Archive | May, 2010

Sara & Craig’s Wedding

31 May

I think I need to preface this entire post by saying that Sara is one of the most artistic people I have ever met.  She studied art in college and actually sold a lot of her work at her senior art show.  We both essentially furnished our apartments with the same things (IKEA and Target furniture and decorative things), yet her apartment looked like something out of a ritzy interior design catalog and mine – well, that’s another post for another day.  She had this beautiful painting of two horses in her kitchen and when I told her how much I liked it she said, “Oh yeah, I painted that first year,” like creating incredible pieces of artwork was a normal, everyday occurrence for most people.

That being said, I wasn’t all that surprised when Sara sent me a Facebook message last year and told me that a member of her church had offered her backyard rose garden for their wedding.  The site was quintessential Sara – beautifully simply elegant.  The house was gorgeous …

This was the pathway towards the rose garden that Sara and her girls walked down.

The garden where the ceremony took place.  Sara, Craig, the officiant, the maid of honor and best man stood up front while the rest of the bridal party circled around the fountain.

Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL fountain.
And the flowers …

… ohhhhhh the flowers …

I want a macro lens.  Badly.

I won’t bore you to tears with every single botanical photograph I took this weekend, I promise.

Okay, maybe just one more.

Okay, I’m done.  Promise.

Bruce, Sarah and I left Atlanta around 8:45 on Friday morning.  We hopped a time zone, shopped our way through a truck stop, got to Jackson around 2 (central time) and settled into our hotel.  We decided we were going to do a little bit of exploring, but then Sara called and asked if we would like to go to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner – yes, please!  We were honored to be asked to be part of all of the festivities and had a wonderful time.
I love watching the bride and groom during rehearsals.  The looks on their faces is a combination of nerves, excitement and absolute love for another.

See what I mean?

They just laughed the entire time.
At one point one of the bridesmaids got completely overheated and needed to sit down inside, so Sarah stepped in as a stand-in bridesmaid.

She rocked the part, if I do say so myself.

After the rehearsal, we headed over to a local restaurant for the rehearsal dinner.

It was so nice of Sara to invite us to join them for the evening.  I know how hard it is to coordinate out of town guests and I felt like Sara and Craig and their parents went above and beyond for us.  Thank you to everyone!
After the rehearsal we headed back to the hotel and set up camp in Sara’s room to assemble the favors.  Let’s go back to the beginning of the post where I talked about Sara’s artistic flair – she bought 150 fresh green apples and created a leaf-shaped note to attach to them.  Simple, green (figuratively and literally) and fitting with the overall wedding.

Delicious.

Simply delicious.  Or perhaps I should say … Golden Delicious?  Ohhh, I’m funny.
Or not.
The next morning we were up and at ’em and paid a visit to Sara again while she was getting her hair done.

Sara’s hairdresser told bad jokes the entire time and had us all in hysterics.  Perfect start to the morning.

He wasn’t a bad hairdresser, either!  Doesn’t her hair look beautiful?  Eventually she put fresh flowers in it.
Sara and her bridesmaids needed to get to the site, so Sarah, Bruce and I checked out of our hotel room and explored some of the shopping that Jackson had to offer.

We ended up in the kitchen & dining section at Kohls and Sarah found multiple pitchers and bowls that could double as a fount for foot washing services.  Shopping with clergy / future clergy / seminary students is always fun because we see things through a … um … different … lens.
After a quick lunch at TGI Fridays we headed to the wedding.  We were a little bit early, so we tried to stay out of the way.  But I did have my first bridal sighting …

Check out that train!
Once all of the family and bridal party portraits were over, Sara called over Sarah & me (has all of this Sara(h) talk confused anyone yet?) and asked the photographer to get a photo of the three of us.  Her photographer was awesome and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind getting a shot with my camera as well …

I love these girls.
The ceremony was PERFECT.  The forecasted rain was no match for this wedding – the sky was blue with white puffy clouds and a light breeze to cool everyone off.  The only rumble of thunder heard happened during the final prayer after they exchanged rings.  And really – I’m pretty sure that was just the thunderous applause coming from heaven …

The vows.
I think this was when I started crying.

