Thursday, December 31, 2009

Snapshots of 2009

Another year is coming to an end. 2009 turned out to be a pretty eventful year for Bryant and I. As we reflect on this past year, here are the snapshots we'll remember most (especially since I'm blogging about them).

1. Bryant made AC (Aircraft Commander) at the beginning of the year. Being an AC basically means you are in charge of the mission or the flight. It was quite a lengthy process including a final check ride and I am very proud of him. The Lord has blessed Bryant in his career and we acknowledge that He has gone before Bryant every step of the way.

2. Bryant was home considerably more this year than last. He started off the year flying a good bit and even broke the record at the guard for being gone the longest at 28 days! He left the middle of March and got home the middle of April. Thankfully, after that trip his trips were more spread out the rest of the year. He was home twice as much the second half of the year and even spent the entire month of July at home. It was a much needed break especially with the move which brings me to #3...

3. We moved! After about a year of praying we finally sensed the Lord was leading us to put our house up for sale at the end of May. It sold very quickly in just 2 months and we found our house soon after. We moved in the day before Thanksgiving and are feeling quite settled now. We are all very happy here especially Miles. He loves the stairs and races up and down as he pleases.

4. This was the second year we have had Miles. He has been such a joy and makes us laugh every day. He is quite the character and has established his place in the family as our beloved pup.

5. Our travels this year were not as many as 2008, which is a good thing! We went back to Hawaii this year except we flew commercial. We were planning to go on the military plane like last year but the trip cancelled the day before. We said we would never use a buddy pass to Hawaii again (we got bumped off quite a few flights). But when your bags are packed and you have palm trees and coconuts dancing in your head, it's hard to reschedule your vacation!

Bryant visited 2 places for the first time this year: Destin and Paris! Yes, it's quite surprising that my world traveller was 29 before he made it to Destin, Florida. He spent a day in Paris this month, the day after his 30th birthday.

6. Bryant and I both turned 30 this year, which is quite the milestone. We also celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary in August. I sure do love Bryant and I love living life with him. I am so thankful God has given us 7 years of marriage and for the adventures we've had along the way.

7. One of those adventures was living with my parents for 3 months, from the end of August through November, while we remodeled our house. It was a sweet time for us all and so it makes the list for 2009. I'm not sure if we'll ever find all the stuff that we took over there!

8. I believe 2009 brought an awareness in our country that things haven't been right for awhile. There is a disconnect from what we say we believe and how our country is being run. I want the best for my future children and grandchildren and I believe most people feel the same way.

9. Our Bible Fellowship went through several transitions this year. Bryant and I had been in the class 3 years when our teacher left this year to start a new church. Change is hard especially when there are goodbyes attached to it. Our class has been such a source of encouragement and a place to grow and mature in the Lord. We are very grateful for the Lord leading us there and look forward to what He has in store for us this next year.

10. Just last month a dear friend of ours, April Kelly, was diagnosed with breast cancer. We love her and Sam and are praying for healing for April. Please pray for her and her family. You can read about her story at CaringBridge.

11. This is the first year I started reading through the Bible chronologically. I started with the New Testament and am almost finished. The One Year Chronological Bible (NIV) has made a huge difference in my Bible reading. The stories are connecting for me in ways they never have before.

12. This is also the first year I started my blog :) There are many reasons to blog, but I have mostly enjoyed looking back at this online journal, as one could call it, and just remembering life - our life. From the big markers to the small moments, it's nice to take notice and not let life rush by.

13. I have learned this year that God is good. Praising God is not just reserved for the good things and the good times, but we praise Him for hardships and when bad things happen too. We know that God is good and He has good plans and a future for us. We learn this by looking back at seeing how God created food for Adam and Eve before He created them, and we learn that He meets our needs before we have them. We look at the life of Abraham and see that God is good even when He asked him to leave his country and go to the place that he would receive as an inheritance. Our faith is not based on what is seen but on what is unseen. So, God we praise you for 2009, for what we have seen this year and for what still remains unseen.

"Your view of God determines your whole life." - Iva May

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I've noticed quite a few folks talking about their holiday traditions this year - sharing things they've always done plus a few new ideas of what traditions they want to start implementing with their families. Bryant and I are blessed to have both sets of parents living in town (although we wish we could be with all our relatives on the holidays). Here is what our Christmas traditions look like...

1. We see both sets of parents on both Christmas Eve and Day. It works out for us and I enjoy seeing everyone on both days.

2. We start Christmas Eve at Bryant's grandmother's house. His extended family has been gathering at his Grandma's house for years so this tradition has been set before I came along. Christmas Eve wouldn't be the same without going to Grandma's. We all bring a dish and this year I received requests for Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad. A little tip, make sure the Jello cools before you pour it over the cream cheese mixture (a rather obvious step to Jello veterans).

3. Afterward we go to my parents' house and we open all of our gifts on Christmas Eve. I remember starting this tradition after we spent Christmas Eve at our dear friends' house years ago. They opened every single gift one by one and it took hours! Amanda and I knew for sure we had been missing out! Sure enough, to this day (except last year when I was sick) we have opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and we think it is so much more the merrier :)

4. Christmas Day Brunch at our house is soon becoming an annual tradition. Bryant's family comes over and we exchange our gifts. This is the second year we have drawn names among the 8 siblings and spouses and everyone has enjoyed it. Buying less presents has helped everyone enjoy the holiday season a little more and we all have more than enough anyway. This year I made Apple Cranberry French Toast which always goes over well and can be made the night before. We always have some Apple Cider simmering on the stove which is extremely easy and makes the house smell wonderful. Here's what we put in our "Reindeer Fuel": organic apple juice, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and slices of orange.

5. After brunch, Bryant and I meet my family for a matinee. Since we don't have our extended family in town, it's fun to get out a bit during the day and go to the movies together. This year we saw The Blind Side and it was excellent. I've never seen it so packed at the movies as this year. I guess other families had the same idea.

6. Now for those of you who are dismayed by #3, I must add we do open our stockings at my parents' on Christmas Day. Stockings are almost more fun than presents. I don't get to see my family open theirs Christmas morning because Bryant and I spend Christmas morning together at our house before brunch. I do miss the opening of the stockings, but when we go back to my parents' house after the movie we still get to peruse the contents of each and every stocking lying by the fireplace. My favorite stocking stuffers this year were:

Sephora Favorites LashStash Mascara Deluxe Sampler

Starbucks 20 Ounce Clear Insulated Holiday Tumbler

7. This year Bryant and I had a real Christmas tree for the first time. Not sure if this will be repeated next year. As for Bryant, he would love to add "a real tree" to the list of Langley Traditions.

