So do I stay or do I go?

I might have blogged about this already, but I don’t remember.  Regardless, this is going to be a stream of consciousness typing thing, so if I get redundant I apologize.

Background:

In August of 2014, I remember being at church and someone was preaching and hearing very clearly in my head “you should not be here”.  I don’t know if it was God speaking straight to me or what, but it freaked me out.

I flipped to the back of the notebook I was using to take notes, and tried to figure out what it meant. Was I not supposed to be there that day? Was I not supposed to be at that service?  Was I not supposed to be at that church at all?

Again, it freaked me out.

Granted, I had been feeling a bit adrift at my church then.  Our senior pastor was on the verge of retirement, and I do not feel that I got much out of his sermons for the last few years he was active.  We were blessed to have a regular rotating staff of those that preached, and the one that was preaching that Sunday is one that I used to get so much out of but lately had found that I got nothing.  I was tired of stories of his kids, his broken childhood home, and sports.  E.v.e.r.y. sermon was comprised of these things.

Slowly, however, the others that preached regularly moved on to other things/places.  Leaving us with the one preaching that sunday and the senior pastor.

So now fast forward to today, when the senior pastor has retired.

So guess who the new one is? Continue reading

So what’s your answer?

The time for Hodgepodge has come around again, and this time I’m ahead of the game!  I haven’t posted anything else on the blog in the last week, but I haven’t had much to say either.  So that being said, let’s go with the randomness!

1. Describe love using all five senses.
Oooh, this could be interesting.  Hmmmmm.
See: When your soul lightens upon seeing the one you love
Smell: That unique scent that no one else has
Taste: Just tastes better when shared with a love one
Hear: The one voice that after all this time can still make you melt
Touch: That ability to tell without even looking that the one you love has brushed up against you, but you still know who it is

Continue reading

Avon Calling

Just kidding.

When I was growing up, there was a running joke about home sales ladies.  They sold makeup (Avon vs. Mary Kay) and Tupperware.  Women would kick the men out of the house for the night, have chicken salad in phyllo cups and some stale cookies, and apply frosted blue eyeshadow around the dining room table. There were a few rebels, like one of my best friends.  She’s sold BeautiControl for gosh, almost twenty years now.  But for the most part, this was it.

No, wait, there was also Amway.  Can’t forget them.

But now?  Now you have so much more.  Thirty-One.  Tastefully Simple.  ::ahem:: Adult-themed products.  Avon.  Mary Kay.  Spongewear.  Southern Living.  Lia Sophia.  Pampered Chef.  Origami Owl.  Scentsy.  Longaberger.  Seven hundred different scrapbooking companies.  A thousand different health food supplement companies.  Can’t count the number of personal grooming companies.  Books.  Baby supplies.  More adult toys.

Continue reading

Book Review: Jesus Land: A Memoir

I finished this book over a week ago, and I cannot stop thinking about it.  It wasn’t an easy read, but it certainly was thought-provoking!  Written by Julia Scheeres, it was also published as Another Hour on a Sunday Morning in the UK.

Julia is the youngest of four children (one boy, three girls) in a very strict Calvinist family. When she was three, her family decided to adopt a boy. They were a bit taken aback when there were no white babies available and ended up with a black child, David.  Bigoted themselves, David’s new mom was afraid that his blackness would rub off on her whenever she touched him.  Julia, however, had an instant bond with him and loved him unreservedly, becoming best friends.  When David was a few years older, they decided he needed another brother ‘like him’, and adopted Jerome. These are the three children that move to small town Indiana in the early 1980s. Continue reading

Book Review: Killing Lincoln

I’m not a Bill O’Reilly fan.  In fact, if I had paid attention and realized that this was written by him, it might have influenced my decision to read the book.  Instead, I saw the book on a ‘best of 2013’ list and thought it was intriguing (plus I’m on a biography kick right now) so I added it to my library list. And I’m glad I wasn’t biased by the author’s name over the title.

