30 December 2008

Top Five of the Year

The girls and I did the top five things, people, events, and such we are most grateful for this year. I suggest you do the same. Write it down. Share it. Let people know what has made you grateful, especially as you prepare for a new year. These are hard times. Let's be honest. We all need a little hope and joy! These are times to remember. It could be about luck. (Because I am lucky!) It could be about thankfulness. (Praise God!) It could simply be about counting your blessings. (Which I hope are more than just five.)

Here are my TOP FIVE...
  1. England. What a wonderful trip. I felt like an adult on a great adventure.  I love to travel.  Thanks Megs and JM! Thanks for being my wonderful traveling buddies. 
  2. Vanderbilt and Nashville. I finally feel like myself in this cool town. I have met great people, made better friends, and am preparing for the future. Most of all, I am lucky to attend such a wonderful school. 
  3. My mom. I dearly love my father and brother. I am blessed to have a humorous family, but my mom keeps us going. I ask her every single time I am home, "How do you put up with us three?"  The Mom is a saint, but she just doesn't know it...
  4. The United Methodist Church. I am so very excited about my future. And I am even more happy to be part of a church that challenges political leaders to think more inclusively, welcomes all God's people, and ordains women. 
  5. You, you, you, you, you, you, you, and you. (Count it up! It's eight. Plus me equals nine. This goes out to the Nine.) And I mean it! Thanks for being my sounding board, advice givers, and best friends. Talk about true blessings. 
See, friends. I am lucky. I am blessed. And most of all, I am thankful.  This is one great grateful list. I hope you can count them up--beyond 5, 10, or 125. Write it down. Share it. Take time to remember.

Grateful upon grateful,
BEAT

26 December 2008

Photo Friday

Endinburgh, Scotland
June 2008

25 December 2008

highlights...


























Yes. That is how my brother wrapped my iTunes gift card. The sock did have a hole in it. That's why he used the painter's tape. Makes sense, right? My family embodies classiness.

I'm preaching Sunday. I am trying to write my sermon now. What better day to write a sermon about baby Jesus than today? Wish me luck.

Go! Tell it on the mountain! We are in a time of renewing peace.

Merry upon merry,
BEAT

23 December 2008

the Calister...



I had one good day. Reading with Cali. Listening to Cali sing this song over and over and over again. Letting Cali jump on my back. Sneaking cookies behind Cali's back. Napping with Cali. Chatting with Cali's mom. Laughing with Cali's mom. 

What a great way to spend Christmas Eve Eve. I love catching up and being Aunt BEAT. Doesn't hurt that she is one cute kid. And that her mom is one sweet lady. 

Joy upon joy,
Being Aunt BEAT

22 December 2008

He's gonna leave...he's gonna leave...

This weekend my friends and I discussed our favorite holiday and Christmas commercials.  Let's admit it, most are pretty awful.  Then again, isn't it the cheesey nature of most that draw us in?

So, I would l-o-v-e for you to share your favorites with me.  I mean the Target one comes in a close second (the children's play), but this one is my absolute favorite: 

                                            
Can't wait to hear from you. Share and share alike.

Merry upon merry,
BEAT    

21 December 2008

Susie Homemaker



That's me. Oh yeah. Always. ;)

Joy upon joy,
BEAT

20 December 2008

19 December 2008

Photo Friday

Meghan's sweet House.
My second home. 
LaGrange, GA

18 December 2008

hey kid...

Tonight I visited with a dear man who is near and dear to my heart. Mr. Kraps is dying. I could sugar coat this reality, but why. He's not. No. He has gathered his family. He told them, "I would rather have you here. Now. With me. Not visiting once I have passed."  So, they came. They sit with him. They chat with him. They laugh. They remember. They love.

Mr. Kraps has been the greeter at my church for as long as I can remember. Standing by the front doors, even in times of scorching heat and blistery cold, he offers a hand, a hug, and a hello to every person.  The greeting I receive each Sunday goes something like, "Hey kid!".  Even when I am away for months, it is always "Hey kid!".  When I turned 18, 20, and 25, it was "Hey kid!".

