Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sick Week

3 of the 5 of us have been sick with head colds all week. :( It has been a tough week, but we did celebrate Thanksgiving in Queen style and we put up and decorated our Christmas tree. William also got out some of my Dept. 56 houses for the mantel! Today we got our homemade garland up.

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We went to the lighting of our town's Christmas tree last night in the drizzle. It s a big deal here in our little town and it is an all day event with a parade, music, carriage rides, Santa's workshop, etc. I'll probably catch my death!! There were a lot of people out in spite of the weather enjoying the singing and visits to Santa.

I am not a good sick person; I get sick and tired of being sick and tired very quickly. A day or two of no productivity drives me crazy. So, tomorrow I forge ahead despite of the coughing, aching, and headache!

Friday, November 28, 2008

"My Husband Rocks" Friday

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My husband rocks because he is more dedicated to me today than he was 22 years ago when we married. He is the picture of consistency and stability for our family.

And he got our Christmas tree up so we could start the holidays!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I Am Thankful For

My Heavenly Father

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"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll !!

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!

*borrowed from the The Womble Times

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Dad, My Hero


My dad was the most wonderful dad in the world. Really. Charles Talmadge was born in 1929 to Arthur and Verna in south Georgia on a large farm. He had two brothers and one sister.

He told stories of them walking to school barefoot after working early in the morning. Taking their lunch in a bucket which might consist of a biscuit that their momma stuck her finger in the middle of, poured some syrup and pinched shut. They came home from school and worked some more before dinner. These boys were taught a work ethic!


I remember stories of a carnival where the car of a ride let loose and through some people in the river. He told of standing on their porch watching a tornado pass in front of their home. My dad loved to talk about how hard his father worked in the fields and how his mom helped anyone that came along. Those were tough times in the 30's and his mom would hand out biscuits to men passing through.

Their house sat on a hill overlooking a two lane highway. Around the house were muscadine vines, fig trees, the salt house and pig pen. The large garage smelled of oil and fabulous old tools hung everywhere. Up the road within sight was a old country store. I am sure it was a huge treat for them to get to visit that store. I know from Dad's stories that they did not have a lot in the way of possessions, but seemed to have so much as a family. Each of the children respected their parents and I witnessed that as they each cared for their parents in their older years.

As a child I loved to walk to that store with my cousins to get a bottle Coke. It tasted so good. Then grandpa would ride us in his pickup truck across the fields. Each visit to that precious home meant so much to me. It was full of love, wonderful smells and acceptance. I loved to sit on a stool next to the stove and watch my grandma cook.

My dad along with his younger brother went to the Navy. He served during the Korean War and bought my mom's engagement ring in Hong Kong. He was proud to serve and as a child a remember looking at his medals often.

In 1963 I was chosen to be the daughter of Charles and Joanne through adoption. I never remember a time that I didn't know I was adopted nor a time that I didn't feel special. I was chosen and loved. I grew up as an only child, but not a lonely child. I swam everyday each summer with my friends and rode bikes when I wasn't swimming. My parents doted on me and provided me with a home filled with love and encouragement.


Back to Dad. He traveled much of the time during my young years, but I never felt like he was gone. He was ever present in my life through his words of wisdom, his affirmation and his consistency. I was his daughter and nothing was more important in his life. I watched him care tenderly for my mother and never heard him speak a harsh word to her. Never. He took care of us with joy. Goodness, how that affects a child.


I remember sitting with him trying to do math. I would be in tears; he an accountant with a daughter that just didn't get IT! Dad was always patient and I eventually did get IT!! He was patient as I changed majors three times in the first two years of college also...

Dad cared about every part of my life. He even had them do my tetanus vaccine on my back so it would leave a scar on my arm. Yeah, maybe a bit much, but I was his ONLY child. Nothing was overlooked or diminished. He just cared. Dad cared when I fell a skinned my knee and he cared when I had my heart broken the first time by a boy.

Reluctantly, because he had been my caretaker, he gave his only girl away in marriage to a man he trusted to take care of me. He had asked that I finished college before we married and we honored his request. Four years later we blessed him with a granddaughter. I only thought I was special!! Hannah hung the moon and the stars in his eyes. It was amazing to see someone that you gave birth to bring such joy to someone. My dad followed her around like a lost puppy once she started walking. That was his baby.


But, life sometimes doesn't go as planned and less than two years after Hannah's birth my Dad went home to be with the Lord. I was only 29 years old and I certainly expected him to be around a lot longer. He and William were my rocks; with them beside me I felt invincible. One of my rocks was gone and I had a little girl that didn't understand where her Pawpaw had gone. Every time the door opened she called out "Pawpaw" and it broke my heart all over again.

And I had a mother that was more lost than I. She couldn't function without him. I didn't have time to grieve, I had to take care of her and the estate. A year later my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Another story for another time.

