Friday, August 31, 2012

The Problem With Being Ordinary

Earlier in the week, as I was getting dressed with the television on, I heard a news anchor comment on Prince Harry's "incident" in Las Vegas. If it is possible that someone hasn't heard about this story, I'll give a one bullet point summation.


  • Prince Harry went to Vegas for a vacay, partied hard, ended up with nude pics of himself and a woman which made their way  to the internet and news.

Just to be clear, this post isn't about Harry. It's about the attitude I've seen/heard displayed regarding his "PR nightmare."

As I listened to the program coming from the TV, I heard the anchor talking about all the support that has been shown for Harry's discretion. He went on to say, more than once, that Harry was just a normal guy. He wasn't a bad person. It's perfectly normal for a guy to do something like that- he just happened to make the news because he was a prince. He's a normal guy, and that's okay.

Now before I go any further, you need to know that I'm not calling Harry a bad person. Please hear that. I don't know him, so I do not know his character. I'd like to think that he, like anyone, is not the sum of his mistakes. With that established, I want to say that it makes my heart sad to think that we consider such behavior as "normal," and "okay."

Less than 10  minutes earlier in the program that same anchor spoke of how he loved being a dad. He enthusiastically exclaimed that it had changed his life. Then he showed a picture of his young daughter. (I did not see the picture as I was in the next room.) It was positively adorable listening to him speak of his little girl and what it meant to be her daddy.

So now I'm wondering if his definition of a "normal" guy will be acceptable for his daughter when she is of dating age. I wouldn't think so, or at least I hope not.

Call me old fashioned or a straight-laced goody-two-shoes, but I think we need to be encouraging our children to be extraordinary. I've said to my kids (niece and nephews) several times that they should never settle for ordinary. And aren't we called to a higher way? The example set before us is Christ himself. That's pretty spectacular

Then I recalled a button I've seen several times on Pinterest.


It's true the world needs better behavior, but too many people think that is enough. It isn't. Being a good person isn't your ticket to eternity. The only true way to have eternal life is through the sacrifice of Jesus. 

I'd like to challenge the popular quote above. I think that your beliefs dictate your behavior, and if that's the case then we need to go back to the example of Christ. So I'd like to offer an alternative button... 



Let's encourage one another to be outstanding. Don't settle. Embrace the gift God has given, and be amazing.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page!  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cast Iron Skillet Apple Pie

I've had a few people ask for this recipe, but it's almost embarrassing to tell because it's just. so. stinking. simple. You know what else it is?

Ridiculously delicious!

Here's the pie.

I love the caramel syrup that bubbles up from the bottom. 
That's heaven in a skillet folks. 
(We even fuss over who gets the scrapings from the bottom of the pan.)




Ingredients list

4 lg Granny Smith apples
1-2 other apples depending on size (Gala, Fuji, Envy, or other)
1 refrigerated, ready-made pie crust (2 pieces)
1 stick of butter
1+ c of brown sugar (packed)
½ c sugar
2 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
2 tbs flour
egg white & water mixture
a tiny mixture of cinnamon sugar (about 2 tsp)

Here's how I made it.


Peel and cut apples and put them into an acid-water bath to keep them from turning brown. You can use lemon or lime in the water. I used pineapple juice and water. I also like to throw in a surprise apple or two to mix it up with the Granny Smiths. This time I used 1½ Envy apples.
(Get your pie crusts out of the box, so they can warm to room temperature while you prepare your apples.)





Into a jar put 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sugar. I got carried away and used more sugar than I usually do. Add the flour to the sugar. This keeps the pie from getting runny inside. Nobody likes runny insides!
The next part was hard for me because I tried to come up with exact measurements for the spices for you precise people. I usually just dump my spices in until it looks and smells right to me. 
Now shake up the dry ingredients, but put the lid on first! I guess you could use a bowl and spoon to stir them up, but why?



Melt your butter over low-medium heat then add the brown sugar. I tend to add a little more than one cup. (Paula Deen would be proud.) Mix it together until it looks like chocolate gravy. Mmmmm. 



Lay your bottom crust on top of the gooey, delicious goodness. Now place your well drained apples on top of the crust. Don't dump them in because it will tear right through the dough. Remember it's floating on a sea of yummy, so it's a little delicate.



Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and breathe deep. 
It already smells amazing.



