Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We do something really cool at my office for Halloween. In addition to a costume contest for the employees (bragging rights only), we decorate the entire building and use the last hour of our allotted Halloween Day to invite the children, grand children, nieces and nephews of all the employees to come Trick-of-Treat through our offices and cubicles. This year it was Friday, October 28th.

I always look forward to the new and adorable costumes all of kiddos sport while they enjoy collecting the many treats we have for them. It's a cool time and another example of how my employer makes a focus and care for the families of all of my coworkers. A blessing, indeed.

My cubicle is the 3rd on the left
Loving on the Little Pumpkin - Baby Dawson
This Year's Costumes
The Queen of Hearts and her "Card Army"
This year's costume winner - THE QUEEN OF HEARTS!
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TFC Blog: Why Sports Ministry?

My hubs helps post on The Forsaken Children blog also. He recently posted a great write up about the importance and potential of Sports Ministry in Ethiopia. Take a look. I've given you a snippet here... you can read the entire post by clicking the title link or the ellipses that follow. Enjoy.
Why Sports Ministry?
By Mr. McGoo, Sports Ministry Coordinator

Can you imagine living on the streets and sleeping on an unforgiving dirt sidewalk?  Imagine that every night you sleep on the streets you have to keep one eye lid open just to protect yourself from potential violence.

Now imagine kids living like that.  What would they do?  How would they protect themselves? [. . .]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dinner & Corn Maze

This past weekend, I was able to find some time away from school and books and enjoy a few moments with my hubs and an opportunity to serve.

Saturday night Mr. McGoo and I went on a date with my rents. It was a much needed mental break after a full day of school. Yummy dinner, good company, great conversation, and dessert to follow. We had fun. I'm realizing that lately I do not take many pics, so I wanted to be sure to catch a self portrait of Mr. McGoo and I before we left the house. Once upon a time, I took photos ALL THE TIME, lately it's been very few and far between.

Handsome Mr. McGoo and me

On Sunday afternoon post church and before I hit the books again, I went with the Wings of Faith ministry at church to The Memphis Corn Maze at Our Family Farm. It was so fun! I wish Mr. McGoo could have gone with us because he would have really enjoyed it too (he was working)! The group ate lunch together and hung out for awhile before heading to the Corn Maze. We took a hayride over to the opening of the maze and then split into two groups. Each group went through the maze and worked to see what group could get out the quickest. My team won, but no thanks to me... I just followed everyone else and took photos along the way.

If you haven't been to The Memphis Corn Maze at Our Family Farm, I definitely recommend it. Take your family, friends, etc. We had a ton of fun!

Corn Maze photo op and typical goofy me

The group that went through the maze the quickest - We're #1

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gobble Wobble

While at the yogurt shop, YoLo's on Saturday evening with my hubs and rents, I came upon this:

So by my calculations, I have 20 days until race day. I haven't worked out since my last race day on September 5th - Labor Day. I use the term "race" loosely because I was not moving very quickly, but at least finished.

I'm crazy enough to plan on participating in this one to a) give me a goal to "make" me start working out again, b) run with a nursing school classmate that is interested in doing a 5k, and c) challenge myself once again.

Gobble Wobble.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Recognize & Proclaim

The concluding line to The Meaning of Life post by Kelly Levatino is resonating in me and with me today! Lord help me! A constant reminder that it is NOT about me!

"Recognize His power, and proclaim His name.  This is the meaning of life."

Follow the links above to the full blog post - it's definitely worth a read.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What about Today?

It's so easy to get caught up in the constant look ahead mindset, the anxious await of the "next step". So easy to let your my heart ask "what's next?", "when this", "when then", in a way that has me looking past today and only looking at tomorrow - or often even further down the road. Too often we as Americans I find myself on the "next step" thought process of life to the degree that it causes me to miss the current place and space God has me in.

Our Father knew we I would do this... He put verses within in His Word that speak directly to this tendency of my heart and mind. (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-7 are just a few off the top of my head). Verses that remind us me to not worry, to not be anxious, and to stay within today in my thought process not looking too far ahead in a way that causes me to miss what He has for me today!

He wants to do something in me, through me today! In this place. In this space. Right now. Wherever I am. Not when the next phase of life begins. Not when the next step arrives, because my heart will then jump into the phase after that. He has something for me in this time. Right now.

