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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Highlights of 2010

When looking back on 2010, it would be easy for me to say, "not that much happened," but I know that's not true.  Here are some highlights:


  • Helped a friend get engaged.




  • Fell in love with roasted carrots and brussel sprouts (foods I'd never eaten before).




  • Donned not one, not two, but three bridesmaid dresses.




  • Finally took that trip to Princeton, NJ I'd been meaning to do for years.  Loved it and my time with Amelia there.




  • Discovered I enjoy vodka martinis. (This was a bit of a personal goal for me.)




  • Found a church home in Charleston.




  • Took my appreciation for DVR and TV to a whole new level.




  • Started working out with Jillian Michaels (sometimes routinely; sometimes not).




  • Read a lot of books.

  • Started relying on Proactiv.




  • Read through Isaiah.




  • As I mentioned previously, the Lord taught me a lot about being joyful and more positive.  So thankful for that. 




  • I've never had a "theme verse" for a year before, and wasn't looking for one this year, but this verse became the anthem of my 2010: INTO YOUR HAND I COMMIT MY SPIRIT; YOU HAVE REDEEMED ME, O LORD, FAITHFUL GOD.  Psalm 31:5




  • Learned to love Google Reader.




  • A lot of time with good friends...and I'm so glad!
  • Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    2010 follow up

    I thought I'd give an update on a post last year.  Some things I was looking forward to in 2010:

    • Turning 27. Ok, I am kind of dreading moving into my late 20's. But, Lord willing, it is going to happen whether I like it or not. So why not be happy about it?  Was a great birthday!
    • A Charleston summer! Beach, fishing, and being tan!  Loved it!
    • My brother's wedding.  Had a blast!
    • Potential weddings of some really good friends. No pressure guys! Haha.  They followed through!
    • Finding a church home in Charleston.  Done.
    • Hopefully knocking some things off my 25-30 to do list.  Not so much done...oh well.
    • Having a more positive outlook on life.  The Lord has really taught me a lot about this, I think.  I still have a LONG way to go (don't we all?!), but I think he made me more positive this year.  Namely, I learned a lot about joy.  Having joy in the midst of all circumstances and (perhaps hardest, yet most rewarding) being joyful for others -- especially when they get things that I'd like to have.  For example, I wouldn't mind getting married.  And this year I was blessed to be in a few weddings and be genuinely excited for those getting married.  Only because of the Lord.  And other things I would like in my life, but have been excited to see in the lives of others.  I know this isn't of me, but a gracious gift.  Hoping to stay/become more joyful in the years to come.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Merry Christmas!

    LUKE 2:8-21

    And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
    14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [3]
    15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
    21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Chistmas Eve

    Zechariah 9:9

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
    humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Cook-Off 2k10

    Marifrasier had her annual Christmas cook off party tonight.  Jacqueline and I schemed for weeks about our entry.  We searched recipes, blogs, and old favorites to find the perfect dish.  (Thanks to a suggestion by Courtney) we decided to go with one of my childhood favorites: home made doughnuts!  Mom used to make them and even serve us in bed sometimes.  They are delicious.  Never in my life have I made so many, though!  We made 200!

    We WON the dessert category!

    Way to go Jacqueline!  I had a blast cooking up this yummy sweet with you!  And I loved watching people love them...

    Go ahead, treat yourself:

    Buy canned biscuits -- NOT flakey; the cheaper the better, according to mom.
    Cut each biscuit into quarters and roll into a ball.
    Heat oil to 325 and drop balls in the oil.
    Flip once they turn golden brown.
    When the other side turns golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place in one of two containers (that have lids): powdered sugar AND cinnamon/sugar combination.  
    Put the lid on and shake, shake, shake!
    Remove and enjoy.  They are best when warm.

    I have to say, this party is nothing if not random.  But I had a really good time.  It is interesting to watch the different groups of people and try to remember names.  Haha.  A special shout out to Jane Harper.  As usual, her comments and company did not disappoint!

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    New Twist on an Old Favorite

    The other day, someone brought "salt cookies" into the office.  I have to say, I was a bit nervous, but I ended up loving them!  I loved the sweet/salty combination.  Last night, I decided to do some baking and that included making my own version of this cookie.  The originals were chocolate chip with butterscotch chips and fully coated in salt.
     
    I made my mom's chocolate chip cookies.  One batch without chips (my favorites!).  Two batches of regular.  And one salted batch.  I formed the cookies as usual, and then dunked the top in a bowl of salt.  I opted to only salt the top.  The result: I really like them.  Definitely a nice twist on a favorite cookie!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Total Eclipse

    I'm not super into stars, moons, and the likes.  But when something comes around once in your lifetime, I don't mind losing a bit of sleep to partake. 
     
    I set my alarm for 2:00 am to wake up.  I told the alarm to stop, rather than snooze.  Then I fell back asleep and dreamed that I got up and watched the eclipse and it was magnificent.  So I woke back up, it was 2:20.  Set an alarm for 2:30.  Woke up.  Received a text from Courtney, "So cloudy I can't see anything.  Sad day."  I replied that I was gearing up.  Put on my capilene pants, sweat pants, cowboy boots, capilene shirt, hat, scarf, and gloves, and down puffy coat.  I headed outside and was AMAZED. 
     
