Friday, December 30, 2011

Highlights of 2011

A few things really stick out to me as I think back over the past year:

Books.  I love to read, but several books I read this year pierced me in ways that I hope I don't forget: Radical.  There is no Me without You.  Half the Sky.  For What It's Worth.

Travel.  I don't hop on an airplane all that often, but felt like I did quite a bit (for me) this year.  Fun trips to Dallas and Chicago to spend time with good friends and loved ones.  And then there was Haiti and Honduras.  Life changers.

Awareness. Based on the things noted above, I think God has really been showing me what goes on in the world and pretty close to my own home.  The more I learn, the more I don't want to turn my back on the injustices and sorrow.

Food.  I still love it.  And sometimes I eat too much of it.  Especially when I'm with certain know who you are.

Ink.  Need I say more?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Radical

I read David Platt's Radical earlier this year and it really got me thinking about my life and the world.  I thought I'd end the year by listening to some of David's sermons on the same topic.  I started them yesterday and plan to finish the series as I close out 2011 and usher in 2012.  Check them out here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'Twas the Season

For time with family and friends.  My days off from work included:

Dad's Christmas gathering with his buddies, one of whom may have grabbed my tush on his way out the door.  Classy.

A day trip to Savannah with Nathan and Shannon to take Grammy to lunch.  This ended up including a trip to the booming metropolis of Metter, GA to see Big Poppy's grave.  I also got a splinter that's still there...and is too tiny to see.  The gift that keeps on giving?

Christmas Eve service at church with mom and dad to celebrate the Lord Jesus coming into the world..

Trip to Wilmington to surprise Granddaddy.  Late night conversation with a cousin.  Too much food.  A road trip to Hardee's with Granddaddy -- he scooted while I walked.  We didn't eat, but just needed to make sure his Rascal would get him there.

Dad gave mom an iPad which provided lots of entertainment in the car.  I'm also hopeful it will help her typing/computer skills.  

Nathan and Shannon gave me a Cuisinart food processor; I've already whipped up some delicious homemade hummus.

Today marks my  new trend of eating healthy(er) and back to the grindstone of work calls, emails, and talking to people I'm not related to.

Friday, December 23, 2011

If you fry it, they will love it!

Marifrasier had her Christmas Cook Off party last night.  In past years, we've won with chimis and doughnuts.  This year Jacqueline and I made homemade mini corn dogs.  Yes, they were amazing.  We then decided to use the remaining oil and batter for funnel cakes.  Third year running, we took home a prize!

As I stood there in my apron and Ugg bedroom shoes frying, I realized something: I have turned into my mother.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Losing Season

As much as I adored Pat Conroy's The Lords of Discipline, My Losing Season just took its place as my favorite.  I was teared up in the prologue, and the epilogue, and at words in between - so struck by his honesty and the sometimes harsh brutality of his life.  It is not a sappy book, per se, but Conroy has the great gift of drawing you in, weather it's breathtaking scenery or ugly human nature.  He shares so much of who he was and who he is; he gives insight to his other books.  This book makes me want to read anything of his I haven't yet read.

I was born to be a point guard, but not a very good one...There was a time in my life when I walked through the world known to myself and others as an athlete. It was part of my own definition of who I was and certainly the part I most respected. When I was a young man, I was well-built and agile and ready for the rough and tumble of games, and athletics provided the single outlet for a repressed and preternaturally shy boy to express himself in public...I lost myself in the beauty of sport and made my family proud while passing through the silent eye of the storm that was my childhood (1).

There is no downside to winning.  It feels forever fabulous.  But there is no teacher more discriminating or transforming than loss.  The great secret of athletics is that you can learn more from losing than winning.  No coach can afford to preach such a doctrine, but our losing season served as both model and template of how life can go wrong and fall apart in even the most inconceivable places (394-395).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Year of Graces

Rather than goals for 2012 (though I would like to tone up a bit...a constant goal, haha), I want 2012 to be a year of gratitude and of action.  I want to see the blessings that are all around me and I want to put my faith into action.  As for the gratitude, Ann Voskamp has this calendar that I'm going to be doing:

I've got an Ebenezer Journal at home, but I'm not consistent with it; here's hoping this will help me stay the course for the year...for a lifetime.

