Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Can Swallow Again and I've Got Seven Containers of Lasagna to Prove It

So my hope that by mid-weekend my sinus pressure, headache, dizziness and sheer exhaustion would have gone away was kind of a pipe dream.  On Friday night I felt like I had a golf ball in my throat and couldn't swallow - which is kind necessary so I was in quite a bit of pain.  By Saturday night it had shrunk to a ping pong ball but when I woke up this morning Bruce suggested me taking the morning off from church.  I slept in, woke up, looked sadly at my coffee maker for the fourth morning in a row and made myself a cup of tea (it's just not the same starting off my morning with a cup of tea).  I started to feel a lot better by mid afternoon and decided to venture out to the grocery store to get food for dinner - with the intention of freezing most of it for lunch this week.

What was on the menu for tonight?  LASAGNA!!

Last year, my sister gave me a very basic recipe for lasagna (thanks, Bethany!!) and I've tried it a few times since then - enough to think that it was time for me to branch out.  I thought about how Bruce and I like to cook and added my own culinary flair to the dish (look at me, I'm growing!!).  Here's what I did.

Beef & Mushroom Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 small/medium white onion
1 8-oz. can mushroom pieces and stems
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 26-oz. jars traditional italian/tomato sauce
1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 box lasagna noodles

Brown hamburger
Dice onions - when meat is almost cooked through, add onions
(I bought ground sirloin, which is extremely lean, on major sale at the grocery store today, so there really wasn't any grease - if you bought something not as lean, you will probably want to drain the meat before adding the onions)
Drain and rinse mushrooms, add to skillet, bring heat to low

Drain diced tomatoes, add to skillet
Add one jar of italian/tomato sauce to skillet, keep heat on low
Season to taste (I used salt & pepper, garlic, basil and a little oregano)

Meanwhile ... 

Bring a big pot of water to boil
Carefully add lasagna noodles

(I've used "no-boil" noodles in the past, but I wanted to try the original ones today - I must say, I really liked the taste and texture and think it is worth the time to use the boil ones when you have the time)
Stir carefully every few minutes (this is mostly to get the water moving so the noodles don't stick to the bottom)
Cook noodles in water for approximately 10 minutes, then carefully drain the water (leave some water in the pot so the noodles don't dry out and stick together)

Meanwhile ... (this is kind of a multitasking kind of dish)

Combine the Ricotta Cheese and 2 cups mozzarella cheese

Building the lasagna ... 

Lightly grease the bottom of a 9x13 glass pan (I used spray olive oil)
Layer the bottom of the pan with sauce from the second jar
Cover the sauce with one layer of noodles (use caution if you are using the boil noodles - they will be hot(!) and you need to handle them carefully so they don't break)

Add a layer of meat/mushroom sauce
Add a layer of ricotta/mozzarella cheese mix
Add another layer of noodles


Cover the top layer of noodles with remaining sauce (I actually poured some sauce into the corners of the lasagna after each full layer so that it every little crevice was full)
Top off with remaining two cups of mozzarella sauce

Bake according to directions on back of box of lasagna noodles
The box of noodles I had said to bake it covered in tin foil at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, to remove the foil and then bake for an additional ten minutes ... Because my lasagna was - um - huge I baked for 35 minutes, removed the foil and then for an additional 15 minutes

Carefully remove from the oven

I served with a baguette (as if there weren't enough carbs in the lasagna!!)

Now for some perspective ... this is how many containers it took to store the remainder of the dish ... 

Umm, yeah.  We're set for lunch this week.

Have a great week y'all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

TGIF and Five Questions

Happy Friday!!  TGIF!!

I have - for the most part - been horizontal on the couch or in bed for the past two days with sinus pressure, headaches, dizziness and sheer exhaustion.  I don't think it's a full-blown sinus infection (hoping it's not anyway) but I haven't felt well enough to go to school or work.  Because my days have consisted of the Today Show and reruns of The Secret Life of the American Teenager (seriously, that show is a train wreck I can't turn away from) there really hasn't been much to blog about, but I was reading Melissa's blog this morning and saw that she had linked up to My Little Life's Five Question Friday.  The questions were fun so I thought I would link up, too - it gives me something fun to think about and lets you all learn about me in the meantime.  Here we go ...