    Maybe the sky always looks that beautiful at 2:30 in the morning?  I called Courtney and told her it was awesome.  We decided that I should grab my lap top so we could video chat and hopefully she could see it.  Whilst doing that, I called my house to talk to mom and woke dad up...oops.  While dad was trying to get my mom, she beeped in on her cell phone.  Mom, Courtney, and I had a nice little chat.  I should mention that mom was in the backyard on a beach chair with an ELECTRIC blanket hooked up via an extension cord and had ear plugs in.  She said it was marvelous.
     
    There was still a tiny sliver of silver on the far right side.  So I headed in to come back later.
     
    It really looked like this (but with a TINY bit of silver):


     Unreal!
     
    At 3:00, Courtney said, "Should be totally dark now according to my phone."  Because she downloaded an app for it.  So I hopped back out of bed and went to check.  There was still a tiny sliver of white.  Re-set the alarm.  At 3:30 it wasn't fully dark yet and I could see the clouds starting to roll in.  While that was disappointing, it looked pretty cool. 
     
    Just before 4:00, I realized work would be hell today.  [And it has been!]  It was cloudy and I couldn't see the moon well at all.  I decided to give it one more shot at 4:50 (go big or go home, people!).  At that time, I couldn't see it at all.  I was SO glad that I could see a bit of it, though.  Pretty awesome. 
     
    I had not one, but two Diet Cokes this morning.  I am still dragging...but worth it!

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Drab to Fab

    Krissie gets by with a little help from her friends, Courtney and I, in the hair department.

    Before:
    After:



    Y'all, seriously, are Courtney and I awesome or what?!   No more "butt part."  No more frizz.  She's so hip and modern.  Her hair looks amazing!  Krissie has been getting comments left and right -- from friends, students, faculty at school.  Even middle school boys have been all, "Mrs. Barr, you look great.  What did you differently?!" I am so glad!


    Krissie:  by the by... my hair straightner is my new favorite, non-negotiable in the morning


    Krissie, you're welcome.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Eatin' & Singin'

    Wednesday night I had dinner with some friends (Mexican; I ate EVERYTHING on my plate) and then we went to sing Christmas carols at church.  They also had cookies.  Don't worry, I managed to eat two, even though I was quite full from supper.
     
    Along with the carols, a few poems were read.  I loved this one:
     
    An angel came to me
    and I was unprepared
    to be what God was using
    Mother I was to be.
    A moment I despaired,
    thought briefly of refusing.
    The angel knew I heard.
    According to God's Word
    I bowed to this strange choosing.
     
    A palace should have been
    the birthplace of a king
    (I had no way of knowing).
    We went to Bethlehem;
    it was so strange a thing
    The wind was cold, and blowing,
    my cloak was old, and thin.
    They turned us from the inn;
    the town was overflowing.
     
    God's Word, a child so small
    who still must learn to speak
    lay in humiliation.
    Joseph stood, strong and tall.
    The beasts were warm and meek
    and moved with hesitation.
    The Child bron in a stall?
    I understood it: all.
    Kings came in adoration.
     
    Perhaps it was absurd;
    a stable set apard,
    the sleepy cattle lowing;
    and the Incarnate Word
    resting against my heart.
    My joy was overflowing.
    The shepherds came, adored
    the folly of the Lord,
    wiser than all men's knowing.
     
    -- Madelein L'Engle
     
    I drove back home being encouraged by my friends Beth and Mary.  One moved home from 1/2 way accross the country to take care of a parent going through really rough chemo.  The other teaches elementry school in an underprivelaged area and goes out of her way to love her kids.  Like wash their clothes, send food home so they can eat supper, and spend time with them outside of the classroom. 
     
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -- Matthew 25:40
     
    Also, in case you were wondering, the Mexican didn't agree with Beth and I.  And by "didn't agree with" I mean a mild case of food poisening.  I'll say this: it made for an interesting morning. 

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Gifts that give

    I have to say some years I flat out HATE Christmas shopping.  I feel forced to buy people gifts and often don't know what to buy, ergo I just get very frustrated.  This year I did most of my shopping online which was awesome!  I also tried to do gifts that give back to others.  Here are a few I purchased:

    TOMS.  I own a pair and LOVE them.  For every pair you buy, a kid in a developing nation gets a free pair!
    International Sanctuary.  Proceeds go to help fight human trafficking.  Products are made by survivors of human trafficking.

    Krochet Kids.  Ugandan ladies make the hats, etc.  They are able to rise out of poverty by making their own money - able to send their kids to school, save money, and live in freedom.  Guys that started the company also love Jesus.




    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Once Upon A Time...

    A boy met a girl.

    The girl:  Freshman year at PC, I was on the cool hall -- 2nd floor Belk.  Ashley Festa lived next door to me.  She was feisty, competitive, loud, loved the Lord, and was more excited about Alpha Delta Pi than anyone else I've ever met.  Ever.  (This still holds true.)  I seriously cannot come up with an anology to describe her enthusiasm.  She also loved pearls, Vera Bradley, and staying up super late (ok, that describes most sorority girls, but Festa has a way of making things "hers").  Over the years, and subsequent ones to follow, we became good friends and I'm so glad!

