Monday, December 31, 2007

Back in Florida

Just wanted to drop a quick post to say that I am back in Florida. I had an uneventful trip yesterday afternoon. I have some final pictures to post, but I don't have time. I am hosting my Sunday School's New Year's Eve party. People will start arriving in less than an hour. I have spent the day unpacking, cleaning, doing laundry, and making preparations to host a party. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to this, but it is too late now. I don't have any idea who is even coming. It could be just a couple of us. I have several things that I can throw in the oven, but I am going to wait until people actually start to arrive before doing so.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Happy anniversary to my parents who have been married 38 years today. Thank you for setting an example and showing your children the perseverance marriage requires.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Christmas Breakfast- Granny's Sausage Roll

For the last several years I have contributed to making a special breakfast for the family. We have always shared Saturday morning breakfasts for as long as I can remember. As teenagers, we begged to sleep late, but my dad insisted that we not "sleep the day away", but rather spend quality time around the table sharing breakfast on Saturday mornings. When we are all in town, my dad still enjoys getting as many of us around the table to share breakfast.

About five or six years ago I decided to try to make my grandmother's sausage roll. She passed away about eleven years ago, and when we would go visit her she would have the sausage roll and cinnamon rolls for us at breakfast. I haven't ever tried the cinnamon rolls, but have perfected the sausage roll. It is one of Roger's favorites and he requests each year at Christmas You actually need to make this the before because you need to freeze it, so it makes his request easy, but you have to plan ahead.

Granny's Sausage Roll

2 c flour
3 T cornmeal
3 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 c oil
Milk to make stiff (about 1/2 c, but up to 1 c)
1 lb sausage

Mix four, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, oil, and milk together. Kneed dough and roll out into a rectangle. I normally roll it to about 9 x 13 or so. Once dough has been rolled out I trim may edges to make it pretty. Then spread the uncooked sausage on top of the dough. Roll the sausage and dough mixture into a roll.

Place the sausage roll in wax paper and foil or a container that can go in the freezer. I just don't have a container long enough to accommodate it. Freeze overnight or longer. About 15 to 20 minutes before you are ready to bake this remove from the freezer and begin to thaw. You want to thaw just long enough that it begins to soften and is easy to cut. Cut the sausage roll into slices. I normally cut mine between 1/4 and 1/3 of an inch wide. Bake about 400 until brown, which is about 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Christmas Day

We began today by eating our special breakfast by the fire.

Then I finished setting the table before I headed back upstairs to finish getting ready for everyone to arrive. I then went and picked up my grandparents. I helped in the kitchen when I returned as the last minute preparations were made. It is one of those times when there are too many people in the kitchen, but no one says anything because it doesn't happen that often.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch of fried turkey, dressing, loaded mashed potatoes, corn casserole, jalapeno broccoli, cranberry jello salad, strawberry jello salad, and rolls. Fried turkey has become a tradition around here. My dad does a great job of making this delicious part of the meal.

The rest of the day was spent playing with Jacob and visiting with one another. Here is a picture of Uncle Roger and Jacob playing. They also played with Jacob's new rocket, but that was outside and I forgot to take my camera out there.

It was a great day, but now everyone has gone. I'll see more of Stuart, Michelle, Jacob, and the grandparents, but the house is sure a lot quieter without Roger and Alisa!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

The decorations are in place. Old favorites that make Christmas, Christmas and new ones like a second Christmas tree. With all the gifts finally wrapped, the bows all tied, and the errands complete, our family gathered around the tree. (The eye doctor was uneventful except for the precautions I was given regarding retinal detachment. Apparently I am at risk due to the type of vision loss I have. I did receive a new prescription for glasses. I have a contact lens appointment on Wednesday and then I will have all this behind me.)

Each year Christmas is a little different, and I have decided that is part of our tradition. This year to help with the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day, it was decided that we would exchange our presents on Christmas Eve. This also allows Stuart, Michelle, and Jacob to begin to establish some of their own tradition on Christmas morning, and Roger and Alisa to get back to her family to spend Christmas evening with them.

I remember the days when we would argue with who was going to be "Santa" and pass out the presents. It's isn't that way any more. Thankfully there is a little red headed guy who immediately volunteered and took charge. I think once the person who passed out the gifts had to wear the Santa hat or the reindeer antlers, it wasn't such a popular gig. I must brag on my sweet little nephew. He has started to learn to recognize names and did a stand up job at reading the tags and getting the right present to the right person. Occasionally he had to ask for help, but that was normally do to the giver writing some one's nickname on the tag.

