Saturday, July 22, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Collect"



My most prized collection is my book collection.  At one time it was huge, but a "temporary poverty," as Louisa May Alcott would say, forced me to sell many of my favorite volumes.  After I got one my feet again (and again), I promised myself that no matter what, I wouldn't give up my library again.

I've been very frugal in my book purchasing; canvasing library book sales, thrift stores, yard sales, used books on Amazon, and bargain book sections in stores like Ollie's and Dollar General.  The collection isn't as large as before, but it is growing.

Now that I'm making yet another move, I've been paring things down; tossing, selling, and giving away items that won't fit in my Honda Accord.  However, my book collection remains.

Why?  Books are like friends to me.  I have nothing against e-books, of which I have a growing collection of bargain books and free classics, however, paper books are tangible, they are comforting, they are familiar.  They just "fit."  Reading a brand new one is like making a new friend.  Cracking open a familiar tome is like reminiscing with a long time "bosom" friend (yes, I like Anne of Green Gables too).

So, as I embark on my new adventure in just three short weeks (eek!), know that along with my essentials, the trunk of my car will be crammed full of my book collection--hopefully, to soon find a home.
-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Friday, July 21, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 20

Book:  Better Than Before.
 
Author: Gretchen Rubin

Info: Copyright 2015: Farmington Hills, MI:  Thorndike Press

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮ 1/2

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

What it's about:  Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project presents her detailed study of habits.  Through her studies, she's developed her own brand of the personality assessment known as the "four tendencies."  Rubin explores the relationship between these tendencies and how habits are made or broken .

Favorite Quotes: 

"There's no magic formula--not for ourselves and not for the people around us.  We won't make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people's habits, even the habits of geniuses, we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best." - p. 83

"Many strategies help us change our habits, and four strategies tower above the others:  Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability.  They're so ubiquitous and familiar that it's easy to take them for granted--but they're invaluable." - p 85

"Research suggests that when we have conflicting goals, we don't manage ourselves well.  We become anxious and paralyzed, and most often we end up doing nothing." - p. 370

"When we do stumble, it's important not to judge ourselves harshly.  Although some people assume that strong feelings of guilt or shame act as safeguards to help people stick to good habits, the opposite is true.  People who feel less guilt and who show compassion toward themselves in the face of failure are better able to regain self-control, while people who feel deeply guilty and full of self-blame struggle more." p. 275

What I liked:
  • The four tendencies framework was interesting.
  • No aside boxes.
  • It was well written as far as grammar and mechanics goes.
  • The tips and strategies for dealing with habits was helpful.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The author starts out the book by saying that she wasn't going to tell the reader what habits to cultivate, yet spends most of the book telling us what habits to cultivate (and not cultivate).
  • Rubin makes some very sweeping statements that just aren't true, and some that are just plain ridiculous.  For example, she asserts on page 117 that exercise doesn't promote weight loss.  No, exercise alone doesn't promote weight loss (but it does promote fitness and health); it must be coupled with a balanced, healthy, sustainable diet.   Also, on pages 120 and 121, she arrogantly assumes that people who want to form the habit of drinking more water are wasting their time.  Says who, other than her?  She just said earlier that everyone's habit formation doesn't look the same.  Maybe people are trying to drink more water to substitute for drinking less of something unhealthy like soft drinks or alcohol.   She also contradicts these statements when she confesses that she exercises and eats low carb because she was concerned about her weight and that she consumes mass quantities of diet soda instead of water.  Mighty convenient, don't you think?
  • Yes, Gretchen, we know you're and upholder and better than everyone else.  You don't have to remind us in every chapter.
  • Speaking of arrogance, the attitude of this book borders on downright insulting.  In one such barb on page 128, Rubin cites a study about outer order contributing to inner calm and creativity.  She was going along fine until she inserted this little nugget, "I love to throw in research--it's more convincing to people if I can cite a study."  Do what?
  • Look, I'm working hard at not being too harsh with this book, but she asked for it.  It gets much worse...and personal.  I was dealing well with the condescending attitude of Rubin's writing until I came across this little ditty on page 400,  "We can get locked into identities that aren't good for us; 'a workaholic,' 'a perfectionist,' 'a Southerner...'  **record scratch** HOLD UP! WTH?!  Since when is being a Southerner an identity that isn't good for someone?  What WAS her point?  Oh, she's messed in her Easter bonnet now!





  • My first try at this book was the audio version, which the author read herself.  Oy vey!  I couldn't stomach the snide attitude that came through, so I decided to trudge through the print version. 
  • Some chapter numbers would be nice.
  • This book suffers from the same problem as The Happiness Project: Rubin quotes a lot of research, but cites no sources for it.  She gives suggestions for further reading, so I guess that's something.
Takeaway:

I didn't know what the word dilettante meant until I read this book.  Rubin has a lot of interesting and informative acquired knowledge, but not a lot of wisdom as to how to relay her ideas without sounding like a jackass!  (There's that ghetto thug again). 

So why did I read the book?  I'd read her book The Happiness Project and enjoyed it.  The review is here if you're interested.  I also enjoy her podcast Happier.  I think the problem is that unlike her podcast, this book doesn't have the buffer of another person's perspective.  Her sister, Elizabeth, is the co-host of Happier. Her laid back, accepting attitude tempers Rubin's air of vast superiority and make listening more enjoyable.

