Time after time…

 

From this Side of the Pond

1. Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.

Being a full time working mom, my time is pretty much set for me!  We do try to do a “no devices Sunday morning” – no iPhones, no computer, no iPad, no tv on Sunday mornings before church… we aren’t always successful, but when we do it’s wonderful!
2. Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person-

Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

I don’t think I have ever actually visited a lighthouse, but of that list… Honestly, they all look amazing!  But I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland, so I”ll go with the Fanad Lighthouse!
When you’ve been away, what’s your ‘lighthouse’ telling you you’re on the right road home?

When we were in the military, we were stationed for the first 10 years in the southeast.  And while those years were amazing, when we were driving across country to our new assignment in Idaho, and I saw the red mesas of Arizona, topped with snow, my saintly Mother-in-law (who was riding in the car with me) looked at me and said, “Wow, if you could see your face… you’re home, aren’t you?”  And I responded with a giddy “YES!”  Nothing like red rocks, mountain ranges, etc.  The west is just so different, and it’s home to me.  Also, seeing the pacific ocean crash against the cliffs… nothing better.

3. What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?

Ugh – I’ve stopped Bible study, and I miss it.  I miss learning, I miss being challenged, I miss the company of girlfriends studying and wrestling and sharing the word.  I have had to let go, due to my job and family needs… and I do pray that by next spring things will have settled a bit so that I can join a Bible study again.  I love working, really I do, but I miss the freedom to join prayer groups and Bible studies during the day.

4. We’ve had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.
I”ll be honest, it has been a bittersweet week start to August.   I got a job promotion, which I have been wanting… but two days before my new position started with a new boss, I lost a dear friend and coworker unexpectedly.   I’m grateful for where I work… and I love my new boss, but a there has been a lot of loss in  a couple of months… and all with different sets of emotions, and I miss my friends.
5. Tell us one song you love with the word ‘baby’ in the title.

The song “Baby Mine” from Dumbo… when I was pregnant with my daughter, the doctors were concerned late in my pregnancy that there might be something wrong with her, because she (and I) weren’t growing as big as they thought we should be.  (Disclaimer, if they had measured my BUTT, they would have seen that she was fine, because that is where I carried her, apparently!)  But, in those weeks of being scared, feeling so helpless, all I could do was sing that song to her “Baby mine, don’t you cry, baby mine, dry your eyes, rest your head, close to my heart, never to part, baby you’re mine.”

 

And you know, she was fine!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Please friends, pray for our church staff, and for Bob’s family, who are reeling from his sudden departure… he was the WORST sick person, so he would have wanted his passing to be quick like it was… but being so young, and for those left behind, we are … I don’t even know what words to use to describe what we are… devastated.  Every morning when I walk into the office I wait for his voice to call out “Good morning!  You doing all right there Sal?”  and oh God, it’s so hard not hearing his voice… seeing his empty chair.  He was on staff for 26years and was the backbone… please pray for all of us.  And if somehow you are reading this, Bob… words can’t describe how much I loved you, our friendship, your loyalty to our church and community… how you put love into action, you were the church defined.  I’ll never forget you… and you are missed more than words can say.

It’s about time!

 

I know, I know… it has been WAY too long since I last did a blog post or Hodgepodge.  And I’ve missed it.  Lets see, in the past 8 weeks I’ve lost three of my bosses at work (two hugely unexpected), we’ve had the end of the school year craziness, an all-family camping trip, and I”ve had carpal tunnel surgery!  But now, now we are on vacation… at our home away from home, and I can blog to my heart’s content.  Or at least until my computer runs out of power because I forgot to bring the charger cord.  sheesh.

 

From this Side of the Pond

1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

I chat pretty regularly with our neighbors – we have certainly been blessed with this neighborhood.  (that has NOT always been the case!)  But the most recent was just a few days ago – I was chatting with our neighbor, Bill, across the street about our upcoming trip, the fact that our dishwasher broke the day before we were leaving (yes, the one we just got 6 months ago!  Sigh), etc.  He’s a great guy and has lived in this neighborhood since the homes were built in the mid 80s… so he knows everything about our home, which is an invaluable resource!  And he’s got an adorable black labrador who graciously puts up with our younger dog’s attempts to play!

