Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Raspberry Bush

For my birthday, my sister gave me a raspberry bush. I LOVE raspberries so this was definitely among my favorite gifts. The only problem though is that I am a notoriously forgetful gardener. I never keep live plants even indoors. I almost always kill them. Once I had success with my only plant friend - Peace Lily. But that's only becuase when she was thirsty, her leaves would fall to the floor. When I watered her, she was fine.

Last night I had a little bit of time and decided to plant the bush. I soaked it in water as directed by the box before heading out to a meeting. I promptly forgot about it until I returned from the gym at 10pm!

David really is the sweetest husband in the world. He met me at the door, drenched raspberry bush in hand. David dug a hole for it as I held the flashlight in the backyard. Unfortunately, our neighbor was on the porch. I think we must be a curiosity to her. Nonetheless, the raspberries are planted! The box said that I should water it heavily for the first two weeks after planing. True to form, I forgot this morning. At least it's a rainy day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This week I've been thinking about faith and hope. From a distance, I am watching a dear friend and sister in Christ walk through an unbelievably difficult situation. It's not mine to share, so I'll give no specifics. She is in the midst of turmoil I would never have wished to see her walk through and yet our wise Father has brought her this lot. Earlier this week, I stopped by to get an update. She shared what looks like an impossible situation. I love to fix things - and as I sat listening my mind was turning with suggestions. By the time she finished though, I knew my only help to her could be prayer. So we did pray, and I have been praying. On my way home from her house, I thought about what I would share with my husband when he asked. I thought about the heaviness of it all - the seeming obstacles at every turn. My heart was heavily impressed with story of the Israelites as they went in to scout out the promised land. Besides Joshua and Caleb, the rest of the men sent to spy out the land that God had promised came back declaring the impossibility of the situation. They looked with eyes that saw the might of the obstacles without connecting the might of their God. I realized that my default was to go home and tell my husband how impossible the situation was - not how mighty God is and how abundantly able he is to move on behalf of all those involved. It's really caused me to consider the tone of my heart and thus my mouth. Am I full of hope that is rooted in the promises of God? Is that what flows from my mouth when I look at everyday life? Do my eyes see most often with faith in the promises that God has so richly lavished on his children or do I default to view situations from an earthy perspective? I want to look forward to the great things that God has planned to do for his people for the sake of his name. Regardless of the outcome, his glory is revealed...give me eyes to look with eager expectation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Race Review

The Derby Marathon/Mini-Marathon has come and gone. The Dawkins household has resumed a state of normalcy with the memory of Saturday pricked only when we descend the stairs from our second floor apartment. On Sunday night I considered sleeping on the porch to avoid the stairs, but pressed through the pain. After a swim yesterday, we're both feeling a bit more mobile. Some of you are undoubtedly ready for this blog to move on to another topic, but for those who've taken an interest in this endeavor, I wanted to give a final update.

We had a Pasta Party on Friday night with David's parents, some fellow runners, a few other Memphis Louisvillians, as well as my longest standing running buddy Amanda Cline who was on that first soccer team throwing up alongside me on those summer days in high school. Honestly, on Thursday and Friday I started to feel pretty nervous about Saturday's race. The weekend before I spent my long run on mainly hills and had barely recovered from the soreness. My body felt weak, rather than strong. My stomach was knotted. The nervousness was slightly amusing to me - as if I had a lot riding on my performance! I am admittedly competitive though and didn't want to shame myself in my first half marathon. When David and I used to go canoeing in high school and college with friends, we would always joke about how we couldn't sleep the night before from excitement. Saturday morning, we both woke up at 3:30am and hardly slept after that - I guess we still get excited about big events!

David's parents, who came in town for the big event, were parents-of-the-weekend! They drove us down to the start line at 6:30am and stayed to cheer us on. The Derby Run is a big deal in Louisville and the city seemed to come out to spur us on. People had speakers on their front porches blaring music, an Elvis impersonator pushed a boom box in a stroller, little kids shouted from the street corners, people stood in their front yards with oranges and water. It was great! The adreneline of the race was very motivating for me. I opted to start out with David and his running buddy, Reid. I hoped to keep their pace for the first mile or two but ended up sticking with them until the courses parted ways at mile 10. Their presence significantly helped me - as it was much easier to follow Dave than to set my own speed. My favorite part about the day was the chance to experience the race alongside David. By the time we parted, I'd decided to try to press on at the same pace. The thought of David running another 13.1 miles beyond me was extra motivation to push harder. I finished at 1hr 57min 30sec - which far exceeded the goal I'd set for myself in my solo training runs. How true that two are better than one...

