Thursday, March 31, 2011

Relaying It

Today is a friend of mine's mother's birthday.  Ok, so what's the big deal you may ask?  She's a survivor; a 14 year cancer survivor.  She and my mom went through chemo at the same time.  I remember when they were giving Mrs. Hagler 'the big red devil'; I watched as the nurse pressed down the plunger of that HUGE syringe full of what looked like red cherry kool aid into her system to kill the cancer cells in her body.  I've only heard of a few people who didn't have at least one adverse reaction to chemo.  It's so horrible, but for so many it does so much good.

I remember talking to Mrs. Hagler a few years ago.  She said at times she feels guilty that she is still alive while others have gone onto heaven.  I think that's a horrible thing to say.  Survivors should NEVER feel guilty.  I don't begrudge any survivor the time God has granted them.  I celebrate with them and their families.  Am I a little jealous?  Yes, but that's just my own selfishness coming out.  I am thankful for the memories I have of my parents.

All around the country there are different groups hosting The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  If you've never participated in one, I highly recommend it.  The luminary ceremony is very touching and for me always a little sad.  This year my oldest, Hopson, is co-captain of a Relay team.  I'm so proud of these young people.  Not just the ones on his team, but all the kids at the high school.  They are thinking outside the box to raise money for a cause that is trying to help patients all over the world be able to celebrate one more birthday.

If you know of someone who is trying to raise money for Relay, anything you can do helps!  (and no, this is not me trying to get you to support Hop's team, but if you're interested...)  I found a letter a friend of my parents wrote about them and their relationship; I also found their obituaries in the same drawer.  As I have been thinking about Mrs. Hagler, I have also been thinking about my parents.  They would have just turned 63 this year (mom January 1st & dad March 22nd) & in August would be celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary.  I wonder how my life would be different some days if they were alive, but I know this is my life I have and I'm going to be thankful for what I do have instead of focusing on what I don't. 

Happy Birthday Memory Hagler!!!  May you be blessed with many more!

Tonight in Birmingham at MugShots, 10% of your entire dinner will go to support Relay for Life.  If you've never eaten there, you should.  They have some of the best burgers around!  My new favorite is Trevor's 1000 Island Burger.  My stomach is growling and my mouth watering just thinking about it & it's only 10:30 in the morning.  If you get a chance, support Relay, help someone have 1 more birthday!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's not easy, being green

Growing up, my brother, Cotton, would not eat green beans.  I mean he flat out refused.  My mom being ever so clever decided to try changing the name, and mommy beans were invented. Cotton told her that, no, these were definately green beans.  She assured him that they were mommy beans which were completely different from green beans.  He bought into it, and would eat mommy beans all the time.

When I had friends over to eat, which was a lot, we had mommy beans.  My friends never had to eat all their mommy beans, but they had to eat at least one bite.  I can't complain.  My mom never made us eat liver, brussel sprouts, or beets.  Eating green beans was a no brainer.

There is are a few tricks to having killer mommy beans:  Del Monte (and only Del Monte) cut green beans, bacon grease, and a pot dedicated only to green beans.  This pot does not get washed.  Let me reiterate this, do not wash the green bean pot.  By not washing the pot you are seasoning it.  Very similar to cast iorn skillets or if you have a pampered chef baking stone.  The bacon grease seasons the pot and makes the beans take yummy. When you're done using the pot, put the lid on it & store your leftover green beans in it in the fridge.  The next time you need beans, you pull out the pot, bring it to a quick boil and voila, you have green beans.  When ever you add a new can of green beans they need to cook for at least one hour.  Yes, this does boil out most of the nutrients, but it gives them a great dark green color & fills them with flavor.  If you want to add a little lemon juice you can.

