Jan 31, 2010

The heights and depths and breadths of...well, bread

I pride myself on being a pretty good baker. My sour cream banana bread always gets rave reviews, and my cookie repertoire is quite impressive. It doesn't stop there: muffins, scones, scratch cakes and brownies...all are within my power to whip up at a moment's notice.

But truth be told, my sweet rolls are hit-or-miss. Sometimes they're near-perfection, but sometimes not even close. My Parker House Rolls are usually decent, but could be better. And my regular loaf bread is...well, inconsistent at best, and really awful at times.

I've had great bread, baked by others. So I know what really great bread tastes, feels, and smells like. And now I'm on a quest to find out the secrets of making great bread. Consistently great bread.

If I get a Dutch oven for my birthday this week (and just in case my DH is reading this blog, please make that a 5- or 6-quart red one with molded handles and the self-basting lid, pretty please - doesn't have to be LeCreuset, but Lodge would be nice ;o), I will try my hand at this NYT No-Knead Bread recipe. Apparently I've been living in a cave for the past 3-plus years, while this one made the rounds (and loaves) of bread-making circles.

But I don't plan to stop there: sourdough starter starts today. Artisan breads-- from super-crusty to super-soft--here I come.

While we're still technically in the throes of winter, (as witnessed by this beautiful shot taken today by DD), I hope to experiment with all sorts of shapes, textures, and types, and techniques for bread-making. Guess my running shoes will also be getting some mileage, cuz that's just how I roll.

Jan 29, 2010

The mad dash to nowhere

This weekend was to be our youth group's annual ski trip weekend. Part or all of our family have attended this weekend for the past 8 years, which I think qualifies it as a bona fide family tradition.

As with most trips, I procrastinated on packing and other last-minute activities until the 11th hour. (I work better under the pressure of a looming deadline. Really.)

Now, most of the time, our local snowstorm predictions are nothing more than free advertising for the grocery stores, who get an influx of sales on bread and milk anytime the word "snow" is mentioned by a meteorologist. (Sometimes I really suspect there's a racket at work there...)

This time, the prognosticators were right on the money. We got hit, and hit hard. The system that laid down ice and sleet across Oklahoma and Arkansas yesterday marched into the midstate area. By mid-morning, snow began falling - beautiful, fluffy flakes. Within a few hours, it was flurrying furiously. A 5-mile trip home after DD's piano lesson took half an hour, much of it crawling on snow-covered surface streets. Note to city crews: deicer is no match for snow falling at a rate of an inch or two an hour. A for effort, though.

We struggled home (after making the mandatory side trip to the grocery store) and wondered if the trip would be called off. Sure enough, the call came mid-afternoon: ski trip officially canceled. Boo. It's probably the prudent choice, and and certainly welcome news for nervous parents concerned about putting their teens on a bus headed into a blizzard; but disappointing news nonetheless.

To add insult to that injury, now I'm scrambling for cooking inspiration - I was kind of looking forward to a weekend away from the kitchen. Hmmm. Wonder if the pizza places are delivering tonight?

Jan 28, 2010

3.75 @10.54 min/mi = tired to the nth degree

I should have just sucked it up and ran the last 1/4 mile, but my legs and feet (and back!) were tired, so I stopped short of my goal. Whimper, whimper. But it did feel really good to get in *almost* 4 miles this morning. And I'm finally hitting a good stride - just a few more clicks and I'll be at 10 minutes/mile. I'll never be the fastest runner in the world, but I'm zeroing in on a respectable pace, all things considered (like my advancing age, the relatively short length of time I've been running, how seriously I take it, etc.)

The local weathermen are predicting a snowfall of epic proportions tomorrow. Histrionics to boost ratings, probably. But along with everyone else in the southeastern U.S. (and parts of the Midwest), I will be hitting the grocery store today and hoping the weather holds up so we can make it to Perfect North tomorrow night without incident.

I guess I should stock up on potatoes while I'm grocery shopping - the pooch has decided she's soooo hungry she is willing to steal potatoes from the pantry and gnaw on them when I'm not looking. This morning, I nearly tripped over a spud lying on the floor near her second bed (yes, the princess has two beds.) It had doggy slobber on it, so it had to be her. (Plus she just looked guilty. And hungry.) Dieting is fit for neither man nor beast, it would seem...

