Saturday, January 31, 2009

"A" challenge

My blogging friend Leslie posted a challenge the other day. My letter is "A", so this blog will contain 10 things that begin with this letter. I'm afraid it's going to be harder than it looks!

If you want to play along just leave me a comment and I’ll assign a letter for you and then you too can post a blog that lists 10 things that you "love, like or lust for" (Leslie's words) that start with that letter…and why you chose them!

Ok, these aren't going to be in any particular sort of order...and I feel it would be cheating to include people in this (several friends and amazingly enough a boyfriend whose names start with "A"!), so I'm leaving them out. So if you're reading this and you're one of those A friend, never fear...I still love you. I also think "a comfortable pair of flip-flops" or "anything good to eat" would be stretching it a bit...although don't think I wasn't tempted!

well, that one was easy. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for all creatures...except snakes and slugs and other such things.

This may be an odd one for some of you...and strangely enough I don't always love *hearing* arias, but I love to sing them. Guess all that classical vocal training in college really DID pay off. :0)

In pretty much all forms. I love visual art--Impressionism, especially Monet, is my favorite. But as a musician and occasional actress (see this blog entry) I am also interested in the performing arts. I can get lost in the Frist Center just as easily as TPAC...or a rock concert, or the symphony. When I say I appreciate it all--I mean it. When I say I love most of it--it's completely true. And then there's the whole artistry of interior design and decorating. And cooking--it's an art form of it's own! Yeah. I love art.

Animated Movies
not all of them, but some are just too wonderful to pass up. For example, my boyfriend just introduced me to Wall-E about 2 weeks ago. What an incredibly sweet and romantic film! And let's face it--Lady and the Tramp and the Aristocats are just precious.

I had never flown on an airplane until my sophomore year of college...and I flew from Nashville to Miami to San Juan, PR. (It was also the first time I saw the ocean--and what a way to see it!). When the other people on the missions trip with me found out it was my first flight they were shocked. They said they'd never seen anyone so calm who had never flown before. I have definitely developed a love of flight. When I can, I fly domestically (unless the drive is 5-6 hours...then I can't justify it), and I've also flown to Europe. This is somewhat amazing, as I have a serious fear of heights.

This is a creative way for me to get my love of pictures, photography and scrapbooking into a blog that has nothing to do with "p" or "s". :0) But I do love displaying photographs of those I love in albums. I have some informal ones stashed around the house, but I also have the more elaborate scrapbook albums for display.

Mmm. I've always loved a good guacamole. But when I was in California this past year I discovered the appeal of FRESH avacado slices. It's a regular item on the Subway bar there. And available everywhere. Yeah. I'm loving avacodo. Now, TN doesn't really get the freshest, but they'll do until I make it out to sunny CA again.

I suppose I should specify *good* aromas here. Like the smell of a wonderful meal in the oven (my Greek meatloaf last night for example), cinnamon, vanilla, snow, the air after a good summer rain, freshly cut grass, cinnamon and vanilla combined :0), guy's cologne, coffee, etc, etc, etc.
I guess this is technically free advertising for them, but seriously. Anything in the world you could ever want is on that site. I pretty much buy all my books there now, as well as any music that I don't download. And that's saying a lot. Because if this was a "b" list, Bookstores would be on it. I've also found cookware, clothing, yoga has everything!

and the other beautiful liturgical pieces of the Christian calendar. I think Advent is by far my favorite--something so beautiful about the season of waiting with great anticipation and expectation. Of course, I celebrate Lent, I observe other Holy Days as well. And since I go to a church that rarely mentions these things (not a part of their tradition) I've become creative in how to personally celebrate them in my home. I have found that it makes them even more meaningful to me that way.

Ok. That was really hard! Your turn...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ramblings of a Mind Awake Too Long...

