Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Hodgepodge of Fall Favorites

Welcome to Fall y'all! And welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond

1. It's fall y'all! Officially that is and in the northern hemisphere only, so if you're visiting from down under happy spring! Does it feel like fall where you live? Does it look like fall aka are the leaves beginning to change? What is your favorite fall color? Scent? Flavor? 

Today it actually does feel a little like fall, mostly because it's been drizzling all morning and isn't 93 degrees outside. The leaves have not really begun to change, but the light has and that also makes the sky look like fall. We are not too far from the Blue Ridge Parkway and nearby mountains so I'm sure we'll see color there before long. 

My favorite fall color-burnt orange, scent-cinammon  flavor-cranberry

2. What's something you're not?

Mechanically inclined?

3. Share a favorite quote related to fall and tell us why it's a favorite. 

"The earth has music for those who listen." William Shakespeare  

Maybe not strictly in Autumn, but I do think especially in Autumn. 

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite fall meal? 

I love all the soups, stews, and chili on the menu this time of year, but my favorite is probably homemade vegetable beef. I especially love Paula Deen's recipe found here. I do not add all the salts she lists, but adjust to our personal taste. Definitely make it with the short ribs because they take the flavor to another level.  

5. Share a favorite photo you took last fall? 

Obviously I didn't take this picture, but I do love it. Hubs and I had taken the little red car for a spin up the nearby mountain road and it was glorious. We asked someone at the lookout to take our picture, November 2020. 


6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I know this was my random thought last week, but y'all!...our pup has made it into the top twenty thanks to the persistent voting of friends and strangers so I'm sharing again in case you want to get in on the fun. The link for voting is here-Garden and Gun and voting is free. Voting runs until October 8th, and you can vote once an hour. 



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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

If There's A Birthday There's Gonna Be A Birthday Recap

My brother phoned last night and asked how I'd celebrated and I told him it was ongoing- ha! Truly I feel like it started last Wednesday and carried on through Monday. I took almost no pictures the entire weekend (week???) but if I had you would likely be seeing a lot of food shots. 

Last Wednesday my neighbor took me out to lunch. We've been like ships passing this last month and it was so nice to sit and catch up on all the goings on in our lives. Thursday evening hubs and I drove into the nearby big small town for dinner with our builder and his wife. We have remained friends and she is currently helping me with a slow re-do of my office space (eventually there might be pictures) but mostly we just enjoy one another's company and have a lot in common so a fun night. 

Friday I went to lunch with some college friends who live in roughly the same geography as I do. We were all in the same sorority way back when and can sometimes still act like we're 20 years old when we get together. Except now we also lament our failing eyesight, share in the joys of retirement life, catch up on the well-being of our aging parents, and vow to get together more often. 

If you've read here for a while you know hubs always makes sure there's cake, a specific cake that I love which is chocolate with a raspberry filling and a chocolate ganache poured over all.  This year he asked the baker to decorate with books and so besides being delicious it was super cute too. We invited the next door neighbors over to share and hubs and I might still be enjoying it one small sliver at a time. 

We haven't even gotten to my actual birthdate yet. 

Saturday! My birthday! Both my girls phoned and we facetimed with the grandboys who were very excited about their card...Nana Nana Bo Bana, Banna Fanna Fo Fana, Nana...so cute, especially when sung by an almost 2-year old. Course the card did not arrive until Monday and Daughter2's gift is still out there floating from place to place up and down the east coast and what in the world is going on with the mail anymore???

No matter, because I like my birthday to last lol. 

Hubs and I took a short day trip to the neighboring state of North Carolina and the charming little town of Brevard. I'd never been and everyone here loves it and it's just about an hour from us so not a bad drive. We parked on Main Street and meandered in and out of shops, finally having lunch at Rocky's before heading back home. 

I'd say the only negative to the visit there was all the mask on/mask off as you go in and out of shops. Most required masks and we live in SC where most do not and it was a lot of on/off on/off and raise your hand if you're past ready for it all to miraculously go away. 

Some neighbors had invited us over for an at-home tailgate party to watch the hometown team play Georgia Tech. The hometown team should have walloped them but instead eeked out a win by the skin of their teeth. There was also a pesky two hour delay mid-game due to lightning so we left early and watched to the bitter, nail-biting end at home. 

