Memory Monday and some Randomness I’m sure.

I took a breather from the pressure of doing Memory Monday over the Christmas Season (I refuse to use the H word). And…I’m back. I’m also going to count this toward the Siestas’ two-verses-a month memorization.

So, the other day…maybe yesterday, I am SO very scatter brained today and I mean VERY…I was talking to God about some stuff going on and He pointed out that my real problem was trusting Him. (When ISN’T that the root of my problem?) I asked Him to talk to me with His word and He led me straight to Psalm 56:3-4. Sometimes I feel kinda smug and rebellious with God…do you ever? So I read these two verses and nodded my head…”yep, I get it…I need to trust You.”

Moving along.

And here is where I really love my God…He is so patient and loving with me…He jerked me right back to this scripture and I knew I was to read it over and over and then to MEMORIZE it and store it in my heart.

Here comes some of the randomness I was thinking about when I started thinking about writing this post…

When I think about what I have read in the Bible about folks following other gods…I really have to laugh…their gods had nothing on my God. Not only does He speak to me through His Word and through others and directly into my very heart when He knows I need to learn something, He pounds it into me. Sometimes…it is through suffering. Often times it is (thankfully) not.

He has really had me thinking about The Girls lately…My Girls…Jill, Velora, Jen and Lori. Lori doesn’t have a blog or a facebook page.


For the span of a few years, He brought the five of us together. We all thought it was pretty random at the time. We were so wrong. He so knew what He was doing.

When I think back to the period of time when we were meeting every Tuesday and often more than that, we all needed Him and He gave us each other. It really was the most incredible experience. Jill has since moved to Montana. We don’t know why. But we do know that God has a plan for it. The remaining four or us do not meet regularly anymore but…and this I know…we (the five of us) can call on one another and instantly be covered in prayer. Or food. Or help. Or whatever it is we need. (Don’t laugh…food was a big part of our time together…we’re Baptist, after all). We each had/have a role in our Fivedom. Can I just say again that it was one of the coolest things God has ever done in my life? For the longest time, I fought against us “breaking up”. It took Him pounding into me For.Ev.Er. that we weren’t “broken up”. We’re just different know. I was so sad. And angry. And bitter. For a long time. And now…and now the sadness creeps in now and then, but oh…the memories. How they make me smile and laugh and cry and laugh. Especially the laughing. So…it is different now. We are different now. But I trust Him. This was and is all part of His plan.

And I am thankful.


Tag, I’m It.

T tagged me days ago and I just haven’t gotten around to it until this morning. My bad.

8 TV Shows I Watch:

1) The Office
2) House
4) Animal Planet (you name it…I watch it)
5) Lost (I’m forced to…if I don’t…I can’t join in any conversations with my family because of my Lost Ignorance)
6) Americas Funniest Home Videos
7) Law and Order SVU (I’ve just started watching this and I really like it)
8) As Time Goes By (syndication but I. Love. It.)

8 Favorite Restaurants:

1) Mike’s American Grill
2) Pane e Vino
3) PF Chang’s (Went there for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Oh. My.)
4) Austin Grill
5) Cracker Barrel

8 Things that Happened to Me Yesterday:

1) Slept in.
2) Had to make my own coffee AND start the coffee pot…on Christmas Day! Tradition dictates that the children go all out and push the ON button to start my coffee brewing BEFORE I come down in the morning. Ruined the entire day. (jk)
3) Received 10 weeks of Weight Watchers meeting coupons from my husband for Christmas. What a guy.
4) Loved receiving 10 weeks of WW meeting coupons from my husband.
5) Received a new pair of Victoria Secret jammies for Christmas. Annual tradition.
6) Ate a whole lot of cinnamon buns.
7) Went to the movies with The Bryan’s and saw Bedtime Stories. Eh.
8) Officially declared that I am done with Christmas Music for the year.

