Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What Would We Do Without Them? No, Really!!

At Trinity, we have the most amazing ministry (we actually have a lot of amazing things but this one affects my job a lot!!)  We have a group that we lovingly call, "The Joseph Ministers."  I went to Wikipedia for a short description so you  might understand.

"According to Mark 15:43, he was an "honorable counselor (bouleut─ôs), meaning a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who was waiting for the kingdom of God". Matthew 27:57 described this Joseph as a rich man and disciple of Jesus. According to John 19:38, upon hearing of Jesus' death, this secret disciple of Jesus, "went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus". Pilate, after a centurion confirmed the death, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46) and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body of Jesus down from the cross. There, according to John 19:39, Joseph and Nicodemus took the body, wrapped it in the fine linen, and applied the myrrh and aloes Nicodemus had brought. The disciples then conveyed the prepared corpse to the place previously bought for Joseph's own tomb, a man-made cave hewn from rock in a garden of his house nearby. This was done speedily, "for the Sabbath was drawing on". Luke 23:50–56 also mentions the event."

There are about 15 folks in this group and when a church member dies, an email is sent to Ann, the head of the group.  You need to know that all of these folks have a servant's heart -- they do this -- not because they are getting paid - they don't get paid!  They do this because they love God, they love His church, and they want to serve where they are gifted.

This group has worked faithfully over the past 12 months (since I've been in the new job role -- Mary, my predecessor created this group).  We have had so many deaths this year.  In a church the size of ours, there can definitely be a lot of deaths in one year.  This group arrives at the church before the family.  They put out Kleenexes and make sure there is water and/or coffee for the family.  They put out the funeral paraments.  They "host" as guests arrive for the visitation.  They do WHATEVER is needed for each funeral/memorial service. They do it all - in soft soothing voices - with smiles on their faces - with no complaints.  They are an amazing group of folks!!  They even have plans to expand and they are trying to recruit some volunteer pall bearers.  DID YOU KNOW that if you are and older person and you don't have friends or family who can be pall bearers, you can RENT pall bearers?  I want you to know that I just googled "rent pall bearers" in every way that I could rephrase it and I can't find anything on line but I KNOW that the funeral home will help you rent some - I think it is $50 per person.  If our Joseph Ministers could include pall bearers, it would help a lot of folks.

A couple of months ago, after our umpteenth funeral, I asked the ministers if we could host a lunch for these wonderful folks.  The preachers readily agreed and so the process began.  We picked a date, put it on the calendars of all the ministers, mailed an invitation to each Joseph minister, booked a caterer, made some decorations and gathered some favors (Mark even helped with the favors!!).

Thank you banner (I've been a banner making machine over the last few months).

The favors were boxes of tea bags with a star tag - on the tag were these words, "You are TEArrific."  We also had mugs (to be used for tea later) filled with a bright and colorful bedding plants (Mark helped cram those plants into the cups!)

I bought the mugs at the dollar tree and it was graduation week and the colors for the local highschool are black and ORANGE so I was able to pick up 12 of those cute star balloons on sticks. I love that stiff floral type ribbon for this kind of project.  I think I found it at Walmart and it just ties up into such a nice bow.

We ordered the food from Char House Catering and it was quite yummy and very reasonable.  I would highly recommend them.  There was only one problem with the order - I had ordered coconut pie and some other pie and they sent carrot cake instead.  I imagine someone else was enjoying our pies as we enjoyed the cake.

I failed to take pictures of the actual PEOPLE!!  I put my phone up when I went into "hostess" mode.  I've asked one of the ladies who was there to share some with me.  If and when she does, I'll add them.  These folks are precious Christians . . .and they are living their faith and helping others when they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  Pretty cool ministry!  Pretty cool folks! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

The last hurrah . . .almost!

Wanted to document this last event for Andy and Dawn.  Our church hosted a reception for them on a Sunday afternoon.  It is amazing to me that a gym can be transformed into such a lovely space.  I understand it took HOURS of work to hang all that white cloth - surely they were on a Geni lift.  Thank God for young people!!  I thought it was also cool how they hung two chandeliers from the ceiling with chains.  Those chandeliers added a touch of elegance to the church gym!!

