Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Progressive Dinner - Winter

Our first Progressive Dinner back in the fall was so much fun that we decided to make it a semi-annual event. We had a GREAT time!!! Here are a few pics:

We began with a delicious salad at Kim's house. She had a little happy ready for each of us and has the cutest winter dishes. I wish I'd taken a better pic of the salad!!!

Beth suggested we tell our favorite Christmas memory from that year over dinner. Over dessert we made New Year's Resolutions....we'll see how those turn out.

See how formal we are? I'm honing my meatball making skills!

Beth's amazing dessert was combined with a craft project - personal fruit pizzas to be decorated for a grand prize.

I was inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's Squares in Concentric Circles. However, my art project wasn't quite as good as Kandinsky's and I couldn't even remember his name last night. Beth made a beautiful tree - by dissecting a blackberry. She's intense.

In the end, Wes's interpretation of The Scream won. How could we compete against a guy who carved Sarah Palin into a pumpkin for Halloween?

They allowed me to take home the prize - since it was illegal for Wes to officially win something that already belonged to him. This snow man apparently shoots rays of lights when equipped with batteries.

The blog would be incomplete without mentioning Roombie. This Jetson-ian vacuum cleaner is an absolute wonder to me. He's like a puppy who cleans up messes rather than makes them. He's like a member of the family.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Old English

Though many feel differently, I love the rhythm of prayer books. I use them almost daily in my private devotions. A few years ago, while perusing the shelves of the Gateway Rescue Mission Thrift (the origin of many of my books), I stumbled across a worn copy entitled A Diary of Private Prayer. Upon inspection, I found this updated edition's copyright to be 1949. It was complied by John Baille of whom I know shamefully little. He was a Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh and he was the Chaplain to the Queen of Scotland. The weathered cover combined with the Old English bound inside reminds me of the many saints who walked before me. I love to pray the same prayers a small collection of them once uttered. For over 3 years now, I've been leaning on Baille's words.

It's been a bit hard for me to re-focus this week after the holiday. My soul has been a bit restless. It is in times like this that I find written prayers most helpful. This morning I was glad to pick up the worn volume and find expression once more....

"Creator Spirit, who broodst everlastingly over the lands and waters of earth, eduing them with forms and colours which no human skill can copy, give me to-day, I beseech Thee, the mind and heart to rejoice in Thy creation.

Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes:
Forbid that the lure of the market-place should ever entirely steal my heart away from the love of the open acres and the green trees:
Forbid that under the low roof of workshop or office or study I should ever forget Thy great overarching sky:
Forbid that when all Thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face:

Let the energy and vigour which in Thy wisdom Thou has infused into every living thing stir to-day within my being....."

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Festivities

My mom's beautiful - and gigantic - Christmas tree. I get all my holiday decorating ideas from her house!

The Robertson Gals.

My mom bought us International Monopoly. You can buy Istanbul, Paris or London. The craziest part about the game is that it has an electronic banking system. Monopoly with a credit card?

Lindsey and our other "sister" - Buttercup.

Meet David's cousin Kyle who lives in North Carolina. He spent the weekend giving Dave marathon tips. Kyle trained for his first marathon in one month. You can imagine my thoughts when he offered to let Dave in on his latest "training plan." The white-elephant gift of the weekend was a poster sized picture of Kyle in his High School basketball uniform from back in the day. I am sure Melissa will frame it when they get home.

In case you can't tell from the pic - Drew is Wii bowling with a baby in his other hand. That's hard core.

Lisa and Brad show their holiday smiles.

Braxton - sleeping through the chaos.

The Dawkins men hanging out in the fort.

Cousins. This is by far my favorite pic of the holiday. Robert is smiling his hardest.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

The Dawkins are heading to Memphis of 5 wonderful days of family and friends. I am terribly excited. Hope to see many of your faces at some point this weekend!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Red Velvet Truffles

David and I are nearly overcome with desserts in our little abode. It seems, however, that as soon as we say we want no more of the holiday sweets - Laura decides it would be a good time to make a few more "for the neighbors" - of course. Yesterday, the dessert of choice was Red Velvet Cake Truffles - first introduced by my friend Beth several months ago. They remain in our top 5 dessert picks for the year. David even confessed last night that they may rival Peanut Butter Balls. The fact that he would even consider them as a rival says it all.