8 Things I Look Forward To:

1) The New Year.
2) Getting my home cleaned out and organized.
3) Simplifying.
4) Starting Weight Watchers in January with Lori.
5) One word: Esther.
6) A week at the Outer Banks. In a huge house. With a pool. And hot tub. With my family. And the Secrist’s.
7) Working out again…daily and getting back into shape.
8) June…Sarah’s graduation.

8 Things I HOPE For:

1) A healthy and blessing filled 2009 for my family and friends.
2) The growth of our church family.
3) The Christmas Miracle that I have been praying for.
4) That my mom gets a clue.
5) That Jill moves back to Virginia. With or without David, lol. (jk about the David part)
6) That I remember to allow God to use me as His instrument.
7) That Blogger starts working correctly…I can’t make ANY changes to the font or colors in this post. Grrrrrr.

8 People I Tag: You know who you are! Now just do the thing.

The Top Ten Cool Things About Living with Teenagers.

1. Being able to sip my morning triplegrandewholemilklatte in my jammies because I have a teenager who got out of bed (after considerable banging on the wall), pulled warm clothes on, chipped the ice off the car, and drove to Starbucks so I wouldn’t have to.

2. Dieting without even trying to because there is no food in the fridge, pie safe or pantry.

3. Realizing I don’t need 8 hours of sleep after staying awake late to wait for a teenager to get home and still having to get up early.

4. Regretting not buying stock in toiletries and make-up companies.

5. I don’t have to mow the grass.

6. Or pick up the dog poo in the yard.

7. Or clean the kitchen.

8. Being called “mom” by a dozen teenagers that don’t even have our last name.

9. All of “the good” has made me forget any of “the bad”.

10. The quiet when they are all out…knowing they will all soon be home for the night.

Baking and cooking and eating…oh my!

So I was (apparently) so excited that my oven was working again so quickly AND was fixed by my knight in shining armor (who knew that Acts of Service is one of my top two Love languages? Oh, wait I knew it!) that I forgot to photograph my food preparation. So, I decided to start over so that I could document every ingredient and every step. Not. I mean, I LOVE you and all, but…let’s be real. It’s five days til Christmas and I haven’t wrapped a thing. Except for the stuff that went out in boxes last week and even some of THAT wasn’t wrapped.

So, you get what you get, but I’ll be including the recipes so you can just make it yourself.

These are a few of our top faves at Christmas time. Well, anytime really, but I usually only make these things around this time of year.

Sausage Balls

10 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bulk sausage (I usually double this recipe and use one mild and one zesty)
2 cups of Bisquick

Mix together thoroughly. I put it all in my big orange Tupperware bowl that I also use for making bread and mix it together with my hands. I let the sausage sit out about 15 minutes or so before doing this because my hands get so cold from the cold sausage. Roll into small balls. Pop into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I heartily recommend doubling the recipe. These babies go quick.



Honey Pecan Chex Mix

6 cups chex mix
1 cup mini pretzels
1 cup pecans (or walnuts) left whole
Mix together in a big bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the following:
1/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

Melt together on medium low heat. Mix together. Bring to a full boil. DO NOT STIR. Let boil for five minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir.

Pour chex mix into a deep baking dish or I like to use my large metal roasting pan because it is deep. Pour the very hot coating mix over all of the chex mix and, working quickly, mix it all together, trying to coat the bulk of the chex mix. Don’t worry if you don’t. Pop the roasting pan full of chex mix into a 250 degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes, trying to coat all of the chex mix.

After an hour, dump the chex mix out onto cooking sheets and let cool. Today we just left it all in the roasting pan and we are chipping away at it with a dinner knife. Just as yummy and didn’t take up as much room.

