Movies I Can’t Stop Watching

I confess, I love movies.  I love how they can entertain, transport me into another time and place, send my emotions in spirals, and cheer me up when I’m feeling down.  There’s nothing I like more on an “I’m not feeling great” day than to line up my favorite DVD’s and have a moviethon from the comfort of my easy chair.  Here are a few of my favorites, in no certain order:

chocolat-movie

  1. Chocolat:  I love the cinematography of this film.  The characters are unique and interesting and I always have hope at the end that all is well.  And let’s face it, Johnny Depp is a pleasure in this movie.
  2. Funny Farm:  Chevy Chase’s character as a newspaper writer buying a home in the country to live the life of an author and write a book just fires up my own dreams of doing the same.  It’s funny, and it brings back warm memories of my mom and I watching it together and having a good laugh at all the things that happened while he was living the dream.
  3. You’ve Got Mail:  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are always good together.  The romantic part of me likes the idea of two people meeting and falling in love online.  The practical side of me says, “Don’t do it!”  But it’s a lovely movie and I adore the apartment Meg’s character lives in.Baby_boom_1987
  4. Baby Boom:  One of my all time favorites.  I love how Diane Keaton doesn’t let being knocked down by disappointments keep her down, how her priorities change, and the move to a house in Vermont is my idea of a beautiful life.
  5. While You Were Sleeping:  Who doesn’t like a Sandra Bullock movie?  It’s cute, romantic, and fun.
  6. An Unfinished Life:  When you pair up Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Lopez in a movie, it’s gotta be a good thing.  It’s not for those loving an action-packed film, but it’s a good movie about life and how circumstances can change in a heartbeat.
  7. Pretty Woman:  This was the very first movie I went to by myself at a movie theater.  Although it definitely seems a fantasy to me, it is fun to watch and dream.  Julia Robert’s character is charming and likeable, as is Richard Gere’s.  And I truly loved the Hotel Manager, Hector Elizondo.
  8. Fletch:  Chevy Chase again in his prime.  It’s fun, with a bit of mystery.
  9. Fletch Lives:  Same as above.
  10. Sleepless in Seattle:  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in another sweet romance.  It just makes you want to love both of them all over again.
  11. The Pelican Brief:  While the adaptation from book to movie did disappoint me a little, I still enjoy watching it.  A bit of a thriller, it kept me on edge.
  12. The Fugitive:  Harrison Ford…need I say more?The_Fugitive_movie
  13. Clear and Present Danger:  See #12.
  14. Steel Magnolias:  Fantastic cast, interesting and unique characters, and makes me feel good at the end.  It follows the relationship between friends and shows the strength of women.
  15. Sleeping With the Enemy:  Julia Roberts as an abused wife, this movie sheds a little light on the fact that appearances can be deceiving.  I love the life she carved out for herself after leaving him, and the ending always makes me smile.

What are your favorite films?  Do you share any of these?

 

Blessings

Bible Study Benefits

Bible4We are all so busy.  There’s always some place we need to be, someone we need to see, or something we need to do in our daily life.  We stretch ourselves thin while pursuing the wants and needs we all have.  But what if we are neglecting one of our greatest needs during our busyness?   How do we keep it all together while at the same time increasing our faith?

 

I wish I had all the answers and could say I follow them daily.  But I will be the first to admit I fail to some extent each and every day.  For me, my faith is probably the most important aspect of my life I want to hold onto, and yet I am guilty of setting it aside at times.  I started off missing church because of illness, then it became a habit, and then a practice of not attending Sunday service.  Sometimes I’m uncomfortable in larger groups of people, but I haven’t even tried lately.  True, I’m at the church normally six days a week working, but it’s not quite the same.  Yet, if you were to ask me, I would probably tell you I go to church all the time.  And I do, but I’m not worshiping in a way that God deserves.

A few weeks ago, I began attending a new Bible Study on Wednesday evenings.  I thought maybe if I could do this a few times it will “make up” for missing Sunday mornings.  Well, it has not served that purpose; it has not given me a good out that clears my conscience of not attending Sunday morning worship, but it has given me a few unexpected benefits.

