Friday, January 2, 2015

Cooking extravaganza

It is almost midnight. I am covered in flour, bacon grease and spice. And Before he went to bed (three hours ago), Caleb told his father to "look at mommy. She has funny hair." Exact. Quote. From a two year old. And I did have funny hair. And now it's even funnier. So is my kitchen. And the sink. That's because I had another cooking extravanganza tonight. I use the extravanganza word to make this sound exciting. Like a party. Because when I start, it is. Pandora is on. Husband and son are helping me prepare foods. And I'm dreaming about how delicious everything will be. And more so, how when all this is over, I won't have to cook for two weeks. And things like the cheese sauce getting under the burner or cut up veggies all over the floor just won't happen because everything is already cooked. Or frozen.

But then it's 5 hours later and I want to be showered and asleep.

That's when husband comes in and tells me to quit it. He will clean up. I need to sleep. Without him, I'd be even crazier. 

But here I am about to hop into my longed for shower writing this because  I think this time, these meals will actually be good. And I have to share the recipes. Before I never want to look at them again. (Well ok eventually). 

Of course, I can't take credit for any of them- they were all found by me on good ole Pinterest (how did we cook before its existence?) and thank you excellent cooks for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us! 

Side note- after collecting my recipes and going to the store, I found they called for 24 oz of bacon. I seldom have all my recipes together like this so I am hoping I don't normally eat this much bacon and not realize it?

Here ya go:


Bread with roasted garlic bacon dip- our Football party snack (for our first party, a ravens playoff watching party this Saturday): http://dailydishrecipes.com/roasted-garlic-bacon-dip-for-tailgating-sundaysupper/

Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup- this one will get frozen;

Salmon BLT salad: we added avocado to this and had it tonight- yum! 

Fried rice:

Mexican seven layer dip;
http://dailydishrecipes.com/7-layer-dip-for-mexican-fiesta-sundaysupper/

And of course... - ham! My first ham and we bought one already smoked. And I had no idea what I was doing. When the normal recipe sites were over my head I turned to....you guessed it...ehow. Don't hate: http://www.ehow.com/how_5614643_bake-ham-convection-oven.html#page=11


Thursday, December 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes: moving away

1. C shared with another child this week. Completely willingly. If you have ever had a 2 year old, you know what a big deal this is. And this child- mychild has entered playground and library storytimes and screamed at that poor kid across the room whose having fun with some object "that is mine!!!" even though he has never  seen the object before. But he wants it and that is that. Never mind sharing his own beloved  toys in his own house. I thought that was just a no go. But after days of prepping him- he shared his favorite cars and balls and trains!!! YES! Without hitting screaming or kicking!  I know I'm totally jinxing this by writing this down, right?

2. More bragging about my kid;
Caleb also used the word "disappear" in a sentence. As in "my belly button disappeared." And it did actually, because he put his shirt back on. ;)

3. 


We are taking our last trips to our beloved park this week. And thanks to the warmish weather we had here and there, they were actually tolerable. We will miss this place. I love that he can run free and meet other kids, see squirrels, dogs and find secret places. I won't miss: the openness and lack of fence (as in me carrying the tricycle that he refuses to ride across the muddy field because he is chasing a squirrel. And I can't just let him go run because come on people this is Baltimore city and we have found all sorta of things and people in this park in the middle of the day. Decaying animals shot by b b guns, broken glass, and drunk men sleeping under trees in broad daylight.) In short, I'm sad to leave our park but more excited about our backyard. 

4.  
My grandma is an amazing holy woman. She sent this passage from her Magnificat.  And it was perfect because it is so me right now. And always but I'm working on it.

5. 

Our house right now. Terrible photo, but yes That's two giant gorillas on top of a tower of boxes. Very King Kong. but Really folks I never want to move again. 

