3/31/10

Where did March go?

Thirty days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31, except for February which has 28 except in leap year when it has 29. We have all grown up with this little ditty or a version of it. We were taught the rhyme to learn how many days are in the month. Some of us were also taught the “knuckle” version. Make a fist. Start with the knuckle on your pointer finger as January and say your months as you touch a knuckle or the groove between the knuckles. On your end knuckle, you start the process backwards. Each month landing on a knuckle has 31 days and each one landing in a groove has 30. You just had to remember on February, it was only 28 days. Then of course, you have to remember that in Leap Year you add a day to February. That meant you had to divide the year by 4 and if it is divisible by 4 with no remainder, it is Leap Year. Wow! Is it in wonder we grow up confused. The one thing that has always amazed me is how long 31 days “feels”. Depending on the season, 31 days can feel like more or feel like less. January – Long bitter cold days, icy winds. Dark by 6:00 and you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book in front of the fire. Those are the longest, darkest 31 days. They seem to stretch on and on. Snow…no snow…more snow…less snow. It just makes you shiver to think of that long set of 31 days. March – Blustery days, but there is a warmth to the sun; a shine that perks you up. We are starting to think our spring thoughts…flowers blooming, kites flying, spring cleaning, yard work. It’s a time of rebirth. We are so excited to see March arrive and then before you know it POOF, it is gone. May – A little more mellow than March because the sun is here to stay. We have the occasional rains to keep the grass green and the gardens growing. We celebrate our Mothers and what they mean to us. We purchase flowers to put on graves in remembrance of those gone on before. May is a calming month. We can sit outside in the late evenings, watching the lightning bugs as they dance across the lawn. July – A time of picnics at the lake and vacations at the beach. July is fireworks, hotdogs, cold lemonade and watermelon. While we love July, we don’t always love the humidity. The heat can reach unbearable heights and you just want to be indoors. You find a place to cool off (a nice cool shower, laying over the air conditioning vents, standing in the open freezer). You just long for the days when the temperature will cool down some and you can get some relief from the heat. August – While most of August is a repeat of July, we start to see some relief. The storms start brewing in the ocean as September and hurricane season starts approaching. We see a few days that are not quite as humid. As August rolls to a close and school starts, cooler evenings will occasionally come our way and we learn to appreciate August and her mild relief. October – Oh, how we enjoy October’s warm days and cool nights. Fall is in the air. Apple butter is being made in old copper kettles. The old horse walks round and round processing the sugar cane for some good old sorghum. The leaves change their colors and provide a kaleidoscope of beauty. Pumpkin carving, cornstalks and gourds all bind together to make October a very special month. December – The temperatures are in that bundling up stage again. But we brave the cold and the December winds as we scurry about preparing for the festive holiday season. Hustle and bustle is everywhere. Mankind is preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior. We just don’t have enough time in the day to do everything we need to do. But we try anyway. Knowing that after the 25th, we can relax until next year. But then January rolls around and we are right back at it again for another year. So where did March go? She has gone back into hibernation. But she will be back next year to bless us with the relief from another winter. So goodbye March. Thanks for bringing us through. We’ll see you again next year.
3/30/10

Through the years....

Over the years, we recall our high school days with fondness. We remember our teachers. We recall the classes we took, where we ate lunch, where our locker was. But as time dims our minds, it is hard to recall all the friends we made; the lives we touched and the lives that touched ours. When someone first recommended I join Facebook, I thought "Whatever for? Who would I become "friends" with?" But I took the challenge and opened me an account. It has become such a blessing to me. I've been able to reconnect with friends from yesteryear. I now "talk" regularly to people who have been my friends from the time I was two; people who have been my friends since first grade; and people who are my friends now. Friends from up the hollow where I grew up. Friends from high school who shared many classes with me. My friends from church. I now have daily contact with my siblings, my cousins, my nieces, my nephews. I get to see pictures that my friends and family post from days gone by that touch my heart and cause a tear or two. I get to see videos of my newest great-nephew as he learns to sit up alone. I get updated on what is important in their lives. Their new cars, their new jobs, their new refrigerators. I get to share grandmother stories with other grandmothers who are experiencing the same joy I'm experiencing. I get to pray for their misfortunes and celebrate their accomplishments. I get to hear how God is working in their lives and how He has blessed them through the years. Sometimes I think that we have become TOO dependent on technology; cell phones, iPods, Blackberry's, laptops, netbooks, etc. But then I stop and think about all the people who are touching my lives daily that I would not have contact with if it wasn't for technology and I have to stop and be thankful for progress. As we grow and our technical world gets even bigger, I know I'll still have many friends and loved ones that I'll not lose contact with again.
3/29/10

What a lovely surprise

I was walking through the foyer at church yesterday morning and saw the most beautiful flower arrangement. It was so springy and cheerful, it just drew me over for a closer look.
The neck of the vase had pretty pastel raffia tied around it and held a beautiful plaque. There was a card and it said "Brenda Keefer". I couldn't believe my eyes! This beautiful bouquet and plaque ensemble was for me!
I thought immediately about where I would sit the flowers. On my end table away from all heat vents to insure a longer life. The plaque is perfect for my bathroom that is decorated with birdhouses, butterflies and dragonflies in the colors that were in the plaque.
After church, I took my beautiful present and hurried to the car so I could open the card. It was a Happy Anniversary card for me and Allen from my Secret Sister.
Of course, I don't know who she is and I have no way of thanking her until the end of the year. This was the perfect ending to a perfect anniversary weekend.
It's not the grand gestures we make that brighten someone's day. It's the unexpected. The little moments of thrill that happen when somebody does something nice just for you.
Thank you my dear, sweet secret sister. You made my whole weekend!
3/28/10

Stand Still

In Sunday School class this morning, we were studying the crossing of the Red Sea. When we read the verse, "Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord" I thought of a song I used to sing in church when my kids were little. It has an important message and I would like to share it today.

