Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Foolish and Noble Pursuits in the Hodgepodge

1. What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?
                 -to honor God with my life
                 -to be productive each day
                 -to make and meet certain short (and long)term goals

2. In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up this spring?

                  Oh, goodness, it needs a lot of TLC this spring. Powerwashing the exterior tops the list.
                   Replacing the front porch furniture. Take the glider (I call it the swing)  to the dump even                    though it's super comfortable and practical for hanging clothes out to dry, it's rusty and                        tattered. The patio needs to be repointed, fences replaced. some deck wood replaced,
                   some weeding and flower-planting done. These are all reasons why, now that hubs has                          had heart surgery, we will not be putting our house on the market this year.  He doesn't                        have the strength or stamina.
3. According to this site (Roadtrippers), six of North America's most wondrous waterfalls are-Webster's Falls in OntarioUpper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina,Havasu Falls in the Grand CanyonMultnomah Falls in OregonThe Lower Yellowstone Falls, and Niagara. Have you seen any on the list? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list that you've seen in person?
                      I've only been to Niagara. Since Grand Canyon is on my must-see list, then I guess Havasu Falls
                      would be a good pick!


4. Looking back, what's something you wish you'd done as a teenager?

                 Hmmm , the list of things I wish I hadn't done is much longer and easier to recall.
                 I wish I'd learned to play a band instrument. My self-consciousness got the better of me.

5. Ham...yes please or no thank you? If you said yes please which of the following do you like best-baked ham with all the trimmings, a ham and cheese sandwich, prosciutto with melon, a ham biscuit, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, or a slice of pizza topped with ham and pineapple?

                 I'll eat ham, but I could live the rest of my life without it. Of the ones you mentioned, I'd
                 take a bowl of split pea and ham. Sometimes in the fall or winter, I crave a bowl of it, so
                 I buy a can. Never made it, never plan to.

6. Are you typical of your generation? How so?

                 What's typical? I guess I probably am. I'm patriotic, I believe in earning money (not                              expecting a hand-out), I love 80's music, I was raised with Judeo-Christian values, I
                 got a good education, I was a stay-at-home mom for almost all my child-rearing years
                 (I only now work very part-time in the evenings while rearing a teenager) and probably
                 can say that my lack of computer savvy is somewhat typical, although many people my
                 age are very skilled with this thing.

7. April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme...'act the fool', 'nobody's fool', 'a fool's errand', 'could have fooled me'...which foolish idiom most recently applies to you? Explain.

                 Act the fool.    I was asked to play in a skit at our upcoming women's retreat. The role is                      that of Shallow Sheila, a woman who was once walking closely with the Lord, giving
                 generously of her time and money to others, but has gradually become obsessed with
                 money, shopping, outward appearance, and other selfish pursuits.  Her foolish ways
                 have led her far from intimate fellowship with God and true joy.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

                      My daughter is coming home from Florida on April 12th.  I can hardly wait. She'll be here for a
                      month before setting off a ministry internship with Love Thy Neighborhood. She will be living in 
                      Kentucky for two months, ministering in an avenue completely outside her comfort zone: the adult
                       entertainment business. She wants to give women hope for a  better life, a clean and free life. My 
                      precious girl who has stayed out of bars, dresses modestly, has chosen not to date for the past year
                      in order to pursue God wholeheartedly, who has never met a hooker (that I know of), she will now
                      be stepping into a very dark world. Please pray for her. She has to raise $2000 for living expenses, 
                      so please pray she'll raise that money quickly. She has jobs lined up but would like sponsors as well.
                      I'm awestruck by my daughter most of the time. Her willingness to serve till it hurts and then more, 
                      is very characteristic of her. One of those "Jesus with skin on" types I truly admire.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Greening of the Hodgepodge

Thanks to Joyce for hosting this  pre-Saint Patty's Day party affectionately called the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. What do you think about luck?

