it's the journey

it's the journey

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. Yes, I know I'm over a month early. But my heart is full; I'm sitting here on the beach today, with the man I love. Two years ago, give or take a day, we "restarted," our life together in Tennessee. Back then, a day like this seemed like an impossible fantasy. We've weathered some major storms in the past few years and there were days I wondered how we would ever overcome some of the obstacles we faced. The truth is, we couldn't. Only God could bring us to where we are today. Trust me, there are many more mountains to climb, but when I look back at the overwhelming circumstances from which he provided a way of escape, I'm amazed. 

Right now, there are some big decisions looming, some uncertainties ahead. Lately I’ve given in and let fear tighten its noose. Why do I let myself worry after all He’s done for me? So today, as I sit warmed by the sunlight, looking out into the endless horizon, I am thankful.  Today, I'm putting it in black and white as a reminder to myself. Thank You God for all you’ve done. Thank You for hope, for provision, for Your faithfulness--even when I’m faithless. Thank You for Your perfect love that casts out every fear. 1 John 4:18

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lightening the Load

When January 2014 rolled around, Michael and I ONCE AGAIN decided we needed to make a change in our lifestyle. The longer we've been together (31 years) the higher the numbers on the scales have risen. And no, I am not sharing those numbers.

For a while, we tried a radical low carb approach, which I knew had been very successful for others. We were good as gold--no cheating--and a month later had only lost about a pound or two. So, we decided to go old school and count calories. We've based our "count," on a formula for our ages, weights and rate of desired progress. There are charts all over the internet that can help with that. 

We've been at it a little over a month and have lost about 15 collectively. Along with the calorie counting, we've been making somewhat regular trips to the Y, consciously trying to up our daily steps and resisting the urge to eat less than 3 hours before bedtime. We've even managed to work in a couple of nights out for my kryptonite, MEXICAN FOOD! 

This new approach seems to be working because we're looking at it with new eyes. We are considering this a new adventure in eating, not a temporary trip to the gastronomical penalty box. 

I've spent hours and hours poring over Pinterest, healthy eating blogs, and Food Network's healthy eating section. It's been really fun and exciting experimenting with new tastes and techniques. Michael has proved a handy sous chef and we're eating at home most nights. As an added bonus, eating at home saves $$! 

I decided to go public with our little adventure in order to be more accountable--nothing like a healthy dose of peer pressure--and to share some of our recipes. Yes, I have noticed a few of you fellow chubbies struggling along out there on the Interweb. :)

Tonight, we're enjoying Ryan's cornbread pot pies. I discovered this delicious recipe on The Chew. They hosted a Weight Watchers chef competition a few weeks ago and Ryan Hutmacher prepared this yummy comfort food which Mario Batali pronounced his favorite new dish of the year. With praise like that, not surprisingly, Ryan went on to win the competition. I can't wait to try some of his other recipes. 

Anywho, here's a link to the recipe which is listed as 7 WW points. It's a bit labor intensive, but well worth it.  A couple of disclaimers here: I was only able to squeeze out 6 servings, not 8. I had to add about another 1/4 cup of cornbread mix to make the topping work AND, I highly recommend spraying Pam on the wax paper before rolling out the cornbread topping. To the best of my calculations each pot pie comes to about 275 calories, if you're counting. I haven't a clue about the breakdown otherwise; you're on your own there. 

If any of you are making a similar journey, I'd love to hear from you. Let us know what's working for you. After all,  life's a lot easier when we make the journey together. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Friends, here's the unvarnished truth.  Unless you grow all your own food, pharmaceuticals, lumber, coffee beans, make your own clothes, then write, record, perform, film, score, edit your own entertainment, build your own car, powered by your own home grown fuel source of course--and so on, and so on-- you're going to end up supporting someone whose religious, social or political ideals are repugnant to you.  You might also want to forgo paying federal taxes.  This also means you don't shop at any store; they collect local and state taxes, GOD only knows what they'll do with those. 

It's surprising to me that when I post something out of a heart of thankfulness, I am shamed by my, "brothers and sisters."  I unwittingly chose my CAR INSURANCE from a company who is heavily invested in by someone with a liberal political agenda.  FYI, George Soros is HEAVILY invested in FedEx, United/Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, International Paper, oh and you probably need to sign off your computer now because he owns lots of Apple--and Microsoft.  Speaking of computers, who are your internet provider and cable TV provider? Are they in business with The Playboy Channel and other purveyors of salacious material?  

This excavation of our consumer process is endless.  What about the clothes and trinkets sold at Walmart, Target, Old Navy and other retailers that are made by children working in deplorable conditions in Third World Countries?

It always surprises me, but really shouldn't at my age,  how some people always go straight to the negative.  What is the motivation of a person who wants to turn someone else's thankfulness into guilt and remorse?  Somehow, I don't think this embodies the love of Jesus.  

I do think we need to make conscientious decisions about where to spend our money.  I contribute to causes that I know are making a difference in this world.  My family also gives of their time, serving alongside those who are doing good in our community.   I pay it forward when I have the opportunity.  Besides,  my family has probably spent more on waffle fries at Chick-fil-than we ever will on car insurance...

If you disagree with me, and the error of my ways, I can accept that.  I love you anyway, and I hope you still love me too. 

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


It's July 4th, 8:45 am, from the next room, I can hear strains of Tony Orlando's, "Knock Three Times," and I'm wondering what in the world the Today Show producers were thinking.  It's Independence Day for goodness sake!  Couldn't they come up with something a little more patriotic?