With birthday cake so not complaining. 

Sunday we went to church, then it was my week to deliver the sanctuary flowers to some folks unable to attend, then hubs and I had brunch followed by a ridiculously fabulous nap on the couch. Sundays don't get much better than that! 

And then on Monday morning I woke up to this-

What a grand and glorious way to begin a brand new year, wouldn't you say? 

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 435

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. See you there!

1. It's fall y'all! Officially that is and in the northern hemisphere only, so if you're visiting from down under happy spring! Does it feel like fall where you live? Does it look like fall aka are the leaves beginning to change? What is your favorite fall color? Scent? Flavor? 

2. What's something you're not? 

3. Share a favorite quote related to fall and tell us why it's a favorite. 

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite fall meal? 

5. Share a favorite photo you took last fall? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Good Old Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. The link continues being contrary and wants to open in a new window. That works though, so keep calm and link on...here we go- 

From this Side of the Pond

1. How would you define 'old'? At what age is someone old? 

A complicated question, one even experts around the world cannot agree upon. I think life is essentially a three-parter...you're young, you're middle aged, you're old. The word old has negative connotations so we hesitate to say that out loud, but we don't live forever, nor do we stay young forever. 

I'm not sure I can put a number on old. I know vibrant, energetic, healthy 80-year old people and frail and fragile 60-year old people.  Old to me is linked to our mental and physical health and that's different for everyone. That being said 40 isn't old and 80 isn't young. 

2. A place you've been that's old? Tell us something about your visit there. 

What's old? Is 200 years old or is 1200 years old? I guess both are true. Even when you're talking buildings old is a relative term. 

I've been to so many old and interesting places (some would even be termed ancient) that it's hard to zero in on just one. I love an ancient castle, the ruins of an ancient castle, tell tale signs the Romans once stood where you are standing now, old churches and cathedrals and really just take me back to Europe please, pre-pandemic of course. I've also been to parts of Asia and loved seeing the beauty of the old world mixed with modern day there. 

                                                 12th century ramparts over Provins, France 2009

Athens, 2007

Okehampton Castle, Devon, UK 2008
built between 1068-1086


Yu Garden, Shanghai, 2012
completed in 1577

I could post a hundred pictures, but I'll stop at four. 

3. Something you miss about the 'good old days'? When were they anyway? 

In answering this question I had to remind myself there's good and bad in every decade. While there are things I might long for from days gone by, no era is all sunshine and roses. 

I'm going to say the 'good old days' were somewhere back before the Internet ruled the world. I appreciate the internet as much as the next person, but it's a different world we are living in with the universe at our fingertips. 

Things were simpler. Your car didn't run on a computer, your oven didn't run on a computer, you weren't available by phone-text-email 24/7, you didn't have to download an app to make a purchase or log in to your medical chart or remember what you changed the password to when your account was hacked..we knew how to wait and waiting is a lost art in the age of instant everything. 

4. In what way are you a 'chip off the old block'? Or if you'd rather, in what way is your child a 'chip off the old block'? 

I am my mother's daughter in so very many ways. If you want to know all the very many ways you can read the post I wrote for Mother's Day, 2017. The link is here-One Of These Things Is A Lot Like The Other.  

5. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale...choose an 'old' phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain. 

I was reading about some of the old wives tales related to aging and whether or not there was any truth to them. Can you tell I have a birthday coming up soon? We've all heard it said 'you're only as young as you feel' and apparently that one is mostly true. I mean there are candles on the cake regardless, but staying active, grateful and optimistic help us feel young at heart. 

Then there's the one that says if you pluck a gray hair out ten more will grow in it's place. I'm here to tell you the gray hair grows whether you pluck it or not. Experts say this one isn't true but add you may end up with thinning hair if you keep plucking, so do yourself a favor and don't. 

Finally, how about that old wives tale that says  smiling too much will give you wrinkles. Sadly this is true, but let's agree to smile anyway. Who wants to live to be 100 in a world where everybody's cranky? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Our super sweet pup (Hunley) is currently entered in a good dog photo contest hosted by Garden and Gun Magazine. 


Voting is free and he appreciates the love. If you would like to vote you'll find the link here- Garden and Gun 

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 434

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers. See you there! 


