Summer vacation Hodgepodge

Ahhh… it’s vacation time.  Ok, not really… but I HAVE taken the last two days off of work to spend with some good friends who were visiting from Texas.  And then I’m taking off most of Thursday and all of Friday to spend time with my brother-in-law who is visiting from Spain.  So here I sit, all pleasantly sun kissed and sandy from two days of beach time, heart overflowing from laughter and hugs from good friends, and I’m looking forward to this weekend with my bro-in-law and family.  It’s good sometimes to just take time off and PLAY, you know?  SO with that, let’s Hodgepodge friends!!  Click on the link below to play along!

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it’s not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

Our current home is not air conditioned – and though we don’t need it often here, these last few days it would have been REALLY nice, just saying… we had a hurricane off the coast of Baja California and it made our weather quite rainy and humid and hot!  BUT… I’m not complaining.  The hottest I have ever been was in Las Vegas in August one year – 114 or some ridiculous number… you felt like you were in an oven!

2. What’s something in your life right now that falls under the heading ‘up in the air’?
our future…looks like my hubby’s contract will be extended another 6-12 months, 2000 miles away still.  Sigh.  It’s a short term thing, but sometimes it’s hard to keep your eye on the long term goals and not focus on the right now that is so hard at times.  Sigh.
3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?
Yogurt parfait with shortcake… yummy!!!
4. When did you last feel like you were ‘floating on air’?
Probably last month, when I was going through some difficult things and my hubby surprised me by coming home a week early, knowing that I needed the support!  he’s such a great guy…
5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead…which have you most recently encountered? Explain.
Hmmm – Don’t think I’ve encountered any of these lately…
6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity…a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?
Nope, I haven’t ever been to the Alps.  I would love to see them sometime, but it’s not really on my “bucket list” – but if I were headed there, I’d love a bike ride!
7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered ‘cool’ when you were growing up?
“that’s so grody” – as in, that’s so gross…
8. Insert your own random thought here.

No random thoughts.  Good week… days off… good friends and family visiting… beach time… wine and good food… laughter… it’s good, friends.  It’s good.


Being Kind…

1.July 15th is National Give Something Away Day.  What can you give away? Will you?

I can give away compliments.  Food and gas vouchers to the homeless at work.  Tomorrow, though, I will start the day by buying coffee for the person behind me at line at Starbucks.  Pay it forward.

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so.

“You don’t need to accept the invitation to every party you are invited to”

– obviously not just talking about literal parties, but also figurative – someone wanting me to engage in their drama or (sometimes literal) craziness… I don’t have to enter into all of that.

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle?

I do the grocery shopping, usually about once a week, or as needed.  Sometimes I will leave a list for my teenager to shop for me, but not very often.  In the produce aisle I usually buy whatever fruit is in season and looks good, but veggies are usually only purchased if I know I need them for my morning omelettes or for a specific recipe.

4. Is there a TV show you’re embarrassed to say you watch? You’re going to tell us what it is, right?
“New Girl” – it’s so silly, so frivolous, and the characters are all so self absorbed and hilarious and inappropriate,  It’s a fun break.

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter-

that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless

Of the fifteen, which word is your most overused?

I can’t think of which one I overuse in my written language – but in my spoken words, I most likely use “Maybe” too often.

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It’s called ‘The Granny Hair’ trend. Your thoughts? 

I just don’t get it.  When I think of the hundreds of dollars I have spent covering UP my grey hairs, I can’t imagine willingly creating MORE of them!  No thank you!

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they’ve read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let’s try. What’s one of the most beautiful sentences you’ve ever read in a piece of literature?

“One of the things that makes a dead leaf fall to the ground

is the bud of the new leaf that pushes it off the limb.” ― Jan Karon

8. Insert your own random thought here.

On my heart this week has been the thought of being more generous, and what that means.  Our staff devotion last week touched on generosity.  Our pastor preached on generosity this past Sunday.  yesterday my husband called me from the airport and told me about his visiting with a sweet 90-year-old woman on his flight, and then walking her down to the baggage claim to meet her daughter so she didn’t get lost.  And then today a friend shared this video with me – and it goes along with what I said in question #1 – it really doesn’t take much to surprise people with generosity.  Life is short… be kind.

