Sunday, November 28, 2010

Build Me A Son

Our son, Griff left for Air Force Basic training this afternoon. Yes, our hearts are swollen with pride and my eyes are swollen with tears as we witness this boy of ours once again, make us proud. He is such a fine man!

He came into the world determined and strong, literally fighting for every breath the first month of his life. He has always seemed to make the most of every situation, rising to the occasion. His sensitivity, compassion, wit, intelligence, creativity, and humor are just some of his great qualities. Love that boy!

Definitely not the scrap-booking type, I surprised myself and pulled off a collection of personal words/notes from friends and family along with quotes and scriptures and compiled them into a handmade patriotic-themed scrapbook. OK, I admit daughter helped a  little lot! Thanks, SJ!

For the first page of the scrapbook, I printed out this favorite poem of mine by  General Douglas A. MacArthur. I remember the first time I discovered these words. I was only twenty-one years old, not even a mother yet...the same age Griff is as he leaves for service to his country today. Somehow I tucked the poem away in my collection of quotes and poems and remembered it this week. As you read it, remember all the dedicated men and women who are serving our great country today. May God bless them and God bless the U. S. A.

Build me a son, O Lord,
who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
and brave enough to face him self when he is afraid;
one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be
where his backbone should be;
a son who will know Thee- and that
to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,
but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.
Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm;
here, let him team compassion for those who fall.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high;
a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men;
one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep;
one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his,
add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor,
so that he may always be serious,
yet never take himself too seriously.
Give him humility, so that he may always remember
the simplicity of true greatness,
the open mind of true wisdom,
the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper,
"I have not lived in vain."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Mystery

Always beyond the gates.

Outside the city.

To the desert. The wilderness.

Beyond the limits of my control.

For that which I seek does not dwell

in temples of stone made with hands,

or sanctuaries of words made with pen or mouth.

Just because I write a fence for the Mystery

doesn’t mean I’ve captured it,

for my fences are always full of holes,

and the Mystery has already moved

while I turned to construct the compound.

The Mystery is wild and will not be owned,

but has condescended to freely dwell

in the smallest of vessels.

I dove into a cup and found

an ocean without shores.
-David Hayward

Monday, October 18, 2010


Atlanta Botanical Gardens tree photography - courtesy of Savannah-Jane

Awakening to sunlight
Streaming through the window
Leaves fluttering, falling from the birches.
Trees undressing, disrobing,
Becoming naked and bare.
This is Fall.
And I fall.
Into His arms.
Realizing His presence.
Warming my face.
And grace falls, cascading like the leaves.
Taking off, stripping me of my shame, my guilt.
gina 2010

"Don't resist helplessness—
it's the power of your prayer life."
-Bill Thrasher

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
[Amos 5:21-24 - The Message]

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This is the basic Pumpkin Bread recipe I used for the Pumpkin Muffins today. Note that I glazed the muffins with a delicious spur of the moment topping that made me fall to my knees and ask for forgiveness. Seriously.

1 cup sugar
1.2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1.2 cup corn oil
2 eggs
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1.2 tsp salt
1/2 nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugars, pumpkin, oil, and eggs in bowl; mix well. Add sifted ingredients; mix well. Stir in pecans. Pour into well-oiled 5x9 inch loaf pan. Bake until loaf tests done, Remove to wire rack and cool. 

"Fall to Your Knees and Ask for Forgiveness" Glaze topping:
Stir  ingredients together on low heat til butter melts. Pour mixture on top of muffins and then sprinkle with chopped pecans. YUM!

8 oz. evaporated milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter... the real stuff

Home....a dearer spot than all the rest

Last weekend daughter and oldest son came home.  A weekend spent at home. Ahhh...Family, food, laughter, friends, and dirty clothes filled the house. Really miss those kiddos! Yep, I know, I need to get a grip. They are grown now. And, good news...they know how to wash clothes.

But occasionally, you know, they need to think of home. Be reminded of their Mom, who birthed them without pain medication, lovingly nursed them, changed their diapers, stayed up all night when they were sick, drove them 10,000 miles weekly to and from school, dance, soccer, fed them at least one home-cooked meal a week,washed at least 5 loads of clothes daily, and, of course raised them to be the fine young adults they are today. With a little help from the Mister. Just Kidding. He helped a lot. He always did the dishes. Really.