Cut a vent hole in the top crust and place it over the apples. I usually use a cookie cutter, but the only one I could find was a huge star, so I guess we're having patriotic pie tonight. 
Tuck the top crust down along the edges. Sometimes I worry about how it looks, so I try to get my edges pretty. Most of the time I don't care because no one will remember what it looks like. I promise! 




Using an extremely soft brush, or in this case my fingers, wash the top crust with the egg white-water mixture. You will want to do this lightly. Don't let it pool in the crevices. Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top of the egg wash. This makes the crust glisten with a beautiful golden color. 
Now wrap  the edges with foil so they don't burn.  

Bake at 350° for 35 minutes and remove foil
Continue baking for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven, altitude, blah, blah, blah.

Let the pie cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. You should wait longer than that, but I dare you to try.



Enjoy.
And please come back to let me know if you give this try. 
I'd love to hear how it turned out for you.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page!  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Can I Get an Interpreter?

The following is an overheard conversation between my parents.

Mama: (tongue tied while telling Daddy about a TV show she had seen advertised) It's called "Stars Earn Traps"

Daddy: Stars in a Crack?

Mama: No, not "Stars on Crack," it's "Stars Earn Stripes"

Daddy: Stars and Stripes? Huh? I don't know what you're talking about.

I don't know which one is Abbot and which one is Costello, but they make me laugh.


Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page!  

Friday, August 24, 2012

focused on Glory (in fellowship)


I had a great day hanging out with a sweet friend today. Carla asked me to help her get canvases ready for a women's event at church. It was a great day with a great gal. We laughed, acted silly, and shared stories. What a present it turned out to be.

Without knowing it, earlier in the week, Carla repeated the Bible study lesson I had just covered. That lesson and Carla reinforced a decision I'd been called to. God has further substantiated what he has asked of me. Don't you love hearing him speak? I do.



focused on Glory is a weekly post in conjunction with Ponderings of an Elect Exile. Make sure you stop by to hear about the great blessing Jennifer encountered.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Obey Right Away, All the Way, and With a Happy Heart



Have you ever had to make a decision that you knew would be unpopular? Even with yourself? That's where I was this morning. It's actually silly since it's something that God had called me to do months ago. However, there is a deadline racing toward me that made me hesitate and panic a wee bit.


It has to do with security. God asked me to trust him, and I said I would. Then days turned to weeks, weeks to months (yada yada yada), and I still didn't see his promised outcome. 




So I did what I do best. I began looking around for my own solution to help Him out a little- just until his plan fell into place. I'm sure he appreciated the fact that he had to herd a crazy, little kitten back into his arms.




Reading about Peter has helped. He suffered from a wishy-washy commitment too. At the Last Supper (Luke 22) he said to Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death," (v 33). But when asked Peter denied being one of Christ's disciples, or even knowing him- three times (v 56-60). The worst part? Back at the supper, after Peter had heralded his devotion, Jesus looked him in the eye and told Peter about the denials to come (v 34, 61). 

Ouch. That had to hurt. I'm sure Peter must have been a bit miffed. I bet Peter meant what he said to Jesus in verse 33. At least he meant it at the time.


I'm a lot like Peter, and maybe you are too. God calls me to trust him and follow, and I enthusiastically agree. Then the calendar pages start turning, and I'm still waiting. Eventually I begin to think of ways to start working without God. I turn to what I've done in the past- not bad things, just not what he has called me to.


Peter did that too. After Jesus raised himself from the grave, Peter went back to fishing (John 21). It was his comfort zone. He'd been a fisherman when Jesus called him to follow. Do you know what Jesus did? He met Peter and the others where they were. Jesus was on the shoreline. Jesus took Peter aside and reinstated him, removing the guilt of denial and a flip-flopping commitment. He gave Peter three opportunities to say how much he loved his Lord. 


Three for three. You have to love that.


So I was reminded that God doesn't need my help, and he isn't concerned with my timeline. Even though I am confined by deadlines, he is not. 


I've decided to ignore the deadline that's chasing me down. I took a stand this morning and told God that I would follow him even though it had my stomach in knots. 


That wasn't good enough. God wanted my obedience with a joyful heart. 


Really?


I'd just declared my devotion to his plan even though I was clueless as to what that may be. Surely that counted for something! 


Not so much.


God wanted me to be excited again. It's like what my friend Melissa tells her children, "Obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart." (That doesn't mean it be smooth sailing.)