Mom’s Ambrosia

1 large can of cocktail, well drained
1 can of crushed pineapple (or tidbits), well drained
1 can mandarin oranges
seedless grapes, sliced in half
maraschino cherries, sliced in half
chopped walnuts
mini marshmallows
shredded coconut
sour creme

There is no set recipe for this. It is something she has always made and when I called her for the recipe for it years ago, this is it from her, verbatim. Let the canned fruit drain well (I toss it all into one colander and just let it drain together). I throw everything into a large bowl and start with about two large mixing spoonfuls of sour creme. Mix it all together. Add more sour creme if you want. It’s really all about what you like and how you like it. This is always better the second day, if you want to plan accordingly.

Last night after dinner, I wandered into my bedroom and (organized!!!) went through a bunch of stuff, separating, (organizing!!), tossing stuff and I turned the tv on. My most, all-time, favorite Christmas movie came on.

Sarah came in, instantly said, “this is The Bishop’s Wife, right?”

I responded, “yes”.

Sarah then shook her head slowly and said, “it is really sad that I know that.” And walked back out.

I think it’s an awesome movie and just because I used to make them sit with me and watch it every year when they were little and I could still tell what they could do…well, they will appreciate it one day.

Love you guys and chat soon.

Christmas is in the Air

Brought to you by this guy, Tuxedo. Also hereinafter referred to by any/all of the following: Tux, Puss, Puss-Kitty, Puss-n-boots, Kitty-Kitty, Bootsy, Puss-Puss, Tuxarama, Stupid Cat, Alpha Animal. No, really, he LOVES having his kitty antlers with bells on his head. NOT. Which explains why this is the most in-focus pic I could get.

If you’ve still decided to hang in there and see some actual pics of my Christmas Decorations, come on in…

Our living room. Looks kinda bare over there with everything moved out and the tree up. And I don’t have my shears hanging…they never made it back up after the Big Paint Job of ’06. And I’m not liking the blue in there anymore. Might just put the shears up, take the blue valance down and go with that for awhile.

It’s not Christmas at our home until these babies arrive:

While I like all the ornaments we put up (yes, that is dental floss holding RW&B Mickey on…we bought the Mickey ornaments while we were at Disney last year and the only thing I could come up with to hang them on the tree was dental floss and we leave it on to remind us of an amazing Christmas at Disney last year)…

We had 20 of these, from different years until the tree took a dive (twice) one year and we lost about 7 of them. They were all Russell’s that my mom and I had gotten him over the years. He’s still not over the loss and sheds a few tears for the lost Snoopy’s and Peanut’s Gang lost that year.

But these are the ones that I live for…

My Mamie’s chair that I sit in to work on my bible study/quiet time each morning.

Our foyer looking in from the front door. The garland on the stair rail is a new idea this year and after seeing all of the amazing garland at The Nester’s place, I hope to expand upon it next year.

This is a close-up of my Little Bit of Troutville. If you are Jen, Jill or Vee…you know I am talking about our sweet friend, Lori…

That’s it for this year.

Merry Christmas.

Seriously…who has a husband like this?

Because I’m prone to complai, er, I mean, comment on my husband a lot, I have to toss up some praise for this guy. He is totally rocking my world lately. Here are a couple of examples:

::He knew right away that the best response to The Car Accident that involved our daughter was to get on his knees and thank Jesus that no one was hurt. We’ll worry about the actual $$ cost as it comes up. Sometimes men, dad’s especially, are more likely to holler and pace and throw their arms up in the air a lot when their child wrecks the car. My guy saw the situation for what it really was…the Hand of God in Control.

::We decided earlier this year that we were scaling WAY back for Christmas this year. I mean really…all the nieces and nephews and our two siblings and their spouses get plenty of crap throughout the year. That includes our own three angels. So, no gifts for the nieces, nephews, siblings or spouses for Christmas. We’ll continue with the money exchange at birthdays. He was totally okay with this and embraced it. And when he saw that I had a teeny tiny box for my sister to mail and a teeny tiny gift for his sister (cuz we’re girls and let’s be real y’all…ITS ALL ABOUT THE GIFTS), he was totally cool.