Family traditions are personal and unique. They come and go as families grow and diversify. If you have a tradition that is special to you, whether unique or ordinary, I'd love to hear it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Birthday Buddies

Miles and I both had a great birthday last month. He turned 2 on the 11th and I turned 30 on the 17th. Bryant was in town this year for both our birthdays so that was a real treat. We had a party for Miles at my mom's house with cupcakes for dessert from Muddy's Bake Shop and Three Dog Bakery.

He loved his peanut butter cupcake and I just happened to capture him licking the frosting off his face.

We celebrated my 30th birthday bash at Elfo's Restaurant and had one of Kate's yummy Cinco de Mayo cakes. It's a spicy chocolate cake made with 5 different kinds of chocolate from around the world, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and layer upon layer of butter cream and cream cheese frosting. I've never had a cake decorated with fondant before, not even at my wedding. I guess turning 30 takes the cake.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Away in a Manger

My big sister sent me this video of Bo's first Christmas program. They sang a couple of songs, but the group was kind of struggling with Away in a Manger. Bo makes an executive decision to turn up the volume a bit at the end. It cracked me up! There is a moment where he pauses and I can only imagine he is wondering why no one is singing very loudly and then...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ping, Paris and Peppermint Cupcakes

This is the first post I've managed to get out since the holidays rolled around. These past 3 1/2 weeks seem a blur at first thought, but as I dissect the days and weeks it's quite clear there's a lot that's been going on. So here's what's been going on, pretty much in chronological order.

1. I actually was going to post some pics from my birthday, but the pics are on Bryant's laptop so I'll have to wait until he gets home. Is that against the blogging rules to post old news? Oh well.

2. I always grab his laptop when we are both home and it bugs him that I don't use one of mine. I like his better. He has the aluminum framed MacBook and it is so light. It's just less effort to pick it up and at the end of the day after I'm tired of carrying stuff.

3. I was in Nashville the first week of December and found 2 cute bakeries that serve cupcakes. The first day we got there we visited the Cupcake Collection, a family owned business that operates out of a renovated house in the downtown Nashville area. My favorite was the Pink Lemonade Cupcake (strawberry and lemon swirl cake with pink/yellow icing). On our way out of town, we stopped in at Dulce Desserts, a bakery in an artsy district close to Vanderbilt University. The Pepperminty Cupcake was sooo good. They also serve cakes and cookies. No kidding I had the best cookie I had ever tasted in my life called the Baci.  It was made from almonds and chocolate... yum!  Here's a pic of the Cupcake Collection:

4. One of our night's in Nashville we went to the Opryland Hotel to see the Christmas decorations and have dinner. Not impressed, food not good, wouldn't go back.

5. The second week of December I spent most of the week downtown Memphis for work. I don't think I've ever been in the Marriott Downtown Memphis, but it was really nice. It reminded me of an old hotel you would see in a more famous city. It was decorated for Christmas and has a large escalator in the lobby. We ate lunch there a couple of days since it was right across the street and it was really interesting seeing the city as if I were visiting. It kept my holiday spirit up even though it was a very busy workweek.

6. I finally converted to the iPhone and tossed my Blackberry aside. My Blackberry lasted longer at 2 1/2 years than any other cell phone I've had. I really enjoyed my Blackberry, but had no idea how much I would like the iPhone and how quick I would get used to it. I knew I would like the internet browser and the larger screen, but didn't realize all the nifty apps that I would actually use.

7. One app that is just great for us Langleys is Ping! When Bryant is gone on a trip, I wait for him to call me when he has access to the satellite phone or can get on a wireless network and use Skype. Since his trips are all international, that's our only way of communication. So, imagine my delight when I discovered Ping this week. I can send Bryant a Ping (message) anytime and he will get a notification on his phone (if he is connected to a network). And supposedly it doesn't cost anything between iPhone users. We don't text because it would take days for him to get it and it would be expensive. For the first time in 3 1/2 years, I can actually send Bryant a message halfway around the world. Impressive. Very impressive technology.

8. Bryant turned 30 last Friday. It was a little confusing because we couldn't decide which day was actually his birthday. I was talking to him Thursday night, but it was Friday in Germany. So he was like, "It's my birthday here in Germany." And I was like, "Ehh... I'm going to wait 'til tomorrow to tell you Happy Birthday." It just didn't feel right to wish him a H.B. the day before. We'll celebrate when he gets home.

9. Bryant did get to go to Paris for his birthday weekend! If I couldn't celebrate with him, at least he was in Paris, right? He said the Eiffel Tower was very impressive. He located a couple hot spots: Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe. He walked down the famous street of cafes and designer shops, Champs Elysees (sigh).

10. B told me that the most surprising thing about Paris was that it has the most graffiti of anywhere he's ever been to. He drove from Germany and said the walls were completely filled with graffiti all the way into the city (but not in the city). I was surprised; it's not exactly the picture I had in my head.

11. When you're out around town, pick up the December copy of VIP Memphis magazine. Amanda modeled for the Laurelwood Christmas ad. The photographer told her they might use another one of her pics for next month's edition as well.

12. To end my list for the evening, I got a call today from my security system provider that my alarm was going off. I was concerned up until the point when the dispatcher told me our living room motion detector had been triggered. I'm sure my little four-legged friend didn't appreciate my pushing the wrong buttons when leaving the house. I had this sad mental image of Miles getting an earful as he was taking his afternoon lap around the house.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Few Things Friday

Okay, so I've been busy this week and decided to follow suit on the "Ten Things Thursday" except it's Friday. We'll see how far I get...

1. We moved all of our stuff out of storage on Wednesday but are technically not moved in yet since we are not sleeping over there.
2. When the movers told us, "Okay, that's it." I looked around and saw about 1/2 of the boxes I was expecting and realized that we have a TON of stuff at my parents' house.
3. While I was unpacking a box that said "Bryant's Clothes," I came across an Anthropologie shopping bag. Inside I found a ruffled black scarf with the tags still on it. When I asked Bryant what it was for, he said he bought it on a trip and forgot to give it to me. Three months in storage - what a shame.
4. Need to slow down on the Muddy's cupcakes before I get burned out. I couldn't finish mine the other night and thought, "OH NO!"
5. Went to see New Moon today and thought Taylor Lautner was a great Jacob. Wasn't too sure after seeing Twilight. Eclipse is going to be oh so good!
6. Just googled when Eclipse should be out: June 30, 2010. Much sooner than I expected.
7. Bryant bought a diesel truck this week. I guess it makes sense. Jet engines, diesel trucks - I'm starting to see a pattern here.
8. Trying to decide what my first purchase in the new house will be. A settee for my living room or curtains for the dining room? Leaning towards the curtains...
9. My favorite 30th birthday gift was a pair of peridot earrings from my parents. Gorgeous!
10. On a serious note, I've been pondering the verse that described man in Noah's day, "...every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). I used to think the people of Noah's day were exceptionally wicked as compared to present day since EVERY intent was described as evil. Monday in Bible study we discussed how selfish we creatures are, and how every thought and action IS from a selfish motive apart from Christ. It's not too hard to relate to the verse after you put it that way.

