is left of Stella, a handicapped orphan. Homeless, powerless, silenced. Used by evil men. Dead at nineteen. I am Stella’s Voice. I am the voice of orphans. I am their prayer for food, for warmth, for love. I am their cry for protection from sex traffickers. Will you be Stella’s Voice too? Together, we can make her voice louder. Together, our prayers are more powerful. Together, we can make a difference. Will you be Stella’s Voice?"

Through my child I have developed a heart for missions....whether they be here in the United States or anywhere else in the world.  When she was a child I taught her Mission Friends group.  I taught her about missions.  I just did not think she would be the missionary to hear the call.  The hymn  "Here I Am, Lord" has never been one I cared about because I truly felt that God did not intend for me to be a missionary....across the big pond and in my mind that is what the song was asking for.  But I have learned that God can use you in many ways and we may not all be called to be missionaries....but we are all called to do something...and God has called me for a specific task.  Isaiah 6:8 has been nagging at me for a while...."8 Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”  I said, “I’m here; send me.”  So....yesterday I got a call....not the first one....but one I don't think I can put on hold.  My response today is going to be, "Here I am Lord send me."  If you are reading this today I am asking that you pray for my child as she listens to God's call and does his work....across the big pond in Moldova, and pray for me as I accept God's call for a new direction in my life.  I will post more later when I am ready to reveal my newest hat.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Dad's Rules From Back In The Day

If this T-shirt had been around when I was of dating age....My dad would have owned one.  He pretty much followed these 10 rules and added several more to his rule book.  I grew up dating back in the day when long hair was the fad.  I remember one night my father closing the door in a potential dates face because his hair was below his collar.  I was mortified.  My dad...well his rule number 11 would have been 11.  Don't show up with hair below your collar.  My very first date came to my grandmother's house to get me. I was 15.   My father was cleaning his gun because he was going hunting early the nex morning.  My date did not know this....all he knew was that my dad was pointing the barrell of the gun towards him as he cleaned it.  Rule number 12.  I own guns, am not afraid of them, can use them, and I will take you out.  If you dated had to come in and meet my parents before said date.  There was to be no horn blowing from the driveway summoning me out to your car.  You WERE going to shake my father's hand (tightly).  When my parents gave me a curfew...said curfew was for me to be IN the house....not just pulling in the drive.  Once I pulled into the drive....I had three minutes.....after the third minute....the porch light would flip on and off twice signaling...."walk up the driveway....NOW!"  If I did not walk up the driveway....the porch light would short out.  My mom would begin to flip it like a strobe light.  That meant...."when the strobe show ends I am coming out and marching you up the driveway.....I promise you don't wat that to happen."  Only once did I see that event occur and it wasn't even me. My cousins were down for a visit and one of them tried my mom out.  My mom won.  I never pushed that button.  My parents were awake when I got home....and sitting in the livintg room.  If my dad had to work the next day my mom was up....and my dad would speak out from their bedroom...."Is she home?"  I hated being a dating teenager back then.  I felt my parents stifled me.  My friends parents did not do these things to them.  Why was I being persecuted.  Fast forward 20 years....and my daughter had her first date....and when I looked in the mirror....there were my parents standing there.  I cannot believe they survived dating.  I cannot believe that Brian came back for a second date....(and I loved him).  So Daters....this too will pass.  You will survive dating....I promise....I did.  Be grateful you have parents who care enough to want to know what you are doing.  It can be an ugly world out there.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Mary Memories

Today would have been my dear friend and soulmate, Mary's 58th birhtday.  As I sat here today I felt a whole lot of melancholy drifting into my thoughts like fog off the ocean.  I miss her and since I could not with her a Happy Birthday physically....I thought I would tell you all about her.  She was something special..  The picture above was made at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival by my daughter Kat.  Mary, me, and Jo had fun playing dress up.  Mary wanted to have pictures of the three of us that were fun and we could look back on one day and smile from our wheelchairs in our nursing home.
Mary and I sold football tickets at every BRHS home game for years.  She always wondered how come I sold all of mine....or most...and she didn't.  We finally took a picture of her and showed her one could see her over the ledge.  She is actually standing on her toes I think.  I looked forward to doing this every year wth her.  It was so much fun.

Mary, Santa, and Bill at the BASS Pro Shop in Prattville.  I loved doing anything with them.  They were an amazing couple together....and amazing friends.

 Mary on one of our many trips.  I loved her infectious smile.
 Mary taught Science and was an amazing Science teacher. I went with her to the Gulf Coast to gather samples for her class from the massive BP oil spill.  I was her assistant.  It was my job to bag, tag, and photograph whatever she handed me. 

Mary and Kat dancing in the street in Florence.

Mary throwing three coins in the fountain....just like the movie.

Mary and Kat batting at the Louisville Slugger Museum.

Mary with me in Ireland.  She was the best co-chaperone anyone could ask for.

Marian, Mary and I at NEA in Washington D.C.

Mary and I when we were a whole lot younger.  We had been friends for about 5 years here. She was my daughter's second mom sometimes.  She was my friend, she was an amazing wife, mom, and grandmother.  She was an amazing daughter and sister, traveling companion.....and soulmate.  I miss her terribly....but know she is having a ball with my parents and her a much better place.  Happy Birthday mi alma.