Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Continuing Saga of the Real Magnolias....

I know you expected something scandalous as a follow-up to the photo I posted on Tuesday, but if you recall, I mentioned I would start with something small and work up to the really juicy stuff!  You know, sort of like an ice cream cone.  Hmmm, but the good stuff is never at the end of an ice cream cone, it is always at the beginning.  Well, never mind with that analogy.  Regardless, I will be starting with the non-juicy can read it or turn a deaf ear.  Another poor analogy, but stick with me.  It will be worth it when you finally get the story that goes with the photo.  :-)

Below is something Monica wrote about our girlfriend group, the Real Magnolias.  No, I don't have written permission to publish the stories the other girlfriends wrote, but they should have known back when they gave them to me that their writings were not for their eyes only.  Here's what Monica, aka The Czar, aka Arrington, had to say about us:

"I love that email that goes around where the mother is giving her daughter some valuable advice – “Get you some Girlfriends!”  I have always been a “girlfriend” girl.  I love my girlfriends.  I can be me with them and they love me anyway.  And then I can be someone else – say like Monica – and they love me even more!  I have girlfriends in all ages.  Some I’ve loved my whole life and some I’ve grown to love in just the past few years.  I’m known as the Czar (or Mrs. Cravitz) in our little group of girlfriends.  I have no idea why other than I’m the one who is the most mature and responsible in the group!  Ha!  I am the mom of the group who will slap the stupid out of one of my girlfriends to get her back in line!  I tell it like it is most of the time – which is sometimes good and sometimes not so good.  The one thing I hate about the Real Magnolias is that no matter how much weight I lose, I am still the biggest flower in the bouquet.  Drives me crazy.  Just once when I’m in my Monica mode, I would like for someone to think of Monica on the TV show “Friends” rather than Monica Lewinsky!  I tried to change my name once to Arrington but my boyfriend’s name was Stone Barrington and if we had married, my name would have been Arrington Barrington and my girlfriends would not go for that!  Can you tell I read a lot of books – or should I say listen to a lot of books??!!

When we first decided to make our girlfriend group a true “club” we picked the name “Real Magnolias in a Garden of Girlfriends”.  It fits us perfectly.  The idea was to stop what we were doing at least once a month and get together no matter what.  To be there for each other – to pray for each other – to listen to each other – to celebrate things with each other – to cry with each other and to just go through life with each other.  We have a whole bunch of girlfriends in our garden but just a few Real Magnolias!  We are not perfect – well to us we are but you’re entitled to your own opinion – but we are really good friends through thick and thin.  I’m proud to be a Real Magnolia!"

Well, there you have it....the perspective from another Real Magnolia.  We are perfect in every way and that is not just our opinion!  At our February 2001 party, we had to make valentines to give to the other Real Magnolias.  None of that store-bought sissy stuff for us.  However, a few of the Real Magnolias cheated (ahem, Monica) by having someone else make their valentines.  Now, let me explain.  Cheating doesn't take away from our idea of being perfect, we are just perfect cheaters!  Right girls??!!    Monica did have nice valentines.  I have mine in The Book and this is what it said, "Girlfriends worth keeping forever enrich our lives with humor and mischief, regardless of how old we become.  We seem to revert back to giggles and allow ourselves unladylike guffaws over matters that only those in the friendship circle seem to appreciate."   Very sweet words, but let me tell you, there was a lot of unladylike behavior in the future of the Real Magnolias...more of that to come!

I'm just sayin',

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Saga of the Real Magnolias....

Now, let me preface this by saying I should be packing! However, it is difficult (closer to pert near impossible -- yes, Southerners can say "pert near" and get away with it) to stay focused when I have so many memories running through my head. It doesn't help that the "O-fficial Real Magnolia Blackmail Book" is laying open beside me begging me to turn each page and have a good laugh or cry, whichever is more convenient for that memory.