    The boy:  Apparently Austin and I both went to PC our freshman year, but I didn't know it.  The beginning of my sophomore year, I went to Outback Steakhouse with some friends.  Austin was with us and it is the first time I remember meeting him.  Our initial conversation went something like this:

    Austin: Hey, you're in my poly sci class.
    Me: I don't think so.
    Austin: Yes, I've seen you there.
    Me: Really?  I've never seen you before.
    Austin: Yeah, Dr. Raber at so and so time on so and so days.
    Me: Yeah!  I'm in that class.  Interesting.

    We became friends and actually ended up having lots of classes together and being study buddies. 
    But back to the main characters of this story.  Festa and Austin started dating our Sophomore year.  And dated.  And broke up.  And dated.  And broke up.  And I think you get the picture.  By the time we received our diplomas, they were not dating.

    However, they both made the decision to attend Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas: different programs; same grad school.  The plot thickens.  This may (or may not) come to a surprise to you, but they started dating again in Dallas!  And...then they broke up.  Then they started dating again...and then not so much.  Yeah, you smell what I'm stepping in.  Festa graduated.  A year or so later, Austin did, too.  The pattern continued.

    Summer of '09 I was lucky enough to see Festa as she passed through Spartanburg.  As we were talking about boys (because sometimes girls do that), she kept describing her perfect man.  We all laughed because Austin fit the bill, but that road had been traveled too many times.

    Somewhere in 2010 I heard a rumor that they were dating again.  Picking Festa up from the airport this summer, we were able to hash it out.  I have to say, it was really cool hearing how the Lord had been working in Austin and Festa.  Hearing how their relationship had changed over the years and how the Lord had really taught them how to love one another, compromise and sacrifice, and really just matured them as people and in their relationship.  She assumed they'd be engaged by the end of the year...

    Sadly, I was half asleep when Courtney texted me the other night to share the good news that they were (finally) engaged.  I got it early the next morning and promptly texted the boy and the girl.  Excited for you both!  Looking forward to a trip to Dallas!


    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    New Song I Love

    I really like Amos Lee.  I haven't listened to him in a while...so I was pretty excited when I heard this song on the radio on my drive home tonight.  Makes me think of summer, driving in the car late at night with friends, laughing and attempting to solve the great mysteries of life...



    Look up child 
    The world is born 
    Shoe's untied 
    And your soles are worn 

    Windows are rolled down 
    Sun is setting high 
    Windows are rolled down 
    I'm fixin' to die 

    Corn rows have companion feel 
    This rocky road and this steering wheel 
    Who do you call to ease your pain 
    I hope for you to get through this rain 

    Windows are rolled down 
    Moon is hanging low 
    Windows are rolled down 
    Think it's time for me to go hey-ay-ay-a............-ay

    Is it what you dreamed it'd be
    Are you locked up in this fantasy
    Oh this miles that have
    torn us apart
    My new found faith
    and my broken heart

    Windows are rolled down
    Sun is rising high
    Windows are rolled down
    Feel that wind rushing by hey-ay-ay-a.......

    Windows are rolled down

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Surprised by the Power of the Spirit

    I read this book, by Jack Deere, over the past few days.  I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book; however, I was pleasantly surprised.  Dr. Deere's writing is very personal, relatable, and easy to read.  He shares lots of stories and invited me to reconsider my own theology concerning the Holy Spirit.  I really recommend it.
     
     
    ...the real reasons for disbelieving in the gifts of the Spirit today are not at all based on Scripture; they are based on experience [or lack there of] (56).
     
    The book of Acts is the best source that we have to demonstrate what normal church life is supposed to look like when the Holy Spirit is present and wroking in the church.  Here we find a church that has passion for God, is willing to sacrifice -- even to the point of martyrdom -- and is a miracle-working church.  Why would we think that God wants the church to be something different today?  Would anyone seriously rather have the church in Calvin's day or the church in twentieth-century America as the mondel of normal church life? (114).
     
    These desires were put into your heart by your heavenly Father, and he has not drawn you this far abandon you or leave you unfulfilled.  The holy frustration you feel right now is meant to drive you on.  He wants you to be thankful for what you have, but he never wants you to be content with your present level of divine intimacy (169).
     
    If the essence of the Christian life becomes conformity to rules, we will always be led into self-righteousness (189).

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Christmas Cheer and a Beer!

    A long, long time ago I lived with Katie and Jenn.  Circa Fall of 2005 Katie and her boyfriend (now husband) Jake went to a Carolina game.  Katie picked up a case of Bud Light to take to the tailgate.  They ended up parking forever away and Jake didn't want to be seen carrying a case of beer all over Columbia.  Hahahaha!  Katie was a smidge irritated that they left the beer in the car and brought it home after the game. 
     
    So we had a case of beer.  Jenn didn't drink beer.  Neither did I.  Katie did socially, but wasn't the type to hunker down with a case by her lonesome.  So the beer sat and sat in our fridge.  One day in December Katie and I tried to think of ways to get rid of the beer...and Christmas Cheer and a Beer was born!
     
    Now this was not the first time Katie and I came up with interesting things to do as roommates.  Jenn ususally did not participate (I guess she thought we were weird or something?), but this time she agreed.  Yes!
     
    We put on semi formal wear (I got to re-wear my ADPi Christmas party dress from freshman year!) and donned some antlers (thanks to Jenn who had those).  We baked cookies of some sort.  And we grabbed the case of beer.
     
    Y'all, we went to our friends houses, chanted the Christmas Cheer and a Beer poem we wrote, and handed out cookies and a beer.  It was a hilarious and magical evening.  Cheer was delivered throughout Columbia. 
     
