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10/31/09

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable day today. I remember growing up and the excitement of preparing for Halloween. We always had homemade costumes: Gypsies, housewives, hobos. I remember taking gold rings from Mason canning jars, tying a piece of yarn through it to make a loop, then put the loops around are ears. It may awesome dangling earrings for our gypsy outfits. My fondest memory was the year me and Rachel went as housewives. We were Mom's old "house dresses". She tied scarves around our heads like we were getting ready to do housework. We got to wear rouge and lipstick. I remember Mom taking pillows and folding them up to place in the front of the dress. She would put a belt around us under the pillows as they became our "womanly chest". However, by the time you walked all over the streets of Barboursville for 3 hours going door to door, running from yard to yard, our "chest" had slid down to our waste. Now instead of a nice rounded figure, we looked like we were pregnant. It was hilarious when I think back on it. I miss those days of dressing up and being carefree. And I especially miss the free candy! Please have a safe Halloween.
10/30/09

Winding Down October

When did the holidays start to blend together? We are not out of October yet and I'm seeing Christmas commercials on TV. Yesterday, J.C. Penny's had stuffed Frosty's and Rudolph's on sale. Christmas decorations were already on some of their shelves.
It seems like the holidays start earlier and earlier each year. Thanksgiving tablecloths and turkey platters have been on the shelves since early October right beside the ghosts and goblins for Halloween.
I love the holidays, but I like to enjoy one before I start preparing for the next one. We have become so commercialized that it's all about the marketing and exploiting of the holidays and not the joy of spending time with our family or giving thanks for our blessings.
I challenge each of you to start November as a month of thanks. Life gets us down and things don't always go our way. It is so hard to focus on the bad things we go through and forget the good. Purchase you a new journal or small diary. Every morning when you get up and pour that first cup of coffee or fix that first glass of Pepsi, write down one thing you have to be thankful for. Not just the majors: food, roof, family, health; but the little things. We all realize the big things even though we take them for granted sometimes. But dig down deep and find one thing about each particular day that you have to be thankful for. It may be the fact that you have a full tank of gas and won't have to stop at the station that day. Maybe you are having lunch with a co-worker who is special to you. Maybe you took the time to do your nails and love the new color. Whatever makes your day get off to a good start by making you smile, should be written in your journal.
You will be surprised how focusing on the "little things" will make the stress in your life lift just a little. Keeping our spirits up in trying times is one of the ways we keep our sanity. Find the joy in your life every day in November. On Thanksgiving morning, before you start your day, read the journal and smile at all the things you have to be thankful for.
10/29/09

Happy Birthday to the Internet

Forty years ago today, the first connection was made between remote computers at UCLA and Stanford Research Institute in which bits of data was transferred. This connection would lead to ARPNET, the forbearer of the Internet. The plan was unprecedented: Kleinrock, a pioneering computer science professor at UCLA, and his small group of graduate students hoped to log onto the Stanford computer and try to send it some data. They would start by typing "login," and seeing if the letters appeared on the far-off monitor. "We set up a telephone connection between us and the guys at SRI...," Kleinrock ... said in an interview: "We typed the L and we asked on the phone, "Do you see the L?" "Yes, we see the L," came the response. "We typed the O, and we asked, "Do you see the O." "Yes, we see the O." "Then we typed the G, and the system crashed"... Yet a revolution had begun"... Now, today, we not only see the L, the O or the G. We see each others thoughts and feelings. We see products that astound and deals we can't pass up. We can see a baby from miles away minutes after it is born. We can watch videos of our favorite music. We can talk for hours on instant messaging without paying long distance phone bills. We can send letters to loved ones in long detailed emails and attach photos without paying the price for stamps or printed photos. We can purchase a 99 cent item on E-Bay and have it shipped from Hong Kong with no shipping charges. We could start a new saving program. Put the cost of a stamp in a jar every time you send an email letter to someone you would normally send a letter to. Deposit the cost of a greeting card in your savings when you send out your Christmas cards as e-cards. Yes, you may pay anywhere from $10 - $30 per month for your Internet, but how much are you saving on the postage, envelopes, stationary, cards and calls. It is astounding if you stop to think about. So hats off to those brilliant minds who changed the communication of the future by asking, "Do you see the L"
10/28/09

