Monday, August 31, 2009

BBQ Snobbery

Saturday night was date night. After meandering up and down Bardstown in search of a suitable choice, David and I decided to try Mark's Feed Store. It's been recommended to us a number of times since we moved here, but we'd never set foot inside this local BBQ joint. To be honest, every time we've eaten BBQ since our move closer to the Mason-Dixon line, we've been a bit disappointed. We've even been accused of BBQ snobbery by a few folks.

I know you Memphians out there can identify with us on this. You grow up in a city with The Rendezvous, The Commissary, Corky's and an annual Memphis in May BBQ Festival...and it kind of takes the edge off the boasts of other cities. Not to mention that I spent my childhood eating BBQ from my grandaddy's pigs smoked overnight on the TN river by my uncles and from greasy paper bags my dad would bring to the farm house from hole-in-the-wall smoke houses. Ok. They may be right. We're BBQ snobs.

One significant discovery we've made is our strong inclination to brown sugar based BBQ sauce rather than the vinegar base we taste so often in these parts. In all fairness, I have to confess that I actually liked the sauce at Mark's Feed Store. David and I sat at the table contemplating this, feeling like Yankees.

Overall, we concluded that we would probably hit Mark's again. We actually enjoyed it quite a bit. For the first time, I selected the beef BBQ and will definitely go for that next time too. Oh, how we need to get back to the deep South!!!

Maybe next time we go to Memphis we should go eat BBQ just to keep our edge.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Dinner Guest

Lately I've been noticing that an uninvited dinner guest has been using our porch table. I'll come home in the afternoon and find this....

Now that's just gross. Chewed up nuts on my beloved teak table.

Occasionally, the perpetrator even raids David's tomato bush and leaves bits of tomato skin on the table.

Though I've not been an eye witness, I have my suspicions about this guy who lives in the tree beside our house. He makes little squirrel noises at me when I walk past and I think he may be harboring bitterness over those times I've startled him. I guess if I were following a biblical model, I would just leave a bowl of nuts out for him rather than glaring at him when I walk past now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to the Books

I'm fairly sure that in the daily interests of life such as popcorn popping and tulip watching, I never mentioned on the blog that I actually enrolled last semester in my first class at Southern Seminary in the Biblical Counseling program.

Before you're too impressed, let me explain that I'm on the 25 year plan for a Masters degree. David's speeding through his MDiv coursework like the studious fellow that he is...but I'm literally taking it one class at a time. My goal is to learn...not necessarily to graduate within a conventional time frame.

This semester my Tuesday nights are devoted to a class on Marriage and Family Counseling. My first impression of the class is that it is going to be immensely helpful and quite interesting, despite the dreaded 3 hour long stint in one seat (a hard pull for an easily distracted gal like me). My first impression of the syllabus was "are you kidding me?" I forgot that this is grad school. Reading, reading, and more reading. I looked at my busy day planner and cringed. Then I started reading.

I just finished up book 2 of the 7 on my list...God, Marriage and Family by Kostenberger. What a great book! Not quite as engaging as my usual novel... there's definitely a scholarly spine to this one... but a true jewel for a Christian's shelf covering a wealth of topics that are faced daily in our culture. I will reference it in years to come as a touch point to study topics such as gender roles, parenting, abortion, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage along with a wealth of others. His foot notes alone are worth the price in order to gather resources on the topics discussed.

Alright, friends, fall is here. It's back to the books for me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Birthday Lunch

Today is Laurin's birthday...and on my lunch hour the Boeving and Slocum gals (and little Jacob:) came over to celebrate a bit!

Sweet Hannah fashioned a gift for Laurin and wrapped it...with a decorative flare!

Savannah graced us with a solo debut of Happy Birthday, Mommy.

What better to finish off the fun than a caramel cake? Laurin loves the icing recipe as much as I it was a good excuse!

Happy Birthday, Friend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is this normal?

Saturday night, when cooler people were doing cooler things...David and I were popping popcorn in our kitchen. We love kettle corn. I mean, really. Sweet. Salty. Delightful.

I have a terrible fear of burning popcorn. I hate the smell, the taste, the failure of burnt popcorn. Consequently, I usually stop the microwave before it's really time.

Being the thrifty man that he is (with an aversion for throwing out any food), David salvaged the kernels from the bottom of the bowl. We put them right back in that bag and folded it over to seal it.