I really like Gretchen Rubin's ideas.  But the book was less about the reader becoming better than before and more about Gretchen letting us know she was better than everyone else.

OK, I think the horse is dead now.  On to the next book.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Great Adventure: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
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Growing up, were you close to your grandparents?  Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

No, all of my grandparents, save my maternal grandfather, passed away before I knew them.  My mother's father passed away when I was 11.  I loved Granddaddy Dave, but I don't have particular memories of him to hold on to.  My older sibling remember him and our maternal grandmother more than I do.

What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

When you say "attached," do you mean a security-blanket type item?  If so, I didn't have that; my parents didn't go for that kind of thing.  If you mean simply an item I played with and kept way past the worn out stage, I do have one of those.  The first baby doll I got when I was six years old.  Through the years of messing up her hair (she was a little black doll, but she didn't have black-people hair), the paint for her eyes wearing off, and playing with her so much that after a while only one of her eyes would close when I laid her down, I didn't get rid of that doll until I was 30 years old. 

When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Both.  I see both the individual tree for it's beauty and the forest full of beautiful flora and fauna.

Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

Sour candies?  Oh, gag, no!  Out of the sour foods listed, I'd say plain Greek Yogurt would be my favorite.  I wrote about how I use it here.  And, no, I don't even know what a kumquat is.  Sounds like something you get a cream from the drugstore to get rid of.

July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

See random thought below.

Insert your own random thought here.



So far, 2017 has proven to be a year of great change for me; some good, some bad.  After the death of my housemate, I had to make some tough decisions regarding my future.  After much prayer and thought, I feel that God is leading me to pack up part and parcel and head west to the Denver, Colorado area. 

So, Auntie is going on a great adventure.

I will be leaving for Colorado on August 13th.  I plan to be make the trip in 2-4 days, with a brief stop in Tulsa, OK to (hopefully) see friends.  I also may do a little sight seeing in Kansas, since I've not been there before.

I'll share as much as I can here and on social media.  I covet your prayers;  prayers for God's best.

After years of asking the Lord for a new start, I believe that this is God's open door to the life He has for me.  It's won't be easy, but sure will be fun.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 19

Book:  Jayber Crow.
 
Author: Wendell Berry

Info: Copyright 2000: Thorndike, ME:  Thorndike Press

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

What it's about:  This "as written by himself" novel is a first-person account of the life of Jayber Crow.  As the town barber, he has ringside seats to the happenings (and non-happenings) in the little town of Port William, Kentucky.  It is a portrait of the life of one man, but it also chronicles the changing times and attitudes, and the struggles we all face that come with such change.

Takeaway:

I really can't divide this book into things to like and not like.  It was a good book...in an odd sort of way.  I could complain about many things, but they really didn't detract from the overall novel.  Thought quite lengthy (686 pages in large print), the narrative draws the reader to keep going with the story.  Though the accounts can get quite convoluted, the author has a way of getting to a certain anticipation of the climax of a scene, then pulls back and changes gears just enough to keep the reader interested. 

The lead character's struggles with theology, love, anger, and hatred are themes to which many can relate.  Barry's descriptions of scenery and events paint a vivid picture of small time life in the early part of the 20th century. 

I enjoyed this venture into something different. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Comfort"



"Tidings of comfort and joy."

It's no secret that one of my greatest desires is to have a house of my own.  The dream is not only a comfortable, joyous place for myself, but also for those who visit.

But, what does that look like?  It's not just comfy furniture, soothing paint colors, welcome spaces for both adults and children, or lovely outdoor areas; it's an atmosphere of God's peace.  Comfort and joy because one feels God's love in my home.

Those are tidings of comfort and joy...and they're not just for Christmas.
-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Right Now: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of fireworks...do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

I've only been to one fireworks show, so I don't have a comparable list to pick a best from.  The show was a couple of years ago at the Jacksonville High School football stadium.  I was still in the Community Band then, and we played several patriotic tunes as part of the live entertainment.

Speaking of Community Band...hot buttons.  I know, I know, dead horse, BUT for some dumb reason I keep hoping the director will come to his senses.  Anyway.  Two of my biggest hot buttons are people talking down to me, or treating me like I'm stupid.  The last time my hot buttons were pushed?

**This is the part where I keep my mouth shut. **

Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

No, and no.  A great outdoor party is one with good food, music that isn't so loud that conversation is impossible, and conversation that isn't so impossible you wished you could just listen to music.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just friendly and open.

What does freedom mean to you?

Everything.

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?

A customer who will not get off his cellphone long enough to handle a business transaction.  I see it everywhere I go, plus customers do that to me also.  They don't speak or even make eye contact with the person serving them.  It's pathetic, not to mention downright rude.   I wish we could post a sign that said:
 
"Before approaching the front desk for any reason, please get off the freakin' phone!  All violators will be punched in the throat!"


What's your current summer anthem?



Insert your own random thought here.

I started to go on a rant here about someone peeing on my Independence Day fun at work because they didn't feel it was a "black" holiday, but I'm going to share some good things instead.

So there!

Didn't know that JackVegas had a Little Free Library just off the Square.
Nice!