To this day I miss my Dad. I accept his absence now, but the hole is huge. My children do not have a doting grandfather. I do not have a trusted adviser. My husband does not have a father in law. But, I do know and believe that God is in control. I do believe that He used this very difficult time to grow me and deepen my trust in Him.

I love you Dad. Thank you for being the perfect Dad for Hero

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Made Thanksgiving Garland!

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The girls and I made garland for our Thanksgiving Feast. It was easy and lots of fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Elf Yourself!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Advent Conspiracy was started in 2006 by five pastors who decided to make Christmas a revolutionary event by encouraging their faith communities to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All . The response was overwhelming and the Conspiracy was born.

No money comes to or through Advent Conspiracy. You decide who you are giving to and when. One option is to donate to provide clean water in developing countries.

Christmas can still change the world! This year, Give Presence!

Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All

Friday, November 21, 2008

"My Husband Rocks" Fridays

If you'd like to hear about how the original My Husband Rocks! Friday got started and read other ladies praise their men, head over to Katy Lin's blog, The Great Adventure.

Now for my post.

My husband rocks because even though he has been sick this week he has gone to work on the job and has taken the kids geocaching. He gives of himself to make us happy and comfortable. He Rocks!!

Psalms 89:11


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Know You're a Geocacher When...

1. Something is missing in your house and you announce " my _____ has been muggled"*.

2. You are asked where you live and you give the coordinates.

3. Everything is a possible cache container, everything.

4. You go to Wal-M**t to buy water proof containers instead of water proof make-up.

5. You start looking at your children's toys as vehicles for 'travel bugs'.

6. You value your GPS more than your cell phone.

7. Accessorizing means picking out one of your husband's walking sticks to match your shoes.

8. On the way to town you think ' I can get in one cache nearby'.

*phrase used when something is taken by a Muggle or a non geocacher

7 Negative Attitudes TV Promotes

1. Mindless Consumerism: The average American is exposed to 247 commercials everyday. Buying things has become reflex, due partly to the ideal lifestyle flickering on the television: big house, giant SUV, three-car garage, flat-panel television. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life, but are you buying things to improve your life? Or to compensate for feelings of emptiness? Find something to believe in; fill the void with something real.

2. Poor Body Image: Never before in history have we been surrounded by so many examples of physical perfection, shaped by cosmetic surgeons, airbrushed by artists, and distributed by print and video. Remind yourself that fitness is more important than perfection. And while it’s true that Americans outside the media are fatter than ever, even physically fit individuals struggle with a poor body image. Yes, attractiveness is an advantage, but your value runs deeper than your appearance, and those actors don’t look half as good without make-up and lighting.

3. Roaming Eye: Television gives everyone (men in particular) the idea that the world is overflowing with beautiful, willing sex partners; even if it’s true (which depends largely upon your own skills with the opposite sex), that roaming eye, that tendency to want what you don’t have, can be destructive if not monitored and controlled. Like all the elements in this list, human nature is the root here. Remind yourself that relationships are built upon more than physical attraction.

4. Destructive Communication: Electronic media brims with insults and anger. On message boards, gentle persuasion has collapsed beneath the weight of incivility. In real life, victory is seldom obtained with witty one-liners or rude put-downs. Hone those communication skills. Learn to Persuade without offending. Connect.

5. Clique Mentality: As if cliques weren’t prevalent enough, television programs often have casts that are socially, ethnically, and racially homogenous. That’s fine; it’s free enterprise at work, for the most part, and not every story involves a melting pot. I make no bones about it; I’m simply reminding everyone not to be afraid of diversity in the real world.

6. Stereotypes: As evolved as we believe we are, television is overflowing with stereotypes: the dumb jock, the bubble-headed blonde, the geek with a pocket protector, all products of lazy writing. Most of us are smart enough to recognize a stereotype for what it is, but I question the subconscious impact of such repeated exposure. The best defense is to remind yourself that every human being deserves to be evaluated as an individual, no matter how prevalent or justified a stereotype might seem.

7. Danger Fixation:
We’re wired to pay attention to danger, which is why the Discovery Channel broadcasts so many programs that show the world being destroyed by tsunamis, earthquakes, and giant asteroids; why the news leads with gunfire and bloodshed. Remind yourself that there are just as many positive forces in the world as negative; your focus on the negative is a matter of personal choice and perspective.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hannah Made Food Gawker Again!!

Hannah is #9292 on Food Gawker!!

Amazing Honey Orange Scones

Her first entry was #8989.

My Favorite Muffins

When you go to the site you will find the recipes.

We are PROUD!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Keith Green's life has impacted my Christian walk in a HUGE way. I read his book 'No Compromise' the first time in my twenties and have read it several times since. Being a singer, his music has blessed me also. He was so real and honest.

