Thursday, August 31, 2017

Casting Pods Before Swine [Thursday 13]

Podcasting, that wonderful audio medium that allows an individual to speak his heart and mind, and interact with the rest of the world.  Everyone from stay at home moms to the Hollywood elite can, and do, have successful podcasts.  Yes, I'm a fan.

For several years, I've been knocking around the idea of starting a podcast.  I've even had friends tell me I would be great at it, but I still haven't completed one episode.  I'd create the audio, start editing it, and think nah!  Here I am in the throws of a new life adventure and considering it again.  However, there are still some roadblocks.

Here are thirteen concerns about why I don't have a podcast...yet:
  1. Quite frankly the thought of it excites me, but also scares the pee out of me. 
  2. Would anyone listen to it?  It's such a comfort to know how many of you read my blog, but would you be willing to hear my voice and encourage others to do so? 
  3. Do I even have time for this?  I just moved across the country and have started job hunting, so do I really have time for yet another project?
  4. What would I talk about?  Some podcasts I've heard are nothing more than an hour of whining or exhausting self promotion that bring no value to the listener.  I don't want that to y'all.  I want my podcast to be entertaining as well as informative.  Can I really pull that off and still be open and honest?  I also don't want it to simply be an audio version of my blogs.
  5. Equipment and software:  On my old desktop computer that was still running Windows XP (!!), I had a great audio recorder program.  However, all that old equipment went to the happy hunting grounds before my move.  I thought I could use the same program on my laptop, however, it doesn't even recognize my microphone, or the audio inputs.  This makes the program totally useless!  I downloaded the free Audacity program...and there it sits...waiting to be used...and I don't know how to use it.  I don't even know where to start. I'm afraid to fool with it since I don't even know if it will work either.  This is ridiculous! I spent a semester at JSU learning to do audio editing with a grease pencil and a razor blade, surely I can figure this out!
  6. What about music?  No podcast is complete without some music and sounds to sooth the talking head. BUT from what I understand, I can't use just any music.  I'd have to pay for it.  So there goes using Uptown Funk as my podcast theme, or having an 80's dance party in the middle of it.  Maybe I can find something free on the web...??
  7. Budget:  How professional could my podcast be using all free stuff?
  8. Where would I put it?  Again, is there a place where you can listen to it that doesn't cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney?
  9. How long should it be?  Should I just do some initial "quickies" and make it longer if people listen, or just dive right in?
  10. How often should I post it?  I don't want to be that friend who checks in too often, and I also want to have something interesting to talk about.  Is once a week enough?  How about once every two weeks?
  11. Should it be solo, or should I interview people, or a little of both?  If I interview people, how would I do it?  Back to the equipment and software issue.
  12. What do I call it?  Do I link the name with my blogs, or come up with something completely off the wall?
  13. What if it sucks?  What if it doesn't?
I welcome all serious, and constructive feedback.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 25: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!

NOTE:  If you're here just for the book review, scroll to the bottom to the "random thought."  Thanks.

Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?
Several things:  Finding a job, moving into and furnishing my own place, then, hopefully, upgrading the Auntie mobile.  In between all that, I'll keep up my crafting, reading, and health endeavors.  It's going to be a fun, busy fall.
Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?
Having a free membership to the YMCA when I worked there.  It gave me extra incentive to work out since the oppotunity was staring me in the face every day.
August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys.  Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?
I've yet to visit South Carolina, so all of these choices sound  fabulous, but biking on Hilton Head Island appeals to me most.  
Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?
Childhood summers were spent eating barbequed ribs.  Yum!  You really want me to pick ONE dish that "sticks to my ribs"?  Well, since we're on the subject, pulled pork. Whether it's in a sandwich or a salad, it really hits the spot.  Oh man, makes me want to order some mail-in Dreamland barbeque (only because The Rocket in Jacksonville doesn't do mail order).
What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?
Out of my preliminary list of thirteen, I'd say learn to agree to disagree like a mature adult.  I'm not sure what in world has turned our society into a bunch of fragile whiners, but it's grating my nerves and needs to stop.  Does Auntie need to establish a "no whining zone" around herself again?  I haven't had to break that out since I taught preschool!
Insert your own random thought here.
Before I get to this, let me get this off my chest.  I started not to post this review when I finished the book three weeks ago since some people so stridently loath the author.  However, I'm sure that there are other such disliked authors of whom I've reviewed their books.  Now that I'm ready to go ahead with it,  all these conflicting stories about the author's church started during the Texas hurricane coverage.  Again, I almost didn't post the review.  HOWEVER, my job isn't to defend the author, his church, or anything else concerning him; he's not my Pastor, I don't attend his church, and he isn't my Savior.  My goal is to review a book I chose to read.  If you don't like the author, that's fine.  I don't personally know the man to decide whether I like him or not.  If you've read the book and didn't like it, fine.  I congratulate you for being an adult who's used his own mind.  I chose to do the same.
I find it a crying shame I didn't have to present a caveat before reviewing Charles Barkley's book, but I had to for this one.  Ok, here goes.
Book:  Your Best Life Now.

Author: Joel Osteen

Info: Copyright 2004: New York:  Warner Faith

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

Where Acquired:  Thrift store purchase.

