Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 404

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! 

From this Side of the Pond

1. What's something we'd find you doing most afternoons? 

2. Who do you take after? In what way(s)? 

3. 'After every storm comes a rainbow' or 'the calm before the storm'...which phrase do you relate to more right now? Tell us why? 

4.What are your plans for the day after tomorrow? 

5. Complete this sentence-"After all is said and done_____________________."

6. Insert your own random thought here. 



Monday, January 18, 2021

Good Things Come In Small Packages

Where to begin? My head is swimming and I need a nap, but I know from experience if I don't start to put some of my wedding-related thoughts into words the blog mountain will grow and feel insurmountable. I'm sure I'll write several posts diving into all the fun details but I need to start somewhere so let's start here.  

We hosted a wedding this past weekend. Yes. In the middle of a pandemic. And it was all the things a wedding should be...sacred and serious and beautiful and fun. So much fun! 

It was also small. Should weddings be small? Let's start there because I have a few things to say about that. 

If you know us in person you know we're social people. We've moved a lot and have friends scattered around the globe, and our daughters are both social creatures as well, with lots of friends scattered around the globe, and in fact our daughter1, the brides sister and bestest friend in the whole wide world is herself around the globe, which I'll get to in a minute, but the point is we like people. We like parties, social gatherings, laughing, dancing, music, and great big bunches of our friends and family in the same place at the same time. 

In 2021 that is just not meant to be. So what do you do? Do you postpone? Until when? Until summer? Next year? Nobody seems to know, and so we make a choice. We set new expectations and we laser in on the truly important. We find new ways of celebrating and marking life's milestones because by golly, they need to be celebrated and marked. 

Daughter2 and her oh so special groom joined hands and lives to become Mr. and Mrs. on a blue sky January day.  I think we all wondered how this wedding would look and how it would feel and I am here to tell you it looked amazing and it felt fabulous. 

For the record, I don't have many photographs to share because everyone was fully present which is how a wedding should be. I'm sharing a few phone snaps people have given me, but our fab photographer uses real film so the professional shots will take some time. 

We would not have chosen a small wedding were it not for Covid, but I can honestly say I loved everything about the size of our gathering. It was so wonderfully intimate and the venue was gorgeous. 

Then there was the bride. This girl was positively beaming, relaxed and happy as she marched confidently through the door God opened many months prior. She and her groom were able to thoroughly enjoy time with each other and with every guest present. We all were and that is so very special and something we've all taken away from the weekend. 

Quite a few of you who read here regularly have asked about the bride's sister, if she was there. In a word no. She had every intention of being there, she booked her trip, and later rearranged and rebooked her trip, but in the end she was unable to travel due to restrictions and complications on re-entry into S. Korea upon return. So that's that. Nobody needed the added stress of worrying about her coming to the states and getting stuck here while her boys were in S.Korea. We had many people praying specifically for clarity and the door was shut for her. It doesn't get much clearer than that. 

And you know what? There were some tears shed over this, BUT! they did not rule the day. If I were to make a list of my favorite moments of the entire weekend the video daughter1 made for her sister would be near the very top. She recorded herself giving her matron of honor speech and I have never in all my life heard a more perfect speech than this one. We played it as a surprise at the rehearsal dinner and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. It felt like she was there and that was important. 

Our wedding planner (Beckon Events if you're in my part of the country-they are the absolute best!!) helped us set up a Facebook live feed so she could watch the ceremony, and we had other family members who were unable to travel view it there too, so that was something. Not the same as being there in person, but we are all doing our best in this season of uncertainty. 

And that's all I'm going to say about that, because it was not the main thing and I want to keep my eyes on the main thing. 

The adorable newlyweds. 

Who charmed their guests, danced every dance, and who know with God all things are possible. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hodgepodge Bells Are Gonna Chime

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Bet you can't guess what's filling my time, thoughts, and calendar right now-ha! If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post then leave a comment for your neighbor. Here we go-


From this Side of the Pond
1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? 

We made a weekend visit to see friends  back in September, and I think that was the last time I was a guest in someone's home. We laughed til our sides hurt, had a spontaneous dance party, and were so grateful to be together in person. 

Hubs and I gave everyone a hat that matched something about their personality...here's ours-


Accurate. 

I think my daughter's bridal shower in October was the last event I attended. It was a lovely, special day which I wrote about here. Both of these 'events' were a lot of fun, and felt as safe as anything can feel with a virus still lurking. 

We love having guests in our home and look forward to doing that again. Normally my house is a revolving door, at least in the summer months, and I'm hoping we have at least a few houseguests this year. 

2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? 