2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall…which one are you most like and why?

Ocean – because there are surprises beneath the surface that you have to dive into in order to discover.  ooh that’s deep!  Ha – like the ocean! 🙂

3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called ‘the first state’ because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What’s your state’s nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?

I have never been to Delaware – I’ve never been to the northeast at all, but would really like to go sometime!  So much history there.  I live in California – our state’s nickname is “The Golden State” and it is called that because of the Gold Rush in 1848 which exploded the state’s population, the Golden poppies that bloom every spring, the Golden Gate bridge in San Fransisco (I was SO disappointed when I saw it for the first time as a kid and saw that it is red, not gold!), and of course, our golden sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.  Nothing better.  Personally, I’d also say “The Golden State” makes sense because it feels like it costs a whole heap of gold to live here!
4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?

I honestly don’t remember the last pot luck meal I attended – they don’t seem to be as common out here as they did in the south.  But what I would bring would depend on the type of meal (bbq, dinner, brunch) and the time of year.  In the summer, I have an incredible baked beans recipe that you make in the crockpot, and my aunt’s pasta salad recipe.

5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

Relax!  Reach out to other mama’s your age with little ones for practical advice, sleep when you can, shower when you can, hire a housecleaner if you can, and take pictures – because sleep deprivation has a way of causing you to not remember what you named your child, much less what they looked like as a sweet newborn!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Please pray for my husband and I, as we are starting a mental health ministry at our church.  The possibilities are endless, and the need is huge… please pray for us to have the right focus, the resources to utilize, and the support.  If your church has this type of ministry, could you tell me about it?  Or if you have utilized something like this, I would love to hear what worked for you, what didn’t, what you would have loved to see.  Thanks friends!

My dog is drunk.

 

How’s that for a lead-in?

 

No, but seriously… she has been licking and gnawing at her paws so much that they are red and irritated and starting to bleed, and so until we can get her into the vet, I gave her Benadryl.  And she’s a hilarious drunk.  Bless her heart.  A 75-pound American Bulldog stumbling around with a goofy look on her face.  Just what I need to make me laugh after what has been a difficult week!  So, lets Hodgepodge and maybe she’ll sober up by the end!

 

From this Side of the Pond

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm…

Are you a pack rat? Even if you’re not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what’s yours.

Oh dear, really? Well, I guess they have a day for everything don’t they?  Not quite sure how you would celebrate this one though!  Having moved so many times being in the military, and now finally settled for what I hope is a long time, we are definitely not pack rats.  We tend to purge every time we move!  And our place now is smaller than what we had before, so we definitely have tried to minimize.  Reading about the Kon Marie method of “Does this bring you joy?  If not, then let it go” has helped tremendously with that.

What do I have a hard time getting rid of?  Pictures – kids art projects – letters – that sort of thing.  We have a couple of bins of these items that I just can’t seem to figure out what to do with.
2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don’t?
Fix the stupid drain in our bathroom.  I mean seriously, how hard can that be?  But alas, I have tried and the darn thing still won’t work.  Sigh.

Also, change the oil in my car instead of paying someone $50 to do it.  Ridiculous.
3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

Yes, I definitely crave sugar – hard to resist, and once I have it, I immediately want more.  I don’t add sugar to my coffee/tea, but I do have flavored creamer.  I don’t usually order dessert when dining out unless it is a special occasion.  BUT, if you are ever in San Clemente, California, you simply must go to Nicks on Del Mar and have their butter cake… because then, and only then, will you die completely happy and satisfied.

 

OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but not by much.
4. What’s a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can’t imagine living without?
Using a common calendar for all of our family members that would share on our multiple devices.  SO helpful!  We use Cozi, a free app, and it allows us to share calendar events, shopping lists, notes, etc.  Though hubby is wanting to switch over to our Apple calendar… but I love Cozi for the shared shopping lists… whatever, it all works!  And in a crazy household of full time working parents and three teenagers, it’s a life saver.
5. What’s a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.
Oh gosh, SO many to choose from.  But lets go with “If There Were No Dreams” by Neil Diamond – it’s the first dance my hubby and I danced to when we were dating, and was our first dance at our wedding!
6. Insert your own random thought here.

