Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Minute Friday: "Choose"

Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday for the prompts.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV) - This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Choosing life is sometimes difficult, though I know it is the best thing.  Some mornings I get up and ask myself how I can choose to continue on when my mind screams no!  Or worse yet, when my mind is rip raring to go, but my body screams no way!  Then, I go out to the store or wherever and I hear "Hey Auntie!" and one of my friends from Celebrate Recovery (CR) is flagging me down.  I remember that my daily choices don't just affect me, but those around me.
Celebrate Recovery principle 8 says "Yield myself to God to used to bring this good news to others, both by my example and by my words.  'Happy are those who persecuted because they do what God requires (Matthew 5:10).'"  My talking a good game about my choices isn't going to cut it.  I must make the choice to "do the next right thing" for myself, as well as for my fellow struggler.
I'm giving my testimony at CR the end of March and I'm so tempted to ask to move it back a couple of months because I'm not at the weight I want to be.  My thought is ...
TIMES UP (but I'm going to finish this!)
My thought is "hey, I've got a month to burn off x number of pounds."  No, no, no!  My testimony is not how I faked my way to recovery, but how I'm truly working the recovery principles by continuing to get up when I fall down.  The fact that I'm still fighting is testimony enough.  Choosing not to give up is the best choice I can make right now.  Like my friend Mikki says, "If you throw in the towel now, you'll only have more laundry to do."  She ain't lyin!

Titters from the Twitter (and Other Places): February 2014

This month's titters from the Twitter (and other places).  Enjoy.

02/02:  From Twitter - @bgrhubarb tweeted:  "Ex-TSA employee claims agents routinely laughed at naked X-rays of passengers. I'd laugh at my X-ray too, just sayin."

02/03:  From Twitter - @bgrhubarb tweeted: 

Embedded image permalink

02/05:  From Twitter:  @DrHenryCloud tweeted:  "My 13 yr old daughter said she has been reading some great quotes by a guy named Anonymous. .....really good stuff."

02/06:  From YouTube:  Henry Cho on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.


02/09:  From Twitter:  @JonAcuff tweeted:  Autocorrect just changed "nice" to "nibs" on me. I think I'm going to start using that instead of epic. "How was the concert?" "Nibs."
02/10: From Twitter:  @JonAcuff tweeted:  I wish just one Olympic alpine skier would scream the entire way down the mountain. Just "NO! NO! NO! HELP ME!!!!" the whole time.
02/12:  From Twitter:  @bgrhubarb tweeted:  A giraffe is like a periscope made of horse.
02/15:  From Twitter:  @VeryShortStory tweeted:  "It was over. I'd felt powerful, sexy and loved. Now, an empty plate sat where the chocolate cake had been. The loneliness crept back in."
02/15:  From Facebook:  C.Looney shared:  "Ok,  just crushed a whole row of thin mints. not feeling guilty at all."
02/16:  From Facebook:  E.Renfroe shared:  "Did I really just see a post where someone noticed that her Greek yogurt contained milk? Yes, I did. Oh, my goodness gracious."
02/16:  From Instagram:  JonAcuff posted:
Unless you own a restaurant, if your mayonnaise comes with a handle you have a problem.
 02/18:  From Twitter:  @JonAcuff tweeted:  "We loved the crazy things you said on Twitter. You're like a curse-filled piƱata. You're hired!" Said no employer ever.
02/19: From Twitter:  @HonestToddler tweeted:  Toddler Tip: One simple way to help parents around the house is to trip them with your body.  Teaches reflexes. 
02/19: From Twitter:  @JeffBryanDavis tweeted: I need a recording studio in my shower. I just laid down a rap about underwear that might actually have been important.
02/21: From Twitter:  @sdmadd1 tweeted:   "Being on social media is like talking to yourself hoping someone will step in and stop the madness." 
02/21:  From Twitter:  @bridger_w  tweeted:  Just went to pick up a paper clip but accidentally picked up two paper clips. Sometimes I don't know my own strength.
02/21: From a Google search when I was looking for something else:
Embedded image permalink
02/28:  From Twitter:  @bgrhubarb tweeted: I'm amazed sheeps' clothing is even made in wolf sizes. That's just asking for trouble. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sticks and Stones: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Go on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge questions.

