A whale of a tale Hodgepodge

What a whirlwind of a week! – Helped my in-laws settle into their new home – celebrated our youngest child’s birthday (we now have 3 teenagers living at home… Lordhavemercy!) – My sis-in-law came to visit for the weekend – Our eldest son started his first official job as an EMT (with benefits and a 401k to boot!  At the age of 19!  Craziness!)  Softball season began for our daughter… Never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure!  So lets take a quick breather and just Hodgepodge!


1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven’t been fishing is that something you’d like to try?

In our Pensacola, Florida neighborhood there was a neighborhood pond that they stocked with fish – it was a strictly catch-and-release pond, which was fun for us to take the kids down to.  Every once in a while we would catch a turtle, who were less than thrilled about being caught, that’s for sure!

Honestly, rather than catching them, I prefer to see my fishes while snorkeling!  I’d love to see a whale in the ocean someday.  And yes, I KNOW that whales are mammals, not fish… but you KNOW what I mean!

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait…which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

If I have to chose one, it would probably be “This is a fine kettle of fish” – I’ve been having numbness and tingling in my left wrist and fingers, and the dr believes it is carpal tunnel syndrome.  Not a big deal, but an inconvenience – but the treatments are covered by worker’s compensation, which is a blessing, but has its own belabored process of dr referrals and such!  Meanwhile, trying to figure out how to still do my job while wearing braces on my wrists should be interesting!
2. What’s something you’re always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?
My keys.
3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?

I’m going to have to go with “Jonah” – the Veggietales version!
4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

Sunrise.  I’m optimistic, looking at things in a new light.

5. What’s the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?

I have a cute little black dress that I’ve had for years – and yes, it still fits and yes, it is perfect for all of those “little black dress” occasions!

6. We’ve got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What’s been the best and worst part of your winter so far?
I don’t know that I need a getaway, but I will say that I would like a break from all of the rain!  I know, I know, California has been in a drought and we really really really needed this rain – and it IS incredible, the hills are green again, the snowpack in the mountains is fantastic, it is a blessing.  But… there has been a LOT of rain, and I would like to be able to plan my garden and paint my fence and things like that, and just dry out a bit!  First world problems.  Remind me of this complaint when I’m griping about the heat this summer.
7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day…will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what’s your favorite JB tune?
Nope, I won’t be celebrating – I don’t drink tequila, after discovering that doing so makes me really really mean.  So nope, I avoid it.  However, I do enjoy Jimmy Buffet!  In fact last week we were at Universal Studios in Hollywood, and they had his concert playing on the big screens, and it was his concert that he did on Period Key in Florida, which is where we lived for years!  So we all sat there, singing along with the concert and reminiscing about when we lived there!  Good times.

One of my favorite JB songs is actually one that Alan Jackson did with him: “It’s Five-o’clock Somewhere”
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Well shoot, now I can’t think of anything to write because I’ve got that song stuck in my head!  So, here it is – sing along folks!



A super duper uber Hodgepodge

I spent the weekend up at Big Bear on a middle and high school church retreat.  It was the culmination of our Pure Vida series – a view on sexuality from a Biblical perspective.  Kinda cool – and being with these kids, hearing the things they are dealing with, playing in the snow, getting away from school and work, it was a lot of fun.  But oh man, I’m not twenty anymore!  This chick is tired! But, before I turn in, lets Hodgepodge!


