June 28, 2009

Weekend Update

We had a really wonderful weekend. Not that our weekends typically aren't wonderful, but this weekend was a special one.

Tonight our small group served at Safe Haven, a homeless shelter in Nashville that provides room and board for displaced families. After reading Crazy Love and really being encouraged to serve our neighbors, Allison found Safe Haven and scheduled a night for us to play with the children that are living there. It was such a special time. At one point I looked up at the sky and thought, "Lord, if you decide to take my life right this minute, I would be okay with that. I want you to find me serving your people." It was such an incredible time of fellowship and fun hanging with such amazing children. I can't wait to go back.

Allison serving ice cream.


The kiddos digging into their sweet treats.


Todd getting a new hair-do.


In other news, I made the cilantro-lime chicken recipe that I wrote about yesterday. Oh my goodness. Todd says it's in the top 5 best things I have ever made. I know, he's my husband and will love everything I make, but I'll take the compliment!

Check this out - how good does this look? I can tell you, it's pretty delicious! I also whipped up some blueberry lemonade. A perfect summer meal.


As for the cupcakes that I was going to take to our dinner with friends, I didn't go all out with the Smitten Kitchen recipe. I let Duncan Hines do most of the work, but with a little effort on the presentation, even a box mix can look good.


Hope everyone out in blogland had a great weekend!

June 26, 2009

The Daily Dish

Several months ago I posted about this amazing little meat & three hidden in Franklin. My former boss and good friend Alan read that post and told me I must check out the Daily Dish which is just right around the corner from Barbara's. Todd and I took his advice and I'm so glad we did. It's a little place next door to a dry cleaner's and if you're not careful, you'll drive right by it. But if you do find it, you won't be sorry!

Todd and I have eaten there before, but the other night at our small group a couple of our friends were talking about how they had gone for Father's Day. So yesterday at work when I was contemplating heating up my frozen meal for lunch, I asked Todd if he could meet for lunch instead and he didn't hesitate to say yes when I suggested the Daily Dish.

While they have amazing meat & three options (which is what Todd typically orders), I order from their menu. Today I had the crusted mahi mahi sandwich with a broccoli salad. Oh my word! Yum! The picture below really doesn't do it justice. The mahi mahi is as good, if not better than some I have had in Florida and California. I know, hard to believe.


Speaking of food - since it has been a little while since I've written about one of my favorite subjects - I've discovered two recipes that I may have to whip up this weekend.

If Todd and I find time to grill, I'm going to attempt to make a great recipe I found in Cooking Light: Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa.


Tonight we're having dinner with one of my coworkers and his wife, and Todd and I are responsible for dessert. I have been promising cupcakes for weeks, and stumbled on this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen that I might have to try. Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes:


Looks like I've got some work to do!

Happy Weekend!

June 22, 2009

I ♥ James River

There are so many things I love about my hometown. I love walking into my parents' house, throwing off my shoes and lounging on the couch beside my dad to watch Judge Judy (one of his favorites). I love going on long walks with my little brother and sister to catch up and talk about life. I love driving to my Grandpa’s to eat a meal in which everything on my plate came from his garden. I love driving to Branson to hit the outlet malls. If we’re lucky enough to swing by Silver Dollar City it’s a good visit. I love eating cashew chicken and getting ice cream at Andy’s. I could go on and on.

But what I miss most (besides family & friends) is my church. Todd and I haven’t been able to go to a service there in more than a year, maybe more. Our visits to Ozark are so short and we’re typically heading back to Nashville on the Sunday mornings we’re in town. This past weekend we made time. I have been homesick for James River for awhile. I’ve been talking about it more, listening to sermons online and downloading sermons to listen to in the car; anything to get a taste of being at that church.

james river3

James River is a large Assemblies of God church that is home to nearly 10,000 attendees. To me, it’s the place where my life truly began. I met Jesus there. I had been told about Him my whole life, but I met Him in the walls of that church. I gave my life to Him in that church. I was baptized in that church and I was filled with biblical knowledge that will last forever. I learned what it meant to serve. I learned what it meant to be head over heels in love with my Savior. I witnessed the power of prayer in a powerful way.

Now, am I going to sit here and say that God wouldn’t have pursued me if I hadn't gone to James River Assembly? No. But I am going to say that there is an unbelievable anointing on that place. You can feel it when you walk in the doors. I remember my eyes filling with tears as I felt the Holy Spirit moving…and that was just on my way to find a seat. I think back to worshiping among a crowd of thousands and feeling like it was only me and my Creator in the room. I am different because of that church. I am better because of its leadership.

James River 1

Todd and I have no intentions of moving back to Ozark. I am home in Tennessee. I wake up in the morning knowing I am living in God’s will and it’s an amazing feeling. I have a wonderful church home here that I wouldn’t trade. I am living out my dreams here. I am working in an industry I have dreamed of since I was a small child. Our family is here. I want to raise my children here.

