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MIA

Life is busy, life is full and as much as I wish for it to slow down sometimes, life is good. Our weekends are filled with friends and family and travels. And our weeks are busy with work and small group and trying to squeeze in some quality time with each other. But time is flying by and I am thankful to enjoy it. Here’s a quick recap of our lives the past few months according to my iphone:

We spent a weekend in October with the Neely family at Pawley’s Island. It always feels good to be near the water. Something about it..

We saw John Legend in concert for the first time. A-mazing. If you get the chance, go. I’m now stalking tour dates because that definitely won’t be the last time.

My dear friend Ashima came to visit & she taught me how to cook Indian food!

And we went to the NC state fair. Note to self: Do not go the state fair on the opening weekend. ever. again.

We fostered this little pup named Tebow – & he melted my heart!

We went to visit these two lovebirds up in NYC.

Spent Thanksgiving down in SC with my parents.

Spent my first Christmas in NC with the Neelys!

Spent some time before Christmas in Blowing Rock with the Neelys.

Spent a weekend in VA beach with my college roomies watching a friend get married.

And most excitingly..

Welcomed this sweet, sweet baby nephew of mine into the world on December 14th. He is a joy and a blessing and we are so thankful for his life.

That’s a pretty short recap for what the past 3 months have entailed. But we will try to not be missing in action from this little blog again!

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Date Shake

When I was younger and lived in Arizona & California, my family would often pass by date farms in southern California when on road trips to different places. And without fail, we would always stop and get a date shake for the road. I’ve always told Ryan about this yummy concoction but last night I decided to recreate it for him. It’s super simple & brought back such good memories.

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I puréed a handful or two of dried, pitted dates with about a cup of milk & then added enough ice cream for the two of us and blended again. Simple.

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Ryan approved. Try it – you’ll like it.

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Praise the Lord

I think the abundance of food we have to eat is so cool.

The different colors, textures, flavors – how awesome is it that God made something we have to do everyday in order to stay alive so much fun?

What a creative God.

If anyone else is like us, they have around 100 cherry tomatoes that are all threatening to ripen at once.  There’s a lot of great stuff you can do with them, but one really easy thing to do is roast them with some balsamic vinegar.   The natural sugars in the tomatoes mixed with the sweetness from the reduced vinegar is straight up awesome.  Mackie and I ate that whole pan.

Roasted Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes or larger tomatoes cut in half
Garlic
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Your choice of herb (basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, oregano, chives, whatever)

Arrange tomatoes in a baking dish (if using whole place them cut side up.)  Add a glug of olive oil and the same amount of vinegar.  Coarsely chop up a clove or so of garlic and toss that in as well.  Add a pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.  If using a more “wood-y” herb like thyme or rosemary, add it in prior to cooking.  If using basil, parsley, mint, chives, etc add after cooking.

Give the tomatoes a stir to get everybody coated and roast at 450 for 20-30 minutes, until tomatoes are softened and the skin is wrinkly.

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Moving into Summer.

The month of June has been somewhat of a whirlwind and I can’t believe it will be July by the end of the week. Does anyone else feel like time goes by faster the older you get? Here’s a quick recap of the past month – it has been super busy, but no complaints here!

We somehow squeezed in a visit to my parents house which always recharges me a little bit –  this time we took Ryan’s sisters along with us.

My mama recently adopted a third stray kitten that she found in my Grandma’s barn – therefore he is named Barnabas aka Barney. He is the wildest kitten I’ve ever met and never really wears himself out to curl up and be sweet. We are trying to slowly introduce Charlie to cats so that one day we might be able to have one and know that he is not going to eat it. He did pretty good! He is just very, very curious. He could care less about squirrels, birds, rabbits, even other dogs – but he is VERY interested in the felines.

Thankfully this little guy isn’t the least bit phased by Charles.

This past weekend we took a 4 day trip to Newport, Rhode Island, where I graduated high school, to attend a dear friend, Faith’s wedding. Of course, I did not get any pictures of the friends I saw. Awesome. I chose not to bring my camera to the wedding because I knew Faith would have some amazing photographers (she IS a wedding photographer herself). Therefore I now have no proof I saw any old friends. Hopefully there will be some pictures of us when she gets her pictures back.

[photography by Peter Silvia]

The wedding was absolutely beautiful and a lot of fun with an awesome photo booth for endless entertainment. The reception was held at Glen Manor House in Portsmouth, RI. So many cute ideas I can’t even name them all. Faith looked gorgeous and I wish her and Jefferson the very best.

