Thursday, March 31, 2011


This post is brought to you as part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Click the button on the right to join the fun.
If you are ever in the rural South, you are apt to hear someone say:

            “I’m a fixin’ to do it”
                 – translation: “I am getting ready to perform
                                          this task.”

            “Sho nuff”
                  – translation: “You are absolutely correct.”

            “What’chu doin’?”
                  – translation: “What are you doing at
                                          this moment?”

You are also apt to hear words that are no longer typically used in American conversation; words like victual (vit-l) for food or provisions or holler (hol-r) for calling someone on the phone.

One of my favorite words is yonder.  The word is frequently accompanied by the gesture of pointing toward something.  A common usage is: “I think I left the rake over yonder.  Go get it.”

I belong to a congregation of the Lord’s church that sings some lovely old hymns in four part harmony and the only instrument present is our collective heart.

                “speaking to one another in psalms
                 and hymns and spiritual songs,
                 singing and making melody in your
                 heart to the Lord” – Ephesians 5:19

One of my favorite hymns is Here We Are But Straying Pilgrims by W.G. Perkins.

1. Here we are but straying pilgrims;
Here our path is often dim;
But to cheer us on our journey,
Still we sing this wayside hymn:

o  Refrain:

Yonder over the rolling river,
Where the shining mansions rise,
Soon will be our home for ever,
And the smile of the blessed Giver
Gladdens all our longing eyes.

2. Here our feet are often weary
On the hills that throng our way;
Here the tempest darkly gathers,
But our hearts within us say:

3. Here our souls are often fearful
Of the pilgrim’s lurking foe;
But the Lord is our defender,
And He tells us we may know:

It is a perfect hymn to remind me that this life is temporary and there is a better place coming to those who faithfully follow the Lord’s commands.  I am prayerfully working to be faithful because (in the words of James M. Black):

1. When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
o  Refrain:
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

2. On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

3. Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Lisa H.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This post is brought to you as part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Click the button on the right to join the fun.

Xanthippe (zan-tip-ee) was the wife of Socrates and the mother of their three sons.  It is surmised that she came from a wealthy family and was significantly younger (possibly by 40 years) than her husband. 

Plato portrayal of her in his Phaedo was of a devoted wife and mother.  Xenophon, another of Socrates’ pupils, portrayed her in the same light in his Memorabilia.  He did, however, include some comments from her oldest son that she was harsh.  It is unknown if this was an exaggeration of a child regarding a strict parent or an accurate personality trait of Xanthippe.

In a later work (Symposium), Xenophon recorded that Antisthenes said Socrates described his wife as “the hardest to get along with of all the women there are.”  And yet, he chose her because of her augmentative spirit for just as a rider would choose a difficult horse to control and show they could thereby control any horse, Socrates was determined to tolerate Xanthippe’s spirit which would allow him to “with ease attach myself to every human being.”

I am not sure Socrates (who is credited with being one of the founders of Western Philosophy) thought sufficiently through his line of reasoning.  After all, Xanthippe eventually came to represent every scolding and quarrelsome woman.  

Personally, I think this is a prime example of God’s wisdom being above man’s wisdom.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

God shares His thoughts on the wisdom of choosing a quarrelsome woman as a wife via the writer of Proverbs.

It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19)

A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. (Proverbs 19:13)

This is not a happy picture of wedded bliss and I doubt Socrates found his house a restful retreat after a long, hard day of work.

I don’t know if Xanthippe lived up to her quarrelsome reputation or if being quarrelsome was her dominate character trait, but I can say with great confidence that being quarrelsome is a choice.  It is based upon the attitude with which you determine to address a situation.  Being quarrelsome is not conducive to a resolution of an issue nor is it the best way to build relationships.

I am thankful that God has provided me with a better example of a wife than Xanthippe; an example that will draw others to me rather than drive them away.
Proverbs 31

        10 An excellent wife who can find?
                    She is far more precious than jewels.

        25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
                    and she laughs at the time to come.
        26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
                    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
        27 She looks well to the ways of her household
                    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
        28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
                    her husband also, and he praises her:
        29 “Many women have done excellently,
                    but you surpass them all.”
        30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
                    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
        31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
                    and let her works praise her in the gates.

