Thursday, December 13, 2012
I like ice cream. Correction - I love ice cream. Something about the sweet, creamy goodness of the delightfully refreshing treat is just...heavenly.
My ice cream fetish and I currently reside in Gloucester, VA. It's a small town of less than 40,000 people, hidden neatly among a cluster of more commonly-known cities such as Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. Due to Gloucester's small stature, its attractions are often left off the map, so to speak - that being the case, I would like at this time to call attention to one of the home-town treasures nestled right in the heart of our humble county. Next time you're passing through our quaint little village, be sure to indulge yourself in a little piece of (the ice cream lover's) heaven. Short Lane Ice Cream (located, of course, on Short Lane) is a family-owned business that offers home-made ice cream, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor atmosphere on the interior of its two-story building, additional seating outside, and a wide variety of flavors and styles in the ice cream family from which to choose. Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, oh my!
I was recently introduced to the wonder of Short Lane's "Blueberry" ice cream, which is now my newest favorite flavor. I'm telling you, that first bite changed my life. And I couldn't help but think that ice cream is a lot like the Christian walk.
Your first "taste" of Jesus will, on most occasions, completely change your life. You've never tasted anything so sweet, so refreshing, so...heavenly. But, if you just take one taste and don't progress on your journey with the Lord...if you merely ask Him to come into your heart but don't feed off of His Word, pray, seek to serve Him in your daily life, and give and receive encouragement from fellowshipping with other believers, you will begin to watch your Christian walk slowly just...melt away. The same is true of ice cream. If I simply took that first bite and didn't continue to indulge in the rest of my two (okay, three) scoops, then my ice cream would eventually just melt away; I would have missed out on the goodness and delight I could have derived from continuing to feed. Now, of course, if I were to continue eating, I would run the risk of getting a brain freeze or even a belly ache and, likewise, the Christian journey is not without its pain and times of discomfort...but the experience of eating the ice cream is worth it. Plus, the more you grow in the Lord, the more inspired you will be to share what you've found with others who have never tasted before or who have been exposed but, for whatever reason, have a bad taste in their mouth or a bad feeling on their insides in regards to it (we'll call those people "lactose intolerant").
The bottom line is that we don't order our favorite ice cream and let it sit in the cup and just melt away - and neither should we let our walk with the Lord go unnurtured and, likewise, melt away. It will still be there, yes, but it will be nothing more than a liquidy puddle of what could have been a solid and satisfying treat. And, of course, a growing relationship with Jesus is much more satisfying than even the most delicious-tasting frozen dessert (and way less fattening). Jesus was Bethlehem's own home-town treasure, and one that far surpasses anything anywhere else has to offer.
So, determine yourself to grow in your walk with the Lord. Go feast on the Word of God, say a little prayer, and encourage someone in the name of Christ. Treat yourself to as many scoops of Jesus as you want. And, while you're at it, go have a bowl of your favorite ice cream. (Although, you'll probably prefer the "growth" that ensues from Jesus as opposed to that which comes from the latter. I'm just saying.)
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
(A Very Small Selection Of) My Favorite Excerpts From "Blue Like Jazz", or Eight Or So Reasons Why Donald Miller Is the Shiz
There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. (They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.) And as I lay there, it occurred to me that God is up there somewhere. Of course, I had always known He was, but this time I felt it, I realized it, the way a person realizes they are hungry or thirsty. The knowledge of God seeped out of my brain and into my heart. I imagined Him looking down on this earth, half angry because His beloved mankind had cheated on Him, had committed adultery, and yet hopelessly in love with her, drunk with love for her.
..To be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can't accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people...that is why God tells us so many times to love each other.
So then you started reading the Bible?” I asked. “Yes. We would eat chocolates and smoke cigarettes and read the Bible, which is the only way to do it, if you ask me. Don, the Bible is so good with chocolate. I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn’t. It is a chocolate thing. We started reading through Matthew, and I thought it was all very interesting, you know. And I found Jesus very disturbing, very straightforward. He wasn’t diplomatic, and yet I felt like if I met Him, He would really like me. Don, I can’t explain how freeing that was, to realized that if I met Jesus, He would like me. I never felt like that about some of the Christians on the radio. I always thought if I met those people they would yell at me. But it wasn’t like that with Jesus.”
