Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Lovely Easter Weekend

After my grand Friday night, I didn't do much else the rest of the weekend which was exactly as I had planned. On Saturday, I did some laundry and a little cleaning at finally around 4:30 p.m., I managed to pull myself off the couch and mow the grass and trim some shrubs in the backyard. I also wanted to go to Publix to get a few things that were on sale since the sale paper was ending that day and then at the 11th hour, I decided I wanted to peruse Belk for a new dress for Easter. So, after the yard work was complete, I jumped in the shower and headed to the mall. 

I arrived at Belk close to 7:00 p.m. and gave myself an hour. As luck would have it, that was more than enough time and I bought two dresses, a new top and a new pair of jeans which were desperately needed since my favorite jeans are so worn they are about to have a hole in them. I managed to get back to the car and pull out of the parking lot by 8:10 p.m. and was rather proud of myself. 

My next stop was Publix and I had a goal of getting in and out as quickly as possible because I wanted to be back home by 9:00 p.m. so that I wouldn't be out and about at all hours of the night. Once again, my goal was accomplished and I managed to get the few things on my list plus a few extras and was home by 9:00 p.m. 

Easter Sunday was a cornucopia of pastel colors as men, women and children were all decked out for Easter. There were seersucker suits and jackets and pink pants and bow ties and all manner of spring colored dresses. It was like a giant Easter egg. We didn't have class or an evening service on Easter, but the morning service lasted about an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes so I'm sure there were folks young and old alike who were anxious to get out of the pew. 

I had mentioned previously that I had turned my dad down for cooking Easter lunch. I had no desire to spend all weekend in the kitchen cooking only to have the food devoured in 30 minutes and be stuck cleaning dishes. My favorite Aunt Linda also invited me over, but they were eating at 1:00 p.m. and I was already hungry and also didn't want to spend all afternoon away from home. I had a few other invitations as well, but ended up with Jackie and her family, which included one of my favorite people, Little Mickey. I have no doubt the rest of my family is mad at me for going to lunch with Jackie's family instead of cooking for or eating with them. All I can do is apologize. I just wanted something quick and easy and we went to Chili's and it was just that. We had a nice time visiting and I was home before 1:00 p.m. and I changed into pajamas and didn't leave the house for the rest of the day. It was just what I wanted and definitely what I needed. I am thankful for the rest and relaxation - it was the best Easter gift of all! 

Apparently I've unknowingly begun an Easter tradition of sorts of having a Call the Midwife marathon. Last year on Easter I had a bit of a stomach bug and stayed home all day and watched the entire first season of Call the Midwife online and then the first episode of season two when it came on Easter evening. This year, I had the first three episodes of season three on the DVR as I had not yet had a chance to watch them. So, I watched them Sunday afternoon and then watched the fourth episode when it came on that evening. It's been an intense season and the last episode was a heart-breaker. It apparently made a lasting impression on me because I ended up dreaming about it that evening. 

So, that sums up the rest of my Easter weekend. It was great. I was able to just have some time to myself and take care of things for myself and not have to be anywhere at any time and it was much needed and an all-around great weekend. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Five Points Farm and Food Trucks on Friday

This past Friday, I had grand plans of heading out to Hazel Green High School for the first round of the state baseball playoffs. My cousin, Jon Mark, is an assistant baseball coach and the team made the playoffs for the first time in 20 years or something crazy like that. Plus, I did go to school at Hazel Green from fourth through 11th grades so it's also kind of like supporting my home team.

The first game was set for 5:00 p.m. and I planned on leaving work at 3:00 p.m. so I could go home and let Pippa run around for a while and then head out to the baseball game. However, as is often the case when I make plans, I got held up and wasn't able to leave work until around 4:30 p.m. At that point, I was tired and I knew I would be late for the game and I wasn't looking forward to a long drive out to the Green and so I made the decision that was best for me which was to just stay in town and not go to the baseball game. Thankfully, the team didn't need me and they won two games that night and advanced to the second round - awesome!