Jan 26, 2010


How many meals can a crockpot make? A lot - perhaps even 365 meals, it would seem. Last Saturday it simmered pinto beans. Sunday it *would* have held the chili, but I chanced leaving a dutch oven on the stove top, under DH's somewhat watchful eye, praying he'd at least hear the timer while he enthusiastically set up a (bigger) TV and stereo system in the den. Gotta be ready for Super Bowl weekend, ya know?

All's well that ends well - the chili was actually pretty darn fabulous if I say so myself.

Yesterday the crockpot held a new recipe dish of pork chops smothered with onions, field peas and snaps (a little bland for our taste) and today it's slowly simmering a pot roast. I have had a crockpot since we got married, and I do rely on this trusty appliance for a lot of dishes, especially in the winter. One of my family's favorites is an all-day (or all-night) brisket, topped simply with mustard and a packet of onion soup mix, a recipe I discovered in the original Once-a-Month Cookbook (which I highly recommend to anyone trying to juggle school or job while keeping family dinner a high priority.)

The week is zipping by, and I have two newsletters (one for our children's program and a brand-new newsletter for our youth group) deadlines looming. Both 4-page newsletters need to be finished and ready to print and distribute by Sunday - which means my deadline is more like Thursday or Friday. Eeek!

At least the highlighter's newsletter was published by mid-January; and after this 2-issue pileup, the publishing schedule should become saner, with one quarterly publication, and two bi-monthlies produced on alternating months.

In my 9-to-5 (or 6 or 7 or 10) workaday world, things are a little topsy-turvy at the moment. Our website was recently sold to another organization, and everyone's trying to figure out exactly what that means for everybody. Stay tuned...

Jan 25, 2010

To snow or not to snow?

With all due apologies to The Bard, that is the question, at least for today. White pellets hit my window for a few minutes, then they stop as suddenly as they began. Start, stop. Start, stop. It's not sticking, though, so maybe there won't be a run on milk and bread just yet. (Even if there were a stampede, I think we'd be okay, since I did grocery shopping on Saturday. Of course, I didn't buy milk...hmmm.)

Speaking of pellets, the cat managed to rip open one of her krinkly "Kong" toys from Christmas, and spewed little pellets everywhere she carried the poor dead remains before we could stop her. Guess it's a good thing Flylady is focusing on the living areas this week...something tells me that Dyson and I will be busy playing pickup all week.

But back to the topic of snow. Our youth group is preparing for its annual pilgrimage to Perfect North in Lawrenceburg, Indiana for a weekend of snowy fun: tubing, boarding, or skiing - it's all there for us to enjoy. Of course, colder temps and more white stuff coming down from the sky means less manufactured snow and fewer icy patches to contend with on the slopes. So we'll keep our fingers crossed this week for some snowy days here--and in Indiana.

To continue my really random word association: Indiana. Home of the Colts, and to our own beloved UT alum and adopted Tennessee son, Peyton Manning. We'll be rooting for you on the 7th! That's also the day our congregation is holding a SOUP'R Sunday - we'll help restock our food pantry with donated items, and entice members to stay for lunch with a variety of warm and yummy soups while they check out the various service opportunities they can volunteer to help with in 2010. Then we'll all have the evening free to watch Super Bowl XLIV (or 44 for those who have forgotten their Roman numerals.) Definitely a day to look forward to - please come join us if you're in the neighborhood.

Jan 22, 2010

Hope springs eternal...

I've always wondered about that excerpt from Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man," where in the first epistle, he wrote:

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast
Man never is, but always to be blest..."

Sometimes I think it should be turned around: Spring is eternally hoped for even though it's pretty ephemeral, at least here in the South. Yesterday between showers I stole outside for a few minutes and found hope springing forth in the form of daffodil leaves pushing up through the leaf litter. It's a welcome sight, as were the swelling buds on the dogwood.

I was serenaded by sound of the frogs croaking in the distance. Soon the bluebirds will be house hunting, a certain herald of early spring. But I can wait - they're calling for snow late next week (just in time for our annual northward trek to the "slopes" of Perfect North.

