Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Follow

Today is Friday Follow, sponsored by Midday Escapades, One 2 Try, and Hearts Make Families.
Its a fun way to check out other blogs. So hop along and have a great Friday!

(If you missed the post about Pot Roast and Slappin' Grandma, not what you think....then keep scrolling down.)

And a big  'ole Thanks! to the gals at The Suite Life of Lucy and Ethel for their shout out this morning!
Friday Follow

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slap Your Grandma, That's Some Good Pot Roast!

No! Please, do NOT go slap your Grandma, or anyone's Grandma for that matter.
It's an expression. I do not, under any circumstances condone abuse of any kind, particularly when it involves elder family members.
     I grew up in Atlanta where we never used the words "slap" and "grandma" in the same sentence, unless you were to say ,"Hey, Grandma! Slap me some butter on that biscuit before you pass it to me."
     So you can imagine my surprise the first time I heard my husband, who hails from somewhere in South Georgia, say, "Darlin, this pecan pie is so good, it makes you wanta slap your Grandma!" HUH?
    I was appalled! (Look it up.) "Why would I want to slap my Grandma?"
   "Aw, sugarpie, simmer down. Its just an expression." (For the record my husband doesn't really talk like that. He's never called me Darlin or Sugarpie. Its for the sake of the story.  He most certainly did tell me to slap my Grandma.)
     Since that day I have heard a few other folks use a similar expression as in "Slap your brother, those pancakes are good!" and so on. But more times than not, I've heard it referenced to Grandma. I'm not sure at all where this colorful phrase came from, but I imagine it started a long time ago when the kitchen would get way too hot to stay in it while waiting for supper (or dinner, if you're from down here) to finish cooking.
So Grandma would find her way out to her rocking chair on the front porch while she cooled off in the breeze with a refreshing cold beverage. Mint Julep, Spiked Lemonade or a couple of icy shots of Jim Bean would do the trick to cool off Grandma and before long, she would be out cold.  Pretty soon supper would be ready but everyone had learned it was best not to wake Grandma from her "before meal nap". Occasionally Pa might say, "Junior, go see if you can wake Grandma for supper."
     "Aw, Paw. I did it last time and she about knocked me out."
     "Did you shake her to wake her?"
    "Yes, sir."
     "Alright son. Come eat your vittles. Let her rest."
     Then they sat down to commence to eating their roasted possum and carrots, to which Pa exclaimed, "Oooweee! This is good eatin'! Go get your Grandma and tell her she's missing a good meal."
    Junior answers, "But Pa! What if she tries to hit me?"
   "Well, son," Pa laughs, "Hit her back!"
    Junior leaves and returns quickly with Grandma shuffling behind him.
    "Y'all just gonna eat without me?" asks Grandma.
    "You were having a good nap."
    "Well, I'm here now. Pass the possum."
    "How'd you wake her, Junior?"
    "I slapped her, like you told me to."
    "Okay, then. Have a seat and let's give thanks for these vittles, and for Grandma."
     Then the next time Grandma was passed out cold and didn't want to eat, Pa told Junior, "Ooo...wee, these rutabagas are so good. I hate for your Grandma to miss them. Go slap her and see if she'll come eat."
     And so on and so forth until eventually folks began saying, "These taters are so good they'll make you want to slap your Grandma (so she can come eat them too!)"
   Which brings me around to the awesome meal I prepared last night, I don't mind telling you!
    One of the Preacher's favorite meals is roast beef with potatoes and carrots, but I've never been as happy with the results as I would like to be, so he doesn't get to eat them as often as he'd like. I've always tossed everything into the CrockPot for eight hours (Or on high for four for Sunday lunch), just like Mama did. But the texture of the meat would be more shredded, and often chewy. But after tonight I think I'll only be using my Crock Pot for spaghetti sauce.
    I don't share a lot of recipes. Not because I'm not a good cook, but I am somewhat on the lazy, yet creative side. I have six shelves of recipe books but once I find what I'm looking for I don't have all the ingredients and I improvise.  I didn't see my Mama use a cookbook very often (except for the one that had magazine clippings pouring out of it), and I guess I inherited that ability. Putting some stuff together and praying it turns out edible!
    Don't expect these fancy spices and herbs like Thyme and rosemary. My favorite spices are garlic salt and dehydrated onion. And if a recipe calls for Italian spices, a spoonful of Italian dressing does the trick, and adds moisture.
    I've been wanting to fix a genuine POT roast for sometime. I got my 5 or so pound roast, a bag of small, peeled carrots (told you I was lazy) and a bag of potatoes. I looked up a recipe for Yankee Pot Roast online and it said after you simmer on the stove for an hour you put it in the oven for two more hours. Naw. If I wanted to wait that long I'd put it back in the Crock Pot. I had about an hour and a half.
    I started by browning my meat in about 2 Tbsp. oil in a big-ole pot. I sprinkled garlic salt and dehydrated onions generously on both sides. Drained the oil and fat off and added about 2 cups water that I plopped four boullion cubes into (the kind that are wrapped like little gift packages). The water barely covered the top of the meat, just so you know. I then poured in the bag of carrots, quartered four unpeeled potatoes because I'm lazy the vitamins are in the peelings. Dropped then in and cut two celery stalks into thirds and added them. Now this is very important.  I don't like cooked celery but I threw them in cause I had it on hand and thought it might make it "fancy". No. I pulled them out after ten minutes because I also can't stand the smell of cooked celery!  Did the ten minutes make a difference in the taste or texture of my meal? I can't tell you. I probably will add them again because this meal was so incredibly perfect I don't want to veer from it. Sprinkle everything liberally again with garlic salt, black pepper and onion. Now if you want to add parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme now would be the time to do it. I'm sure it will make it even better.
     After I removed the celery I put the lid on and set the stove between low and medium. Hot enough to simmer (bubble lightly) but low enough so the meat doesn't stick to the pan. Let it simmer for about thirty minutes without stirring. 
     Stir about 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch (or flour) into a cup of cold water, until the cornstarch is dissolved and pour it over everything. Finally I tossed a basket of fresh mushrooms on top, popped the lid back on and let it simmer for about thirty more minutes.
     I removed the vegetables and was concerned if the meat would be done or not. BABY! Was it ever! It was the tastiest, "tenderest" meat I ever put in my mouth. It was the perfect texture to slice with a dull knife, yet still hold its shape. Finally I poured the gravy into a bowl and served it with a side of light bread. (That'd be white, killer-bread to some of you). Slap some gravy on that bread, or better yet, use it to sop up the gravy that ran off the sides of your meat, and trust me, you are gonna want to slap SOMEBODY!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Sing Because I'm Happy! I Sing Because I'm Free!

