Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day Trip to Knoxville

chauffeured Alan to Knoxville for a business meeting yesterday. I spent the day in Market Square and the public library when it started to rain. Shot a view pictures (few being the operative word). A lovely day, all in all, except for the 6 hours of driving. 

Happy weekend everyone : )

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday #13

I've noticed over the past few weeks that I have been waking up with a song running through my head. They have been gifts from God to encourage me to face each day with a more uplifted spirit.

This morning the song was an old gospel hymn that was my great grandmother's favorite -- "There Is a Balm in Gilead".

There are 2 hymns that have always meant so much to me, partly because of the lyrics, but also because they were special to 2 wonderful women who blessed my childhood. My great grandmother and her sister who we simply called Auntie. 

Auntie's favorite was "It Is Well with My Soul", but we'll talk about that one another day. "There Is a Balm in Gilead" is an old Negro spiritual. Although the exact author and date are unknown, portions of the song appeared around 1854.

I don't remember the first time I sang this hymn, but it has always moved and comforted me, so today I share the lyrics with gratitude to the lady who shared them with me.

Chorus (in bold):
There is a balm in Gilead, To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead, To heal the sin-sick soul.

Some times I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my hope again.


If you cannot sing like angels,
If you can’t preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

diary of 5

I am seeing... my nicely mown yard (thank you, son)

I am hearing... birds chirping and singing, and 
the dogs scratching at the back door

I am smelling... springtime!

I tasted... English breakfast tea with
demerara sugar and milk

I am feeling... a little tired

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- Before/After?

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 27, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-70's today. Spring has definitely sprung around here : )

I am thinking . . . about this post I wrote for Write on Edge.

I am thankful . . . that dd is feeling better. She had a round of heatstroke/exhaustion while we were in Cozumel last week.

In the kitchen . . . last night I cooked sheepshead fish for the first time. My ds caught it while he was in Gulf Shores last week on spring break. I didn't grow up eating/cooking fish, so I was really pleased that this one turned out so yummy!
I am wearing . . . yoga clothes. Black pants, a white tank top, and a black tank top and flip flops.

I am creating . . . crocheting baby blankets! Two of the babies are due the middle of April. I've got to speed up!

I am going . . . to yoga class. Really, really . . . I hope so.

I am wondering . . . about this snarkiness I've been experiencing yesterday. Not really cranky, more like a smart aleck.

I am reading . . . well actually I just finished Eye of the God by Ariel Allison. It was surprisingly good. Now I'm trying to decide what to read next. Choices, choices.

I am hoping . . . to get a visit in with my bff this week. I like how much time we've been spending together lately and would like to keep it going.

I am looking forward to . . . a day trip with dh on Friday.

I am hearing . . . birds chirping through the open door.

Around the house . . . are pockets of remaining post-vacation chaos.

I am pondering . . . this change in my mood/attitude.

One of my favorite things . . . is chatting with my ds, about anything.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . 

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

Dh and dd in the Tuk Tuk for touring the island

RemembeRED -- When Past and Present Collide

The speaker was talking about his experiences during hurricane Andrew in 1992. I was in a Sunday school class on faith. He said, “I don’t know if any of you have ever been in a situation where you thought your life was in danger . . .” I have no idea what else he said. What I do remember is the windowless room the class was meeting in, and realizing I had to get out of there quickly. 

The random triggers of flashbacks.

As he posed the question, my conscious mind was answering “No” to the question, but my unconscious was pulling the lid off a box I’d sealed years ago. My breathing began to increase and the walls began to close in on me. I carefully laid my Bible aside and quietly got up and slipped out of the room. As soon as I got to the hallway, the pictures in my mind turned into video and it all came back with frightening intensity. The fear was so palpable that I began to sweat from it. The stench on my body clearly reminded me of the terror from the barn all those years ago.

I was stuck, caught between two time periods with no one and nothing to tether me to the present. I pressed my body into the wall, crossing my arms across and around my body to keep from splintering into tiny pieces.

What do you do when you’re falling apart and you are completely alone? I couldn’t move from that spot. I couldn’t speak or cry out for help. What would become of me?

A familiar face appeared in my field of vision. A friend. He asked if I was all right. I shook my head still unable to speak. He patiently asked what he could do. I stuttered for him to get my husband, directing him to Alan’s location in the building. I’m not sure what happened after that. I remember trying to make my body dissolve into the wall – wanting to fade out of existence.