6. Moving this time around got me thinking about The last time we moved- that is , when we first moved in together. I was pregnant then too, but I was 7 months instead of 3. (I dislike moving but strong dislike when pregnant) Highlights included: not being able to find anyplace to live/rent in our chosen local. Maybe our income wasn't high enough? Our credit scores not the best? The area too snooty? Thank goodness- We ended up house sitting for these people I had never met and used their dishes and slept in their bed like it was ours until we found a place. And after months of searching, we decided to cave and move to baltimore city. I don't even think our  landlord asked us for our last name, never mind proof of income. More highlights include: convincing James that we needed a dinner table, needed a couch, and that the second bedroom couldn't stay as the guest bedroom with the air mattress for friends that were too tipsy to drive home, and that it should be the nursery. And there was more convincing of similar things. I'm not going to lie and pretend it was pretty, but we learned a lot about ourselves and each other in those first few months. I know moving in together shouldn't happen until you're married and during those first few months, we definitely figured out why but also made a commitment to put up with one another/love eachother for ever and ever. This time it has to be easier, right?

7. 
This week, I discovered a form of entertainment for my son: the construction site. Can't believe I didn't think of this before, as there is constant construction everywhere in this old city. The workers know us by name. Ummm tonka trucks for Christmas? 

PS;
Oh and happy Advent is almost over and Christmas is almost here! We are doing that whole celebrate Christmas AFTER Christmas this year- partly because James' RCIA teacher is emphasizing what Advent is really about and partly because heck no I am not setting up a tree twice!! 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Back to Blog: Ironing Ribbons and Advent

I think the real reason I'm back is to brag about the Advent calendar I made (with the help of some internet friends). 

What's that you say?! We are already half way through Advent and I'm way behind on this DIY Advent calendar thing that most blogger moms out there have had completed-blog-post-written-about since Thanksgiving?

Oops. I guess I put a few other things ahead of Advent this year. (Yes, I admitted that to you!) Like quitting my job. And being pregnant and sleeping. And moving. And cleaning. 

And I never put cleaning ahead of anything. 

Unless we're moving. 

That's when it becomes competitive and I decide that  our house is going to be - has to be - the cleanest house IN THE WORLD even though it's full of unrecoverable places where our two-year-old has drawn, painted, and destroyed. I'm talking shampooed carpets, chemicals used, and naptimes spent hands-on-knees scrubbing baseboards because strangers kept coming in to look at our house to judge us and decide if they want to make this their home . <stress> Am I using past tense? Because actually, this is still going on. We have a showing tomorrow.

But after the first set of showings, I noticed I had forgot to stow away one item. I had meant to put it away because I wanted the house to be somewhat neutral territory. 

It's a gold-leaf painting of the Virgin Mary with her baby Jesus that I got while I was traveling in Peru. I didn't stow away any other religious items, but this one, I wanted to, because in the painting, the Virgin Mary is breast feeding and it's really out there - way more than we are used to seeing in depictions of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. (Although it's nothing compared to the amount of skin you'll see if you turn on the television any night of the week; and isn't this a much more beautiful depiction of a woman's body?!)

As a 19-year-old traveling in Peru, I thought so. I spent a good amount of money on this painting because, even then, I loved it. I made the guy at the market go to his house to get a larger size for me. (He claimed to be the artist). I made a frame, attached the canvas, and gave it to my parents as a Christmas gift the year I came back from Peru; they returned it to me a few years ago. It's been hanging in our upstairs hallway for a while now, in between my room, and my son's room, staring at me each time I went in to comfort him from a nightmare, wake him up from a nap, or read him a story. I'm a bit ashamed that I meant to hide it.  But this blog would be boring if I didn't tell you a bit about what I'm ashamed of, no?

When I did began my Advent-calendar making, I knew it would make the perfect backdrop. I also had packed away all of my empty frames and was left with no other choice. As it turned out, it sort of makes sense!


After each week, you can pull away a ribbon to see a bit more of the painting until the baby Jesus and Virgin Mary is fully revealed! 

How I made it:

1. I used envelope templates from i heart naptime. It took a bit of time to fold and glue, but I only did the second half.

2. Iron the ribbons (this was necessary for me.) I never in my life thought I'd be ironing ribbons but here I am.

3. Measure how far apart you want the ribbons to be (vertically on the frame), then hot glue the ribbons to the underside of the frame. If you're not using a backdrop (or not using one that is stapled directly to the frame like mine!), you can just flip the frame around. I pulled my ribbons as tight as I could across the frame. If you want to pull the ribbons away each week, use a piece of tape on one side instead of hot glue.

