Monday, August 31, 2009

Rambling of Faith

Mother Teresa: one of my faith heroes and childhood icons.

Now recognized as a saint, I believe.

When asked once what she thought the first thing she would say to God when she got to Heaven she replied "I think it will be 'You have a lot of explaining to do'"

This quote makes me feel SO much better.

Because there are those times when that's exactly how I feel. That there's just so much I don't understand.

It reminds me that Mother Teresa, while a giant in her faith, struggled just like I do.

I don't know why my friend was just diagnosed with cancer.
I don't know why my friend's father's spinal cord looks like swiss cheese due to a mass eating away part of his vertebrae.
I don't know why so many people are unemployed.
I don't know why...

But I do know WHO.

And that...that makes all the difference.


Monday's Memory

Italy, 2002

My first experience with San Pelligrino water
It was love at first sight.
And being the musicians we are, we also played a few tunes. In harmony.
(I'm on the left)


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Blog Stuff

I really like this week's wordle :0)
Go here to link up and participate!

Massage, Mass, Football and Laser Show
It's Gonna Be a Perfect Saturday!

I had a heavenly massage this morning (including my therapist praying over me about the job stuff), we're headed to Mass this afternoon...there's a Titans game...and then we're going to the Planetarium to watch the Pink Floyd/The Wall laser show. We saw the Beatles show about a month ago and it was a blast, so we're looking forward to this one!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Out of the Mouths

I have been babysitting quite a bit over the last few days.
And it's been welcome, fun, and challenging (depending on the day/time and family!)
Monday and Tuesday I spent the day with a sweet 2 year old little boy, E.

E has the most adorable head of curly brown hair and the biggest blue eyes ever. He's quite the charmer, and he is SO hard to resist when he's asking for something. I'm pretty good at saying "no" and meaning it, but he seriously is *almost* adorable enough for me to give in to.

But he's being well-parented, and is not overly spoiled, knows good manners, and listens to instructions. Pretty impressive, actually.

We were on the way up the stairs on Tuesday for his nap and he wanted to take a toy with him. We reached the base of the stairs and he handed me the toy so that he would have hands free to climb. As I took it he said "Thank you!"

I replied "You're welcome." and as I ruffled his hair added "and you're adorable!"

He didn't even glance back at me as he answered that with a simple "Yes."

I relayed that story to my friend Laura who laughed with me and pointed out "He doesn't even realize that's a compliment yet. To him, it's a fact. You're 2. And you're adorable. Fact. And it's ok to agree with it."

And as we ended our conversation and I hung up the phone I began to wonder.

When do we lose that?

E doesn't yet know that you can't accept a compliment.
He accepts it as fact because no one has told him he can't.
At what point are we told (outright or subtly) that we can't do that anymore?

At some point we are.
And a compliment ceases to be a fact, and instead becomes an exercise in how we can refute it.

For some, it's replaced with false humility.
For's replaced with all the reasons why that's just not true.

How many times have people complimented my fashion sense and I dodged them by saying some disparaging remark about how the item fits, or myself?
How many people have I devalued by dismissing their genuine compliment?
How often do I brush off a remark about my personality with "it's what I do" or "it was nothing"? It was clearly something enough for that person to mention why do I brush it aside?

A lot of this stems from my personal issues and the fact that I may always have the ever-present voice inside me telling me that I'm just not good enough.

But when I choose to accept that voice for the lie it is, and start listening to the Truth, I need to become more like E.

When someone compliments me, I need to take it as fact.
No ulterior motives
No drama involved
No lies to get on my good side
They said it. It was nice. It must be a fact.

It's not going to be easy. But the biggest negative voice I have to contend with is my own. Everyone else seems to gel with me just fine :0)

What about you?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Claiming This One

It's been a year.
And there is a job that I would LOVE
So instead of just throwing caution to the wind and applying, possibly getting an interview, and waiting for the phone call/letter of rejection
(lather, rinse, repeat of the last 12 months)
I am CLAIMING this job.

And while I'm pretty sure that's not a "this particular place of employment" thing to do...
I'm trusting that this is what I've been waiting for.

It's an admissions/recruiting position (which, hello, I've done before--at Trevecca, as a student, but still) and it would give me the chance to be in the academic world as well as the professional, to travel, and to represent a university that I have found myself liking more and more over the past few months :0)

And so...this is my petition to ask you all to join me in claiming this job, to pray with me that I will represent myself as well as my Father while I go through the process of applying and interviewing.