Category:   This one fits two categories:  Everyone's Reading It: because when the book premiered, everybody and their grandma read and recommended this book,  but I opted out of the frenzy.  Nobody Admits to Reading It:  Some Christians were saying to avoid the book either because they didn't like the author, or simply because of the title--though they'd never read the book.  I'm more acquainted with Osteen's father, John Osteen, and his teaching.  I figured if he was anything like his father, this book should be a safe enough read.

What it's about:  Osteen presents seven keys to a greater life in God:

1.   Enlarge your vision.
2.   Develop a healthy self-image.
3.   Discover the power of your thoughts and words.
4.   Let go of the past.
5.   Find strength in adversity.
6.   Live to give.
7.   Choose to be happy.

Through scripture passages and examples from Osteen, his family, friends, and church members, the author presents the results of living out these seven steps.

What I liked:
  • The author didn't just say "do this."  He showed how he applied the keys in his own life.
  • Osteen never presents a message that problems will not be a part of the life of a Christian.  He presents biblical solutions to conquering problems.
  • I enjoyed the encouraging tone of the text.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The book was a bit repetitive.
  • I was hoping the book would go a little deeper into the "how to's" of each key.


After I finished this book, my first thought was, What was all the hubbub about?  If you look at the seven steps, can you tell me exactly what's controversial about them?  These are primary keys to living a victorious Christian life.  These are steps I've heard or read since I became a Christian more than 30 years ago.  In fact, secular authors who think they've come up with some new thing repeat these same steps in their own "leave out God" way.

You know, if the author had written heresy--things contrary to Scripture, I would have understood, and agreed, with those who cautioned against and criticized the book.  However, though I don't agree with everything Osteen wrote, this book doesn't deny the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of the Trinity, nor does he even hint that Jesus isn't the true way to salvation.  So what's the problem?

Yes, the book is "spiritual milk."  However, for the brand-new believer, this book would be a huge dose of encouragement.  In fact, it's a huge dose of encouragement for someone who may be very mature in his faith, but is going through a hard time. No, it's not deep commentary, but I believe the book was written to inspire the reader to seek and study the scriptures himself.

When I'm feeling discouraged, I'll definitely pull this one off the shelf to peruse through again.

Monday, August 28, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 24

Book:  I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It.
Author: Charles Barkley

Info: Copyright 2002: New York:  Random House

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

Where Acquired:  Audio library check out.

Category:  Impulse reads.  I'd heard of this book years ago when it first came out, but I wasn't much of a Charles Barkley fan (he did attend Auburn, you know), so I ignored it.  I happened to see it was available for check out, so I thought Eh, why not?

What it's about:  Barkley, sports commentator and former NBA star, gives an account of his basketball career intermingled with his opinion on various social topics.  He also gives and inside view into the financial world of NBA players and owners, explains why sports stars and celebrities aren't role models, and how the sports world has changed since his playing days.

Favorite Quotes:  There are no chapter numbers, so I'll just have to give you the quotes.

"My 'real' is no longer the existence of a little kid in Alabama growing up in the projects on Welfare.  My 'real' is what I am today.  That 'keeping it real' shit is irrelevant--or ought to be.  It's only relevant to the people who want you not to grow and experience new things in your life."

"People try to talk white kids in America out of playing basketball, but that's just America.  People talking about 'white men can't jump' and all that crap.  It's interesting how all these foreign-born players are coming into the league now and doing very well.  I'll bet you they don't have a bunch of people in their countries telling them they can't play because they're a certain color or race."

"Funny thing is, it's pretty obvious when two friends are of different races that they aren't natural enemies, even though we grew up in the midst of all that tension.  We had to be taught that BS at some point.  Put a little black kid and a little white kid in a room, and all they're going to do, before their minds are polluted with a bunch of BS, is play with each other."

"I don't want people to think that my concerns about race only deal with white people.  In fact, I tend to be harder on black people who are prejudiced than white people.  If you have suffered as much and as long as black people have suffered, if you have fought racism and seen your parents and grandparents fight racism, if you know the history of the suffering your own people have been through for hundreds of years, and you intentionally mistreat people because of the color of their skin, that's just really, really sad to me."

"Getting to the top isn't the end of the process; it's the beginning.  Make sure the elevator brings up somebody else."    Ramsey Lewis

Speaking about states flags that feature the confederate flag:  "The best thing to do isn't picketing, and it isn't spending so much time confronting the people who want to keep the flag.  The best thing would be to piss them off by being successful and doing well in education and business.  That's something we have a better chance of controlling."

"E-mail, telephone, and alcohol are the three primary ways people get brave."

"...nobody in all this time has been able to convince me that it's wrong to tell kids to listen to their parents and not a basketball player they've never met."

"Thank God for Jerry Springer's show.  I thought only black folks were that screwed up until I watched Jerry Springer."