As a pastor in a medium-sized, middle Georgia community, my husband often tries to bridge what we refer to as the "racial gap". On any particular Sunday you can look at our congregation of about 200 and see a sea of Anglo-Saxon, Caucasion, lily-white faces. But not because he hasn't tried.

We've had guest speakers, guest choirs, guest musicians, etc. who are from different races. They'll bring guests with them and they stay long enough for us to pat ourselves on one another's backs and whisper in each other's ears, "Look at us, breaking down these barriers, mmm...mmm. The Lord is proud of us today!"

And the next meeting is vanilla.
As a result of one of these invitations my husband extended, he was invited to speak at a neighboring church. Our choir (which is only ten people strong, but throw in our incredibly-gifted praise band, we can rock the HOUSE!) was also invited to sing. There were more white faces in this CME church than there were non-white faces. And the looks on their faces was astonishment when these white folks started SANGING! Now, before you go off getting all huffy and PC, I need to tell you what the Lord was doing in me.

Here I am getting all indignant, thinking, "WHY in 20TEN for goodness' sakes, do we have to still separate ourselves as Black brother and sisters and White brothers and sisters? Why can't we just be one big family? And would you look at the congregation. Whites on one side, blacks on the other? People! Please! What's it going to take?" I was ready to run out and join a civil rights group (I mean no disrespect).

We went on back to our lily-white service down the road but we were joined by two guests of the CME church who apparently were moved by the music and the message and we all had such a good time together we didn't want it to end.

One of the ladies was Reverend at a church thirty miles down the road and invited us to attend a revival meeting. Because I had played a little ditty during the offering time she clasped my hands and asked if I would come share some music with them. "I would love to."

I invited a friend to go with me but she had another commitment. I found a piece of music, a praise chorus, that I had been working on and just knew it would be a blessing to others (ha!). I pulled up in the grass at exactly 7pm to find one other car parked outside the quaint building. A door opened beneath the large "Pastor's Study" sign and the Reverend bounded out the door to greet me with a welcoming hug.

"Am I in the right place?" Obviously I was but I felt the need to ask.
"Right place. Right time. Some of our people don't get here til late but we'll get started anyway."
She grabbed me by the hand and led me inside where her assistant (The Armour-Bearer) was seated.
The Reverend pushed me (Not necessarily gently) down on the piano bench and starting humming a tune.
"Play this one. Mmmm...hmmm."
"um," I mumbled,"Which page?"
"Oh, its not in the book. Don't you play by ear?"
"'am, Reverend. That would be our other pianist. I need music. I'm s...sorry."
"That's all right. Come on up here on the podium and we'll have us a praise team tonight!"
I joined the Reverend and the Armour-Bearer in singing "We Have Come Into This House."
We lifted our hands and our voices! There was no one in the congregation. Just the three of us, singing in the microphone as if the place were filled with hundreds. As we sang "Forget about yourself" the fourth time, a little lady shuffled in, passed all the pews as if they were filled, and sat in one of the prayer pews to the far left of the stage, apparently in "her spot".
The Reverend gave a hearty welcome to...the lady...and then announced we would be singing hymn 310. She pointed to me to start playing. I didn't know the song and more importantly, I didn't know how they, she, was used to singing it. Probably not all-white-Gaither style.

