Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Who Is This Hodgepodge?

Welcome to Wednesday, and the weekly edition of the Hodgepodge. Our friend, Joyce, asks the questions, and friends from all over the whole wide internet answer them on our blogs. Please enjoy my answers and click on the button to visit Joyce and friends. Be sure to leave some comment love!
Here are Joyce's questions and my answers:
1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Are you blooming where you're planted as we begin the month of May?

We can all do this by appreciating the place we live, spending time with the people we love, keeping a positive attitude, and giving thanks for God's blessings.

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no big deal, and 10 being full scale panic, rank your fear of spiders.

I would probably be a 5. My brother was bitten by what we learned was a brown recluse spider when he was a boy. They can be quite dangerous, and fortunately, he was okay. My mom, ever the teacher, thought it would make an interesting science fair project, so there are photos (and probably the actual poster) stored in the archives at my parents' home.

I don't get too excited about spiders, as long as they aren't touching me. I was fine to photograph this tarantula in Haiti a few years ago, as long as he/she? stayed put, waaaay up there near the roof. :)

 3. May is National Salad Month (who knew???)...besides lettuce, what are two must-have ingredients in your favorite salad?

Our favorite salad is a simple one, with romaine lettuce, Good Seasons Italian dressing, fresh parmesan cheese, and homemade croutons. So my answer to this question will be parmesan cheese and homemade croutons. The croutons are good in salad, or straight out of the oven. Yum.

They are simple to make, with only a few ingredients:
 Slice and cube a loaf of French or Italian bread.

Cover the cubes with olive oil, and sprinkle with seasonings of your choice. I use garlic, oregano, and Italian seasoning (or whatever is available).
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the baking.
Remove from the oven when they are browned and slightly crispy. (We don't like them too crispy.) Enjoy on salad (after testing some from the pan). :)

4. Joyce says: I mentioned on my blog last week that my Daughter1 will be moving to Washington State after she is married. Of the following sites in the Northwest, which would you most like to see in person-Crater Lake (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), San Juan Islands (Washington),  Mt. Rainer (Washington) Oregon Coast (Oregon), Mt. St. Helens (Washington), or Olympic National Park (Washington).

I will choose Seattle, Washington, with a side trip to visit my friend Dana on Whidbey Island. (Hi, Dana!)

5. This coming weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby...when did you last race (literally or figuratively) to cross a finish line?
Any finish line crossed by me would be figuratively speaking only. The days of getting five kids out the door for school or getting the house ready for a meeting was a race I ran for many years. And laundry? That's a race that never ends.
After I read this question, I saw this posted on Facebook:
True story. I don't run. With or without scissors. :)

6. What is something little you love?

This little guy.
And these three. But they don't stay little for long!

7. Would you say you are more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Elaborate.
I am more of a visual learner. I learn best by reading or watching. And you can learn anything on the internet. :)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I saw a link on Facebook to a post written by Dan Pearce, who blogs at Single Dad Laughing. If you haven't ever paid a visit to Dan and his awesome son, Noah, you should. His posts are funny and thought-provoking, and good for a laugh. Or a cry.
Yesterday's post was the result of Dan texting the message below to 217 wrong numbers.

While most of the answers were similar to the one above, there were sweet ones, confused ones, sad ones, and happy ones. Please take a minute to read it here.
What would happen if we all sent similar messages to wrong numbers? Or to right numbers? Because everyone need to hear this. Because we are. Just sayin'.

Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Two for Two

These TWO school kids grew up in TWO little towns, 
not TOO far from each other, 
and found their way TO one another.

TOday, they celebrate TWO years of marriage. 
Happy Anniversary TO Bryan and Jennifer!
May God bless the TWO of you TOday, 
and in all the years TO come!

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Getting to Know You #TBTStories

Spring brings showers, flowers, warm sunshine, and high school musicals. What, you don't think of high school musicals in the spring? Well, I do. I participated in musicals back when I was a school girl, and the tradition continued with my children.

