Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Monday, All Day

A new beginning, a new week. I'm going to try to catch up on some stuff.
I might even (wait for it!)... Exercise.
I know, right?!?!?! (what does that even mean?!?)
All I can say is that I suddenly feel like I'm worth it, which is strange. Stay tuned to see how that goes! And if my family will even move the elliptical out of storage for me, again.

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Tonight I'm having some of my Freedom for Life ladies over. I love them. ♥ LOVE! We have no agenda, just staying in touch. We don't do that enough, in general. Which is sad. How do you prioritize keeping up with your friends? I love facebook, but nothing beats face to face community.

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Grace went rollerskating for the first time ever over the weekend and loved it! She's doing it again today with a friend. I'm taking Friday off to spend with her (she's off all week) and if we don't come up with anything else to do, we might be back at World of Wheels. I need to get pictures of it!

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Ben Folds is an amazing pianist. Check out his stuff on youtube, especially 'One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces' and 'Landed', to see his amazing key action. Or whatever you call it.

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I opened a new bucket of ice cream the other night and it smiled at me, kind of. I know it'd be messed up to say the ice cream made me happy, but this did:

Happy Monday! ♥♥♥♥♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crepes or Swedish Pancakes

Do you ever make crepes? You should - they are amazing and you can fill them with just about anything you like. I get one at the state fair every year that is filled with asparagus and Swiss cheese. The options are endless. Or you can just have them as a breakfast entree and serve them with syrup. Here's the recipe we use (with credit to Phil & Kerry who gave me Dave's recipe):

Dave's Swedish Pancakes

Mix with beaters:
3 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar

To egg mixture, add:
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. MELTED butter
1 1/2 C. milk
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
(batter is very thin)

Pour 1/4-1/3 Cup batter onto lightly sprayed griddle set at medium/medium- high. I set the temp at around 350 degrees. (If you have a good seasoned cast iron pan, that works well, too, but you can only make one at a time.) I pour the batter and then use the bottom of the measuring cup to spread the batter into a rough circle shape - it's thin batter so if you don't do this and you're using a griddle that's not 100% level, it'll want to run. Flip them when they look solid enough to... flip them. Cook them until they are just turning golden, roll them up and serve immediately or put in a warm, covered casserole dish to keep while you cook more.
We make a double batch so we have leftovers. Grace likes to eat them cold later!
And when they're hot, she likes them with butter, brown sugar & cinnamon. Yummm!
I like them best with homemade buttermilk syrup:

Buttermilk Syrup

In a heavy bottom kettle, mix and boil for 7 minutes:
1 1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. buttermilk
1/2 butter
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
(Keep stirring and watching it - it likes to boil over!)
add 2 tsp. vanilla when done cooking.

I like to add chocolate chips to the last crepe I make while it's still on the griddle, roll it up with the melted chocolate inside and drizzle with this syrup. Mmmmmmmm!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Colorful Valentine's Day

Grace & I made these fun Valentines for her Kindergarten Valentine's party today.
We used the cards from the long thread 
and the directions she linked to at make and takes.
And the project was so fun and colorful I took a bunch of pictures.
We used all the broken crayons in our big shoebox and 
I sliced the paper with a razor blade so Grace could peel them easily. 

We broke the crayons into smaller pieces, then put them in a heavy ziploc bag and smashed them into even smaller pieces with a rolling pin.

We poured them back into the bowl and Grace filled the muffin tin.
(Gotta love blogger - I can't get this to turn! Ugh!)

Baked 'em, took them out and swirled them with a toothpick.
The backs are not pretty and it looked like we were going to have dark, muddy hearts, but when they cooled and we popped them out, the fronts were beautiful!
This one has some glitter crayon in it.
I also 'shaved' the edges of the back of the crayons because there was kind of a rim and we wanted them pretty flat to tape on. 
 I printed the valentine on card stock, Grace wrote the 'to' and 'from' on the back and we taped them on with double-stick foam tape.
The cards say, "Have a colorful Valentine's Day!"
The ordinary cards were not good enough for her 'boyfriend' Parker.
(and if he makes fun of this card, so help me....!)
And we put them in sandwich size baggies just in case the tape doesn't hold.
A very colorful Valentine project!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I head back to small group tonight after being gone for over three months. I think I'm kind of nervous. I have butterflies, I'm not sure why. It might be because I wonder if I've changed. Am I different? Will they see it? Does it matter if they do, or not? Maybe I'm hesitating because I don't feel done, the lovely ladies at my table in Freedom for life know me 'deeper' than the people in the small group. Now it almost feels like starting over. Again.  
Someone posted this on facebook today, not the first time I've heard it, but it really resonates today:

If this is true, it changes everything.
If God really does love each of us, it doesn't matter if someone in a new group doesn't like me.