This week brought some successful kitchen experiments. A banana bread cobbler recipe from February's Southern Living turned out to be a hit with my family. The hibachi-style surf 'n turf I prepared and froze at The Dinner A'Fare a few months ago was also yummy. I also discovered what "field peas with snaps" are, thanks to PictSweet's picture on their bag. It made perfect sense once I saw it - field peas with snapped beans. They categorize it as a southern vegetable; I guess it probably is. Anyway, they will go in the crockpot with some pork chops as I try out another new recipe next week. Some of the raviolis I made today were dressed with Bertoli's vodka sauce for dinner, which is divine if calorie-laden. Good thing I got in almost 9 miles of running this week, plus another 2-3 of walking.

Jan 20, 2010

The fickleness of January

Winters here in the Midsouth are mercurial in nature, and blessedly short (at least compared to regions north and west of us.) January can bring bitter cold and snow one week, springlike temperatures (and a spring-esque thunderstorm) the next; in fact one is rolling through right now, complete with thunder and lightning.

But I know better than to let this week of warmer temps fool me - winter isn't through with us, even though we're almost through with January. (Wow - one month down already? We'll blink and it'll be fall again.)

This time of year, there's much to do. The seed catalogs are starting an urgent drumbeat: it's time to make the final selections for okra, lettuce, tomato and pepper seeds for the year, and get in orders for onion sets and potatoes. A ski trip next weekend to Perfect North will wrap up the month, and then it's on to Groundhog's Day, Valentine's Day, a few more ups and downs on the thermometer and we'll bid February a fond adieu, too.

March will usher in the start of gardening in earnest - planting peas and setting out cool season crops, and start hardening off the tomato and pepper seedlings for later in the month.

Last year's garden was a complete bust. I set out tomato plants I drove to Jackson to buy from Marianna's Heirloom Tomatoes, and then I walked away, doing almost nothing with them. I'm ashamed I gave my neighbor too much leeway in my psyche last year, but he and his Roundup sprayer apparently had a blast near my flower and herb border two summers ago, and I still see red every time I think about finding dry, crunchy stalks instead of dahlias and roses and thyme.

But I'm determined to shake off the funk and take back my garden spot this year, mentally and physically. I am longing for fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and just-picked bouquets for my table, and a pantry full of jars of tomatoes, pickles and jams next fall. So maybe I'll also get some to-the-point "don't spray" signs to post along the fence...

Jan 17, 2010

Be still and know that I am God

Sundays are a day I always look forward to, whether it's during the half of the year I teach the third graders, or the half of the year I'm a student in an adult class.

Fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, spending time really focusing on God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for me, learning from His word, praying and praising our God with our hearts and lips - what could be better?

But I think it's safe to say for teachers, not to mention, the preachers and worship leaders, Sundays are not a day of rest; they are a day of work. Fulfilling, uplifting, wonderful work, but work nonetheless.

I am my own worst enemy: I fill my Sunday afternoons with frenetic multitasking. I throw in a load of clothes to start and then review the morning's lesson and make tweaks and notes to myself for next year; I work on the upcoming issue of a newsletter or two (or three--I seem to have volunteered myself into writing/editing three newsletters for our congregation.) Then there's just enough time to strip beds, run the vacuum, tidy the bathrooms, jot down a menu and hit the grocery store - anything to get a head start on the coming workweek. Or I throw on my shorts and head to the YMCA to squeeze in a run, leaving just enough time to shower and change before evening services. Occasionally, the couch pulls me like the moon pulls the ocean, and I succumb to a nap....ahhh. But most Sundays, my "Martha" persona is busy bringing her A-game to get things done.

Psalm 46:10 is not a polite request, it is command. It has two parts that work together: Be still. And know that I am God. Only when I am still can I give Him my undivided attention and let Him speak to me, shape my thoughts, and give me the peace and wisdom I fervently pray for as I'm rushing around.

Today my thoughts are with the Gilmore family. Sister Gilmore was a wise, wonderful, mature Christian role model and confidante to so many women. Her calm and sweet demeanor, her unassuming way of helping others spoke volumes of her close walk with God. I rejoice that she made it home and I pray I will see her again someday. At the same time, my heart sorrows for her family as they deal with the void in their lives. Maybe today I'll take a cue from this dear sister, and just be still.

Jan 15, 2010


Most weeks are actually fun cruising through, but occasionally I have a week I'm just really glad to put behind me. This one is shaping up to be one of those, so I'm truly grateful it's Friday. (It IS Friday, isn't it?)