My #TBTStories photo for today (and I know, I have photos, not a photo - I can't tell a story with just one) is from the musical The King and I, back in 1994. David was 11, Jennifer was 8, and Adam was 3. You can see them in the photo, all wearing blue. David is third from the right in the back, Jennifer is just in front of him, and Adam is third from the right in the front.
The choir director worked hard to assemble a group of children to participate, along with the high school cast, to produce The King and I. Besides the fact that our children were obviously beautiful and talented :), I always felt like they were selected, in part, because I was a reliable 'musical mom.' The director could count on me to have the kids there, to stay to supervise, to help with props and costumes, and even to run lines in a pinch. Besides that, I could provide multiple children. :)

Little Adam was just 3 years old, and despite my 'sure he will' when she asked him to participate, he wasn't all that excited about being on stage. Cue the bribery. Adam was to be the child who ran up to the King and knelt face down between his legs as the King surveyed his children parading before him. The King was then to pick him up and set him aside. Sounds easy, right?

Adam was scared. We talked, we pleaded, we begged, and we bribed. The choir room started to look like Toys R Us as everyone brought him gifts in hopes something would entice him to perform as directed. His mother may or may not have actually appeared on stage taking him by the hand to his mark. Whatever works. Ahem.
Back stage, it was all fun and games. Jennifer, of course, enjoyed the spotlight, and would appear in several other stage productions throughout her youth, as would David, Andrew, and Jonathan. Adam, not so much.

They loved being near the high school actors. Emily, who played the role of Anna, was one of Jennifer's idols. They even have the same smile in this photo. And I love Adam's expression.
The King, played by Jason, was a fascination to all the children. The little twins were particularly enthralled while they tried to figure out what happened to his hair.
Despite the need for bribery, it was a good experience for all, and the children were obviously adorable.  The song, Getting to Know You, is a catchy tune with a great lyric:
It's a very ancient saying, but a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher, by your pupils you'll be taught.
As a teacher I've been learning, you'll forgive me if I boast,
And I've now become an expert, on the subject I love most:
Getting to know you!

Linking up with Jessica at for Throwback Thursday Stories. #TBTStories.

Throwback Thursday Stories

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Will You Be My Hodgepodge?

Hello to you on this beautiful Wednesday morning! Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. It is hosted each week by Joyce, who would love to have you click on the link and stop by for a visit. You will notice a bit of an 'engagement' theme today, and that's because Joyce's D1 got engaged last Thursday! They had a big weekend of celebration, and I'm just guessing we might be hearing a little bit about the wedding plans as they unfold. :) Her D1 is the one who designed my snazzy new blog header. She's talented and engaged! I'm sending congratulations to Shannon and her fiancé, and their families, as they enjoy the excitement of this special time.
Now, it's time to get started on the HP questions:

1. April 22nd is Earth Day. Are you inspired by nature? In what way?

I am inspired by nature every day. The beautiful beach on Grand Cayman is an inspiration every single time. It is a big, big God who creates this big, beautiful world.
I am inspired by the mountains of Fondwa, Haiti. The beauty of the mountains is matched by the beauty of her people.
The majesty of the Rocky Mountians.
The summer sky over the lake. As my brother says, "that's God showing off." 
And loving us with a power and beauty that takes your breath away.
The colors of fall.
The crisp beauty of a winter day. Over and over again. :)
A sunrise over the farm, that inspires me to stop and give thanks for new mercies each morning.
Another morning photo, snapped with my phone when I backed out of my garage to see this. God is good.
God is present in the big things and the small, the majestic and the minute. He is with us in the light of a fresh sunrise, and in the sunset in the rear view. God is with us.

2. Down to earth, four corners of the earth, move heaven and earth, not have an earthly chance, or salt of the earth...which earthly idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I'm beginning to think there's not an earthly chance that we'll get our dishwasher fixed. See number 4 below.

