28 March 2011

Weekend Update

This weekend was crazy busy but filled with fun.

Friday Grant and I headed to the lake - moved a dresser and lots of clothes (no more packing to take off to the lake! we have stuff there permanently!) We woke up, got in the hot tub in the early morning grey, over looking the water - perfection.

At Grandmama's house in Athens, we found some photos of Mama and Daddy in college - so fun! - some letters from Granddaddy to Grandmama during the War - priceless - and other memorabilia from mine and Stahler's childhood - precious. All in all, we worked a lot, played a lot, and laughed a lot.

Back in Huntsville and showered, we 5 visited Grandmama at Big Springs before heading to dinner at Watercress - delectable! - where we celebrated both Stahler's and Mama's birthdays (March 7th and April 4, respectively).

My longtime friend, Tinsley Davidson, is getting married! To help her celebrate, Grant and I attended an engagement party in her honor on Saturday night.

Isn't she lovely?

We think so, too!

The party was lovely and we got to see a bunch of old friends and reconnect with several family friends I hadn't seen in ages.

Sunday morning we went to my parent's Sunday School class and heard Mark Stearns speak about a local mission opportunity. Lincoln Village is a rough patch of Huntsville that one could never know exists, never know needs help, never know could be redeemed. It's awesome and I completely support what they're doing. Check it out - they are truly being Christ's hands and feet on this one: http://www.lincolnvillageministry.com/Home.html

After lunch and seeing Grandmama again, my friend Emily had a baby shower for her soon-to-be son, Lochlan Edward {I love that name. lovelovelove it!}. We had the best time.

I gave her the Anthropologie pop-up book: The Little Prince. It was Em's favorite in high school French.

Loch will certainly be a little, awesome, rough-and-tumble prince.

So that was our packed-to-the-max weekend.
Huntsville still feels like home.

25 March 2011

Piping Hot Starbucks

This was painful to experience but funny to write about. Here's a peek into my day.

Sometimes (against Grant's wishes and my better judgment) I go to the Starbucks drive through in the morning on the way to work.

Do they have exceptional service? Not particularly.

Do they have exceptional coffee? Not really.

But they are on the way to work and that's about it: convenience wins.

This morning, they filled my grande skinny vanilla latte to the brim (and then some). I asked for two splendas and got them with no stirrer and no napkin. I proceeded to pull out of the line and to the parking lot exit, where I thought I would doctor my coffee.


Someone was immediately behind me - and waiting to pull out on a Friday morning at 8:00 does not make for a happy driver. So I exited the parking lot and pulled up to the red light.

I thought I'd just slip the lid off, dump in my splenda, replace the top smoothly, and continue with my morning.

Not happening.

What did happen was this: at the hint of freedom, the coffee spilled raced over the edges of the cup, drenching me, my jeans, my car, my seat, and even my shoes with scalding hot coffee and foam - lots of foam.

It was completely ridiculous. My mind jumped for a moment to that lawsuit about the guy in the McDonald's drive thru... it made me laugh.

I did, however, have to return home before work - I was not going in with a coffee-smelling stain on my jeans... and my shirt... and my shoes....

Happy Friday!

21 March 2011

Jeremiah 17:7-8

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

16 March 2011

The Ever-Illusive Perfect Moment

Do you ever have those purely perfect moments?

Each of these moments have happened over the past couple of months for me, and despite the circumstances—grandmother in poor health, Grant studying intensely for the GMAT, people not making room for us in their lives, continually searching for a new place to live as we prepare to move out of our apartment—they have provided me with a little peace and a lot of perspective. Most days, things aren’t all good and they certainly aren’t all bad, just busy and tiresome—but these moments bring me back to the love story into which my Love has called me… and it’s perfect.

Like when you’re driving in your car on the first day of spring—windows down, sunroof open, and the heat's on (because it’s not really warm enough yet). Your favorite song is on the radio and you singing loudly, hair flowing wildly—you don’t care. It’s the kind of freedom that brings back the vitality of youthfulness and sheer joy; the kind of rare liberation that takes you to a time and place where you had less responsibility, fewer obligations, and a more open calendar—a simpler time that you can only taste again for a moment… and it’s perfect.

Like when you wake up on Christmas morning and you look outside and see—much to your surprise—thick tufts of snow coming down, covering a winter wonderland. White snow blankets everything in sight, making it clean and pure… and it’s perfect.

Like when you take the first sip of coffee of the morning, sitting out on your back porch with a blanket and a good book, ready to wrap yourself in the warmth of the still quiet and crisp pages. You can escape for just a moment… and it’s perfect.

Like enjoying a really great date, and after dinner, drinks, and easy conversation for hours, it starts to sprinkle. As you dash out towards the car he grabs you and reminds you that he can still surprise you. He sweeps you up in a kiss in the rain. The world stops for a minute… and it’s perfect.

Like when you’re determined to hike a mountain to watch the sunrise and you step out into the early-morning grey, anticipating nothing more than a little exercise. As you climb, you realize that God is painting a picture just for you. And with every minute and each step His brush creates a new color—each one more stunning than the last. And as you reach the summit, breathless, the sun bursts forth in all its radiance. His love is relentless and overwhelming… and it’s perfect.

