Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicken Salad

I finally went to the grocery store this afternoon. When I got home, I made some chicken salad to take for lunch this week. Someone suggested I share the recipe, and I figure here's just as good a place as any. :) I'm not a person who creates her own recipes. I think the beauty in a recipe partially lies in the fact that it's gone before -- that people I love have made it before. The same is true for this recipe. I got this one from my friend Angela. I love it!

Tarragon Chicken Salad

1 C Mayonnaise
1 C Sour Cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoon Tarragon
3 C chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1 C grapes
3/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Set aside. Roast pecans on a cookie sheet for a few minutes. Let cool. Combine chicken, grapes (I like purple grapes, but my Momma always uses green grapes in her chicken salad -- either work), and pecans. Stir the mayonnaise/sour cream mixture into the chicken, grapes and pecans. I use my hands to mix it all. It's messy, but it's the best way to get it evenly distributed. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


Today is the day for Ronald McDonald House Charities Day of Change!! Stop by your local McDonalds and put your change in the change box!

Your change can go a long way in changing the lives of sick children and their families. It's amazing how so little can make such an impact. So, tonight drive by McDonalds on your way home. Buy your kid a Happy Meal (one won't kill them), and put your change in the change bin to help families just like your own.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day of Change

Tomorrow is Ronald McDonald House's Day of Change. Please stop by your local McDonalds and deposit money into the Ronald McDonald House bins. Feel free to also buy a Happy Meal...part of the money for that goes to the Ronald McDonald House too. More than 19 million dollars was raised last year from change in the bins. That's A WHOLE LOT of change...both monetary and non-monetary!

Check out the cool promotional video on youtube:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Getting to Know Me

A while back this thing saying "Tell me 25 random things about you" was floating around Facebook, and I did it. I came across it the other day, and I thought it’d be a cool blog post for those who don’t know me that well. I’ve added a few to round it off at 30. Enjoy.

1. I love Mississippi with every part of me. In so many ways it defines every aspect of who I am...both good and bad. I can’t think of a better place to have been raised; it showed me trees as well as tall buildings; it showed me love just as much as its much publicized hate; it showed me the importance of family and friends but also the necessity of solitude. Pretty much everything that is important about me or in my life can be traced back to a time or place in Mississippi.

2. I’m a klutz in every sense of the word. My body (and often ego) are always bruised, scabbed, or sore from some tumble or slip.

3. I didn’t read To Kill a Mockingbird until I was 22 (a shame for anybody raised in the South). But after reading it, I spent the next year writing about it because it was so powerful. It still moves me, and there are parts of it that still bring me to tears even after more than 20 reads.

4. I love baseball with an unbelievably deep passion. And while my love for the Red Sox is leagues above the rest, I can watch any game by any team at any time. I watch well over 250 baseball games a year (counting 162 Red Sox games, spring training games, all play-off games, and the random Braves, White Sox and Cubs games on tv here), and at no point in my life have I watched a game and not thought of my daddy. It’s an intense mixture of love, happiness and longing all rolled into one. I’m certain my love for baseball is completely intertwined with my love for my father.

5. I’ve been unusually blessed with great mentors and teachers at every stage in my life.

6. My favorite city on earth is a tie between Zanzibar, Tanzania and Nice, France. I’d like a villa in both when I grow up (and obviously come into some unexpected money). But, my home is my favorite place on earth. The front porch at the house I grew up in is where I go (or want to go) when I’m sad, confused, lost, or wandering. From that spot, everything becomes clear; it doesn’t fix everything, but it certainly brings solace to whatever I’m feeling.

7. C. S. Lewis’ book The Last Battle rocked my world unlike anything I think I’ve ever read. It’s been 10 years since I read it on a bus in the South of France, but I still get chills thinking about it. More so than any other book, it made the second coming of Christ and the end of the world seem real and not fantastical. I. Was. Rocked!

8. My nephews have born in me and shown me a love like I never knew there was. Upon first look I felt complete love -- love that didn’t need to be earned or justified. I would imagine it’s the love most parents feel, but I’m certain it’s the purest example I’ve seen of God’s love.

9. I always fail personality tests. It never fails that I baffle the test giver. I’m never one group/animal/letter/type, and often I’m all of them. I’m as type B as they get in some areas and as type A in others. While it would seem like the best of both worlds, it’s often a duel.

10. I love the show My Boys; it reminds me of the end of college and the couple of years afterwards. There is no direct correlation between the characters and the guys in my life at that point, but I never watch that show without missing Jonathan, Wes, and CJ (and the other guys who came and went). It’s comical because the show is so sports related, and none of those were/are sportsy kinda guys. On top of my entertainment center is a photo of Wes, CJ, Jonathan and me at the Devore’s, and it encapsulates so much of that time to me. I look at that picture and don’t see the picture, I see the memories spread across many days and nights over a couple of years.