Using shutters, they set up a "receiving" area for Andy and Dawn.  I simply hugged their necks and continued to tell them that I was in denial.  I think there were about 500 people who came to the reception.  The committee served cheese straws (the ones made by the man from East Lake UMC - they are delicious!!), petit fours and fruit.  I have no clue if there was other food or not!

Speaking of the food served . . .I love Petit fours.  Have I ever shared that with you?  I LOVE petit fours!!  Since the reception was on Sunday afternoon and our goal was to be the first people in line (Mark's back was killing him and standing in a long line on hard floor is not the best medicine!! - heck - who am I kidding?  Those who know Mark know that we had to hurry up and get there so we could hurry up and leave!  Our life motto :-) ) . . .where was I - I lost my place!  We had just eaten lunch so I wasn't hungry, so I didn't eat anything - not even a petit four - at the reception.  On Monday or Tuesday, some of my co-workers went down to the kitchen and scored a box of petit fours and a bag of cheese straws for the office.  THESE ARE SERIOUSLY the best petit fours ever!!  They were very different - not the same kind of icing as normal petit fours and they had filling in them!! (I think they said the petit fours came from Magic Muffin in Cahaba Heights)

Andy preached his last sermon on June 7.  He came by the office on Monday, the 8th to turn in his keys.  As he sat down in the chair across from me, I immediately started telling him (just like he was still my preacher!!) that I had not expected physical pain.  I imagine many of us in the church - though we are so very excited about the future - are still experiencing some grief.  He was the pastor to us for 18 years.  It is hard to turn that off in a moment.
Now then . . .we are on to the future.  Can't wait to see what God is going to do at Trinity UMC in and through Brian Erickson.  I'm so excited that I get to be a tiny part of this exciting future!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hodge Podge Wednesday

1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?  We have three porches – does that count as “outdoors” – we actually ate watermelon on the front porch on Sunday afternoon!  I plan to spend as much of Saturday as possible floating around the neighborhood pool.

2. What's a current hot button issue for you? well . . .I'm so sad about the church shooting in Charleston.  I know this probably sounds stupid and naive but I just wish we could all get along.  I wish for a world where those who need help can get help.  I wish for a world where "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight" could be real.

3. What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house? Peanut M&M's or Fritos - both are dangerous foods in our house.  I usually only buy them if we are entertaining . . .and then we only have left overs!!

4. How hot is too hot?  Today, perhaps?  It is so hot in Alabama this week.  We also have high humidity so when you walk outside, you immediately begin to sweat.  Our air conditioners are all running as hard as they can run . . .and we find it difficult to cool spaces.  We went in a store around 5:30 p.m. yesterday and the sun was shining directly in their front windows.  INSIDE the store, with their air conditioner running, EVERYONE in the store was sweating.

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?  I think I might.  I've never thought of my outlook in those terms before but I tend to be a creative person.  I tend to see colors - like the variety of greens - from pale yellow green to deep dark green.  I want to live life to its fullest - not wasting a moment.

6. What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father? Oh daddy - I would love to ask you all sorts of questions.  What was it like when you were growing up?  What was it like when you were raising us?  What was it like when momma died?  What was it like when you became a pawpaw?  What should I do about multiple things (too many to list)?  My mom died when I was a sophomore in high school and my dad died when I was 25.  I would love to have some adult conversations with them.  I would love to know all sorts of things. (not too long before he died - I'm on the right and Becky is on the left)

7. Something you learned from your father?  Gosh - that is hard.  He has been dead for longer than I knew him.  He taught me how to drive a stick shift!  I bought it and had no clue how to drive it and I jumped it and jerked it over to his house and he taught me how to drive it that very evening.  He also taught me to love.  I always knew that my daddy loved me - even when he was mad at me - even when he told me that my jeans were too tight!  I knew that I was loved.  He also taught me that there are a whole lot of things we do in life because they are the RIGHT thing to do.  Someone had died and I didn't want to go to the funeral home.  Daddy said that he didn't want to go either but that we were going because it was THE RIGHT thing to do.  That is a simple example but that advice has carried over into my adult life.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. So, I had planned to blog every day.  What happened to that?  My sister has been visiting and I've enjoyed spending time with her.  I'm ready for a vacation.  We have a mini trip planned to Savannah and Charleston and I'm looking forward to that!! (sorry - that was several random thoughts!!)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's almost time for her to come back to work now!