If Jesus really did come hear, die for me and was resurrected, my life has eternal consequence.
And if that's true, it matters how I spend each moment of the day.

If this incredible story is true, if this relationship is possible, there is nothing about me that is hopeless. There is nothing about you that is insurmountable.

If this is true, the way I love will change. The way I parent will change. The kind of employee I am will change. The kind of friend I am will change. The lives around me will be impacted.

If this is true, nothing is as I see it. It. Changes. Everything.

If this is true, I will let it change me. If this is true.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I am doing some more work on Freedom for Life, even though the class is officially done, and have been given an assignment: Direct my anger where it belongs, get angry at Satan.

I'm working on it. I am beyond sick of feeling this way. I want to be free!

So I've been thinking about my anger. My words. My actions. And what they convey. And then in walked Mr. Super-Nice-Until-I-Can't-Help-Him. I've been working at the Service Desk at Target part time since before Christmas, and for the most part it's pretty fun. This is a conversation I had on Friday night with a guest:

Me: What can I do for you?
Guest: I would like to return this GPS. I got it for Christmas and don't have a receipt.
Me: I can possibly return it using your driver's license.
Guest: (gives me his license)
Me: (processing return) The GPS was originally $159.99 and without a receipt, the system brings up the lowest price in the last 90 days since we can't tell then or how much it was purchased for. The lowest price in the last 90 days is $89.00. Unfortunately, we can only return up to $75.00 worth of merchandise without a receipt every year, so I am unable to return this for you. (& gave some other options).
Guest: THAT'S WHY I DON'T SHOP HERE! (storms away)

I almost laughed. Not at this guest's frustration (because who hasn't been there?) but because his anger was so misplaced. Target Corp. made $15.59 BILLION last year. Saying something snide to the person behind the service desk is not going to do anything to change the situation. This second job earns me not much of minimum, (it's just grocery money, buddy) so the CEO doesn't really ask me for my opinion of return policy. That person did not have anything to do with the rules and can in no way change or over-ride that decision. It's not even the fault of the store you are standing in. It IS the fault of people who steal, people who commit fraud. People like the woman who, just last week, returned a (supposedly) unopened car seat which she got cash for, the box went back to the sales floor, was purchased by another parent, who opened the box to find just a bunch of dirty clothes, no car seat! This person, and others, are the reason that Target and many other stores won't give you cash back, or even store credit for a large purchase. It's the reason you can't return opened CDs, the music industry doesn't trust that you didn't just dub it and return the original. That's not the store's fault either. So, enough of the tirade.

The whole situation just struck me as a little too coincidental that I am working on directing anger in the right direction, and WALAH! a perfect example occurs right in front of me. So I'm thinking about ways I misplace my anger. I think if I learn to pause before responding, I might be able to better direct my anger appropriately. And even knowing that there are options, that I have a choice about where my anger goes, can make a difference. And it will probably save some hurt from Micheal and the kids, too!

Are you angry at the right thing? How do you misplace your anger? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

A fruit basket

'Fruit' is mentioned over and over in the Word:
...every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7.17-20 (also Luke 6.43-44)
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3.8
Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. Matthew 12.33
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15.1-8 a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work... Colossians 1.10
...filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1.11
...for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth... Ephesians 5.9
...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galations 5.22-23
It seems like the fruit we bear for God is really note worthy!

For the last night of Freedom for Life, we collected 'Kingdom Fruit,' put them in a basket, and gave them to the leader (and author) of the class. Our fruit is hers too, born of her obedience. I think I'm going to start keeping track of my fruit, maybe I'll make my own basket. How encouraging to have a record of the fruit God is bearing in my life. There are days that I need help remembering.

"if the Son sets you free"
"you will be free indeed"

full of Kingdom fruit
our fearless leader, fruit basket recipient

Do you have any Kingdom fruit to share?

Freedom for Life

Celebration night for Freedom for Life was last night. I was asked to share some of my progress with the group. These are my notes, if you've stopped here before you might recognize bits & pieces of it.

