Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Welcome To - - - - - -'s BBQ

Soooo after a refreshing few days away and attending a wonderful Christian conference it's time for the Flynn's to return home and share their adventures.... of course!

It's time to go to beddie bye the first night of our stay. The room was wonderful! I knew it had been a long time since our last hotel stay, but I was in for a shock! You know the ole' sayin', "You can take the girl out of the country...but you can't take the country out of the girl."

I looked for the cords to close the curtains - there weren't any! In their place were long circular handles like you would see at the circus. You know.... the ones acrobats or athletes would use to accomplish their daring feats. 2 tired and feet 2 swollen 2 give it 2 much thought I maneuvered the three pairs of curtains and rings to get them closed - at least for the first night!

Our mini-vacation landed us in a beautiful, little historical city. Fifteen minutes from where his father lived for twenty-five years and is now buried.

In between conference meetings we dashed out for a quick lunch. There was a sign out front that promised all you can eat home cooked everything. Only one little problem....we were dining off-peak lunch time.  Everything we requested the waitress shook her head, "Nope." They were almost out of the home cooked  everything.  Very disappointed, we were trying to choose an alternative. A guy passed our table with piled-high  plates of food - enough for a small army. Now we knew why they were out of the home cooked everything.

Quickly running out of time we decided to have the home-made chicken salad with home-made potato salad. I only thought I had tasted every creative chicken salad recipe imaginable. Not yet! I DID recognize the plain white sliced bread, lettuce and tomato. The other stuff not so much.

On the other hand, the potato salad was out of this world!  It became almost embarrassing and was tempting to ask the Senior Citizens Bus Tour Group to turn their heads while we licked the bowls.

The bad chicken salad was worth it, because as we were scarfing down a home-made piece of chocolate peanut butter pie, a movie star walked in....Cruella Deville!  Imagine! You know the wicked character from "101 Dalmations?" My husband kicked me under the table.  I kept staring at her waiting for her to pull out her fur coat, elbow length gloves, her star spangled cigareeete holder, or at least a couple of puppies out of her pockets. The solid shock of white hair smack in the middle of a jet black bubble bouffant was all I had to go on.  Reluctantly, I left the restaurant without her autograph.:o( *I did not draw Cruella, although, I wish I had).

Between the long hours of driving, and sitting in the conference for a couple of days, by the time we headed back to our hotel room I looked like a walking, talking marshmallow. Everything was swollen!

I hobbled into the hotel room to tackle closing all those curtains, again. As I stood there studying those round rings I commented to my husband that they really did look like the things on a trapeze that you put your legs and feet in to swing in the air.

He never looked up from turning back the covers and said, "Don't even think about're so swollen and all."  No need to comment, he was already snoring.

The conference was an amazing gift to us, but it was time to head home.  Ordinarily that would not be a big deal, but this meant at least one more meal on the road. So my husband made the executive decision since he still had a hankerin for something homemade.

We pulled off in - - - - -. We drove up and down the road  trying to decide which of the two places we were going to eat. My husband parked our SUV in the midst of all the pick-up trucks. The majority of trucks had camouflage fishing boats behind them.  I'm feeling pretty iffy. My husband says, "Hey, how bad can this be?  The sign says - - - -'s blesses America?"

It was pretty evident that we were the aliens among the locals. Too late to leave we had already been seen and the waitress was standing there. She looked like one of my grandmothers. Right over the table was the smeared list of the homemade specials of the day. Only one little problem....we were dining off-peak lunch time.

I told my husband I needed to go wash my hands. The restrooms were all but in the middle of the largest table in the restaurant.  The sign on the door said, "TURN REAL HARD."  If  I could hear all the people at the table that well.....hmmmmmm.

It was my husband's turn.  In the meantime, another local wandered in and joined a couple already seated.  He announced loudly that he was sorry he could not shake their hands because he had been spraying "SQUITO DOPE!" He continued...that 'SQUITO DOPE"  only ran em' off for a few days. My husband arrived back at the table and said his sign said, "STEP DOWN."

By now we had been served..V-E-R-R-RY scary. The waitress added a homemade blackberry cobbler to my special.  After the first bite I understood why she was giving it away. Being unsure of where the ribs had come from that I had ordered....I enjoyed the only thing  I could be sure of drink. I watched grandmother pour it out of a can. The place continued to fill up with more and more camouflage.  That was our queue to go. 

Swollen toes, still hungry, and everything - I waddled to our vehicle, my husband just shaking his head (again). Until the next  time we have the nerve to leave the house.

t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tis' The Season for Produce....

Tis’ The Season for Produce….unless you have severe allergies or your name happens to be Cathy Flynn!