Keith obviously struggled with the hypocrisy he saw in the organized church and in his own short comings. He so desired pure worship and true Godliness; and it infuriated him that so many did not strive to know the real Jesus.

I see so much of what he was talking about in our churches today. In Isaiah 1, God tells His people this:

11 "The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?" says the LORD.
"I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
my soul hates.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;

16 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,

God is talking to His people! They came to worship and bring sacrifices, but the rest of their lives were unholy. They lacked the humility to submit to His law in their daily lives. Sound familiar??

What we profess must match up with our everyday lives; in all things.

People take their greed, anger, revenge, and hatred into church fellowship, say they are displaying God's Spirit? These characteristics are divisive! How can they say they worship God? The Spirit is quenched and people wonder why God is not blessing. He CAN'T. He can have nothing to do with that which is unholy. But, there seems to be a lack of understanding in so many church goers that God will truly have NOTHING to do with their unholiness.

The good news is that He gave His people a promise also!

17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow

18"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

19If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

God is good all the time!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Family Geocaching

Wednesday we left our house at 7am to head into the Smokey Mountains for a day of Geocaching. We pulled up 10 caches between Bryson City, NC and Pigeon Forge, TN. We found our first cache at 8:30am in Bryson City! That was only the beginning of the fun and adventure.

Here are the finds of the day along with pithy running commentary.

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Our first find was near the Nantahala River which is a nice rafting river. Sarah found this one, but I am not sure if she is awake yet!

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Our 2nd cache was in Cades Cove which was once home to a small mountain community. We spent awhile here because it is a beautiful place to visit. There are multiple home sites and churches along with abundant wildlife. This cache was what is called a 'virtual cache'. There is no box, but questions you answer based on where you end up. We were led to a cemetery where we had to answer two questions by searching the headstones.

The baby headstones were hard to look at. There was one mother that lost three babies in 3 years. As a mom it is hard to think about the sadness that some of these families experienced.

Sarah kept breathing deeply while making comments on the fresh air. We LIVE in the mtns. Sarah!!

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The 3rd cache we found was in Gatlinburg, TN. By now I am getting the hang of the handheld GPS. This was a small magnetic cache and we thought we weren't going to find it, but Hayden came through for us. This place had a beautiful view of the mountains.

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Next we headed to a park in town behind some businesses for the 4th. After crossing a bridge we found the cache near the base of a hill, which I started up and slid back down... on my behind...twice! Never boring.

The 5th cache was at a welcome center and we never found it though Wm. and Hayden looked a long time. SAD. No picture. We broke for lunch; everyone was getting a bit pale and it had been 7 hours since we had eaten.

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We moved on Pigeon Forge and found our 6th cache easily. It was another pretty easy one at an old mill. There were alot of tourist around so we didn't want to draw attention to ourselves. With our family that is not easy to do! There is always hollering, yelling, etc.

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The 7th was behind a business, but very easy to find. By now the kids are jumping out of the car before Wm. can put it in park to try to be the first to find the cache. (this includes the 18 yr old!) Lots of stuff in the box too! We took one item and put in two.

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Ketmit Geo

Now it was beginning to get into twilight and we were determined to finish all 10. The 8th one gave us a run for our money, but Sarah came through for us! She stuck her hand in a scary place and pulled out the box!! Lots of kids stuff in this one. There was a Travel Bug attached to Kermit (seen above), so we took that and left several items.

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Number 9 took us to the back parking lot of a drug store with the cache attached to a sign. Hayden found this one also. It had another coin in it. But, NOW it is dark and we have no idea where we are headed for the 10th and final cache.

I put in the coordinates and off we go. The GPS took us out of the city on to back roads. We pass a church and the it seems that we need to turn by it. We turn around and sure enough, that is where we needed to go. But, it leads us past the church up behind it. There were no lights except our headlights. We start up a hill and see...

oh, yes a cemetery...

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William took the GPS and started following the arrow. He and Hayden found the cache off in the woods at the back of the cemetery where it was VERY dark. The girls and I did not go with them; creepy and scary. We are whimps! Ok, Sarah did get out; Hannah and I did NOT.

I promised the girls an hour of shopping at the outlets after geocaching. After a little shopping we had ICE CREAM!!! And drove home with three tired, but happy children. And two very tired, but happy parents. I do not know what was up with the face William was making.

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The wonderful thing about this day is that our children enjoyed doing this and enjoyed being with their parents. They enjoyed each other. Hannah worked with Hayden taking pictures; he is interested in photography. Sarah patiently posed multiple times for Hannah to take pictures.

We talk often of the "myth of teenage angst and unhappiness"; how society has convinced our youth that they must rebel and dislike their parents to become independent. Not true. Our young people can live happily under the protection of their parents while they seek what path God has for them.