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!”

Friday, January 29, 2016

Getting Inside My Head

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rules, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).  I am a sensory learner and there are certain things that help me remember facts.  This was quite useful when I was in school.  I would make up little jingles to remember important facts.  I still love commercial jingles.  There are certain television jingles that drive my husband crazy. As soon as he sees a tiny little snippet of said commercial he is hitting the guide button on the remote. I guess I am lucky....he could press the mute button.  When I see one of those commercials  I end up with the silly song in my head for the rest of the day.  Frank doesn't  give it a chance to enter his mind. It’s the same way with the lies the enemy tries to make us believe. We are in a spiritual battle for our minds. And while we often think difficult people or irritating circumstances are the source of the problems, Paul tells us to look past the obvious and go to the root cause.  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” Paul begins, “but against the rules, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). As long as we think our foe is a mere mortal, the enemy is sittin’ pretty. But we know the enemy’s true identity. Right?  This spiritual battle is described as a “struggle.” It literally means “wrestling” or “hand-to-hand” combat.    Jesus won the victory over sin and death when He died on the cross and rose again. Satan was defeated. Yet, here on earth we continue to do battle....because Satan won't leave us alone.
This warfare is nothing to fear. God has given us sufficient armor to combat the enemy. We have the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, the power of Jesus’ shed blood over us, and the power of God’s Word under our feet.   I think this is why it is so important not to let the lies penetrate our thought processes.  So the next time you hear a voice whispering a lie such as, “You can’t do anything right”; “You’re a poor excuse for a Christian,” or “You don’t have what it takes,” in your is time to shut that channel down.  Don’t let that jingle get stuck in your head. It’s not worth listening to...unless you take your jingle and set a bible verse to it.  Frank and I went to an auction with some friends this past weekend.  It was an auction where people pull up their trucks, unload, and have thirty minutes to sell their wares.  Once their thirty minutes is done....the next person pulls up....and it continues until all have had a chance to see....then it starts over.  I was so excited....but disappointment slipped in was junk....JunQue....another man's treasure (but not mine) I sat there I thought about all the junk that the Devil deals us....and I found myself getting up in arms.  I did not want this junk......and I don't know about you....but I don't want to buy any of Satan's trash. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Son's Vow


About The Book:  A Son's Vow (Avon Inspire, January 2016)
Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.  Darla's father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm's lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn't looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger---with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.  Now her brother's anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn't change soon, Darla fears it will cost her---and her family---even more.  Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father's lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he's feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone---especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can't simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.  As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla's love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?  Shelley Shepard Gray's first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.  Purchase a copy:
About The Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.  Connect with Sherri: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
My Thoughts On The Book:  I enjoy reading Shelley Shepard Gray and so I was not disappointed with this new book in her The Charmed Amish Life series.  I started reading it as soon as the book arrived at the house and did not put it down until I was finished.  Once you begin reading the story it draws you in and holds you fast. The characters were not your traditional everything is perfect in our world Amish family.  Darla's brother Aaron had some issues with anger management and as a reader you sat anxiously ready for the big explosion.  This book was filled with a lot of anger, judgement, forgiveness, handling of grief that all centered around a fire that killed five men at the mill.    Each character in the story interlocks with all the other characters of the story in their personal journey through the grief that accompanies tragic deaths. The characters emotions were raw and real and the characters came alive on the page, which is the mark of a great writer.   If you enjoy reading Amish fiction, this is definitely a “must read”. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wet Wednesday Hodge Podge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Can you believe this time next week we'll be in to the second month of the year? January did not linger. If you've answered the questions here today, add your link at the end of Joyce's post by clicking here. Do your best to drop by and say hi to the blogger who linked before you, because comments make the world go round. The blog world anyway.
Also, Joyce is very wordy today. Some days are like that on From This Side of the Pond.


1. Share a winter memory from your childhood.
I grew up in South Florida.  We went to the beach on Christmas day.  I do remember one year when I was in the 6th grade that it got so cold the bird bath in front of the school froze.  Somewhere I have a picture of me as a school Safety Patrol blowing into my hands because it was so cold. The first time we came to Alabama to see my grandparents for Christmas I did not even own a coat and had to borrow one from my cousin.  It actually snowed enough to make a small snowman and some snowballs.
2. What was on your blog this time last year? (Besides the Hodgepodge of course!) If you weren't blogging, what in the world were you doing with all that free time?