  1. Reading the Bible.  I wonder how many of us could honestly say we read the Bible every day, and be very honest about it.  I imagine not many of us.  It’s so easy to put the Bible on the backburner.  We’ll get to that later and then later never gets here.  Not only has a weekly Bible Study given me more Bible reading time at home, I’ve begun exploring different versions online.  I’ve even become very fond of a couple versions I had never heard of before.  It helps me have a clearer understanding, and it keeps me reading.
  2. Friendships.  Meeting in a small group, reading and studying the Bible together, sharing thoughts…it has created a bond amongst us I wasn’t really expecting.  It has brought together folks who were friendly, and made them friends.  When the pastor was out of town and we had no leader for the group, we went out to dinner together.  We prayed, we ate, we laughed.  We chose to spend that time together rather than go our separate ways.  That is God working a plan in our lives.
  3. Socializing.  I could very easily become a hermit.  Rather than force myself to go out with friends, I would much rather stay at home with my pets and watch a movie or read a book.  I’d rather make a To-Do List in my notebook than have conversations with people I enjoy.  It doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is and that’s how I am.  Being an introvert isn’t a terrible thing, but there is much about life I sometimes miss because of my tendency to seclude myself.  Bible Study forces me out of the house and among friends.  The group is small enough I feel comfortable.  Granted, if it was a group larger than ten, I might not feel the same way.  Our group is cozy, but not overwhelming.
  4. Laughter.  With most small groups, there is going to be laughter at some point. And you may have heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  If it doesn’t cure you, it’s bound to make you feel a whole lot better!13938387_1114010325302730_9169913728093619050_n
  5. A stronger relationship with God.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Studying God’s word, sharing thoughts, supporting each other.  It all adds together to bring us closer to each other and to God.  At the end of every study session, we pray.  We can pray silently or out loud, however the Spirit moves us.  It is a peaceful time, and I usually feel God’s presence in a strong way.

I would encourage everyone to join a small group for Bible Study.  Not only has it strengthened my relationship with God, it is time well invested in making my life more balanced, more meaningful.  And maybe, just maybe, I will be a better person for it.

Blessings

 

An Introvert’s Saturday Night

13092171_1049850765052020_9125567350055287945_nIt’s another Saturday, the last Saturday of April 2016.  It’s Spring time and many people are celebrating better weather (though it’s a bit chilly and dreary today here) and spending time outdoors with family, cookouts, and picnics.  Or maybe going out to a club or having dinner at a nice restaurant with a group of friends.

And then there’s another group of people, each of us celebrating our Saturday night’s alone, apart from the crowds and noise, and in our own ways.  Welcome to my Saturday night; an Introvert’s Saturday Night.

  • 6:00pm have nightshirt on.
  • 6:05pm let Maggie outside.  Stay inside the garage so neighbors don’t see me in nightshirt.  Feed Jonnie Katt so he can eat in peace without Maggie.  Hold and pet the boy while he purrs.
  • 6:20pm or thereabouts, Maggie comes back inside, tongue hanging out, hot from running all around the yard, feet wet and cold.  Jumps on me so I can get the full effect of the cold, wet feet.
  • 6:23pm give Maggie her supper.
  • 6:30pm Google what shows are on the three channels I get on TV tonight.  Notice there’s nothing worth watching.
  • 6:32pm check Facebook.
  • 6:35pm drag out my Art Journal and colored pencils or pens and doodle.
  • 7:30pm notice my doodling is not improving and looks like child’s play but don’t care.  I’m OK with never being an artist.   It’s my doodle.
  • 7:35pm pick out a DVD to watch.  Tonight, it will be Spenser for Hire, Season 1, Episode 2.  After all these years, Spenser and Hawk are still cool dudes.  Maggie snuggles up close and goes to sleep.
  • 7:37pm check Facebook.
  • 8:30pm let Episode 3 play of Spenser for Hire while reading a chapter of Unstuffed, by13139192_1049850411718722_8024304825355673105_n Ruth Soukup.  I make notes and highlight text.   Maggie snuggles against me and snores.
  • 9:30pm hope is renewed that I can get rid of “stuff.”
  • 9:31pm check Facebook.
  • 9:35pm feeling hungry and open the bag of White Cheddar Popcorn I brought home, accompanied by some ice cold Diet Coke.
  • 11:35pm wake up after having fallen asleep with my hand in the popcorn.  It’s sticky.  At the same time I notice my nose itches and wipe my sticky fingers across my nose.
  • 11:40pm turn the TV on to see who’s on Saturday Night Live.  Watch for a few minutes.  If nothing they say makes me angry, I’ll watch for maybe half an hour.  If they make me mad, like making a joke about God, then I’ll turn it off.
  • Midnight turn off the TV and start reading whatever book I’m reading from my Kindle.
  • 12:15am check Facebook.
  • 12:17am resume reading.
  • 12:30am out of popcorn and fall asleep, if I’m lucky.

And there you have it.  My wild and crazy Saturday night.  And I like it like that.

If you’re single and alone, how do you spend your Saturday night?

 

Blessings.

