Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z Is For Zumba: A To Z Challenge

Beautiful April is almost over, and so is this A To Z Blogging Challenge.  The challenge was to blog every day, except Sundays, going right through the alphabet to choose your topic.  So, finally, today is Z! 

Whenever I go to Zumba class, like I did this morning, I watch the instructor with laser focus.  If I don't I'll surely "mess up" and salsa left when I should salsa right. 

But every now and then my mind wanders.  Today I found myself thinking, "Wonder what I could write about for Z?"  Of course, zoo came immediately to mind and was promptly rejected.  Then, the even-more-obvious choice came to mind and I decided to end the challenge with zumba.

It's been a couple years since I've been into exercise.  Although it should be a priority, sometimes life gets in the way and it falls to the bottom of my list.  But today I went back and recognized the faces and the music and even a few of the steps.  If you haven't zumba-d yet, try it.  If you don't have a class, you can find one on You Tube.

The dance craze came out of Colombia in the 1990's and despite rumors that it is fading away, I don't think it ever will.  It's fun and is good for you too.  The choreography includes hip-hop, salsa, samba, and  merengue' with a few squats and lunges thrown in.  Creative instructors add a few golden oldies too, so we get a little mashed potato and twist in the mix...and maybe even YMCA.

Thanks to the sponsors of this Challenge and for the time it takes to monitor and encourage.  It has been interesting. See you again next year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y Is For Yachots, Oregon: A To Z Challenge

Yesterday I mentioned Yachots in one of my favorite vacation places even though I have only been there once.  I bet most of you haven't even heard of it, so today's post in the A To Z Challenge is about Yachots.

This little town is on the coast of Oregon in the northern quarter of the state.  It's small, only about 1000 people.  Right now it's 56 degrees there, just about what it is here in Georgia, USA, 3000 miles away.  It is pet friendly and people friendly with gorgeous scenery.  We stayed at a little hotel along with collies, labs, and shepherds...not ours.  Our little shih tzu stayed home.  It seemed that people around there all loved really big dogs, including the travelers.  Other than that and a charming lobby with an adorably quaint gift shop and fireplace, there was nothing special about this hotel.  Except.....where it is located.

The Fireside Motel is perched on a hill right on the ocean.....and I do mean right on it.  At high tide it breaks all over the big rocks dotting the beach and just at your feet.  It's wild, untamed, un-manicured and natural.  We loved it at dusk and at early morning the most.  And what a noisy ocean which makes you love it even more.  It isn't about "things to do" when you are there.  It is just about being there and being thankful for every moment you get to breathe it in and enjoy its power and beauty.  

Enjoy the pictures.  Wish I were there!
Lighthouse, Yachots, Oregon

Fireside Motel    Yachots, Oregon

So Pet Friendly

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X Is For Xylophone: A To Z Challenge

Why would someone pick a Xylophone for their X word?  Well, if you were an A To Z Challenge blogger, what would you have picked for X?   It has to actually begin with the letter X, not just contain an X.  Well, for me it is Xylophone.

Didn't you play with one when you were little?  Maybe it was your first musical instrument.  I think it was mine.  I really loved it because it was bright and colorful and it made noise.  Correction, you made not only noise, but a song.  A toy that has withstood the test of time.

Probably my xylophone contained lead based paint.  It was that long ago.  I think it had sharp edges too because I'm almost certain the "keys" were painted metal.  The stick was wooden though and it made the most delicious sound.  

Some xylophones  take two people to play them.  They are that big.  Bands, orchestras often have them over to the side.  If I had been in a band, I would have played that instrument.  

So remember your own first xylophone.  I hope you had one.   Nice memory, huh?

W Is For Waiting: A To Z Challenge

"Wait Time":  consciously waiting for a student to have time to think when you ask him a question. 

Do you ever remember being called on in school and needing just a moment?  Many students need time to formulate their answers and recover from hearing their name called when they were praying you wouldn't say it.  You can almost see it plastered on their forehead:  "Please do not call on me."  "Okay", I sometimes said to my teacher-self.  "But you better be ready tomorrow."  It's kind of like when I watch Jeopardy at night.  Every now and then I actually know an answer, but they go so dang fast that someone has already answered before I have even had time to think it through.  I guess if you need extra time, you aren't going to be on Jeopardy!  That is for sure.  But giving a student "wait time" is an effective strategy that every teacher should times.