My God Delivers Again Standing there at the Red Sea God's people began to complain, that Pharoah and his mighty army would take them in bondage again." "Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord!", Moses cried. Then, God parted the waters and they crossed to the other side. Chorus:

God delivers again! Yes, God delivers again! When it seems that all is lost, He reaches out His hand. Then all the forces of evil have to flee at God's command. And just when things look hopeless, God delivers again.

How many times in our lives has God "parted" our Red Sea and let us cross over to something better. How many times has he fought our battles and filled our needs. Those precious words "Stand still and see the salvation" should be constant reminders to us that we need to put our trust and faith in Him and let Him part the waters that keep us from living the fulfilled life He has planned for each of us.

3/27/10

Happy Anniversary

Today is mine and Allen's 29th wedding anniversary. We met on a blind date. He worked out in the shop on night shift at a company that I worked in the office on day shift. The receptionist knew both of us and thought we would be a good fit. We started dating on January 17th, 1981. We went to see Urban Cowboy on our first date. My twins had just turned 3 and my best friend, Becky, was keeping them at my house while I went out on our date. He was such a gentleman. Opening doors, helping me in the car, walking on the outside of the sidewalk, just wonderful. I came home from the date and he walked me to the door and kissed me good-bye, making plans to come back the next day and cook me supper. WOW. I went in, shut the door and leaned against it and told Becky that I was in love and I wanted to marry him. She laughed at me. We spend every moment together from then on. In just one short month, we both knew it was the real thing and he asked me to marry him. We got married on March 27th and it has been one thrill after another for the past 29 years. Do I believe in love at first sight? Oh yeah! We've all heard the famous words "You had me at hello". He had me the moment our eyes connected and he smiled. I cannot imagine my life without him. He is my sweetheart, my lover, my friend, my soul mate, my helper. I would not trade him for all the tea in China or all the oil in the Gulf. So, honey, happy anniversary. I love you!!
3/26/10

Where God leads, I will follow

We never know from moment to moment what God has in store for us. I love to go to yard sales. I plan for them, make sure I have cash out of the bank, plot out my travels so I can go to them in order. I also like to go when it is a pretty day. Today there were several in the paper that looked pretty good. But it was raining and I didn't know if I wanted to fool with going to the ATM. I stuck what little cash I had in my pocket and decided to drive by the one that seemed the most appealing and see what they had. It was an estate sale. They were selling everything to help pay funeral expenses. I felt a little strange when I walked up to the house. Here were people who had buried a loved one and was now having to part with her belongings. I wondered "Why am I here?" Is this rude of me or cold hearted to benefit from someones loss?" Then I thought about it and realized that they needed the money or they would not be holding the sale and that by making a purchase or two, I may be able to ease their burden. When I went into the house, the first person I saw was one of the sister-in-laws that was helping with the sale. She had a New York accent and welcomed me and told me to look around in all the rooms because everything was for sale. She definitely had that "Yankee" look about her. You know, unapproachable, rough. But it was at that moment I knew why I was there. Her eyes were very tired and you could tell she had shed many tears and this was not easy on her. I walked up to her and put my arms around her and told her I was sorry about her loss. She opened up and shared with me the story of how she had lost her sister-in-law to cancer and what a horrible battle it was. We talked about how she is in a much better place and she shared how her sister-in-law was always telling them that she was ready to go and couldn't wait to walk on the streets of heaven. We walked around the house together and she would share little stories with me about the items we looked at. There was a collection of angels that had meant a lot to her sister-in-law. There among shelf after shelf of white alabaster and ceramic angels, was a small little cherub with a flower halo that was in the exact color scheme of my bathroom that has flowers in it. I bought that little cherub to remind me that even through the most simplest decisions, God is working in our lives to put us in the right place at the right time.
3/25/10

Future Rock and roll band

I just had to share this short video clip. My granddaughter, Alexis, and grandson, Caleb, love anything musical. We recently went to Mr. Gaddis and they had an arcade game called Guitar Hero. Hope you take a minute to watch this little video. They are so precious.