My Favorite Book

Bible2From the earliest of my memories, books have been a fascination to me.  It first puzzled me how adults could sit for hours reading a book without pictures.  How could anyone enjoy something that didn’t have pictures?  I mean, in my four or five year old mind, pictures told the entire story.

My grandmother would read to me quite often.  Storybooks.  Faerie tales.  Books about Spot the dog and Harriet the goat, or something along those lines.  Thin books full of pictures I loved to look at.  Puppies, farm animals, kittens…books about animals were my favorite then.

Like all children, I started school and began to learn to read the words that went with the pictures in my books.  I learned a lot of words simply because I knew the stories by heart by then and I could put them both together.  I’m not sure how long at a time I would read, but the time was increasing.  Reading out loud was one of my favorite things to do.

One night, and I remember it clearly, my grandmother was reading her book silently to herself, but I was reading my book out loud, and it annoyed her.  She told me I was a big girl and I no longer had to read the words out loud, I could say them to myself.  This felt pretty odd at first, but I soon got the hang of it.  Grandma was a lot happier then and we could sit side by side for hours reading silently to ourselves.

I think I was about 12 when Grandma gave me my first Bible.  It was white, with gold lettering on the front.  I thought it was the most beautiful book I had ever seen and I dived right in reading it.  It was King James Version, so it wasn’t always the easiest to understand, but it seemed to have a poetry about it.  The words were beautiful even before I started paying attention to the meaning.  That Bible was the first of several over the years.  It’s the one that started it all.

When I was 13, my mother and I attended a little country church, nestled in the woods, for a little while.  It was during our Sunday School lessons at Joppa Methodist Church that I became aware that there were other versions of the Bible, versions I could understand better.  Who knew?

For Christmas when I was about 15, I asked my mother for a Bible called The Way, The 9780842378208-us-300Living Bible.  Amazingly enough, she got it for me.  I loved it!  It opened up a whole new world for me.  The words in the Bible took on more meaning.  My mind was reaching more understanding of God’s Word.  How could anyone not read the Bible?  It was a fantastic book, full of hope, war, hate, faith, and love.  There was sex, scandals, miracles, and sadness.   It had everything any bestseller on the market had, and a whole lot more.

As happens with many young people, I began drifting away some from reading the Bible.  There was the dating thing, the marriage thing, the working and going to college thing.  I worked most Sundays, or at least tried to, for the extra pay.  In my mind, I was way too busy to go to church.  But during those years, I kept my Bibles on the floor under my side of the bed.  When my husband was out of town during the week, I would read a little, at least a few verses.  There was just something about reading God’s Word that made me feel better.  It got me through some pretty rough times by giving me hope.  And it was through those words in those Bibles that made me want to pray, and I prayed a lot.  I felt like God and I were getting to know each other a little better.

Bible4Fast forward a few decades and I have collected several Bibles.  I like exploring different versions.  Some I can read like a novel, some take more time, like the King James Version.  Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for one version or the other.  Do I read my Bibles as often as I should?  No.  And I’m not proud of that.  But to this day, it is still my favorite book of all time.  It’s the one book that can give me hope, comfort my grief, celebrate my happiness, and make me believe in miracles.  It was that first white Bible my grandmother gave me that put me on the path to become a Christian later in life.  It helped plant a seed.

If you don’t have a Bible, I urge you to get one.  If you cannot afford one, stop in a church and ask them for one.  They will gladly give you a Bible of your own.  If you live in my neck of the woods, stop in at Rockland Church and I will make sure you have a Bible.  It’s an amazing story you don’t want to miss.

 

Blessings

Turkey & Traditions

  In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. This is the day when families gather together to eat a tremendous amount of food, and give thanks for the blessings of the harvest God has given them.  

Most families have a tradition of what food is served, what activities they do together, if any, and whose home it will all take place. For those of us who have a few decades behind us, there are bound to be many memories of past Thanksgivings.   Most memories will warm the heart and perhaps bring a tear to the eyes, but all of them have helped mold our Thanksgiving celebration into what it is today.
The preparations for Thanksgiving seemed to begin days earlier for mom and grandma as they baked bread, rolls, pumpkin and cherry pies, pumpkin cake, and maybe some fudge and potato candy got thrown into the mix.  Noodles were rolled, cut, and left to dry.  A huge bowl of fruit salad was prepared, and fruit nut bread was already stored away waiting.  Everything was made from scratch.  I didn’t know there was any other way.

Growing up on a small dairy farm, our schedule of Thanksgiving Day events may have been a little different than some.  Mom was up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare and stuff the turkey before putting it in the oven.  Then she’d wake up dad and the boys to go to the barn and do the morning chores and milking.  I’d get to sleep a little longer and my job was to take care of my little brother, Joey.