And would you believe it? We go a whole nother round of popcorn? Yes we did. It wasn't quite as sweet and salty...but nonetheless.

Not one to stop when possibility is still before him, David just poured the dregs onto the microwave plate and went for a 3rd round. His success rate was much less this time, but he thoroughly enjoyed watching those kernels shoot across the microwave.

That's what we were doing at 10pm on Saturday night. What a life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Battles We Fight

The boys were contemplating the wonders of Greek. Lamenting the complexity of an old language and battling to conquer it.

Laurin and I were engaged in another battle: the monogram machine. When Laurin told me about this new addition to her sewing equipment, I was terribly excited. The possibilities for monogramming are endless. Last night she gave me a demo. This machine pretty much requires a Masters degree for operation. The manual looks like an engineering guide.

After a little trouble shooting...

Victory!!! And this was only a practice round.

(Ooops...blurry!) The funniest part of the evening was watching David and Aaron give their input on the monogramming success. I think it was so hysterical to me because when we're together I somehow feel like we're all back in high school....and the thought of David and Aaron being interested in a monogram is really...ridiculous.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On Timeliness

David went on a quick trip for work this week. His flight departed at 6:45am on Thursday morning. On Wednesday night, I asked him what time I needed to be ready to take him to the airport.

D - "Let's leave around 5:05am"

L - "Didn't you check in online this afternoon?"

D- "Yeah, I did but what does that really mean? I still have luggage."

L - "It has to mean something. Besides, it will take a max of 15 minutes to get to the airport at 5am."

D - "I guess you're right. 5:25?"

Laura says nothing. Just nods, smiling.

D - "Just out of curiosity, what time would you leave?

L - "5:45 at the earliest, probably closer to 6am to be honest. I mean, you've already checked in."

David is shocked, stunned, amazed.

D - "I guess we could leave at 5:35."

Laura can tell that he is living dangerously. David has a thing for time buffers.

So here's the truth: I've missed more flights than I care to confess. And once I had to get on an airplane with a wet swimsuit on under my t-shirt because Rebekah and I decided a 6 hour layover in Miami was enough time to go to the beach...using the public bus system.

Hubs. I love your timeliness. It's as amazing to me as my untimeliness is to you. I have to admit, life has been decidedly less dramatic since my marriage to my own personal alarm clock.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rufus and friends

Shelby Farms, perhaps the most wonderful park-in-a-city in the US, is listed on my Top 5 Things I Miss About Memphis. When I was growing up, we used to sail our little sunfish sailboats at Patriot Lake. Once my dad fell off the boat and it sailed away...leaving Linz, me and our mad sailing skills. My brother used to cut through the park to go to school...not exactly mindful of the speed bumps. I distinctly recall a Sunday School party when I first learned that geese are feisty around food. We celebrated Mother's Day there with more than one picnic. I had my 18th birthday party at the pavilion there. Rebekah Ray and I have disturbed the peace of the Tour de Wolf often by screaming along the mountain bike trails like the novices we are. I stood on that soil for the One Day conference in 2000 and continue to feel the ripples of that weekend in my life. My sister and I still roller blade it's 1995. David Dawkins met me there for a run in the summer of 2005. He told me he'd like to write to me from Peru. I love Shelby Farms.

Amanda Cline is also on that list of things I miss about Memphis. She's my guide to the running trails...on my own I always get lost. This summer, Amanda made a lasting impact on the Shelby Farms. She named one of the newborn bison that has just been added to the Farm Family. She even got her pic in the paper! Hope you're not mad buddy...I just needed to blog about Rufus. He's your legacy.

Amanda Cline submitted one of the winning names for the bison newborns. Her submission was Rufus. It was the brainchild of Amanda and coworker Meredith Harris.

Photo and caption taken from The Commercial Appeal

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Teasin' and Tamin'

In response to my internet pleas for bigger hair, an expert in hair teasing took pity on me. Leslie is part of a duo known as Tease 'n' Tame. They do weddings. Saturday night we had dinner and a hair extravaganza. Leslie showed me the process of sustainable height.

Tease. Spray. Dry. Tease. Spray. Dry. Tease. Spray. Dry. It just keeps going.

I hope I got that right. Leslie?

My own private salon...where the magic of tease and tame should be happening every day.

Please. Take a look at that tease. This was only the beginning.