The other day, I loaded a bunch of pictures onto my blog and I'm trying to make myself write a little every day.  Seems like a good summer goal (which will last a couple of weeks!!).  Now if this were back in the day when I could sign up for the summer reading program - heck, I would be all over it.  I wanted the award every summer for reading THE most books.  The beauty was that we had to walk to the library . . .we had to walk every where we went or we had to ride our bikes . . .so if we sat around reading, we were also getting our exercise!  Sorry for the tangent (those of you who know me well aren't surprised at all!!).

So what is this post about?  This post is about my friend, Marie and her baby boy, Oliver!

Let me tell you about Marie.  She is a lot younger than I am.  She took over my last job when I moved into this job.  She and I have so many things in common that it sort of freaked us out when I was training her.  One of would start telling a story about ourselves and the other one would go, "Oh my gosh -- me, too!" (or some words like that!!)  It is fun to work with younger folks who keep me young.  Marie is one of those younger folks!!

So, after working here a few months, Marie had a surprise.  She found out she was pregnant with her second child.  When they found out that it was a little boy, they picked out the name, Oliver.  I think that is such a cute name.

We planned a baby shower for her and I made the banner to hopefully go with the colors she had in the nursery.  I had no idea that she had a little bit of a jungle theme going -- and I used Monkeys!!

I thought it turned out really cute.  The white board cabinet made a great hanging background.

I had hosted a baby boy shower for another friend recently so I had yards and yards of tulle - green and blue so I just brought it on to work.

Ann picked up balloons and they worked perfectly.  I had used puff balls on my mantle and I brought those along - easy decorations to transport.  We had to do something to spruce up the staff conference room.

Everyone brought brunch type food items.  We had some yummy food that day.  Donna made some of the best strawberry bread that I have ever had!!  I made a new breakfast casserole that was so incredibly easy.  One of the ingredients is a bag of seasoned croutons!  We had fruit and sweet rolls and bagels and all sorts of deliciousness.  
Marie, as the guest of honor, got to serve her plate first!!

The office usually buys the parents a gift card to some place and then several others usually buy small gifts so that the mom (or dad) has a few gifts to open.  I think Marie is the last pregnant person (in the office) for a while -- babies seem to run in cycles!  Maybe there really is something to that old saying about "don't drink the water!!"  (I'm way too old :-))  

Marie will be back at work in a week or so - we sure have missed her!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Taste of This and a Taste of That

I wanted to share a couple of recipes with y'all.  I made these appetizers to take over to Glenn and Lauren's one night.  They were a hit.  I can't take original credit for either recipe.  I asked for each of these recipes after I ate them at a social function.

My friend, Ruth Ann's husband, Fred made these sandwiches for a meeting I attended.  I loved them and made them by the original recipe one time.  On this occasion, I had a whole lot of freshly grilled pork tenderloin left over and I did not want it to go to waste.

I actually weighed the pork tenderloin because the original recipe calls for a set amount of meat and I had no way to judge how much I had chopped.

The recipe is originally from Southern Living and is called Hot Roast Beef party sandwiches.  I guess mine are Hot Party Sandwiches!!

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts 
2 (9.25-oz.) packages dinner rolls (I used Hawaiian rolls) 
1 cup peach preserves 
1/2 cup mustard-mayonnaise blend (I used Durkee’s – it is hard to find – got it at the Piggly Wiggly) 1 1/2 pounds leftover grilled pork tenderloin – chopped in the mini food processor 
3/4 pound thinly sliced Havarti cheese (tell them to slice it as thin as possible) 
Salt and pepper to taste (optional) 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread walnuts onto a cookie sheet or pan and roast for about 10 minutes. If you smell them, check them before the 10 minutes – do not burn!! (don’t turn oven off if you plan to cook sandwiches now – simply reduce heat to 325.) 

