Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Have you got a little Captain in you?

I thought this pic was hilarious! Marcus & Kerry went hunting this past weekend & posed for this picture. They are two peas in a pod, it was so good to see Kerry & Landon (Kerry's nephew).
As you can see the boys had a good it still has to be asked: Have YOU got a little Captain in you?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eating Cake....

There are moments when we retrace our steps, when we meet an obstacle and wonder how we got to that point. Curveballs are what most people call them. Those bumps in the road of life that we laugh about years down the road. But the first moments we encounter those bumps are not so funny. We seem to look up & down, to react at first rather than inspect. We flip out or calmly sit & leave the world for a second. Our minds don't want to face the challenge, they prefered traveling along life's highway with cruise control & barely breaking for the stop signs. But oh when one of those walls springs from the ground, looms over us with such disdain & creates shadows in what was a bright open day we find ourselves a bit scattered. Then our thoughts collect & we retrace. We retrace steps, motions, thoughts, intentions, whatever piece to the puzzle we feel is important we clambor through it. I have frantically searched my mind & memory on multiple occasions. Asking myself "How did this happen? Why did this happen?" I am the queen of constant bubbly personality, but the darkness enfolds even me a good deal of the time. That moment of confusion about the path is one that I do not enjoy, but for some reason over the past 7 years I have truly begun to embrace a philosophy: "no matter what path I took to get to this very moment, I am here for a reason. I need only to breathe, to look around, & find purpose in my next step."
That is not exactly the most comforting or even the best outlook sometimes, but I stay true to it just the same. I know that I may have made mistakes & those mistakes were in some ways really horrible; but the fact that I am now alive, able to have another moment makes the lesson from the mistakes so worth it. Imparting that 'wisdom' to others is daunting to say the least. There is one particular person in my life who tends to really dwell on hard times, to beat himself up when he makes a mistake, sometimes beating himself up to where he loses sight of the lesson, but focuses on his negligence instead. There are many times that the mistake is much more minor than he thought & then there are times where that mistake made such an impact that it weighs on his mind to this day. It hurts my heart to see him torture himself with some things, it is not a trait I envy at all. My easier going outlook seems idealistic & fantastical to someone of his downtrodden tendencies. I guess we balance each other, he is the realist - to a fault, I am the idealist - to a fault. We work well in a great many situations, but on this topic it can be very trying to my psyche. I want to help to be uplifting - he may think that I don't understand the consequences, that my light hearted response is too light, too naive - that isn't true. I know the bad side, the possibility of a harmful outcome, but I also know that if the worst does occur one of us has to be hopeful. It is a scary job to be the one who sees faith & hope in everything, but if it helps him make it through the hard times, then my job is like eating cake - sweet of course and you always remember how good it is....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Presents - Presents - PRESENTS!!!

Okay, Tracy fussed at me for not listing in detail what we got for Christmas so here goes:
From Marcus-
Diamond & Amethyst ring - GORGEOUS!! It is white gold, very vintage-art deco setting with cutouts & pave diamonds. The Amethyst is emerald cut about 2.5 carats (if you had to measure in carats).
DVDs - Because I Said So, Catch & Release, Jeff Dunham's Spark of Insanity (he is a hilarious comic)
Games for Wii - Mario Galaxy
Gift Cards - Ann Taylor Loft & Target
From the Parents (both sides)-
Beautiful blouse
Pots & Pans (we never got any for the wedding & it took me forever to pick out a set I liked)
Earrings, Necklace
From family (drew names - Erica got mine) -
Pier 1 Imports gift card
Bath & Body Works stuff
From Friends & Co-Workers-
Flemings Gift Card
Ruth Chris Gift Card
Cypress Inn Gift Card
Olive Garden Gift Card
Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Visa Gift Card
Target Gift Card
Suncoast Gift Card
Ann Taylor Loft Gift Card
Bow Regards Gift Certificate
Some specialty alcohol
Photo Album

Okay so for any of you that know that I do a huge shopping trip for my birthday, well lets just say I have the gift card area covered this year! :) Christmas was very nice, but crazy hectic. Falling on a Tuesday this year was awful. We drove to Camden Christmas Eve, spent time with Marcus' family, then drove to my parents, spent the night and all day with them.
For the first time ever, I felt like Christmas still has yet to come. I miss the days of being able to spend the before days with my mom - baking, shopping, etc. It really bothers me that I was not able to figure out a way to do that this year! I will definitely take that into consideration with my holiday-day usage at work next year!
Anyway, we did enjoy every moment we got to spend with everyone! We are back at work tomorrow...yuck. But I am counting down to my BIRTHDAY WEEK!!!!! WOOHOO!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

An Early Christmas...

Well this morning was mine & Marcus' Christmas. We had not really planned to have Christmas so early this year, but due to company coming & traveling to Camden, it was the only day we would have that is just us... So we opened presents! I got so many beautiful & fun things! Marcus does such a good job every year of knowing me so well (now I know I do give him a 'gift book' to select from, but he does choose a few things on his own too). I found him some great gifts, things he had listed & things he was surprised about. Mostly we spent the morning eating cinnamon rolls, curled up on the couch talking & playing with Peanut. I cooked an elaborate spread for lunch (not traditional mind you): Home Fried Chicken, Corn Casserole, Rice & Gravy, Green Beans, Salad & rolls. YUM!!! We really just had a nice very quiet day...This evening we went out to Outback with JR & Fran for dinner. It was so good to see them, they both look great. I always enjoy being in their company. Marcus & Jr can be apart for long periods of time & when they see each other, they slip right back into their comfort zones. It is nice to see Marcus with one of those friends. They are the best type of friend we can have.