Soar like an eagle

I was sitting here at my desk watching the river when an eagle glided down across the water and scooped up a fish. He flew into the trees across the river to enjoy his meal. Following close behind was his companion. She flew down the river and circled back and glided up into the trees to join him. What majestic beauty.
Watching the wild eagles never ceases to amaze me. Such a bold and beautiful creature. A symbol of courage and freedom. From their creation, they have stood for strength and honor.
Once they find their mate, they are paired for life until one dies. Bald eagles can fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. During level flight, they can achieve speeds of about 30 to 35 mph. Such majesty is a site to behold.
We, too, should face our challenges with strength and honor. We should soar above the things in the world that bring us down. We should stay strong and keep the faith. We should stand proud and courageous.
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31
10/27/09

Oh, the joys of blogging

I was so excited to start my blog. I have always wanted a place to put my random thoughts. I never realized how hard it is to have random thoughts until I had to write them down everyday. What to focus on today....Hmm... That is the joy of a blog vs. writing a book. Each blog can stand individually and you can pick and choose your topic of the day. Today I want to write about holiday excitement. Once Halloween is over, it seems like the holidays fly by. There is so much planning to do. I have already made my menu for Thanksgiving. Every year we have the same foods. Tradition. We even have the same basic desserts: pumpkin pie, graham cracker pie, pecan pie and a chocolate cake or brownie for the ones who don't like pie. Being a list freak anyway, the holidays cause me to become fanatic about my lists. We all have our own little quirks and I can't believe I am airing mine on the Internet, but here it goes: Even my lists have lists. I start with your basic menu...a list of every dish we want to fix. I place it in an excel form. Then I go through each item and make a list of every ingredient that is needed to prepare the dish. Then I cross reference the items, remove duplicates and walah! You have an instant grocery list. I then check the kitchen cupboards, freezer and fridge to see what we have already and mark it off the list. Over the next month, we will slowly stock up on the canned goods and non-perishables so we don't have as much shopping to do the week of the big event. As we buy something, I mark it off my master list. Now for the really ironic part of all this. My husband does the cooking and the main shopping, I just go along for the ride. He just picks up things off the shelf he knows we need and I discretely mark it off my list. With my month of preparation and my intense list making, he gets up the morning of the final shopping trip, opens cabinet doors and checks the fridge and is able to mentally make the list of what we need. AND HE NEVER MISSES AN ITEM. Oh, to be able to be that good and not need a list.
10/26/09

God's Work

God truly works in mysterious ways, and sometimes he works FAST. I have been struggling all week over something and in my mind, it had become very stressful. In church yesterday morning, I gave up the fight and prayed about it. Twenty minutes after church was over my prayer was answered. Think of the aggravation I could have saved had I only prayed about it a week ago. How many times do you struggle with plans or situations only to find that God had the answer the whole time, you just forgot to ask him for it. It's much like watching your little one learning to tie his shoe. He will struggle and mess it up and have to start over and try again. Yet, you patiently have to stand there and wait for him to ask for help. Even though your first instinct is just to bend down and do it. Our relationship with God is much like that. He watches us as we struggle to handle what life throws our way. It must be difficult for Him to watch, knowing that all we have to do is ask and He will step in and take control. So when life's problems get you down, no matter how big or how little, just let go and let God. He will provide a way.
10/25/09

