Thursday, December 31, 2009

You can't always get what you want!

Well, it's the last day of 2009.

I could tell you that it has been a great year for me, that I have prospered financially, that all is well, but I refuse to lie.

That's right.

See, I am thrilled this year is over. Good bye 2009! It has been a real effort to see the silver lining in a lot of  trials crap that has been tossed my way.

But let's not go there. Instead let's just recap the last day of 2009.

Dawn breaks. Head aches.

8:00 am Daughter and her boyfriend luckily get the opportunity to drive out of town and go to a real mall. Fun for them. And I am genuinely happy. For them.

10:00 am Oldest son packed and ready to go to Atlanta for a long weekend with friends. Fun for him. And again I am genuinely happy. For him.

11:00 am Perhaps noticing my lack of desire to get dressed and go to our lovely (yes, I am being sarcastic) supermarket, my husband attempts to cheer me up by asking me to go to one of the few eating establishments we are priveledged to have for dinner tonight. I perk up. A little.

11:30 am  Laundry to fold. Head ache worsens.

11:35 am  BC powder consumed.

1:30 pm  I decide to resurrect my mood and my body and go to the supermarket, which is not really that super. Honest.

2:00 pm Dressed for success I head to Harvey's. (Harvey would roll over in his grave if he saw this store)

2:15 pm While cruising through the produce department I am appalled, as always. The choice. The quality. The lack of it, that is. I decide to maneuver around the wilted cabbage and bypass the browning broccoli and grab a few brown bananas, surrendering my health, risking the onset of scurvy, all the time wondering why fresh fruits and vegetables can't make it to this town.

2:30 pm Daughter interrupts my shopping adventure with a text message.

Daughter: R u cooking tonight?
Me: Dad and I are going to eat out.
Daughter: mind if we join you? we will pay for ours.
Me: That's fine. (shocked)
Daughter: OK...we are leaving the mall now. We will be home in 2 hours.
Me: Great! 

3:00 pm Wondering what happened to bag boys? The poor cashier had to check and pack my groceries. And I had to restrain myself from popping the rude customer behind me while she openly discussed her sex life on her cell phone in line and proceeded to run into my heels twice with her Harvey's (less than) Super rmarket buggy!

3:45 pm Headaches worsens. Determining a stomach ulcer would be a relief compared to this migraine, I decide to consume my second BC powder in less than four hours.

3:50 pm  Unloading the groceries, I drop an entire container of half-and-half that I am planning to use to make for our traditional Banana Pudding for New Year's Day dessert. Yes, I said a bad word. But the dog is happy. I also drop a bag of M&Ms leftover from 2004 while cleaning out pantry as I put the groceries up. Not a good day for mulit-tasking. Dog is happy again. He loves chocolate.

4:00 pm Hot bath.

7:00 pm  Middle son, wife and baby come over. I play with baby. Headache lessens.

8:00 pm Obviously oblivious of the time, daughter and boyfriend finally roll in. She has to show me what she bought and she has to change into one of the new outfits. He decides to change into something he bought. They are adorable.

8:30 pm We invite middle son and family to go with us to eat.

8 :35 pm Baby needs to be bathed and changed. Tick Tock.

8:45 pm Husband says he will pass out if we don't leave soon. But first, he has to check the score of the game. It's the last quarter. Middle son, husband and daughter's boyfriend watch the last quarter of the game.
Headache returns.

9:00 pm Arrive at restaurant. We scan the restaurant and prematurely count ourselves lucky that the crowd has already ate and left.

9:05 pm  Hostess missing. Standing in line behind eight unhappy people.

9:15 pm Hostess returns, seats two and disappears.

9:30 pm  Hostess returns, seats four and disappears again.

9:45 pm Hungry husband politley asks magical hostess why is there such a wait when ther are so many tables empty.

9:45 pm Magical hostess gets snappy.

9:46 pm Husband decides we will eat elsewhere.

10:00 pm We arrive at 2nd choice restaurant.

