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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rome, GA-"Not to be ministered unto, but to minister"

This post is about a place very special to me. This place is Berry College in Rome, GA.
Many of you have probably seen this special place without realizing it because it has been the setting for many movies. Most recently, Sweet Home Alabama and Remember the Titans.

In Sweet Home Alabama the Carmichael Plantation is actually the founder's home, Oak Hill. In Remember the Titans, the place the team goes for football camp is actually the Ford Buildings at Berry College.

Oak Hill (Better known as the Carmichael Plantation)-Martha Berry's Home

The Ford Buildings, donated to Martha Berry for Berry College by Henry Ford

Reflecting pool in the courtyard of the Ford Buildings

My family has a long Berry tradition. My parents met here and are both alumni. My aunt and uncle as well as my grandmother also all graduated from Berry. Not to mention one of our family's close friends and former teachers, Evelyn Hoge Pendley who recently passed, was one of the last people who knew the founder, Ms. Martha Berry, personally. A building stands on campus with her family name-Hoge. See picture of the Hoge Building below.

Founder, Martha Berry

I grew up on this campus. Every time we visited my grandmother (which was often) we went to Berry. It is the largest campus in the world. It, in my opinion, is also one of the most beautiful. I have worked at an Ivy League school and have visited others and I can tell you that that they pale in comparison to the splendor that is Berry's campus. I am posting this today because I was thinking about how lovely it would be take take a fall foliage hike and tour around campus this October. I hope we get the chance. The beautiful fall photo below is of the original log cabin Martha Berry used to teach her first Appalachian students the Bible.

My grandmother, who I mentioned in a previous post, graduated from Berry at the age of 79 in the winter of 2003, used to get tutored for her French class from a Berry student who was also a hostess and tour guide of the founder's home--Oak Hill.

Grandmother (middle) on graduation day outside of the Ford Buildings with two professors

It took my grandmother 9 years to graduate so when she started, I was 10 years old. I used to accompany her to her tutoring sessions in the summer at Oak Hill. (The student helped grandmother when she wasn't giving tours). They would meet in the kitchen of the mansion and I would get to wonder the grounds of the home that I love so much. One day the curator's granddaughter, Molly, was there at the same time as me. Molly was allowed to venture behind the museum ropes and enter the historic rooms. I remember being shocked when she played the piano and even tried on some clothes that were in one of the closets upstairs. I had always revered this place and really enjoyed following Molly around the house as we played. I was too afraid to touch anything. I was a little older than her and understood the importance of the historic artifacts that surrounded us.

The fondest memory I have of this particular day at Oak Hill was when a group of people came to tour the home. The guide was busy with grandmother so Molly and I offered to give them a tour. Reflecting back on this now, I am not sure we ever went to get the guide and grandmother. I think we just decided leading the tour on our own would be best. I had heard the tour so many times from my own visits that I think I did pretty well. I told of the crystal ball at the base of the stair railing and how when the home was paid off a wooden ball was replaced with a crystal one. I told which bedrooms belonged to which Berry. I told about how Ms. Martha had the elevator installed once she was no longer able to climb the stairs. On a funny note, when giving the tour of the gardens, I told the group that the sundial in the middle no longer worked because I couldn't read the time. Ha.

Anyway, long story short, this is one of my most favorite places in the world. Although I truly love Auburn University, Berry holds a close second. They may even be tied.

Here is a brief summary of Berry History:
Martha Berry was very devoted to her father, and she rode horseback along with him into the nearby hills and mountain areas, visiting with poorer landowners and tenant farmers. Her father often assisted these families with their needs, and Martha developed a desire to help them also. She never married, choosing instead to make this desire her life's work.

In the late 1890s Martha met three young boys crossing the family's property near Oak Hill on a Sunday afternoon. She learned they did not go to school or Sunday school. They were not familiar with basic stories from the Bible, so she entertained them with some of these stories. She invited them to return the next Sunday with their brothers and sisters. Soon whole families filled a small log cabin that had been built years before near Oak Hill as a playhouse for the Berry children and later served as a quiet place for Martha to read, write, and contemplate. When the group overflowed the cabin (which still stands), she built a small whitewashed school building across the highway from Oak Hill on 83 acres of land given to her by her father. She also used an abandoned church a few miles away at Possum Trot, and two other facilities were located at Mount Alto and Foster's Bend. These four Sunday schools grew into day schools for the children.