God wants me to be filled with joy as I wait for him. My trepidation and worry was destroying my joy. God gently quieted my heart with his love (Zep 3:17).


So I choose to obey with a happy heart, and I can't help but wonder if most of the blessing will be found in the joy rather than the outcome.


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Oops I Did it Again


Apparently my pinky toe is made of glass. I brushed it against the edge of a braided rug, and it snapped into. Again.

This is the seventh time, in seven years, my little toe has broken. The first time was so bad that my roommate almost threw up when she saw it. It. was. gross. (Skip the next few paragraphs if you have a weak stomach and don't want your lunch on your keyboard.)

I caught my little piggy on the strap of a duffle that was sticking out from under my bed. It made a cracking noise like when you pop your fingers. (Yes I pop my knuckles- don't judge.) I thought I had dislocated the toe. That had happened a time or two before, and I would roll my foot onto its side and move the toe back into place. Only it didn't slide back into place. 

I'm sure I turned grey. I know I wasn't breathing.

When I looked down, my little toe was flopped off to the side- perpendicular to my foot. Rolling my foot over the toe rocketed pain through my foot, up my leg, and out of the top of my head like lightening. I'm pretty sure there was a hole in my bedroom ceiling.

I managed to hop downstairs to ask if we had any medical tape in the house. My roommate didn't believe me when I told her what it was for. She stated that she hadn't heard me scream and asked how I knew it was broken. I pointed down and said, "Because that isn't natural." She leaned around her desk to look and almost barfed. To her credit, I hadn't made a sound when it happened.

We didn't have any cloth tape, so I used masking tape. It didn't really matter what I used because the toe was so swollen that I couldn't get it to set. And before anyone asks, no I didn't have any training to do this. However I can promise- you know when the bone is set and when it isn't. 

It wasn't until my lunch break the next day that I was able to get to a drugstore for the tape I needed. I sat in my car and pulled the toe up until it was set in the proper position. Once that happened the pain decreased by 50%. It still hurt like a donkey to walk on it, but the pain needle had been holding steady on a Godzilla level to that point.

Ten months later it snapped again just as bad. It has never been the same since. Now if you look at it too long it will break out of spite. I'd cut it off if it that wouldn't ruin all future sandal seasons. I actually have a pair of Born loafers that are one size too big that I keep for when my toe breaks. That's just sad.




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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tisket Tasket- I Need More Baskets


I’m really good at organizing. The trouble is that I don’t always do it. It must be my right brain being a bully and taking over. I love my right brain, but this is what happens if she is let out of the barn for too long.

messy shelf #1

messy shelf #2


I've purposefully not shown you the bottom of either shelf. One of them is blockaded by canvases and other projects in process. There was no need to be that transparent.

Unfortunately my right brain needs to live in harmony with my left brain. LeftBrain wants to come out and play too.

I’m pleased that God chose to put creative thoughts in my head. I’m equally pleased that He blessed me with the ability to tap into the “dark side” that is usually reserved for accountants, engineers, and pilots. Not that I’m claiming to be that smart. (But secretly I am claiming that!)

I can be precise and meticulous when needed. And I can be organized! I actually like being organized. I’m not the typical creative, scrambled, tangled mess- unless you’re talking about the pictures above. Being organized gives me the most freedom to be creative.

So don’t try to put me in a box. (I’d just freak out and ruin your box.)

My problem is that the motivation to organize is usually thwarted by the manipulative right brain. Thankfully this only happens in my private life. Little Miss Creative Thinker is kept on a leash for work purposes.

I will begin to arrange and classify items, but I inevitably run across something that inspires me. And since inspiration is shy, you must act on it (or record it) immediately. Unfortunately inspiration #1 leads to inspiration #17 and so on.

You get the picture. I mean literally. Go look at the pictures above.

This needs to be fixed. Soon. Now to find some umption for my gumption to get started. 

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

focused on Glory (little things)

Week 33

I know. It's another mushroom picture. It has only been a month since my last post (here) with a picture of a 'shroom. That post also had yummy recipes with it. 

Forgive the repetition, but they were so cute growing in the front yard. (I can almost hear gasps of loathing coming from snobby-yard people who wouldn't dream of allowing a mushroom to grow in their yard- much less this type of grass.) 

