Sunday, October 4, 2009

Southern Girl Recipes

Did you know that I have a recipe blog? It is still a work in progress but I thought I would go ahead and share it. Please let me know if you ever try the recipes. Some of them are my own, some are recipes I have borrowed from others and added my own twist.
Enjoy!
Southern Girl Recipes

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Fall!


Jay and I visited Aldridge Gardens on this beautiful fall day. We got to see the neat scarecrows created by local groups. We had the best time! (Sorry the pictures are all out of order!)

A view from the lake trail. Perfect walking through nature weather.


The pretty little waterfall near the house.


Gorgeous landscaping


Cat and Dog scarecrows, Jay didn't like these.

This one was created by the Riverchase Methodist MOPS group. It is a lot cuter in person.


This was one of my favorites. It is Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar.


Another favorite created by Petals from the Past. They made their scarecrow a farming crow!


When we were walking around the lake we saw these turtles. There were 5 on the long but the girls ahead of us scared two of them away.


Giant bee that goes with the bee keeper scarecrow. (Once again, out of order...sorry!)


There were butterflies everywhere! So pretty!


Arg! Jay and I got a kick out of these.


The first time we passed these ducks they were so still and quiet. The whole time we were walking around the lake we could hear them quacking.


One of my favorites! Cinderella and her pumpkin.

My love!


Jay liked this one. It is an football player and spider made of iron. It was really cool!


This was another neat one. It was a wooden scarecrow building another wooden scarecrow.


Scarecrow of the future? It was a metal scarecrow with the caption, "Scaring crows? I have an app for that!"


Here is the beekeeper scarecrow with the giant bee. I really like the bee but found the scarecrow to be a little creepy.

If you get a chance, be sure to visit Aldridge Gardens. It is a beautiful place!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Snapshots of a life

Snapshots of a life....
If you could imagine your life being summed up by pictures, what would you pick?

I thought about this tonight as I was riding home with my parents. Today my father said goodbye to his brother. Uncle Charles was treated to a beautiful memorial visitation service and graveside service in Selma. He was buried in his Sheriff's Deputy uniform. I know he would have loved today At one time today, I heard my mom whisper to my dad that his mom would have been so proud of him. It is in those private moments that I cherish the love and strength that my parents provide for each other and for me and my brother.
Today was harder than I expected for me. Throughout my life I was never really close to Uncle Charles and I regret that. I know he was a very private person, but he is my family. I cherished listening to all the stories being shared today. The hardest thing about today for me was the longing I felt to know my grandparents better. My grandfather died before I was born. My grandmother died when I was two. I got to spend some time with her and according to my dad she adored me. I so wish I could have known her better. As I walked through her house today and saw the pictures on the walls, the arts and crafts projects, her love for cooking, and her love for her family,I was reminded of myself. I am so excited to now own some of her old cookbooks and apron. To see her handwritten recipes in these classic cookbooks is beyond exciting for me.
Another one of my favorite moments of the day, was sitting and listening. Listening to stories about my dad, uncle, and grandparents that I hadn't heard before. I teared up listening to some and laughed loudly at others.

At the visitation, a video was shown of snapshots of my Uncle's life. From these moments I could tell you that he was a son, brother, uncle, friend, cousin, nephew, Sheriff's Deputy, cigar smoker, and a quiet man. You can view the slideshow here: Video Tribute. This is the tribute that had me thinking all day.

Rest in peace Uncle Charles. You fought the battle long and hard. You lived your dream of being a Sheriff's Deputy. May you be at peace now.



This entry was written on 9/9/09.

