Saturday, November 13, 2010

Family Home Life

Me and My Mama
As I grow older there are certain things that I am very aware of that I never noticed, or I just took for granted, while I was growing up.  One of those things is living with family.  Growing up our home was usually full.  My parents were home bodies when they weren't working and I remember being most comfortable in the privacy of my bedroom when I could still hear the sounds of their presence drifting up through the vents.  TV, cooking sounds, muffled conversation, etc. consistently reminded me that although I was spending quality time with myself, I was never actually alone, company and good conversation was just down the stairs should I choose to take advantage of it.  That made me feel very secure.

My sister and my beautiful Niece
This feeling, a house humming with life, everyone doing their own thing but somehow still tied together, is I think, unique to living with family.  The closest I ever got to it was living in a single in the dorms in college and even then it felt a little awkward to leave my door open, inviting people in.

True loneliness wasn't an something I experienced until later in life.  I think a lot of this just comes with being incredibly comfortable with your family.  You don't have to put in the time to get to know each other, figure each other out and all that, you have always known these people.  I think it's another reason I love going to visit my sister at her home so often.  It is so nice to just sit back and be me without a thought as to how anyone else in the house might interpret me, my reactions, my preferences.  They just, almost intuitively, get me and know that I have the best of intentions.  I don't have anything to prove to them.  I think I am and have always been concerned about offending my roommates by asking them things that they may feel isn't their responsibility, by getting in their way, by sometimes just wishing I were invisible so that I didn't bother them.  I guess we would commonly refer to this as walking on eggshells.  This isn't necessarily or in all cases their fault, but my own insecurity creeping in.
2 of my favorite Roomies and our Janie

I have had, lets see...12 roommates in the 10 years I have been out of high school.  (Sometimes living in groups of 2 sometimes in groups of 3).  I quickly learned in these situations that although most of my roommates have been wonderful, some are still my best friends to this day, it is rare to find someone to live with that you feel totally comfortable with.  It's difficult to find friends that love you as your family does, with all your faults in place, unconditionally.  I have been blessed to find those conditions a few times, but more often roommates never quite get there.  Also, it's always a temporary living situation, in my case, as I don't plan on being unmarried without children forever, and no matter how much I love my roommate, I doubt she wants to move in with me and my new husband when we get our first place ;-)  That is what I have found myself craving these past 4 years or so.  A home created organically and buzzing with life and love.
I lived with both these beauties!

Maybe that's why I sometimes feel "homeless."  My parents live over 6 hours away, my sister 3.  I often wish I could just have my mom over to watch a movie and eat popcorn randomly on a Saturday night.  I envy those that have this option.

Me and my current roomie Katie G!
Luckily, right now I have a very sweet and wonderful roommie.  She is considerate and kind and, thank GOD, very communicative.  We are still getting to know each other, getting comfortable with one another, but I respect her very much and I think that can often be the root of it, the root of most things good in this world.  God, Love, and mutual Respect.  Get those in line and it's much harder to go wrong.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My book list

I have recently rekindled by love of reading.  For some reason over the last few years I had started getting off the reading train, at least reading for pleasure.  Now it is back in full swing.  My boyfriend likes it cause he says he's happier with the drama in my life being between the pages of the books instead of in reality.  I whole heartedly agree.  It's the same reason I watch trashy TV too ;-)  Oh Gossip kill me.

So I wanted to start keeping a list of all the books I have read throughout the calendar year, and will continue next year.  These include good old fashioned reading and audio books.  I like to listen while I take trips alone or with Ben and when I run errands for work.  You may see a lot of Jodi Picoult on here as I am currently trying to work my way through everything she has published.  I DEVOUR her books.  Love her.

