Thursday, December 31, 2009 1 comments

My New Favorites!

As you've read here before, I've started to work out which is great for me to be doing. At the same time, I've cut back on volume of food. I refuse to deprive myself - my mind would sabotage my body if I cut out chocolate completely. Or pizza! Now in the next phase of all this, I am trying my best to make the healthier choices; just like I make adjustments to cardio workouts to make it low impact so I still have knees, I am making those minor changes to be healthy. And I just have to share my newest fabulous find! THIN BUNS (which is what I'm shooting for myself in the process!)

Now, some of you know my appreciation of pizza. I can eat pizzas of all kinds each meal of the day- they're just so easy to do. I have a few gourmet recipes of my own: Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Pineapple Chicken, Alfredo, along with the basic Supreme and Pepperoni. I'll even doctor-up a half of a Totinos for a meal. So when I found these thin buns I wondered...could it be done well for mini pizzas? I just HAD to try.

They were delicious! A little ground turkey spiced with italian spices, pepperoni, onions and cheese made these delectable. Two were plenty for me for a meal, add a salad and I was good to go! I can't wait to try a breakfast version :-).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 2 comments

Another Trip To The Unemployment Office

I left at 5:30 this morning to head to the unemployment office for my review so I can continue to receive checks. It's standard procedure, required every six weeks so you just get prepared. You know when you go to stand in line with a hundred or so other people, especially at 6:30 a.m. (takes me an hour drive to get there), not everyone is going to care how they look.

Aside from the sad plight many are in as they lose their jobs, there's just something about the unemployment office atmosphere that apparently brings out the worst in too many people. The basics they should have learned in kindergarten no longer apply: form a line, don't cut in line, be nice, follow the rules, read the directions, etc. This morning's adventure brought a few smiles and plenty of head shakes for me. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately, so let me see if I can describe it.

Picture it. It's roughly 23 degrees and potential for rain, so slightly windy this morning at 5:30 as I leave the house, and colder in line with wind picking up a little extra bite from the Ohio River's vicinity. As I pull in at 6:45a there are at least 70 people in line ready for the doors to open at 7:30. Add it up, that's 45 minutes to wait outside. In the dark. In the cold. I always bring a book, and this morning I added marking-time in spot to keep the blood moving. A few people in front of me huddled to discuss favorite bar hangouts and ball games. The guy that got in line behind me with his breakfast complained that it was too cold, he should have just left like he did yesterday (WHY would you do that?). The lady behind him railed the government for screwing up her paperwork and she wasn't leaving today until she got everything that was owed to her. Hmmm...good luck with that.

The really nice people inside the office decided to at least open the lobby 15 minutes early to let us poor popsicles inside to thaw out. I thanked him a bunch. Then Sam, the security guy, goes through his regular speeches of in-line ettiquette and what to have in your hand ready to go. This is where the people-watching becomes prime! I look about 10 people ahead of me and the lady in front of me notices at the same time and remarks, "Why in the world would someone wear FLIP-FLOPS on a day like today?" Yes, flip-flops. Then as I look around I notice it - all the stereotypes: someone in pajama bottoms, ahh - there's the hair curlers sticking out from under a bandana'd head, oh lovely - the "wife-beater" under the unzipped-hood-up hoodie, wow would you look at that - the guy who's two sizes too big for his dirty shirt eating something that just adds to the stains, and let's not forget the one too close to me who "forgot" to take a shower. Oh, and the flip-flop girl, she's with her boyfriend and they have no problem showing their affection at the unemployment office at 7:15 in the morning. Yep, it's all here.

And side-by-side with all that are the ones you don't think about being unemployed: office workers, nurses, teachers, managers, business professionals, etc. Not that those aforementioned lovelies aren't of the more white-collar bunch, but when you see someone carrying a briefcase standing next to the shirt-too-small's a clearer indication of previous profession.

So I get my paperwork, fill it out (has to be filled-out before I can sign-in), sign-in to get called back and wait my turn. The beautiful lady calls a bunch back at once and we file into a conference room to await further instructions. She starts her regular routine and I notice right away she's all set for the mass of people for the day. "Put this form on top, make sure you have printed your name on it, if I don't have your name I can't enter your information." Three people reach for pencils to write their name. She continues on, and a few more have to reach for pencils to fill something in that they didn't "understand" to begin with. I just giggled to myself. Obviously it was just too early in the morning. She repeats, "make sure," a few more times and then we get to leave, handing her our papers as we walk out. The too-small-shirt guy was in front of me. When he handed her his papers, the wrong paper was on top. She was very dramatic in placing the correct paper on top before she allowed him to walk away from her. I just smiled and said Happy New Year! handed her my papers (with the correct one on top) and ran for it!