10:01 pm Happy Hostess says we are closed.


10:00 pm I scream in parking lot. It doesn't help my headache.

10:15 pm Arrive at 3rd choice restaurant and discover, yes, it is closing, too. Use better judgement and decide to refrain from screaming.

10:30 pm  Decide to get a burger at Wendy's.

10:35 pm  Standing in line overhear unhappy cook say, I'm outta here. I ain't cooking no more damn burgers.

10:40 pm  Manager appears and states burgers will be cooked.  Notice unhappy cook leaves.

10:45 pm Woman in restaurant chokes. Her attentive husband comes to her aid.

10:46 pm  I see food and it's not mine.

10:50 pm  French fries arrive but no burgers yet.

11:00 pm  Mmmm...more french fries and finally....yes, burgers. And free nuggets.

11:30 pm  Back at home. Wondering. Hoping. Begging. 2010 will have to be better than this.

11:40 pm  Turn on the radio. The Stones are singing You can't always get what you want....


11:45 pm  Hot bath.

12:00 midnight I scream...Happy New Year. 


12:35 am  Realize....I got what I needed. Another year. Another chance. Another breath. And some nice brown bananas for the banana pudding.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gifts from the Giver

600. my wonderful, beautiful, wise parents

601. cold weather that makes me long for spring

602. smell of freshly brewed coffee

603. a warm, toasty fire

604. parents telling stories of their child hood

605. brilliant, handsome sons

606. graceful, beautiful daughter

607. hardworking, loving  husband

608. looking at recipes with daughter

609. hearing the dreams and goals of my children

610. encouraging words from distant friends

611. fresh, buttered bread


A fragrant aroma

In one home a cake bakes in the oven. Aroma fills the air. Food to comfort. Share. 


In another home, not too far away a friend sits. Hands folded. Task almost complete.
Checklist studied once more. Words are few. Strength decreases and pain increases.


They sat together, those men of mine offering freshly baked cake. A meager attempt. To offer kindness. Cheer. Words exchanged. Promises to help his wife care for the farm.


Handshakes. Then hugs. And prayer. Hands laid on friend. Words of praise to Father for a life full. Cries for mercy in this hour. The last pages of this life. 


An aroma fills the air. Sweet aroma.


....and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.  Ephesians 5:2

Friday, December 25, 2009

No gift to bring






Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. 
Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more." 

 Dr. Seuss


She remembered the story of the Drummer Boy. She had read it to her children many times. Now played out. No gift to bring.
Twenty-two years as a parent at Christmas time, this was a first. The first time she didn't overspend, stress out, and wrap gifts for her children. Strange. Odd. 
Now, before you classify her as The Grinch, let me attempt to explain. 
Money was tight. There was no extra. At all. Money to buy food and pay bills was about it. 
Living on one income...within their means. 
At first, she fretted. Even cried, (yes, she did) that there wasn't money to spend on Christmas for her kids. Embarassed. Depressed. Yes. 
She got up the courage to sit down with the children and told them how things are. Difficult. Heart wrenching.  
Tough times. 


They were amazing. Understanding. Accepting. Encouraging. 


Eva Marie Everson writes , "Most of us have been in this place at one time or another. Sometimes its when we are young and in college or just beginning our adult lives on our own. Other times we’re older and have had a stroke of bad luck. Either way, the season comes upon us and we have “no gift to bring.” The skirt under our Charlie Brown Christmas tree is exposed without a single gift resting upon it. It is at this time that we may be reminded of the poor child in the beloved Christmas tune, 'Little Drummer Boy.' Like him — like the baby Jesus and like his parents, Mary and Joseph — we are flat broke....Our tradition of gift exchange began with the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus after His birth. Because of the monetary value, we’ve somehow transferred this sacrifice on their part and have created a new kind of sacrifice. We stress ourselves out by trying to out-give and, in the process, we over-charge and over-spend. In the end, most of our gifts end up looking more like “any other dove” in the temple.But what if we were to give ourselves? Our time. Our talents. What if we were to give them to each other?What if we were to give them to God?"


