Blessed…

 

 

1. What’s a word that describes your life? A word you wish described your life?

The same word that describes my life is the same I wish it described…. blessed.  Truly. Blessed.
2. Back in my day we___________________________________?

Didn’t have computers in our houses, (or in our pockets!),  phones were only attached to the wall, and we had aluminum foil on our rabbit ears antennae that we would have to adjust to get a clearer picture.

3. When it comes to takeout are you more likely to opt for Italian, Mexican, or Chinese food? Does a typical week at your house include takeout?

I would have to say Italian, because we get pizza.  Hubs and I have been trying to eat cleaner and better, and so when we “splurge”, that’s our treat to the kids, and to ourselves.
4. Think about the people you most respect. What is it about them that earned your respect?
They don’t speak often… but when they do, you listen because you know it has been well thought out and is full of wisdom.  They also love well.
5. What’s something your friends might see and say is ‘so you’?

Anything with tulips, a cute coffee mug, a soft blanket, an inspiring scripture or quote, an awesome llama picture like the one I saw at Homegoods yesterday and really kinda want for my house but have no idea where to put it or how to get it past my not-so-finding-it-funny hubs! 😉
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

ugh, I’m exhausted.  Ironically, I bought new pillows this weekend, but they aren’t squishy like our old ones, so I’ve actually been waking up in the middle of the night trying to get comfortable.  So I exchanged them tonight.  Here’s hoping for a good night sleep!  Good night friends!

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Whales, worcestershire, and Dennis Quaid

Spring!  Even out here in sunny California, I get excited when my bulbs start popping out of the ground, the trees get new growth, and I start figuring out what to do with our garden.  We tried to transplant a small palm last spring, and it didn’t make it… so now we have a big hole in the back corner of our yard that we are debating what to do with.  Hubby wants another palm, I want a larger tree that my grand babies can climb and swing from someday… so, we’ll see what we end up doing!  But in the meantime, lets Hodgepodge!

1. On this first official day of spring tell us something (besides the weather) you’re looking forward to in this season of the year.

We are taking my dad whale watching this Saturday to celebrate his 80th birthday! I love that we live where the whales migrate every spring, and I’m truly praying that we actually get to see some on Saturday!

2. When it comes to spring cleaning would you rather wash windows or wash baseboards? Clean out closets or clean out the garage? Dust ceiling fans or dust bookcases? Wipe down the patio furniture outside or wipe down the light fixtures inside? Any of these tasks recently completed?

We have some really really high windows that never get washed – so if I had a ladder tall enough, I would LOVE to wash those windows.  Or hire someone to do it.  I’d rather clean out the garage, because it always seems like it needs to be done, and since our laundry is in the garage, I see the mess often and it drives me crazy!  I’d rather dust the ceiling fans, and wipe down the patio furniture.

Most recently I cleaned out the garage, but all of the other items are on my “to do” list.

3. Your favorite thing to make/eat that calls for cream cheese? Sour cream? Whipped cream?

Cream cheese – can’t go wrong with cheese cake!

Sour cream – I have a yummy chicken sour cream enchilada recipe!

Whipped cream – topped with strawberries, fresh lemon zest, and blueberries… yummmmm!
4. I read here a list of commonly mispronounced words. What is a word that gives you trouble when it comes to pronunciation?

Definitely worchestershire! Stumble like a drunk sailor over that one every time!
5. What’s a song you love with the word ‘rain’ in the title or lyrics?

Bring the Rain by Mercy Me... just listen to the lyrics.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Hubby and I took our youngest to see “I Can Only Imagine” the other day.  It is the story behind the song by Mercy Me.  I’ll admit I’m not always a huge fan of movies with a Christian theme, mainly because they tend to be either poorly acted or poorly directed… but let me say, this movie was neither of those.  It was very well written, well acted, and conveyed the story well without being overly orchestrated.  Absolutely fantastic – I highly recommend it!

Side note – hubby and I were in Dallas last month and heard Mercy Me in concert, and at the end for the encore they brought out Dennis Quaid, who played Bart’s dad in the movie!  He just happened to be in the area and surprised them!  (You could tell it was a surprise because he hadn’t been sound checked or anything – couldn’t really hear him!)  He came out and played a song that he had written for his grandmother – it was beautiful, and made for a cool end to a fantastic evening!  Oh, and I highly recommend Mercy Me’s newest album, Lifer… fantastic lyrics and melodies that I have been singing every day since the concert!

Tea for two…

A lament…

Oh, sweet Hodgepodge… if you were a person I would buy you a bouquet of flowers and send you a card that said “Sorry I’ve been neglecting you – I still think of you often!”  So yeah, sorry blog… sorry Hodgepodge… I’ve been a bit remiss.  I’ll try to do better!  OK, enough lamenting… lets Hodgepodge!

