Friday, January 29, 2010

Writer's Alcove: 17 and Baking

Today's feature post is dedicated to Elissa from 17 and Baking. Elissa studies hard, writes with passion, and finds time to bake some delectable treats. When reading her blog, you'll wonder why no one hasn't invented Taste a Blog capabilities. I know it would be a hit!

17and Baking

1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?


It's hard to see myself as a 27 year old, but without a doubt, I'll be writing. It's always been one of my life-long ambitions to write a book, so maybe a novel would be in the works. I'd like to think that I'll be able to use journalism to improve the lives of those around me, writing about issues that are meaningful to me. Of course, in a perfect world, I might also own a little bakery too, so I could bring a little sunshine into the world in another way.

2. Given the opportunity to work with any cook/baker, who would you choose and why?

There's far too many talented food bloggers to possibly choose from, but one of the first people who comes to mind is David Lebovitz. The moment frost stops edging our lawn on the drive to school and the morning fog lifts into afternoon sunshine, I begin craving ice cream. David's book The Perfect Scoop is literally my ice cream bible. I tend to like quirky, unusual flavors, and the first time I browsed his book I ended up bookmarking nearly half the book. On top of that, he's a great photographer and writer, who posts entertaining tweets and seems to have a good sense of humor.


3. What are some of your favorite things about nature?

Now that there is a likely expiration date on my time left in Seattle, I've begun noticing all the things I love about the Evergreen State. I love how green it is here, the uncut trees that tower high above my house and the huge pink rhododendron bushes are a part of what defines home for me. We have a flower garden that literally bursts into bloom in spring, and a vegetable garden that stocks our table with fresh produce. I can't imagine living without a backyard, or without a view of trees outside my window.

4. When given a writing assignment, what gives you inspiration?

School-wise, inspiration comes from the assigned reading material! :) But when it comes to food blog writing, I draw inspiration from whatever feelings or thoughts come to me while I'm baking. Being in the kitchen is very therapeutic and relaxing for me. I like to bake alone, curtains flung open and lights turned off, and it gives me the chance to think and reflect. Whatever I spend the most time thinking about usually becomes the topic of the post. After all, I think food is extremely personal, and it's difficult to separate from my life - so I embrace the connection.

5. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and who would you take?

Believe it or not, I'd like to experience some of Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood. When I was little, I read the entire series about her life growing up on wide expanses of prairie and in small towns. I like that idea of a simpler time and think it was probably as sweet and golden a childhood as possible. I'd bring my dog Tilly, who would probably be frightened of Laura's dog Jack but love the table scraps.

6. Name a favorite childhood memory.

When I was growing up, my grandmother used to tell me the most amazing bedtime stories. She made them up right on the spot, about whatever topic I chose on a whim. The stories were always sweet and uplifting, with a hint of a moral. One night as I was starting to get a little older, I was halfway asleep as she described a baby alligator who needed braces. Just as I was beginning to drift off, she said, "And then Mrs. Alligator was turned into a handbag. The end." I sat bolt upright in horrified shock at hearing those words from my grandmother, but she couldn't stop laughing. To this day, it's one of the funniest childhood memories I have.

7. Describe your high school experience in 10 words or less.

Growth. Some heartache, true friendships. "Most likely to become famous?"

8. What's something fun about you that my readers would be surprised to learn?

I am a horrible pack rat - I just can't bear to throw things away because literally everything has "memories" for me. Under my bed and pushed deep into my closet are toys from my childhood, ticket stubs from "movies that meant something to me," even a set of erasers that my best friend and I wrote stories about in 4th grade. I am also terribly messy and poorly organized, which means I can almost never find what I am looking for (including recipes.)

9. What advice would you give to someone whether young or old who wants to start baking?

Please go for it! You're ever too young or to old to pursue something that interests you, baking included. I don't believe that I personally have any extraordinary baking talent or a natural gift. Anyone can bake the treats that come out of my oven - you just need to jump into it. When I started out, I burned plenty of cookies and baked my share of dry cakes, but with time I've gotten better. You can do anything you put your mind to.