What if?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Coming





Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do.
 Luke 23:34





I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that there are people who get under my skin and some who really just seem so mean, thoughtless, and self-centered that I can't imagine ever loving them. 


Today those stinging, bitter words. Nose upturned. Rude. Cold.


Intentional? Careless? Those words.


Still they hurt.


Blinking back tears. 


Swallowing hard. 


Throat burns. 


How do I love this one? 


She needs to be told exactly how rude she really is. Put in her place. Ungrateful. She is.


Then, after a solid hour of misery, I end my silent argument for the hurt I feel. 


I finally stop. I bow my head. Knowing He heard it. Knowing He witnessed it all.


And I remember Christmas is coming.
The One who will take away the sins of the world. 
The One who will cleanse me. This child. His child.


Forgive her , Lord as you have forgiven me.








Monday, December 21, 2009

Let me cover you

On the first day of winter,
the earth awakens to the cold touch of itself.
Snow knows no other recourse except
this falling, this sudden letting go
over the small gnomed bushes, all the emptying trees.
Snow puts beauty back into the withered and malnourished,
into the death-wish of nature and the deliberate way
winter insists on nothing less than deference.
waiting all its life, snow says, "Let me cover you."
-   Laura Lush, The First Day of Winter

Solstice


                 

A successful married life requires falling in love many times, but always with the same person.



Today was the winter solstice and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It's all due to Earth's tilt, which ensures that the shortest day of every year falls around December 21.


Now the house is quietening. Toes are warming by the fire. Rest. Recalling the day. This solstice. 


And another solstice, a first day of winter twenty-four years ago. Fire blazes. And the love story continues. Celebrating our marriage.


Time for thanks. 


Adding to the list.


599. falling asleep and waking next to the man I married twenty-four years ago.

Celebrate

I love to host a party. The preparation. The cooking. The cleaning. All of it. I especially love to sit back...behind the scenes and watch as others enjoy. I wasn't the head hostess and I was instructed to be in the background. No problem for me. My favorite place.
The house was a-buzz.. Daughter invited fellow high schoolers, dedicated swimmers over for a Christmas party. They filled our home. Laughter. Constant chatter. Munching on homemade cookies, cupcakes, brownies, chips, dip and sipping soft drinks. Swapping gifts. Celebrating.

And more reason to celebrate. With gratitude. The list continues.





592.. daughter stirring, mixing, baking, decorating dozens of cookies


593. laughter and silly giggles 


594. candles burning  


595. diet coke with crushed ice


596. a warm, cozy fire


597. Christmas carols on the radio


598. hugs from my children

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Polar Express


Seeing is believing, 

but sometimes the most real things

 in the world are the things 

we can't see.

-Polar Express



I dressed in my pajamas today and went to work. Yep, sure did. I had the opportuntiy to sub in a Pre-K classroom where  we watched the movie THE POLAR EXPRESS and drank hot chocolate in our p.j.'s Guess that's one of the perks of teaching Pre-K. Learning is fun!


THE POLAR EXPRESS is a great classic movie that I always enjoy watching this time of year. There is a great message in it and I was reminded of it today as I sat there along with those wide-eyed four year-olds. 


To me it's a story of faith  - faith lost, faith reawakened, and faith renewed. 


Just like the main character, "Hero Boy"  who had doubts that Santa was real, I have found myself at times wondering ... if God is really there. And if He truly cares about my situation. 


Ronald Rolheiser in  Forgotten Among the Lilies,says to make “a deliberate and conscious effort at assuming the posture of a child before reality. We must work at regaining the primal spirit, a sense of wonder, the sense that reality is rich and full of mystery....It would be ridiculous to long for something that had no chance of ever being real. We enjoy magical stories because we pine for another world. We long for transcendence because we know there is something beyond. We experience wonder, because there is One who is called Wonderful.”


