Monday, November 25, 2013

Does Wheat Flour Count as a Vegetable?

Do you have that friend who can put things in perspective for you and make you feel better about the situation? You know, the kind who tells you like it is, but is so sweet and funny doing it that you know she doesn't mean a thing by it. Bless her heart! Your glass more than half full kind of girl. My friend Tracy has me covered. Worried about those ten pounds that I lost over the summer and gained back as soon as school started. No worries, she listened to me moan and groan and shared a Diet Coke and Reese's cups with me to make me feel better. Sharing is good.

Bad hair day? Put it in a ponytail or put a hat on it. Problem solved.

Moved the same load of laundry from the dryer, to the spare bed, to the real bed, to the chair? Rewash it and start over so you don't have to fold it would be her advice. I love her!

And then there are the days I am tired. Too tired to cook a warm comforting meal for my family. If the world was left to me to run, I would most likely feed them some cereal I bought on sale at CVS with a coupon and pray there is enough milk left from the Saturday morning Dollar General run all the while wishing I was feeding them rice and gravy, porkchops,corn, and beans...a real supper. And then Tracy comes along with this....

She popped her head in my office just long enough this afternoon to say, "I think this just might be dinner!" Have mercy! She was holding a cheesecake and chocolate covered pretzels, and for a brief and shining moment I wished I was having the same thing. I was a tiny bit jealous. I had planned to have a healthy salad for dinner, with some rotisserie chicken from Food Lion, and maybe a tangerine, definitely a Little Debbie, but maybe a tangerine, too. And then she reminded me one of the reasons we are friends. She said, "You know, eggs are protein, milk comes from cows, and wheat flour is the first ingredient on the list so we are definitely eating vegetables." Yep! Vegetables. There you have it!

So tonight, I'm eating my vegetables in the form of cookies....and loving every bite. Thanks, Tracy! I'm so glad we are friends.

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39

Friday, November 22, 2013

Everybody Sing Along...It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I live with three men. Lucky me, right?  That, of course, makes me the queen of this castle and I kinda like that.  I even have a tin foil crown to prove it.  This queen has been crazy lately.  Cuckoo crazy as my friend Tracy would say (my family is nodding in agreement).  We’ve been busy with stuff like school, and work, and fun, and Christmas planning and just - stuff.  Just the way I like it!
I know many of you don’t get in the Christmas spirit quite as early as I do.  I think mine kicks in around the middle of September when I start humming the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” and builds up steam until Jay finally drags the first of the trees down from the attic around Halloween.  Turn down the air conditioning enough and you’d think you were smack dab in the middle of winter.  For real!  We do that 80’s mullet style decorating around here….you know, Halloween in the front, Christmas in the back.  You know there is at least one picture of you floating around somewhere with someone in your group sporting this hairdo.  The mullet is one fad I hope never comes back.  That and shoulder pads.  Shoulder pads are not a hard to kidnap girl’s friend. 
I’m always on the lookout for a new holiday recipe. I’m not much of a fancy food kind of girl.  I’m more of the fried chicken and rice and gravy kind.  Same goes for my sweets.  I don’t mind a sliver of mocha choco latte mousse torte with candied coffee bean sprinkles on a pool of raspberry stuff for $8.95, but if given a choice, I’d probably choose one of these instead….

Little Debbie is my hero!  This girl rocks!  I’d love for her to be my best friend and live next door and make me holiday shaped snack cakes every day.  They even have sprinkles….AND THEY ARE RED VELVET!  And best of all, you can buy them at the Dollar General.  You are welcome. 
Since I have found this tasty treat and since we started Christmas decorating at the crack of fall thirty, we are done.  You can find me in my chair by the fire, nibbling on a Little Debbie cake, wearing my tin foil crown, enjoying the sights and the sounds of the season.  Life is good my friends, life is good!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Zumbaed Last Week and About Died...No Need to Send a Casserole

I 'bout died last week.  I know this because my heart was beating fast, I lost huge amounts of fluids, and I had shortness of breath...all to the sound of salsa music and a lady jumping around rolling her R's, pumping her fists, and shaking her groove thing.  I was in a Zumba class. I know, bless my heart! We have these lessons after school each week and I thought it would be a great idea to help me get in shape.  I have changed my eating habits, am back on the Weight Watchers plan, and thought some physical activity would help me get back some points so I can eat a cookie or four without feeling so guilty.  Law have mercy! I wasn't planning to have my life run in front of my eyes, or maybe that was just my Dt. Sunkist wearing off or a hot flash coming one.  Either way. They say to hydrate before you exercise and that was all I had access to at the time.  Don't judge. 

