Saturday, October 10, 2009

Elizabethan Tymes and Scary Pictures

Well, whadya know? I actually have Internet this weekend. Hurray!

Sarah and Steve have gone off to an Elizabethan Tymes Country Faire where the featured activities are:

  • exploring the armaments of 16th century England
  • making your family crest,
  • seeing woodworking and blacksmithing
  • watching a falconer
  • viewing hobby horse racing
  • observing a knighting ceremony (Sarah was very excited about that)
  • watching a "battle" between Festival Park's Elizabeth II and The Silver Chalice.

It sounds like a lovely, lively time!

I have opted to stay back at our cozy borrowed cottage and hang out with me, myself and Snowy. It saves a little bit of money for us having to buy only two tickets instead of three and it also gives me a couple hours to enjoy the fabulous sounds of silence.

This morning we went back for a second look at a house we are strongly considering buying. Our realtor here has been wonderful and in his efforts to find a house that will work for us, has looked on every list, and in every data bank; he even went back and looked at lists of houses that had been pulled off the market, just to check and see if maybe the owners had possibly changed their minds and were planning on putting their home back up for sale. The house we're considering is one of those houses; it's not even on the active market right now so we'd be getting first dibs.

When we get back home Monday we'll talk to our banker and ponder and pray a bit more and then make our final decision. The best part about it is that they may allow us to do a "rent to own" agreement where we would only have to move once. That would be wonderful.

Okay, enough about boring house stuff. I'm going to close out with a few pictures I had posted on Sarah's site last year. When I ran across them again recently, I thought they were far too wonderful to only be viewed one time and then put into mothballs.

If you can look at these pictures without smiling, snickering, sniggering, or breaking out into uncontrolled guffaws, you have much more self control than I do. (These unfortunate photos were created at

Sarah and me

Just me. Pretty scary, huh?

Um. This would be the groovy guy I married.

Mr. Groovy's daughter.

Mr. Groovy's son

And the Smith Dog Person

Okay, now go wash your eyes out with soap so that you can purge your retinas of those awful images.


It's funny to think though, that in about twenty-five years, the hair, glasses and clothes I wear today will look THAT bad.

Isn't that a lovely thought? (smile)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This, That And The Other

On the road to Manteo again today!

I have ready our cooler, our box of food staples, my suitcase, my make up kit (a vital item) clothes for Sunday, music for the band, Sarah's school stuff (which she thankfully packs herself) my computer, Snowy's kennel and food for him, snacks for the trip, and "water for the road" for every Smith involved in this undertaking.

Here is my "getting music for the band" collection of stuff. Nice of Nathan to go off to college so that I can use his room for my personal office/music room.

Note how Snowy is diligently supervising the operation.

Of course, I don't do all the planning, packing and loading by myself; Steve works twice as hard as I do on all that and between him, Sarah and me, we eventually get it all together and get headed in the right direction.

(In addition to getting all of our stuff packed every weekend, we also have to remember to leave the house beautifully clean and picked up in case someone comes to see it while we're gone.)

This afternoon in Manteo, we'll be looking at some more houses and then this evening, we'll be having dinner with a young couple in the church. They have two adorable small daughters with another one due to make her appearance in January. I do so miss when my kids were young; those were precious, fleeting, frustrating, joyful, challenging, marvelous days.

Now they're older. And so am I. Sigh.

Okay, moving right along to our Pineapple Lessons!

Lynie started this whole discussion by asking if anyone knew what a pineapple symbolized. A lot of you jumped right on the bandwagon and shared your pineapple knowledge and it was just so interesting that I thought I'd post all the comments here in one place for a sort of Pineapple Symposium.

There will be a test at the end.

Just kidding.

I think.

Let the comments begin . . .