Okay, I did make it to ten this week. I won't change the title though, "Ten Things Friday" just doesn't sound quite right.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ten for the Twenties

I'm waiting up another 20 minutes or so before Bryant will be home. Seems appropriate since midnight will officially be the start of my 30th birthday. A whole new decade to venture into; feels monumental and worthy of a little late night reflection.

Let's see what a Top Ten for the Twenties looks like:

10. I have traveled every year of my Twenties from the Bahamas to England to Hawaii and there is definitely no place like home.
9. I've always been a student at heart, but I have learned more in 7 years at my job than I could in a lifetime of being in the classroom.
8. It seems like I was just a baby when I got married at 22. I always wanted to have lots of time with my husband, just the two of us. 7 years of memories I wouldn't trade for the world.
7. I have lived in 7 different places in my Twenties. For a girl who doesn't like change, that's a lot of moving around. Looking forward to staying put this next decade.
6. I've had quite a few "firsts" in my Twenties. And you probably can guess my favorite by far was getting my first pet (or furkid), Miles.
5. Most of the friends I pal around with are friends God has brought into my life these last 10 years. One thing I've learned for sure is never to take a friend for granted.
4. I became "Aunt Mel" or "Aunt Missy" rather to 2 adorable nephews, Bo and Max. I prefer my nicknames to Amanda's, "Mandy no puppy."
3. I bought (and paid off) my first vehicle. Makes me feel All-American or something. Maybe the next ten I can focus on a loftier financial goal like the mortgage.
2. If I could describe the Twenties, it would be a time of transition. Time of change, preparation, and settling into. I can't imagine any other decade as extensive as this.
1. I have learned that God will move heaven and earth to keep his promises, even if it's at 11:59.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Others May, You Cannot

"Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, 'Lord, who is going to betray you?') When Peter saw him, he asked, 'Lord, what about him?' Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me' " (John 21:20-22).

In our Monday night Bible study, Iva May brought up the concept that "others may, you cannot." It reminded me of this passage of Scripture where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Whether it was out of curiosity or concern, Peter asks Jesus about his fellow disciple. Jesus' reply is that we are not to be concerned in that regard. We are not to look to others as our standard but to Christ. He is our standard and he sets the standard for us. When we understand and embrace this concept, it lets others off the hook when they fall short. It keeps our perspective as it should and our measurement accurate so we no longer ask, "What about him?" Instead we receive God's Word as he spoke to Moses in Leviticus 19:1, "Be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."

This week Iva emailed us this document and it spoke to me in such a way that I wanted to share it.

If God has called you to be really like Jesus he will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. God's call will put such demands of obedience on you that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. At times, He will let other people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians who seem very religious will push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans. You cannot, and if you attempt it, you will meet with failure and rebuke from the Lord.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, or their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you to despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. God wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may demonstrate His faithful love for you in supplying your needs day by day.

God may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity in order to produce some fragrant fruit for his coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it now. The reward for your work is held in the hands of Jesus, and you will not see it until He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with a jealous love. He will rebuke you for the little words and feelings or for wasting your time. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He does not owe you an explanation of these mysteries. But if you give yourself to be His child, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and give you the precious blessings for those who belong, heart and soul to Him.

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. It is His option to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. And when you are so possessed by the living God that your heart delights over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

Published by the Faith, Prayer & Tract League

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Holiday Cheer

Gift giving time is almost here. These are a few things I look forward to every year.

Peppermint Soy Hot Chocolate from Starbucks

Switching out my everyday dishes for my Gail Pittman Hollylujah Christmas dishes. Got to get those out of storage soon!

Singing along to Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas album. I've had it since the 90's, but it is still one of my holiday favorites.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Candy Czars

Bryant and I had fun at the Little's Halloween party last night. They always go all out on their decorations and costumes, and this year was no exception. Bryant and I didn't get a traditional Halloween costume this year, but decided to get crafty and make our own. We went as Candy Czars. If you're wondering what a Candy Czar is, it's someone who makes sure that no one gets more candy than anyone else.

We bought iron-on letters from Hobby Lobby and they were easy to use. To make the "A" in Candy, we glued pieces of white, yellow and orange felt together to make a candy corn. Miles was a pumpkin, and I heard he had fun barking at all the trick-or-treaters while we were gone. Mandy bought him this costume last November for his birthday, but he's grown quite a bit this year. It was so small I couldn't velcro it together, so I guess it was more like a pumpkin backpack :)

I took a Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip with Granny Smith apple slices to the party. It was a big hit and can be made in just 15 minutes; although, if you have time it's better to refrigerate the dip a couple of hours before serving. I made two servings - one didn't quite fill up the bowl I was taking. A cute idea would be to use a hollowed out pumpkin as your serving bowl.

And here are a few more pictures of Miles for Bo and Max to look at. We can't wait to see pictures of the boys in their Halloween costumes. We hear Max was a puppy and Bo a train engineer. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

15 Minutes

I started reading The One Year Chronological Bible NIV a month ago today. On the back cover, it says you can read the entire Bible in one year by reading just 15 minutes a day. I've noticed my daily readings are about 4 pages in length. 4 pages! How have I not read the entire Bible through every year before now if I only needed to read 4 pages per day? Honestly, I didn't like the structure of most one year Bibles where you read part of the Old or New Testament and a little bit of Psalms or Proverbs every day. That was too confusing for me. I like things to go in order. To wrap my mind around a concept, I have to start at the beginning. So you can imagine that I am loving every minute of every reading in the Chronological Bible and sincerely hope this desire and discipline remain for the next 11 months.

But should I read the Bible twice through in one year? It would only be 8 pages a day which would be a total of 30 minutes of reading. I say to myself, "Yeah, I could definitely read it twice through in one year." Ah, but there's more than just reading. There's the meditating, prayer time, Scripture memory... And what if I miss a day? It's easy to catch up on a few missed days with the way the readings are organized as is. Better stick to the "15 minutes."

This is how I think sometimes: the more the better. But what happens when those great expectations aren't realized? I end up with 0 instead of 15. For example, in college it was the norm to have 1 hour daily devotions. I had way more free time than I do now. I have had to learn that just because I don't have as much time as I would like today, I have a little bit of time. I shouldn't disregard a task meant for today in hopes for a more substantial amount of time that can be dedicated to it tomorrow. Just like compound interest, the little bit that I give today will be quite significant over time.