Well, the new week is beginning... so much to do in the last days before Christmas. Pray for good traffic, good weather, & great traditions...

Friday & Saturday

Well, yesterday & today was a rumbling rush of activities... Friday night we went up to Birmingham to shop & enjoy a good meal. We of course went to World Market - yum! Now Saturday night was quite a bit of fun. Marcus' friend Alix had a Christmas party at her house, everyone was ever so nice & there was a good bit of laughter which always makes the day a treat. The food was amazing, Alix out did herself! Yummy goodies of all kinds, loads of recipes that I need to get from her. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Schedules at the holidays... WHAT IS THAT??

okay here I am - December 10, 2007. Now we are 14 days from Christmas, schedules for activities are pretty much made. We factored in some down time just for us, set up the families for the days we will be visiting, work & try to keep our sanity. Yeah all that typed looks nice, but the reality is the holidays have a tendency to make their own schedules. Kind of like that saying "if you want to see if God has a sense of humor, tell him your plans & hear the laughter". This past fall has been such a whirlwind. We have worked quite hard to make sure we slow down. Yeah - we have failed thus far :)
So this coming up weekend - our supposed "calm" weekend-we are swamped. Friday evening we have plans in Birmingham - dinner & to finish Christmas shopping. Saturday morning I will be baking - holiday goodies for neighbors & a few friends. Evening - dinner with friends. Sunday, oh Sunday - right now it sits upon the cusp of being a lazy day. Cross your fingers my friends, cross your fingers. As for the holiday schedule well that was quite simple to begin with but due to work schedules & travel schedules this Christmas will be quite different than what I am used to... hopefully I will keep a portion of my sanity, at least enough of it so that I don't open the door in my underwear (REFERENCE: In the Land of Women on DVD - grandma rocks!)

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Woo hoo! It is here... the Birthday week. For those unfamiliar this is how birthday week works:

Definition of Birthday Week – one entire 7 day week, the birthday boy/girl does not have to do ANY chores, is allowed to choose the complete menus of his/her choice for each day (take out is included), gets a gift each day, no nagging or fighting, & are basically treated as a king/queen.

We started this years ago when we were dating. Course when you don't live together it basically means you get a gift a day & taken out to eat or have some special snack. Marriage & cohabitation make it a very intense week at least for the non-birthday goer. The funny thing is, we love it. You know that your week will come so doing those things for the other person is not laborous, not demanding, just fun. Plus the whole of the week is really what we should do any way: no nagging/fighting, treat each other like kings & queens. The gifts each day can range from a back rub, to a DVD or to just going out of your way to do something that the other normally does & take that one thing off their to do list for them.

This year has been nice. Marcus has had some specific dinners requested so I have been hard at work on those, the chores are not bad either (you know I love to clean). This weekend the family came up to see the birthday boy... two great meals & lots of love from everyone. It was very nice, I think Marcus had a good two days (a bit more hectic than he expected, but still good days). He is 28. crazy, huh?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Weekend Activities

Well Saturday December 1st was another concert evening (we are really racking up a large number of concerts this year). The usual gang - Eric, Mindy, Marcus & myself. We saw Gary Allan & Keith Urban at the BJCC. It was unreal. Gary Allan was a bit intoxicated so his 45 minute performace was a bit peppered. Keith Urban on the other hand began around 9:10 p.m. and played until midnight. I have liked his music before, but after watching him play his instruments, hearing his voice sound just like a CD, and the way he enjoys performing, I really like his music so much more now. His set up was awesome almost intimate at times. For a performer to make it seem like only 1/3 of the audience is there due to attention to detail and acoustic performances is impressive. NO major fancy lighting, just band, big screen & the music. He even jumped off the stage & wandered into the audience (to the utter dismay of his body guards), dedicated a song to his wife, & played alone at the piano. Oh by the way, he is also HOT! lol. Probably one of the most attractive men I have seen in real life. (I hope you enjoy the pics...)

On sunday, 12-2, we had the Agee Christmas/Thanksgiving bash in Arlington, Alabama. It was interesting. This year we did it in a church, a bit colder & not as family-warm as usual. Even though there are so many of us, being crammed into a house is a better setting (BTW usually about 80-120 of us are together for Christmas & Thanksgiving). We ended up with nice gifts (we play Dirty Santa) I got a Vera Bradley umbrella, Marcus got a Craftsman Shop Vac. Seeing grandma Agee is always the best part. She is such a sweet woman, how she has survived this growing family, well who knows! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Well another Thanksgiving has gone. We went to Camden, of course, and enjoyed some of the best cooking around. I unfortunately got very sick on Friday afterwards, we think maybe it was just the rich foods. I was awful all day and finally on Saturday was no longer vomiting & nauseated. Of course a new wave of nausea hit Saturday evening while watching a certain football game... but anyway. So we threw the twins a Auburn/Alabama birthday party (for anyone who doesn't know, Coy is Bama, Colton is Auburn) It was so much fun! Nina & her kids were in for the week so the house was full! Hannah got to come as well with Mindy so it was like the beach trip from the summer all over again! They are all so sweet & we really are glad to see them so much now. I think it is important as cousins that they stay as close as possible. I have got a slew of pictures to get from Mom from the party & as soon as I do they will be posted. The twins got some good presents & seemed very excited about everything. They are growing up so fast... 10 years old. WOW! I easily remember their births... they were so tiny! Can you believe it.. Christmas is just around the corner!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Lists...