So today I come to you, Lord. Your child. Humbled.  Discouraged. Lost. Needing re-birth. A reawakening and a renewal. A child wide-eyed. In awe and wonder at the presence of you in my life...and in this world.  I seek the gift, the present I long for. The peace I need. Because you are WONDEFUL. And real. 


“Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me. As it does for all who truly believe.”
-Polar Express

Monday, December 14, 2009

Treading water

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  
Only through experience of trial and suffering
 can the soul be strengthened,
 ambition inspired,
 and success achieved.
 -Helen Keller 


I really love this quote by Helen Keller. There really is so much truth to it. But lately, I feel like screaming...come on, my character is developing bruises, gimme a break! Enough already!


I really am searching for the silver lining in everything that has happened and hasn't happened...searching for reasons to be at peace, content, happy. 
 BUT...
I feel like I am treading water and about to drown. Waves crashing. Threatening to drown my hope. So much I can't control. So much out of my hands. So what to do? 


I make a choice. Again. A choice to cling. To hold on. I  make that choice regardless of how I feel, or what I see around me. Keeping the faith. And I add to the list. Things I am thankful for. 


576. celebrating father-in-law's 80 years
577. bags of groceries
578. cleansing tears
589. sweet words from husband
590. children singing Christmas carols





591. making cookies and fudge for oldest son







592. hearing Malli's laughter





593. visiting a college with daughter





594. protection on the road





595. cheering for CHS swimmers

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This season











                                                          



                      



 I drove up the winding driveway...just as I have done a million times before. But this time, I stopped mid-way. Put my car in park and got out. I got off track, out of my everyday routine just to absorb this season. This fleeting moment. This familiar place.


I snapped a few pictures with my camera phone attempting to capture the beauty...the change...and the wait. Branches dropping leaves. Jeweled drops of rain from earlier today still suspended on twig-like branches while most leaves carpet the ground. Bark peeling, the shedding away.


And already my restless soul aches for spring. The dormant is necessary, but not my choosing. And so it is in my life. This season, not my choosing. But today, I stop.  Looking for the beauty in this ever-changing season of gestation, this time of wait.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Brunswick Stew

I remember coming home from school and walking into a house, a home filled with the delicious aroma of my mother's tasty cookies baking or supper in the making. Such a comfort. She is still such a great cook. I have said it before and I will say it again. She can butter bread and it will taste better than mine. I believe it's the love she puts into everything she does.

Next to my Moma, nothing speaks love and comfort like a warm bowl of Brunswick Stew, in my humble opinion. With the cooler weather I enjoy preparing this stew and other family favorites for my loved ones.

Today I made a pot of Brunswick Stew. Now I don't know if you have ever prepared this delicious stew or if you have even ever tasted it at all. Maybe you don't even care. One thing is for sure though. Many people care about the origin of this stew. Seriously. They call it '"Stew wars."  Read more here

It doesn't make any diference to me where the original recipe came from.
But, I do remember the first time I ever tasted it. I was about twelve years old and most likely at my 12th family reunion at Stokesville Baptist Church. I watched as everyone excitedly scooped up a cup of Aunt Dale's Brunswick Stew. I decided that it must be something worth standing in line for. I only got a small spoonful that year. When the next family reunion rolled around, you better believe I got more than a spoonful. I confess, I even broke in line.

When I got married I really did not know how to cook. Believe me, it took lots of practice and a husband with patience and a stomach of steel before I got to be an average cook. Anyhow, when I married,  I wanted to learn to make Brunswick Stew and  I found a recipe in an old cook book and played around with it til I got it just right. I offered jars of it to friends and shut-ins, always reserving some especially for my Daddy who still claims it is the best he has ever had. (awww...thanks, Daddy)

Well, at the request of a high school classmate, I am posting my nearly-famous Brunswick Stew recipe here....on my blog. I am sure there are many other versions of the stew. Perhaps, you even have one you would like to share. If you do, leave the recipe in the comment box. I would love to try yours.

