Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is it too late to do a Super Bowl post?

I hope not, because I've still got a Valentine's party blog to write! How did I get so behind? (Glad to have a few posts to catch up on since my camera bit the dust and I am in photographic gridlock!)

I confess, I’m a Super Bowl poser. I do not care one whit about football. I do, however, enjoy the hype that surrounds the Super Bowl, if by hype we are talking about the food, the friends, and the commercials. This year we had a big party for the church youth in our new youth space (wonder when it ceases to be the “new” youth space?), complete with two huge screens (three if you count the one in the game room), a couple of ping pong tables, a pool table, an air hockey table, and a host of seating arrangements for people who’d rather play games and chat than watch the game.

No, Stephanie and I did not, in fact, plan to wear our matching shirts, but here we are in all our coordinated glory!

Kirby and Joni worked their culinary magic once again, with some help from Chris and Cynthia; this time they fed us an enormous number of garlic parmesan and hot chicken wings. They were so, so good, and I was so, so miserable from eating a few too many!

I was happy for the Saints and the many people who are die-hard Saints fans. I thought about my friend in Alabama who was no doubt dancing in the streets singing “Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?” for days. But mostly I thought about how cool it is that we human beings, especially we of the Baptist persuasion, can always manage to turn anything at all into a social event revolving around relationships, games, and food!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Will Zumba 4 Food: Road Trip!

A few weeks ago, I piled into a van with four other Zumba instructors bound for Austin for a fundraiser master class with one of the Zumba Education Specialists, Tony Witt, from Kansas City. Austin's community food bank was the beneficiary and the event was called Zumba 4 Food. I was excited to attend because although I hear a lot about events such as this on the east coast from my friends out there who teach Zumba Fitness classes, it is an idea that is just catching on here in our state.

Maybe I should back up a little in case you are wondering what on earth I am talking about.

Zumba Fitness is an aerobics dance fitness class based on Latin and international rhythms and music. I was hooked from the get-go (and my first class needs to be a subject for another post!) – it is so much fun and takes the drudgery out of exercise. Zumba Fitness turns a workout into a party. It’s a highly effective calorie-burning hour based on the principles of interval training, mixing faster rhythms with slower ones for a variety of styles and fitness elements. You don’t need a partner and you don’t have to be a dancer to participate in a Zumba class. The steps are basic and repetitive so that anyone can learn them. A good instructor will demonstrate modifications for both the beginner and the seasoned participant, and will cue you and guide you along to having the most fun you’ve ever had attaining your fitness goals. You can’t fret or stress over the details of life during a Zumba session. It is completely therapeutic mentally and physically. If you enjoy music, dancing, and working up a sweat having fun, I highly recommend you give it a try! Keep in mind that each instructor lends his or her own flavor and personality to the class. If you try one and it doesn’t suit you just right, try another one. There’s a class out there for you!

I was inspired to become group exercise certified through my first experiences with leading Zumba classes in 2007, so I took on the project of preparing for my American Aerobics and Fitness Association exams in 2008. Since all this began, I’ve taught on my own out of rented dance studio space, in gyms, and in my church as a ministry to women. I’ve had some health issues along the way in which I had to take a break from teaching, but the Lord has had me well and having a blast with my beloved “Church Lady” Zumba class, endorsed by the women’s ministry of my church, going on almost a year now. It’s one of the highlights of my week, twice a week. I get the added bonus of getting to know my ladies, sharing an encouragement from scripture, and praying over their concerns with them. How awesome is that?

Okay now…where was I?

We had a great time with Tony and about sixty Zumba enthusiasts and instructors dancing for food. The five of us, plus one we had met up with from Wimberley, were then invited to join the Austin instructors and Tony for dinner at the Steiner Ranch Steak House. Fun! I had the most delicious baked shrimp scampi.

The view from the top of the hill overlooking Lake Travis was gorgeous, complete with the backdrop of a beautiful Texas sunset. It was a cool night so we ate inside, but here we are after dinner outside on the patio enjoying the live music and the fire pit.

The road trip itself was a blast, comparing notes and talking over choreographies and music and stories from our classes. Love Zumba, love laughing with my instructor friends, and love the Steiner Ranch Steak House!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


What a treat to have the Crossroads Wind Symphony join us this morning at church! The ensemble of over sixty members is made up of professional and avocational musicians from our area. The group filled the choir loft and their music filled the worship center so beautifully – I wish we could have them every week! It happened to be my week to rotate onto our worship team, so I was extra-blessed to help lead the service as well. I loved every minute of it. Here are some photos I took before the service, when the orchestra was warming up. My zoom feature chose to freeze up on me -- great timing! -- but I still got a few decent shots.

This is my sister with Fred Junkin, her high school band director. This man was fairly mobbed when the service ended, there were so many of his former band students present who wanted to greet him! He played the clarinet today.

This is John Anderson, one of the two conductors and several saxophone players, posing with me. I recognized his name and knew that he was my youngest son’s professor at the community college when he took Foundations of Music his junior year in high school for dual credit. Conner, this is for you! Not only did John remember you, he even asked if you were still working at Target. I got him up to speed on your life at A&M.

