Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Christmas Hodgepodgie Hodgepodge

This is our Christmas Hodgepodge post.
Next week, I will be celebrating in the Bahamas with our son and his family as we eagerly anticipate our grandson and theWestern Michigan Broncos playing in the Popeye's Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve.
There will be few family traditions for us this year, but we do look forward to sharing
this beautiful story of our Lord's birth together on a beach somewhere.

Traditions are only what we make them, and memories are also what we make them and this year will be full of memory making events.

So join the other bloggers and Joyce 
1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?
 It has got to be the alarm going off at 4:45 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Woe is me!

2.  Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year's selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 

No doubt Chancellor Merkel has done some great things for her countrymen, but allowing millions and millions of unvetted immigrants into her country as hopeful workers to boost the German economy is a very risky thing to do.  Her plan is not to create a multicultural society but to make it mandatory to speak German, etc.  I find this rather far-fetched with this particular group of immigrants.  To me, this is not basis enough for this honor, therefore, she would not be my first choice.  That being said, I frankly do not know of anyone I would declare as Person of the Year.

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.

I do have a simple nativity that I am using as a centerpiece on my table that I have had for several years, but has no significant history.  I often use it on the foyer table, but am doing less decorating this year, so made it very simple.

4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

I am embarrassed to say that I do not do enough giving back or encouraging this time of year.

5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

It would be my daughter and daughter-in-law because they are fairly easy to please and are grateful for whatever I give them.

6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?

Hubby brought me a slice of Italian Cream cake from an office party today.  It was delicious!

7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.

Through music and sharing the joy of Christmas with family and friends.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

I happen to think we have one of the most beautiful churches around and thought I would share with you some of the tasteful decorations and Christmas symbols in our sanctuary.

 An overall view of the sanctuary from the balcony.
Poinsettia tree
Advent wreath and candles
Nativity on a side table
Large nativity in the foyer
Stained glass window depicting the Christ Child

For unto us a child is born
unto us a son is given.
And His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, 
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Merry Christmas to you and your family and may you (re)discover the joy that a life in Christ brings.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Two Weeks Countdown!

We are on the count down to Christmas 2015 but thanks to Joyce, we can divert our hustle and bustle into a fun time with the
1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

We really don't have a particular story.

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

Unfortunately not!  However, I do try to temper voicing my opinion in order to not hurt someone or cause greater confusion.  I am not always successful, I fear.

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

I didn't know serenity was a color either, but I do think it is an appropriate name for this shade of blue.  No, you won't find either of these colors in my home and other than one kinda sorta rose quartz tee-shirt, there is nothing in my closet.  I am not likely to add these in the near future because first, it just won't fit in my house, and second, I don't wear pastels, especially blue and pink shades.  See some more comments in my Random Thoughts below.

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

"Oh Little Town of Bethlehem."  I can't imagine any more wonderful place than to have been in that little village on that special night.  To have witnessed the chaos of so many people seeking a place to rest. To have been in that stable cave and witness the painful yet joy-full birth of our Savior. Then to be transported to the hillside with the frightened shepherds as the multiplied angels announced the holy birth and sang praises to God the King, and peace on earth to men who knew little of what that would mean.  Yes, Bethlehem is where I would like to have been.

We still have our Bethlehem today where we are too busy to see the needs around us; frightened by the unknown; blinded by the chaos and pain, often of our own making, to experience the Prince of Peace.  Let our prayer this year be to....
"Hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!"

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

I don't bake so no, won't be participating in that observance.  The last thing I purchased from a bakery was a cake to share with our Prayer Group on my birthday - a Red Velvet.  My all-time favorite is the Mardi Gras Ball made by a local restuarant called Rollin In The Dough.  Small but so yummy!

6. When it comes to holiday decorating I have not done very much this year and don't plan to.

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.

