Goodbye April ~ Hello Hodgepodge…

The month of April has passed in a hurry, but it’s been an awesome month!  Such a stark contrast to last April, when I was dealing with termites, mold, and sciatica, all at the same time!  Thank goodness for new beginnings, and thank goodness for The Hodgepodge!  As always, I’m  thankful for our hostess, Joyce, too, who faithfully provides us with seven thought-provoking questions and a place to link up each week.

1. This is the last Hodgepodge in April. Share something you learned this month.

I learned that our oldest son has been preaching on the first Sunday night of every month, since January of this year!  Ed and I had no idea, and found out, quite by accident, when we visited our son’s church on the morning of April 3.  I sat down, opened the church bulletin, and there was our son’s name, listed to bring the evening’s message!  It was a most unexpected, but very pleasant surprise!

2. It’s National Poetry Month, and we all know you can’t escape an April Hodgepodge without a little poetry. Keeping the first line as is, change the rest of the wording in this familiar rhyme to make it your own – ‘Hickory Dickory Dock…

Hickory Dickory Dock.  We have too many clocks.  At least one on each wall, and it’s a pain to reset them all!  Hickory Dickory Dock!

3. What were one or two rules in the home you grew up in? Growing up, did you feel your parents were strict? Looking back do you still see it that way?

Rule 1: I had to be home from a date by 11:30.  Rule 2:  I was responsible for cleaning up the kitchen after supper every night.  Growing up, I knew my parents weren’t very strict.  After all, they let me start dating at the tender age of fourteen!   I had very few rules, but I was a well-behaved, mature, and trustworthy teenager (most of the time).  I met my husband-to-be, Ed, just three weeks before my fifteenth birthday, and the rest is history.  We got married three weeks after I graduated from high school.

4. Tell us about a kitchen or cooking disaster or mishap you’ve experienced. Do you have many from which to choose?

I remember cooking a “baking hen”, and making dressing for the first time, a few months after Ed and I were married.  Both things turned out awful!  Nobody ever told me how tough a “baking hen” can be, and a fork wouldn’t even pierce the skin when we tried to carve the thing.  I didn’t have a recipe for dressing, either, so I improvised.  My dressing tasted like twice baked cornbread, because that’s mostly what it was.

5. Plant a kiss, plant doubt, plant a tree, plant yourself somewhere…which on the list have you most recently planted?

My answer is a toss-up between “planting a kiss” or “planting myself somewhere”.  I do both of these on a daily basis!

6. What’s your most worn item of clothing this time of year? Are you tired of it?

My most worn item of clothing, this time of the year, would be three polyester sundresses I’ve worn for the past four or five years.  I’m tired of them, but I still love them because they are so comfortable!  I wish I could find some new ones like them, but I haven’t been able to, so far.

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one of those well-worn polyester sundresses (and a pet chicken)

7. I’m wrapping up the A-Z Blog Challenge this month and our Hodgepodge lands on letter W. What’s one word beginning with W that describes you in some way? How about a word to describe your home, also beginning with W?

An adjective, beginning with “W”, that best describes me would be “worrier”.  Although, I try not to worry about things, I just don’t seem to be able to help myself most of the time.  I’m working on it, though.

An adjective beginning with “W” that best describes our home is “worthwhile”, which means: worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance.  Our home may not be the grandest of homes, and it’s certainly not the most expensive, because we were on a shoestring budget while building, but Ed and I designed and built the entire structure, inside and out, from the ground up, with a lot of hard work, sweat, and even a few tears.  Our little home is very worthwhile to us.

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our humble home

Random:

Mary, Mary quite contrary!  How does your garden grow?  I don’t know how Mary’s garden grows, but here’s how Kathy and Ed’s garden is growing.  (This is only the first 5 of 17 rows we’ve planted)

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Published in: on April 27, 2016 at 8:47 am  Comments (9)  
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A Little Monday This And That…

I’m late getting around to posting today. Ed and I had to go and have blood drawn first thing this morning. After that, the garden was calling our attention. It’s amazing how quickly those stray weeds and blades of grass can pop up! I only hoed a row and a half before I had to get out of the sun. I left Ed still hoeing, bless his heart. Speaking of “heart”, today marks six months since he had his heart attack. I’ve treasured each and every one of those “extra” days with him.

Our garden is growing quite well, at the moment.  I took some pictures, last week, but it’s grown leaps and bounds since then.  I’ll have to take some more recent ones, and share them later in the week.  We’re now eating fresh radishes on our salads–the first of our 2016 vegetables to get ready to eat.  Our next vegetables to get ready will probably be garden peas.

