Monthly Archives: June 2013

There Is Something About Much Ado About Nothing/Inspiration 6.28.13

Much Ado About Nothing

If you are only able to see one film this summer, Much Ado About Nothing is the one to see.

The film is fast-paced and witty. Set in the present day, this version brings Shakespeare to life in a way I have never experienced. The cinematography and music help to make this film relevant to today’s audience but the story is timeless.

Watch the movie trailer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUWlPjXvFZU

Read more about the film and the story.

http://muchadomovie.com/#home

Let me know what you think about this version of Much Ado About Nothing.

The Road Home / Reflections on Camp St. Christopher

Camp cross/Photo courtesy of Ana Olbrych

Photo courtesy of Ana Olbrych

The drive to Camp St. Christopher is as beautiful as it gets. Curving pavement shaded by centuries old trees, branches arching overhead. Even in the midsummer heat of coastal South Carolina, the air in this tree-tunnel is degrees cooler, shades darker.

Turning onto the main road that runs the length of the island, the teenager beside me grows restless, unsettled. It is now a straight shot to our destination. The car slows to a crawl just past the guard’s gate as we meander through the community of vacation houses. This part of the journey is the longest slowed by anticipation, nervousness and speed limit. A deep sigh in the next seat then laughter. I don’t know why I get so nervous every time. I smile and nod my head.

She has been coming to this camp in the summer for eight years. As a family we have been here countless times. She knows most of the staff personally, will be sharing a cabin with two of her best friends and knows the majority of campers. Yet now the nerves–part excitement, part fear. Will it be as great as I remember? Will my cabin coalesce? Will my friendships grow stronger? Will I feel God’s presence there?

75 years of summer camp

Parking / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

Turning into the camp the familiar sign greets us like an old friend. We both breath out slowly. Gravel crunches and dirt whirls around the car before we reach the vast field to park. Someone calls out a greeting to her–calls her by name. Head whipping around to see, a smile breaks across her face. Once parked she bounds out of the car and runs to hug the friend from summers past. Over the next thirty minutes familiar faces appear again and again and are met with squeals and smiles and embraces. She is home.

This camp is a special place. It is home for so many–and for so long. Seventy-five years of summer camps. Seventy-five years of providing a uniquely beautiful place in which to meet Jesus and experience His presence.

Camp interior / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

photo (25) (2)

Girls on boardwalk/Photo courtesy of Ana Olbrych

Photo courtesy of Ana Olbrych

I look around remembering as we follow the boardwalk to her cabin. I didn’t know this place as a child nor anything like it. But for the last sixteen years it has been a place of rest and reconciliation and transformation for me and my family. We have come to this place for personal retreats,conferences, holidays, parish weekends, Cursillio, family camps,…it truly is home to us.

Bunk bed / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

Trunk  / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

Cabin mates / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

She has almost forgotten that I am with her as she claims her bunk, meets her cabin mates and begins to settle into the routine of camp. With a quick hug we say goodbye and I head back to my car feeling just a little envious of her for the week that lies ahead.

Five days later we return to bring her home. We are as anxious as she on the way down. Was it a good week? What about the cabin, the friends, the boys,….

We hurry into the building for the closing program and are greeted by a wall of music. Teenagers are on their feet singing and dancing, arms raised worshiping the Lord. It is powerful. A chill runs up my spine. He is here. With us right now. You can see it in their faces, in their laughter, in their abandon.

Seaside baptism / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

The goodbyes are bittersweet. Embraces long. Some longer than others. Faces buried in necks. With hands finally on cell phones, last-minute photos are taken, numbers exchanged. Goodbyes and waves across the sand. Slow walk to the car dragging bags full of dirty, wet, sandy clothes. The week-worn, sun darkened teenager climbs into the front seat turning on the air conditioner full blast.