What I liked:
  • The voice of this book screamed CHARLES BARKLEY!  It was not someone else's interpretation of Barkley's words.
  • Barkley's commentary was very informative.  He mentioned many intriguing sports figures I'd never heard of.  I looked up information on many of them.
  • Unlike many celebrities and sports figures, Barkley doesn't set himself up as a role model for children.  He delivers a strong argument that accessible influential adults (parents, business people, teachers, etc.) should be a child's primary role model.
  • The humor was quite enjoyable.
What I didn’t like: 
  • There was lots of strong language, however, because it was Barkley, it was pretty mild for him.
  • He does a bit of excessive name dropping throughout the book.
  • Some information was a little confusing because he didn't always present things in chronological order.
  • There were no chapter numbers.

Barkley's book surprised me.  I was unsure of whether I would enjoy it.  Barkley is presented in the media as a rather controversial figure, however his commentary on social issues was very thought provoking.  Shockingly, I agreed with a large portion of it.  His perspective on historical sports figures was enlightening.  Much of his observations about race, criminals, and double standards, are things I've said or thought myself.

This book wasn't an easy read, but it was a good one.  Barkley wrote things that made me think, made me laugh, right along with things that also made me mad.  I plan to add this one to my personal library at some point.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Not-So-Starving Artist: 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, August 27, 2017

Outside my window  A sunny day in the mid 80's.  Unfortunately, I'm nursing a sinus headache today.  It's starting to ease up, so I may get outside before sunset.

I am thinking...  about where to take Auntie's Workshop from here.  I know I'll have more opportunities when I've learned my new town more and get settled into a new job.  At present, I'm working on a gift for someone, but I've got ideas for items to sell and techniques to try.

On that note, I'm also processing a webcast I just watched on Michael Hyatt's Facebook page.  He interviewed author Jeff Goins about his new book Real Artists Don't Starve.  He talks about research that shows that a "starving" artist is a state a mind--not an inevitable reality.  I've added Goins' book to my Amazon wish list.

I'm also thinking about the type of job I want and how to go about getting it.  I have experience with, and enjoy doing, so many good things.  I'm very marketable; I just need to find my niche.

I am thankful...  for the good walks I've started taking in the mornings.  I knew I needed to get moving, so I decided that until I have to change my schedule, I'm going to take a good walk to start my day.  It took a while, but I have regained my energy.  I'm back up to walking a couple of miles at a stretch.  After a bit, I'll bump it back up to three.  Hopefully, I'll be back to running again soon.  I miss it.
From the Workshop... OK, so the crochet project I thought I would have finished by this week is finished, but I don't like the size of it; it's too small.  I'm going to add to it to make it more to the size of my liking.  Hopefully, I can show it to you next daybook.

I am reading...

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):

Talk to Me by Lynette Hagin. 
I'm back to my Bible Correspondence Course.

Now I'm number 26 on the waiting list.
Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon   My review is here.
  • The Finishing Touch by Charles R. Swindoll.  My review is here.
  • I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It by Charles Barkley.  I haven't reviewed it yet.  I know. I know.  I'll post it as soon as I can.

I am learning... to drive in my new locale.  It's weird.  I drove over 1400 miles with nerves of steel...for the most part.  Everything that came my way, I had confidence that God and His angels were there, and I was well taken care of.  Now, I get shaky at the thought of driving two or three miles down the road to Wal-Mart.  It's insane.  Today's drive to church was better, but still...

I am looking forward to...  attending my next church service.  I worshipped at Colorado Community Church this morning and it was great. The worship was very God-honoring and the Scripture-centered message refreshed my soul.  I'm not sure if this is where God wants me to stay, but for now, I'll keep going back.

And now for something totally different...

Five Minute Friday word of the week:  Guide

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 23

BookThe Finishing Touch.

Author: Charles R. Swindoll

Info:  Copyright 1994: Dallas:  Word Publishing.

Where acquired: Library book sale.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭

What it's about:  Based on Philippians 1:6 - "He who began a good work in you will finish it by the day of Jesus Christ," Swindoll offers 365 days of benchmarks of finishing strong in faith. 

Favorite Quotes:

"The only one who likes change is a wet baby." - Mark Twain, quoted on page 11.

"Your adversary would love for you to assume the worst, to heave a sigh and resign yourself to the depressed feelings that accompany defeat, failure, maximum resentment, and minimum faith. But take heart.  When God is involved, anything can happen."  p. 217

"What power little babies possess!  What frequently happens in a home occurs all too rarely in a church.  Somehow the natural and beautiful drive to reproduce gets lost in the youthful busyness of church life.  And if she is not careful, the church begins to grow old, brittle, and inbred, losing interest in giving birth." p. 286

"C.S. Lewis once likened his role as a Christian writer to an adjective humbly striving to point others to the Noun of truth.  For people to believe that Noun, we Christian writers must improve our adjectives." - Phillip Yancey, quoted on page 356

"No longer can we offer tired, trite statements that are stiff and tasteless as last year's gum beneath the pew.  The thinking person deserves an intelligent, sensible answer, not an oversimplified bromide mouthed by insensitive robots within the walls." - p. 403

"Every achievement worth remembering is stained with the blood of diligence and scarred by the wounds of disappointment.  To quit, to run, to escape, to hide--none of these options solve anything.  They only postpone the acceptance of, and reckoning with, reality.  Churchill put it well: 'Wars are not won by evacuations.'" - p 474

