Friday, December 7, 2018

A Life Well Lived


Life can sure be filled with surprises…some good, some bad.  We never really know what is around the corner.  Sometimes we turn the corner, and we are confronted with something beautiful, something wonderful, something we are so happy to be a part of.  Other times we encounter something unpleasant, something frightening, something we wish we didn’t have to face.  Two weeks ago I turned that proverbial corner to be faced with the loss of a long-time friend.

Nancy and I began our friendship years ago when we taught together…I taught second grade and she taught third.  I was always so glad when she got some of my students the next year because I knew they would be in great and very capable hands.  Years later she became my asst. principal, principal, and finally superintendent.  She was a strong and formidable leader, one of the strongest women I’ve ever known.  Some people mistook that strength for aloofness and perhaps even hard-heartedness, but those of us who really knew her knew she had a very tender heart.

Nancy found out she had a very aggressive cancer only 5 or 6 weeks before we lost her.  At first I grieved over the fact that she went so quickly, but after thinking about it I knew that Nancy would never have wanted to linger and be without the strength she had always had.  She retired only three years ago and was so happy having much more time to spend with her son, daughter, and grandchildren.  She had been divorced for many years, and her family was her number one priority.

Another good friend and co-worker gave Nancy’s eulogy, and I just have to share this…partly because it’s such a funny story but mostly so I will have it written down where I won’t forget it.  One day Nancy and a co-worker from her office were driving down the interstate when they were flashed by a naked man riding in a bus of some sort.  He didn’t “moon” them…he flashed in full glory!!!  Nancy and her friend took down the tag number and called it in to the police.  The man was caught and Nancy was called in to “identify” the guy.  While being asked this in the police station, Nancy promptly told the detective, “I wasn’t really looking at his face but if you show me a full frontal view I can definitely pick it out!”  You would have to know Nancy to really get the full effect of this story, but take my word for it….you would have laughed really hard if you had been there!

So, to my friend, principal, and superintendent Nancy…you always made me want to be a better teacher.  You made me want to give 100% because you were always giving 110!  Thank you for the times you visited my room to watch me teach and then left me a little note patting me on the back…no other principal I ever had did that!  Thank you for caring about the children of our community and for working hard to be a good leader.  Rest in peace, dear Nancy…job well done!
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And even though my heart has been sad over this loss, this week my heart was filled with joy because one of my former students who I still love dearly and am still close to became a daddy for the first time to TWIN BOYS.  After a rough pregnancy with a few scares, both boys were born strong and healthy.  God is good…all the time.




Sunday, November 25, 2018

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!


Is it really almost Christmas 2018???  Seems like just yesterday we were enjoying soaking up the rays and listening to the ocean waves at the beach.  It’s amazing how quickly the days go by (and the years too)!  But I’m about ready for the BIG DAY…decorating is all done and most of the shopping is finished.  I am NOT a procrastinator.  I like to get finished with the preparations & shopping early so I won’t be rushed and stressed.  I do NOT work well under pressure😊  Most of the shopping was done online…or either I bought it all through the year.  So do you want to see what I’ve been up to???

The kitchen is my favorite room to decorate.  Each year I use a gingerbread theme.  The tree is filled with ginger boys & girls, apples, and my antique cookie cutters.  I am very particular about my gingers though…their face has to be just right! 



 This little red rocking chair was a Christmas gift to my husband on his first Christmas.  My ginger dollies love to sit here every year.

The table is set and ready for Christmas morning breakfast with my small family.

 Ginger boys & girls everywhere!




The side porch gets decorated with gingers too.


And I just had to have a "little red truck" this year...it will be helping the grandkids and me count down the days.  (This came from Dollar General.)

 This is my snowman themed tree at the far end of the den.  I had received so many snowman ornaments from students I decided to dedicate a whole tree to them.  Granddaughter M decorated it all by herself...and did a great job.


My husband’s office also has a small tree decorated with hunting-related ornaments.  Even the deer get dressed up!




                           (Note:  These are NOT Santa’s reindeer:)

And then there is the BIG tree…filled with all the ornaments I have collected through the years.  The first to go on the tree are some balls & bells that I bought for our 1st Christmas together.  We were in college and poor as church mice, and I was thrilled to find these ornaments at a great bargain at a fire sale!!!  After 48  Christmases they are looking a little tired, but they will always be very special to me.  There are ornaments found on trips, gifts from friends and students, and (of course) those made by my children in grade school.  I only use ornaments that I love and that have special meanings.

