Monday, December 6, 2010


People blog a lot more in the summer.

Unless they are not in school, or living somewhere cool like Jane Travis.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Friends and Embroidering


by Edna St. Vincent Millay
(first published in The St. Nicholas League when she was around eighteen, but more recently in The Essays of E.B. White, which is where I found this little piece waiting for me.)

I. He

I've sat here all the afternoon, watching her busy fingers send
That needle in and out. How soon, I wonder, will she reach the end?
Embroidery! I can't see how a girl of Molly's common sense
Can spend her time like that. Why, now--just look at that! I may be dense,
But, somehow, I don't see the fun in punching lots of holes down through
A piece of cloth; and, one by one, sewing them up. But Molly'll do
A dozen of them, right around
That shapeless bit of stuff she's found.
A dozen of them! Just like that!
And think it's sense she's working at.
But then, she's just a girl (although she's quite the best one of the lot)
And I'll just have to let her sew, whether it's foolishness or not.

II. She

He's sat here all the afternoon, talking about an awful game;
One boy will not be out till June, and then he may be always lame.
Foot-ball! I'm sure I can't see why a boy like Bob--so good and kind--
Wishes to see poor fellows lie hurt on the ground. I may be blind,
But somehow, I don't see the fun. Some one calls, "14-16-9";
You kick the ball, and then you run and try to reach a white chalkline.
And Bob would sit right there all day
And talk like that, and never say
A single word of sense; or so
It seems to me. I may not know.
But Bob's a faithful friend to me. So let him talk that game detested,
And I will smile and seem to be most wonderfully interested.

Seriously, who can't relate to this poem?! I love it!

As for the little images along the way, you guessed it! This is the progress I've made with my "projects" this summer. Hannah the Hedgehog is completely finished. April the Alligator's embroidery is complete, and all that remains is sewing the pieces together and stuffing it. Jane the Jellyfish only lacks her mouth now (I did the eyes after I took the picture.) so she's almost finished, too. All that's left is dear Bethany the Butterfly. And no worries. She will get done. I have a whole week-plus left! Soon, all of these animal pals will be hanging out on our apartment couch together.
And their namesakes will be too. That is what I am most excited about.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Procrastination. Bah!

If I had blogged this past weekend as I had planned to, I would have entitled this post "Philadelphia #2 of the Week!" or something like that. Since I procrastinated, however, I can't say that honestly. I haven't been to any Philadelphia this week... Oh well! I can tell you about it anyway. :)

Every year, hundreds of people migrate to Philadelphia, MS, for the week-long Neshoba County Fair. They come in trailers, campers, pick-up trucks, and cars of all sorts to set up camp for the festivities. Many, many of these people have come every year since childhood. It's just one of those things you do.

Alleys of the fairgrounds are lined with colorfully painted cabins. From what I understand, the real estate for these cabins is intense, and they are very expensive (especially since they are "vacation homes" you only use at most two weeks of the year). I don't think people are allowed to build anymore, so oftentimes the cabins are passed down from generation... or at least the property is. Most are two-storied, with a big kitchen and living area downstairs, and sleeping room for up to 20 people upstairs! Wild!!

And all of them have big ol' porches for the masses to sit and hang out and chill in the heat. With an atmosphere like this, it's no wonder it's nicknamed "Mississippi's Giant Houseparty"! Walking down the dusty, lit-up alleys is pretty magical for an innocent outsider like me.

Of course, the Neshoba County Fair isn't just about the cabins and campers. There are a few rides and food booths, too. As far as rides and things go, I'd prefer the Jackson State Fair, but the State Fair doesn't have horse races or chair races! Ha!

We had three main reasons for going to the fair on Friday afternoon: first, our dear friends from church, the Warrens', go every year with their camper, and we wanted to see them; second, we were going to Philadelphia anyway to see family on Saturday; third, there was a concert! Haha! Country singer/songwriter Phil Vassar was performing, and he was actually good!

I'm not a huge fan of country music (that is, I don't listen to it on the radio) but I used to be, so I knew most of his songs. And sometimes it's just one of those fun indulgences, you know? Country music equals summer, and Phil Vassar's concert on the Neshoba County Fair horse racing track was just what you picture summer in Mississippi to be -- hot and dusty, with people sitting in metal lawn chairs waving paper fans frantically, listening to upbeat country music about girls and life and hanging out. It was a pretty family-friendly environment, but it still had a bit of that frat-party-meets-family-reunion feel.