    The holiday season has drawn near.
    So we dressed up and came right here.
    All to give you christmas cheer. 
    This is our favorite time of year
    Enjoy your treat and your beer!
     
    Katie ended up marrying Jake which required a move to Greenville.  Mary moved in.  CCB 2006 involved the same antlers, but that year we wore old bridesmaid dresses.  Who would have guessed the David's Bridal gown would have been re-worn after all?!  Haha.  At this point, I'd say we were legen -- wait for it -- dary in Columbia!  2007 took a turn when we dressed up as Christmas (Jenn; complete with white lights that could be plugged in), Cheer (Mary as a cheerleader), and beer (me). 
     
    I headed to Clemson for grad school in 2008 and Nicole took my spot.  Jenn, Mary, and Nicole got high tech that year with real elf costumes!  Same for 2009.  Then Jenn got married in 2010...and we decided to have a CCB reunion!  A drop in at Jenn's with all of the past roommates! 
     
    Sadly, Carolina went to the SEC championship.  Mary knew that if she did, she wouldn't be able to participate.  Sad.  Nicole bailed on us at the last minute to attend the game as well.  So we were down to the original 3: Jenn, Katie, and I. 
     
    We had lots of food.  Lots of beer.  Lots of wine.  Lots of fun friends.  Jenn had a framed picture from each year so you could take the CCB walk down memory lane...so fun!
     
    Side note: Some things have changed.  I love beer.  Katie (and Jake) drink freely now.  Jenn will even indulge in a brewski given the right moment. 
     
    I loved getting to spend time with some people that I rarely get to see.  Catching up on our current lives and laughing about old times.  I think CCB 2010 was the best one yet!

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Hair Chop

    So...I got a hair cut.  I'd been contemplating a cut since before Mary Alice's wedding, but didn't get in time for the wedding.  Wednesday was a bad hair day so I decided to do it on Thursday.  Yet Thursday I had a GREAT hair day so I debated whether or not I should follow through.  Well, I did and I'm so glad I did!

    BEFORE:


    AFTER: 



    (Excuse the jippy photos.)

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Oil Sticks

    I'd been wanting a candle for my office.  Something that smells good and makes it a bit more homey.  I was bit reluctant though, since I work in an old house.  I mean, it was built around 1850 -- so its basically like working in a house of kindling wood.  If anyone would burn the place down, it would be me.  And then I'd have to deal with the insurance aspect of all that -- making more work for myself.  So, I put the idea out of my head. 
     
    BUT the other day, during a marathon trip to Wal Mart, I purchased this:


     
    $4.  Smells heavenly (Mulled Spices).  Makes my office homey and awesome.  Plus I have a new "toy" which is always fun.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Hump Day Joy

    Just like last winter, and the winter before that, I am feeling seasonally depressed a bit.  The days are shorter, so I want to do less and could be in bed at 7 pm, it is hard to get out of bed in the morning, and I just miss the sunshine.

    But onward and upward...despite the winter blues, some things I am thankful for today:

    • Good conversations.  Jenn.  Maggie.  Shannon Innes (in Costa Rica).  Thanks to the miracle of gchat, I am able to talk to friends throughout the work day.  It really gets me through sometimes.
    • I completed a crazy hard Sudoku puzzle that I've been working on for a few days.  It's the kind where 5 are connected to each other and it was a doozy!
    • Grooveshark.  Free music.  All kinds.  All day long.
    • Happy 29th Birthday, Jane Harper!
    • I've been having some really good time in the word this week.  I read Isaiah 54 and started Isaiah 55.  Really good to be reminded that I am a broken mess, that I have a savior that loves me and just longs for me to be with him.  

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Small Update

    My roommate, Marifrasier has been in Kansas City, as a travel nurse, for the past four months.  She came back late Sunday night and I saw her yesterday for the first time.  It has been fun catching up and getting reacquainted sharing the house with another.  Of course, she's been here for no time and the house is all Christmas'd out, the nick nacks have been rearranged, and the fridge has a lot more food.

    Welcome home, Fras!

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Chicken Parmesan

    I made a version of chicken parmesan and it was so delicious!  It typically involves pan frying the chicken in breadcrumbs, but I decided to pan sear the chicken instead.  I first tossed some of my favorite seasoning on a chicken breast.


    Then I seared the chicken in a cast iron skillet on the stove.  Then transfer it to an oven-proof dish.



    When I was in Spartanburg a few weeks ago, Gmomma gave me a few goodies.  This pasta sauce was one of them.  Y'all, it is SO yummy!  Perhaps it is the vodka?  Haha!



    Then cover the chicken with it.



    Then add a layer of cheese.  I used an Italian blend.  


    Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  It was delicious!



     I ate it with some leftover savory mashed sweet potatoes.  It was a great meal!

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Mary Alice and Steven get hitched: Saturday & Sunday

    I woke up at 6:15 Saturday morning and couldn't go back to sleep; blerg.  Mary Anne woke up a few hours later.  Maggie awoke and came to play in our room.  Soon, Courtney and Shannon followed.  It was fun to sit around and watch the Food Network and such.  Mary Anne and I got showered, packed, and dressed to head to Winder for the day.

    At some point, I called the hotel lobby to see if they offered free breakfast.

