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!)


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.

What’s in a name?

There is a homeless woman in our community named Angela (not her real name,  to protect her privacy).  She has been a resident of our town for decades, is well known by everyone, and she considers our church her church home.  She fluctuates between mental wellness and mental chaos, personal order and disarray.  As the church receptionist, I come into contact with her quite often, and our exchanges are normally quite cordial.  (She is convinced that, with my last name being Henry, that the O’Henry candy bar is named after me.  Somehow I’m missing out on some royalty checks!)

A couple of weeks ago, Angela came into my office, and I said “Good morning beautiful, how are you today?”  Immediately she rose up and said quite sternly, “Mrs Henry, that is NOT my name, that is a bullying name, that is NOT what is on my birth certificate! Don’t CALL me that!”  I could tell this was one of those not-so-together mental conversations with her.  She went on for several more minutes, becoming more and more agitated until finally I broke in with, “Angela, I apologize for offending you, but you do not come into my office and start yelling at me like this.  If you would like to talk, I am happy to do so, but you do not yell.” To which she said, “OK, we are going to do this again!” and she walked out of my office in a huff.  I took a long sip of my coffee and a deep breath.  This will be interesting.

A few minutes later she came back in and I greeted her.  “Good morning Angela, how are you this morning?”  She replied with “Good morning Mrs. Henry, I am well thank you.  Now see, isn’t that better?  You see, Mrs Henry, when you have been called every name in the book, when you have been teased and bullied and people call you names, all you want is for people to call you the name you have been given.”

I was struck silent.  In the midst of her rambling and agitation, her words rang clear… What would it be like to live a life where people didn’t call you by your name, didn’t even care to find OUT your real name, but instead called you by what they thought of you?  “Slob” “Bitch” “Good for nothing” “Worthless” “Unwanted”

She went on to tell me that when she was born, her parents had her first name picked out, but couldn’t decide on her middle name.  But when her father went out into the waiting room, he overheard someone say “Oh doesn’t a new baby bring such joy?” He immediately went back into her mother’s room and said “JOY!  Her middle name must be joy!” Her smile spread wide on her dirty, disheveled face as she said “See?  My name is Angela JOY – I brought them joy – and so when people talk to me, I say “Angela Joy is my name, please don’t call me anything else’ and if they call me other names, I just keep walking, because those names, they don’t belong to me.”

As I sat there, listening and watching her tell me this story, I heard the holy spirit whisper in my heart… “Are you listening?  What names belong to you?  What lies are you listening to, names that you call yourself (or others call you) but don’t have anything to do with who I created you to be?”  Instead of focusing on those, I need to look to the One who created me and lean in to the names He has given me… “Beloved” “Worthy” “Chosen” “Friend” and yes, thanks to my parents and husband, “Sally (which means ‘Princess’) Ann (which means Prayer) Henry (which means Home Ruler)” I’ll take those names any day of the week, for they are mine, and, like Angela did, may I refuse to listen to any others.

A picture perfect, blog worthy Hodgepodge

So are we the only ones to get addicted to a show after it has already “Been there and done that ” for a really long time?  Tonight we watched our first episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  I know… I know… and so now we are hooked.  Don’t you dare tell us any spoilers… but I’ve got to say, it’s nice to know we can watch a show from beginning to end and not have to wait for the next episode! Except that we’ll be the only ones saying “Oh my gosh can you believe so and so didn’t do this with that guy” and you’ll all be, like, “Oh that was SO five seasons ago”!  oh well…


1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

Absolutely… so much can be said in just a single picture.  I’ve been struck silent, brought to tears by a single picture… no caption… just the heartstrings strumming away.

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

I grew up in California, and live here now, so yes, the PCH is well known to me! (I can actually drive the PCH to work if I want to!)  I absolutely love it… the California coast is so amazing – huge cliffs, gorgeous waves and sand, sea lions, otters, whales… I really did miss it when we were stationed elsewhere.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?

Living here in southern California, we don’t have much change in seasons… but I’ve always loved the spring.  In Idaho, I didn’t like the winter, because it was SO long… and the wind was so cold it would go straight through your bones.  But even here in mild-temp CA, I love planting bulbs in the fall and seeing them poke their heads up in the spring.  I like the long days of summer, the gorgeous sunsets in the fall, and yes, being able to go down to the beach 365 days a year.

4. It’s your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

Ooh… for an appetizer, Oysters Rockefeller

Dinner… Roasted duck!  With garlic mashed potatoes!  And carmelized carrots or bacon string beans, and a really soft dinner roll and an amazing Chardonnay to drink!

Dessert – fresh berries and light shortcake with homemade whipped cream, garnished with lemon zest and mint.  Yummm…

Nope, don’t lie about my age… it’s all good.

5. What’s a life lesson you’ve learned recently?

To stop and pause before taking on an obligation that I’m not sure I have to take on.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I’ve got a blog brewing in my head… it has been there for several weeks now.  I had an encounter with a local homeless person and it impacted me…  granted, where I work I come in regular contact with the homeless.  Not all interactions are pleasant… but this one, it made me think.  I just need the time to sit down and write it all down.  Because it matters.