Friday, March 31, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Define"

I am the victim of incorrect definition.

I am defined by what I do rather than who I am.  This causes those around me to view me as a mere thing, a piece of chattel whose only reason for existence is to do things to improve upon their lives with no regard to my own.  This definition is wrong at best, dehumanizing at worst.

I really should stop doing, but then what?  Where would I be?  Useless.

On Gretchen Rubin's podcast this week, she discusses many types of loneliness.  She makes a point to say that while it is now acceptable to say that you are depressed or suffer from mental illness, people still take you to the woodshed for admitting to being lonely.  My walking through society as non-human is the worst kind of loneliness.

My life reminds me of a scene from the Sally Field movie Sybil.  As a child, Sybil's schizophrenic mother ties her up and leaves her in a wheat bin.  In her hand is a purple crayon with which she scrawls on the inside of the bin.  Her therapist asks her why she was drawing with the crayon.  Her answer "so someone will know I was here."

This blog is my purple crayon.
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

All About That Bass: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'  What's something you've seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

I'm ashamed to say that off the top of my head, I can't think of anything.  Well, not something personal.  I've seen pictures of babies, flowers, and sunsets on the internet, but they were things other people had garnered the beauty from.  I'm creating and project that I think is beautiful, but if I said that about my own work, people would think me conceited...or delusional.

Our culture and beauty...your thoughts?

It's too difficult for a woman in our culture to be considered beautiful.  It takes too much surgery, too many stylists, too many wardrobe and makeup changes, too much Photoshop, too much shame, and too much money.  It's not worth it.  And on that subject...

Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep...which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

None really.  I'm not even going to talk about sleep anymore.

I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-
alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider. Which 'beast' on the list scares you the most? What is the likelihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?
Since there's not much chance I'll come in contact with any of these animals, I'd have to say none.

Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

Sunday.  We have a bell that signals the end of Sunday School/Life Groups.  It usually scares the water out of me.

What's your favorite carb? How's that for random?

Healthy carb?  Gala Apples.  Not-so-healthy carb?  Ice cream.

Let's wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.


Insert your own random thought here.

See y'all next time.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Embrace"

embrace - to hold (someone) closely in one's arms, especially as a sign of affection. 2) Accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.

One of my favorite songs containing the word embrace.

Embrace.  It's such a warm word.  You can't fully embrace someone you hate.  There's no mere tolerance in an embrace.

I like to give and receive hugs.  That wasn't a part of my personality growing up.

Or maybe it was.

During my stint as a preschool teacher,  I read the book The Five Love Languages of Children.  These love languages are as true for adults as they are for children.  Through this book, I discovered that appropriate touch is my primary love language, with quality time running a close second.

As a kid, I knew that a person's care or concern was genuine if they were willing to touch me.  My peers wouldn't even dare touch me when we played; they teased that I has some disease to which they didn't want to expose themselves.  The majority of the times I was touched by my teachers was in anger or derision.

As an adult, I know that a person's friendship and fellowship is genuine if they are willing to embrace me.  A side hug, an appropriate full-on hug, a firm handshake, or even a friendly fist bump relays the message that I'm not simply a tolerated thing, but a real person worthy of embrace.

Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wild Irish Rose: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

Dealing with sickness.  Yuck!

What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

"Sammich" (definition:  sandwich).  Yes, it is still used in our family.  We don't know where it came from but will continue to use it.

Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets.   Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

Not any more than usual.  I get "Monk" moments and organize and throw away junk like crazy.  That's pretty normal.

A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

Fame.  I also really enjoyed the TV show based on the movie.

What's put a spring in your step this month?

Spring!  What else do I need?

Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

Yes and no.  I didn't want to be a teacher per se, but I did want to be a band director for a time.  When I figured I could get a doctorate and qualify to do brain surgery faster than I could get a music degree from Jacksonville State, I changed my major--several times.  I ended up studying mass communication.  I used those skills to have a decade long career as a preschool teacher at a private Christian school.  I retired from teaching mainly because of low pay and parents who thought their little Honey Boo-Boo's poop didn't stink.  I would like to teach again, but not children.  I'd like to teach adult Bible studies.