Martha eventually concluded that, in order to have sufficient impact on the children, she needed to keep them at the schools rather than have them live at home. She had a dormitory built, and on Jan. 13, 1902, she opened the Boys' Industrial School with five boarding students on the land near her home. After the school was incorporated the next year with a board of trustees, she deeded the 83-acre tract to the corporation. This school later became known as the Mount Berry School for Boys, and on Thanksgiving Day 1909 she opened the Martha Berry School for Girls approximately a mile from the boys' school. These were high schools also offering lower-level studies in the early years. The Berry schools became models for vocational, agricultural and mechanical schools throughout the world by showing how the needs of people in poor rural areas could be met. Through her schools Berry blazed a trail for the establishment of an agricultural and mechanical school in each congressional district of Georgia.

In 1926 she established Berry Junior College, which in 1930 expanded into a four-year school. The high schools were closed in later years following Berry's death in 1942. The college has continued its founder's focus on providing students with a comprehensive education of the head, the heart and the hands. Her motto still endures: "Not to be ministered unto, but to minister."

Below are some pictures of campus. More information about the college can be found on the Berry website .

Below is the mill. It was built by students and the wheel is one of the largest in the world. My brother and I used to love to play here when we were little. I still enjoy visiting it today.

These are two more pictures of Oak Hill.

This is the only interior photo of the home that I could find. It is of the living room that you see on the left as you enter the home. It is across the hall from the home's library.

A birds eye view of the Ford Buildings and the beautiful grounds

This is one of many chapels on campus. It is called Frost Chapel. This is where my parents were married.

This is the Berry family's mountain home called the House of Dreams. I hope you enjoyed this rant. Berry is a special place. If you are ever in Rome, GA it is worth your while to stop and take a tour. Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum are opened most days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Fall is finally here. The first day of autumn was September 22nd. Get out your fall decor. Go and buy some pumpkins. And get in the kitchen and make something yummy.

I found this recipe in Taste of Home two years ago when we were living in Philly. I used to make it as a special treat for us in our apartment on cool fall days. I also made it while in Philly to share with my northern friends at our monthly book club meeting. They had a fit over cream cheese icing. Another great thing about this recipe besides how delicious it is, is that it uses whole wheat flour and is sweetened with honey. Aside from the icing and chocolate chips it is relatively healthy. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
From Taste of Home

20 min.
20 min.
40 min.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Combine the eggs, pumpkin, oil, honey and water. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined; fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. Fill greased or foil-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes. Yield: 15 cupcakes.

From Sep 28, 2009

Copyright Reiman Media Group, Inc © 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Auburn vs. Mississippi State

Judd and I had the pleasure of tailgating, going to Tiger Walk, and going to the Auburn vs. Mississippi State game with friends. We had a great time. In all of my years at Auburn I had never been to Tiger Walk. I really enjoyed it. For those of you who are not familiar with the tradition, the fans line the street and welcome the team, coaches, and cheerleaders as they go from the buses to the stadium. It was so crowded. The street looked like a sea of orange.

We had a friend who graduated from Mississippi State tailgate with us. It was his first time in Auburn. I hope we represented the Auburn family well and showed him the generous hospitality Auburn is known for. See some pictures from the weekend below.
Abby and Judd at our tailgateJudd's Mom playing checkers with our friends Morgan and Brom at the tailgate
Judd and our Mississippi State friend Richmond
Our friend Sheila, Abby, and Judd
Tiger Walk
Mr. Unicycle Man at Tiger Walk
Judd and Abby at Tiger Walk
Auburn Cheerleaders

View looking down towards Stadium at Tiger Walk

A player making his way to the Stadium

Head Coach Gene Chizik

View looking up the hill towards the buses at Tiger Walk

Tailgating near the Amphitheater

The band making their entrance around the stadium before the pre-game show

Judd and Abby in our seats and ready for the game

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

100 Things About Me

I was reading another blog not too long ago and saw that the author posted a list of 100 things about her. I thought it was a great idea since us bloggers follow each other's thoughts and lives but never really get to know one another. I decided to take a stab at it.
100 Things About Me: Abbygail Braden Tull Langham