Referring to the Sermon on the Mount: "Our Lord reserved his strongest and longest sermon not for struggling sinners or discouraged disciples, but for hypocrites...for glory hogs." - p. 519

"No man is less efficient or more incompetent than the person on the brink of a breakdown."  p. 567

"A relaxed easy-going Christian is far more attractive and effective than the rigid, uptight brother who squeaks when he walks and whines when he talks." - p. 595

What I Liked:
  • Swindoll quotes from many other great Christian writers and thinkers.  He's not simply writing what's rolling around in his own head.
  • I like that while most devotionals start with January 1, this one starts with Week 1:  Monday.  I may not want to start a devotional on January 1st.  In fact, I started this on December 28th.  However...
What I didn’t like: 
  • While the devotional starts with Week 1, many of the entries were seasonal in nature.  For the entries to make sense, the reader would have to start the first day of the new year.  I didn't really care for that.
  • There were typographical errors in the book that a good editor should have caught.
  • I'm a big fan of Swindoll's writings, however, this book was quite curmudgeonly in nature.  His attitude is summed up best in his entry for Monday of week 13 on page 154.  In this entry he uses the proverbial Rip Van Winkle (No, not Vanilla Ice;  that's Robert Van Winkle.) to criticize everything from modern technology to expressive worship.  It's quite depressing.  I have to remind myself that this book was written and published in the early 90's, when denominational Christianity was more law than grace, more tradition than worship, more focused on being "right" in a particular flavor of Christianity instead of just being Christians, and more suspicious of anything modern, rather than using modern advances for God's glory.  Thank God that for the most part, we are not back there anymore.  After several stretches of that, I decided to read several entries a day to get the book over with.


Swindoll's books are usually filled with encouragement, humor, and in-depth Bible Commentary.  This one was quite disappointing in that in didn't include much of those positive traits.  I don't know that I would read this one again, but I will keep it in my collection for a while, just in case.  If, after a while, it does not appeal to me again, I'll make room in my collection for something else.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Guide."

Let your conscience be your guide.
Guidance counselor.
User's guide.
Guide dog.

Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

I am in definite need of guidance and community.  I'm in a new place with new people, looking for a new church, new job, and my own place to stay.  The good news is that there are plenty of churches, jobs, and safe neighborhoods to choose from.  Still, which is the best fit for me?  What is God's perfect will for me?

Last week, our prompt reminded me of how what I say affects others.  This week, I think about how I live my life may be a guide to others.  I've spent a long time being an example of how not to do life.  I believe this fresh start will be a better guide to learn from.  No, I'm not setting myself up as some kind of guru or role model, but we all are examples to others of some element of life.
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 22

Book:  Home to Holly Springs:  A Father Tim Novel, Book 1
Author: Jan Karon

Info: Copyright 2007: New York:  Viking / Penguin

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

Where Acquired:  Audio library check out.

What it's about:  Retired Episcopal priest Father Timothy Kavanagh receives a mysterious note in the mail containing two words "Come home."  But wait.  Home was Mitford.  Home was all his friends and former parishioners.  Father Tim knew what he must do--and he didn't like it.  Author Jan Karon returns Father Tim to his roots in Holly Springs, Mississippi.  There he encounters all the joys, sorrows, and surprises of coming home.

Favorite Quotes:

From Chapter 1:

     "I'm about to puke up my gizzard," said Tommy. "Every time I look down, it hits me."
     "Don't look down.  Keep your eyes straight ahead."
     "Ain't nothin'  to see straight ahead."
     "It's puke or look straight ahead--take your pick."

Tommy puked.

     "Good," he [young Timothy] said, "Let's go."

From Chapter 2:  RE:  Barnabas, "Is that a dog, or a coal car jumped off the track?"

From Chapter 13 - "He liked being in a place where everything from forgetfulness to homicide might be blamed on the heat."

What I liked:
  • I always enjoy a book that has laugh out loud moments laden with southern humor to which I can relate.
  • Though this was set outside of Mitford, the Mitford vibe was not lost, plus several recurring characters were included.  Also, the newly introduced characters could have fit right in with the Mitford crowd.
  • Many mysterious plot holes from the other novels were solved in this story.

What I didn’t like: 
  • This is the first Jan Karon novel I remember having so much strong language in it.  I felt that the use of so much pejorative language was unnecessary for the enjoyment of the book.


Honestly, I thought I wasn't going to like this book.  I'd read the second Father Tim novel, In the Company of Others, several years ago and found it very dull.  (Yes, I know I read them out of order. It happens.)  I expected the same from this first departure from Mitford, however, I was blissfully mistaken.  I suppose my own situation helped me take a shine to this novel.  I've just recently moved across the country from the only home I've ever known.  I'm not sure how long it will be before I will visit home.  I wonder how much will change?  Though it won't be as dramatic or as extended as Father Tim's absence, I wonder about what joyous secrets I'll find when I return.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sunny Side Up: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?

Nope, I didn't watch the eclipse.  Not to be rude, but by the time it happened, I was so sick of hearing about it, I just wanted the thing over.  Out of the list, I'd say Sun Chips are my favorite eclipse related snack.

What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?