I feel that I should start with something slow and easy and then work up to the stuff that will make you fall out of your chair laughing. And if you don't fall out of your chair, that's your own fault and you have no sense of humor. Because every single time o
ne of us discussed any of our Real Magnolia events, we fell out of our chairs and still do!! It just can't be helped! Regardless of your sense of humor, or lack thereof, the most important thing you should remember is that there ARE photos. In order to protect the identify of those involved, I won't be able to post most of the photos. However, there is one photo that we deemed "priceless" and I am posting it below. The face of the Real Magnolia involved has been deleted. Not for her sake mind you, but to prevent embarrassment to the innocent bystanders involved. We considered this photo priceless because it involved Girlfriend Rule Number One - If you don't remember what was going on, it's best not to ask!

If you want to know the story behind this particular photo, you will need to check back another day.  The photo is a teaser for the stories to come!  ;-)

I'm just sayin,

Monday, December 27, 2010

No Long Farewells or Sad Goodbyes....

Over the past 7 years, my life has twisted and turned, taking many different paths.  In 2001, my oldest son graduated high school.  In 2003, he moved 9 hours away from home.  In 2004, I buried the man I was married to for almost 25 years.  In 2005, my oldest son got married.  In 2006, my youngest son had an aortic root transplant.  In May 2008, my youngest son graduated high school and in July 2008 I remarried.  That was a busy year!  :-)  In July 2009, my sweet little granddaughter was born.  Through all of those major life events, my girlfriends were there.

Many years ago, we formed our little group and called ourselves the Real Magnolias (after a book written by Becky Freemen).  We had monthly events where we would meet in our homes for some outrageous theme party or go out to dinner.  Dressing up, acting silly and calling major attention to ourselves was always the norm for us.  Occasionally, we would take our show on the road and travel on down to the beach (which became an annual event) to entertain those who needed entertaining.  We made new friends and lots of memories on those trips.  We held our own version of the Miss America pageant.  We were all beautiful and all winners.  We were the Real Magnolias and those GRITS had nothing on us!  We have all been through major life changes and have been there for one another.  Not only have we been through personal changes in our own lives, but our Real Magnolias have been through changes as a group.  They were subtle changes at first - one moved here and another there. Ballgames, dance recitals, gymnastics and sometimes husbands kept some of us from attending our monthly events.  We finally decided to just let them go altogether, but we would attempt to keep in touch with one another and every once in a while find a date for dinner.  However, over the past 5 years, we all seem to have drifted our separate ways.  And I think that is how it is supposed to be....for some of us anyway.

You see, God brought us all together at a time in our lives when we all needed each other for support.  Some of us were younger, some of us were older, but we all had something to teach the other girls, something that would be beneficial to someone else in the group.  Alot of times it was nothing more than a gripe session, sometimes we needed to cry on each others' shoulders and sometimes, we just needed to hold hands and sit quietly, knowing that the other one was there for us and no words needed to be spoken. 

As our group drifted apart, we each found other friendships and circles in which to be involved.  I believe by having been a Real Magnolia, we had something that others needed and that God felt it was time for us to move on, to share those experiences with other women.  After all, we had learned so much from each other over the years.

In a few weeks, I will be saying good-bye to the Real Magnolias as I will be moving from Alabama to Texas.  Some of the good-byes will be permanent, with others it will be more like "see ya in a few".  In honor of those wonderful friends - Monica, Amy, Paige, Lauren, Sam, Carly, Nikki, and Emma Kate (not their real names - we never used our real names) and the others whose pseudo names escape me, I will be posting some of their stories over the next few weeks, as well as a few of my own, of our time spent together.  While some of them may vehemently deny their participation in the Real Magnolias, I will kindly remind them I will always carry "the book"!  Proof positive, including photos!  :-)  And as the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words"! 

I love you all and cherish the memories we made and the time spent as a Real Magnolia!

I'm just sayin',

"When the coffee is hot, and the talk is easy, and the feeling is good, and the laughter is light, and the memories are many, but the time is too know you are with a friend."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The New Year's Resolution....