Other than reading my Bible for 15 minutes a day, I started to think of other ways that I could apply the concept of just 15 minutes a day.
  • Exercise. If I'm going to get in my gear, I want a long, worthwhile workout. Bryant always tells me it's better to be consistent in this area rather than sporadic. It's better to run 2 miles a day (15 minutes or so) than run once a week for 105 minutes (15 x 7). In order to be consistent in this area, I'm asking for a treadmill for my birthday and Christmas gift. I'm thinking it will be so much more convenient to hop on the treadmill than wait for amiable weather conditions since I don't run or walk in the cold, hot, rain or snow (did I miss anything?).
  • Brushing Miles. I know this sounds ridiculous, but since Miles is 1/2 Poodle his hair gets tangled if not brushed often. If I skip a few days, it gets so bad it takes forever to work out the knots. I take Miles about every 4 weeks to a professional groomer and he comes out of there with straight hair as fluffy and soft as a teddy bear. He probably wonders why he gets so much attention on those days... Poor thing, if only I would spend 15 minutes a day combing him so he would stay snuggly all the time.
  • Paperwork. I get off work around 4:00 to 5:00 every day. My workday consists of meetings, presentations and trainings. I record what was discussed at these meetings and how to follow up with my clients. When I get home around 5:00, my brain switches gears. I grab the mail, greet my family, and turn off work. But if only I could spend 15 minutes each night to enter the details of the day into my computer, I wouldn't have the ongoing pile of paperwork that's sitting on my desk right now. 15 minutes a day adds up to 105 minutes a week; and once I have a couple of hours of paperwork ahead of me, it's like I get paralyzed. When I have an insane amount to do, sometimes I don't know where to start and it just sits there.
  • Dinner time. Bryant and I don't do much for dinner. We tend to eat a more substantial lunch than dinner. Here again, even though I don't spend an hour in the kitchen each night, I can still make something in 15 minutes. A salad, baked potato or veggies only takes 15 minutes of hands-on preparation. It might not be what Julia Child would make, but it is SOMETHING.
I guess this list evolved over the past week as I've been thinking about what a big impact a small concept can make when applied daily. I'm curious, are there any areas in your life that you relate to the 15 minutes a day concept?

Monday, October 26, 2009


It's been rumored for quite some time that one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie is coming to Memphis. First, there was talk of a high-end retail strip going in at Poplar and I-240 where the new Target and soon to follow Best Buy reside. Then I kept hearing that the shops at Saddle Creek was a possible future location.

This summer there was an article in the Memphis Business Journal confirming that Anthropologie is still in the horizon for Memphis and may just end up in the space that was formerly Yia Yia's. I was so sad when Yia Yia's left and can remember driving by the vacant restaurant saying something like, "What can be better than Yia Yia's?"

I would be ecstatic if this rumor finally came true. I'm sure Bryant won't quite share my enthusiasm on their moving into the neighborhood. Not only do they have adorable clothes, but a charming home section as well. In fact, I'm hoping to see their colorful measuring spoons in my stocking this year. I saw them at the Nashville store this summer.

Mod Measuring Set

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let There Be Light

After Alex and his crew finished smoothing our ceilings, Bryant spent a couple of days plus part of last weekend installing recessed lighting throughout the house. One of the things that we really liked when we first saw this house was the amount of natural light that was present throughout the house. Our last house had a ton of windows so that was definitely a key factor for us when we were house hunting.

Since we had to remove all of the light fixtures in the house to prepare for painting, we thought it would be an ideal time to update some fixtures and replace others with recessed lighting. Bryant took down every light so the painters could paint underneath them.

Here is a picture after Bryant installed 2 can lights: one at the top of the stairs and one in the hallway.

Bryant installed 13 can lights in all - 9 of those replaced existing lights and 4 of those were areas he added new wiring. Two of those newly wired lights were added in the den which now gives us a significant amount of light in the back of the room. All that time on the ladder paid off.

The additional 2 lights were added to our closet which I'm real excited about. Previously, there was just one light in the middle of the room.

Since can lights concentrate the light mostly in a downward direction, after switching out the old light for a can, the corners of the closet were still a little dark. And so I convinced Bryant to install 2 more can lights...

All that's left is to add the clothes! After paint of course...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oprah Care

Personally, I do not care for Oprah's show. We have completely different political views which make it impossible for me to be a fan. I used to occasionally have her show on in the background, but since she has become more blatant in pushing her political agenda while consistently using subtle techniques to express those views, I can't seem to tolerate it at all. Which is why I was so frustrated after watching 20 minutes of her show today. Flipping the channel can be very dangerous in this political climate.

But I was so curious after I saw she was interviewing women in other countries. They were sharing their views on consumerism, taxes, government, child care, health care, religion and happiness. I thought the interview with the women from Denmark was very interesting and infuriating at the same time. Of course, these women were hand picked because their feelings toward their way of life in Denmark lined up with Oprah's goal of the show which was to get American women thinking and hopefully believing that Socialistic governments are not in fact Socialistic but "civilized."

My intent is not to bash Oprah or mock her. Focusing on the content of her show today, here are my thoughts just a few hours after watching:

1. The women that were interviewed were very attractive, had nice homes, and the overall image was, "they have a great life."

2. Most of the women agreed that they don't need a lot of stuff or don't want it. Oprah thought this was just fabulous. I couldn't help but seeing the irony of that one. How many houses does Oprah have? How much stuff does she have personally?

3. Denmark has government run health care. The women said it was civilized to take care of the old and the poor. Can we not take care of the poor and the old with privatized health care? Can we not reform the current health care system to make it more affordable?

4. Most people think government run health care is free. In Denmark it is not free. You have to be in the working class to get government benefits. What if a stay-at-home mom prefers to stay at home and not go to work? Will she have the liberty to choose that lifestyle or will she be forced to enter the workforce to receive health care? How much will it cost if she is added to her husband's plan? These are all questions that need to be addressed and debated if the U.S. is going to follow suit, but our senators don't have time to read the 1,000+ page bill.

5. Denmark has free daycare for 1 year old children and up. The mark of Socialistic and Communistic governments is controlling education. By the time these kids are 5, they will have already been in a government run daycare and childcare for 4 years. I looked up the stats in Denmark and in the year 2000, 56% of 0-2 year old's were in government run daycares and 92% of 3-5 year old's were in nursery schools. The government is taking the place of the family.

6. Denmark has a progressive tax system where the people pay up to 60-68% of their income in taxes. Wow, and they think free education and health care is worth that?

7. The ladies from Denmark said they are known for being the happiest people in the world. Well, if Denmark is so happy and they have a Socialistic government than it only makes sense that America should turn away from our Capitalistic government for a more happy Socialistic one. The "pursuit of happiness" is no longer good enough; we need to guarantee the end result is happiness.