The fireplace is ready for our first fire…the weather is getting really chilly so maybe we’ll have one burning soon.


The hall tree belonged to my husband's grandmother.  He would sit on the bench every Christmas & open his gifts from her.  We hang the grandkids' stockings here...because they are SO big!


And here is the outside....




I couldn’t have gotten all this done in record time this year without the help of this sweet granddaughter who L-0-V-E-S Christmas and wants to keep the tree in her room up all year! 



She even helped with preparing Thanksgiving dishes to take to my husband’s BIG family gathering at his sister’s. 



So….have you decorated?  Is the shopping done?  Are you ready for “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and “Jack Frost” to nip at your nose?  Hope you are all enjoying the preparations and getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus…the REAL reason for the season.



Monday, November 5, 2018

AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE



Preface:  Excuse the crazy spacing…Blogger and I don’t seem to agree on where my words should go...and it's driving me NUTS!!!


I have SO MANY things to be thankful for!  Do I have everything I want?  Well, no.  Do I have everything I need?  Most definitely.  Do I have as many or as nice or as expensive material things as others I know?  Yes and no…not as much as some but SO MUCH more than others and certainly more than I could ever possibly deserve.  Each day I thank God for my blessings of family, friends, home, etc.  But I also try to name 3 specific things…blessings I’ve received recently that may not occur every single day.

I just saw something on Pinterest that gave me the idea for this post.  I’m not sure who originated it or even who pinned it, so I can’t give credit where credit is due…hope that person doesn’t mind me borrowing it!  The title of this activity is 30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE
and you are to answer one question per day.  However, I’m going to use just a few of the questions and answer them here….you might want to borrow the questions yourself for a blog post or just food for thought😊

1.  What smell are you grateful for?
          My answer:  either the smell of bread baking in the oven or those yummy looking
and wonderful smelling cinnamon rolls at CINNABON (I’ve never eaten one but they sure do smell awesome!)


2.  What sound are you grateful for?
          My answer:  the voices of my grandchildren saying, “I love you, Cheri.”


3.  What place are you most grateful for?
          My answer:  definitely my home but also my church


4.  What abilities are you grateful for?
          My answer:  Of course, I am thankful to have the ability to see, hear, etc. but I am SO very grateful for the ability to teach.  I was in public education for 40 ½ years and I also often teach Sunday School.  My journey into teaching is a long story but once I became a teacher I had no doubt that it was what God wanted me to do.  I’ll have to tell you that story some other time😊

5.  What touch are you grateful for?
          My answer:  the touch of my husband's hand when he gives me a big hug (and
maybe a kiss too:) and tells me he loves me….SO very thankful I have a soul mate who tells me he loves me every single day!


6.  What tradition are you grateful for?
          My answer:  I’m big on tradition but one of my very favorites is THE PICKLE PRESENT that I do with my grandchildren every Christmas.  It is something they both look forward to every single year.  I wrote a post about it quite awhile back and you can read about it at https://cherischatter.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-pickle.html



7.  Other than your family which person in your life are you grateful for?
          My answer:  This is a tough one because there are many that I could name.  Two very special people that made a big difference in my life were my first grade teacher Miss Roberta Champion and my third grade teacher Mrs. Katherine Baggarley.  They both instilled in me a love of reading and of school in general.  School was a place of refuge and joy for me as a child, and Miss Champion’s and Mrs. Baggarley’s love for education and for their students shaped me in many ways.  Miss Champion lived to be in her 90s I believe and never married.  Mrs. Baggarley is now in her 80s and we exchange Christmas letters every year.  How I love both of these beautiful women and marvelous teachers.

8.  What texture are you grateful for?
          My answer:  This one’s easy….. my blankie.  Yep, I have a security blanket:) It is soooo soft and I love snuggling with it by the fire on a cold winter night or a really lovely rainy day.


