Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I was chatting with a good friend tonight about contentment.  Being present.   Where we are now.  Not looking back and longing for the past, yet not being impatient about the future.

I think that's what we're going to spend our lives learning: how to be content.  When you think about it, it is when we are content with where God has us and what God has given us that we choose to honor him and do his will/obey.  When we think we need something else, we start going elsewhere to be satisfied.

Here's hoping I learn how to be content and rest in what I have been graciously given...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whip My Hair

I have long since been enamored with Will and Jada Smith.  They truly fascinate me and I want to be their friends.  I love that Will stopped using cuss words in his music because his grandmother asked him to.  I love that Jada quit drinking cold turkey when she realized she was most likely an alcoholic.  I love that they say divorce isn't an option for them...because if divorce is an option, you'll take it when things are hard.  I love how they bring Will's oldest son into the fold. 
It seems like if you're a little Smith, you can do anything.  Be the next Karate Kid.  Be an awesome football star and have your parents fly accross the world to watch your games. 
Last night, Courtney gave me one more reason to love the Smith's: Willow Smith's song and music video, Whip my Hair.  Yes, I listened to it on repeat today.  Yes, I love the video!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mexican Casserole

I made this casserole up several years ago and really love it.  It's evolved a bit over the years into this:
For one 9x13 casserole:
  1. Cook a package of Mexican/Spanish rice, according to the package directions.  Spread in 9x13 dish.
  2. Add one can of black beans, rinsed and drained; optional.
  3. Cook 3 large chick breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces.  Layer in the dish.
  4. Add one jar of your favorite salsa, spread over chicken.
  5. Add 8 oz sour cream, spread over salsa.
  6. Add 2/3 ish bottle of ranch dressing.
  7. Sprinkle about 1 cup of mozarella cheese.
  8. Sprinkle about 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until the cheese is melty and yummy looking.  This can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.  It will serve about 8.  Leftovers are just as good!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Democracy Matters

When I was in Princeton with Amelia, aka Leigh, we stopped in a bookstore.  She asked if I knew who Cornel West was and of course I did not.  Well, he was in the same bookstore as we were!  He was wearing his signature outfit -- according to Leigh, he wears the same thing every day (as seen on the cover of this book).  I looked him up and he's quite the distinguished gentleman: tenured at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, where he currently teaches.   In addition to teaching and writing, he also has at least two rap albums out and was featured in the last two Matrix movies.  I guess you could say he's pretty talented. 
Anyway, I decided to read one of his books and just finished reading Democracy Matters.  Yes, I had to skim through parts.  No, I didn't agree with everything he said.  Then again, when do you agree with everything someone says?  I found him to be interesting and passionate.  I would LOVE to hear him speak sometime.  And someday I want to read his memoir.
We long for a politics that is not about winning a political game but about producing better lives (64).  Agreed.
The uninspiring nature of our nationa political culture has only enhanged he seductiveness of the pursuit of pleasure and of diverting entertainments, and too many of us have turned inward to a disconnected, narrowly circumscribed family and social life.  White suburbanites and middle-class blacks (and others) are preoccupied with the daily pursuit of the comfort of their material lives.  In many cases they literally wall themselves off into comfortable communities, both physical and social, in which they can safely avert their eyes from the ugly realities that afflict so many of our people.  Because they are able to buy the cars and take the vacations they want, they are all too willing to either disregard the political and social dysfunctions afflicting the country or accept facile explanations for them (65).  Agreed.  And I am guilty of doing so.
I speak as a Christian -- one whose commitment to democray is very deep but whose Christian convictions are even deeper.  Democracy is not my faith.  And American democracy is not my idol.  To see the Gospel of Jesus Christ bastardized by imperial Christians and pulverized by Constantinian blievers and then exploited by nihilistic elites of the American empire makes my blood boil.  To be a Christian -- a follower of Jesus Christ -- is to love wisdom, love justice, and love freedom.  This is the radical love in Christian freedom and the radical freedom in Christian love embraces Socratic questioning, prophetic witness, and tragicomic hope.  If Christians do not exemplify this love and freedom, then we side with the nihilists of the Roman empire (cowardly elite Romans and subjugated Jews) who put Jesus to a humiliating death.  Instead of receiving his love in freedom as a life-enhancing gift of grace, we end up believing in the idols of the empire that nailed him to the cross.  I do not want to be numbered among those who sold their souls for a mess of pottage -- who surrendered their democratic Christian identity for a comfortable place at the table of the American empire while, like Lazarus, the least of these cried out and I was too intoxicated with worldly power and might to hear, beckon, and heed their cries.  To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, and freely -- to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep stepping because the something that sustains you no empire can give you and no empire can take away.  This is the kind of vision and courage required to enable the renewal of prophetic, democratic Christian identity in the age of the American empire (172). Beautiful.  This is why I would love to hear him speak.  Because even if I hated everything that came out of his mouth, I believe that I would be intrigued and would still have much respect for him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Rant...and Grace