1. How would you define 'old'? At what age is someone old? 

2. A place you've been that's old? Tell us something about your visit there. 

3. Something you miss about the 'good old days'? When were they anyway? 

4. In what way are you a 'chip off the old block'? Or if you'd rather, in what way is your child a 'chip off the old block'? 

5. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale...choose an 'old' phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Quiet Spaces and Everyday Graces

This blog has felt a bit quiet in terms of content lately, which is why I signed up for the five-day #hopewriterlife challenge. Ironically, the first word prompt is 'quiet'. 

Hmmm. 

It's never really quiet here. Our calendars are full and usually our guest rooms too, so I'm always looking for blank space somewhere. After a whirlwind August, a whirlwind summer actually, we were forced into a period of rest and stillness by hubs aching back and our dog's emergency belly surgery. 

I don't believe God sent hubs back out of whack or caused the dog to eat that mysterious bit of foam he attempted unsuccessfully to digest, but I do think He uses these types of things to slow us down, to remind us rest is good for the body and soul, and that we need times of quiet to process all the noise of this world. 

Sometimes it feels like there's no escaping the noise, but there's certainly no escaping it when you never remove yourself from it. I have a lot of thoughts, hubs might say too many-ha! and writing has always been a way for me to focus all those thoughts into something that makes sense. 

There are days where not a lot happens here. Most days I'd venture to say, and I imagine most of you would say the same. Life is much more a series of small moments rather than big events, less earth shattering happenings, more laundry and to-do lists. While writing about the everyday ordinary may seem frivolous given the times in which we live, ordinary is nearly always where I land. 

When I write I like to imagine my grandchildren reading my words decades down the road. What do I want them to know about me? What do my words say about the person their grandmother was in the middle of an all CAPS-exclamation point world?

I want them to know my hand was always reaching for the volume, turning it down as I floated into the bright blue beauty of a September day. That I saw mountains meeting clouds and felt small as I remembered where my help comes from. 


That I never stopped looking for quiet spaces in a too noisy world. That contentment lives there, in the most ordinary of days.   

Friday, September 10, 2021

Ten On The Tenth Birthday Style

Today Daughter2 celebrates her birthday, and the one thing she always requests on her special day is a blog post from her momma. I may have fallen down the rabbit hole reading back through twelve years of birthday posts here because TIME! How it flies and changes and grows us all up.  

Since her birthday conveniently falls on the 10th lets go with a list of 10 things today. 

1. When I started this blog twelve years ago she was a college sophomore. Huh? 

 
Those college years feel like a lifetime ago, and I guess in many ways they were. She celebrated that birthday on this side of the pond while hubs and I blew kisses across the ocean from our home in England.  

2. She still lives a distance but technology has come a long way since 2009. 


One of my friends recently put it this way...distance is a bother, not a barrier to having a close relationship with your grown children and that's so true. What you poured into them as they were growing up comes back to you in the most wonderful of ways. 

3. She was home for a week this summer to welcome her sister, brother-in-law, and most especially her nephews stateside. 


The cutest grandboys in the world are as busy as can be and when she left to return to her own home hubs and I looked at each other and said we couldn't have done it without her. We laughed, but only sort of because she truly is the most capable person we know. 


4. She is the absolute best at getting things done. Need someone to make dinner? run to the store? wrestle an almost two year old down to be changed? get a wonky toy working? read a story for the 817th time? take charge when you try to slice your finger off?, solve a problem, keep a secret, make you laugh?...well she's your girl.  

5. I remember when she was in middle school she had a white board next to her bed and before going to sleep she would make a list of everything she needed to do the next day. The list always started with-

         1. wake up

I smile just thinking about it, but also this is her in a nutshell. She has always shown us life is meant to be tackled, embraced, jumped into with both feet.

6. She's a beauty. 


And it is not just skin deep.

7. She teaches, reads, bakes, and naps like it's her job. One of those things really is her job. 

8. She loves dogs, books, sharpies, Jesus, and hot tea with her momma in the late afternoon. She is the best at making a new plan when a new plan must be made. 

9. I asked her sister what her favorite thing is about Daughter2 and she said, "She's the first person I want to share any news with, good or bad. And she always takes my side, even if I'm wrong.' Ha! 

She added, 'So thankful she's mine.'