On Thanksgiving evening, my daughter and two granddaughters played games for several hours.  One of them was Apples to Apples and playing this with a nine year old was hilarious.  Don't know when I've had so much fun.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Why did Pantone choose these shades?   For their soothing qualities!
"Think of a trip to the beach under a calm Serenity blue sky that seems to go on forever.  It seems weightless and airy imbuing you with a sense of care free feelings. Rose is a color that is almost always associated with a gentle, tactile touch. At the same time its warmth draws you in, so it is seen as compassionate and caring. There is also a healthy glow that is attached to the color. Together, they are perceived as soothing."

So, now you know!
Top Ten Colors for 2016
 So, how can you incorporate these two colors into your wardrobe this winter and upcoming spring?
 Wear each separately or combine.  Mix them with one of the stronger colors for 2016.

Or, you may choose to use these soft, soothing colors in your home to create a relaxing ambiance.
 And, if that doesn't work for you, you want to just color your hair.

Monday, December 7, 2015

How I Wear My Brooch

On this Monday morning, I am joining my friends Adrienne and Jill at
for this month's "How I Wear My Brooch".

Their blog will be posted on the 9th if you care to see how others wear their brooches.  See it HERE.
Do you still wear brooches?  I do not wear pins very often anymore.  However, I thought it might be fun to participate in the post this month.

Just a word about my little pin.  It is a Mother-of-Pearl pin that I bought while visiting in Israel in 1972.  It is very delicate and I love the intricate design.
I selected this sweet vintage brooch to wear with this dress because the dress itself is quite busy and I didn't need anything to compete with the pattern.
Because I wear glasses and consider them as an accessory, I try not to over do the jewelry around my face.  With the cowl collar of this dress, I felt a simple brooch and earrings would be enough.    I also considered the large belt buckle as an accessory; therefore kept it all simple.
There’s a common misconception that a brooch is an accessory worn by someone 70+: ME, the Queen of England, Madeline Albright, aged Park Avenue Socialites, you get the picture. However, it seems pretty pins are making their way back into the current accessories market.
Wearing a brooch is a timeless way to add some sparkle to your fall outfits.
Getty/GoRunway, Art by Bobby Doherty
Pin one on in the glamorous style of Elizabeth Taylor, use it as a utilitarian way to close a shawl, or turn it into an embellishment.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Mix old with new. Wear a vintage brooch with a structured, graphic print dress, such as mine above, or neon clutch for a look that’s polished with added modern flair.

2. Placement is key. A brooch always works when worn, left or right, over the bust, (I was always taught to wear it on the left) but it can also be a surprising embellishment at the center of a buttoned up collar.
3. Blazers and brooches are friends. A fresh way to put some punch into your go-to, tailored blazer, jacket or denim shirt is to add a playful brooch to the lapel.
4. Use it in a surprising way.   Clip a beautiful brooch to a strand of necklaces or pearls, group several bangles, or wear on a scarf, or in your hair.  Wear one to call attention to the back of a simple dress. 
I bet you didn't know brooches could be so versatile.

Now, how do you like to wear your brooches?

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Friday Favorite Link Hop

For this Friday Favorite Post, I thought I would give you a variety of links I found interesting this week.

Whether you love, hate, have or have not put a foot in New Orleans, you have to admit that there are not many more interesting or intriguing places.
From the comfort of your chair, why not take this walking tour of some of the highlights of the
New Orleans Garden District.

If you love everything Chanel, you might enjoy this collection of short films.

Here are a couple links for spicing up a fall outfit with things you probably already have in your closet or jewelry box.
How To Build a Beauty Bundle

Now, the big announcement of the
Pantone Color of the Year 2016
What do you think?  Will you wear it? 

And to end with something simply beautiful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's Gonna Be a Bahama Christmas

I trust your Thanksgiving was as memorable and enjoyable as ours was.  Now, on to things of Christmas.
Join other bloggers HERE for our Wednesday gathering.
1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why?

No, I didn't watch.  I much prefer football to cartoons.  My favorite character has to be Charlie Brown himself.

"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind."~Linus  

Would you agree?
Sure, why not.  What more does a troubled mind have to do but sit and wait for something better.

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind? 

