Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Favorite Things 41-50

One of the great things that has happened out of this writing is that I have become so appreciative about all of the things in life that make me happy.  Why shouldn't we?  I is January...the weather is either freezing cold, raining, or unseasonably mild most days, there isn't a whole lot going on after the busyness of November and December...and the majority of us are either on a diet, struggling with a new exercise program or trying to make some other major change because we've resolved to do just that.

Hoping against hope that this is the year that it works and that we are the conquerors we know we can be...although we look down at the water under the very thin ice we're walking on and we're like.  Oh. Wow.  Yeah.

Just strap on a life jacket (scripture) and keep on walking.  For me...that is Hebrews 10:35-36 "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."  I am trying not to focus on the words "rewarded" and "what He has promised" and more on the "confidence" and "persevere."  I hope that someday down this path I can shift focus and celebrate that paradigm shift.

Until then...I'm writing another list.  I know!  I have so many favorite things!  Isn't it great?

41. Fireworks

Every 4th of July of my adult life I have tried to find a fireworks show.  Some years were successful...and others were just an entire day of ridiculously hot followed by an absurd traffic jam on the way home from wherever.  But during those fifteen or so minutes...OH...I love (to the third power) it!  I sit in awe and try to imagine a John Philip Sousa march playing in the background as I thank God for letting me live in a country where I can sit on a blanket (or a varies from year to year) and enjoy a free (most years) fireworks show with people I love.

Yeah...exactly like that.

Last year was a bonus year.  Not only did I get fireworks on the 4th of July...but on a Friday night in May.  We were at the rehearsal dinner of my other-daughter, Lauren, and her husband, Tyler, on the top floor of a building in downtown Montgomery.  As the dinner was over, we all went outside to the veranda and watched the fireworks show that was going on at the Montgomery Biscuits (seriously...that's the name of the team) stadium.  It was awesome...and so appropriate to celebrate their upcoming marriage with a fireworks show.  In fact, Jill has said that she'd love to have fireworks at her wedding.

Um.  Yeah.  Okay.  Moving on...

42. Marching Bands

Well, all of that talk about marches got me thinking about marching bands.  I was in the band in high school....playing clarinet.  I actually was a majorette my junior and senior years of high school, and that was really a lot of fun, too. 

The Majorettes...We Rocked...Enough Said...:)
Just so you know if you have never been in band...there is nothing hotter on earth than a band uniform.  And I don't mean "hot" in the positive sense, either.  Our high school had ROTC, so the military band (of which I was a member my freshman year) had to play marches over and over for various functions.  Despite numerous or more of us almost always "locked our knees" which just means that we passed out.  I actually never did...but I thought about it.  I figured if it would get me off of that field playing the same march over and over...

Part of the reason that I love college football so much is the bands.  Professional football just seems to be lacking something...and I'm pretty sure that it is the bands. 

(I see all of you Auburn people rolling your here's yours...)
 (Better?  Good.)

Anyway, the point is...a marching band adds so much to the atmosphere of a football game.  The time and dedication that the band kids put into those shows is amazing.  Trust me on this.

Back in the day, we changed the "show" in high school every week.  That doesn't happen as much anymore.  Now they perfect one or two shows and go with them for the year.  I truly hate that not only do I tire of seeing the same show every week...but we learned how to do amazing things out there with very little practice on a wing and a prayer.  Most weeks, we got a thumbs up from our band director, Mr. G, which was miraculous now that I look back on it.


43. Gardenias

In my backyard, there are currently three gardenia bushes.  There used to be four...but Big Dave had other ideas as one was beginning to encroach on practically everything back there...but that's okay.  The other three produce a magnificent volume of blooms every May.  Gardenias were the favorite flower of my sweet Gammy, who died in 2004.  Since then, my bushes bloom in May and in August, the month of her birth. 

44. Kickball

When I was in elementary (or grammar) school...I loved playing kickball.  There is no other game that I've ever participated in that I felt like I was more fun...except possibly Monopoly.  The problem with kickball is that it has its season in one's life.  You start playing sometime around the first grade and are forced to retire in the fifth grade.  Sad, but true.

I remember playing at East Thomaston School and getting on base...hoping that I could round the base to home.  With my poor (read that: slow) response time...I could manage a ball as big as a kickball (and later...a basketball)...where the tennis ball was too small for me to chase properly.  The fact that the one photo I have of me at tennis camp gave me a few clues: I was wearing knee high white socks with Keds tennis shoes with my hair hanging in my face.  I mean...who does that?  Answer: Me.
Thought I was exaggerating?  Sadly, not. 

But I wasn't talking about tennis, was I?  Let's just summarize it this way...kickball...good.  Tennis...not so much.

45. Tervis Tumblers

I don't know if you have ever owned one of these or not...but if probably should.  The Tervis Tumbler is a cup or mug that is just short of amazing.  No, it doesn't clean your house for you or automatically fill itself.  But it is as awesome as it can be just short of that. 

