Mindless Wanderings

Capturing the small moments in a full life



Fall/Winter Highlights from Yours Truly


After I don’t know how many years of volunteering at and putting up with the traffic of Bikes, Blues and BBQ, Mark and I finally got wise.  Well, not really. It just so happened that Glen Hansard was making an appearance in Tulsa the same weekend – so we accidentally and happily escaped.  Glen Hansard is, hands down, the BEST live show I’ve ever seen and I would (and hopefully WILL!) go again and again and again. If you’re not familiar with him, do yourself a favor and watch Once on Netflix, follow him on Spotify, and watch everything – especially THIS – of his on YouTube.   He’s my favorite. By.A.Mile.


We made a weekend of it and I was pretty stoked to go to the ACTUAL Curtis House from my favorite movie, The Outsiders. They’re raising funds to convert it into a museum. I WILL be back.  outsiders


A road trip with AMAZING friends to see Lutheran “S-hero” and author of Patrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint and Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People, Nadia Bolz-Weber.  Said road trip included lots of laughs and bonding over frequent potty stops (#bladdergrils), and several Uber experiences. We also took advantage of photo ops, enjoyed a fantastically fortunate dining experience at The Drop, and a less than fortunate recommendation for a local watering hole.  We ended the weekend with a gorgeous afternoon of shopping at The Plaza and lunch on the patio at  McCormick’s and Schmick’s. girls-trip-collage


Two kids home from college, plus Collin, made for a very happy Thanksgiving for me!  There’s nothing I love more than having all my chickies at home and cooking for them and feeding them.  Ethan introduced us to Cards Against Humanity (not my finest parenting moment) and we had a family game night plus chislic before Grace and Collin headed back to Jonesboro.  Honestly, the fact that they stayed late specifically FOR game night was the highlight of my holiday.thankskgiving-girls

On November 30th Mark and I spent 5 hours on the road (down and back to Conway) with mom and dad to see Ethan for 20 minutes on the stage in a one-ace play at UCA titled “The Decision.”  It was incredible and Mark and I are still, both, BEAMING with pride.



We turned our annual #Brewtheran Beervent party into a fundraiser for the ministries at our church and it exceeded all of my hopes and expectations. My good friend Sherilyn transformed our fellowship hall into a warm and cozy space reminiscent of a chalet. Our praise band musicians set the mood with their amazing talents, and Alan Gann provided several tasty home brews. My heart is FULL!


Day 14. Gather. #RethinkChristmas


For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20

DIY Beer Advent Calendar (AKA #Beervent13)

beer box under treeThis DIY project is for you if ANY of the following are true:

  • you know what Advent is
  • you’d prefer a beer exchange over a cookie exchange
  • your friends geek out over craft beer
  • you’re thirsty right now
  • you’ve ever been inspired by something you saw on Pinterest

Brewtheran Beervent13A new tradition was born this week in Fayetteville.  It started, as most EPIC ideas get started these days, by a Facebook post. The post, by none other than the Reverend Abigail Letsinger, Pastor of New Communities at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, sparked a flurry of of responses creating a most animated conversation.  Soon, our plan was hatched.  We would gather together with assorted craft SUPPLIES in hand, as well as 24 craft BEERS to share (think cookie exchange, only 1,000x better!).  Winter, holiday and of course LOCAL brews were preferred. Together we would create our own beer Advent calendars to count down to Christmas.

Amy and Alan are our resident beer experts and they curated the following list:
(you’ll want to find out what is locally available where you live)

1. Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale (a fresh hop winter IPA)
2. North Coast’s Old Stock Ale (an English style old ale)
3. Ommegang’s Hennepin (farmhouse saison)
4. Boulevard’s Nutcracker Ale (winter specialty ale)
5. New Belgium’s Accumulation (white IPA)
6. Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
7. Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter (English style porter)
8. Saison du Pont (farmhouse ale — a huge fave among most of our beer-elitist friends)
9. North Coast’s Brother Thelonious (Belgian strong dark ale)
10. Samichlaus Classic (a Christmas-only Austrian doppelbock)
11. Kasteel Winter Belgian Ale
12. Avery Old Jubilation Ale
13. Anchor Our Special Ale (39th annual Christmas ale and always delicious)
14. Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
15. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale (Belgian abbey ale)
16. Delirium Noël Belgian Ale
17. Schlafly Christmas Ale
18. Gouden Carolus Noël (another delicious Belgian)
19. Samuel Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout
20. Duchesse de Bourgogne (Flemish Red ale)
21. Affligem Noël Christmas Ale (brewed in where else, Belgium!, at a brewery which has been in operation since 1074)
22. Ft. Collins Brewery Big Shot seasonal brown ale
23. Anchor Big Leaf Maple — red ale brewed with maple syrup
24. AveryThe Reverend — (a Belgian quad in honor of Pastor Abigail)

beer box

Then, the party happened.  You’ve never seen so many cheery faces happily lugging heavy cases of beer into the cozy townhome of Pastor Abigail and her hubby Anthony who served as hosts. Oh, and since all of our participants were or are Lutherans, we created our own hashtags for the festivities:  #Brewtheran #Beervent13

collage 1

Here are your step by step instructions for hosting a beer exchange and Beer

Advent Calendar making party.

  1. Decide on a beer theme (Winter Ales? Local brews?)
  2. Everyone brings as many beers as they plan to take home.
    We did 24 beers for Advent. You could do the 12 beers of Christmas, 8 beers for Hannukah – whatever floats your boat. Don’t forget to bring a few extra beers for consuming AT the party.
  3. Round up your craft supplies.  Gift wrap, construction paper, glue, scissors, glitter.
    Whatevs . . .
  4. Use the craft supplies to cover up the beer labels to give it that element of “SURPRISE” that Advent Calendars are famous for.  Number accordingly.
  5. I wrapped my beer box in coordinating wrapping paper, but you could put them in a nice basket under your tree.
  6. Enjoy the “brew-of-the-day” each day during Advent.  You can even have a “virtual toast” among your friends, or share a beer review each day.

beers wrappedcheers from J

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