Inspired by a Scrooge

My husband and I love to support local entertainment so we bought tickets a few weeks ago to see a community play across town this past Saturday night. The weather outside was truly frightful with heavy rain and winds, but we decided we would venture out anyway.

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We arrived at this lovely facility which was very festive.  A company was having a Christmas party in one of the ballrooms so the smell of food combined with the sound of a DJ playing music added to the spirit of the season.

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The holiday classic tale “A Christmas Carol” is one of our favorites.  This production was really enjoyable as the actors put a different spin on the presentation with a witty narrator and delightful humor interwoven.

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At the end of the production everyone was on their feet clapping.  The encore was the audience singing (with the encouragement of the cast members) a rousing chorus of “Joy to the World!”

Dickens included so many lessons in this timeless story and the more I thought about it the more I realized what a master of allegory Dickens was. First, there’s the surface of the story. You know, the characters and plot and all that obvious stuff. Then there’s the symbolic level, or the deeper meaning that all the jazz on the surface represents.

  • Scrooge feels sorrow and remorse when the spirit showed him how poorly he treated others.  For the first time in his life he saw himself for who he really was ~ a humbling moment in anyone’s life.
  • Scrooge’s bitterness had roots in his early life but he allowed it to devour him. I once read an analogy and it went something like ~ Bitterness is like swallowing a poisonous pill and expecting someone else to die when in reality the victim is ourselves.
  • Initially Scrooge wants nothing to do with the three spirits. But eventually he does begin to listen to them and through his listening he begins to learn and move forward.  We also have the potential to grow and change in ways that not only enrich us, but those around us as well ~ just like Scrooge ~ if we take the time to listen and learn.
  • The spirit showed Scrooge that he wasted his life obtaining power and money and this will one day come to an end. It is important for us to bear in mind that our lives will also end one day and we still have time to change. Living with the end in mind might help us as it did Scrooge.
  • There is joy in change.  Scrooge realized he had a second chance at life. For the first time in a long time, through his jubilation, he began to connect to the real world again.   He asked forgiveness from the solicitors he refused to give money to the day before and made restitution. He spread unexpected joy and generosity to others.  It is interesting to note that when Scrooge awoke that Christmas morning literally nothing had changed in his circumstance.  The only thing that DID change was his heart.

We may think it is too late to change, but in reality the best time is now ~ a lesson Ebenezer Scrooge teaches us well every Christmas.

Someone’s Son, Someone’s Brother….

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He was only 25 years old when he was gunned down and left to die in the middle of the street.

This past Tuesday I met some friends for lunch at a favorite restaurant. Located in a charming area, it is almost an hour away from where I live. It is a rare treat to be able to visit, and the ham, brie and spicy apricot mayonnaise sandwich is the reason we go.

The unique restaurant is located in a former service station. The main dining area is where the cars used to get serviced.  The sound of talking voices, sudden bursts of laughter, clanging silverware and plates, as well as the scrape of chairs on the floor all bounce off the ceiling and the walls so it is quite noisy inside.

Although there are windows in the dining area providing a lot of natural lighting, it is impossible to see outside because of the proportion of the seating to the higher windows. The majority of the light comes from the garage door windows which run along the front of the seating area. Weather permitting, the garage doors are raised so patrons can enjoy outside dining. It was too cold on Tuesday.

We had finished our lunch and were in the process of settling our bill when the manager of the restaurant got everyone’s attention and said we would not be able to leave the restaurant for a few hours because of a tragic incident outside. A police officer then stepped inside and asked if anyone saw or heard anything at all that happened just outside the restaurant.  Everyone was stunned as we shook our heads back and forth.

People began to wander toward the separated front entrance section of the restaurant. As each of us gazed through the large floor length windows with eyes widen in disbelief we saw at least 30 police cars, an entire swat team circling a business across the street, a fire truck and a deceased young man laying in the middle of the street, face down, just 5 feet or so from my parked car and about 15 feet from the front door of the restaurant. Two young men had an argument, one shot the other and then he fled away on foot.  The newspaper said they had dined at the same restaurant at which we were eating just moments before the argument.

It took my breath away when I saw the body.  All I could think of was this is someone’s son, someone’s brother, nephew, friend.  I prayed for his soul, for his family, for anyone who loved him.

I also prayed for the young man (now in jail) who killed him, as well as his family and anyone who loves him.  He too is someone’s son, someone’s brother, nephew or friend.

Two lives – both over.

What in the world could have been so disruptive that the young shooter felt the only way to settle the argument was to kill the other person? The whole incident is incredibly sad.