The rings.

The kiss.
Apparently Sara said to Craig, “Make it a good one.”
He did.
The reception was finger food, cake and punch – it was laid back and intimate.  The cakes (yes, that was plural) were incredible.

Yum.

Groom’s cake.

Sara and Craig smiled …

… and laughed.  It was beautiful to watch.

And for the record, Craig was nice and gentle when he fed Sara her cake …

Sara, on the other hand, was not.

And now they’re in Hawaii!
Sara & Craig,
Thank you so much for letting me be part of your special day.  It was beautiful, elegant and perfect.  I love you both and wish and pray for a lifetime of happiness.  You deserve it.
Love,
Sarah
After the cake cutting, we got in the car and headed back to Atlanta.  I will admit – it was bittersweet to leave, because I do not know when I will see Sara next – and I know my time with Sarah is limited.  We all knew the days of saying our goodbyes were coming – but it doesn’t make them any easier!  I will always remember this weekend – the laughter, the tears, the excitement and the joy.  It was, as Mary Poppins would say, “Practically perfect in every way.”

Happy Memorial Day!

31 May

Happy Memorial Day!

Bruce and I originally made plans to head down to Turner Field for the afternoon Braves game, but the weather is looking iffy and I’m not sure I want to spend my last day before CPE starts waiting out multiple rain delays. 🙂 So I think we’re going to watch the radar and head over to the Chattahoochee River for a hike.  If we go sans cameras, I don’t really care if we get poured on – it will probably feel good, actually!

Like many things in my life right now, Memorial Day isn’t what it used to be.  For as long as I can remember I was up early, saxophone in hand and marching in at least one parade, sometimes two.  After I graduated from high school and was no longer marching, I would attend the parade in the town where my church is.  The parade would start at the K-8 school and would end at my mom’s church, where she would pray at the cemetery behind the church.  I always started to get emotional when the veterans would turn the corner into the church parking lot and I would see the men and women who I knew and loved wearing their uniforms.  I will never know what went on and what they saw during their deployments; I will never understand how they feel now about their time served; but I do know that they made a huge sacrifice – and I was always grateful for the opportunity to honor them, to thank them and to pray for them.  I have definitely missed this tradition over the past three years.

For those who have served or who are serving today – thank you.  Your sacrifices are insurmountable.

They Said ‘I Do!’

30 May
And they smiled all day long.

Bruce and I just got back from Jackson, TN where these two beautiful people exchanged vows and were joined together in marriage.
We had such a wonderful time.  We road-tripped and roomed with Sarah, who may or may not still be my friend after I subjected her to my traditional road trip rendition of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”  Oh yeah – I went there.
I’ll be back later with more details!

Life With a Cat – White Shirt Edition

28 May
Or perhaps I should say – the brand new white shirt edition.
It’s like Lilly knew my mom bought me this shirt last time she was in Atlanta and it had never been worn.

Pink is the New Pink

27 May
Happy SATC2 Day!
Here’s what I love about SATC.  If you look past the vulgar language and sexual innuendos, you see four friends taking care of one another, loving one another without judgment and seeing each other through the laughter, tears and anxieties of life.

Then I think about my own life.  I am lucky enough to have friends just like that.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Have a great day everybody!