My episodes with produce are becoming almost iconic! (Please refer to former blog, “The Runaway Watermelon.” Clearly, I have some unresolved produce issues! I may be the only person that has been banned from that portion of the grocery store. That seems to be the department where most of my adventures begin, other than walking into the men’s restroom!!

THE TOMATOES I: My husband and I were in a hurry. To save time we divided our very short grocery list, simple, right? He was going to get his favorite cereal, and I was in charge of the tomatoes.

Now my husband is 6’2” and every stride makes up five of mine. I once saw a refrigerator magnet that describes me perfectly. It had a picture of a very fluffy lamb, and said, “Ewe’s not fat…Ewe’s just fluffy.” Enough said! The reason this information is pertinent to this story…my husband had fulfilled his part of the assignment in short order, and was headed my way…ready to go!

I was busy perusing the tomato bins to determine exactly which lucky gems were going home with the Flynn’s to adorn the top of their BLT. I was trying to make BIG decisions. Do I buy a bunch of little ones and cut them up – or the hothouse tomatoes that did not resemble anything I had ever eaten?

Deep in thought, because I needed to hurry, I heard someone saying just how much the cherry tomatoes had changed her husband’s life. I looked up and realized this very attractive lady was talking to me, all the while picking out the ripest packs. She continued…”You know, I married an older man, he is a lot older than I am.” She winked and said, “I mean a lot older. He owns his own business and works 60 hours a week. He is never sick, but must have his snack of cherry tomatoes every day!” WHO KNEW? “And, by the way, we are very wealthy and I have a new Jaguar parked out front. Just because we are rich…I still buy these tomatoes when they are on sale. His kids don’t really care for the tomatoes, but my husband gets grumpy if he doesn’t have his daily dose of tomatoes. He eats them like candy.”

Barely taking a breath, she gasped, “Everyone is jealous because I married him. We have a blended family, but no one likes tomatoes like my husband.” My head looks like a bobble-head doll glued to the back dashboard of a car, as I do not believe my ears. Now ‘MY’ husband, who is only two years older than I am, but maybe could use a couple of tomatoes, has arrived on the scene with the’ Breakfast of Champions’ in hand.

He arrives just in time to see my “new friend” pull out her wallet and with one vale swoop unfolds an entire fan of photographs (How did she fit all those in her purse and still lift it without a crane)? She is now pointing with a very long, newly manicured fingernail to the pictures of her very healthy older husband, and ALL of his children! As she is identifying them one by one and their ages, my husband is standing on one foot and then the other.

Once I was able to get a word in edgewise, I thanked her kindly for her advice and helpful information on the health benefits of the cherry tomatoes. Of course, I congratulated her on her new marriage -then my husband and I bolted for the door! My husband looked at me and said, “That lady seemed really glad to see you. Where do you know her from?” You would think by now – he would know better than to ask!

THE BANANAS: As we are unloading the umpteen loads of groceries, my husband is pilfering through the bags looking for his bananas. He has already planned his breakfast for the next morning. After being together almost 40 years, he has determined that it is much safer and healthier if I do not fix breakfast early in the morning! For both our sakes I do not venture past the coffee pot.

I buy bananas often, my husband doesn’t realize that it is possible to eat his cereal without them. Now, I consider myself as an experienced buyer of bananas. Chiquita and I are best friends. I should know if I bought bananas or not.

Down to the last bag, my husband looks very disappointed and says, “They are NOT here.” I know they are, and to prove a point I whip out the sales receipt. Proof! Three pounds of bananas @ $ .49 a pound. There is the receipt, but where are they? How many places can a banana hide? Even if you can’t see them, you can certainly smell them! We made multiple trips to the car, and searched under the table to no avail - Still no bananas today.

Exasperated, I called Wal-mart. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they have mistakenly been left out of my bags. “No maam (amidst more than one snicker) there were no bananas turned in at the customer service desk.” We both gave up on the mystery of the missing bananas, and just went to bed.

Fast-forward FOUR days. Did I mention that on the same shopping trip I also purchased the cutest flip-flops? I decided my new find would be the perfect complement to my outfit that day. I opened the closet door to be met with the most repugnant, but recognizable, odor. Could that be the smell of bananas wafting from my closet floor??? The answer is YES! I was laughing so hard my poor husband came to investigate the uproar. There they were…..of course, a sack of black bananas! I had been in such a hurry to get the groceries in that I had thrown the bananas in the closet with my new cutest flip-flops!

As usual, my husband was just standing there - shaking his head (again). He says, “I really don’t mind paying for them, but I would like to eat them!” Now if we are missing any produce or dairy products we check the closets first! LOL

THE CUCUMBERS: My least favorite thing to do is shop for groceries, and I was almost finished. Just a few bananas and I am through! HALLELUJAH!