Winter finally loosened its icy grip on the South, and we're back to daytime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. It seems almost balmy outside! I happily queued up with every other self-respecting 'boro resident to wash my car yesterday, and was very thankful for the new Super Speed Wash that opened near us, complete with free, unlimited vacuuming. The car is shiny outside and relatively clean inside - hooray!

The final BHS swim meet for 2009/2010 was last night, and our frosh swimmer did awesome, especially in her 100-meter breast stroke event, giving the upperclassmen a real run for their money. I also got to catch up with some friends in Lebanon, whose daughters also swim...it's hard to believe we all have kids in high school (and beyond) these days.

Tomorrow is our annual "reveal" meeting for the Highland Heights Secret Sisters (it was postponed last week due to the cold and snow that lingered.) Amy W. and Courtney D. have done an amazing job of getting members involved in this group, and it has grown and flourished under their super-organized and enthusiastic nurturing. I'm excited to find out who my secret sister has been; I know I have been blessed by her prayers and notes of encouragement throughout this past year. I'm also grateful for the opportunity I've had to get to know my "sister" better over this past year while thinking of her and praying for her and her sweet family.

I think I'll make the hot chicken salad (mine is pretty similar, but I add a bit of cream cheese, and use potato chips instead of corn flakes) that I was planning to carry last week. For dinner I'll try my hand at pan pizzas like these. My family loves pizza, and they say they like my homemade pizza, but I'm always looking for a better crust recipe. We'll see how this one goes.

Jan 13, 2010

It's not just a job, it's an adventure

I don't know how true that slogan is for the U.S. Navy, but it is definitely true for defrosting my upright freezer.

Conventional wisdom says frost-free freezers don't keep stuff as long as a traditional freezer, because they cycle through defrost periods, so the temperatures don't stay consistently cold. That makes sense, but defrosting must take place from time to time, regardless. So with a non-frost-free model, it's a manual (or in my case, WOmanual) task to occasionally remove all the contents of the freezer and try to keep them frozen while heating up the interior enough to melt the ice off the coils and shelves.

Defrosting isn't all bad; it forces me to take inventory of the freezer's contents, dump out anything that is getting of a certain age, and organize the remaining contents so I can see and remember what I have, and use it up before defrosting time rolls around again.

This defrosting was hastened by a sticky mess on the door. Apparently a fruit pop - strawberry or cherry - melted enough to dribble down the door. (Why is it always the red stuff that makes the worst messes?) Since our freezer is in our laundry room, it was also a good time to pull it out and mop behind and under it, vacuum the coils, and sanitize the inside. In the past I've risked frostbit fingers to hasten the defrosting process. I'm either getting wiser or lazier, but I've found a heater blowing into the cavity works just as well and fast, and all I have to do is sop up the water and melting ice out of the bottom.

Two turkeys of undetermined age were chucked into the empty lot behind us for the coyotes and other wild critters to feast on. It'll take 'em a while to thaw out, but I suspect it won't take the "wild beasts of the field" long to devour the carcasses.

P.S. In the category of "adventures," I'd like to add my own special,heartfelt wish for Mr. & Mrs. Lane Kiffin to have a great adventure as they head back to California - don't let the door hit y'all on the way out, ya hear? Your return to the golden state is just one more reason we can all wish that Las Vegas will someday become an oceanfront town.

Jan 11, 2010

Second Monday in January

Believe it or not, it is national "Clean Off Your Desk Day." Yes, it's apparently an actual holiday - I found a reference to it in Boardroom.com's Bottom Line. I beat the rush and cleaned mine off yesterday, which could explain why there's a chance of snow again today. Cleaning off my desk is such an unusual activity, it might just trigger a weather phenomenon.

In other news, our dinner party was so much fun, thanks to our guests who joined us for a wonderful meal and time to just sit and talk...something we don't do enough of with friends. Tonight is Bunco, and yes, it does involve dice and money, but it's not gambling. I'm making a pot of potato soup to take with, as the weather is still very much wintery-feeling.

Middle child had his wisdom teeth taken out today. I guess oral surgery has changed - what was a half-a-day ordeal is now 30 minutes from start to finish.

Jan 9, 2010

Company's Coming!

Dinners with friends are always fun; recently we haven't done as much entertaining as we'd like, but there's no time like the present to change that.

Two couples are joining us tomorrow evening for Sunday supper. The menu includes a fresh garden salad, chicken tetrazzini, crusty garlic bread, green beans, and dessert.

