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Two f-words have become huge in my life over the last year.  Football and Facebook.

old TV

Growing up, my father would watch any football game that was on television. Didn’t matter what teams were playing.  He knew them all and he had a favorite that he was pulling for in every matchup.  It didn’t make sense to me, as a little girl.  I’d think, “But we live in Georgia.  Why are you pulling for the Dallas Cowboys?”  I knew nothing about the game and didn’t understand how the path to the playoffs worked and that there was a method to the madness if you wanted to see your team in the Super Bowl.

nfl

By the time I was in college, I’d figured it out.  I pledged allegiance to the 49′ers and the Saints.  And when they faced each other, I had to cheer for the Saints (I’m a southern girl, after all).

A funny thing happened, though, and over time I cared less about pro football, but got totally absorbed in college football.  I  became a fan of one certain team, and would watch every game.  I kept up with the rankings every week and kept my fingers crossed that we’d end up in the national championship game.

football map

Then, strangely, this past season got much bigger for me.  I started following not only my own favorite team, but I followed all the others as well.  I started becoming just like my dad…watching football because there was a game on, regardless of the team.  I’d watch to see who was defeating whom, and how much of a threat would they be when we played them later in the season.  And it extended not just beyond my favorite team, but even beyond our own conference.  I watched Ohio State, FSU, Oklahoma, Duke, Notre Dame, Stanford, Oregon, Clemson (well, you get the idea). I kept up with how, if this team loses it helps our ranking go up, and if that team wins it will hurt our ranking.  I’d go to work on Monday mornings and chat with all the guys about the miracle plays we’d seen, or how this team crumbled, or that player got hurt, or there was a new rising star on another team.

So it is safe to say that football has a bigger role in my life than ever before.

And as this past season progressed, I found myself spending more and more time on the second F-word I am writing about today.  Facebook.  Oh, I’m neglectful about posting things to it myself.  I rarely update my status or post photos about anything.    But I’ve gotten somewhat obsessive about reading what other people post during games.  You can learn a lot about your friends by looking at their written  sentiments.  Some people who seem so demure are absolutely evil when it comes to putting down the opposing team.  Some, who have every right to take cheap shots, will never stoop that low and find something positive to say about both teams.  Others – my favorites- inject humor in their posts and come up with some of the funniest plays on words or catch phrases.  Yeah, they might still take a cheap shot (maybe even against my favorite team), but it’s so witty and clever you find yourself laughing with them rather than getting irked.

Phew!  I guess it’s good that the college ball season and bowl games are almost over.  Only a couple more days and I’ll no longer be chained to my favorite easy chair in front of the television.  I need to use those hours to go to the gym to tackle my own new year’s resolution.

See, even I can make a pun once in a while.  :)

 

Happy New Year!

Wow!  Hard to believe it’s 2014 now.  I wonder how many weeks it will take before I stop writing 2013 on all my checks and other documents??

2014

This is the time of year we all typically make new year’s resolutions.  My friend, Kate Patrick, told me yesterday that she’s taking a new approach and not making any for 2014.  I will have to check in with her later today to see if she is sticking to that or if she’s changed her mind and set a few goals for herself after all.

I am still contemplating what mine will be.  It’s a yearlong commitment, so I can’t enter into it too hastily. I have till midnight to decide, right?  :)

I do know that I am looking forward to this new year, however.  I have a good feeling about it, and think some nice surprises could be in store for me and my family.

I hope it brings lots of great things your way, too.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

fireworks

It’s almost a new year, and there is much to look forward to in 2014.  But before the stroke of midnight tomorrow, I have been reflecting on the blessings of 2013.

2013

The biggest surprise has to do with my father.  We’ve had him for a full year, and last Christmas we were all expecting him to have only a matter of weeks left.  But the fact he made it to another Christmas isn’t what has surprised us all so much.  It’s the fact that his quality of life is so much better!  My grandfather was a Pentecostal minister.  I grew up hearing stories of real miracles.  I know that doctors are just God’s instruments, and that He ultimately decides the number of our days.  But to see my father off of oxygen, not using a walker any more, and actually planning a short trip to the hunting camp (where he’ll relax in the cabin – not in the woods :)  ) is truly amazing.  The disease is still present, but he is enjoying his days, and I am so thankful.

IMG_1632

 

I’ve got a new hobby this year, and I’m loving it.  “Hobby” isn’t the right word, but it’s as good as any, I suppose.  I’ve discovered the world of horseback riding!  No, I’m not taking lessons.  But my daughter started them at the end of summer and I go out with her every week.  The stables where she takes lessons are so picturesque.  The two story barn is gorgeous.  The acres and acres of pasture are vibrant green, with white fences around them and beautiful pink and red flowers planted everywhere.  The horses are so beautiful and strong.  After a tough week at work, I can’t tell you how cathartic it is to sit under a tree for a few hours and watch the horses and their riders as I take in the fresh air and the sounds of birds chirping, and the clip-clop of hooves.  It renews me every time.