After the milking and chores, mom would come back into the house and start cooking while dad and the boys went rabbit hunting with a couple beagle dogs.  When I was really small, I was allowed to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on our black & white TV, but as I became old enough to help in the kitchen, more time was spent helping there, but we all took sneak peeks at the parade.

Promptly at noon, dad and the boys would come back from their hunting.  Sometimes they had a couple rabbits, sometimes not.  They’d get cleaned up for dinner and we’d all sit around the table in our assigned places.  Mom or grandma would say grace and then dad would begin the procession of food around the table.  It was tradition.

We kids all grew older and one by one left the farm.  Traditions changed and it became harder to get everyone together for Thanksgiving.  Family members passed away.  Marriage and divorce happened for me.  Then one year there were only three of us to sit at the table together.  After mom passed away, so did the tradition.

For a few years, I was pretty sad at Thanksgiving.  But life goes on and I’m a survivor, so I began creating new traditions just for me.  Yes, it can be done.  For many years, I volunteered to work every Thanksgiving and that became my tradition.  Then I retired, so I had to come up with something new.  For a few years, I would put a turkey breast in the slow cooker and fix green beans and herb dressing in the microwave.  It wasn’t a feast like years before, but it was still a feast!  And I spent the day with my pets and watched Christmas movies.  It became a tradition.

This year, the menu is changing to beef stew in the slow cooker and pumpkin pie for dessert.  But the tradition of spending the day with my fur family and watching Christmas movies will remain.  It makes me happy.

As life happens, traditions can be a saving grace, or a bittersweet memory.  Circumstances sometime dictate that we make changes.  It can be exciting to start new traditions tailored just for you!  Traditions can also bring comfort.  I pray everyone finds comfort in a tradition this Thanksgiving, new or old.  It’s something to be grateful for.

Do you have a new tradition for Thanksgiving this year?

Blessings

It’s Weenie Weather!

 Say what you will about summer barbecues, picnics, and cookouts, but there’s no better time to roast weenies than right now in autumn!

The leaves are just beginning to change into their autumn best here in southeastern Ohio.  We’ve been enjoying temperatures in the low to mid 70’s with plenty of sunshine.  Evenings and nights are falling into the 50’s and 40’s.  There’s a crispness in the air that only autumn embraces correctly.  It’s the perfect time for roasting hot dogs over an open fire!

I have always loved a good old fashioned weenie roast!  Memories of childhood and my dad going to the woods to find the perfect roasting sticks.  He would sharpen the ends just enough so the wiener would glide on smoothly.  It had to be a special wood; not any stick would do, and I wish I had paid more attention to what he chose.  But they worked wonderfully!  Nothing fancy.  A couple bales of straw to sit on, or lawn chairs.  My brothers and I would hold our hot dogs over the open fire and watch carefully as they cooked to a darkened brown.  Unless we caught one on fire, then someone was going to be eating a burned hot dog, but no one cared.

Home canned ketchup and mustard were the only add ons to our dog and bun.  Sometimes, we didn’t even have a bun and used a slice of mom’s homemade bread to wrap around it.  No matter what kind of bread, I was sure they were the best hot dogs I had ever eaten.  Mostly, because family was gathered together and sometimes there would be a little laughter, especially if some poor hot dog fell off its stick and became a burnt offering in the ashes.

Drinks were usually Kool-Aid and apple cider.  I didn’t like the cider but I loved the idea of it gracing a weenie roast.  Dessert was S’mores.  Oh my gosh, what gooey wonderfulness of hot roasted marshmallows on melting chocolate between two graham crackers!  I had never tasted anything more decadent!

The smell of wood smoke is filling my neighborhood this evening, stirring up memories of weenies, flannel shirts and corduroys, and the sound of laughter around an open fire.  The smells of autumn; changing leaves and ripening field corn, final cuts of hay in the hay mow.  The sounds of night in the country,  field mice scurrying through corn husks, barn owls hooting, cattle settling in the field for the night, and the occasional bat swooping around the barn.  

It was simpler times when I was too young to worry about paying bills and keeping gas in a car.  There was one black rotary phone in the house, and one black and white TV that got three channels.  Our family had meals together and worked hard in between.  There was no time to get into trouble.  And it was good.

The picture above was taken at our church weenie roast last year.  It’s a celebration of autumn and pastor appreciation week where church family gathers together, laughter happens, and great food is shared.  I think it’s becoming a tradition, and that’s a wonderful thing.