Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Chase - A DVD Based Bible Study

I recently was given the wonderful opportunity of reviewing a Bible study by Jennie Allen. The study is actually a DVD-based Bible study for women titled Chase - Chasing after the heart of God and it is a fantastic study released by Thomas Nelson publishers.

The study is based on King David who is, as you may recall, one of my favorite Bible characters. You see, King David was a man after God's own heart, and shouldn't we as followers of God pattern ourselves to be after God's own heart as well? In today's society, we get caught up in so many different things that we often forget about or put God on the back burner when really he should be at the forefront of our every moment.
This DVD study comes with one disc, which has an introduction and seven lessons on it. Each lesson is approximately 10 minutes in length with an inspirational message from Jennie Allen. The message she speaks isn't lofty or holier than thou, but is actually a message that I think most every woman can relate to and understand.

The seven topics are: Identity (What's defining you?), Courage (If we  are truly courageous then we have nothing to lose), Obedience (The more we trust God, the more we obey him), Belief (The basis of our relationship with God), Repentance (We must see our sin in order to see our need for God), Surrender (Don't let your circumstances dictate whether or not you surrender yourself to God) and finally Chased Down (God chased us down through Jesus). The seven topics of discussion make this study ideal for a seven week study - covering one topic per week.

In addition to the disc with the message from Jennie, the set also comes with a study book. The study book is interactive in that there are a lot of though provoking questions and as well as scriptures and other messages that should help prompt discussion in your group. The books are available separately from the DVD set and can be purchased for around $10 each. If you are thinking of pulling together a group of girlfriends to study these lessons together, then I would suggest that each person purchase a study book. The book has space for note taking and for answering questions and is something that each woman can have to look at through the week before each lesson.

There is also a book for the group leader so that the woman leading the Bible study can steer the group in the right the direction.  The leader book provides a main idea for the lesson, a main goal, provides points of discussion, additional scripture and homework discussion for the group.

One of the things I love most about the study are the conversation cards that come in the box set. There are a set of cards for the introduction and each of the seven lessons. Each card has a thought-provoking message or question on it which can be discussed amongst the group or the just by the person who draws the card.

This is truly one of the best Bible studies I have done in a long time. I really enjoyed every minute of it. I actually did each of the lessons by myself for this review but am interested in doing a group study with some of my close friends or even the girls from my class at church. I think we could all get a lot out of this study and I feel like I could get even more out of it when study with other people and hearing their perspective on these same topics. In the end it all comes down to one question - what are you chasing? Shouldn't it be the heart of God?

If you are in the market for a great Bible study for your small women's group, then I encourage you to give Chase a try. It currently retails for less than $30 on Amazon for the entire set, which is a really great bargain.

I was provided a Q&A with the author Jennie Allen which can be found below. For more information on the Jennie, please click here.

Why is the story of David in Chase one that you feel women today need to hear?

Jennie: David is the wild, passionate, warrior king, but something about the way he related to God
has wrecked me. His view of God was so big. David actually believed God and he lived like it. I think as a generation of women, we are longing for the same lives. We want to believe God is real and to live like it.
This is not a study for people wanting to play it safe... This study messes with you because we all are chasing things other than God, and when you look into the life of someone chasing God himself... God alone, you start craving that. I want a life like David’s, brave and dependent and full of worship. He had a relationship with God unlike any other in Scripture; honestly, unlike any other I've ever seen. I want to know God like he did and trust God like he did.

How will women relate to Chase who have already completed your first Bible study, Stuck?

Jennie: Chase is a natural next step after Stuck... after you work through areas that are holding you back... naturally you want to run. Chase is more adventurous and helps women dream about all that God wants for us here, about how to live a life pointed squarely on Him. But Chase has the same interactive and relational format people loved in Stuck and great conversation starters over Scripture and projects to flesh out what you just studied.

How can small group leaders, groups of friends and others use your studies, like Chase, to dig deeper into God’s Word?

Jennie: Every study begins with Scripture, and the entire time you are going back to God’s Word together, but this is a lot more than an intellectual examination of Scripture. My prayer is that this would be a place where truth and experience come together. I designed these studies to take women from the point of understanding the truth all the way to the point of living that truth. From the personal questions to the projects that make you face your doubts about God.... it feels a little scary but I love that these studies push us to places of faith. There aren't easy answers, and it makes us wrestle with God - not just check boxes and fill in blanks.

What do you hope that women discover most about themselves and about God after experiencing Chase?

Jennie: I think a lot of us are tired and we would like to please God, but it feels like it would take a lot of effort to do that. Chase seems to be an experiment in what it is God wants from us. The more I understand what God has done, the more I quit striving and rest in Him. David rested in the work of God - in God’s favor - in the plans God had written for him. Whether you are running from God or working your tail off to please Him, this man’s journey will challenge your view of God.

As you continue to grow as a Bible study teacher and author, what are you learning?

Jennie: The theme seems to be clear in my life.... this is not about me. My job will always be simply to push everyone up to the face of Jesus, because I believe He is actual, tangible hope. Not one other thing gives hope that lasts longer than a few minutes... Jesus offers hope for the biggest problems and He resolves them forever. Where else do we go but Him? That is my job and I pray I keep my head down and just play my small role in His plan.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Thought It Was Vitamin Gut

Do you ever get vitamin gut? You know, that queasy feeling you sometimes get when you take your vitamins on an empty stomach. I get it from time to time which is why I now take my morning medicines with milk. It truly does help with the vitamin gut feeling. Today, even after drinking milk with my morning meds, I still felt a  little queasy. By the time I got to work, my stomach was still not up to par and continued to feel worse throughout the course of the day.

