Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 190

190? Is that right? Apparently so. Whoohoo! Go us! Answer the questions on your own blog then scoot back here tomorrow to add you link to the party.  Who thinks we should have some sort of giveaway when we hit 200?

1. I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Would you agree? If not why not?

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birthyear, just the same date/same month.

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?

6.  Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage) 

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Some Fridays I participate in a little writing prompt called 'Five Minute Friday' which is now hosted over on the Heading Home blog. The way it works is you're given a one word prompt, you tell your inner critic to hush, and then you write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. I didn't participate  last week because I had an early appointment, and then the day kind of rolled on from there.  In other words, I wasn't ready.

Coincidentally the prompt on Friday was this word-ready.
Ironic, yes?

I thought I'd chime in on it here today because I've been thinking about that word quite a lot lately, particularly as it relates to my daughter who is getting married in a little less than four months.  Is she ready? Have I done my job as a mother to make her ready?

I read a quote a while back that said-

 'It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now.'  

Not sure I agree with this in it's entirety, but I would say there's at least a kernel of truth in that statement. When I tell people my daughter is getting married they often ask her age, and then proceed to make a judgement call-too old? too young? We all do it, we all have some notion of what the magic age should be to get it just right. She's 26. From where I sit that sounds delightfully young, but in terms of how old is too young to get married, it's not so young.

She's been out of college in the grown up world of work for four years now, living several states away, paying her own bills, managing all the many areas of life that require managing, and doing a great job of it I might add.  So she is officially an adult, not just in years but in maturity.

Is she ready to get married? Is marriage something you can be fully ready for? Isn't marriage a bit of a learn as you go proposition? Ha! Truth y'all.

I don't mean to imply we go in blind, because that's no good. When I look at my daughter I see someone who is confident and comfortable in her own skin. She is not looking for her fiance to define her, entertain her, fix her.  She has a tender heart, a gentle disposition, and a passion for the people who cross her path. She knows how to compromise, fight fair, and is secure in the knowledge that God has a plan for her life.

Does that make her ready for marriage? Or does it simply mean she is ready for what marriage may bring? Because in my mind that's the important thing. And in my experience marriage is full of surprises, only some of which are the good kind. You discover things about a person you didn't know were there, and I'm not talking about in our spouses, although there is that. I'm talking about in our very own selves. Marriage shines a light on the best and worst parts of who we are and sometimes we're not ready for that.

Have I as a mother helped make my daughter ready for married life? I hope so. I pray that is so. I've set an example as a wife which statistics show she will likely follow, for better or worse. My daughter and I had a conversation recently where I was trying to get her to see something in another way. It was a little tense, and later when I thought about it I realized I was trying to get her to learn a lesson I'd learned through years of living. I felt like God was telling me to hush (It took me a minute. Or two)...that I have got to let Him write her story, the one with her name on it, not mine.

I ain't gonna lie...as a mother that's not such an easy thing to do. We know our children intimately, and we think we know what they need now and forever and ever amen. We're older, wiser (sorry kids!) and we've learned a few things the hard way. We look back at our own married life and see things we wish we'd handled with a different action, attitude, or tone of voice, and we know some of what will roll their way as the calendar turns from one anniversary to the next. We review our own marriage film loop and see the good and the hard, the mundane and the unpredictable. As a mother I sometimes want to steer my children around the tough stuff and let them wallow in the beautiful. But!...

There's always a but when I want my way about something. In looking back at my own married life I see so clearly how some of life's stresses and the seemingly hard things we experienced as a young couple were the very things God used to cement us as man and wife. The joys too, but it has been primarily in the shared making of tough decisions, big and little mistakes, and in forgiveness granted, that God has knit us together.

I think back to when I was 26 years young. We'd been married for two years, we'd just purchased our first home, I was working full time, we didn't really know what we were doing, but we were figuring it all out together.  And I was ready for that.

So is my girl.

Dear Darling Daughter1-

When I think about the early days of married life with Daddy I smile. He was just the hubs then, but that title Daddy was out there waiting for him. There is something so sacred about those early years. When you don't know what you don't know and you don't even care that you don't know it. You don't want someone to lay it all out there. You want to savor the now and imagine the future. To dream big dreams and chase them with all you have in you. And you should. Because you are ready. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Feels Like Fall Fragments

I know it's not officially fall, but it sure feels like fall.


Sorry, but that word fits there, don't you think?

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I think a combination of things makes it so...the cooler weather and breezy days, the late afternoon light, the way nature, like we humans, resists the initial change but eventually throws up her hands and dazzles us with color.

It's hard to put into words, but this time of year stirs up my emotions. It's a season made for outdoor fires and blue jeans. Hot tea in a warm mug. Contemplation and reflection. For looking backward and forward and right where you are.

Or maybe that's just me.

Friday fragments are full of fragments and also awkward topic changes.

