Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Chance

I have mixed feelings about each new year. Sometimes I hate to see the old year pass away, other times I am so ready for a new beginning. This is especially true this year. I've found myself reflecting on all that has passed this year, a year of loss and grief. Its hard to find the good and happy things that have happened this year, maybe because the loss and the grief seem to far outweigh the everyday happy occurances although I know they were there. This year I lost Judy, a sister, young, vivacious, kind, and full of life. Why? I've pondered that question so many times that now I'm just tired of thinking about it. This year my husband lost both parents, a mother and a father who were loved and who loved with abandonment. Grief is heavy, consuming. It robs you of your joy, and sometimes your hope.

But, there is hope, right? Hope in a new day, hope in a new year, hope in a new beginning, and another chance. With the new year I feel like its an opportunity to take a deep breath, shake off the heavy burdens, and say, "Ok, lets try this again."

No New Year's Resolutions for me this year. I can never keep those, and seem to only disappoint myself anyway. This year, simply reminders of those who are important to me, those who love me, and making the most of every single minute I have to give to those dear ones. I intend to keep a promise, made earlier this year, that I would live life joyfully, and fully, and not wallow in grief and disappointment, that I would seize each day and opportunity to find something good and hopeful in a person or situation. Thats a hard promise to keep sometimes, but isn't this the perfect time for renewed determination? Another chance, with a new year beginning?

This year I am determining happiness in my Happy New Year.

Remember ye not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

I like that promise, don't you? Here's to new beginnings and new things. Happy New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Swear....

I am going to write myself a note, tape it to the inside of my cabinet door, the cabinet where I store all my "not used very often, (as in only at Christmas)" recipes, that says: "Christmas 2010, DO NOT fool yourself into thinking that you are a baker. Stick to recipes that you know and are good at. DO NOT try making candy or other never before tried cookie recipes!" My friends and family will thank me, Santa will thank me, and my wallet will thank me.

This weekend I threw away three, yes three, batches of Peanut Brittle. The recipe said "No Fail Peanut Brittle." Well, I failed...three times. And...I tossed out a batch of cookies, into the woods, from what sounded like a yummy recipe, but came out of the oven tasting like baking soda, or uncooked flour, or something not right. Something went horribly wrong. I don't know if even the forest animals will eat those cookies.

Oh how I long to be a Christmas baker. At least the Magic Bars and the Fudge turned out and tastes quite yummy. I guess two out of four is ok. For me, the wanna be baker, its par for the course. So, I'll whip up a couple of Pecan Pies from an old tried and true recipe given to me by my grandmother and use those as gifts instead of the cookies and peanut brittle.

Maybe to my note I should add..."Here's what you are good at...pecan pies, fudge, magic bars, and cheese balls. Stick to these!" beautiful pink KA mixer goes back in the box, and back into the closet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:9-11)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

He fills our holidays with joy, strength, and peace. Hold your dear ones close this holiday season, and give Him thanks. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Like Fall

I'm a summertime gal. I love the warmth, the sun, wearing shorts and flipflops, playing on the beach and swimming in the lake. But...I also like Fall, in spite of myself. I try to tell myself that Fall means the cold darkness of winter is right around the corner. That Fall, in all her beauty simply fools us into believing that the warmth and sunshine will last a little longer, hiding the fact of what is to come. Winter...with her bone chilling cold, brown and gray trees, a garden that is desolate, and darkness that sends me into depression, wishing I could hibernate until Spring.

Try as I might to poo-poo Fall, I still find myself reveling in her beauty, her smells, the way the sunlight becomes golden and harsh, and my shadow is long on ground. I still find myself anxiously anticipating soup on the stove and a fire in the fireplace. I still love Fall. I'm a fool for her, even as she laughs at me, beckons me into winter, teasing me with her brilliant colors and warm sun.

A few of my Fall favorites:
Warm sun among cool, crisp breezes
Pumpkins and Mums on the front porch steps
Honeycrisp Apples, and trips to the Apple Farm
Starbucks Gingersnap Latte and Pumpkin Spice Latte
Bonfires...even the neighbors burning leaves all weekend long.
Apple Spice scented candles
Ga. Bulldawg Football
Monday Night Football,
High School Football...heck, just football in general
Seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, dressed in brilliant colors of crimson, gold, yellow, and green.
Hiking the woods around my house, basking in those colors.
The way the trees are mirrored in our lake, turning the water a kaleidoscope of colors.
Driving into the mountains, looking for the best boiled peanuts and apple cider.