::Having said all of that about the gift exchanging, or lack thereof, we also decided not to exchange gifts with each other. This is a difficult one for me. My #1 love language BY FAR is Gifts. Giving and receiving…I love gifts. Period. So, my guy knowing this, knows that I had to buy him some gifts “for his stocking”. Did I mention that his stocking is big enough to hold our German shepherd? I’ll be posting pics on Monday and you’ll see it’s true. Shhhh…don’t tell him but I got him two sets of John Wayne DVD’s and a 38-Special live DVD. My guy is all-American…The Duke and Rock n’ Roll. Plus some goodies that always show up…toiletries and such and a dress shirt or two. ALL IN HIS STOCKING.

::Because we are not exchanging gifts with each other this year, ahem, he has made me….MADE ME…make the following purchases: New fireplace guts and an upgrade to actually bring our gas fireplace up to Code! Woo-hoo. And this one has a remote. Yes, I can sit on my behind watching tv and not even get up to turn the fireplace on. He also made me purchase a new fan and light kit for the kitchen and an additional light for the kitchen. He’s pushing me to buy paint for the kitchen and is determined to paint it for me.

::He brought me home these flowers.

::And he is out right now picking up a little something-something that I’ll be posting about later cuz it’s a surprise for people who might read about it here. But, it is just another example of the amazing guy I married. The poor man puts up with a lot of crapola from me. And I mean a lot.

I’m pretty thankful for him lately.

Love you all~

It’s a Christmas Mememememememe

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Coffee. But I do have a wee glass of the Nog on Christmas Eve.

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa DOES wrap presents and does a mighty fine job, I might add.

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? See previous post about my hubby, Clark.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Who needs mistletoe?

5.When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving we head out to the Tree Farm and bring one home. I put the lights on the tree while The Men decorate the outside of the Casa de Griswold, then after dinner we crank up the Christmas tunes (which, YES Teri, they have been playing for weeks prior to) and all decorate the tree. I have pictures of this year’s decorating…somewhere…need to fine them and post some.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I whip up several batches of my infamous Cinnamon Buns throughout the Holiday Season, and also my mom’s fruit ambrosia. Oh. My. Word.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The Santa Money Bag. I still have mine. Remind me to post a picture of it. It hangs on the mantel with my stocking.

8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Sixth grade. Some evil bratty kid broke the news to the entire sixth grade class. But then it was okay because my parents allowed me to play Santa along with them to my two-years-younger sis. Little did we know…she already knew there was no Santa but didn’t tell us for years.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When we were growing up we always opened one gift and it was a new pair of jammies. I could never get organized enough with our kids I found it quite disappointing so I never started the tradition with our kids.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Mini colored lights (but I’m holding out for clear mini’s one day) and lots of glass and antique and handmade and homemade ornaments. We have the “traditions”…and the same people always put them on. I always put the first ornament on and the last (the green pickle for good luck). We have enough ornaments for several trees but I just don’t have the energy. Yet.

11. Snow. Love it or dread it? Bring it.

12. Can you ice skate? Oh yeah, but haven’t since I blew out my ankle. And probably never will because of it.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? 12 String Guitar when I was a sophomore in high school. Still have it. Still play it.

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? The birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? All of them.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Sipping a glass of Egg Nog with Russell on Christmas Eve after the kids have gone to bed, the tree lights are on and we snuggle on the sofa talking about the past year, all of the Christmases we have spent together and hopes and dreams for the New Year.

17. What tops your Christmas tree? It changes with my mood each year, but this year is a silver star. Unlit because I forgot to leave some extra lights up there to stick up in it.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving now. But when I was That Girl…receiving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? This year it is a toss up between Kirk Franklin’s Now Behold the Lamb and Travis Cottrell’s Jesus Saves. But every year it is Vanessa Williams’ Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? PTL, I am not a big candy person. I might have a lick or two of one but then I’m done til next year. Now, peppermint bark…that’s a totally different story.

