Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peachtree Road

I'm a fairly quick reader and usually breeze through books. Not so with this one. Last night I finished Peachtree Road by Anne Rivers Siddons. With small print and over 560 pages, it took me a while. For me, it started out a bit slow, but once I got into it, I really loved it. I guess you could say its historical fiction about Buckhead and centers around one man: Shep.  I absolutely fell in love with Shep's character.

Family. Sex. Love. Death. Betrayal. Seclusion. Restoration. All of these words come to mind when I think about the book. If you've got some time, give it a whirl.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brussel Sprouts

So I've been wanting to try these little guys for a while. Last night was the night, and I have to say, they were delicious. I basically used this Barefoot recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • I added balsamic vinegar
Mix together, put on a sheet pan, and roast for 35-40 minutes on 400 degrees.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Good things in life

 I recently got some news that made me sad and disappointed.  Every thing's fine, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball that takes more than a few minutes to digest.  I'm still digesting.  In the mean time, I wanted to remember the things I've been blessed with over the past few days:
  • Two sweet phone calls Friday afternoon.
  • Beautiful beach house that I got to stay in Saturday night.
  • Cold beer.
  • People that make me laugh.
  • Playing Jenga.
  • Delicious medium rare burger with guacamole on it.
  • Awesome small group Sunday morning.
  • Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ -- even when I don't want to hear it...because He died for me, I am precious in His sight, He calls me beloved, He conquered death on my behalf...there is nothing to fear and I have hope.  It can't get any better than that.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Last night...

Me: 5th wheel at a Christian concert.  My life is awesome.
Courtney: I'm out with my parents.  Equally cool.
Me: At least you have booze and your parents don't hold hands in public.

Later on...

Courtney:  A random guy bought mom a beer.  The bartender just sent it over.  Top that.
Me: Wow.  Did you tell them about when we got sausage sent over at the Huddle House?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I'm not sure what I'd like to say today. I wish things had turned out differently. But they didn't. Four years today ago a friend of mine was taken off life support. Writing is theraputic so I'm going to share the story. More for me than anything else.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Some good friends, Katie and Jake were having an engagement party in Greenville, SC. John and Lauren changed at our office and followed one another to Greenville. I left after work and drove to Presbyterian College to stopped off at my friend Leigh's townhouse to change clothes; we were both in awful moods. I left Leigh's and headed to the party. On my way, I saw the worst wreck I have ever seen (still, to this day). There was a helicopter on the highway - a first for my eyes. I remember praying for the family and friends of those involved because I knew the person in the smushed up car would not survive. I made it to the party (after getting lost and calling John for help several times). Katie told me her family saw the same wreck I did and her sister burst into tears when she saw it.

Good food and wine and the bad mood subsided. I remember John wondering where Lauren was and why she hadn't yet arrived. They left at the same time, but she wasn't there yet. I told him that she probably got side-tracked and stopped off at Wal-Mart or the mall or something. Her phone went to voicemail. Katie asked me if she thought the wreck could be LJ, but I said no, the car was on the other side of the highway from how Lauren would be traveling. Eventually, the party wound down and I drove to Spartanburg to stay with Courtney for the night. It was pouring down rain: the kind where you can barely see two feet in front of you...but eventually I made it.

Later that night I got a text message from Ryan saying that Lauren had been in a horrible wreck. I called John and he told me the wreck I'd see was in fact Lauren. I don't think I can describe that feeling. Courtney offered to drive me to the hospital, but while deciding I fell asleep.

April 22, 2006

The next morning I awoke to phone calls with updates on Lauren. Again, Courtney offered to drive me, but for some reason I kept falling back asleep. Then my boss called and asked if I'd let other people in our department know. I awoke. I called co-workers and close friends and asked them to pray. Katie told me her oxygen levels were up and doing really well and things were looking great. How could they not be? I asked myself. Lauren Jones was the most resilient person I knew; of course she'd bounce right back from this. A while later I got another call from Katie. This time was quite different. She told me things had taken a turn, she wasn't going to make it, and I needed to come say goodbye. Courtney wrote directions (pre GPS era). While she was doing so, I called John just to confirm Katie was right - it wasn't until then that I believed she wouldn't make it. I realized I left my bra in Clinton at Leigh's. I wore my favorite, super old Abercrombie jeans, red Crocs, yellow t-shirt that Krissie and Aimee got me at Goodwill, and a sports bra of Courtney's. Again, it was raining as I drove to Greenville Memorial. Telling my boss, Phyllis, was the hardest person: in so many ways, their personalities mirrored each other.

