Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I mentioned on my Facebook page that I enjoyed Sweet Tomato Barbecue Burgers last night for dinner. Several friends asked for the recipe. So .... here it is ...
4 (8-ounce) fresh ready-to-cook stuffed burger patties
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
4 hamburger buns
4 slices American cheese
1. Preheat grill. Place burgers on grill (wash hands); close lid (or cover loosely with foil). Grill 3–5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160°F (for medium). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. (Grills vary widely; adjust time as needed.)
Note: Burgers may be cooked in grill pan preheated on medium-high. Lightly coat pan with canola oil. Cook time will be about the same.
2. While burgers cook, place tomatoes, ranch dressing, and barbecue sauce in food processor (or blender). Process 1 minute or until smooth. Spread tomato mixture on top halves of buns.
3. Top each burger with 1 slice of cheese; then place burgers on buns. Serve.
(1) This recipe calls for a pre-made burger from Publix Supermarkets. If you do not have a Publix in your area, you can make the burgers yourself. You'll need ground chuck, well-done cooked bacon, and mild cheddar cheese. Mix the bacon and cheese in with the ground beef. Since there is no specific proportions for these burgers, you'll have to just experiment with what satisfies your taste. A word of warning: don't add too much bacon and cheese to the burgers. Adding too much will cause them to fall apart while grilling.
(2) I use store brand Lite ranch dressing and store brand original barbecue sauce.
(3) I prefer sliced cheddar cheese on my burgers, an alternative to American cheese that this recipe calls for.
For the full menu including dessert, utensils you need, and a full shopping list, CLICK HERE.
To work with a real estate agent who enjoys life and people, give me a call. I'm here to give you a hand with all of your real estate needs.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Well, the numbers are in and it's good news and bad news. The good news is that home sales were up in August of this year from July of this year. The bad news is that sale were down in August of this year compared to August of last year. Other good news: that decline from 2008 to 2009 is only 9.2%, unlike the 22-30% drops we've seen in past months.
My listings have received a lot of showings over the last two weeks, good news for sellers. There are also lots of houses out there on the market that need to be sold. Those houses selling are the ones that are the best value - great condition and location for the best price.
And for people who want to refinance or buy a home, the good news is that rates remain around 5%. A loan officer friend of mine and I had lunch last week and he mentioned that he strongly believes that rates will be around the 6% mark in about four to six months from now. While there's no absolute guarantee, you may want to consider talking with your mortgage loan officer so you can make a move to either buy or refinance.
The Nashville Business Journal has both of these articles online. For information about home sales in the area, just CLICK HERE. And for more information about mortage rates, CLICK THIS LINK.
If you're looking for an agent who has a handle on the current market conditions in the Middle Tennessee area, look no further. I'd love to give you a hand with your real estate needs.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Almost unbelievable, I ran across this article today about a toy fanatic, James May, who built an entire house out of LEGOs. It took 3.3 million LEGO bricks, or a total of over 816 million LEGO pieces. It also has a working bathroom. Sound interesting? Take a quick peek at the pics and articles about it online.
Check out these links:
I'm not sure about you, but as much as I loved to play with LEGOs as a kid, I'm not sure I'd want to live in a LEGO house, as interesting as it is.
If you're looking for a real estate professional who knows his business well and works hard to represent buyers and sellers, then give me a shout. You can reach me by phone or by email. I'm happy to help you with your real estate needs.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Ever had one of those tough days? You know what I'm talking about. It's days like today when nothing seems to goes right.
Oversleeping this morning, driving 90 minutes out of my way to pick up paperwork, arriving to work late, missing my 9 a.m. appointment, putting out fires that sprang up in the last few days, people being more sensitive than usual, goals not being met, conflict in relationships, rainy weather, a headache that won't stop ..... and the list goes on.
I wish I could tell you that I have it all together, but I can't - and don't! A few years ago, I admitted to a friend at work that I wasn't a superman. And while I felt free after sharing it, it devastated her. Sometimes we want people to be superhuman. But I can't be - ever! I'm just not a perfect man.