What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

When I think of floral scent, I think of the actual scent of a flower.  I love the smell of roses.  However, I don't care for floral scented items.  Usually the smell is too strong.  Plus, floral scented hygiene products (perfume, soap, body sprays, etc.) end up making me smell like a French whore instead of a bouquet of flowers.  Most of the scented products I use smell like food (vanilla, peach, etc).  I'm not sure what is meant by florals in food, so I don't know what to think of them.  I don't know anything about wines with floral notes either.  Is this what they mean?

Insert your own random thought here.

Hmm.  I've got several random thoughts running through my skull:
  • I really miss having a typewriter.  No, I don't want to replace my computer with it, but there are still tasks that can be completed more efficiently with a typewriter.  Examples?  Address labels, envelopes, filling out applications and other such paperwork not presented as a fillable PDF file, and typing notes and manuscripts without getting distracted by the internet.  Plus, weird I know, I miss the sound of the striking of the keys.  When I have my own house, my office will have a working typewriter.
  • With the onset of spring training, baseball is on my mind.  Since I don't have a TV (and I'm not willing to bust my budget for cable--or a TV), I would love to be able to listen to games on the radio.  However, these guys need to take a lesson or three (or thirteen) from sportscaster Eli Gold.  When Mr. Gold calls a game, I actually know what's going on in splendid detail.  Not so with baseball on the radio.  I've tried numerous times to listen to a game, but the results were the same.  I never figured out which team was at bat, which batter was up, the ball/strike call, or, most importantly, whether my team was winning or not.  What's the point?
  • Something to be thankful for.  I have made it through winter without a major depressive episode.  PRAISE THE LORD!
  • I need a vacation...and about $5000 so I can take a vacation.
  • This is the weekend I get my bike out of the laundry room, pump the tires, and make my inaugural outside ride for the year.  I'll let you know how it goes--if it doesn't rain.
  • This is also the weekend I will build a blanket fort and color at my leisure.  No vacation?  No problem.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Playing Offense: 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:  Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Outside my window  We're having a dreigh Scottish winter day here in Alabama.  Ah, nothing to fear, the forecast is calling for spring weather by the weekend.

I am thinking...  
  • About how to make things better for myself.
  • About the Lent season and how to really celebrate it for all it's worth.

I am thankful...  that I'm on the mend.  The past few weeks have been hideous.  First, there was the insomnia, then the body aches, then a weekend of some weird gastrointestinal thing mixed with the sensation of peeing razor blades.  I'm ready to have some days where I actually feel good.  This is really screwing up my workouts.
From the Workshop...

The New Wine:  16 x 20
Acrylic on Canvas.
Read about it here.

I am reading... I recently finished The Proposal by Lori Wick.  If you'd like, you may read the review here (scroll to the bottom if you just want to read the review).  Among the pile I'm currently reading...

I am learning...

I've had a couple of epiphanies this week:
  • Life is like football (or any other sport); you cannot win if you're only playing defense.  Yes, I know that the University of Alabama football team scored a record number of non-offensive points last season and went all the way to the BCS Championship, but that is RARE.  The sum total of my life has been reacting to what happens to me, rather than trying to take some sort of action before it gets hopeless.  I've had too much hopeless in my life.  I'm so scared of making the wrong move that I make none at all.  I'm paralyzed with the terrible dread of failure, of disappointing others, of disappointing God.  This is no life.  I've got to take offensive action.  Even if it's the wrong thing, I've got to trust that the Holy Spirit will help direct me.
  • Any art that people say is beautiful, will accept for free, but will not purchase is WORTHLESS.  My dream of selling my art is a pipe dream, but letting God use it for His glory and ministry is a much better dream.  I'll just keep giving it to Him.  What happens after that is in His hands.
Favorite quote(s) of the week
"Faith believes.  Faith trusts.  Therefore, faith praises."  Kenneth Hagin Jr.
I am looking forward to... 
  • Easter
  • Getting back outside in the sunshine.
  • Revamping my workouts.
  • I'm looking forward to having more good things to look forward to.