"Wait Time":   consciously waiting in court for your traffic case to come up.

Now this is curious.  I say that only because, a. I am not here because I have done something "bad" like maybe the girl next to me who is crying.  and b.  I am retired, so I have time.
This kind of wait time is optional. You can choose to pay your fine online and never show up. I decided to wait. The judge impressed me.  He talked about the U.S. Constitution and charged us to read it when we were back at home.  He talked about how it protects us from society, from politicians, and from the government.  That is what he said.   I am taking this quite seriously even though I only have a minor speeding ticket, but I can't help noticing the young guy next to me checking Facebook.  I am straining to pick up every detail because it is interesting to me, and he is "liking" stuff. 

"Wait Time":   consciously waiting for your first grandson to enter the world on his own schedule.

If you've ever awaited the arrival of your own baby or some one's close to you, then you know exactly what I am talking about.  Can't rush it.  Just breathe.

"Wait Time" is everywhere we go.  In the line at the grocery store, in traffic, in the dentist's office, at the bedside of a loved one, waiting for water to boil and flowers to bloom.  Wait Time is a gift, huh?  Enjoy choosing how you will use those moments when your wait time comes.

Monday, April 27, 2015

V Is For Vacation: A To Z Challenge

Is everyone cheering?  I bet so.  What is better than vacation?  I can answer that.


It's not just that you are vacating your premises.  You are also vacating your responsibilities and appointments.  For a few days anyway, no job, no grass to cut, no doctor appointments, no clothes to wash, no alarm clocks to blare, no traffic to fight, and, if you are lucky, no meals to prepare.

No wonder we love our vacays!  What is your most favorite vacation?

I cannot pick a favorite but here are a few I love.  One favorite is Yachats, Oregon.  And Shelter Cove, California,  Beverly in Massachusetts,  the Outer Banks on the east coast, and St. Simons Island in Georgia.  Although I love the mountains and the plains, the ranches and Big Sky country, nothing tops my love for the coast.

Wherever you are, pick a day soon and make it a vacation.  Even if it is just your day off, make it out of the ordinary somehow, so you feel you have vacated normalcy in favor of renewal. And enjoy.

U Is For Un-Ring The Bell: A To Z Challenge


Don't you wish sometimes you could un-ring the bell!  Once an event occurs or a word is spoken it can't be undone. 

Once you have a bad sunburn, you can't go back and put on sunscreen.
Once you pour bleach in the laundry water, you can't take it back out.
Once you cut down, say, a tree, or a person, you can't un-do it.

A therapist friend told me once that we should allow people to "take it back".  Maybe something is said in anger and frustration that is out of character....and maybe that person really wants to take it back.  They really want to un-say it but that I impossible.  So they are "sorry".  And they want you to forgive them.  

True forgiveness, I've heard, is choosing to no longer even remember the offense. "I'll forgive you, but I'm never going to forget it."  Is that real forgiveness?   In reality, we do remember it but forgiveness says, "I won't bring it back out and use it to hurt you one day.  It is really over."

But un-saying would be so much better.  If only we could.  Stop the clock.  Turn the hands back a few minutes.  Then choose something else to say that is kind.  Or say what you have to say in a kind manner.

Ringing the big dinner bells out in the country around noon signaled, "It's time for lunch.  It's on the table."  Lunch was called "dinner" back then and the bell called the workers from the field to the 'dinner' table.  That bell could be heard a long way off.  It echoed miles away.  Any other time than noon, ringing the bell brought people running from miles as it was also the way to summon help.

You can't un-ring the bell.
You can't un-say the words.  Sometimes we wish we could.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T Is For Toothless: A To Z Challenge

My mom died when she was 93.  My sister announced that she was going to do mom's hair and makeup for the viewing.  I said, "You're going to do what?"  She said I didn't have to go with her and I said, "Don't worry.  I'm not."  But then I did. Somehow we giggled our way through it instead of crying.  And mom looked great.

Sis and mother shopped for clothes together and got their nails done. She took mom to the hairdresser and helped her keep it together and even painted her toe nails with silver glitter before her untimely heavenly departure.  So it seemed fitting to her.  