Around noon I decided to go ahead and leave work for the day rather than suffer at my desk for one more minute. I took a nap when I got home and around 3:30 or so I began to spend the remainder of the day and evening in the bathroom hugging the toilet with my arms. That's right folks, it would appear that the dreaded stomach bug has finally hit me. After avoiding it for more than a month, my luck ran out. I have racked my brain trying to figure out where I picked it up. My best bet is at the chiropractor's office - the nurse who did my treatment told me that her two girls had the stomach virus last week and I can only imagine that she probably carried it in to the office and gave it to me. Thanks a lot lady! I'm hoping this will be a quick run and it won't last a whole week like it has with other folks.

Speaking of the chiropractor, I almost died on the way to his office yesterday. As I got on the exit ramp at Governor's Drive, the vehicle in front of me came to a screeching halt. It was some sort of wildlife removal company and they decided to risk their lives and mine in the middle of rush hour traffic to pick up a ladder on the side of the road. They already had two ladders on their truck so I'm guessing this one wasn't even their's because think about it, have you ever seen a truck with three ladders? I doubt it. It's usually just two. Maybe it was their ladder - either way, it was a dumb move and could have injured or killed a lot of people.

At work on Monday, some of the cars in the parking lot were spray painted. The security guards were clearly hard at work. I was really hoping Old Blue would have gotten a stripe of spray paint on her broken window so I could get it replaced, but I was not so lucky. One guy in our department was a victim of the spray paint bandit and filed a police report. Hopefully he will be able to get his car repaired without any problems.

Well, typing this up has been the biggest break my stomach has given me in quite some time. So, I'm not going to press my luck, but instead will bid you adieu. Hope your health is fairing better than mine.

One more note - a shout out to my mom today - it's her birthday. Happy Birthday Mother! I look forward to celebrating with you when my belly can once again hold solid foods!

Monday, March 25, 2013

So Much for the Big Blizzard of 2013

Once again the weather forecasters predicted snow and once again I was left disappointed when I woke up Friday morning and there was no snow on the ground. Not only was there no snow, but the temperature was also a lot warmer than predicted. The same for Saturday - I thought it was supposed to be freezing cold outside and it was in the 50s. Then all of a sudden Sunday afternoon it turned freezing cold...with a chance of snow. Only there was no snow...again. I'm beginning to wonder if this might be one of those years where we get a huge snow in April.

Friday night I had big plans of staying up until 10:00 and watching all of Rock Center with Brian Williams before going to bed. Only I fell asleep before 9:30 and didn't wake up until 11:11 at which point, I got up, washed my face and went to bed. Life is so exciting at 36! Saturday morning I had grand plans of making it to the gym but my back was hurting more than it usually does and so I settled on skipping a workout and gave my back a much needed rest. My chiropractor says my purse is too big. He's probably right, but it's also the awesome genes I inherited from my mother's family and their history of bad backs. Thanks mom!

I did manage to get some cleaning done and a lot of resting, which is oh so important on the weekends. During the midst of my lazy day of watching multiple episodes of The Golden Girls and The Cosby Show (seriously, I could watch these two shows all day long) , the doorbell rang. I'm always skeptical of a ringing doorbell. As it turns out, it was a guy from my class at church and a friend of his. Then the wheels started turning - why is he here? I've been to class. I'm not skipping church. What does he want? Apparently, these two were just out and about in my neighborhood asking people if they needed any help with things around the house, spreading God's love. I thought it was nice of them. I didn't need anything done, plus I had on my PJs and to be honest, no bra, and so I sent them packing as soon as I could without being rude. 
I also made a meatloaf and some coleslaw for dinner and my dad made fried okra, corn on the cob, white beans and cornbread. He also made two pies - one chocolate and the other had blueberries and bananas and was absolutely delicious. I wish I had a piece right now. Brittany dropped Sydney off at my parents' house and she and I headed to Five Points around 7:00 p.m. 

Once we got home, she informed me she was hungry - that child is always hungry. So, I fixed her some chicken fries. She wanted six and she ate them all and was still hungry so she had some cereal. Then she took a bath and then she danced around to Gangnam Style. I have no idea where she heard the song, but she was singing it and so I looked it up on You Tube and played it for her so she could dance to it. The Tide did not enjoy this part of the evening. Then she was hungry again and she wanted an apple - all of this took place in the span of about two hours. 

Finally she lay down in the chair and we watched Santa Buddies - yes, a Christmas movie in March. The movie is about a group of dogs and Sydney told The Tide that she needed to pay attention to the movie so she would know how to be good. About 9:30ish, Sydney said, "Tash, I'm going to close my eyes, but I'm not going to sleep" and she was asleep within five minutes or less which turned out to be a good thing because it soon started storming and she is afraid of storms. Luckily she didn't wake up at all during the night. 

