Monday, February 28, 2011

what.a.weekend.

We woke up Saturday morning about 3am to the sound of swooshing wings right outside our window. I got up, and could only see one guinea. Seeing as they roost on Bobby's ramp (which is right outside our window), we debated whether or not they were attempting to fly up to the roof. Later the next day Bobby would discover two of the birds were gone. An owl perhaps?  Or did a raccoon pull them down while they slept and the swoosh was them trying to get back up? The birds themselves made no noise at all, which is incredible. They have to be the noisiest animals we've ever had. So I'm thinking if an animal pulled them down, we would have heard it. But we'll never know. We lost another two last night, but were both so dead tired we didn't hear anything.

But all that to say, we woke up an hour before our alarm went off. Yes, that's correct. We got up at 4am on a Saturday morning so we could be at McDonald's by 6am for breakfast.  Yep, you read that right! We wanted to be the first in line. (And those of you who know how much I'm NOT a morning person recognizes the severe sarcasm in that.) We hit McDonalds for breakfast to save me a little time, as I had to board a bus in Raleigh at 6:30am.

Bernina World of Sewing chartered a bus for the day to take a group of women to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Virginia. We entered the show about 10:30am, and other than a brief respite for lunch and something to soothe my throat later in the afternoon, it took me until 4:15pm to go through all the exhibits and vendors. Had I not been so tired I might have used my remaining time to revisit some of the places I liked, but since I had spent all my allotted money (and a little bit more), I decided to head on out to the place where the bus would pick us up at 5pm to being the journey home. Except the bus didn't pick us up. It was stuck in the parking lot with a poorly juiced battery. An hour later the exhibits have closed, the convention center security is locking down, and the 55 of us ladies are still sitting in the lobby. The convention center graciously allowed their shuttle bus (a charter bus that connects the nearby hotel to the convention center), to take us all to a restaurant so we could have supper while we waited. And while we were eating, their shuttle went back to the convention center and gave our bus a jumpstart. So by the time we finished up, we were ready to hit the road. Thankfully the organizers had allotted supper time to be at a buffet-style restaurant which takes longer, as well as potential traffic delays. So even though we left two hours late, we arrived back in Raleigh only an hour after they had planned. I was home by midnight.

So this morning I am still very sleepy. But I'm excited, and full of ideas and things I want to do. Unfortunately, this month is full of things that I must do, like taxes, costumes, laundry, and other such mundane tasks. But don't despair. I took a TON of pictures, a little over 100 to be exact.  So this week is going to be a highlight of the good, the challenging, and the ugly of the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.
And boy are you going to be surprised!

Friday, February 25, 2011

umm,, welll,...hmmm

Somehow I've made it on the mailing list for Crate & Barrel. As far as I know, I've purchased one thing there, and it was a gift for someone else. Regardless, I like to flip through it before tossing it into the recycling container.

But today something caught my eye.  Perhaps it's my tried and traditional self coming out, perhaps it's my southern country backwoods mindset, but I have never, ever seen anything like this nor could ever imagine myself using it.

http://www.crateandbarrel.com/search.aspx?query=jm360

The picture in the magazine shows it with snow peas, though the description says it's for party foods, like olives or crackers. I just find it odd, and could never, ever imagine me using something like this. I can see me being at a modern person's house who has a dish like this and managing to mishandle the serving utensil in something shaped like this and making a mess on the tablecloth.

So I'm curious. Would you use a narrow dish that's longer than a ruler but only 2.5" wide? What would you put in it? I guess I'm just country round or plain old square.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

el Buen Sabor

Don't ask me what the title of this post means. I think we decided on good spices or good flavors, but seeing as I've never studied Spanish I'm just taking someone's word for it.