Thursday, December 6, 2012
We got to have a tasty lunch at Longhorn with Anthony’s parents and his Great Aunt Rebecca before they headed off on their Hawaii vacation! Thanks to my wonderful in-laws, Anthony and I have gotten to visit Hawaii twice, and I was really excited for Rebecca to be able to be able to experience it for the first time. Although if, as part of some Cruel And Undoubtedly Highly Uncalled For Joke, that experience included L&L then, Rebecca, I am so, so sorry.
I was looking for a new chili recipe to try and stumbled upon this one. It’s now one of Anthony’s Top Two Favorite Chillis Of All Time, I believe. (Please note: If you decide to try the recipe, even if you never ever drink alcohol, please don’t leave the beer out. Please.)
I Found Out Mumford & Sons Is Coming To Fairfax in February
And, just because they're cute and because I love them and because they are my most favorite things in any given month:
This has been my Top Ten (11?) Favorite Things For The Month Of November. Tune in next month for ten more examples of awesomeness.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I’M BACK. I know, I know - I’m a slacker. I’ve been really distracted by some other projects recently, so.
But, I couldn’t let you get too far into November without telling you about my favorite things from the months of September and October (yes, I’m combining the two months into one list since, as previously mentioned, I’ve been a slacker and have neglected to update you on the goings-on of my life at all so far this fall). So, without further ado, My Top Ten Favorite Things For The First Half Of Fall 2012, (Possibly) In Order Of Their Occurence:
1. Fall Shopping
I'm sorry, did I mention FALL SHOPPING?
Tea connoisseurs, rejoice! I am now the proud owner of my first-ever loose leaf tea steeper. I got a steeper, a warmer, and some nifty loose leaf teas from Teavana (the white tea I got comes in these little balls that BLOOM into a FLOWER when the tea is done steeping). The flavor quality of loose leaf tea is very good, plus it just seems more legit to prepare it that way, kind of like how Anthony makes his coffee in the French press every morning except I wouldn’t know if that way is superior to other forms of coffee preparation because I don’t actually drink coffee but I’ll take his word for it.
3. One Tree Hill and The Vampire Diaries
4. Glee Season Premiere
The new Glee season premiered in September - I was afraid I might not like it anymore because the seniors graduated and people are scattered around now, but it’s actually been working for me so far. Except the last episode was so sad with everyone breaking up and crap. I cried. I should be ashamed to admit that but I’ve cried at WAY sillier things than Glee, so. This Thursday will be the end of a month-long break (random?), so I’m looking forward to it starting back up again. Kurt and Rachel are my favorite characters, so I'm glad they ended up in New York together. I don't why, but I just love Kurt to death.
5. Visit from Brian & Company
My baby brother, sister-in-law, and niece came to visit us at the end of September. It was tons of fun! We went to the orchard and Lexi and I made a cobbler with the yummy apples that we picked. Also, my brother told me that the combination of my burgundy skinny jeans and Most Comfiest Ever brown ankle boots from Express reminded him of both a hipster and that one episode of Full House where D.J. secretly procures a horse without her father’s permission. And, for some reason, he still chose to wear them together.
6. New ipod
My old ipod had a whopping 3G of memory on it. They don’t even sell them with storage space that small anymore; we actually got that one for free with a laptop. Granted it was free, and served its purpose, but it was somewhat disheartening having to pick and choose which downloaded music on the computer I wanted to upload to my device since, clearly, not even close to all of it was going to fit. My fantastical husband surprised me, however, and bought me a new one that has 160 gigs of memory – ONEHUNDREDANDSIXTY. I could pretty much put every album I ever even remotely liked on there, plus stuff of Anthony’s that I despise (except, why would I do that?) and still have room for more. I’ve really been enjoying it and enjoyed it even more about ten days after he gave it to me when I discovered that he had even gotten it engraved on the back (yes, I get the Most Observant Person Of The Year award, hands down).
While we’re on the subject of music, Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift released new albums in September and October, respectively, and since I had ROOM for them on my new ipod I made sure to procure them as soon as possible. Anthony and I have loved Mumford & Sons since back before it was trendy, AND I WAS SO EXCITED that they were finally putting out a new album – and even more excited that it was good. Taylor’s new album is definitely her most unique to date, mostly because she went way pop-y with it. I like that kind of music but I just adore Taylor, and feared I might feel betrayed that she was straying from her country roots and jacking with the image of her music that I have so lovingly ingrained into my mind – I actually really enjoy the album, though. So thanks, Taylor, for not disappointing me and for making my husband like you more than he did when you only sang country music and for putting CHARLOTTESVILLE and DC on your 2013 tour schedule. Thank you.
