Friday, July 25, 2014

The mundane and the magnificent

   You might wonder what I am reading right now. (You might not give a flip, either!) It might surprise you that I am reading Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity. Ok, I do have a serious side! Eerdmans' Handbook to the History of Christianity is very interesting, and I have learned so much. It literally starts at the beginning of the church. If you like history, you will love this book, especially the history of the various kings, popes, etc...

I bought my copy at a yard sale for a dollar, and I also later found a companion book:

Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible

(If you purchase through my Amazon link, I do make a small profit. Full disclosure!)

Something I have found interesting is that there were so many clashes of opinion, even as far back as the early Church.  I have heard a lot of people talk about why they don't go to church, saying that they would like to go to church where people didn't disagree about what color the pews were going to be, etc...They will often mention that the Early Church didn't have disagreements, but they could not be more wrong.

If you transplanted yourself back in the earliest days as the Christian Church was trying to get established, there were many issues that required a serious meeting of the minds to nail down the church's belief system. It may not have been something trivial that they were discussing, but there were so many issues that define the Christian Church that were maintained by those who dug in and refused to compromise the Gospel that Jesus Christ had left them as caretakers of. So there was not just a quiet peace even in the earliest stages of the Church. They had issues like what actually constituted the "Trinity," and the true essence of the Savior's humanity.

So, if you are using disagreements as a reason not to go to church, it is hard to make a case that the church will always see things the same way.

I also learned that the song, "HOLY HOLY, HOLY...Lord God Almighty. " is a staple from the earliest churches. The saints would have almost all known the words to that hymn. It is also how heaven is described as worshipping God.

I was driving down the road today, and the words to this hymn came up in my mind:

"..... who wert and art and ever more shall be." Could anything be more beautiful and true?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"The rain, the park and other things"

Lots of deer grazing near Warriors Path Park
Once again, I use a reference that only my readers over a certain age will recognize. (The Cowsills...circa 1969.) Today it really, really rained. Many roads, like ours, had water covering them. Our creek was running really hard, and it sounded wonderful. Our next purchase is some seating for down at the creek...Jeanni picked up her chairs we were babysitting for her!
Jeanni's antique metal chairs on her mom's porch

The creek, in case you missed it. 

Max really does not like storms. We have Noaa weather radio, and Max knows what the word "severe" means.

The silly dog loves to look at you upside down. The kids think he has some weird dog dyslexia where he sees upside down. Lol. I can't imagine my life without the silly old lug.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I made a pot of Creamy Tomato Basil Soup tonight.  Here is a recipe I published on my Knoxville Cooking Examiner column several years ago.  Tonight I did not add parsley or milk, only sour cream, a few tablespoons of sugar, a bit of olive oil and the Basil. (salt and pepper)

My daughter loves this, and, since she was sick, we decided to take her some. She called as she was leaving work, so we told her we would drop it off, but not come in, which we NEVER do unless invited. We usually travel to her house through Warrior's Path State Park. Tonight, we could not believe the deer that were everywhere!  One place there were at least 8 or 10, maybe more.  I snapped some photos.

  After we got through the park, coming home, we were travelling down Fall Creek when a deer jumped out of the hill next to the road and almost hit us!  It was followed by two more. They jumped over a large white fence into the yard of a beautiful house and stopped to graze!  I miss the deer who lived on our mountain at the other house.

Stay tuned for blog changes  will be changing a bit over the next while.  You will notice today that I have added a new advertiser, Zulily. My blog has mainly been a place to post my Examiner articles so people can find them. It has been my home on the web, so to speak. I am hoping to make it a bit more profitable so that I will be able to spend more time here writing. I have had several people share with me how much they enjoy my blog and the Bubblews blips that I write. That is truly my favorite type of writing to do, but a girl has to eat!

In the next few weeks, there may be some changes both visually and editorially. Hopefully, there will be more regular, possibly daily, content added. 

One thing is for certain: I have to get back to work.  I have spent the past few months engulfed in my mother's health situation, but the reality of financial obligations is pressing me to return to regular hours in my writing. Please don't be offended if I am not as "reachable" as I have been. It's back to the grindstone for this goofy girl!

Thank you for reading, and be sure and check the blog more often.  If I am not updating it, you have my permission to let me have it! I do have a lot of irons in the fire in the next coming weeks. I have even accepted some new work on top of what I already have.

Really, I will have to limit my Facebook time to get more writing done.  Do you ever feel like you get on there and re-emerge an hour later!?  This was on Facebook, and I thought it was so funny. (The attribution is on the meme.)

Love to all! Meet me here tomorrow.


The creek after the rain

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not my monkeys!

photo from Morgufile

I read an old Polish proverb on Facebook this morning, and it went like this:

"Not my circus, not my monkeys!"
The Facebook meme included something about getting involved in other people's "stuff." It is good advice when it comes to sticking your nose in somebody's business or getting involved in other people's drama. Sometimes you get your nose cut off!

