Friday, March 25, 2011

Some Cheese to go with My Whine...

Pissy. Unhappy. Dissatisfied.

I just feel off. And then I think of something I'm unhappy about. And then two things... which snowballs into eleven things wrong with me... until soon everything sucks and I can't stop awfulizing. You ever do that?   And it's not really the way I want to start the weekend with my family.

And I think I need to take a break from facebook, and maybe blogs, because I have a big case of the-grass-is-always-greener-itis. I can see God pointing out how that's just not true, but my answer to that is pretty much, "Yeah, yeah..." but not really walking in it.

Because if you just started a new dance or exercise class, I don't care, and I'm really not happy for you. I still have P90X in the box - from a year ago.

If you just got back from a trip, ever took a spring break trip or mission trip, or plan to go on a trip somewhere fun - ever, I don't want to hear it.

Or maybe you just remodeled, redecorated, or re-anything to your house, good for you, something else I can't do right now. Or a new car? A Toyota hybrid? Forgedabowdit!

Love what you do? Content? Way to go, you.

Because I want to take trips, be passionate about my job, wear cute clothes, not have my mom's @$$ (fine, it's mine and I earned it), not be intimidated so I don't do the things I should do, feeling good and safe would be nice.

I bet you are super happy you stopped by.  :-/  I wish I had a happier, bright shining conclusion to tack on the end, but I'm not there yet. I can see I'm being and feeling kind of over-the-top ridiculous, but can't crawl off that ledge. Right now.

The thing that keeps ringing in my head, the Word I hear, is
In Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17.28
Somehow, I need to let that sink in. Who has what or gets to do what or has something, some 'better' life than I think I do is not the point at all. It's not what I have, how I look, who loves or likes me or even how I feel, it's Who I'm in. And Who's in me. I believe it, how do I live it?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Soup Dumplings

Anyone can make soup. Start with some water, broth if you've got it, simmer, keep adding stuff, veggies, meat...

But dumplings! Mmmmm! Dumplings make soup delicious! Micheal's Gram made the best dumplings, light, fluffy, delicious... Start these about a half hour before you want to eat.

Gram's Soup Dumplings
Place in bowl:
2 C. Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 C. Milk
2 Eggs

Mix it up with a fork.

Drop by teaspoon into low boiling/simmering soup, dipping spoon into soup and letting dough slide off. 
(Tip: Dip your spoon in the simmering soup before you dip into the dumpling mix the first time and the dough will slide right off the spoon.)

Dumplings will initially sink then rise to the top of soup. Just give a stir everyone once in a while to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom, but not too frequently that you break the dumplings up!

Simmer 20 minutes until dumplings are cooked through. 

Delicious dumplings!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Old Sweaters, Young Man

My dad has been gone for months, now. Last week Micah got a package in the mail from my step-mom. She went through Dad's sweaters looking for a cardigan of his since I mentioned Micah was asking for one from the mall. She sent four shirts. I love seeing him in these sweaters. They make me want to gather him in my arms and hug him. They don't smell like my dad, but I don't want to wash them. It's so strange. And sadly, Micah's not a hugger...

When people give my kids clothes I try to take a picture of them wearing it so the giver can see them in it. Here are the photos I shot to send to my step-mom.

Micah has expressions that remind me of my dad, especially when he laughs. Here's an old slide from the 70s I scanned of my dad:

and here's one a couple years old of Micah (the best photo I could find because now he only poses with a closed-mouth smile. Today, his face is more angular with a hint of whiskers and hormones have made his hair curlier...)

I love seeing my dad in my son.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Season 5, Episode 6 revisited

Are you a Trekkie?

I am. I don't go to conferences dressed in pajamas, but I've seen every episode, many more than once. ALL the Star Treks: the original (starring William Shatner, who's birthday is TODAY - this must be providence!), the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise & all the movies. I also don't want to talk about how much time that equals, even at minimum viewing time.

But, have you seen episode 6 in season 5 of the Next Generation? Man, does it speak to me!!! Not to mention it stars a young Ashely Judd and has these two seriously great quotes, both spoken by Counselor Troi:
I never met a chocolate I didn't like.
Chocolate is a serious thing.
So, you can read the synopsis of the episode in way more detail than I'll give you on wikipedia, and see even more if you click those links on the bottom of the page. (Really?!? who has time to note that much detail about anything they are watching?!? But that's another post.)

Basically someone brings this game on board that is super addicting (and controlling, but you don't find that out right away) and then proceeds to get everyone else on board to play it. It makes people feel good when they get this disc in the cone on the game and suddenly people's jobs don't get done and it's all they do. There are a few times where the people who are already addicted to the game try to convince, and then coerce other crew members to PLAY.THE.GAME.

A few things in the last couple years have reminded me of this episode. First, facebook. People said 'You should do it!' 'Sign up.' 'Find people you barely know and haven't seen in years...'