For the marathon runners, the heat made for grueling conditions. David said that he was feeling pretty good until mile 20. His cousin Kyle, a marathon runner with a rather unorthodox approach to training, told David before the race that anyone can run 20 miles. It's the last 6 that hurt. True to Kyle's word, things went well up until mile 20 when the full force of the physical strain seemed to hit him. At mile 20 he got a cramp in his leg. His last 6 miles were rough. Afterward, he told me that it was the hardest thing he's ever done. Coming from the mouth of a man who braved the Amazon jungle for 2 years, I didn't take that statement lightly. He's glad he ran it. He's glad it's over and as he lay immobile on our floor after the race, David announced that he is retiring his marathon shoes....or at least trading them in for less mileage. This picture afterward with his cheering section may describe his state best:

As for me...half marathons may become a new hobby. At the sight of my husband afterward, my ambitions of one day running a full marathon have been put to rest. And my respect for all those who love a good 26.2 mile run grew immeasurably.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pics, Pics and More Pics!

Lots of pics from Friday night's Pasta Party and the marathon.

More about the run later!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy me!!!

Today is my birthday. I've been in a quandry as to whether or not I should post on my own blog about my birthday. Feels a bit egocentric and well, awkward. However,I couldn't bear to not post a few of the sweet things going on this weekend.

What I love most about my birthday is that I get messages, attention, phone calls, etc from all the people I love so much! It's impossible for me to express how deeply grateful I am for my "community" (which happens to extend all the way from Mississippi to Tennessee to across the ocean). On this day each year, I also tend to be a bit more reflective about the faithfulness of the God who has given me life. This is a particularly sweet year to reflect on that for me. My cup, truly, is overflowing.

Last night I got a birthday package from my bag was marked for an early open. I found lots of birthday decor inside and decided to decorate my house for my own birthday! haha. Isn't this stuff adorable? Thanks, Mom! Even from 6 hours away she managed to "birthday" me.

Each semester the secretaries in our office draw names for a secret sister to encourage throughout the semester. Yesterday my "secret sister" had a huge bag of pasta delivered to my office. I thought this was such a cute gift!!!

Thankful. That's my word for today. I am so thankful for life in Christ. It is good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Ipod

A few of you have listed some of your favorite running songs in the comments over the past week or so. I am updating my IPod tomorrow and would love a few more suggestions. Most of you know that I'm completely un-savvy (sorry grammarians) when it comes to music - so be sure to list the artist and song title! I plan to make a few new Itunes purchases tomorrow afternoon before the big race!

The Scavenger Hunt

I am taking a photography class at a local church on Wednesday nights for the next six weeks. Last night we had a "Scavenger Hunt" around the church. As I haven't participated in a scavenger hunt in probably 10 was especially fun!

My favorite find under the category of "Evidence of Love."

As an ongoing project we have to take a "Daily Picture" for the next 6 weeks and then submit them at the end. This has proved harder than I first anticipated. The teacher has taken a daily pic for the past three years!

Stay posted in days to come for an update on my daily pic project:)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rebekah Ray Day

Today is Rebekah's birthday. I am sure that she will love it that I am posting pictures of her right here on the world wide web but I couldn't resist. I feel like this should be a national holiday.

To my delight, Rebekah and Kim, a sweet friend from my days at MABTS, came for a visit this weekend. We had a great time...and it seems like we ate a lot...Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Havana Rhumba, brunch with the Boevings, picnic on the Waterfront. It was a lot of fun!

The weather was peRfect on we enjoyed the porch once more and had a Memphis reunion!

We had a rousing game of Scrabble while on our picnic by the Ohio River and ate caramel cupcakes in honor of Brek.

