Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Good List 5-28-14

Today's Good List brought to you in honor of Macy's birthday! We celebrated early by taking her on a little surprise getaway Sunday night. Good times.

10. A Monday off at just the right time for a sweet little birthday getaway.
9. Driving through northern Vermont. So beautiful. 
8. Not being dependent on the weather since our adventure was indoors. This was a good thing since Monday ended up being pretty gray and stormy most of the day.

7. Cajun's Snack Bar. In Lowell, VT of all places. My southern family will probably disown me for this, but this is where Macy and Grace had their first taste of alligator and frog legs (and only their second taste of crawfish, I think). I don't care much for frog legs, but they loved it, and the alligator and crawfish were delicious!

6. The ongoing battle of me trying to stay as warm and dry as possible while in the "lazy river"--all scrunched up in my tube--and Macy and Grace having no part of it. "Mom, it's warmer if you get INNNN!!!" 

5. Grace body surfing.

Grace Body Surfing from Jared Wilson on Vimeo.

And her utter shock and joy when she successfully popped up onto her knees for the first time. :-)

4. Macy body surfing. It makes me giggle when the lifeguard tries to show her how to do a body roll at the end, and she flat out tells him, "Nope." ;-)

Macy Body Surfing from Jared Wilson on Vimeo.

3. We FINALLY pulled off a surprise for Macy! She usually snoops and interrogates until she figures everything out. This time, she had no clue where we were going until we got there. She was SO MAD! (But she forgave us very quickly.)
2. La Chute. Where they pretty much put you in a tube, close it up, then jerk the floor out from under you and let you plummet 60 feet before looping around and finishing the ride mostly upside down. And none of my family would do it with me, so I had to go all by myself 5 times--once for each of us and then another just because that's how I roll. ;-) (And that was just on Day 1. I lost count on Day 2. :-D)

1. This face, which I have loved every single moment through all of its changes for 13 years. I love you, my Macy! So very much.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Good List 5-21-14

10. Quinoa cakes. I'm pretty sure they're my new favorite food. I made some last weekend, and now I have at least 17 different versions in my mind that I wanna try. It started out looking like this. No picture once they were done since I couldn't possibly be bothered with a camera once these were ready to EAT! But isn't it pretty already? ;-)

9. This magicalness that Jared brought home for me from Texas last weekend courtesy of his host, Jeff Medders. I'm almost afraid to eat it, because I fear I will become addicted. ;-)

8. This meal, which was almost too pretty to eat, but it was delicious, so I totally ate it. Cajun salmon with garlic aioli, wilted spinach, and sweet chili rice. YUM.

7. An extra long weekend for Gracie this weekend. Inservice Friday and Memorial Day Monday. This is not disappointing. :-)
6. Wind in my hair. One of my very most favorite feelings.
5. A beautiful bike ride down a gorgeous Vermont trail on a brilliantly sunny day with some of my favorite people. Pretty much perfect.
4. Clarendon Gorge. One of my new favorite places. The sound of the water crashing through all of those rocks and trees is just glorious. (And I love the sunlight on the leaves.)

3. Sample chapters arrived last week. The book is due to release in July. I'm pretty sure this is #9 in the Jared C. Wilson library. Pretty awesome.

2. A recent letter from our Compassion child, sweet Lorena, complete with drawing. Precious.

1. Celebrating 16 years of my completely crazy, yet utterly fabulous niece Peyton. Happy Birthday, Peyterz! Love you so much! (Also: I can neither confirm nor deny that we *might* have had a chicken fight in the completely safe environment of a hot tub hanging off the side of a mountain. Maybe we did and maybe we did. Hush it.)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Millions of Forgiven Voices

It's cancer again. Times 3. A deaconess and mentor, the husband of our children's ministry director (and one of the hardest working ladies I've ever met), and a precious lady who has been a long-time member and is loved by all who know her. If we're just talking ratios here, it sure seems like our little church is WAY over average in how often we've dealt with this recently. It feels like we're taking a beating. And if I'm being honest, it feels like nonsense. (How is this possible?) We mourned the loss of 2 dear friends just a few short months ago. And each time we think this "season" might be winding down, it rebounds with a vengeance. I kind of want to scream, "ENOUGH!!!" (If I'm being honest again, my heart whines it all day long even when my lips don't utter the word.)