The state of South Carolina has many things that I'm proud of: rich histry, beautiful beaches, and the best state flag.  However, this state grinds my shorts sometimes.  Two things lately.  1. Though we are in debt up to our eyeballs, this state has decided to hold a lottery of sorts in which 100 state employees that want gastric bypass surgery will be given the surgery for FREE.  Y'all this surgery can cost up to $24k.  I tell you what, I wouldn't mind being entered into a lottery where I could receive $24k for being a healthy government worker.  Grr.... 

Read more here:

and 2. While the US Postal Service has figured out how to forward mail (and I'm very grateful for that capability), our state has not figured out how to use it for car taxes.

I moved Back to Charleston Halloween weekend of last year.  My car taxes and tags and that little sticker thing were due in May.  Since SC isn't able to forward this notification, I didn't think about it.  At some point this summer, I got a new driver's liscense to reflect my Charleston residence.  Whilst in the DMV, I realized I needed to see about my car sticker.  The lady told me I could do it online.  So I tried and failed.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  And life happened and so I forgot.  Flash forward to this weekend.

I'm driving to Spartanburg and realize that I need to get my tag thing taken care of.  Saturday morning we are waiting to leave and Mary Anne points out that my tag is expired.  I know!  I need to work on that...another reminder to take care of it.  As we are caravanning to Presbyterian College, I see flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror.

Slowly pull off the road and into a nearby parking lot.

Officer: Hello, ma'am.  I pulled you over because your tag is expired and your driving seemed a bit erratic.
Me: Yes sir. 
Officer: Could you tell me why your tags are expired?
Me: Tell him about moving to Charleston, asking the DMV, forgetting about it...I know this is my fault.  Actually, my girl friends and I were talking about it this morning and how I really need to fix it.
Officer: Ok, now what's going on with your driving?
Me: I'm just all over the place.  No excuse.  Thinking about a lot of things...
Officer: Where are you headed? 
Me: Presybterian College.  It's homecoming.
Officer: Who are y'all playing?
Me: Yeah...I'm not sure...  (I totally sound like an air head that can't drive.  Is that a line in Clueless?)
Officer:  Well, it looks like I'll have to write you several tickets because I went to Newberry.   (Long pause.)  I'm kidding.  But seriously, you need to pay more attention to the road and get your tags taken care of.
Me: Yes, sir!  Thank you so much!  You're being VERY gracious!
Officer: So, in Charleston are you close to West Ashley?
Me: I live on James Island.
Officer: Whoa...PC and James Island, I really should write you tickets.
Me: You'd really hate me if I told you I grew up in Mt. Pleasant...
Both of us laughed.

How sweet of him to let me go?  Because I was completely in the wrong.  Reminded, once again, of the grace that the Lord gives...

John 1:16-17
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

As for my taxes, tag, and sticker...I'm proud to say that they have all been taken care of.  Just over 2.5 miles of walking to Meeting Street over my lunch break in the sun.  Paying the taxes online from my office.  Stopping by the DMV on my way home.  Had the auditor's office fax over the needed info so I could get my sticker that day.  Oh, and I had to pay extra to update my tags and a $75 late fee.  The DMV and I had a nice chat about the absurdities of the state and how come car taxes are not forwarded along with all of the other mail.  One DMV form filled out, along with a letter to Governor Sanford and Mayor Riley, hopefully the system will be changed. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Last week Maggie told me about this new mascara she purchased, Falsies by Maybeline.  She raved about it all week.  So I finally made my purchase last Thursday.  Thursday is also when mom came over to my house for supper.
Me:  So I bought new mascara today.  Maggie says its awesome.  It's called Falsies...
Mom:  Oh yeah.  I use that!  Have been using it since before Nathan's wedding.  In fact, I have it in waterproof, too.
Me:  Oh, really?  Do you like it?  It's on sale now...
Mom: Yes, I love it, too!  Right, for $5 at Wal-mart and Target.
Me: Yes...
I love it when my mom is ahead of my game.  Haha.  But I have been LOVING falsies! Give it a try!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Years!

