Friday, February 26, 2010


Today we officially put in our first contract on a property in Crestwood. Hooray! (no details because we are only in the beginning stages of this process) Now we need to keep our fingers crossed that everything works out in the coming weeks (including a somewhat clean inspection, please).

Why, you might be asking, are we planning to move to this neighborhood of Birmingham? Well there are any number of reasons but here are a few...
This place. (left, the church before the fire & right, the church after)
Matt's job at Woodlawn UMC. We feel that in order to really minister and serve a community (particularly one that is grieving the loss of such an important and sacred space) you must be living in and with the people of that community. Period.

2. This area of the city is experiencing a sense of revitalization. There is a lot of energy swirling around to continue revitalization of this very important historic (and magical, I might add) part of the city. This also means lots of fun, young couples and families who are ready and willing to do the hard work involved in such revitalization.

3. It's historic. Who doesn't love a good historic home/neighborhood? It has lovely charm and character.

4. We really want to live in Birmingham not in the suburbs. We aren't scared of the school systems or the other individuals who have stayed in Birmingham even when others fled elsewhere. In fact, we have given a lot of thought to schools (not that we are even close to that) and Cornerstone is a wonderful school that shares space with Woodlawn. We are fully supportive of their ministry and perhaps that might mean sending our kids there one day.

There are many other reasons but I won't put you to sleep by listing all of them (yet). Hopefully you will all have the chance to come and visit and you can see for yourselves why we love this community and want to join in the fun!

Fun Fact (for Friday)

Ok I'll stop with the alliteration...but be warned that I kinda like it....

Yesterday on one of our house hunting tours we learned a fun fact that I thought I'd share for any fellow Boston Terrier (and Helen Keller...yes, she was real all you Hacienda doubters....) lovers. Because our realtor just happens to be a huge fan of Boston Terriers (and happens to run this in case you need one), she pointed out the fun fact....

Helen Keller's first dog was actually a BT (named Phiz, I researched that info later).
See Here:

Glad we are in good company!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympic Skating Relay Was Boring...

Time to mess with the dog.

The Koreans were disqualified by the way...the Chinese won. Don't push others while skating.

House Hunters

If only it was as easy as HGTV makes it out to be.

We are in the process of looking for our first home. There are a number of reasons for doing this now (although it was perhaps not in the plans a few months ago) but we can get into that on a different post.

For now, it's consuming me/us. We dream about houses (literally, Matt woke from a deep sleep the other night talking about property value and I know for a fact that I've dreamed about houses and home inspections the past two nights), we (ok really only me) look at houses all day online, we constantly ask Maggie if she wants a yard to play in, and we think about what life will be like when we have a place of our own....

now back to my day dreaming of home ownership

Monday, February 22, 2010

On being Vegetarians...

So last night Matt and I sat down to watch a movie. Unfortunately Inglorious Basterds had a slight crack in the disc which meant a change in plans. Rather than watch a strange and bloody film about Nazis we decided to go for a strange and informative (and still kind of bloody I'd like to say) film about food in the US.

Let me tell you, I have never been so happy to be a vegetarian. (yes, in case you didn't know, we are both living the full on veggie lifestyle and loving fact after what I saw last night, I might even raise my children to be veggies...but that's a long way off so it doesn't matter now).

This documentary took us on a little journey to learn about our food systems here in the US. If you haven't seen it, you should. It demonstrates the ways that our food system is seriously messed up by revealing that only a handful of corporations actually run the system (despite what you may think b/c of the plethora of products and companies represented on grocery store shelves) and those corporations tend to put profit over people (and most definitely over animals for that matter). We learned that corn has taken over the food world (hello...cows are supposed to eat grass, not corn) as almost every product uses some altered version of corn. That is crazy. We also learned that chickens can't take but a couple of steps because the weight of their breasts (which we have altered to make bigger) cannot be sustained by their regularly paced bone growth. Ok one last thing, we learned that beef is often cleansed with AMMONIA. Now that is gross.

Alright...that's enough for my movie (and healthy food!) plug. I know that we aren't immune to bad food production just because we don't eat meat but I feel a lot better knowing that I am not contributing to those large corporations with some nasty practices. We deserve better...and now I'm off to research some local CSAs(Community Supported Agriculture) for us to join this spring/summer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Is it Spring Yet?

This Friday is MUCH warmer than last Friday (but it's still not warm enough for the likes of this gal). Last week I figured everyone else blogged about the snow so I decided to give it a rest and come back around to this lovely phenomenon this week.

Now I know it was nothing compared to the blizzard that showed up in Texas but we had a lovely dusting of snow around here.