4. Hot glue the envelopes to the ribbon.

5. The fun part. Populate your daily activities. I wanted mine to be fun for Caleb (who's 26 months) and give him a sense that something special is going on, but I also wanted it to be a spiritual journey for James and I.

For most of the cards, I put a "family activity" on one side, and an adult activity, like a Scripture reading or even that day's O'Antiphon on the back. I found about a hundred family Advent activities from Adriel Booker. Many of them are too above my lil guy but wow, I need to bookmark her list for later!

My favorite: "Enact the story of the birth of Jesus with your nativity set. Lie on your bellies and each family member take on a character or two." 

The adult activities came from the Loyola Press Advent calendar and a few were inspired by the kids activities. "Choose a toy or stuffed animal to give to a boy or girl who doesn't have any toys or stuffed animals." became "Select at least 1 item of clothing to give to the resettlement center charity."

That's it!

Any other (late) Advent calendars out there? 



Monday, June 30, 2014

Special Wedding Post: Things to Do In Harrisburg, PA

I disappeared from this blog for a bit because.... JAMES AND I ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!!

And now, today, I'll be using this blog as a platform for communicating with our lovely guests.

Today I'll be telling you about...

Our Favorite Things To Do In The Harrisburg Area

Some of our out-of-town guests have asked us, "What is there to do in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?"

I spent most of my life looking for answers to this question. And I have TONS of gems I'm excited to share with you, beloved wedding guests and blog readers! And, I promise you that central Pennsylvania IS more than Amish country and Hersheypark!
These are just a few of my favorites. For a complete listing, check out the Harrisburg Hershey Visitors website

NOTES BEFORE LIST STARTS:

  • If you're looking for something specific (for example, you know you want to camp, or fish, or see a movie, or go to an art museum) ask me via phone or email and I'll try to point you in a direction!
  • If you're a local and you'd like to add to this list --- please do in the comments section!
  • Click the bolded name of the attraction to visit the webpage. Click the address below the attraction name to get directions in Google Maps (you just have to fill in your current location.)
 
Microbreweries and Music Venues

Troeg's Brewery (13.9 miles from church)
200 East Hershey Park Drive
Hershey, PA 17033 

(717) 534-1297
Most famous among our group of friends for their Nugget Nectar beer, Troeg's Brewing Company was started by two brothers from the area, and, until recently, was headquartered in a garage in downtown Harrisburg that had free and generous tastings on Saturday mornings. Their new facility is much more sophisticated, and although it's a bit of a drive from Harrisburg, it's well worth it (and you'll be close to Hersheypark if that's your thing.) Set up a brewery tour - or stop in for a self-guided one, and be sure to try the food: it's as good as the beer. Disclaimer: As all true NN fans know, Nugget Nectar is not in season in August.

Appalachian Brewing Company
(5.8 miles from church)
50 N Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17011
(717) 221-1080
Another local brewery. They often have live music and sometimes, bluegrass dance parties. One of my favorite old stomping grounds!

Midtown Scholar Bookstore and Coffee Shop
(5.9 miles from church)
1302 North 3rd St
Harrisburg, PA
Another place to catch live (acoustic) music, poetry readings, and local artists, this used and rare bookstore is in the newly emerging arts district of "midtown." Their coffee shop is the best in downtown Harrisburg.

Stage on Herr in Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center (5.9 miles from church and near the bookstore!)
1110 N 3rd St,
Harrisburg, PA 17102
(717) 412-4342
This place appealed to me most when I returned to Harrisburg from the funky, alternative, colorful Pacific Northwest; it feels straight out of Portland, Oregon. Expect to find lots of kitchy lite-up figurines on the stage and staring you down at the bar (yes, that's art!), colorful murals, and bohemian and hipster folk looking for a place to catch up with friends, listen to their friend's band, or simply drink good beer (one of the best selections in the area.) One of the most intimate live music venues in the area, Stage on Herr and HMAC are keys to growing the arts in the burg.