Planning a wedding during a pandemic opens the door to a whole lot of knot tying if you let it. We have worked hard to keep that door shut. I've had many people praying about some very specific requests, and I take great comfort in that support. I will not say there haven't been any disappointments because we've had some of those on a fairly grand scale, but I am trusting God for a day that is beautiful in every way. 

As far as real knots go...I feel like I do more untangling than I do tying. 

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? 

Re-do my office. I don't just mean in terms of organization either. I want to put some shiplap on the walls, get rid of my big desk and add a small table instead, have a murphy bed made for the corner, and purchase a new computer. 

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue?

old-me? nope...we do have an old classic car here so let's go with that. 

new-I have a dress just waiting to be worn. Soon. eek! 

borrowed-a portable crib a friend loaned me when the mancub was born. We're still using it from time to time and she'll let me know when she needs it back. 

blue-I have quite a few navy blue accents in my home, and my bedroom has a comfy chair and ottoman in a seaglass shade that I love. That particular shade of blue is in the rug and window treatments too. It's restful. 

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing. 

I wrote a whole series of posts on marriage when my oldest was engaged. It was the theme of my April A-Z challenge that year (2014) and you'll find the first one linked here. Times change, but my feelings about marriage remain pretty much the same...

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8 

"Great marriages don't happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect, and a rock-solid commitment between a husband and a wife." Dave Willis

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Here comes the bride...






Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 403

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

1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? 

2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? 

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? 

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue? 

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Good Samaritan

Our Sunday School class has been studying the parables of Jesus and today we discussed the well known tale of The Good Samaritan. I think even most non-church goers are at least a little bit familiar with this one as it has been absorbed into our culture and our vocabulary. Love your neighbor. Put words into action. Do good without judgement or expectation of reward.

There has been a lot of talk of unity in recent days, or perhaps the lack thereof would be a more accurate statement, and I was thinking about that word as we talked this morning about loving our neighbor and what that means. Caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, practically helping those in need seems far easier right now than getting along with someone from an opposing political party who shouts, judges, and lectures you via their social media feed, doesn't it? 

In the same way we can't make someone volunteer in a food bank, donate to charity, or build houses for the homeless, we cannot demand unity simply by declaring that it must be. Unity cannot be dictated, and it's not something that magically happens because of a shift in political power.  

Unity is an action word. It requires intent. It means listening to people who say you're wrong and they're right and why can't you just see that you're wrong??? and that is hard. So hard. 

Of course we want to respond when we feel verbally attacked or belittled. We feel an almost primal urge to counter their words with words of our own. Tell them why they're wrong and we're right and we can prove it this very second with an article, meme or post of our own. 

In 2021 we seem unable to not engage. 

We can't put the genie back in the bottle so how do we get there? How do we cross the seemingly uncrossable chasm that's ruptured life in America? 

Maybe we can brainstorm here because I feel certain the answer doesn't lie with a committee, a body of elected officials, or the President of the Untied States. I think it's going to come from ordinary citizens who don't compromise their faith or their strongly held beliefs but who don't argue them to death either. 

It might even look like having coffee with a neighbor, from six feet away if you must, but still you have that coffee. 

It's definitely less words, which may seem hypocritical coming from someone with a blog, but I'm referring to angry, self-righteous words spewed carelessly across Facebook pages and twitter rants or sadly in some cases around holiday dinner tables. 

I think it will involve quiet examination of our own souls (no need to announce it to the world) and a whole lot less public dissection of the souls of others. Everybody's got a log in their eye that needs removing so maybe we start with our own?

It could mean deleting apps from our phones and demonstrating good old-fashioned restraint, something that used to be common but has most definitely fallen by the wayside in the last decade or so. 

It probably means making the hard but conscious decision to keep some of our opinions to ourselves, and for the love of all things holy to quit sharing every but!, but! but!...we want to share. 

I think it means we talk about the weather. I'm serious. The weather is rarely confrontational and we could do with less confrontation right about now. 

It's grabbing some tennis shoes or hiking boots, a swim suit or a pair of skis, and getting outside. Removing ourselves from the noise and everything else that distracts from the beauty of this earth. It's choosing to see, experience, and share the good more than we share our opinions about the bad. Call that naive, call it wearing rose colored glasses if you want, but getting along is going to involve letting go of some things we've held in our tightly clenched fists for a long time now. 

I know for certain an essential part of the way forward is prayer. For the ones you love and the ones you 'hate'. Maybe you don't pray and perhaps that sounds trite or cliche to you, but prayer changes hearts and minds, our own most of all. 

How about we try being verbal good samaritans and let's see if we can make that go viral. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Happy New Hodgepodge

Here we are...rolling in to a brand new year. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post. Then hop over and leave a comment for the blogger linking before you. Let's start the year off right!

From this Side of the Pond

1. What advice would you give yourself as we begin this new year? 

This Proverb (3:5-6) feels exactly right for me...'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.' 

