Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Keep on Truckin': The Weekly Hodgepodge

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

"Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon." - Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.
Personally, I don't agree.  In the future, I plan to have much better memories of summer than I ever had in childhood.  When I was kid, I loved being outside riding bikes, roller skating, and playing on the playground.
Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix, etc? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this?  Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?
I'm not a fan of auto racing at all. To me, it's as boring as golf to watch people drive in a circle for hours. People keep telling me that if I'd go to a race, I'd feel differently.  I doubt it.  I'd probably get a lot of crocheting done during the race though.
I know a little bit about cars.  I can usually figure out (in general) what's wrong with a car, but have no idea how to fix anything.  I even need my mechanic or the guy/girl at the auto parts store to put on wiper blades for me (which reminds me, I need a new one on the passenger side).  It's kind of like my deal with computers:  I'm great with software, but opening up the shell of a computer to replace something?  You might as well be asking me to perform brain surgery. 
When I'm out, I'm always on the lookout for red pickup trucks.  It's my dream to own a midsized red pickup; either a Ford or Chevrolet, automatic, with a black bedliner, leather interior, tilt steering, awesome stereo, and a horn that plays "Dixie."  My friend, Tony (who is Caucasian--fyi), said that when I do get one, I'll probably be pulled over for stealing some redneck white boy's truck.  
What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or do you think anything and everything is fair game?
It depends.  I'm a comedian by nature and love to laugh and make others laugh.  However, there's a big difference between a good joke or healthy sarcasm, and degrading or embarrassing someone to harm them.  Words hurt, so I think life in general is fair game, but the motive behind it needs to be checked.
July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?
Well-made lasagna is very good.  I've had some skanky, undercooked, overcooked, and watery lasagnas before (gag!)  I used to have a great recipe for vegetable lasagna, but I lost it in a computer crash.   
I like spaghetti more than lasagna.  Spaghetti is more versatile.
What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?
Internet access, reading books, and holding babies.
If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?
Hobby Lobby of course.  I believe in their products, business philosophy, and moral stance.  I do not, however, believe in their hiring practice of turning down applicants who know about crafts and can actually help customers in favor of numb sculls who don't know their butt from a hole in the ground. 
August is just around the farewell to July in exactly seven words.
Thirty-two days until I hear Roll Tide!
Insert your own random thought here.
Sometimes, I wish that I didn't have to be the good girl all the time. No, I'm not talking about throwing away my morals or spiritual convictions.  I just wish that I could be more thick skinned and hard nosed and less tender hearted, sensitive, and compliant.  I might get along better in life if I did.  Sure, I'd be just as lonely, but I'd have more and be able to do more. Then the loneliness wouldn't matter so much. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tacky: 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, July 28, 2014

Outside my window … The beautiful hot sky of an afternoon wasted in bed.

Praising God for…  Pastor's good sermon this morning. 
In prayer for...  The church's financial project for an orphanage in Honduras.  We send a medical mission team there every summer.  This year, they showed photos from a visit to an orphanage.  The church is gathering funds to buy needed supplies like diapers and baby formula.  Our willingness to help this place made me want to go to Honduras with the team next year if at all possible.

I am thinking... about one of the songs we played at church this morning:

I am thankful... for the chance to sit with our drummer and guitar player and just powwow.  Our worship team and choir needs more fellowships social gatherings.  We really get to know each other and grow as a family that way.
In the kitchen...  Leftovers.

I am wearing... Shorts and a tank top.

I am creating...
 Christmas ornaments for my Christmas in July sale, a painting, a couple of WIP's.
I am going... Last night my plans for today were to go to church, to the gym, to worship team practice then for a much needed bike ride.  I got up this morning feeling horrible, but I did make it through church.  I went home, and I've been in bed ever since.  No workouts, no practice, no bike ride.  I'm so aggravated at myself I could cuss.
I am wondering... about why I'm not feeling well again.
I am reading... I'm still reading the book So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore, plus I'm reading some fitness magazines a friend gave me.

I am hoping...
for a better week, for some guidance on this inner turmoil I've been dealing with, for my Friday speaking gig at Celebrate Recovery to go well, for more craft sales.

I am looking forward to...
total health--inside and out.
I am learning
… that though remembering the past helps me deal with now, it's a very painful, sometimes debilitating process.  I wish I had more good things to remember than bad ones, but I made this mess; I have to live with the results of it.

Around the house... Resting for now.  Hopefully will get the front porch prettied up and the car washed this week.
I am pondering...  how long I have before I totally screw up God's plan for my life.
A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things... Weird Al Yankovic's music.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   Working in the workshop, Sav-A-Life on Tuesday, Celebrate Recovery on Friday, hopefully finishing the Beth Moore book and starting a new book. 