I should have gotten a shot of the sky. It was a gunmetal blue. Maybe it was the pre-storm sky or the lowered humidity that teased me outside to lie down in the front yard and look at this little fella.  What an interesting piece of craftsmanship. Who could have thought of that besides God? 





Be sure to stop by Jennifer's BLOG. She is amazing. I think you will agree.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vintage Chic but Modern Cheap (Antique Mirror Tutorial)

I've seen several tutorials about how to age a mirror or use clear glass to make an antique mirror. However, none of the sites I've seen have gone beyond treating the glass and hanging it on the wall, so I decided to take it a step further. I wanted a mirror with a some pizzazz.  

My solution was to use a vintage spoon as a hook to hang my mirror. I'm pleased with the outcome. What do you think?




Side view of spoon hook


Now let me tell you how to do this for yourself. The items I used are:

*   Frames from thrift store (they were 99¢ each)
*   Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint (at discounts stores)
*   Vinegar water (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water)
*   2½" wide grosgrain ribbon (I LOVE grosgrain ribbon)
*   1 Silver plated serving spoon and 2 silver plated tablespoons
*   Drill with 3/32" cobalt bit 
    (it must be cobalt to drill through the metal)
*   Clamp
*   Screws & 2 washers
*   Jewelry connectors (in the findings section at hobby stores)
*   Spray paint
*   Glue gun
*   Bolt cutter
*   Whet stone (for sharpening knives)

Don't let that list intimidate you. It promise isn't that much stuff, and you probably have most of it around the house.

First, wipe down your frame and remove the glass. Paint the frame whatever color you desire. This is what one of my frames looked like before I began.





Here is the mirror paint and vinegar water. I only had apple cider vinegar, so it looks dark, but it worked the same.

Now you want to clean the glass well. Lay the glass on a drop cloth or newspaper and give it a spritz with the vinegar water. Immediately spray the mirror paint on the glass with the wet droplets. (Please follow all directions on the can.) It must be done with plenty of ventilation (i.e. outside, because breathing is vital to finishing this project). Allow the glass to dry completely and repeat the process several times. (I did it five times.) It doesn't take long to dry between coats.



I sprayed the first pieces of glass all over because I get a little excited with new projects. I was more selective with my spritzing on the last piece, concentrating on specific areas. I also took a soft cloth and gently rubbed a little of the silver paint off in a few areas. While you are waiting for your paint to dry you can work on your spoons.


 Clamp the spoon onto your drilling work surface. I suggest clamping it face down, because decorative spoons have embellishments on the top that can make your drill "walk" around.  Mark where you want to drill and go for it. (I forgot to photograph this step, so I had to recreate it with a plain spoon from the kitchen drawer. It was a necessary sacrifice.)



Once you have your hole drilled you will bend the spoon. Be sure to bend your spoon before you cut the head off because it gives you more to hold onto while bending. Turn the spoon over, and cover it with an old cloth to protect the design on the top. (Turn it over so the decorative part will be on the outside once you bend it.) Bend it over the edge of your work table.



I found it hard to make the second bend on the table, so I secured the spoon into the clamp and pressed it against concrete to get my U shape.



This is the U shaped spoon with the head cut off. I cut the spoon with a bolt cutter and smoothed the edges with a whet stone.



Screw your hooks onto your frame, and be sure to pre-drill your screw holes. I hot glued jewelry connectors to the corners for a little more interest. Now you are ready to hang your keys, aprons, or jewelry on your beautiful new accessory. (I have to grin here because I also made all the jewelry hanging on my mirror except for the pink Brighton bracelet.) 



I used the jewelry connectors on the black frame as well. I really like the look of this sweet mirror with its unique hanger.



My mom wanted a small mirror to sit on her antique secretary. I taped off the initial before I painted the glass then put a striped paper (that she picked) behind the mirror. (The photo doesn't show the reflection of the glass very well.)


Now you need to give it a go. It's fun and easy. Best of all, it's inexpensive! Have fun.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Light Bulbs & Leotards

This post comes as the result of a challenge. My friend Erica threw out a suggestion for this post that was quickly seconded by CBell. 

It began last night as we watched the Olympics closing ceremony. We watched together from our separate homes in four different towns in two different states. We came together on facebook as commentators presiding over the night's festivities. This is a common occurrence  much to the delight, or chagrin, of our fellow facebook friends who may or may not be watching the same live program. (I had another friend from a third state log on to tell me that she was on facebook for the sole purpose of seeing what I might say about the closing ceremony. My oh my, that's funny!)

