Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Springing Forward to the Hodgepodge

Are they kidding?
I mean, who does this, anyway??
Do you get up at 2 AM just to set your clocks forward...or back...which ever the case may be?
Does Daylight Savings Time bother you or it is just another Saturday night?
What did we even do before Daylight Savings Time came along in the first place?
We all got along just fine, didn't we?
I must admit that I would rather fall back, just because of having an extra hour in the day.
I say day because I never make the change at night...
...I still get as many hours of sleep, plus, I couldn't sleep that extra hour if I tried!
So in order to spring forward without getting all worked up over it,
I turn my clocks forward at least by early afternoon and it's pretty much like any other day.
How about you?
So, welcome back to Joyce and the Hodgepodge!

She asks us the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Here's hoping you had a very enjoyable trip, Joyce!
A week without the Hodgepodge is like having a PB & J without the J.
Here are the questions...

1. Best place you've been lately?

Home, sweet home. That's where I want and need to be when I'm not feeling good. My last post will update you on the changes going on in my life if you want to check it out. Oh, I am feeling just fine now and I am so ready to GO somewhere! I've been thinking a lot lately about going here...

We actually have been talking about making a trip to the beach soon, before the rates and the crowds increase. After we move to Tennessee (whenever) we will be a day's drive (7-8 hours) away from the closest sea shore, Pensacola, Florida! We better get there while the getting is good!

2. What's something you should say yes to today? Or this week? Or even this year?

There are many things I'm sure I need to say yes to...every day...sticking to a healthy eating plan and getting more exercise comes to mind right away. But when I think of something I should say yes to on a much grander scale, it is always being able to say yes to the will of God and whatever He has in store. 

3. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form? If so tell us how. In Western cultures the color green is typically associated with jealousy, nature, good luck, and growth. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'green'?

Although I do fancy shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage and the color green, I really don't celebrate St. Paddy's Day since I don't think I have an Irish bone in my body. You might find me wearing green but it may be a coincidence since I have always considered the color green, in one tone or another as a favorite of mine. I remember as a young girl getting a new emerald green dress one year for Christmas and I wanted to wear it every day. I have never been green with envy as I recall, I really don't believe in luck but I do have memories of searching for four-leaf clovers with my sisters when we were kids and getting so excited when we found one. Somewhere there is an old Bible with a few of them pressed between it's pages. Back then, I'm pretty sure I believed in "good luck" 'cause I didn't know any better. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word green is springtime. After months of drab, dull landscapes, I am so ready for spring's glorious return and am forever in awe of the wide array of the many different shades of green that it brings with it.

4. What's a product or service you love so much you'd happily be their spokesperson? Tell us what makes you such a fan.

I can hardly imagine myself being a spokesperson for any service or product but I will give a good review if asked. (Is that the same thing?) Has anyone heard of Pure Flix? It's like Netflix, only different. Pure Flix are movies and shows that are all Christian-based and/or inspirational. Many movies and series are new releases, some have been around a while. I subscribed to a free month just to check it out. So far we have only watched a couple of the movies but the first one we viewed, "Dead Man Rising", drew us in until the very end. I'm sure some are better than others, like anything else. We rarely go to the movies because truthfully, there are very few out there that we care to see. The price is comparable to Netflix and with the free trial, you have nothing to lose as long as you cancel within the 30 days. was that being a "spokesperson"? 😊

5. March 14th is Pi Day. How are your math skills? What's the last thing you did that required math of any kind? And most importantly do you like pie? What's your favorite kind? With ice cream, whipped cream, or please hold the cream?

I'd say my math skills are sufficient for what I need them for...that's why God invented calculators. I have never been a math whiz and never wanted to be. The last thing I remember doing that required any math was just yesterday as I added up (using a calculator, of course) an itemized bill from the hospital. It was from a bill back in August from a procedure I had done and after many months of going back and forth with them, they say they have finally got the account right this time. It all started when my insurance company sent me a check (written out to me) for almost $5000 which was meant to go to my hospital account! I was told to void it and send it back and it took many months for them to re-issue the check AND for the hospital to receive it. What a MESS! Now, do I like pie? Probably my most favorite kind of dessert...a fruit pie...or well...maybe lemon meringue...or make that coconut cream. No, seriously, it's this right here... raspberry, just like my mama used to make...served a bit warm with vanilla ice cream. I wish I had a dollar for every one I've made. Jim and Adam get one every year for their birthdays and other times throughout the year.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

And since we're talking about spring...'s not every day that you get a pack of flower seeds in your box of Cheerios. It's part of a "Bring Back the Bees" campaign and I think it's a great idea! 