---Pineapples in the south are associated with Southern Hospitality, or so that's what I have been told my entire life. --Debbie Jean

---Pineapples are a sign of hospitality. They are mostly used in Hawaii (big surprise) and in the south. ---Lisa from Georgia

---Just a quick note [from a first-time commenter] to affirm what Debbie and Lisa said. At least in the southern part of the US, the pineapple as a sign of hospitality originated in the colonial era. They were a rare commodity, and among the most precious treats one could offer guests. Displaying a pineapple on a sign or over a doorway was a sign that one was willing to offer that special conviviality and welcome to whomever entered. Warmly (pine-apple-ly?) ---An historian

(This particular commenter gets the Becky Smith Word Award for so charmingly using "conviviality" in a sentence. I'm not sure I could have pulled that one off!)

---And yes, pineapples are a sign of hospitality . . . go to Williamsburg, VA during the Christmas holidays! You will see what Colonial America was like! :) ---Buff

--- In my family, when someone buys a new house or moves into a new home, they always put out a pineapple. It's seen as a "welcome to all" kind of thing. My sister even put up a doorknocker of a pineapple! ---Karen from Indiana

---About pineapples: I learned this on a trip to Charleston, SC but it may not be the most accurate. In the olden days, when a husband would return from a sea expedition, one of the traditions would be for the family to put a pineapple on the fencepost - usually one with a spike like top (silly description) to let neighbors, friends and relatives know that the man of the house had returned and they were now welcome to visit--so, same idea. A sign of hospitality and welcome. --Mary H.

---Pineapples - I end up using edible leaves (or not depending on use) from my garden to dress stuff up. I like your way better! I love the symbolic meaning of a pineapple meaning "Welcome". Love -Guerrina

And lastly, here is a fascinating interesting comment from Lynie, who started the whole discussion:

Regarding the pineapple...the legend I heard was yes, they were very precious and so every one noticed a pineapple in ones home.Well-heeled party-goers back in the day would arrive at a party and a pineapple would be in display upon the mantle, where every one could see it. As the evening progressed and the partiers partied and the guests guested, the pineapple would be in place.

However, when the host/hostess was ready to call it a night, they would remove the pineapple from the mantle and place it just outside the front door. Then as people glanced up at the mantle they knew without the host having to announce it or usher folks out, that the party was over. So a pineapple came to signify you are welcome here, make yourself at home and good-bye, thanks for coming!At least that's what the tour guide in Savannah said! How else would an Oregon girl know? --Lynie

So there you have it! A mini lesson in pineapples. I guarantee that from here on out, you will be the most pineapple-educated person in your circle of friends.


A few of you asked how I was doing and I am happy to report that, apart from the large bruise on my left arm and some soreness around the bruise, I feel like I never even fell! I'm very thankful, especially considering how bad things could have been.


I want to answer an excellent question that came in by e-mail from Jodi, a long time reader. "What is the difference between a Reverend and a Pastor?" (Referring to Steve's recent change in status.)

In most Protestant denominations, a Reverend isn't always a Pastor but a Pastor is always a Reverend. (A Reverend, in order to become a credentialed minister, has to go through a stringent schooling/credentialing process with his or her denomination in order to obtain those official credentials.)

When we were on the road for fifteen years, doing concerts and service in churches around the country, Steve was never referred to as Pastor Steve (or Pastor Smith) because he was not responsible for any particular church; however, he was a Reverend since he was ordained in 1989.

And on the Sunday we went to Manteo to try out, he was not a Pastor until he was voted in that evening by the congregation. So now he's a Reverend AND a Pastor!

Having said all that, Steve is not at all hung up on titles. If you ever see him, you don't have to call him reverend or pastor or anything fancy--just "Steve" is fine! (Although Nathan and Sarah do occasionally call him "Pastor Dad." Just because they're funny like that.)


Catherine asked if I had found any thrift store treasures this week. My best buy of the day was a pair of dark brown dress pants that I've seen at our local department store for $58.00; I got them for $4 and they actually fit! Hurray!


And now, because I don't have any groovy new pictures to share with you, I'm going to reach way back into my virtual picture vault and pull out some miscellaneous photos.

Here I am in the midst of chaos getting ready for a dinner.

And here I am with myself and the kitchen cleaned up.

Ready for a lovely dinner!