I like the juxtaposition of the bright lights and the old-fashioned "...County Fair Assn." sign in this picture. :)

Saturday was spent with family. Oh, how I love them! After our continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn, we made our way over to Mom's Aunt Peggy and chatted with her for an hour or so. Then we headed over to Williams Brothers, a local Philadelphia grocery/clothing/shoe store that's been around for ages.

Here's a picture of the hustle-and-bustle around the bacon and cheese cutting area. It's fun to watch. :)

George Road is named for my relatives! Yeah! Let me tell you, it was so much fun hanging out with Uncle Robert and Aunt Coweela and second-cousins Mike and Diane. And we had some goood food, too! Mmm...

To wrap up our weekend away, we dined at Newk's with my cousin and her husband who live in Clinton, and then went to see my great-aunt in the same town! Seriously, I love my family. I wish I could retell some of the stories second-cousin-something-removed Mike told us, but those retellings--especially written in blogs--never have quite the same effect.

Also, I wish I could give a more profound analysis of the Neshoba County Fair, but being outsiders as we are, and unfamiliar with customs and attitudes, anything I said would be mere assumptions.

Now! I have only 12 days before I go back to school... and only TEN days till Jane Shibley makes a brief appearance in Mississippi!! Hooray!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Embracing south... Jersey?

Ahh... I love vacation.

I love getting away from work, seeing new things, spending time with family, and all of the usual reasons why people love vacation. I love flying, using airplane bathrooms, and packing everything I need in a carry-on bag. I love having extra time to read and being free to go out for ice cream every evening.

This particular vacation was a bit unorthodox, because for the first time, it was only a partial family summer vacation. Mom and Emily weren't able to come! (Although last summer the rest of my family came to visit me in Yellowstone... so it was partial to them.) Em had her big state swim meet, unbeknownst to Mom and Dad when Dad made the flight arrangements. Anyway, it felt a little strange, and we missed them very much, but we were definitely able to have some adventures of our own!

This is one of those just for fun pictures.
I read "The Sun Also Rises" as the sun actually rises (but all you can see is the bright morning sunlight...ha!)

Doing the tourist thing in Philly. You know, the Libery Bell and stuff.

Dad and Daniel pose as a Signer.

Ever since I saw the movie back in 8th grade, I have wanted to see this statue! It's not at the top of the stairs anymore, but I love it. What a cultural icon!

After running up the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Daniel and I do our versions of his victory punch. The funny thing about this picture is that about 30 seconds later -- after I suggested that Daniel and I race down the stairs, and he beats me, of course -- I have crumpled to the ground from the pain of a sprained ankle!! Ahh! The rest of Wednesday was quite painful, but by Thursday afternoon I could almost walk normally! Seriously, I was praising God for the fast healing. It definitely had the potential to ruin a vacation.

These are the steps up the Barnagut Lighthouse on Long Beach Island, NJ. Our final destination was not Philly or the Lighthouse (believe it or not, we did not travel from Mississippi to New Jersey for a lighthouse!) but Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. Dad worked there for three summers in high school, and it was so fun to see his old stompin' grounds.
(However, we did travel the 3 or 4 miles to said lighthouse and the tip of the island 4 times in the two days we were there. This is trip #1.)

Chewed-up crab with his shadow on the jetty.

Trip #2. Fantastic sunset. Oh my goodness.
Favorite picture of the vacation, no doubt.

Time #3. Finally! You see the lighthouse! It was pretty fun to hop from big rock to big rock, but it was a little difficult with the still-sprained-and-swollen ankle.

My brother is silly.

I learned several things on this vacation.
First, my dad is absolutely incredible. I definitely knew that before, but this is one of those trips I'm gonna remember for always, for real. He and Daniel both were so kind and patient when I sprained my ankle from stupidity. On Wednesday night, after Daniel and I were both washed up and in bed, Dad went to the nearest Wal-Mart to get some Advil and an ankle brace for me. Also, his summer vacation was not with his beloved wife (their anniversary was our travel day on Sunday), but with two of his silly kids who have a tendency to fuss and tease excessively (all in love, of course) -- not quite the ideal. Dad is always patient and always loving, and I am so, so thankful that God has given me such an awesome earthly daddy.