Saw this at a gas station in Oxford, Alabama and thought it was hilarious.
Made me think of the Commodores song Too Hot ta Trot.


Meet my new ride.  I have named her
The Green Hornet


We have a new baby coming to our church family and this couple likes
handmade gifts (Yay!).  I got the chance to sew another one of my big
bags and fill it with goodies.  Enjoy, Baby Calvin!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Going Natural: 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:  Friday, June 30, 2017
 

Outside my window  We've had several drought-busting rain showers this week...about four of them today!  Others have complained, but I've enjoyed the rain.  I've been wound up tighter than a Slingerland drumhead, and the rain has made me start to slow down and relax.

We really don't
want to go there
again!
I am thinking...  about cutting my hair and "starting it over."  I really don't want to do that.  I hated how I looked with short hair (like my Mom's youngest SON instead of her daughter).  I look and feel better with longer hair.  However, I used to have help with it because I couldn't do a thorough job with on my own.  I think if I could get one good relaxer, hot oil treatment, and style from a salon, it would set me up to better take care of it.  The problem is 1) it's really freakin' expensive and 2) it seems that hair salons that specialize in black hair want to keep everything secret so you have to keep coming back to them to have decent looking hair.  Sorry, but that ain't me (see #1).  And, no, I can't go "natural."  I don't have nice, soft African hair; if I let my hair grow natural, it takes on the consistency of an old Brillo Pad.  Try combing that!  In the words of Martin Lawrence, "ya' hair's so nappy, Wilson couldn't pick it."
 
I am thankful...  for my Mom.  Her 84th birthday was last weekend.  She is still healthy and strong all because, as she says, she refuses to hang out with "old people."
 
From the Workshop...

"Fear the Beak"
8x10 acrylic on canvas.
Read more about it here.


I am reading... For the first time this year I actually had a book I couldn't finish.  I reviewed what I did read here.  Yes, it was that bad.

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):





I also finished several books this month:
  • The three remaining books in Janette Oke's Seasons of the Heart series I started last year.
  • The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke.
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.  Please see my review here.
I am learning...to let go of what really doesn't matter and grab hold and not let go of what does. 

Favorite quote(s) of the week
 
"God didn't save you for you to sit in church and be comfortable." - Pastor Rod Parsley



"Rejection isn't just an emotional feeling.  It's a message that alters what you believe about yourself.  And the minute you sense that happening is the minute you must stop the runaway thinking with truth." - Lysa TerKeurst
 
I am looking forward to... 
  • Independence Day.  I'll have a much needed day off.
  • August - God is setting me up for some big things.  More to come on that later.
  • New challenges.  See below.

And now for something totally different...

Five Minute Friday word of the week:  Expect
 
NEW CHALLENGES
 
In my newest incarnation of the 101 in 1001 list, I have several 30 day challenges.  For the month of July, I'd like to tackle 30 days of 10,000 steps and 30 days of letter writing.  I'm going to take these challenges as a catalyst to learn to use the Instagram app as well.  If you want to join me and/or see my progress, my Instagram handle is sdmadd1.  See you there!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What Did Your Daddy Say?!: The Weekly Hodgepodge


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The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A. Do you fly your country's flag at home? Sometimes, often, or every single day? Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House? Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)


No on the travel portion of the question.  As far as flying the flag, when I've got my own place, getting a flag kit for the front porch is near the top of my "to do" list.

Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.

Neither.  No retreat, no surrender.

Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?

No, the song will roll around again.  No song is worth being late for work or church.

What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad? What's an expression you associate with your father?

The same answer I gave to this question back in 2013 still holds true:
Good dads love God more than anyone else.  That way they know best how to love others.  Good dads provide for their children; not just financially, but emotionally as well.  Good dads laugh and cry in front of their children and are willing to say both “I was wrong” and “I love you.”  Good dads hug a lot.  Good dads defend their children when they need it, and tear up their children’s rear ends when they need it.  Good dads support their wives/baby’s mamas. Good dads don’t hit the mother of their children with a fist or with words.
There are several expressions I could attribute to my Dad.  Now, to find one fit to print:
  • On the discipline of children causing tears - "The more they cry, the less they have to pee."
  • On the willfully ignorant:  "He don't know sheep s&%t from Shinola."
  • "Sammich" (noun) - sandwich.
  • "Shawty" - ie, shorty, his nickname for my mother.  He called her that decades before it became fashionable to call you significant other your "shawty."
  • "Drank" (noun) - any soft drink, as used in the phrase "Shawty, fix me some drank and a sammich."
What's one rule you always disagreed with while growing up? Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?

No singing at the table.  I guess my parents considered that to be along the lines of playing when we should have been eating.  However, if you've seen my childhood pictures, missing a few spoonfuls wouldn't have hurt me any.  It's not really an issue now; I have to make myself sit at the table long enough to eat, much less sing.  I guess I got my revenge when I was a preschool teacher and taught my class a prayer to sing before meals.  The other teachers thought I was crazy when I let the kids sing and clap a song at the table before eating.  Ask me if I cared...

Insert your own random thought here.

The summer is shaping to be wonderfully different.  The positive changes for which we've been praying are happening.  In the next few weeks, I'll be letting y'all know what's going on.