1)  Searching For God Knows What - Donald Miller
2)  Twilight - The Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer3)  New Moon - The Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer
4)  Eclipse - The Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer
5)  Breaking Dawn - The Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer
6)  Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis
7)  The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis in progress
8)  Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult (FASCINATING...could NOT put this one down.)
9)  Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult
10)  Vanishing Act - Jodi Picoult - in progress

Monday, October 4, 2010

Auditioning TONIGHT for the Nashville Symphony Choir!!

Haven't sung this in 5 years but I am auditioning with this:

Messiah - Soprano - 04 For Unto Us A Child Is Born .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, September 30, 2010

5 Things I am proud of myself for doing today.

1)  I told my Daddy I loved him.

2)  I made plans to visit with my sister.

3)  I got to bond more with my you Katie!

4)  I worked out!

5)  I took the time to take a hot bubble bath and read my book.

How is love defined in us? Relationship Studies....

I found this on my friend Chip Green's FB profile page and I couldn't agree more:

"We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It's easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven't even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you'll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there's still one more tier to all this; there is always one person who you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred. This is because the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are real--but you create the context. And context is everything. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they're often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else."

-Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's Hard to Re-learn Old Lessons...

Church was hard this morning.  Two things happened in the last week that I really let get to me and that I reacted to in a way that I am not proud of.  I always try to be as Christ like as I possibly can be every day and especially in the way that I react to things that impact me emotionally and situationally in my life.  No small feat let me tell you.  This week I failed big time.  I failed twice.

This morning our preacher, Randy, was talking about a passage in 1 Peter.  I turned to follow the passage he was referring to, 1 Peter 2:4-11, but God had other plans for me this morning.  He, instead, diverted my attention to 1 Peter 2:13-25:

"But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 
 22"He committed no sin,
      and no deceit was found in his mouth."
23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

This is how I failed.  I retaliated.  I felt hurt, angry, insulted, and offended.  I felt an injustice had happened to me (in two separate instances in one week), that crimes had been committed against me, and I needed to defend myself, to protect myself, and the offenders needed to pay and learn from their mistakes.  God showed me this morning, although He has revealed this to me previously in my past, that this behavior is not what He wants from me.  He wants me to turn my cheek, to bear the burden of the offense, and to entrust myself to Him who judges justly.  It is not for me to measure what is right and what is wrong, it is Him, He has not called me to do that.  It is not for me to defend myself when a crime is done against me, as it is done to me it is done unto Him, and He is the one that will choose what action if any needs to be taken.  It is my job to forgive and to consistently and continually live in that forgiveness every moment, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Mama's Meatlof = Heaven

I realize I have been writing a lot about cooking lately.  I love it, it is my art, and I am very passionate about it.  This comes from a long line of great cooks in my family (forgive my inability for humility).  My grandmother was a Home Economics major and an incredible cook (Man I wish that would have been available for me and not entirely politically incorrect!).  She still verbally spouts off recipes from memory when I visit her that she would be excited for me to try.  My Mom is STELLAR in the kitchen, my Daddy has become very talented especially in the seafood variety, and my sister is an impeccable cook too, not to mention a fantastic restaurant reviewer (see  We are all way to committed to true ingredients and not cutting fat corners, this shows on our hips but also on our lips through the delectable smiles we have after tasting this food! 

I have been promising Ben for some time now that I would make him my Mom's meatloaf recipe.  He was probably getting tired of all that chicken pot pie I as making, not that he didn't like that too!  So last night I took about 2 hours and whipped  up the meatloaf.  I had almost forgotten how incredible it was to grow up with this food.  I share this with you today!  You are welcome to make it in your own homes but remember, it's my Mama who deserves the credit!

Mama's Meatloaf or Baby, We Could Talk All Night But That Ain't Getting Us Nowhere
 ~ Edited slightly by Libby...

1 lb. lean ground beef (small meatloaf) 1.5 for medium, 2 lb. for large one. If you have fatty meat, it will cook down too much & be too greasy as well.  The following ingredients are for the small meatloaf, adjust accordingly for medium & large. I usually make the large, split it in two cook both in two small ceramic or Pyrex bread pans & keep the second one for cold meatloaf sandwiches with mayo. . .mmmmm! Or you can freeze it for later.

