Friday, August 18, 2017


I'm linking up with Five Minute Friday - we are given a "word" and asked to write for exactly five minutes and then stop . . .without editing!  Today's word is Speak!

When I read the word "speak" I thought of 1 Samuel chapter 3 when Samuel thinks Eli is calling his name but Eli finally realizes it is God and tells Samuel that the next time he hears the call to say, "speak for your servant is listening."  So I looked up this scripture and it always amazes me how much I forget between readings.  I had forgotten that God spoke to Samuel about Eli's family and then the boy (Samuel) had to tell Eli what God had said!

I also thought about SPEAK in regards to my own life.  I'm a talker so you would think that SPEAK would be easy for me.

In our world today there is so much going on.  Sometimes I want to SPEAK out but there is a major problem.  I'm fairly moderate in my beliefs and I have UBER conservative friends and family AND I have UBER liberal friends and family.  I never have the courage to SPEAK up about what I really think.  I actually have opinions - if you know me you aren't surprised - but rarely feel that I can truly SPEAK my opinions.  Everyone else seems more than willing to share their opinions - the left bashes the right and the right bashes the left continuously.  Sometimes I wonder if people realize what they are actually saying or are they just spouting out words. I also wonder if folks realize how much hate they are spewing yet proclaim Christ in their next breath.

I will say that I am blessed indeed to have one or two friends with whom I can be truly honest.  I can SPEAK FREELY with those people.

As usual, my writing is all over the place from "SPEAK your servant is listening" to  . . .my thoughts about not speaking out but maybe I just needed to SPEAK the things on my own heart.

Do you speak out?

p.s. added after the five minute timer - I DO NOT THINK VIOLENCE is the answer and the thought of Nazis scares me to death.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

And God saw that it was good.

We've spent much time in our courtyard and on our screened porch this spring and summer.  One of my closest friends gave me a humming bird feeder for my birthday.  I cannot even begin to tell you the joy that Mark, Harvey (the cat), and Emma (the granddaughter) and I have received from watching the hummingbirds.  If I sit in the courtyard with my glasses on top of my head (which just happen to be orange) . . .and I sit really still . . .the humming birds will buzz my head.  The sound of their wings is amazing and they are such territorial little buggers!  They DO NOT like to share!!
A couple of weeks ago Mark asked me to try to take some pictures of the birds so I used my actual camera and sat very still on an afternoon.
When I looked at the pictures, these are the verses that popped into my head - from Genesis Chapter 1.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Gate and pathway to the front side of the house

flowers along the stone walkway to the back gate

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
My photos of the humming birds aren't great - I should practice my photography more often.

if you look closely, you can see the drop
of nectar on the end of his beak!!

Our creator is such a wonderful artist!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


1. Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.
I'm sure they don't always match . . . but I do try!  I teach Sunday School and facilitate a group for young adults on Tuesday nights and if I talk about something and the way Christ calls us to live, I try hard to live it myself.  Do I fail?  Often!  Do I keep trying with God's help? YES!

2. Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?

We are in the dog days of summer here in Alabama.  Days are hot.  Afternoon thunderstorms pop up and then the humidity, which was already high, jumps even higher.

3. Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?

Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller are the two that pop into my head!  both of those books make me cry!  There is another book that our family listened to in the car one year . . .about a dog . . .and I can't remember the name of it.  I was so proud of myself for getting a book (probably on cassette tape but surely it was on a CD) for us to listen to as a family!  As a kid, I loved watching Lassie on TV!!  (yes, I know that dates me!)

4. What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?

oh wow - can't decide how deep I want to go with this one . . .I had to sit here a few moments and think about this one.  This is a silly one but when we went to the Dead Sea on our previous Holy Land trip, I didn't have the confidence to put on a bathing suit in front of all those folks so I missed out on a major opportunity!  When we go back in 2018, I'm going to have the confidence to put on a dadgum bathing suit and float in the Dead Sea!!