To be fair, I don’t know how much was O’Reilly written and how much was the coauthor Dugard.  But from the first chapters of the book, written during the time when my native city of Richmond was being overtaken by Grant, forcing Lee on his way west toward Appomattox, I was intrigued at the way the story unfolded.  Lincoln’s involvement in the last days of the war, what Booth Continue reading

When I Give Voice to an Opinion, Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

So back to that Huffington Post article that I saw at work.  It was a link to a letter written by a man in a state that is debating the legal definition of marriage.  Currently, he happens to fall outside of that definition.  And he presented a very eloquent argument as to why the thought of 13 strangers debating his future without knowing anything about him, or anything about his life, or anything about his marriage was one of the more discriminatory actions he has faced.  You can go here and read the full letter–I encourage you to do so.  At a time when people debate this topic so forcefully yet I know several of my friends do not know a gay man or a lesbian woman, much less one in a committed relationship, it is a fantastic accounting of what a day in his life is like.  And it’s just that–a day.  A day when two people who are married to each other wake up in the morning and go through their day.  Go to work, eat meals, do laundry, watch a movie.  A day like the day you have, or the day like I have.

I don’t know why the letter resonated with me so strongly, but it did.  So I did something I think I’ve never done (unless it’s writing to my imagined BFF at USAToday, the Pop Culture Maven Whitney Mathison) and wrote to the guy that penned the original letter.

His name is Peter Monn.  And he wrote me back.  Continue reading

When I Give Voice to an Opinion, Part 1

So here’s a bit of back story.  A few days ago I was procrastinating at work and scrolling through my Facebook feed.  Lately I seem to be clicking on a lot of Huffington Post articles, and they had one that caught my interest so I center clicked on it and opened it up in a second tab.  And then forgot about it for the next few hours.  It caught my attention as many headlines do–because it was on an issue that I carry an opinion that I do not often discuss.

I made a promise to myself that I would change that.  That I would not hide my opinion any more.  I don’t feel that I was hiding it to begin with, but I certainly wasn’t speaking up.  Well, not any more than I normally do to friends.  But not loudly, and not often.

In my life, I have had the privilege of working in the theater, in the restaurant world, and in the corporate office of a men’s clothing company.  In each of these industries, I have had the opportunity to work with people who have a lifestyle that is quite different from the one that I live. Continue reading

On the Sidelines of History

Three days ago, on Thursday, a violent storm through my town knocked loose a branch from a tree in my back yard.  This limb fell on a wire that leads to my house, pulling it loose from the house.  The strain of that wire hanging in the air snapped one of the wires in the bundle.  That wire was my cable source.

I was gone all day Friday with my mother for her surgical procedure then babysitting my ‘nephews’ while their mother was at her schools’ graduations.  Saturday was my Father’s Day celebration out of town, so today, Sunday, is really the first chance I’ve been at home with nothing on TV to watch for the afternoon.

I realize this should be a blessing, and an opportunity to clean my house.  But after the week that I have had (working 40 hours in three days, volunteering for a golf tournament, and then the aforementioned Friday and Saturday activities), about all I was able to manage after church and a few hours at the playground with the same nephews was to veg out on the couch.  So I’m going through old items on the Tivo.

There are movies that I had recorded, some almost two years ago, and am now able to watch because the ‘new’ stuff is not recording.  One of the shows that I have been meaning to watch and never had the time was The Freedom Riders: An American Experience.

I was a triple major in college.  One of my majors was American History.  I even focused on the history of the South.  I was aware of Jim Crow laws.  I remember my elder family members speaking of them, though not often.  I remember my mother talking about desegregation of her schools, and how that was a huge upheaval here in Virginia.  I had heard of the Freedom Riders.

It’s oh so humbling to say, but here is the basic truth: I am ashamed.  I am ashamed that I would answer, when asked, that yes I knew about the Freedom Riders.  I knew that blacks and whites rode the bus together.

