Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Happy Holidays

This year I got to share Christmas with my bestest friend, my husband, my love -- Joe!

I had so much fun with family and friends. We spent the holidays in Houston with my family. We enjoyed the Christmas train across the street at our neighbors (with 50+ of our closest friends), we had tamales, we had cajun chowder, we got to experience the new preacher at our parents' church (talk about trial by fire on Christmas!), we opened so many lovely gifts, we watched movies, some of us got sick! (me), I found out my friend got engaged!!!!! (CONGRATS DINA!!), and we celebrated the birth of our Savior.

I can't think of a better way to spend the holidays...unless you were going to give me more time off, which I would readily accept by the way.

So in the spirit of giving, I would like to include the awesome recipe my mom prepared over the break! Enjoy!!

Cajun Corn Chowda'

2 – 12 oz bags Crawfish tails
1 – stick Margarine
1 pint Half & Half – Non Fat
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Fat Free
1/4 cup Green onions – chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cans Potato soup
2 cans Niblet whole corn
1 can Rotelle Original diced tomatoes
Black Pepper

1. Spray a relatively large pot with Pam.
2. Add the two bags of crawfish tails, stick of margarine, and chopped green onions.
3. Sauté for ~ 10-minutes in the large pot over medium heat.
4. Add the 8-oz of cream cheese, 1-can of cream of mushroom soup, 2-cans of potato soup, 2-cans of niblet corn, 1-can of Rotelle tomatoes, and 1-pint of half & half.
5. Cook … bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the chowder for at least 20-minutes.
6. Add to taste … little salt, little black pepper, and a dash of red pepper.

Best enjoyed when shared with friends or family!

15 people … can easily be doubled.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."

"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." - Linus Van Pelt

Wishing you and your families a most blessed Christmas. May you feel His peace and guidance as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this holiday. And may Santa leave no lumps of coal in your stockings! =)

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's official!

It's official folks. I have filed my name change with the government! I am now and forever always to be "Leanna Michelle O'Brien."

I debated long and hard as to keep Michelle or make Pate my middle name. I like my middle name. I sign everything with my middle initial. What would I do without it?

But then I was sad that I would be leaving Pate behind. I love being a Pate. I love my Pate family! I didn't want them to feel like I was just ditching them.

So I called my mom to ask her for her wise opinion and she said, "Ehh, whatever it doesn't really matter." So you wouldn't be sad if I didn't use it??? "No, why??" -- so there you go!

I will always be a Pate at heart, but now I get to be an O'Brien. In fact, an LMO! (elmo!!!)

So, look out world, here I come.

(Sorry, I was having a Mary Tyler Moore moment!) :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Countdown of Me!

As seen on Lydia's post, but this time, all about me!

10 Random Things About Me
1. I don't like milk on my cereal. It makes it soggy.
2. I wanted to me a vet or archaeologist when I grew up.
3. I once hit a mail box with my car and the top part fell off and I ran away.
4. I want to live in the mountains and have lots of trees.
5. I would also like to open up a cafe/stationery store.
6. My car's name is Rufus. It's in the bible; he's a man of God!
7. The only C I made was in college in History because the TA told us the wrong subject matter for the final. Don't get me started!
8. I like to keep my shoes in their original boxes in my closet
9. My husband can throw a 90+ mph fast ball.
10. I love SciFi books

9 Things I Love
1. Joe
2. My Family
3. My Friends
4. Sunny, 75 degree days
5. Nature
6. The way the clouds make swirly fun patterns with the setting sun's awesome colors as a backdrop
7. Singing in the car
8. Sponteneity
9. sleeping

8 Things that Annoy Me
1. Smokers outside of buildings
2. Idiot drivers
3. Monotony
4. Laundry
5. Never getting enough sleep
6. Not having a personal chef
7. The fact that my friends live so far away
8. Commuter traffic

7 Favorite Foods
1. Chips and Salsa
2. Cheese Enchiladas
3. Chicken Enchiladas
4. Tamales
5. Lasagna - my mom's
6. M&M blizzards
7. Coke Slurpees

6 Favorite Authors
1. LM Montgomery
2. JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Austin
4. JK Rowlings
5. Catherine Marshall
6. God, Paul, Luke, John and the rest of the guys

5 Things to Do Before I Die
1. Get a puppy and a kitty
2. Go on a big sail boat
3. Go to Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and the rest of the UK (You say Australia isn't in the UK, take it up with my good friends in Sneakers!)
4. Be a great mom
5. Own a home with a yard and lots of trees

4 Favorite Quotes
1. "You think it'll work?" "It would take a miracle."
2. "May the Force be with you."
3. "Hchello my name is Inigo Montoya, prepare to die!"
4. "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose."

