The Memphis Farmers’ Market and Me

First of all, I’d like to thank the 160+ that took the time to read and the many shares of “Where’s The Apology” since I published it last Saturday. I’m humbled that my rant connected with so many of you. If you’ve not had the chance to look at it, I would appreciate you reading it, sharing it and letting Drake and J Cole know that using the word autistic in such a derogatory way is akin to hate speech and not acceptable.

All that to say, the post I originally wanted to post last Saturday didn’t quite get the attention – I don’t think – it deserved. It’s about the Memphis Farmers Market and that facility truly merits your time and attention, even if my post doesn’t do it justice.

mfm logoI have found a new addiction. It’s a place I’ve been to twice and plan to go to no less than once a month – at least until they close in October. It’s the Memphis Farmers Market located at Central Station, S. Front Street at GE Patterson in the Historic South Main District, Downtown Memphis.

Farmers mkt 6The Memphis Farmers Market is a wonderful place to find loads of really great, locally grown, food and flowers and locally made artisan products. They have just about everything from tomatoes and green beans, to metal art, goat milk soaps and mushroom teas. On my most recent excursion, I came home with some wonderful cherry tomatoes, seriously good granola, goat cheese, pesto and even more. I even found multiple species of fig trees, one of which I may come home with my next time there.

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The atmosphere is wonderful! Everything is so laid back, even though it’s crowded. People are shopping the stalls, or eating at one of the food trucks or even just sitting on one of the benches listening to live music and just people watching. All the vendors I have talked to have been very friendly and informative, especially on items they sell I would have no idea how to use.

But that it part of the point for the Memphis Farmers Market. Their mission is to:

  • Improve public health nutrition options by providing a vehicle to educate the community on nutrition and good health
  • Provide access to local food choices
  • Assist area farmers, producers, and artisans with sustainable business opportunities
  • Generate a sense of local pride while furthering the economic development of our community
  • Serve as a community-gathering place

And part of that is not only providing space for vendors to sell their wares; but, they also have cooking demonstrations on how to use the food sold there, Farm to Fork Dinner Tours, and Harvesting Good Health events.

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Like I said I went there a couple of weeks ago and took my mom and Danger Boy. He had been with us before mom had not. But it was nice to let them both just explore and discover something new. Mom was super and bought me a bar of goat’s milk soap from Hearts of Eden and some chevre` from Bonnie Blue Farms. I got some vegan pesto from Harvest Fresh Farms and those together on some sourdough I had at home made for a wonderful lunch. Danger Boy couldn’t keep his hands out of the cherry tomatoes I bought from Mai’s Homegrown Produce. I still have some Bok Choy I need to use; but, I have some tofu marinating for that. (Scratch that, I did a stir fry with that this week, it was my very own Genghis Grill.)

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Today,  L’Ecole Culinaire is having a cooking demonstration, Dogs 2nd Chance is going to be there with dogs available for adoption near the pet sitting area and three different local artists will be playing. And who knows, if you go by the right booth, you might meet a local news celebrity serving coffee. He served me mine and was super nice! 

That was last week, TODAY master gardeners will be answering question from 7:30-11:30. I may have to ask them about getting some reaised beds started in my back yard. WellWorx is sponsoring a “Cardio Boom” class led by Eric Cook, Street Dog Foundation is holding the pet adoptions, and there will be music from Rob Halford (not this one), Shelley Brown and Yancy and the Good’uns. But if you still stop by the right booth, you might meet a very nice local news celebrity!

Farmers mkt 5I really enjoy farmers’ markets and plan to find more. I’ve been to the one in Hernando, MS and where I live has one in the court house square Friday afternoons. More on them soon as I re-familiarize myself with them.

What’s the best thing you’ve picked up at a farmers’ market? I’d like to know so I can find new things to try.

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Where is the apology?

I’m going to apologize in advance because this is going to be as much of a rant as it is a blog post. But I saw something Friday that has really gotten under my skin for multiple reasons. And I have to get it off my chest.