2. Remove rolls from packages. (Do not separate rolls.) Cut rolls in half horizontally, creating 1 top and 1 bottom per package. Spread preserves on cut sides of top of rolls; sprinkle with walnuts. Spread mustard-mayonnaise blend on cut sides of bottom of rolls; top with pork tenderloin and cheese (overlap cheese slices). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover with top halves of rolls, preserves sides down, and wrap in aluminum foil. (at this point, the sandwiches can be cooked using the directions below or you can wrap them tightly in foil and place back in plastic bags and freeze until needed) 

3. Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice around each roll (use a sharp pointed knife or a serrated bread knife). I wrapped back in foil after I sliced them to keep them warm until we got to the party.

I don't think I took a picture of the finished sandwiches!!  I'm so sorry . . .so now we are up to recipe number two.  My best friend makes this recipe and my family loves it.  It was all gone after the party, just like the sandwiches.

This is called Chunky Cheese Spread (or dip).
8 ounces Cheddar Cheese - shredded (works best if you shred your own but pre-shredded will work in a pinch
2 cups pecans, chopped
4-6 green onions, chopped (the recipe calls for me - this is all I put)
1 Tablespoon Hellman's Mayo (recipe calls for 1 tsp but to me, it needs a little more to help it bind)
1 jar jalapeno jelly (pictured above)

Mix cheese, pecans, onions and mayo together.  Spread in a pie plate or quiche dish.  I have used the same quiche dish every time I have ever made this and the dish is at least 30 years old (wedding present!!)  I had cooked for Marie (at work - had a baby) and she had my dish so I bought a clear pie plate pictured below.  It worked well.

After I mix the cheese, pecans, onions and may together, I spread it in the pan.  I then take a piece of waxed paper and lay it on top of the mixture and kind of smooth it down.  Don't put the jelly on yet.  Cover and chill for at least two hours (you can make ahead and chill overnight - or probably up to a couple of days).

Before serving, spread the whole jar of jelly all over the top of the cheese mixture.  Serve with townhouse crackers.  You need a sturdy cracker and you need a little server knife thing a ma bob.  This will disappear in a hurry!!

Last but not least, last night for our young adults, we had a hot dog bar and it was a huge success.  I served slaw and chips and several dips and watermelon and dessert.  I had a million little bowls of toppings and chili in a crockpot and cheese in another crock pot.  I whipped out a few descriptions and printed on card stock and placed on a stand.  Most people just piled stuff on!

Monday, June 8, 2015

house tour - master bedroom - at the end of year one!

We moved into this house almost a year ago -- we closed on June 17 and moved in that night.  I don't remember ever being that tired in my life.  It was hot as hades and even though we paid a moving company, we still worked hard.  When we arrived at closing, due to a clause in our contract,we had to be totally out of our house.  The moving company arrived and loaded up everything the day before closing.  Seems like they came on a Sunday!  We filled an entire moving van -- after already giving away tons of stuff to places like Community Furniture Bank and the Salvation Army store.  We didn't want to pay for another truck to be stored over night so we thought to ourselves, "surely we can get the remainder of this stuff in our car and truck."  Just FYI - after sleeping on a blow up mattress and cleaning our way out of the house, we left an entire MOUNTAIN at the curb - what wouldn't fit in our vehicles went down to the street.  I hope some pickers came through and found some treats!!  Our cars looked like the Clampett vehicle on steroids.  I even left some plants for the new owners because they WOULD NOT fit.  Sorry - I just had to think back for a few minutes!  So here we are - almost a year later.  Are we finished? NO!  Will we ever be finished?  Probably not.  We both tend to have a simple style - we don't like a lot of tchotchkes (small baubles or miscellaneous items - just in case you didn't know that word!!).  We also like warmer colors than are in style right now, but who cares?  We love it! So . . .
here is the Master Bedroom.  We have tiny windows on that side of the house because it overlooks the neighbor's courtyard.  Our entire street is designed this way and I really like it.
Our wall color is by Sherwin Williams - it is called Quiver Tan SW6151.  We had all egg shell paint in our last home but we weren't smart enough to tell the builder that we would pay extra for egg shell paint in this house. Don't you hate that - hindsight is so much better than having to make a quick decision.
We re-used the sleigh bed that was in our daughter's room in our previous home.  The duvet cover is from Pottery barn and there is a big E monogram in the center.  The lamps are from Lamps Plus.  The bedside tables were our old ones and I spray painted the handles to bronze (from gold). You can check out the how to here.