Chances are, most people have felt this way at some time or another. The frustration and hopelessness and defeat can get to all of us. I'm sure I can come up with some motivational quote about how defeat only makes us stronger and enables us to succeed down the road. And that quote may last a while, but it won't change our lives forever.
The truth is, while I don't feel very well today, I know that tomorrow will be a better day. My hope rests not in myself or my abilities, but within the person of Jesus Christ. Thank goodness for my relationship with Him. His unconquerable grace, mercy and love for me as His son gives me the hope that I cannot find within myself today. It's only through the power of God in my life that I know there's a better tomorrow, and that today's circumstances are just that - circumstances.
In Psalm 46, Israel was being pounced on. It seemed like everything was failing. Circumstances were difficult. Morale was low. Nothing seemed to be going well. But the promises of God crashed through all of those feelings of discouragement: (vv. 1-2) "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..."; (v. 5) "God is within her; she will not fall; God will help her at break of day."; (vv. 10-11) "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
It's times like this when I have to change perspective. Circumstances don't determine my life and how I live it. God is the rock that holds me up; the glue that holds things together. Focusing on the challenges of the day only makes life more uncomfortable. By changing perspective to a view of God, His grace and mercy and His love make life worth pursuing.
How about it?! Would a change of perspective make your life better today? Give it a shot. I think it will.
Monday, September 21, 2009
What a weekend! From ice hockey to the theater - it couldn't have been any better!
There's something about a hockey game that excites me. Only my second game, I went with my buddy, Chris, and saw my friend and client, Jenn, there. Jenn, the walking encyclopedia of sports knowledge and trivia, gave me a quick rundown on how hockey is played, the highlights, and an overall synopsis of the players. It could not have been more fun.
The longer I sat there, the more I enjoyed the cool icy air, the screaming fans, the typical arena food, the HugCam, silly games, and the fights that broke out. If you're looking for sports excitement, this is the game to see!
I never thought the Preds would ever defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets. It wasn't until the third period that the Preds scored the winning goal. No one scored until the second period when the Blue Jackets actually scored first. Followed by the Preds. Then the Jackets. Finally the Preds tied it up and it was in the last few minutes of the game when they scored that winning goal. Honestly, I never thought they'd ever shut out the Jackets. I guess when they're really up against the clock, they pull it all out to get ahead. For information about the Preds or to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.
Sunday, as a birthday gift, I got to see the new musical, "Wicked", at TPAC. I'd already heard it was good, and I guess the fact that it was a sell-out proved that fact. "Wicked" is the pre-quel to "The Wizard of Oz" (well, sort of), and tells the story of the two witches of Oz - Glinda the Good Witch of the North, and Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West.
The story opens when Glinda confirms to the Ozians that the Wicked Witch is dead. Immediately we flashback to the day the Elphaba was born. The story chronicles how the two girls met at college, became friends, and then went their separate ways. The story is told from Elphaba's point of view. Now, if you haven't seen the show, I won't spoil it for you by telling you the plot. Just know that there are plenty of twists and turns throughout the play and that there's a little surprise at the end. The play is no more in Nashville, but there are other locations where you can see it. CLICK HERE for more info on locations, dates, times and tickets.
What a great weekend. An exciting hockey game and a superb theater performance.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Only 74 days remain for all first-time homebuyers to qualify for the $8,000 tax credit. Lenders are getting busier and busier, so closing are getting pushed into the first part of November. For a first-time homebuyer to qualify for the tax credit, your purchase has to be closed NO LATER THAN November 30, 2009.
Having worked with many buyers in the last several years, there's a sequence that I use to help novice and experienced buyers. I call this my Homebuyer Assistance Plan. Every buyer who has followed this process has found that it makes life easier and simpler for them. The 10 steps include:
• Establish our agency relationship and explain expectations and how I can assist you through this process.
• Communicate together to determine your specific needs and wants.
• Assist with your mortgage pre-approval through a professional mortgage lender.
• Jointly conduct a detailed search of the MLS and select the most suitable homes for you.
• Tour selected homes to compare and evaluate your likes and dislikes.