Maybe I'm just getting older, but it seems when I was a kid, this day was much more revered.  People stopped and reflected on what it meant to be free.  We thought about our founding fathers, braving the elements to come to a strange and frightening place, all for the promise of freedom.  We thought about the courageous men and women who have left the comfort of home, putting themselves in peril to defend our country, many of them paying with their very life's blood.

So for today, let's stop and think about the many things we have to be thankful for. Our faith, our freedom, our families.

Okay, now I feel a little guilty, I can hear Tony singing Neil Diamond's, "Coming to America."  Looks like I judged a little too quickly.  Well, I guess I have the freedom to be wrong sometimes too...

Have a safe, blessed and thankful Independence Day.  Let freedom ring today, in all you do!

(originally posted 7/4/2006)

Thursday, June 21, 2012


When life isn’t going so well for my friends, it comes naturally to me to give them a hug and a word of encouragement.  Sometimes we’ll share stories of God’s faithfulness over coffee. I might send them a card or an email and remind them that no matter how dark their situation, God is in control.  And I’m not simply tossing out platitudes here--or trivializing what they’re going through. When I pray for them, I release them into God’s care with total confidence. 
But when the winds of trouble blow at home, the situation gets a bit stickier.  I can believe it for my friends, for my husband, for me, but what about my kids?  Why is it so hard for me to just hand it all over to God when it’s about my kids?  
As our children grow into adults, their problems and concerns are more serious than when they were children.  They’re facing things like heartbreak, disappointment, career decisions, choosing a life partner, health issues.  There’s no possible way for me to fix those kinds of things!  Still, I’ll lie awake at night mulling them over, worrying, exploring every possible outcome.  You know what?  That’s CRAZY, and here’s why:  God’s promises are not something I can pass down to my children like a family china pattern. Those promises already belong to my children.  I’m not the one sitting at the right hand of God, pleading their case for them--Jesus is! 

What a relief, it’s not up to me. Certainly, I’m going to continue to encourage my girls, to pray for and with them.  But ultimately, God’s got it all in control and they are in His tender care. 
And as for me, I need to let go! 

What about YOU?  Is it hard for you to let go?
For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.  1 Timothy 2:5 
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.  1 Corinthians 3:7
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:5-7

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


“Jesus take the wheeeel, take it from my hands.”                        

Oh, I do love that song, and when it comes on the radio, I’m singing every word right along with Carrie-- much to the chagrin of some unnamed family members. 

The last time I heard that song, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it make more sense to just let Jesus KEEP the wheel? Now it’s a great song, and I’m certainly not knocking the idea that once we come to the realization that we’ve made a mess of things, it’s time to call on Jesus. But when I am saying is, once we’re out of calamity, we tend to subtly say, “thanks Jesus, I can take it from here.” The truth is, that’s how we met with disaster in the first place.

I’ve always been a doer, fixer, problem solver kind of girl, so it’s not easy for me to scoot over to the passenger side. But it’s not enough to cast God in the role of consultant or co-pilot, He want’s me to put Him in the driver’s seat. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."  There’s a reason we shouldn’t depend on our own understanding; we can’t always see the big picture, but God can. He knows every curve in the road and what’s best for us, not only today, but in the future. His word says He delights in us and orders our steps. (Psalm 37:23) We need to learn to seek His wisdom at every turn and let His word be the GPS that maps our journey.

I love this translation of Mark 8:34-35 from The Message because it’s plain and simple!

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how.’ 

 Is it difficult for you to surrender your control to God? How is He teaching you this lesson?

Monday, May 28, 2012

To Those Who Sit Upon the Walls

Having grown up in the South, the weekend before Memorial Day, or Decoration Sunday, as we called it, was the time our family made its annual pilgrimage back to the little country church my dad attended as a boy.  It usually marked the end of the school year as well and I couldn’t wait to meet up with my Alabama cousins.  We spent endless hours roaming the red dirt countryside talking, laughing, swimming and mostly sweltering in the Alabama heat.  There was All-Day Singing at the Burnwell Bible Church of God and afterward, the entire community  turned out for dinner on the ground.  We’d spread our quilts, break out the lawn chairs and sample some of the finest cooking south of the Mason Dixon line.  All of this took place right next to the cemetery, which was freshly manicured and bursting with colorful wreaths and floral arrangements lovingly placed in honor of those who had gone on before.  Late in the afternoon, we’d gather to share a quiet moment around the headstones marked with Goodman and reminisce about our loved ones. It was a time I looked forward to for months, a family reunion of sorts. I was just a girl then, and knew very little of loss.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become acquainted with grief and loss, but I still can’t begin to fathom burying a son or daughter who has paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation. It takes an individual of exceptional courage to place themselves in harm’s way for another, day after day.  Today we remember them, we honor them and we say thank you.  And to those left behind-- the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses and children whose lives have been irreparably shattered, we remember you as well.  
Today our hearts are filled with sadness, and a swell of pride for our fallen heroes.  We honor you all across America, from rural cemeteries with dinners on the ground, to the rolling hills of Arlington and every resting place in between.  
And thank you to those who still sit upon the walls, who defend them with their very lives so we may rise and sleep under the blanket of freedom you provide us. ++  
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.     John 15:13
++ paraphrase from, “A Few Good Men,” screenplay by Aaron Sorkin