If your meatloaf mix won't fit into your pan, but there isn't enough for a second one, make meatballs. Fry them or bake them on a cookie sheet until brown or freeze for later. Cover cooked meatballs with Campbell's mushroom soup. . . mmmmm!  Add mushrooms, preferably fresh (but sauteed first). This is a good party dish when you have to take a hot hors d'oeuvre. But I digress. . .more meatloaf ingredients.

PREHEAT oven to 350.

1 medium onion
2 C. crushed crackers Ritz is good, I use Club crackers (rectangular buttery ones) generic is fine. An alternative is Quaker oats but NOT instant ones or the meatloaf will be too mushy
1-2 eggs I use one but if it seems dry or isn't sticking together, add another. I never use more than two. Or you can add 1/4 cup of milk.

Mix in these ingredients:

garlic powder to taste
salt & pepper to taste
Tony Chachere's to taste
Optional: oregano, basil, or any herb you like, or not. Parmesan cheese, Velvetta cheese, but not regular cheese, unless you want to melt it on top. It sort of curdles in the meat loaf & makes an unpleasant texture.
Bake in a bread pan in a 350 degree oven. Small about 1 - 1.5 hr.  Cover top with two layers of foil.  Last 20 min takes the foil off.  Last 5-10 minutes add the sauce (see below).
If you make meatballs you can also sink them into this sauce for a hot hors d'oeuvre, instead of using the mushroom soup.
One cup ketchup, at least
At least 2 Tablespoons of regular yellow mustard; I use about a 1/4 cup. This is to taste but you want it to be tangy.
One cup brown sugar, to taste.
This sauce is really sweet as well as tangy. You should really make a double batch, pour half over the meatloaf in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, then use the rest for dipping as you eat it or for the meatballs if you make them.  Serve with a salad & if you dare, or want to splurge, mashed potatoes or baked potatoes or MAC AND CHEESE!.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Mother's 9/11

When they fell
We rose up.
They fell on an island,
Now priceless
Once bought with beads.
In a war den,
Five sided,
And on a simple, empty field.

Though I hear their names,
There are too many to remember.
How can it be possible,
That I know not even one
Of so many who fell.

Yet I will never forget their faces,
Shining out from tacked-up photos,
Or the faces of the broken-hearted
Searching, hoping.
Will they ever heal?
And the faces of the children
Innocent, unknowing,
Or knowing too much.
The faces of those offering aid
Any sort of rescue.

These faces said to me:
Deep is the love we have for each other.
No one can kill that.

They fell.
But what happened then is
We rose up.

Carol MacDuffee Hanson
two years later
September 11, 2003

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

{one} what was your first pet and how did you come up with its name?
My first pet was names Alexander Marshall.  For some reason I was obsessed with that name.  I called him Alex and I now have a nephew by the same first name!
{two} do you like your ice crushed or cubed?
{three} do you believe in love at first sight?
No.  I believe in infatuation at first sight.  I think love grows and diminishes over time.  There are times you will love someone more than you ever have before and then as time passes it can lapse into complacency, later it may come back even stronger.
{four} do you have any nicknames?
Oh geez...Libby (obviously), Libber, Der Libenater, Libation, Libbigail, Lil boo, Lil bit, Elsie bub, Lizard...the list goes on...
{five} what movie do you never get tired of watching?
When Harry Met Sally
{six} how do you like your eggs cooked?
Over medium.  Whites hard yellows runny.
{seven} are you named after anyone in particular?
Yes!  It's a family tradition from Aunt to Niece as Elizabeth.  I have a great aunt Lizzy, an aunt Libby, and my niece is Elizabeth Claire.
{eight} what are three things that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet?
Go abroad with Ben, buy a house, have a baby...all somedays....
{nine} what one thing always brightens your mood?
Genuine unabashed laughter
{ten} what five things will you always find in your purse?
Cell, wallet, hairbrush, make up bag, and HOPEFULLY hairties....