    Bobbi: Hilton Garden Inn, this is Bobbi.
    Me: Hi Bobbi.  I was calling to see what your breakfast options are.
    Bobbi: Ok.  ...................................................................  What did you want to know?
    Me: Well, do you have a continental breakfast?  A buffet?

    She then proceeded to tell me about the breakfast options.  Like I said, they don't have the sharpest tools running their show.

    Brooke, Mary Anne, and I headed to Susie's house at 11 am to start getting ready.  We all got our hair did.  Some of us were pickier than others.  Maybe one of us had to get it done twice.  Maybe that someone was me?  But we all looked great.  Then we got our make up done.  I'd never had make up professionally applied and I have to say: I loved it.  The girl was great and really fun and did a fantastic job.  We all looked quite pretty, but Mary Alice looked absolutely stunning.  Such a gorgeous bride!  And with the bobby pins and hairspray, and high pigment make up, we looked good until the wee hours of the morning.

    Susie's garage is carpeted with indoor/outdoor carpeting so she can park her car in it and also use it for entertaining.  Such a cool idea!  She had some ficus trees in there w/ white lights and has a fancy space heater awesome fireplace thing in there as well.  She had round tables and chairs set up, flowers on the table, and a spread of food.  Fruit trays, brocoli coleslaw/salad, other goodies, and yummy chicken fingers.  When tasting her first chicken finger,

    Mary Anne: These are really good!  I wonder where they are from?  Maybe Publix?!
    Mary Alice (from another room): THEY WERE CATERED!

    Note: some things, like Mary Alice's crazy good hearing, never change.

    We all headed to the church at 2:00 to change clothes and start taking pictures.  Robert hired a limo for Mary Alice all day -- so she traveled to the church in style!  Y'all, I told you the weekend was emotional for me, but when I saw Mary Alice put on her wedding dress, my eyes reflected how gorgeous she looked.  I don't think I've ever cried seeing a bride before?  The flowers in the church were beautiful.  McGinnis snapped tons of photos of all of us with Mary Alice and then we headed back to the parlor to hang out while the men hung out with McGinnis. 
    We wore chocolate brown dresses.  Strapless, low backed, a few covered buttons, floor legnth, flaired a smidge.  Really pretty.  We carried an asortment of white flowers -- from roses to hydrangeas, and lots of things in between.  Mary Alice really picked out some good stuff!  My shoes were pretty high and too big.  So I was a bit nervous about walking down the aisle in them, but I made it!

    The ceremony was short and sweet.  I kept my cool and didn't cry then.  Wayne did an awesome job of walking Mary Alice down the aisle and keeping his cool.  Y'all, he even had these fancy pants tux shoes.  They're actually called a "pump" and only he can pull them off!  After the ceremony, guests flooded out to head to Athens.  We hung around for some more quality time with McGinnis and then did the same.  Mary Alice and Steven rode to Athens in a stylish old Rolls Royce.

    Upon entering the Athens Country Club, we were greated by Maggie, Courtney, and Shannon.  I headed to the bar for a vodka martini and found some friends to see.  We hung out for a bit until we were seated for supper.  We started off with a delicious salad of spinach, bacon, goat cheese, orange, and a balsamic reduction.  Bread and butter were on the table.  During the salad course, the bar shut down and wine was served to you at your table.  Mary Alice and Steven danced; they also had a mini table for two in the center of the ballroom.  Then later on Mary Alice and Wayne danced.  So sweet to watch!

    Y'all, the ballroom looked incredible.  Tables to seet the just shy of 300 of us.  White table cloths.  Fully set tablesettins.  Beautiful center peices -- some tables had these awesome super tall vases with gorgeous white flowers and others had low set flowers.  It looked like a fairytale wedding.

    At some point, Mary Anne and I (who were at the same table) decided it would be worth a shot to see if the bar would give us another cocktail before the main course was served.  So we darted out of the ballroom, where we spotted Robert.  He wanted to join us on the cocktail hunt.  We finally found some help and they (very reluctantly) made us a few drinks.  More than the drink, the adventure was super fun!

    Heading back into the ballroom, I stopped by Mary Alice and Steven's table.  They were playing our song.  That's right.  Back in college, Mary Alice and I decided that when we got married, we would have a special song played just for us.  And she followed through!  It was so fun to be dancing with the bride all alone on the dance floor!  Thanks, MAP!  Such a special treat!

    Afer that, we sat back down for the main course.  Filet cooked perfectly: medium rare.  A piece of chicken that was marinated really well, was super moist and delicious.  Potatoes au gratin.  Fresh green beans.  And some things like beets that I steared clear of.  Mary Anne and I moseyed over to our friends at another table and sat with them when the cake was served.  I missed seeing it whole/being cut.  But it was so good!  Light cake, with super delicious icing and a layer of fresh strawberries in it! 

