Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Luis Bruno ~ Celebrity Chef

New Years Eve 1983The picture to the right is from a 1983 New Year's Eve celebration at Bruno's Eclectic Cuisine in Jackson, Mississippi. We were celebrating our silver wedding anniversary. Our oldest daughter has entitled this photo The Queen Mother. The tiara was a party favor that was left behind at the restaurant, and I haven't seen one any prettier in all the years since then. I remember that Bruno's had stocked the ladies room with special New Year's Eve toilet paper. Don't we remember the oddest things?

This was the last time I ate food prepared by Chef Luis Bruno. Although we didn't see him that night, we spoke with his wife Kathleen. Several years earlier, we first met Kathleen and Luis when they were competing in a Red Beans and Rice Festival in downtown Jackson. At that time, Bruno was the executive chef appointed by Governor Kirk Fordice at the Governors Mansion, and he is currently the executive chef at Huntington's Grille at the North Jackson Hilton. It was nice to learn where he is and what he is doing now after all these years.

Bruno's love of food has taken him to the celebrity status in several circles now. The contest on ABC News Nightline Platelist brought Luis to my attention again very recently. Take a look at his interesting life in his contestant's biography:
LUIS BRUNO, Huntington's Grille, Jackson, Miss.

Luis Bruno is the chef at Huntington's Grille in Jackson, Miss. Healthy recipes are most important to Chef Luis, whose inspirational story includes maintaining a non-surgical weight loss of 200 pounds through exercise and healthy eating.

In 2003 he weighed 400 pounds when health issues and uncontrolled diabetes forced him to close his celebrated restaurant Bruno's, and his doctor gave him just five years to live. One year later and half his size, he had turned his life around — and his weight-loss efforts melded perfectly with Governor Haley Barbour's dedication to the health of Mississippi's citizens. Bruno returned as Executive Chef at the Governor's Mansion, where he remained until his appointment with The Hilton in Jackson as Chef at Huntington's Grille. Luis's recipes have a Caribbean flair and are some of the best. One of my favorites is Banana Leaf Wrapped Buttered Snapper with Clams and Saffron Broth. He is quite the showman and is a local celebrity.
I encourage you to vote for Bruno, who is a finalist in ABC News Nightline Peoples Platelist contest, the winner of which will be featured on national television. You can do that here:

Peoples Platelist Finalist: Luis Bruno

Voting ends on Sept. 26, 2010 and is limited to one vote per individual IP address. The finalist receiving the most votes online will be declared the winner of the contest. The winner will be announced live on the broadcast during the week of Sept. 27, 2010. The winning chef will be the topic of a full Platelist segment, taped and produced by Nightline that will run on the national broadcast on ABC.

Learn even more about Luis's weight loss plan:

Trimming the Fat
Runners World – March 2007

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Roger

Entertainers Roger Pedigo and Billy Pelletier

I learned rather late in the day that today is my friend Roger Pedigo's birthday.

Roger and I see lots of things in life the same way, such as it's okay to hang out with your friends in a bar and still go to church because there's really nothing in the Holy Scriptures that says this is a wrong behavior except for possibly what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14.

Another thing Roger and I have in common is the love of music. He has shared music CDs with me and I have shared some with him. He's a talented entertainer who performs his music with a group at Magnolia Springs Wesleyan Church on Sunday mornings. He has many stories to tell about life on the road performing, and I love to hear those stories. My amateur video will help give you some insight as to how well he performs:

Georgia Karaoke at Foley's Scuttlebutt Pub

Roger lives with his faithful companion, a mutt named Angel. How their relationship began is an interesting tale that leaves listeners deciding for themselves who's the owner and who's the pet :)

If you're in the market for a storage building or carport, Roger Pedigo is the man to see at RJ's Curb Market Storage in Foley, Alabama.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gordon Mote

Don't Let Me Miss the Glory – Gordon MoteChristian artist Gordon Mote is an outstanding musician who plays piano for the Gaither Vocal Band. He's also a native of Alabama.

My friend Roger Pedigo recently introduced me to Mote's 2007 CD, Don't Let Me Miss The Glory. He particularly wanted me to hear the touching tale of Maplewood Methodist Church.

