An Epic Win

The university I graduated from puts on a yearly show called “Spring Sing” where different fraternities and sororities (called “social clubs” at our school) put together a 7 minute song & dance routine to tell a story. I was part of it two years while at Harding and it was super fun. I enjoy going back and seeing it every year. This year had, by far, the most epic performance I’ve ever seen (except naturally the two I was in previously, haha!). The Knights social club at Harding is known for many things and one of those things is that for the last 14 years, Knights has boycotted Spring Sing. Until this year. And they suddenly made Spring Sing epic. I mean, really… just watch this (skip the first 50 seconds – that’s just the intro by the hosts):

Did you watch it? Because really… you should. There’s a nod to Les Mis, the Beatles, Titanic, and Wrecking Ball, haha! Oh, and by the way, my cousin Max is one of the huge stars of this show. He played several parts including being one of the Beatles!

max and friendsMy cousin, Max, is the super tall one. After their performance I told him that while I’m always proud to be related to him, I am EVEN more proud now! {photo taken from Max’s Facebook}

Oh, and by the way, I’m not the only one who thought they were amazing. They won every single prize. 1st place in all the categories. I’ve heard a rumor that this has happened once before in all the years of Spring Sing history, but still – amazing! It was incredible. The whole crowd was giving them a standing ovation! It really was epic. :)

knights winThey won! Max is in the front row behind the giant check they won (it goes to the charity of their choice). {Photo by Jeff Montgomery}

Also, while I was on campus I had a chance to sit down for coffee with one of my sweet girls. It was so great to catch up with her and hear how college has been! :)

rach and carleeMe and Carlee after our coffee date

I love walking around my alma mater and seeing all the changes. I have some awesome memories of my time at Harding and I love being on campus. And it was pretty epic to see my cousin’s club win everything at Spring Sing! :)

Love Rach

Easter Sunday

We spent Easter with my parents-in-law and my grandparents. They live in the same town and have become friends over the years. :)

easter basketNo matter how old we get, my mother-in-law always has Easter baskets for us. And you better believe she knows me well. Chick Fil A and Starbucks! WIN! :)

easter giftsSince my mother-in-law is always telling us not to buy candy for her, I decided to go a little non traditional by giving both her and my father-in-law framed photos of their sons & daughters-in-law. I did sneak some super healthy dark chocolate squares into her Easter basket just so there’d be a small treat. Okay, and we got her hot chocolate. But that’s it! Haha! Not a ton of sweets. :)

marty and rachSpeaking of my mother-in-law… here she is! I am so grateful for this lady and the way she has blessed my life.

familyThe four of us together just after church

rach with nana and pepawAaand this is me with my grandparents (my dad’s parents). I am so thankful for all the ways they have loved and supported me from long before I can even remember. And I’m thankful that they have become such good friends with my parents-in-law. :)

rach and topherChristopher and I on Easter Sunday. Isn’t he dapper? It’s hard to see in these pictures, but his shirt is coral and his jacket is navy. So handsome that guy. :)

As we sat down to eat our Easter feast I looked to my left at my grandparents and across the table to my in-laws and it just hit me how blessed Christopher and I are to have been born into these families. We are loved and supported. And not just by the people sitting around that table, but just by our families in general. And I am so thankful. Easter is the day we celebrate the fact that the tomb was empty. Jesus is alive. And I’m thankful to be surrounded by family who stand strong in their faith even through the difficult times in life. Because in the end, Jesus wins. And that’s the Gospel truth. :)

Love Rach

Central BBQ

We have some incredible BBQ in the city of Memphis. And I can’t tell you how many locals I know love Central. So much so that I’ve always felt like I’m supposed to like it if I’m really a Memphian. But here’s the thing… it’s good and all, but it’s not Corky’s. Or Showboat. Or Three Little Pigs. When most all the BBQ in your city is good, you end up having to choose between many good options. And for me, Central just isn’t the top of my list. But again, it’s a huge favorite with many of my friends.

central bbqWe went to the downtown location this past weekend. It’s across from the Lorraine Motel which is where Dr. Martin Luther King, JR was assassinated almost exactly 46 years ago (April 4, 1968). Today it is the National Civil Rights Museum. You can see the hotel sign on the right side of this photo.