A peek into my day...  I'm in bed, so I don't think you want to see that.  I look and feel a hot mess!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#86: Remembering Big Daddy [101 in 1001]

Today, Anniston Runners Club had its annual remembrance run.  It's the final Saturday training run before the Woodstock 5k.  I've been going to these training runs since June.  I've not written about the training runs because they weren't worth mentioning since compared to last year,  my 5k times are horrible.  Anyway, the point of the remembrance run is to honor the memory of a deceased loved one, or to pay tribute to someone of influence. 

I chose my father, M. L. Maddox. The neighborhood called him Big Daddy.

My Dad & I in 1978
Daddy was born January 24, 1930.  His life of 74 years was full of hard work, 46 years of marriage to my mom, hard times, and a gaggle of offspring, of which I am the youngest (as far as we know).  Those years were also full of a lot of health problems.  Eating habits that caused heart disease and diabetes, along with a 62 year smoking habit slowly damaged his health.  On April 23, 2004, his body gave up the fight.

I saw Dad's grave the day he was buried.  My mom and siblings periodically asked me to go with them to visit the site, but I adamantly refused.  It wasn't denial; I just wanted to go alone.  Plus, Daddy didn't want us crying over him. I knew I would if I went there.  Since this was the 10 year mark of his death, visiting the burial site seemed like the right thing to do.  I started to go on Memorial Day, but I was afraid my family would be there and I didn't want to disturb their grief.  The same with Father's Day.  When the remembrance run came around, I felt like that was the right time.

I had a hard time on the Woodstock training runs.  Whether it was body pain, fatigue, water stations packing up before I could get to them, mp3 player batteries running dead, or not being able to keep up with Milford Smallwood (my 90 year old running hero and arch nemesis), I came home after every session feeling like I'd been hit by a truck with an hour plus finishing time to show for it.

Photo by Carla Willingham
Today's run was different.  From the minute I wrote "M.L. Maddox" on my race bib, I couldn't get him out of my mind.  As soon as they gave us the signal to go, I got ahead of Mr. Smallwood in the first five minutes and never looked back.  I did more running than I had all the other training runs.  I finished in 58 minutes, 40 seconds; having shaved almost 7 minutes off Thursday's run.  I hope my time is just as good, if not better at the real race next Saturday.  The triumph was bittersweet because I knew what was coming next.  After a few hugs, pictures, and snacks, I headed for the cemetery.

It's funny what kind of things stand out in one's memory.  Though I'd only been to Dad's grave once, I had no trouble finding it today--I went straight to it.  The plot of sorrow was a hard thing to see.  I know that only his bodily remains are there; his spirit rests in the arms of the Almighty.  However, seeing the grave not only caused the part of my heart that belongs to Daddy to squeeze in grief, but the guilt clamped around my neck and felt like I couldn't breathe.  It was like he died all over again.  Though the real Big Daddy wasn't in the box under the ground, I felt compelled to talk to it anyway.  I told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was for all the pain I caused the family:  all the time, money, shame, and attention that my existence cost him and mom.  I have no way of making amends to my father for it, but acknowledging it at his grave was the least I could do.  I hope that my health journey is an amends of sorts.  I'll keep working at it no matter what, so that I'll never be a sickly, damaged burden on anyone else again.  I owe my parents at least that much.  I owe the world that much more.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Double Zero: The Friday 5.

Go over to for the weekly prompts.
 This week's questions are about nothing...literally.
  1. What is something you have run out of?  Steam.  I'm having a hard time getting myself in gear to create.  I think I'm going to have to start working out in the mornings to clear my mind so the creative juices start flowing again.
  2. What is something you don’t know anything about?  There are tons of things I don't know anything about.  I would like to know more about history, travel, music, driving on the interstate, digital media, etc.  There are things I don't care if I know anything about: politics, sex, ordering at Starbucks, etc.  I never want to stop learning, but I also want to have wisdom with my knowledge.
  3. What is something that needs emptying?  My heart needs emptying of bitter feelings.  I need to empty my car of trash (it's not that bad, but I don't want it to get bad). 
  4. There are a lot of stylistic or slangy ways to say “zero.” Which are your favorite?  Nayern (my mom and dad always said that), as in "We ain't got nayern." 
  5. When did you last receive something free when you were expecting to pay for it?  My DVD drive on my laptop has wigged out and will read and write CD's but not DVD's (?!).  I thought I would have to pay for a new drive to be installed, but a friend gave me an external DVD drive she wasn't using.  For that, I am very thankful.

Five Minute Friday: "Finish."

Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday for the prompts.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:24 (King James Version)

Have you ever felt finished?  I have...many times.  I'm actually battling it right now.  Though my move was a blessing, the circumstances surrounding it were not. 
What causes us to feel finished?  Failure, lack, illness (physical or mental), loneliness, name it.  It feels as though your life is one big toilet someone keeps flushing.  That someone is usually someone more powerful than you who has more, does more, and is more.  They joyously keep jiggling the handle.
The Apostle Paul said in the Scripture passage above, that he wanted to finish his course with joy.  I would like to do the same; we all do.  They key for me is to find out how to do that.  When my earthly life ends and I stand before the Almighty, I want Him to say, "Well done, servant."  Not, "Well, you're done, servant."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another One Rides the Bus: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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

When I look at the sky I feel...
If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?
I would run for mayor of JackVegas.  Although they need to trade  their status quo gang for people who actually care about everyone in the town (not just the rich ones), I wouldn't run.  I absolutely abhor politics. 
What scent makes you think of home?
It's a toss up between roses and fried chicken.  Hey, I'm from the South, what did you expect?  :)
How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?
Constantly, and no, I don't need anymore self-reflection.
July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?
Birthday cake...well, any kind of cake for that matter.
What might your autobiography be called?
I've actually been thinking about this, so I'm not going to tell you.  Someone might take my idea.  Some alternative titles might be:
  • Don't Do it, Man: How NOT to do life.
  • Satanic Verses, Volume 2. 
  • White and Nerdy:  Being a White Girl Trapped in a Black Woman's Body.
  • See, What Had Happened Was...
  • The Papery Blog About My Life.
  • Bacon Bits:  Short Stories About My Life So Far
  • Hot Legs:  The Adventures of Calf-zilla.
Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?
I can't really answer that.  I like all the modes of transportation that I have used.  My worst trip was an overnight Greyhound bus ride from Panama City, Florida to Anniston, Alabama.  Come to think of it, most of my bad travelling experiences have been by bus.
Insert your own random thought here.

When this song came out, everybody and their grandma posted it to social media, and I refused to listen to it.  I went to a free spin class Monday and they played it.  It's great!
Of course, Weird Al does a version that's just as good, and hilarious.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some Assembly Required [Auntie's God Breezes]

Since becoming a Christ follower 28 years ago, I learned how to enjoy Sunday service.  It wasn't hard, unlike my first foray into church attendance as a preteen (Lord, help).  Whether an old hymn or one of the newest Hillsongs tunes, whether the preacher's message has me singing "Happy," or sends me to God's woodshed, corporate worship and study of the Bible draws me.

Notice I said I learned to enjoy Sunday service.  Though I love studying the Bible, plus I've been in music ministry most of my Christian life, there are still times when I just want to stay home.  Times when I'm so tired I can't pay attention...or stay awake.  Times when my voice cracks and I can't get my instrument in tune to save my life (can I go now?).  Times when I get so mad I want to cuss in church (or at least in the parking lot).  Times when I know the messages are going to depress me.  But yet, I keep showing up.  Is it simply out of duty, or is it something deeper than that?

Sunday's message got me thinking--or should I say read my mail on what I had been thinking.  Our sister campus minister, Brother Casey (message is here), asked the question "Why am I here?"  Not why am I on the earth, but why am I in church?

I know several people who say they are Christians, but don't believe attending church is necessary.  I also know people who go to church on Sunday, but during the rest of the week act like they don't know Jesus from Adam's housecat.  So what's the big deal about this church thing?  Is it really necessary, or is it simply a socioeconomic move?  Is it a crutch for the weak, or a mere religious country club for the strong?  What is it, and why is it?

First, Jesus Himself in Matthew 16:18 was the first to call the collection of believers "the church."  He was not in a building with a steeple and soft pews (or hard ones); He was hanging out at the beach with His disciples (hey, it says they were at the coasts of Caesarea Philippi).  Jesus' emphasis was not on the building, but on the people.  His message was that if the congregation of believers puts the emphasis on who Jesus is as paramount to their gathering, then "the gates of hell cannot prevail against it."  A true church gathering centered on Jesus keeps the enemy and his forces at bay.  Attacks come, but no one is left to fight alone.

Second, this world is broken and sick, and we need each other to get well and stay well.  Pastor Rick Warren in his message to the 2011 Celebrate Recovery Summit brought this out, "We always get well in community.  There are 58 'one anothers' in the New Testament...It is the mutual ministry of the Body [of Christ] to itself.  We do not get well on our own."  In other words, for us to do the "one anothers" we need to gather with "one another." In fact, one of the "one anothers" instructs on this very thing:
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 
Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)

Third, no one can feed themselves without help.  When were babies, we needed someone to bottle and spoon feed us  When we were toddlers, someone cut our food into pieces we could safely consume.  As we grew older, we could choose our own food, but someone had to grow it, manufacture it, ship it, stock it in the store, and cook it.  Even if we cook our own food, it still takes someone's help to get it to the table (thank you, farmers).

When we begin our journeys as Christ followers, we are known as "babes in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1, Hebrews 5:13).  Not only must we feed on the messages of trusted teachers who prepare spiritual meals for us, but we must also learn to feed ourselves.  "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"  Notice, I said trusted teachers.  As we grow in the Word, we get to the point where no one can just shove anything in our mouth and call it spiritual food.  Those who do not gather to learn from others are doomed to be tossed back and forth with every new thing that comes along (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Gathering together is necessary for real growth and maturity.