Holy Chicken Pot Pie Batman!

It's been nice getting settled in my new kitchen, to me!  I have had such a hankering for getting back to cooking it's not even funny, so last night when I left work I had a huge craving for chicken pot pie.  I didn't want to buy one of those frozen Marie Callender's thingys, although they are delish!  No, I wanted to create.  I have recently realized that cooking is my art form.  I use recipes a lot of the time but sometimes I just want to throw something together and be proud of the result.  So I thought to myself, "If I were a homemade chicken pot pie what would I be made of...?"  Thoughts of buttery crescent rolls, creamy gravy, fresh veggies, and lumps of chicken came to here is what I came up with on a whim at my little local Trader Joe's....

1 LARGE can of chicken in broth
1/2 bag of frozen veggie medley with carrots, peas, corn etc.
1-2 tubes of crescent roll dough
Butter, milk, and flour for a cream sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray the bottom of a ceramic, glass, pie tin with Pam.  Even though the crescent roll dough doesn't specify to grease the pan I think it's important to the pie doesn't stick.

Spread the crescent roll dough and make it one solid sheet.  Line the bottom of
your dish of choice with the dough leaving extra for the top of the pie.

Put canned chicken in pan without draining the broth.  Add garlic powder to taste and let heat up to medium heat.

Defrost the veggies in a collander with warm water.

Make a rue from the milk butter and flour...(Here is a great place to learn how although I don't use the oil in mine...).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Layer chicken, veggies, chicken, veggies, chicken into the baking dish on top of the dough.  Pour cream sauce over top.  Add extra dough to create a top for the pie.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until top is flaky and golden!  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So I got this idea from my new found friend Leigh Kramer.  I'm going to try it out!  This is an older Wednesday edition but since I am going on a road trip tonight I found it all too appropriate.

{one} if you could go on a road trip anywhere with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and where would you go?
Ben.  Ok I know it's schmultzy and all that but I would rather be stuck in a car with Ben for 10-40 hours on the way to something exciting or relaxing than be almost anywhere.  The thought of creating new memories and experiences makes my heart start humming.  Love road trips and love him!

{two} if you were stranded on a desert island, which one person would you bring with you?
Tom Hanks.  He won that bitch.
{three} what's your earliest memory?
I don't even really know.  I slightly remember the look of our house in St. Louis, I would have been around 3.  I remember crushing pecans and killing slugs when we lived in Alabama soon after we left St. Louis...

{four} what's the best advice you've ever received?
Before you go to anyone else, go to God in prayer.  I can't say I'm good at practicing this all the time but it definitely has always worked to make me look at the situation from His perspective, if that's even possible!

{five} if you could have an endless supply of food, what would you get?
I don't want to choose!  I love food so much that I don't want to leave any categories out.  Plus, I can't go long without fried pickles but I don't think I'd want an endless supply.  If you eat too much of something, you won't want it anymore and that would be sad.

{six} would you rather be a famous musician or a famous actor?
Can I be an actor in musical theater?  Is that an option? 

{seven} if you could be a star athlete in any sport, which would you choose?
Figure skating.  It's incredibly athletic and combines dance and music!

{eight} if you were offered the job of u.s. president, would you take it?
No.  Freakin.  Way.

{nine} would you rather have the ability to fly or the ability to breathe underwater?
Fly.  Although I'm not sure if I'm more terrified of being that high up or being that down low.

{ten} what music are you listening to today?
Pandora Michael Jackson playlist.  "C'mon girl!  You know I love ya!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grace and Mercy

Grace:  "Getting what you don't deserve."

Mercy:  "Not getting what you deserve."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This Me Me Nostalgic

Paul Harvey Writes: 

 We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.

 I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches.. I really would.

