Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Open Letter to Lisa

Dear Lisa,

I remember first knowing you at the University of Alabama.  You were roommates with one of my pledge sisters, Terrie Foreman.  Although you were in a different sorority, I would NEVER hold that against you  ;P   You and Terrie are proof that ladies majoring in Elementary Education aren't out for "Mrs." degrees because you both became outstanding teachers.  Lisa, I have learned so much from your knowledge and wisdom.

We both dated young men from a particular fraternity.  I married mine, and yours was a complete idiot when he broke-up with you.  But his loss became your husband Mike's gain.  Shanley Belle recognized at a young age how Mike has always doted on you.  He adores you!  Shanley has always said that she wants a husband one day just like Mr. Mike!  She has set the bar high.  She is also a wise woman like you!

It was an honor to serve under you when you were PTA President.  Our organization thrived, and under your leadership we were awarded an unprecedented number of awards and grants.  Thinking about staying up writing grants late into the night with you and Ainslie when we were so tired we were getting "punchy" makes me smile and giggle, even now.

Your service did not end with our children's elementary school.  Your advocacy has helped so many children in our school district and beyond. You have been the most amazing resource for children with special needs as well as gifted children.

You courageously fought breast cancer twice.  What a brave pink warrior you are!  You have also been an angel to three friends of mine who've fought the hideous disease, and I'm sure there have been many others.

What I admire the most about you is that you are an encourager.  I want to thank you for all the times you've encouraged me to be a better mother, advocate, and friend.

Your sons are both beautiful and kind young men.  What a legacy! Sometimes the world pushes us to focus on things that really don't matter, but you got it right. You built a legacy of love for your boys.

Last year we celebrated our birthdays together on May 3rd at The Club with Barbara Calhoun and Melinda Groover.  I always teased you about your being 20 days older than I.  It was such a pretty day.  I got sunburned, but it was worth it. What a pleasure it was eating lunch outside overlooking the city. I will always cherish that memory.

Lisa, you will be missed.  I will miss your quick wit, sarcasm, and snarky "crazy-ass" comments.  You have been a "touchstone" friend to me, and it hurts that God called you home.  But it's my hope and wish that you can advocate for children where you are, because like Barbara says, there can't be a better place than heaven for that.

As much as I will miss you, I am thankful that your struggles are over, you will never know pain again, and you are at peace.

Love always,
Ricki Jill

My dear Bloggy Friends:

Please be in prayer for Lisa's sons, Jacob and Zachary, and her husband Mike.  I'm unsure at this time about the funeral arrangements, but just in case I want to go ahead and cancel Literary Friday for this week.  It's ironic, because Lisa was our local book club leader, and she loved to read.

Thanks for being the best Blog Friends in the world, and I'll be back on Sunday or Monday.

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Daughter Is In a Commercial For The SEC Network Featuring Alabama and a Paul "Bear" Bryant Voice Over

Roll Tide Roll!!!

SEC Network "Take It All In"--Alabama

The new SEC Channel kicks-off on August 14, and I love how the McKinney Agency rocked all 14 spots for all 14 schools.  GREAT JOB, guys!  

Our daughter is the young lady outside the Bama Theatre at night with her boyfriend.  Shanley's friend and fellow Alabama School of Fine Arts Graduate Chandler Champion is also in the spot in the dance studio.  Shanley and Chandler were in the same class at ASFA.

All the spots are wonderful, but being an Alabama alumna and seeing my daughter in the spot with Coach Bryant's voice over is priceless.

Here is a link to the article.

Until next time…

Roll tide roll!
Ricki Jill

Happy Earth Day!

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Love the Earth!

Good Morning!  We have a beautiful planet home, and today's a day to celebrate it!  My daughter is having Earth Day festivities at her school and a local park today, and I thought it would be fun to plan and prepare an Earth Day dinner.


Fresh tomato bruschetta on French rounds
Sautéed Spring Vegetables
Key Lime Pie

Many years ago, I saved a recipe card for the Sautéed Spring Vegetables from Martha Stewart Living.  We've enjoyed the recipe over the years, and I tweaked it just a little by adding a vinaigrette.  I think it's smart to eat food while it's in season, and I hope to eat even more locally grown produce this summer and autumn.