5. August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.

Knock Knock!  Who's there?  Atch.  Atch Who?  I'm sorry, I didn't know you had allergies!  I AM NOT a joke teller.  I love to laugh and I love a good joke but I can't tell a joke for the life of me!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

This morning, I sat at my island in the kitchen and sorted/alphabetized name tags from our Administrative Board meeting.  It was early.  It was still dark outside.  I found myself praying for the folks whose names were on those tags.  It was a good thing!  I normally spend some time every morning in prayer and this morning's time was so focused on the faces that belong to those nametags.

One more random thought -- This is a blurry picture because she never stands still for long but just had to post a picture of our sweet grandbaby who LOVES her pops (I'm going to be Gran someday when she can say it!), loves shoes, loves bows, can say octopus (I taught her that one!) . . .and my favorite thing - she calls "pop?" "pop?" . . .and then she says, "whereishe" . . .all one word.  It is so stinking cute!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Bikinis

Last Thursday night, two friends and I went to see a musical.
I wasn't sure what to expect but I had a great time!

The name of the musical is The Bikinis.  The Bikinis were a group of four - two sisters and two friends (maybe a cousin??).  They told their story and sang songs from the 50's, 60's and even a couple from the 70's.  These women were amazing.  I'm not sure of their age but they sang and danced their hearts out.  I was amazed that they weren't out of breath!!  They sang great harmony with each other and were very convincing - you felt like they were truly the Bikinis!

The play was put on by C.A.T. - Central Alabama Theater - which is a non-profit group co-founded by a guy with whom I went to high school - Carl Peoples!  Carl is doing a great job!!

The play was located inside the Steeple Arts Dance Academy.  I searched on the internet and I'm not sure what church used to be in this building BUT the Dance Academy has been located there for MANY years.

It is a small venue which makes for such an intimate setting.  I don't have a single picture of the three of us but I promise we laughed a lot!!  If I had a snapshot, all of our mouths would be laughing!  There was a group of older ladies sitting behind us and I believe they had visited the bar one time too many - they were actually whooping!  They were having a REALLY good time!

If you zoom in, you can see the cute stage.  They did an excellent job of costume changes - most of their costumes were in the beach bags hanging on the fence.  They added a hat and a leather vest or a brightly colored shirt and viola -- a new look for a new song!

I have found myself singing some of the songs (in my head!) since last Thursday . . .and then I find myself smiling!  What a fun night!  I hope to go to some more productions by C.A.T.

Do you have live theater where you live?  Do you like to go to plays and musicals?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review of Study Material by Andy Stanley

I've been teaching adult Sunday School class for 25 years and Mark and I have been facilitating a Tuesday night group of young professionals for 7 or 8 years.  Over all these years there have been a few STAND OUT studies -- those studies that leave you thinking -- those studies that change your mind -- those studies that make you grow.  Do you know what I'm talking about?

We just finished an Andy Stanley study last night -- Christian: It's Not What You Think.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many conversations Mark and I have had as a result of this study.  In one of the very lessons, Andy (can I call him that?  I feel like I know him.  He's been in my living room!!) talks about the difference in being Christian versus being a Disciple.  Many people give lip service to being a Christian -- yeah, I'm a Christian . . .but when it comes to being a true disciple . . .where do we stand?  Do we constantly look to Jesus as a model and standard for everything in our lives? Do we love others as Jesus has loved us?

One week's lesson is titled "When Gracie Met Truthy" and Andy challenges us and makes us think about the tension between grace and truth.  We need both truth and grace.  Some denominations swing toward truth and often forget about grace.  Other denominations swing so far towards grace but fail to preach the truth.  It takes both grace and truth but as my boss says about many things, "it is better to err on the side of grace."  We get caught up in what we THINK is truth but we often miss the TRUTH that Jesus taught.

In one of my favorite lessons, Andy talked about how we make up so many man(woman) made rules to go along with the truth that Jesus taught.  We get so caught up in the extra rules that we love the commands more than the Commander.

