RT

RT

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Little Part of My Story - Part 5 and Blog Linkage

Good Wednesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I just wanted to remind everyone about the MotherWalk for Ovarian Cancer which is coming up the Saturday before Mother's Day (May 10).

This will be our family's third MotherWalk in as many years, and unless something changes (and things can always change), there will be 18 of us walking for Team Tootsie this year.

If you are interested in details regarding the Walk, feel free to contact me on Facebook or the blog...

Or you can go to www.motherwalk.com!


Brad and Stephanie... post-run.


Bev and Grandmother.


This thing was gigantic.


Josh finishing the 5K.

He didn't decide to run the 5K until a minute before time to start, and he did great.


Roxie and Grandmother.


Brad warming up.

I'll be posting more pics from the 2012 and 2013 MotherWalks the next few posts or so... just to get you motivated!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Okay. Here is the second part of my rant about Humidity originally written in 2009.

If anything, my feelings have only become stronger and more bitter as the years have come and gone. Also, I have installed my own personal heating system... also known as The Menopause!

That being the case, I have no need WHATSOEVER for Humidity.

HUMIDITY AND THE RAVEN CONCERT - PART TWO

In case you're just tuning in, I left off yesterday having a good ol' time at Alabama Adventure. I had already changed clothes twice, and as you can see below, I was heading for the Big Gold Van to change once again because of "massive wetness" thanks to our friend, Humidity!

Two hours later, I repeated the "changing" process which was "iffy" because at 4:00 p.m., we still had four to five more hours left in the park since the concert didn't start until 7:00. I made a rookie mistake. I should have packed FOUR outfits, FOUR bras and FOUR pair of underwear. I knew better. I had grown up in the South. Now, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was going to become the mildew"y" person by concert time. Something a true Southern Belle fights to the death NOT to become!

Because it was an outdoor concert (of course), we had brought blankets and camp chairs to set up in the grassy area. By the time I re-entered the park after changing, the line for the Raven concert was already forming... THREE HOURS EARLY! The four moms decided to take turns standing in line with the blanket and four camp chairs for 30-minute intervals. It was a very good idea, and we had four very pleasant moms in our group... not a whiner in the bunch. This plan worked very well until 5:30... my shift. At 5:30, the line began to move... 90 minutes before the concert was to begin. I had four camp chairs, a blanket and for some unknown reason, a duffle. I later found out the duffle belonged to the people behind me in line, but they let me carry it for a while before they told me it belonged to them. (I don't think they were truly Southerners. A real Southerner would carry their own duffle! Except for maybe me.)

I used my handy-dandy cell phone to call in the troops, but once everyone arrived (85 minutes before the concert was to start), it was decided two of the moms would stand in food lines and the remaining mom would take the girls to another ride before the concert began. Since every task had a comparable amount of line standing, I offered to stay put and everyone scattered.

We were very smart women. We calculated we had at least 40 minutes before I would actually make it to the front of the line. Everyone had their own tickets. We were ready to rock and roll.

We only thought we were very smart women. Almost immediately upon the departure of the kids and other moms, the line started moving at warp speed. By this time, there are too many mildew"y" smelling people around me to even begin to wonder who smelled the worse. Plus, I couldn't put the chairs and blanket down to do a "test sniff" to make certain it wasn't me. And I'll just be honest. I didn't care any more. That's right. I had lost the will to smell nice.

I called the other chicks as I entered the gate, and told them where I was going to set up our little "Raven Camp," and as food was purchased and the girls finished riding their ride, they trickled in about 15 minutes before the concert was to begin. Of course, there was no shade, but on the positive side, there wasn't another body too close to mine, and I sat "wetly" in my camp seat waiting for the concert.

That was when I noticed the black thunderclouds in the distance. If there is a plus to living in one of the highest humidity-producing states in the USA, it would have to be the possibility of a really good thunderstorm in the late afternoon (caused, I'm sure, by the heavy humidity). Hey! I'm a Southerner... not a meteorologist!

The best thing about a Southern thunderstorm is the wonderful breeze that comes before the pelting rain, crashing thunder and cloud-to-ground lightning. Yes, sir! I was pretty excited! A breeze was coming, and if by chance I was struck by lightning... Well, let's just say by that time, I was spiritually, emotionally and physically ready to "meet my Maker."

I have a rather anticlimactic ending, I'm afraid. The breeze did come, but not before the concert began. Strangers did close in on our little group as the concert crowd grew WAY too large. I discovered the only thing worse than being soaked through and through (and through) with sweat, was to be soaked through and through (and through) with sweat while sitting in a camp chair with two little girls I did not know squealing at the top of their lungs in my left ear.

I decided Raven was an excellent performer, and watching our little chicks sing, clap and dance along with her made me happy.

And I promised myself I would remember all the good times we had that day (which were many), and forget about Humidity. But, as you can see, Humidity has a way of "sticking" with you in the South.

Before I end this excruciatingly long story, I will say the breeze was lovely, and had I not been SO hot and wet all day long, I know I would not have enjoyed it (or even noticed it) quite so much. The rain began as we started walking to our car, and it didn't storm until we were on our way home. The girls were tired, red-faced and happy, and as we were slowly leaving the park more than one of them asked, "Can we do this again?"

"NO!" my mind screamed... but all the moms (including me) said, "Of course." And believe it or not, the next year... we did!

