Wednesday, September 26, 2007


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Fall is here whether the temperature reflects it or not. How do I know? Because "pumpkin mania" has hit the public. That's right. Each year at this time vendors everywhere pull out their secret fall weapon and consumers (or at least this one) are putty in their hands buying it up left and right. It's kind of like a rite of passage into autumn along with changing leaves, football season, and the State Fair. So here are some of my favorite pumpkin indulgences so far this year:

1. The Pumpkin Spice Latte at your neighborhood Starbucks
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"a delicious blend of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with our signature espresso and freshly steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices."
Ah, that is the essence of fall itself. But I usually go nonfat milk and hold the whip. I figure this way I can have more of them...they're only for a limited time, people.

2. The Einstein Brothers Pumpkin Bagel and Pumpkin Cream Cheese
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Divine. I loved every bite of this one going down. My friend Meredith told me about this Sunday night, and by Monday at lunch I had to try one. So, I figured I would run an errand to Babies R Us, which happens to be right across the street from Einstein's. I just had to stop in since I was so close.

3. Kashi's Pumpkin Spice granola bars
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"Baked with whole flaxseeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, and a magical blend of spices, our Pumpkin Spice Flax granola bars have 4g of Fiber, 6g of Protein and 300mg of Omega-3s."
Perfect for some pumpkin on the go.

4. Pumpkin Pie
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The tried and true classic which got me hooked in the first place. My Aunt Bunny makes the best.

5. Frosted Pumpkin Squares
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I took this recipe to Bible Study today, and it did not disappoint. And even if you accidentally put in 1 whole Teaspoon of baking powder instead of just 1/2, it will still turn out great! Not that I know this from experience or anything...enjoy!

1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 Tbs. butter softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray 9 in. square pan.
Cake: In bowl, medium speed, mix together sugar, eggs for 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin and oil. Low speed: add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and beat for 1 minute. Pour into pan - bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
Icing: mix low speed: powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla 2 minutes or until fluffy. Frost.

The Game of Tag about your Man:

I've been tagged by Lauren.

1. Who is your man? Joshua Rice
2. How long have you been together? married 4.5 years, 9.5 years total
3. How long dated? 5 years
4. How old is your man? 30
5. Who eats more? Josh (unless we're talking about sweets)
6. Who said "I love you" first? He did about 6 months in. I wasn't ready for that yet so I denied him! He then waited to say it until the night he proposed. :)
7. Who is taller? Josh
8. Who sings better? Me although Josh is better at karoake. ;)
9. Who is smarter? I would say Josh...but I have my moments.
10. Whose temper is worse? I guess mine is quicker.
11. Who does the laundry? I do my best to keep up with it, but he helps out sometimes.
12. Who takes out the garbage? Josh
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? If you're looking at the bed, I sleep on the right side. It's been this way since day one.
14. Who pays the bills? Josh does the budget and finances.
15. Who is better with the computer? I think I'm better cause I'm a mac snob.
16. Who mows the lawn? Josh and he does a mighty fine job too. Even won yard of the month.
17. Who cooks dinner? I do...occasionally...with the help of Dinner Station.
18. Who drives when you are together? Josh
19. Who pays when you go out? Whoever has the cash.
20. Who is most stubborn? Well, Josh is better at pushing his agenda. :)
21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? We're both pretty equal on this.
22. Whose parents do you see the most? Mine because they live about five minutes from us. Josh's parents live about 30-45 minutes away so we see them often too. :)
23. Who kissed who first? He kissed me...while sitting on his couch in College Station- sometime in Oct. '98.
24. Who asked who out? He did. He had just turned 21, and I was one month short of 18. Awkward!
25. Who proposed? the whole story here
26. Who is more sensitive? Me
27. Who has more friends? I guess it's about equal. Josh is more of an extrovert though.
28. Who has more siblings? Me...I have a younger sister and brother. Josh has one younger brother.
29. Who wears the pants in the family? Josh...we both like it that way.