This kind man embodies hospitality. At his very core he knows no difference between stranger and long time member. He wants people to be part of his community. He desires for people to be members of the church.  He simply wants to greet these strangers and long term members into a place where there is love, hope, and joy. A hand, a hug, and a hello. 

That is the whole point of this blog, to share and remember those persons and times when I have received hospitality. And when it seems hard or awkward, it really only takes a "Hey kid!". Or a hand, a hug, and a hello. We are meant to welcome the stranger and the long time member. We are called to receive the sojourner and the cousin (aunt, uncle, and grandparent).  

Thank you, Mr. Kraps. Thank you for greeting me, my family, and every other member of Chapelwood. Thank you for showing me how to love God's people with the simplest of gestures. 

Mr. Kraps is dying. He knows it, and I know it. Nevertheless, his kind spirit of generosity and hospitality will out live even me. Thank you for being a disciple in the truest form. Thank you. 

Peace upon peace,
BEAT

my family...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

16 December 2008

grades...

I don't enjoy getting grades back. Good or bad. Even if they are "good," I still dwell on what I did wrong or could have done better. I really wish they would just tell me each semester if I get to keep my scholarship. And let me tell you, that worry causes enough stress in my life. I am beyond thankful for my scholarship, but it comes with high standards. And if you are grateful for my scholarship (You know, because it lets me go to school, prepare for the future, and hopefully become a better pastor), please shop here. Frequently. (I will tell you why some other time, but it is a good story.) 

Yet, I still check on those final grades about five times a day. Not yet, though. Exams are not over until tomorrow, and then grades do not have to be submitted until the 20th. So, I wait. And wait, trying not to freak out about my performance on final papers, tests, and projects. (I am actually revising a project I already submitted, but not happy with at all. I am hoping the professor will accept the revised version because it is much better.)

I am a practitioner, not an academic genius.  I care about working with and serving God's people. How do you put a grade on that?  How can that work really be judged?  Then I think of all those who are congregants, and they do plenty of judging, especially when it comes to the work of their pastor. I would love to share a story my mom just told me yesterday, but I am afraid some character in the story might read this. Let me just say this: I agree that we should not really sing Christmas carols until the 25th. It's true!  We are in Advent. Baby Jesus has not yet been born. We cannot proclaim it from the mountain tops...yet. But on the 25th, I will be more than happy to go tell it on the mountain. Until then, I wait. And wait some more. 

Grades are not important, even if I wait on them. Nope. Even with the concerns of scholarships. Still not important.  I've got way more important things to wait on. We are still in Advent. And me, I am waiting on the birth of renewing peace and perfect love. That seems pretty darn important to me. 

I hope you are waiting. Not on grades. Not on money. Not even on family (though I do miss my Nine).  I hope you will wait with me. On peace. On love. On grace. On a humble child that will change this world. 

Waiting to go tell it on the mountain, 
Preacher BEAT

ps: Because I did get a little preachy in there. 


15 December 2008

sister winter...



I'm obsessed with Sufjan Stevens' Christmas album. 
This is my favorite song, "Sister Winter."  
The "video" is a little cheesy, but I liked it 
because it includes the beautiful lyrics.

Something to prepare for the happy birth 
of renewing peace and love. 
Jesus, the Christ, is coming soon.
Let us prepare. Let us prepare.

Anticipation upon anticipation,
BEAT

14 December 2008

seven things...

