Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love is in the Hodgepodge Air

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered the questions today add your link, then leave a comment for the blogger who came before you. Comments equal love, or at least in the blog world they do.

Also, please be sure you link back to my blog in your post somewhere. You can copy and paste the badge code from my sidebar easy peasy, or just link readers back here somewhere in your intro.

And I guess I'm going to bring up one more teensy little thing...sometimes people copy my Hodgepodge answers word for word. That's a no-no. Firstly, I'm not that brilliant-ha! But also, the idea is to tell us what you think, and if your thoughts are similar to mine, please still use your own words.

Thanks for playing along today! Here we go-


1. Create an acrostic using the word LOVE. If you're unsure what an acrostic is click here.

Love is....

Listening
Operating from a place of selflessness
Voicing words of affirmation and encouragement
Ever hopeful 

2. Does love really conquer all? Why or why not?

I'm a romantic at heart so my answer might surprise you, but I'm going to say no. I think love conquers much. I think it covers a multitude of sins, but we're human and our words and actions have consequences that love can't always undo, take back, or conquer. Many people divorce someone they love. Human love is extraordinary...remarkable...imperfect.

Now God's love? That's different. I believe God's love can and does conquer all. His love is always sacrificial, always patient, always kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and never ever fails. It's the example we're given to emulate, but we're human, and the words always/never/all are something we fall short of at least some of the time. 

3.Tell us about a time recently, where you really put your heart into something.

Probably the last thing I really put my heart into was the scrapbook I made for my Daughter1 for Christmas. It was filled with a lot of time and much love. 

4.What's your favorite fictional love story?

This is a tough one, but I'm going to say  Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley. Their love grew up beside them. It wasn't a lightning bolt. It was soft and tender and a gradual awakening to the realization that this person known since childhood was undeniably wedged into the deepest corners of the heart. 

5. Do you generally wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your cards close to the vest?

I had to think about this one. I probably hold hurt feelings closer to the vest. Also, I don't have an explosive temper so if I'm angry I generally walk away and simmer in private. Or vent to hubs. Happiness, excitement, exhaustion, surprise...those you can easily read on my face. 

6. What food says love to you? Why?

Thanksgiving dinner. The menu that doesn't change too awfully much from year to year, it's filled with warm, filling, comfort foods eaten on the good china, families gathered round the table. The food and the day in general speak love to me. 

7.When were you last 'tickled pink' over something? Explain.

My daughter2 is a third grade teacher, and I just love hearing about how she handles various situations with her students. Her skill, maturity, wisdom, and humor tickle me pink. Grown up girls bless your heart in a thousand million ways. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I made Mississippi Pot Roast last weekend, and it was so good! This recipe is one of the most pinned recipes on Pinterest, simple to prepare and really tender. While the combination of ingredients sounds a bit odd, something magical happens when they're combined in a slow cooker. They morph into absolute deliciousness. The link to the recipe is pretty much everywhere, but here's the one I followed. You're welcome. 



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 255

Welcome to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers. Be sure to add a link back to my blog so your readers can easily play along too. The badge code is on my sidebar for a simple copy and paste. Here we go-



1. Create an acrostic using the word LOVE. If you're unsure what an acrostic is click here. 

2. Does love really conquer all? Why or why not?

3. Tell us about a time recently, where you really put your heart into something.

4. What's your favorite fictional love story?

5. Do you generally wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your cards close to the vest?

6. What food says love to you? Why?

7. When were you last 'tickled pink' over something? Explain.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, February 8, 2016

So, anyway....

Last week was a wash. Not a literal wash because I think the weather was okay, although I wouldn't know for sure since I spent most of it on the couch with the blinds closed trying to find relief from a headache that would.not.quit. I ran a fever too, which is no fun at all when you're home alone with no one to indulge your need for sympathy.  I might have called my mother.

Aren't mothers the best? Also daughters who live a hundred yards away and bring you chicken noodle soup and popsicles.

Yes. A thousand times yes.

I'm good as gold now and it's a brand new week, so how about I bring everyone up to speed here on this side of the pond?

First things first. Let's start with the hubs. He got a job. Say what??? You heard me correctly. Hubs no longer falls into the category of retired and is a working man once more. Long story short ...

(ish... you know me!)