8. Sipping their coffee at an outdoor cafe, the group of ladies from Denmark said they are the least religious country. Their churches are empty. They do not believe in God.
Oprah asked several times, "Don't you believe in a higher being?"
The answer was still, "No."
"Well, maybe you do, you just don't realize it. It's more of a spiritual thing instead of a religious (one)..." Oprah trailed off.

Hmmm... Denmark, the happy, spiritual place of the world. No thanks, I still believe that America is the greatest country in the world with God as the highest authority in my life, then my family, then the government. That's my happy place.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Popcorn Effect

These last two weeks we have been busy working on the house and the biggest project to date has been having our ceilings smoothed. Spraying the ceilings is an easy way to hide any imperfections, making the popcorn style ceilings a very common practice. Smoothing the ceilings involves scraping all the popcorn off and then repairing the drywall. I can't imagine having this done while living in the house. The best time to smooth the ceilings is definitely before you move in when the house is completely empty. If you wanted to give it a try while occupying the house, you could clear out one room at a time and clean up before you start on the next room, but I would not recommend it. We heard it was a messy project, but that was quite an understatement. I had no idea how much dust and drywall would accumulate in the entire house.

The entire first day was spent laying down plastic and paper to cover all the floors, stairs and ceiling fans.

The crew started the next day scraping the upstairs and took about 4-5 days to finish the whole house. When we went to check on their progress, I could barely breathe in the house. It was like a giant dust ball.

Even though this layer of debris was on top of the plastic, there was still a good bit of mess that managed to get around the plastic. After the crew finished "cleaning up," Bryant and I realized our cleaning up was just beginning. The ceilings look great though and are ready to be painted.

We spent the entire past weekend vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping. After mopping the downstairs three times, I started to feel like it was somewhat under control. I'm not going to worry about the lack of sparkle in those tile floors just yet since we found MORE wallpaper that must come down before we begin painting.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hidden Treasure

We spent most the day cleaning up at our new house today. I recruited Leah and Mark to come help Bryant and I, and they were a big help! We had made pretty good progress and were winding down for the night. As I was almost finished cleaning the master bathroom, I turned the water on in the shower and was going to spray the shower floor. I was slightly confused because there are two shower heads and they were sort of tangled up together. I grabbed the one that looked mobile and started pointing it at the corners of the shower. Well, I pulled a little too hard, and at the base of the shower head water starts spraying straight up onto the wall.

I'm yelling, "I broke the faucet," and Bryant comes in to survey the damage. He manages to pull the faucet completely off the wall which is quite alright since we will be putting up a different one anyway. But as he's in the shower he notices the wall starts peeling and I hear, "Darling, look at this." And then that terrible word came next, W-A-L-L-P-A-P-E-R!

Seriously? Seriously. The previous owners painted over wallpaper in the master bathroom which we should have noticed before today. Maybe that almost identical shade of green that was only painted in the dining room and master bathroom should have given it away since it was only two weeks ago that we found a hidden layer of wallpaper underneath the fresh coat of paint in the dining room. It's like a scavenger hunt to see who can find the wallpaper in the new house. Let's just hope there's not anymore. I'm not sure how much more of this hidden treasure we can afford.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

9.12 March

I finally got around to posting pictures that Bryant took at the 9.12 March in D.C. He said it was the most people that he had ever seen in one place in his entire life. I believe the final count of those who attended was between 1.5 million to 2.1 million people. Everyday Americans like you and me. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then watch this story and hear their message.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Juliet Reese

Wednesday night Bryant and I went up to Baptist Women's Hospital to see our dear friends, Jonas and Ashley, and their sweet baby girl, Juliet Reese. Juliet is such a doll! I even got to rock her to sleep or should I say bounce her to sleep. We were all cracking up as we were thinking of the Friends episode where Monica keeps bouncing Emma until she stops crying. Rachel is so thrilled she tells Monica to keep it up while she goes to take a nap. I told Ashley to call me anytime and I'll come bounce Juliet for her :) And who wouldn't want to? Look at the little darling!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


What goes up must come down. Especially stringcloth wallpaper or any wallpaper from the 80's or 90's for that matter. Actually, wallpaper is in right now, just not the kind that was hanging in the house we bought. We did close on the 21st of last month and took possession on the 23rd, the day Bryant left for a trip. I took advantage of this last week that Bryant was out of town and got several quotes for the house.

I was told taking down wallpaper yourself can be quite a lengthy project. Since we have quite a bit we would like to do before the move-in date, I went ahead and hired a professional. Our guy did a great job and was finished in just a day and a half. He took down the paper in our living room, entry hall, upstairs hallway, half bath, and dining room. I didn't even realize there was wallpaper in the dining room since the previous owners painted over it. I'm glad my mom pointed that out to me; I hadn't even noticed the seams on the wall. It would have been inconvenient to have to call Andy (the wallpaper guy) out a second time.

Bryant and I went this afternoon to see our empty house for the first time together. The walls are spackled and ready to be painted. Now if we could only decide on the paint colors...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Can You Tapas This?

When I think of tapas, I think of the yummy sliders (two miniature hamburgers with arugula, bacon, pickles, onion, mustard, and Mollie's sauce) and french fries served in a Chinese take-out box at Mollie Fontaine Lounge on Adams Avenue.

Now when I think of tapas, I think of the new OPI nailpolish from the España Collection, Can You Tapas This? It's sure to be one of my favorites for the season.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby Boom

'Tis the season for baby showers and baby gifts. Saturday I went to April's baby shower which brings the total number of baby showers attended this year to a dozen. And a dozen showers mean a dozen gifts. Buying the gift is the fun part though and my signature gift these days seems to be anything made by tea, a children's clothing line carried at Cotton Tails.

I love the onesies by tea; they are made with 100% cotton and are so soft. They made their big debut in People magazine a few years back when Julia Roberts' twins modeled them on the way home from the hospital. I figured if they are good enough for Hazel and Phinnaeus, then they are good enough for my friends' kiddos, right? Here's a pic of the romper I gave April for her little boy, Reid.

I have also given tea for many birthday gifts. They have adorable dresses and 2-piece outfits with leggings. Most of the collection is Asian inspired with non-traditional colors - lots of navy, red, purple and fuschia. The line runs a tad bit small, which is good for those transition times. When my nephew was turning 2, he was able to wear the 2x shirts I gave him right away while other brands were a little too big. Here is a pic of McKlain at her 2nd birthday party. She loved her outfit and tried it on at the party!

Here's my nephew, Max, in his shark tee I gave him for his 2nd birthday.