This is my lifelong friend, David. He has moved away so what a surprise to see him in the congregation this morning. We keep in touch every couple of months or so, but I had no idea he’d be here today. Great seeing him!

Our pastor was feeling under the weather, but in spite of that, he brought such a good message to us about praying in the power of love from Ephesians 3:16-19. I can’t think of a better way to start the week. And the symphony playing “Be Thou My Vision” and "Amazing Grace" was the icing on the cake!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yay, my lil' blog gets an award!

Well, I can now truthfully say I have an award-winning blog. ;-) My friend and blogging mentor, Lindsay, (Woods Life and Lindsay's Kitchen), gave my blog this Lemonade Stand award just today. I met Lindsay this past summer when she and her husband, John (or as I affectionately call him, Maestro), moved here after John accepted the call to be the music minister of our church. They are an adorable couple! Maestro leads a mean (read: fun and challenging) choir/worship ensemble rehearsal, and I love seeing Lindsay smiling, shaking, and shimmying in my church lady Zumba class. We are so blessed to have them! So back to the award: Apparently I am to give one-word answers to the following list of questions and then pass the award on to five other bloggers, whose turn it is then to answer these same questions before passing it on...yeah...a chain-letter award, it is! :-)

1. Your Cell Phone? Tilt

2. Your Hair? Abundant

3. Your Mother? Loved

4. Your Father? Missed

5. Your Favorite Food? Seafood

6. Your Dream Last Night? Forgotten

7. Your Favorite Drink? Cherry Limeade

8. Your Dream/Goal? Globetrotting!

9. What Room Are You In? Guest

10. Your Hobby? Zumba

11. Your Fear? Loss

12. Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? Grandmothering!

13. Where Were You Last Night? Friends'

14. Something That You Aren't? Decisive

15. Muffins? Blueberry

16. Wish List Item? Italy

17. Where Did You Grow Up? Dundee

18. Last Thing You Did? Movie

19. What Are You Wearing? Jeans

20. Your TV? Adequate

21. Your Pets? Charlie!

22. Friends? Yes!

23. Your Life? Blessed

24. Your Mood? Silly

25. Missing Someone? Kids

26. Vehicle? Camry

27. Something You Aren't Wearing? Shoes

28. Your Favorite Store? Steinmart

29. Your Favorite Color? Rainbow!

30. When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Today

31. Last Time You Cried? Tuesday

32. Your Best Friend? Hubby!

33. One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Church

34. Facebook? Crazy

35. Favorite Place To Eat? Greek’s

There ya go! Now, to pass on the Lemonade Stand Award...

To Teri,(Girl Meets Paris), who is a blogging inspiration of mine. I love reading about all things Parisian…AND the random stuff, too! Teri is an old friend from years ago when we were young marrieds and just starting our families, and if you’ve been reading my blog you already know and love her.

To Jennifer, (Dancer Family Tales),who is one of my favorites I taught in junior high Sunday School years ago, who is also the daughter of a good friend, Regina, and whose brother spent a lot of time at our house hanging out with my oldest son when they were in high school. She just so happened to fall in love with one of our youth interns! They are married and have two beautiful boys and they live way too far away, but I love reading about her family life and marveling over the awesome young woman she has become.

To Lori, (Mississippi Lehrmann's),who I got to know through church and through her close friendship with my niece, Brandy. She also writes a fun blog detailing her family life with her husband and two children. Always makes me smile! Lu ya, Lu! (don’t even try to figure it out, people…inside joke!)

To Kimberly, (if not now),whose blog I happened upon a couple years ago when I was looking for shoes appropriate for teaching Zumba Fitness classes. She is as crazy about Zumba as I am, and I love reading about her classes, her fitness journey, and anything else she happens to write about. I got to meet Kim in person at the first annual Zumba Convention in Orlando. I recognized her right away – she has the most gorgeous curly auburn hair, a beautiful fair complexion, and the sweetest smile. Even in a crowd of over a thousand people, she stood out!

To Reema, (It's Hip To Be Healthy), a new friend I met in Orlando the second time around, this past year. I’ve known her sister, Jumana, for over a year now, but when Ju wasn’t able to make the convention this year, she hooked us up with her sister. Reema is the epitome of perky, funny, and outgoing. Love her! She writes a health and fitness blog that I enjoy reading.

Ta-da! You are my five. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that sooner or later, if everyone awards five blogs, everyone will get an award eventually. Maybe that’s the idea! Anyway, it feels pretty good to be remembered by a blogging friend, so share the love. Who are your five? I will be watching to see!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day to Me!

