On the road again…

Well, the road, the plane…you know.  I am a traveling fool these days.  But this should hopefully be my last trip for awhile.  And actually, this may be my last trip to Kentucky for a really long time.  We have high hopes (fingers crossed, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise) that Kris will be moving out to Seattle by the end of the year.  That will put my traveling to a snail’s crawl!  Woot!

I am a little sad that this may be my last trip to Kentucky for the foreseeable future though.  Kentucky was home.  I had good friends there.  Really good friends.  I enjoyed my job, I loved my little house.  Kentucky was good to me.  And it will be sad to fully close the book on that chapter of my life.

One of the reasons I’m traveling to Kentucky this weekend (other than to see my fabulous fiance!) is so that Kris and I can hop on over to Asheville to check out our wedding site!  I am SO incredibly pumped!  We have an appointment on Monday with the venue.  I am nearly giddy with excitement.  Not to mention that I get to be in Asheville for two whole days!!  It has been nearly 4 years since I’ve been in North Carolina…and that is WAY too long!  It is just one of those cities that I absolutely adore.  So I’m really excited to show off all my favorite parts of the city to my favorite guy.

That’s all for now folks!  Traveling, wedding planning…..

Advertisements

Um, excuse me?

For those of you know me in real life, you know that I’m not a girly-girl. Frills, lace, bows? No thank you. It is a joke in my family that while my sister is pinks and polka-dots, I’m earth-tones. I like to believe that I am pretty darn independent. That I am a well-rounded individual. I love hiking, reading, writing, traveling. I love to bake and am learning how to cook. I like organization but hate cleaning. I love sports and am a forever Noles fan. I do love cute clothes, but comfort is key. I own only half the number of shoes my dear fiance does. And I should add, not a single pair of heels, mostly flip flops. I have an earring fetish. I’m interested in photography, living sustainably and working for justice. I have lived in 5 states and two countries, all on my own. My graduate degree was paid part in scholarship, part in bar tips. I’m getting married in June, but I’m yet to buy a bridal magazine. My requirements for a dress are, “No butt-bows, no bedazzled, no lace.” Let’s just say, I’m not the kind of girly-girl that most wedding magazines/movies/websites are geared toward.

Case in point:
Modern Bride (sent to me by my sister via my mother), while containing helpful articles about staying on budget and planning a healthy honeymoon, also contains an article called, “Get in the Game: Tips for watching football with your fiance.” With such helpful tips as, “Wear a replica football jersey…he’ll think it’s sexy.” and “Don’t pepper him with planning questions during the game.” The article also includes some incredibly enlightening diagrams on how to learn the basic refs’ calls. That’s a good thing, otherwise, I might have never known what a first down was!  Moral of the article, Look sexy and stay quiet.

Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY!?   Short story: First game of the Noles season, I spent refreshing the ESPN page every 2 minutes because I don’t have cable and couldn’t stream the game live online.  I spent the last minute of the game on the phone with Kris, where he wasn’t allowed to talk, so I could listen to his TV to hear the end of the game.   Another short story:  While I Hong Kong, my first Thanksgiving I had Kris turn the webcam to the TV so I could watch at least some football via Skype!

So all I have to say is….SERIOUSLY?!?  For all brides to be and brides that have been who love football as much (if not more than) their men, I am offended.  Maybe I’ll just make my wedding cake in the shape of a football and let the groom’s cake done the wedding toppers!

Cooking with Liz

Last night was another cooking success! I tend to go to the Farmer’s Market on Fridays and just pick up things that look yummy, without any clear plan of what I’ll use them for. Last week, I bought a 1/2 pound of organic, extra lean, grass-fed beef. I used half of it in my spaghetti sauce, boring, but tasty. For the other half, I decided go Greek.

I made flat patties stuffed with onions and goat cheese. Then I pan fried them in olive oil and sauteed onions. Served on a bed of fresh spring greens (also from the Farmer’s Market) with toasted pita, fresh bell pepper strips and hummus. Garnished with paprika. SO tasty! I think I’m getting a hang of this cooking thing. 🙂

9934_510595940486_100500669_30386787_3852560_n

Family

It was a quick turnaround trip. 12 hours on a plane. 12 hours in the car. For less than 48 hours in Virginia. But it was all worth it. Getting to be there. Meeting much of my soon-to-be new family. Holding Kris’ hand as we walked into the abby. Listening as the family told stories about their Mawmaw.