We've been eating mommy beans as long as I can remember.  Once I had my own children, mommy beans became a staple in their diets.We have added a lot of different veggies as the children have gotten older, but this one is a hand-me-down, and extremely easy.  Cotton also eats a bigger variety of veggies, it's good to see he's not still hung-up on green beans.  :)

Eat your mommy beans & y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm still here I promise

Hello everyone,
I feel like I've been gone for months instead of a few days.  You'll be glad to note that my cook top is fixed.  We didn't have to buy a new one.  (which is very good & a little disappointing)  I haven't cooked anything super special since it was fixed.  We've been blowin' and goin', so dinner has been what I can fix rather quickly.  I still haven't gone to the store for a major restocking since we arrived home from spring break.  I know, I'm a slacker.  I just can't get excited about a major shopping excursion.  Shall I make a few more excuses?  I'm done I promise.  :)

Two nights ago it was homemade shell-less taco salad  (iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, ground venison with Mexican spices and topped with ranch or sour cream); tonight we pulled out homemade marinara that I froze and we had spaghetti.  Like I said, nothing spectacular, but everyone was fed.

Since the kitchen is clean, and all little people, except for Harry (of course) are asleep, I'm going to start heading back to take care of the last bit of chores I need to get done so I can get to bed at a decent hour.  4:30 comes offly early when you go to bed at 11.  Sweet Dreams!!!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The House that Built Me

As you know, I would be happy as a hermit.  I don't get bored at home.  I feel at total peace.  I love my house:  the colors, smells, and just the general hominess of it.  I hope others feel it when they come over. 

I have no desire to move either.  We looked into moving about 5 or 6 years ago, but every house we looked at I was comparing it to the house we live in now.  Needless to say, we didn't move.  Some people don't feel any attachment to the homes they live in.  They like to move every few years, and if they don't move they change out their furniture.  I don't do well with change.  Most of my furniture is hand-me-downs.  When I look at the pieces I see the people they belonged to first; my parents, Hopson's parent, our grandparents, and even our great-grands.  So many of the pieces have stories.  Those stories are part of who I am.

The house I grew up in is like that for me too.  As I was driving to take one of the children somewhere today I heard the song:  The House that Built Me by Miranda Lambert.  I was able to go into my old house a few years ago.  It was weird.  I heard my memories.  Steve David and my mom running down the front steps accidentally ripping the banister off the wall.  Pool balls clacking, '80's music blaring, movies, and laughter. Jason Register, Eddie Tarter, Brian Pitts, and Peter Kanakis all racing on floats & swimming in the pool.  I smelled my momma's cooking & suntan oil (Hawaiian Tropic).  I heard the laughter & felt the sadness.  It was very overwhelming.  I think that's the difference in having your parents alive; you can go home no matter where your parents are.  They may not live in the house you grew up in, but they give you a sense of coming home.  I am the matriarch in my family, so I am home for my siblings.  It's a very sobering fact of life for me.  There are so many days I need my mom's advice.  I am thankful for my mother-in-law, family, and friends because they help, but some days it's just not the same.

Just to reach out and touch something that my parents touched sometimes makes me feel closer to them, and help me remember the times in my teenage life that were very happy.  I hope I'm providing that for my children and their friends.  I hope once they're gone & they come back they will feel a connection with our home.

No recipe tonight because we still have no cook top.  Yesterday my microwave & oven when out, but the homemade handyman fixed them.  Oops, gotta go drive E to dance...

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

PS~we're having an albino dinner tonight.  Baked chicken, rice, and slaw.  Very boring plate; I'm ready to have my cook top back!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creativity is the Key

Sunday afternoon I was very proud of myself.  I was going to get dinner put together early so I would have time to do other things.  (nap, laundry, unpack, or a nap)

Since we just came back from vacation, we are out of a lot of stuff, but we have staples in the house.  (ie chicken)  Poached chicken can be used in so many different recipes I decided to get ahead for this week and double what I poach.  So I have my chicken going and realize that the little red light on the stove is off.  Uh oh.  That is a bad sign.  No red light means that the breaker has been tripped.  I go out to the garage and flip the breaker.  I should be able to go back in, turn on the eye & start cooking again.  One problem, nothing turned back on.  I call Hopson, my in-house handyman, to figure out what is going on.  I mean the man installed a fan in the ceiling when we first got married FTL.  Not that impressive unless you take into account he had to wire it too.  (Hopson is a CPA, but likes to play an electrical engineer on TV.)  I was impressed.  The resident handyman couldn't figure out the problem or fix it either.  OK, I have 2 pounds of chicken sitting in a boiler waiting to be poached & no other way to cook them.  Until I remember...