8. We Decided To Go On Vacation
We decided to go on vacation! In January! At a super sweet cabin in the Smoky Mountains! I realize that you may be thinking, why are you mentioning this now? Shouldn’t you be doing that in January after you actually GO on vacation? Oh, I will. I will. But, the mere knowledge that we’re going is awesome enough to merit a spot in my list this time. I’m so excited.
9. Visit From Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad came to visit and it was fun. And I got to see Mom in this giant pair of waders with the overall straps and rubber boots attached and everything. So, that was a win.
10. Hot Water In The Shower
Okay, I know you might be thinking, hot water? Doesn’t every first world individual have the opportunity experience this luxury every time they step inside the shower? Um, no. Up until last month, my showers taken in our apartment were this Piss-Poor Lukewarm Or, At The Most, Technically Warm But Not Even Remotely Warm Enough, Much Less Hot excuse for a proper bathing experience. I would actually dread having to take a shower because the experience was so Not Pleasant. Fun fact about me: I like my showers fricking hot. If my skin isn’t red when I get out, it wasn’t hot enough. So, you can imagine the disdain I felt towards showering in genral (I still did it, don't worry), up until last month when ALL OF A SUDDEN, FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, THE WATER STATRED COMING OUT HOT. Like, LEGITIMATELY HOT. Like, HOT BY MY STANDARS, hot. EVERY DAY. Granted, I can’t take a long shower if I want it to be hot the whole time, but I CAN LIVE WITH THAT. This has literally improved the quality of my existence by exponential proportions. You don’t even know.
So, that was my Top Ten Favorite Things From The First Half Of Fall 2012, (Possibly) In Order Of Their Occurence. Tune in next month (no, really) for ten more examples of awesomeness.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Forrest Family Visit
Anthony's family came to Charlottesville for the weekend to visit and it was great to see everyone. My brother-in-law and his wife came up on Friday night and we had a lot of fun
$100 iTunes Gift Card
Anthony had to buy a new laptop in August because his finally crapped out and the one he ended up purchasing came with a $100 iTunes gift card which was pretty sweet. It's taking us a long time to decided which albums to purchase, as Anthony and I do not share a similar taste in music (aka: Gangsta Rap makes me want to stab Something Sharp in my ear and Many Other Kinds Of Music make him want to stab Something Sharp in his ear). We have managed to agree on the following, so far: Mumford and Sons' new album (that one was a given, although we had to pre-order it because it doesn't come out until the end of September), Queen (Greatest Hits album), and Jason Castro (the one with the Hallejuah cover on it). Most Random Trio Ever Award? Perhaps.
So, in August, I started getting together with my friends, Jenn & Dara, every Monday night to watch the Bachelor Pad. I had never seen it prior to these gatherings, but those two are very loyal fans of anything Bachelor/Bachelorette related and thought it would be sweet to make it a Thing. It'll be over in a couple of weeks, but we decided we should pick another show to watch after that because it's fun to get together and eat tasty snacks and watch Things That We Should Probably Be Embarrassed For Liking. It's like a car wreck or a Very Gross Woman who is completely falling out of her shirt - it's so bad, but you just can't tear your eyes away. If Nick wins, I will laugh for days.
(Speaking of guility pleasures) America's Next Top Model's 19th cycle premired in August and things are little different this time around. Fans actually have a voice in the judging process now, which has never happened before - I thought the change might annoy me but, so far, it hasn't. I have always been an ANTM fan; I don't know why I like it so much, I just do. The Most Interesting Contestant so far this season (it's only two episodes in, so I reserve the right to change my mind), is the girl from Liberty University, Victoria, who is Mind-Bogglingly Obsessed With Her Mother. On second thought, I probably won't change my mind. (No offense, Mom).
Anthony got the flu last month (I know, in August, who does that?) and he was Utterly And Completely Miserable. He tried taking random meds that were specifically marketed for treating flu symptoms but they were barely touching them. I felt so bad for him, so I finally asked my boss (who's a doctor) what the best OTC med for the flu was. She asked me what his Most Bothersome Symptom was (it was a toss up between the headache and the sore throat) and then told me to have him take 800 mgs of Ibuprofen three times a day until he wasn't sick anymore. He tried it and, after just one or two doses, said it was the Most Effective Thing He Had Ever Done For Flu Symptoms In His Life. Even though it, obviously, didn't cure him, it did enable him to to function comfortably until the sickness went away - which was great, because I feel really bad for him when he doesn't feel well (plus, he's kind of a Very Irritable Sick Person which can get annoying pretty quickly). So we now know an easy OTC method for successfully treating flu symptoms and, thanks to this handy-dandy list, so do you. You're welcome.