Look, I know that church can be a rough place sometimes and everyone's not there for the right reasons.  But life is so much rougher solo (trust me, I know).  If you are not part of a gathering, let God show you where to plug in. Hook up with people who are there for the right reasons-- a small Bible study, a prayer meeting, a local congregation's weekly service, or a Celebrate Recovery large group meeting--somewhere the truth of Jesus is shared.  A word of caution though: don't go looking for perfection.  Church is just like a family, and every family tree has its nuts and squirrels.  In the words of my home church Pastor, "Don't go looking for the perfect church because if you find it and join it, you'll mess it up." True that.

Want to hear more?  I taught a Bible study along these lines at my home church back in 2010.  The audio is here.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Thrown Down the Stairs: 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:  Monday, July 21, 2014

Outside my window … A sky that can't decide if it wants to spread rain or sunshine, and birds singing.  It's all beautiful.

Praising God for…  A new chance to get it right. 
In prayer for...  Those who don't yet know Christ, my craft business and finances, friends who are sick or injured.

I am thinking... about how to make this a good week.

I am thankful... for gifts and talents from God.
In the kitchen...  I have no idea.

I am wearing... Shorts and a t-shirt.

I am creating...
 Christmas ornaments for my Christmas in July sale, a painting, a couple of WIP's.
I am going... I've already been to Sav-A-Life.  I had a babysitting gig fall through.  I was going to the community center to work out, but I feel awful, so I came home and now I'm in bed.
I am wondering... about myself (as usual).  I'm better than this.  My God is better than this.

I am reading... I'm still reading the book So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore.  It's really good, but intense.

I am hoping...
for a better week.

I am looking forward to...
I am learning
… that I do not want to lead the way I have been led.

Around the house... Resting for now.  I have the "thrown down the stairs" feeling again. 
I am pondering...  the concepts in the book I'm reading.  I'm, of course, pondering my life and the direction it's going.  Moving out of JackVegas was one of the best decisions I've made, but now what?
A favorite quote for today... "I love the internet!! Part fantasy... Part community... And you get to pay your bills naked." - Stockard Channing

One of my favorite things... Green tea.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   Working in the workshop,

A peek into my day...  Some of the goodies I've been making in the workshop:


Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: "Bloom"

Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday for the prompts.
The first phrase/cliché that came to mind when I saw the prompt was   "Bloom where you're planted."  Unfortunately, that's not always possible. I love plants and flowers.  As you can see, I've usually got a green thumb.  Every spring, I look forward to seeing what perennials come back or need replacing, and cleaning debris out of containers for planting new annuals.  
Since I've moved, however, I've not taken much time with plants or flowers, and I've suffered for it--or I should say, my plants have suffered for it.  This was a luscious Peace Lilly brought from my old place.  But, I put it in the wrong spot and it's nearly dead. I'm going to try to rehab it.  It's been through a lot, so it might make it.
My point is this, just as no plant can simply bloom wherever it's planted, no human can either.  If a person is planted in the wrong "soil," he will not thrive.  The soil of criticism, the soil of loneliness, the soil of depression, the soil of hate--no one can thrive or bloom in this kind of dirt.  The only hope for survival of a plant is to uproot from the bad soil, wash the roots, and plant in new soil.  The tender shoot will need lots of nourishment, water, and TLC in order to spring forth new green shoots and flowers.  In order for a person to begin to thrive again, he must uproot from "bad dirt," wash the roots of his mind with God's word, and hopefully find friends who are nourishing and loving.

09/10/14 UPDATE:  The poor plant died.  It didn't have a chance.  :(

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

False Positive

I'm in the throws of a very good book; So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. I'll review it when I'm finished with it, so I'll not go into major details of the book now.  However, Moore gives many fascinating (raises Spock eyebrow here) questions to ponder.

In chapter three, she states that those of us who deal with chronic insecurity have a "false positive"-- the one thing that we believe would make us more secure in everything.  She asks the reader to ponder what that one thing might be.  You would think that question would be easy for me to answer.  But no, I've got so many potential answers that I have to see the one place they all lead.  The single road where all the others fork from is physical perfection.

When I say physical perfection, I do not merely mean ridding myself of the excess weight in order to be healthy.  I mean the whole package:  slimmer body, well kempt hair that should never see a ponytail or bun in public, teeth that never show my propensity for morning coffee, a well-hidden strabismus under better looking spectacles (think Greg Proops cool), everything always showered and shaved, painted and powdered, the works.