I am ashamed because I knew nothing. Continue reading

Wintery Mix of Hodgepodge

It’s time for the weekly link up!  Here we go . . . .
  1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen’s English…here’s the list for 2013-fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru.  Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.
    Yolo.  Because I believe in grammar.  Because I believe that you should take the time to write.  Because every time I see it in a Facebook post I have to go look it up because I forget what it means.
  2. When was the last time you rode a train?  Where did you go?
    I think it was when we took a day trip to NYC.  So maybe April 2011?  We left here at 6am, had a friend get on in Philly, and were in NYC in time to see The Normal Heart matinee.  Took a quick trip around 30 Rock, went to dinner, and then caught the evening show of The Book of Mormon. 
  3. Bagels-yay or nay?  Favorite ‘flavor’?  Favorite topping?
    Yes.  What kind of question is this?  Of course, yes.  Schmear.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t still go through the Krispy Kreme drive through, but there is nothing wrong with a good bagel!
  4. ‘Tis the season of awards shows…if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?
    This question makes up for the previous one.  Oh so many.  Now that Les Mis has been made I could be Madame Thenardier.  Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame.  Sister Hubert in Nunsense.  Ouiser in Steel Magnolias.  I love those quirky supporting roles.
  5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months….what say you?  Do you think kids perform better if separated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination?  If you’re a parent, is this something you’d support in regard to your own children?
    I don’t have children, so it’s hard to answer.  I see the benefit for the single gender classrooms, as you can eliminate some of the issues.  Yet new ones appear.  In the interest of fairness, and to make sure the same curriculum as the opposite gender, the same teachers should teach both classes.  Just swap out.
  6. What’s your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?
    Clean Towels. Every day. I will sleep on the same sheets to stay green, but I want new towels. 
  7. Do you have a ‘word’ for 2013?  What’s the story behind your choice?
    Not really.  My language skills are fairly developed.
  8. Insert your own random thought here.
    The news is currently on in the background.  And they are once again showing clips from something Barack Obama has said.  You know, he is a very charismatic speaker, regardless of your politics.  But I want a dollar for every time he says “uh” and pauses in his speeches.  I would be able to pay off my student loans and credit card bills by the State of the Union. 

And thus begins the year in which I turn 40….

I am not really a big resolution at January 1 kind of person.  I never have been.  I would make beginning of school year resolutions in September every year, which always seemed more appropriate, but January, to me, has always seemed like mid year.  Mid season, midway, you get the drift.

But for some reason I am having a harder time than normal with the turn of the calendar this year.  I turn 40 in a few months, and yet I feel like I was further ahead in my life when I was 26 or so than I am now.  I made more money, I was in a serious relationship, I had a job that was going places . . . now I have 60% of the salary I had at that age, not adjusting for inflation, I haven’t been on a date in heaven knows how long because it’s just easier that way, and after two years of unemployment I finally have a job I like, only my brain is keeping me from liking it very much lately.  So here are some random thoughts on 2013 and what I think may or may not be able to be done about each of the issues I am currently struggling with in my head. Continue reading

Thoughts on the 2012 London Olympic Games

I watch the Olympics.  And when I say I watch the Olympics, I mean I watch all of the Olympics.  As much as my Tivo can hold.  I may go back and rewatch parts of it.  It may take me six months.  But it will be done.  I am a self-confessed junkie.  I did not do a recap for the Vancouver Olympics.  When they came on, I was unemployed.  I had credit and deals at snapfish.  I now have two scrapbooks of the Vancouver Olympic moments that stood out for me in each sport and the stories that were cool for me.

But when I go back and read the thoughts I had on the Beijing Games in 2008, I was struck by a few things regarding my list of my personal standout moments:

  • I didn’t remember some of the stories.  When I tried to find video on YouTube on Jennifer Stuczynski’s coach acting like an ass, I not only found the video, but also discovered that two years later she married the guy.  No accounting for taste.
  • Kobe Bryant is still classy when it comes to international sport.  He might not be faithful in his marriage, he may be a conceited pig in person, I don’t know.  But at the Olympics, he is a class act.  Enjoying every moment of the games.  He had his first experience at Wimbledon this year . . . and it was the longest men’s three-set match in the open era.  Switzerland’s Roger Federer defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Podro 3-6, 7-6, 19-17.  Kobe was there, with his daughter, to see Phelps win the gold medal.  He was at the volleyball venue, watching the women run for gold–and the gobsmacked “WHAT?!” he mouthed after a spectacular save cracked me up.  Here is a man that knows his opportunity, and is taking it all in.  Every blasted moment.

But this year, London (in my opinion) did a fantastic job with the games.  They may have had empty seats, they may have had a few things going on that the locals didn’t care about, but I had a great amount of fun watching and enjoying the spectacle.  So without further ado, here are my favorite moments of the 2012 London games:

  • Ashton Eaton.  Who knows who this man is?  If I asked you if you had ever heard of Bruce Jenner, could you answer?  Could you answer before the age of the Kardashians? Continue reading

The Internet Confessional

Everyone has a guilty pleasure, right?