Yes ma'am. Aren't we all?

10. She is chatty, faithful, and determined...the best friend, the sweetest sister, the much adored aunt . She is confidante, truth teller, joy bringer, a day brightener ... 


...and oh so loved. 

Happy birthday sweet girl! May all your wishes come true xo


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Ten Times The Fun In The Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. The last couple of weeks the link has loaded a bit funny, in that it opens in a new page. I have unchecked the box that allows this to happen, but it happens anyway? It may or may not happen today, but if so just click where it tells you to click and you'll be able to add your link there in the usual way. And don't forget to leave a comment for the blogger before you...here we go-

From this Side of the Pond

1. Something you've done recently that required you giving 110% ?

Everything? Ha! These past couple of weeks have been a doozy between hubs having back issues and a dog that requires 24/7 care/observation/monitoring. But we're giving it 110% because sometimes life is easy peasy and sometimes it's not. 

2. What task-sport-chore-hobby-activity have you participated in or completed, that if judged, would land you a perfect 10?  

Is porch sitting an activity? If so I'm for sure a 10. 

3. What are ten of your favorite things right now? 

This is a question I could definitely overthink so I'm going with a stream of consciousness kind of answer. In no particular order...

less humidity, lobsters at my front door courtesy of my neighbor, God's word, facetime, mid-day phone calls, our military, fresh from the garden produce, the way a cup of tea makes me feel better about most everything, changing seasons, daughters



4. Nine times out of ten I _________________________.

... fall asleep before the movie ends. 

5. Where were you when the world stopped turning, twenty years ago this week? 

Twenty years. It's still hard to think about that day, and with the current situation in Afghanistan it all feels fresh again. I heard someone speak to military folks who might be feeling like their service in Afghanistan these past twenty years was all for naught, and why that's so not true. 

For two decades children have been born and raised in an America where the threat of another attack wasn't on their radar thanks to the men and women who stood watch. Their service and their sacrifice allowed children to grow up without that particular anxiety, and how do you put a price on that?

Twenty years ago I was the Director of a church preschool and kindergarten located just outside of D.C. Many families in our school worked in the Pentagon or were Secret Service Agents so it felt very personal to us. At the time we didn't even have a radio in our office so when we noticed our copier repairman just sitting in his car outside our building we were annoyed. When he finally came in he broke the news to us and life shifted. 

There is America before 9/11 and America after 9/11 and they are not the same. 

I am thinking this week of all who lost so much on that day, of the bravery of our police-fire-and first responders-who ran in when everyone was running out. Of our military men and women who gave so much and those in harms way today. I am praying this week especially for peace all around the world and for revival in our nation.  

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This little punkin celebrates a birthday later this week...

I'm sure I'll write a post on the actual day because she expects it and I don't like to disappoint, but if you have a chance hop over to her blog today (It's Elementary) and leave a happy birthday wish. She might be a grown up married Mrs. now, but she is still this adorable. 


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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 433

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the world wide webbers. See you there! 

1. Something you've done recently that required you giving 110% ?

2. What task-sport-chore-hobby-activity have you participated in or completed, that if judged, would land you a perfect 10?  

3. What are ten of your favorite things right now? 

4. Nine times out of ten I _________________________.

5. Where were you when the world stopped turning, twenty years ago this week? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Quietly Living In A Noisy World

I was going to post a Thursday Thirteen yesterday, which is something bloggers used to do every Thursday, but when I typed the number it felt all wrong so I'm just going to wing it with some Friday random instead. 

Hubs and I went out for dinner Wednesday night to celebrate his birthday, a lovely local spot we enjoy. When we walked in we saw this-

At first I thought it odd they had a table reserved for someone right in the entryway because who would want to sit there, but then I registered the sign and the beer and my heart felt heavy with sadness. I'm glad the restaurant set the table, in their own way acknowledging the sacrifices made and the pain still so raw. While I know we want to put our heads down and pretend this didn't happen the way it happened, I for one hope we don't forget. 

We're such a fickle people, so easily distracted. I know it seems we wake up every day to some new awfulness we need to wrap our brains around, but I pray we don't forget these soldiers. So young and by all accounts proud to serve their country, proud to be helping people fleeing a country overrun by terror. Let's not forget. 