We're a little late to the game, but hubs and I have recently started watching Homeland on DVD.  Daughter2 bought the first two seasons for hubs birthday, and I finally convinced him this week to unwrap the cellophane and hit play. He doesn't jump on the television bandwagon like most people do, doesn't want to sit for hours and watch an entire series, but we're all in now. It's a little eerie how similar the storyline is to the recent real life Bowe Bergdahl event. I don't know if the similarity will continue (no spoilers please!), but the early part of the plot is frighteningly similar. The first season of Homeland came out in 2012, so this was not a case of art imitating life.

I've been tagged a few times in the 'top ten book' thing that's been making its way round social media, and thought I might as well post my list here too. I don't know what the original instructions were, but here are mine-list ten books you've loved. Books that have meant something to you or books that made you think in a new way or those that touched your heart and soul. Books that have stayed with you.

I didn't think too deeply about my list. These are ten that came to mind, and as it happens about half the titles are books that were read to me as a child-

1.  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
2.  Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
3.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
5.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
6.  Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
7.  Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
8.  My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
9.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel
10.The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

So what titles would make your list of top ten?

In other news, I'm breaking my firm no cooking on a Friday night rule, but I won't be cooking on Saturday night so it all comes out even in the end. That's another thing I love about autumn. I feel inspired to cook. With the gorgeous weather and a chill in the air, dinner at home on this Friday in September sounds cozy. Slow cooked BBQ'd boneless short ribs because I know someone will ask.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Hop over to Half Past Kissin' Time to read more or to add your own fragments while it's still Friday. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Hodgepodge!

It's a big day in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. My Daughter2 is havin' a birthday so whoohoo! Happy birthday to my baby girl. 20-somethings can so still be called your baby girl. No matter what's on the news, my calendar, or my mind, I feel easy breezy light and happy on this day in September, because she makes it so.  

Now on to the Hodgepodge...

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?

We live in what is technically considered a suburb of NYC, so there are quite often reminders of the day as you go about ordinary life here, even on days that are not marked as an anniversary. We'll fly our flag. I'll include families, our servicemen and women, law enforcement and rescue workers in my prayers specifically.  I'll remember where I was and how I felt when I heard the news because it's hard not to remember and feel.  I will hold tight to the promises in God's word.  

2. Do you ever/still...listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a telephone book? Refer to an actual paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?

We have a nice Bose radio in our bedroom that I listen to sometimes when I'm doing housework upstairs. I listen to the radio in my car too. I like radio. 

We still have most of our old home movies on VHS so yes, we still occasionally watch the VCR. I'm supposed to be transferring those to DVD and this question reminded me of that to-do. 

I never use an actual phone book anymore. We get several and they take up space in a kitchen desk drawer, and then new ones come and I switch them out and don't open those either. I think this should be an item we have to request.  Seems like a gargantuan waste of $$$ in 2014. 

We mostly use the GPS, but we do have an actual paper atlas in our car, and have referred to it recently.  Sometimes you just need to see the whole route displayed, and figure out what your options are. 

Hubs sets the alarm clock on the above mentioned radio to get himself up in the morning, and on boot camp days I set my phone alarm since that's earlier than he needs to be up.  Other days I don't set an alarm. I'm an empty nester, remember? 

3. Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion and politics with people you don't know?

Never say never. 
I think it depends on the gathering. 

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?

Chili.  I never make or eat chili in the summertime, but come September and football season and the slow fade to fall, I crave chili. Haven't made it yet, but I will before September is over. 

5. What's something you know nothing about?

Well that's a long list. One thing? How 'bout three off the top of my head-

The history of Micronesia
the inner workings of a rocket-submarine-jet propulsion engine

6. September is Classical Music Month? Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?

I do like classical music, and think it's suited to some occasions more so than others. Beethoven's Ode to Joy  makes me think of Daughter1 on the violin, Daughter2 on the piano, me in the kitchen making dinner. Sweet moments in the middle of long ago busy days.

I love the ballet and so do my girls, so The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky is another favorite. I also love Vivaldi's Four Seasons because it's beautiful. And these days I'm kind of partial to Trumpet Voluntary by Henry Purcell. I walked down the aisle to that one thirty years ago, and think my Daughter1 is considering doing the same. 

7. What's the oldest thing you own?

We have some antiques so in age they're oldest, specifically our clock.  These are not things we've owned the longest, but in terms of their actual age they would be the oldest items in our home. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today my baby girl celebrates a birthday.

Okay, so she's turning 24, but let's pretend she's still this rosy cheeked, wide eyed bundle of adrenaline, with a will of iron and a face full of adorableness.  

Because really, she is.  Oh sure she's grown up in all the ways babies do, but on the inside? She is still this blue eyed beauty who stares back at her momma daring me not to fall head over heels in love. Still so full of confidence, passion, and wit. That will of iron has been forged into the most incredible sense of self-discipline, one I wish I had myself.  

She's still my girl who has always lived large, and is possibly the reason my roots need a professional. Still with those enormous blue eyes and a smile that lights up a classroom, my heart, the world.

A while back she started a blog, but has put it on hold for a while. She's got a brand new dog and a brand new classroom, which feels like a lot just now BUT!...her blog is still up, and I would love for you to hop over there today and flood her comments section with happy birthday wishes.  Here's the link-

Happy Birthday Daughter2!