I'm extremely happy I made it to Colorado.  By the way, if you want to read about my trip, I chronicled it here.  I enjoy eating out at a sit-down restaurant once in a blue moon.

Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?

Health and nutrition.  At one point in my college career, I considered studying medicine, but changed my mind...or rather...God changed it for me.  Learning all that I can and applying it to my own life is what I do to feed the interest.  I eventually want to study to be certified as a trainer or fitness instructor.  But for now, I'm my own personal trainer.

What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?

As I've said in earlier posts, I didn't enjoy school until I was a senior in high school.  I looked forward to going back because of band practice and football season.

I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.

In a positive way or negative way?  Well, here goes:

Jesus - the Name that says it all.
Love - This word touches my soul in both a positive and a negative way.
Alone - One of the most painful words to my soul.
Peace - I'm always on the quest for some.
Music - Not just the word, but the thing itself touches me.

Insert your own random thought here.

Well, one week in Colorado down.  Let's see what the next week holds.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Settling In: 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, August 20, 2017

Outside my window  Colorado summer feels like Alabama autumn.  I've been sleeping with my bedroom window open to let in the cooler temperatures.

I am thinking...  about how God took such good care of me during my drive out here.  In case you haven't read it, I chronicle my trip here.
Little "Bea" on her
first day of school.
I am thankful...  for the hospitality and inclusion from the friends who are sharing their home with me.  Wednesday was their daughter, Beatrix's first day of Kindergarten.  The school is a short walk around the corner.  They included me in the fun of the walk and watching her go into her class for the first time.  This isn't even my child, but I felt myself tearing up.
From the Workshop... I've started a new crochet project that should be finished by the time I write my next daybook.  Here are a couple of projects I finished before leaving for Colorado:

I am reading...

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):

Now I'm number 28 on the waiting list.
I'm also still working my way through The Finishing Touch by Chuck Swindoll

Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • Trajectory by Richard Russo.   My review is here.
  • Your Best Life Now. by Joel Osteen.  I've not written a review yet.  Sorry, but I've been kind of busy.
I am learning... to acclimate to the new altitude.  I'm drinking water like crazy and resting my body when it needs it.  I feel better every day, but it will take a few more days for me to get back to normal.  The exhaustion of all the driving didn't hit until a couple of days ago.  I'm not going to push it.  I'm anxious to get outside to ride and walk, but if I'm too tired, there's no sense in doing myself harm with overexertion.

I am looking forward to... 
  • Learning more about my new town.
  • Getting myself an interview suit.
  • Creating baby items for the Colorado Family Life Center.  This center is much like Sav-A-Life, so I feel comfortable donating to them.

And now for something totally different...

Five Minute Friday word of the week:  Speak


Friday, August 18, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Speak"

Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Our Sunday School class declares this scripture at the beginning of each class.  This word is even more poignant to me now that I'm staying in a house with small children as part of the family.  I spent nearly a decade teaching young children.  They are like little magnets and mockingbirds.  Not only do they repeat what you say, but how you speak it. 

I wish I had more than five minutes so I could tell you a funny story about that. Oh heck, why not?

Along with numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and Biblical concepts, I had to remind the children of their manners.  Please, thank you, and yes, ma'am/no, ma'am were an integral part of our class vocabulary.  However, because we had so many silly boys in our class, there was a lot of belching going on.  I never got onto them for belching, but I did stress that the polite thing to do was to say excuse me.  This just wasn't happening, so I finally started saying to the culprit "say excuse me you big nasty."  Now, understand, it wasn't said in derision to embarrass the child, but as a fun reminder--and the children took it that way (they thought the term "big nasty" was hilarious and laughed hysterically).

Well, later in the school year, a mom came to me and told me a little story about her daughter.  The family had a visitor to their home from another country.  The guest, apparently from a country where belching is a compliment to the chef, let one rip and says nothing.  Without missing a beat, my student says, "say excuse me, you big nasty."  Fortunately, the parent was laughing through the tale (she understands my sense of humor and teaching style), plus the man didn't understand what she said.  I thought I was never going to stop laughing.

So what's my point?  This situation was a positive one, but what if my words had been harsh and cutting?  I've heard kids repeat some very inappropriate things said by their parents or teachers.  It saddens me when an adult won't own up to it.  So, please, watch what you speak, you big nasty!
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Auntie's Finally Been Somewhere! [101 in 1001 v. 2]

Several years ago, I mentioned my insane fear of driving on the interstate.  When the opportunity to move to Colorado came up, I had to face my anxiety.  My plan was to practice on short hops, then take off due west on a Sunday morning when there's less traffic and drive for two or three days to reach my destination.

The Saturday before, I finished packing the car and bedecking the vehicle to let everyone know that Alabama's in the house.

The scriptures I stood on for this trip:

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.

II Timothy 3:17 (AMP) - So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Day 1

Me and my bundle of nerves pulled out of JackVegas around 6:00 a.m. central time.  I immediately had to make a pit stop at the Oxford Wal-Mart before I even got onto the interstate.  After emptying my nervous bladder, I cautiously meandered onto Interstate 20 West.

My first test was getting onto I-65 in Birmingham.  The map program said to use the two right lanes to exit onto I-65.  WRONG!  There was only one lane, but I made it. 

