Southern Church: My (Limited) Experience

When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of time with both sets of grandparents. And spending a lot of time with them, also meant that I went to church with them every once in a while. While I don’t remember every single time that I went with them, I do remember that they were some of the best times.

Both sets were born and raised in small towns, and so they still went to small town churches when I was small. I know many people have seen them, and have probably been in them. And every small town in the South has at least two, sometimes more. They’re these small buildings, maybe 10 pews on each side, and a small piece of building off of the Sanctuary, where the kitchen and bathrooms are…if there are bathrooms, but we’ll come to that in a minute. Most of the time they have parking lots that are either dirt or gravel…and a nightmare for the ladies in fancy dresses if it’s rained.

My maternal grandfather was a Methodist preacher. It was always interesting to watch him give a sermon. I wasn’t always the most still child but there were times when I would be still while listening to him. Well maybe mostly watching…I’m not sure if I did much listening. My grandmother would always give me a pen and an extra bulletin to draw on, just to keep me occupied.

My other grandparents were Primitive Baptists. If you don’t know much about the denomination, you’ll have to Google it because I don’t know much about them either. What I do know, but not why exactly, is that they don’t play music or sing during the service. But my grandparents’ church members would sing Amazing grace for me because I love it so much. And the foot washing. I was only there once for this and don’t really remember much about it…I mean it does sound simple. The men and women would separate and wash each other’s feet.

My favorite part of any church service was what came after the sermon. Dinner on the Green. In the church yard of many, if not all, small town churches, you might have seen those huge cement tables. This is where it happens. The ladies bring out their dishes, sometimes two or three per lady, and lay them all out: Meat all together at one end; vegetables and casseroles were next; then the beautiful deserts. Cakes and pies like you would not believe!

Ok it wasn’t just the food that I liked so much about it. It was a time when people came together to share a meal, talk and laugh, and generally fellowship together. There may have been a little gossip…I mean this IS the South, but mostly, it was people talking about their lives, their children and grandchildren and the wonderful things they’d done. And even as a small child, I knew that this was important.

While those beautiful little churches still stand, many of the congregants have moved on to bigger churches in bigger towns. It’s an unfortunate thing, but it’s the way of things: people change as time goes on.

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A Tribute to Mom

mother'sdayToday is Mother’s Day is the US and, like many other people, I would like to a little write about my mother. As I’ve mentioned before, she passed a little over 4 years ago. I’ll be honest with you, I still miss her a lot. I mean, it does get a little easier, but you never really get over it. I know, I’m sorry, it is a little grim. It’s the truth, though.

The very first memory I have of my mom, I was still at that stage where I slept in a crib. I was standing in that crib, watching her put on make-up. I think I was still too young to really think in words, but I do remember having strong feelings for my mom, even then.

As I grew up, I remember cuddling with her on the couch until we both fell asleep. Pretend upsets from her over my mud-covered clothes after a day spent playing outside. Even older, there were impromptu, barefoot dances in the kitchen. Lots of those kinds of dances.

Like with many mother-daughters, we didn’t always get along. There were times when I just didn’t want to talk to her and I’m sure she had those moments too. But I knew, no matter what, my mom would be there for me when I needed her. And I did need her a lot.

And I still do. Before she passed away, I honestly thought we’d have another 20 years together at least. My grandfather, her father, had lived to see 93, so I assumed that she would get close to that age as well. But it wasn’t meant to be.

So now, when coworkers or friends talk about their moms, I tell them to cherish each moment that they are fortunate enough to have. No matter how frustrating their moms can be, at least they still can have those moments, as well as those wonderful moments.

On this day, and any other day, try to spend as much time as you can with your mom.

Food Experiment: Sausage Balls

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I do love to experiment with food. In the past, I have literally just thrown some things together, just to see if it would be good. I like to take ideas that I see on the internet and put my own twist to them. I also really like it when those things are simple and easy to make.

I usually get my ideas scrolling through Pinterest, looking for low carb and (usually) healthy dishes. Today’s recipe couldn’t really be called healthy, per se, but it definitely is low carb. And it’s one that can be changed up depending on your mood or tastes.

It has three ingredients (no kidding): 1 lb ground sausage, about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and about 2 Tbsp. garlic and herb seasoning. You can choose any kind of cheese or seasoning that you’d like, but I would recommend shredded cheese (of course).