Last week was a busy one, and, as always, it passed quickly. Ed and I took two “road trips”, which took up the better part of two days. These days, our “road trips” mainly consist of out-of-town shopping trips. One of our “road trips” was to the Ford dealership, to purchase an extended warranty for our new van, which is now six months old, by the way. For some reason, we weren’t offered the option to purchase the extended warranty when we bought the van. After giving it much thought, we decided we’d invest in extended coverage, due to the van’s computerized navigation system, which can cost a fortune to repair, if it breaks.

Ed’s been busy mowing grass, again. It’s a never-ending cycle for him, once the grass begins growing. He has so much grass to mow, he divides the plots [to be mowed] into separate days. It usually takes four days to get around to everything.  Afterward, he takes three or four days off, then starts all over again.  I think we need some goats! Ha.

On Saturday, our family was finally able to gather together and have our postponed Easter egg hunt! Better late than never. Our daughter planned and hosted the egg hunt, and I think everyone had a very good time. I KNOW the grandchildren did! They played together all afternoon long.

In addition to the egg hunt, we grilled hot dogs and ate them outside. In fact, we spent the entire afternoon, from noon until eight p.m., sitting around enjoying the beautiful spring weather. The adults relaxed and talked while the children played.

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We hid 357 plastic eggs in our adjoining yards. The four grandchildren had plenty of room to spread out, and plenty of eggs to find. As usual, we didn’t find all of the eggs!

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I believe three or four eggs were unaccounted for, and three of those eggs were worth money! We looked and looked, but never could find the last of the “money eggs”. However, on Sunday morning, Ed found the five dollar egg! Two one dollar eggs still remain at large.

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Sunday was church day. I didn’t feel well when I woke up, but managed to shake it off by time to leave for church.

I decided to try cooking a roast-in-a-bag while we were gone to church. I wasn’t sure how long to cook it, but the directions said two hours. For the first time in the three weeks we’ve been attending, the pastor preached overtime. As a result, Ed and I had to leave church, hastily! When we got home, the roast had been cooking 2 1/2 hours, but it was fine, and tasted delicious. I’ll definitely cook another roast-in-a-bag, in the future.

In addition to the roast-in-a-bag, I also made fresh strawberry pie for dessert.  Ed picked the berries at a farm across the road from where we live. How blessed we are to be living within walking distance to a strawberry field!

Speaking of being blessed, while I was at the doctor’s office having blood drawn, a wonderful thing happened!  Today was the first visit to my primary care physician for this year.  As I gave my new insurance card to the receptionist I told her I was sad because the doctor wasn’t a provider on my insurance, this year.  Upon further investigation, she called me back up to the window, and assured me the doctor is a provider.  Apparently, there’s been a mix up somewhere down the line.  (She said I wasn’t the only patient who thought he was no longer a provider.)  Thank you, Jesus, for this blessing, which will save us many dollars in healthcare costs!

As I sit here, thinking about what a “challenging” year Ed and I had in 2015, I can really appreciate the blessings 2016 has brought, so far:

Ed and I had our yearly termite inspection done, a few days ago, and we’re all good–no more signs of termites.

Although Ed and I don’t have a lot of money left in our retirement budget for “extras”, we have more than enough to meet our “needs”.

My back feels SO much better than it did last year!  Although I still have to be careful what I do, I rarely have to take anything for pain, now. I’m grateful I can sit on a church pew without much discomfort, and am very grateful to be able walk without pain!

While my face doesn’t look quite like it once did, I’m grateful the skin cancer is gone–and the scar looks a little better as time passes. Massaging has helped to soften the scar tissue a little.

Ed has done well in the recovery process, since his heart attack.  Although he gets tired quicker than before, he’s still able to do whatever he wants to do.  He’s tolerated his heart medications well, and should be able to wean off some of them, in a few more months.

And, last, but certainly not least, after several years of being without a church, thanks to our son’s persistence, Ed and I have discovered another church we both enjoy attending.  We’ve read our Bibles, watched sermons on television, and prayed at home, but there is absolutely no substitute for gathering with like-minded believers each week–especially when one of them is our son.  What a blessing, indeed!

Happy Monday!