I passed through the produce department just in time to see this older lady waving something green in her hand and over her head. She was talking to someone who appeared to be her son. His appearance was very impressive. He was immaculately dressed, with hands in pocket and a sweater casually draped around his shoulders. He could have been a model had he not been standing squarely in the middle of the local produce market perched between The Vidalia Onions and the Kumquats! Apparently, this dapper young man had brought his mother grocery shopping.

She said (without turning around), “Is this a squash?” Looking at me out of the corner of his eye he answered her, “I don’t know! You are the one that was raised on the farm!” Anyone who knows me very well knows that when I think something is funny….I laugh anywhere, any time!

Still laughing – I make the mad dash for the bananas. I watched in amazement as they quizzed other shoppers, plus the produce manager, over every purchase they made.

H-m-m-m-m….‘Heads’ it is a squash – ‘Tales’ it isn’t.

THE CANTALOUPE: We jump in the car to head to my husband’s latest doctor’s appointment. He wrinkles up his nose and says, “What’s that smell?” Oh dear…..I knew I was forgetting something! It would not be so bad if we were not experiencing a heat wave and it’s usually at least a 101 degrees in my SUV.

It really didn’t take much searching to determine the culprit. There lodged under the seat was the largest, mushiest cantaloupe you ever saw. So what’s the big deal? It was fine when I bought it.

RECIPE TIP OF THE DAY: DO NOT (under any circumstances) leave unattended cantaloupe in the hot, hot car for more than four hours at a time. CAUTION – IT WILL BAKE! As the scrubbing bubbles say, “E-E-W-W-W!”

THE TOMATOES II: Once more, after recovering from my last tomato trauma, I was bravely going to shop again. With new found resolve, I was reaching for the only, barely ripe tomato in the entire store. I was interrupted to hear a voice say, “Put those back! They are expensive and no good!”

I turned around to discover one of the cutest little ole’ ladies I have ever seen. Although, she was shorter than I am, she spoke with great authority. “Honey, you need to buy these.” (Of course, the magic cherry tomatoes).

I was fascinated and completely forgot about the tomatoes! My new friend was color coordinated in her lavender ensemble, tan pumps, red fingernails and red lips to match, soft grey curls, and beautiful jewelry. This was my kind of girl, and I was very interested to know what she was saying. This little doll now had my undivided attention!

“I’m 93 and have just bowled two games. I bowl every week ya know. (No I didn’t) My sciatic nerve is actin’ up today, and I have been to the Chiropractor.” As she was reaching for two more containers of the cherry tomatoes, she continued… “My mother and sister lived to be 98.” She stopped in the middle of a sentence and waved me off, “Have a great day honey…bye.”

H-m-m-mI wonder if they sell these things by the case.

One of my favorite, former Pastors once told me that the Lord would give me ideas for witty inventions. I FINALLY HAVE IT! The Produce Department should have yellow tape and red lights. The produce should be marked with hazardous warning labels, built in GPS systems, expiration dates and alarms for people like me! I know there are personal shoppers for everything imaginable, maybe, just maybe, I should consider…

t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Closed for Construction...

Dear they say I have some good news and some not so good news.

Over the last few months as I have been working diligently to update my weekly blog posts -I have also been adding many other computer programs to further my dreams.  Unfortunately, my old faithful computer has been grunting to keep up with the new demands.

After much nail biting, and way too much time spent trying to repair and update for my specific needs, it has been determined that I need a new computer.  Therefore, I will not be able to update my posts until all the changes are in place.  Hopefully, this will be soon! Tis' the season for vacations, so I choose to just view this as Modern Orange at the beach!

The good news is...the Lord has gifted me with a young man who is not just capable, but extremely gifted in many realms, but his specialty is technology. He has personally taken Cathy Flynn and her dreams to heart. It has been this partnership that has made Modern Orange possible.

Making the necessary updates will also require some time. I am so greatful for the increased interest and participation, so please save me a spot in your heart.  Also, in the meantime, please continue to keep me in your prayers, and that Modern Orange will be back better than ever! God Bless!

   t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The M and M's - Military and Missionaries

I was  writing the draft of this week's blog in the waiting room of my husband's Oncologist.  This was to be our first visit and I was already a bit weepy and nervous.  I pulled out pen and paper to write what was on my heart, but I am always astounded as to what is on the "Father's heart", and what He desires to talk about.

The Lord has really used FaceBook in my life in a very profound way.  It has been through this source of social networking that I have  become even more acutely aware of the value of both our Military and our Missionaries. (By the way, I thought I already well  understood this fact).   As I was waiting on the ideas for my blog to unfold ...I was astounded as to the similarities of those who are called to serve our nation as a missionary or member of the military. The parallell was so striking - it almost took my breath! Therefore, I will refer to them affectionately as the M  and M's, "The caregivers of nations."  Unfortunately, many of our Military are neglected missionaries.