First of all we were not anywhere near the same key. She didn't have a bad voice but the piano (i.e.Me) made it sound like she did. I didn't want to keep playing but she kept signaling that I was supposed to go on. She was pounding her thigh and then the pulpit with an odd rhythm that I was supposed to follow but I could NOT get in the groove.

"Lord, Please, please give me some soul right now!" Yes, I prayed and asked the Lord for soul.
"God, my husband is always talking about his inner black-man. If I have an inner black-woman, please Lord let her rise up now." God answered immediately. He said "no."  In the meantime an older couple found their way in, looked around to make sure they were in the right place and sat down.

We made it through the hymn and the Reverend said we would now sing "His Eye Is On the Sparrow." This one I knew but I knew she would not be in the same key as the book and I had always heard this song accapella. It doesn't want music to carry it. It requires soul and emotion.
"Is it okay if we just sing this one? Without the music?"

"Okay. You come in on the chorus."
WHAT? We hadn't practiced this! This is not what I expected at all. We're singing unrehearsed music for three other people. Calm down, girl. Get a grip. 
"Why do I feel discouraged?" she hit every note in a two-octave range. "When Jesus is my portion..."
There's no WAY I could have kept up with her as she was changing keys with every line, but it was somehow appropriate and hautingly beautiful.
"I sing because I'm happy!" Points at me.
I look for a quick escape.  I follow the other lady's lead and sing "HAPPY." (I see. Its an echo-thing...get in the groove, girl. You can do this. Get in the groove...!)
"I sing because I'm free!"  Points. "Free!"
"His eye is on the sparrow." Point. "...on..the sp..sparrow."
I join with harmony "I know He watches me."
Bythe eighth time singing the chorus of His Eye is On the Sparrow, we had a good thing going. I was finally "in the groove." God had humbled me enough and did allow me to find my inner black girl (I knew she was there somewhere!) and the Armor-Bearer even backed off and let us do our thing as we worshipped and praised.
I left there feeling good, not because we had found a common ground but because of our differences. Not between me and them, but between me and her (she and I?) and between me and you. Thank God we're different. I learned some important lessons about myself, about people and about God last night.

I hope you take this post for what it means. Some of you may not understand it. Some of you may be offended, although I can't imagine why. I've tried so hard in the past to make everyone feel like we were the same, when in reality I can't make anyone FEEL anything, and its not our duty to be the same, but just to be.

Wow, I didn't know this was going to get all serious but there it is. Take it for what its worth and have a great day!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Robots, Chickens and Scarecrows

Here is some of this week (at least the shallow stuff) in pictorial review. Have a great weekend.

Kenny's recycle-bot is on display in a shop downtown.

Georgia College purchased and refurbished this movie theatre, sort of as a gift to the community.
Its always been called Campus Theatre and Oliver Hardy was supposedly inspired to give showbiz a try when he was working at the theater as an usher. 
They had the grand opening this week, which I attended. It houses a beautiful bookstore (which we desperately need since Waldenbooks closed), a new coffee shop called Jittery Joe's (can never have too many of those), and a Black Box Theatre which will be used to show occasional independent films and especially as a small theatre for the college productions. As a theatre geek, the dressing rooms, costume, make-up and acting labs are extraordinary!
At the opening they were showing silent films (Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, etc) which my 9 yr. old adores!  He was upset there was no organ music playing (where does he pick this stuff up?) so he provided his own sound effects and animation, much to the audience's delight!

This (its the front and back of the same scarecrow) greets me every morning now. It is standing in my front yard guarding my redneck's watermelon patch. (Same one who drives the truck, obviously) I have yet to go out my door and drive up my driveway without jumping, thinking someone's standing in my yard. What really cracks me up is that I see the back side (see picture on the right). The "front", the one with the face painted on it, faces the woods because that's where the deer are coming from.
Do you think they jump as often as I do?

AND this is another one of my Redneck's projects.
They're under my house. I know, How do you get under a doublewide? I'm glad you asked.
Our house is on a hill and before we moved in two bedrooms were added (so technically we're a triple-wide family) and they are stabilized by a "basement" type area beneath. And that's where the chickens are now staying. He's planning to open a booth or something this summer to sell watermelons and chickens.
He's taking suggestions for a name for his business (along with his junk-hauling that he still does occasionally).

