One of my favorite things to do, and one of my spiritual gifts is hospitality. I absolutely adore inviting people into my home and making them feel comfortable and welcome. Hosting dinner parties is one of my top 10 favorite things to do. There something about preparing an elaborate meal for someone else that fills me with joy to the core of who I am and actually allows me to experience God through service, giving, community, and feasting. Thus, I invite people over ALL the time. Some may find it overwhelming and may feel the need to reciprocate or offer to bring something along, but honestly I would be 100% OK with always being the one who cooks the meal, hosts a movie night, lets people crash at my place, and in general just has an open door of welcome in my house.

This "gift" plus my desire to establish some meaningful friendships with women in Franklin is what started my Girls-Only wine night. At first it was just going to be some tasty bottles of wine plus cheese and crackers each week, but my incessant desire to do more and make people feel really welcome and actually feel blessed when they leave each week took over. And once a month I find myself googling "interesting hor'dourves" or "fancy finger food" to spice up the night. Some of the items I've made in the past include: Mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and onions, Brie en Croute, and Quiche.

Tonight we had another GREAT wine-night and my labor of love popped out some tomato-mozzarella-balsamic bites, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, crusty bread dipped in olive oil, cherries and this...

Be still my heart.

Ok...so I didn't labor over the cheese. Or the cherries for that matter, but that's neither here, nor there.

The point is, this cheese was from a local fromagerie and was out. of. this. world. They pretty much have anything you could ever want when it comes to cheese. I think i might become a cheese snob just because of this store.

I've sent them an e-mail to ask if they had Reblochon cheese, which is the type of cheese they use in Tartiflette that we had in France on Day 4. According to Jo Jo, this cheese is impossible to get in the states. I'm convinced if anyone can get it, these people can. If I can get my hands on some you better believe I will be making tartiflette and blogging about.



"Will you play with me?" Chris half wines/half asks the second we enter the house.

Instantly he turns phone charger cords into lassos, closets into dungeons, pillows into shields, hallways into escape passageways, and blankets into capes.

HELLO Dimples!

He Loves his uncle Josh.
Dancing the night away!

His imagination amazes me. This kind of creativity is further proof of us being made in God's image.  I miss being able to view the world through the wide-eyes of a child where everything becomes a game.

I'm also amazed at how quickly this little boy captured the heart of my family. You see, we are new to this whole "kids-around" thing. Annalee just joined us in November and, well, she's a girl. We are pretty used to girls around here (with 3 sisters, my mom, my niece, my girl dog willow, and my family's girl dog dolly) And she doesn't do much more than sleep, eat, poo, and make cute faces at this point.

When we found out 4-year old Chris was going to be making it for Ewing family christmas I think we successfully purchased every spiderman item Walmart carries plus some hot wheels, gross squishy alligators, and super-hero coloring books. This is like an entirely different dimension for a family used to barbies, tea-parties, and dress up.
Cheesin' for Auntie Em

Whispering cute things to Auntie Bec

Chris helps Grandpapa put together cups for the reception

One of the items's on Chris' Christmas wish list was a mustache. We found a vending machine that had stick-on mustaches in little plastic bubbles for $.50. PERFECT! Except for when he put it on and started to make some funny faces and then tried to take it off. Let's just say it was a little bit of a dark-night-of-the-soul for this little guy's upper lip. We're just hopping he remember the bike we bought him and not the traumatic ripping off of the sticky mustache.

and the pine branch...

Becomes a mustache!

We got some great use out of the stashes on New Year's eve though...

Blending Chris in with our family seemed so simple and just completely right. He heads back to Florida today and till spring break, and then the summer. I can't wait till he comes back! Love you Chris!


I Have a New Brother

This past weekend we welcomed a brother into our family. No, my mother and father didn't give it one final try for that boy they always dreamed of, but my older sister, Cynthia, got married to John-Paul.

Not only did we get to welcome JP into family, but we also add Chris, JP's son, to my ever expanding list of nieces and nephews. yippie!

I already love him so much.

Their wedding had everything all great weddings have, friends, family, food, Holy Spirit, wine, dancing, laughter, a photographer, flowers, cake, some special music, a few tears, a pastor and of course the bride and groom.

Except the extra-special beauty of it all was that it was planned in 4 days. Up you read that right. Invites went out to all family and friends via Facebook on Tuesday 1/11. The couple got hitched on 1/15. It. Can. Be. Done. My friends...not without almost killing the maid of honor, but it can be done.

