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…

A Memorable Hodgepodge!

1.  Did you do anything ‘memorable’ this past weekend?

Well, THIS GUY came into town a week early, surprising the kiddos and I!  (OK, he actually told me the day before, but STILL!)  Woot Woot!  So we had an awesome weekend of family time, playing on the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding, watching movies, worshipping together in church, grilling out, etc. etc. etc.  Quite memorable…


Isn’t he cute? 🙂

2. Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying-
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  

Your thoughts? Do you somehow acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms you enjoy? Did your upbringing contribute to that sense of appreciation? If you’re a parent, are there specific things you do to pass on this sense of responsibility and appreciation to your own children in regard to the freedoms they enjoy?

Being a military spouse for 14 years will certainly bring it home as to what your freedoms cost, and what those in the military sacrifice, for our freedoms, which we take for granted.  And, let me just say… there are sacrifices eternal, as in giving your lives, but there are others who are changed forever, mentally, physically, emotionally… those are sacrifices that are given for our freedoms that aren’t always acknowledged.

But that is why we support our military.  Why we support our misisonaries, free trade and human trafficking initiatives, etc.  We as Americans have it so, so good.  We have no idea.

3. Loudest noise you’ve ever heard?

The sound of freedom, baby! 🙂 (and also, the sexiest jet ever… just saying…)

4. What was the last thing you ate that might be considered ‘junk food’? Did you enjoy it?
I honestly don’t ever eat junk food…  but does the Tiramisu from our local Italian restaurant count?  Yes?  Then ok… yes, it was absolutely delicious.  Yummy…..
5. When was the last time you were somewhere the crowd felt ‘packed in like sardines’?
Ugh – thankfully I can’t remember the last time that I was in a place that crowded!  I get SO claustrophobic in situations like that…

6. Are you organized when it comes to packing for a trip? Do you make a list weeks in advance or toss items in last minute? Are you a carry-on only sort of packer or do you need an entire suitcase for your shoes?
I tend to be last minute, but I like carry-on only if possible…  depends on the length of the trip.
7. What was the last sporting event you attended in person? Did your team win? Did you care?
The Angels game last summer.  Our team won.  Yay!  (Hey, I live in Orange County now, I guess I’d better care – though a big part of me is still partial to my LA Dodgers – right Papa?!)

8.  Insert your own random thought here…

Your mid-week funny!  Dogs who fail at being dogs…

Laughing along with the Hodgepodge

1.  Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?

Well, not me exactly, but just tonight – I was playing Scattergories with my kiddos and the letter was “D” and the category was “Tools” and my daughter put “Dentures” as her tool – I made her call her dad to confer with him on whether that was acceptable, and we were all laughing, the conversation was so funny!
2. What’s a simple question with a complicated answer?

What does it mean to love?

3. Rhododendrons or azaleas…you have to choose. Are either currently blooming in your yard?

I love them both – especially when we lived in North Carolina, the rhododendrons were gorgeous!  I don’t have either in my yard, but my camellias have just started blooming, and the bougainvillea is blooming – gorgeous!
4. May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?

Nope, I’ve never worked as a waitress.
5. What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?

Spandex.  And that goes for both men and women.  Seriously.

And thongs… also for both genders.
6. Name a writer who inspires you….now tell us why.

So many to choose from… besides the obvious, GOD, check out His best seller – it’s awesome!  I also greatly admire Jan Karon (The Mitford Series) – stories of faith, real life, small town living… love it.
7. What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?

“Let go and let God”

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Meh – I’ve got a cold.  I don’t have any random thoughts.  No thoughts at all.  I’m exhausted, stuffy headed, achey… and just tired.  Under attack from all sides.  Prayers for rest and healing appreciated!  Thanks friends – I’ll be back with more typical witty banter next week!

A much better Hodgepodge…

Thankfully a much better week than last week – boy, that was a doozy!  God is good, friends.  Bring peace where there is chaos… words where there are none… and silence where it is needed.  So now, with a deep sigh of contentment, lets Hodgepodge!

1. When is your next big deadline? What’s it for?

As you know, I am not only our church receptionist and Family Ministries Administrator, but I am also a Deacon.  In a couple of weeks we have a New Members Class, and I need to create a new brochure for it – letting people know how to use our online directory.  It’s a bit daunting – but it’s due in 10 days, so I’d better hop to it and GET IT DONE ALREADY!
2. May is National Barbecue Month. Do you prefer cooking indoors or out? What’s the best thing about a barbecue? What’s the last thing you cooked on an outdoor grill?
I love cooking outdoors!  I think everything tastes so much fresher cooked outside!  In the summer especially, when our schedules are more relaxed and it’s hot and I don’t want to turn on the oven or cook over a hot stove… I love cooking on the grill outside and then eating on our patio.  We cooked hamburgers a few weeks ago.  YUmm…
3. What is one thing on your “never again” list?
Never again will I look at a chance to serve as an inconvenience.  Humbled today.
4. What’s something that annoys you about people your own age? Something you love about your generation?
Something that annoys:  the constant obsession with their i-devices.  And yes, I’m as guilty as the rest of them.
Something I love:  the fact that it was our generation that ushered in the internet and made it accessible to everyone in every home.  Pretty darn amazing.
5. Lilac, iris, hyacinth, pansy…your favorite purple flower?
I love pansies – mainly because when we lived in colder climates they were the hardy ones that could be planted as soon as spring whispered in the air, but were hardy enough to withstand the snows that inevitably came the minute I planted them in the ground!
6. Whats a song that always calms you down?
This one:  .
One of my favorite songs to play on the piano as well.
David Nevue – The Gift
7. What’s the last thing you donated?
Our church is serving at a camp in Mexico that serves as a church to gypsy Mexitecan workers.  It is truly humbling, in every sense of the word.  Transient.  Illiterate.  Don’t speak Spanish, but their own version of the language and they can’t read or write.  And yet this camp has a service every Saturday that is a VBS style service, almost a school – and they serve 150+ children every Saturday.  And they have nothing.  So… I have gone through my children’s closets and dressers and have gathered shoes, clothing, toys.  We have so much.  They have so little.  And while they definitely teach me that you don’t need “things” to be happy… maybe I can help them be a little more comfortable.  It’s something… right?
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I won’t go into details on how last week ended up… but a huge thank you for all of the prayers.  They mean everything to me.
Here’s a pic of my kiddos and I on Mothers Day – aren’t they sweet?!
Now – on a different topic – we have at least two bunny rabbits that have decided our yard is a good place to live.  In truth, they are very cute.  BUT – it appears they are killing our grass.  Anyone have any good (humane) ideas on how to encourage them to live elsewhere?  We live in the hills, so there are lots of little critters around…
Bunny friend