We went to church the next morning and then to lunch with our family and then made a quick run by Publix before Brittany came and picked her up and took her to visit the Easter Bunny! I'm sure that was quite an experience. There's no telling what she asked for! I picked up a few things for her last Friday to make a little Easter basket, or bucket as the case may be and am looking forward to giving it to her. Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring some snow with him too - perhaps I'll go ask him for that.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sometimes You Need Snacks to Break Up the Monotony

I completely forgot to mention that last Friday we had a snack day at work. It was truly a glorious occasion although I don't think as many people participated in this spring snack day as they do when we have it at Christmastime.

Where I work, we don't get all the government holidays off and in fact don't have one holiday between New Year's and Memorial Day. That's a long stretch without a free day off and so I had suggested to our department admin that we should have a snack day in March to break up the monotony of the day in and day out work and also to boost our moral. I mean, let's face it, folks get cranky during a five month span with no holiday. As luck would have it, last Friday was also the birthday of one of the upper managers so we basically just pretended like it was a big celebration of his birthday, but really it was just an excuse to eat and have some fun at work.

I made buffalo chicken dip and corn dip as well as some chocolate chip cookie bars, all of which turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. Meri brought some Pico made by her eldest daughter and it was delicious and hot! We had an assortment of cakes, cookies, dips, cheese balls, fruit and various and sundry other items including some of the best doughnuts I've had since the sad demise of Mr. Donut. The doughnuts were from some local place in Athens and were scrumdillyumptious! The spring snack day really put everyone in a good mood and lifted our spirits and now, perhaps, we will be able to make it through the next couple of months until we have a holiday.

In other news, mine and my dad's vacation plans are coming along nicely, or at least I think they are. In addition to going to a taping of the Ellen Show, we were also contacted about volunteering at the Tour of California bike race which is the primary reason I picked California for our vacation this year. I had signed us up a while back and quite honestly had kind of forgotten about it until we received an email this week. The bad part is that all volunteers are required to attend a meeting ahead of their race day assignment and since we don't live in California, that won't really work for us. the volunteer organizer for the mountain stage (for which we were contacted about volunteering) told us that he would see what he could do for us in regards to working out the logistics of not being in town for the mandatory meeting. I'm hoping it all works out and that we are able to get a really great assignment on race day. 

My dad has also booked us a fun adventure zip-lining through the Redwoods which is going to be so much fun! We are also planning and outing to a Giants baseball game which I will pay for with my health points at work so we won't actually have to pay for the tickets, which is super nice. I just need about 70 or so more points to get the seats I want and I should have those by the end of the weekend. It's shaping up to be a great vacation!

When I got home from work today my neighbor Jeff told me that my next door neighbor's house was broken in to - that would be Charlie's house. Apparently it happened on Monday, March 11. I can only assume the burglars didn't break into my place because of the ferocious dog known as The Tide. Charlie has an alarm system that went off and so the thieves only got away with two laptops which is more than they should have taken, but better than it could have been. Thankfully Charlie wasn't injured (he was not at home) and there was no damage to his home. There's never a dull moment around here, people!

I don't have much planned for the upcoming weekend - we are slated to have very cold weather on the first weekend of spring. I had planned on mowing the lawn for the first time but since it's going to be so cold, that will have to wait until another day. Next week I hope to have a review or two for you (that's like a mini-poem). In the meantime, I hope everyone has a nice weekend and stays warm! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It Was Like Seeing a Ghost

I don't know about where you live, but here in Huntsville, we received our first real taste of spring this past weekend and it was glorious. I was able to turn the HVAC unit off for four straight days and just cool the house by leaving a couple of windows open - or let the germs out as my dad likes to say. Saturday and Sunday were both sunny with a nice breeze blowing and the temperature outside was basically perfect. I even broke out my new Birkenstocks that Santa brought and wore them for the first time.

Saturday afternoon the church where my dad preaches hosted a fish fry and I went. I picked up my grandmother and when I got to her house she asked me if we could stop by Wal-Mart and pick up some tea. Apparently she had signed up to bring tea, but had forgotten about it and therefore had not asked anyone to get it before then. So, we stopped by Wal-Mart and got the tea and then went to the church building where the fish fry was taking place.

When we arrived, the men were out back under and alcove frying fish and I saw an older gentlemen sitting down. I didn't know who he was, but from a distance, it looked just like my Papa that passed away in January and I kept looking back at the man because the resemblance from my distance was so startling. When everyone came in from outside, I asked my dad who the man was and he told me. My dad said when I got here I thought it was Daddy and I thought to myself, "oh look, Daddy made it." I said I had thought the same thing. At least I wasn't the only one who thought the man reminded me of my Papa. It was such a strange and eerie feeling. 

After the fish fry, I took my grandmother home and then I went home myself and waited on the arrival of Sydney who was going to stay the night and go to church with me the next day. My aunt, her grandmother, dropped her off and she showed me her new purse. The purse (as well as a new nightgown) had a picture of the boy band One Direction and when I asked her who was on her purse she said, "One Direction" - only she didn't and doesn't pronounce the D in direction. I'll let you sounds that out for yourself. It goes without saying that her pronunciation gave us a good laugh.

After Sydney's mom brought her spend the night bag by, I gave her a bath and then dressed her in her new One Direction nightgown. I was asking her about the boys in the band and then asked her if she had a boyfriend. She said "yes, you know him. It's that boy with Ashlyn." I asked, "Troy?" "Yes," she said, "Troy is my boyfriend." This news, however, did not please Troy seeing as how he is nine and Sydney is four; but, maybe 15 years from now it will be a match made in Five Points. Who knows?