The full tease before the tame.

The finished producted. Teased but tame. A slight difference but with oh so much more power.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Needle and Thread

A few months ago, I saw a bag on that Internet shopping phenomenon...Etsy. It was $35. I thought...are you kidding me? I could make that in an hour. And so, after a few headaches, twisted fabrics, and tangled threads,and much longer than an hour, I did.

It's now morphed into a way for our budget to survive the weekly need for a baby shower gift. Diaper bag...with a flare?

And with the scraps...a little purse to hold a few essentials.

Thanks for the inspiration, Etsy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On the big screen...

Last week an anonymous donor gave David and I funds to go do something we almost never do....see a movie in the first month of its debute. We're students and we're admittedly cheap. Unless it's at the $1 Theatre over in Indiana or at Redbox, we haven't seen it. I was itching to see Julie and Julia though, and magically a donation appeared. (ahem, Jeff.) So last Thursday on our date night, hubs and I drove to Tinseltown. We were in luxury with the rocking stadium seats and couldn't believe how long the previews lasted beforehand. We were not disappointed. I was inspired not so much to cook as to blog...but that's beside the point. What a fun movie!

And...truth be known, one of the most exciting parts of the night for me was my discovery that in September Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be released!!!!!!!! I CANNOT wait. This is one of my favorite children's books. When other people's kids come over, I read it to them. Sometimes, when other people's kids don't come over, I just read it to myself.

On a Monday Morning

It's Monday morning. The first song that popped up on my Pandora radio station this morning was "With My Little Ukulele in My Hand." It's going to be a weird week. I can feel it. It was kind of a crazy weekend too.

* I went to hang with Keyara on Saturday. We were supposed to go to the BBBS headquarters and make a craft to decorate their new office. I called on my way and she told me that she was babysitting a 1.5 year old. Could Deinara come along? Unfortunately, I'm only insured to drive Keyara so I said no. Instead, I bought two boxes of Popsicles, markers and construction paper. When I arrived at her house, I was greeted by a vast number of children...none of whom go by their original name. Coco, NoNo, YoYo, GoGo...ok....I'm exaggerating. Kind of. We ate Popsicles and made crafts. I went home feeling like I was in culture shock.

*David met a Nepali family on Saturday. They became fast friends. He took them to Walmart to do their school shopping. Afterward, he needed to stop by the mall and asked if they wanted to come. As they drove in, the father said he'd been wanting to go there. He thought it was a temple. Apparently, the domed roof on Von Maur was confusing to him. I guess the mall is kind of a temple for some people...

*Leslie came over on Saturday night to tease my hair...hence the picture at the top. I'll give a full report later this week. I had so much to learn, and she is indeed a master. David was amazed by the process and told me later he wished he'd watched it all. When we came home from church on Sunday, he confessed that he'd been wondering during the service if the girl in front of him teased her hair.

*Sunday we worked in the nursery. A few highlights: The bouncer apparently broke and has been removed from our room. This was a grave disappointment to me. We had a few criers. One had red hair. This is never a good sign. Red headed cries are worse. She didn't just cry...she shrieked...ear piercing shrieks that made me wonder if her mom ever wears ear plugs. David handled it all like a champ. We do not want to have sextuplets.

*Last night we had a Cuban family to dinner. To David's delight, he's discovered the Spanish speaking community in Louisville. I gave thanks last night for Patsy Bierbrodt, and 12th grade Spanish class. It might be time for me to brush up on my skills. I served meatballs, potatoes, corn and green beans. I took Juan's plate away to serve him some meatballs and when I returned it, I discovered that he was dishing green beans onto his charger. That was awkward. I just took his charger away, not knowing what else to do. In all fairness to him, chargers are kind of dumb.

I bet you can't wait for the rest of my blogs this week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Texas Hair Update

I bought hairspray.

I used my extra jumbo large rollers again...with mousse.

I felt quite confident it would be the day of bigger hair.

After spraying my rolled hair, I took the curlers out. It looked beautiful. Husband told me not to talk to any other men that day. I might woo them with my curly locks.

I walked out the door to go to work. It wasn't raining. It wasn't even that humid.

By the time I got to my office, my hair was flat with the crumpled remains of a few curls.

Am I a hopeless case?