And now for something totally different...

Five minute Friday word of the week:    Purpose

From Facebook:  Nerdgasm shared:

From the Nerd Fitness website:

From Facebook:  James Spann shared:

From Facebook:  MHarper shared: 

From Facebook:


Monday, March 13, 2017

F is for Flax Seed [A-Z Challenge 2015]

Experiments From Auntie's Test Kitchen
Intro  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

F is for Flax Seed

My friend, Susan, introduced me to flax seed.  I'd never eaten those lovely pellets of crunchy goodness until she presented them to me sprinkled over Greek yogurt and fruit.

According to WebMD's website among other benefits, flax seed contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to cardiovascular health.  Great for those who can't or don't eat fish.  They also contend that flax seed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which, according to various studies, are good for digestive health and cholesterol management.

One problem...

This site, among others I viewed, recommend consuming the ground variety of flax seed.  No thank you.  Not only does ground seed have no flavor, but it has the texture of sawdust.


But wait, isn't that a little exotic?  Nah, I buy it at Wal-Mart.  In fact, the Mart used to carry it in small serving packets for about 80 cents.  Now, all they carry in that size is chia seed (which I don't like as much) or GROUND seed.

Gah + growl


So far, I've found two enjoyable uses for this food.  One, I sprinkle it on a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  The second is the "recipe" I like most:

I call it my "Banana Split Breakfast."  It contains:

1 medium sliced banana (I also add various berries when they are in season)
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 100-calorie packet (or small handful) of almonds
1 TBSP (approx.) of whole flax seed.

Put it together in a way that suits you.  Another variation I like is to use to use cottage cheese instead of yogurt, remove the almonds, and add diced apples and mandarin orange wedges with the banana.  Either way you've got some protein, fiber, plus all the nutrients in the fruit.  For me, it keeps the sugar cravings down without tasting like cardboard (another reason not to use ground flax seed).  Plus, it's a simple breakfast that doesn't require any actual cooking.

My only warning would be that if you're not used to high fiber food, use a very small amount of the seeds and increase slowly so you'll know how it will affect your tummy.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 09: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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BTW--I love Mrs. Joyce's new Hodgepodge Logo!

What is one area of your life where you're a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

Let's just say I have perfectionistic tendencies.  No, they're not good.  I worry excessively about getting things right for fear of repercussions.  I apologize too much, even for things I didn't even do.  I never feel like anything is good enough.  I hate it.

What's something you find perfectly ridiculous?

Don't get me started.  I'll list a few:
  • Arguments about the left lane. Since when did the left lane become a magical side of the road where there's no speed limit?  I do believe that police officers give tickets for speeding in that lane also--at least that's what my driver's manual told me.
  • People who put their child/grandchild's report card on social media.  Sorry, but that's just plain tacky.  I put that right up there with Elite Night
  • Select-a-size paper towels.  The person who invented these monstrosities should be hung by his feet and used as a piƱata.  I think they are designed to always tear bigger or smaller than you intended, so you'll waste a bunch and buy more.
  • Politics.  'Nuf said.
What's a skill you've developed by way of that old fashioned saying, "practice makes perfect"?

Playing musical instruments.

What's your idea of a perfect breakfast?

One that I don't have to cook myself that comes from Cracker Barrel, Ihop, or my Mama's kitchen.

What's a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you've taken that you'd rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

I was blessed with the gift of spending Christmas Eve night at the Hampton Inn in JackVegas.  It was glorious:  the quiet aloneness garnered me more than 12 straight hours of sleep.  I woke up refreshed and rested for the first time in a while.  I worked out, got ready for services, and had a lovely complementary breakfast.  Wish I could do the same thing for Easter.

What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can't do perfect, how about one that comes close?

"O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!" - Habakkuk 1:2

How would you spend $300 today?

$30 tithe
$10 offering
$100 savings
$50 car maintenance
$75 groceries and toiletries
$25 Cell phone minutes
$10 Fun bucks

Insert your own random thought here.