1. Would you ever vacation alone?
Hmm ... this is a really good question.  I've never done it, but I think I would enjoy it.  I definitely sight see at my own pace (sorry, Mom, I know we were in Barcelona and that was a wonderful opportunity, but I just don't understand Picasso's artwork) so I think I would enjoy being able to wander at my own pace, stop to take pictures of something no one else would think to take a picture of and to just sit and take it all in.  Lucky for me, Bruce and I travel really well together.  Our paces are similar and we don't mind going in separate directions if one of us wants to see something that the other doesn't.  I think I would be good at taking day trips by myself, but eventually would get lonely and need someone else around!!

My mom and me at the Vatican during the aforementioned European "I don't understand Picasso and want to go to lunch" vacation.

2. Do you go the speed limit?
I am MUCH better than I used to be (when you have to ask your parents for a check because you have to pay a $150 speeding ticket at the age of 16 you learn to lay off the gas a little bit) but I tend to drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit.  That being said - I live in Atlanta.  I get stuck in traffic a LOT.  More often than not I'm driving at a stop-and-go crawl pace.

3. Why did you start blogging / following blogs?
I starting my blog because I live 1,000 miles away from my family, church and ordination committee.  I wanted to give them a window into our lives down here.  I didn't really realize all that blogging was at the time - but love the fact that I can connect with people all over the country/world - I love keeping up with old friends and hearing about other people's lives and faith. I get inspiration from them for projects around my apartment, find tons of recipes and learn different photography techniques.  I am constantly learning so thank you to everyone who helps along the way!!

4. Where do you shop for yourself?
Any place where I can find inexpensive cute clothes that will last awhile.  Target, Kohls, Charlotte Russe, H&M, Old Navy and TJ Maxx.  I love the Hunger Site for cute jewelry (and the money goes to a great cause!!) and I really love shopping in the closets of my friends and cousins :) - hand me downs ROCK!!

5. What was the song that you dance your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding?
We danced to Etta Jame's At Last.  We were married the year President Obama was inaugurated and when we were watching the Inauguration Balls that night and saw him and the First Lady dancing to At Last, Bruce said, "Hey, if it's good enough for the president, it's good enough for us" - and it was settled.

Amazing day.

Thanks for stopping by - hopefully I'm feeling better by mid-weekend - there is only so much bad TV a girl can watch!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Queen of Procrastination

Let me tell you, I am wearing the crown tonight.  I have a paper due tomorrow and I started writing it around the same time they announced President Obama at the State of the Union tonight.

(If you're curious, streaming the speech live on and keeping the window open next to your paper does not create a good paper-writing environment.)

Curious why I waiting until 9 pm EST to start my paper?  I had much more important things to do.

Like hanging pictures. (It all started when I decided to move some photos around on another wall, then I realized I had never framed these pictures and I wanted to, so I went to Target and found these cute frames for $2 and hung them above my desk.)

I love how I nonchalantly say "Like hanging pictures" like this is an everyday occurrence.  In the spirit of honesty, I must say that Bruce usually does this and I am shocked everything looks straight - I really think I am turning over a new leaf in home decor.

And making labels for my magazine holders (I got these super cheap at IKEA last year, painted them with leftover paint from this project last week and decided tonight they still needed something).  Personally, I really like the deep yellow / black combination.

(See?!  More DIY home projects.  I'm on a roll!!)

What are YOU procrastinating doing tonight?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's Give 'Em Something to Blog About

I've been singing Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About" ever since I opened my blog this afternoon and realized I had NOTHING to blog about.  Seriously ...

