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I Dream

Allow me go to off the beaten path a bit with this newest blog update. This is something I have been kind of thinking about and wanting to write for several months now but just never really found the words. So forgive me if it feels like I’m just kind of stumbling through this writing.

So I guess I’ll start by saying I don’t listen to much rap or hip hop music, but one artist in particular that I’ve started to like is Lecrae. He’s a Christian rapper, that I have started listening to more of over the last couple months or so. One song especially has grabbed my attention called “Dream.” This song is about how he always wanted to do something special for Christ but never really knew how or what to do to start down that path. The reason I’m so drawn to this song is I feel like I’m currently walking in his same steps in my walk with Christ. I’ve grown up in church my whole life, and I’ve heard all about spiritual gifts and things of that nature, but I’ve never really felt like I’ve found my own.

This song just kind of speaks to me. In the chorus he says. “I only got one life to live and Imma live it, filled with the spirit of God there’s no limits so I dream. I wanna be used by Christ in someway, maybe it’s to change a life someday so I dream.” I’m not sure I could sum up how I feel spiritually any better than that. I want to be used to do something to better somebody’s life in the name of Jesus, but I don’t know how or what I could do to do that.

I have three really big passions in life, sports, video games, and comics. I don’t fancy myself a good singer, I can’t play an instrument or anything like that. I think I’m an alright writer and maybe I would even say a pretty good photographer, but that might be it. I struggle with how I can use these things to impact somebody’s life positively. There’s another verse in the song that continues really how I feel. “Other people who seemed to be doing big things, for …   More

Longing for yesteryear

Neighborhoods are not what they used to be. Some people don’t even know who lives next door to them let alone have a friendly association with them. I like to think that my neighborhood is not that way.

I grew up in the same area that I have raised my family in and luckily I know most of the neighbors. I have a relationship with the patriarchs and matriarchs of Rural Route 4 now known as Rudder Road and Blue River Church Road.

My dad built the house that I spent my entire single life living in. He built the house among family, my Uncle Gary and his family, and the people that would become life-long friends, the Briscoe family, the Payne family, the Nantz family, the Brown family and the Cranes. Also the Purkhiser family who although they did not live on the same road, they farmed the land all around us.

As the years passed some of the neighbors became heavenly neighbors as spouses and children have passed away but I have some memories of all of them.

The ironic thing about good ole RR #4 is that Duane has roots there also. His grandparents own a farm on what is now Blue River Church Road and he spent a lot of time there when he was growing up. And he has memories of a different bunch of neighbors; Herman and Olive Humphrey, Mrs. Trueblood and the Day clan that owned adjoining farmland.

When Duane and I got married we lived in three different houses, in three separate neighborhoods. Then when I was pregnant with Bailey, we decided we needed a bigger house. We both longed for the country so we started looking, not necessarily back to our RR4 roots but luckily that is where we landed.

The neighborhood sprouted new houses and new neighbors around the original homeowners. Our house was built on what was a cornfield during our youth and not only did our house rise from this farmland but so did five or so other homes. Unlike yesteryear, most people don’t live in their homes for a lifetime so some neighbors have come and gone but the initial few have …   More

My thoughts on Comic Con, but mostly Justice League!

It’s been awhile since I really geeked out in one these posts so allow me to indulge myself. Holy crap did you see all the awesome stuff that came out of San Diego Comic Con this weekend?! There were some things we knew we would see before hand (Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, King Kong). All of which were pretty awesome, but the thing that got me most excited was some of the stuff we didn’t know we would see, like the Justice League trailer.

Of course being the Superman fanboy that I am, I eat up any thing DC comics, and the trailer for Justice League was everything I wanted it to be. Of course we got looks at Batman and Wonder Woman who we had seen previously. My favorite part was we finally got a real look at Aquaman, Cyborg, and my favorite part was the Flash! I had some big concerns over Ezra Miller’s casting, but I really enjoyed what we saw of him in this trailer, and his suit was awesome. There are some people who aren’t big fans of the mechanical look of his suit, but I dig it. I mean he’s super fast, and heals quickly, he’s not impervious to damage like Superman and Wonder Woman. He does need some protection by way of armor. Cyborg looked good, there were also complaints about his look, but I’m ok with it.