Sunday night after church Bobby and I sauntered down the sidewalk to this little Mexican restaurant that has recently opened in the same building where our church meets. Dumbfounded would be a great description for our emotions (and maybe our faces?) when we walked in and discovered the entire menu was in Spanish. I knew the word for chicken, pork and taco (thanks to working at Taco Bell during college and having non-English speakers coming in for food), but that's about it. After a few minutes of discussing what we were seeing and neither one of us really having a clue, the lady holds up a folded piece of paper and says "We do have an English menu."  Instant relief!

I'm guessing this is true, authentic Mexican food. It was very different from what you normally get in a Mexican restaurant, was freshly made, but was good. Here's a sample of the menu:

Tacos, $2.00 (yeah, you read that correctly. But don't expect the hard corn shell like you buy in the stores or at other restaurants. These are home-made, soft tacos, but they didn't exactly taste like flour shells, either).
Options for fillers: grilled steak, chicken (which I had), marinated pork, tongue (Bobby's choice), barbecue, spicy Mexican sausage, pork brain, pork skins with Nopales (?), tripe (which is 25cents more).  There's not lettuce or cheese with the meat, but there is a side dish of avocado sauce, which was quite good, that you could add to the meat.

They also have Pupusas, with various fillings (anybody know what that is?), tortas, plates, burritos, picadas, gorditas, sopes, Guesadillas, and an interesting bottom listing of philly steak sandwich, fried tacos, tamalas, and Huevos (eggs cooked to order...so this must be eggs?). As I type this out from the menu, I'm finding this little 8 or 6 pt font that tells which items have lettuces with them. Guess I should have taken a little more time to read the menu!

We might try it again just so we can try the other items. This place is much pricier than we normally pay for Mexican food, but it's run by a family and made me feel as if I were off on an adventure. It was nice to branch outside of our normal routine. I jokingly tell people when it's just the two of you, everything you do is a date, but our venture into the unknown was fun and would definitely be classified as a "cool date".

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

hot off the machine

Last month when I pulled out all my stash so we could assemble Tommy B's quilt top, I had a hard time putting it back up. You see, several years ago I purchased these "panels" on clearance from a quilt store. Seeing as I had two whole strips of piecings (How does my math always wind up being so off?) leftover from Tommy's quilt top, it seemed a shame to let everything be folded and put away.  I mean, there was another quilt top screaming to be made. (Yes, I hear your voices shouting "One project at a time!" and "That's not on February's to-do-list" and "You can't be SERIOUS!") So I did what any scatter-brained project starter does best: I started another quilt top. :)

It didn't quite turn out like I had envisioned it, but that's okay. So here it is, four minutes off the sewing machine:
the side view (notice the long pieced strip near the side...that's the leftover)

and an upside view (just pretend you're standing behind the headboard of a bedframe)
Now I can fold it up and put it in the closet until I actually have time to quilt it.
And since someone asked me in disbelief just how many quilt projects (I'm so thankful they didn't say sewing projects!) I had going at the moment, I was almost in as much shock once I counted them all up.
  1. Bobby's ten plus years in the making cowboy quilt - the end is in sight! :)
  2. Kayla Shaw (church group)- our quilting group is 2/3 through hand quilting the inside
  3. Tommy Burns (church group)- top is made; layers are basted
  4. Krista Daniels (church group) - pieces all cut out
  5. Heart applique quilt, twin size - top is 3/4 finished
  6. Yellow/Blue Diamonds, twin size - cut out
And I would love to have a quilt top to take my Mom to work on the end of March, but realistically I don't know if I can get that done. Since her quilts are going to grandkids, that would require sketching out my pantry quilt idea or the Monopoly fanatic quilt idea, then cutting and piecing.  I'm afraid there's too many other things that MUST be done before then to justify tackling another huge project. But we should never say never, right?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

perspective

Whether my life today is good or bad is really my choice. I can focus on the negative, or I can focus on the positive. The circumstances of today may be less than ideal, but my attitude will always determine whether or not people enjoy being in my presence and how I feel about the day.