But, if you were to try to convince me to move back to Ozark, your best tactic would be to use James River. Remind me of John Lindell’s incredible teaching. Refresh my memories of the outstanding children’s program. Tell me about getting lost in the worship. You might start to slowly pull me back.

james river2

I’m so thankful for JRA and wish everyone I knew had the chance to visit. I’m so glad we spent our Sunday at James River - A wonderful Father’s Day with our amazing Father.

June 17, 2009

Free Music!

In today's economy, who doesn't want something for free? If you're looking for a few songs to add to your iPod, definitely check out Tal & Acacia. I am loving their new record. Am I a little biased? Maybe. But that's what I love most about my job - getting great music out to the public.

If you need to be inspired today, I encourage you to download the three free tracks. Yahweh was the first song I ever heard from these two sisters from Maine and I was definitely moved. I think you will be too. So go get your free downloads, turn your speakers up loud and worship along with Tal & Acacia. :)


Get your free downloads here.

June 14, 2009

Summer Afternoons: Savings and Sweets

"Summer afternoon...
the two most beautiful words in the English language."
- Henry James

I love that quote. There is just something about summer afternoons, especially when they fall on Saturday and Sunday.

My weekend was pretty uneventful, but sometimes that makes for the best weekends. Yesterday Allison and I had the privilege of serving at The Well in Spring Hill. It's a wonderful ministry / food pantry in our community. It was a humbling experience, but everyone that came by was so wonderful. The hours flew by as we helped the sweet families load their grocery carts. I'm looking forward to going back and bringing Todd with me.

The rest of the weekend, like I said, was quite uneventful. I took long naps, long walks and tackled the mountain of laundry that was piled in our bedroom. Last week was so busy that our dirty clothes never even made it to the laundry room. I was so happy that we had nothing planned this weekend.

Todd and I did do a little experimenting with our own grocery shopping. Lately I've noticed more blogs and articles on how much money people are saving by being aggressive with coupons. We were curious to see if we could do the same and if coupon clipping was worth the time and effort. I will say this, it was pretty nice getting free olive oil, mouthwash and coffee creamer. We probably ended up saving about $20-$30 after it was all said and done. On the other hand, we had to go to three different stores (Target, Publix and Kroger) and I'll admit, the whole thing was a little exhausting. Maybe it's because I'm a rookie or maybe it's that I'm impatient, but it's not as easy as it looks. I'll give it another time or two to see how I really feel about it. :)

I typically try to bake or cook something on the weekends, but I was just a little too lazy this weekend. Instead of baking, we used the money we saved from our coupons to make a sweet summer treat. All you need is angel food cake, strawberries and whipped topping.


Doesn't that look good? I think I'll go make myself another bowl...

June 9, 2009

Christi's Birthday Bash

Last weekend the girls and I celebrated Christi's 27th birthday and had such an amazing time together. We packed as much fun as we could into two days. I am so thankful for each of them. When I'm not with those girls, I'm constantly thinking about how much they mean to me. Most of my life I have claimed to be "the oldest of five," but now it would feel completely natural to say I'm the oldest of five, except for my three older sisters Allison, Suz and Christi. Just barely older - Al only has me beat by a couple of months! :)

Last Friday we made a homemade dinner and pizookie for dessert. We walked to Fido the next morning for a lovely breakfast followed by shopping in Hillsboro Village. We laid by the pool and drifted off to sleep while reading the latest copy of US magazine. We talked about life and our next trip together this summer. I couldn't have had more fun if it were my own birthday!

Happy Birthday, Christi. How are we going to top this next year?!

Christi collage

June 4, 2009

Serious Snickerdoodles

My intentions were never to write a food blog. It has become apparent to me that I write about food a lot. A good friend of mine said it was hard to read my blog because it made her hungry when she looked at it. Oops! I guess if I'm going to write about what I love, food is going to find its place here a lot.

I will try to write less about food, I really will. But that will have to start with my next post because today I have to say something about a ridiculous snickerdoodle recipe I came across earlier this week. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Todd and I went on a long walk last night, and all I wanted to do was jump in the car to get all of the ingredients for the dessert that was running through my mind. I'm so glad I have a husband who understands my insane sugar cravings. As much as I wanted them, I resisted. Once you look at this you're going to think I deserve an award for resisting. I have to make these soon!

Deep Dish Snickerdoodle a la Mode:


Photo courtesy of the 'white on rice couple' blog.

Recipe found here.

Lucky for me we're making the chocolate chip version for Christi's birthday this weekend. Christi's husband is out of town, so me, Suz and Al are moving in. It's been a long time since I've been to a sleepover. I can't wait to eat our amazing dessert in our PJs as we watch chick flicks and stay up way too late talking about all the things best friends talk about. You are never too old for a sleepover. I hope to have some great photos from our weekend up soon, although I can't promise that they won't involve food!