The funeral home guy complimented her work and added, "And she still has her own teeth."  

I can only imagine my mother seeing all of this.  My sister and I fluffing around still striving to make things as good as humanly possible.  And then some stranger remarking on her teeth.  Her response would have been priceless.

Flash forward:  The other day our insurance company sent a nurse to our house.  We are not sick. They do this for everyone in our age group.  They actually pay us $25 each to allow them to come and check on the status of things here.  It amazes me. They do a physical check up just like in a doctor's office and ask all kinds of's about preventative care, to save them money in the future.

So the nurse says to me: "Do you have your own teeth?"  What?  I think it was the first time I've ever been asked that question. But I'm learning that more and more people are interested in the subject.  I guess the answer speaks more volumes than I know.

"Yes, I have my own teeth."  It runs in the family.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S Is For Sanctuary: A To Z Challenge

Where is your sanctuary?  Surely you have one.  A place that is safe, secure, and sacred.  A place you go when you desire to find your inner peace or celebrate or feel gratitude.

Since I asked you, it's only fair that I share my own.  When I was a little girl the only time I heard the word "sanctuary" was at church.  It was the biggest place in the church and had an altar, center aisle, a lot of windows, a place for the choir, and a place for the preacher to stand.  I knew I wasn't supposed to play in there.  There was a gold painted sentence up front that said, "Be still and know that I am God".  That's what I thought it meant as a still, don't wiggle, don't talk, and don't laugh.

But back then, I saw as a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  I saw through the glass dimly.  Yes, that is 1 Corinthians 13.

Now I know my sanctuary does not have to be about place, although it might be.  It can be anywhere that opens my heart to peace.  A place that morphs that stillness we associate with peace into unbounded joy and depth of feeling that moves in us.

A "place", be it a church, your back porch, the sea shore, the 

mountains, a lake, a rocking chair, or a hospital.  It doesn't really 

matter what leads you to your God.

Creating Life Beautifully - A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R Is For Rain: A To Z Challenge

Rain is rain; we invent the rest.

We may see ourselves cleansed by the rain,

nourished, quenched,

or we may feel ourselves splattered,

submerged, drowned.

 A lot of years ago I came across this poem in an airline magazine during a flight.  I cannot find who wrote it so I can't give credit...but it wasn't me.  I did, however, appreciate it.  It spoke to me.  

We've had a lot of rain around here.  

Rain calls to a different part of you.  It lets the sun-shiny,vibrant on-the-go, fix-it part of you take a break.  You can't control the rain. It's one of the great uncontrolables.  You didn't cause it either.  

Whenever it rains again at your house, notice if you are feeling splattered and drowning....or cleansed and renewed.   We are always at choice. 

It's  pretty deep around here....I think I will go float a leaf boat in the puddle.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Q Is For Quinoa A to Z Challenge

Seems like it was a few years ago I started hearing about this power food.  I had just landed squarely and securely on the brown rice bandwagon and now there were those in the health food world saying there was something even better.

First of all, I love white rice. I love it with Chinese food, but  I like it with gravy best of all!  That is the gravy you make from fried chicken or country fried steak.  When my kids were growing up we probably had that at least once a week with a couple sides of green thrown in.  I also love white rice with butter, but don't come near me with rice pudding.

Then, I evolve.  I learn white rice is not such a good thing, but if I just switch to brown and ditch the gravy, I'll be just fine.  That's a pretty easy swap.  I started with 'fast-cooking' brown rice in a bag, moving along to "real" rice and just cooking it longer on the stove.  I'm good with that.

Then, when I've settled into my new staple, here comes quinoa.  It's touted as a Superfood that puts brown rice to shame.  I hate to know what it does to white rice! Well, I experimented....with mostly good results.  My whole kitchen life has changed in the last few years... and including quinoa is one of the basic changes.  Oh, and the mouth-watering, crispy, fried chicken and gravy-smothered country fried steak are just a distant memory.

So quinoa it is.  You pronounce is "keen-wa".  Rice is mostly from China and quinoa is mostly from Central America.  Small world!