The pillows on the bed all came from At Home (formerly Garden Ridge).  Two of the pillows on the red bench came from there also - the little E pillow came from pottery barn.  You can't really see the flooring but it is hardwood - Weathered Saddle by Shaw Pebble Hill.  The floor drives Mark nuts but I love it.  He sees every nick and flaw.  I just enjoy.  Our daughter painted the picture on the wall when she was 7 - 20+ years ago.  Our decorator (years ago at the other house) actually asked where that piece of cool art came from!  You can't see it without  enlarging the picture, but on the far bed side table, there is a piece of wood with an angel on it.  Two of our Tuesday night girls gave it to me.

We re-used our old dresser but hung a picture over it rather than a mirror.  I painted the frame on one of our old pictures (everything we had was GOLD!) and I also re-purposed and repainted the buffet lamps - they were in our dining room at the last house.  The little green bowl on the dresser was made by one of my children in a ceramics class at church - a million years ago.  The mirror and desk in the corner are antiques that we have had - from various family members on Mark's side of the family.  We bought several chairs like the one at the desk at Southeastern Salvage (note the red pillow in that chair, too!)  That place is a gold mine.  Even Mark likes to shop there!!  I store envelopes in the cubby on the left top of the desk and I have some commentaries on the right side - along with an angel and a picture frame.  I'm pretty sure this little piece of furniture was considered a writing desk but it works great for a tablet or laptop now!

I LOVE this little red bench.  We thought that all of our furniture was not going to fit in the new house but because this house is shaped differently, we've actually have had to buy a few new pieces (which has been fun!).  I found this little red bench at Hoover Antique Gallery.  The people there are very nice - it is sort of "booths" - different people selling.  They will let you walk around and browse as long as you want.  I bought that furry pillow because it made me happy.  Yes, it did (and still does!!)

The master bathroom adjoins the bedroom.  We continued the same wall color into the bathroom.  You can't see this cool architectural feature in this picture.  Above the lights over the sinks, there is a ledge made of molding.  It looks really cool.  By the way, I have never dusted up there before . . .I probably should, shouldn't I?  The counters are crema marfil (look sort of like marble) and the cabinets are painted Danbury Taupe. The floor in this room is really neat.  It is Tumbleweed Beige - the pieces are 6" by 24" and they are laid like hardwood - but they are tile.  (you can see the tile in the picture down below of the toilet).
Our shower actually won an award on the parade of homes last year.  Just FYI - no one has ever used the bathtub.  Isn't that sad?  You can see the red towel on the right hand wall.  I've used small touches of red against that paint and in the bedroom and I really like the pop.  We had plantation shutters installed throughout the house.  Since I have such horrible allergies, I'm not supposed to have a lot of fabric in each room . . .so no curtains!!
The metal artwork was something that we had somewhere in our old house.  Once again - re-purposing!!

We share a walk in closet.  We've never had to share a closet before.  We are still married.  Some people might not be able to survive sharing a closet.  We are not that neat.  You can see toilet paper on the top shelf and towels stacked in bins on the shelf.  Our house doesn't have a pantry or a linen closet.  Why????  Surely a man designed the floor plan.  Those are my some of my shirts in the bottom left corner.  I try to keep all my shirts sorted by color group!