Why?  Why is this one the granddaddy of them all?  Because for a woman, if she has physical perfection, she wins (or at least stands a better chance of winning) at everything else:
  • Physical - of course, with the perfect physique she wins everything associated with beauty.  She gets her picture taken to represent what beauty is.  She's not cropped out of group photos because she makes the group look good.  She is "it."
  • Mental - She would acceptable even if she had any kind of depression or less than perfect behavior.  She would hear, "Oh, bless your heart, I know you're having a hard time.  What can I do for you?" instead of overhearing, "I knew her fat ugly butt was cray-cray.  Is there a way to get rid of her?  She's really making us look bad."
  • Spiritual - Churches would adore her as the "Proverbs 31" woman.  She would be asked to all the fellowships, ladies' binge watching parties, and other such connections.  She would be the one the church would be proud to call one of their own--she represents the best of the best--the cream of the crop, if you will.  After all "whatsoever things are lovely...think on these things" right?
  • Social - Her most acceptable state is married (of course, what good man could resist her beauty?) with perfect little beautiful children.  If she isn't married, this will be acceptable...for a time.  "Oh honey, we know that you are just waiting for the right one.  Remember, you DESERVE the best." 
  • Financial - Pretty girls get the best jobs (qualified or not).  They don't get passed over for promotion (again, like the church, she's a beautiful representation of our company.  Again, qualified or not).  If something goes wrong, the beautiful girl will never be ostracized for being on public assistance.  "Darlin' you've got to do what you can to take care of yourself.  You've got to keep yourself in what you're used to.  A pretty girl like you DESERVES the best."
Sounds like an awesome life to me.  If I could just get there, surely I would be totally secure, right?  Most likely not, but I haven't read that far in the book yet.

The Green Hornet of Rome: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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

The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, "Experience is the teacher of all things." So what has experience taught you lately?
For the past couple of years, my normal reading pattern hasn't been up to par.  This year, experience has taught me that once I prime the pump of this good habit, it will be hard to stop...and I really don't want to.
Where did you last 'roam'?
Sunday afternoon, I went to a social put on by both the Anniston and Gadsden Runners Clubs at Noccalula Falls Park.  Part of the festivities was a trail run/walk on the park's walking trail.  Well, as usual, I was last and, as usual, I was way behind everyone else.  I ended up taking a right where I should have taken a left.  So, I had a pleasant roam through the campgrounds and found my way back to the right place.
Doesn't look ominous does it?  :)
Speaking of 'Rome', pasta, can only pick one, which would you choose?
Pasta from Effina's or Olive Garden please.
'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.
Probably "Rome wasn't built in a day."  When I find something I need to correct in my life, I want to fix it NOW!  I don't like the idea of a long process of trial and error.  I like to GET 'ER DONE.  I want my total life rebuilt in a day.  However, this is going to take a while.  It's also going to take a 20-Mule Borax team!
What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?
None.  Sorry, but the last movie I saw made me want to go to England (I watched A Christmas Carol yesterday.)  The last fiction book I read (City Girl by Lori Wick) made me want to go to Texas.  BTW--the last TV show I watched (The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson) keeps me STILL wanting to go to Scotland.
Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955 Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?
No, I've not yet been to any of them.  Walt Disney World and Epcot are the closest to me, so I hope to go there someday.  Seems like EVERYONE is going there this month.
It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?
The last sting ever was a wasp sting on my hand.  I was hosing off a plastic picnic table and thought I'd hosed off the small wasp nest underneath it.  When it dried, I sat down and a wasp flew out of the nest and stung me.  Yow!  It's one of those stings that makes my head crinkle.  The worst sting I had was by a hornet.  Not only can hornets sting more than once, but when they do, it feels like being shot with a nail gun.  I got stung on my arm and my hand.  Hornet stings make you cuss and cry, and then cuss some more.

Insert your own random thought here.
I've not felt well mentally or physically for the past several days.  Hoping for better tomorrow.  I've tried to stay busy in the Workshop.  It's Christmas in July:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bitter Pill: 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:  Monday, July 14, 2014

Outside my window … A hazy, hot, muggy day with promises of rain later.  I'm inside under the ceiling fan.
Praising God for…  revelation from His Word. 
In prayer for...  Those who don't yet know Christ, my own heavy, bitter heart, and amends I still must make, but have no idea how to proceed.

I am thinking... about throwing in the towel, but I won't.

I am thankful... for the generosity of friends.  May I NEVER take undue advantage of it.
In the kitchen...  I think I'm going to do a pork stir fry for dinner.  I think.

I am wearing... Black shorts and running jersey.

I am creating...
 finishing up an order, starting a painting, and working on Christmas ornaments for my Christmas in July sale.
I am going... nowhere today.  I'm preserving gasoline.
I am wondering... where does all the anger come from?  Why does the bitterness appear in the weirdest places?  So, yes, I'm wondering about myself, again.  This theme is getting old.

I am reading... I finished One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I reviewed it here.  I started the book So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore.  This one's going to be a barn burner.

I am hoping...
that I sell some crafts this week.  I'm hoping for a few chances to get out on my bike after it rains.  I've not ridden in weeks and my butt plank is going to lose its toughness if I don't hurry up and get back out there.  I'm also hoping for some relief from the burden of heavy bitterness that keeps pressing on me.  This is not me and I don't like it.  I want to eat ice cream to fix it, but I already know it won't.

I am looking forward to...
Seeing my little boyfriend at Sav-A-Life tomorrow, cooler weather, some happy times, and reading more books.
I am learning
… it's all a matter of perspective, meaning, it's all in my head.