Andy challenges us to continually ask ourselves, "What does love require of me?"  He also remind us that what we believe doesn't play as big a part in our influence in other's lives as how we love.  Love, Love, Love . . .what does love require of ME?  If I love others the way Jesus loves me, imagine how we could change the world!!

We finished up last night and I want to share one thing that Andy wrote,
"One day some people came to Jesus with a trick question.  They wanted him to tell them which was the greatest of all the hundreds of Old Testament commands.  Jesus quickly answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)  Somewhere along the way, the followers of Jesus have lost sight of what Jesus said next: "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:40)  Note from Lisa -- this next part is SO PROFOUND TO ME that I'm going to type it in all CAPS.


Of course, I knew this on some level but for some reason it hit me afresh this week.  When I look someone in the eyes . . .I need to remember that Jesus loves that person JUST AS MUCH as he loves me.  He died for that person just like he died for me.  If we remembered this ONE thing each and every day . . .we might be able to get along.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  We might be able to get along in this place we call earth and maybe we could stop the name calling , too.  I think that would make Jesus happy.

"A new command I give you: Love one another.  AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, SO YOU MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  John 13:34

What studies have had a profound impact on your life?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Long ago . . .long ago, long ago, long ago . . .

 Several years ago, my mother-in-law's brother (no longer living) gave a birthday card to her.  The card was one of those that sings when you open it.  She opened the card and heard these words, "you were born long ago . . . .long ago, long ago, long ago!"  We laughed and laughed about that card.  The male voice singing the song sounded like someone from an old timey Italian restaurant.  Discussion about that birthday card (and Uncle John) comes up at just about every birthday party for my mother-in-law.  Yes, yes, it did again this year!

We celebrated her birthday at our house after church a week or so ago.  She still cooks Sunday lunch for the entire family every single week so I try to offer to host every once in a while to give her a break . . .especially on her birthday and Mother's Day.

I ordered 4.5 pounds of fresh shrimp from our local Snapper Grabbers and had them peeled and deveined and then made spicy baked shrimp with them.  I made cheese grits (and some plain grits for Scott, who doesn't like cheese).  We had slaw alongside and I roasted some broccoli (she thinks most meals need more than just a salad/slaw so I wanted to live up to those expectations!!).

We've been trying to get as many pictures of Susie (mother-in-law who I have NEVER called Susie to her face) as possible with the different grandchildren and great grandchild.  She was wearing the dress that we gave her for Mother's Day - WIN!!

Susie is the cake-baker extraordinaire so it is really difficult to come up with a special dessert for her.  She loves caramel pecan cake so I bought a caramel cake that is made by a lady in Alabama - 7 layers with caramel icing in between each layer!  I bought chocolate covered pecans and decorated the cake with the pecans.  My sister-in-law, Rebecca, brought the ice cream - one was butter pecan, Susie's favorite!!

I had sprinkled some chocolate covered pecans around the cake on the cake stand . . .and Mark kept eating them.  They were becoming sparse!

I tried to take a picture of everyone with the selfie stick.  Susie is so tiny that she is hidden between Laura and Ben. (wrong nephew - Laura just texted me . . .sorry to Thomas!!  I know who was here that day - really, I do!)

I tried to get a shot of the other side of the table, too.  I haven't mastered the silly pink selfie stick yet but we are working on it! (just FYI - that is not Mark . . .it is his twin brother . . .really)

I was able to snap a picture of Laura, Emma, and Susie (grandmother).  I love these three!

Bill and Rebecca hadn't arrived when I took the first picture so it is good that Rebecca is in this picture!!  She was the provider of all good ice cream!

Alice, Grace, and George had celebrated earlier in the week (on the actual day) and Alice and Grace were at the beach so we weren't quite complete for the sunday crew.

We celebrated with presents, horrible birthday song singing (we can't sing happy birthday - we just can't), lots of laughter and conversation.