3.Ellen Goodman is quoted as saying, 'We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.'  Do you see more flaws or potential in your life at the start of a new year? Have you done anything specific this month to address either one? Does the new year truly begin for you on January 1, or is there some other month of the year that feels like a fresh start and new beginning?  For me the beginning of the school year has always felt like the time for a  fresh start, clean beginning. There's something about  a new school year that always makes me feel positive and hopeful. I watched War Room over the holiday time.  If you haven't seen it ....DO!  It really challenged me to improve my prayer life.  I am actually working on a War Room for myself.
4.Who's an athlete you admire or respect and why?  I do not usually admire or respect athletes because of all their misbehavior.  However,  Tim Tebow, the Manning brothers, Phil Mickleson, and Cam Newton would be on my list....if I had one. 
5.Do you like cream in your coffee? Whipped cream on your pumpkin pie? Cream cheese on a bagel? Sour cream on a baked potato? Cream of wheat for breakfast? Have you ever had a scone with clotted cream? Of all the creamy foods mentioned, which one sounds most appealing to you right this very minute?  I love cream in my coffee, but just a splash and only the good stuff please. I do love SOME flavored whiteners....but just some.  Whipped cream on my pumpkin pie? Why Yes, please! I am very much like Joyce....and in my case too it might make more sense to ask if I like pie with my whipped cream.  Yes to sour cream on a baked potato, yes to the cream of wheat, and a yes to the scone with clotted cream. While clotted cream doesn't sound all that appetizing, it is so yummy! 

6.Where were you last kept waiting for 'hours on end'? Or for what felt like hours on end? How well did you cope? I can't think of anything recently, but I do have a doctor's appointment this morning.....and it will probably take an eternity.  I read to keep my blood pressure from sky rocketing.
7.Believe it or not, when next week's Hodgepodge rolls around it will be February. Huh?!? Bid adieu here to January in seven words or less. Two months until Spring Break!
8. Insert your own random thought here.  I am copying Joyce's random thought because, I too am participating again this year, in the April A-Z blog challenge and wonder if anyone else here is doing the same? I love doing this!  For those of you who aren't familiar with the challenge, it's a writing exercise where you blog every day in the month of April (except Sundays), using one letter of the alphabet as your daily prompt. April 1 is Letter A and April 30 Letter Z, which is perfect because when you remove Sundays in April you're left with 26 days and 26 letters. For more info or to sign up, click the link posted here.   I will tell you up front, there is everything under the sun in terms of content in the blog world, and you figure that out pretty quickly in this challenge. In the past couple of years the organizers have very helpfully created categories, so when bloggers sign up they can select one to identity their blog genre...humor, photography, travel, book reviews, memoir, zombies... 
I have chosen themes each, etc....but this year I think I too am going to fly by the seat of my pants.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


About The Book:  Bronner: A Journey to Understand (New Hope Publishers, January 2016). God teaches and refines us through pain and suffering. Author Sherri Burgess, wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, knows this to be true. After the earthly death of her youngest son, Bronner, Burgess asked, "Why?" And God answered.  Journey with her through this powerful testimony of healing to understand the purpose behind the pain. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.   Purchase a copy:
About The Author:  Sherri Burgess' life is a beckoning for you to know a Holy God like you have never known Him before. The wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Sherri is someone who now passionately pursues holiness and inspires others to do the same. A seasoned Bible teacher, writer and blogger, she has in recent years answered God's call as a women's ministry speaker. This mother of five stays active with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.  Connect with Sherri: website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a huge Rick and Bubba fan and I remember when this tragedy took place.  I remember sitting at my work desk and crying for this family.  When I had the chance to review this book I knew I had to because this story had touched my life.  This is one of those books that once you pick it up you cannot put it down.  Sherri Burgess's writes a touching story about losing her son and how she/they survive.   It was the kind of book that makes you feel as if Sherri is talking to you personally over a cup of coffee.  The book has the capability to touch hurting people of all kinds.  Sherri Burgess is an amazing person and writer to be able to work through her own pain in this very personal account of loss.  I believe everyone should pick this up and read it.  I guarantee you will not be the same once you are finished. It would be an awesome gift for someone who has lost a child.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Cold And Blustery Hodge Podge

Well that was quick! It's once again time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then skate back over to Joyce's blog post by clicking here to share answers with the universe.  See you there!  Be sure to visit some of the other bloggers posts and leave some bloggy love. 