3. Share one piece of advice you might give a newly engaged couple.

I wrote a post in honor of our 30th wedding anniversary with some of the things 30 years of marriage had taught us. Here is part of the post:
Even after 30 years, I don't come close to being an expert on marriage. Jim and I put a little list together with a few things we have learned in 30 years:
  • don't sweat the small stuff (and really, it's mostly all small stuff)
  • don't keep score
  • do appreciate your spouse
  • do try to react with laughter, not anger
  • the choice between being happy and being angry is yours - you are responsible for your own happiness
  • count your blessings
  • remember to have fun
  • cherish each moment (before you know it, 30 years have passed!)
I read a quote in Reader's Digest today by comedian Cathy Ladman that said, "Marriage is very difficult. It's like a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, all sky."
You can say that again!

  • To this list I would add pray. A lot.

4. When did you last engage someone to perform a job, task, service, home repair, or improvement? On a scale of 1-10 (ten being the best) how would you rate their work and/or your satisfaction with the job or service provided?

Well, we have had a repair man come to work on the dishwasher several times now. We still have to do this to get it to stay closed during the cycle. So I would have to say not satisfied. Is that a 1?

5. When did you last find yourself engaged in small talk? Are you awkward or an expert or somewhere in between?

I guess it would be at the baby shower on Saturday. We were among friends, though, so it was more like 'catching up' than making small talk.

6.  What was the last historic place you visited?

Truman's Little White House,
and Ernest Hemingway's house, both on Key West when we went cruising in February.

7. The world would be a better place if we just__would act a little kinder than necessary__.

I borrowed this answer from one of my favorite books, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. If you haven't read it, you should. So good. The entire quote is below. I think it is one of the best rules to aspire to follow. Be. Kind.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you wil try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
JJ Heller is one of my favorite musical artists. She has a new song, with an adorable new video featuring her two little girls. The song is called I Dream of You. It is just right for moms of newborns and newly engaged, and moms who   dream of little ones, and in-between ones, and all grown up ones.
Wherever you go, I want you to know
When I dream, I dream of you.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christ the Lord is Risen Today Alleluia!

Our Holy Week started out with these three cuties all dressed up for church on Palm Sunday. Hosanna in the highest!
{photo by Darci}

On Maundy Thursday, we had the opportunity to learn about the traditional Seder meal from a United Methodist pastor who was raised in the Jewish faith. Rev. Jill shared some of the traditional foods and rituals celebrated during a Seder meal. Four glasses of wine (grape juice for us) are shared as the meal progresses. Rev. Jill also includes an orange on her Seder plate which symbolizes the inclusion of all people, men and women, in American Jewish society. We learned about the four question, and young Michael was pleased when he searched for, and found, the afikoman. He received a prize for his effort!
After the meal, we shared Holy Communion in the sanctuary, with Rev. Jill and Rev. Greg officiating together.

On Good Friday, Rev. Greg gave the message at our community worship service, which was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church. He shared that the unity of the gospel is far stronger than our differences, and that the power of the cross gives hope to our community and our world. Amen!

Saturday was a celebration of the baby boy expected by Katie and David. We showered her with gifts for the little guy, and had a 'whale' of a good time sharing brunch and advice for the mom-to-be.
{photos by Darci}

Katie (on left) and baby boy are well loved by Mimi, cousin Ben, and Aunts Sarah and Erin. Can't wait to meet him!   

Easter morning dawned with this beautiful sunrise. Easter always makes me think of Sandi's song, 'Was it a Morning Like This'. What an awesome affirmation of the hope and promise of Easter painted in the colors of a beautiful morning sky. He is Risen!
Our alter at church was resplendent with lovely lilies.
Rev. Greg gave a great message entitled, 'Don't Be Afraid.' You can listen to it here.
Darci sent me this photo of Haleigh and Ella on Easter morning, ready for church with the Robisons.
After church, we went to brunch, and were happy to see my friend Ann and her family. Ann and I have been friends since nursery school, and it's always fun to get together. It was good to visit with them and catch up with the activities of their three beautiful daughters.
Another photo of Ann's family with her mom, 'Gigi.'
Bryan, Noah, and Jennifer.
Adam and Courtney.
What? Who took this one?
My brother Ted, his wife Cheryl, and Samantha, Dara, and Evan.
Our whole Easter gang hopes your Easter was blessed!

'Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.'
~When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

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