No regrets in this Hodgepodge


Duane and I have spent the last two days at a conference for mental health ministries, creating a what/why/how blueprint for our church to launch a support group for individuals and their families who deal with mental illness.  It is humbling and exciting – you can’t care for veterans, marriages, families, seniors, anyone without also caring for their emotional and mental well being.  It doesn’t have to take money or staff – just a willingness to provide Community, Assistance, Resources, and Education (CARE).  We are so grateful that our church leadership made it possible for us to attend this conference, and are looking forward to what God has planned!


But, before I head into today’s conference… lets hodgepodge!


From this Side of the Pond
1. What’s surprised you most about your life or life in general? 

Oh wow… so many things.  I don’t regret much – love being married to my husband and the adventure our life has been together, absolutely love being a mom, love my job as well.  There are a couple of things I’m sad about that I would have never anticipated… but what are you going to do… deep breaths, pray, and keep moving forward.
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie…you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?

A baked sweet potato please!  yummm…..

3. What’s a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?

The Grapes of Wrath – and nope, I haven’t read it.
4. There are 60 days until Christmas…have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

No I haven’t started shopping – added a couple of things to my Amazon wish list for the kids, but not actual shopping yet.  I stay organized with the help of my assistant (Siri!), my calendar, and Amazon Prime!
5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you’d like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis’s Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee’s Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

I’ve been to the Smoky Mountains – and oh my goodness, they were amazing!  Haven’t been anywhere else in Tennessee…
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

As many of you know, my husband’s non-profit develops low income housing and provides social services for the residents.  One of his properties is in Rockport, Texas and suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey two months ago.  All 150 residents are displaced while repairs are done to the property – which had just undergone a $2million renovation in June.  My husband and his business partner flew in to assess the damage and meet the residents within 72 hours of the hurricane hitting, and will be going back out next week to check on the construction progress.  I’m looking forward to seeing what has been done and hopefully have a projected date for when we can allow our residents to move back home.  But oh, these poor people… they already don’t have much, they make around $10,000 a year if that… and now all of their belongings, furniture, appliances, mattresses, everything they own was damaged.  We have set up a GoFundMe account so that we can help them get back on their feet, and it has been humbling to see how people from all over the nation have stepped up to help.  One dear friend of mine, Zoanna, (who I met through the Hodgepodge!), has, along with several friends, been making pillowcases for all of the children in our property, so that when we have a “Welcome Home” party for them we can give them something special that has been made just for them, prayed over, and made with love.  I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces!  (And let me just say, my sweet friendship with Zo has been one of the greatest blessings through my blog – and it was so fun to finally talk with her on the phone and hear her voice for the first time as we talked over the particulars of the pillowcase project!  Maybe this next year will be the year we can actually meet face to face!)

If you would like to see pictures of our property and what my hubby’s company does, check it out here:



A Hodgepodge for October…



1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
I grew up in suburban Los Angeles… so nope, no time on a farm.
Yep, that was me… kinda… no yeah, that was me.  Sigh.
Suffice it to say, no hayrides, no tractors, no milking of cows.
2. What’s something younger you would like about you now? 
How comfortable I am in my role as wife, mother, and administrative assistant at work.
Philippians 2:13:  …for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

3. What are three things you’d like to do more often? Three things you’d like to do less often?

3 things I’d like to do:  Coffee with friends, walk on the beach, laugh

3 things less often:  late paying bills, scrambling to figure out dinner, gain weight!  hehe

4. What’s on your nachos?

Cheese.  Black olives.  Guacamole.  Sour cream.  Yum.

5. What’s the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?
a bottle of nail polish.  I keep it there in case I decide to go get a pedicure, that way I have the color I like, and I can do a touch up if needed.  Does it really need to stay there?  Probably not.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday a friend of mine posted a plea on a community facebook page … with the horror in Las Vegas, this world that is increasingly chaotic and disgruntled, please, show me people who are doing good… and people in our community responded.  Stories of people heading up rescues, sheltering the homeless, rehabilitating low income housing projects, sacrificing their own security and livelihood for the job of serving others… it was, quite simply, one of the most inspirational posts I had seen in a while.  Those are the stories I want to hear… why do people do the good that they do?  Why do they throw themselves on top of a stranger to save their life, knowing that they may not live another hour?  That’s the real stuff, friends.

What’s in a name?

There is a homeless woman in our community named Angela (not her real name,  to protect her privacy).  She has been a resident of our town for decades, is well known by everyone, and she considers our church her church home.  She fluctuates between mental wellness and mental chaos, personal order and disarray.  As the church receptionist, I come into contact with her quite often, and our exchanges are normally quite cordial.  (She is convinced that, with my last name being Henry, that the O’Henry candy bar is named after me.  Somehow I’m missing out on some royalty checks!)

A couple of weeks ago, Angela came into my office, and I said “Good morning beautiful, how are you today?”  Immediately she rose up and said quite sternly, “Mrs Henry, that is NOT my name, that is a bullying name, that is NOT what is on my birth certificate! Don’t CALL me that!”  I could tell this was one of those not-so-together mental conversations with her.  She went on for several more minutes, becoming more and more agitated until finally I broke in with, “Angela, I apologize for offending you, but you do not come into my office and start yelling at me like this.  If you would like to talk, I am happy to do so, but you do not yell.” To which she said, “OK, we are going to do this again!” and she walked out of my office in a huff.  I took a long sip of my coffee and a deep breath.  This will be interesting.