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosiac of them all." Stanley Horowitz

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feels Like Its Raining All Over the World

We're flooded. I mean, is it time to build an ark or what?? The first day of Fall in Georgia has been marked by a 100 year event of flooding and record breaking rainfall. When the rain started over a week ago, I was so excited, and I was happy all week long as the rain continued to pour...and pour everyday. We've been in such a drought for so long that the rain felt like a real blessing from heaven.

Yesterday, as the rain continued to fall, without relent, my attitude began to change somewhat, into one of worry. I spent the day at home, cooking veggie beef soup, turning on all the lights, lighting candles, and doing housework. Every now and then I would peek out the window, and out the front door, wondering if the rain would ever stop. It rained nonstop from about 7:30 a.m. until late into the evening. My poor dogs were finally forced to go outside, in the pouring rain, simply to relieve themselves. Of course, my old girl, Sophie, was a bit insulted.

Last night, as news spread of the flooding south of us in Atlanta, and the deaths that followed, my worry deepened. I kept a close eye on the creek that runs below our house, thankful for the small bluff my house sits on, and the deep creek bed. Worry also turned to aggravation as we realized our dock at the lake, the one that we've had to move out more and more as the lake fell more and more, was now partially covered with water. Happy to have a full lake, not so much to think about recovering a partially submerged dock.

This morning as I took Youngest Son to school, I was anxious to see how the pond down the road, and the Etowah River that we travel over, had fared in the flooding rains. If it wasn't so dark, and the rain so heavy, I would have taken pictures. The Etowah was over the banks in some areas, and had risen to cover the canoe/kayak dock at the river park. As I crossed the bridge, I took a hard look at the muddy river, as it raged. The water was up way too close to the bridge. The pond down the road had flooded its banks and was up into the backyard of our neighbors who live there. I wondered if she had worried yesterday and last night. If she had peeked out the window like I had, watching the water as it rose.

Most of all this morning, I thought of all the people along the Chatooga River, not too terribly far up the road from us, who had such terrible flooding. I thought about those south of us in Atlanta whose homes were flooded, whose belongings were gone, whose lives were forever changed or lost by the flooding. This is not something we see in Georgia. Not something that happens to us.

So Fall has officially arrived, blowing in with a flood of rain and destruction. I'm not sure whether to pull out my Fall decorations, or build an ark. I know one thing...I need some sunshine. I'm a solar powered girl and I'm running out of energy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ohhh...with a little whine thrown in

Remember these?

And how I was bragging that I'd almost eaten them all?
Ummm hmmm, at least a couple a day? Well.... this... led to....


But I still love me some North Georgia apples... just not so many.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Apples

I had an "alone" day a few days ago, so I went here, to the apple farm The apple farm is located just up the road a bit, into the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. I chose a day when I knew it would be quiet, and uncrowded, just the way I was feeling.

I bought some of these Honeycrisp apples. I've already eaten most of them. If what they say, "An apple a day..." is true, I should be in doubly good shape.
I also bought some of this. Good, homemade apple bread. I didn't need this. No, not at all. But it looked so good, I bought it anyway....I've almost eaten all of it too. Does that cancel out the good that all the apples did for me?

Monday, September 14, 2009


"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."
2 Chron 15:7

Do you ever wonder sometimes why bother? Maybe you've just cleaned the house, it looks all pretty and shiny, and the dogs come running through with muddy feet, or the kids track in grass and dirt?

Or, maybe you're trying to make a difference in someone's life, lend a helping hand, a listening ear, and it doesn't seem to make that difference?

This verse was in our church bulletin yesterday, and it jumped out at me, grabbing my attention. Maybe it was because I've spent so much time lately trying to figure out the what and the why in the things that I do.

I work for a domestic violence center. Sometimes working with victims and survivors of domestic violence, but mostly working out in the public schools, with children and young people of all ages, speaking in the classrooms about family violence and teen dating violence. I haven't always done this work. Last school year was my first year. I come from a background of business and management and politics. I'd never worked with masses of kids before. Often I felt challenged, disillusioned, and exasperated, especially when working in middle school classrooms. What is it with middle schoolers anyway?? Can they care about anything other than cutting up with friends or texting? I was so thankful when summer arrived and school was out.

