Monday, October 31, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

You are wandering if the book is as good as the movie. You must know that the book is always better. It is definitely so in this case. I think a large part of it is the time you invest in reading a 550 page novel as opposed to watching a two hour movie. The character development really got me. I was thoroughly impressed  by Kathryn's detail and delivery. I completely fell in love with the women in the book. You get to see the kindness, grace, empathy, love, and devotion these women shared. You see the pain and the fear they faced every single day. I enjoyed it immensely more than the movie.

I am sure you all know that the movie is about maids during the times of the Civil Rights movement and how they were treated. The thing that I did not know upon picking up the book is that the author is a Christian and you see the characters dealing with their faith, their lack of faith, and their anger at God in the book. There is a lot of beauty hidden in these pages. Five stars.

Kathryn Stockett wrote this due to a love of her maid who passed away when she was sixteen. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lasagna Roll-Ups

 This is a pretty simple recipe. You can vary it by adding some cream cheese or swiss cheese into the meat. It is a quick and fun spin on the regular lasagna. Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fentress Fall Festival

 It was a fun week of preparations for our local fall festival. First off, our lawnmower breaks trying to mow the field to prepare for the classic car show. We call to borrow a mower from our neighbor and she shows up on this. 
 Denbigh gave me these. I just thought you would love to see them.
 I got to take pictures at the 5th annual 5k. This was the sign up table inside of our friend Cullen's barn. When he built this gigantic new barn, he used the wood from the old barn to make this interior wall. 
 My favorite group of runners were Old Dudes With Attitudes.
 My neighbor Suzi's barn. This would be a great backdrop for some portraits. Who wants to let me practice on them?
 And they are off.
 One of my favorite neighbors.

 This 70 year old guy won first in his division.
 Another of my favorite neighbors.
 My booth at the festival. I sold out of World Famous Tacos. In one day (online and here), I sold 12 paintings.
 At lunch on Sunday. All the people who lived here or grew up here come back once a year to fellowship and have lunch together.
At the festival.
 I sold a dozen of this painting. It comes in multiple colors.
I also sold a few of these.
All in all it was a fun weekend. I absolutely love hearing stories of people who grew up here. The people here put a huge focus on family. It is truly a beautiful thing. Mark your calendar for next year. 
October 20th, 2012

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Phantom Limbs: A Photo Essay

 I have been moved by Anne Michael's poem Phantom Limbs for decades. I think of it all of the time walking around the town where we live. So many things sit in ruin or have burned to the ground. I decided to start taking some photographs of it. Flowers still blooming at a house that has been abandoned for 30 years. The glimpse of a child's swing through the ruins of a meth lab. Enjoy this photo essay.
 Phantom Limbs
by Anne Michaels

So much of the city
is our bodies. Places in us
old light still slants through to.
Places that no longer exist but are full of feeling,
like phantom limbs.

Even the city carries ruins in its heart.
Longs to be touched in places
only it remembers.

Through the yellow hooves
of the ginkgo, parchment light;
in that apartment where I first
touched your shoulders under your sweater,
that October afternoon you left keys
in the fridge, milk on the table.
The yard - our moonlight motel -
where we slept summer's hottest nights,
on grass so cold it felt wet.
Behind us, freight trains crossed the city,
a steel banner, a noisy wall.
Now the hollow diad !
floats behind glass
in office towers also haunted
by our voices.

Few buildings, few lives
are built so well
even their ruins are beautiful.
But we loved the abandoned distillery:
stone floors cracking under empty vats,
wooden floors half rotted into dirt;
stairs leading nowhere; high rooms
run through with swords of dusty light.
A place the rain still loved, its silver paint
on rusted things that had stopped moving it seemed, for us.
Closed rooms open only to weather,
pungent with soot and molasses,
scent-stung. A place
where everything too big to take apart
had been left behind.

"The face of the city changes more quickly, alas! than the mortal heart."
      —Charles Baudelaire

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

Don't be distracted by the rude things people say and do. I have put you on mission. When you get distracted by personality, ugly attitudes, and hurtful words, you are refusing to do the thing I sent you for. Look wildly and boldly into the face of a challenge and refuse to get carried away in the temporal moment. Don't let yourself be bullied and oppressed by the cross ways of those around you. Speak grace back. Speak graceful truth back. To love in the face of ugliness is to do exactly what it is called to do. 