Since I'm not dead, there's no need to worry about fixing a casserole, baking a ham or bringing by a bucket of chicken or anything.  Southern people are like that. You learn from a very young age to pay your respects with food, love, and hugs.  I'm going back to Zumba next week and I think I'm going to be just fine.  But, just in case something does happen to someone you know and you have the need to take food to friends or family in need, let me give you a few hints.....

1.  Everyone is bringing friend chicken because it's easy.  Take toilet paper instead.  I'm being for real.  All those extra people in the house eating food that other people bring means more bathroom traffic.  Believe me.  It will get used.

2.If you take a casserole, send it in a throw away container.  Those pieces of tape and address labels on the bottom of your favorite Pyrex dish just may come off.  Then the poor person won't know who to get it back to, you will think they have bad manners for not returning it, and you end up mad and taking that person off your Christmas card list.  Trust me...throw away is best.

3.  The family members most likely won't be very hungry.  The people who are paying their respects will always accept a piece of cake or a chicken leg.  They want to be polite.  That's the manners their Momma taught them.  So, don't insist that you fix a family member a plate because you know they always eat your chicken and pastry at Fellowship Supper.  See, if you take toilet paper, it's not an issue.

4.  Give them a hug, tell them you love them, and that you are sorry. That is all. 

We meet for Zumba again next week after school.  I'll let you know how it goes.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Give Your Momma a Heart Attack

Our boys are growing up.  Good, night!  They are both taller than their momma and have facial hair that needs to be shaved.  I'm wiping the tears as we speak.   This summer, Tanner has had himself a little job  at a country store in the Mt. Vernon community.  This is one of those stores that has a little bit of everything. Need some transmission fluid? Got it.  Need some shampoo?  Got that, too.  Need a key made or a package shipped?  No problem.  Hungry for a chicken leg and some rice and gravy?  Here's your plate.  One stop shopping in the country. I love stores like that.

Tanner has always been responsible and this job was an opportunity for him to make his own money, have a little more independence and learn some valuable work ethic skills.  He was able to pay for his own gas (thank you, Jesus) and save enough to buy a Mac Book.  In addition to stocking shelves, sweeping floors, wiping tables,  and learning the prices of 9,700 products that he would quiz me on weekly, as if I were going to fill in for him so he could go to the movies or something, he learned to run a cash register, do some basic cooking and learn about portion control country style, "Now don't be skimpy on that okra.  It's my favorite vegetable."


And on the last night of his summer work experience, he learned to give his momma a heart attack.  I don't know if it was the hot flashes or the adrenaline rush, but I had me one big old time reading his message.  What in the world do you do, as a momma, when you get a text  like this:

You do just what I text back "don't worry" and then you have your husband drive to where your 16 year old baby is working and you buy a Diet Sunkist and you sit in a booth and watch your baby work.  I'm not sure what I thought me being there was going to do, but it sure made me feel better.  It would have been my luck had the suspicious man come back that I would have tried to use my teacher voice on him and told him, "Now don't be ugly.  Put that gun away and let's come over here and talk about what has made you so upset.  We can work this out." at which point he would have laughed so hard Jay would have been able to overtake him and all would be well by the time the police showed up, or maybe not.