 I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

 I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.  And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

  It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

  I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

  I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

 When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her.

 I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

 On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

 If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

 I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

  When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

 I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy/girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

 May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

  I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.

 May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

  I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

  These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.

  Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Family Matters

My good friend Rosie told me once that as I grew older I would start to have less friends but more meaningful relationships.  I looked at her like she was a nut bag.  (To be fair she is a nut bag but I really like nuts).  I have always been a social butterfly, put me in a public place of 50 people and I probably know 30 of them, some better than others of course.  But I have to admit as time has gone by Rosie's prediction has been proven to be true.  Although I am a big believer in make new friends but keep the old, a person only has so much time in their day, their life for that matter, and I have realized, by the not so subtle encouragement by my boyfriend, that I am also supposed to make time for myself, something I am very very bad at doing.

As I realize that I have made a home in the community here in Nashville, my friendships are becoming more meaningful.  For the first time in my life I shy away, to some extent, to making new friends, and I find myself to be more selective.  A new friendship feels a bit exhausting now and unless I have some major commonalities or characteristics I can relate to with the new individual I think I am starting to want to stick with what I've got.  I feel the need to protect my time like never before.  I want to reserve it for those I want to be with the most.  I think in terms of quality instead of quantity like never before.  Especially within my romantic relationship.

Family, I am realizing more now than ever, is where I want to be so much of the time.  With the arrival of my niece, Elizabeth Claire, so much of the world looks sunnier and bright.  I want to be there for her.  I want to see her smiles, giggles, and even tears.  She is the best dancer I know.  When I look at her I don't just look, I gaze.  I knew she was going to be something special to me but the magnitude of my feelings for her were completely unexpected.  She has also done so much for our family in bringing it closer.  We all have something in common to celebrate and it is her.  God has shown me his love so much more through her arrival than just about any event in my life.  I am forever grateful.

I learn a lot more from my family now than I did before.  My Aunt Melody is an incredible inspiration.  If you want to know how just read THIS.  Vote for her if you feel inspired.  You will be making the lives of many many people better in doing so, as she has.  Many other people in my family inspire me everyday and if I wrote about all of them it would be a book.  All I can say is I will never understand why God chose to bless me in this way, to put me amongst such special people, but I am so unbelievably grateful that he did.

Life is a series of scenes, colors that whisk by so fast the past seems blurry.  I wish I could hold on sometimes just to take a look around.  I try to do that, breath deep, breath it all in, hold onto the memory like it was tangible.  Experiences are the name of the game my friend.  Who knew one of my favorites would be at a one year old's birthday party.  God blesses you when you least expect it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tennessee - Mindy Smith says it better than I could have...


Tennessee, you've been good to me
Yes, I've come to believe you're where I wanna be
You may not be what everybody needs
but Tennessee, you're good enough for me

I can see stars shining in your night
Your daytime seems like Cash and Patsy Cline
They may not be what everybody needs
But they touch my soul
That's good enough for me

It's been ten years now, and I'm rooted in your soil
I am rooted in your soil
Give me ten more years, I'll be rooted in your soil
Right here in your soil

You may not be what I will always need
But I call you home
If I can call you home
Then you're good enough for me

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sometimes Thankfulness is the Purpose of the Day...

...Or isn't it always? I was thinking about life to today and how I am so grateful to be where I am. It's not that my life doesn't have it's own set of challenges (would it be worth living if it didn't?) but after another amazing weekend with my closest friends, a memorable memorial day with my loving boyfriend, an unforgettable wedding, massive amount of dancing, a good random shift at Maf's, and a new (and great deal!) TV things are looking bright and sunny! Thank you Jesus! I love life, love Nashville, love summer! Today thankfulness is the name of my game.

We are starting to plan I'm Still Beautiful again and there are a lot of other fun events and trips on the horizon. How did I ever get to be so blessed?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PLEASE PLEASE vote for my friend Gracie!!