My son continues to excel at his college experience.  He has made friends that I know will be lifelong ones, and he’s really gotten focused on what he has to do over the next three semesters until graduation.  He has a fresh excitement as he is already getting job offers once he earns his degree.  It’s surreal to watch his ease around “big wigs” that he’s crossed paths with, and to see him parlay those encounters into job offers is something I know I’d NEVER have been able to do at that age.  But he’s smart and charming and interesting, and it’s genuine – not put on.  I’m looking forward to finding out what the future holds for him.  I think the sky’s the limit.

Despite a real rocky end to 2012, by the close of 2013 my extended family has made amends and seems as close as ever.  Or almost anyway.  I’ll settle for almost.  I missed the ones who pulled away a year ago, and am grateful they have come to terms with the things that were bothering them and that they’ve been able to move forward and put it in the past.

Work is still stressful, but the last few months have seemed better.  I don’t know if they are actually better or if I’ve just gotten better at letting the little things slide.  But whatever the reason, I’ve had a better time of it on the job lately, and that’s something I am very thankful for!

job

My mom turned 80 this year, and she is still so in love with life.  She is active, has a huge circle of friends, and is the glue that keeps our family together.  We all love her so much, and we rely on her to be our listening post, shoulder to cry on, keeper of all secrets (what happens on Berwyn stays on Berwyn!!), and prayer warrior.  Oh yeah, and to make the dressing on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day (nobody does it better).

I could go on and on.  It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong in life and miss all  the things that are right.  But once you stop to actually think about the good stuff, you can quickly realize you’ve got it way better than most.  At least I do.  I am blessed. And I know it.

 

 

 

windy day

I’m going through withdrawals.  Due to high winds in the area where I live , my satellite dish has shifted just a smidge.  Most channels still come in clear as ever, but a few of the HD channels no longer pick up.  Normally I wouldn’t care about missing a few channels.  With my choice of over 300 other options, there should be plenty of alternatives.

There is one problem though…This is the Christmas season, and the Hallmark Channel is one of the ones I can no longer tune into. And I lost the signal prior to Thanksgiving.   All those lovely holiday romance made-for-TV movies, and I haven’t been able to see a single one!!!  Last year, this became my addiction.  I would record them so I didn’t have to miss any of them, then delete them only to make room for another week’s worth.  This past summer, there was a brief “Christmas in July” sort of thing going on with Hallmark, and they replayed several of my favorites.  I watched them all again.  But now, as the season revs up to high gear, I’ve  watched nary a one.  It’s scandalous!

working out

I’ve been forced to look for distractions, to keep my mind off the lovely stories I’m missing out on.  For one, I have actually started going back to the gym.  This development had the potential to provide a very nice boost right here at the end of the year to help me reach a personal improvement goal I’d set back in January.  However, it was totally offset by the fact I’ve also had time to start my holiday baking.  And with baking comes the requisite taste-testing.  Totally counteracts the time spent at Planet Fitness!!

baking

I’ve also killed time by doing my Christmas shopping.  I’m WAY ahead of schedule on that, with nearly all of it already completed now.

I’ve spent more time with family, fixing meals to share with some of my older relatives who don’t get out as much.  What nice visits we’ve had when I’d show up unannounced with a foil wrapped plate of food to drop off.

Oh, yeah, and as of Friday night, there is the second offering from The Hobbit trilogy.  Kate Patrick and I made sure to go on opening night, and it did not disappoint!  Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner provided a generous amount of eye candy to keep us in a festive mood.

Smaug

My husband has been promising to get up on the roof and reposition the satellite for me.  Hmmm, I’m having a lot of fun with these other diversions.  Maybe I’ll tell him to hold off for a few more days.

tardis christmas

 

I don’t understand what’s going on.  I think there must be some sort of extra-terrestrial type activity at work here on planet Earth.  I’ve seen enough Doctor Who episodes to recognize that someone (or something) is monkeying around with the space-time continuum.  That is the only explanation for why today I put up my Christmas tree.

Christmas

Yeah, I know…the calendar say it’s December 8th.  But it can’t be, right?  Can we already be into the twelfth month of the year?  Have we actually already passed all the other holidays and milestones of 2013?  Is Christmas really right around the corner?

I guess it is true, after all.  My tree is up and we went to the first Christmas party of the season on Friday night.  And as much as I might want to meet a time lord, I’m forced to concede that’s not likely to happen.  No, I think the explanation is a simple one.  Time just passes so much faster the older we get.