Being your momma is an honor and a privilege, sometimes an adventure, but always always the great joy of my life.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 189

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then skip back here tomorrow to add your link to the party.  See you there!

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?

2. Do you ever/still...listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a phonebook? Refer to a paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?

3.  Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?

5. What's something you know nothing about?

6. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?

7. What's the oldest thing you own?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Weekend

Since the end of July I have been home exactly 14 days. Not 14 days in a row, but 14 days scattered here and there amongst the 39 my calendar says have passed. You could write your name in the dust on my dining room table.

But! I am home all week and I am happy. And there will be dusting happening round here so whoohoo!

These past few days have been a bit of a blur between the wedding dress adventure and then attending Women of Faith all weekend with my mom. All I can say about both is wow. WOW!

Actually, that's not all I can say because why use one word when you can use two hundred  ten?

Have you ever attended a Women of Faith event? This was my first time, and I absolutely loved it. My mom and I went to the one in the city of Brotherly Love, aka Philadelphia. I'd given my mom the tickets as a Christmas present last year, and it was especially nice having her there with me.

I was familiar going in with most of the speakers, but not all, and I was definitely already a fan of the musicians on the roster. Natalie Grant performed Friday night, and Matthew West on Saturday afternoon, and they were both better than awe.some. I bought five Cd's if that tells you anything.

Yes I still play Cd's, especially in my car where I can play them loud.

My girls are smiling at that last line. They've been jolted out of their skin a time or two upon getting into my car. What can I say? Some music is meant to be played loudly and sung at the top of your lungs in the privacy of your own vehicle.

All the speakers were terrific, but the one who really made me squirm so to speak, was Christine Caine. I wasn't familiar with her story going in, but she is a truly dynamic speaker who made me feel like I needed to leave there immediately and get busy doing. We talk a lot about retirement in our house and what that will look like. One of the things she said in her message was that God didn't create us to retire. He created us to keep going forward, growing, learning, expanding His kingdom. I'm gonna have to let hubs know-ha!

I bought her book, Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win, and it is speaking to me right where I am in this slightly confusing, middle age-empty nest-what's next, season of life.

Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, gave an excellent message on the life of Joseph and how would we respond to life's hard, seemingly unfair circumstances if we lived completely confident in the knowledge that God has a plan? I made a point of meeting him afterwards and got him to sign a copy of his book for me, Plan B.

When I first started my blog back in 2009 I had no idea what I was doing. I was living in England, preparing for a big move back to the states, and I just had so many words in my head that my husband said I really should be blogging. I had only a vague notion of what a blog was, and I guess I never imagined anyone actually reading what I wrote. And if by chance someone did read my words, was I ready for that? To be real and vulnerable the way I think the best writers are? Somehow Pete Wilson landed on my blog in those very early days, and he left me a very encouraging comment about my writing at a time when I was still on the fence about this whole blog thing. I so appreciated that and others who were kind too, when my blog was in its infancy.

It's often the little things, isn't it?

I feel like my mind and my heart are so full today. I'm glad I have some less busy days at home right now so I can mull it all over. Hubs is happy to have me home too.

We had a really wonderful day yesterday watching the Jets beat the Raiders on a gloriously blue sky Sunday afternoon. That 9/11 flag rolled out for all the world to see still does me in.

So what's on your calendar this second week of September? My baby has a birthday this week. She's turning 24, but neveryoumind. She will always be my baby. Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Birthdays, Boating, and Brides Friday Fragment Style

So this happened.

Last weekend, but who's counting? 

Hubs celebrated the turning of a calendar page in his favorite place-

A boat on the water. And when the boat belongs to family you've got icing on the proverbial cake.  Add a daughter to the weekend and life is pretty close to perfect. Two daughters there would have made it so, but we had to settle for almost perfect. 

We did have a nephew on board and he knows how to throw it down. 

We enjoyed sunny afternoons on Paradise Island. 

The raft, not the Bahamas. 
Just as nice. 

We had dinner on the marina pool deck Saturday night. 
The view was free. 

We watched amazing storm clouds bubble and roll late Sunday evening. 

They gave way to spectacular summer weather on Labor Day, marking the end of a fabulous weekend.

I was home for a day, then made my way to D.C. via my mom's in South Jersey, because we had important business to conduct.

Seeing the bride-to-be in her wedding dress.
First official try-on.
Be still my heart.

As you might imagine I have more to say about that, but those thoughts are not fragmented at all, so I'm going to save them for another day.  When I have more time and my hair's not crazy and I haven't been in five states and back again in a three day time period.

My mom and I trekked back to her house in South Jersey on Thursday because we're off to the Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia tonight and tomorrow. Hubs is home minding the store.

I got the tickets for my mom as a Christmas gift last year, and we're so excited. We've never attended a Women of Faith event, but I've heard such wonderful things about them, and the speaker/music line up is awesome.

So what's been keeping you busy? Why not join the party and share your weekend plans, fragment style, over at Half Past Kissin' Time today?  Enjoy!