Once every 6 months I need to charge up my camera battery. I rarely notice when it's about to go out. It just so happens that right after I took this prep picture for the big fireworks extravaganza at Thunder Over Louisville (the largest annual pyrotechnic show in North America:) battery died. Oh well. Take my word for it - the show was SPECTACULAR!!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Pasta Week

'Tis the week of the marathon and the Dawkins household will be taking in a lot more pasta this week than usual. Saturday is David's first full marathon and my first half marathon. We are excited. I'm a little nervous. My goal is set at 10 minute miles for the entire race and I feel like that's going to be a stretch.

I've been amazed at all my husband's "equipment" when he goes on long runs. I confess that I've been known to make fun of him for wearing his water "holster"...

Not only does David keep a supply in his holster...ready at any moment...

He also usually packs the car with 3-4 extra Nalgenes to refill half way through. If I drank that much water, my stomach would slosh around like a swimming pool. In fact, I don't usually take any water with me. David is the hydration king so this really baffles him. I will admit that this past weekend we had warmer weather and by mile 7 when I discovered that none of Cherokee's water fountains were turned on yet...I got a little desperate.

One night David came back from a 22 mile run with a 101 fever. I freaked out a little. He called his runner-friend. We surfed the web. He needed elecrolytes. I made him a weird baking soda drink. Then I bought Gatorade to prevent this from happening again.

I feel hard core when I go into the running store to buy a stash of beans for our household. Then I look at the people working in there...and know that we're really not that hard core. I have a feeling Saturday is going to be a humbling day for me. Kind of like when you get to Colorado with new ski duds on, excited about your first ski lesson and you fall down the bunny slope while a 7 year old kid from Colorado slides past you off a black diamond.

5 days and counting....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sweet Susan

I know most of you have already watched the amazing clip of Susan Boyle singing I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. I just have to confess...I've listened to it about 4 times today, usually with tears streaming down my face.

Click here to watch.

Beth Magic

This morning I cleaned our bathtub - a task that to me is about on the same level as toliet scrubbing. I used to love to clean the shower when I lived in Fondren. Tamara had an amazing cleaner called Lime Away. The results were instant. White, shiny clean. I like instant.

Now we have a claw foot tub. An old claw foot tub. It is eclectic. Interesting. Great for long baths. However, it's been there who knows how long and the porcelain is stained beyond recovery. If the environmentalists knew how many chemicals I've poured into it, they'd hunt my head.

In distress one day, I told Beth. Beth is pretty much the source of all cleaning knowledge for me. This girl has an automatic vacuum, and has made other cleaning confessions to me that pretty much mean that she's hardcore clean. She encouraged me to try a Magic Eraser. Amazing. Almost instant. Not white, shiny clean...but for stained porcelain...better. Much better.

Thanks for the magic, Beth.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Smoke Bombs

In the original design of our house, there was a fireplace on the second floor. Long ago it was walled up to be used no more. Chimneys are more difficult to remove, so it remained. Last spring we a possum made her home in our wall - the old chimney. We beat on the wall, played music to the wall and were generally distressed about her noisy presence in our dining room.

One evening we were eating dinner on the porch with friends when we saw mother possum and babies heading up toward the roof. David and Nate thus began an armed assault of poor mother possum to whom I lost all sympathy when we had a couple from church we barely knew eating at the dining room table with us and heard a mysterious scratching behind us in the wall. Thus, I encouraged this attack. Their bullying worked. The possum family found a new home and left us in peace.

Our landlord closed the chimney up once more on top of the house and I've hardly given it a thought since. Until a few nights ago when I was alone in the dining room. I heard a mysterious noise. Paused. Listened. Called out in distress for David to come to the dining room. We beat on the wall, searched the roof with flashlights, and sighed. It seems we have a relative of The Possums dwelling with us once more.

My friends Rebekah and Kim are coming for a visit this weekend - to take in the wonder of Thunder Over Louisville. Usually, our dining room is transformed into a guest bedroom for visitors. What to do? Aren't most critters more active at night? There's no telling what kind of noises will creep through that wall if someone sleeps there.

I'm seriously considering a smoke bomb attack on that chimney.

....just when the Boxelders left for the great outdoors.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Should.... these.