And here's my favorite Kenny quote for the week
While watching brother play baseball he says,
"I don't understand baseball. I only play football video games."

That's some of what we've been up to. How about you? How was your week?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If You Are Reading This You May Be Off Line

This is my mad face

I'm mad cause EVERY time...and I do mean every time I go to do my blogging
this ugly blue box pops up and says
"You are not logged in because you are working offline."

NO! I am NOT working offline.  Well, actually I am now (not NOW) because somehow you just fell offline, but two seconds ago when I was on Facebook, or checking my email or just mulling around I was ONLINE, and then you send me this ugly box telling me I have to log on again and again and again.

So I post and connect. I switch blogs and connect. I try to comment and connect. I post comment and connect. I connect and connect. AAARRRGHH!

I picture in my head this little guy (not literally a guy, I mean it could be a girl, and I don't mean literally, I'm not that crazy...) who is inside my computer napping, eating rhubarb, whatever, until I log into BLOGGER.

"Get up, get up! She's here! Let 'er rip! One! Two! Three! JUMP!   HAHAHA! Yep. Got her again she's off line. Don't pick it up, nope. Don't pick it up yet. Okay, now! Do it again! One! Two! Three! JUMP! HAHAHA! OFFLINE Again!  oh, look! She's trying to connect again. Fine. I got to rest.  Let her have the next couple of minutes then we'll knock it down again!"

His brother lives and works in the ATM machine and dispenses my cash. I thank him everytime. He's got a hard job to do.

Anyone else experience the same problems, or insanity?

By the way here is the original parking ticket. My friend was upset I misquoted her and you do not want to make her see the original post click here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DO NOT Try This At Home

You did WHAT?!

"I gave the cop a parking ticket."

"You DID WHAT?!"

"I thought it was funny. He was parked in a no-parking zone."


She was at it again. This crazy, bundle of sunshine, who has brought such joy to my life recently, gave the cop a parking ticket.  She said she was bored, because they were slow at work. ("So why didn't you read a magazine?" my response.)  She noticed the patrol car in a no-parking zone so she grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote:

      Dear sir,
      you are parked in a no-parking zone.
      Please pay me $500 for your fine.
      Sincerely,   Your Friend

And then she went back to work. OH NO, SHE DIDN'T!
She stood outside and waited for him to finish his coffee and donut (how cliche' is that?)
until he returned to his patrol car.

"Sir, there's something on your windshield!" (She just can't let it go...)
He holds a finger up to her to say "Wait a minute. I'm an important authority figure in this town and I'm busy right now."
"uh, oh." She finally thinks, maybe this guy doesn't have a sense of humor. (actually her words were much more colorful but I'll let you imagine them.)
"Can I help you, ma'am?"
"Sir, there's something on your windshield."
"Probably a flyer, ma'am."
"No, sir. It looks like a parking ticket." (Maybe she likes orange jumpsuits. She does have a great sense of style.)
He takes it. He reads it. He puts her in handcuffs and hauls her off smiles. Then he chuckles.
"Have a good day, sir." And she merrily skips back into the shop. Her mission accomplished. (I'm not sure what that mission was exactly, but she accomplished it.)

My friend goes to the bank and standing there, waiting in line is her cop-friend. Now I have a great sense of humor, but I like to think I know when enough is enough.

"HEY, MISTER!" (yeah, she yelled across the bank.) "Didn't you get a parking ticket yesterday?"
Plenty loud enough for all to here and yeah, she notices his sergeant is standing with him.
He looks at her. Recognizes those bouncy curls and mischievious eyes. He doesn't smile.
"Come here," he demands in his police voice.
(Imagine more colorful words here that are her thoughts.)
"Yes sir?" 
Is she possibly concerned for her actions?
"Tell my boss here what you did to me yesterday."
"He was parked in a no-parking zone so I gave him a ticket."
Sargeant looks from one to the other.
Cop replies,"She said I owed her $500 ! We would never charge a fine that big?"
Friend argues "Are you kidding? You guys don't care what you charge us!" 
(I truly think she has some male parts...)
Sargeant laughs. Cop laughs, "My girlfriend saw the note and said it had to be written by a woman and got all mad. You got me in trouble."
"Sorry!" She waves them away and she exits the bank, "See you at my parole hearing later."

I do NOT recommend this technique when getting to know your neighborhood police. Offering them a snack, and donut is MUCH safer!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kenny's Observation

"Mom, do you know why scientists know so much more about space than the oceans?"
"No, Kenny. Why?"
"Because there's so much life in the oceans. So many things we haven't even discovered yet.
But man got to outerspace, looked around and said, 'Nope, nothing here.
Nothing over here. Here neither. Oo! Look! A shiny rock!"