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Little Part of My Story - Part 5 - Okay. I'll answer the big question. The question that is weighing on everyone's mind.

"Where are you now, Enchanting Belinda? Seven and a half years from your first panic attack, where are you now?"

Well, for starters, I haven't had to visit my local paramedics late at night in a little over two years. That is huge for me.

AND I haven't had to go to the Emergency Room the past two years either.

Another biggie.

It isn't that I no longer have attacks, but I am very quick to respond to the very first symptom, and I try not to ever let it get out of control.

"Control" is not really a word you use with regard to panic attacks, but still I try.

One of the most important things I had to learn to do was recognize my own personal symptoms.

I have three different kinds of chest pain. Not four. Not five.

If I experience something different from the three distinctive chest pains I have previously experienced, I will head to the paramedics or hospital within a few minutes.

I have never experienced tightness or "the elephant sitting on my chest" sensation.

I have had shortness of breath due to the panic, but never because I couldn't draw a longer breath.

I have never had severe shooting pains down my arm, pain in my shoulders or in my jaw.

I never have discomfort after I work out... I mean, I have discomfort, but not the "chest pain" form.

Again, if any of those things occurred, I would know something else was wrong.

At one point, it became very important to me to come off the medication. I was never on a large dose, but no medication is always better in my mind.

Under my doctor's supervision, I slowly came off the medication. Within a month, I began having panic attacks multiple times a day... anytime and anywhere.

I fought it as long as I could, but as the attacks worsened, I spoke with my doctor and slowly began going back on the medication, hoping I could at least use a smaller dose.

Thankfully, at this time I am on a smaller dose, but I also have panic attack "breakthroughs."

The attacks aren't too frequent, but sometimes they can still be severe.

As of this writing, I haven't had an attack in over three weeks, and I am prayerfully hoping I can go longer and longer and longer before another episode.

The reasons I write about this each year or so is to raise awareness, help remove shame and embarrassment and open a dialogue with anyone out there who might need to talk.

I am so very blessed to have Mike by my side. He would probably tell you he absolutely did not understand, but he never tried to talk me out of having a panic attack. He never shook he head or rolled his eyes. If I was convinced I was having a heart attack and needed to go to the Emergency Room, he was ready within seconds and he would sit beside me while I had "my tests." Usually it would last well into the wee hours of the morning.

I know everyone doesn't have a "Mike" in their life, and if that is the case for someone reading this today, I offer my sympathy and help.

I'll probably re-post this again next year and the next, Lord willing.

Hopefully, I will have even better news to share, but if not, it is more than okay.

I mean, today is the only April 30, 2014 I will ever have, and so far it has been panic-attack free!

Blog Linkage - If you need cute, useful and inexpensive ideas for Teacher Appreciation Gifts, go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "You Gotta See This - Teacher Appreciation Ideas."

Have a grand and glorious Wednesday. I'll be back Friday morning with some updates about the family, pics and more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you the end of the week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up and Brown Sugar Cookies

Good Tuesday morning!

I'll go ahead and tell you... I'm planning on posting tomorrow, Wednesday, April 30, too.

I'm just in that sort of mood.

I hope today's post finds my Southern friends safe and well.

Being an Alabama girl, tornadoes... and the possibility of tornadoes... and James Spann... and radar maps are not an unusual occurrence in the Spring.

In fact, I've come to expect all of the above... and more.

Last night was "one of those Alabama nights," and we've been told it could happen again tonight.

But we pray it doesn't.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Josh came home yesterday afternoon because he didn't have to work last night. Austin worked the morning shift so he was home by 2:30, Mike came home on time and Roxie's plans were cancelled.

It was a very unusual Monday.

I got busy in the kitchen, and we had a nice dinner before heading downstairs to the basement not once, but twice.


I know The Chick looks uncomfortable, but on our second visit to the basement, she broke out the pillow and the sleeping bags.


Flashlights, five phones, three tablets, an "old-fashioned" radio and two very nervous beagles.

Needless to say, we were not bored while we were taking shelter from the storm.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Our home sits on the end of a little street in Gardendale.

Because of the perfect placement of the new Civic Center several years ago, whenever something special is happening in our town and the Civic Center has fireworks, all we have to do is walk out our front door to enjoy a little show.



The Magnolia Festival took place this past weekend, and although we were not able to attend, at 9:00 p.m. on the dot we stood in our driveway and just soaked up the sounds and sights.

It's a good way to end a busy Saturday.



RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm pulling from the Archives today, and I'm talking about a subject that all good Southern folk know a thing or two about... HUMIDITY!

HUMIDITY AND THE RAVEN CONCERT

You don't have to be a lifetime resident of the State of Alabama to know the true meaning of the word "humidity."

I'll give you the "dictionary" meaning first. "Moisture; dampness; a moderate degree of wetness, which is perceptible to the eye or touch; used especially of the atmosphere, or of anything which has absorbed moisture from the atmosphere, as clothing." This definition was written by a person who lives in one of the northern states, because the above does not come close to accurately describing Alabama "humidity."

I'll give you the Alabama version throughout this first of five "essays" on the subject.

A few years ago, my cousin, Amy, invited me and Roxie to attend the Raven concert at Alabama Adventure (our local version of Six Flags Over Georgia... small, but growing) with her and her daughter, Monica, and a few other friends. Raven was very popular at the time, and we were excited to receive the invite.