After the excitement of the unemployment office I needed a break, Hobby Lobby here I come! After that, Hanock Fabrics and off to find a couple small traditional gifts for friends (always 50% off AFTER Christmas which is also our tradition). And I can't wait to post some of the stuff I've been making with my sewing machine! I have an apron calling for me right now!
Monday, December 28, 2009 0 comments

Time for Everything

I have been known for many things, not the least of which has always been how busy I can be. Personally, I always thought I've been lazy because I can not get as much done as I would like. Nor have I climbed any sort of ladder of success that this world seems necessary to throw in my face daily. However, I'm still busy even though I am not currently checking into a 8-5-job.

A few weeks ago I sat myself down and did a serious evaluation of how I spend my time, and how I want to use it. Because it never ceases to amaze me that we are all given the same amount of minutes in a day, yet we all spend them differently. I am not Martha, Rachel or Oprah. I am not Peyton, Jr., or Tebo. I am not "the Don," "Mr. President," or even "Madam Secretary." I am not Angelina, Jennifer, or Miley. Yet, the media masses have put these people up as the poster-children of successful living. They seem to have "everything going for them." But I don't walk in their shoes...I have a hard enough time walking in my own. And honestly, in the end, we are all responsible for ourselves living on the time God gave us. So, back to my time management.

I discovered long ago that when I plan to do a project I will estimate a set amount of time that I think it will take for me to do. It took me longer than I care to admit to allow for interruptions. Even getting a drink refill, going to the bathroom, answering that phone call/email/text, or trying to the printer or internet to work takes up precious moments. You just never realize how long the necessaries take up in a day. And with me being such an organizing freak, I would get frustrated that my project would take hours longer than I anticipated (sometimes days). So armed with that knowledge and the desire to do more productive and meaningful things with my life, I set out to get a better grip on what God gave me to manage.

I want structure, but I need to have enough for flexibility. So how to do that? I broke my time into categories:
  • God time (He comes first)
  • People time (family, friends, group studies, etc....face-time)
  • Work for others
  • Workouts for me
  • Personal time: writing, projects, reading, music practice, etc.
  • House chores
  • Food prep/eat (takes more time than you consider)
  • Business planning

Of course, each category has a color! I try to touch on the main areas each day leaving some "white-space" for flexibility in case something goes haywire. This has been phase 1. Phase 2 will include getting some of those pro-bono projects off my calendar. Phase 3 will include making and meeting some goals. Each phase is smothered in prayer, because I certainly don't want to waste the time I'm given on things of no use. This all may seem fanatical to some of you; however, I am determined to work with God to make my life worthwhile. And He enjoys when I feel a sense of accomplishment and well-being. Time management goes a long way towards that.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

For more thoughts on schedules, visit At The Well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1 comments

Legend of the Candy Cane

I'm sure many of you have seen this before, but I found it and thought I would reprint it here...

Many years ago, a candymaker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church; firmness to represent the promise of God.

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane — a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Meaning of Mistletoe

I had a wonderful girl-day yesterday with a couple friends of mine. Fabulous lunch, movies, "shopping" and a nice treat at Olive Garden to finish off the night. As we were wrapping up to leave the restaurant I overhead the conversation behind me. It was kind of hard to miss because she was so excited reliving a moment to her friends - she just got engaged! He took her to Proof (nice fancy restuarant), and when they came out of the restaurant he had the white horse and buggy there ready to ride around the lit-up town. And as the buggy rounded the Christmas Tree "square," he bent on one knee and proposed - in the buggy with the Christmas tree and millions of other beautiful lights shining around them. It truly was a romantic moment, and even I was transported for the reliving of it.

So on my way home I put on my "Love Me" playlist...full of love songs. I hadn't played that in AWHILE! I usually just get really cynical, but this night I was full of hope for what being in love can be like. I hadn't had that feeling for a long time, and last night I think I was just in love with the idea of being in love. How can you not with songs like "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" sung by Louis Armstrong. I included it here for your enjoyment while you read on about the history of mistletoe, and I wish all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings for everybody during this holiday season! Yes, even in the midst of whatever drama may be going on, I encourage you to find those moments that warm your heart. Kisses y'all!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Kissing under the mistletoe (found from this site):
Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. They probably originated from two beliefs. One belief was that it has power to bestow fertility. It was also believed that the dung from which the mistletoe would also possess "life-giving" power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. Later, the eighteenth-century English credited with a certain magical appeal called a kissing ball. At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. If the girl remained unkissed, she cannot expect not to marry the following year. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. Whether we believe it or not, it always makes for fun and frolic at Christmas celebrations. Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries as well as in Canada. Thus if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom linked to mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day: "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year). Today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe any time during the holiday season.
Friday, December 18, 2009 5 comments

Friday Fragments!