Hey Guys,

My friend Grace Clayton is auditioning for Oprah's next talk show host contest. Please watch her hilarious video (the end is my favorite) and vote for her! CLICK HERE! She is at about 2,000 votes but the leader is at like 400,000! Woah! Can you help? Vote a lot!

Lots of love,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday - Stations of the Cross

I, being raised as a Catholic (operative word here is raised), was asked by my Father last night to try to go through The Stations of the Cross today on this Good Friday. Since I do believe in the Ten Commandments I decided to "honor thy father" by doing just that, here on The Libspot. I do think it is important to always be mindful of what Jesus did for me, for anyone willing to accept him, and I am forever grateful.

The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes (Wikipedia):

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus is given his cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets His Mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.
Although not traditionally part of the Stations, the Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a fifteenth station.

I realize this is the doom and gloom of the Gospel, Catholics tend to focus on this portion of Jesus's life. I like to celebrate the lessons Jesus instilled more than anything. The life he lived was extraordinary and the price he paid for my freedom from sin is astonishing. On this Good Friday I say THANK YOU.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm in a Southern State of Mind

"Growing up Southern is a privilege. It's more than where you're born, it's an idea, a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, baseball, bibles, and country music. It's being devoted to screen porches, magnolias, coca-cola, and each other. We don't become Southern, we're born that way."

A lot of you give me a hard time about where exactly I am from. I always feel a lot of pressure to claim a territory, explain my upbringing, etc. The problem is that often nobody really understands and so, today, I want to set the record straight. I read this quote today, no idea who wrote it, but it inspired me. I think it really represents how I truly feel in my heart. My gratitude to have the privilege of living in the South again is palpable. I get down on my knees and thank the Lord for it.

I was born in the heart of the midwest, St. Louis at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Not a very Southern start to say the least. My first three years were surrounded by Midwesterners, aside from my parents. After that I was moved to the South, deep South, just outside of Mobile, Alabama for another 3 year stay.

Truth be told I moved north at the young age of six and primarily lived there until 22. IL became my home but I never really felt happy there. Being a part of a very Southern family made living in the midwest, and the north in general, feel very unnatural to me and I always harbored a feeling of displacement. I have southern in my blood as the majority of my family is from Lafayette, Louisiana, Mississippi, and throughout Alabama.

I spent every summer, from 8 years old to 14, soaking up the culture of the Gulf Coast. My Daddy, being a born and raised Louisiana man, brought me up on crawfish, chicory, beignets, and as many types of fried seafood fare we could get our hands on. Needless to say oyster po-boys and boudin are staples of our diets. I ran around barefoot many a summer with my toes in the Gulf Coast sand, sneaux ball in hand, and peach juice running down my chin from the local farmers market. Skinny dipping was not out of the ordinary, as most people would understand if they felt the sweltering heat of the Gulf summers.

My summers were split between all the towns along the coast. Daddy lived in Jackson for 6 years and we would drive south and head across between Mobile and New Orleans. Road tripping, stopping at little dives along the way. I'm sure people would look at Dad funny when he would bring us into a local bar to meet one of his old buddies (I being only 10 years of age as the time or so) but all I remember was learning about the kindness of good down home people and how fabulous Shirley Temples tasted when the maraschino cherries were stacked from the bottom of the glass to the brim.

When I hear a song about the Delta my heart yearns for Spanish moss and the hazy heat of a late Gulf Coast Summer. I get home sick for a lot of places, Chicago, Vienna, Mississippi, etc. But I have a Louisiana soul, and I know this because only other Louisianians understand, and no one else can understand why that makes me proud.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sometimes you just want to blog!

The weather here in Nashville is depressing. It's wet and gloomy. I miss sunshine, flowers, dresses...ugh, maybe I just need a vacation. The weight loss journey is going well (7 lbs down and hopefully 9 by Monday) but I have to consistently stop myself from going on a crazy ass binge at McDonald's.