I was recently "tagged" in this cool person's blog to tell seven things about myself. Just seven?  I thought long and hard to share things most might not know. Then I realized I am an open book, endearing or to fault. Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. My dad would not allow pink dresses or clothes into the house when my mom was pregnant. This started with my older brother and continued with me, even though they didn't know the sex of either of us. I guess it rubbed off. I hate (and I only use that word with care) the color pink. I don't own any piece of clothing that is pink. I have a theory about this color, but I won't bore you (today) with it. 
  2. This is a little gross, but both big toe nails are without "sides."  Because of ingrown toenails (damn you basketball), they were cut out. When I get pedicures the people painting my nails ask so many questions.
  3. I met Hillary Clinton. Not just met her, but got to celebrate being United Methodist at a reception/party.  As she was leaving the Board of Church and Society building in DC, I kinda stepped in front of her and introduced myself. The secret service folks didn't like this so much. But hey, I got to shake her hand and have a brief convo
  4. I am the only person in my immediate family to have a passport. I was also the first person in my family to ride on an airplane. 
  5. I did not have hair for the first year of my birth. And then, this crazy redness started sprouting out of my scalp, and my dad questioned if my mom had relations with the mail man. 
  6. My diploma from high school has dual degrees, one with academic distinction and the other with a vocational seal in business administration. Oh the stories I could tell about my high school with its barn, greenhouse, roping ring, and all. 
  7. People don't really enjoy watching t.v. with me. I routinely guess the murderer, twist in plot, who will die, and such within the first five minutes. I don't mean to; I just can't help it. It's so obvious to me.  
I think I'm supposed to pass this on. It will most likely just go to the Nine. Everyone else I know who has a blogged has been tagged by others. 

Distraction upon distraction,
BEAT

ps: 8. My initials spell out BEAT. That is always my fun fact in ice breaker games.

13 December 2008

one week from today...


That's all. 
No words needed. 

Well, except that I miss my LaGrange family.
Soon.
So soon.

Joy upon joy,
BEAT

12 December 2008

Photo Friday

UNC-CH Wesley Campus Ministry
Chapel Hill, NC

I miss my students, even if you're not all students anymore.

Grace upon grace,
The Intern 

new ringtone...

One of my favorite capabilities of the new Blackberry
 (Yes, I'm addicted to my phone!)
is that I can download music and use it as an IPod. 
Along with having music on my phone, 
I can make any of those songs a ringtone.
So, this is my favorite song of the moment.
I love the opening bars, hence why it is currently my ringtone.



Joy upon joy,
BEAT

11 December 2008

Ode to Trader Joe's

$1.99 Mint Joe-Joe Cheesecake.
Yes. A whole cheesecake for $1.99.
$1.99 Hummus.
Chipotle, garlic, basil, horseradish, and original. Oh my!
Gingerbread coffee, ginger snaps,
 ginger bread mix, and dried ginger.
It is my every dream. 
Spicy peach salsa, habanero salsa, pineapple salsa.
Could my life be more complete?
Frozen taquitos, burritos, and enchiladas.
A vegetarian dream. 
Cranberry orange chutney, tomato chutney, 
and eggplant chutney. Who knew?
Rice pudding, Greek yogurt, and creamy ice cream.
And don't forget the sweet mango juice bars.


Thank you, Trader Joe's.
You provide the food of gods...for cheap.
I do love you.
I do.

Yummy upon yummy,
BEAT

09 December 2008

chasing pavements...

Adele: Chasing Pavements

A damn fine song of the day.

The Japanese subtitles made me laugh.
The video is pretty awesome in its own right.

Joy upon joy 
because I only have two assignments 
until this semester is put to rest,
BEAT

ps: My exam today was hard. 
Fair, no surprises, but so much material.

quilting...

I made this for a class assignment. 
I had to pick an image that embodied my internship.
I am a quilter, putting pieces and people together. 

I would like life to be back to normal. 
That should be around 4 pm today.
Well, it will slow down.
2 classes down, 3 to go. 
(Yes, I said three and that makes five classes total.)

Study upon study,
BEAT

06 December 2008

down to the river...


If my grades are bad this semester, 
I just remember I have been redeemed.

I love this song. I love Alison Krauss

Grace upon grace,
BEAT


study mode...

This is what I look like when I have been writing for two days. 
Not kidding. 
No shower.
Hoodie pulled around my face. 
Glasses.
And it will be this way until Wednesday.
Well, I do have to shower for church in the morning. 
Wish me luck.
I still have about 30 pages to write. 
Study upon study,
BEAT

05 December 2008

Photo Friday


Ever wonder what I do on Sunday mornings? 
West End UMC
Nashville, TN

03 December 2008

funny or die...

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Because today, I need a laugh...or two...or four...
BEAT

Photo Friday comes early...

VTT and BEAT
Nashville, TN

Dedicated to the mom because she took good (and I mean good) care of me this last weekend.