Before you cook quinoa, always make sure you rinse it really well in a very fine strainer.  If you don't it will taste bitter and expose you to terrible, horrible, atrocious chemical dangers. After that it cooks pretty much like brown rice....just note the water proportions on the package.  I like to cook mine in chicken broth as I am not a vegetarian and I love the flavor it gives.  After that you just add whatever you have on hand.  I've added shredded chicken, grated carrots, onion, garlic, celery, black beans, tomatoes, little green peas, mushrooms......anything you like.  Make a dressing with equal parts olive oil and vinegar with a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and you are good to go either hot or cold.

So if you haven't jumped on the quinoa bandwagon, you might just consider doing so.  More protein, fiber, and B.  My husband?  He dumps a pile of ranch dressing on top of his.  I had to see it to believe it and didn't say a word.  At least it wasn't mayonnaise! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

O-P Is For Oil Paintings

"You can't do that," says a voice in my head.

"Do what?", says another voice in my head.

"You can't use two letters at once?"  

"Why not?"

"Because you just can't."

Both of these oil paintings are about color.  I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N Is For Nixon: A to Z Challenge

Why did I think of Nixon today on "N" Day?  No one has mentioned him in a long time.

But there was a week back in August 1974 when President Richard Nixon was all over the news.  We didn't have CNN or cable news back then, but the three major networks had a field day in the name of informing the citizenry.   

Political tensions were high during this phase of the Vietnam War. Almost everyone knew someone in their neighborhood who didn't come home.  No one knew how to win the war, and no one knew how to get us out of it.  It took a long time to get there.

But when it came to getting information they wanted, Nixon's men found a way.  They bent  broke the rules...a lot. He knew about it. And then he found himself thoroughly embroiled in the Watergate Scandal.  That meant his people, on his watch, had broken into offices in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. and absconded with facts that did not belong to them.  They stole. A President openly breaking the law? Well, yes.

I was really into the whole thing as it unfolded day by day on television.  Denials, confessions, trials...all the stuff intrigue is made of. There was even a "Deep Throat"....code-names.  Nixon had two daughters, one about my age and I identified with her.  How awful for this to happen to her and her family.  His wife, Pat, was very sweet; she didn't appear strong like our political women today. She always seemed frail and maybe a little afraid.

And then the day came when our President was going to be he resigned.  He would pack up and leave by "tomorrow at noon".  At 24 I was still a very sensitive young woman...still a child really. We all sat glued to the TV and listened intently to his impromptu, rambling, heartfelt speech. It went on and on.  I'm sure I cried. He did too.  I mean, his girls, his wife....our "first" family?  And tomorrow they would walk from the White House, which was their home, board a helicopter, and wave goodbye....their father in total disgrace. So dramatic.

History went on to round things out as it usually does. Nixon was the President who ended the draft, and they found other good things Nixon did and gave him some grace, and eventually a pardon. If social media had been around back then, I can only imagine the venom.

Below is an excerpt of some of his departure speech.  You can read the entire speech if you are interested. But this is how it ended.  
"Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.
And so, we leave with high hopes, in good spirit, and with deep humility, and with very much gratefulness in our hearts. I can only say to each and every one of you, we come from many faiths, we pray perhaps to different gods -- but really the same God in a sense -- but I want to say for each and every one of you, not only will we always remember you, not only will we always be grateful to you but always you will be in our hearts and you will be in our prayers."
Thank you very much.
Richard Nixon - August 9, 1974

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Man....My Poem

My man makes our world go round.

He makes sure our axis is tilted just right
He tightens the screws with his great might.

He guards against bears and things that growl
He keeps me safe from those who prowl. 

He slays giants and checks under the bed
And even makes sure the puppy is fed.

He takes the street side when we walk
He listens when I need to talk.

He sleeps on the door side of the room
And protects me from all sorts of doom.

So what do I do with all of my time?

I write, I draw, I read a book.
I chop and dice and spice and cook.

I loosen the screws he makes so tight
 I walk in the street and give him a fright.

I sometimes knock his axis askew
But I paint his world a beautiful hue.

I sing and play and dive and be

Because I am so wondrously free.

He is my foundation
My  relation, my flirtation.

Sounds like a good time
to go on a vacation!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L Is For Letter Writing

Many people reading this blog are writers participating in the April 2015 A to Z Challenge.  So, writers, do you write letters?  I'm not counting emails.  Do you grab a piece of paper and a pen and actually write a letter?