Gina's Brunswick Stew


Use any combination of these to equal about 4 cups of meat:
Cooked, shredded pork
Cooked, crumbled ground beef
Cooked, chopped chicken breast

2 c. Chicken broth
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 small bottle Ketchup
1 cup chopped yellow Onion
1 large can diced Tomatoes
1 can Tid-bit Corn
1 can English Peas

Combine everything in crock pot and cook slowly. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Past


                                            
Found some old photos of Christmas past today. This one is of me and my sister, Kathy probably Christmas Eve 1964. I was barely three years old. I swear I can remember those footie-pajamas, the snaps, and even remember the sad, sad day that Moma had to cut the feet out when I grew too tall for them, making my toes curl up when I put them on. I don't remember what I got for Christmas that year, but I do remember those cute little pajamas! Funny the things we remember from our childhood.

Now that my own children are grown...one with a child of his own...I wonder what they remember. What memories do they have? More importantly, what memories will they make?

What about you?  What do you remember? And what are some memories you plan to make this year?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Change


It is the last day of November.
A mostly cloudy, gray day. 
Soup simmering on the stove.
A quiet house.
Boxes scattered 'round.
Waiting to be opened.
Christmas to be displayed.
This Advent season...anticipation.
Remembering God's promise.
Looking for the Christ.
Open my heart, LORD.
Present Yourself radiantly.
More beautiful than any package I could wrap or receive.
You are the gift-giver and the gift all in one.
What more is there that I need?


In this holiday season of "giving and receiving" consider how you might spend less and give more to those in need. Visit this link. http://christmaschange.com 
Think about it....join me as you use your resources to spread good news to those in desperate need, restoring the magic and wonder to this season.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Hardwood Groves


The same leaves over and over again!They fall from giving shade above To make one texture of faded brown And fit the earth like a leather glove. Before the leaves can mount again To fill the trees with another shade, They must go down past things coming up. They must go down into the dark decayed. They must be pierced by flowers and put Beneath the feet of dancing flowers. However it is in some other world I know that this is way in ours.  Robert Frost

Friday, November 27, 2009

Light of a new day


Light of a new  day 
Piercing the shadows in my soul
A new day dawns
Yesterday gone.


Monday, November 23, 2009

'Lettuce' be thankful...


There is 
always, 
always, 
always 
something to be
 thankful for.



566. freshly harvested homegrown lettuce for salad

567. planning menus with daughter who loves to cook

568. anticipation of oldest son coming home tomorrow

569. husband's family Thanksgiving yesterday

570. cooking for my neighbor and his family

571. socks on my cold feet

572. cooking in the kitchen with my niece

572. laughing with my husband

573. the return of the geese to our pond

574. spaghetti sauce in the crock pot

575. smell of pumpkin muffins baking

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pine Needles


To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass
 is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
-Helen Keller


It's a clear, brisk Fall day. My online coursework can wait. Laundry and housework, too. There is pine straw to rake. Gather. Pile high. Brown refuse from towering southern pines. Falling. Blanketing. Carpeting the fading, green grass. Pine straw. 


The first yard I ever played in had huge pine trees so I am familiar with these naturally shed leaves, these needles. 


This time of year many people use pine straw as a mulch. Valued for its attractive reddish-brown color, ease of application and good insulation, pinestraw has become a moneymaker for many landscapers. 


Mulches are used for various agricultural and gardening purposes, they are applied to the soil surface. 


Properly used, they benefit plant growth and minimize garden labor. The main functions of mulches are the conservation of soil moisture and the moderation of soil temperature. 


They moderate internal soil temperatures by retaining heat from the day and radiating it to the soil at night during spring and fall; in the winter mulches moderate soil warming during the day, limiting the stress plants undergo during soil freezing and thawing cycles.


 They also are used to prevent frost heaving of unestablished plants in winter. During summer, they keep soil cool by blocking direct sunlight exposure of the soil surface. Mulches are used to block evaporation of water from the soil, slowing down soil drying. 