1. What keeps you blogging?
HA!  Ok, I seriously did NOT read the questions before writing my into paragraph… I love blogging, it’s a creative exercise, an outlet, and I love the friends I have made as a result of it.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-
 
St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)
 
Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter? 

 

Um, excuse me… WHY are there no California beaches there?  harrumph!  Oh, I guess because the article is from Southern Living – all right, I”ll give it to you then.  I have been to Nags Head and Fairhope… both beautiful, but as a California girl, sorry, there’s just nothing like my west coast cliffs and ocean waves!  (this is where I live, by the way!)

IMG_3106

3. What’s a song you’re embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

The Copacabana by Barry Manilow.  And yes, I’m truly embarrassed.  😉

 Also, The Rhinestone Cowboy by Glenn Campbell.

4. When you were a kid what’s something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you’re an adult you realize it’s not all that fantastic?

Staying up until midnight on new years… I mean, seriously…

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.
“Nothing is impossible – the very word says “I’m possible” – Audrey Hepburn
6. Insert your own random thought here.

So, I’ve been getting into drinking tea at night – please give me your recommendations!  (I do NOT like green tea in any way shape or form though!)

A seasonable Hodgepodge!

Happy Wednesday friends!  Before I run off for the day, lets Hodgepodge!

1.  What’s something blogging has taught you about yourself?

I don’t know if blogging has TAUGHT me anything in particular, other than I like having a space where I can write creatively and share with my friends, and for that I am thankful.
2.  Leftovers…are you in the ‘reheat and eat’ camp or the ‘put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them’ camp? What’s your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

Oh I love leftovers!  I will take them to work for lunch, feed them to my family for dinner for days “What leftovers AGAIN?” – they are wonderful!  I love Thanksgiving leftovers – turkey sandwiches made on croissants (thanks to my mother-in-law for getting us on that tradition!) with cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, yum.  Probably my least favorite thing to have as leftovers are green beans – they just don’t taste the same.
3. ‘Me time‘…your thoughts?
Very important!  I think we often are so bombarded by people asking us to do things, making demands on our time and attention, competing for space, that it is good to separate some times and just be quiet, or to get away from it all. Even if it’s just a half hour walk, it is worth doing.
4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
HA!  In my job, as church receptionist and pastor’s admin, it could be anything!  More often than not, it’s help getting someone’s contact information in the church, or to proof a document.  This morning I’m sending out a mass email to our entire congregation, so that’s on my mind today.
5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

When I was a child we remodeled our house and it took a VERY long time, as in YEARS, to complete – so therefore the smell of wood, in a hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot, always reminds me of home.  Also, the smell of oil, because my dad’s machine shop always smelled like oil!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s advent, and like I mentioned, I work at our church, so this is a wonderfully crazy time of year in all senses of the word!  Constant demands on our attention, projects to get done, end of year reports, services to plan and implement, and amidst it all, trying to be still and enjoy this season… the lights, the smells, the reason we celebrate.  May God be very real and near to all of you this season!

In the holiday spirit of things…

I absolutely love the holidays.  The smells of cinnamon, the chill in the air (well, kinda… I live at the beach where we definitely notice any dip in temps below 70!), the food and gifts, etc.  For the first time ever, I have allowed myself to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving – because I’m working on the daily advent devotional that our church will be emailing out during Advent, and it’s really really hard to get into the Christmas spirit without Christmas music in the background!  That’s my excuse anyway… hehehe.  Onto the Hodgepodge!

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Excel spread sheets.  I know, I know… they are supposed to be intuitive… they just aren’t intuitive enough for me!  But I’m trying to learn, and that’s what matters, right?
2. Your least favorite spice?
Curry.  In very small doses please.

Actually, I just googled it and apparently curry isn’t a single spice, but a blend of spices.  Whatever.
3. What’s a small change you’d like to make?
I’d LOVE to find a way to have all of our computer/phone chargers accessible but NOT taking over the coffee table in my family room.  We don’t have a lot of space, but I’m hoping that inspiration or Pinterest will come up with a solution for me, because right now the tangle of cords drives me crazy!!
4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you’ve visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they’re as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson’s home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway’s home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington’s home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I do like seeing historic homes, though admittedly it’s not something I’ll actively seek out when we travel.  I haven’t been to any of the homes listed above.

I don’t know of any homes in my area, though where I grew up there was the Wrigley mansion (as in, Wrigley Spearmint Gum) in Pasadena and I did get to go through that when I was in college.
5. What’s something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?
Phone landlines.  I hardly know anyone who still has one – well, in my generation anyway.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

We have truly entered a complicated stage of parenting, with a college kiddo still living at home and working full time, and two other teenagers.  Complicated not just in the teenage hormones and drama (this is why I thank God for coffee and wine!), but in their schedules!  Gone are the days in which WE, the parents, would determine our holiday plans and the kids would go wherever we planned.  Now, with work schedules and school schedules, THAT is what determines our plans and we have to adjust accordingly.  It’s crazy!  But, as they are growing older and spreading their wings more and more, I also find myself extremely thankful for the time we DO have together and I don’t take it for granted the way I did when they were little.  Grasping onto our time, before they move out, marry, and become even more independent… which is as it should be of course, but it doesn’t mean I don’t dream of the days when life was simpler.

