Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turkey Day, 12 Acts of Christmas, 2 Ingredient Brownies, and more!

Hey y'all! Can I get a ROLL TIDE?!
Wow! What a great season for the Tide! Wishing hard for another National Championship title for Christmas, but it's just an honor to make it this far! Looking forward to playing Ohio State in 2 weeks!

Merry Christmas Saint Nick! Bama fans love you, Blake Sims, Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, Kirby Smart, and even Lane Kiffin, and your whole team!

So not much has been happening get caught up...
The usual Into the Woods with Simba:
 The wonder pose, side right
The wonder pose, side left

 The "I'm Too Sexy for a Selfie" pose

                                                             And finally, the purple tongue teaser pose

 Thanksgiving happened: Thankful for this view on beautiful Lake Guntersville:

                                                   And this view on the homefront:

                    And a Thanksgiving spent with family, an overflowing table, laughter and memories! We had taco soup and appetizers this year and they were yummy! My cousin Kase was our turkey!

 The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Mom and I did the Skinny Turkey 5K in Guntersville! Lots of fun!
My sweet Daddy turned 59 this year! Love him very much! He is the hardest worker, most humble man I know! Wish him many more special birthdays!

Oh, I got adventurous for National Brownies Day (December 8, FYI) but you can totally observe it everyday of the year! So I wanted to indulge but without the guilt. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present 2 Ingredient Brownies The short cast is simply a brownie mix--when in doubt, go for the Gold--as in Ghiradeli. And a can of pumpkin. Holla! So simple. Mix together and it looks like a scary Halloween mess but after 50 strokes, pour into a pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350 and BAM! Lowfat Healthy Brownies that are soooo good! You cannot taste the pumpkin at all--but like that would be a crime! And I chose to dress mine up for the National Brownie Holiday it was by adding marshmallows and sticking them on broil for a minute (no more) and there you have it, folks! Next time I'm trying avacado. Anyone tried this recipe or the avacado? Ok, that's my food post. :)

I'm a stickler for Christmas movies and music. I've got my own playlist on Spotify Playlist and a countdown calendar on my phone, etc. At random, here are the Top 10 movies I will gladly put down everything to watch on any given Christmas season:
1) Love Actually
2) I'll Be Home For Christmas (with JTT) Duh!
3) Scrooged with Bill Murray
4) The Holiday
5) Christmas Vacation---saw this at the Alabama Theatre this week! Never gets old!
6) Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
7) Home Alone (1 & 2)
8) Prancer
9) Charlie Brown Christmas
10) Elf

What are your favs???

I'm doing something special this year I created myself, called The 12 Acts of Christmas.

They are the most random things. I realized if I wasn't careful, the season would pass by as it always does, way too fast, without time to really enjoy it. So it's like a seasonal bucket list. They are all over Pinterest (what isn't?!) but I customized my list. So over the past couple of days I've been trying to cross these off my list:
1) Christmas dance party in the den-- Lots of old school N'SYNC!
2) Pay it forward at the drive thru.
3) Play Christmas theme Scrabble--harder than it sounds.
4) Go on a Christmas scavenger hunt---search for ideas on Pinterest
5) Have a brunch/breakfast at the table
6) Drink hot chocolate & watch Christmas movies!
7) Read the Christmas story out of Luke
8) Get dressed up in holiday attire (tacky sweaters or fancy) and go out to dinner
9) Take my girl Cuddles in her Christmas sweater somewhere in town to get a treat!
10) Buy my chow chow Simba a bucket of chicken from KFC. His fav.
11) Watch home movies from Chistmases decades ago and look at old Christmas photos.
12) Create a new holiday tradition

Looking very forward to another year of getting growing, learning, living out God's Plan. Hope you are too! Until then, may we enjoy this joyous season of celebrating our Savior's birth.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dark vs. Light

Daylight Savings Time...oh how we loathe you. It stinks getting home at dark and being woken up by the sun an hour before you're supposed to get up. Where is the petition to sign to not observe this? This case of Dark vs. Light---I choose LIGHT!

I'm crushing over this adorable pug dressed in fur in front of the Plaza Hotel I saw on Pinterest. That tongue, that coat, that darling!

 So here's my own little darling, Cuddles,--doing our Sunday thing on the couch...napping, watching corny Christmas movies--a month too early, and binging on trail mix/kibbles & bits. FYI--I got my hair trimmed--after 5 months! :0
Our Young Professional group hosted a Halloween Party on Thursday at the Bridge Cafe. We had all kinds of entertaining costumes---
Cruella DeVil won Best Costume! Glad no Dalmatians were harmed in the making of her costume!