Sunday's

We grew up in church. In our family, you started church as soon as you were old enough to take into public after you were born. They had a cradle roll and all new babies had little cradles on the wall with their names on one. My parents did not drive so we would walk about a mile to church every Sunday morning. Bad weather didn't keep us away. Back then, women and girls did not wear pants to church. I remember weather so cold and bad that we would wear pants and galoshes under our dresses and then take them off when we got to church. Many Sunday's we would go to Mamaw Eden's for Sunday dinner after church services. The whole family we go. My parents and siblings, aunt's, uncle's, cousins. There would be about 20 of us in a little one bedroom apartment. I think back about what did we eat, who ate where, how did we all fit in there. I don't remember much of those details, but I do remember there was always ice tea and lemon. I grew up in a family of tea drinkers. They love their ice tea. There was always a pitcher of it ready at any family get together. I was the oddity. I did not and still do not drink tea. The only time in my life I ever drank tea was at Mamaw Eden's at those Sunday dinners. Never figured out why I did it then. If we didn't go to Mamaw's, then Mom always fixed a big Sunday dinner. And most importantly, we almost always had cake or pie. My favorites were chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a big bowl of cold peaches to go along with it. We also had spice cake with caramel icing, white cakes and yellow cakes, chocolate pie, graham cracker pie, and lemon meringue pie. Now I've made myself hungry. Think I'll whip up a cake for Sunday dinner today.
10/24/09

The Date

Over the years, a marriage grows stronger and love deepens for that special someone. There are articles written, debates given and TV advice given that provides us with a wealth of information on how to have a successful marriage. We each attribute our marriage longevity to various reasons and everyone has their own opinion. For me, I think the keep is to not only love each other, but to become best friends with your spouse. Think back to those first days when you met. The excitement of going out on a day. What time will he pick me up? Where will we go? What will I wear? Too many of us lose site of those oh so special early days of a relationship. We get "comfortable" in our marriage. We know longer need to make sure our hair is done and make up on before they see us. They have lived with us and know us at our best and at our worst. But that doesn't mean they no longer have those same feelings they had when you were dating. Dating your husband is one of the greatest joys in life. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Just a simple dinner out, going somewhere you normally don't go or going back to a special place you enjoy. It can be as simple as shopping together for a special item or getting out of the house for the day and just being together. And even though he loves you just the same, makeup or not, take a little time to look special just for him. So fix that hair and slat on a little makeup and go out and enjoy the day together.
10/22/09

When it's a good thing, it's a God thing.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing. Life is good. And I'm chained to my desk. The benefit of having your own business is being able to work your own hours and take off when you want. One of the bad points of having your own business is sometimes you just can't take off. Today is one of those days. It's 3:00 and I took a break to walk up to the mailbox and had 2 phone calls and 6 new emails while I was outside...and it's a short walk. Eighteen months ago, I woke up and thought "I'm going to quit my job and start my own business." So I did. That same day. I hoped to be able to do well enough to keep my head above water. The Lord has really blessed me. I have over 70 clients and stay very busy. He has also blessed me with a wonderful assistant who takes a lot of the pressure off just by being a good friend and letting me vent. I have worked over the years with many people who could not be trusted, who did not like to work, who did not care about the company they worked for. I thank the Lord everyday for sending me someone who's work ethics are like mine and who really enjoys what she does. She has been a Godsend since day one. When I decided to expand, I had someone in mind but didn't know if she wanted to work from home or not. One day, I just sent her an email and asked. She had been praying that very day to find work she could do from home. And, as they say, the rest is history. He knew what He was doing when he matched us together. Some may say it was coincidence, others may call it fate. But my friend and co-worker says it best ..... "It's a God thing."
10/21/09

The Way we Were

The older I get, the fonder my memories seem to be. I like to sit and think about things that take me back to my childhood days. The sites, the sounds, the smells. The little things that put a smile on my lips. Playing jacks, jumping rope, leap frog, right-foot still, tag, hide and seek, Easter egg hunts, trick-or-treat, church Christmas plays, frilly dresses and white patent leather shoes for Easter. White straw purses and little white gloves. Playing house, playing school, playing restuarant. Playing with my brother-cars, trucks, marbles, horses, cowboys and indians. Eating Tootsie pops and looking for the Indian on the wrapper that meant you were going to have good luck. Walking to the store with a quarter and buying a bag of penny candy - straws, Kits, BB Bats, Sixlets. Getting library books and having cheese sandwiches and grape Kool-aid with lemon on a blanket under the shade tree while we read the new books. Walking uptown once a week to get an ice cream cone from the corner grill. Drinking ice cold water from a ladel and bucket at Mrs. Gibson's house. Long Sunday afternoon walks in the woods, on the golf course or up to the cow pasture. Mamaw's bathroom smelling like Dove soap. Mom washing our hair with Prell shampoo and rolling it on pink spongy curlers. Free cups in Quaker Oatmeal, free dishrags and dishtowels in laundry detergent. Wringer washers and clothes hanging out on the line. Tents made from blankets on the clothesline. Badminton, baseball and football games in the yard, the ice cream man. Homemade cakes, pies, candy and cookies. Milk in glass jugs with paper caps for the lid. The milk man. Archie comics, Richie Rich, Casper and Wendy. And always and forever Mommy and Daddy and their love holding us all together.
10/20/09