As an avid reader, I like to share what I read with others.  I don't believe I've ever shared one of my book reviews with the Hodgepodge crowd before.  So, here's the review of a book I recently completed.  To understand the quest and the scoring system, or to view more of my latest reviews, read here.

BookThe Proposal. (English Garden Series #1)

Author: Lori Wick

Info:  Copyright 2003:  Waterville ME:  Thorndike Press (Large Print Edition)

Where acquired: Library check out.

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

What it's about:  The setting is upper class Georgian-Era England. William Jennings, too young to be so set in his ways and too logical for his own good, inherits three children--two preteen boys and a young girl--from a deceased cousin.  At the joy getting to be a parent without the bother of a wife, his first thoughts were to groom the young men and cast off the little girl to a nanny.  After this arrangement turns tragic, he must learn how to truly love these children, rather than selfishly "provide" for them.  Along the way, he gets help and direction from his sister Lydia, her family, and Marianne, a friend of Lydia's.   Even with this circle of accountability, will Jennings learn what love is, or most importantly Who love is?

Favorite Quotes:

Exchange between Thomas and Mr. Jennings
     "They're not as frightening as you first thought, are they, sir?"  the young man asked.
     "What aren't, Thomas?"
     "Little girls." - p. 76

Exchange between Mr. Jennings and Thomas
     "Do you attend church to please your father?"
     "My heavenly Father or Goodwin Jennings?"
     "That's not why I go, sir, although I know he would be pleased."
     "Why do you go?"
     "The life of one who chooses to follow Christ is very challenging, sir.  I can rest knowing that God is in control at all times, but I can't stop changing and growing.  And to change and grow, I have to keep learning." - p. 202

Exchange between Marianne and her mother
     "You don't think I should have said yes?"
     "At one time I would have, but not when I think about his not loving you.  I want you to be cherished, and unless you are going to be, you can just stay right here where I know it will happen."
     They were words that Marianne would cling to in the time to come.  Even as she recounted the story to her mother, she had doubts about refusing Mr. Jennings.  However, she would not settle for anything less than love.  Marianne knew this deep in her heart, but unless she worked to keep it at the forefront of her mind, she might be tempted to doubt her own sanity. - p. 362

What I Liked:
  • Although William Jennings was a turd in the beginning of the novel, I am pleased that human compassion took over to make him less turd-like.
  • Yes, the outcome of the story is predictable, but how they got there wasn't.  Not to spoil it for anyone, but this book should have been called The Proposals.  It was a mess.
  • Unlike the last Lori Wick series I read, none of the main female characters in this novel were airheads.  Quite refreshing after my last experience.
  • Plain and simple, I loved the children in this story.  No, they were not perfect by any stretch, but their interactions were a delight.
  • Though all the characters were well-to-do, there was no ostentation presented.  Yes, they were wealthy, but the extravagance wasn't the focus.  The female who marries in the novel didn't have to for financial reasons; her family was very well off.  She found real love, not convenient love.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The jump from curiosity to love was a little forced.  It didn't seem that the characters knew enough about each other to fall in love so quickly.  It went from "I need someone to take my last name and nanny my children." to "I love you and can't live without you." way too abruptly.
  • Lydia didn't have her baby, so we don't know what it is.  The poor woman is left pregnant until I have time to start the second novel.
  • It was confusing to have some of the male characters referred to by their last names. 
  • How many times is Penny going to have to pee to get through a chapter?  I know she's little, but good grief.  It was funny the first couple of times, but come on...
  • It bothered me that the story depicted a single woman accompanying a single man on an extended trip.  In that time frame, would that have not been thought of as scandalous?  Yet, her parents readily agreed.  That doesn't seem to fit, Christians or not, separate rooms or not.
Takeaway:  A splendid start to another series.  I hope the rest are just as good, if not better.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Purpose"

On purpose.
Live with purpose.
Purpose driven.
Purpose statement.
Accidently on purpose.

According to the Catechism, the chief end, or purpose, of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  More than ever, I want to fulfill that purpose.

