Get ’em while you can!

The 2016 Southern Living Christmas Cookbook has arrived at Dillards!


I look forward to these festive books every year at this time and usually scoop up a few; one to keep for myself, the rest to give as gifts. At only $10 each, they are perfect holiday presents for teachers, bus drivers, coaches & office gift exchanges.  The recipes are always terrific and the glossy photos are sure to encourage even the most intimidated chef. Best part of all, proceeds from these hardcover books go to local charities.  The woman checking me out said their store alone raised $10,000 for the Ronald McDonald house here in Charlotte last year.

Get ’em while you can!

Can you hear those cracking sounds?


Yesterday I saw something that distilled my concerns about our dysfunctional government into one single snap shot.  Sheila Jackson Lee, a congresswoman from Texas, was questioning Jim Comey at a congressional hearing into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail investigation by the FBI. If you look at the picture above, you can see she was wearing a Hillary pin on her lapel.

Let that sink in for a minute..

Let’s say you filed a lawsuit against Target because they sold you a defective product that caused injury.  Can you imagine looking over at the jury during the trial and seeing that one of the jurors was wearing this?


Ms. Lee knew exactly what she was doing when she put that pin on her suit before the televised hearing yesterday. She was certainly out to make a statement to those watching TV,  Mr. Comey, the FBI, other witnesses and the committee chair..not to mention sending a clear wink and a nod to her girl Hillary that she had her back.

The message I received is confirmation of what I fear most, that the people charged with making our government work have become so political that the procedures and processes they are paid to uphold are little more than a sham; a show.  Sheila Jackson Lee wasn’t even feigning to do her job as a congresswoman yesterday. She wasn’t there to search for facts- she came dressed to play guard for her team.

I fear we are reaching our expiration date, pushing the limits of the structural design that keeps our government functioning. We have Presidents who issue major executive orders bypassing congress, we have “super departments” like the EPA creating “rules” which are essentially laws – also to bypass congress. We have a fully politicized Supreme Court that splits along party lines with almost every ruling and most disturbingly, we have renegade government employees who routinely break the law and simply walk away from any consequences.

A few weeks ago, there was an IT guy involved in the Clinton private e-mail mess who ignored a subpoena to appear before congress to testify…No lie, he flat out just didn’t show up.

The Democrats on the committee had NO problem with the guy defying the official order to appear before them because after all, they didn’t want this man to potentially testify against their party’s presidential nominee. Never mind that their collusion ultimately weakens the entire government system.  Why act surprised when we see more and more people boldly refuse to comply with anyone in authority? After all, what’s a lonely IT guy got to worry about if back in 2012 the Attorney General himself (Eric Holder) flew to Disney World on the very day he was instructed to appear before congress?

Our forefathers were truly geniuses, but I fear our politicians have so chipped away at the pillars they designed to hold our government together that the entire country is fracturing.


I can hear the cracking sounds..can you?






Quick & easy guest bathroom update

This room was actually fun to refresh; nothing too involved, too expensive or too drawn out. We didn’t have to wait for contractors, place special orders or conquer unexpected problems. We simply wanted to update the space and create a neutral, clean, spa like atmosphere for guests to enjoy.

The tile  floor had to stay so the grout had to be cleaned.. about three times with various products.  White grout paint was applied in the shower to brighten it up as well. Walls and trim were repainted in lighter, more reflective tones. We replaced the UGLY speckled Corian counter top with a  wood (maple) counter option from Lumber Liquidators that was stained and protected with 5 coats of low gloss poly.  I was going for a somewhat beachy, laid back look.. We used a stain called ‘weathered oak’ by Minwax to enhance the grain and add a hint of color.


The above counter sink was ordered from Signature Hardware.  This was an important choice as the cabinets were strangely low (short.) Placing the sink on top of the counter brought everything up to a more normal height.   Chrome sink faucet and new bathtub fixtures are from;  a truly great online company to do business with.

Round mirror is from Amazon- light from LampsPlus, (only $99 which I thought was a great deal.) We exchanged the over head, ceiling lights with much brighter LEDs, but the LampsPlus light alone emits a much softer glow, perfect for early morning when you don’t want to be blinded by high wattage glare. All new chrome hardware on cabinet doors is from Blackhawk Hardware store in Charlotte.

Simple frame above is from Michaels with a photo to remind me of home.  Other knick-knacks were picked up at Home Goods, including a thick, towel-like shower curtain.  Actual towels were a gift from my mom (Bed, Bath & Beyond) and are as super soft and luxurious as the bathrobe hanging on the door..all of them just waiting to envelop my daughter– who is coming up to visit next week!

Lastly, my husband was able to remove the bathroom mirror without damaging it, so we decided to use it in the hall. We created a frame from Home Depot trim and stained it the same weathered oak color that we used on the bathroom counter.  Being able to use this mirror was a happy, unexpected and useful bonus as we have no other large mirror in the house. (Trust me, as you get older, it’s important to double check that you’ve got the same color shoes on before you walk out the door!) 👠👠 👍


Knock, knock – Who’s there?


Yesterday morning I attached a verse from the bible to the end of my daily post; it was 1 Peter 4:10.


What followed was a super busy day as we had been gone all week-end visiting our daughter in Virginia. At 4pm, after I was finished with all my running around town, I went to the gym.  Our YMCA has a large bowl at the front desk filled with little folded strips of paper, each with a verse from scripture. I always grab one as I head out the door after my work-out, and yesterday was no different.

What are the chances, with the thousands of verses in the bible,  that I’d pull out a strip of paper with the same exact verse from my post earlier that morning?


Well, that’s exactly what happened.

I feel like God may be “knocking at my door” with a message He wants me to hear..

I’d better go answer, huh?








Sadness & Joy

The sports world is mourning the deaths of two men this morning:  legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, 87, and the Miami Marlins’ star pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24.




 Both men were famous for their talent, admired for their life stories, but most importantly they were loved for their joyful hearts.

The world could use more heroes like these.





Reaching out with both hands


The video is hard to watch. A woman lays passed out in the aisle  of a grocery store in Massachusetts while her toddler cries and tries to revive her. The fact (learned later) that the mom had overdosed on drugs makes the scene especially sad, but what makes it even more tragic is hearing the voices of the “spectators,” including the person video taping  the event.

No one reaches out to comfort the distraught child who is seen pulling at her mother’s clothes and trying to lift her head. No one tries to soothe the little girl who is obviously frantic and frightened.. and it goes without saying, other than calling 911, no one offers to assist the mother.

Dear God, at what point did filming a crisis become more important than responding to it?

I actually believe there are two things going on here:

One is the desire to be famous; to be the person who captures and uploads an important moment receiving credit and comments, attention and accolades.

The other, more concerning aspect, is that the act of filming ostensibly relieves us of our “duty” to react to what we see.  We are like Nature photographers out on the African Plain, dispassionately documenting an orphaned zebra as it starves to death.  Intervention is not our job. We want to be part of the action, but not involved in it.

As with any technology, there are good and bad aspects, but I fear the raised cell phone has become a symbol of both our detachment and narcissism.


Bystander takes selfies after police biker crashes during Olympic Torch relay in Brazil


Ironically, it may take a video like the one at the grocery store to help us recognize how our cell phones have impacted the way we interact with others. Maybe it will cause us to tuck them into our pockets when a crisis arises and to reach out to those who need us…

with both hands.