Sisters

I want to wish my sister a very happy birthday today. We is my older sister by 14 months. We were inseparable growing up and though we are over 300 miles apart, we are as close today as we were back then. I know it couldn't always have been easy having a kid sister hanging around, but she never made me feel unwanted. I want to dedicate my blog today to my sister, Rachel. Happy birthday. I love you. Sisters When she was one, she approached the crib. Her small steps were slow and a little unsteady as she was but a mere babe herself. The folks had tried to explain this little creature to her. But she did not understand. She gazed in awe at the little one and wondered, what exactly is this thing they call "Sisters"? But so much is not understood when you are one. When she was six, she could hardly sleep. She whispered across the room to her sister. "Tomorrow is the first day of school and I can't wait to go, but I hate to leave you." The kid sister just smiled. She knows her big sister has no choice. For that's how it is when you are six. When she was thirteen, she sat in her room trying to read. She's thinking what a pain kid sisters can be. All she wants is her own room. But all she gets is a kid sister who is a pain in the neck. But that's how it is when you are thirteen. When she was sixteen, she learned to drive. She discovered it's pretty good having a kid sister. Parents are less suspecting if you offer to take Sis along. But sometimes kid sisters can be so immature and embarrassing in front of the boys. But that's how it is when you're sixteen. When she is eighteen, she sits in the room they shared and stares at the wall. Tomorrow she will wed. A lone, silent tear slowly glides down her cheek. She thinks back on the times they've shared and the memories they've made. So much time has passed and so much love has grown. As she starts her new life, she knows she will never be alone. That other half will always be with her in her heart. Cause that's how it is when you're sisters.
10/19/09

Feed the birds

As we come upon the cooler season, don't forget to put out feed for your winter friends. My summer flowers died off last week that hang outside my window. As I took them down, I thought of all the vivid colors I was going to miss seeing every day.
I decided to attract some of the neighborhood birdies by hanging a bird feeder. The activity has been unbelievable. I've had a pair of Carolina wrens, a pair of tufted titmouse, and a beautiful little chickadee so far. They make a hundred trips a day to the feeder. My feeder is on a shepherds hook right outside my window. My desk is right in front of the window. We have a lot of bird activity in our yard. Just yesterday, I watched a belted kingfisher (see photo) as he perched on a branch in a dead tree on the river bank. We see those frequently. They will sit and wait patiently before diving down in the river to catch a fresh fish.
We've seen scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, bluebirds, blue jays, cardinals, finches, just about everything you can imagine.
On the river we have mallards, Canadian geese, Bald eagles, and herons. It is so much fun to watch them scoop fish out of the river and land on the far bank for lunch.
In the winter, there are a variety of birds that migrate from Canada to Tennessee for the winter months. So I'm looking forward to having these "visitors" and seeing what will land on my bird feeder. As I'm typing I'm listening to the chirping of the chickadee as he fusses at the titmouse to run him off the feeder. The chickadee won. He's enjoying his breakfast now.
Have a great day and check out the birds in your yard.
10/18/09

