Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is your liver getting worked out?

Seems like people are always eager to offer what seems like sound advice. I know that I often hear such advice, ponder on it a minute or two with the best of intentions of caring out said advice, but usually fail miserably at any long term adherence. I once again am making an effort to follow some great advice that I recently heard. I'd also like to share that advice with you today. I wonder if you couldn't also benefit from its suggestion.

Last night I was able to travel to Bowling Green to meet and get advice from one of my favorite authors, Karen Kingsbury. She is a Christian-fiction writer and it's definitely not just me who thinks her books are wonderful. According to her online bio, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s #1 inspirational novelist. There are more than 15 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 50 novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists. My favorites involve the widely-known Baxter Family of which I feel I am a member of since reading every book in that particular series.

One major point that I took away from Karen last night was a piece of advice she had gotten from her dad. That is "Life is NOT a dress rehearsal." She went on to say that she doesn't want her children in years to come to think of her as a good writer or for what her bank account may hold. She wants them to think lovingly of her for being the best mother that she could be and to have passed on life skills that her children will share with their children.

Now I'm not sure if I took it the way her dad intended for her too, but when she said this, I was thinking, "stop putting off things in life until tomorrow because there is no promise of tomorrow." This could be taking that family vacation you think you can't afford right now, mending fences with a family member or friend, always saying "I love you" or whatever else it is that you're "putting off" for the moment. Life is not a dress rehearsal and it's inevitable that we will make mistakes as we go through, but we learn from our mistakes, right?

Another great piece of advice she gave the audience is actually from Proverbs 17:22 (NIV):
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
In other words, LAUGH! You're at a good place when you are able to laugh at yourself. Lord knows I often laugh at myself. Sometimes it is in order to keep from crying, but most of the time it is because I have yet again done some ridiculous thing. But... laughter is good medicine so I guess I'm just looking after my health. Karen also told us that laughter is the only thing that one can do to exercise his/her liver. Well..... we all want are livers to be in great shape, do we not?! 

What I wonder today, is how many people will get their livers in shape today by laughing? I'm sure I will at some point. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June Bug on a String & Flies on the Butter

Welcome to Summer 2011! Today, June 21, 2011 at exactly 12:16 pm CST, summer officially begins! Yay! Of course, it's felt like summer for some time now with the 90+ degree weather. While I may be hot and miserable some days, I do enjoy summer! This morning I got to reminiscing about summers gone by and how different it is from now.

The first major difference I've noticed is I AM OLD! Last night as I sat incredibly uncomfortably on a metal bleacher at Summer Shade Elementary watching my nephew play his last ballgame for the year, I was noticing how old I've gotten all of a sudden. Before leaving home, I was plucking random gray hairs from my head! I'd call it stress highlights. LOL! Then as Jimmie's cheering section sat there on the bleachers, I was in pain! Well, not really, but I would sit for a while, then move to the back of the bleachers and stand.My ever-opinionated niece Jessica laughed at me. I told her to "enjoy her youth while she is young" to which her response was a puzzled look and probably a familiar teenage eyeroll.

Another difference I've noted between the 1980s summers and today is the temperature. Maybe there is something to this threat of global warming because I certainly do not remember EVER being hot when I was out of school for summer break (which was much longer than now I might also note). I spent most summer days at my Mammie and Pappy's house which was air conditioned with windows up that had screens to keep the flies out and one ceiling fan in the living room, or front room as we called it. Today, it seems like we can't move the dial low enough to keep it comfortable in our air-conditioned homes.

I spent a lot of my time at Mammie and Pappy's not just during the summer but year round. Conveniently, they were just down the road. It's funny that now that she has gone on to her heavenly home, I realize all the little things she would do just for me and her other grandbabies. I never had a babysitter other than Mammie. And believe me, she was the best with her GREAT home cooking, singing all the time and soap operas in the afternoon! Whenever I spend the night with them, which was often and ALWAYS the day after I lost a tooth because the Tooth Fairy came to my house first and then visited me there even without a tooth under my pillow, Pappy would sleep on the couch so I could sleep in his bed with Mammie. He worked from sun up to sun down on the farm, but still would sleep on a beat up old couch to let me have his comfy bed.
All this recalling of days gone by makes me remember certain things that every summer I could be found doing like catching bugs. I would catch lighting bugs in a Mason jar at night. Poor things were always dead by morning though. I'd poke rolly-polly bugs with a stick to watch them roll up in a little ball. But June bugs were the most fun. I'd catch them and tie them up with thread. Then the fun started! They'd fly around in a circle on the end of the string. Such simple fun...... I can't remember the last time I even saw a June bug.