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." -Colossians 4:6

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Beautiful Girlhood Series

I thought I would take a moment to tell you about a book series we love. The Beautiful Girlhood series is not your self-focused, self-serving cutesy diatribe you see in most children's books. The series of six books focuses on the character traits of Christ displayed in the lives of famous characters from history. Instead of waiting for a gorgeous rich man on a horse to rescue them, these women were passionately pursuing God. They were brave, undaunted, charitable, & serving. It is said that if you want a child to have a character trait you must do two things. First, you must embody it yourself. Second, you must give them a character who is known for the trait to love.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Evangeline Cafe in Austin, Texas

 I know a Cajun named Perry. He once told me to go to Evangeline Cafe and try the food. Along comes my friend Pauly who wants to go hear some live music and her husband is going to be out of town. Where does she want to go, you ask. Evangeline Cafe to hear Brennen Leigh. She goes here all the time so she started us out with some Evangeline chips and sauce. It's thin-sliced home fried potato slices with a special house sauce. A fabulous spin given to the regular table fare.
 On the top of this menu item were the words "house favorite." I thought I must try that. It was the Crawfish Evangeline. To me it was akin to crawfish etouffee meets rich, creamy fettuccine alfredo. It truly was delicious. It ran out far to soon. I think any Cajun would love it.
 My dear friend, Pauly, had the fried shrimp. She apparently has it every time she goes and she didn't want me to give her any flack about it. I might have. She also told me a story that she forbid me to share on my blog. We'll see about that. She let me try a bite of her shrimp and the dirty rice. The lightly breaded shrimp were delicious. I thought the dirty rice was the best I have ever had. She says that the sauce is really what makes it all good. Take note.
 Then we shared some bread pudding. It was yummy with a nice caramel sauce. I have actually only had this one time in my life so my knowledge of it is slim. I thought it was delicious. Light and yet decadent.
My favorite part of the evening, besides being with my friend, was the sounds of blue grass in the background. Brennen Leigh leads worship at Austin New Church and she plays the local live music scene. I absolutely loved it. I already want to go back and take my husband.

Stephanie Cherry on Yelp.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Nine years ago, I turned off the t.v. and stepped into my life. I didn't want to discuss the lives of characters in a box anymore. I didn't want to be influenced by contrived lives. I wanted to live my own life. It seems that I now live in an ongoing episode of This Old House. I keep thinking that Norm is going to pop out from around the corner and ask me how it's going. I laugh to myself every time I think about it. If you see me through a window laughing to myself, you now know why. Enjoy this edition of another fabulous jaunt with Gomer. 
 My husband and Chris pretending to cut wood so I could take a picture. (I was holding the baby and he didn't want to scare her.)
 Chris with the new floor.
 We wanted to see how many Cherry and Berry people we could get in the bathroom. Oh, I'm just pulling your leg. They were working in there.
 While Kristi was cutting Tyvek for the walls (it's a moisture barrier), my daughter was pretending she was at the Plaza Hotel. She says hotel with the most southern accent. "Hoe-Tail" with three syllables. I blame my mother.

 My husband cleaned his desk. I thought you would all love to see it. It is an antique desk that was in my grandparents office.
 Here's an lovely old table that I salvaged from beside my grandmother's pool. I painted half of it with white Rustoleum so you could see the before/after. I think it will take me 5 or so cans. I'll show you when I am done.
 Books on my husband's desk.
 Chris adding in some new 2x4s so we can insulate the bathroom.
 Kristi using the heat gun to remove paint.

Look at those fancy new boards and that Tyvek. Eat your heart out. (Where on earth does that saying come from? I Googled it. "First, it's supposed to make the other person feel bitterness or pain as he longs for something out of reach.

The ancients believed that sorrow and envy silently "ate away" at the heart, "each sigh draining blood from the organ." In Henry VI, Shakespeare wrote: Might liquid tears, of heart-offending groans,Or blood-consuming sighs recall his life,I would be blind with weeping, sick with groans,Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking sighs

We still say someone who is grieving is "broken-hearted."By the beginning of the 20th century, "to eat your heart out" meant to pine, but you can yell it out as a cry of triumph if you give someone else a reason to envy you"  There you go.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...