Second, I am extremely prideful. I am prideful of my slender ankles (the left of which has swollen to a rather unattractive circumference) and of my "knowledge" of the Scriptures. The first has already been explained; the latter was evidenced in the evening sessions of Harvey Cedars. I'm pretty sure the speaker wasn't reformed, and I found my self constantly examining what he said to see if it lines up with my worldview and the reformed doctrine. I am so helpless, even in understanding good things! I just had to keep remembering that the Spirit uses these things to teach me Truth and to humble me, and I prayed a lot to focus on the heart of the matter, rather than my sinful, created distractions. And you know what? I did learn something. It was good to be reminded of those essentials of the faith (like the Holy Spirit!).

SO! All in all, a delightful vacation.
And now, I cannot believe that I have only 14 work days till I'm back at school.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunflower fields forever

This weekend has been one of intense driving. Okay... driving for Mom, riding for me. Yesterday after getting off work early, the two of us hit the road heading to Covenant! Both of us were very excited. Daniel and two other guys (one from our church, another we just know) had been there for the past week at YXL youth leadership conference/camp, so we had to go pick 'em up.
The trip itself was long and exhausting, but we experienced a lot of new things!
  1. We had to get gas in Clinton, and the nearest Starbucks just happens to be in the same parking lot... which means we definitely wanted to make a stop. I got a soy strawberries and creme, 2 pumps hazelnut, 2 scoops java chips frappucino. I'd heard this concoction tastes exactly like Cap'n Crunch berries, so I decided to give it a try! For being so full of stuff, it was surprisingly good.
  2. We watched Avatar on Em's portable DVD player. What a good movie! I think we probably missed some parts because the volume couldn't go up too high, but I got the gist. It obviously is not a Christian movie, but it always amazes me when secular movies have a big spiritual theme. We are created with a "God-shaped void" that only Jesus can fill, but movies like Avatar seem to create religions in an attempt to fill it themselves. We long for something. I could say more.
  3. After we got in late last night, I was able to hang out with my friends David and Jo in the apartments on Covenant's campus! Oh, I was so thankful to see them!! I love, love being with Covenant friends, and actually being on campus, sitting in the same type of apartment where I'll be in the Fall, was really refreshing.
  4. Not a new experience (for me), but very fun: Mom and I ate breakfast at Niedlov's bakery in downtown Chattanooga. Our heirloom tomato-three cheese quiche and cranberry pecan muffin were fabulous. And Mom had never been there before!
  5. We encountered a GIGANTIC FIELD OF SUNFLOWERS after going through Tuscaloosa, AL, on the way home!!!

Also on the way home, I finished The Grapes of Wrath. Oh my goodness. What a powerful ending. I was dumbfounded at the strangeness of it when I finished. Seriously, I just sat back in my seat in awe... trying to figure out how it fit, why any author would end a book that way... but after a little more thought, I realized it was entirely appropriate, and even beautiful.

Tomorrow, Daniel comes back home for good. (He is spending one last night at CRS, where he has worked all summer.) Our family will be reunited once again, and I can't wait!

Friday, July 2, 2010

E.B. White and magnolia trees

"The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief, that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him is of general interest. He is a fellow who thoroughly enjoys his work, just as people who take bird walks enjoy theirs. Each new excursion of the essayist, each new "attempt," differs from the last and takes him into new country. This delights him. Only a person congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays."

-E.B. White, from the foreward of "Essays of E.B. White" (I am not reading it now, but I think it's going to make it to my summer reading list.)

I like this quotation, and I like how he's honest about his profession. It's true! But the good thing for him is that other people have taken interest in his essays and "attempts" as well. Is a blogger the 21st century version of an essayist? There are parallels, no doubt.

What got me on this E.B. White kick was my boss letting(/suggesting/recommending) me read Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style." It is SO good! Sometimes -- I know this is a little bit nerdy -- I am just fascinated by grammar.

Here are some "elements" I really liked:

"A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses"
Ask me my favorite punctuation mark, and I'll tell you. It's the dash.

"Unique. Means 'without like or equal.' Hence there can be no degrees of uniqueness." Thus, the sentence, "It was the most unique eggbeater on the market." is correctly written, "It was a unique eggbeater."
I remember learning this from after-school Latin classes in 5th grade, but I'm still guilty of saying, "Whoa! That's really unique!" from time to time. And I also like the example sentences.