Maggie and I ventured out in it for a bit (yes, I did dress her in a doggie "parka" was cold, you would have wanted one too). She didn't like the snow much (Matt didn't like it at all, he wouldn't even go out and build a snowman/woman/person with me. loser) but she did attempt to chase a few snowballs I pitched her way. At least I got a good laugh out of that.

All of the snow melted the very next day but it was good while it lasted. I loved being able to cozy up next to the fire and snuggle in for a night of soup and cornbread. BUT I am really looking forward to spring..........

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And So Lent Begins...

"Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return."

After a hearty helping of pancakes last night, Ash Wednesday has rolled around again. Last year Matt took a picture a day for 40 days. I thought it was a great project but this year we will embark on a Lenten discipline together.

Here are some facts (care of Bread for the World) that have inspired our 40 day journey:
-1.02 billion people across the world are hungry.
-Every day almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes (that is one child every 5 seconds if you do the math)
-947 million people in the developing world are undernourished consuming less than the minimum amount of calories essential for sound health and growth

For the next 40 days we plan to eat at least one meal a day of rice and beans only.

Along with our beans and rice we plan to read a book centered on theological and practical issues of poverty and injustice. Book #1 (at least for me but hopefully Matt will be willing to re-read and share in discussion with me) will be Howard Thurman's Jesus and the Disinherited. I am also hoping to at least begin David Shiplar's The Working Poor.

Although we will never understand what it is like to live in such extreme poverty, this is our attempt to remember that we live in a world where people go hungry each and every day. It is our attempt to remember that in our unjust world we have been given much.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Lent is upon us again (how is that possible?). Matt and I are still working out the details of our Lenten practice but I'll update you as soon as it is a done deal (aka tomorrow).

I'm sure some of you are wondering why on earth I called this Shrove Tuesday and not Fat Tuesday. Well, being the liturgical nerds we are, "Shrove Tuesday" reflects more of the Anglican tradition. It is a word that basically refers to the confession and absolution of sin. If you are Episcopalian or Lutheran or Methodist then you have probably heard this term used before. But for all us crazy Baptists out there (who me?) this is perhaps a newer term (well not all of us live in a liturgical desert and might actually have used this term before).

I also like to call this Pancake Tuesday! Back in the day all foods rich in sugar, fat, etc. would be thrown out for fasting during Lent. So tonight we will be feasting on some of these bad boys at church:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

I feel like I suddenly have so many things to blog about (just yesterday, I told Matt that I didn't have anything to say...that was clearly a lie) but before I move on I want to give a (small) shout out to Valentine's Day.

We don't typically do a big shebang for V-Day...too commercialized but a small something is always in order to celebrate the love we have for one another (and others too but mostly each other). Last year it had to be a hand made gift and this year we just went with the parameters of "keep it small." I'd say Matt did a splendid job by purchasing a watercolor set for this artist-want-to-be. I can't wait to use it.

For Matt I made a "Library of Love" (I think a lot of the Hacienda ladies went this route thanks to Court's fantastic's the link to make cards of your own)

Here is one example from the cards I made for our card catalogue of life:

I love this idea! I took all of the cards and painted a box I bought at Hobby Lobby. I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but trust me, it looked great!

Hope you all had a Happy Day of Love as well!! (oh and a Happy Transfiguration Sunday too...)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

No Wonder Our Dog Is Confused

I imagine the readership of this blog is probably around 85% female, maybe higher. Knowing that demographic, I doubt many of you will find this phenomena strange at all.

Our dog's name is Maggie. Mags, sometimes we call her. times if I'm in a good mood. But the following is a list of what my wife has called our dog (not as adjectives, but as proper noun names) in the past 2 weeks. Knowing something about the laws of probability, and with an estimation of some run-over, this list is no where complete. I imagine the list could triple if the sample size where taken during the course of a year:

Big eyes
Doodle bug
Baby dog
Pushie push
Pushie poot
Snuggle bug

I think we've got at least 4 of Snow White's 7 dwarfs covered so far.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Power of Half

A long awaited (and much anticipated) book arrived on my doorstep today.
This is a book written by my dear friend Kevin Salwen (fellow Middle East travler, maybe some day I'll write about that trip..yeah I think I will) and his daughter Hannah about the decision that their family made to sell their large home in Atlanta, buy a smaller one, and give half of that money to charity (I won't spoil all the details!). They embarked on this journey together as a family and this book shares their story of giving back.

I can't wait to dive in...I've been waiting for over a year now!
If you want to know more check out The Power of Half.
(They've also recently appeared on The View and ABC News so maybe you've seen them yourself but either way you should check out their story.)