Moving from I-65 to I-22 to I-40 was pretty straight forward, so I settled in until I got to Arkansas, with brief fuel stops in Tupelo, MS and Memphis, TN.  One rule of road I set for myself was to start hunting for gas stations when I reach half a tank.  This works very well since that's about the time my bladder starts demanding attention.  The other rule was to only go to gas stations or truck stops with names I recognize.  This also tamps down the creepy factor.

By the time I reached Palestine, AR, not only did I need gasoline, but my body was screaming for food.  I'd had a snack at each stop, but I needed more.  Another rule of the road is, don't take Excedrin or any other caffeine-laden medication when you're already nervous.  I learned that one the hard way.  Anyway, the Love's truck stop I patronized had a Subway, so I got a sandwich combo and sat at a table to eat and settle myself down.

Feeling much better, I headed across Arkansas.  This is where my nerves were truly put to the test for the first time.  Oh yeah, and it's also where my Alabama flag came off (Must have been Razorback fans #RollTide).  From the moment I got back on the road until I got to the Oklahoma state border, rain dripped, poured, spit, fell in sheets, bounced, and fell in two liter drops.  Also, I noticed that my air conditioner wouldn't blow, so I had to open the window and sunroof to keep from melting into a puddle.  That worked fine until my windshield fogged up beyond visibility.  So, I pulled over on the shoulder.  As I pulled over, I rolled over those "hey, get back in the road" divots, and low and behold, my air and defroster started working again.  Talk about God providing right when I need it.  When both the windshield and the path to re-enter cleared, I got back on track.

Side note:  I thought Arkansas would never end.  By late evening, I finally crossed the Oklahoma border.

As the sun started to set, I started looking for a place to stay for the night.  Lodging rule: only pick hotels you recognize with rooms that are "in," not "out."  Not that I'm a snob, but I'm a female alone and don't want to have to explain a killing to the cops.  I didn't see a sign for anything I was comfortable with, so I turned onto the Muskogee Turnpike thinking I would find an exit to a hotel there.  Then, I heard my GPS say, "Stay on the Muskogee Turnpike for 62 miles."  WHAT!?  I had no idea that this particular stretch of road has no exits to anything significant.  Unfortunately for me, I hate driving in unfamiliar places when it's dark.  Fortunately for me and my bladder, there was a concession stop with a McDonald's and a gas station.  After peeing and praying, I got back on the Turnpike and made it to the Wyndham Hotel in Tulsa OK a little before 9:00 p.m.  By the time I checked in and got to my room, I felt like I had been in a fight with Mike Tyson...and lost.  I fell into bed a little before 10:00 with the intention of sleeping until 8:00 or 9:00.

Day 2

I woke up at my normal "get up before God does to go to work" time of 3:30 a.m. and COULD NOT go back to sleep. 

After lounging in bed for a while, I went to the hotel's fitness center and rode the elliptical for about 15 minutes to work the kinks out.  After a shower and a leisurely breakfast, I hung out at the hotel until around 10:30, then I hit the road. 

Once I got into Kansas, trouble began to brew.  My JSU flag broke off somewhere on I-70 West in Topeka.  No big deal.  However, I started hearing something weird in the area of my right front tire.  I finally saw the problem, something black was flapping on the tire.  I knew it wasn't the tire going flat or its treads separating because the car stayed steady.  I pulled over and found that the rubber flap that redirects mud and rocks away for the car had come off on one end.  All I could do was remove it...forcibly.  Good thing I had scissors in my console. 

It gets worse.

When I got back in the car, I noticed I had to manhandle my steering all of a sudden, plus my battery light came on.  HOLD UP!  I had a brand new battery so I wasn't sure what the deal was.  Since I was in the middle of nowhere and the car was still drivable, I pressed on to find an exit with a decent hotel.

I'm going to cut this part short but it took me FOUR hotels, before I could find one that took cash (thank you Days Inn in Salina, KS).  Most hotels run by managers with sense will take cash and put a small hold on a debit/credit card in case you damage your room somehow.  Not these.

Side note:  Thank you to every teenager, college kid on spring break, drunk, criminal, and irresponsible pet owner who's ruined hotel rooms which made this kind of nonsense necessary and making my life terribly inconvenient.

I was frustrated, hot, and tired enough to throw up when I checked in around 4:00 p.m.  Once I cooled off, ate a bite and took a shower, I settled down and slept.

Day 3

After a great night's sleep, I had breakfast, then headed for the nearest Advanced Auto Parts.  After several tests, the guy told me my alternator wasn't putting out enough amps and recommended a nearby mechanic.

Side note:  As a female who knows more about cars than the average female, I'm very particular about mechanics.  I don't like mechanics who talk to me like I'm stupid, or talks in circles because he's feeding me BS, and if one rips me off, I never go back and I TELL EVERYBODY!

The man at this particular shop was honest.  He let me know that it would be noon before he could even work me in, but recommended another shop across town.  What choice did I have?  So I headed for it.

I kid you not, my car ran until I got into the shop's parking lot, cut off, then I could cut it back on long enough to properly pull into a space.

There goes God providing again.

