Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Story

In the mid-1990's at Christmas time we found this story on NPR. And we have made listening to it part of our Christmas tradition every year since. It is a wonderful story that always brings tears to my eyes and puts a warm place in my heart. Hope that you will enjoy listening to it also.
Click on link below....

Then click on Listen now, turn up the volume and really hear every word of the story. I like to close my eyes as I listen and visualize the story playing out in my mind. Grab some kleenex because you will need them...

John Henry Faulk's Christmas Story on National Public Radio.

Christmas!!

Wow! Christmas already! Where did the time go? It just slipped up on me...
Well, we are post Christmas gift opening and this is the breakdown on current activities:
Megan, Noah and Andrew are trying to figure out a Wii game that Megan got called Mario Cart,
Lauren is sleeping on the couch surrounded by opened gifts and covered in Megan's blanket.
Noah is whining because he wants to play Wii too, Mom is on the phone, Dad is snoozing it up, and I am aside from being on the computer, in the kitchen getting a few things ready for us to nibble on today.

Last night I cooked a ham, dirty rice, green peas, rolls and a carrot cake for Dad's birthday.

Today I took the easy way out, I sent Lauren to Whole Hog bbq yesterday to get a couple pounds of pulled pork for bbq sandwiches to go with the cocktail sausage, jalapeno cheese dip, cream cheese dip, crackers and chips. I think there is some of the carrot cake left, I made brownies, fudge and there is left over ham and dirty rice...so I think we will be well fed today, not that ALL of us (me) need to be well feed, uhmmmm.....but I will save that for a new years resolution!!

Well, the kitchen is calling, so I will post again later about the blessings the day brings. I have to work the next two days, so I will be scarce again.

At the end of the post I wanted to mention a family that we know from Louisiana who aren't having a good Christmas day today. Two days ago their 14 year old son was shot accidently and he died on Christmas Eve. His name was Brad Maddox. His parents are Danny and Sherry Maddox. The funeral is tomorrow, so please be in prayer for that family along with the family of the young man who accidently shot him. I am sure that both families are having a very difficult Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold Day in December

Today was a very cold day. We are expecting icy conditions overnight. Lauren was off today, and I did plan to get out and do a little more Christmas shopping, but when I stepped out the front door, and felt that cold artic blast hit me, well I decided that I would rather stay in where it is warm...



Little man isn't feeling well. He has had that allergy mess for a couple of days, but nothing major. But today he really felt bad and lay around most of the day. I am giving him Zertec and praying that he will be better in a day or two.



Here is a photo of him in the recliner. He had been playing gameboy earlier and fell asleep. The photo was taken after he woke from the nap.





They say a picture is worth a thousand words....






So I will save the commentary and let the photo speak for itself....

And like Forrest Gump, "That's all I'm gonna say about that..."


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Spirit Where are you???

I'm just not feeling it this year. I can't seem to find the Christmas Spirit anywhere! I have been shopping, and it only makes me cranky; ask my kids if you don't believe it.

The majority of the shopping, or should I say, buying that I have done, has been online. I get to sit in my pj's and have my purchases brought straight to my front door, and not fight over parking spaces and stand in long lines...Why haven't I don't this before?

Well, I have done shopping online, but until this year, I always enjoyed getting out and going to the stores, seeing the Christmas decorations, hearing the music, and feeling the vibe from all the shoppers bustling around, and carrying all the decorative bags of their purchases around.

But this year, it's just to much of a hassle. I don't want to go anywhere and have to shop.

We are cutting back this year, as I am sure that many are, but it isn't that, it's just, well...
I don't feel it...

I'd much rather be doing something else.

I suggested that we all just choose one thing we really want and then we use the rest of the money to go somewhere and spend Christmas. Like I don't know----Hmmmm....Seattle for instance...

But they wouldn't go for it. I even suggested we go to Colorado and stay in a ski lodge and just spend Christmas that way, instead of our traditional way. But no dice...They won't fall for it.

I got a call from my supervisor this morning, I have to work the day after Christmas anyway, so that wouldn't work after all. So I guess I will finish the Christmas shopping and we will do Christmas here at home, like we do every year.

But we are cutting back on the amount we spend on each one. In fact, Megan had a hard time deciding what she wanted for Christmas. She couldn't really think of anything specific, that big thing she wanted...but after looking around and thinking it over, she came up with a few things...

Well, gotta run...Megan has riding lessons in a little while, so I better get moving.

We decorated our tree Saturday evening. We bought new decorations this year. We had been using Silver and blue since we moved to Arkansas in '04, so we were ready for a change.

We also got a smaller tree last year when we moved into this smaller house. We had no room for our big tree, so we downsized... That's okay with me, it fits the size of my enthusiasm this year; small and close to non existent!!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

God in the small things...

Sometimes I suppose we need to be reminded that God is interested in the little things in our lives also. So this morning, I am getting ready to try to go do a little Christmas shopping and the doorbell rang. It was the little elderly lady from next door. She was letting us know that our dog was out and running up the street.


Well we discovered that he, Beaux, was now back in the backyard but the side gate was wide open and the other two; Sadie and Scout were missing. We immediately jumped into the car and started riding around looking for them. Of course, if you know where we live, on a very busy street, your first instinct is...well, that it won't turn out well.










As I was riding around looking and praying, I called Lauren at work and Mom, so they could start praying. I believe in praying for everything. When I don't know what to do, and even if I think I know, I pray. I just know that God is up there and can see it all, and knows the answer.

So as we drove around, asking everyone we saw out, if they had seen our dogs, Megan remembered that Scout had a tag on from the vet.


