Monday, September 20, 2010

Time for a Change

My good buddy Jason Jones is running for City Office - there have been some interesting things going on here in 'ole Arkadoo and its time to make some changes in city leaders and get some things done...well the things the people want done anyway.


So, we had ourselves a good old fashioned "Meet the Candidate" shin-dig at mi casa. It was so fun. We were all convinced of a couple things:

• we need to get together more

• there are way too many people in my neighborhood that I don’t know

• my backyard is a perfect place for an evening gathering...we need more reasons to get together back there!

It was fun and I loved having the opportunity to support Jason I'm so excited about what November will bring!!!


You know any good party has to have a theme..."Jason Jones, our ticket to Change"
and we had carnival food - popcorn, candy, animal crackers, and mini corn dogs
So fun!

And, BTW, if you are in Arkadelphia, get out and vote for School Board tomorrow  - Sept 21 - we need to be doing our part to make a difference.  Stop complaining and go punch the buttons in the voting booth!


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Papa's Pears

When I was at my Papa's house weekend before last, I might have snuck a couple pears from his tree out back while he wasn't looking.  Bartlett pears have become a new obsession, but I think its becase they remind me of Papa's Pears.  You see my Papa has a tree behind his house that I can remember for most of my life.  It has the pretty green and brown pears on them.  I dont know that I've eaten many of them, but I love to look at them, gather them up in the big galvanized bucket and put them in a basket on the table.  I LOVE these pears.  But, this time, I was determined that I was going to get some and make soemthing out of them.  So, when mom and dad came last week for my scan results, I surprised them with a fancy dinner (I event put out cloth napkins and my dad won't use them-stinker)...well, maybe not fancy, but it was homemade and I topped it all off with Paula's Pear Crisp made with Papa's Pears (move over Peter Piper!)


Homemade Lasagna and it was good.  I've worked on my recipe a couple times and I think I've perfected it!
Spinach salad with homemade Italian Pesto Dressing, Bartlett Pears from Brookshires and Toasted Pecans


Papa's Pears - they make me so happy

Steps to Pear Crisp:
thinly sliced...I think it made the difference...I'm a fan of leaving the skin on veggies
Flour, Oats, Brown Sugar - sprinkled over the top

And, there might have been 2 1/2 sticks of this stuff involved - it is Paula Deen after all

Cook until it is nice and toasty brown

Serve it with Ice Cream and it is perfect - We had it with Yarnell's Key Lime Pie  - I know it sounds weird, but the tart and the sweet were the perfect mix.

I've looked up the recipe online to list below.  I would adjust it if I made it again, but this is not what I wrote down the first time, so I might try it this way first...But, I thought it had too much flour and not enough sweet.  When I re-heated it, I drizzled honey on top with a little cinnamon mixed in and that was perfect, wish I had thought of that the first time.

Oh how I love my Papa - not just for his pears!  But it sure doesn't hurt. :)


Paula's Pear Crisp


6 Large pears (about 2 - 1/2 punds) peeled, cored and thinkly sliced

1/4 cup warm water

1 lemon, juiced

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine pears, water and lemon juice in an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. In a bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and stir to make a crumbly mixture. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the topping is crisp and browned.


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apologies explained

So, I've been busy and here's how:

I mentioned in my previous post about the Heroes of Hope Program.  What I failed to mention was a sign of blessing tagged to it.  Back in the middle of August I received a call from a "228" area code.  I went ahead and answered it for fear that it was something I didn not want to miss and I'm glad I did. I was a sweet lady on the other end of the line with a nice southern twang in her voice.  She proceeded to introduce herself and conduct what I considered a "trial run" interview.  I think she really wanted to see what kind of Southern twang I had in my voice and I'm guessing more importantly, she wanted to see what my communication skills were like. 
         
It is a little known fact that when I'm on these types of calls, I get up and pace.  I talk loud, I go in the other room from where I am and I pace.  So, while chatting with sweet Stella, I walked into my living room (I was in the middle of a sewing project with music blarring) and just walked back and forth from my window to the dining room.  As our conversation was coming to a close, I looked down at my table and saw this (laying in a pile of fabric I had not touched in two weeks):



I know it seems strange, but to me it was a sign.  Not a sign that I got it, but a sign that if I believe that all God's promises are true, that He is who He says He is, and that He is in control, then....He is in control.  It was a subtle reminder in the midst of all I was doing that He holds on to His promises.  Simple, but true.  I think I will call it my Noah moment.  You see the ribbon crossed in this manner is a universal sign of HOPE.  It doesnt matter what color it is or whether it is cancer related or not, it is the symbol we use for HOPE and, in that moment when I was interviewing for something I wanted so bad, it was a sign of Enduring Promises. 