What a weekend we have planned. Ben and I have the impressive talent of filling up every last second of every weekend. This is the downfall of obsessive planners, something I am proud to say that we are, albeit a blassing and a curse.

This is a special weekend though because it's Ben's 25th birthday (he's a baby!). I can't even begin to tell you how nice it is to finally have a guy that loves to celebrate his birthday. I love birthdays, probably my favorite thing ever. It's a perfect opporunity to make someone feel special and show them how much you love them. Tonight we are going to dinner at City house with Umphrey's McGee's percussion (gotta love Pearl), heading to their show at the War Memorial, then headed to Hard Rock for Ben's gig, come out if you can. Needless to say I can't wait to get off work.

We will be celebrating tomorrow with black light bowling and birthday cake at the adult Chucky Cheese. Tons of fun! Of course Sunday (the actual b-day) is THE SUPERBOWL!! SAINTS vs. colts. I'll let you guess who it is dat I want to win...(Geaux football!) Bring on the Superbowl parties.

I love my life, I love those around me God has blessed me with, I love the opportunity to recognize it and serve.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Please Pray for my Friend's Little Girl!

Update 1-20

I told you before about Rowan's posturing, fever, etc? The Dr's think it might be something called thalamic storms. Which is apparently a misnomer because its not coming from the thalamus, but instead at the top of the spinal chord. Well, at least thats what I think they're telling me, and seeing as how I never took Anatomy, I'm having difficulty picturing whatever a thalamus is. It is the Brain Surgeons who are talking, and well, we all know what uber smart geek talk is like. Her EEG was pretty much a waste of time. It didn't show any seizures. Which would be awesome if that meant she wasn't having any. But because of the sedative she was on, a sedative which stops seizures, the EEG needs to be repeated. They are wanting to place a shunt in tomorrow. A shunt is basically a permanent drain running from her ventricles down to her stomach. The Dr who would be placing it does about 400 a year, so he knows what he's about. And it won't really negatively affect her life, tons of kids have them; its safe, its easy, and it will get those nasty drains out of her head and let her move around a bit (assuming, that is, that she'll start moving around).

We were told yesterday that it is pretty likely that as soon as Rowan is released from the hospital, she'll be going to a rehabilitation center. Not going home for a while.

If anyone wants to help, pray for our daughter. Put her on any prayer list you can think of.

~ Erik and Regan Wilkinson

Monday, January 18, 2010

Is technology hurting our connections or helping?

My friend Chris Boeskool is a super smart dude. "I like technology, I just don't like when it becomes (or appears to become) more important than real relationships or gets in the way of real relationships (i.e. A table of 6 people at a restaurant and 4 of them have their faces in their iPhones; a husband and a wife sitting on a couch all night stalking people's facebook pages and chatting with 3 different people each; or, people sitting in church feeling compelled to look at everyone's facebook)."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love over time is a fickle fickle thing

I'm about to quote someone I've barely met but his words were so true I couldn't help myself. This comes from my friend Ken's friend Lee.

"The idea is that once you get to know someone you start to realize that they have flaws, they aren't what they appeared and they have their bad moments. That's why a husband and wife can be completely in love with each other when they first get married and fighting like Smurfs and Gargamel on their 10th anniversary. The mystique is gone and it seems like there's not much left to explore....

So in love, I guess it's only really love when you know all the flaws of another person and have gone through that process of being so familiar with them that you aren't feeling the excitement of exploration or the desire to uncover their mystery. (Love is) What you are feeling is in spite of all that." ~Lee

I laugh now when people expect love and relationships to be easy. The naivety they exercise even in believing that something that easy would actually be fulfilling. The best, most loving, most passionate relationships are often very hard, suffer tragedy, and argue with intensity. But I don't think I would have it any other way. I would like to think that my relationship would be worth the effort of the argument, worth the pain of the tragedy, and worth the joy of the love.