Sunday, December 31, 2017

Closing the Door on 2017

At the risk of sounding redundant, I just can't help but say it again... probably already guessed it.

Where did this year go?

I just don't ever remember time flying by as quickly as it does now. 
I guess it's God's way of letting us know that we're getting ---o--l--ol---d---OLD...
...there, I said it!
But this will be my mantra until the day I die...

or how about...

And then there's always this truth...

How would YOU answer this question?
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?
~Satchel Paige
I'll have to ponder that one for a bit. 😉
As I look back on my posts from this year,
it would seem that most of them were in the format of a hodgepodge.
Like it or not, I really try to make them as newsy as possible...or maybe you haven't noticed :)
But scattered among the usual trials and blessings that any new year brings,
2017 brought about more much needed updates to our home, some sweet surprises,
a milestone or two and the heartache of losing a beloved family member.
We began the year by having the whole house turned upside down by getting new floors...

...springtime brought about an opportunity to meet a sweet blog friend, Deborah...

...our oldest grandson, Dacey, graduated from high school in June...

...Jim earned his red, white and blue card by turning 65 in July...

...and late this summer my oldest brother Bob, lost his battle with cancer.

As you know, plans were put in motion for our upcoming retirement and move to TN.
The thought of that seems to have taken my brain captive on most days even though I try not to let it.
I've said before...we can have our plans but ultimately, it must be in alignment with God's.
So far, no doors have slammed shut so we continue to move forward.
As I was taking down the Christmas decorations yesterday,
it became more real that it would most likely be the last time I would be doing that here.
I specifically sought out the mini tree that I had among my other decorations,
anticipating that would most likely it would be the only tree I would have room for next year.

So here we were are...New Years Eve, 2017.
Whatever God has in store is yet to be seen but of this I know...
...2018 will most likely be a very HECTIC INTERESTING year!
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your love and support throughout the year
and that 2018 brings you many wonderful blessings!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Very Merry Hodgepodge Christmas

Merry Christmas!

It's almost here!

Are you ready?

As we speak, I smell the cookies baking and they must be getting done.
More about them later.

It sure would be nice to have some snow but it sounds like we're going to get rain instead.
Oh well, one can only hope.

The other night I got a little misty-eyed as I paid special attention to this picture of Mom and Dad.
It must have been taken back in the late 80's or so.
We were at a Christmas gathering at my sister, Ruby's house...
...I remember there was mistletoe hanging in the doorway and Dad stole a kiss.
Ah...precious Christmas memories!
So we're here for Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Let's get right to them...
1. Where have you found unexpected magic or delight this holiday season?

Funny you should ask this question this week. My sister in Ohio called me last Saturday to ask me if I had the recipe for Mom's fudge. I told her I would look for it and let her know. I knew it would take some effort to find it since I was sure it was in amongst a bunch of recipe cards I kept in a basket on the top shelf of one of my cabinets that I rarely use. Yep, there it was, copied on a recipe  card written by me when my handwriting was much more legible. As I was looking for it, I came across another card, written in Mom's handwriting. My heart immediately soared as I recognized her penmanship, the card itself stained with spots of this and that as well.

It was a recipe for Cut and Color Cookies, a basic, simple buttery sugar cookie that Mom made every year at Christmas along with her melt-in-your-mouth orange rind cookies and chocolate and peanut butter fudge. Instead of making the colored corn syrup glaze for the top that the recipe called for, Mom left it off and just added red and green sugar sprinkles on top. My mind was transported back to my childhood as the images of these goodies permeated through my brain, making it almost possible to taste them! That's when I decided I wanted to make a batch of my own!  So...these are the cookies I was smelling earlier.

Just like Mama used to make. Unexpected delight? You bet!

2. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering? Will you/have you gathered in your favorite way this month?

I'm sure most of us will agree that being around family is what we love, especially at Christmas, no matter where we are. I love being at home OR in someone else's home. Two years ago, we spent Christmas in the Smokies at an indoor water park in Pigeon Forge with all of the grands. The kids had a blast and while we had a great time, it just didn't quite seem like was 80 degrees, even in the mountains! As you may remember, we have already had our main gathering a couple of weeks back and will have another, a more low-key version, again this weekend at our home. I am making lasagna because I am already tired of Christmasy-type foods!