 1.  Speaking of skating...when did you last 'skate on thin ice', 'skate over the details', 'encounter a cheapskate', or just plain skate?  I was in the line at Walmart.  The elderly lady who was two in front of me lacked a quarter having enough to pay her bill. The man between us told her rather nastily to just put something back.  I could tell she had stuff she needed so I moved behind her and gave the checker a ten dollar bill.  When she pulled out the change I nodded to the elder lady and let her know that I wanted her to give her the change.  I got such a blessing....the man in front of me showed the store what a cheapskate he was.
2. What would you say is the biggest problem of people your age?  Retirement, social security, insurance.

3. What's your favorite accessory? Is it something you wear every day, often, or only on special occasions?  My engagement ring.  Before we got serious, Frank asked me if I would rather have an heirloom ring....or something new.  I told him that the heirloom would definitely win hands down.  He took me at my word.  The diamond I wear was my husbands mothers and I love it. She was thrilled when he gave it to me and I accepted it.   It is very simple but full of so many memories.
4. January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Are you a lover of cheese? What's your favorite dish made with cheese? Last thing you ate that contained some kind of cheese?  I am not a huge cheese lover....but when I eat it on a sandwich I love Colby jack.  I do think that mac and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I had some from lunch last Friday.

5. What's something guaranteed to make you roll your eyes? Political comments and when people talk about the school they work there and know what is going on.
6. Your favorite book seriesI am not a huge series fan....Nancy Drew when I was young would have to be my choice....I could not wait for the next installment to come in the mail.

7. Why did you choose your profession?  Funny you should ask.....If you had known me before I became a teacher you would have never believed it....people I know from my past still shake their heads.  I hated high school and could not wait to get out.  I wanted to be a Social Worker....but back in the day they were a dime a dozen and you could not find a job.  A friend of mine suggested I look in to teaching because I had a great rapport with kids.  I took a few more classes and voila!  I love my job.  I have been doing this for nearly 30 years and look forward to every single day.

8. Insert your own random thought here. When I was young we had Family Game Night at the Sasser house every Thursday night.  Each week someone would pick a board or card game and we would play as a family.  Friends were always welcome to come and participate.  My friends loved it.  I tried to establish the ritual when my children were small....but it did not work well.  We still took time to play board games.  I still love to play board games...especially trivia ones.  How about you?  Do you play board games?  What is your favorite one?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Color My World With Hodge Podge

January is rolling right along, which means it's time for another edition of the Hodgepodge. Please only link to Joyce's post on Wednesdays if you've answered the questions. Thanks! Also, there are not a lot of rules associated with this meme, but I do ask if you link your answers that you take a minute to visit the blogger who linked before you. Everybody needs somebody, right? Here we go-