The wrapping is just as cute as the gift. Cotton Tails has the cutest wrapping paper for girl and boy gifts. If you get on the mailing list, you'll receive frequent coupons and the tea collection is always included in the sales. At their bigger sales at the end of a season, I've seen some great buys as low as $5! Sales are a good thing since I don't foresee the baby showers slowing down anytime soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Wednesday morning Bryant left on a 7 day trip after being home for almost the entire summer. Feeling a little out of sorts since my man just left, I decided to get out and run a couple of errands. My mom had given me a coupon for Vera Bradley so I decided to stop by the store in Saddle Creek. Now Mrs. Bradley has a serious business going for herself. No matter where I go, someone somewhere will have a Vera on her shoulder. You can't miss her bright, colorful patterns that come in about every shape and size.

Well, I was in luck since she just launched her 3 new fall patterns. I ended up leaving the store with a smile on my face and a new makeup bag in tow. That's all it took. A $21 bag and I've been happy ever since. Actually it only cost me $1. FYI: If you give them your birthday digits in the store, they will mail you a $20 off coupon (my mom just got hers for September and gave it to me).

Here's a pic of my new Symphony in Hue Medium Cosmetic that will replace my last year's Yellow Bird.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Autumn

Today, September 22, is officially the first day of autumn and is deserving of its own blog post. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Even though the end of the calendar year is approaching, this time of the year is full of beginnings. A new school year, a new season of television shows, and actually a new year for me with a November birthday. With the start of fall there is so much excitement in the air, and I love the smell of firewood that warms you every time you step outside. The holidays are right around the corner and for me, looking forward to the holidays is more fun than the actually holiday itself.

I used to think fall began the first day of September and winter the first day of December. It's odd to think that winter doesn't begin until a few days before Christmas. Or that those mid-June vacationers are technically vacationing in the spring. How did I spend my last day of summer? Yesterday we closed on our house and became official house owners again. It's been very nice living with my parents this last month. Dinner prepared every night by my mom, coffee poured for Bryant every morning thanks to my dad, and the best part - no house payment (even for just one month).

Besides the new house, I'm also looking forward to the new Bible study I joined that starts next week, a new decade as I turn the big 3-0 this year, and whatever other new things come my way this fall season.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Heart Advantage Multi

I recently had a conversation with our vet about heartworm prevention and lack thereof. He told me a good friend of his just found out her dog has heartworms. Very sad. What's also sad is she religiously gave her dog the #1 brand of heartworm prevention medicine, Heartgard. That's what I give Miles every month and I'm sure many other folks give their furry little friend the same thing. That was what was recommended to me by both vets that I've taken Miles to.

We now go to the Collierville Pet Hospital on Byhalia and Poplar and they are recommending Advantage Multi instead of Heartgard. Advantage Multi is a topical heartworm and flea treatment in one. They are finding the topical solution works much better than the chewable tablets offered by Heartgard. The Heartgard website warns the chewable tablet must be completely chewed and not swallowed. Well, if I had known that I could have guessed it probably wasn't working for Miles since he inhales his treats. At least I can switch Miles over while he is still young. No matter how old your canine friend is, it's not too late to make a switch. It's probably even more important as they get older to have the best protection.

So next month will be our first time to try out Advantage Multi. It will be nice to have only one treatment to keep up with, and even nicer to think it might actually be doing it's job. After all, I want to make sure we guard that heart.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Rainy September Day

I woke up this Sunday morning with a sore throat and pounding headache due to sinuses and so did not make it to church. I was bummed about missing church; I absolutely love my Bible Fellowship class. It really feels like a family and when I've missed a week I always look forward to reconnecting with my family, the body of Christ, the next Sunday.

There's not much to do when you don't feel 100%, and since it started out as another rainy September day I was hoping I could sink into a cozy corner of the house and read all day if my headache would allow. Yesterday I finished another Philippa Gregory book on the Tudor Dynasty, so this morning I needed to choose my next read. I enjoy many types of fiction and very rarely read the same author back to back. I went upstairs to browse my sister's collection (she has an amply stocked bookshelf as do all English majors) and wedged in between Shakespeare and Hemingway, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis caught my eye.

Every time I have ever heard a synopsis on The Screwtape Letters, I got the impression it was intense, dark, and maybe even a little creepy. One would think so with demons named, Screwtape and Wormwood, as the main characters. Well, let me reassure you it is not creepy. At least the first third of the book hasn't been at all. As far as the intensity, it depends on your definition of the human heart or more specifically your response when reading what could likewise be titled, "101 Insights to My Soul." In the preface, Lewis claims his heart gave him all the material needed to write the Letters. And so I have one thing in common with Lewis, a desperate and deceitful human heart which can relate to every chapter of this book as though it was written about me. My incessant underlining of the text attests to it.

I would highly recommend reading this book if you haven't already. It has 31 short chapters, and in the first paragraph of each, Lewis introduces topics such as relationships, prayer, the mind, and new acquaintances. I will have plenty to share after I finish this book. For now, I'll leave you with the closing paragraph from the 12th Letter where Screwtape is advising Wormwood on how to distract believers:

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy (God). It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

And so I found a gem on this rainy September day in this brilliant piece of work by C.S. Lewis.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

36 Hours and Marching

In a little over 36 hours, a march is going to take place on Capitol Hill. Who is going to be there? Small business owners, school teachers, doctors, stay-at-home moms... the everyday American citizen who is tired, burnt out, and fed up with those who have abused their power in Washington.

Why are they going? To speak up against the out-of-control spending. At least that's what I would call spending estimated at $100 billion every 5 weeks. Excuse me, I meant BORROWING. We're not spending it because we don't have it. We are borrowing $100 billion every 5 weeks. Try and work out the interest rates on that one. There will be a point where countries will stop lending us money and the U.S. dollar will collapse and where will that leave us... bankruptcy?

Our Congressmen and Representatives just don't get it. Numbers just aren't their thing. Everything they have controlled is bankrupt: Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare - even the Post Office is in the red. Now they want government-run health care. Not on my watch.

Will we make a difference? Watch the march live on September 12th on FOX News from 12:00-2:00 PM CST.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mid-South Tea Party

Bryant and I went to the first open membership meeting for the Mid-South Tea Party about a week and a half ago, on Thursday the 27th. It was held at the Cordova Library on Trinity Road. We didn't know what to expect at the meeting. I admit it felt a little weird going. I was thinking, "Are we really about to take this to the next level and get involved?" Well, let me just say we cannot afford NOT to take this to the next level and start speaking out. And I am so glad we took that next step. The meeting was very organized and very informative. We heard many fellow Americans share their feelings and concerns about the direction in which our country is headed. It was very refreshing to be in the same room with those who share a passion and love for our country.