Okay, I'm tagging: Andrea B, Lauren W, Tiffani, Kim, Katie, and Kristen T

Sunday, September 23, 2007

the diva within

Paparazzi recently spotted up and coming toddler heart-throb Lily Patterson leaving her home for an afternoon shopping spree with her personal assistant Melissa. At first Miss Patterson was pleased to pose for a few shots, but after paparazzi refused to let up, she was seen grabbing at cameras and finally asking, "What do you people want from me?"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Embracing Accusation

This past weekend our worship pastor Michael Bleecker sang a song in all the services that evoked a myriad of responses. Here is a letter, written by Geoff Ashley, on my friend Kent's blog. Definitely worth reading.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last Sunday morning I woke up at 6am, got a ride to Lovefield, and flew a quick 50 minutes to Austin for a music festival called Austin City Limits (ACL). It was a way cool experience. My college roommate Jen was traveling down from Minnesota to meet up with another college roommate Amy who now lives in Georgetown. Jen called me the week before to see if we could meet up for lunch on Monday on her way into DFW airport. After thinking it through, I decided I could use a little spontaneous fun. I'd fly into Austin on Sunday and then drive back to Dallas with Jen on Monday. That was the plan. Little did I know at that point how much of a stretching experience this would be...allow me to elaborate.

At first I planned on arriving in Austin late Sunday night knowing that Jen and Amy were going to ACL all day. I called Amy to discuss my plans, and she suggested I come in earlier that day so I could experience some of the festival. I figured that would probably make my $100 trip more worthwhile anyway. This was not a big deal since I had yet to book my flight. Now all that was left was to purchase a ticket to ACL. Amy said we could probably find some scalpers at the gate that morning so I shouldn't worry about it. "Great," I thought..."the plan is in motion."

On Saturday, Jen and Amy called me from the festival concerned that there were no scalpers to be found and that the box office was completely sold out. They had heard people were buying/selling tickets on Craig's List and suggested that would be my best bet. Hmmmm...this made me alittle nervous since I had never really done anything like Craig's List or Ebay before. But how hard could it be? I decided I was up for the challenge and set out to discover this new cyberworld once Lily went down for a nap.

I immediately found a ticket for sale - $80 for a Sunday pass. That was the original price of the ticket so at least I knew I wasn't getting ripped off. I emailed the girl who posted the sale and waited. Just a few minutes later, Julie responded with her cell phone number and a location where we could make the switch. Woah. This I didn't know about Craig's List. It is just a place where you can find what you need, but then you go meet the person to get your item. This made me a little nervous since I'm leary of dealing with people I don't know over the internet. Not to mention that I was in Dallas, and she was in Austin. How was this going to work? For whatever reason, I was scared to call her back. I wasn't sure what to say. After some coaching from Josh, I mustered up the courage to call her about 45 minutes later. She seemed nice enough over the phone, but she informed me she'd just sold the ticket to another buyer since she hadn't heard from me. OK. So I've gotta be a little more aggressive.

Round two on Craig's List. I started emailing other sellers who had similarly priced tickets for sale. Most of the people must have been out at the festival cause I only heard back from one guy. We figured out it wouldn't work since I wasn't getting in until 9:45am and he was flying out at 7am. So back to square one. (At this point, I texted some of you hoping you might have connections to a ticket somehow. Sadly, no one did.) Feeling a little discouraged and slightly panicked, I asked the Lord to provide a ticket if I was supposed to go. I figured I'd better keep on truckin' with Craig's List.

At this point, I noticed several people posting that they wanted to buy tickets. So I did the same. Brilliant. Ten minutes later, I had a call from a woman named Sarah. She said she'd sell me the ticket for $75. I said I'd buy it, and we decided to meet at the gate at 11am for the exchange. Whew. I was relieved. Thirty minutes later, I got a call from Zach. He offered to sell his ticket for $50. Ooohh. Not knowing what the "code of ethics" was for Craig's List, I told Zach I'd call him back and immediately consulted my friend Faith. She seemed to think it would be OK if I explained the situation to Sarah. I called Sarah, did just that, and she released me from our previous agreement. Then I phoned Zach and took his offer. While I was talking to Zach, I got a call from Erma explaining she was selling a ticket for $50 BUT also stated we could park at her house and walk to the festival. This was the mother of all deals- no shuttle lines or crowded parking lots. I had to take it. But I was a little nervous about telling Zach this since he was a guy with a low, creepy voice. After all, he had my cell phone number and I didn't want to get on his bad side. So, I lied. (I have already repented and received forgiveness.) I told him my friend had already bought me a ticket and so I wouldn't be needing his. Whew. That was done. I called Erma back and sealed the deal with her. At least she sounded like a "normal" mom with a couple kids. Oh, and somewhere in there I called a guy named Mark by accident, twice, asking for Zach and then Erma. For those that know me I am not a wheeler and dealer of any kind so this was out of my comfort zone for sure. But I guess I feel a little more confident about dealing with strangers over the phone now.