What a week.  Lets just say lots of unexpected twists and turns in our personal life (court didn’t go well last week, but at least we never ever ever have to deal with our former landlords again – praise God and Hallelujah), and lots of unexpected changes at work (I am on staff at our church) that will rock the staff and congregation.  Deep breaths.  Holding tight to the One who is ultimately in control, and trying to NOT be the 2-year-old throwing a tantrum in Target screaming “WHY? It’s not FAIR! I don’t WANT to do this!”  Because I know God would, as any parent, just stand over me, wait for my tantrum to wind down, and say “Are you done?  Because you know, it may SEEM like the world is all topsy turvy right now, but there’s better stuff out there if you would just get up off the floor, take my hand, and trust me for a cotton pickin’ minute!” (apparently in my mind God is a southern woman… don’t judge)

So breathe deep friends… He’s in control.  And He’s good, all the time.  And He’s always working.  All the time.  Even when He sounds like an old southern woman.  And your dog is still drunk.

Mexican court homeless vaping boats. huh?

Trust me, after that blog title, you’ll just want to keep reading… no intro necessary!

 

1. Lets run with a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week! Do you like Mexican food? What’s your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?

I’ll admit, I never thought about Mexican food one way or the other, until I no longer lived in California and realized that good Mexican food is really really really hard to find in other parts of the country!  Now, I absolutely love it – my appreciation has grown immensely!  My favorite dish is a good chimichanga (still the best, La Fonda’s in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Who would’ve guessed…) On the side, refried beans please, mild on the spice, because I’m a wimp.  Not sure if we will celebrate with Mexcian food on May 5, but we very well could, seeing as we now live two hours from the Mexican border and there is TONS of really good Mexican food around here!  Yummm…
2. Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven’t been is this a place you’d like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?
Yep, our church goes down to Mexico for mission trips all the time – we have been to a school for deaf children called Rancho Sordo Mudo, we have done house builds in Tijuana, we have helped with a transient population at Campo de Esperanza.  Truly incredible.  Y si’ yo habla espanol un poquito… (And yes, I speak a little Spanish)
3. What’s one thing you may accomplish this month?
Finally, 13 months after we moved out, our court appearance is FINALLY happening with our former landlords.  Please God… in one week we will hopefully be done with them forever, and God willing, will have our security deposit back, and maybe even some extra money…  we found out on Sunday that they are counter-suing us, with charges that are ridiculous.  (charges for rent lost while the house was being worked on, after we moved out, which they forced us to do?  Um yeah, no.)  Please pray that our court appearance next Monday goes well, and that I”m able to present our case matter-of-fact and without a lot of emotion.  (Which, quite frankly, is hard for me…)
4. If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what’s one thing you’d like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you’ve ever seriously considered?
If I were mayor, I would make a push for there to be services for homeless in the areas where the homeless actually are… and provide services that help them, like legal assistance, identification cards, connection with family, etc.   I haven’t ever considered serving in public service, but I have thought about becoming a paralegal… maybe someday.
5. What’s something that may be popular, but that you just don’t get?
Vaping.  I just don’t get it.  Today, I was turning left, and a car facing me was turning right, and all of a sudden their entire car filled with a white smoke.  I just don’t get it!  And it’s SO bad for you… sigh.
6. Can’t let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in ‘May the 4th be with you’ ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being ‘I’ve seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year‘, and 1 being, ‘what’s a Vader?‘ -where do you land?

Hmm, I guess I would be a 7.  Funny, I remember being dragged to see Return of the Jedi with my dad and brother when my mom was on a church retreat one weekend when I was little, and I was bored to tears.  Fast forward many years, with a house full of boys, and yeah, I enjoy the series.  Loved the last one “Rogue One” as it connected so many loose ends that I didn’t realize were loose!  And it’s really fun to share this with my kids.

7. Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?