Wordless Wednesday












(Words to explain the pictures will come tomorrow)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prayers for Stellan


Prayers for Stellan


Baby Stellan is really not doing well. His little body is shutting down as his heart is over-working itself. Please pray that things turn around soon for this little one. Pray for strength for his parents. I don't know this baby personally but I have been following their story for a while now. You can read about Stellan at www.mckmama.com or follow his mother's tweets at http://twitter.com/MckMama.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Laughing With


Laughing With--Regina Spektor
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from the party yet

No one laughs at God
When their airplane start to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God
When they see the one they love, hand in hand with someone else
And they hope that they’re mistaken

No one laughs at God
When the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad news, sir
No one’s laughing at God
When there’s a famine or fire or flood

*Chorus*
But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got
And they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize
That the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke,
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughing at God in hospital
No one’s laughing at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving
or freezing or so very poor

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God


When I first heard this song, it made me really angry. I'm not sure why, but I misunderstood the lyrics. I heard it again and actually heard the lyrics,realized what was being said and it really hit me how true this song is. All around us, people make jokes at God's expense when they think they don't need Him. But once there is something happening when wereally need Him on our side, no one is laughing. But....is there every really a time that we don't need God on our side? Is there ever a time that it is acceptable to laugh at God at his expense? I love the last line though "We're all laughing with God", I do believe that God has a sense a humor. This song makes you think.

Gone too Soon



I had decided that I wasn't going to post about Michael Jackson's passing. Then I watched the memorial today. There has been a lot said about him lately, and I will admit I fell into reading all of the gossip, but today reminded me that all-in-all he was a person. He had friends and family who loved him and the rest of us only saw a small part of his life.

If you went out on the street right now, I would say 9/10 people could name a song by Micheal Jackson. 6/10 could probably sing an entire song. 10/10 could probably tell you something about him whether it be good or bad.

He was human. He might not have made the best choices in life, but who does? I will admit that I am far from perfect and have made many mistakes. I pray that I am not known by my mistakes and yet that is what it seems everyone can remember about celebrities. Was he different, by my standards yes...but who am I to judge? As Brooke Shields reminded us, "everyone thought we were weird, but to us--we were normal". Today during the memorial, I was reminded of the good he has done. I listened to his songs and really paid attention to the lyrics and better understood the meaning behind them. I cried for his children who will grow up without their father. I cried for Paris as she lamented her father.

I saw something happen at the end of his memorial service that I have only seen at one other memorial service. People applauded his life. I think that is a powerful statement about anyone's life. You are not guaranteed any set amount of time here on earth. Yet, if you can find some time to use your abilities to reach out and change another's life for the better, I think you have succeeded in life. I pray that I can touch someone's life in a way that when my time here on earth is done, they would be willing to stand up and applaud me and say "job well done".

So today, I choose not to focus on the controversy, but applaud Michael Jackson for a job well done. I hope that he has found peace and that his children find comfort during this hard time. Please remember that he was a person, who lived a life(and all that comes with it), used his talents to reach out to others, who was a father, and who is loved by others.


I'm starting with the man in the mirror.
I'm asking him to change his ways.
And no message could have been any clearer.
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself, and make a change.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Minnie Mouse Cake



I am so proud of how this cake and cupcakes turned out. They are for a sweet friend and her daughter. Her cutie pie daughter was celebrating her 2nd birthday.


Minnie Mouse cupcakes--chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, Oreo cookie ears, and fondant bows.



Minnie Mouse cake---white cake, vanilla buttercream....I forgot to take a picture of the final cake, I put a bow on the top layer to make it look more Minnie Mouse-ish.
Isn't she cute?!
I don't know why blogger always turns that picture sideways.

I had a blast making this cake. Thank you Holly B. for the opportunity!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Urgent Message

I received the following email today, it saddens my heart to receive an email like this. Please pray for Sumatanga. I really hate that there is a chance that this wonderful ministry could disappear. As a camper, counselor, director, and team member...I have seen the power, mercy, and love that God has for us through the summer camping ministry. I dream of one day sending my own children to this small patch of Holy Ground.



This past weekend, the United Methodists of North Alabama met for their annual conference. Rev. Bob Murray, executive director of Sumatanga Camp and Retreat Center, gave his report on Friday afternoon. While improvements in hospitality, food, cleanliness and safety have been made in his 18 month tenure, Rev. Murray stated "I don't have good news for you today."

Sumatanga will run out of operating funds some time between August and September of this year. That means camp will not be able to pay staff, pay utilities bills or make payments to creditors.