11. Similarly, I don’t watch any show or read any book about girlfriends that I don’t think of Kirsten, Amy and Heather. Life and changing dynamics hasn’t erased their importance to me and to who I am (who they helped make me become). Were I to live another 100 years without seeing or talking to them, I’d still say they were three of the most influential people in my life.

12. Most people think that because I’m working on a PhD I must be smart. The truth is, I’m the youngest of three children, and both my brother and sister are leagues smarter than I am. They both could easily do what I do, but I could never succeed in their fields. The fact that they pretend not to know this makes me love them even more.

13. I love baking. My life seems stress-free when I’m in a kitchen covered in flour trying out a new recipe. The fact that baking kills my appetite so that I don’t actually eat what I’m baking is an added plus.

14. My sister is my bestest friend. I wish I had her daring, and she makes my life a little less vanilla, and I love her for it.

15. One observant trip around my house could tell you more about me than any survey or list ever could.

16. My plant, Leon, is actually the second Leon (though I like to pretend it isn’t true). I let the first Leon die, and I was so devastated that I bought a small, more manageable plant and named him Leon too. Leon is, of course, named for Leon Phelps, The Ladies’ Man. I’ve since killed Leon #2…I wept.

17. I love classic movies, but Good Will Hunting and Almost Famous are my favorite non-classic movies (though the older I get, the closer they come to being old enough to be classics). Good Will Hunting, more so than any other movie, changed my view on life, experience and love.

18. Speaking of movies, I love action films as much as romantic comedies. Both have things that blow up (cars in one, relationships in the other), and by the end of both, the guy gets the girl and vice versa. They both are equally unrealistic...and I love it!

19. I'm more honest with my friend DiAnne than I am with myself. I can lie to myself, but she throughs me when I lie to her, so it’s useless.

20. I think the term “love” is thrown around too much and the action is not thrown around enough. People seem to be so wrapped up in the emotion and status of “being in love” or the acquisition of romantic love that there seems too little effort left to actually show love to others. I try to live my life following the words of John: “Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone that love is born of God and knows God ... because God is love.” And, “Let us not love with words or tongue but in action and in truth.”

21. If in my life I possess half the strength I’ve seen in my mother, I’ll be pleased.

22. I flatter easily, and often flattery embarrasses me. I tend to be dismissive of compliments because ... actually, I don’t know why, but I am.

23. I’m simple yet quirky. I’m not great at first impressions because I vacillate between being a wallflower and nervously talking incessantly. I’m better at second impressions. :-D

24. My daddy called me Baby, and it stuck. I spent the vast majority of my early life as Baby or The Baby (until Jeff actually had babies and it got too confusing). In high school my friends called me Eli (mostly). My sister gave me the nickname Libby. When Reese was born, Elizabeth was too hard to say so we started referring to me as Libby, and that’s when it really stuck, and all the little kids in my life call me Libby. My sister lengthened it to Libby Lou and then shortened it again to Lou. I went by Crews in college, and after awhile I became rather endeared to it. Crews and Libby are my favorite nicknames. There is nothing more precious to my ears than to hear my nephews call me Libby. However, I also love my name, and the sound of people calling me Elizabeth is sweet.

25. I read chick-lit and travel stories when I want to read for mindless pleasure/enjoyment. Lying on a beach reading chick-lit is my idea of a perfect day!

26. I think Tennyson had it right when he said “Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” I fully believe that I was blessed to have the father I had…even if for only 15 years. I would much rather have a father who loved me completely and was amazing but who died when I was 15 than have a father who lived my whole life but was a crappy father.

27. I keep a framed Monopoly ship on my desk at work. I gave it to Jonathan when he moved to California. Mrs. Dottie gave it back to me after he died. I made it so he could have a reminder of us and home while he was away; I now keep it on my desk as a reminder of him.

28. My dad’s baseball glove is one of my most prized possessions. It’d be among the first things I’d grab if my house was on fire.

29. I absolutely love my job. I prayed for a job like this for years assuming it didn’t really exist and hoping God would at least get it in the same ballpark. Yea, I have a tendency to underestimate God. The job I have is my dream job, and I absolutely love Shorter, the students, and my co-workers. I’m so unbelievably blessed.

30. I jones for different music at different times and different seasons. I go through phases of genres or artists. But, The Rolling Stones and Otis Redding are good any time. They fit any mood, any moment. They’re like an old pair of jeans that fit no matter how much weight you’ve put on; they’re worn and that makes them perfect. And the more they’re utilized, the better they get.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Visit to the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House

I’ve been working diligently on my dissertation lately. I’m writing about the concept of “Home” and what that means to us as individuals and families. So, it was with the theories of home I’ve been reading and my own conclusions about what that word means that I entered the Gatewood Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.