A few minutes later she came back in and I greeted her.  “Good morning Angela, how are you this morning?”  She replied with “Good morning Mrs. Henry, I am well thank you.  Now see, isn’t that better?  You see, Mrs Henry, when you have been called every name in the book, when you have been teased and bullied and people call you names, all you want is for people to call you the name you have been given.”

I was struck silent.  In the midst of her rambling and agitation, her words rang clear… What would it be like to live a life where people didn’t call you by your name, didn’t even care to find OUT your real name, but instead called you by what they thought of you?  “Slob” “Bitch” “Good for nothing” “Worthless” “Unwanted”

She went on to tell me that when she was born, her parents had her first name picked out, but couldn’t decide on her middle name.  But when her father went out into the waiting room, he overheard someone say “Oh doesn’t a new baby bring such joy?” He immediately went back into her mother’s room and said “JOY!  Her middle name must be joy!” Her smile spread wide on her dirty, disheveled face as she said “See?  My name is Angela JOY – I brought them joy – and so when people talk to me, I say “Angela Joy is my name, please don’t call me anything else’ and if they call me other names, I just keep walking, because those names, they don’t belong to me.”

As I sat there, listening and watching her tell me this story, I heard the holy spirit whisper in my heart… “Are you listening?  What names belong to you?  What lies are you listening to, names that you call yourself (or others call you) but don’t have anything to do with who I created you to be?”  Instead of focusing on those, I need to look to the One who created me and lean in to the names He has given me… “Beloved” “Worthy” “Chosen” “Friend” and yes, thanks to my parents and husband, “Sally (which means ‘Princess’) Ann (which means Prayer) Henry (which means Home Ruler)” I’ll take those names any day of the week, for they are mine, and, like Angela did, may I refuse to listen to any others.

A picture perfect, blog worthy Hodgepodge

So are we the only ones to get addicted to a show after it has already “Been there and done that ” for a really long time?  Tonight we watched our first episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  I know… I know… and so now we are hooked.  Don’t you dare tell us any spoilers… but I’ve got to say, it’s nice to know we can watch a show from beginning to end and not have to wait for the next episode! Except that we’ll be the only ones saying “Oh my gosh can you believe so and so didn’t do this with that guy” and you’ll all be, like, “Oh that was SO five seasons ago”!  oh well…


1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

Absolutely… so much can be said in just a single picture.  I’ve been struck silent, brought to tears by a single picture… no caption… just the heartstrings strumming away.

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

I grew up in California, and live here now, so yes, the PCH is well known to me! (I can actually drive the PCH to work if I want to!)  I absolutely love it… the California coast is so amazing – huge cliffs, gorgeous waves and sand, sea lions, otters, whales… I really did miss it when we were stationed elsewhere.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?

Living here in southern California, we don’t have much change in seasons… but I’ve always loved the spring.  In Idaho, I didn’t like the winter, because it was SO long… and the wind was so cold it would go straight through your bones.  But even here in mild-temp CA, I love planting bulbs in the fall and seeing them poke their heads up in the spring.  I like the long days of summer, the gorgeous sunsets in the fall, and yes, being able to go down to the beach 365 days a year.

4. It’s your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

Ooh… for an appetizer, Oysters Rockefeller

Dinner… Roasted duck!  With garlic mashed potatoes!  And carmelized carrots or bacon string beans, and a really soft dinner roll and an amazing Chardonnay to drink!

Dessert – fresh berries and light shortcake with homemade whipped cream, garnished with lemon zest and mint.  Yummm…

Nope, don’t lie about my age… it’s all good.

5. What’s a life lesson you’ve learned recently?

To stop and pause before taking on an obligation that I’m not sure I have to take on.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I’ve got a blog brewing in my head… it has been there for several weeks now.  I had an encounter with a local homeless person and it impacted me…  granted, where I work I come in regular contact with the homeless.  Not all interactions are pleasant… but this one, it made me think.  I just need the time to sit down and write it all down.  Because it matters.

The Milky Way Hodgepodge



From this Side of the Pond

1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar…what’s your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?

Yes, I watched the solar eclipse (who didn’t?) – but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – we were having dinner with some dear friends on Saturday night and they had mistakenly ordered several pairs of solar eclipse glasses, so they gave some to our family.  It turned out I was the only one in the office who had them!  So we all took turns standing outside watching it… very cool.  Being in southern California, we didn’t get total coverage.  But I DID belt out “Total Eclipse of the Heart”  on our patio during it, which should count for something!


Snacks?  Milk Way, all the way baby!  Yummm…
2. What are you ‘over the moon‘ about these days? What’s something you enjoy doing every ‘once in a blue moon‘?

What am I “over the moon” about?  My new promotion at work – I love the new responsibilities, the challenges, and my new boss!

What I love to do “once in a blue moon” – making my own cards and stationary.  I have a whole box of partially done ones, I just need to complete them.
3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?

My youngest is ALL into everything animals, so therefore I kinda am too… and we watch the Coyote Peterson videos on YouTube, Planet Earth series, etc.
4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?
New clothes!
5. I’ve seen several versions of this around the net so let’s make one of our own…share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.


Be kind… Love first… forgive.


Seriously,  if everyone put those things through every decision, thought, and action, we would have a very different world.


6.  Random thought…

Tonight, as I washed the dishes, I decided to turn on the garbage disposal, forgetting that our dishwasher was running.  (Yes, it is that quiet).  A pipe then burst, dumping 50 gallons of yucky water all over me, flooding our kitchen.  It was at that point that I decided a glass of wine and mindless 80’s sitcom reruns were in order.  ‘Nuff said.




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!