- No class (can I get a hoorah?) so I slept until 9 and walked to work
- After work Bruce and I had a "date night" that consisted of me making dinner and Bruce convincing me to play racquetball
- Bruce kicked my butt, I got mad and I threw my racquet

- Bruce and I went out for breakfast, thought we would walk around Sports Authority for awhile and I was horrified to find out that Beer Pong is now considered a sport ...

... words just don't do it justice (I wonder if you have to be 21 to buy it?)

- It rained all day, I came home from church, watched football for eight hours straight and was heartbroken when the Vikings lost (seriously, what will it take for Brett Favre to get to the Super Bowl one more time?)

- I went to work and got an e-mail that said my psych evaluation was complete and now I just needed to read it and sign off that it could be sent to the chair of my Church & Ministry for review
- As I read it, I kept giggling because - due to confidentiality restraints and the fact that they sent me the document electronically - the report kept referring to me as Ms. 101209001
- I released the report and e-mailed the chair of my committee to let her know that my "psycho report" would be sent to her shortly (seriously, thank you to whoever invented spellcheck)

- Meeting, class, lunch, class, homework, home
- Bruce went for a run, got back, we made dinner together and my dad starting texting us the score for the UCONN women's basketball game (Go Huskies!!)
- Now we are sitting on opposite ends of the couch, watching NCIS, computers on lap - Bruce is looking at knives and I am blogging - someone has made herself very comfortable in between ...

... she is certainly the queen of the house, that's for sure

Ever have a couple of days where you felt like you didn't do anything news-worthy, but it was wonderful and perfect in its own little way?

And - for your listening pleasure - the song that inspired the title to this post ...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Remember When I Moved to Atlanta and We Were in a Level Four Drought?

Umm ... yeah.  I have vague recollections of brown grass and environmentalists pleading with people to preserve their day-to-day water usage.


Flashflood Warnings + Football = Low Productivity For Sarah

This does not bode well for my academic success this career.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Recipes - Homemade Hamburger Helper

Disclaimer:  I do not know what hamburger helper tastes like.  I don't think that I have ever had it before in my life.  But the recipe I am going to share is along the same concept and I couldn't come up with a better name for it (if you have one let me know!!).

Bruce got this recipe from his mom.  It is incredible easy, but also really hearty - we have it a lot when it is rainy and cold outside.  It is the perfect weeknight meal!!

Homemade Hamburger Helper

1 pound Hamburger
1 small White Onion, diced
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup White Rice, cooked according to package instructions

Sauté hamburger and onion, drain

Pour cream of mushroom over beef & onions, add a can of water
Stir, turn down heat and allow time for soup to thicken

Serve over rice

(We didn't when I made it this past week, but I think next time I will serve it with a side of steamed vegetables)


(Seriously - it is that easy!!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I am not a morning person.

I repeat:  I am NOT a morning person.

In fact, I have mastered the art of "five more minutes-ing" myself until 7:15 am every morning - at which point I roll out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth, do my hair, get dressed, pick out earrings, put together my stuff for the day, grab coffee and breakfast and am out the door by 7:30 to get to Emory in time for my 8:00 class.

It is quite remarkable, actually.  I am starting to think I have pushed my limit one too many times and am inevitably going to be late at some point throughout my final semester.

Except I HAVE NO 8:00 CLASSES THIS SEMESTER.  This, my friends, is victory.

Where was I?  Oh right, I am NOT A MORNING PERSON.

And yet, this morning, I rolled over (sans alarm) to the sound of Bruce grumbling under his breath as he got back into bed.  I asked him what time it was, he told me almost 5:30.  Then I started to hear something ... some sort of noise ... music? ... no ... drums? ... possibly ... hip hop rap with a heavy bass line?  BINGO!!  I said (okay, more like whispered in a pathetic "I am NEVER AWAKE THIS EARLY kind of way"), "Is that the neighbors?" (Meaning, the neighbors who are notorious for playing this music on the weekends.  Annoying?  Yes.  Tolerable on the weekends?  I suppose.  5:30 in the morning?  Ummm ... )

Bruce grumbled, "Yes," and proceeded to turn on the radio on our TV to try to "show them."  And this would have been a brilliant idea ... except for the fact that Dave FM playing Taylor Swift really doesn't have the same effect as "thud - bump - bump - thud, THUD ... thud - bump - bump - thud, THUD."