I saw the wreck with my own eyes, and knew it would be damn-near impossible to live though, but it wasn't until I saw Lauren in the ICU that it was real to me. She, being a slender runner, size 0, was the same person, but all puffed up. Eery. And of course she had just dyed her hair: no longer was it light brown. She donned a reddish/orange-y tent that looked a smidge purple under the hospital's florescent lights. John, Jenn, Marshall, and I saw her together and Marshall prayed over her, over us. Lots of people came to the hospital and there was a deep rooted joy in and amongst the sorrow. They waited for her sister and brother-in-law to fly in from Texas to pull her off life support.

The days that followed are still vivid. I remember seeing so much love (especially from Leigh at Kaye's wedding), so much hope, so much sadness, so much growing up. This was the first person I'd lost that was in my everyday world. We worked together, were in Bible study together, and had so many mutual friends. Lauren was full of love and life. She was easily excitable and loved people. She was a giver and generous. She had lots of sass. I miss her. Sometimes death hurts a lot -- there have been times when it felt like the world was caving in on my chest from the longing to have one more opportunity with her. I think the words to "In Christ Alone" are beautiful but loathe singing that song because it reminds me of her funeral. I know that Lauren Marie Jones is rejoicing and dancing around in heaven with our Lord, for "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints," (Psalm 116:15), and I can't wait to see her when I, too, meet our maker face to face.

Time does a lot of healing and restoring. But (so far) on this day, I am always a bit sad as I remember Lauren. And that's ok with me.

It seems like yesterday; it seems like a million miles away.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now You See It...Now You Don't!

A few weeks ago my friend Weston and his friend Connor were in town. We enjoyed a nice meal of home-cooked frogmore stew Friday night. So good! Saturday we headed to the beach. To say it was windy, would be an understatement. We hid behind a wall and were quasi protected. Eventually, I had the bright idea to move behind the dunes. I knew the spot because Nicole and I spent ample time there when Jenn got engaged. It was perfect: hidden behind dunes so no wind...just soaking up the warmth and rays.

I noticed that Connor had a rather large amount of back hair. Me not being one to keep things to myself, we had the following conversation:

Me: Connor, you have a good bit of back hair.
Connor: Yeah, I guess.
Me: I have a friend, Tyler, and his mom used to shave his back hair when we were in college. He's married I guess his wife does it?
Connor: Hmmm...
Me: If  you want, we could Veet it. It doesn't hurt and it takes it off.
Connor: Ok.
Me (thinking): That was too easy!

When we got home, we went to work on his back. It took us 2 rounds to get all of the hair and I made sure to go "easy" around his neck and shoulders to keep the look natural. Connor was such a good sport!

When were done I said, "Connor, its not that people will notice. Its what they won't notice!"


Apparently his dad Nair'd the next day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blind Date

No, I'm not going on one any time soon (that I know of), but I just a fabulous book about them. A Year of Blind Dates by Megan Carson.  I went to college with Megan's sister-in-law and have been excited to read this book since I first heard about it.  I'm also impressed that she's been on enough blind dates (or dates at all) in a year to write a book about them!

Last week I received this book in the mail.  A signed copy no less!  It was such a fun surprise; thanks, Frances!  I started the book last Thursday, finished it Friday, and mailed it to a friend to read yesterday.  Single or not, Megan's tales of dating are quite humorous and worth reading. 

On a serious note, Megan reminded me that (1) dating is hard and (2) if you're looking for a mate, it is in God's hands. 

Oh, and her blog is fabulous, too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

We Survived!

The car ride was long. There was some slight bickering. Being the introvert that I am, I was excited to have some alone time yesterday. However, the "old folks tour" as my mom called it was a big hit. Both Grammy and Granddaddy were very excited to see us.

A few family funnies:

Grammy: Nathan, are you and Shannon having a church wedding?
Nathan: No, we're getting married at the bed & breakfast where our reception will be.
Grammy: ................ cricket, cricket ...........................

Grammy: Clark (my dad), I've never seen you so BIG!

Granddaddy is quite witty himself, but I forgot his good one-liners of the evening.