As it were, I had decided to forgo the world-wide television extravaganza and had told CBell that they would have to fly without me. So I missed the first few acts by the time I caved in. 

The closing ceremony was every bit as odd as the opening ceremony, in which we had entirely too much fun critiquing the chosen fashions of each country. Remember England's gold lame armpits?


And Spain's McUniforms?

(We feel your pain Buddy.)

Last night's fashions did not disappoint either. We had a royal plethora of unique clothing options begging for analysis. (How did you like that bit of fancy writing. I managed an homage to English government as well as avoiding one of the "dead" words (i.e. lot, bunch).)

The theme for the evening seemed to be light bulbs. The crowd control volunteers had lighted bulbs atop bowler hats.

The Brazilian contingency had equally bizarre lighted head dressing.


And my favorite- Oompa Loompa Elvis in light bulbs. (I promise he looked 4'9" on TV.)
I searched for dozens of seconds looking for a picture of OLE. I finally settled for a screen grab of a video. It doesn't do justice to his lighted cape, mutton chops, and 70's shades.


And my true favorite- the Spice Girls cars! I'll tell you that I want, that I really, really want one. (Sorry! I couldn't help it!)


There were other, non-illuminated, questionable style statements as well. There were many forms of leotards and lingerie even, but don't look for those pictures here.

I'm just not sure that a fashion show cat-walk embodies the Olympic spirit. And I may or may not have secretly wished for a wipe out. 


Then there was this debatable decision.  Should he have gone with those pants? That belt buckle? The 70's biker 'stache? The decision to dance? 
(My apologies for leaving you with this image.)

The music portion was quite eclectic, and fun overall. I'm still scratching my head over a few acts, but I'm chalking that up to the cultural differences.

English style typically leaves me with raised eyebrows. After watching many interior design programs on BBCA, I just don't understand their fascination with 80's style. Not that I have anything against the English. They have a beautiful country. I just want to help them decorate it.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Not Too Small for a BIG God


Have you ever felt so small that you were sure you didn't matter in this great and mighty universe? Chances are you have. We all have at times, and the truth of the matter is that we are small compared to everything, but there is hope. REAL hope.

My hope lies in my knowledge that God loves me. And if God loves me (which He obviously does based on what He sacrificed for me*), it makes sense that He cares about my everyday situations. 

Does this mean life will be a piece of cake? I'm insulting you by even asking that. Forgive me. Of course life isn't easy, but He is there for me. Unfortunately we (man) messed up His perfect plan a long time ago. Thankfully He stepped in to provide a way back to redemption. (That would be Jesus, the cross, and a mighty resurrection.)

I have real needs and real deadlines. God may or may not choose to meet the deadlines in which I am bound, but I won't turn away. Even when I find myself beginning to get anxious,   I trust that He knows what He's doing. Saying that He sees the whole picture is a bit myopic. He is painting the whole picture.

If you are feeling small and insignificant I encourage you to chase down these verses. They may be familiar or completely new to you, but I pray they express His love and care in you.

Jeremiah 1:5  Before I formed you in the womb I knew you
Isaiah 43:1  Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name. You are mine.
Psalm 139  You have searched me LORD and you know me

There are many verses that tell of God's love for us. I've seen that love proven time and again in my life. I hope you find rest in His declarations.

* 1 John 3:16 
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Heart Song

There are a couple of songs that express, so uniquely, what is in me. It's as if the author climbed inside me and read the walls of my heart. This is one of those songs. It's All Around Me by Flyleaf. I'll put a link for it at the bottom of the post.


My hands are searching for you
My arms are outstretched towards you


God, I'm reaching for you. My arms are wide. I want to catch every bit of You. I know You are here. You permeate me. 

I feel you on my fingertips
My tongue dances behind my lips for you


I can feel you around me, in me, through me. I have no words, but my mouth tries to capture who You are to me. You understand anyway.

This fire rising through my being
Burning I'm not used to seeing you


I'm intoxicated in Your presence. Almighty God set me on fire. 

I'm alive
I'm alive

It's You living in me.

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I'm breathing


You are near. You are here. I am Yours. You are mine. You give me breath. I can't live without You.