Please slide over to my sister blog to see the latest project from the Workshop. Thanks.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Expect"


Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)


I once heard Pastor Creflo Dollar describe the hope in Hebrews 11:1 as "an earnest expectation with an outstretched neck."

I like that.

For me, the outstretched neck isn't just the giddy anticipation of the goodness yet to come, but also the willingness to "stick my neck out" and take the risks that bring those good things to us.

Earnest expectation is active, not passive.

God has been doing a lot lately to bump up my expectations.  He's had to help me become willing to receive the good He has in store.  I'd gotten so used to either expecting nothing or expecting everyone else's leftovers that I had to change.

I'm ready to stick my neck out.  How about you?

-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 18


Book:  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
 
Author: Frederick Douglass

Info: No publisher or copyright information provided for the Kindle edition.  Originally published in 1845.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

Where Acquired:  Free Kindle download.

What it's about:  Born around 1818, Douglass chronicles his early life from slavery to eventual escape and freedom.

Favorite Quotes: 

"My long crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in face. - p. 71

On teaching at the Sabbath schools: "I taught them, because it was the delight of my soul to be doing something that looked like bettering the condition of my race." - p. 77

"I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.  It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.  He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man." - p. 89

What I liked:

Frederick Douglass
The thing that stands out the most to me is that as a child, Douglass never attended school and had only a few lessons in letter recognition before one of his slave masters put an end to it.  Despite that, he found ways to glean learning experiences from anything and taught himself to read and write.  Despite no formal education, this former slave writes with better sentence structure and a more advanced vocabulary than many who have modern advantages, no government mandated restrictions on learning, and an abundance of available reading materials and teaching.  No joke, some of the complaints in reviews of the book were about the language.  No, not THAT kind of language; the reader felt that Douglass used words that were too hard to understand. 

Bless their hearts.

What I didn’t like: 

The chronology of events seemed to jump around and important details are left out.  For example, the mention of his wife and marriage seem to come out of nowhere.  I know that there are two other volumes in Douglass' autobiography that I've not read yet.  Quite possibly, they will fill in the gaps and put the events in better order.

I didn't quite understand Douglass' disdain for the Underground Railroad. 

Takeaway:

Last year, I had the privilege of reading Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery. Though their experiences varied, both of their lives proved that the answer to slavery--both inward and outward-- was education.  Whether formal or self taught, education is key not only to changing the attitude of the mind, but building usable skills.  When I read stories like these, it irks the stew out of me that in modern society, individuals refuse to learn.  As I spoke about in my rant about critics of the Little Free Libraries, there are those who, once they are out of an academic environment, refuse to read or educate themselves any further.  That's unfortunate.  Yes, I graduated from high school and have two college degrees.  However, I've gained an even better education since leaving Jacksonville State University 17 years ago.  I've built skills and knowledge through reading, studying, taking free online seminars, plus experience from various jobs and volunteer positions.  There is learning to be had; one must simply want it.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

If You Pray for Me: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
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What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

Several things: Getting a room fully cleaned and organized, finishing a book, getting all my laundry washed, dried, and put away in the same day, completing an art project, meeting a goal. 

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

Someone local:  Brooke Nelson, former president of the Anniston Runners Club and organizer of the Cheaha Challenge--the state's biggest cycling road race.  I've know her for years, but would like to pick her brain on health, nutrition, and training.  I'd also like to know her story.  Did she start unhealthy and work to get healthy, or has she always been an athlete?

Someone famous: Jeff B. Davis, improvisational comedian from Whose Line is it Anyway?  There's a lot of information about many of the other stars in his genre, but not much about him.

Someone Spiritual:  Mylon Lefevre.  In the 80's, he and his band, Broken Heart, was among the first contemporary Christian music artists I'd ever heard.  Before that, all I'd ever heard referred to as "gospel" music was a bunch of sad singing and glorified funeral dirges.  Then Broken Heart, Petra, and Carman came along and saved my ears.  In his later years, Mylon has released some great worship CD's and has been preaching around the country for a number of years.  He has indirectly been a spiritual and musical mentor to me since the late 80's.

Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?

I enjoy a good hamburger.  I used to be proficient at grilling them, but I haven't touched a charcoal grill in probably fifteen years. So this is my best hamburger recipe:

Step one:  Go to Jacks
Step two:  Order a Big Jack with cheese and condiments of your choice
Step three:  Unwrap and enjoy

What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?

Driving.  Going to work is not much of a problem since I'm out there with like, three people.  Leaving work and running errands during the daylight hours is different; more traffic, more goobers who can't drive and/or think the left lane is the Autobahn.  I absolutely panic if I have to drive after dusk since I rarely have to and have gotten out of practice. 

This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.

I'm going to take things a day at time.  However, I'm endeavoring to include more fun and restful activities into my summer.  As far as I know, I won't be taking any kind of vacation, so I want to use my weekends as mini "staycations."

Insert your own random thought here.

A big thank you and God bless you to all who prayed for my request last week.  The past week has been rough.  My sweet housemate, Mrs. Sue, passed away last week.  We had her funeral Sunday.  On top of all that, I've been sick since Friday and have not slept well.  Today has been the first day I've felt like writing.  This summer is going to be one of change, but I still believe that in the grand scope of things, they will be good changes.  I'm standing on two Scriptures:

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalm 3:3 - But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

Keep praying y'all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Door Into Summer: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
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What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

Blue.  Fortunately I like the color since I can't change it.