Summer Lovin’ on the Hodgepodge!

Welcome back to the weekly Hodgepodge!  Our pause in the middle of our week to think about random topics, engage in witty (or not so witty) repertoire, and connect with each other.  Click on the link below to see what others in our friendly HP community are saying about these topics, and join in yourself if you feel so inclined!  Today has been a frustrating day, so I welcome the distraction as I sit here with my laptop, fresh back from a walk on the beach with my hubby, a glass of Chardonnay, and The Proposal on the tv!  Lets Hodgepodge!

1. When did you last ‘swim against the tide’? Explain.

Hmmm… some would say that staying with our church, even in the midst of controversy, is swimming against the tide.  Or, staying here in CA trying to make this business work, even when the chips are down and our family is having to sacrifice, is swimming against the tide.
2. What’s the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?
“The Zero Belly Diet” – all about reducing your sugar intake and exercising correctly and yadda yadda yadda… It actually was a good book.  Now I just need to do what it said to do!

3“Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness.” (Sir James Goldsmith) 
Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

What an interesting quote – I would have loved to see this in our college debate class all those years ago!  That aside, I have to disagree.  Just because one is “tolerant” of a particular religion, lifestyle, belief set, does not mean that they are in danger of being unwilling to stand up for what they themselves believe and hold dear, defending their choices.

4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?
My parents did a complete remodel of our house pretty much through all of my elementary years, and, contractors being the way they are, things got delayed quite a bit. … Quite. A. Bit.  So, my memories of the kitchen are varied between what it was when I was little (decorated in olive green, mustard yellow 1970s motif), to being transplanted into the living room as we underwent the remodel – washing dishes in the bathtub, a long “table” made out of an old door we had stretched across the fireplace hearth, my brother in his high chair banging a spoon on the tray, and then to the final remodel, early 1980s linoleum and dark wood cabinets with white tile counter top and dark brown grout.
5. How did/do your own children’s summers compare with your summers as a child? If you’re not a parent, answer as it relates to what you’ve observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.
Our summers are pretty similar, actually, other than we don’t camp with our kids the way my parents did with us.  Our kids have chore charts to complete each day, they do sports or school classes sponsored by the city, they play sports, we go on vacation to visit family or up to the family beach house, and they do Vacation Bible School at our church.  Obviously the current generation has more electronic devices to occupy/distract/bugthecrapoutofme… but our core values are the same.
6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?
Well, I just walked on the beach tonight – doesn’t get much better than that.  my hubby and I were actually commenting on how walking on the beach touches all of the senses – the sight of the waves and sun and boats and seagulls, the smell of the seaweed and salt and clean air, the feel of the wind on your skin, the sound of the waves crashing and gulls overhead.  But, I’d love to be at our family beach house 6 hours away… same ocean, but a vacation spot where we really do just let everything go… it’s bliss.
7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it’s title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.
It’s got to be this one… ahhhh….It’s the version of “Sailing” by Christopher Cross, only done by NWYNC – My friend John made me a mix tape (yes, a MIX TAPE) a bajillion years ago with this on it, and I absolutely love it.  It takes me away.  No pun intended.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

One thing we do with our kids in the summer is go see movies.  We’ve already seen Jurassic World and Inside Out.  (Both really good!)  This weekend we may go see the Minion Movie.  It’s fun when there are actually decent movies to go see!  So, I leave you with a fun trailer for Inside Out… a good movie that promotes great discussion with your kids!  Have a great rest of your week, friends!

Starry Starry Hodgepodge

1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. (If you’re not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

My favorite thing about the day is the patriotism!  The flags, the Sousa marches, the military ceremonies.  Being a military spouse made me appreciate it all so much more.  I love just being with my family too – this year my parents are going to come down and we will barbecue and then go see the fireworks over the beach.  And yes, we fly a flag – proudly!