The concert was to be held in the evening, but Alabama Adventure has a water park, as well as rides, so we decided to make a day of it.

When we arrived, the gates were opening, and, of course, the girls wanted to hit the water rides. I could already tell it was going to be a scorcher because "a moderate degree of wetness" had already started making an appearance on my upper lip, elbow and knee creases and my hands began to swell. It was 10:00 a.m.

The water rides and the Lazy River helped alleviate some of the evidence of the humidity, but if you walked from one water area to the other, steam was starting to appear... rising from the concrete. Steam is not good. Not good, at all!

Around noon, the girls decided they were hungry, so we changed clothes and headed to the vans for a "picnic with the air conditioning running." I knew it was wasteful to sit in a car and run it for 30 minutes while people ate. But I also knew what we were about to encounter during the next five to six hours... and it wasn't "moisture or dampness." It was full-blown, buckets of sweat, not a dry thread on your body, bad hair HUMIDITY!

Because I am a Southern Belle through and through, I did have the foresight to pack TWO extra pair of shorts, bras, underwear and shirts, as well as deodorant and make-up.

There was nothing I could do about my hair. Humidity does one of three things to a Southern Belle's hair. (1) The hair goes completely flat and limp (as if to say "I surrender"); (2) the hair gets huge... bigger and scarier as the day goes on; or (3) the hair tries to go back into the scalp. In reality, it only looks like it is trying to go back into the scalp because it appears to be disappearing. It is just trying to survive the attack of Humidity by banding together which is described in the South as follows... "My hair is drawing up." I have the hair that "draws up."

As we re-entered the park, within seconds it was evident Humidity was going to win. Trickles of sweat ran down my back, my front and my hair "left me."

Waiting in line next to other people suffering from the effects of Humidity is even worse, because sooner or later you're going to smell someone who has a mildew"y" odor about them... and you cannot be sure if it is them or you. So you have to stand in line and wonder. After the ride, you can pretty much determine it was the other person and you move on, only to doubt yourself again two or three rides later when once again you catch a whiff of that mildew"y" odor. It's a vicious cycle, I tell you.

Around 2:00 p.m., I excused myself for 15 to 20 minutes and ran out of the park to the van. I turned the air conditioning on in the Big Gold Van, drew the shades (yes, it has shades) and reapplied deodorant, make-up and changed clothes... ALL of my clothes. I spoke encouragingly to my hair, but to no avail, and then made my way back into the park. Before I ever reached my group, I was once again completely soaked.

Uh-oh. Who knew I had so much to say about Humidity? Not me. You'll have to come back tomorrow for the rest of this amazingly interesting story!

Brown Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe on Pinterest and these cookies turned out very, very well.

And within just an hour of baking, they were very, very gone.


You will need the following:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup dark Karo syrup
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour

You will need the following for the glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 tablespoons dark Karo syrup
1 tablespoon milk

1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, Karo, sugar and egg until very light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat together until well mixed.

2. Roll into golf-ball sized balls. Place 3 cookies on each cookie sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes, or just until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.

3. For the glaze. whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Spoon into a Ziploc bag. Snip off the corner of the bag and pipe onto slightly warm cookies.

After the cookies are finished, you will need to stand back, because the smell will beckon the cookie-eating people in your house...

And you will just be in the way.

Have a good Tuesday. Be careful and watchful. I'll be back Wednesday with more of A Simple Life, Pinterest Stuff and Part 5 of A Little Bit of My Story...

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Ham and Cheese Crescent Bake, Pinterest Stuff (Fun Things To Do With Kids in the Backyard), A Little Bit of My Story - Part 4, Blog Linkage

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Lucky you!

I have a few more Easter pics on the blog today!


Roxie and Grandmother.


Roxie and Zac doing the "selfie" thing.


Brad and Stephanie.

I don't know how I left this one out of the post Tuesday.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie's Mission Trip to Guatemala is fast approaching, and my cool, calm, serene exterior is crumbling.

She is so excited, and her prayers are being answered with big ol' "AFFIRMATIVES" right and left.

I will admit, we are praying different prayers, The Chick and I.

My prayers sound something like this...

Prayer - "Dear God. If for any reason you do not want Roxie to go on this Mission Trip, I pray you will delay her passport's arrival to our mailbox until the day after the plane leaves."

Answer - The passport arrived in record time. I actually think the President of the Passport Company hand delivered it himself.

I know there isn't a President of a Passport Company.

I'm just saying.

Prayer - "Dear God. If for any reason you do not want Roxie to go on this Mission Trip, I pray there will be a shortage of 'stuff' the doctors use in tetanus shots and she will not be able to get her vaccination on time."

Answer - The doctor offered me an appointment today, two appointments Monday, three appointments Tuesday... You get the picture.

The Chick gets her tetanus booster Tuesday morning.

Prayer - "Dear God. If for any reason you do not want Roxie to go on this Mission Trip, please make it impossible to find Dramamine and insect repellent between now and the day of departure because she cannot possibly go to a hot, foreign country traveling by plane, bus and mule without these two items."

Answer - I know. The Chick is going to Guatemala.

My prayers are changing.

My heart is changing.

And if the trip was scheduled for 2016, I'm pretty sure I would be ready.

As it stands right now...

We'll see!

We'll see.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The azaleas and bumble bees have made an appearance.