Something they don’t necessarily admit to a stranger as the first thing to tell them, but something that their best friend will know?

I have more than a few.  I knit and I’m almost 40, and I used to own a cat–stupid stereotype.  I like to cook, love board games, and have an unhealthy obsession with movies and tv.

Certain shows, no matter how many times you’ve seen them, you always stop at, right?  Another broadcast of Bring It On, or Legally Blonde, or Firefly/Serenity.  The private DVD stash of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Zorro: The Gay Blade, and Clueless.    Things you hide in the back of the drawer but can quote word for word?

The latest one for me is Burlesque.  I never saw it in the theaters, but found it on Encore one night when channel surfing.

I think I’ve seen it 30 times since. 

I can’t help it.  I admit it.  I love Cher.  I love Christina Aguilera’s music, and as an actress she grows on you.  I adore Stanley Tucci.  McSteamy makes an appearance.  And Cam Gigandet?  Yummy.  I love the bawdy dance numbers.  I love the corny lyrics.  I love the predictable plot.  I just adore the movie.

I have to go now.  They’re talking about “air rights” again….

It’s Anti-bullying month

My friends have used Live Journal for quite some time. I, however, only use it to download episodes of tv shows that I have missed. My friends use Live Journal to stay connected and, more importantly, to participate in fan fiction. I, however, only use it to glean info useful for mocking purposes at a later date.

One of the features I like, however, is what they call writer’s block. It’s a question that is posed on the front page, right when you log in, that provides you with a discussion point and something to get you writing. Something to respond to. Sometimes it’s a simple question, like favorite vegetarian dish (pasta, mozz cheese, basil, tomatoes–all fresh). Tonight, however, it was a bit more involved for me: Who is the biggest bully in your life? Continue reading

Hostess/Martha or Content/Mary?

Yesterday was a day-long (well, five hour) women’s retreat at the church that I grew up attending.  It’s a fine church, filled with many fine women.  With a friend, we comprised the entire 20-45 demographic, but it was still fun.  I have this thing every time I attend that church though–I call it attending church-lite.  I feel like there is no meat there sometimes.  For example: I knew I had to watch what I wore, the makeup I had on, and how I had my hair because my mother would be there–and those are the things that are important at these events.  Still, it was a nice time, and it was great to see old friends.

Back to the point: one of the breakout sessions yesterday was on how to be a hostess.  “Extending Hospitality: Welcoming Guests and Easy Entertaining”.  All about how to be a great hostess, to make sure that everyone’s needs are met and taken care of and that all are happy.  Even came with a recipe book emailed after class so you could have a bunch of hors d’eouvres  to choose from.

Today’s lesson at kids church: Continue reading

Snapshot of Americana

I have been gone all day.  I was at church, home long enough to change clothes, at a church function, then at a revised Sunday dinner before discovering a missed phone call and spending an hour on the phone with an old friend.  When I finally got in the house, I checked Facebook and email to catch up.  Upon which, I discovered, the new health care package was passed.

If I were to take this at face value among my Facebook friends, there is an interesting conundrum.  Evidently 2/3 of my vocal (i.e., post all opinions on Facebook) friends think this country is now going straight to hell in a handbasket.  Then there are the few vocals ones that say thank god for finally doing something about health care.

What I find interesting about this ratio is that the majority of my Facebook friends are staunch supporters of health care reform.  They have just remained silent compared to those that are die-hard Republicans and think that supporting health care reform or President Barack Obama is akin to aligning oneself with the devil.  The decry the desecration of the Constitution in the past day, that the national decision makers have forgotten the principles upon which the country was founded, and that we are now, essentially Europe.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t read the news all day.  I just find this humorous.  I disagree with much of those opinions, and the one thing that keeps coming back to me is this:

Founding Fathers never had to deal with HMOs or insurance companies.  They could trade a side of beef or a wheel of cheese for decent medical care.  If you can find a doctor that will work for such wages in today’s economy then please, by all means, let me know.  I’m moving to your town.

Interesting nighttime reading!  Time to check on the news reports and see what all the hooplah is about!