So Jay and I sat there for a while and chatted while Tanner did his work duties trying to pretend we weren't there. Not sure how cool it is for your momma to come to your work and sit there, but at that point, the momma card had clearly trumped the teenager cool card and we were staying for a while.  When we finally realized everything was under control, that the police were making their rounds in the area to have a visual presence, and that me being there would probably only make matters worse, we went home.  I took a bath with my Dr. Teal's Soothe and Sleep Foaming Bath that for some reason didn't work to soothe me or help me sleep, and waited for Tanner to call an hour later that he was leaving and that all was well.

Those were the most precious words that I could have heard last night.  My baby was safe and was on the way home, I didn't have to use my teacher voice, and Tanner has a memory that he can share on the first day of school on Monday to answer the question, "what did you do this summer"? It will probably go something like this...."Well, what had happened was........"

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6 NIV

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Skinny Vanilla Mocha Grande What??

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I don't really like coffee.  I may drink a cup of French vanilla brewed in Jay's Keurig when it is really cold outside, but given a choice, I would choose a Diet Mountain Dew any day.  I do, however, love me a vanilla scone which is why we ended up at the Starbucks this weekend.  Something about a dried out biscuit glazed in powdered sugar that makes me feel at home.  Reminds me of the biscuits that I make.

My daddy drank black coffee every day; summer, winter, hot, cold, day, or night.  My granddaddy drank his coffee with a little sugar, poured into a saucer to cool, as he ate the same grits and eggs and sausage breakfast every morning I can remember.  When I was a little girl, I would drink half milk and half coffee with three spoons of sugar.  Who knew I was having a latte?  In Longs, we called this baby coffee. I was hip before my time. 

Jay drinks coffee every day.  He has a Keurig at home and one in his office.  I buy him all kinds of coffee that I like the name or the smell of.  In reality, he likes his coffee plain and black.  Sometimes a little sugar or a splash of milk, but usually just plain old coffee.  And from this cup that his granny bought for him at a yardsale when he was first setting up house in his bachelor days.  In addition to holding coffee and sugar and milk, it's held love and memories.   It may be knicked and crazed, but it's a keeper.

So, when Hamp, Jay and I went to Starbucks to get me a scone, I wasn't sure what to order.  Baby coffee wasn't on the menu!  I learned a long time ago that a skinny vanilla latte is what I wanted made with skim instead of whole milk.  Can't have a scone and whole milk coffee.  Need to keep my priorities in order.  But, it was too hot for hot coffee so I was forced to work my way through the menu.  I'm happy to say that if there was a grade for speaking Starbucks, I would have gotten a B+. 
I maneuvered pretty well through that mocha, vanilla, chai, skinny, grande, frappacino experience.  In the end, I played it safe.  Vanilla bean frappacino...small. 

With a scone, or four.

 My life is so full of blessings. So, today, I am drinking from my saucer because my cup has overflowed.  I just hope it has milk and sugar in it.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalms 23:5

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If You Eat Them Hot They Don't Count

We were riding down the road minding our own business when out of nowhere, we were forced to cut across 5 lanes of traffic and almost took out a man on a moped and a flowerbed on Highway 17.  It could not be helped.  The Hot Doughnut Sign was on at the Krispy Kreme.  I believe there are magical powers in that sign.  I'm sure if the aliens had powers like that sign they wouldn't be spending all their time showing up to my cousin living in the trailer park who thought he had crop circles in his yard when it was really just four wheeler tracks.  Have mercy!

I even have an app on my phone that let's me know when the sign is on and the doughnuts are hot in North Myrtle Beach.  You can get you an app, too.  It's for free!

My favorite flavor of cold doughnuts are lemon filled followed by blueberry cake.  But, hands down, the best doughnut in the whole entire people and alien universe is a KK hot glazed fresh off the machine original.  People line up to pay their respects to this awesomeness of fresh dough fried in hot grease and bathed in powdered sugar glaze for good reason.

I imagine that there are people living here in the south who have never eaten one or twelve fresh from the fryer, but I don't know who they are.  Just in case it's you, first of all, bless you. Second of all, here are some things you may want to know about these southern delicacies.

1.  Doughnuts eaten hot do not have any calories. They magically dissolve with that first bite.  I believe the most I have ever eaten in one sitting (in the car in the parking lot actually) was 5.  I was going for 6, but  I do have some restraint! Didn't matter though, no calories either way.