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Steel Magnolia Is Laid to Rest

Welcome to Friday Follow! If you'd like to join this blog hop, click here and sign up at Midday Escapades. Sweet tea's in the fridge. Help yourself!  Glad to have you following along!

Friday Follow

I am not being sarcastic or amusing in the least when I say I am grieving. My eyes are a little moist as I replay the famous speeches that have come to represent so much of who I am. I can't say I've given such passionate speeches (of course those on the receiving end may say differently). I would never say I was completely a Julia Sugarbaker. I believe most of us "Steel Magnolias" would say we were at best a combination of the four ladies of Designing Women.

But as Dixie Carter passed away this past Saturday, after a vicious battle with cancer, I am saddened. I felt a kindred spirit with her for being called "Dixie". They say, there's something in a name. When you hear the name Dixie, whether its a German Shepherd (honestly, I don't think a small dog with a yappy bark could live up to the name.  If you have a yorkie or shnauzer named Dixie, please don't tell me about it, just go change it now), a bag of sugar, or a location, you know what to expect. You've encountered something or someone who has a colorful heritage, a stately yet genteel carriage, who has generally been through a battle or two, and yet has survived stronger than ever and when necessry, will let you know about it!

Which is why I am proud to be named Dixie. My Paternal Grandmother's maiden name was Dix.  She was born and raised somewhere in South Ga where the Dix name is still something to be proud of. Despite the ridicule, due to a narrow-minded, overly offensive, sex-centered media the Dix name in parts of South Georgia represent loyal, hard-workers and people who have indeed fought and won their own personal battles.

Therefore, my mother, the good woman who believed in "family" names placed Dixie at the beginning, Leanne in the middle and somehow decided I would be called by the latter.  In school when the teacher mistakenly called for "Dixie" the children would laugh. I would proudly raise my hand and sometimes I would correct her, sometimes I didn't. The boy next to me who went by Christoper but whose first name was "Francis", didn't have it so lucky.

Although they laughed, the children waited until recess when they would come say "I didn't know your name was Dixie! That's cool. Can we call you Dixie?" And they always did, at least for a few weeks.  I wanted to call my daughter Dixie. I knew she would live up to the name.  And as I've already shared, she does.  Its not her name, but it is definitely her spirit.  I now have a precious namesake niece.  She is only two, but she lives out that Dixie spirit with every fiber (Careful, Mom!)

Today, I have a small group of friends that call me Dixie (or even Miss Dixie, which makes me almost spill my mint julep down the front of my dress!)  I was overwhelmed with joy when my nieces and nephews started calling me "Aunt Dixie."  If I'm ever published, excuse me, when I am published, look for Dixie Branch on the cover.

Mrs. Dixie Carter, you  fought a good fight. You lived a life well. Thank you for the stamp on my life.

I'm closing with two clips. They are funny, yet they touch me deeply because down here, we mask our feelings and the truth with lots of humor (actually that's true anywhere, I bet). If you've only got time for a short clip, watch the 2nd, you won't be sorry. If you can stay for three minutes, watch them both. 

No matter where you're from, there's a little Julia in us all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A happy heart makes the face cheerful.

Prov. 15:13
(In other words, if you've got something to smile about, inform your
face so the rest of us can enjoy it!--paraphrase DWM)
Please note I AM participating in Leigh's Project Happiness today!
Keep reading until you find the lovely lady with the camera towards the end of today's post.
Thanks for caring.
Thank you Prairie Maid for the awesome award! I do like to be happy!

  Prairie Maid has one of those beautiful, peaceful blogs that urges you to sit on the porch with a glass of cold lemonade and soak in the breeze and sunshine. You should pay her a visit. You'll be glad you did...unless you don't like lemonade and sunshine.

According to the rules of this blog I will now share with you ten things that make me happy.

1. The smile on a child's face.
2. Chocolate icing surrounding the smile on a child's face.
3. Chocolate icing surrounding the smile on my husband's face.
4. Licking the chocolate icing surrounding the smile on my husband's face.
5. Hoping you're at least smiling, if not chuckling at that last comment.
6. My blog title. I get more comments about that than anything and it was a "gift from God".
7. Smelling the sweet honeysuckle, jasmine, tea rose and gardenias during the spring.
8. Knowing that I'm not allergic to number 7.
9. Knowing I don't have to prune and nurture #7. Either my husband does it or they just run wild!
10. This picture of the dogwood in the front yard.

                                                                 Are you 'happy' yet?