Anyway, I decided to skip church today. I baked pumpkin muffins and glazed them with melted butter, milk and brown sugar. (Lord, forgive me)
Well after a little coaxing, the Mister and Max (the last four-legged child at home) volunteered to taste them and give their unbiased opinion. After sharing two muffins and chasing them with cold milk, they reached their decision.

On a scale of 1 to 10 they were ranked an 11. 

Because these muffins have been officially tasted-tested and approved by a panel of unbiased consumers, and the fact that I am the best mother my children will ever have, I decided to send a little bit of lovin from the oven to those who now do their own laundry.

Because home is where their heart is. And where they can get their favorite meals, ignore dishes in the sink, and be served in (clean) underwear.

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.”
-Robert Montgomery

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Welcome October

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes' sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--

For the grapes' sake along the wall.
-Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The same leaves ...

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, September 17, 2010

Love never fails.

Their smooth, fresh faces, mask the hidden, dark scars, and the broken places. They come each day. Into my life. From different homes. With different stories.

How to begin? How to become the teacher they need?

Study every standard, memorize every objective, each essential question?


Utilize flex-grouping?

Create lessons plan?

Accomodate for their needs?

Become proficient in technology?

Yes, all these are important components, but I must not forget the most basic and neccessary need of these I spend my days with now.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Little Girl

After an incredibly long week at school, my reward was walking in the door Friday afternoon and seeing her beautiful self. Those green eyes, that dark hair, and that sparkling smile. I took her face in my hands, kissed her on her cheek, and then the tears erupted. My daughter. Oh how I missed her. Only two weeks, but two weeks too long.

This weekend was spent chatting, catching up, shopping, laughing, and cooking together. It went by too fast for me. She packed up this afternoon and went back to school. And more tears fell. From my eyes and hers.
How precious time spent with her is to this Mom.
How proud I am of her. My little girl,

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go
Gonna tell you how much I love you
Though you think you already know
I remember I thought you looked like an angel wrapped in pink so soft and warm
You've had me wrapped around your finger since the day you were born
You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl
When you were in trouble that crooked little smile could melt my heart of stone
Now look at you, I've turned around and you've almost grown
Sometimes you're asleep I whisper "I Love You" in the moonlight at your door
As I walk away, I hear you say, "Mom, I Love You More"
Your beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl
Someday, some boy will come and ask me for your hand
But I won't say "yes" to him unless I know, he's the half
That makes you whole, he has a poet's soul, and the heart of a man's man
I know he'll say that he's in love
But between you and me
He won't be good enough
Your beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl

(Tim McGraw)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Second Act

This one takes a wife, has a child and makes a home.
 And that one finishes college and takes a job.
 Now she packs the boxes full and readies for college life. 
Years of parenting in this way, this mode now shifts.
Days of childhood,
 a memory.

Another frequency, another channel and I adjust.
Sometimes overlapping, static and I hear myself say out loud,
'How is it that the quiet in this house is so deafening?'
A blink and they are grown.
Time for the second act.

It kills you to see them grow up. 
 But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.  
~Barbara Kingsolver

Monday, August 2, 2010

Overcoming self

Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self. -Francis of Assisi

Here I am  unpacking, laying it all out...again. That place, that call,  the one I tried to shut out, close off, supress.

Strange, now. It feels natural, like home, really.

Young eyes, eager, nervous look to me. I sense the anxious. I know their insecurity.
One struggles with reading. And that one, another disorder, a deficit.
This one has trouble hearing. Voices in the backgroud distract. I notice. The box that helps her to receive these noises, these muffled tones, she wears on her hip.

My eyes meet hers. Small talk, yet profound. She speaks. I listen.

This girl.

This teacher.

Two worlds collide.

Another journey begins.