Well, here we are.  It is the day after Christmas.  The big finale is over.  You're sitting on the sofa looking at all the toys and boxes strewn about.  The Christmas tree is waiting to be shot -- to be put out of its misery.  Your brain is weary and your eyes hurt.  While you are breathing a sigh of relief about having survived yet another Christmas, you suddenly realize the next holiday is right around the corner.  You break out in a cold sweat, dread envelops you and tightens it's icy hand around your throat.  What are you going to do and when will you have time to do it?  Do what you ask??  Why write out your New Year's Resolutions of course!

Ahhh, the loathsome list of New Year's Resolutions!  People try to avoid this task almost as much as standing in line at Walmart on Christmas Eve!  You try to relax again telling yourself not to worry...that you can skip it this year to give yourself a break.  After all, didn't you go all out for Thanksgiving and Christmas?!  But your brain is racing, already thinking about all the things you will never accomplish during the following year.

The bad thing about New Year's Resolutions is that we always place unrealistic expectations upon ourselves. When we underachieve, we feel like epic failures.  We dismiss the list with a scoff, but it eats away at us that we couldn't quite reach the mark.  We try repeatedly to block it from our thoughts and feel successful until one day, while cleaning out the utility drawer, we happen across the grocery receipt that contains the "list".  Our hands tremble as we read over the list, with one eye closed I might add.  It is at this time we conclude that we are failures and will never amount to anything.  But it doesn't have to be this way.

If you feel that you just cannot NOT create a list of New Year's Resolutions, let me give you a pointer that will help you when you decide to sit down and write that list.  Be realistic.  It is as simple as that.  If you decide that you need to participate in an exercise program and/or lose weight in the New Year, don't write that you will lose 20 or 30 pounds and join a gym.  Write that you will be more health conscious during the New Year.  Doing this will automatically result in weight loss and probably prompt you to take the stairs in lieu of an elevator or escalator.  It also might just encourage you to find a good Pilates tape!  :-) 

Being realistic in our goals will prevent us from having that "epic failure" feeling and attitude.  While I aspire to write and publish a blog every day in 2011, realistically I know that will never happen.  So my resolution will be to write and publish as many blogs as I am inspired to write or have time to write.  In so doing, I am accomplishing an item that I have placed on my resolution list.

The list shouldn't bring on feelings of underachievement or epic failure.  New Year's Resolutions should inspire us to set goals for ourselves, to make us better than we were the year before, if we so desire!  Go ahead, sit down and make that list.  Set achievable, realistic goals.  When you do, you will smile with pride and satisfaction as you check off each one in the coming year!

I'm just sayin',

O Holy Night....

O Holy Night is one of my most favorite traditional Christmas songs.  It just gives me chills.  However, not just anyone can sing this song. Charlotte Church gives it a good shot, but the best rendition, hands down....Luciano Pavarotti.  Since I couldn't find a good Pavarotti performance of the song on YouTube, my readers will have to settle for a version recorded by Josh Groban.

Take a look at the lyrics:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Noël, Noël, O Night, O Night Divine.

I'm just sayin',

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.....

In honor of the old man in the famous red suit, I decided to post the letter and response from The New York Sun, 1897:

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe unless they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men or children, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus? You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


I'm just sayin',

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Not a Fan of.....

....Martha Stewart.  I used to love her, subscribe to her magazine and watch her show as often as I could.  Now, she nor her current show appeals to me.  And no, it has nothing to do with her stint in jail.  I like lots of people who have been in jail; unfortunately, I just can't think of their names right now.

I don't like her because she is rude and obnoxious to the guests on her show.  On her previous show, she wasn't in front of a studio audience and she treated her guests kindly, or at least it appeared that way.  But now, she interrupts them mid-sentence, talks over them while they are talking or just takes over their spot altogether.  Recently, and I use this term loosely as it could have been 4 months ago, she had Johnny Knoxville as a guest.  She told him since he took the city where he was born as his last name (Knoxville), she wanted to quiz him to see exactly how much he knew about Knoxville.  Well, he wasn't able to answer most of the questions.  They were absurd questions (specifically, what was the most recent type of panda rattlesnake born in the zoo or some other such nonsense) that no one would be able to answer.  She wouldn't have known either had she not looked it up on the internet.  Later in the show, she bragged to another guest how much Johnny Knoxville didn't know about Knoxville.  What a mean person!!  Now, I only bring up Johnny Knoxville because she read an e-mail from him on Monday and submitted a photo of himself (taken by his wife) in front of some store display in New York.  The display had Martha Stewart's photo in the background.  He was being funny and sent this to her.  Johnny, hon', she's mean and was rude to you on her show.  Don't send her anything else!!