There are a few things that never change at my house. Everyone must watch the one opening the present, though this is getting a little less strict. The fact that there is a certain order to opening presents. You can't open this gift because it won't make sense until you open another gift. This means that it is a two part gift and my mom wants you to open it in the correct order. (Now this was very different from when we were growing up and only could open one gift on Christmas Eve. I specifically remember one year getting a phone jack. I was about 12 or 13. I had actually asked for a phone. I didn't get to open it until the next day which was torture at that age. Or there was the year that Roger received a controller to the Nintendo, and didn't get the actual Nintendo until the Christmas Day.) You can't open that gift until we find Alisa's and Michelle's too. Now this is code for the fact we all got the exact same thing and Mom wants us to open them at the same time. Or there is the always present, now where did I put ___________. Which means my mom forgot to wrap something entirely. It's never dull around our house!

Once the gifts had been opened it was on to a fairly recent tradition of the Christmas Eve tamale dinner. This year we also had pinto beans and cornbread. While it may seem a little odd it was wonderful! We also had several pizzas for those who don't eat tamales.

The rest of the evening was filled with conversation, playing with Hot Wheels (Three guesses for who received those and the first two don't count!), and sitting by the fire.

The house is quiet and the tree is bare- well, the underneath side. The paper and bows that were ripped to shreds have been discarded. The laughter has died and the table has been cleared. The living room has been picked up and preparations for Christmas lunch have already begun. In spite of all the business that this time of year brings, I pray each of us remembers that over 2000 years ago the first Christmas. The announcement of the birth of a baby boy by angels to a group of shepherds. This baby was no ordinary baby, but God wrapped in human skin. Both God and man in the form of a helpless baby. Immanuel, God with us. My prayer for myself, my family, and everyone else is that wonder of this season is fresh this year. That the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ is not forgotten and that we all have the opportunity to awe at the most precious gift ever given.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


(I have more pictures to post, but I am having technical difficulties with the uploading...check back later for the complete post.)

While that may be my age (for the next couple of week), it was also the temperature outside when I woke up this morning. I'm definitely not in Florida any more!

I had an uneventful trip to Texas on Friday. Since my arrival, I have spent the majority of my time with friends and family. Saturday was Girls Day and Boys Day. To really understand this tradition you need to know that I grew up in a football crazy family- high school, college, NFL- it doesn't really matter. My younger brother is a high school football coach so I hear a lot about high school football. This weekend is also the Texas high school state championship games, so the boys headed to Waco to catch the 4-A state game at Baylor University. They all admitted they really wanted to go to Dallas to the 3-A game, but the women vetoed that one.

That left the girls at home, but we had out own plans. After a wonderful lunch out at a local dive we headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up supplies for our afternoon project. Of course we also stopped by the g-parents for a quick visit.

Once we arrived back home, the fun began. Both of my sister-in-laws, Alisa and Michelle, had requested a craft lesson while I was home. Michelle wasn't able to join us on Saturday because they were celebrating Christmas with her side of the family. (Don't worry, she is getting a private lesson tomorrow!) Several years ago I "stole" an idea from my friend Jeff over at LandLife. He made his wife a cross out of wire and beads. She loved it so much, she convinced him to make one for me as well. I made one for Roger and Alisa as a wedding present after I heard she planned to decorate a wall of their house with crosses. Last year I made a different and smaller version for all the volunteers at work. I honestly hadn't made any since then, but that was

Alisa working on her cross.

Not quite finished but getting close

This is the one I am working on and will finish when I give Michelle her lesson.

Tomorrow is a trip to the mall to visit Santa...well, not me, but Jacob announced today that he hasn't had a chance to go see him so Michelle and I are taking him in the morning. He also is worried about the candelabra in their fireplace. He says that if Santa sits on that it will be "ouchy". He is too funny! That afternoon we will open our Christmas presents, but it will have to wait until after Alisa and Roger finish their shopping. Yep, that is right, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and they still haven't finished their shopping!

Scratch that visit to see Santa. I just remembered I have a long overdue appointment to the eye doctor. I will be spending my morning at Scott and White. The good thing is that I will be able to see by the end of the week after getting new contacts and glasses!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You've Got To Be Kidding!