video

The Yarn Junkie

I am addicted to yarn. I love the bright, bold colors, the soft pastels. I can spend hours and hours in yarn departments at AC Moore, Walmart and JoAnne's. When we went to Myrtle Beach last year, I found a yarn store that carried specialized yarns I had never seen before. It was awesome. I ended up going back again before our vacation was over. This is just a sample basket of my yarns. I have a 3 drawer chest that is full of yarn and a huge tote back that has yarn in it. I love my yarn. One might ask, So? Lot's of people like yarn. Here is the problem. I do not crochet (other than a chain stitch. Never could figure out how to turn around and go back for the next row). I do like to knit, but I find that it gets boring and tedious after awhile so a small child's scarf can end up taking me three years to complete. So I started looking for crafts where I could use yarn without knitting or crocheting. I discovered plastic canvas. Over the years, I've made many boxes, baskets and goodies from plastic canvas. Working the needle in and out much as you would cross stitch, it allows me to work with many different yarns. Once you establish a pattern, you can stitch to your hearts content. I find it so relaxing and it allows you chances to be creative. I seldom make my projects from patterns or I'll find something I like and modify it to fit my needs. I love it. Here are a few of the items I've kept, most of them were given away.
3/24/10

Walking with my Friend

I sit here in my garden and I turn my eyes to God. I see Him in the blue sky and the green grass that I trod. I feel His touch in the warm air as it breezes o’er my skin. I know that I am not alone; I’m walking with my Friend. He’s always there beside me, no matter where I go. His love will ever guide me down the rough and rocky road. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He’s my rock and my salvation. He’s I AM and my Friend. His love is everlasting, by faith I know His grace. One sweet day in heaven, I will look upon His face. He’ll say “Welcome home my child; your journeys at an end.” And I will spend eternity, just walking with my Friend. Walking with my Friend copyright owned by Brenda Keefer. Please do not copy with permission.
3/23/10

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Do you ever have those times when there are so many decisions to make and you are not sure what you want to do? I shared with you a few weeks ago the excitement of a new dress and shoes for Easter. The excitement has dulled once I started shopping for the new dress and shoes. My body is not made for today's clothing styles. My arms are still slender with tiny wrists, my top half is nothing to brag about. But if I buy something in a size to fit the top half, my hippo hips, excess tummy and thunder thighs groan and moan against the tight restraint. So I'll look for something to be comfortable around the waist and hips. Then the top is so loose, I'm hitching and hiking it up all day. So I decide - TWO PIECE WITH ELASTIC WAIST. No can do. Same problem. They are not a mix and match set. I need one size for the upper half and one size for the bottom half. Arrggh! It is so exasperating. Add to that the fact that I am 53 and do NOT want to look like I'm 53. I still like the dainty petite looking styles that I wore in my 20's. The world is just not fair. So I figure I have several nice dresses that would be suitable for Easter that I have not worn that often. I'll just get new shoes instead. Again, 53 year old body wanting the shoes like I wore when I was 20. Why do we yearn to be what we used to be? I will never be 20 again. I will never be able to walk in 4" spike heels again. I will never be able to wear the dainty, petite little dresses again. So I ask myself, "Why do I bother?" Why make myself deal with all these decisions? But faced with all these decisions on clothing and shoes has helped me to solve one of life's greatest mysteries - Why do we spend so much money on things for our grandchildren? Because it is too depressing to buy things for ourselves at this age.
3/22/10

WHAT??!!

I had a beautiful weekend. Broke out the capri pants and flip flops. Weather was wonderful. Loved being out in the sunshine, driving with my window part way down. Taking walks down to the river. Seeing wildflowers popping up in the yard. Just a beautiful spring weekend. Now it' s Monday and it's snowing. Yes, that's right. Two days into spring and we are getting snow. It's not sticking, but it sure is hard to watch it coming down when we had such a beautiful weekend. But I got to thinking about it and decided it's not so bad. At least I'm still here to enjoy the changes of weather. At least I can see the snow fall down. I can walk out on two good legs to feel it with my hands. Genesis 8:22 says "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." So as the long as the earth remains, I will be happy and blessed that I get to enjoy the seasons. Even though we have a greater place to look forward to and we have joys that await for us in heaven, it is human nature to be in no hurry to leave this world. We have loved ones here we don't want to leave. Grandchildren we want to see grow up. And friends who play an important part in our lives. I worked with a gentleman one time that had a saying he would use whenever anybody had a bad day, complained about anything or was going through a rough patch. His favorite response was "It's ALWAYS a good day when you wake up on this side of the dirt."
3/19/10

The mothering instinct....

Why do little girls love their baby dolls? I think the mothering instinct kicks in very early in life.
We have that inborn gene that causes us to be nurturers. A honing instinct that allows us to mother the people we have in our lives.
And it is not just our children or grandchildren that turns this gene on. It is a deep abiding love for people. It is a caring and giving attitude. When we see someone who is hurting, we feel the urge to wrap our arms around them and hold them tight. To provide words of comfort; to ease their pain.
We cannot save the world and we cannot change the situations others are in. But we can provide a shoulder to lean on, a helping hand, kind words of support and sometimes something as simple as a smile.
How many times in your life have you felt down and couldn't seem to "shake it off" but a kind word or smile of hello from a friend or stranger has lifted you up a little?
Don't stifle your natural instincts. Smile at the lady you pass on the street who looks sad or lonely. Hold the door open for a frazzled mother trying to get her kids and shopping out of a store. Let that car over that is stuck in traffic and apparently in the wrong lane.
Let your natural mothering instincts shine through and use today to bring comfort to just one weary soul. You will be so glad you did.
3/18/10