Last post I eluded to my famous Christmas list. (you know the picture book, bound & ready) Well I happen to know that my nephews (Coy & Colton - Eric's 10 year old twin boys) are definitely without question related to me...
Not only are their lists detailed but they even asked for a few things that I have on my list!!! You don't need to know what duplicates :) but I will say that they have great taste, their lists are elaborate & fun, & I really think I might have underestimated their genius! They not only made the elaborate lists, but they separated them for each set of parents & grand parents... therefore no duplicates. GENIUS!
Gosh I love'm! :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Well it is official the season is upon us! Really it was here last week, but the Monday before Thanksgiving is definitely my realization point. Turkey Day, the feast of Americans day.

Last weekend as I perused the Galleria & various other shops Thanksgiving & Christmas was everywhere. The rush was in every storefront, Christmas music piped through clear & static-y speakers, Christmas trees were lit & decorated, Thanksgiving platters anointed every shelf, and kids were selecting their prized favorite gifts. You cannot help but feel it, even those moments where it is too hot in the south and you honestly think that winter is merely a figment of some Yankee's imagination. The preparations of Christmas are one of my favorite activities as a human. My car is filled with the music when I sit behind the wheel. 96.5 out of Birmingham plays Christmas music 24/7 from 11-17 through 12-26 every year and my iPOD is loaded with my favorite selections. I already have my two trees up (though at a risk of not being too annoying I did at least decide to wait to put up the outdoor decor until AFTER Thanksgiving)

It is just so fun to search out the perfect gift for someone. To see that one thing that makes you go: _______ would love that! It always makes me smile, shopping, searching out the prize, finding it & realizing - nope this isn't what I want to give him or yes a perfect fit. There is such satisfaction. I also, being the Princess that I am, revel in making my Christmas list each year. I search high & low for the items I want then take pictures or post pictures of them to a booklet or folder. Marcus gets a copy & I get a copy. I am lucky to have someone who really wants me to give him a big list of options - meaning he is guaranteed I will like the gift & also still makes it a surprise as to which one he chooses... so wonder what I will get... :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Pulleys!

We were blessed to have the Pulleys down from St. Louis this past weekend. Tracy, Mike, Isabel & Gibby (the dog) arrived on Thursday night (11-8-07) and in a whirlwind blew through Tuscaloosa. I told Tracy that she needed to come in a few days early or at least hide out an extra day so that they can have a vacay day from their vacations! Whew were they busy! Friday night was dinner at Pepitos with Cheyenne & Aubrey. Poor Marcus had to work late & was unable to attend. Dinner was good, the company was better. It is so good to see Isabel. She has grown so much in the last year. Being able to see this beautiful little girl who was SOOOO tiny & delicate at our wedding and is now a true little toddler bustling around the room getting into mischief is such a blessing. We explored the new Alumni Hall store at Midtown, awesome Bama gear for anyone interested.
By the way, Gibby & Peanut hit it off well. Actually a little too well. Lets just say two boy dogs who are a bit confused as to the intimate details of sexuality. :) To be honest over the weekend, they began good friends & I can tell you that our Peanut really misses his newfound friend.
Saturday was Lacy's wedding in Birmingham - Mike, Tracy & Isabel got all gussied up and headed out for the festivities. Marcus & I hung out at the house (watched a terrible Alabama game) and babysat the dogs. Poor Gibby thought his parents had abandoned him, he missed them so much! You know me & cooking, I had to make a big meal for when everyone got home so of course went to the store & stocked up for some good eat'n! Tracy developed my menu already with a favorite of hers: hashbrown casserole so I was ready for some comfort food. The trio came in a bit tired, but obviously the event was a great deal of fun! I wish Lacy & her new husband all the best!

Sunday morning the trio headed out to do another round of visits - this one much easier - church; the gathering place that so makes it easier to see many people in one swoop! Mike had offered to make lunch - his special Chicken, Broccoli, & Onion pizza - let me tell you it is SOOO good! After lunch we all kind of chilled for a bit, then got dressed to go explore around campus, get some pics & afterwards plans for dinner at the Martins. Dinner was a blast, so good to see Cheyenne, Aubrey & Olivia (she is so precious). We were worn out once we got home, I know Tracy & Mike had to be utterly exhausted! What a trip, though I know that it was so much fun.

It was such a good visit. I so cherish everytime I get to see Tracy, and this one was even more special. I really got to see Tracy the mom (and no Tracy not the "shushing" mom) with Isabel. Her parenting skills are wonderful, she handles things with such grace & with a caring hand. I already knew that Isabel had a great mother, but to see her in action, to watch her with this beautiful little girl & to see that little girl light up at mom & dad, well it is awesome. I hate that they are so far away, but I know that the distance does make us notice these things more, does make us appreciate the whirlwind trips, the 'no soda in the house' moments, the 'shushing', the hugs, the laughter, everything... I cannot wait until the next visit - though it is our turn to head north & play houseguest!

(I have a few photos, there are more that I will put up as soon as I can get them off the camera)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

l'amore fra la madre & le figlie....