Follow along with the lyrics below as you listen to Maplewood Methodist Church.

Spends every night inside these walls
Dumps the trash and sweeps the halls
And he makes sure that stained glass shines
Picks up paper in the pews and stacks the chairs in the choir room
But his real work don't start til quittin' time
When he goes through every prayer request lying on the pastor's desk
He hits his knees and says ...
God bless Miss Somersby, Lord it's hard to live alone
And Marianna Thompson wants her daddy back at home
And Mr. Nelson needs forgiveness
Old Man Miller's crops need rain
While the whole town's fast asleep he's hard at work
Pullin' that midnight shift at the Maplewood Methodist Church

Every night's the same routine
And by the time he finally leaves
He's done so much more than clean the building
He's called down angels from on high
And helped someone through a sad goodbye
And lost souls finally find what they've been missing
The congregation will never see that simple man who still believes
He can change the world by saying please ...

Give Johnny Mays the strength to put that bottle down
Mrs. Bailey and her husband find a way to work things out
Mrs. Olsen hold on long enough to see her daughter's wedding day
While the whole town's fast asleep he's hard at work
Pullin' that midnight shift at the Maplewood Methodist Church

The sign out front says Sunday service starts at nine and ten-fifteen
But he holds his own revival, seven nights a week

While the whole town's fast asleep he's hard at work
Pullin' that midnight shift at the Maplewood Methodist Church

Spends every night inside these walls, dumps the trash and sweeps the halls
And he makes sure that stained glass shines

This song stirred up some very old memories. The first funeral I attended was my Uncle Lawrence's in Sweetwater, Texas. If you hear this song, you'll know how my mind connected to that when I tell you it's about a man who cleans the church. Sometimes the person is called the custodian, or perhaps the janitor. I think the funeral was held in the church Uncle Lawrence cleaned. I also recalled that another uncle, JC Lockhart, cleaned a church in Weatherford, Texas.

Let me back up here and tell you I was reared Southern Baptist and remained one until Smitty and I married and began to look for a church in our Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas. That's when we became Presbyterians and joined Trinity Presbyterian Church. Our two daughters were baptized and later confirmed in the Presbyterian Church. We later moved to Irving, Texas, then Bloomington, Illinois, and eventually to Memphis, Tennessee, and each time joined local Presbyterian churches. We've been members of the United Methodist church since we lived in Meridian, Mississippi in the late 1970s.

More Gordon Mote videos worth seeing:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good Morning ~ Good Night

This is how I began my day today. It was so pleasant, I wanted to share it.

Hope your day is a good one.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Confession Time

Today I am trying to catch up on reading devotionals from The Upper Room. I began with the one for Friday, August 6, 2010 — so you know right off I'm over a week behind.

I've obviously been giving something other than reading daily devotionals priority. This is a continuing problem of mine. My priorities are just about upside down! But when I read the devotional, I did so want to share it.


Jeff Matthews of Indiana
Founder of FromMyCell.org
A ministry that encourages inmates to follow the Bible

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13 · Ephesians 5:1-2

I have been incarcerated since 1990, and over the years I have found myself in some difficult situations. Whenever trouble arises, applying biblical principles can bring about a peaceful resolution. One principle I have lived by throughout the duration of my incarceration is to always walk in love.

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to practice this principle when an inmate started to hassle me about my faith. His derogatory remarks about Christians continued for months. With each encounter, I responded in love, rejoiced in my persecutions (Matthew 5:11-12), and prayed for him (Matthew 5:44).

One day during another encounter with this inmate, I calmly interrupted him while he was speaking. I felt there was something he needed to know. "My friend," I said, "nothing you ever say to me or do to me will stop me from loving you." He stood speechless as I walked away.

A few days later he saw me in the hallway. "Jeff, I haven't slept since you told me you loved me the other day. That's exactly what Jesus would have told me. You're a real Christian. Please forgive me for the way I've treated you," he said remorsefully. I was speechless! Since then, he has never spoken another unkind word to me.

Prayer · Dear Father, help us to walk always in love. Amen.