An opportunity more or less fell into his lap, sounded really interesting, and he accepted their offer.  In that way we like to do things, the company is not actually based here in town. In fact, it's not based here in South Carolina, but pssht, details. They're headquartered in a neighboring state just a car ride away.

His first day of school was last Monday, and so far so good-ha! I mean five days on the job and all. Technically it's work not school, but I imagine it did feel a little bit like returning to the classroom after a long summer holiday. As I mentioned earlier I was in no condition to listen to the details of his first day on the job because I was busy coping with Excedrin headache #39.

Raise your hand if you don't have a clue what that's in reference to.

Secondly. No we're not moving. We're building a house, remember? I mean we will be moving once the house is built, but not to the state where the office sits. Our house is on a lake in SC and our plan is to stay put. We think.

The lake house will eventually be our primary residence, but who knows...down the road we may decide to spend time in job city and time on the lake. We're empty nesters and can do what we want. It's our mantra. Currently we're taking life one week at a time, hubs is learning the requirements of the job, and we're figuring out our personal logistics as we go along.

Logistics are definitely within our skill set so no worries there.

Thirdly. The house. The lower level is framed and please feel free to insert an obnoxious number of exclamation points here. There is honest to goodness concrete on the floors, and we're able to walk from room to room and call each one by name. Very exciting stuff!

On Saturday we took Daughter2 and her boyfriend out to the lot to check progress and it was so much fun to stand in front of my
use your imaginationsliders, and soak in the view.


We still need a few pesky things like walls, windows, electricity, and a second story plus roof, but we're getting there. It's a marathon not a sprint. Haste makes waste. Slow and steady wins the race.

Don't you hate cliches?Why don't 'fast track', make short work of'' and 'fast and furious' apply to home builds? Because it's a marathon not a sprint, that's why.

And now I think you're up to speed...

I had a bug.
Hubs is working.
House is still under construction.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Sense-able Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. I wrote most of this entry last week and saved it in draft, thankfully! I've been sick for a couple of days and am not up for blogging just yet. If you've answered the questions today, add your link at the end of my post, then do your best to visit the blogger linking before you. Happy Wednesday all!


1. Describe love using all five senses-

I'm looking forward to reading answers to this one....

sight-a daughter's face lighting up my phone screen...or better yet, my front door

sound-hubs calling me by my nickname  

smell-the scent of fresh flowers in the house, delivered just because

taste-that first bite of an expertly grilled steak, cooked by the hubs to that perfectly perfect shade of medium rare because he needs it to be exactly right for his girl 

touch-a spontaneous hand hold

2. February is Canned Food Month. What's your favorite food that comes straight from a can?

Del Monte blue lake whole green beans. I can eat them right out of the can and prefer them to fresh most of the time. They must be the whole bean though, not the cut variety. 

3.A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don't wear your pajamas). You can read the letter here. It's gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?

I know I'm probably in the minority here, and I do love to be comfortable, but I think we've gone more than a little bit overboard in this department. I think getting dressed (not dressed up, but yes to putting on actual clothes) tells children school is a place deserving of respect. 

I don't think I've ever run out anywhere in my pjs. That same rule your mama taught you about clean knickers applies to wearing clothes. What if you have car trouble? 

I know there are days, and obviously exceptions (illness for one), but let's be honest...many people turning up at the grocery store or the school yard in pjs, are dressed that way because they didn't feel like putting on real clothes. They see nothing wrong with running errands in pajamas. Hubs and I were out to breakfast last weekend and a middle aged man walked by our booth in his flannel cartoon pjs. Why? 

I don't think it's worth making a federal case over, but I find it a little disappointing we have to tell adults not to wear their pjs out in public. 

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck...which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?

The crew neck is okay, but my preferred neckline is the v-neck. I don't always stand up as straight as I should, and a scoop neck emphasizes rounded shoulders. Also I have a 50+ year old chin, so I only like a turtleneck if it's soft and a bit slouchy. If you're my age, you know what I'm talking about-ha! 

5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. 

Are you guilty of any of these behaviors? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?

Late night snacking isn't a problem for me (late afternoon is my danger zone), and I don't set an alarm, so no issues with the snooze button. I guess I'll say checking social media before bed, although I'm more inclined to play a game of Words With Friends than check Facebook. 

Probably the same principle applies because I'm pretty sure the idea is to quiet your mind and turn off electronics completely. I do make it a point not to look at social media in the morning until I've had my quiet time, but could do better at limiting screen time before bed. 