•why, oh why is that silly "Sag Awards" theme song playing through my head constantly•scrubs is quickly becoming a favorite, as is family guy. thanks Anthony•i'm glad i figured out the code to get that dot between these thoughts•i should probably get rid of that ribbon from christmas, but the cat seems to love it so much•is the couch in the kitchen too much of a stretchwill i ever be employed again•barbershop quartets kinda creep me out, i gotta say•i should be in bed right now•wonder how many kids i'll have tomorrow morning•i really, really need to buy some more winter wear•i wonder if that last statement is born out of an actual need or my slight obsession with scarves•my lip really really really hurts•i'm kind of sheepish to say that i'm enjoying american idol this year•i split my pajama pants tonight•i just heard the word "vodka" on tv and perked up•i'm going to have to get my nails done soon, my real nails are driving me crazy•i need to order new pictures•mint chocolate oreos are amazing•wonder if i need to get more food for the cat•i need to find a spot to hang up the framed verse that a friend gave me last weekend•i wonder who i want to win the that the Titans are out•i should give myself a pedicure tomorrow before my date--that might make me feel pretty•wow, i should have cleaned my house today•i like my glasses•i keep adding things to my "buy when i'm employed" list. i better get a really well-paying job from the looks of that list•rotten potatoes are, without a doubt, among the smelliest things on earth•i'm glad that if i have to be awake this late at least i'm not hungry•i can't wait to meet my good friend beth's baby•i wish friends was still on the air although i know they would have run out of stories by now•i should really go to bed now•

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday's Ten

I'm awfully nostalgic this week (probably because of the college and kid pics I've been scanning in for facebook). So this week, I'm posting 10 of my favorite pictures. Note that they aren't necessarily my 10 favorites, but 10 OF my favorites. :0)

Sunset on my lake (Hendersonville, TN)

Radnor Lake (Nashville, TN)

Snow in Nashville!

Another Sunset

Courtyard Bench (Boston, MA)

Just a TN drive home

Blessed Mother (Franklin, TN)

Beautiful Beach (Malibu, CA)
Santa Barbara Mission (Santa Barbara, CA)

happy couple

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Join in on Wordless Wednesday here

Recipe of the Week -- Spinach Dip

So, one of the blessings of this season of unemployment is that my friends have tried to help me however they can. One set of friends has asked me to babysit weekly for a Bible study that meets on Friday mornings at my church. And born out of that I've been asked to babysit for a small group every other week on Sunday evenings.

This past week, the small group switched things around and held a luncheon instead. They met after 2nd service at the designated house (about a mile from church), I came in after 3rd and was immediately told "fix a plate!" Well, ok...who's going to refuse that?

I grabbed the barbeque sandwich and some cole slaw and then I saw it...the little container of heaven on earth.

Spinach Dip

It should be noted that I have always had an aversion to all things spinach. Only recently will I even eat spinach raw in a salad. But for SOME reason I have always had an affinity for spinach dip. Hot, cold, whatever. I found Publix deli to be a good source to buy it from, and that has been good enough for me. Until Sunday.

My friend Robbie was the amazing creator of the dip. And when she told me what she puts in it, and the fact that it costs $1.75 to make (Publix deli=half the dip for over twice the price) I knew I had to share it. Now...there are a lot of recipes running around out there. And believe me, I'm going to play around with this one for awhile. My next attempt will include some fresh shredded parmesan too. But here's the basic, bare bones version.

Robbie's Spinach Dip

1 block of cream cheese, left at room temp for several minutes to soften
1 pkg of frozen spinach
Worcestershire sauce to taste
a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cook spinach and drain ALL water out. Stir in cream cheese, worcestershire, and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth. (hint: you don't want cream cheese lumps, so if you can't get it completely smooth pop it in the microwave for a few seconds). This is delicious hot or cold.

Robbie suggested add-ins: hot sauce, crumbled bacon

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday's Song

The people who work with our teen worship band found this beautiful song last year and our student praise band often leads us in singing it in class on Sunday mornings. When we sang it this morning I knew I needed to share it. It's been such a mainstay for me over the past few months. I tried to find the video on youtube to let you hear an example, but I have't found it yet. I believe Northpoint in Atlanta has it on their latest worship cd.

I'm highlighting the words that speak--sometimes scream--to me every time I hear it.