September 15, 2009

1. I am crazy about my husband. I truly recognize what a lucky woman I am for a man like him to love me.
2. I love the Lord. I want to exemplify everything that it means to be a Christian.
3. I struggle with number two above daily.
4. I want to finish my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership soon but know I have 3 ½ years left.
5. I don’t enjoy school now the way I did with my Master's degree.
6. I love big dogs. The bigger the better. I’ve found they’re usually sweeter too.
7. I really enjoy decorating and interior design blogs even though I am not an interior architect or designer.
8. I am a terrible artist. It’s ok, I’ve come to terms with it.
9. If I had any ability to draw I think I would have loved to be in the interior design field.
10. Instead, I am a desk jockey at an institution of higher education.
11. I actually like it.
12. I have really great bosses. (I recognize that I am super lucky with this one.)
13. My husband is a truly amazing artist.
14. I can’t wait to be debt free (all that is left is our student loans).
15. Having said that, we are saving for our first house and understand that we will eventually be debt free except for a mortgage.
16. We will not buy a home until we have a 20% down payment.
17. It is hard to wait but I think it will be worth it to buy a home the “right” way (No judgment on our part if you didn’t do this. We understand this is a very personal goal for us.)
18. My husband and I have a goal to learn French together. (We both took Spanish in school).
19. Once we learn French we want to reward ourselves with a trip to France. We’ve never been to Europe together, only separately.
20. I think I have the most wonderful and coolest grandmother on the planet. She and I were in college at the same time. She graduated when she was 79 years old with a degree in music performance. She is remarkable.
21. I love the beach, particularly Seaside, Florida
22. Pink is my favorite color
23. I am still very close with my high school friends. They are FABulous.
24. I enjoy a regular Dr. Pepper from a fountain and on ice very much.
25. I believe all southern women should know how to be a good hostess and demonstrate this skill regularly.
26. Swimming is my favorite type of exercise.
27. I can’t wait to be a mother. As soon as I finish this last degree we’ll work on making that happen.
28. I hope to have two happy, healthy, beautiful, smart, talented children. (I’ll love them even if they are not any of these things.)
29. I think my husband is going to be an amazing father.
30. I love Greek food. Dolmades and Tzatziki sauce in particular.
31. After France, I want to go to Greece and Italy with my husband.
32. I think Halloween is a really fun time of year.
33. I like to bake the seeds out of the pumpkin we carve. It reminds me of my mother doing it for my brother and me when we were little.
34. I look forward to scary movie nights with my husband throughout the month of October.
35. Having said that about Halloween, I love all holidays. Each one is special in a different way to me.
36. I love to make lists. (I guess this is a prime example.)
37. I think every southern woman should be able to spontaneously quote from the movie Steel Magnolias.
38. I love white lilies, blue, pink or white hydrangea, and pink or white roses.
39. I think it is important to get along with your in-laws (all of them, not just your mother and father-in-law, but your sisters and brothers-in-law too)
40. I love a child in a smocked outfit. There is truly nothing cuter.
41. I want to learn to smock before I have children.
42. Let me back that up, I want to learn how to sew and then smock before I have children.
43. I would love to a have a monogramming (embroidery) sewing machine.
44. I want to retire at the beach with my husband while we are still young and healthy enough to enjoy it.
45. On that note, I recognize that I have at least 24 more years before I can make that happen.
46. Cancer really scares me. It crosses my mind at least once daily in some way--either fear of having it myself or fear that someone I love will have it.
47. I really like chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt with gummy bears and peanut butter cups. I know this is an odd combination.
48. I love Auburn University and everything it represents. I believe in Auburn and love it!
49. I enjoy watching SEC football with my husband. He is a great teacher of the sport for me. He makes me laugh when he watches it because he gets so excited during big plays. He doesn’t know how funny I think he is when he does this.
50. I fear losing my husband more than anything else.
51. I also have a debilitating fear of bugs. I truly panic if one comes near me.
52. I promise this is not why I fear losing my husband more than anything else. He is a good bug stomper, but he has a lot of other really great qualities too.
53. I would like to study photography and make it a hobby.
54. I want to emulate my grandmother in every way possible. She values learning new things, her Savior, friendships, and family. She’s my role model.
55. I need to study scripture more in order to have a foundation for my faith.