685. sharpened pencils
686. stacks of new books
687. freshly waxed floors
688. my lunch box
689. desks in rows
690. flowers for teachers

Monday, July 26, 2010


He who distinguishes
 the true savor of his food
can never be a glutton;
 he who does not
 cannot be otherwise.
- Henry David Thoreau

Savory Soup

Soak your favorite dried beans the night before making soup. Rinse the next morning and cook beans in chicken broth. Season to taste. (I added a pinch of salt, fresh rosemary, basil, and a bay leaf)

Once beans are tender, add sauteed ingredients and simmer on low for at least two hours. Serve with your favorite warm, crusty bread.

ingredients to chop/slice/sautee in olive oil:

1 bulb garlic

2 tsp. fresh thyme

3 stalks celery

4 carrots

5 green onions, with stalks

When you see something as true and beautiful and valuable, you savor it ...When we see Jesus for who he really is we savor him. -John Piper

savoring more true, beautiful, and valuable gifts....
673. cooking with my niece
674. fresh, crisp vegetables
675. laughs shared with my sister
676. a daughter healing
677. sweet peaches
678. a dinner invite from sister in law
679. iced tea
680. C. S. Lewis quotes
681. a long soak in the tub
682. a new magazine
683. surprising daughter

Monday, July 19, 2010

Small wonders. Daily joys. Overflowing riches.

659. geraniums
660. friends and family who pray
661. a new day
662. my dear husband
663. a smile from a stranger

664. children's books on sale
665. a churn of ice cream and family to share it with
666. a meal shared with my father in law
667. watching grandaughter dance
668. music
669. ice water with lemon slice
670. a daughter's smile
671. phone calls from both sons
672. a visit with my parents

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

Because it's the middle of the sticky-hot, humid, miserable summer, and because my daughter made a pound cake today, I hinted to my dear husband that it was time. Time for ice cream.

Apparently, it was good timing.

Unbenounced to me, back in 1984, the month of July and the third Sunday in July (that's today) were designated by President Ronald Regan as National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day. I look for any excuse to celebrate and love having my friends and family over, so I was extra excited that the entire country was eating ice cream right along with me and my family today.When it comes to national holidays, this one is the sweetest, we can all agree.

Now, you may be shocked to find out that ice cream is not really one of my favorite sweet pleasures. But, I will admit, my husband has a tried-and-true simple recipe that's sure to please even me. But, the biggest fans and greatest supporters of Guy's Almost-Famous Ice Cream are my Daddy and my grandaughter, Malli.

My Dad is basically an ice cream connoisseur, having tasted ice cream from all over the world, and in possession of a well-stocked freezer filled with many varieties and flavors. And he will readily attest that this ice cream is a perfect 10.

Upon grandaughter's first taste of the delicious concoction, she uttered the word, "WOW," and she was only 18 months old at the time! The picture above is of the two of them getting down with some of the sweetness today.

Since I love you and want you to experience the sweet life, too I have decided to share Guy's Almost-Famous Ice Cream recipe, with his reluctant permission. But you have to promise to reply in my comment box and let me know what you think. Or else.
Just kidding.


Guy's Almost-Famous Ice Cream

3 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cans evaporated milk
1 pint carton whipping cream
1 pint half and half
2 cups sugar
Vanilla Flavoring
(or Vanilla Bean if you have it)

Mix ingredients well and pour into ice cream freezer can.
Add whole milk to fill line on freezer can.
Insert the dasher and mix well by turning dasher back and forth. 
Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


I have a beautiful fig tree in my yard planted by my late mother-in-law. For some reason, I have never ate a fig from that tree. Or any fig tree for, that matter. I'm odd like that. I have been known to consume Fig Newtons, if that counts for anything.

My mother has picked figs off the tree in my yard and made fig preserves once or twice but I have never been inclined to do that either. I don't know why.
Well, today I turned over a new (fig) leaf. And I am smitten.

First, a little education for the fignorant among us. (me included)

After hours and hours a few minutes of research on, I learned some interesting things about figs For instance, this small, pear-shaped fruit, has long been revered for its apparent aphrodisiac properties. Note: My Guy has now read this and is outside in the 105 degree sweltering heat picking more figs for me. Hmm...I am beginning to see why some things should be kept a secret. And remember Adam and Eve? Yep, they clothed themselves with fig leaves.