Do you celebrate birthdays at your house and with your family?  I can't tell you how old she is but just let me tell you once again . . .she looks WAY younger than she is!!  She was born long ago . . .long ago, long ago, long ago!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hodge Podge #315

1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?
Wow - 315 sets of questions - Joyce is amazing!!  Let's see . . .I was working from home yesterday at 3:15.  I had been out of town helping my daughter and I got back around lunch time and worked from home.  Around 3:15 . . .I need an "after school" snack, don't you?  I always had a snack for my kids when they came in . . .so I think that must mean I have an afternoon slump until after a snack is consumed!!

2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.
I've thrown a party . . . or three!  We've been in the entertaining mode!

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.
                            1.  A day at the pool . . .with maybe just one friend . . .and a drink or two
                            2. Some extra hours in every day . . .I just need a few more hours
                            3. A million dollars???  Actually, for our daughter's townhome to sell very quickly

I hope you weren't asking for serious answers.  I can't think of serious answers because I might scream! EEK!

4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong?
I think I'm strong in several ways.  I think I'm strong because my mom died when I was 15 and my first husband left me after an 18 month marriage because he decided he was gay.  I lived through those and many other tough times and each one of those made me stronger. 
Physically . . .my legs are strong as can be - lots of muscles.  My arms . . .not so much!
Some days I'm spiritually strong - BUT ONLY when I rely on Jesus and keep my eyes on him so I can't take credit for that!!

5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?
I love to read.  Two of my recent favorite books have been The Nightingale and Wives of War.  Both of those are historical fiction.  I don't usually read historical fiction but really enjoyed both of those.  I actually have read The Nightingale twice and I don't usually read books two times.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
It is hot as you know what here in Alabama!  I truly think we could fry eggs on the sidewalk!  I saw someone post on Facebook that it was too hot to even go to the pool . . .that is hot!

Monday, July 24, 2017

#tohaveandtoharris . . .Celebrations . . .Brunch and wedding . . .and . . .

Be forewarned . . .photo overload . . .but so much fun . . . and lots of ellipses!

On Friday, I was so honored to be included and invited to the luncheon for Brooke's bridesmaids.  The luncheon was hosted by two of her work associates/friends at a home in Greystone.  I really wanted to take pictures of the artwork in this house - I loved so much of it.  That is not what this post is about - oops!  The hostess used "mismatched" china and cups and the tables were lovely.  She used lace gloves as the "coasters" -- she said they literally came on a very slow boat from China and just barely arrived in time for the party.  Our place cards were pictures of each of us with the bride.  The pictures were on a little clip inserted into moss inside a demitasse.  (I almost wrote demitasse cup but decided to look it up and the word itself means small cup so I would have said a small cup cup - so glad I looked!!)

This table was one of my favorites -- it was a table just for the flower girls and it was set just as lovely as the tables for the grown ups.

The little girls were sitting right behind me and the first course was a chilled strawberry soup.  They were not fans of this course.  I'm still chuckling as I think about their comments.  They were very polite as they told the hostess that they didn't like "this."

The dining room table was where the bride and bridesmaids ate their lunch.  I love those tall vases!! 
If you live in the south, you might know what the hostesses served for lunch.  Anyone want to guess (other than the soup)???
Chicken salad on croissants - perfect southern summer lunch
She served grapes and cheese straws alongside the sandwiches.

Thanks Christie for this picture, too

My sweet Laura on the far left had driven in from her house and we just met at the party.

Laura and her boyfriend, Scott, were here all weekend and we enjoyed their visit.  Laura was doing wedding stuff all day on Saturday so Scott even rode to the wedding with us . . .and was gracious enough to take our picture.

I was able to reciprocate and snap a quick one of Laura and Scott in the gathering space at the church before the wedding.

There were gorgeous floral wreaths hanging in the gathering space.

This is the church at our west campus.  I think it is such a warm and intimate space.  The flowers on the cross were quite lovely!!

