a tribute to Nana and a beautiful summer day

Today, we buried my husband’s grandmother, Joan Sparks. She was 80 years old and passed away on Sunday, July 21. She loved golf, among many other things and she was a big part of my husband’s family. Over the past 10 years of our marriage, I had traveled the hour and a half to Roanoke to see her and his aunt Diane a few times each year. I didn’t know her nearly well enough, but I know she was loved by her family and she loved them back.

I found this picture from 2004 when my mother-in-law and I visited some of her relatives. I thought it would be appropriate to share today in remembrance of “Nana”. She will be missed by many.

That's me in the back row, far left, then Nana, then her daughter (my husband's aunt Diane) to the right. I can't recall the other's names except for my mother-in-law Belvia seated in front of me. They all look very much alike!

That’s me in the back row, far left, then Nana, then her daughter (my husband’s aunt Diane) to the right. I can’t recall the other’s names except for my mother-in-law Belvia seated in front of me. They all look very much alike!

This evening, we visited a friend nearby and I got some good pictures of my son playing and exploring. Before we left to visit, we found a praying mantis on our back steps. It was kind enough to let me take its picture.

i just saw a mouse! in my house!

So, I could tell we had a mouse (or maybe mice) in our back room where we keep our cat food. I had seen its little droppings here and there and had been meaning to do something about it for a while. Well, I just walked back to the room, flipped on the light and something was moving out of the corner of my eye. It was that mouse! It ran under the closet door. I didn’t scream, but I made this weird noise and ran into the other room to tell my husband.

He came back into the room with me and I opened the closet door to get what I came into the room for in the first place. There’s that darn mouse sitting on my bookshelf, peering at me with its beady eyes! I exclaimed, “There it is!” and then it hid again. Then, it jumped from the shelf into my gift wrapping supplies and who knows where the heck it is now.

I’m going to get one of those catch and release traps and see if I can get it, then turn it loose in the woods. I can’t stand the thought of killing the poor thing. It was cute. I texted my sister to tell her about my finding and she simply stated in her reply “Let Shady in.” That’s my cat.

nancy is in SECOND place!

Hiyah folks! I need your help to get my friend Nancy to FIRST place in this business contest and help her win some great stuff to help her business. All you have to do is click this link http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/322384/voteable_entries/68469396 and VOTE! Vote on any computer or digital device you have, oh please!

Here’s a picture of Nancy’s yummy truffles. They are my favorite creation of hers. Thank you for your help! Tomorrow is the last day, so vote all you can and I’ll let you know how it turns out…


please vote for nancy

My "sweet" friend Nancy

My “sweet” friend Nancy

My friend Nancy owns a candy factory in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. She makes the absolute BEST truffles (ask my sister about the Bananas Foster ones…). She is in this contest to win some good stuff to help her business and I’m asking that you please vote for her. You can vote every day through Sunday, I think, and you can vote from different computers in the same day. Right now, she is 5th out of over 500 entries, which is VERY impressive for a rural business. Please vote right now by clicking http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/322384/voteable_entries/68469396

One thing special about Nancy that she fails to mention in her story is that her husband passed away suddenly back in November. I believe they had been together for more than 30 years. Not only was he her partner, he was the general manager of the factory, so it’s been a double blow for her. I’m so proud of how well she’s gotten along and the strides she’s made over the past several months.

She’s also my “bike riding” buddy. She’s the only gal around that will consistently road bike with me. She got me the coolest shirt last year when she was on a trip…the back of it says “Does this bike make my ass look fast?” It’s a great conversation starter when I wear it.

Again, please vote for my friend Nancy. AND, if you ever see her truffles in a store near you, buy the darn things. They are DEE-LISH! Her fudge is good, too, but the truffles are something else.

kickboxing class

I just taught my very first kickboxing class. Each week, I teach a “Morning Mix” class for the early birds (6:15 am) and I asked them last week what they wanted to do this week. “Kickboxing” was the reply. I’ve only ever taken one kickboxing class, so I was intimidated, but challenged. I watched this handy, 30 minute online video and learned a lot.