A Beautiful Day

Oh what a beautiful morning! I'm sitting here looking outside the window. There is a light dew on the grass. The temperature is a crisp 40 degrees. A slight mist is rising off the river, but you can see the sunshine starting to break through. I woke up with aches and pains all over this morning. I really overdid it yesterday. I have got to remember I'm not 26 anymore. I heard a saying many years ago and it really stuck with me. "You don't quit playing because you get old; you get old because you quit playing" I have adopted that philosophy for the past 10 years. Many women see becoming a grandmother as a sign of age. A time to settle down and accept old age gracefully. Not me! I see being a grandmother as an opportunity to relive my youth. A time to get out the games and the toys and be young again. A time to remember what it is like to be a child and have your whole life ahead of you. A grandmother's job is to love her grandchildren. It's that simple. Grandma's have their own set of rules. We get to let them stay up late. We can feed them ice cream for breakfast once in a while. We can buy them something totally frivolous.....just because they want it. We can say "heck with the housework" and sit in the floor for hours playing dinosaurs, hauling in semi's, reading books, or feeding dolls. And not feel a moment's guilt. So I'll continue to play and have a good time. I'll deal with the aches and pains as they come. But most of all, I'll enjoy these "grandma" years before they get older and too busy with friends to visit much.
10/16/09

Life is precious - Enjoy every moment

I have been away for a few days in West Virginia. They say that death comes in threes. I am starting to notice this more and more as I get older. In this past week, I have had three deaths of people who were special to me. My friend for over 50 years lost her father. We grew up as neighbors and spent many, many hours at each others houses. Even though we all have grown and went our separate ways, we have remained in touch. My cousin's wife passed away this week after years of being ill. She was the first one to introduce me to "smores". I think of her often and know that she will be missed dearly. My second grade teacher, who was also my daughter's first grade teacher, made a huge impact on everyone who's life she touched. She passed away this week after a long illness. They will be holding a memorial for her later in the month. I was able to attend one of the visitations. I saw people who I haven't seen in over 30 years or more. It was amazing to see that we could sit down and have conversations and visit and be so relaxed with each other. It was like I just saw them yesterday. No awkward silences, no "what do I say". These people touched my life in one way or another from the time I was old enough to walk and talk. Each one had some type of memory that we shared. As I think back on all the memories I have thanks to the people I grew up with and the neighbors we had, I thank God for those good time. Stop and take the time to enjoy the simple moments, the laughter, and the joys you find each day. You never know whose life you are touching and what fond memories you are making for them to enjoy in their golden years.
10/12/09

Thoughts in time

Time is an essence. It is a since of peace and tranquility. To some, time is something to be passed as they wait for the "big break" or look for their ship to come in. To others, it is something simply to be tolerated and has no meaning. To me, time is a precious gift. It's the breath of life. It was created for us to enjoy, not to rush through. So instead of thinking about all you have to do today. Take some time, and just be thankful for all you have, all you are and all you can be. Have a great day.
10/11/09

The Walk

Do you ever watch someones life and notice the things they do that are not pleasing to God? Then you see them in church and watch as they praise the Lord and you wonder why they lead two different live? It is not our place to judge. But many times, we cannot help ourselves. We have all heard it said that when you point a finger at someone, three are pointing right back at you. Are there things in our lives that others see and judge us by? Do we set a good example of living a good Christian life? How many times have you heard someone say, "Well, if Bob is a Christian, so am I." We should be setting an example of God's love and mercy. We should stand by our beliefs at all times and not follow the crowd. What does your Christian walk in life say about you? The Walk When you look at my walk, you should see the Lord in my face. When you look how I live, you should see mercy and grace. But if I walk with the world, while my faith I confess; Will you start to question if I’m truly blessed? Will you not wonder about the truth of my words? Will you start to doubt if I really love the Lord? For if I start to walk with sinners in their ways, Will you start to wonder if I’ve went astray. So let my heart lead me. Let God be my guide, With angels around me and the Lord at my side. So keep my heart pure and keep my heart free. And if you should look, the Lord you will see. Have a blessed Sunday!
10/10/09