But I keep reading this:

Even as we slog through the trials, persecutions, irritations, temptations, distractions, apathy, & just plain weariness of this world, the gospel points us to heaven where our King Jesus — the Lamb of God who was crucified in our place & raised gloriously from the dead — now sits interceding for us. Not only so, but it calls us forward to that final day when heaven will be filled with the roaring noise of millions upon millions of forgiven voices hailing him as crucified Savior and risen King.” --Greg Gilbert

Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Yes, Lord and Thank You, Jesus.

It makes all of this seem so temporary in the best way possible. Richard and Anne just got to join the roaring noise and start "hailing" a little before me, but we'll do it together again soon. I like that thought. I cherish that thought. I *NEEEEEED* that thought.

To be clear, I am in no hurry whatsoever to say goodbye to ANY MORE OF MY FRIENDS! (Make it stop.) I'm praying against this awful disease with ALL of my heart. But whatever it is God is doing that I don't understand and probably never will, I do understand this: He's building his kingdom. With many of my friends. Some already singing in glory. Others possibly not far from glory. And then the rest of us who will just have to wait. But all of us ultimately within those millions of forgiven voices. So comforting. And somehow less abrupt than the thought of death. There's no permanent break here. We're just worshiping in different places for a little while. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but for me, it is pretty much the one and only thread keeping my rapidly unraveling heart pulled together.

Will you pray with me for Natalie, Jerry and Daisy? (I'm being stingy with details on purpose, but God will know.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Good List 5-7-14

10. A couple weeks ago a message from my brother-in-law asking for restaurant recommendations in Nashville caused us to start thinking about and missing some of our favorite places there. Amerigo's was pretty close to the top of the list, mainly because of the cedar smoked sea bass (BEST) and the ridiculously delicious cheese fritters. But no worries. Last night I made some cheese fritters, and may I brag for just a moment? Let's just say we don't really miss Amerigo's so much anymore. :-D

9. Macy's school hosted a contest recently during which all students were given a list of 4 books to read and told they would be entered into a drawing for a Nook for each book they completed and summarized. The "drawing" for the Nook was at the end of last week, but since Macy was the only student to read all 4 books, they just handed it to her. Pretty funny. Also: YAY for a free nook!
8. The Amazing Spiderman 2. I doubt it will win any awards, but it sure was fun to watch!
7. Brand new baby kitties. This one is 3 days old.

6. Macy's latest artwork. 

5. Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies. Zero flour. Zero sugar. Alllllll of the deliciousness. Here's the recipe:

1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Mix all of these ingredients together well, especially making sure honey is well-incorporated (otherwise, your cookies will turn to lace).

Add 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and 2/3 cups finely chopped roasted almonds.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. 

They are not the prettiest cookies I've ever made, but they are mostly guiltless and entirely YUMMY!

4. The fact that Vermont turns every shade of green (and LUSHLY so) you can possibly imagine in the spring. So fresh and beautiful.
3. The great care and patience Grace is taking in putting together the perfect gift for Macy's upcoming birthday. So sweet.
2. A clean and freshly stocked refrigerator. IT'S LIKE A PLAYGROUND!!!!!
1. GOOD NEWS regarding my sweet little foster niece, Lilly! It's a very long story, which I will likely expand upon soon, but for now, just please continue in prayer for my sister and her family and sweet baby Lilly as they navigate all kinds of meetings and legal issues in the coming weeks in an effort finally to become Lilly's FOREVER FAMILY. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Adventures of BeckBeck and JoJo

Four years ago yesterday, it was finally time for me to move from Nashville to Vermont (where my family had already been living for 9 months.) My sister Jody flew to Nashville to make the drive with me, and it was pretty much my favorite road trip ever (or at least so far). My Dad wanted to "follow" us as we traveled, so rather than have him worry and call us every 20 minutes, we talked him into joining twitter and promised to post frequent updates so that he could see we were safe and sound and making progress. Surprisingly, he readily agreed.

And without any other context than that, here is our chronological twitter diary of the adventure, much of which will likely make no sense at all to you, but it makes me giggle A LOT, and maybe it will at least amuse you. We'll see. . . ;-)

April 26th:

Dear TN, KY, OH, PA, NY and VT--my sister Jody and I will be road tripping through you this weekend. I apologize in advance.

April 30th:

12:41pm: Got our Vibrams and our Giddy-up hats--READY TO RIDE!!!

3:11pm: My first pair of Vibrams. I might be in love.

3:20pm: Full disclosure: I would totally make fun of anyone else for acting the way we have thus far today.

3:25pm: Jody: "I feel like I'm carrying a Kung Pao baby."