3 Stores I Love
1. Target
2. Half Price Books

2 Places I Love to Go
1. Home
2. Irving Bible Church

1 Thing I Say A Lot

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fee Fi Fo Fum!

So my friend, Lydia, posted about how people eat m&ms. Now as the holidays are here, I thought, how do people eat gingerbread men/sugar cookie men?

Personally, I like to eat the extremities first. The feet, then the arms, and then of course the head! Then I pop in the torso and savor the flavor of the holiday season!

So if the way we eat m&ms tells us something, what does the way we eat little fake people tell us? How do you eat your baked brethren?

On a funny note: Lydia and I made holiday cookies this weekend, and one of our little guys arm fell off. So, what do we do? We icing him up with a red shmear along the severed limb area, garnish with red sprinkles and serve to our loving, unsuspecting husbands! Muaaahaaahaaa!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Giving - a must to remember in this crazy time of year

So we've made it to the holidays. We are rushing around trying to find the perfect gift. Trying to find the closet parking space. Trying to make the greatest Christmas cookies. Trying to make it all fit in to our schedules.

Our churches have all asked us to remember our end-of-year giving. We look at our checkbooks and wonder how much this year. With presents, travel, Starbucks, Angel Tree children - is there any left?

Well, our church Irving Bible Church, has begun a new campaign to begin New Year's giving to a special project at the end of the old year. Confusing, huh? Well, one such project our church is sponsoring was quite startling.

Entitled "Water is Basic" - we've been charged to raise funds to help provide drilling equipment to dig wells in Southern Sudan in the name of Christ.

Here's a few facts:
Due to the civil war, millions of Sudanese fled the country. Now with the relatively stable peace, many of these refugees are returning. Two hundred and fifty thousand Sudanese refugees are expected to return to their homeland in 2007 alone, but they are returning to areas with no infrastructure or services, particularly water and sanitation. 20,000 wells will need to be drilled in Sudan to provide minimal (though not adequate) support.

Women and children in Sudan spend many hours a day trying to bring safe water to their families. Some are attacked by wild animals or raped on their long journeys to find water. For those who survive, time spent hauling water robs them of getting an education. In addition, women carrying water are frequently exposed to malnutrition and anemia, and children can develop scoliosis.

An average home in the west uses over 100 gallons of water each day. In contrast, an entire African family uses about five gallons of water each day. Just one flush of a toilet in the West uses more water than most Africans have to perform an entire day's washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking. UNESCO has calculated that to ensure that basic human needs are met, each person needs access to five to 13 gallons of water free from harmful contaminants each and every day.

What we can do:
The vision of Water is Basic is to see a well drilled in every village in Sudan. Funds raised will purchase the necessary equipment to drill water wells--drilling rigs, piping, trucks to carry the equipment and Sudanese workers. Sudanese nationals will be trained to drill, operate and repair their own water wells, empowering them to impact and sustain their communities. As the Sudanese work to provide the basic need of clean water, they will see the health of their people transformed through a reduction in disease and death.

To find out more, you can visit:

I'm not preaching, I'm just informing. Like a good journalist should! =)
This Christmas, please pray for those working on this project and those considering giving a gift. What great and mighty things can God accomplish through the drilling of wells. Won't it be neat to find out!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Prayer Request

Hello All...a prayer request as we begin this holiday season. My friend Jennifer McDonald, who was my partner in crime in College Station, has asked me to pass on a prayer request for her mother, Mrs. Jefferson. Doctors have found cancerous spots on Mrs. Jefferson's pancreas and other areas in her body. They are waiting to receive treatment options, but it does look like it will be a hard one to fight.

Jennifer and her husband are living in Wichita Falls and her parents live in Tyler, with possible treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. So pray for God's grace and safe travel for all family and friends involved.

Thanks! Leanna