I was reminded of that while reading Mary Custis Lee's diary entry for the close of the Civil War. For those of you who like me (until recently) are unaware of many historical details, Mary Custis Lee, the wife of Robert E. Lee, was the great-granddaughter of George Washington. The plantation where she and her husband lived, property formerly owned by the Washingtons, was taken from them during the Civil War, and as a punishment, was turned into a Union graveyard. That site is now Arlington National Cemetery. I have always heard about the supposed "great faith" of Robert E.Lee, and I was impressed with his wife's last war diary entry.
"...Tho' it has not pleased Almighty God to crown our exertions with success in the way and manner we expected, yet we must still trust and pray not that our will but His may be done in heaven and earth..."
 Wow.  She recognizes her home is gone, her husband may spend his life as a prisoner because of his role in the war, her son has not yet come home or been heard from, the hardships she has endured for the last four years have been for nothing. And yet she recognizes that our prayer should be for God to orchestrate things the way HE would have them to be, and not the way we want them to be. That's so very timely for me.

I struggle sometimes, with things I don't care to post on the world-wide blog, but things that are very real to me. When the outcomes are not what I want or have planned, may my attitude equal Mrs. Lee's attitude. May I desire to be submissive to God's plan and will, even when it's not what I want or worked towards. May my words 150 years from now inspire and challenge others to live a God-centered life, regardless of their circumstances. May my heartfelt prayer be for God's will to take place, and not my own. Amen, and amen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

survival skills

One of the third things that really struck me by the diary entries of southern women during the Civil War was the disparity between places and lifestyles. By 1863, most of the South was woefully suffering. A young lady from Georgia, teaching on a southern plantation in Eufaula, Alabama recorded the measures they took to live.

Berries from the dogwood tree were used to make quinine (a pain medicine) since the usual plants it was made from was unavailable. Blackberry roots were pulled up and stewed into a cordial for dysentery, though if people were fortunate enough to have a persimmon tree, very ripe persimmons were preferred. Since "bicarbonate of soda" used in the raising of bread was no longer available because of the blockades, women discovered the ashes from burned corncobs would work just as well.  (I don't even want to know how they found that out or if it changed the flavor of the bread any.) They learned to make their own yarn, knit, and take an indigo bush to make a dye to color the knitted garments either green or blue. Pine straw and palmetto leaves were braided into hats, baskets, fans, and mats. Okra seeds were roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute (as were other things, but okra seemed to resemble the real thing the best; browned yam potatoes were the second best recommendation for coffee grounds.)
Candles and the wax to create them were a very big issue. At one home Miss Hague visited, the neighbor had gathered the little prickly balls from the sweet gum tree, soaked them in melted lard, then placed them in bowls of oil. She was fascinated by the "fairylike lights". And shoes?  Those were knit, resewn, resoled with whatever was available until they were totally unwearable.

And from a very young girl in Richmond, where parties and balls continued...
"Wish I had been taught to cook instead of how to play on the piano. A practical knowledge of the preparation of food products would stand me in better stead at this juncture than any amount of information regarding the scientific principles of music. I adore music, but I can't live without eating -and I'm hungry! I want some chicken salad, and some charlotte russe, and some oxpalate, and corn muffins! These are the things I want, but I'll eat anything I can get! Honestly, our cuisine has become a burning question..."
This made me laugh a little, but it's true. I think even in this day and age we sometimes confuse what a true education is with what is fashionable at the moment.  Even though I've now "lived" through three wars, I have never had to sacrifice or suffer because of them (though I do believe part of our economic troubles now are from not sacrificing to pay for the Afghanistan and 2nd Iraqi War these last few years).