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, March 9, 2018

God's Timing is Always Perfect

I seem to be talking about best laid plans a lot lately.
Remember the trip to Tennessee that didn't happen last month?
That was kind of like the tip of the iceberg.
Yes, there was sickness on both sides and it was God's perfect timing...
 ...because He already knew all about it.

God's timing is always perfect.

Anyone who reads my blog knows of the plans we have for our retirement.
They included selling our home here in NC this spring or summer,
moving to Tennessee and live in our RV for a while
while we build our farmhouse in Adam's meadow in Haywood Hollow.

Now I am not one to share a lot of health information about myself...
mostly because I have always been quite healthy and rarely had many issues. 
You know how at church when they ask for prayer requests?
Well, I really struggle when it comes to asking for prayer for myself.
I am really struggling just writing this post.
But I think of you as my friends and thought I'd share with you what's going on.

So back to best laid plans...
Without getting into all of the gory details (you certainly would not want me to share them),
just let me just say that a health issue from a decade ago has decided to revisit me.
Back between 2007-08, I had a very sick gallbladder that resulted in a biliary stricture.
That meant that bile was backing up in my liver and making me jaundiced and very sick.
Several stents in the bile duct and removing the gallbladder and I was all good...
...for ten whole years!

Fast forward to August 2017, right before my brother passed away.
I started getting sick and was all too familiar with the symptoms.
Another stricture had indeed formed, another stent was placed,
and then removed this past November.
So about a month ago when we all got sick, what I thought was a nasty stomach bug wasn't.
I knew I needed another stent so last Monday it was put in place...
...a different kind this time that can stay in longer.
(This is done by an endoscopic procedure, just so you don't think I was cut on all those times.)

get to keep this one for at least 6 months, maybe longer...
BUT...and that's a big but...I have to stick around a while, as it would seem.
You just can't up and leave your trusted doctor who has been there from the beginning...
and your insurance when you need it most!
Nope, can't do that!

I will know more after I see my doctor in six months.
Until then, we will continue on with the plan...
just knowing that the timetable is a bit off from what we had hoped for.

Here's the good gives us more time to get it all done. {{smile}}

God's timing is ALWAYS perfect.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Rocking Chair

There is a peacefulness, an air of reflection, about a rocking chair 
that attaches to no other moving object. 
~Wallis Simpson

Rocking Chair Prayer
 ~author unknown

Back and forth…back and forth…
back and forth I go…

While staying in place, I am moving still…
 I am letting go.

In my rocking chair I am at one 
with the basic rhythms of life:
back and forth…up and down…
in and out…around and around.

I feel the thumping of my heart…
I sense my breathing in and out…

And effortlessly I find myself praying:
O God of All Time, calm me…calm me…

Reassure me of your presence…
your arms enfolding around me…

Give me a deep sense of your care for me…
and remind me of your promises:

“Everything’s going to be okay.”
Amid the rush of daily living,
when I feel splintered into little pieces,
call me back to my rocking chair…

Where, back and forth…back and forth…
I rest in your timeless love.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:28

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Foggy Morning Hodgepodge

It's looking a little like Halloween in my neck of the woods!

The past few mornings we have had a heavy blanket of fog hanging around.

I love me some fog and I was out before church on Sunday morning snapping these. has been an interesting week.
What is that they say about best laid plans?
Last Wednesday after I posted my Hodgepodge things went south pretty fast.
It seemed like everyone in the Tennessee Ray's household started getting by one.
Olivia was later actually diagnosed with the flu.
While we weren't yet certain of the degree of sickness and still contemplating going,
Jim mentioned that he was feeling a little sore throat coming on.
So good sense prevailed and we made the decision not to go...and thank goodness we didn't.
The morning (Friday) we were planning to leave, 
my dear husband woke up and felt as though he had been hit by a mack truck.
He was pretty much out of commission until Monday.
And speaking of Monday, I woke up feeling sicker than I have felt in a very long time.
Whatever it was (headache, chills, temperature, nausea, weak as a kitten)...
knocked me for a loop but left me as quickly as it hit me and was gone by Tuesday...mostly.
Needless to say, the planned vacations days became unplanned sick days.
Oh well...that's life...and we have rescheduled our visit to next month.
But, let's get to the Hodgepodge, shall we?
Joyce asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.

