Saturday, May 28, 2011

Love your children. "It's illegal to kill them."

Love your children "because it's illegal to kill them."

That's the best commencement speech I've ever heard!

This evening I attended the high school graduation of my pal Micah. (He's a 3rd degree black belt in my Taekwondo school. I want to be like him when I grow up.)
The ceremony was unlike any I've ever been to in that the parents were the ones to hand diplomas to their kids. They also had the chance to say a few words.

Some parents had the crowd laughing. (See opening sentence of this post.)
Others had us dabbing our eyes with tissues as they recounted what they had learned from their children even as they taught them.
I liked that several of the fathers were not afraid to show their hearts as they exhorted their children.
"Your mom in her great wisdom told me to bring Kleenex just in case I need it," a dad of a grad said.
It came in handy.
"I've been told that real men cry," said another father to his daughter.

I especially loved when one of the dads bestowed upon his daughter the words written long ago by a king named Lemuel:
"You are clothed with strength and dignity; You can laugh at the days to come."

Congrats to all 2011 grads!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday strawberry adventures

Ever plucked your own strawberries and popped them in your mouth while standing among acres of fields under wide, open skies?
It will change your life.

I grabbed my friend Sara and we headed over to the Fruit and Berry Patch in Halls today.
It's strawberry season, baby, and they were loaded!

The best part is you get to pick your own goodies. And you get to sample :)

I learned of the Fruit and Berry Patch last year after meeting its proprietors, Jeff and Sandy Fox, at the Market Square Farmers Market. Every visit to their farm has included a bear hug from them.

From May through October, I rarely buy fruit at the grocery store except for bananas, thanks to the dirt cheap prices at the Fruit and Berry Patch. (Think buckets of blueberries, blackberries, apples, peaches, and grapes. I saw cherry trees budding today, something I didn't notice last year.)

The farm sells other good things to eat, from fruit pies and veggies to a variety of butters and cider.

During our hour-long visit there, Sara and I got reacquainted with other friends:

Here are more scenes from the Fruit and Berry Patch:

I'm getting my farmer girl on.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Journalism = habitat for insanity

(Hehe. One of the fun signs I saw at the Poynter Institute)

I spent last week at the Poynter Institute, a world-renowned school for journalists.
For five days, I enjoyed the Florida sun and also learned how to tell better stories using digital tools.
I tried my hand at editing video, capturing audio, taking better photos and got tips on how to do this blogging thing better.

There's no room for the single-skilled journalist anymore, they say. (You know, "they." Those people.)

Some of the most incredible people were part of my cohort. They hailed from places like Canada and Nigeria and Wisconsin and New York.
Rest assured, Knoxville, Tenn., was well-represented :-)

I needed last week. For a while now, I've been feeling like I'm stuck in a rut. The seminar lit a fire under me.

Sometimes, I've wondered why I'm still in the business. (It's been over nine years). Then I remember. Oh, yeah. The power of words still has a place in the world.

Here's my ode to it:

(Giving the word globe at Poynter some love)

An aside: I'm always on the lookout for chuckles. This shirt at the Poynter store did the job ... because it's true.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

10 musings about my mummy

My mummy is simply awesome.
There are hundreds of reasons why I'm thankful for her but here are 10.

10. She and my dad gave me the coolest melodic name. Makes a fantastic byline.

9. She rarely calls me Lola. I almost always hear my pet name, Adunni, from her lips. It warms me on the inside.

8. My first few years in Knoxville, my mum often mailed me clothes, particularly suits and skirts, and ordered that I send her photos of me wearing them AT WORK. (I was a tomboy in my teens and she wanted to ensure I made the transition into adulthood and the professional world successfully).

7. She's not a fan of flying. But she's made several plane trips to Knoxville over the years to see me.

6. As a school teacher, she fostered my love of reading and learning when I was a tot. I've enjoyed school - kindergarten through college - because of her.

5. She gave me five brothers and sisters. They are among my dearest friends.

4. Seeing how she cares for us makes me want to have tons of kids. A large family means multiple times the fun. (Perhaps I'll start with four and work my way up).

3. She's demonstrated sacrifical love to her kids over and over again. It's shown me I can do the same for my husband and children, if/when the time comes.

2. In Jeremiah  1:5, God says, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." I'm thankful He chose to knit me inside my mum. I couldn't have been in a safer place or been more treasured. He knew I needed her.

1. She likes me. She really likes me.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Holy goose egg, Batman!

I've got a goose egg in my fridge and I ain't skeered to eat it!!

The Market Square Farmers Market kicked off the 2011 season today in downtown Knoxville. It is one of the reasons I love doing life in this city. It's a feast for the eyes, ears and the mouth. I also get to run into friends/acquaintances and meet people I never would have otherwise.
Here are some shots I took this morning as I sampled my way through the market :)

I stopped by a table with funny-looking eggs and found out they were goose eggs. Supposedly, one goose egg equals four chicken eggs, according to the seller dude. (It looks more like a 1:3 ratio to me, but hey, what do I know).

My friend Sara and I were smart and arrived right when the market opened at 9 a.m. Parking was still good and we got first dibs on a lot of stuff.

Within an hour of our arrival, it got super busy.

I got some yummy bread from this lady and her hubby.

Musicians were everywhere. He was one of my favorites.

I got to people-watch...

I also got to know a new vendor. Charity teaches hoop dance classes/workshops. ( Who knows? This may be part of my summer adventures....

When Sara and I got done shopping we headed over to the Cruze Farm people.
Coincidentally, today is my half birthday. So we decided to celebrate with a sausage egg biscuit.

We came back for some ice cream. (What a lovely hand model Sara is.) That's blackberry to the left and honey lavender to the right.

We were two full, happy campers :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Be amazed.

My friends Cathy and Adrian were helping me trim my hedges this weekend when we found this in one of my holly bushes.
And to think this surprise had been hiding there for days (maybe weeks?) and I had no idea.
I examined the nest in my hands, careful not to disturb the little guy.

I had lots of questions for the mama bird:
How did she know the number of twigs to use so the nest would be thick enough?
Did she wonder what the baby would look like?
Did she check on the egg everyday?
Did she worry that humans or other ruffians would find and hurt her baby-to-be?
Was the daddy a good he-bird?

We put the nest back inside a different bush. A few moments later, we moved it to where we first found it. Afterall, we didn't want to cause the mama bird anxiety when she came looking and couldn't find the egg where she left it.

I checked on the egg this morning. Yep, still there.
Mama bird, don't you worry, I'll keep an eye on your little one, too.

I hope we never lose our wonder at the "small" miracles happening all around us.