Sisters, cousins and friends

I grew up in a very close-knit family. There were four of us, 2 girls and 2 boys. My sister, Rachel and I were best friends. That's us above with Mom. I'm the one on the left. Oh, we had our moments, but for the most part we got along really good. Being just a little over 13 months apart in age (I'm the youngest) created a bond that has withstood the test of time. She is still my best friend and such a special part of my heart. We are separated by over 300 mile, but are bond is heart to heart.
We grew up with cousins that we have also remained close to throughout the years. This is all my grandmother's grandchildren with the exception of two that had not been born yet. We were and have remained so close. I still see them occasionally when I go in to visit. We were cousins and friends. I'm the fourth one from the left on the top row and Rachel is the first one on the left on the bottom row.
One thing about family love, when you grow up in a close loving family like ours was, you pass those beliefs on to your own children. Now I watch as my daughter and nieces have grown up together like me and my sister and cousins did. There is still love and laughter and it is being passed down from generation to generation. This next picture is at my brothers a couple of years ago. That is Diana, my daughter, on the far right side. This is all of my mother's granddaughters. These girls have grown up close and it is fun to watch them pass down the importance of family to their children.
My wish for you today is that your family is happy and healthy and that you too are enjoying the love that passes from generation to generation.
3/17/10

Wonderful memories

Today my oldest grandson turns 11. I remember how excited we were when we found out we were going to be grandparents.
We were there when he was born and were able to hold him just minutes after his birth. I will never forget the thrill and joy of holding him in my arms.
So Christian Garret, have a happy birthday and thank you for all the love and joy you bring into my life.

So, what will you accomplish today?

...With God ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27) So, what will you accomplish today? One of the teenagers from my church posted that question on Facebook this morning. It really made me stop and think. What a difference would it make in our lives if every morning we started our day with that attitude? How much more productive, successful, joyous, content, would we be if we started our day with the mindset that with God ALL things are possible. This should not be a huge revelation to Christians, but sometimes we get so bogged down in making everything in our lives "come together” that we forget that we have all the help we need in our Lord and Savior if we just take the time to focus on that and not so much on trying to do it by ourselves. It's not like this is something new. It's not like it's one of those "WOW, where did THAT come from" moments. God tells us time and time and time again that He is there for us. He will empower us. He will be our helpmate and guide. We just choose sometimes not to listen. So, what WILL you accomplish today? Put yourself in God’s hand and let him lead you and guide you. I’ve put together a few of my favorite verses (KJV). May they bless you and inspire you today. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. - Philippians 4:13 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. - Joshua 1:9 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. - Isaiah 43:1 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth. - Psalm 46:10 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. - Isaiah 49:16
3/16/10

I did not think this through....

Do you ever have a wonderful idea? You get excited and move forward with your plan. But down the road somewhere, you have one of those moments where you realize you did not think the master plan through very well.
That's what happened with my great idea to put a bird feeder outside my office window. I really enjoy watching the variety of birds that gather there. We have had all colors - red, blue, yellow, browns, blacks. It has been so much fun watching them flit back and forth.
We have had some scarlet finches who are adorable. They are small and have a red head and red breast. Beautiful creatures. But very sociable creatures. They must love to spread the word when they find a great place to eat. We started out with seeing one or two pairs (male and female) showing up at various times throughout the day. Then we got a couple more. Next thing you know, we had 19 of these little cute birds setting on the bird feeder, on the feeder roof, on the top of the pole holding the feeder, on the window sill beside the feeder. Little cute birds everywhere.
It was priceless. Until the feed ran low.
With that many birds coming to dinner, they were flipping seeds out of the feeder tray like crazy and the seeds landed on the window sill. This meant that the cute little birdies would sit right on the window sill to have lunch.
Then when there was no more seed, they would look at me inside at my desk (which is right in front of the window.) They start pecking on the glass and flapping their wings to get my attention. Which wouldn't be too bad except for two major things:
1. There are usually several doing it at one time
2. I saw Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds, when I was about 7 or 8 years old.
Now anybody that saw The Birds will understand that this pecking and flapping of wings can get a little scary.
Had I realized I was laying the ground work for The Birds - The Sequel, I would have had to think a little harder before I put the feeders up.
I have tried to get over my Hitchcock induced fear of birds and for the most part have succeeded. Several years back, I was on a boat in the Gulf heading out to Shell Island. The seagulls were all around us. The Captain said if you held out a Cheeto they would come and take it gently from your hands. Everybody was doing this so I thought, "Here is a good way to overcome my fear of birds." I purchased some Cheetos, opened the bag, held it out to the gulls. About 4 or 5 headed my way in a flurry of feathered wings. As they hastily approached my outstretched hand, I remembered the movie and threw my whole bag of Cheetos at them and withdrew to the interior of the boat. Guess I just thought I could get over the fear.
Probably should have remembered that adventure before putting a bird feeder so close to my window.
3/15/10