    After the food was cleared, the party got started.  The bars re-opened and people hit the dance floor.  I should have mentioned that the band consisted of three middle aged white men.  Upon seeing them, I wasn't sure how much soul they had.  But they proved me wrong!  During the meal, they sang fun oldies songs that were low key.  But after the meal, they pumped up the volume and played all your favorites to dance to so you could really shake your tail feathers.   I think I've said it on here before, but I LOVE to dance!  I was on the floor as much as I could be. 
    It would be hard to pick a favorite dance partner, so I'll give a couple.  In the 50 and under category: Andrew, Brad, and Weston.  Andrew spun me around in the air and I was glad to be wearing underpants.  Brad was a new partner that was fun and silly on the dance floor.  Weston, a seasoned partner of mine, even said, "EA.  I think that was our best.  Ever."  In the over 50 crowd, I have to go with Robert and Wayne.  Wayne may or may not have picked me up in straddle formation?  Either way, he rocked it.  I think it was his fancy shoes. 
    We saw the new Lathems off in style, as they headed to ATL in the Rolls.  Mary Alice donned a suit which only she could do.  They stayed in ATL that night before heading to St. Lucia.  I can't wait to hear all about it!

    We were going to take the limo out.  Maggie and I had high hopes for this and probably would have waived through the sunroof, but logistically it worked out better to ride in regular cars back to the hotel.  We changed and headed out.  We went to Allgood(s) and had a lovely time until it was time for our 4th meal.  To the Grille we headed.  Y'all they had an awesome chocolate milkshake.  Some of us headed home right after this; some of us stayed out a bit longer.  PS -- did you know ALL bars in Athens close at 2 pm?  No exceptions.  I headed in just shy of 3 am and tried to sway Courtney to hang out; she wasn't up for it.  I took out all the bobby pins and scrubbed my face.  My head hit the pillow around 3:15.  Where it would remain...until 6:30ish when I awoke and couldn't go back to sleep.  What is up with that this weekend?  I can't get up that early for work! 

    Sunday morning the gang piled in our room again.  We are so fun!  Shannon and Courtney had to leave early.  Maggie, Mary Anne, and I joined up with a few buds to hit up the Waffle House for brunch.  Can I tell you that Diet Coke with vanilla, a patty melt, and hashbrowns, covered have never tasted so good.  Oh, how I love the WaHo!  Mary Anne and I then headed back to SC.  We took the scenic route home and it was lovely this time of year.  
    All in all, it was one hell of a weekend.  Mary Alice and Steven, thanks for getting married!  You sure know how to do it in style and great fun!  It was so good to be with you all this weekned and feel like we really got good time together.  B5, you know I love you.  Mary Alice's family and close friends, thanks for making us feel so welcome.  I should also mention that I made a new friend this weekend: Leigh Barrow, you're awesome!

    Looking forward to McGinnis putting the photos online and waiting in anticipation until another B5'er is ready to get hitched!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Thanks!

    to Brooke & Josh who videotaped lots of the wedding festivities, you can watch B5 give our toast here!

    Mary Alice and Steven get hitched: Friday

    Friday morning Mary Anne, Susie, Liz, and I ate a simple breakfast and chatted about the past evening and upcoming events.  Mary Anne and I got ready to head to the bridal luncheon and then headed to the Athens Country Club.  We were greeted with mimosas and mingled with the other bridesmaids and Mary Alice's aunts, etc.  There were a total of 15 of us and I loved the intimacy of a smaller crowd.  We were served a beautiful and delicious lunch: two crepes stuffed with chicken, mushrooms, and a creamy wine sauce, with a side of asparagus.  

    Here's the thing.  It's not that I'm not a cryer in tender moments, but weddings and wedding related things aren't what get me.  I've never cried at a wedding because of the wedding (I've cried at 3 weddings but about things non-related to the wedding at all).  So I never in a million years thought I'd lose my cool at the bridal luncheon.  Well, I did!  Mary Alice said the sweetest things about everyone there as she handed us our presents.  She was personal and heart felt and I lost it.  Even before she spoke to me...and when she spoke to me, well, I was a mess.  So tender!

    Susie wrote Mary Alice a poem when we graduated from Presbyterian College: MAP's journey.  She wrote and read another poem at the luncheon: MAP's journey 2.  I laughed and obviously I cried.  It was great.  

    Y'all, Mary Alice was way too good to us for bridesmaid gifts.  We each received some brown flip flops to wear to the reception, a super cute brown scarf with our monogram in white, a beautiful monogrammed silver jewelry box, and inside were a pair of pearl earrings and a matching pearl necklace to wear to the wedding.  Too much!  But I loved it all!  Thanks, Mary Alice!

    Before we headed out, we took pictures.  No, not with personal digi cams, from McGinnis, Mary Alice's wedding photographer.  He is by far the most professional and hardcore wedding photographer I've ever met or been around.  He learned all of the wedding party's names prior to meeting us, so without introduction, you'd hear something like, "Elizabeth Ann, stand up tall.  Tilt to the right.  Ok.  Perfect."  He was with us from the bridal luncheon on -- for the entire wedding.  To my knowledge, he's a straight man, but he knows more about women than I ever will -- including how to best do your hair, make up, put on a corsage, and how to stand for the best angle.  He will only include you in a picture if you look good!  Love that!  At first, I found him a smidge bossy, but by the end of the weekend we were good pals.  Especially when he put down the camera for a second and asked me for a quick dance!  I cannot wait to see his photos!  There should be a few thousand! 
     
    After the luncheon, we headed to the Hilton Garden Inn.  Let me say a few kind words about this hotel: it is in a great location in downtown Athens, it is clean, the rooms are nice, the beds are comfortable, and the complementary hot tea was delish!  The downside to this hotel: the service.  They didn't understand that our rooms had been paid for.  A quick conversation or phone call?  Not so much.  An hour later, including a form faxed, signed, and returned by the bride (because that is what you want to do on your weddign weekend), they finally understood what Brooke, Mary Anne, and I had been explaining over and over and over again.  At one point Brooke said, "Aren't y'all in the hospitality business?!"  Hahahaha.  But that was the only hiccup of the weekend! 

