Sunday, July 27, 2014

#1,684 Knee Boarding + Pizza.

Today, after watching Jim do it... I knee boarded.

Tonight, I can't move my arms. Ben tried it, but couldn't keep his balance. We made a video, but there's not much to see.

Hooray for trying new things!

Also, we each ate about 3 pounds of fresh cherries. They're just so good!!!

After the afternoon on the lake, we met for youth at the Baileys' house and Mr. Lawrence's famous brick oven pizza. I've never tasted anything like the pizza he makes from homemade dough and homemade sauce. I so wish you could try it.

The best thing of all is when it's time for dessert... Fresh pizza dough + Nutella + dark chocolate chips + bananas + marshmallows... Fired in the brick oven. It's the finest thing a person can eat, if you ask me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#1,684 Pear Day + Dinner at the Tews.

This is what my day was.
1. Our pear tree made SO many pears again this year. I spent the morning picking them and trying my best to give them away. I kept a lot and made a pear pie (for dinner tonight) and a pear cake with caramel icing, that will be a gift to Mrs. Mary Lynn (from church, whom we bought our house from), because her husband planted the pear tree and it never beared fruit while they lived here.
I'd even say that's her pear tree, so she certainly deserves a cake, right?

2. After taking dinner to the Paces' house in anticipation of Mrs. Ina starting her first round with chemotherapy next week (please pray for this amazing woman—we all love her dearly), we had dinner at Ross and Laura's on their party porch. They got a fancy schmancy new water misting system that kept us cool and mosquito-free, and there were fried green tomatoes. Yum.

#1,683 Distinguished Young Woman.

This morning I had a delicious breakfast compliments of my mama's homemade strawberry fig jam made from figs out of their backyard. It reminded me of the jams and English muffins from Sarabeth's, which made me itch for New York. Just a few more months!

And I spent another day photographing—this time... The super secret custom design commissioned for the November issue of Southern Living's sister magazine, Southern Weddings.

But the very best thing about today was that we spent the evening cheering with Byron and Mary Hannah, youth who were 7th graders when we came to FUMC and in August will start their senior year. I love these two SO much. I can't explain. I also can't think about them leaving us. So I won't.

Mary Hannah's best friend and another of our amazing youth kids, Alexis, is competing at the statewide Junior Miss pageant (now called Distinguished Young Woman) all weekend and we made the hour drive to Meridian to cheer for her in the talent competition tonight.

After a fancy dinner downtown at Weidmann's, Meridian's oldest restaurant...

We made it over to the theatre to see her perform.
Her voice is incredible. You don't expect it when you know her, that when she opens her mouth to sing it's like a voice you've only heard on recordings from the 1930s and 40s, soft but commanding, and full of soul. She sounds very much like Billie Holiday—a ghostly, beautiful voice that you just don't hear in 2014. She sang a slow, gorgeous version of Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald that gave me goosebumps!

And on the drive home, we listened to really loud music and told some really funny stories, and I realized again how lucky we are that Ben's job means getting to be part of these almost-adults' lives, to see them grow and help when we can. I love these people. I can't wait to see what kind of amazing things they will do and the places they will go.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#1,682 Ciao Bella Carmela.

It was another grueling day in the studio waiting on the perfect light, then rushing around to get the perfect photo in the perfect light, then waiting on clouds, rushing, photographing, waiting. Editing. Designing a custom postcard for Spain, shipping 2 orders, updating the website. There was very little to report from my day aside from this—it feels good to work hard and get some stuff DONE.

Like, for instance, you can now find the Carmela invitation suite featured and fully available for ordering on the website:

And also the Mariner:

And also, there are 2 other new designs that are now on the site, ready to go live, but they're invisible to the public until Martha Stewart is in stores on September 1. I'm so excited to share it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#1,681 Cooking Night.

Our supper club that started 5 years ago with a handful of infrequent guests and visitors has been slowly transforming and growing since we began. Then, there was no class for people between ages 20-35, but we had a pot luck supper club and devotional once a month at different FUMC host homes. Last year, we established a Sunday school group called the Adoration Class. And before long, we started meeting for a small group on Wednesday nights after the church family meal, and now we've also started meeting in the church kitchen once monthly to cook a bunch of meals for new parents in the community and the sick and elderly in our church family, then we deliver them whenever the people we're serving would like. Tonight we made Waverly chicken, hamburger pies, and corn casseroles for 6 families. It took 45 minutes, and we had SO much fun...