I love a reason to celebrate romance as much as the next woman, but to be honest, Valentine’s Day isn’t usually a holiday when we, as a couple, go all out. A nice dinner out or a movie together, a card, maybe some chocolates or flowers…maybe…is usually about the extent of it. When the kids were little we made it more of a big deal – an excuse to decorate, have a party, and make fun cards for the grandparents. I remember baking cookies with the boys and then dragging them around with me to deliver them to various people, all in the name of sharing love and surprises. It was fun! Sometimes, though, I think we get caught up in declaring our gratitude and love for each other that one day every year rather than making it a part of our lives all year round. Isn’t it even sweeter to receive an “I love you” surprise on a hot July day when the whole rest of the world isn’t doing the exact same thing on the exact same day with their loved ones? Not knocking February 14…just saying that one a year is just not enough! Don’t save it all for Valentine’s Day.

My sister and I usually remember each other on Valentine’s Day with a little something. We’ve been through a lot together over the past ten years with each of our parents succumbing to illness and then their eventual passing. We’ve always been close, but through those experiences we’ve come to appreciate each other more and more. Lately, we’ve been going through some old photos that have been passed down to us – photos that tell the story of our parents’ lives as young people, of our grandparents’ younger years, and of the short time when my sister and I lived under the same roof. I was what you might call a caboose – a surprise baby later in life, whose reason for existence lies solely in the prayers of a girl who really wanted a baby sister! Leafy was a teenager when I was born, so I have only really vague recollection of the time we lived together before she married when I was four years old. Most of what I know is from pictures and the stories that ago along with them. One particular photo is a favorite of ours and the original was showing signs of wear and tear, so Leafy planned to see about having it restored and getting some copies made. I hadn’t thought about it since the day she took it home with her, along with some others that we wanted to share. But this is what she gave me this year for Valentine’s Day, wrapped up in a red ribbon and with a sweet card.

This is me and my sissy, lickin’ beaters. Am I a blessed little sister, or what?

Here we are another time we had our picture made, this time separately, but at a studio together. We had celebrated one of Leafy’s special birthdays with a big surprise party, and my gift to her (and to me!) was a trip out of town together to shop and have our “glamour shots” done.

Isn’t she gorgeous? She’s even more beautiful on the inside.

I love you, Sister, and thank you so much for my very special valentine! I cherish it now and always, as I cherish you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Yummy Find!

I've been watching a little blue house morph into a cute little business for quite some time now. I drive past it on my way to almost everywhere and it's located right next door to the dental practice where I work on Mondays. Today I finally made my way into the parking lot, which is, because of its smallness, also cute. I found JUST what I was looking for: a little boutique full of pretties AND a cupcake bakery. A cupcakery! Perfect place to find some little Valentine goodies for our 8th grade Sunday School class. I also bought myself a coco creme mini because I could NOT wait to sample did not disappoint! I should have bought two!

Business appeared to be booming, but I didn't mind browsing; the heavenly aroma of fresh-baked cupcakes and all the dainty, pretty little things were more than enough to keep me happy!

I wonder if a certain Paris-loving blogging friend will notice the little bag labeled "Paris Flea Market" hanging on the hutch below?

Isn't this the most inviting little shoppe? I love it! If shabby chic and all things vintage appeal to you, you'll love it, too.

Prepare to drool! Just sayin'!

From the tiny minis to the triple decker masterpieces (appropriately named The Tower of Love) to the strawberries covered in everything but the kitchen sink -- they all looked absolutely too beautiful to eat! Here's the little Valentine surprise I picked out for Johnny:

It's a chocolate cupcake infused with peanut butter and topped with Reese's Peanut Butter Cup chunks, among other things...yummmm. Shhhh! Don't tell! ;-)

If you are out and about, cruising down Salem Road, look for this new delight. You can even take a load off in the little indoor sidewalk cafe should you be unable to delay the instant gratification from your delectable treat! I enjoyed visiting with the cupcake chef and owner of Yummy Finds Antiques and Cupcakery. Julia is a nurse by profession but is really having fun with her new venture! Tell her you read about her on my blog. She was so sweet to let me share with you. Pay a virtual visit to her blog as well:

I can't wait to see how the cupcakes go over in Sunday School tomorrow. I got a variety of minis to share. It will be blessing to spend Valentine's Day in worship to the One who gave his very life for us. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Still here!

Just thought I might should post that I am, in fact, still living and breathing. It's been too long since my last entry. This is a crazy week and I'm going full steam ahead, but plan to remedy this situation soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 1, 2010

True love

I was blindsided last week by a particularly nasty intestinal ailment, the likes of which I've not experienced in years. Amazing how quickly life comes to a screeching halt when one of these inconsiderate viruses comes knocking (or pounding, I should say). Blogging was the farthest thing from my mind, I can assure you, but now that I'm on the mend, I'd like to publicly thank my dear, sweet husband for going above and beyond the call of duty, and for demonstrating what it means to love in sickness as well as in health.

Dear Johnny,

Thank you for maintaining your patience while I interrupted you multiple times for things which seemed urgent at the moment. For consistently warming my "bed buddy" in the microwave so I could get some momentary relief from the cramps of the doubling-over variety, for the five or six trips to the store you made to pick up something else I thought of that might help, for providing crackers and Sprite at regular intervals, for just being there to share in my misery: Thank you. You are my Florence Nightingale in Shining Armor!

Love you always,