Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Pappy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the man I love! 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, 
Nor stands in the way of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in good season,
Whose also leaf shall not wither;
And whatsoever he does shall prosper.
                                                        Psalm 1:1-3

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dogs and Work

Little One is having a great summer. She is so thankful for the change (hopefully it will stay) in temperature. Little One is enjoying walking with her push toy, exploring all of the cabinets in the kitchen, roaming the house for new adventures and shaking her head to music. She has been cruising for a few weeks. Our lives are changing so fast! She loves her Coaltrain CD and usually insists upon it being played during trips around town.

We continue to love visiting our grandparents and receive all kinds of love from our family and friends. We are truly blessed. We do not have any pictures posted of Little One with the infamous grand-family dogs known as Wilson or Phoebe MacKenzie (Little One calls all dogs BeBe), but we do have some shots with Roger and some dear friends.

Little One wanted to make sure Roger feels loved.

Little One was not too happy to leave Roger.

I also had to throw in the random picture with Daddy at work. We made a quick visit to take him lunch and to see all of the O-H employees. They are some of our favorite people to check in on and of course we love getting to sit with Daddy and Pa Poag.

Little One turned 10 months yesterday, but I haven't taken the picture yet. I promise to get that posted sometime in the near future!

A No Brainer

     There are few things in life I dread more than a migraine headache. The hip replacement is a piece of cake compared to a bad headache. Sure, there was pain from the surgery (largely diminished by medication, thank you very much), a good deal of frustration (primarily derived from the fact that I could not DRIVE for six weeks), and some hard work in physical therapy, but overall, I would gladly do it again. A migraine headache? I would be happy to never ever meet one coming or going again. I hate them. Positively hate them. I woke up with one today. I asked hubby in my nicest softest voice to bring me the hot rag (this is standard treatment), got up like a good girl when I thought I could move without screaming and took my medicine (a tablet of Axert). I crawled to the sofa (okay I staggered like a blind woman) because when I tried to get back in bed I found I could no longer get comfortable. At that point the pain felt like daggers stabbing me repeatedly. I sat on the sofa trying desperately not to move even one tiny muscle (except for my diaphragm which I can't control anyway) while I waited for the medicine to take effect. 20 torturous minutes passed. When the husband turned the pages of the newspaper it sounded like the sonic boom had gone off in the den. And when he walked across the room, I tried not to scream out loud. I just couldn't bring myself to ask him to tiptoe. The seconds stretched out. I fought the rising panic as I felt no relief. I wondered if boring a hole in my head would ease the pressure...did I mention that you think completely irrational and sometimes crazy things when you have a bad headache?! I am not kidding here.
    After an hour of playing dodge ball with the headache, I became determined not to let him win. There is a serious tug-of-war going on in my brain at this point. He aims his weapon at me, I try to dodge (remember I am not moving a muscle while I am attempting to dodge his perfectly timed thrusts that seem to coincide with my breathing) and just when I think I might be getting the upper hand, the headache sneaks around the back of my neck and jumps me from the rear. I know I need to do something to outsmart the wily old bugger. Something in the caffeine family sometimes helps so I drag myself back to my bedroom and pull together an odd assortment of clothing to put on my body. I somehow manage to brush my teeth without bending down but definitely do not bother to comb my hair or even look at myself which apparently is a blessing. Don't ask me how, but I manage to drive through the drive through at McDonald's and order two cups of caffeine-loaded coffee. I order in my softest voice, have my air-conditioner on full blast and all four of my car windows rolled down (why this combination seems to work I have no could just be another insane idea that really doesn't work but I have convinced myself that it does so if I have to drive with a headache this is the protocol that I follow -- regardless of whether the outside temperature is 95 or 35 degrees.) I then drive all the way to The Daughter's house on the East side because I cannot bear to be alone with the headache one more minute. This solution is a deviation (albeit not standard) from my self-imposed mode of recovery, but in this case I am hopeful that I can still outsmart or possibly out-maneuver the headache. I wear my darkest glasses, avoid any lane changes on the interstate, and do not swivel my head around to look for anybody or anything. I do, however, use my rear view mirror occasionally so I feel fairly safe. Lest you are worried about drug impairment and a possibly insane woman behind the wheel of a car, let me also assure you that my migraine drug is not a narcotic but a triptan. Over the years I have progressed through several different triptans because after using one of them for a while the headache seems to be able to create a new interstate highway of pain in my brain. I am now on triptan number four, but thankfully there are quite a few of these on the market so if I get desperate, I will get my doctor to introduce me to a new one.
      I arrive at The Daughter's house. I have not called her to tell her I am coming but she knows already that I have the headache. I wear my dark glasses into the house which are promptly removed by the very happy to see me Little One. Her smile is a sort of anesthesia. At this point the headache is about 40% diminished but I am still wincing at sound and light. It is almost time for Little One to go down for her nap. While The Daughter puts her down, I position myself just so on her sofa and promptly begin to go to sleep. Daughter joins me on the other end and I have no clue if she is sleeping, reading or just thinking. I am in my own little world. I am drifting, drifting and can see the shoreline where my-head-no-longer-hurts lives. I am almost there. I wake myself up snoring and for about 45 seconds I feel no pain. Zero. Nada. Then...a slight grabbing snakelet of pain slithers out of nowhere and tries to ambush me, but I am already telling myself that the freedom train is on the way, and I am holding the ticket in my hand. I sit up slowly just to prove it to the headache and begin to breathe deeply again. I will live to tell the story. I am relieved. I am also thankful. Thankful that I am foggy in the brain, tired, really tired, but I am going to make it. can you see why choosing a hip replacement over a migraine is a no-brainer?! Oh no, wait...a no-brainer.. well, that is my story after all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Etsy Finds