Evening shenanigans are nothing new to my dad's side of the family. There have been many a late night trip to Wal-Mart...and the Wal-Mart just out of town just because someone was looking for something and one thing leads to another and before you know it it is one o'clock in the morning. This includes my mother who is usually in bed around nine. A mini feud between family members erupted a while back,and lets just say there was a lot of toilet paper involved. Last summer some un-named family members spray painted another family member's yard, "will you marry me, X?" (X being his girl friend.)

This weekend our late night escapade involved tracking down my younger cousin at her sorority formal. Yes, you read that correctly. She came out of the party with her boyfriend, Mr. Perfect, to greet all of us. Then mom and I busted in the party to scope out the scene. Somehow several cupcakes decided to leave with us. Isn't it crazy when that happens?

All in all, a nice weekend with the family.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gearing up

for a LOT of family time in the car.  Tomorrow morning mom, dad, Nathan, and I are heading to Savannah to see Grammy.  We'll be surprising her with Nathan which will be so fun.  THEN we are driving all the way to Wilmington, NC.  Yes, you did that math correctly -- its a 6 hour drive up the coast.  Granddaddy is expecting my dad, but not the rest of us.  I'm sure he'll be stoked as he always is to see us!  We'll spend the night there and head home some time Sunday. 

Lots of driving.  Lots of family time.  Lots of fighting over music choices and who will drive.  All in the name of love. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010


No, not that!  Get your mind out of the gutter!

Mom's birthday was on Tuesday, but she already had supper plans with her Bible study.  So dad and I told her we'd love to cook for her Wednesday night.  We grilled steaks (mine was potentially the best steak I've had in years!), cooked potatoes and onions, and busted out a bag casear salad.  AND I made dessert.  Then we all watched The Blindside.  It was a very nice and low key evening to celebrate mom's 56th! 

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention the shocker!  My brother flew in from Chicago (where he resides)!  I picked him up at the airport on my lunch break yesterday.  He hung out while I worked and then we met dad at Publix.  We all got home and dad told mom her present was in the living room.  I wish I had it on video - Mom's scream was priceless.  She was so shocked!  And elated!  As far as I know, she didn't wet her pants, but I wouldn't be shocked if she did.  It was a fun surprise and I'm glad to have Nathan home for several days. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Easiest Cake Ever

Last night I made my new favorite cake.  The Diet Coke cake.  I tried it a while back, and it was a huge mess, but tasted good.  I've made it since then and while the taste continues to rock, the cake continues to crumble.  I usually serve it with a fork and put a bowl of icing nearby so people can make a mess creation of their own.  However, I just discovered the secret to getting this cake to come out perfectly.  It's not too tricky and I'm embarrassed that I didn't realize this earlier.  Life goes on...

Diet Coke Cake

  • Any box of cake mix (I use devil's food cake)
  • 1 Diet Coke
  • Mix and bake per box instructions.
  • The trick: let it COOL.  COMPLETELY COOL.
I really enjoy this cake partnered with:

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 oz. cold cream cheese (I use fat free.  I recently discovered that its worth paying a bit more for Philidelphia, rather than the Piggly Wiggly brand...tastes better.)
  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Beat together and then add 2 c powdered sugar. I add it 1 cup at a time.
Voilla.  Last night I made it in 2 round cake pans and layered it with the icing.  Looks good enough to eat!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Yesterday I tried to do the Shred.  Some days are easier than others. I felt like this woman:

It won't let me imbed the video.  Blerg.  But I do have to say that its comforting knowing others struggle with the same exercise regime!  I'm going to attempt it again today...and, hopefully, I'll make it more than 6 minutes today.

In other news: I find the girl in the video to be super fascinating.  It led me to watch a YouTube video of her talking about her weight loss, and then her applying foundation.  Apparently videoing yourself putting on make up is quite popular these days?  I even watched a comparison video between MAC and Black Opal.  I'm here to tell you that Black Opal is more affordable, but MAC offers better colors and isn't quite as thick.  If you need to see it for yourself, go here:

I guess you could say work is slow today...

Monday, April 12, 2010


I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It's so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I'm running late,
And I don't need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.

Chorus to "New Shoes" by Paolo Nutini

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Mary Alice and Steven got engaged today and I'm so excited!  MAP's been one of my dearest friends since our good ole days together at Presbyterian College.  I've loved getting to know Steven and seeing how they are perfectly suited for one another.  Can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for them!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Paul Zahl's Grace in Practice

A friend sent me this excerpt a while back:

Grace is love that seeks you our when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of lovable.