RANDOMNESS #4 - This "part" of my story describes exactly where I was five years ago. On Tuesday, I'll update you and let you know where I am in 2014.

A Little Bit of My Story - Part 4

Where am I now? I ask myself that question all the time. I appear to be much improved. I feel like everything is right under the surface, ready to take over at any given moment. I can't let my guard down, which is part of the problem. It's always in the back of my mind.

Has it changed my life significantly? In some ways. I'm not comfortable doing some things I used to do. Since two of the attacks happened in Walmart, I rarely go there anymore (rarely meaning once a week at the most). I have to make myself go that often.

Church is difficult, again because I've had several attacks there. I spend much of the service making myself stay put, but not really getting much out of the message or the worship music at this time.

While nighttime used to be my favorite time of the day, I dread the evening hours now. My attacks are always worse in the evening.

Although Mike rarely goes out of town, on the occasion when he does, it is very hard to keep our family schedule... but I make myself continue.

I make myself go out of town. I make myself go camping. I make myself go shopping alone with Roxie across town. I make myself do many little things I used to take for granted.

At one point, I was on the Internet constantly reading, reading, reading about panic attacks versus heart attacks. What were the differences? What did this symptom mean? I finally stopped going to the Internet at all for any information. I will not allow myself to do it because it causes more anxiety, not less.

Off and on for a while, I would check my blood pressure several times a day. Now, I will only check my blood pressure when I go to the pharmacy to specifically pick up medicine. I do not make special trips all during the day.

I overheard a woman ask another woman one time if it was okay for a Christian to be depressed. The woman paused, and then replied, "It's okay to be depressed. It's just not okay to stay depressed." This was a woman who had obviously never had a mental illness.

While I wasn't angry with her, it did strengthen my resolve to try to help people understand it is not a choice. It is not a choice to have epilepsy. It is not a choice to have asthma. It is not a choice to have severe food allergies.

And it is not a choice to have OCD or panic attacks or depression. These illnesses are just as real as anything mentioned above. If you suffer from any of these very debilitating illnesses, it doesn't mean you have less faith in the healing power of God. It does not mean you are a "weak" or "immature" Christian.

No one would ever say to a mother of a child with chronic migraine headaches, "It's okay to have a headache every now and then. It's just not okay to have them all the time."

It's time for people to try to understand. It's time for people to have compassion for the things they cannot always see. It's time for people to stop being "uncomfortable" and start a dialogue. And it's really time for people to stop being ashamed of having an illness they have no control over.

I, for one, am tired. The last three and a half years have been exhausting... mentally, emotionally and physically. And the years have taken a toll on the Faulkner Five.

However, if it enables us to be more aware so we can help another family, or befriend someone who is going through something feeling very alone or gives us a chance to tell how God helped us time and time again... then that's what we'll do.

When all is said and done, I don't want what little I've gone through to not have meaning or a purpose. It is okay to have a mental illness. It is okay to talk about it, and feel sad about it, and even be angry about it sometimes. It is NOT okay to keep everything bottled in, and be secretive, and feel shame because you're sick.

Blog Linkage - Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and read the post entitled "Past Projects/Teacher Appreciation." They have some great ideas.

Ham and Cheese Crescent Bake


This tastes as good as it looks. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and since we had leftover ham from Easter, I made it this week.

It takes a little time, but the end result is a delicious dinner... with leftovers!

You will need the following:

Crescents

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 green onions, diced
2 cups cubed, cooked ham
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
2 cans (8 ounces each) crescent rolls

Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add in the green onions, ham, garlic and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Open the crescent rolls and divide each can into 8 triangles. Place a mound of the filling mixture on the wide end of the crescent roll and roll up. (I totally sealed the crescent.)

4. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and then the milk. Cook until the mixture has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Spread a small amount of the sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Place the rolls in rows in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls. Sprinkle the 1 cup of cheese over the top.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let cool slightly.

Pinterest Stuff

Fun Things To Do With Kids in the Backyard

Investigate your yard with a magnifying glass.

Have a backyard toy car wash.

Put down some painter’s plastic, grab a hose and have a homemade slip and slide!

Find, sort and make a leaf scrapbook.

Make mud pies.

Play with a hose. (Most fun EVER.)

Make bird feeders and feed some birds.

Wash a real car.

Catch and release some frogs. (I was a BIG frog catcher back in the day.)

Take some books outside and create a comfortable reading nook under a tree. (Blankets, pillows, snacks, etc.)

Pick flowers and paint with them.

Some of these I tried when the kids were small, and some were new to me.

Weekend Happenings

1. If you go to the Gumbo Gala at Sloss Furnace this weekend, be sure to find Mikie. He will be helping with the Gala Friday and Saturday. He has helped before and when he comes home, he smells delicious.

If you are interested in attending, go to www.episcopalplace.org for all the info... and enjoy.

2. Austin is working Friday and Saturday evenings.

3. For some reason, Josh got off Friday, so he's home until Saturday afternoon. He's planning on going to the movies with some friends this evening.

4. Roxie and I will be having a Girl's Day Saturday. The Chick needs shoes, capris and shorts, and I need some one-on-one time with The Chick.

5. Also, the plan as of this minute is for Roxie, Katie and me to see Bears tomorrow evening.

Yes, I know we are 17, 20 and 52, respectively, but we really like Disney animal movies.

A lot.

And buttered popcorn with giant Cokes.