10. What kind of dessert best describes you and why?

I think a lemon chiffon cake, my mom's favorite dessert, best describes me. Unlike angel cakes, chiffon cakes use egg yolks as well as the whites. They're light and sunny, airy even, but there's a hidden depth and richness in them (not bragging, just saying I'm not all fluff.) As for the lemon, it's sweet without being achingly sugary, and I can't help but think that if I could see my aura it'd be as yellow as a smooth-skinned lemon.

Hope you learned something new about a very talented young lady. I know I did!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's Give them something to Talk About

Gossip. Criticizing. Demeaning others. We've all been guilty of these things. I've been reading a book called 30 Days to Taming your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues, which is an excellent book that talks about things that we say that we shouldn't. Some are obvious like lying and gossipping, but others like putting yourself down might not be.

I know people who have nothing to talk about unless they are talking about someone else. This book illuminates the problem and gives reasons from scripture as to why it's bad and how to fix it...the right way.

When I wake up each day, I have the last night's chapter rolling around in my head. I'm being more mindful of what I say and how I say it. You might be wondering why in the world I chose that title. God wants us to make a difference in the world-to be set apart from others. What better way to do that than to not be like the world? Don't belittle someone just to make you feel better about yourself. When someone around you wants you to chime in on their weekly gossip session, politely change the subject or leave. If you show the world that there's something different about you, they will take notice. People will say things. You don't have to shout you love Jesus from the rooftops or force your beliefs on others, just live your life. The best feeling in the world is when someone cocks their head to the side, unable to put their finger on why you're not like everyone else they know.


P.S. I' ve got some exciting news to share with everyone! I want to do a separate post, so come back on Monday to hear about something that will be well worth the wait (for me at least)!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Memories Rewind: A New Kind of Shampoo

Mama had just finished getting me ready for church. I was twirling around the house in my pale pink dress while waiting on everyone else to finish. My hair was pulled back in a little pink bow.

Apparently my life didn't have enough excitement, so I went in search of my own. I spotted the bottle of mink oil on the counter. A light bulb went off in my head: Why don't I make my hair even prettier by slathering mink oil in it? Yes, that would give it the shine it needed! I thought. A smile crept across my face at the brilliance of my plan.

Mama must have known things were too quiet in there so she came to investigate. I was all in my plan so I never even heard her. I just kept gooping it on by the handfuls. My arms were covered with it. I .... missed the target. :) My mom was horrified. Everyone stopped what they were doing to see what Mama was so upset about. I could hear by brother oohing to himself. At that time, I wanted him to hush.

Mama's eyes seem to pierce through my every thought. I was prepared to do whatever she said. She wanted me to get to the sink...now. She scrubbed and scrubbed to no avail. My brownish blonde hair was no longer in a pony tail with dainty little tendrils. It was a matted slimy mess. After about twenty minutes at the sink, I began to regret my decision for a little more "fun".

I began to think I would be chained to the sink as punishment for my little experiment. Finally, after two or three washings, the slime began to wash down the drain. What a glorious sight! I began to ponder my punishment: No friends over? No TV? No playtime? As horrible as those sounded, Mama thought I had learned my lesson at the sink, not in the corner or time out bench.


Needless to say, I sat on the couch, suddenly thinking church sounded really good. I promised myself that we would make it in time for the prayer request section next week because Lord knows I had one!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Writer's Alcove: XOXO, Trina

XOXO, Trina

Today we'll learn a little more about Trina from XOXO, Trina. She's a stay at full time mom with a flair for all things fashion. She balances family time with fun. If you've never read her blog, you should! She has some great tips on how to make your very own harness necklaces and tells you what makeup products work for her. Oh, she includes some very funny stories about her kids along the way!

1. How did you meet your husband?
The short answer is at church. The long answer is we both moved away from home (Alabama) and during a series of events, God brought us both back to Alabama at the same time. We started going to the same church and ended up both working with the youth group there. Two weeks after meeting him, I knew he would one day be my husband. The crazy thing was, we knew a lot of the same people, worked close by each other during high school and never knew each other until we met at church.