I follow a few fellow parents who live with a child with autism of varying degrees. Friday, one of them posted something that I don’t understand why it’s not been exposed before. It appears that rappers Drake and J Cole wrote a lyric in the song “Jodeci Freestyle” that not only mentions the N word in just about every other line, but it also demeans the Autistic community by equating autism with the word ‘retarded’. I tried to read the lyrics, but had to stop after the first verse because I couldn’t deal with all the profanity and ended up using the search feature on my browser to find the line for myself and be able to read it in context. I wanted to be sure I was on point and not take it out of context. I wasn’t:

I’m undoubtedly the hottest and that’s just me bein’ modest
Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me gettin’ started
I’m artistic, you n—– is autistic, retarded

And that was as long a stretch as I could copy without including another profanity.

This is unacceptable, prejudice speech.

These people (Drake and J Cole) can not know any autistic people. If they did they would know that most autistic people are just as mentally capable as they, if not more so if their grammar and spelling are any indication. They just need the right avenue to show it. My Ninja Cat is an ace at academics and thinks so creatively compared to the rest of us, not just to solve problems but artistically, it’s amazing. He creates the most intricate drawings and can explain what every cog is for and why each beam is in its place. He constructs huge structures in Minecraft and with the switch of a lever can make objects in that world do things it would take me twice as long to construct. Anyone that has a child with autism will tell you similar stories.

This is unacceptable, intolerant speech.

It’s using the Autistic community as the punch line of a very bad joke, so to speak, by putting down those around him. It’s using autistic people as an antithesis of his perceived greatness. Has he ever met Dr. Temple Grandin, who has done more for not just the Autistic community but people’s lives in general through her research? She has done more that touches lives directly through her veterinary research than Drake and J Cole have through their so-called art.

So, where is the outrage over this? Where is the call for an apology, the dropping of endorsements, the derision, the drop in sales that hits him where it would hurt the most – his wallet? I’ve not heard one word about it until my comrade on arms posted it Friday night on Twitter. I’m here to call for the apology! I’m here to call for the dropping of the endorsements, I’m here to deride him for his choice of words, his bigotry, his intolerance. The more we join together, not just as an autism community but as a group of people who do not tolerate bigotry and prejudices, we will be heard. Contact Sprite. Contact Kodak, Let them know their brands shouldn’t be associated with bigotry. Please help me spread this and stop the bigotry!

p.s. (7/17/13) There is a petition on Change.org calling for this to happen. PLEASE go to http://goo.gl/35aBr to sign the petition and make your voice known.

Is Enough Actually Not Enough

One of the things I like best about the church I go to is that even though I haven’t seen some of my ‘church friends’ in a long time, I can pick right up talking with them like they never left. I had cause to take advantage of that privilege recently and it made me think.

I see a woman I’ve not seen in probably almost a year. I knew she was in the beginning stages of what could be a nasty divorce and I had been wondering how she was doing for some months now. It was great to see her and be able to catch up and offer what support to her I could. But it was when the conversation turned to what she was doing to prepare for single motherhood of her three children that worried me.special moments

Here’s what got me thinking. She has finished a medical trade school and is already working a weekday job that has become more hours, by her own admission, than she could have hoped. But then she mentioned taking a job at a hospital for the weekends. She said it was to provide for her family and be able to stand on her own two feet once the divorce was final.

Mother and son 2

The thought hit me. When is she going to see the children she is striving so hard to provide for? Where is the line where working to give her children what they need/want takes the place of being there for them, staying involved in their lives? Time after time it’s been proven that time, not things, is what kids ultimately crave from their parents.

I know I’m lucky that I can stay home with my kids and  pray I am never alone in caring for my children. I also know that mothers that work are also lucky in other ways.

But when is enough actually not enough?

(Photos Courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/)

Brides and Grooms

I had the privilege to attend the wedding of one of my very good friends recently. This wedding is her second and she has finally, I believe, found her other half. He is a really great guy, from everything I have seen; and, they certainly deserve every happiness God can afford them.