} Last night we got a real treat...Chef Jerome! Oh man, our youth pastor is a culinary school graduate (he refuses to be called a chef), and he "whipped-up" a fantastic meal and dessert! HOMEMADE pasta. The freshly cut pasta was still drying on a string ran through their kitchen when we got there. I thought I had arrived in Italy. HOMEMADE Alfredo...yum, simply yum, with blackened grilled chicken. Delicious! Not to mention the special roasted red-pepper bread spread for the garlic bread. And salad, had to be good somewhere because the dessert - bananas flambe - just took up all the calories I had burned during my workout. The picture here (which is just one I found somewhere), doesn't do the live experience justice. As it's on fire, he adds cinnamon that makes sparks fly literally. It's just amazing and scrumptuous! I was honored to be treated to such a fine dining experience!

} I've made it a point to get more disciplined with my time these past couple of weeks. For anyone who knows me (and you'll see now), I'm a planner. I think I have finally devised a way to be structured with my time, but allow for interruptions/changes to flow. It may not look like it from the image here, but I really can go with the flow. The only thing that is non-negotiable, it that 7:00A time-slot...that's my morning meeting with God (or at least the first hour I get out of bed!).

} Christmas is upon us...already! I have not sent out the first Christmas card yet! And gift-giving will be at a minimum this year since I haven't had any sort of steady income. Only my mom gets the fancy gift, everyone else may get homemade goodies. I have to have some sort of excuse to eat sweets while working out every day!

} I did, however, get myself something for Christmas - a sewing machine. Nothing fancy, just has the basics, but it's a great start to mending stuff and getting creative. I already have a project getting started this weekend! Bill took one look at it and said I should change the name from 'brother' to Mystery Machine. Hmmm...maybe I should paint it green to match the flowers.

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time:
Mommy's Idea
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 2 comments

Life big comedy show

There will be a lot of things I will forget about my former boss, but his taglines will remain embedded in my memory forever. There's one that is so appropriate for this post, "I can't make 'em up, I just report 'em." This is something I just can't make up!

This past Saturday we had an auction for the New Albany Police Department - their regular impound auto auction. Over the years these auctions have become quite a success - events to look forward to - and Saturday was no exception, over $70,000 in sales! It sure helped to have a few garbage trucks in the mix. Yes, I said garbage trucks. Sometimes we auction-off the city's old equipment, and those items can make for entertaining banter. But this particular auction was special indeed.

For every NAPD auction there will be some personal property (stolen or left-behind) that gets sold. Just imagine the delight of the 100+ men in attendance when the backpack full of women's scanty-panties and see-through attire came up for bid. I flashed-back in time to another NAPD auction where a car brought an extra couple hundred dollars simply for the panties hanging from the rearview mirror. I was quickly brought back to the present when the next item for bid was the condem machine! Yes, I said condem machine. Oh, they could barely get through the bidding for all the laughing.

The time to sell the cars came next. Now, when there's men and cars - women barely exist. And during an auction, I'm the most important woman out there (aside from our cashier who takes the money!). It gets hard to squeeze my way through all the people to get to the next vehicle to take bids and write the tickets. I try to be polite, "excuse me, pardon me, excuse me..." But Saturday was classic. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny, engage in conversation with me, or hit on me, but one guy (in his late 50s/early 60s) replied to my 'excuse me' with, "Why, did ya fart?" I had no time to stop "the look" I gave him.

If you did not laugh at any point through this post, we need to talk. If I add my hand and face motions to it, you get the full effect. This will be one of those moments I save for a speaking engagement somewhere. Or write a script for a show. Or just a book, even. Oh, the stories I could tell...

Monday, December 14, 2009 1 comments

What Christmas Is All About

Last night was the Christmas program at Greenville church. For a smaller church, there is an enormous amount of talent there. The kids did a program before the bigger "kids" ensemble (which sounded like angels!). For this program there were a lot of lines to memorize and a bunch of fantastic new songs all with some funky choreography. These little kids (1st-5th grades) were awesome. The proud faces on all the parents and grandparents and flashes from cameras really made it fun. And my biggest warm-and-fuzzy moment came when the kids did a song that included a recitative (talking during the music) of the same section in Luke that Linus does during the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I've included a media clip for your enjoyment.