I hate to end our tour with a picture of the potty (though we have really used it a lot!!)  There is a little separate room in the big bathroom just for the potty.  I have a kitty cat toilet paper holder (bought it after we had to have our SNUG put to sleep last year).  Pretty sure I bought it at bed bath and beyond.  The angel was a gift many years ago.  I tend to keep a few devotion books in the bathrooms . . . you never know when you might need a short (or long!) read!

So there you have it - one room of our abode.  We still need more artwork.  I just keep looking!!  I almost found something on Saturday.  It was a giant wooden fish.  We have this huge expanse of wall upstairs and it would look so cool there BUT IT WASN'T BIG enough!!  I decided to do this home tour because my daughter-in-law, over at Simply Free, started a home tour and I thought it sounded like a fun idea.  I'll have to decide what room to tour next.  I would love to see some of your decorating ideas in your bedrooms and bathrooms!  I can't compete with my boss - he just made special princess beds for his daughters and they even have hidden doorways behind the bookcases!!  You pull on a book and the bookcase opens - just like in an old movie!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2015


I guess it is time to write this post . . today was Andy's last official day in the office.  He will preach his last sermon at Trinity UMC on Sunday morning.  I've been in denial - pretty sure.  We went to the roast; I planned the surprise lunch (pictures below); I've known it was coming.  Grief comes in many forms and I experienced one of those forms today.  Andy and I talked about hanging pictures and talked about a sermon binder . . but we didn't say any good byes.  On my way home, I called my mother-in-law and said, "why does grief have to physically hurt?" I look forward to the future and to partnering in ministry with Brian but there is a tad of looking back, too.  Andy took a chance on me and asked me to come in and interview for a job back in the spring of 2004.  Here we are over 11 years later and he is retiring.  I'm wondering how many of us will make it through Sunday's service without crying.  I'm trying to be joyful for Andy and Dawn - they are starting a new chapter - retirement - together.  They have trips planned and Andy has even purchased some new books.  See you soon . . not good bye.
So here is the party.  We booked the private room at Fish Market downtown.  They know Andy by name there because he and Dawn have eaten there so many times.  We started planning months ago!!  I wrote "lunch with preachers" on his calendar and when he questioned me about it, I just told him that they all wanted to go out one last time.
I had to deliver food to Church of the reconciled so I was able to slip out of the office and take the decorations to the restaurant.  I thought we had pulled off the surprise but Hans, one of our maintenance guys, walked right in front of the car where Andy was a passenger . . in the parking lot of the restaurant.  Now if it had been ANYONE else in the whole world, that would not have been suspicious.  Andy would have just thought to himself, "guess they are coming here for lunch.". But you see, Hans doesn't drive. ding ding ding
So Andy is a huge Alabama fan.  It pained me greatly as an Auburn fan, but all the decorations were red and white and houndstooth.  Aubrey even made an Alabama Best Wishes cake for him.
Here is some of the group assembling beforehand.

We had a really cool room - all to ourselves.

David Thompson made a prayer bench for Andy.  He is so talented.  I am surrounded by very talented people every single day!!

Here is another view - cross and flame of the UMC.

We had a special menu with a choice of several yummy items.  I had shrimp and grits - one of my all time favorite meals.  YUUUMMM!

This is the happy retirement banner I made using my silhouette.

We were waiting at this point . . we knew they were in the parking lot.  What in the heck did we do before texting?  Really?  We filled the room to capacity.

Andy started walking in through the curtain and you could see the confusion on his face.

He actually looks back at Brian.  Wonder if he was saying, "Bobby is not in here.  It is a bunch of crazy people."

Andy told me that I lied about Church of the Reconciled - but that was not true!  I went there first!!

Nathan wrote a funny history of Andy's ministry and he and Brian took turn reading the story.  You cannot let a minister loose with a captive audience.  They just gotta preach.

George Sarris, owner of The Fish Market, came in to wish Andy well.

And then George said, "take my picture with the new one.". I love his thick accent!!  I love to hear him talk!

I think a good time was had by all.  The food was good.  The fellowship was sweet.  Goodness gracious, Andy, we are going to miss you!!