2. What’s something you recently got for free?

A Starbucks french press!

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore…how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why? 
I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty and The Washington Monument.

My favorite monument is the Lincoln Memorial – so awe inspiring.

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they’ve perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?
I think I’m somewhere in the middle – would that make me an osterog? – I try to be aware of what is going on, but quite honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time or energy on events overseas.  Is that bad?  I do so wish that we DID spend more time on the acts of terror and standing up for what is right than some of the other nonsense our media deems important.

5. We’re talking plain ice cream…vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.
Strawberry please – with chunks of real strawberries in it.  Yummy…

6. Share a song you love containing the word ‘stars’ in the lyrics or title?

Starry Starry Night…

7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic
June has gone by SO fast, and this summer is going to be a strange one, a different schedule every week, no family vacation to speak of, D still in St Louis until the kids are back in school, on top of beginning college applications for my Big C, work changes, etc. etc. etc.  (And you HAVE to do your best Yule Brenner imitation from “The King and I” as you read that last part)

So – here’s my acrostic:

J – Jumping from work to home to soccer and back again, Juggling kids chores and schedules

U- Until I finally say “STOP!
N- Needing restoration for my soul, finding it in Bible study, walks on the beach, or coffee at Starbucks

E – Energized now, come on July, BRING IT!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

ummm… my hubby is coming home for 10 days!  No more random thoughts needed! 🙂

Lazing through the HP

Hey there!  Thanks for stopping in for a quick Hodgepodge – this is Vacation Bible school week at our church, which means I’m currently running on caffeine!  It’s craziness, but oh, so much fun.  On with the Hodgepodge!

1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What’s your favorite something pink?

I’ve got a soft pink super soft boyfriend t-shirt from Target that I love because, well, it’s super soft!

(And affordable too – win win!)

2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?
I don’t think the words “enjoy” would ever cross my mind in regard to a school gym class… but if I have to pick a moment…

OK, I’ll be honest – the most fun (and for some reason I was JUST thinking about this yesterday… I have no idea why)

was when we would all do butterfly extensions while screaming at the top of our lungs

“We MUST, We MUST, We MUST increase our BUST!

The bigger the better, the tighter the sweater, the more the boys will like US!”

Therefore setting back the women’s lib movement 50 years.

Gloria Steinem would be so proud.

3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

My mom’s garden.

4. Do you prefer to read or write?

I love them both… I want to write more, but have more time to read (and barely that, lately)

5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, ‘Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.’Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?
Oh sure – there are appropriate times and places for taking it easy, not being so crazy busy, and I certainly think that summer begs to be enjoyed.  I will be “lazy” by allowing myself to take some personal days off work to just play with my family.

6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast…which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?
I would love to go to the Florida Keys and go snorkeling!

7. What question do you hate to answer?
“So when is your husband coming home for good?  Oh, two months?  Wow the year has gone by quick!”

I kinda want to kick people in the shins when they ask/say that.  The year has NOT gone by quickly, it has been hard.. much harder than any military deployment, for so many reasons.  And when he does come home, our job is still not secure and there is a lot of uncertainty about the future business.  I know people mean well… but it’s a little annoying sometimes.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

No random thoughts.


Playing the role of “Coach Sally” during VBS is so much fun, but boy, next year I’m doing a 30 day cleanse and energy boost before VBS!  This chick isn’t as young as she used to be!

But I wouldn’t miss it for the world! 🙂

Hope you are having a great week, no matter where you are!

Basketball, sugar cereal, and prom!

1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?

No specific plans, but we have a new basketball hoop outside (thanks Mom and Dad!) and it is really fun playing outside with the kids and all of the kids in the neighborhood every evening!  The weather has been really gloomy and overcast lately, but I’m hoping to spend some time walking on the beach soon!
2. What’s a current hot button issue for you?
I don’t know if I would call it a “current” hot button issue – I’m kinda nuts about good customer service.
3. What’s a food or treat that ‘disappears like hotcakes’ in your house?
Lucky Charms!  Seriously – even if I mix them with the Cheerios to try and make them last longer, they are GONE!
4. How hot is too hot?