Spring forward

Now that we are on the "new" time, does your body adjust as easy as you would like it to. I took a nap yesterday afternoon, supposedly to catch up on the hour of sleep I lost. Then I fell asleep on the couch after I came home from church, because I still felt drained. I got up my normal time yesterday and today. Between the nap and the early night on the couch, I got almost 3 hours extra sleep, but yet I still feel like I'm "missing" an hour somewhere. My daily routine is not changed because of the new time. I still work the same amount of hours and I still have the same work to do. But you wake up on the Monday after time change with a feeling of lagging behind. You feel lethargic and bland. You hate this new time and will fuss about it for awhile. It will take your system time to adjust and you will feel like you are playing catch up all year. But come fall, when you fall back and get to gain that hour you lost, you will still feel like something is out of kilter. I never understood any of it when I was younger and I don't understand it now.
3/14/10
There were baseball games, races and right foot still. There were somersaults, cartwheels and leapfrog. There was badminton and croquet, jumping in leaves, snowball fights and rolling down the hill. Having grown up in the country and not owning a car, we spent most of our youth at the house. We had a great big yard and spent many hours making memories as we romped and played in the yard and on the hills of the old home place. Many things have happened in that old yard. Rachel and me used to drag our dolls and dishes out to play house. Mom would make tents out of old blankets hanging on the clothesline. I can close my eyes and hear Daddy worrying about Jack and Andy wearing out the grass when they played ball. I can still hear Mom holler out the kitchen window, “If that ball goes over the hill one more time, you’re going to have to quit playing.” One time Jack and I were playing kick ball and it kept going over the hill. We could tell Mom was getting tired of us asking to go in the road to get the ball. Needless to say, it went over that “one more time” we’d been warned about. Being kids, with our infinite wisdom, we decided to sneak down without asking. We figured she’d never know, so what was the harm. As we watched it’s journey over the hill. Our mouths fell open in dismay. Oh no! It had landed in the BIG DITCH. Now anyone growing up in that old house knew the big ditch was forbidden territory. There were rumors of snakes and poison ivy, worries of falling in the water and not getting out. It was a deep ditch. But in reality there never was that much water in it, maybe 6-8 inches. So Jack decided to brave its steep bank and go get the ball. I stood guard on the road, watching out in case Mom appeared at the door and caught us in the act. He climbed down, got the ball and was almost to the top. I looked up at the house. Good, no sign of Mom. We’d made it. As he was climbing up the bank, (I can still see it today as though in slow motion), he lost his hold and WHAM! He landed flat on his back in the creek water. Busted. No way to hide that from Mom. I don’t remember our punishment, but I can only guess that it was the usual — one of us on the couch and one of us on the chair. And no getting up until Mom thought we had suffered enough. When you're small, any punishment seems cruel and unusual to you. But now that I’m a mother, I view things differently. I imagine our punishment was a relief to Mom, just a few minutes to do what she needed to do without having to worry about what we were getting into. As we grew older we took our kids back to play in that old yard. On many occasions, I would catch myself threatening dire circumstances if the ball “went over the hill one more time”. Mothers never change.
3/13/10

I have a headache. Or does my headache have me?

It's a lovely Saturday morning. The sun is beginning to peek through the clouds, burning off the morning fog. Everything is glistening from the rains yesterday. The temperature is already in the 40's and it's not even 7:00 yet. That in itself is something to be thankful for. The birds are gently chirping outside the window. And I have a headache.
I do not like headaches at any time, but to have one on a weekend when you are planning on shopping is not good. I do not like to take pills so I hold off until the pain usually has control. By the time I break down and take something for it, the pills take longer to work because the pain has gotten so bad.
It's at that point you have to ask, "Do I have a headache or does the headache have me?" Who is in charge? My body because it feels the pain or my mind because it lets the body win. I refuse to accept that The Headache is in control of my destiny today? Am I going to let it win and decide how my day progresses?
I need to take that pain killer and develop an attitude against the headache. It will not beat me today. I am going to think positive thoughts, focus on the good and push the headache to the back of my mind. I will emerge victorious. I will eat chocolate and fortify myself with caffiene. For in truth, my reduction of chocolate and caffiene in my diet, is probably the reason for the headache in the first place. So my current plan of attack is a Pepsi and a Reese cup. That way, the peanut butter can supply me the much needed iron to give me strength for the day.
Don't you just love the way I justify the junk food? Have a lovely Saturday.
3/12/10

Fitness Friday

I'm happy to say that I got back on track this week with my weight loss program. I was able to walk almost everyday, some days more than others. I didn't actually "walk" today, but I did go to Duck Duck Goose. It is in the old Kmart in Knoxville and I walked back and forth over the entire store for 3 hours. My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurts so I would say that can count as exercise.
They say when you are trying to lose weight to only weigh yourself once a week. I disagree. When I step on the scales and see they have not moved or they have went down 1/2 pound or a pound, it gives me more incentive for the next day. If I wait several days and I feel like I should have lost and nothing moves. I get depressed and want to just eat. But if I stay the same everyday and see it is the same every day, it makes me push myself harder and reminds me daily why I'm doing this. That may not work for everybody, but a daily remind of what my weight is provides EXTREME motivation.
I did get a little out of control with the Junior Mints this week. I need to take the candy dish off my desk. Not only do they add to the weight problem, but they aggravate my acid reflux. However, doctors recommend that dark chocolate is healthy for you in some ways.
I've been cutting down the portions on my meals. This is hard to do when my hubby makes my favorite food, but I have been strong.
I haven't implemented anything new this week. I'm sticking with the "drink more water, eat breakfast, cut down on everything and walking." I'll see how that goes then experiment with something new next week.
Hope everybody has a great weekend.
3/11/10

I'm addicted to bubbles...

