Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alabamisms #7

Somehow, on Wednesday, my co-workers and I got into a discussion about phrases or words that are unique to the South and that would make a Yankee like me raise an eyebrow in confusion.  We ventured far beyond the cliche y'all and fixin' to a whole world of expressions I never knew existed.  

Here is a sampling...

tump - "Don't lean against that bookshelf!  It's about to tump over!"

shed of it -  "Yeah, that car is getting pretty old.  I need to shed of it."

fair to middlin' - "How are you today?"  "Oh, fair to middlin'... "

ain't no count - "What did you think of that new BBQ place?"  "It ain't no count."  

holler - "Did you see that house for sale in the holler by the road?"

I know I have a few readers out there from this fine state and across the southeast... are there other ones you can think of that my northern friends and I need to learn?  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Last night, while Josh was out at one of his many volleyball events, I ventured into the kitchen. This is an unusual occurrence for me lately... it is not that I don't enjoy cooking, I actually do. I hate the prep. I am the queen of settling into cook and realizing that I don't have half the ingredients that I need or that the chicken I was planning on using has so much freezer burn that it simply isn't edible. Then, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and give in to Josh's craving for Q'doba.

But somewhere in blog land or facebook world, I came across this recipe for homemade granola bars. I know, I know, it isn't exactly "cooking" but it is a start.  I wish I could remember who posted it so I could give them credit... but, alas, I simply copied the recipe and put it into the documents folder on my laptop. So, whoever you are, identify yourself (if you like) so we all can give you culinary kudos!

(I decided to document the preparation of these granola bars in the style of The Pioneer Woman who simply amazes me with her skill and creativity in the world of cooking and photography. If you have never checked out her website, you should. Now.)

First things first. Here are the ingredients:
Peanut butter chocolate granola bars
1 c brown sugar
2/3 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c butter
1/2 c honey
2 T vanilla
3 c oats
bag of dark choc chips
1/2 c raisins or cranberries
1/2 c wheat germ

I started by softening the 1/2 cup butter a little in the microwave.  Of course, I always overshoot "softened" and end up at partially melted as you can see above.  Oh well.  Then I added 1 cup of well-packed brown sugar and 2/3 cup of creamy JIF peanut butter.  I used my hand mixer to blend that all together to a suitable consistency.  

To this mixture I added 1/2 cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of vanilla.  (I actually ran out of vanilla about about 1.5 tablespoons... perfect example of my cooking handicap.  Fortnately, I don't think it made much difference in the end product.)

In a separate, smaller bowl, I mixed 3 cups of oats (regular, not quick oats), one bag of dark chocolate chips, 1/2 cup wheat germ, and 1/2 cup of craisins.  This mixture then got dumped into the butter/sugar/peanut butter concoction.  Stir to combine all the ingredients well.

Spread the goodness into a 9x13 baking dish, no need to grease beforehand. Place in the oven preheated to 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool on the stovetop then chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Slice and enjoy!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sowing in tears...reaping in joy

I am blessed to be leading a bible study for several of the girls on the Alabama volleyball team.  

I find this opportunity ironic as I am far from feeling spiritually stable these days... but God opened the door and, trusting Him, I walked through.

We are currently making our way through Beth Moore's "Stepping Up" study which takes a deeper look at the psalms of ascent (Psalms 120-134).  I truly hope that God is using this study to teach the girls a little more about His character... but I am also find that He is using it to draw me into scripture, giving me an anchor even when my heart feels at sea.  

Psalm 126 is our focus this week.  In his commentary, James Limburg describes the perspective of the psalmist as coming "from a people who are living between the times, between a good time remembered and another good time hoped for."  Scholars believe that the psalm refers to the Israelite exile to Babylonia.

Exile...  sometimes that is how I feel.  Separated from all that is familiar and comfortable.  Denied the blessings that I so desperately long for.  Knowing that this place is not my Home.  Missing Noah.

Beth Moore asks, "Have you seen wonderful works of God in the past but could really use one now?"

Yes.  A hundred times yes.

As I read her question, tears came unbidden to my eyes.  (Particularly embarrassing while I sat in a crowded Starbucks this Saturday morning.)  I kept reading, hoping to find wisdom for surviving in this "in between time."  Here is the next paragraph:
Take heart that God sees you and is moved by your plight.  He still performs wonders.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  Profess you belief to Him daily that you will see the evidence of His gracious hand and, like the psalmist David, stay confident of this:  "I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:13-14).
Now the tears flowed freely.  As you may know, that verse graced the prayer cards we passed out after Noah's diagnosis.   It was a verse I clung tightly to during his life.  It is a verse that God brought me back to this morning to remind me of His perfect plan and promises.  

"Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy."  Psalm 126:5

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fun with States

Here is a fun way to spend the next five minutes...

My high score so far is 94% with an average error of 5 miles.  
Just hope that you don't have to start with Iowa or Nebraska!

How did you do?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Valentine Adventure

After being on the road for 4 weekends in a row, Josh had the weekend off from recruiting... which happened to coincide with Valentine's Day. I can't say we had big romantic plans, but we did decide to escape T-Town and explore our new state.

Our first stop was Birmingham where Club Crimson (the girls volleyball club that Josh is directing) was playing in their first tournament of the season.  I decided to snap a few pictures to see if I could shake the rust off my action photog skills... 
After a quick stop for some lunch, we headed south to see if we could find the first capital of Alabama, Old Cahawba.  It is located close to Selma, a town of extreme significance in the Civil Rights Movement.  The bridge pictured below is the site of "Bloody Sunday" - civil rights activists had organized a march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965 as a part of the push for voting rights for blacks.  State and local police met the marchers on this bridge, attacking them with billy clubs and tear gas.  Pretty intense.  

From Selma, we meandered through some back roads before finding Cahawba.  Cahawba was once Alabama's state capital (1820-1826) and a thriving antebellum river town. It became a ghost town shortly after the Civil War.  Amazingly, in spite of its historical significance, very little remains of the town.  Most of the buildings were dismantled for their valuable brick and very few had foundations that would leave a footprint in the ground.  A strange place to say the least.  

After driving back to Tuscaloosa, we sought out dinner... which proved to be more challenging than we imagined as the Valentine's Day crowds packed the restaurants until late Saturday night.  So we enjoyed our 2nd annual Valentine's Day dinner at Qdoba.

(Last Valentine's Day, Noah was in the hospital for his g-tube surgery.  Josh had flown in for the surgery and was leaving again the next day... we took a break from the hospital that night for a little mexican goodness at Qdoba with our pastor and his wife.  It seems like a lifetime ago.)

After dinner, we headed back home, pleasantly exhausted from the day.  I'm pretty sure I was asleep minutes after my head hit the pillow.  Which, for me, is a blessing in and of itself.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Alabamaisms #6

(Alabamaisms #1 - 5 can be found on our other blog... Our Cup Runneth Over)

I saw daffodils on my way home work today.  Daffodils.  It's February 13th!!  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  Rev 21:4

Please read about Cora and pray for her family.

How I long for heaven.  This world is not our home.  

Monday, February 9, 2009

Wise words

This resonated with me and I thought I would share.
We can endure something so horrific that we can convince ourselves that life is over for us.  We can conclude that all joy is behind us and only pain awaits in the future.  But, if we are willing, one day at a time, one layer at a time, God begins to bring healing, restoration, and perhaps best of all, fresh revelation.  Little slivers of light turn into late dawns and, finally, noon day suns.

When the love of God calls forth a love for God in a heart of brokenness, it spills forth ina way no happy heart can gush.  I can remember the exact moment I realized I was going to survive a season of loss and grave defeat.  With the pain still present in my heart but strumming now in clear, acoustical praise, I felt oddly more alive than I'd ever been in my life.  The scars on my battered soul no longer appeared to me as random slashes but suddenly transfigured into engravings of unexpected praise and thanksgiving.
Beth Moore, from Annointed, Transformed, Redeemed
Amen and amen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Loved in the Lou

It was only 48 hours, but it was just what we needed.

We returned this afternoon from a quick jaunt up to our old stomping grounds in St. Louis.  Josh had a tournament to recruit at on Saturday, so I decided to tag along for a little face time with some friends.

Food for the soul.  

Saturday night we gathered at Cory and Nicole's house to reconnect with the couples from our small group.  The collection of kids was truly impressive... three boys (AJ, Micah, & Colin) and one girl (Elise) ranging in age from 7 months to 2 years.  We had never met Colin before and loved watching his quirky grin and attempts at crawling!  (Thanks, Dankels, for driving up from Columbia to see us!)

But we missed Noah.  Oh how I wish he could have been there to play with his friends.