Trust me folks. Never a better pretzel than Rold Gold Cheddar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Celebration

We had a great day yesterday celebrating the resurrection of Christ with our church family and friends! This was the first holiday feast to which I heartily contributed as there were no moms, aunts or grandmothers to cook for us. Though I've not quite honed my skills to their level...I had a great time cooking this weekend. We feasted with friends and went home so stuffed we were barely hungry again until 9pm:)

Favorite Pic of the Day:

Miss. Aubrey: Still hungry? Try a little toe.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I really appreciate all the great ideas posted in response to my plea for help:) I was inspired by Jessica's idea in particular for this occasion though am excited about using the others for various projects in days to come! I decided to go with an already blooming flower planted in a little clay pot with a bit of ribbon around it.

I bought a flat of 32 happy Petunias and even had a few left over that may eventually make it into our flower beds!

I hope to deliver these tomorrow morning with a copy of the story of Christ's death and resurrection as recounted in the gospel of Mark. We went to a Good Friday service at our church last night where we read through Mark 14-15 and I was impressed afresh with the power of the Word. Praying that a weekend set aside to remember would pour fresh fervor into our hearts in these days.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Peep, Peep, Peep

Yesterday after work I crafted a few goodies using the treat of the season - peeps!

Inspired by a post on Taste of Home, I decided to make a cake I was baking for our neighbors extra special. As we walked over to their house it occurred to me that it was a household of 3 guys and a mom. At that point I adjusted my expectations. It seemed unlikely that the teenage boys were going to squeal "How adorable!" when they answered the door. I had to explain my own husband that it was a sunflower cake. It was fun to make, anyways!

Kim pointed me to Bakerella with some suggestions for my friends at the hospital. Though I don't know that I'll make this for all of them...last night I wanted to take a treat to a friend who recently had surgery. This little flower pot from $Tree came in handy:)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lazy Discipline

Running has been a hobby of mine for 10+ years now. It's more of a habit to go for a run than it is a discipline. I love to run. So on most days, it doesn't take a swell of effort to lace up my shoes. I run at a decent, but not amazing pace. Real runners would probably refer to me as a jogger. Usually I run for 30-40 minutes a few times a week as my schedule allows. Moderate. Nothing impressive, but better than the couch.

In January, David announced that he planned to train for the Derby Marathon held in Louisville each April. After scoffing at his willingness to train long distance in a KY winter, I eventually decided to train for the half marathon myself. For the past few weeks my training schedule has required more and more of my time, diet and body. At first, I found some resistance to the strain but as I've progressed my enjoyment has increased. I've been building distance which takes time. It's been slow but steady.

One afternoon last week I went to the gym to avoid the deluge outside. There I stepped onto my friend, the treadmill. The wonderful and terrible thing about a treadmill is that your pace, distance, and incline are right there in front of you in digital, inarguable form. I don't usually think much about my pace while I run but when it's glaring back at you, how can you miss it? I decided to push myself. My pace increased significantly. My heart pounded. I focused on running instead of the magazine or book I usually use to cover the dash while I run. It felt great. I hurt in the good way - the way that means you're increasing rather than maintaining.

This week I've been focusing a more during my runs and have been pleased with the results and inspired to work harder.

I remember when I first started to run. Back in my high school years, I somehow ended up on the school soccer team. We started training that summer and pushed our way through the Memphis heat and humidity. We ran the steps. Did sprints. Calf raises until we couldn't walk. I was totally out of shape. It was the first time and perhaps only time I've ever thrown up from physical activity. It was glorious. I had never worked so hard to stretch my body and there was something good about the push.

It's brought an interesting parallel to my heart over the past few days - one that won't let up on me. There are quite a few habits in my life that I've allowed to become comfortable. By a certain standard, I am disciplined. But there's an aspect of the discipline that's lazy. Others might observe and be satisfied with the area. But I know that the mile was meant to have been run a bit faster or the prayer was meant to be prayed with deeper fervor or the Word was meant to be opened with greater hunger.

I'd like to push a little harder in the days to come.


Thanks for all the ideas! I'll let you know what the weekend holds:)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Help, please?

There are a few of you who seem to ask just the right questions to get your blog readers to respond. I love that. However, I'm more of a post-it-and-leave-it kind of girl myself. But, I need some help this week.

