A Belated Goodbye to 2016

  • Autumn turned to winter after a drought that gripped Alabama along with much of the southeast. Even with the dry days and dusty trails, I still got in a few hikes and found some lovely fall colors.ht8

 

  • Also enjoyed the beauties of Bham thanks to Jamie Golden and the Capture the Ham photo group.crest6

 

  • Expanded my subbing experiences and found some more schools where I love to visit
  • Started an online book club – Kindred Spirits Book Club – via facebook. So far we’ve read

    • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
    • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 

 

  • Made a trip to Tampa, where I
    • Did a speed-trip through the art museum while the grandkids noticed all the nekkid art
    • Enjoyed an early Thanksgiving lunch after a few songs at my granddaughter’s daycare.
    • Delighted in the grandkids behavior when I took them out to eat at Ella’s
    • Took the kiddos to a birthday party where we saw a llama and a donkey up close and they fed cow cookies (tortillas) to the cows

 

  • Had a wonderful anniversary trip to Lake Guntersville where we
    • Stayed at the historic Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast in a fabulous room and enjoyed delicious breakfastsus-lg
    • Walked to town and meandered through the antique shops
    • Took a hike at Lake Guntersville State Parkdeer

 

  • Zipped down to Jacksonville for a super short Christmas trip where we
    • Were backed into by a truck in a parking lot
    • Used a lot of duct tape
    • Saw our mothers and brothersedge4

 

  • Heard St. Paul & the Broken Bones at the Alabama Theatre – very entertaining

 

  • After seeing all the “One Word” posts, I chose the word TIME for 2017. More about that later!time

Full Pantry

 

I’d like to introduce you to Madison Murphy and her unique business, Full Pantry. This is a locally based grocery shopping service with a personal touch. Madison has a heart for her customers that can’t be beat. But first, how does it all work?

It’s simple. You place your grocery order by midnight the day before you want it. There is a form online, but you can also email, call, or text. So very flexible. The other flexible part is the variety of stores. You can choose from any store in the Greater Birmingham area, even The Market at Pepper Place, and Full Pantry delivers from Columbiana to Bessemer. My first order was from Trader Joe’s (can you say Cookie Butter?) because I don’t get over near the Summit very often, so this was an ideal choice for me. I placed the order on a Monday afternoon, and received a text with a one hour delivery window for the next day. Easy peasy.

You can learn more about the business by visiting the website.  But I’d like to tell you a little more about Madison.

This vibrant, organized, initiative-taking entrepreneur is only 24 years old, yet wise and caring beyond her years. She started the business not only with a goal of making money, but as a way to offer a service and minister to those with a need. She is experienced in serving others, as she helps her mother care for two grandmothers with dementia. In addition, she teaches piano, traveling to the homes of her students. She has to be super organized to pull it all off, which she does and does well.

As a native Birmingham girl, Madison wants to promote local businesses. Not only can you get essentials and non-grocery items like toilet paper from a Publix or Wal-Mart, but you can also get farm fresh products in season from Mountain Meadows Farm or natural supplements from Organic Harvest.

Full Pantry is ideal for working parents, moms of little ones, and shut-ins. One client, a mother of ten, depends on the weekly personal delivery. Regular customers appreciate knowing that when they say “milk” they will get what they want, whether whole or low-fat. Because their personal shopper knows their preferences.

If you are feeling overwhelmed after a long work day, tired of fighting through the supermarket with toddlers in tow, or can’t get out of the house, Full Pantry is your answer. You can rest assured that your shopper will have your best interests at heart.

You can also check them out on facebook and instagram. And soon on twitter!

Third Quarter Recap

 

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October is almost over and I just realized I didn’t write a third quarter recap at the end of September. So, for what it’s worth, here are the highlights of my third quarter:

  • We kept our daughter’s dog, Poca, for over a month while she was in Columbia, South America. Things started out well, but after the second fight, in which Loretta received a puncture wound, we kept the two dogs separate. It was fine, though, as each one got special attention.
  • I went to McAlister’s Deli for the first time. The Orange Cranberry Club was delish!
  • Joined Grace Covenant Baptist Church and began making new friends
  • Subbed in some new schools. including McAdory Middle, McAdory High, Pleasant Grove High, West Elementary, Hueytown Middle, Oak Mountain Middle, Helena Middle, Helena High
  • Attended a few Saturday Write Club meetings at the Hoover Library
  • Went on five hikes
  • Took lots of pictures around Bham
  • Went to Jacksonville and squeezed in a lot of visits. Got to see my  cousin Paula for the first time in over 15 years
  • Spent a morning at Jacksonville Beach
  • Started the Kindred Spirit Book Club  – it’s online, so if you are interested, leave me a comment or email me.
  • Started Round Two of the Capture the ‘Ham Small Group/Photo Group3q2

And now to finish the year well!

