Tricks of the Trade


I’m hostess of the March blog carnival for the Rocket City Bloggers, an informal group of bloggers in the Huntsville, Ala., area. This is our post on favorite tools ….

Tools are a part of anything we do. I think the best definition of a tool is the thing, or things, we use to do whatever it is we’re doing. Simple enough?

When challenged to write about their favorite tool, some of our local bloggers took us some pretty interesting directions.

David’s favorite tool is the most primal writing need — a good pen — while our fearless leader and fashion guru Carol prefers a more modern writing tool.

Got Ink

It’s In the DropBox

Mrs. Dragon, who, unlike myself, is talented in the kitchen has a favorite baking tool, to which she wrote a lovely tribute.

Ode to a Mixer

Suzanne, whom I personally consider a whiz in writing, baking and pretty much anything else, considers her 8-piece set of screwdrivers “awesomeness personified.”

My hope chest is apparently a toolbox

Bo’s fav tool is his rod, which I have to admit sounds pretty cool. It’s customizable, flexible yet durable, corrosion resistant and good at unclogging caulk. What more does a person need in life, really?

My Rod

And last but not least, Laurie’s tool is her blog, which I totally get. Mine is a tool too, I’m just not always sure for what.

What the Blog Intends

Thanks for checking out our carnival! Be sure and check out contributors’ other posts and leave comments!

A Bucket List, Of Sorts


I have a bucket list. I don’t really think of it as a traditional bucket list of things to do before I die. It’s more like a list of things I want to do while I’m living. To some, that may sound like the same thing, but, to me it’s very different. If I don’t get to do these things before I die that will be no big deal. But I figure as long as I’m living I might as well seek out a few things that I might especially enjoy.

Most of them involve travel. One of my long-time bucket list type items was to go to Washington D.C., which I did a few years ago. Unfortunately — or maybe fortunately — going to the nation’s capital only made me want to return and to explore it further, for a longer period of time and in more detail. If I never make it back, I am glad that I was able to see the monuments for myself, to go in them and to have my own reactions and memories. I loved seeing Lincoln in his chair and appreciating just how large that statue is. It was a thrill to go inside the Washington Monument and to look out over the city. I loved the Japanese cherry trees surrounding the mall, although they weren’t in bloom while I was there. That’s one of the reasons I want to go back: to see the pink cherry tree blossoms for myself.

A long-standing desire is to visit the Hershey chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I’m pretty sure this idea came from the opening scenes of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The movie imagery of rolling ribbons of liquid chocolate and thick chocolate fudge being stamped into chocolate kisses interests me greatly. I want to see it in person, and smell it and taste it too!

Most recently I’ve added to my list the desire to go to a strawberry festival. It just sounds fun. I imagine an old Farmer’s market/ county fair environment with everything you can imagine made with or from or for strawberries. Fresh-picked strawberries, chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry lemonade, strawberry wine, and maybe a large vat of strawberries like in that I Love Lucy wine-making episode where you can stomp around barefoot in strawberries. Doesn’t that sound fun? I think so. As a little girl I loved Strawberry Shortcake toys, especially their strawberry scent! I imagine a strawberry festival would smell just like that but magnified by a million!

My list is very “unofficial” in that it exists in my mind and is pretty dynamic. It is unique and original and may not include some of the same kinds of things as everyone else. I mean really, who puts Washington D.C. on their bucket list? Or a chocolate factory or strawberry festival? Some people visit those places or do those things all the time and aren’t moved by it or don’t care.

But that’s the beauty of my list. It’s uniquely mine.

Comfort Over Style


Image:carolmarksonline.com

Friend and local blogger Carol Marks has an excellent fashion sense, writing fun posts about her New York City boots bought in trendy SOHO or these adorable purple flats, which flatter Carol’s dainty foot perfectly but would look atrocious on my size-11 stompers. I admire her style and fashion personality which so clearly shines both when you meet Carol in person and on her blog carolmarksonline.com.

So today, when she posted her weekly Friday link up and several other local bloggers added blog posts also about fashion, I took it as a challenge: What kind of fashion-related blog post could I come up with?

I wrote a few of my thoughts on fashion last August, and the gist was this: I’m about as low-fashion as they come.

So I wasn’t surprised that my first fashion-related thought — partially inspired by Carol’s post about her favorite jeans — was to write about my recently acquired Pajama Jeans.

I’m actually a little embarrassed to talk about my Pajama Jeans. But the truth is:  I love pajamas! When I worked 8+ hour days I couldn’t wait to get home to a pair of soft fleece-y pj’s. I’ve even hosted my Bunco month as pajama night.

Why do I love pajamas so? Well, I choose comfort over style, and with Pajama Jeans I don’t really have to choose. Certainly, Pajama Jeans are not as stylish as some fancy name brand jeans, but they do their job well. The feel just like actual pajama pants but look like denim, so no one knows you’re wearing something as comfortable as pj’s. I didn’t get them to sleep in as much to wear out, to be comfortable but not look slouchy in sweatpants or yoga pants.

I strongly disagree with people like this guy who say pajama jean wearers are lazy. I’m not lazy. I value comfort. Yet I respect that I should look presentable in public. I mainly bought them as an experiment, to see if they were really as comfortable as pj’s and to see if anyone would notice. The results? Yes, they really are that comfortable, and no, no one has noticed (or if they have, they didn’t say anything).

I bet I could even pull off wearing these jeans with some of Carol’s high-fashion shoes and no one would know.

A Lot On My Mind


I’m lying here at 3 a.m.

I’ve woken up and I can’t go back to sleep. I guess I have a lot on my mind.

A few minutes ago I began to pray about the things on my mind — broken relationships, writing projects, God’s will, etc. — and one of the things I think of first, even before all of that, is the people affected by tornadoes that earlier today tore through this area, damaging my church and the subdivision beside it (and other areas too). I began to pray about those situations and the people affected and it occurred to me — I’m lying in my warm bed in my enclosed, roof-covered house with my family safe and the people affected by these storms can’t say that. And yet I’m the one awake with a lot on my mind.

Eleven months ago our church responded in full force to a community that was essentially wiped out by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. Of the 100 or so homes 96 or 97 were destroyed or damaged. The people in this area didn’t have insurance and fell through the cracks of some of the government assistance programs that help rebuild after a disaster such as this. Our people were there moving fallen trees, cleaning up rubble and listening to the heart-breaking stories. Later we, with several other churches, helped rebuild the community playground which was vital to providing the kids of this area with a safe place to be.

Now we are the ones with a hole in the roof and flooded classrooms. Now we are the ones who need to clean up and tell heart-wrenching stories. It will be amazing, I’m sure, to see God use and weave these two events together into one big story that glorifies Him, because that’s what He does. I’m thankful He’s allowed me to witness and be a part of His restoration after devastation.

And yet I lie here, at 3 a.m., with a lot on my mind.