1. Share one thing that really makes your day.
A Skype from Kat or even a message out of the blue.  It makes me smile.
2.  Lots of these kinds of lists out there, but one found here says the fifteen most colorful places on earth are:  Vernazza, Cinque Terre, italy~Burano, Italy~Havana, Cuba~Rio de Janiero, Brazil~Chefchaouen, Morocco~Balat, Istanbul, Turkey~Menton, France~Jodhpur, india~La Baca, Buenos Aires, Argentina~Guanajuato, Mexico~Capetown, South Africa~Valparaiso, Chile~Wroclaw, Poland~San Francisco, California~and Pelourhino, Salvador, Brazil.
Of those listed which would you most like to see up close and in person? Of all the places you've seen or traveled in your own life, what would you say was one of the most colorful?  Cuba, Rio de Janiero, La Boca in Buenos Aires, Valparaiso in Chile would be on my to see list.  I have been to San Francisco and the painted ladies there are amazing.  Guanajuato is also absolutely gorgeous and a must if  you have never seen it.  Italy is Italy and anywhere you go is breathtaking.   If you cannot afford an expensive trip out of the country there are many places in the U.S. that a filled with gorgeous colors.  How about when the blue bonnets bloom in Texas, or the lavender in Oregan, if you like more earthy about the Painted Dessert.  Rainbow Row in Charleston is another colorful grand lady. 
3. "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." Jack Canfield In general, would you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?  There is a good bit of truth to that....but the word "everything" tends to make me hesitate.  I truly want for nothing.  I can truly say, "It is Well With My Soul."  I have everything I could ever how can I fear something that does not exist.4. Imagine you're stranded on a desert island and dessert appears...what do you hope it is? Do you ever struggle to remember which spelling is desert and which is dessert?
Bread pudding with either praline sauce, hard sauce, or a wonderfully tart lemon curd.
Joyce and I must have had the same teacher when we were in school.  I also learned the sweet as sugar trick and never have a problem remembering which is which. 
5.  What song almost always makes you cry?  I am with Joyce again.  I can hear The Star Spangled Banner, sung as it should be...and well....and cry like a baby.  . The same is true of a beautiful rendition of It Is Well With My Soul,  The Dance by Garth Brooks, The Christmas Shoes song, Christmas Carol (about the little orphaned girl),  I'll Be Home for Christmas by Rascal Flatts, Lee Greenwood's God Bless The U.S.A, ...oh and Angel by Sarah McLaughlin....especially if they show puppies and kitties.....yep, you can say I am a sap.
6.  January is National Soup Month.  Everything from soup to nuts, in the soup, thick as pea soup, souped up...which saying most recently applies to your life in some way? Explain.
Thick as pea soup right now....I have driven to school just about every morning in thick fog.
7. Write a two word note to your younger self. What does it say.
Keep Striving!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.  My brother was born on January 21st in 1957.  He died on January 5th in 1663.  Next year he would be 60.  I don't usually dwell on these kinds of facts....but for some reason this year they seem to be popping up in conversations everywhere.  It is kind of weird.  Do things like that ever happen to you?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)


About The Book:  Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”  Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.  Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.  When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.  As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.
About The Author:  USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater InnRosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks
My Thoughts On The Book:  I am a huge fan of Colleen Coble and this book did not disappoint.  I loved it!  It is one of those that grabs you from the very beginning and does not let you go until the last word on the last page.  I could not put it down.  The story line is filled with nail-biting suspense, mystery with a dab of romance.  It was a thriller and such a pleasure to read a clean book without  violence, sex, and foul language.  I gave this to one of my church teens to read and she loved it too. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from  Net Galley, and Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Good, The Bad, and the Grace of God

About The Book:  This is a very moving story of redemption and second chances.  Jep Robertson, the youngest son of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and his wife, Jessica, open up about their personal trials, their early years together, and the challenges that might have destroyed them both had the grace of God not intervened. Jep describes being molested as a child and his reluctance to tell anyone until only a few years ago, his downward spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, and the eventual intervention of his family. Jessica shares about the difficult failure of her first marriage while still a teenager and the hurt that came along with it, much of it from the church. Her insecurities spun out of control as she wondered whether she would ever be good enough or pretty enough. This book is their love story but, more importantly, their love story for God.  “We are desperate to let people know that no matter what you’ve done; no matter what you’ve lived through, you can come out of it. You can be washed clean. You are redeemed."
About the Authors:  Jep Robertson first met Jessica in 2001 and they were married within two weeks of announcing their engagement. Jules Jeptha “Jep” Robertson is the youngest son of Phil and Kay Robertson from A&E’s hit series Duck Dynasty. Jessica grew up hunting with her father on the weekends in the woods of Louisiana and previously worked as a licensed real estate agent. Jep and Jessica are proud parents of 4 children: Lily, Merritt, Priscilla, and River. 
Susy Flory is a New York Times best selling author who grew up on the back of a quarter horse in Northern California. She took degrees from UCLA in English and psychology, and has a background in journalism, education, and communications. Susy was recently named director of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference.  She first started writing at the Newhall Signal with the legendary Scotty Newhall, an ex-editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a one-legged cigar-smoking curmudgeon who ruled the newsroom from behind a dented metal desk where he pounded out stories on an Underwood Typewriter. She taught high school English and journalism, then quit in 2004 to write full time for publications such as Focus on the Family, Guideposts Books, In Touch, Praise & Coffee, Today's Christian, and Today's Christian Woman.  Susy is the author or co-author of ten books, including So Long Status Quo: What I Learned From the Women Who Changed the World, as well as the much-anticipated 2011 memoir she co-wrote with blind 9-11 survivor Michael Hingson, called Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero. Thunder Dog was a runaway bestseller and spent over a dozen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.  Susy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband. She has two grown children, a bratty terrier named Sprinkles, and a crazy ex-racehorse named Stetson. She also consults for Lightside Games, and directs the West Coast Christian Writers Conference.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I loved this book!  I was not a fan of the show when it started and even after watching it a few times I was not impressed....but then I began seeing the spiritual side of this family and was hooked.  This book is a quick read and full of  wonderful spiritual insights of this powerful family and the grace they have received.  Just because they have found monetary success in life the book shares a side you don't always see on television.  They have done spiritual warfare often and the book is so open and honest that I could not put it down.  If you are not a fan of the will be after reading this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from  BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hey! God, Was That You?