My BFF and I are still processing what happened and we will never forget what we saw, heard and later read about in the newspaper. How did we or someone in the restaurant not hear the gun shot or hear the argument?  This whole situation could have been much worse and it could have involved innocent people. What if anyone had ventured in or out of the restaurant at the moment the shot was fired? What if the garage doors had been raised with people dining outside?

I pray the families, friends and loved ones of these two young men find peace and comfort during this very difficult time in their lives.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

Photo is from Irish times

 

 

 

Savoring Egg Fest

No, I am not talking about this egg:

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I am talking about this EGG….the grill.

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EGGtoberfest is an annual event held in Atlanta each October. The fest originated in 1998 as a way for Big Green Egg to say “Thank You” to loyal customers that regularly logged on to the Forum to chat and share recipes and experiences and found themselves becoming fast friends.  EGGtoberfest provided the opportunity to get together and cook their favorite recipes on the EGG. The first year, about 100 Big Green Egg pioneers attended the cookout at the American Legion Hall in Atlanta, with 15 cooks firing up an EGG. The meet, greet and eat event turned into the First Annual EGGtoberfest, which was considered a big success.”  

The photo below was our first attendance to this event and it was pretty impressive.  This was about 8 years ago. The event is held the middle of October.  Get this, the tickets go on sale the first of August and sell out in a matter of hours.  It is almost as hard to get tickets to this event as it is to the practice rounds of the Masters Golf tournament.

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“The Annual EGGtoberfest has grown to a fun-filled weekend celebration where more than 200 EGGs are fired up by new and experienced EGGheads to feed the enthusiastic crowd of over 3000 people. Spectacular fare can range from moose kabobs (the result of a successful Maine hunt) and a roasted whole fresh Alaskan salmon (caught, brought and cooked by an Alaska EGG owner) to exotic breakfast dishes, peach cobblers, grilled pineapple, rum soaked apple cake, smoked turkey necks, barbecued meatloaf and many versions of the more traditional pulled pork, fallin’-off-the-bone ribs, spicy sausages, juicy beef brisket, crispy pizza and just about any other food that you can imagine.”

The next photos were taken about 6 years ago.  Both of these events were taken in the month of October.  Notice the difference in the weather and temperatures?  Crazy!!!  Grills come in all sizes from 10 inch diameter to 29 inch diameter and they are all on display and for sale during this event.

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The line waiting to get in Stone Mountain Park for EGGtoberfest.

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“This festive annual family-oriented event also provides an opportunity for someone thinking about buying an EGG to see firsthand the versatility of the intriguing ceramic cooker. The EGGs that are cooked on are sold afterwards; a number of lucky purchasers can take one home at day’s end.”  

This grill takes a little getting use to when you first start cooking but I have to say, M is a champion cook on the EGG. The flavor of whatever you cook is outstanding!!  We cook pork butt, steaks, burgers, chicken, ribs, pizza, kabobs, salmon, pork chops, even banana bread.

P1000679We can’t wait to go again!

The words typed in italics in this post are directly from the Big Green Egg Website

“A Good and Perfect Gift”

God, faith, family, love, and tradition…..

A while back we gathered as a family to celebrate the baptism of our precious granddaughter.

The world we live in can be very challenging. Knowing our grandchildren are being brought up in the faith…..means everything to us.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.” — James 1:17

 

Savoring Sea Pines ~ HHI

My school system scheduled a fall break, so M. and I decided to take a short trip out of town.  We found a beautiful condo for an even more beautiful (low) price so we decided to visit Sea Pines in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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We loved the tree-lined streets where huge old oak trees are scattered about.

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I could not wait to eat breakfast each morning at the Harbour Town Bakery and Cafe.

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The food is simply delicious and is located in the old lighthouse keepers cottage.

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I failed to capture the absolute charm of this place.  There are two fireplaces at each side of the small room.  The breakfast and lunch selections, pastries, and the coffee (my favorite is the pecan coffee) are hard to beat anywhere.  You can dine inside or out.

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Harbour Town is right across the street.  It has a few shops, a couple of restaurants, a lighthouse and a small harbor with some pretty impressive boats.

Three of our grandchildren (the baby was napping) were visiting at the same time so we got to spend a little time with them too! There are two parrots, Cherokee and Kiwi, on display each day at South Beach Marina Village.  It was fun to hear them say hello and goodbye.  They were putting on a show this afternoon because uninvited guests (a squirrel and some other small birds) were doing their best to steal some of their food. The parrots were not interested in sharing so the squawking got pretty loud.