You know the thought process... You've heard it or had it asked in your own mind or heart. I know I have been there. Some examples... You're single and you think or others ask "when will you date someone?" Then you date someone and your heart or others ask "when wil ya'll get engaged?". Then "when will you get married", then "when will you have kids", "when will you retire", "when will you....". Or the other terminology for the same questions, "When I do this" or "When I do that" then I'll really will be where I want to be, I will have what I need, etc.

Does that make sense?

As a nursing school student, it is really easy right now to look ahead in a way that causes me to miss the awesomeness He has for me right now! I can look at my graduation date 22 months in the future (I hope!) in a way that is unhealthy and causes me to miss the current moment. Although reminding myself that the end date of school is tangible can be encouraging to me, making that my only focus causes me to miss the now and what I can do in the current moment for His kingdom! What does God want me to see, do, and experience now in this current place?

Similarly, I have a heart and passion for The Forsaken Children ministry in Ethiopia. I'm blessed to have an opportunity to serve the organization currently as a board member, but there is part of my that longs for my next return to Ethiopia to serve on the ground, to get dirty, and to encourage my fellow Ethiopian brothers and sisters. But instead of constantly thinking "when is my next journey" or "what's my next step with Ethiopia", I should recognize that the Lord has me here, at home, in Memphis for a purpose - regardless of how long it is until my next journey to Ethiopia. The questions should be, how does He want me to advance the ministry and His kingdom here, in this place?

So I don't know if this thought process resonates with you, but I'm being reminded that God has me here for a reason. For His glory and for my drawing near to Him. He is more concerned with my today than my tomorrow. I should follow suit, He'll take care of the rest. "And who knows but that you have come to [this place] royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

What does God want to do with your today?! Are you asking Him?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Old Woman with My Nose Stuck in a Book

My weekend bounced between being "old woman" like and having "my nose stuck in a book". That's the life I currently lead. Although Mr. McGoo still has a wife in her twenties for another year, the energetic until the wee hours, stay up late woman he dated no longer exists.

Friday night I had to fore go the Southwind High School football game with Mr. McGoo. Instead, I sent him on his own to cheer for our buddy, James and enjoy another night with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes crew of Central Church. I stayed behind at the house and worked on school preparations for Saturday. I took the opportunity to get a photo of my ever entertaining Friday Night event, studying the Clinical Nursing Skills I would practice on Saturday - injections: intradermal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular. Once I completed the read through of those skills (my nose stuck in a book), I ate some mac'n'cheese for dinner and headed to bed by 930pm (hence the old woman like comment).

Saturday I woke early and was out the door by 715am for class. In addition to the injection skills we would learn and practice that day, we were going to be checked off on our Sterile Urinary Cather skill. This was our very first official check-off of "Basic Skills" and the anticipation of what was to come had everyone anxious. Thankfully I completed the procedure in a satisfactory manner (not breaking sterile technique throughout) and was able to breath a sigh of relief. My entire study group - five of us total - were able to smile and say "we did it" following the lab and classroom hours of the day. It was a good feeling. I almost took a photo of me in my awesome required white scrubs to celebrate my victory, but I decided I didn't want that on the web for all to see.

I arrived home around 2:45pm, getting out of class 45 minutes earlier than normal to find (as expected, I knew they were coming) Mr. McGoo with a few buddies enjoying college football. Mr. McGoo had chili in the crock pot and the cool breeze of the Memphis October day was blowing through the house. What a perfect treat on an afternoon post full day of school. I cleaned up and took my seat in the living room. For the next five hours I enjoyed football with my hubby and friends. I was pampered by Mr. McGoo - allowing me to sit and rest while he provided and served me beverages, chips and dip, chili, and dessert. Yup, he is a keeper!!!

By 8pm (uh, oh, the old lady thing again), I could not keep my eyes open longer than a few minutes at a time, so I excused myself from the guys and made my way to the bedroom. There I curled up for an episode of Criminal Minds before falling into my full night's slumber around 9pm. I'm happy to say I got 10 hours of rest Saturday night - something that has not happened lately! It was perfect.

Sunday, Mr. McGoo and I went to church, enjoyed a lunch date with friends, and made our way home. We filled the afternoon and evening with quality time on the couch watching football and completing school assignments (nose stuck in a book). It was leisurely and a perfect afternoon together, as far as afternoons full of school work can be - Mr. McGoo catered to me while I completed school stuff and worked to get ahead of the game in order to have a less stressful week ahead.