What is something you'll never forget about the age you are right now?
I don't think I'll ever forget how terribly lonely this age is.  For me, it's almost like being a teenager all over again;  all my peers advancing and going on with greatness and me working hard and hoping for the best, but seeming to be sitting still getting more and more behind every day.  I don't think there's going to be another marching band rescue this time.
What's a household chore you've never done? How have you managed that???
I don't know of any cleaning chore that I've never done.  I've either done them in my own living quarters or for someone else.
Does nature shape our personalities more than nurture? Explain?
It depends.  A person who grows up in a more nurtured environment will be shaped by that experience.  Those of us who weren't so nurtured have to be influenced by nature.  We sometimes have to be mentored by an outside source to fill the gaps in our lives.  It's up to us to be sure to choose good role models to follow.
Friday (February 28th) is 'Something on a Stick Day'...funny because Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens recently sent me an idea for a question relating to this topic. What's your favorite food eaten on a stick?
Dum-Dum suckers.  Butterscotch is my favorite flavor. 
Which of your five senses do you treasure most, and why?
I treasure them all, but I guess touch would be my most treasured sense.  I'm a very tactile person and like to work with my hands.  There's ways of adapting to not being able to see or hear well, but there's no substitute for touch.
What's the best music, theatre, or sporting venue you've been to? What made it great?
I've not yet been to any fancy venues for any of that.  But, I did go to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival when I was a senior in high school.  We saw the play Macbeth.  It was great!  I also played in an exhibition in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida with the Marching Southerners my freshman year of college.  A stadium full of people who actually understand and appreciate marching band is priceless.
It's the last week of the five words or less bid adieu to your February.
Good riddance!
Insert your own random thought here.
Still plugging away.  Still hoping for the best.  Still horrified at my terrible example.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tower of Babel: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Go on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge questions.

What's the biggest change since your childhood in the way people think or act?
I was going to say that people are meaner than they were when I was a child, but that's not true.  It's just that people now have more avenues to be hateful and bully people.  All the various sources of social media and electronic communication are wonderful, but they can also be dangerously destructive in the hands of certain people.
The Olympic Biathlon involves cross country skiing broken up with either two or four rounds of target shooting. Which part of that would stress you out more? Or would you love them both equally?
I've never done either one, but I think the shooting would stress me out the most because it has to be so exact.  I would be one of those people who miss the target and have to ski extra laps.  I think I would like to learn to ski and to shoot.
February is National Canned Food Month...what is your most often purchased canned food item?  What was in the last can you opened?
I buy sliced black olives in a can all the time.  I put them in omelets and salads.
What river (anywhere in the world) would you most like to cruise?
I think I'd like to get on a river boat, cruise the Mississippi, sip iced tea, and read Mark Twain novels.
It's the middle of the night and you can't sleep...what do you do? Count sheep? Toss and turn? Watch television? Or do you get up and do something productive?
I don't count sheep.  If I'm really tired and just can't sleep, I'll just lie there and think about stuff until I can sleep.  If I'm tired, but not sleepy, I'll read, crochet, or watch something on the internet until I get sleepy.  If I'm wide awake, I get up and find something to do to make myself useful.
How important is keeping your cool?
I think I've kept my cool for too long and let people run all over me.  I do, however, think there's a way for me to express myself without being hateful or too crude.
I've got white stuff on the brain so why not run with it? White lie, wave the white flag, white knuckle it, white wash a situation, or white as a sheet...which phrase could most recently apply to your own life in some way?
I'm white knuckling some things so that I don't give up and wave the white flag.
Insert your own random thought here.

I'm taking a slow, leisurely journey through the Bible that may take several years.  Genesis 11:1-9 brought out something new--new to me anyway.

This passage really speaks to the power of unity.  I'm sure God did a facepalm when the people used that unifying force to do something selfish.  "Hey, let's make us a name so that we won't be scattered upon the earth."  So God confused their language and they ended up scattering upon the earth.

This passage also spoke to me about fear.  I think the people were scared of the unknown and wanted to stick with the familiar.  So, they wanted to make themselves great right where they were.  The tower is kind of like a hoarder's cocoon of junk that's supposed to keep them safe and secure.

What are my fears?  What is my "tower of Babel"?  Where am I trying to "make me a name" so I don't have to venture out of my comfort zone?