1. Where do you go when you need some inspiration?

I guess it depends on what kind of inspiration that is needed at the time. My Pinterest page is chock full of inspiring ideas for vintage and/or farmhouse decor, chicken coop ideas, how to raise baby goats, yummy things to cook, holiday crafts, etc., etc. But when I need to go deeper (which is often) I get inspired by drawing near to the Lord...meditating on favorite scriptures or just getting quiet before Him, listening to a great message...or just taking a drive in the country, camera in tow.

2. What's under your bed?

Not nearly as much as there used to be, thank goodness! A year ago when we got the new floors I cleared out stuff that had been under them for years...yes, I said years. I am proud to be able to say that I have not allowed "things" to accumulate again. Under our bed, there is only one thing and that would be a flat plastic bin containing Christmas wrapping items. Under the guest bed are two items...another flat plastic bin that contains generic gifts bags and such and a mini-trampoline that I keep saying I'm going to get out and start rebounding again. Joyce, because of this question, I now consider myself you. Thanks!

3. Thursday, February 22nd is National Chili Day, National Margarita Day, and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Of the three which would you most like to celebrate? Is that likely?

I can with all certainty say that I will not be celebrating any of them. I do love me some chili but it's going to be near 80 degrees here on Thursday...and I don't do soup of any kind when it's that warm. I have no plans to cook any sweet potatoes, although I also love them and...well, I don't do Margaritas, period.

4. What are you 'snowed under' with right now?

Well, it's certainly not snow, that's one thing for sure. It has been a very warm February in these parts. So I suppose my best answer would be GERMS but I am praying that the Lysol I've been spraying has taken care of them. Oh...and could I forget about the fog? This morning the fog was thicker than before and even though I was still out "sick", I took the long way to the grocery store and snapped some more foggy shots.

These turkeys probably thought no one could see them...and just when I thought there were many more of them farther back into the fog, I soon realized the others weren't turkeys at all. 

They were actually Canadian geese...probably a hundred or more. I don't think they had a clue I was watching them.

And here I am on the road to nowhere...

The naked trees are so hauntingly beautiful in the fog, don't you think?

 ...just a couple more.

Did I ever tell you how much I love the fog??

5. Tell us three to five things that make you feel balanced?

Hmm...I knew you'd throw a tough one in here, Joyce. How about a little bit of work, a little bit of play, veggies with a side of dessert and being able to find the positive in every negative. I found this online and it pretty much says it all in very few words...

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Back to work tomorrow (Wednesday) and I am looking forward to it. Five days...and I am a little sick and tired of being around the sick and tired (including myself, of course). I'm ready to get back into my groove...routine. 😊

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Getting to the ♥ of the Hodgepodge

Happy Valentine's Day!

No snow here this year...dang it!
In fact, we were in the 70's over the weekend...quite balmy, actually.
This time of year, especially, you never know what you will get.
But I do know one thing about today...'s not only a day to celebrate love, it's also the day we join in for Joyce's Hodgepodge.

That's right...she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
So let's do this!

1. When's the last time you had a heart to heart talk with someone? A change of heart? Experienced figurative 'heart failure?'

Joyce, have you been hiding in my closet or something? C'mon now, fess up! I mean just so happened that a certain husband and I had a long overdue heart to heart last Friday before he went off to work for the weekend. We are both guilty of using the "broom technique" when it come to dealing with issues at know...the one where you kinda sweep things under the rug...and they stay there until that rug gets kicked up somehow and then you see where all of "it" went. Sometimes that stuff stays hidden for a very l-o-n-g time. Anyway, it was actually a good thing...a "come to Jesus" moment if you will. And there was a change of heart...on both sides...and that is always good. Heart failure? Life is filled with ups and downs and the heart is always involved. I can't seem to place the last heart-stopping moment in my life, although there have certainly been quite a few. I guess it's a good thing that I can't actually recall it. 

2. Champagne, chocolates, flowers...what's your Valentine pleasure? Any special plans for the day?

No doubt about it, flowers win every time. No special plans since V-Day falls mid-week and work schedules are involved. Our road trip to Tennessee on Friday will be the highlight of the week for both of us!

3. Are you a hopeless romantic or do you fall more in the category of practical and pragmatic? What's a gesture you find romantic?

I am not a hopeless romantic but there was probably a day when I did look at love like that. I am a pretty practical gal and the last time I remember drifting through life on the "love cloud" I was probably in high school...and it wasn't with my husband. Seriously, Jim and I both fall into the latter...practical and a good, comfortable pair of loafers...maybe even bordering on the edge of boring? Not really, boring.......well, maybe so! In my mind, the most romantic gesture (which is way more than just a gesture) is to fulfill the role of the spiritual leader of the home...and that encompasses many things.