And WHEN I am given this job we are going to PARTY.

Yes? Yes.

Thanks, dear friends.


Thursday's Ten

Lessons Learned this Week

1. When the 2 year old is quiet...FIND OUT WHY.
2. Sometimes miscommunication is simply not your fault. And while I'm really good at beating myself up for things that aren't my fault most of the time...I'm letting it GO.
3. Kids say the darndest things, and there's a lot to be learned from 2 year old wisdom. More about that later this week.
4. Naps are beautiful.
5. Right when I start to worry about money (for the millionth time in the last 12 months)...God provides me with babysitting jobs that all fit nicely into my already scheduled week...without taking time from dates with the man or time carved out for myself. He's reminding me that He really is in charge here...
6. Lilies are beautiful, especially when they're in an arrangement bought for you by a wonderful man.
7. People at church like the boyfriend and me as a unit :)
8. I may never, ever, develop a normal sleep pattern.
9. My hair is growing a LOT (almost long enough for Locks of Love!)
10. No, really. When the 2 year old is quiet, find out why!

I babysat for my friend Jennifer's 2 youngest yesterday. The 2 year old got another room. Short version of the story is that she likes fla-vor-ice just as much as I do, and was determined to gnaw her way through it. This resulted in a wardrobe change, as the purple from the popsicle didn't quite match the purple on her shirt.
(she did greet me with a smile when I walked in on the carnage. and was industriously cleaning the floor with a towel. something tells me this was not her first experience.)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

As Promised...Our Anniversary Recap

Friday night was awesome :0)

Anthony showed up to my house with favorite!

We began the anniversary date by going for a run. Yes, we ARE dorks. But the idea behind it was a good one--A pointed out that we would feel less guilty for indulging in great Italian food if we exercised first...

Unfortunately, since hurting my knees at camp I haven't been running. So I was a little slow-going...

After the run we got cleaned up...and went to play glo golf at Opry Mills. Totally cheesy and a TON of fun.

We went from there to dinner at Maggiano's, which was amazing! (oh, and the view on the way TO dinner was beautiful too)

Our waitress took this picture of us after dinner. A side note about this that was really sweet:
We had ordered our food and beverages, exchanged gifts and just generally been chatting and stuff. When our food was delivered, we held hands and Anthony said a prayer of thanks for the past year and the food. When we raised our heads our waitress was waiting a few steps away. I smiled and started to say sorry (she was bringing us one additional item) but she started speaking before I could get that out. She told us (with tears in her eyes) that she could tell from the moment we had walked in that we were Christians just from the way we had acted and interacted. She said it was really cool to see, and an encouragement.
(I may have brushed a tear or two away as she walked away from saying that. We've always prayed that our relationship would not only draw us closer together and to God but also that we would be a blessing to others. What a wonderful confirmation!)

We came back to my house where we played Scrabble while watching some fun tv...
(yes we ARE dorks)

As for the gift that I received...first of all, Anthony wrote me the SWEETEST card ever (which I may have read several a few twice since our anniversary). Then I opened my gift.

You should know that LONG before our anniversary--at least 3 weeks ago if not more--Anthony told me he already had my gift and that he was already excited for me to see it.

This, of course, made me freak a bit about buying HIS gift. I ended up getting a vinyl copy of an album that his dad suggested to well as a couple of other things I knew he the freak-out mode didn't last THAT long.

However. When I opened my gift I was still a bit overwhelmed.

Anthony and his family went to Texas in late July (if you've been around you know that was the 2 weeks of separation that had me going CRAZY). While they were there he posted pictures of this incredible glass shop in San Antonio that has hand-blown glass sculptures. I was blown away by the beauty of what he posted there, and mentioned to him (after they were home, I think) that it reminded me of one of my favorite places to visit growing up.

When they were in the shop he was browsing around when his parents pointed this particular piece out to him...and he said he knew instantly that he was going to have to get it for our anniversary. It's a Madonna, the Blessed Virgin. With my love of all things iconic for Christianity and a special place in my heart for couldn't get more perfect than this.

He knows me...and apparently his parents do as well ;)

I wish I could get a better picture of it, but for now this will have to do. She's beautiful in the lighted shelf of my entertainment unit...

So, that's our anniversary in a nutshell. Simple and sweet, uncomplicated, and a lot of wonderful time spent together. Kind of like the previous 12 months. I can't wait to see what the next 12 months have to hold!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There WILL be an anniversary recap for those of you who have asked for it. Hopefully in the next 24 hours, but definitely within the next 48!