There are days when I am just in awe at my blessings. This past Saturday was one of them. (even with Alabama's loss to LSU - so close!) We, of course, had a house full for the weekend. The Watsons & the Stallings were in town for the game. Saturday morning my mother, sister & I were up early and headed to campus to the Bryant Conference Center for Merry Market. (it is a vendor show held yearly by the Junior League) Immediately we found things we liked & the shopping day began. While wandering all these different booths, trying different tasties, oohing & ahhing, gasping at some pricing, while marveling at the inexpense of some luxuries I found a wonderful thing. Here I am with the two women I admire more than any other in the world. Standing here laughing, talking over anything & everything, being with them enjoying each other's company, & realizing how it is too little time we spend together as mother & daughters. Nina's new location to Atlanta has been more wonderful than I hoped. Our age differences for so long was such a thing to over come. Then about 8 years ago it is as if our eyes opened & our hearts reminded us that sisters have bonds that can withstand any gaps if you work at them. Thus the friendship we have today began to build. Mom now has both daughters who are so different yet so much alike within arms reach, at ages where we can all talk & share anything or nothing at all. The ability to do so is sometimes overwhelming. There are points in each others lives that we are all not familiar with; it is as it should be, we should always be able & aware of something new about someone or at least be aware that there are things we don't know, things we are not yet able to understand. The point is that we will be there when we are needed & will lend the ear, shoulder & heart. We are getting to truly know one another. We giggled over odd fitting clothing, were understanding to not really criticism but help towards 'clothing support', loving about issues that can be scary, & more like a group of young girls on a mall run than ever before. Cloistered in a changing room laughing over colors, lengths, choices, & each other I found myself very satisfied & blessed. Quality time is not a term meant only for a husband or immediate child. I find that quality time is a range of moments, each one as important & special as the next, the key is to know that when the moment has passed that our passing memories may not be able to capture every millisecond but they will hold a scent, a sight, or a feeling that defines what love is...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, it is Halloween! I love this time of year, especially the candy! :) Plus who would not love a day where it is completely acceptable at any age to pretend to be someone else or to be your self only even better! I mean we all say we miss the days of pretend, play, naps; well Halloween offers a small touch back to those times. You get to dress up, eat candy, have friends over, & not feel guilty, like there are other things you should be doing. I have always been a big fan of Halloween. This year perhaps will be one of the slower years. Though this past weekend we did indulge in two parties that celebrated the season, but tonight will be fairly quiet. Hopefully we will have some trick or treaters, we plan on watching GHOST WHISPERER (we have been tivo-ing this season to save up to tonight in order to scare the begeezus out of Marcus), & just picking up around the house. Fairly calm this year. This is actually the first year in 7 years that we did not make it to a haunted house. We usually load up and head to Sloss or Atrox, but this year we found ourselves at a few parties & our weekends are slammed. We actually just realized the next open weekend we have is December 16. Crazy, I know. But if you know me well enough you know that being the hostess is something I revel in. So tonight my house will hopefully host a plethera of princesses, super heroes, or athletes who will come to the door & help deplete our candy stash before Marcus & I eat our weight in butterfingers & crunch bars :) Have a Happy All Hallows Eve, Sowen, Day of the Dead, & Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wandering around on a nice afternoon....

Saturday afternoon was one of those great afternoons of fall. The weather was perfect, just enough chill in the air, but warm enough to not have to be bundled up. Marcus & I decided to go out for a nice drive around town. We stopped over at Midtown for Kirkland's grand opening, then wandered into Northport for some chocolate at our new Peterbrooke chocolatier. MMMMMMM it was so yummy! Then we hit a few furniture shops, Marcus wants a new bedside table for his birthday or Christmas. This is a decision we have to make together or at least I do get an opinion :). Furniture stores are so funny. The salespeople meet you at the door like they are waiting for a delivery then they follow you around as though any moment you might turned to them and say: "YES, sell me everything, we are rich, we have cash, & will buy it right now! This very instant!!!" I know they are merely working on commission & trying to make a living, but geez, furniture buying should not be something you rush through. With the cost of an ottoman being 799$ and a side table anywhere from 399$-899$, these are not spur of the moment spending choices; unless of course we could say the statement above. So answer my questions when I have them, let me show you the style I like, then direct me to a choice, and leave us by ourselves for a bit to hash out spending options!! Anyway, we did see a good many styles & designs for me to pick through to surprise Marcus (surprise in the sense he won't know exactly which one he is getting until the event, of course he would KNOW he is getting the side table:) ). After that we found ourselves at Sam's Club buying food for the upcoming weekend against LSU. It was nice, just wandering around town with not a large agenda just being able to relax. We know the holiday season is coming fast & town will be swamped over with people every Saturday so before all the rush, before all the bustle, make sure you get out & enjoy the changing weather; time flies by so quickly once Thanksgiving gets here...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kerry's House

Hey Guys I wrote a blog about our friend Kerry's house in Calera, at the base of this page is a slideshow of his house. There are more pics of it, but this gives you a little glance of all the work he has done.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


OMG! Yesterday the Alabama Crimson Tide met the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant Denny Stadium. This matchup has been going on since 1901 & is wrought with passion. the 2007 game was no exception. The Crimson Tide played with heart, with talent, with skill, & with passion. They stepped on the field ready to win. Boy did they ever win: 41 -17, Rammer Jammer never sounded so good!
Our house was full of screams, shouts, claps, & happy tears! Now this was only me, my mom, my sister & her kids at the house. Marcus, Dad, Keith, Eric & Mindy went to the game. They came back floating into the house cloud 9 does not even describe it! We had a great weekend, then this morning went over to the Kentuck Art Festival and enjoyed some original art.
Let me just tell you, it was all surreal, the whole weekend was... wow. Now we just wait until the 3rd & pray to watch the passion reign over LSU. ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Interesting bit of history....