 

have a blessed holiday season, friends.  Until the next Hodgepodge…

No regrets in this Hodgepodge

 

Duane and I have spent the last two days at a conference for mental health ministries, creating a what/why/how blueprint for our church to launch a support group for individuals and their families who deal with mental illness.  It is humbling and exciting – you can’t care for veterans, marriages, families, seniors, anyone without also caring for their emotional and mental well being.  It doesn’t have to take money or staff – just a willingness to provide Community, Assistance, Resources, and Education (CARE).  We are so grateful that our church leadership made it possible for us to attend this conference, and are looking forward to what God has planned!

 

But, before I head into today’s conference… lets hodgepodge!

 

From this Side of the Pond
1. What’s surprised you most about your life or life in general? 

Oh wow… so many things.  I don’t regret much – love being married to my husband and the adventure our life has been together, absolutely love being a mom, love my job as well.  There are a couple of things I’m sad about that I would have never anticipated… but what are you going to do… deep breaths, pray, and keep moving forward.
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie…you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?

A baked sweet potato please!  yummm…..

3. What’s a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?

The Grapes of Wrath – and nope, I haven’t read it.
4. There are 60 days until Christmas…have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

No I haven’t started shopping – added a couple of things to my Amazon wish list for the kids, but not actual shopping yet.  I stay organized with the help of my assistant (Siri!), my calendar, and Amazon Prime!
5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you’d like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis’s Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee’s Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

I’ve been to the Smoky Mountains – and oh my goodness, they were amazing!  Haven’t been anywhere else in Tennessee…
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

As many of you know, my husband’s non-profit develops low income housing and provides social services for the residents.  One of his properties is in Rockport, Texas and suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey two months ago.  All 150 residents are displaced while repairs are done to the property – which had just undergone a $2million renovation in June.  My husband and his business partner flew in to assess the damage and meet the residents within 72 hours of the hurricane hitting, and will be going back out next week to check on the construction progress.  I’m looking forward to seeing what has been done and hopefully have a projected date for when we can allow our residents to move back home.  But oh, these poor people… they already don’t have much, they make around $10,000 a year if that… and now all of their belongings, furniture, appliances, mattresses, everything they own was damaged.  We have set up a GoFundMe account so that we can help them get back on their feet, and it has been humbling to see how people from all over the nation have stepped up to help.  One dear friend of mine, Zoanna, (who I met through the Hodgepodge!), has, along with several friends, been making pillowcases for all of the children in our property, so that when we have a “Welcome Home” party for them we can give them something special that has been made just for them, prayed over, and made with love.  I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces!  (And let me just say, my sweet friendship with Zo has been one of the greatest blessings through my blog – and it was so fun to finally talk with her on the phone and hear her voice for the first time as we talked over the particulars of the pillowcase project!  Maybe this next year will be the year we can actually meet face to face!)

If you would like to see pictures of our property and what my hubby’s company does, check it out here:  https://www.stepforwardcommunities.com

 

A Hodgepodge for October…

 

 

1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
I grew up in suburban Los Angeles… so nope, no time on a farm.
Yep, that was me… kinda… no yeah, that was me.  Sigh.
Suffice it to say, no hayrides, no tractors, no milking of cows.
2. What’s something younger you would like about you now? 
How comfortable I am in my role as wife, mother, and administrative assistant at work.
Philippians 2:13:  …for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

3. What are three things you’d like to do more often? Three things you’d like to do less often?

3 things I’d like to do:  Coffee with friends, walk on the beach, laugh

3 things less often:  late paying bills, scrambling to figure out dinner, gain weight!  hehe

4. What’s on your nachos?

Cheese.  Black olives.  Guacamole.  Sour cream.  Yum.

5. What’s the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?
a bottle of nail polish.  I keep it there in case I decide to go get a pedicure, that way I have the color I like, and I can do a touch up if needed.  Does it really need to stay there?  Probably not.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday a friend of mine posted a plea on a community facebook page … with the horror in Las Vegas, this world that is increasingly chaotic and disgruntled, please, show me people who are doing good… and people in our community responded.  Stories of people heading up rescues, sheltering the homeless, rehabilitating low income housing projects, sacrificing their own security and livelihood for the job of serving others… it was, quite simply, one of the most inspirational posts I had seen in a while.  Those are the stories I want to hear… why do people do the good that they do?  Why do they throw themselves on top of a stranger to save their life, knowing that they may not live another hour?  That’s the real stuff, friends.