As I've faced the arrival of a new school year, with dread I must admit, I've found myself often thinking, "God help me. Why am I doing this? Those kids don't care." In the midst of that dread and questioning, I think God has reminded me of those kids, those few out of thousands, whose faces and body language betrayed their silence, whose story was written in their eyes, as they absorbed and realized I was talking about them, about their families. Or the kids who were desperate enough to write me a secret note, requesting to speak privately with me, and then told me the stories of what they live with, the violence and abuse...those that said "Help me." Or, "Mom won't listen to me. What can I do?" Maybe God is teaching me, that sometimes the work is hard, unpleasant, and often seems useless. Maybe I'll never see the fruits of my labor. Maybe I'll never know the one child that took what he heard that day and tried to make a difference. Or, knowing that I may never know what becomes of the young boy that cried as he poured out his fears to me, the secret he has kept for so long.

Sometimes your work may not be where you envisioned yourself, or be the ideal position that you thought it would be. Maybe sometimes God puts us in places that we'd rather not be, to do something thats not always comfortable, but that has a purpose. Even if we don't always understand what that purpose is or why we have to be the one to do it. But maybe, if the work makes a difference to only one life, only one impact for good, isn't it all worth it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakneses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2 Corin. 12:9

God cannot make His grace any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way : "My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee." Never turn God's facts into hopes, or prayers, but simply use them as realities, and you will find them powerful as you believe them. (Written by H.W. Webb Peploe, after asking God to let His grace be sufficient for him)

I don't always understand God's grace. Its beyond my capacity to understand such unconditional love, such faithfulness, such desire for me. All I know is I am so very thankful for it. Let me grasp on the the reality of "where sin increases, His grace abounds all the more." Romans 5:20
Abounds. I love that word in this verse. His grace abounds for me...abundantly. Not just enough, not just what I need, but more, over and above, abundance. Thank you Jesus, for I sure do need the abundance.
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. -Annie Johnson Flint
Abundance! Yes!

Friday, July 24, 2009

St Simons Island

My Granny use to say that St Simons Island was a "dripping place." It dripped with spanish moss, humidity, and the old spirituals sung by the Gullah women on wash day. I think Granny was right. Sometimes I think my blood, my very soul, is mingled in the sand and the plough mud of the island and her marshes. I find myself called back there time and time again, since I was a child. Its been difficult, sometimes heartbreaking to see how the island has changed, from the sleepy mysterious place it was for me as a child, to the development of residential communities and vacation condos for tourism today. Here are some pictures of our trip there a few weeks ago.

Sunset on East Beach
Live Oaks and Spanish Moss at the Indian Burial Ground Christ Church

Black Banks Creek, my favorite crabbing spot

I let this one go.

Pretty Shells

Prettier Babies

My Least One

St Simons Light at Night

Sunset from the Pier

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lazy Hazy Dayz of Summer

Not really. Not at my house anyway. This summer has been jam packed full of activity. I've barely had time to catch my breath, much less blog. Sorry to all my readers, um, like all 4 of you. I have however tried to keep up with my blog reading. Its just my own blog posting is taking a beating.
Here's a few things happening at my house this summer, and my list of things yet to do:
1. I have TONS of photos on my camera that I have not even downloaded. Pictures from our trip to St Simons Island, garden pictures, pictures of cool vintage items I scored at an estate sale several weeks ago, pictures of my sister's grave at the cemetary (ok, please don't let that creep you out, its no big deal, and her grave is still new and my brother in law wanted pictures, 'nuff said). Anyway, tons of pics I want to download so I can blog about such things. Need to get that done.
2. I started the summer quarter teaching an online management class. Found out I had to develop about half of the course content, so a huge amount of my computer time has been dedicated to that.
3. Hubs and I purchased a vintage boat (does 24 years old qualify as vintage?) at the previously mentioned estate sale. It is so cool! A 24 foot cabin cruiser, complete with galley and john. But, it has needed so much clean up. So, days have been spent washing and scrubbing and tearing out old upholstery. The bulk of the upholstery will need to be replaced. Its moldy and yucky and rotten. Soon I'll be blogging for old boat cabin decor and upholstery ideas! Websites and suggestions are welcome!
4. I'm planning a trip to Key Largo, leaving this upcoming weekend. My oldest boy is there and I cannot wait to see him. I know it will be hot as blazes in Key Largo Florida in July. I don't relish the thought of the humidity. But I do treasure the thought of getting my arms around my boy. We'll be there a week so I've got tons to do before we leave.
The picture above is my youngest boy, on the beach a few weeks ago in St Simons Island. Photo courtesty of my 20 year old stepdaughter, who seems to be much more on the ball with getting her photos downloaded.
So, how's your summer? Lazy or Crazy?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July