• Analyze the estimated costs for the home you select.
• Explain and complete the contract forms.
• Conduct and complete the negotiation process.
• Coordinate all the details for closing.
• Follow up with you after closing to ensure your satisfaction.
Without some sort of explanation, this makes absolutely very little sense to someone. For a full explanation of how I can help you in your home search using this Plan, we'll need to set an appointment together to go through each of the steps.
If you're looking for a hassle-free and stress-free experience when buying a home, I'm the person you'll want to talk with. My buyers have been thrilled with the price, terms and conditions they contracted for the homes they purchased, as well as the ease of going through this process. Give me a shout via phone (615-373-3513) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I can't wait to help you with your home search.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Remember that rhyme from childhood? How I laugh out loud when I hear it because of it's silliness. Our kids learned that rhyme when they were little and they loved saying it over and over again. It became a point of laughter for our family.
Years before our children were ever thought of, their mother and I commuted to work together everyday. We were dating at the time, then engaged, and our 40 minute commute to work resulted in lots of conversations about weather. Weather was a hot topic for us because, as teachers, we wondered how it would affect the school calendar.
We worked in New Kent County, Virginia, a small rural county that had a lot of shaded one-lane back roads and gravel roads. Most roads were unpaved and school buses could not drive down some of those roads when it rained heavily or snowed.
This week's weather - constant rain - reminded me of a little rhyme we used to say. "Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day." There were many days when we splashed in the mud at New Kent High School. The unpaved parking lot made it difficult to stay dry and spotless. I distinctly remember days when my shoes and socks were drenched, mud splattered on my pants, and I couldn't keep dry enough. Those were the days!
Silliness isn't limited to little rhymes about the weather. How many of us have danced in the rain with the one we loved? And how many times have we dashed out of a store to our car in the pouring down rain, wondering why we bothered to shop in such weather? Or how about those football games that were rained out on Friday nights? Ever march in a parade soaked to the bone because it rained the entire parade? Rain brings back so many memories.
Even though today is dark and dreary, I had to laugh at those wonderful old memories. How completely silly we were, but we sure did enjoy ourselves. I wonder what kinds of silly things you have done.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I admit it. My greatest addiction in life is water. I love drinking water at just about every meal. I love a cleansing shower after an intense workout. I love the beach, just floating on the ocean waves, basking in the sunshine. And I love the pool.
About six months ago, a friend asked me to join her for Power Aqua. I'd heard about this class and thought it was just a bunch of older people who got together and did synchronized movements in the shallow end of the pool. I wasn't interested. But after Becky asked me to go several times, I figured I'd go to see what it was really about. My perceptions were wrong.
In that first class, I discovered that this wasn't my mother's Water Aerobics class. It was truly Power Aqua - a class devoted to increasing strength and endurance using the pool water for resistance. Having been a strong swimmer back in my younger years, I never thought I'd have any trouble with any endurance or strength while swimming. While challenging, I went back for more. Now, I can't get enough.
Bruce and Kara, friends of mine about my age, are there with me every Tuesday. Another couple, expecting their first child, are there every Saturday morning. Of course, other regulars are there, all ranging from age 25 through 60, men and women.
We usually start off running or jogging in the shallow end. The instructor, Sherry, knows how to customize the class to each person's needs. For example, I have the awesome privilege of having to swim the entire length of the pool. Others do not. We do everything from abdominal work to strengthening arms and legs, and end with a good stretching time. It's what I need several times a week, with a low-impact resistance to accommodate my injured shoulder.
If you're looking for a great way to build your strength and endurance, but need smoother resistance, get involved with a local Power Aqua class. To find a class near you, check out the local gyms in your area. YMCAs sponsor Power Aqua classes, but make sure that you find one with a strong instructor. You'll be glad you did.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Growing up in Virginia, I found most of my familial roots in neighboring North Carolina. My mother's folks were from the central and eastern parts of the state. My dad's relatives migrated up to southeastern Virginia from northeastern North Carolina.