Other summer memories include going to 4-H camp with the "World's Greatest 4-H Agent" Mrs. Becky Radford. I learned to swim at camp and always wanted to go back if for no other reason than to get to go to the pool. Mrs. Becky also did lots of little things to make it extra special for her campers like giving us ice-cold watermelon behind the dining hall.

At home, I remember working a lot of the summer too. My brother and I always worked tirelessly to help raise acres and acres of tobacco. From pulling the plants, setting, the dreaded chopping, topping and cutting, we did a LOT of manual labor during those few summer months. I was also quite the entrepreneur with my tomato and corn business. We'd plant one end of the the entire length of the tobacco patch in tomato plants. When they were ready, I'd start early in the morning with my red wagon and many five-gallon buckets and pick tons of them. (By the way, to this day, I STILL do not eat tomatoes! Never liked them, probably never will.) Once I had my load for the day, I'd call in to the Swap Shop and put them on the air  for sale at a whopping $5 per bucket. Bet you can't find them that cheap now. Later, when the super sweet Kandy Corn ears were ready to be picked, I'd sell some of those too, $2 per dozen. I made a lot of money those summers.

Today I wonder how you spent your summers? What special memories do you have?
In recognition of days gone by that we can never get back again, I've included a song that I really like. Hope you do too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Small Town Saturday Night

While my iPod holds over 1200 songs varying from gospel and bluegrass to the far extreme of that with songs by Eminem, Lil Wayne and Ludacris and just about everything in between, the biggest bulk of the music I listen to daily is country. Old country like George Jones, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline to today's hitmakers all make the cut with me.

I've found a trend in a lot of country songs. Have you ever noticed how many focus on life in a small town? Think about it:
Famous in a Small Town by Miranda Lambert
Small Town Kid by Eli Young Band
Where the Blacktop Ends by Keith Urban
Boondocks by Little Big Town
My Town by Montgomery Gentry
Back Where I Come From by Kenny Chesney
Mayberry by Rascall Flatts
Where I Come From and Small Town Southern Man by Alan Jackson
Small Town USA by Justin Moore
and the one that inspired today's blog title, Small Town Saturday Night by Hal Ketchum.

I'm sure this is only scratching the surface, but it helps drive home my point. There is nothing quite like living in a small town! While I do LOVE to travel, I have never considered living anywhere but right here in Burkesville. I know a lot of my peers have moved onto other cities and even states far from here. I've heard a lot of those same people mention on numerous occasions too that they miss their hometown and all that it has to offer. While it may not be a drive-thru restaurant or high end shopping, it has its own unique qualities as do the neighboring small towns.

Where I live is technically in Cumberland County, it is also within spitting distance of Metcalfe and Monroe counties. If you are indeed from a small town like me, you know how far spitting distance is. Anyway.... the close proximity of Edmonton and Tompkinsville keep my informed of the goings on of those small towns as well. And I simply LOVE this time of the year because it is time for all those small town festivals and events to start happening. It just so happens that this weekend is the Blueberry Festival in Edmonton!

Festivals like the Blueberry Festival in Metcalfe County and the Watermelon Festival in Monroe County and of course the widely-known Bluegrass Festival here in Cumberland County are wonderful social events. You can come out and stroll around the square to do some shopping at the many vendors booths. You can count on everything from home-processed goodies, baby bows, handbags, arrowheads, knives, and who knows what else. You can also hear some great music as I'm sure each festival will feature some folks a'pickin & a'grinnin'! I'd have to do the latter because I couldn't play a stringed instrument if my life depended on it. And you can also count on meeting some fascinating people and hearing their intriguing tales.

Looking for something to do for your small town Saturday night? In celebration of the Blueberry Festival this weekend, which I highly encourage you to attend after you stop by our own local Farmers Market on the square Saturday morning, I'd like to share a yummy recipe from the Kentucky Proud recipes. Buying Kentucky Proud is easy. Look for the label at your grocery store, farmer's market or roadside stand. Today I wonder if I could convince someone to make this cake and bring me a slice?! LOL.... Enjoy!! Have a great weekend!

1 (8 oz) package of fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup canola oil
1 (18 oz) package yellow butter cake mix
1 (5 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Lightly spray Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.
3. Combine cream cheese and oil in a medium bowl; beat with mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy.
4. Add cake mix, pudding mix, egg whites, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until blended.
5. Fold in berries.
6. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
7. Bake 60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Yields: 16 slices
Nutrition Analysis: 260 calories; 10g fat; 1.5g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 30mg cholesterol; 390mg sodium; 38g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 23g sugar; 4g protein

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Well, I never knew that!!

Each day at noon, I get so excited! Not only because it's lunch and I get an hour away from work to run errands, enjoy a sandwich either from Kuntry Kitchen or Subway, read some more of Fern Michaels' Sisterhood Series or whatever else I may be up to that particular weekday hour, but also because I get a text message that I love to read.