I decided to read it and my brother and Shannon gave it to me as a Christmas present.  I finally got around to reading it this week.  And I LOVED it.  Zahl challenged me a lot.  Especially in my ideas about the law and grace.  And free will.  Some other passages I really liked:

In this theology of every day life, the word of the cross in marriage can take a simple form. It is a plan so simple that it sounds lightweight. The word of the cross in marriage consists of daily exposure, very early in the morning, to the Bible. They read a verse or of the Bible, not more than a few sentences; the husband asks the wife what her prayer request is for the day; the wife asks her husband what his prayer request is for the day; and they pray out loud, briefly and extemporaneously. It takes about ten minutes. It makes all the difference.

Birth pangs of compassion. The moment you understand that people are not as free as they think they are, especially in the sectors of compulsion, you are able to have compassion for them. You begin to "try a little tenderness."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The P Word

Dear Pollen,

You make my eyes itch and water and become red and tired.  You make my throat sore and tight.  You dirty up my car.  You make me take Benadryl which makes me sleepy.  While I appreciate all that you do for flowers and such, please know that you are welcome to mosey on at any time.  The sooner the better.

Yours truly,
Allergy sufferer

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good Eats

Imagine yourself sitting on a dock; the warm sea breeze rustling your hair, the aroma of salt and oysters lingering around you. No cars, no business, just you and a group of your best buds. Grab another beer from the bottomless cooler, top it off with a steaming plate of Charleston's the South's best seafood, and you have a scene straight from the pages of a fairy tale.

There's your dreams, then then there's Bowens Island Restaurant.

Ok, so I didn't write this.  I got it from  But every word is true.  The food is delicious and the scenery superb.  If you're going to be in the Charleston area any time soon, I think you should give it a shot.  There is nothing pretentious about this place, which makes it all the more appealing. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Catch and Release

I usually talk about the book I've read on here. And I usually enjoy the book. But this book, same kind of different as me, is one of the best books I've ever read. If you are going to read one book this year, it should be this book. I laughed, I cried, I learned more about myself and humanity. I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't read it by sharing my favorite parts or things that I learned. But GO READ this book.

Monday, April 5, 2010

EA struggles against the forces of worktime oppression...

...the bathing suit edition.

me: so guess who just took off her underwear in her office and replaced them w/ her bathing suit bottoms? and no one noticed
Leigh: ridic
me: the top will be more tricky
Leigh: omg
you are ridic
me: you knew this already
Leigh: that's true
me: i mean lets be honest, i've done much more rediculous things
Leigh: that's true
tough the top...that's bold
me: i know esp. in button down oxford shirt
Leigh: super redic
me: w/ shorter sleeves i could slip off the bra then pop the bsuit top on
i mean this is like self amusement at its best

(time elapses; other conversations)

me: so should i put my top on on top of my bra or just take off the bra?
Leigh: if you're gonna do this do it right
take . it. off.
me: i'm cracking myself up
and you're making me laugh harder
which is harder b/c i'm trying to be stealthlike
me: not gunna lie to you leigh. my bra is 1/2 way off. i cant get the straps off through the sleeves. its a bit uncomfortable
Leigh: ha!
you can do this
power through it
me: one strap down
Leigh: rock it
me: how f'ing embarrassed would i be if my male boss (1) came in here (2) called me down to his office
Leigh: you would die
me: bra is successfully in my bag!!
i feel like a superhero
Leigh: king of the office!
me: now the other thing i didn't tell you: this shirt isnt the most opaque. its not see through but i always wear a nude bra with it...know what i mean?
and the bathing suit top is navy
so that could be interesting
Leigh: ha!
do you get off at 4 or 5
me: 4:30
almost there...
top just needs to be pulled up
i mean bsuit top
Leigh: one quick yank
me: easier said than done my friend
b/c its a fitted button up shirt
no juli dont come in here...sit back down.
thats right
i i'm a hot mess right now
bathing suit completely on!!!
Leigh: nice
me: not gunna lie, i'm pretty stinkin proud of myself!
Leigh: you done good
me: just think of how often this can come up at a dinner party...what, you've never changed into a bathing suit whilst working in your office?
a shame.
Leigh: i can't believe it hasn't come up sooner
me: i know, right?
i'm so unprofessional sometimes. i love that about myself.