I put in Mary Poppins because it's one of my all-time favorites and Sydney had never seen it. She fell asleep watching it and I put her in the bed soon after. The next morning at church she was overjoyed when we saw Troy after class and she informed him that he was in fact her boyfriend. I told him to just go with it. He was a good sport and even let me take his and Sydney's picture.

Brittany picked Sydney up after church was over because I was on a liquid diet (due to my procedure on Monday) and didn't want to be around food. Sydney wasn't very happy about leaving so soon, but hopefully she recovered and will be happy to come again next weekend.

I spent the rest of the day napping, and consuming enormous amounts of liquid. Then at 5:00 I had to take the first of two doses for my colonosopy prep. My dad said it would probably hit me in about an hour's time and he was exactly right. I think it goes without saying that the rest of the evening was spent in and out of the bathroom (just keeping it real, people). the second dose came at 10:00 p.m. which I think is a ridiculous time because don't most people go to sleep around 10:00. I think I was finally able to lie down for the evening around midnight and was up three or four more times after that even. Thankfully I survived should everything go as planned, I won't have to experience it all again for another 14 years and for that I am exceptionally grateful! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Monday I Was Out Cold

Side note: of course as soon as I posted I was having technical difficulties I was able to log in to my work email. Sometimes computer and I just don't get along. 

Greetings readers! I hope everyone's week is off to a fantastic start. My apologies for not being with you sooner than now but I have a legitimate excuse which I will share with you, although it may be too much sharing in your humble opinion. At any rate, I was knocked out cold on Monday as I was undergoing my first ever colonoscopy. That's right folks, I had my backside examined. I am happy to report that there are no major problems and I will live to see another day. The colonoscopy was just a precautionary measure as my dad has colitis and colitis is hereditary. The procedure itself isn't bad; after all, they knock you out cold. The prep work the day before, however, was not as bad as I expected, but still not fun and I am quite glad it is all over. 

So, I'm back with you today and hopefully for the rest of the week. My Aunt Linda took me to my procedure yesterday (Thanks Aunt Linda!) because my dad still wasn't quite over the stomach bug and I'm trying my darnedest not to get it so I told him to stay home and I would ask Aunt Linda to take me and she graciously agreed. We arrived at the doctor's office a little before 8:00 and I guess I was in the back around 9:00 a.m. or maybe a little before. I was less than thrilled to see my doctor, who I've known since I was about 12 and he was about 20 (and not even a doctor). There's just something unsettling about someone you've known most of your life looking at and up your backside.

The procedure was over in the blink of an eye and Aunt Linda and I were on the road around 9:45 or so. We went to Blue Plate Cafe to get some breakfast as I do enjoy their cheesy browns in the morning. We finished up breakfast about 10:40 and as we were leaving my dad called to check in. I'm pretty sure I told him we were at Blue Plate and then a little later he asked if I knew where I was and I said, "yes, Blue Plate, I'm pretty sure I just told you that". At least this is how I remember the conversation going. 

Aunt Linda dropped me off at home and I proceeded to go straight to sleep. Jackie showed up around 11:30 and brought some healthy snacks of cannoli and tiramisu. We chatted for a while about this and that and oddly enough I think I remember most of it. After Jackie left I went to sleep again and woke up when Erika called at 4:30 p.m. to tell me she would be by my house in an hour to an hour and a half. So, I decided I should probably stay awake for a while so as not to appear like a zombie when she arrived. Thankfully, I had some coupons that I needed to clip and did that to stay awake. Erika arrived a little before 6:00 and she and I headed over to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chunn. Mrs. Chunn was one of Erika's grade school teachers and she also taught both of us in Bible school when we were children. Mr. and Mrs. Chunn are moving to Nashville because they are getting older and want to be closer to their family and so she had invited us over to see if we wanted any of the items she no longer wanted or needed. We both took home a few treasures, including matching tablecloths. I also ended up with a couple of nice Tupperware pieces and a glass serving piece. I also got a couple of books that were Mr. Chunn's. These will be nice mementos to have for years to come.

After we perused the items Mrs. Chunn was getting rid of, I imposed upon Erika's Christian kindness and asked her to drive me to Publix as I needed to pick up a few things for my lunch; we each ended up buying a few items. After our grocery store run, we picked up some Little Rosie's and then Erika drove me home through a dark Huntsville as the power was out in the middle of town; thankfully the power at my house was not affected by the outage. I offered for Erika to stay and eat her dinner with me but I think she was ready to get on home and she did just that. Hopefully her power was on when she arrived. I spent the remainder of the evening watching TV with The Tide.