Also included in today's bookdrop is this gem:
we are using this text in a class I am auditing on Gender and the Hebrew Bible...turns out I really didn't get enough of this in seminary :) Oh and in this same class, I was informed that I am brave for keeping my last name and having a wedding that was not quite so traditional in language and take that all you nay-sayers out there. I'm brave! (ok maybe not so much but definitely willing to stick up for what I feel is right!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Maggie Mae

Matt keeps asking me why I haven't introduce ya'll to our best favorite dog Maggie Obama Mae. So, without further ado, here she is:

We have been her proud owners for almost a year and a half.
She's got an incredibly long tongue so watch out for the kisses....

(yes, that is my sister and I in matching pjs at what)

And because it's cold outside,
I'll leave you with this snuggly photo of our pooch.

photo credit goes to Matt on this one

Monday, February 8, 2010


If you like red velvet cake, like me, (that's probably why you are my friend anyway) then you should check out this clever idea/recipe because it's delicious. very. delicious.
Buy 2 boxes of cake mix (or if you want fewer cookies you can just do it with one) and a tub of cream cheese frosting. And then instead of following the directions on the back, use 2 eggs and 1/3 cup vegetable oil for each box (so if you do 2 boxes that's 4 eggs and 2/3 cup veggie oil...I know, I'm a math whiz). Pre-heat to 325 and mix that all in will make more of a cookie batter consistency...that's what you want.

Then roll the batter into balls (like so), grease the cookie sheet, place the dough on the sheet, smush their little tops down to make some flatter circle shapes, and pop them in the oven for approximately 10 minutes.

Leave them on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to cool and then transfer them to a cooling rack. They will look like these cookies above.

Last but certainly not least, it's time to use the frosting.....Pair up the cookies and cover the middles with frosting to create some tasty sandwich cookies!
I like to call them inverted red velvet cupcakes...just as tasty and 0 messiness.
(sorry no pics of the final product, I was way too excited to eat one and flat out forgot)

And the other good news is that even if you don't like red velvet you can do this with any other cake mix as well.....
My mind is already running wild with thoughts of strawberry cake cookies, german chocolate cake cookies, yellow cake with chocolate frosting cookies

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kids these days

Matt volunteered to read and grade essays by 4th and 5th grade students for a contest in Birmingham City Schools entitled,
"My vision, a world without war, poverty, and injustice."

These kids, many of whom have experienced things in life that I will never begin to understand, said some pretty profound (and funny) things. Here is a small sampling for your Friday afternoon reading pleasure:

-WW I would have never started if someone had yelled, "Let's settle this with our mouths not our fists."

-The world is as dangerous as a bear.

-War is as horrible as tomato soup.

-The poverty people will be given houses and food. They will also be automatically hired for jobs. Also if they live near a donut shop they would receive free donuts.

-Poverty is an ugly word in any language.

This is a work by favorite graffiti artist...used to demonstrate the fact that poverty is often the elephant in the room. I believe this particular showing was part of an exhibit in LA on global poverty and injustice but his works on the Palestinian walls are some of my all time favorites.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Sickness and In Health

Yep. Those words became very real this weekend.
Sunday we spent most of our day here:
In case you can't tell (which, let's be honest, you can't) that is St. Vincent's Hospital here in B-ham.

When Matt wasn't feeling well on Sunday morning, I had one of those "I really am an adult" moments. It was my decision (well sort of his too but mostly mine) to get him in the car and trek down to the emergency room. It wasn't fun, but I just knew that this pain was coming from the elusive appendix and the only way to resolve it would be to head to the ER (ok I didn't really know but all my internet research seemed to point in that direction).

Turns out I was right (whew...good thing I didn't force him to the hospital for nothing). After a few hours of tests and such they whisked him away for an appendectomy. The crazy thing only took 20 minutes!

Once he was finally out of surgery Matt's family hung around to make sure he was comfortable and I had everything I needed (which I did, thanks to sis going on a scavenger hunt in our townhouse). But then that whole "in sickness and in health" thing came back around and I had another "i really am an adult" moment as his family kissed him goodbye and left for the evening....

It was just me and my (drugged-up) boo in the cozy hospital room for the night (well there were the nurses too but they don't count). And it was in that moment that it hit me that this is what marriage is really all about. It's about making him go to the hospital because he is sick as a dog and then waiting with him and tensing up through the pain and uncertainty. It's about that pit in your stomach that doesn't know what is going to happen next. It's about putting on a white cap and following him into the OR prep and then kissing him goodbye as they wheeled him to surgery. (And more importantly it's about kissing his lips when they bring him back in and let you know that everything is going to be ok.) It's about staying by his side through the night and waking up to make sure he's ok every. single. time. he moved. It's about making sure he has food and medicine and sitting next to him on the couch (some extra time for LOST!) while he recovers. THIS is what marriage and love are all about.

Can't wait til he is fully recovered and back to this silly guy pulling on my hat....oooo and for baseball season too :)