Morning in a New Place.

Last night some of our wonderful friends made a delightful job out of moving us into the new apartment. I had my doubts, but we got so much done. All I have to do today is pack up the kitchen. Our first night in our new home was great, and we woke up to gorgeous light permeating the whole place. Cozy is a good word to describe it. When we walked out the door this morning Lucia, our landlords' 7 year-old daughter poked her head out the back door to greet us. So friendly! We have a long way to go to be totally settled in here, but we did it! (funny story of the woes of not being quite moved in: we ran by the old place this morning to get some things, we had the shower curtains and towels here, and the toiletries and soap there, etc. Well, I grabbed the french press, coffee, sugar, and half and half so I could have a morning caffeinated treat. When I got back over here I realized I had forgotten the tea kettle, so I warmed the water in the microwave. Which worked out ok. Then I poured the coffee and started to add sugar. Until I realized my sugar was flour. Oh man! Determined, I added some diet coke to sweeten it up. Bad idea. I'll be checking out the Crestwood coffee shop soon. ) And now for the tour.

I'm not totally sold on this furniture arrangement. We'll see.
Everything still to be set up, but I LOVE how cozy our bedroom will be!

There is a tiny stove and a big pantry closet behind the refrigerator. The kitchen is going to be the biggest adjustment, as it is a lot smaller and has no upper cabinets. We'll figure out a way to add shelving or something.

There is a washer/dryer laundry closet in the bathroom.
and now, the reason why the rest of the place looks relatively peaceful . . . the spare bedroom, which will become an office/ craft room!
The best part? Getting to do this with my wonderful, best friend, husband! We have really loved making these decisions together and really knowing that "home" is in each other, not in a place. It's been an opportunity for the Lord to illuminate how much over these seven months he has grown us and hewn off some of those rough edges to make us fit together into one! We are so THANKFUL for such sweet grace!


We might be CRAZY.


Because two weeks ago the thought hadn't really occurred to us,

and tomorrow we're moving into a new apartment!


These are the reason's I keep telling myself when the thought occurs to me, Are we crazy? Why are we doing this?
  • Saving over $150 a month for perfectly adequate, cute little carriage house apartment (I'll give more details about the place with pictures tomorrow.)
  • Our current landlord leans towards the sketchy end of the spectrum, and hasn't given us a lease.
  • And really, most importantly, though we don't completely understand it, we feel like this is where God is drawing our hearts. We'll be in walking distance to where RCC meets (on 7th Ave. S), part of the Crestwood community that is basically ground zero for our church, and close to the Woodlawn and Avondale areas that we would love to serve. We want our lives to be intertwined with this community, and with these open doors, moving there seems a great place to start. 
With that said, If anyone wants to help, especially tomorrow evening, we could definitely use it! We decided to scramble in there before we leave for Thanksgiving to avoid paying two rents for December. Tomorrow night we'll specifically need a strong man or two to help Keith with the furniture, and if anyone is free Wednesday during the day, I'll be packing up more stuff and settling in a bit. We'll provide pizza and beverages of choice!


.In the Woods.

We like to be in the woods. Especially with lots of friends and campfire games involved. Last weekend was a colder, wetter one than expected, but we survived, and it was more than worth it. We've decided to make it a new goal to go camping at least 4 times a year. Last weekend we went to Cheaha State Park, a beautiful place on the ridge of a mountain. Supposedly home to the highest point in Alabama. Highlights included 15 of our friends joining us, 3 of them getting lost in the dark, 2 of them going on a rescue mission in the dark, "hobo packs" for dinner, burning shoes and socks on the fire (accidently, some still on feet), heated rounds of mafia, and Cracker Barrel in the morning.


An excuse.

I have not posted in many days.

Why, you ask?

Because I have some really great pictures from camping, and the internet in our apartment isn't working, so I can't post them.

And when I say "the internet in our apartment," I mean the only signal that reaches us that doesn't require a password. Yet I feel strangely like I deserve this obscure signal, and I'm a little put out by it's sudden unavailability. Maybe I'll bring my laptop over to 1701 tonight and use their internet, and then we can get this blogging thing back on track.

Another reason is that I'm quite busy at work these days. That's right. It's kind of nice. I listen to This American Life and Speaking of Faith while I work. Don't make me tell you again to listen to these shows. They are amazing.

The holidays make the weeks fly, and we have two major road trips on the near horizon. One this weekend to Keith's grandpa's farm outside of Statesboro, GA and then up to VA to see Katie and Donnie and sweet Catherine for Thanksgiving. And thankful we are!

That's all . . . see you soon. 