Breathe On Me

Find me here in this place
Son of God saving grace
At this hour, all my days
Breathe on me, breathe on me

Morning star shine Your light
As I walk through this life
God of power, God of might
Breathe on me, breathe on me

Forever, You are my reason for living
Merciful Savior unending
Breathe on me

When I’m weak You are strong
Your breath in me will be my song
In You my King I belong
Breathe on me, breathe on me

Forever, You are my reason for living
Merciful Savior unending, Breathe on me

Forever, You are the God of my story
Write every line for Your glory
Breathe on me

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday's Ten - Quotes

Ten Quotes that I Love

"There's an old proverb that says you can't choose your family. You take what fate hands you. And like them or not, love them or not, understand them or not, you cope. Then there's the school of thought that says the family you're born into is simply a starting point. They feed you, clothe you, and take care of you until you're ready to go out into the world. There you find your own tribe."
-Grey's Anatomy

"The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world. "
- Marianne Williamson

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."
- W. Edwards Deming

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming"
- Dory, Finding Nemo

"If you've got one drink and one friend and 45 minutes. Slow rides make for boring stories. A little that's worth talking about"
- Grey's Anatomy

"I think life chose me after all"
- Dar Williams

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love."
- St Francis of Assisi

"I get by with a little help from my friends"
- John Lennon

"Be the change that you want to see in the world"
- Gandhi

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”
- Max Lucado

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Brand New Day

For some reason, that silly little song from "The Wiz" is now running through my head. Could it be because when I woke up this morning there was a different man leading the country than when I got up yesterday? Yeah...I think that may have something to do with it.

Now...I don't think he's going to single-handedly save the world, or even the country. There's no reason to think he's the savior of anything. He's got a hard road ahead, and I most certainly do NOT envy his job! But I'm sitting up a little straighter today, smiling a little more.

How sweet is it that the Bush twins wrote a letter to Malia and Sasha? Published in the Wall Street Journal

I will say, I enjoyed every moment of inauguration coverage yesterday. I wasn't bored for a moment. Loved seeing all the former Presidents (yes, even the current as of yesterday morning. I think he was very gracious). My favorite non-Obama moment was watching the senior Bush's and the Clintons chat on camera--and then watching the 3 people rushing to them to tell them they had to move on. Yeah. Two former leaders of our nation are being bossed around by people whose names we'll never know. I seriously laughed at that. But I LOVE seeing the obvious friendship and respect that these two couples have for each other. It's pretty amazing to see.

Oh, and I also loved that Dr. Biden--Jill, our Veep's wife--has been offered jobs as prestigious universities around D.C. but has elected to teach at a community college. She wants to keep doing what she's been doing. That speaks volumes for her character, I think.

I also loved that when Bush's helicopter took off Joe Biden stood and saluted. No one has said anything about it on any news that I've seen; I think it was a private moment for him, but I caught it and thought it a nice tribute.

My favorite Obama moments? Well, they can best be explained in pictures. So here's a few I've dragged up from various websites. :0)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Tiramisu

Double-Coffee Tiramisu
(from southern living)

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee (or 1/2 cup hot water, 1 tbsp instant coffee granules)
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
2 (3 oz) packages ladyfingers
1/2 cup grated semisweet/dark chocolate (I didn't use NEARLY this much)

beat cream cheese and sugar together at med speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
beat whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. fold into cream cheese mixture.
stir together coffee and liqueur.
arrange ladyfingers evenly around sides of 8 6-oz coffee cups or ramekins. drizzle ladyfingers with coffee mixture. spoon or pipe cream cheese mixture into center of ramekins. sprinkle with grated chocolate. cover and chill 2 hours

(ok--I put my ladyfingers on the bottom and don't use so much chocolate, and I think it works out the same or better )

Sunday Song

I will lift up my eyes to the hill, from whence cometh my help...

So begins the words of on of my favorite Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir songs. And all day long it's been echoing --reverberating--through my mind. ALL of my help cometh from the Lord. Or so says the song. Do I *really* believe it to be true?