Instead of going to the game, I ended up hanging out with my dear friends Paul and Leah. They live at the Five Points Farm which I think I have mentioned a time or two before. Their goat, Luna, was pregnant, and as luck would have it, she had her kid on Friday. The little guy was promptly named Oscar and he is as cute as a button and seriously, what is more relaxing after a long week than hanging out with cute newborn baby animals? So, after I got home and let Pip run around for a while, I headed over to Paul and Leah's and met Oscar who is absolutely adorable.

I had been texting with Leah earlier that day and she had told me that she and Paul were planning to hit up Huntsville's first Food Truck Friday and so I basically invited myself to tag along with them on the adventure. Thankfully, they were cool with it. So, we headed to the Food Truck rally along with every other person in Huntsville, Seriously, there were certainly thousands of people there. All of the lines were incredibly long and after walking around for w bit, we decided to get in the shortest line which was the Food Fighters line.

When we got about 10 people away from the window, we discovered they had run out of brisket and we were all extremely disappointed. In the meantime, our friends Jonathan and Caley were wandering around and having no luck choosing a food truck line because they were all so long. Paul and Leah and I were the next in line to order when Jonathan and Caley asked us if we wanted to just go some where and eat and so, after standing in line for an hour and a half and being the next to order, we left the line and went to Big Ed's Pizza.

Big Ed's is a Huntsville staple and yet I had never been there. Caley and I split a white pizza and each had a salad and everyone else had a calzone. The pizza and salad was so good. The company was even better. It ended up being such a fun night despite the fact that the food trucks were a total bust for us. We decided that next month we should get there super early so we can be guaranteed to get food and not wait in line. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm very blessed to have such great friends and I'm thankful for the all the times we get to spend together.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bible Study Review: Restless by Jennie Allen

Y'all - I am so blessed to share with you today a review of the newest Bible study from Jennie Allen. It's called Restless and it came out earlier this year. It is such a fantastic study and I hope that my Monday night Bible study group might pick it for a study in the future because I think everyone can benefit from it.

The Restless study is the same format as the Chase study by Jennie Allen which I reviewed last year. The set comes with a DVD, a study guide, a leader guide and a set of discussion cards. There are eight sessions to the study and each session begins with a DVD session that lasts between 20 and 25 minutes. Each session deals with a different aspect of feeling restless in our lives. The eight sessions are: Restless, God's Story, Gifts, Suffering, Place, People, Passions, Mystery.

I love the DVD sessions. I feel like they are real and I think we learn the most and can relate the best to something that is real. I think a lot of time in church and Bible study people try to sugar coat things and pretend everything is perfect. Instead, we should be able to share with one another the messiness of life and not be judged because we are keeping it real.

The study guide is extremely thought provoking and uses a lot of scripture, which I like. The questions are geared towards opening up discussion in a group but they also allow the reader to take a deep look at what's underneath. These are not what I would call surface questions or a surface discussion. Again, it is very real and provokes real discussion and I just feel like this study is a great tool to help you get to know the people in your study group on a deeper level which will enable us to help each other through the circumstances of life.

The discussion cards are also great. There are 105 cards, 12-13 cards for each session and are designed for use with the DVD. They are designed for each person in the group to randomly grab a card and then feel comfortable enough to discuss the question on the card with the group. I love cards like this because each answer is different and personal and again, helps you get to know the people in your study group.

The leader guide is a great tool as well, helping the leader better prepare for leading a group. There are extra questions and prompts for discussion, but if your group is like mine, then prompts are probably not needed. Still, it's a great tool for preparing to lead the group for the study.

Restless is a really great Bible study. One of the questions in the summary on the study book describes it best, "What would happen if God got bigger than your fear and insecurity, and you spent the rest of your life running after his purposes for you?" This study will help you towards your goal of feeling secure and comfortable about your Christianity and  your place in God's kingdom. If you feel restless and are looking for a way to help overcome it, this study is for you and I would encourage you to try it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter's Here and a Strained Voice

It's been a busy week and I'm more than ready for the weekend. How about the rest of you? It's Easter weekend and I'm sure a lot of you have big plans. I think there are quite a few people at work who are taking Friday off or leaving early. I don't have any big plans myself so it will probably just be a regular day. 