The saddest entries to me were the women living in Richmond who could see the parties and fests taking place, but were going without supper and receiving letters from their boys in the fields who were literally starving. One of the hospital nurses recounted receiving prisoners from an exchange who were dying from starvation. They expected the south to provide for their prisoner's meals. She said if they ever curled into a fetal position, even with being fed broth, then they wouldn't survive more than two days. One of the prisoners said curling up helped ease the hunger pains.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, February 18, 2011

it's all in the curls

Last night I FINALLY finished reading a book I started about this time last year. It's non-fiction, meaning it's one of those I pick up occasionally and read a page or two before putting it back on my dresser.  Called Heroines of Dixie, it's actually a compilation of arranged diary entries (thanks to Katharine M. Jones who researched, read, verified, and compiled it into a large volume!) from women who lived in the South during the time of the Civil War. It's quite interesting when you jump from a flighty, romantic 16-year-old writer to a mother whose husband and son is off at war and she's wrestling with reality on the home front. Yes, perspective is everything.

But one of my favorite entries is from the famous (infamous?) female spies, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, who was 44 and the mother of 4 girls when the war started.  After the first battle, the Federal Secret Service placed her under surveillance, (she was a Maryland native but had many Washington connections) and so she resorted to using "messengers".  General Milledge R. Bonham, a Confederate picket, caught one of her messengers, Betty Duvall, and here's his description of the encounter:
..."From the longest, most beautiful roll of hair I had ever seen she took a small packet, not larger than a silver dollar, sewed up in silk."

I have always heard stories of soldiers cutting the hoops out of women's skirts because they would hide money, messages, and even live chickens there in hopes of salvaging or espionaging something.  Evidently it never crossed their mind to check hair.  But after looking at photos from that time period, you almost wonder why that wasn't one of the first places they looked.



Mrs. Lincoln

Gives new meaning to the biblical instructions of not focusing on adorning your hair with your braids and gold, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

for all you book lovers

It starts tonight.
And it has expanded space!

The annual Wake County Library Book Sale (where they sell books that haven't been checked out in 2 years or more, have been donated, or best sellers that they bought multiple copies of due to demand but now no longer need) has come!  New location this year: THE FAIRGROUNDS!!! :) And all proceeds go to help purchase new books for the libraries.

I may have to refrain from going. Goodness knows I have more books than I can read right now. I just hate passing up a bargain on something I enjoy so much! I might go tomorrow morning. I may brave the crowds and the picked over selection and go Saturday when prices are half off.  Maybe my husband will have a change of heart about shopping on Sunday and I can go when you get a whole box of books for $5! I might not go at all. Who knows?

But, if you are interested, here's the info: http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/events/booksale/default.htm

Happy book hunting!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

faithfulness

While talking to my aunt on her birthday, she mentioned that they were going through albums trying to find photos of family members in their service uniforms. My cousin had been in a house where they took one wall and made it a wall of honor, with pictures and clippings of close family members who had been in various branches of service. Really liking what she saw, my cousin has decided to do her own version.

My aunt has always been the family historian, and as we got to talking I realized I had a few things she didn't. In 2003, my cousin was sent to Iraq. Stationed at Camp LeJeune, he was not willing to leave his car and belongings in storage on base for six months, so Bobby's Uncle went with me to pick his car up and bring it here. (I can't drive a stick shift.) During the time he was gone, I saved every newspaper that mentioned the war, anything about his unit, or a unit that could possibly be his. So the last few days I've been scanning in articles and photos to compile to a CD. And yesterday, I spent a fair amount of time searching for one photo in particular.

Yahoo did an AWESOME job during the Iraq War of mounting photos daily. One of the photos they had, and certainly not the worst photo, made me cry and led me to the throne of grace like only two other times in my life have. Six months later, I found out my cousin was in that photo. He's the one in the middle, trying to open a cookie:

The boy to the left, sitting with the gun is from Florida.  His hometown newspaper somehow recognized him, blew the pic up and printed it on the front page. His parents mailed him a copy. That's how Kev found out about the picture.  There's nothing worse than seeing a loved one in such squalor conditions.