And Raisinets.

You gotta have some Raisinets.

I'm thinking it's going to be a good day.

6. On Sunday, I feel the need to go somewhere to eat after church. Part of me wants to go to Slice...

And part of me wants to go to Original Pancake House for a mid-day breakfast...

And another part of me wants to try something different.

Who am I kidding? We'll probably get a giant sack of Krystals and eat off napkins around the dining room table. (I have coupons, you know.)

Have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back Tuesday with Part 5 of A Little Bit of My Story, another new-to-me recipe, Mother's Day ideas and more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, A Little Bit of My Story - Part 3, Buttercream Icing, Pinterest Stuff (Mother-Son Bucket List), Wedding News

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Mike and I went to Pepper Place Saturday morning, and a Spring outing to this farmer's market did not disappoint!


Mike bought a loaf of this bread and it was a big hit with our family this past weekend.





I found this lady sitting in the exact same spot as last Fall.

Some things never change.


One of the things I love about Pepper Place are all the cute pups. They come dressed in hats and sweaters and bows. Some come "as is," but still very well-groomed and even more well-behaved.

"Uh, Enchanting Belinda... Isn't this a picture of goat on a leash?" you might ask.


"Why, yes. Yes, it is," I would reply.

This little guy was a hit with all the kids in the market Saturday...

And a lot of the adults were pretty taken by him, too.


I want to have fairy gardens with my grandchildren one day.

I think it would be a fun project.


These two street performers reminded me of our recent trip to Nashville.


I could have sat under this red umbrella with a cool Spring breeze blowing on my face...


Looking at this guy all day Saturday...

But, alas, other things had to be accomplished the day before Easter!

RANDOMNESS #2 - After church and before leaving to celebrate Easter at Grandmother's, we found a shady tree for some Easter pics.


Austin and Josh.

Just so you know, Austin hasn't shrunk. Josh was standing on a huge tree root, and he got to tower over his big brother instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder.


Roxie and her Daddy.



I think this pose may become our new Easter Picture Tradition...

The Brothers call it "The Model Pose," and if truth be known, they like it more than The Chick...

Which is a little worrisome.


Roxie and Katie.



Roxie, Grandmother and Katie.


This ended up being my favorite Easter pic of 2014. Roxie, MamMa, Katie and Zac.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The following recipes and/or ideas were taken directly from my Easter Pinterest File.


Chocolate bunny in a mason jar with Easter grass and little Cadbury Eggs.

Classic!


Peeps swimming in a marshmallow topping!

Who cares what is under the marshmallows?


Cross Cupcake Cake decorated by The Chick.


The gang decorating eggs with Sharpies.


Katie's egg...


And Austin's Chick-Fil-A egg.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Wedding News - The months until Austin and Melia's wedding will hit the 6 MONTH MARK this week.

I know.

It's a little mind boggling, isn't it?

The fact that Mike and I got engaged in August of 1987 and married in January of 1988 with only five months to plan seems incredible now. I'm not sure how we did it.

Melia is not only planning a wedding, but she is finishing school and is scheduled to graduate in May.

The girl is a Wedding Planning Machine!

My two biggest "jobs" between now and the wedding date are simply as follows:

1. Finish planning the Rehearsal Dinner. (I'm trying to get Barry Manilow to come South for an "Evening With Barry" if you will.)

2. Find the perfect, if not elusive, Mother of the Groom Dress.

Or, as I like to call it, Hot Mother of the Groom Dress.

And, also, Looks-Like-a-Size-4-But-Totally-Isn't Mother of the Groom Dress.

If I am not mistaken, I will have much better luck getting Barry to commit to a Rehearsal Dinner than the second item on my list!

Heavy, heavy sigh.

Wish me luck.

RANDOMNESS #5 - After today, there are only two parts left to my panic attack story, and then we can move on to something more cheerful and upbeat.

If you know of any such topics (cheerful and upbeat), feel free to leave suggestions in the Comment Section below!

A Little Bit of My Story - Part 3

The meeting with my internist went well, but it was not what I wanted to hear. "Why is this happening now?" I asked. "Things are just starting to settle down with Josh. We're understanding what we have to do, and we're working on everything. We're sleeping again. We're eating as a family again. We even went to church together for the first time in a year. This is ridiculous."

She (patiently) explained to me when a child is sick, most moms do without sleep, food or anything else they need to get through the sickness to take care of the child. Then, depending on how long or how severe the child's illness was (or is going to be), their own body will react. In my case... panic attacks.

"Well, I'm not having this. We're not finished with OCD. From everything we're learning, it's here to stay. I do not have the time OR energy for this. This is ridiculous."

"It doesn't matter how many times you say 'ridiculous.' This isn't going to go away anytime soon. It's not uncommon, and denying you have panic attacks isn't going to work."

"Ridiculous," I muttered.

Then I started the medicine "thing." Unfortunately, what worked for most people, didn't work for me. I was taken off the anti-depressant, but I was given an anxiety drug to take when I felt the attacks coming on, as well as a small dose in the morning and a small dose in the evening.

While this medication did nothing to stop the panic attacks, it did keep me out of the hospital every three to four weeks.

BUT, before the medications even had a chance to work, my attacks got much, much worse. I had not one, not two, but three heart tests... each one more comprehensive than the last.

The first one, a nuclear stress test, was a breeze. They proclaimed it a success. I left the doctor's office having chest pains, shortness of breath... otherwise known as a heart attack or panic attack.

