Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday's Song

Beautiful song from this morning's worship...enjoy Hillsong's version!

At The Cross

Oh Lord You've searched me,

You know my way,
Even when I fail You,
I know You love me...

Your holy presence surrounding me,
In every season, I know You love me...

At the cross I bow my knee,
Where Your blood was she'd for me
There's no greater love than this
You have overcome the grave
Your glory fills the highest place,
What can separate me now...

You go before me
You shield my way,
Your hand upholds me,
I know You love me...

You tore the veil,
You made a way
When You said that 'it is done'

And when the earth fades,
Falls from my eyes,
And You stand before me
I know You love me, I know You love me...


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday's Ten (interaction time)

This week I'm asking you to give me a top 10...or 5...or 2 things that make you happy. I'll be doing something with it over the next week or so! Here's the beginning of my list

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

1. Holding a newborn
2. The smell of rain
3. Kissing
4. Getting a tan
5. New pajamas
6. Finding a new recipe
7. Children singing
8. An animal's love
9. Photography
10. Worship


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Recipe(s) of the Week

I don't know about you, but I am normally a pretty creative (A calls me "adventurous") cook. I get bored with plain recipes so I always spice things up. And since I love to experiment with recipes I often will just make something up. Especially in the summer when I prefer fresh veggies and light menus. This is what happened with the following.

First, my lunch today...I went to Trader Joe's (of course) yesterday and stocked up on veggies. Among my purchases was fresh asparagus. Today I steamed it and then concocted the following sauce to pour over:

1/2 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
generous sprinkling of dill
juice of a lime wedge

If I had it to do over again I may put a little cream in it, but then again I think it would make the pour over too "heavy" for summer/swimsuit weather!

Here's one of my tried and true favorites. Note that it serves 1, so you'll need to adjust to your needs. It's a GREAT way to use up veggies or just make a quick meal with items already on hand. Providing your fridge door is as impressive as mine :)

Ginger Noodle StirFry

1 bundle japanese noodles (I buy them at Kroger but yesterday I saw Thai noodles at TJ's--those will also work)

Ginger Dressing (usually in the salad area of your grocery store, not the salad dressing aisle) -- I use about half a cup

Soy Sauce -- about a tablespoon
Asian hot sauce -- I'm generous, about 2 tbsps, but you may want less

Freshly chopped cilantro -- a bunch or so

All the fresh veggies you want. Last night it included broccoli, cucumber, onion and garlic. Others I like to add are cherry tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, carrots, etc.

optional meat source--I prefer it with pre-cooked steak strips, but chicken is good too

(as you can see above it's a measure out your own type recipe. I pour and chop in what looks good)

Bring water to a boil for the noodles, and cook according to
directions on the package. Meanwhile, combine ginger dressing, soy sauce and hot sauce in a small fry pan. Add veggies according to cooking temperature--I start with cilantro, then onion, broccoli, etc. Saute the mixture for a couple of minutes then turn the burner to low or warm. Drain noodles, then toss in the veggie stir-fry mix. Toss together and serve, preferably with chopsticks!

(pictured with Trader Joe chicken cilantro potstickers and a dipping sauce)


Our Fantastic Weekend

Technically today was still the weekend! Here's a wordle...

was fantastic! (by the way, congratulations Bethany for guessing correctly where we were headed!) We got in late Thursday night, and pretty much went straight to bed after arriving and settling a bit.


We woke up early (well, Hailey and I did. Anthony had to be somewhat p
ersuaded to get out of bed.). After we got showers and I got coffee in my system we headed out to the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium was really cool...but I was VERY disappointed that I didn't get to see the penguins! They were off exhibit :(

After the aquarium we went across the plaza to the World of Coca-Cola. Now, I had been to the coke museum a few years ago, but they've since moved locations so this was a new experience for me. After an awful (seriously) animated cartoon about the happiness factory, we were on our own to explore. So many cool things to see, but our favorites (I think) were the pop art, commercial viewing theater, and tasting room. Oh, and the fact that we all got a free bottle of Coke on our way out!

When we were finished with purchasing at the gift shop we headed back to Tammy's house (Anthony's aunt) where she had grilled chicken, corn on the cob and other yummy things for us to eat. A fantastic homemade meal that I didn't cook! :0) Then the 4 of us played a game of hand and foot (Anthony and I have never been partners before and we paired up for this best 2 out of 3. Which was awesome!) Tammy is amazingly sweet and has an adorable Jack Russel terrier with whom I bonded pretty quickly.


Saturday morning dawned and we got up (even earlier!) to hit the zoo. It was a zoo pretty much as you would imagine...but they have pandas (!) and kangaroos. Oh, and lions which you would think is standard but no. Not so much. I'm sure Anthony would also want me to mention the fantastic rhino...

Hailey was not so thrilled with the idea of our next we went back to Tammy's for lunch and just the two of us headed out. To IKEA!!!