Family Fun

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts (8.7 miles from the church)
225 Market St, 

Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 221-9588
Hands-on science exhibits, an imax theatre, an area for young toddlers/kids to built, play and create...this is the perfect destination for families of all ages. Fun fact: I used to work in the on-site Starbucks.

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
(20 miles from the church)
760 Tobias Dr, 

Halifax, PA 17032
(717) 362-9126
I haven't been here since I was a kid, but I remember riding around in a school bus with the top removed to go on a safari through Pennsylvania. But instead of seeing wild turkeys, I saw big cats, zebras, and other animals from Africa. Basically, when I was about 7 or 8, I thought Lake Tobias was the coolest place ever. I think this place keeps a few animals in cages (monkeys come to mind) but I remember many of the animals just wandering around. Perhaps that has changed. There's a petting zoo with baby goats and other farm animals that is always a hit! (Although one of them bit my figure once- be careful!)


Hershey's Chocolate World
(13.2 miles from the church)
251 Park Blvd, 

Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-4900
This is separate from HersheyPark, although it is right next to it. It is FREE. Take a tour of the chocolate factory and you get your photo taken AND a piece of chocolate at the end. But watch out for the tourists and the several other ways you can spend money (there's a bakery, tons of Hershey paraphernalia for everyone in your life, maybe even a 3-d movie and other touristic adventures that you could never imagine came from a chocolate bar...

HersheyPark (13.2 miles from the church)
100 W Hersheypark Dr, 

Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-3860
I haven't been here in many 7 or 8 years but spent summers here grades 4-10.


Hershey Gardens (and butterfly house!) (13.4 miles from the church)170 Hotel Rd, 

Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-3492 


City Island
(Walk, Water Golf, Train, Swim, and Kayak) (9.1 miles from church)
Click for Google Map directions
The island in the middle of the Susquehanna River overlooks Harrisburg city. Rent a kayak or join a tour with Susquehanna Outfitters, a company that's doing some really innovative river floating (Have you ever heard of birding floats or yoga floats?!) The water golf here is THE BEST mini golf in the area (again, overlooking the river.) If you're lucky, you may catch a soccer game from the hometown favorites, Harrisburg City Islanders or a baseball game at the Harrisburg Senator's stadium! (Yes, we have sports teams!)

Outdoor Activities

City Island (see above)


Wildwood Park and Nature Center
(4.8 miles from the church
100 Wildwood Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110
I practically grew up in this park (we lived walking distance from it.) It's much more well-maintained now than it was in my childhood - with a nature center with binoculars, interactive exhibits, bird walks - and even an outdoor art exhibit throughout the park. It's just 3.1 miles around the lake, with plenty of trails around the park; perfect for a short hike that's not too far away!

Susquehanna Outfitters  

(Kayak Tours and Rentals) at City Island (9.1 miles from church)

Appalachian Trail (click for maps from Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club) (trails 20-30 minutes from church)

Big Boyd's Tree Preserve
(8.1 miles from church, close to reception venue)
Fishing Creek Valley Road 

Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717) 567-9255
The Fishing Creek Valley is one of my favorite "wild" places around Harrisburg. These trails have been a favorite of mine for the last ten years or so. It's "where the mountains begin" and you can hike to points where you'll see farmland on one side and mountains on the other. There's a few ponds and swimming holes too!

Stony Valley Rails to Trails and the Saint Anthony Wilderness (14 miles from church, 9 miles from reception site.) 

Click for Google Map directions to the parking area.
Check out the website for other parking areas. Things you can expect to find along the trail: an abandoned 40 foot stone tower, two abandoned coal mining towns, a reservoir, sand springs, mosquitoes and forests!

Mount Gretna Lake, Beach, Artist Community and JiggerShop (Ice Cream Shop), (34 miles from church)
130 Lakeview Dr.

Lebanon, PA 17042
(717) 964-3130
It's a big of a drive, but Mount Gretna has something for everyone. Cool off in the lake and get an adrenaline rush on their high dive and swing. Lay out on the beach, or go for a hike in the mountains (trails were a favorite of my high school cross country team!) Then end your day with dinner (and ice cream) from the Jigger Shop and a stroll through the colorful artist's cottages. The community hosts an annual Art Show each year (August 16 and 17 this year!)