So we called our vet, and I ask where someone would call if they found our dogs who got out of our yard this morning?


She asked if it was a big dog and a little dog?
I said yes!

She said that someone had already found them and had them in their yard.

She gave me the number and it was a man who lived on the street behind us.

We went immediately to get them.

We were so thankful they were safe. And thankful to the neighbor for letting us know that there was a problem. And to the lady that saw them out and decided to get them into her fenced yard and look for the owners.

Yes, it is a small thing. But to us, it was a big thing. Yes, I understand that there are great big problems out there, people who are hurting, sick and dying. I know that those things are more important than our dogs. But my God is big enough to handle all of it, even the little things that we are concerned about. In the whole scheme of life and death and eternity, this isn't an important issue that one would think that someone like God would waste His time on.

But, I am His child, and He is concerned about me. So if it is something important to me, then it is important to Him. Because like those of you who have children know, if your child is upset about something, you will do whatever you can to make them happy or less worried. The Bible says in Matthew 7:11,

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,

how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give

good things to them that ask Him?"


So I just want to express my gratitude to God for His goodness and answering my prayers, even the seemly less important prayer I pray, like keeping our dogs safe and helping us to find them.

He is on the job, watching out for us, paying attention to the small details of our lives.

Years ago I use to think that I only needed God for salvation and for the BIG things in life. But not the little ordinary things. However, as I got older, I realized that I need Him in everything in my life. I can't even get up out of bed in the morning without His help. I can't go through my mundane day, without Him grace and mercy and His hand directing me.

Like today, just an ordinary day, but I needed Him and He was there for me...

Try Him, see if He won't do the same for you in your life. He is no respecter of persons. If you pray, He will hear, and He will work on your behalf...

He's just Good that way....All the time!!!



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fortune Cookie Wisdom Fried Chicken Dreams and Goodwill Bargains..

I have a confession to make


I can't fry...

I can fry catfish okay, but I do that in a fryer, so that doesn't count...



If it is in a pan, I can't fry it.
The problem is my batter won't stay on...


I have read how to remedy that and it still doesn't work for me.

It isn't because I didn't learn. I took four years of home-ec in high school and


My mom fried everything we ever ate, not really, but mostly...


We were the fried meat kind of people, at least they were..are still


But me, well, I am more of a bake, braise, boil, saute, steam, broil, blacken,
anything but fry...kind of gal.


Frying doesn't really do much for me.


But with that said, there are times when frying is just want you want.



Like say fried chicken...


All kids like fried chicken, and I don't really want to have to drive down to
Popeye's every timethe kids want fried chicken.
Even though I am sure they wish I would,

especially after they see my poor excuse for fried chicken.

Tonight I was in a daring mood and decided to try it again.

I pulled a bag of chicken parts from the freezer and thawed them.

Then I put milk into the bag for the chicken to soak in for a while.






I prepared my flour, adding Tony's, pepper, salt with a dash of garlic powder.





I pulled out the trusty cast iron pan and added my oil.




I coated each piece very heavily with the flour mixture and dropped them into the hot oil.

I waited, and after I felt it had browned enough on one side I

turned it over and let it brown on the reverse side.

Once that was done I turn the heat down some and continued to turn and cook.

And tonight, I guess the mood was right, and the stars aligned just so, because

my crispy didn't fall of of the meat!



Grant it, they were a little, wee bit browner than I like, but hey, there was

crispy on my fried chicken! Isn't that what really matters?


What does this have to do with anything?

Well I asked myself that very thing before I sat down to write about it.

I suppose it means that sometimes, things just work out, sometimes they don't. Just because it never worked out for you before, doesn't mean it won't at some point happen.

What does all of that mean?

Well maybe I feel like sharing a little "fortune cookie wisdom" tonight.

Maybe I just have to much time on my hands and I am just rambling...

Here is a picture of Noah in his new pj's... Isn't he a cutie!


Here are a couple of my recent Goodwill finds:



I found these two bowls three weeks or so ago. They are hand crafted Japanese pottery. The design is Wild Iris. I am sure they aren't worth anything really, but their simple design and their shape and size was appealing to me. I think I paid $2.00 each for them. They are in perfect shape, no chips and look like there were brand new.


This is a magnetic board. I paid $2.00 for it. And really I would have never bought it although I am one of those people who has my refrigerator full of clippings, comic strips, kids drawings, appointment reminders, and anything that catches my eye that a magnet will hold up on the fridge... so I could use more space for posting things. I wasn't looking for anything like that but this reached out and grabbed my attention.



This was attached to it, done on a piece of vellum paper. I suppose I was in a "Fortune Cookie wisdom" kind of mood that day also. Sometimes I struggle with things; not great big things, but those small things in my head; like purpose, and why are we here, and what is the big picture. Maybe I am the only one...

...Anyway, this caught my eye. It was like a message, on a day when I needed some voice of wisdom speaking to me, some direction, some God-inspired message just for me. Whoever thought I could find such a thing at Goodwill, and for only two dollars at that! I'd say that was quite a bargain!

It also included magnetic letters that said I LOVE MY LITTLE. I started wondering about the previous owner. Little what? For me it would mean, my little ones, kiddos. But I wondered why the person that had this before decided to get rid of it. Did they stop dreaming? Did they no longer love their little? Yes, I have such a small brain that these things cause me to ponder...Humor me, please...

...or did they catch that dream that they dared...and did the little get big...so the message no longer applied...

...maybe the motivation of the message worked so well for the prior owner they wanted to pass it along to someone they thought might need this bit of wisdom...