We Didn't Have To Spend A Ton Of Money At The Vet For No Reason
Anthony and I have a bad taste in our mouth when it comes to going to the doctor because we are notorious for going to the doctor Just In Case and finding out that nothing serious was wrong with us, or for holding out on going to see if we will just get better on our own, only to finally to decide to go and then get better the very next day. We really don't go to the doctor very often, but most of the times we have gone have proved to be unnecessary - and, we have spent Countless Amounts Of Money on these Unnecessary Visits/Tests/Whatevs which is, understandably, very fustrating. We have also done this with our cats, once or twice. And, we almost did it again this month - luckily, though, the symptoms we were taking Bella to the vet for went away the day before her appointment (and haven't been back), so I was able to cancel it (rather than taking her in and then having her symptoms clear up later that night after I had just spent a bunch of money having her looked at, which is what happened the last time I took Gabriel). This may not seem like a Big Deal, but it is. It is.
Chris & Kim
Chris & Kim spent the night a few weekends ago, and it's always fun to hang out with them. Anthony & Chris got up very early and went on a Five Or Six Hour Hike With Scary Rocks, Etc. Kim and I had fun Not Going On A Five Or Six Hour Hike With Scary Rocks, Etc. (aka: slept until after the sun came up, went out for bagels, and watched Supernatural). Apparently, this particular hike has some of the best views in central VA, but Chris was kind enough to take about bajillion pictures with his Sweet Camera and then he and Anthony showed us a slideshow of them on our big screen when they got back. Best of both worlds, right there.
|Kimberly & Christopher|
Potty Training Win
The three year-old I take care of finally decided she was ready to start using the potty and now she's completely potty-trained. Which means the amount of diapers in my life has been reduced by about fifty percent which I am Very Very Much Okay With. She had decided that she didn't want to start going on the potty (despite the stickers, candy, toys, and 137 kittens that had been promised to her) because going in her diaper was, simply, less trouble. We humored her for most of the summer, but fall was quickly approaching and she had to be potty-trained before she would be allowed to start her three year-old pre-school class at the end of the month. So, naturally, her parents and I told her that there was a Diaper Shortage in Charlottesville (just for her size, of course, not her younger brother's) and that, once she ran out of the diapers she currently had, she wouldn't be able to get anymore. Being the Genius-Child that she is, this made logical sense to her (much more so than the idea of taking the trouble to go on the potty when you have a perfectly good diaper taped around your butt), and, once she ran out of diapers, she started going on the potty. All the time. I am a big fan of Kids I Take Care Of Being Potty-Trained, and also of lying if they are too smart to be coersed into using the potty via any any respectable method.
Hunger Games Party
As some of you know, The Hunger Games came out on DVD in August and, since my friends and I embrace any excuse to have a party, a viewing party for the new DVD was held that very weekend. We had all kinds of themed snacks ("fire" cupcakes, "nightlock" berry short cake, "Peeta" bread with hummus, etc. - I know, we're hilarious, right?) and even made silly HG shirts to wear, (that we had seen on pinterest and thought were cute) except we sucked at them and they looked horrible and smelled like butt, but we had fun making them and laughing like crazy at how bad we screwed them up. I give you exhibit A:
Hotel Hell, or So That's What Blurred Out British Man Parts Look Like
Anthony and I were sad that our Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen shows were getting ready to end for the season but made a timely discovery on Hulu that will alleviate our pain for the time being by continuing to provide us with the Gordon Ramsey Fix that we have come to rely on so heavily. You can probably guess the premise - Gordon visits these horrible hotels and then tells the owners how much they suck in his Very British Accent and then gives the hotel a complete over-haul. You never know what kind of crazy establishments he'll encounter from week to week, but one thing is certain: he will always find some excuse to test out the bathtub in his room, on camera.
These were my Top Ten Favorite Things From The Month Of August. Tune in next month for ten more examples of awesomeness - I can already tell it's gonna be a great September.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Long awaited by our Southern-half friends, August 22 is the day to go outdoors at high noon and yell "Hoodie Hoo!" to chase away winter and help usher in spring (no, really). And as silly as that sounds, I, for one, am so done with winter by the time January 1st rolls around that, if I thought it would help, I would be Hoodie-Hooing Like A Boss all day long until the Evil Cold had retreated back to wherever it goes during the Happy Warmer Months. I mean, once the holiday season is over, is there really any point to winter? I think not. If you want to wear cute sweaters and boots and Curl Up With Your Boo Next To A Roaring Fire While Michael Buble Plays Softly In the Background, fall can successfully accomodate you in all of those areas. If you want to ice skate, you can do it indoors year-round. And if you want to make a snow man, simply do it between Thanksgiving and New Years.
