Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

It is 10:00 a.m. as I write this post on Thanksgiving Day and I have finished my cooking.  I will post pictures later. But I only made veggies (and some dressing), and I am headed over to my sister's house at noon. She doesn't have cable, so I will miss football (darn). But that's okay. I will watch the highlights on ESPN later on tonight.

But as you can see, I want to do something different on a holiday, as I usually put up a banner of some sort and go on about my business.

I have been meditating on a particular scripture for nearly a year now.

Colossians 3:16 (Message Version)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

There's a lot going on in that scripture. But for some reason the part I highlighted in red... that's the part that has stuck in me. That's the part I've been meditating and chewing on.

Those three simple words... And cultivate thankfulness... are action packed.

The word "cultivate" is an interesting word. When I see it, I think of a garden, and how you have to break up the soil to prepare the garden for seed, or to keep the plants growing properly.

There are several definitions of the word "cultivate":

Prepare or use land for gardening.
Try to develop or acquire a quality sentiment or skill
Grow or maintain living tissues in culture
Try to win the friendship or favor of someone
Apply oneself to improving or developing one's minds or manners

Whatever the definition may be, it involves some action on our parts... prepare, develop, acquire, grow, maintain, favor, apply and so on.

Back to that statement... "Cultivate Thankfulness"

To me, it means work on my thankfulness (or thanksgiving). Be mindful of it. Think on it, meditate on it. Grow in that area. Apply myself in that area.

Cultivate, cultivate, cultivate... just like working the soil of the ground, I have to continually work on being thankful, working it into the very fabric of my life.

And you would think no one would have to say "cultivate thankfulness", or it wasn't important to point out. For we all have things for which to be thankful, right?

But let me ask you a question...

How many people have you been around who murmur and complain incessantly? How much have you murmured and complained?

How many thankful people have you been around? More specifically, how many people have you been around who always find the good in a situation and who always find the silver lining of the dark cloud?

If you're anything like me, and if you are paying close attention, the numbers are severely lopsided. There are many many more complainers than thankful people in our lives. People are well developed in either one direction or the other. And that's sad.

That's why that verse has stayed on my mind.

Our hearts are very fertile soil. Anything-attitudes, beliefs, morals, idiosyncracies, etc- will grow in this "soil" when planted. And it will grow like crazy.

As for myself, on this Thanksgiving day, and frankly all this year, I've made a considerable effort to grow thankfulness in this fertile soil of mine.

And I'm glad of it. It has freed my mind.

So today, be mindful of one thing:

"And Cultivate Thankfulness"

And the more thankful we are, the more there will have in the future to be thankful for.

I can promise you that.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Before and After: My Favorite Veggie Dish

So my sister has her Thanksgiving menu together.

She is cooking a bunch of interesting stuff... pot roast, fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy...

Then silence.

It's just the two of us. Not sure who's gonna eat all of that. I know she likes to eat for the week and freeze stuff. Not sure how one freezes fried chicken, but oh well...

"I'm bringing vegetables," I said.

We talked about that for awhile. I think I will make a nice salad. I will make a kale dish and a cabbage dish.

And she made a special request: my butternut squash, pear and cranberry dish.

That happens to be one of my favorite veggie dishes to prepare. It is simple to make. As a matter of fact, I was making it while we were talking.

Here it is before going in the oven:

Bright! Vibrant! Colorful!!

The recipe is simple enough.

4 cups of cubed butternut squash
2 cups of pears
1/2 cup of dried cranberries.
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Mix all that together. Place into a 400 degree oven, and cook it until it is done, up to 2 hours. 

(That is it. I suppose you can add some cinnamon and sugar and all that. I just don't like sweet sweet stuff. Trying to keep it somewhat healthy. I have also had it with garlic, but I don't particularly care for garlic).

Here it is after a couple of hours in the oven...

I cooked that color right on out of it, didn't I?

I think next time I will cook the butternut squash first. Then after an hour, I will add my pears. They seem to cook at different rates.

I may add some pecans to it.

That'll be good!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Monday Morning... Thanksgiving Edition


Half day work day!

Cartwheels! Big Swooping cartwheels.

I actually have a lot to do. But if it don't get done by 1:45 pm.... OH WELL!

I will be back tomorrow.

Well this is Thanksgiving Week. And we are all "Thankful" this week. Well, I think that needs to be a yearlong, every-single-day type of thing. And it takes work. I have a a journal, which I call a gratitude journal, where I write down what I am thankful each day. And over the years, I have seen an interesting trend: I am thankful for many intangibles... for instance my conversations with people. I have a LOT of good ones. I'm talking high level conversations. Good positive conversations. Conversations that impart some knowledge and wisdom into my heart. Conversations that solve problems and change or add to my perspective. Corrective conversations.

Just good conversations.

And this is the reason I don't care for frivolous conversations. It's one of the reasons why I don't just talk to any and everybody. The level of conversations are just not the same.

I am looking for balance... whatever that means.

But this week I am just thinking of what I have been thankful for this year... Those convos appear to be something I am always thankful for. Good to see that.

I am thankful for all the pictures I get of my nephews. Here's Milk and Cookies Jr!

That's his football picture.

"He suppose to be looking hard," I told his Daddy.

"That's my baby," his Daddy said.

"The boy look like he's about to sing instead of play football," I commented.

"That's my baby," his Daddy repeated.

LOL. The boy is happy to play football.

Here he is with his Daddy... Both of them cheesing hard. 

 And we can't forget about Milk and Cookies 3.0 can we?
 Hopefully he will be playing football soon!

They are such happy children.  Thankful for that.

And here is Milk and Cookies Jr.'s first school picture.
His first school picture! Kindergarten! How wonderful is that? Such a handsome little boy, he is.