Published in: on April 25, 2016 at 1:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ About Laundry

Sometimes I  find myself grumbling about having to take the clothes out of the washer, and place them into the dryer.  I’ll also grumble about having to catch the end of the drying cycle. Then I think back to the “good old days” of this…

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image via Google

Back in the day, my maternal grandmother used to have a ‘wringer type’ washing machine.  She kept it outside, on the back porch of their old house, like most people did, back in those days. Grandma didn’t have a hot water heater, so she had to heat the water for washing clothes in a large wash pot, outside, with a fire built underneath it.  After the water heated, it was then poured into the tub of the washing machine, where the clothes were then washed.  After the clothes finished washing, each piece had to be ‘fed’ through the ‘wringer’ to squeeze the excess water out.  (It would be a bad day if a piece of clothes got wrapped around that wringer, or if your finger got caught in it!)  The clothes were placed in a large metal washtub as they came through the ‘ringer’.  The clothes were then rinsed, and fed through the ringer again.  Ultimately, the clothes were hung out on a clothes line to dry.  Needless to say,  doing laundry took up most of the day!  Grandma finally got her first automatic washing machine in the mid sixties, when she was probably in her mid sixties!

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image via Google

Thank goodness, my mama had an automatic washing machine for as long as I can remember, but I do have some special laundry day memories concerning her, too. I remember mama used to put starch in the final rinse of the laundry.  Then she’d put daddy’s work pants on “pants stretchers” and hang them on the clothes line to dry. (I was always amused by those “pants stretchers”)

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image via Google

In those days, everything was cotton, which meant it had to be ironed. Mama had a sprinkler bottle, which consisted of a glass coca cola bottle, with a cork and metal sprinkler top, that she used to ‘sprinkle’ the dry laundry.  After she sprinkled the clothes that needed to be ironed, she’d roll them up so they’d get damp all over, then she’d proceed to iron them, one piece at a time.  Mama never sprinkled more than she could iron at one time, because the clothes would ‘sour’ if they sat too long.

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image via Google

When Ed and I first got married, we didn’t have a washing machine.  This meant we had to spend a portion of every weekend at the laundromat.  It wasn’t long before we scraped up the money and bought a small washing machine of our own!  However, it was several years before we were able to afford a dryer to go along with it.  I have some not-so-fond memories of hanging out laundry, in the dark, after a long day of work!  Did I mention that Ed’s work clothes were all white, too?!

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image via Google

The years passed, and our family of two eventually grew to a family of five.  We required two laundry hampers, and they were usually full at all times.  It was SO hard to keep up with all of the laundry!  I was very thankful for my extra-large capacity washer and matching dryer, as well as the permanent press materials that most of our clothing was made of!  I never owned a sprinkler bottle, but I did have a plastic spray bottle and a can of spray starch!

Now that it’s just Ed and me, laundry is a lot easier to keep up with.  Since we’re retired, we don’t worry a lot about wrinkles, unless we’re going somewhere.  We hang our clothes up after they finish tumbling in the dryer, and most of the wrinkles are gone by then.  However I still hate putting wet clothes into the dryer–and I still hate folding the dried clothes, and putting them away.  In fact, there’s a load on the couch, waiting to be folded, now.  Shame on me!  I’d better go and get busy.

 

Published in: on April 21, 2016 at 7:38 am  Comments (6)  
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Staying Busy…

Ed and I have been staying busy since I last blogged, on Wednesday.  On Thursday, we accompanied our daughter and granddaughter to the city for our daughter’s six month checkup with her dermatologist. Our daughter’s appointment was an early morning one, which meant we all had to be dressed and ready to leave by 7 a.m.  Oh, how quickly we how we’ve forgotten how life used to be, before retirement!  Let me tell you,  Ed and I are certainly grateful to be free of the early morning “rat race”.

Unfortunately, our daughter ended up having to get another biopsy done, of a ‘suspicious’ growth on her upper chest area.  It’ll be a week or so before she gets the results of that biopsy.

Of course, since the doctor’s appointment was an early one, we had lots of time to shop, afterward, so the day wasn’t all bad.  We had a delicious lunch, and browsed through several stores.  In fact, everything was good–except for the traffic!  Just shoot me if I have to go through that traffic again in the near future!  At one point, there’s a building project taking place, which narrows three lanes of traffic down to one.  It was a thirty minute wait to travel only one mile!