The tetrazzini recipe was given to me several years ago by one of my college professors (she had a group of students over for dinner one evening; this was the dish she served, and I begged for the recipe, which she graciously shared.) The green bean bundle recipe was given to me by a friend here in the 'boro - thanks Tami!

And thanks to Flylady: since this week's focus was kitchens, I'm nearly company-ready with only a few fun touches to take care of today.

Jan 7, 2010

The snow day that (almost) wasn't

I love the South. God thought enough of me to send me a Southern boy to marry, and I have lived more than half my life south of the Mason-Dixon. Lord willing, I hope to live out my days as a Southerner. I made sure my children were all born in the South, so they can claim full citizenship in the land of Dixie. And I truly adore most everything about the South: our idioms, country ham and grits, our lack of familiarity with turn signals, even our strange roadkill laws.

But Southerners have a collective phobia about the s-word. (You know, "s-n-o-w.") Saying the word is akin to yelling "fire" in a theatre - panic will ensue, so utter it at your own peril.

The possibility of snow has created a commotion here in middle Tennessee. Dozens of school districts announced closures last night, while the weather system was still hanging out in St. Louis. The evening news showed a run on milk - the Purity Dairy delivery guys were scrambling to keep up with demand. Bread was also disappearing off the shelves at an alarming rate.

The mere mention of the word sends chills up our spine - school children and their teachers have all their fingers and toes crossed, hoping for a snow day. Parents (and everyone else) apparently all plot a menu of milk and bread.

We awoke this morning to nary a trace of snow - not in the sky, not on the ground. There might be snow later today...we shall see.

Update as of 5 pm - indeed, it did snow today, enough to turn the ground white. Our Samoyed blended right in. And it got the kids out of school for another day. God bless the South.

Jan 5, 2010

A blessing in disguise...

For years, I've smiled sympathetically at signs proclaiming "Bless this Mess" - with three kids, I can relate to a little clutter and dust.

Then, when I became a full-time stay-at-home-mom and realized my kids had a casual relationship with the concept of clean, messiness threatened to overwhelm me and my house. Out of desperation, I found and began following Flylady. I can't say I follow her admonishments to the letter by any means, but a couple of her guidelines have stood me in good stead: I shine my kitchen sink each night, and I have learned to appreciate the idea of blessing my family with a clean and tidy home, instead of blessing a mess.

And yesterday, that weekly house blessing was truly a blessing. I scrubbed our shower and turned on both shower heads to rinse away the cleanser. (The 2nd shower head rarely gets used otherwise.) That's when I discovered that it was frozen. It's on an outside wall, and our temps have been beyond cold. That also caused me to realize that the toilet we thought had a faulty shutoff was probably also suffering from frozen pipe syndrome (FPS is pretty common condition this time of year, although we haven't dealt with it until now - in a brand-new bathroom addition finished less than a year ago. Argh.)

A trusty little ceramic heater managed to dethaw* both pipes. We were lulled to sleep last night by the sound of a slow drip, drip, drip in the shower, and the sporadic hum of the space heater kicking on in the water closet. We awoke this morning to both the shower and the toilet operating properly.

So thank you, Flylady. If not for the weekly house blessing she encourages, I might have not turned on the shower head, which hopefully prevented some busted water lines.

*dethaw - a Southernism, combining "thaw" and "defrost" into one great oxymoron. Speaking of which, I need to dethaw my freezer soon...

Jan 4, 2010

Taking a cue from nature

After the fun and frenzy of December, it's time to return to everyday living and routine. I think I'm ready to do that, even though that means no more staying up late or sleeping in.

This morning was the transition back to workweek routine and schedule, although our plans to rise and shine and hit the YMCA were hampered by a very warm and cozy bed, and temps in the teens outside. (Tomorrow will be a different story, and the warm bed will not win out.) As I stumbled to the kitchen and poured a cup of steaming coffee, I looked outside and realized snow was gently falling. Some big flakes, mostly small ones, drifted down silently...I guess someone forgot to tell them it's too cold to snow.

My eyes then caught movement toward the back of the property where several deer were slowly making their way across, nibbling on anything they could find to eat. That's always bad news for my young trees and shrubs, but it's still a very peaceful sight.

