Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That Time of Year....

Lately I have been wrestling with the reality that there is not going to be a season change here. Most people would love the fact that Southern California stays warm year-round, but every September I always find myself longing for the changes a new season brings....specifically Fall. Even when we lived in Georgia, I always wondered what Fall was like the Northeast. So, as a coping mechanism, I thought I might post some of my favorite things about Fall...or at least what it should be.

Obviously, the colors. They are beautiful! This is a picture of Seeger Chapel at Milligan College, my alma mater in November 2008. Milligan is one of my favorite places. Isn't it gorgeous? Go Buffs!

I love decorating. We rarely splurge, but we got this Pottery Barn wreath 3 years ago and it brings so much joy to pull it out of storage every year. We just bought the Happy Fall sign this season from HomeGoods. I still haven't figured out where it is going to go, but I had to get it anyway.

Pumpkin anything. Candles, pie, butter, lattes, scones, and carving them too. Last year we started a tradition to have night of pumpkin carving and caramel apples.

The smell. I don't know what it is. Maybe it is because people have to rake leaves and then burn the pile, but it sure smells good. When all else fails, there is always scented candles.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Giant Forest

I have to admit....until this weekend, Patrick and I had never been camping together. As a matter of fact, we both hadn't been camping since high school....and our experiences were rather infantile. With the abundance of camping opportunities around here, we had to put an end to our embarrassing streak. We had read and heard about Sequoia National Park so we planned the road trip with some friends. Luckily, the Huxfords are experienced campers....and have all of the necessary equipment. The Sequoias are quite a bit of a drive away...4-5 hours actually. With that being said, the trip started first thing Saturday morning. Literally, first thing.

4:30am: Rise and Shine. That's right, 4:30 in the morning. Still dark. We got up early to make sure we were in Pasadena to pick up Lindsay and Harrison.

6:00am: Car loaded and quick detour to Noah's Bagels and Pete's Coffee to get the morning going. I'm the only non-coffee drinker.

10:00am: Second breakfast at We Three Diner, just outside the park.

12:00pm: Park entrance. Still wondering where the Sequoias are. Repetitively asking, "Is that one?"

I don't know what time it was when I finally spotted a Sequoia, but I didn't need to ask to make sure of what it was. It was breathtaking. I felt like I was in "Honey I Shrunk the Kids." It was massive.

The rest of the trip was wonderful. We climbed Moro Rock, visited General Sherman, drove through a Sequoia and set up camp. We enjoyed eating pita pizza and s'mores around the campfire. I loved bundling up in the cool weather. I loved having cool weather period.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baby Steps

I recently started running again after a short hiatus. Isn't it crazy how quickly you can move backwards when you take a short break from something? I have never been a long-distance runner, but I wasn't expecting to have to fight for one mile. I was so disappointed when I got home. At this rate, I can't imagine ever being able to run a 5k again.

Sometimes the distance between where I am and where I want to be seems way too far. The journey to the goal seems near impossible to reach and easily discourages me from even trying. But what I realized on my morning run the next day was that the only way I can manage is to attempt to take baby steps. On one of these morning runs I was thinking about how many other areas of my life require me to take baby steps.

Most immediately I think of Dave Ramsey's baby steps that we are following to get out of debt, but I have recently seen this in both my marriage and in my walk with God. After experiencing something similar to a Dark Night of the Soul, I have finally started taking baby steps back into the never changing fullness of Christ. I haven't reached my goal in any of these areas of my life....and I can't get there overnight. Each area requires small steps....that can be won everyday.

After one week of running a mile, I pushed myself to run one extra block before turning around to head back home. And this week I will try to push through another one. Eventually I am going to be ready for a 5k again.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quick Get-Away

Between my husband's roles as college pastor and full time student, we try to squeeze in as many exploratory events as we can. L.A. offers an endless amount of things to do, so we haven't done anything twice. Last weekend we were able to take a quick trip to San Diego with the Huxfords. The trip went a little differently than planned, but it was adventurous. The 2 hour drive took 4 hours, due to the late Chargers fans on the way to the stadium. We had plans to attend ourselves, but my aunt (who we were staying with) lives so close to the stadium that we couldn't find parking for miles. We literally had to give up on getting to the apartment and going to the game. We just drove to a local bar and grill and watched from there. We were finally able to find parking and settle into the apartment during the 3rd quarter.

The next morning started with a trip to a local coffee shop and then a few hours at Balboa Park. It was beautiful! We went to one of the many museums and then to the botanical garden. As lunch neared we headed to Pacific Beach to join a small group of UGA fans to watch the game. Oddly enough, we were outnumbered by Michigan fans 10 to 1. Apparently everyone got too cold in Michigan and decided to move to San Diego together. Although my dawgs let me down, it was SO MUCH BETTER watching the game among SEC fans. I was quickly reminded of how much I love the SEC!

We spent the latter half of the afternoon at Hotel Del Coronado, which is where Marilyn Monroe stayed when she filmed "Some Like It Hot." The night ended with a sunset drive to see one of the California Missions and dinner at Chick-Fil-A....yes, Chick-Fil-A. We can never get enough.

Balboa Park

San Diego Bay

Hotel Del Coronado

California Mission Trail

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Addictive Corn Dip

Football season has officially begun. What better way to celebrate than to participate in BooMama's Diptacular?! This family recipe was given to me by a great friend. Enjoy!

Addictive Corn Dip

2 cans Mexicorn (or 1 can of corn and 1 can of green chilies)
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3-4 scallions, chopped
2-4 cups finely grated cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin

Mix together and chill. Serve with tortilla chips, wheat thins or corn chips.