Honestly, those things are a lot of fun.

We saw a lot of boats preparing for the TransAtlantic race that started on Sunday from Newport to Lizard’s Point, England..

..toured the Breakers, the Vanderbilt’s  Summer home..

..played on the rocks at Ft. Adams, where I used to live..

hello lil’ 67 Jackson Road!

..found our future home [just looked it up, almost $2 million, dkhjndfjk!!?@!]..

[“Imagine…” HAHA]

.. and took a Sunset Cruise of beautiful Newport.

And now we are back to reality. Until next weekend when we will be going on a mule trip 🙂

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Goodbye Oprah

I have to say, I am going to miss Oprah.  Oprah has been around for as long as I can remember (her show has literally been around for the number of years I have been alive) and though I have not watched her religiously, I feel like she has been a part of my life growing up. She was on the TV many days after I got home from school from a young age up through high school, in college and even now that I’m married and get home a little earlier than the usual working crowd.

I just finished watching the finale of her show and I think she summed it up beautifully, no fancy gift-giving, no special guests, just a heartfelt thank you to her fans and those that inspired and taught her throughout her life. Even her fourth grade teacher was present. And she ended her show with the sentence, “To God be the Glory,” which made it a little sweeter in my eyes.

I am thankful to Oprah for using her fame in a positive way – she is a rare breed for that. I’m thankful that she was not afraid to bring light to certain situations that so desperately needed light shed on them, like sexual abuse, women’s rights and raising consciousness about the war going on in our country right now and the military families involved. I’m thankful that she inspires people around the world to be the best of themselves they can be – to not be afraid to follow their dreams and passions, to intentionally give hope to someone who needs hope. And I am thankful that she recognized and thanked God, because she is right, her life story was not a coincidence.  What’s the secret to “The Oprah Winfrey Show’s” success? “I say my team, and Jesus,” Oprah tells the audience. “Nothing but the hand of God.”

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Alabama & the Southeast Devastation

 

Photo borrowed from the Huffington Post

Please pray for those affected by the tornados that ripped through the Southeast yesterday. The devastation is horrific. I can’t imagine losing every last thing that I own, much less someone I love. Where do you start over? It makes me realize how content I should be with all that I have, not wanting something else every other minute. Even if you don’t have much, you have more than these people that lost everything. Think about giving. You can donate here. Or here. Or American Red Cross or the Salvation Army. And don’t forget to pray that they will find restoration and strength in God to get through this time.

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Easter Weekend

I hope you had a Happy Easter. We went to my parent’s house for the weekend and it was not nearly long enough. It is a hard place to leave. I am already anxious to return.

Even though I have never lived in South Carolina for more than a summer at a time, it always feels like “home” to me.  And the palmettos and live oaks with their Spanish moss just make my heart happy.

We decided, for some unknown reason, that it would be a good idea to take our monster with us. He proved to be extremely neurotic the entire weekend, hyperventilating outside the door staring at us (my mom doesn’t let animals inside the upper floors of the house). The poor thing has terrible separation anxiety – but we have no idea what to do to soothe him. Any suggestions?? We had to zip-tie him in his crate at night with about 20 zip ties. He is inside at night (downstairs) – just not in the same room as us. What a monster.

My parents happened to score an awesome tandem kayak (that matches the tandem bike!) off of craigslist while we were down there. We got to test it out first and it was so much fun and easy to manuever. Next time I may bring a camera with me when we take it out because you can go through little creeks in the marsh that you would never be able to get down in a boat. I’m sure there will be lots more kayak trips in the near future.

My mama impressed me with her new garden. She has quite the green thumb! Hopefully she can pass along some of these skills to me considering I have killed cacti, succulents and rosemary bushes this year, 3 pretty hard plants to kill.

My family definitely knows how to eat. Ryan can vouch for that. They think since he is so big (tall), he is kind of the disposal. He usually is offered (forced) into eating seconds and usually thirds. Typical Southern family. Don’t ask what he is doing in this photo.

That is 4 generations right there. Pretty cool, huh? Little JT (Jonathan Tanner) is the newest member of our clan and he is VERY loved. He belongs to my cousin Rachael and her husband David. We are blessed. I hope you all had a Happy Easter and I will leave you with this quote that my father-in-law passed along to me:

“I still can’t help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where … is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time — possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father’s shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father’s shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing — the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived — all of them put together. How do we explain that — unless He really was what He said He was?” –President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

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