Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blog of the Week! ~ Greg's General Store

Sundays are the greatest days to bestow gratitude and blessings upon someone who has touched your life in a profound way. I remember one day happening across this blog called Greg's General Store and wondered what interesting things I might find there. I was thinking it might be a mix and match or odds and ends kinda of place, but I found a great friend there. Greg's General Store is a blog written by a wonderful man who finds happiness in the day to day circumstances of life. His posts are laced with that humor that only life experiences can bring. You feel an instant connection with Greg not only through his posts but when he stops by and pays your blog a visit and leaves a wonderful calling card!

I had the unique privilege in emailing Greg and asking him so questions so we can all get to know him better. Please stop by his blog once you leave here and let him know how this interview touched you, it would mean the world to him.

1. How did you come up with the name, Greg's General Store?

As a child I was always fascinated with those little general stores. You know the ones that had a little bit of everything in them but not a lot of any one thing. Also as a child I always dreamed of owning one of those little country stores but that never came to pass. Well when I started blogging I quickly found out that I skipped around a lot and wrote about a bit of everything and not a lot about any one thing. I skipped around a lot on my blogs too so when I decided to settle down with one I used this name. It just fit.

2. Why did you begin blogging?

I first started blogging because I had a real estate website and a friend told me that blogging was a way to increase my website traffic. Yes I was an agent for a while and in fact still am just not actively doing it. At the time, I didn’t know what a blog was but I tried it and it worked. I found out that I like blogging so even after I closed my website, I continued to blog. My first few attempts at a blog weren’t heading where I wanted so I deleted them and moved on to new ground.

3. Describe your childhood home.

I was the middle child in a family of 5 children. I have an older brother and half sister and two younger brothers. My father was a fireman and an alcoholic and my mother was a nurse and bi-polar. Talk about an explosive combination. If I had to use a coined phrase it would be “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” Life was either great or really bad. There was never an in between. We were poor and lived in a small town just north of Daytona. I got my first job around the age of 13 mowing lawns and I have been working ever since. I would frequently make dinner for us since my parents both worked. I would spend my own money to help out. Often my mother would come home in one of her moods and throw what I cooked out in the back yard because she didn’t like what I fixed or she just wasn’t in the mood for it. Ok enough about the fun times, off to the next question.

4. What is your favorite sport or outdoor activity?

This one is easy. Fishing. One of the things I would do to escape when I was a child was to go fishing. I often left at sunrise and didn’t come home until sunset. I taught myself to fish and caught lots of fish. I kept the freezer full of fish at our house. I am a self proclaimed fishing expert.

5. What are three of the most important lessons you have learned in life?

A. You can pick your friends but not your relatives. I no longer cover up for my family or make excuses for them. I have nothing to hide. They are not me and I am not them. Don’t judge me by my family’s actions.

B. You only get one chance at life. Choose wisely. When I think of all the wrong choices I have made in my life it is frightening.

B. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are perfect, just forgiven. All we can do is try to be more like Jesus and keep heading in the right direction.

6. What is your greatest fear?

I don’t know why spiders scare me so much but they do. Aside from that I have a fear of falling. I can handle being in high places as long as there is a fence or railing. When I am on the top of a tall building and there is no railing I get an uneasy feeling. I can be 50 feet back from the edge but I still feel sick to my stomach. If there is a handrail I can walk right up to the edge and lean over. Go figure?

7. When did you become a Christian? How did your life change?

This is a tough question because it is hard for me to pinpoint a time when I became a Christian. I think for me it was a slow process and sort of resembled a roller coaster ride. I was baptized at the age of 10 in a little church in Daytona Beach Florida. We were 7th Day Baptists which is a very old religion in this country and a very strict one. At the time I truly believed in God and accepted Jesus as my savior. I felt forgiven for my sins even though at that age I really didn’t have many to speak of. Church for me was a necessity from the standpoint of offering me a sanctuary away from the madness in my life. One thing was certain. When we went to church, Dad was sober and Mom was calm. Neither one wanted the rest of the world to see them at their worst. It was the only place where I wasn’t picked on and I felt like I had a friend: “Jesus.” I talked with God a lot and even though I felt Him listening, I was becoming impatient because he seldom answered my prayers. Looking back I did feel a lot of comfort when I spoke to Him but I didn’t realize it at the time. I was looking for visible miracles.

4 years later, about the time I turned 14, we quit going to church. It was my mother’s choice and since my father usually went only when forced, he didn’t argue. At this point, my siblings and I were on our own as far as religion. Without my sanctuary, I felt alone and quit praying. I felt betrayed and let down by God. This continued for about a year.
Then someone my age moved into the neighborhood and we quickly became friends. As luck would have it, (I think God had a hand in this) my friend’s father was a preacher. He invited me to join in with their youth group activities which I did. I soon began attending church with him. One thing led to another and soon my family joined this new church. My father even got baptized. I never knew he had never been baptized. I thought about that when he passed away and I am so thankful that he did it.