Let me just tell you that I couldn't have landed a better deal. (I know the Lord must have worked it out even in spite of my dishonesty.) We pulled up to a large stone house that sat up on a hill overlooking the park and creek. It was a historical home complete with the Texas seal and name plate by the front door. The tree house in the front yard had its own spiral stair case and was being "remodeled" we later found out. They even let us park in their gate so we wouldn't get a ticket on the street. And we were just a short 15 minute walk from the park down a beautiful winding road: wooded creek on one side, large Austonian houses on the other. I knew this was the beginning of a great day.

Well, it took me long enough to get to it, but the festival was awesome! Thousands of people from all walks of life, were migrating from stage to stage, sweating their guts out, and enjoying good music. I must admit that I didn't know most of the bands on the schedule at first but found some that I really liked by the end of the day. Thankfully, Jen and Amy had already done their homework on itunes so we knew which stages to hit. And what cooler place to have it than Austin. The food vendors were all good restaurants like Stubbs BBQ, Wahoo's Fish Tacos, Roy's, Hoffbrau Steakhouse (to name a few), so it was far tastier than "fair" food. I enjoyed some savory tacos, ice cream, fried zucchini (i figured i had to since it was a "festival"), grilled shrimp, and lots of liquids. My favorite was the Sweet Leaf Half Lemonade/Half Tea. Sooooo good. Jen and Amy, thanks for letting me come and crash the party! I loved getting to hang out with you guys like old times! Here's some pictures from the day. I'd definitely recommend making a weekend out of it in 2008!

me at the entrace of Zilker Park

Jen, me, and Amy

our first concert of the day: Jennifer Nicely

just one of the many men in kilts

the giant shady tree- Jen was convinced this qualified for some sort of sermon illustration

Nicole Atkins and the Sea

The National

Cara Grainger

Amos Lee - my favorite

Donna and me at Amos Lee- can't believe I ran into her amidst all those people!

the crowds

The Decemberists

Bob Dylan from really far away

the bike racks at 11am

the bike racks at 9pm
(we also heard DeVotchka, Wilco, and Robert Earl Keen)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


(Please sing the following words to the tune of "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie".)

My hubby comes home
If the Lord is willing then tomorrow
He'll be home

My hubby gets back
It'll be awhile before I'll let him
Be alone

When he left last Monday
I cried, my heart ached
Now I'm thrilled just to think
That he'll
Be heeeeeeeere


(key change)

My hubby comes home
What a grand reunion at the airport
It will beeeeeeeeeeee

(big finish)

Josh gets back
It's only a daaaaaaaaaaaaaay

Saturday, September 8, 2007

movie moment

Last week, at our friend Geoff's birthday party, we were entertaining ourselves asking questions like "What's your all-time favorite song?" or "How much would you pay to see your favorite band in concert?" (We always seem to end up on these sorts of group questions if my husband is involved.)Kent came up with a great one: "If you could be in one movie moment, what would it be?" Now, I pretty much hate these types of questions, cause as I've said before, I always draw a blank when they're asked. But my answer that night was a moment in "It's a Wonderful Life" (one of my all-time favorite movies) at the very end when George Bailey realizes that his lip is bleeding and that he's got Zuzu's petals in his pocket. He starts running through the town, jumping for joy, at the chance to have his life back.

I've been thinking more on this question...another moment came to me during my last post. In the movie "Chariots of Fire", that opening scene, it may even be while the opening credits are rolling...when the guys are running on the beach, in slow motion, to THAT about goosebumps...that's an inspiring moment...

Let me know what movie moment you would choose...

staying busy

Lily and I are staying busy while Josh is gone. We've done our fair share of shopping, eating out, and more shopping. We've been to Ikea where we bought a few toys and a cute little "Lily"-size table for when she entertains other toddlers. Now I've just got to put it together :( At Nordstrom, we found some CUTE little Nikes to sport this fall - pink satin with a brown swoosh. (I even scored some fun new earrings too!) Next, we hit Gymboree's baby sale. Mom had a coupon for 20% off so Lily now has a good jumpstart on her fall/winter wardrobe. Buying those 18-24 month outfits make me realize how big she's getting. We've covered Willow Bend twice, Stonebriar, the Galleria, and Super Walmart- where Mom found a "Dora the Explorer" riding toy that Lily LOVES. She calls it her "bus". It has all kinds of bells and whistles to overstimulate her.