This is where I came in, searching through Goodwill for some source of inspiration. Some life changing Epiphany, some answers to those nagging questions that keep me up at night. So I bought it and it is now hanging on my kitchen wall, soon to be filled with comic strips that I find humorous or ironic. I will pass it daily and be reminded that in life, you should dare to dream, and you should always love your little_____!!!

I am sure that this post confirms what many of you have always believed about me...

I am a little nutty!! Some of you are saying, "More than a little nutty!"

But if you made it this far, at least it was interesting to you!!!

Or, like a freak show, you had to keep reading to see just how strange I do become!!!

Either way, thanks for visiting...tomorrow I may be medicated and the post may actually make sense...LOL!(not really, I'm not on medication, unless you count midol one week a month!) OH! TMI!! Sorry!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Smothered Pork Chops/Spicy Ricey

Tonight's menu is an old classic that I have cooked for years. When Megan was little she dubbed it "Spicy Ricey" because it is served over rice and it is spicy. Thus the name...


Earlier today I typed in "Cajun smothered pork chops" and this is what it brought up. I thought it looked very similar to our dish. My recipe varies in the fact I don't use bell pepper (the kids wouldn't eat it if I added all of that), celery, or tomato paste. But all of that sounds pretty good!

Here is a photo of my version.



I would say it could be called a pork gumbo. I can't even tell you where I got my recipe. I think it must have been inspired by something I had as a child; watching my mom or mawmaw cooking. But I suppose I just developed it on my own through the years. I'm sure it isn't unique in the least. I am sure that many of you have your own version of the same thing. I do know that it is very tasty, and my family really enjoys it.


Smothered Pork Chops/Spicy Ricey

4-5 pork chops
1 pound of sausage, sliced

3 T. oil

1 onion thinly sliced

garlic

pepper

Tony's

salt
water


Before cooking, season pork chops with Tony's, black pepper and

seasoning of your choice

Put oil into skillet and add seasoned pork chops

brown on each side.

Add sliced onions and garlic

pour in enough water to cover pork chops

Bring to a boil

Reduce heat and put a lid on the skillet

Cook until meat is done and tender

Serve over rice and enjoy!


The pan juices, oil and water combine to make a very tasty gravy

If pork chops were seasoned properly the gravy will be spicy.
I have put all of the ingredients into the crock pot and cooked them over night and until supper the following evening and it has turned out delicious! The meat is so tender it falls off the bone. YUM!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cold Blustery Day...

It is a cold wet day in Arkansas. It is 37 degrees but feels like 32* and the temp is dropping.
So on a cold day like this I need something warm and hearty to fill my belly.
How about Cheeseburger Soup.


1 lb ground meat
1 med onion (chopped)
2 cups cubed potatoes
1-14 oz. can beef broth
2 cups milk
3 T. all purpose flour
1 cup shredded American Cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and your choice of seasonings


Cook ground beef, drain and add potatoes, onion, broth and salt, pepper and seasonings of your choice.

Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are soft


Combine flour with 1/2 cup milk and stir. Add to meat mixture along with remaining milk.

Cook until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese melts.

Remove from heat and serve.


Onion rolls and caesar salad would complete this quick and wonderfully filling meal.




Saturday, November 29, 2008

Strange Obsessions and Random Thoughts...

Did anyone find any deals out there yesterday? I did actually go out yesterday, but not to shop for Black Friday sales. I had to go to Best Buy to pick up Megan's laptop. The fan had gone out in it and it was still under warranty, thank God. So the Geek Squad called and said it was ready for pick up.



I also ran to Kroger to pick up some milk. So while I was out, alone, which rarely happens, I took the opportunity to sneak off to the Antique store and look around. I spent about an hour and a half just walking around drooling over things. Not literally, but in my head. I saw so many things that I would love to have to decorate a home with...if I had one, that is. Not that we don't have a home, just that we are leasing now, and know that we aren't staying here, in this house, much longer. One way or another we will be moving soon, hopefully.

Anyway, back to the drooling...I saw so many items, yes, things I really don't need, but would like to have to for decorating purposes.



Yes, I do recall that it was me that posted about things not bringing happiness, and downsizing and all of that, but I am still human and desire to have a nicely decorated place of abode. I don't HAVE to have those things, and I won't make a debt to have them, but you know how it is, after looking through magazines like Country Home, Cottage Living, Coastal Living, Country Living and Southern Living, you just want to fix up your nest.



Antique dishes especially catch my eye. I have recently developed an obsession with dishes and all things kitchen. I am hoping to get a new set of cookware soon. This is the set I am thinking about. They has a lifetime warranty and they are rated really well.



I have also developed an obsession with this:



It is a Jadite Green Milk Glass hobnail cake stand. Yes, a cake stand! I need a cake stand as much as I need cake. I DON'T need cake!! I look like I have had to much cake already! But that's for another post...can you say: New Years Resolution!

Back to the cake stand...isn't it a beauty? I just love the color. Can't you just see it sitting on a table with a beautiful, yet simply decorated cake. Maybe with a few berries on top...

Anyway, like I said, I have developed some strange obsessions as of late. Perhaps my age is showing? Oh well, maybe I will run across this cake stand at a Goodwill store or an estate sale and get a great deal on it. For now, I just can't justify paying the $60+ that they are asking for it on Ebay, (even though the shipping is free!). I don't bake that many cakes, or host that many luncheons that I NEED the cake stand.

It is just one of those little things that catch my eye, and I THINK I need, until I weigh it out and realize it is just another thing...

...another thing I would have to find a place to store when not in use...