Do you write to your Grandmother?  She would love that, ya know. When you send a card, do you write a page of your own thoughts inside...or just sign your name?

And beyond those in our family, what about others who impact us?  Haven't you ever wanted to write the author of a book you particularly enjoyed?  Or maybe a former President?  And how many of us often write letters in our heads to special people but never get them down?  Or maybe just vent through letters-to-the-editor.

As letter writing fades away, I just wonder what "real writers" like you do.

Going through my mother's things I found her special letters too.  Some daddy wrote years ago to his mother in the late 1930's during the war, even one written by my grandfather in 1915 to my grandmother, then just 15 years old, while they were courting.

Considering all of the reams of paper that crossed my desk during my working career, I realize that the only papers I still have are the letters.  The ones that warmed my heart.  The ones that said 'thank you' for something.  The emails are all long gone and a distant memory but I saved the handwritten sentiments and every now and then I spend a rainy afternoon re-reading them....and deciding, again, "I'll keep them a little longer".

I've always said that "when I have time", "when I retire", I will write famous people, to those close to me, and to those who make the difference that moves me, or cause me to have questions, or cause me to want to congratulate or praise someone. So this "L" post is really a reminder to me of something I said so often that I wanted to do....and now is the time.

And I could use some of these handmade envelopes.  Don't you just love them?

Monday, April 13, 2015

K Is For Kiss

Probably the very first thing we do when our baby is born is place a kiss gently on his forehead.  It says, "I will love you forever", sealed with a kiss.  And we mean it with every ounce of our being.

A kiss might be the most intimate of all gestures. You can color it sweet and gentle, or loud and hard, it's all good.  They are mighty in their softness, and yielding in their power.

Whether we kiss the ground after a harrowing flight, kiss a trophy following a hard fought match, or kiss a long awaited diploma, we feel SO MUCH we cannot contain ourselves.

Think about the times you have 'kissed and been kissed' the most.  Probably it was in the throes of new love.  We don't care a bit about germs then...even if they have the flu.  I remember when it was almost fashionable to get "mono", or mononucleosis, the kissing disease.  And your first kiss, who could forget that if they tried!  I bet you remember who, where, and when, huh?

If you are lucky enough to get a kiss today, treasure it.  If kisses are not in your life right now, remember a time when they were. And treasure those anew.  And, oh yeah, there are always these:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J Is For Just Do It

"How overdone!", you might say.

 Yes, it is, and don't we just need gentle reminders every now and then?

So, back to Just Do It.

Paul said, long ago, "The things I want to do, I do not do.  The things I don't want to do, I do."  At least he is attributed to have said something like that. 

Often times we could agree with Paul.  How many times do we, for example, say, "I don't want to eat that donut", but we eat it anyway.We might even have two if no one is looking.  And how often do we say, "I am going to start exercising 30 minutes a day starting Monday, yet Monday comes and we don't do it".  Why?

We all have our list of reasons, huh? Maybe it boils down to motivation,...a mountain in itself. Maybe it's fear of failure so we put off starting that next novel or painting. Maybe it's that we aren't sure what our priorities are, so important stuff gets on the bottom of the list.  I love to paint, but I realize it isn't a priority right now so it is near the bottom of my list.  Alas, I wish it weren't.  It won't always be.  And I've certainly put off painting when I didn't think I was "good enough", or that I would do it 'right'.  So dumb.  More eloquent people might call that error-thinking instead of dumb.

So whatever it is for you, just do it.  If it is something you really want to do, and it's a priority, let the other things that hold you back fall away.  Pick up the pen, the paintbrush, the phone, or the tennis shoes and just do it.  If you want a colonoscopy or a mammogram, just go get it.  We do live through these yukky moments.  If you want to make a new friend, take a risk and approach a neighbor or whomever you have in mind.  If you want to drink less, just do it, and get help if you need to.

Oh, what a preachy post.  I don't mean it that way but I see it is.  Oh well, just go do those things that are important to you, or fun to you, or enriching to you,  Whatever.  Just go do it.