Yesterday, my parents, Lily, and I drove down to Waco to hang out with my brother, James. He's a junior at Baylor and has officially become "that frat guy with the chocolate lab." ha! No, but he did just get the sweetest lab puppy named Coco. She is beautiful and very well behaved. Didn't even jump up on us when we first met her. I think even Josh would have liked this dog. (Not that he's against dogs, they're just too superfluous for him right now...and maybe always). We got the tour of James' very "collegiate" house. By that I mean the twelve random chairs on the front porch, the mis-matched furniture, the stolen street signs, the bikes in the living room, the dishes piled high in the sink, and the air conditioner duct-taped to the wall. Made me kinda miss those days (for a second).

After saying bye to James and Coco, we ventured into the newly remodeled Baylor Bookstore. They did a great job in there. It looks 100 times better. Lily and I both picked out new Baylor shirts and some green and gold pom-poms (mostly for Lily). Then we visited the Bears who were sound asleep inside their cave. You could barely see them if you squinted through the glare on the glass. Guess they were resting for their big game tonight against Rice (which my parents are listening to on the radio as I type...we are actually winning at this moment!!!) Lily can pretty much do a "Sic'em Bears" when she feels like it. It's gotta be on her terms though.

We left the Bears and walked around some of the new buildings on campus. I must say BU is really stepping it up. The new Brooks buildings reminded me of an English college with a "Great Hall" dining room and a courtyard like in Chariots of Fire. (Now that is a must-see movie.) Very cool. And I couldn't leave without visiting my favorite study room- Barfield Drawing Room- also home to the greatest of Baylor Traditions - Dr Pepper Hour. Every Tuesday from 3-4 you could go to Barfield for FREE, UNLIMITED Dr Pepper floats. But they were really better than floats cause they were all blended together like a shake. A little taste of Heaven. My roomates and I never missed. It was serious. Once we even got our picture taken with our floats and were featured on the front page of the Baylor Lariat. (I think I've still got that picture somewhere.)

Once I had my fill of nostalgic moments, we packed up and headed to Lorena to watch my cousin David's first home football game. He did great! Lily's favorite part was the half-time show. During each song the band played, she smiled happily while pointing and "ooh-ing" over the bright colors and quick movements. She'd clap profusely saying "More! More!" I've never seen anyone enjoy a half-time show that much.

After a full day, we put Lily in her PJ's and started the trek home. Thankfully, Lily slept the whole way. I think we probably wore her out but she had a great attitude all day. (It's possible that I wore you out too with this long post - but thanks for sticking with it!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Counting down the days...

til Josh returns. It actually hasn't been as bad as I was anticipating. Monday was hard. I felt like a basketcase...tearing up everytime I came across something of Josh's. Usually I would just busy myself to avoid facing the fact that he's gone, but I made a point to spend some time processing/journaling/praying that afternoon. I felt like the Lord was calling me to rest in Him. To rest in His sovereignty. In His goodness. Calling me to trust that whatever happens, whether here at home or on the other side of the world, I would be OK in the end because He is enough. As much as I love my husband, I must know that God is still better. I pray that He will bring me to that place where I can wholeheartedly believe this.

Tuesday and Wednesday have been easier. I've gotten so many encouraging texts and emails from friends and family offering to help out or hang out in the meantime. How awesome it is to feel loved and cared for by the Body. Today, I got an email from Josh saying he safely arrived and is enjoying every minute. I'm so thankful that my husband has this opportunity to see God at work in the lives of people in a foreign country. I pray this experience would stir his affections even more for our great God.

Here's an email Josh sent the day before he left. It had me in tears then, and it makes me miss him more now. Man, I can't wait for the sweet reunion next Thursday.

I love you all dearly. I am set to leave in the morning for the other side of the world. As I type this email I am both excited and a little sad. This is a strange mix of emotions. I am blaming it squarely on Natalie and Lily. You see, when I was a single guy this would be nothing but exhilarating. Sure, I would be leaving family and friends, but the adventure would be more captivating. Now, those two girls are my adventure. I love being a husband and a daddy. God has given me the most incredible mantle of influence and responsibility and I want to be found faithful. So, why would I go…it plays into the adventure.

I am going because Christ commissioned us to go. I want my family to see me walk obediently. I am going because the world is bigger than America. I want my family to know this as well. I am going because the gospel has a call on my life. I want my family to know the gospel has a call on their lives as well. So, I am inviting you all into this adventure with me. Pray that the gospel would go forth. Pray that I would speak boldly in the name of Jesus. Pray that I would have the opportunities to encourage the pastors there. Pray for my time with our friends who are serving there now. Pray for our safe travel.

I love you all and am confident that you will take good care of my girls while I am away…I realize they are your girls too!