2. Who was a style icon that you admired as a young girl?
There were several, but the one that sticks out the most is Jennifer Anniston. Friends, the show, was very popular when I was in high school and that’s when I started to really get interested in fashion, hair and makeup. Remember her hair on Friends? Yep, I sported that cut along with every other girl in America.

3. If you had to put together a complete outfit for less than $100, what stores would you go to? What would the overall look be?

I would definitely look to Forever 21 for a top. They have really cute trendy things that won’t break the bank. I’ve had great luck with pants and shoes from Charlotte Russe. As for the jewelry, Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe both have a great selection and they are super affordable. The overall look would probably scream Trendy Chic.

4. What’s your favorite nail polish for fall/winter?
I love dark colors on short nails and it’s perfect for fall/winter. My favorite dark colors to wear are deep purple, dark forest green, and deep burgundy.

5. Name a hobby.

Oh this one is hard to be specific on because I go back and forth between things, but I love to make things. Whether it’s sewing, crafting, baking or even playing in makeup. I think the common denominator there is just flexing my creative muscles on whatever I might be in to at the time.

6. Name 5 of your favorite fashion items or show us a picture of your favorite outfit.


5 favorite things
5 favorite things by xoxotrina featuring Seychelles shoes

Here is a perfect example of what I’ve been wearing lately: jeans, booties, cardigans and long necklaces. I have 3 out of the 5 things shown (booties, jeans and necklace). I love these black booties from Seychelles. They go great with jeans, dress pants and even dresses. These jeans from Charlotte Russe are fantastic! I bought them without trying them on and they ended up fitting perfectly. Next, the harness necklace. I love wearing unique things and this is definitely an eye catching piece. It looks great worn over a plain tee or tucked under a lovely drape front cardigan. Finally the peacock handbag. *sigh* This is such a beautiful yet very expensive designer bag. I’ll never come close to owning it unless someone gave it to me.

7. What is a trip that you’ve always wanted to take?

I would really love to go on a mission trip to a third world country. I think every American would benefit from seeing how most of the world lives, including me. I want to fully realize how blessed I am.

8. If you could change careers, what would you do?

Besides being a stay at home mom, I’ve always thought I would enjoy training or instructing people how to do something. I love telling people what to do, so getting paid for it would be fantastic. HA! My brother has always thought I should design a clothing or jewelry line, which would really be a lot of fun for me too.

9. What do you do with each of your kids to make them feel special?

Rayna loves for me to paint her nails and other girly things like that. It makes her feel grown up and its something the boys aren’t a part of. Xander loves for me to read to him and he loves to sit in my lap no matter what I’m doing. I’ll be sad when he outgrows that.

10. Besides peacocks, what else are you obsessed with?

Social media. I love to connect with people.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know Trina today!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No Strings Attached

As the music was playing in the background, I was surprised to see a usually shy little boy who I thought never noticed me standing with outstretched arms. I was especially touched when he was careful not to knock my wheel chair. It was almost as if time stood still in that moment.

We never exchanged any words; his outpouring of love was enough. It was a love that knew no boundaries. When we hugged, it was like I instantly felt better. As the music was building to the chorus, he was standing there with outstretched arms. He eyes never wandered. He was going to get what he came for, which was a hug. I promptly hugged him back. I'm sure God was a lot like that when He was on the cross. He had love to give and He was waiting for us to accept. While He endured excruciating pain, He never wavered in His purpose.

Afterwards, I sat in awe and disbelief at what had just happened. I began to wonder if someone had told him to give me a hug, but quickly realized I was wrong because no one knew he had slipped over to me. You have to understand this little boy had never so much as smiled at me, much less knew my name. His eyes were not filled with hate or criticism, just someone who wanted to love. He didn't look at me as E's twin or a girl in a wheelchair. He saw me for me-no strings attached.

I pondered this and realized that God was much like the little boy. When He died on the cross, He didn't give a list of who had done better deeds or given more money. He looked at each human as people who needed His love. His arms were outstretched, waiting for all who would to embrace Him. He didn't interrupt the moment when each of us became saved with meaningless words because His gift of love, His gift of life was enough.