The second test, a nuclear stress test with an immediate ultrasound of my heart, showed a tear in my aortic valve. WHAT? I thought they said I didn't have any heart problems. A tear in my aortic valve sounded serious. I was assured it was not, but they would have to check it every two years for the remainder of my life. (That was okay with me. A little known fact... When you have panic attacks which have the same symptoms as heart attacks, the hospital is your favorite place to be. Plus, having to have my heart checked every two years because a cardiologist said it was necessary made me feel less "ridiculous.")

The third test was straight off the Rick and Bubba Show. I wanted the test where they put the dye into an IV, and then perform an X-ray. (Rick, Bubba and Speedy all had this test done, and talked about it on their show.) It showed the heart in tiny slices, thus letting the doctors see if there were any blockages. It was the last non-invasive test I would be able to have, but it was also one of the better tests. The test results for that one came back, "No significant sign of heart disease."

"That's good," Mikie said when I called him.

"What does 'significant' mean?" I asked.

"Not enough to worry about," he replied.

"But there is something. Otherwise, it would simply say, 'No sign of heart disease,' and they would leave out the word 'significant.'"

"It's okay, Belinda."

"It's ridiculous, is what it is," I mumbled to myself.

I'll leave you today by stating once again I'm thankful God is in control of this most unsettling new illness which found it's way into our home over five years ago. Even though there were times I thought I could handle the attacks all by myself, I never had to do it alone. God's hand has been on this family in so many ways. Some of which we've been blessed to be able to see in hindsight, and others we will probably never even know.

I'll share Part 4 Friday morning.

Pinterest Stuff

Mother-Son Bucket List

This list was taken from a great blog (www.susanme.com), and she has many more ideas and several more lists!

Go rock climbing (real or facility).
Wake him up in the middle of the night and go to an all night diner for breakfast.
Plant a tree or grow vegetables in the backyard.
Make a model airplane.
Take a spontaneous, weekend road trip.
Go canoeing.
Create a paper-mache volcano and blow it up.
Go on a missions trip.
Run a 5K together.
Go to one professional game for every sport you can list.
Go horseback riding.
Go snorkeling in the ocean.
Go zip lining.
Read a classic together (The Lord of the Rings, Tom Sawyer, etc.).
Make your own pizza from scratch.
Create your own barbecue sauce.
Watch the entire Star Wars collection.
Take a trip to where his favorite movie was filmed.

Buttercream Icing

You will need the following:

1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Using a paddle beater, beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes.

2. Add sifted confectioner's sugar and stir on low until incorporated.

3. Add vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat on medium-high for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides once or twice.

4. If a thinner frosting is desired, add additional heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

This recipe was copied from www.unsophisticook.com... And it was FANTASTIC!

Have a delightful rainy Tuesday and an equally delightful Wednesday and Thursday, too. I'll be back Friday with A Little Bit of My Story - Part 4, Pinterest Stuff, Mother's Day Ideas and much, much more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you the end of the week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Crack Cake, Pinterest Stuff (Mother-Daughter Bucket List), A Little Bit of My Story - Part 2, Easter Traditions (Re-Posted), Quotable Quotes

Good Friday morning!

And a very Good Friday it is!

I have no new pics to share with you today, so in between each and every section, I'm going to the Archives and I'm just posting an old pic I like.

So there.

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Chick wants a duck.

That's right.

Roxie is head-over-heels in love with the idea of raising a duckling.

She and Sweet Taylor even drove to a farm of sorts yesterday after school, and she chose her duck.

She came home with pics of her holding the most adorable duckling, and I have to admit my heart melted just a little.

And then she told me the following:

"I asked the man if they had a duck leash for walking, and he said once you bond with a duck, they just walk beside you wherever you go... forever."

Oh, my.

I have to say, I started re-thinking my 23 year-old decision to raise a family of humans instead of farm fowl right then and there.

As cute as the duckling is (and it IS cute), we have too many cons at this time in our lives.

1. The duck would only be a duckling for about two more weeks. Apparently, ducks mature very, very quickly.

2. Although Roxie would "take complete and total care of all of the duck's needs," keep in mind, The Chick goes to school, goes to church, got a job as a lifeguard this Summer, is going to Basketball Camp AND Guatemala between now and August 6.

Does that sound like she is going to be able to "take complete and total care of all of the duck's needs?"

Does it?

I didn't think so either.

3. Copper and Sparkle will not, under any circumstances, share a yard with a duck.

It just will NOT happen.

4. I have seen a fox and a giant woodchuck in our front and back yards (respectively) over the past 12 years.

I'm thinking unless we declare the animal an "inside animal," it really doesn't have much of a chance of survival in Gardendale, Alabama.

5. I'm thinking we will NEVER declare a duck an "inside animal."

There are more cons, but I think I've made my point.


Me and Roxie during our Amelia Island Vacation in 2010.

RANDOMNESS #2 - As I told you this past Tuesday, I'm going to share my Panic Attack story with you over the next few weeks. It was first posted in April of 2009.

A Little Bit of My Story - Part 2

The day after being released from the hospital, I still felt very weak, but I attributed everything to the diabetes. Again, 212 seemed like a very high number to me. I scheduled a time to see a nutritionist to learn how to eat (diabetic-style), and totally took myself off sugar until that time.