And now I'm sort of realizing that our group revolves around food.

Waverly Chicken (which is apparently just poppyseed chicken without the poppyseeds) might be my absolute favorite meal in the Laurel FUMC recipe chain, and I really HAVE to share it with you. It makes my mouth water thinking about that creamy, comforting casserole that our church is kind of known for delivering to those who could use a little comforting. Promise me you will make this EASY meal.
Laurel FUMC Waverly Chicken

1 1/4 stick of butter (melted—can be light butter)
2 sleeves of Ritz or Club crackers
8 oz. sour cream (can be light sour cream)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cups boiled (or rotisserie) chicken, shredded
1 can chicken broth

Preheat to 350. Crush the crackers and mix together with melted butter. Put half the crackers in the bottom of a 9 x 9 casserole dish. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, cream of chicken, and chicken broth. Stir the chicken into the sauce and pour over cracker crust. Top with remaining crackers and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

I would like to tell you what a blessing it is to the people we're taking food to, but honestly, I think we're the ones who are feeling it most of all. We're more than a group of random people who sometimes meet at a church thing—now we're a group of friends who have Sunday morning and Wednesday night therapy sessions by telling each other what's going on in our lives, praying for one another, laughing together, cooking together, and eating together. There are about 15 of us Methodists who are always there, with 5-10 visitors who come to everything they can when their own church isn't meeting. It feels so good to see this small seed that was planted in 2009 is bearing fruit in 2014. We're finally doing more than just meeting, but we're actually serving and loving outside of ourselves.

I'll be messing up and figuring things out for the rest of my life, but I'll tell you something. I'm falling more in love with the journey of learning to be a Christian every day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#1,680 Part-Time Photographer.

A few times every year, I get to go a couple doors down to Southern Antiques and gather up all the beautiful little objects my heart desires to borrow for a couple days when I shoot photos of new invitations that get added to the collection. I love the surprises that are hidden all over Andrea's store, antique silver hand mirrors, tiny glass bottles, necklaces with jade stones, antique marbled plates, Italian dinnerware, dried starfish, feather quills, silver forks and spoons, any curiosity I might possibly need to set the stage for any invitation my clients can dream up. Today and tomorrow are photography days at Lucky Luxe and so I have to get there just as the sun is coming up to get the best sunlight for photographing letterpress. It was an early morning, but it was SO much fun!

My tools this morning consisted of so many pretty little things:

And as the sun was just coming up over the town, I was listening to the Decemberists and imagining all the places these invitations will go. Across the ocean, around the world. I considered how very much I love my job, and how very fortunate that makes me.

And after a very long work day that began at 6:30 am and ended at 6:00 pm, I got a text from Mallorie that said "Got stuff to make pizzas!"

We got to their house in the pouring rain, and it feels good to go to a friends' house that feels just as good as being at home, doesn't it? We made little thin crust pizzas with fresh vegetables and olive oil they brought back from Italy, and had dinner on the porch in the cool, breezy, rainy night.

We listened to James Taylor and passed Lucy back and forth between us all while we ate, giving her little bites here and there. We sat on their rocking chairs and porch sofa while the crickets and frogs sang their summer songs, and we talked about our trip to New York and the Berkshires coming up later this year, about the places we want to eat, about ideas for our church, about Israel and Palestine, about Nerd slushes from Sonic, about everything under the sun, until it was time to go home and go to bed. 
I hope you have friendships that make you feel like you're home, no matter where you are. And I hope you have time to sit on a porch and enjoy them.

Monday, July 21, 2014

#1,679 Workin on My Fitness.

Today I started making a real effort to get back to tracking what I'm eating and when I'm exercising with My Fitness Pal, and day 1 was a success. 91 calories under goal with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, waffle fries and homemade mac and cheese on the roster. Gardening, walking and running took care of that, fortunately. Let's see if I can keep it up until (certainly not DURING) our Christmas trip to NYC?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#1,678 A Quick Spin.

Right at sunset, Jim got the wild hair to take his boat out on the lake for a quick spin before dark. And by quick spin, I mean 15 minutes. Really quick.

But 15 minutes on a boat at sunset...

Is better than 15 minutes anywhere else.
The end.
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