Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Hootenanny

Webster's defn: Hootenanny--a gathering in which singers entertain, often with the audience joining in.

How does this look to you in accordance with this definition?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

My dear friends Carolyn Grace and William got hitched last weekend! That is the beautiful bride and not her husband, but mine, makin' a little music to help out the band. I have to say that this may have been the most fun reception I've ever attended (minus yours truly, of course ;) ).

The band was called Class Reunion, and they were GREAT! They don't look like much--a bunch of old white guys up on the stage doesn't exactly inspire thoughts of breakin' it down on the dance flo'....but hey, remember the old adage--don't judge a book by its cover!

Here are the lovely bride and groom...aren't they a handsome couple??

CG looked absolutely stunning in her dress, and I must say, I don't think I've ever seen a bride have as fun a time at her own reception as this girl did! Here are the bride and mother of the bride joining the band on the stage:

Some more pics from the night:

Bustin' a move:

Sweet friends Emily, Haley, Noelle, (me), and Ann Elizabeth:

Chi-O girls:

And a few from earlier in the day:

Getting ready at the church with Kim and Mary Martin:
Isn't he so cute in his tux? ;)

With the sweet bride at her bridesmaids' luncheon:

College roomies!! Emily, me, and Lauren:

It was such a neat experience for Taylor and me to be in a wedding together. I didn't even really realize it until the rehearsal when we were standing up there on the platform, looking down at two of our best friends, who were preparing to make this amazing commitment to one another. It was sweet and touching and so special. CG, I know you won't read this 'til you get home from your honeymoon, but everything was beautiful! We are looking forward to many more years of good times with the new Mr. and Mrs. Fincher!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Catfish Queen

Have you ever been to a small town Mississippi festival? I love them. Every time I go to one, I feel like I'm in the middle of a Faulkner novel. It's always 90somethinghundred degrees out, there are sno cones and local art and fried chicken, and there's always some sorta unknown, amazing bluegrass or blues band playing. I've been to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, the Bentonia Blues Festival, of course Double Decker in Oxford, and here most recently--the Belzoni (pronounced Bell-zone-uh, for those who don't know) Catfish Festival. Now, naturally, because we are in Mississippi, there simply must be a Catfish Queen to reign over the festival! This year my sweet husband was asked to be a judge! His family has been in the catfish business for 30 years, and he knows a thing or two about pageants since he pretty much won the award for boyfriend of the year 3 years in a row when I was competing in the Miss Mississippi pageant.

Now, for what it's worth--the Catfish Queen really does have a job to fulfill. Of course, she must be a pretty girl, but she has to be the face and representation for the catfish industry at many meetings and events, giving speeches and graciously welcoming guests at each one. During the interview, Taylor and the other judges asked questions such as, "How do you feel the catfish industry can improve its marketing to better compete in these economic times with other flaky whitefish such as tilapia?", and "Cat Cora, the Food network Iron Chef from Mississippi, who happens to be openly gay, is the national spokeswoman for catfish. Do you feel that the industry should appeal to a more widespread audience by reaching alternative groups through people like Cat Cora, or should the fish be marketed solely on its own?" Not exactly "What's your dream date", ya know?

We had the best time at the festival, and here's the girl who was crowned! (Please excuse the pictures, I had to use my phone):

She is going to be featured in the September issue of Southern Living, so be looking for her!

Later that night, Taylor and me, Travis (Taylor's brother) and his girlfriend Caroline, and our friends Mark, Lane, and Bo, borrowed Taylor's parents' boat and boated over from their house to one of my favorite restaurants--Cock of the Walk! If you've never been, you HAVE to go. They have the best fried catfish around, and they serve giant pots of greens, cole slaw, marinated sweet onions, and tea, family style. It's SO good. SOOO good. I try not to go often, because I try to avoid fried foods, but every once in a while you just can't help yourself! Plus, I felt the need to continue supporting the catfish industry and make a weekend out of it! After dinner, we hopped back into the boat and rode over to The Pelican Club (formerly The Dock, which will mean something to you Jacksonians reading) where we hung out, listened to the band, and watched a bunch of old people acting a fool on the dance floor. It was pretty perfect. Here are a few pics:

Bo must have said something really funny!

me and Caroline

me and Lane

So y'all remember to check out what festivals are coming this spring and summer to some nearby small towns, and make a weekend out of it! You won't regret it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thought for the Day

An excerpt from my devotional book for the day (which, fyi, is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I have been going through this as well as Beth Moore's The Beloved Disciple, somewhat sporadically):

"I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.