June & Johnny Cash in the house! This dude could play, too!
I was a tacky tourist--- fanny pack, I Heart NY shirt, socks over sandals, etc. My cousin and I were being our usual silly self! We decorated together and it was a lot of fun!

Did y'all do your civic duty of voting in the midterm elections this year? I did...even after learning that my polling location had changed. Kind of embarrassing when they couldn't find my name on the sheet and then they had to look up where I needed to go...and so I found it and voted happily and was ready to wait for results. Later in the day I discovered my FitBit was gone from my wrist. This is my means of keeping track of my exercise/steps/calories/sleep/etc so it was crucial I get this back ASAP! I turned to my app for help. I saw the last time it was synched, which was in the morning. I knew it had to be at one of the polling locations. Searching online, I saw where there is an app (LightBlue) that will actually locate your bluetooth devices, should they go missing. I was able to trace it all the way back to the first place I tried voting that morning. I felt like a modern day Sherlock Holmes.Technology is beautiful! We are reunited and I can once again begin my love/hate with my FitBit reminding me how active/inactive I am each day.

Countywide Early Bird Breakfast this morning at Hospice of Marshall County/Sheppard's Cove--great event, yummy grits, and fun times talking to people from all over the county. Me & my coworkers were bright eyed this morning! Coffee coffee coffee!  Which reminds me--"Gilmore Girls" on Netflix, people!

What are y'all reading right now? With the time change, I actually want to read at night--until I get crazy sleepy at 9 pm, ha! I'm reading another Gillian Flynn book "Dark Places." It's different than "Gone Girl," but just as riveting! Her writing haunts you and puts you right in the book! It's also going to be made into a movie, starring Charlize Theron, due out next year. Good read if you like...all things dark.

All this NYC Marathon media attention last weekend got me motivated enough to want to train for a half, at least. One of my favorite bloggers even made a Pro/Con List about doing the marathon. Anyone have any training tips? I'm not a fan of the dark evening runs, but determination is winning, this week anyway. I did manage to see one of the prettiest sunsets on the lake I've ever seen. (Slightly touched up with Pro HDR app). 

Living Out the Plans: Dark vs. Light
Good works don't get you into Heaven. The Bible is clear on that --Eph. 2:8. It is by grace/salvation alone. A relationship with Jesus is the most important thing we can have on Earth. If we are children of God, we enjoy many blessings here, among those is being served and serving others. I was remembering a few times I have been the recipient of a kind gesture, gift, or random act of kindness. It totally makes your day, doesn't it? It is humbling and always seems to come at the right time. It encourages you to then pay it forward, whether it's a sweet card in the mail, a phone call, a smile, hug, or a stranger in front of you paying for your order at the drive-thru. I encourage us all, as the holidays approach and things can tend to get crazy, stress levels run high as there are gifts to be bought, parties to attend, money can be tight, and the demands of family, work, and activities can easily consume our already busy lives, may we take the time to make someone's day as we are led. You never know it's impact AND you usually get just as much if not more of a blessing by doing so! May we be a light in the dark world--radiating God's love in who we are, in what we do. (Eph. 5:7-14).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Around the South in 60 days--deer on campus, midnight running, sleepovers, farmer's paradise, movie tours, and living with purpose

Yep, it's been well over a month since I have blogged last as I look at the calendar. And 57 days until Christmas. This words.            AHHHHH! I feel like Simba...
So I'm guessing things have been as busy for you as for me, and blogging, as much as I love it, has taken a backseat to other things going on. I want to get caught up. Over the past two months, I've covered North Georgia, South Georgia, Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Mississippi, and a few other random adventures with friends and family. Fun adventures--wouldn't have it any other way!

So, random trips are the best, right? Mom and I decided to embark on a truly cultural experience one weekend with 3 plays in 3 days. Starting with the Whole Backstage's "Barefoot in the Park." Wickedly funny--I think I laughed more during the play than the classic movie!
Then after doing a 5K at Snead State one Saturday morning, we took off to Rome...Georgia!

I really love that city--a lot of character and always things to do! Berry College was a highlight, being as the campus has been repeatedly voted one of the prettiest college campuses in the US, for a good reason.

Look at the buildings...and deer 'roam freely in Rome' on campus.

We saw "The Miracle Worker" on Saturday night at Shorter College and split a late night dinner at Honeymoon Bakery--gelato, s'more brownie, salted caramel macaroon. When in Rome...

On Sunday, after church at Cornerstone, we did some shopping and saw the matinee at Berry College theatre department's production of "The Fantastiks." It really was a fantastic play--it had everything element you can imagine. Mystery, Romance, Comedy, Drama, etc. Loved it!