The only thing we were missing that night was a pineapple!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Dressing Room On the Right

Yesterday at Goodwill, I was looking through the vast selection of pants, diligently examining each pair to see if any of them might be hiding a guarantee somewhere that said, "Once you put these pants on, your body will be transformed into that of a trim, shapely college student."

In case you're wondering, I didn't seem to uncover any garments in that category. However, I did manage to find plenty that were guaranteed to transform my body in that of a non-trim, 47-year old woman whose "sands of time" had all sunk to the bottom! Amazing how that works!

At any rate, as I continued my ongoing searching for that perfect, transformative pair of jeans, I noticed a little drama going on at the two dressing rooms near me. Every couple minutes, a different person would go up to the dressing room doors and knock. The various transient occupants of the dressing room on the left always responded; however, each time someone knocked on the dressing room to the right, there would be no respnse.

Then the "knocker" would try the door. It would be locked. They would knock again. And get no response. (And it wasn't one of those doors you could look under to check for the evidence of feet.)

I thought, "Okay, some kid has locked the door and closed it behind him, or some person with a warped sense of humor has played a mean little trick on all the frantic ladies lined up to try on their bargains and has put one of the dressing rooms out of commission."

After I had spent another fifteen minutes or so looking through the pants, I took my collection of clothes over to the dressing room area. A lady waiting there told me that her granddaughter was in the room on the left and she wasn't sure what was going on with the room on the right.

I went over and knocked. Loudly.

No answer.

I tried the door.


I knocked again.

No response.

Now let me just say before I go any further that I am an introverted, Type B personality. I have never been one to march in, take over, command troops, fling orders, or issue edicts. However, when it came to trying on bargains at Goodwill, my little ol' Type B personality started to slowly shrivel away and my infrequently used Type A personality began poking out its head. Because I'm telling you, trying on stuff at Goodwill is important! It is worthy of Type A-ness!

And so I stated to myself in an uncharacteristically choleric, bossy sort of way, "Well! I just need to go find a Goodwill employee! Right now! And she needs to come over here with me! Immediately! And she needs to unlock this door! Instantly!"

(It's kind of fun being a Type A personality occasionally, even if you're the only one who knows you're doing it!)

I was just about to take my rarely bossy self off in the direction of an employee and put my plan into action when, lo and behold, the door to the dressing room on the right slowly opened.

The lady beside me joined me in a stare of mutual curiosity as we prepared to discover what kind of person had been silently squirreled away inside a Goodwill dressing room for fifteen minutes.

It turned out to be a lady. A normal, intelligent, non-alarming looking lady.

As I watched her walk calmly away, I harrumphed to myself in continued Type A fashion, "WHY in the world didn't she respond when half a dozen different people knocked on her door? WHAT could possibly be her reasoning behind that? WHAT is going on here?"

And then suddenly it hit me. "Oh dear. Maybe she's deaf. Maybe she never even heard any of those knocks."

I stood there and shuddered as I thought about how close I had come to calling in the cavalry and summoning the forces of Goodwill so that her door could be unlocked and flung open. Right in the middle of her previously private trying-on session.


I uttered a small prayer of thanks as I went into her newly vacated dressing room and you can be sure that when anyone knocked on my door, I responded very loudly and very clearly.

Because the forces of Goodwill flinging open my dressing room door while I'm displaying my quasi-flabby, unfit, middle aged body is not a happy thought. Trust me on that.

What about you? Do you have any interesting, embarrassing, or scintillating dressing room stories? Do tell!


Coming soon! Pineapple ponderments.

Trash Bags And Lighthouses

(Oops. I thought I had posted this earlier today and just got home at 5:30 to discover that I hadn't. So. Here it is--a little late.)

Yesterday, I was unhappily reminded of the distressing fact that last September, due to my weight loss, I gave away most of my fall/winter wardrobe.

In the past, I've always looked forward to the changing of the seasons because I would pack up all of my outgoing season stuff in trash bags (yes, that's where I store out of season clothes; classy, I know) and then happily rummage through the trash bags containing the incoming season's clothes and feel like I was getting a whole new wardrobe because I hadn't seen those clothes in six months. (Was that a run on sentence, or what?)