Music.  My dad loved pretty music and he often played records for us.  He also loved to sing and taught us to sing and play the piano from shaped notes hymnals.

3. You've won a trip to a winter wonderland...would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec? 

Yes, I love winter and would enjoy all of these trips, but I think I will select the Winter Carnival in Quebec.

4. Who or what keeps you humble?
Myself!  If I ever think too highly of myself, I will invariably do something that brings me down a notch.  Without fail!

5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain. 

I guess its the excitement of knowing we will be with family.  I really don't enjoy the decorating because we aren't here to enjoy it and dread getting back home and having to undo what we haven't enjoyed.  Make sense?

6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?

I love gingerbread, but do not do the house thing.

7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year?

I would like to do one more painting before we head north.  I also NEED to replant my flower beds in the front yard, but the weather or time has not permitted that so far.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
I actually have two random thoughts.
1.  We loved being with our daughter and her family and in laws in Dallas for Thanksgiving.  It was a time of visiting, good food, loving on each other and playing games.  Yes, it was a great day of Thanksgiving. 
These two cousin cuties enjoyed being together and working on an art project.
 On Friday morning, our grandson's team played the MAC West Champion, Toledo University.  This was a huge game for them and guess what!  They won, knocking Toledo out of the title and opportunity to play for the MAC championship.

During half-time, the camera spanned and caught our family in the rainy stands.  We were ecstatic to see them on TV.  And we were thrilled every time the camera showed #65.
Grandson's football team, Western Michigan University has accepted an invitation to play against Middle Tennessee in this much coveted bowl game on December 24.  How could we not go for that?
The Bahamas slogan is “It’s Better in the Bahamas,” and bowl week in Nassau is just that with a mix of sun, sand and football in one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world.
The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl will be played at Noon ET, and will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Radio Network.
Geaux Broncos!
There will be lots to blog about when I get back!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Look Back at Thanksgiving Past

This was a list of hard questions this week.  Join us on
to see how the other bloggers answered these Hodgepodge questions.
How would you have answered them?
1.What's something you wish you knew how to do, but feel like it's too late to learn?

I would love to be able to do some of the yoga and Pilates positions that I see much younger and much more agile women being able to do.  However, it is not just a matter of FEELING like its too late, IT IS, if it ever was.

2. Your least favorite thing to shop for? Why?

Swimsuits.  I am really not a shopper at all, even for groceries, but trying on a swimsuit is torturous.

3. How has the celebration of Thanksgiving today changed from when you were growing up?

We would often get together with some of my mothers nine siblings and their families.  These were large gatherings that we cousins always looked forward to.  Below is a picture of some of the grandchildren with "Mama" in approximately 1950. I am in the front row between my little sister and favorite cousin.  My dad is standing on the left in the suit.  As you can tell, we dressed up for these casual often outdoor affairs.

By the way, Thanksgiving Day is my sister's birthday, so Happy Birthday my sweet Gin!
4. What's something that when other people see it, reminds them of you? Explain.

I have no idea how to answer this, so I asked Hubby.  His response after looking at me like I had three heads was, "short haired, good looking women."  So there!

5. If you could guest star in a TV show, what would it be and why?

Two tuffies in a row and again I have no answer.  I don't see myself in any particular show or in a particular role.  Sorry to not play along, but I'm stumped.

6. Have you ever farmed or spent any time on a farm? Are there farm stands in your little corner of the world and do you make it a point to shop there? If so, what item do you particularly like to buy from a roadside stand or farm shop?

No, I have never lived on a farm nor spent time on one.  We do not have actual farm stands unless you consider selling veggies from the back of ones truck, but we do have a large downtown farmer's market in the summer.  From the truck bed parked along a road side, we have purchased watermelon, strawberries and sweet potatoes.