I'm gearing up, or maybe gearing down, for the upcoming July 4th weekend. Our holiday starts tomorrow, with the holiday from work and fireworks in the park at our small town.
I love small town 4th of July celebrations. Parades, cookouts, fried chicken, watermelon, music, dancing, and of course, fireworks. Our town does a very nice fireworks display at the large park on the river. Pre-fireworks festivities will begin early with lots of food vendors, games for the kids, a stage for music and dancing, facepainting, and socializing with friends and neighbors. Living in a small town, almost everyone knows everyone else. Gatherings tend to be festive, old fashioned, and clean fun. One thing I love the most about the celebration at the park is the little old ladies and life long farmers, who have lived in our rural area for generations, who will come out to sell their wares, usually fresh garden grown veggies, canned and pickled produce, homemade cakes and pies, handmade quilts and blankets, aprons, and sometimes even small livestock. This is what I love about my town, and about my country.
We'll attend the 4th celebration, and probably spend the day on the lake, swimming and sunning on the dock. I'll pack up cold fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon, a pound cake, lots of bottled water and soft drinks. We'll take our sparklers and bottle rockets to shoot from the dock later that night after the fireworks display. Hopefully I can dig out my daddy's old ice cream maker and sweet talk my hubby into churning ice cream for us. I remember as a child how special it was to help daddy church the ice cream. I know now how my daddy made it look and sound special so he could sit in the shade and tell us what a good job we were doing. Making ice cream was a natural part of our summers, and our 4th celebrations.
Yep, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I'm proud to be American and I'm thankful for those who have made my freedom possible. Those who have come long before me, those who currently fight in many ways for our freedom, and those brave ones yet to come.
Have a safe and fun filled 4th of July. God bless America!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Down Time

We're heading out tomorrow, for our favorite place. I'll enjoy a little beach time, pool time, visiting the old places, and eating lots of she crab soup. I'm taking my laptop but planning on using it very little. Y'all have a good week, and be sweet! Bye!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Heart Old Things

I like vintage stuff. Vintage kitchen appliances (last year I was on a vintage mixers kick), antique books, vintage dishes, antique toys, and vintage linens are a few of my favorites. Right now I seem to be on the linens kick. A couple of months ago my dad asked me to clean out some of my mothers things that had been left in a drawer of her dresser, untouched for years. I knew the items were there. I had spent several quiet afternoons alone in my father's house over the past few years, snooping through my mom's things, lifting each item delicately from its resting place, unfolding and gently refolding after I relived long ago memories. In the drawer that he sent me to were about 7 or 8 old aprons. All but one were for little girls, made probably 40-50 years ago by the hands of my grandmother and great grandmother. The designs and colors varied, mostly gingham, trimmed in lace. One is a light gingham blue, trimmed in white lace. Others are gingham green, trimmed in red ric rac, with a tiny rose made from red ribbon on the little pocket. One is made from cloth patterned with Santa's big rosy smiling face. I vaguely remember those little aprons, wearing them as a tiny girl. I found one that my mom wore all the time. I vaguely remember my grandmother wearing it too. I'm not sure how old it is but I can remember my mom wearing it throughout my childhood and later in my adult years. I brought it all home with me. I spent this weekend gently washing each apron and hanging it to dry, then pressing with the iron. I was careful of the delicate lace trim, some of which was already spotted brown with stain and even had tiny little holes. I don't know what to do with them. I went ahead and packed away the little aprons, in a box with tissue. I'll share them with my sister, perhaps if she comes to visit this summer.

Daddy also sent me home with a few vintage doilies, made by the hands of my aunt, long gone to heaven. One doilie is fairly large. I plan to put it in the center of my dining table, maybe add a tall vase of long stemmed calla lillies. I like simplicity.

Aren't these table linens lovely? I am longing for a set of vintage table linens, like these, with a beautiful, yet subtle design. I'm sure there are some around my childhood home somewhere. I'll go snooping, or junkin' the local antique stores soon. Maybe, when I head south to my sea islands next week, I'll spend a day junkin' around Brunswick and Savannah.