Soon upon soon,
BEAT Bear

01 December 2008

did I ever tell you I am an aunt? (part 2)






































Meet GIRL! She is my brother's lovely and lovable beagle.  She loves my brother. And when I say love, I mean it. Girl follows Andrew around everywhere. The sound of her paws on a wood floor is one of my most favorite sounds ever. She comes to the parents house for Christmas every year, where she has her own stocking and presents.  

I am glad to be her aunt.  She will put her cute head in my lap and sleep for hours. I am so happy my brother has a good woman in
 his life. 
























Meet FAITH ANNE! She is Meg's lively and gorgeous doggy. Faith knows how to write a good letter and talk on the phone pretty darn eloquently. She is so grown up these days, following directions to the best of her ability.  (The dog hair really bothers me, hence why she so lovingly stays out of my room.) 

I am so fortunate to have Faith in m life. (Even if I don't always show it.) Thanks for letting me be her aunt, Megs. I am darn lucky.


Joy upon joy, especially since I am finally feeling better
Aunt BEAT

27 November 2008

hey Marg, I'll join you around that table...

You remind me that I need to be more thankful for the family I am with this year. Dysfunction and all. Disagreements and all. They are my family. Bless them. And bless me. 

Please enjoy the kind and thoughtful words of a good friend away from her family.  

Marg, thanks for including me at your big table of thankfulness. 

Grace upon grace,
BEAT

ps: Please add to her list.  I am sure it will make her extra happy and included in this day...even when across the BIG pond. 

25 November 2008

I decided...

When I hear this song, I think of my father.  This was the kind of music he loved way back in the day.  Well, he still adores it.   It puts a smile on my face.  See, this is music you can really dance to. Enjoy! I hope you tab your toes, swing your hips, and snap your fingers. 

Solange-"I Decided"
(Part 1 & 2)



24 November 2008

did I ever tell you I am an aunt?


Well, not really. But yes. I mean she calls me Aunt Air. (The "b" sound seems to be hard for kids.) Cali Noel is my cute niece. There is a long story there, but we are going to move on.  Okay, the short. She is not my brother's.  She is Missy's, my sister who is not really my sister.  I seem to have lots of these relationships.  Good thing!  I like being adopted (figuretively). And my family seems to like to adopt people, too (figuretively).  I think complex family systems make life more interesting. Maybe.  These relationships are even better when you feel estranged from your own (extended) family.

Back to Cali.  Please take time to experience her cuteness and thoughtfulness in the below picture. I saw Cali in July, and then it was three months before I got to hold her again. And what a three months. She went from barely walking to running.  She went from holding on to her momma to social butterfly. And the best, she went from incoherent rambler to perfectly eloquent. What a great conversationalist. The great thing about kids, especially toddlers, they remind you of the little things.  

They describe ordinary objects with keen detail.  They observe what you have forgotten. And guess what?  They will remind you!  They point. They share. They talk. They conversate. They require your attention. And I am willing to give it! I am willing to be reminded. I am willing to rediscover the beautiful, complex, and ordinary of daily living.  Cali helps me regain a memory that was long forgotten in the (many) days of stress, studying, ranting, and self-centeredness. 

Thanks, Cali. Thanks for being part of my family. Thanks for talking with me. Thanks for helping me celebrate life.  

I am one lucky aunt.

Joy upon joy,
Aunt BEAT


22 November 2008

a better attitude

No family trip this Thanksgiving break. 
No beach. No Vegas. No Memphis. 

I head home tomorrow. I do heart Georgia. 
However, I am afraid I'm going to be taking shots
 for different reasons this year. 

I will have a good attitude about being with (extended) family.  
I do miss my Aunt Ruth. 
It will be great to sleep in and not have to plan out each day. 
I have missed the cooking part the last five years. 
I have not missed the cleaning up part.

Ready or not, here I come family. 
Better attitude and all. 

Grace upon grace...I'm going to need it. 
Georgia Bound BEAT

ps: One day I will tell you how my mom outlawed conversations about politics, money, and religion this holiday.  I hope everyone follows her rules.  

21 November 2008

Photo Friday





London, England