My first thought was pure whimsy: maybe nature was also struggling to get back in the workday routine. My second thought was an appreciation for the slower pace that is nature's routine. We humans would be well advised to emulate that slower pace instead of hurrying and scurrying about all day. My reverie was cut short when the dog tried to chase the deer and the cat tried to chase the dog. Fortunately, our "Milo and Otis" look out for one another, and the dog penned the cat in the greenhouse until she could be caught and brought back inside.

Yesterday I made runzas and a loaf of cinnamon-swirl bread. With a forecast showing nothing but cold temperatures for at least a week, I think a hearty pot of stick-to-your-ribs chicken soup will be on tonight's menu, with grilled cheese or runzas on the side. And I think I'll try moving at a steady - but slightly slower - pace today. And maybe even take a stroll across the yard while the snow is gently falling.

Jan 2, 2010


A new year is here, that means new recipes to try alongside the family favorites.

I spent a leisurely morning copying and printing off my favorite Christmas cookie and candy recipes for a new holiday notebook. Hopefully it will make me ultra-efficient next December when it's time to start the holiday baking. I'll have my tried-and-true recipes all in one spot, instead of having to remember which notebook or recipe box to peek in. (I didn't limit this to just sweets, but also our brunch and supper favorites, plus my Christmas card list, and even some holiday decorating ideas I snagged from here and there. My goal is to make this notebook function as my constant companion during the holidays, with everything I need at my fingertips.)

After the recipe books and clippings were all tucked away, I managed to finally clean off my desk. That meant a reward: my 2010 desk blotter is out and quickly filling up. And for now, it's still visible. Give me a few days of junk mail deluge, and it might be buried again. Such is life...

Tonight's menu includes this slimmed-down baby back rib recipe from Men's Health magazine's "Cook This Not That" column, plus our traditional blackeyed pea/avocado salad (recipe courtesy of my dear friend Pam), plus cheese biscuits like Jim & Nick's BBQ, and a pineapple upside-down cake. Confession time: I haven't made a P-U-D cake in....well, decades I guess. But I've got fresh pineapple left over from the holidays, and it would be a shame to waste it, especially when there are some really yummy recipes out there.

It's a good thing today's itinerary includes an afternoon run, then some prep time before tomorrow's Bible class where I hope my Powerpoint-backed lesson will impress the third-graders with a glimpse into first century life in Corinth and amaze them with details like the weight of Roman soldier tents (half a ton - who knew?)

Jan 1, 2010

Auld Lang Syne and all that.

Random thought for the day: will we say "two thousand and ten" or "twenty-ten?" It should be interesting to see how we mere mortals refer to this year as we usher in the second decade of the 21st century.

For the first time in a long time, I managed to start the new year off right - the Christmas decs are all "snug in their beds" until next December. Most years, I'm lucky to have them down by the 2nd week of January, but I decided to get on the ball this time around. I also accomplished another first - I ran 3.5 miles, and bumped up the pace, too. Now that I've got the 5K goal under my belt, I'm ready to tackle longer runs, and maybe a half-marathon isn't such a stretch after all.

We ushered in the new year with a quiet evening at home. After braving the grocery store, I served up New Orleans-style oyster stew to start things off and provide comfort to my discouraged UT fan/husband as he watched the Vols lose to Virginia Tech at the Chik-Fil-A bowl. (At least he didn't drive down to Hotlanta and buy a ticket to watch the game!) A couple big steaks fed three of us (middle child opted to spend the night with us), along with some spicy shrimp, baked 'taters and crusty bread.

I've never been good at making or keeping resolutions, but that doesn't stop me from making a run at it every now and again. So this year, I resolve these five things (it's easy to remember if I can count 'em on one hand):
  1. Show more hospitality. I love spending time with our friends and I love getting acquainted with new friends. Entertaining guests is a great motivator to clean the house and an excuse to create a decadent dessert. All upside, no downside.
  2. Run the race. My energy level and outlook on life have certainly improved by introducing running to my life last spring. It seems like a good thing to continue.
  3. Become more purposeful. As a good friend once advised, everyone has 24 hours in each day and we all manage to find time for the things we really want to do. So my goal is to consider what it is I really want to do each day, and tackle it like there's no tomorrow - because there may not be.
  4. Become more prayerful. That's what my knees are for. Well, that and gardening and cleaning behind toilets.
  5. Finish reading the Bible through. I started it in 2009 and made great strides; there's no sense in starting over just because it's a new year. I just need to finish what I started and then begin again.