Around the house... Going to work on the front porch.  I want to spend more time out there.  I've got the makings to pretty it up some without buying anything.  I just need to get out there and get to it.
I am pondering...  new creative ideas.
A favorite quote for today... "I don't think that any male in my life would claim that I harbor repressed anger at his gender.  (And if he did, I have a mind to hit him square in the middle of his forehead with a slingshot and a bottle of Midol.)" - Beth Moore, from her book So Long Insecurity.

One of my favorite things... Popcorn.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   Working in the workshop, volunteering at Sav-A-Life Tuesday, not sure about the rest of the week yet.

A peek into my day...  Had a great time yesterday at a social with the Anniston Runners Club and the Gadsden Runners Club at Noccalula Falls.  I got lost on the trail course, but it was still a blast.

We seriously need some rain.  The falls are just a trickle


Friday, July 11, 2014

Veggie Tales: The Friday 5

Go over to for the weekly prompts.

This week's questions were about out favorite vegetables.
  1. What’s your favorite tomato thing?  That's a toughie.  I enjoy tomatoes in so many different ways: on salads, on sandwiches, in pasta sauce and salsa.  My favorite quote about tomatoes is from Miles Kington:  "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."
  2. What’s your favorite celery thing?  My mother's cornbread dressing.  I only get to eat it twice a year and it's best use for celery (other than compost).
  3. What’s your favorite broccoli thing?  My favorite healthy broccoli thing is a broccoli stir fry with chicken and other veggies.  My favorite unhealthy use for broccoli is a big hot bowl of homemade broccoli cheese soup.  Good thing I don't know how to make it myself or I'd weigh 5000 pounds.  :) 
  4. What’s your favorite eggplant thing? I've never eaten eggplant and don't know how to prepare it, so I don't know if I would even like it.  I've heard they are very bitter.
  5. What’s your favorite spinach thing?  Spinach is my salad base instead of lettuce most of the time.  I also really enjoy it wilted and added to my "hot mess" omelet.
And since we're on the subject of vegetables...

Five Minute Friday: "Belong"

Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday for the prompts.
Where does a square peg belong in a world of round holes?  This is a problem I've dealt with for decades.  The solution can't be that far away.  Ironic that this is the prompt since it's something that's been on my mind.
There were a few places I belonged--sort of.  I belonged in my high school marching band.  Though I really wasn't wanted, my talent made room for me to belong.  I belonged in the church for a while, but church culture demands certain traits for pure acceptance.  Sounds pithy I know, but the Lord Jesus Himself doesn't meet these requirements.  Makes me wonder.
Weekly, yearly, decade-ly, I read the church bulletins and every attempt at connection screamed "NOT!"-- not male, not a wife and mother, not young, not old, not well off enough, not, not, not!  I feel a real sense of belonging in spurts, but I sabotage that by being too needy, so I pulled back.  There are plenty of places to serve, but nowhere for me to connect. I realize I'm in a class by myself.  But I guess that's the point isn't it?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#59 Empty Shelf Challenge 03 [101 in 1001]

BookOne Thousand Gifts .

Author: Ann Voskamp

Info: Copyright 2010 Zondervan

Where acquired: Checked out of public library.

Availability: and local bookstores.

Why:  When this book first came out, my friends were flocking to read it.  I try never to read something simply based on hype, plus, I like to read a book before I plunk down money for it.  I saw it at the library a few weeks ago and decided to check it out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags):   #

What it's about:  The central theme of the book is eucharisteo, the Greek word meaning both thankfulness and grace.  The author goes on a journey of finding God's grace and being thankful not only in the spectacular, but the mundane.

Favorite quotes:
  • "Something always comes to fill the empty places.  And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.  This, this, makes me full..." - p. 59
  • "Wherever you are, be all there." - p. 69
  • "'The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is thankfulness'" - p. 153 (A quote of Brennan Manning's book Ruthless Trust.)
What I Liked:
  • The photographs she took during the process sounded very interesting.  I wish she had put some of them in the book, especially those her small daughter took.
  • When her children behaved long enough to have good family times, Voskamp's descriptions were joyful to read.
  • The book did inspire me to start a gratitude journal of my own.
  • I liked the picture on the front cover (I'm pulling at straws here).

What I didn’t like: 

I like where the author was trying to go.  It's a shame that she didn't get there.  In the small pockets of examples of thankfulness, there were larger pockets of confusion.  In one sentence, Voskamp would overflow in gratitude to the Lord. In the next pages, she would go on a litany of guilt and shame because God had been good to her. 

For all the flowery language and vividly descriptive vignettes, the author seems to never get to the point.  I read this whole book hoping for it to get better; it didn't.  In all her encouragement not to get in a hurry, I hurried through the book trying to get to the meat of her message, I never got there.  Her writing reminds me of Lisa Bevere's writings; the depth of the message is lost in the imagery.  I was going to stop reading after the first couple of chapters, but kept on, hoping for the climax of the story or some kind of resolution. There was none.  I felt like I was hitting a piñata that refused to open and spill out any goodies.