Thought for the Day: No matter how difficult our situation, with God's help we can see ways to show God's love.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Lady Gaga's Quesadilla

Lady Gaga's Quesadilla · by Paul McRae on flickr
Any Lady Gaga fans out there?
Me neither.

I do recommend, though, that you click on Paul's photo to the right and read his story describing how this photo came about.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Where did I learn about KISS? I wonder...

I did prove to myself that I wasn't dreaming – it was related to duplicate bridge conventions when I found Tommy Solberg's bridge blog and his post: The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Conventions. As he reports, *KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.

So far you still do not even know what this post is about, but I will reveal now that our youngest daughter is the blog expert who has passed on to me more than once that each blog post should be about one subject. In this context, *KISS means Keep It Separate Stupid.

What I wanted to share today concerns the really weird weather day we experienced in Lower Alabama. For over two hours, there was audible thunder, which I believe I have determined was a weather system that was just along the area of the Florida-Alabama line on the Gulf Coast that was moving south out into the Gulf. The outside temps dropped from 97 to 82 degrees during this time, which resulted in our screened porch going from a sauna to a very nice place to relax around 7 PM. During this time we could hear thunder while at the same time it was quite dark outside and only sprinkles of moisture were dripping off our roof. I had to comment on this because it is so totally different from any weather I have ever experienced before.

On seeing the Pensacola News weather on television, it looked like their weather was more dramatic as far as the sudden drop in temperature with them reporting a temperature of 79 at that same time period. The difference had to do with considerable rainfall in a short period of time.

Yes, the Gulf Coast in this area has been experiencing unusually high temperature readings to the point that it has been really too hot to enjoy going to the beach, even if you have a little hand-held fan you can use to spray cooling water on yourself. Generally speaking though, when one is right on the beach on the Gulf, at least a gentle sea breeze helps cool you.

Cracked Pots

Keith Tonkel's sermon yesterday at Wells United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi was entitled Cracked Pots, and it was based on this old story:

Scripture for yesterday's sermon:

Isaiah 40:29
God gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, he increases strength.

I Corinthians 1:27
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world, to put to shame the wise, and has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the mighty...

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, and my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Hebrews 5:2
He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.

Today’s Psalms 6:1-4 (Revised)
Lord, do not rebuke us in your anger,
Or chasten us with your displeasure.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we are weak;
heal us, for our body and soul is deeply troubled.
Return, O Lord, deliver us.
Oh save us for your mercies’ sake!

The Sunday bulletin for this service had Keith's usual brief prose as follows concerning the scriptures:
Cracked Pots

Went to school with a guy who often referred to ‘crack-pots’. In those days, it was about folks with strange and crazy ideas or practices. Today such talk may mean a lot more!

An important teacher used to say: “We are leaky vessels for God’s truth and work to ride in, but we are God’s vessels.”

When speaking of real Christians, we can create the idea that such persons have got it made. They have ‘arrived’ and are capable of doing all things well. In fact, there are almost no such believers. Think of the stories of God’s calls: Moses who said he couldn’t speak well, Abraham who got a big laugh when told that he and Sarah were having a baby at their age; all who Jesus asked to come with him, who made (make up!) up one excuse after the other.

God chooses the weak to do strong work. He gives power to those who have none, and increases might equivaliant for the work needed. Who would have thought that twelve disciples could have done so much and changed so many. They became the fore runners of a new history.

No one is weak to be weak. In our weakness, we learn compassion for the ignorance and sins of others. To know our weakness is to call on God’s strength to build our own. It’s clear: The proud and strong rely on themselves and need no others. The weak see their strengths and limitations at the same time, and learn that the grace of God is the only sufficient resource for positive and Christlike living.

Some crackpots might surprise you. Crackpots like you and me. We could become a means of doing something good, lasting, and beautiful for God and for others.

Imagine leaky vessels being so effective and at the same time leaving a legacy to bless generations to come.

Note: These short devotional-type writings are gathered together in a book to be published in the future by Keith ~ GodStuff

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Not through yet

Not through yet could apply with lots of things. This canna decided it was going to show one more bloom today.

It also just might apply to a certain person whose birthday is today —


Freckle-faced canna bloom