Of course, failure is a big one.  But isn't living a life afraid to move forward also a sign of failure?  I read somewhere this week that there are two kinds of people in the world:  those who are overcome by life and those who overcome and succeed.  Of course, you had to buy their book to find out how to be an overcomer.  No thank you, I have enough books.  I will find my answers elsewhere.

It's not simply failure though.  It's the prospect of failing alone.  I read in one of John C. Maxwell's books (I think it was Failing Forward) that at the beginning of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the work was falling behind and that many of the workers fell and were injured or killed.  Finally some genius figured out that they needed a safety net.  After the net was erected, the work sped to ahead of schedule and there were fewer falls and injuries.  Everyone needs a safety net in life.  Where is the "safety net" for those who must go at it alone?  I guess I'll soon find out.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cream of the Crop: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Sunday, February 16, 2014

Outside my window … Haven't opened the shades yet.
Praising God for…  Warmer weather.
In prayer for...  the end of the winter depression.

I am thinking...
about how to change my thinking.

I am thankful...
that I have sweet friends who put up with my insanity and struggles.  They are truly ride or die friends.  May I be worthy of such love and caring.
In the kitchen...  Not sure yet.  Probably something to do with chicken.  Hey, I'm from the south and it's Sunday, it's a rule to have chicken.  :) 

I am wearing...
Black pants, colorful blouse, and black jacket.

I am creating...
 Working on a few scrap crochet projects.  Pondering over paintings to do.  Also getting ready to start a writing project.
I am going... To church and worship team practice today.  Tomorrow?  Hopefully out on the Ladiga Trail to bike with my friend Tamara.  I have a doctor's appointment Tuesday.  Other than that, same old, same old.  Actually, I hope not same old, same old.
I am wondering... about how to increase my energy level.

I am reading...
My goal is to finish the book Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud this week and start a new book.

I am hoping...
that this season is not forever.

I am looking forward to...
total health.
I am learning
… that laptop keyboards are crap.  For the second time in less than a year, I'm going to have to replace my keyboard.  For some reason, indiscriminate keys just stop working. Got to find my buddy Chris to see if he can order me a new one.  For now, I'm got an auxiliary keyboard attached to the laptop.  In essence, turning my laptop into a desktop computer, temporarily.

Around the house...
cleaning.  Getting myself ready for the week.
I am pondering...  How to be heard without being a jerk about it.  You think I say some stuff; you'd be horrified if you knew all the stuff I didn't say. I'm really not wanting to turn into the bitter old spinster will 99 cats.  Ugh!
A favorite quote for today... One serious, one (or two) silly.

"When people are hurting, they need simple truth, not simplistic truth. It’s not enough to tell someone to pray, read the Bible, or go to church. You have to help them know how to make changes in their lives." - Pastor Rick Warren

"Poppycock: I think you can get that from eating too much kale." - Craig Ferguson

"We ain't rude in the South. We're polite and punctual and forgiving. And we smell a little bit like vanilla." - Wavy Rancheros

One of my favorite things... Pickup trucks.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Continue to job hunt, finish up projects, and hopefully leave the cave as much as possible.  Last week was so cold that staying inside was best.

A peek into my day...  I've heard the phrase "elite weekend" thrown around a lot by my internet tribe.  Their little darlings are going to their dances this weekend.  I thought I was making unnecessary assumptions about what that meant until I looked up the definition of elite:  "the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons."   Really?  Telling your kid that they are better than everyone else is to be celebrated?  Kind of gives the middle finger salute to the "non-elites" doesn't it?  Geez!  What a lovely image to present to our children.  "No children, don't work hard and study hard, your good looks will get you everything you want."  Double Geez!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday: "Garden"

Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday for the prompts.
I love to garden.  Flower gardens are my favorite, but I have been known to grow a tomato or two.  I heard someone say that there was something worshipful about gardening.  It can be.  I'm out there in God's creation, on my knees, feeling the warmth of the soil in my fingers and the steady breeze of nourishing fresh air.  Gardening is when I can be truly quiet and listen--sometimes to the sounds of nature around me, and sometimes to my mp3 player, and sometimes to the very heart of God.
I miss gardening.  The rules of where I live have made it impossible to do the kind of gardening I used to.  One of my dreams is owning my own house so that I can have my flower beds and vegetable plots just the way I want them.  I may rebel a little a set up a container garden:  No rules against that...yet.
I think community gardens are an awesome idea.  I hope to participate in one of those some day.
My favorite flowers to grow are roses and sunflowers.  Roses, I think, are the most beautiful flower God ever created.  Sunflowers are the happiest and their bright color and yummy seeds attract the most beautiful birds.
POSTLUDE:  When I saw the prompt, this song came to my mind:
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I'd stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I know this post is supposed to be about gardens, but I must share my heart right now.  The last time I shared at Celebrate Recovery, I told the crowd that alone was a state of being--you're either alone or you're not, but lonely was a state of mind--a person can be lonely in a room full of people.  It's a very sad and all too familiar place to be.
This hymn is a beautiful reminder of times past when I would seek to be alone and enjoy the beauty around me and the presence of the Lord.  I'm fearing that those times are no more until I am in heaven with the Lord--no pressures, no distractions, no constant reminders of what I am not and should be, no constant nagging of depression and failure; just me and Jesus.  I'm sure that in His presence, I will have a lifetime of apologizing to do, but He will still love and forgive me.  He will still want that alone time with me.

#81: Table, Plate, Chair [101 in 1001]

I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting on my mom when something on the video monitor caught my eye--a rarity.  Normally I ignore this type of thing because it aggravates me.  Many times, the videos on these monitors are a hypochondriac's dream.  By the time you've watched the third round of "do you have these symptoms?" you think you have everything.  The one at my mom's optometrist is the worst--if you're not blind when you come in the office, you will think you're going blind by the time you leave (thank the Lord for mp3 players, books, and crochet hooks). But I digress.

What I saw was actually something positive.  It was called the "Table, Plate, Chair Challenge."  It offered a challenge to the viewer for a set amount of time to eat all their meals at the table, off a plate, sitting in a chair.  Not eating in the car, standing over the sink, in front of the TV, or grazing indiscriminately.

What's the big deal about sitting down at the table for a meal?  For families, those who take the time for at least one daily sit down meal at home are said to have better family dynamics (provided everyone is not on a cell phone or electronic device, or the TVs not basting out it's daily dose of heartburn and bad news in the background). 

I am comforted at the vision of a family sitting around the table--not even a fancy table--eating a meal (again, it doesn't have to be fancy), talking, laughing, sharing, praying, and/or engaging in friendly debate or banter.  I am horrified when I see a daily meal turned into a battleground or a dark hole in which to be barely seen and never heard, instead of a tranquil bright spot of connection.

For those of us who eat alone, it can be much worse.  Many of us (meaning me) do not look forward to eating alone.  Meals have become a necessary evil...a task to be endured.  For the emotional eater/food addict (again meaning me), meals are a torture chamber full of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" menu choices.  But I thought hey, why not?  Maybe it will change something.  So, I took up the challenge.  I set my kitchen table up with a red tablecloth and ate all my meals and most of my snacks there for a week.

Day one was the hardest day.  I've always heard that one should eat slowly because it takes 20 minutes to perceive that the stomach is full.  So, I set a timer and tucked in.  Y'all, when I'm eating alone with no one to talk to, no internet, no book to read, no nothing, twenty minutes is a LONG time to stretch a simple meal.  I tried praying while I ate, but that didn't feel right.  Praying and being thankful before a meal was more natural.  I figure that during meals, God turns His head and just hopes for the best.  Makes me wonder what my friends see when we eat together. Must be a hideous sight.

The rest of the week was a little better because I stopped using the timer and at least let my laptop talk to me; less lonely and my meals took between 10 and 15 minutes.  I couldn't wait for the rest of the week to be over.

So what did I learn from this experience?  I learned that if I had a family, I would insist on sit down meals.  I would encourage your family to do the same if you are not already doing so.  I think sit down meals go a long way in keeping a family connected.  I also learned that it is better for me to always eat my meals at the table than any other way, painful though it may be.

I don't know why I did this challenge around Valentine's day.  It seems to cement the lonely factor.  Not smart, not smart at all.  But it over and done with.

Dear Families:  If this is what meal times look like...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Love to Love: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Go on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge questions.