Now for some seriously interesting nutritional information about figs:

-they have the highest overall mineral content of all common fruits.

-figs are an excellent source of potassium

-they may help to control blood pressure

-figs are also high in calcium, which protects bone density

-the fruit is also a source of iron, vitamin B6 and the trace mineral manganese

-they have higher quantities of fiber than any other dried or fresh fruit. (Insoluble fiber protects against colon and breast cancer, while soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol. Figs offer both types in one compact package. Since Americans on average eat less than half the minimum amount of dietary fiber thought to be necessary for good health, figs are a sweet and easy way to increase intake. Diets rich in fiber may also help manage weight. Additionally, figs’ fiber makes them a mild laxative.)

-figs are a good source of flavonoids and polyphenols, plant-based antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body.

-dried figs also contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve immune function

-figs are one of the most perishable fruits and must be eaten within one to two days of harvest.
(As the old saying goes, nothing good lasts forever.)

So, after I have studied up and tasted the former forbidden fruit of my past, I guess I'll learn to make some fig preserves for those long winter days when it's just me and the Mister. Romantic, huh? Just don't count on me walking around adorned with fig leaves, honey.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Through Him then, let us continually offer
up a sacrifice of praise to God,
 that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
-Hebrews 13:15

651. flowers from seed I planted

652.  a trip to the ocean

652. healing tears
653. long talks with those I love
654. music
655. oldest son's new job
656. fresh garden vegetables
657. wise parents
658. rain
659. Malli's sweet laughter

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Blessed are they which do
 hunger and thirst
after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6

Saturday, June 19, 2010


A Dad is someone you never outgrow your need for.

He was just twenty years old when he married my mother. Said they had less than $50 to their name. Struggles and work he was familiar with and success would be his reward.

Determined, driven, my Daddy.

I was the second child, the second daughter. I wondered sometimes if he had wanted a son instead of me. That blue-eyed, blonde, curly-headed girl.

In my younger days, I remember a serious-minded towering figure. I remember eating the fish he had caught,  car rides standing next to him as he drove, and the security of his arms around me when I was afraid of his bird dog.

In my teen years, he was gone a lot, working, climbing the ladder of success. I remember missing him. Wanting to be his little girl.

Mostly though, I remember a deep desire, a longing to make him proud. To be assured that he accepted me.

Acceptance. Approval. Acknowledgement. It seems like that's what everyone wants, really.
To know we are valued.

These days he calls me often. Just to talk. But one day, this week, he called and said these words that I will never forget...

I have a busy day, lots of appointments today... but before I get started, I just wanted to tell you I love you.

Words I will never get too old to hear.

Thank you, Daddy. Happy Father's Day. I love you, too.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Malli

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild. ~Welsh Proverb

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dear Pioneer Woman,

Healthy baked muffin-doughnut/donut

Unhealthy fried doughnut/donut

In recognition of  National Doughnut/Donut Day, I took it upon myself to come up with a healthier version of the delectable doughnut/donut. (Can you tell I am still obsessing over which way to spell the darn word?)

After forcing asking my daughter to help me mix up the healthy recipe at midnight, the results are now in. The healthy baked doughnut/donut tasted like a muffin. That's right. A good healthy, hearty, moist muffin, which,  is o.k.  IF you want a muffin. But a muffin is not what I ordered, thank you very much! So it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. After much thought and deliberation the panel of, my daughter, my son, and my niece...voted to make this recipe instead. As a last resort. Redeeming the wasted time spent on the "healthy" recipe.

Now, suffice it to say, I have always been pleased with your  Pioneer Woman recipes. Never been disappointed with any of the high-caloric, fat-packed, amazing food you whip up. (Although I have strong suspicions you don't  eat the food you cook...I saw your skinny butt on T. V.)

But seriously, I must say the labor involved, the trouble of mixing the dough, allowing it to rise, rolling it out, cutting it out, getting the hot oil just the right temperature for frying was more painful than the last root canal I had. My poor daughter was breaking a sweat.

Aggravating, Ree. Really. No hard feelings. It was just NOT my idea of fun.