     I do love a little Etsy every now and then. Even when my pocketbook is empty and brother, is it ever EMPTY this month, I give myself 12 minutes max to find a few goodies to put in my dreaming-that-I-would-love to-have-this box. And since I am slowly but not so surely trying to wean myself away from acquiring more things (anyone who knows me knows I already have so many things or thinga-ma-bobs that I hardly know what to do with them all), the dreaming box serves me well. It keeps me dreaming which is a necessary state of mind for me, and it satisfies that ridiculous hunger that I have to buy more....stuff!
    This is perhaps a bit overused and abused, but I still think I would like to have this little happy hanging above my tub!
     Our summer has been a sweat box! Needless to say, I am looking forward to the advent of cooler weather. These make me smile just thinking about days when it might be cold enough to pull these on!
    And when I am decked out in these fun hand-warmers, I can just envision these pretties dangling from my ears.

     Finally, the humidity took a break today, and I actually puttered around in my garden a bit. The herbs are all getting a bit weedy....except for the rosemary bush which has decided that he owns the garden. He reminds me of an old man on a park bench who does not want to share his space with anyone. He's far too big for this bit of frivolity, but I am thinking that Miss Basil, Miss Thyme and Mr. Sage might like these clever garden markers just fine!
   Have a blessed day! I am off to scrub the dirt out from under my fingernails!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Old and the New

Little One and The Daughter came to spend the day. Of course The Mom had to get out the new tunnel toy she purchased at Ikea over the weekend, and it was so much fun watching The Daughter and Little One climb through over and over again!
The Daughter demonstrating for Little One
Little One thinking about it
Taking the plunge!
Ahh...this is fun!
   The Mom also had fun introducing Little One to the wonderful treat known as Biter Biscuits. It was no surprise that Little One loved them almost as much as her mother did when she was a baby. They are now made with whole wheat flour and are vitamin enriched. However, they still make a delightfully gooey mess that Honey enjoyed almost as much as Little One. See for yourself!
Just what is this thing?

Mikey, she likes it!

Is it okay if I eat the whole thing?

Yum Yum

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Tisket A Tasket

   I didn't buy a green and yellow basket, but they probably had one, that's for sure. The husband and I had our first "Ikea" experience today. Friends had tried to prepare me, but I was still overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all. We ate breakfast there...which was surprisingly better than decent for all of the $1.99 we paid for it and the coffee was a step up from Starbucks. Rich, intense, flavorful and hot. I would definitely go back for the cup of coffee served in a real bona fide tall china mug, but of course that's not the only draw. We spent an hour browsing and filled our big yellow bags up with a few little goodies. I was excited when we checked out that the sticker shock was practically non-existent. We made it out of there for less than the price of one of our tickets to see Jack Johnson (the real reason for the quick trip to ATL) so the husband was as happy as I and is likely to be willing to accompany me again.
This little baby was a whopping $4.95

And these kitchen staples were a break-the-bank 47 cents...
yep, that's right, you heard it here

     The official reason for our quick trip to Atlanta was the Jack Johnson concert, (he is now officially one of my faves) and even though he may be passe with the younger crowd, he's just right for me. He had moments when he reminded me of Bob Marley, then Jimmy Buffet, and finally Otis Redding. My husband said he even heard a little Santana in there, but I think he's just confused since he went to the Santana concert in ATL a mere two weeks ago and the chords are still rolling around in his head. But back to Jack. I don't know if he's a nice guy, don't really know much about him, but the concert Friday night at Aaron's at Lakewood was one big love fest. The audience sang along with most of the songs and all I needed was a dock and a bay and I would have thought I was in this girl's idea of heaven.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fighting Dragons

