The smallest church in America

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I have driven past exit 67 on Interstate 95 many, many times.  Little did I know that about a mile off the highway is Christ’s Chapel, the smallest church in America. Located in McIntosh County, Georgia, this 12 seat church was built in 1949 by a local widow and grocer named Agnes Harper. She wanted travelers to have a place where they could rest and pray. Some folks tried to discourage her from building it, telling her that she didn’t have the money to build a chapel fine enough “to do justice to God.” She did it anyway and the deed was made out to Jesus Christ.
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I had read about the church earlier this month and made a mental note to drop in for a peek on the way back to Florida from my trip to Georgia.  The problem is, when you get to be my age, mental notes have a tendency to float off in the slightest “breeze.”  I was so busy yuckin’ it up on the phone as I hurtled down 95 that I almost missed the turn-off. Thanks to lighter than normal traffic,  I was able to slip over into the right lane-just in the nick of time.
  Less than five minutes later, I was rolling onto a gravel drive way…the teeny church standing unassumingly in the shadow of the surrounding moss covered, oak trees.   I  hesitated for a second as I approached the front door, after all I was out in the middle of nowhere…  alone. What if there was someone in there, what would I do?  The knob turned freely in my hand and I cautiously entered the tiny, humid, and yes, vacant chapel.  The light was on, but it still took a minute to adjust to the darkened interior.  I was immediately taken aback by the beauty of the stained glass windows which I found out later came from England. Sunlight filtered through the pretty panes illuminating a vast collection of candles, statues, mementos, photos and handwritten notes that were lined up against the windows and propped along the walls near the roof. All of these faces, old and young  bore silent testimony to the fact that those who love them sought refuge, peace and and no doubt miracles in this place of rest and reflection.  You could almost hear the echo of their prayers..

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I’m sure Mrs. Harper would smile if she could see her chapel today.

Local ministers still take turns leading non-denominational services here every third Sunday. Christ’s Chapel is open every day from 6am-8pm.

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Sicko

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photo credit: m.lowes.com

 

Seems like only a few short months ago everyone was freaking out about the flu. Well just because we aren’t seeing those scary headlines anymore, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep up best practices when it comes to bacteria busting. Lisa Yakas, a microbiologist at NSF International, reports in Dr. Oz magazine that the handles of your bathroom faucet are likely dirtier than the actual toilet. (Ew) I won’t even tell you what she discovered on those handles, but I’m sure you can figure it out.

Her suggestion? Wipe the handles at least once a week with a disinfectant.

Dip and a deck

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tybee9tybee7 I just got back from a week-end “get-away”, and I have to tell you..two days at a charming B & B is every bit as restorative as a seven day cruise. My favorite little retreat is a beautiful inn on Tybee Island in Georgia named the Beachview. It is run by the most down to earth, hard working, gracious woman I have ever met. Karen welcomes you as if you were a member of her own family. Each room is painted in soothing  tropical colors, furnished with antiques and decorated with local art. Karen who, along with her husband Frank, owns the completely restored 1915 home, has thought of every detail from the thick bathroom towels and rugs, to the hand crafted soaps and the fabulous food her chef prepares. This lovely B&B is the perfect backdrop for a low key week-end. Strolls on the beach and morning bike rides IMG_3389 copyto the lighthouse are usually the most strenuous demands we place on ourselves. tybee5Saturday evening we decided we were too lazy to go out to dinner so we simply  filled our glasses with wine and our plates with veggies, crackers and baked artichoke dip. We retreated to our cozy room and played gin and rummy, stopping only once for a quick run back upstairs to load up on more of the tasty snacks. Who would have thought we could be completely happy with nothing more than ” dip and a deck?”

Getting away for a week-end of relaxation is truly a revival for both body and soul. Being able to dog3unplug from every day stressors and totally unwind in a relaxing, nurturing setting is a gift. Whether it’s with your spouse, a sister, a friend or by yourself, I heartily recommend it!

 We bumped into chef Erin setting up the buffet breakfast on our last morning there, ( egg and sausage strata & cuban french toast-yes, it was crazy good.)  I told her how much we had  enjoyed her artichoke dip the night before. Without hesitation, she took me straight into her kitchen, pulled out a folder and shared the recipe with me.

   Southern hospitality.. ain’t nothing like it.

 

Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup dairy sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

 pinch of salt, pepper to taste

pinch garlic powder

1- 14oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped

1 cup chopped spinach leaves

( OR one box thawed, frozen spinach that has been well drained by squeezing-chopped.) 

1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

Mix first three ingredients.

(If you aren’t a big fan of sour cream, reduce to 1/3 and increase mayo to 2/3.)

Add 1/4 cup parmesan, salt, pepper, pinch garlic powder.

Stir in veggies, then spread into a 9 inch pie plate-lightly sprayed with pam.

Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.

Bake at 350*  until heated through and lightly browned.

Serve with pita chips, french bread or crackers

Wine and a deck of cards-optional

(Can be assembled up to 24 hrs ahead and refrigerated. Takes a little longer to cook when chilled. My friend Kristen substituted  some cream cheese for a portion of the sour cream and mayo, added about 2 tsp fresh minced garlic, and used marinated artichokes instead of those in the can..Loved the results.)

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