...another thing I would have to clean...

...and just another thing to take up space in my already cramped kitchen...

So for now, I will just think how great it would look on those rare occasions that I am hosting a luncheon with friends and have a perfectly decorated cake sitting in the center of the table, and how everyone would ooh! and aah! over it...

WAKE UP!!!! Dream over...

It really is a pretty cake stand don't you think?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Photo's from Thanksgiving

I fixed turkey breast, oyster dressing, sweet potato casserolle, sweet peas, rolls, and chocolate-pecan pie. Throughout the day we munched on BBQ weinnes and cream cheese dip and crackers. So we were very full by the end of the day.




What a blessing that we had more then enough food for the five of us.





The kids sitting at the table just before lunch. Notice Noah's shirt. It tells the truth!

What a sweet sight. Noah loves his Meme. Only lately, he has started calling her Megan.



We had a great day together.


Lauren had some friends over for the evening. They played wii , and some board games. They raided the fridge and helped consume the left overs.


Which was perfectly fine with me, because I hate throwing out good food, and sometimes, there is just more than the five of us can consume.


Noah had a ball playing the wii with some of the guys. He got right in the middle of it all. When I told him it was time to go to bed, he said to them:


"Goodnight guys!"





They told him goodnight and he went to bed talking about "his friends".

A good ending to a great day for all!













Black Friday--Sales, Sales, Sales...

The sale papers flooded in yesterday. There was so many sale papers, there was hardly enough newspaper to hold them all inside. I looked through them with a non-chalantness, a stand-offishness, knowing that I wasn't going to get sucked in this year.

For years I have dragged my tired, turkey filled body out of bed before the newspaper even arrived. I have anticipated the great finds that would be for me to gather and bring home. All the money I would save by making this great sacrifice...I was compelled to go. I couldn't sleep in, I was so driven by the thought that there was a sale out there and I must hunt it down and make it mine!

But not this year. I have learned my lesson. It was all a gimmick, just to get us out and get the economy stimulated. The ads are just teasers...when you finally get to the store, wait in line and fight with other shoppers who are there hoping to find that one great item for virtually free...
you hear, "I am sorry, we just sold the last one." When the truth of the matter was, the store only had one or two of that "great sale item" in stock. And now they want you to shop around the store and spend money on items that aren't really on sale.

Okay, maybe I am a little jaded--Just a little! Anyway, I stayed up late last night, knowing that I could sleep in this morning. There was no tug or pull on me to rise at 4:00am and go out into the night to shop. So at 4:00 am this morning, I was snoozing away in my nice comfortable bed, dreaming dreams that didn't involve sales or shopping.

Today I plan to do a little house cleaning, some organizing and maybe then start thinking of doing some Christmas planning. But we just celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. I want to bask in the warm glow of our Thankfulness a while longer and build up more resistance to the strong pull of consumerism that says we have to buy, buy more, buy, buy, buy...

Lauren gave me her Christmas list yesterday. I had her write down colors, sizes, prices, and places to purchase. It makes my job so much easier. Megan on the other hand...well she says that she wants an iphone or a horse...that's it, nothing else. I told her that where we live now, we of course, can't have a horse, but she insist that we could board it where she takes riding lessons. Yes, I suppose we could, if money were no issue. It cost $250 a month to board a horse.
And I don't know about you, but I can find better a better use for $250 a month in my budget. Besides, the only time she would get to see the horse is when she goes for her lessons, because it is about 25-30 miles from where we live, and with our busy schedules, going out there every few days would be impossible. So the horse is out.

Iphone...what can I say about a 13 year old with an iphone?

She has a perfectly fine cell phone with mp3 capabilities that we just purchased earlier this year. She isn't able to get an upgrade for another year or so. Even if she were-an iphone is not in play here.

I suppose I am just a simple kind of gal, and yes I have changed as I have gotten older. I use to feel like I needed to get my kids the latest and the best of everything. But as I get older, and my kids get older, I see that I was teaching my kids the wrong message. I should have taught them to be conservative and appreciate the value of the things that they already have, and not think they had to have the newest versions of everything.

I suppose they will learn that with time, and when they are paying for their own things. But God was merciful and gave me Noah at an older age, a more wiser age. So Noah will reap the benefit of my life-gain wisdom. Maybe with him I can have the opportunity to pass along some hard gained truths about trying to keep up with the latest and greatest, and maybe I can pass along to him the ability to see the advertising for what it really is...companies trying to make money--our money.

After reading the book, Your Money or your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, along with other books like Choosing Simplicity by Linda Breen Pierce, I have changed my views on possessions and what it means to be successful.

Happiness is the measure on which I choose to measure my life. Sitting quietly with myself, looking at my life and the person I am and feeling content and at peace with myself on a daily basis is a measure I use to determine if I have been a success. Obtaining things; houses, cars, clothes, toys, trinkets, and stuff; does not bring true happiness. Trust me, I have a garage full of stuff along with two storage sheds full and right now those things aren't bringing me a bit of happiness, just stress, trying to figure out what to do with it all...but I digress...

The other day, Megan, Noah and I had been to Noah's Gymboree class and when we got back in the car I realized that my vehicle was about 9 miles from rolling over to 100,000 miles. So I told the kids we were going to roll it over. So we drove around just trying to get to the 100,000 mile mark.

I drive a 1998 Ford Explorer that we got a couple of years ago, and it only had about 68,000 miles on it then. It is in great physical shape and aside from needing cleaning out and a good vacuuming, still looks good. We have had little work done to it and it runs great. If I can remember to keep the oil changed every 3,000 miles or so, it should run for many more miles. I plan to be the one putting those miles on it. Although there is a part of me that couvets a harvest moon beige, convertable Beetle Bug. But again, I digress...