I was standing at the mailbox all weepy, staring at that picture. (I know my neighbors had to be looking out the window and thinking... what's wrong with her?)

My brother is so proud. He says he is doing well and is one of the smartest children in the class. And we are all thankful for that.

I am thankful for family today. No, we don't get together much, but that's okay. We do what we can. 

Alright now... Thanksgiving is coming. If you haven't started defrosting your chitlins yet, you need to get on that. You need time to clean them and cook them. So get going!


Have a good week... on purpose.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Afternoon Funk (Freestyles, I Mean)

What's up to all of y'all...

I am feeling GREAT. Because it is PAYDAY!

And I can ball for a couple hours! Big Ballin' LadyLee!

Ball Ball Ball 'til we Fall Fall Fall!!!

*tosses $1000 bills high in the sky and breaks out all the bling-bling*

Ball... Until it's time to pay my bills.

I take all 100 rings off my fingers. And I put them back into the Jewelry box. 

Balling all over. Back to being that Oldgirl...

Your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee.

Well well well... When I watch the news, I see how COLD it is. And it's been cold in the ATL. But alas, it's been a really nice day today in my beloved ATL... The early morning temps were middling in the 20s early this week, but the temps are hovering in the 60s right now. Thank goodness for that. And my heart goes out to you all up north with all that snow. Ugh. No snow here. And you know we get upset down here in the ATL if ONE snowflake hits the ground. We will shut the city completely down, honey. Shut it down.

Work has been QUIET. And slow. I can't say I like it like that. I resort to clock watching of the worse kind. And we can't have that. 

We are up for a rainy dreary weekend. At least it won't be snow or ice. And the temp will be in the 60s. Good enough for me.

I don't have many plans. Chores and reading. And I have a new crochet project underway. No going off to the workplace this weekend (thank goodness for that!).

A nice quiet weekend in store. Thankful for it.

My sister and I have been discussing Thanksgiving. I going to her house this year. She's making a pot roast. I will bring a couple of sides. And I will stuff a $50 dollar bill off in her purse to help her out with the grocery bill. It's just the two of us, but I know how she likes to go all out. As long as I can leave it all there, that's cool. 

Quote of the Week.  You know how much I like quotes. I heard a couple this morning on television while getting ready for work. Here's one of them.

Excuses are reasons stuffed with lies.

Oh my. It's interesting how much meaning can be stuffed tight into six short words.

I think we all make excuses. I know I I do. But I have learned to spend a little time looking at what's underneath the excuses. I've learned to try to just stop lying to myself. And that quote lets me know I'm doing the right thing.

Songs of the Week. I've been listening to some Mary J. Blige.

This song right here is the most AWESOME song ever.  "Your Child" by Mary J. Blige

I love a song that tells a good story. And that song does it for me. Yes it does.

But I've always been partial to young Mary. You know, the young 22 year old Mary.

The Mary who was dranking too much and snorting too much cocaine.

THAT Mary.

She made her best music ever... under the influence.


"What's the 411?"

And my favorites off the My Life Album... when she was still dranking too much. When she was all messed up in the head over K-Ci of Jodeci...

"I'm the Only Woman"

And "Be Happy"

Now if that don't take you back 22 years, I don't know what will.

I think I have a whole Spotify playlist on my phone with at least 40 of Mary's songs. Put that on random and hook it up to house speakers in my living room and I can get some GOOD house cleaning done. Good house cleaning.  

Mary and I are the same age. And we have done many of the same things. The only difference is that she has had to live her life out in the public eye. I haven't.

And Lord knows I've done more than my fair share of... questionable tomfoolery.

My fair share indeed.

But I have loved her development over the years. If she was still as ratchet at the age of 44 as she was at the age of 22, that would be a different story.

The lesson here is that we are ALL always under construction.

Until the very day... until the very minute we die.

And we all need to remember that... on purpose.

Welp! The holidays are upon us!  I'm working half days all week.

I told my boss... "Uh... I will git here when I git here."

As long as I work my 4 hours, honey.

She kicked the hard eyeroll. The X-tra hard eyeroll.


And that is alright. It is.

Ya'll have a great weekend. On purpose.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cats (with No Names)

So once me and and Grandma "got our exercises", we retired to her backyard.  She gave me a tour.

And there was a lot going on.  Lot's of planters and decorations randomly scattered all about. I am sure there was plenty of method to the madness, but I couldn't figure it out.

But look closely at this picture.
I was highly interested in the clothesline. It's a little hard to see, but that's a REAL clothesline. It's set up with three lines of hard wire. That was awesome. I would love to have a clothesline.

And I really like this rug.

Little black girls praying. I've never seen a rug like that before.

That's on the carport, where my Uncle Tweet repairs lawn mowers and trimmers.

And the carport is where his cats eat.

There's no bowl or anything. He just grabbed a couple of handfuls of dry cat food from a garbage bag and scattered it on the ground.

How... uncivilized. But the cats were happy to have it, as you can see.

"So what are your cats' names?"

"Big Red," he said.

He reached down and petted a cat.

Uh, I suppose and assume the one he petted was Big Red."

"So," I continued when he didn't answer. "What's the other cats' names?"

"They don't have names."


Wow. So much went through my mind at that moment.

Cats with no names. There was a food-for-thought message in that.

And I think there still is.

I just haven't figured it out yet.

Then a BIG black cat showed up out of nowhere.
It made me jump back a step.

I guess he (or she) with no name was late to the party. But it got in there and ate with the rest.
We watched as the cats ate all the food off the ground.   I thought about snatching one up and taking it home to play with Callie, but they are feral, and would tare my house (and Callie) completely apart.

I let that thought go.

Then Grandma and I went back in the house.

We left Uncle Tweet, and the cats with no names, to themselves.