For the last few weeks the owner's of my company have been touring Europe. On their travels they journeyed to the Czech Republic. John Hickman, knowing my heritage is Czech, took a whole bunch of photos for me. He came back with beautiful landscapes & buildings. But there was one Christian church that really takes the cake. I have attached the story & the pictures to explain them. It is an amazing & freaky building. But the cause & reason for it is more interesting, it will make you think about years before our time, the journey of those with faith, & the ingenuity of the human mind. Enjoy (also with it being Halloween-time, these sort of fit :) )
This Ossuary chapel is located in Kunta Hora. This chapel with its belonging graveyard had become a well-knownand attractive place to get ones relatives buried in a longtime ago. Why you may ask?.. The answer is to be found in the actions of a certain abbot Henry. In theyear of thy lord 1278 the Cistercian abbot Henry embarked on a pilgrimvoyage to the Holy Land (Palestine). This was more or less common practicefor people of the church at the time. What he couldn't have imagined is theeffect a little symbolic deed that he performed would have on the future ofthe little Sedlec church. While in Palestine abbot Henry visited the Golgotha and from there hebrought back to Sedlec a jar full of earth. He referred to this as 'Holy Soil'.When he got back he spread the earth over the Sedlec cemetery and thus thecemetery begun to be considered as a piece of sacred land. The burial groundrapidly became one of the most popular in central Europe and people from allover the country and Europe came to Sedlec to get buried when they felt thestrength of life diminishing. Many brought their dead relatives or friendsto be buried in the holy soil of the Sedlec cemetery believing that the holynessof the ground was a sure way to guarantee the buried a place in heaven.Many corpses and bones were accumulated this way and especially during thetimes of the plague (the black death) many who were about to die from thedisease came themselves to be buried in Sedlec. By 1318 over 30 000 bodieswere buried there and this gave rise to the creation of the ossuary. The ossuary is located in the All Saints' Chapel built around 1400.The chapel is still surrounded by a functioning graveyard and if youtake a careful look at the top of its towers you will see thatthat a "jolly roger", or a skull and crossbones, replace the usual Christiancross. The ossuary itself dates from 1511 when a half-blind monkwas given the task to gather the bones from the abolished graves andputting them in the crypt to make place for new "customers". The taskmay seem somewhat macabre and unenviable but it served a practicalpurpose. Anyhow - now the material was in store and waiting for anidea and someone to realize that idea. A more questionable task than the one of the half-blind monk was the one of the local woodcarver who as late as 1870 was hired to decorate the inside of the Chapel with the human material (an approximate of40 000 sets of human bones) at his disposal. The name of the artist was Frantisek Rindt and the employer was the Duke (Prince?) ofShwartzenberg. The coats of arms of the family Shwartzenberg was one of the creations evolved from the artists mind. Another one isthe chandelier which contains every human bone in the body, severaltimes over, of course. However questionable the Ossuary - it is real. The bones are real.The feeling of death is real. But also the feeling of peace.Most of the dead in the Ossuary died a "natural" i.e. non-violentdeath and the bones were removed from the ground to give moreChristians the possibility to be buried on holy ground.I'd like to stress the fact that the church is not made of bonesas so many seem to think! The interior is decorated with humanbones but it's a "normal" church made of stone and bricks. I'd also like to point out that it's a normal Christian church supporting and teaching the followings of Christ. It's not some weird cult or Satanist church or anything like that.

It is actually an amazing thing. These people came to this place to die believing it to be holy land. The Christian faith teaches you that your body may lay in the ground returning 'to dust' but the soul separates and journeys to its destination. The idea that they removed the bones from the ground in order to fulfill other's needs to be buried on this now holy land is remarkable. Many people would have removed the bones & just disposed of them, cremated or just 'dumped' them out in the country. But to me it appears that by keeping them on this land even when the graves were full by putting them in the church is very respectful. Eerie, but respectful. :) I thought it an interesting bit of history to share...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The everlasting comfort of a kindred spirit...