What's something you'll NEVER do again?

If I can help it, I'll never go another event that I'm only invited to in order to bring someone the inviting party really wanted there.  Over the last several years, I've been involved in several events--most of them weddings--where it was obvious I wasn't wanted.  I was there merely to chauffer someone else who they did want.  I don't think people understand how crappy that is or how worthless that makes a person feel.

Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

Are you talking negative stereotype or positive?  Let's start with how I don't fit the stereotype.  As much as I love kids, I'm not obsessed with the "mom" thing.  That's more of a societal dictate that all females over the age of 12 should be aiming for nothing but motherhood.  I might know more about cars and computers than the average female.  I play musical instruments that are definitely not feminine (and I don't play them daintily either). 

How I fit the stereotype?  I like pretty things and want to look pretty even thought I can't most of the time.  I worry too much about other people's feelings and needs to the point that I neglect my own.  Although I spent way too many years stifling and packing down my emotions, my concern is that I'll flip over to the complete opposite and become an emotional basket case.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

I've never driven or owned a motorcycle, but would like to learn to ride, and possibly purchase one someday.  The couple of  times I was on a motorcycle was when my older brother, Marvel, let me ride on the back of his.  When I was a kid, I thought my brother was the coolest dude on the planet because of his bike.  Both of my Pastors, who I consider pretty cool dudes, ride also.

If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

They would have to read books by Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore, watch Star Trek:  The Next Generation, and listen to Weird Al Yankovic.



What?

Insert your own random thought here.

I believe God is instigating another major shift in my life for the better.  Please pray for me to know what to do and when to do it.  Good things are on the horizon and I don't want to miss any opportunity for positive change.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 17

Book:  Beauty for Ashes.
 
Author: Joyce Meyer

Info:  Copyright 1994: Tulsa: Harrison House Publishing.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

Where Acquired:  Library book sale purchase.

What it's about:  Meyer uses scripture and elements of her own testimony of abuse and recovery to encourage the reader to seek emotional healing.

Favorite Quotes: 

"We human beings pretend for the benefit of others, not wanting them to know about our misery, but we also pretend for ourselves so that we do not have to face and deal with difficult issues." - p. 28.

"God's love is the main factor in our emotional healing....If you can believe that God, Who is so perfect, loves you, then you can believe that you are worth loving."  p. 38.

"In John 16:7 Jesus told His disciples that it was better for them that He go away to be with the Father, because if He did not go, the Comforter could not come.  The Comforter is the Holy Spirit.  In The Amplified Bible version of this verse He is called the Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener and Standby.  During your recovery process, you will need to experience every facet of the Holy Spirit's ministry." - p 43.

"You cannot go beyond your opinion of yourself--no matter how many good things God may say about you in His Word.  Regardless of all the wonderful plans God may have for your life, none of them will come to pass without your cooperation." - p. 75

"Unless you accept your value and worth by faith through Christ, you will always be insecure and unable to trust those who want to love you." - p. 86

"The pathway to freedom is not necessarily easy.  However, pressing forward toward freedom is definitely easier than staying in bondage." - p. 151.

What I liked:
  • The author didn't hide behind Christian clich├ęs.  In other words, her answer to everything was not "read the Bible and pray more."  Yes, those are elements to healing, however, she also advises the reader to seek counseling, mentoring, and accountability to go through this painful process.  In that, this is not a self-help book that advocates trying to conquer these deep issues alone.
  • Meyer was very open about her own struggles and the work it took to become free.  She didn't simply say, "Oh, I just prayed and it went away."  Sorry, but it doesn't happen that way for most people.  Not only was her advice biblical, it was also practical.
  • Continuous navel gazing and digging up past hurts ad nauseam was not advised.  I found in my own recovery that this is an area where many get stuck; we keep digging and digging up the past that we spend no joyous time in the present, thus never really recovering...just uncovering.
  • Meyer includes a bibliography for further reading.

What I didn’t like: 

This book wasn't perfect, however, there was nothing that stood out as unlikeable about the text.

Takeaway:

This book is a good starting point for anyone who wishes to be delivered from emotional damage and baggage.

For me, Meyer seems to have the ability to put into words the very attitudes and pains I face, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, can get to the very heart of how to get well.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Horse Apples: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

I used to be, but not now.  The problem I have now is...how do I put this tactfully...I tend to be a collector of stuff other people don't want.  However, I've learned to pass on anything I don't want or can't use.


What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

Drive on the interstate and change a tire.  I've seen them both done, but have never successfully done either one.

Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

Sugar is my frenemy.  It's horrible for me, but I do crave it.  My sugar usage has (thankfully) diminished greatly over the years.  I used to drink sugar sweetened soft drinks like water and so much sugar to my tea and coffee that you could pour it over your pancakes.  Not to mention all the sugar laden foods I used to stuff my face with.  Now, I only drink a soft drink when my tummy is upset.  I do consume unsweetened tea (I know my fellow Southerners are weeping in their hankies right now) and coffee with half and half (I'll only drink it black if there's a famine).  I found that with soft drinks, it's not the sugar I really want; it's the bubbles.  I drink flavored sparkling water instead and am completely satisfied.  As far as artificial sweeteners go, I can't tolerate any of them.  Saccharin tastes horrid (plus it kills lab rats), I'm allergic to Aspartame (plus chewing a beer can would taste better), and Splenda (sucralose, sorbitol, sugar alcohol, etc) chains me to the potty, so, no thank you.  I haven't totally conquered sugar, but I attempt to make any indulgence worth it.  In other words, if I want it badly enough, I don't want to waste it on things that taste mediocre.  I'd rather have something rich and creamy like ice cream or good cheesecake than to waste the craving on candy or snack cakes.

Y'all are making me hungry.

What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

Smart phones.  If not for my niece insisting on (and paying for) a phone for me, I'd still be completely satisfied with using my flip phone--what I call my "Verizon ghetto phone."  My attitude was...well, and still is...what do I want a smart phone for when I have a computer that does all that?  I just need something that makes phone calls.  I'm not engrossed in my phone, but the extra features have definitely come in handy.  I've looked up recipes while grocery shopping.  I've run scripture references while at church or Bible study.  I've use a fitness app to track my mileage.  I use it listen to music and read.  Good thing since if I'm at home, I can't make a phone call with it!  Thanks, T-Mobile!

What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.


The Horse by Cliff Nobles.  I know, I know, it looks like I'm cheating on the question because this is my high school's fight song.  BUT it does remind me of a specific incident.  During homecoming week of my senior year of high school, the marching band was given permission to go to the bottom floor of each building and play the fight song.  We enjoyed it, the student enjoyed it.  The teachers?  Well, some enjoyed it while some were scared peeless by the sudden rush of loud music.  One teacher in particular, who will remain nameless because she might read my blog, was very distraught and thought the repeated opening and slamming of her classroom door would drown us out or make us go away.

It didn't.

Go Eagles!

Insert your own random thought here.

WARNING:  This is going to take a hot minute, so you might want to take a pee break before proceeding.

Mrs. Joyce asked about trends.  One that I'm glad to see is the Little Free Library (LFL).  In case you're not familiar with LFLs, they are creative boxes placed in both private and public spaces for the purpose of sharing books.  Individuals may choose a book and either bring it back after reading it, or swap it for another.  We have several in our area, and they're great.  Quite frankly, I've not met anyone who didn't like them.

Until now.

In a blog post/article here, "researchers" from Toronto have slammed these little gems as "an example of 'neoliberal politics at street level', rather than a charming component of the sharing movement."

What the Sam Hill does that even mean?

Little Free Library in
Weaver, Alabama
It's now full of books provided
by the community.
In this piece of horse manure overarching tripe, these dipsticks poor uninformed souls make a lot of ASSumptions I'd like to address:
  • The concept was developed in the United States and they are from Canada.  I think they're just jealous that they didn't think of the idea themselves.  One of the "researchers" is a librarian--so the piece is already a bit suspect.
  • They assume that to have the LFL, a person must purchase the building kits and pay to use the name.  Yes, Little Free Library is a copyrighted name, however, a person doesn't have to pay for a charter or even use the name to have their own.  Also, the building kits are not a mandate.  If you go on the company's Facebook page, you'll enjoy many creative LFTs that are cleverly homemade.  Besides, what's really wrong with spending a couple hundred bucks for a charter and building kit if you want one?  Then the authors go into some nonsense about the "corporatization of a grassroots phenomenon."  So?!  Do they honestly expect for the organization to provide everything for free?  Oh wait, they're from Canada where the government supoosedly provides things for "free," so yes, they do.  Guys, this isn't a government organization; they are staffed by volunteers and can't just give away what they don't have.  Building materials, shipping, and maintaining and promoting the organization costs money.  Logic, Spock, logic!
  • They assume that LFLs are only placed by the rich in upper class, predominantly white neighborhoods where books are plentiful.  If you read the article, you'll notice that they only looked at Toronto and Calgary and nowhere in the United States.  I'm not a researcher, but I know locations.  The LFLs I've seen are in public spaces used by every demographic and sponsored by non-profit organizations like the United Way.  One in particular is right in front of my workplace.  I've seen well-to-do families of all races add and remove books.  I've witnessed impoverished families of varying ethnicities excited about the children getting to read books they've not seen before.  I've even seen those who are homeless choose a book and find comfort in it.  This isn't a rich vs. poor thing.  This is sharing the love of reading and the commonality of the power of reading.
  • They imply that LFLs have the potential harm public libraries.  How?  Name me one public library that has every book ever published?  To me, this is an extension of the public library.  Plus, (and this is the only political sentence I'm writing), in the US, our government is threatening to cut funding to public libraries (a huge mistake if they do).  For the love of Mike, we need something to keep people reading!
  • Most importantly, they offer no alternative solution.  Yeah, that helps a lot, thanks.  By the way, I wonder how many books they donate to the poor?  Hmmm...just a thought.
My conclusion?  These people would complain about anything and turn it into a socioeconomic war just to keep strife and division active because they don't have anything better to do.  Their whole argument is pointless, not to mention tacky.

Hey, they could have been reading instead of writing this mess.