Aquaman was a big highlight it seems with viewers. Not just in his appearance but his brief interaction with Batman that is shown. There are the tired, old jokes about how Aquaman “only talks to fish” and quite frankly they are something that people who don’t really read comics say. He’s a very powerful member of the team. But in the trailer they address that joke right up front when Bruce Wayne says, “I hear you can talk to fish?” Awesome. Thank you Warner Bros. for acknowledging that stupid joke and getting it out of the way in the first trailer. Kudos.

This trailer also had the humor that people pandered for after the dark tone of Batman v Superman. Many a person complained that BvS was too dark and blah blah. Ok …   More

The Easy Way?

“If you can’t beat em, join em” -Kevin Durant, probably. Well, Durant may have not been the first to say it, but he’s now the most recent, and perhaps the most prominent in sports. In case you missed it on July 4th, Durant, the biggest domino in NBA free agency, announced he would be leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder and headed to the bay area to join the Golden State Warriors, thus sparking a powder keg of debate and discussion during the holiday weekend.

Did he make the right decision? Is he merely just riding the coattails of a team that had the best regular season in NBA history and were one game away from repeating as NBA champs? Did it have to do with his relationship with Russell Westbrook?

I have my thoughts. I think that it was a bit of a chump move. I get it; the NBA is a business and championships are the only thing that matters to most at the end of the day. And yes, he’s going to make a lot of money (two years and $54 million), but I look at it as more of a competitor. People used an example of in pickup games you want to be on the winning team so you don’t have to leave the court. In my mind I say screw that. I want to run it again with my same team so we can beat those guys. I have too much pride to just get beat and give up, and that’s what Durant did.

He had a team that blew a 3-1 lead over the Warriors with a chance to go to the NBA finals, so it’s not like he was far off. But instead he took the path of least resistance. Assuming this all works out the way it looks like it will, and the Warriors win the championship easily, I don’t think it will add as much to his legacy as he hopes. It’s going to appear like he just got on for the ride of a team that was young and looked to be in contention for multiple titles in the next couple years.

This is also wasn’t the only option for Durant. He could have named his team. He could have stayed where he was, like many thought he would do. He could have gone to the Spurs …   More

Exciting news

If I haven’t seen you in the last month, then I have big news to share…Duane and I are getting a son-in-law. This exciting news just happens to come up in conversation with everyone I come in contact with…my apologies to those people.

But I am so excited. Alex and Paige have dated for about three years and they are two peas in a pod. Self-proclaimed nerds, they would rather go to the movies or play board games than hang out in a bar. As a mother, I appreciate the fact that they put me through little stress.

They met at Franklin College. Paige graduated in 2014 while Alex entered the real world this spring. He just started a new job (a fact that made his future father-in-law very happy) and they are settling into adulthood.

The proposal was quite out of the blue for Paige, which made it so extra special. But Alex had called Duane a couple days beforehand to ask for his blessing so I had to sit through an anguishing two days of not letting the cat out of the bag. Now I can keep a secret with the best of them but this news just about caused me to bust at the seams.

I was especially tested when the very night after Duane and Alex’s discussion I had a birthday dinner with some of my very best girlfriends. And I didn’t crack. Not even after being asked about an update on Paige and her life away from home. Luckily I only had one margarita that night.

The plans have been set in motion but we will have some time to get used to having another member added to the family as they are looking at late 2018 or even spring 2019 wedding date. Many have asked, why so far away? Well, as typical for Paige, she is a planner and they want to do things their way.

They are getting married in Indianapolis, with much more expensive venues but also with many more choices. Since the more popular places fill up fast, I think 2018 is a reasonable time frame that will allow them to choose wisely and then start making payments on their dream wedding.