But despite it all, while looking through all the newspaper clippings, I've been reminded of just how much our country has been through the last ten years, as well as how FAITHFUL or God is. He has never left us; never forsaken us. And that is impressive indeed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

celebrations

It has never failed. Every year, ever since I can remember, in honor of my sister's birthday, stores sell candy, teddy bears, fancy cards, and you get to have a party at school, even when she's not in your class. How cool is that? And now that she teaches first grade?  She has a party at work for her birthday, and all (or at least most) of her kids give her cards.  And we'll probably eat out tonight...after all, Naomi's Day only comes once a year. :)

Yesterday afternoon we made our second venture to the Wicked Chicken Auction in Wilson's Mills. The first time we went, the first time they ever had it, we were home by about 4pm, which worked great. So I'm thinking it'll be about the same this time.  Ummm, no.  We get there, a little late, and they have built shelving since the first auction to hold all the birds and critters. By 4pm we realize they're not going to finish the auction before 4:30. You can't pick up what you buy until the auction is over. So we head to the van, make sure Bobby's class materials are within reach, call his Mom, and make arrangements for her to come get me while Bobby goes to church.  It was a little after five before the auction ended, and then I had to stand in line to pay and pick up. By the time I got home and unloaded and had everything tended to, it was 6:45pm. And while we laughingly tell each other this was our Valentine's Day gift to each other, the reality is, we'd have gotten most of these eventually anyway. But still, how many girls can say her husband gave her a bunch of biddies for Valentine's, er..Naomi's Day? :)

Say WHAT? I have to share this box with HOW MANY biddies?

chowtime
(the lighter ones are Buff Orpingtons, the cream and brown are Gold & Brown sexlinks)

like pigs in a trough

I love how they stick their whole head inside when they eat!

forget passing or politely moving...just stand on the feed dish!
(see how its wings are starting to feather)



This is what happens when your husband leaves you with money and the bidding number.
Your 13 biddies become 23.  Too bad I lost out on the Auracaunas.

And Bobby's winning bids. Ugly things, these guineas.

I think their heads are the ugliest part.

Whatchu lookin' at?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

an emotional roller coaster

A Table in the Presence by Lt. Carey H. Cash
Riveting...thought provoking...tear jerking... heart stopping....and definitely a motivational read.

I remember the first gulf war. Sadly I remember all too clearly 9/11 and its aftermath.
But I also remember the prayers. The heart-chilling 11:30pm phone call from my cousin, fearing I was about to hear the worst about his brother, only to have my own thoughts repeated to me "I can't sleep; Kev is on my mind." The next thirty minutes of prayer over the phone will be a night I remember forever. The following weeks it seemed every time I awoke I would be offering up a prayer for God's protection over my cousin and for His spirit to draw him back, for the WORD from his childhood to penetrate his mind, for a fellow Marine to be a believer and encourage him, for there to be a godly chaplain nearby. And then came the letters, about the worst fighting he had seen to date, and of being certain he was about to die, of fear.  And the timing of those battles? Those weeks God brought him to our minds again and again and again, even prompting long-distance prayer meetings over the phone.

Those memories came surfacing back this week. On Tuesday I took a dear friend for an outpatient procedure, and grabbed a "small" book from my reading pile on the dresser before I left. This book turned out to be anything but small. I was almost physically shaking and trying not to cry as I read portions in the beginning, with some descriptions sounding eerily familiar to things I've heard before. Chaplain Cash's book is a reminder to me of the power of prayer, of God's faithfulness, and his everlasting love. We read of miracles in the Bible and sometimes wonder (or at least I do) why we so seldom see God's miraculous works performed today. After reading this book, I realize they are happening...I just may not see them. The book was refreshing to me on another front, because it made me realize God truly answered the prayers of many Christians when the war began.

This book was a vivid reminder of just how much I have to be thankful for: my freedom in Christ, my freedom as an American, a citizenship in a country where I am not a second-class citizen because of my gender, and where I can live out my life and faith without fear of persecution. And truly, most American Christians are NOT persecuted, no matter how much the American Life Association and Christian Law Association likes to claim. We know almost nothing of persecution here.