Wow… going back to my original blog (www.fivehenrys.blogspot.com) and looking back at my fourth post… it was about our sailboat.  I called it the “Yo Ho Ho” because we had bought it from a squadron member for a Bottle of Rum!  Not a lot of themes in my post… but fun to look back at the memories of owning that boat while we lived in Pensacola, Florida.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

SO for any working mamas out there, THIS is for you… seriously, the most truth filled commercial I have ever seen in my life.  Preach it, sisters.

How in the name of all that is sacred is it the end of April already?  Craziness, people!  Craziness!  Weren’t we just on spring break?  What do you mean the kids will be on summer break in just 6 weeks?  Lord have mercy… lets Hodgepodge quickly before it changes seasons on us!

 

From this Side of the Pond

 

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April?

Nope, no rain for us here this April – which, after how much we got in January and February, is fine with me!  And nope, I generally just make a run for it – which my boss makes fun of, as he jaunts around with his ginormous “fit-4 under here” golf umbrella! We have been enjoying the massive amounts of wildflowers that are blooming all over though, as a result of all the rain.  These are my kiddos and doggie hiking in the hills right above our house!  How nice it is to be out of the severe drought we have been in for the past several years!

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2. What’s something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment’s notice and with zero preparation?
The Church Community Builder program that houses our church database.  Yeah, exciting stuff.  I could also give a presentation on being a military spouse, being a mom, and what wine goes best with your toddler/teenager’s whine!  (Answer: all of them)
3. Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.
My grandma used to have rows and rows of strawberry plants and radish plants in her backyard.  And I thought it was SO cool that at dinner we would have radishes on our salad that were picked right from the garden, and strawberry pie made from HER strawberries.  What can I say, I’m a city kid.
4. What’s a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?
The song “In a New York Minute” by Don Henley… I thought it was “If I Knew Your Limit” – guess I had a dirty mind as a teenager!
5. According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are- Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you’ve visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.
I’ve been to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Times Square, Epcot, and the Space Needle.  Most definitely felt like a tourist at all of those, although maybe less so in Hollywood since I grew up in southern California and Hollywood was just something I grew up with.

A place that is most definitely a tourist trap but I love anyway is Venice Beach in CA.  The best place to people watch, that’s for sure!
6. Your signature clothing item?
Um, am i supposed to have a signature clothing item?  Not sure how to answer that one!
7. What’s an experience you’ve had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?

Snorkeling in tropical waters.  Absolutely incredible to me that you can be standing on the beach, enjoying the warm winds, the sandy white beaches, the turquoise water – and if you walk out 5 feet and put your face in, suddenly you are in the middle of another world just teeming with life!  Brightly colored fish, coral, turtles, eels… absolutely breath taking.  But if you spend your whole time just on the shore, you miss out on being a part of a whole new world that is just seconds away.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

So, prayers appreciated friends, as I have been sick with strep throat the past two days, and I”m supposed to be driving down with a bunch of teenagers to Mexico this weekend to take part in a house build.  Oy!  Pray for healing, for strength, and for wisdom as I decide whether i should still go.  And let me just say, getting strep is NOT fun!  I used to get it when I was a teenager, and although there are times I’d love to relive my high school experiences, this is not one I would choose.  On the plus side, I’m now caught up on Gilmore Girls, I’ve mastered three more levels in Candy Crush Saga, and I’ve read a chick-lit trash novel that my mom gave me 7 months ago.

A lemony yellowy springy Hodgepodge…

Our quote of the evening came from our eldest son, 19 years old, caught in that bizarre child/man world that I remember detesting when I was that age… but he seems to have captured it perfectly with this quote that he said tonight “I may lack common sense, but I did not break any rules!”

 

Seriously, how can you argue with that?

 

Oh how I have missed my Hodgepodge blog!  For some reason my Tuesday nights lately have been filled with meetings or being out of town, or my computer decided to be a royal pain in the arse (its not cussing if you use the British term, right?).  Anyway, its good to be back!  Spring Break next week for ye ‘ol Hodgepodge, and Holy Week, so we will be back after Easter!  So, lets Hodgepodge while we can!  Join in if you wish!!