The guys at Oard's Auto and Truck Repair were excellent.  Everyone was friendly, their place was clean, and the waiting area was nice.  Turns out I didn't need an alternator (Praise the Lord!).  It seems that somehow my alternator belt, power steering belt, and air conditioner belt broke.  This mystified the head mechanic, 1) because I was able to drive the car about 100 miles in that condition and 2) because the Advanced Auto Parts guy assessed my alternator with NO BELT on it.


It took a couple of hours to run diagnostics, replace the belts, recharge the battery, and run diagnostics again to make sure everything was OK.  The price for the work was very reasonable, and I got back on the road by noon.

Rest Area in Kansas
Like Arkansas, I thought Kansas would never end.  Like Arkansas, once I got into Colorado, I was in a race with torrential rain, wind, lightning, and hail.  I safely reached Aurora around 7:30 p.m. mountain time.

I learned a lot and really enjoyed the trip.  HOWEVER, I hope I never have to drive that far alone EVER again.

Looks like I punched another fear in the face!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Are We There Yet? Yep: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.

I wish I could say they always do, but no.  I do try my best to honor what I say, but I don't always succeed.  That is not to say that I'm a hypocrite; just saying that occasionally what I do and say unfortunately are different.

Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?

Dog tired.  I got into Aurora yesterday (Tuesday) after three long days on the interstate.  More on that in another post.  I slept well last night, but I'm sure a nap may ensue sometime today.

Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?

Ok, go ahead and laugh, but the only books I've read with a dog in the storyline as a major character have been several of the Clifford the Big Red Dog  books.  My preschool class read tons of them. 

What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?

Finish writing and self-publish my book.

August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.

"[Margaret] Thatcher was famous for saying, 'If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.' Now that's true, but I would like to add; if you want absolutely nothing said or done, ask a CAT." - Craig Ferguson

"Radio ad: 'Total Transformation kit has my child no longer talking back.' My 21 yr old son: 'Kit has duct tape and a bat'" - Dave Ramsey

"Whenever I have to wear a suit, I only iron the front of my shirt. Makes me feel like I'm getting away with something." -- Colin Mochrie

Heard a commercial for Dodge where the guy talked about how eco-efficient his truck was because it has a sensor that powered the engine down when he was on the highway. I have one too. It's called a TRANSMISSION! -- Auntie's Musings

Insert your own random thought here.

Well, my long journey is over and I am now in Aurora, Colorado.  As I stated above, I am dog tired.  I will blog more about my journey when I get some more rest.  Until then, see y'all later.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Place"

Know you place.
Keep your place.
Put you in your place.
Everything in its place.
My place in this world.
Place cards.
First Place.
My own place.

I know I mention it a lot, but one of my lifelong dreams is to have my own house--my very own piece of paradise.  While I'm not extremely fastidious about housekeeping and I enjoy messy creativity, I look forward to my things not being crammed in boxes, bags, corners of a small room, or as in this case, the trunk and seats of a '96 Honda Accord.  I'm ready for a place where I can spread out and stay spread out.  I want a place for everything and everything in its place.

With my upcoming move (3 days!! AAAAH!), I will get to establish my place in a new community.  With all the work I've done with my mentor, I want my place with my new neighbors to be one of equality.  My place is not to continue to cloister myself away because I don't feel that I'm good enough or that I don't belong.  New space--new place.

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 21

Book:  Trajectory.
Author: Richard Russo

Info: Copyright 2017: New York:  Random House Large Print

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✮

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

CategoryImpulse reads.  I know absolutely nothing about the author, but I do like short stories.  I saw an article about this book in The Anniston Star and since it was at our local library, I thought I'd give a read.

What it's about:  Trajectory is a collection of four short stories.  In "Horseman," a young literature professor has to contend with a student's plagiarism, plus her own shortcomings.  "Voice" chronicles two brothers who use a mishap-ridden tour of Italy as a means of escaping past traumas-- some of their own making, some that made them.  A life-threatening diagnosis finds a realtor in the mist of "Intervention."  His family and friends are intervening on his behalf to try to prevent him from following in his father's footsteps in dealing with his illness. He is trying to prevent a client's obsession with preserving her late father's memory from costing her the sale of her house.  "Melton and Marcus" is a romp into the world of film writing, Hollywood stars, and the backbiting nature of the industry.

What I liked:
  • Russo's stories were engaging.  Even with the stories I liked the least, his writings drew me in to want to see how they ended.
  • From what little I could find about the author, his stories are viewed as biographical in nature.  I like that he put a bit of himself and his experiences into each story.
  • The characters were not stock maudlin characters (unless they were supposed to be); they were quite believable and real.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The author's portrayal of characters outside of his regional comfort zone were a bit suspect, if not downright insulting. Not racist, or bigoted, just not with the clarity and tolerance I would expect a writer of this caliber (Pulitzer Prize level) to possess.
  • The stories would have been just as good without the use of so much profanity.
  • Russo uses a lot of bold type rather than the standard grammatical use of italics, quotation marks, or punctuation to show emotion or to emphasize a point.  While it was a bit distracting to me, it may be a unique trait of his writing style.