IMG_1062

All you have to do is mix it all together and roll them into balls. I made mine about an inch and a half. Seemed like a good size to me.

Next, I fried them in about in inch or so of veggie oil. Again, you can use whatever kind of oil you’d prefer. I’m all about customization. You’ll have to watch them closely….mine stuck a little bit, but not too badly. Fry them, turning once, until they’re a bit brown.

Now since this is pork sausage, I decided to bake them a little bit just to make absolutely sure that they were done inside. I sure as heck don’t want to make myself sick, so I put them in the oven for 20 minutes. That really was long enough to cook them completely (no more pink).

IMG_1064This made 12 balls, which could be enough for two meals, depending on how you eat (no judgement here), but how many you end up with is going to depend on how big you made them. Also the baking time is going to depend on that as well. If you made them smaller than an inch, you might only need to bake them for about 10 minutes…or you might not have to bake them at all.

Once they’re done, you can eat them with whatever side dish you prefer, have them for a snack, or you can use them in a pasta dish. Also, if you don’t eat pork, you can use any ground that you prefer. See? I’m all for customization!

 

A Cheap Date

I’m a cheap person. I’ve always known it and probably got it from my mother. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stingy. I just like to save money and get the cheapest stuff that I can. When I grocery shop, I usually get the store brand stuff because it’s the same thing, just cheaper. I even buy most of my clothes at a certain superstore that starts with a “W.”

That’s not to say that I don’t splurge every once in a while. Usually, I’ll save up first if I can. I mean I have tattoos and those are NOT cheap. But I don’t splurge a lot and it’s typically on something that I’ll use a lot or something like that. I honestly almost had a panic attack when I bought my first iPod Touch!

There have been times when I would buy a crafty item, thinking that I would use it all the time, but it never came out of the packaging. I’m thankful to say that that has only happen a couple or three times and I’ve tamped down on that temptation.

Last Saturday was my dad’s birthday and we all went to eat to celebrate. And as I usually do, I checked out the cheaper meals. Because that’s also a habit of mine. No matter what and no matter who I’m with, I will always take a look at the cheapest dishes on the menu before I’ll look at other stuff.

I don’t even look at it as a bad thing. I just like to save money whenever and wherever I can. I’m sure a lot of people do the same thing. And if not, why not?

That Writing Thing

Note: I tried posting this a few days ago, but, apparently something went wrong or I did something wrong or…something. The post ended up being blank. I do want to thank the person that did like it, even though there was nothing there but a title. Thank you for the support! So here’s the post that was supposed to be there. Enjoy!

I love to write. I really do. I’m just lazy. I mean I do get things done, at work and at home. But I’m lazy about getting writing done and, with blog posts, getting them published, as evidenced by the lack of all of the wonderful posts that I promised to write here. Despite that, I do love to write.

The only class I’ve ever taken that involved writing basically involved the teacher giving us prompts and telling us what kind of writing it had to be, such as a poem or short story. So I guess you could say that I never really learned how to write…which honestly is a little funny. So on the one hand it’s good because I don’t have the constraints that a formal class would have left in my head, but then I’m sure there are things about writing that I probably need to know that I don’t.

For example, I mostly write poetry. I can’t say that I really have a style of my own. I don’t know much about meter so I don’t follow any kind of meter style (is it a style?). I do try to make my poetry flow well for the reader, but I’m not even sure that’s something that needs to be taught. I don’t know anything about the structure of poems…do they have a structure? So does my lack of knowledge hinder my poetry and how good it is? Does any of that even matter in the scheme of things?

Recently, I’ve had trouble getting any writing done, so I made a deal with my boyfriend. He would give me an “assignment,” such as writing an 8 line poem, or something that has to be in the poem. The present assignment is a short story, which is something I haven’t done in…maybe a little over 20 years. And during this assignment, as well as all of the previous ones, I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer.

First things first, I don’t always have a plan when writing. Blog posts are different though I don’t really plan how it goes, so much as just what the topic will be. Most…of not all of the time, I just start writing and it just comes out. With poetry, I usually just begin with a line and just go from there. The exception to this is that I have two, possible book ideas going and I have been trying to plan those out. But most of the time it’s just spur of the moment things that come out of my head. As you can imagine, that makes it hard to end some things. Poetry is easy to end…this short story I’m working on, not so much. I don’t think this is how the majority of writers do it, but I’ve figured out that I’m a little bit weird in a lot of ways and this is just one of them.