We've pretty much been at home this week keeping a watchful eye on our pup. He had a follow up visit with the vet yesterday who said things are looking much better than they were a few days ago, but we still have a ways to go in terms of healing. He has been mostly cooperative and for that we are grateful. 

It is so nice living in almost the same time zone as my daughter1. She has been facetime-ing us late morning and nobody is just waking up or just going to bed. So much easier for everyone than the crazy am/pm differences we've had these past two years, and it's especially fun to think I'll see them in person before the month is out. 

It's tea time. All summer I drink a late afternoon iced coffee until suddenly I don't want iced coffee, I want hot tea. It's still hot and humid here, maybe more so than it's been this entire summer, but there's something about the way the light changes in September, children returning to school, knowing fall is almost upon us even if the thermometer says otherwise, that says it's time for tea. 

This is interesting, right? 

Who else feels like they've watched every movie new, old, and older on Prime and Netflix during Covid? We do a lot of scrolling these days but nothing jumps out at us. We've started a couple of series recently but our interest wanes and we set it aside thinking maybe we'll come back later and finish but then we don't. If you are watching something great let me know. 

Speaking of Covid, how's everyone coping? What a mess. Honestly everything under the sun feels a bit of a mess right now, and we're bombarded with seemingly endless noise every which way we turn. I've been thinking about how to live quietly, and of course social media leaps to mind. 

I remember when I first joined Instagram, all the beauty there. It was almost entirely photographs, lovely images of faraway places, meals lovingly prepared, cozy home spaces that inspired, and that appealed to me. Like most things on the Internet it's become harsher and louder and as a result, less beautiful. 

There's a time for every season, and maybe that includes social media too. 

My daughter and I were talking recently about all the things in the world that threaten to overwhelm us, and how most of those things are completely outside of our ability to change or control. She told me in these troubled times she is taking this verse to heart-

"And aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands as we have instructed you." 1 Thessalonians 4:11 

A gentle reminder not to complicate things, but to care for and tend to the people and the work right in front of us. This we can do...

And it is beautiful. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

An Apple A Day...

...keeps the Hodgepodge in play. Welcome to a brand new month and another edition of the weekly Wednesday random. If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my post, then spread a little cheer by leaving a comment for the blogger before you. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond

1. As we begin this brand new month tell us, on a scale of 1-10, where does your life fall in terms of being in 'apple pie order'? Please elaborate. (1=nowhere near it, 10=practically perfect in every way)

If you read my Monday post then you know we're not a 10. Is anyone's life ever really a 10? I have managed to book a number of appointments for September, some of them had been hanging over my head for a while, so that feels like putting at least one or two things into apple pie order. My house currently is not in apple pie order, but once the dog recovers we will tackle that.  Let's say 7. 

2. An apple a day keeps the doctor away...are you doing your part? Red or green? Sweet or tart? Ever played the game Apples to Apples? Do you like apple pie? If so, ala mode or just gimme the pie? 

Am I doing my part? Most days I have an apple for a snack so if that's what counts then yes. I prefer a tart red for eating and a Granny Smith green for baking, but I like all kinds of apples. Yes I've played Apples to Apples, but not in a long time. And who doesn't like apple pie? I prefer mine with a scoop of vanilla but plain is okay too. 

3. Tell us about a time recently where you 'upset the apple cart' or the last time someone 'upset your apple cart'? 

I'm someone who tries hard not to ever upset the apple cart. I like order, routine, and plans and I don't want to be the person who wrecks any of that for someone else.  I guess we could all say Covid  upset the apple cart, with so many plans-events-things on the calendar that had to be cancelled, rescheduled, or just plain gotten over. It reminds me of the book by Dr. Seuss, 10 Apples Up On Top...

4. What are three words that come to mind when you think of September? 

bravery, birthdays, back-to-school

5. What are you most looking forward to this month? 

I bet you thought I was going to say my birthday didn't you? 

I'm going to say my birthday. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Today this guy marks another trip around the sun-

Still and always pulling everyone into the fun...happy birthday hubs! 


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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 432

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to add your link and share your answers. See you there!