During Thanksgiving and Christmas we have to use the grill to cook & keep food warm.  (I have a very small oven.)   I decided I would cook on the grill.  I'm cooking with gas, which is better anyway, right? 

It was not as easy as I had hoped.  I had a hard time getting the temperature just right.  It was either too hot or too cold. So my chicken and noodles go from doing nothing to boiling over.  I just laughed.  (It was either that or cry.)  My next problem was how to make the pesto.  No eyes working, so for this I used the microwave.  It turned out ok, a little messy in my microwave though.  I didn't realize how much I cook on my stove top.  Yikes!

I decided to make a chicken noodle pesto dish.  It is similar to my chicken pesto rolls, but you add a layer of lasagna noodles and no corn flakes. 

The electrician came out today to look at the stove top; we decided that calling him first would be wise since the breaker kept tripping.  Our electrician said it was not in the electrical system.  I have scheduled the appliance people to come out, but they won't be here until Friday morning.  It looks like the fam is going to be eating a lot of grilled meat or stuff cooked in the crock pot.   The selfish part of me really wants a new cook top.  5-6 gas eyes just makes me salivate.  I could be a cooking machine.  Or at least a more efficient one.  :)

Until we find out what is wrong, I will be happy I have a home and a kitchen I can semi-cook in.  It's all in how you look at it I guess.  My life is good. 

I wanted to wish a very happy birthday to my sweet Elizabeth! Today is her 11th birthday.  I can't believe she's that old.  What a sweet girl she is growing up to be.  She is how I wish I was all the time.  Today would have also been my dad's 63rd birthday.  He has been in heaven for almost 19 years, and I still miss him.  I know he would have fallen in love with E.  Her birth story is funny, I'll have to share it sometime. 

Y'all pray for me as I try to be creative in my kitchen!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ever Fearful

When our children are born we have such high aspirations for them.  I remember how I felt when I found out I was pregnant with each of my four children.  I wondered what all parents wonder.  I remember feeling so blessed and excited.  From the moment I realized I would be a mommy, I have loved my children fiercely.  I would do anything for them.  I want to raise them to be Godly men and women.  I want them to love Jesus, love their families, friends, and be Kingdom seekers and soul winners.

The one thing that fills me with fear is drugs.  When your children are born you never wish for them to lead a life of hardship and pain.  A parent would never wish for their child to have a life that is dependent and revolves around a chemical substance.  (natural or synthetic)

I started reading a story today about a young man named Henry.  Henry was a beautiful 18 year old with his life in front of him.  He got involved in the drug scene, and started hanging out with the wrong crowd.  As I started reading Henry's story and seeing the pictures of him, my heart broke for his family.  What a beautiful young man.  His family will always be asking the what if's...Henry passed away May of 2010. 

Henry's story is not unique.  It happens to thousands of families every week.  Drugs don't care about your home life, economic status, religious affiliation, if you're the coolest of the cool, the class clown, or the smartest in the school.  And the people who sell drugs care even less.  These people are selling death.  Yes, there is responsibility on the part of the person who they are selling to, but the dealers are doing the devil's work.  I hate it.  I hate what they are doing and I hate what they stand for.  I hate that they prey on children.  I hate that they pretend to make it look cool and that everyone is doing it.  I hate their lies.

Drugs don't make you cool.  Drugs don't make your problems go away.  Drugs will separate you from Christ, your family, society, and even from yourself.  Drugs make you do things that you would never even consider when you're sober.