It just so happened that we were able to visit with a wonderful person on Saturday night. Kerry is one of those people that when you are in his presence you just smile. No matter your mood, it seems he illicits laughter & smiles. I have known Kerry for about 7 years now. Marcus has known him for 27, they were born 7 days apart. It was basically kismet the way their families have lived in the same cities over a course of many years. His parents are two of the kindest people you will ever meet & his father has the same 'smile in his presence' character. My first meeting of Kerry was when I lived in Orlando & worked for Disney. He came to visit with Marcus over Spring Break. I immediately liked him. There was something in the way he & Marcus clicked. A bond that even with different cities, different schools, different lifestyles, friendship & kindred feelings prevailed. He helped me see Marcus differently, he believed in our relationship, never once giving us a hard time for being together so long. Some people continually told us to breakup & date other people; "sow your oats", "experiment" things like that. Kerry didn't. He accepted me with open arms, I am sure he watched how Marcus & I got along before he made any decisions as to my presence. Then time went on, I moved back to Ttown, we visited him for his college graduation, he came to Marcus's. Birthdays, holidays, football games,girlfriends, and then Marcus & I got engaged. The first name on Marcus's tongue for a groomsman was Kerry. I embraced the choice with all my heart. On our wedding night he spoke to me with words so sweet & loving of how he had always known Marcus & I were meant for one another, ever since that first meeting in Orlando, he loved us both and wished us such happiness. Those words still bring tears to my eyes...Now here we are over a year later and he still is one of my favorite people in the world.
He has been working on this house in Calera, AL. It is this old farm style house he was able to get for around $50,000. Now this 50 grand bought about a good many acres and then the house. We saw the house at the first of last year, it was a true fixer upper with so much potential that we were envious of his find. He saw the heart of the house and has worked diligently to restore it & bring it back to life. The rooms are so beautiful now, the floors are gorgeous. Rather than tear it down or completely restructure the whole house he merely made it a home. The white of the outside with its hunter green trim welcomes you with a southern warmth that is a mirror of the way Kerry's smile beckons you to be comfortable. The first room off the big porch is a living room with a cozy fireplace. I was intrigued when I saw the wooden antique mantle with fleur de lis accents, his mother told me he searched and searched for a mantle wanting antique over new & boisterous. He found it. The journey for that piece is so Kerry. He took time, patience, probably saw a dozen styles & designs but waited then found the perfect piece. The warm camelback colored walls lead into a hallway; to your left is the dining room. RICH deep crimson with a craft white style trim beckons you to place a serving buffet full of food & a table to welcome you home. The lighting is definitely his creme de la creme. A chandelier with a rustic finish & wheat running up the chain evokes a sophisticated country atmosphere. The hallway light piece reflects the same accents as the dining room only continuing the warmth of the camelback color. 2 side bedrooms have been re-done with paint & doors, there is a new side entrance that leads out to a wooden deck. Then the hall parts to the left for the kitchen. What a kitchen. The warmth almost envelopes you in this room, he has beautiful custom cabinets with rope trim that allow the tall ceilings to flow upward. A center island is home to the sink and there is enough counter space for about 10 stools, but for me the epicenter of the room is really at the edge of the building. A bay window nook looks out into the back yard & yearns to enjoy breakfast activities on a spring day. It almost makes you vision Kerry and his dog Molly sitting on a Saturday morning at the window just relaxing & enjoying the day. To the left is a large wash room that I definitely envy. :) But where the hall parted to the kitchen it leads you to the guest bath & master suite. Here, Kerry truly made his mark. The crimson of the dining room lends itself to the guest bathroom. A stand alone antique-style sink sits below an elegant mirror. The bath/shower combo is large enough to be quite comfortable and the tile around it again echos the sophisticated rustic tones he was going for. The master bath is a treasure as well. New ceramic tile feels cool to the touch as you enter the bathroom thinking of sinking into a large whirlpool tub. The bedroom is a deep hunter green with a large ceiling fan, big windows and french doors leading to the back yard. He truly has put so much of himself in the house. You can see his excitement in his eyes as he talks about the last finishing touches. His charisma has seeped into the old walls, the newly laid hardwoods floors are like old friends begging to be enjoyed. He found a house, but even before it is complete, he has made it a home. I guess I should not have been surprised at all. Kerry has always been able to see light in everything. No matter what comes his way he will find the lining that is not just silver but glows! I admire him for all he does. I only hope that I can make people so comfortable in my presence or surroundings. It seems that a lot of us have those friends that would have just lost touch, chosen not to stay connected. Marcus & I are so blessed to have one of those special friends, those kindred spirits who time cannot touch the friendship...
*I hope to take some pics on our next tour & place them up here for viewing.

Instant Replay...

If you weren't glued to your television or in Oxford, Mississippi this weekend then I pity you. Alabama played Ole Miss in another heart wrenching, last second, to the wire football game. We always play each other hard, but this weekend took the cake. It was like watching two teams trying to one up one another; mistakes were mimicked, good plays were mimicked... it was crazy. Marcus & I decided it would come down to either who had the ball at the end of the game or who made the last mistake. We were right, too. The last mistake a receiver stepping out of bounds coming back in and becoming ineligible... a costly error for Ole Miss. The receiver had managed to pull the ball out of ALabama's player Lionel Mitchell's hands on about the Al 5 yard line. Thank goodness for Instant Replay. I have always been a bit wishy washy on the constant time outs & play reviews but this time it was a saving grace. At home it was easy to see the error, but as a line judge on the field, wow would it have been hard to call that one. 7 seconds on the clock with an AL 27 Miss 24 score an ending was decided by Instant Replay. What a game! What an entertaining way to spend a Saturday. Even if it had not turned it around, the game was so exciting, so heart stopping that it would have been looked at as a hard earned loss had it went the other way. Never leave early when Alabama takes the field....ROLL TIDE!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mounds of fun...

Well this past Friday I was off from work. They are replacing the carpet in the whole office & the second level (my area) was the first to be replaced. So thank you carpet people you gave me a day off without touching my vacation days!!