I have come to the conclusion that I’m a fanatic about bubbles. I didn’t realize it until last night. I was looking through the “junk food” drawer hoping to find a pack of Bazooka or Dubble Bubble. I may be 53, but I still love my bubble gum. I am an expert at blowing bubbles. I have been since my younger days. Some people try to blow bubbles and simply push the gum out of their mouth and into the floor. Some would prefer chewing gum so they can make it snap and pop. But I love my bubbles. I like to blow them big enough to point to and grunt so others can see how big they are, but small enough that they don’t pop all over my face. I have become an expert at it over the years. My love of bubbles doesn’t stop there. Every time we plan a summer cook out, I buy jars of bubbles for the kids to have. I usually get a bottle for myself, too. I know I won’t be able to resist the urge and I don’t want to take any away from the kids. I like to blow the really big bubbles and try to catch them with the wand after you release them. But I also like to blow a ton of them at once and let the kids chase them. Every evening, I like to take a nice hot soak in a tub of, you guessed it, bubbles. Suave Body Wash in Wild Cherry Blossom. I love the floral smell and the feel of sinking deep into the glistening bubbles. And what person, child or adult, does not love bubble wrap. It is one of those things that’s automatic. You open a box. There’s the bubble wrap and you cannot resist but to pop a few. I love my Pepsi and even though I stick to caffeine free when I can, I still have to have it while it is fresh and bubbly. The carbonation is what makes it work. Otherwise, it’s just flat brown water in a can. So there you have it. I’m addicted to bubbles.
3/10/10

Easter Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies

Why, oh why, did I decide to start losing weight so close to Easter. Easter is just 25 days away and I start worrying about what I eat. This is not good. I am 53 years old and have NEVER experienced Easter without the "Easter Bunny" leaving me an Easter basket. Between my mom and my wonderful husband, they have been able to contact Mr. Bunny every year to make sure I get a basket of goodies. I am still kid enough to enjoy seeing all the chocolate goodies, but I'm adult enough to realize that this is not good. When it comes to chocolate, I have no willpower. Even the out-of-sight out-of-mind routine doesn't work when it comes to chocolate. If it is not where I can see it, it makes me want it more. If it IS where I can see it, it makes me want it EVEN more. I'll just have to drop a note to Mr. Bunny and ask him to go easy on me this year. I would recommend the 100 calories snack sizes. But, I would probably eat two at a time which would make them more calories than a regular candy bar anyway. I'M DOOMED!
3/9/10

Wishing you butterfly mornings and wildflower afternoons

I hope your day is filled with sunshine and your soul is filled with laughter. I hope today you find joy in the moments of life. I hope that your cares float away on the wings of a butterfly and that hope springs eternal like the bloom of a fresh flower. God’s beauty is around us. His grace and goodness are everlasting. He will take your worries. He will handle your problems. Place them at His feet today and leave them there. Enjoy the beautiful day he has given us. In John 14, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” I hope your day is one of peace.
3/8/10

Fitness Friday (a few days late)

Fitness Friday Well, it turned out that I wasn’t very fit on Friday. Apparently my new fitness routine is affecting my brain because I forgot to give my update. The first week was rough. I developed a horrible cold and ran a fever so I had about 3 days that fitness was the last thing on my mind. However, I’m happy to say that I did drink more water than I normally do and have tried to cut down somewhat on the sweets. I did drop 2 pounds, but not sure if it was from my new routine or if it is from my cold. I am implementing a few new things to the routine this week. #1 – Move more. My job entails setting at a desk the majority of the day, being on the phone. Now, by nature, I am a pacer. When I am on the phone with family, I find myself pacing and walking around while I talk. I just love cordless phones. So, when I am on a call with a client who wants information on my services, I get up and walk around the office while I talk. This does not limit my attention to the customer as I am simply walking while I do my sales pitch. I read in an article that the more steps you increase per day, the more calories you burn. #2 – Now that pretty weather is here, I am going to quit looking for the closest parking space. I will start looking for places on the far side of the shopping cart areas of the parking lot, therefore increasing my number of steps. #3 – Me and water do not get along well. City water is blah and I refuse to pay hard earned money for bottled water. So I have purchased Crystal Light Hydration on the go. I buy the lightly lemon flavor. It is a light lemonade. Not real sweet and heavy like normal lemonade, but stronger that regular lemon water. You simply pour a packet into 16 ounces of water and shake well. I keep a 32 ounce water jug in the fridge and add two packs at a time. Then when I want a drink, I simply pour me some of the lemonade instead of a Pepsi or nasty water. There are 5 calories per 16 ounces as opposed to about 70 calories per soft drink. There are 0 fat grams, 0 carbs, and 0 sugar. It does have 75 mg sodium, which helps keep you hydrated and 35 mg potassium which helps with leg cramps. Those are my changes for this week. We will see how it goes and I’ll give you another report this Friday. I want to thank a dear friend who asked what happened to my Fitness Friday column. Better late than never.
3/7/10