Mark and I were headed to the fellowship hall after the wedding to retrieve our boxes of decorations and we ran right into the bride and I was able to get a quick picture with the beautiful bride.  We were headed to the fellowship hall because the bridesmaids had borrowed all sorts of things from us - from lanterns to metal candle holders to ribbon to wreaths, etc.  They used those items to decorate for the rehearsal dinner.

Isn't she lovely??

The reception was downtown at the Alabama Theater.  I love those giant old chandeliers.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

I also loved that they had a "movie marquee" made for their wedding - they used it at the church and at the reception.

These pictures are out of order -- the sanctuary looked so beautiful.  Below is a better picture of the flowers on the cross.

Brooke and Marcus had a lovely wedding!!

Four of our favorite young adults below the theater sign . . . Sean, Laura, Katie, Christie.  (thanks Christie - I snitched this photo from your facebook page along with the picture of the food above!!)

We love Brooke as if she were our very own and are so thankful that God has brought her into our lives.
Our weekend didn't end with the wedding . . . more to come . . .
Celebrate . . .come on!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

2nd Annual Fish Fry

We hosted our second annual fish fry last weekend.  We planned the party for July thinking there would be no rain (last year we had a monsoon on the night of the party in the spring) . . .you aren't going to believe this, but it happened again!  We had our courtyard ready and all of our outside porches ready . . .but no go! 

I've been using my three tiered basket for all sorts of centerpieces!!  You can see the box of gummy worm "bait" on the right behind the basket . . .you have to have bait!

I used all sorts of fish for decorations!

I made the bobber banner last year and saved it in a drawer in the craft room . . .and ta-dah!  If we have a third annual fish fry, you will see it again in 2018!!

See that bass peaking out of the watering can?

Some people have to use fake antlers but we don't!  My whole decoration scheme was red and white and I asked Mark to buy bobbers . . .and he brought home orange and yellow ones!  You would be so proud of me . . .I didn't say, "why in the world did you buy that color?"  I said, "thank you!"  Y'all this was a rare occurrence for me . . .my words seem to fall out of my mouth before I can catch them.  Thank you Holy Spirit for the clamp on my lips!  Not a single person said, "why do you have orange and yellow bobbers when everything else is red and white?" 

I found these cute fish in a local shop.  They are still sitting on the mantle just because they are fun!

More fish, more red and white, and cute fishing hole signs were located in the plant in the entry hall.

I love using this box . . ALL. THE. TIME.

I color copied the fish and cut them out and glued them to small dowels.  I used my same little bottle vases inside the big box.  I found the fun cattails, etc. at . . .drum roll please . . .THE DOLLAR TREE!  Granted, I probably have $20 worth of Dollar Tree weeds and cattails in the centerpiece but it was so fun to create.

We served beer and lemonade.  We used the little table right outside the door on the screen porch for drinks.  We used this cute picture of Mark and George fishing as part of the decoration.

I love my door hangers created by Marcy Hill.  I have one for all three doors.

I thought I took a few pictures of people - the most important part but there are no pictures on my phone.  My friend, Terrie, took this picture of the guys that are close church friends.  Oh my goodness - these men are all so special to us!!  Our kids were here and that was fun and we invited our next door neighbors.

Why do we have a fish fry?  Mark loved catching fish from the farm pond so we end up with an abundance of fresh fish so . . .why not share??  We keep the menu simple - a few appetizers, Asian slaw, hushpuppies, fish.  Two people brought wonderful desserts.  We told our wine drinking friends to "bring their favorites" . . .

What a fun night!  Mark and I love to entertain and we make a good team . . .and it helps to have lots of fresh fish!  (Mark and Glenn fried bass, snapper throats that Allen - second from right above - caught.  Mark also made gumbo that everyone declared the best gumbo ever with quail, Alabama crawfish, nitrate free sausage, lots of okra, etc.  - the gumbo was one of the appetizers and we served it in small 8 ounce cups)

We feel so very blessed - to have fresh fish in abundance and to be surrounded by wonderful friends.