I went to an eye doctor at 8:00 Monday morning to check and make sure there was no damage to my eye (as instructed by the ER doctor), and was assured there was none.

Later Monday morning, at Roxie's school Christmas party, it happened again. The only differences this time around were no eye problems, but added sweating and dizziness. I felt as though I was going to faint. I left the party, drove to a fast food restaurant and ordered some food (no sugar), and ate in the parking lot until I began to feel better (about an hour or so). I was still thinking diabetes.

I attended the classes for eating (diabetic-style), and for a few weeks everything went back to normal. I didn't feel any differently. Then one night, standing in line at Wal-Mart, the sickening feeling began again. I couldn't breathe. My chest was heavy. I thought I was going to pass out. I had seen a friend earlier that evening in the store, and looking around I spotted her at the entrance talking to someone. I made my way to her and asked her if she could stay with me until Mike came to get me. I knew I didn't need to drive. She walked with me to my car, followed us home and then took Mike back to Wal-Mart to pick up The Big Gold Van. As was now becoming my pattern, in about an hour my symptoms started subsiding.

However, I now had a diabetic meter. My blood sugar was within the 70 to 100 range. Whatever was making me so sick was not diabetes.

The next day as I was ironing, I had the television on and saw the commercial featuring Aretha Franklin. She talked about her blood sugar being well over 400 before she began feeling terribly ill. "I must be the biggest weenie in the world," I thought to myself. She would probably laugh at 212. I then started asking around, and I found out that 212 was not considered a high number at all. Especially when the majority of the time my blood sugar was well within the acceptable range. Something else was going on.

Several more weeks passed, and we were all sitting in the den watching Survivor. Roxie was sitting on my lap in the rocker when my vision again faded in my left eye, and the exact same symptoms returned. I immediately got up and checked my sugar. It was normal. I called Mike into the bedroom and asked him to take me to the paramedics to check my blood pressure because we weren't talking diabetes any longer.

The paramedics were wonderful... but my blood pressure was not. It was 170 over something (I don't remember EVERYTHING). I have NEVER had high blood pressure. I have always been blessed with very LOW blood pressure. That's one good thing that does run in my family. The paramedics told Mike to get me to the hospital at once because it looked like I was either having or about to have a heart attack. Off we went again. (Neighbors sat with the kids until my Mom was able to get to the house.)

I was hooked up to the machines again. I had vial after vial of blood taken again. And Mike sat there looking pitiful and rubbing my hand again. After an hour and a half, my symptoms started subsiding, and the ER doctor came in and said I did not have a heart attack or a stroke. He suggested panic attacks.

"I am not imagining all the things going on in my body," I retorted. "I am having real symptoms."

"Exactly. Panic attacks have real symptoms. There's nothing about them that is make believe," he assured me.

He told me to make an appointment with my regular doctor the next day, and take it from there. I did and she saw me the day after I called her. What happened next is a trip down "Doctor Lane."

Tuesday, I'll share how a perfectly healthy 45 year-old woman was doing very well December 15, and totally fell apart December 16. At one point in the first quarter of 2008, I was going to eight (COUNT THEM... EIGHT) different doctors. Let's name them, shall we?

1. Internist

2. OB/GYN

3. Cardiologist

4. Neurologist

5. Psychiatrist

6. Rheumatologist (I have arthritis... He didn't really have anything to do with my panic attacks.)

7. Podiatrist (To be honest, I only saw him once. He went with the diabetes diagnosis and had to check circulation in my feet. It tickled... meaning the circulation in my feet was fine, and I just needed to see him if I experienced any problems in that area. Bye-bye!)

8. Optometrist (I have to be checked every six months because of my "eye thing" which isn't related to diabetes at all. Turns out it is called an ocular migraine which sometimes occurs prior to my panic attacks. There is no pain involved, but there is no rhyme or reason for them either.)

Before we get into Tuesday's story, I would like to say the eight is now down to four... OB/GYN, Rheumatologist, Optometrist and Internist. They are what I call "check-up doctors."


Roxie and Kendall having their picture taken on Morris Avenue in 2011.

To this day, we still have NO IDEA who this lady photobomber was and why she chose the girls to photobomb.

#gottalovemorrisavenue

Crack Cake

You will need the following:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 box instant vanilla pudding
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix the above ingredients by hand or hand mixer.

3. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

4. Pour into pan.

5. Bake for one hour.

When cake comes out of the oven, you can add a thin milk and confectioner's sugar glaze or just serve it plain.

NOTE - It is a really good cake, but it becomes better on the second and third day.


Zac, Brad and Austin when they were just wee lads.

Quotable Quotes - Fun fact for you... I was a huge Designing Women fan, and I loved all of the characters on that show. I'm going to share some favorite "Julia Sugarbaker" quotes with you today. There are many, many more, but here are a few favorites.

(Boarding a plane)
Suzanne: Where are our seats?
Julia: I don't know. If history teaches us anything, mine will be next to a baby who smokes.

Julia: Have you all just COMPLETELY lost your minds? (This was a line Julia said repeatedly on the show. This is a line I adopted soon after all of my kids became teenagers. It seemed appropriate.)

(As Mary Jo nervously prepares for her first date since her divorce.)
Julia: Here is a quarter for the payphone, Mary Jo. Mother always used to give Suzanne and me a dime to call home in case somebody got too fresh. I don't think Suzanne ever used hers. She eventually used the money to go to Europe.