Now, I used to really enjoy a Strawberry-Kiwi Snapple on a regular basis. However, I don't know if my tastes simply changed or if the company may have tweaked their recipe, but I just don't care for them as much these days. Snapple lids all feature a Snapple Real Fact. By not indulging in the fruity-flavored drink, sadly, that meant I was missing out on learning some bizarre or unusual fact that I had never wondered about before. Then I stumbled upon something that made me happy! You can and I did enroll online to receive Snapple Real Facts daily via text message. I'd like to now share with you some of my favorites followed by a little personal thought on each.
  1. Children grow faster in the spring.~ They grow WAY too fast as it is! Let's take them to the other side of the world during spring to keep them little longer. :-)
  2. Broccoli is the only vegetable that is also a flower. ~ I still don't like it!
  3. Alaska has the highest percentage of people who walk to work.~ I wonder if my friend Dawn (Ball) Panthin and her family in Anchorage walk to work?
  4. The state of Maine has 62 lighthouses. ~Amanda, did you see them all last year?
  5. Chewing gum while peeling onions will prevent you from crying. ~ Definitely going to give this one a try next time I am chopping onions! I'll let you know if indeed it is a real FACT.
  6. The average human will eat an average of 8 spiders while sleeping. ~ I am seriously considering sleeping with my lips clothes-pinned shut from now on!
  7. Termites eat through wood two times faster while listening to rock music. ~ Really, who would've thought to test such a thing?!
  8. Elephants: only sleep two hours a day, are the only mammal that cannot jump, and are capable of swimming 20 miles a day. ~ I now find elephants quite interesting.
  9. Eleven percent of the people in the world are left-handed. ~ I once read that left-handed people were also more likely to have accidents. I think it is because most gadgets are designed for right-handed people or something.
  10. A sneeze travels out your nose at a speed of 100 mph.~ And I seem to often sneeze just after applying mascara. So annoying!!!
  11. There are 18 different animal shapes in an animal cracker zoo. ~ Really? Is that after combining several of the broken heads on different broken bodies or what? I can only remember elephants, giraffes and camels. What others can you recall?
  12. The average person spends two weeks of its lifetime waiting for a traffic light to change. ~ I wonder if that is so for those of us from Cumberland County?
  13. Oysters can change genders back and forth. ~ No comment.
  14. Fish can drown. ~ I am now certain this is what must've happened to all those goldfish that I won at the county fair that passed away and then were flushed away.
  15. When the moon is directly over you, you weigh less.~ So don't be surprised if you see me out at night trying to place a scale under the moon. :-)
  16. Pigeons have been trained by the U.S. Coast Guard to spot people lost at sea.~ Good to know.
  17. Texas is the only state that permits residents to cast absentee ballots from space.~ I wonder how many times this has even been necessary for an election?
  18. President Woodrow Wilson once lost the White House china in a poker game.~ Ahhh... so the habit of gambling with the taxpayers money began some time ago I see.
  19. The largest cheesecake ever made weighed 57,508 lbs.~ I bet if it were made by Rafferty's in Elizabethtown, Larry England could take care of a good hunk of it himself.
  20. There are seven letters that look the same upside down as right side up.~ You know that I'm going to be writing out the alphabet immediately trying to determine exactly which letters they are! 
    Have a great Thursday! Hope it is filled with wonder!! 

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    "Don't quote me."


    If you have ever seen my desk at work, you'll find a plethora of  notes to myself. They include everything from what to pick up at the grocery, reminders of things to do, doodles, just EVERYTHING!! Two specific notes have been taped to my desk for years now. They're faded and the corners are crumbled but I love to look at them everyday. Written on them are a couple of my favorite quotes I'd like to share with you and let you wonder how they apply to you as well.

    I LOVE cards! I love to both send and receive them. I first read this first quote on a card many years ago.  It is by Eleanor Roosevelt and states,


    How sweet is that?! And it is so true! Throughout elementary school and somewhat into middle and high school, I recall my "BFF" would change practically annually. Whoever was in the same classroom with me was the likely candidate.I remember my first best friend was Omega Davis. I think we were the only girls in our neck of the woods. And yes, I still keep up with her going-ons via Facebook. She is as beautiful as ever and has her hands full with three handsome little boys and the cutest little baby girl you'll ever see. Then, as the years went by, I remained friends with everyone, but the title of "BEST FRIEND" passed between Elesha, Triva, Amanda, Katherine, Elissa, Penny and others. 