I is For Imagination

When you wake up each morning, does it feel like you have a blank slate for a brand new day, or does it feel like Ground Hog Day, a rerun of yesterday?  Does it feel like you have no control, that your day is already completely scripted by someone other than you, and you will simply go through the motions until night time?  Feed the baby, clean the kitchen, go to work, fight the traffic, pick up the laundry, pop by the dentist, return the library books, take out the trash, return the movies, and on and on and on.  Whew!

Come with me for a moment and let's use our power of imagination to take a day already defined by work and chores, and transform it.  Sounds good, huh?  As grateful as we all are to have a job these days, it's still likely and normal to wish for a 'free day'.  Not very realistic day-in and day-out, so let's just decide to imagine what we can in a different way.

There is a reason Cruise Carnival named one of their cruise lines, "Imagination".  "It's all you've ever imagined."  They've imagined it all for you....and made it come true.   But we can't vacation every day and we surely are not going to settle for only 5-6 glorious days a why not use the power of your imagination to create everyday as you want it to be.  The same tasks and to-do lists lay before you.  Can't get around that.  But just what-if you did them all, checked them off even, with a new mindset?  Just what-if your imagination made your mundane days more like your dream days.  For you that might be a work day that's just more fun.  Or it might be a day when you feel powerful enough to take on any challenges that come your way. 

Rather than viewing it all as repetitive, something to endure, work through, or tackle, imagine your day full of possibilities and joy. Imagine you enjoying your next job interview.  Imagine you in your next staff meeting cooperating, supporting, and respecting the others in the meeting.  Imagine you happy to create just what your client wants.  Imagine you having a sweet connection with a friend, even if it's only a PB and J on the back porch, a text, or a phone call.  Imagine you taking 5 glorious minutes somewhere in your day to reflect, think, pray, be quiet.

The power of the mind is a powerful thing. Duh.  We use our imagination to worry about things that may never happen.  We all do it from time to time.  Well, why not use our imagination to envision good things for our self and our family?  You might say, "It won't make any difference."  So?  Try it anyway.  There's no better habit than to train your mind to reach for possibilities, rather than to succumb to dread, stress, and boredom.  You just might be surprised what happens.

Take a week and consciously use your power of imagination to "see", in your mind's eye, that which brings you joy...the things you want...the way you want your daily life to work out.  Be prepared for your self-talk to resist, and just continue bringing yourself back to the vision you want to create.  Put a little twist on the regular old boring stuff.  See it differently.  Notice the emphasis here is on you.  Not in a selfish way, but just the opposite.  Until we are happy within, we have no happiness to share with others.  It's an interesting exercise to learn more about ourselves, the way we think, and what we expect.

The whole world of imagination is at your fingertips.  Be grateful for this freedom and use it.

What will you choose to imagine today?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Having It All

What in the world does having-it-all mean?  Is it stuff?  Is it vacations?  Is it a good job?  Is it health?  All of those?  Or is it just peace?  What is it for you?

Maybe having it all isn't a list of 100 things you must have or do to be happy.  Maybe, instead, it is just keeping "the main thing, the main thing", as Stephen Covey says.

Sometimes we want to feel a certain way....and it's in our reach to do so......but if we don't know what brings us to that feeling, then it is difficult to get there.  You know, "if you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?".

Someone challenged me to spend this week coming up with the 5 highest priorities for my life.  And step two:  "look at how you spend your time every day and see if that matches up with what you say you want most".  I guess once I identify those 5 things, then, and only then can I draw a roadmap to lead me there.

"Having it all is loving it all".  A lot of people say that too.  It's certainly not original.  Sounds so simple, but loving and embracing those hardest things to deal with is not easy to do.  If you believe, as I do, that "what you resist, persists", and that there is a gift in everything....we gotta love it all. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G For Georgia: What Comes To Mind?

It's hard not to write about Georgia on "G-Day". After all, I have lived in Georgia, USA, all my life.

Georgia is a beautiful state with four distinct seasons, a hot, hot summer and a very cold winter. We have red clay soil, black loam, and white sand around our state and we grow crops in all of them. We grow a lot of corn and peanuts, peaches and watermelons, pecans and cotton. We raise 40% of all the chickens in our entire country! That is a lot of chickens.  We call the baby ones 'biddies'.

We share what we grow. Neighbors love to share their home grown tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, small farmers share their gardens if you'll come pick it yourself, and some churches even have community gardens. They plant, you take.