 

A Thought from All the Light We Cannot See

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“Werner thinks of his childhood, the skeins of coal dust suspended in the air on winter mornings…” from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

For some reason, this stirred a childhood memory of milk. For a very short time when we first moved to Jacksonville, FL, we had our milk delivered by the “milkman”. On our front porch sat a metal crate where we would leave our empty bottles and take delivery of fresh milk. I remember the tops were sealed with thick paper lids. This milk was probably from Skinner’s Dairy, a hometown company that later built numerous drive-thru milk stores across Jacksonville.

In north Florida it didn’t get cold very often, but there were some winter mornings when we were excited to be able to see our breath in the chilly air. There was one winter I’ll always remember as the temperature got down in  the upper teens and our heat went out. Our dad was out of town at the time on one of his many business trips. We bundled up and played outside anyway. The very large ditch – like a creek – behind our house was frozen on the top. Our friend’s little dog, Ginger, skittered across easily. Our dog, Dixie, followed her and went right through to the icy water.

Other fall and winter days were filled with my brothers playing football in the front yard and a few evening fires in our fireplace. In high school it was a time to wear stylish sweaters to school, then go outside for PE in the short gym suits we had to wear. I remember being teased about the chill bumps on my legs – referred to as chicken skin.

After moving to Birmingham in 2014, I was so excited about our first fall and winter. Sweaters and boots and scarves were so much fun! But, then it seemed to last forever and I yearned for the warmth of spring.

This year, summer has far outlasted its welcome. Now I long once more for the cool air and some justification for a pumpkin spice latte. But, even more, I long for rain.

On Being Colorblind

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From discussions at church, to social media, to radio, to conversations with my husband, the topic of race and racism has permeated the dialogue.  One word that I’ve heard that I just can’t quite wrap my head around is “colorblind”. I think I know what people mean when they say they are colorblind, but it doesn’t ring true to me. I believe they are truly wanting to be colorblind in their hearts, but the bottom line is we ARE different hues.

Being colorblind robs us of the wonderful differences God intended. I have two brothers who are colorblind and I know a little about what they have missed over the years. My younger brother, who unknowingly wore purple pants as a teen when he thought they were blue, and my older brother who asked for a lot of color-matching fashion advice, have never seen how colorful they really are.

“The solution is not to pretend there is no skin color (that is dishonoring)” – George Robertson

The closest thing I’ve seen to colorblindness of the heart is watching some of my students over the years. Maybe it’s because they have somehow remained untainted by the bias and preconceptions of previous generations.

What I think needs to happen is to remove the pride and prejudice of color and keep the beauty. Easier said than done, I know. But, we need to be careful not to fool ourselves into believing there is no difference in people of different skin colors. In many cases there is a cultural difference.  Jesus recognized this in his conversation with the Samaritan woman. He knew she was a of a different ethnicity, and yet He pursued her and quickly turned the conversation to the condition of her soul.

This is where our hearts need to go. The bottom line is that racism is a sin problem.  It’s a heart problem.

The Voice of @BeingBham, Round Two

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I was the voice of @BeingBham on Twitter this past January. You can read about that experience here – http://www.readtheleaf.com/the-voice-of-beingbham/

Last week was just as much fun. Instead of taking polls this time, I started a game – #WhereintheBhamIAm – and posted pictures from around town and nearby locales. I was pleased when people responded ; some, such as @UABSlant, got several correct and posted a pic of his own.

I must admit I got sucked into the Twitter Vortex too often, but at least it’s summer and I’m home, albeit with too much time on my hands. I get that often times social media is just superficial and ridiculous, but it does have its moments. I swam through a bunch of political tweets and a lot of bad news in the media this week, but I am grateful for the slices of life God has allowed me to experience.

I’d like to give some shout outs for some Bham peeps:

Pepper Place Market @PepperPlaceMkt for providing a much needed service and giving me enjoyable weekends.

Hoover Public Library @hooverlibrary for providing so much to the community.

BHamRestaurantRaider @RestaurantRaidr , for keeping us food-informed.