When I went to college, I refused to admit that my roots were entrenched in the south and southern culture. My father, definitely a Tidewater Virginia native, pronounced things a little differently like:
- House pronounced as houes
- Out pronounced as ouet
- A Thousand pronounced as ah thoesend
- Store pronounced as stow
- Fork prounced as foke
At Oral Roberts University, I tried my best to eradicate my southern lingo and accent by replacing it with more neutral terms. I enunciated clearly and articulately as to not be mistaken for a southerner. I guess I was a little too uppity for my own self.
Now all that has changed. I can hardly wait to get back home to my southern roots in Virginia. I love listening to my dad speak his Tidewater-ease, visiting with my southern friends, and enjoying good southern cooking. Yes, we southerners like to have bread with our Thanksgiving meal, even though we have dressing. And we like our sweet iced tea. We enjoy our southern festivals and southern music. Friday nights would just not be southern Friday nights without high school football games in the fall. We like our quits and crafts. We love our North Carolina apples and Frasier Fur Christmas trees. And we love saying the word, "ya'll".
People I've met here in Nashville love the southern culture they experience. We have a lot to offer. And don't you forget it, ya'll.
Monday, September 14, 2009
When genuine movie buffs think about great movies released in 1939, the one at the top of the list is "Gone With The Wind". Released that same year was an incredible movie directed by Victor Fleming, one of the original directors for "Wind". That movie - "The Wizard of Oz" - starring Judy Garland and a star-studded cast, opened to lesser than grand fanfare because of "Wind", but has endured with the love of generations since that time.
The most famous song in "Oz" is "Over the Rainbow" made famous by it's songstress, Judy Garland. Sung by choirs in thousands of schools nationwide, the song has endeared itself to young and old alike. Every time I hear the song, I think about the first time I ever saw "Oz" on TV - black and white, of course. I could only imagine the yellow brick road actually being yellow.
Producing this movie had it's challenges. "The Beverly Hillbillies" star, Buddy Ebsen was slated to play the Tin Man, but because of the contaminants in the make-up for the part, he became ill and was replaced by Jack Haley. For more information about the movie, go to THE WIKIPEDIA LINK. Here, you'll find loads of trivia and lesser known information about the movie.
Next Wednesday, September 23, "Oz" will be re-released for a one-time showing at local theaters nationwide to celebrate it's 70th anniversary. For more information on times and locations, CLICK HERE. In Nashville, showings will be at Opry Mills and Green Hills. I'll be at the showing at Opry Mills theaters. Hope to see you there.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I'll never forget that fateful day eight years ago. Sitting in my office at LifeWay, working away, my boss came down the hall, gathering everyone in front of the closest TV. Mike's wife had just called and told him that the WTC had been hit by a plane. When he told us, I was in disbelief.
Needless to say, what followed was another crash into the other tower, a plane crash into the Pentagon, and another one in Pennsylvania. I couldn't believe it. What was bad at the beginning had gotten far worse. We were actually under attack!
Watching the news that day, I sat there with chills running down my spine. My memory flashed back to stories my grandmother had told me about Pearl Harbor's attack and the fear that she felt. Never in my lifetime did I ever think we would not be safe in the U.S.
That night, we told our children about the attacks and reassured them that they would be safe. Of course, Dad and Mom were there to protect them. At just 7 and 5, the images on the TV were more than they could understand. I'm sure they saw the concern on our faces as we watched the news most of the evening.
Today, memorial remembrances are being held all over the country for the 3000-plus people who died that day, all innocent victims of terrorists. As I watched the news this morning, I thought about how our family would have been affected had I, or our children's mother, had died in one of those situations. Work took me to various places where I had to fly, and it could have been me on one of those airplanes.
My purpose today is not to dredge up the frightful memories of that horrific day. Instead, I want to remind us to be grateful for our lives, for the country we live in (regardless of what we disagree with), and for our families. God has richly blessed us and while we struggle with differences between us, we still live in the best country in the world.
As you go through the day, why not take a few minutes to pause and pray for those who lost loved ones in those tragic events? And while you're at it, maybe say a prayer of gratitude for the blessings you have been given.