Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturdays are for thanks-living

What I've heard, seen, touched, smelled and tasted today:
--The twitter of birds during a quiet morning run
--The orange-reds of a backyard dogwood tree signaling the arrival of fall

--A perfectly crunchy bowl of corn flakes and smooth white milk
--The sweet face of a lovable companion

--These life-giving words: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

And all of this just from this morning. 12 hours and 55 minutes of wonder are still left in this day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumn = chili season

Cooler temps give me the itch to do two things: run and cook.
As such, I made my inaugural pot of chili this evening in honor of fall. (My inaugural run was Thursday.)

I decided on pumpkin turkey chili. Sounds a bit odd but it's quite tasty (and loaded with nutrients). I got the recipe from my friend and former News Sentinel colleague Megan. It's quickly become one of my favorites so I would like to share the recipe.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped (I leave some of the seeds because I love the kick)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapenos and garlic and cook, stirring frequently under tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes more. And tada!

It should look something like this:

Happy eating!

Happy autumn!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sound wisdom for this evening...

What happened to civility and grace?

The University of Tennessee will continue prayers before home football games. This decision comes after a challenge from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that the prayers were exclusive and offensive. UT consulted with its attorneys and found that the prayers were not unconstitutional.

I must confess that I've been disheartened by the public's response toward this decision and especially the comments aimed at the Foundation. Many of the comments I've read on stories and posts have basically amounted to one big F you to the foundation. The tone of these comments have been astounding -- particularly coming from those who say they are Christians.

It is totally fine to disagree with someone's position on an issue and even debate them. What's not OK is tearing them down or essentially telling them to go to hell. How does this show the love of Christ? How does this communicate the truth of the gospel?

Granted, some folks who profess Christ don't actually know and walk with Christ.

For those of us who know better, please let us always hold fast to the admonition of Colossians 4:6: "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monowi, Nebraska: town of 1

Today, I am writing about somebody else's adventure (and wishing I was the one who took the trip. Jealous!)
My oldest sister Yemi happened upon the town of Monowi, Nebraska, purely by accident last month. The coolest thing about this town? It has a population of 1.

My sister, a geography professor in Omaha, was making her annual summer trek through the state to discover hidden gems. (She had just returned from Latin America and decided to cap off the summer with one last adventure before the start of school.)

As she tells it, she was actually on her way elsewhere. But she couldn't resist pulling over when she spied this sign. Her curiosity piqued, she went in search of the sole resident.

In Monowi, she met Elsie Eiler, 79, the town's only resident, who also runs this restaurant.


Turns out Elsie has quite the reputation and has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and on TV. (Case and point: click here.)

My sister chatted her up over a huge ribeye steak, salad and fries. During her visit, she was surprised plenty of people came in and out of the restaurant. (Elsie told my sister she was never lonely and had plenty of company who checked in on her.)

After getting to know Elsie a bit and her curiosity satisfied, my sister hugged her and bid her farewell.

"Sometimes the unplanned trips are the best," she said. Ditto.

My newest nephew

I've been pretty stoked these last few days -- and for good reason, too.
I am proud aunty to this little guy, who has claimed the position of Nephew #3. He was born Saturday, Sept. 1, to my sister and her husband in New York City. He weighed in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce. He's already proving to be an eater just like his aunt.

What's his name, you ask? He does have one -- several in fact. But I can't tell you yet. In the Yoruba tradition, a child is given his or her names during an official naming ceremony. His is this Saturday.

Stay tuned :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Of lines and limericks

"There once was a nymph named Narcissus,
Who thought himself very delicious.
So he gazed like a fool
At his face in a pool,
And his folly today is still with us."
My friend Peter shared this limerick with me last week. I thought it rather funny and so true.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kids = good birth control

Jack, Plucky and Ryan saying one last goodbye
The pitter-patter of 2-year-old and 5-year-old feet running through my house all weekend confirmed one thing: kids are fun but they are hard work. (Throw a four-legged pooch into the mix and whew!)
It's not like I didn't know it. I have a niece and three nephews, and I worked in the 2-year-old nursery at my church for many years. The difference was, at the end of the day I gave the kids back.
This weekend, I was with two rambunctious little ones around the clock. I loved it. But I now understand why parents are often sleep-deprived :)
During breakfast this morning, their mom and my good friend Amy turned to me and said, "kids are good birth control, aren't they?" I laughed. Yep. I want to have (and adopt) children someday because I love and enjoy them. But I'm in no hurry.
Some observations from this weekend:
-- I discovered rather quickly that my house is not childproof. How children manage to find knickknacks that I think are well-hidden is beyond me.
--I learned the language of a 2-year-old. ("I need a tover up!" Jack said, as he lay in bed clasping his blanket. A what? Oh, right, a cover up.)
--Children take pride in their toots. The boys announced it every time they farted. They wanted the world to know.
--The boys were quite fascinated by penises -- theirs and others'. When Plucky was not chasing them (or them chasing him), he was relaxing on the carpet and grooming himself. All weekend I heard, "I see Plucky's winky!" giggle, giggle. "He's licking his winky!"
Amy, her husband, Kyle, and the boys went back home to Middle Tennessee this afternoon. My house feels strangely quiet. Ahem, if you'll excuse, I'm going down for a nap. I've got to catch up on some sleep :)