Well, yesterday, I poked around looking for any trash bags with my name on them and found a whole lot of naught! So I asked Steve to look up in the attic, thinking maybe I'd stored them up there. He also found a wide variety of naught.

After he had finished his attic foray, I trailed forlornly through the house in an ongoing fruitless search, wondering if I had possibly overlooked the bags somewhere or maybe inadvertently stored them in the oven, or some such thing. (Remember, I was an inveterate "oven storer" when we lived in RVs.)

But alas. No Trash Bags Containing Becky Clothes have shown themselves. The house is filled with naught in the trash bag department. And so today, I shall take myself over to Goodwill and began to rebuild my winter wardrobe.

I think I recall having this same Trash Bag Clothing Crisis in the spring, too, but that wasn't quite as crisis-esque because at that time, I wasn't a pastor's wife and so I didn't really need any sort of wardrobe, beyond some capri pants and a few blouses to wear to our (casual) home church.

Oh well. At least Wardrobe Rebuilding gives me a legitimate reason to shop!

And now that we are finished collectively mourning my missing trash bags, let me answer a few more questions that have come in.

Q. Will Sarah keep on going to Duke for her medical care?

A. Duke is about four hours away from Manteo as opposed to being one hour away from Smithfield. Because of that, we'll only drive over there if there's something that is cancer treatment-related.

She was actually due to go there in December for her once-a-year, post transplant studies, but I contacted them and asked if she could have those done in late October instead, so that we didn't have to drive so far. So we've been scheduled to go to Duke the last Thursday in October, right before we make our move to Manteo.

Although I'll be finding a pediatrician for her in the Manteo area for her "regular" check ups, she also sees an endocrinologist, a pulmonologist, a dermatologist, a cardiologist, as well as neuropsych people. I'm not yet sure what I'll do about all of those folks.

Q. Do you know what the images of pineapples used throughout the South mean? (Asked by Lynie.)

A. I don't! So Lynie, when you fill me in on the answer, I'll share it with everyone!

Q. Is is hard to find a rental that will accept dogs?

A. Thankfully, the lady from the church who is letting us use her small vacation cottage on the weekends in October is allowing us to bring Snowy. However, as we've been looking around for a long term rental, we have run across a good many that don't allow pets.

But since Snowy is a valued member of our family, we'll just have to look a little harder!

Q. What was Snowy's reaction to your fall?

A. I really don't think he was aware that I was in much distress since I didn't make any loud, "distressed" noises. Probably from his perspective, it was like one minute I was standing beside him, the next minute, I was lying beside him. No biggie. His doggie brain doesn't understand that when women suddenly topple over like large leaning Towers of Pisa, it is NOT such a good thing.

Q. How are the three girls doing who lost their mother recently? (This answer came from Meagan, Nathan's girlfriend and the pastor's daughter at the church the family attends.)

A. The two older girls and the husband seem to be coping better than the youngest daughter; she is having a really hard time of it since was the closest to her mother. The church family has just really taken them in and loved on the entire family so I think that has really helped. When you think about it just keep them in your prayers.

And now, one final Manteo story and I will close.

ast Saturday, we were looking at a possible home to rent, owned by a lady in the church who lived in that house while she was growing up.

She told us that she remembers one particular day many years ago when a knock came on the door of that house. When she answered it, she saw a young boy who lived nearby who had lost his dog. He asked if they would please keep their eyes open for the dog because he really wanted to find it.

hat little boy was twelve-year old Andy Griffith, who still lives very close to that house we're considering renting.

Nice to have such interesting history all around.

And just so you can picture a little easier where all of this Smith/Manteo Life is taking place, here's a map of the area. Roanoke Island is in the middle with two bridges onto the island and one bridge off. The strip of islands to the east of Roanoke Island is called The Outer Banks. If you drive north past Nags Head about 10 miles, you will come to Kitty Hawk, where the Wrigtht Brothers first flew.