So, how do we reconcile this old Polish saying with a more recent American pop song, "He Ain't Heavy; He's My Brother!"

I get a lot of good-natured ribbing and a little constructive criticism from time to time about getting involved with other people's lives more than I should. My daughter thinks that this probably shouldn't always involve random people in stores, etc...  My little cousin (Yes, she is little in size and stature, but not character as you see I quote her a lot!) thinks that perhaps I should not always try to get involved and "help and change" things myself but pray for people more. Of course, they have a point.

I guess it is not feasible to go around trying to adopt other people's monkeys all the time. And, it increases your stress factor when you assume liability and worry for a circus that is not your own.  And, if we are honest, sometimes we try to take over a circus for which we are not qualified. I really know nothing about primates.  (Alligators, yes.)

I do know bunches of stuff about dogs. The most important one is that you can't teach old dogs new tricks. My tombstone will probably look something like this:

Love, Barbie

P.S.  Speaking of dogs,

You might want to read about my Granddog, Fenway, jumping in the creek.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Midnight oatmeal

Fenway is already in bed!
It's after midnight, and I just had a bowl of oatmeal with loads of cinnamon. I thought I would pop off a few lines on my much-neglected blog before I go to bed (again.)  You see in the photo above that my yellow lab granddoggy, Fenway, has already crashed on the couch.  My daughter said that he takes up two cushions!
What in the world will they do when he is no longer a puppy!  Look at the feet in this photo she sent me tonight before bed.

Fenway was driving
At least I can remember his name now!  I have called him everything but Fenway, but I think I have it now.

What have I done today?  Let's see.  I went to see mom at the nursing home.  You can read more about that humorous outing here.  

I have written a few things the past few days, too.

Garden Goodness:  How to fry okra

Edward Snowden:  NSA passes around your nude photos

Third World Country:  Detroit residents denied water

You can always access all nine of my Examiner columns through this blog. They are running down the sides, and they are also located on a page accessed directly under the title.

I have a sleep disorder, in case you don't know.  It is fairly severe, but I have learned to live with it.  Sometimes I cannot tolerate the machine and full-face mask I have to wear. Other times, I just put it on and crash. I did that at 4:30 a.m. this morning, and I didn't wake up until 11 a.m. when my little cousin woke me up.  I would have still been sleeping when my husband got home, I guess, if she hadn't called. I have battled not only severe apnea, but narcolepsy for many years. I just have to sleep when I can sleep.

We have started the process of putting down a floating floor in the kitchen. Everything is a mess, and I find it a little unnerving.  All the kitchen has been moved into the living room.  The lino in the kitchen was horrible, blackened in areas around the door and partially peeled up, revealing the subflooring. It will be so much prettier when my husband gets it completed.

The kitchen chairs are in the living room!
I can't wait to get rid of the ugly floor!

I will post the final results when my husband gets done.

Love to all!


Thursday, July 17, 2014


Jeanni, Donna and I at Manna Bagel two weeks ago
Today I have to go with my mother to an appointment, and then I shall whizz home to pick up husband to go to funeral home visitation for my dear friend Betty Necessary. (You can read the article I wrote for Examiner about "The Betty and Ralph Show" here.) It's not maudlin, as you will see.

I was thinking today about what to write about for my blog without sounding very sad and dismal, which I am not. I was quite devastated at the unexpected news of the death of my friend, and I cried for hours. But, it seemed that God impressed on me to get up because it was NO Accident. Neither was my friendship with Betty.

Neither were my other wonderful, supportive, amazing relationships that God has brought into my life.  I am truly blessed with friends and a cousin who could only be described as Godsent to me. Yesterday my cousin drove a gazillion miles to come to my house, and then she drove me another gazillion miles to Betty's house to take some food.  (Of course, she is now terrified to ride with me!  A person just goes the wrong way on a street one time and people get all upset about it....)

You see friends in the photo above who are just too dear for words. I have other friends, both locally and far, far away who mean so much to me. I am talking heart-to-heart, carry your burden, call you in the middle of the night friends. How blessed I am!  My collection of friends is indeed more precious than the most priceless collectables I could amass. All of them are one-of-a-kind, and some of them are even downright quirky.  (If the shoe fits.....)

It sure is sad to say,"Goodbye," to Betty. However, I shall be thankful that God brought her into my life in a NOT ACCIDENTAL way 4-5 years ago.  I shall treasure the friends (and cousin) that I have now. They are definitely, just like Betty, a gift from God.

With love,


Saturday, July 5, 2014

What is chasing you?

Claude Monet Claude Monet Woman Seated under the Willows 1880 Painting
O.K., most of you probably thought a bear was chasing me or something.  No, sorry.  LOL!

My husband and I went to a few yard sales on his day off Friday. On the way home, he ran in a plant nursery, and I decided to rest in the nice morning sun. I cranked back the seat, reveling in the therapeutic sunshine and uncharacteristically cool morning. Oh, how wonderful it felt to lie there and do absolutely nothing but enjoy the blessings of the day.