Soup-of-the-Week: Tortilla Soup for 20

(image from 101cookbooks.com. Forgot my camera)
This week's soup of the week was another Cooking Light recipe for Tortilla Soup. This time I followed the recipe exactly, and it was delicious. Just like in Mexican restaurants. The recipe was supposed to make approximately 18 servings, so I figured I would be okay making it for our weekly Monday night "Family Dinner," which usually boasts between 8 to 15 people. I'm not sure exactly how many precious friends graced the table this week, but the pot was completely empty with about 3 people left eating leftover lasagna. (Sorry guys!) Nevertheless, It was, as always, a wonderful evening. I love our Birmingham "family" so much. If you live in the Birmingham area and have never made it out to monday night Family Dinner, the invitation is always open. Just call me first to see where it is that week.

In other news:
 Do you guys listen when I give you things to listen to? Well, a) you should, and b) after you listen to this one, you must talk to me about it. This American Life is my favorite NPR podcast. A couple weeks ago they had an episode, the first act of which was about Harlem Children's Zone in NYC and a project called "Baby College." A guy who grew up in Harlem, and later in life raised a family in the Suburbs, realized that the parenting culture is completely different in the two worlds. He started this program in Harlem that works with children and parents from birth all the way through chartered and incredibly involved pre-k, kindergarten, elementary, and high schools to college. His theory, which had Ira Glass completely convinced by the end of the segment, is that if we focus on children, especially in very early developmental stages of life, poverty can be completely stopped in one generation. It was really remarkable. 

The rest of the show also features a great musician we went to see on Monday night at Workplay named David Berkley. Check him out too.

Happy Wednesday!


Weekend: A birthday (or two) and a wedding.

This is going to be primarily a photographic representation of a great weekend. Keith's birthday was a hit, and the celebration continues all the way into a fabulous camping trip next weekend. Also, friends, fall, and bubbles make lots of fun for taking pictures. Not pictured were the apple oven pancake I made on Saturday morning, and the Bisquick quiche I made yesterday morning. Both delicious and so easy. You should try them. I can feel the holiday pace picking up, which is fun, but we're bearing down for a busy couple of months. I love it! 


A possible picture of the current landscape of my mind

Something profound my husband said today...

(an image from La Tartin Gourmande {recommended by Stephanie} of a dish I want to try soon.)
"I feel we have been fed fast food our whole lives and we're ready to have the hardy, home cooked meal of true community. We want to live radical lives, and I use the word radical because it means 'to the core' or 'the essence of life.'"
(In case you're wondering how he got to be so wise and profound, it may have something to do with his very recent birthday. Happy 24th to Keith!)


Soup-of-the-Week: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

Last night was round one of my soup-a-week culinary adventure. The results were quite delicious. Hopefully through this process I'll figure out how to photograph the food in a way that might actually make it appear as appetizing as it tastes despite the awful light in my kitchen. On to the good stuff...

(just click the link to view the recipe from Cooking Light)
Things I loved: Creamy, warm and cozy goodness. Though it seemed a little weird, adding a few chunks of Velveta cheese at the end really gave the soup a delightful creamy texture and added flavor. Keith and Ryan, my lovely tasters, raved about it. I served it with a crusty roasted garlic loaf of bread.

Things I changed: I added celery with the garlic and onions and shredded carrots with the potatoes. I also sprinkled in some red pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and garlic salt to taste (personally, I think these additions enhanced the dish a lot). I also only used significantly less cheese, adding a few cubes at a time until it was right.

Things I'll do different next time: I could only find wild rice blends with too small of a proportion of wild rice to regular rice. I would have liked more wild rice, so next time i'll try to hunt that down, or just cook the kind that takes a long time. 


Some free things you can get after you VOTE.

(by flicker user chocolate monster mel)
(though, unfortunately, not a pint)

(I recommend Thanksgiving blend)

And I heard that if you bring a campaign sign to Chick-fil-a tomorrow, they'll give you a free sandwich.


And speaking of voting, I just loved seeing all the faces of my neighborhood in one place. We stood in  line with the curator of the Birmingham Museum of Art and a young, fit, mother of triplets. They were delightful. 

Oh, and by the way...
You can vote however you like!


Goodbye Sunshine

Alas, autumn daylight savings time has come and gone, giving us a meagre extra hour of sleep in exchange for greedily gobbling up our precious, waning daylight. I am pained at the thought of leaving work today in the dark. Though there is not a bright side to this sad event, we do try to look for the positive, and the Birmingham Davises have declared a new season of coziness. Determined to overcome the depressing lack of vitamin D, we will pile on an extra dose of worn and cozy blankets, hot beverages abounding in sturdy mugs, hoodies, seasonal movies, and socks. I'm also thinking about making a soup a week (there are so many recipes I want to try.) So treasure those few hours of sunshine and blue november sky while you will, and then hunker down and snuggle up.

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light,
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.
~Wendell Berry, To Know the Dark


Saturday Work, Sabbath Rest.

They pulled weeds, I took pictures. All in a day's work.  

Today . . . rest.
Enjoy your Sabbath

Exodus 16:23
 he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning."

(Looking forward to more from Exodus 16 tonight at Redeemer.)


100th post.

Life is good.
(click for a larger view)