Julia: I keep a list of people who touch my behind without permission. Some of them have died unnatural and untimely deaths.

(Talking to Charlene after being trapped in the hotel room with her all night.)
Julia: I think this illness has affected your brain. Or, I've just never before noticed the extent of your unequalled ability to be fascinated at absolutely nothing.
Charlene: Y'know, Julia, I used to think that if I were a man I'd be interested in you, but not anymore!


A little bit of Copper this morning.

Pinterest Stuff

Mother-Daughter Bucket List

Develop a signature family recipe
Take a mother/daughter trip abroad
Have a mother/daughter photo shoot
Bury a time capsule
Complete a physical challenge – climb a mountain, hike a trail, run/walk a marathon, etc.
Write a list of qualities that your daughter should look for in a man
Serve at a local shelter
Plan an outing for every holiday (pumpkin patch, Christmas tea, etc.)
Get a free make over at a department store
Do a Bible study
Go to a weekend craft/art class
See your favorite sport team play live
Learn how to change a tire
Have a spa weekend
Visit a big city for a weekend
Do something only your daughter has always wanted to do
Do something only your mom has always wanted to do

These are just some of the ideas from this wonderful blog... www.susanme.blog. Check it out if you get a chance.

I'll share some of the Mother-Son Bucket List items Tuesday.


Austin and The Lovely Melia way back when.

Easter Traditions

The following are some tried and true, oldie-goldie Easter ideas The Faulkner Five have enjoyed immensely in the past.

"Story of Easter" Egg Hunt

These are also called Resurrection Eggs, and you can now buy the "kits" at most Christian book store. If you want to do it yourself, number plastic eggs 1 through 12 and hide them with all the other eggs you will be hiding that day. (Make sure you don't hide the resurrection eggs in hard-to-find places.) When the hunt is over, have all the children sit in a circle and ask for Egg Number 1. Have them open it revealing what you put inside. Then read the scripture and tell the story one egg at a time.

1. Bread - Matthew 26:26. While they were eating Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples. "Take and eat it," He said, "This is My body."

2. Coins - Matthew 26:14-15. Then one of the twelve disciples, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and asked, "What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?" They counted out thirty silver coins and gave them to him.

3. Purple cloth (representing a purple robe) - Mark 15:17. They put a purple robe on Jesus.

4. Thorns - Matthew 27:29. Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on His head, and put a stick on His right hand; then they knelt before Him and made fun of Him. "Long live the King of the Jews!" they said.

5. Scourge (a small piece of rope or thick string) - Mark 15:15. Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he set Barabbas free for them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed Him over to be crucified.

6. Cross - John 19:17-18a. He went out, carrying His cross, and came to "The Place of the Skull," as it is called. (In Hebrew it is called "Golgotha.") There they crucified Him.

7. Nails - John 20:25b. Thomas said to them, "Unless I see the scars of the nails in His hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in His side, I will not believe."

8. Sign - Luke 23:38. Above Him were written these words: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

9. Sponge - Matthew 27:48. One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make Him drink it.

10. Spear - John 19:34. One of the soldiers plunged his spear into Jesus' side, and at once blood and water poured out.

11. Rock - Matthew 27:59-60. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own new tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away.

12. Empty - Matthew 28:6. He is not here. He has risen just as He said.

Back in the day when we had this Egg Hunt, we would gather on my Mom and Dad's front porch and Daddy would read the scripture as the kids opened the eggs.


Austin, Roxie and Josh... Easter 2010.

Resurrection Cookies

After dinner the Saturday before Easter, you will need to sit down and make these cookies with your family. It is a wonderful way to share the story of Easter... BUT YOU HAVE TO DO THIS THE NIGHT BEFORE EASTER!!!

You will need:

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
A pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 zip-lock bag
1 wooden spoon
Scotch tape
Bible

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (This is very important. Don't wait until you are almost finished with the recipe).

2. Place pecans in zip-lock bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

6. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain the sweetest part of the story is Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

7. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

8. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

9. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

10. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

11. GO TO BED!

12. Explain they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20-22.

On Resurrection Sunday (Easter morning), open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.


He's a keeper!

Weekend Happenings

1. Austin and Josh are working Friday night and Saturday night.

2. Mike and I are waiting to get The Chick's plans in writing to see what we are going to do Friday night.

3. Mike and I are going to Pepper Place Saturday morning. We've never been in the Spring, so I'm excited to see what they have to offer.

4. I will be preparing my Easter dishes for Easter Sunday lunch at Grandmother's. I'm taking Fruit Salad, Deviled Eggs, Corn, Rolls and Mandarin Orange Salad. Roxie is making a Cupcake Cross Cake (from Pinterest). So pretty.

5. We're attending the 9:00 a.m. Easter Service at our church Sunday morning before heading to Grandmother's for our Easter Celebration.

I have a few new things up my sleeve for the guys and gals this year, but I'll tell you all about those Tuesday.

I don't want to ruin any surprises.

Have a blessed Easter weekend. I'll be back TUESDAY with Easter pics, A Little Bit of My Story - Part 3, another new-to-me recipe, Pinterest Stuff and more.


Roxie was SO happy when Katie got her driver's license. We call this "COUSIN FREEDOM!"

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda


You know what they're thinking, don't you?

Have a Happy Easter!
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