I have a bad habit of gathering recipes, buying the ingredients for them ...and then leaving the recipe in my bag out in the car or sitting in my inbox waiting to be printed. If I were my husband, I would stop mid-bake and go retrieve the recipe. As you may have gathered by now though, I am not quite as meticulous about David in such things. The first time I made these truffles I forgot a fairly important step - letting the cake dough balls harden in the fridge before dipping them. The result was white chocolate turned speckled chocolate. It was really a baking catastrophe. They were tasty, just not very pretty.

Yesterday, though I still don't actually know where I wrote the recipe down, I managed to remember most of the important steps and the end result was much better than my first attempt. In case you're wondering, they are more delicious than they look.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am obsessed with Lucy Maud Montgomery. I've read and watched Anne of Green Gables so often that sometimes I am confused about whose life is whose - I intermingle our stories and feelings in my recollections. Recently, a friend introduced me to a lesser known series by Montgomery - Emily of New Moon. Though the holidays swirl around me and there are a thousand things to do - I practically read it at stop signs on the way home in the afternoon. The genius of her creation in these characters baffles me. Her stories intrigue me and prod me and really work in my mind until I am almost undone. I wish I could write like that. I stare at the pages after reading a good solid line or paragraph and wonder how on earth she created it. It's really amazing.

So my confession is this - I love to read stories. Dickens, Montgomery, Macdonald, Chesterton - yes - even Jan Karon's Mitford books. I particularly like the ones written more for children. This is a little bit awkward for me around the Seminary. People are engrossed in Systematic Theology and Hermeneutics. They carry those books around with them - they read them in the gym while I'm engrossed in the tales of Emily of New Moon. I feel a bit - ummm - unintelligent. Then I shrug my shoulders and keep reading. How can I change though? I can't...I have to read stories. I just needed to get it all out in the open on the blog though. If you know, I won't feel the need to hide the book cover the next time I'm in the gym.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I love Christmas traditions. There is something innately beautiful to me about doing the same thing each year - the repetition reminds me of the past. It links me to my family and to memories I would otherwise forget. At the top of my list of Favorite Robertson Family Traditions is one that my mom started from the year we were each born. Both my mom and dad bought each of us a Christmas ornament each year - most of the time signifying some phase we went through that year or a significant trip or milestone. We each had our own "box" to put on the family tree each year. When I married, the box came with me. So when David and I decorated the tree this year - I told him stories about all my ornaments - for the second time...he was, of course, very interested in all my stories. David's mom kept a few hand-crafted ornaments as well - so our tree is especially historic. Here are a few of my favorites from our tree:

I actually think this originally belonged to my little sister. Nevertheless, it is one of my absolute favorites.

Wasn't he a cute second grader? Our children are bound to have the "bowl" haircut at some point - both David and I went through a "bowl" phase.

The year I turned 16, I started driving my mom's 1973 Beatle Bug - which she and my dad "saved" for me. I loved that car. It leaked carbon monoxide or some such toxin into the cab - so I drove with the windows down even in winter. When it rained, water would pour through the hood onto my leg. Frequently, the gears would stick in mid-intersection and I was rescued more than once from the side of the road before the days of cell phones - my favorite rescue was by a trucker. But I loved that car. See how many memories one little ornament can evoke?

This ornament was to represent the year of the infamous Sunfish Sailboats. We spent many summer days sailing around Patriot Lake at Shelby Farms that year!

David and I were both born in 1980 - and believe it or not we have the SAME Baby's First Christmas ornament from 28 years ago!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Advent - Part II

I am unashamedly paranoid in the dark. Perhaps it's the Memphis violence statistics and news reports my mom used to quote, it's could be related to my life in downtown Jackson, maybe it's related to my time in Africa - when we didn't even go into our backyard at night. Or possibly - I just never got over being afraid of the dark when I was a kid. Whatever the reason, I look over my shoulder a lot when I run at night - even in Crescent Hill. Last night I was jogging along - thinking about how much I love to breath the cold air and fighting back the tendency to glance over my shoulder for no good reason. As I approached a crossing, I noticed a lady tapping her cane along a dark alley behind some apartments. She was blind. I watched her make her way up to the sidewalk. My wild imagination started down the path of how much more afraid I would be if I couldn't glance over my shoulder - into the darkening night. I spent the rest of the run thinking about darkness. Thinking about light. Thinking about Jesus - who spoke a great deal about light and darkness. Who came to give sight to the blind. Whose light effused my soul in an undeniable, indelible way. So, my advent thought for this darkening night in Louisville is centered around Jesus, the light of the world.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Under the Weather