There were too many nameless faces and unanswered questions.  The book swam in ambiguity.

The overall tone of the book was so depressing.  I still don't understand what all the hype was about.

This is not a fault of the author, but the book wasn't edited very well.  There were several typographical errors that caused many of the sentences to not make sense.

I know my review sounds harsh, but maybe I just didn't know how to read this book.  Not how, as in not know the physical process of viewing words on a page, but how, as in understanding the voice of the author.  Was this book to be read as a whole, or was each chapter supposed to be a separate entity?  I never could catch the rhythm and tone of Voskamp.  What was she trying to say?

To sum up: My main takeaway from the book was this:  Be thankful and look for God even when you think He's not there.  He's there.

Want to join the challenge?  Click the empty shelf photo on the right to learn more.  It's not too late!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Have a Coke and a Smile: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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

July is National Anti-Boredom Month. When was the last time you were bored? What's your go-to cure for boredom?
Thankfully, I can say that I haven't been truly bored in a long time.  Even in boring situations, I've been able to entertain myself by turning on the sarcasm lobe in my brain.
What's the last thing you made a reservation for?
Does reserving my spot in a 5k race count?  If not, I don't think I've made reservations for anything.
What's one thing on your summer 'bucket list'? Any plans to make it happen?
No, unfortunately, I'm still in survival mode.  I look forward to being able to make plans like that.  I still have my 101 in 1001 list, and  I'll do my best to complete some fun items on it.
Wait, wait, wait.  I don't necessarily have to go anywhere for it to be meaningful.  How about reading more great books, decorating the front porch, spending more time on the front porch (I need some bug lotion), learn something.  Yes, I'd like to go to the beach or have a get together with my friends, but if I can't, I can make summer and fall great.  I need to plan a wonderful "staycation" at my new digs.  Hmmmmm..... 
What's your favorite summertime sip?
Iced tea and the occasional ice cold Coca-Cola,  If course, ice cold water always hits the spot.
What do you find is the best way to handle another person's hostility and hopefully ease the tension?
Crack a joke.  That usually works.  If someone is bound and determined to be a horse's rear end, there's not much hope other than answering their hostility with calmness.
Your favorite film set in summer?
Home Run.  It's a wonderful movie set during summer baseball season.  It's about a major league baseball player struggling with alcoholism who finds love and recovery.
What word are you using too much lately?
In my mind or out loud?  :)  I think I've been using the word tired too much.  Seems like I'm tired for no reason too much.  I'm not depressed or sick, and I'm working to get my workouts back to where they were months ago, so I'm not even doing my normal hard workout.  It doesn't make sense.
A close second are the words awesome and crap.  
Insert your own random thought here.
Christmas in July has kicked off at Auntie's Workshop.  I just finished up this Christmas tree skirt.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sweets for the Sweet?: 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:  Saturday, July 5, 2014

Outside my window … A gorgeous day with low humidity and lots of singing birds.  This is the first time since moving here that I've enjoyed a long sit on the front porch. 
Praising God for…  answering prayers that seem too simple and too stupid.
In prayer for...  Those who don't yet know Christ, tomorrow's church service, more ministry opportunities.  Still praying for my business.

I am thinking... about Christmas.  Yeah, I know it's seems early, but I've already started my Christmas crafting at the workshop.

I am thankful... for a good working automobile,  for my grandnieces and grandnephews who love me. 
In the kitchen...  Trying to keep it light.  I feel like I've been eating all day.  I haven't, but I feel like I have.

I am wearing... Black shorts and tank top.

I am creating...
 setting up to do a painting.  I'm also working on a Christmas tree skirt.
I am going... nowhere tonight.   Going to sleep soon.
I am wondering... how to order sushi that won't gross me out or kill me.  I've never eaten it before.

I am reading... One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  When this book first came out, all my friends were flocking to read it.  I usually wait when something is over hyped like that.  I've read a couple of chapters and I don't know what all the hoorah is about.  So far, it's terribly depressing.  If it doesn't get any better, I'm taking it back to the library.

I am hoping...
that I sell some more crafts this week.  I hope this cooler, less humid weather holds long enough for me to get out on the trail a couple of times.

I am looking forward to...
football season (Roll Tide!).  A good week.  A break from some of my extracurricular activities for a few weeks. 
I am learning
… I learned how to fix a formatting problem in my word processing program that's been nagging me for years.  I learned how to take the ice bin out of the icemaker this week.  I've never had the daily use of a refrigerator with water and ice in the door.  It's really cool not to have to fill ice trays all the time.