While those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are not preparing to transition from winter into spring, we are getting ready to bid a Very Fond Farewell to summer. With this in mind, here are Five Ways You Can Shout "Hoodie Hoo!" (except please please also do it in the traditional way, because it's funny) And Prepare To Welcome Autumn Into Your Midst. But, please hold off your Hoodie-Hooing for a few weeks, as I am not ready for Maxi Dress Weather and 9PM Sunsets to go away yet. Thankyouverymuch.
Watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
Light Fall-Scented Candles Which Includes But Is Not Limited To Anything With "Harvest", "Spiced", Or "That Smell When People Burn Leaves Outside" In The Name
Apple and Pumpkin and Cinnamon, OH MY! Click the link below to check out the newest fall fragrances from Yankee Candle. And then lament over the current lack of pie in your house. http://www.yankeecandle.com/whats-new/new-fragrances
Make Fall-ish Type Food So That Your Noms May Know No Bounds
Like pie! As well as chili and stews, breads, spiced cakes and cookies, cider, and Pumpkin Anything. All leading up to the Blessed Climax Of The Fall Food Frenzy which is, of course,
Check out one of my most favorite fall chili recipes. If, like me, you only enjoy a Moderate Amount Of Spiciness in your food, you may want to half the chili powder. If, like my husband, you enjoy Very Spicy Things, then put in the whole amount. And, for the love of GOD, even if you Never Ever Drink Alcohol, please don't leave the beer out. Please. http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/02/comfort-me-with-chili.html
Go Through Your Fall Wardrobe And Figure Out Who You Want To Keep And Who Is Getting Cut From The Team.
If you would like some guidance, here are a handful of things that will be Trendy this fall: Barouque-styled things, capes and cloaks, cozy sweaters, leather skirts, school-girl styles, colbalt blue and oxblood, tartan/plaid, peplums, colored jeans, knee high boots, hats, and hardcase handbages. If you provide me with a picture of yourself rocking all of these trends simultaneously I will be your best friend or, at the very least, send you some Lindor chocolate truffles. Actually, the truffles are probably the better of the two options. But, anyway.
Go Apple Picking (Even Though Its Easier And Slightly Cheaper To Get Them From The Store) Because They Are (Probably) Extra Tasty When Picked Straight From The Orchard And Its Fun To Show Off Your Amazing Apple Selecting Skills So Shut Up
I rather enjoy the Orchard Fruit Picking Experience, and highly recommend the Carters Mountain Orchard here in Cville if you too would like to pick your own fruit. Carters Mountain, in addition to having lots of Trees With Tasty Fruit On Them, has a great store, delicious refreshments, a wine shop, friendly staff, and a great view from the mountain top. I would suggest bringing a Not Heavy Person with you because, sometimes, the Best-Looking Fruit is higher up on the trees and you need someone that is light enough for you to hoist. Make sure they're an Okay Climber. http://www.cartermountainorchard.com/
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Something incredibly disconcerting has recently come to my attention, and I felt it was imperative to hijack my mom’s blog for the purpose of addressing it. My sister, Bella, and I have been overhearing a disturbing amount of Humans ask my parents when they are going to Hurry Up And Have Children Already.
Okay. I apologize for my outburst. Believe it or not, my usual demeanor is rather agreeable, and extremely pleasant in fact - I also actually quite fancy the vast majority of Humans who call on my parents. But, I must ask you – no, implore you - to PLEASESTOP trying to get them to Have (Human) Children.
And, as far as the pictures go, I’m pretty sure my Mom has over a hundred in her Gabe & Bella album on Facebook, so.
Have I Mentioned Diapers?
Okay, I’m back. I hope that my list was enlightening. If you already have Human Children and are now like, “Blast, this sucks”, I apologize. I would never want anyone who has already been saddled with the little vermin to get rid of them or anything on my account. My only point is that my Mom & Dad (and Bella & I, for that matter) are still Free, and Unaffected By The Things Discussed In The Above List. And I, for one, would like to keep that way as long as possible.