Once I rang the doorbell, I was immediately greeted with a friendly smile and led back to meet with Lauren Chandley, the Marketing and Communications Intern. Lauren showed me around the house. I knew the family eating and sitting areas around the main lobby and the kitchen, but I’d never seen so much of the house. The rooms the families stay in are very much arranged like a hotel room, but the wall colors, lighting, and art work are more inviting than the typical hotel. Every room has a view of the outside so that the families can see nature around them; it gives the rooms a rather open feel to them. Also on the floors with rooms, there are many family areas where families can go and eat dinner, sit and read a book, or lounge around watching television. There is a conference room with computers where parents can carry on business or work from “home” while staying at the house. The house and rooms were immaculately clean! I didn’t think it was humanly possible for a place to be more clean – then Lauren took me into the transplant wing! The air is purified, and everything is sterilized. This wing houses the transplant patients who are well enough to leave the hospital but not well enough to go home and their families. These families stay longer at the house, so they have apartment type suites. These rooms have two bedrooms, their own kitchen and laundry rooms, and a small den. These families and children can’t interact with those outside the transplant wing because they can’t risk bringing infection to the transplant patients. There is a tv room where families of transplant patients can interact, and there is a conference room where family members can work and where doctors often come and meet with them. Back downstairs in the common areas, there are many sitting areas and nooks. There is a play room with everything from toys to video game stations; the house will soon be getting a Wii system, and everyone is rather pumped about it!

Throughout the tour I was continuously pleased with how home-like the house seemed. Families aren’t confined to their hotel-like rooms. There are plenty of places where they can go and do many of the things they do in their own homes. The house, like any home, has areas where people congregate and places of retreat for privacy. There are places outdoors where family members can go to get fresh air, have a picnic, or just walk around. No place can replace our real homes, but often places away from home serve well as temporary homes while providing all that the primary home does. The Ronald McDonald House is a homey house that comes as close to being “home” as anywhere away from home can be.

There are many ways to get involved if you want. Several events are coming up, and the houses can always use volunteers. I’ll be blogging soon about each of the upcoming events and about various ways in which you can get involved with the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta (or the one near you).

Monday, August 2, 2010

When Or Was Bob

My best friend gets married tomorrow. As we’ve celebrated the occasion all weekend and today, I can’t help of thinking back to the days when we would discuss the perfect guys for us. Kirsten has called the man she would marry and the love of her life “Bob” for as long as I can remember. We would laugh as we talked about what Bob would be like, and we got giddy looking forward to finally meeting him.
I remember the first time Kirsten told me about Or. She was a million miles away, but I could tell in her voice that he was unique -- unlike any other guy she had ever talked about. The first time I met Or, Kirsten had just moved back to the States; he had come home with her; and they had driven to Atlanta before Or flew back to Israel. They spent the night with me, and I got to see the way in which they interacted. It was instantly clear that this guy was special and that she was special to him. That was the first time in all my years of knowing Kirsten that I thought, “I think I just met Bob.” I’ve loved getting to know Or over the last couple of years, and I’ve loved seeing how perfectly he and Kirsten fit each other. I’m unsure what I pictured or what I thought Kirsten’s Bob would be like exactly, but Or is so much more than I could have imagined. In all of our idealistic musings about her life with Bob, I don’t think we ever realized just how happy he would make her and, as equally important, how happy she would make him. I can’t wait until tomorrow when Kirsten marries the love of her life, and dream Bob officially retires and steps aside for the reality of Or.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Atlanta Ronald McDonald House

Many years ago, my college friend and post-college roommate, Jennifer Robbins Luker, told me about the Ronald McDonald House Charities. When she was Miss Mississippi College, she chose the Ronald McDonald House for her charity. I knew nothing of it, but as she told me about what they do and why, my heart melted. As a lover of all things McDonalds, I was quick to voice my support and to drop my change into the buckets at the drive-thru windows. After years of making my students do community service during the school year (while I saved all of mine for the summer) I started feeling guilty, and I went out in search of a place to serve. I immediately looked for Ronald McDonald Houses in Atlanta. I saw that they have a bakers club where people can come and bake for the families and workers, and I knew it was a perfect fit. My last semester in Atlanta, I went regularly for several months, and I loved it. In fact, I was disappointed when I found out Rome didn't have one, and I would be leaving my Atlanta house with no new one. In the last year, I have missed going and baking for the families. I miss seeing the wide eyes of the children when they see cupcakes or the parents sneaking around the corner because they smell freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. My interactions with the families were limited; I didn't want to pry, but I was there to listen if any family members wanted to talk. Most didn't but a few did.