What makes love last?
I have no idea.  I've never been in a serious relationship, so I wouldn't know.  I don't even know how to make loving friendships and family relationships last.
The Beatles made their US debut fifty years ago this week. Are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite Beatles tune?
I've never been a big Beatles fan (no, I'm not in Al Queda).  The Monkees have always been my favorite.  Better music, better looking band members (Mike is my favorite), and, of course, a great TV show.  Here's a couple of my favorite Monkees songs:

Valentine's Day-your thoughts? Do you celebrate in any way? Do anything special for the people you love? Expect anything special from the people who love you?
Valentine's day is a reminder of another area of my life that isn't good enough; no boyfriend, no husband, not even a classroom full of babies to celebrate with anymore.  I hate it.  I will not be celebrating at all.  I'll probably stay in bed with the shades drawn so I don't have to face another reminder of what I am not.  I might go to Celebrate Recovery and wear something red.
Steak or have to choose. Now that that's settled, how do you like it?
Burger.  I don't know how to pick a good steak; I don't eat them often enough.  The perfect burger has cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, minimal pickles and onions, ketchup and mustard, and a good bun (not a soggy one).  The best burgers are the ones I make myself.  Sonic and Jack's make the best fast food burger, in my opinion.  Man, now I'm hungry for a burger.
The Hodgepodge lands on the birthdate (February 12th) of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America. Lincoln is quoted as saying, 'Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test his character give him power.'  Do you agree? Why or why not?
It's true.  Power, like money and fame, reveals who a person really is.  Power, money, and fame are like a guitar amplifier; they don't create sound, they merely amplify the trueness of the instrument.  Does that mean those things are bad?  Not at all.  It just means it's better for power to be given to people of character.  I think we've seen what power in the wrong hands looks like.
Honest Abe's image is featured on the US penny (1 cent coin) so I'm wondering...what do you do with your pennies (or your country's equivalent)?  It's been suggested the US stop making the penny, and two bills have been introduced proposing just that, but neither were approved. What say you?
I roll my pennies and spend them.  Getting rid of the penny is a stupid idea.  Rounding everything up to the nearest 5 cents is stupid.  Sometimes pennies are the bridge between me and a full tank of gas.
Do you think pop culture deserves serious study?
Yes, it reveals where our society as a whole is going.  Do I think it needs to be a degree program at my favorite universities?  No.
Insert your own random thought here.
This Monkees song describes my Valentine's day plans perfectly:


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wide World of Sports: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Go on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge questions.

Are we always responsible for our actions? Are there any exceptions?
Yes we are responsible for our actions, but we also all need grace.
Has anyone from your home town become famous?
No one I know of actually from our town, but several famous people attended Jacksonville State University.  Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1995,  Randy Owen from the Country Music group Alabama, and author Rick Bragg.
January was National Slow Cooker month. Do you own a slow cooker/crock pot? Did you use it last month? What's a favorite dish you make using a slow cooker or crock pot?
Yes, I have a Crock Pot with the removable stoneware.  It's so much easier to clean that way.  I have a couple of chicken dishes I like to make, plus a good chunky vegetable soup.  I made chili in mine last week.
How do you feel about private companies collecting data about you?
Quite honestly, I find it scummy.  Besides, what are they going to do with it?
The Games of the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off with their opening ceremony this coming Friday....will you be watching? Which Winter Olympic event would you most like to see in person? Have you ever been to Russia? Any desire to go, Olympics or otherwise?
Nope, will not be watching.  I'm not really interested in the games anymore.  I love to watch figure skating when I was a kid, but now, the games just don't have any appeal to me.  Now, the start of major league baseball season, there's a different story.
Share a good or bad sports related memory from your childhood or teen years.
All of my good sports memories as a child revolve around playing snare drum at halftime during football season.  The bad ones revolve around P.E.  Hopefully, as I get continue to get my health in order, I'll make the good memories even better and the bad ones a distant memory I can laugh at someday.
What's a must have song for you on a work out play list? If you don't work out, run, swim, bike, walk, or anything else that could be construed as 'exercise', then what's a song that motivates you to at least get up off the couch?

Oh man, don't get me started!  On second thought, DO get me started:

Ignition by Toby Mac:  I scare people at the gym when this one comes on.
 2 Legit 2 Quit by MC Hammer helps me keep going.
Scottish Rite Temple Stomp by Craig Ferguson. I love running to this song.

Insert your own random thought here.
Got out on the bike trail a couple of days this week.  Did 13 miles yesterday and 12 today.  Now, they are predicting snow for this week.  Did I mention I live in ALABAMA?!  Snow? Again? Really?

A quiet respite spot just off the main trail.