My dad asked me last weekend if I wanted to do a big lunch. My answer was no. Hopefully he was okay with my answer. To be honest, this weekend is the first in a sweet forever that I have had absolutely nothing planned and I just wanted to keep it that way. I have a lot of things I need to get done around the house and a lot of TV to catch up on and I just don't want to be obligated to anyone or anything. In other words, I plan on thoroughly enjoying some me time. 

We've had a cold streak of weather here and I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever be able to put away my coat for the winter. Hopefully the cold winter will make for a cooler summer and we won't have to suffer too many 100 degree days. 

I have been meaning to write about The Pip and her voice. I briefly mentioned that when I picked her up from the vet she was very hoarse and could hardly bark at all. Since then, I have taken her back to the vet and she has been on steroids and an antibiotic for a couple of weeks now. Her voice still isn't fully restored and I'm beginning to think it never will be. I'm inclined to thin she must bark a lot when I first leave in the morning and therefore it strains her voice more. Apparently she barked from the moment I left her at the kennel until I picked her up, thus the hoarseness, Hopefully she will be much better soon. 

I hope you all have a very happy Easter and that the Easter Bunny brings you lots of delicious treats! Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunday Service Day and a Softball Win

This past Sunday was our church's second all-church service day. Once again, our class headed out to New Hope to help the people at the New Hope church of Christ. The church there is a very small congregation and we are happy to help them make an impact on the community they live in.

After church service, we all met up for lunch at a Mexican restaurant and then headed out to the church. Our service this time was an Easter egg hunt for the children of the community. It took us an hour or so to get set up and soon after the children started coming. Unfortunately, there was at least one, maybe two other egg hunts going on at the same time in the community; so, we didn't have as large of a turnout as we would have liked. Still, we had about 30 or so kids and hopefully we all made a positive impact on them and their families.

The egg hunt ended at 3:00 p.m. and Jackie and I left soon after it was over. I dropped her off at her house and then headed home. I was rather tired and ended up napping for about an hour before watching the rest of The Masters.

Sunday evening, our softball team had a game, and we earned our first "W" of the season by a score of 15-9. It was so much fun and the hour flies by. I didn't make any outstanding plays. In fact, I struck out and walked, but I still had fun and that's what it's all about. I'm really looking forward to our next game on the 27th.

When the game was over, I gave my friend Josh a ride home and then went home myself. After taking a hot relaxing bath, I managed to get in one show before calling it a night. It was another fun filled weekend day spent with great friends.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Show on Saturday

Saturday was yet another busy weekend day. It seems all my weekend days are jammed full of activity and have been for a while now.

Saturday morning I actually went in to work for a couple of hours. I had some things I wanted to finish up and longed for some quiet time in which to accomplish those things. So, I went in around 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and left a few minutes before 8:00 a.m. I got a lot accomplished in that time. The quiet was exactly what I needed - no distractions.

I had a hair appointment at 8:00 a.m. so that was the next activity on the agenda. I love going to my salon. The guy that cuts my hair has been my hairdresser for years and I've known him since I was a small child. So, we know a lot of the same people and it's always good to catch up with him. He's also hilarious and always makes me laugh and he gives good hugs. So, I guess it goes without saying that I enjoyed my hour or so at the salon.

My next stop was Publix for my weekly grocery trip. This was actually the first "big" trip that I had since returning from vacation so there were more than a few items on the list. Thanks to the help of my coupons, however, my bill was less than I expected it to be. I don't think I've mentioned it, but they are opening a new Publix in downtown Huntsville that's probably two or three miles from my house and I am thrilled! It will even have a drive-thru pharmacy! All I know is I must soon get a basket my bike so I can take it to the store when I need to pick up just a few small items. I'm very excited and also anxious to see if this new Publix will become "my" Publix because I'm very loyal to the one on Whitesburg. Time will only tell.