 

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what’s the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Oh, definitely around a 3.  Our home was a rental for 25 years, and we have only lived here for a year, and California has been in a massive drought until recently.  So, makes gardening a bit of a challenge.  Our “grass” is more like crabgrass that has taken over, but it’s green, so we let it… And I do have a beautiful camellia bush and hydrangea bush that someone planted at one time, so I love those.  We just had a dead tree removed from our yard, so now we just need to figure out how to get the sprinklers changed to a drip system and plant some vines and such to cover the fences!  We’ll get it figured out – it is just a matter of time (and money!)  Luckily my eldest son is dating a sweet gal who’s dad is a landscaper!  I”m thinking a fire pit area, a trellis with vines, maybe a citrus tree or bush… Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse, friends.


2. “Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.”~Thomas Fuller  What does this quote mean to you?

Hmmm,  this is an interesting quote.  To me it can say that one can discover great things no matter what their circumstance or upbringing and become successful… but it also says that one can have the most privileged of upbringings and still make poor decisions.

3. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?
Love.  Grace.  Peace.

4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?
I would be chatting about nothingness, scrambling my words, fidgety.

5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black eyed susan…which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?
I do like the color yellow, but can not wear it to save my life!  Nope, its my anti-color!  I love Sunflowers, especially in a pretty blue vase that was given to me as a wedding gift – absolutely beautiful and so cheery!

6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Flip flops!  (And cute pedicured toes too, thank you very much… oh, I need a pedicure!  Anyone looking for a late birthday gift for me?  Pedicure please!) 😉

7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you’ll carry out this month.
A year ago on Easter we were staying with friends, in limbo in between moving out of our rental and into our home.  And our youngest mentioned the other day his lament that he didn’t get an Easter egg hunt -so yeah, we’ll be doing that for sure!  And church!  And dinner with my parents!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So, speaking of Easter – I made this pie for our church small group the other night, and ohmygoodness, it was AMAZING!!!  Seriously, not hard to do, and delicious – everyone was raving about it!  Try it if you are looking for something new!!!  (I saw it in the Magnolia Journal, the magazine published by Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. And you know, if you’ve seen that show, you know how it is – you think “hey, I could DO that!” and then you try, and it turns out like a Pinterest fail.  But not so with this pie, friends… trust me, I’m not a spectacular pie maker (other than the caramel apple pie from Pioneer Woman, that’s another good one) – but this Lemon Pie was amazing.  Try it, you won’t be sorry)

Lemon Pie by Joanna Gaines

Bell bottoms, Carmelitas, and Air Supply

 

 

1. ‘Slow and steady wins the race’…tell us about a time this was true in your own life. 
Oh, we are homeowners now.  Which means that as far as our visions for making this house more modern go, yeah, it’s going to be slow and steady!
2. ‘As slow as molasses’…Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What’s your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what’s your favorite food made with that sweet treat? 
Gotta go with caramel.  Every time.  And my favorite recipe is my mother-in-law’s Carmelitas – oats, butter, chocolate chips, caramel, oh yeah… good stuff!
3. Your favorite slow song?
SO many good ones – but my favorite one is “Open Arms” by Journey.  (Also “Faithfully” by Journey.  And anything by Air Supply.  (there’s a reason why our youth pastor warned us about listening to Air Supply alone with a member of the opposite sex before we were married.  Just saying.)
But, back to Open Arms, which is what came to mind first – In case you have forgotten which one that is, you can swoon to it here!
4. Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot? 
Chicken tortilla soup!
5. ‘You may delay, but time will not.’ ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?
It depends what it is – if it has to do with a personal relationship, then I will take care of it quickly because I don’t like conflict in relationships.  Filing and monotonous things like, er, taxes… yeah, I delay.  Because, ewww.

6. Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.
1) my children doing their laundry

2) tourist traffic
3) financial stability
7. March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you’ll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you’d like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen. 
I do consider myself crafty – but I simply don’t have much time for it anymore unfortunately.  I would LOVE to have the skills to install crown moulding in my house, make our fireplace really cool, and the list goes on.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I can’t believe how long I sat watching this… you are welcome. I now need bell bottoms and a teeter totter.