I have kept up with the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House and the national Ronald McDonald House Charities through twitter, and I love spreading the word of the great things they do. The Gatewood house in Atlanta invited me to come and tour the house and see what all they do. While I'm very familiar with the Gatewood house kitchen, I realized I'd never seen the whole house, and I have no clue what kinds of things are there that don't include meal time. I'm looking forward to going and visiting tomorrow, and I am happy they've invited me. I'm can't wait to share my experience with y'all in another post soon.

Until then, kiss the children in your life. If they are healthy, thank God that they are and pray they continue to be, but please also pray for those whose children are not. If your children aren't healthy, please know that you are loved and being prayed for, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities are an amazing resource for you.

I had some car troubles today that kept me from making it to the Ronald McDonald House, but we're doing it next week, so check back later in the week for updates!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spring Training Top Ten List

I’m doing a Top Ten list because there is no way to put into a blog post how much fun we had or all the things we did. I’m not putting “finally meeting friends I’ve gotten so close to” in this list because throughout my time there, I kept forgetting that we hadn’t known each other forever. Some friendships may begin in the most unlikely of ways, but they’re clearly meant to be. Jamie, Kevin, and I were meant to be friends! The list below hits the highlights (not in any order…they were all too awesome to rank)!
10. Playing Peek-a-Boo
While we were walking around City of Palms Park, the practice fields fences were covered with green tarp-like stuff, so you couldn’t watch practice. We found random tears in the covering, and peeped through. We saw Dice-K throw a side session, and we saw fielding and batting practice. We may have looked like idiots, but we didn’t mind! 9. The selectively knowledgeable Pink-Hats behind us
These two chicks behind us at the Twins parks were rather knowledgeable of all things Twins, yet they didn’t know the Red Sox are in the American League. They spent most of the game out smoking and the rest of the time yelling propositions to the Twins players they found particularly hot. They even photobombed us! 8. The birthday boy’s handstand
At one point a man a few rows in front of us leaned over the railing to catch an impossible to catch, foul grounder headed his way. He leaned so far that he fell, head first onto the field. He missed the ball, and quickly scrambled back into the stands. Van Every (who was an ex-Sox player there playing with the Pirates but who is now back with the Sox – yea, it’s taken me awhile to finish this post) smilingly tossed the man the ball. Then everyone saw security coming to get him. We all boo’d security and gave the man a standing ovation. As the guards were leading him out, his wife turns to the people behind her and says, “It’s his 60th birthday!” Happy Birthday, Man! You’re our hero!

7. T. C. I love Wally. There is no denying that, and Walter is my favorite professional sports mascot. However, T. C., the Twins bear mascot, was pretty awesome!! He was friendly and kind to us even though we were decked out in Sox gear. He posed for more than one picture with us and didn’t even pretend to be bothered. He was one of the nicest mascots I’ve ever met! (Can you tell how wicked sunburned I am in that picture?!)

6. Hanging with Haggs
Saturday evening, Jamie, Kevin and I went out to eat, and then we went to a sports bar called Shoeless Joe’s. Joe Haggerty (not shoeless) came and met up with us and hung out for far longer than we expected. Haggs is a sports writer for Comcast Sports Network New England, and he covers the Bruins and the Sox. Several weeks before we were planning to go, I tweeted Joe to see if he would be there, and I told him that J, Kev, and I had buying him a drink on our Spring Training agenda. 99% of the sports writers out there following professional teams for a big name network wouldn’t have responded, but Joe said he’d love to go. We were all three pumped, but we also doubted whether it’d really work out. Joe’s not just a man with a sports blog – he’s legit! After a few emails back and forth, I realized he really did want to hang out with us. After 2 hours hanging with Haggs at Shoeless Joe’s, the first thing the three of us said as soon as we got back in the car (and pretty much simultaneously) was: “Wow! What a nice man!” Haggs obliged us with some behind the scenes/locker room stories that the common fan isn’t privy to, but he also was interested in letting us talk. He wanted to know where we were from, how we all met, and how we all became Sox fans (we were a Missourian, a Floridian and a Mississippian – good question! :)). Yes, Joe Haggerty is a great sports writer (and if you’re a Sox or Bruins fan, you should be reading his stuff!), he’s knowledgeable, insightful, and well written. But, beyond that, Haggs was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. So, thanks, Joe, for hanging out with us. You made our trip!
5. 24/7 DD – or not! The hotel where we stayed was within walking distance of the Red Sox facilities, so it goes without saying there was also a Dunkin Donuts within walking distance. In fact, it practically shared a parking lot with our hotel. Around 2 am, we decide we’re hungry for Dunkin Donuts (notorious for being open 24/7). We walked to the front door, but it was locked. We looked around, examined the 24/7 sign, loudly joked around about our luck, then walked back to the hotel. Jamie asked the clerk at the desk in the hotel why it wasn’t open. The clerk said (without even looking up): “Knock on the drive-thru window, and you’ll get your donuts.” So, we turned right back around and walked back to the DD. We went to the drive-thru window, knocked loudly, banged our head (ok…my head) against the window, but we were given no donuts. After standing around for awhile in dismay, we gave up. As we were walking back, the DD worker was out smoking a cigarette. He waved, nodded, and pretended we weren’t just at his window pounding and begging for donuts!!
4. Beached Boat
We were driving back from Sanibel Island, and Jamie mentioned that it’s really deceivingly shallow, so most boats don’t ride around the area near the sea. She also pointed to one of the shallow areas where we could see the sand through the water. At that time, Kevin and I pointed out that we saw a boat in the area, and it was going really fast. We watched it as it moved closer to the shallow area. The boat was going full speed until it came to an automatic halt and began shooting sand straight up in the air. Jamie, Kevin and I found it beyond comical, and we still crack up over it.