chips central bbqThey have these homemade chips that Christopher really liked, but I definitely did not. They taste almost burnt to me, but Christopher loves all things crispy and smokey. So again, you can see how so many things come down to personal preference.

central bbqPulled pork sandwiches. The pork was a little dry (something I’ve noticed several times when I’ve been to Central) and their sauce just isn’t my favorite. Again, this doesn’t mean that it’s “bad”… it’s just that we have other BBQ places here in Memphis that I think are better.

central bbq sidesTheir coleslaw and beans were both pretty non descript. Tasty, but not overwhelmingly great. Again, not overwhelmingly bad either, haha!

central cupBut as a fun bonus, you get a cup to bring home with you :)

So the moral of this story… Central BBQ is good. But in my personal opinion, Memphis has even better BBQ to offer. :)

Central BBQ on Urbanspoon

Also, I just got my hands on the group photo from our Choose 901 event this past weekend.

group shot choose 901Can you spot me? If you look at the Washington Monument look-a-like in the background, Courtney is just to the left of it and I am beside her (in my aviators naturally).  {photo credit: George W.}

Love Rach

 

A Good Friend

Last week I shared a little about how grateful I am for my sweet friend Lyndal. And I wanted to clarify something. I love all my friends. Yeah, I have some friends who would be embarrassed if they had been with me that night. But that doesn’t make them bad friends who don’t “get me.” It means that they don’t like attention drawn toward them from people they don’t know. They are the more quiet and unassuming of my friends. And I try to be respectful of their desire to not have an entire restaurant staring at our table. ;)

So why be friends with people who I “can’t be myself” with? Well, I am myself with them. There is more to me than a girl who wants to let loose and dance in public. These more shy friends don’t bat an eyelash when I’m dancing around in private (because at this point, they are used to my flavor of weird, haha!). It really is only when we’re out in the big World together with strangers around. So to me a good friend isn’t just someone who I can be crazy with in public (though that certainly is an amazing perk of being friends with Lyndal).

To me a good friend is someone who loves me.
Who respects me.
Who listens to me.
Who offers counsel.
Who helps me pursue my dreams.
Who shares similar passions.
Who prays for me.
Who prays with me.
Who shares life with me.

And I have been blessed with many many of these women.

sistersLike my sisters. Who are stuck with me forever no matter what. :D

the girlsLike my best friends from college (us last year).

with CaseyLike my sweet Casey. Who I actually met via blogging. And she symbolizes so many of you ladies who I love, but haven’t had a chance to meet yet!  So many of you fit the criteria for “good friend” up there and I am thankful for you!

bestiesAnd like the amazing group of women I have been blessed to live life with here in Memphis.

So yeah, Lyndal is awesome. And she fits this criteria of a good friend. But I just wanted to be sure that I clarified how blessed I am to have friends of all different personalities. And how that’s awesome. :)

Love Rach

Passover

As you guys know, Christopher and I are Christians. Neither of us are Jewish by religion or race, but Christianity came out of Judaism. And in honor of that, we try to remember the long-ago deep roots of our faith. So every year we celebrate Passover.

tableThe Passover table

Passover is a time to pass on the story. Not only how God brought Israel out of Egypt, but also how Jesus came to be our perfect sacrifice. And a wonderful opportunity to pass the story on to our children. So many things are different about the night that we celebrate Passover that children always ask questions like: “why do we sit on the floor tonight?”, “why do we have to eat the bitter herbs?”, “why does everyone wear white?” etc. These questions give us ample opportunity to pass on the stories and traditions.

plateMatzah, horseradish sauce, parsley (to dip in salt water as bitter herbs), and charoset (apple and honey mixture).  This is the plate we begin with. Each part of it symbolizes part of the story we read (both from the Exodus from Egypt and of Jesus’ death & resurrection).

foodAnd then after the first two hours of story telling, it is time to FEAST! We always eat lamb, but the rest of the meal is based on what everyone decides to bring.