Sautéed Spring Vegetables

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces
6 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces
6 ounces asparagus (green and/or white), tough ends trimmed, cut diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces
6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces
6 ounces cherry tomatoes (yellow and/or orange), cut in half (I like the yellow ones best.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn in half

1.   Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and carrots; cook 2 minutes. Add beans, asparagus, and sugar snap peas; cook until tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer vegetables to a large bowl of iced water to cool. Drain again.
2.   Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add blanched vegetables, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Raise heat to medium high; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
3.   Remove from heat, add basil, and toss to combine.

To make the vinaigrette you'll need:

¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice (try a Meyer lemon)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. honey
½ tsp. Dijon mustard

Whisk all the ingredients together and pour over warm vegetables.

I set a simple table, keeping the same napkin rings and placemats from Easter.

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Chargers and napkin rings:  Pier 1
Flatware:  Horchow
Dinner plates and flower pot:  MacKenzie-Childs Taylor Collection
Recycled wine bottle glasses:  Olive & Cocoa
Napkins:  Yves Delorme
Terra cotta votives: Vintage eighties
Marin floral salad plates:  Crate & Barrel (currently on sale for $4.95)

Are you participating in any Earth Day festivities today?

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Monday, April 21, 2014

Musical Monday: Nickel Creek Reunites!

Happy Monday morning!  Are you in the mood for some alternative bluegrass?  I hope so because last Wednesday night, Mr. Art @ Home took me on a date to see Nickel Creek.  We've followed their career since they were very young.  We haven't missed any of their performances in Birmingham, and it was a joy to hear them perform at the historic Alabama Theatre again.

Birmingham was the first stop on their Spring Tour 2014

The band played many of my favorites, and I enjoyed the songs from their new CD A Dotted Line.

I wanted to share my favorite song with you today:  The Lighthouse's Tale

"The Lighthouse's Tale" lyrics

I am a lighthouse, worn by the weather and the waves.
I keep my lamp lit, to warn the sailors on their way.

I'll tell a story, paint you a picture from my past.
I was so happy, but joy in this life seldom lasts.

I had a keeper, he helped me warn the ships at sea.
We had grown closer, 'till his joy meant everything to me.

And he was to marry, a girl who shone with beauty and light.
And they loved each other, and with me watched the sunsets into night.

And the waves crashing around me, the sand slips out to sea.
And the winds that blow remind me, of what has been, and what can never be.

She'd had to leave us, my keeper he prayed for a safe return.
But when the night came, the weather to a raging storm had turned.

He watched her ship fight, but in vain against the wild and terrible wave.
In me so helpless, as dashed against the rock she met her end.


Then on the next day, my keeper found her washed up on the SHORE.
He kissed her cold face, that they'd be together soon he'd swore.

I saw him crying, watched as he buried her in the sand.
And then he climbed my tower, and off of the edge of me he ran.


I am a lighthouse, worn by the weather and the waves.
And though I am empty, I still warn the sailors on their way.

from Jimmy Fallon
How I Wrote That Song: Nickel Creek, "Helena"

"Love of Mine" from the new CD

"Love Of Mine" lyrics

Love of mine when you're born I tell myself that you'll never die.
And I throw my arms around the girl who finds you, 
‘Cause the world is rosier 
through your eyes. 

I don't suppose you caught her name. 
Never mind I'll just name her after you, love of mine.
I'll fashion her into a sweet long legged icon making all praise holier.

Oh, but she gave us to each other.
The only thing she's done for me that you could never do. 
For that she'll always be remembered. 
After she discovers I don't love her half as much as you.

Love of mine when she goes why can't you stay, 
here with me. 

Love of mine when you die I tell myself that you'll never live. 
Even as I curse the girl who says she'll find someone worthier of the gift. 
Someone who wants to share it with her, 
far away from those who take you to have and to hold.
Now I'm stuck here trying to not remember, 
for all these pretty words it wasn't her but love that I adored. 
It's my love I adored. 

Love of mine when you're born I tell myself that you'll never die.

What have you been listening to lately?  Join Miss Angie @ Musical Monday!

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Sunday, April 20, 2014