3. Time has named 'The Silence Breakers' (women who came forward with stories of harassment)  'person of the year' for 2017. Would you agree? If not, who do you think deserves the title?

You know, I'm not really sure what I think about all of this mess. All I know is I'm pretty sick of hearing about it and I can think of many other reasons to "glorify" a person or persons other than for coming forth with their version of the "truth". There is absolutely NO justification for a man OR a woman to behave badly, no matter what. My question is why wait years and years...and then one comes forward and then they all come out the woodwork, it seems. And were all of them totally innocent, themselves? Did any of them flirt or give those men the wrong impressions? Who knows? Why now? Why all of a sudden? Not a popular answer, I realize. These men (and/or women) will have to answer to their Maker, as we all must do. In this day and age, I have no clue who deserves the title...glad I'm not on that board!

4. How did you spend your time this year? Are you happy about that? Elaborate

I worked, I played, I worried, I prayed. That is about the norm for me. Just let me say that it has all worked together and I have nothing to complain about. How about asking me this question in a year or so. 😐

5. Bid farewell to 2017 in ten words or less.

What's done's done, what's said's said...another chance in 2018.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

If I don't get a chance to post again before Monday,
I want to take this opportunity to wish you ALL a very Merry Christmas!

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jack Frost Nipping at the Hodgepodge

Baby, it's COLD outside! 

As I write these words the wind is whistling through the rafters due to a cold front moving in,
making tonight's temperatures the coldest of the season so far.
Now I realize that 20 degrees might not seem that cold to some of you
but for us southerners, that's cold...
...although I am not forgetting the fact that in a week or two, 60 or 70 is likely to return!

We even had a little bit of snow over the weekend...and little bit are the keys words here.
While we only got about an inch, many folks to the south and west of us got bunches!
It was so beautiful coming down in huge flakes and just perfect timing as well,
making our early Christmas gathering even more festive and special.
 (once again, no camera in hand!)

We had a great time making merry on Friday that continued through Saturday.
We enjoyed a feast of  Honeybaked ham, yummy appetizers and desserts
and also celebrated Dylan's 17th can this be...17, really??
After the gifts were opened and the wrapping paper was cleared from the floor,
our dear DIL Carrie, introduced us to a little bit of fun called Bean Boozled.
It's all about taking a chance on eating a certain jelly bean... will either taste like something good or something very bad...but here's the catch...
the good and the bad jelly beans look identical and no sniffing allowed! 
And if you don't swallow it, you're out of the game!

 Let me just say this, they nailed the Spoiled Milk!
Oh. My. Word.
It took all evening to get that taste out of my mouth...BUT
from the expressions on Adam's and Dylan's faces,
I think Dead Fish and Canned Dog Food were right up there!
And YOU TOO can enjoy this fun family activity, available wherever games are sold!
So, like that old song says..."the party's over" least for now.
I think I'm going to just chill out a bit until Christmas Eve rolls around.

I want to just sit back and take in the beauty of the Christmas lights and the soft glow of candles.
I want to listen to some beautiful carols and reflect on that holy night of long ago. the meantime, 

...we have Hodgepodge questions from Joyce to be answered!

1. "Hurry less, worry less"...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

The only strategy I have is to intentionally find time to just sit down and be quiet, even for a few moments...the room is dimly lit with Christmas lights only, no TV, no noise...(except for that angel on top of the tree that squeaks every time her wings move....remember, she's old.) I would like to be able to tell you that I have done neither hurrying or worrying but then I would be fibbing. I will tell you though, that having our main family gathering early this year...last Friday...has given me a chance to sit back and chill now that all the cleaning, wrapping, food prep, etc. is over....and Christmas Day hasn't even arrived yet. Jim will be working on the 25th so I imagine we will get together on Christmas Eve with Aaron's family to exchange gifts and a bit of merriment and I am anticipating a quiet, laid back Christmas. I am looking forward to the days between now and then to refresh my focus on that One perfect gift.