How many of us could use a little more love in our lives? How many times do we reject love from a friend or child just because of the "package" (aka outward appearance)? If you open your heart, you'll find that you have more love to give than you ever thought possible. You'll also realize how much you need others because whether you like it or not, you can't travel this journey called life alone. You need others to encourage you, to challenge you, and to lean on.

Love is in many places, you just have to be open to it. What does love look like to you?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Memories Rewind: Strawberry Candies

I heard footsteps and ran to the door. My Paw Paw was making his way up the steps. I clutched my hands around his waist then took his hand to help him up that last step. He slipped something with a shiny red wrapping paper into my hand. I knew what it was but wanted to save it for later.

You see, those strawberry candies didn't come around very often. I hurried to find a seat in the house. Pa was talking to Daddy about how things were going. You know man talk. I fingered the wrapper, contemplating whether or not I wanted to eat it then. I couldn't resist that sweet strawberry smell wafting from the paper. I peeled back the first layer to reveal a waxy white paper. That little red morsel was calling my name. I wasn't about to disobey the candy gods. Why that would be atrocious! They might sentence me to live out the rest of my days in a candy shop...that would be so bad. (wink)

I slowly lifted it to my mouth, trying to resist the urge to chomp it to bits to reveal that sticky, juicy filling. I sucked on it as we talked about life. Soon, it was gone. But wait! I just realized that I had slipped another candy in my pocket as we were walking in. The disappointment was washed away by the sight of that bright red wrapper because I knew my sugar rush didn't have to end.

Now that my Paw Paw has been dead for several years, I smile every time that I see those candies in the store. For some people they hold no memories, but they remind me of simple times when all it took was a candy to show someone you cared.

What brings back memories of your family for you?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Imperfections

NOTE: I had someone to post today, but they haven't emailed me their answers. I apologize.

I'm not perfect. Everyday isn't a "good" day, but it can be if I make a choice to act that way instead of how I feel. I don't always say the right thing, my hair isn't always camera ready.

Imperfections are in the eye of the beholder. Something that you can't stand about yourself others may love (within reason of course). One of my childhood friends has red hair with an orange tint. When she was younger, she didn't like it because it reminded her of a clown. To her surprise, people in high school loved it because it was unique. They didn't know many people with red hair.

People that I know have worn a lot of makeup at times to cover up freckles. Yep. Some people wear long sleeve shirts because they get made fun of for not being tan. Just because you see something wrong with yourself doesn't mean others do. One of my professors told me that she had her students dress up as a person in their class according to the way that they saw a fellow classmate. That was an eye opening experience for some, she said. So much so, they couldn't stare at themselves any longer.

In today's society, we have let our imperfections play a bigger role in our lives than they're supposed to. Some people let them dictate how much make up they wear, what they do or don't do, etc. Instead of letting them matter so much, we should let our imperfections be a measuring stick of what we need to change and the steps we need to take to get there. You want things to bother you some because if they didn't you would never see the need to change them. God wants us to trust Him in spite of those things.

Sure, we could all make a list of things we don't like about ourselves, but there are some things imperfections that aren't so easily pointed out. What about if you're judgmental or always saying negative things? Although we mask those problems with doing good things for other people, it won't fix those problems. God can see those, but the good thing is He's willing to help you change if you are.



What would someone perceive you as?

P.S. Stayed tuned for something that I'm working on called "Be You"!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Memories Rewind: Cherry Icee's


Mama had to go to pick up a few things at W@l-Mart. I was patient as she picked up some snacks and other things. As we made our way to the back of the store, we passed the snack counter.

This wasn't the place for chips or beef jerky. This little hole in the wall tucked in among clothing and groceries had crunchy nachos dripping with cheese, hot dogs and the icee. Even though the kind, elderly woman named Mrs. F. always gave me time to browse over the menu with small red letters, I knew what I wanted, a cherry icee. As I watched the bright red mixture swirl around in the big silver machine, I got excited. When she filled the blue cup with its trademark polar bear logo, I gingerly reached over the gray formica counter to get my treat. I took a taste to make sure it was satisfactory. I took my job as a taste tester very seriously.