While I realize it appears that I watch her show regularly, I don't.  I only tune in occasionally so that I may inform my readers, who might consider watching her show, to not do so as it is a waste of time.   Don't buy her products either...they are too expensive and break easily! It is not a good thing!!  Buy Pampered Chef, you will be happier in the end!

I'm just sayin',

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama.....

So, last night we decided to take the boys to see Elf at the Alabama Theatre. For those of you who have never been to the Alabama Theatre, you are missing a treat! The Alabama Theatre was built in 1927 by Paramount Studios to showcase Paramount films. In 1987 the owners declared bankruptcy. Fortunately, it was purchased by Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. and was lovingly restored to its original grandeur. I was telling my husband that the last time I was at the Alabama Theatre was to see the movie Animal House (when it was originally released). I had a date with a college guy and after the movie we went to a party, Toga at that, held at his fraternity house. The main thing I remember was (1) the boy -- he was popular, cute and drove an awesome car and (2) everything was so filthy in that house I wouldn't touch a thing (have I mentioned I'm a bit obsessive/compulsive and a neat-freak??). I didn't really remember much about the movie or the theater...guess the filthy house blocked out everything else. But I digress...

The Alabama is one of the most beautiful pieces of history I've ever seen. The red velvet curtains, the gold painted ornate decor everywhere you turn, the marble floors, the ticket booth....just gorgeous! And there are no words to describe the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ!
Everyone claps and sits on the edge of their seats as it rises from beneath the stage. In original old school style, we saw an old Chip and Dale cartoon prior to the movie and were given the opportunity to participate in several Christmas carol sing-a-longs. While there, I had the honor of sitting next to two of the most wonderful elderly women, who had such great memories of the Alabama. I was so thankful they were willing to share a few of their stories. I hope to be able to meet with them again to acquire some additional stories and a few photos. They were so sweet and loving. However, they didn't seem to be that enamored with Elf, but I wouldn't have expected them to be. While we enjoy watching the movie over the holidays it was a bit crass for the grand ladies sitting beside me. If you've ever seen the movie, you know the scenes of which I speak!

Surprisingly, the boys were almost speechless and wondered why we had never taken them to such a cool place before! It is awesome and you just have to see it, as words will never do it justice. When you have a chance, take the time to visit the Alabama Theatre. While everyone thinks the sign outside is awesome, the inside is spectacular!!

I'm just sayin',

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Memories....

While I have many wonderful memories of Christmas past, one of my favorites is the year we held our extended family Christmas party at the bake shop where my grandmother worked.  My grandmother could bake like nobody's business.  One year, I was running for Homecoming Queen (I was in 5th grade) and sold her lemon meringue pies to everyone in the neighborhood.  She baked them all at our house and I delivered them fresh out of the oven.  Lemon meringue pie....I can still smell those pies baking.  You might say "there's nothing special about that", but anyone who bakes knows that making a killer meringue is something that takes years to perfect....soft peaks, browned ever so lightly...but I digress.

So, this particular year we held the party at the bake shop, well I didn't, but the family get what I mean.  Me and my sisters sported our new "midi dresses" (something wildly popular in the late sixties) and white boots....yes, that is what I said, we wore white shoes AFTER Labor Day!!  We were fashionistas back in the day, so don't even think about rolling your eyes!!  Additionally, my sister Annette was wearing the new winter line from Bandaid across the bridge of her nose, as she had split it open on a large cauldron in our yard.  We were playing Crack the Whip and it wasn't my fault she couldn't hold on and landed face first on the pot (see my halo shining??).  