4:02pm: We do not feel welcome in Kentucky, for there is no sign telling us we are so.

4:21pm: Traveling tunes. Yes.

4:38pm: This. Yes.

6:02pm: Just hung out with a bunch of bats in a very cold cave on purpose. Don't ask. (But also: it was pretty awesome.)

6:58pm: This is happening. Don't judge us.

7:25pm: Jo dropped shades in field, then page of directions flew out the window. Leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail but not sure which way to go. ;-)

7:44pm: Hey, someone tell us where a Bucee's is along the way. Anyone?

7:55pm: 'Cause you gotta have a little Don Williams in the mix.

9:11pm: Not sure if Ohio welcomed us or not, 'cause it's dark. Also: I don't really get the point of Ohio.

9:14pm: Oh, wait. Here we go. Thanks, Ohio.

9:15pm: Jo says she's pretty sure the 24oz. coffee she just drank will help her give birth to her Kung Pao baby (in case anyone was worried.)

9:28pm: I'm pretty sure we're going to Columbus, IN. Our GPS doesn't get the point of Ohio either.

9:37pm: Muscatatuck? Seriously? This is a real place?

9:41pm: Jody: "I'm tellin' you right now if we break down by corn, I'm out."

May 1st:

1:06am: Dad would be so proud. We're listening to all the songs (on our iPod) that he used to listen to (on 8-tracks).

1:42am: Jody: "I'm just gonna say, 'Sir, I didn't know how to make a left there. Your road system is very confusing.'"

2:06am: Goodnight. And thank you Hampton for the Cloud 9 bedding.

10:34am: She rides again.

10:57am: Really? Still?

11:49am: Stalking the PDGA tourney:

12:22pm: Courtesy of Rachel McRae. Southern girls represent!

12:28pm: Dear Taurus, the role of owner of the road has already been filled. Scoot over.

1:46pm: Ashamed that this is officially the first Journey song we've listened to on our journey. That is wrong. I apologize.

1:52pm: Jo says Mama needs some cheese. I hope they have some here. (I know this picture is terrible, but it says "Cheese Barn" in ginormous letters on top of the roof. This is "Grandpa's Cheese Barn.")

2:26pm: Grandpa. Awesome.

2:48pm: Pretty sure we just bought 32 pounds of cheese and 18 pounds of candy.

2:51pm: Jody: "Zagnut, get in my mouth!"

3:10pm: Shamone. (Originally attached to this tweet was a video of Jody singing Michael Jackson while driving, but I could not retrieve it. I can assure you, however, that it was immensely entertaining.)

3:23pm: Stopping here for lunch. (featured on Triple D)

4:04pm: Too late for lunch at Lucky's. Turns out most of the people in Cleveland eat lunch at the same time as the rest of America rather than at 4pm.

4:12pm: Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Yes.

6:51pm: It's entirely possible we're currently driving (our car) on a golf cart path. Long story.

8:19pm: Niagara Falls, here we come! See you tomorrow!

8:42pm: Thanks, Pennsylvania! That's our biggest one yet!

May 2nd:

10:14am: FYI--I am censoring Jody's comments for the faint of heart. You're welcome.

3:43pm: Niagara Falls is a fascinating place.

4:27pm: Don't even act like y'all aren't jealous of the salted caramel truffle that has been sitting on our console since we left Grandpa's. 

4:28pm: It's so rich, we can only take one little nibble at a time. Hence, it has lasted 2 days so far.

6:42pm: Just say no to crack, y'all. Especially the plumber kind. No.

10:14pm: Lady in hotel lobby gave us a once over in our ridiculous hats and Vibrams and wanted to know where we came from.

10:15pm: Without a moment's hesitation, Jody responded: "Space. We came from space."

May 3rd:

9:18am: I just realized this is the first time I've been unemployed since I was 16 years old. I'm not mad about it. :-)

11:02am: Y'all. Upstate New York is all kinds of gorgeous.

1:53pm: Makin' friends with the NY DJs. (Again, I couldn't retrieve the video. Jody and I called in to some radio show in upstate NY and talked to the DJ on the air for about 10 minutes. It was pretty funny, but kind of sad that we were the most interesting thing that he had to offer his audience. :-D)

***Shortly after this, I learned of the terrible flooding that was taking place in Nashville and discontinued tweeting to try to follow up with some of my friends there. 

May 4th:

10:44am: It's good to be home.

12:59pm: I LOVE MY NEW JOB!!!

2:28pm: Welcome home. (This is the view right out of my kitchen window. I'll take it!)