3. The Youk/Pedey Dance
When we were at Hammond Park, we had seats right behind the visitor’s dugout on the first base side. Our view was unlike one I’d ever had at a Sox game, so it didn’t take me long to realize something was up with Pedey and Youk when they played the field. As the pitcher prepares to throw his pitch, Pedroia and Youk both step forward, step to the left, then jump…in synced perfection. It was mesmerizing for me. Not on a single pitch did they get out of sync; it was the most uncanny thing I’ve ever seen!

2. Jerry Remy
As we were leaving City of Palms Park, Jamie does a mini-squeal and grabs my arm. She simply says (in almost a whisper): “Remy!” She handed me her camera, and waited for him to stop talking with people before asking him for a photo. Crazy drunk guys tried to sneak into the photo, but I scolded them and got a great picture! Then I asked him to take a picture with me, and he obliged. Jamie took the picture. I had asked Kevin to take it, and he looked at me like I was threatening to kill his puppy and said, “Please don’t ask me to do that.” It was both hilarious and adorably sweet. Only Kev would say not to ask instead of just saying no. :) 1. Game Ending Triple Play
I had never seen a triple play – not live or on tv. It was the top of the 9th at City of Palms Park; the Sox were up and three outs away from making out Spring Training debut a positive one with a win. The batter hits a line drive that was caught by the short stop; he quickly tossed the ball to the second baseman for the double play. The second baseman shot the ball to first, but he over shot the first baseman. As I was standing there, I couldn’t believe the kid just threw the ball into the dugout. The runner left first assuming the ball had been thrown into the dugout. Then out of the blue, the ball came flying back onto the field. The catcher had backed up the play, and he shot the ball to 2nd. The second baseman tagged out the runner completing a 6-4-1-4 triple play. I stood there mouth agape! When I was finally able to utter words, I turned to Kevin and said, “Did what I think just happened just happen?!” He informed me that it had. I then added, “DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!” He simply nodded (he too was taking it all in). Then Jamie looks at us and says, “Unbelievable!” None of us had seen it before, and we very well may never see it again. For three lovers of the game of baseball, it was a perfect ending to our first spring training game! If you want to see more pictures from Spring Training, check them out here:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sir Stands-a-Lot for Pres

Today's post is by guest blogger, Wes Tankersley.

In an issue of The Collegian, a few years after Jonathan and I graduated, there was an article about the greatest on-campus pranks. Needless to say, our handiwork had gone down in infamy. Several had been listed, including "Sir Stands A Lot 4 Pres."