     It is a dragon that can slay the bravest of hearts. It does not discriminate. It can strike when least expected and is able to construct elaborate ruses, feints, and ambushes that are designed to take the traveler completely by surprise. Yet on the other hand, it can be a frustratingly predictable adversary who keeps its annual appointments with alarming and despicable regularity. It is not a respecter of maturity, of age, of wisdom, of status, or position. It decries human understanding and loves to masquerade under many disguises. It has held captive the likes of Mother Theresa, C.S. Lewis, Ansel Adams, Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Elijah, David, and more. It has also stalked my family. I am well acquainted with its name, its face, and its modus operandi. Sometimes it brings paralysis, other times indifference, and yet at other times it will spread a web of lies that look so real that they become an alternate reality the traveler is somehow tempted to believe. 
    It is an illness, a sickness, and a disease that can ravage the mind, the body, and the soul. David the Psalmist understood all too well. More than once I have understood the depth of his words:  "“I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. …I groan because of the turmoil of my heart” (Psalm 38:6,8 - NKJV). I am talking about that terrible foe, that enemy, that dragon known as depression.
    I think my most difficult struggles with depression have not come as a result of my own struggles in this area (yes, I, too, know this foe), but have come instead when I have had to watch this despicable scourge lay waste to someone that I love. It is not that I have not seen victory...because I have, but I have also recently seen this enemy return once more to camp at the door of my house. I know the verses upon which to stand. Thank goodness I hid so many of them in my heart when I was but a child. I know about the wonderful armor and the weapons of our warfare against this dragon and his brother, The Dragon of Old. I know and believe that the Word of God is a powerful offensive weapon and is sharper than any two-edged sword. I know the Truth that will set not only me, but others free. I believe it. I really do. But I see the dragon breathing fire and stalking his prey. It makes me tremble.It makes me weep. Then it makes me mad. 
  All I gotta say is that it better watch out. St. George the dragon-slayer has nothing on this momma. 
St. George and the Dragon by Gustave Moreau
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 8:1-2

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:37-39

Saturday, August 14, 2010

For the Bride-to-Be

The invitation requested that those invited come together to honor the bride and her bridesmaids. It was the day before the wedding and it was going to be a very busy day for the bride, but she was as cool as a cucumber and her eyes glowed with the promise of what was to come. 
The wreath on the back of the Bride's chair
A Vintage Vignette

The Menu
Parmesan Rye Crisps 
Open Face Tomato Sandwiches
The Main Meal
Chilled Cucumber and Dill Soup
Chicken Crepes
Asparagus with Hollandaise
Rocket Arugula Salad with Watermelon, 
Gorgonzola and Feta Cheeses, and Roasted Pecans
Herb Biscuits
Peach Iced Tea
Lemon Cookie Ice Cream garnished with 
seasonal berries marinated in Grand Marnier
Almond Lace Cookies
Expresso in Demitasse

The mouse bride and groom have been making their appearance at
 bridal parties for 15 years now!

Close up of the love birds
All three cloches

Table for Family and Program Attendants

Touches of green compliment the Bride's Mother's black and white china

The table for the Bride and her Maids

Peach Bellinis
If you have wedding mice,
why not wedding bunnies?!

These napkins add the perfect touch

Another view of the Bride's Table

The Bride's special place setting 
Pretty Maids All-in-a-Row
The happy Bride-to-Be
Opening my special gift from the Bride