So this "old lady" was well taken care of this weekend. I'm well rested and ready to tackle another week of work, school, and everything in between. Thankful for the time with Mr. McGoo and the opportunity to get some much needed rest this weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Something New: A Whole Lotta Bean Soup

(some say 15, some 16 - I'll say a whole lotta) 

Mr. McGoo and I gave this little slow cooker recipe a try last week... not too shabby, I liked it. Mr. McGoo liked it but said it was a bit on the bland side. I think it had something to do with us not using Italian turkey sausage but smoked turkey sausage instead. Next time we'll add a bit more seasoning to give it a little more taste and kick and use the suggested Italian sausage instead. I have half of this recipe in the freezer so I'll be sure to add more seasoning to that as it reheats before serving.


    * 1 package 16 Bean Soup - I grabbed a bag of 15bean soup
    * 3 bay leaves
    * 1 tablespoon crushed oregano
    * 2 cans no-fat chicken stock
    * Additional water to cover
    * 3 stalks celery chopped
    * 3 carrots diced
    * 1 large onion chopped
    * 3 cloves garlic sliced
    * 1 pound turkey Italian sausage sliced
    * 2 cans stewed (or diced) tomatoes

Combine first 5 ingredients (liquid should cover mixture 1 to 2 inches) in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or until beans are tender. Add remaining ingredients and decrease temperature to low; cook for additional 3 to 4 hours. If desired, add cayenne or crushed red pepper when adding second set of ingredients. Serve as complete meal or over rice. Freezes well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Corner: The Tangible Kingdom

Somewhere in the middle of the madness I currently call life, I am reading a book with some friends who have a heartbeat for seeing followers of Christ be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. Friends who yearn to follow God in a tangible, radical way that points those around us to Jesus.

The book we're reading, a few chapters every couple weeks is The Tangible Kingdom: The Posture and Practices of Ancient Church Now by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay.

It definitely has me thinking and talking to God about my walk, my witness, and my role as a believer and follower of Christ Jesus.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

"Church must not be the goal of the gospel anymore. Church should not be the focus of our efforts or the banner we hold up to explain what we're about. Church should be what ends up happening as a natural response to people wanting to follow us, be with us, and be like us as we are following the way of Christ." - pg. 30.
"Posture is important because it can either obscure the message of truth or enhance and pave the way for a clear rendering of the truth. In North America, people don't have any sense of the true Christian message any more because the face of that message looks so unlike the founder. Christianity is now almost impossible to explain, not because the concepts aren't intelligible, but because the living, moving, speaking examples of our faith don't line up with the message. Our poor posture overshadows the most beautiful story and reality the world has ever known." pg. 41.

I want to be more like Jesus and I want to glorify Him! I'm learning more and more that it will not happen without getting to know Him further in His word and regularly meeting with Him. He is the source of all I need.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

365 days until 30

My 29th birthday was yesterday and I was blessed with many sweet birthday wishes and reminders of how blessed I am! I'm blessed with an awesome family, great friends, a home, a job, the ability to go back to school (yes, that too is a blessing even when sometimes it doesn't feel like it), an amazing husband, etc, etc, etc.

In honor of my birthday I was able to take an exam last night (fun fun) and then sit through a lecture following, so by the time I got home at 9:30pm, there was little opportunity for celebration.

Mr. McGoo however did not let the moment pass... and it turned into my favorite part of the day.... my birthday meal! Mr. McGoo sang "Happy Birthday" to me after he prepared our meal and let me blow out a birthday candle and all.

Check it out:

Birthday Grilled Cheese

I was definitely spoiled yesterday in words, well wishes, and even some gifts from folks. My favorite birthday card came from a fabulous blogger you may know - if you don't, be sure to check her out here... Kelly is a coffee loving fool like me and may actually take my coffee loving into an obsession. We regularly enjoy "coffee dates" together at Starbucks, so this card could not have been more perfect! I laughed out loud when I read it and wanted to share.

Thanks again for the love everybody. I'm blessed beyond measure, indeed!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one,
   because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
   one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
   and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
   But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
   two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Something New: Homestyle Apple Brown Betty

And what's better with a good meal than a great dessert. This yummy treat was super easy and makes me look forward to cool, crisp days that need a warm treat! Give it a try.

Homestyle Apple Brown Betty

  • 6 cups cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts - I used pecans

  1. Coat crock pot slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Place apples in bottom.
  3. Combine bread crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, brown sugar, butter, and walnuts.
  4. Cover; cook on low 3 to 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
Makes 8 servings