1. As we begin this brand new month tell us, on a scale of 1-10, where does your life fall in terms of being in 'apple pie order'? Please elaborate. (1=nowhere near it, 10=practically perfect in every way)

2. An apple a day keeps the doctor away...are you doing your part? Red or green? Sweet or tart? Ever played the game Apples to Apples? Do you like apple pie? If so, ala mode or just gimme the pie? 

3. Tell us about a time recently where you 'upset the apple cart' or the last time someone 'upset your apple cart'? 

4. What are three words that come to mind when you think of September? 

5. What are you most looking forward to this month? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Dog Days Of Summer

Wow. There's a whole lot going on in the world and it's all kind of depressing isn't it? We have to work at staying positive amid all the negative and that's wearing us out too. I know not everyone who reads here shares my beliefs, but when life feels overwhelming I quiet the noise in my head and my social media feed and on the television screen and I read the Psalms. 

Even when circumstances feel hopeless they are not hopeless. God is still on His throne and none of what is happening with wars and pandemics and hurricanes is a surprise to Him. I hope each one of you reading here knows He is for you. Psalm 91 is especially comforting right now... 

'I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 
"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Not precisely where I intended to go today, but how can I not? How can I talk about ordinary life when the world around us feels anything but? 

Let's talk about my dog. The one we didn't want but who is now hubs best buddy and the one he doesn't want to be without. He's puny. Very very puny. A week ago he had emergency surgery on his belly and to be honest it is still a mess. 

The day we left the lake to drive over to TN we noticed the pup was eating grass. If you have dogs you know this is what they do when their stomach isn't right and they need to throw up. He never did throw up and was good as gold on the three hour car ride to Tennessee but wasn't really himself either. We chalked it up to too much attention from the grandboys, too many people doing too many things, and most of all not enough time with the hubs. 

My sister-in-law loves this dog as if he were her own, and in fact regularly threatens to kidnap him. We  love leaving him there when we travel because he is spoiled and cared for as if he were at home. The night before we were to leave their house to drive another three hours to my daughter's house he got sick. Nothing crazy but right away hubs said he thought maybe he ate something he shouldn't have. 

He knows this dog well. 

The pup had just spent more than  a week in the middle of tinker toys and Lincoln logs and tiny little magnetic pieces and all sorts of other tempting treats, and while we hadn't seen him snatch anything, we did consider the possibility. Still he was eating and doing all the things dogs do so we also thought it might be a case of the nerves/motion sickness/too many treats. 

He was sick as a dog, no pun intended, the four days we were away, but still trying to eat and do all the things dogs do so we called our vet who said let it run it's course unless certain symptoms appear. Monday my sister-in-law called and said they were taking him over to the emergency vet they had used a few years prior, and he was immediately admitted. They gave him fluids and did an ultrasound but could not see any blockage so diagnosed it as severe gastroenteritis. 

Is this tmi? Perhaps, but I'll continue anyway. 

They kept him overnight and did another x-ray in the morning, and sure enough there was definitely a blockage of some kind which meant surgery. They were unable to identify precisely what he had ingested, but it appeared to be some sort of foam something. He spent another couple of nights in the hospital and then we picked him up on Wednesday and made the drive back to SC. 

The incision looks awful, but after another trip to our own vet here, then several calls over the weekend (why is it always a weekend??!!) with our retired vet (thanks to our neighbors who are personal friends of his!!) we've kept him home, kept him as still as we can which basically means we don't take our  eyes off of him for one single second, kept his meds current, and then hubs sends photos to the vet to see if we need to come in before our recheck on Thursday. 

It's pitiful y'all. So so pitiful. Also messy, expensive, and painful. 


While it's most certainly not the worst thing on a list of worst things in the world right now, it's our thing and it's one more thing, and I think of everyone out there right now dealing with their own things on top of the world things and and and...deep breath everyone....

'I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 
"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Thursday, August 26, 2021

About Last Week And Also Today

What a sad day. My heart breaks for the many families getting that horrible phone call, and also for our nation, which seems to spin a little more out of control every day. In this season of turmoil I want to keep my eyes on the God of the universe. He is good and He is sovereign, even when our TV screens tell us to believe otherwise. 

Blogging feels out of place on a day like today, but that is the thing about life. It's beautiful and terrible all at the same time and I write to remember both. 

A little over a week ago we made the trek with Daughter1 and her boys to Tennessee, stopping for two nights with hubs brother and sister-in-law so they could meet 'Max' and catch up with the mancub. My mother-in-law also lives in that same town so she was able to have time with her great grandsons too.  