Friday, August 13, 2010

Some Promises Are Not Hard to Keep

   In an earlier post, I talked about my dear friend Ann Wheeler Burton who died eight and a half years ago. During Ann's last few months on earth she and I spent a lot of time talking about her children and her concerns and prayers for each one of them. Her daughter was a freshman in college when Ann died and was just beginning to stretch her wings and find her footing in her marvelous areas of giftedness. Ann was confident that her daughter would become a strong, confident, capable woman with a good head on her shoulders and she was right. But as we gathered to pray together she often prayed specifically for her daughter and the man that she believed that God would one day bring to her. Ann also made me promise that I would remain in relationship with her daughter and would be there to encourage her, walk beside her, and pray for her when her daughter fell in love and began to plan her wedding. This was one promise that was not hard to keep.
     I have spent the past few days thinking about Ann a lot and grieving again her loss. I know all the right things to say. I know that she is in a better place and that the glories of heaven make the treasures of this earth seem pale in comparison, however yesterday and again this morning, I am remembering Ann...for it is today that her daughter will be a bride. At half after seven tonight, Ann and Jim's only daughter will walk down the aisle on the arm of her father to pledge her heart and her life to an equally precious and fine young man. It will be a sacred time as these two enter a covenant and vow to love one another before God and a crowd of assembled witnesses. Needless to say, I am confident that they will be joined by a host of unseen witnesses as well.
   As a matter of fact, I have it on good authority that Jesus absolutely loves weddings...for was it not at a wedding that He performed His first miracle? And is He himself not our bridegroom and we his holy bride, bought and paid for with a terrible price? So the Lord is most definitely in the wedding business. He will be there tonight. And He will be performing yet another miracle, the miracle of two becoming one.
    It will be a poignant time, a joyful time, and a time for celebrating. And when the pastor asks the bride's father the time-honored question, "Who giveth this woman in marriage to this man?" The bride's father will answer in a strong, confident voice, "Her mother and I do." Last night at the rehearsal when I heard that Jim would be saying this today when he gives the bride away, I was overcome with emotion. I cried. But today, today I will rejoice along with many others. I am confident the bride's mother is rejoicing, too. It will be a glorious and blessed day on both sides of heaven, of that you can be sure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh Baby!

   The Daughter and a few crafty friends hosted a darling baby shower on Saturday for a dear friend of theirs who is expecting her first baby, a little boy. To tell you the truth, they put me and my friends to shame! The decor was lovely, the food delectable, and the joy overflowing. To boot one of the hostesses is a marvelous photographer (she also made the blue and white mobiles that graced the dining room table) as you can tell by the way that she captured each special moment. Kudos to the next generation. They do it and do it well. All photos but one are courtesy of Also, you might want to check out hostess Catherine Clement's Etsy Shop where she sells delightfully rendered objet d'art.

These little diaper shirts are a "retro" touch; The Daughter copied the ones
I had saved from my own baby shower 33 years ago!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thirty-Six Years Ago Today

     It was a Sunday afternoon. And it was hot, hot, hot. Those were the days before airconditioners really functioned at their maximum energy efficient cooling capacity and houses with central air instead of window units were considered "deluxe." When we left for the church it was raining but come hell or high water, we were going to have the reception at home. My husband-to-be and I had specifically planned the wedding for a Sunday afternoon so that our friends who had traveled from far and wide would have time to enjoy the beach. The only problem was that it began raining on Friday morning and pretty much rained non-stop until we left for the church. Seven inches fell that weekend to be exact. Not exactly sunbathing weather for all of the college friends and Tennesseans who had made the trek. But we would not be deterred.
    The bride wore white and the groom wore a morning coat with striped trousers. There were pink roses everywhere. In fact there was a lot of pink period. A pink and white striped tent in the backyard. Pink bridemaid's dresses. Pink garden hats. Even pink champagne. I look back and the pictures now and have to laugh. What looks so tacky now was so beautiful to me then.
   But while the dresses and the decor are out-dated and outmoded, the marriage is not. I am thankful for the words that I spoke to my husband those thirty-six years ago while my favorite piece of music played softly in the background. Moreover, I am completely and utterly convinced that my husband and I would be another sad statistic but for the grace of God. These are not empty words. They are the complete and utter truth. Neither he nor I had the wisdom, the grace, the forgiveness, the compassion, the tenderness, the forgiveness, the honesty, the love, the forgiveness, the laughter, the tears, the forgiveness...(are you getting my drift here?!) to make it through thirty-six years of marriage. Oh, we thought we did or we would have never made it to that altar. But the warp and woof of marriage have revealed us to be who we are:  two willful, stubborn, and sinful individuals who each like to be right...all of the time!
     I give God all the credit. He is the glue. Thankfully both my husband and I have a healthy fear of breaking a covenant entered into with a Holy and Righteous God. Neither of us have wanted to be the one to do it, and for that I am so very thankful. That fear of God and the belief in the covenant of marriage are what have gotten us through some pretty tough patches. Times when I have been mad enough or frustrated enough or misunderstood enough to wonder what in the world I was thinking when I married this man. If you are married you know what I mean. It's the worse, the poorer, and the sickness parts of the vows. They are in there because it happens. We all want it to just be the better, the richer, and the healthy, don't we? And yet...and yet here I sit thirty-six years later, and I can honestly say that I would do it again. I got out the wedding album yesterday. I looked at the beautiful young couple who gazed so adoringly into one another's eyes. Their joy just radiated off of the page. I know. I was there. I am still there though not so beautiful, so young, or so adoring in quite the same way. But I love this man to whom I am married. I loved him then, and I love even more the man he has become. He is stronger and wiser and even kinder than he was then. He still has my heart. I would give it to no one else. So today I am thankful. So very thankful for my precious, faithful, godly husband.
  I close with the words from the Book of Ruth I spoke to him those many years ago in that sweet little church:
 Entreat me not to leave thee, 
or to return from following after thee
 for whither thou goest, I will go;
 and where thou lodgest, I will lodge
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
 Where thou diest, will I die,
 and there will I be buried
may the LORD do so to me, 
and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