So what to do on a day off??? hmmmm??? what to do? Oh! I know, lets go on a field trip with 3000 5th graders!!!! lol. Actually it was 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders. My nephews happened to have a field trip to the Moundville Archaeological park on Friday. They asked if I could go with them. Well, of course. It has been a few years since I have attended the Native American Festival held there, plus I get to be the adult on a field trip! How different this would be. Boy was it, where when you are a kid, you stay with the group at all times, don't touch, blah blah blah, being the adult I got to wander to parts that interested me most & was allowed to touch some things. While the inquisitive kid in me loved seeing the Living History & stage re-enactments. It really was a good day, plus I got to see 2 of my favorite children: Coy & Colton. They are growing up SO fast it is crazy... I remember our class trip to Moundville 4th Grade, even minute details of what people wore & things we did. Those were the days...

Mom came up with the boys & spent the night. After the field trip me & her wandered around town, had dinner with Marcus & just had a great day. Dad came up on Saturday & we all (with Rob too) watch the game & cooked out. It was a really nice day. (I will post pics of our group from the field trip)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Two Glasses of Wine..

I would love to claim this story as my own,but it is not. Many of you have probably received it in email form or heard it. I received it again this morning & thought that maybe we all don't receive & read it enough. I tend to really bog down on some of the small things sometimes and I have to work on that. Life has blessed me with so many of the 'golfballs' in the story, but I am thankful for every element that fills my jar. .. :)

TWO GLASSES OF WINE...When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full." The pebbles are the other things that matter; like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you." "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Big Screen

Sunday was an amazing day; granted it was the day after a miserable loss to Florida State, we found a way to really brighten up the weekend.
Around 11:30 a.m. we headed up to Hoover. DSW was our first stop & I successfully found 3 pair of fall shoes (2 on clearance) that I just love! We then scooted across to our favorite guilty pleasure: World Market. We cannot go into that store without hitting the food aisles, home aisles, pet aisles... EVERY AISLE!!! :) I found these beautiful crystal & iron stars to hang in our bedroom window, a toy for Peanut, & then we hit the imported food aisle. Marcus loves the candy aisle. It is so much fun to see the candy bars made by Nestle or Hershey marketed for their European Customers. We tried an Aero bar (UK) it is a big Mint candy bar with these little bubble holes all the way through. Really good if you like mint & chocolate. Of course I hit the Italian sodas up :), then over to the cookies, baking, & pastas. I LOVE this store! After that we grabbed two cold pure cane sugar sodas for the ride and headed to downtown Birmingham.

We had purchased earlier in the week tickets to see Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix in IMAX at the McWane Science Center. Let me tell you, both of us have seen a few educational flicks on IMAX or done the 360 rides at Disney, but a true full length film on IMAX... WOW! It was so awesome. We saw the traditional version on opening night, so it was a bit easier to follow (plus we have of course read the books). The screen really made you feel like a fly on the wall, like you were right there in every scene, being spoken to or flying with, or discovering with. I have to say that I would love to see the whole series on IMAX. The room though, was FREEZING; thankfully I wore a cardigan.
After the movie we explored the McWane Center. If you have never done this, you should plan a trip as soon as possible. With or without kids :) We had a ball. The brain activity challenge was the funniest: you put a canvas headband with 3 small metal pieces on your forehead. Sit across from one another & in the middle of you both is a ball and two circular 'endzones' on each end of a space about 6" x 42" the object is to relax your brain enough to push the ball into the opposite endzone. The brain waves & electrodes move the ball. Marcus could not relax for the life of him at first, I could almost make the ball fly into his circle (obviously I have no problem just chilling out), after reading a tip that mathematical equations (simple ones) done in the mind can relaz you Marcus finally scored. We thought it a riot that he had to do math in his head to relax, boy are we different! :) There is so much to explore at that place, we even did not make it through the entire center! You should really check it out.

Beyond that I have had a terrible case of Laryngitis for the past 4 days. Mostly only speaking in whisper form :) Makes for interesting conversations, though I must say not talking has been great, just being able to listen or flake out when I need to without speaking is quite relaxing in itself :) Marcus just woke up yesterday with a terrible cold, so weird since it is only October & we have little sicknesses already, hopefully this will take the place of something later... maybe... we hope. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The dash....

Sadly I spent Monday at a funeral. Marcus' first cousin Derek passed away on Friday, September 21, 2007. He was 28, we think it was a stroke (he had been having some high blood pressure issues). The funeral of course was terribly sad, any funeral is, but when you see someone who is so close to your age lying there peacefully it slaps you in the face. The preacher who spoke at the chapel discussed one of the most interesting concepts: our dash. We all have been to a cemetary, all of us have seen a headstone bearing names of people we know or wish we could have known. There are always those headstones with years that seem so long ago, we feel sorrow at those that were born & died on the same day, those that seemed so young, and we feel surprise at those that lived so long. We focus on the two dates: birth & death. Seeing only the number that the years create. But that dash there between the dates truly is the life that person lived. The dash represents all the heartaches, happiness, anger, love that was shared or lost within the years. The preacher spoke of how we all need to think about how we are living our 'dash', whether or not we would feel fulfilled if today were our last day or now our last moments. There is no perfect way to live our dash, we are all human therefore we are all imperfect. For me that imperfection is part of what makes our 'dash' so spectacular. Mistakes are made every day by me & I am better for each of them when I go to bed. I may not yet know they were made or their depth, but a choice made changed something in my life. Those changes are worth waking up for, working for, & believing in. Consequences are not always negative, seeing the silver lining & not being able to access it teaches us endurance & faith. For even when out of reach, knowing that there is something to reach for creates faith. A life without faith can become empty quickly. We all have some sort of faith perhaps not always the spiritual kind, but a form of faith. We place faith in friends & family to be there when we have troubled times. We place faith in ourselves to continue to get up & do something every day. It pushes us when we are down & lifts us up even higher when we are happy. My dash is full of faith, hope, love, impatience, anger, dislike, romance, sorrow, every word to describe and emotion or action is here in my 'dash'. Already I have experienced so much, I do so hope that there are many years to experience so much more, but if time slipped away I do know that I have loved, I have been heartbroken, I have been loved, I have endured, I have grown, I have impacted, I have been affected, I have lived. I thank God for faith; for us being imperfect, for allowing us to see our mistakes, to have the opportunity to make a mark in this world, God granted me life & I hope that I am living it worthy of his presence, so that he will smile when he looks upon my 'dash' some day...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SS Designs...