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

There are several things that we normally do to winterize before the big chill but there is nothing particularly difficult about them so we do them ourselves. Among them are disconnecting water hoses, blow the mounds and mounds of remaining leaves away from the house and roof, and my personal favorite, covering the vents around the foundation with Gorilla Tape. In North Carolina you may not want to do too much winterizing...on any given day in the winter, you may have 70 degree temps and you just might want that garden hose handy in case you want to wash your car!

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

As a matter if fact, I have just started to take turmeric capsules. Turmeric is touted to have many medicinal properties such as being a super anti-inflammatory, supports immune health, helps relieve pain, and can aid in digestion, among other things. And if Ezekiel bread wasn't so doggone expensive, I'd eat it everyday...but I do buy it occasionally because I love the texture. (For those of you who are not familiar with it, it's made with sprouted grains.) And just the other night (after sneaking a few bites of German Chocolate cake) that cup of ice cold almond milk was just about as close as it comes to the real thing and I am in awe that this is even possible...milk from nuts? Really? I have been drinking it for a while now...the unsweetened vanilla flavored I said, I'm a believer...30 calories and less than 1 carb is good with me!

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

I have never heard of Pantone so I googled it ...and all I have to say about that is "whatever". I  might like an iPhone or a laptop in that color but it would make for an odd looking outfit if you ask me. I do like purple though...and the movie is one of my fact if I am flipping channels and catch it on, you can bet I will stop to watch at least a portion of it. I do have a few purple-ish clothing items...the eggplant shade to be precise but I wouldn't say I wear it real often. I have no clue as to what color I'd select for 2018...anything except orange or yellow...anything matches my trademark black pants. 😁

5. Favorite book you read are reading this year?

Although I am not terribly bookish, I do like to read. This year I am enjoying the devotional book, "Jesus Always" by Sarah Young...among a few others.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

This is our "new" temporary seems to be getting more real each day. This is what you do when you don't want to throw money away on rent for a year. 😉

Who knows...maybe we'll like the "glamping" lifestyle and forgo the farmhouse all together.
Somehow, I seriously doubt it.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Hodgepodge Welcomes December

Oscar & Tasha would like to say...

 And welcome to another edition of the Hodgepodge...

...where Joyce from This Side of the Pond asks us the questions
and we answer them on our blogs.
So this is what my weekend looked like....

Hmmm...looks like that wise man is praying for the angel who fell from the!
I promise you, everyone is now properly situated in their places.
And after the tree was all decorated, I found these lovelies tucked away in the laundry room.
(The walls in my living room are not really orange...just the reflection of all those colored lights!)

I had purchased them at Goodwill months ago and completely forgotten about them.
I mean completely.
I call them vintage but they're probably just retro...anyway the box they came in was quite aged.
I tried to do a little digging into how old they might be but all I know is they were made by the 
Christmas by Krebs Company.
I found some very similar to them on ebay and they were described as being from the 70s.
Well, there was no way they were not getting on the tree... know, the one that always looks the same year after year...
...except this year, my unchanging tree has a few new "old" baubles hanging on it.


1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

"Anticipation, Anticipay-yay-shun"

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

Well, of course the microwave should have it's own day...everything else does, right? I use mine everyday for one thing or another, whether it is a re-heat, to soften butter or bread for a few seconds, or to cook me up a yummy Healthy Choice microwave meal for when I come home for lunch. I do a lot of cooking for just me, myself and I since Jim isn't here for supper most nights. I gave up my standard 2-slice toaster a few years ago for a toaster oven and make many meals in it or in a skillet. I sure do rely on it though for a lot of things and would miss it if it was gone. Could I get along without it? Sure...I could...but I don't want to.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

I think it would be "Silent Night". Can you just imagine being there... in that manger...being a witness to the birth of our Lord Jesus? To see the wonder on Mary's face as she lays eyes on her brand new baby boy, the Savior of the world as her husband Joseph stands in awe. The shepherds, the animals, all gazing in wonder at the sweet baby lying there in the hay...radiant glory all around... as that Star shines ever so brightly. And then there are the angels....ah yes... their voices are such a GLORIOUS sound! Can you hear them? Wouldn't it be wonderful to have been there?