Then Alan was there – holding me, assuring me we’d get through it, and guiding me out of the hallway as the crush of people began dismissing from classes. He led me to a quiet area, waving concerned people away, protecting me from stares and questions.

He settled me in a chair and began to murmur to me and chafe my hands, waiting for me to return to the present – to this period in time. I opened my eyes carefully and glanced at Alan. I had to speak the pictures from my mind, but speaking them aloud would validate the happening. There was no way to put the lid back on the box now.

Slowly and painfully I began to speak truth – the realization that I had faced death and survived, but had sealed it into that box for my own sanity. If the box was opened now, it was only because I was capable of dealing with the horrors stored inside.

The Prompt:
So often in our lives, defining moments occur when our past and our present or our future clash. For this week’s RemembeRED prompt, write a memoir post describing such a time and the results.

While writing, remember to bring us into the moment and let us experience it with you. 

link up at Write on Edge

Monday, March 26, 2012

:: right now

Right now, I am . . .

::remembering watching my husband in the ocean, diving and happy

::savoring time spent with my daughter in Cozumel . . . eating wonderful island food

::relishing this picture of sparkling lemonade by the sea

::awestruck by the artistic talent I saw while sitting by the sea . . . a group of 3 ladies painting beautiful art

::loving this little collection I created just before going on vacation . . . antique, handmade tablecloth, antique pitcher, and my life is beautiful bowl

::feeling very happy that I found these little birdies in a drawer when I was sorting linens

::looking forward to these creative options

::soaking in all the green that I discovered when we got home

::very pleased with this little arrangement -- bird measuring spoons and a little vintage crochet piece

inspired by SouleMama

Made by You Monday -- Turkey Cream Cheese Wrap

We're having nice spring weather, so I was in the mood last night for something light for dinner. I came up with this quick meal that I really liked, so I thought I'd share. No pictures because we were all so hungry, the rolls were gone before I got the camera out!

6 flour tortillas
1 lb. sliced turkey breast
6 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
bibb lettuce, shredded
1 tub garden vegetable cream cheese (I used the light version)

Spread 1 Tablespoon cream cheese on flour tortilla, cover with 2-3 oz. turkey breast, 1 Tablespoon cheddar cheese, top with lettuce. Roll tortilla into a wrap. Serve with fresh fruit and chips (I had blue tortilla chips with mine -- yum!)

Serves 6

Happy Eating!

link up at Made by You Monday

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Joy Dare #4

"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4

March 19th -- 3 gifts eaten
1. banana pancakes
2. caramel filled churro
3. cheese quesadilla

March 20th -- 3 gifts that made you laugh
1. turtles crawling on the porch
2. my daughter
3. my husband's hair after diving

March 21st -- a gift salty, a gift sweet, a gift just right
1. sea water
2. my husband's care for me
3. banana with peach yogurt

March 22nd -- 3 gifts found in His word
1. "These people honor me with their lips . . ."
-- Isaiah 29:13
2. ". . . they were afraid 
to ask him what he meant."
-- Mark 9:31-32
3.  “God is great!”
 But as for me, I am poor and needy . . ." 
-- Psalm 70:4-5

March 23th -- 3 gifts found in women today
1. "Creativity, it’s good theology; it’s what God did in the beginning." -- Ann Voskamp
3. Attic 24 -- Doing My Job

March 24th -- 3 gifts spoken
1. "I love you, sweetie" - my husband
2. "I'm feeling better" - my daughter
3. "I'm so happy to see you" - me to my son

March 25th -- a gift sung, a gift written, a gift painted
1. Morning Has Broken
- Cat Stevens
2. "It isn't that they can't see the solution. 
It is that they can't see the problem." 
- G.K. Chesterton
3. Virgin and Child
- William Congdon

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday # 12

This Thankful Thursday finds me out of the country.

My husband, daughter, and I are in Cozumel, Mexico for spring break. We flew in last Friday and will return home tomorrow. 

All week long I have been reminded of God's power and sovereignty. To be surrounded by such stunning beauty, makes it nearly impossible to think of anything but God the Creator.

I have seen so many beautiful things this week:
--the multiple colors of the ocean
--remarkable sea creatures
--birds with amazing songs
--lovely foods prepared in new and different ways

We have met numerous people from all over the world, and have had nothing but kindness and friendship shown to us. It has been a joy to be here with all these lovely people, while experiencing their food and culture.

I am so thankful for this lovely experience!