I’m praying for God’s continued help as I grow to be an excellent wife instead of an imitator of Xanthippe who, by the way, was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Lisa H.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Today would have been Granny's 106th birthday and this week I have written posts to honor and remember her wonderful life.  In celebration, I am going to share what I framed and gave her on her 100th birthday (March 17, 2005).  I pray you all have a "Beautiful" in your life and that we all strive to be "Beautiful" for those around us.

Lisa H.

Everyone has someone whose life one admires; someone who helps one learn what is important in life by the way they lived theirs; someone who imparts wisdom, though often in subtle ways such as funny stories about past missteps which lead to long belly laughs.  I am blessed to have and have had several such people in my life.  I try and go out of my way to seek them as I think I need all the wisdom I can get and I love belly laughs.  The person I want to talk about now, however, I didn’t seek out.  I guess you could say I inherited her.  She’s my mother’s mother and I call her Beautiful.

I don’t remember exactly when I started calling her Beautiful.  It wasn’t while I was a kid.  Then she was just Granny.  Granny was old and wrinkly with the whitest hair I’ve ever seen on someone other than a store Santa at Christmas time.  And she was funny!  We always laughed at her house.  Sometimes when I was little I didn’t know why I was laughing exactly.  It’s just that everyone else in the house was laughing and it kinda was contagious.

I liked going to Granny’s house.  We didn’t live near her until I was in Junior High School so we only saw her a couple of times a year.  But at Granny’s house we could have coffee.  Granted it was mostly milk, but Granny didn’t treat us like little kids.  She treated us like treasures. 

After we moved closer to her and as I got older, I learned much more about Granny.  I learned that she was 38 and completely white-headed when she had my Mom.  Of course, after getting to know my four crazy uncles I can see why she was white-headed by then.  I learned that she worked outside the home between the births of her children which was unusual for that time and place.   I learned she was a good business woman who ran a small store when my Mom was older. She kept it until the time she retired when I was very small.  I still remember sitting in the window eating bologna and crackers and drinking Grape Nehi.  I learned that she had invested in real estate and had rental properties around town.  That she was a wonderful seamstress who made beautiful Barbie clothes for me with tiny cap sleeves, set in waistbands and gathers in the skirts.  Most of all I learned that laughter and family are what get you through hard times.

So when did Granny become Beautiful?  I’ve seen a couple of pictures from when she was younger and she was very pretty, but not yet Beautiful.  She didn’t become Beautiful until years of life developed in her a spirit which could be seen by those around her and drew them to her.  She didn’t become Beautiful until her care and hospitality extended to her community and church family.  She didn’t become Beautiful until love for God and man shined from her smiling eyes.  I just couldn’t see it until I was grown.

I’m still learning from Beautiful.  Next week the family will gather with her to celebrate her 100th birthday.  She lives with my parents now and has for a few years.  It was hard for her to give up her independence.  She was still doing the trim work on her yard when she was 90!  She didn’t think the yard man did it very well.  And the only reason she had a yard man is we “broke” her riding mower so she wouldn’t try and mow the slope of her side yard anymore.  In any case, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to give up your independence and trust your life into the care of others.   I’ve learned that getting old isn’t easy and it’s important to have loving family close by.  I’ve learned that the stories get better over time and the belly laughs are longer and harder.  And I’ve learned that being ready to meet God is the most important thing of all.

So here’s to Beautiful and 100 years of life, love and laughter!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit.”  James 5:10-11 [NIV]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Wonderful Trip

This post is brought to you as part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Click the button on the right to join the fun.

This is the second in a series of posts to honor my beautiful Granny.  She would have been 106 tomorrow.  See the previous post for some wonderful pictures from her life.

Today, in keeping with Mrs. Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday lesson on the letter 'W', I am going to talk about a wonderful trip Granny and I took in November 1990.

In those days I was a young single professional living in the Washington DC area who travelled 99% of her time for work.  It wasn't too long before I had enough points for airfare, hotel stay, and car rental for a really nice trip...if I went during the off season.  Question was, who would I take?  All of my friends and my parents worked full-time and I hadn't met Hubby yet. 

I called Granny and said, "Hey Beautiful!  How would you like to go to Hawaii with me?"  To which she promptly replied, "I've always wanted to go to 'Ha-wi-ya'.  When do we leave?"