If you want a heart-stopping, patriotic, religious read (but it's not a book you can read through in one setting), then this is a book I highly recommend.

Friday, February 11, 2011

sunlight

I love the sunshine! It has been so nice to have bright sun shining through the windows the last few days! It makes me feel warmer, even when I'm not!
Plus, it's the morning after. A group of ladies from church came over last night for our monthly "Apples of Gold" meeting (we watch someone cook, have a study/devotional, eat & discuss the night's topic).  It was so nice to face a clean kitchen and living room this morning. I told Bobby the kitchen counters look naked. So I may spend a part of today cleaning the three rooms in the house that didn't get cleaned. Granted, within a week, it won't look like this, but for today I'm enjoying it very, very much.
This week has certainly been a week of cleaning, and not just the house.  My soul/spirit, and tomorrow the chicken pen. (My favorite yard boys are coming over and we're taking the netting off the top and redoing it, as well as cleaning all the old mulch out.)  I doubt I tackle the vehicles this weekend, but you just never know. And while I haven't completed the February project of cleaning the porch railings yet, I'm 3/4 through with the front porch.  My goal was to have that done before the meeting last night, but the back side of the railing was dirtier than I thought. And I did spend some time late last week spray painting patches on rails the dogs had chewed up several years ago. I'm slowly tackling things that need to be done!
And, I've signed up for an appointment at the end of this month to have my metabolism tested. Not exactly sure how that will help me lose weight, but they claim that knowledge will make a difference. We'll see. Meanwhile, I'm out of Dr. Pepper and am trying really hard to think about how good water and juice is. yeah.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

learning to say no

I've come a long way in learning to tell people no, in not worrying about whether or not I please people. But I still find it very hard. Six years ago, if someone had made a request that seemed simple in the beginning but then turned into a monster task, I would have come home, griped to my husband, then worked myself insane the next five weeks trying to make it happen. Last night I actually told a person "That's impossible."  and then I felt bad about it all the way home.
The person wasn't trying to be over-bearing; she simply had no idea in what was involved in the task. Once I explained the amount of time and expense involved, she immediately went into administrative/problem solving mode, which I respected and admired. And yet, here I am, the next morning, and I wonder if my attitude was too negative or harsh instead of moving on with my day.
I'm trying to be less Martha and more Mary, to find the balance between quiet time and busy time. And yet so many times I feel the more I strive to become still, the more people push my way.  And I feel somewhat guilty for saying that. I enjoy helping others, and can truly understand what it is like to be stuck without transportation (been there!) and need a ride or help. I know what it's like to be sick and miserable and have the house a mess and needing someone to come in and help with Bobby. And I enjoy the occasional day of watching a child or children. Those things are all nice, but in small doses. There are weeks when I actually have things that need to be done and as much as I want to help, I must say no.  Most people are gracious and understanding. Others act flabbergasted, as if they are doing me a favor by asking me to help. I find it a little easier to say no to those people (doesn't say much for my hospitality skills, does it?), but I still wonder sometimes if I should attempt to squeeze them in my already overcrowded day.
And perhaps that is the problem. As my husband likes to remind me, I have little concept of time. I tend to over commit, thinking I can get everything done when it's simply not possible. I'm striving to learn to be a "keeper of the home" and I'm finding that means saying no to people. That's especially hard when the event or request you're saying no to has a spiritual theme or reason behind it. But I'm slowly coming to grasp that Sara Grove's song "Audience of One" is more and more true.  I can't worry about others and what they want and expect from me.  "This journey is my own" and I have to do what is right and pleasing for God, regardless of whether or not it meets the expectations of others.  And for me, that is a struggle indeed.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the only downside

Two years ago I got an absolutely fabulous Christmas present...a kitchen aid mixer!  And I love it! It beats things so much thoroughly and faster, plus I don't have to stand over the bowl. I can toss stuff in it, turn it on, and move on to the next thing while it's mixing! That's just too cool.