6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best?

My mother still lives in that house, so it's hard to separate what I remember from all that's come after. Here are a few thoughts that stick out in childhood memory...

The scary basement. I cannot explain why it was scary...maybe that it was unfinished and was a basement? Also the big oak tree at the corner of the back yard, which was technically the neighbor's tree, but under whose enormous canopy my sister and I spent hours playing Barbies and make-believe. My mother's fabulous cooking. Holiday dinners on the good china. Company in the 'fancy' living room. Christmas there too. Feeling safe and loved. Home. 

7.Your favorite movie based on a true story?

It would be hard to choose just one. Some of my true favorites are Apollo 13, The Blindside, The Rookie, and Argo. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

How about something to make you smile? This clip that's had over 6,000,000 views. The song was a favorite in our house once upon a time (and maybe still is, ahem), and she is absolutely too adorable for words.  








Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 254


Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. Here we go-


1. Describe love using all five senses.

2. February is Canned Food Month. What's your favorite food that comes straight from a can?

3. A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don't wear your pajamas) You can read the letter here. It's gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck...which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?

5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. 

Are you guilty of any of these behaviors? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?

6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best?

7.Your favorite movie based on a true story?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Embracing Quiet

I'm giving Five Minute Friday a try again this week. The instructions are simple-write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. Link back to Five Minute Friday and invite others to join in too. Consider yourselves invited. Finally, be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you.

Five minutes of Quiet


The phrase takes me back to mothering small children, back to the days and years I yearned for please just five minutes of quiet.


Almost overnight my girls are grown, and more often than not my house has too much of the quiet I once sought. The same cannot be said for my head. My head does it's best to run a steady soundtrack of everything under the sun.

What do I need at the store? Do I need to do laundry? Married life is hard sometimes. Why did I eat that? Why did I say that? Why didn't I say that? My girls. Are they eating right? Healthy? Content? Locking their doors? Not texting while driving? Seeking God's will for their lives? Am I? What am I doing with my life?

What about...what if...I should...I should have...and round and round it goes. 

I'm reading an interesting book at the moment called The Listening Life-Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction. While I'm not too far in, it's already speaking to me. The author (Adam McHugh) says life in this century often has the feel of an emergency room, with no where to go to escape all the noise. He suspects sometimes too, that the absence of quiet may actually be a reluctance for quiet.

In my case I don't think that's true. I don't try to drown out my internal chatter with a lot of external noise in order to avoid facing my internal chatter. I think I'm guilty of quite the opposite. Of giving too much attention to all my internal chatter. One point the author made that has resonated so deeply with me is this...we won't be transformed by giving voice to all the noise in our souls.

And that's a struggle for me.
To quiet my soul and listen.

Listening is not a passive thing. It requires practice and discipline and most of all obedience. I think it's fair to say I'm still a work in progress.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Blogging AKA The Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Can you believe this time next week we'll be in to the second month of the year? January did not linger. If you've answered the questions here today, add your link at the end of my post. Do your best to drop by and say hi to the blogger who linked before you, because comments make the world go round. The blog world anyway.

Also, I'm wordy today. Some days are like that on From This Side of the Pond.

 

1. Share a winter memory from your childhood.

I remember waking to the magical gift of an unexpected snow day. Of the urgency to hurry through breakfast and put on all those layers in order to get out in it. I remember neighbors up and down the street shoveling sidewalks and drives. I remember building forts made of snow, running from neighbor boys who threw wicked icy fastballs, and sledding with my sister. 


That's me in the blue and my sister in red, standing on a sled. We find something hilarious here, and I wish I knew now what it was. Maybe the notion we were preparing to sled on concrete? Our driveway must have been icy, because I'm not seeing any snow.  I do remember we loved sledding in that saucer.  It was fast and spun like crazy, and all you could do was hold on to the flimsy plastic handles and pray you didn't tip out. It dented easily but you could un-dent it pretty easily too. Do they still make those? 

Also, this picture. Sigh. This is one picture I have of us standing side by side that when I look at it I see my own girls. The unmistakable trace of family around the eyes and nose.  The giggles...the camaraderie...the give and take and push and pull, the deep deep love you feel for that person who grew up beside you.  I see it here. 

2. What was on your blog this time last year? (Besides the Hodgepodge of course!) If you weren't blogging, what in the world were you doing with all that free time?