Last night I hosted a 'trunk show' for a coworker, Sheila Skelton (hence the SS). She has developed this amazing hobby making jewelry. She uses Dichroic glass to create unique shapes & colorings that are one of a kind pieces. The kiln her husband bought & built in their work shop is used to fire these pieces at 1400 degrees for 12 hours; she then allows them to cool & adds the 'bell' for either earring creation or pendant. She also makes a cheese & cracker display out of a glass bottle that she melts down. It is so cool & such a neat display for company.

Of course, being a girl who lives to create "pretty parties" I jumped at the chance to set up a spread of finger foods & punch. I had about 12 people come in & out for the evening & Sheila did a great job with sales. I want to get the word out & showcase some of her pieces so this entry is doing just that! If any of you see any pieces that you like or even just colors, she can custom make a piece. Do note that it is impossible to recreate an exact of something you see (in case it sells before you get to it) but she can try her best. In my opinion doesn't every girl want that unique piece made only for her anyway?? I sure do.
Anyway, peruse my pics from last night & if you want a piece let me know. I can place your order or put you into direct contact with this wonderful artisan!

$25.00 for the 'Bottle' cheese & cracker set
$15.00 for earrings
$20.00 for pendants
*She MAY do a special on a set of earrings & pendant combination*

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What a weekend...

Unless your head has been under a rock, most people are aware of Alabama's 8 second victory over Arkansas on Saturday night. That game was AMAZING!!!! Decisions that we as armchair quarterbacks & coaches questioned were not immediately seen as genius: 4th down, he chose the field goal over a touchdown in last moment situation??? Well when I learned Sunday morning via the Tuscaloosa News that Saban actually asked his defense - Can you hold them? they responded yes; he asked Leigh Tiffin - Can you make this field goal? he responded yes; Saban trusted & the boys provided. What a concept! Not only have you given your players confidence by trusting, but you have given them a feeling of true contribution! No matter the outcome, they would have respected him for that opportunity to attempt to prove they have the talent & confidence to deliver.
We ended up with more than a house full. Saturday morning we ended up with extra tickets (my parents already had tickets to the game - Marcus was going to with my dad, me & mom were going to shop & watch the game at home), so we called my sister Nina in Atlanta. Her husband was in New York on business but her oldest son was ecstatic to be going to his first game (he went at like 2, but this one really counts:) )So the 5 of them trucked over to Ttown & boom we had a house full of family! It was a blast. Mom happened to hurt her back at the end of the week so we had her propped up & comfy on the couch, me & the kids made cupcakes, cooked supper, & watched an amazing game. It truly was a wonderful weekend & really made me realize how wonderful it is that Nina can pop in whenever, that she is now close enough to really get to share in all our lives. It is definitely a blessing & joy!


Friday, September 14, 2007

The weekend..

Wow, it is Friday again. As much as I dread Mondays, it seems they pass by rather quickly. Friday is already here, eagerly asking me what are we doing this weekend? Funny how we all plan & plan & plan for weekends. Even when we claim we are doing nothing, that statement in itself is a plan or agenda to do nothing. At our house it is rare we ever do nothing or even have a lazy day during the weekend. What constitutes lazy to us is probably pretty active to some & almost stagnant to others. This particular weekend welcomes another Alabama football matchup & some visitors. It seems we are forever hosting family or friends & honestly I LOVE IT! As much as just vegging out can be fun, I have found that the social butterfly within me, begs to flit around on the weekends. I love to cook & clean & prepare not only the house but myself to sit a spell & visit with someone. Every Saturday in the fall when we stay in Ttown for the games, I cook an elaborate showcase for lunch & dinner. Tailgating at our house is an event to behold. (Rob & Marcus have grown quite accustomed to having good food so when I went to Atlanta opening football weekend, they weren't thrilled. I did make some things in advance, but mostly they were on their own. :) ) The fall season hosts a bevy of busy weekends thanks to the Crimson Tide. Tonight I will be cleaning up around the house, planning my menus. Just enjoying being at home, being busy, & being thankful that I have such great friends & family to enjoy seeing over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ballet & Tap

Well, I just got an email from my best friend (Stacie Edhegard).... it seems her oldest little girl, Anna Claire, just started her tap/ballet classes. Let me tell you, my nieces have done these classes, two have continued while the other lost interest. There is nothing like the pictures of these little girls twirling around in utter happiness, feeling like a true princess, & taking delight in entertaining anyone who will watch, smile, & clap at their achievement. Anna Claire is no exception as this is evident in her cherub face! I just had to post these!