They also help control the growth of weeds, blocking sunlight and/or smothering weed seedlings under layers of material. Mulch also reflects sunlight back from the ground to the leaves of plants, they also provide a clean and dry surface for ground-lying fruits. 


They prevent soil erosion from heavy rains, prevent surface run-off of water, and prevent the direct impact of hard rains on the soil surface. Some mulches improve soil texture, adding humus. 


Gardener of my soul mulching my heart, applying the necessary to benefit me, conserving, moderating, ridding my life of the unnecessary. I pray that my life will reflect The Light and that I will provide fruit. 
And even more. 


These pine needles, this straw. A symbol of how life turns. Ever-changing. And what falls, what is cast away, still has value. If we care to listen. If we take the time to look. Stop long enough to feel. 


So today I ask the one who tends and nurtures me in this season to apply His mulch to my heart, right to my soil soul.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Multitide Monday





Anne from HOLY EXPERIENCE asks, "Want to drink the joy elixir? Become a Joy Finder? Consider joining the Gratitude Community! Just jump in with your own counting!" So here I go...jumping in again with joy for the gifts....






560. fun with brother, sister, and cousin












561. pecan pies, pound cake, caramel apples and more





562. newlywed Krista and Chris





563. great-grandfather and great-granddaughter dancing   





564. a sweet little family



565. sister, brother having fun with their niece




To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee,
and not be silent. O Lord my God,
I will give thanks unto Thee for ever.
 Psalms 30:12



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fear

We all have or have had fears. I have plenty.


Just had two restless nights. Tossing. Turning. Haunted by fear. The unknown. Out of control. Mind racing. 


One of my life verses...2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 


Repeating it over and over again. 
The truth making a  rut, wedged deep in this doubting soul. This one that questions. Too much.


Another good verse...“Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  Colossians 3:2



A friend interested me in the book Fearless by Max Lucado. I have only read chapter one so far but I am already hooked!


There are so many uncertainties and unknowns. Now more than ever...It is important to learn to abide and trust even deeper in Christ, turning my fears over to Him, laying them down at his feet. 


Lucado retells the familiar story of the disciples out in that fishing boat on the stormy sea. 
Sometimes we just have to get in that boat, even if it looks like it is sinking! 


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boo!


me - Halloween 1963 


Warning...
this post may scare you 
if you are opposed to fun.


For a girl who was born on October 31 and was treated by her parents to many wonderful Halloween-themed birthday parties most of her childhood, I am always surprised, really when the evils of this holiday, my birthday, are pointed out to me by some "Christian" friends.  Just wondering does anyone out there think we may be spending way too much time in fear of Satan and demons and talking about spiritual warfare than about pure freedom, joy, and fun one can find in life with JESUS? Even while dressed in, gasp, a witch costume.


I discovered this article and thought I would share. 


Click on
 http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/imonk-101-my-annual-halloween-rant-one-of-them-revisited





Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall at the Morgan Home


Falling into thankfulness




Thank God in everything 
for this is the will of God 
for you in Christ Jesus. 
Thess. 5:18


Thanking God.  It can be a real challenge especially when faced with hopeless, ongoing trials. We all have a story. But the Word declares that I am to give thanks to God, no matter what my circumstances, and just to make it crystal clear... this is His will for me


Remember  Corrie Ten Boom? While in the concentration camp, she and many others were infested with lice. She was challenged with this very thought...give thanks EVEN for lice? She did and then discovered later that the lice is what kept the soldiers from coming in an molesting her and the other ladies.



I am convinced that His Word is true. And If I believe that, then I can rest and know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans. 8:28)


On this dreary, gloomy Fall afternoon, I choose to "fall into thankfulness" for everything. 


554. sleep lost, book adventure
555. tears shed, hearts healed
556. cramped car, room for love
557. quiet house, loud praises
558. lessons to do, knowledge gained
559. older, wiser