Just to remain fair and open-minded though, I sampled not one, but two of these little devils. And honestly, they were not fall-on-the-floor great. Better than the healthy baked muffin-doughnut/donut impostor, BUT just not worth the trouble.

Maybe one day, when I have all the laundry caught up, the weeds are all pulled, and Facebook goes out of style, I'll give it another try, but for now I am just gonna google for the closest Krispy Kreme.

Unless, and only unless, under one accept this cordial invitation to visit me in my neck of the woods and give me some and cooking tips....starting with Doughnuts 101.
 I'll even wear my yoga pants, just to make you feel welcome.

I love you. Still.


Gina Morgan

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jam-packed day!

There is a list a mile long of things I want to do with my hubby of almost twenty-five years. Postponed dreams, a bucket-list for our marriage, whatever you want to call it. You see, not too far into our marriage children began to arrive on the scene. Life was jam-packed with activities that centered around our kids.
And we have no regrets. Parenting is an incredible gift.

Just twenty-two months after we said "I DO" we began the years of diapers, laundry, preschool, T-ball, laundry, dance lessons, PTO, laundry, braces, baseball, football, basketball, laundry, homework, piano lessons, laundry, soccer games, dance recitals, laundry, cars, dating, proms, laundry, and the endless energy each of those milestones require. And did I mention laundry? Occupying and diverting our attention to the importance of raising our wonderful kids was a sacrifice, but such a tremendous blessing. Years of loving, nurturing, disciplining, and now the harvest.

We are definitely blessed.

The children are grown: one Air Force-bound with a family of his own, one graduated college, and another beginning college.  Lately, I find myself dreaming and planning ways to do some of those postponed things together as a couple. I think we owe it to ourselves. And to each other.
So, while I work on that list of things we need to do, places we need to go, I will share one of the things we did today that actually wasn't on the list at all.

We made blueberry jam! Picking the berries we grew ourselves and then made some delicious jam.

This season, this harvest of fruit reminds me that we reap because we toil. Along this journey, our marriage, and in even on our personal spiritual path there will be seasons of cold, even dry times. The fruit of our labor may be hidden but we must forge ahead.  Galatians 6:9 says Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work.
Ecclesiastes 4:9


See how our garden grows!

Friday, June 4, 2010

National Doughnut/Donut Day

Sometimes I can get a little O. C. D . about the spelling or pronunciations of words. Take the word for
small cake of sweetened or, sometimes unsweetened rich, light dough fried in fat, typically shaped like a ring.Whether you spell it "donut" or "doughnut" we have to agree this celestial concoction is one of the greatest culinary inventions ever. In our town, we have a family-owned bakery that sells a pretty amazing doughnut/donut. I am a die-hard Krispy-Kreme fan, myself.

Today is National Doughnut Day and I feel somewhat obliged to participate in this worthy holiday. I remember the first doughnut I ever had. Must of been around 1967. I was around six years old. My mother made them from scratch at home. They were truly magical! Warm sugary little bites...a little crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Ahhhhh!
So, now you know... I have my mother to blame thank for my addiction to food. Never mind that she has never ever struggled with her weight.

Moving on. Since we have established that I am a dedicated, unofficial member of the No Carb Left Behind fan club, having met all the requirements for membership, and possessing the love handles to prove it, I feel a certain duty, a responsibility of sorts to womankind to come up with healthier versions of tasty foods. It's true, I admit, I get weak in the knees when it comes to mere visions of donuts/doughnuts. For Carbs' sake, I have been known to drive 100 miles for a Krispy-Kreme. The thoughts of butter, bread or desserts can literally throw me into a feeding frenzy that rivals a Great White vs Baby Seal attack.

But, alas, now that I am on this self-assigned mission to discover healthier ways to make and  partake of the delicious foods I am addicted to have come to appreciate, I have definitely met an overwhelming challenge head-on today! The challenge? To create a delicious, delectable, doughy, delicious, damn-good doughnut. Sorry, Mom. I get carried away when it comes to carbs.

First, to appreciate the worthiness of this self-assigned project, like all good educators, one must do hours and hours of research. But, since it is summer and I am on a vacation, I will provide you with a wonderful link I found: History of the Donut. You can thank me later.