Secondly, I’m not a huge fan of editing. Oh sure I’ll do it and have done, but it’s usually just a line or two in a poem. Most of what I do is that I’ll write a poem and sort of edit as I go. Once I get to the end, it’s done and I leave it be. Since I’ve been writing more and have the boyfriend read the stuff I write, I’ve had to become friends with editing and it’s been a tough road. So if you see an error in one of my posts, bear with me because I’m still trying to come to terms with this editing thing. (Gah! I just edited the paragraph before this one! What is this world coming to?!)

Have you heard that most writers will write for a few hours a day? My boyfriend has said that he does this. They all say that they’ll just sit down and write for an hour, or hell, 8 hours a day! I suppose professional writers do that, or maybe have to really. For most of my time writing, I haven’t been able to do that. It’s just been recently that I’ve just sat down and made myself write. Before, I would just get inspired and THEN start to write. I always saw sitting down and making myself write as forcing it and I would get blocked when I would try to do that. Thankfully, that has changed just in the last few months or so and it’s been such a wonderful change!

Lastly, as I said earlier, I do love to write. It’s mostly for my own enjoy, though I have dreams of publishing one day. I like to entertain people but being an introvert, being in front of people is hard! So writing is my way of doing that without people staring at me. I mean I tried acting a million years ago in school, but I have such horrible stage fright! Seriously, I either almost or actually threw up before performances. So writing it is!

I suppose my final thoughts on this would be similar to my thoughts on anything else: Whatever you’re doing…as long as it’s legal…enjoy it. If it’s not the usual way people do it, don’t worry about it! It’s your thing so do it your way.

Woo for Weightloss

I know I just posted about the weight loss challenge at work, but today was the final weigh-in. And I’ve lost 10lbs since January! I’ve been walking on a cloud all day!

I’ll admit, I haven’t put as much work into it as I’d like but I’ve at least started on it. That’s a pretty important step in a weight loss journey. Well that’s a big step in any journey. 

Even though the challenge is over, I feel like this is just the beginning. I don’t plan to let go but instead, I want to step it up. I haven’t been doing cardio and that’s one thing I’ll be adding in. Hopefully soon. Ok motivation is sometimes hard to come by around here. It’ll come though.

Eventually.

Weight Loss Challenge and Lifestyle Changes

At work, we have this weight loss challenge going on. It started in January and involves teams of 2 trying to lose 10lbs by March. The team members are supposed to encourage each other and inspire each other to make better choices. And in the end, there are prize drawings for the people who lose the 10lbs or more.

I joined the challenge with a co-worker from another department who, at the time, I didn’t know well. Although we don’t get to talk very much, I feel like I’ve made a new friend. We do encourage each other and, when one of use has a set-back, we’re there to support and build each other back up.

Since the beginning of the challenge, I’ve exercised every week day, taking a break on the weekends. I’ve begun eating a lot better, though I will say that I still have some work to do there. It’s been quite an experience and I am already feeling a lot better. I’ve already lost interest in the challenge itself and have begun just focusing on changing my lifestyle and myself.

Ok it also has to do with my weigh ins. See, I’ve gone back to check my weight once a week for the past two week. After the first weigh in, I waited two weeks to do it again. And guess what? That damn number is the same as the first time I weighed in. I couldn’t believe the second time I weighted, but the third time? It’s really odd. I mean I don’t think that the scale is broken or anything because other people have used it and their numbers have changed.

So what’s the deal? Like I said, I have been exercising, but it’s just been toning exercises, like squats, wall push-ups and the like. It’s really easy to do those because I can do those at work. I haven’t done any cardio because I would rather do that at home instead of sweating in my work clothes and then having to wear them the rest of the day.

I keep telling myself that maybe as I’m doing those exercising, I’m building muscle and losing fat at the same time, which just balances things out. I mean, I’m not sure if that’s what’s happening but I have no other explaination for it. I suppose what I’ll have to do is actually do the cardio that I plan to do and see what happens.

I am pretty proud of the work that I have been doing. It’s been a long time coming and it’s finally happening. I’ve finally gotten myself to do what needs to be done, not just to lose the weight but to be healthier overall. I know I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do, but I’ve started and that’s a huge improvement.