He quickly realized this and turned his attention to iTunes on his iPod, where he was bound and DETERMINED to find the name of the song that was playing.  Why?  I wasn't too clear on this part.  Remember it was 5:30 in the morning.

And have you forgotten?  I am NOT A MORNING PERSON.

So at 5:45 he declared victory (similar to my victory over no 8 am classes, only his involved a fist pump and mine involve reading in a corner until 9:30 when my class actually starts) when he found the song and decided to celebrate by going for a run.

A run.

At 5:45 in the morning.

Why?  You may ask.  Because it wasn't raining.  That was the answer I got, anyway.  Well - perhaps, I got a more detailed explanation.  But it was 5:45 am and I am NOT A MORNING PERSON.

So Bruce gets out of bed, puts on his running clothes, makes me coffee (just call him Prince Charming) and heads out the door.  I contemplated going back to sleep after he left but decided in the end that falling back asleep for 45 minutes would just give me a headache and make it difficult to get through the day.  I poured myself a cup of coffee and started to check my e-mail (in other words glance at my e-mail, decide there were too many attachments to open on my iPod and settle in to read blogs for 45 minutes).

As the coffee started to kick in, I began to have an epiphany.  Oh, the THINGS YOU CAN GET DONE WHEN YOU WAKE UP AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING.  I am not even joking.  By checking my e-mail (ahem reading blogs) before I left for school, I got to school and didn't have to check e-mail, blogs, news, etc. and therefore read 50 pages before my 9:30 class, leaving me time in between classes to work on something else, rather than scrambling to get my reading done.  Not to mention the fact I didn't have to rush through getting ready, I remembered things like my water bottle and lunch, I made my husband an egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast AND I got to watch the first hour of the Today Show.

I walked through the day proclaiming my new found love of mornings to everyone I talked to.  That's right - LOVE.  I began to think that maybe - just maybe - I could be a morning person after all.

Until 8 pm.  At which point, I crashed into a wall.  Not literally, of course.  I was haphazardly working on some ordination stuff when my phone rang (it was my dad, 'Hi Daddy!!') I answered it, laid on the couch to talk for awhile and that was it - I was horizontal for the night.  There would be no going to the gym, no watching Burn Notice with Bruce, no doing the dishes (luckily I pulled the 'ole "I cooked, can you take care of the clean up" eyelash flutter routine and Bruce took care of them) and no homework for the rest of the night.  I was officially exhausted.

This being a morning person stuff is harder than I thought.

I'm going to bed.  Goodnight y'all - tomorrow is "going to be beautiful."  ("Going to be beautiful" is Bruce's contribution - he is reading over my shoulder and I had been staring at a blinking cursor trying to finish the sentence, "Tomorrow is ..." for at least five minutes.  It is officially time for me to go to bed.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Giggle, Giggle, Hehehe

I was at the church tonight to rehearse a song that I am playing my saxophone with the choir on.  As I was packing up (and the choir was continuing their rehearsal) the music director asked me if I would mind making a few phone calls for him.  He had just found out that two more people were going to be missing from the bell choir rehearsal that he had scheduled for tonight and - because it is really hard to rehearse that particular ensemble without everyone (or close to everyone) there - he had decided to cancel.  He needed me to call the people that were still planning on coming.

I went into his office, found the directory, pulled out my phone and started making calls.  When someone picked up, the conversation went something like this:

Me:  Hello, [insert name here]?
[Insert Name Here]:  Yes?
Me:  Hi, it's Sarah Weaver, from Pilgrimage.
[Insert Name Here]:  Hi!!
Me:  I'm just calling to let you know that, due to the number of people that aren't able to make it, tonight's bell choir rehearsal has been cancelled.
[Insert Name Here]:  Okay, thanks for letting me know!!
Me:  Not a problem.  So sorry for the late notice.  See you Sunday.
[Insert Name Here]:  Bye!!