56. I want to find a charity my husband and I can regularly volunteer with together.
57. I don’t want to seem selfish, but I don’t think I can manage to complete number 56 until I get out of school.
58. Working full time while earning my PhD, maintaining my marriage, home, and family and friend relationships is taking every waking moment I have.
59. Making a list that continuously says I need, I want, I would is making me feel self-conscious and selfish. I guess it wouldn’t be a list about me if I did it differently.
60. I can’t remember words to songs, actor’s names, or the plots to most movies I watch.
61. I still get really excited when it snows, even after living in Philadelphia, PA for a year.
62. I stress and worry a lot. I wish I didn’t but I do.
63. I have never smoked a cigarette and never plan to try it. I can’t stand the smell. (Again, this goes back to my fear of cancer).
64. I never for one second had cold feet about marrying my husband. For someone who worries a lot this was total reassurance that I was making the right decision.
65. I think it is really important to research everything one can. Too much information is never a bad thing.
66. I sometimes feel like people that I am close to don’t know me very well at all. With the exception of my husband. I think he knows me better than anyone.
67. I am working on this. I realize I need to be more approachable. I realize I can come across judgmental or rigid, especially when the issue involves people I love and want the best for. I don’t feel like I am judgmental, but I think I may be perceived this way.
68. I will not do this at the expense of my values or beliefs.
69. I enjoy completing a task as a team and leading others.
70. I especially enjoy working on projects with my in-laws at their farm or home this way. It is fun to dream together and then make our dreams a reality. To clarify, we are all working to restore an old cabin on the family farm.
71. I think women deserve equal pay for equal work with men.
72. I enjoy blogging. It is a creative outlet for me. I am thrilled when others read my blog, but I think I would post even if no one was looking at it.
73. I fear not being the parent my children need because I will work full time.
74. I think it's important to hold oneself with poise and grace. It exudes confidence and happiness.
75. I really like dishes. I want to make an effort to use our fine china more.
76. I met my husband at a Wal-Mart in Auburn, AL. I was with a mutual friend and he came over to say hello. We both walked off asking about the other one. The mutual friend and her boyfriend arranged and doubled with us on our first date. The rest is history.
77. I love cereal. I could probably eat it for every meal.
78. I graduated high school with almost 700 people.
79. I am an Alpha Omicron Pi alumna.
80. I will never forget where I was on September 11, 2001 when our country was attacked by terrorists. I was sitting in my high school senior English class watching the events unfold on the news.
81. I love fresh fruit.
82. I like to sleep when it is raining. It is so calming.
83. I am amazed if anyone is still reading this.
84. I spent my childhood in Huntsville, AL.
85. Because of number 84 I think space exploration is really neat. I especially loved space week at my elementary school.
86. I moved to Hoover, AL (a suburb of Birmingham) when I was 12 years old.
87. I was born on July 5th. My dad thinks that I believed him when he told me the fireworks on the 4th were for me. I didn’t but I humored him. I still humor him on this matter.
88. I call my grandmother every day. I think she probably feels like I think I have to, but I don’t. I love to talk to her. Talking to her on my way home from work is usually the highlight of my day.
89. I have never downloaded music to an mp3 player or iPod. I don’t even know how.
90. I don’t even own an mp3 player or iPod. I don’t really care to have one either.
91. I am bad about calling my friends. I think about them often but rarely call. I need to work on this.
92. The movie The Notebook makes me cry every time I watch it. Although that is not saying much because most movies make me cry whether happy or sad tears.
93. I think it is important to write down goals. I believe they are more likely to be reached this way.
94. My husband I developed a 10 year goal list and revisit it every year. I consider it our strategic plan.
95. My husband and I lived in Philadelphia, PA for an entire year without a car. We left both of our cars in Alabama and became pedestrians. I don’t think most Americans will ever experience this. I think they should.
96. If most Americans had ever truly been pedestrians and public transit riders our cities would be much better planned.
97. My husband is a landscape architect and will really like that I just included my thoughts on number 96.
98. I enjoy the company of others and would rather be with people than without them.
99. I want to help make my community, my city, my state, and my country a better place. That is the main reason I got my Master of Public Administration degree.
100. I want to be a Christian example to my family, friends, colleagues, and others. I regularly struggle with this.

