Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday's Song

Today's song:

New Soul, Yael Naim

I love the catchy melody of this song. I first heard it on a commercial for something...I have no idea what it was for now. The product was forgettable, but the song was not :0)

I'm a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout how to give and take
But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

La, la, la, la (21x)
La, la, la, la (21x)

See I'm a young soul in this very strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout what is true and fake
But why all this hate? try to communicate
Finding trust and love is not always easy to make
La, la, la, la (21x)
La, la, la, la (21x)

This is a happy end
Cause you don't understand
Everything you have done
Why's everything so wrong

This is a happy end
Come and give me your hand
I'll take you far away

I'm a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout how to give and take
But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

New soul... (la, la, la, la,...)
In this very strange world...
Every possible mistake
Possible mistake
Every possible mistake
Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday's Ten (on Friday)

I was gone ALL DAY yesterday, so this one's a little late :0)

Ten Things You Should Definitely Do if You're going to KY Kingdom

10. Ride on the van with adults instead of the bus with the kids. Ahhh.

9. If you're like me, under NO circumstances should you wear sunscreen because it will interfere with your tanning plans. If you're like the rest of the population, put on sunscreen and reapply. I embrace sunburns; most people do not.

8. Wear a swimsuit under your clothing. The waterpark is definitely worth it.

7. Himalaya. I love this ride :0)

6. Breakdance. I really didn't want to do this one because I was afraid that the spinning would make me sick, but it was definitely fun.

5. Blizzard River. Warning--it's REALLY cold, but it's a nice little rafting experience. Nothing as fun as actually whitewater rafting, but still nice.

4. The Tornado. It's basically the most fabulous water slide ever

3. The Deluge Water-Coaster. Very cool--and wet!

2. Thunder Run--a very fun wooden roller coaster. My favorite.

1. Drive a little further north and go to Holiday World instead

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Lora's Fabulous Vodka Pasta

ok, so I cheat and use Bertolli sauce, but the rest is all me If I find a good vodka sauce recipe I'll adjust

1 box penne pasta
1 jar Bertolli vodka sauce (after trying a few brands, this is the absolute best)
1 pound Italian sausage--I use hot, but I've also used mild and it turns out ok
1 medium onion, chopped
possibly portabello mushrooms--sometimes I just don't have them to add, but they're yummy when I do!
various and sundry spices for the sausage, depending on your preference. I sometimes add some fresh garlic to it as well.

*brown the sausage. Add spices early on in the process, and add onion when it's completely browned and drained.
*add mushrooms and sauce, in this order. Simmer while you cook your pasta. Combine and enjoy.

This should make 4 servings at the very feeds me for a few days :0)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday's Song

We are singing this hymn at church tomorrow, and when we rehearsed it this morning I almost laughed. The words are so applicable to my life right now when I've been craving Sabbath rest and simplicity. The melody is simple and beautifully fitting to the words...which, although ancient by our assessment are completely applicable to my life. I hope they speak to you as well.

The hymn is an old one, and this is what Wikipedia says about it:

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind is a hymn with words taken from a prayer contained in the poem The Brewing of Soma by Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

Here are the lyrics:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our feverish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,

Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday's Ten

Today's Ten: Ten Things I'll Do Now That Most of my TV Shows are Over

1. Transform my patio garden into a meditation space as well as functional garden. I want to start doing yoga on the patio as often as possible. I need to find the perfect water source--I've been looking for over a year, so hopefully I'll find the perfect fountain...or whatever.

2. Clean more often ;-)

3. Pull stuff out for a yard sale--hopefully the end of June.

4. Continue making my home and environment more "green".

5. Organize ALL the closets in the house. That should take awhile.

6. Cook more often, and entertain.

7. Get my scrapbooking caught up.

8. Make some more jewelry--I've been slacking in that department lately.

9. Get caught up on correspondence.

10. Watch more Rachael Ray and Ellen :0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recipe of the Week - Heavenly Angel Food Cake

I'm in love with Southern Living recipes lately--apparently I'm embracing (finally) the inner Southern Belle. Here's a dessert from a couple of months ago that is fabulous! It's a perfectly light summer cake...perfect for humid Tennessee days!

Heavenly Angel Food Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides of pan. (Do not grease pan or foil.) Sift together first 3 ingredients.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in sugar mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, folding just until blended after each addition. Fold in vanilla and lemon juice. Spoon batter into prepared pan. (Pan will be very full. The batter will reach almost to the top of the pan.)
Bake at 375° on an oven rack one-third up from bottom of oven 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Invert cake onto a lightly greased wire rack; let cool, with pan over cake, 1 hour or until completely cool. Remove pan; peel foil off cake. Transfer cake to a serving platter. Spread Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting evenly over top of cake. Garnish, if desired.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 packages softened cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (16 oz) pkg powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add lemon juice, beating just until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in lemon zest.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday's Ten

Today's Ten: Things Catherine does right now that are cute/sweet

(I know I've done something similar in the past, but with her current grumpy state of mind I need to remind myself that she really is a sweetheart!)

1. "Honk Lowa" accompanied by her index finger torpedoing itself toward my nose. I never should have started it...
2. "Luh-oooh" (translated: Love You!) that she now says without prompting. Today I was leaving and she said "Bye-bye Lowa. I luh-ooh."
3. "I running. Fast" and other such narratives of what she's doing. All day long. Cute. At times not so much. But hey.
4. Manners police. As she hands me something she'll say "Thank you, Lora!"
5. "I miss it!" when she's looking for something.
6. "I fixed it!" of her favorite games now. She "breaks" something so she can be Catherine the Builder.
7. "Yay Lowa!!!" she now celebrates me too. I get cheers for doing laundry, dishes, lunch, using the bathroom...I guess it's good that she's not completely self-centric...
8. "I tired. I sleep now. You lay down too. I hold you". Unfortunately I hear that a lot. I started a baaaaad habit with her of laying down on the couch with her when she's really tired and letting her snooze on my shoulder for awhile...and now she begs for it. Oy.
9. "I want to hold you." another one of those most of the time cute/other times not so much phrases. Accompanied by an adorable holding up of the hands with the wrists together and an irresistable tilt of the head.
10. "Ooooohhhh....halaluv....Je-yus" I started singing "Oh How I Love Jesus" with her every day at naptime after we pray. Now she begins it and it cracks me up how theatrical she is with it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Recipe of the Week: PepperJack Chicken

yeah, so I'm getting domestic in my 'old age' so I'm going to include one recipe per week on this blog. I made this chicken for the first time on Sunday night and absolutely loved it! It's SO easy and quick.
(pictured over a bed of rice with fresh diced tomato)

PepperJack Chicken (from Southern Living)

1/4 cup mayo, divided
3/4 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese w/peppers
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp finely chopped pickled jalepeno
1 clove garlic, minced
6 skinless/boneless chicken breast halves

Combine 3 tbsp mayo, cheese and next 3 ingrediants
Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
Brush both sides of chicken lightly with remaining 1 tbsp mayo; place chicken on rack in broiler pan (*Lora's note: I simply used a wire cooling rack on top of an aluminum cake pan)
Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat with electric oven door partially open.
Broil 5 minutes on each side.
Spread cheese mixture evenly over chicken; broil 5 more minutes or until mixture is browned.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Enough: A Mother’s Day Reflection

Even though I skipped the service at church today, I did fulfill my obligation to the teens, and led class. During the worship time, we sang a song that we sing often, only today I just stood there. I couldn’t bring myself to sing the words. The chorus of the song is this:

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

I couldn’t help thinking that the teenage girls singing the song had no idea how hard it may be in the future to sing those words and mean them. And I myself have sung them so many times, deeply and passionately, believing each one. But today was different.

So many questions fill my mind. IS all of Him more than enough for all of me? My head says “yes” and my heart says “maybe”. Because the next two lines are what get me.

“For every thirst and every need”. Will my life in Christ, which is vibrant and faithful really replace my longing to be in relationship with a Godly man? And fulfill the even deeper aching for a child? Up until now it has. But over the past several months I find myself looking for more. I don’t want it outside of God’s Will…but is His Will going to crush my dreams? Yes, this is where faith enters in…and suddenly I am terrified of my deep faith.

“You satisfy me with Your love”. But the truth is, I’m not satisfied anymore. I’m shaky as I admit this, because I should be satisfied. I’m living the single girl’s dream: I have a fabulous house, a wonderful job, and things are good—in most ways better than good. I’ve finally came to peace with myself and my demons of the past. I’m healthy and I’m happy. I have wonderful friends surrounding me. But satisfied? No. If I am honest, I realize that is not the case.

So where does that leave me? Am I any less a God-seeker now? I don’t think so. I certainly hope not. But maybe today I’m a little less faithful, a little less trusting. And I’m hoping that’s where I’m supposed to be. Maybe in my state of disequilibrium, real joy will be found.

California Trip -- the condensed version

Day 1, Tuesday: LA Driving
subtitle: never travel with people you don't know...

Our flight was long, rather uneventful. We arrived in LA and all the sisters insisted that they would never want to drive the car, so to please not put their names as drivers on the rental agreement. Now, let's talk about the sisters for a friend Vera has a friend Beverly who I barely know. Vera invited Beverly to come to the lectures, and Beverly invited her sisters. Both of them live in rural TN. Some of you are getting the picture already. Did I mention that they're all over 60 too? Oy.
So I'm designated to be the driver. By all of them. And they proceed to scream and shout their way through LA. Part of the problem was that no one knew where we were going except Vera who was sitting next to me with the directions, but still the 3 of them wanted to pitch in. The other part was that they were apparently 'nervous' because I'm 'so young'. Well for one eyes are better! And...I've driven in several large cities and they live in the boondocks--I guarantee you I have more city driving experience than them! I was staying in my lane and at the speed limit. I finally yelled back at them and stated that I can't drive with people screaming at me--that I won't take it from Catherine who is 2 and I won't take it from them. Can you BELIEVE it came to that?!?!? But they shut up. finally.