As I had this conversation with each person on my list, it dawned on me that I am still not comfortable calling myself Sarah Weaver.  It's been seven months and I still have to resist the urge to giggle like a giddy honeymooning newlywed when I introduce myself as Sarah Weaver.

For those of you married women (who changed their name) out there - how long did it take you to get used to introducing yourself or hearing yourself called by your new name? Am I weird?

I feel like it's something that I need to get over before I start interviewing for church positions.  Because - you know - church search committees are always SO impressed with prospective pastors who introduce themselves, pause and giggle.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Rainy Day Project

Happy MLK Day!!  How have you all been spending your holiday weekend?  I, for one, decided to take on a little project that I had been thinking about for the past couple of weeks - and have since been giddily sharing the results with everyone I know out of sheer delight that it came out exactly the way I imagined it (don't you love it when that happens?).

I'll be honest - I am not much of a DIY connoisseur when it comes to projects around our apartment.  We are renting and there is only so much that we can do that we won't have to undo within the next couple of months when I finish school and we move.

However, it was rainy and gross in Atlanta on Saturday and - since I really didn't feel like admitting to myself that school is back in session by spending the day reading - Bruce and I ventured out to our local Goodwill to tend to a DIY itch that had been building in me to find a new way to store my ever-growing earring collection.

We came home with these.  Two big wooden frames for $10.50 total - you really cannot beat that!!

We ripped out the backing and took the paintings out.

Then we sanded the frames down and wiped them off with a warm, wet towel in preparation for painting.

We shopped at our local Ace Hardware and used their color selection - the color we chose was called Goldrush.  Initially we had planned to go with a brown or black, but thought at the last minute that we wanted something a little bit more bold that would stand out on the walls.  I am so glad we did that - I love how unique it makes the frames look.

We let the paint dry and flipped the frames over to give a quick coat to the back before going on.  Because of the shape of the frames (and the fact that they were going to be three-dimensional off of the wall) we wanted there to be some consistency if you looked at them from a side angle (I am assuming if you used more of a flat frame you wouldn't need to do this).

I also used a small brush to make sure the crevices in the wood looked consistent with everything else.

Someone looked less than impressed with the progress we were making.

We used black window screen to "frame" this project - this is what the earrings get hooked onto.  Bruce used one of the original paintings from the frames to measure how much screen we would need.  He cut it out and we attached it to the inner-most part of the frame using a hot glue gun and then securing them with staples.  (If you try this, make sure to work through this step slowly - it's important to pull the screen as tightly as possible for some of the heavier earrings you may hang.)

Then we stapled black material on the outside of the frame - this served no functional purpose, rather it just created a black background so when the frame was hung you couldn't see through to the wall.

Rather than hanging them both separately, Bruce decided to screw hooks into the bottom of one frame and the top of another and string them together using rope.  This way, if I need to get to the back of the frame (for some of my earrings that have bullet clutches as backing) I can using the bottom frame.


What do you think?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Recipes - Cheddar Chowder

Before I start on this recipe, I have to shout a big 'THANK YOU' to Barb Sears for this recipe.  Kari introduced me to this in college and I begged and pleaded with her to pass it along to me when I got to Atlanta.

One of the biggest challenges of my resolution to cook more and eat out less is the lunch situation.  Both Bruce and I have a tendency to hit the snooze several times before we finally roll out of bed and as we are scrambling to get dressed, make coffee and grab our stuff for the day, the thought, "What am I going to take for lunch?" rarely enters either one of our minds.

This is why cooking in bulk (soups, crockpot meals, casseroles, etc.) are going to be imperative for us this year.

I decided to make this soup on New Year's Eve this year, because we had a TON of ham leftover from Christmas and we had already had tons of leftover plates and omelets, haha.  It was time for something else.