It's easy to look at a kind gesture from a friend or stranger as just that--a kind gesture borne from their capacity to love and have compassion. I was humbled this week by an acquaintance in my church choir who found out on Wednesday that I'd been without a job since August, and on Thursday brought a few items from her own pantry to the church for me. Yes, a very generous and most appreciated thing to do. But to give credit to Whom credit is due...I know it was the hand of God personified in a woman named Elaine.

I must remember that my help DOES come from above. That those kind hands, the encouraging words, the physical acts of help...all of that comes from my Lord.

I'm embeding a video of this song so that you too can be blessed by the message contained in the words. You'll have to scroll down and pause my music player first...sorry :0) To be honest, the images contained in the video are a bit distracting to me personally, but it was the best I could find.

The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night...He shall preserve thy and forevermore.

May you live in the realization that your soul is preserved by Him.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Word of the Year

My blogging friend Amber posted her word of the year, which is Honesty. I read her post and was inspired to do the same. I picked my word of the year in an instant. It was Trust. I thought it was a very appropriate word for me. After all, I have always had issues with trust. Whether it's God or myself, friends or romantic interests, I seem to never be able to trust. To be honest though, over the last two or three years, as I've gone further into recovery successfully, I've successfully trusted in a lot of things and people. So I chose the word simply to remind myself that trust is important to me day-by-day...that I'm going to have to trust that even though things are in a bit of turmoil at the moment it really work out ok.

However, as I went to reply to Amber's blog another word literally popped in front of me. I was asked to verify my comment by typing in the word bless. There it was in bold red letters. And I knew that as much as I do need to trust and to focus on other things this calling is to bless.

So, here's how Merriam-Webster online defines it:

Main Entry:

transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
\ˈblest\ also blest \ˈblest\ ; bless·ing
Middle English, from Old English blētsian, from blōd blood; from the use of blood in consecration
before 12th century
1: to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word
2: to hallow with the sign of the cross
3: to invoke divine care for —used in the phrase bless you to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed
4 a:
praise , glorify b: to speak well of : approve
5: to confer prosperity or happiness upon
6archaic :
protect , preserve
endow , favor

Ok. So, I can't really do #1 since I'm not a priest or pastor. I do the sign of the cross on occasion, but I don't think that's what I'm going for. I am guilty of using the "southern" version of "bless your heart" more often than not, I'm not really a protector, and I don't have the ability to endow or favor anyone with...anything. So I think it's those middle definitions that are going to be applicable to my life this year.

First of all, to praise and glorify. Who better to praise and glorify than God Himself? And I will strive each day, each moment to do that. I will fall short, of course. But there is no shame in being more aware of this, of truly doing everything I can to honor His name.

Next, to confer prosperity and happiness upon. I am to bless others by my presence. Making people happy is not the goal here for me. Helping them find joy, on the other hand, is. There is such a difference between the state of happiness and the life of joy. And my role this year is to be a blessing in someone's life. To remind them of the joy that exists in the everyday moments. Hopefully it will be more than one somebody...but I will trust that the right people will be brought into my life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday's Ten (on Saturday)

hanging my head in shame on this one. But in my defense (kind of) I went out with the girls on Thursday night which was the coldest night of the year--nearly down to 0 in Nashville, TN people--and brain just thawed out. Doesn't sound possible? Ok...I just suck then. :)

10 Things I am TRULY Thankful for in 2009

1. Good friends who are keeping me afloat in this tumultuous sea I find myself in. I'm not a big "talker" when it comes to things that are wrong, and I love that my friends GET that. And still, they seem to know what I need.

2. Time to just get away and be with those I love

3. Silly tv shows that just make me laugh.

4. My boyfriend--I'm truly blessed to have a wonderful, God-seeking man in my life.

5. A newfound (well within the past 3 years or so) love of cooking and nutrition. With my history, it's somewhat amazing that I love to cook even for just myself and share my meals with others as well.

6. People who feel they can confide in me for pretty heavy stuff. I've been reminded of that a lot over the last few weeks.