Around the house... Finally figured out the front water spigot, connected the hose to it, and commenced to rinsing everything.  I swear an ostrich or an emu pooped on one of the front windows of the house.  I've never seen a guano splat that large that didn't involve a moving car.  My car isn't washed, but just the rinsing made it look better.  That's another new thing I've got to get used to.  We weren't allowed to wash our cars at the apartment in JackVegas.  I may end up washing mine every weekend out of spite.  >:)
I am pondering...  I need an opinion.  I like to give edible goodies at Christmas time.  Am I a hypocrite for doing that?  After all, just because I don't need them doesn't mean others don't.  Then again, people know about my health journey; they may feel like I'm giving them junk.  I don't know what to do.
A favorite quote for today... "Some people are like blisters; they show up after all the work's done."  - Southern Women Channel on Twitter

One of my favorite things... The Rick and Bubba Show.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   I'm not going to be out as much this week.  I hope to spend the whole week working in the Workshop and getting in some good workouts.

A peek into my day...  Sitting on my butt or lying in bed nursing a sore back has been the pits today.  Tomorrow, I think I'm going to plan an Auntie day.  I've got church tomorrow, complete with dinner on the grounds in celebration of Independence Day.  Afterwards, I think I'm going to take a walk, piddle around at the city pool and take a bike ride.

UPDATE:  Didn't do a thing.  I went home and slept most of the afternoon.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Drawing a Deck of Blanks: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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

When was the last time you 'did a 180' on something?
When I moved out of JackVegas. 
It's Independence Week in the US of A! What's your favorite thing about America right this very minute? Favorites only! Let's hear what you love about America.
I love that we have a Constitution that presents, guarantees, and defends our freedom and gives us redress when our freedoms are threatened.
Stars or stripes? Red, white, or blue? Watermelon, homemade vanilla ice cream, or blueberry pie?
Yes, please!
When did you last see stars, figuratively speaking?
I haven't yet.
'Clear as a bell', 'with bells on',  'lots of bells and whistles', 'saved by the bell'...which phrase 'rings' truest for you lately?  Have you ever seen The Liberty Bell?
None of these, really.  And, no, I've not yet seen the Liberty Bell.
Are you caught up in World Cup fever? Have you watched a lot or a little or none at all?
None, I prefer American Football.
Bid farewell to June in 10 words or less.
OK, pretty good.  Now, let's kick it up a notch.
Insert your own random thought here.
My mind is a blank canvas in need of paint.  Oy vey!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Titters From the Twitter (and Other Places); June 2014

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

 06/01:  From Facebook:  A.Teems shared:
 06/03:  From Facebook:  A.Teems shared:
06/04:  C. Willingham shared: 
06/05:  From Facebook:  C.Maddox shared:
06/06:  From the Internet: shared:
06/07:  From Facebook:  P.Mason shared:
06/07:  From Facebook:  A.Teems shared:
06/08:  From Facebook:  S.Junior shared:
If Jesus tried to feed the 5,000 today...
06/10:  From Facebook:  T.Walker shared:
 06/11:  From Facebook:  C.Maddox shared:
 06/12:  From Facebook:  R.Johnson shared: 
"Cash or credit" I asked after folding items a woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her purse I noticed a TV remote control in her handbag. "Do you always carry your remote control around with you?" I asked.
"No", she replied, "but my husband refused to come and help me with the shopping so I figured this was the most legal evil thing I could do to him"

06/12:  From Twitter:  @BethMooreLPM tweeted:

"I just really feel like the pool counts as a bath for kids under 12. I mean, with the chlorine and all."

06/12:  From Twitter: @OCDlaw tweeted:

What did the traffic light say to the car? Don't look, I'm changing.

06/13:  From Facebook:  R.Tompkins shared:

 06/16:  From Twitter:  @tvfrazier tweeted:  "The proven way to find a sudden pressing need for any book you've ever owned: Get rid of it a week or two beforehand."
06/17:  From Facebook:  Tee Spring shared:
06/18:  From Facebook:  L.Roberson shared;
06/18:  From Twitter:  @dasfuxi tweeted:  "If you think you're too small to make a difference you haven't tried to sleep with a mosquito in your room"
06/18:  From a book I was reading:  "If you want something sweet, order the pound cake. Anybody who puts sugar in the cornbread is a heathen who doesn't love the Lord, not to mention Southeastern Conference football." - Lewis Grizzard, You Can't Put No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll.
06/19:  From Facebook:  R.Johnson shared:  "All eyes were on the radiant bride as her father escorted her down the aisle. They reached the altar and the waiting groom; the bride kissed her father and placed something in his hand. The guests in the front pews responded with ripples of laughter. Even the priest smiled broadly. As her father gave her away in marriage, the bride gave him back his credit card." 
06/26:  From Twitter:  @bec_giddy tweeted:  "I don't trust anyone who doesn't eat bacon."
06/26:  From Twitter:  @WomenSouthern tweeted:  "Some people are like blisters...they show up when all the work is done."
06/28:  From Twitter:  @becp-giddy tweeted:
06/29:  From  No description needed
06/29:  From Pinterest:  Kate Hall pinned:
06/30:  From Facebook:  K.Tierce shared: