Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Senior Citizens Alphabet


New Alphabet

A is for apple, and B is for boat. That used to be right, but now it won't float! Age before beauty is what we once said, but let's be a bit more realistic instead.


Now The Alphabet:

A is for arthritis.

B is the bad back.

C is the chest pains,perhaps car-d-iac?

D is for dental decay and decline.

E is for eyesight, can't read that top line!

F
is for fissures and fluid retention.

G
is for gas which I'd rather not mention.

H
high blood pressure--I' d rather it low.

I
for incisions with scars you can show.

J
is for joints, out of socket, won't mend.

K
is for knees that crack when they bend.

L
for libido, what happened to sex?

M
is for memory, I forget what comes next.

N
is neuralgia, in nerves way down low.

O
is for osteo, bones that don't grow!

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few,just give me a pill and I'll be good as new!

Q
is for queasy, is it fatal or flu?

R
is for reflux, one meal turns to two.

S
is for sleepless nights, counting my fears.

T
is for Tinnitus; bells in my ears!

U
is for urinary; troubles with flow.

V
for vertigo, that's 'dizzy,' you know.

W for worry, NOW what's going 'round?

X is for X ray, and what might be found.

Y for another year I'm left here behind.

Z
is for zest I still have-- in my mind.

I've survived all the symptoms, my body's deployed,and I'm keeping twenty-six doctors fully employed!!!

THIS DAY'S . . .

Tolstoy, again ..... what a mind!

A man condemned to immediate execution will not think about the growth of his estate, or about achieving glory, or about the victory of one group over another, or about the discovery of a new planet. But one minute before his death a man may wish to console an abused person, or help an old person to stand up, or to put a bandage on someone’s injury, or to repair a toy for a child.

~Leo Tolstoy

I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

~Psalm 41:4, The King James Version

NOW I KNOW . . .

I HAVE PASSION, BUT EVIDENTLY, NO AUTHORITY! Grrrrrr...........

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Simple Women's Daybook is hosted by Peggy. Pop over to her site and see what other simple women do.

For Monday, March 30, 2009

Outside my window... It is raining again today, but I especially have notices all of the beautiful lavender wysteria blooming everywhere. O, how I love Spring!

I am thinking... about all of the people on our Prayer Warriors list who need our prayers, and for some other special people in my life who are ill.

I am thankful for... my grandchildren. Baseball season is in full swing and attending their games and watching them grow and learn is like pouring sweetness on my heart. It is such a great joy and blessing.

From the kitchen... During baseball season, our diets suffer miserably. I ate a corndog at the ballpark, and then had a bowl of cereal when I got home. I had some leftover taco things but I left it for my sweet hubby because he seemed to enjoy it so much when I made it Sunday evening. Yes, he finished it off!

I am wearing... Grey slacks, pull-over top, belt and black pumps.

I am creating... I have stopped writing on my novel and am pondering a new direction. I cannot seem to find an approach to what I want to say that I'm happy with. It's frustrating . . .

I am going... to two ballgames tonight. Bay plays at 6 and Hannah plays at 7:45 at a different park - we will be busy!

I am reading... I'm behind on my periodicals, so I'm catching up. I read an article on Kate Winslet in the December, 2007 Vanity Fair issue entitled Isn’t She Deneuvely? and another on Rupert Murdoch in the same issue.

I am hoping... for nice weather this weekend. I am itching to get outside, clean up the gardens, and visit the nursery and begin potting some colorful flowers for the patio and deck.

I am hearing... the playlist from my blog - I listen to it during the day while I'm working.

Around the house... I received the replacement roller brush for the steam cleaner so I'm ready to clean the carpets now. I've called a painter to come and give us an estimate on painting the outside, and now I've decided to do some inside work as well.

One of my favorite things... Vente Mocho Frappucino from Starbucks! YUM!

A few plans for the rest of the week: The grandchildren have baseball again tonight and then again on Saturday, when all three will play. I must work each day and then I mentally plan for my weekend when I become immersed in domestication!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

HEARTLIGHT

So timely, my prayer for you if you are reading this!

Blessings,
Abbey


VERSE: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ .... That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith... ~ Ephesians 3:16-17

THOUGHT: What's the greatest thing we can do to bless those we love in Christ Jesus? What is the most helpful thing we can do when a brother or sister in Christ or even a whole congregation of God'speople, is facing a major challenge from the Evil One? What is oneof the greatest gifts we can give to our children or our parents as they seek to live for Jesus today? The apostle Paul just showed us. We can ask God to strengthen his people with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their inner being. Then we can let them know that we have prayed this for them, and that we will continue to pray it until their storm is past.

PRAYER: Gracious God and Almighty Father, please bless ... (mention several people specifically by name as you pray) with your power and presence through the Holy Spirit. I will continue to do all I can to encourage and strengthen them, but I believe that they need your Spirit's power far more than anything I could do for them. Thank you for hearing my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I AM


AMAZED

Angel Food Cake

Thank you, my Christian Sister, Grandma K at A Bit of Blarney ....

~~*~~

Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God have to do this to me?' Here is a wonderful explanation!

A daughter is telling her mother how everything is going wrong: she's failing algebra; her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely, Mom, I love your cake.

''Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers. 'Yuck,' says her daughter. 'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!' 'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?' 'Mom, those are all yucky!' o which the mother replies: 'Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every orning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. If you like this, send this on to the people you really care about. I did.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

~~*~~




So take some time and reflect on your "recipe." You'll find, like I have, that He did mix the ingredients altogether and he has given me many an "angel food cake."

Sky Angel Cowboy

". . . you're a piece of gold . . . "

Note: Scroll down to the Playlist and click the "pause" button before clicking the play button on this video. This needs no introduction . . . this little boy has the most wonderful message. God bless you.

Abbey


HEARTLIGHT

If I misstated anything about prayer yesterday, I know that the Lord will correct me today. Praise Him!


VERSE: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27

THOUGHT: Most of us will face very difficult circumstances in our lives. When we do, we will likely feel that our prayers just bounce off the ceiling. Our words will seem empty and useless. We can't seem to verbalize what is on our hearts. We feel like our words are ineffective and insufficient. So what do we do? We trust this promise. We go to God in prayer! Even when we don't have words to say, we offer our hearts to him, trusting that the Holy Spirit takes those thoughts, emotions, and inarticulate frustrations to God. The Spirit makes our hearts known to God, interceding for us according to God's will. Even when we don't have words, the Spirit makes our needs known. What a tremendous reassuring grace!

PRAYER: Abba Father, it is so comforting to know that my words, thoughts, and emotions are all presented to you through your Holy Spirit. Father, I feel inadequate to approach you and I know without the intercession of your Son and the Holy Spirit that I would not be worthy to do so. Thank you for giving me the assurance that you will always hear me even when I can’t find the words to say. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

On Praying

Instincts or gifts from God? Number one, I am not a patient person. It's been my greatest human failing. In the last couple of years, I have faced some real challenges in my life. I was forced over and over again to deal with my impatience, and althought it's still there and trying its best to rear its very ugly head, I am stronger and I more or less sit on it, my back side suffocating and keeping it down where it belongs, out of sight.

Historically, I've shown an inability to deal with my own life objectively when there were emotional issues or other problems infecting my state of bliss. I am a very sensitive individual, but I don't feel I am a rare bird. Do you know anyone who can look at their problems in a rational way and not become anxious? I might know one, but gee, whoever it is, the name escapes me at the moment.

On the other hand, whenever someone I love or feel close has a problem or is in a state of unrest, I can figuratively put on my hat that reads "Therapist and Counselor Extraordinaire", and I am wise beyond belief. "Everyone" tells me that I give the best advice and say just the right thing, but I do not have a degree nor formal education, and I am labeling myself based purely on experience. What better education is there? After all, I have been through the muck more times than I can count and have been a patient off and on for over twenty years. However, I have this deep sense that there is something deeper going on. I feel it is divine, it is heavenly, spiritual, peaceful and comforting. Suddenly I feel I am a wonderful mother, daughter, grandmother, wife and friend after all. Old saying: If you want someone to change, you must change yourself first.

I think that saying was a trick. While I was concentrating on making self-changes in order to facilitate other situations, I became a better person in all aspects of my own existence. If one has the courage to look to oneself for the flaws, accept them and adjust what one can, it can be a revelation in its truest form.

I have been in situations where I prayed, long and hard, and the answers did not seem to come. Imagine my humility when the answer I was seeking turned into a valuable lesson taught to me directly by our Loving Father in Heaven. There are many in my circle of life, and so most certainly millions throughout the world, who will pray in earnest every day and then protest "but my prayers are not answered." What are you looking for? Are you thinking in your earthly body that there is something perhaps tangible that will evidence His answer to your prayer? Are you expecting a deep, yet soothing voice to whisper the epiphany of all time into your ear and suddenly, all will be well?

I am not criticizing. I am talking about me, what I expected in the past - at least a couple of thoughts about what I thought might happen if I prayed in earnest and really put my heart into it. I'm thinking that the Lord doesn't work quite as we might expect. It's okay to expect a lot; He is, after all, The One and Only God. BUT, asking for something like you might ask your mother, "Mom, may I have a popcicle?" and your mother immediately responding "yes" or "no" is unrealistic. In my experience, God speaks in many different ways. You may be watching television and something will speak to you and you will recall a particular prayer and suddenly realize that this is the answer you have been seeking. You may be miles down the road (i.e., days or weeks since you asked Him for a special need) and something will happen right in front of you and you will know that it was an answer. I don't feel that you can just go around actively looking for God's answer to your prayers.

Do you know what FAITH means? To me, it means that I ask Him for what I think I need, then I GIVE it to Him and put it out of my mind. FAITH means that I know He heard me the first time, He knows and sees what is in my heart, and He knows what is best for the situation. His view on the matter may be completely different, and it probably is most of the time, but He knows best and He WILL take care of it when He sees the right time has come. I have FAITH that He won't forget, and I don't have to remind Him every day, "Lord, I asked you for this, why haven't you answered me?" If it were my Mom or Dad, they would have sent me to my room for hounding them about it over and over. Patience? Our Heavenly Father has infinite patience, enough for the world, but it's sad that we put Him through such trials on His patience. Sometimes, I tell my husband that I can feel God looking down on certain situations and shaking His head in frustration and sadness; perhaps saying, "I gave them [this] and look at what they are doing with [it]." That makes me sad.

I want to close this with something very sweet and touching that happened in our home on Christmas Day 2007. I won't ever forget it.

My middle grandson, Bailey Christopher, has the biggest heart. He has so much heart that it will break yours. He is so loving and for a boy of 7 years, he has so much spirituality about him that you would have to be a mannequin to not be affected. On that Christmas Day, all of the family was gathered at our home, dinner was ready and we all stood in a big circle with our hands clasped together. Bailey asked if he could say Grace (imagine!). Of course, because we know Bailey, we told him to take the lead. I will recite as closely as I can the beginning, but close to the end, this is exactly what he said, so pay attention:

"Lord, thank you for this food. And Lord, thank you for my family and my friends. And Lord, please bless all the soldiers who are at war and bless their families. And Lord, thank you for all the presents that I got today. You know, I asked for a motorcycle . . .[pause] . . but I didn't get it. But that's okay. You probably gave it to some other little boy who wanted it more than me. Amen."

God bless the children!

Notre Dame Obamanation

From "The Catholic Knight"


Dear Father Jenkins:

It has come to our attention that the University of Notre Dame will honor President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker on May 17.It is an outrage and a scandal that “Our Lady’s University,” one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage. . . .
Continue reading this and sign the petition here.

THIS DAY'S . . .

I like the way Emerson thinks!

As the grave grows nearer my theology is growing strangely simple, and it begins and ends with Christ as the only Savior of the lost.

~Henry Whipple

Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

~ 1 Timothy 6:12, The Revised Standard Version

Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saint Peregrine Laziosi

Dear Friends in Christ, I hold four very dearly loved ones in my heart today who are battling the dreadful disease of cancer. Two are in very critical condition. One of those is my cousin. His birthday was yesterday and he is 56 years old. I wrote about him in February 2008 when the first tumor was found on his brain. He underwent surgery and chemo treatements and was doing very well this time last year. He is now suffering seizures and is unable to verbalize his thoughts or communicate. He suffered a seizure night before last and is in the Neurology wing at University Hospital. I humbly call upon you to please say the Novena of the Patron Saint of Cancer, Saint Pergrine Laziosi on behalf of my cousin, and three others in my circle of family and friends. I know that prayer is extremely powerful, but accept His Will, whatever that is. Blessings to each of you and know that your prayers are appreciated. I will continue to pray for you as you pray for me.

Abbey

Patron Saint of People with Cancer

"I carry in my body the dying of Jesus"
(2Corinthians 4:10)

Saint Peregrine was born in 1265 in the town of Forli, about fifty miles north east of Florence. Some of the cities of northern Italy were at that time involved in a conflict between the Pope and the Emperor, Forli taking the side of the Emperor against the Pope. The Pope of that time, Martin IV sent an army to the town to try and reassert his authority over the people but the city resisted this Papal pressure. A Servite Friar by the name of Philip Benizi, who was Prior General of the Order, who was visiting Forli during the time of conflict, agreed to try and act as mediator between the conflicting sides. Philip addressed the crowds and asked them to return to obedience to the Pope but was shouted down by the crowd and driven out of the city with insults and violence. While Saint Philip was praying for his persecutors, one of the crowd, an eighteen year old by the name of Peregrine Laziosi, repented of his part in the violence and humbly asked Philip for forgiveness. Philip received him with love and forgave him immediately. From that moment, the young mans life changed as he put aside his former way of living and became a man of peace and prayer.

It was quite a while before Peregrine entered the Servite Order as a lay-brother; he was about thirty years of age when he went to Siena to do his noviciate. We do not know why he delayed his entry into the Order but it is thought that the delay might have to do with the difficulties associated with the official recognition of what was a fairly new Order in the Church.After some years he returned to Forli where he lived for fifty years a life of prayer, penance and outstanding service to the poor and the sick. It seems strange that the Servite saint whose name is associated with healing should be that of a lay-brother, with no medical training, whilst St Philip Benizi, who was a doctor, should go unmentioned in this regard!

The medicines and treatments of that time were, by modern standards somewhat primitive but through the care and compassion of Peregrine the afflicted saw the love of God made incarnate in this simple friar.At that time physical penances were very much a part of contemporary spirituality and one of the penances favoured by Peregrine was that of standing for long hours of prayer. He developed varicose veins when he was sixty years of age and, on his right leg, these became malignant. So dreadful was his condition that amputation was thought to be necessary if his life was to be saved. We must remember that at that time there would have been no anaesthetic and the shock or resultant infection of such an operation would have killed most people. On the night before the operation Peregrine dragged himself before the crucifix in the Chapter room of the Forli priory. There he became drowsy and seemed to see Jesus descend from the cross to heal his leg.

The following day, the doctor came to perform the amputation but could find no sign of the wound. He was shocked to see this and very soon the whole of Forli was talking about the great miracle that had taken place.Peregrine died of a fever in 1345 when he was almost eighty years of age. An extraordinary number of people from the town and surrounding countryside came to pay their respects and many claimed that they were healed through his intercession. His feast is celebrated by the Church on the 4th of May.Peregrine Laziosi was canonised by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726 and he is known as a powerful patron of those who suffer from cancer.

Here is a Novena to Saint Peregrine, the patron Saint of Cancer. Recite the Novena every day for nine days.


Novena To St. Peregrine

Glorious wonder-worker, St. Peregrine, you answered the divine call with a ready spirit, and forsook all the comforts of a life of ease and all the empty honors of the world to dedicate yourself to God in the Order of His holy Mother. You labored manfully for the salvation of souls. In union with Jesus crucified, you endured painful sufferings with such patience as to deserve to be healed miraculously of an incurable cancer in your leg by a touch of His divine hand. Obtain for me the grace to answer every call of God and to fulfill His will in all the events of life. Enkindle in my heart a consuming zeal for the salvation of all men. Deliver me from the infirmities that afflict my body (especially . . . .). Obtain for me also a perfect resignation to the sufferings it may please God to send me, so that, imitating our crucified Savior and His sorrowful Mother, I may merit eternal glory in heaven. St. Peregrine, pray for me and for all who invoke your aid.

Prayer to Saint Peregrine

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder-Worker," because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you.

(Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)

Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Positive Thoughts


HEARTLIGHT

This is a wonderful analogy and the Prayer is simply awesome!
Peace be with you,
Abbey


VERSE
:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. ~Romans 8:16-17

THOUGHT: Your Brother died and left you the family inheritance! That's the message here. Because we have God's Spirit, we are God's children. If we are God's children, then we are heirs of all that God has to offer us. We are co-heirs with Christ, whose death made our adoption into God's family possible. So if we have to put up with some hard times or some painful difficulties, we will not despair. We know the time is coming when we will inherit all the blessings of heaven!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your grace. I need you to pour out that grace more and more. Please help me bear up under the weight of my trials and temptations with character and faithfulness. Please give me the courage to hang on through the tough times because I know that I will eventually share heaven with you. Thank you for your Spirit, my assurance that I am your child and that I will share in all of your blessings. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

"The Simple Woman's Daybook" is hosted by Peggy. Visit this site here.

It is a workday and it is raining outside. God knows that it is Springtime and we will all be planting new flowers and the annuals are thirsty and want to begin waking for a new season. I ventured out at lunchtime to purchase several greeting cards. I have several sick friends and family, but also took the opportunity to purchase some Easter cards. I could spend hours in Hallmark reading cards!


~*~


1. Outside my window ... it is raining as I gaze down on the traffic and wonder, "where is everyone going?"

2. I'm thinking ... about all of the things that I want to do over the weekend, and I always have too much on my list.

3. I'm thankful for ... all that I am and all that I have because of Christ's sacrafice for me.

4. I'm wearing ... a skirt, black pullover and black sling-backs.

5. From the Kitchen ... Did I hear hubby mention eating out tonight? Sounds like Mexican for me, and I may even have a treat and drink a frozen margarita.

6. I am creating ... my novel, which I finally got around to writing another chapter and posted before writing this.

7. I am reading ... rag mags and decorating tips. My books are suffering and I look at them in their neat little stack every day.

8 . I'm hoping ... that retirement will come sooner rather than later!

9. I am hearing ... Rusty across the hall talking on his telephone. He said, "she's crazy!"

10. Around the house ... There is so much pollen and I wonder how much good it will do to wash everything off outside. No matter; it reminds me of hubby saying "no need to wash the car, it's going to rain." His glass is half-empty, where mine is half-full and I say, "it needs washing anyway; leaving all the old dirt on it spoils the finish."

11. Few plans for the rest of the week ... Dinner and maybe a movie with my son and his fiancee on Friday; dinner with my best friend on Saturday night; the kids will all play ball on Saturday if it doesn't rain, and of course, MASS on Saturday.

12. One of my favorite things is ... going home on Friday, knowing I do not have to be anywhere the next day!

13. Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...


The Road to Conversion - Chapter Six

June 1959 - Daddy knew that the Air Force was going to transfer him, and he and Mama were hoping that our little family would be sent far, far away, someplace like Japan or a country in Europe. The tension of living so near the rest of Daddy's family was like a dark cloud that was above his and Mama's heads everywhere they went. As an adult, I understand that everyone was lurking and watching, waiting to see what they were going to do with these two young wards that had been dropped at their doorstep. Along with being under the watchful eyes of those whose tongues wagged and dripped in thirst for their failure, God knows why, there was the intermittent appearance of Evelyn in their lives.

That first Christmas with Uncle Ben and Aunt Billie was extremely happy for my sister and I. Mama got up early with us, and I know it was early because it was still dark. She lay on the sofa, her eyes a vivid memory to me, sleepy yet gentle and caring, while Ella and I went through all the things that Santa had brought us. It was certainly the most Ella and I had ever received from Santa Claus and we must have been voracious in our appetites to open, inspect and play with everything. I remember that I received a small doctor's bag. It was red and made of plastic. Inside among other things were small packets of colored "pills". I listened to Mama's heart with the stethescope and insisted that she needed some pills to make her feel better. She took them and appeased me without complaint.

I have no memory, but am aware that we traveled to Birmingham sometime that Christmas Day to spend time with Evelyn, her new husband and my baby brother. My Mama said it was the worst day of her life and she swore that tearing apart our lives in this way would never occur again, not if it was within her power. And so it was.

Orders came and we were to move to Amarillo, Texas and Daddy would be stationed at Amarillo Air Force Base. Movers loaded our belongings on a truck and we left Selma with our 1957 two-tone green Oldsmobile loaded to the hilt. We traveled across the southern United States on small two-lane roads in a quasi-caravan with another family who had also been sent to Texas. Mama packed a large ice chest with cold beverages and sandwich meat. As it happened, our car was full and the ice chest wouldn't fit, so we let the other family put it in their car. Once we were on the road, we became separated when we stopped for fuel and they continued on without noticing us. When we finally caught up with them, they were at a rest stop enjoying our food, and there wasn't much of it left for us!

After a misstep or two on the part of whoever was arranging our housing, we finally settled into a small duplex near the base. The grade school was across the street, so it was very convenient for my sister who was in first grade. Mama and Daddy worked, so Ella would be released from school about an hour before Mama got home from work. She wore a key on a string around her neck and accessed the house all by herself, at age six. I suppose we were "safe" back in those days. I do recall one of the saddest memories of driving up and my big sister, who was only six years old, was standing at the window of the back door sobbing. I stayed with a babysitter and we were running late. Ella thought she had been forgotten and had been standing there crying for Lord knows how long. It makes me so sad to think of it now.

We attended church regularly. Mama was raised in Assemblies of God and Daddy was raised in Church of God - same thing, bascially. Women couldn't wear makeup, pants or shorts or swimsuits, but Mama wore pants and shorts. However, it would be a long and hard-fought war over wearing makeup when that time in our lives came.

Every Saturday night, Mama would wash our hair and put it up in pin curls. On Sunday morning, she'd have us dressed in identical outfits, sometimes in different colors and sometimes in the same. She would comb our hair and maybe put in a barret or a headband, and we were off for Sunday School and Church. Pentecostal is a wonderful faith, as all faiths are; however, I never felt comfortable. It certainly isn't for everyone; no faith is. In Sunday School, we were given "Lesson Books" and I never did my lesson, or read my scriptures. I didn't understand them. There were no "living" Bibles then. It was The Bible as it was written and it was Greek to me. I enjoyed singing "This Little Light of Mine" the most. But I was called upon by the Sunday School teacher to answer questions and I was always, always put on the spot and left embarrassed. I never knew the answer or understood the verses. The other kids seemed to understand; was there something wrong with me? Why didn't I ask my Mama to help me? I don't know, I just didn't. And because I was ill-prepared each and every Sunday, I dreaded Sunday School with a passion. I dreaded Church equally as much because it seemed like an eternity (no pun intended) before the preacher stopped hollering hell, fire and damnation. We sang, we prayed, we had people shouting in an unknown language, we were asked to come to the altar and give our hearts to Christ. I wanted to go down to the altar. It seemed that those people were getting some kind of special attention; they cried and lifted up their hands; they got down on their knees and the Pastor went from person to person speaking softly. I wanted to go to the altar even though I had no earthly idea what it meant. I wanted the attention; I wanted to give my heart to God, whatever that meant. But otherwise, you could take church away from me and I'd be a happy camper.

As the years grew on, we went to church less and it became so infrequent that Ella and I resisted more strongly. It felt odd to show up at random and not know what was going on. Everyone in the Sunday School class of my age group seemed to know one another well. They chatted and laughed and I felt very left out and alone. My trepidation flourished. Many Sundays, I would lie awake and be quiet as a mouse, hoping that Mama overslept and that we would not have to go to church. Imagine my elation when we didn't go. Oh happy day!

Daddy never spared the rod, and neither did Mama, but Daddy was the primary disciplinarian. There were a lot of times when I felt afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing because Daddy's patience seemed so thin. Other times, he was outgoing and joyous and funny. Again, in hindsight, I feel he was trying too hard to make Ella and I turn out better than his sister, Evelyn, who had brought us into this world and gave us away like old clothing no longer wanted. It was an honest intention and he loved us deeply, and therefore, I appreciate his deep love to this day. We had a nice clean home, good clothing and healthy meals on the table every day. Mama and Daddy took good care of us and saw to all our needs, but they expected respect and good behavior in return.

There must be some things that are in ones gene pool and one cannot help how they respond or behave in certain situations. There are aspects of my personality that have never changed since as far back as my memories travel, and many of them I know came from Evelyn. I see her in me, and most of the things that I see, I don't like very much. I don't mean to infer that she is some kind of evil person, but history has been for me that it is the negative aspects of her personality that I inherited, the things that were her pitfalls also became my pitfalls. I will at times curse to myself and swear and be damned that I'm not going to be like her, in any shape, form or fashion.

Daddy worked a second job while also teaching school at the air base. We moved to a nicer little house on Ridgemere Street, a two-bedroom with a detached garage and fenced back yard that we rented from the people next door. It was larger than the duplex and was a single family dwelling. With the fenced back yard available, we obtained our first pet. Her name was "Midnight" and she was a dachshund who was black as coal, hence her name. We were finally moving up in the world. We lived on Ridgemere when I began the first grade at Forest Hills Elementary School. I also had the mumps that year. I was home sick with them on my birthday in 1961 when John F. Kennedy took the Oath of Office. I remember Mama ironing in the living room and watching it on the television.

Miss Hall was my first grade teacher. She was gentle and kind, tall with red hair and she wore glasses. There were two boys in my class who fought over my attentions all year long. One was a boy named Eddie. Eddie had dark wavy hair and brown eyes. He was cute and kind to me, but Johnny vied for my attention over Eddie. It was very flattering. Johnny had blonde hair and blue eyes and was what you might call a "bad boy". He got into scrapes and liked to tangle with other boys, scuffling on the ground at playtime, and he got into trouble in class for not completing assignments and such. I thought Eddie was adorable, but I was drawn to Johnny. Even at the age of six years old, I had already fallen into Evelyn's path of attraction for the forbidden, the bad boys.

To win me over, Johnny brought me some clip-on earrings. I don't know where he got them, but they were yellow daisies with white centers. I had a dress with a thin belt on it and I clipped the earrings to the belt. I was very proud for everyone to see the earrings that Johnny had brought me. It hurt Eddie's feelings and I could tell. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but I couldn't help it. Johnny had won my heart.

During recess, there was an imaginary line down the middle of the playground. The boys had to stay on one side and the girls had to stay on the other. This was 1961 and girls wore dresses to school. This girl and a couple of her little girl playmates liked to climb up on the monkey bars and hang upside down and show the boys our panties. We feigned that it was accidental, but we were flirting with them, even at such a young age. I didn't see the harm in it, but I also didn't go home and tell Mama and Daddy that I engaged in such unladylike behavior. Daddy would probably have given me a good whipping for it.

In a few months, Daddy was discharged from the Air Force, landed a job at a local car dealership, and he and Mama set out to build their first new home on the other side of town. It was another big adventure and I didn't give a second thought to Forest Hills School, Miss Hall, Eddie or Johnny. Come to think of it, I cannot recall the name of a single girlfriend from first grade. Isn't that odd?

Miss Jane Fonda

I have been following Miss Fonda's blog since inception in early January 2009. She began the blog as she started her adventure, traveling to New York City after a 45-year absence to begin rehearsals for the play, "33 Variations", which she is currently starring. I have found reading her blog to be very insightful, and I almost feel as though she and I are casual friends. I have sent a few comments, I know one was published (when she spoke of her daughter, Vanessa, coming to NYC), but my point is, she is human, she is gracious and she is brutally honest. I may not agree with her political views, but my aspirations are limited to Jane Fonda, the actor, first, and the woman, second. It is surreal to read all these months the tales of who's who came to see her and how long they have been close friends, etc. I cannot fathom she is her age (she certainly does not look it!). I have adored her as an actor all of my life and having even one comment posted, I believe, is a clear indication that she read MY words . . . how awesome! Yes, I'm starstruck and not ashamed of it in the least. I have been a wannabe actor most of my life. If you want to read up on Miss Fonda's blog, click here or on the link in my bloglist on the sidebar.

I AM


A CHAMELEON

Saint of the Day

St. Dismas
Feastday: March 25

All that is known of Dismas is that he is the
Good Thief crucified with Christ on Calvary. The other thief is known as Gestas. A completely unsubstantiated myth from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy that enjoyed great popularity in the West during the Middle Ages had two thieves who held up the Holy Family on the way to Egypt. Dismas bought off Gestas with forty drachmas to leave them unmolested, whereupon the Infant predicted that they would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem, and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise. His feast day is March 25th.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday Was Yesterday

This is my version of "heads up" . . . when you order your take-out lunch and ask for "unsweet tea", be sure you take a sip before you add any artificial sweetner. I bought Chinese take-out for lunch and ordered a LARGE unsweetened tea, grabbed a few packs of pink stuff and headed back to the office. I was ravenous, so I tore the tops off two packs of sweetner, dumped them in and stirred. I took a few bites of that good, salty, full of MSG Chinese and then grabbed my ice cold glass of tea. I took a LARGE swig and almost choked! It was like pouring liquid sugar down my throat! My tall, wonderful, cool glass of tea was ruined. I was maximum irritated. But you know what? I drank it anyway and I am B-O-U-N-C-I-N-G off these walls! Hmmm, doesn't that photo of iced tea look just plum delicious? How I wish I had a glass this very minute! Do you think it is a language barrier? UN-sweet tea - THREE SYLLABLES. SWEET tea - TWO SYLLABLES .... if unsure, ask for clarification, por favor! (pun on my oriental friends)

Alan Lee Keyes

Alan Lee Keyes is an American conservative political activist, author and former diplomat, and perennial candidate for public office. His blog, Loyal to Liberty, has been added to my bloglist. You will want to scroll down to Abbey's Playlist and click on the "pause" button which will enable you to hear Mr. Keyes' comments.


Election Day - Summation

I AM


SANCTIFIED

WEATHER BULLETIN


Up here in the Northern part of Michigan we just recovered from a Historic event --- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.

FYI: Obama did not come.
FEMA did nothing.
No one howled for the government.
No one blamed the government.
No one even uttered an expletive on TV.
Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.
Our Mayor's did not blame Obama or anyone else.
Our Governor did not blame Obama or anyone else either.
CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit - or even report on this category 5 snow storm.
Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.
No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.
No one looted.
Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government do something.
Nobody expected the government to do anything either.
No Larry King, No Bill O'Rielly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera. No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water. Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny.

Local restaurants made food, and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families. Families took in the stranded people - total strangers. We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns. We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die". We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks.

Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves. Maybe SOME people will get the message ....

The world does NOT owe you a living.

What Happens in Heaven

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.The angel then said to me, 'This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them. 'I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section,' my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.

'How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.

'So sad,' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.'

'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked.

'Simple,' the angel answered. Just say, 'Thank you, Lord.'

'What blessings should they acknowledge?' I asked.

'If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy . And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day . If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 700 million people in the world. If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world .... If your parents are still alive and still married ...you are very rare . If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair.'

Ok, what now? How can I start? If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

ATTN: Acknowledge Dept.: 'Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people to share it with.'

Monday, March 23, 2009

This Day's . . .

This day's Smile is guaranteed . . . or your money back!

Blessings,
Abbey

There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him.

~William Law

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

~Psalm 139:13-14, The New International Version

The Cure of Arts noticed a peasant farmer frequently kneel in church for long periods without the slightest movement of his lips, and asked him: “What do you say to our Lord during these long visits?” He replied: “I say nothing to him. I look at him and he looks at me.”

~A. Monnin

Heartlight

WOW, what was it that I said yesterday? No explanations or reasons "why" need be said. This relationship that I have with the Lord just blows me away sometimes! It is just so breathtaking ... beautifully so! I am humbled to follow up my comments and yesterday's Heartlight with another incredible verse and thought. Surely He is working through me ... and if so, it is my heart's greatest desire.

Blessings,
Abbey



VERSE: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ... For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

~Romans 11:33-36


THOUGHT: Some things in Scripture don't need commentary, explanations, or elaboration; they just need to be spoken and believed. I encourage you to memorize this short passage of praise and keep it close to your heart, and let it come from your lips during all your times of difficulty as well as times of bounty and blessing.

PRAYER: "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!… For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Generations




How many families do you know who can boast a portrait of five lineal generations? I don't know but a few, less than the number of fingers on one hand (mine), yet I have been blessed to have experienced having five generations in my Mother's lineage. We had a formal portrait taken by a very talented photographer, Larry Young, when my daughter had her first baby, a girl named Hannah Irelynn. In the photograph, there's my Granny who passed six years ago this month, my Mother, me, daughter (Christie) and my first grandchild.

This is how we keep our history alive - by passing things on. I have a LOT of stories to tell my grandchildren, and I am pumping my mom, dad, and other older relatives for lots of information and stories about their lives from their births. I have found that I love listening to stories of days gone by. Life was so much simpler then; I think I would have loved it. I especially love the story about my mama and her older brothers chasing the pig around the yard and when they caught it, she'd climb on top and try to ride it only to fall off and they'd all roll in the grass laughing. She was about 4 or 5 years old then. Here's a photo of her as a tot.


POSITIVE THOUGHTS




Do something because it feels right, not because it makes sense. Follow the spiritual impulse .

Sunday's Heartlight

His Graces are beyond amazing! Here I am again, in awe of Him for sending me the PERFECT Heartlight today. None of us needs to say "why" a particular message came at such an appropriate time, just that it did. It has renewed my faith and shoved me back on the path that I want to walk. Also, this Heartlight brings to mind a Chapter in the Psalms, Chapter 35. Read it and know that whatever people say or do against you means absolutely nothing. The Truth is always on your side; that Truth is HIM. If you know Him, all else falls away. God bless you on this most beautiful first Sunday of Spring! Smiles, all smiles!!

Blessings,
Abbey


VERSE: Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

~ Psalm 37:6-7


THOUGHT: "Chill out!" we hear heaven say to us. Come into God's presence with dependent, yet confident, patience. But how can we? We knowGod will do what is right for us over the passage of time. The Bible is God's story (HIS-story); it is the great testimony that he is always faithful to his promises, gracious in his power to redeem, and generous with his love shared with his children. So come into his presence and be willing to be still ... and patient.. and trusting ... and hopeful!

PRAYER: Father, in the quietness of this moment, I consciously relax myself in your presence and place the concerns and cares of my heart before you. I trust, dear Father, that you will act redemptively in my life. I confidently place my soul, my future, and my hope in your hands. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

WIDSOM: Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

~ Proverbs 16:13, King James Version

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I AM . . .

AN IDEALIST


Drawing by Per-Isak Snälls

ROAD TRIP!

I wish I could report that this is going to be a road trip for pleasure. But unfortunately, my 80 year-old mother-in-law had a little fall at church last Sunday night and her shoulder is fractured. She is having surgery tomorrow afternoon (Thursday), so I shall take a little road trip to be with my man, spend the weekend and provide moral support or whatever is needed. Miss Juanita is feisty and committed to getting well, and by golly, I know she will do it! If you don't see me around for a few days, don't despair -- AND DON'T CLAP AND SAY "HIP HIP HURRAY!" either. I SHALL RETURN! Say prayers for my safe journey and for a successful surgery and recovery for Miss Juanita.

I'VE LEARNED


I've learned.. That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.. That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned.. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned... That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned.. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.. That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned.. That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned.. That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned.. That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned.. That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned.. That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned.. That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned.. That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned.. That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned.. That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned.. That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned.. That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.. That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned.. That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned.. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.. That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned.. That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned.. That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Heartlight


VERSE: Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

~Psalm 37:5-6


THOUGHT: How much do you trust the Lord? Better yet, how much of yourself have you entrusted to the Lord? We have focused on the promised blessings the Lord longs to give us. Yet in his wisdom, God has chosen to make the release of many of these blessings dependent upon our trust in him and our asking of him. As long as we grip the steering wheel of our life, it is hard to let God take us in the direction of his blessing and his will. I saw a bumper sticker recently that put it this way: "If God is your co-pilot then you had better switch seats!" Committing our way to the Lord is offering our lives to him to do his work, to receive his blessing, and to know his presence. So what are you waitingfor?

PRAYER: Holy, Righteous, and Almighty God, everything is yours except the hearts of men and women. You have chosen that these will be yours only if we choose to voluntarily and lovingly commit them to you. Dear Father, I want to commit my way -- my heart, my life, my future, my abilities, my wealth, my family -- to you. I want to be used by you for your glory. I trust that you love me and long to give me your blessing along with your grace and salvation. I love you and thank you in Jesus' name. Amen.

MAXINE on Wednesday, March 18th





Some people shop at several grocery stores to save money. I do it to make a meal out of free samples.

This Day's . . .

God only comes to those who ask him to come; and he cannot refuse to come to those who implore him long, often, and ardently.

~ Simone Weil

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long. Be mindful of thy mercy, O Lord, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to thy steadfast love remember me, for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord!

~ Psalm 25:4-7, The Revised Standard Version

A church is God between four walls.

~ French proverb

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My son, Kerry's birthday was yesterday. Do all mom's stop on that special day and recall the moment that their child was pulled from their womb, wrapped in a nice warm blanket and laid upon their chest? I called him. "You are 26 years, 3 hours and 29 minutes old this very second!" That's can't be . . . I'm only 20-something myself. It had to be an immaculate conception and miracle birth . . . I'm still trying to explain my daughter who is twelve years older than her brother, why, it makes no sense at all.

I'm not going to grow old gracefully and I'll fight it with ever penny I have in my bank account! But for now, the birthday.

We celebrated at Shogun on Saturday night. Kerry met us with his fiancee, Amber, and my daughter, Christie, her husband, Keith and the grandchildren, Hannah, Bay and Ri were there, too. I was a bit trepid and had, in fact, chosen Shogun over Kobe to see if I liked it any better. Times have changed. The last few times we've been to a Japanese steakhouse, the chefs have been so blase and had no ambition to entertain me. That's WHY people go there - DUH! The food is so-so, it's the show we want to see. How lucky that we had a TERRIFICALLY DIVINE chef on Sunday! He was jovial, appeared happy to see us and entertained us start to finish. We cut him a large piece of Mississippi Mud just to show our appreciation, if the tip was not sufficient!

Hannah sat between me and Kerry's fiance, Amber. She gravitates to Kerry's girlfriends and at long last, I think we have someone of permanence to whom her attachment will not be disappointed or dropped without notice (we can only hope, I suppose, such is life.). "Mom, are you ordering me some sushi? Mom, MOM, what about the sushi? M-O-M!!!! I want some sushi!"


Hannah? Sushi? It didn't sink in because a ten year old girl ordering sushi just didn't align in the "this makes sense" column. Unbeknown to me, my daughter is quite versed on ordering sushi. I found out that she and one of her friends go to a place called Ginza on Valleydale about once a week - she says, "they have the BEST." She asked for a sushi menu, which was a green card. I watched her peruse and make marks with a pencil. I asked her to pass it to me. "Of course I've had sushi! Hasn't everyone? I like the smoked eel." Wrinkle nose and "I don't really like the eel," she said. I took the menu and made a mark for "1 order" of the eel.

Kerry asked to see the menu and he ordered a couple of things as well. When it came ... well, look at the photo. When I ordered a "role", I thought it was one rolled up bite ... but it was a LONG roll cut into pieces. I didn't like the eel.

The California roll was a mixture of avacado and cucumber inside the rice roll with seaweed. The Philadelphia had cream cheese and crab. Both were unusual but tasty. Again, the eel was horrid ... Kerry continued to stare at his large plate of sushi. Oh, there were some shrimp rolls as well. It wasn't like any shrimp I'd eaten ... the tail was certainly there, but the taste was unfamiliar. Christie took home a LARGE go-box of sushi. Lee did try one bite of the Philadelphia roll but I knew he wouldn't like it and he didn't.

The chef was a virtuoso with his cooking tools. One of the funniest things he did was to flip the egg up into his hat. They all do this, right? He continued to cook and maybe five minutes or so into the cooking, Hannah said, "that egg is still in your hat." "What?", he asked? She repeated. He reached up and pulled out a rubber chicken and said "that's where we get our chicken!" It was hysterical. He tried flipping the rice into the mouths of the babes and I believe one of them may have caught it once he told them to close their eyes and open their mouths very wide!

Dinner was terrific, Christie's "brownie", which was more like Mississippi Mud with her variation of a brownie mix, was rich and delicious. We loaded Kerry and Amber up with go boxes and made them take this home to avoid all temptation at our houses. A few of the employes came to the table with a large drum and a "boat" full of pineapple and sang something, I think their version of "Happy Birthday"???? They also took a photograph of Kerry and Amber (Amber's birthday is the 25th, same year) and gave it to them with a card, which made them big brownie points in my book!

The one thing that disappoints me is that the Japanese steakhouses have started serving spaghetti instead of bean sprouts. I asked the chef and he said that the fresh bean sprouts were more expensive and tend to go bad before they are used; spaghetti can be cooked as needed. Why does the gosh darn price of things have to ruin everything? I mean, spaghetti is ITALIAN people! I want my bean sprouts; I love my bean sprouts! We were a bit short on veggies, too. Not many zucchini or mushrooms for nine people. There was plenty of rice, of course. He failed to give everyone an appetizer of shrimp, but then most of us had shrimp with our entree anyway. I love the salad that is always dressed with Ginger dressing and of course, the clear broth soup. I brought food home, which is a testament to my diet. My stomach must be shrinking; I can't eat as much. YAY!!!

I'm always looking for new food fair, but hubby is like a freak of habit .... he likes to do the same 3-4 restaurants over and over. I totally objected to O'Charley's, so I think he does this with his kids occasionally. Applebees was so gross and dirty, and I can cook frozen onion rings and chicken tenders at home, PULEEZ! We do love our Mexican place and it never grows tired. We love Jim 'n Nicks but we love the catfish and usually order that instead of BBQ. We also visit Dale's a LOT. I love the large menu of meats with side veggies, and the Trout Almondine is to die for! It's large and has just enough almonds and batter and is very tasty. I don't think I have ever ordered anything at Dale's that I didn't love. They also have a nice cozy room in the back if you have a large party and want to eat together and visit, which is nice. For Italian, it's Leonardo's on Rocky Ridge, hands down! I have never ordered a bad steak at Texas Roadhouse and I love going inside and choosing my steak from behind the glass. Filet mignon is the only thing that interests me and that is what I serve at home, too.

A friend and I are planning to go to Fox Valley, just us girls, in the next week or two. I've never been and I'm looking forward to a REAL GENUINE DELICIOUS martini. My friend is a martini afficianado and she's going to pull me into a good, dry, dirty martini if it's the last thing she does! I've had chocolat martinis and I adore them, but the real martini, the hot going down the throat, the tough as leather, let's see what you're made of martini is elusive. I'll give you a full report.

Later y'all!