I've also been a little busy with some re-decorating activities.  I mentioned sewing, here's what I've been up to:
I found a new comforter for my guest room on sale in a "back to school" reject section at Wal-mart.  I loved the colors, but I wanted to add a personal touch.  I think the lady at the Wal-mart fabric counter runs when I show up because I pull out all kinds of stuff and then just stand there and stare at them until they "speak" to me.  I found the charcoal and the silky peach stuff on the $1 table and I just love the black and white flowers to much to walk away from them.  The rest of the stuff I found in my remnants and notions at home.  I must admit the big pillow wasn't initially intended to look like that, but I mis-measured, well, mis-cut, so I had to modify and adjust...but, now I'm in love.  Sometime, I impress myself! :)
 



During my week of "updating" , I re-painted my bathroom as well. I found this shower curtain when I was with Mom at Burlington one day and decided kiwi green was going to be my accent (I was afterall still using the towels I went to college with!). So, My friend Kate helped me pick out paint colors and now my "Jasper" bathroom feels like a Tiffany Box greeting me every morning! I'm in love!


These little babies came from Big Lots on one of my recent trips to Tyler - how perfect and $5 for the set
And this, I felt so proud of.  I found the fabric at Wal-mart - $1 bin and it matched almost perfectly.  I thought the white piping just made it "pop" it was much better than the dusty thing I was using before (but super grateful for b/c the folks before me, left it behind!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

completely clear

That's what Dr. M said today when I went in for my post-scan apt. He read straight off the report "no evidence of anything"! So um yeah...that was awesome news.


2 years. It’s been two years since He first told me I was in remission. I think the words "complete remission" were even used today, but I think we really have to wait for the 5 year mark. But, 2 years was the big one.

I am so excited. It was kinda weird. You expect big speakers to fall from the sky and angel music to start playing...you know kinda like what you hear in the background when you look at a picture of the Taj Mahal.

There was definite retail therapy had this afternoon and I might just the new proud mama to a pair of black, peep-toe Bandolinos. Maybe, just maybe.

But, I am so ecstatic.

I was also recently bestowed the honor as a Hero of Hope. This is a great ambassador program that the ACS has and after an application, interview and selection process, I was chosen, along with another girl, to represent Arkansas ACS over the next year at events throughout the state. I'm super excited!

We have a training later this fall and then after some "bonding" with my fellow Heroes, we will be trained and ready for the year ahead. In a lot of ways, I really feel like this is why I had cancer. Speaking and using my voice is a gift and I feel very grateful for the responsibility ahead of me.

I'm sure you will hear lots of stories about the road trips, speaking engagements and people I meet.

Thank you for YOUR support in this process. I still feel so blessed to have had your shoulders to stand on while I've walked this journey.


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Monday, September 6, 2010

O-U-A-C-H-I-T-A

Well, it would seem after a week like last week when Tiger Tunes tickets went on sale, that I would have had a great opportunity to reflect in the days leading up to Thursday, about the wonderful place that I call home. 

Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones....those who live in Arkadelphia and call OUACHITA - employer!

Two weeks after I graduated, I walked into Cone-Bottoms for my first day of work.  6 years later, I find myself at a different place, a different woman, a different understanding about Ouachita, but the same (well, if I'm honest, its different too!) love for the place that I call home.

Today, September 6th, is Ouachita's 124th Birthday - yeah, that's old.  Its seen economic times like the depression, WWII, early 80's and 2009!  Its lived to tell the stories of different curfews for men and women.  Its changed athletic conferences several times, each with its own set of competitions  - but none rival that of those stinkin' Reddies across the street.  Its had several face lifts and is recovering  very nicely from its most recent procedure!

But, through all those road turns, set backs, accomplishments and visionary fortitude, it has remanded the same.  A prestigious (yes, I feel that confident in it!) 4- year, private, Christian (yes there is a difference in Private and Christian) academic institution.  Its commitment to educating young men and women in a moral, ethical, Christian environment has not wavered. 

Some criticize that it is too protective, I'm so grateful for that.  Some criticize that it does not expose you enough to the real world, I say thank goodness.  Some wonder if you can fully understand and prepare to work in the cut-throat corporate world when you are nurtured through a Christian academic environment, I say even more so.  You see - we were lead, well "assisted" through an amazing time of self- discovery.  And, I think when you are shown the way and not thrown to the wolves, you come out a different person on the other side.

Yes, you will automatically do some serious life growing from 18 -22, no matter what environment you are in.  I'm grateful that I resided at 410 Ouachita for those years!

You see, the people I met there made all the difference.  Yes, I had a great education, that I am so proud of.  But, I was completely surrounded by people who cared about ME.  From the President to my roommates (all whom I knew on a first name basis, mind you), I knew people there would love me and care for me despite the self-discovery process I was on.