Granny and I had a great time.  At 85 she was the 'belle of the ball' wherever we went.  She would tell everyone, "My granddaughter brought me with her on her trip to Ha-wi-ya.  I'm so lucky, I've never been anywhere like this."  To which everyone would lavish attention upon her. 

The bellmen would always come up to talk to her about where she'd been today or, if it was morning, to give her a flower for her hair.  We would go into restaurants and the chef would come out with something for her to try 'on the house'.

We went all over the island of Kauai.  But leave it to Granny to find chickens. 

If they knew that she used to grab them by the neck, swing them around to break their necks, and hang them on the garden fence so it would look like a 'chicken suicide' so her mom would fix chicken and dumplings for supper, they wouldn't have gotten that close.

Gran even took a dip in the Pacific.  She said it was sure different than wading in the river or swimming in Center Hill Lake.

On the last day we had lunch right next to this beautiful koi pond and I got the woman who taught me how to bait a hook and catch catfish to fry for supper to eat shashimi...with chopsticks!

That ol' Tennessee gal had the time of her life and at the point when she didn't remember many things, she would talk about that trip...and the dog she had when she was a child (his name was Ring).  Talking to her before her death at 102 about our trip was just as wonderful/sad as singing "Jesus Loves Me" with her on Sunday mornings. 

I'm so glad I took my Granny with me to Ha-wi-ya.  It was a wonderful trip.

Lisa H.

A Blessed Life

This is the first in a series of posts to honor Granny.  Granny is Mom's mother.  She was born on March 18, 1905 and went on to her reward on November 30, 2007.  She was 102 and one of the funniest women I ever knew.  She lived with Mom and Dad the last 11 years of her life and Hubby, Princess and I were blessed to be nearby for those last two years. 

Granny passed away in her own bed with Mom and Dad beside her.  It was fitting.  She always would point to her bed and say, "This is the bed I made and birthed my children in."  The only child not born in the bed was Mom.  Mom is the youngest and Granny was white-headed by the time she was born.  Knowing my uncles, I'm not surprised.  She had the most beautiful white hair and I hope mine looks like it some day.

Granny in her youth.

Granny on her wedding day.

Granny and Pawpaw through the years

and at their 50th wedding anniversary.

Granny in the late 1950's.

Granny and I.

Granny loved to be silly...

even at 100!

There was sure to be a lot of laughter when Mom and her brothers showed up.

Granny sure could talk up a blue streak...

especially with her little sister.

Granny always told me I was more like a daughter to her than a granddaughter.  I'm glad she thought of me in that way.  I miss her very much.  She is one of the reasons I've had such a blessed life.

  Lisa H.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Life's Too Loud

A few years ago I wrote an e-column for the Sun Valley church of Christ website.  I was reading through my copies and came across this column.  It was written 6 years ago last week and I don't think I've made too much progress since then.  I'm posting it as a reminder to be still. 

Most school mornings I take a walk around the park across from my daughter’s school.  I’ve found that if I do it immediately after dropping her off each day, it may possibly get accomplished.  (Yikes!  That explains the waistline change.) The park is fairly good size and is in the middle of a busy area surrounded by homes, apartments and schools.  Yet it is a bit of green in the midst of concrete and asphalt.  I use that time to contemplate and plan my day but some days (actually most days) it’s hard.  Why?  Let’s start with loud mufflers on cars and trucks, motorcycles, commercial aircraft coming in for final approach to the airport, and the most annoying of all, leaf blowers.  I hate those things.  I can understand how they make lawn care a bit more productive.  But do they really have to be so loud?

Sometimes a person needs a little peace and quiet to plan their day and solve problems.  It’s nice to hear the wind rustle the tree leaves.  I’d occasionally like to hear myself talk to myself.  By the way talking to yourself isn’t always the sign of mental instability; it just means you’re a mother.  Wait, being a mother can make one mentally instable.

Last Friday instead of taking my walk after dropping my daughter off at school, I got her up early and we had a breakfast picnic at the Gilbert Riparian Reserve.  For those of you not familiar with the Phoenix, AZ area, it is an extremely large area for being in the midst of dense dwellings which contains 7 small lakes they use as a final process in water treatment before it enters the aquifer.  It is a manmade wetland in the midst of desert suburbia and has become a wildlife refuge and showcase for native vegetation. 