(Prayer Requests: our daughter developed symptoms of heat stroke last night. She spent part of the night in the clinic receiving fluids and medicine. It looks as if she will be heading back shortly for more fluids. Please pray for healing and comfort for her, and peace and comfort for my husband and me.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

diary of 5

I am seeing... the Caribbean Sea

I am hearing... tropical birds and waves lapping

I am smelling... salt water

I tasted... fresh papaya

I am feeling... happy
(photo by Alan Pennington)

link up at Diary of 5

Wordless Wednesday -- Cozumel

(photo by Alan Pennington)
for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

RemembeRED -- Hope

I hailed a cab today. That may not sound like much, but it’s actually evidence of a life changed.

I was abused as a child, and that abuse taught me to hope for survival. Hope for anything more was buried under the rubble of my shattered childhood.

Several years ago, my husband began encouraging me to get my scuba diving certification. He’s been certified for years and wanted me to dive with him. I didn’t think I could handle it. I suffer from anxiety and claustrophobia, but I agreed to take a discover scuba class at the local dive shop. It went better than I expected.

Then my husband signed me up for the online course to complete the book work just before our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and planned a vacation to Mexico that would include scuba diving. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete the work in time, but I did.

When we got to Mexico, he arranged for private confined water classes for me, even having the scuba instructor come to our hotel one morning to work on some of the training I was having particular trouble mastering. I didn’t think I’d ever learn to clear a mask, but I did.

This past December we went to Cozumel and I completed my open water dives and got certified as an open water diver. It was one of the proudest moments in my life. I never would have dreamed I’d be scuba diving, but my husband kept encouraging me, and with every success I had hope for more. We’re back in Cozumel this week for diving, fun, and relaxation.

Today I hailed a taxi and went into town and did some shopping, and then hailed another taxi back to the hotel.

So what does scuba diving have to do with hailing a taxi? Everything. If not for the discover scuba class, I never would have tried the online course. If not for the online course, I never would have done the confined water course. If not for the confined water course, I never would have completed the open water dives. And if not for the open water dives, I never would have considered hailing a cab in a foreign country. Scuba diving has given me hope.

For years all I wanted was to survive. But now . . . now, I hope to embrace all that life has to offer.

This week, we were asked to share a memoir featuring hope, expressed in 400 words or less.
link up at Write on Edge

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 20, 2012

Outside my window . . . I see the Caribbean Sea. We are in Cozumel for spring break!

I am thinking . . . about how many wonderful opportunities my dh has provided for me.

I am thankful . . . to be here in Cozumel with my dh and dd. We are having a really good time swimming, snorkeling, diving, and talking. (Ds is in Gulf Shores with his gf and her family.)

In the kitchen . . . nothing! Eating out on wonderful fresh fruits, veggies, seafood, and authentic Mexican cuisine.

I am wearing . . . shorts and t-shirt or swim suit. And occasionally a pair of flip flops!

I am creating . . . nothing really. I brought yarn and a hook, but I haven't picked them up since we've been here.

I am going . . . to dive this afternoon and hopefully swim with the stingrays tomorrow.

I am wondering . . . why I can't come to Cozumel more often. LOL!

I am reading . . .  I finished The Hunger Games. It was good, but I'm still not sure why it's hit such a nerve with people.

I am hoping . . . to continuing enjoying our time here together. So far the weather has been wonderful. I hope it continues for the rest of the week.

I am looking forward to . . . diving again! I was having trouble with my ear and thought I might not be able to do any more diving this week. I saw a doctor yesterday and all is well now!

I am hearing . . . my daughter chattering away, mostly about nothing, but it's not bothering me right now.

Around the house . . . who knows!?! I'm not there!

I am pondering . . . not much, just enjoying the sun.

One of my favorite things . . . is having my meals served to me, especially in this environment.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . lots more diving, a little shopping, and yummy food.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
dh and me 
photo courtesy of dd

Monday, March 19, 2012

Made by You Monday -- Chicken Marinade

This is my favorite marinade for just about anything, but especially chicken. It tastes wonderful whether baked or grilled, and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand. The chicken is terrific on its own or on a nice salad. (I'm on vacation this week scuba diving in Cozumel. See you all next week, hopefully with a completed baby blanket to share!)