Photo courtesy of Ana Olbrych

We drive to the pre-arranged lunch spot for one last meal with the best friend and her mother. Stories and laughter spill out over pizza, the two so close they finish one another’s sentences. A call comes through and the girls are out of the door in a flash. We walk to our car in the parking lot and spot them. An impromptu group of teenagers from camp has formed for one last farewell–Carolina style. With cars and trucks parked and music blaring, they claim partners and dance one last Shag dance before heading home to their “normal” lives.

Last shag dance / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

We parents smile watching a memory form. Their lives will never be the same again. Camp has now become embedded in their hearts and minds forever. This place is in their blood. Praise be to God.

Teenager home from camp / Photo by Amy Watson Smith

Some photos provided with permission of Ana Olbrych.

One Thousand Gifts / #131-140

I am particularly thankful this week for the blessing of Camp St. Christopher on Seabrook Island. My daughter just returned yesterday from her eighth year of this awesome summer camp. They are celebrating their 75th anniversary this weekend. I will be writing more about the impact of Camp St. Christopher on my family and so many others on this blog on Tuesday, so please come back and check it out.

131. Rosebank Farms

132. Mother’s birthday

133. Rain boots on a rainy day

134. Puddles

135. Hello sunshine

136. 75 years of sharing Jesus with kids

137. Camp friends

138. Seaside baptism with a cloud of witnesses

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…Hebrews 12:1

139. Saying goodbye Carolina style–one last Shag dance

140. Teenager home from camp

Froggie went a courtin’… / Inspiration 6.20.13

Rain

We have had a lot of rain recently.

puddle

Days and days of it.

Rain boots

So much rain that I have taken to leaving the rain boots on the front porch.

With so many days of rain, I have found it difficult to find much inspiration visually. I am waterlogged.

Rain on windshield

That is until last night.

As we were leaving the restaurant where we had just celebrated my mother’s 77th birthday, we dodged the last of the rain drops still clinging to the leaves of the live oak trees lining the parking lot. Then I heard it.

The throaty call of the bullfrogs. From under the umbrella I produced my iPhone and recorded the sounds.

Playing it over the speakers of my car, seconds later, we laughed at the symphony I had captured.

american-bullfrog_11266_600x450

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/american-bullfrog/

Arriving home we were greeted by the summer’s night serenade filling the moist air growing louder as I neared their watery home behind our house.

Listen to the sounds of a bullfrog serenade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbXItUDliuo

One brave soul starts the throaty call and is joined quickly by a chorus of his brothers each one competing to out-croak the other. Working themselves into a frenzy, the group suddenly tires. Now just a few. Now two. One. Now silence.  The circular whistle-chirp of the crickets together fills in the background.

Froggie went a courtin’ and he did ride…

I am reminded of the folk song. The one my father strummed and my mother sang years ago on a summer night of my childhood.

Froggie went a courtin’ and he did ride…

Sounds bring memories.

Inspiration everywhere.

Often when one of our senses is dulled, another sharpens. Can you describe a time when this has happened to you?

Listen to an original recording of this song by Woody Gutherie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCjkuF5F3kk

127. Monster frog

Frog too close for comfort.

One Thousand Gifts / #120-130

Much to be thankful for in my life and this week’s additions reflect that!

Terrace / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

120. Date night

Chili co queso / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

121. Chips and queso

Palmetto moon in parking lot / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

122. Palmetto moon in parking lot

Edisto tomato pie

123. Edisto tomato pie

124. Daughter dooting on daddy

124. Daughter doting on daddy

125. Caught in rain storm

125. Caught in rainstorm

126. Respite from rain

126. Respite from rain

127. Monster frog

127. Lowcountry full of life

128. Returning to camp

128. Returning to camp

129. St. Michael's VBSers praying for George

129. St. Michael’s VBSers praying for George

130. Fields flowered in color

130. Fields flowered with color

Date Night / Inspiration 6.14.13

Zia / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

My inspiration for the week? Date night with my husband last night.

After work we hurried over to one of our favorite restaurants, Zia Tequeria (http://ziataco.com/) on James Island.

Zia menu / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

A Zia Rita and chips with chili con queso made everything okay.