Why the rant?  If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I love to read.  That wasn't always the case.  When I was younger, my eyesight was a lot worse and reading was physically painful.  As a child, audio books provided by a library service for the visually impaired were a great help to keep me interested in reading.  As an adult, both reading and listening to books is still quite enjoyable.  I know the power of both the spoken and written word and I'm very passionate about encouraging others to maintain and extend their education.  I taught preschool for many years and in my present job observe many children go through the YMCA's afterschool and summer programs;  I know how much influence good books possess.  However, teachers and librarians can only do so much.  Parents need to instill a love of reading in their children, as well as in themselves.  I know for a fact that many children, despite programs like Success by Six and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (I wonder what croakings of doom they would have about this one), many parents still don't see the value of reading to their children and too many adults stop reading after leaving an academic environment that requires it.  From what I can see, this program bridges some of that gap.  Please don't let propaganda like this turn it into yet another political division point...or a reason to stay ignorant.

Please!

Would it be mean if I said these Canucks need to stick with hockey and leave the rest of us alone?

OK, rant over, I'm going to go enjoy a book now.  See y'all next time.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Taking it Off Repeat: 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, May 14, 2017
 

Outside my window  Sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures.  The honeysuckle smells glorious.

I am thinking...  too much and stressing myself out.

I am thankful...  For good rest and healthy food to refuel and recharge my body.
 
From the Workshop...  I still have several projects going, but none completed.  Hopefully this week will prove to be a productive one in the Workshop.


I am reading... I recently finished Man's Search For Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl.  The author describes the experiences and psychological damage suffered by him and his fellow prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.   I'd read it my freshman year of college.  My reaction was much different this time.  OK, I understand intellectually and spiritually the nature of evil and that there exists many sadistic evil people.  However, my soul cannot comprehend that kind of blatant disregard from a fellow human being simply because of racial, religious, or cultural differences.  I know that my own country took the Native American Indian, the African slave and the Japanese immigrant through similar dehumanization, so we in America are not immune.  Yes, all that was before my time, however, don't we have some of this evil disregard going on today?  I still think of the recent footage of that poor elderly man who was gunned down for the world to see.  I think of the young man who murdered nine people who showed him nothing but love and respect.  Yes, these are individual cases and we don't have systematic segregation and government-approved mass killings of "undesirables" in play, however, Frankl's account reminds us that given the right circumstances and the continued choice of our citizens to be ignorant of history, it could happen again.  Heaven forbid!
 
I am learning... Speaking of reading:  Along with other materials, I'm reading Joyce Meyer's book Beauty for Ashes.  This book is teaching me more about myself, my relationship to God, and my relationships with others.  This is not a self-help book written by some psychologist doing an experiment; she's lived through some major abuse in her life and been set free through the power of God.  She points out that there is no other way to freedom.  I hope to be another degree of free by the time I finish reading the book, praying through the issues she beings out, and studying the scripture references she includes.  Yep, it's a goodn'!
 
Favorite quote(s) of the week

"The problem with a self-made man is that he worships his creator." - Pastor Rick Warren

"The prisoner who had lost his faith in the future--his future--was doomed.  With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and be subject to mental and physical decay." - Dr. Viktor Frankl
 
I am looking forward to...  Learning to have a life worth looking forward to.  I know that sounds morbid, but think about where I've come from.  A couple of years ago, I was ready to hang it up and get out of here.  After much prayer, counseling, and soul searching, I want to live.  The only problem is, I don't really know how...yet. I've got my long term things to look forward to, but not sure how to have daily things to look forward to.  More accurately, I'm not sure what is proper to look forward to other than special events.
 
And now for something totally different...

Five minute Friday word of the week:    Should

 


From Facebook:  R. Spoon shared:

From Facebook:  Musical Humor shared:



From Facebook:  A. Crook shared:




















 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Should"


I had to laugh when I saw this prompt.  Here's why:

I was at the doctor's office yesterday filling out paperwork.  New to the mix is a mental health questionnaire.  Though there wasn't a lot of margin for answer clarity, I answered the questions as honestly as I could.

Big mistake.

Why didn't I just answer "no" to everything?

After I had my vitals taken and got comfortable waiting for the doctor in the examination room, a nurse came in and asked me was I OK.  "Sure," I said.  "O...K," she said as she wagged my paperwork at me.  "I'm just concerned that you're depressed."

First, a disclaimer, the questions are VERY general and don't give the patient a way to explain.  Second, it's not secret that I do deal with depression, but it had been several weeks since I had any such dark thoughts.  As I said, I had no way to explain that.

Anyway...

I had hard time not laughing at the nurse and saying the following:
So you think I'm depressed?  Alrighty, you put me on a scale that weighed me SEVEN pounds heaver than my scale at home.  Your blood pressure monitor took THREE tries before it displayed a reading that was MUCH higher than the one I took a few hours earlier.  I've been on meds that made me sicker than if I hadn't taken them at all.  You put me in a cold room with magazines from 1997 and won't let me pee.  I SHOULD to be depressed!
Have mercy!
----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

101 in 1001 v2

 
 
We all have them; dreams and goals we'd like to accomplish along with fun activities to try.  If you're like me, though, if you don't write them down, they either won't get done or won't be remembered.  So here I am again with another 101 in 1001 list.