Sir Stands A Lot...That's the suit of armor that resides in the English/History Department in Jennings Annex at MC. Sir Stands A Lot was a name handed down to us I'm sure from Matt Ervin & Co. As it often happens, several ongoing thoughts came together one day. It was the day before SGA elections, which we had no respect for, yet we still wanted to participate in because of our God-given right to elect those we saw fit. A lot of frustration had been brewing over how one runs for office at MC. One particular individual was running off the fact that he was a Christian, the son of an evangelist. (Dude, if you read this, I really am sorry that we had fun at your expense). Surely there were better candidates for us to vote for...Sir Stands A Lot...of course, why hadn't we thought of this before. So the mischief begins. We scoped out Alumni Hall, finding possible holes in the security checks of Campus Security. We waited till late afternoon and rigged the side doors to the stairwell opposite Security so we'd go unnoticed, also making sure that the access to the roof was clear. Next we located Sir Stands A Lot, making sure the doors were unlocked and he was movable. Then we waited, all afternoon and evening, not letting on to anybody what greatness was about to occur. Around midnight we found a sign, for our friend the evangelist who was running for office. It was a nice huge vinyl Coke banner. We took it. We found ducktape. Who am I kidding, JD probably had a role in his backpack. We went to JD's room and on the back decided to write "Sir Stands A Lot 4 Pres"...in ducktape. It was brilliant. We woke Steven up tearing ducktape and moved to the bathroom and finished. Next we rolled it up and walked to the top of the hill, went into Jennings Annex, then planned our next move. We decided that because of cameras we would have to move him downstairs, wait for Security to make their runs, sprint across the street to Provine Chapel around the far side of it, then sprint to the stairwell we had rigged opposite of Security and get it up the stairs and onto the roof as quick as we could. Then we waited, and waited, and waited...maybe an hour or so for things to settle down on campus and clear for our operation. Then came the awkwardness of running with a suit of armor over 7 ft tall around Provine then to Alumni. We successfully got him to roof on the highest part with all the A/C units. Realizing that standing him up and putting out our banner would ruin our chances of him being seen since someone would take him down, we waited...almost till sunrise. So we sat, and talked for hours and I really don't remember what about. It was beautiful up there, quiet, a place you could go on campus to get away and be able to see the city. We loved every minute of it. Close to sunrise we put him out and hung the banner for everyone on campus to see...and then we saw Security. Thinking that we were unseen, but not wanting to take chances, we made a run for it. We made it halfway down before we got caught. We showed our ID's, told the man exactly what we were doing, made promises to take him down in the morning after elections...and he let us go. By the way, Sir Stands A Lot got 27 votes in his first SGA election, not bad for a suit of armor! And even better, a year or so after JD died, Sir Stands A Lot made an appearance at Colonial Heights for a series Brother Mark was doing...we took a picture together.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Prank

Today’s blog is a two-sided story. Wes will tell his and Jonathan’s side, and I’ll tell the girl’s side. The picture above was taken during the aftermath. It's not the best picture of any of us, but I love it! I laugh out loud every time I see it!

Wes: One of our favorite pranks, that is less well known, is the one where we put the Crews family SUV on the patio in front of the Caf.
Crews: It was the night before we moved out of the dorms for the summer – summer after our sophomore year of college (and JD’s freshman yr). We had been packing up all day long, but there was still so much left to do. A group of us girls were going to the beach the next day as soon as we got all of our stuff out of the dorms. So, on top of moving out, we had to pack for the separate trip to the beach. My mom had let me borrow her SUV so that I could fit all of my stuff to bring home. I can’t remember what on earth we needed from Walmart, but a late night run to Walmart was in the works.
Wes: Like most of our pranks, it was spur of the moment. We knew Elizabeth was borrowing her mom's car, so while she was busy we obtained her keys from her roommate Rachel.
Crews: I had left the room for MAYBE three minutes taking a load to my car. Rachael later told me that JD had sat in wait until I left the room, and then he knocked on the window. Since my car was half packed (and unbeknownst to me, we were without the keys to it), we took Rachael’s car across the street to Walmart.
Wes: We had already decided to park it on the patio and had mapped out the quickest and most efficient way to drive it through the grass and up the bank to situate it properly on the patio. Next step, get my walkie talkies that I had gotten for Christmas (that seems silly now, it was definitely cool then). Next, we decided I was the driver and JD was the look-out for campus security. I parked the car, waited for JD to give me the signal (meaning we figured out the timing of the security rounds) and then as quickly as I could I drove it onto the patio and we ran (not sure what we did with the keys). We ran to JD and Steven's room in New Men's and basked in the glory of the thought of what would transpire next.
Crews: About 45 minutes later, we drive through campus and in front of the CafĂ©, and all of a sudden I start flipping out. Rachael had NO CLUE what they had wanted my keys for, so she was just as surprised as I was to see my truck on the patio! We parked her car and ran to my mom’s truck. About that time, Campus Security came creeping by and wanted to know what was going on. We explained that obviously our friends had pranked us, but we didn’t have the keys and didn’t know how to get it down. About that time, Clinton PD was making the rounds and stopped to chat with Campus Security. They thought the prank was awesome, and they wanted us to up the ante! So, Campus Security asked for the number of those who had done it. Rachael knew Jonathan had come for the keys, so we gave them Jonathan’s name and dorm number. They called…Rachael and I walked away as we tried to muffle our laughter.
Wes: What transpired next was a phone call from Campus Security telling us to come to where the car was with our ID's...we thought about not going. Seeing as how we tended to do the honest thing (really), we went, walking quietly pondering the possible consequences, to find Clinton PD waiting for us at the top of the hill.
Crews: The look on their faces when they saw that it wasn’t just campus security but was Clinton PD was priceless. They both (who really are notorious for being pranksters who always do what’s right and make good) were in complete shock, and I swear I saw a tinge of fear flash in their eyes!
Wes: Somehow, JD was implicated (probably b/c he obtained the keys). They asked for him, he stepped forward...I watched...and they cuffed him.
Crews: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I actually have a picture of that somewhere. I need to dig it up!
Wes: I thought that was a little hefty, not sure if I was next though, and began to become suspicious when the cop called for all the girls to come out. They loved it.
Crews: I’m pretty sure that was the most fun Clinton PD or Campus Security had had in quite some time! :)
Wes: So Security tried to take Elizabeth's car down, they did a horrible job. I think I moved it eventually, not sure, the end.
Crews: You did. You had to move it because they were so scared of tearing up my car. After we parked my car, we sat on that concrete slab outside Nelson hall talking, laughing and telling stories until 3:45am.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Change of Plans