As we finished our errand, I could feel the wet condensation dripping on my hand. I slowly sipped the icy drink, trying to savor it. I have to confess savoring is kind of hard for a young girl, but I didn't want to get a brain freeze. Before I knew it, my hands were stained with that unmistakable red, which signified that I was a member of the Cherry icee lover's club. People have never tasted that cold slushy drink aren't part of this secret society. Sure, on an off day I might reach for a Coke icee, but I always return to the cherry. It was good to the last drop.

What's one of your favorite drinks?

P.S I've started back to school. I will update soon. Hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Writer's Alcove: Saucy's Sprinkles

Sasha Libby

Today we have Sasha from Saucy's Sprinkles. She's someone who can come up with any excuse to make cupcakes, loves all things vintage, and is a devoted mother and wife. Go check out her blog to learn more about her daughter. Yes, the creative bug has bitten her too!


1. Where did you get your creative gene?

I most definitely get that from my father, who goes by the code name “The Secret Weapon” on my blog. He is an artist, a craftsman, a photographer, designer, woodworker and above all, a world famous printmaker. When I was growing up I spent countless hours in his studio with him working on all sorts of projects. All of the children in the family (I have two brothers) learned to be productive from an early age. Allowing kids to be creative also helps them learn to be problem solvers. They learn how to look at things differently – that’s why I think fine arts programs in schools are so important. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, visual art or writing, being creative is part genetic, but also I believe it is a learned behaviour. You can hone your creativity by using it often. Like my Dad, I think I get more creative as I get older.


2. Out of all of the things that you could have named your blog, how did you decide on Saucy’s Sprinkles?

Actually, a reader came up with the name! I was at a bit of a crossroads, I was bored with the original name I chose when I started the blog (bloggedy blog blog), I think it was an impulsive decision and I’d sort of always regretted it. Plus, I had the worst URL in the world so when the time came to switch to my own domain, it was convenient to change the name then. I was sort of struggling with the direction that my blog was taking at the time, I felt that it had no particular focus. That’s how it had started, I intended it to be a live journal of whatever I was doing at the time. I started examining other blogs and I thought they were very decisive, very focused on one topic like baking or mothering, and mine wasn’t. I didn’t so much ask readers to give me new names, but when I mentioned that I might change it, one of my regular readers left a comment that said, “You should call your blog Saucy’s Sprinkles, because what we like about it is that it’s a little of this, and a little of that, you never know what’s going to be on it, sort of like the assorted sprinkles on a cupcake!” and that was that. I sent her a little gift for making the suggestion to show her my appreciation. I’m glad that even though I don’t have a narrow focus, readers log on to see what I’m up to.


3. Tell us about the first thing you ever remember creating?

My Dad has one of the first things I ever created – sort of a decorated rock that I turned into a mouse. The rock is sort of shaped like a mouse, and I glued ears and googly craft eyes onto it and yarn for a tail. I don’t remember making it but he still keeps it in a cabinet. The first thing I really remember making for someone else is a funny story. I was a Girl Guide and our troop was sponsoring the New Year’s Baby that was born in our town. Everyone had to make or bring a gift for the baby. I remember spending an entire Saturday over Christmas break cutting out felt letters and also a yellow felt elephant that I copied from an Avon brooch – you’re too young to remember these but some of your readers will know what I’m talking about - the brooch opened up and inside was some hideous solid perfume that I fancied. I was about twelve, so my taste was questionable. Anyway, I used the felt letters and the elephant to make a banner for the baby’s room that said “shhhh… baby is sleeping” and I was pretty proud of myself. The elephant had black button eyes and I’d lined his ears with orange felt. The day we all gathered to take our gifts to the New Year’s Baby in January, the other girls accused me of cheating. “Your DAD made that!” they squealed at me, “there’s no way YOU made that by yourself!” Now, at this point, I remember thinking that I could either be crushed that they would accuse me of such a thing or, I could decide that it must have been pretty nice or they wouldn’t have even thought to say such a thing, and even if my Dad did help, what did that matter? From that moment on, I knew I had the skill to make things nicely and I could use it to my advantage.