I'll take pictures soon of the aprons and doilies. I'd love ideas about what to do with the little aprons. The big apron of my mama's? I'll be using that one. Carefully.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Place

This is my lake. Over 500 miles of beautiful, island like scenery. Fresh water, straight from the mouth of the lovely Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee flows down "out of the Hills of Habersham, into the Valleys of Hall" (from the poet Sidney Lanier, Song of the Chattahoochee) forming the beauty that is Lake Lanier. We have a little cabin nestled here, along the shoreline. For the past few years, our lake has suffered. The ravages of drought, and questionable decisions by the government and the Corp of Engineers has drained this beauty dry. Her shores have been left ragged, cracked red mud, and empty. But, with the rains of late, she is finally refreshed, returning to her natural beauty.

I think I'll go swimming today. I probably won't make it before noon, but this is a picture of Lake Lanier in the early morning. I love it when the lake looks like this, smooth and calm, before the boaters arrive to break up the stillness. They come in droves, heading north to my lake from the big city, eager to escape the chaos that is the "ATL." I hope today, being a weekday, the lake will be quiet. I want to sit under the umbrella, on the dock, and read...without being jostled by boat traffic, without listening to the constant whine of jet skis.
I long for a quiet, still, early morning on the lake. God is there in the mornings. When I arrive down on the shore early in the morning, I feel Him. He whispers to me in the wind that dances in the tall pines. He laughs with me in the busy chirping and singing of the morning birds. He touches my cheek in the gentle warmth of the rising sun. I'll go there and visit Him this week. He will refresh me like the rains have refreshed my lake...full, alive, new. I love this reminder, "His mercies are new and fresh every morning" for me, and for you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Random Thoughts on a June Day

Thought #1. I'm worried. Worrying too much I suspect. After all, "worrying doesn't solve anything" my granny always said. FEAR=False Evidence Appearing Real. I'm worried about our economy, people losing their jobs, our finances, short hours this summer, which means shorter paycheck. I worry about my children, especially my oldest boy right now, trying to work, find anything, to make ends meet. Isn't the next generation suppose to do better than the last? What will the future hold? I don't know. But, I tell myself, "I know who holds the future."

Thought #2. I'm tired of worry, of sickness, of death, of grief, of disappointment. Here I am blogging that thought, when I don't even want to talk about it anymore. I want to talk about something fun, I want to think on fun things, on happy things. I want to laugh, howl, roll on the floor with laughter. I want to sleep at night without waking up frightened and not knowing why. But, I tell myself, "Jesus is my portion. A constant friend is he. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me."

Thought #3. I love June. June is my absolute favorite month of the year. Ahhhh, June...
The promise of summer, free and adventurous.
Magnolia blooms, large and bright on the big tree at daddy's house.
Jasmine, small and white, sweet and intoxicating, covers the lattice work on the
Bluebirds in the field, and new babies in the birdhouse.
Cardinals in the thicket along the fence.
Sunset on the dock, when the lake is still and quiet, and the colors of the evening
sky are reflected in the mirror of water.
Evening birds as the swoop and dart along the surface.
The sound of my boy and his dog, playing ball on the cul de sac. Laughing and
barking go together very well.
St Simons Island, dripping with spanish moss...and memories. Memories of
Granny, and oyster roasts, and a little gullah boy named Boo.
Crabbing on the Black Banks River, and the smell of the marsh.
Ice Cream at the pier.

Thought #4 June is a magical month. My thoughts fill with warm days and cool nights, savoring the gentleness of early summer, before it grows into dog day afternoons and steamy nights.

Thought #5 "Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come."
Song of Solomon

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rain, Rain

Everything in Georgia is wet. Rain, rain and more rain, for weeks. I heard today that it has rained somewhere in Georgia everyday for the past month. Finally. Its about time.

We've been in a drought now for about 4 years. I've lost countless plants, flowers, vegetables, even a couple of dogwood trees. Our lake has been 20 feet below normal. So for a gardener and lake rat such as myself, this rain is an answer to prayer.

But...why is there always a "but" in there somewhere? The snails and slugs are everywhere. Eww, I hate those creatures. They are enjoying a feast courtesy of my petunias and just last evening, my blanket flower. Gross little monsters. So each evening I'm giving my flower garden, and my container arrangments a thorough once over. Its all I can do to pick a snail or slug from a plant. Shivers and gags.

Snails aside, my flowers and veggies are reveling in all the rain. I even have one tiny tomato already on one of our tomato plants. I suppose I'm reveling in the rain as well. I know the heat of summer is right around the corner. Thankfully there's water in the lake, a dock gently rocking right offshore, and comfy lounge chairs under a big umbrella. Now, where's that cabana boy?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Love Summer...But Not Swimsuits

A swimsuit looks lovely on Grace, doesn't it? But of course, didn't everything?