Ok, so I got a little swamped with work and life, and blogging every day became too much. So, instead, I'm going to keep posting Jonathan stories and pictures throughout March. I'm teaming up with Wes for a mischievous one that will appear early next week. If you'd like to send me a story to be included, feel free.

I fly out today to meet up with my friends Jamie and Kevin for Red Sox Spring Training. I've dreamed of going to Spring Training for as long as I can remember, and I'm utterly giddy this morning in anticipation. We've been planning it since late last summer, and I can't believe it's finally here! ESPN will be at our Saturday and Sunday games, so look for us -- we'll be the idiots making fools of ourselves a la Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch. I'm sure I'll do a Spring Training entry or two next week. I'm also spending a couple of nights and a day in Orlando, so I get to see my childhood/high school friend, Skye, and my little brother who's not really my little brother, David. I'm looking forward to being able to spend some time with both of them. After Orlando, I'll be back in Rome doing some dissertating. Prayers for the dissertation are always welcome!
Happy Spring Break, friends!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures. After Kirsten left for Africa, Amy was in Memphis, Heather was in Nashville, and I was pretty much the only girl left around with all the guys. We spent most nights playing board games (usually Monopoly and Rummikub), watching movies, or simply hanging out in the Devore kitchen or backyard. I can’t remember exactly when this picture was taken, but I think it was when Jonathan came home for his birthday the March after he moved to California. There are few snapshots that capture a time period in my life like this picture does. Before Jonathan moved to California (and when he made trips home) it wasn’t odd to meet at the Devore house after work, grab dinner, play monopoly until midnight, watch a movie, play one more quick game of monopoly and one of rummikub before heading home around 3:30 am. There were probably gallons of Red Bull consumed. When I think of Jonathan, these nights are some of the first memories to come to mind. With the exception of Wes, most of my college and post-college guy friends were people I came to know by our mutual friendships with Jonathan. These friendships are some of my most cherished, and I’m thankful that they let me tag along. When I look at this picture it’s representative of all those friendships…I think it’s why I love it so much.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Castle

One random afternoon it was a beautiful spring day, so we decided to pile in the car and go see the castle in Hinds County. It was a spur of the moment mini-road trip. We had heard stories about the castle and its owner (most of which included mafia ties). We got there, and none of us knew what to do. Amy, always the bold one, decided to push the buzzer and see if they would let us inside the gate. After a couple of buzzer pushes, a man’s voice comes on and, in a not very kind voice, asks: "What do you want?" Amy responds that we’d like to see the house. He gruffly responds, “You can see it from there,” and hangs up. We were obviously not wanted. So, we quickly gathered round (ignoring the "Please Remain in your Vehicle" sign, took a picture using self portrait, and got the heck out of there before the owner put a mafia hit on us! We clearly weren’t very good at self portrait -- seeing as how it’s so far away that we are hard to see, but it’s zoomed in too close to see the castle. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jonathan

Tomorrow is Jonathan's birthday, and he would be turning 30. Throughout the month of March, I always try to do things that remind me of Jonathan -- I eat foods that remind me of him; I watch movies he loved or that we loved and referenced regularly; I play board games; and I try even harder to live by his "anything for a friend" motto. March is always bitter sweet. It is hard to think of Jonathan and not laugh or smile in spite of the piercing sense of absence. I am continuously reminded of how blessed my life is because Jonathan was in it...even if for not as long as we wanted. Beginning tomorrow, I plan on posting a picture and a Jonathan story each day until the 15th. Feel free to add your own stories to the comments or email them to me, and I'll add them in.
Several years ago, I wrote the following for the That's Gonna Leave a Mark blog, but I never posted it here. I'm including it now with a few changes.