(time elapses; other conversation)

bathroom. you can totally see bathing suit to p through my shirt
it could happen to anybody
Leigh: ha!
me: i'm not sure thats the right word for it but it sure is something
Leigh: totally classy

Friday, April 2, 2010

Venting a bit...

Yesterday, Courtney suggested that I meet her and Sullivan at the beach once I got off work.  She'd get my bathing suit and towel from my house and I'd just have to show up.  Sounded perfect.  My first beach trip of 2010.

That idea was de-railed once I got in my car to drive home.  To say that traffic was bad would be quite the understatement.  Imagine NY or ATL rush hour, but on the little ole James Island Connector.  Not cool.  So not cool.  I soon realized I wouldn't make it to the beach.  Tear.  The traffic was so bad at my exit, I assumed there must have been a wreck there, and I'd continue to the next exit and back-track my way home.  I'm not sure if taking my exit would have been faster or not, but it sure as hell couldn't have been slower.  I sat.  And sat.  And sat.  Now, in the midst of making these decisions, I realize that my gas light has come on (of course!), and have been asked to pick up some chips and salsa for snacking.  Also in the course of this time, my blood pressure and anger continued to rise, and rise, and rise. 

Yes, I do have some road rage issues and those issues came out in full force yesterday afternoon.  I eventually made it to the gas station and then headed towards the grocery store.  Have you ever had one of those moments when you were so angry and frustrated that you just wanted to cry?  Well that was the moment I was having when I pulled into Bi-Lo.  Though the tears didn't come, I was exasperated.  So I did what any rational person would do, I pulled straight up into the New Moms / About to Pop a Kid Out parking spots. 

1. I have NEVER parked in a Handicap parking space and completely see the need for those spaces.
2. The mom spots have always bugged me.

If you are a mom and this irritates you, I'm ok with that.  And if I have kids one day, I may be singing a different tune.  But, those spots drive me nuts.  Its not that I'm against those spots, as much as the fact that other people (not just moms) have stressful lives/things going on and might deserve to get a special parking spot once in a while, too.  So I took the liberty of granting myself that special spot yesterday.  And to be honest with you, it felt awesome.  This isn't something I plan on doing all the time, but when in need, why not? 

Of course I almost ran over this cute guy around my age (yes, I'm single) as I was backing out of the mom spot.  He was super nice about it, flashed an attractive smile, and let me back out first, before he went on his merry way.  As I drove off I realized he probably assumed I was a new mom...  I put Blue Indian on repeat and tried to calm myself down before I got home.  The margaritas at home helped.  Normally, I pull into my driveway at 5:00.  Yesterday it was 5:46. 

I almost feel bad writing this post, knowing that there are millions of people in the world that are really suffering...and my trivial problems yesterday were just that: trivial.  But I did go to a really good two hour meeting yesterday about saying "yes" to them when you're really saying "no"...and letting people vent before they blow up.  Oh the irony...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Best Pup Ever

Unless you count a hermit crab, I didn't grow up with pets.  I'm allergic to cats, which as a single girl in my late 20's, I now find that to be a good thing -- I will never become the spinster with a cat.  (Yet there is no guarantee I won't become a plain old spinster, without a cat.)  So cats were not allowed in our house and my  mom isn't a huge fan of dogs.  Hence, no warm, furry, cute pets for us.  As a small child this made me sad, but as I got older I was totally ok with it.  I think I realized that I didn't really enjoy animals all that much. 

And then I met Sullivan.  She is definitely my favorite animal.  Ever.  I mean, look at that face!  And she's so soft!  And loveable!
I lived my HLP for 6 months last summer/fall, and Sullivan and I spent a lot of time together.  I was a stay at home person, writing my thesis for graduate school and then searching for a job.  We went on walks just about every day.  I think its safe to say that the love is mutual.  I asked Courtney if I could have Sullivan if she died.  Some find that morbid, I find it smart to think ahead.  Courtney didn't really answer me the first two times I asked, but being the persistent one that I am, she agreed on the third try.  Yay! 

So, now I have a goddog.  AND she's coming to Charleston today!  Wa-hoo!  Court and I have taken her to the beach before in the winter and its always awesome.  Saturday we're taking her and it will actually be warm.  Can't wait!