9.  What knowledge are you grateful for?
          My answer: I have to give two answers for this one!  First (and foremost) is the knowledge of the birth, death, and resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Without my Lord, I would be lost.  My second answer would be readingI learned to read rather quickly as a first grader under the wonderful instruction of Miss Champion…I was in the Redbird group (we were the best readers in the class!!!:)  Reading is one of the joys of my life and I am so thankful for this ability.


10.  What piece of art are you grateful for?
          My answer:  Well, I don’t own a Picasso or a Rembrandt but I have some very,
          very special pieces of art that were created by my children and my grandchildren!
          To me, they are priceless.
years  gone  by

Thanksgiving will be here soon (even though the stores are already filled with Christmas
decorations!) At least for the month of November, most of us are counting our
blessings….and hopefully we all remember to be thankful every single day! 

Now….TAG, you’re it!  What are you most thankful for?

PS:  I am thankful for anyone who finds their way to my little piece of Blog Land and stops in for a chat.  Please come back anytime!

PSS:  Also very thankful for these 2 who fill my life with joy...and so much craziness:)


Saturday, October 27, 2018

HOLY Shirts & DEMONIC Shoes



 Bet that title got your attention!!!   Well, let’s get started cause I got a lot of 'splainin to do!

    Remember when Desi would say that to Lucy?  (Showing my age!)


Let’s start with my HOLE-y SHIRTS.  A couple of years ago I began to notice that some of my shirts & sweaters (mostly shirts) had 2-5 tiny holes…and they were always in the same general area around my belly button.  At first I was just aggravated but then as I found more and more hole-y  shirts I also became flabbergasted.  What in the world was going on?  Before I knew it I had had to discard more than a few very good shirts and two or three sweaters. 

I began to research (via Google) to try and solve this mystery.  Lo & behold!  I found that I was only one among MANY that had the same problem but yet no one could come up with a conclusive cause or a solution.  At least I wasn’t in the boat by myself! I also found 2 friends and a niece were having the same problem!



Some of the many thoughts about this “hole” situation were:

*abrasion from car seat belt
         BUT!  I had traded cars and still discovered new holes

*rough place on counter top or sink area
         BUT!  I went over every surface where I knew I leaned against it…and
         I mean I went over it like a detective looking for clues to a serial
        murderer….and found nothing

*a mysterious little bug that….warning! this is yucky!...liked the smell of your belly button
         BUT!  I keep my belly button clean and dust bunny free

*moths
         BUT!  do you really think a group of moths would all get together &
         say, “Now let’s eat holes in this gal’s clothes but let’s only go for the
         belly-button area”???????  I don’t think so!  And besides…I took
         everything out of that closet & washed or dry cleaned EVERYTHING…
         and also fumigated the room (just in case)!

*cheap fabrics
          BUT!  I had it to happen with some rather expensive items

Absolutely nothing seemed to fix the problem.  Well, after discarding at least 20 (if not more) perfectly good shirts & sweaters (both expensive brands like from Talbots and less expensive from places like Old Navy), I thought my problem was solved😊  For the past few months, NO NEW HOLES!  I was elated!  But this week the wind was taken out of my sails because I found holes in two basically new shirts.  One I bought recently from Old Navy; the other earlier in the summer from TJMaxx.  And by the way…why doesn’t my husband get holes in his shirts????

Evidently I like stripes A LOT!

As I was researching solutions yet again today I came across an article you can read here: http://www.cleverly.me/t-shirt-holes/ .  (sorry but I can't get the link to work!)   It basically gives 5 different possible reasons for the #@$#% holes, but I’m not really buying any of them because of the exact reasons I gave in the earlier part of this post.  I’m just still not convinced. 

I also came across a product that is “supposed” to be the cure-all for the problem, but I’m not buying it…literally or figuratively.  It’s these button covers called HOLE' (hole-ay) that you are supposed to put over your buttons/snaps on jeans & pant fronts.  (Reviews say they are hard to get on & off.)  But... (yes another BUT!), I have had holes in tops that I wear only with pants that are slip-ons…no buttons or snaps in sight. 
https://holebuttoncover.com/

I don’t really know what I can do about this problem, but if anyone discovers a cure-all I’ll be first in line to buy it. 
                                    
                             * * * * * * *

NOW….on to those demonic  shoes!  Well, that’s just my term for them because they too have given me the devil in the past year.  