For once I'm actually going to be in the city in which I live for a holiday. David and I made the decision to stay here this year for Easter. While I will certainly miss the family time, I am looking forward to a weekend focused on celebrating the resurrection of Christ with our church family!

Another thing I'm looking forward to has to do with the hospital where Bonnie and I visit patients. Who wants to be in a hospital bed on a holiday weekend? No one. Especially not people who are always in the hospital. This is where I need a little help. I really want to help our friends there to know and celebrate Christ this weekend especially.

My creativity is kind of blocked though. I'd like to have something to take to each room - perhaps a flower along with a verse printed on a card. I won't have time or opportunity to speak with every patient and some are unable to communicate. Please keep in mind we're on a Seminary budget when you throw these ideas out. Or....(insert your idea here)

I confess to feeling quite insecure about this post. I don't want you to think I'm off to be the Easter Bunny or propagate the pagan aspect of this is just joyful to celebrate the resurrection. I'd like to come up with a creative way to share that joy this weekend.

Thoughts? I'm listening!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring to Snow?

Snow flurries are on the forecast for Monday in Louisville. Can you believe that?

I tried not to think about it today. This wasn't hard to do because the weather was truly amazing.

I can hardly walk outside without being in wonder...let me show you a few reasons why my blogs for the past week have continually referenced the glories of spring:

David returns from Montana tomorrow night and I can hardly wait to see him! Unfortunately, he's bringing the snowy weather with him. What will become of the tulips?

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Tulip Shelter

I've been a little worried about all the tulips in my life this week. Thankfully, people more dedicated than myself planted dozens of tulip bulbs - now in full bloom - all over my stomping ground. I enjoy the fruit of their labors everyday and have not yet lost the joy of passing by a patch. If there were one flower I would vote to have bloom year round - it would be the tulip. Louisville weather has been extreme this week. Yesterday was an unbelievable day. The sky was blue, the grass full green and the flowers opened to enjoy every minute of it. As soon as I was released from my little office though, dark clouds began to roll over Crescent Hill. The first downpour came around 6pm and continued in waves thoughout the evening. I was distressed about the tulips. How would their delicate petals make it through the deluge and winds? Should I go outside and stand over them with an umbrella all night? To my relief, I made a new discovery this morning - which the more observant no doubt knew before this blog. This morning the sky is still heavy but unlike yesterday my friends are not opened wide - they're all closed up. Aren't they smart? It's like they build their own storm shelter! I'm hopeful again that I'll get to enjoy them through another few weeks at least. God's creation is indeed good. I'm enjoying it in full form this spring.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Streak

David left this morning for a few days in Montana on a work trip with his boss. I rolled out of bed to take them to the airport and was back at my house by 6am. Somehow, I still managed to be 5 minutes late to work - as usual. It doesn't matter if I have 3 hours to get ready or 30 minutes - I always seem to arrive at about the same time. I've been re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the umpteenth time. I love that book. This morning as I looked at the clock and realized it was happening again...I thought about Scout and Jem's Aunt Alexandra.

"She never let a chance escape her to point out the shortcomings of other tribal groups to the greater glory of our own, a habit that amused Jem rather than annoyed him: 'Aunty better watch how she talks - scratch most folks in Maycomb and they're kin to us.'

Aunt Alexandra, in underlining the moral of young Sam Merriweather's suicide, said it was caused by a morbid streak in the family. Let a sixteen-year-old girl giggle in the choir and Aunty would say, 'It just goes to show you, all Penfield women are flighty.' Everybody in Maycomb, it seemed, had a Streak: a Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak."

I guess she would say I have a Sluggish Streak?

(One of the best gifts I've ever received - a 1960 hardback copy of To Kill A Mockingbird! That Amanda Puckett knows how to pick 'em:)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Last night when I arrived home, I found sweet husband on the porch...grilling. I confess that I am completely dependent on David to do any outdoor cooking (excluding smores). To me, grilling is a man-task. David has taken up the responsibility nicely...thanks to the kind friends who gave us this grill as a wedding gift!

MMMM. Our first delicious burgers of the season....

He even set the table on the porch that my mom let us steal temporarily from her backyard. It's our favorite dining spot in the spring and fall.

Yet another reason why I love the spring.