We arrived early in the morning with our bagels and walked up to the gazebo on the highest hill in the preserve. 

The sun was just coming up and the ducks were quacking.  We were far enough away from the road for the car sounds to be muffled.  It was peaceful and the first thing to pop into my head was the words to the song we sometimes sing during worship that goes “Be still and know that I am God.”  It comes from Psalm 46. 

I wonder why it was important for the Israelites to hear those words.  They didn’t have automobiles or planes or even leaf blowers and loud TVs to disturb their thoughts. 

As we walked through the preserve disturbing the bunnies, song birds, hummingbirds and burrowing owls with only the sounds of our footsteps on the path, I thought about what may have caused the Israelites to need that admonition.  The only thing I could think of was they were too busy with their everyday lives to contemplate God and His Word or notice the power of His creation all around them.

I think I’ve been guilty of the same thing.  Oh, I blame it on the outside noises or the inside noises when my husband turns the TV up so loud you can hear it from the driveway (I think it’s a guy thing).  But often it’s the job or the laundry or the errands that get in the way.  I’m so busy with the “hear and now” that I forget about the hereafter.  I have to make time to stop, be still, be quiet and really hear His Word when I read it.  I need to contemplate it as I go through my day and figure out how I should apply it to my life.

As we left the preserve, we made a plan to come back again to this beautiful and peaceful place. (We did.  It is great that Princess is a high school senior and can drive herself to school now, but I really miss those special times.)  And as I headed back to the house after dropping my daughter off at school, I asked God for forgiveness and asked for His help to set aside time to read and pray in a quiet place each day and to take a few minutes during my everyday tasks to stop and contemplate His Word and its application to what I am doing at the moment. 

I’m not saying I’m perfect at it.  I’m not even sure I’m good at it.  But, I’m aware of the need to do it for my spiritual self to grow and stay faithful.  I have to admit on the days I’m successful, I have more inner peace.  And for a working wife and mother with a high stress job, any amount of inner peace is a good thing.

So if you are familiar with the tune of the song that goes “Be still and know that I am God”, sing it in your head or even better sing it out loud; especially if things are getting a bit out of control.  If you aren’t familiar with the song, turn in your Bible to Psalm 46.  Then find a quiet spot and thank God for the good things in your life and for help in using the principles found in His Word to deal with the tough things.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10 [NIV]

Lisa Hilton

Copyright 2005
Squirtdobber Enterprises

Friday, March 11, 2011

50 and Fabulous !

It is a beautiful morning here in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  It is a bit chilly, but the sun is shining and the sky is blue with those cute little fluffy clouds.  It is good to see the sun again.

Today is my birthday and I wanted my picture taken before I left for work.  I typically frown on this as I am not as photogenic as Princess.  So, I asked Hubby to stop eating his 'everything' bagel with 1/2 cup of Smart Balance margarine and find his camera.  I don't think Hubby realizes that using 1/2 cup of Smart Balance margarine on one bagel totally negates the 'balance' and isn't smart.  But, I digress.

Happy 50th




I'm thinking I can rock the wearing purple thing.

The other day, I found out how Princess describes me when her friends ask "what is your Mom like?"  She says, "My Mom is like sunshine and daisies."

I like it.  Let's all feel like sunshine and daisies today!

Lisa H.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Very Tired, Very Old, and (used to be) Very Cute

This post is brought to you as part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Click the button on the right to join the fun.

I had big plans for today's Alphabe-Thursday assignment.  There were lots of wonderful V words I had in mind.  Each word would contain an anecdote about Princess to demonstrate how it describes her.  It was going to be cute and funny.

I hate to disappoint y'all, but I came home very tired from work.  In fact, I wanted to go to bed before 8:00 PM.  I'm making myself stay up until 9:00 so I can finish my assignment for Mrs. Jenny.  I can't stand it when I don't get straight A's.

Here I am after school sacked out on my brother's bed.  I must have been in 9th or 10th grade and he took the photo after putting his teddy bear in the picture.  I couldn't stand it when I didn't get straight A's then either.

I think I'm very tired because tomorrow I will officially be very old.  Some people are saying that 50 is the new 30.  I don't know who decides who makes the 'some people' list, but I doubt they have a clue as to what they are talking about. 