The next weekend, I did a midnight run--yes, 11:59 PM start, through the streets of Boaz.
My buddy Danny and I are super pumped!

We all ended up placing in our age categories! Whoo!

The next morning, I went to see my sister in Birmingham for a sleepover! We had a lot of fun shopping, eating, and hiking. We went to Red Mountain Park and somehow, after running 3.1 miles at midnight, I managed to hike 5.3 miles.

The view was spectacular and that narrow bridge was scary, but we did it!
We watched "Frozen" and went to church the next day. Lauren is my favorite sister! :)
My friends and I decided to take a random trip to Chattanooga back in early October.
We don't get to see each other near enough and how awesome it was that it worked out that our schedules were clear for us to make it work. We had the best time going out on the town, walking around downtown, going antique hunting, playing rook, and of can't have a sleepover without facial masks!
GOOD TIMES! Love these girls!

With my job, I was asked to work and attend the largest Agriculture expo in the U.S.--held in Moultrie, GA, it's called the Sunbelt Ag Expo. Large doesn't even begin to cover it! With over 1200 vendors alone, you can only imagine how many attendees were there in the three days, even being held on a Tuesday through Thursday!
Mom went with me and we promoted Marshall County and specifically Boaz's Farm & Poultry Expo, held in April. We were surprised to see random people from Marshall County come by the booth that we knew!
 Hey, it's an alpaca!

 Got milk? Look at modern day technology! 

 The daily traffic jam of hundreds of cars going in for the day!

We were able to meet up with family that live near Valdosta, which is the city where we stayed.  We ate at Cheddar's. I love Cheddar's. BRING ONE TO MARSHALL COUNTY!

Moultrie is small, and all the hotels book fast, so Valdosta is about a 30 minute drive from Moultrie.

My friend Sheena got married in mid October! She was a beautiful bride and it was a lovely wedding!

And finally, another road trip this week to Greenwood, MS for the Alabama Mississippi Rural Tourism Conference. I traveled with a friend in the industry, Helen, who works for the City of Columbiana. We had a good trip and enjoyed getting to see the history of the city.

We took a "Help" tour, which the movie was filmed in Greenwood, not Jackson, MS, since Greenwood looks more like the 1960's south than present day Jackson. We saw Skeeter's house, Hilly's house, sampled some chocolate pie--without the main ingredient, ha, got to hear the actual food stylist in the movie, Lea Ann Fleming, tell about her experience working with the movie production crew and actors, and many other highlights in the movie.

We stayed at The Alluvian Hotel downtown Greenwood. It was so plush and fancy, all the details you would expect in a big city hotel!!! My luggage matched the decor in the room--had to take a picture!

 We had church, y'all! It was Monday afternoon and we enter the Little Zion Church from the movie and gospel singing fills the tiny church! We worshipped, clapped, and were in awe at the awesome sight and sound of this choir!!!

 Here's my roomie for the week and friend, Helen, on left, from Columbiana, and sweet Carol from Sylacagua in the middle.

 After dinner on Tuesday, I couldn't resist taking an elevator selfie as we were piled in like sardines! Love the AL/MS tourism family!
 This past weekend was the Pink Pumpkin Run--over 1,000 people running through Guntersville in all kinds of pink costumes and spirit!

LIVING OUT THE PLANS: It's been a wild and crazy fall so far, but lots of good things going on! We are in revival this week at my church. Sunday we heard from pastor and author Don Piper, who wrote "90 Minutes in Heaven." Have you read it? It's incredibly powerful about his story of his death, account of his brief experience in heaven, and purpose here on earth. There is also a movie in the works about it. It really gets you to thinking about how brief our time is here and how things can change in an instant. There's a 100% chance of death here on Earth. Are you ready? Are you looking forward to Heaven? I know I am! The worship, the joy, and never ending peace and love...count me in! However, since we are all still living and breathing here, there is a purpose for each of us--to tell the world about Christ and carry out God's call for our lives. As Steve Taylor said last night during revival, "No one is better at being you than you...don't try to be someone else. Know who you are in Christ and be it!" If there is still breath in us, we have purpose.
All the adventures, memories, family, friends, our jobs, hobbies, are all good and wonderful things to enjoy here on earth, but we must remember that they are but a breath. Live life to the fullest and keep focused on eternity.
I know I need to be more outspoken about my faith and I also know I need to be growing more in my personal relationship with God. I don't want to be satisfied with just getting Heaven stamped on my passport. I want to know my Savior, who died the most cruel death for me so that I would have freedom in this life and a forever in eternity. May we keep our eyes on the SON!
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2