My Thumb is Turning Green

27 May
We have two more cherry tomatoes!
We now have a grand total of five cherry tomatoes – all of which are still green.  I am such a naive gardener, but I didn’t realize that this process would take so long!  It’s fun though – the cherry tomato plants seem to be doing well and the heirloom tomato plant … 
… well, the heirloom tomato plant is getting so tall that I fear one day I will find a giant living at the top of it.  No tomatoes yet, but Bruce thinks it will happen soon.  
If anything, it’s nice to have all of the greenery on our deck!
The weather was really nice this morning so I decided to take a late morning walk with my camera.  The sun was SO bright so I put a circular polarizer filter on my lens to block out any glare from the light.  The resulting colors were incredible!
I used to think orange was a tacky color, but it’s kind of growing on me.  It’s bold.  I like that.  Everybody should be a little bit bold every now and then.
Who doesn’t like pink?  It looks like the color of those raspberry popsicles.  Yummmmm.
Speaking of gorgeous photography (okay, no one said my photography was gorgeous, but the flowers I was shooting certainly were), my friend Katie sent me a picture of her daughter Spencer wearing her Wear a Dress Tuesday dress yesterday.
I don’t know what’s more beautiful in this picture.  The photo itself, Spencer, her smile, her free spirit or the dress itself.  You know what?  I love it all.
I hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday!  Bruce went out with friends after work and just got home so we are going to snuggle up and watch the end of the Braves game.  They are playing the Marlins and Fox Sports keeps showing downtown Miami and the beaches so I am currently dreaming of a tropical and relaxing vacation.  Ahhhhh … 
***
Is anyone else trying their thumb at gardening this year?  Should my tomatoes be taking this long?  Are there any other good and easy vegetables for rookie gardeners (like me) to plant?

Wear a Dress Tuesday

26 May

It’s Wear a Dress Tuesday!

Wear a Dress Tuesday
My WADT started off by making breakfast in front of the Today Show.  I poured myself a very large glass of iced tea, put it on one of the ottomans in the living room and walked back into the kitchen to get an english muffin.

Then I heard a knock and a splash.

Iced tea.  A very large glass of it.

All over my couch.

All over my WHITE couch.

Sigh …

I didn’t see it happen, so I’m not sure how the (very large) glass got knocked over – but I looked into my bedroom and Lilly was staring back at me.  Looking very, very guilty.

Needless to say, I spent the day pulling off slipcovers and cushion covers and running bleach through my washing machine.  I can’t wait for my water bill.

Although I have to admit it was kind of fun to be a little bit dressed up while I was doing load after load of laundry.  I felt a little less frumpy and little more cute as I did mundane housework.

My mom and her friend Gloria (who is also the secretary at the church) sent me a picture they took at work this morning with a smiley face in the subject line of the e-mail.

Don’t they look awesome?!

Gloria is currently one of my favorite people EVER because she e-mailed me the other day and asked me if she could post my southwestern pasta salad recipe in this month’s church newsletter.  I felt like such a success in the kitchen when she asked me that.  Someone actually deemed one of my recipes good enough to be passed along!  Ya-hooooooo!

Anyway, I stayed inside for most of the day, so when Bruce got home, I asked him if he would take a picture of me for WADT.  He was so sweet – the whole process took forever because I wanted the lighting to be perfect and then I wanted to go back inside for lipgloss, etc. etc.  But here’s what I wore today (I cheated a little and wore a skirt!) …

I hope you all had a great day!

Beating the Summer Heat, One Fruit Smoothie at a Time

25 May

One of my favorite parts of the summer is all of the delicious fresh fruit that fills our fruit bowl every week. We are lucky enough to live near a farmer’s market and are able to get inexpensive fresh produce year round, but in the summer everything gets even cheaper.  I love it!

Smoothie’s are wonderful because they are so versatile.  They can be used as a full breakfast, a snack, a side dish or just a way to cool off on a hot day.  You can make them as big or as small as you would like and they are ridiculously healthy.  Here is how I make mine.