    Mary Anne and I were glad to unpack in our room and get a bit of rest.  We had about an hour until we needed to leave for the rehearsal and dinner.  Maggie was at the hotel (yay!) and came to play with us in our room as we got ready.  A quick shower and change of clothes later and we were on the road again to Winder. 

    At the church, we finally met Mrs. Debra Lassiter, the wedding planner.  Homegirl was super on top of things and yet very friendly and upbeat at the same time.  The rehearsal went smooth and wasn't too long, which is a major plus.  Then we headed over to the rehearsal dinner.  I don't remember the name of the venue, but it was a beautiful and large old home that was recently renovated.  We had a large room.  Steven's family decorated the place really well with a UGA theme (Steven is a HUGE fan!).  We had a delicious meal of catered BBQ pork, along with yummy chicken, hash, baked beans, cole slaw, and roles.  Of course, I ate like a rock star.  When we had the cake at the end of the evening, I was in heaven: best icing ever!

    A few interesting things to note from the dinner.  One.  Alcohol cannot be served in public in Winder unless a cop is present.  One cop per hundred guests.  No bottle of wine was opened, nor was a beer cap removed until the cop arrived.  Two.  The caterer was serious about his BBQ.  Whilst in the food line, about five us noticed (all at once, mind you), that the server (and chef) was balling up the BBQ meat.  I'm sure this description won't do it justice, but y'all, the best way I can sum it up is this: it was as if he was making love to the BBQ.  He dove in with his glove clad hands and picked out a bunch of meat.  Then, he lovingly and tenderly molded the meat into a ball.  Uncovered it and asked if the amount was ok.  If yes, he gently placed it on your plate and then pushed the ball so that the meat would all fall apart on your plate.  So bizarre!  But, ball or not, it was some damn good BBQ.

    I'm just to be honest for a minute.  I think my group of girls is super fun and often tends to be the life of the party.  Thankfully, we were all seated together at the rehearsal dinner.  The Vickerys (Brooke and Josh), along with our new friend, Brad, made our table complete and lively.  Brad would turn out to be our male buddy for the weekend.  We laughed uncontrollably as we told lots of awesome stories...my favorites included fondant and black icing babies.  We stole BBQ sauce.  We discussed the 25 minute video (which was awesome, thanks to Josh!).  We reminisced over eyeglasses worn by others. 

    The toasts began after supper.  Mary Anne and I each gave a sweet toast and then all of B5 gave the toast of the century.  Shannon introduced us and did a flawless job of making it appear that we were about to get serious on the crowd.  Then we busted out with a rap/poem to the tune of Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire:
     
    Now this is a story all about how
    Mary Alice is our first, to say her vows.

    We’d like to take a minute to start at the beginning
    Where it all went down at the College of Presbyterian 

    In the small town of Clinton where our friendship began
    in townhouse b5 singing hey ya and gettin'  tan

    Readin’ studyin’ stressin’ for school
    Punchin’ numbers in a calculator; Malice thought she was cool

    Instead we chose to play, drinkin’ and eatin’ grilled cheese
    Workin’ unicorn puzzles while watchin’ the OC

    She danced on one little stage & we all got scared
    The flip flops were for sure a goner, not that anyone cared

    Malice rocked tapered leg jeans, like only a mom could
    Until Christmas ‘04, when she came back with the goods

    Walked in the door, jeans longer and leaner
    Noted the fancy nails as she locked her beamer

    Every summer we reunited in B5 fashion
    Malice told us about a boy for whom she had a passion

    Here’s to Steven and Malice, let’s toast to their new life
    To sit on their throne as husband and wife!

    B5, sans Mary Alice, headed out for a beer or two in Athens.  After trapsing around a bit, we settled on Cutters.  A bar that we'd all been to together once upon a time ago.  One Bud Light and a Diet Coke later, I was ready to head home.  Luckily the other gals were, too.  Of course we decided to pile in one hotel room together and order a pizza.  Dear Papa Johns, that pepperoni pizza you delivered to our room was nothing short of glorious.  Two slices later, I was stuffed and ready for bed.  I walked back to my room at 1:18 am, tired, full, thankful for a fun day, and excited about tomorrow.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Mary Alice and Steven get hitched: Thursday

     I left work at 2:30 this past Thursday and met Mary Anne in Lexington.  I dropped my car off, loaded the oodles of things I had packed into her car and climbed in for a wild ride.  I'm fairly well known for being a less than stellar driver.  Though Mary Anne doesn't carry that same title with her usually, you wouldn't have known it on that drive.  (Love you, MAP!)  But we arrived alive!   We had a fun time chatting and catching up.  At one point we were discussing what we might be having for supper when we arrived in Winder, GA.
     
    Me: Maybe chili?  Because its something you can make and then keep on the stove.
    Mary Anne:  Yeah.....but.  I don't eat chili.
     
    Thankfully mom sent me with some snacks for the car ride, including brownies.  Somehow I had 4 on the way?!
     