Anywho, my grandmother baked the best goodies for everyone...there was so much food and so many people.  I had no idea where they all came from as I was just a kid and couldn't remember who had shown up with whom.  While the food was spectacular and the music couldn't be beat, the crowning moment is when Santa Claus made a personal appearance just for us.  He walked through the front door of that bake shop and I thought I would wet my pants I was so excited.  He was laughing and jolly (as he should be) and knew us all by name!!   Needless to say, when he looked around the room to start handing out the gifts, I sat up straight as I could so he would see me.  I knew I had been good all year (remember, my sister busting her nose while playing Crack the Whip with me was an accident).  And Santa surely knew this as he pulled out several gifts just for me...proof that it was an accident!  :-))

We were all so excited!  Santa had paid a personal visit to the bake shop.  We talked amongst ourselves and decided it was because we were dressed so fashionably that he just had to see it for himself!!  He made his rounds passing out the rest of the gifts and even gave a few to the adults!  That's right, the grown-ups even got presents from Santa!   Even though some of my family is no longer with us, I will never forget that Christmas.  My grandmother has been gone for many years.  My grandfather died just a few years ago.  Santa (my cousin Junior) has been gone for many years as well.  However, those memories are cherished in this little girl's heart, never to be forgotten.

I'm just sayin',

Monday, December 20, 2010

Birmingham, Birmingham...

Birmingham is known for many things.  Unfortunately, most of those things are not positive aspects of the city.  Last week, we were able to add another smudge to the already tarnished name of the Magic City.  The headlines read "Copper Thieves Burn Down City of Birmingham's Christmas Tree".  Whoever you are, was that really necessary???  I know the holidays tend to make everyone desperate for money (or for drugs - depending on how you celebrate), but to burn down the city's Christmas tree!!!!???!!!  Unbelievable!!!

I'm just sayin',

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Engaged - A Wedding Library is a great business in the Homewood area. They help brides prepare for their BIG day! Preparing for a wedding is a massive undertaking, so why not let the professionals assist you and eliminate some of your stress.


On Monday, my husband and I attended a holiday Professional Wedding Guild Luncheon held to benefit Pathways (a United Way agency that aids homeless women and children).

I've provided links to both businesses above. Please take a moment to follow those links and read about them. Find out if there is a way you can help Pathways continue providing the services they offer to women and children in need.

I'm just sayin',

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Headlines....

A headline I read this evening said,  "Experts say watch out for cold temps."  Really??!!  Like it hasn't been cold for the past few days.  What different temperature do I need to watch out for?  These "experts" go on to advise us to wear a hat and warm shoes out in the cold.  As opposed to what, no hat and cold shoes?  Bermuda shorts and a tube top?  Baby, it's cold outside.  I'm going to bundle up like I live on the tip of an iceberg at all times.  I think all people with a little common sense will do the same!

Who writes this stuff??!!

I'm just sayin',

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The First Snowfall...

It is officially the first snowfall of the season!!  I've always wanted to say that but living in Alabama, there aren't many "seasons" of snow here. And, given that I do live in Alabama, by the time I finish typing this short blog, the first official snowfall of the season will be over!  :-(

Enjoy it while it's here folks.  It may be the only one this winter!!

I'm just sayin',

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

While we all want to believe this is true, it really isn't the most wonderful time of the year for some. Yes, everyone's heart seems to be a bit lighter and most days, there seems to be a general happiness in the air. However, if you look into the faces of those you see while out and about, you won't see alot of happiness there. Sadness and despair cloud the eyes of many.