After I got home and unloaded all the groceries, I was able to lie down and nap for all of an hour before I had to shower and dress and go pick up my mom. She had bought us tickets for a show at Merrimack Hall called "California Dreaming". I had read about the show earlier in the week and then she emailed and asked if I would go with her and so I said yes. The show was  basically a musical revue of songs from the 1960s and since we both love music from the 1960s, it was right up our alley.

We arrived a few minutes late, but still made it and that;s the most important thing. The show was pretty good. They sang a lot of great songs that both Mother and I like and I was tapping my foot on more than one occasion. The only "over the top" part was the one guy pretending to play the guitar to Jimmy Hendrix's  "Star Spangled Banner". It was a bit much. Other than that, I enjoyed the show. I think I was the youngest person there, but still had a good time. I think Mother did as well.

I took Mother back home after the show and then went home myself and spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening being lazy and trying to clear out some things on the DVR. I'm afraid my DVR might explode soon it's got so much stuff on it. I'm still very behind on my shows from being on vacation and I refuse to delete season three of Homeland so I'm at an impasse. I'm hoping to catch up on a lot of shows this coming up weekend.

Saturday was a busy but fun day. A big thanks to my mamma for taking me out on the town!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The First Pitch

I'm sure you all are just dying to know how the first pitch went and I'm here to tell you that it went great. In case you didn't know, I threw out the first pitch at the Huntsville Stars game last Thursday night. I won a contest on Twitter back in March and had been anxiously awaiting April 10 ever since I found out.

I had let all my friends know about the big night and some of my family as well and was hoping for a big crowd at The Joe. I wasn't exactly sure how far 60 feet was but figured it had to be shorter than the length of my backyard. I throw ball with The Pip sometimes and know I can throw the distance of the backyard; so, I thought I would be okay but was still nervous about making a complete fool of myself.

Jackie and the kids met me at the stadium around 5:30 (the game started at 6:30) so that we could throw the ball around some before going in. After about three throws she determined that I was going to have no problem at all and so we packed up our balls and gloves and went on in to the stadium.

One by one my friends started trickling in. I was also surprised by my cousin Brittany, her husband Bob Robert and of course, the famous Sydney. I didn't know they knew about the big night and so it was a really nice surprise to see them there and it was very special that they thought to come out.

At 6:00 I went down to the third base dugout and reported for first pitch duty. There was also a guy that came down and he was throwing the first pitch as well. I guess they do a girl and a guy. I'm not sure what time it was when we took the field, but they announced us over the loudspeakers and I was up first. I heard all my friends cheering and could see them all sitting in the upper deck. I threw a really great first pitch. It was straight over the plate and into the catcher's mitt. I was very pleased that I didn't make a fool of myself. The guy went after me and he tried to showboat and threw it straight into the dirt and it bounced past the pitcher. I wanted to laugh and heckle him, but was a good sport and didn't give him a hard time.

After my five seconds of fame was up, I went to sit with my friends and was so thankful they were there supporting me. Sadly, my parents, brother and some of my cousins got there right after it was over; but, they made the effort to get there and show their support and I appreciate it. Some of my friends got there late as well. In all, I think there were about 30 or so people who came out to cheer me on and I felt really loved. I really appreciate all of you who came out. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Most everyone stayed for the game, and people left in shifts. By the time the eighth inning rolled around, Jackie and the kids, Erika, my cousin Alexandra and Indigo and her friend Paul and I were were the only ones left. It was such a fun evening and the weather was great as well. I don't think we could have asked for a better night at the ballpark. I had such a nice time that I think I will go to another game at some point this season. I had not been to a Stars game in close to 20 years, but it's a really fun and inexpensive way to spend an evening or an afternoon.

The first pitch was a great experience and I'm so glad it went well. It may not be the major league, but it was still a lot of fun and a night I will never forget.