Husband is sick. He mentioned a sore throat yesterday when he woke up but I really knew he must be sick last night when we got home. He layed on the couch to watched a movie - by himself - while I looked through Christmas cards and cleared off the mound on my desk. I don't recall David ever doing this. He will watch a movie with me - but generally speaking he never sits down unprompted in front of the television. Poor guy. He slept 10 hours last night and most of the day so far. David has a theory about common illnesses - he thinks that gallons of OJ and water will cure you everytime. Let's just say we're on our 3rd concentrate of OJ this week. Hopefully it will kick in soon. The ever-cheerful, ever-energetic David is pitiful when he is sick. Why? Because he still tries to be helpful and cheerful and sweet - and then you look over at him and he's about to fall over or something and you just have to say "Dave. Go back to bed." And he looks back and answers hazily, "I think you're right. Maybe I should."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Good Old Days

Random pictures from the past always seem to pop up on Facebook. Generally, they are Bellevue Youth Group shots taken on various choir tours, mission trips and camps. I find them very entertaining. The truth is - I have a terrible memory. Amanda Cline tells me stories about myself during high school - events of which I have no recollection.

Recently a picture was posted of a group of us at an Atlanta Braves game in 1998. Apparently we sang the national anthem. I do not remember this at all. Here we are in the stands though afterward - in our matching tye-dye shirts.

A few more of my favorites which appeared on Facebook:

One summer I lived in Merida, Spain. Among other things, we had a puppet ministry. Just in case you don't recognize me, my sophomore year of college I gained 15lbs.

Not too long ago - but still one of my favorites. This was at our Back to the Future New Years' Eve bash in Jackson, MS. We dressed like people in the movie. Please note - my hair is crimped - and in a side ponytail. How the Dawkins miss David Dykes.

Laura tromping through the bush of Africa. I am sure I was saying something about snakes while this was being taken.

And now for my all time favorite random Facebook photo

Brian Pearson wins the award for this one. Junior High Choir Tour 1993. I am the second patriot from the right - front row. That was the year that Stacey Williams and I were on the "pyro" team with Brian. He was in charge of shooting off the streamers during one of the songs. Stacey and I got to hold the controls and release the explosion at the climactic moment of the song. Those were the good old days.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blogging Breakdown

So last week I had a little blogger breakdown. I mean - I have to tell my own husband to look at the blog when I update it. I'm pretty sure my own best friend doesn't read it - though she's featured almost weekly. Beth seemed to be my only faithful comment-leaver. How could I even know if anyone else was reading consistently? Maybe I should just email Beth every day and forget the blog. I was distressed. At dinner last week, I lamented to Laurin Boeving - who first convinced me that blogging would be a good idea. I told her I felt like a blog failure. We then appealed to her techy husband, Aaron, for help. He analyzed my blog. He clicked this and that - and thanks to Google Analytics - I now know that more than 3 people are reading this. The truth is I rarely comment on blogs myself - so I can't really expect lots of comments on my own ridiculous posts. I am completely relieved and feel spurred on again in my blogging endeavors. Thanks to all who posted a comment in response to Laurin's post! I'm glad you're reading....I check your blogs often!

My favorite part of the conversation was when Aaron used the word "Lurker." This, apparently is a professional, computer-man term. I laughed out loud. He told me that when I read blogs but never comment, I am a "Lurker." haha. That is an awful word. I think he gave it a better definition. Nonetheless - I'll keep on lurking.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Madison, Indiana

In celebration of the end of the semester, David suggested that we go to Madison, Indiana for dinner on Saturday night. Madison is a quaint little town about an hour from Louisville. Snow started falling mid-morning on Saturday and by that night Madison had a dusting that gave the town a very Christmas-ish feel. We had a great time...perusing the artsy little shops along Main Street, eating at The Downtowner, playing Scrabble cards in the coffee shop while sipping on a Hazelnut Steamer and enjoying delicious hand dipped chocolates!!! For about half the drive to Madison we were on the Kentucky back roads - I have a small obsession with barns - so I particularly enjoyed the drive!