Today I went shopping for swimsuits. UGH! I hate shopping for swimsuits. But, we're going to the beach in a few weeks and I haven't gotten a completely new swimsuit in a few years, so I thought it was about time. I have two swimskirt bottoms that I've bought new tops to match, but I wanted a completely new swimsuit. Can there be anything worse than trying on swimsuits, under those horrible dressing room lights? I think I'd rather be pinched. Nothing like a little (or alot!) of cellulite to re-motivate my not so steady healthy diet. After much groaning, and sucking in of stomach, I finally found one I was happy with. Its a cute navy swimskirt bottom, and I bought two separate tops to match, in pretty navy, green and white patterns. I think never again will my tummy see the sunlight, not to mention my hips.

Aren't these girls cute? I love the swimsuits of the 40's and 50's. Isn't that second one from the left just adorable?

I love summer, the beach, hanging out on my dock at the lake, spending early mornings in the garden, fresh veggies and tomato sandwiches for dinner. Yes, I heart summer. Just not swimsuits. Are you ready?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer

The day our nation calls us all to pray. I hope you will find the time.
The Prayer at Valley Forge
“I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them into His holy keeping
Gen. George Washington

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Creative Belle

Y'all run quickly over to Jennifer's blog and look what she did for her Fireproof study. I thought it was a fantastic idea and I grabbed a couple of great looking recipes. I am so C&P-ing that Crabby Salad.

Hubby and I did the Fireproof study a couple of months ago. It was great. I have to say, the movie was much better than I expected. I'm not sure what I was expecting, cheesiness maybe, but it was really good. The marriage study, based on the movie, was very good for hubby and I and we really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Memory

Judith H. Griffin

February 22, 1961 - April 28, 2009

Vibrant, Vivacious, Witty, Funny, Smart, Kind, Compassionate, Servant. A girl after God's own heart. Beautiful Child. Whatever will we do without you?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring, New Life, and Not Giving Up

I missed the first day of Spring on Friday. I spent last week with Judy and was on the road, traveling home on Friday. My mind was on other thoughts I suppose.

I've always celebrated the first day of Spring. Perhaps with a cup of tea and lemon cookies, or treating myself to new bulbs, or new seeds, even shopping for a new Easter dress or shoes. But I missed it completely this year.

Spring is my favorite time of the year and Easter is my favorite holiday. I love how my garden comes to life. I love Easter bunnies, the wonder of the Cross, and the awesome power of the resurrection. I like to think about what that day must have been like. What were Mary and the other Mary feeling when they realized the One they loved was living once again. Wow....

I wandered around my garden this weekend, after I got home, desperately searching for renewal and refreshment. My hostas are peeking through the earth, like little green fingers stretching for the sky. My daisies are bunching up, already looking thick and green. Even my rose bushes have new green leaves. My tulip magnolia is decked out in bright purple. New life abounds all around. I like to think about how the earth comes alive with new life at the very season our Savior resurrected and gave us new life. Surely God planned it that way.

I struggle with my love of spring this year, everything coming to life, reborn, renewal; at the same time my sister's life seems to be ending. Judy came home from the hospital this past week, and has started hospice care. She made the decision that enough is enough, no more chemo, no more radiation, it is done. I don't know what all I feel. If I let myself I feel immense sadness at the unfairness of it all. I feel angry at the irony of her life waning away in the spring, when all the earth is coming alive, when Jesus died for our sins and bore our sicknesses. "By his stripes we were healed."

Something in me will not give up. I still feel led to pray for divine healing, for a miracle for Judy. Some say I'm being unrealistic, that I'm in denial. But my God is a healer, Jehovah Ropha. I'm not ready to give up, and count this battle lost. Its never too late for God, is it?

"The prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will raise him up" James 5:15

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Flying the Coop

My oldest is 24. He's been in and out of the house for several years. First leaving to attend college, then moving back home. Then he got a great job, moved out again, lost the job last year in the collapse of the real estate and new home construction market, and moved back home again.

Its been tough on him lately, trying to find work in a field that he enjoys. Its just ain't happening out there right now. So, he's settled for waiting tables, working as a cook, and catching a break doing little remodeling jobs here and there. He's really fought depression, restlessness, and sometimes hopelessness.