For over 60 years, the camp has served guests of all denominations as a Christian camp and retreat center. It is best known for it's summer camping program and the Walk to Emmaus. But it is also used year round by diverse goups like cancer survivors, addicts in recovery, the Kairos prison ministry, campus ministries and local church family retreats. In recent years, more guest are choosing to get married at the open air chapel that overlooks camp from Chandler Mountain.

Unfortunately, overall usage of the camp outside of the summer months have been steadily declining for several years. While a business plan that aggressively markets the camp has been implemented, the steady decline combined with the recent recession have dramatically impacted group reservations.

If business continues on its current pace the camp will cease to exist as year-round camp and retreat center. The camp is currently $900,000 in debt and is running about $300,000 a year behind in revenue for its usage.

Rev. Murray shared that while he believes that Sumatanga is relevant to the ministry of the Methodist Church and of North Alabama, he told the conference delegates that ultimately they would have to decide if camp would continue as a vital ministry. He noted that the biggest help to Sumatange would be for churches to make more use of the camp and have more overnight events there.

Following this report a passionate discussion from the floor began. A motion was made and approved for each church in the conference to take a special offering for the camp by the end of July. As well, a clergy person pledged $1,000 and challenged 100 other delegates to join him that day in making the same gift. A goal has been set to raise at least $300,000 in donations that can be used for operations by the end of the summer. As of Monday, June 8, over $85,000 had been received or pledged.

As Bob shared with a guest booking an event this week without a guarantee that the camp will be open at that time, "I don't know yet what is God's ultimate plan for Camp Sumatanga. But I rest in the knowledge that His plan is perfect."

Camp Sumatanga is on the web at www.sumatanga.org and their phone number is 256-538-9860. The 1,700-acre site is open year round for families, churches, schools, and corporate groups. Accommodations range from RV hookups and cabins to dormitory style halls and motel style rooms. They offer summer camping and year-round accommodations.

If you want to help keep camp alive, mail a check to:
Camp Sumatanga
3616 Sumatanga Road
Gallant, AL 35972

Make it out to Sumatanga
memo line: general donation

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vampires, Oh my!

I have resisted the temptation long enough. I admit it. I joined the crowd and started the Twilight series. And yes, I am hooked. My name is Holly, and I am a Twilight fan.
I feel like there should be some kind of addiction group for this. I have always love to read, but I can't seem to put these books down. During the school year, I do good to get a chance to read 2-3 chapters of a book a week. In 4 days, I have read the first Twilight book, and I'm 2/3 of the way through New Moon. In one way, I am thankful for AMSTI next week so I can get out of this cycle but in another way, I'm upset that I won't get to start the next book immediately. Geez, I'm starting to look like a vampire with my lack of sunlight!
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't excited that the movie for New Moon is being released the day before my birthday!!
I have been hooked on Jodi Picoult for so long that is nice to read something that I don't have to think so hard about (or get so emotionally involved in the book).
What are you reading this summer?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Follow Up

My procedure today went really well. We arrived at the diagnostic center bright and early and I was seen fairly quickly. Those people have it down to a science. Everyone waits in the same waiting room and once it is your time to go back for procedures/surgery, your name is called, you are given some paperwork and told to take the elevator to the 4th floor. Once you step off the 4th floor, you are met by your nurse who immediately takes you back for bloodwork and pre-op. I was in my room in less than 10 minutes. I remember the doctor coming in and telling me what he was going to do and then making some small talk with the nurse. The next thing I remember, I am in recovery and the nurse asked what I would like to drink. About 5 minutes later I was driven (in a wheelchair) out to my mom and husband who were waiting for me in the car. What I did not know at that time was that they had already met with the doctor and gotten all of my discharge information.
From the esophagogastroduodenoscopy they believe that I do not have a stomach ulcer but instead have GERD. GERD is the lovely name for gastroesophageal reflux disease. They also did a biopsy that I should hear the results back from in 2 weeks.
Thank you for the prayers last night and this morning. Like I said, the procedure went really well. I have no memory of the actual procedure and my throat if only the tiniest bit sore. I have felt the effects of the sedation all day and have taken some might fine naps.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuesday

Tuesday, I am having a little medical procedure done that, if you don't mind, I would appreciate your prayers for.
It all started in August of 2007 with a dull stomachache. For months, I would have a dull, burning sensation in my upper stomach. I self medicated with Tums and Pepto Bismol and that seemed to help everything. But, by early December things got worse. The dull, burning stomachache turned into sharp stomach pains. I was nauseous and nothing seemed to help. I missed 5 days of school that week (and if you know me--I hate to miss work). I finally ended up going to my favorite doctor and they determined I was dehydrated. I was so dehydrated that it took over an hour to find a vein for an IV. I spent 2 hours hooked up to an IV just to get enough fluids to satisfy the doctor to send me home (with strict instructions for me to go to the emergency room if I felt worse). I remember just lying in bed crying because of my stomach. Many tests later (including a parasite test, gallbladder test, feces and urine tests, and appendicitis evaluation) it was later decided that they couldn't quite figure out what was causing my stomach to hurt so bad. But after about 8 days, the pain started to subside. I was put on an antacid and would be continually monitored. I would have stomach pains pretty regularly but nothing like the pain I felt around Christmas. I thought all was well until about March 2009.
This past March, I noticed that I was starting to chew Tums again like candy and was going through a bottle of Pepto Bismol almost every 2 weeks. While at a routine doctors appointment, I mentioned that my stomach was starting to have the dull burning pains again. My doctor examined my stomach and I had 3 distinct areas of pain. She gave me some trial packs of Previcid and had me schedule an appointment with a gastrointestinalogist (I think that is what he is called--a stomach doctor). My doctor suspects that I might have a stomach ulcer.
Since my appointment in April with my doctor, I took the Previcid and had great results, but once the medicine ran out, my stomach pains have returned. I still have 3 distinctive areas of pain which I will admit worries me.
Tuesday I will be going in to have a esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) performed. The doctor will sedate me and put a lighted tube down my throat to look at my esophagus and stomach. I have heard that this is a very minor procedure and will be virtually painless, but yet (I am human) and I am still anxious about it. I pray that I can get some sleep tonight and that tomorrow, I will finally get some answers to why my stomach hurts like it does. I will admit, that at times the pain scares me because at times it is so intense. At other times, it is not there at all. I cannot pinpoint any triggers (food, stress, ect.) that set it off. I just want answers. I really have never had to have any big medical procedure/surgery before (other than my wisdom teeth and my Lasik surgery).
Please pray that the doctors have a successful procedure and that we can finally get answers and take care of the pain. Pray that I can get some sleep tonight. Pray that this anxious feeling will subside.
I am sorry if this is too much personal information for a blog, but it is on my heart tonight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Assembly Hall Makeover


Words cannot explain how excited this video makes me. I think it is absolutely amazing what young adults can accomplish when God puts a mission in their heart. Timmy and friends did an amazing job designing the new stage, raising money, and making over the assembly hall. If you have never visited the assembly hall at Camp Sumatanga, then you must contact me immediately so that I can share this special place with you. This simple building is truely holy ground. Many lives have been changed inside of those 4 walls. From folk dances to candle lit communions, I have made many memories in that place.
Please continue to support and pray for Sumatanga. The summer camping season will be beginning in a few weeks. The Team will arrive soon to prepare for campers. (Oh how I miss my days on Team!). Pray for strength and wisdom for the counselors, directors, and Team. Pray for each of the campers that will be coming.
I'm really sad that I will not get to spend a week at camp this summer (In the past 6 summers I have spent atleast 1 week and up to 7 weeks at camp). Because of graduate school commitments, I will be unable to direct a junior high camp this year. Instead I will be directing one weekend of Mom and Me camp. If you have young children (too young for a week of camp) you might want to consider Mom and Me camp. It is a one night camp set up for Moms and their children to get a taste of what Sumatanga has to offer. We will go swimming, hiking, canoeing, do arts and crafts, participate in an environmental lesson with Helena, sing, dance, and best of all, worship together. If you are interested in attending my Mom and Me camp, please let me know, or you can check out http://www.sumatanga.org/summer/momandme.php

Since I'm having trouble embedding videos, you can also see the video at www.givebacktocamp.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99TgtSSLAeE&feature=player_embedded

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Sun Always Shines

Tomorrow James Spann is coming to speak to the 2nd graders at MVES. I made him a cake as a thank you. I hope he feels better tomorrow and can make it. I'm not sure why this picture is turned sideways, it was turned the right way on my camera but blogger flipped it.