If you drive south for about an hour, you'll get to Hatteras, where one of the most well recognized lighthouses in the country is.

So that's your geography/history lesson for the day!

Okay. I'm off to Goodwill. Wish me happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Manteo, Mom and Me

Here are some pictures from our latest trip to Manteo.

The first one shows the very first meal I ever cooked for our family in Manteo. A special occasion, indeed. I went with Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti but substituted two cans of cream of cheddar soup for the cream of mushroom. In my opinion, it makes it twice as yummy. (I'm not a big fan of mushrooms, anyway.)

Plus, I was able to freeze half of what I made and will take the rest of it on another trip.

Thanks again to ALL of you who sent such great ideas for "traveling food." I am going to be putting them to good use in the weeks to come.

This is what the table looked like when we first went into the house. Someone from the church went to all the trouble of buying this fresh fruit and arranging it in a lovely fashion. We felt very warmly welcomed. (She even included a chew treat for Snowy so she is now Snowy's new best friend.)

The lady in the church who owns this house (she's letting us use it every weekend in October) had a book lying out about the history of the Outer Banks. Turns out her great grandparents knew the Wright brothers and her grandma even helped the older brother sew up some fabric that had ripped. There were pictures and memorabilia all over the house about Wright brothers history--fascinating stuff! I was especially intrigued by the fact that after that first flight, when the Wright brothers dismantled the plane, they took the white linen fabric from the wings and gave it away so that dresses could be made out of it.

Here is another cool part of the house. Don't you love the idea of using faucets for hooks? I had to go ahead and hang something on it just because I've never hung something on a faucet before.

Do you remember this photo from last week?

What a difference one little word can make. Here's the sign from this weekend where "Rev." is changed to "Pastor." There's a whole world of change in that simple, small word.

Even the sign in front of the youth building next door to the church was part of the welcome.

Here's one of the entrances to the church.

And the lobby.

And here is Snowy, who is very diligently checking out the church property to be sure that all is well.

This is our view on the way home as we cross the bridge going from Roanoke Island (where Manteo is located) back to the mainland.

I have quite a few of your questions lined up to answer and a few miscellaneous stories to tell, but I'm going to sign off for now with a brief medical report.

I'm still sore today from my fall (and kind of weak and shaky) but I was able to rest most of yesterday and felt renewed by that.

My mom is still in a lot of pain from her fall; I hadn't realized it earlier, but in addition to the shattered collar bone, she also scraped a whole bunch of skin off her arm and has a lot of bruising all over her chest and arms. My sister, Debbie, has brought her home to stay with her family for a little while so that she can keep a good eye on her. And since Mom checks Smithellaneous on a regular basis, excuse me for a moment while I stop and say, "Hi, Mom! I love you!"

Thanks to ALL of you for stopping by . . .

Comment Deleting 101

Mary H! Take a deep breath and step away slowly from the computer! Help is on the way! (smile)

Here are some instructions for Mary and anyone else who has ever composed a comment and hit "publish," only to discover that the comment had some mistakes or misspellings.

First, find the little garbage can icon to the bottom left of your comment. Click on it.

The comment will magically disappear and a little message will come up that says, "Comment removed by author."

Then you are free to start all over again!

Wouldn't it be nice if things in life were like that?

Thanks to each of you of who take the time to comment; you just don't know how it makes my whole day.

And on another "topic of thanks," let me just say that I appreciate you all being so gracious and patient with the two Blogher ads I run on the page. At my current rate of daily visits, I'm earning between $150-$175 a month from those two ads; considering our recent long period of unemployment and the fact that I'm home schooling and can't work a lot of hours, that money makes a big difference in our monthly budget.

It's so nice that I'm continuing to do exactly what I've been doing (for free) for the past six years and actually getting paid a little for it. I feel like an almost, sort of, semi professional writer!

One thing that I am very thankful that Blogher offers (that Google's Adsense didn't) is the option of declining ads I don't want. I've been very pleased with Blogher's selection of ads, so far.

So anyway, thanks for visiting, and clicking and being so faithful to drop by. You Smithellaneous folks are the best!