When I think of “Jonathan stories” my mind is flooded with millions of stories. I can never settle on one that seems just right or that can begin to explain any part of who Jonathan is. Over the past six years the things that have blown me away is how much Jonathan was in the little, every day things of life. I knew how much Jonathan meant to me, but I don’t think I realized how much Jonathan was a part of me – a part of who I am and a part of my every day life. Not long after Jonathan died, I was having lunch with a friend in downtown Jackson. We were sitting close to a window and were in the middle of a deep conversation. I was mid-sentence when through the window I saw a Red Bull truck, and I stopped immediately and just sat there. My friend told me that one day these small things would be what makes me smile in remembrance, but I’m not for sure I believed him. I now know he was right.
It’s the small things that bring the Jonathan stories, moments, and memories rushing through my mind. The small things like a new board game on the shelf at the store – a game that would be perfect for an all night gamefest, and a game at which Jonathan would obviously beat me. I almost always think of Jonathan when renting a movie. The obvious movies like The Ladies’ Man or Lock, Stock aren’t the ones that stop me in my tracks. However, movies like Butch Cassidy, Ronin or What About Bob, or Mean Machine, or even the latest movie with lots of car chases and explosions are the ones that make me stop, smile, and maybe laugh out loud. When in the grocery store about my bi-monthly shopping for food I come across Tab or Fresca, I always think of those post-church, Sunday night parties at the Devore’s. Foods like meatloaf, crunchy romaine toss, French bread pizzas, chocolate chip cake and yellow cake with chocolate icing all have Jonathan attached to them in my mind. I never see a blue, Z71 drive down the road that I don’t listen for it to sound like JD’s truck or think of the times Jonathan would use the intercom to tell motorists to go faster or get out of his way. There are millions of these small things, and they are the things that I cherish most.
Of all the things that remind me of Jonathan, one stands out the most. Jonathan loved sunsets. He was borderline obsessed with them. His ebay username even had the word sunset in it. For me, sunsets are the one thing that capture the most of who Jonathan was. As I think back, all of our serious, heart-to-heart conversations happened while watching the sunset. On the Reservoir watching the sunset after playing catch for an hour, we sat and talked about how he really felt about moving to California; we talked about life and dreams and what those meant to us. A year later after spending the day on a road trip for a shoot, we watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from Ventura and realized that not much had changed in how we viewed our lives and dreams.
Jonathan often got frustrated about being in California, and he needed to be reminded of why he was there. No matter where Jonathan moved (and he moved tons in that year and a half), one of the first things he did was to find a place to watch the sunset. He couldn’t always find time to go and sit to watch the sunset, but he tried to at least three of four times a week. His place (which moved each time he did) was a place he could go and sit for an hour and forget about whatever was going on; it was a place where he could re-charge. Sometimes he would call while he sat and watched the sunset; on busy days it was often the only moment he got to sit still or make a call. He would try to describe what he was seeing, but as often with God’s creation, words never were enough. He often talked about how the clouds made a difference in the colors and the beauty of the sunset. In a place that often seemed Godless to him, Jonathan could always see God in His sunsets. I think it served as a reminder that God hadn’t called Jonathan to California and just left him; God was still there with him.
I don’t get to see the sunset daily, or nearly enough as I would like. I often only get to see them when driving home to Mississippi. But when I see the sunset, I’m reminded of all of who Jonathan is. Eudora Welty says, “The memory is a living thing – it too is in transit. But during its moment, all that is remembered joins, and lives – the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and the dead.” Sunsets have become one of my favorite things too because as I watch, with the help of my memory, if only for a moment, Jonathan still lives.

Weekend Home

I went home this past weekend for Anderson's birthday party. We didn't have the boys for most of the weekend, but the time we did have them was priceless. Charlie came over on Saturday afternoon and he was in the most mischeivously adorable mood ever. He tried to feed me soapy water telling me it was Diet Coke. He gave himself away by giggling uncontrollably! He let me hold him in my arms and tickle him silly. He wanted to color, so we sat down and colore side by side. Sunday both boys came over. We went on a Gator ride down through the neighborhood and a nature hunt. Anderson wanted to run down the back hill at full force into my awaiting arms at the bottom of the hill. I gave him "piggy bank" rides around the house and tickled him silly too! It was a weekend that was fairly non-eventful, but the tiny moments and sounds of laughter from the boys have skyrocketed to some of my favorite moments with the boys in awhile. I love how much they let me love them and how preciously hilarious they are. It was a great weekend!