My bags are just about packed, which I consider a great accomplishment. (Yes, I made sure my socks made it in!) My flight doesn't leave until tomorrow night, but I am working the majority of the day so I need to be ready when I leave for work. I mailed my Christmas presents about 2 weeks ago, so they are there and ready for me tie all my bows. (I didn't want them to get crushed during shipping.)

I have even checked in for my flight. I think online check-in is one of the greatest inventions. I have a Southwest flight and with their new boarding system, it is important to check in as early as possible so you can get a good seat. Well, this is important if you are picky about where you sit, which I am to a degree. I prefer to sit in the exit row because of the extra leg room. My flight is tomorrow at 6:40 so tonight at 6:40 I logged in to check-in. By the time I got all my information in the computer and hit enter it was 6:41. My boarding pass has A 46 on it. That means that I am in the first group which is good. However in that one minute 45 people managed to check-in before me. I couldn't believe it!

I also think I have started to come down with a least I am hoping that is all it is. Last night I realized I had a sore throat and it has continued throughout the day. Today at lunch I went and stocked up on medicine. One of the things I picked up was Zicam. I have never used it, but I know people who are believers in it. I'll let y'all know what I think. I think I am going to call it a night since I just took some medicine that "may cause drowsiness" which means I will be out in about 30 minutes!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Missed It!

Last night I headed out of my apartment to go to a Christmas party for work when I saw the most incredible sunset that I have seen in a while. I did what any blogger would do and ran back inside to grab my camera. It must have taken me 45 seconds to do that- not long at all. However, in that few seconds it took the sunset had virtually disappeared. I wondered if I should have just stayed an enjoyed it instead of rushing in to get the camera. I also began to think about how much I miss because I have my own agenda and I fail to take the time to just "be still and know..."

Saturday, December 15, 2007


This weekend my Bible Fellowship Class (a.k.a Sunday School Class) had our Christmas party. My friend Blair did an amazing job, as always, and I love the fact that she allows me to help. This year I was pretty much in charge of desserts, but I also brought spinach artichoke dip. (I'm not going to share this recipe quite yet because I want to make a few changes first. It was good, just a little thick for me.)

I made another trifle for this party, but with a different twist. It was called a Chocolate Christmas Trifle. I love chocolate and it was a Christmas party so I decided that it was an excellent fit. One of the things that I like about trifles is that they are relatively easy to fix, look impressive and amazing, and feed a large group. This is probably one of the easier ones that I have made.

Chocolate Christmas Trifle

Brownie mix (1 box, fixed according to directions)
Instant chocolate pudding (2 large boxes, fixed according to the package)
Whipped topping (2 8 ounce cartons)
Heath Bars, crushed (6 bars)

In a large trifle dish, crumble 1/3 of the brownies, then layer layer 1/3 of the pudding, 1/3 of the whipped topping, and 2 of the crushed Heath Bars. Repeat layers twice, ending with the crushed Heath Bars.

I also had too much filling for this trifle- not as much as the Pumpkin Gingerbread filling, but still too much. I am going to try to do a better job of making sure my layers are more even next time.

I also took my grandmother's pound cake. This has been a family staple for as long as I can remember. When I was in college and seminary, my grandmother would send me back with one of these. It is great for breakfast too! (It was originally called the 2, 2, 2, 5, 1 Cake)

Mamaw's Pound Cake

2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
2 sticks of margarine, at room temperature
5 eggs
1 tablespoon of flavoring (1 teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon lemon extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Combine all ingredients with a mixer and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 325 for one hour. Let cool for about 10 minutes before taking it out of the pan.

I pulled the cake directly out of the oven and into the car to head to my friend's. I got stuck in traffic along Memorial and it took me almost an hour instead of the normal 10 minutes. It cooled too long and was difficult to get out.

Two Years

This week was pretty uneventful. No pomp, no most it looked just like an ordinary week. Work, errands- life. However, two years ago there was pomp, there was circumstance, and in general things were crazy.

December 9, 2005- I walked across the platform at Travis Avenue Baptist Church and was declared a seminary graduate. I spent the rest of the day with friends and packing.

My parents and me

Corrie, me, and Amanda. The three of us were pretty much inseparable during out time in Texas. Amanda and I were roommates and Corrie could be found at our place pretty often.