Georgians can talk with a deep Southern accent...or not. Most can turn it on and off like a water spigot. President Carter and Rosalynn have some of our most authentic accents, so obviously having a Southern accent does not make you a duffus or a redneck.

Georgia has the prettiest beaches. Just long and wide stretches of mostly white sand. We don't have any cliffs at the beach like California and you won't find pebbled covered beaches here like on the Massachusetts shore. Just warm sand and sea shells. We have foothills and giant mountains, too, mostly covered with pines and hardwoods but one is just stone. We call it Stone Mountain and it even has it's own city.

It's the land that gets your attention first, but like always and everywhere, it's really all about our people.  And, our reknown music makers, Greg Allman, Gladys Knight, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Little Richard, Travis Tritt, Tricia Yearwood and James Brown to name a few. Must be something in the peanuts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

D-E-F Definitely

I really shouldn't do challenges.  I know that, but in the moment they tempt me and I succumb.  Once, I was part of a Painting Challenge:  Paint one painting a day for 30 days.  What in the world was I thinking!  I mean, really.  No!

So now I got into this blog challenge. I have been blogging for and on. That is key.  Off and on is the way I like to do things.  Since I am retired, and that means I no longer go to work, there is really nothing I have to do everyday.  And I like it that way.

Often I blog/write in my head but it never goes any further.  If I "need" to get it down, I take the time and write the post.  If it is something I want to make sure I remember, I will stay up late to blog and save that day for posterity.

But writing is like painting.  You should do it when you feel the urge, when you are moved.  But, all that aside, I do not want to be a drop-out again, so I am writing....3 days' worth.  D-E-F-initely is my word.  So here are some things I feel definite about, for today.

Today, I will definitely take lunch to a friend.

Today, I will definitely continue reading Jodi Picoult's newest book about elephants.

Today, I will  definitely want to doze because I stayed up way too late reading that book.

Today, I will definitely not doze. It's 'against my religion' to sleep in the day time.

Today, I will definitely commit to staying in this challenge, knowing some days will show up here much better than others.

Today, I will definitely make fish and brown rice for dinner. Maybe some beans too.  Yes, beans.

Today, I will definitely sit outside in the sunshine for awhile.

Today, I will definitely enjoy myself.

If you read all this so far, you are a very patient person.  Bless you. Enjoy your day and review your own definites.

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is For Clean: A to Z Challenge

The shower felt so good!  Now I am squeaky clean, dressed, ready to rest....and relax with a good book.  (I am reading Epiphany by Ferrol Sams....humorous and heartwarming.)  It feels especially good to chill because I have been cleaning since early morning.  But it's all done, top to bottom....all in one day.

Today is Good Friday....a good day to clean.  Preparing for Easter...making way for hope, for bright and shiny new beginnings.  Good Friday was very dark before it was very Light. No one knew that Light was coming.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A is About Me and B is Being Real: A To Z Challenge

I haven't joined a Blog Challenge in a loooong time but this one sounds fun, so I'm in.  Every day in April, except Sundays, we write.  We can write about anything.  The only "rule" is the topics have to start with the letters of the alphabet starting with A. 

A.  About Me.  Writing about me is always a little uncomfortable.  Don't you think so?  I mean, who really cares what I had for breakfast or what I did all day today.  But, just so you'll know who you're talking to, here goes. 

I am retired!  Yay!  Freedom!  I was a teacher for 30 years in a public high school, several actually.  I loved it.  Easy to say now.  I've somewhat forgotten what a hard job it was. Whew!  Seems like another lifetime.  Now I play at art....creating stuff and then trying to figure out what to do with it so I don't become an art hoarder.  You should see inside my closet.

I'm a Grandmother....that is so great, and a mom, daughter, sister, wife, and friend.  All fun things to be.  And that leads me to B.

B.  Being real is what my blog is about.  I don't make up stories...., just don't have the knack. But I love to write about real life, things that happen every day and the impact they have.  The more real we are, the more we see ourselves in others, or see others in ourselves.  We are all so much alike at our core...even with our superficial differences.  I think about that a lot.

Now that I'm in the "Challenge", I'll try making my posts a little more interesting than today's.  We'll see what happens.  Stay tuned for C.