It was at the meeting I heard about the Tail Gate Party for last night's Tea Party Express that was stopping through Memphis as they make their way to Washington D.C. The Mid-South Tea Party is also meeting on September 10th at 5:00 a.m. to give the Freedom Train a big send off as they caravan all the way to D.C.

On the Mid-South Tea Party's website, you will find 4 core values that its members share and I will list them here.

We value... local, state, and federal government that:
  • Is limited in power, scope, and size.
  • Is financially responsible and limited in ability to tax and spend the people's money.
  • Supports, promotes and defends OUR national sovereignty, individual liberty, free markets, energy independence, and strong national defense.
  • Governs with the consent of the governed and strictly adheres to the United States Constitution and the 'Rule of Law'.
If you're like me, and you're not happy with what you hear on the news and media about what is going on in your government, here are a few simple things you can do to get involved and MAKE a difference.
  • Join the MidSouth Tea Party page and group on Facebook (or a Tea Party in your area) where you can stay updated on local events happening in your area.
  • Go to the next membership meeting on September 24th at 6:00 p.m. at the Cordova Library.
  • Watch Glenn Beck's coverage of the 9-12 Events on FOXNews on September 12, 2009 from 12-2 p.m. Central time. If you can, GO to Washington!
  • If you are totally ignorant about all things political as I was a year ago, read a book. This list is by no means conclusive, but just a few suggestions to get you started:
Glenn Beck's Common Sense by Glenn Beck
Catastrophe by Dick Morris
Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin
The Conservative's Handbook by Phil Valentine
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution by Edwin Meese
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
- Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lucky 13

Well, thirteen's unlucky reputation didn't seem to rub off on our house hunting. After moving out of our house on August 13, and only having thirteen days to do so, it only took an additional thirteen days for us to find a new house! On August 26, this past Wednesday, we put an offer on a house and it was accepted! I was not expecting to find something so quickly, but the Lord led us to this particular house. We almost didn't even go look at it since I wasn't crazy about the online pictures. But seeing the house in person, obviously made all the difference. My dad kept telling us to look at as many houses as we could because the more houses we look at will help us to know when we've found the right one.

And it happened just like he said. The moment we walked in the front door it felt like home. I dared not say it out loud until we saw the house in its entirety. We had already seen a few of those where the first half of the house is looking pretty good and then you go around the corner or up the stairs and then you both sigh followed by a "hmmm..." Our realtor told us, "when you walk into a house and you can't find anything wrong with it; you buy the house." That doesn't mean the house is perfect and there's nothing you wouldn't change in it, but rather that the house has good bones and more importantly, has the things that you personally want in a house.

We have prayed about the house God has for us for quite some time and we know it is not luck that we are moving forward with this one, but God's guidance. We close on September 21 and anticipate the move-in date around mid-October. We have a few things we want to do before we move in like paint and smooth the popcorn ceilings. This week we will have the house inspected and the appraisal will be soon to follow. This just might be our future home, if the Lord wills.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Power of a Praying Wife

Although this book has been out for awhile, I just read Stormie Omartian's, The Power of a Praying Wife, and highly recommend it. If you're thinking the title may be sappy and and a bit cliché, this is not the case with the material. Not that praying for your husband is ever sappy, but then again not all Bible studies are created equal.

Omartian speaks in a simple, practical way that is refreshing and uncomplicated. The study is divided into 30 short chapters, each titled with a specific issue in which to pray over your husband such as "His Work," "His Purpose," and "His Faith." In each chapter, Stormie shares personal stories from her marriage, a great deal of Scripture, and a straightforward perspective on life and relationships.

I like her honesty as she writes the first sentence in "His Fears" chapter: "There are many things in this world to be afraid of; only a fool would say otherwise." In addition to honesty, I enjoyed Stormie's definitions. In "His Integrity," she explains the concept as, " a level of morality below which you never fall, no matter what's happening around you. It's a high standard of honesty, truthfulness, decency, and honor that is never breached."

Not only was I praying God's Word over my husband during this study, I was also praying these words over my own life. Stormie advises, "You can't afford not to make this investment in yourself, your health, and your future." That is what God's Word is for our lives, an investment. Jeremiah 31:17 says, "There is hope in your future."

Monday, August 17, 2009

August Rush

No, I'm not referring to the movie with Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but to our life the first 2 weeks in August. Bryant and I decided to put our house up on the market the end of May right before we left for Hawaii. While we were out of town, we had 3 showings. Of course, when we got home, nothing for almost 2 months.

On July 30, we received a call from the appointment line that a couple wanted to come see our house the next day. On Saturday they came for the second time and made an offer by 1:00 p.m. They gave us our asking price if we could get out in 13 days! We took a deep breath, completed the negotiations that night, and began packing on Monday. The next week and a half was on fast forward. Get up early, go to work all day, and pack at night.

We paced it just right so that moving day was actually pleasant if you can believe that. We used Armstrong Relocation and I highly recommend them. I will definitely use them again. They had all of our stuff out of our house and in storage in about 1/3 of the estimated time, and that included shrink wrapping every piece of furniture.

So, while we were in a rush to say the least, I can't complain a bit. Just to hear the word, "SOLD," in this market is sweet music.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Homemade Key Lime Pie

We had a great time in Destin last week with the Lipseys and Hackmeyers. We had good weather, great food and homemade desserts. It didn't take long for the gang to realize that I love a good piece of key lime pie, especially on vacation. On our second night out to dinner and a couple of homemade key lime pies later, we started to get tickled at every menu and sign offering said pie. Let's just say you wouldn't have to be a pie connoisseur to realize "homemade" was a slight embellishment at most places. I'd have to say JC's had the best pie of the week. It even had specks of key lime in it. Here's a picture of all of us on the beach before heading to dinner on our last night.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beach House

I never understood why folks in Memphis had vacation homes, and personally never wanted one.

1. I never liked the idea of having to make my own bed on holiday and wash my own towels.
2. Traveling to different beaches always seemed more appealing. Going to the same place over and over sounded monotonous.
3. Besides, what fabulous destination could you drive to from Memphis in a reasonable amount of time?

Well after spending several days in Destin last week, I threw my "no vacation home" policy out the window. I had forgotten what a beauty that immaculate white sandy beach is. It rivals many other beaches in more prestigious places. We have gone on our fair share of beach vacations from Miami Beach to Laguna Beach to Waikiki Beach, and I am loving the beach at Destin. In fact, I heard it is one of the top ten beaches in the country.

Maybe because I'm growing up and life requires a faster pace and since I greatly value convenience, I can now appreciate the attraction of a beach house. With just the two of us, Bryant and I don't want to put even a little effort into our vacations. We prefer no effort. That is why we went back to Oahu this year instead of trying a different island. We want to eventually visit the Big Island and Maui together, but with Bryant being so familiar with Waikiki, it was just easier. (He flies to Hawaii often with his job). With the increasing hassle of flying commercial, I can see how an 8 hour car ride makes more sense for a family than an 8 hour flight.