When Love Comes

Love comes in many forms and fashions. It's the overwhelming need to be near a special person. It's the deep, heartfelt satisfaction of knowing you are loved in return. It's a kindness and caring that makes you put the other person's needs and wants first. It a feeling between a husband and wife, when they share a secret smile across the room. It's the touch of a loving hand on your shoulder when you are having a bad day. It's a hug for no reason or a peck on the cheek. It's the placement of a hand on the small of your back as you down through a store. It's the mutual satisfaction of a job well done or a task completed. It's the tender arm casually wrapped around you while you sleep. It's a feeling between and mother and child. It's the joy that child brings when he conquers something new. The praise you lavish on it when it aces a spelling test or learns new math formulas. It's the laughter you share when they act silly, dancing and darting around the room. It's gentle smile a mother gives when that same active child is tucked quietly in bed at night. It's a feeling between a grandmother and her grandchildren. It's the awe and wonder that your heart feels when you hold each of those special gifts for the first time. It's the astonished that you feel that you still have so much love in your heart to give. It's the joy you feel when that precious grandchild, in a room full of family, wants to sit on YOUR lap or lay in YOUR arms. It's the smile that lights their eyes when they enter a room and run to you, arms open, with a big hug and kiss and a sweet precious "Hi mamaw". It's a feeling between mother-in-laws and their in-law children because you know how much joy that son-in-law and daughter-in-law bring into the lives of your child. It's the thankfulness you feel when you know your child has chosen well. It's the thrill of pleasure when you see the beautiful children that would not be who they are if it were not for both their parents. It's the peace and contentment of having a full family around the kitchen table again for the holidays. It's a feeling between siblings that outlasts all others. It's a common thread that binds us with the memories of our childhood. It's knowing when you move away, there is someone back home that cares and someone that will look after your parents when you aren't there. It's a feeling between friends as you share happy memories of days gone by. It's the laughter you share over an embarrassing moment that you can share with no one but a true friend. It's picking up the phone and calling because you are having a bad day. It's hanging up the phone and knowing your day is better just because you have such a good friend. It's being able to vent and knowing that the friend will take your side...no matter what. It's knowing that in an emergency, when family is not available, you still have someone to turn to. So to my husband, to my son, to my daughter, to my daughter-in-law, to my son-in-law, to my mother & father, to my siblings, to my friends and to the four most special people in my life, my grandchildren, I love you. Thanks for giving me your love in return.
10/9/09

My lists have lists

My name is Brenda Keefer and I am a list-aholic. That's right, I'm obsessed about having a "list". No matter what the occasion. I have to-do lists for my job, honey-do lists for my husband, lists for my shopping, anything that can be listed. If it can be done, seen, bought or used, I probably have a list somewhere for it. Sometimes I'm proud of my lists and sometimes, like yesterday I think I get a little over the top with it. Allen and I went on our weekly "outing". We decided to go to Sam's and price supplies for an upcoming workshop for my clients. We get there and are approaching the aisle with the items we were wanting to price. I efficiently reached inside my purse to pull out my list. OH NO! I didn't have my list. I didn't even have a notebook or pen in my purse (I had just changed purses that morning). This was not good. I actually stood there in a panic, thinking "What are we going to do? What am I supposed to be looking at? What will I write the prices on." That's when I realized it. I'm addicted to lists. How did I get to this point? When did I become so dependent on pen and paper and quit using my memory? I bet there are other ways to stay organized. I'm sure many times it is a habit and I don't even need the list. I'm going to have to give this some thought. I might just have to make a list of my other options. Oh no, here we go again.....
10/8/09

Why are we shocked?

From the time we are a little child, we are taught to pray. We learn "God is great, God is good." We kneel down at bedtime for "Now I lay me down to sleep". When we grow up in church, we have prayer in Sunday School class. We pray during the singing in church. We pray before the preacher preaches and again for the altar call. Then we pray again to close the service. In our daily lives, we take time to pray when something bothers us. We pray for those around us. We pray for a multitude of reasons. We are taught that if we pray in faith believing, God will answer. We even pray for God to strengthen our faith. With all this praying, you would think we would be conditioned to know that his answer was a done deal. But I have noticed lately, many of the people I come into contact with show remarkable surprise when their prayers are answered. We, as a whole, believe in the power of prayer. Yet when God shows up with the answer, we react with "Oh my gosh! I just prayed for that to happen." Like it is a great mystery as to why or how our prayer was answered. There should be no surprise. Faith is believing in something you cannot see. It is an automatic acceptance with no "what if's". Yet, as we exercise our faith that we believe God will provide, we still jump back in amazement and say "WOW" when he does. If we pray with a childlike heart and an acceptance that it is a done deal, we should see a great many more of our prayers being answered. Jesus said it best when he said: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"
10/7/09

