Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In The Middle of a Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of 

1. August 12th is National Middle Child Day...are you a middle child? If not, where in your family do you fall in terms of birth order? Do you hold true to the typical characteristics of oldest-middle-youngest-only child? (a quick list can be found here) Elaborate.

I am the oldest of three girls and yes, my birth order characteristics are pretty much spot on.

For the most part, we are diligent and want to excel at everything we do. As the leader of our sibling pack, firstborns often tend to be:

  • Reliable
  • Conscientious
  • Structured
  • Cautious
  • Controlling
  • Achievers
  • Judgmental
2. Tell us about a time you felt like (or you actually were) in the middle of nowhere.

Several years ago, we took a bus tour to Denver, and to get there we had to travel through the western edge of Kansas.  That is definitely in the middle of no where.

3. What's something you're smack in the middle of currently?

I have converted most of our old slides and now am in the middle of trying to get them sorted and organized so I can do jump drives for both the children with their baby and early childhood pictures.  Back in the day, we thought slide projectors would be around forever, and slides were a whole lot cheaper to make than having rolls of film printed.

4. What's a food you love to eat that has something delicious in the middle?

Since I just finished one, I will have to go with Natchitoches Meat Pie.  I imagine this is new to most of you who don't live in Louisiana.  It is a crispy crust filled with deliciously flavored ground meat and deep fried.  You can see more about this local favorite and a recipe HERE.

5. Share a memory from your middle school days, or junior high if that's what your school dubbed kids somewhere between grades 6-8.

My family moved to a different location mid year of my 8th grade.  My dad was a pastor and was called to a new church field.  This was a pretty traumatic experience for this self-conscious pre-teen until I stepped into the new church where they were having a community-wide Christmas music rehearsal.   I immediately noticed several really cute boys in the bass section, and it was amazing how quickly I adapted to the move. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I hadn't realized it is National Middle Child Day, so let me celebrate our middle sister.  Gingie, short for Virginia, has characteristics pretty typical for the middle child.  She is strong, but has never chosen the limelight.  She was an excellent athlete, very popular and outgoing.  She has a very tender heart, and is a natural caregiver, but don't cross her too many times.  Gin is very much a people person and delights in having strong, loyal friendships.

My sister is a four-time cancer survivor, the mother of two grown sons and grandmother to three brilliant grandsons.  She is our glue and Sarah and I don't know what we would do without her.

Thank you for bringing so much joy, happiness and stability to our family.

Happy National Middle Child Day, Gin.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Schooled on the Hodgepodge

Welcome to this weeks edition of

Click on the link above to join all the Hodgepodgers.

1.  What's happening where you live in terms of schools opening? How do you feel about it?

Who knows!  It changes daily, but schools will officially open next Monday.  I heard this morning that a neighboring town, gave their students the choice of whether to return or not, and 78% chose not to.  This could be based on fear or it could be just a good excuse to be legalized dropouts.

Teachers are confused about how they will handle a classroom of sparsely arranged children plus teaching virtually, and others are concerned about how to safely handle a full classroom.  My Kindergarten teacher granddaughter is concerned about how to teach her ESL students phonics behind a mask.  A speech therapist, who has been denied the use of clear face mask shields, questions how in the world to teach her students.

I personally see both sides of the issue.  I believe children should be in the classroom where they received personal guidance and social interaction.  I also believe the statistics that show the safety of children being in group situations.

However, I also am aware that a large number of the children, particularly in our area, live with older adults who could be compromised.  Because I choose to not live in fear, but also choose to act responsibly, I come down on the side of opening ALL schools with some precautions.

2. What's something you still do 'old school'?
I can't think of one single thing I do 'old school.'

3. August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Will you/did you celebrate by baking a batch? Eating a batch? Nuts or no nuts? Homemade or store bought? Soft and chewy or do you prefer your cookie to snap when you bite into it?

No, we are not going to indulge in celebrating this cookie day.  I prefer my cookies usually with nuts and soft and chewy.

4. What are you starved for?

If we're talking about food, since I am not a foodie I rarely if ever crave anything in particular.  If this is an open question, then I am starved for civility, common sense, leaders with strong conservative, Judaeo Christian values, a respect for our country's history, and a hope that things will be better soon.