roasted garlic mashed potatoesI made creamy garlic mashed potatoes. You guys… these are unreasonably delicious. And I’m not the only that thinks so. I had several people rave about them to me so I think it’s a definite winner!

creamy garlic mashed potatoes{Click recipe card to see larger. Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.com}

passoverChatting during the meal part of the Passover

I am thankful for Jesus.
I am thankful that He came.
I am thankful that He took on my sin and died for me.
And I am thankful that He rose again!
Easter is coming, my friends! Resurrection Sunday! :)

Love Rach

Choose 901

There is an organization here in Memphis called Choose 901. Their mission is to help you fall in love with the city of Memphis. (901 is our area code). As you guys know, Christopher and I volunteer with a group of teens and this past weekend Choose 901 hosted our JR highers. And as you also know, we love Memphis. So we were pretty pumped about the weekend!

memphis jonesFriday night our weekend kicked off with a performance/history lesson by Memphis Jones. You guys, I could’ve listened to him talk all night. He knows so much about music history and Memphis history and how those two intertwine so perfectly. He is passionate about his love for Memphis and just listening to him talk made me fall even more in love with Memphis. It’s amazing how much Memphis has influenced music world-wide (and not just because of Elvis)!

 And to give you guys an idea of what he sounded like… here he is singing “Burning Love” by Elvis. At 29 seconds when he looks over at where I’m filming and you see him chuckle as he’s singing… that’s because he caught a glimpse of Lyndal and I sitting side by side singing and dancing back to him. ;)

The next morning we split up into teams and went around Memphis taking photos of places that make us love our city. Christopher and I got paired with three 6th grade boys and let me tell you, spending the day with them was oh-so-different than being with 11th & 12th grade girls (the age of the girls I mentor). But it was a lot of fun! The boys were sweet and thought that we were SO cool. This is why I love 6th & 7th grade kids. They think we’re the bomb dot com. ;)

christopher jack grady graysonGrady, Christopher, Grayson, and Jack standing on the ledge in Downtown Memphis (don’t worry, this particular ledge was only 5 feet off the ground – we were on top of a parking garage, haha!).

 And as a bonus for you… here are the boys (and Christopher) singing and dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell. Everywhere we drove we had the music blasting and lots of car dancing. I loved that these kids were having so much fun! :)

mississippi queen bwNext we went on a prayer walk around downtown Memphis. I snagged this picture of the Queen of the Mississippi Riverboat as we walked by. Did you know you can take cruises down the Mississippi river? You definitely can. I loved how this one turned out in black and white. It looks like such a classic shot with the bridge in the background and everything.

me avery audrey courtneyAnd then it was lunch time! We went to Central BBQ (which I will blog about later this week). This shot was taken just outside the restaurant. Audrey, Avery, and Courtney are some of my favorite 8th graders. They are SO sweet. And they also still think I’m cool. ;)

rick trotterAfter lunch Rick Trotter aka The Voice of the Grizzlies (our NBA team here in Memphis) spoke to us about his love for this city. And naturally we asked that he use his announcer voice at least once which resulted in:

Okay so that was as poorly mashed up video of two separate moments, but I wanted you guys to hear him AND see our kids cheering, haha! But anyway, Rick was pretty cool.

rachtopher choose901True story: I love living life in Memphis with this man. We choose 901. :)

Love Rach

BBQ Chicken Salad

I like salad. But if it is going to be my whole meal, it needs to have a lot to it. Lots of flavors and goodness. So when I saw this BBQ Chicken Salad from Iowa Girl Eats, I knew I needed to try it out! She grilled her chicken and corn and you better believe I will be breaking out the grill later this summer and making this recipe over and over again. But here’s the indoor-stove-top version of this recipe. :)

bbq chicken salad

BBQ chicken salad{Click recipe card to see larger. Original recipe here.}

I forgot to add “red onion” to the ingredient list. This is because I don’t like raw red onions. That photo up there is of Christopher’s salad, not mine. I thought that I might like it. So I tried a bite of one. Apparently I definitely still do not like raw onion. ;) But if you do like it, be sure to add it! Christopher loved the raw onion on his!

Happy Friday, friends!
Love Rach