What I Like About Fall

Fall is not a season. Fall is a place to be visited in our memories. Growing up, fall was a special time for us. Friday's in fall were for football. Daddy never missed a home game of the Barboursville Pirates. When we were young, Dad would head out to the football game with his jacket and sometimes his umbrella. We would gather in the yard to play as the evening sun set and the temperature would drop. Rachel and I would do cheers and cartwheels as we rooted for our team, even though we weren't at the game. Jack and Andy would be playing football in the yard. When dark would start to settle in up our hollow, Mom would call us in. We would get our baths and put on our pajamas. Then we would settle down to watch our black and white TV. Mom would always have a package of Saps Glazed Donuts and would make us big cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows. As we got older, we were allowed to go to the game sometimes with Dad. My parents never drove so we didn't own a car. It was about a mile walk to the football field. Those cool October evenings turned even colder after the game as we walked up the hollow to the house. Nothing was more inviting than walking in from the cold, crisp fall air to the aroma of hot chocolate and the sweet taste of glazed donuts waiting for us. Memories like this are why I like fall. Think I'll go make me a cup of hot chocolate.
10/6/09

Food for thought

Do you ever receive those "get to know me" emails? The ones where you change the answers to fit you and pass it on to your friends to get to know everybody better? Guilty. I'm one of those senders who loves to find out more about the people I know. One thing that I have found is that inevitably there is a question about food. Have you ever noticed that their is always a question somewhere in the list that the answer just has to be "Chocolate". Whether it is your favorite comfort food, your favorite dessert or you favorite ice cream flavor, chocolate receive an overwhelming acknowledgement. It can comfort you in times of stress. It brings extreme pleasure to your taste buds. No other food on earth can make a person forget everything and smile with a deep sign when they take that first bite of chocolate for the day. But it occurs to me that if you have respect for chocolate, you must acknowledge its counterpart....peanut butter. You never see anyone say "peanut butter cookies" or "peanut butter fudge" as their favorite. I make a peanut butter fudge that is the best I've ever had. In honor of peanut butter lovers everywhere, I'd like to share the recipe with you. PREP: Grease a 9 x 13 cake pan with butter 4 cups sugar 1 can Carnation Evaporated Milk (12 oz) Mix together and place on burner over medium heat. Stir the entire time you make this or it will scorch. When it comes to a full boil, continue to stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add: 1 bag Reese's Peanut Butter Baking Chips 1 Stick Parkay Margarine Beat until Reese chips are melted. Pour in a prepared cake pan. Refrigerate. As it starts to set up, cut into slices. Keep refrigerated. I have had people who make this and substitute the Parkay or Carnation for different brands and they tell me it makes a big different. Stick with what is suggested if possible. Let me know what you think of it when you try it. Have a happy day!
10/5/09

The File Cabinet

My heart is like a drawer, for each thing there is a file. Some stay there forever and some for just a while. One day as I was kneeling, the Lord began to look. As he saw the files I kept, I watched as his head shook. “My child, this will not do. These files do not belong. You felt that you would need them all, but oh you were so wrong.” I watched as He flipped through them, reading every tab. Leaving in the good ones and pulling out the bad. He left in peace and kindness, but hate went in the trash. It was followed by greed and gossip. They were destined to be ash. He pulled out jealousy and fear, but left in hope and faith. I watched as He worked diligently; determination on his face. When all the wickedness was gone, empty slots could be seen. I watched His face light up with joy; his eyes began to gleam. He filled each empty folder with all the love that it would hold. He slipped them back into my heart to stay as I grow old. He dusted off His hands and said “I’m finished. I must be on my way. Now that we’ve cleaned out those old files, I’m in your heart to stay. For though you thought I’d left you and you wondered where I’d been, I was here all along just waiting for room to enter in.”
10/4/09