But there's only one drawback to this wonderful contraption.  When making icing, the powdered sugar jumps out. So last night I decided I could prevent that, and held a towel over the top of the bowl around the beater.  So 95% of the counter remained sugar free, but here's what did happen:
maybe not so much on the counter, but certainly on the base of the mixer!

and this will be a doozy to clean
If anyone has a free-standing mixer, how do you keep this from happening? And yes, I have tried every speed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

four days and still not sure

For the first time ever, I've read a book and am still undecided what I think about its contents.
In the Land of Believers by Gina Welch is interesting. She gets off to a slow start, but she's also laying groundwork and foundation for this "weird" culture of Evangelicals, specifically, Thomas Road Baptist Church, the home of Liberty University. If you haven't heard of this book, an atheist Yale grad begins to attend Thomas Road for the sole purpose of writing a book explaining what Evangelicals are truly about. She fakes a conversion experience, is baptized, and even goes on a mission trip whose sole purpose is evangelism.
Like many non-southerners, her attitude toward the Bible belt is condescending and excessively arrogant. Unlike many, she does come to recognize that different doesn't necessarily mean inferior or uneducated, but I don't think she ever totally grasped southern culture. As for the religious culture, she did get a decent view of life with Evangelical Christians. But unlike most anthropologists who study people groups for more than just two years (and more than just one or two select groups of friends), Welch limits her "exposure" to a small handful, giving her a very narrow, albeit eye-opening, experience.
By the time I hit 3/4 through the book, I was absolutely appalled at her lack of compassion for people, her inability to tell the truth, and her supreme selfishness.  The last few chapters did reveal her to have some sense of feeling for anyone outside of her circle of thinkers, but not much. The last chapter revealed more than anything just how clueless she truly is to the fact that Evangelicals truly are people who are capable of loving and caring.
If you want a raw look at how someone with absolutely no Biblical knowledge views fundamental Christians, I highly recommend this book. If you struggle with things in the church or are easily offended, then it's best you stay away from it. I can hear Pastor Mike stating that had the altar workers at Thomas Road spent adequate time with this young lady and had been trained in the Netcaster program, her experience at Liberty could have been totally different. Regardless, it never hurts to look at yourself in someone else's mirror.

Friday, February 4, 2011

fill in the blanks

There's always a phrase or two in every language that I consider "fill in the blank" phrases.  I suppose you could call them cause and effect clauses.  For example:

For every....there is....
Either...or...
But....And.... (kids learn this one early on!)

And I got a new one last week. One that has really made me stop and think. A friend quoted it from the Bible in her blog last week. From Job 13:15: "though he slay me, yet will I hope in him."  That is such a powerful statement!  In today's language we'd probably say, "Even if he kills me, I'll still trust God." Normally I heard such an extreme statement, I'd chalk it up to someone just running their mouth. But given the circumstances of what Job was facing, I think he meant it. And the construction of that sentence has made me think about all the other fill in the blanks that could be used with it.

Even if God makes me sick, I'll still trust Him.
Even if God makes my Mom suffer for another 30 years, I'll still trust Him.
Even if I daily struggle with His plan for my life, I'll still trust Him.
Even if Bobby loses his job, I'll still trust Him.
Even if the stock market crashes again and we lose what little we have left, I'll still trust Him.
Even if I have to hear of yet another abused child when I have none, I'll still trust Him.
Even if I never lose another pound, I'll still trust Him.

and the list goes on.  It is so easy for me to focus on the obstacle or situation and not on the one I trust. Sometimes I also wonder if God has as much confidence in me as He had in Job. Would He be able to allow Satan to fill in the blanks "Even if....she'll still trust me"  and me pass the test? It really makes me stop and think.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

unusual and interesting

Sunday lunch and one night during the week we eat with Mrs. Bryan.  That means with there only being two of us, I only cook supper twice, maybe three times a week. (leftovers the other nights)  That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for trying out new recipes.  But lately I've been venturing out a bit, trying some new recipes, as well as learning to fix some of hubby's favorite foods.  Foods that are not normal to me, but for someone who grew up near the coast, are perfectly average.  Foods like oysters and shrimp.