1 Samuel 7:12
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "till now the Lord has helped us."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It's been warm, even for Charleston.  While chilly in the mornings, it has been 70 in the afternoons.  I have to say that I LOVE IT!  I'll take shorts over a white Christmas any day of the year.  This is the view Krissie and I caught on the Battery yesterday.  How gorgeous is Charleston?!

This week has been pretty chill -- a real calm before the storm.  Starting Thursday after work, the plans kick into high gear until I return to work next Wednesday.

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Twas a good weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Mary Glenn and Jule are in town.  AND I get to have blue cheese chips and a 14 with them!  Just like old times. So fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Work Lunches

This time of year, my office eats lunch together and various snacks, dips, desserts to celebrate the Christmas season.  We each take a day to bring lunch in and today is my day.  We eat too much and try to outdo each other.  Today was my day.  I took a cue from Nathan and brought in pulled pork done in the crock pot.  It is so easy and it was SO good!

Dice an onion and put in the bottom of the crock.  Next put in a pork roast (mine was 3.5 lb) seasoned with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings.  Then add apple cider vinegar.  Nathan does a tablespoon; I did 1/2 cup because I like it.  It cooked overnight and then I kept it warming all day before we ate.  Yum!

Our menu for the week:

Monday -- bougie pizza
Tuesday -- meat ball subs
Wednesday -- chili
Thursday -- pork and roasted carrots & green beans
Friday -- chicken casserole
Monday -- homemade lasagna

Bring on the exercise!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cousin Eddie

Sitting in my office.  Snacking on a candy cane.  Wishing I was at home watching this:

Todd: Hey Griswold. Where do you think you're gonna put a tree that big?

Clark: Bend over and I'll show you.

Todd: You've got a lot of nerve talking to me like that Griswold!

Clark: I wasn't talking to you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lots of Lights

A few friends came over for supper last night and after a nice meal, we piled in the car and went to the James Island Festival of Lights.  I hadn't been since middle school and I have to say, it was pretty cool and quite festive.  Yes, we went around 3 times.  Good times, better friends, bright lights.  Such a fun time.

This was my favorite.

Also loved the winking owl.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beyond the Gates of Splendor

I'd heard bits and pieces of this story over the years, but it was cool to watch Beyond the Gates of Splendor on Netflix.  The movie tells the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, their team, along with past and current stories of the tribe in Ecuador that forever changed their lives.  If you've got an hour and a half, it's worth the watch: challenging and encouraging.

New Kicks

Courtney has wanted fancy bedroom shoes for quite some time, but couldn't bring herself to spend $60 on the LL Beans.  $10 courtesy of Wal Mart sufficed.  She loved the fancy slippers and her Spartanburg friends did too, so much in fact that they procured the $100 UGG version.

 To my delight, Courtney found a pair of UGG's for $16!  Only in a size 5.  Being the friend that she is, she got them for her small footed bestie.  When she told me about them, I said, "you know I'm going to be wearing these things all the time, right?!"  I got them on Saturday and so far, that has proven to be true.  They are SO comfortable!  I never want to take them off.  Get ready world, me and my UGG's will be taking you by storm.

Wal Mart on the left; UGG's on the right.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For What It's Worth

I read this book on the planes over my trip.  It is similar to Radical, thought it brought different perspectives, and I think in some ways it challenged me more, or at least in different ways.  Simon has lived in Burundi, Africa for over a decade and is living with his family in Mt. Pleasant for about a year.  I've been blessed to hear him preach at my church several times and have gotten to know his wife a bit.  He challenges us to live a life of no holds barred discipleship.  I got this book for a penny and paid for shipping -- grand total of $4.  The cover also spurred my conversation with Alister the Brit (Houston to DC flight).

We are all just ordinary people, with the potential to do extraordinary things because we have an extraordinary God (13).

We like to have our ducks lined up, and our natural inclination is to play safe.  However, it's those very uncertainties which define life as an adventure to be lived, and scream out to us to live lives of faith rather than tightly reigned risk-minimization enterprises (107).

In offering ourselves up as living sacrifices, we die to ourselves - to our right to ourselves.  It will undoubtedly be painful, and that pain will be multiplied by being misunderstood by our more respectable brothers and sisters.  But we need to remember that the cross was never respectable.  It was foolishness, an insult, a shame, a disgrace. ... The Lord will demand everything of you.  And when you give it all up to him, he may bless it and hand it back, but on the other hand he may not...(199).