Fwd: Check Your Sources

This post is just me venting. I'm not venting over anything that is really important, but just over something that drives me bananas.

I have gotten a few forwards lately from people who I know to be intelligent and should know to check the source before forwarding. I read these forwards and immediately question them. You know the types: "Don't Use Your Cell Phone While It Is Plugged Into The Wall", or "Amazing, Even CBS Didn't Stop Him" (an email someone typed and then attached Andy Rooney's name to it), or "Wow" (this one says that President Obama and his wife attend flag burnings), or "My Kind of Dog" (a forward about a military dog named Brutus who won the Congressional Medal of Honor).

It was the "Don't Use Your Cell While It Is Plugged Into The Wall" forward that prompted me to write this. The forward was a warning that phones will catch on fire and burn or kill you if you use them while charging. It showed graphic pictures of burned hands and fingers. Then the forward went on to say that the person who was burned was pronounced dead on arrival when he reached the hospital. Well, you can tell the pictures were taken at home. This immediately threw up a red flag for me. Did this person's family really care so little about him that they took the time to photograph his burnt hands before taking him to the ER? Or did someone really just email me pictures of a dead person's hands? COME ON PEOPLE. Let's all use some common sense. Of course with about 2 seconds of investigation on the Internet I found this forward to be false. I often check forwards with I don't know that it is the most reputable site either. I am not claiming to be an expert. I do, however, think that a little further research may stifle our need to so hastily hit the forward button.

I know most forwards are sent because they strike some kind of human emotion that the sender truly cares about (patriotism, love of animals, safety concerns, etc). Also, I know that some forwards while untrue still offer a good moral message. But let's all be more careful about spreading rumors, fallacies, or slander. Let's check our sources.

See below for links regarding some of the forwards previously mentioned.

Brutus the dog with the Medal of Honor

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Auburn vs. Louisiana Tech Tailgate

Cliff Williams Opelika-Auburn News

As mentioned in my last post, Judd and I were able to spend our Labor Day weekend in the loveliest village on the plains. We had about 24 people at the tailgate to help us kick off the Auburn University football season. We had a fantastic time.

We started our day off with a round of bloody mary's and a pickled okra or two as a garnish. Judd grilled yummy hamburgers and sausage. Everyone brought a dish. We had quite a spread. There is nothing like southern food, southern people, and southern football. I only snapped a few photos. See below.

To make our time in Auburn even sweeter, the tigers beat Louisiana Tech. 37-13. And we had possibly the best pre-game eagle flight in Auburn history. Spirit, the eagle, flew right in front of us between the uprights. It was AWESOME!!! Maybe that is why we were so spot on with our kicking that game. Spirit showed our kicker the way. War Eagle!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AU Fan Day

(Pretend Eye of the Tiger is playing in the background) Our time at Auburn University Fan Day in August is being posted as a sign of things to come. That is right, Auburn plays its first game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, September 5th, at 6pm CST.

Judd and I both attended Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. It is where we met and fell in love. It is also where we lived for the first 2 years of our marriage. When our years in undergrad and grad school are combined, Judd lived in Auburn for 7 years and I lived there for 5. Auburn feels like home to us and it holds a special place in our hearts.

When we were newlyweds, we lived in a rental home on South College Street (across the street from the Arboretum parking lot for all of you fellow tigers). It was a great location. We could walk to class and the stadium. When we decided to move to Philadelphia, PA after grad. school graduation the house went up for sale. Judd's parents bought the house and have made it a tailgate home. We are so glad they did. That house is so special to us because it was our first home and because it is in our favorite place on earth. Long story short, we go back to Auburn for EVERY home game. We love to tailgate with our Auburn friends and family. We're looking forward to some AU tigers football! WAR EAGLE!

Judd's Daddy (Terry), Abby, and Judd walking through the Arboretum towards the stadium
Judd's Mom (Dot), Abby, Judd, and Terry inside Jordan Hare Stadium