And, I know that it was God's divine intervention that had me at Ouachita during my cancer journey.  From the moment I discovered "the lump" to the day I heard the word remission, there was not a moment that my Ouachita friends did not surround me.  Those are times I will cherish all my life and forever be grateful for.

The girls I lived with at Ouachita are some of my very best friends - I always tell people these are the girls I call when I want to celebrate a victory or be surrounded by during a crisis (and we have done both).  Every time we get back together it feels like we are back on the 4th floor of Maddox hall or running that halls of Frances Crawford. 

Speaking of Frances Crawford, I was in there a couple weeks ago for move-in weekend and I kinda got a little teary talking to some freshmen girls about the memories I made in that building.  I can walk in the lobby and the smell can take me back (no its not bad...just distinct!) to late night conversations about boys and being away from mom, making food concoctions with our microwaves and whatever we could find in our "pantry", to writing Liberal Arts papers for each other, to getting ready for TWIRP (our version of a Sadie Hawkins week), to cleaning up the mess that was made over the Holiday weekends when we forgot to clean out our fridge.  I think about walking in there hot and sweaty from intramural football games and first kisses.  I think about that Saturday morning in January when all the social clubs came through to "gather" their new members.  I think about Saturday's getting up late, going for an Arby's run, watching football and Lifetime movies.  I think about late night Taco Bell and Wal-mart runs.  I think about putting my laundry on to wash on the first floor and bringing my kitchen timer back to my room so I didn't let it "rest" in there before putting it in the dryer only to find my pile of wet clothes sitting on the table because I waited too long.  I remember rearranging our rooms after our moms left because we didn't like the way it was set up.  I remember that blue phone we used in our room before we all had cell phones.  I remember loosing that stupid TCU shirt and turning our room upside down to find it.  I remember the buzz of the air conditioner b/c we always kept it on high.  I remember praying with my parents and my roommate and her parents after we left New Beginning before WOW and not knowing what all lay ahead.  I remember crying and journaling about the "traumatic" things that were happening. 

Somehow, I don't remember meeting the girls across the hall...we were just friends.  And, somehow I don't remember how I made it onto a freshman girls football team (especially given my nonathletic background), but I did.  I remember that the first day of my work-study job in the athletic office, I miss spelled the word "University" on a form for the conference and had to re-type it on a typewriter.  I remember the night the girl across the hall from me fell off her loft her dad made and broke her arm.  I remember the day I gave a girl a concussion in those previously mentioned football games and I broke my middle finger...(not in the same incident!) and my mom and dad told me that I was banned from playing...I didn't listen and re-broke the same finger the next year...that really made it hard to type my Liberal Arts paper. 

I loved it and I truly consider myself a lucky one.  Lucky that I finally listened to my 10th grade Sunday School teachers back in the "Crooked-I" who told me I would love this place (and so sad I missed up all those opportunities they gave me to come with them to Tiger Tunes).  Lucky that I had an amazing work study job that really opened the door for me to get a job on campus.  Lucky that I got that call on Wed of my senior year finals week  - asking me if I wanted to come interview for a new job they had created at Ouachita.  Lucky that I got the job and thankful that I'm still here.

O-U-A-C-H-I-T-A
Here's good luck to Ouachita
May all her skies be gay (we were established in 1886 when that word meant something completely different)
Come along and sing the song
A loud Hip-Hip- Hooray
O-U-A-C-H-I-T-A

**Ouachita alumni (or friends, too!) join the BlogAbout.  Simply write about your favorite Ouachita memories and either leave a comment on my blog with a link, or email your link to motll@obu.edu and Lori will tag you on our special website www.obu.edu/blogabout.  Oh, and make sure and encourage your readers to do the same.  I cant wait to hear about your Ouachita memories.  For more information, check out the BlogAbout story.**

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Friday, September 3, 2010

obu hollar!

Monday is an exciting day for Ouachita. September 6th is our Founder's Day. We are celebrating this year with a special celebration!  Join us in the fun and check out how you can get involved at BlogAbout.

Here's how it works...

Announcing the first ever

OBU BlogAbout
Monday, September 6

We are asking all OBU alumni and current students who blog to share their OBU stories (favorite memory, how you ended up at OBU, etc.) on Ouachita’s Founder’s Day this year.

Then encourage your readers who are alumni to do the same or share their story in the comments section of your blog.

Send Lori Motl (motll@obu.edu) a link to your story, and she will post it on www.obu.edu/BlogAbout.

If you don’t blog, but know alumni who do, please share this blog with them and encourage them to join in.

So, go ahead, spread the word about the event over the weekend so everyone has their fingers ready to tell all those amazing Ouachita stories on Monday.
Let’s tell the world what is so special about the Ouachita Experience!

(And, you can even copy and paste the pic below as your profile pic on facebook over the weekend and tag your friends so they know what's going on!)




Tiger Nation, let's share the experience!

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