The other night, while picking up a few things at the store, an incident took place that I'm still unable to get out of my mind. My husband and I were going through the aisles selecting what we needed. I saw a man who looked a bit scruffy and dirty, as if he just got off work, not from the cushy desk job but from a job where he gets dirty on a regular basis. With him was a little girl who appeared to be about 4 years old. Instead of placing things in his hand-held basket, he was putting food items back on the shelf. Now there were very few items in his basket to begin with, some tuna, crackers, etc., so putting things back on the shelf told me funds were very limited. He looked up and saw me watching him. Our eyes met for a brief second.
What I saw in his eyes was not happiness, but a haunting sadness and probably a little bit of embarrassment. As we made our way to the front to pay for our items, he was in line in front of us. After paying, he grabbed his bag and headed for the door. While the cashier was totaling up his purchase, his daughter had been admiring one of the dolls in the special Christmas display at the front of the store. She would reach out to touch it and then pull her little hand back. She would look around, reach out to touch it again and pull her hand back. She did this several times. As they were leaving, she told her dad she wanted the doll. He told her she couldn't have it that maybe "Santy Claus" would bring it to her. The cashier rang us up, we paid for our items and left the store. When we got outside I looked around for them, but didn't see them. They were gone and so was my opportunity to help someone. I wanted to buy that doll and give it to him to give to his daughter for Christmas. I also wanted to buy some additional food for them. I knew there was no way he could afford the doll, even though it wasn't very expensive. When someone is putting necessities, like food, back on the shelf because they can't pay for it, you know luxury items, such as toys for Christmas, won't be purchased. I cried on the way home and have been crying off and on for days about their situation.

The holidays are not always happy times for people.
Statistics show that suicide rates increase during the holidays. Financial burdens become heavier because of the pressure to buy extras when there is no money to buy the necessities. The economy has not rebounded as quickly as hoped or anticipated and those without jobs or a regular income are barely scraping by. Some are no longer able to battle the mortgage companies for their homes and are finding themselves homeless for the holidays. Many are depressed because loved ones have passed on and are no longer around to share what used to be joyous occasions. Others have lost all hope.

While there are many movies I enjoy watching over the Christmas holidays, I always watch one in particular to remind me that not all holidays are happy and that I can make a difference if I look around. One Magic Christmas is about a woman who is tired of all the hassle and haggle of the holidays. Her life is chaotic and stressed. Her husband lost his job and they are forced to move out of the company home in which they live. But she is given an opportunity to see how things could be different, for her and for others, when she takes the time to reach out to someone else in need.

If you see someone in need take a moment and reach out to them. That moment may be the one that saves them from making a drastic decision.

I'm just sayin',

Friday, December 3, 2010

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night and the First Noel

I am not a traditional person.  My husband is not a traditional person. Therefore, it would stand to reason that Christmas decor and celebrations around our house are not traditional.  Our Christmas tree this year is white with black ornaments.  Gifts (actually empty boxes right now) are wrapped in black and white polka dot paper.  White boxes are tied with black tuille and ribbons.  The mantel is decorated with white garland, white twinkle lights, white and off-white candles/candlesticks and a few black ornaments scattered here and there.  You can see some of both in this Lipstick Legend portrait. 

Our favorite Christmas movie of all time is not the traditional White Christmas or It's a Wonderful Life.  Nope, not for us.  Our favorite Christmas movie of all time, A Christmas Story...the wonderful tale of Ralphie and his quest for an "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time" aka the Red Ryder BB Gun.  Every time we watch this movie we laugh as though we've never seen it before. We're sick that way.  AND, if you spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with us, you are required to watch the 24-hours of A Christmas Story.  It's a tradition.  Hmmm, wait, does that make us "traditional" after all?

So, given that we are a non-traditional Christmas type of family, would you really expect us to have a favorite "traditional" Christmas song?  If you are a bettin' person, I bet you would bet that we would have a very non-traditional Christmas song as one our favorites. After all, it would only be natural.  And, you would win your bet.  Not sure how much, as that would depend on how much you bet for or against the fact that we, as a family, would have a very non-traditional Christmas song as one of our favorites.   Now that I've drawn this out as long as possible, here it is, without further adieu, the video for one of our favorite Christmas songs...

I'm just sayin',

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Gone,....All Gone!!

The turkey that is!  To quote a line from my most favorite Christmas movie of all time, A Christmas Story, "the heavenly aroma still hung heavy in the house, but it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches, no turkey salad, no turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king, or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, all gone!"  You have to watch the clip to appreciate the meaning behind No Turkey!!  Start at the 6:20 mark!!

The Thanksgiving turkey is officially gone, gone, gone!!