Have you ever heard an addict say "I'm so happy I started doing drugs, they have been wonderful for my life.  I'm so much better off since I started doing them."  No, you don't, and you never will.  They all say the same thing:  "I never thought I would get addicted." 

Henry's mom is trying to have the dealers prosecuted in his death.  I hope she is successful.  I hope the people who are guilty are in jail for the rest of their lives.  Maybe that's what we all need to do.  Find those people dealing death to our children and have them arrested and put in jail.  I don't want to hear of another child in my community dying from a drug overdose.  I don't want another family hurting because they had to bury a child that had so much potential.  I don't want to hear about a mother who is relieved that her child will be possibly going to jail for doing drugs because at least she will know he's alive and where he is.

Drugs are death.  To anyone who is reading this, if you are addicted, please ask a loved one for help.  They won't be angry with you, maybe disappointed, but they want the best for you.  There are many wonderful programs out there that can help you.  Drugs are not what is best for you.  Choose life.

I've had these thoughts on my heart so much today.  I'm praying for a hedge of protection around our children.  I'm praying that they will have the courage to say 'no' if they are ever offered.  I'm praying that if they ever make a mistake they will tell someone and get help.  I'm praying for them to hear the Savior's call on their lives.  Lord Jesus, protect our precious children, let their legacy be filled with You and life.  Help them to stand strong against the devil's lies, and see them for what they are.  Father God cover them and protect them when we, as their parents, can't be with them.  I ask all this in Jesus Name, Amen.

It's raining outside so we're having breakfast for dinner.  It's almost an unwritten rule that rain = breakfast for dinner.  Pancakes, grits, eggs, bacon, fresh fruit...dinner of champions.  So tonight, because all games & practices are canceled, we will have breakfast for dinner & have dishes of laughter, love, happiness, and memories.

Praying for you to be blessed beyond measure,

Monday, March 7, 2011

...Hey, gimmie that back

I have enjoyed my children during all stages of their lives, but lately, the older they have gotten, the more I enjoy them.  I can sit and watch a movie & have an intelligent conversation about it; talk to them about a book; watch them grow in their relationships with friends; and watch their interests develop.

One minor side note to this posting is that I enjoy reading.  It relaxes me before I go to sleep, keeps me occupied while I am exercising, and if the book is even only semi-decent, is better than watching tv. 
Hoppy has a bad habit of taking my books that I am reading to read for himself.  I doesn't matter what genre it is, if it has print on a page, he'll read it.  He is a speed reader, and I am not.  His first sentence was 'read more mommy'.  We would literally read for hours.  After a few hours I would have to tell him to go play, because my eyes needed to uncross.

There are days that I will walk around my house thinking I've lost my mind (this is happening more each year as my children become older, do you think there's a correlation?)  because I've misplaced my book.  What I now know is that the first place I need to look is with Hop.  Over half the time that big rug rat takes my book I'm reading to read it himself.  He never denies taking it, and he usually finishes it in twenty-four to forty-eight hours.  One day as I was about to do some cardio, and was searching for my book, which of course I couldn't find, when I spot him on the couch reading it.  I told him that I would love to have my book back so I would have something to do while exercising.  He had the truthful audacity to tell me that I just needed to let him finish because he was going to be done with it in a few hours.  He gets a big, Hey Thanks, for making your mom feel like a complete dummy.  He reads in a few hours what takes me days.  :P  (that's me being juvenile & sticking out my cybertongue at him) 

Harry, my picky one, does not care to read, shocker there, not.  He is getting better & at least doesn't complain when he has to read books for school now.  Elizabeth's goal is to be like Hop.  Henry is showing great potential to love reading as well, as long as he can pick-out what he reads.  Henry reads poetry every Monday for school homework, and he knows exactly which one is my favorite.  He's read it so much he has it memorized.  I have motions that go with it.  We make a great team. 