Here's five happy folks that I'd like to turn this award over to as well. I think because of #6 , I'll reserve this award to those whose blog names also make me smile, or make me happy!

1.  A Dusty Frame    One of the first blogs I ever started following. The name alone makes me smile.
2.  A Southern Belle Trying Not to Rust (I hear you smiling!)
3 Under Grace and Over Coffee
4.  Writing Without Periods (I actually asked these ladies did they dislike punctuation or were they post-        menopausal? Turns out...its both!)
5.   Finally, my favorite west-area, convertible traveler: The Shadow of my Life

As reciepient of these awards I would ask you also list ten things that make you happy, this pass it on to five other well-deserving bloggers, if you want to. If you don't want to pass it on, that's really okay too. 
There you have it. And notice I'm including in this scrump-dilly-ishus day of happiness, a blog hop back to Leigh vs. Laundry. So hop over there, hop to the above happy places. (You can participate in the Happiness Project there as well)



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh, Canada! Your Lives Are About to Be Changed Forever!

I had the awesome honor of attending a commissioning ceremony for my only daughter to be a missionary this summer.  She is being sponsored by the Baptist Collegiate Ministries to go to Toronto, Canada and tell Canadians about Jesus.

I'm sure there are lots of Christians in Canada, who incidently love Jesus, but apparently there's a "need".  But we wondered., what will she do there? Diagnose medical conditions and hand out medicines? No.
Build houses or churches for the needy? Not hardly.
Teach English to non-English speakers? Not in Toronto, I don't think. Quebec, maybe (except she doesn't know French.)

So we ask, "what will she be DOING there?"
"Talking", is the reply.

Gee, that's perfect. She does like to talk.
Her assignment is to strike up conversations with total strangers, build friendships with them and as the opportunity arises, talk to them about God and their relationship with Jesus.

That's great! She's been doing that since she was three years old! We used to travel to a lot of churches and she would cry everytime we got ready to leave because she had made a "new best friend."

"Honey," I would console. "You'll make a new one tomorrow." And she always did.

Now that she's at college and making the Dean's list every semester, her extracurricular activities consists of tracking down the next International Student, striking up conversation and building tight relationships with them. She now adores watching Soccer, something she's never had an interest, because so many of the Internationals are here on scholarship to play.

What's so amazing is she doesn't do any of this because a church or group is making her or because she needs to rank up points for anything. She does it because she absolutely loves people, especially those from other cultures. I can't tell you how many countries her friends represent and how many trips she's planning! Each time I talk to her she's adding another foreign place to her list.

Do I sound proud? I am. Do I sound envious? I am. Do I sound overwhelmed that I helped produce such an awesome young lady? I am.

Is it easy or difficult for you to strike up a conversation with a stranger? How do you handle this?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thanks, John Tesh! I feel a whole lot smarter and safer, thanks to you!

I'm not a huge John Tesh fan. My husband ordered his first Praise and Worship CD several years ago and it was....o.k.  Not great. I felt more like it was one more artist trying to jump on the "Christians like to buy stuff if it has Jesus on it" bandwagon.

I really don't care for his "Intelligence for Your Life" that they play all day long on my favorite soft-rock station. Sometimes I change the station when they start telling me just how much bacteria is on my cell-phone, my hairbrush, my menu, my refrigerator, ALL RIGHT! I get it! Stuff has bacteria! Guess what? Bacteria has apparently been here a lot longer than we have and guess who's probably going to be the last one standing?

(Followed by "this program has been brought to you by Soft-Soap, the leading supplier of anti-bacterial products to keep you and your family safe" and paranoid!)

Sometimes I'll tolerate his "facts" that are guaranteed to make you "the smartest person in the room" (small room) just so I can get back to Elton John's 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down' or Faith Hill's 'This Kiss' (I sound really great singing those songs at the top of my lungs in my car!)

This was one of his very many helpful pieces of information he provided yesterday. I'm not going to quote it precisely and I missed his reference, so just take it for what its worth. This is not meant to be boring  an educational program.

He quoted somebody as saying after twenty-one days of exercising a person has a 50% chance of continuing to exercise. After six months of exercising, a person (He says this with great excitement in his voice) a person's chance of continuing to exercise is ....(drumroll would be great here) 50%!

Did I miss something? You're saying if I exercise every day for three weeks I may or may not exercise after that and if I exercise EVERYDAY for six months I still MAY or MAY NOT continue to exercise? How much tax dollars did we spend on this great research? Way too much, I'm sure!

I'm thinking that every day that I wake up, I'm faced with a 50-50 chance that I'm going to do pretty much anything. Its either yes or no. Isn't that 50% ? You are or you aren't. Two choices. Every day.