Reservoir Park (4.4 miles from the church) 

100 Concert Drive 
Harrisburg, PA 17103

Tubing and Swimming in Yellow Breeches Creek (21 miles from the church) 

Click for Google Map Address

State Parks:
Pine Grove, Little Buffalo and Gifford Pinchot. Check out PA DCNR for a complete list.

Historical Sites and Museums


Fort Hunter Park and Mansion (6.3 miles from the church)
5300 North Front Street 

Harrisburg, PA


The National Civil War Museum (4.4 miles from the church)
Reservoir Park

100 Concert Drive 
Harrisburg, PA 17103

Gettysburg National Military Park (50 minutes from the church) 

Click for directions in Google Maps

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building (4 miles from church)N 3rd St 

Harrisburg, PA

Pennsylvania State Museum and Planetarium (4 miles from church)
300 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 787-4980


Cafes and Restaurants

Looking for several options? Opt for a walk along restaurant row, on 2nd Street in downtown Harrisburg and take your pick of dining options nestled between the state capital and the Susquehanna River.

Neato Burrito: Mission Style Burritos (several locations)
209 N. 2nd St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102
(717) 232-7467

Gabriella's Italian Restaurant (seriously the best Italian food in town!)
3907 Jonestown Rd
Harrisburg, PA 17109
(717) 540-0040

Tomato Pie Cafe (for some tasty desserts, amazing coffee and acoustic music)
3950 Tecport Dr
Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 836-7051

Carly's Ristorante and Piano Bar (so much fun for music lovers!)
204 Locust St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102
(717) 909-9191

Duke's Riverside Bar and Grille (for water views and a casual atmosphere!)
313 S Front St,
Lemoyne, PA
(717) 737-1313
 

3B's Ice Cream
2199 Colonial Rd
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717) 545-6355












Friday, November 1, 2013

7 QTs: It's been a while...

What we've been up to since my last post.

1. Life without a smart device requires more planning, less pictures, and me being less lazy. 

This post will have no cute photos of Caleb in his Halloween costume (my guess is that means most of you will stop reading right now). Why? Because I have to go search the house for our camera, then search the house for the USB cord, then plug it into the computer and then wait for it to upload and then get it on here. I'm way too lazy for that. Remember those times back in the olden days? Instead I'll just try to make my prose extra interesting - and split it up into numbers so it qualifies for that "Quick Take" theme and seems like you're not just reading one. big. stinky. paragraph.

2. On the upside, 

In the half second window where I was doing something like pulling my hair up after coming home from work, Caleb found my phone and threw it 95 percent into the toilet. The phone broke into 3 pieces and was still turned on. I was impressed. Also, he's getting really into putting things into the toilet and even reaching to play in the toilet water.
(I've seen toilet-childproofing devices online that you could buy to prevent situations like these, but I refuse to childproof my toilet.)
Anyway, based on toilet-fascination - if I believed in past lives, I'd say he was a dog.

3. Things that Caleb has been doing since last blog (this one's for the fam we haven't seen in a while!)

- Says "banana" and "more." (His first food is also his first word!)
- Eats anything that isn't a green vegetable (lasagna, butternut squash lasagna, goat cheese, turkey...you name it) and will only feed himself with his own fingers (no spoons, no more mommy bird-feeding)
-  Imitate several letter sounds like... m p b t r c/k g n v !
-  Blow goodbye kisses, clap hands, pat on head/so big, wave hello/goodbye.
- Walk really well, with shoes, outside, without falling (for a while)
- Drink milk all the time!
- Get dropped off at daycare without crying! (yay!) Makes this easier for mom and dad!

4. All that reading to a 1-2-3 month old baby paid off, maybe?

Caleb suddenly LOVES reading books. He came up to me with a book this evening with a look that said "Mom, please read this to me" and even though we had read "Fifteen Animals" four times already today, something in me felt like I had really succeeded as that mom whose kid likes to read - at least for now (I'm using this space to brag, yes!) But reading has also been our way to spend time together, so maybe that's what he likes. I know, dad spins him in circles and plays chase and I read books to him (lame, right?!) Glad he doesn't think so!

