Courtney S. Barr

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

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!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Okay here are some pics!

My new ride from the side!

From the front -

My entertainment/amenity area.

(the cord hanging goes to my iPod, thank goodness for Auxillary jacks!!)

I love all the chrome accents!!

20 seconds of time...

Okay, this is about something that happened fairly recently to Marcus & myself. We were going to the theater here in Tuscaloosa to watch a movie on opening night. We had to meet there after work rather than ride all the way out of town then turn around and come back again. Let me set the stage for you: Parking lot of Cobb Theater in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. BACK rown of lot, curb/grass area is on the right; car is in the next to last parking space quite crooked. Marcus maneuvers his Avalanche (large truck) into the parking place, but due to the person beside him he is a little crooked, even with his back wheel slightly up on the curb. He quickly exits the vehicle & meets me inside. (I had gotten there before him & was able to park fairly close to the door). We enjoyed the movie immensely & head to our respective vehicles. I pulled up alongside Marcus to discuss dinner and found him laughing out loud. He hands me a small slip of notebook paper that read as follows:

Dear Mr. or Miss Douchebag^
We the people of the movie-watching population of Tuscaloosa greatly appreciate that you feel you are important enough not to have to take an extra 20 seconds out of your life to repark your gas-guzzling vehicle in a manner in which other people can park beside you.
Thanks. No, really.

I read & re-read the hand written note. Not only did my eyes shake at the run-on sentence, but I laughed at the concept of time mentioned in the body of the message. Sure enough I have been aggrivated by a parking place not so neatly filled by a vehicle before, but when you saw his truck you could easily tell he was not number one to have parked there causing the crooked domino effect. This person took 20 extra seconds to make a point to someone because they 'assumed' due to the truck size that they were the culprit. This concept lead my mind to how many of us assume that due to outside appearances or choices in purchases that we all mean to act more important & are meaning to damage the environment or the lifestyle of those around us. How silly for this person to do this rather than head on into the theater to relax or home to visit friends & family. They created their own stress yet tried to hand it over to an innocent bystander. How often are we all guilty of this? We create stress for ourselves so often then are upset when it occurs. We are fickle beings who sometimes detest drama while other times thrive within it. Every one of us can be found guilty of this, some just to more extremes than others. Look at me right now, taking time out of my day to blog about someone else & their complaints.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Vehicle

Well I bought a new vehicle this past weekend. Yep a brand new Jeep Commander. I had a Maxima for the last 2 years, but found that me, Moxie (the maxima) and curbs don't see eye to eye. That poor front bumper was just too low for a country driver like myself :) So I missed my SUV & have been looking for something new all summer. We sold the Maxima for more than what we owed so I had the freedom to really look for something fun. I stumbled upon this Commander & pretty much stole it from the salesman. We haggled for a bit on price,but in the end, the southern belle won out! It is so comfortable & one of the smoothest rides I have ever ridden! I love it!!! Lots of room, but not too much to be imposing. It is built like a hybrid of the Hummer/LandRover/traditional Cherokee. Marcus likes it a lot & is just happy that I am now happy :) I will post some pics. :) (no children to show off, so I have to show off my dog, my husband or my car :):):):):) )

Monday, September 3, 2007

Found: Lost Part of Me...

Funny how I began the summer with wonderings of where parts of me had disappeared to, when dreams had been left to dissolve, and how to revive parts of my life. Deep stuff for a 26 year old female, but 26 is really not that young nor that old; so contemplation of this has been a growth. I end the summer no longer empty, wondering about that girl. My sanctuary has always been with me, been a part of me, only I tended to push it aside. This past weekend I went to Atlanta to my sister's new home. A beautiul sprawling house, that will already has begun to have that 'home warmth'. Her daughters wanted some murals on their walls. Something girly, princess themed, fantastical that they can look at and dream. A wall that is the beginning of their own inner sanctuaries. How excited I was to go. More than I probably allowed myself to express. Not only is my wonderful sister only 3 hours away now, but I also was getting to be creative again, to create something that will touch someone else with my own hands & mind. Not to mention kids are great to work for, they are enthralled with almost everything you do, things they are so impressed with others might shrug their shoulders at, so praise was plentiful. The girls had picked out a castle (kind of my little pony meets cinderella castle) & a horse with carriage among any backdrop.

Around 7 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, I begin to sketch. It feels overwhelmingly good to just draw on such a large blank canvas. I get into a groove with my iPod blaring Colbie Caillat & Louis Armstrong and within an hour it is drawn to my liking. I stood back & smiled. Pure contentment with what I have created as a first layer. A drawing around 5.5 feet by 6 feet was high on the wall (my sister is putting these shelving cubbies below it so I did it from mid wall up) Now if any of you know me, you may not know that painting is something I have never been in love with. I LOVE to sketch & ink, but painting... well it is my trial. Though I love to work through the trial, it can be very aggrivating in that I criticize myself so hard. I knew that getting this done, really completed in 24 hours was insane, but possible. I also knew that not allowing myself more time meant more acceptance of some things just as is on my part. I could not spend 6 hours on background & layering, my main focal areas needed to be completed.

By noon I was beginning to paint. Lunch was nicely brought upstairs & by 5 p.m. my feet felt like I had walked a marathon on top of sharp rocks. We decided to at least run out for dinner (Mexican) so I could get out of the house, plus the kitchen is still being unpacked. So out we went for about 1.5 hours. by 7:45 p.m I was back to painting. Around 1 a.m. I stopped went to the basement with Nina & watched HGTV until 3 a.m. Then Nina went to bed & I painted until 5 a.m. Slept until 8:30 a.m. & was back up & painting until 12:45 p.m. on Sunday. Then I was finished. Throughout all of this, Nina very graciously learned how to paint trees, waterfalls, & rainbows. This learning experience for her, was so helpful to me. Had she not been there to help with some of the background, I would never have been able to finish. Not only that, I enjoyed her company quite a bit. This whole mess of time, lack of sleep, creative accomplishment hit me like a ton of bricks. THIS is what I miss. THIS is what I used to feel such pride in. THIS is the gift I was given, why have I sat it aside as though it were a nuisance? Not any more.

So I found her. That girl who loves to draw, paint, write, to create & see expressions, to believe that the pencil will translate what the mind has envisioned. She is here, she is back, & for the first time in a long time, she is the priority. Thank you Nina. You gave me a gift, you opened a door, & I actually took the step. Now I just need to get into the foyer and continue through this house of myself that I am rediscovering. It is like an antebellum home that has been boarded up & just needs a little time, effort, TLC, and to be believed in, to see its potential.

Here are the pics...