And for the big kids guys were amazing! And I missed out big-time not being a part of it.

Friday, December 11, 2009 6 comments

Friday Fragments!

} All I can say is that it takes so little to amuse and annoy pets. A brown paper bag, some pipe cleaners and clear tape dispenser rolls are the bulk of the toys. They have a toy box, most of their toys end up under the stove or refrigerator, and so far the tree is still in-tact. How’s that possible? I put jingle bells on the tree as an alarm system for “mom” to come running and they know their day is going to turn bad quick if that happens. But my boy has this aversion for my new slip-ons. The leopard print must freak him out.

} I found out unofficially from a physical therapist friend of mine that I probably have plantar fasciitis in my feet. They’ve hurt off-and-on over the years, and I’ve just chalked it up to dress shoes too many days in a row. But that last warm gorgeous day we had a couple weeks ago I walked around the lake and I could barely make it back to the truck. I couldn’t step on them the next morning at all without screaming. And when your feet kill you your work-outs are limited. So my mom let me borrow her Total Gym. Now I’m back up to doing some Turbo Jam and Total Gym, and if I can make it, some time on the treadmill. I have discovered those long-lost muscles! I just HAVE to keep going with this! I have this dress I am very determined to get into soon.

} Which leads me to the downfall of any weight loss regiment…dessert. We had Mike & Amy over this week to wish them well on their Guatemala mission trip (they leave tomorrow!). Well, I like to try to be a good hostess and asked Amy what her favorite dessert was…pie & ice cream. So I found this easy & delicious recipe for Apple pie. But I don’t have a round pie pan, so I finagled the square 9in. I made a few adjustments to the recipe – you know, a little extra here, little dash of cinnamon for the crusts, and added a caramel icing glaze. And yes, I used fresh apples. So completely homemade. With a little vanilla ice cream (not homemade) on the side. It was delicious beyond words. But I only had one piece! I gave the rest away. I’m proud of me. Missing the pie, but proud.

} I am finally getting around to getting my office totally purged. With two of us using it space is at a minimum. One of my most procrastinated projects has been to get all my shredding done from purged files and receipts for the past “x” years. A total of three hours and four bags later I was caught up! Now for that stack of filing that’s been piling up for months.

} Because of other commitments on Wednesday evenings I wasn’t able to participate with Greenville church’s ensemble for the Christmas program. However, I am getting the opportunity to be a part of Northside’s Family Choir for a weekend of services. We had one practice so far, Titus is the leader. And he rocks! He has a way of getting us to “feel it.” One of our songs is “O Happy Day.” We’ll be sounding like Sister Act in no time! Totally different atmosphere from singing with a choir for The Messiah.

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time:
Mommy's Idea
Thursday, December 10, 2009 0 comments

Valley of Dry Bones

I've been going through a writing dry spell lately. I want to write, need to write, but have a hard time just starting it. I also have too much going on in my head to focus enough to write clear. So I am gathering tidbits already for a Friday Fragment. Maybe I can purge and refresh at that point. In the meantime...

My morning Bible time is currently spent in a chronological Bible. I love it. Reading the prophets' messages from the Lord then having it matched up with the events from Kings and Chronicles makes sense and the whole story comes together seamlessly. Well, this morning I got to read again one of my favorite prophet passages in Ezekiel 37...the valley of dry bones.

Remember "The Mummy movies" (with that adorable Brandon Frasier that certainly has permission to rescue me any day from impending doom...but I digress)? Throughout the whole movie, the mummy regenerates. The bones come together, then the muscles and ligaments, some skin, and it finishes up as a whole evil person that is bent on taking over the world. Well, in Ezekiel (during the exile period of Isreal's history), the Lord takes Ezekiel to this valley filled with nothing but very dry bones and asks him, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Now, if God asked me a question like that, I would try my best to not be disrespectful in my tone, but reply, "are you kidding me?" Ezekiel's answer, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know." What a wise answer!

From there the Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, "Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! (notice the exclamation point) This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know I am the Lord."

So Ezekiel prophesies as he was commanded. And in his own words: "as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them."

Imagine that sight! Reliving those Mummy movie clips yet?

Then the Lord said to Ezekiel, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, "'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army. Can you picture the impact of the wind from all four directions on those empty shells of bodies? There's no magical dust like in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast is turned back into the prince, but there is still that impact of life anew!

This is one of my favorite passages to read, for one because it's just beyond cool, and two, because it's proof for me that even if I perceive something to be dead and dried up (like my dreams in life), God can bring them back to life.

Grace & peace, y'all!