Friday, September 18, 2009

The Boundless Show: Episode 87

This week on the Boundless podcast the team and I chatted about the upcoming Fall TV season. Brian and I don't have a TV so we have to wait till Friday to watch The Office, which is fine because it will coincide with our weekly date night.

John Morgan, a President Bush impersonator is on the show this week as well. I was so moved by his interview. You would think that an interview with a political impersonator would be, well, political. But it wasn't. John wants to be more like Jesus than George W. that's for sure.

My friend Candice answers a listener's question about long-distance love. If you've ever pursued romance via the world wide web, you'll resonate with this inbox segment. And if you've entertained the idea of internet dating you should definitely give it a listen.

Wedding Pictures: Farewell

"Ashley, it's time to go. People are starting to leave so I'm going to get everyone lined up outside to blow bubbles," Erin said very calmly.

"What? No, I'm not ready yet." I answered in a panic. "It can't be over yet. It just started. I'm not finished."

And the tears commenced. I'm not sure what made me so emotional in that moment. Leaving Tennessee and consequently my family for an indefinite period of time, feeling like I hadn't spoken to all of my guests (a personal goal of mine for the reception), or just being taken by surprise.

Brian and Erin tried to comfort me but I stepped back and explained I just needed a minute and I would be okay (I think somewhere in this time frame I asked for my mother and I'm not sure if she came or not. I think she did. Like I said it was all very fast.)

Erin started crying too and when I asked why, she said, "We'll I can't not cry if you're crying." I dried it up for the sake of my new husband and my precious coordinator and we met our friends and family outside with bubbles and goodbyes.

Preparing to blow bubbles


I hate being sticky

My best girlfriend, my shopping buddy, my advice giver

Another gift from our sweet wedding party

The car was done tastefully and we were thankful

The Best Mother-in-law ever!

Brian was messing up my dress

Brian's niece Hailey saying goodbye

Somerville First Presbyterian Church
August 1, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Crockpot Cooking Continues: Chicken Parmesan meets Chicken Marinara

I couldn't decide between chicken parmesan or chicken marinara so I mixed the two. I used breadcrumbs to give my chicken texture like CP but adding a simple marinara sauce like CM. I also skipped the fancy cheese that both recipes suggest. I love good cheese but I can't bring myself to buy it so shredded off-brand mozzarella is what I use for italian recipes.

This meal is a takeoff of a recipe from one of my current favorite food bloggers. I like her blog because a lot of people cook her recipes and leave their suggestions to improve the recipe. I usually read comments from the middle of the thread and make my changes based on those comments.

For this particular recipe I took the advice from another reader and browned my chicken (after breading) in a pan. I think I left it on too long because the chicken had started to cook not just brown when I put it in the crockpot. I love how tender the crockpot cooks so I would suggest leaving it on medium (not turning it up past like I'm always tempted to do) and lightly browning. I get so carried away.

So here's what I did:

6 small thawed chicken tenders
1 beaten egg
1 cup bread crumbs
dash of oregano
dash of italian spices
dash of garlic salt (looking back I wish I would have crushed a clove of garlic to go in the skillet while I browned the chicken and then added it to the marinara. Mine was missing a kick.)
1 jar of cheap marinara sauce

Coat the chicken in egg then bread crumbs and spice mixture (add all spices to bread crumbs). Fry in skillet lightly coated with olive oil until browned (a few minutes, no more). Place in bottom of lightly sprayed crockpot. Add jar of sauce and cook on low for 6 hours. After a couple hours it got too hot so I would recommend not leaving this one unattended all day.

I served this on whole grain angel hair pasta with fresh corn on the cobb (I like to microwave my corn on the cobb unshucked with a couple tablespoons of water). I would cook this again but would definitely spice it up a little and add sauteed mushrooms and onions to the sauce.

Wedding Pictures: The Reception

I dreaded the reception. I hate being the center of attention so mingling in the most conspicuous attire I've ever worn for an afternoon was overwhelming to think about. But when Frank announced our entrance and I stepped into the church reception hall full of those same people I was so excited to see walking down the aisle my attitude completely changed. It was a blast as I moved from person to person and group to group.
I took a moment (probably awkwardly long for our guests) to look around the room at our friends and family.
Even though Erin told us what we were supposed to do, we still felt completely lost.
We did not smash cake in each other's face. Our mentors Steve and Candice told us that feeding each other cake is a tradition that symbolizes caring for each other and meeting each other's needs. We wanted to be mindful of what we were saying through what has become such a taken for granted tradition. 
My Bank of Fayette County family. I love you guys!
Bonnie caught my bouquet! She has a Bryan too!
Frank (who gave a moving challenge during the ceremony) announced our entry and the speeches. 
Trevor and Christian really surprised us by giving speeches. What a wonderful surprise!
Brian and his Mines friends
My Martin girls!
Lindsay drove all the way from Virginia on the day before her Campus Crusade support deadline. Linds, you'll never know how much that meant to me!
Christine and Margaret :)
Pooh (who is responsible for all the pretty flowers) and Susan (both part of my bank family)
Hungry bridesmaids
Tomorrow's pictures will be of our going away. Lots of balloons and emotional goodbyes. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Serve Coffee, and So Much More!