During our visit we were treated to some beautiful sights of nature. The photo below was taken just after sunset of some egrets settling in for the night (I believe it is called roosting) among the branches of trees encircling a large pond. The lighting was not good but there were probably 500 – 600 egrets perched.  It was an amazing thing to see!

IMG_6716Side note:  After taking a couple of photos I happened to glance over the pond and there was an alligator in the water about 15 – 20 feet away quietly observing me.  I only saw the tip of its snout and its eyes.  Once we made eye contact it went under water and I high tailed it back to the car!

The next morning we headed out for breakfast and saw the egrets were interested in eating their breakfast as well. This photo does not do this scene justice. There were hundreds of egrets along this pond that extend beyond the boundaries of this photo.

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One evening we took a “Happy Hour” cruise and saw a few more wonderful gifts from nature.  Before we set sail the captain pointed out a Bald Eagle circling perhaps 50 feet above the surface of the water. It floated and glided and suddenly extending both legs it swooped down and captured some sort of fish from the sound. Wow!  You can barely see the eagle in the photo below.

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A lovely sunset…..

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and the rising of the moon….

fullsizeoutput_225fNeither M. nor I had ever seen the moon rise in this fashion and it was incredible!  My photo just does not do it justice, but this is about the best photo I took out of the bunch. I especially love the reflection in the water.

After our boat trip we enjoyed a light, late dinner at the Salty Dog Cafe listening to live music.  In between songs we enjoyed sharing our thoughts on what a wonderful trip we had and hopes of returning again someday.

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Sea Pines sits on 5,200 acres of land and there are many things to do here.  We mostly took it easy but you can golf, play tennis, go horseback riding, swim, fish, shop, and go boating.  A favorite activity is biking. There are miles of mostly shaded bike trails all over Sea Pines and people are out riding all day, everyday.

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Outside of Sea Pines there are lots of other restaurants, shops to wander through and other things to do on the island. Disney has a place there as well. We even took a side trip to Beaufort where The Big Chill movie was filmed.  If you have never been to Sea Pines it is worth a visit.

“Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.”  Dalia Lama

I also shared this post at:  Senior Salon/  Please take a minute to read what some of our other blogger friends have written.

40 Years

That is how long my brother worked at Southern Bell/BellSouth/AT&T before he recently retired.  The company changed names several times in his career, but he was a consistently faithful employee. He worked his way up from climbing telephone poles to district manager.

I wanted to celebrate this milestone, by hosting a very small dinner party.  We were so busy having fun I forgot to take many photos.

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A few weeks ago I reached out on the blog asking for some main course ideas and I did receive a few suggestions.  Mostly I received positive support that I would ultimately find the right recipe.  Well I did and I am happy to share the results!

After searching through my files I found this recipe I had made a few years ago. I served Anniversary Chicken from Allrecipes.com.  I like this recipe because you can prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you are ready. It is not a pretty dish so I borrowed a photo from the website.  Don’t let the ingredients scare you away, they blend together beautifully!  It may not be pretty but it tastes absolutely delicious!

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I served it with basmati rice and this delicious green bean recipe.  I regret not taking a photo of these beans because they looked as good as they tasted. I used Allen (canned) green beans because they are my personal favorite instead of fresh.  If you follow the directions as they are written, even storing them in a glass jar, you will wind up with a delicious side dish.  I loved that it was also a recipe I could prepare in advance. Side note: My BFF and I catered several Christmas holiday luncheons over a seven day period a few years ago and this dish was an unexpected hit and the recipe was requested daily by the ladies.

For dessert we enjoyed champagne cupcakes.  Mine don’t look near as fancy as the ones on the link I posted, but they are amazing!  Moist and delicious!  I used this recipe for the frosting.

SWEET CHAMPAGNE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

I don’t mind sharing the photo I took because it is hard to take a bad photo of cupcakes!

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The dinner was a success and it was great fun catching up with my siblings and their spouses.  We joked and teased as well as planned and dreamed.  None of us are the type to dominate the conversation so we all got a chance to share our thoughts with each other.

As the evening grew dark the room filled with a soft, warm glow we began to reminisce about the days long gone.  We sometimes got teary eyed as we reflected how lucky we are to still have each other and how blessed we are to have had such wonderful parents.  Some of those tears were from laughing so hard at funny memories that our cheeks hurt from all the smiling.

Life lessons have taught us that moments such as these are to be treasured as we never know what tomorrow will bring.  All that really, truly matters is that we are together as a family.  As we hugged and kissed goodbye before heading our separate ways we vowed to get together more often.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Luke 12:34

I also shared this post at:  Senior Salon/  Please take a minute to read what some of our other blogger friends have written.