In case you're not familiar with the concept, this is a list of 101 activities one wishes to complete in 1001 days (about 2.75 years).  I may not compete them all, or I may complete more than listed (thus the bonus round).  The point is to give myself momentum to continue my life moving in a positive direction, plus have a lot of fun along the way.

So here goes...

In no particular order (unless logically dictated):
Time frame:  January 1, 2017 - September 29, 2019

As I finish each item, I will list its completion date, and blog posts about finished items will appear as a clickable link.

Note:  This list is subject to change without notice.
  1. Finish this list (Completed 05/04/2017).
  2. Give myself $5 in fun money for each completed item on this list. ($15 so far)
  3. Go shopping and have a fit for myself with the money.
  4. Finish the Bible Correspondence Course I started ages ago.
  5. Fully celebrate at least 5 holidays or special days.
  6. Learn to draw.
  7. Redo my wardrobe
  8. Donate blood at least 5 times.
  9. Get a massage.
  10. Attend a LIVE conference or workshop that is not work related.
  11. Attend a concert.
  12. Make 1000 pairs of baby booties for ministries who help new moms or minister to abortion minded women.   Sav-A-Life (117). (117/1000)
  13. Run a 5k in 45 minutes or less.
  14. Complete ARC's 1200 mile challenge. (225 miles so far)
  15. Run a half marathon.
  16. Get into "one-derland"
  17. Get down to my goal weight AND STAY THERE.
  18. Get a new(er) car or truck done the way I want it.
  19. Pay off all my debts and do my debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey Show. In order to do this, I will need to...
  20. ... Pay off Discover Card.
  21. ... Pay off shitty Citi Bank card.
  22. ... Pay off student loan.
  23. After this, complete Dave Ramsey's baby step 3
  24. After this, start on Dave Ramsey's baby step 4
  25. Finish the A-Z Challenge I started 2 years ago.
  26. Buy a good blender.
  27. Learn to make a decent smoothie.
  28. Publish something...even if I have to self publish it.
  29. Go to a University of Alabama football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  30. Go to at least one Marching Southerners reunion.
  31. Work out with someone I admire.
  32. Learn to do pull ups/chin ups/whatever ups.
  33. Redo my business cards.
  34. Try Sushi
  35. Go on a missions trip
  36. Help someone else go on a missions trip
  37. Knit a pair of socks.
  38. Get my ACE fitness certification.
  39. Learn to scrapbook and complete one. If not, make one on Shutterfly--I've never done that either
  40. Get a new computer done the way I want it
  41. Get an external hard drive
  42. Get a new bicycle done the way I want it
  43. Get the accessories to go with it
  44. Stay in a Bed and Breakfast
  45. Stay at the Jacksonville Hampton Inn for Christmas again.
  46. Go on a picnic.
  47. Paint 3 paintings at Paintology 101.  (Completed 07/08/17)
  48. Take a photography class.
  49. Start a podcast.
  50. Learn to use the Audacity program.
  51. Take a Bob Ross painting technique class.
  52. Get paid for playing music.
  53. Take a trip on the interstate.
  54. Get paid for writing something.
  55. Get a paid speaking gig.
  56. Get a tattoo.
  57. Visit a friend in another state.
  58. Really learn to make a quilt. (Completed 07/13/17)
  59. Complete a coloring book.
  60. Create an inspiration notebook.
  61. Read 100 books (28 read so far)
  62. Read at a school for Read Across America again
  63. Start a Bible study.
  64. Bike ride the entire Chief Ladiga Trail again.
  65. Start an online fitness group for people who aren't already fit.
  66. Do a nonconventional sprint level triathlon.
  67. Find lucrative work and/or a lucrative side hustle.
  68. Get off my blood pressure meds.
  69. Eat cake and ice cream guilt-free for my birthday.
  70. Learn to use Instagram.
  71. 30 days of...projects (some will overlap)
  72. ... out of the gym
  73. ... of self love and care
  74. ... of laughter
  75. ... of happiness
  76. ... of total immersion in God's Word
  77. ... of practicing the presence of God
  78. ... of writing
  79. ... of painting
  80. ... of RAK
  81. ... of letter writing
  82. ... of 10,000 steps
  83. ... photo challenge
  84. ...off the grid
  85. Learn to tie die a shirt.
  86. Cycle 1000 miles (36 /100).
  87. Get re-certified in CPR
  88. Learn calligraphy
  89. Redesign this blog
  90. Redesign my Auntie's Workshop blog
  91. Purchase (and show up for ) 5 sessions with a personal trainer.
  92. Get my own place.
  93. Tip a server $20.
  94. Go berry picking.
  95. Read through the Message Translation of the Bible.
  96. Read through Matthew Henry's Commentary as I read through the Bible.
  97. Create a basket of giveaways for the 2018 Honduras mission trip or another such mission project.
  98. Create a basket of comfort items to give away.
  99. Blog about the completion of the major portions of this list.
  100. Inspire someone to make a list of his own.
  101. Celebrate finishing this list and start a new one.
The Bonus Round:  Bonus bucks for finishing any incomplete item from the last 101 in 1001 that have not been moved to the current list.
  • TBAchieved