2.  Hot doughnuts will take the skin off the roof of your mouth if you are not careful.  Trust me on this one.  The price we have to pay for pleasure sometimes. 

3.  Hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts and the ones they sell in the box on Saturday morning in front of the Wal Mart for fund raisers are not the same thing. If you've never had one hot, call me.  I will be happy to take you. You can taste the difference.

4.  Unless you are under the age of 6, don't wear the hat while you wait in line.  Just don't. 

5.  Even if you like other flavors, if the hot sign is on, you have to get at least part of your dozen hot.  It's against the law if you don't, or if not, it should be.

6.  The sign comes on every night at 6:00 in North Myrtle Beach.  You're welcome.


I have to go.  I just got a notification on my phone that the sign is on.  Maybe I can make it to the beach before it goes off.  I'll meet you in the parking lot and we can enjoy some long as they are HOT!


But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”   Matthew 4:4

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Quit Crying, You're Getting Your Chicken Wet

I haven't told y'all, but I'm changing jobs this week.  I am so excited to be back in a school where I can interact with children and teachers and parents on a daily basis.  I like grown ups just fine, but if given a choice, I prefer a room full of little people any day.  They make me happy, happy, happy!  If you ask my husband and boys they will tell you that's a good thing.  The sad part about changing jobs is that I won't be able to see some of my favorite big people on a daily basis.  I know we have email and Facebook and heaven forbid we forget the telephone, but it's just not the same thing as being in the same building on a daily or weekly basis where we can share the little successes, challenges, and bonding moments that only people who work in a school can understand.  Who else can celebrate the success of a student who finally learns your name after 126 days of school instead of calling you teacher, the challenge of 147 degree heat in the shade on the playground during recess duty in August, or the moment you talk with the previous year's teacher of one of your most needy students and realize that the two of you helped this child to realize his potential, and that he now would rather read than anything. Even if it is his daddy's latest issue of Sports Illustrated that he keeps sneaking out of his bookbag (of course he's not looking at the swimsuits).  Makes me sad.

So last week, my friend Elizabeth asked me if I wanted to meet her for lunch on Friday before I started my new adventure.  I heard there would be fried chicken involved so of course I said yes.  Dear friends and fried chicken.  Sounds like the title of a country song.  In all of her infinite wisdom, Elizabeth decided that we would meet at 11:30 to beat the rush at what I thought was Webster's Manor.  I don't know if I misread her text or if I just had Webster's on my mind for some reason, but I was rocking my little heart out on the front porch waiting for her and she never showed up.  Oh, dear Gussie, 100 thoughts ran through my mind until I got a text that said, "Are you on your way? We're here."  Yep, I was on the wrong porch.  I was supposed to be one street over at O'Hara's.  How can you expect me to stay in touch when I can't even make it to lunch at the right place?  Makes me sad.

But once I got there, I couldn't help myself.  I cried like a baby and snotted up all over everything. I was crying so hard at one point that I thought I was going to choke on my rice and gravy. I don't even remember eating any chicken that day, because what I had walked into was the sweetest gathering of friends I have seen in a very, very long time.  There was a room full of people I love and that I have shared so much with all piled up together to eat chicken and cake in my honor.  I was so overwhelmed that I only got this one picture leaving most of my friends out.  I'm sorry, the crying had my mind all fuzzy, or maybe it was the lack of food.

It was very humbling to realize that these friends that I made during my days in a school and at the district office were here to send me off to my next adventure with their best wishes, support, and love.  But isn't that what we teacher people do?  We teach our children and prepare them for the next chapter in their lives then send them off with a piece of ourselves and keeping a piece of them in our hearts.  My teacher friends, you did the same for me.  I love you and will always remember the laughs, the successes, as well as the tears we shared.  And I will take a piece of each of you with me.  I love you all and thank you for helping me to be a better person as a result of having known each of you. Now can we meet again soon, so I can enjoy that piece of chicken?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11