About The Book:  In Hey! God, Was That You? author Ron Gluck, bush pilot and international relations liaison, glances back in time anecdotally revisiting flying, language gems, and conversation slices occurring from 1963 to 2007 in Papua New Guinea; Cameroon, Washington, D.C.; and New York City. In this memoir, he narrates how he flew five thousand accident free hours mostly in single engine planes over uncharted mountainous terrain of Papua New Guinea and later in Cameroon; a safety he attributes to God's grace and to quality aircraft maintenance by fellow Jaars specialists. The incidents Gluck reveals are central to events that took place but were never scrutinized. Dismissed as coincidences at the time, these events were accepted just as ; how things worked out.   In his review, Gluck highlights the workings of God in his life as a pilot and life in general. Hey! God, Was That You? asks, is not the living God, maker of heaven and earth, still involved in weather, ideas, timing, and answering prayers?
About The Author:  Ron Gluck, a JAARS pilot, flew five thousand hours transporting linguists into remote areas of Papua New Guinea, and Cameroon between 1965 and 1981. At eighty-one, he reflects on more than forty-four years of unforgettable flight and international liaison coincidences. He and his wife, Ruth, live in Arlington, Virginia.
My Thoughts On The Book:  I enjoyed the book a great deal.  I got it while I was out for Christmas vacation and it was a nice read to sit down and read a short story or two at each sitting.  The fact that the stories could be read, put down, picked up, and read some more was what drew me to the book.  The problem was....once I started reading the stories I could not put the book down and was disappointed when I read the final page.   I could hardly stop reading it but on the other hand I did not want the book come to an end. I guess it was a good thing it rained throughout my vacation so I could sit and enjoy this book! 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from  BookLook Bloggers and West Bow Press as part of their Blogging Review program.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year Hodge Podge

Happy New Year! The Hodgepodge is back and I'm glad you are too. If you've answered this week's questions add your link by clicking here and going to Joyce's blog.  I hope you will join the party. Please visit the blogger who links before you since that's the neighborly thing to do. Here we go-
1.  Are you ready for new? Is 2016 likely to be very different than 2015? Do you want it to be?
I love the concept of the New Year.  It is fresh and pristine.  It is a chance for me to make things right and change things I did not like about last year.  I love it!  I hope it is different...and I am hoping and praying it is.   On New Years Day I was handed 365 clean pages to fill out....I hope it is a best seller!
2.  January 6th is National Technology Day. Currently, what is your single biggest struggle or frustration when it comes to technology?  Currently? The Internet at the house is somewhat intermittent. Many days I log onto the computer and get a message saying I'm not connected. Grrr... I have to refresh it a few times and eventually it connects. The wireless printer has to be shut down and rebooted every time I want to print because of this irregularity, and it affects our phone, tv, tablets....all of it!   The struggle is real, but a very first world problem.  I actually have two frustrations.  It is not bad enough that I live so far back in the woods that I have these problems at home....I teach!  I teach at a rural school with limited technology.  Many of my lesson plans I used at BRHS are designed for classes where each student had access to an I-Pad.  Here...if they have smart phones I am lucky.  We want our students to be able to compete with other schools in the real world....but how can they without the technology to compete.
3.  It's that time again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or general uselessness) in 2016.  You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-  So (at the start of every single sentence), conversation (as in hotly debated topics where we're invited to 'join the conversation'), problematic, stakeholder, price point, secret sauce, break the Internet, walk it back, presser, manspreading (common in larger cities where some men take up the entire bus or train seat by sitting wide), vape, giving me life (refers to anything that may excite a person or make them laugh), and physicality  Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?  None of the words listed bother me too the point of wanting them banished. Break the Internet I could do without....because it usually has to do with the Khardashians...or Bruce/Caitlin Jenner.  If I lived another hundred years I could do without either of them.  What word would I add to the list? Honestly, I can't think of the first one right now.
4.  Share one of your current health related goals.  Manage my diabetes better.
5.  Let's talk fifty shades of gray. As in the color. Gray is currently a popular color in home decor, pain, wardrobes, wedding party attire, and more. Are you a fan? Do you have the color in some variation in your home or wardrobe? Gray hair, the old gray mare, gray matter, gray area...which gray idiom can you most relate to right now?  I like gray. I think the color can be too sterile and cold and needs another color to give it life.  I wear a good bit of gray as a complement color to navy, black, etc.  I have a couple of gray areas in my life right now....and my hair is pretty white.
6.  Certain foods are considered 'lucky' if eaten on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.  Cooked greens to bring economic fortune, black-eyed peas or lentils also symbolize money, pork which symbolizes progress, fish for good luck, and if you're in Spain 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight.  Did you eat any lucky foods on the first day of the year? Is that a tradition in your home? Of the foods listed, which most appeals to you?  My mother insisted on peas, pork, and greens for New Years day.  It is a custom I still follow.  I actually like them so it is not a big deal to eat them on New Years Day. 
7.  What's the single biggest time waster in your life and what, if anything, will  you do about it this year?  TV.  Plain and simple.  I don't always WATCH it....sometimes it is just on for white noise....but I have stopped being productive when a Hallmark Movie I want to see comes on....even if I have seen it a bazillion times.  I plan this year to watch my TV consumption.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I actually have two and can't choose today so I am going to bore you with both.   Did you make Gingerbread Houses over the holiday.  I do not....but a friend of mine did with her grandchildren.  They iced the walls together and the kids went to bed....during the night my friend her a sound in the kitchen and when she went in....the walls of all four of the houses were laying on the ground broken.  That is my luck.  Do you make those cute iced Christmas cookies?  What recipe do you use?  Soft or hard?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Black Eyed Peas and New Years