7. What's something you've experienced recently that made you feel a sense of awe or wonder?

Our grandson attends the Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI and last Wednesday there was such an amazing phenomenon - a large double rainbow that spanned the entire horizon.  It appeared in the midst of international turmoil and uncertainty as an everlasting reminder that our good and faithful and sovereign God is still in control.
This photo was taken of the arch over Sprau Tower on the college campus.
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

 Yesterday Hubby and I went to a matinee showing of the movie "My All American" on the recommendation of our daughter.  Her specific instructions were to "take a tissue."  It is such a great true story about Freddie Steinmark who played football for the University of Texas Longhorns.  I highly recommend it to you.

For those of you new to UT Football, Coach Darrell Royal is renowned and the stadium is named for him.  From all accounts he was truly a great coach and gentleman.
Here is a trailer to whet you interest.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Thanksgiving Post

The Hodgepodge almost got away from me this week.  Better late than never I guess.
I miss when I don't join all the Hodgepodgers on

1. What's surprised you most about your life, or about life in general?

That it could be even better than I had dreamed.

2. Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year...awesomesauce, beer o'clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe (apparently this is a real thing), fatberg (gross-read the definition here), fat shame, hangry, Mx (gender neutral), and skippable.

Your thoughts? In looking over the list, which word do you find most ridiculous? Which word would you never in a million years say out loud? Which word would you be most likely to use in conversation?

Honestly?  I think Mr. Webster would cringe to know these are actual words being used and accepted as part of any dictionary.  But that's just me.  He may celebrate the individuality that created such a diverse and questionable vocabulary.  The only word in this group that I have or would ever use is buttdial, but I much prefer pocketcallI might use skippable as I can already think of possibilities for its usage.  Such as these new words.

3. Do you like gravy? Is there a food you'd rather not eat unless it comes with gravy? Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety? Turkey and gravy, sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy...which one on the list is your favorite?

Yes, we are gravy people although I rarely make it any more.  When we do, we usually use Tony Chachere's mix.  You can't beat the flavor and taste of this.  The Instant Roux is also excellent for making gumbos and flavoring pork ribs.
Mashed potatoes and meatloaf need some kind of gravy for me.  Sausage gravy would have to be my favorite because Hubby makes the best and it is always part of our Christmas Breakfast with son and family. 

4. Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces? Explain.

I am a planner and yes, need a plan.  I have had many, many plans fall into pieces.  I envision something happening and take steps to bring it about, but rarely does it unfold exactly the way I had planned.  I am learning to live with fewer expectations.

5. November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day. Do you own the original or some version of the game? Do you enjoy playing Monopoly? How likely is it you'll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th? Ever been to Atlantic City? Ever taken a ride on a railroad? Is parking in your town free? Last thing you took a chance on?

Do not have the game.
Do not like to play the game.
I will not play the game on November 19.
But I do like green eggs and ham.
I have never been to Atlantic City.
I have never taken a real trip on a railroad other than sightseeing.
We have parking meters in downtown.
The last thing I took a chance on was trying a totally different type painting for me.  See below.

6. A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning?

There isn't just one, so I'll list some of my favorite hymns that have the word THANKS.
"Because I Have Been Given Much"
"Come Ye Thankful People Come"
"Count Your Blessings"
"For the Beauty of the Earth"
"My Tribute"
"We Gather Together"

7. In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude....what is something you're taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you're grateful for?

I think I am guilty of taking many things for granted although I know all things come from a Sovereign God.  Because I know this about myself, I constantly try to have a grateful heart and express my thanks for both large and small.  But, I probably take my ability to think and faith for granted.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

As I mentioned above, I tried something different for me.  I have never drawn or painted a face since I started sketching as a child.  But, I saw a painting that I wanted to try to adapt.  This is my rendering.
 The verse is from Psalm 123, "Unto You I lift my eyes, You who dwells in heaven."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Seasonal Personal Post

After being out last week, I look forward to rejoining the Hodgepodge bloggers for
Thank you Joyce!
1. In two or three sentences tell us what Veteran's Day means to you?

Will Rogers is well known for this saying:  "We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."  Veteran's Day is that special day when we can do just that - appreciate the heroes who have fought for the freedom to sit on the curb and clap.

2. What's your favorite film with a patriotic theme woven into the storyline?

"American Sniper" but also I liked the old movie, "Patton."