The Father's love

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 One of my favorite ways to understand God’s word is to look at it like a Father talking to His children, which is what His word is all about. Just like we have an earthly father who loves us, cares for us, guides us, and leads us in the right way, God does the same for His children. Many times, I have felt His sweet, gentle voice speak softly to my troubled soul. And many times, I have felt like He wanted to shake me and say, “What in the world were you thinking?” There are times when He tries and tries to lead me in the way He wants me to go. And I fight him every step of the way, using that one whiny word that all parents despise…..”But,” When I get too “big for my britches” and finally figure out what He wants me to do, it’s like He is getting a little fed up with me and has to say “PAY ATTENTION”. I call those my 2x4 moments because the impact is so great it is like He smacks me upside of the Head with a 2x4 to get my attention. Joshua 1:9 is one of those 2x4 verses. If you break it down, as a father would speak to a child, it is like He is saying: “How many times do I have to tell you, quit worrying about every little thing? I’ll take care of it. I’ve told you time and time again that I’ll handle it. I’ve got everything under control so quit letting it stress you out. Would you quit trying to do it all by yourself. I’ll always be here for you.” Oh, how very much He loves us and wants to take care of us. If we would only quit asking for His help and LET Him help, I wonder how much fuller our lives would be?
3/6/10

Why is my purse so heavy?

I recently joked that my purses have grown so large that you could carry a third world country around in it. That may be an exaggeration, but it sometimes feels that way. I used to be able to stick my license and money in one pocket and car keys in the other and go. As I’ve gotten older, I have to have so much more “stuff”. Car keys now have those big old fancy button pushing things that you need to lock or unlock your car. I have that and my car key, house key, PO box key, daughters spare key all on one ring which is WAY too bulky to stick in a pocket. Since you want to be prepared for any contingency when you leave home, you now have to have money, debit cards, credit cards, and check books when you go anywhere, “just in case”. Not to mention office supply rewards card, three grocery store reward cards, Sam’s Club cards, AAA card, and much more. So forget sticking cash and a license in my pocket. Then of course, you need the pill case with the Advil in case somebody gets a sinus headaches, Aleve because that’s MY drug of choice, chewable aspirin in case I get one of those “sun” headaches and don’t have anything to drink to swallow a pill with, which I have now learned if a woman is having a heart attack she should take an aspirin. So if I start to have chest pains, somebody grab one of the little orange pills and stick it in my mouth. Then there is the Zantac so I don’t get acid reflux, which will make me FEEL like I’m having a heart attack. So I maybe better take a chewable aspirin with the Zantac in case it IS a heart attack instead of acid reflux. Add to that I’m obsessed with making sure I have Band Aids, nail file, nail clippers, and stuff in case of emergency. Then since we live in the germaphobic era, I have to have Germ X in my purse. Add to that my sunglasses and billfold and a notebook for my famous lists and an ink pen, and you get a pretty full package. Then on Saturday, the kids like to ride in my buggy when we go shopping so I have to stick a diaper, wipees, and sippy cup in my purse “just in case”. Then of course I always carry a calculator to make sure I don’t overspend. Then there is the famous cell phone we can’t leave home without. And Waa Lah. There you have it ….. a purse big enough to carry a third world country. I recently had some friends on Facebook sharing what was in their purse. One has been carrying enough paper trash to fill a landfill. She also had 2 packs of instant oatmeal “just in case”. One had a cup of pudding she carried for so long; she forgot WHY she put it in there in the first place. My own daughter, returning from a trip to Mickey D’s, had to dig past the fire trucks and semi’s in her purse to find the honey mustard and barbeque sauce. One Saturday not to log ago, I left my purse in the back seat of the car with the kids. On Sunday morning when I went to change purses for church, I found one of Saturday’s French fries in my purse. Like so many other things in my purse, I stopped and pondered, “How did THAT get in there.”
3/5/10

The Products of our lives

Have you ever smelled a particular smell that takes you back in time? For me, it’s Prell shampoo. I can take one whiff of Prell and I’m 7 years old and its Saturday afternoon. Mom has washed my hair in preparation for church on Sunday. She would wash our hair and then give us a Tootsie pop. We would sit in the floor while she rolled our hair on those pink sponge curlers that stayed in all afternoon, evening and night so we would have beautiful springy curls on Sunday morning. We would watch Sky King or Roy Rogers while we counted the licks to get to the center of the Tootsie pop. There are just certain products that bring back fond memories. I remember Quaker Oats coming with a free cup and saucer. Oxydol and Fad would have either wash clothes, face towels or dish towels, depending on the size box you purchased. We lived out in the country so we had a well and septic tank. It was always Zest soap because it lathered best in hard water and Scott toilet paper because it was best to use with septic tanks. I hated helping with dishes, but I always think of it when I smell lemon fresh Joy. It reminds me of sunshine and green grass. The kitchen window was over the sink and you could see out in the yard. My brothers would be out playing while my sister and I dried and put up the dishes. I hated the dishes so much that I developed a technique to get out of doing most of my share. I became allergic to dish towels. Whenever a dish towel was placed in my hand, I developed an overwhelming urge to “go tinkle”. Once I made my escape, I would linger just as long as I could and still keep from getting in trouble. My sister would have most of the dishes done by the time I got back to the kitchen. Over the years, I have been able to use many excuses to avoid my share of dish duty at Mom’s. When I got married and had babies, our family would gather at Mom’s on Sunday after church. We’d have fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a veggie or two, chocolate cake with chocolate icing and peaches. When dinner was over, my mom, sister, sister-in-laws and myself would get up and clear the table and “red-up” the dishes to get ready to wash and dry. The minute the dishtowels came out of the drawer, I would pipe up and say “Do you all want me to go out in the yard to keep an eye on the kids?” Being aware of my “allergy”, they would just laugh, shake their head, and say “Go.” Such fond memories.
3/3/10