You Can't Make This Stuff Up...Volume 1

I often see odd sights while driving through Nashville...or hear odd things.

Case 1:
At a party on Saturday night, a friend was telling me that she has an aunt who has actually written her a letter condemning *something* she's doing (let's say it's drinking wine once in awhile). Her aunt wrote the following:

"Satan is happy with your decision."

(my friend said when she told her sister this, her sister would call her answering machine periodically and say "This is Satan...and I'm happy with you!")

{My friend, L, says that she just tells this aunt "You'll be pleasantly surprised to see me in Heaven, sipping my wine and wearing my shorts."}

My response to this story?

"Suddenly my family seems a thousand times more normal."

Case 2:
A text I sent to A earlier this evening:

I just saw the WORST sign flipper guy ever. Instead of flipping he was using the sign as an air guitar. That coupled with the white-as-he-is wanna be rapper attire...

(Seriously, this guy was probably 34ish, stocky, very white, and was dressed in this all white gangsta suit get up. Strumming on the sign as if it were a guitar. It was NOT working for him.)

Case 3:
A friend of mine from high school said to A and I at my 10 year reunion a couple of months ago:

"Greasy women make goooood food."

You can't MAKE this stuff up.

Any stories to share? I kind of expect this to be a semi-regular feature :)


Recipe of the Week

This week I'm combining and adapting two recipes from Rachael Ray...she's good to me :)

(Mini) Sausage and Cheese Calzones with Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3/4 pound Italian sausage, casing removed (I use chicken sausage, so it's healthier)
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Italian cheese blend
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 sprigs thyme, stemmed and leaves chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 pizza dough (from Trader Joe's or a local pizzeria)

Preheat a medium-size skillet with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once the skillet is hot, add the sausage and break it up into small pieces. Cook until brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the garlic, the cheeses, thyme and lemon zest, and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the reserved sausage to the bowl and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Mix thoroughly to combine.

Roll out the pizza dough. Cut into 4-8 equal pieces, depending on how large you want your calzones. With a rolling pin, roll out each one into a circle. Working on just half of the surface of each circle, divide the filling equally between the calzones. Fold the other half of the dough over the top of filling and pinch the edges firmly to seal.

Transfer the calzones to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake the calzones for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown all over.

Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove chopped garlic
1 can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup basil (a handful), chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the chopped onion and remaining garlic to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan with the basil and simmer the sauce until thickened up a bit, 2-3 minutes, turn the heat off and add the cream.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend Stuff

Girls Lunch, Old Friend, Dance Party!

It's a busy day, full of girly fun...lunch with all the females in A's family (mom, sisters, granny aunts...) and then meeting my former neighbor from elementary-high school for a drink...she and her husband just moved to Nashville! AND I'm currently getting ready to head out to a friend's birthday party. It's a dance party. Which in my case should mean "stand around and bob head awkwardly..."


"dating should be an adventure"

so read the title of an article on the comcast home page a few moments ago.

and yes, dating is an adventure
and a quiet steadiness
and silly moments
mixed with the sweet

dating you, my dear, has been one of the greatest adventures of my life.
looking forward to what this year has to hold!


Friday, August 21, 2009

A Year Ago

I was awakened by a text message from the man who the night before had nervously sat in our youth minister's office to ask if it was ok to date me...
(actually the conversation went something like this:
A: D (youth minister), what's the policy about two lifeguards dating? Is that allowed?
D: Only if it's not Lora!
clearly he knew before we did...)

my text that morning read: "do you like italian?"

do I like Italian. Please. Carbs are my best friend.

That evening, he showed up at my door bearing a single white rose and looking even more handsome that usual. We went to Maggiano's downtown, and were given a wonderful booth where we were able to sit side by side and enjoy our meal...we did dinner and came back to my house where we more than likely watched an episode of "Friends" and called it a night...after all it WAS a Thursday night and he had to be at work the next morning!

Tonight we will return to Maggiano's.
It's hard to believe it's been a year.
And yet in so many ways I feel like he's been with me all my life.

I'm blessed beyond measure to experience my journey with this amazing man by my side.
Silly but Serious
and best of all, I know that his love for God will always outweigh his feelings for me

I couldn't have dreamed of a better last 12 months.
Thank you, Anthony, for all you mean to me.