Holding on to what I'm feeling
Savoring this heart that's healing



Without You I would melt into despair and anxiety (but you calm my heart with Your love. You adore me. Your heart jumps and laughs with mine, and hurts when Your girl aches*). 

My hands float up above me
And you whisper you love me
And I begin to fade

Into our secret place 

I'm still reaching for You. You reach down to me. Your welcome is overwhelming. I melt in Your grace.

The music makes me sway
The angels singing say we are alone with you
I am alone and they are too with you


I can't be still. My joy moves me. I am Yours. You are mine.

Father God
no words
only You

* Zephaniah 3:17



All Around Me - Flyleaf


Also check out Lacey Sturm's testimony HERE.

Thank you for visiting creative confetti!  Please take a moment to "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. And I'd love to hear from you via the comment section or the email option on my profile page! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Young and Wise

A short while ago I dedicated one of my focused on Glory installments on an amazing young woman named Melonie. I had the honor of getting to know Mel when I worked with the student ministry at my church in TN. She is now a sophomore in college, and the growth I've seen in her is a challenge to us all.


As I said in this post, Melonie participated in a mission trip to Kenya. Now she is recording her memories and encounters in a new blog entitled ONE.


I want to invite readers to stop by Melonie's new blog. I think you will be amazed and blessed by this young woman of God. 


(Melonie wanted to point out that she will not be a regular blogger due to her college schedule. I plan on adding her to my reading list so I can be alerted to when she is able to post new material.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sweet Tea, Jesus, and Me (What it means to live in the South.)


I love being a southern girl. The bulk of my years have been lived in the South, and that has been a large contributor in fashioning who I am. (Side note: I am not opposed to living outside the south. In fact, I would enjoy a new adventure.)

I may not be the average southern lady as typified by other parts of the map, but I love my roots. While I may not eat grits or catfish, wear cowboy boots, or use the word y'all, my membership card is authentic, and I have an accent to prove it.

There are a few basics of the southern life that are woven through me. Call it my southern fiber. It's a cozy, homey feel to me, and I'm not sure if I can put it to words, but I'll give it a go.

It's sitting on a porch swing for so many reasons- to watch a thunder storm, have lunch with your friends, or snuggle under a quilt in the cold to read a book. It's drinking sweet tea with lime (because I'm a little different), and catching lightning bugs in the evening.

Living in the South means talking to strangers, waving at people as you pass them, and saying "yes ma'am" is a sign of respect- not an insult. We love to have people over for any occasion, as long as we know ahead of time so the house can get picked up (tidied up for non-southern speakers). 

It's baking a casserole and a desert when you've found out someone is sick, or has lost a loved one. It's mowing your neighbor's yard when they aren't able to, and joining the community at the football field on Friday nights.

Personally it meant going to church every week (because that's what you do on Sundays and Wednesdays), until it brought me to a beautiful place of having an intimate relationship with my Savior. I'm so thankful for a tradition that showed me the way to my LORD.

There's also a sweet spirit of respect that runs deep in the South. I remember the funeral of a precious friend. As we drove to the cemetery, Andy's sister-in-law asked why all the cars had pulled over to the side of the road. We explained that the drivers were paying respect to the family in the procession. One gentleman stood outside his car with his hand over his heart. I'm getting choked up as I'm recalling that memory now.

There are some common misconceptions about southerns. One misguided notion is that we are all country folk and uneducated. I just love the quote from Sweet Home Alabama, "Honey, just 'cause I talk slow doesn't mean I'm stupid." (I happen to talk quickly with an accent.) Unfortunately I've had people tell me that a southern accent deducts IQ points. Pshaw! At least we have the manners not to say such things to people.

Once a roommate of mine was dating a guy from another continent, and he said that he didn't know there was a difference between being southern and being country. Well there is. You can be both, or either one exclusively. (I've know country folk from upstate NY.) My roommate and I laughed and explained as best we could. She, being a southern, country girl, said she enjoyed going to tractor pulls and fish fries. I, being southern but not country, said that I enjoy going to art museums and plays. 

Being from the South doesn't make me country. I'm not a country girl. That isn't an insult to those who are country. It's simply stating what I am not. I do have a lot of country relatives, and they are a good stock of people. (And by the way, country ≠ hillbilly.)

So that's a little about what it means to southern to me. Someday I hope to have a front porch swing and an attic fan of my own. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or about your traditions. 

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