I took this photo of Mom and Daniel at the beginning of the summer (actually, I took all of these at the beginning of the summer...) during one of our yard-raking parties. Maybe it's reminiscent of "American Gothic"... or maybe not.

I used to collect these magnolia flower droppings and I called them rabbit skins. Believe me, these things feel just like 'em. ;-)

The Lord really blessed me yesterday. I have been craving and missing so much the unique fellowship with friends from Covenant. (Some of this might come from the fact that even my parents were out of town this week, but a lot of it is just being away from the other people I love so much.) Anyway, it "just so happened" that I was able to have a great talk with Jane, get a wonderful email from April, and even have a really encouraging chat with Josh! Oh man! Guys, I love you!

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


If you go north on Business 61 a little ways from Vicksburg's downtown, you'll run into a community known as Kings. Honestly, I don't know too much about the community or the people. I know I'd be pretty scared if my car broke down there, but I hardly ever have a reason to drive that part of the highway anyway.

Today, though, I did. Today I went on a brief photography adventure with a friend from work who lives out of state. People who live in Vicksburg know that about 5 or 10 minutes north of town in Kings there is a wild-looking yard/church/sculpture with signs and towers and words all over. The truth is, I know very little about it -- only what the dozens of signs say. Most of the time I just think it's a spectacle that all who visit Vicksburg should see. I sort of laugh at it because it's so darn shocking.

But today I read some of a newspaper article posted among all of the cinderblocks and sculptures. "Lack of vision, understanding ails state, but leaders can turn dreams into reality." A preacher apparently created this display to raise awareness, to shake up some passion. Hmm... Well, it's not quite my style, but I definitely understand wanting and needing to change the complacency of the area (and not just the Kings). I'm guilty of it myself.

"God dont have no white church and he dont have no black church- only one church. Rev H.D. Dennis"

I wish I knew more about this! I wish I knew what to think. I'm pretty sure it's not doctrinely sound -- there are a few signs that don't quite make sense biblically, and there are some freemason symbols on the main wall -- but it makes a striking and bold display for Jesus! That's another thing, though. The display is such that people drive by and gawk at it. I'm guilty of chuckling at the bad grammar and improper word separation. It's great for taking pictures, and for showing folks a unique part of Vicksburg, but my gut reaction is to shake my head and laugh a little. But is this right? Am I right from brushing this off as the creation of a probably-uneducated, charismatic radical? Ah! I don't think so. Not with that attitude. I just wish I knew more!

This is just for fun. I kind of like the grey telephone pole and wires against the cloudy sky. Looks industrial.

In posts to come, maybe I'll actually show some pictures of what I've done lately (finished the stained glass, and almost finished April's alligator!) and acquired for the apartment (a free loveseat recliner!). This is going to have to do for now.

Saturday, June 19, 2010



Daniel is home for the day!

Friday, June 18, 2010


It was a hot day today
And it's not even July. I think I've mentioned it, though, but I get a strange delight in sitting in a hot car. The AC is sometimes just too much, and it's really nice to suck in that thick-tasting air. The funny thing is, I'm not even being sarcastic.

One very nice thing about my work is that I can begin at any time between 7 and 9 am. Because I value my afternoons, I usually go in at 7. Today, however, I went in at 7:35 because I was working on a very special and very urgent projectThis shirt is for my dear brother Daniel, and my shirt you shall see tomorrow. I'm going to be wearing it proudly because Holland is playing game #2! I rarely get excited about sports games. In fact, I usually avoid them unless friends are participating or going to watch as well.

In this particular case, I am excited because I have a pretty significant amount of Dutch pride. This is harder to do in Mississippi (because most everyone in Mississippi is from Mississippi), but definitely not impossible.

These squash are not from the farmers' market, but they are from a friend's grandparents' garden. I'm pretty sure both sources are equally "green."

Squash Casserole (Bell's Best 1982):

2 c. fresh squash, chopped (sliced)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small pkg. (sleeve) Ritz crackers
1/4 c. melted oleo (margarine!)
1 c. grated cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook squash and onion until tender; drain off all liquid. Mash. Beat together egg and milk; add to squash. Mix cheese, oleo, and cracker crumbs. Add 1/2 to squash mixture. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Bake 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees.

It's that easy.