A big thanks to all who helped me yesterday - Aunt Linda, Jackie and Erika - if it weren't for you I might still be passed out cold at the doctor's office or something like that. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I wrote a post at work today. If you recall, I can no longer post from work. So, I planned to log in to my work email and copy my post (I had written it in a draft email) and post when I got home. Now I'm home and I cannot get logged in to my work email. It's always something! I'm not sure what the problem is. I've never had a problem logging on before and am wondering if it is once again a problem with the new filters at work.
At any rate, I'll have to wait until tomorrow to post a real story because I'm not about to type out another long post. For one, I probably can't remember everything I wanted to say and for two I am very tired this afternoon. I had a medical procedure yesterday (more on that tomorrow when I can post my real post) and I think the sedative still hasn't completely worn off because all day long I have felt like I could lay my head down and go to sleep.
In other news, the pope was officially installed today and y'all, I really like this new pope. He seems like a pope of the people and I'm pretty pumped about this guy being elected. I'll point out again that I'm not even Catholic, I'm just fascinated with the pope and Pope Francis seems to be a pretty cool pope if I do say so myself.
That's it for now. Come back some time tomorrow night for what I hope will be a real post. These technical difficulties are really making it difficult for me. Hopefully I will have better luck tomorrow.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

At Least We’re Still Friends…I Think

Well folks, it appears that the ole stomach bug did not contain itself to just my mother’s bedroom and my dear ole dad has it now as well. I think it goes without saying that I’ll be steering clear of their home for a few days or maybe even weeks. As far as I know, or at least as the time I’m typing this at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday night, Justin has been spared; but, I wouldn't expect that to last long since he was my mother’s personal nurse when she was losing her lunch on Tuesday night. I’m also told that my Aunt Linda has the stomach bug as well. It’s a vicious beast, that stomach bug and I hope it doesn't attack me.

I think I’m doing a wee bit better with the Daylight Savings Time, or getting a little used to it anyway. At any rate, I’ve been packing my lunch the night before which has helped with some time management in the mornings, for which I am thankful. As much as I love cool/cold weather, I am actually looking forward to warmer days (for now). I look forward to being able to walk in my neighborhood in the afternoons and to riding my bike on the weekends and just generally being more active. I've been pretty lazy this winter and I’m really longing for some moving and shaking and I’m hoping the warmer weather will help motivate me.
The grass, or weeds as the case may be, is starting to grow and it looks like I’ll be in the lawn care-taking business before too long. Unfortunately with all the sickness and other bizarre things going on in the life of my father, there has been no progress on getting a new shed for my backyard which presents a predicament come yard-mowing time. Hopefully we can come up with some sort of solution soon.

Today (Thursday) would have been my grandfather’s 81st birthday. It’s still a very strange feeling when I think about him not being here anymore. I was very blessed to have him as a grandfather for as long as I did. My aunt (my dad’s sister) and I went out to dinner with my grandmother tonight as a mini-celebration of the life of my granddad. We went to Blue Plate CafĂ© and had a nice time just being together and sharing some memories of my granddad and his love of sweets.  

I mentioned at some point last week or this week (I can’t remember exactly when)   that I was training someone at work and that someone happens to be my friend Meri. Well, we were friends before I started training her anyway. Y’all, I will be the first to admit I’m not even remotely patient when it comes to teaching someone. I would have been a terrible teacher (which is what I wanted to be at some point when I was younger).  I feel bad when I huff and puff at Meri, but thankfully she takes it in stride and we often have a good laugh about my crazy behavior. If our friendship survives this, and I think it will, then we will probably be friends for many years to come; and for that I am very thankful indeed!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

College of Cardinals, You Let Me Down

Well, there’s a new pope in the house, or in the Vatican anyway and he has chosen the name Francis I, which I like. I’m actually surprised there’s never been a Pope Francis before because that seems like a good pope name.  Since I paid close attention to the news on Wednesday morning I knew the next smoke would come around 1:30 p.m. and so I told everyone at work that I would be tuning in at 1:30 p.m. to see what color the smoke would be. Sure enough, a few minutes before 1:30 I looked on Twitter and was surprised to hear that the smoke was white because I figured it would take longer and a day and a half of voting to elect the pope.

Needless to say, I was disappointed to hear that there was a new pope. I was hoping it would take until at least Saturday before the next pope would be elected because I wanted to be at home to watch all the coverage. Alas, it was not meant to be. The College of Cardinals apparently didn't care that I was nowhere near a TV and a new pope was elected while I sat behind my desk at work.  However, thanks to the magic of the DirecTV app, I was able to quickly log in to my account and record the pope coverage. Isn't technology great?

In other completely unrelated news, my mother spent the first few days of this week in the hospital. Don’t worry, she’s okay. She was having symptoms that made it seem as though she may have had a stroke and so the ambulance was called and she was whisked away to the hospital. I am very happy to report that the Deb did not have a stroke. It would appear that her blood pressure bottomed out most likely because her blood sugar bottomed out most likely because she took some of my dad’s diabetic medication which was left on her bed and she thought was yours. I’m now concerned that I may have to go over to my parents’ house and dish out their meds to them in a little white cup and them ask them to show me their tongue so it can be confirmed they swallowed. All joking aside, we are glad that it was nothing serious. Since her return home, however, she’s been plagued with a stomach bug and she probably feels like there’s no relief in sight. Perhaps we could ask Francis I to give her a blessing.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Conclave Begins and I'm Blocked

The rest of my weekend was about as eventful as my Friday night as in it wasn't eventful at all. Saturday morning I got my hair trimmed and went right back home afterwards. I managed to do some more cleaning and laundry and then took a four hour nap because apparently I was really tired, or maybe I was trying to prepare myself for the impending time change. Either way, by the time I woke up, it was basically time for me to go over to my parents' house for dinner. My dad grilled pork chops and they were delicious. I think it might have been one of his best batches - either that or I just have not had any in such a long time that I forgot how good they can be. 