This past Saturday was Presbyterian College's class of 2005! (I can't say that without thinking of Mary Alice) reunion.  It seems like yesterday I was donning the cap and gown!  The PC campus is beautiful this time of year. The overall crowd was lacking this year; however, my friends know how to represent. It was fun to catch up with good friends. Eat way too much. Taking a trip over to our beloved B5. Seeing the Thain crew. Playing with Durham.

At one point a fellow alum walked over to our tailgated and said, "So y'all still hang out, huh?!"  The answer: yes.  Yes, we have all made friends outside of PC.  No, we did not bring them with us to Homecoming.  Besides we only hang out at Homecoming...and weddings...and showers...and slip-n-slide parties...and such...

We stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites. Y'all, it is nice. Especially for Clinton.  You get a lot of bang for your buck! I would definitely stay there again. We ate at the classy Mexican resturant for supper and then headed out to the fraternity houses. I met my dancing soulmate...sadly, he appeared to be in his 40's (too old) and was married. Blerg.

Sunday morning I drove to Columbia to go to my old church, First Presbyterian. I saw my old we were catching up, these words were exchanged:

Boss: So, you're 28 now?
Me: No. Just 27.
Boss: Well, 27...and counting!
Me: I suppose we're all "and counting?!"
Boss: True. I'm 62 and counting.

Nothing like your five year homecoming to make you feel old...and counting!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yacht Rock

Y'all, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Yacht Rock for the first time this past Friday night.  It's a cover band out of Atlanta that is simply awesome.  Maggie has seen them quite a few times and even has one of their sailor hats -- she's so fancy.  Anyway, they were playing at Wofford and since we're friends with Dean Shelton, Maggie, Mary Anne, and I were able to Yacht Rock the night away.

By request, ahem, my personal request, they played Looking Glass' Brandy.   They also played Rich Girl and many other hits that made me shake my tail feather.  In true Elizabeth Ann fashion, there were a few times when I was the only one dancing it on the floor.  Good thing I don't mind!  I have to say that MAP, Maggie, and I were truly a dancing presence.  I can't wait for my next YR experience!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Too Funny

I don't know all the ins and outs about Christine O'donnell, so this post isn't about her.  But I saw this clip from Saturday Night Live and found it hilarious.  Enjoy!

Here's the real ad:

Here's the SNL spoof:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I made one of my favorite meals for myself this evening.  Very easy, very homey, very delicious.  I got this recipe from Mary Reedy and tweaked it a bit.

  • 3 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 can of cream of potato soup
  • 1 can of cream of broccoli soup
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas, and corn)
  • 2 frozen pie crusts
Mix the first 4 ingredients and pour into a pie crust.  Top with the other pie crust.  I cut a few slits in the top.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  I bake it on an cookie sheet so its easier to get in and out of the oven.  It also reheats really well!  Thanks, Mary!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween in my Hood

Y'all, apparently James Island goes ALL OUT for Halloween!  On my drive to and from work each day, I pass several houses that are decked out.  The house below is a block from my abode.  They must have a thing for holidays because Christmas looked like Santa's workshop.  And Halloween is pretty festive as well!



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blast from the Past

So this past Sunday in small group/Sunday school, I walked in to find some friends from high school that I hadn't seen high school.  Now, I have to admit, sometimes seeing folks from the past isn't all that awesome.  Fears of them not remembering me, me not remembering their names, awkward amounts of time have passed, etc. have caused me to turn the other way or duck behind the nearest kiosk as quickly as possible.  What?!  That's never happened to you?  Hmmm...  But seeing these girls was so fun!

Beth came over tonight and it was fun to hang out, catch up, hear what's going on in her life, and watch some Modern Family (best show on TV right now).  It's cool to see how the Lord uses people in our lives, and has them come in and out in different seasons.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stompin' the Divots!

I was invited to a polo match this past Sunday in Ravenel, SC.  Polo?  Who, me?  You better believe it.  All I know about polo I learned from Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. 