Oh, how badly do I want to post a picture of a really hot guy.  But my hubby wouldn’t like me posting pictures of him like that!  (heeheehee)

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?

To have an artistic outlook on life, I believe one could not take life too seriously, be able to see things from several different angles, and be open to other ways of doing things.”  And yep, I think I’m like that in many ways.
6. What’s one question you’d like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?
I’d love to ask him “What is your favorite memory of YOUR father when you were a child?” And “If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?”
7. Something you learned from your father?
Sometimes a soft word can say more than a hundred loud ones.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So the past two weeks have been crazy – Our anniversary, Prom for our Big C, Finals Week, an early Fathers Day celebration  while my hubby was home, soccer championships (our Little C’s team is city champs!), we are in negotiations in selling our NC house, I took the kids to a Christian rock concert (SO fun!), and this is the last week of school… craziness!   Fun, but crazy!

So yep – My son took his girlfriend to Prom – it was so sweet!  We surprised them with a romantic dinner in our church’s garden (helps to be a church employee sometimes!), then I drove them to and from the prom in our decked-out minivan – twinkle lights, sparkling cider, table in the back with nuts and mints, a special playlist made just for the evening… so fun!  Here the cute couple is in the garden:


Too sweet.  And they were SO surprised!  It made for a very special evening for them.

Through the storm.

It is quiet.  Such a rarity in my house.  Not like when I was a stay-at-home mom with little ones… that’s a different type of quiet. That’s either a “Thank God they are all napping at the same time!” quiet or a “Uh oh, what are they into?” quiet.  This… as a full-time working mom with a house of teen and pre-teens, is a rare moment indeed.  Because I go to work directly from taking them to school and I get home after they have already gotten home, I don’t ever have the house to myself.  This morning, my sweet neighbor surprised me by offering to take the girls.  So here i sit… quiet… only the hum of the ceiling fan making a gentle whirring sound as I sit and enjoy the peace… before I have to leave for work in 15 minutes. And I write.

It’s in quiet moments like these that I am struck silent, simply in humbled awe of where our lives have taken us.  Duane and I just celebrated our 21st anniversary.  Back in 1994 we were college students that thought we were going to be school teachers, and the farthest east we would ever live was Colorado.  Instead, we have lived in 6 different states (3 in the west), have served in the military for 14 years, have been through 3 deployments (one of which almost left me a widow), we have seen business setbacks due to corruption and greed, we have been on unemployment, we have had cancer scares, we have had pain brought by those we considered friends.

The experiences we have had, the growing pains as God stretched us and grew us… the pains that continue to hurt even as we feel ourselves being pushed and challenged in ways we never thought we would be… it hurts.

In this last year especially, as we faced unemployment and the bitter throbbing pain of betrayal, I have learned what the term “a sacrifice of praise” really means.  I would be in the middle of a good old fashioned temper tantrum with God, throwing out phrases like “How could this happen?  Why would You allow this?  It’s so evil… we have done no wrong… why are we the ones being victimized here?  WHY?” And in the midst of my bitterness, my anger, my anguish… I would hear God’s still small voice whisper “I know.  I, too, know betrayal.  I know unfairness.  But just as I prayed ‘Not my will, but thine be done’ in the Garden of Gethsemane, so too must you pray that.  Praise me anyway.  Even through the storm.  Praise me.  Because you KNOW I’ve got you in the palm of my hand.  You KNOW that you will get through this. Right now there is so much uncertainty, so much fear, so much pain… give it to me.  Let me walk through this with you.  The journey is not over – you’ve still got work to do… more challenges ahead… but I’ve got you.”

And so I praised.  Even through the tears… even when I really really really really REALLY didn’t want to.  but I had no choice.  It was either praise, or be swallowed up by the bitterness that threatened to consume me.

To be continued…