I've borrowed these pictures from Mom and Dad.  They are the first ever taken of me.  I'm 3 weeks old and it is Easter Sunday (April 2, 1961). 

As you can see, I used to be very cute.  OK, so my legs were spindly, my dress was too big, and I had a frown on my face.  But, I was still very cute!

I wish I had Mom's hat.  I love the netting on the front.

Mom and Dad,

Thank you for putting up with me the last 50 years.  I am very blessed to have you both. 

Love ya bunches,

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This post is brought to you as part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Click the button on the right to join the fun.

I'm up way past my bedtime (it's 9:54 PM and I'm thinking I better type fast in case I turn into a pumpkin at 10:00), so I'm asking Mrs. Jenny to forgive the occasional grammar and spelling mistakes when she "grades" this week's post on the letter "U".

I do have a very good reason for still being up.  My dear cousin invited me to join her while she attended the monthly meeting of the Sarah Polk chapter of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).  Our grandmother was very active in the DAR and I remember all of the hard work it took to research her ancestors back to the American Revolution. (This was back before there was the Internet, personal computers, and easy access to a copy machine.) 

Tonight I met a diverse array of women who are dedicated to:
  •  promoting patriotism,
  •  preserving American history,
  •  and securing America's future through better education. 
I learned about the lives of Sevier, Sherrill, and Robertson families from our guest speaker.  These and other early Tennessee families were uncompromising in their belief that people should have the freedom to speak their mind without fear of persecution, to earn a living with dignity, to have a say in the the way they are governed, and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Those beliefs are not unique to the 1770's and they are not unique to the United States of America.  We have been watching and listening to hundreds of thousands of people in several countries over the last few weeks who are no longer willing to compromise their dignity, keep silent in the midst of injustice, or be resigned to not having a voice in the way their lives are ruled.

These uncompromising souls have shown great courage in recent days.  Occasionally, their voices are heard and governments yield through peaceful demonstration.  More often, however, those voices are answered with violence and further repression. 

Most people want freedom and dignity, but the very strong are willing to show through words and actions that they will no longer compromise a belief "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

I am very thankful for those who have fought and died for my freedom and I am using the current world events to help Princess understand how hard it was to create this great country of ours.  May we never forget sacrifices made by uncompromising souls for the benefit of others.

Lisa H.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The New Vacuum

I want to update everyone on the vacuum cleaner situation.  If you missed the drama of the demise of our previous vacuum check the post "It Just Quit" from February.

I ended the post with a picture of my dream vacuum.

Isn't it beautiful?

So, while Hubby was out of town, Princess and I went to the special, exclusive, club for Wally World shoppers (aka Sam's Club) to find our dream vacuum.

When we arrived there was only one Dyson...and it didn't have that wonderful ball turning thingy.  What it did have, however, was a price tag above $400.  Yikes!!!

If that is the price for us special, exclusive, club shoppers, what does it cost the non-special, non-exclusive, club shoppers?

Princess and I took a big gulp and said in unison "They've got to be kidding!"

There were 4 other vacuums on display and one other brand uses a cyclonic suction like Dyson's.  It even had the same power of suction and for under $200 we could have it for our very own.

Check out the options on our Bissell Lift-Off MultiCyclonic Pet Vacuum:
  • Two vacuums for the price of one.  A detachable canister makes it easy to clean the stairs and small spaces.
  • Brush roll off/on feature for multi-surfaces.
  • A special small brush for getting pet hair off of upholstery.
  • Two HEPA filters.
  • Bagless technology.
  • 3 year warranty.
So, Princess and I loaded the box in our basket and took our prize home.  Princess was so excited to try it out!  Cleaning the living room (including the chair one of the dogs thinks is his very own) took about 5 minutes.  Princess let out a squeal when she was done because she only had to go over the floor once and it was perfectly clean. 

I can say the floors looked almost as good as when Hubby used his professional carpet cleaning machine to clean them.  Even the stairs looked fabulous.

Hubby and Princess have had only one complaint; it was difficult to clean out the dirt catcher without making a mess.  Since I'm allergic to dust and am not allowed to empty it, I can live with that.

I'm looking forward to less whining the next time I ask Princess or Hubby to vacuum the house...and being closer to my dream of keeping a clean house.

Lisa H.