Then, a few days ago he dropped a bomb on me. He's moving to Key Largo. Yep, waaaay down there in the Florida Keys. He's leaving Tuesday. "What??!!" "Yes mom, this Tuesday." He has an old friend from school that is a scuba instructor there who has pleaded with him to come to Key Largo. His friend is "just so sure" that my boy can find work there. In fact, my boy already has a couple of job leads. So, he's heading that way, giving it a month to find work, and hoping for the best.

Part of me is happy and excited for him. He's excited for himself! The other part of me, that other mommy part, is worried, anxious, and prayerful for his safety. All I can do is pray, and hope. I still feel like he needs me. But he's 24 years old (insert BIG sigh here). Still, Key Largo is a loooong way from home.

"Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he grows old he will not depart from it."

I'm holding on to that right now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Road Trip

I'm so excited. At the end of this month, hubby and I are going here I've always wanted to do this tour and I can't wait to get a peek at the secret gardens. My camera and I are really looking forward to it. I hope the weather is beautiful and not rainy.

We'll be staying here, at a friend's house on the Isle of Palms. I can't wait to have fish tacos at Poe's on Sullivans Island, and crab soup at SeeWee's.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day? What Snow Day?

Yeah, I had myself so psyched for snow. I had fixin's for a big pot of Taco Soup. I had my snow boots (really hiking boots in disguise) out, beside the back door. I was so excited! Instead, all we got was this. I can't believe it. I feel cheated! Everyone north and SOUTH of us has snow, and a snow day from school. What gives??
I'm thankful for the rain, really I am. We desperately need it around these parts. But geez, I really wanted snow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I'm pretty sure that was her name. She was a gorgeous young girl, 13, maybe 14 years old, with long jet black hair. Her eyes were deep and brown against her olive skin. She looked older than her tender years and I knew that very soon she would be an exotic beauty. She left an anonymous question for me yesterday, after I finished my presentation in her 8th grade health class.

It went something like this:

"So my mom is being abused, and she will not leave, for all of the reasons that we discussed today. She will not listen to me, and I am scared. I don't know what to do."

Today, during Day Two of my presentation, I could tell the question came from her. Or at least I'm pretty sure it did. As I answered the question during our anonymous question and answer session today I noticed the flicker of remembrance cross her face. I saw as her body slumped slightly down into her desk chair. As I addressed her question, I watched as she slowly dropped her head into her hand, covering her eyes. A minute later, I caught her eyes as she peered over her hand. Her eyes looked lost, almost desperate, as though she needed saving. Even as I namelessly encouraged her to seek help, to talk to a trusted adult, to talk to her best friend, to have a safety plan for her and her mom, she never looked reassured. It will take me a long time to process Sophia.

Tell someone Sophia. Tell someone....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Fever

I can't stand it! I am so ready for spring (as I write this on a cold Feb evening). I'm tired of the cold, the wind, and I've almost used up all my firewood. Its time for Spring! I should take heart though, Spring is right around the corner. Finally, my jonquils are up and blooming. I've watched them for about a week now and they have finally opened. I wanted to post some pictures from last year's roses and peonies, and a lone little petunia. I have alot of pink, huh? Hurry Spring!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Cause

Did you know....

Only 15% of women are familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
82% of women have never talked to their doctor about the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer.
54% of women who haven’t spoken to their doctor about ovarian cancer don’t think it’s an issue since their doctor never initiated the discussion.
40% of women stated they are not sure about the risk factors of ovarian cancer

67% of women incorrectly believe that a yearly Pap test is effective in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Many women incorrectly identified the use of high dose estrogen without progesterone (35 percent) and extended use of the birth control pill (27 percent) as risk factors.
Women who have used oral contraceptives for three or more years have about a 30-50 percent lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.
53% of women are familiar with the symptoms of breast cancer while only 15% are familiar with the symptoms of ovarian.
59% of women have talked to their doctor about breast cancer; only 18% have talked to their doctor ovarian cancer.

In women age 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. An estimated one woman in 58 will develop ovarian cancer during her lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, there will be 21,650 new cases of ovarian cancer and 15,520 women will die from ovarian cancer.
Because each woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer has a different profile, it is impossible to give a general prognosis. If diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the 5-year survival rate is over 90%. Unfortunately, due to ovarian cancer’s non-specific symptoms and lack of early detection tests, the only 19% of all cases are found at this early stage. If caught in stage III or higher, the survival rate can be as low as 29%.
(Source: American Cancer Society)

Ovarian Cancer is a silent cancer. It whispers, so listen.