I love shrimp.  I'm not sure I ever had it until high school, and I've eaten it more since living in North Carolina than any other time.  Lately Food Lion has been having it on sale, a BOGO deal with the MVP card. And then I did something I almost never do. I looked at the small, "fresh" seafood section.  Oysters were on sale.  I'm not crazy about oysters.  I've tried them at restaurants every time Bobby has ordered them, and it's like eating fried mush with a fishy taste. Not quite my thing.  They looked even stranger in the container.  I looked at the price. I looked at the oysters. I thought about my husband. I thought about all the times I've bought a Dr.Pepper because it's my favorite drink even though he HATES Dr. Pepper. And the oysters went in the cart. And my fried oysters weren't bad. He was very pleasantly surprised.

This past week they had oysters on sale again. So I decided to be adventurous and take him up on his little joke of how we have all these cookbooks in the house and he never gets to try new foods, and we had oyster au gratin.  :) It was edible. He was gracious. He said it was unusual and interesting. He won't ask for this recipe again, because oysters are so much better fried or in oyster stew.  (Was that a hint?)  But if you like oysters the way I like chicken, here's the recipe:


2pints of oysters (I used a 10oz container, and it was plenty)
3 T butter
1 c chopped mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, minced (I use the pre-minced jars of garlic from the grocery store and guessed at a tsp)
2 T plain flour
3/4 c of milk
1/4 c of dry white wine (or white grape juice)
2 T parsley (I omitted)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c bread crumbs
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400. Rinse oysters and pat dry. In a large skillet, cook the oysters in 1T of the butter for 3-4 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl. Remove. Drain. Place in small casserole dish.
For sauce, in the same skillet cook mushrooms and garlic in 2 T of butter till tender. Stir in flour, add milk.  Cook and stir until bubbly and thick. Then add wine and Worcestershire sauce. (I added the juice, milk, and Worcestershire sauce all at one time and allowed to thicken). Spoon over oysters.
Mix crumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter. Pour over sauce. Bake for 10 minutes or until brown. Serves four.

We'll probably get six servings out of this as it's not something we want a lot of.  Bobby's grade for this recipe?  A B-.  He said it was a little above average. My grade for this recipe? A C-.  But keep in mind I'm not a fan of oysters.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

if I were rich and wasteful

If I were rich and a Disney princess, I would:
  • Redo the guest bathroom: white walls, red trim, black mickey mouse shower curtain, red rug..or perhaps a Snoopy shower curtain?
  • Pay someone to repair the wallpaper in the dining room
  • Pay someone to paint the study in the way I want it painted. :)
  • Buy one of those monster frames and a quilting sewing machine to go with it
  • Take four big trips a year (shoot, just one big trip would be nice, but since I'm daydreaming, why not make it four?)
  • Have a professional install blinds and valance boxes in the living room
  • Have Bobby's yellow chair from the 70's re-upholstered
  • fly home to see my Mom once a month
  • Have our own private jet that was wheelchair accessible...how cool would that be?
  • Have a vacation home in the mountains
  • have a time-share at the beach
  • buy the farm across the road from us
  • put cows, donkeys, and horses on that farm for Bobby and hire a foreman to take care of them :) {Hahaha...the British have butlers; southerners have farmhands!)
  • Open a quilt store but only work there two days a week. 
  • Have five different chicken pens so I could raise different breeds
  • I would buy my own publishing company so they'd have to publish my books.
I love daydreaming! But the beeper on the dryer is telling me that my time is up and I need to put myself in gear and get things done before church time.  And if I come to your house and you have a Snoopy or Mickey Mouse shower curtain, I'll do my utmost not to be jealous. :)