Tonight was the closing ceremony for my church's Vacation Bible School! I wish I had been able to help, but alas, work got in the way. Anyway, the kids in the program tonight were so cute. VBS is always a blast.

As for my summer reading goals, I have now read 4 of the 10 books of the summer, and on to number 5. The Red Badge of Courage I do not particularly recommend. It was not bad, but it took longer than what it was worth. Maybe my problemis that I don't really like war books. I just can't get into them. Anyway, I bought 3 new books on Amazon: Redeeming Love, A Praying Life, and Grapes of Wrath. I'm reading them in that order, so I've already begun the first! SO good, so far.

In fact, I think it's time to go read right now.

Hooray for Saturdays! And brothers!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rain on my window

It rained today! It seems like it's been weeks since we've had a good, heavy storm -- even if it did only last a few hours.

At my stained glass workshop today we started adding the copper foil around the edges of the glass. I'm not finished with all of the pieces, but I think it's coming together nicely. Next week: soldering! (By the way, I just now learned how to spell that word. I guess I've never had to use it before.)

When I walked outside of the building, it was quietly sprinkling and the sun was beginning to sink. The lighting was incredible so I made a few loops around downtown.

This is Vicksburg's Old Court House, now museum. The first time I saw it tonight the sun was just hitting the cupula, but the second time I made the loop, it had already gone down enough to make a difference. It's amazing how fast things change the closer it gets to dusk.

The "River" -- although here it's only the Yazoo Diversionary Canal-- around sunset is a beautiful thing. It was still a little rainy, as you can see by the drop of water in the upper right corner.
Today was exhausting, although I'm not sure why. It's time for bed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baseball and Eggplant Parmesan

So what do you do on a weekend in Vicksburg?

Go to Jackson, of course. Especially when the Mississippi Braves minor league baseball team is playing the Chattanooga Lookouts!

Actually, I really don't care for baseball, but I went with a group from work so it was fun regardless.
The game had barely begun when I took this picture, but I really appreciated Dunkin' Donuts' advertisement on the fence. Dunkin' Donuts coffee with blueberry flavoring and skim milk is almost my favorite thing in the world. [Please note the hyperbole.]
About ten minutes into the game, Emily and two other friends and I went to The Grill to eat dinner, which had so far been neglected. It took a pretty long time, but that was just fine with me. Instead of paying attention to the game, I took pictures of the sunset. The clouds were striking last night!

When I woke up this morning and opened my window, the sky was absolutely gorgeous. I thought to myself, "This will be a day to spend outside." I am so very thankful for restful weekends, and I am increasingly thankful that God made the outdoors for us to cultivate and enjoy. I'm learning I really can't live well without spending time outside.

Thankfully today, Dad was game for my idea of walking down to the Farmers' Market to pick up some veggies. I think I'm going to be visiting our twice-weekly farmers' market often!

This is one of the two pictures I took on our walk before my camera's batteries died. The Vicksburg's claim to fame is that it is the tallest building in Vicksburg (unless one of the churches has a taller steeple, but I doubt it). Pretty cool!
I must say, I had a joyously productive morning. Getting fresh corn downtown in preparation for my Quinoa, Corn, and Mint Salad was just the beginning...
After Dad and I got home, I began working on the window! You may remember seeing the antique window I bought a few weeks ago in Monroe, but that project has been on the very farthest backburner since I started work. Anyway, I worked with paint stripper paste for the first time ever. Oh my gosh! SO fun. Check out these cool bubbles that you just scrape away!

This is what I've done so far. Mom says the next step will be to "sand" it with steel wool. I am so excited, and I promise to stay up-to-date on the pictures and blogging. I cannot wait until I get to paint it!
Mom and I went down to the lake this afternoon. Em was already there with a group wakeboarding and water-sporting. I viewed this two-hour getaway as a chance to catch up on my reading. The Red Badge of Courage is taking longer than I would like, but so be it. I'm enjoying the story.
This is what I do not do at the Lake! :)

After getting home, it was time to start cooking. I've been planning since Wednesday to make Eggplant Parmesan tonight with eggplants from the mid-week farmers' market. I have never made Eggplant Parmesan, but it ended up being very delicious-- everyone agreed, too! (I have no problem with thinking my own food is amazing; sometimes I am the only one, ha!) I have attached the link if anyone is interested.

The glorious thing about Saturday is that you still have Sunday after it.