I thought, and we’ve joked about this at our table, that, “12 or 13 weeks and I would be fit and slender, having mastered the out-of-control areas of my that I choose to medicate with avoidance tactics.” Obviously, I will need more than the length of this class. So, even though we’ve had a half-joking count-down going, I’m not 100% free, BUT God has done some amazingly amazing, super unexpected, out-of-left-field kind of things, and I know now how to continue.

God began orchestrating my attendance in this class before I had even heard about the class and all kinds of areas in my life that I had barely held on to control started to fall apart. My weight was the highest it had ever been, my parenting was becoming just a series of one yelling match after another, the anti-depressant that I had taken for the past 14 years was suddenly not enough and the Dr. diagnosed me with ‘severe depression’ and tripled my regular dosage. I found myself struggling to go to work, to go out with friends, to attend events for our kids because of how horrible I felt about myself and how embarrassed they must be of me. When Brenda started announcing FFL from the stage, I was more than ready to go! My husband thought it was a great idea and I even had two amazing interns in my small group that were more than ready to take over the group so I could go. 

I started Freedom for Life to try and get a handle on this run-away food habit and some of the side effects of my depression, like sleeping & reading too much, burying my head and avoiding painful things... like life. It is interesting to me that God is not addressing it. At all. Yet, anyway. Instead, there seems to be an agenda that Someone made without consulting me! The lessons seem to be all about stuff that happened to me growing up, who I need to forgive, what kind of generational sin I have inherited, area's I've gone off track in response to all kinds of stimuli, coming to terms with belonging in this giant family of God and more...!

Pretty early on, during a quiet prayer time in class, a recurring dream I have had since at least 2nd grade popped into my head. There was no reason at all for me to think of it then, and since I actually remembered something I’ve heard Brenda teach, I asked God what it meant and why I was remembering it now. Clearer than I’ve ever heard Him, God said, “I never meant you to be so alone.” He spoke right to the deepest longing in my heart. As a child of divorced parents, and many other events that I interpreted to mean that I was un-lovable, un-wantable, worthless, God put His finger right on a key issue. I know God is still working on this one but I see the lie now and I want to get my worth, my value, my identity from God.

A similar thing God has addressed began when I read the question: Which areas of pain are you  medicating? My quick answer was 'the part that says I am no good...' and then I felt like God stopped me right there.  The part of me that says it's no good isn't really a part of me at all. It's something I can choose to put on or take off. I can walk in it and be miserable, or I can ask Jesus to come speak Truth. I've always just thought it was part of who I am, that's a lie, it doesn't have to define me. It's like a ratty old shirt that I can start each day with or choose NOT to wear it? Walk in Truth or darkness? This has really been a big step in seeing the lies of the enemy for what they are and choosing NOT to walk in them, actually calling them lies! And it has allowed me to tackle some sin & forgiveness issues.

 I’ve been to the Gospel of Wholeness weekend workshop a couple times and also went through it with a peer Counselor, and I didn’t get the whole issue with sin until FFL. I could tell you that the root issue of problems in anyone’s life is sin, but I just couldn't wrap my head around how to apply it to my life. FFL really helped me dig into why I was stuck in some areas of my life, but a key part of this was also seeing the others at our table walk through this, too. Even though we all came to this class for different reasons, the root issue really was sin, I just couldn’t see it before. During the weeks dealing with forgiveness, in the midst of my struggle to just want the people who have hurt me to acknowledge how they’ve hurt me or set negative responses in motion, God really, clearly brought a time when I needed forgiveness to mind. I could feel again how awful it felt to have that hanging over my head and how free it felt after receiving forgiveness. And Thanksgiving and Christmas with  my family, which is usually a super stressful terrible time for me, was really good.  I think it was because I could see both the sin and the forgiveness in action and could let my family be who they are, broken people just like I am, without needing something from them that they don’t know how to give anyway. I think this realization has really helped me learn to love other people, regardless of their own addictions and how they’d failed me, because I really see now how we are all the same. Before I learned this, I could only do that from a distance.

Something that I feel like God has promised me is joy. I catch glimpses of it in worship, but God wants me to be free, wants to set me free to be the person He can see inside. Now I actually have hope and expectation! So all of this has been so. not. my. agenda. at. all. But in truth (Truth?), it is all such good stuff. I can feel myself stretching & growing as I consider things I have avoided with my whole being for years and years. And I can see that God has more planned for me than I ever expected, and I am amazed at the wide chasm I see between my idea of whole and healthy and His. His idea is way more work, with different priorities than I would have planned. 

I definitely want His!