On Friday, the weather was still cold and rainy, so Ed and I decided it would be a good day to take our van in to the dealership to be serviced.  Two and a half hours later, we were wondering if we’d picked a bad day…  Ed’s always serviced all of our vehicles, so sitting around a service department of an automobile dealership is a new experience for us. Ed was watching, as our car was being serviced, and said our mechanic seemed to be the hold up–an older man, well past retirement age, who was moving at a snail’s pace.  I think, at one point, Ed was actually wanting to go out there and help the poor man!  By the time we got out of there, our heads were beginning to throb!

I cleaned house, on Saturday morning, but after nearly a week, of cloudy, cool weather, the sun finally decided to shine, again, on Saturday afternoon.  I slathered on the sunscreen, put on my sun bonnet and sun glasses, and enjoyed being outside for a little while.  (Our DIL brought our oldest grandsons down to play on the trampoline.)  Let me tell you, being outdoors is a whole new experience, post skin cancer, but I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid having more plastic surgery!

By late on Saturday afternoon, more family had gathered at our house, and Ed and I enjoyed a nice visit with two-thirds of our bunch.  Our older grandchildren recently discovered those old Ray Stevens videos, from years ago, so we watched some of those.  Remember “The Streak”?  Ha!  “Don’t look, Ethel!” immediately comes to mind, when I think of that crazy song.

The garden is coming along, fairly well, considering the unstable, cooler weather we’ve been having.  It’s taking a little longer to sprout than normal, but it is sprouting and growing.  I haven’t noticed any new deer prints in the garden [since adding “Shorty”], but Ed did notice some chicken foot prints!  Apparently, those pesky hens found their way to the garden, and ate a few pea sprouts!  As a result, their ‘free-ranging’ days have been cut shorter, until all of the seeds finish sprouting.

Sunday was a good day.  Although I didn’t sleep well, on Saturday night, and didn’t feel particularly spunky, on Sunday, Ed and I attended the new church, once again.  We enjoyed the morning message, came home and took a nap, then returned again on Sunday night.  We’re beginning to feel “at home” there.  The people are so warm and friendly, and welcoming.  While we were standing around in front of the church, on Sunday evening, two lively beagle pups came running out from behind the church.  They certainly livened up the crowd with their antics! (think: lots of elderly folks with two half-grown puppies jumping all over them) Both pups had on collars, and someone quickly called their owners.

Now it’s Monday, and, once again, many chores are awaiting our attention.  New plants need to be potted, and more grass needs to be mowed.  Laundry needs to be done, and clutter needs to be taken care of.  I guess I need to get off this computer, huh?

Happy Monday, y’all!

 

 

Published in: on April 18, 2016 at 8:39 am  Comments (4)  
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A ‘Taxing’ Wednesday Hodgepodge…

Hello, and welcome to The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  As always, thank you so much to our gracious hostess, Joyce, for providing another set of ‘taxing’ questions 🙂  Just kidding, Joyce!  Without further delay, let’s get right to today’s questions and my answers, shall we?

1. What’s the last thing you did that could be described as ‘taxing’?

That’s a ‘no brainer’, working in our vegetable garden!  It’s taken us several days to get everything planted, now there’s the process of keeping it watered, fertilized, and as weed-free as possible, while it grows.  It can be quite a ‘taxing’ process, sometimes.

2. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would be in it?

We did plant a garden, and I wouldn’t change a thing, even if I could plant anything!  We have planted onions, potatoes, three kinds of peas, three kinds of beans, okra, corn, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, watermelons, gourds, and two rows of zinnias and sunflowers!  Whew!  What more could I possibly ask for?

3. April 10-16 is National Library Week…will you celebrate with a visit to your nearest library? When did you last make a trip to the library? What are y!ou reading right now? What’s one title on your want-to-read list?

No, I won’t be going to the library this week.  The last time I made a trip to the library was probably six years ago.  Occasionally, I used to accompany my daughter and granddaughter to “story time” on Wednesdays, but then my granddaughter grew up.

As for reading, I’m still making my way through “The Guardian”, by Nicholas Sparks.  I have dozens of books on the shelf, waiting to be read, and several on my Kindle, but I may read Dolly Pardon’s autobiography, entitled “Dolly”, next.

4. Share a saying or an old wives tale you heard while growing up, you believed to be true or that you paid attention to ‘just in case’?

I always heard, and observed, the “no swimming immediately after eating” rule.  We waited about thirty minutes after eating before swimming.  I never open an umbrella indoors, either–just in case it might bring bad luck.

5. Are you a fan of onions? Garlic? Ginger? What’s a dish you love that contains one, two or all three items listed?

I like onions, but I don’t consider myself a huge fan of them.  I don’t care much for garlic or ginger, at all.  My favorite dish containing onions is “fried onion rings” (wouldn’t ya’ know), but I rarely eat them.