While there, my dad and I booked our flights (again) for our trip to California in May. As luck would have it, when my dad originally booked our flights on January 21, something went awry and the flights didn't actually book. So, here we were almost two months later, with no flights. So, instead of flying out of Huntsville, which was the original plan, we are now flying out of Nashville for two reasons. Reason number one is that it is now a little over $200 per person cheaper and reason number two was because there were no return flights to Huntsville that didn't involve flying overnight and arriving on a Sunday morning. This would have been a-okay by me, but my dad didn't want to do that because we should really be at church instead of flying the friendly skies. So, Nashville it is. At this point, I'm just happy to have a flight and in case you're wondering, I logged on to my Sky Miles account on Monday and indeed, I am confirmed for the flights we booked on Saturday, which is a huge relief because Ellen is waiting for us to show up on May 16.

Sunday was the usual - church, grocery store and lunch. I did not have my little cousin with me because she went to see her dad for the weekend. I was disappointed too because it was kid's day at church and I knew she would enjoy all the festivities. Jackie brought me a soup mix to church which I proceeded to put in my purse and then forgot to take out when I went grocery shopping. Thankfully no one saw it and accused me of stealing soup. Then Sunday afternoon/early evening I went over to my friend Meri's house to crash the eighth grade devotional. Yes, this is the same Meri I am training at work. We also go to the same church and she was hosting the eighth grade devotional and invited me to come. So, I did because free food was involved and also because I like Meri and also because I like eight graders...ha, just kidding, that was kind of creepy. The devotional was a good time and there were actually more adults than children there which was kind of odd, but we adults had a lovely time. I met Meri's husband and also her sister and brother-in-law and we all got along swimmingly. Meri's mom Claudia (who also happens to work where we do) made her famous spaghetti sauce and it was delicious - we even had it for lunch on Monday. Afterwards I moseyed on home because I like to lie on my couch and watch TV. I am the definition of a couch potato. 

In some very exciting news, the conclave begins today (Tuesday) and we will soon know who the new Pope is going to be. Listen, I'm not Catholic (and you probably already knew that), but I find this whole Pope bit to be rather fascinating. I never in a million years would have guessed we would be witnessing another conclave so soon after 2005. This is only the second conclave I can remember but the third since my birth - the first being in 1978 and I probably wasn't even talking then - and so it's just an interesting and fascinating process, or at least it is to me. So, I'll be waiting along with the rest of the world and tuning in each evening to see who will be elected the next pope. 

After four years and two months of blogging, and often posting from work, the Blogger web site has now been blocked by the company for which I work. I guess they decided that after four years and two months of me occasionally logging in from my desk, they should maybe block the page. It's extremely frustrating and also stupid because what's the harm in logging in during lunch to post a little something for my loyal readers? So, now, I must work harder to write in advance so I can post from home in the evenings. I guess it's a good thing I decided to get internet service at home in July 2011. Not only is the Blogger login page blocked, but also eBay! Again, it's not like I log on to eBay all the time but I do like to occasionally peruse the site during lunch hours. I feel like I've been grounded or something. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Daylight Savings Hangover

Why is it that just when the sun starts peaking out about the time I get up in the mornings, the time changes and it's once again pitch black outside when it's time for me to get up?I hate the time change and don't even understand what the point is. I think the whole country should follow suit with Arizona and just pick a time and stick with it instead of this flip-flopping every few months. It was absolutely dreadful getting up this morning and leaving for and arriving at work before the sun even thought about rising. Here's what makes no sense to me. If I'm remembering correctly, the whole reason for the time change is so that we can conserve electricity and not use the inside lights as often, yet I find I'm using more light when the time changes. Maybe that's not the reason we change, but that's what I've always been told, so if you know otherwise, please, leave a comment and fill us all in because I'm too lazy to look it up right now - actually, I'm just too tired. 

Friday morning, I had two doctor's appointments and therefore had the morning off from work.My first appointment was at 8:00 a.m. with my family doctor because I've been plagued with my first sinus infection of 2013. On a positive note, it's been almost four months since I've had one - I feel like this is a personal record! My second appointment was with the gastro doctor and wasn't until 10:15 so I had some time to kill in between. Earlier in the week I had received my claim check from the insurance for the blown-away shed and so I decided I would go wait at the bank until it opened and then deposit it. Due to the amount of the check, I couldn't deposit nit via my mobile device and so I decided I wanted to hand it to a bank teller instead of using the ATM. So, I sat at the bank downtown for 30 minutes waiting on the drive thru to open, only to realize about two minutes before they opened that there was no way I could use the drive thru because my driver's side window is taped up. It was such a blonde moment that I could laugh at myself. So, I pulled thru the drive thru and into a parking space and went inside the bank once the doors were open. the time I waited at the drive thru was quite revealing though as I realized that the ATM there is probably the busiest one in town. I have never in my life seen so many people use an ATM. I was surprised that machine had any money left after the plethora of folks that came through there in the 30 minutes I sat waiting for the drive thru to open. 

I was back to work by 11:15 after stopping at Zaxby's to get a salad. I remembered to park and get out before even getting in the drive thru line that time around. The afternoon went by quickly as I trained with Meri some more and also had some things I needed to take care of and before I knew it, it was 4:30 and time to head for the house. 