The Chicken Spaghetti
Straight and Narrow

I should have known all you wonderful recipe lovers out there would want the Chicken Spaghetti recipe. Sorry I forgot to include it. (I appreciate someone posting the link in the comments section but I think there was a part of the link missing and it didn't go through.)

Here it is again. And I'm glad I read through it again because I just realized I had been omitting an entire (important!) step of the recipe. (Adding 2 C broth to the meat/noodle mixture.) Yikes! I am now thankfully back on the Chicken Spaghetti Straight and Narrow.

Chicken Spaghetti

I know you'll not just enjoy eating the recipe but also reading the recipe. The Pioneer Woman is a very entertaining recipe writer. Actually, she's a very entertaining everything writer! If you don't read her blog, you should.

Just don't forget to drop back by here every once in a while!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Fall

I'm sorry to be a little late posting this morning but the sleeping pill I took last night knocked me for a loop and I didn't wake up till 10 am! What a wonderful thing to be able to rest.

Later on I'll write a longer post but for right now I'll just write about my fall yesterday. I continue to be so thankful for the Lord's protection!

Yesterday morning, Steve and I got to the church at 8 am to rehearse with the praise team. When we were finished, I drove back to the house where we were staying to pick up Sarah for church.

After going into the house and telling her we'd be leaving for the church in about five minutes, I decided to go back out to the van to grab something I'd forgotten. On my way out the door, I thought I'd go ahead and hook up Snowy on his leash outside so he could have a few minutes of fresh air and sunshine before being put into his kennel for the morning.

I hooked his leash to the back steps and turned to head to the van. Unfortunately, I didn't make it.

hadn't realized it, but right after I had hooked him up, Snowy had tangled his leash around my feet; when I went to take my first step toward the van, my feet didn't move.

Before I even had a chance to put out my hands to break my fall, I rather suddenly pitched forward toward some wooden lawn furniture standing nearby. I slammed my left shoulder hard on one piece of furniture and then twisted a little and cracked my head against another piece of furniture on the way down.

I have never in my life had anything happen as fast as that. One minute I was standing happily in the bright Carolina sunshine and the next minute I was sprawled on the ground in pain, trying to catch my breath.

The fall would have been bad enough if there had just been grass all around, but having that wooden furniture right there could have made things turn out very badly. If I had hit my head first on the table instead of my shoulder I could have broken my nose, I could have gotten a concussion, I could even have broken my neck. As it is, I wrenched my back and neck, and I have bruising, soreness and stiffness in both arms.

After I had laid there on the grass for a few moments, I gingerly dragged myself up from the ground and walked (very slowly) back into the house to tell Sarah what had happened. I had stained my blazer, broken my necklace and gotten stains and water (from the dew on the grass) all over my brown pants. But a broken necklace is much better than a broken neck or a broken arm!

I called Steve, told him what happened, took a couple Tylenol, and then gingerly drove Sarah and myself to church. I was determined not to miss my first official Sunday as pastor's wife in Manteo. And I didn't!

I didn't feel so great during the service (or during the rest of the day) but I was just very thankful to even be well enough to be there.

And now, after a good night's sleep and a few pain meds, I'm starting to feel a bit better. I won't be doing a whole lot today except resting; in fact, as soon as I post this, I'm heading back to bed. And saying, "Ouch, ouch, ouch" all the way!

Thanks so much to everyone for your concern and prayers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Miniature Posting

We just arrived back home from Manteo about half an hour ago. We had Internet when we first got there but there was a huge storm Friday night and the next day the Internet (where we were staying, at least) vanished and vamoosed. So that's the reason there were no meandering Manteo missives over the weekend.

I just took a heavy duty sleeping pill/pain med because I had a rather traumatic fall this morning (more about that tomorrow when I'm halfway coherent) and I am needing a break from the discomfort I've been in all day. Let me just say I'm thankful for God's protection because I could easily be in the hospital right now.

Right now I'm going to take my stiff, sore, and grateful body to bed. There are few happier sights in life than ones own bed.

More tomorrow . . .