6. Where does nurturing end and indulging begin? What are some skills or qualities you think a person needs to posses in order to be viewed as mature?

That’s a good question, one I’m not sure I have the answer to, but I do think some parents of teenagers, and even young adults, fail to see [and draw] the line between nurturing and indulging.  As a result, we see “needy” adults, who have trouble standing on their own two feet, even late into life, sometimes.

Foremost, I think a person needs to be responsible to be viewed as mature.  Responsible for conducting themselves properly, responsible for taking care of their things, and responsible for handling money properly, etc.  They also need to be held responsible for the consequences of not being responsible.

7. What leading figure in any field would you like to hear speak, and why?

I can’t think of anyone, at this particular time!  However, I do remember, way back in the day, wishing I could hear Billy Graham speak, in person.

Random:

I’ve neglected to mention what I found in the hen house the other day.  Imagine my surprise when I went out there, early one morning, and saw this:

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All of the sudden, in my mind, I kept hearing the farmer [at Tractor Supply] saying “Be sure to watch out for snakes in your hen house!”  It has been four years since I met that farmer, and I have to admit, I’d grown complacent.

I called for Ed, who was feeding the cats, and said, “I need some help!” I didn’t run away, like I usually do, but I did go into the house to grab my camera. After my picture session, Ed caught the snake and “relocated” it–over near my storage shed.  Gee, thanks, honey!  Needless to say, I’ve loaded my storage shed with fresh moth balls, to, hopefully, repel snakes.

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 7:43 am  Comments (8)  
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Joyful Days…

Last week was a busy one.  Ed and I spent much of the week getting our garden planted.  It’s tedious work, especially at our age.  The older we get, the slower we move!  Well, at least I do.  Ed still gets around quicker than me, and can hold out to do a lot more than I can, even though he’s had a heart attack.  Praise the Lord for good recoveries!  We’re coming up on the sixth month anniversary of his attack.

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tomatoes, green beans, squash,cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, garden peas, carrots, radishes, potatoes, onions

We only have three more rows to plant [in the garden], then we’ll be finished–for a total of sixteen rows…and we said we were cutting back, this year. Ha!  Actually, we did make the rows shorter, so technically, we did cut back a little.

Speaking of “short”, last week, we put the scarecrow back in the garden because of numerous deer tracks we kept seeing near the end of our garden.  We gave our old scarecrow a little makeover, and Ed nicknamed him “Shorty”.  I hope we can fool the deer again this year.  We seem to have accumulated quite a herd of deer, and they seem to be getting braver. I’m afraid “Shorty” will have his work cut out for him!  Have I mentioned how much deer love to eat peas???

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“Shorty”

I’m happy to report that our sick hen has recovered, and has rejoined the flock.  Yay!  I’m unhappy to report we now have a “setting hen” on our hands!  This is only the second time, in four years, we’ve had to deal with this.  We’ll try the “cold bath” treatment, today, and hopefully, that will snap her out of her broodiness. We don’t have a rooster, so there’s no way she could hatch baby chicks while sitting on unfertilized eggs.  If I wanted more chickens, I’d search for some fertilized eggs, but eight hens are enough to deal with!  Have I mentioned that I caught a hen sitting in our cat’s bed on our front porch, the other day? Our two oldest “red sisters” think they should be part of the family–and that includes roosting on our front porch!

Ed and I really enjoyed the services at our oldest son’s church, last Sunday, so we went back to church there, yesterday.  Would you believe the pastor of the church was away due to of the death of a loved one, so our son was asked to bring the message again?  We couldn’t believe it!  We went to both services, and really enjoyed his messages, again.  We really like this little church, and watching our son grow in service, there, is just an added bonus.

A couple of other nice things happened, yesterday, in addition to going to church and hearing our son deliver the sermons.  On the way home, I told Ed, “I wish we’d get home, and find a plate of fried chicken with all the trimmings sitting on our kitchen table.”  We’d been home only a few minutes, when the front door [of our home] opened, and in stepped our daughter, carrying two plates of food!  It wasn’t fried chicken, but it was the next best thing, beef stew, with all the trimmings!  God bless her, it was so delicious! Then, later, our granddaughter, Madison, asked to accompany us to church on Sunday night, and she did.  What a joy filled day it was!  I hated to see it end.