However, that extra special beauty of fast planning and massive amounts of coordination pales in comparison of the OTHER beauty that this day brought. So much took place at that alter where two pairs of hands grasped each other as they placed rings on fingers, spoke eternal vows, and looked deep into each other eyes. The Holy Spirit came and consecrated their marriage. A new path of peace, redemption, joy, happiness, and love was laid before Cynthia and JP as they said I do. This marriage is bringing them into what will be a gorgeous life together as Mr. and Mrs. *ahem* Dr. Cahill.
I'm so blessed to have such a great relationship with both of them as family, but also some of my closest friends. I can't wait to see what our future holds. Carrying each other's babies. Bustling about on holidays. Drinking wine. Sharing meals. Knitting our hearts and paths together till we are old and gray.

Also, this summer my other two sisters are coming to live in Nashville! It's been FOREVER since we all lived in the same city, and who knows, this may be our last chance. I can't wait to see what's in store!


The Soup of My Childhood

49 of the 50 states have some sort of snow right now. This stat includes Hawaii. Granted, the snow in Hawaii is on top of a volcano, so it barely counts, but that's beside the point. The only state without snow right now is Florida.

What better way to warm up from all this cold weather than with some hot potato soup. Ewing-potato soup that is. This soup recipe is one of the main dishes i remember my mom making as a child. It's so comforting and cozy and filling, easy to save and reheat, and fairly inexpensive to make. Good for big families on a budget or small families that like leftovers (like me and josh!).

The Players:
1 onion

2-3 stalks of celery sliced thin
4 Tbs of butter

8-10 potatoes

3-4 carrots
chicken broth/stock or bouillon cubes and water to cover all
salt / pepper
dill seasoning
Can of evaporated milk

Cheddar Cheese
and try not to gasp too loudly...
1/3 - 1/2 a loaf of Velveeta or other processed cheese product of your choice. Me...I go for generic Publix brand Cheese Blend pasteurized process cheese!

The Game:

Chop the onion.

Thinly chop the celery

Saute in large pot with 1 - 8 Tbs of butter (depends on how fatty you wanna be, but works with any amount)

 Peel and chop the carrots.

 Peel and chop the potatoes to about 1/2 - 1 inch.

Put potatoes and carrots in with sautéed onion, celery, and butter. Barely cover with broth (or water and bouillon cubes (1 cube per cup of water you use). Add parsley.
 Bring a low boil till potatoes are soft enough to poke easily with a fork. (approximately 10 mins or until you realize you've forgotten you were making dinner while surfing facebook and rush back to check it.)

Once potatoes are soft, drop heat to low and add cheese in chunks (1-3 inches). (Velveeta cheese is essential cause of it's awesome melting capabilities....add as much or as little cheddar as you want.)

Grab your potato masher and hold it awkwardly above the soup

Just kidding...mash up some of the bigger potato chunks and pieces of cheese. *Note: Be careful not to burn your hands on the steam from the soup!

Once cheese is melted and when nearly finished add evaporated milk salt, pepper and dill to taste. Don't boil the milk or you will get some nasty curdles and dill does best when not heated for a long time.

Cut up some tasty french bread.
Thanks to Josh for being a hand model!

Chill some delicious white wine.

And Enjoy!

(p.s. i stupidly forgot to take a picture of this delicious soup before was gone so how the end result lookst will be a mystery till you make it!)


Pulling the band-aid off

It's been 12 days since my last post. That's far too long and I have yet to brainstorm a sufficient post to break the awkward silence. The last post was so sure and confident in my 2010 review/2011 resolves, but now I just feel like 2011 is pretty much the same as 2010. Not a heck of a lot has changed except for my tree finally coming down on Jan. 9. Woohoo!

So with a lack of creativity in songwriting and a lack of creativity for what to post on here, this is going to be like pulling a band-aid off...no one really wants to do it, but it has to be done eventually. no matter how long you want to pretend it's best for that wound to be covered hopefully not festering, it's always better to let it get some air, breathe for a bit and change the dressings....there it is. A gross wound/writing analogy is the most creativity i can muster up this snowy Wednesday.

There you have it. Hopefully the next post will be more interesting. I think i'm going to write about potato soup. Yup...potato soup will be more interesting than this post for sure.

p.s. There has some exciting things happening with me and the Lord plus some awesome rumblings and changes happening in my family so perhaps I will share that in the coming weeks.

p.p.s. Also, the much delayed *ahem* anticipated france days 7&8 and  9&10 are on the docket for January. So things are looking up...i guess they can really only go up from here and potato soup so that's not saying much...ANYWAYS...