So I’m at the wedding, sitting close to the front. The wedding starts and the groomsmen come in to wait on my friend, the bride. Then I remember my pastor saying that in every wedding he does, he looks at the groom while everyone else is looking at the bride as she enters the room. I figure why not try it myself. I’ve seen what my friend looks like. I watched some of her pictures be taken after I helped set up the reception hall.

When everyone stands to see my friend enter, I turn and look at her husband to be. I can tell the exact moment he gets his first look at her. His face turns bright pink; he bites his lip and closes his eyes. For a moment, he looks like he is either going to throw up or pass out. But when he recovers! He recovers and his face is filled with a love and pride I haven’t seen on any face other than my husband’s in a very long time.

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Then, it hits me. All through the Bible, God and Jesus are referred to as the Bridegroom of the nation of Israel and later all believers. Notable examples are Isaiah 62:5 and John 3:29. And all the times I have studied those verses I have concentrated on myself being the bride of Christ and preparing myself for Him. I mean I’m a woman; and, I was a bride about … years ago. (wink.) What is it like to be on the other side of that? What was it like for my now husband to wait for me? Does Jesus wait with bated breath, so to speak, for the time to come where he gathers those that believe in him to Heaven? Is he going to have a similar look on his face when that time comes and the living and the dead in him are caught up in the air?

I think so. I believe he is longing for us just as much, if not more so, than we are longing for him. He knows what is prepared for us in Heaven. He knows what it is going to be like when those who believe in him are all together in praise and worship. We don’t have that knowledge. We can only guess. And we’ve already been told that God does more ‘than we can ask or imagine’ (Ephesians 3:20).

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So, as I watch my friend approach her groom, relief builds on his face that they are actually together and will be until death. I take a moment to be thankful for my earthly groom of 18 years and for my heavenly groom still waiting for his ‘bride’ to be complete and ready for a time that is beyond death.

A Dead Person Breathing

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of the best Christian singer-songwriters I have ever had the pleasure of hearing live – Andrew Peterson. His music rivals my other favorite, Rich Mullins, for its depth of meaning and beauty of language. Even the circumstances of this most recent concert were fun and cool at the same time. The concert was originally scheduled to be at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park. Then, because of weather, the venue changed to the sponsoring church. At Levitt Shell, there is plenty of space for people to bring their picnics and lawn chairs to listen to whomever is playing on stage. So, even though the concert moved into a ballroom looking fellowship hall, everyone still brought their blankets and picnics to watch Andrew Peterson. Danger Boy and I were front and center for the concert and laughed when Andrew Peterson said the this the strangest concert he had ever performed in his career.

This concert was also held on Easter Saturday. So he played all the songs he knew from his catalog that were Easter related. After a few, he said something that I’m still thinking on and marveling at the imagery. He said that on Friday they laid a dead body in the tomb and on Sunday morning ‘that dead body took a breath.’

That image had stuck with me ever since. I went to bed that night tossing around questions, like:

What did it feel like those two nights between Friday and Sunday? I know what happens when we, as humans, die. But how long was Jesus forsaken by God? Was he without his presence the whole weekend? Or was he in the presence of God immediately after death? I know creeds that say he was in hell. But was he really?

What did it feel like when it was time for him to go back into his earthly body, even if it was for only 40 days. Excitement? Dread? Relief?

When he did open his eyes, how long did he have to wait before the women showed up? Was he thinking of ways to reveal himself? Not in a practical joke or silly way, but in a way that would send them running back to the Apostles.

I know the details of his resurrection aren’t important, just something to stretch my mind, because they aren’t enumerated in the Bible. What matters is that he did come back to be the first-born of the dead and be the resurrection and the life for all who choose to believe.

Observations of a Camping Trip

This past weekend our Cub Scout pack spent some time at a great place called Lake Chewalla in the Holly Springs National Forest. It was a great time for the kids to just be kids, learn a little about Scouting and for the adults to get to know each other a little better. Some I’ve known, some are new. I didn’t know if it was because I’m getting a little older or trying to listen to the whispers of God a little more; but, I did make some observations about our little excursion.