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

It would have to be driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Surely there must be other places just as lovely or even more so, but to me. it's almost heaven. Of course this photo does it no justice but it's the only one I could find without going through files and files.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

I never make a Christmas list for things I want, personally...only for what what I need to buy for preparing the meal. When it comes to getting tangible gifts, I really don't want or need a thing. But everything that I would wish for, especially in days such as these, is expressed so beautifully in this familiar song by Amy Grant.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Need I say more??

Until next time...may your week be blessed!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Let's Decorate the Hodgepodge

Thanksgiving has come and gone...can you even believe it?
I hope everyone had a great one!
I don't know about you, but I'm still stuffed. 
And here I am planning the meal for our early Christmas gathering, less than two weeks away.
I have already decided that a variety of appetizers will be the meal.
The fall decorations have made their way back into the garage and in the next few days,
Jim will bring in the Christmas tree (my skinny little fake one) and numerous tubs.

I will have the house to myself this weekend so I can make as much of a mess as I want to!

I get a little misty thinking about the possibility of decking these halls for the last time.

Of course, we are not sure exactly what God has in store...
...but hey, it's all good!

So we're here for Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Let's get on with the questions, shall we?
1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

I guess when I first heard of blogging, I found it rather silly...I wasn't really sure what the purpose was. Then I started reading one, then another and another. And then I got this wild hair and started one crazy is that? Before long I began to feel connections to the author's hearts and personalities...many seemed as though we were kindred spirits, so to speak. Never did I imagine that such wonderful online friendships could be formed...and I have been amazed that you don't have to meet someone face to face to really care about them. My blogging sisters have truly enriched my life. 

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

I believe I touched on this in my last hodgepodge post. You can pretty much find me in the "reheat and eat" camp, not only because I really enjoy most leftovers but I'm not into wasting perfectly good food. My favorite thing to reheat and eat could possibly be chili or soups in general...they seem to get better every time. There is very little that I 'could not abide' as a leftover but green salads and some fruit salads don't seem to do well in the fridge for long. And this just may gag some of you but sometimes you just may find me eating cold pizza...right out of the fridge... for breakfast. 

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

I think we all need some "me time" in order to be who God created us to be...and whatever that looks like will be different for each one of us.

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Decorating ideas and/or help setting up for an event at church, or maybe putting together an insert or flyer pertaining to said event...and on the home front, mending or alterations of some sort. One instance that stands out is when I was asked to help Adam hang his bear rug on the two-story high wall of their former home. It began with drawing a diagram of the wall and planning the placement of the bear. He attached the anchors to the wall in all of the right places while I hand-stitched heavy duty D-rings onto each paw, the head and other strategic places. The real fun came when he climbed an 18 foot extension ladder as I held up part of the weight of this thing that seemed to weigh a ton...BUT, we got it up there! I don't know if my fingers hurt more after sewing on all of those D-rings or the time when I helped him sew up the skin on one of his own taxidermy projects. Yes, I've done that too. 😉

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

There are many smells that remind me of my childhood home and some of them are seasonal. In the warmer seasons the one smell that I can never forget is the aroma of freshly washed sheets that hung on the clothesline to dry. They will never escape my memory...just as the smell of cedar awakening the senses on that first cool autumn evening as a thick, cozy quilt was brought out of the cedar chest and placed on my bed. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I must confess that I wrote most of these answers 'under the influence'. Not really, but I do still feel a bit swimmy-headed. I am writing this post after having a medical procedure earlier today (Tuesday) so I am home from work. Praise the Lord that there is no more stent in my common bile duct and hopefully, no more will be needed in the future. God is good! I will make sure to proof-read (again) in the morning before I hit the publish button. So what's my excuse for all of my other typos?

Have fun decorating!

(If the spacing looks all wacky on this post,
it's because blogger must be having issues and not letting me edit it them correctly.
It's driving me a picture hanging on the wall that's crooked.)


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