From the start of this blog in 2008, at the beginning of each year I like to reflect on the previous year and make grandiose resolutions for the forth coming year. So, for the sake of tradition, (and we all know how much i love tradition) and because I can think of nothing better to write at the start of a new year, I will continue on with the ritual. 

The year 2010 seems to be quite a blur in my mind. I feel cheesy saying it, but time really does begin to fly by the older you are. Days and weeks begin to mesh together and years are marked with the small joys and moments that outline the shape of your soul and story. Many surprises took place throughout the year  and I would say at least 1/2 of what ended up framing our year was completely unplanned on Jan. 1, 2010.

  • We welcomed a new brother into the family when Andrea and Michael were married in February. 
  • We took a week vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC with the Ewing clan in June thanks to my Aunt Debby for graciously opening up her home. During this trip we had our first family "circle" ate lots of good food, sunbathed, read several books, visited Aunt Cindy, payed putt-putt golf, learned how NOT to put an umbrella in the sand when it's windy, soaked up the world cup.
  • We discovered my sister Cynthia (my older sister) was pregnant and moving to Nashville to start residency!
  • We welcomed two new house guests, Cynthia and John-Paul, from June - October.
  • I continued to play guitar, but lost momentum during the summer as our small group came to an end. 
  • We harvested wine in Campbellsville, KY and seriously considered moving there.
  • I participated in 3 weddings of dear friends. (Heather, Kristen, and Stephanie).
  • We miraculously made our way to France to visit Nate, Jo, and Ayla before their move to Africa. Lots of wine drinking, food consuming, walking, shopping, biking, train riding and site seeing was had (read about it here, here, and here. More to come later).
  • We joyously celebrated the coming of new life when my niece Annalee Grace was born on November 20th. 
  • We fixed our sink, and then fixed it again, and just found out yesterday we may need to fix it AGAIN!
  • I dramatically and courageously changed jobs from the non-profit sector marketing to country-folk to the for-profit sector marketing to country-folk. Good times.
  • I turned 26 and josh surprised me with a fabulous party filled with friends, wine, pasta, and words of encouragement for the coming year. 
  • We took two long weekend trips with the Michael family. One to Saint Louis where we watched baseball, played at the city museum, and found quite possibly the saddest fire works show ever by way of wandering around a parking lot like the Children of Israel. The other to Cincinnati, where IKEA was our worst enemy and an obscure German beer festival was our best friend.
  • I started the monthly girls-only wine nights which have become an outlet of cooking creativity, friendship, and shared life. 
Whew...i think those were the highlights for me. Looking back on the goals I had for 2010 I can safely say i accomplished two of the five. They were:
  • Finish reading the Bible in a (2) year(s) - Did get further in this process, but still have a ways to go...
  • write one hand written letter a month - did this for about 3 months and lost momentum, however i did receive one of my favorite letters of all time from my lil sis Emily as a result of this initiative. 
  • write one song a month - I wrote 2 songs all year...which equals out to approx. .1666667 per month...not nearly sufficient enough to call even a solid effort, but is more than I can say for my song writing in 2009.
  • write two blogs a month (at minimum) - Blew this out of the water once my momentum started in July.
  • incorporate the words magnificent, outstanding, and glorious into my vocabulary more often.  - I mean....you can't really measure this, but i'm pretty sure i remember saying these words more than usual...so...uh...CHECK!
So moving in to 2011 I really feel like this year is going to be marked with Growth and moving forward for me. I feel like 2010 felt a bit stagnate spiritually, relationally, financially, and even backwards health wise. I think God wants to partner with me to prosper and grow in all of these areas during 2011. In an e-newsletter i read this morning the writer, Dr. Ray Roberts said, "Without question, God prefers health over sickness, prosperity over poverty, community over isolation, and of course, mercy over justice." so I have to believe that God wants to partner with me for to see dreams and goals realized. 
  1. Finish reading the Bible in a (3) year(s).
  2. Write at least 12 songs that are suitable for an album.
  3. Record an album
  4. AAAAAND - stereotypical, but I want to work out at least 3 times a week.
#3 is a bit contingent upon #2, but that's OK. Also, I'm gunna go ahead and tell myself it's OK if these aren't accomplished this year. I don't take my new years resolutions as seriously as some people, but I do think it's smart to at least establish a few goals at the beginning of the year to try and focus on and work towards.

Lastly, another blogger I read likes to pray for a word from the Lord at the beginning of each year, and I think that's a great idea. I'm going to pray over the next few days and see what word the Lord has for me in 2011. More on that later!