Another weekend has passed, and it’s Monday, again.  It’s shaping up to be another busy week.  I often find myself wondering, how in the world Ed found the time to do all of this stuff at home, and hold down a full time job…  Fortunately, he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore!

Have a great Monday!

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 11, 2016 at 9:25 am  Comments (4)  
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No Foolin’ It’s The Wednesday Hodgepodge…

Wow!  I don’t think the weeks passed this quickly when I worked for a living! It’s already Wednesday, again, and surely everyone knows what that means. It’s Hodgepodge time!  Thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for another great set of questions, this week.  I really love the first one, ’cause it’s all about retirement!

1. What does retirement mean to you? Are you planning for it, not thinking about it, looking forward to it, or dreading it?Retirement means not having to set an alarm clock!  It means not dreading Mondays or looking forward to Fridays because every day is like a Saturday.  Retirement means not having to take orders from an employer, and it means your time is now your own.  Retirement means you have to learn how to share your space with your spouse 24/7, instead of just a few hours a day.  It also means you have to budget your money a lot more carefully!  Last of all, retirement generally means you’re living your final phase of life, so you’d better make each day count, and enjoy life to the fullest, while you still can!

I’ve been out of the work force for eleven years, and my husband, Ed, has been retired for just over a year.  I began drawing a very small retirement check (from my last job), in 2014, at age sixty.  I hope to add my social security benefits to our budget, in the fall of this year, when I turn sixty-two.  While retirement was a bit of an adjustment, at first, Ed and I both enjoy and love retirement, and would hate to know we had to join the workforce again.  The hardest part is having to budget our money more carefully, but we’re doing okay, so far.

2. It’s International Guitar Month…do you play? Does anyone in your family play? What’s a song you especially like to hear played on the guitar or a favorite song featuring the guitar?

No, I don’t know how to play the guitar (or anything else, for that matter), but it’s my favorite musical instrument.  Our youngest son can play.  He took a few lessons, then, eventually, taught himself how to play.  I love any song that’s played on an acoustic guitar, but I like other kinds of guitars, as well.

Lately, I’ve been collecting music by Joey + Rory, and I just love the guitar accompaniment on Joey’s song, That’s Important To Me.  In fact, I love everything about this song, including the story of how it came to be written, and the music video Joey and Rory made for this song!

3. What’s your comfort food?

I don’t really have a particular comfort food, so I’m going to say a banana split.  I don’t eat them very often, but, whenever I do, it sure makes me happy!

4. What’s one activity or area of your life where you absolutely never procrastinate?

I make regular visits to my primary care physician, every six months, without exception. I have several chronic health issues, so it’s necessary to make regular visits to keep those checked, and to get new refills for the medications I require.

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Does your local store bag the groceries for you or is it a do-it-yourself kind of place? Do you like someone packing your groceries?

I do the grocery shopping, and our local store bags my groceries.  Most of the time I like for someone else to bag my groceries, until I get stuck with a person who turns my cake upside down, or smashes my loaf of bread!  Then I wish I could bag them myself.

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one ruined cake, thanks to careless bagging

6. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in nature?

I don’t know if this counts, but watching eggs hatch is really cool. You can hear the chicks chirping while they’re still inside the eggs.  Slowly, they begin to peck their way out of the shell, until they eventually break free of it.

7. Share a favorite quote about home.

We have a sign hanging over our television that says, “Home is where the heart is.”  That’s my favorite quote, and exactly how I feel about our home.

Random:

Yesterday, I shared a post about our oldest son’s journey.  Today, I’d like to share another man’s journey.  This man’s name is Dennis, and he lives in our tiny little town.

For the past eight years, Dennis has been on a journey of his own.  Each year, during the week of Easter, Dennis takes a week of his vacation, and walks all over Georgia, dressed like Jesus, while carrying a huge cross on his shoulder.

Dennis spends the entire week, on the road, sharing the gospel with those he encounters.  Dennis reminds everyone about the true meaning of Easter.   Dennis has walked hundreds of miles during his journey, many of them alone.  There are times when others feel compelled to join Dennis, to simply keep him company or help with shouldering the burden of the cross for a while.  Someone took this picture of Dennis, on this year’s journey.  Even after eight years, this sight still gives me chills.

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Published in: on April 6, 2016 at 7:17 am  Comments (8)  

A Journey To Remember…

When our oldest son was small, about two or three years old, he used to sit in the cart, while I shopped, and he’d sing “Amazing Grace”.  He caught the attention of more than a few people, as you can imagine.  He’d also say, “I’m going to be a preacher.”