And thank you, God...for giving us each other. How could I have ever doubted that You were the best author of my love story? More than I could have ever asked or imagined...














Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday's Ten

Ten Things that Keep Me From Being in Bed at a Decent Hour

1. games on Facebook
2. Family Guy reruns
3. phone conversations with my man
4. poker nights
5. playing other games (like Halo) with the man
6. pub night
7. blogging
8. the fact that my favorite bedtime is 2 am (unfortunately the world does not operate that way...but when you don't have a job to go to in the morning...)
9. general playing online
10. clipping and sorting coupons

What about you? Are you a collapse in the bed at an early/decent hour or a night owl like me?



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recipe of the Week -- Copycat Blasts

I certainly hope that everyone here has dined at the Cheesecake Factory.
If you haven't, please do...soon. The menu is impressive, the portions are huge. And while I wouldn't recommend a steady diet of their entrees and desserts for a weight-loss program, it IS good to splurge once in awhile!
I went there a month or so ago and on a whim ordered their "buffalo blasts"
Here's the description from their website:

Chicken Breast, Cheese and Our Spicy Buffalo Sauce all Stuffed in a Spiced Wrapper and Fried until Crisp. Served with Celery Sticks and Blue Cheese Dressing.

Now, I try not to fry things. So when I searched the internet for this recipe and only found deep fried versions (which admittedly, is what CF does) I decided to make it somewhat healthier.

So here's my Copycat (Lighter) Blast recipe

1 chicken breast
egg roll/wonton wrappers
Frank's buffalo wing sauce (this is the brand that CF uses, according to my online sources...and it did taste the same!)
Mexican cheese blend
garlic powder
1 egg white
mix of bread crumbs and flour
olive oil spray

Bake the chicken breast at 350 until done (I drizzled some of the wing sauce over it while baking)
Shred chicken and lay inside wonton wrapper. Mix with cheese and garlic powder.
Fold wrapper into a triangular shape (corner to corner). Close wrapper using water or egg white to moisten the edges enough to seal.
Brush both sides of the blast with egg white and dip into the bread crumbs/flour mix. Place in fry pan with olive oil spray and brown on both sides.
Serve with ranch dressing, preferably made from a packet with skim milk and olive oil mayo...yum!

Yes, the deep fried is probably better as far as taste goes...but I don't feel nearly as guilty eating these!


Titus 2 revisited

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)


Time to start explaining a bit about my latest post.
But first, let me introduce you to LaJuana.

LaJuana was one of the first people I met when I began attending Woodmont Hills, and for some reason we immediately clicked. She was the wife of our worship minister, and helped teach a women's class that I attended for awhile before I began volunteering in our youth group.

I didn't tell LaJuana I had an eating disorder...she figured it out and just asked me point-blank one day. Besides being shocked (I was REALLY good at hiding it), I was also relieved.

LaJuana was instrumental in my recovery, meeting with me to specifically talk about what was going on, literally pulling a support team around me (which I've written a little more about here), and assuring me that I am loved no matter what. Don't get me wrong--it was a HARD time, and I'm pretty positive I wasn't easy to be around during those years...but somehow she loved me through it.

And through all that we managed to live life as friends. And since recovery we've gotten even closer. Pedicures, lunches/dinners out, celebrating birthdays (her and I are 2 days apart and her husband is a week before mine), walks at Radnor, decorating her house and mine for Christmas, the tradition of Baja Burrito before church every Wednesday...

And when all our small group stuff went down (an affair between 2 members of the group as well as a LOT of other sexual addiction stuff that was discovered)...she understood why I, as the single person in the group, was affected so deeply. She was able to name it: "your dream of the future has been affected."

I swore off relationships.

And about a year and a half ago, she asked me to come over for lunch. While I was there she showed me a beautiful antique punch bowl and cups set that she had found on a New England vacation. When I told her they were perfect she said "good. because we'll be using them at your bridal luncheon."

I hadn't even realized that things in me were shifting and I was longing for romance, for relationship. It's funny...she often knows what I'm feeling before I can name it.

I found out two weeks ago that they are moving.
Atlanta isn't far away in the grand scheme of things...
It will be nice to have another person to visit there
But not having her physical presence in my daily life is overwhelming.

She won't be hosting a bridal luncheon
She won't be around to make an impromptu trip to the nail place
No more Saturday lunches
No more movie dates
No more Baja

I'm happy for their new opportunities.
But I am deeply mourning this.