I heard about how Mawmaw didn’t want to miss out on anything. How she would wait up until everyone else had gone to bed, and would always be the first one up, cooking breakfast. They all remembered her best on the porch, waving goodbye until the car was out of sight, and how they would always honk and wave goodbye. The most common word used to describe her was “kind.” She was the embodiment of kindness, spreading it to all she knew. Every time her name was mentioned, it was mentioned with great love and admiration. I listened to Kris express how he is a better person because of the love that his grandmother taught him. That when he makes his delicious mac-n-cheese or carrots he is making her recipes. And I am thankful to be marrying a man who is proud to carry on the qualities of love and kindness from his grandmother.

They said goodbye. They prayed together. They released a dove. And laughed when the dove perched herself on the roof of the abby, watching over everyone. “That’s Mawmaw, waiting till everyone else leaves before she goes.” Kris’ dad honked the horn as we drove away from the cemetery and everyone waved.

I was humbled to get to be a part of these sacred moments. I was welcomed in as a part of the family, even though I had never had the privileged to meet Mawmaw. Over the two days together, we ate a lot and we laughed nearly as much as we ate. Being in back in the South for less than 48 hours, I’m pretty sure that I ate more fried food in those two days than I have in the last 8 months combined. But man it was so good. And made better by the family it was shared with.

There is something beautiful about the time that is shared together at funerals. There are sad moments to be sure. But this was a celebration of a woman who lived a full life. She was 93 when she passed, and surrounded by family. She is remembered well, and her legacy carries on in her children, her grandchildren, her great-granchildren, and in her great-great-grandchildren. There is something beautiful about the way that family will come from all corners of the country to celebrate and remember. There are few moments in life that have that kind of gathering power.

Carol on the roof

Remember Carol on the Roof?  Well, she’ still up there.  Still raising money.  She has managed to raise over $40,000 in a month and a half.  Pretty amazing.

Fall is approaching.  The nights are getting cooler.  There is a threat of rain.  The days are getting shorter.  And, on the roof Carol remains.

And! She’s in the news.

So check her out.  And offer up a $1 if you can.  It is for a good cause. 🙂

Quotable: Simple Beauty

“Its a reminder that there is beauty on the outside.  It is what allows for hope in here.”

Twice a month, there’s a small team from Mary’s Place that heads into the Seattle Jail.  We go in and meet with women who will be released soon and know they will be homeless when they get out.  We go to tell them about Mary’s Place, to let them know of all the services we offer.  We go to offer a Chance for Change, a Chance for a New Beginning – which has become the name of our jail ministry.  We lead groups like those led daily at Mary’s Place; a short time of mediation with a reading, talking through steps of seeking safety and recognizing PTSD, we share stories from Mary’s Place.  The women get a chance to ask questions, they get involved in the discussions.  There is a pen-pal system, where volunteers from the Church write to the women inside the jail – to let them know that they are valued, and that when they get out, there is a place they are welcome.  That we’ll meet them outside of the jail and show them the way to Mary’s Place, where there will be a fresh outfit and a warm meal waiting.

As we were gathering our books and papers to leave the jail this week, one of the ladies walked up to me, Bible in hand.

“I have a question for you ma’am.”  She opened her Bible, and showed me a photograph, simple in nature.  A single flower, light pink, in a bed of green.  It wasn’t a prize winning photograph.  It looked like something taken in motion, a little blurry.  Just a simple picture of a simple flower.  “Do you know who took this picture?”

Slightly confused, I told her I did not.  She then informed that me that her previous bunk-mate had a pen pal from Mary’s Place.  When her bunk-mate got out, she had left this picture behind, the picture that had come in her letter from her pen pal.

“I don’t know why she left it behind.  I just can’t imagine why.  But I’m glad that she did.  I put it in my Bible, right here.  And I look at it every morning, and every night.  I look at it whenever I am feeling sad.  Its a reminder that there is beauty on the outside.  It is what allows for hope in here.  That some lady who don’t even know me or my friend would take the time to send this in here, well, its beautiful.  So, could you find out who took this picture?  And tell her, well, tell her that sometimes, this picture is the only thing that helps me through the day.”

Simple beauty.  A simple gesture.  A lasting impression.

A new favorite

One of my main jobs at Mary’s Place is working with families.  And while each and every child and family that comes through our doors touches my heart; there is one family, one who was there long before I was and who have become staples at Mary’s Place, who have absolutely captured my heart.  In particular, this little man:

101_5181

Whenever he see me, he yells out “Lizzie!!!” and comes running across the room to attach himself to my leg.  And that’s where he stays most of the day.

Little man is definitely a new favorite and one of the best parts of my days at work.