I have been so exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally during my mother’s recent ordeal. I have started trying to “clean out” her house, which I have previously written about on Bubblews. I feel sometimes like my head is going in circles, and sometimes I think I just run, run, run to avoid thinking and feeling all the things that are haunting me. So much that has always been a constant in my life is changing, and it is frightening, frankly. So, it was probably providential that I was trapped in a car and had to relax and rest.

Reclined in the seat, I glanced to my left and saw the New Living Translation Bible I bought at a yard sale earlier. It was lying in the back floorboard. I opened it to where a sticky note had been used to mark an important place. Here is what was highlighted:

“Trouble chases sinners, while blessings chase the righteous!” Proverbs 13:21 NLT 1996

 This immediately caught my attention because I had never seen this verse translated this way before. I am not a Bible scholar, by any means, but I have spent my entire life immersed in my Bible (s) and have a comfortable familiarity with much of what’s in there. If you are familiar with the Living Bible and the New Living Translation, they often take a tiny bit of license to add a current cultural flavor to the story without changing any facts. I have since done a bit of online research, comparing translations, etc… It appears that even some later versions of the New Living Translation (NLT) now translate this verse as follows:

"Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous." (They use no exclamation point in this sentence.)
Proverbs 13:21 NLT

I kind of like the idea of blessings “chasing” me. 

Lying in the warm sunshine, glancing in a $.50 Bible translation, in a tiny little 2003 Dodge Neon with a dinted hood, something truly amazing happened. The God of the Universe met me there! He didn’t assign me any new name or anything like he sometimes did when he appeared to people in the Bible (Abram/Abraham, Saul/Paul). I am still just plain old “Barbie.”  I did, however, receive quite a spiritual spa treatment in the warm sunshine. God, who MADE THE SUN, set it at this unusually comfortable setting, and while I was receiving the warmth, I was receiving a warmth inside, too. 

It occurred to me that I should slow down more often so the blessings can “catch” me.

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 NIV 

I am so glad He chased me down yesterday.

Still Barbie, but blessed

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crafts and decorating on a budget: The Kitchen Redo!


Here is my latest DIY home Decor:  A fruit grapevine wreath for my kitchen. I did the kitchen in black and white because I was working with what I had:  black appliances, white tile, expensive thermo black curtains, nice black wrought iron chandelier and curtain rods, and new white walls.

Here is what we started with in the kitchen.

We primed and painted the paneling first thing. It was an ordeal, but the room was so much brighter.  I like the paneling in my den downstairs and bar, but not in the kitchen.

We recovered the dining room chairs from blue and pink to black. Using a few old pieces and a few new, we managed to pull together a black and white decor. But it needed a pop of color.

Taking my cue from an antique dish that was given to us from some dear friends, I went with fruit.  Here's the dish. The sugar and creamer were made a long time ago by my mother, and they happened to match beautifully.  Thus the fruit motif was born.

Notice the lamp and stereo cabinet below. These were from our daughter's room before she was married. She and her dad got the cabinet at the Salvation Army and refinished it together. The canvas print of a lamp post came from the Goodwill for a few bucks. 
We recovered the chairs in black with a staple gun.

We got some inexpensive black and chrome barstools on Amazon. I had gift cards.
Pardon the mess on the counter.

This little coffee station was less than $100 at Big Lots.  The only problem was that you had to put it together.  There were only a little page of instructions in some other language. My husband managed to finally get it.  It also adds another seating position if you have a crowd.

Check out my stained glass for only fifty cents at yard sale!

The grapevine wreath came from a church rummage sale for $2.00.  (It had a bit of ivy on it, and I bought some more ivy in a box for $.75 cents.) I picked up fruit at yard sales very cheaply, and voila! I wired part of it and hot glued part of it. I expect some of the fruit to fall off and require gluing again.

Look at this piece I got for $1.00.  It had the name Hanor and 67 on the bottom.

 I intend to date it with my name and date for when I painted it.  Just imagine when the archaeologists unearth it!  They will be so confused.   Before the last coat of Mod Podge Gloss it looked like this.

I redid this shelf that Ken made for me a long time ago with this piece and some other pieces purchased for a dollar each at yard sales!

(It did have the birds that I had collected years ago when my dining room was done in birds. Another Decorating by necessity:  We moved in with the bird wallpaper and couldn't afford to replace it! I moved the birds to the bedroom, and I will share that work in progress later.)

Pardon the mess in the floor...still a work in progress

Before and After

I still have a few things to share with you from my kitchen.  The floor is our last project. It will hopefully be a floating floor that looks like wood. I wanted white tile, but I have a black dog. I thought about getting rid of him because I really wanted white tile.....

Nah....guess I will keep him.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my Cheap DIY Decorating. I would have showed you more, but things are in a mess!  My grandmother used to say that when she died, they would not say that she was a great neither, I'm sure.

Love, Barbie