1. What’s the last thing you did that someone else thought was super? 
Wow, kind of a baggy question!  Not sure how to answer this… maybe me taking a meal to a friend in need?  Organizing all of the paperwork for our youth retreat last weekend?  Spending the weekend with 49 middle and high schoolers?  Yeah, lets go with that one!
2. The last thing you ate that tasted superb? 
Kirkland Trail Mix.  OK, not really, it’s just late at night and that’s what I”m snacking on right now.
3. Supersensitive, superstitious, superwoman, superambitious, supercilious, supervisor, superficial…pick a super word from the list and tell us how it relates to your life in some way recently or currently. 
I’m going with “supersensitive” – call it hormones, call it whatever – my poor family, last week I had a couple days of being uber sensitive – railing against our home that needs upgrades/repairs we can’t afford right now, railing against my job, you know… just stuff.  I got over it after a few days, but still!  One good thing I realized was that watching HGTV was actually making me cranky, discouraging me instead of inspiring me.  So I’ve taken a break from it.
4. Do you love easily? If you’re comfortable doing so, explain why you think that is. 
Yes I do, but I’ll admit as I have gotten older I have become a bit more careful about how much I share with people right away.
5. Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday this year. Will you mark the day in some way? If you’re celebrating with a dinner out somewhere will it be on Tuesday or will you celebrate over the weekend? 
Other than when we were dating, we don’t really celebrate Valentines Day.  My hubs and I are flying up to visit my in-laws the weekend before, my sis-in-law is coming to visit the weekend after, and our youngest turns 13 on the 15th… so it’s a busy but very fun week, even without Valentines Day in the mix!
6. What’s something you are loving right now? 
Gilmore Girls.  Yes, I know I’m 10 years behind.  But I’m loving it.  And it’s fun watching it with my teen kiddos.
7 Write a three word (or less) phrase you’d like to see on a Valentine candy heart.  
Just Be Nice
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
oK, so I know I”m not alone in this… but the Mr Clean Super Bowl ad was fantastic!  Go find it on YouTube if you don’t know what I”m talking about.  You’re welcome.  (Even my hubby agreed that it was spot on!)

Rain, salt, tears, it’s all good.

Rain, rain, rain… we have waterfalls where no waterfalls exist.  Huge gushing waterfalls emptying into the ocean.  Children literally body boarding down their streets.  Craziness. So, lets thaw out and bit and hodgepodge, shall we?


1. “The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea.” (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has ‘cured’ you most recently? 

A bit of all three, yesterday actually!  I woke up in a foul mood, so I went to the gym to get some exercise, and then after I got ready for work I drove down to the pier, got a tummy breakfast tomato and feta pie, sat looking at the ocean for a bit, then went to work and broke down in tears talking to one of my coworkers .  I felt a lot better afterwards – a good combo of all three!

2. What’s something you can’t eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all? 

Popcorn.  I mean, why bother?
I don’t generally salt my food, because when I do I can’t seem to get it just right!
3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand…which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 
“Draw a line in the sand” – I kinda did that with a situation at work yesterday, and yeah, it felt good.
4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme? 
Fools Gold – cute movie with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson
(And of course, Margaritaville is the BEST island song ever)
5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so? 
A little of both – as I mentioned, I woke up cranky… it kinda carried through the day, but you know, it’s ok to be cranky every once in a while – it makes people snap to and pay attention!
6. You’re on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran? 
Definitely snorkeling – I love it!!  And then a quick nap in a beach chair!
7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?
Each other.  Life is precious, it goes by quickly, and pettiness and arguing over every little stinking thing is just a waste of time.  Better to be real with each other, and err on showing too much grace rather than too much judgement.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
So, good news, the drought in California is now over – we have had a TON of rain in the last few weeks.  And a lot of my friends in other parts of the country are all snowed in.  So, to alleviate the hilarity of Californians freaking out over rain, and my friends literally snowed in, I give you this:
Go ahead – check it out.  you’ll laugh, I promise.

I’m Lola, and this is my Hodgepodge…



1. ASAP typically stands for ‘as soon as possible’. What else could it stand for in your life right now? 
 Always Say Anything Positive
 Astroturf Sucks As Pavement
take your pick!

2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

 I guess it depends on which group I’m in and How competent I feel about what is being discussed – I don’t have any problem speaking up if I really feel like I have something to contribute, but I also know when to keep silent.  Discernment is key.
3. What do you remember best about being 12? 
Honestly, I think 12 was an awakening of sorts… I went to camp and discovered I could smile again, God became real to me there, and gave me hope and a purpose that helped me deal with the bullying I had in school.  I also found good friends who wouldn’t treat me badly.  A very transformative year – one that made all the difference.
4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you’re stumped go here for inspiration. 
 Definitely Winnie the Pooh.  I’m pretty easy going, I love my friends, and am there for them no matter what.
5. What’s an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 
 Cozi!  Oh my gosh, it’s awesome – shopping lists, calendar, and everyone in our family can add or take away things  and we all see the same thing on our phones.