5. Living in suburbia in a big house with dogs while working/living is actually way harder than it looks.
We are currently house sitting for James' parents about 30-40 min North of Baltimore City. It's beautiful here, especially with all the trees changing colors, and Caleb has plenty of space to run and play with dog, Winston. In a way, I love it and it fit in with the dreams of the picket fence/ house/family/dog (there's even sheep here to add to that) But daily life takes a different turn here: we sat in traffic getting to work/daycare this AM, the dogs woke us up at 2am begging to go outside, and the house is so large that I cannot let Caleb play/roam around the house while I do something like make dinner. There's too many places to roam; I would lose him and run through non-childproofed space in a panick with spatula in hand. 

6. Caleb was a puppy for Halloween. 
Photos forthcoming! (Sorry I'm too lazy to upload them right now)

7. Inspiring Quote
An old roommate from a while back posted this quote as her Facebook status this week. I don't talk to her anymore and but the quote inspired me. Funny how Facebook makes things like that possible. Thought I'd share:
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." 
- Maya Angelou

Word.



Friday, October 4, 2013

7 QT's: Wine buttons, 20lbs of apples and Funfetti



Happy Friday! This seems to be the only day I blog.  Oh well, here's the quick takes on the rest of our week: 
My one-year-old just may be an artist.


He can hold a marker the right way and draw.

Not sure if this is normal for a 1-year-old, but I have to say, I was impressed. Maybe it's because his mom is an artist : )

He also went to daycare today with orange and yellow marker all over his legs because we made this picture after bath time last night.


Birthday parties for little kids (or maybe just your own kids) are so much fun.


We've had 3 celebrations for Caleb in the past week. More photos coming soon. It was a great chance to see relatives we only see on the holidays. And everyone got to shower Caleb with their love. And he was on pretty good behavior. And I made this cake 3 times:




I love funfetti for kid's birthdays, but this one ended up being more like a cookie cake...which for me, was even better. (Cookies > Cake)

The recipe I used is from a site called Sally's Baking Addiction, so clearly it's fantastic.



Antique roadshow 

James' grandma came to Caleb's party and gave us several pieces of vintage-wear. Since we are true hipstas, we were down.

Among the awesome things were Natty Bo glasses and Natty Bo coasters. (Natty Bo is the Baltimore beer that was once brewed in the building where Caleb is in daycare) .

Also included were these glasses from some company called "Valley Forge Beer" and buttons for what appears to be a 1979 mayoral race and wine. I never knew wine buttons were once a thing.



I'm hoping these are worth lots of money on Ebay or Etsy. Takers?


We have 20 pounds of apples




...from apple picking last Saturday. The price went down if you bought enough! Wholesale produce! Guess who's having a peeling party this weekend and making some applesauce? Any other tried-and-trued suggestions welcome!


Swings are fun.


--- 6 ---

Funny things on the internet make life tolerable, like the "when-you-work-at-a-non-profit" Tumblr (especially when you actually work at a nonprofit.)

image

Maybe it's because I worked 3 days last week, and now I'm working five and around 1pm each day I look up from my computer screen and realize I haven't eaten anything or gone to the bathroom since I woke up that morning. (How's that for "work is flow", for those of you who attended Mount St. Mary's University with me and read that lovely piece by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - I totally copied and pasted that word from Wikipedia.) But this little website really gets a laugh-out-loud moment from me once in a while.
Fall is here!

Even though it was 88 degrees in Baltimore this week. I got to go to my first pick-your-own pumpkin patch this weekend, which was so much fun! We were in the field for a long time picking out "the perfect one!" Caleb loved the orange colors.





Happy weekend! Thanks for stopping in!



For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

True Story: Friday Flashback, the Face of God, and helping your neighbor (for real)

You know how we all have moments where something seemingly small touches us in a huge way? I had one of those moments Friday afternoon around 5:30, when I was finally able to leave my office for the weekend.(And here I am writing this on Tuesday and wishing for that moment again!)