I spent Friday night doing laundry and some cleaning and some TV watching. Thankfully Grimm has returned after being off for a few months. I really  hate the way NBC is doing their shows now. There's no rhyme or reason to their scheduling and it makes me think my shows are getting cancelled when they are gone from the line-up for months at a time. I had planned on possibly going to see the new Oz movie with Jackie and Ashlyn, but Ashlyn is a theater snob (as Jackie put it) and decided on the 8:15 at Rave rather than the 7:00 at Hollywood 18 so I didn't go for fear that my nighttime coughing spells would get me booted from the theater. Jackie said the movie was really good though so I hope to catch a viewing of it soon. 

In the meantime, I'll be looking for that elusive hour of sleep that was lost and hoping for a way to be happy about leaving for work before the sun comes up. 

Side note: Yes, the background has changed again this month. I usually only change it once a month, but the one I had up was not cooperating with this new post. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Ghost, Harry, Pecans and a Suitcase, For Lack of a Better Title

Here are some more random ramblings for you to close out the week...

This afternoon at work, I thought I heard someone whisper something and I said, "Huh?" loud and professional like and when I turned around, no one was there except for my cub mater who swears she didn't whisper anything. then she proceeded to tell me how two or three times this past week she felt a presence and then felt someone poke her in the back and turned around and no one was there. So, now I'm thinking maybe there is a ghost that hangs out in our cubicle; although I can't understand why any ghost would want to hang out there. On the other hand, I could be totally delirious from the combination of cold medicines and hot toddies I've had this week. I'm not sure what excuse G would use.

Harry Connick, Jr. has a new CD out and while I would love to give it a rave review, I've got to be honest and say that I pretty much hate it. Well, hate is a really strong word, but I dislike it - a lot. It's not his best work in my opinion. I like more of the old school jazz/big band sound and this one has more of a Cajun flair to it. You've disappointed me, Harry. I expected better of you.

My friend Janet invited me over for dinner last week. We don't see as much of each other as we used to since I changed churches (yes, I know I still owe this story to you all) and it was really great to visit with her. As I was leaving, she sent home with me a large bin of pecans. Someone had given them to her and her sister and they had already had some cracked for themselves and she asked if I wanted some. I took a bin home with me and took them to be cracked the next day. When I brought them in the guy asked me if my mom had brought some in - I said no, my friend and that she had given me the ones I had. As it turns out, the bin I got ended up being about 25 pounds of pecans (in the shell). I have been shelling them sever since and feel as though I may never be done. I'm very grateful to have them though as pecans are now around $10 per pound and it's rare that I buy them. Maybe I'll have them all shelled by the end of the month.

My grandmother recently let my dad and his siblings go through some of my grandfather's things - clothes, hats, etc. - and they all were able to get some things they wanted and some of the grandkids and grandkid-in-laws got some things as well. The item I wanted is something my grandmother is not yet ready to part with and that's okay by me. The following Saturday, I went over to visit with her and ended up taking home two sweaters that no one wanted (and I have since worn) and also a binder with a Bible study in it that has my grandfather's handwritten notes. My mother suggested I ask for it and I'm glad she did because I'm really thankful to have it. Another treasure I got was a piece of luggage that belonged to my great-grandfather. It even has his initials on it. I don't really have any plans for the luggage but am really glad to have it and can only imagine the adventures it has been on in years past. Who knows, maybe I'll take it on an adventure or two myself.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Updates and Other Random Thoughts

Someone asked recently in the comments (I think it was Melissa) about the car rider I had back in the fall and what had become of her and so I thought I would fill you in on those details. W's car was finally repaired after about four or five weeks of me and T picking her up and taking her home from work and to my knowledge, she has not had any car troubles since there. She also gave both me and T $10 (or maybe it was $15) for gas for the weeks that we gave her a ride. T, perhaps a better person than me, gave the money back to W; I, however, kept it and I think used it to buy Justin's entrance into a football game or maybe I just bought us a bunch of junk food from the concession stand, either way it went to a good cause.

It seems like a very long time ago I told y'all that I was not a fan of Greek yogurt, and I'm here today to inform you that I apparently lied. When this Greek yogurt faze hit the US I tried some kind (I cannot recall the brand) and thought it had a terrible taste. Now I'm wondering if perhaps it was expired or something. Late last year I was watching Rock Center with Brian Williams and Harry Smith did a piece on Chobani yogurt - that is Chobani Greek yogurt. I don't think they make any other kind really. I found the piece to be quite interesting and at the end, Harry tried some fresh off the line yogurt and raved about how good it was. So, being swayed by television as I so often am, I bought some Chobani on my next trip to the grocery store and I haven't stopped eating it yet! I love this stuff. Since Dannon discontinued my beloved French yogurt, I've been searching for something almost as good and Chobani is about as close as it gets. The strawberry is my favorite, although the banana is quite remarkable.

I'm training someone at work this week (hi Meri). That's right, my friend Meri, winner of the most recent giveaway has moved into the same department as me at work and I have been training her, or yelling at her she might say. Hopefully I'm not being too mean or short but I don't have a great deal of patience and I'm not even sure if I'm explaining things well - probably not. It's a good thing I never became a teacher I guess. Hopefully Meri isn't too traumatized and once she learns the bazillion Excel shortcuts I've showed her and she learns what exactly it is that we do at work and why we do it, then perhaps it will be easier for her. In the meantime, you may want to pray for both of us.