"Talk with Me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings. Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment. He will keep you close to Me."

Listed as references are 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which says, "Pray without ceasing" (easiest memory verse of all time!), and Proverbs 3:6, which says "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your path."

Well, that certainly hits home with me! I desperately yearn for a simplified lifestyle. Some days--and today was one of those days--my brain is moving at such lightning speed all day, trying to cram way too much into an 8 hour day at school, that by the time I leave, I have a horrible headache and can't even focus on anything else until I sit down and close my eyes for a little bit. Like tonight--I had a mental to-do list of about 15 things I needed to do before I sat down to relax. And I didn't even get home til after 9 pm! Cramming crazy amounts of events, tasks, etc, into small amounts of time are a function of my personality--but it doesn't have to feel like a rat race. Perhaps if I didn't concentrate so intently on everything that needs to get done, my eyes would be much more open to the opportunities and tasks that the Lord puts in front of me every day. Something to think and pray about!

PS--for anyone who saw my last post--Taylor's grandmother did very well in her surgery, and she started physical therapy today--she's already been up and walking! Modern medicine truly is miraculous.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Happy Easter 2010 to everyone!! Our church service was beautiful this morning--we sang an anthem called Lift Up the Lamb that was really moving, and our preacher gave a sermon that was so hopeful, uplifting, and encouraging that I left feeling renewed and restored and so thankful for the amazing sacrifice Christ made for us!

After church was lunch with my family at my sister's house. Here are some pics of my people:

My sister in law, April, my sister Angie, and me:

All my nieces--they are such beautiful, sweet girls! Anna, Beth, Catie, Dorothy, and Olivia.

My apparently roofdwelling nephew, Kyle.

My oldest nephew, Carter, our resident gymnast.


Mom and Dad and my sweet goofball husband.

My bro-in-law, Lee, and Carter, performing some manly meat carving.

Me with my cousins Dabbs and Gray.

My bro Neil and his wife, April--aren't they a cute couple?

Taylor and me

Aaaaaannnddd.....drumroll please........the coconut cake I made for Taylor's family for Easter!!! I was so proud of myself. One of my dearest friends, Whitney, is the pastry chef that I've mentioned on the blog a couple of times...she gave me the secret of a good basketweave icing pattern--so I did the best I could!

It turned out pretty yummy! Those are just Starburst Easter jelly beans on top and around the sides. I have really been wanting to try my hand at cake decorating for a while now. But.....what really inspired me was THIS!

Yep, that's right folks. That is THE mixer, on MY counter! Last weekend Taylor and I went out on a dinner date, and afterwards, we decided to ride by Williams Sonoma so I could show him the mixer I'd been saving up for (ie, the one he'd been getting an earful about for several months, poor guy). When we got there, the lady informed us that there was a thirty dollar rebate on the mixer, and that because only the displays were left (which were in perfectly good condition), we could get a 10 percent discount....and I jumped at the chance! That, combined with what I had saved left very little to pay out of pocket. So--we brought 'er home! Woohoo! I'm looking forward to many happy years of baking with you, little mixer!

We ate dinner with Taylor's family, and sadly, because he claimed he was "pictured out", I only have one pic from the evening:

Taylor, his brother Travis, and our friend David Minto:

Next time maybe my powers of persuasion will win out and I can get in a few more of his family....:)

If you think about it--please remember Taylor's grandmother, Evelyn, in your prayers--she goes in for her 2nd knee replacement surgery tomorrow. We are hoping that she has an easy surgery and a quick recovery!

Happy Easter to you!