My philosophy based on holy scriptures is that all things are ordered by God, nothing is random, and therefore there's no such thing as luck. Mathematics (from what I'm told) will show how probability works, if you're looking for proof.  Some people who appear to be "lucky" have either been born into homes where there are more opportunities, or they've worked hard to overcome obstacles to success, or a number of other factors, but the bottom line is that God controls it all. 

2. Not counting your own backyard, what's a favorite green space in your town, city, or state?

There's a mountain view in western Maryland that I look forward to seeing every time we travel that direction. It's breathtaking. Lush and green in spring and summer, an explosion of color in the fall, a symphony in white in winter.  

3. How do you make your life more complex than it needs to be?

By overthinking or by not thinking at all.  "Analysis paralysis" has hampered progress when a simple "yes" or "no" could serve the situation under examination. On the other hand, my impulsiveness has caused many a snare that could have been avoided had I just taken a few moments to consider the consequences.

4. I read here the three places you should visit with friends. They are-New York City, Hawaii, and Amsterdam (rent a bike, walk along the canal, visit one of their world class museums). I felt the need to expound on that one. Moving on...Of the three places listed which would you most like to visit with friends? What's one place not on the list you think should be visited with friends?

I'd be most likely to visit NYC (again) with friends because it's only a four hour drive from home.
I'd most like to visit Amsterdam with friends.
A place not on the list that I think should be visited with friends? Estes Park, Colorado. On horseback

5. What's the last live performance you saw? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being best) how would you rate it?

Last week our upper school performed three vignettes: The Importance of Being Earnest; a scene from Anne of Green Gables; and You Can't Take it With You.  This performance I'd give a 7. 

6. March 14th is National Potato Chip Day. Are you a fan? Your favorite flavor? Besides potato, what's your favorite chip type of snack?

I like potato chips, but wouldn't call myself a fan, per se.  I mean, I rarely crave them and I don't stick them in my grocery cart unless hubby has requested.  My favorite chip snack would be Ritz crackers.

7.What rule is most important in your home?

Do not wake the Sleeping Mother!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Hallelujah! Sophia is coming home today! This baby with brain cancer has defied the odds. Doctors predicted a month ago that she probably wouldn't survive emergency brain surgery .Or wake up. Or breathe on her own. Or respond to any stimuli except pain.  Or regain her gag reflex in order to eat. But she can breathe without oxygen . She is grunting when her parents touch her. She suddenly stretched and woke up when her daddy was praying over her last week. She showed a trace of stubbornness when her mom tried to put some soft food in her mom--she bit her lip to prevent that. Granted, her parents want their Sophia back the way she was--happy, lively, giggly--but they are beyond grateful to be taking their baby home instead of planning her funeral. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Hodging My Bets for a Thousand

Another batch of fun questions on this gorgeous spring day in Maryland!
Thanks, Joyce!  Whoever wants to play, please join us. Click here and have a party, virtually speaking. 

1. March is National Women's History Month. In that vein, who are three women who've been influential in your life? How so? 

          -My mom. She taught me just about everything and modeled compassion, creativity, and devotion to God and family. 
          - My paternal grandmother.  She had a soft spot in her heart for me, and made one-on-one time for me (a middle child--need I say more) rather than send me off to play with my sisters. We played with baby dolls in a pull-behind trailer that was permanently parked in her back yard. She sewed and sang, and had an infectious sense of humor. She even remembered me (but not my sisters) when she was old with Alzheimer's. 
           - A woman named Nan Connor. She always welcomed me into her home on the spur of the moment, which was how I rolled in my teens in a fit of hormonal drama--you know, when you can't tell your own mom stuff, and you're hatin' life, feeling ugly, and you just need someone to talk to who will accept you warts and all, but will lift you up and make you feel loved?  She would always open the door to me and say, "Well, would you looky here, darlin'! Come on in! I was just having a cup of coffee with Jesus! Tell us what's going on with you, honey." It was always "us" because Jesus was as real in her kitchen as if He had been in the flesh.