I'm just sayin',

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow....

Now that the Iron Bowl has officially been laid to rest (as crazy as it sounds, I believe that I am the only person in the country who did NOT watch it -- even though I bleed Crimson), it is time to move on to the sight, sounds, tastes and smells of the winter holidays.

One of the most wonderful things about cold weather, besides snow (which we do not get often living here in the deep south) is hot chocolate!  I LOVE hot chocolate.  And recently, I found the bestest (yes it IS a word) and most wonderful recipe for homemade hot chocolate.  It tastes divine and makes you feel so warm and incredible inside you will want to snuggle with perfect strangers!  How's that for some Christmas spirit!!  :-)

It is called.....Let It Snow Cocoa in the Homemade Christmas Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch.  Before the cold weather goes away (which will probably be next week, again, given that we live in the south and Spring can spring at any given time of the year), you must make some of this wonderful hot chocolate.  I made some for my family last night as we kicked off the holiday chocolate and a Monk marathon....doesn't get any better than that!

Let It Snow Cocoa

2 c. whipped cream (you will need some extra for dolloping on top)
6 c. milk (NOT that low-fat stuff)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low setting for 2 1/2 hours.  Stir well to blend before serving.  Makes 10 servings (only if you use tiny cups -- we used  big hearty mugs, therefore, it was safe to say we did not get 10 servings).  Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and/or shavings of chocolate.

I'm just sayin',

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sleep Tight and Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Well, it is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the season!  Once we get home and unload all the goodies we've acquired during the day, all we want to do is rest and recover....and eat some leftover turkey!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.  Not getting enough sleep has been linked to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, negative moods and behavior and decreased productivity.

Here are a few tips to help you establish and maintain good sleep habits:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. (Sounds good in theory but is quite impossible to do, unless you are a robot)
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music. (WHO has TIME to soak in a hot bath!!)
  • Keep work materials, computer, and television out of the sleeping environment. (But how do I entertain myself until I fall asleep if I remove these things??)
  • Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime. (So, eating IN bed is out of the question then, right?)
  • Exercise regularly, but complete your workout at least three hours before your bedtime.  (I do exercise....I raise my arm up and down when I use the remote to change the channel.)

I'm just sayin',

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Santa Baby slip a sable under the tree......

For me....'cause I need it for a Lipstick Legends Santa Baby photo shoot!  :-)

I believe the Christmas season has officially kicked in.  I have seen more than my fair share of homes sporting Christmas decorations this week.  And, to be honest, my home is included.  I decorated early to gear up for Christmas portraits!  Below is a sneak peek from a Lipstick Legends Santa Baby shoot!

Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree for me, I've been an awful good girl,
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight...

I'm just sayin',

Monday, November 22, 2010

Give Thanks....Even When You Don't Feel Like It!

Why is it that some of the hardest words for us to say are “thank you”, especially when things aren’t going well in our lives?

Why is it we only tell God thank you when all is right in our lives?  It’s easy to tell God thank you when we are sitting on the mountaintop all happy and smiley-faced, but what about when we are in the valley, sad and defeated?  We don’t even think about saying thank you to Him.

When our burdens are heavy, we forget about the wonderful blessings He’s given us and are angry about the troubles we face.   All we can see is our present  darkness.  But we should give thanks to God for all of our circumstances, not just the good times.  Even though we can’t see it at the time, there is always  a positive force in our trials — God.   We should make it a habit to say thank you to Him for trying times, as well as good times. 

First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances, not just the good times.  Several of the Psalms include the verse “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

As we come into this season of thanksgiving, thank God for the valleys, not just the mountaintops.

I'm just sayin',

Friday, November 19, 2010

Social Media Addiction.....and Murder?

I love this quote, "When God created man to desire companionship, he didn’t take a rib and turn it into a Wi-fi signal."

This is from an article I read about our addictions to social networking, specifically, Facebook.  I've attached the link to Social Media Addict seeks Connection, Escape.  Hopefully, it will cause each one of us to take a step back and look at others in a different light and possibly offer them more than a "friend request".  While I don't play Farmville or any of the other games offered on Facebook, I do understand how one can lose track of time while on the internet.  It seems to be the shiny coin we can't seem to pull ourselves away from.