A few days ago I pulled a Hop & stole Elizabeth's book to read while I was exercising.  It's called The Wide Awake Princess.  As you might guess, it is a very easy read for an adult, but it is a very cute story.  I finished it in 2 days which wowed E.  My confidence level went up a few notches.  :)   Ha, my crazy kids, they do keep me on my toes, even if every once in a while I have to chase them down saying, gimmie that back.

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Tonight we're having Crockpot Turkey breast.  So easy, and yummy.  It's not even a recipe so I'll just list it all here.  I hope you enjoy it!

1 turkey breast that will fit in a crockpot
kosher salt
lemon pepper
olive oil
aluminum foil

Cut 2 sheets of aluminum foil. 
Wash & pat dry turkey breast & place on foil.
Sprinkle with salt & lemon  pepper.
Drizzle with a little olive oil
Wrap-up in foil.
Place in crockpot & cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Please spring hurry up...

Right now in our town, spring is trying to peek it's head out of the sleepy covers of winter.  The first trees to bloom are always the Japanese Magnolias.  The bright pink tender blossoms always bring me so much joy because it reminds me that the darkness of winter will not last forever.

The next trees to bloom are these pink dogwoods that are in front of a bank.  Last year I was so excited to see them I took a picture of them while sitting at a stop light.  I know I'm wierd, but don't they look beautiful?  I know it may seem silly, but when the trees are in bloom my heart feels lighter, and I just can't help but to smile.  It also means we're getting closer to Easter.  I love Easter.  I thought when I was younger I understood what Easter was about, but when The Passion of the Christ came out, my eyes were truly opened to the true beauty of Easter.  It is the violent beauty of the cross that breaks my heart and draws me closer to the One who was willing to give His all for me. 

Just as seeing the beauty of creation draws me closer to God, music has always moved my soul, and even when I was young I was effected by words.  When I can worship through music I feel closer to Christ.  It becomes my love song to Him.  Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait to get my perfected singing voice until I get to heaven, but that's ok because the bible says to make a joyful noise, so that's what I'll continue to do.  I have two songs that have came to mind as I thought about the coming spring:  All of Creation  &  In Christ Alone.  Worshiping the Lord is an honor, and I think He gives us the beauty of creation to help point to Him.

March 9th is the beginning of the Lenten Season, and spring will soon be here in full force.  As I enjoy the beauty of creation that God has placed in front of me, I will remember what He chose to go through so I would not be separated from God.  Thank you Jesus for all you have done!

If you've never made Resurrection cookies with your children, please do it this year.  You make them the Saturday night before Easter.  It's a little bit of work, but so worth it when they eat the cookie the next day & realized that the tomb is empty and that Christ is risen.

I hope you all are able to enjoy the coming spring and remember the One who gave it so generously.

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And who am I again?

A few days ago Hoppy was surfing around the internet (that really means he was looking at & sports blogs.) when he told me Harvey Updike, the guy who poisoned Auburn's 130  year old oaks, was released from jail.

I have so many different feelings about this man.  Surprisingly, I'm not angry at all, but I am sad for him on so many levels.

First, he has become a pariah.  People are distancing themselves from him.  Not just regular people, but also the University of Alabama.  He is even having a hard time finding an attorney.  Three different attorneys have asked to have themselves recused from the case.

Second, the team he loves is kissing it's across the state cousin to try to repair the family feud that had gotten so out of hand.  The SGAs from both Auburn and Alabama have planted sister trees on each campus in a show of standing together.  I think both of the schools have great friendly rivalries during the year to help different charities.  There are Bama groups on FaceBook that are raising money to help the Toomer's Corner trees.

Third, and I think most important, is Mr. Updike has placed football as a god in his life.  His hatred of Auburn is so deep he is going to be spending time in jail if he is found guilty.   Don't get me wrong, I love Auburn football, and this past season was magical, but it's a game.  Was I yelling during the game, absolutely.  Was I so happy about winning, you bet.  But, after the game was over, that was all it was, a game.