And then I signed up and LOVED it. And it sucked up a bunch of time, but saved time because I didn't need to actually talk to people to know what was going on in their lives. And then you'd run into someone who didn't know those things, figure out they didn't have a facebook, and then YOU turn into the coercer...

Then there was the smart phone. Oooooh! Micheal got one, took it to bed with him 'just for the alarm' (Does that sound like, "I'm only reading it for the articles"?), and bought a bullet and water proof OtterBox case in case he drops it, or in case I decide to SHOOT it because it's always in his hand... (AND I'll be honest and say the same thing about me and the iPad Micheal bought me...)

Does the smart phone really make you smarter, or does it get smarter while we waste our time and get dumber....?

AND now I just got my first iPhone. And I love it, how did I live without this previously? And how sad it it that we had to make an actual rule to not have electronics at the dinner table?

Now there are Angry Birds. Angry Birds is a game where little green pigs steal the eggs of some cute little birds. This causes a war pitting various birds against structure building pigs. You launch the birds at the structures, trying to get them to fall and crush the pigs - all in a frantic bid to bring home Tweetie. Makes complete sense, right?
But do let me warn you about the addictive nature of this game! There is apparently no end to the size, scope, or materials they will use to build these structures and no sooner do you complete one then you get an option to go on to the next one, or do better on the last one... You are liable to stay up way to late trying to kill these little pigs that smile at you when you fail to smush them. And don't bring it into the bathroom with you or you may have a ring permanently imprinted on your butt. O

Just trying to be real here, people. ;o)

The Next Gen episode I talk about above actually ends with the crew finding out that this insidious game was really an attempt to distract them so their ship, and eventually the entire Federation, could be taken over by some really bad dudes. All the other things I mention aren't bad, but they can definitely become bad, have bad consequences, if I let them get control of me, and take me away from what I should really be doing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dancing House

I did my first Zumba class last weekend with a bunch of awesome ladies from church, and loved it! I don't know how to fit in a class right now, so I settled on the Wii Zumba 'game' on the recommendation of a friend. It's only about $40 so it's less than the average $50-60 game and comes with the belt you wear the controller in. It just came and I'm super excited to try it! Micheal says he'll get his 'exercise' by laying on the couch watching me do Zumba.

We had some friend's kids overnight on Saturday to give the parents a break and they brought Just Dance Kids for Wii and it's super fun, too. Grace loves it!! So I bought it on ebay last night. I think I will have fun doing these dances with her! The dances are choreographed for kids, and led by kids.

And here's Micah's dance moves in a tube the 'extra' kids brought over...

I know what you are thinking, but we are not available for parties... yet!

Friday, March 11, 2011

What do you say?

The rain comes down on everyone...
Rich or poor, great or small,
It doesn't really matter at all

Then the sun shines down on everyone...

Then the flowers bloom for everyone...
(Called 'The African Village Song.' I hear it on the 'Dr. Jean Sings Silly Songs' CD that Grace plays at night sometimes.)

I love this song because I think it's such a good message for kids to grow up with. Hard stuff happens. To me. To you. And good stuff happens, too. Hang in there, kid! It's really not a very silly song.

But what do we do, what do we say, when bad stuff happens to people around us? To people we love?
People we love die.
Babies are lost.
Friendships are broken.
Marriages dissolve.
Infertility happens.
Jobs are lost.
Dreams crash.
Lives take a detour.

What do you say, what do you do?

Just some of my thoughts as I process some hard stuff a friend is going through, and from my experience during the loss of both parents:

1) It's not all about you! (to quote Rick Warren) Don't worry how you will look or sound, just show up! Call, visit the hospital, attend the funeral, swallow your pride and forgive, make a meal, hug, cry, just show up!

2) Love in practical ways (see above). One thing that I have appreciated is the friend who remembers the date my mom died on 13 years ago, and he calls, every year and simply says, "I'm thinking about you as you're remembering your mom." Send a card, say you care, whatever.

3) Listen. Good, active listening. Look at them, listen. Don't tell your stories, just hear theirs. Don't try to solve the problem, listen. Give your undivided attention, listen.

4) Call a lie a lie. Things like, "I deserved this ___(house fire?)___," or "I'll never get another chance," or "God doesn't care/doesn't exist." Lies, all of them. And you can say what is true, gently, and ward off the lie that fights for dominance.

5) Pray. Not as a last resort but as the best resort. Lay your hand on them and pray, pray while you drive, shower, whatever. Pray.

6) Love them, the simplest and hardest thing to do. Love.

The only real mistake you can make when a friend is hurting is to do nothing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dance with me

Grace's recital is coming up and this week she got to learn the end of their song. Their routine centers around the one boy in the class and it's a The Bachelor-like routine where one of the girls actually gets the guy in the end - Grace! =0)  She's very excited to be the one to dance with Carson. She just had to show her big bro the other night, with dad standing in for Carson.

assisted arabesque
some kind of turn
at the altar
"Your arm is wrong, dad!"
big finish!