They had a LOT of fun on the Canyon Road later. haha. But I digress.

We settled into the hotel and walked down to a Mexican Cantina to have lunch--which was fabulous. Seriously the best salsa ever. It was during the walk that I noticed how incredibly beautiful the flowers are in California. Huge roses, and other vibrant foliage. Seriously amazing stuff.

Shortly afterwards we left for Pepperdine. As already mentioned we had to drive through the Canyon Road to get there. Beautiful...but very mountainous and curvy. Honestly, it didn't really bother me, but since I was driving a huge van full of hysterical women I took it at the speed limit. LaJuana told me when we got back that the locals call it "Bloodbath Alley" (or something with bloodbath in the name) because so many people die on it every year. Glad the hysterical ones don't know that...

Pepperdine itself was beautiful. It's a good thing I didn't know about it when I went to school, or I'd be living in LA right now. Which wouldn't be a horrible fate Anyway, I was a bit shocked at the old-school singing at the first session, but it was nice.

Day Two, Wednesday: Lectures and the Beach

subtitle: California time change=Lora's body clock=heaven

Vera and I decided to explore the shopping center around our hotel in Calabasas after breakfast. It was a beautiful area...unfortunately nothing was open We left for Pepperdine shortly after, where we heard Rubel (our former pastor) speak--which was fabulous. We had lunch and then Vera and I skipped town (but stayed in Malibu) and went to the shopping center that Randy and LaJuana had told us about. We went to pick up the sisters after their session and then we drove down to Santa Monica and went to Venice beach. Ahhh. All I needed was to be by the water. We had dinner at Marmalade (also recommended by RG and LJ) and returned to the lectures to hear Randy Harris--also great. Upon returning, I took the van (all by MYSELF!!! Me time was awesome!!) and went to the shopping center, where I bought wine for us, as well as Goodnight LA for Catherine.

Day 3, Thursday: Santa Barbara
subtitle: ahhhhh

Vera and I really did skip town today and drove up to Santa Barbara. We walked around the touristy pier area for awhile, and then drove a few exits down to Inn-n-Out Burger. Fabulous stuff--I especially enjoyed the animal fries, but the burger was among the best I've ever had. Seriously.
After lunch we drove to the Santa Barbara mission. Honestly, this was one of the most worshipful experiences--or maybe the most worshipful experience--of the entire trip for me. We spent 2 hours there...mainly because of my fascination. Vera was a good sport . I took a ton of pictures there, but found solace in the retreat of the garden and the sanctuary. If I ever go back (which I plan to) I will attend one of the Masses. We headed back to the hotel and then walked back down to the cantina for a drink and small bite to eat. And salsa. Lots of salsa.

Day 4, Friday: Randy & LaJuana's Malibu

subtitle: another heavenly day

We got to the lectures, dropped the sisters off, and decided to suck it up and go to a morning lecture. Vera ran to the restroom and I was waiting outside for her when I was literally cornered by Randy and LaJuana...who thankfully had a MUCH better plan. Randy's words were: "May we show you our Malibu?" I said heck yes, and thankfully when Vera found us she agreed.

We had lunch at the Malibu Fish Market (one of Randy's favorites) and then took a tour of some of their favorite places. They took us to Westward Beach, which is their favorite, and showed us the path to Point Dume, with instructions to return to hike it if we could. They took us to the canyon where they used to be, pointed out a few stars houses, and then took us to Serra Retreat--another beautiful Franciscan sanctuary. The labyrinth and stations of the cross were amazing, as were the entire grounds.

We returned to the lectures, and ended up going to the same session as RG and LJ. After the session they showed us the most amazing view of the ocean from the chapel at Pepperdine.
We parted at that point and agreed to meet back up in Nashville. Vera and I then drove to Westward beach where I took some video and pictures of the gorgeous waves and we then hiked to Point Dume. It was a beautiful view, although there were a couple of scary parts of the hike...especially since we were climbing in flip-flops...maybe not the smartest idea ever.

We returned (smelling of sea air and hiking) to the closing session and then drove back to the hotel. Where we packed and attempted to eat the leftover foods in the fridge.

Saturday: The Return
subtitle: LA Airport is much busier than Nashville's...imagine that
We had to return the car by 11, and our flight didn't leave until 1:30. So...we returned the car at 10:30, and were at the gate by noon (although the lines inside the airport were killer!). Oh, side note: the sisters thanked me and Vera profusely for driving them around (we alternated--she drove mornings, I drove nights from Wednesday on). Guess they realized that I knew what I was doing after all Anyway, at the airport, I got a very expensive value meal at McDonalds and a t-shirt for Catherine and then we waited. I pulled out my laptop and showed all my pictures from Thursday and Friday to the sisters. And finally we boarded. Vera had drink coupons, so I got a bloody mary, sat back, and enjoyed the flight. Emalie was at the airport to meet us, and I settled back into real life...missing the constant view of the beach, but thankful to be home.