6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL)…you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

Seeing as how I live 45 minutes from San Diego, I’ll pass on that one.  I think I would go for San Juan, Puerto Rico – I’ve always wanted to visit there!


7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 
 This one – my bestie John and I used to sing it during lunch in junior high… I love it, and we still joke about it today. I’m your Lola, buddy… and That’s what friends are for! 🙂
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Oh man, i hate doing this so late at night… my brain is mush, this is most definitely NOT when I’m at my peak creatively.  So let me just say that I hope everyone is having a good 2017 so far, and lets all agree to pray for our country, its leaders, and for our families.  Can’t go wrong there!

Onto the new year!

I don’t know about you, but on New Years Eve I said “See ya, 2016 – don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!”  What a year – I could relive it all, but I don’t wanna… lets just say I’m ready for a new year!  one where our housing is secure, the kids are healthy, and my husband’s business is stable (please Lord!)


1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday.
On Christmas Eve my daughter was asked to babysit a neighbor’s little girl for a few hours while her mom did some last minute errands.  Well, as things sometimes go, the few hours lasted a bit longer than anticipated, until it was time for us to go to our family pageant church service.  So I called my daughter, told her we were still all going, and to get the little girl dressed up, because she was going with us!  (We have brought her with us to church before, so I knew it would be ok with her mom).  As my daughter got her dressed, she looked up at my daughter and in the sweetest little voice said “Why do we have Christmas?”  and my daughter got the privilege of telling her exactly who Jesus was, and why we celebrate.  Precious.

2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?

Tri-tip on Christmas Day, cooked on the grill.  Yummm… combined with mashed potatoes, rolls, and ending with caramel apple pie – oh yeah, my waistline shows the results, but it was all so good!  (And yes, all home made by me)


3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

Last week was also my daughter’s birthday, so we had a beach bonfire with 12 of her friends, complete with glow-in-the dark volleyball, roasting hotdogs and s’mores over the fire.  So fun!  We were getting a storm in that night, but on that evening it was actually warm, and the skies were so crystal clear, and we were far enough away from major lights, that we all stood on the shore and looked at the stars – found Orion’s belt, we could see Mars and Neptune, and it was so fun!  So the most beautiful things I saw were the stars, and also the smiles on the girl’s faces, illuminated by the fire and their friendship.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

Choosing to focus on what is good and sure in your life, to thrive wherever you are instead of just survive (thank you Joanna Gaines, for that perspective – I just finished reading “The Magnolia Story”)

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain.

Honestly, I think that 2016 was more of a “survive” instead of “thrive” mode – not sure I did much personal achievement last year.  But, I did start working out more this past fall, and I feel much stronger physically and emotionally as a result.  So, I’d give myself a 4.


6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they’d like to see banished from the Queen’s English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you’re like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it’s used. There were quite a few on this year’s list I’d never heard before.Here’s the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption


Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

“Bigly” – enough said.


7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year.
 I have several goals, just not sure how I”m going to go about attaining them:  spend more time fostering friendships, get into a Bible study again, landscape our front and back yard, paint more rooms in our house.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Thank you all for your prayers for my friend Kara Mae – while her surgery was a success (they were able to remove the entire brain tumor!) she was released from the hospital on Christmas Day, but then began to suffer more headaches, vertigo, and faintness, so she is back in the hospital for more tests.  While nothing significant has come from the tests, her recovery is proving to be more difficult than anyone expected.  Please continue to pray for her, for Rob, and for their kiddos back home.

A surreal hodgepodge…

4 days before Christmas – shopping done, menus to plan, work to be done… but lets Hodgepodge first! 

1. What’s left to be done on your Christmas to-do list? 

I’ve got to finalize my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu!  And do the shopping! And I’m having my daughter’s 15h birthday party Friday night! Ack!