I am really excited about how the cake turned out overall. The abc33/40 logo took over an hour to get just right.
Each day, LuAnn the world's best office manager, says "The sun always shines on Meadow View" so I decided to incorporate that in the cake. I love when she says it!

I had a ton of yellow icing left over from the sun so I made a polka dot border.

Whatcha think? I used my white/almond cake and almond buttercream recipe. I love the taste of this buttercream and it is easy to color.
I hope James Spann and the rest of the abc33/40 crew enjoy the cake!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Defying Gravity

This week has been an exciting one. Jay and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary on Tuesday. I took the day off work to spend the day with Jay (and to go to a few doctors appointments--that's another post for later) . That night, we were treated to dinner by his parents and then the four of us went to see Wicked at the BJCC. There is only one word that I can use to explain the show...AMAZING! I was blown away by every aspect of the show. The talent was phenomenal, the set was intriguing, and the story line was fantastic. It was a very enjoyable night.
Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (sight of our first date and one of the places we visited on our engagement day).


Outside the BJCC at one of the fountains.
We were so excited about getting to see Wicked and thoroughly enjoyed the show. I enjoyed it so much, that I convinced Mom that we needed to go see it.
Before each show the box office holds a Wicked Ticket Lottery. You register your name and if drawn, you have the chance to win one of the best seats in the house (we sat on the 2nd row!!). The only rules are that you have to be present to win, show a picture ID, only allowed 2 tickets, and you must pay in cash. The best part, are lottery tickets are only $25 dollars! There were about 50 people there for our ticket lottery. They were down to the last 2 tickets and Mom and I had pretty much given up when her name was drawn! We won the last 2 tickets for Saturday night's show.
Randomly, I noticed that the lady working the box office was one of my sorority sisters. I had not seen her since I moved from Mobile. It was great to catch up with her for a few minutes.
We were talking to the couple sitting next to us before the show started, they happened to be lottery winners too. The told us that if you can find the stage door and wait a few minutes after the show, that you could meet the cast. Sure enough, within 20 minutes of the show we had met the entire cast. Here we are with the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Tom McGowan. He was really funny.
Here I am with Fiyero, Colin Donnell. He was very nice and down to Earth. We had some trouble with the first picture but he was nice enough to take another picture.
Me and Boq (Ted Ely). He was nice too but didn't talk as much.
Mom and Fiyero (Collin Donnell), like I said...really nice guy.
I was so excited to meet Elphaba (Marcie Dodd). She is amazing, beautiful, and incredibly talented. Unfortunately, my star-struck disorder struck again and all I could say was "You're amazing!".
Here I am with Galinda/Glinda, Helene York. She was the last one to come out, but like the others she was very nice. She actually came over to Mom and I first. I was really excited to meet her too. I am so impressed with with her vocal talent and comediac abilities.
Mom and Glinda, Helene York. I am so glad that we hung around and got to meet them.
Here are my goodies from last night. After we won the lottery tickets we were given a bracelet and button that we had to wear. When we met the cast, I had them sign my Playbill.

I am most excited about having my Playbill autographed. I have a feeling that we might be hearing from some of these actors and actresses again soon. Or atleast I hope we do!

If you are not familiar with Wicked, please watch this little video to learn more about it. And promise me, that at the first chance you have, that you will see it.


And for those who have seen Wicked, here is a clip of Defying Gravity that was performed at the Tony's. While it was done with the original cast and is fantastic, I honestly think that the version I saw in Birmingham this week was better! Helene Yorke and Marcie Dodd were so talented and had great chemistry on stage.