I suppose the point I am trying to make is, years ago, I would have had a problem with this. I would have wanted a newer car. Something with all the latest gadgets and that great new car smell. But I love my Explorer, you know what I love most about it?

It is paid for; I don't have to pay car notes every month. I own it out right, it is mine!! It doesn't belong to the bank or some finance company that I have to pay to drive it. It is all mine!!

Each time I get in it, I start it up and I say a silent thank you God for MY car. In fact when I drive into the driveway, and I see Lauren's 2001 Toyota Solaria and Andrew's 2003 Ford F-150, and our 1998 Jeep all sitting in the driveway, I say a silent Thank you Lord for you blessings. Because they may be older, but they are all in great shape and they are all paid for in full! We owe nothing on any of them! God is Good, All the time!!

Several years ago, that wouldn't have happened for us, simply because we had a totally different prospective about things and the meaning of success. We had bought into the idea that success was measured by our things, but we learned the hard way that when your things own you, and not the other way around, then that isn't success at all. We want to own our things and not let our things control our lives. They are to be used for enjoyment, and to enhance our lives, not to have a noose around our necks forcing us to work long hours, or multiple jobs, stressing and worring about how to pay for it all. That takes all the enjoyment and pleasure from having anything. So we determined that we would become debt free. And with the exception of lingering student loan debt, we have done it. We owe for nothing more than our student loans.
Thank you God for you provision!

I don't know how this post got so out of hand. I started it just to say a bit about Black Friday shopping and here we are several paragraphs later. I suppose this is a subject that I feel strongly about and once I get started I have to make myself shut-up.

I suggest that you all get these books I have mentioned earlier. I put a link to each one on Amazon. You can get them used for less than $5.00 each. They are a great inspiration for anyone looking to simplify your life or just change your attitude about success and possessions.

Enough of this rambling today. Hope each of you has a great weekend and you remember to take time to enjoy some simple pleasures that life has to offer and you express gratitude and thankfulness every day.

Today's Thoughts
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak
~Hans Hofmann~

Enough is what would satisfy us if the neighbors didn't have more
~unknown~
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough
~Charles Dudley Warner~
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things
~Robert Brault~
Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have
~unknown~
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude
~Denis Waitley~
I will leave you with a funny thing that Noah said yesterday:
He was playing around, bumped his elbow and he was fretting when he came to me to kiss his Booboo.
After kissing it I asked,
"Did you hit your funny bone?"
He thought a minute and replied,
"No, I hit my sad bone."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

For This I Am Thankful...




forgiveness

family

friends





love

hope

happiness





hugs

little boy laughs

quiet time




home

health

free time

BBQ Recipe

This is a short post directed to the various family members that read my blog.

I am searching for Uncle Ford's BBQ Sauce recipe.

For those of the O'neal clan who recall with great fondness the summer BBQ's that were held at the O'neal homeplace and the BBQ pit that Uncle Ford cooked on, will also remember the taste of his BBQ sauce. It was his secret recipe and he would cook it up the day before in that little pot on the stove, then stand out by that big pit and mop on that BBQ sauce. Using that little mop of his.

I can smell that smell now!! I recall those times and would love to find the recipe for that sauce. We have looked around the homeplace, searching for it, but to no avail. It is ashame that we only think of these things after it is too late. I wish I had asked Mawmaw before she passed away. Anyway, if any of you know what his recipe was, please let me know and email it to me if you would.

God bless and thanks for reading my blog!!!
Hope each of you are having a great Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Getting ready for last minute Thanksgiving. Until yesterday it was assumed that we would be going to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. But due to some issues at Andrew's job, he had to be here today to see that some things got done, so we are staying here. That meant that I hit the stores yesterday to get things we needed to cook Thanksgiving dinner here. Today will be filled with preparations and cooking for tomorrow.

I know it may seem silly to go to all that trouble for just the five of us, but we have always had traditional Thanksgiving dinners no matter where we were. If we weren't going somewhere to be with family, which has happened more than not, I have always cooked a big dinner to have traditional Thanksgiving for just us. I want to carry on family traditions with my kids even if we don't have the large extended family to celebrate with during the holiday's.

Growing up, we had a large extended family that spent time together at my Grandma's house. My grandma was one of seven children and all but one married and had kids, so there were lots of uncles and aunts and cousins running around. It was a great way to grow up. I have such wonderful memories of family get togethers.

I hate so much that my children don't have those times to enjoy. Since my brother was killed over 15 years ago, and had no children, and my grandparents have passed away, there are only my parents left on my side. Yes, there are many extended family members, but times have changed and we are all scattered over the country, and lets be honest, we aren't close like we once were. Times have changed and each of us has our own nuclear families that we are involved with, and we rarely make time for others. I think that is just a symptom of larger social changes and issues that is shared by many in our country. We have become much more isolated from each other and are much more self centered than we once were.

Due to our moving around so much through the years, we haven't made strong social connections with people around us. We have in the past made family with friends, and there are some that we still stay in touch with, but we live so far apart that getting together is not always possible.

