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.  

Movin’ right along…

I’ve got the stuffy head, drippy nose, achy yucky cold thing going on, so my creativity is meh at the moment… but, Joyce is moving next week (woohoo!) and so we will have a couple of weeks off from the Hodgepodge.   So, even if I start to ramble a bit towards the end (due to the yucky cold), lets away, my friends!


1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most ‘at home’? 
When we were traveling across the county, moving from Florida to Idaho, after being stationed in the southeast for 10 years – we entered Arizona and my mother-in-law looked over at me in the car, smiled, and said “You’re home, aren’t you… you’ve got a huge smile on your face!”  So yeah – the red rocks, the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona is where I “grew up” in my college and early married years – and it’s home in my heart of hearts.  I hope to live there again someday.
2. When did you last ‘hit a home run‘ with something? Explain. 
Well, I figured out a way to prevent my job from spending an extra $1k a year on a product we weren’t convinced we needed – so that’s something!
3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is ‘homemade’. 
My daughter made me a ring holder in pottery several years ago – so I could put my rings and earrings in there when I shower.  It’s precious!
4. ‘A man’s home is his castle’…which of the world’s ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why-

Mont Saint-Michel (France), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany), Glamis Castle (Scotland), Windsor Castle (England), Chateau de Chambord (France), Hampton Court Palace (England), Prague Castle (Prague), St. Michael’s Mount (England), Leeds Castle (England), and Swallow’s Nest (Ukraine)
Neuschwanstein Castle – it’s what Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland is modeled after, and my husband went there while he was a student in Germany.  I’d love to see it!
5. What’s a recent or upcoming plan or project that’s required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?
Ugh – we are trying to get an emotional therapy dog for our boys.  Which means we don’t want a puppy, but want a dog, preferably a golden retriever or labrador, between the ages of 2-8.  The process of finding a rescue animal that fits these criteria is mind numbing.  And so hard, when we want a dog so badly, and our boys want a dog so badly… and we have to be patient and wait for the right one.
6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not? 
Homework is valuable, in that it gives extra practice to the students, and lets the parents know what is being taught and can see where there might be difficulties.  But – when teachers assign several hours of homework each night, that’s ridiculous.
7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. 
Every year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, our town had a parade.  And I remember watching the “big kids” march with the junior and senior high bands… and 10 years later I got to march in that parade.  Second only to marching in the Rose parade!
8. Insert your own random thought here.
SO, cold = meh = thinking randomly of the theme of “moving” and “home” and this song popped into my head and WON’T LEAVE!

I’m sensing a good Hodgepodge!



1. What would you say is your strongest sense?
I keep going between touch and sound – both things that I love.  Words, words, words… and a good strong hug or a touch of the hand.
2. Do you believe in the idea of a ‘sixth sense’? Why or why not?
I do – sometimes I’ll have a premonition, or will dream something or have a vision of things that mean something special – either an assurance of things to come, or an affirmation of where I am at the time.  Maybe it’s God speaking to me through dreams, but yeah, I believe some people have a ‘sixth sense’
3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.

On Wednesdays.  Carpool at 7:15. Drs appointment from 9-12.  Work from 12-4.  Prep for evening program from 4-5:30.  Teach at our evening program at church from 5:30-7.  Kids at youth group from 7:30-9.  Pick up kids from said youth group at 9.  Go home, have a glass of wine, and collapse.

Oy. Vey.  It’s all good stuff – I love driving carpool (that’s when you get all of the good stuff!), our weekly dr appt is awesome, work is great, and I LOVE teaching the preschoolers in the Weds eve program – so sweet.  And I’m glad my kids want to be a part of their youth group at church.  But its exhausting.  Hence the wine. 🙂

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? 
I’ve never worked in a restaurant.  But if I could own a restaurant, I would want one that served amazing coffee and breakfast pastries, and incredible sandwiches and crepes and, yes “girly food” as my husband would say.  YES!
5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.

No I haven’t, personally – but my great-aunt did, and discovered that one of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War!  Wow… guess we go back quite a ways!  (And also means that I could be a member of the DAR, if I wanted to… and could have gotten college scholarships as a result… and… hmmm)

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?
I had two twin beds, which was great when I had sleepovers.  Light blue comforters, and blue carpet.  Hello eighties!  In my teen years I wallpapered (actually, my grandpa did) my room in a cute (again, hello 80s!) floral print with a mauve stripe border.  Yep, 80s. And then I painted it in a mauve pink color.  So prosaic.  My favorite part, though, was my bedroom door – I had it covered in posters and “inspirational saying posters” – Kirk Cameron, Bible quotes, a little bit of everything.
7. Anyone who knows me knows I love_______________________?

My husband, my kids, good coffee, and good chocolate.  In that order.  Oh, and a good Chardonnay.

8. Insert your own random thought here.