(I was completely thrilled. And it did not disappoint. Seriously, this place is enormous. Much bigger than our biggest mall in Nashville. And oh, the fun I had).

We loved quite a bit about Ikea (Anthony already has plans to go back for a bookshelf or two, and I got some awesome recylcling bins), but I think we may have been most impressed by the escalator for the carts. Haha.

The evening wrapped up with an amazing Latin fusion restaurant (that we're still craving!), a trip to a neon madhouse (otherwise known as Brandsmart) and another game of Hand and Foot before turning in for the night.


Tammy was on the worship team at her church, so we left separately. Church was amazing and such an incredible worship experience. It was nice to be in another setting for a change. The message was on women's roles in the church and it was SO REFRESHING to be in a setting that is more how I grew up...and that believes that God gifts both males and females to be leaders!

I cheated on Nashville Joe by stopping at the Atlanta Trader Joe's on the way home from church. Unfortunately, there are no alcohol sales on Sunday under Georgia state law, so I STILL was not able to partake of TJ's wines. Sigh. But I did load up on some snacks for the road (and for home!) and picked up some toffee as a thank you gift for our hostess.

We ate lunch at Tammy's house, played our third game of Hand and Foot and set out on the road. It was a pretty uneventful drive (although we did manage to both terrify and amuse Hailey with our lovey-dovey talk -- which I assure you is totally a joke. Right pooky?)

All in all, it was a lovely weekend and I'm SO glad I got to meet another wonderful member of Anthony's family...and we're already planning another weekend getaway. It was that much fun. :0)


Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday's Song

Not much writing of my own tonight, just sharing the lyrics to a beautiful worship song that never fails to leave mascara running down my cheek (as it did this morning at Anthony's aunt's church).

More about my trip later, but we are safely home, and I am getting ready to turn in for the evening here in just a few minutes. Wonderful, fantastic time, and worship this morning was a big part of that.

Revelation Song

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday's Ten and then...

Yeah, I've been woefully absent from my blog lately. I promise it's not because anything bad is going on. Quite the contrary, actually. Between all the recorded tv I'm trying to catch up on (LOST, Grey's, AI...those I'm current on. Everything else, no), the work for the consulting project I've been given as a "trial", and the job interview I had on Monday (as well as the subsequent crazy running around to make sure all my ducks were in a row with that school system AND finding out about 2 other music teaching positions!)...I've just not sat down at the computer to blog!

I've been reading all your blogs though. And rarely commenting...sorry :( See reasons listed above.

Hopefully after this weekend I'll catch up a bit. BUT not until after this weekend. Because here's this week's 10.

Ten Things I'm Doing Between Thursday and Sunday

1. getting off work early
2. getting in a car with my boyfriend and his youngest sister for a bit of a drive
3. making a pit stop for dinner and to go to a gaming store/warehouse thing
4. meeting an aunt of said boyfriend (and sister)
5. unpacking a bag
6. going to an aquarium and a place where I get to sample drinks from around the world...and possibly going underground as well
7. going to IKEA and maybe even a zoo
8. kissing my boyfriend (hopefully more than just the once)
9. going to a church that is smaller than (and a different denom than) the one we attend at home...which will actually be lovely for a change!
10. heading back home with lots of memories. And pictures. There will be pictures for SURE.

Any guesses where we're going? There's a BIG hint in number 6. Also, it's more than 2 hours and less than 5 away from Nashville. :)


Sunday, May 17, 2009

God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.
- Mother Teresa

I had a moment last week.

The woman I've been staying with as a caregiver goes to a very VERY conservative church. We've had some "discussions" in the past, as I go to a church that she considers very much liberal, too much so (even though by MY standards it's very conservative and a step backwards from what I grew up in...but I digress.)

We've clashed (nicely and politely) about women's roles and worship styles. And I usually state how I feel and drop it because I figure she's not going to change her mind, but I don't want to keep silent on how I feel (for example that what's in your pants doesn't determine if you can actually be called to ministry. Yeah. Don't even get me started!).

After all, nearly 30 years separate us and she's had such rich life experiences. I'm always a little intimidated by that, and I always feel like women who are in her position would never listen to a woman like me -- never married, with no children, and in their eyes still too young to know anything.

However, we were at lunch the other day and she out of the blue said

"Lora, I'm just going to confess my sins to you."

She proceeded to tell me that she isn't a scholar of the Bible "like she should be". She reads her Bible regularly, and she loves and trusts God, but she doesn't feel like she's ever been good at studying the word, or at anything for that matter.

This actually goes on for awhile and I let her get it off her chest.

And when she is done, I simply said

"I don't think you have to be."