7. Odd jobs here and there from people who are trying to help me in whatever ways they know how

8. My animal and child magnet. I love it that I'm pretty much surrounded by small creatures when I'm in the same room as any of them. :)

9. Vodka. Hey, I really am thankful for it. I suppose I should be classier and say "wine" here, but is it for me. And Baileys. And...yeah.

10. God's constant reminders that He is all around me. Even in those places I am not looking for Him in.

Seriously...I know I've done a lot of ten lists on this same theme over the last few (well, 5 to be exact) months. But the thing dire as my circumstances are, as hard as the road is...there is NEVER a lack of things to be thankful for. I have a teeny tiny decorative pillow that hangs on my banister. It reads "Delight in the Unexpected". And I try to. Every day unexpected things happen. It's easy to categorize them as "good" and "bad" right away. But I'm learning that sometimes it's not that easy, not that black and white. Sometimes the unexpected just needs to be celebrated as what it is. Unexpected. Messy. But ultimately, it's just a celebration of life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oh My...

So I was in a musical at a friend's church last June. I was just sent this promo video. I have a pretty...interesting...cameo. I'm the girl in the red dress, just fyi. I'm also in yellow handing the baby over to the Princess toward the beginning, but that's not the funny part :)

It may not be funny unless you were in or saw the show, but just in case...hereyago.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Well...Happy New Year!

Yeah. I started January in a sleep-deprived state (we ended '08 and began '09 with nearly 24 hours straight of Rock Band) and then about the time I should have began my 2009 blogging I got sick. Knocked me off my feet for several days. Between that and my modem going bad and having to be replaced, a massive internet outage in Nashville the following day and a few other's really no surprise that I haven't sat down at the computer to write for the 11 preceeding days of this year!

So it's the dreaded update post. First of all, I'm not feverish anymore. Secondly, I'm still looking for a job. Yesterday was the 5 month mark. I really am getting fearful about losing the house and being in the worst financial shape I've ever imagined :( but somehow even through all of the fear and disappointment that no job has materialized yet...I am still convinced that the right thing is out there for me. I've applied to dozens of jobs just today. So *something* has to materialize. Right? Right.

Other than that...well, our beloved Titans are out of the playoffs now. We basically handed the Ravens the game on a platter on Saturday afternoon. Anthony and I watched the game with his sisters and their family's dog, Rowdy. It was a disappointing loss. As you can see from the picture to the right, however, it wasn't due to a lack of cute fans! :0)

I have picked up a couple of regular babysitting gigs, at least until full-time work comes. I already babysit for some clients small group every other Sunday night, and a friend from my church asked me to babysit for THEIR small group on the "other" Sunday nights. What a blessing that the schedules worked that way! Obviously I'll not be able to babysit for either of the groups when we have youth events like Infusion, but still. And Friday mornings are now spent at my church baybsitting for a Bible Study that just started up. Some of my friends happen to be in the study, so I already knew a lot of the, fun.

Lastly...I've never been much of a "resolution" type girl, but I do have a few things that I want to see happen in 2009

-- relationships: strengthen the existing and form new. Yes, my romantic relationship is important. But I need some serious girlfriend time, and even though at this moment I don't have a lot of money to throw into going out I do want to make sure quality time is spent with those I hold dear.

-- health: overall, just to live healthily. I want to train to run the half-marathon late this spring, and continue to develop healthy eating habits and attitudes. I've been pretty successful at this over the last 2-3 years, but it never hurts to renew that committment. I'd also like to see about 20 pounds disappear over this year, but I'm determined not to stress about it. I've already lost 5 due to being sick though... :0) OH. And healthy sleep habits. At this I suck. Must get better.

-- green: continue recycling, be more aware of power used and saved.

-- spiritual: just continue seeking God and being aware of His prescence constantly. Anthony and I are reading spiritual books together this year and will be doing a Lenten study...I'm so blessed to be in relationship with a man who believes as strongly as I do that this is important.

So...I think that's it! I'll get onto the normal blogging this week, so probaby a recipe and top 10 list will show up soon at the very least. Love to you all!