    Like the quote suggests, many pass in and out of my life but there are those few that have a very special place in my heart:
    Amanda has seen me at my best and at my worst..She has the kindest heart and words can't express how much I appreciate her friendship. I can count on her like none other to boost me when needed or send me a card out of the blue that brightens my day. She probably knows me better than anyone else I can think of. We share so much in common. I love her and her family to pieces!! 
    Penny is incredible at taking my mind off of things. I know that I can call her at 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning and she'd be right there if I needed her and has been numerous times. We've been each others sidekick through thick and thin. She lets me share in her amazing family as well by being KD's Aunt Meme too!
    Jamie.... I cannot say enough about this girl! Sometimes you just need someone who doesn't ask questions but is automatically ready to drive to the ends of the earth with you or help you with whatever battle you are up against. I can count on her to make me laugh not only at the world, but at myself. It's not often you can work with someone and remain friends, but we certainly have. We share in each others excitement and sorrows. I am as anxious as her for her family to grow so I can be Aunt Meme to her kids as well.

    But my all time best friend forever and ever has always been and always will be my Mom. No one can have a better supporter or cheerleader than I have had in her. She has encouraged me to do whatever I've wanted growing up and did all that she could to see that I got it done. Love her!!!

    The second favored quote featured on my desk is one I've heard numerous times and smile each and every time.


    Those memorable moments can be happy or sad. I won't go on and on about mine but rather quickly name a few of my breathtaking moments: seeing the ocean for the first time, watching Kennedy be born, losing my Mammie, flying in an airplane for the first time, hearing a baby laugh, seeing my big, strong brothers cry, hearing someone say "I love you," and so many more. 

    I wonder... What moments have taken your breath away? Who has left footprints on your heart?

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    I wonder what it would be like to have my own blog?!

    Okay.... anyone who knows me, knows that I'm one to jump into whatever trend or phase is happening at the moment. I admit it: I am a bandwagon hitchhiker. Now, the duration of my ride may vary quite a bit however. So today, as I am doing my daily Facebook creeping (don't act like you don't know what I am talking about.... each of you go on multiple times a day to see what is going on with people you are not necessarily avoiding but do not prefer face-to-face contact with.... don't you?!) I couldn't help but notice several of my friends (actual friends, not those I keep up with via Facebook only) are now bloggers and I began to wonder, "What could I blog about?" So of course, badda-bing, badda-boom! Here I go throwing my hat in the ring!

    Now, I wish that I could say that I am as blessed with writing skills as I am with the gift of gab. But, unfortunately, I am not. Nonetheless, I vow to give it a try and add a little wonder to the world with this bandwagon trip.

    I next wondered, "What in the world do I have to blog about?" Then I was inspired as I was thinking to my nephew's ballgame last night and this past weekend spent with my niece. Now, for a little background. I am one of four children: my brother Wesley is the oldest, then me, a younger sister Lacey and the baby is Brad. I've laughed over the years at the number of times I've been asked if I am William's little sister and how strange it is that people from our tiny little town do not know all four of us. Many know either we two older kids or just us girls. But few know all four of us. Anyway... I'm rambling.

    This blog is about the funny times and comments from my brother Wesley and his daughter Jessica. Even if she didn't look like him with her dark hair and blue eyes, there would be no denying their kinship once you've had a conversation with Jessi. She is so much like Wes it's laughable in itself. Wesley can just mention to me he is going to tell a joke and I bend over laughing just preparing for it. That trait was definitely passed to Jessi. I really need to start keeping a journal of all the off-the-wall comments she makes and share them with you. But for now, I'll just try to remember some.
    My beautiful niece & I at her 8th grade graduation, May 2011.

    She spent most of this past weekend with me and keep me giggling. The comment that had me snorting the most was when we were watching something on TV (probably the iParty with Victoria on Nickelodeon... What?! You missed it?! Don't worry. We DVR'd it!) when there was a good-sized fella on a commercial. She proceeds to say, "WOW! That guy's got more chins than a Chinese phone book!" I literally laughed out loud for SOOOO long! Then when I nearly had myself composed, she goes on to say, "I have no idea what that means." Bless her heart. Once I explain, she finds the humor in it too.

    Now..... where does she get it from? Wesley is the world's greatest joke teller EVER, in my opinion at least. He's funny without even trying. For example, he was telling me last night about what happened to him at lunch yesterday. He was eating at some Mom & Pop restaurant but dropped his fork on the floor. He went to a little station there that housed all the napkins, forks, straws and such. The metal container that should've held the forks was not the cleanest. Apparently, it was pretty gross. And trust me, for something to be gross to him, it's REALLY bad. The waitress came up to help him out and took his fork to get him another but he stops her. He said, "Never mind. I'll just keep mine. At least I know where it's been." He wiped it off and went back to eating with his dropped fork.

    I know. I know. It may not be all that hilarious, but the facial expressions and tone really add to the humor. Plus, he's my big brother. I still idolize him.

    So, until next time..... Add some wonder and amazement to your day. Find some humor in your day, even if it's only funny to you.
    Wesley, Jessica and my sister-in-law Carla