4. Describe your life in 5 pictures.


Picture 1: I am on the front lawn of my parent’s house, I am about six years old. I am playing dress-up, wearing a huge sunhat and holding a dolly that I’m about to put in a doll carriage. My Dad still has that photo.

Picture 2: I am a high school cheerleader, with big hair (hey, it was the 80’s). The entire team is posing for a photo in front of the school just before graduation. That was 25 years ago, and we are all still friends.

Picture 3: Buddy, Loopy and I are under the Christmas tree in 1995. Buddy is five years old and Loopy is a baby. Buddy is smiling and looking up at the tree and Loopy is drooling like all babies do. After the photo is taken, she opens her mouth a little bit to reveal a tiny teddy bear inside – one from my dollhouse. She has been sucking on it for about an hour and I am shocked she didn’t choke on it. Buddy yells “awww, gross!” and I realize I have just lost the Mother of the Year Award.

Picture 4: I am a cheerleading coach in 1997. My large varsity team has won every competition they entered. We are all gathered for a team photo and Loopy is being held by the team captains in the front row, wearing a tiny little uniform to look like the “big girls”. That was 13 years ago, and we are all still friends.

Picture 5: It is my wedding day to Veto and we are now a family. It sounds sappy, but it was the happiest day of my life.


5. What’s one of the funniest things your kids have done?

Loopy’s a funny girl. She’s always been pretty outspoken but the funniest thing she ever did was on about her seventh birthday. She blew out the candles on her cake but one was still lit. Her party guests squirmed with delight, “Sidney has a boyfriend!” but Loopy was unflappable. She leaned over and swiftly blew out the last candle and announced in a deadpan tone, “We just broke up.” The girls at the party didn’t really get it but the mothers all laughed hysterically.


6. Given the chance to create a custom sampler of cupcakes with unique names and flavors what would you choose and why?

The “Saucy Sampler” would have one cupcake named for each member of my family: Veto’s Lemon Love Cake, Buddy’s Red Velvet Symphony, Loopy’s Chocolate Chip Surprise, Duke’s Vanilla Little Cake (because dogs can’t have chocolate) and Saucy’s Dark Chocolate Indulgence. That way, everyone would be happy.


7. When making bracelets how do you put your stamp on each one?

If you look closely, each bracelet that I make has a tiny heart charm on the end that says “Made With Love,” they are one of my signature bits. I’d like to say that the vintage bottle cap charm was my idea, but I saw it on my friend Amy’s website a long time ago. I asked permission to use the idea and she and Melissa graciously said that I could. Generally, I gather the goodies for each bracelet that I make over a long period of time. It takes months to assemble all of the bits to complete a theme bracelet.


8. What has inspired your sense of style over the years?

Mostly I have been influenced by studying art history and reading. When you study art history, you learn about classic design influences in architecture and fashion, not just painting. When you read – especially books about history (I am especially fond of reading about Marie Antoinette and the Renaissance) – you learn to visualize how things might have looked. Reading is one of the best activities that you can do to spark your visual imagination. When I shop for new clothing or things for my home, I look for timeless pieces that will stand the test of time and then I add a few fun and funky things with a vintage twist. My house isn’t filled with antique furniture, but I love adding touches like old birdcages, vintage typewriters and crazy old jars filled with buttons and things like that.


9. What is a trip that you’ve always wanted to take?


Very much, I have always wanted to visit Paris. I want to wander the streets and shop the flea markets. More than anything I want to see Versailles and walk the steps that Marie Antoinette walked before the revolution. I would take with me a beautiful leather journal and make sketches of the scenery and the buildings and collect bits of paper and postcards along the way, scrapbooking the trip as I went. When the trip was over, the journal would be filled with French phrases, love notes to Veto, coffee stains from the bottom of my cup, and snapshots of the Eiffel Tower taken with one of my antique cameras, if I can find the right film for it.