So, study up, leave your thoughts or experiences with this small cake of sweetened or, sometimes unsweetened rich, light dough fried in fat, typically shaped like a ring in my comment box.
I''ll be back later with the scientific results of this sweet baking assignment.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Date night

Friday night and husband invites me to a movie. "Maybe Robin Hood," he suggests.

Truth is, it's not about the movie...he would honestly rather dine on movie popcorn and a coke
than a steak and potato most weekends. No kiddin!

First we stop off at Lowe's. Isn't that how every hot date begins? He lovingly asks me, "would you rather wait here or do you want to go in with me?" Since I consider this a date, I agree to join him. He even opens my car door for me. My heart is all a-flutter!

Once inside, I am drawn to the garden section. No surprise to anyone who knows me.
So, I do what any good woman does. I wave my date off and say "you know where to find me when you get ready to check out."

So much for romance, eh?

And that's when I found it... a new friend... a kindred spirit. The most beautiful, breathtaking sight I have laid eyes on in a long time. A succulent container garden. Lord, help me, I am stricken. After staring at its beauty and envisioning it as a new member of my growing succulent family for well over ten minutes, my Lowe's/movie date walks up and asks, "you ready for some popcorn? " Then he recognizes that look in my eyes. He really should know better by now. Never leave me unattended in the garden section.

Now I honestly can't think of anything more romantic than a guy buying his woman succulents. Roses. Pshhh!  But, succulents? That's just hot! And sexy, in my opinion!

Here's more information on succulents, just in case you are smitten like me, or are suffering from insomnia...
Succulent plants store water in their fleshy leaves. They are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climate or soil conditions. Succulent plants store water in their leaves, stems, and also in roots. The storage of water often gives succulent plants a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants. Water retention? Swollen? Fleshy? I can so relate!

And, oh, what about the movie, the popcorn you ask? Well, we didn't make it Friday night. We decided to wait til Sunday afternoon and went out for Mexican instead. I really love my man!

The sea is so wide and my boat is so small...

It's been a while since I posted anything on my blog. Life has just been incredibly eventful lately and I have great difficulty gathering any sound thoughts when life is uneventful so, well, just consider yourself lucky to get anything even half sensible out of me these days.

The "merry month of May" has been an emotional roller coaster for this Mom.
Our first son graduated from college, our second son is staring Air Force Basic Training in the face, and our daughter graduated from high school. On May 10th, oldest son, Taylor graduated from Emory University with  B. A. in Political Science. The weekend was filled with friends and family gathering in Atlanta to honor and celebrate this honored one of ours. On Mother's Day we attended the Baccalaureate Service at the Glenn Memorial Church.  During the service, I was touched by the singing of a choral anthem arranged by David Brunner entitled "Simple Boat."

Dear Lord, be good to me.
The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.
-Irish Fisherman's Prayer

Regard your body as a vessel,
A simple boat for going here and there.
Make of it a wish-fulfilling gem
To bring about the benefit of beings.

May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.
-The Way of the Bodhisattva

It is true, children grow up. There is a big world out there for them to explore, to experience, to conquer. They leave the harbour. I see Taylor stepping into another boat now ... taking risks, challenges with great confidence. Eyes focused and set on more goals. Griff is counting the days until he leaves for Basic Training. A young man with the many responsibilities that come with a wife and a baby ready to set sail, determined and motivated to excel. And that daughter, the baby, now graduated from high school, Eyes set on a new horizon. A vast sea with endless opportunities.

The words from "Simple Boat" speak to my heart, reminding me of the purpose of this journey I am on. The reason I am. I pause, think of the years of tireless loving, guiding, nurturing, training, disciplining my three children. Such wonderful years.  Does it all matter? Did I make a difference? How insignificant I feel at times, yet how I matter still. I do have purpose. A role. Even when what I have always been comfortable doing suddenly alters, changes, even ends. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small...May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What it's all about