I'm not going to give you tons of examples cause I think you're a very smart cookie, and I don't want to insult your intelligence.  But do you see what I'm talking about? I've shared in previous posts (See LOLA) about my exercise habits. I walk, jog, stretch, whatever several times a week cause I want to, I feel good when I'm finished.  But everyday I make a choice "am I gonna, am I not gonna?" 50-50 chance

Have you heard any fun facts or statistics this week? Please share! Please! They may make us all a little wiser and the smartest person in the cubicle or in the play group.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Computer Error? Really?

Two weeks ago I got a notice in the mail. Actually it was addressed to my daughter, who is away at college and it said "Open Immediately" so I did. (Not that I'm always such a pushover...) It was from Collection Services for $192. 52 from a place called Quest Diagnostics.

Now some people may be accumstomed to receiving such notices, but not me, and certainly not my daughter who doesn't even have a credit card. Still, I confess my immediate reaction was "We don't have extra money to pay for this! What will they reposess if we don't pay it? Will they put my little girl in jail? What will this do to her CREDIT SCORE? Dear Lord, in heaven, HELP US!"

Then I grasped hold of reality again and calmed down. I dialed the number on the letter and they said they couldn't speak with anyone except my daughter, without her permission. So after a series of calls to her for permission, her physician who said she hadn't seen her in four years (we're a very healthy family!), and to Quest Diagnostics, who said they had no record of this transaction, I called the Collections Services and they said they would delete the record, if indeed my findings held up. (Indeed?!)

Three days later, another call from Collection Services, repeating the original message. I called (not so happily). The customer service had quite an attitude issue, but probably because I had a little attitude with her (maybe not a little). 

When I was about twelve my mother sat me down and said,"Honey, always remember these words. They will one day prove to be the most helpful words you'll ever know." I thought of her fondly as I finally got the opportunity to use my Mama's words of wisdom. I squared my shoulders and in my most authoritative voice said, "May I speak with your SUPERVISOR?"

"She will tell you the same thing."

"MAY I SPEAK WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR?" Those are powerful words. Well, they made me feel empowered.

After only five minutes of hearing a recording tell me what a wonderful company Collection Services was (!?) I spoke to the supervisor who traced the bill to Pittsburgh. (We're in middle Georgia) I called Pittsburgh (toll-free) who traced it to a physician, an OBGYN as a matter of fact, in New York.

The sweet girl in New York (Oxymoronic, maybe? Just kidding, of course!) was very helpful when I said, quite bluntly, "Ain't No way, this is my daughter. Someone else's daughter, possibly. I don't want to sound naive' but ain't no way this is my daughter. (I did use the word 'ain't' twice).

The sweet girl in NY resolved that the patient had the same name and similar birthdate so when the information was entered into the computer, my daughter's address came up. I didn't ask why. At some point you blame all errors on computers and that seems to be satisfactory. I could have spent more time trying to find who the lame-brain was and how they figured a girl in NYC would be using an address in Milledgeville, GA, but All my Children was just about to start (haha. Is that even still on?).

I did remember to ask for a letter of verification as proof in case this incident showed up on her credit report then next time she goes to buy a car or whatever. All in all, I felt pretty good about myself for not giving up. For pressing on through the muck we call technology.

Have you had a similar experience with "Computer Error"? How did you handle it?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cletus Take the Reel

I have one more fishin' story. Seriously, just one. Well...sorta two.
My nine year old, who is not a huge fan of fishing, but will go just to appease his daddy, recently went on a fishing expedition with some men and boys from the church.  He had just baited his hook (that's his favorite part!) and cast his line in.  One of the men nearby lit up a cigarette. (Why can't the women be so free?)
My not-so-subtle child started hacking like he was choking on a worm stuck on the end of a hook.
"I think I've just inhaled second-hand smoke!" he gasped...literally.   He survived...and fell in the water...

And here's my very last fishing story for today.  Its an old favorite that I had to share.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Happiness Project


On Tuesdays Leigh at Leigh vs. Laundry sponsors a happiness project. Generally participants post a lovely picture of something or someone that brings them joy (or makes them happy, since that is what the project is called).  But yesterday I came across something that made me so happy, I couldn't wait to share it with you today. Its actually a blog that I stumbled across (my sister told me about it). I seriously considered quitting my blog because this guy, John Acuff is saying everything that I've wanted to say but haven't yet. I just want to start a blog that says "Go see Stuff Christians Like". Its poignant, hilarious, sarcastic, occasionally irreverant, and yes, the man has a couple of book deals and I'm thrilled for him. That's an example of Stuff Christians like.

So go here to see what makes me happy      
This particular post, called "Thinking You're Naked" rocked my world!