One month and counting

It's hard to believe, but Easter is just a month away. That means I have only 5 Saturdays to find the perfect Easter dress, shoes and purse.
Ever since I was a little girl, new Easter outfits were a huge part of the holiday. We always got a new dress. Sometimes we bought them; when times were tight Mom made them. But we always had a new dress for church on Easter Sunday. We would get new patent leather shoes, mostly white since to us Easter was the kick-off for white shoe season. When we were younger, we would get little white gloves and lacy socks and sometimes those little round pocket books that looked like straw baskets with lids except the "straw" was also white patent leather. I just loved those purses.
Over the years styles changed as the times (and my age) changed. What used to be slim fitting Easter dresses with white high heels with skinny spike heels and ankle straps has evolved into a two-piece skirt and top with an elastic waist and a pair of low heeled open toe pumps or sandals. What used to be cutesy purses is now something large enough to carry a small third world country in.
I have never felt truly "dressed up" for Easter unless I have on high heels. I'm going to try to find some nice heels this year (in white of course) that are slender enough to accent my legs, but sturdy enough to support my less than slender body.
Letting the shopping begin!!

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

My Precious Grandchildren
Christian Garret - Age 10
Caleb Michael - Age 6

Alexis Caroline - Age 5

Shelby Rayne - Age 19 mos.
These are the jewels of my life. Each one precious in their own way. Garret is my animal lover. He can quote facts about animals I have never even heard of. I've learned not to doubt his knowledge or he'll look it up on the Internet to prove it to you. Caleb is all about vehicles. Dump trucks, semi's, firetrucks, motorcycles. He has more knowledge about what makes vehicles work than some mechanics I know. Alexis is our affectionate grandchild. She always has a kiss and a hug. She is so loving. Last time she was over, she said "Mamaw, you will always have a special place in my heart." Pretty profound for a 5 year old. Shelby is the baby of the bunch and spoiled by all. She is starting to develop her own personality and it is very humorous at times. At 19 months, she already has strong opinions on things and doesn't hesitate to let you know it. They provide constant love and amusement to my life.
3/2/10

A cat's life

Of all God's creatures great and small, nothing has life as good as a cat does. Cat's are such interesting animals. For those of you who have never had the love of a cat, you don't know what you are missing.
We adopted K.C. from the pound when she was a few weeks old. Skittish and afraid of her own shadow, we made the decision that she would be an inside cat only. We had her fixed and declawed when she was old enough.
K.C. was not a normal cat. She went through her frisky, playful stage; but was still afraid of any sudden moves. But she had a dream life.
Her days existed of laying in the window or on the back of the couch, letting the sun's warmth lull her to sleep. When I would get up in the morning, she was waiting outside the bedroom door. We would walk down the hall to her cat dish, her between my legs - me trying not to fall.
She would get fresh food and water and then go prepare for another nap. Cat's needs are met at all costs. They are fed on schedule; their litter boxes are kept clean for them. We prepare our laps as a nesting place where they can cuddle.
K.C. would lay beside me on the couch at night as we watched TV. She would snuggle and her warmth and gentle purring would lure me to sleep every time. She would become such a dead weight that I would have to literally pry her off me so I could go to bed.
How many times I wished I could lay down just once without a cat on me. Two summers ago, we lost her to health reasons at the age of 17. Now, there are times when I lay down and it's chilly and I wish I had her back to snuggle with again. She was demanding. She was persnickety. She was stubborn. She was opinionated. But she was mine and she loved me. Unconditionally. Day in and day out.
3/1/10
"Dance As If No One's Watching, Sing As If No One's Listening, And Live Everyday As If It Were Your Last"
Happy March 1st. This is the month for anything Irish. I love St. Patrick's day. Ireland is my dream vacation. I love the rolling hills, the lush green pastures, the music. I have Irish ancestors, the Clonch side of the family. Each of us inherited a touch of auburn in our hair and a wee bit of the temper that goes along with it. My favorite vegetable is potatoes, which I joking say is because of my Irish ancestry. My first grandchild, Garret, was even born on St. Patrick's day. So I love this month. This will be a busy month for me. Duck Duck Goose has their annual spring sale in Knoxville. I have two Pampered Chef parties to attend. My oldest grandchild will be turning 11 so we get to have a grand birthday party. My daughter is going to a concert so I'll be keeping two of the grandkids one night. There will be a wedding shower to attend. Our choir is learning our new Easter program so we'll be practicing every week. My sister is coming for a visit and I can't wait. But most importantly, I will be celebrating my wedding anniversary on the 27th. Allen and I have been married 29 wonderful, exciting years. We met on a blind date, dated two months and 10 days and got married. We went to Virginia to a quaint town called Pearisburg, Virginia. We were married in a Baptist church by the Reverend James O'Rourke. That's right, he was Irish. To each of you I leave this Irish blessing:
May God give you... For every storm, a rainbow, For every tear, a smile, For every care, a promise, And a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, A faithful friend to share, For every sigh, a sweet song, And an answer for each prayer.