The engagement …   More

Forgotten phone, busy days and chicken feed

Forgotten phone, busy days and chicken feed

Saturday got off to an interesting start. As part of the kids’ Christmas, we purchased a joint membership to the Kentucky Science Center and Louisville Zoo. Several weeks ago, I signed up for a breakfast event for members at the science center. Around five ‘til eight Saturday, I pulled out the confirmation email to confirm we needed be there at nine. “The event begins at 8 a.m.,” I read in disbelief.

“Kids, we gotta go NOW!” I yelled as I scrambled to get my stuff – which included a change of clothes for the kids since the new water table would be open. We were about halfway to New Salisbury when I realized I’d forgotten my phone. These days, that’s about equal to forgetting an appendage. I needed that phone because, in between the three events we had that day, I had to meet with Scott Ratts to get pictures of the city police officers for the law enforcement appreciation pages we ran Tuesday. He was to call me around noon.

I was definitely not feeling chipper as we hurried toward Louisville. I told the kids I didn’t know if we’d make it in time for the breakfast, but promised to take them out if we didn’t. They were in very sweet moods as they reassured me it was OK. We arrived just before 9 a.m. and, luckily, breakfast was still being served. We had missed the activity, but at least they wouldn’t go hungry.

Chris Cakes, a New Albany caterer, served. The company holds several Guiness World Records and has served four presidents. Pretty impressive! The chef was wearing a hat that made it appear a spatula had been rammed through his head. Sylvia and Warner spent quite a bit of time discussing whether it was real or fake. This guy didn’t just plop pancakes on plates, he served them with flair, flipping them up and challenging guests to catch them. Not surprisingly, the teen volunteer kept busy with her long-handled grabber, retrieving the ones that landed on the floor.

We sat at the …   More

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

My husband and I have never been in too much of a hurry about anything. I get impatient about some topics, but we both know slow and steady wins the race. For instance, we bought our house almost three years before we moved in. We wanted to take our time to make sure we put in exactly what we visioned (and what we believe will sell it many years down the road). We saw many people that we knew living comfortably in their houses, often just renting. We felt like it would be best roughing it for a bit rather than putting money into something we couldn't keep and would never just be ours. More than anything, we wanted to create something that makes us proud.

In April, we decided to purchase a new vehicle. We'd been talking about it for quite a while, and it finally seemed like the right time. When I first started working here at the Leader, my car completely quit on me (to the point that it would cost more than we paid for it to repair). We lucked out and found a decent vehicle. Alan's car was on its last leg, as well, so we buckled down and made the decision to get a nice SUV. We ended up with a Subaru Crosstrek, with an average of 34 mile per gallon on highway. We knew that the great gas mileage would help combat the car payment. We have an unspoken understanding that what may be uncomfortable now will be worth it in a few years. We are proud to be able to get a nice car with many safety features. This will be important for the next new addition I am writing about...

In November, we will be welcoming our first baby! We want to get everything done that we can on our house in the next few months to prepare for HIS arrival. Most importantly, our house only has one bedroom currently. We do have an upstairs, which is virtually finished, but we know it will be a few years before we would feel comfortable to move our child up there. We have a large walk-in closet that we plan to turn into a nursery for the next couple of years. …   More

Reminiscing at the pool

Reminiscing at the pool

I always enjoyed going to the Salem pool when I was a kid. I can remember going with my baby sitter, Robin Deaton, one day a week. Although my mom was a teacher and I didn’t have to go to day care in the summer, I would beg to go on that day. I always looked forward to pool days with my friends.

As I got older, I went more often with friends and family and by middle school, my pals and I were riding our bikes up the hill daily to get our swim on.

In high school, my friends were working as the lifeguards and I’d go hang out with them on my days off from my part-time high school gig.

Lots of good, fun memories from every stage of my life.

Now that I have kids of my own, I’m enjoying the pool from a different view. I have taken my girls a few times over the years, mostly for pool parties. But this year, with their ages, we are going a couple of times a week and having a blast.