Today's recipe is PERFECT for freezing individual portioned containers and grabbing them later on whenever you are running late.  If you freeze them you really don't even need to worry about keeping them refrigerated throughout the day, either.  Enjoy!!  (Thanks, Barb!!)

Cheddar Chowder

1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups potatoes, chopped
2 cups water

2 cups ham, diced

(Cheese Sauce)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Dice, chop and cube onion, carrots, celery and potatoes (note - WATCH YOUR FINGERS when you are cubing the potatoes).

Add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and water to a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until veggies are tender.

Meanwhile ...

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the flour and whisk until combined (it will form a paste).  Slowly stir in the milk until combined, then add the shredded cheddar cheese - stir until melted (over medium heat)

(Just a note - for some reason, we were completely out of white flour, so we used whole wheat.  I couldn't taste the difference, but it made the cheese sauce a touch darker.  I would definitely do it again, though.)

When the cheese is melted, pour cheese sauce into pot with the cooked vegetables (and the boiling water).  Stir until combined.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

45 and Rainy

Someone's got a case of the Rainy Day Saturdays ...

Me?  I am currently putting my best DIY face on in an attempt to store my ever-growing earring collection a little bit better.

I have a feeling I will not be interrupted.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Show Us Your Life - Weight Loss Tips, Diets, Work Out Ideas

Here is the irony of my life right now - I have fallen of the wagon on a New Year's Resolution that I DIDN'T EVEN MAKE.

Most people make the resolution to lose weight and get fit.  This year, I did not.  I made the resolution to be better about budgeting, specifically when it comes to how Bruce and I eat (ie cook more, eat out less).  And yet, after a week-long vacation to Pennsylvania where all I did was eat cheese and pretzels, drink beer and consider shooting a .22 to be "exercise" I think I need to be intentional about hopping back on the proverbial wagon.

That is why I am so happy that this week Kelly is hosting Show Us Your Life - Weight Loss Tips, Diets, Work Out Ideas.  I am really looking forward to linking up and reading about some creative ways to get in shape and to eat healthy!!

I usually stick to two major forms of exercise - pilates and walking.


A couple of years ago I bought Shelly McDonald's Caribbean Workout Pilates series.  You can find it on amazon here.  I love it because there are two different levels and the workouts are only 20 minutes each.  I always think that I am going to be ambitious and do two workouts a day, but usually end up collapsing after one.  It's a good collapsing, though - the kind where you know you got a good workout and are getting stronger.


I looooove walking outside, but it's not always possible in Atlanta - Bruce really hates me walking alone at dark.  So during the summer and parts of spring/fall, I walk a lot when I get out of class or work.  I crank my music and walk at a pretty fast clip.  The great thing about being outside is that the terrain changes and I think I get a better workout when there are changes.  I usually walk for 45 minutes to an hour.

Also - and I am probably the only person in the world to say this - I love walking on the treadmill.  Get one where you can change the incline and you can get SUCH a great workout.  I like to crank the incline really high and then slow my pace, and then I'll bring it down and increase my pace, etc. etc.  It is really low impact (good for people like me who don't have much cartilage left in their knees) but still gives you a great workout.  If you hate the treadmill because you don't go anywhere, listening to music helps me and I know watching TV helps a lot of other people.

I can't wait to see what other people have to say!!  I am terrible when it comes to healthy cooking (until tacos count? they have vegetables, right?!) so I hope people post some good, simple and healthy recipes, too!!

Make sure to hop over to Kelly's Korner to see what other people have to say!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What They Don't Teach You in Seminary

'Twas the night before classes started and all through the house
Sarah was filling in her calendar while enjoying a fire built by her spouse.

Ahhh, first day of classes.  It always sneaks up on me.

No, literally.  My first year at Candler, classes started the day after MLK day.  Last year they switched it.  So for two years in a row I have thought (up until the day before classes actually started) that I had another six days of freedom.  Then I realize I really only have about 18 hours left of then I start to hyperventilate a little bit.  You would think I would have learned my lesson last year and planned ahead a little bit better this year.  I did not.  So after dinner I pulled myself away from NCIS reruns, went to Office Max to buy myself a calendar and have spent the night deciding which color ink I will use to indicate classes versus meetings.