As it happens I wrote a whole post about this very thing. It was seven years ago this month I started blogging, and I recapped my Januaries here in A Stroll Down Blog Memory Lane.  

Specifically last year though? The wedding of course. 

3.Ellen Goodman is quoted as saying, 'We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.'

Do you see more flaws or potential in your life at the start of a new year? Have you done anything specific this month to address either one? Does the new year truly begin for you on January 1, or is there some other month of the year that feels like a fresh start and new beginning?

I think I see potential in my flaws? Does that make sense? I like the word picture she paints of walking through our lives room by room, and I would say this is something I do beginning in December. I see areas that need improvement and come up with a plan to improve. I'm not always successful at following through with the plan, but I get excited about making the next year better in some way. 

For me September has always felt like the fresh start, clean beginning. There's something about the end of summer, a new school year, the shorter days and cooler nights and the year-end within sight, that makes me feel hopeful. Like change is possible and inevitable and should be pondered and planned for so I'm ready come January. 

4.Who's an athlete you admire or respect and why?

I imagine some people will turn their noses up at this question, because honestly all we seem to hear about are the athletes who misbehave, and it might be hard to come up with one to admire. I think there are many, and I love when successful people use their money and their name and give their time for good. I especially love the stories of generosity and kindness, performed away from the camera, which isn't always easy to do. 

Tim Tebow, the Manning brothers, and Phil Mickleson are all on my list. 

5.Do you like cream in your coffee? Whipped cream on your pumpkin pie? Cream cheese on a bagel? Sour cream on a baked potato? Cream of wheat for breakfast? Have you ever had a scone with clotted cream? Of all the creamy foods mentioned, which one sounds most appealing to you right this very minute?

I love cream in my coffee, but just a splash and only the good stuff please. No flavored creams, no artificial creams, just the deliciousness that is half and half. Whipped cream on my pumpkin pie? Yes! In my case it might make more sense to ask if I like pie with my whipped cream.  No to the sour cream on a baked potato, yes to the cream of wheat, and a yes to the scone with clotted cream. While clotted cream doesn't sound all that appetizing, it is so yummy! 

Right this minute I'm sipping my Tuesday morning coffee with a splash of cream and all is right with the world. Morning coffee is one of life's small pleasures. 

6.Where were you last kept waiting for 'hours on end'? Or for what felt like hours on end? How well did you cope?

I can't think of anything recently, but one that used to get on my nerves was the veterinarian's office. I always, always had a ridiculous wait there, longer than at any 'human' doctor's office I visited. Yes, I know there are emergencies, but there's also overbooking and poor scheduling. 

7.Believe it or not, when next week's Hodgepodge rolls around it will be February. Huh?!? Bid adieu here to January in seven words or less.

One month closer to the lake house! 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm participating again this year, in the April A-Z blog challenge and wonder if anyone else here is doing the same? For those of you who aren't familiar with the challenge, it's a writing exercise where you blog every day in the month of April (except Sundays), using one letter of the alphabet as your daily prompt. April 1 is Letter A and April 30 Letter Z, which is perfect because when you remove Sundays in April you're left with 26 days and 26 letters. For more info or to sign up, click the link posted here. 

I will tell you up front, there is everything under the sun in terms of content in the blog world, and you figure that out pretty quickly in this challenge. In the past couple of years the organizers have very helpfully created categories, so when bloggers sign up they can select one to identity their blog genre...humor, photography, travel, book reviews, memoir, zombies... 

Okay I kid on that last one, but only sort of. Who knew there were so many sci fi/gaming/mythology fans out there in the blogosphere?  My blog defies description (ahem) so I opt not to choose a category. And you can write with a theme in mind, or you can fly by the seat of your pants. 

Guess which kind of blogger I am? 

Actually I always have a general theme, but it's not one thought out too deeply or too far in advance. I'm more of what you might call a free-flowing blogger-ha!, and believe it or not I do have an idea floating around in my head for this year. I just need to decide if I can fill 26 posts on this particular subject or if I'll run out of steam by letter G. We shall see. 

I enjoy this challenge a lot, mostly because it rolls around each year right about the time my blog needs an energy drink. It requires discipline and helps me remember why I like to write.  I've met some lovely folks via the hop each year, so I'm in. Let me know if you're participating and I'll look for you there.