I again began praying and talking to God and life was good for a while. When I joined the Navy, I moved around so much that it was hard to establish a Church home but I did read the Bible and attend when I could. I did become a bit wild in my early Navy years though so it was hard for me to go back. I always felt guilty attending church when I wasn’t being a good person on the outside. I wish more people would think like this.
That takes me to my post Navy years and more recent times. One day I finally realized that those guilty feelings that I had all my life whenever I did something wrong or didn’t attend church regularly were normal. And they were no reason not to go back to God. It finally dawned on me that through all the times I left the church and no matter what I did wrong, God was still there waiting on me to return. In fact he was there with me all the time through good times and bad. It was always me who broke off our relationship. And those feelings inside telling me; “you did something wrong, don’t let God see you” was the devil trying to keep me away.

So I guess the answer to this question is that I became a Christian the day I got baptized. It just took me about 30 years to realize it. As for my life changing, on the outside few people other than my family even noticed. I have always been a really nice person and a friend to anyone who needed one. But inside I am a changed person and my relationship with Jesus is getting stronger every day.

8. Tell me about your mothers cooking. Can you recall a favorite meal? What made it your favorite?

How do I say this nicely? My mother was a terrible cook. There I said it. Everything she cooked was either burnt or boiled to death. Her specialty was “salmonella surprise” because some of her preparation techniques were less than sanitary. My favorite meal growing up was something my father cooked: Hamburger helper cheeseburger macaroni. So simple yet so filling and tasty. Filling was important because many of our meals were not.

9. Did you ever get into any fights as a kid?

I guess I could say 3. I was beat up twice (highly outnumbered both times) but I only started one fight. My brother was always a loudmouth and I was the quiet type. Everyone knew that I had a breaking point though and you never wanted to cross that point. Well my brother started pushing me one day and wouldn’t let up so I punched him. I was aiming for his mouth but he ducked (chicken) so I ended up hitting his head. He cried but I broke my hand.

10. What were some crazy fads from your school days? Did you participate in them? Why or Why Not?

When I was in high school, the style was to have long hair. At its longest point, my hair was down to my shoulders. At that point it began to flip up so I couldn’t let it grow any longer. Drugs were very widely used in my school and thankfully I didn’t get involved like a lot of my friends did. Several of my friends from high school died from overdoses shortly after high school.

So as you can see a real heart lies beneath this wonderful man. He has a heart for God, keeps his family close and offers help to those in a hurting world. Please take the time to stop at Greg's General Store and say Hi to Greg for me, and let him know how this interview touched you. You may just meet the same friend I found when I stopped by!

By the way, Steve picked my winner of the copy of Seaside Letters and the winner was Kelly from Kelly's ideas! If you can email me your address, I would love to ship this out to you!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat


Unknown said...

I think Greg is an awesome man! Great pick.

#5 - his life lessons are awesome, because they apply to me too. Great job, Greg.

Great pick, Kat!

Sandra said...

I just wanted to come in and say :)

Great blog you highlighted, Greg sounds like an awesome guy.


Edie said...

Great interview Kat! Greg is one of the best. I loved his testimony.

Deb said...

Greg nailed it when he says,
"Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are perfect, just forgiven. All we can do is try to be more like Jesus and keep heading in the right direction."

I'm so glad that we have a loving, forgiving God.

Who gives us guidance.

And direction.

Over. And. Over.

Great interview, Kat.

Sweet dreams.

RCUBEs said...

It's nice to read a powerful testimony here. We can see God's goodness to all of us. In our brokenness, He transforms us into becoming a useful tool for His Kingdom. He sounds like a great guy, who learned so much growing up. Thank you for sharing another great blogger sister Kat. Blessings to you.

Deborah Ann said...

Greg sounds just like me! I'm heading over there right now...

blushing rose said...

Boy! does he have christianity down pat! What a wonderful man. Will have to go visit him. His path in life was that of many ... some can discuss it, others cannot. I love his candid interview.

TY for sharing.

Have a lovely week. TTFN~Marydon

Andrea said...

Great post! I love getting to know other bloggers better.
Blessings, andrea

HeartsMakeFamilies said...

I think Greg sounds like an awesome person. Just like you. Please stop by my blog. I left an award there for you. Congrats

Silver said...

Great lesson in No 5.

Kat, thank you so much for being a blessing where you are. I am so glad to know you through blogging and love your spirit!

You are a blessed woman and a blessing to know!!


Denise said...

Awesome interview.

Loren said...

I love your new is beautiful!

great interview!

Our7isheaven said...

Love the new look!


Beth Herring said...

I have loved Greg's blog since the first time I popped in there.

Thanks for sharing about him Kat. You are pretty awesome yourself!

Crown of Beauty said...

Hi Kat,
I've been away a long time, and now I am back to reading my friend's blogs little by little.

I finished reading this post first and posted this comment before going over to visit Greg's blog. He seems like a wonderful man.

Will go visit his blog now.

And, hey, your new blog design really looks great.


Mich said...

nice interview. Sounds like a very nice man.

Heckety said...

Thank you for writing about Greg- I'm off to visit! He sounds a very 'grounded' person with his priorities straight!

Greg C said...

Wow, thank you everyone for the wonderful comments. I really needed that today after a rough weekend. God knows how much you can take and makes sure you don't get overloaded. He knew I needed a kind word today. Thank you so much Kat. God is truly working through you.

christy rose said...

Once again, an awesome interview!
I am definitely heading over to meet him.

Mimmy said...

I'm on my way now to visit Greg's General Store and hope to have the time later today to visit all of the wonderful blogs you suggest.
Have a gloriously blessed week.

God Bless,