Many times we allow relationships to grow cold because we are so caught up in our day to day life--kind of "out of sight--out of mind". It is hard work to maintain relationships with people who aren't part of our daily routines. But so many times it is worth the effort. However, I find that it is a two way street. Unfortunately, both parties must see the need and desire the relationship. I find in my life, many times, because I am the one without siblings, I have tended to "need" the relationships more than the other person, who may have siblings, and other family. I am not saying this to elicit pity from anyone. I am just stating facts. If your life is full of other relationships, you may not "need" more. But for those of us who do not have that close family connections; those of us who don't have siblings, or who are not close to siblings due to other circumstances; we may need that connection more than others. It has to be a two-way need, or desire for the relationship to be maintained.

With all of that said, I have tried to maintain family traditions even if it were just our small family that Andrew and I have created. We believe in going all out to create those strong family traditions in our family so that the kids will grow up with memories of their own.

Tomorrow's menu is as follows:

Turkey
Homemade cornbread dressings
Sweet peas
Rolls
Sweet potato casserole
Pecan pie
We also plan to spend the next few days just relaxing and enjoying our time together. God has blessed us and life is good. We have so many things to be thankful for this year. I hope to spend time recalling God's blessings in our lives and give Him glory for everything. I hope in your busy schedule of preparations for Thanksgiving you will take time to enjoy the goodness of God in your life. That you will be grateful for those people God has brought into your life and let them know how special they are to you.
God bless each of you and may you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving season.
Today's Thoughts
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful until to him, and bless his name.
~Psalm 100:4~
None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.
~Fred De Witt Van Amburgh~
Families are like fudge... mostly sweet with a few nuts.
~Author Unknown~
I think people that have a brother or sister don't realize how lucky they are. Sure, they fight a lot, but to know that there's always somebody there, somebody that's family.
~Trey Parker~
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Melody Beattie~
Nothing purchased can come close to the renewed sense of gratitude for having family and friends.
~Courtland Milloy~
And for a little humor in it all:
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Anonymous~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Carolina on my mind...

There is a reason why Carolina is on my mind...
but I can't say right now.
I know that isn't at all fair to say something like that
and not be able to elaborate...but that is just how it is right now.
Sorry!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday's

Andrew gave me a birthday gift tonight. Although my birthday isn't until tomorrow, I suppose he thought it would make me having to get up and go to work on my birthday easier...





Guess what I got....



A three hour Spa Package! It includes an hour long massage!! I am trembling at the thought of an uninterrupted hour of massage!!! It also includes a facial and a pedicure. Wow! I can't wait to go cash in my gift card on this package!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time for a rant...

Yesterday I did something that at one time in my life would have been unthinkable...



Something that would have embarrassed my girls, had they been with me.



Noah was with me, but at three, didn't realize that there was cause for embarrassment....




I took Noah for his three year checkup and while I was in that area, decided to go to a new Walmart near there.




I had clipped some coupons and printed some from the computer...





I did my shopping, took my half-filled buggy to the check-out


I got in line, put my items on the conveyer belt...



After having all my items scanned, I handed her my coupons...


She pulled out the clipped ones and returned the ones printed from the internet...


She said they weren't allowed to take them..



I asked to speak with someone about it...


A CSM walked over and I told her the situation, she looked at the coupons and said that they couldn't take them because people had been faking coupons...


So I asked to speak with a manager....


I waited...


and


Waited...


Finally a manager of some sorts walked up and asked what the problem was...


I explained the situation and that I use them in other stores and she said that she couldn't take them...


So I reached in the buggy, where my groceries were neatly placed in my reusable bags, and I began taking the groceries out of the bags...


I put them back into the buggy and said to the cashier and manager that I would leave the groceries in the buggy. If they couldn't take the coupons, I would shop in a store that would.


I told them that Kroger takes the coupons, so they would get my business from now on...


I took my bags and my purse, I picked up Noah and walked out!!!


I will NOT spend any more of my hard earned money in that store!!



I took Megan the her orthodontics appointment yesterday evening, and afterward went to the Walmart where I usually shop...



When I walked in, I asked the CSM if they took coupons printed from the internet. She said as long as they scan properly they will take them...



I picked up the items I needed, and took them to the register



Without any question, the cashier scanned my coupons and gave me my total.



I paid, thanked her and walked out, feeling much better about my Walmart shopping experience...



Kroger and that Walmart store will get my money from now on!!


I think more people should have the courage to stand up against things that aren't right. Vote with your money. Spend your money where you are treated with respect. A place that will remember the old adage in retail:


"The customer is always right"


I am giving them my money, so in return they must be willing to make things easier for me as a consumer. Gone are the days of thinking that they are doing us a favor...


We are the reason they are in business, and there are many places to chose from. Some places have gotten to big for their own good, and think they don't have to please the consumer any more.



But I am going to spend my money where I am treated well and not talked to and treated like I am a criminal that is trying to rip them off...


I am sure they have people like that, but I am not one of them, and don't feel I should be punished because there are a few moral deficient people in this world.


Okay, enough rant for today!



When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid. ~

Audre Lorde~

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to
step out of our ruts and start searching for different
ways or truer answers.

~M. Scott Peck~

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot
hear what you say.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coupons...

Okay, so I have used coupons a lot through the years. No big deal, right? Sometimes I would save a few dollars on my grocery bill and I thought I was really doing something.



But when I read this blog and this blog with all of those who commented on their savings, I began to think that maybe there was much more to couponing than I understood. So I began to read, and study and this is what I did..

Kroger is having a Mega deal event this week and next. If you buy 10 of selected items, you get $5.00 off the purchase. Kroger also doubles coupons up to 55 cents,(that's $1.10). So I had coupons on all these items. I got these 10 items for a grand total of ...are you ready?