Just when I thought hairspray was the only magic I needed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Farewell to Buttercup

About ten years ago, the Robertsons acquired a cat. My sister rescued her from the farm...and brought her to Memphis. We named her Buttercup. In these latter years, Buttercup has grown to be quite a large cat. A very fat cat actually. Consequently, my mom put her on diet food for cats and my dad resorted to calling her Butterball instead of Buttercup. Lindsey and I have long referred to her affectionately as our 3rd sister.

Monday night my mom called to tell me that Buttercup died. She found her out on the pool deck with her paws neatly folded as if she'd gone to sleep and not had the energy in her old age to wake back up.

When I first heard the news,I was actually relieved. My sister sent me a text "Has mom told you" and I saw that I had a missed call from my mom. I dialed my voicemail to hear the message expecting some other family tragedy. (I always fear in farming season that my my dad will turn over a tractor on himself or fall into a grain bin.) With this in mind, I was relieved at first. Later, as I went to sleep, to the astonishment of my husband, I couldn't stop weeping over dear Buttercup. I am admittedly not much of an animal sister has always been the one begging for pets. But I couldn't help thinking about all the days I've walked in my parents' house and found that steady fixture - a fat orange and white cat - waiting to greet me.

You know what I love about family pets? They are faithful friends. No matter how many times I rushed past Buttercup, too busy to give her a little love...she still sought me out. Her friendship was tenacious - even after the Christmas Lindsey and I made a felt Santa hat for her and made her wear it as we opened presents. She was another strand in my childhood...and it hurts to know that she's gone. I will miss her.

Farewell Buttercup.

Sorry about that picture was the only one I could find this morning!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Red River Gorge

This weekend David and I loaded up after work on Friday for a night of camping at Red River Gorge. I read almost an entire book...slept late...woke to towering trees...decided I'm too old to sleep in the wilderness without a camping mat...watched my cute hubby wield his machete and build a fire...hiked along the gorge cliffs...and took in the beauty of a very creative Creator.

One of the best things about the park is that they allow wilderness camping. The only regulations are that you have to be 300 feet from a trail or roadway or 100 feet from a cliff facing. Of course, that meant we slept at an angle on ground that wasn't quite flat:)

David climbed atop every rock he could find.

We were both amazed at the suspension bridge across the Red River. I don't know that I've ever actually set foot on one before though I've seen them in pictures and movies. Of course, hub wanted to figure out how it was put together!

For some reason I was slightly obsessed with mushrooms all weekend. They were everywhere and some of the craziest ones I've seen!

We were happy campers.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bicycles for Two

Yesterday after work, David and I went for a bike ride. Let me tell you a few debatably interesting things about our bike riding this summer.

~ Our bike pump broke last year. We haven't ridden our bikes all spring/summer because the tires were flat. Last week, we finally bought another pump. Then, he found that at the end of last summer we'd gotten a new pump. It was pushed back against the wall behind our helmets...and we'd forgotten to throw away the old one.

~ When we ride, we ride like the nerds we are. Never without a helmet and always with our shoelaces tucked in. If we happen to be in pants, the ankles are tight rolled.

~David has a blue bike that he rode in 7th grade. Mine is red and one of the cheapest ones at Wal-mart. David's coasts faster than mine. When we ride together I ride his boy bike, and he rides my girl bike so that I can keep up.

~This bike exchange rarely ensures that I can keep up, but it does help.

~And now, a confession for the blog: we wear bike shorts sometimes. The tight spandex-looking shorts like the pros wear. It never fails. If we opt for our bike garments, we'll run into everyone we'd rather not have see us in bike shorts. Yesterday was no exception.

~I always feel like one of the many pro bikers in Louisville...with sponsors listed on their sweat-wicking shirt is going to pull me aside and say "Obviously, you're not a real biker. You don't need to wear those shorts. Wannabee."

Thankfully, no one ever has. I still hold my breath when they breeze by me on their road bikes though.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Help

For two days I've hardly looked up. Last night David reminded me that I did actually need to get up for work in the morning, so I finally turned out my light. It didn't matter, I hardly slept. I was dreaming all night about Miss Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny - re-living the details of their lives.

My mom, always on the cutting edge of the latest book release, recommended The Help to me several weeks ago. I generally stick to classics, and hardly ever read anything that's been reviewed in the past 25 years. I was intrigued by the synopsis she gave me and honestly, nothing else has caught my attention lately. So I picked it up....and for two days I couldn't put it down.

Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s, Kathryn Stockett weaves a story of the black and white communities of the tumultuous city into a profoundly powerful novel. It's one of the best books I've read. It's hard, painful, and piercing, but so was the South in 1962.

I highly recommend it...and if you run into me later this week, I'll probably talk of little else.

The Non-Progressive Progressive Dinner

Yesterday Louisville got 6 inches of a short period of time. U of L closed their campus, streets were flooded, and basements needed to be pumped out. It was a very rainy day in the city yesterday. Consequently, the progressive dinner guest decided not to progress across soggy streets and water laden lawns. Thus, it turned into more of a pot-luck than a progressive dinner. Nonetheless, we had a great time usual...very tasty food!

Bonnie's delicious salad with corn bread croutons!!!

Kim's BBQ Turkey, homemade coleslaw and corn casserole!

'Twas as good as it looks!

Though the centerpiece never made it out for the night, the raspberry pie did. One of my favorite recipes!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Lovely Thought

Tonight is our semi-annual Progressive Dinner. It's our turn to serve dessert. As this is the summer-themed edition, I decided to make my Mom's fabulous raspberry pie. When I was growing up instead of a birthday cake, I'd request this deliciously fruity cool whip pie. I think the raspberry pie is a good idea.

I had another idea too.

I thought it was a wonderful idea, until this morning.

As the weather has been unseasonably cool for August, why not move the porch table under the dogwood tree in our front yard, string lights around the branches, light a centerpiece full of candles, and enjoy our pie? Sweet David strung the lights for me last night. I made the centerpiece and the pie. Oh, the beauty.

This morning at 8am it was so dark it looked like midnight. Lightening began. Thunder rumbled. Finally, hail pelted down on Louisville. It was a great plan...with one little kink: I forgot to check the weather. It's supposed to storm on and off all day. Ah well. When I told Rebekah Ray my great idea last night, she just said "Well, I hope there aren't birds in that tree, Laura." I called her a pessimist. She may have been closer to a realist...

The Fruit

Yesterday I listened to this sermon from our church this Sunday. As we were out of town, I needed to catch up a bit on life at IBC. Our pastor, Ryan, preached on Hebrews 13:15:
"Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."

Consequently, I've been thinking of the fruit of my lips...just what is it that so often flows from my heart out of my mouth? I'd not call it a continual sacrifice of praise. It's more like moments of praise mingled with impatient complaints, critical judgements, sarcastic humor and cynical expectations. I struggle to offer my body as a living bring every inconvenience, every joy, every set back, every accomplishment as an offering of my praise.

The passage points out that it is the fruit produced by lips that acknowledge his name. A.W. Tozer said "What you believe about God is the most important thing about you." Brian Lowe quoted it so much in college that I've had the line memorized for years...and it continues to penetrate me.

God is good. God is great. God is mighty to save. God is the judge. God is true. God is sovereign. God is more than I can express. God is worth a continual sacrifice of praise from my feeble lips.

I want a heart that acknowledges his name...and lips that bear the fruit.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Meeting in St. Louie...

This weekend we visited the newlyweds, Brad and Lisa, at their new home in St. Charles, Missouri. (Their friendly suburb is just outside of St. Louis.)We took a tour of their beautiful new home with all the gorgeous wedding gifts adorning it, ate a delicious red velvet cake, made homemade ice cream, sat on their fabulous back deck enjoying time together, David and Brad explored the woods behind their house, Lisa and I jogged all over the neighborhood, Brad grilled some delicious burgers, Lisa showed me paint choices for the spare room, and we sat around talking about life as it is now, and ways that we hope to invest our lives in the future. It was a restful, relaxing, low key weekend in the company of two family members who are also good friends. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, I somehow managed to escape without one picture of our gracious hosts...or their home. A tragedy I did not realize until we were on the other side of St. Louis. I think I was just having such a good time...I forgot.

On Saturday night we loaded up and went into the city to see a play at St. Louis's famous outdoor theatre - The Muny. First built in the early 1900s, The Muny now seats 11,000 and shows a different play each week throughout the summer. We went to see Camelot - that romantic tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table...and of course, Queen Guenevere. I confess that I was not too familiar with the legend of Camelot previously, but thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Overall, it was a great weekend and we returned feeling refreshed by the good company.