Oh, but there's more to the story...

I was speed walking to the parking garage, eyes straight ahead, focus solely on getting out of traffic ASAP so I could hang out with C-man. I admit I was a little angry I was at work kind of late on a Friday, but I guess that's the best you can hope for when you take two sick days in a week.

Let's say first of all, I should have been paying better attention to my surroundings; I work in Baltimore City, the Westside. It's in no way the worst part of the Baltimore, but it isn't the prettiest. On my walk between my office and Starbucks that particular morning, I passed two men who were tripping - at 9am- on whatever drug it is that makes you droop your head and neck down towards the sidewalk as if you were slowly falling into the sidewalk face-first. I did not think anything of this because I see people tripping like this every single day near my office, I kid you not. (BTW anyone know what drug this is? There seems to be a lot of it near my place of employment.)

There are a lot of other things I see during this walk that scare the heck out of me, some that make me cry and some that make me laugh out loud on a street full of strangers and then proceed to take photos/videos with my phone and text them to friends. (Subscribe to my blog and I promise you that one day I'll post a video of the woman that shows up in front of the Rite Aid every single day with a different costume and a boombox blasting Christian music that she dances to beautifully and expressively amongst the mayhem of bad things going on around her; girl is spreading the good news!)

But these things surprise me so because I'm a white girl from Pennsylvania and this Baltimore City stuff is still new to me...

So anyway back to Friday afternoon:  A couple walking towards me stops after we pass each other. They stop because there is a man laying on the sidewalk, eyes closed, right next to the light rail track (train.) He was just a few feet from me, and I had walked right past him! Had I seen him and thought nothing of it because I see people laying on sidewalks on Howard Street fairly often? Or had I actually not seen him? I couldn't remember...How long had he been there? How come no one has stopped except for this couple; it's Friday afternoon and this street is crowded and bustling with people!

The woman bends down to see if he is okay and sort of slaps him on his face.I am shocked because the man is not someone I think I would've bent down for. I hate to write that there like that. But really, I wouldn't have. Everything about him is dirty - his face is dirty, his hair, his clothing is ripped; he has a scent. I would have kicked him with my shoe first because he's probably a drug addict, because he might have gun, because he might snap at me for scaring him or waking him up from his nap, because he looks dazed and there's no telling what he could do...But no, here's this little lady bending down to look in his face and yelling "Sir!" loudly in his ear, addressing him politely like you are supposed to address another human being.

She gives him a shaking to see if he will wake up, and finally he shows one sign of life; he blinks, and then goes back to sleep. I ask her if we should call 9-1-1 and see she already has her phone out.

She shoes me on as if to say "I got this" and I believe her. I get into my car feeling a little bit refreshed, like I just saw God at work right then and there on a Friday afternoon on Howard Street. Maybe I am being emotional and over-interpreting here; maybe I needed to see something like this. But here's this man that is on the margins of society; here's this man who, one could argue, chose to lay on the train tracks in some form or another, through choosing drugs or alcohol or whatever makes people do these things; here's this man who (I know I am assuming here) has received help from someone before and fallen into a pattern of addiction again and again.

And despite assuming all that (I'm guessing you'd assume this too if you saw this guy), this couple stops and helps him. It's helping in a way that is so concrete that I am floored. (Ironic, too that I work at a humanitarian aide agency and we use the phrase "loving our neighbors" on all our fundraising materials when we ask people to "help the poor"?)  I don't suggest that my surprise says a lot about our world at large, but maybe more about my own demeanor as an urbanite who has grown numb to seeing despair and utterly confused about how to address it.

So I get into my car and drive around the block, back towards home and I see an ambulance on the street where the man was and I see the couple still there, waiting on the sidewalk, as if they knew this man and wanted to make sure he was okay. I wondered, who else would this man have waiting for him when he gets better? Maybe nobody. But God would definitely be there...

Yep, I think I just saw Him at work!

What's your seeing-God-or your higher power in real life story?

Don't have one? Find one. I know you can.

And if you have a blog, let's link up sometime and write about it together on a designated day of the week...Wouldn't that be great soul food?