Zia Rita / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Chili co queso / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Zias is always busy and seating can be difficult to find at times–inside and out. It is especially busy just before the start of a movie at the Terrace theatre next door.

Zia people / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

After dinner we stepped outside and were once again caught off guard by the amazing views this place has to offer: a palmetto moon even in a parking lot.

Palmetto moon in parking lot / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

The Terrace Theatre (http://terracetheater.org/) has always been one of our favorite venues with art house and foreign films, classics and some current movies.

Terrace / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

The movie we picked: Stories We Tell (http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/456815/Stories-We-Tell/overview). Yes we recommend it.

Stories we tell / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

The atmosphere at the Terrace is grand–red carpeting and twinkle lights lead you into the bar area.

Wall of beer / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

They have a great selection of wine and beer as well as snacks. My favorite is the caramel cake (featured in the movie The Help–http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20110810/PC1206/308109898).

We didn’t have any cake since we were so full from chips and queso. Next time…

Snacks / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Just a little vintage musical reminder about the snack bar…I always look forward to this. There is something so great about show corn and hot dogs dancing around!

Home / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Time to head home. It was a great night. Good food. Good movie. And the best company.

Photos by Amy Watson Smith, 2013.

The Secret of Summer? Tomato Pie

Edisto tomato pie

Tomato pie. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Tomato pie is synonymous with summertime in South Carolina–especially in the Lowcountry.

I remember the first time I tasted this delectable treat. I was staying with friends at Edisto Beach and our hostess had purchased a tomato pie from one of the road-side vegetable stands. With the first bite, I fell in love with the salty, acidic, creamy, cheesy dish served up in a flaky, buttery pastry shell.

Over the years I have eaten my share of pie and have worked on perfecting a recipe of my own (see below).

This past weekend I stopped by the road-side vegetable stand not far from my house. Run by Boone Hall Farms (http://www.boonehallfarms.com/), this stand is open virtually year-round. They have a great market/cafe a bit further up Highway 17, but I love the  red and white tent that sits in the midst of the u-pick fields.

Boone Hall Farm

I love to wander over to the fields to see what is growing. Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries were still available, according to the signs but I didn’t seem to make it past the rows of tomatoes.

tomato fields

At this point in the summer they are still in their teenage state of greenness.

tomato vines

Fortunately they had some vine-ripened tomatoes from Florida.

tomatoes

 These tables will be overflowing in a few weeks. I can’t wait.

peaches

South Carolina peaches are just appearing but they need to ripen a bit more. I decided to give them another week or two.

peach crates

Sandy

Sandy smiled and laughed as she rang up all of the produce I purchased.

flag

What are your favorite road-side vegetable stand finds? Do you have any favorite recipes that use fresh produce? I hope that you will share them here.

slice of pie

Edisto Tomato Pie 

1 (9-inch) pie shell

1 egg white

1 teaspoon water

2-3 large tomatoes*, peeled and sliced or chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried minced onions

dash of red pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons flour

4-5 fresh basil leaves chopped

dash of paprika

  1. Beat egg white with water. Brush over unbaked pie shell. Line pie shell with parchment paper and pie weights (can also use dried beans). Bake pie shell according to directions. Cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Peel and slice or chop tomatoes. Gently squeeze tomatoes to remove excess liquid and place in a bowl. (*If you don’t have good, home-grown tomatoes then you can use a mix of tomatoes. I always replace a cup of grape tomatoes sliced in half for one of the tomatoes because they are always tart and good). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix mayonnaise and shredded cheddar together in a bowl. Add half of the parmesan cheese. Add minced onions and a dash of red pepper and mix.
  5. Put flour in bowl. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon to reduce liquid and place in bowl with flour. Toss tomatoes in flour.
  6. Place tomatoes in bottom of the cooled pie shell. Add remaining salt and pepper, garlic powder and basil leaves.
  7. Spread mayonnaise-cheese mix evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and paprika.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.