The sun shone and these little men slept in yet another new place (their 8th since May!) without batting an eye and we had a wonderful time together. 

My son-in-law had gone on to the new house in another part of the state so he could get the keys to the house they rented sight unseen, meet the utility guys for water and electric connections, and tell the movers bringing their air shipment and their storage unit where things should go. Their household goods arriving by sea were to be delivered today, and the in-laws made the trip over yesterday to help with that. 

Moving is never a simple thing, particularly when you've been living abroad and the air conditioner goes out the second day you're there and the house is basically the temperature of the sun until it's repaired. We survived though, and I would say we even thrived in this lovely new space with a ginormous play room and an honest to goodness back yard. 

Hubs made one thousand trips to Lowes and unpacked their garage while they went to buy a car to park there. We ate ice cream with sprinkles...

And squeezed in a walk at a nearby park with its cool dark cave and a pond filled with turtles and blooming things. 

The mancub started preschool because resilience is his middle name...

We read a million books and laughed a lot because these little boys are the absolute best, most entertaining people we know. We went to bed ridiculously early every single night because we were all completely worn out by sunset. 

I have been thinking a lot today about this big little town where they will live these next two years. A 'military town' where everywhere you look you see the US flag flying and guys in baseball caps that read US Army. Lots of tattooed arms and crew cuts. Friendly people who knock on your new front door and say welcome to the neighborhood with a box of donuts because they've been where you've been and they get it. 

A town where most everyone has some sort of tie to one branch of service or another, and my heart aches for them today. So many armchair pundits and even many of our politicians have no clue what day to day life is like for active duty military families, which makes days like today extra hard and frustrating. 

Those who live it though? They understand and support one another in ways that truly matter. They will feel today right down to their marrow and will resolve to keep being brave and proud and true. 

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Getting Schooled In The Hodgepodge

Note: I somehow set the link list to open on a separate page today. It's there! Just click the link...

To say there has been a lot going on here would be an understatement. So much to blog about, but for now let's just go with the Hodgepodge. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post then kindly leave a comment for the blogger before you. The world needs more kindness right about now, don't you think? Here we go- 

From this Side of the Pond

1. Is school back in session where you live? Is everyone in person or does your system still offer a virtual option? Are kids wearing masks? 

Schools are in session and in person where we live. Masks are optional, encouraged but not required. I think the system here does have some additional precautions in place including no field trips and limiting building access to anyone considered non-essential. I'm glad students have returned to school. 

2. Something you still do 'old school'? 

Keep a paper calendar. I do add appointments to my phone calendar when I make them, but day to day I operate from the pretty planner on my desk. 

3. One lesson you've learned in the 'school of life'?

Travel broadens your horizons, your perspective, your sense of gratitude and wonder. 

4. When you were in school did you pack a lunch or buy a lunch? Your favorite thing to see on the lunch menu or inside your lunchbox back in the day? 

In elementary school I walked home for lunch, but in Junior High and High School I generally brought my lunch from home. My favorite thing to see when I opened my brown bag was an egg salad sandwich and a Drakes Ring Ding. 
 
5. August is National Family Fun Month. Tell me something fun you’ve done this month. 

Y'all. This will take more than a sentence. It has been a fun full month of family comings-goings-doings but for the sake of brevity and an answer to this question here's a snapshot-


6. Insert your own random thought here.

My favorite teacher met her new students today-


And for students everywhere, taken from The Book of Common Prayer-

"God,
you see your children growing up
in an unsteady and confusing world;
Show them that your ways
give more life than the ways of the world,
and that following you is better
than chasing after selfish goals.
Help them to take failure, 
not as a measure of their worth, 
but as a chance for a new start.
Give them strength to hold their faith in you,
and to keep alive their joy in your creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 431

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there! 


1. Is school back in session where you live? Is everyone in person or does your system still offer a virtual option? Are kids wearing masks? 

2. Something you still do 'old school'? 

3. One lesson you've learned in the 'school of life'? 

4. When you were in school did you pack a lunch or buy a lunch? Your favorite thing to see on the lunch menu or inside your lunchbox back in the day? 
 