Fruit Smoothies
1 cup Ice
1 cup Fruit
1/4 cup Oats
1/2 cup Juice
1/4 cup Yogurt
Ignore my pile of drying dishes on the right.
And ignore the poor quality of these photos – I took them before my precious baby camera was returned to me.
Measure and add ice to blender.
Wash and chop your fruit (strawberries for me today!), add to blender.
Add your oats.
Trust me on the oats – the resulting texture is incredible.
Measure yogurt – I used strawberry, but you can use any flavor you’d like, depending on the fruit you’re using and the flavors you want in your smoothie.
(I eat Yoplait Original yogurt – I used to eat the light and fit stuff, but I really really hate artificial sweeteners and try to avoid them at all costs)
See that?
Deliciousness at work.
Add your juice.
(Again, you don’t have to use orange juice, although it gives a fantastic tang to smoothies)
Blend.
Enjoy.
And then thank whoever bought you your blender.
Thank you, Maura!

For Everything There is a Season

25 May

I have to be honest.

I’m terrified of CPE.

Don’t get me wrong – I think I am as ready as a person can be when they enter this program.  I have a fantastic education that has given me the tools that I will need in the clinical setting.  I try to be humble and am going to walk into the program knowing that I do not have all of the answers, hoping to learn as much as possible.

But still – in the middle of all of this, I am going through a lot of changes in my life.  I am done with school for the first time in – well – 22 years.  My job – which was connected to my status as a student – is over.  This morning I was authorized and commissioned to be a chaplain – something I am not sure I am ready for.  When I finish this program, I do not know what is next.  I will not have a job – I will start looking in September after my ordination process has been completed.  Our next move (literally) hinges on when I get a job – and where I get a job.  We do not know where we are going to be living in a year.

Okay, phew.  So – kind of a lot going on, right?

I expressed my concern to Bruce the other night.  His response?  “Didn’t you preach a sermon once on living in the in-between-times?  You said you’re supposed to trust God, lean on your community and pray through your anxiety and fear.”

I hate it when people use my sermons against me.  It’s not nice.

That night I got to thinking.  I have never liked transitions – EVER.  In fact, in 2008, I blogged about how I was dealing with some of the transitions going on in my life.  I said that transitions are like waterfalls – no matter how much you prepare for them, there always comes that point where you have to go crashing down.  And no matter how big of a splash it might make – eventually the water always settles out.  And when you step back and look at the WHOLE waterfall – it’s beautiful.

Hold that thought.

Last night I was having a hard time falling asleep, so I started reciting Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 out loud.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
This is one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament.  I have it on my right sidebar on my blog.  It reminds me that – even in the hard times (actually, especially in the hard times) – everything has its time.  But eventually there WILL be a time to build up, to laugh and to dance.
Transitions have their time.  But the anxiety isn’t permanent.  I repeated this verse three times out loud before I finally fell asleep.
***
My alarm went off this morning at 6:00 a.m.  I had my first orientation session for CPE.  I don’t actually start at the hospital until June 1st, but I had an orientation session with the accrediting center to go over some of the educational (non-clinical) parts of CPE.  As I drove to the center, I was singing Turn, Turn, Turn under my breath.
For everything there is a season.
The orientation session started at 8:30 with a commissioning service for the student interns.  I looked at the cover of the bulletin and did a double take.
Waterfalls.
And they are beautiful.
The service started with an opening prayer and was followed by a short meditation.  At the end of the meditation, the chaplain preaching read a poem written by a CPE student in Pennsylvania.  “The poem,” he said, “is based off of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.”
My heart started to pound.
For everything there is a season.
***
This is a scary time in my life.  But it is also a really exciting, beautiful time.  And sometimes I may need to remind myself that – through all of the anxiety, fear and unknown – there will be a new season of calm, joy and safety.
And that is the beauty of life.

Nighttime Skyline Perfection

24 May

Living in a city sometimes drives me crazy.

I hate that I have to pay any time I need to park somewhere.
I hate how expensive everything is.
I hate how far we have to drive if we want to go hiking (or Bruce wants to go fishing).
I hate that I cannot see the stars at night.  I think I took advantage of them my entire life.
However … there are some things I am going to miss when we close out this chapter in our lives … 
Like this.