2. In what ways do you think women have it easier than men? 

             Why do I feel like I could get in trouble answering this question, no matter what I say?  The first things I think of are rather we don't typically worry about getting kicked in the groin, we don't usually have to fight lust 24/7, we don't have to hold back our tears when we're hurt .  And some of us have never had to worry about providing financially for our families. I also think that we're less handicapped when it comes to finding lost objects. Somehow we can just "see" things that clearly ARE or are not there. Ahem. My boys call it "woman's radar," but my girl and I call it eyesight.

3. What do you need most right now: faith, love, hope, or peace? 

Right now I have an abundance of all four, and I feel extremely blessed. But the one that I ask for most often is peace.

4. Do you have a collection? If so, what do you collect and why? 

Yes, indeed I do. It's fabric! I collect it and use it for quilting. Or because it's pretty. Or because it's a great price and I'm sure I'll find the perfect project for it, or because it's Saturday...

5. Plaids, checks, polka dots, stripes...your favorite?  

Polka dots in small doses.  Such a happy print, but too much of it can make the eyes go buggy.

6. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? 

Social, competitive, love school, fond of animals, chatty, creative, inclined to sing, afraid of math and snakes

7. You're a contestant on the TV game show Jeopardy. What category will you ace?  

Alex, I'll take Once A Pun a Time.  I think I could figure out a play on words for 200 ,400, 600, 800, and 1000.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

A miracle happened in Sophia's life. (If you've read previous posts, you'll recall she is the 14 month old daughter of a dear friend of ours. She has brain cancer, diagnosed last summer.) On Feb 14th, after having 2 great months at home being happy and playful and starting to talk, however, she suddenly fell into a coma and remained unresponsive for two weeks. Then they took her off tubes, to just hold her, saying their goodbyes, thinking she would pass in their arms. But no, she hung on, breathing on her own, responding to pain stimuli by twitching or opening one eye. 

That was  until Sunday. That morning, her daddy prayed over her, and as he did, Sophia stretched out and  
opened both eyes! Her daddy ran and shook Lauren awake and she got to witness her baby's eyes open for the first time since Valentine's Day!  It was such a hopeful, joyful moment to read about, I wept and then of course told everybody I knew about it! The baby still is very lethargic, and for the most part, asleep (deeply) but her parents are calling her the strongest person they know. They will not give up .They believe (and so do I) that God will heal her. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Keys to Failure and Success in the Hodgepodge

Yes, it's true! I've been quite the MIA blogger, but I think I'm back. At least for the Hodgepodge today! I hope I still have SOME readers and commenters left in cyberspace. 

1. February ended with an extra 24 hours in 2016. What did you do with your bonus day?

Funny you should ask. Leap Day was a comedy of errors for me.   I overslept by an hour and a half, washed my face, put on a smidge of makeup to look human, used my hubby's Old Spice deodorant because mine was totally out; put on jeans and a clean top; had just time for 1/2 cup of coffee as I rushed to get my son to school 40 minutes late. I didn't even feed the dog or let him out, poor guy! Thankfully his bladder is a 50 gallon drum. 

Swung through Dunkins for more coffee, then naturally I needed to get home to the potty myself. Got back home only to realize I was locked out of the house! In my haste, I  had grabbed the fob that only has my car key! Texted my hubby to say I'd maybe go hang out with my friend Renee'  till he came home. (Renee is  spontaneous like that, but still 1/2 hour away). He has been working short days since heart surgery. But he replied, "If you're going that far, may as well come here for my key." 

By this time, I was  not only eager to pee, but I was getting hungry. So I drove to Wawa (convenience store) to get scrambled eggs and use their restroom. Some careless driver almost T-boned me at the light as I turned off the main highway, but alas I made it to Wawa's ladies' room. Sweet relief, yes....until I reached for toilet paper. There was none. Not one square! Good thing I had Kleenex in my purse. 