10. What’s your favorite dessert (besides cupcakes of course)?

I just adore cheesecake… in fact, I used to make it all the time, the way I make cupcakes now. I worked my way through the Kraft Philadelphia Cheesecake Cookbook one year and made every single recipe. I wrote little notes in the margin about who I made the cake for and what occasion… I still do that. It’s amazing to see who I’ve shared my baking with over the years – and it helps me remember what everyone’s favourite dessert is!


Know of an awesome blog that I must feature? Email me!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Memories Rewind: Chuck E. Cheese Rip Off

My grandparents decided to treat all of the grand kids to a day at Chuck E. Cheese which was supposedly one of the funnest places for kids. Yeah, maybe if the stars are aligned just so and you don't run out of quarters.

My brother and I got a few dollars from my Granddaddy and we headed straight for the games with the most serious faces we could muster. My younger cousins played some Skeeball and would occasionally saunter over to see what we were up to.

E was at one of the games that doled out the most tickets. Or so they said. He had gotten a taste of victory. The burnt orange tickets with the black dots started spewing out. He couldn't help himself. He fed a few more shiny quarters into the machine, unaware of the other games around him. Laser tag, pac man, and a few larger ones couldn't distract him. He was in the zone. I peered cautiously in his hand. Only a few more quarters left and it would be mine turn. Bing, Bing, Bing! went the machine. The once colorless light around the Jackpot sign flashed a bright red. I snapped my head up, not wanting to miss what was going on. This was big! E had won the Jackpot! His eyes lit up with excitement. By this time, he had rallied the family to help him catch the tickets. His little hands were overflowing with Chuck E. Cheese goodness.

"I think we need to take a break, E and have some lunch Granddaddy said. Boy, was I glad because I was hungry. Being nosey is hard work!

As we made our way over to the tables, I noticed E walking very slowing past the prize counter. He was dreaming of what he was going to get with those hard earned tickets. I was happy for him, but I wanted to eat. We all sat down at the shiny red tables and reached for a menu. For a girl who was hungry, something else caught my eye-the floor. Yep, I was mesmerized. It was a glossy black with circles with every color of the rainbow. Little ones, big ones, yellow ones, blue ones. I knew this place was great, but the floor sealed the deal. My nine year old eyes had never seen anything like it. Shortly after, everyone settled on pepperoni pizza.

After what seemed like a century, the piping hot bubbly goodness arrived. I carefully slipped a piece or two onto my plate. I knew E was excited, but he managed to eat. The day wasn't all about us, so my cousins got to play some more. "If you run out of quarters, that's it"our grandparents reminded us.

We were leaving, which meant we all got to take a trip by the prize counter. As a kid, it's filled with things that look super fun. Colored bouncy balls, hair clips, stickers, and even some "special" things tempted us. E gingerly laid his tickets on the counter, careful not to let one fall on the floor. The worker counted them out. There were only three little items he could choose from: Stickers, a few pencils, and something else. Needless to say, he was very disappointed. My Granddaddy stepped up to explain how hard he had worked for those tickets. Then I came up. I had a similar number of tickets so I was preparing myself for the worst. No amount of smiling was going to help this situation. I picked out some multi colored butterfly clips, but as I tried to get them in my hair, I was frustrated. In fact, I felt like we just came from the 99 cent store.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

This Road

Image Credit: Simple Field Path ©Andreas Krappweis
2010. I look back on 2009 as a survivor. God alone has pulled me through some dismal times and celebrated some great ones. 2010 isn't just a new year because everyone says it is, I feel it, I know it. Someone can try to convince you of something all day long, but unless you know it, it has no meaning for you.

I have some decisions to make concerning the next medical step for me. I'm being wise and researching things before I make a decision. I asked Mama when they put my brother and I on the ventilator did she have to do it regardless if she was scared, and she said yes. I guess that I will have to jump in head first as they say. Notice I didn't say jump alone because I'm not alone.

I feel the weight of this decision at night. I'm heavily weighing the benefits vs. the risks. This road isn't easy, it's not scattered with rose petals. It's littered with jagged rocks and the footprints of the ones who have gone before me. I'm not always perky. There are days when I'm alone with just God and His promises hidden deep within my heart.