The most challenging thing: what to wear?  My white pumps have been put up since it's after Labor Day (yes, I do own white pumps).  My polka dots were at the cleaners, so I settled on a brown strapless dress, cowboy boots, and an orange scarf. 
I must say, it was an absolute GORGEOUS day in Charleston!  We showed up with some inexpensive red wine, champagne, and some treats...that were mostly prepared by Publix and a diet coke cake (still in the pan).  Talk about classy!  Well, let's.  Talk about it.  Because that is exactly what the tailgate that we ended up frolicking at embodied. 
Wait, you think serving out of sterling silver on bone china and linen napkins is a bit much for a tailgate?  You think having copias bottles of not-so-cheap champagne is extravegant?  You think bringing a coconut cake from the Peninsula Grill is over the top?  Really?  So do I!  But I loved every minute of it. 
All in all, it was a great Sunday!  I even saw some old friends from Presbyterian and high school that I hadn't seen in a while years.

But single ladies, one thing you should note: polo matches aren't the best places to find a date.  Unless you need a shopping partner...if you know what I mean.  At one point I said, "I've never been around so many gay men at one time; I've never been to a gay bar."  Amy replied, "Me neither...well, I have been to a gay bar: G spot."  A gentleman sitting next to us overheard and said, "Oh, me too!  The bar, not the other!"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Strong Women, Soft Hearts

I purchased this book with the intention of reading it before I heard Paula Rinehart, the author, speak at Windy Gap.  Welll, that didn't happen; my mind was more in the mood for sudoku than reading about my heart.  But I loved Paula at Windy Gap and so I read the back after the women's weekend.  It's a great read
What God asks of us is both simpler and more profound than adherence to a system of beliefs or following a set of rules.  He asks us to walk with him through the blood and guts of our real experience in an honest pilgrimage where we let him show us what real strength, and real love, are all about (17).
Between your longings and the demand for their fulfillment is a place as real as any in the tangible world.  But it is uncharted and uniquely tailored to your own personal story.  Youwill only know you are there when you feel a little on the edge of your chair -- and et strangely at peace.  Getting there, sometimes, feels like a miracle itself.
It is the place of trust.
Trust hangs somewhere between knowing what your heart longs for and trying to dictate the shape or timing or outcome of your heart's desire.  It lies in the willingness to accept the particulars fo how and when and where God chooses to intervene.  it waits in the cool shade of surender (76 & 77).
So there is such a thing as healthy fear.  We should fear the King, and especially, we should fear evil.  If you ever think about having an affair, for example, and you feel fear -- listen to your fear.  Part of wisdom is learning what to fear, and thereby, to keep your distance (165).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

French Toast

I had some bread that needed to be used and so I decided to make French Toast with it for breakfast on Saturday.  Now, I didn't grow up eating French Toast at home (I don't think mom's ever made it).  Don't get me wrong, we had plenty of delectable treats, but FT wasn't one of them.  I've seen my Aunt Dean make it at the beach, but that's about it.  So I thought I'd try my hand at it.  Rather than Googling a recipe, I figured I could wing it...

I'm pretty sure you usually mix milk with the egg, but I didn't have milk, so I used orange juice.  

I dunked the bread in that mixture and put it in a frying pan with canola oil.  Flipped it a time or two.  

And it turned out like this:

Then I added the needed accouterments: powdered sugar and maple syrup.

I have to say, for my first go at French Toast, I think it turned out really well.  The orange juice added just enough of a citrus kick that I really enjoyed.  It was a good balance of toasty and soggy; it wasn't too eggy.  As I'm typing this, I realize that you usually put cinnamon in French Toast.  Well, there's always next time.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Bluest Eye

Today I finished reading Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye.  Sure, I'd seen Toni on Oprah a time or two, but had never experienced her for myself.  This is a book full of issues, full of pain, full of growing up.  It is told in unique and beautiful writing. 

Here are some quotes: 

Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike (45).

Here was an ugly little girl asking for beauty. A surge of love and understanding swept through him, but was quickly replaced by anger. Anger that he was powerless to help her. Of all the wishes people had brought him - money, love, revenge - this seemed to him the most poignant and the one most deserving of fulfillment. A little black girl who wanted to rise up out of the pit of her blackness and see the world with blue eyes (174).

I thought about the baby that everyone wanted dead, and saw it very clearly. It was in a dark, wet place, its head covered with O's of wool, the black face holding, like nickels, two clean black eyes, the flared nose, kissing-thick lips, and the living, breathing silk of black skin. No synthetic yellow bangs suspended over marble-blue eyes, no pinched nose and bowline mouth. More strongly than my fondness for Pecola, I felt a need for someone to want the black baby to live - just to counteract the universal love of white baby dolls, Shirley Temples, and Maureen Peals (190).