3. Flu shot-yes or no? If you answered no, do you plan to get a flu shot? If not, why not? Have you ever had the flu?

I do not plan to get a flu shot this year for several reasons.  First, I don't like putting the virus in my body in order to prevent getting the virus.  Second, I have never had the flu and third, I am not around children or a large gathering of people on a regular basis in order to be exposed to the virus.

4. I've seen lots of people posting pictures of their Christmas trees up and decorated. Many stores have had Christmas on display since well before Halloween. Red cups are back at Starbucks, sans the holiday decor, and that has some people up in arms. What are your thoughts on all the holiday ruckus this second week of November?

I haven't even decorated for fall yet!  So what does that tell you?  After our little anniversary party that can be seen HERE, I just haven't been in the decorating mood.  I never do a lot of Christmas decorating anyway because for the last several years we have not been at home for Christmas.  Now, what do I think of all the early ruckus?  I think it unnecessarily gets earlier every year.  There is admittedly a very short commercial Christmas season if they wait until after Thanksgiving, but many stores are putting decorations out in mid October.  Much too early!

5. What 'critter' are you most afraid of encountering unexpectedly? Why that one?

Either a mouse or a roach.  Can't tolerate either one!

6. Do you like building things? What's the last thing you 'built'?

I don't think I'm a builder unless you want to consider the two books I "compiled" or built for our anniversary celebration.

7. In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude...what are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?

I am most grateful for and humbled by the unconditional election of my Sovereign, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am also grateful for and humbled by the unconditional love and acceptance of my Hubby.  For instance, this morning he sent me this video and then walked in with a beautiful plant.  Just because!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We have been so thrilled to be able to watch our grandson play football on national television the past few weeks.  He plays for Western Michigan, who I might add is undefeated in the Mid-America Conference.  They play Bowling Green tonight on ESPNU or ESPN2 at 6:30.  Look for the handsome guy wearing #65 and DAY on the back of the jersey.
 This past week, I spent some time with one of my sisters - the middle one.  We cleaned out and organized closets, took road trips, and just enjoyed each other.  On Friday, we met our youngest sister to watch her grandson play his last regular season football game as a senior.  He did a great job.  I had forgotten how fun and different high school games can be.
Nothing like sister time!
 It was Parent's Weekend on the University of Texas Campus and granddaughter #2's sorority, Alpha Phi, participated in the Red Dress Gala fundraiser for the American Heart Association.  Is this not a great-looking family?
 I am very blessed and so very grateful for all the good things He bestows.

Monday, November 9, 2015

50th Wedding Anniversary Recap

I have not had time to give you a recap of our 50th Wedding Anniversary Open House,
so since I now have the pictures ready, today seemed like a good time.

Hubby and I were married on September 5, 1965 and on September 5, 2015 we hosted an 
Open House for close friends and family.
It was a gorgeous day and even our house was happy.
I designed our guest book with pictures from the 50 years and asked guests to select a page to sign.
 I also compiled a book that encompassed special events during the past 50 years as a keepsake for us and our children.  Guests really enjoyed looking at it.
 The food and flowers were perfect and set the stage for a very festive and welcoming party.
 My long-time friend, Jean Ann took on the task of doing the food and she could not have done a better job.
I was so glad to have my sisters there as they were my bridesmaids 50 years ago and such an important part of our lives.
On the right is my daughter and two of her daughters enjoying the book.
 Cousins!  On the left are our Lazenby cousins; center is son (center) and two of his cousins; right is granddaughter and a new cousin she had never met.
 We missed our Daughter-in-Love, Michelle and three Indiana grandchildren due to previous activities, but were so grateful to have our son, John and daughter Christy and her family.
 So many sweet friends representing different times of our life together came to help us celebrate.
Our little garden home was filled with laughter and lots of hugs.
 There is nothing like treasured friendships!
 Yes, it was a memorable event for a memorable milestone.
We are so grateful for the 50 years God has given us together and for the many blessings He has poured out in our lives.