Please go to and learn more about ovarian cancer. The symptons are very very difficult to detect in the early stages, and by the time a woman is suffering from the symptoms, it is usually detected in a late stage, where survival rates drop dramatically. Ladies, do your research, educate yourself, talk to your doctor, and please please heighten the awareness of this silent killer. We have done wonderful things for breast cancer, and look how dramatically education and survival rates have soared over the last 20 years. Let us not overlook ovarian cancer. Afterall, it is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths.

Look around the ovarian cancer website, look at the "Medical" and "Break the Silence" tabs on the left side bar. And for a treat, link to the marketplace at the bottom of the page, and check out the links to the cool jewelry and gorgeous notecards.

Thank you Kathi, for adding the Break the Silence icon and link (found here on my sidebar) to your blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Had A Dream

Last night. It was a dream intermingled with memories. It went something like this.

It was the summer of my 9th year. School had ended only a week before. I had come to Savannah with my grandmother, to spend several weeks with her, and my great grandmother. Just yesterday we had traveled from Savannah down to St Simons Island, to the house that belonged to my great grandfather. In the years that had followed his death, my great grandmother had felt the need to return to the island several times a year, just to maintain the home. I thought maybe she really wanted to re-live memories, and perhaps feel my great grandfather’s spirit there.

This particular evening, I had wandered out of the house, in search of my magical friends. I left Frederica Road, and wandered down the sandy road, toward the marsh, and where the coloreds lived. The evening was hot and steamy, the kind of evening where the air you breathe feels warm and wet. Summer evenings on St Simons Island were like a sauna. Within minutes a person would be wet, with clothing sticking to her as though the very air around her melded with the ocean. I kicked at the sand along the road, occasionally kicking up a piece of an old oyster shell. I thought it was wonderful how different it was from the paths and roads I was accustomed to at home, red clay with hard rocks and pebbles. On St Simons, the earth was soft, and sandy, and hid secrets, such as oyster and small pieces of nautilus and scallop shells. As I drew closer, I could smell the marsh long before I saw it. It was a smell like salt and earth, pungent yet sweet.
As I approached the small shack, just off the sandy road, another smell danced on the breeze. It was the smell of smoke and the earthy briny smell of oysters over a wood fire. I heard the low soft voices of the men as they sang, deep, slow, haunting songs. I couldn’t understand the words. The Gullah refrains were like another language to me. But I knew they were songs about suffering and hope, and Jesus. I hung back a few seconds, gathering the courage to approach them. They had not yet seen me. The men seemed intent on the open fire and lost in the soulfulness of their songs. Slowly I approached them, feeling my shyness welling up inside me, fearful of my intrusion into their strange world. I tried to avoid them, as I slowly made my way toward the front porch of the shabby cottage.

“Girl, come over heah.” I held my breath as I approached the tall dark man who was waving me over to him. “Come heah!”

“Um, are Frances and Boo Cat here?”

“Ain’ t you Miz Adora’s baby?”

“Uh-huh. I’m here with my granny and great granny. I came to see if Boo Cat and Frances can play.”

“Yo Grandmama know you down heah?”

“No. I was just gonna see if Boo Cat and Frances could come up to my house.” My grandmothers would have a fit if they knew I had gone down to the colored’s house. I knew better than to ask for permission. My plan had been to sneak off down to Boo Cat and Frances’ house and see if they could come up to my house and play. As though my grandmothers would think they had come to see me.

“I know yo grandmamma ain’t llowin’ you to be down heah. You head on back home now fo you get us all in trouble. I tell Boo Cat and Frances that you’s is heah fo a few days. You’uns can play tomorrah.”

About that time I heard the screen door slam and I jumped as it startled me in my already nervous condition. Down the steps and across the yard ran my magical friend. He was dirty, barefoot, clothed only in ragged shorts cut from some old dungarees. His face was lit up with a smile so white against his dark skin, and as wide as the Frederica River. He ran up to me and just stopped. Shyness suddenly overwhelmed us both and he hung back shuffling his feet in the sandy earth. It was summer again, and I had come back to the island, to his world.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Day In Washington DC

Just a few snapshots from a day spent in DC, the day after the inauguration. It was a beautiful sunny day, the sky was bright blue, but cold cold cold. I love DC, one of my favorite cities in the world.

The WWII Memorial...D-Day

The Capitol, still draped in flags from the day before.

The Jefferson Memorial

A cute pot of tea, shared by Patti and I at the Tavern Restaurant at Mount Vernon the following day.