1. The Coleman 1 minute tent is the greatest thing since sliced bread. 

2. It doesn’t matter what the fare, it’s the company over dinner that counts.

3. The first night sleeping anywhere new is strange.

4. Eggs, biscuits and coffee taste better outside.eggs

 

 

 

5. With the right encouragement, kids will do just about anything,

6. Plans are great; but, you need to be flexible.

7. My husband has a little more gray than in used to. But then again so do I.

8. Grilling for 50 people can be therapeutic. burgers

9. Sleeping for a second night in a new place with a party going on is strange.

10. Bird songs are beautiful; but, not at 6:00 in the morning. chewalla-300x185

 

 

 

11. It’s amazing how much cleaner one feels by just brushing one’s teeth.

11. It doesn’t matter if you catch anything, just spending time fishing with your son is enough.

12. A house is empty without a dog.

Thirteen County Life Lesson

Sorry to be late with this post, hopefully faithful readers. I have been in a rush since mid March and am just now coming up for some air.  I’ve been working with our school’s spring fundraiser,  two field trips in two days, my birthday and Easter weekend with Friday and Monday out of school – not to mention the usual craziness that comes with school winding down. I guess I’m through whining so I’ll get to the post.

The 500+ entries
The 500+ entries

Danger Boy, Ninja Cat and I took a trip to Oxford for the Region VII Science and Engineering Fair recently. They took their projects that I wrote about in Of Bridges and Craters. Both had won first place in their respective categories at school and they were excited to represent their school against the 500+ entries that also decided to show up at Tad Smith Coliseum that day.

We really had a good time. We talked off and on about what was expected of them, what the judges were likely going to ask and how to act/react when the decisions came down. So when we got there, found their gifted Gifted class teacher and their spots, they were as well prepared as they could be for whatever happened. Last year, I was allowed to sit with Ninja Cat as his ‘aide’ of sorts because of his high functioning Autism. But this year, we decided that we should let him sit there on his own. After all, he’s grown by a whole year and he, along with the 500+, had an electronic device to keep him occupied until the judge came to see his project. But we were close to the floor just in case anything did go wrong and he needed someone.

Danger Boy at the Science Fair
Danger Boy at the Science Fair

Next was just to sit and wait for two and a half hours while all the projects were judged by not one but two judges. Ninja Cat said three came by to see him. After that was a long lunch break. So, we decide to go to the main cafeteria on campus. We talked about what college is and an overview of how it works. Danger Boy was wondering how he would get from our house to Ole Miss and back every day. (It’s just over an hour drive.) Then I told him that you live on campus in that situation. That took him by surprise.Then he decided he wants to go to Ole Miss for college, so I can come visit him on weekends as he put it.

We get back to see if any of our students were in the running for the overall medals. Unfortunately they are not; but, that gives us time to enjoy the student/adult version of Family Feud. They did a survey of 100 children that were participating in the fair for the questions and did multiple rounds for lots of people to have a chance to play and for the judges to get a chance to judge the projects up for the overall awards. Danger Boy really wanted us to do it; and, gratefully we were picked. We decided to sit in the same chair on or respective sides so we could go against each other. Our question was “Name an animal that flies.” He beat me on the buzz in; but, I beat him on the answer. Long story short (I know, too late.), we both were surprised that dragon was the number one answer.

After the Family Feud, they were ready to announce the winners. Again long story short, Ninja Cat won 4th place for his project on bridge design and Danger Boy missed the ribbons. Neither child was happy with his result. That’s when the consoling started by not just me but his amazingly gifted Gifted class teacher. However, neither child was consolable right then. So we left right after their lower grade division was complete citing over-stimulation for Ninja Cat.

Ninja Cat at the Science Fair
Ninja Cat at the Science Fair

It took until the next day for them to be able to come to terms with their results. Ninja Cat did say the next morning he had fun doing the science fair and already has ideas in his head on how to improve for next year. Danger Boy is still in the planning stages. But that’s 10 months away, which doesn’t even place it on my radar. I let them plan anyway. It’ll be good for them to learn forethought.

What are some science fair projects you have done/seen in the past that blew you away? I’ll pas them along to Danger Boy and Ninja Cat.