5. August is National Family Fun Month. Tell me something fun you’ve done this month. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Coasting Into The Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered today's questions, add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for your neighbor there. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond

1. Monday, August 16th was National Roller Coaster Day. Are you a fan? Did you celebrate? Last place/time you rode a roller coaster?

Not a fan and did not celebrate. Honestly I'm okay with never riding another roller coaster ever. It's just not something I enjoy, and it's been a long time since I was coerced into riding one. I think it was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Paris in 2007.

2. Tell us about a time in your life where it felt like you were figuratively riding a roller coaster. 

Maybe planning a wedding during a pandemic? The rules seemed to change on a daily basis in terms of what was and was not permitted or even wise, and the guest list was in a constant state of flux up until the day of. But it all worked out in the end and was a beautiful day and event. 

3. Favorite treat to eat at an amusement park or state fair? 

cotton candy

4. Are you easy to get along with? Elaborate. 

I think so. I suppose hubs might disagree ha!, but overall I am easy to get along with. I'm pretty low maintenance and dislike conflict so am generally happy to go along with things that are minor in terms of life's big picture. 

5. Something on your calendar to see-do-read-accomplish or just enjoy before month's end? 

I'm looking forward to seeing my daughter's new house. They are mid-move and we are helping in whatever way we can. Excited to see them settled and making a home in a nearby state. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed with all that is going on in the wider world right now, are struggling with how to pray, you might find this site helpful-5 Prayers to lift up for Afghanistan. 

"This is my Father's world:
O let me n'er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
God is the Ruler yet."


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 430

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. See you there! 

1. Monday, August 16th was National Roller Coaster Day. Are you a fan? Did you celebrate? Last place/time you rode a roller coaster? 

2. Tell us about a time in your life where it felt like you were figuratively riding a roller coaster. 

3. Favorite treat to eat at an amusement park or state fair? 

4. Are you easy to get along with? Elaborate. 

5. Something on your calendar to see-do-read-accomplish or just enjoy before month's end? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Love Actually

Love is in the air this month in all kinds of wonderful ways. Last Sunday family and friends gathered to shower my niece with love and housewares, as you do when someone is preparing to marry. There was brunch and there was beauty in being together and there were bridesmaids who are cousins, pictured here with their grandmother-

But who in our minds eye sometimes still look like this-


In other love-ly news Daughter1 and her family shifted their suitcases to the in-laws house last Monday. All grandparents need to experience the excitement of waking up to little boys who are into everything as soon as their feet hit the floor, plus someone might be needing a nap on the couch so they're ready for round two. 

And by someone I mean us, not the toddlers-ha!


We did our best to snap a photo with my mom and her great-grandsons before they headed across town, resorting to a cup of popcorn bribe if everyone would sit on the bench for a minute. And it sorta kinda worked. Toddler boys are not big on sitting for pictures in case anyone wondered, but these are keepsakes for me nonetheless. 


So so special.

My mom stayed on at the lake for a few days and we had the best time sipping coffee on the porch, watching our very busy hummingbirds overeat, playing lots and lots of cards, and even doing a little bit of shopping. 

We are never to old to appreciate our mother's love. 

Friday night was golden. Hubs and I were invited to attend a 50th wedding anniversary party given in honor of one of my Bible Study friends and her husband. Their children planned the loveliest celebration and I have been thinking about it ever since. 

All of the couple's children, their children's spouses, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren were present which is a gift in itself. On top of that though, it was truly special to hear children and grandchildren and even in-law grandchildren all speak about the loving and Godly example the 'bride and groom' have been to their family. 

According to the US Census Bureau fewer than 5% of marriages make it to the 50 year mark, which is a rather sad and sobering number, and why it feels so very right to acknowledge God's faithfulness along the way. I think it's good to hear wedding vows spoken aloud from time to time. 

A reminder to those of us who are married what it was we committed to 50 years ago or thirty-seven years ago or even just a few months ago. What we are committed to still. 

I left thinking about my own legacy and hoping my girls and my grandchildren, my future grandchildren, and my future great grands speak of me and the hubs with the same sort of love and gratitude we witnessed Friday night. 

It doesn't just happen though...it takes a lifetime of pushing through the hard things, celebrating the bright moments, of trusting God and seeking His wisdom day by day. 

"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14