They were true then. They are true today. And by God's grace, they will be true tomorrow. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Three Things I Love

  Well, so much for good intentions. I had an idea about doing this particular post every Sunday that somehow got sidetracked last week. But I am not sorry. With Dad Yoder's passing, I spent a lot of time going through the memory box I carry around in my head. I remembered the bleeding heart plant that Sadie and Steve gave me when my husband and I were living in our house in Temple Hills. It always bloomed at Easter. Tiny crimson hearts dripping from the branch, faithfully reminding me of that Greater Love. Now I have two bleeding heart plants. A white one and a crimson one. And just like the other plant, without fail they bloom at Easter. Whether Easter is early or late, they somehow manage to show up at the appointed time.

So that is my Number One Love this week: The Bleeding Heart. Mine are planted by the back door in the shade and are part of a larger shade garden that boasts a few hostas as well as other shade-loving perennials. I usually forget about them because the foliage dies back completely after the little tiny heart-shaped blooms that look as though they are dripping a single droplet of blood have had their day. There is not much to see in the summer, the fall, and the winter. But a greater hand is at work. One day those hearts are dormant and the next day the green shoots are bursting forth like little trumpets announcing that something wonderful is about to occur. It's like the good old-fashioned fanfare of an Easter parade. The treasures are being prepared for that glorious day. I love that about wildflower gardens. They have a rhythm and beauty all their own. And a surprising timetable. Just think about it. Easter. An Empty Tomb. A Bleeding Heart. And a Redemption that remains true through the ages. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." 

Number Two: Milky Baby Breath. I already miss it. Since Little One has now progressed to eating three meals a day of regular people food (organic and hormone free of course and made, for the most part, with the freshest of ingredients), she no longer has that sweet milky baby breath. She's outgrown it, or it's been obscured by the other foods she now consumes. I miss that particular smell. It's an infant thing. And a breast-fed baby thing. But time is marching on in Little One's life and that's the natural course of life. But with another granddaughter on the way (courtesy of son number two and his precious wife), I am already looking forward to breathing in that sweet sweet baby breath while I hold and cuddle that Little Two. I intend to savor every moment, every smell. It's the smell of comfort, nurture and motherly love.

Number Three:  Boiled Peanuts. In case you all thought that I was getting entirely too mushy, just know that I only eat the firm ones. I am really picky about my boiled peanuts. Chilled. Salted. And Firm. Oh, and best served in a paper bag. If you are not from these parts you cannot imagine how attached Southerners are to their boiled peanuts. The thought of the taste for them can become an obsession. As I make my way home to Florida every couple of months, I have a few places where I know that I can get some good boiled peanuts. One of those places is Durbin Farms. Even though they are better known for their fresh peaches and seasonal fruits, I know that on the right side of the open air shed, there is a refrigerator that has boiled peanuts. Look on the second or third shelf from the top. There they are. Durbin Farms sells a cajun variety, but don't fool with it. Boiled peanuts are not meant to be gussied up. It's plain ole Southern fare. You simply take peanuts in the raw state (still in the shell, of course), wash them thoroughly several times, place them in an extra large pot of water, salt the water well and cook the peanuts until they are firm and tender, but not mushy. Drain the peanuts and refrigerate them overnight or until they are completely chilled. If you get desperate, you can buy a canned variety, but they are only to be eaten when you cannot find fresh boiled peanuts. However, the cans do travel well and do not require refrigeration which means that you should keep a couple in your pantry for one of those days when you just gotta.  One more peanut story: A few years back a girl from my hometown (see earlier post) married a boy from up North. His people came down to the wedding weekend where they were introduced to the notion of southern hospitality. Of course, boiled peanuts were served along with gallons of that other Southern standby: sweet tea. But the folks didn't talk about the tea, they just could not seem to get over the "wet peanuts." I never heard of such a thing. We all got a good chuckle out of that one.
Yum Yum!

These 'll do in a pinch