Meet Rika

She's our Compassion kid! We are super excited to start corresponding with her. Rika's birthday is within 2 weeks of Grace's so they will literally grow up together.

I've heard about Compassion for years, at almost every Christian concert I've attended, but I've grown more and more interested lately. I attribute that to Shaun Groves (check out how his story, and his blog), and Ann Voskamp (at a Holy Experience) who blogged through a trip to verify Compassion's integrity, and my pastor who also recently got to meet one of their Compassion kids on a Compassion trip to Uganda. I'm sold, my heart has been won.

I hope you know about Compassion. Their motto is "Releasing children from poverty in Jesus name," and they do it with our money, yours and mine. $38/month sponsors a child,a child that has nothing, including a childhood. With less than you spend on fast food or coffee each month, you can supply food, clothes, education, medical care and hope to a child in need. Check it out! You can change the world, one person at a time! Your commitment changes the lives of these children, their families, and their communities. Do it with your kids and teach them compassion for others. Check my sidebar for a quick link to locate a child who needs you right now! (Please do not take sponsorship lightly, this is a lifetime commitment.)

♥  ♥ Rika ♥  ♥

Monday, March 7, 2011


Every morning, Grace crawls into bed with me at 5:45ish to watch Arthur on PBS as we slowly wake up for our day. She crawls in on Micheal's side (he's already up), bounds under the covers, wriggles her way to my side, and then DEMANDS that I lay the way she wants me to. I am not allowed to lay on my tummy because she doesn't like where my elbows are then, or my back because the snoring (tmi) makes it too hard to hear her show. If I am not aware enough yet, or just want to make her yell the loudest, I will lay on my side facing AWAY from her. This is not accepted AT ALL and is in fact seen as out right rejection. She wants to spoon. And not snore in her ear, but mostly spoon. She wants to start her day with a little bit of intimacy that makes her feel warm and loved, and I hope those couple minutes of love carry her through all the hard parts of going out in the world, and bring her back for more tomorrow. It's kind of cute. Especially when she keeps her elbows to herself and not jabbing my boobs private areas. I think I'll miss this when she outgrows it!

Then there is the other side of this spectrum. Without too many details, we recently had to make the rule, 'no spooning.' Aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnd, then we had to back up even more and make it, "Nothing horizontal."

Oh, the difference a few years makes! (I don't even know how we got here!!!)

Because we all know
and that's what we are trying to avoid!

(Images found in google images, none are my own.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A few things filling my days, outside of the usual.

Micah is in driver's ed now. I haven't had to take him yet, but the over-dinner time of the class means one of us runs him, and the other does the other running, of which there is plenty! I don't have a picture of driver's ed. But I wish I did. And I can't believe I have a kid old enough for driver's ed. Crazy.

After a girls only lunch date at the Olive Garden last Friday, Grace & I rode the Timber Twister at Spirit Mountain. Fun!

And cold. Two rides was definitely my limit. Grace kept telling me to go slower, not because she was afraid but because she wanted it to last longer!

And I was a sucker for the over-priced photo because I wanted to remember our fun day.

And now the Girl Scout cookies are in. Grace sold over 300. 'Sold' should be in quotations because really, Girl Scout cookies sell themselves. People are really happy to buy a memory.

I love that each cookie is in a different color box and Grace really helped me sort these. I'd call out, "Green green orange purple blue!" and she'd get all the boxes for that order ready. I'd rubber band and label them.

We finished off a whole box of Tagalongs last night. I only ate 3. And yep, I still call them by the old names.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interruption, anyone?

A friend on facebook (which is so different than a 'facebook friend', you know?) shared this a couple days ago from the blog Kingdom People. This was JUST what I needed to hear. Do you need to hear it, too?
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”
(from a 1943 letter from C.S. Lewis,
and included in Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis)
 What are the interruptions that you need to hear are the specific things God is sending your way today?

Just off the top of my head: kids, work, cooking a balanced dinner - or an unbalanced dinner, the person that won't leave my desk, the friend who goes on and on about whatever-it-is, the extra rides your teen needs three times a day, the hollering from your little one's bed in the middle of the night, the delivering of hundreds of Girl Scout cookies to the family & friends you never see enough of...?

Papa, help me be interruptable so I can see You.

I also wonder how often I am called to interrupt someone, and I don't. I just don't listen. I could say, "Stop it, that's dangerous," or "I love when you do this or that," or "I'm proud of you," or "That's something Jesus would do! Way to go!" I'm pretty sure that if we welcome interruptions, we'll see what God is doing clearer, and we'll probably become interrupters ourselves. What an idea!

Help me be Your interrupter, send me. Amen.