Pre-K class picture 2003-2004

Hey! Just wanted to let you know that if everything goes well I will be graduating from SGC on Thursday morning at 9:00AM and I owe it all to you and my Mom. I just want you to know that you are the reason that I went back to school. My Mom helped me make the final decision but it was your confidence in me that made me realize that maybe I could do it. When I worked with you and saw how you taught, you made me realize that I wanted to be just like you. I know that those words may sound stupid but that is how I felt. Not only did you give my confidence, you inspired me and made me want to do more in my life. You are a wonderful person and I will never forget what you have done for me. I will also cherish your friendship forever. I know that we don't get to spend a lot of time together anymore but I do think about you a lot. Your confidence and words of encouragement were what kept me going. Although the moment will be bittersweet because my Mom will not be here to see me, I am very proud of myself for what I have accomplished and you are why I was able to do that. This world needs more teachers and people like you. I know that I should probably be in the bed because it is almost 12:00 but I wanted to let you know what you and your friendship means to me. I love you and you will always hold a special place in my heart.
 Love ya lots,Brenda

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Teacher

This month’s book for my Book Club was Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Now before you go and judge me, let me clarify something. This Book Club is for adults. It’s just that we like to stretch our minds, our horizons and we like stretch pants, too. But that’s another matter. What I am trying to say is we like to read all sorts of genres...even children’s books. And I must say, I found this book surprisingly entertaining…especially since I am stuck teaching in a middle school setting right now for the remainder of the year. Eighteen days and counting!

Since I escaped semi-retired from teaching five years ago, I have landed some interesting jobs. Specifically, I have worked as a secretary, nurse, babysitter, tutor, part time GED instructor, Pre-K substitute teacher and 3rd grade substitute teacher.

However, to date, I have never been as challenged as I have been since getting suckered into accepting this current teaching position.

Middle school is not for wimps!

Where else will can you be mowed over by a rolling backpack, critiqued for your choice of clothing, ignored, referee drama, counsel a broken heart, and administer medication to self all before 8:30 am? I'm talking about ME here! I tell you it's a battlefield!

The first day of this job, realizing I was not in my comfort zone, my oldest son texted me and said "Don''t worry, Mom you''ll do fine. If you feel out of place, insecure, strange or just plain awkward you are not alone. Middle schoolers are hopelessly awkward. You are in good company." Such wisdom and truth in those words.

Greg Heffley (main character in Diary of a Wimpy Kid) says "Middle school may be the dumbest idea ever," Nell Minow , a movie critique says "The reason that middle school is so agonizing is that it is the time when we first realize that we would really like to be cool at the same time we are struck with the horrifying realization that we have no idea how to get there. It is a time of agonizing self-examination, growing uncertainty about everything we thought we knew, diminishing willingness to rely on our parents, and the terrifying conviction that everyone else seems to have it figured out. It is the time of the great hormone divide, where boys who look like they are 10 share a classroom -- and a locker room -- with kids who look like they could be in college. It is a time when we rethink everything we thought we knew about who we are and what we want from our friends. So much suddenly seems GROSS and EMBARRASSING. Everything suddenly seems so disgusting we end up projecting all of those feelings onto some weird object like a piece of moldy cheese, which then assumes urban legendary status with the power to cooty-fy anyone who touches it. And in the middle of this we are also expected to live through algebra and PE."

So, what to do as I walk among the aliens middle-schoolers? How to survive?

I think the best thing to do is find the humor, the joy in the madness. Knowing that "One day middle school will end and become high school. And after that, it just becomes life. And all those things you think are important now won't be anymore." (character 'Angie Steadman' from the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Fear less, hope more;
 eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
 talk less, say more;
love more, and all good things will be yours.
-Swedish proverb

One thing I have been practicing for a while two years now, is living more simply. Buying less. Consuming less.  Not that I intentionally chose this path, this detour. But, I must say, this quiet way, this way I trod is certainly a lot less stressful than the other path I was traveling.

Learning to live more simply is a process. There has been a lot of grace along the way. Lessons I am learning here are priceless. I am realizing just how rich I am for the first time ever and believe me, my bank account has nothing to do with it.

Living simply means appreciating daily living. It also means giving up things/practices that prevented or hindered peace in my life. Letting go of clutter in my closet, as well as in my mind.
Letting go of things I thought I had to have. Forgetting about what others might think. Forging ahead.