Like when you realize that you two have created an elegant dance out of your morning ritual—like two planets in orbit that move in relation to one another, pulled ever close by patterns and habit. The comfortable ease that exists between you makes even the most basic of things special. And as you brush your hair, and he his teeth, the loveliness of it washes over you and you realize in that moment what love looks like … and it’s perfect.

I think moments like these, however few and far between—and illusive—can give us enough perspective to continue on in the day-to-day. I think they give us peace and contentment and joy even in the midst of joyless circumstances. I think they provide our souls with a little piece of heaven and our minds with a respite long enough for a reprieve. I think they give us the ability to breathe deeply, if but only for a moment, savoring the present, regardless of the past and (especially) the future.

I will accept these little moments as gifts and treasure them away in my heart (Luke 2:19; 51b).

What are some of your perfect moments?

15 March 2011

Words of Wisdom from My Grandmama

My grandmother once told me a lesson that pertained to both cooking and life:

“All you need is a little water, a little butter, and a little salt.”

That quote has become a family favorite for some time now, because it’s so simple and so true. The cooking application is easy—with those three ingredients you can enjoy most vegetables and many cuts of meat. The life part is a bit less obvious, but equally important.

A little water
Water is a powerful, life-altering phenomenon that affects so many different aspects of the world we live in; yet in its simplicity we find complexity. The same water that can nurse a small plant into health can cause devastation and destruction in the form of natural disasters. Too little, and things will wither away; too much and they will drown. There is an amazing equilibrium and tension even that comes into play with water. One of the few molecules that expands when it freezes, water is a truly exceptional thing.

A little water, to me, represents the right amount of water needed to sustain our lives. What is essential to our lives, I believe, is the water that comes in baptismal rebirth, the cleansing power of tears, the healing process of purifying past wounds, and learning from the unstoppable tide that rolls in and out—ebbing and flowing and teaching us about the seasons of life, love, and loss.

A little butter
Butter is produced out of a process of churning—a flavorful substance that comes out of much toil and work to better the taste of the current meal or saved with the foresight of meals to come; however, there is a shelf-life on butter. It’s a continual cycle of working, producing, enjoying, saving, using, and repeating. Out of an uncomfortable and undesirable process comes something worth savoring—there’s a life lesson in that.

A little butter means knowing the difference between a flavorful addition to a meal and fatal amounts of an otherwise good thing. It represents knowing the difference between work that produces something worth savoring and empty work.

We need a little butter in our lives. We need to recognize the long-term benefit of purpose-filled work that produces a seemingly small supplement to a seemingly bigger thing. We need to take pause—to stop long enough to enjoy the short-term rest and sabbath that can come in small packages. We need to appreciate the cyclical nature of sowing and reaping that may continue throughout life because it is good to work with perseverance and good to relish things with true value.

A little salt
Jesus says that “salt is good for seasoning” and we are the “salt of the earth” (Luke 14:34a; Matthew 5:13a). Salt is one of the oldest, most basic, and plentiful elements on the earth and is distinctive among other spices. Like water and butter, salt is essential for animal life in small quantities, but is harmful to life in excess. Salt helps in preserving things; it makes food last longer. Salting involves looking into the future and perhaps forfeiting the short-term for the long-term satisfaction.

To me, a little salt means making the most of some things now, remaining faithful and distinctive as a follower of Christ, and having the foresight to preserve or protect some things meant only for future enjoyment.

There is so much wisdom in my Grandmother’s simple little saying. I hope to internalize what she meant to impart to me and remember to add “a little water, a little butter, and a little salt” to all the areas of my life.

11 March 2011

The Pioneer Woman comes to Atlanta!

A blog that many of us follow and have for years is that of Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman. She has written several books--a cookbook, a children's book, and most recently a love story based on her real-life romance!--but she claims she wrote them "by accident" meaning she blogged them first and happened to collect the pieces along the way!

She lives on a ranch in Oklahoma ("Okalhoma, OK!"... anyone... Bueller...?) with her honey (aka "Marlboro Man") and her 4 lovely children--2 boys and 2 girls. She's really funny and very insightful and writes about everything... seriously... everything. If you're new to the blogging world, you'll definitely want to check her out. She is a mainstay of bloggy goodness.

She is coming to Atlanta tonight! as part of her book tour and I will get an autograph and hopefully a pic with her. She's ultra-cute and has deep red hair that I adore. She seems great on her blog, so it will be fun to meet her in person.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

02 March 2011


Mint.com is my new favorite website. It tracks EVERYTHING - every online account you have, 401k, investments, payments, debt, etc... All in one place. This is great for us especially right now, because we have half of our accounts switched over to Wells Fargo, and several still through Wachovia.

Mint's amazing. You can track spending trends, set goals, and figure out a budget that works. It has pie charts and graphs and transaction ledgers - you can view them all together or separate by account, type, category of expense... Me oh my! The list goes on.

One of my favorite features is the "split" feature. It allows you to view a transaction... like "Walmart $106.29" and split it up by category according to amount: $10.12 groceries; $24.57 home goods; $14.00 meds/pharmacy; and $57.60 electronics... Amazing.

I always used to get mad at budgeting (even though I know how important it is). I would still dread doing it because, a) it was time consuming and, b) I never could get all those categories to accurately represent how we really spent.

No longer!

Mint.com is my new best friend and is really helping us get extra-set for traveling to the UK in May.