A better term would be crumbling shoes.  Have you ever been walking down the street or in the mall (or in my friend’s case the airport) and you look down and see all these little black pieces of “something” following you like Hansel & Gretel’s trail of crumbs????  If so, you have had crumbling shoes.  (As if crumbled potato chips or crumbled cookies aren’t bad enough!)  

*Disclaimer:  these are not my shoes...borrowed from internet!

Or have you gotten all dressed, ready to go, but have to quickly put on matching shoes before running out the door….only to pull the shoes out of the box and realize they have disintegrated???  

Yep!  I’ve had both situations happen…not pleasant. 

Again let me say I have had this problem with both expensive brands and less expensive ones.  And I’m not in this boat alone either.  GOOGLE “crumbling shoes” or “disintegrating shoes” and you’ll see what I mean!  Many folks have dealt with gooey, delaminating, or cracked shoe bottoms including Clarks, Crocs, and other "comfort" shoes.


But there is an explanation for this phenomenon…just no real solution!!!!
The basic culprit is polyurethane that is inside the soles & heels of shoes (and sometimes upper parts).  The polyurethane degrades through a process known as hydrolysis.  It also seems that storing shoes for a long period of time aids the process.  I have for years stored my shoes in plastic shoeboxes (all nicely labeled, thank you😊)  but now I’m wondering if that is the best thing to do.  (They sure look nice & neat all stacked on my shelves though!!)

One of the main (maybe only) solutions to the issue of crumbling shoes is to WEAR THEM FREQUENTLY.  Seems that wearing them squeezes all the chemicals in there together & this slows down the breaking-down process.  However, I have read in several places that many shoe manufacturers say we should only expect 4 to 5 years of wear!  Are you kidding me???  I still have my BE-BOPS (saddle oxfords) from high school and that was….well, more than a few years ago!  My problem is I have sooooo many pairs of shoes, by the time I get around to wearing all of them the first ones will have disintergrated!!!  (But my shoe inventory is a post for another day.)

A good article to read about the shoe problem is here:

I love clothes & shoes in particular, but it sure is disheartening to go to your closet to look for a favorite shirt or just-the-right pair of shoes for an outfit only to find they are no longer wearable.  I’m beginning to think it’s true what we often hear:  They just don’t make things like they used to.  After all, right now in my closet I have 2 pairs of my 90-year-old mother’s high heels that she wore many, many years ago and they look like they just came from the store!



So….have you had either of these problems?  I’d love to hear about it if you have.  And if you find a long-term solution for either situation, bottle & sell it cause you'll end up with more money than if you'd hit that billion dollar lottery...and I'll be your first customer:) 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!



 I just read a really old post on someone’s blog where the writer was talking about some of her favorite things.  So….since I yet again haven’t had anything worth writing about….I decided I’d go on a photo shoot among my belongings to see what some of my own favorites were.  (OK….so I’m bored and needed something to do today😊 …and besides, maybe it will be fun!)     (WARNING:  PICTURE HEAVY!!!)

HOUSEHOLD FAVORITES

We have quite a few antique family pieces in our home….things we’ve inherited from our parents or grandparents.  This antique ICE BOX  is definitely one of my favorites.  You would not have believed how this thing looked when we got it!  In fact, nobody else in the family even wanted it because it looked SOOO BAD.  But I have to give my husband credit…he saw a diamond in the rough!  We had it restored and we just love it.  The ice box actually belonged to an elderly farm hand that lived in a little shack on my husband’s grandparents’ farm.  She was like part of the family and always helped Grandmama with the cooking, cleaning, gardening, or whatever else needed to be done.  She was loved and affectionately called DUMP (don’t ask me why!!!)



This antique PENDULUM CLOCK was a gift to my husband and me from my stepfather shortly after we were married.  It was his passion to find old clocks and restore them.  I love to hear this one BONG the hour, but my husband doesn’t, so (sadly to me) it remains silent.  It is sitting atop an antique PIE SAFE that belonged to my husband’s grandparents.


One more antique to show is this beautiful HALL TREE that belonged to my husband’s other grandparents.  My husband would sit on the seat every year on Christmas Day as he grew up opening presents at their house, so she wanted him to have it.  For years it was ugly & black because we thought it was supposed to look like that (seriously????)  Then my husband decided to refinish it and what beauty was lying underneath!!!