And the lesson to be learned in this is also a simple one.  Enjoy every day to the fullest.  Don’t rush blindly through each successive twenty-four hour period.  Take note of the beauty in nature around you, be appreciative of the kindnesses shown to you by others, and pause long enough to tell those closest to you that you love them.

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas season.

 

 

Life goes on…

I haven’t written anything new in ages.  Shortly after my last blog post, the school session began again for my daughter as she started middle school, my son went back to college, there were changes at my job, and life in general got crazy.  Oh yeah, I also wrote a new book.

math

So what inspired me to get back into the cyber world?  Was it to promote my book?  Was it to compare stories with other mothers about the trials and tribulations of trying to help a child with math homework when the methods they teach now are nothing like what we ourselves learned (what the heck are alternative algorithms anyway??)?

Nope, I’m inspired to write again because of a football game.  How I’d love to enthrall you with a tale of how our team pulled off a hail Mary in the last minute of the game, to score a win and advance to a championship game.  But no, that wasn’t our team yesterday…that was the opponent’s story.  Our team lost.

I love college football.  LOVE it!  And as much as I love to cheer for my team, I have never understood how some people act like winning is a matter of life or death.  I still don’t get that.  But I’m having a very hard time shaking the sadness at having witnessed our defeat yesterday.

For one thing, my son and his friend (who spent Thanksgiving with us) were watching it with me.  I got to see how much the game meant to them.  They actually KNOW many of those players, so the loss was not only a major letdown for themselves, but they could only try to imagine the disappointment their friends – the players – were feeling.

After the game ended, we headed out to see my ailing father.  It was a somber mood at his house, too.  We sat together and exchanged a few brief comments about the game. But we were all pretty much suffering in stunned silence, so the room got quiet pretty fast.  But then we turned on ESPN and started watching the next matchup.  Another team still had a shot at a national championship and was fighting for it with everything they had.  The outcome no longer matters to me…my team lost the chance to go, so I don’t really care who wins.

birds singing

But this morning I got up early to start working on month-end closing for the company I work for.  And as I sat at my laptop, doing the final billing for the month, I noticed that outside the window birds were chirping.  The sun was rising, and it had all the makings of a beautiful day.  And my father has lived to see another Thanksgiving, which no one would have bet on a year ago.

Losing a ballgame is hard to take.  Losing one that puts you in a position for your team to potentially make history is heartbreaking.  But you know what?  Life goes on.  The world keeps turning.  There are so many things to redirect your focus toward.  And in focusing on those other things we can remind ourselves that games are, after all, just that – games.  There will be another season.

gridiron

And in the meanwhile, remember that miracles happen all around us every day.  Not just on the gridiron.  Don’t fail to recognize the miracles in your life, and to be thankful.

Today I’ll be stopping by several blog sites, sharing snippets of my recent release, Bama Bride.  I have to work today, but I’ll check in as often as possible.  So feel free to leave comments or ask questions.  I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card as a prize to a random commenter, so good luck!  The awesome ladies at Goddess Fish have lined up a lot of excellent people as participants.  Check them out…you might discover a new favorite that you want to follow!

 

All of the tour stops are listed here:

 

1:  Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess

2:  Andi’s Book Reviews

3:  Queen of the Night Reviews

4:  Wicked Readings by Tawania

5:  Novel Moments

6:  Books and Other Spells

7:  A Writer’s Life

8:  Critters at the Keyboard . . . .

9:  United By Books

10:  Kate Patrick…unlock your fantasies

11:  Read Your Writes Book Reviews

12:  Deal Sharing Aunt

13:  The Dan O’Brien Project

14:  You Gotta Read Reviews

15:  My Odd Little World

16:  My Devotional Thoughts

17:  Dawn’s Reading Nook Blog

18:  Tina Donahue Presents

19:  Sandra’s Blog

20:  Enjoying the Unique Flavors of Life

21:  Nickie’s Views and Interviews

22:  Chris Redding Author

23:  Wake Up Your Wild Side

24:  Author Jinni James

25:  Mommasez…

26:  Renee Luke

27:  Deb Deb Reviews

28:  Sweet and Spicy Tales

29:  Harlie’s Books

30:  Christine Young Romance Writer

31:  The Snarkology of a Romance Author

32:  A to Z Reviews

33:  Reviews by Crystal

34:  Bea’s Book Nook

35:  Perfect Chaos

36:  Writer Wonderland

37:  My Reading Obsession

38:  Just Trying to Let it Be

39:  Sugarbeat’s Books

40:  Author Raine Delight’s Blog

41:  Sharing Links and Wisdom

42:  Reading In Twilight

43:  Unabridged Andra

44:  Perusing Princesses

45:  Welcome to My World of Dreams

46:  It’s Raining Books

47:  Long and Short Reviews

48:  Straight from the Library

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