And so it begins.  My LAST SEMESTER OF SEMINARY.

Ummm ... holy crap.

I wish I had something really inspiring to say.  But I don't.  Because - let's face it - the nation of Haiti is facing the ramifications of a horrific natural disaster and all I can do is complain about the fact that I got my wires crossed and actually have to go to class today.  How can I allow myself to try to reflect on how much I've learned and grown when God's children are quite literally crying out in pain and desperation right now?

It's easy for someone like me to say, "I wish I had the means to give, but in the meantime I will just pray for the people of Haiti."  I really don't have that much money.  Bruce and I just got back from a vacation, we are coming off of the holidays, I currently owe Emory University a large sum of money and Citi Bank just added to the bottom of line of money that I will start to owe them six month after graduation.

But I have $10 to spare.  $10 that I won't even notice on my credit card statement.

And that's all it takes.

President Obama said this morning that he knows that times are tough in our country - and he knows people do not have a whole lot of extra to give right now.  He's right.  But he was good to remind people that they don't need to give a huge donation to make an impact.  Pennies add up - and ANY donation will make a huge difference.

Scott & Kelly Stamps over at Kelly's Korner have offered to donate $1 for every comment left on this post saying that they and their spouses/families have donated money.  They will donate up to $1,000.  If you have donated - head over and let them know!!

This is my last semester of seminary.  I have spent two and a half years "learning" how to be a minister, how to be true to God's Word.

But this is the stuff they don't teach you in seminary.

Prayerfully consider making even a small donation.  You will not regret it.

The Widow's Offering
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  He said, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.'
Luke 21:1-4

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Road Home

When Bruce and I first started dating, we lived about an hour away from one another.  I'm not sure I really consider that "long distance" - but we weren't close enough to see each other every day.


I drove to see him at least once a week.

Who could blame me?  Besides the wonderful company, it gave me the opportunity to visit this beautiful place.

There is a beauty to small town life that just cannot be found in the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, GA.

You can see why it was hard to leave on Monday.

Don't worry.  We know how to find the road back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Tale of a Dried Up Christmas Tree

I always make it my goal to keep up my Christmas tree and decorations until the Epiphany - the day the Three Kings "allegedly" showed up at the manger bearing gifts (I say "allegedly" because who knows if they showed up 12 days after Christmas or months later or even years later - and supposedly Jesus was really born in May or June, but for arguments' sake - and for the sake of the Church year - let's say they showed up on January 6th and that's the day I like to keep all of my Christmas decorations up until).

Well this year the kings showed up the same day Bruce and I took off for Pennsylvania - so I left a quickly dying tree and hoped it wouldn't spontaneously combust while I was gone.

Combust it did not but when we got home I did find half the needles on the ground and the ones that miraculously stayed attached were as crispy as burnt bacon.

So today, while Bruce was at work, I started the task of taking decorations down, packing them away and getting back to some sense of normal in our apartment.  Other than losing another quarter of the needles as I fought with strands of lights and ribbon, the removal process went fairly smoothly ...

I almost look organized!!

And then came the amateur mistake:  Trying to remove a seven foot tree that I did not even help bring in while it was alive.

The aftermath.

Dear American Auto Industry,
Find a way to run your cars on dirty water and dried up pine needles.  I'm telling you - it's a GOLD MINE.

Now, this layer of pine needles might not have been such a big issue - if it weren't for the fact that the filter on my vacuum needs to be replaced.

So after spending two hours on my hands and knees picking up the big pieces and unsuccessfully vacuuming up the little pieces, I called Bruce and said, "Hey, I think there's something wrong with our vacuum.  And oh yeah - YOU'RE COOKING DINNER TONIGHT.  I love you!!"

I'm starting to understand why people buy artificial trees.

And why I've always taken down my tree when Bruce was home.
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