The advance of technology and selective media coverage, for better or for worse, has afforded the opportunity to witness up close and personal the intimate lives and tragedies of those whose relationships span time and distance. This includes the things we desire to be privy to and those we don't. As we hear stories related of another tragedy we can translate that into a moment of sadness on our way to have our nails done, the coffee shop or mall.

Missionaries: Why lie when the truth would do better?

How many services have we missed on purpose after we read in advance in the church bulletin that we were having a missionary as the guest speaker? Y-A-W-W-N-W-N -N...S-T-R-E-E-T-C-C-H-H....
B-O- R-R-R-I-N -G.  Ashamedly,  church attendance is the lowest during these services. How many times have you asked how was the service, and the answer was..."It was just a missionary?" Missionaries may or may not be great orators, not be able to deliver a comedic performance, or in actuality, their delivery may be as exciting as watching your hair grow.  That is NOT the point!

The M and M's confront us with  facts and truths that we are not prepared to deal with.We as a Western society do not want to be confronted with anything/anyone who might pull us out of our comfort zone. Their lives are like a mirror that shines a burning light in the darkest corners of our selfish souls.

In this digital age it is much too easy to look away when we are confronted with someone else's pain. We are almost embarrassed to witness someone else's struggle- regardless of the form it takes. Should we cross paths with the abused, neglected, orphaned, widowed, the halt, the maimed or the poor we turn off our media source with one quick action and no one else will know.

If we can dash for the remote and turn the scene off quickly enough, we will not have to deal with the full brunt of emotions. Quick! Shut out those sights and sounds that evoke the swirl of discomfort! QUICK, TURN OFF/DELETE THE GUILT!

Shut that thing off before it costs us something; our time, our prayers, or heaven forbid, our hard-earned finances!  The M and M's sacrifice may require a sacrifice from us as well. If we tarry too long we might have to face our greatest  fear...that one of our own would be called to foreign soil.

The M and M's very choice of lifestyle is confrontational and challenges us to the core of our being. They prove daily their very sustenance and survival is dependent, often times, on a stranger within or without their own ranks. They are one of the truest examples of faith under fire. They are totally dependent on the miracles and mercies of God. Pride is not a luxury they can afford for they are both on a mission!

Truthfully, we all have a touch of the selfish prophet syndrome. Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah were classic examples of this.  The very presence of an M & M,whether it be physically/or by testimony, creates an element of conviction or shame by default. Honestly, God must have had someone else in mind other than me when the great Commission was written.

It is a terrifying thought as to whose life is dependent on our actions and obedience to God TODAY! The reality of the Prophet Isaiah's words sticks in your throat..."Lord send me."  We can't handle the responsibility of someone else eating, having water to drink, living, dying or being protected depend on a simple request or conviction from the Lord that He has been speaking to us about for days, months, or even years? Maybe the only request was for us to pray  from the luxury and comfort of our own living room.

The conviction of my own heart has at the least, been most uncomfortable.  My heart swells anew with pride, aches a new ache, and grieves more deeply as we have considered so lightly the sacrifices of others. My eyes sting when I hear the National Anthem or the 'Prayer of Allegiance'.  I take solemn note when one of our American flags has been posted at half-mast.  Each time I hear the name of another slain soldier, I pray for the families and their grief.  I realize the holidays that honor our veterans consist of more than a summertime lark and a family picnic. I pray for every home that has a yellow ribbon tied around the old oak tree.

I look for the pictures of the missionaries whose pleas are usually placed on an outdated church bulletin board.  When the guest missionary proudly hands out business cards with their family's pictures listed with the nation they serve - I want one. I sympathize with their struggles as they step out of their lane to itinerate and plead their cause. I pay attention to the national unrest - chances are we have precious seed invested in that soil. I am more sensitive to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to wake up and PRAY!

II Chronicles :14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

What do the M and M's  have most in common?  They have no fear of death! They have counted the cost down to the last penny, and still laid it all on the line; life and limb.  Our Military and our Missionaries have looked  the needs of a nation square in the eyes, and said, "Here I am Lord - PLEASE - SEND ME!".

"Martyr". Most of us think of someone who dies for a cause, usually religious faith.  But the word's true meaning goes much deeper.  St. Augustine said, "The cause, not the suffering, makes the genuine martyr."  The Greek word "martus"means one who remembers and testifies to the truth - an active witness.(Quoted from the Voiceof the Martyrs)

This blog is not to put condemnation on those who are not called to either of these stations of  life.  Just maybe... next time we could stop what we are doing - look and listen a little longer - pray a little more fervently - or dig a little deeper for those'who' are called.

I would like to extend a special thank you to not only the Military and Missionaries, but to every person who holds an office of service and protection in our great nation! Please forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted!


      t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)