This year's (and probably forever) saying was 'AU Family, All In'.  Auburn is the sum total of her people, not just football, and  I don't love Auburn because of football, I love Auburn because of the memories I have there.  I'm a graduate, and it's home.

I do not like trashy fans.  I don't care if it's with my child's baseball team or my college team.  There is no room in sports for them.  They can ruin the ambiance of a really good time.  I love the Rick and Bubba Show, and they often talk about 'culling your nuts'.  I so agree with them.  It's time for all of us regular people to start helping our a little over the top brethren.  There are so many other things to be passionate about.

I know there are lots of pictures surfing around the internet of Mr. Updike in his Bama garb & then one of him in his prison orange, and there is also one of him with his grandchild.  These pictures break my heart.  You have a man whose anger for a team is so deep he decided to kill the trees that represent so much to that school.  What a wasted emotion.  I want him to pull for his team.  He can even pull against Auburn, I could understand that.  But this kind of bitterness & hatred must stop.  All over the internet I have read polar opposite opinions of the poisoning.  Some were very sad for Auburn & others said they were happy about what happened to a bunch of stupid trees.  I think the comments that upset me the most were the ones that were making comments about my school that know nothing about Auburn.

I don't care if you don't like my school.  I don't care if you think we are the biggest bunch of hicks in the state of Alabama.  But, what I will ask is that you not comment on what you don't understand.  My biggest hope is that Harvey Updike will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ during this time.  Only He can can set a man to right when he is on the wrong path.  He does it through His love, so Auburn family, are you still All In?  Can you forgive and forget?  Can you be the people the Lord has called us to be?  It's in our creed.  We are to:  "serve our fellow man by doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God."  Can we do that?  Can we truly forgive him & reach out and share Jesus with him?  It's a hard thing, but when we set our minds to it, we can do anything!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Trying to squeeze it all in

Before I start my newest posting, I want to give a shout out to all the people outside the US who are reading my blog.  It's so fun to see all the different countries represented.  Even if you stumble here by accident, I'm glad you're reading my page & I hope you come back often!  Leave me a message because I'd love to hear from you.  And just so all you hometown folks don't feel left out, you know I love you!  As Clarie says in Steel Magnolias:  "You know I love you more than my luggage."  Make sure you use your best suthen voice.  (and voice has 2 syllables and the i makes the eh sound.  Just a little clarification there.)

Having one child that can drive is huge! It is easier knowing that I only have 3 children to ferry around our town and get from place to place. Hoppy helps when he can, but most of the time he has a practice or game of his own.  Because this is a crazy time of year, we usually eat in shifts.  This can be so crazy, but at the same time great.  Last night I was bad & 3 of my children used the same plate.  I know some of you may be cringing, but hey, I had less dishes to wash.  :)

Before you think this is a rant, please know it's not, it's just me observing...

There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done. My momma would pull all-nighters just to get chores done, but I choose not to be that way. I have to have my sleep. Now, I wake-up way before the sun, but I need at least 6 hours.  If I don't get my sleep, Mr. Hyde likes to make an appearance, and the Mr. Hyde part of me is not very nice.  (He will show up around 4pm, and that's when I'm usually driving in the car, so y'all be careful out there...)

Because I'm such an early bird, I can get more done by 11am than I can get done in the rest of the day, but for some reason the hours of the day still get away from me.  It seems my house stays a little to messy for my liking; the laundry is never completed;  I'm trying to remember & juggle schedules;  the fam gets hungry; and I'm trying to be a work (the kind that earns money) from home mom.  Can anyone out there relate?  Ok, y'all hold on a second, I'm going to step away from my computer & either have a tension breaker or cry, I can't decide which.  Just kidding, I'm really ok. 