A frozen fountain.

David concentrating on his "game."


Kentucky at Christmastime.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Advent - Part I

Advent has begun. The word Advent- at it's root - means "coming." It is about hopeful expectation and joyful waiting. It is a time to think with expectation about the coming of Christ - in anticipation of the celebration of his birth. David and I are establishing family traditions in these early years of our life together. The celebration of the Advent season is a tradition I want to embrace. Each Friday this month - I would like to post thoughts I am processing about the impact that tiny baby born in Bethlehem makes on my life.

This week I've been considering afresh the incarnation of Christ. God became man. The Almighty wrapped himself in flesh. He entered the world to take on all that he despise - to bear in his body the sin that he hates with a hatred deeper than any hatred I've ever experienced. My mind can barely tap the depth of what that meant...of what it means.

My Father, as usual, is teaching me through object lessons. Lately I've been longing for more opportunities to serve - in ways where I 'get my hands dirty.' I miss Africa often in that regard. It was easier for me to remember when the needs were so obviously before me each day. Fear not. I didn't have too look far to find an opportunity this week. Wednesday night a friend asked for help with a ministry she leads. She needed me to watch 6-8 little Somali children while she taught their mothers English. No problem - I thought. I arrived early armed with a storybook and some coloring book pages. Thankfully, another volunteer - Jaye B- was there to help out with the little ones for the night. Shortly after the class had begun upstairs, one little fellow burst into tears. I scooped him up to comfort him. His sobs had subsided and I was feeling good about my ability to calm him down. Pride before the fall. Suddenly, the little guy was throwing up. All over me. All over himself. All over the floor. The others kids surged forward to be a part of the action as I stood paralyzed. All I could do was look at Jaye B and say "I think I'm going to throw up. Really. Oh no. I think I am going to." To my relief - and Jaye B's relief - I did not. After a brief paralysis during which time my thoughts hovered somewhere around "Are you kidding me, Lord?" and "This sweater is Ann Taylor," I went to the bathroom to clean us both up - while Jaye B cleaned up the floor and shooed the other kids away to play with the un-infected toys. Recovering from the trauma took a while. I was paranoid for the rest of the night - and was convinced that I would wake up Thursday morning with some illness. Rebekah suggested that it might be the African Bird Flu.

Slowly though, as the night progressed, my thoughts turned away from myself - and onto that sick little boy they then made the natural progression onto Jesus. Sometimes it's just messy to serve. It's inconvenient to love people. I am being reminded that I have to enter in. I hesitate because I love clean cut lines, scheduled appointments, and dignified ways of service. I've forgotten the lowliness of the manger. I've forgotten a gospel that was announced to lowly shepherds tending their sheep. I've forgotten - in a sense- that God became flesh and dwelt among us. I am grateful for the Advent season - for a time to remember.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Home for the Holidays

We did so much over the Thanksgiving holiday I could blog about it all week! Instead, I'll fall on the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words and post some of my favorites from this weekend.

Mrs. Dawkins made a delicious feast for the family plus two Norwegian students at Union who were there to experience a real American holiday. It was fun to see them take pictures of the carving of the turkey and all the little details that we forget are special!

After dinner we played a rousing game of pin the hat on the Turkey.

Lisa, awaiting instructions from the nephews.

Thursday night we met the newest addition to the Dawkins family - little Braxton. He is adorable. Sweet Louise Anne spent the holiday in the hospital! She was a great sport:)

David, Drew and Braxton - having some "man" talk.

On Friday night we had dinner with some of David's Peruvian teammates. David and Quinten battled it out on the Wii. I couldn't even get a good pic. Those guys were intense.

Celebrating a victory over Rebekah in our Wii Boxing Match. Let me just admit - lest you be too impressed by my win - that the only way I could ever beat Rebekah in some form of fighting would be in a video game. She used to take me out in college when I suggested otherwise. I gladly defer to the strength of Leah D'mello and Rebekah Ray in such endeavors.

On Sunday we had lunch with Bear and Amanda - in their beautiful NEW house!!! Though they just moved in a week ago - they've already made it look amazing!

Amanda is perhaps the "oldest" friend I have that I still keep in touch with on a consistent basis. I've known her for over 16 years now. She is ever faithful and I am always glad to get a little time with her when we're in Memphis.

It was good to be "home."