21. What do you want for Christmas? No drama.

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? Our two Sanctuary Sunday school classes gather together every year, at a different home because no one will ever host it twice cuz we’re a large group, and we do finger foods and white elephant gifts and it is a hoot. We have some “traditions” there, too and Jack and his buddies (no, T…not that Jack) show up each year in more and more unique ways.

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ’s? Dress up for church, ride around with Clark Russell for an hour looking at lights and then dash home to put on the jammies.

24. Do you own a Santa hat? Several. And antlers with bells, too.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? Just the five of us.

Tag…you’re it. And you know who you are…..

ClarkRussell put up the Christmas decorations.

I always tease him about it because, in my own secret fantasy world, our house is decorated with elegant, mature clear bulb lights. Not the honking C9’s my spousal unit loves. But, because I love him, I okay the C9’s every year. To his credit, he always asks me if I’m ready for him to toss them in the trash and to buy all clear bulbs. Last year, we did not decorate the house, nor have a tree, because we spent 1000 10 days at Disney. There was rioting on our street. The children came knocking on the door. “Christmas isn’t coming this year because Mr. Griswold Smith didn’t put up his lights of many colors.”

I’ll give you a teaser photo of the inside, but I’m holding the rest back because the house is a wreck I’m participating in Boo Mama’s Christmas Tour of Homes 2008 (mental note: put html button in side bar announcing it).

Okay, off and running. Don’t forget to participate in my poll. No prizes given, but curiosity will be satisfied.

Love you guys.

The snowball effect your women’s ministry leader slash friend can have on you.

I saw her looking at me from across the Sanctuary. Then she pointed her finger. I looked left. I looked right. And realized she was pointing at me.

What did I do now?

She waited (not so patiently, I might add) for the person I was speaking with to stop speaking and then she shouldered her way in. Did I mention she is Australian and has the best accent? Ever? Especially when she reads. I love when she reads aloud. When I comment on her reading-aloud-increased-accent (which I frequently do) she always says, “I learned to read in Australian.”

Which always makes me laugh out loud.

So, she was giving me the eye. Looking me over. She let me off the hook with a couple of women’s ministry items relating to the calendar and left it at that. Sneaky Aussie-woman.

I forgot all about it.

This was right after Worship yesterday morning.

Last night I was sitting in the church pew, minding my own beeswax, and she slid in next to me (pinning me against the pew) and got right in my face.

“What is going on with you? Are you alright? You are having a lot of headaches and stomach issues.”

She doesn’t pull any punches.

I coulda lied to her. And for about a nano-second I thought I would, but she is very perceptive this Aussie-woman, and she penetrates to my very soul. She would know I was lying in a heartbeat.

So (gulp) I told her, “YES! I’m stressed. Alright?????”

Okay, truthfully, all of that did happen. Sort of. Maybe not as intensely (although she does have the coolest accent ever and it does really deepen when she’s reading aloud. Mental note: always make Joanne read the scripture aloud during bible study next year.) I made her sound like some sword-wielding Amazon woman out of Braveheart (you heard me…Amazon woman in Braveheart Scotland. Deal with it.)

She’s none of those things. But she is a friend. And she is head of our Women’s Ministry…until she heads East or is it West to Japan next summer. And I will really miss her.

She so correctly pegged me. I hadn’t even realized it yet. Although I did tell her I was hoping it was a stomach virus that brought me down last weekend cuz that would have stymied any Stress Thoughts.

While at the office today (which is also my church), I wandered into the Sanctuary and had a little talk with God. He’s a wonderful listener. He lets me go on and on and on. He rarely interrupts me. Today was no exception. He encouraged me the moment my knees hit the carpet to unload all of it.

And I did.

And it was good.

Why is that we cry when nothings even wrong? (Thank you, Kirk Franklin.) I always seem to cry when I’m unloading my burdens onto Him. And I always feel so much better. The burdens are still there with me. But now they are not on me.

They are on Him.

Take a moment and unload on Him.

Love you guys.