When he was seven, our son asked to be baptized.  At first, we weren’t sure he was old enough to fully understand the significance, but after talking with him, we decided he was, so Ed and I agreed to let him be baptized. He also memorized The Lord’s Prayer, on his own, and would sometimes pray it , when called on [to pray] during church services.

The years quickly passed quickly, and before we knew it, our son had grown into a somewhat rebellious young man. His years from age sixteen until twenty-one were simply awful for us, as parents.  Nothing we said or did seemed to matter.  Our son did what he wanted to do, no matter what the consequences.  He and I constantly fought, and, at one point, I told him he’d have to leave our house.  It was an all-time low point, and I felt as if I’d failed as a parent.  I certainly  didn’t see it at the time, but in looking back, God surely had His hand upon our son, even in those darkest of days.  If not, his life would have turned out very different.
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In 2002, Ed’s mom agreed to let our son come and live with her, following the death of Ed’s dad. By then, our son was already twenty, with no real sense of direction for what he wanted to do with his life. He’d dropped out of college, and wouldn’t keep a job. He stayed up nights, and slept his days away. In essence, he was driving me crazy!  Ed’s mom gave her grandson a roof over his head, food to eat, some gentle guidance, and a lot of encouragement.  In return, he gave her some companionship and someone to fuss over.

Things with our son didn’t change overnight, but they did eventually change, praise the Lord.  Our son finally decided he needed to do something with his life, and he did. He went back to school, and excelled at becoming a computer specialist.  God blessed him to have a caring teacher who saw something special in our son, and later helped him get a good job, after graduation.

God blessed our son, again, at his new job, when he met the woman who would eventually become his wife and the mother of his two sons.  Their marriage turned out to be a journey of its own.

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Sometimes, marriage can be hard, especially if both parties are not quite mature when they marry.  There was trouble from the beginning, and some things happened.  For a while, it looked like the marriage was going to end in divorce, but, once again, God intervened and caused a change of hearts.  With God’s help, over time, what seemed like the impossible eventually became very possible.  Not only possible–but a stronger and better than ever, marriage resulted.

Over the past several years, through the grace of God, our son has done a lot of maturing and changing.  We’ve watched him grow from a shy, immature, self-centered person into a loving husband, father, and provider, who is now a bold, mature, selfless young man, who is “on fire” for the Lord.  He will  gladly share the gospel with anyone who will listen.  His metamorphosis has really been something to see.

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Our son began his journey, to share the gospel, by giving out tracts in a local shopping center parking lot, one afternoon of each week, after he’d worked all day. He wrote and had the cards printed himself.  Oh, the stories he can tell about some experiences he’s had in that parking lot!  Some will bring tears to your eyes. He’s also walked in parades, giving out tracts.

Before long, our son began visiting a local assisted living home, to bring a gospel message to the residents, on Sunday afternoons.  The residents now look forward to each of his visits very much, and they, in turn, have been such a blessing to our son.

For a while, our son spent a great deal of time praying, researching, and visiting area churches, in an effort to find his rightful place to best serve God.  He found his new church, several months ago, and was welcomed with open arms, by a congregation of mostly elderly folks, who have taken him under their wings.

For a while, our son has been asking Ed and me to come and visit his new church. We left our previous church, a long while back, and haven’t attended church since.  Ed and I finally gave in and went to visit our son’s new church, this past Sunday.  I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing we received by doing so!  I’ve never met a more kind and welcoming group of folks, who seem to love our son as much as we do.

When we arrived at the church, as you can imagine, we were a bit hesitant about going in. As we walked up the sidewalk, we looked up to the porch of the church, and there stood our son, waiting to greet the people who were arriving.  What a welcome sight that was!  After many introductions, and hearing a lot of “We’re so glad you came”, Ed and I took a bulletin and sat down on a pew.

I can’t begin to tell you how overcome with emotion I became when I opened the bulletin and began to read.  There, on the bottom of the page of that bulletin, was our son’s name, listed to bring the Sunday evening message!  He’d never said a word to us about any of this.  Of course, neither hell nor high water was going to keep us from hearing our son deliver that evening message, so Ed and I went back for the evening service, too.

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Oh, what a blessing it was to my weary soul–to see how far our son has traveled in his journey, so far.  From the sweet little toddler, singing Amazing Grace…to the seven-year-old who knew he needed to be baptized…to the wayward young teenager who nearly drove his family crazy…to the young man who married, then came within a hair of becoming a divorced, single dad…to this man who was delivering the words of God from the pulpit of a church. And deliver a message, he did, from the bottom of his heart, for almost an hour, when it seemed like only ten minutes!