I received work study financial aid during my junior and senior years here at Mines.  Finding a good work study job on campus was easy because my friend Nathan Valentin was a barista at our library's coffee shop, and I was fond of working on homework at this locale.  After talking with Roz, one of the library administration staff (and my now boss), I signed a sheet and was officially a barista for the first time!

Training wasn't difficult.  Unlike Starbucks or Einstein Bros, we serve nothing but canned drinks, coffee, and lattes (including variations).  Once I'd worked a few shifts and gotten the drink-making down, I didn't need to stare at the espresso machine and could start making real eye-contact with customers.  The new challenge was to make their days better.

My first customer every morning is Louis (pronounce Loo-ease).  He's a perky Mexican who teaches Grad level Statistics courses at CSM.  Like clockwork, the doors to the library are unlocked and in comes Louis to get an espresso machiato (two shots of espresso with a little steamed milk).  This happens at 7:30...every single morning.  He and I have become regular pals, what with me supplying his every caffeine need.  When I was looking for an apartment, Louis gave great suggestions.  When he was going to leave for Mexico to visit family, I wished him well then asked how it went after the fact.

Nearly every work day, Diana and Debbie make the trip over to my coffee shop from nearby Guggenheim Hall, and Louis has affectionately called them "the Googies."  What makes them so fun for me is their intense interest in Ashley.  I always receive great advice, and sometimes even sermon CD's, from them which are a real blessing.  Today they made a special trip over just to meet Ashley, who brings her laptop and does her work beside me on Wednesday afternoons.  What a joy!

Probably my greatest mission at work, though, is to share the love of Christ through encouragement.  Mines is a tough school to attend, and the haggard students rushing in for a caffeine fix often need someone to offer perspective.  I try to ask them how things are going in a genuine way, remembering that I receive much-needed encouragement from Ashley every day.

Look to do the same for others today!

Wedding Pictures: Portraits

This was by far the most stressful part of the wedding. I became commander and chief of the family photo time. I guess it fell to me because I knew everyone (and it's been rumored that I can be bossy direct).

Trevor and Nathan had so much to contribute in the days they were in Tennessee for the wedding. I think they were a lot of fun for my Grandpa and Joyce whom they stayed with.

The men and women who have shaped our lives in ways that make us better for the Kingdom and for each other.

The Ramsey Clan (minus Dave, he was out of the country)

The Bradfords (minus Kyle and Chelsea)

The Harris side

Grandpa and Joyce (don't tell Grandpa his picture is on the internet. He would kill me)

Mama D and Papa Lewis

Paw Paw and Maw Maw

My brother Jon

Brian and the Ramsey women

Bro. Bobby Williams

Bro. Frank Sizemore
Are you getting tired of wedding pictures? Hang in there, only a few more days and then I'll stop.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wedding Pictures: The Ceremony

Erin being amazing.

Brian's groomsman Nathan and Sandy, Brian's lovely mother. You should be jealous of me because of how awesome my mother-in-law is. I love being a Ramsey. They're good people.

My Mom and Trevor, Brian's best man. She was beautiful in her new suit.

Jenn Ward was such a smiley attendant.

I couldn't see Brian as I was walking down the aisle. So I used that time to scan the crowd and see who all came. So many special people! Their presence was such a gift. That handsome guy on my left is my stepdad Jerry. He looked so distinguished in his tux :)

Even though I couldn't see Brian, he could see me ;)

"Because we stand in the grace of the risen Christ I, Ashley Harris, promise my love to you ... "

Family and Friends!

We were a little excited. Can you tell?

By the way, I am selling the dress. If you know of anyone who's looking send them my way.

If you're a friend or loved one of ours and you keep up with us through this blog let us know by leaving a comment (blogger is tricky when posting comments so if rejects your comment the first time just hit post again and it will work most every time). We're so honored that you would spend a few minutes on our blog.