I said I want to, but I don't think I can, no matter how hard I try.

Quite honestly, I can't see the purpose of my life as an example to everyone on how not to live, though that's what it feels like.  What would be the point of that?  Yes, I know that Zig Ziglar said "Some of us learn from other people's mistakes and the rest of us have to be the other people."  I'm tired of being the other people.

Sorry to sound so pessimistic (no, I'm not going to apologize for not lying), but I'm getting old, y'all.  And this continued existence of not knowing my true calling and purpose in life is getting old too.  I'm done with everything being up in the air and hanging by a thread all the time.  I tired of feeling like I'm in God's will one moment, but not in the next.  Cat and mouse is not my game.

Is it really possible to know my purpose, or must I continue to stumble in the dark?
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Watching Paint Dry: The Weekly Hodgeodge

Join the fun! 
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"Slow and steady wins the race"...tell us about a time this was true in your own life.  My opinion is; anyone who says "slow and steady wins the race" has never seen NASCAAR.  Last week's Five Minute Friday was on the subject of slowness.  Slow and steady is why I'm postponing running any 5ks until April when, hopefully, I'll have built up some decent speed.  Last year's running season was fun and I actually medaled a few times.  However, I had the misfortune of being ridiculed and shamed by race volunteers for being last and taking (in their opinion) too long to finish. No more and no thank you.

"As slow as molasses"...Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What's your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what's your favorite food made with that sweet treat? 

I like caramel and butterscotch,  I have a recipe for homemade German chocolate cake with caramel coconut icing that is delicious.  Werther's Originals and the inexpensive candy disks are my favorite butterscotch treats.  I've not had real maple syrup, so I don't know what it tastes like.  I made a cookie recipe with molasses once and I wasn't impressed.  Not sure if it was my cooking or the recipe.
Your favorite slow song? 

Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot?

Vegetable soup.  My only prep is to open some cans and cut up an onion.  All the ingredients go in the Crock Pot on high overnight.  The next morning voila!  Soup for days.

"You may delay, but time will not." ~Benjamin Franklin.  Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?

I usually try to get unpleasant tasks done.  It's the pleasant tasks I tend to delay.  For some reason, I have to give myself permission to enjoy something.  Yeah, weird I know, but it's me.  What did you expect?

Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.
Wal-Mart lines. Why the Sam Hill do they build so many check out counters, then never use them all until two days before Christmas?  That doesn't even make horse sense.
Weight loss.  Ugh!  That is all.
Change.  Why is it so easy for society to completely screw things up at lightning speed, but it takes decades to correct anything?

March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you'll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you'd like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen. 

Yes, I'm quite crafty. 

Here's where I insert a shameless plug for my art blog Auntie's Workshop


Although I've been painting for years, I've always wanted to take a Bob Ross painting class to learn his technique.  They periodically offer classes at our local Hobby Lobby.  I have some reservations about taking the course.  First off, the price.  It's one class, but it costs $50...well $65 since I'll have to rent the supplies.  Yes, it's stupid.  If I had all the Bob Ross stuff, I wouldn't be taking the class

This weekend, some ladies from Anniston Runners Club are going to a painting party at Paintology 101 on the Square in JackVegas.  I don't know how to describe it other than the goal is to have fun creating a painting in a couple of hours with acrylic paint.  I've had a bad experience with places like this before, but I'll give it a try since it's not that expensive.  I'll let y'all know how it goes.

I've also got a crochet project I hope to finish in the next few days.

Insert your own random thought here. 

Well, I've been sleeping well the past couple of nights.  Praise the Lord.  I hope this marks the end of the insomnia.  I did try Melatonin, but it didn't work at all.  My internet research on the subject revealed that certain vitamin deficiencies can cause insomnia, so I went back to taking a daily vitamin/mineral.  Whatever works. 

This months walking/running mileage was lower than last month.  I got in 51 miles--a very good number considering how much many workouts I missed fighting extreme exhaustion from not sleeping. 

March is a new month with new miles and new adventures.