By the Dawn's Early Light

I was just fixing my hot chocolate and opening the curtains as I was waiting for the sun to rise. For some reason, it made me think of the line in the Star Spangled Banner, "by the dawn's early light." Any of you that know me well, know that I will "google" anything that hits my fancy of the moment. You guessed it, I googled our national anthem. I found several interesting facts that I'm sure I learned in history class at some point, but as I've aged, I had forgotten. One of the most interesting thing I learned was that the Star Spangled Banner has more than one verse. But part of the last verse really made me think. It is... Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust" And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! For whatever reason, the most important line in the entire song is never sang. It is a profound statement that puts our minds at ease, removes our worries, shoulders our burdens, guides our footsteps: In God is our trust. How many people would have a better life and live in a better world if they just placed their trust in God. It is still a battle that we are fighting today, 195 years after Frances Scott Key wrote those words. They have taken prayer from the schools, they are fighting to remove In God We Trust from government buildings and currency. Many people do not know that In God We Trust was not even printed on paper currency until 1956, though it was on certain coins in the late 1800's and early 1900's. In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls." That is as applicable today as it was then. If we as a nation spent more time on our knees placing our trust in the very God that helped us form this nation, you have to wonder what a different place the world would be. So each time you see the dawn's early light, give praise to the one that created it and remember to always place your trust in Him.
10/3/09

What happened to common courtesy?

When I was growing up, it was common courtesy to hold the door open if you were going out and someone was coming in. It was common courtesy to say please, thank you and excuse me. The older I get the more I notice that courtesy has taken a back seat in our lives. In the hustle and bustle of busy days, we get so focused on what we are doing that we forget the things we were taught. I have had a day full of people who cut you off on the highway, walk in front of your car when you are driving through a parking lot and leave their buggies in the checkout line so that you have to move them to get your purchases on the counter. If everyone made a concentrated effort to be polite at least once a day, the world would be a better place. We would still be busy, but we would smile more because someone exercised some common courtesy to us that day. So hold the door open for someone, give them a smile or let them go in front of you in the checkout line. You will make someones day.
10/2/09

My random thoughts

There are times in my life when random thoughts run through my mind and I like to sit down and put them on paper. Many years ago, I was going through some rough times and I was thinking about all the blessings I had that many people in other cultures and other situations would never experience. I started thinking abou the happy moments of my past and some of the things that always made me feel good. I sat down at put them into a poem. I'd like to share it with you today. Hope you enjoy: Reflections As I sit here and reflect on the good things in my life. It’s easy to forget my cares, my worries and my strife. For I’ve been blessed in many ways by the Lord above. He’s put a roof over my head; gave me a family to love. Sometimes he gives us blessings that our blinded eyes can’t see; The warmth of the sunshine, a dew drop on a leaf, The soft mew of a kitten as she snuggles by your side; The white caps of the waves as we watch the ocean tide. The enchanted sounds of children as they learn to sing, Sitting on a front porch with grandma in a swing. Walking down a dirt road; throwing rocks into a creek. Watching as an eagle flies across a mountain peak. Listening to a blue jay as it sings among the pines. Going to the river; dropping in a fishing line. Walking through the woods; stumbling on a buck or doe; Stopping in a garden just to smell a fragrant rose. So be sure and look around you with fresh thoughts in your mind. And behold the many blessings I’m sure that you will find. And when you thank the Lord above for the blessings He gives you, Be sure to thank him for your friends, for they’re a blessing too.
10/1/09

Happy October

A fresh new day; a fresh new month. I love the start of something new and October is no exception. Lovely autumn days and cool nights. There is nothing like watching the changing of the leaves. Their vibrant colors reaching rich hues of orange, yellow, and red. Fall is a time for change. Observe the leaves. They start out summer green, all fresh and crisp. Silently the muted colors will start to appear. One by one, each individual leaf will go through the process. As the gentle winds of fall breeze through the trees, they will start to fall. Growing up we had several beautiful oaks and maples in our yard. Mom and Dad would rake the leaves into huge piles just so we could jump in them. We would run, yelling like Geronimo, and dive it. Laughing and rolling in the leaves was one of my favorite fall memories. I remember the smell of the leaves as we watched Dad burn them when we were done with our play. I remember long walks in the woods on Sunday afternoons, the crunch of the leaves under our feet. Happy times. So don't regret the falling of the leaves. Let them drift your memories back to happy times.