2009 New Year’s Resolutions

I just LOVE New Year’s Resolutions! They’re just so…well…NEW. And resolvish. So here’s a couple I’m tossing around for 2009. Don’t go searching my blog for past resolutions cuz I don’t do them, as a rule. Because I never keep them and then I feel like a total failure. So on that note, away we go:

Resolution Number One Join Weight Watchers. It doesn’t matter that I know what I need to do and don’t need to do and that I know what I need to eat and what I don’t need to eat, Russell, I just can’t do it on my own. Lori is diving in with me.

Resolution Number Two Get my books organized. I got some input from the organizational guru also know as Joanne, The Simple Wife. She organizes her book by genre (is genre interchangeable with subject? Mini Resolution Number Two: Look up the definition of genre and compare with the definition of subject) and then further breaks it down by author.

Resolution Number Three Get rid of some stuff. I have a ton o’ stuff. The man and I have just completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, because, you know, we’re 47 and 49 and have never quite figured out the financial stuff yet. We just always sorta wing it. Always have. I thought it was working. Apparently I was the only one.

Resolution Number Four I love Facebook. I love the hit-n-run of it. I’m not going to give it up anytime soon. But I miss my blog. I miss the longness of it. JillEllen and I just finished Day 51 of Jesus, 90 Days with the One and Only. We each do the day in our books (and I also journal additionally, usually) and then we type up our thoughts and what we got out of it and e-mail that to each other. We both try to write up our notes and thoughts as if we were sitting at the table talking face to face. It is absolutely incredible the insight God gives me between writing in the book, adding to my journal and then typing it all up. It is like a triple whammy and He has really given me some good stuff. And it has been Oh. So. Convicting. Thankfully, he convicts to liberate (love you, Beth Moore!).

Resolution Number Five I have got to get back into some sort of physical shape besides a pear. We just reserved our beach house for a week this summer and between now and then I’ve got to drop 40 pounds, tone and shape and fit into a bikini. Okay, none of that. But I do, in conjunction with WW, need to pick back up the habit of working out. Daily. I used to live for it. No, not obsess about it, but live for the energy, peace and okay the muscles, it gave me.

Resolution Number Six I will be leading our bible study of Esther beginning January 12. I really want to get into some good study habits. I need to figure out what exactly that looks like. I have my quiet time in the morning, read devotionals, pray, journal, listen to worship and praise music, but I don’t feel like I’m doing enough in-depth study of my own. I don’t even really know where to begin. Is there some sort of book out there that talks about how to do it? Is there an online class I can take? Can anyone out there point me in the right direction/tell me what they do?

Resolution Number Seven Two Thousand Eight has been all about God getting my attention regarding loving other’s. I want to continue with that. I want to really start loving all of those around me and be actively seeking ways to love those around me. God has been opening my eyes to opportunities…from talking to someone today about baptism and why I was baptized at age 25 after having been baptized as an infant to praying for the salvation of a woman I saw this morning who was clearly middle Eastern and wearing head covering. I also spoke to the young adult woman who cuts my hair, Dawn. She is from Viet Nam and has been here seven years. When I asked her about her religion, she told me she celebrates the New Year. We had a very interesting discussion, to say the least. I’m trying to think of a small gift I can give to her that will be representative of Christ, but not put her off or offend her.

I think those should get me started for 2009. I’m very excited about the New Year. Trust me when I tell you that this stepping out and talking to people about Jesus…so very far out of my comfort zone. Oh, I’m not talking about bible study with my home girls, I’m talking stepping out there. Strangers. Non-Christians. Unbelievers. People who hold up their “religion” as a banner to wave in front of everyone. Yep. Definitely out of my comfort zone in a big way. But He always, every single time, gives me the words to say. The confidence and peace to say it. It is funny, I was talking to someone about it today and it struck me that I actually enjoyed doing it! Totally a God Thing. I can do everything through Him because He can do everything.

I love you, bff’s!