Chicken Marinade

4 Tablespoons canola oil
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil
3 whole cloves
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
dash of coarse ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and pour over 1 pound chicken (breasts, tenderloins, pieces -- whatever!). Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Grill or bake chicken. Serves 4.

link up at Made by You Monday

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Joy Dare #3

"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4

March 12th -- a gift in wind, in water, in white
1. driving with the windows down
2. spring rain
3. Bradford pear trees blooming

March 13th -- 3 gifts round
1. the circle of housework
2. chocolate bundt cake
3. a friendship bowl

March 14th -- 3 gifts found in silence
1. peace to think
2. moments of solitude in the afternoon
3. long soak in the tub

March 15th -- 3 gifts gifts given away
1. scarves for orphans in Ukraine
2. food shared with friends
3. my heart to my husband & kids

March 16th -- 3 hard eucharisteo (the daily pursuit of recognizing His blessings)
1. facing a fear
2. an opportunity to move outside my comfort zone
3. pushing myself physically

March 17th -- a gift turned, a gift folded, a gift hung
1. my daughter's mood
2. a towel folded into a swan
3. an old crochet piece

March 18th -- 3 gifts red
1. flowers in Cozumel
2. a red hammock by the pool
3. fresh watermelon for breakfast

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Am a Good Person! -- Weekend Linkup

Abuse has long standing and far reaching effects. My experience has been that just about the time I think I have a handle on it, something new comes along to challenge the work I have done.

This past weekend brought some new challenges. My dd came home for a visit from the program she is in to deal with her chemical disorder. My expectation was that I would be excited to have her home for a visit. The reality was that I was very worried, tense and nervous about all of us falling back into bad patterns of behavior and coping with stress. The truth of the weekend was a mix of both. 

It's amazing the things I hear coming out of my mouth sometimes! Thankfully, most of those comments come in safe environments, like with my therapist or in private conversations with my dh. Last week talking to my therapist, I said, "I just want to do everything right this weekend, because I am worried about doing the wrong thing and ruining everything." That's classic abuse reaction. Take full responsibility for everything that goes wrong in any situation. I know I don't really have that kind of power, but my experiences led me to believe that if I had just done/or not done certain things, I could have controlled the abusers -- kept them from hurting me. That's re-victimization I think. Letting the abusers make me responsible for their actions. It's a defense mechanism. Everyone uses it to a certain degree. There is safety and security in believing that a person becomes a victim because they neglected to take proper precautions. The problem with that way of thinking is that it's false. You can do everything "right" and still be victimized or have an accident through no fault of your own. That's especially true of children.

Once more, God provided lessons and reassurance that I needed. A good Sunday school lesson on the difference between expectations and desires. A wonderful sermon on God's relationship with us and His desire for our relationships with one another. My dh once again giving me the pep talk and reminders that I am a good person who had bad things done to her (and he still makes me laugh). 

So the weekend's over and things will go back to routine, except it's never routine -- so bring it on Monday!

(this is a repost from 9/27/2010) 

link up at Write on Edge

Friday, March 16, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

for more moments visit SouleMama

Red Writing Hood -- Barracuda

Like sharks, some species of barracuda are reputed to be 
dangerous to swimmers. Barracudas are scavengers.

Mel wanted a normal life. A husband, a house, children, all kept nice and tidy in an immaculate home. But he kept getting in the way. It wasn’t just him, of course. There were the other memories, but she felt if she could get the grown up part right, then those would just fade away.

Bradley showed up in her life the year she was 15. After school Mel would look for her older sister Cindy, and invariably find her sitting in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda listening to music she felt sure Cindy didn’t even like.

From the first time Mel laid her eyes on him she hated him. She didn’t know why, but she did. Cindy could do so much better.

He became a fixture in their lives. Eventually, after dating 4 years, Cindy and Bradley married, much to Mel’s chagrin. By then he’d been showing his true reptilian self for quite awhile, but Cindy refused to acknowledge it. Bradley was crude, vulgar, and low class. He cornered Mel in the kitchen making a pass at her. When that didn’t work, he began denigrating her for the clothes she wore and anything else he could come up with as an insult.

Their parents heard his remarks, but never came to her defense. Cindy even told Mel that Bradley had admitted his attraction to Mel. What Mel couldn’t figure out was what Cindy saw in him. She would have cut him loose so fast his head would have been swimming.

He was Mel’s thorn in the flesh. That was until the night she stayed at their house. Bradley and Cindy had been married close to 2 years. Bradley had behaved badly on a few occasions since the wedding, but Mel had kept these episodes to herself. She generally kept her distance from him, but this night she couldn’t bear being alone in her parents’ house. They were out of town, and Mel hated staying in that big house by herself. When Cindy invited her to spend the night, it seemed the perfect solution.

Mel woke in the middle of the night to find Bradley stroking her thigh. He was whispering about wanting her, about knowing it was wrong, but not being able to help himself. Then he was on her and she was frozen in panic. There was something terribly familiar about this scenario, but Mel knew she couldn’t think about that now. Instead she just removed herself from her body until it was over. Later, when she returned, she saw him sitting in a chair across from the sofa she was sleeping on. He just stared at her. No words were ever exchanged.

The next morning she was ready to leave early with Cindy even though Bradley had been planning to take her home.

As Mel stood in the shower, she boxed the incident up, all the while recognizing he was no longer just a thorn.

link up at Write on Edge

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday #11

My week has felt frantic. Lots of things going on and we are leaving to go out of town tomorrow. So much to do!

I've been reminded recently of verse that we used to sing when I was younger.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

We sang it this way:
All things, all things,
all things work together,
for those who love the Lord,
for those who are His called.

Those words have been running through my head this week as I've been running around doing things. They are a good reminder that my only job is to love the Lord, and then everything will fall into place.

For that I am so thankful.


link up at Women Taking a Stand

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

diary of 5

I am seeing... my nice, clean house

I am hearing... dogs barking to get back in the house

I am smelling... a cilantro/pineapple candle

I tasted... Irish breakfast tea with demerara sugar

I am feeling... better

link up at Diary of 5

Wordless Wednesday -- Woodpecker

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

RemembeRED -- Comparisons

It was May 1993. We went to the mountains with another couple as a getaway. We rented a cabin just outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the same cabin we’d stayed in for our honeymoon. 

The weather was beautiful that weekend. We unloaded cars and headed to the grocery. We bought lots of healthy, easy foods to prepare, and just a little junk food. The next day we planned to hike Laurel Falls. It’s a relatively easy trail that leads to beautiful waterfalls where we could picnic and rest before heading back.

Saturday morning we headed out late in the morning for the trail. I was really pushing myself to keep up with the others. They seemed to be in much better shape than I was, and I was getting embarrassed that I was slowing them down. A couple of times, John, asked if I was all right. I assured I was and that there was no need to slow down just for me. I kept comparing myself constantly to everyone else on the trail – not just my group. Why was I having such a hard time? I was really having trouble breathing and my face was flushed. Finally we made it to the falls. We settled on some of the large boulders and ate our picnic. After lunch the others decided to play around in the falls. I sat on our lunch rock, too tired to contemplate anything but the walk back to the car.

When we got back to the cabin I had to lie down and take a nap.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing and uneventful. We drove home on Sunday and picked up our daughter from my parents house.

On Monday morning I had an appointment with my doctor. I went in for a checkup and they wouldn’t let me go home. They wanted me to go straight to the hospital. My blood pressure was very elevated. Did I mention I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time?

It took me years to realize that I had been comparing apples and oranges while on that hike. I wasn’t lazy and out of shape. I was pregnant! I was developing signs of toxemia that would ultimately lead to my son’s premature birth, and would leave me near death.

link up at RemembeRED

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 13, 2012

Outside my window . . . we may hit 80 degrees today!

I am thinking . . . about how much there is to get done this week.

I am thankful . . . for a phone call I got on my birthday. It was an unexpected validation.

In the kitchen . . . last night was Mexican night, but tonight ds and I are providing dinner for Room in the Inn at our home congregation.

I am wearing . . . my flannel robe and slippers. I'm wondering how soon I can switch to my cotton weight robe.

I am creating . . . almost done with the first of my five baby blankets. Pictures to come : )

I am going . . . to stay home all day!

I am wondering . . . why I find it so difficult to stay organized? I am wondering how much of a role the depression truly plays in hampering my organizing/cleaning skills.

I am reading . . .  I finely caved and am reading The Hunger Games. I've read about one third of it, and I have to say, I'm not sure what all the hoopla is about. I'm still reading Ezra and Haggai for Bible study, Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, and Lenten devotionals on YouVersion.

I am hoping . . . to get some serious cleaning done around the house today.

I am looking forward to . . . a vacation next week! Spring break is upon us.

I am hearing . . . the dogs wandering around and birds singing.

Around the house . . . I am envisioning lots of positive changes, but I'm having trouble executing anything.

I am pondering . . . an event dh reminded me of last night. I'm going to use it in a post for Write on Edge.

One of my favorite things . . . is spending time with by bff, Linda. We've been making more of an effort to see each other more frequently and I am just loving it!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . house work, therapy, Bible study, and then heading out of town at the end of the week.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
Squeaker holding onto a slice of pizza!