The story about the 22 year-old mother who killed her baby over a Farmville game is mortifying and shocking.  But equally disturbing to me was the photo in the article...our household looks just like that sometimes.  Today's quality family time is spent on computers or in front of some gaming system.  We used to play board games together, at least once a week.  I think we are going to go back to this practice.....starting tonight!

I'm just sayin',

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Little Less Talk and Alot More Action!

Yeah, yeah, I know the title is a song by Toby Keith, I think.  I must confess -- I don't listen to alot of country music.  Well, actually, I don't listen to it at all, unless it is Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard.  :-)  But I know most of the performer's names even though I don't know their songs.  However, I digress.  This blog isn't about Toby Keith or his is about becoming a woman of ACTION! 

A re you a woman of talk or action?  We all say things we are going to do — pray for someone, take a meal to a friend in need, send a card, make a phone call — and we honestly have good intentions, but most of the time, we never follow through.

I recently read a short story about Bob Dahlgren.  Do you recognize the name?  I had never heard of him until I read his story.  He died quite a few years ago at the age of 52.  His death doesn’t affect us in any way, but to James Brady, it was a deep-felt loss.  You see, Bob Dahlgren was one of James Brady’s best friends.  Mr. Brady, who was Press Secretary of the White House during the Reagan administration, was shot in 1981 during an assassination attempt on President Reagan.  During the years following Mr. Brady’s recovery, Bob Dahlgren never left his side.  He and his wife took care of the Brady’s young son Scott during the first weeks of his recovery.  Bob organized “happy hours” around Mr. Brady’s bedside so that he could visit with his friends.  When Mr. Brady was able to get out and about, it was Bob who made all the transportation arrangements and helped his friend in and out of the special vehicle in which he did his traveling.  Bob shielded the Brady family from the press and ill-meaning exploiters.  For four and 1/2 years, Bob devoted virtually all of his time to his friend — a friend he loved.  Bob never complained nor hesitated to offer his services for his friend.  One of the surgeons who operated on and treated Mr. Brady once said, “Everyone should have a friend like Bob Dahlgren!”

Are you a “Bob Dahlgren” in someone’s life?  Are you a devoted friend — for better or for worse?  Are you willing to give your time to someone in need?  We’ve always heard “it’s the thought that counts”.  But you know what?  The thought really doesn’t count.  It is the ACTION that counts.  It’s the action that makes a difference.  It’s the action that makes a lasting impact on someone’s life.  Action is what truly matters in friendship.  Mere words do not make friendships happen and last through the years ….it’s ACTION!  To reverse an old cliché, “You are a friend indeed if you help a friend in need.”

If you know of someone going through a difficult time, I encourage you to exercise a little less talk and a lot more action!  Be a woman of your word, be a woman of worth and most importantly, be a woman of ACTION.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.” — 1 John 3:18

I'm just sayin',

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Apple a Day...

We’ve all heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”…..but here are some additional facts about APPLES:
  • During 7th century BC, they were so rare and valuable couples were required to share one on their wedding night. 
  • They are second only to bananas in popularity.
  • They contain 2.8 grams of fiber.
  • Apples should be eaten unpeeled as most of the nutrients are in the skin.
  • They are easy to digest and help reduce fermentation in the digestive tract.
  • Apples are an excellent way to help reduce blood cholesterol.
  • New Zealand is a large source of apples for the US during the spring.
  • They are a natural breath freshener.

There are over 100 types of apples, although we very rarely eat more than 1 or 2 types.  Step out and try a type you’ve never tasted before — they are affordable and will definitely contribute to a healthy living lifestyle!

While apples are great tasting and good for you ( by the way, so is chocolate :-) ), we do use the word apple when referring to something else besides fruit.  The next time you decide to look for something on the World Wide Web, you can do a little research on these common phrases...The Big Apple and The Apple of My Eye!

I'm just sayin',