My older girls always find a friend from school to swim with, jump off the diving board and go down the slides. And they are so good at playing together that they keep each other entertained. My youngest doesn’t know a stranger, so she always has a new best friend before we pack up to head home in the late afternoon sun.

While they use up some energy and work on those social skills, I sit back and watch them play and enjoy my quiet time.

My middle child is always worried that I’m lonely and bored...but I assure her repeatedly that I am just fine! I look forward to sitting and relaxing in the sun and even reminiscing about my days at the pool growing up.

Before long, it will be my oldest child’s turn to get to go to the pool by herself with her buddies and start making her own memories. It doesn’t seem possible.

I’m thankful to be raising my girls in the town I grew up in and love watching them experience some of the same things I did, but with their own twists, their own friends and their own memories.

Summer time in a …   More

Hurry, hurry – summer’s almost over!

Hurry, hurry – summer’s almost over!

I loved the idea of a balanced school calender where kids have eight weeks off in the summer and two weeks each in the spring and fall because it does lead to greater retention academically. That is, I loved it until I had kids.

Today is July 11 and my kids go back to school in just 15 days. Two weeks. And I am in a panic. Despite my best efforts and intentions, we haven’t accomplished nearly what I wanted to this summer.

We have been to the public pool twice, but only once counted. The second time, we were there about 20 minutes when thunderstorms rolled in. My plan is to go Tuesday – if we get 4-H projects completed and turned in on time.

We have not yet been to River Run, the new water park in New Albany. I am penciling that in for Thursday. But we’ve only been to the zoo once and we have a membership, so we need to use it. Maybe I should move River Run to Tuesday …

Sylvia promised her softball team we’d have them over for a cookout and we have yet to set that date. We told the kids when we got their new playset up they could have friends over to play on it. Darin got it constructed, but before he got the pea gravel poured, a July 4th thunderstorm brought down a huge oak limb which demolished half of it.

Speaking of cookouts, we have not roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in our shelter house a single time this year. We did that so much the first two years after we moved. What happened? We haven’t camped out either, but I’m not sorry about that one!

Just writing this is making me feel slightly panicky. I am one of those moms who’s constantly worrying I’m not making childhood enriching and memorable enough for my kids. Exhibit A: I have a closet full of art and craft supplies, but it’s been months – if not more than a year – since we did a project. I don’t even get on Pinterest anymore because I couldn’t deal with all the posts from mothers who turn their bathrooms into …   More

Easy turkey burgers

I’ve said this before, but I grew up in a house with a chef who leaned toward the carnivorous side. My father can make a prime rib that will melt in your mouth — I never knew what that phrase really meant until I had his prime rib — burgers that wouldn’t go dry if you tried, pork tenderloin that will remain one of my favorites until the day I die, tender lamb chops and don’t get me started on his grilled herb chicken.

One thing we never did much of was turkey. When I was in college, interning at The Muncie Star Press, I was on the paper’s Relay For Life team. We had several internal fundraisers, including a cook-off with each of us picking a healthy ingredient from a list the lifestyle writer had found and making something with that ingredient. I chose ground turkey because, hey, it can’t be much different from ground beef, right? Turkey meatballs sounded easy enough.

Turns out, the texture of the raw turkey was all different and, having never worked with it before, the meatballs ended up very dense and dry and, as per the typical course with turkey, lacking flavor. There were a lot of breadcrumbs involved and needless to say, the winner was someone else.

Since then, unless using it as just ground turkey, like for chili or things like that, I’ve shied away from using turkey as a beef replacement, especially when I’m able to take home several pounds of ground beef purchased from a local farmer every time I go up to my parents’ house.

After seeing some ground turkey on manager’s special at JayC, I figured I’d give it a second chance and I’m glad I did.

With regular beef burgers, you can add some seasonings and just form them into patties and throw them on a skillet or grill. With turkey, you’ll need some more reenforcements to keep your patties from going to hell in a handbasket.

These turkey burgers from Never Enough Thyme calls for grated Gruyere cheese (can substitute Swiss if you balk at the cost of Gruyere or …   More

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