I finally admitted to myself that I may have to do it regardless of what I feel. I am having some relief from the new medicine, so I'm hesitant to try something else when this may work.
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Every year, my church does an annual time of prayer and fasting. I won't be commenting any blog until mid February. I am in the process of getting things in order for the weekly Memories Rewind and Writer's Alcove posts. These will be posted as usual, they will just be scheduled. Just like a car, I need time to recharge my batteries. God is so much more important than my computer time.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Memories Rewind: A day with Granny

*Writer's Alcove will be posted as soon as I'm emailed a picture*

When when staying with my Granny and Papa, I could always find Granny watching TV and Papa asleep in his chair. I had gotten bored of flipping through 40 channels to no avail, so I set off to see what she was watching. I plopped down on the gray couch with small splotches of green and lavender throughout. Granny was watching the Price is Right with Bob Barker. I settled into the cushion hitting the round black button that promised to recline my feet. I had gotten there just in time. Johnny was calling contests down one by one. Some were wild with excitement while others tried to keep it together because in the back of their mind they knew they were on national television. They didn't want to end up on America's Funniest Home Videos for their crazy antics. They preferred to be in Price is Rights Hall of Fame for their intuition. At least this is how the scene played out in their minds ya know.

The lovely models in the shimmery dresses presented the item up with the grace of a seasoned professional. I could see the wheels turning in the minds of the contestants, desperately trying to one up the person next to them. Bidding is a cutthroat thing, you know? One lady's face was telling on her. Her forehead was scrunched up, nerves were failing her. No amount of bling on her shirt could deter me from seeing that, unfortunately.

Bob slowly called out the real price. Things went nuts. The winning bidder thought it was his/her job to do a personalized dance for Bob before they could get on the show. Forget America's Funniest Home Videos, they might end up in the hospital.

Play time was over. It was time to win...something....anything! The man's eyes lit up as his eyes darted to the left and saw a treadmill and a bench press. Behind Door 2 was a....new car! This is a classic yet much loved-dare I say crazed for-gift. People pull out all of the stops. An award winning smile just won't do it for this. As he calms down, the reality sets in that he and he alone had to make the decision. His eyes were searching the crowd as he pleaded with the audience to guide him in the right direction. $25,000? $27,500? I think he settled somewhere in the middle.

Bob told us to come back after the break. Granny immediately chimed in with her thoughts. "I wonder if it comes with any extras?" Digging deep into her memory bank, she tried to remember what cars have appraised at on past shows. But, that was hopeless. Granny watches Price is Right for the pure enjoyment of seeing people win things and make fools of themselves. I must admit, it is quite entertaining.

He comes back on. Building up excitement for the Final Showcase, he does a recap of what people have won. The man takes his place at the glittery podium, the woman joins him. I like to call this the Battle of the Bargainers. We watched intently as each one was presented. Granny picked the one with the car and hot tub while I picked the trip to Brazil. My wheels were turning as I tried to estimate what the price was...the top price for each item. Price is Right isn't fooling anyone. They get there items appraised at the top end. The man heaved a heavy sigh into the skinny black microphone. Beads of sweat were slowly forming on his forehead. The man bid somewhere around $37,000, and the woman bid $54,000....I think. Bob wasn't showing any emotion as the bids were given with a shaky confidence. I was quiet. I was thinking.

Bob interrupted my thoughts of Mexican fiestas, brightly colored sombreros, and markets full of handcrafted purses bowls, and dresses. "We'll be right back!" Man, why do we have commercials, I thought. Granny changed her bid about three times over the break. I was ready to hear it. Who had won it all? The man had gotten an ego boost over the break and was sure he'd won. When Bob told him he had overbid by a couple thousand dollars, he was crushed. Gone were the dreams of traveling on the open road, music blaring and carefree.

This meant the woman had woman her trip! She was floored. Out of nowhere, a seemingly diverse group of "cheerleaders" flooded the pristine white stage. This wrapped up another episode of Price is Right.