No, I'm not a distributor.  Just a seriously happy customer. Want your own?  Wait until they go on sale...but until can see them at

46. Pretty Stationary

One of my favorite things in life is pretty stationary.  When I was a little girl, I received stationary as a gift...and I started writing letters to people.  I have always loved getting mail and I found that often when you wrote people...they'd often write you back.  I had a pen pal for a number of years...but I told her that her brother wasn't cute (and I was totally lying) because I thought that all girls hated their brothers.  What did I know?  I didn't get a brother until I was twenty.

I am still a big letter writer...and I love writing letters when the Spirit moves me.  Being able to do that on pretty stationary...just makes me happy.

47. Charles Spurgeon

Several years ago, being the bargain shopper that I am, I was in Lifeway in the sale section.  I was going through one of those times where I was reading what equated to a book every few days...and so I went into Lifeway hoping to find something to feed the beast, so to speak.  Although I have started reading fiction again these past three years...I went for a solid ten year period reading virtually nothing but Christian self-help books.  This was during that period.

I picked up a book written by Charles Spurgeon and it looked I bought it and took it home.  I enjoyed it so much that I went back a week or so later and bought another five or six and read through those.  At no time, did I ever turn the book over to find out anything about the author...I was just engrossed with what I was reading...and I enjoyed it very much. 

And then one day it occurred to me to find out something about this "new" author that I was so fired up about. 

Turns out that Mr. Spurgeon died in 1892.  Of course, I've been told that if I were Baptist (I'm United Methodist)...I'd have KNOWN this.  Ah, whatever.  I'm still a fan.

Such a fan, it turns out, that I bought a book of his quotes by topic on eBay a year ago.  I love the way the man wrote.  Here's a few quotes:

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. 

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. No one is so miserable as the poor person who maintains the appearance of wealth.
A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit's aid than he can create a world.

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

Giving is true having.

(These quotes were from

Anyway, if you love to read...check out some of his books.  They almost always have them on the bargain rack at Lifeway.  And what a bargain they are...

48. Southern Living Magazine

I love getting my Southern Living magazine in the mail each month.  I usually am tempted by whatever is on the cover...which, unfortunately, this month is "caramelized banana pudding."  Too bad I won't be trying that recipe.  *Sigh*

I love reading the articles about what is going on all over the South...although their view of "the South" is a lot more broad than mine is.  It is okay, though.  I like learning about Maryland and Texas too.

Although I usually read a magazine from page 1 forward...with Southern Living, I go directly to the back.  That's because Rick Bragg writes a column called "Southern Journal."  According to the notes here, it says that Rick is "...a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and author of several best-selling books, including "The Most They Ever Had" and "The Prince of Frogtown."  I love the way he writes...and I end up reading his column first and then a second (or third) time at another point in time. 

Southern Living was one of the magazines that my Gammy took years ago...but I was too young to fully appreciate it.  I've apparently grown up...because I seriously enjoy my Southern Living!

49. Crowe's Chicken Nuggets - Troy, Alabama

Since I've covered two of my favorite eating establishments in Thomaston, Georgia, I thought I'd skip over to Troy for a shout-out.  When I was in college in Troy from 1983-85, I ate at Crowe's about once a week.  I loved the chicken nuggets...and still do!  When we go to Troy or to the is necessary for me to purchase these and bring them back to my son...who is also a big fan.

So, if you go to Troy...stop on in...the tea is really good too. 

50. Hugs

Growing up, I wasn't really much of a "hugger."  I hugged family and close friends, but didn't really feel the need to greet new people in this manner.  Boy, has THAT changed.  One of my favorite things in life is a good old fashioned hug.  I love it when I see a kid that I've watched grow up come and greet me in this manner or when I see someone I don't get to see nearly enough.  I think the older we get, the more we need physical touch...or maybe I just like hugs and I'm just throwing excuses on the wall to see if one sticks.

Ah, why not.

Although I do understand that some people are not naturally comfortable with this type of expression...I will also say that I've seen others converted.  Primarily Yankees.

No offense to my Yankee friends who might actually read this.

It's just that down South, we tend to believe that we are all connected somehow (and we usually will figure it out eventually if we are) we greet you like family...with a hug.  We might have known you fifteen years or fifteen matters not.

I find that I can discover a lot about a person in the way that they hug you.  Some people are comfortable with the side hug and others go full front bear hug.  Me?  Just depends on the situation.  But I will tell you that I can tell if I like someone or not by the way that they hug me.  It is kind of like the handshake of the South.

One of the boys Jill dated didn't mind being hugged because apparently his Mama raised him properly.  The best thing was that he'd wait until you let go and never seemed to rush you.  Granted, I only hugged him for about three seconds at a time...but I remember this.  Weird? Others acted like they'd rather hug a cobra...and the feeling was, unfortunately, mutual.

I just hope that my future son-in-law is a hugger.  He'd better be.

Anyway, hope that you are still reading...and that you are ready for another installment.  It has kept me out of the kitchen...and that's exactly what I'm trying to do.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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