I went on to back up that statement by saying this:

- by going to church and Bible study you are learning from people who ARE Biblical scholars (hopefully)
- we're not all called to be scholars. Some of us have the gift of prayer, of hospitality, of caring for others.
- that whole scripture about different parts of the body? Yeah, so being a scholar isn't your strength. You're not a head. Neither am I. You're a mouth, or an arm...and that's ok!
I think at some point you just have to let the guilt go and realize that God is pleased with you just the way He created you.

I went on to explain that I grew up in a church and environment that was very legalistic and focused on the wrong things. And that I had let it go, and began focusing on what's really important--the relationship. And as long as my focus is on that, everything else just falls into place.

She was silent at this.

We continued our meal, and the conversation organically progressed to other things. I was certain that my words had fallen upon deaf ears as I've so often thought in conversing with her.

However, about 20 minutes and 5 topics later she said:

"You know...I think you're right."

And I wanted to stand and shout right then and there. Because somehow my words helped another woman just lay down some of the guilt. And let it go.
(and maybe she doesn't think I'm such a heathen after all).

My fervent prayer is that I can continue to reach out in the small things.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekends, Weddings, and Wine

First, the wordle for the week...
(go here to link up)

Second, Six Word Saturday
(go here to link up)

Exhausting day, but so much fun!

So today I went to rehearsal for services tomorrow (praise team week) and for the first time in recent history I wore a cute little dress to rehearsal on a Saturday morning! After we were finished I ran to a store and came home and made these out of what I bought at that store:

Then I put on makeup, did my hair and waited for my beau to come pick me up...

And we went to a wedding in the most beautiful church in Murfreesboro. The music was amazing (classical choral music) and everything was simple, classy and gorgeous. I actually tucked a few ideas away for the future, which is saying something...I'm pretty picky about the whole wedding thing. And they had WINE at the reception, which is always a very good thing! Anthony had the merlot while I stuck which chardonnay.

We even ran into a good friend of mine, Suz'
After we got back from the wedding I met my friend Erin who's in town this weekend for dinner and then we hung out for awhile. She'll be at the Pub tomorrow night, so I'm thinking I'll perhaps stop by. Excuses for going not really needed, but that will be a bonus :0)

Hope ya'll have had a wonderful day!
(that's as southern as I get. I promise.)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday's Ten -- more great quotes

Today I have a lot to say.

There is so much on my mind, heart and it all wants to burst forth...but it can't yet. I have some formulating and processing to do before that happens.

So in that interest, let me share the words of others that have inspired me, made me laugh...or just made me think. May one of them strike a similar chord with you.

(oh, and this isn't nearly as emo and melodramatic as it sounds. Most of the things I have to share are good things, I'm just trying to formulate the best time and way TO share.)

Ten Quotes that I Love

(part one of this can be found here)

1. "I believe in pink. I believe laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing; kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles."

- Audrey Hepburn

2. "a person gets to have her whole life"
- Private Practice

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

4. “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
- Dr Seuss

5. "Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."
- Mahatma Gandhi

6. "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun."
- Katharine Hepburn

7. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou

8. "Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."
- Mother Teresa

9. " A child miseducated is a child lost."
- John F Kennedy

10. "I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set it free."
- Michelangelo


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Recipe of the Week +

If this blog is scattered, I apologize. I'm currently watching Ellen. And Lady Gaga is on. In some sort of spacesuit attire, standing on the piano bench in stilettos and leaned over to actually PLAY the piano. Oddest thing I have ever seen. If you don't believe me, just go here and you can see it for yourself. We-ird! So I'm distracted, just a bit!

Luckily I don't have to be in too sound of a mindframe to simply post a here you go.

I took a Rachael Ray recipe and made it even easier--woo-hoo! I made these
for a Girl's Night I had at my house a couple of weeks ago, and then again for Anthony and I the other night for dinner (coupled with almond tossed green beans and a small tomato salad for me). It went over well for both crowds, so I'm definitely adding it to the rotation!

Ranch Stuffed Potato Skins

4 Idaho potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix (I use Hidden Valley Ranch)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.

Scrub the potatoes of any excess dirt and prick them each several times with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black
pepper, tossing lightly to coat. Bake the potatoes in the oven until tender, about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Remove the baked potatoes from the oven and let cool enough to handle.

While the potatoes are cooling, combine the milk and ranch dressing mix. Season the ranch mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reserve in the refrigerator until the potatoes are ready.

Once the potatoes are cool, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop the insides out into a mixing bowl, leaving a thin layer of flesh still intact on each half. Be sure not to pierce the skin of the
potato while doing so.

Add the ranch to the potato and mash lightly to mix everything together. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and scoop the filling back into the hollowed out potato shells, dividing it evenly between all eight potato halves.

Place the potato skins back onto a baking sheet and sprinkle the cheese over each of them. Place them back into the oven to melt the cheese, 1-2 minutes.

Bonus: the cardinal couple who was yelling at Emi this afternoon when she ventured onto the back patio. I'm guessing that I will see baby cardinals soon...