Only God knows where our son’s journey will continue to take him, or how his journey will end. I just know, so far, he’s already covered a lot of ground, and this mom is so proud and happy for him!  May God continue to bless and keep you, Brett.  Can I get an amen?

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 5, 2016 at 7:57 am  Comments (4)  
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A Few Friday Fragments…

I’ve already mentioned, in a previous post, the two pet losses we suffered, last week, and the sick, ‘egg bound’ chicken we dealt with, but I didn’t mention the other sick cat we’re dealing with, now.  His name is “Drake” (another shelter rescue), but I’m not sure how old he is.  I know he’s older than eleven, because he was fully grown when I brought him home in 2004. I suppose caring for aged cats will become a way of life, for a while, since most of our cats are now over the age of ten.  We still have eleven cats left–but, eleven years ago, there were twenty-two of them!

When it rains it pours, and that’s exactly what it did at our house, on Easter Sunday, therefore, we couldn’t have our usual egg hunt.  The grandchildren were really disappointed, but I’ve already mentioned that in an earlier post, too.  However, the grandchildren were able to gather at our house, on Saturday afternoon, to dye some eggs.

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Unfortunately, all four ‘grands’ had already been to church egg hunts, earlier in the day, and weren’t really  interested in dying eggs.  They were more interested in playing with each other outside!  They colored three or four eggs each, then off they went.  Evan, our youngest grandchild, (who is 2 1/2) wasn’t interested in coloring eggs at all, but he was interested in holding the finished products!

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Due to the rain, we didn’t get to make our usual outside Easter family picture, this year.  In fact, Ed and I didn’t have our pictures taken at all.  We were too busy doing kitchen duty to worry about such things. Everybody else had their picture taken, at some point during the day.

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  four-year-old Chase taking his mom and older brother’s picture

Although we didn’t have our egg hunt and we didn’t get our picture taken, at least nobody ended up with a broken arm, like last year.

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Ed and I had overnight guests, on the Monday after Easter. My brother and his wife stopped by on their way back to Florida.  As always, we enjoyed their visit, even though it was a short one.  We had Easter left-overs for supper.

On Wednesday, I had to make a trip into the city to visit the gynecologist for my yearly checkup.  I spent two and one-half hours in the doctor’s office–then had two pelvic exams, by two different people! (Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!)  When I gave permission for a medical student to “shadow” my doctor during my exam, I didn’t realize the doctor was going to ask my permission for the student to repeat the pelvic exam, too!  Talk about an awkward moment–it was.

Speaking of awkward moments, yesterday, I was trying to help Ed rake some pine straw, for the flower beds, when I looked down and discovered something that looked an awful lot like poison ivy touching my lower leg!  I quickly put down the rake, and went inside to find my bottle of Technu.  I scrubbed my leg with Technu twice!  I washed my leg so much, I scrubbed off my self-tanner!   I’m hoping (and praying) I don’t break out, because I’m terribly allergic to poison ivy.

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“the salad table”

I think I’ve finally discovered “my kind of gardening”.  It requires no bending! Ed bought a cute little gardening table for me at the end of last summer.  I recently filled it with all kinds of seeds and plants, so I jokingly refer to it as “the salad table”.  You’ll find lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and radishes growing in “the salad table”.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

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left to right – onions, potatoes, garden peas

Our regular garden is coming along, slowly.  The green beans, squash, cucumbers, carrots, and okra are all coming up. The tomato, cabbage, and lettuce plants we planted are doing okay, but they don’t seem to be as healthy as in other years. Several plants have died, for some reason, and I hate that. Meanwhile, the Irish potatoes, garden peas, and onions seem to be doing fine.

It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend here, so I guess it will be a restful weekend for us. They are predicting some stormy weather for Saturday, including possible hail, so I’m concerned about the garden.

Today is April Fool’s Day, and is also my late father-in-law’s birthday.  He always liked to joke around and say he was “an April fool”.  He was no fool, but he was a WWII veteran, and a good man who would help anybody in any way he could.  He loved his wife and family dearly. He was also a very good cook who made the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. He could take one fryer and feed a dozen people!

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Happy Birthday, in heaven, “Grandpa”.

 

 

 

Published in: on April 1, 2016 at 10:04 am  Comments (3)  
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