Thinking about crazy times reminds me of one day in the car about 7 years ago when Henry was a baby, Elizabeth a toddler, Harry about 6 & Hoppy 8.  Hop & Harry were arguing in the back seat, Henry was crying, and Elizabeth was informing me about the baby crying.  I thought to myself:  "...and this is what I wanted to be when I grew up".  I thought I signed up to have a few children who loved and adored me, and who were perfect.  Not the chaos that was following.  I know my friends have days like that too.  You'll be glad to know I did survive that day & many others eerily similar.  Looking back I can laugh, at the time, not so much.

I can only deal with one day at a time.  Hopson & I usually will try to discuss our weekly schedule and what's coming up early in the week.  I decided this week I was going to really try to have great dinners prepared for the fam even if we had to eat in shifts.  It has been a little crazy, but not too bad.  The other night I made a homemade Chicken Pie & everyone gobbled it up.  There was a little leftover, and Henry liked it so much he ate it for breakfast.  Today, you get a bonus recipe!  Yea!!!  I have a ton of venison in my freezer, and some of it is in the form of cubed venison steaks.  There are only so many ways you can cook cubed steak.  Last night I found a yummy & quick way to prepare it.  Everyone loved it.  Harry, the picky one, who even had his braces tightened yesterday, ate it, so it must have been pretty good.  I hope these two recipes help you during this getting busier time of year, and that you can find little blessings in every day!

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Staying Golden

Last night I had a night of laughter.  I mean the, side-splitting, eye crinkling, snorting kind of laughter.  The kind where everyone in the restaurant is staring at your table because you're talking & laughing, loudly.  We all showed up last night with our own set of "luggage".  The kind of burdens that weigh you down so much you feel like you're physically carrying them around with you. You might even feel like there is no one or nothing that can make you feel better.  Well, that is SO not true.

I celebrated my 20th high school reunion last summer.  (Yikes, it looks so much worse written down.)  There is a group of us that have had a supper club for 20 years.  (Shout out to Shannon for keeping us straight for all 20 of those years!!!  And why didn't we vote you class president?)  Not everyone can make it all the time, and we don't meet every month anymore, but maybe we should.  The systemic "dump" that we all had was therapeutic.  Lisa J., I think your next glass of wine is on me, and the next round of water can be on me too.  LOL!  Sorry everyone, inside joke.

Do you have friends like this?  Friends that have known you so long they know what you're thinking.  They can laugh at you and you know they're not doing it to be mean.  They love you enough to tell you the truth no matter how painful.  When life comes crashing down around you they are the first ones there to pick you up and love you through it.  (except Lisa because she didn't tell us, oui!)  I love my high school friends.  I mean the agape kind of love.  Deep abiding love that grows every  year.  When we're together it feels like we're still in high school, and husbands, children, jobs, and life don't matter. 

As I was driving home, I thought of the movie 'The Outsiders'.  Don't ask me why, my mind is twisted and weird and there's a lot of stuff rattling around in there.  But in the movie, Johnny reads a poem to Pony Boy by Robert Frost called:  'Nothing Gold Can Stay'. 

Here's the poem:
Natures first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leafs a flower,
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay, 

In the end of the movie Johnny tells Pony to stay golden.  As I thought about that phrase, my friend's faces flashed in my mind.  Amy, Lisa, Cara, Amy, Aundrea, Stuckey, and Shannon.  There are so many others that weren't there, but I felt them with us because the strands of their lives are woven in with mine.  Gold is the hardest color to hold.  It's rare and it's the one color that must be filled with trust and love.  Being golden stands the test of time and circumstances.  There is a trace of it in every memory, laughter, tears.  I'm thankful for my golden friends.  They bless me more than they can ever imagine.  And just in case I forget, I want to tell them I love them & am thankful for everything they have meant to my life.  My life's tapestry is so much prettier with their golden strands!

If you haven't been to MugShots, go with your friends!  Eat a great burger, and have love and laughter fill your table & may your cup overflow!!!  I had the ComeBack burger with onion rings & it was great.

Y'all be blessed beyond measure,

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the reason I do what I do

the reason I do what I do
this is us on our family vacation.

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