What will you be eating on New Years Day?  I live in the South and tradition has it that you eat black eyed peas, collards, and pork.  I have done this all my life.  My mom gave in and let me eat turnip greens instead of collards and she would always make pork chops, or ribs, or even cook a ham.   This morning I watched the Today show and they talked about food traditions and why we eat what we eat on New Years.  I never thought about it before but their story was very interesting.  We eat:  1. Pork -  It seems the expression "high on the hog" refers to the choice cuts of pork, those from the loin, shoulder and upper leg, long reserved for the elite. The "low on the hog" cuts like belly, trotters and offal were left for poor folk. Not so today—it's all good for all folks! So naturally, pork, with its rich, delicious fattiness has come to symbolize wealth and prosperity. With so many options, sausage, ribs, bacon, ham, suckling pig...etc there's no reason not to be in "hog heaven" for at least one day.   We are not Italian, but I had several Italian friends and they ate 2. Lentils  - It seems lentils on New Year's for wealth and prosperity because the flat legumes were believed to resemble Roman coins. They're traditionally served with—you guessed it—pork—this time in the form of a huge sausage called cotechino that simmers with the lentils. I guess this would be the Italian version of Black Eyed Peas.  My Japanese friends eat 3. Soba Noodles - In Japan, they signify long life, but only if you eat them without breaking or chewing them. Slurp these long noodles in one piece for a good long life, or at the very least, a very tasty meal.   Now for the traditions I know.  In the south number 4. Black-Eyed Peas are a must. There are several different thoughts on why black-eyed peas have come to symbolize good luck. In America, the prevailing folklore dates back to the Civil War era, when black-eyed peas, also known as field peas, were used to feed grazing cattle. During the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi in the late spring of 1863, the town was cut off from all food supplies for nearly two months. The people were close to starvation and resorted to eating the crops previously reserved for feeding their livestock. If it weren't for the lowly "cowpeas" (as they're also known) many people wouldn't have survived. Lucky or resourceful, those folks created one tasty tradition! Sometimes my mom would make a stew with them and put in some sausage.  The other thing you will find on a southern table at New Years would be 5. Greens Greens...greenbacks...moola? Makes sense. Leafy greens resemble folded paper money symbolizing wealth and prosperity. Pair them with black-eyed peas and ham for a truly Southern New Year's tradition (both high on the luck spectrum) and triple your luck for the year. So, what do you and your family eat on New Year's Day?  Whatever you do I wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Years!