2. If you could throw a themed party for yourself what would the theme be? 

How about an English tea? In England please. Once it's open I mean. And let's invite all the friends I used to have real English tea with to join the party, k? 

3. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

At ages 20-21 I was a college student in love with the beauty of East Tennessee and a mischievous boy who called the place home. I started dating hubs when I was 20, and that worked out well-ha! I also had a part time job as a waitress in a charming eatery in the town of Jonesborough Tennessee. Jonesborough has since become fairly famous for the huge storytelling festival held there each year, but back when I was 20 it was still a sleepy little town. 

4. What's on the menu at your house this week? 

A ginger-teriyaki salmon on the grill tonight,  a honey garlic chicken bowl tomorrow night, and that's as far as I've planned since I'm headed to the market tomorrow. I'll figure out another week's worth of meals before I shop. I know for sure there won't be pasta or anything heavy, fried, or swimming in cream because we have a wedding coming up fast and someone sampled a few too many Christmas cookies last year, ahem. 

5. What should you do more of this year? Less of? 

More exploring the history and natural beauty that's all around us 

Less scrolling

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

At the suggestion of my daughter I subscribed to Home Chef back when the pandemic started. She had tried several of the home meal services and this was her favorite. She sent me her code so I could try it, and I have to say hubs and I have both really enjoyed their meals. Normally we eat out at least once a week but with everyone staying home and not a lot of great take out options nearby the cooking (and I love to cook!) was wearing a bit thin. And maybe not so much the cooking as all that meal planning. 

Here are what I see as the pros...the packaging is wonderful, the produce super fresh, and the meat/fish high quality. No complaints. You're sent crystal clear step by step instructions and all ingredients are pre-measured. There's a wide variety of meals to choose from each week and you can substitute proteins easily if you prefer. We have not had a bad meal, and I save the recipe cards so we can recreate the ones we love. It's nice to know there are a couple of meals in the rotation that I don't have to plan or shop for, and you can skip weeks as needed. 

The cons...it's not inexpensive, but we're not eating out these days and it is definitely less than we spend eating out. There are minimums but we usually order two meals for two people and do that a couple of weeks each month. Some months I order more than that but there is flexibility. You do have to look at the calories as some are quite high, but I always find meals that work with the calories I want to spend.

If you are interested in giving it a try message me and I can send you a code to to try a box at a discounted rate. Also, this is not an ad...I just like Home Chef.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 402

Happy New Year Hodgepodgers! Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday link up. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the world wide webbers. See you there! 

1. What advice would you give yourself as we begin this new year? 

2. If you could throw a themed party for yourself what would the theme be? 

3. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

4. What's on the menu at your house this week? 

5. What should you do more of this year? Less of? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Post For The New Year

Hello 2021. We're all so glad to see you. We think? 

Do you make resolutions? Set goals? Create a list of things to do in the year that lies ahead? Does that exercise feel a little riskier than in year's past? We all want to peek around the corner, but we want someone else to go first and tell us it's going to be okay. 

Alrighty then. 
Me first.

It's going to be okay.

While this past year has felt different, harder, and more exhausting than most, the truth is we've never known what a brand new year would bring. We've never been able to see what's lurking beyond the bend or on the other side of a calendar page.

We make assumptions that the good in any particular year will far outweigh the bad and that sure, problems will arise but we know how to solve problems. No need to think too long or too hard about things we can't control because we can control things, right? 

Except last year. Whew. She was something, wasn't she? 

The hits just kept coming and the word 2020 became a synonym for anything awful, unexpected, or just plain ridiculous that occurred. And collectively I think we were a little bit shocked to discover we don't have a better handle on all the things. That we humans really don't know what might happen next, and it's possible for something to come out of left field and leave us reeling. 

Is the takeaway from 2020 that nothing can be known for sure? Counted on full stop? Be absolutely true?  

I'm going to say no. 
Let's not make that our takeaway. 

While the world, and our country in particular, continues to be in turmoil, while the virus continues to rage,  and while so much of what we've always counted on still feels just a little out of reach, this much I know is true-

God is still on His throne. 

There is never a day He is not in charge of the world He created. 

He has not changed or moved or lost His extraordinary interest in our lives, our heartaches, our disappointments, and our grief. 

He has not been surprised by one single solitary thing that transpired in the year 2020, and 2021 will bring Him no surprises either. 

He makes a way where we cannot see a way. 

And brings beauty to every season of our lives.  

I think we've given 2020 too much credit. Let's accept the gift of a brand new year with eyes wide open and hope in our hearts. Let's keep looking for the good and learning from the hard because never is a year just one or the other...

...not even 2020. 

'Teach us to number our days so we may have a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12