As for my earlier objection to washing those towels, I think I can handle it. I hear an ocean view helps time go by faster when you are folding towels. Now that I understand the practicality of having a vacation home, the only thing left to do is get a piggy bank.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Honoring a Great Man

Today I went to the visitation for Steve Collums, headmaster at ECS. He became the headmaster after I had already graduated, but I sure enjoyed having him as an English and Bible teacher. I can't think of anyone who didn't like Coach Collums. He was intelligent, funny, approachable and godly. He will be missed by so many and my heart goes out to his family. He was only 59. Death is unexpected and is never convenient. Psalm 89:48 says, "What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?"

We know this is not the end. Death is a refuge for the righteous (Proverbs 14:32) and those left behind have a refuge in God. The Commercial Appeal has an article on Coach Collums in today's paper that you can read here.

"A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth."
- Ecclesiates 7:1

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who's the Boss?

Unless you own your business, most of us wouldn't think of ourselves as "the boss". We might have people that work for us on a part time or full time basis like a housekeeper or a nanny. There are also those individuals that we hire to perform a service like the lawn guy or the bug guy. What if you were to ask me how satisfied I was with these services and I told you I would have to research it and get back with you? That would be a very odd thing to say. So why is it any different when we are asked how our local representatives and state senators are doing on the job?

I can tell you that I am very satisfied with my lawn and bug guy. When I'm paying for a service, if it does not meet my expectations I'll find someone else. Government representatives work for the people. Think of it like you are the CEO and you are hiring a manager. You call the shots; you're in charge. You are delegating responsibility to a manager to look after your interests. It only makes sense that you would check in with this manager, making sure their work is up to par. If it's not, you don't have to reelect them.

I'm sad to say that I only recently became concerned with how my managers are doing. Thanks to technology it is easier than ever to become aware and involved with government. With a little bit of FOXNews and The Conservative's Handbook on my bedside table, I think I'm well on the way to an office with a view.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Apricot Poodle

Four or five months after Miles came to live with us, we took him to an obedience class to learn basic commands and good behavior. Our vet recommended Dog Woods, located on Germantown Road. They were easy to work with and overall we were pleased with the progress he made there. One week I couldn't make it to class so Bryant and Miles were on their own. Of course, I heard a gleaming report on how he did. Since I wasn't there, Miles had decided to show off. (By the way, I definitely agree with the obedience trainer in Marley & Me who said, "a dog can only have one master.") The little guy behaved perfectly since Bryant was the one asking.

Bryant wasn't the only one who thought Miles did well that day. The trainer kept saying how the "apricot Poodle" was doing great and the "apricot Poodle" has it down. We had never heard him called that before, but the name sure did stick. We now call him "apricot Poodle" as one of his nicknames, and Miles is not without his fair share of pet names (pun intended). I guess we think he's so cute the nicknames should be just as cute.

Here's some of the names we call him or that others have called him before: cutie, cutie patootie, button, button nose (Bo), bear, bunny (Mandy), puppy (Nancy), fafa (Max), stinker, angel, devil, lion, owl (Sean), Lucifer (FedEx guy), Milo (neighbors), and Milesy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Home Cooking

Bryant and I were over in the Poplar area today and wanted to grab a quick lunch together. He eats over there pretty often with the guys from work and suggested Patrick's, a local home cooking restaurant over on Park. I was surprised I hadn't heard of it before, but after today I will definitely be going back. I would say it's one of the best home cooking joints around town.

For lunch, I had the veggie plate with lima beans, blackeyed peas and yams. Sooo good. We recently discovered the West Street Diner in Germantown , which serves a similar menu to Patrick's. I am quite pleased to know I have two new options for good food. Even though they've been around Memphis for quite some time, they're new to me. The only thing that could have been better was the chocolate blackberry cobbler we ordered to go turned out to be just chocolate cobbler. Obviously our waitress misunderstood us when we asked how the "chocolate blackberry" cobbler was and didn't clarify if we would like the chocolate or blackberry cobbler. Mmmm... chocolate blackberry cobbler. Now, that would have been something to bring home.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oldie but Goodie

Last week I was in the mood for some praise music as I was cleaning around the house. I went to our hall closet where we keep stacks of CDs and started rummaging through all our old praise music. I landed on one group, but after 7 minutes or so I was back to the closet. I wanted a simple melody with lyrics based off Scripture - something worshipful. Disease or Cure? by The Newberrys was just what I was craving.

Not only did I listen to it for most that afternoon, it resurfaced the next day, and eventually landed in one of six slots in my Pathfinder's CD player where it turned daily commutes into praise gatherings. At least that's how it felt as I was singing along with Tyler and Les. Some of my favorites on the album include: "The One We Choose", "Above All Names", "Pursued" and "All About You". Even during this busy work week, I found myself subconsciously singing, "Your love's amazing" and "You are the lover of my soul." Someone may have even heard me at some point. Isn't that typical of praise? "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Internet Puppy

When I was deciding what kind of puppy I wanted, there were 3 criteria I used in making my decision:

1. I wanted an indoor dog. The thought of an outdoor dog makes me picture a large dog that roams the backyard and spend his nights in the wild outdoors. That sounded much too sad.
2. I needed a hypoallergenic pup. I can spend time with my canine friends but since I am allergic to them, we could never cohabitate.
3. It had to have the cutest face I had ever seen.

It didn’t take long for me to decide on the Maltipoo breed. The Maltese and Poodle are both hypoallergenic due to the fact they have hair not fur. Maltipoos don’t shed which was another plus. I had become more aware of these designer pooches thanks to pictures in celebrity magazines of the celebs out and around town with their furry friends in tow. Or should I say “hairy” friend. After seeing Penny, an adorable chocolate Maltipoo belonging to Blake Lively, I was quite smitten. My search for a chocolate brown Matipoo had begun.

Quite the search it turned out to be after learning 99% of Maltipoos are white. After our local search came up empty, Bryant suggested looking on the internet. PuppyFind had the largest selection of Maltipoos although no chocolate puppies were to be found there either. I thought what could be better than chocolate? I soon found out as I opened an email from Bryant and saw this adorable creature looking at me with cinnamon highlights and black tips on his ears. It was puppy love at first sight. I had to have him right away and even paid extra to get him from Michigan to Memphis on the weekend flight. Miles flew on American Airlines and arrived on Super Bowl Sunday 2008. Although he looks more like a platinum blond now, I tell him to this day how happy I am I found him on the internet.

Here are a couple pictures of our first night with Miles. He was 12 weeks old when we picked him up at the airport.


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