These two LAMPS are not antiques but I like my “Tiffany wanna-be’s”!!!  The first one was a gift from my mother-in-law and the second we bought at auction.  I love how they look at night when they are turned on.



This little GREEN CHEST has really seen better days but it’s a favorite because it was my first (and only) attempt at painting with chalk paint!  I found it (all blue and ugly) in a thrift store.  It now holds many of my craft supplies.


And one last antique is my IRON BED.  Long story that I won’t go into about how I came to have it, but I do love it.  This is in what we now call my granddaughter’s room where she absolutely loves to spend the night!


THIS  &  THAT  FAVORITES

My PORCH is probably my favorite part of our home.  I have spent many hours sitting in my swing reading, watching the rain, or just pondering on things.  The CANDELIER hanging from the ceiling also has a funny story.  Found it in a consignment shop in FL on one of my girlfriend trips.  You should have seen me pack our vehicle (which was carrying 6 ladies and all our luggage) so that it would fit!!!


This is an ORIGINAL OIL PAINTING done by…..a second-grader!  Years ago it was a gift to me from one of my students.  His mother is an artist and evidently he inherited some of her talent.  It is displayed in my kitchen.


These sweet  TEDDY BEARS are just 2 of my collection.  I don’t really collect them anymore as they were beginning to take over and multiply!  But I do love them all.  These two were gifts from my sweet husband. 


Years & years ago I was going through a very difficult period of grieving and would sometimes just take off for day trips on my own.  One such day I discovered this precious TEA SET in an antique store.  It just called my name and so I HAD to bring it home with me!


Can you guess what this is?????  Well, I couldn’t for many years.  However, through lots of research I finally found out it is a…….WINE BOTTLE…..and it is an antique as well.  It was given to me by a very sweet and special elderly lady (in her 80s) while I was her Sunday School teacher.  She actually thought it was a RABBIT and since she knew I loved rabbits she wanted to give it to me.  Turns out it’s really a SQUIRREL…but I never told her that😊  She told me it belonged to her late husband…..I later found out he was….well, let’s say he wasn’t a tee-totaler!


Although I’m omitting a lot of my favorites, I couldn’t leave out these….all the LOVE LETTERS from my husband while he was away at National Guard Training Camp for 4 months (way back in 1971); and the little stack is LOVE NOTES from high school….yes, I said HIGH SCHOOL.  How could I ever throw those away???


FAVORITE  CLOTHES  (shoes are a whole different post!!!)

I love, love, love CLOTHES and probably have more than I should.  And yet I often look in my closet and say, “I don’t have anything to wear!”  Is there a woman anywhere that has never said that????  I don’t really get to shop a lot since my little town is 70 miles from a decent shopping site.  And another thing….I’m NOT a CLOTHES SNOB.  If I like it, it doesn’t matter to me if it comes from Nordstrom or Wal-Mart!  I’m an equal opportunity shopper! My style now leans much more toward casual since I am retired and spend most days at home or doing something with the grandkids, but here are some of my favorites right now…….

Give me polka dots, tassels, & pompoms and I’m a happy dresser!  The NAVY POLKA DOT SWEATER is new from Old Navy.  The colorful TASSELED TOP I have enjoyed all summer and it came from Goody’s.




I love both of these SWEATERS from last year.  The first one is RUBY RD. from BELK & was a gift from my husband last Christmas.  The other also came from BELK last year….since it’s my college colors I wore it to a GEORGIA SOUTHERN alumni party😊



These 2 TOPS are new & I “think” I got them both from BEALL’S (or maybe it was TJMaxx).  Neither was very expensive but really look cute with jeans.



I love to wear these sleeveless INSULATED VESTS, and I have several.  They are often all I need when I run to the grocery store or do errands during the cooler months.  This was also a Christmas gift from my husband but you can find them in many places online.


Well, I told you this post would be PICTURE HEAVY and sorry it’s so long.  Maybe it at least helped my readers to get to know me a little better…and it will be something my granddaughter can look at in years to come (and probably laugh)!  I did another post on some of my favorites back in 2012 if anyone is interested....go here

So, what are some of your FAVORITE  THINGS…..besides raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens?????