5. Anything new and interesting on your August calendar? What is one thing you're looking forward to this month?

As I've mentioned previously, we will be celebrating my husband's 80th birthday and our 55th wedding anniversary the last weekend of August at our daughter's home in Dallas.  This event will be our focus.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.


I am in the process of looking for a grandmother of the groom wedding dress for an outdoor October event in northern Indiana.  Do you have any idea how difficult that is?  Especially when the shopper lives in the deep south?  I do have faith though there will be that just right grandma dress out there somewhere before the end of September.

 I also did one of my least favorite things today - shopped for swim suits.  Inventory is poor, decent selections are poor, added to the fact they cannot be tried on makes an already frustrating experience even worse.

Yep, for a non-shopper, shopping is the pits!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Outfits 101

Several years ago, when I was still doing "Beauty Without Within" seminars, I became aware of Diana Pemberton-Sikes and felt an immediate connection to her.  I ordered every resource she came out with and printed articles that I found online, and basically copied (with a lot of modifications of course) her materials for my classes.  I even asked for help for some of my upcoming audiences which she graciously answered.

Since that time, I have continued to stay in touch with Diana through emails, her newsletter and Facebook.

In a recent email newsletter, she posted some of the most basic steps for putting together what I call a "Capsule Wardrobe."

Because it makes so much sense and explains the concept of building a wardrobe with only a few items, I asked if I could share it here with you.

Diana called it crash course – Outfits 101, and the simple steps are as follows:

 1. Start with classic pieces in neutral colors:

2. Add some color:

3. Or let your personality shine through with either clothing...

...or accessories:

4. Mix and match to your heart's content:


See how easy this is?  They're the same clothes worn in lots of different ways.  I counted at least 23 different outfits just from the pictures.  You could easily dress for a whole month from three basic outfits and several additional pieces.

How many of us have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?  Probably if the majority of us were to examine our closets closely we would realize that we bought much of what is there on impulse.  Or we saw an item on someone else or in an ad and thought we needed it too.  How many times have we needed a "last minute" outfit and rushed out and bought the first thing we saw, and have never put it on again.

Using Diana's ideas for planning a wardrobe will either eliminate that problem in the future, or at the best, give you some ideas for using that conglomeration of clothes in your closet.

You may want to follow her simple guidelines:

1. Start with classic pieces in neutral colors.
2. Add some color.
3. Or let your personality shine through with either clothing or accessories.
4. Mix and match to your heart's content.

You have TONS more outfits sitting in your closet than you realize – you just haven't thought about the combinations yet.

So play around. Experiment. Have some fun.

You may be shocked by what you come up with.

And if you need more help putting together outfits, check out this LinkIf you just want some inspiration, then you will enjoy following her on Pinterest.

For more information, check out Diana's blog and Facebook pages.

Thanks for the inspiration and information, Diana.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Moving Hodgepodge

What happened to July?  Come join us as we close out this month on the

1. Last time you moved house? Something you've learned in moving house?

"Moving house" is not a phrase I am familiar with so I will assume it means moving to a different house.

We moved into our current house back in 2007.  We learned that we only needed to keep what we loved.

2. Move mountains, move along, make a wrong move, moved to tears, get a move on, move up, move over, move out of the way, move the deck chairs on the Titanic, move it!...pick one and tell us how it fits your recent circumstances.

I suppose "make a wrong move" applies the most.  I messed up a knee right after the gyms closed and I started walking in the neighborhood.  I haven't let it slow me down too much, but recently had to have a steroid shot; however, I know if I make a wrong move, it won't be good.

3. What have you been doing to make yourself move (aka stay fit-active) during these strange times?

Since our gym closed I have been walking in the neighborhood every morning at 5:30.  The temperature at this time is still in the upper 70's and the humidity is usually in the 90's.  I walk for about an hour and manage to get in between 3.5 and 4 miles.  I try to get in a few additional miles during the day if the heat allows.  Three days a week I also do water aerobics at our HOA Club House from 8 to 9 a.m.  I do some stretches and exercises before and after walking.

I'm certainly not doing as much as I did at the gym, and once the pool closes, I will probably start back again.  I so wish though that sitting was considered part of staying fit.