Also check out #491 "Saying Let's Pray when You Mean Let's Make Out"
And today's poll about "How to tell a Christian Performer on American Idol"

Be Happy!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Post is NOT About My Son

My son that I promised not to blog about (I'm not) had a great time at his prom this weekend. 
     The next day, he and his buddy drove my car to the beach for spring break.

This blog is not about my son (I made a promise). Its about what I get to drive this week while he's gone.
This is what he left me to drive. It gets three miles to the gallon, which is why he drove my van to Florida.

He installed this awesome feature.

They turn on the speakers he fastened into the bed of the truck.

Another awesome feature. This is the head of a fox he killed and skinned. A dog got the body while it was drying so this is all that was left. He stuffed gold Werther's candy wrappers into the eye sockets. Maybe I can talk him into doing a tutorial so you, too can have this awesome rearview mirror decoration. Sure beats graduation tassels!

He was extremely proud that he washed all the mud off from the boggin expedition the night before.

At first I was a little disturbed at the thought of driving this massive machine through the drive-thru at Starbucks or parking it outside the mall. But I've decided to get in touch with my "Redneck Woman" side and live it up this week.

So if you hear the truck before you see it, if you see someone with the windows rolled down so the wind can blow their hair, if you hear loud country music blaring from the bed of the truck, it could be me or a thousand other women in touch with their redneck roots (not to be confused with those dark or gray roots that need to be touched up).

And for heavens' sake, if you see a mud hole, get outta my way cause I'm hitting it hard! Yeee Haw!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Night of Expectations

Tonight's the BIG night. The night almost every teenager looks forward to. The night of expectations and magic.  Tonight is PROM.

This will be my son's first, and since I have agreed to never mention him in my blogs I will talk about his friend. My son's friend is attending a small school. There are eight seniors in the class. My son's friend is a junior and they have nine in their class. All boys. And they have to host the prom.

Their first theme suggestion was John Deere. I thought that would be awesome but some of the other parents weren't so keen on the idea. (They mostly live in single wides.) They finally settled on an all-white Grecian theme. When I asked my son...his friend...why, he said it was the only one with a fountain. (We've got about eight hours to get that sucker working!)

The parents and the boys finished decorating and the food is on the way. The boys look handsome in their tuxes...really handsome! And they've even secured a limo for the evening. I'm so proud of these guys.

They opted not to have a party afterwards.  None of the parents want the responsibility of hosting it. The consequences are just way too high, should ANYTHING happen. Not only that, the guys said they didn't want to stay out all night cause they wanted to get up in time for Easter services tomorrow. Like I said, these guys are amazing!

So..."prom"...some look back with regret, some with longing, some try to relive the moment. How was your prom? Was it a great experience, terrible, or something in between?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Its Good Friday!

Good Friday to you, and it is actually Good Friday! I'm glad you're following me on the appropriately named Bunny Blog Hop today!. I've included my fish story from yesterday to give you a little rest on your hopping. Thnk of my Double Wide as a friendly place to sit a minute in one of the recliners we have on the front porch. Happy Hopping!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Christmas, 2009. I may have mentioned something about wanting to eat at Capt. D's. I like Captain D's. I especially like the crunchy things that clog your arteries (so they say...).  We didn't make it to Captain D's, however, on Christmas morning I opened.....

Gift #1:  Pink baseball cap with the words 'Bass Pro Shop' written in rhinestones. I don't generally wear a cap but it is blingy!

Gift #2:  a Pkg. of hot pink and black rubber worms. My response, "Gummy Worms!" (nope, can't eat them)

Gift #3:  This thing. (I didn't try to eat this but I started noticing a theme)

Gift #4:  Eager faces stare at me as they bring in a very long, thin gift wrapped clumsily in tissue paper.
     "What can this be?!" (I play along) 
     "A FISHING POLE? For me? Yay!"

     " Its hot pink and black! Just like the other things! See! See? It all matches!"
     "I see that," I nurture his little fragile heart. "Thank you so much."

He claps his hands and jumps with glee, so proud of his choice and that he made his wife so happy.

     Several cold spells hit (darn it...) and we couldn't get to any of the local ponds (double darn).  But as it is bound to happen, warmth descended upon Middle Georgia and it was time to don my blingy cap, pop my bobber on the end of my pole and let him have all the fake gummy worms he wanted.
    "Would you like me to bait your hook for you?"
    "Nope. I'm good." I cast my line like I know what I'm doing.  I reel it in. I cast again. I reel it in. Etc,
     "Wow! That was really a lot of fun. Very relaxing." I explain. "We should do this again soon. Helped me relieve a lot of tension."
     "But you didn't catch anything."

     "Exactly. A perfect fishing day!"

     And I'm so glad I didn't say I was in the mood for steak.