This was a total departure from the type of literature I read, but I'm not sorry I read it.  While I may not read any more of Russo's works, this collection of stories took me out of my literary and emotional comfort zone.  I like happier stories, so I had to remember that unresolved conflict is part of the nuance of this literary style.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Give it to Me, Baby: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Before we begin, let's congratulate our Hodgepodge hostess on the birth of her grandson.  Congratulations, Nana Joyce!

Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.

For things that already have time constraints, there's no need to.  However, for other things, I have to at least set limits on my time.  In order to get certain projects done, I sometimes set a timer and promptly stop and move on to another activity once the timer rings.

My latest painting.
Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person- Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

When you've been away, what's your 'lighthouse' telling you you're on the right road home?

No, I've never visited a lighthouse, but I would like to.  One of my favorite landscape subjects to paint is the lighthouse.  I'm not really sure what my own "lighthouse" would be.

What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?

Well, I haven't completely stopped, but my workouts have definitely slowed down.  This has been a rough summer schedule-wise, weather-wise, and physically-wise.  Yes, I know I worked at a fitness facility, but if I'm so tired that I'm crashing, there's no way I can get in a workout.  This month should be much different.

We've had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.

Nothing others would consider grand, but God has been taking care of me in grand style to prepare me for my move to Colorado.  I believe He will continue to provide.

Tell us one song you love with the word 'baby' in the title.

I wouldn't say "love," but out of the songs I can remember hearing with the word "baby" in the title, these are the first two that came to mind.

Insert your own random thought here.

This past week has been full of goodbyes.  Friday was my last day at the YMCA, Sunday was my last service at First Baptist, Monday, my sweet Godniece, Leah, came all the way from Tuscaloosa to see me and tell me goodbye,  and yesterday, my Sunday School class threw me a going away party at Baja California Grill.  Along with all that, people have called, come by, and messaged me.  I feel so loved.  I've got more get togethers and visits before I head out early Sunday morning.

Maybe by the next hodgepodge, my thoughts won't be so scattered.  I'm at that scared-excited-let's get it over with stage.  I'm trying to be patient and enjoy every day of it.  I'm definitely enjoying sleeping like normal people.

See y'all next time.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Little Somethin'-Somethin': 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:  Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Outside my window  Summer heat continues with a little less humidity.

I am thinking...  about my trip.  I'm an odd combination of excitement and nerves.
I am thankful...  Oh man!  So much to be thankful for.  The Lord has certain gone before me in preparing for my move. 
  • He turned the prospect of a very expensive car repair into a $5.00 part and $35.00 in labor.
  • He's provided some very nice new-to-me clothing.
  • He's helped me lose more than 25 pounds since the beginning of the year so I would be ready to fit into those clothes when they were offered.
  • He's provided a cooler for my food and drinks for the trip.
  • He's provided gas money for the trip.
Who knows what other great things will come my way before I leave. 
From the Workshop... I'm working on a couple of little something-somethings.  Here's a little peek:

I'll let you see the finished products when they're...well...finished.  I'm planning to finish up before I depart.

I am reading...

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):

I was about 2/3 through this one when I ran out of time.
Now I'm number 33 on the waiting list to get it again.  #NerdIssues

Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • Better Than Before. by Gretchen Rubin.  My review is here.
  • Jayber Crow. by Wendell Barry.  My review is here.

I am learning... even more to trust in God.

I am looking forward to... 
  • The next two weeks.  They will prove to have some sadness in that I will be saying a lot of goodbyes to the people I love.  But the good news is that I will saying a lot of hellos to new friends and a brand new life.
  • The Woodstock 5k this weekend.
  • Painting at Paintology 101 this weekend.
  • Getting some much needed rest and time off from getting up at the apex of dawn's butt crack before I head out west.

And now for something totally different...

This month, I decided to take on a couple of my 101 in 1001 challenges.  I was successful in completing my 30 days of 10,000 steps challenge.  Well, I actually attempted 31 days since it's July and number nerd can't leave anything out.  The goal was to attempt to walk 10,000 steps a day:

Total Steps Completed:  315,202
Daily Average Steps:  10,167.8 steps per day

Ok, so on average, I did complete 10,000 steps per day (yay average!).  However, I learned a few things in the process.  First, the step counts were calculated from the FitBit Flex I was given a few years ago.  Second, unlike the newer FitBits, if you're not careful, you can unknowingly cheat on your steps and it can unknowingly cheat you out of steps and/or active minutes (boo, cheating!).  I learned I had to take the tracker off it I was going to crochet or rock in a rocking chair because it counted those activities as steps and active minutes.  HOWEVER, things like riding a bike didn't count towards steps or active minutes.


So, do I give up and call the tracker's data as bogus.  Yes, at least for daily use.  I will use it mostly when I'm exercising and need to keep track of steps that are really steps.  But, the point of these trackers (for me, anyway) isn't preciseness, but accountability and progress.  In other words, even if the tracker is off by a few steps, having it on reminded me to get up and move more, something I need since desk jockeying is part of my job.  This was a rough month where designated workouts just did not happen. Maybe it's psychosomatic, but it seemed like I felt better because I was adding a little extra movement to my daily routine.

Today, I didn't wear the tracker, but still found myself getting up and walking around even more.  Hopefully this challenge has helped me create another healthy habit.


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