Have y'all been watching "The Bible" on The History Channel? I thought the first couple of episodes were pretty good and believe it or not, it was the TV ratings winner last Sunday night (a big positive if you ask me). I'm looking forward to seeing how the remainder of the series will play out. It's interesting to see which stories are included and which are left out. It would be quite difficult to tell every single story in the Bible in just a few hours on TV. The series continues this coming Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Central and if you missed the first two episodes which aired last Sunday, check your History Channel listings or On Demand. I think it's worth a watch.

I haven't been to any movies since January but am thinking about seeing "Oz the Great and Powerful" this coming up weekend if I have the time. It looks kind of interesting. I have always loved The Wizard of Oz and have watched it hundreds of times, including two or three times each weekend when my cousin Sydney stays, and so I'm curious to see this new spin on the books/movie. Speaking of which, has anyone every read the books? I have them on my Kindle but have not read them yet. I think this is all the rambling I'll do for today. I've got to save something for tomorrow! Until then!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Salvation Army Canteen Truck Run

This past Friday night, Jackie and I helped distribute food to the homeless and other needy people on the Salvation Army canteen truck. Our class at church is responsible for food distribution on the first Friday of the month and it was our first time to participate. Jackie came over to my house a little before 5:00 and we headed out to the Salvation Army on Seminole Street in Huntsville to meet up with some others from our class. We weren't sure where the Salvation Army was exactly and drove right by it without even noticing the sign. We called a couple of people, but to no avail and then we turned around and saw it.

There were seven of us who helped out last Friday - Jackie, Leland, Holly, Holly (yes, there were two Holly's), Katie, Jamie and me. Holly #2 brought a bag with some hats, scarves, gloves, and socks to pass out. It was going to be a cold night and she was mindful of that. I had thought about bringing some things from home that I never use, but wasn't sure if it was allowed. Now that I know it is, I can keep that in mind for another time when the weather is going to be cold.

While we were waiting for the stroke of 5:15 (the time the canteen truck pulls out), we heard a pop, pop that sounded like a gunshot. Jackie ran into the back of the canteen truck and I said, "I didn't know we needed a bullet proof vest for this job." We actually don't know what the sound was, but considering we we in a not so nice part of town, a gunshot wouldn't surprise me.

We finally headed out and Leland drove the canteen truck and I followed in my car. Jackie and Jamie rode with me and the others rode in the canteen truck. Only four people can ride in the canteen truck which is why I followed. I figured my car is so ghetto that no one would try to steal it and I was right.

The first stop was under the I-565 Overpasses where "tent city" is, or one of them anyway. This is where we distributed most of the clothing items. We handed out quite a few plates (bologna sandwiches and chips). The last person to arrive for a plate was a man who went by the name "Stick Man" because he makes walking sticks. He got a plate for his wife as well who, he told us, was passed out drunk. Stick Man himself was quite drunk and regaled us with story after story until Leland finally came out and motioned for us to start making our way to the car so that we could go to the next stop. I had some old sheets in the trunk of my car and gave Stick Man a flannel one. He said he also had two dogs so maybe that sheet would make a warm bed for those two canines.

The next stop was an apartment complex close to downtown. It's an equal opportunity housing place and I have no idea what it is named. There were  a lot of people at this stop, but we got them all a plate in just a few minutes and then we were done. We were finished before 6:30 I would venture to say - I really don't know because I didn't look at the clock. We dropped Jamie off at the Salvation Army so he could pick up his car and head home and then we went and got some dinner for ourselves.

We are both glad we went and did this. It was a humbling experience and it did us both some good. It will truly help you appreciate the things you have in this life. Here are some pictures from our Salvation Army ventures.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Photos From My Phone - March 2013 Edition

Thought I would start March with some random pictures from my phone. It's been a little while since I shared any random phone pictures with you and so I figured I would go ahead and post these before they get deleted from my phone forever.

The first photo is a picture of Madison Academy's state football champions ring. A guy in my class at church is one of the assistant coaches and he brought it in to show me a few weeks ago. This is the top or front of the ring, however you want to word it. I think it's pretty. My dad said he didn't like it and thought it should have Madison Academy on it and I think I would agree. They could have put the words around the logo, but what do I know about picking out rings for guys?

This next photo is a picture of Troy leading singing at church. He and some of the other boys in his age group lead the service in scripture reading, speeches, and song leading on Sunday night, February 10. We were all so proud of Troy. He did a fantastic job leading "As The Deer". I look forward to watching him grow in the Lord as he gets older.

This picture is of my Aunt Linda's Mac and Cheese. She makes the best Mac and Cheese ever and she brought this over to my parents' house after my granddad passed away. I actually took this photo and put it on Twitter to show my cousin Anna. Anna loves my Aunt Linda's (her Nana) Mac and Cheese and she wasn't too thrilled that we had some and she did not.

Then my parents posed eating the Mac and Cheese for me to post on Twitter - again, for Anna's benefit. Poor Anna, we really rubbed it in that night; but it was all in good fun.

This next photo was taken on my drive home a few weeks ago. It was raining (shocking I know) and the sun was also out. The traffic was stopped on the interstate and I noticed this rainbow, grabbed my phone and took a photo. Does anyone else think of Noah each time they see a rainbow?

Finally, I took this photo the week of my birthday. I got some mail from the AARP and while turning 36 may be old to some people, it gave me a chuckle that I was getting mail from AARP.

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my phone's photo album. Have a great weekend!