4. Do you ask a lot of questions in life or are you pretty content with what you already know?

As long as I can remember, I have been as curious as a cat. Still am in some ways. Inquiring minds want to know? Saying that, I think I can also say that the older that I have gotten, the more lessons I have learned and one of them is "What you don't know won't hurt you"....IF you can hold yourself back to keep yourself from finding certain things out. There have been too many times when I have found out more information than I ever really wanted to know and the thing is, you can't ever un-find it out...just like you can't un-see something you've seen.

5. Your favorite power ballad?

If I ever had one, it could possibly be something by the Righteous Brothers..."Unchained Melody" on the good side of love and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" on the other end of the spectrum.  Click on the link and enjoy listening to the latter (if you like) while you read my random thought.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Can I get an amen?

Hoping your Valentine's Day is filled with lots of 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Six More Weeks of...Hodgepodge?

So ol' Phil saw his shadow and you know what that means...
...six more weeks of winter.
But many of you already knew that you'd have six more weeks of winter anyway,
depending on where you're at on the map.
Of course, here in NC, it could go either's a coin flip to say the least!
The calendar says it's still winter until March 21st or around there,
so we might as well just let it happen.
So settle in by the fire or wherever (it's warm and rainy here today)...
...and let's get ready for another edition of Joyce's Hodgepodge.

She asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs... why not come on over and join the fun?
Gee, I sure hope we're in for more than six more weeks of the Hodgepodge!

1. February can be a little bit tricky given the weather and the winter and the whatnot. I read a list (here) of things you can do to make your February brighter which included-start planning your next trip, take more baths, make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and exercise in preparation for swimsuit season. Anything on the list you might try? Which suggestion on the list appeals to you most? Tell us something not on the list that helps make your February brighter.

This is an easy one. We are planning a trip to TN in a little over a week. Even though it is a trip we make pretty often, it's still a trip and there are always things to do to prepare for it. We will be able to watch Parker wrestle in a tournament, get a first time live look at our RV and hopefully meet with our builder to discuss plans for the creek bridge, which is the next step before anything else can happen. Although I haven't actually planned this, part of your question reminded me that I have chocolate dipping sauce AND strawberries in my fridge as we speak. Hmmm...I am thinking I see some chocolate dipped strawberries in my very near future.

UPDATE: Actually, they are in my past now...and in my tummy. Thanks for the reminder Joyce! And this may seem a little strange to some but I always look forward to February since it is the month when we normally have the most snow....yeah, you heard me right. If you'd like, you can click on the link to reminisce with me about My Snowy Valentine from a few years ago. Oh...and just so you know, I could try until either the cows come home or Jesus comes back and my body would never be swimsuit ready.

2. Tell us about something you've seen or done recently that you'd say was 'super'?

The fact that I have finally been able to lose the five pounds I gained over the holidays. Hey, slow progress is better than no progress, right? Still doesn't do much for swimsuit issue though.

3. Best thing you ate in a 'bowl' last week?

It would have to be the yummy salad that I made for myself one day for lunch last week...crispy romaine, sliced chicken breast, strawberries, feta cheese, a few crunchy pecans with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I wish I would have taken a photo...I must be slipping...the colors were so pretty.

4. Something you're 'cheering' for right now?

Maybe the fact that I was able to put a small dent in my office/craft #1...over the weekend. Just getting started was a major reason to cheer....HIP, HIP, HOORAY! I just had to get a picture of the first box I packed...

...but as you can see below, believe me when I said it was a small dent.😉

5. The Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 9th in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being all in and 1 being no interest whatsoever) how interested are you in the games? Which event do you most want to see (you'll find a list here).

I will probably watch some of the events but I will not be glued to the interest level may fall somewhere around a 3 or 4. And whether I watch or not will also depend on Jim being at home...when he's there, it's quite likely going to be on so I will no doubt be watching more than I normally would. I could possibly even tune in on my own to watch some figure skating or ice dancing. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

As I was ready to walk out of the house for work yesterday morning, keys in hand, I turned to leave and caught the golden morning sunlight peaking through the blinds, creating this bright spot on the dining room table. I put down my keys and whipped out my phone to try to capture the moment. 

Of course this picture doesn't do it one bit of justice (it looked way better on my phone). I love it when God shows off like that. 😊

Happy Hump Day!

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