Active followers/tweeters Stacy Stover @Stace31374 , Happenin’sInTheHam @BhamHappenin, Patrick McCLendon @patrickmclendon, Jason Roberts @jrobe329 ,

If you’re not in the Twitter World, it’s worth taking a look. Handle with care and you can benefit, as well as be a benefit to others. Plus it’s fun!  You can follow me @Bella5804 

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Rapunzel, Rapunzel

Once again I have to say how much I like the Hoover Library – it’s a sweet slice of life every time I go. Since I have so many unread books on my TBR list/shelves at home right now, I don’t go for the books. This summer I’ve been going for the movies (reviews to come later).

Last week the place was hoppin’! I found a spot in the packed parking lot and headed in to return my movies and get some more. As I approached the front door I overheard a young man explaining why he was trying to get signatures on a petition to add a third party to the ballot.

Once inside, I took out my phone to consult the list I keep there of movies I want to see. I found three of them, plus picked up an extra. Check-out was easy and fast as two older ladies had just finished checking out their huge stack of books. Next to them was a man getting  music CDs. All around me were people of every age and color.

As I was headed to my car, out of nowhere I heard a loud man’s voice saying, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” I looked around, expecting to see Flynn Rider. My guess is that it was a father talking to his daughter, perhaps on the playground that is just outside the children’s department.

I can’t wait to see what happens next time I go. Maybe I’ll see Prince Charming.

 

 

 

Kids in a Summer Slump?

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Summer is fully loaded but you’re out of ideas for the kids? Don’t despair, there is life beyond video games for your little and not-so-little loved ones. Check out some of these!

The McWane Science Center is fun everyday, but especially on July 16th, which is Superhero Saturday. From 10am-4pm, kids can meet some of their favorite Superheroes (and villains, too).

Free Friday Flicks in Hoover is in full swing. The movies are shown at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road on the grassy area near the main pavilions beginning at dusk. The movie images are 30 feet wide and will be shown on a 38-foot-wide screen. Bring chairs and blankets and even a picnic supper. Most nights there will be some food vendors. July’s schedule is as follows:

July 15: “The Peanuts Movie”
July 22: “Kung Fu Panda 3”
July 29: “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

 
There’s no time like July for a good baseball game and the Barons have a lot of home games scheduled this month. You can find them playing at Regions Field on July 10-13; 20-24;31. . On July 22, the first 1000 kids 12 and under will receive a free jersey and on the 23, the first 1,000 kids will receive a Babe Ruff backpack just in time for back to school!

Roller Motion Skate Center in Bessemer has a great summer schedule. They are open 11am-3pm Tuesday-Friday and they have evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday. Thursday is Family Night from 6-8pm. They have concessions serving food and drink (cash only). http://www.rollermotionskatecenter.com/

The Birmingham Zoo is always a kid favorite. They can beat the heat at the Zoo Fountains or catch a breeze on the carousel

Dino Discovery will be at the zoo until the end of the month. This exhibit features life-sized, North America-native animatronic dinosaurs at heights of nearly 20 feet, weighing almost 7 tons and measuring 85 feet in length! DinoNite begins at 6pm on July 16. This will be a fun night full of dinosaurs at the Zoo’s Dino Discovery exhibit, and a showing of The Good Dinosaur at the Zoo in the Trails of Africa will show beginning at 8:30pm, plus face-painting and more! There are loads of activities every day – check them out here – https://www.birminghamzoo.com/visitor-info/daily-activities/https://www.birminghamzoo.com/visitor-info/daily-activities/
Red Mountain has activities for the older kid set. The Adventure Area has four different zip line courses: Vulcan Zip Trip: $54, Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest: $45, Kaul Adventure Tower: $29, Mega Zip: $29 http://redmountainpark.org/adventure/

Oak Mountain has a plethora of fun options for all ages. You and the kiddos can ride bikes, hike, swim, picnic, paddle boat,play on the playground and even camp. The Demonstration Farm and the Alabama Wildlife Center, both located in the park, are a treat for animal lovers. Flip Side Watersports, Alabama’s first and only cable watersport, is also in the park, with coaches available for newbies. Paddleboards can also be rented.

Another outdoor spot is Alabama Splash Adventure in Bessemer. With 15 different rides and activities, the kids can get their fill of water-laden fun! There are numerous food options available, from pizza to pulled pork and funnel cakes to ice cream. Parents will enjoy these freebies: unlimited Pepsi products for all, sunscreen, life-jackets and WiFi.

The Hoover Library has lots to offer.

  • July 11 – Free movie at 2pm and 6:30pm -Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey
  • Tuesdays at  10 a.m. Children’s Programming Room. Stories, songs and finger plays for birth to 12 months and their caregiver
  • July 12  at 6:30pm – Trivia Craze for grades 7-12.

 

 

So, don’t despair when the whines begin. Pack up the family vehicle and head out for a day of fun and adventure!