December 10- Drove from Fort Worth, TX to Clinton, MS where I spent the weekend with friends from college.

December 12- Drove from Clinton, MS to Tampa, FL. The closer I got the more I began to wonder what in the world had I done. I had moved 1100 miles from my family. I didn't know a soul, except for some distance family in the Bay area.

December 13- Moved into my first apartment- well the first one that was all mine- all 900 square feet. I unloaded the boxes and clothes from my Jeep, but the apartment was still empty. I hadn't counted on the fact that the apartment wouldn't have any overhead lights and all my lamps were on the truck that would arrive at the end of the week. I had a few pots and pans, a microwave, and my TV. However, I hadn't realized how heavy the TV was and couldn't carry it up to the third floor, so it stayed in the Jeep until my parents arrived with the rest of my furniture and belongings. I slept on a air mattress all I look back it was rather sad, but makes me laugh now.

December 14- My first day of work...again, I found myself asking what had a gotten myself into.

In two years, Tampa has become home- my home. I have made numerous friends and they have become like family. I have found a church home. I have had the privilege of working with some amazing women and men. I have a job that continually challenges me and stretches me in ways that I never imagined when I arrived two years ago. God has also taught me a great deal about who He is during this time. There have been definite ups and downs, but ultimately I wouldn't trade any of it. God has and is in the process of using all of this to draw me closer to Him while strengthening and deepening my relationship with Him.

I wonder what things will look like in another two years.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back in Town

I made it back yesterday from Virginia Beach. I literally hit the ground running so that I could make it to the Christmas presentation at church last night. The rest of the conference/training went really well. I performed my first three sonograms on Saturday afternoon. I only have 67 more supervised scans before I am considered fully trained.

I would love to write some more tonight, but I really must wrap my Christmas presents so that I can get the box in the mail this week. It's hard to believe that I will be headed to Texas for Christmas in only 11 days! That means I better get the box in the mail soon. Besides Mary Poppins is on TV and that seems like good gift wrapping entertainment.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Conference Update

Besides the fact that it is cold, I haven't set this much or for this long in quite some time. Other than that, it is going very well. A lot of the things that we have discussed I already knew regarding ultrasound. However, there were some new things or things that have changed recently. I even made myself sit down last night and review everything that I had learned that day. I will probably do the same tonight because at some point I have to take a test. Then on Saturday I will get up and get to actually practice everything that I have learned in these two days. I am just praying for the poor lady that I will perform my very first sonogram on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I knew it would be cold in Virginia Beach. I have packed some pretty warm clothes, but I had to reevaluate everything a few minutes ago when I received a text message from my friend who lives there declaring, "Weather report calls for snow flurries!" I appreciate this warning, but I must confess I checked the Weather Channel and sure enough it does.

Just east of Norfolk is where Virginia Beach is located. It's hard to tell on the map, but it should be the light green or a mixture of snow and rain. Fun times ahead!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Random Post

Something is Burning
This time I have NOT started another fire in the kitchen. It's coming from the oven, I am sure of this. What is it? I don't know, but any time you cook right now it smells like you are burning it. I have decided to just keep the oven on for a while and let whatever it is burn off. My apartment smells wonderful about now.

Nashville Trip
I finally got a few pictures from my trip to the LifeWay Conference a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

A view from LifeWay of the hotel we stayed at, Union Station Hotel.

One of the LifeWay buildings in downtown Nashville

Lisa Whelchel and me- You might recognize her as Blair from "The Facts of Life"

Kelli Minter and me- She is a fairly new author, but has been leading worship for a while. I am hoping to go through her newest Bible study in 2008.

Priscilla Shirer and me

That's right, the suitcase has emerged once again from the closet. My boarding pass has been printed. The washing machine is going strong, and in a little while I will have procrastinated packing as long as I possibly can. Tomorrow morning I head to Virginia Beach, VA for a conference. I will be there until Sunday afternoon. I have a friend who is assigned in that area as a travel nurse so we are going to get together for dinner at least once. It will be good to catch up with her. I will then be in town for almost two weeks before I head to Texas for Christmas.

Christmas on the Air

This weekend is my church's Christmas presentation, "Christmas on the Air". If you are in the Tampa area I would encourage you to check it out. Performances are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8.00 I will be at the Sunday night performance as long as everything goes as planned on Sunday with my flight. Click here for more information or to buy tickets.