4. This week's calendar includes celebrations for the following foods-

National Coffee Milkshake Day (Sunday), National Creme Brûlée Day (Monday), National Milk Chocolate Day (Tuesday), National Chicken Wing Day (Wednesday), National Lasagne Day (Wednesday), National Cheesecake Day (Thursday), and National Avocado Day (Friday)

Which one on the list would you be most inclined to celebrate? Which would you be most inclined to skip?

Definitely Milk Chocolate Day would be reason to celebrate.  I would most probably skip either the Chicken Wing or Coffee Milkshake day.

5. Next week's Hodgepodge lands in August! I know!! Raise your hand if you feel like July flew by in the blink of an eye? Now bid farewell to your July acrostic style. If you don't know what that means click here.

July brought fireworks and chaos
United we had trouble standing
Liberty took on a new definition
Yet, we trust God to heal and bind

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

 Dick and I are taking a free online course on the Book of Hebrews, offered through Dallas Theological Seminary. These courses are excerpts from the same courses that are offered to our students.  So far, it has been a great experience.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Weekend of The 3's

This past week "The 3's" gathered at the Baton Rouge home of our friends the Smith's.  As you may recall, there were four couples of us who had been friends since all of them (except me) were in college together back in the early 60's.

Wayne and I have known each other since we were children, so we had that connection.  Everyone was a music major except Wayne and I.  Our joint friendships developed through everyone's personal involvement in the Louisiana Baptist State Music programs.  We traveled to conferences together, camped together, did state-wide and convention music programs, and our seven children grew up being friends as well.

Due to moves out of state and life in general taking over, we lost our connection through the years.

In 2017, we all met up for lunch and the reuniting began.  Since that time, we have made it our mission to get together at least once a year.  We did that as four couples until the passing of Nancy this year.  Then Wayne designated us "The 3's," and that is sadly what we have become.

As Wayne was visiting his children in another state, he was unable to join us for our most recent get-together this past weekend.  We decided once a year was not enough any more, because we never know when it might be the last time for one or more of us.

Isn't it unfortunate when we take our special moments with family and friends for granted?  We tend to think those opportunities for sharing love and memories and new experiences will last forever.  But, they never do.

I told you we would definitely eat well because Vicki is a wonderful cook.  Dinner Thursday night was a typical "Southern" menu with squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, rice and gravy with roast, with home-made rolls.  I didn't get a picture because I was much too busy enjoying this delicious fare to think about anything else.

We enjoyed our early Friday morning on the patio overlooking the pecan orchard expanse of the their backyard.  Rain from Storm Hannah was headed our way, so we loved the glimpses of sunshine through the trees.  And yes, it was a very humid and muggy 80 degrees at 8 a.m. in Baton Rouge.

Friday morning breakfast was perfect because we knew we would be eating better than we should for lunch.

We had breakfast banana splits (minus the Blue Bell ice cream) with lots of berries on bananas topped with nuts, granola, and yogurt.

Healthy, tasty and pretty is a perfect combination.

Lunch time found us about an hour southeast, nearer New Orleans than Baton Rouge at Manchac where we ate fish prepared in several ways.  Their specialty is thin fried catfish and all I can say about that is, it must be tried to believe how good it is.

The storm hit and we were unable to walk outside and enjoy the sights and sounds from the Manchac River and resident animals there.  However, the drive in the rain was well worth it for the renowned food.

Friday night we sat around the table playing games and eating popcorn with chocolates.

 Before we reluctantly went our separate ways Saturday morning, we had one more delicious meal together.  This Cinnamon Roll dish was as easy to prepare as it was good to eat.

Simply cut 2 rolls of Cinnamon Roll Dough into quarters and mix with a can of Apple Pie Filling, and chopped walnuts then bake at 350 until done.

We served it with our left-over berries and yogurt.

After we had devoured most of it, we remembered Vicki's special cream sugar topping she had made.  Needless to say, it was good even without it.

A few years ago, Vicki and Marvin's home was totally destroyed by flooding waters.  After it was rebuilt I painted this linen canvas for her to remind them that God's mercies are new every morning.  I loved seeing it again hanging in their home.

We are grateful for our time together as The 3's but still desperately miss when we could have been called "The 4."

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