    We arrived in Winder around 8:30 pm and headed to Wayne's house (Mary Alice's dad).  We were warmly hugged by the cast of characters gathered in his home: Mary Alice and Steven, Wayne, Susie (Mary Alice's mom), Beverly (Wayne's gf), Robert and Carol (Wayne's best friends), and Brooke.  Liz, Susie's best friend came later.  They are all lovely people that would quickly become some of my favorite people to have a good time with.
     
    Wayne had a lovely spread with fancy cheeses and crackers and some tasty little desserts.  While it wasn't chili, there was a big pot of taco soup.  Let me tell you, it was delicious!  Beverly made margaritas and they were super delicious.  After a while of being silly and laughing and chatting, Mary Anne and I headed to Susie's home, where we would be spending the night.
     
    Once upon a time, Mary Alice, Courtney, and I joined Susie her hot tub.  Ever since then, I'd been waiting to relive the experience.  Thursday night was the night!  Mary Anne headed to bed, but Susie and I donned our swimsuits and stayed in the hot tub until we were prunes.  Liz sat right outside the tub.  The three of us had an absolute ball and stayed up until 2 am!  Such a fun time! 

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Heading to the Peach State

    So excited!  I'm heading to Winder/Athens, Georgia for the weekend!  Mary Anne and I are meeting in Columbia Thursday afternoon to head to the Peach State to celebrate Mary Alice and Steven! 

    Scrunchies

    Do you remember wearing scrunchies in middle school?  I do.  I loved them.  I think the key words here are middle school.  Meaning, they wore out their welcome after the early to mid 90's.  Or, so I thought.  Sadly, I've seen a reappearance of these little guys around town lately.  Is it true?  Are scrunchies making a comeback?  I surely hope not!  A simple and discrete hair rubber band does the trick.


    I'm reminded of when Carrie was dating Burger on Sex in the City.  She read his book and her only critique was that New York women don't wear scrunchies.  Oh Carrie, how I love your style.  


    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Booties

    I purchased these a few weeks ago and started wearing them.  I never really thought I would be into booties, but I have to say: I love them! 


    Funniest part?  I bought them one Sunday afternoon.  Later I was talking to Courtney who was also shsopping.  She said, "just found some shoes you'd like." And described them.  My response, "yeah I bought those about 30 minutes ago!"  Hahahaha.  Guess she knows me (and my footwear preferences) well?!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Grody

    Yesterday I realized there must be something gross in the kitchen trashcan because it smelled funky.  So I took the bag outside.  Yep, something had fallen out of the bag and molded.  Gross.  I removed that and poured some bleach in the trashcan to clean it out.  I washed the top to the can and re-assembled it for use.  While this was all going on, I decided to clean out the pantry and set that trash bag outside as well -- since it will get taken away Tuesday morning. 
     
    Of course I walk outside this morning and realize that some critter has torn one of the bags open.  In several places.  Ugh!  Something fun for me to take of when I get home tonight.  Sometimes my life is the mirror image of a fairytale.  Pretty sure Disney will want to make a movie about me soon...

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    A different Sunday

    My small group at church meets Sunday mornings before church.  This is convenient so that I don't have to drive to Mt. Pleasant another time.  However, since I'm out of town sometimes I don't always get to go...hence, I really try to go when I'm in town.  I really like my group -- there are a lot of young women, some ladies in there late late 30's/mid 40's, and a hip older gal in her 60's probably.  

    I got an email this week saying we'd be meeting at a member's home to hang out and do some flower arrangements for something the church needed.  To the hip older gal's I headed this morning.  Y'all she lives in a great home!  A cottage really.  Think: the English cottage in The Holiday. 


    There were only 4 of us.  One.  I loved doing the floral arrangements.  I would never consider myself to be creative, but I really liked arranging the flowers and making use of flowers, greenery, etc. to create something pleasing to the eye.  Two.  I loved chatting with these gals and asking them questions about their faith and some things I've been curious about.  I really hadn't had a chance to do this since my days of sitting in Marshall Foster's living room in Columbia (and I miss her!  and those conversations!).  I had such a ball, that I didn't even walk down to church.  Oops?!  But you know what, I think God met me where I was...and for that I am so glad!

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Is the Bible...

    ...Intolerant? Sexist? Oppressive? Homophobic? Outdated? Irrelevant?
     
    This book was written by Amy Orr-Ewing; she spoke at my church sometime last winter.  I'm not used to hearing a woman preach on Sunday mornings, but she was SO good!  She works with Ravi Zacharias, for his international ministry.  Immediately, I could tell that she was passionate for Lord and highly intelligent.  Two things I'm attracted to.  I heard about this book and decided to give it a whirl.  I read it this week and loved it.
     
    Side note: I found it on Amazon for a penny...so $4 with shiping.  Not too shabby!  Perfect condition no less.
     
    It is a short book.  Easy to read.  Very informative.  Check it out:
     
     
    Some quotes I love:
     
    When it comes to the Bible, there are over five thousand hand written manuscripts in the Greek language in support of the New Testament alone that help us ensure the accuracy of its writings.  Many of the earliest copies are seperated from the originals not by fourteen hundred years, but only by twenty five to fifty years (40).
     
    It is striking for us to remember that the word of women was perceived as having less value than that of men.  It is therefore enormously important that the most significant events of Jesus' death and resurrection were witnessed at first hand primarily by women (89).
     
    Many of our inclinations may try to lead us away from God's standard, but this does not mean that the teaching of the Bible changes (122).