The ladies and I had fun and laughed at how uncoordinated we are. But, we all sweated and felt like we got a good workout…not only for our bodies, but our brains!

fried ice cream is the devil

Yes, I think fried ice cream is the devil. Not the kind you get at the Mexican restaurant, but the recipe I’m getting ready to share with you. Ironically, I love it so much because of a lady who attends my church. She makes it for different church functions and gave me the recipe. I made it for the first time a few weeks back and foundered on it. Then, a relative made it and we had it at lunch today. Not one but TWO big helpings. It makes me feel so guilty, but it tastes so good!

Fried Ice Cream

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups cornflakes, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 quarts vanilla ice cream
  • 12 oz Cool Whip
  • 4-5 tsp cinnamon

Fry sugar, butter, crushed corn flakes, and 1 tsp cinnamon until crunchy but not hard. Put half in bottom of 9×13 glass pan. Cool. Mix cool whip, softened ice cream, and cinnamon together. Pour over corn flake mixture. Top with remaining corn flake mixture. Freeze overnight. Eat until you make yourself sick. Give recipe out when others beg for it. Run extra miles to burn off abundance of calories consumed.


prayer list

The night before last, my son was up in the middle of the night, which is a rarity these days. He normally sleeps 10-12 hours without making a sound. Either way, he was up with a teething diaper (and rash)…you moms will know what I’m talking about. After I got him back to sleep, I couldn’t go back to sleep myself. So, I got back up and made a prayer list.

I’ve made prayer lists before in my life, but this one is the best one I’ve ever done. I wrote out everyone and everything I could think to pray about, and listed specific requests for each one. I wish I could say I will be praying for these daily, but I know myself too well. I will pray for them as frequently as possible.

I ended up with lots of names – those close to me and folks I don’t know that well at all. Turns out, I know a lot of people that need serious prayer…for loneliness, salvation, happiness, joy, healthy pregnancies, and more.

I firmly believe the prayers we take to our Dad in heaven will be answered. May not be the answer we’re looking for all the time, but they’ll be answered according to His well.

On another note, here’s a verse that’s appeared twice to me this week…maybe I should put some thought into it!

Matthew 4:4 – King James Version (KJV)

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

laundry mat workout

I had to go to the laundry mat yesterday to wash towels for my place of employment, and while I was sitting there, I thought, “This would be a GREAT place for a workout!”. I guess the personal trainer in me is getting a little obsessed!

So, if you’re ever stuck at a laundry mat (or car dealership, or doctor’s waiting room, etc.), here’s a good quick exercise routine so you’re not just sitting there wasting time, eating horrible vending machine food, and feeling useless.

  • Warm up by walking around the area for about 5 minutes. (You may make some people nervous and/or curious by doing this.)
  • Do 2 sets of 15 reps of the following exercises, resting for about 30 seconds between each set:
  • Cool down by walking around the room and stretching (I used to work at Curves for Women and that stretch chart is great.)

By now, everyone is probably staring at you, but I bet they’re inspired and they may even join you. Heck, you might even start a revolution! Feel free to add your own exercise ideas as comments below. (Hint: you could put someone in one of those laundry carts and push them around for cardio…)


the year of flowers

I’ve received flowers three times this year so far. I think that must be a record for me. They’ve actually all came within the past two months, but I’ve enjoyed every last bouquet.

The ones I got today were like the others – a complete and unexpected surprise. My beautiful arrangement today was from my husband. The card simply read “Because Nice Matters”. Wasn’t that sweet and just thoughtful? That’s the name of my blog and it was so much more creative than the standard husband flower text.

My mom and step dad sent me flowers a couple of weeks ago for placing in my last triathlon. And, my sister sent me flowers when I passed my ACE Personal Training exam.

I don’t tell you I’ve received this many thoughtful gifts to brag. It just leaves me scratching my head wondering why in the world I deserve this. I also consider how blessed I am to have each one of these senders in my life.

"Because Nice Matters" he said.

“Because Nice Matters” he said.