2. The Hodgepodge lands on the first day of winter this year. What’s your favorite thing about winter? 

I do like the cooler temperatures – and yes, I kinda miss the snow.  But, where we live now only varies in temperature by, oh, 20 degrees… so, I walk on the beach, enjoy the sunsets, and when the temps dip below 60, I get on my fuzzy socks and light sweaters, because I can!  (And yeah, kinda enjoy the fact that I didn’t have to chip off ice from my sidewalk or windshield before work. Maybe I don’t miss snow that much…)

3. In what area of your life are you immature? Feel free to elaborate or not. 

I absolutely love the Muppets!  My hubby and kids all roll their eyes at me, but to them I say “Mahnamana!”

4. What was the most (or one of the most) important lessons you learned in 2016?

That just like Daniel in the Bible, sometimes what people mean for bad, God means for good.  Important perspective to keep, and take to heart, when things go topsy turvy and you are left spinning not sure which end is up.

5. It’s Fried Shrimp Day…are you a fan? What’s your favorite way to eat shrimp? Will there be shrimp somewhere in your holiday feastings? 

I’m not a fan of fried shrimp – sorry y’all, but when I lived in the South that’s one thing I didn’t understand, why everything had to be fried!  Granted, some things ARE delicious fried, like bread (hushpuppies – they’re not just loafers you wear on your feet!) and okra (really the  only way to eat that stuff) – but my favorite way to eat shrimp is gently sautéed in a wine, butter, and capers sauce and placed on top of angel hair pasta.  It’s the first dish Duane ever made for me, and it’s my favorite!

No shrimp in our holiday feasting though – not our tradition.

6. What sound lulls you to sleep? 

The sound of my hubby next to me.  The sound of rain.  Knowing my kids are all home safe in their beds.  OK, that’s not a sound… but it helps me sleep better.  So there.

7. What one word best describes your 2016? 

Surreal.  Which, ironically, is the 2016 word of the year.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Hey friends, can I ask for you to pray?  7 years ago my best friend Erika was killed in a car accident, leaving her husband Rob and two boys, Andrew (age 3) and James (age 7 months).  Andrew and my youngest were best friends.  3 years ago Rob married again – to an amazing Christian woman named Kara Mae, and 6 months ago they welcomed a sweet baby girl into their family.  Then, a few weeks ago they discovered a golfball-sized tumor in Kara Mae’s brain.  They are flying to North Carolina tomorrow where she will have surgery.  They will spend Christmas away from their three sweet kiddos, their baby’s first Christmas.  Please pray for the surgery to go well, for healing, for no long term effects, and for peace.  And please pray that this family, which has been through so much already, will not have to endure any more loss or heartbreak.

Merry Christmas, dear friends.

via From This Side of the Pond

A classically artistic Hodgepodge

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve Hodgepodged, and I’ve missed it!  Enjoy, friends!


1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving). 



2. When did you last say, ‘the more the merrier’? Did you mean it?

While i don’t remember the last time I actually said it, it always applies whenever we are having a gathering at our house.  I love having lots of people over! I always mean it!

3. What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who is your same age?

Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s all small stuff.

4. You’re ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

Carrots, cucumber, turnips, and cherry tomatoes

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

Yes, yes I have shopped till I dropped – especially when I had to drive an hour to the nearest shopping area, like I did in Idaho.  You’d make the most of those days – running from Target to the mall to Michaels to Starbucks (because, COFFEE!)… But nope, these days with working full time, I do most of my shopping online.

6. What’s your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

My favorite chair is my rocking chair.  My mother-in-law bought it for me for Mother’s Dad when I was pregnant with my firstborn, and I love it!  (And I love that, while we really didn’t have a spot for it in this house, my hubby knew it was important to me and moved the furniture around so it would fit in our bedroom!)  He’s a keeper.

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.
When I was a little girl we had a book called “The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes” – short summaries of Bible stories/lessons with classical art pieces depicting them.  And while I didn’t have much of an appreciation for the art at the time, what I remember is being on my dad’s knee as he read them to me, reading to me in his deep voice, asking me the questions about the stories at the end.  Classical art or no, I loved that.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

To set our hearts in tune with Advent… please take a few minutes to watch THIS.