I got
4 boxes of Quaker Oats,
1- 3 liter bottle of water,
2 boxes Betty Crocker scalloped and Au Gratin potatoes
1 package Betty Crocker Triple chunk chocolate chip cookie mix
2-24 boxes of Tylenol extra strength
That is 10 items
I paid....$4.13!!!!
I was so pumped! I have never saved that much on anything before!
I was hooked. I am like a crack addict looking for my next fix!


Here it is. The water was free and the tylenol was also free with coupons and the money back after buying the 1o items. $4.13!! Wow!


So I go to another Kroger store today, because the one I went to yesterday didn't have some of the items I wanted. So today this is what I got. Minus the items listed earlier.






















..

Today's haul was great. I got:
1-4 roll Cottenelle tissue- .29 cents!
1-2 liter DrPepper
1-2 liter Big K Ginger Ale
1-64 oz Welch white grape juice
4 cans condensed soup
2 cans carnation cream
16 slices kraft cheese
1 can Pringles
3 cans Chef Boyardee
1-package Betty Crocker Chocolate chunk cookie mix (in addition to the one I got yesterday)
1 box Duncan Hines brownie mix
3 boxes Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix
2 Peter Pan peanut butter
4 boxes Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal .40 cents a box!!!!
1-box Ritz crackers
2 boxes Pilsbury Toaster strudels
1 bag Totinos Pizza rolls
2 kroger chili envelopes (seasoning)
1 bag Fritos
1 bag Chili Cheese Fritos
1 bag Cheetos
5 cans kroger brand sliced potatoes
With the $10.00 off because of buying 20 of the items and with the coupons I had the total for today's shopping trip was.....
$38.02!!!!
I am so into this now!!
I can't wait to go back to save more money!
I am a crazy woman. I am so excited!! I use to dread going grocery shopping, now I want to go everyday just to see how much money I don't spend!!


My total savings from both trips was.....
$73.16

If anyone out there doesn't use coupons, and you get them in the mail or in your newspaper, I would be glad to take them off your hands...
Just let me know and I will send you SASE's and you can just drop them in the mail to me!!
Here are a couple of cute quotes about money to end this post. Enjoy!

If more of us thought in these terms, we would have much less junk in our homes and much more happiness in our lives!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Intercessory Prayer

This was an excerpt from an article written by Rev. Martyn Ballestero Sr.
Bro. Ballestero preached for us last night and is preaching for us this weekend.

This is pretty long, but well worth the time. Unfortunately the message is true. As a church and as children of God, we must bring back old time prayer. We are moving in the wrong direction. In the world we live in, we should be moving toward God and trying to get as close as possible to Him, instead, we are filling our lives with everything else. No wonder we have such empty lives and live so far below what God intended. God help me, I know my prayer life isn't where it should be, help me to desire more time with you in prayer.

Bring back Old Time Prayer!!

Intercessory Prayer, We Miss You!
This is just a line to let you know how things are since you’ve gone. It’s not the same without you, nor will it ever be. Although our lives seem shallow and empty when you’re not here, we’ve learned to make up for you in other ways. We’ve learned to live without you.

We now run the aisles, leap for joy, jig to the music, sing catchy choruses, and tap our feet in time to the rhythm of the drums. We use sticks, banners, black lights and our sign teams do a tremendous job acting out recorded music. We’ve learned to worship without you.

The prayer rooms are mostly silent now. Those that do go there, for the most part, come away dry-eyed. A lot of praying now is chanting and singsong style. That’s how we know we’re in the groove. We pray memorized phrases that come automatically. We love what we call Prayer Walks. Most of us don’t even close our eyes anymore during prayer. We just walk and pray while we look around. We pray because it is required.

No one prays till they break through anymore. We just pray till our ten minutes are up...
Oh sure, we still believe in prayer, as such. But not very many of us are anxious for you to come back. (You were always the polite type, you know, never forcing yourself on anyone. You never came uninvited. You only left because you were ignored.)

The sad truth is you’re not really needed anymore. You see, most of us have hospitalization insurance now. (It sure takes away that old desperate feeling we use to have.) So now, there’s no need to pray more than the few minutes it takes to drive to the Emergency Room. Also, we don’t have to ask for our daily bread like we used to. We now have better jobs with good benefits and government programs to fall back on...

We are having revivals now without you. It’s not hard. The pastor fasts and prays, along with a couple others. The evangelist preaches mostly just to sinners now. Most of us try to get to church in time for the first song or two. We justify the fact that the number of new converts is down. Yes, there seems to be diminished conviction, less lasting victory, fewer miracles and many young people are backsliding. We agree, however, that it’s not us that are at fault here; it’s just the times we’re living in. It’s like this everywhere.

As your friend, I’m writing this to you, knowing how much it must hurt you to have folks say they miss you… and yet in their material and intellectual progress, they’ve weaned themselves away from the haunting memory of you.

What hurts, I know, is that we were children you personally raised. You were always there when we needed you. (But now… we don’t.) You taught us about faith. You taught us about miracles. You taught us about a move of God. You taught us about revival. You taught us about how to touch God. Thank you for that, but you see, this is a new day and we are trying to go to the next level. Our services are structured differently now.

Do you know… can you believe, that now when you are ever mentioned in church, everyone gets real quite? They all feel guilty I’m sure. It’s like they experience a momentary twinge of guilt while they consider their part in your disappearance. Once in awhile some even get misty eyed when we talk about the old times you shared with us. But all that feeling vanishes along with the pizza right after church.

No, Intercessory Prayer, your coming back really wouldn’t work right now. We’re too blessed. We’re doing too well. We’re comfortable. In your day, you served your purpose, but the sentiment of most today is that we can manage OK without you now. We’ve got better clothes, cars, homes and prettier and bigger churches than ever...