Drove to hubby's office to pick up his key. (He was a good sport about it in the parking lot. He grinned, kissed me, and asked if I could stop and pick up sweetened condensed milk because he wanted to make rice pudding. Of course, that was the least I could do--while picking up deodorant, too. He also suggested I stop and get three spare keys made at Home Depot.)  Needed cash out of the ATM to make change for my tutoring client that night,  but lo and behold, my ATM card was missing. What??? I got home with the milk but not the deodorant. Oy vey! And when I arrived home, I noticed someone had moved my recycling bin. And there was recyling strewn all over my yard and the neighbor's.  At this point I wasn't laughing....

So after I let my dog out (who by this time was barking wildly to go out and pee), I played Tidy Heidi. After a brief interlude to catch my breath, it was time to get my son from school and go to work--which is the same route and distance as I'd gone that morning. 

 2. What's something in your life that's grown by leaps and bounds in recent days, weeks, months, or years? I'm giving you lots of room to come up with an answer here, so no fair passing on this one.

Hands down, it's my appreciation for my husband. His work ethic, his energy, his financial watchcare, his handy skills, his fatherly heart. Heart surgery changed our perspective, made us stop taking each other for granted. When he couldn't do much for himself, and I cared for him, we both grew in appreciation for the other. Now his stamina is low (but improving) and we're realized just how efficient he was.

3. Do you read reviews about a film before deciding if you'll see it? Did you watch The Oscars this year, and if so your thoughts on the program? How many of the Best Picture nominees had you seen prior to the broadcast? (Spotlight, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, and Brooklyn) If you watched The Oscars who gets your award for 'best dressed'?

I honestly don't pay a whole lot of attention to what's going on in the movies unless I hear a lot about one from trusted sources. I don't tend to read reviews. I missed the Oscars this year. We watched The Martian, and Revenant (both at home). Didn't think I'd like either, but Martian was funny and Revenant was so intense I couldn't leave the couch for a second. 

4. When did you last have overnight houseguests? Give us your top three tips on being a good houseguest.

Early January.  My husband's brother came in from Ohio for the surgery.  Top three tips for being a good houseguest?      1) give as much advance notice of your arrival as possible    2) take the host out for a meal or pay to order in to give the cook a break    3) don't stay more than 3 days in a row unless  it's your BFF that you only see every other year, or a family member begging you to stay longer

5. March 2nd is Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Will you be celebrating? If so, would you prefer a home made peanut butter cookie, a Reese's peanut butter cup, an old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or shall I just hand you a jar and a tablespoon?

I wouldn't say no to any of those suggestions! Hmmmm. I have to think hard about my choice. Today, in the moment, I could chow down on a PB cookie. Whenever you mention peanut butter cookies, I ALWAYS think of my friend Bonnie who is now a full-time missionary (married with kids) in Africa. Peanut butter cookies are her favorite and I made them for her as our last snack together, and sent leftovers with her. 

6. Why is failure important? Or isn't it? 

It's important. Reminds us we're human. Gives us a comparison to success. Keeps us humble. Helps us learn from our mistakes.

7. Share with us one fun thing on your March calendar.

On the second Friday of every month, I help another lady make a meal for 20-30 homeless and needy in a local community.  (Thankfully a third lady has come on board as well!) We've decided to turn our mealtime into a theme each month. On March 11th, we're going with a St. Patty's theme, and I'm excited to decorate (dollar store decorations, people) as well as make the salad. Which would YOU prefer, a totally green salad (Romaine, peas, broccoli, ) or a rainbow salad (greens, tomato, carrot, egg, red onion)? Pinterest is so much fun for theme planning, isn't it?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Two things: My daughter in Florida needs your prayers. She might have mono. 

Baby Sophia is still holding her own. She's been unhooked from tubes except food and air, and her parents have been given a room in the oncology unit, complete with two beds. They are able to snuggle right up to Sophia, who is still comatose but breathing on her own. They (and we) still pray for a miracle.