You would be proud of our church buildings. Carpet on the floors, there are pews now instead of benches and they are padded too, besides. The arched beam are beautiful, we also have the loveliest of imported chandeliers. Our pastor has polish too. He doesn’t preach long. We are more concerned about sermon length now, than content. Our pastor spices up his sermons with cute sayings… but I guess that’s progress for you. “Win some, lose some.”

Speaking of “lose some”, we’re losing a surprising percentage of our young people. An unbelievable number of marriages have gone on the rocks. Many lives have been in jeopardy. But that’s to be expected I guess. Teenagers seem to be at war with their parents and want to dress more and more like the kids at the public school. Our youth meetings may not have much in the way of prayer, but we have great icebreakers, skits and games.

We have plenty of medicines nowadays to help our aches and pains. What more could we ask for? Sure we miss you, but I guess we really don’t NEED you right now.

I hope you’re not offended. I don’t mean for you to be. You’ll always have a special place in my memory. You were very kind and generous to me. You sure got me out of some hard times. I can’t thank you enough!

Still, this is a generation now that doesn’t know you at all. Your coming would probably scare them...
A good many never got to know you well. And most never knew you at all. Those that knew you personally have waited so long to talk to you that they are now, to say the least, embarrassed.

So while we are trying to work out our feelings about you, and see where you might fit into our plans in the future, you might try your luck someplace else. Try Brazil, Ethiopia, or how about the Philippines? You might have better luck in Third World Countries, or behind the iron Curtain. You might even luck out and find someone to talk to you in some little storefront on the other side of the tacks. Surely someone somewhere needs you.

We’re terribly sorry, Intercessory Prayer, we miss you, but we really don’t NEED you… right now!
(excerpted from a piece written by Reverend Martyn Ballestero, Sr.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Things I Cried About Today

Tonight I cried. I cried for McCain/Palin, I cried for myself, but mostly I cried for America. This is truly a sad day in our world...

I feel like Jesus must have felt when in Luke 19 he wept over the city.

41And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it...
I pray for God's mercy upon our country.




God help us all!

Friday, October 31, 2008

This weeks happenings

Well we finally did it! It took us a while, but after all this time, it is finally done! I talked about it here. Over a year ago! But little by little we completed our mission.

We got rid of one of our storage sheds!! We cleaned it out!
Everything! We threw away two truck loads of junk!
We brought the rest home for more through going through
and hopefully throwing more away.
That is $50.00 back in our pockets each month.


Some things will be kept.
Some will be given away (does anyone need a twin mattress set?). Free to a good home!
Some things will be taken to Louisiana and put into our storage shed that we own
and don't have to put out money on each month.
Those things will be things like Megan's very large collection
of Barbie dolls and baby dolls that she wants
to keep so someday she can show her children!
Other weeky events included:
Making fig preserves!

In August when my parents came for a visit, they brought me several gallon freezer bags
full of frozen figs.
These figs were picked and frozen by a very dear lady who has more figs than she can
do with herself, and is such a doll that she is willing to share
with her friends. Thanks Sis Phyllis!
The figs are delicious!

I just used one gallon bag to make these. I was just testing the recipe and it turned out well!
I thawed the figs, cooked them down in a water and sugar syrup. Added a little salt and some vanilla flavoring. I let them cook down very slowly, for about three hours, stirring often and staying very close to the pot.
The next batch I will add some sliced lemon instead of vanilla.
And another batch I will add strawberries to the mix.
I have fond memories of fig preserves.
My Granny Holaway use to make them when I was a kid.
We had a fig tree in our yard and she would come visit and I would climb up and pick figs,
she would then go home and make preserves and bring some back to us.
I loved them on toast!
I had forgotten about fig preserves for years until I was pregnant with Noah.
I started craving them. I searched and searched and finally found some in
Mountain View, Arkansas.
I bought a jar and ate my fill.
Then I started buying them at the Farmers Market at $6.00 a jar!
But thanks to Sis Phyllis, I have my own for just the cost of the sugar and my time!
Yummy!




And finally, this is my new kitchen curtain. For years, I have decorated my
kitchen in peppers. But when we moved into this house, I decided to change
the decor. I wanted to go with the "waiters" but just never did do much
toward decorating. The kitchen is smaller than I am use to and counter
space is precious, and I don't have any wall space for hanging plaques or pictures.
So I just didn't do anything.
While visiting the Goodwill store I ran across these curtains. They looked brand new,
never used. I paid $1.50 for them. I just couldn't
pass up such a deal. And I like how they look
in my kitchen window. It added a new
feel to my small kitchen. And for $1.50 how could you go worng?
Well, that about wraps up the week, other than the fact that we have all been sickies. We have been treating allergies all week. I suppose it is the change in the weather that is bringing it about.
Speaking of change:
Don't forget to change your clocks this weekend. Fall back! We get an extra hour on Saturday night to either sleep, or whatever...
But starting next week it will be dark much earlier and we will have to start
staying inside more and the days will seem much shorter. Lord knows I
could use longer days to accomplish the things on my to-do lists, but I suppose for
a few months, we will just have to deal with shorter days and more indoor
activities. Which sends me looking for one of these.

http://www.amazon.com/Uplift-Technologies-DL930-Day-Light-Affective/dp/B0009MFUWC

Because we know that less daylight= SAD for some of us.
Maybe this year I will actually try the light therapy. Wonder if Goodwill has one of
those lamps? HMMMMMMmmmmm......










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